November 2011

Nobody Fucks With The DeJesus

(props to Jacos for the headline)

The Cubs signed OF David DeJesus to a 2-year/$10 million deal with a 3rd year club option. It's actually $4.25M for the next two years with a $1.5M buyout or $6.5M in 2014. A Jim Bowden tweet indicates that the Cubs told him DeJesus will be the everyday right fielder.

Dejesus will be 32 next season and played for the A's last year and had the worst season of his career, a 93 OPS+ on the back of a .274 BABIP. His career slash line is 284/356/447 with a 106 OPS+. Great for a center fielder, kind of okay for a right fielder, but he's getting older and probably gonna be as good or worse than his career numbers going forward. That means baserunning and defense will have to make up some of the difference and if you believe in some of the defensive numbers out there, he seems to been quite an asset. Most of that time was in center, so a move to right field should be no problem. (Correction, played right for A's last year for the most part and put up great UZR numbers if you care for that).  Although he doesn't steal a bunch of bases, his baserunning numbers seem to border on neutral to a slight positive. He's cheap enough and lefty enough that this isn't too big a deal to me and he does nearly see 4 pitchers per plate appearance which fits into the mold of grinding out at-bats. That all being said, it's a big old "meh" move. As Kevin Goldstein tweeted, it's a warm body that fills a need, and for a guy that at best should be worth about 2 wins over replacement, the cost makes it about right. But I have a hard time seeing the big difference between him, Byrd or Fukudome.

Keep Your Eye on the Crystal Ball

Pre-holiday musings while waiting for some real news about PLAYING personnel:

•Due to overcrowding in the front office the saber-squad works out of the Wrigley Field scoreboard. You know, inside the numbers.

•Prince Fielder re-ups with the Brewers and gives them a substantial hometown discount now that Sveum is finally gone.

•Sveum’s brother, Sven, joins the team as a rowing [pronounced roving] instructor.

Cubs Finally Begin to Address Roster

After what felt like months of chatting about compensation, GM's, presidents and managers, the new powers-that-be finally get around to some player juggling. The deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft is soon approaching and the Cubs had some decisions to make. The lucky 4 deemed worth protecting were Josh Vitters, Matt Szczur, Jeff Beliveau and Junior Lake.

Who Will Lead the Cubbie Revolution?

If topics among major league teams trended like twitter, "building the farm system" would certainly be near the top. All the new GM's and some of the old ones alluded to it one way or another as the key to sustained success and of course, there's a lot of truth to it. But there's also a lot of truth to the famous phrase, "it's easier said than done".  For the new Cubs in charge, they'll be taking over a farm system that will likely rank in the lower third as an organization in overall talent that many of the self-proclaimed experts believe has lots of depth and marginal major league talent, but very light on the upper tier players. Unfortunately, it's those upper tier players that the Cubs are sorely in need of at that moment as they try to reverse a 3-year trend of losing while in the midst of saying goodbye to their aging core of players. Not only do the Cubs have to find(or soon find) replacements for the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano, Kosukue Fukudome, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and so on, but they have to find players that are cumulatively better than those in order to improve. Just finding the equivalent isn't going to get the Cubs back into the division hunt. Personally, I don't see those players in the Cubs farm system right now and certainly not anyone ready in the next year or two. So to me that means having to dive into free agency and/or be willing to trade some of that depth for a few stars (much like the much aligned Garza trade last year) if the Cubs intend to compete next year and the subsequent years. Now if they want to go into a full 3-year rebuild, more power to them, but I don't see the Cubs taking that path. To me, it's identifying whom on this list and subsequent lists are going to be the average or above average major league contributors and not just roster filler, protecting those players and thus making everyone else expendable if a trade presents itself.

Before we get to the rankings, I like to share this bit of insight from Bill James via Joe Posnanski. Something to keep in mind that not all top 10 lists are the same.

A few years ago, Bill James told me something I had never thought about before but now think about all the time, especially after trades like this one: Every single baseball team has prospects. Every one. The best teams. The worst teams. The smartest teams. The dumbest teams. They all have prospects. Not only that — every team has enough prospects to fill out a Top 10 list. You never see a team’s “Top 7 Prospects” list because the team did not have enough to fill out 10. No. They all have 10.

To the list...

TAWL Drills

In a recent Paul Sullivan Tribune article, Cubs new GM Jed Hoyer was asked what are the greatest needs short term to fix the roster. Hoyer said, "It's no secret we need to get some depth in the rotation. Depth in pitching hurt the team last year." To complete the quote: "We have to find a way to improve the defense, and we probably need to find a little more athleticism on the bases." Improving the defense, of course, will help the pitching (which might be as simple as including more pfp/pitcher fielding practice for Matt Garza).

We all recall the 2011 season started with significant pitching injuries to the starting staff. After one week the Cubs lost their number 4 and 5 starters.

Where is this leading? Baseball Prospectus' Corey Dawkins just ranked the NL Central using their metric for team/player injuries called T.A.W.L (Total Adjusted WARP Lost). More after the jump...

Your Weekend Open Thread

I'm gonna attempt to write this on my IPhone. I won't be able to link to articles, so you'll have to take my word for it. Let's see what happens...I'm also going to leave in most of the autocorrects just for giggles.

- Sandy Alomar Jr. had his interview yesterday and Bruce Levine considers him the front runner only because he's not sure if Mike Maddux would take the job. Jed Hoyer says they're happy with the 4 candidates so far and it's unlikely, but possible they'd bring in another. And it's really 5 candidates as Terry Francona still seems a real possibility.

Mid-week funnies: if the Cubs were on South Park

If you're a "South Park" fan, hopefully you get a laugh here.
Yeah, the collective dislike and bashing of Cub Suit Crane Kenney is pretty old news, but this cartoon just popped in my head.
Of course, it would be awesome if this gif had an accompanying story about Kenney actually being dismissed or moving on, but that didn't happen.

What's really going on?

Why, the Cubs will interview Mike Maddux for their manager job.
Lets see what happens...

Meet the Cubs Managerial Candidates: Dale Sveum

Word is that Mike Maddux took his name out of the running of the Boston job citing a desire to keep his family in Texas, probably a good bet that the same thing will happen to the Cubs, but haven't heard about it yet.

On to another Brewer coach...Dale Sveum.

Meet the Cubs Managerial Candidates: Mike Maddux

Mackanin is the first to interview and the first to be profiled. Next up is Greg Maddux's big brother, Mike Maddux who will interview sometime next week after he gets over a case of laryngitis. Gordon Wittenmeyer pegs him as the early favorite because he's a pitching coach and the Cubs need better pitching. I hope that makes as little sense to everyone else as it does to me.

So Prince Fielder is Going to Be a Dodger

The news broke last night that MLB and Frank McCourt came to an agreement to sell the Dodgers...possibly at gun point. That's real good news for baseball and Dodger fans that truly couldn't stand the guy. That's bad news if you thought any bargains were going to be had in free agency for the big names.

Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod Press Conference

I believe the press conference is scheduled for 3pm CST, maybe soon. You can allegedly watch a live stream at CSN Chicago.

In the meantime, read up on the new scouting director with this very well done Q&A.

The rumor mill is rather quiet at the moment, last bit of "news" was that Theo and Jed (sounds like a sitcom title) met with Q-Ball for 7 hours last week and have a second meeting this week. I want to imagine the 7 hours was spent getting as much information about the ballclub out of him before they canned him.

On the manager front, Peter Abraham reports that the Cubs and Red Sox could both be interested in former Brewer player and their current hitting coach, Dale Sveum.

After the jump, I'm trying to embed the live stream...see if it works.

Recent comments

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  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.

  • You can't prove the performance is because he played the OF. You just can't. Sorry.

    BTW, Bryant hit .168 in July playing 3B exclusively.

  • oh man, early on it seems like he made at least 1 stupid baserunning blunder per game and almost every single one turned into a positive for the cubs. it was magical.

  • Not surprised about Lester but bit surprised about Hendricks. Guessing that if something happens to Arietta right away they go to Lester but if they've burned relievers and are in extra innings they go to Hendricks.

  • My kids' 8:30pm (ET) bed time will be waived tonight (They are Rizzo & Castro fans). We'll get geared up in our Cubs apparel and will watch this as a family. I am stoked. Go Cubs!

  • Bryant: Base running adventures.

  • Remember Bryant's home-away splits, too.

    Wrigley: 21 HR, 59 RBI, .311/.408/.629
    Road: 5 HR, 40 RBI, .243/.333/.360

  • Good Lord this season has flown by so far. I need more Cubs gifs--the four on the article today are not enough. I need a 100 best moments of the season listicle of gifs.
    Rizzo: The slide, the catch.
    Russell: All the defense.
    Bryant: Pelting the video board.
    Soler: 125 MPH ground balls.
    Schwarber: DINGERS, surprising LF catches.
    Fowler: Walks, the many walks he should have had on 3-2 BS strike calls.
    Baez: That 3B play.
    Ross: Walk-up music? Bullpen appearance?
    Denorfia: Walk-off.
    Castro: Walk-offs.

  • No evidence other than 8 hits and 0 HR in 45 AB....

    I just think hitters like their routines -- think Boggs or Ted Williams -- and messing with that routine adds an element of change. I want my best hitters in their normal routines.

  • evidently i was busy burying context and meaning.

    i was excited about this playoff season kicking up in the drama of that environment, but it was stated insanely muddled.

  • Woke up early and couldn't get back to sleep in excitement/anticipation. Go Cubs Go!

  • The only issue with this dead horse is that there's no evidence that his performance during those games is solely due to playing the OF. I would tend to agree that I'd rather see him play 3B, though.

  • What do you mean by new format in this instance? The second wildcard team with a one-game playoff has been around since 2012.

  • Doubled over with anxiety today. GO CUBS.

  • Illuminati.