Designated hitter, the Cubs, and Stanley Kubrick

You know the head vs heart thing.
My heart loves the NL game.
The thinking, the double-switching, all the stuff you normally think about but... also I just like the NL game because when pitchers bat you just never know what's gonna happen.
And you said, "Well... of course you know what's gonna happen - they'll strike out." 
Right?
Which is why it's so much more "you never know what's gonna happen" when a sub-Mendoza pitcher actually does something good with his bat.
Last season it took Cub pitchers 60 games to get their first sac bunt, and the batter that game happened to be Kyle Hendricks.
He of the .050/.066/.067 slash.
He was also the same guy who, in the second inning of game two in last year's Cubs/Cards NLDS, squeeze bunted in the first Cub run, causing Jaime Garcia and then pretty much the entire Cardinal team to scream "I'M MELTING! MEEEELTIIIIING!"
And they gave up 5 runs before that third out was recorded.

Did you know that was gonna happen?
No?
That's why it was such an unbelievable and uniquely NL-style thing.

But my head...
Different story.
Head says look at all the big bats the Cubs have been stockpiling.
How much more valuable is Dan Vogalbach if he doesn't have to pick up a glove?
(Lots put Kyle Schwarber in that camp, but it's waaay too early to make that judgement.)
I can get by all the arguments against the DH if I think it gets the Cubs a World Series.
It's that simple.

I have learned to stop worrying and love the DH.

Comments

AGREED!

"Mein Fuher, I can walk!!!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFkryh6hC-k

Couldn't have played for Dusty then.

~clap~

Yeah. I guess. But it's weird to watch an AL game, with a team down, say, 2-1 in the 7th inning, with the #9 (or, for Maddon, #8) spot coming up with a man on first.....and the manager just sits there.

i hate the DH...i find it boring...but i accept it's gonna happen. it seems inevitable at this point given shifting attitudes and lack of strong player objection.

having that "dead spot" for the pitcher hitting opens up a lot of lineup strategy possibilities. i'm in the camp that appreciates more out of the game than "pitcher pitches/hitter hits/defense defends." besides, who wants to live in a world where randy johnson doesn't get to comically swing a bat and bartolo colon doesn't get to run the bases? that's not a world i want to live in.

Yes, you could say that AL baseball saps the purity and essence from the natural fluids of baseball. The double-switching, bunting, and lineup strategy is part of what makes the NL interesting, but clubs spend too much money on pitchers. They won't want them getting hurt running out a bunt. MLB also has an interest in doing what they can to improve offense in the post-ped, defensive analytics era.

The NL should just go ahead and out-DH the AL.

If one DH is good, then 9 DH's would be even better. Expand rosters (union would love that) and have 9 hitting specialists, 9 fielding specialists. Who needs well rounded players when the game is supposedly so much better with narrowly defined specialists. There are all of these slick fielding players we never see because they can't hit a lick but instead we have to watch Schwarber in LF tackling fly balls. Think of all the time these amazing fielders spend trying to learn to hit when they could just be focusing on fielding. Players are wasting so much time developing all 5 tools when they could just be maxing out 1 or 2 tools. I see your one DH and raise you 8 more!

the intro to the all-star game would take an hour longer just to announce the team...awesome.

TV schedule is out:
http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2016/02/12/cubs-announce...

It's irritating that it's so difficult to watch Cub games.

Think how much more valuable Lester contract looks if he doesn't ever have to do that mockery of hitting thing he does!

but then d.ross wouldn't have someone to pitch around him or IBB him to put him on base...it's almost moot...almost...not really...but almost...kinda...

just checked...7 IBB last year...hard to tell how many times he was pitched around, but even assuming it's 0 that brings his ob% to below .230 with a sub-.500 OPS.

They should have someone standing behind him to take the ball out of his glove when he's looking for a sign from the catcher, and throw to first. I vote for Baez. That way he can cover the rest of the infield, too.

The Cubs have claimed C.J. Riefenhauser LHP on waivers from the Orioles. Edgar Olmos was again DFA.

seen him in the minors...rather boring lefty. really slow secondary stuff (very slow slider) and a fastball that barely hits 90 on a good day.

Olmos takes another 40 man roster Roulette bullet. The new lefty will be gone when Fowler comes back.

oddly...or not...fowler's been strongly linked to the O's lately.

I agree with what you said, but isn't it so weird that the White Sox are not linked to Fowler? They seem like an ideal fit.

pretty much...also agree that it wouldn't surprise me to see him land with the cubs, too.

the trade to free up room for him would be interesting.

it would help if he didn't play such a mixed-bag CF. he's anything but sure out there with his wacky routes.

the O's are favored because of links for weeks and they're about to land y.gallardo (giving up that draft pick).

holy crap...j.mejia got busted AGAIN for PEDs.

3rd time...lifetime ban.

at one point he was the "closer of the future" (and the actual closer) for the mets. 26 years old. unreal.

I didn't realize Laura Ricketts is a superdelegate.

the perks of being a big fundraiser model representative citizen.

honestly, though...the dnc could do worse and she's involved in all kinds of dem party stuff.

Yeah, she's a good egg. The whole superdelegate thing is shady as fuck though.

Although the irony of all the Bernie Sander supporters on my facebook feed complaining about a political entity redistributing for the greater good what the Bernie camp feels they have justly earned is rather humorous.

Oh god...

The Padres signed RHP Trey McNutt to a minor league contract...

I thought he was better than Archer?

/f u Hendry

....and Theo thought EJax, Sveum and Ricky were good ideas. Win some, lose some.

Hey, whatta bout me?

-Ian Stewart

Rick Renteria was a great idea! Seriously! I feel bad for the guy, although it happened the way it had to.

Theo was trying to clear the mess that Hendr left

wow, billy joel isn't just playing wrigley in-season...it's like 8-10 ballparks or something.

maybe this will once-and-for-all end this stupid practice once the condition of many playing fields after these concerts are questioned...or maybe they'll learn how to fix fields quicker than they have in the past...or maybe no one will care because revenue is king.

whatevers.

Phish and Pearl Jam also playing separate days at Friendly Confines this year.

I'm sure there will be or I'm missing a country act that will be there too.

those poor wrigley field bathrooms...

Average IP per season per starting pitcher based on a four-man rotation, a five-man rotation, and a six-man rotation, with average 6.1 IP per starter and with each SP making all of his scheduled starts:  

250-260 IP (four-man rotation, pitching once every fourth day - Old School) 
200-210 IP (five-man rotation, pitching once every fifth day - accepted standard) 
165-175 IP (six-man rotation, pitching once every sixth day - the future?) 

Of course a six-man rotation requires six competent starters and a seven-man bullpen, but the Cubs are probably one of the few MLB clubs that would actually be in a position to run a six-man rotation (Arrieta-Lester-Lackey-Hammel-Hendricks-Warren) and a seven-man bullpen (Rondon-Strop-Grimm-Wood-Cahill-Ramirez-Richard), if the goal is to reduce the workoad for starters (at least until the stretch-drive in August & September) without burning out the bullpen or operating at a competitive disadvantage. 

An added advantage of a six-man rotation is that starts can be easily skipped, switched, or moved around, to accomodate short-term injuries that do not require a DL stint, match-ups, and opponents. 

Oh boy...I would love to hear Boras' reaction to a six-man rotation -- trying to reduce Jake's market value by limiting his number of wins and strikeouts, etc.

Are you advocating, AZ Phil, or just noting?

Japanese Pro Baseball, here we come.

needs more bat flipping...

MATTHEW: I'm just noting what I believe is gradually becoming and will continue to become a trend among MLB clubs to try and reduce workoad for starting pitchers by minimizing IP, either because a club has a young rotation with SP not used to throwing a high number of innings, or because a contending team is attempting to reduce IP in order to keep the club's best starters fresher for the stretch-run and post-season when they absolutely need to throw their best games. 

One way to reduce the workoad for the starting rotation is to run a traditional five-man rotation and expect the SP to go only 5+ innings and throw maybe 80-90 pitches and then go to the bullpen, and the other way is to pitch a SP less often (with five or six days rest) but without any special restriction on the number of innings (or even on the number of pitches-per-game) a starter throws when he does pitch. 

One way (let's call it the the KC Royals approach) requires five OK starters plus a deep bullpen with at least four one-inning lock-down power-relievers who can throw most every day, and the other way (let's call it the NY Mets way) requires a deep rotation with six average to above-average SP but with less of an emphasis and/or reliance on the bullpen. 

The main problem with the five-inning SP & lock-down bullpen approach is manifest when the bullpen is needed to protect leads for four innings four or five days in a row, and the main problem with the six-man rotation is finding six decent starting pitchers to fill the slots. Actually a six-man rotation isn't as big a deal for rebuilding teams because the starters don't have to be good (they just need regular work to gain experience), but for contending teams like the Mets or Cubs, all six starters have to be pretty good or it won't work. 

Remember, most MLB starting pitchers were SP in HS and/or college where they started once a week (in fact, a college team's #1 starter is called the "Friday starter," because he pitches every Friday, and the Friday game is almost-always the opener of a three-game series that usually pits two good teams against each other, with each team's #1 SP facing-off against the other #1 on Friday, while the mid-week games are typically games against lesser opponents from outside the conference, often a team from a lower division). 

BTW, implementing the DH in the N. L. will be almost a necessity once all teams go to 13-man pitching staffs (which I think is inevitable, and sooner rather than later), because with the DH a club doesn't really need pinch-hitters. With a nine-man batting order that includes a DH, a club would only need a back-up catcher, a utility infielder, and a 4th OF on the bench, allowing for the 13-man pitching staff.  

Again, I'm not saying it's good or bad (heck, I grew up watching four-man rotations and ten-man pitching staffs in the 1960's), just that I believe reducing the workload of starting pitchers to keep them fresher for the post-season (or reducing the workload of young SP on rebuilding clubs who aren't used to the demands of an MLB season) is a 21st Century trend that will likely continue to grow in popularity.   

Once MLB moved the Astros to the AL, thus creating an odd number of teams in both leagues and ensuring inter-league play on a daily basis, DH rules should have been made the same for both leagues. This needs to get fixed.

I believe it will be part of the next CBA

Going to be a helluva bargaining chip.

Rob Manfred spoke with 670 The Score this weekend and during the interview Manfred expressed little interest in adding the DH rule to the NL, saying that "the status quo is the most likely outcome" and "the difference in the two leagues is important".

it's only business, nothin personal

Ugh. If the difference in the two leagues is so important, then there shouldn't be inter-league play every damn day. Like the NFL, it's now basically one big league -- the rules should be the same for all teams.

agree

agree

just got an email from MLB properties about the mlb.tv class action settlement.

here's a pastebin for those interested...

http://pastebin.com/m72Zyi5U

key points for MLB.tv subscribers...

- MLB will lower the price of MLB.TV to $109.99 for 2016 (from the 2015 price of $129.99). MLB will be prohibited from increasing the price by more than 3% (or the federal Cost of Living Adjustment ("COLA"), if higher) per year through 2020.

- Single-Team Packages: MLB will offer packages of single teams' out-of-market games through MLB.TV (for example, a stream of just the Kansas City Royals' games for out-of-market subscribers). This product will cost $84.99 for a full season in 2016, with MLB allowed to raise the price by no more than 3% (or COLA, if higher) for each of the next four years.

other interesting points...

- In-Market Streaming: MLB will seek to reach agreements with Comcast, Root Sports, and Fox regional sports networks to offer live in-market streaming of their telecasts. If in-market streaming is not available for all of the teams whose games are broadcast by those networks by 2017, MLB will be prohibited from increasing prices for any of the above MLB.TV products through 2020.

- Unserved Fans: MLB will offer live streaming of any in-market team's telecasts produced by Comcast, Root Sports, or Fox regional sports networks to any customer who is unable to obtain multi-channel video provider distributor service or virtual multi-channel video provider distributor service at his or her residence.

given that i live in an area in NC where WAS games are considered within a regional territory, but NO cable/satellite packages offer the channels that show WAS games...the Unserved Fans point could be a nice perk if properly implemented.

Thanks, crunch! Keep us posted if you hear about any further developments about the In-Market Streaming or the Unserved Fans aspects -- or anything else that might make it possible to actually watch Cubs games where we currently can't...

About 10 years later than it should have been, but great... if they can get it done. I would easily pay double the MLB.TV fees for the chance to cut the cord on Dish Network.

What is it about Cub CFs? Fowler and Austin Jackson remain unsigned -- 2 of only 3 espn "top 30" FA still on the board (hello, Ian Desmond).
Amazingly, espn had Jackson ranked 15th among all FA. They ranked $110M Jordan Zimmermann 3 spots behind Jackson.

please no ajax on the cubs...please no ajax on the cubs...please no ajax on the cubs...

that said, i imagine someone's made an offer for him. i wonder what he's holding out for.

Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection was released today. Take it with a grain of salt of course. But it is predicting that all 5 Cubs SPs will be in baseball's top 40 pitchers, with both Arrieta and Lester in the top 5.

So basically, we're doomed.

given what they thought of KC last year, salt is needed. they were off by 22 wins.

they have KC finishing last in the Central this year, btw.

also, PIT + STL don't make the playoffs.

also also, adding greenkey + miller to ARZ gets them 1 less win than last year. cold.

e.olmos cleared waivers...sent to AAA.

redsox pull a reverse theo...picking up a (former) cubs castaway...

c.marmol on a minor league deal.

Former Cub great Reed Johnson- 39 years old

https://twitter.com/chelsea_janes/status/700010504...

/riiiiiight

They should park Schwarber outside Al-Raqqah and have him take batting practice there.

Great idea.

via rotowurld...

"ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Orioles are discussing a potential contract with Dexter Fowler in the vicinity of 2-3 years, $12-13 million annually."

Carrie Muskat [email protected]
Maddon says Heyward/Zobrist are candidates for #Cubs leadoff man. "Once you decide on that, I think everybody falls into place"

Carrie Muskat [email protected]
#Cubs Heyward does not expect any problems playing CF. "I know the basics and how to do it. After that, it'll become home."

also...

#Cubs sign RHP Aaron Crow to Minor League deal
#Cubs released LHP Luis Cruz, who failed his physical. Crow is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery

even though heyward is a GG RF'r...if they want him to stick in CF his open market "value" comes closer to what he's getting paid (some of us don't like WAR for player value, especially the sloppy defensive WAR aspect, and very especially when there's other personally preferred batting + D evaluation advanced stats). that said, who cares about value when they got the loot to spend.

heyward/zobrist/rizzo/bryant/schwarb/soler/montero/russell...

unf.

What batting + D evaluation advanced stats do you prefer?

I like the idea of WAR but feel they may have over-corrected when trying to account for the traditionally under appreciated defense and baserunning aspect of a player's value.

Side question, has there been any talk from the nutty professor about if the pitcher will continue to hit 8th. Seems to me that having a more prototypical #2 hitter like Zobrist instead of a slugger would make the reasoning for it moot.

Theo said a few days ago that the pitcher hitting eighth is the only thing confirmed in the lineup.

Muskat's prediction (i.e. prediction in camp) from her article yesterday is Heyward, Zobrist, Rizzo, Bryant, Schwarber, Soler, Montero, 1, Russell

with batting i strongly prefer wRC+ when looking at what a player is/can-be capable of. i know WAR is technically measuring something different, but it is very commonly used as a flat evaluation stat these days.

as far as D stats, there's none i'm a huge fan of, but i have a lot of faith in statcast technology opening up a new era of better evaluation in that department.

when it comes to defensive WAR people can't even have consensus on what other stats should build that evaluation and you'll end up with different values depending on who's version you like to use. also, you can end up with competing WAR values that vary greatly even outside of D variables, such as fangraphs vs baseball-ref's 2009 season for ricky nolasco.

You can use any stat you want, or you can use your eyes, or listen to scouts, or some combination of those things, but I can't imagine the conclusion being anything other than Heyward as an elite outfielder.

defensively, yeah...elite, no question or argument there.

It seems like a +10 CF has more value defensively than a +15 RF since CF is a more important position, presumably fields more play, and because other guys can play adequate right field easier than center.

This article from December I thought was a great look at whether Heyward will translate well into center. Summary: probably. Victorino and Rios seem like the best comps to me. Ichiro's value was moreso tied to his arm than pure speed.
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jason-heyward-as-a-...

I think if Almora shows this year that he can post a >.700 OPS in the big leagues, he will go to CF and Heyward to RF, and the organization would figure out what to do with Soler and Schwarber. It kind of blows my mind how the analytics have shifted, but when you look at what FanGraphs thinks about Ender Inciarte, we may be into a whole new world about defense. (Cue "A Whole New World")

Almora's OPS in AA last year being only .727, I think we may have to ETA him sometime beyond 2017 by your bench mark. Given the hitter friendly PCL, I would need to see him putting up a >.800 OPS there to believe he can approach .700 in the majors.

if the focus, especially as it currently seems, is to slot heyward in CF and keep soler in RF...they got extended time to see what becomes of almora.

if almora quickly improves his development and soler doesn't crash, soler probably nets the club a future SP/C/2nd (based on need going forward) while returning heyward back to his natural position in RF.

it also provides a bit of insurance if heyward improves his power and it looks like he may opt-out after a couple years.

either way, the cubs bats seem to be in a good position for 2016 with open options in 2017 and their asses covered for 2018. we just gotta hope that positive progression is gonna happen with what's here and everyone stays healthy while the minor league kids emerge, creating further positives.

It never hurts to have Jeff Bagwell, Mike Schmidt, and lefty Manny Ramirez to build around. Gives them more leniency in filling out the other positions.

getting Opening Day tickets at Angels Stadium took me 5 minutes on Ticketmaster today...Wrigley Field it is not.

My only other Opening Day was the Tuffy Rhoads game...you have a lot to live up to as-yet-to-be-named-leadoff hitter.

Wow - an 11-day long lede header? Is that close to a TCR record? CT Steve do you need articles?

I was in New Orleans on a business trip--and I'm still working off my hangover from whatever the hell happened on Friday night. (I don't remembering ordering the last martini--not good.)

Y'all need to drink Sazeracs, Ramos Gin Fizzes, or Vieux Carrés when in New Orleans, cap. Make the hangover worth it! Awright? Awright.

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  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 2 hours 24 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 38 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 42 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 5 hours 37 sec ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 12 hours 13 min ago view
  • bryant 2nd HR of the night for a 2 run lead in the 10th? sure, why not. awesome.

    crunch 12 hours 40 min ago view
  • gawd...jansen's thrown 5 pitches in the past 5 minutes.

    wild pitch (and a K, boo) with heyward advancing! 1 out, heyward on 3rd.

    HEYWARD SCORES ON A 2nd WILD PITCH! TIE!

    crunch 12 hours 55 min ago view
  • leadoff double (heyward!) top of the 9th...RALLY!

    crunch 13 hours 2 min ago view
  • carlos ruiz is still coming up to "in the air tonight" by phil 'are you kidding me' collins in LA.

    many years ago before phil collins it was a soulja boy song.

    dude has odd taste in music. at least it's not yanni...i guess.

    crunch 13 hours 12 min ago view
  • Funniest skybox ever

    jacos 13 hours 53 min ago view
  • that was some joke ass official scoring giving him a double. either way, seager's on 2nd and soler's play in the OF is still sketchy.

    crunch 14 hours 1 min ago view
  • Schwarber is worse right?

    jacos 14 hours 6 min ago view
  • Seager with the two out double *cough* to left field in the bottom of the fourth. If Soler just plays that bunny hop off his nuts, it's a single - certainly no double.

    Eric S 14 hours 22 min ago view
  • rizzo is tired of SD/LA night games...yet another towering one that died on the warning track.

    crunch 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • jacos 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • Monty dropped a two strike curve on AGon

    Holy shit!

    jacos 15 hours 31 min ago view