TCR Friday Notes

Let's see, what did I miss over the last week?

Baseball America put out their top 10 Cubs list and it looks a little something like this

  1. Javier Baez
  2. Kris Bryant
  3. C.J. Edwards
  4. Albert Almora
  5. Jorge Soler
  6. Pierce Johnson
  7. Arismendy Alcantara
  8. Jeimer Candelario
  9. Dan Vogelbach
  10. Arodys Vizcaino

Edwards above Almora is a bit of surprise, but also completely meaningless. Mike Olt is falling faster than a reality star.

The Mesa Solar Sox will play in the AFL Finals this Saturday.

Bill Mueller's name is in the hat for taking over hitting instructor duties from James Rowson.

I'm pretty sure you can replace "upper management" with "Crane Kenney" in this story about being way off base on Joe Girardi's interest in returning to Chicago.

Amongst the offseaon rumors, so far we know Jeff Samardzija is certainly on the block with teams like Arizona and Toronto being mentioned. The DBacks also may have their eye on Nate Schierholtz according to Jon Morosi. Patrick Mooney says don't expect McCann or Saltalamacchia signing with the Cubs, but Kurt Suzuki is on the radar. Ricky Nolasco allegedly has a 4-year offer on the table in the 50M+ range. Adjust your contract expectations accordingly for players like Josh Johnson and so on.


I have about 300 comments about the 1965 video in the tweetbar. What an awesome show. Everyone should watch this winter - I know it's an hour long but it's worth it.

Thanks, Al. I was bound to say that eventually, I guess.

How about letting pitcher bat with tying and winning runs on in the 9th?

Hard to believe the Cubs haven't won in100 years.

How about letting pitcher bat with tying and winning runs on in the 9th?
Hard to believe the Cubs haven't won in100 years.
in the Jim Maloney 10 inning no hitter (in the TCR Twitter box) vs Larry Jackson from 1965, The Cubs had runners on the corners in the bottom of the 8th (Billy Williams was walked intentionally) and Ernie Banks swings at a 3-2 count low pitch out of the strike zone to end the inning. Santo was on deck.

Ah, Cubbery!

according to musk, valbuena has been getting work in at 2nd in VWL.

unless olt shows something in spring that may be moot, though.

no idea how accurate this is...saw it repeated on Twitter, but allegedly Theo said recently that Cubs have flipped 4 years of contract control for 78 over the last 2 years.

I think that was one of the talking points that came out of the season ticket holders' meetings last weekend.

MLB Network "Clubhouse Confidential" (the network's stats-based show) is once again lamenting m.trout not being named MVP...with a panel of 3 guys (kenney, j.jaffe, and someone else) in agreement.

trout - .323/.432/.557 - on base 300 times out of the 1/2/3 slot (69% out of the 1/2 slot) in 157 games (716 PA)

miggy - .348/.442/.636 - on base 283 times out of the 3 slot in 148 games (652 PA)

better D on trout, but miggy didn't get outclassed anywhere but D and SB (and runs scored by 6 + games played by 9).

trout had a better WAR (oWAR, especially), but a lot of people still aren't fans of that, somehow, trout's dWAR ended up being -0.9 showing some further flaws in dWAR which is odd for a CF given that dWAR is now weighted to give CF'rs a weird "position importance based" bump in values out of the box before even looking at what they did. dWAR had issues years ago where, because of no position weighting, it was giving some extremely screwed up numbers...but rather than "fixing" the issues with the values to begin with they decided to weigh position-by-default into it rather than fixing what leads to the numbers to begin with.

...and the same crew is on today's show lamenting y.molina not being named MVP with even more "i don't even understand this" than trout/miggy. craig calcaterra is the other guy, btw.

hell of a hivemind they got going on over there.

i was surprised molina/mccutchen wasn't closer than it was, but it could have gone either way.

oddly, some of the same metrics arguments they made for trout-over-miggy point to mccutchen-over-molina...but whatever, different day, different standard i guess.

up next, a discussion by them about how it's time to overhaul who gets to vote for post-season awards so stuff like miggy/mccutchen being MVPs doesn't keep happening.

Cubs should sign Matt Garza.

twins mulling over m.garza and r.nolasco...cubs mulling over a backup catcher who hasn't had an OPS above .700 since 2009.

i hope the cubs have an interesting winter meeting with the trade market since the only player they're linked to in the FA market that's worth caring about is m.tanaka...and the cubs are considered minor players in his bidding so far.

Hoyer: "We will not hit the fast forward button on our plan simply because people are impatient. It will make it worth it in the end."

LOVE it!

this is coming on the heels of s.boras ripping the cubs a couple days ago (from the owners to theo/jed) for wanting to have little-to-nothing to do with his clients for a number of years.

fwiw, e.jackson left boras's agency before signing 4/52 with the cubs.

also fwiw, boras represents almora and bryant.

You make a good observation. It must REALLY steam boras and others that one of the main markets isn't spending. I am not against spending at all I just think those days are a year or two off. Then they better be players on some big names to fill in the key spots!!

"Cubs signed C Eli Whiteside to a minor league contract."

he hit .187/.242/.280 last year in 244 AAA

...also minor league fodder SS/2nd jeudy valdez...24yo, high-K, low hit, low walk, touch of power who hasn't made it past AA (turns 25 in may). says that the Cubs have signed Walter Ibarra, IF, formally a Yankee farmhand.( Listed under transactions.)

SS-2B Walter Ibarra played for new Cubs manager Rich Renteria on Team Mexico in the WBC.

The LH hitting Ibarra finally made it to AAA in 2013, his 8th season in pro ball. 

Cardinals Signed

Cardinals signed Scott Moore. He would probably be the team's most productive 3rd Base right now at 30 years old.

What the fuck did Hendry get for him anyway when we traded him to the Orioles?

Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry to the Orioles for Steve Fuckin' Trachsel.

We got Steve Trachsel for the tail end of the 2007 season. 4 games started, 17.1 IP, 1-3 record, 8.31 ERA and a 1.846 WHIP. The beginning of Hendry's tenure was much better than the end.

Bryant having a rough game so far (0-3, 2 SOs, 5 LOB) as Mesa trails Surprise 0-1, Dallas Beeler in line for the loss despite 5 solid innings of 1-run ball.

at least he's AFL MVP...

soler is 0-3 through 7, himself...1 K...a swinging K on a wild pitch.

Dallas Beeler anyone to look forward to?

he's battled injuries...but after this AFL performance, his age (24), throws 93mph, slider, changeup...well, someone might take him as a rule5.

he was signed overslot after TJ, so it's not like he's a 41st round talent over-achieving (though he wasn't a round 1-10 talent). it was viewed as a nice gamble at the time.

his game produces ground ball outs rather than Ks. he seems to be a rick porcello or rick reuschel type at best.

Rick Reuschel's WAR is 97th of all time.

...and 32nd in pitching WAR

no one's clamoring to put long time cub bill dahlen in the HOF for his 74th all-time WAR as a SS yet...he fell 2 short in the vet vote this year.

all that aside (and i realize you're just adding to the information base), i just threw reuschel and porcello out there cuz they're 2 guys who throw innings with decent stuff, yet do most of their game on ground balls rather than Ks.

I'm guessing it was the "at best" part of the comment that made it sound like you were quantifying his overall value as a pitcher, rather than just making a comparison about their pitching styles. I took it the same way as QuietMan seemed to.

BTW, I'm clamoring about Bill Dahlen not being in the Hall of Fame, but then again, I pretty much fit the definition of "no one".

r.reuschel's WAR stats is something i see as a combination of his longevity and the era he pitched in (which played greatly into how effectively he pitched). i also have a bit of an issue with using WAR to evaluate some talent to begin with (especially over different eras).

reuschel being the 97th best player based on this stat is odd...being the 32nd best pitcher in the game's history with pWAR is eye-rolling.

without a good D behind him reuschel is not as good as the stats he earned. his game relied heavily on others to make the outs he sets up. he also got to pitch to a slew of other players on teams that valued infield D over production with bat+power in his era, too.

if you insert him into the style of play we have had for almost the past 20 years where infield D can be somewhat tossed to the side for a better bat his game most likely doesn't look so slick. he played in an era and for teams where infielders who couldn't hit didn't matter that much as long as their D was solid. he'd have the same game with different results on many teams if he came along in today's game.

in 2012, rick porcello had the 4th best gb/fb ratio in MLB...he also gave up the most hits in all of MLB (226 h in only 176.1 ip) thanks to his leaky low-D infield. if he had adequate D behind him, not only would the hits be lower, but his IP would be higher, and his ERA/whip lower, too.

Well, first, BR's WAR adjusts for eras, since it is based on relationships to league averages and replacement players computed annually. You don't think they would anticipate that obvious criticism and account for it? Everyone knows the game has changed over time, so they control for the type of baseball played when calculating player values.

Second, they also take into account team defense when calculating pitcher war.

Everything is right here:

Finally, if you insert any player from one era into another they would have different results. Duh. Cy Young would pitch every 5th day not every 3rd. Players who walk a lot now would be benched in previous eras. Power hitters would have WAY fewer home runs in the deadball era and would fly out a lot. Catchers who can't throw can pass in some eras but would see their defensive metrics take a huge hit and would be benched in other eras where stolen bases are high. Etc.

"Daniel Bard has retired one of 13 batters faced over three outings with Caguas in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Yikes. Bard has actually yet to allow a hit, but he's given up seven earned runs on nine walks, three hit batters and four wild pitches."

...well, that's special.

That kind of performance only gets it done AGAINST the Cubs.

We'll just go ahead and mark down that 40-man roster to 36.

he's lost 3+mph on his fastball the past couple of seasons along with an increasing lack of control+command, but this is just silly.

before BOS cut him last year he put up 27bb in 15.1ip in RK-AA ball (as a 28 year old). he wasn't much better in 2012, but not this bad.

article on minor league pitching coordinator d.johnson

per muskat...

"Luis Valbuena made his third straight start at second base on Saturday for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela, and for the first time, was hitless."

the cubs seem to be cornering the market on crappy AAA IF'rs this offseason...

"Cubs sign INF Chris Valaika to a minor league contact."

Well at least it's another guy who can play ahead of Logan Watkins...

Marc Trestman seems to know his stuff...good explanation on why he didn't use timeouts at end of regulation yesterday

When you start a drive from the 16-yard line, you have a 13 percent chance, probably, over the last five years to score a touchdown. And you have to take that into consideration when you go into the game.

"Jeff Niemann has elected to become a free agent."

hope the cubs are in on this if his medicals check out.

CRUNCH: The Cubs could have claimed Jeff Niemann last week when he was on Outright Assignment Waivers (as they did with Daniel Bard in September and Mat Gamel last month) if they were interested. 

Even if they didn't want to risk having to go to aribitration with him (despite the shoulder surgery Niemann will likely make $3M+ in 2014 if he is tendered), the Cubs could have claimed him and then non-tendered him on 12/2 with the possibility that they could work-out a pre-arranged minor league deal with him to avoid aribtration. 

BTW, with the way he has pitched in Puerto Rico, it's very possible that the Cubs might not even wait to non-tender Bard. They might just outright him tomorrow when the MLB and minor league reserve lists are filed. 

yeah, i'm still not sure (aka, don't know) how his shoulder is...he's supposedly playing catch, but he's not expected to throw until feb/march at the earliest.

his career may take him to the pen rather than starting when he gets back into playing shape.

Latroy Hawkins signs 1/2 with Rockies.
Will be the closer.

Ahem...hahahaha hahahaha!

Hawkins will be 41 yrs old next season. Mr. Longevity.

His 1.05 for the Cubs in 2004 was his second lowest in a nearly 20 year career if you don't include a cup of coffee with Houston in 2008. His 2.3 WAR in 2004 was his second highest. Unfortunately, his 9 blown saves were epic. Which makes the 2.3 WAR a head scratcher. I guess I could look up how they calculate that, but to me it doesn't matter. It's meaningless. They could have put anybody into that role and they would have done better.

the crazy thing about it (besides being a 41yo closer when r.brothers is around) is how well he's pitched at coors field over his career.

Most. Boring. Offseason. Ever.

Your'e crazy. The Blackhawks have been making tons of roster moves.

heh, just amused by the complete lack of rumors other than the Joe Girardi bullshit.

I have a facebook friend who says Cano to Cubs is a sure thing. Does that help?

sounds legit..10/300 with no-trade i assume.

I smell a Hendry! The NTC gave it away.

Hendry whispers in Cashman's ear...Can You Cano?

ROB, you said this last year.

it's exponentially growing...where's Kevin Towers when you need a rumor leaked?

Recent comments

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  • 34-14...awww yeah.

    crunch 3 min 34 sec ago view
  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 1 hour 24 min ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 54 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 57 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 7 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 5 hours 49 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 10 hours 35 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 10 hours 36 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 20 hours 17 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 23 hours 15 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 23 hours 27 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 23 hours 36 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 23 hours 41 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 1 day 11 sec ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 1 day 36 min ago view