Reading good press about the Cubs makes me kinda goofy

Seriously, this smart phone thing drives me nuts.
People walking around in a complete daze, stepping out in front of busses, blocking doorways, stepping on pets...
The other day I'm having lunch with a guy who gets a text, and it's like he stepped into another room.
Big goofy smile, just...lost in the smart phone.
Stupid Fone Face.
Then yesterday Sutter sends me a text.
It's got a link to a story written by .
Great article.
You read it and suddenly you're the smartest guy in the room just because you're a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
You feel justified... all the crap you've been taking since the wooly mammoth roamed the earth starts to not matter.
You feel elation.
You feel hope.
And you have stupid Fone Face.
Whatever man.
I don't have all the links but I'm sure you've been noticing more good press lately.
Super exciting.

How about young Kyle Hendricks?
Did you see how bad he made Ryan Braun look?
With the buncha low stuff to get two strikes, then throwing one up in his eyes that he couldn't not swing at?
And the other one where he stayed low and made Braun look almost Alfonso-like.
I was rolling on the ground.
If you don't believe Hendricks by now, you should by the end of the season.
The Orioles, Giants, Blue Jays, Reds, Pirates, Cards, Dodgers, Brewers...
All those teams gotta win.
If Hendricks keeps on knocking these big boys down...
More stupid Fone Face.

ps: After I got done with the art, I noticed an unfair ratio of women to men with the Fone Face. I promise it's pretty even. 


I bet he would, he's not a FA until 2018 Keep up the good work Gordo

Ben Badler @BenBadler If he had enough plate appearances to qualify, Jorge Soler would lead the minors in OPS. Since he doesn't, it's Kris Bryant.

Despite the promotions of Hendricks, Baez, and Alcantara, the upper minors continue to be very impressive - perhaps even more impressive than the recent crop of promotions.

Those poor PCL pitchers... They can walk Kris Bryant if they want... And take their chances with Soler, Olt, and Manny f*ing Ramirez. The only reason the I Cubs aren't tearing the rest of the league up is because their pitching has been plundered by the ChiCubs.

The Grantland article just echoes what I've been saying round these parts the last two years - to hell with free agent pitchers, to hell with first round pitching prospects. There was a time when spending big time on free agent pitchers or making a big trade made sense, but these days not so much. I'm probably the only one here who is going to groan when they sign Lester. Didn't know about the ERA to FIP comparison tho, of course. That's kinda neat.

I'll groan if it's over 5 years or over 25M per year....hoping they luck into a trade.

Well, they'll do something, just based on how they're talking. I wanted the team to spend some money on free agents while they sucked, but now that the kids are coming, I'm pretty content with their current game plan. If they pick up a TOR starter, might as well start the odds on when they hit the DL and for how long.

If the team adds two front line starters this off-season that takes the rotation from competitive to championship caliber. The only thing that needs to fall in place is the continued development of the hitting. Look at the Royals as they took aggressive approaches to fixing their rotation, but their bats have not developed as fast as they hoped. Yet they are still giving the Tigers superstars a run for their money. Consistently good pitching gives you a shot at the playoffs, something the A's have preached for years. The Cubs are a lot closer to competitive baseball than people realize. Most of the gambles in the rotation have turned out great for Theo and the prospects so far are doing outstanding. But I don't expect any of them to be a Scherzer or Lester. It's best to push everyone down in the rotation by getting two outstanding starters that way the final 3 spots get more favorable match ups. This in turn creates better chances to win games and better insulates the team from injuries. Remember we have Straily and Turner working in the minors as insurance.

I don't necessarily disagree with that - reality is reality and they'll probably need to spend. I just hope they do it through free agency and not waste prospects. The Cubs actually have been playing competitive baseball all season. They're rarely blown out and play good, fundamental baseball for the most part. If I was a contender, out of all the "bad" teams left on my schedule, the Cubs right now would be the one I'd most not be looking forward to. And if they bring up Soler and Olt and actually give Olt an honest 30 day trial, I'd really hate playing that team. With that magician Bosio, though, I'm not sure they need two.

Olt 1-1 with an HR and BB to get Iowa started tonight. Leading Iowa with .325 BA. Back to the Luis Valbuena show ...


Welcome to your new Chicago Cubs

Javy's gone back-to-back with both Castro and Rizzo now. Woohoo! I'm looking forward to Soler as #2 hitter and Baez as 5 or 6, behind the patient Soler, Rizzo, and Bryant. Also, Coghlan is hitting like a sum'bitch.

I'm looking forward to (for this year) Baez, Rizzo, Castro, Soler, and Olt - I like Baez batting second with Rizzo behind him.

I'm looking forward to endless arguments on the best arrangement of good players rather than the least bad arrangement of bad players.


No slight intended, O&B. Optimal arrangement may mean 5-10 runs over the course of a season. Next season in might be the difference between 85 and 86 wins, which may matter. Difference between 65 and 66 doesn't strike me as crucial. Last time Cubs and relevant were near each other was 2009. Since I can barely remember what, if anything, I had for breakfast today, 2009 seems eons ago. Looking forward to it.

Rizzo, Castro, Soler, Baez, and Bryant all have legit home run power every time they come to the plate. It will start to get fun when all five of those are in the lineup regularly.

None taken - after listening to Len and JD last night discuss the small amount of opportunities Rizzo has had compared to others (I think their comp was Stanton) it made me remember how nice it would be to have a good OBP guy in front of him. But I still like Baez in the two spot this season while the team is going nowhere. I hope Alcantara can start being that OBP guy, but right now he's having some problems with off speed stuff, especially change ups - although who isn't on this team.

ive just been assuming baez is hitting 2nd because they want his swing-at-everything prone self to at least see a crapload of pitchers working him on the MLB level. based on everything we've seen (and mostly expected) so far he's far from an ideal #2 hitter. you can't even count on him in a hit/run as it currently stands...he can miss as spectacularly as he makes hard contact.

Being a guy who will hack at a lot of pitches, he needs protection, he has to get some pitches in the zone to hit. I think there's a better chance at that with him hitting #2

Renteria actually said that is the specific reason he wants Baez batting second. He said he hoped Baez would see more fastballs that way. It hasn't turned out that way from what I've seen. Seems like they're giving him a very steady diet of sliders, low and off the plate. He helps pitchers a lot by swinging at those. He's missed a few high fastballs, too, but no big deal, that's a fairly common thing in MLB. All those pitchers are really accomplishing is helping him learn, and when they miss with that low slider by even a touch he just crushes it. He's an astounding hitter in my opinion. Maybe not in the way Rizzo is a "good" hitter, but in how he can hit to all fields on even a low slider. I have a feeling his high strikeouts rate is going to fall considerably and that by the end of next year it won't even be a topic of conversation.

Of the 4 30+HR guys (very fun to type that!), it seems Rizzo, Bryant and Soler have some plate discipline, will draw walks and have a good OBP. Baez never really has. So, then, do you bat Baez 6th behind the other 3? The Cubs have an odd tendency to tell other teams how to pitch to their hitters. Saying they want Javy to see a lot of fastballs (guess what: he doesn't.) or, last year, saying they wanted Starlin to work deeper in the count (lots of first pitch strikes, because they knew he wasn't going to swing) seems pretty counter-productive to me. Why not say that they want Javy looking for off-speed stuff early in the count, or that they want Starlin to be aggressive early? Use the media to your advantage

Ricky is having success so far (small sample) with Baez, Dale not so much with what he did with Castro.

In the replay for Javy's homer, it looks like the pitcher hit his spot- it wasn't a terrible pitch. Baez was just sitting on it. Neat.

If you throw the ball over the plate, you're just feeding Javy. Don't do it, or at least throw a wicked change up if you do.

It wasn't a bad pitch in that it wasn't center-center, more like at knees, outer 3rd. But the catcher was clearly calling for a slider completely buried, unhittable, to get one of those silly Soriano swings whiffs we've seen.

Agreed. Looked like the catcher wanted it outside and almost in the dirt. I would not throw that kid a strike. But easier said than done.

Speaking of SOriano, any idea what size bat Baez is using?

Sori really was the poster boy for "Trouble with the Curve". I guess part of the reason Lou had him leading off for a while. Its going to be interesting as is stated, to see if he can not give in and be selective about his pitches a high percentage of the time. If he can - he could become Super-Star caliber. At least he is finally up with the big Club.

Man, the Brewers must be wondering what the hell just hit them and where the lovable loser Cubbies are...

Brewers manager out there saying, "You're pitching really bad, are you hurt?"

Hahahaha. #straight-talk

Coughlin hitting the ball real hard tonight.

Olt: 21 RBI in 22 games Hit safely in 18/22 AAA games 10 multi hit games (including tonight: 2/3 BB HR RBI) 6 HR 8 Doubles Stolen base still tied for 2nd most HR on cubs behind Rizzo

Fun Fact: only player with higher batting average than Olt in the Iowa lineup tonight: Chris Rusin P batting .370

Is that batting average against or his actual batting average?

Fone Face: Almost saw someone killed crossing the street last week. Stupid Fone Facers!

Neifi Valbuena 2-30; 2 bb; 9k's Do we really have to wait until September for Olt?

FFS.....Jackson is just.....He's just terrible....I can't take it anymmore.....jeebus!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Ed Jackson Day...

Fumata Nera (Dark Smoke) coming from the Commissioner election room. per mlbtr...
Manfred was just one vote shy of being selected as commissioner after the first round of voting, tweets Jon Heyman of Michael Schmidt of the New York Times offers some interesting vignettes of the still-ongoing proceedings. 1:32pm: After several votes, there is still not a sufficient consensus to name a new commissioner, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The meeting has been adjourned for a break at this point.

EJax performance makes me think of two songs from Sound of Music: How do you solve a problem like Edwin? and So long, Farewell

JD: If Renteria is looking for a time to get Jacob Turner into a game, today might be a good day.

turner in

The problem with cutting EJax is... who takes his place? And when you call this person up, who pitches for the ICubs, because the ICubs actually have something neat happening this year. I say just let him ride out this year.

Silly me. EJax is our secret weapon to keep in contention for a protected draft pick. I almost forgot.

he is the doomsday option /dr. strangeglove

Did you know the Soviets actually built one? When I teach the Cold War and Nuclear Deterrence in my classes I assign this: Wild stuff.

Did not know. Think we found Edlose's new nick name- Dead Hand.

Like "Sharknado 2", we must appreciate EJax's pitching for its epic badness. He has a legit shot at finishing with an ERA over 6.00. Why the hell not?

E-Jax year two--for all those people who thought there was nowhere to go but up.

Well, the worse he does the greater the chances are that next season he will go "up"...

Speaking of bad ex-Cub pitchers, I heard a report on the Score about LaTroy Hawkins and a group of ball players who have been contributing to help pay travel expenses for families of players in the little league world series so they can have mom & dad there cheering them on. Awesome. I felt bad for all the jeering I gave Hawkins over the years.

Looks like alcantara heading down for Soler at some point next few weeks.

or just wait two weeks for rosters to expand...

He must learn!!!!!

Brewers implement mercy rule before Jackie Robinson West Fiers out, Duke in. 6 ip/3 hit/1 bb/14k

Cubs K'd 16 times today...surprisingly not a record.

Gordo says it's 20, happened twice - '99 vs Mets and '02 vs Padres

Baez with his second golden sombrero, K rate at 37.8%, BB rate at 0%

McKinney starts his day with a bases loaded Double - 3 RBI. He's Cubs' A+ DH today. (In honor of his appearances in the sidebar).

offseason top 10?

Bryant, Russell, Soler, Almora, Schwarber, McKinney, Edwards, Jen-Ho Tseng, P. Johnson, with Eloy Jimenez, A. Vizcaino or Vogelbach for the final spot?

I still really don't "get" Almora -- no power, no speed, no BB to boost his OBP --he had a .308 OBP at Daytona before getting promoted (and really struggling at Tenn) -- but, obviously Theo and team are very high on him.

wRC+ by stop

  • 119 (AZL Cubs in 80 PA)
  • 106 (Boise in 65 PA)
  • 123 (AFL in 79 PA)
  • 137 (Kane County in 272 PA)
  • 101 (Daytona in 385 PA)
  • 40 (Tennessee in 70 PA)

Daytona isn't a fun place to hit and he has a low K rate which will keep his BA up and his OBP respectable, doubles power can often turn into home run power as a player gets older. Also, defense.

Plus, he's 20 playing AA. 4 1/2 years younger than average league age.

Almora's calling card is his defense. He is one of the best defensive centerfielders I have ever seen. If he does develop as hoped, he would probably be the #7 or #8 hitter in a Cub lineup that should feature the likes of Russell, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro, and Baez, even though he does have some offensive upside. He has (at best) average speed, but he gets great reads & jumps on balls off the bat. It's like he has a nose for the ball. 

He is a smart baserunner, but he doesn't steal bases much. He's more of a "go from 1st to 3rd or score from 2nd on a single, and score from 1st on a double" guy. He was MVP of the Team USA Junior National Team in 2011.

He's a real team leader, too. His teammates tend to look up to him, even though he is very young.

I remember a couple of years ago at an AZL game at the Papago Park Baseball Facility in Phoenix, AZL Cubs manager Bobby Mitchell came up into the stands and yelled at a couple of the Latin players (in front of everybody) for talking to some young female fans sitting neaby. Almora (who was sitting behind home plate with the pitchers who were charting the game) immediately got up out of his seat and walked over to Mitchell and told him that the players were there before the fams arrived, that they weren't talkng to anybody (which I can absolutely verify as true) because they don't speak Engilsh, and that Mitchell was being unfair. Mitchell then returned to the bench without saying anything to Almora, and both the Latin players and the Cubs pitchers sitting behind home plate gave Almora fist bumps.  

BTW, Jorge Soler lives at the Almora residence in Miami during the off-season. The Almora family has sort of adopted Soler, and Soler and Almora (who is bi-lingual) are best buddies.  

Thanks to all for the input -- very informative (and positive!)

White smoke from the Vatican. Manfred voted in as new commmish.

So in other words, no change. I assume he's been running the show lately pretty much anyway. Baseball needs to do some stuff to promote itself a bit more. Baseball fans are getting a little long in the tooth demographically, last I saw.

Per Wittenmeyer...Cubs announced that Straily will get a start on Saturday vs Mets in NYC. Roster move prior to his call up to be announced. T. Wood will start Friday, then Sunday Arrieta and Monday Hendricks.

don't think you need a roster move anymore for a DH

sorry for my initial error. Saturday isn't a double header.

Edwin Jackson DFA'd?

Ugh god... Apparently theocorp isn't reading my TCR comments

3rd round pick, Mark Zagunis to Kane County announced today. He's on their roster as a LF Not sure if/what there is other milb players shifting.

C-1B-3B Ben Carhart was promoted to Daytona from KC and catcher Chadd Krist (Cubs 2012 9th round draft pick out of Cal) was released.

Bryant Soler and Olt strike out back to back to back against Dallas Beeler - in solidarity with the K infected big league Cubs.

against Cory Mazzoni is what I presume you meant, Beeler pitching for Iowa

I'm not sure it mattered. Just kidding: yes Mazzoni!

Olt with a 2 run homer to put Iowa up 3-0. This is getting ridiculous.

No, ridiculous will be when they bring him up, Renteria plays Valbuena over him, and Rob reminds us of Olt's K rate.

Baez, Bryant, Olt - the "All or Nothing Gang"

29% K rate for Olt since being sent down

Well at least they won't be clogging up the bases or hitting into DP's! /joke font

Mke Schmidt had a 30% K rate his first year. 26% his third year. Ended up at 18% for his career. Relax. It'll be fine.

LOL. Yeah, Schmidt is the norm not the exception or anything...

My point basically is that I'm not gonna sweat a 21 year old with that kind of ability getting a lot of strikeouts

CJ Edwards pitched 6 shutout innings tonight. 4 hits, 1K, 1BB

Olt 2/3 tonight with a HR Double and 2 RBI Hit safely in 19/23 games 11 multi hit games Tied with Baez for most org HR last 10 days (6) Leads org in RBI (16) last 10 games Batting .341 for the season at Iowa 7 HR 9 2B Currently 2nd in HR for ML Cubs behind Rizzo Olt (187 AB) Tied with Castro (478 AB) our cleanup hitter. Blocked by Luis Valbuena (see Jacos stats above). Lifetime .224 hitter batting 5th Has something ridiculous like a walk and a hit in his last 30 AB

Carlos Villanueva last 10 games going back five weeks:

14.0 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 17 K

As a post-2014 Article XX-B FA to be and with the flexibility to start or relieve, Villanueva would be a very likely trade candidate before the 8/31 post-reason roster eligibility deadline.

And he's already attractive to FIP friendly suitors hopefully.

How did Turner look today? His stat line was nice.

Bryant 2-run walk-off bomb in the 12th. I believe that makes 40 for the year.

The other shitty Jackson traded to the Dbacks. Brett for Blake Cooper 26 y/o AAA RP.

i'm just happy the AAA roster has opened up a slot for someone besides b.jackson. it would have been nice if he worked out...he can play all 3 OF slots well and has a bit of pop...but it didn't.

He's got the prettiest swing of any bad baseball player in the history of the game.

I'm going to guess Blake Cooper doesn't need to go on the 40-man?

Yes, it looks like he won't need to go on. I also didn't realize Jackson was designated. Maybe I missed it. D-backs claimed him and Cooper was all they could get. Cleared a spot and got some minor league bullpen depth I guess.

Cooper did pretty well in Double A, but then got up to AAA and lost his command for some reason. But only 24 innings so far in AAA.

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 11 min ago (view)

    And if Bryant does win the Service Time grievance his value in a trade this coming off-season will be diminished, because one year of club control until he becomes a free-agent versus two years of control is a significant difference. 


  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 27 min ago (view)

    Q-MAN: It actually wouldn't surprise me if Bryant wins the grievance. 


  • Cubster 2 hours 28 min ago (view)

    ...and our Manager can dance!


  • QuietMan 3 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Still cant get the images of that SNL skit out of my mind.


  • Cubster 6 hours 5 min ago (view)

    This is really sad. A fatal pulmonary embolism is quite rare, older data had about 0.019% incidence (range 0-0.6%, for total knees). DVT without prophylaxis is higher and most people are getting prophylaxis (blood thinners) postop. DVT (leg clots) is a nuisance but not life threatening (unless the clot goes to the lungs). Patients with a history of DVT are at greater risk and there are other risk factors.


  • Cubster 6 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Kaplan also tweets Ross is the new manager and they are working on contract. Tweet reported in mlbtr too.

    "Cubs made their decision late yesterday afternoon and the other candidates have been informed they are indeed out. David Ross is the choice."


  • QuietMan 6 hours 29 min ago (view)

    The Kris Bryant service time grievance is finally being heard by an arbitrator this week according to Kaplan.


  • crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    j.girardi did a 2nd interview with PHI on Monday and he's supposedly the favorite for the job.


  • bradsbeard 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    The draft over the ASB and the trade deadline pushed back until August 15th or so would make sense. Otherwise, I don't know how scouting departments are going to handle the draft lead up and the trade deadline running almost simultaneously.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    One other thing about MLB player development that is very different from NFL, NBA, and NHL player development is that most MLB clubs have upwards of 300 minor league players under contract (not including players on their MLB 40-man roster, the Cubs presently have 301 minor leaguers under contract on nine minor league affiliates).


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    JUST SAYIN: MLB is the only one of the four major North American professional sports that holds its draft and signs its draft picks during the season.


  • crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    umpire eric cooper has died...complications from knee surgery (blood clot)...52 years old


  • crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    "MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports former player David Ross and Astros bench coach Joe Espada "appear to be the frontrunners" for the Cubs' managerial opening."

    espada's had 2 interviews.  for a guy who's actively at his "other job," having a 2nd interview seems like both sides want to make this work.  SF and PIT are also supposedly interested in espada.


  • JustSayin' 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

     That's a fair description of the benefits of the plan but If I have to choose between "better way" and "owners' greed," I pick the latter.  MLB wants better MiLB facilities, on average, without paying a cent.  They want to deal with the social and legal pressure they are getting for not even paying minor league players minimum wage per real hour worked by having less players.  In addition, the draft is to be moved to late August, so every draftee would lose compensation for the stub year in which they are drafted.  For this reason, I'm not sure your point about col


  • Hagsag 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Mr. Phil.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG: Besides reducing the costs that are associated with operating a minor league club, reducing the number of minor league affiliates would allow MLB organizations to increase the salaries of their remainng minor league players (who would be the organization's most-legit prospects) without having to increase the organization's aggregate minor league payroll.