Final Cashner AFL Start Simply Indefensible

Nick Evans (NYM), Mike Moustakas (KC), and Colin Curtis (NYY) each crushed two-run homers, and Ian Kennedy (NYY) threw five innings of one-run ball, leading the Surprise Rafters to a 9-2 drubbing of the Mesa Solar Sox in Arizona Fall League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon, in what was Andrew Cashner's final AFL start.


Cashner allowed three runs (two ER) on four hits and a walk, with three strikeouts, over his three innings of work, but he actually looked very good. He threw a shutout top of the 1st, issuing a one-out walk to Daniel Descalso (STL) and allowing an Ike Davis (NYM) two-out single through the box to CF (the ball went off a diving Starlin Castro's glove and trickled into CF, as Castro ranged far behind the 2nd base bag) around a ground out, a strikeout, and a fly out. 

Cashner should have had an easy 1-2-3 2nd inning, getting an infield pop up, a weak ground ball to second, and a strikeout. But his defense let him down. 

Third-baseman Casey Kelly (BOS) insisted on calling Starlin Castro off the infield pop up, and then proceeded to drop the ball behind the mound, allowing Mike Moustakas to reach base on an E-5. So with Moustakas at 1st and nobody out, Daryl Jones (STL) hit a routine ground ball to Solar Sox second-baseman Steve Singleton (MIN), who figured instead of taking the sure-out at 1st, maybe he should try and get the lead runner (Moustakas) at 2nd base. Unfortunately, it was a hit & run play, so Moustakas beat the throw to 2nd, allowing Jones to reach base on a FC  

An exasperated Cashner decided he probably needed to get the outs himself, so he reared-back and threw a couple of 96 MPH heaters and a wipe-out slider past Bryan Anderson (STL), striking out the Rafters catcher. However, the next two batters (Ruben Tejada and Jarrod Dyson) ripped RBI hits, resulting in three runs scoring. 

Cashner got out of the 2nd on a DP fly out to CF (Dyson was running on the pitch and he never stopped running), and then threw a shutout 3rd inning (lead-off single by Colin Curtis, followed by an Ike Davis strikeout and two pop ups). But because of the extra pitches he had to throw in the 2nd, Cashner was removed from the game after only three innings of work (63 pitches - 41 strikes).        

Starlin Castro played SS and hit 2nd for the Solar Sox, and went 2-4 (raising his batting average to .387). 

In his first AB in the bottom of the 1st inning, Castro laced a line-drive single to CF on the 1st pitch he saw, stole second, advanced to third on a bloop single to center, and scored on a bloop hit to LF. He was swinging first pitch again when he ripped an opposite-field single to RF with one out in the bottom of the 3rd, stole second (again), and advanced to third on a fly ball to CF, before being left stranded. He was retired on a lazy fly ball,(F-9) and topped out to third (outstanding barehand pick-up and throw by Rafters 3B Mike Moustakas, just barely nipping Castro at 1st) in his other two plate appearances.  

Besides his activity at the plate, Castro also made the defensive play of the day, coming in full-speed behind the mound to grab a ball that was deflected by the pitcher, and then throwing out the batter (Nick Evans) by half-a-step.  

Michael Brenly was the catcher today (with father Bob once again in attendance), and batted 9th. He fisted an RBI bloop double down the LF line in the bottom of the 7th, but grounded out weakly 3-U, 6-3, and 4-3 in his other three plate appearances. 

LHP James Russell worked the top of the 9th for the Solar Sox and pitched another shutout inning, allowing just a lead-off 1st pitch opposite field single to Ike Davis, before retiring the side on a ground out (Castro's defensive gem) and two strikeouts (and both of Russell's strikeout victims were left-handed hitters). Russell has looked VERY good so far.

Josh Vitters did not play again today (he was a last-minute scratch yesterday), and RHP Blake Parker and LHP John Gaub are scheduled to work out of the bullpen tomorrow night at Scottsdale. Both Parker and Gaub are waiting to find out if they will be added to the Cubs 40-man roster (the deadline is Friday).


What's the deal with Vitters? This kid is always sidelined with some kind of "minor" injury, it's been this way since he was drafted. Before he was drafted actually, he was hurt in HS too. He's beginning to look like a VERY fragile player. No question Castro has moved past him at this point. Has the window passed on Vitters' max value?

at least let the guy get old enough to buy a drink before we start pegging down his max ceiling. he is a bumps/bruises player so far, though.

What's the deal with Vitters? This kid is always sidelined with some kind of "minor" injury Well he came to the right organization.

Wasn't his 'injury' in High School mono?

I thought it was pneumonia, but unless we are referring to something other than what affected him most of his senior year, I'm pretty sure it was an illness of some kind, not an injury.

He gets illnesses? What a pussy. Probably caught Prior's vaginitis.

Jesus! What's with the continuing of the Prior "Vagina" thing? Let it go...The dude is out of baseball (sort of) for fuck's sake!

who the hell is prior? hard to believe he hasn't been in a pro game since mid-06. it's easy to give him hell, but he was a mega-ultra-level talent who exceeded expectations except for the very highest until he got injured.

Referencing Prior's vagina in a thread that started with an accusation that a player might be fragile could be ironic, too. That's how I read it.

What's wrong E-Man? Sand in your vagina?

wtf ryno?! did i insult you or anyone in the comment? that's the best you can do with your shallow "wit"? asshole.

Did anyone else see Marty Funkhouser's joke to Jerry Seinfeld on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this past Sunday? Gold, Jerry, GOld

Dude, I was speaking ironically. We were talking about Silent Towel's endless vagina witticisms in a different thread. It annoyed me when people likened a weakness to femininity. I figured the fact that I accused the guy of being a pussy for getting an illness made the sarcasm clear enough. Apparently not.

nope. sorry. know all too well about ST here and missed the irony as well as the "sand in the vagina" thing.

No problem. Sarcasm doesn't always translate in type. Greinke talks about FIP...

Dallas News writer on Cubs sending Bradley back to them... --- But once you get past the stats and the dollars and get down to the type of teammate Bradley is, the type of strain Bradley's presence puts on the clubhouse and the type of message it sends to the team, there are a slew of reasons why the Rangers aren't exactly jumping at this "bargain."

Clearly the Dallas News doesn't read TCR...

That article expresses what I have said about Bradley nicely..... That said, he played 124 games last year and 126 in 2008. It's virtually impossible to be considered a starter, not spend time on the DL, and play any fewer games in a season. He has been in the league now 10 years and never played in 90 percent (146 games) of his team's games. His career high is 141 games and the last two years he's averaged playing in 77 percent of his team's games. A healthy Bradley means roughly 25% of the time you have to play a man down on the 25 man roster. Thats a hell of a burden to pay for a guy deemed the "starter." Does this sound familiar? After the All-Star break, he played in just 46 of the team's final 66 games (70 percent), citing various minor injuries, occasionally pulling himself out of the lineup late and causing a significant amount of frustration among teammates who were trying to post the Rangers' first winning record since 2004.

a Bruce Levine online Q&A, from yesterday...some decent stuff (if you can muddle thru the WSux crud) --- When will Bradley get traded....And to What Team??? Bruce Levine (1:07 PM) I have to admit that I might have jumped the gun last week. I thought he would be gone by now. But a couple of the scenarios for Hendry haven't taken place. Right now it's still Tampa and Texas as the most viable deals. It appears Kevin Millwood would be coming back from Texas and Pat Burrell if the deal is made with Tampa. --- What are the odds of the Chicago Cubs resigning Rich Harden? I have heard he wants to stay as a cub. Bruce Levine (1:37 PM) Zero. Harden's 25 starts per year is not what the Cubs are looking for, especially if he's going to make somewhere between $7M and $10M. Harden probably will take a one-year deal with an option somewhere else. --- $7 million on Grabow is an absurd waste of money. Can you say Mike Remlinger or Latroy Hawkins or Scott Eyre? John Gaub will be just as good as Grabow and for 1/20 of the price. Bruce Levine (1:50 PM) Grabow is a very good left-handed set-up man. Those guys aren't easy to find. Unfortunatley for the Cubs, the market for a left-handed set-up man alreayd is set by other good and bad contracts. Real market value for Grabow is $3M to $4M. He will sign with the Cubs. --- What do you thnk the chances are of the Cubs going after a second basemen like Orlando Hudson? Second base seems to be up in the at the moment with both Fontenot and Baker being arbitration eligible Bruce Levine (1:54 PM) Hudson would be a nice one-year call for the Cubs. It would allow Castro to have more seasoning at Double-A and Triple-A before he's moved up to play short. The problem with Castro playing short is Theriot moving to second, a position he hasn't played for four years. That's not an easy adjustment, especially playing with your back to the runner coming down on double plays. Still Hudson would be a nice addition for one year. Orlando Cabrera wouldn't be a bad idea either. --- Bruce,if Hendry does trade Castro or cashner doesn't that contradict what Ricketts mentioned during his press conference about building the minor league system? Bruce Levine (1:59 PM) Castro will not be traded. He is the shortstop of the very near future. Teams do not trade players like this unless they have a young stud at the position already. Cashner would only go in a blockbuster trade where the Cubs are getting other young people back. That would not contradict Ricketts' statement considering you're bringing in other young players. --- What are the chances of the Cubs bringing back DeRosa? Bruce Levine (2:01 PM) Maybe DeRosa would be the right answer for the Cubs' new marketing director. The team did say it was going to have a high-profile, well-known guy to take that role. But seriously I don't see where DeRosa fits for this team. He's going to play at age 35 coming off wrist surgery. His best positions are first and third. I do miss him, though, in the clubhouse.

Interesting that Levine notes Castro and Cashner are the untouchables, but pointedly does not mention Vitters. Of course, it IS Levine....he probably just read the BA list and used their top 2 for his examples. I'd put more credence in suppositions like these if they came from Miles. I didn't mean to come across as quick-to-the-hip in bashing Vitters' upside, I was just making the observation that he sure seems to have an awful lot of nagging injuries. Each year he's been with the Cubs he has missed time due to something--wrist, back, what-not. I hope he pans out big-time, but this consistency of missing time at such a young age is either typical Cubs bad luck, or indicative of a fragile kid. I hope the former since luck is bound to change at some point, but I fear the latter. A 19-yo Joe Crede isn't going to do the Cubs much good in the long run.

AZ Phil had also mentioned that out of all the top prospects the Cubs have, he seems the most likely to go nowhere. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs reportedly are possible landing spots for Martinez, who did prove in his short time with the Phillies that he has something left after having consecutive injury-riddled seasons with the New York Mets from 2007-08. granted it's a rumor and all, but Harden's 25 starts a year are a problem, but let's go get Pedro? (hat tip to waxpaperbeercup for the link)

Well, 25 starts at $10 million is the problem, right? What would Pedro cost? Half that? A third? Plus incentives? Between the 2, I'd prefer a healthy Harden, but I'm just guessing "healthy" and "Harden" aren't going together well next year.

Pedro will get at least $6M I'm guessing and maybe $8M in incentives and be half as good...

Remember the Cubs were allegedly scouting him last year. Also the money isn't likely to be the same. Also you're comparing news fromt two different sources and wondering why there is a discrepancy.

I have not read anywhere that the Cubs were even considering this at all. I am interested to know who is "reporting" this. Sounds like water cooler talk to me.

Probably as credible as the Lee-for-Vazquez rumors last week.

I'm not against signing Pedro as a 2nd half guy on a Clemens type plan. He can probably be a solid 5th starter. If things falter elsewhere, I wouldn't be against that. Signing him for a whole year, though, seems like a fool's errand. Just hard for me to believe he can maintain a high level all year long.

I think a possible sign for the Cubs would be Omar Vizquel. He would come cheap and be an excellent mentor for Starlin Castro. Theriot could then move back to second and/or end being the super utility man they originally thought he would be. Even if they go after a second baseman, I think Vizquel would be a good signing that would give them a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse.

I think the Cubs can sign Vizquel, regardless of his ability to mentor Castro (who should be in AA or AAA to start the season). Vizquel can play 2nd, short and 3rd better than our starters there.

DeRosa will go to the Phils...

"The Tigers, Cubs and Dodgers are among the other clubs that could be in the market for a second baseman." What would Scutaro cost us?

Our minds.

The problem with Scutaro is that, if I'm not mistaken, he's type A. I'm not against Scutaro on a short deal, say, 2 years 7-9 million, as he could give us a better top of the order option than Theriot and make for a decent, albeit expensive, backup in 2011 (assuming Starlin is up). that said, I'm not willing to give up a pick for him, and he probably could land a better deal than 2/7-9. accompanied with random Bradley photo...

No one's ever suggested that they would fire sale - just that they'd try to move some contracts. If you're going to move guys and save some money Willis, Bonderman and Ordonez don't fit the bill. I am pretty sure if Dombrowski goes to Illich (right?) and says "We can get Tommy Hanson for Willis and Ordonez" then the deal gets done.

well someone must have said it or Dombrowski wouldn't have felt the need to shoot it down...

as per how it relates to the Cubs, I hold by my initial stance that they'll move Granderson only if they can move a bad contract with it...

Similar to the Halladay and Wells for prospects deal of July.

I don't know. I could see them moving him for like Cameron Maybin and a rookie/1st year starter. If the Orioles were to offer Pie and Maskawutsis - theyd probably bite. Even a Soto and Wells package would probably get them thinking about it. In the larger scheme of things, I agree that $9 million, or whatever those two are scheduled to make isn't going to make or break the organization.


Sorry's not like Matusz is that close to MAskawahtsis..I thought for a crazy second that you meant Markakis...but I know you're smarter than that. The cases where the value of metrics like UZR are the most contentious are when the results diverge significantly from what the perceived scouting wisdom says about a player. Often times, the reaction to counterintuitive data is to dismiss it entirely, offering up the example as evidence that the metric is flawed beyond use. Or, on the other side, to offer up the player’s numbers as proof that scouts just don’t get it, and that subjective opinions are worthless In reality though, both positions are wrong. Re-quoting the assistant GM from Crasnick’s piece: “If there’s some kind of discrepancy, you need to use your best judgment,” the assistant says. “If a scout says, ‘This guy stinks,’ but the numbers say he’s excellent, the truth probably lies somewhere in between.” UZR is a tool. Scouts are a tool. They can be used together to produce better information than either can on their own. It is not an either/or proposition. Use both.

UZR is useless. mike cameron disagrees...brad hawpe, mark tiexera, and jason bay agree.

Are there center fielders with bad UZR scores? It was almost a non-possiblity with the +/- system.

I don't get the Bill James site, but I do recall defensive win shares being very kind to centerfielders, but I can't check +/- ratings.

Edmonds was -14.3 for the Cubs/Padres in UZR last year.

you can sort by UZR on Fangraphs, I find 9 that qualified that were below average in 2009, the worst being Ellsbury, Wells, Fowler, Fukudome. 

My Hardball times seems to have been put into storage. If memory servers the average center fielder got an A-, the average Right Fielder a C and the average left fielder a C-. How do you qualify for a fielding metric?

I keep waiting for Russell to break out (a bit). I mean, decent fb, plus change, solid curve. Plenty of lefties have had less to work with and built solid careers. I'm hopeful that maybe this is a sign of things to come. That said, I would prefer to see Russell working on his arsenal as a starter in Iowa, particularly if Gaub will take the main LOOGY role in Iowa (I'm figuring Grabow and either Marshall and/or Gorzelanny will be in the pen, negating a need to bump Gaub up).

Well Marshall/Gorzelanny will be starting, at least at this point, and none of them are strictly LOOGY's so I could see all four being on the team. If we have four right starters (to start the season) then it seems like a good idea to have a long guy who is a lefty. If we're going to have a 7 or 8 man pen, may as well have Gaub part of it - assuming there are enough high leverage cituations for him to work in, and he actually succeeds at it.

" Would the Angels be willing to do a swap of Gary Mathews Jr. to the Cubs for Milton Bradley? With both players seeming likely to be on the move and their contracts similar, it seems like a fit for both clubs and players. Do you think that could happen? -- Eric Y., Chino Hills, Calif. This is an intriguing suggestion. The Cubs could use Matthews' defense in center field and his ability to lead off, and Bradley had his best season in the AL West with Texas in 2008. Bradley can play a corner outfield spot, but he is probably best suited to DH. But I don't think there's a pressing need there, which means Matthews' versatility probably makes him more valuable to the Angels in spite of Bradley's superior offensive numbers. "

And if that doesn't work, there's always Cleveland.

I followed John Beasley's link, which eventually led me to discover an updated version of "Casey at the Bat" entitled, "Bradley at the Bat": It's worth reading for a good chuckle.

matthews ability to leadoff?

never say never and all, but Angels felt burned by Jose Guillen and I doubt they'd take Bradley on without the Cubs paying the entire freight. Bradley burned his bridges with the L.A. media as well, so they'll pounce on him if he comes back.


The leadoff thing, while stupid, wasn't nearly as stupid as the center field thing. Bradley probably plays a better center than Matthews at this point.

as expected.. offseason has been kind of boring so far...hasn't it?

Hendry has no money. He's lost.

I had to drive to Peoria and back today, 3 hours each way. On the way back I wanted to shoot Jim Memolo, resident punk at WGN radio (and why does WGN radio only hire jackasses to do sports? Between Memolo and Kaplan I can't stand WGN sports reports) At 4:11pm Memolo comes on and says "plenty of baseball hotstove rumors, more at 5pm." His next report was at 4:35, doesn't mention baseball rumors at all, but he teased for 5 o'clock and I'll be in the car another two hours anyway. At 5:11 he comes on, doesn't mention baseball rumors at all. 5:35, again, no mention of baseball rumors. At 6:11 he comes on and says, "plenty of Cubs and Sox trade rumors out there. The Phillies are considered the leaders for Mark Derosa." That's it. Thank you, Memolo. Learn the basics of journalism, you scab.

Yeah, that's the kind of shit that would send me raging.

Kudos Paul. Most accurate post in the history of the internet.

Should be listening to WSCR.

Yea... the Score is a beacon of accuracy, breaking news, and top-notch reporting. Oh wait.

Lol...true Lowitzki...but it's still better than Jim Memolo....ugh.

Gitmo prisoners should have to listen to WSCR

Schmidt is probably retiring.

This actually made me laugh.

Just for old time's sake! I'm gonna miss that guy.

FINE...i'll do it. dude, that's 3/44. Grabow deal should be done tomorrow...2/7.5 Sickels Q&A has a few comments on Cubs prospects. Summary: Sickels likes Castro Scouts questioning Vitters Cashner should be a reliever eventually

Submitted by toonsterwu on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 4:23pm.
I keep waiting for Russell to break out (a bit). I mean, decent fb, plus change, solid curve. Plenty of lefties have had less to work with and built solid careers. I'm hopeful that maybe this is a sign of things to come. That said, I would prefer to see Russell working on his arsenal as a starter in Iowa, particularly if Gaub will take the main LOOGY role in Iowa (I'm figuring Grabow and either Marshall and/or Gorzelanny will be in the pen, negating a need to bump Gaub up).


TOONSTER: While John Gaub has really struggled in the hitter-friendly AFL, James Russell has been outstanding (he leads the league in WHIP and he's 3rd in ERA).

Russell probably would have been a rotation starter for the Solar Sox, except Andrew Cashner got the Cubs slot (only one starting pitcher per organization).