Lets give thanks to the MLB.com hat photoshop guy

(note: this post got eaten by the internets yesterday, so re-posted today)
I went to Cubs.com just to see what the depth chart looks like.
Maybe there would be new pics in there.
Sure enough, there's Justin Ruggiano in center field complete with his new Cubs hat!

So I googled imaged him (you can look at this same page here). 

See the official MLB portrait-looking photo of him with the white background?
He's wearing a Miami Marlins hat.
But if you click on it, it magically changes into a Cubs hat!
That's the miracle of photoshop.
And I bet there's an underpaid 2 years out of college design major kid working for MLB who's got to change every one of those hats every time a trade is made.
This last month had to be the busiest of the year.
I googled this: "what baseball player has been traded the most?"
(I thought it might be Kenny Lofton.)
But the answer is this guy Bobo Newsom.
Pitcher played for the Brooklyn Robins, Cubs, Browns, Senators, Red Sox, Tigers, Philladelphia Athletics, Brooklyn Dodgers, Yanks, and Giants.
Lots of them on more than one occasion.
He was traded 16 (edit: either traded, purchased, or dumped and picked up by another team) times.
Wow.
Anyway, if Bud Light was still doing their "Real Men of Genius" radio campaign, they could do one for our guy in the illustration:
Today we salute you, Mr. Major League Baseball dot com hat photoshopper guy.
You had the honor of switching hats for Robinson Cano
The excitement of retouching Jacoby Ellsbury's new lid
The talent to make Raul Ibanez an Angel
And while it may be a pain in the ass to bother with making Jonathan Sanchez a Cub,
You'll do it anyway because you're the Tweaker of Tops, the Fidrych of Photoshop, and...
because your boss told you to do it by May.

Comments

Twins to sign Kurt Suzuki. So we've got one lesss-crappy catcher to worry about.

The post is still awesome Tim, especially the Bud Light lyrics.

Cubs still signed LHP Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league deal (as a reliever), LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (as a starter), LHP Tim Hottovy and OF Mitch Maier to minor league deals.

I'm thinking Castro should start hoarding his money in the US.

is commenting working any better? They were saving but returning an error message?

and the answer is no...back to the land of support tickets I go

A reason to this Ruggiano will have a bounce back year in 2014.

http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/43097/...

that's a nifty little article....

That was a great article indeed. I didn't know about the actual existence of the Well Hit statistic but I figured there had to be one. His slump still sounded awful though as he apparently couldn't leg anything out AND didn't have any Well Hit AB's for a month - not sure how that is auspicious. But the overall trend of his Well Hit avg seems pretty good and well above replacement.

Somebody posted a similar article about Rizzo early last season, and it seems like he was having similar issues. At the time, Rizzo was also leading the league in percentage of balls in play registered as well-hit by whoever was keeping track of that. Don't know where he was at season's end, because I can't seem to track those stats down.

The article says it's a proprietary stat so I don't think we, the general public, have access to it. Which is kinda cool. I wonder what else they have??

Generally true, but this Mark Simon guy was tweeting about it during the year: https://twitter.com/msimonespn/status/333961801937...

Mark Grace has been named the hitting coach for the Class A Hillsboro Hops (D-Backs Northwest League affiliate).

doug drabek is their pitching coach...and 34 year old jr house is the manager.

i still miss mark behind the mic during late-night ARZ broadcasts...hokey as hell, but fun if you're into his schtick.

So with regard to the Orioles/Balfour situation, we would not be able to trade Veras to them correct? Or he'd have to waive his no trade and we'd need to acquire players with same contract value?

Submitted by Arizona Phil
on Thu, 12/19/2013 - 2:58amPermalink.

As an Article XX-B free-agent who signed a major league contract, Jose Veras has an automatic "no trade" restriction through June 15th. He can waive the "no trade," but if he does he can only be traded for cash and/or player contracts with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000.

AZ Phil, what does that last part mean ... Aggregate contract value of $50k? Are there any contracts in that category and what could this article be protecting for players?

CARLITO: Players with no MLB Service Time who are on an MLB 40-man roster for the first time receive an automatic $40,250 minor league "split" salary (for example, that would be just two Cubs players right now, Arismendy Alcantara and Dallas Beeler), but all other players on the club's MLB 40-man roster are making at the very least $80,500 (the minimum minor league split salary for players who have accrued MLB Service Time and/or were added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the previous MLB regular season), and that's more than $50,000. So there are very few players on the 40-man roster making $50,000 or less in salary.

However, a player on a minor league reserve list--even a top prospect who received a multi-million dollar signing bonus, like Javier Baez or Albert Almora--has an annual salary in the $12,000-$18,000 range, so a contract like that would be under $50,000. NOTE: A player signed as a minor league free-agent--somebody like Ryan Roberts, Ryan Kalish, Tsuyoshi Wada, et al--typically is paid AT LEAST "40-man roster" minor league split money, something in the $80,000-$100,000 range. 

So an Article XX-B free-agent who signs a major league contract after 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series  has an automatic "no trade" restriction through June 15th (even if the player re-signs with his previous club) that the player can waive, but even if the player waives the "no trade," he can only be traded for cash and/or player contracts with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000. Which essentially means with probably only a handful of exceptions (like Alcantara and Beeler, for example), the Article XX-B FA can only be traded for players who are NOT on an MLB 40-man roster. 

Now that doesn't mean you can't get a really good player (or players) back. If you can acquire a Javier Baez and/or an Albert Almora for an Article XX-B FA who waives his "no trade," wouldn't that be acceptable? I would think so. It's just that you can't get a "major league" player back.

As to why this was put into the CBA (and it's been there for many years covering several CBAs), I have no idea. It really doesn't prevent a "sign & trade," as long as the player goes along with it and as long as the other club doesn't mind giving up a minor league prospect or prospects in return.

Note also that if an Article XX-B MLB free-agent signs a minor league contract (as was the case with Jonathan Sanchez), the player does NOT receive an automatic "no trade," even if the player is added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to June 15th.

And if an Article XX-B MLB free-agent receives a Qualifying Offer and declines it and then signs a minor league contract with a different club, the player's former club does NOT receive a compensation draft pick between the 1st & 2nd round of the next Rule 4 Draft, even if the player is added to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the draft. 

However, a club is not permitted to sign an Article XX-B MLB FA who received and then declined a Qualifying Offer to a minor league contract and then later add the player to its 40-man roster if the intent of signing the player to a minor league contract was just to to avoid losing a draft pick. (That might be kind of tough to prove, though, especially if the club did not have a slot open on its 40-man roster when it signed the Qualified Player).

Also, a club and an Article XX-B MLB FA cannot collude where the player agrees (in advance) to decline a Qualifying Offer if offered so that the club can receive a draft pick when the player signs with a different club. The question here is why would a player (and his agent) agree to do this, because a "Qualified Player" (one who would cost his new club a draft pick) has diminished value in the market-place. I guess the player and/or the agent could get some big bucks "under the table" to agree to this arrangement, but it would have to be substantial money, and then you would have to ask if it would be worth it to the club to pay a substantial bribe to the player and/or agent AND risk sanctions from the MLB Commissioner if they get caught, just to get a compensation draft pick (presumng the player even signs a major league contract with a new club prior to the draft). 

 

Choo Choo train heads to Texas, 7/130m and limited no-trade

 

Playing in that park should help him be effective longer into that contract, but that is still a lot of years for a guy who is not really elite in terms of his production.

Does a little internet research to make sure Jim Hendry isn't the GM in Texas.

Pat Hughes interview by Bruce Levine on the Sat AM wscr talk show, Hot Stove...mostly promoting his Voices recordings.

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/audio/986-670-the-scor...

per BA, Giants sign Casey Weathers to a minor league deal
(ah, that Casey Weathers and Stewart for LeMahiew and Colvin)

there goes another 94mph fastball out of the strike zone

http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/minor-league...

"Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Rakuten Golden Eagles are expected to announce on Tuesday or Wednesday whether they will post Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka is currently in Tokyo making appearances at events on Sunday and Monday. He will then meet with Rakuten on Tuesday or Wednesday, at which point the club will inform him of their decision."

former cubs minor leaguer and japanese star slugger, alex cabrera, broke the VEN HR record tonight with his 21st...a grand slam. it's a 33 year old record.

he turns 42 in a couple days.

I wonder if the Venezuelan Winter League allows grooved bats?

The decision to post Tanaka likely coming soon.

http://cubbiescrib.com/2013/12/22/report-cubs-amon...

Cubs dropped Liam Hendricks, Orioles claim him

Cubs do claim Brett Marshall from Yankees, threw 12 unspectacular innings in the majors last year at age 23

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/marshbr01.shtml

Sickels blurb on him before the 2013 season

Marshall is the best pitching prospect by default, thanks to the health problems of Banuelos and Campos, and the simple uncertainty regarding DePaula. Mid-rotation projection, should be a nice inning-eater.

LHP Eric Surkamp was DFA last week by the Giants. Anyone want to bet he's the next waiver claim?

Edit: White Sox got to him before the Cubs.

Kyle Hendricks/Liam Hendriks was going to be confusing anyway.

Since both Liam Hendriks and Brett Marshall were claimed off waivers today (Hendriks by BAL and Marshall by the Cubs), both pitchers HAD to have been placed on waivers at the same time (2 PM Eastern) last Thursday. So the Cubs must have placed Hendriks on waivers without knowing in advance that Marshall was going to be placed on waivers at the same time and without knowing in advance that they would win the waiver claim even if he was, so the Cubs did not place Hendriks on waivers to open up a roster slot for Marshall The two moves occurring at the exact same time was just a coincidence.

As for what effect this has on the Cubs roster, Marshall has two minor league options left, while Hendriks has only one left, so the Cubs picked up an extra year of club control in the de facto exchange.  

BTW, the 23-year old 5'11 Marshall was rated the Yankees #6 prospect by Baseball America pre-2013 (low 90's sinker, a plus-change, and just a so-so slider, with "back-of-the-rotation starter" being his projected ceiling). before having a mediocre 2013 season at AAA Scranton and three MLB appearances with the Yankees (one in May and two in September) while picking up 33 days of MLB Service Time. 

 

Just a little Bears merriment in between these bold roster moves:

Beers down, Chicago Bears,
Watch every d-line play block the path to victory.
Beers down, Chicago Bears,
Your tackles are such a fright I need a Hennessy.
We'll never forget the way you choked in front of the nation,
With your light weight D-line formation.
Bear down, Chicago Bears,
And let them know why you're wearing not the crown.
You're the pride and joy of Green Bay,
Chicago Bears, bear down.

Oh Brother...

Did you think this up?

Don't quit your day job.

They will beat the Packers, and that's the last W for this season.

That IS my day job.

So you're telling me that the Packers are going to shoot their running backs before the start of the game to give the Bears a handicap?

Looks like Cubs signed Wladimir Galindo. I'll just act like I know who that is.

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2013/12/cubs-si...

http://elsiglo.com.ve/modules.php?name=News&file=a...

He's got braces in that photo. What's the next signing going to have, a binky?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9d/Magg...

Bring him up!

Yes!!!!! We got Wladdy!!

Javier Baez has a hero. Merry Christmas, Noely.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

Just got an alert on my phone that Tanaka will be posted.

And you thought the Brian Roberts rumors were fun.

Shouldn't the Cubs have a bidding advantage over the Yankees due to luxury tax considerations?

It's gonna be very interesting - a huge chunk of change for a single arm ...

Agreed, but IMO he is the kind of free agent the Cubs should be pursuing, and they do have a lot of dry powder.

If the Cubs are going to commit big $ to any player this year (or maybe even next year), Tanaka makes as much sense as anyone else, if not more.

I'm really on the fence with this one.

In general, I'm against Mike Hampton contracts. By that I mean $100+ million multi-years for pitchers. He's thrown a ton of pitches, including 160 pitches in the Japan finals and then he closed the winning game, putting his two day count at 175. And yes, the manager of the Rakuten Eagles was indeed Dustori Bakersaki. I've been reading that his fastball will actually be pretty hittable in the MLB, that it lacks movement, but I've never seen him pitch other than a few short YouTube videos.

On the other hand, he's 25, and went 24-0 with that 1.27 ERA, and that's awfully good in any minor league system, including the one known as Nippon Professional Baseball. A Baseball America writer has this on him:

At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Tanaka throws a low-90s fastball that can touch 96 mph. Even though Tanaka can reach the mid-90s, his fastball is the pitch that gives some scouts pause because it comes in on a flat plane, making it more hittable than the velocity might suggest. Tanaka has two secondary pitches that have earned grades of 60 or better on the 20-80 scouting scale, including a 70 splitter with late downward action to keep hitters off his fastball. His low- to mid-80s slider is another plus weapon, while he’ll mix in a curveball as well.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/as-teams-sco...

So even if his fastball is average, he should be able to work around that limitation. The splitter at :34 rolls off the table pretty nicely:

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

I guess if I had to lean one way, I'd be in favor of the Cubs going after him. The reason is that he's won I think his last 30 games, which suggests that he knows how to pitch. I don't think it's one of those things where you can say they should only go after him if the money count doesn't go to X number of dollars, though. If they go after him, they should go balls out. Otherwise it's just a waste of time.

On the other hand, if the Cubs don't land him, I won't be upset, as long as he goes to the Yankees and his arm gives out.

I'm in favor of the Cubs going after him, but I wasn't really anticipating a contract in excess of $100 million. If they lose out on him because the Yankees go to $110+, I won't be upset. But if they can get him for $80-$90 (what I was imagining), then I think that's a smart decision even if he doesn't turn out to be significantly better than the other FAs available right now (given his age and the absence of draft pick compensation).

http://regressing.deadspin.com/a-decade-after-moneyball-have-the-as-foun...

saber-friendly article on what market-deficieny the A's tried to exploit the past 2 seasons

January 24th is the deadline to sign Tanaka, plenty of rumors until then.

The Cubs should be in of course, but I'd top out at 6/100 with the $20M posting makes it about $20M per year, which is pretty ridiculous for a #2/#3 type, but at least he's at an age that it makes some sense.

Since Tanaka is free to negotiate with anyone willing to post the $20M, I'm guessing he'll get an opt out at around 3-4 years.

Should be interesting, the numbers thrown out there are gonna be insane though for a guy that's arguably no better than Garza, Ubaldo or Ervin Santana.

 

The Cubs might as well spend on him as he is the right age, doesn't cost a draft pick, and it is time to start ramping up a hair from the neighborhood of the first few draft picks. But I have a neutral - bad feeling about Tanaka ... It IS a crapload of money for a non-major leaguer, one pitching injury from a $120 million cheerleader. I don't see TheoJed going over $80-$100 mil and I think those other big spenders will.

about $20M per year
--------
that will force the Cubs hand to rebuild the dugouts and locker rooms. Hordes of Japanese media return to Chicago.

Where do you put all these guys?...

http://www.ferdyonfilms.com/wp-content/uploads/201...

given the fear of some segments of TCR (and outside of TCR) about high pitch counts...

how about how many 130-160+ pitch outings tanaka has thrown in his short career...especially since his investment is looking to be around $18-$20+ million a year once the posting fee is factored in?

the guy threw 160 pitches earlier this year...then came into a game the next day to throw 15 pitches in relief. what he did during highschool, especially in tourneys, practically makes that look like nothing (742 pitches over 6 games in 11 days...including 20 innings in back-to-back days).

it's neat to pick up talent, but it doesn't seem like he's coming cheap...nor do the cubs have the added advantage of being able to sign him without the risk of losing a high draft pick as a result...the 1st round pick is safe no matter where they "shop".

either way, as long as his medicals check out i'm down for him coming to the cubs. i hope his stuff translates well.

Agreed on all counts.

Tanaka wants at least $17M per year per Rotoworld....that would be 6/102 if they go out that many years.

That's $20 million a year in real money, since there's probably no way he doesn't get TMJ surgery at some point, so slice a year out of his actual time.

yanks have already contacted tanaka's agent...SEA expected to be huge in the run for him, too...cubs rumors not as hot, but present.

Reports are also coming in that the Yanks will fly the agent to NYC and buy him an expensive lunch. However, the Mariners are known to have better Sushi (there is some argument, however, that Pacific sushi is tainted by radioactivity). Some are claiming that L.A. has the upper hand because Tanaka's dad was a big Magic Johnson fan. Bloggers in Atlanta say he wants to come there because he wants to experience the smell of a new stadium. Oh, the excitement!

If he wants to smell a stadium like he's never smelled one before, Wrigley is his place!

"We're hoping to fix it up at some point, but hey, first we have to make sure the city doesn't shut us down, the neighbors don't sue our asses, and the fans don't completely stop showing up. Want more money?"

Laughed out loud.

I hope he loves Chicago pizza!

"According to the Naples Daily News, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested Saturday morning in Florida on a charge of reckless driving.

Puig's 2013 Mercedes was clocked speeding through the Alligator Alley section of I-75 at 110 mph in a 70 mph zone."

doh...2nd time he's been in this boat. he got his charges dismissed in TN last time around, though.

Well, Old and Blue, after the first half, you cannot blame this on the Bears defense. 10 points are on the refs, and 3 points on Alshon Jeffries.

why 10 points on the refs?

the fumble TD was the right call, everyone on the field was just stupid about it....

Fun Fact: Bears regressed 2 games from last year under Lovie, maybe he'll consider DC duties next year :)

Pack converted three 4th down plays on the final drive including a 4th and 8 for a 48 yrd TD. I know you know this . . . but that is a firkin' defensive nightmare.

i would have to say in my 48 yrs on the planet that is by far the worst defensive year I have ever witnessed from a Chicago team. Almost uncanny in their ineptitude. A true horror show.

also I definitely didn't watch the games close enough and I know they were decimated with defensive injuries . . . but I gotta think the DC has to take some of the wrap for this season. Anyone with better knowledge than me know if a team can play that poorly on defense despite good preparation and play calling?

injuries certainly didn't help, but they were already on the older side...Tillman was probably the biggest loss because he's such a turnover machine.

All that being said, it seemed they were ill-prepared as the season went on...early on it seemed they were just letting Briggs run everything and Lovie's crew just kept doing what we've been accustomed to. As the injuries and season went on, they just appeared so ill-prepared to me.

Injuries were big. Early on they were signing guys off the street and playing them at DT. Moving Wooton inside wasn't the worst thing but it further depleted DE and you could make the case that you're weakening two positions instead of one (remember Todd Walker at first for Derrek Lee?).

Melton, Collins, Paea, Williams, Briggs, Tillman missed lots of games. Other guys may have missed a game or two along the way, but that's nothing unusual. Kelvin Hayden went on IR before the season started.

That said the offensive side was practically injury free.

Getting back to the defense, I think Tucker is a good DC, but he was essentially asked to run Lovie's defense with Lovie type personnel. He blitzed a touch more than we've seen in the past, but generally ran the old system. He even used Lovie's playbook. I think he deserves a chance with an upgraded defensive roster.

Emery should be able to make some additions to the defense to at least field a competitive unit. We saw him turn the offense around pretty quickly, so I have hope for the defense becoming average (and with this offense that's about as good as it needs to be).

There will be a lot of interesting roster decisions to make coming up. Lots of guys in contract years beyond Cutler. There's a chance that the team could walk from Peppers. Tillman and Jennings are both Free Agents. I could go on but it's gonna be a fun offseason if you're capable of enjoying such things.

but it's gonna be a fun offseason
-------
THE Chicago Mantra.

When I see a team tackle as poorly as this team did you have to wonder if that isn't at least a little bit on the coaching. But maybe they really are just that bad. What was frustrating about this game was knowing with absolute certainty that the Packers would drive to the end zone in the last few minutes of the game and that the only hope was for an interception. This year they fixed the offensive line. Next year they need to fix the defensive line.

The defense was that bad. Most of the players wouldn't start on another teams defense. Who would? Take the week 15 lineup and see who 'might' - Peppers, Jennings, anyone else?

Tucker's not some perfect coach with just shitty players, but there's only so much he could do with this group.

There's a special place in hell for Jerry Angelo and Jim Hendry.

That last few minutes was not fun to watch.

That was as much fun as a one week old toothache with the dentist appointment next friday.
Now that football season is over in Chicago...

Muskat has a 10 questions article and there's a video from the mlb.com interview of Renteria from the winter meetings here:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/chc/optimistic-man...

"Renteria, 51, is well aware the Cubs haven't been to the World Series since and have not won one since 1908, but that's all in the past."
_________________

Ya think? Oh Carrie, Carrie, Carrie! (shakes his head)

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