The Cubs Over/Under on Wins is Set at 71

The pre-season ritual of BP releasing their preliminary PECOTA numbers is upon us and as expected the Cubs are in the bottom 5 of the league. They've got them tabbed at 71 wins at the moment, 3rd worse in the league with only the Astros and Marlins being worse. Apparently that doesn't include the recent Jason Hammel signing, which should be good for maybe a win on the positive side (maybe not).  Of course, it's all just theory now, but until there's something practical to follow, forecasting and guessing are about as much fun as we're going to have around here.

I don't subscribe to BP anymore, but the link to the Cubs page can be found here and apparently it's particularly unkind to Jeff Samardzija (0.1 WARP forecast). Fangraphs posted the ZIPS projections last week as well, and they were much kinder to Samardzija (3.2 zWAR forecast). Both systems seem to think Castro and Rizzo should have solid bounceback seasons. The #1 Comp column on the ZIPS tables is always a fun read: Baez=Ripken, Soler=Candy Maldonado, Rizzo=Carlos Pena, Schierholtz=Randy Bush, Edwin Jackson=Jaime Navarro and so on down the line.

I'm taking the under by the way, I think TheJedi are gonna be a little reluctant/stubborn on bringing up Baez, Bryant and some others and then the mid-season trading will take it's toll like it did last season.


Marlins sign Jeff Baker to 2-year deal, previously gave Reed Johnson an NRI and Casey McGehee a 1-year major league deal.

Sam Fuld gets minor league deal and invite from the A's.

so the cubs are in on Suk-Min Yoon...wonder if they see him as a starter or reliever.

he used to be a starter...worked pen last year (and on/off in years past) because of shoulder issues. *shrug*

I sure hope that if Baez, Alcantara, Hendricks, etc are having good seasons in AAA that HoyStein doesn't hesitate to call them up June 1...July 1...whatever...if Barney, Castro, 3rd baseman X are struggling

they said they felt they rushed Jackson and Vitters up and it did them no good. I wouldn't be surprised that they stick to their 600 AAA PA's guideline.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Jorge Soler will be out of minor league options in 2016, so the Cubs will have only two more seasons to get him 600 AAA PA.

As things stand right now, it is unclear where exactly Soler will start the 2014 season. It might seem logical to have Soler start back at Daytona with his best buddy Albert Almora, get into a groove, and then get moved up to AA Tennessee in May or June. But if the Cubs want to get him 600 AAA PA before he runs out of options, Soler will probably need to spend at least part of the 2014 season and all of the 2015 season at AAA Iowa, which means starting the 2014 season at AA Tennessee and then getting a promotion to AAA by August, regardless of whether he has mastered AA by that point in time.   

Hopefully Soler won't end up like Wily Mo Pena, who was signed to a major league contract as a teenager, and then ran out of minor league options before he was ready for MLB. 



fair to say that without the injuries, Soler would have been in AA last year and most likely AAA at some point this year. Don't think they'll hold him back from AAA for too long if he's raking. Soler may be a slightly different case since he has a major league contract. Part of that 600-PA-somewhat-bullshit stand is obviously keeping guys service time in check. Less of an issue with Soler.

Not shooting anyone Rob....just throwing in my unnecessary .02
Jackson and Vitters each had 450 At bats or so in AAA before getting brought up...Vitters put up .304/.356/.513 in 452 PA's.
I dunno....I would understand not bringing up the rooks I suppose.

I tend to think the "we rushed Jackson and Vitters" stance is a euphemism for "these guys failed miserably, but there's no point in giving up on them just yet, so what else do you want us to say?"

The 600 PAs rule will be flexible and influenced by the situation with the MLB team as well as the performance of the individual prospects. If there is no 3B and Barney continues to hover around the Mendoza line and Baez + Bryant/Alcantara rake, what are you gonna do?

indeed, doubt we'd see Baez before the Super 2 cutoff though for sure. Alcantara is hardly a can't miss bat anyway, the more he learns the better.

Frankly, for all of Baez's athleticism and quick wrists, his defense still needs tons of work along with his strike zone judgement. I see no reason to call anyone up until they have nothing left to prove in the minors regardless of what is happening at the major league level.

Injuries will probably end up dictating a lot of these call ups anyway, then it'll be up to the prospects to keep their jobs.

Sigh...that's probably true Rob. It's logical.
Then I will hope for my guy Logan Watkins to get a shot! Lol

DUSTY B: With the change in the "Suiper Two" threshhold in the 2012-16 CBA, the approximate MLB Service Time cut-off for Super Two ststus in arbitration post-2013 was right about 2+120 (it was about 2+140 in the previous CBA), so if you want to avoid Super Two status with the player down the line (post-2016), you wouldn't want a player to make his MLB debut before June 15th. (Of course that supposes the player is brought up and never gets sent down again, as happened with Starlin Castro).

Also, we don't know if the Super Two threshhold will change again in the next CBA, and the next CBA actually might go into effect by the time any player making his MLB debut in 2014 is eligible for Super Two consideration. Maybe the threshhold will stay the same, maybe it will go down even further (it certainly won't go back up to where it was pre-2012), or maybe they will eliminate Super Two status in return for Article XX-B MLB free-agency after five seasons of MLB Service Time.   

BTW, Javier Baez is not Rule 5 eligible until post-2015, so he doesn't need to be rostered this season or after the season.

Kyle Hendricks will be first-time Rule 5 eligible after the 2014 season, though, so a September call-up (if not earlier) would be perfectly understandable for him. (Arismendy Alcantara is already on the MLB 40-man roster).  

Including Hendricks, there are presently 75 Cubs minor leaguers eligible for selection in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft. Among the 75 are RHPs C. J. Edwards, Dillon Maples, and Tayler Scott, who are eligible even though all three were HS draft picks in 2011, and HS kids normally get four seasons before they are eligible for Rule 5 selection  However, Edwards, Maples, and Scott are Rule 5 eligible post-2014 because all three were 19 years old on the June 5th prior to signing. It's unusual to have even one HS draft pick eligible for Rule 5 selection after four minor league seasons, but to have three at once is VERY rare.


"Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune hears that the Cubs are unlikely to sign right-hander Suk-Min Yoon."

"Former star pitcher turned television analyst Curt Schilling announced Wednesday that he is battling cancer.

The 47-year-old Schilling, who spent 20 years in the major leagues before retiring in 2009, divulged the news in a statement released through his employer, Bristol-based ESPN. It did not indicate what type of cancer Schilling has, when he was diagnosed or what his prognosis might be."

Barney signs for $2.3M

Marmol a fish. 1/$1.25
Rodney a Mariner, 2/14
Schmidt, 3/44

This has been an abysmal off season, and probably is going to be another abysmal season, but I still believe in the plan. I also believe in Cubbery, and believe it is perfectly possible for Theo to leave, frustrated, before the plan bears fruit, and whoever replaces him will lose sight of the original vision.

Kyler Burke has signed with the Phillies according to BA.

FA's still out there

N. Cruz, E. Santana, U. Jimenez, S. Drew and Morales all have draft pick compensation, so they're obviously no-go's

I know the thing is to blame the "system", but how about blame their dumb agent for not taking the $14.1M deal? Regardless, other than Cruz, no one there makes any sense as does any other of the position player free agents left that aren't compensation attached.

Pitching wise, Burnett and Arroyo will certainly go to contenders and Cubs seem set on starters at the moment. Still think they could use another reliever: Hanrahan, Ayala, K-Rod, Bailey, O. Perez, F. Francisco, K. Gregg, Dotel, Atchison I believe are still all out there.

and K-rod back to Brewers on a 1-year deal

And Arroyo goes to DBacks on 2-year deal.

"Arizona Diamondbacks SP Bronson Arroyo will make $9.5 million this year and $9.5 million in 2015. The deal includes an $11 million option for the 2016 season with a $4.5 million buyout."

great deal for ARZ if he can effectively pitch all 3 years...2/23.5 or 3/30

ARZ pitchers/catchers reported yesterday...LAD saturday...most of the rest of MLB trickling in over the next week (cubs 13th, thursday).

full workouts for most teams happen in 2 weeks.

Damn, I love baseball.

I cant wait for AZ Phil's reports to begin!

Baseball America lists the Cubs releasing:

Chicago Cubs
Released: RHP Daniel Adrian, RHP Carlos Martinez-Pumarino, RHP Eddie Orozco, LHP Matt Iannazzo, LHP Sheldon McDonald, OF Taiwan Easterling

the Rockies signed: LHP Garrett Schlecht (released by Cubs, Jan. 7)
the Red Sox signed: Mike Brenly

Recent comments

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  • May the best team win, and subsequently humiliate the Cardinals.

  • I love arriving here first thing in the morning, adding a few moronic posts (moranic for any Cardinals fans who may be trolling), and reading the sage posts of all you guys. Most knowledgeable fans on any forum, by far. So post like crazy today and help give TCR some visibility!

    I told my wife last night that I'm going to need a support system for tonight's game. Tonight is going to be a lot harder on me than it is going to be on these rookie bad asses.

  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.