January, Chicago's Hottest Month of the Year
I love baseball newsy days in January. I love roster moves. You can see that I don't even mind listening to a baseball guru or two.
Fox's Baseball analyst, Ken Rosenthal was on WGN Radio's "Sports Central" show hosted by David Kaplan tonight. For those not able to listen, here's a summary of his take on all things recently swirling in Cubsville. He takes on Milton Bradley vs Lou Piniella (a dangerous mix). Could these two ever be as lovable as Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in the 2003 film, Anger Management? Somehow, I just can't see LouPa getting Bradley to sing, "I Feel Pretty".
Plus a bit more on the shrinking odds to acquire some guy named Jake.
On to the details, after the jump...
David Kaplan: You're thoughts on Milton Bradley.
Ken Rosenthal: I love Milton Bradley, but wonder if Bradley can stay healthy playing RF. They've got to keep him on the field which is going to be the challenge. He is a guy who plays really hard and that's one reason he gets hurt a lot. Fans will like his fire and they are going to like a guy who led the AL in OPS, but they'll only like him if he's on the field producing.
Kaplan: Is Bradley a good teammate? People I respect around the game that I've called say he's an excellent team mate, just leave him alone and let him do his job.
Rosenthal: It may be a challenge for Lou Piniella to leave him alone. Bradley's primary goal is to win. Bradley had no problems with Ron Washington in Texas and Washington did really well with him. Lou can't rip him in public like he's done Fukudome. It's potentially a dangerous mix as Lou is volatile too. You can say the same things about Lou (his temperment) that you can say about Milton Bradley. Some thought he should go to Tampa with the DH, but you saw Tampa extended themselves financially to get Burrell $16M, so you can see why Bradley wanted to come to the Cubs as he almost got twice that much from the Cubs. Plus there is an appeal to every player to play with the Cubs. If they win you're a made man.
Kaplan: Handicap the Cubs today vs the end of the 2008 season.
Rosenthal: He likes where the Cubs are but he understands the criticism. Not a cop out, merely an acknowledgment of the value of DeRosa to the team. The reasons for the DeRosa trade were to
1) get more left handed (Miles, Fontenot, Bradley), they are much more of a balanced lineup then thay have been in the past. Even though they lead the NL in runs scored last year, they felt all season that their imbalance was not a good thing.
2) $ savings
3) DeRosa's is a free agent after this season and they wouldn't have DeRosa forever. The value they got back seemingly wasn't great but they won't know that for several years. They've reconfigured themselves to be a more of a balanced offense. If he stays on the field, Bradley is a dynamic offensive player and he's also what Cubs fans are looking for as far as on base skills. The key is keeping him going and if they do that Jim Hendry is going to look good.
Kaplan: Do you think a Peavy deal will occur?
Rosenthal: Now that the Padres ownership is going to change it's much less likely. New owner Jeff Moorad's first move is not likely to trade Peavy their best and most popular player. Can it still happen, Sure. Any owner who is logical about things can trade any player at any time if the value is proper. Given the PR damage the team has suffered all off-season it seems hard to believe the team is going to make this deal when they haven't made it under duress. He said his guess is that the odds of a trade happening have dropped to about a 10% chance.
Kaplan: When the Marquis and Bradley deals are finalized, do you believe the Cubs are done or will they get themselves another starting pitcher?
Rosenthal: I have a hard time believing they are going to pay big money for another starting pitcher, say Derek Lowe. The Dempster deal was a top of the market deal. The Bradley deal was sticker price. These are not bargain deals. If the (Cubs) ownership change happens and the new owners say get one more pitcher, then they might be in on Lowe.
Kaplan: Why give up Josh Vitters who they say is the jewel of the system or other prospects when you could keep those guys who cost you nothing and just sign Lowe, for less years and less money, a sinkerballer who would fit in at Wrigley?
Rosenthal: The answers are simple. Peavy is in the prime of his career. Lowe is 9 years older than Peavy. Peavy would probably be under contract for 4-5 years, you'd have to give him another year in a deal. Peavy is a young ace type pitcher. Lowe might be on the decline although he hasn't shown it yet.
Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.
Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.
Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.
soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.
he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.
j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.
so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.
im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.
That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.
9 pitches in and this game already rules.
HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).
...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.
First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.
Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.
Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.
"Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."
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