Cubs Claim Catcher Off Waivers

The Cubs have claimed 26-year old C-1B Max Ramirez off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox claimed Ramirez off waivers from the Texas Rangers last Wednesday, and immediately placed him back on waivers again the next day, obviously hoping they were the only club with interest in Ramirez and that they could sneak him through. But what the BoSox did not foresee was that during the time that Ramirez was on waivers the Cubs would make an eight-player deal where they would trade four players who were on their 40-man roster for two players on the other club's 40 (thus opening up two slots on the Cubs 40-man roster), and that one of the players the Cubs would trade would be a catcher (Robinson Chirinos).

Ramirez was signed out of Venezuela by the Braves in 2002, and was traded in stretch drive deals twice, from ATL to CLE in July 2006 (for RHRP Bob Wickman), and from CLE to TEX in July 2007 (for OF Kenny Lofton).  

Ramirez was a Rangers Top 10 Prospect as recently as 2009. He is an offensive-first right-handed hitting catcher with plus-power who has also played some 1B in recent years, with a 298/396/476 minor league line in 563 career minor league games. If his minor league numbers are averaged out over 140 games per season, he would average 18 HR, 89 RBI, and 33 doubles per season. He has hit 217/343/357 with four HR and four doubles in 45 MLB games (2008 and 2010 with Texas).  

He doesn't have much of an arm, throwing out just 18% of opposing base-stealers in his minor league career, and his all-around defensive skills are rated below-average. He is also a very slow runner.

Ramirez will be competing in Spring Training with Koyie Hill and Welington Castillo for the Cubs back-up catcher gig, but (like K. Hill) Ramirez is out of minor league options, so if he does not make the Cubs 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training he would have to pass through Ourtright Waivers without being claimed before he could be sent to the minors.  




Perhaps the Cubs will package him with a pitcher (Gorz?) and ship them both to the Tigers or Mets...

dunno who rally wants the guy...he's been passed around on waivers with no trade bites all winter.

...He doesn't have much of an arm, throwing out just 18% of opposing base-stealers. Geez PHIL. 18%?! This seems like it would be in the bottom 5% of all of major league catchers, right? Maybe if he can hit, its still an upgrade over Koyie Hill.

yeah...he doesn't even have the arm for 3rd...which is a shame. a weak C who may be better suited for 1st...but doesn't have the power or decent height for 1st. *shrug*

" doesn't even have the arm for 3rd...which is a shame. a weak C who may be better suited for 1st...but doesn't have the power or decent height for 1st." Sounds like the perfect Cub.

Sounds like Jake fox

That is cold

Cubs still cling to the Hack Wilson Model of a ball player.

"Cubs still cling to the Hack Wilson Model of a ball player." I wish. Hack was fast enough to play center field for six years with the Cubs (back when deep center field was 440' away from the plate). Also had 10 stolen bases one year followed by 13 the next year. He also averaged over 11 assists a season for his six years in center for the Cubs. Yeah, I could live with a few Hack Wilsons on the team.

Not knocking Hack. I love me some Hack!! Just seem Cubs have more little people then the cast of Wizard of OZ.

Submitted by The E-Man on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 4:47pm. ...He doesn't have much of an arm, throwing out just 18% of opposing base-stealers. Geez PHIL. 18%?! This seems like it would be in the bottom 5% of all of major league catchers, right? Maybe if he can hit, its still an upgrade over Koyie Hill ================================================= E-MAN: Max Ramirez will have to hit a TON in Spring Training to make the Cubs Opening Day roster.

Why not try to get both Hill and Ramirez thru waivers and give the Soto backup job to Castillo? He can already hit better than Hill, and his defense his fine. There is an infinitesimal chance that BOTH Hill and Ramirez would get claimed, so whoever the Cubs hang onto, becomes the de facto Iowa starting catcher. Problems solved?

AZ PHIL: I guess so, then. What in your opinion, is the "exit strategy" for K.Hill in terms of the Organization? Coach? Equipment manager? Team carpenter? Well, maybe not the last one...

Submitted by The E-Man on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 5:07pm. AZ PHIL: I guess so, then. What in your opinion, is the "exit strategy" for K.Hill in terms of the Organization? Coach? Equipment manager? Team carpenter? Well, maybe not the last one... ======================================= E-MAN: Koyie Hill reminds me of Elvin Tappe. Old farts like me remember El Tappe as a long-time plus-defender with a weak bat catcher with the Cubs, and he was a charter member of the Kollege of Koaches in 1961 as a player-coach. The thing about K. Hill is that the Cubs pitchers like to throw to him, and management takes note of things like that when it comes to choosing a back-up catcher. He will probably be a minor league manager or coach when his playing career is over. Although he has a strong & accurate arm and plus-power, Welington Castillo needs to improve his receiving skills before he gets a shot with the Cubs. He also is considered something of a dolt when it comes to calling a game. He isn't exactly Albert Einstein.

you happen to know how good/bad wellington's english is? i know that was a weak point for him for a while.

Submitted by crunch on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 5:22pm. you happen to know how good/bad wellington's english is? i know that was a weak point for him for a while ==================================== CRUNCH: He had some trouble learning English, but that's not his problem now. working on a 2+ year old comment from someone on that one...was just wondering if he made progress or decided to "vlad guerrero" it.

Or he could do a Sammy and forget English for a day.

Yes Phil, this old fart remembers Elvin Tappe and his twin brother Melvin who played the OF. I believe they were from Quincy, Il.

EXCELLENT move IMHO. Hopefully this spells the end of the Koyie Hill era?

I don't think the Cubs want two catchers who have trouble gunning down runners. Do you? I see no reason why Castillo can't replace Hill, however.

It's not the 1980's anymore though? How often do you see more than a steal or two in a MLB game? There was exactly 1 team that stole better than a base per game last year. 11 teams had 81 or less steals. So if the difference in Hill and Ram is 3-5 stolen bases over a season? Does Rammys bat make up those 3-5 bases? Vegas odds would surely say yes.

Do teams tend to steal more when playing a team that has a weakarmed catcher, as opposed to stealing less when playing teams with a strongarmed catcher?

Yes, though holding runners on is also a part of it. Hill wasn't any good at throwing out runners last year anyway, so the question is moot.

"Do teams tend to steal more when playing a team that has a weakarmed catcher?" Look at Doumit. 91 starts at catcher, 90 steal attempts, 79 steals. So the average team stole almost a base per game when they played the Pirates and Doumit was catching. I would want to know who the teams were that stole the most bases; how they did in low-scoring games and one-run games; how they did in late innings. When the other team's stopper or closer is on the mound, it's not so easy to hit HRs and doubles, and speed might become a bigger factor.

I should add that it might not be such a mystery why the Cubs couldn't beat the Pirates. Maybe they couldn't take advantage of Doumit behind the plate. I remember him "nailing" Fukudome, as one example.

I don't think the Cubs want two catchers who have trouble gunning down runners. They already have two catchers who have trouble gunning down runners.

I thought you knew about small data samples, Big. They both logged a lot of games in the minors. Hill in minors, 31% caught stealing. Ramirez in minors, 22% CS.

I didn't say anything about Ramirez.

Baseball America' Jim Callis on the Cubs Top 10: As for the Cubs, Brett Jackson would ascend from No. 2 to replace Archer as the system's best prospect, while Alberto Cabrera, Darwin Barney and D.J. LeMahieu would come into the Top 10. Quick scouting reports on the newcomers: Cabrera is a righthander with a 92-97 mph fastball and mid-80s slider; Barney is a proven winner and quality middle-infield defender who plays above his tools; and LeMahieu is the best pure hitter in the system but needs to find more power to make it at third base, his best defensive position.

still no jay jackson love...cold.

Barney over Jackson? Callis drinks at work.

With Chris Archer (my #1), Brandon Guyer (my #5), Hak-Ju Lee (my #7), and Robinson Chirinos (my #19) having been traded, my Top 15 now looks like this: 1. Trey McNutt, RHP 2. Brett Jackson, OF 3. Josh Vitters, 3B 4. Jay Jackson, RHP 5. Chris Carpenter, RHP 6. Welington Castillo, C 7. Ryan Flaherty, IF-OF 8. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF 9. Aaron Kurcz, RHP 10. D. J. Lemahieu, INF 11. Reggie Golden, OF 12. Darwin Barney, INF 13. Alberto Cabrera, RHP 14. Marquez Smith, 3B 15. Chris Rusin, LHP

Hayden Simpson might make that list if Az Phil (or anyone) ever gets to see him pitch.

A. If Sczcur (sp?) commits to baseball, where would you rank him on your list? I'm guessing 7-8ish. B. Either of the two other Aarons, Schafer and Kirk? C. No love for Dolis? He seems to be a favorite of some scouts.

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 10:08pm. A. If Sczcur (sp?) commits to baseball, where would you rank him on your list? I'm guessing 7-8ish. B. Either of the two other Aarons, Schafer and Kirk? C. No love for Dolis? He seems to be a favorite of some scouts. =========================================== JIM H: A. I rate Matt Szczur right now just outside the Top 15. Right now I like Jae-Hoon Ha better than Szczur. Ha is a year younger than Szczur, has already developed HR power and base-stealing skills, and is an above-average defender at all three OF positions. Both Ha and Szczur could eventually morph into another Brandon Guyer, but Ha is closer to realizing that potential than Szczur at this time. Szczur is a raw baseball player right now, an athlete still learning the finer points of the game. He's fast but not a good base-stealer, displays BP power but not in games, and has good range in CF but with a LF arm. Szczur needs to commit to baseball before he can hone his natural hitting skills and improve his arm strength and baserunning. That said, I would not be surprised if the Cubs offer Szczur a Jeff Samardzija-type deal sometime in the next month or two, asking him to give up his NFL dreams and concentrate on baseball, perhaps with the enticement of a major league contract and a spot on the 40-man roster. The Cubs do have a roster slot open, and if they did sign Szczur to a major league contract with the accompanying spot on the 40-man roster, he would get a 4th minor league option year, so he would not have to be rushed. A lot depends on how he performs in the Senior Bowl later this month, because it is there that he will have a chance to show what he can do against major college competition. B. Aaron Shafer has potential as a RH middle reliever. He needs to prove himself for a full season at AA, but he could get added to the 40-man roster post-2011 with a strong performance at AA and perhaps in the Arizona Fall League post-2011. (Shafer fits the profile of the type of pitcher the Cubs send to the AFL). He has a similar skill-set as Kyle Smit. Austin Kirk is a pretty good prospect, and could move up with a strong performance in 2011. He needs to do a better job of throwing strikes, and he needs to be more consistent. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is the Opening Day starter at Peoria. C. Rafael Dolis has always been a "project," but he did not progress as much as hoped in 2010, returning to Daytona at the start of the season and then struggling after a mid=season promotion to AA. I guess the disappointment stems from high expectations, given the way he wowed everybody with his gas and power slider at Instructs post-2009. After last weekend's trade, I would rate Dolis in the same group as Szczur, just below the Top 15. I do consider him to be a definite MLB prospect, but he has to refine his command and be more consistent if he is to be anything more than an MLB middle-reliever.

I see no reason why the "best pure hitter in the system" can't solve the Cubs' second-base problem, long term. I think the trade of Lee has clarified this situation a bit. Lee was not going to become a second baseman, and Castro was not going to give up his SS gig. LeMahieu will be at Tennessee this season, so he can start competing for a big-league job in spring 2012.

I was gonna bitch how we didnt get Max Ramirez a few days ago. If i remember correctly he had a shoulder injury and hasnt been right since previous to that he was a hitting machine wherever he went.

I think Ramirez is a great low-cost pickup. Has been a top prospect in the recent past, didn't cost anything (except a few bucks). If he doesn't work out, we didn't lose anything.

Submitted by SheffieldCornelia on Mon, 01/10/2011 - 7:51pm. I think Ramirez is a great low-cost pickup. Has been a top prospect in the recent past, didn't cost anything (except a few bucks). If he doesn't work out, we didn't lose anything. =================================================== SHEFF: Exactly. If there wasn't a couple of slots open on the Cubs 40-man roster, they wouldn't have even thought about claiming him (which is why they passed on him last week when the Red Sox won the claim). And if the Cubs need his roster slot later in the off-season, I would think they will just put him back on waivers. This was a "What have we got to lose?" kind of waiver claim.

Here is my take on all of this: (1) The Cubs don't mind paying Ramirez to start the year on the DL if he is not completely healthy. (2) Once activated, his initial role would be as a bat off the bench and will be tried out at catcher and 1B and any other positions he might be able to play in a pinch. (3) His ultimate role might be to be the team's 3rd catcher so that on days when Koyie Hill starts, we can use Soto off the bench as a pinch hitter and still have Ramirez available if the game goes long. If he can't come close to Jake Fox' defensive ability at a position, he can be released with little remorse.

I'm interested in the Defense vs Offense from your backup catcher discussion. As long as it's for spot starts (opposed to filling in for DL injury). I'm for offense. I don't know much about Max Ramirez but looking at his stats I noticed one thing... Even if he doesn't hit, but it seems he can... He seems to draw some WALKS (12 BB in 85 PA last year at Texas, 14.1% walk rate) minor league OBP is .396 (.298 .396 .476 .872) minor league career walk rate is 13.6% (I converted AB to PA by adding walks to AB) (minor league stats from baseball cube) conversely, Koyie Hill's mlb career OBP is .276 and has a 7.7% career walk rate Geo Soto's career OBP is .360 and career walk rate is 12.5% I'll live with the problems related to clogging the bases.

I couldn't agree more. I'm sure the Cubs pitchers, coaches, and management love Koyie Hill as a person, future minor league coach, fine American, votes in every election, etc., etc. And, of course, he adds 2-3 mph to every pitchers' fastball. But for heavens sake, if you're going to play your backup catcher as much as Hill plays, why can't the Cubs have a backup catcher who can at least get on base with some regularity? Maybe Hill's minor league coaching career could start around March 30th?

Poor Koyie Hill... all he does is proves he doesn't belong in MLB for three years, and now everyone is piling on him.

1 year/$3 million. Effectively removes Tigers from list of possible Gorz suitors.

They will come, Seam, they will come. Everyone needs a decent lefty.

Like us, for instance.

I'm sure there are reasons beyond the actual games that gets hill the roster spot that they like, working with pitchers before and after games, prepping guys on the bench, and certainly not the first team to carry a defensive minded catcher as a backstop when the main one is known for his offense.

Some thoughts on back-up catchers with the conclusion being: "There really isn't a point in talking about a backup catcher when the starting catcher is a key offensive cog. [ ] The difference between them might mean something over 500 at-bats, but if they're getting 500 at-bats, the season is already floating face up."

Interesting conclusion based on no evidence, whatsover. I am going to go way out on a limb here and say that: A. A team has made the playoffs despite their #1 catcher missing a lot of time B. A team has won the Series, despite their #1 catcher missing a lot of time

Maybe so, but I think the point is that there aren't that many good hitting catchers and if your offense requires one, and he gets hurt, it is likely that the back up doesn't matter much.

I don't care about a good hitting catcher unless you have, like, Joe Mauer or something. I just want Soto to be able to do a high-quality job behind the plate. His defensive and catching skills should consume most of his training.

Rosterbation: the discussion of backup catchers Per Carrie Muskat tweets... 33 days until spring training starts Starlin Castro 3-for-5, double shy of the cycle in Escogido's 9-7 loss to Toros in DWL

Dusty's Christmas present was delayed but finally showed up today.

"Jocketty called Janish and promised him he would come to spring training as the starting SS"... Does Jocketty also make out the lineup cards? Because we all know Dusty won't be starting a kid over Renteria. I've always liked Fred Lewis for some reason, despite his somewhat inconsistent production. He would make a nice backup OF if he would accept the role.

Cubs still cling to the Hack Wilson Model of a ball player. --- Model: Big time hitters with severe drinking problems?

that and built like a fire hydrant

a fangraphs top 10 which I can't seem to find the point of publishing. He didn't even seem to know when Simpson signed.

At least there's no mention of Darwin Barney.

I haven't seen this much hate for Darwin since Vatican II.

Very nicely played.

agreed... also, i have never seen such an ill-informed and bullshit top10 prospect list in my life. maybe someone can explain to this guy why you shouldn't handicap A-AA-AAA players as if they're in the bigs just looking a pile of raw numbers.

+1 old and probably subscription based, but he interviewed 3 past catchers and their take on what it takes to be a good one. Jason Jaramillo of the Pirates (youngin), Gregg Zaun of the Brewers (veteran, and proprietor of one of the coolest websites around), and A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks they don't seem to agree on much which is funny, Zaun thinks framing pitches is very important, AJ Hinch not so much, but Hinch thinks controlling the running game is vital even if by reputation, while Zaun puts that on the bottom of his list (Zaun feels actually catching every pitch and framing it properly is #1 priority). Jaramillo believes it's all about developing a good relationship with the entire staff. They all do seem to stress calling the game and implementing the game plan as Hinch calls it near the top. Worth a read...

I haven't seen this much hate for Darwin since Vatican II. --- i hate purple dinosaurs

Trevor Time has retired /cue Hells Bells Olney calls him a lock first ballot HOFer...don't know about that.

Lee Smith doesn't understand?

Yeah, I doubt it. 2012: Barry Larkin The best new addition to the ballot is Bernie Williams. Larkin had 62% this year, so he will almost certainly get in. Bagwell's votes will jump a lot, but he won't make it from 42% to 75% in one year. 2013: Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell Having 3,000 hits, assumed by most to be clean, etc. will make Biggio a first ballot HOFer. Bagwell will have been in the 60%s the year before, so he will make the jump and they will fittingly go in together. Given how Palmeiro was treated, I see no way that Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, or Piazza (all first time eligible in 2013) goes in on the first ballot. Schilling will get some votes, but not nearly enough. I think these two years are pretty clear. 2014: Gets interesting. The ballot will have holdovers: Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Piazza, Schilling, Palmeiro, McGwire, Edgar, Raines, and Jack Morris will get a bump in his final year on the ballot (but I think will fall short). Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent are new on the ballot. I don't think either is a first balloter, but they will get significant votes. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are also first time eligible and I would guess first balloters. They have monster numbers and are all assumed clean. Maddux will approach Seaver-type percentages, Thomas should be in the high 80s or low 90s, and Glavine should be in the high 70s or low 80s. There is a slight chance Glavine could slip to year two, but I would guess 1st ballot. Beyond those 3, though, we really have no idea how voters will respond to Bonds et al. the second time around. If we look at McGwire's totals and Palmeiro's first year, the signs are not good that those guys will get in anytime soon. Bonds, Clemens, and Piazza in particular were so great that they there really is no precedent. But if I had to guess sitting here today, I would say that with Maddux-Thomas-Glavine on most ballots, no one else will get in to the hall in 2014. 2015: See above clusterfuck of holdovers, PLUS Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield, and John Smoltz as first-timers. Johnson and Martinez I would assume are first-balloters. Beyond that, I have no idea how these holdovers will play out. Might Mike Mussina get enough to get in? Maybe someone like Piazza, who is not AS linked to steroids as Clemens/Bonds gains support and gets in. Maybe voters feel like Clemens or Bonds have been punished enough and they get in. I don't know. But again, looking at it from today, I suspect only Martinez and Johnson in 2015. 2016: See above but add in Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman. Plus maybe Manny Ramirez, Andy Pettite, Chipper Jones, and Jim Edmonds if they don't play in 2011. Griffey is an obvious first-balloter. I would then guess that perhaps Jeff Kent makes it in this year. Smoltz and Mussina are also a possibility. Hoffman might make it in this year, but there is a very real possibility that he will be on a ballot with: Griffey Bonds Clemens Piazza Sosa Palmeiro McGwire Schilling Mussina Kent Smoltz Ramirez Sheffield Raines And it will be Lee Smith's 15th year if he survives this far. With a 10 person max on ballots, many voters will have them full. So I would anticipate few getting in each year because some voters will not vote for steroids players, and even those that do will be split on criteria for which 10 get on, making it even more difficult to reach that 75%. Sitting here today, and assuming a continued anti-steroid stance towards all candidates who have suspicions, I would guess the following: 2012: Barry Larkin 2013: Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell 2014: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine 2015: Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez 2016: Ken Griffey Jr. and Jeff Kent Then beyond you will have Hoffman, Smoltz, and Mussina getting in, along with Chipper Jones. I still think Tim Raines has a shot eventually. But in 2017 we will likely see Ivan Rodriguez, Omar Vizquel, and Jim Thome hit the ballot (presuming 2011 is their last year). It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out over the next 10 years.

I don't know about Thomas, I mean he deserves it but I could see him being penalized for being a DH/terrible 1bmen and generally surly towards the media and at least having to wait a year. I think Jeff Kent is going to take awhile to get in if he ever does. awesome analysis and info though, thanks.

also should add that if they ever give a first ballot HOFer to a reliever it'll be Mariano Rivera, although not sure how well they organize themselves.

I would agree. Although Eckersley as a "hybrid" starter/reliever somehow got in on the first try.

Nice post, but it doesn't really matter after 2012 because we'll all be dead :)

"2013: Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell" "no way Piazza goes in on the first ballot. " The steroid whispers were as loud if not louder about Bagwell. If you take away the juice talk, Piazza played a demanding position and was a better hitter then Bagwell.

I agree completely with your last line. But the juice talk is there: And some might argue that the talk about Piazza was more concrete than Bagwell. For example Bagwell is not on here at all, but Piazza is: So I don't think he'll get in the first year. If Bagwell gets only 40% on his suspicions, Piazza won't get 75% in my opinion. 45-60% probably. But a lot can change on how voters view this issue over the next few years.

The guy who supplied Petitte with his HGH has told people he sent it to Bagwell and Clemens as well. I just think that list is imcomplete. Bagwell in my mind is more associated with steriods because he displayed all the "circumstantial" evidence. I could see Piazza getting through on his first ballot, because he always hit for power.

hadn't heard the Bagwell link before thanks. Piazza had the Murray Chass back acne rumors and part of Perlman's book where he apparently boasted about it at one point only to retract.

I just remember Bagwell and IRod coming in to ST with significant weight loss when MLB said testing was going to be more stringent.

I'm to the point now where I don't even care who took steroids. Everyone is being painted with the same brush, so the accusation of steroid use is meaningless. If everyone cheated, then there was an even playing field and no one had an unfair advantage. In my mind, the steroid era was just one of many controversial eras that MLB has gone through. Baseball has changed over the years and players should be judged by the standards of the era in which they played. I don't think it's fair to keep out steroid users/suspected steroid users when the HOF is already full of guys who took amphetamines, played during segregation, hit with corked bats, threw spit balls, etc.

It's an excuse for Dbag sportswriters to shout from their soapboxes.

Here's where you've lost the thread, Lou: "If everyone cheated..." Everyone didn't cheat.

The point is, we don't know who did and who didn't. So baseball writers (at least the ones voting for the HOF) are treating them all the same, whether they used, are suspected of using, or have never been connected to PEDs. For them, it's easier to treat them all as guilty. So for all practical purposes (at least as far as it concerns HOF voting), everyone cheated.

Incorrect. They didn't treat Alomar like a steriod user.

Back to catchers, and Ramirez (the title of this page - not that it makes any difference), I was curious what some other catcher's CS % were in 2010: in 46 games "Hank White" toted a 50% Soto's: .221 KHill: .178 (I guess he is as bad as the guy they picked up) 72 games... YMolina .485 CS%, 135 Games ( The best of the Flying Molinas) B McCann .300 136 Games Pudge was around .430 (I closed the page now). So, I suppose if you have some offense and can handle the pitchers, the CS can be pushed under the table some...

to further clarify, there's also a reputation factor and the pitcher makes a big difference as well. I'm using games started as a game played could just be a pinch hitter, although could be a defensive replacement, but usually a catcher gets the whole day off from behind the plate. 2010 Soto -.221% 95 Stolen Base Attempts in 97 games started (.979 attempts per game) McCann - .300 120 SBA in 129 GS (.93 A/G) Molina - .485 68 SBA in 130 GS (.523 A/G) Pudge - .344 64 SBA in 102 GS (.627 A/G) Martin - .386 70 SBA in 79 GS (.787 A/G) Hill - .178 45 SBA in 60 GS (.75 A/G) in 2009 Soto - .28% 82 SBA in 92 GS (.891 A/G) Hill - .40% 50 SBA in 69 GS (.724 A/G)

The difference in attempts per game for the Cubs in 2010 is probably almost entirely explained by Zambrano's time away.

could be, could be Soto's reputation getting around the league each year don't know if we can say for certain. I think we can say, teams aren't shy about running on Soto. McCann 2005: .551 A/G (also half a season) 2006: .771 2007: .685 2008: .90 2009: .806 2010: .93 Soto 2008: .718 2009: .891 2010: .979 League SBA just cause I was curious: 2005: 1909 2006: 2126 2007: 2070 2008: 2029 2009: 2020 2010: 2043 and if I were to draw any conclusions, it's that Bill James was right 30 years ago about the general ineffectiveness of SB's in the grand scheme of things.

someone smarter than me can translate what that means in terms of runs over the course of a season just rounding it to make easier numbers says Soto is getting run on once per game and is basicaly letting 8 of them get by per 10 attempts. over 100 games that's 80 baserunner advances (not runs, just bases and usually 2b) Molina - for an extreme example - is basically giving up 25 extra bases over that 100 games what that translates into actual runs, got me. For some absurd simple math, say teams average .300 with RISP and assuming all runners from 2nd/3rd that steal would score from that hit, that would be 24 runs scored off Soto and for Molina that's 7.5, so 16.5 runs which is 1.6 wins (over 100 games), but there are so many more factors and run scoring matrixes that would go into that, that the number would be significantly lower. I think has a catcher defense component that takes a bunch of that including wp's, pb's, etc into account.

Cub catchers are notoriously shitty at stopping base runners ever since Hank White left. You get a fast guy on first base, you might as well give him second base.

Most of that blame can be placed on Michael Barrett.

I also blame Ronnie Cedeno for making the error that put the guy on first. :)

Actually now that you mention it, a better shortstop at tagging than Castro probably gets Hill/Soto five or six extra caught stealings last year.

HAHA Forgot about those.

I had hopes that Alan Trammel would be a great help to Castro. Shame he's gone. I wonder who will get infield coaching duties.

Ivan DeJesus, right?

Don't F*ck with De Jesus!

8 year olds, dude.

Also it's tough to factor in that some pitchers are really bad at holding runners at first no matter who is catching (except the elite catchers like YM or Pudge in his prime). Yadier Molina probably is better at holding runners at first (let alone throwing them out at 2nd) than most of the StL pitchers themselves. Greg Maddux never seemed to care about runners at first but when you generate so few baserunners it's less necessary to care about holding them. Thanks for posting the attempts per game numbers Rob (A/G). I think that's a pretty telltale stat about the catcher's throwing skills and reputation. The A/G stats for an entire pitching staff, an individual pitcher and the individual catchers would make an interesting study although I bet it's been done somewhere already.

Could part of the reason Cubs got this catcher be that Soto will not be ready. How long was his rehab suppose to take?

Hmmmm Dave Otto is on the Cubs caravan.

Of all the possible replacements, Otto would be the worst.

From Bruce Levine's chat earlier today: Kevin (San Diego) How is the market for Fukudome and Gorz still look? Bruce Levine (1:40 PM) I don't think all that good for Fukudome. The Cubs have heard from 4-5 for Gorzelanny. Baltimore and Detroit are two of the teams, although Tigers just signed Penney. He also throws in Doug Glanville as the possible radio guy with Sarge, Zonk, & Otto.

It would just have to be Baltimore, right? Cubs East.

Buried in the Levine chat is a question about a rumored deal with the Angels: Fukodome and Gorz to the Angels for Kazmir and Willits. Levine indicated that he hadn't heard anything about it but would check it out. Kazmir is owed $12 million for 2011 and $13.5 million for 2012 (with a $2.5 million buyout (which would certainly be exercised if his steep decline continues)so the dollars work out pretty close. I suspect that the Cubs would like that deal more than the Angels, depending on your view of Gorz.

hard to see the difference between Gorz and Kazmir at this point, Kazmir hasn't gotten anyone out in 3 years. And I'd rather have Fuku/Colvin 4th OF than Willits, who had one promising season back in 2007.

What you talkin' 'bout Willits?

If the Cubs can't trade Fukudome, then why not trade Byrd? 1. It frees up the daily OF spot needed for Colvin--assuming the Cubs are actually interested in seeing whether Colvin is a long-term asset or not. 2. Byrd was signed last winter before it was known that Colvin was going to break out. Now that he has, why do they need Byrd? 3. Byrd's contract is actually quite reasonable, he should be easy to trade on that basis. 4. Fukudome, for all his flaws, is about the best leadoff option the Cubs have for 2011. You keep him, you have your leadoff man. 5. Playing Colvin and Fukudome every day in CF/RF gets the Cubs that lefty-righty bat balance which the front office has presumably been obsessing over since 2007. Pena, Colvin, Fukudome and DeWitt, that's 4 lefties in the lineup against RHP. So, how about trading Marlon Byrd?

I'm not sure I see the point of just dumping Fukudome at this point unless it's a straight bad contract swap. He has decent value as a fringe starter/4th OF and even if Hendry finds another team to take Fuku's contract where are the cubs going to spend another $6-7 mil now? He'll have a lot more trade value when the Cubs are out of it in mid July. The same goes for Byrd, though I think he's better than a fringe OF and could actually bring in a decent haul at the deadline with his reasonable contract. As for Gorzo, you may as well bring all the SP (Z, Dempster, Garza, Wells, Gorzo, Silva, Cashner, and whomever else I'm forgetting) to camp and see how everything shakes out. Someone will probably get hurt and spots will open up, or try to fleece another team that has injury problems. Doing anything now would almost seem like making a move just to make a move.

I tend to agree. Colvin to me is still a bit of a question mark. Hot start and very mediocre past May. I'd not be surprised at a 670-830 OPS out of that guy in 2011. You are going to need to have 4 guys playing in that Cubs outfield. Each of the Sori,Colvin,Byrd,KFuk tag team is likely going to get 400+ at bats. Might as well stand pat and let Brett Jackson get 400+ at bats in Des Moines this year?

I'd not be surprised at a 670-830 OPS out of that guy in 2011. really going out on a limb there. I myself suspect anywhere from 10-40 HR's from Colvin next year, hope he can hit that range. .844 OPS in the first half for Colvin, .787 in 2nd half. To me, it's whether you want a guy to get on-base or a home run when deciding between Fukudome or Colvin. the guy that really sucked down the stretch was Marlon Byrd who put 2 sub .700 OPS months to finish the season and we're all worried about Fukudome's struggles.

Marlon Byrd is All-Star though... wait a minute, so are Fukudome and Soriano. Where's Chad when we need him?

Not going out on any limb? Just stating that he's a complete wildcard. Guys that don't control the strikezone can, will and have fallen off without any notice at all. It's not like the guy even has a minor league track record to ease our minds.

Funny, I was just thinking about this today and how Rob G was wrong about it. "Control the strike zone"? What the fuck does that mean? What's important is how often you strike out. Colvin strikes out a lot, but not too much to be an MLB hitter.

Controlling the strike zone means taking what a pitcher gives you, not being afraid of walks. WTF is up with you retorts this evening? You are coming across as a huge fucking asshole. Pump the breaks and maybe get some sleep Neal. We will all be here tomorrow to argue with.

WTF is up with you retorts this evening? You are coming across as a huge fucking asshole. Just this evening?

Actually Colvin was sort of all over the place. His May OPS was 1.034 but he had a lousy sample size, so it doesn't really count for much. Then in June he dropped to 780, which is very mediocre. Then in July he had an 856 OPS, which I'd be pretty comfortable over the course of a season. August was abysmal -- 638. I think he's actually a pretty big question mark, even though I do like his swing. With his numbers, he really can't have a sophomore slump. He needs to push it to another level to be any kind of an impact player at all. As a Cubs fan who likes a good story though, I'll be rooting for him.

as far as promotional stuff... the Cubs are planning a Tyler Colvin chest tube giveaway date Seriously, I hope there are no lasting issues with that injury.

in addition to Texas not getting Chirinos to flip to Tampa as an ingredient, it appears that Texas lost out on Garza when they wouldn't put Mitch Moreland into a deal for Garza. from Evan Grant (a Rangers columnist):
The Rangers were serious about wanting Garza, but without being willing to include Mitch Moreland in the deal, they weren't as serious about actually making the deal. The Rays wanted Moreland. The Rangers value him as their long-term first baseman. They ultimately chose not to deal Moreland, which allowed the Cubs to become much more serious players in the deal.

from the Bruce Levine chat, he has the Cubs at 87 wins. (so much for his credibility...)

Yep, that blew it for me too ; )

87? Over the next two years?

Doesn't sound too ridiculous to me. I have them about 82-83 as it stands.

I think Garza helps them move towards .500, but a lot of stuff has to fall together for them to be over .500. This just isn't that talented of a team.

Kyle Farnsworth signs 1/$3.25M plus option year with Rays KW looking like the bargain of the century at this point.

Wrong. If Kerry Wood signed for $1.5 million for one year with the Cubs, any other GM would have only offered him half a year at $600K.

It's the 20 million personal services contract that will bog down future payrolls.

Props to you. Even if you're mind-numbingly-mouth breather wrong, you still go down with your ship.

Koyie Hill signs for 2011. $850K

I'd rather just have beef Wellington for half the price. Blah.

Overpay by about $835K.

Why don't they just move KHill to bp catcher to replace the one that was arrested for transporting a shitload of pot? Then Hill can still wear a uniform, talk to the pitchers, and we can see Wellington or Max Ramirez on the team.

Sam Fuld: "I came up in the Cubs system, and they’re probably not as involved in the statistics side of the game as some other organizations. It still is important to me to get on base, even though (laughs) there were some guys who, all they cared about was my average."

Keri: Were they telling you, “be aggressive, be aggressive, swing, swing, swing?” Fuld: Yeah, I definitely got a lot of that sort of instruction. It’s frustrating, but it’s reality. You have to please your boss before anybody else. That’s one of the things I’m actually looking forward to in going to the Rays, is maybe a little more advanced thinking when it comes to the numbers of baseball.

That bothers the crap out of me. It doesn't sound like Fuld is trying to hang anyone out or throw anyone under a bus... it's just a hard truth: The Cub's do not have the ability to instruct young players.

if sam fuld wants to be a regular he does need to hit. if he wants to be a 4th OF he can take walks. we're talking about a guy who has no HR power and struggles to project even 20 doubles in the minors at an advanced age. be nice if he was faster or took enough walks to impact his numbers/play.

I think in Fuld's situation it's the opposite, since has little to no power he needs to be patient. If they are instructing all of their hitters to be more aggressive and not work the count, that explains hitters like Josh Vitters (and why we rarely develop big league hitters that do anything). Telling a hitter to be more aggressive all the time and telling them to be more aggressive when a pitch is in a certain zone and situation are two different things. Of course, we don't know to what extent their mantra to be more aggressive goes.

Submitted by Paul Noce on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 3:09pm. I think in Fuld's situation it's the opposite, since has little to no power he needs to be patient. If they are instructing all of their hitters to be more aggressive and not work the count, that explains hitters like Josh Vitters (and why we rarely develop big league hitters that do anything). Telling a hitter to be more aggressive all the time and telling them to be more aggressive when a pitch is in a certain zone and situation are two different things. Of course, we don't know to what extent their mantra to be more aggressive goes ============================================== PAUL N: I've mentioned this before, but at Extended Spring Training last year, EXST Cubs Manager Jody Davis would skip a player's next AB in an EXST game if the player was called out on strikes in his previous AB. Davis couldn't do this in official NWL games as Boise's manager, but punishing a player for getting called out on strikes (especially when the umpires at EXST are very inconsistent with their ball-strike calls) tends to make hitters think that they have to be more aggressive than they might otherwise be. Mark Johnson will be the EXST Cubs (and Boise) manager in 2011, and it will be interesting to see if Johnson (who was known for being a VERY patient hitter in his playing days, with 100+ more walks than strikeouts) takes the same approach as Jody, or if he will teach patience and plate discipline.

If a guy has a 400 OBA, I don't care if it is ALL walks.


too bad that's not his game in the pros. if the guy took enough walks to actually have an impact, besides looking like a .700 OPS hitter, the walks might matter more....or if he at least had more speed. given that he can cover CF he's a decent enough 4th OF'r, though.

Brace yourselves for dumb-ass Cub Caravan articles... here's one of the first, Paul Sullivan says put James Russell into the mix for a starting job. Of course if Gorz gets traded, then Sean Marshall and Russell get mentions in these kind of articles because they are southpaws. Next: Will John Grabow come off the 600 day DL?
Left-hander James Russell was added to the mix of potential Cubs starters Wednesday, joining Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Samardzija in the battle for two openings.

poor Randy Wells...

Or not. Wells mea culpa The path of Farnseworth is littered with broken dream and empty liquor bottles. Hopefully he means it.

John Grabow fucken blows. Hendry deserves a boatload of flack for that moronic signing. And because the stiff is getting $4.5MM (giggle, seriously?), OF COURSE he'll be on the roster and get 50+ worthless IP this year. Because the Cubs are too damn stupid to understand the concept of sunk cost. Ugh.

You mean like Silva was a sunk cost in 2010? People who describe baseball players as sunk costs, ironically don't understand the concept of sunk costs.

The headline is "Cubs add lefty Russell to starting-rotation mix," and the article begins, "Left-hander James Russell was added to the mix of potential Cubs starters Wednesday." Cubster, I thought you were implying that Sullivan was giving the Cubs advice when you said, "Paul Sullivan says put James Russell into the mix for a starting job."

ESPN 1000 radio report. Cubs sign Reed Johnson to a minor league contract,

WSCR reporting as part of Kerry Wood's deal that he would get a job with Cubs either on radio or TV. Cubs will not announce new radio guy at Cubs convention. My theory it will be Otto until Wood goes into radio in 2013.


Carlos is over at MLBTR posting "That's What She Said" jokes in the Reed Johnson thread. lol.

Recent comments

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  • Cubster 9 sec ago (view)

    "Setting aside how stupid it is for fans to blame players when owners are all so much more..."

    I blame Pete Ricketts


  • crunch 10 hours 32 min ago (view)

    i can't believe this kind of stuff is what we're talking about 2 months into the 2020 season...i can't believe a lot of stuff about 2020 outside of the game, too.


  • crunch 14 hours 51 min ago (view)

    contract rights are retained by the team.

    in normal times this keeps labor relations between employer and player not too volitile with only a handful of player/owner issues.  in times like this you see a system that was not designed for an event like this.

    some owners are being responsible over the players who's contracts they control while other owners make us realize why the guillotine was occsasionally popular during revoltutions/revolts.


  • Jackstraw 15 hours 18 min ago (view)

    So they are all free agents?  Or still under contract and not getting paid?  I'm sure AZ Phil or someone else has covered this but I haven't been keeping up with all the fine points of baseball's problems recently.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 51 min ago (view)

    Manfred is such a dreadful commissioner. It's his job to walk a fine line and maintain peace in labor relations. Instead he lets the owners do whatever they want.

    Cannot wait for a long, bitter strike after 2021. And for the owners to ultimately turn plenty of fan sentiment against players.


  • crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    "The A's told their minor leaguers Tuesday that they will not continue to pay them their current salary of $400 per week beyond May 31."

    classy.  absolute class act stuff right there.


  • crunch 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Evan Drellich @EvanDrellich
    The MLBPA is very disappointed with MLB’s economic proposal today, source tells me and @Ken_Rosenthal, calling additional cuts proposed “massive." League offered to share more playoff revenue, but on balance, those dollars are small compared to what players give up, PA believes.


  • crunch 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    A's are furloughing nearly all of their staff through the entire organization...including scouts, which make a shockingly low amount of money.

    the A's are owned by a multi-billionaire who inherited his loot from dad (founder of The Gap)...and him + family spent $10m trying to keep Obama from getting a 2nd term, which i assume is their idea of a good investment in their community...whereas paying loyal employees for years/decades for a few months is...well...*shrug*


  • Ryno 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Depends on who you are.


  • Ryno 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Sorry--Just needed to experience a little normalcy.


  • Ryno 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    That was the dumbest lineup I've ever seen.


  • Hagsag 2 days 23 min ago (view)



  • Cubster 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    speaking of Trump's trained rats...


  • Hagsag 3 days 33 min ago (view)

    Cubster, your comments about President Bone Spurs could not be more accurate. Thanks for posting!


  • BobbyD 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    Cubster: I agree with your comments, save one. That the president is "leading" America. He couldn't lead a pack of rats to a NYC dumpster on an August afternoon. The "man" is a f'ing disgrace. 


  • crunch 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    though the team cheaped out on this offseason (still an overall top-tier payroll), i was at least looking forward to seeing the beginning of the david ross era...and who was going to win the 2nd base job...

    nothing about 2020 baseball feels legit anymore.  just hearing the players talk about it, you'd think they were organizing a casual pickup game for charity at an inconvient time and place...doesn't seem like they're really stoked about it.