LaStella Rakes Far from the Maddon Crowd

Tommy LaStella belted a solo home run, two RBI doubles, and a single, Adonis Paula ripped a two-out two-run game-tying double in the bottom of the 7th, and Roberto Caro tripled and scored in the 7th and then drove-in what proved to be the winning run with an 8th inning sacrifice fly, as the Cubs rallied from a 5-0 deficit to edge the Athletics 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Gabriel Santana and Carlos Hiciano drilled RBI doubles to highlight a two-run third and Iolana Akau hammered a three-run HR in the fourth for the A's in a losing cause. 

The game was called after eight innings. 

LaStella batted six times and reached base four times (he also was retired on an F-9 fly out and a 3-U ground out). He played second-base for the first four innings and then moved to third base for the next three, and he made one really nice play in the field, coming-in fast from third-base to snatch a slow one-hopper before throwing the batter out at 1st in a "bang-bang" play.

At the plate, both of LaStella's doubles were hard-hit line-drives, one crashing off the CF fence and the other drilled into the right-centerfield gap, and the home run was a line-drive shot over the RF fence. Even the F-9 fly out his first-time up was hit to the warning track. The single was an opposite-field looper that fell between the A's left-fielder. shortstop, and third-baseman in short-left near the foul line. LaStella didn't run at first (he apparently thought it would land in foul territory), or else he might have had still another double. 

In just two Cactus League EXST rehab games (10 PA) so far, LaStella has seven hits (including four doubles and a HR) and a sacrifice fly, and six RBI. 

Two of the three Extended Spring Training position player "conversion projects" were on the hill for the Cubs in today's game. 

RHP Mark Malave (ex-C) got the start and was not effective, allowing two runs on three hits (including two doubles) and three walks in 2.1 IP. He didn't strike anyone out. Malave features a high-80's two-seam fastball that occasionally touches 90 MPH, and a curve (which is his best pitch). When he doesn't keep his fastball down in the zone, he can get hammered.

RHP Jae-Hoon Ha (ex-OF) pitched in relief and struggled with his command (as has been the case in most of his outings so far), issuing two walks in his one inning of work. (Cubs pitchers issued a combined nine walks today). Ha throws harder than Malave (he tops out at 92) and probably has more of a future as a pitcher, featuring the low-90's fastball, a curve, a slider, a change-up, and a "mystery pitch" (not sure even he knows what it is...)

Prior to the Cactus League EXST game on Field #6, RHPs Neil Ramirez (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation), Santiago Rodriguez, and Pedro Araujo pitched in a two-inning "sim" game on Field #4. Rodriguez threw two innings (30 pitches) and Araujo and Ramirez each threw one inning (15 pitches a piece). Ramirez looked good, with no distress indicated by his body language or visible on his face during the course of the outing.    

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Trevor Graham has been released, and catcher Roberto Vahlis and SS Rafael Narea have been assigned to the VSL Cubs.

the 23-year old Graham was the Cubs 2013 13th round draft pick out of Franklin Pierce University, and he has not pitched since Minor League Camp (he has been inactive at Extended Spring Training). He began last season at Extended Spring Training and was moved up to Daytona briefly in May, before ending up at Boise. 

The 21-year old Vahlis (known affectionately as "Fuji" by his teammates) was at Minor League Camp at Riverview Park during Spring Training after spending the previous three seasons playing in Latin American summer leagues, with the DSL Blue Jays in 2012, and then with the VSL Cubs in 2013-14. (He is from Venezula).

Vahlis had three hits (all three singles) in five Cactus League EXST AB (all as a pinch-hitter or DH). He was originally signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a 17-year old international free-agent in July 2011, and he has hit a combined 213/324/313 in 107 career minor league games (2012-14). 

Narea was signed out of Venezuela by the Cubs as a 16-year old last July ("Signed for Future Service"), and was invited to Extended Spring Training after he turned 17 the first week of April. The slick-fielding Narea was hitless in eight Cactus League EXST Plate Appearances, but was impressive in the field. (Narea is one of 27 international free-agents signed by the Cubs so far in the 2014-15 International Signing Period) 

The Venezuelan Summer League (VSL) begins play this coming Monday (5/18), and the league schedule had to be re-worked somewhat at the last minute after the Mariners suddenly and unexpectedly moved their VSL affiliate (VSL Mariners) to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) earlier this year (the affiliate will play in the DSL as DSL Mariners #2).   

When the Cubs moved their second DSL:affiliate (DSL Cubs #2) to the VSL in 2013, the VSL became a five-team league at that time, resulting in a schedule where each of the five teams would play each of the other four VSL teams once and then get a bye on the 5th day. With only four teams now in the VSL (VSL Cubs, VSL Phillies, VSL Rays, and VSL Tigers), the schedule has been altered to where the four clubs will play six days in a row and then get Sundays off (like the Arizona Fall League).

Here is the abridged box score from today's Cactus League EXST game (Cubs players only), followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

X. Tommy LaStella, 2B-3B: 4-6 (F-9, 3-U, 1B, 2B, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI)
NOTE: LaStella batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th innings, and 4th in the 4th)
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 2-3 (1B, K, 3B, F-8 SF, R, RBI)
2. Robert Garcia, RF: 1-3 (4-3, HBP, 3-U, 1B, R)
3a. Alberto Mineo, C-DH: 1-3 (F-7, K, 1B, R, RBI)   
3b. Danny Gutierrez, PH: 1-1 (1B) 
4a. Kevin Encarnacion, DH #1: 1-2 (F-9, 1B, BB, 2 R)
4b. Roney Alcala, PH: 0-1 (K) 
5a. Bryant Flete, DH #2: 0-0 (BB) 
5b. Jose Paniagua, PH: 0-1 (P-3) 
5c. Carlos Jimenez, PH-3B: 0-2 (K, 4-3) 
6. Adonis Paula, 1B: 1-3 (P-3, 6-3, 2B, 2 RBI)
7. Varonex Cuevas, 3B-2B: 0-3 (L-7, F-7, K+WP) 
8. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 0-3 (K, P-4, P-2)
9. Andruw Monasterio, SS:1-3 (K, F-8, 1B, R, SB)
10. Jhonny Pereda, DH-C: 1-3 (6-3, 5-3, 1B)

1. Mark Malave: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 2/5 GO/FO, 53 pitches (28 strikes) 
2. Scott Frazier: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/FO, 22 pitches (10 strikes)
3. Daniel Lewis: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 4/2 GO/FO, 36 pitches (19 strikes)
4. Jae-Hoon Ha: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 24 pitches (14 strikes)  
4. Andin Diaz: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0/2 GO/FO, 27 pitches (16 strikes) 

C Alberto Mineo: E-2 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 2nd) 

1. Alberto Mineo: 1 E (see above)
2. Jhonny Pereda: 1-1 CS, 1 PB

WEATHER: Sunny & a bit breezy with temperatures in the 90's  




updated 5/13


6 players INACTIVE (injured or absent)

NOTE: The Extended Spring Training (EXST) squad consists of players who are the replacement cadre for the full season affiliates, players deemed not ready for full-season leagues, and injured players.

* bats or throws left
# bats both

Adbert Alzolay
Pedro Araujo
Daniel Bard 
Jordan Brink
Jesus Camargo
Marcelo Carreno (LIMITED ACTIVITY - post-2013 right shoulder surgery)
Anthony Carter (ACTIVE REHAB)
Dylan Cease (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 TJS) 
Oscar de la Cruz
Enrique de los Rios
* Andin Diaz
Greyfer Eregua
Scott Frazier
Tanner Griggs (LIMITED ACTIVITY - groin)
Jae-Hoon Ha (ex-OF)
Corbin Hoffner
Pierce Johnson (LIMITED ACTIVITY - lat strain)
John Michael Knighton 
Daniel Lewis 
Mark Malave (ex-C)
Dillon Maples
Brad Markey 
Trey Masek (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 right shoulder surgery)
Trey McNutt (INACTIVE - 2014 right shoulder surgery)
Yomar Morel
Erling Moreno (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 TJS)
* Ariel Ovando (ex-OF - LIMITED ACTIVITY)
Felipe Paulino
* Jose Paulino
Hector Perez
Neil Ramirez (ACTIVE REHAB - shoulder)
Austin Reed (ACTIVE REHAB - 2014 TJS)
Santiago Rodriguez
Jose Rosario (INACTIVE - 2015 TJS)
* Carson Sands 
Alexander Santana
* Daniel Schlereth 
* Justin Steele
Jacob Turner (INACTIVE - right elbow strain)
Austyn Willis
* Sam Wilson
Jose Zapata (ACTIVE REHAB - post-2013 cervical fracture)

Tyler Alamo 
Eric Gonzalez
Yohan Matos;
* Alberto Mineo 
Tyler Pearson 
Jhonny Pereda
Miguel Rico (ex-3B)

: 14+3
# Roney Alcala
# Varonex Cuevas
# Frandy de la Rosa
* Andrew Ely
* Bryant Flete
Wladimir Galindo 
Danny Gutierrez
Carlos Jimenez
Tommy LaStella (ACTIVE REHAB - rib cage inflammation)
Joey Martarano (INACTIVE - attending college)
Andruw Monasterio (formerly a switch-hitter, he is now hitting only RH)
Mike Olt (INACTIVE - fractured right wrist)
Adonis Paula 
Tim Saunders 
* Carlos Sepulveda
Ho-Young Son  
* Logan Watkins (INACTIVE - 2015 ruptured achilles tendon)

# Roberto Caro 
Jenner Emeterio
* Kevin Encarnacion (formerly a switch-hitter, he is now hitting only LH)
# Robert Garcia
Calvin Graves
Eloy Jimenez
Kevonte Mitchell
* Ricardo Marcano
Jose Paniagua

Carmelo Martinez (AZL Cubs Manager)

Oscar Bernard (AZL Cubs Hitting Coach)
Tom Beyers (Assistant Minor League Hitting Coordinator)
Ricardo Medina (Eugene Hitting Coach)
Carlos Ramirez (AZL Cubs Assistant Coach)
Terrmel Sledge (Eugene Assistant Coach)
Anderson Tavares (Eugene Pitching Coach)
Rick Tronerud (Mesa Rehab Pitching Coach)
Ron Villone (AZL Cubs Pitching Coach)
Ty Wright (AZL Cubs Assistant Coach)

Sean Folan (AZL Cubs)
Ryan Nordvedt (Eugene)

Chuck Baughman (Assistant Minor League Training Coordinator - Mesa Rehab)
Mike McNulty (Eugene) 
Toby Williams (AZL Cubs)



Bring him up!!!!!!

He didn't RESPECT 90 on the single - cut his ass!

Should we assume LaStella will be activated soon?

BOB R: I don't know what the plan is (rehab-wise), but LaStella looks pretty healthy to me.

However, I don't know how his rib-cage feels after playing two games in a row and getting 10 AB in such a short time, so that would probably be the over-riding factor in determining what's next. 

Kluber with 12 K's through 5.1 IP, no-hitter as well.

through 6, 13Ks, 81 pitches, vs STL...amazing.

no-hitter through 6, 13 K's

Hit Holliday with a pitch in 1st though

Klawchat nugget

Lewis (Tulsa) Have you had a chance to see Duane Underwood this year? Trying to keep SSS in mind, but seems like a lot to be bullish about. Klaw (1:46 PM) He didn't pitch when Myrtle was here, although I've heard the stuff has ticked up again. Might be their #3 prospect by year-end, after Schwarber (I'm assuming he doesn't get called up till late) and Torres. Klaw (1:46 PM) I guess it also depends on who they draft at #9. Latest rumor has them on Andrew Benintendi of Arkansas, a 5'9" or so LHH CF with surprising power.

Benintendi is 2nd in nation in HR's

he's assuming schwarb will be called up this year...bold.

Up in Sept, as at least a LH pinch hitter?

it wouldn't be the hugest would make sense if he makes the issue legit through august. i'm not buying into him coming up yet, but some people are starting to.

Or if the Cubs are out of it and they think he's the LF in 2016. Took me a while to recognize that possibility.

Peralta single with 2 outs in 7th. K record still in jeopardy...15 through 6.2

16 through 7, just over 100 pitches

18 through 8

hammel loads the bases with 1 out...gets out of the inning unharmed. woo. 21 pitches to get it done, though.

39 pitches through 3ip...nice rebound...0-0 game.

The umpires have no fucking idea where the strike zone is this year. I know we've talked about it but it just keeps getting worse. For and against the Cubs. Do pitchers just throw too hard now? Wtf. Fire them all. Bring in the magic eye machine. Stupid.

nice brainfart cubs infield.

Haha Rizzo "drops" a bunt popout so he can get a double play. Love this guy.

Wouldn't have come up if the fellow on the Mets had been respecting the 90.

Kris Bryant is a good baseball player.

Addison Russell is a good baseball player, too.

Another double for Russell. I believe that is 8 in his 20 games, or a yearly pace of 64 two-baggers....

Tony Two Sacks.

Woo. Cubs W(intrust) So who would have played 1B if the game went to the 10th. Szczzzzur pinch ran for Rizzo.


Rizzo re-enters game. Everyone respects him too damn much to say anything about it.

no more night games until next tuesday @SD...3 early starts and 1 late-afternoon game (monday off).

Coghlan played 1st on Sunday I think when Ross pitched,so Coghlin 1st ,Szczzzzur to left.

Cubs with 17 walks in first 3 games. A good team does what Coghlan did yesterday. Guy was not putting anything over the plate. I would have been bummed if Coghlan had moved his bat off his shoulder after it got to 3-1. Even their approach with Harvey was pretty good. Took some pitches that would have been awfully hard to hit, the guy just really hit his spots, and he didn't even need help from the ump to do it. I don't imagine he'll be part of any trade piece.

Coghlan shouldn't have been swinging when it was 2-0. Instead he had a check swing strike on a ball in the dirt. Looked like he learned after that idiotic mistake.

Ultimately I agree, but he also had a 2-man outfield. 2-0 and 3-1 are counts where a hitter would expect to get a pitch he has some chance to lift. Soler was the one I was a bit disappointed in, but imagine he was just fooled by Harvey's stuff, which is hardly unusual.

Rizzo now tied for 1st among 1Bs with Paul Goldschmidt for OWAR. Man there is some good hitting so far at first base this year. Also Dodgers...

This team is so bipolar.

I'll be around chat today.

ex-Cubs news...Rangers activated Fujikawa

Wood gives up HR and BB, I check how Wada is doing in Triple-A

(6.2 IP and 6 K, 1 ER, 4 H so far)

B. McKinney promoted to Double-A btw...

Good for him. (Bad for me--two Carolina teams in my area host the Pelicans in next few weeks.)

Also, Cubs released 2010 HS draft picks RHP Ben Wells (7th round) and Dustin Geiger (24th round).  

Both got "overslot" bonuses, with Wells getting "2nd round money" to give up his scholarship at the U. of Arkansas, and Geiger getting "5th round money" to give up his scholarship at Central Florida. 


Two obvious observations: Matt Ceasar can't hit yet at the MLB level. Travis Wood is bad at pitching in the MLB.

Wada they gonna do? If they don't rally, Cubs will fall to 5-9 in day games. Not good for a team that plays its home games at Wrigley Field. Travis 2015 = Travis 2014. Unfortunately.

Soler looks slow. Maybe it's all the extra layers of clothing?

No way Travis makes his next start. Right?

I expect Wada will get his next start.

they didn't line up Wada to start on the same day for nothing...

Stick a fork in him- He's done. And if you aren't pumped up about Wada yet, if you eliminate one bad start (in Colorado Springs), Wada has the following line: 1-2, 1.52 ERA, 28K/29.2 IP, 9BB

I'm not pumped about Wada, I think you are replacing shit for shit. /hopefully I'm wrong //again

He might not be an ace but I bet he does better than Wood and for a 5th pitcher and with our offense better than Wood might be good enough for now.

Is MLB Gameday broke or does Rizzo get hit-by-pitch seemingly every at bat? Every time I check in he's on base due to HBP.

Anthony Recker having a Michael Barrett kind of day....

Maddon pgpc Ross "abdominal tightness" Rizzo "is fine"

Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnn. Another Cubs win.

Cubs with the current longest active winning streak in MLB. Been a while since we could say that.

I wanted to measure the difficulty faced by the Cubs in going 19-15 so far and also who remains by a strength-of-opponent analysis. Instead of win percentage, I decided to use Fangraphs' expected win-loss totals. I divided the opponents into 3 mostly arbitrary categories: Good teams (expected to win 83+ games), OK teams (expected to win 76-82 games), and poor teams (75- games). First 34 games (19-15) vs. good teams 11-9 vs. poor teams 8-6 Also, that means the Cubs have played almost 3/5th of their games so far against good teams. May 15 - July 12 (all-star break) vs. good teams 36 games vs. OK teams 16 games vs. poor teams 7 games Brutal. 61% of the 59 games between now and the All-Star break are against legitimately good teams. Another 27% are against teams that won't roll over and die. Only 7 of the next 59 games are against projected bottom-feeders. July 17 - Oct 4 vs. good teams 20 vs. OK teams 9 vs. poor teams 41 That's what I was looking for. In the last 70 games, the Cubs are expected to play almost three-fifths of their games against teams expected to win 75 or less games. The most noticeable stretch is immediately out of the All-Star break when the Cubs' first 15 games are all against opponents projected to finish with less than 76 wins. Less than 30% of the post-ASB opponents are projected to win even 83 games. Considering the Cubs' current place in the standings, I consider this good news. If the Cubs make it to the All-Star break either in playoff position or without falling too far behind, it could be a very entertaining second half.

wow, thanks!

You know right now I'm more worried about them vs bad teams. I think young teams sometimes play to their competition a little. Ala the Brewers games. Tho I can see that changing over the course of the season. Probably to our advantage that the stretch of poor teams is in the 2nd half! Anyway nice work, I was wondering about this. Truth is they are better against poor teams in won/lost than I expected.

Going 2-4 against the Brewers stings. But they've also gone 2-1 against the Rockies and 4-1 against the Reds to balance it out. I'm sure the Reds are looking at the standings and thinking about much better their situation would look if they had a 3-game swing on the Cubs right now.

This is in twitter box- "From Aug 6-23, the Cubs play 16 straight games in the city of Chicago, with two off days sprinkled in." That will be crucial for a young team, and the schedule gods smiled on the Cubs. Fun times ahead.

well we still have the Blackhawks...



and Cubs

So long, Thibs -- you can take all of those nice regular-season wins with you. Getting blown out at home, with LeBron having an off night, in a must-win Game 6 is simply unacceptable. 72 points is a fitting Thibs finale -- offense in the playoffs was always his weakness.

Hard to argue with anything you wrote here. Sad.

I agree...but Thibs didn't take any shots...or let that Dellavedova take over the game...

Tough to see how that performance is his fault, but since he's the coach, it'll fall on him. I had a friend tell me the other day that Thibs is his favorite Chicago coach/manager of all-time. I don't know if I'd go that far, but I like him a lot and want him to stay.

He's a really good coach who didn't grow with the job. The guys didn't have any legs left at the end of the year, so the Paxson/Forman critique that he plays them too hard over the course of the season is a valid one. He shouldn't be so damn stubborn - it's gonna cost him his job, which sucks for everybody. I'd love for them all to sit down at the end of the year and Pax/Forman say, "NOW will you play the season out as if there actually is a post season later on?" And he says "Yes, I've learned my lesson. I'm very sorry." Because he is a really good coach. People bitch about the offense but it was fine most of the season. He didn't have a full lineup during much of the year so I guess you could argue that they shouldn't be so tired, but the guys who played all year were pretty spent I think. Bottom line is he's gone. I can't imagine management and Thibs reconciling their differences. Finding a better coach is going to be a challenge.

They clearly aren't good enough as is, and it is easiest just to change the coach. It likely won't work out, but standing pat won't work either.

He did the same thing every year -- burned out his best players -- Luol Deng was always exhausted before the playoffs even started. I would be very surprised to see him change his approach -- it is what has made him somewhat successful (at least in the regular season), and is what will get him his next job. Coaches who demand maximum effort on every possession of every game have a limited lifespan with NBA teams. The players realize the regular season doesn't matter -- I'm sure they wonder why the coach can't understand that.

This is very true about Thibs. He certainly burned out players...but did he have a choice? D-Rose misses almost 2 full seasons, half of 2011-2012, and 30 games this season. Noah's chronic knee issues...he played 80 games once in the last 6 seasons, missing 15 games a year....There are too many holes. Heinrich is awful, McDermott couldn't get off the bench, and no one knows still if Snell can play or not.... and Rose, Butler, and Noah's contract situation will keep them from adding too much in the off season.

Also good points. They have some work to do. Problem is, this year was their window with Lebron having a less than stellar class around him. The off season will just see Cleveland get stronger.

I'm not a Thibs hater but maybe a new approach is necessary. As you pointed out, "Heinrich is awful" than why did he keep playing him, and "no one knows still if Snell can play or not" he certainly looks better than Heinrich. The bottom line seems to be that the players aren't good enough. Thibs doesn't seem to be the answer, and you can't fire all the players.

Rose wasn't burned out. Gasol got hurt. Butler had 29 points in game 5. I don't really think they were that spent; I think they just sucked shooting last night. How much of 30 for 80 can be blamed on fatigue? On the coach? I don't know, we'll have to agree to disagree. It could very well be that they need a new voice. Maybe he's too stubborn, but he's a great coach.

here is the decidedly anti-Thibs perspective which I pretty much agree with now after years of defending him: And a very thorough Grantland evaluation of the team as it heads into the future:

Too bad Rose couldn't go with him. But his contract and glass body makes him basically untradeable. Can't win when your 'superstar' is paid like one but isn't one anymore (see Kobe and LA Lakers).

Oh, you're one of the D-Rose haters. Cool.

Yes I am. :) He is just below Jay Cutler.

I think there's a world of difference between the two. When Cutler is healthy, he's still the guy who has had ten years of unfulfilled potential. Doesn't matter how healthy he is, he still tips off secondaries when he's looking for secondary receivers. Rose, when his knees let him, is a remarkable player. It could be his knees are ruined. We'll find out next year. And there is always going to be the situation where you're watching him play, and this will happen for the rest of his career now, where you'll wonder if he'll go all Randy Hundley on us and just crumple to the ground again. I didn't blame Randy Hundley when he collapsed on the field, or Gale Sayers, and I don't blame Rose. It's frustrating to watch, and it sucks, but comparing him to Cutler isn't a viable comparison at all to me.

The D-Rose hate is baffling. Granted, he's not well-spoken, hasn't said the right thing sometimes, and the Adidas "The Return" campaign after he got hurt the first time didn't help. He evidently took too long to return from his first two surgeries for some people. It's actually kind of sickening to me how some have turned on him.

Most of the Cutler hate is unfounded too up until the last season. For most of his career on the Bears he had piss poor blocking and he pulled off play after play for us that few QBs could do, turning guaranteed sacks into several yard gains based on athleticism and talent. They were gains that unfortunately didn't turn into great stats compared to other QBs if just looking at #s but when actually paying close attention to his plays actually spoke of great play. Yes he made some risky plays I wish he hadn't made but his good plays far out shadowed his bad ones time and time again. Last season is the first time I really think he regressed as a QB and I am not sure the issues there.



I think a big part of fans' problem with Cutler is that he is not as good as Rodgers or Brady. He's also not as good as Brees, Wilson, Peyton Manning, Luck or Roethlisberger. As it is, he's in the middle of pack, comparable to Rivers or Dalton. Romo had a better year last year, but his career has generally been out of that top echelon as well. I don't have the issues that a lot of people have with him. If he were in the category of elite quarterbacks, I think a lot of the problems other people have with him as to demeanor, leadership etc. would go away. People say he locks in on receivers and telegraphs passes, and has poor mechanics. I can't tell. Being an NFL quarterback is really difficult, and I do not have the ability to measure what he does at that level of detail. What I can tell is that his interception rate (3.2%) was actually down last year, and was below his career rate (3.4%), even though he led the league in picks. His completion rate (66%) was the highest of his career, but his yards per attempt was the second-lowest of his career. He fumbled 12 times, which is a lot; Luck and Russell Wilson fumbled more, and Newton and Rodgers tied Cutler for number of fumbles. He does need to throw fewer interceptions (most of the better QBs in the league have a lower percentage) and take care of the ball more.

That's a good summary. He's definitely not an awful QB. He's not even a mediocre QB. I do think he telegraphs his passes somewhat, but I don't think he does it on every down. Just something that could be worked on. The Bears made the right move on keeping him, since there isn't anyone better out there. Like you said, QB is a very difficult position. Guys who can master the pocket the way brady can are really rare. I'm fine with Cutler in there again this year. Ain't no one better available, and it can very easily be argued that Cutler was about last on the list of last year's problems.

While I don't study other teams as much as I have the Bears, I'd say Cutler has been elite for us and we just massively overrate QBs. Brady and Manning, as examples, almost always had clean pockets to pass from. His play was elite on a crappy offense for years. But I've had this argument about how overrated the QB position is for years and it's just getting worse so I've sort of given up. I will always say though that Cutler was massively underrated for a long stretch there for us and for the most part did everything he could with the offense and play calling he was given.

I wouldn't say he's been elite by any stretch, but it's also fair to say that of the many years of unfulfilled potential, a very large chunk of that was not his fault. His offensive line was often as bad as the Bears defense was last year. And he definitely can't be accused of not being tough. He was steamrolled during those bad years pretty bad and kept bouncing back up and even running into defenses. I hope you win this debate and at the end of the year you get to say, "HA! See?"

Fairly good description. But in this salary cap era, a mediocre QB getting paid like an elite QB is a major problem. Especially, when the only 2 ways to win in the NFL these days is having an elite QB or dominant defense. The Bears have neither even though they are paying top dollar for one. He turns the ball over WAY too much and he has won 1 playoff game (when winning in the playoffs is what separates top QBs). I know it is not only the QB fault, but come on Tebow won 1 playoff game. I just don't get the sense he has the skill and leadership abilities to take a team, make it his and win.

Yeah but the money isn't his fault. If the McCaskeys offered me all kinds of money, even if I sucked, I'd take it.

I agree it is not his fault, but it part of the equation as to why he can't be traded or just cut. It was an atrocious contract and will hold this organization back from succeeding for a few years. It is sad as they had a lot of good offensive weapons the past few years.

Well, that decision making process is why there's a new sheriff in town.

I agreed with the choice at the time, and I think it was defensible even now. It was not likely that they could have replaced him with someone comparable, and without a quarterback (with the age of the rest of their roster) you'd have been looking at a rebuild. They tried to avoid that, and it came to pass anyway, as the defense fell off a cliff. I think the most significant of the Bears' issues the last two years have been on the defensive side of the ball. Had they more accurately assessed where they were defensively two years ago, they might have made a different choice with Cutler, and dove into a massive rebuild then. With 20-20 hindsight, it look like they should have done that, but they didn't. I think signing Cutler was a defensible choice that didn't work out. I'm not sure what they would have done at QB (or offensively in general) had they chosen not to sign Cutler. Doing a massive rebuild (dare anyone say "Cubs-style") might well have been pretty tough to live through (as it was for the Cubs during Epstein's tenure until right now).

Can't disagree more. That recent contract can not be defended. I can see defending trading for him originally, but after he showed you for many years what kid of player he is, there is no reason to make him the highest paid QB in the league. And by doing so, and trying to compensate by just giving him more weapons and a coach (QB Whisperer) you limited your focus and thus the defense fell apart. They need to stop catering to Cutler. He is not the elite QB to build around to win a title and the defense is not close to dominant, so we go like 8-8 every year until we can fix at least one. At some point you need to make a change at QB and it might not be a guarantee he is as good as Cutler, but what we have at the price he is at is not the answer.

Agree to disagree then. Two years ago, the offense scored the second most point in the league (up from 16th in Smith's last year), but the defense went to hell and the team went 8-8. Cutler may not be elite, but he can be the QB in a high octane offense. If they had let him go prior to that year and tried to use his dollars to shore up the defense, I think the offense would have been much worse, and I'm not sure the defense would have been that much better. I think the choice was a tough one, and I don't fault them for it. The market for QBs is what it is, and QBs that can play in the NFL don't grow on trees.

And let me add that him being a mediocre QB is a problem as many people say there is nobody better, so let's just stick with him. I don't believe he is good enough to lead a team to a championship, so I personally don't care if we have to draft someone to take a shot on or trade for someone or whatever. Just sticking with Cutler every year has not been the answer and will not be the answer, so why keep waiting to make a change. Every year people can say he is the best option, he is just good enough to make that case.

The reason why Cutler is an asset for the Bears, is that the Bears have not developed a QB since Luckman. I believe it's a McCaskey problem more than any regime changes, they are the constant. /no change until Vag takes a dirt nap

Yeah I am sure Virginia is the reason why the Bears can't develop a good QB.

Her team, she and her mutations hires the idiots. Can't wait for when they sell, and they will, when she shuffles of the mortal coil.

Some of the Cutler hate is because he's the same dickbrain now in his 8th or so year in the league as he was as a rookie. How is it the Bears were more successful with Josh Freakin' McCown at QB than Cutler? And how do you square Cutler sabotaging the offense last year with being successful moving forward? I will be glad to see him go and I am completely confident he will be unchanged wherever he goes next. Some great plays, too many turnovers, lots of them of the heart-breakingly stupid variety, and no accountability.

Rose is just as likely to come back next year pretty strong. Glass body? That's pretty rough for a guy who's had multiple knee surgeries and has worked like a demon to come back from them. I'd love to see a typical fan play after those types of injuries. You'd be lucky to toss a flat footed free throw on a YMCA court.

O&B, What history makes you think he is likely to come back next year pretty strong? He has been injured the last 3 years and his production is nothing like it was back in 2010/11. I am sure he has worked hard to come back, but he is also making $20 million a year to do so.

He averaged 20.3 points and 6.5 assists in 12 playoff games (averaging 38 minutes) and was driving with more confidence than he did most of the season. That's what tells me he can come back strong next year. My only issue with him is his 3-point shooting. I hope he works on that during the summer or just flat-out shoots fewer of them next season.

I'd say a guy like Cubster can speak to this more than I can, but it seems like with modern medicine, post surgery ligaments are often stronger than ever, so there's a decent chance his knees will respond well to a full offseason of continued physical therapy, and it's a good bet he'll work on them more. So it's not so much Rose's history as it is just the current state of sports medicine.

I heard what I think is best description of Derrick- "He's a great talent, but not a great basketball player."

None of it matters anymore now that the Cubs have baseball's version of Michael Jordan, complete with the Hollywood smile.

Big Coughlan fan, are you? ;-)

Got a point.... 17.7 pts, 5 assists, 3 TO's with 40% shootnig, and 28% 3-pt shooting doesn not = Superstar.

First part of the season, he was working his way back from second surgery. Definitely inconsistent. Then had the third surgery. He showed flashes of old self throughout playoffs, and I'd bet that he'll be better overall than this year's stats show.

I hope. In the 3 losses to the Cavs, putting up a 20/60 shooting line...2/12 3pointers.... that's not good. He'll never be who he was, which is fine. But he'll need to realize him going 5 for 20 isn't the way to go either.

After Rose's last comeback the question came to me "name all the players (in any sport) who suffered multiple injuries early in their career who then went on to have long healthy careers afterwards"? I don't have any names on my list, who am I overlooking?

Grant Hill?

not the same guy though...

Chris Paul tore up his knee pretty bad early in his career, seems to be just fine.

Tore up more than once? The point that matters to me is, is Derrick Rose going to play 75 games a year for the remainder of his contract? That seems implausible to me. I understand that to a degree that same concern is true for every player, it just seems about 1000 times more likely for Rose. It has to be difficult to build a team around a guy who has such a small likelihood of being available over the long haul.

Bruce Miles ‏@BruceMiles2112 1 10 minutes ago No batting practice again for Cubs. "I think it's the most overrated thing we do," Maddon said. #Cubs

New Baseball America mock draft 9. Cubs Andrew Benintendi, of, Arkansas I don't know this guy. But he has Benintendi going to the Phillies at #48 just after the Cubs pick at #47.

Keith Law mentioned his name too with the Cubs in his chat, I think I posted it, but maybe I forgot.

Safe to presume the Cubs could give 2 shits about whom the baseball writers think they should draft...10 years of kicking ass in the draft should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Bryant and Rizzo are scary.

KB down 0-2 works count full THREE RUN HR. /BOW DOWN!!!!

The kid doesn't swing at balls.

So Rizzo and Bryant for co-Overlods of the Universe? Also can we call him Kris Four Sacks or can there be only one?

Kris Four Bags?


welly is adapting rather poorly to the whole "play once or twice a week" thing. but hey, he's still in positive territory (barely) with his WAR even while putting up "cut me" there's that...if people care about that.

He had some good ABs, was hitting balls hard and getting some bad luck for a bit but last couple times he's just looked bad so not sure.

he was looking good coming out of spring into's been bleh for a while with only a few chances to right the ship. this is only his 3rd start in may and his 2nd one was yesterday.

He seems to be getting good AB's and lots of hard hit balls. More importantly though, extra rest for Montero has been huge.

I care. It is stupid to have 3 C's on the roster.

Tony Four Sacks # 8

I love the whole "give up a run then get it right back" thing. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Plus one more for daring to score against Cubs

Pirates pitching coach looks to bullpen to for new pitcher

Pirates bullpen might not recover from this week-end

Nice to see the Cubs are working the body today.

Bulls need a complete overhaul but Reinsdorf won't ditch Paxson/Forman. I think they're way behind the curve, the advanced metrics tell you that mid-range jump shots are basically a waste of time, either get in the paint or take a 3-pointer (the Rockets are the extreme example, but Warriors, Hawks, even Spurs know this by now). All I saw was mid-range jump shots the Bulls were missing in the 2nd quarter when the Cavs took over.

They won't fire or slam Thibodeau I'm guessing, as he's under contract and they want draft picks I'm sure if he goes to another teams Thibs is a good coach, although I do think he could slow down on the minutes and practices during the season, but Rose and Butler didn't even play down the stretch and Noah was on a minutes limit all season, so I'm not gonna put the blame on this year's loss to that.

I made the Rose is made of glass comment earlier, that's not to indicate his lack of toughness, he just gets hurt a lot it seems. You need a guy that can take over a game down the stretch and Rose is their only option. Saw some flashes of it in the playoffs, but the consistency isn't there. Maybe next year, but as others said, everyone else will get stronger. I don't know enough about their cap situation, but I presume re-signing Jimmy Butler is all that can do and some small pieces. The front office isn't timid though, especially in free agency, but I think Hawks, Raptors, Cavs are still gonna be the elite teams. Maybe Pacers jump back in with Paul George.

Good news is Cubs are in Game 5 of their 20-game winning streak...!!!

Butler to get max deal is the rumor. And Noah is on the books for one more year, Derrick for two more. No cap room for free agents. Enjoy 40ish win team for next several years, that gets bounced out first or second round.

Bulls giving Butler a max deal or someone else?

Bulls, "ownership loves him"- radio talkers

a roster of Rose, Butler, Mirotic, Gasol and Noah is a very good roster...that's an easy 50-win team in the Eastern Conference. Not good enough to win it probably, but a lot better than if they signed Carmelo (whom I think is a the worst "superstar" in the league).

I agree on many fronts. Carmelo is the worst 'superstar' in the league and I would rather have an overpaid, injury prone Rose than him. And they should win 50 games in the Eastern Conference barring any major injuries with that roster. But that is not close to a championship team with Lebron in the East.

You can scratch Noah, he's done, playing on one leg and it's bone on bone not getting better. Gasol only has so many miles.

Scratch Noah from the NBA? I guess I doubt that, he doesn't have to be 2013-2014 Noah to be very effective.

Not worried about Gasol staying relevant, Malone and Duncan did it into their 40's, Gasol can last 2 more years easily.

Yeah, Noah's never going to be DPOY or be in the MVP discussion again, but he still has plenty left.

It seems to me Paxson/Forman have done a good job of identifying and drafting talent without prime picks after Rose--Gibson, Butler, and Mirotic all came with picks after 15 or so IIRC. Once Thibs is gone McDermott will get to see the court again despite his deficiencies on defense and we'll get to see if he can be useful. 2-3 years ago when Rose put his head down and went to the basket, he usually scored. If he got cut off he popped the ball out and the Bulls were spaced and knew where the next 3 passes were meant to go. This year (especially in the playoffs) when Rose put his head down he was as likely to get blocked or cut off as not, and if cut off the first play seemed to be to dump it to Butler, who would then use nearly the remainder of the 24 secs to try the same thing. Much worse spacing and ball movement. I think Thibs has a shelf-life just like Harbaugh does in football. Both are simply relentless and utterly convinced in their way of doing things. I fully believe Thibs will go someplace else and be very successful for 5 years and then wear out that organization and move again.

A very faiir assessment...

this is why Maddon always pulls Hendricks early....

I turned the game on in the bottom of the're all welcome!

lefty Rosscup in to face McCutchen....jeebus.

impressive block on that 2-2 wild pitch by Rosscup, makes up for the earlier passed ball.

and Rosscup got out of it...Maddon's a genius!!!!

cubs 10-5 Edlose proof?

I don't like that a 10-5 game feels so close. EDIT: Sorry, I meant 10-6.

the single was bloop, but not the homer. Strop on.

Ssshhhh, don't tell anyone, but Motte is still working for the Cardinals.

That escalated quickly 10-9




Is the game halted for some reason, or has GameDay given up on this shit as well?

game on 2out in 10

What the hell was that? First they send Castro on a pop to short right, then Castro looks behind him to see, something. Not sure what.

T. Wood pinch-hitting now in 11th, did Cubs run out of hitters?

Come on, Travis, say good bye in style here.

If Jackson loosening up in the bullpen isn't motivation for these guys to end it now, what is?

Mighty Matt!!!

rally gum buckets work.

Is it even legal to win a game that way? Or should I say, lose one?

Definitely a cringer... I felt guilty.

After leaving skid marks in the turf. We all should feel a little dirty/guilty.