Cubs To Hire Renteria To Be Next Manager They Fire

The Cubs are set to hire Padres bench coach Rick Renteria tomorrow as their new manager. You can read up on his bio on wikipedia or a number of other places, but the cliff notes version is that he was the 20th overall pick in the 1980 draft, selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played a few seasons between the Pirates, Mariners and Marlins, playing his last game at age 32 in 1994. He pretty much immediately went into coaching and has been with the Padres organization since 2003, getting promoted to a major league coaching gig in 2008.

I'm sure we'll hear the qualifications from TheJedi tomorrow, but safe bet the top 3 were familiarity with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod from their time with the Padres, a strong history managing youngsters and being bilingual is certainly a major plus in today's game. Past that, we'll figure out the good and the bad once the games start.

It's certainly not the big name that I'm sure the casual fan wants, but I do hope anyone reads this site understands the follies of that kind of thinking in today's baseball. On a sidenote, Chris Bosio will return as pitching coach with a new two year deal.

Credit to twitter for the headline, you can see the source in the sidebox.

UPDATE: 3-year contract for Renteria with 2 club option years according to Bob Nightengale.

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Comments

I was hoping for Dave Martinez, but I don't really know why other than he looks like he's in shape.

silver sluggers announced, surprisingly no Cubs

http://m.mlb.com/news/2013/11/06/63730238/silver-slugger-award-winners-a...

Ian Desmond winning over Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop in the NL is your wtf vote

 

Darwin Barney didn't win?

bryant 2-3, 2 singles, 1bb, 1k

darvill 0-4, average drops to .194

also, b.buxton (MIN) shut down...he was going to be playing in the televised game on friday. boo...was looking forward to seeing him.

4 plays challenged last night, 4-4 in favor of the umps.

1st play challenged tonight on a SB attempt at 2nd called out...overturned on challenge.

2nd play challenged on a very close play at 1st called safe...also overturned.

0-2 on the umps in only the top 1/2 of the 1st inning.

How much of a delay did all of this cause? Did they seem to resolve the questions pretty quickly?

it's rather quick...almost all of them solved under/around 1m. it takes time to get the home ump the headset, but the truck/booth crew know a challenge is coming so they can start checking.

that said...you can only challenge 1 play at a time per challenge...and we just had a "2-for" challenge where 2 plays were challenged back-to-back...first, to see if the player was out at 3rd, then to check to see if he touched 2nd. these 2 challenges took about 3 minutes to do...and it may have thrown the pitcher off his game upon play resuming...giving up 3 hits, a walk, a SB, and 3 runs since then while only recording 1 out.

33rd Manager...

Rick Renteria makes the 33rd Cubs manager in my lifetime.

Must be the Managers, not the players...

My favorites that I can remember based on personality, or other stuff only:

Durocher
Elia
Trebelhorn (excuse the spelling)
Zimmer
Jim Lefevre
"Riggs"
Lou

Herman Franks (earliest I can remember)
PReston Gomez
Elia
Essian
Bruce Kim-still can't believe this guy looked Norwegian
Rene Lachemann-2 games I think, friends with his sons
QUADE!!!!!!!!!!!

What was it exactly you liked about Quade? just curious.

his eyebrows.

not that I liked him, he just made an impression. Mostly appearance and the goofy nicknames.

From the "Let's Trade Albert Almora for Ryan Howard" Department: Cubs fans still, generally, suck. If I want more than 20 people to click this link, I'll go post it on BCB.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/chicago-cubs-ri...

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-seasons-five-wo...

Cubs finish both 1st (Jackson to Castillo) and 2nd (Gregg to Boscan) in pitches thrown this season, closest to the center of the strike zone, called balls.

"FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Ervin Santana is seeking more than $100 million on a five-year contract."

good luck with that.

"FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Ricky Nolasco is looking for a five-year, $80 million contract this winter."

good luck with that.

So what is it about Renteria that made him win this much sought after position (insert sarcasm font)? I have read that he works well with youngsters. Anybody know of any specifics on that? If it's true, it seems like a good hire especially in light of last year's Castro/Rizzo back pedal. I know a lot of you guys aren't that sold on Junior Lake but I think he also has a lot of promise. He did pretty well for somebody as raw as he is. I don't see a superstar or anything, but he sort of comps to me like Angel Pagan in terms of how well he'll do. He will strike out more than Pagan, but they are both fast and can drive the ball and both have swings that have interesting mechanics but seem to get the job done. Lake sometimes has funny routes in the outfield but it's still a new position and I think he is nowhere near his ceiling there. Anyway, the point of this comment is that I'm wondering about Renteria's track record in developing young talent. What is the physical evidence?

I'm also wondering if he wasn't hired because TheoCorp knows the team is going to suck again next year, and their new manager is very accustomed to losing teams. The teams he has played on have been bad, and mostly, so have the teams he has coached on. The Padres, for example, were 451-521 while he coached there.

I didn't care either way on whether or not they got Girardi, but I will say I don't think he would have liked it if the Cubs continued to sell the "Don't worry, the kids are coming" routine and gave him a shit roster like they gave Sveum. I doubt he is the only one who walked away from this job "opportunity" based on this. We hear a lot about Lovullo but he was close enough to Theo that he probably sent a text message to Theo saying "don't bother trying to talk these guys into letting you talk to me because I don't want to be a minor league manager". So nothing came of that. And Ausmus doesn't seem like he was busting down the door to get in.

So I'm not sold on this hire because I don't like seeing teams pick up coaches and managers who are accustomed to losing.

I'm not upset about it either. Just feeling skeptical about it.

Ok, here's my annual rant. I consider the posters and commenters here among the most informed and realistic of any group anywhere. Honestly, I am reading one tenth of any Cubs content on any other site, blog, newspaper, etc.

Has anyone noticed this team hasn't won shit since 1908? I can think of one Cubs GM/VP/President of baseball operations in my lifetime who had a plan of success longer than 6-12 months -- Dallas Green. I only go back to John Holland, so who else?

Look, I don't know if Theo is going to be the Cubs messiah or not. But here are some of the Cubs Top 15 prospects when he got here in 2011 -- Vitters, BJax, McNutt, Cabrera, Szczur, Ha. Besides Barney, try to find one who starts/could or will start for a contending team.

I don't think the dopes who call into sports radio, complaining season ticket holders, etc. really get what a disaster Theo inherited. For those who want him to 'put a competitive team on the field' that can win 82-85 games a year, I say turn in your season tickets. For me if the Cubs aren't in the playoffs virtually every year with a realistic chance to win the last baseball game played every year, then the season was a failure and nothing else matters.

Again, I can't and won't predict Theo will get the Cubs there but he's got a plan and that alone is a hell of a lot more than any other front office team has ever had.

I think it's great he has a plan, and he's probably as good a guy we can have in the front office, but that doesn't mean fans should treat him with kid gloves. Last year was a step back in some ways, especially with the big contracts given to Castro and Rizzo and their subsequent performance. Theo did the right thing in getting rid of Sveum. We can't blame Sveum on Castro and Rizzo's step backwards (Rizzo's step backwards was actually pretty small and I won't be surprised to see him blossom next year) but the results came in and they weren't good, and so he had to go. The two most important pieces of the current core did not do too well under Sveum, and that for me was his only real job last year, since he wasn't going to get the team to the playoffs.

In a way, Theo has gambled on these kids and in the final analysis he's going to be judged by their success.

My thoughts about Theo are that he's as good a guy we could have in that spot, and that he better get a better squad on the field than he had last year. I understand he inherited a disaster, but next year is year three and another season like the last two is not okay with me as a fan. I am no armchair GM so I don't know how he can put together a better roster given the constraints he has, but I'm not being paid to, either.

One of those constraints appears to be the Ricketts who apparently have decided they are a mid-market team and are not willing to compete with the richer teams. The current free agent system is abysmal. Middling players get 70 million contracts and the best get 200 million ones. Nevertheless, nobody told the Ricketts they had to buy a team in the third largest market in the country. Somebody SHOULD have told them, however, that if they are to buy such a team, they sure as better hell be ready to compete.

A perfect example of the constraints that Theo seems to be dealing with is second base. Another year of Darwin Barney would be unacceptable for any other major market team, especially with free agents like Omar Infante and Robinson Cano on the market. I'm not saying the Cubs should go after Cano - but the fact that he's not even in the conversation is ridiculous for a team in a major market. I don't really give a shit that they don't have the TV revenues of LA or the Yanks. These guys bought the team in a very heavily leveraged way and if they can't absorb the risks associated with free agency they shouldn't have bought the team.

All that said, Theo also walked in knowing all this. It's up to him to perform and put together the best middle market team out there. He's got two years left to do that. I wish him luck. He's going to need it.

I agree with some of this, but Theo (who indeed may have not known just how bare the cupboard actually was)should get more than 5 years. In comparing to the Trammel-led Tigers, they had 2-100+ loss seasons, then started gradually improving into where they are now - after Dave Dombrowsky took over. Things are different now for sure - the Ricketts cheapness included, but they had a nice "core' of prospects that starting graduating at the right time. And, Verlander has been key as one of those. In 2014 they will finally choose a pitcher in the 1st round, I believe. So - shit is not gonna get really better imo, until 2016.

I meant to comment that Barney should absolutely be non-tendered if they cant find a taker before 12/2. Paying him $2-2.5m for that bat would be baseball retarded. A platoon of Watkins/Murphy couldn't be worse.

Speaking of non-tender candidates, there might be a misconception that only arbitration-eligible players are non-tendered on 12/2, and while many non-tenders are arbitration-eligible (like probably Daniel Bard and Mat Gamel this year), there are also a number of players non-tendered every year who are not eligible for salary arbitration.

For example, last year the Cubs non-tendered two players (Jaye Chapman and Zach Putnam) who were not eligible for salary arbitration. But by non-tendering them, the Cubs were able to rermove the two from the 40-man roster without exposing them to Outright Waivers (which are irrevocable if the player is claimed). 

Of course, to keep the player once he's non-tendered the player has to agree to sign a minor league contract, and sometimes a player might take advantage of being non-tendered to sign with a different organization. but since the minor league salary can be the same money (or maybe even a bit more) that the non-tendered player would have received if he had remained on the 40, and since the player would almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training if he is non-tendered and then is re-signed to a minor league contract, there actually isn't any real significant difference between getting non-tendered and then getting re-signed to a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) versus remaining on the 40.  

The one thing a club would want to do is wait to re-sign a non-tendered player until after the Rule 5 Draft (because any free-agent who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection), but other than that, it can be a win-win for both the player and the club.

So don't be too surprised if the Cubs non-tender somebody like Brian Bogusevic and then re-sign him to a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training), not because they want to get rid of him, but rather to clear a slot on the 40-man roster during the off-season. Another advantage of non-tendering a player like Bogusevic and then re-signing him to a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) is that if Bogusevic does not make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, the Cubs can send him to AAA Iowa without having to expose him to waivers (he is out of minor league options, so he can't be optioned to the minors) or risk losing him as a FA if he is outrigted (Bogusevic has the right to elect free-agency if outrighted because has been outrighted previously in his career).

A non-tender on 12/2 is a great way to get a player off the 40-man roster without having to expose the player to waivers.  

I don't like starter Barney either, but it's just until June when Alcantara hits the show. Signing a 2B would only make sense if the team did not have 5 non-1B IF within 2 years of Wrigley (plus Castro). He'll either be traded mid-season or post-season. No point in getting impatient now.

Dombrowsky is an interesting an valid comp. Another guy who's been successful whereever he goes, too. I think you're right about picking a pitcher in 2014. The timing seems right for that. I dunno about giving Theo MORE than 5 years tho. I guess it depends on what the trends are. I do like his honesty today - saying he didn't do a good job with the young talent - I guess he meant in hiring Sveum to manage said young talent? Otherwise I'm not really sure what he did wrong.

My opinion is that Theo is kicking ass and taking the most direct trajectory to a dominant era. i know it's not popular and that some people smarter than me disagree. But I see no advantage that could have been had by winning 86 games and getting middling draft picks, or signing expensive free agents that cost us draft picks etc etc etc. I think he and Ricketts are on the same page and they rule. I think everything they are doing is tough love and you get it or you don't.

You wanna be lovable losers with WGN and rooftops and the organic unadvertised wrigley interior, charming. But the Cubs are about CLOSING now. "That watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit? You don't like it, leave."

World Series. Steak Knives. Your Fired.

that's nice and all, but when the cubs are using picks 15-30 in the 1st round rather than picks 6 and 2...that's when this front office is going to show whether it's "got it" or not.

the cards do just fine without tearing their team down for 3+ years to shit-tier status...pitt took almost 20 years of being shit-tier before they emerged even with a ton of low picks.

at some point (hopefully soon) they're going to have to prove they can spend wisely, draft deep with poorer picks wisely, and field a winner without needing a long reset every few years while signing players they intend to trade mid-season. the gravy train of rebuilding through low draft picks and most the off-season signings being filler + trade bait has to end sometime soon.

i agree with all this. all signs were that in Boston he had what it took as much of his talent just won a third WS. that said, it is beyond obvious that every 105 years of futility or so we might have to tear it down.

Yes, exactly. Theo's plan should result in the Cubs contending for a NLCS/WS berth 8 out 10 years to meet my satisfaction, and/or be graded a success.

Go back 10-12 years and the Cardinals farm system was a bottom half rated system. I really don't think the aveage Cubs fan really grasps how hollow the baseball operations
was on Nov. 1, 2011.

My guess is the Cubs won't be a regular playoff contender until 2016-17. Unfortunately excellence takes a little longer. Sustaining that status will be how I grade Theo as well.

My major issue is the money they're counting as revenue streams from the Wrigley restoration. I think it's a fools errand to expect a non-lawsuit from these rooftop leaches. Ricketts should have a 12/31/2013 deadline for their agreement not to sue. If not, he should SERIOUSLY negotiate a move to Rosemont or DuPage county. Better revenue streams are the key to sustained playoff excellence in Theo's plan. It's past time to stop dicking around with these city assholes.

Excellent point. I would say this: Where were the Cardinals 2 years ago...where were the Cubs? The Cards don't have to tear their team down, because they are constantly reloading with homegrown players.

McFail and Hendry salted the earth here, anyone with half a brain saw the crater left behind.

"But here are some of the Cubs Top 15 prospects when he got here in 2011 -- Vitters, BJax, McNutt, Cabrera, Szczur, Ha."

Like you, I'm on board with Theo and "the plan," but I'm not quite as willing to throw Wilken and Fleita under the bus. In addition to the players you mention, a couple of whom still have a decent shot, I think, Cub prospects in late 2011 also included Cashner, Castillo, Baez and Vogelbach.

Look at Brett Jackson's numbers at Iowa in 2011. Strikeouts, sure, but he'd always had a walk for every two strikeouts. Look at Barney's and Castro's numbers in 2011. Then they met Dale Sveum in spring training and their struggles began. Coincidence?

All good points; for reference I was going off BA's 2011 Prospect Handbook. Cashner was traded for Rizzo, Baez & Vogelbach were selected in the June Draft, and Castillo I neglected to name.

Right now the floor on Almora, Bryant, Soler, & Baez appear higher than the ceiling on BJax, Vitters, Szczur, Barney, and Ha. If the Cubs trade Castro, the only prospect Theo inherited that projects as a starter/core player is Welington Castillo. Think about that.

unless you want to count very-low experience guys out of the equation...they got castro, too. plus they would have had a.cashner if they didn't choose to trade him out for a.rizzo.

they've also gotten 2 seasons of d.barney to misuse for full time use so far...and probably a 3rd season coming up. i can understand giving him most of 2012...i can't understand much about his use in 2013...and it's practically intolerable to use him for 2014 full time.

still, it was rather bare pickings for MLB-ready youth when they took over. i'm not even going to count j.russell because he's pen setup filler without a huge upside...or a guy like c.rusin...or finally making the right choice to move ninja out of the pen (though that was probably coming anyway no matter who was in charge).

i'm looking forward to seeing if any of their 2012 top-heavy pitching draft picks work out. there's some promising arms, but they're years away and none of them have had breakout streaks yet...

p.johnson (1s), p.blackburn (1s), d.underwood (2nd)...their 3rd and 4th round picks r.mcneil + j.conway have both gone through tommy john already, but are expected back in 2014. conway would have been back last year if he didn't re-injure his arm in spring training.

I forgot to mention LeMahieu, who is a better hitter than Barney and has 5 errors at second base in 172 games (.994 FP).

McFail and Hendry salted the earth here
---
Saltpeter? KNO3

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/740/does-...

for all the writing about people complaining about the new cubs manager...it seems there's hardly anyone complaining or giving a flying fuck anyway. i'm seeing more people bitching about a dozen people on twitter complaining moreso than people actually bitching about the signing.

i don't think most people care. i think most people are more concerned about what's going to be on the field rather than who's at the helm of it.

some people may have wanted girardi, but after that ship sailed (thankfully, at his price) then it became a lot of meh and whatever.

soler 1-5, single

bryant 0-3, 2bb, 2k

almora, 1-4, single

Jed Hoyer interview with WGN host, Steve Cochrane, Friday AM...

http://wgnradio.com/2013/11/08/hoyer-rick-renteria...

next, Jed Hoyer makes the rounds on the David Kaplan Show...

http://wgnradio.com/2013/11/08/jed-hoyer-2/

The WGN David Kaplan Show interview of "Rickie" Renteria from Thursday...

http://wgnradio.com/2013/11/07/new-cubs-manager-ri...

Jorge Soler video interview (with Albert Almora acting as translator) from Smokies Radio Network website...

http://smokiesonradio.com/2013/11/07/video-jorge-s...

"I feel good"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzlpTRNIAvc

Muskat post covers much of the planned Wrigley 100 promotional stuff...

Home uniforms will have a commemorative "Wrigley 100" patch on the sleeve and the side of the cap. The road uniforms will be gray and have "Cubs" across the chest, similar to the uniforms worn by players in the 1920s.

On April 23, which is Wrigley's birthday, the first 30,000 fans will receive a replica Chicago Federals jersey. The Federals were the first team to play at the ballpark at Clark and Addison streets.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/chc/cubs-share-vis...

not sure how old this is but MLB.com Cubs site has a listing of top 20 prospects with short write-ups on each...

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2013/index...

another Muskat post with video of an audio interview (10 minutes) of Renteria, after getting the Cubs manager job, on MLB network. Renteria said had a total right hip replacement 5 weeks ago and is still intermittently using a cane but just starting to walk without it. Ken Rosenthal gets to ask a question too.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/chc/new-manager-ri...

also note some of the quotes on Starlin Castro. AZ Phil always said Castro was coachable when he was in the minors. Hopefully, this will be a step to get Castro back on track. Renteria in the audio said he has talked to Starlin...

"It seems like he has a lot of energy," Renteria said. "He was ready to do whatever it takes. ... I think everybody moves more confidently with positive information and positive reinforcement than you do with a heavy hand. That being said, I can bark and bark and bark just like a dog. In the end, players just shut you out. I think you have to build a relationship with players and have them understand when you raise the tone, when things are serious, that it's for real."

BA minor league transactions oct 31 - nov 6

Chicago Cubs
Signed: RHP Eduardo Figueroa*, RHP Dae-Eun Rhee*

James Rowson is headed back to the Yankees organization.

good...was getting a bit tired of hearing his praises being sung while few results came of it. it's not like a hitting coach is going to make/break a team...or there's some unique talent that needs a hitting coach to get it over the hump, but whatever rowson was doing, it wasn't leading to results while some of the younger talent took a step backwards.

maybe they can hire rudy jaramillo...hah...sigh...

trip back in time to rudy's firing...

----

Said Alfonso Soriano, who knows Jaramillo from their days together in Texas: ‘‘It’s very sad. … But it’s part of the game. We didn’t do a great job. But he didn’t have a bat at home plate. … I think they did it because we didn’t hit well the last two months.’’

Epstein said that wasn’t the case: ‘‘It’s a nuance difference. It’s a point of emphasis.’’

He said Jaramillo ‘‘might be the best in the world at the mechanics of the swing.’’

‘‘I think mechanics are important,’’ Epstein said, ‘‘but until we sort of embrace as an organization the right approach, mechanics almost have to take a back seat at times. And that was part of the motivation for the move.’’

James Rowson, 35, moves from the minor-league hitting-coordinator job to take over on an interim basis, Epstein said, and will be re-evaluated after the season.

‘‘We decided that it was best that if you’re going to embrace a new message to have a new voice to go with it,’’ Epstein said of the timing. ‘‘It’s not based on results. It’s more trying to get a new voice with a new message. We have a certain philosophy we believe in, and we have a lot of growth that awaits us as an organization, and [we’re] trying to get there.’’

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/13147070-573/theo-e...

Nick Cafardo, Sunday notes includes this...

Cubs president Theo Epstein may be ready to pounce on major free agents. While 2015 is still seen as the launching point for the Cubs’ future as a contender, there may be pieces Epstein could pick off ahead of time. Would he, for instance, be interested in Ellsbury or Choo?

BEARS

Was lucky enough to go to the Bears game with the 'bro.

I am blaming this loss on Old & Blue.

Goddamn fucking Bears. Three plays and they win convincingly. Ugh...

What the hell happened there? I couldn't see the game here. I'm not sure why they played Cutler. What's his name was fine. Now Cutler has a hurt ankle to add to his groin injury. What happened on the intercepted pass? I read it was a tip.

On the tip, Cutler just didn't get enough height on the ball. I suppose (of course this is ez to 2nd guess) a pump fake would have bought enough gap - but he didn't. He sure has more end zone picks than most Bear QB's I can remember in recent memory.

As I say, 14-21 points left on the field. Even the field goal taken instead of a 4th and 1 "go-for-it", may have made the difference.

I really like Mark Trestman and can plainly see the difference with the offense. But, hopefully he learned how important Division games are and he has to make the decision on Cutler, not the other way around. With his ankle, and groin, plus a hand injury not many have reported, he should have been benched midway in the 3rd, imo. He just could not move around anymore - which facing a D like the lions, is a big disadvantage.

BTW - the Bears D did a remakably credible job considering all of the missing parts. Chris Conte made a nice comeback game. Major Wright is still terrible.

Charles Tillman out for the rest of the regular season. Tricep injury.

And it just keeps piling on...

Thanks E-man. Well, there's a lot of football to play but the prognosis looks bad for the rest of the season. I like Trestman too, but I'm never going to like all decisions by coaches. It's good to see the D getting a little better. That shows me something too, like, they are working on the problem. I've always liked Cutler, too, but with the decision on signing him to a longer contract on the horizon I think I would probably just franchise him and see if I can find somebody in the draft to take his place. He can be a very good QB. I don't think he's in the elite and I think a good QB - by that I mean one that doesn't make a lot of mistakes and can throw downfield some, can succeed in Trestman's offense. I really could be wrong about this. Cutler is such a damn enigma.

"Cubs team president Theo Epstein indicated over the weekend that they have "guys that could close" already on the roster, likely referring to Pedro Strop."

if this team is going to spend big, a reliever is the last thing they need to throw big loot at.

they got loot to spend...i wonder where they're actually going to spend it. even then, i'm more excited about what they may do in the trade market vs the FA market unless they plan on surprising cubs fans with a high end target FA.

@GDubCub says the Cubs won't get a big name this offseason. I still think they might.
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/23666...

Also, Jeff Passan/Yahoo says Rockies-Cardinals are talking Tulo for Matt Adams and others. That one would definitely sting.

Braves to get new stadium in 2017,to replace outdated 1997 stadium

Clearly, a 1997 baseball stadium is probably obsolete.

unbelievable, right?

coming from my friends in ATL, the proposed site doesn't even have public transport access.

the field they have is very sun-intensive...like, 4/5th of the park has the summer sun beating down on you. hopefully, that's an issue they'll fix.

either way, it's an absolutely crazy way to spend taxpayer loot in this economy...especially in that city...especially since the park they're in is in great shape after recent renovations.

Number of active MLB stadiums where Cubs have clinched a playoff series will fall back to 0. Number of active MLB stadiums where Cubs have won a playoff game will fall back to 1. Trying to decide which is worse? Good luck.

Baseball America 2014 Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/2014-chicago...

Baez, Bryant, Edwards, Almora, Soler, Johnson, Alcantara, Candelario, Vogelbach, Vizcaino

Man, how interesting when compared to a season or two ago. No Jackson, Vitters, McNutt, Sczsur...whoa.

I forgot if Edwards was a top-20 Rangers prospect in 2012-2013. I know they are loaded with pitching.

I'm a little surprised that Candelario is that high right now.

Also, remember when Vitters was our top prospect two years in a row? Ugh. Hope this crop shapes up better (hard to believe they won't).

im surpised johnson is ranked so highly...and viz still makes the top 10...and olt didn't make the cut even with a poor 2013. BA is so "over" olt that he didn't even make their top-15 "25 and under" list on the side bar. castro/rizzo make up part of that list, so olt had 3 slots to break through unless you want to count grimm and lake to make it 1 slot.

cj edwards over almora + soler is a bit surprising, too, though it's not shocking. you could mix up any of their slots and make an argument for placement.

John Manuel: The Cubs have 3 tough holdovers, for me, to rank. I lump Olt in with Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. I know Olt is new to the organization, but his season was just as disastrous as Jackson's, if not moreso. He had a concussion that complicates matters as we've seen in recent years. I always liked Olt but one scout I was talking to who had Cubs pro coverage just wasn't optimistic about his return. I think he's going to give 3B a try again but it won't matter if he doesn't hit. He's putting in a lot of work this offseason with Cubs hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce to try to rework his swing, but I think it shows where I stand that I ranked a guy who's missed two seasons ahead of him.

yow. that is crazy cold for a publication that named him their 22nd best prospect in baseball prior to the 2013 season and 43rd the year before that.

Vitters was not our top prospect for...I don't know when. Maybe when he first got drafted. Since 2010 the highest he has been ranked by BA has been 3rd. 5th in 2011, 9th in 2012, Un-Top 10 in 2013. But as some say here, "He is still young and look at [fill in favorite old minor league success story]!'

So I don't know when you are referring to, "Remember when Vitters was our top prospect two years in a row."

Maybe you might be referring to internal Cubs prospects rankings for fans?

6 of the cubs 2010 top 10 prospects (BA rankings) aren't even on the club anymore

a.cashner (4), j.jackson (5), hj lee (6), c.carpenter (8), r.flaherty (9), dj lamahieu (10)

out of that lot, only j.jackson has made the "probably never-will-be" pile.

I was referring to one of the lists in that BA link, which has Vitters listed as the top Cubs prospect for both 2008 and 2009. I'm assuming that is based off of past BA rankings.

I see. Yes, indeed you're talking 5/6 seasons ago. A long time in prospect world. To me its just a reminder of most of Wilken's great first rounders.

it's not that long ago. soto was the #2 prospect in 08 and he's only gone on to win ROY, be traded to TEX, have 2 FA contracts, and he turns 31 in january.

...wait, i take that back.

also, josh "better late than never" donaldson #7 in 08...and ninja #8.

You proved my point. Lots happens in five years to " top prospects".

I seem to remember AZ Phil being pretty high on Candelario but of course I can't speak for him.

Yeah, I remember that too. And it seems fitting to me that someone in Phil's position--watching a wide array of very young prospects in the very low minors with an eye toward who has the tool sets and makeup to succeed--would be high on Candelario. That he cracks BA's top ten seems a bit different. He hasn't shown much in the way of hitting for average or power since he got out of rookie league, so this ranking would have to be based a great deal on tools and projectability, especially considering he may not stick at 3rd. They must really like his discipline.

w.myers wins the AL ROY...iglesias finishes 2nd...archer 3rd....straily 4th

j.fernandez wins the NL ROY...puig finishes 2nd...miller 3rd...ryu 4th

Mesa wins today 4-0

Bryant 2-3, 2 doubles, 2 walks

Almora 3-4, double, rbi

Dallas Beeler started, 5 shutout IP, 5H, 2K, no BB.

http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_1...

was looking through the 2010 cubs draft (one of the worst ever, along with 05) because of all the draft year talk in this thread...

what's the deal with tyler bremer (drafted in 2010 (36) and again in 2012 (27))?

being a 23 year old who puts up great numbers in low-A ball is far from impressive, but his numbers outside of that fact were impressive.

i can't find anything about his stuff or velocity written post-draft.

"Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday that the club will make a posting bid on Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

Whether it will be a serious bid or just them doing their due diligence remains to be seen. The Chicago Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer does speculate that the Cubs could make a run at Tanaka if they determine they'd be better off trading instead of extending Jeff Samardzija. The Yankees are looking like the early favorite to enter the highest posting fee for Tanaka."

Might be smartest Cub hitter since Rogers Hornsby

http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/11/12/kris-brya...

If the Cubs are looking for a hitting coach, maybe they could just hire Kris Bryant's dad.

link

Oh boy, hopefully he's not a stage mom

Az Phil-
Thinking about coming out last week in Feb, do you think ST games will start then>

Thanks

JACOS: 2014 Cactus League games should start the week of February 24th, probably Thursday (2/27) for the Cubs. They played a longer ST schedule in 2013 because of the World Baseball Clsssic, but it should be back to 4-1/2 weeks again in 2014.

I suspect the Diamondbacks & Dodgers will start Spring Training a few days earlier than everybody else because of their two-games in Australia on 3/22-3/23 (about a week prior to MLB Opening Day), but I doubt that the other Cactus League clubs will start early just because the Diamondbacks and Dodgers do.

BTW, the two KBO teams (SK Wyverns and NC Dinos) that sent developmental squads to AZ Instructs this year are negotiating to have Spring Training for their "major league" squads in Arizona in January-February, so they could provide some of the opposition for the D'backs & Dodgers if they start playing games early to prep for the Australia games..

Say what?!?!?

Phils ink Byrd 2/16

All you have to do to get a fantastic contract these days is put together a nice stretch.

m.derosa has opted to retire...TOR picked up his 750K option rather quickly, but it looks like dero's not interested.

he turns 39 in feb...had a rather good season off the bench for TOR last year as far as bench players go manning 2nd/3rd/1st.

btw, trading him to CLE is what got c.archer into the cubs system...and CLE trading him to STL for a half-season rental got them c.perez.

Cubs a team that may have asked about Granderson...would cost 2nd round pick.

c.hurdle wins NL MOY

t.francona wins AL MOY

bryant 1-4
almora 1-4
soler 1-3, bb

all singles.

dave duncan is back...with ARZ...pitching consultant/special assistant to the general manager.

they tried to hire him as a pitching coach.

btw, the only reason he left was to care for his wife while she was receiving treatment for brain cancer (died this past june).

2 days of AFL action left...championship game 11/16 (saturday)

cj cron (1st, LAA) and k.bryant (duh) look to be running neck-and-neck for AFL MVP.

cubs finally linked to a FA...

"Cubs looking at Kurt Suzuki as one option at catcher"

world series here we come.

...still trying to figure out why d.navarro wasn't traded...maybe there wasn't a market. *shrug*

"The Cubs also made Navarro readily available last summer and couldn’t swing a trade"

http://www.csnchicago.com/cubs/cubs-looking-kurt-s...

Dodgers signed JC Boscan to a minor league deal

Koyie Hill shrugs

More from Wittenmeyer on Bill Mueller as hitting coach. Also Gary Jones (Padres) and Bruce Fields (Tigers) as Renteria guys for base coaches.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/23709727-419/cubs-t...

I am just glad the Strodster is returning to the bullpen, he's all that matters.

" Meghan Montemurro @M_Montemurro
Cross out Mark DeRosa as Moreland's possible replacement on WGN radio. DeRosa is joining MLB Network as a studio analyst."

btw, dero was on MLB Network during the playoffs and a bit into the offseason. he was excellent...practically a natural given how little experience he's had in the booth. sharp, quick, played off his co-hosts well, etc.

m.scherzer AL CY

c.kershaw NL CY...missed unanimous by 1 vote (CIN writer voted for a.wainright)

k.bryant doesn't play today with only 2 games left (today/tomorrow) left in the chase for AFL MVP with cj cron (who played today and went 1-2, 1bb)

soler 1-3, double, 1bb

almora 1-4, single

AZ PHIL'S 2013 AFL ALL-STAR TEAM:

C - Jorge Alfaro (TEX)
1B - C. J. Cron (LAA)
2B - Tommy LaStella (ATL)
3B - Kris Bryant (CUBS)
SS - Addison Russell (OAK)
OF - Mitch Haniger (MIL)
OF - Tyler Naquin (CLE)
OF - Stephen Piscotty (STL)
DH - Kyle Parker (COL)
SP - Andrew Heaney (MIA)
SP - Alex Meyer (MIN)
SP - Aaron Sanchez (TOR)
CL - Nick Wittgren (MIA)

MVP: Kris Bryant

AZ Phil-Would any other Cubs make 2nd team or honorable mention?

J-STRAW: Albert Almora would be my "2nd team" AFL All-Star CF.

I have seen a lot of outstanding defensive CF in my lifetime, but Almora is as good as any of them.

I would expect him to be a perennial Gold Glove CF and .300 hitter and I would not be surprised if he won a batting championship or two along the way as well. Nobody barrels up the ball like Almora. He doesn't walk much but he doesn't strike out much either. He's just a really good hitter. 

I would be shocked if Almora does not develop into the Cubs #2 hitter and everyday CF.
 

Thanks as always, and my day just got a wee bit better.

"MVP: Kris Bryant"

You homer.

I keed.

" Andy McCullough @McCulloughSL
Brian Cashman says you can rule out the Yankees signing Brian Wilson. His agent told team he won't shave beard. True story, Cashman says."

lulz.

"Jhonny Peralta's representatives are said to be looking for a contract above three years and $45 million, according to ESPN's Buster Olney."

...so that's $15m a year for 31 year old average-at-best D, mid-power, average hitting SS

"Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that "a bunch of teams (are) moving quick" on Stephen Drew."

...a bunch of teams are in on a 30 year old good D, mid-power, average hitting SS who turned down a $14m qualifying offer

given that, i can't even begin to imagine what 23 year old starlin castro who's owed $49m over the next 6 years would be worth on the trade market ($8.2m a year average) even with the average-at-best D which some believe will improve with age...not to mention there's a 2020 option for him at $16m rather than the $1m buyout...which, given current market, would be a hell of a deal in 2020.

Dave Cameron mentioned in his chat today that Castro couldn't be traded heads-up for Shelby Miller at this point. I enjoy and respect Dave Cameron, but I think the market in general is seriously downgrading Castro's age, contract, and track record by focusing on his 2013 batting average. In my book, they are equals, and they are only equals because Miller gets paid significantly less for the next 3-4 seasons.

DC's analysis is occasionally hit/miss, especially when he's not dealing with direct data. he's got good analytical skills, but the conclusions he reaches outside of what he can break down sometimes isn't rooted in baseball reality.

STL's reality involves a great need for a SS and a surplus of SP (even youth based SP) while retaining their mid-market payroll (though it's on the high side for a mid-market team).

they're so SP youth-rich that they're willing to use t.rosenthall out of the pen as a closer when 25+ teams out there would most likely be using him as a SP. rosenthall actually has a decent changeup and curve, plus a developing slider...but out of the pen he can just throw 100mph cheese almost all of the time without messing with the other pitches.

i also believe there's at best maybe 1 out of 100 stats-vs-value minded analysts out there who would give $15m-ish to peralta multi-year...or $15m+ to s.drew multiyear...but someone will. the market keeps dictating these things happening depending on the need of multiple teams in competition for the services. value vs return analysis sometimes doesn't take into effect team need, team resources available, and how many teams in the market are putting them in competition with each other for a player's services. spending millions more than what a person should be worth for what will "only" result in a few more wins per year "on paper" seems silly on so many levels in a vacuum...but teams have money to spend, needs to fill, are in competition with other teams with similar need/resources...and that's how this stuff keeps happening.

hell, the cash-strapped As just gave SS/2nd/3rd good-D, average-at-best bat, not a shred of power n.punto $3m to march his 36 year old self out there next year...probably for no more than 300-400 PAs (hasn't had over 400 PA since 09).

Agreed. The primary information ignored by Cameron that people like Hoyer and Mozeliak know is the surplus of ML payroll money that will be spent v. the fair market value of all free agents based upon WAR.

If the Cubs are to include Castro in a deal this winter, the only acceptable return is one of the top 40 SP in MLB, even if costs additional trade chips. That said, probably best to wait one more year for a few reasons (win expectancy, rebuilding Starlin's value, better identification of who else to include).

So shouldn't the Cubs be spending money on these type of guys?

To keep the Cubs-need-to-spend-money camp happy?

/keep it

Daniel Bard made his 2nd appearance in the Puerto Rican Winter League (Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente) last night, and at least he didn't hit anyone. He faced four batters and walked three of them. He did get a GO (3-6 FC), however, the first batter he has retired so far.

2 GAMES
0.1 IP
0 H
5 R (4 ER)
4 BB
3 HBP 
1 WP

So he has faced eight batters and retired one.

Today is the last day of the AFL regular season.

The Surprise Saguaros have won the AFL West (and are presently tied with the Mesa Solar Sox for the best record in the league), and Mesa and the Salt River Rafters are neck & neck for the AFL East lead.

Mesa is 1/2 game ahead of Salt River with one game to play (Mesa had one tie), so if Mesa wins at Glendale today or if Mesa loses at Glendale and Salt River loses at home against Scottsdale, Mesa wins the East and will play Surprise in the AFL Championship game at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

However, if Mesa loses at Glendale and Salt River wins at home today, then the Rafters will advance to the Championship game.

Unfortunately for Mesa, they have to go up against the AFL's #1 SP today, LHP Andrew Heaney (MIA) 

LHP Sammy Solis (WAS) goes for Mesa, and while he is the Solar Sox #1 starter, Heaney is a beast. (The Solar Sox did beat Alex Meyer at HoHoKam yesterday, and he is one of the top three AFL SP).

Meanwhile, Salt River is throwing their #1 starter (RHP Aaron Sanchez) against Scottsdale (the worst team in the league), and Sanchez is one of the top three SP in the AFL.

BTW, if Mesa does advance to the AFL Championship Game, either LHP Matt Purke (WAS) or RHP Dallas Beeler (CUBS) will likely get the start for the Solar Sox.

"Major League Baseball owners have approved a replay challenge system for the 2014 season.

Managers will get two challenges that can be used at any point in the game. If a play is challenged and overturned, the manager gets to keep that challenge. It'd make much more sense to put a separate umpire in a replay booth and have him review every play, but the owners have settled on a manager challenge system and are expected to get the approval of the players and umps. Expect some complications in 2014."

...looks like they've put the death nail in the coffin of the manager ejection record.

mesa wins...to the playoffs.

bryant 1-3, 2bb
soler 2-5

...unfortunately for the MVP chase cj cron went 2-4 with a double.

it's still bryant vs cron, and cron put up a nice home stretch to the end...bryant has the power edge by 2 doubles and 1hr, though...plus he played 3rd rather than 1st.

it could legitimately go either way.

m.cabrera wins the AL MVP...wasn't a close vote...trout 2nd, davis 3rd

a.mccutchen wins the NL MVP...28 1st place votes...goldschmidt 2nd (even with 0 1st place votes), molina 3rd (2 1st place votes)

Wow! McCutchen! I love that guy. Good for him. Smart the Bucs locked him up, too.

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