I wonder what the Cubs headlines will be in July, 2015?

I have no idea what's going to happen next year.
But I'm fairly certain that early in the season the lineup will have Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant.
That's not a whole team by any stretch, but those guys together sort of makes me go...hmmm.
Next year, now there's no way anybody's thinking about actually winning winning, but...hmmm.
If Theo Epstein has sort of... the Cubs have been like watching the pot of water, and next year I'd say it'll start to boil.
Who knows - Baez...Alcantara...Vizcaino... some of those guys might bubble up.
Maybe the headlines in July 2015 won't be about who the Cubs can get for some guy Chris Bosio polished into something new and shiny.
Mabye it'll be more about "gelling" and "nucleus" and stuff like that.
It's up to the kids, really.
Anyway, somebody gave me a chiclet the other day and I looked at it and thought man... wouldn't be hard to put a little blue W on there, would it?
Then, when you're walking out of Wrigley after another Cub victory, somebody could hand you a little pack.
It almost makes sense at Wrigley Field, right?






Comments

NotTomRicketts will be stealing this and merchandising it immediately. Soon there will be "W" Chiclet shirseys.

i have 2 main concerns...

1- can they continue to pick up way-beyond-expectation pitching to fill out the roster if they're not going to spend big on it? we've been spoiled with that luck/skill recently over multiple seasons with a slew of FA pitchers.

2- can they draft with pick 16-30 as well as they can with a top-5 pick (6, 2, 4 since they took over and another top-5 coming up in 2015)? we've not seen a lot out of their post-1st-round picks so far, but it's not enough time to flesh out what talent will emerge from their past draft classes yet. STL makes a living doing this...it's what keeps them competitive...the ability to find good talent deep in the draft.

soon enough (hopefully) this club will have to quit clutching on trading away the team and having top draft pick slots.

In addition to what Crunch said, I am still waiting to see if ownership will spend money before sipping the kool-aid. If the Red Sox and their World Series are the model then look at their team make up. In 2013 it was a combination of home grown (Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester, Buckholtz, Middlebrooks) and free agents/trades (Napoli, Victorino, Salty, Lackey, Dumpster, Peavy, Drew and Gomes). Even Mr. Red Sox himself, Big Papi, isn't home grown.

If I recall correctly the Red Sox 2004 had Manny, Ortiz, Damon, Pedro and Shilling as outside talent playing key roles.

Right now the Cubs 2015 MLB payroll projects to be right around $65M (includes projected arbitration raises), or $55M if Samardzija is traded.

ESTIMATED PROJECTED 2015 CUBS MLB PLAYER PAYROLL

SIGNED:
Edwin Jackson - $11M
Starlin Castro - $6M
Kyuji Fujikawa - $5.5M club option with 2M performance bonus based on GF or $500K buy-out
Anthony Rizzo - $5M
Jorge Soler - $2M
Ryan Sweeney - $1.5M
OTHER: Gerardo Concepcion ($500K) and Jose Veras ($150K)
SUB-TOTAL: $31.65M (or $26.65M if Fujikawa club option declined)

PROJECTED ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE POST-2014:
Jake Arrieta - $3.5M?
John Baker - likely non-tender
Darwin Barney - likely non-tender
Welington Castillo - $1.5M?
Chris Coghlan - likely non-tender
Ryan Kalish - will qualify with at least 0+139 days of MLB Service Time in 2014, or could qualify as “Super Two” with at least 0+086 days of MLB Service Time in 2014
James McDonald - likely non-tender
Justin Ruggiano - likely non-tender
James Russell - $2.5M? 
Jeff Samardzija - $11M? 
Pedro Strop - $1.5M? 
Luis Valbuena - $3M? 
Arodys Vizcaino - would very likely qualify as a “Super Two” but only if at least 0+086 days of MLB Service Time are accrued in 2014 
Travis Wood - $5.5M? 
Wesley Wright - $2.5M? 
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE ESTIMATED PROJECTED SUB-TOTAL (ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE): $31M?

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION):
Arismendy Alcantara 
Dallas Beeler
Justin Grimm
Brett Jackson
Ryan Kalish (if not eligible for Salary Arbitration)
Junior Lake 
Mike Olt 
lake Parker
Neil Ramirez
Hector Rondon
Zac Rosscup
Chris Rusin
Brian Schlitter
Matt Szczur
Christian Villanueva
Josh Vitters
Arodys Vizcaino (if not eligible for Salary Arbitration)
Logan Watkins
PROJECTED ESTIMATED SUB-TOTAL: $6.85M (for 13 pre-arbitration players to fil-out 25-man roster) plus additional $1.5M for 14 players on Optional Assignment to minors (Soler not included).

2015 PROJECTED TOTAL: $71M (or $66M if Fujikawa club option declined)

I love the taste of Kool-Aid, even though I know it's not good for me, so I say that all of the Big 4 will be big producers, and that none of the other top ten teams or so with great farm systems will produce the way the Cubs will.

Twitter feed says Blue Jays are scouting a bunch of Cubs, apparently unawares of no game today. The good part: No Cubbery possible. Hopefully tomorrow Barney plays and makes 10 defensive fielding gems.

Yeah, it would be awesome if the Cubs can unload Barney somehow and save some cash in a deal with a starting pitcher. And Villanueva is a free agent-to-be as well, so anything they can get for him too is a bonus. It wouldn't surprise me to see most of Samardzija, Hammel, Villanueva, Barney, Schierholtz, Bonifacio, and maybe one of Coghlan or Kalish moved in July/August, even if the non-pitchers are moved for low minor league players to be named or just cash savings. This could be the last mid-season shit-canning fire sale for a while.

Bryant and Schwarber both 0-4 today, and our world comes crashing down...

Bring 'em up! They're ready for Cubbery! Actually, Schwarber did draw a walk, which is always a good thing to see from sluggers.

Almora 2-4 so far, double and 2 rbi.

About time he heats up!

Another speedy CF, Jacob Hanneman, has been lighting it up lately. He's 23 playing for Kane County, though. Just wondering if anyone has seen him and is he a legit prospect even as a role player?

CHARLIE: I saw Jake Hannemann a lot at Instructs last year and at Minor League Camp this year, but I haven't seen him during the 2014 regular season.  

He's an OK hitter with gap power... doesn't project to hit a lot of home runs although he did win the HR Derby at post-2013 Instructs... a good flyhawk (he played safety at BYU and his brother plays football there, too) but he has a rag arm... kind of a dare-devil base-runner always looking to take the extra base... has the speed to score from first base on a double or from second on a single to the outfield... he's from Hawaii and he's Jason McLeod's cousin... served an LDS mission between HS and college which is why he was draft-eligible after his freshman year at BYU and its also why he is probably still a bit raw...  he's one of several Cub prospects whose make-up is considered to be "off-the-charts"... 

To be an everyday player he needs to take more walks and cut down on his strikeouts... 

Hasn't he been picking it up quite a bit of late?

almora and vogelbomb have both "woken up" the past couple weeks for daytona...about time.

Good to see, though, that the tendency of the prospects so far has been to make adjustments instead of the other way around. Baez also got off to a slow start and although he isn't quite on fire yet he seems to at least be heating up some. Maybe it's a sign that the coaching is getting better down there, too, which is a pretty unheralded and unnoticed thing in the minors but must be just about as important as getting the quality players in the first place. I don't imagine that St Louis just has some magical touch when it comes to recruiting players. If you run up and down any system I think you'll find that the guys who don't come in top rated are all very close to each other in talent across all the ballclubs. I'm not a baseball insider so this is just guesswork but it makes sense to me that St. Louis has outstanding coaching up and down the system, and that's why so many of their young players (again, I'm just basing this on common sense) end up turning into major leaguers.

That's what bugged me so much about the previous regime - kids came up often seeming to have absolutely no idea how to play the game. Obviously the jury is out on TheoCorp but at least it's a good sign to see these slumps and/or slow starts turn around down there. I might be mistaken but I think Alcantara also got off to a slow start.

I wouldn't necessarily call Alcantara's start slow, but he heated up dramatically after about a month and is now hitting over .300, so he's been improving almost all of his numbers over the course of the season (average, obp, BB:K).

This is one instance where I must say, Bring him up. It's a crowded infield prospect wise. Get rid of Barney, even if it means cutting him loose, and bring up Alcatntara. If he plays well, you have a Baez/Castro problem down the line, but that just means a nice trade can be made.

Barney will be gone in a trade and Alcantara will be up soon.

I think you're right, but I think he'll be splitting his time between 2B and CF. I also think soon means late July or early August.

I agree. Some days we will see Olt and Valbuena in the infield, with Alcantara in the OF, and other days it will be Valbuena and Alcantara in the infield.

And yeah, it could be any time in the next 4 weeks; it depends on how quickly they can move people. If Barney is packaged with Hammel to Toronto tomorrow, then Alcantara almost certainly comes up now. But it just as likely could be a few weeks before these guys start to move.

Question for all...
Does Cael Brockmeyer or Will Remillard project as a solid prospect?
Remillard seems to have missed a lot of time. Just curious.

DUSTY B: Will Remillard missed the 2013 regular season (after he was drafted) with a back injury but then he won the Catchers Skills Competition at post-2013 Instructs (where he made his "field debut"). He is considered the best defensive catching prospect in the organization, with his bat the only question. (He is hitting 310/383/429 so far at KC). He missed more time this season with the same back issues that sidelined him in 2013 and that apparently come & go. He was Josh Conway's catcher in college.  

Cael Brockmeyer is the classic back-up C-1B. He appears to be too tall & lanky to be a catcher, but he does play the position adequately (not great but OK), He looks more-comfortable at 1B, but he probably doesn't have enough power to play there on a regular basis, although he did hit for the cycle yesterday. 

Thanks Az Phil!! I'm hoping Remillard can get past this back inijury plague.

Az Phil, do you have an update on CJ Edwards? Thanks.

HAGSAG: Last time I saw C. J. Edwards he was throwing bullpen side-sessions at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park every second or third day. I don't know what the timetable is for a return to game action, though. 

that's great stuff...could have had Stroman for B. Norris essentially...wow.

Before that came out I was thinking about Cubs getting Stanton.

I would offer Baez and Soler

last year maybe...that ship sailed at that price.

I ve figured out how Cubs can get Stanton and Trout and not cost much!

/Costanza'd

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/top-30-international-list/

top 30 international prospect list of players Cubs won't be going after...well maybe some on the bottom.

Arrieta should bring a nice haul at deadline.

/how dare you???
//you bastard!!!

Holy hell Arrieta, he's at it again 

Arrieta up to 100 pitches, no one warming up.

/just saying
//2-0 score

thru 7, big sloppy grounds out

BOS announce crew still hasn't acknowledged arrieta's no-hit bid though 7. maybe they're just trying to ignore it.

i'm glad len doesn't buy into that "silent topic" issue. it's not like the announce booth is the dugout.

Does anyone get baseball get called out on more third strikes out of the zone than Rizzo? There was plenty of patient guys who won't expand on two strikes, but it seems like it happens to him ALL the time.

ump tonite sucks

Seconded.

7 2/3---drew ruins it, solid liner

ata boy jake
good job

renteria secretly loving an 8th inning single.

maybe he can get off the phone with whoever he was talking to that's not the pen (cuz no one ever got up) and remove arri.

great hand from boston fans

The Red Sox' Darwin Barney breaks it up. FUCK YOU!

hahaha

Nice dp turn Riz

I-Cubs get a 2 run HR from Manny in the 7th (Bryant on board). That was interesting but...

I-Cubs get a Grand Slam from Bryant in the 8th (after Lopez, Alcantara and Baez walks) and take a 6-5 lead.

Now that was awesome!

Bryant's slam off of Casey Coleman.

Az Phil: Can you review your thoughts on Marcus Hatley's prospect status with regard to all the relievers that are bubbling up for the bullpen. Compare him in particular to Rivero and Vizcaino. Maybe even a ranking given who is at the mlb level right now (Strop, Rondon, Grimm and Ramirez). It seems to me that Ramirez (and dare I say) Vizcaino could be looked at as a starters next year with all the competition for bullpen spots.

Marcus Hatley was drafted by the Cubs in June 2006 and then he signed in May 2007 as a so-called "Draft & Follow" (DNF). He was one of the last DNFs ever signed by the Cubs. 

Prior to the 2007 draft, a club could draft a HS or JC player and then would retain negotiation rights to that player (and the club's area scout would "follow" the player) until one week prior to the next year's draft if the HS player enrolled in a JC or the JC player did not transfer to a four-year school. (That's how the Cubs signed guys like Rick Wilkins and Kyle Fansworth). 

The 6'5 Hatley was an outfielder at Palomar JC and he had only dabbled in pitching, but the Cubs converted him to a full-time pitcher immediately after he arrived at Fitch Park (and I was there the first day he took the field). While he no longer was an outfielder, I do remember that he really enjoyed taking BP once a week with the other pitchers. 

Because he hadn't pitched much, Hatley was a "project," a raw talent with a solid fastball and a promising breaking ball but no change-up. He was used as a starting pitcher or multi-inning "piggy-backer" his first three seasons in the organization to get him more innings, but he was not very impressive and he appeared to be on the road to getting released.

Then he suffered a torn UCL late in the 2009 season and underwent TJS in September. He returned to Fitch Park in 2010 and rehabbed for most of the year before getting back into game action around August 2010. 


He spent the next three seasons (2011-13) moving up through the system, and while his fastball velocity jumped to 95-96 post-TJS, he struggled to throw strikes, sometimes bordering on "Steve Blass Disease."

Hatley was eligible to be a minor league free-agent (6YFA) post-2013, but he signed a 2014 minor league sucsessor contract with the Cubs before he hit the open market. (Same thing happened with Dae-Eun Rhee and Ryan Searle). To get him to re-up, the Cubs offered Hatley an NRI to MLB Spring Training and probably a salary equivalent to first-year MLB 40-man roster split contract money ($40,000). He also was eligible for selection in the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft, so it was a "win-win" for Hatley.

He spent 2014 Spring Training with the big club and looked OK, before being sent to Iowa. But then he suddenly started throwing strikes, something he was unable to do previously, and that has turned him into a definite MLB relief prospect. 

As far as comparing Hatley to Arodys Vizcaino and Armando Rivero, all three throw mid-90's, but Vizcaino has a plus-curve, while Rivero has both a power-slider and a splitter that he uses as a "chase pitch." I would compare Hatley more to Neil Ramirez, with a mid-90's heater and a decent breaking ball that he can throw for strikes. (He could be more like Pedro Strop if the fastball command issues return, but so far so good).

The thing to keep in mind about Hatley is that he is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA again post-2014, so the Cubs will need to add him to their MLB 40-man roster no later than 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series. They could try signing him to another minor league successor contract, but I doubt that Hatley would do that again, and even if he does, he would almost certainly get selected in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft.  

So Hatley will probably get added to the Cubs MLB 40-man roster post-2014 if not sooner. In fact a September call-up would seem to be a definite possibility. 

PHIL: Is Marcus related to the late Packer's - and former Bear's Player Personnel man, Mark Hatley?

E-MAN: I don't think they were related. From what I remember from when I talked with Marcus a few times, football never came up, and neither did Mark Hatley. 

Also, Marcus is a San Diego kid, while Mark was from Texas, so if there is/was a family connection it probably is remote. 

There were some funny twitter jokes last night. My favorite was the one where the poster wondered if Shark would be asking for Arrieta money now.

I was intrigued by this statement in the sidebar that the Cubs rotation has the highest WAR in the NL right now. It is interesting that Fangraphs WAR seems to value guys like Jackson and Wood much more than Baseball Reference WAR. As just one comparison, I used the Dodgers:

fWAR

Arrieta - 2.4
Samardzija - 2.2
Hammel - 2.1
Wood - 1.1
Jackson - 1.0
Total = 8.8

Kershaw - 3.2
Greinke - 1.7
Ryu - 1.6
Beckett - 0.8
Haren - 0.2
Total = 7.5

bWAR

Arrieta - 2.7
Samardzija - 2.0
Hammel - 2.9
Wood - 0.4
Jackson - (-0.6)
Total = 7.4

Kershaw - 3.0
Greinke - 2.8
Ryu - 1.5
Beckett - 2.3
Haren - 0.2
Total = 9.8

Cubs' lineup against Clay Buchholz:
Coghlan LF
Sweeney DH
Rizzo 1B
Castro SS
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Ruggiano CF
Barney 2B

Jackson P

my attention is too high a price to pay when ed jackson takes the mound...

he's got a 1.0 WAR according to fangraphs...you are statistically proven to be over-reacting with your emotions. =p

it could be much worse...such as alfredo simon (CIN) who has a 0.5 WAR.

joking aside...fangraphs seems to have further broken WAR's usefulness for pitchers rather than improving on it. their batting isn't much better, but it's not as horrid as their pitching rankings.

In the let's beat a very, very dead horse to death department, to the point where we are talking shooting its now zombie eyes out with a sawed off, I noticed this article about how Renteria is going to keep showing patience with Lake:

"We'll continue to give him opportunities to play," Renteria said. "We'll just continue to do what we've been doing the whole season and picking and choosing and working and trying to make adjustments."

Lake has had some peaks and valleys. He batted .273 in 26 games in May and hit .190 in 23 games in June.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140701&c...

Quite a difference between that and the treatment Olt is getting. I'm still completely flummoxed by this team's refusal to see what they have in Olt, especially given the rather remarkable power display he showed during the brief time he played a little.

As I agree the handling of Olt makes little sense, it makes me think that either management knows something I don't (likely), management is illogical (unlikely) or management is making a mistake (unknown).

They sure are playing dumb if they know something we don't. These comments are almost nonsensical in their steadfast claims that he's a good guy working hard who somehow *needs* to be platooned and matched-up (which btw has been the claim since opening day) on the MLB roster on the part of Theo and Ricky:

http://www.nhregister.com/sports/20140630/olt-look...

I think they're making a mistake (likely).

Yeah, I've said on more than a few back and forths here that the only explanation at all is that they know something we don't. But it also doesn't seem like TheoCorp not to pretty thoroughly vett a high end prospect they trade for, assuming he's some kind of dick or something. And you would think some players would have let that leak out by now as in stuff like, "yeah, he doesn't play but he's a dick so who cares?"

Olt is a much better hitter at night (210/301/494) than in the day time (093/158/256). I wonder if he is having trouble seeing the ball in the daylight and the Cubs don't want to talk about it. But he didn't seem to have any trouble hitting in daylight during spring training.

As little as he's played, I wouldn't put too much stock in those splits just yet.

Jr Lake is lost

wow, red sox suck

not enough r.dempster...also, happy canada day dempster...also, k.bryant was 1 year old when AAA teammate manny ramirez made his MLB debut.

Happy Canada Day, Fergie

This made me laugh. I really hate Ortiz, but he calls it like it is on this one:

"He pitched the game of his life today," Ortiz said of Jackson. "Everyone has been doing that against us. The pitching we've been facing lately -- pitchers go from being [terrible] to being good. It's unbelievable. This guy has an ERA near 6.00. He was making pitches and I was like, 'Seriously, dude, if you pitched like that, your ERA would be 2.50.'"

I also have to reiterate comments that others have made on here this season about the Cubs playing much better fundamental baseball. It seems like very few fielding errors in general but more importantly not nearly as much Cubbery in throwing the ball to the wrong base, etc. And beyond that they seem to be making smart decisions that make the other teams look bad. The pick-off of Drew at first last night and nailing Pierzynski at second were almost more rewarding to me than winning the game. I'm just so used to seeing the Cubs on the other end of those plays.

Absolutely. I've been harping on a couple things, Olt and the better fundamentals. As much as the Olt thing bugs me, and the odd lineups, overall I'm pretty happy with Captain Happy, if only because I just haven't seen a Cubs team play good fundamentals in so long. Chris Coghlan as a lead off man is insanely peculiar. 37 at bats isn't a large sample size, but it would be enough to bench Olt permanently if he had a .154 OBP at leadoff. So, getting his team to play good baseball, which is huge, is a big plus and it wipes out the insanity of the line ups for me for now. Once he actually gets a lineup he can work with my expectations will change there a bit.

To think if the Cubs were not so cheap they could have signed those two heady all hustle free agents.

Anyone get a sense that the Cub aircraft carrier is about to complete the course change to start heading north? The two games in Boston including competent defense, good young bullpen arms and the plethora of hitting in the minors just doesn't feel like the hopelessness of previous years.

Or just tell me it's too much sugar in my Blue Kool Aid?

I watched an Edwin Jackson pitched game yesterday, so yes full steam ahead.

So far, the Kool Aid still has the bitter taste of too much stevia instead of sugar, but there are definitely lots of promising signs down on the farm, and the team does play good fundamental baseball, which is the Bizarro world of Cubbery.

It does feel like the ship is heading north but there are lots of icebergs out there. The ocean floor is littered with the rusty hulls of failed prospects and injuries.

There's also the malignancy of Cubbery, which sneers over every player like a pit bull trained to bite off balls.

Wow. Analogy-palooza.

It was fun!

Heading Norrh...(sheds a happy tear)

Triple play...verified and authenticated

http://deadspin.com/the-indians-pulled-off-a-damn-...

the cubs are destroying a weak pitcher + weak D catcher this inning...all kinds of offense going on before the 1st out is even recorded.

valbuena's in a funk.

Running @ will on BJ

I could get used to the Cubs playing the Red Sox.

olt homer...because he occasionally does that

Mike Oltimate Warrior

There's gotta be some way to go back in time and get Olt outta the lineup.

Okay, I don't care what ANYBODY says. You just don't let that kind of power sit on the bench. That was a ridiculous shot. Sitting him on the bench is officially stupid and should be punishable by the MLB's commissioner's office.

Just ridiculous. It's inexplicable. What kind of asshole sits him 2 of 3 games, with this powerless lineup, on a team going nowhere, and in Boston with the DH and the Green Monster. As Bubbles says: "Something's Fucky."

i miss last year's travis wood. :(

he no good on the road

Jesus Christ will someone get Olt outta there? Homerun and Double - he's in danger of getting something going. GET HIM OUTTA THERE!!

the thing that weirds me out is that it seems like he's not getting much in the way of special instruction...like, riding the pine a lot because he was working his ass off on other things and he's a work in progress. writers/tv generally pick up on it when they see it pre-game or ask about it if they don't know. i imagine he's getting something in the way of instruction, but there's not much being said about it. *shrug*

i dont expect more than .250/.330 avg/ob% with a 150+Ks a year at his best...a mark trumbo-type at his worst.

sure, you might want to hit him 5/6/7 in a "healthy" lineup, but at his price, control, and promise that's not a bad deal. olt can play above average 3rd, too...it's an important part of the package.

Well exactly. I hope it's some bizarre poker game by the front office. The whole thing just stinks. I maintain that he would be rookie of the year consideration if he'd be playing every day (which I think is really shitty if they deny him that opportunity to shop a small piece like Barney / Sureouts). Plus if he IS a keeper he needs the seasoning like Rizzo did and it needs to start now. His ceiling is just miles beyond anyone else on the roster (save Rizzo Castro), and as you say his price is right. It's really a pile of BS. Look at Bogaerts' numbers. I'll say it again, I've NEVER seen a pedigreed prospect just sitting on the bench his rookie year. It's just stupid.

The most aggravating thing is that you just KNOW that Olt will sit on Friday. It's almost guaranteed.

Fact.

I'm not taking odds again. Last time I did that he sat for like, a week.

2 extra base hits MIGHT actually earn him another start. We'll see. There's no rhyme or reason to it ...

no dh in dc so sit down

barney almost hit for cycle too

Good call. Olt on bench after a HR/2B game.

That's the most aggravating thing about this. Here you have a guy who has had a really, really rough 20 or 25 at bats and then has a nice night, gets a good rhythm going, and he sits. The last time that happened the dude had clobbered a bunch of home runs in a few at bats, sat, and then the hitting became a can of suck. If there is a Renteria scale where one bad thing can offset some good stuff, this qualifies. This is Cubbery. Pure, unadulterated, and unnecessary, Cubbery. If he goes to another team and goes all Mike Schmidt on us, that will be Cubbery.

'"When I wasn’t playing, I was working hard,” [Olt] said. “We started to figure things out and get back to basics again."'

Not much info, but hopefully what they have figured out continues to bear fruit.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/id/254...

How? He isn't playing today. This borders on baseball manager malpractice.

It's hard to imagine Valbuena sucking more than he has lately. But the patience with him and his medium floor low ceiling completely predictable veteran performance is robust and imperturbable.

len just yelled at me for complaining about lemon heads.

Olt is a teribble second baseman
this is a 12" soft ball game

No more Absinthe for you jacos! Not tonight.

only see part of the green fairy

before the lemonheads were an obnoxiously boring alt-rock band they were an obnoxiously awful punk band...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWNK5T3boyk

Haha! Nice.

Trying to get Len play Modern Lovers "Roadrunner"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gy88-5pc7c8

This game is so out of hand...

Barney is a 303 ft fly down right field fly line or 320 ft fly to left from the cycle

judging by the way mookie betts plays the OF an inside the park HR isn't out of the question.

this is one of the best 4 hour cubs game i've seen in quite a while.

It's definitely the best start to a road trip I've seen in a bit.

Meanwhile, Castro and Rizzo just keep hitting. That hit by Rizzo was what I meant the other day when I said he's starting to just hit stuff all over the plate now.

Supposedly Dylan Cease will sign with the Cubs tomorrow, rumor is $1.5M

https://twitter.com/VandySportscom/status/48447061...

also above link also picked up by Cubs Den/John Arguello

http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2014/07/report-...

$1.5M would be just about all they have left fwiw.

In addition to the nice major league win last night, many of the key players in the minors had nice nights:

AAA
Alcantara 2-4, 3B, R, RBI
Baez 1-3, 2B, BB, R (up to .740 OPS on the year, .814 over the last 30 days, .901 over his last 10 days)
Bryant 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB
Rusin (W) 7 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 3 SO, 1 ER
Parker (SV) IP, BB, SO

AA
Pierce Johnson 7.1 IP, H, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 ER

A+
Albert Almora 3-3, 2B, BB, 2 R (hitting .421 over his last 10 games)
Vogelbach 1-3, 2 RBI

A
Schwarber 2-4, BB

A-SS
Zagunis 2-3, 2 BB, 2 R, RBI, SB

R
Torres 1-4, BB, R
Jimenez 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI

The Cubs at 37-46 (.446) are currently better than the Diamondbacks, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Astros, Rangers, and Rays, and only percentage points behind the Red Sox (.447) and Padres (.447).

Morans. How the hell are they supposed to slot well in the draft? Oh, my bad. I almost forgot it's not part of the PERMANENT plan.

If they had a better lineup I'd say this series could be a season changer. You can get a lot of mo off a series like that, but the team frankly isn't good enough to do much beyond maybe just barely look above 500. EDIT: Although they could do wonders, perhaps, by giving Olt a legitimate tryout.

Basically doing it wth 2 .5 bats

3 total if you include Wellington when he's right, Olt's home runs, and Lake before he fell apart.

The Cubs have signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Yeiler Peguero for $250,000. At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, Peguero is an above-average runner with an average arm and should be able to stay in the middle of the infield. He’s a switch-hitter with a line-drive approach. Like lefthander Wander Cabrera, who signed with the Cubs earlier today for $250,000, Peguero played in the International Prospect League. Peguero trained with Juan Herrera, who is known as “Mon.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/cubs-sign-dominican-shortst...

The Cubs have signed Dominican lefthander Wander Cabrera for $250,000. Cabrera is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and has shown solid arm strength for a 16-year-old lefty, though his delivery and strike-throwing ability will need take a step forward. Cabrera trained with Amauris Nina (the same trainer who had Eloy Jimenez, Chicago’s $2.8 million signing last year) and played in the International Prospect League. Cabrera’s contract also includes $50,000 in college scholarship money, which doesn’t count against the Cubs’ bonus pool.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/cubs-sign-dominican-lefthan...

 

Cubs sign Panamian SS Francisco Garay

https://twitter.com/kileymcd/status/484503343641817089

and potentially already setting up deals for next year

https://twitter.com/kileymcd/status/484504995388080128

per CCO...

3B Tony Rijo is 16 years old and is 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds. Rijo is a right handed hitter with quick hands, a line-drive stroke and occasional power according to Baseball America. Rijo’s offense is reportedly ahead of his defense. Rijo has an average arm and “projects as either a third baseman or a corner outfielder.” The Cubs signed Rijo for $100,000.

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2014/07/cubs...

They're developing a sleeve to reduce Tommy John surgeries.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2097866-the-sle...
The Sleeve can not only capture things like arm speed and release point, but it can calculate the angles of the elbow and shoulder. It can directly measure, in real time, the forces acting on the ulnar collateral ligament.

Cool.

nothing like strapping on a compression sleeve in june...or july...or august...etc...

outside of rehab or out-of-game stuff this sounds like it will be as groundbreaking and popular as the pitcher concussion cap...of which a.torres in SD seems to own every single one in existence because he's the only one regularly using it.

"hey, we got a sleeve that can help protect your arm."
"nice. how?"
"well, it collects data on how you're using your arm so we know when to take you out of a game."
"wait, what?"
"yup, strap it on. i know it's 105F on the field, but go get em."
"wait..."

i was wondering what was up with all the extreme hype through-out the article until i noticed will "my dad is a doctor" carrol wrote it.

The concussion cap might well be argued an over-reaction to a problem that tries to prevent something happening less than .005%. There's been, what, 65-70 TJS on professional pitchers this year.

As the Dad of a D-1 college pitcher now a year removed from TJS, I would have been interested in this sleeve when he was 13-14 knowing what I now know. This past year has been hell on my guy and his work ethic (and a great surgeon from the Cubs) has gotten him almost all the way back.

yeah, i think it's best use will be with youth players, but i don't see it effecting the MLB TJ issue too much because i'm not as confident on it's widespread adoption in programs before pro ball (college/highschool/travel ball/little league/etc).

i could see it being used in the minors...after signing players...rehabing players..."fixing" a player who's off...analyzing a player's motion...etc.

beyond that, the variety of hard-to-obtain data points this sleeve collects is rather extraordinary and can be used for a lot more than TJ prediction.

Az Phil, have any NDFA's showed up in Arizona yet? Thanks.

Bryant’s defense has also been a revelation. There was some thought that Bryant would be able to stick at third base, at least in the short term, but might need to move to the outfield before too long. The reviews of his defense this season are much better than that. He looks to be a solid long-term presence at third base with excellent agility with some scouts saying he may have gold glove ability there. He’s committed more errors than one would like this year (14 in 62 games in Double-A), but scouts see no long-term problems and he’s been flawless since his promotion to Triple-A.
http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/ask-ba-gets-...

This is HUGE news as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for that link QM. Yeah, a bunch of errors is no big deal at this stage. I really wanted him to be a third baseman. I think he provides more value that way, since slugging outfielders should be easy to find (apparently they are not, judging from this year's Theo off season haul). So yeah this is a big deal. If these dummies would just play Olt, and then bring up Alcantara and maybe even Baez towards the end of the year, suddenly the Cubs have some tradeable youth commodities.

Who are you? And what have you done with my Cubs?!

4 in a row to start the trip. Same team. Weird stuff. Baseball.

What do they have to do in the next 15-20 days to really screw up the front office's deadline plans. 12-6 would put them at .500, right? I don't think it's that crazy to see a scenario in which they don't trade Samardzija, since they could trade him in the offseason or even at the next deadline, and they could continue the uphill battle of extending him. But would approaching .500 be enough to keep them from trading Hammel? Could they pick up a passable outfielder by trading off some replaceable bullpen arms (Russell, Wright, Villanueva, even Grimm)? Would calling up Alcantara and/or Bryant be a means to making a wild card push? Two weeks of .500 ball (instead of, say, .667 ball) would probably make all these question irrelevant, but they seem like real concerns at this particular moment.

What a weird team.

Edit: On a semi-related note, what are the chances the Cubs try to pick up Nolan Reimold off of waivers?

cubs up 2 runs in the 9th...1 out, man on 2nd...olt pinch hits...WAS manager brings in a righty...olt is pulled for sweeney.

nice. let's burn a batter without using him and not give olt a pinch hit with a 2 run lead in the 9th.

classic. at least sweeney got a hit, i guess.

still, olt cannot catch a consistent playing time opportunity.

Our manager is a genius. He'll go down in history as the greatest chess player of AAAA players ever. Go get'em Ricky! Win that battle. Lose that war.

PS - I know he's doing great with fundamentals and attitude work. I hope Olt dates his daughter some day.

"I hope Olt dates his daughter some day:"

The way he's handling Olt, I get the sense he already has hit on his daughter, and she's like, 8.

I think Renteria hates me. I am not sure what I did to him, but he hates me.

Welcome to stardom, Starlin.

Here is something that has changed. I really was pretty sure Starlin would get a hit. That's not a knock on him, it's just an observation on how hard this game is, and how rough his previous season was. He also seems to have a bit more meat on his bones, something I hadn't noticed before today.

Jim Callis tweet confirms Dylan Cease has signed with the Cubs

https://twitter.com/jimcallisMLB/status/4851137662...

Callis also adds:

Outstanding deal for Cease w/@Cubs considering he'll have TJ surgery on July 22.

https://twitter.com/jimcallisMLB/status/4851148810...

that went from "awesome" to "oh" really quickly.

still, they got everyone in their higher draft picks so there's that success.

hammel pissed about being pulled with 92 pitches. he brought it up to the media without being asked.

we've gone from him saying something along the lines of "even if i'm traded i'd like to come back here" a few weeks ago to "wtf man, getting a little sick of these exits in the 90-pitch area when i can finish innings up or have another inning in me."

...then there's this direct quote..."I know it’s not Ricky’s fault. I think it’s coming from somewhere else."

Yeah - again I'm a staunch supporter of the rebuild and theo-mc-jed-i, but I'm pretty sure 99% of the weirdness we are seeing is front office micro-managing the trade deadline. It's REALLY hard to tolerate. I in no way think they are playing for anything other than trade value. Excruciating.

Dirk Hayhurst on weed in baseball
http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/82863196/majo...

A pillow-case-sized bag of weed...

“we’re trying to build a behemoth of position players.”

“It really wasn’t hard to see,” Epstein says. “We took a hard look at the organization and thought that we were in difficult shape and needed to start over. We saw that we needed to take a long view because it wasn’t possible to acquire enough talent to win in the short term anyway. So, if that’s the case, why not do it the right way? Why not look for quality and volume and develop and organizational ethos.”

Positive run differential.

Well, now Hammel can worry about the A's counting his pitches. Along with Shamarkza. Wow, talk about breaking news.

Russell, McKinney and Straily to #Cubs for Samardzija, Hammel.

I don't even know who those guys are. Looking forward to hearing who these guys are from you guys.

Law says ptbnl also to Cubs.

With the jam up in the infield getting even bigger now, you know that there is something further afoot. Gotta hand it to TheoCorp, they aren't afraid to go a little nuts.

Russesll I guess is a top shortstop. Because, Cubs don't have that. Straily is a pitcher, and McKinney an outfielder, first round pick in 2013:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cg...

BaBOOM!!!!!

russell and straily isn't much to complain about, though i was expecting a bit more out of seeing ninja/hammel go. it's a bit of a swerve to see a middle IF'r come aboard as the key to a trade...didn't see that coming as a trade centerpiece.

russell could be the 2nd base of the future...unless he's the SS of the future. solid D, expected to hit well, speed...the big question mark seems to be how much power he's capable of (20/20 guy? gap power guy? 20+ hr guy?).

d.straily has lost a couple mph off his stuff so i'm not exactly stoked about that. he's way too young to go from 90-92 to 88-90 on his fastball. he's got a touch of flyball in him, too...and we can probably expect him to give up a nice chunk of homers.

i know nothing about b.mckinney, though he doesn't seem to be toss-in junk.

a.russell is a very high end prospect, and though ninja or hammel alone probably wouldn't snag russell i was kinda hoping for something more in total for getting rid of ninja and hammel.

I'm pretty excited about Russell. They've said they're going to stockpile bats as they predicts hitters will (continue to) grow scarce. They can decide which of Russell, Baez, Barney, and Castro to keep in the middle then move someone to the OF (though they've go plenty OF prospects already) or swap them for arms. I'm very happy with this deal.

I'm sure someone will defecate on the prospect love, but their projected hitting talent is ridiculous.

I love it too! McKinney looks like a nice OF prospect as well, and a guy who makes contact to accompany some punch:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/oak/bernie-pleskof...

You can love or hate Epstoyer for their mindset -- if you don't have a team that can get to the World Series, it doesn't matter how many games you lose. They don't see a difference between 95 losses or 75 losses except you get a worse draft pick with 75 losses. Personally, I commend them for realizing how shitty the talent was and doing what they've been doing.

Now the Cubs have 4 of the top 20 prospects in all baseball. I have no illusions that Bryant, Baez, Soler, Almora, Schwarber, Russell, McKinney, Alcantara, Vogelbach, etc will become impact players or even make it in MLB. But right now a couple of teams have some nice young pitchers nearly MLB-ready and one of them (the Mets) could use middle infielders.

I think this trade is a precursor to more trades this season and the winter.

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