A River Ran Through It

 

I wandered down to the ballpark yesterday. Nothing better to do.

Two years ago at about this point of the season Iowa and Memphis hooked up with a division title and playoff spot on the line. Yesterday they took the field a combined 64 games below .500.


Standing out in the center field picnic concourse I gazed across the street at what remains of the Des Moines River after a severe drought. Kids were using the middle of it for a sandbox. Hard to believe this puddle flooded Sec Taylor Field more than once in recent years. Yesterday it struck me as the perfect metaphor for the 2012 Chicago/Iowa Cubs.

A decent crowd shuffled in on a comfortable day as the club again inches toward the 500,000 mark for season attendance in this the final home stand of the year. But nobody’s heart was in it. I could plainly hear a peanut vendor working the GA section in the left field corner. We could have had a conversation, no cell phones required. A group in that bank of otherwise empty seats clad in yellow t-shirts resembled the last kernels on a mostly eaten cob of corn.

Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters are gone, leaving behind a rotting carcass of I-Cubs. Not that the team was flying high with them on the roster, but it’s more interesting to watch a bunch of up-and-comers than a patchwork of refugees from the independent leagues, many of whom aren’t even on first name bases with one another. They come and they go. Only the uniforms remain the same.

In the bottom of the 1st with two aboard Greg Rohan got down a couple of quick strikes and started fouling off pitch after pitch. The PA blared a couple bars of “Stayin’ Alive” and then abruptly shut it off. Nobody gave a damn. Then, sudden as a siren in church, Rohan reached out and banged one the other way, a three-run homer that rattled off the metal bleachers to my left and beneath the right-field scoreboard. There was a ballgame going on.

I didn’t stay long, just long enough to be reminded of what I’ll be missing all winter, starting a week from today.  

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not to be all told you so...but it bears mentioning

Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito reinjured his elbow and is headed to see Dr. Yocum: klaw.me/NXzmiV

What did you tell us so?

there were a few comments (and it may have all been from one person for all I remember) that the Cubs should draft Giolito at #6

I don't know if it was only one person, but I certainly was a proponent of drafting Giolito. You definitely were right on that point.

oh, I've got plenty of wrongs on other points...

nationals prospect + injures elbow = cy young candidate 1-2 years later.

boo hiss.

Javier Baez and Tim Saunders questions in Ask BA.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

I'm sorry but neither Geiger nor Soler are the star of this pic:

RT @D_Geiger: Me and Jorge Soler during yesterdays game!

http://pic.twitter.com/aMA3654v 

Is there a hot babe in the background or what?

that's where I went too...

I'm thinking the mascot maybe.

"Carl Crawford will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on left elbow on Thursday."

this was a very preventable injury.

he could have kept his wallet in his right pocket.

...also, roger clemens just signed an indie ball contract...50 years old, 87mph fastball.

here comes another roider to take yet another record from someone...sorry, moyer....and sorry the astros probably have a place for him once he gets his pitching stamina up.

at least we'll always have minnie minoso.

Why would Clemens want to play pro ball again? He retired of his own free will, didn't he? Hard to see him working hard to join a terrible, terrible Astros team.

clemens is one of those hyper-motivated types...which is probably why he was able to take good skills and turn them into a great career.

this is a guy who threw a young mussina...a visiting player...into a locker when he ran him down to tell him how he wasn't taking his talents seriously enough...and clemens was barely 30 years old, himself.

he's also got a reputation for being social/friendly.

he probably just wants to see if he can still compete. he's about to be pitching for the hell of it in a low indie-league (not a "retirement league" like the Golden League).

OR he loves to be in the news and hasn't been in a while and so now he gets attention again.

Uhhhh i am pretty sure Clemens was found not guilty. The governments key witness was a guy who lied and even admitted on the stand that his so called evidence was tainted with other peoples DNA and kept in a beer can.

McNamee repeatedly changed his story in order to fit the prosecutions case and admitted on the stand his stories changed.

You probably have a clear cut case of someone using the steroids era to blackmail and take down a player when he was more than likely never a roid user. The governments case proved Clemens was more of a "never was" user than a user.

yeah, i'm pretty sure clemens was found not guilty too.

i'm also pretty sure ryan braun didn't get banned for roids.

i'm also pretty sure OJ Simpson was found not guilty.

i don't share your belief that he was not a roider.

Uh....I'd be willing to say that I think Clemens was a roider....but hey...he was found "not guilty" so meh..whatevs.

well, let's talk about someone who we all know is a roider...jose canseco and how awesome he is.

seriously...he's just...awesome.

time traveler...religious philosopher...indie ball hanger-on.

for those that don't read his twitter...and i recommend it at least once every few weeks, minimum...

https://twitter.com/JoseCanseco

it's been like this for years. he crazy.

"Jose Canseco ‏@JoseCanseco
My life sucks but it's better than yours"

MMA fighter

I think the "Not Guilty" verdict was a "failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt", which is a pretty high standard in legal circles. It is not a "more likely than not" standard, i.e., 50.1% proof guilt vs. 49.9% proof of innocence standard. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is more like a 90% proof of guilt vs. 10% proof of innocence standard.

To prove someone guilty of criminal charges, you gotta have overwhelming evidence of guilt, otherwise the prosecution has not carried its burden of proof.

The fact that some doubt remains doesn't mean that I believe you -- it just means I won't be able to send you to jail. For what it's worth (which isn't much), I don't believe Clemens was clean. And that's just my opinion. That's all it is.

didn't help petite basically recanted his testimony

Well my problem with the steroids era is what happens if your innocent and your accused? The court of public opinion will crucify you and there is nothing, i mean nothing, you can ever do to erase that damage.

what happens if you're innocent in court/procedure, but have a pile of crap against you?

sammy sosa can't even be linked...at all...to anything. you're not going to find many people at all that think he was clean, though.

roger has more going against him than just some dna/needles a guy saved.

I suspect most of the players were using some form of roidishness. Rather than seeing the players come clean, I'd rather see the people who oversaw their activities come clean. I don't believe for a minute that guys like LaRussa and Dusty didn't see guys injecting shit into their ass.

everyone knew...front offices knew.

it's about time it's mostly over. it'll never be fully over, but the days of wild-west PED/speed use is finally over...except for the larger-than-expected "for some reason" anxiety/mental-health exemptions so players can keep pumping adderall.

Why do the Cubs keep hitting Josh Vitters second? Getting more at bats?

Almost definitely. Dude has had a learning curve at every level, and there's no reason to think he won't have the largest learning curve at the highest level. He's probably not going to do much this year, but this is the best time to keep getting him ABs in games that don't really matter. Then, assuming the job is still his in April, you put him 7th or 8th and hope he's ready to start producing.

he's not contact, he's not speed, and he's not ob%...it pretty much has to be to get him some ABs.

...or we got a really weird manager.

It'd be better if he batted seventh, but was in the lineup every game.

"Why do the Cubs keep hitting Josh Vitters second?"

a) Not to have three lefty hitters in a row, which would make it too easy for a loogie in the 7th or 8th innings.

b) Not to have Barney hitting second. Vitters is a better hitter.

c) Not to have Castro hitting second. Vitters is a better on-base guy.

Uh..Vitters is a better hitter or on-base guy.
So far, not so much.
Let's wait and see his major league numbers....eh?

"Let's wait and see his major league numbers"

Sure, but meanwhile you have to look past his current numbers and look at what he did recently at Iowa, and what you expect of him, and slot him in the lineup accordingly. Otherwise you bench him and there's nothing to "wait and see."

I'm not saying bench Vitters. I think he should be playing every day.
But hitting him second this year? I don't agree with....he's not patient enough at the plate. The PCL is as notorious for inflating hitting stats as the Florida State League is for depressing stats.
Vitters should play every day. but hit him 6th or 7th is all I'm sayin'.

"But hitting him second this year?"

It is not like the games this year mean anything.

Ok.
So let's play him at catcher, since games don't mean anything too.
Or we can bat him in a spot in the order where he might play if he sticks?

i still wanna see casey weathers stretched out and starting for the cubs in Sept.

fill up the clown car with gas and tear ass all over the national league.

Sorry when you said that you didn't want Vitters hitting second this year, I assumed that you were open to the posibility of him hitting second during his career. Clearly you are not.

As for playing catcher. I don't see the point as he needs work at third base.

when you throw 5 changeups in a row...at what point does it no longer matter than it's a changeup?

that was a weird pitching sequence to aram...fly out to LF on a 3-1 count, fwiw.

Hahaha. After two I think it is just a slow pitch.

woo...brett jackson brought his glove tonight.

not bad for a guy that's barely seen the warning track @miller.

vitters hits hit 1st HR...nice/legit shot...slider down the middle.

Vitters crushes a hanging breaking ball...shows some swagger for a guy hitting under .100.

link to video in the twitter box, didn't hang as much in real-time as it did in slo-mo when I first saw it.

tie game in the 5th...meh. 3-3.

...make that a 6 run MIL lead in the 5th...sigh. ...this is getting silly.

8-3 or something at this point...that's what I get for turning the game on.

Rockies winning 3-1 in the 9th, Cubs would move into the #2 spot of the draft.

Moved into #2...is it Cubbery when we are this bad and we still can't get the number 1 draft pick? Houston might be the worst team I have in my 35 years of watching baseball.

before anyone makes the comp, the Astros traded away B. Myers, Wandy, C. Lee and JA Happ during the season, leading to their current run of ineptitude.

The Tigers were so bad, they didn't even have anyone to trade away...although I'm surprised no one took a run at Dmitri Young that year.

Eh, the 2003 Tigers were really just one Joe Mather away from contending.

S. Drew to A's for Sean Jameison

Left-hander Alex Hinshaw, who was claimed off waivers from the Padres on Sunday, is expected to be activated, as is lefty Chris Rusin, who will start the night game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The likely candidates to be sent down in order to make roster space are left-handed reliever Jeff Beliveau and left-handed hitting infielder Adrian Cardenas.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Cardenas has just 10 at-bats since he was called up on July 31. He's actually 4 for 10 but I think Dale just forgot about him. He should be sent back down if he is not going to play.

Joe Mather is 2 for 23 during that same period. I just don't get him at this point. He is hitting .208 for the year and brings no power, speed, or good defense. I guess its the fact that he can play 3B and OF, but now with Vitters and Valbuena, 3B is covered. I would have released Mather long ago and given Cardenas or Campana those at-bats to get a better sense if they have any long term value.

Speaking of Valbuena, he has raised his average almost 40 points in the last 2 weeks, going 12-32 - .375 / .487 / .625. I am sure it won't last, but he walks a lot has some doubles pop (he has 14 in just 184 PAs, a rate that would be over 40 for a full season) and can play all 3 infield positions. He could end up being a good super utility infield guy next year perhaps.

I like what you are saying about Mather. Totally agree, wtf is he doing on this team?

I want to go on record of sayin I REALLY LIKE Valbuena as a long term Cub. To me he passes the eye-test and looks like a ballplayer, he is definitely batting better than his numbers . . . I think he is a keeper. I think the Cubs do too, based on his playing time and the general way he's been handled. Lefty batting infielder, patient, better fielder than advertised, some pop, and Cubs had him at cleanup in the game Rizzo rested. I'd say get used to him. Personally I can watch him play any day.

Yeah, I always feel like in lost seasons like this your goal is to gain as much information as possible about as many players as possible, figuring out which 2-3 might be worth keeping.

C - Castillo needs more at-bats, he has an .813 OPS so far, but in limited action. But he is seemingly showing that he is at least a #2 catcher. Clevenger started hot and was still hitting . 280 on July 2nd, but since then he has hit just .121 and his season line is all the way down to .222/.276/.304. We probably found out that he can't cut it. He generally has decent at-bats and walks a bit though, so he could be good AAA depth going forward, but probably nothing more.

1B - Since June 6 LaHair is hitting just .191 and appears to have no long term major league value. So the organization found that out. Rizzo is doing well and is going to get a half season of experience.

2B - Barney's defense is great and now with over a 1,000 at bats we can see that he is probably a .270 hitter with a an OPS in the high 600s. He is what he is, probably a fantastic middle infield bench player, or a dependable starting second basemen if the rest of the lineup is full of solid hitters.

SS - Castro is struggling a bit this year, but still doing well, making adjustments, and is now signed long term.

3B - Stewart was a turd. Perhaps if he heals he will rebound, but no one will be holding their breath. Vitters is now getting his first major league at bats in an absolutely 0 pressure situation. Valbuena is showing that he can be a major league bench player I think.

IF - Cardenas has not done particularly well, but has only had limited at-bats and this was his first taste of major league pitching, and he is doing well still at AAA (.891 OPS), so at age 24 I expect him to be kept and get another shot to do well off the bench next year and/or remain as AAA depth.

OF - Soriano is having a solid year all around, and I don't think they will pay him to play somewhere else unless they can save a good chunk of salary somehow. He is healthy, productive, and not blocking anyone. Dejesus is pretty much what we thought he would be. He has a career OPS of .776 and is at .770 right now. He is not particularly good at anything, but is an acceptable starter. Mather has no value at all and should be discarded, we found that out. Jackson is getting his first taste of the big leauges. Campana showed that he is an awesome pinch runner but probably cannot hit enough to justify significant playing time. A great 25th man on a contending team, but probably not much more.

SP - Samardzija impressed and has shown that he can be a legit major league starter. Garza's rate states have been pretty consistent over the last 6 years as a starter, and so it is pretty easy to guess what he will produce going forward. Wood seems capable of being an OK #5 lefty starter, and is only 25 and could improve. Volstad really sucks, but will get more time to turn it around given that he is 25 and has a wealth of big league experience already, but no one has high opes. Wells was inconsistent and then had surgery and it seems like his window of opportunity is almost shut. Germano is 30 and seems no more than AAA depth, but better depth than Coleman who has shown nothing. Raley has done well at AAA and is getting his first look.

RP - Marmol has the stuff but is inconsistent. He has a 0.90 ERA over the last month and 13 strikeouts in those 10 innings and can be a dominant closer. We knew that already. Russell now has 180 games pitched over the last 3 years and has improved each year. He has shown that he can be a nice bullpen piece; a good discovery this season.

Camp was a good pick up and while he won't be a dominant set-up man, he seems capable of serving as a middle-inning reliever for a couple of more years in the bigs. Corpas was also a good snag off the scrap heap, and has about the same ceiling going forward. While Maine has struggled a bit this year, he has had good success at AAA and is a lefty so he will likely get another shot to prove he can stick in the bigs. Similarly, Bowden has not shown much in the bigs, but is just 25 and done well at AAA and struck out more than a batter an inning there so he will get more looks. Asencio walked too many guys and is 28, but might remain as AAA depth.

4 guys in the bullpen made their major league debuts this year. Dolis got his first look and will continue to have an opportunity to show he can stick over the next year or two. Beliveau is doing well in his first chance in the bigs (3.18 ERA over 11 innings). Cabrera has struggled, but is just 23 and has struck out 74 in 55 minor league innings this year, so he will be given a shot over the next couple of years. Parker also got his first look, did OK before getting injured, but has done well at AAA on his rehab and will get more of an opportunity.

All in all, a ton of young guys getting and opportunity to show what they can do all across the roster and any information the front office can gather on their potential will aid them in making roster decisions going forward.

Nice little assessment there. I know it's crazy, but I still have some hopes for Volstad. Just keep throwing him out there. If he keeps getting pounded, it helps us in the reverse standings. If he figures it out, we have possibly a back end rotation guy, maybe even mid rotation guy.

I agree with you about Clevenger: tried and found wanting. They're just using him now to prod Castillo into studying harder and calling a better game. Castillo is the guy. In addition to having a gun, he's a real hitting prospect, better than people realize.

"Totally agree, wtf is [Mather] doing on this team?"

Trading Reed Johnson left the Cubs with only one righty-hitting OF besides Soriano--Mather. And don't forget, the Cubs are trying to trade Soriano before 9/1.

I know this is the same answer I gave to why Vitters bats second, but you can't ignore handedness. You can't have a lineup of lefty hitters, or the Cubs will find themselves facing only lefty pitchers, many of them temporary callups from AAA or AA.

I certainly agree that Mather stinks. I expect Greg Rohan--the only righty slugger right now at Iowa--to be the first callup in September.

Rohan is not even on the 40-man, so I suspect he won't be called up.

And handedness is fine to be aware of, but Mather can't hit lefties or righties so it doesn't really matter, it's not like the other team will bring in a different pitcher to face him.

"Oh no, I have my lefty reliever in to face Rizzo and I would like to keep him in to face Valbuena, but SHIT, what if they pinch hit JOE FUCKING MATHER, we'd lose this game."

Mather may hit lefties and righties the same (which is highly unusual), but the lefty hitter he would be replacing doesn't.

I'm not defending Mather, just saying that Hoyer will not construct a roster with only one righty-hitting OF.

Mather can give his 40-man roster spot to Rohan on his way out.

Nice job. I agree with most of your comments. The only I disagree with is Campana. I don't think we still know exactly what he can be. We know he is excellant at stealing bases, but do we know for sure if he can get on consistenly? I would have like to see him get a longer look at lead off. My gut feeling is he is only a 4th or 5th OF, but I don't know for sure. It would be great to have a lead-off man that can steal 60 -70 bases. Let's find out!

His body of work and the eye test so far combine to paint a dismal projection, but I don't really see why we shouldn't give him a shot. Problem is, he'd have to displace one of two free agent outfielders. So it's not gonna happen. At this point, it may be better to just get him some at bats down in the minors.

You're right that is probably isn't going to happen. I was commenting more on what we should have learned this year, but didn't. The perfect time was after Byrd was gone and before Rizzo came up, or even before Byrd was gone and he was playing poorly. I'm sure some one can give exact dates, etc, but my memory is that Campana was playing enough to lead the league in steals and was batting about .270 or so and suddenly he wasn't playing any more at the expense of Johnson and Baker. My only point is we should have found out if Campana could be anything worthwhile and we didn't. A really good lead-off man is something we rarely had in my years as a Cubs fan.

Byrd was traded on April 21 and Campana was recalled from Iowa that day to take his roster spot.

Starting then Campana played in 50 of 55 of the next Cubs games, with 34 of those being starts. He hit .275/.313/.310 and was 24 for 27 in stolen bases. This was through June 20th.

On June 18th LaHair played his first game in right field, and Rizzo was recalled on June 26. LaHair got most of the starts in RF for the next month, with Dejesus sliding to center. Reed Johnson also got 40 PAs in July prior to the deadline (hitting .342 in them).

So from late June until early August Campana received only 17 plate appearances, went just 2 for 16 and stole 2 bases and then was sent down to Iowa.

From the Cubs perspective, it was difficult. Soriano and Dejesus were going to play. And LaHair had a .960 OPS still at the time he moved to RF. It was difficult to justify sitting the All-Star (though after a month of tanking they eventually did). AND they wanted to increase Johnson's trade value. And while Campana did hit .270 and prove that he can steal bases with the best of them, he had essentially a 1/4 of a season's worth of at-bats and put up an OPS of .623. Only five qualified players in the majors are worse than that right now, it's really just tough to put that line out there, especially at the top of the lineup. He has absolutely no power at all (career .296 slugging) and so simply has to get on base at a high clip to be valuable, higher than his career .301 OBP.

The thing is, Campana's career BABIP is .333 because he hits everything on the ground and is so fast, but he walks in just 5% of his PAs and strikes out in 20% of his PAs. So if he could walk more, and cut down on the Ks, and put the ball in play, he could get his OBP up and be serviceable, but time is running out for him to do that.

Thanks for the facts. I guess he had some opportunity, but other factors came into play. I still feel I would have liked to see more. I believe he did walk more in the minors, so if he had more of an opportunity it may have translated to the majors.

Different topic. When Jackson was thrown out stealing third last week, Sveum seemed to imply he went on his own. Do I understand this correctly? Frankly, I'm surprised that a player with about 10 games of major league experinece could steal on his own. He made a bad decision given the circumstances, but I couldn't believe that a player at his level could make that decision on his own. Is this a case of the coaching staff not telling him he could only go when they told him, or do they really have a perpetual green light?

Seinfeld: Damn you Rizzo!

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Nick Swisher may seek a contract similar to Jayson Werth's seven-year, $126 million deal when he hits free agency this winter.

I might seek a similar contract. With just about as much luck as Swisher is going to have.

I'll predict 3/36 to 4/52 absolute tops.

WSCR Cubs in negotiations to move Peoria affiliation to Kane County.

Sorry Peoria.

What about Harry's old friend Pete Vanockin (sic). Is his still the owner/alive?

The Major League rules, which govern the business of baseball, stipulate a $500,000 fine for major league teams and a $100,000 fine for minor league teams that publicly discuss future re-affiliation agreements.

If the report is correct that the Cubs and Cougars are close to an agreement, however, the two organizations still would have violated Rule 56 of the rules.

Either the parent club or affiliate must present written notification either to the office of the commissioner or the president of Minor League Baseball at the conclusion of the season. Negotiations outside of the existing relationship cannot begin until Sept. 16.

AZ PHIL: You have seen Belliveau in your neck of the woods. It seems like he is the typical player that does really well in the minors, but just clearly gets the Profound Yips in the MLB and pees in his pants. We have had many of these great players on the Cubs.

In Iowa, the dude had almost a 3:1 K-BB ratio and seemed to have several pitches.

He is 25 right now, and while not an "old-timer" yet (half the age of Jamie Moyer, right?), did he show you anything in AZ? What's his status, anyway? Will HoyStein give the kid the boot anytime soon?

roid check on ninja...his voice has dropped very deeply.

EVERYONE IS ROIDS!

short/funny MLB Network interview...oddly, or not, mostly talking about the footsballs.

M's are 23-13 since the break...wtf?

garza confrimed done for the season according to mr manager and ms beat writer.

Erik Bedard (34)
Kevin Correia (32)
Jeremy Guthrie (34)
Francisco Liriano (29)
Shaun Marcum (31)

Add Anabel Sanchez (28) to the list.

Odd as it seems, the list might also include Dempster (65, give or take), without a no trade this time.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/2012/08/15/its-...

These are the guys I figured the Cubs may go after.

E. Jackson
F. Liriano
S. Baker
C. Lewis
S. Marcum
B. McCarthy
Dice-K

We'll see how expensive Anibal gets, but I don't see the Cubs going over 4 years on anyone. I'd throw Dempster in that mix as well. There wlll be some trade options as well.

I will eat my pillow without any water if Dempster re-signs with the Cubs. There is NO WAY, after that mess AND after the Kerry Wood fuzzy-goodness signing that Theo let's Dempster back in that uniform. No way in hell.

i doubt things got toxic. dude was in the room seeing how the process worked (much to the horror of other front offices) with theo as he was being dealt.

Perhaps, I obviously have no idea what transpired except for news stories. It's just not gonna happen. Dempster needs to move on and keep on moving. Nothing in Theo/Jed's bag of tricks indicates wanting any reminders of the old ballclub. Wood was the last of that and it was a flop. There have been reports in recent days about changing the culture of comfort, they don't need a 36 year old reminde either, from an entertainment point of view he has no intrigue, and to many has worn out his welcome - to the rest he feeds the warm fuzzy contingent which is not what the FO wants for the Cubs. I just really think anyone who thinks they would bring him back is barking up the wrong tree big time. I would also hope Dempster wouldn't want back into this ratrap as well. But theo: NO WAY! (why the caps? I have no idea...)

dumpster will most likely be looking a 2+ year deal anyway...dunno if the cubs would want a piece of that at his age even with a decent deal.

yah know...he's not going to carry the team, but how about wellington castillo finally...finally...getting his shot. he's quietly been playing some awesome ball since his callup. seems like 2013 is his to lose as far as getting the most time at C.

he needs some polishing on the D everywhere but his throwing arm, but meh...i like the dude....when he's healthy.

Looks formidable at the plate, and in control behind the plate. Love him, even with the occasional jogging etc. I think he's a keeper.

never played more than 100 games in 6 pro seasons, doesn't walk much, makes me want to watch Michael Barrett catch a game.

I like him as as long as he's under $1M...he's the Ryan Theriot/D. Barney of catching, useful only while he's cheap.

He does have decent power and the right age to put up a few good seasons, hope TheJedi trade high on him at some point.

Castillo has a 1.079 OPS at all levels against LHP this year. Slammin.

Clevenger can't hit lefties at all, but he's not so hot against northpaws either. It'd be nice to see a catcher splitting the duties who could kill it against righties. I wonder what John Jaso might cost in a trade. Or even, if he can't get a starting job anywhere this winter, AJ Pierzynski. God help us.

oh Castillo should play everyday, Clevenger is AAA material imo.

Just don't expect a long, illustrious career from Castillo...the next 2-3 years he might be an average hitting catcher though, maybe even slightly above. Hopefully he can learn how to frame a pitch or at least just catch the damn ball.

I just don't see a long term solution there, but that's not necessarily a bad thing....few of those around.

for a split second, I thought the Cubs should see how badly the Twins want to dump Mauer's contract, but it goes all the way through 2018 and age 35. Since there's no DH and Rizzo should be playing 1b for awhile, that's a bad idea that didn't last long in my head. I also presume the Twins are going to want more than just salary relief.

i think welington is capable of a 15hr, 30+ double season without embarrassing himself on avg/ob%...even on a 130-140 game "catcher's schedule" with rest. if he can deliver the pop with a .260/.330 avg/ob% i'll take it.

his receiving skills and game calling is debated, most on the side of "needs work." he's got a +arm, though.

i feel a lot better about him than soto.

the next time he plays 100 games in a season, will be the first...

And he's gimpy right now . . .

His absolute ceiling does involve a long career. Illustrious ... not.

triples in first AB...throwing a shutout through 2

retire now, it'll only get worse.

triple was with one out...he didn't score of course.

Cubbery.

Vitters strikes out after 3 balls on strikes 2 and 3 looking, both fastballs down the middle. Not sure exactly what he was looking for there with Rizzo on deck.

I still believe, but he might need 700 PAs before he's on equal footing. Will he get it with the Cubs?

he seems to suck a lot at guessing pitch sequences so far.

I want to slap Jackson and Vitters . . . Both watching strike 3 with runners on 3rd to end innings. Hey guys? Really? Grow a pair . . . Remember watching all those games as kids when real major leaguers would protect the plate with two out and two strikes and runner on 3rd. Now quit being so damned nervous and act like those guys. It's baseball assh%les... Play like you've seen a game or two at least.

Knarly Carlito!

Haha! Looking particularly bad now that we haven't crossed the plate! Get the bats off your shoulders in that situation boys! Close your eyes and swing! Ugh . . .

"Protecting the plate" is too often a euphemism for hacking away with two strikes. I saw enough of that when Colvin was around. It's not a good way to go deep into counts, since the count doesn't change when you foul off what would have been a ball.

To me, the secret of hitting is getting to three balls after you've been behind in the count. Called strike three is just a chance you have to take, especially when umps expand the strike zone for inexperienced hitters.

Your point is well taken, but I think the key to hitting is knowing and controling the strike zone.

Dale Sveum in yesterday's Trib / Sullivan article:

"We're super young right now. That's part of the gig and we knew it. … But if you are going to struggle, I'd much rather see you have (a) plan and not go down looking so much in key situations."

The question is what is the "plan" Sveum is referring to: "I'd much rather see you have [a] plan and not go down looking so much . . ."

Vitters took a couple of third strikes against Estrada on Tuesday. In the third inning, Vitters took four pitches to arrive at 3-1. Next he took a fastball down the middle. On 3-2, he took a fastball at the knees.

Six pitches, zero swings. Vitters took a 3-1 fastball and a 3-2 fastball in the strike zone, with a runner on third and two out. If he was looking for a walk, that's not a good plan. But maybe he didn't have a plan.

In the sixth, Vitters swung at two low sliders and then took a slider strike. Why swing at that first pitch? Are you looking for a breaking ball on 0-0?

So there was more going on--or less going on coherently in Vitters' brain--than just taking a couple of third strikes.

It's curious you cut off the Sveum quote with ellipses at exactly the point that matters to me. "...in key situations."

I do not have a problem with these guys practicing patience and working the count. My issue is with guys continuously watching the final strike hit the outside corner in tight games with two outs, two strikes and a man on third. A professional cannot be guessing a zone in that situation.

I am happy to agree to disagree with you. I appreciate what you are saying, but a pro must have the ability to cover the strike zone with the bat in that situation.

"a pro must have the ability to cover the strike zone," etc.

When Jaramillo was let go, apparently for focusing on mechanics instead of teaching his hitters an approach (or a "plan"), Sveum was asked how he coached hitters. He said:

You'll get your walks if you don't swing at pitches that you can't hit out of the ballpark -- that's my philosophy.

It's also Adam Dunn's philosophy, and that of many sluggers who amass a lot of walks, strikeouts and home runs. They tend to lay off of offspeed pitches on the corners, even with two strikes.

Two posts in a row where you quote my posts and delete the word 'situation'.

Is this a performance art piece?

You are cracking me up!

Situation is a vague word. What we're mainly arguing about here is how to describe the situation.

E.g., a 1-2 count and a 3-2 count are very different situations to me, but I gather to you they're the same: a professional hitter has to protect the plate.

No I was very specifically talking about man on 3rd, two outs, and guys watching a third strike consistently. But no need to address it now. I call:

UNCLE!

No, no, you win.

8 HBP in AAA for rusin...

3 in 4ip (so far) tonight.

neat.

2 hit batters and a walk with 1 out in the 4th...how about getting someone up in the pen?

woo...gets out of it with only 1 run damage...which is good, imo...cuz that was ugly.

if you look at the twitter box, Giants are trying Theriot in the outfield again...for those that remember 2007, he had some issues out there.

lulz...youth...

"VogyVog24 Getting a txt from dad before every game never gets old!!"

vogelbomb via twitter.

btw, do modern cell phones still actually make phone calls?

Soler 3-4, RBI in a 4-2 Peoria win.

Rockies win again...Cubs gonna lose again.

Yessssssss! We're #2, we're #2!

billy hamilton has broken coleman's record...and counting (second game of a double-header in progress)

4sb tonight...147sb/33cs

As CRUNCH says: "He's just a leg injury away from being useless."

no use worrying until it's time to pay him $10m+...or if he sticks at SS, $15m+

but yeah, his game...including his ob%...is highly dependent upon his legs.

lulz...MLB Network with Smoltz outting Maddux's rep for picking up Gold Golves.

he was going on about how maddux was willing to bet Smoltz (and others) he was going to win the GG the season he made 7 errors...amongst other years he probably shouldn't have won one (btw, he won).

he never said "maddux" until the ragging and laughter of his co-anchors dragged it out of him...but that made it a bit more funny.

also, to be fair...maddux (and smoltz pointed this out, too) averaged a lot more chances than most pitchers because of how he pitches and his aggressiveness in fielding.

The Cubs' second-best starting pitcher currently in the rotation is 4-9 with a 4.83 ERA and has peripherals suggesting that he's been extremely lucky this year (.245 BABIP, 5.59 FIP).

Is this rock bottom?

On the bright side, we got one of the better minor league TMJ patients.

I'm predicting that EVERY player in Peoria will be playing in Chicago next year.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

Okay, maybe not Chicago, but close. Harry is rolling in his grave.

Maybe if DeJesus stays on his homerun tear, the Cubs can trade him in the offseason for a half-decent pitching prospect.

keithlawVerified‏@keithlaw

Cubs let go of six scouts today, pro and amateur sides

@BruceMiles2112: #Cubs amateur scouts fired: Charlie Aliano and Rick Schroeder. Pro: Richie Zisk, Joe Housey, Tom Shafer, Tom Bourque

good luck finding work with that resume

Ouch! :D

Ricky Schroeder is already busy acting. Or, I guess he was acting as a scout too?

Research for a new role?

richie zisk?

that's cold. he's getting old, though...and it's not like S.Florida has produced for the cubs.

Who gets your nod as the Cubbies' top prospect at present - Baez or Soler?
Jim Callis: Baez. Big offensive upside and may just stay at shortstop for a while. I'd take Almora over Soler, too.

Most of the Cubs top prospects either seem to be at 3B (Vitters, Villanueva, Baez) or OF (Jackson, Szczur, Soler, Almora). Who do you see as the keepers and what would you do with the rest?
Jim Callis: A lot of those guys will have to move anyway. I think Baez winds up at third base (though reviews of his shortstop defense have been positive) and Almora winds up in center field. Chicago's future outfield will be Soler in left, Almora in center, Jackson in right.

Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, Erik Jokisch, Austin Kirk. Which soft-tossing lefty starter has the best stuff/future with the Cubs? Can any of them stick around long term as maybe a #4 starter?
Jim Callis: I ask myself that question every year when I do the Cubs Top 30 list. I'll say Raley, and he has a chance to be a No. 4 at best. I'm not in love with any of those guys. They're all similar, finesse lefthanders who can pitch a little bit.

Which of the young pitchers the Cubs drafted early are you most excited about? Blackburn, Underwood, or McNeil?
Jim Callis: Underwood has the most sheer upside.
http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

thanks

Padres put Edinson Volquez on waivers. I know, it means nothing.

Back in the day he was a straight up trade for Josh Hamilton.

it took long enough for someone to be hacky-as-shit and write a "oh no, johan santana threw 134 pitches and now he's ruined!" piece.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/08/22/...

it says a lot of nothing except to bring up that hot button again.

i'd like to see him write an article on justin verlander (2 130+, 6 120+ in 2012...not unusual for him).

So your argument is Justin Verlander vs. everyone else?

Seems fair.

i forgot baseball history started in 1990.

i just find the link applied careless in many cases.

Not everyone who smokes gets cancer

that's kinda the point...just because johan threw 15ish-too-many pitches...just because WAS brought S.Straw along slowly only to see him rip his elbow up on a baby'ing schedule...

there's less micro-managing-panic of guys throwing 10-20 "too many pitches" compared to years past...i was just waiting on the santana one...every failed start up'd the ante. someone had to "break."

No the point is when you pay your pitchers a lot, if you're smart you're going to play the odds in terms of keeping them healthy. If, overall, throwing 20 more pitches leads to more injuries, it'd be dumb to chance it unless you desperately need those pitches.

Just because things used to be done a certain way that doesn't mean it's the right way.

and we come full circle to and alternate reality where justin verlander never provides his full potential because he was allowed to do it to begin with.

i do appreciate how writers aren't throwing it around for everyone these days...and "something" may have happened when he pushed it for those extra pitches that night...but it was one of those oldschool "well, he threw a lot of pitches and well...you do the math -wink-" articles.

Jim Hendry: Hey Andrew, what do you. want for Garza?

Andrew Friedman: How about four of your top guys. I like Archer or McNutt, Your pick. Plus we want Sam Fuld. He needs a shot anyway.

Hendry: You can't have McNutt.

Friedman: Garza has never been on the DL.

Hendry: Yeah. It's one reason why we like him.

Friedman: Ok Jim.Let me give thus some thought.

Hendry: Ok. Sounds good. I wanna check if Garza has an NTC.

====================

To Randy Bush: Ha Randy! We'll give him Archer!! Our scouts tell us that McNutt is a CAN'T MISS PROSPECT! Haha! It still takes two to play poker!

i saw the archer game tonight on tv (in progress)...it wasn't THAT good, though he's had his best results in a while.

he's not giving up as many walks, but the counts ran deep...similar to last game.

i'd rather have garza...

unless garza's arm is toast i'd be willing to bet you could easily replace what was lost in talent to obtain him.

How could we replace Sam Fuld, or Robinson Chirinos???

hj lee is still waiting on the power that came with his growth spurt. he's supposedly playing a decent SS for a guy who's 6'3" though.

he had a nice 30-ish (maybe more/less) hitting streak going earlier in the summer, but it was built on a lot of 1-4 type appearances. he's still waaaaay too young developmentally and physically to say what he's capable of as a 21 year old in AA, though he didn't live up to expectations this season.

he's still waaaaay too young developmentally and physically to say what he's capable of as a 21 year old in AA

I don't see why it isn't too early to give up on him if some folks are giving up on the ceiling of a shortstop who is one year older currently playing in the majors who will end the season with 500+ career hits.

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