Rambling as Spring is About to Be Sprung

Hello again, everybody. It almost the middle of May, and if you are reading this, you know the Baseball season is well under way. The Cubs are starting to play a bit more competitively, and if starting pitching had anything to do with baseball, the Cubs would be right up there.

Oh, starting pitching DOES have a lot to do with baseball, you say? Could’ve surprised the most diehard of Cubs fans. It is clearly not the problem, but the fact that the rotation as been so good shines a bright light on how bad all the other facets of this team have been.

So, let’s talk about that … and then some, and we will go rambling.

  • Seriously, the Cubs Rotation’s ERA is in the top 5 in all of baseball, and they are 13-21.
  • It is easy to argue that they should be 16-18 at worst, probably better, given an average performance by one reliever.
  • Now I know every team has to deal with shaky bullpen performances, but in the Cubs situation, they are not even making their opponents earn the comeback, they are literally hitting them in the arm with the opportunities.
  • I just saw that Samardzija is pitching Friday night.  He owns a solid 3.09 ERA, and a ridiculously unfair 1-4 record.
  • I wrote it before, and I will write it again … The Shark could have a sub-3.5 ERA and lose double-digit games.  In fact, I think we would all bet on that.
  • Also, The “Miller 64” commercials rhyme really well.  And that is about the only relevant aspect of them.
  • It has been very nice to see Rizzo raise his average to respectable so quickly.  His was sub .200 not long ago and is sitting right around .270 10-12 days later.  And it appears it will keep rising.
  • Rizzo is tied for fourth in homers and is an outright sixth in RBI’s in the NL.  That is good stuff.  The 10 doubles and four swipes are just gravy.
  • The fact that the Italian Stallion has more homers and RBI than Ryan Braun is also, well, that gravy stuff.  (Sorry, he doesn’t have a nickname yet. I just threw that out there.  I don’t totally like it. But I ask you, Cubs Faithful)
  • GIVE ANTHONY RIZZO A NICKNAME.  Let’s start it here, now, today.  And we’ll bring it to the masses.
  • Yes, I am serious … like, 73% serious.
  • When I saw Gregg close the game out the other night, I just thought, “I am so glad Hendry brought him back.
  • Speaking of Hendry … How about those Angels! Jerry Dipoto must have had a fifth of Scotch and thought, I know what I will do, I will follow the Jim Hendry Model of handing out hundreds of millions to past-their-prime players!
  • I mean it worked for Cashman a few times. And who does Hendry work for now?
  • Luis Valbuena has a .387 OBP.  If you set his over/under on this stat at .350, I would struggle to think a single human out there would have taken the over.  He has 16 walks and 17 strikeouts.
  • On the flip side, Castro has 5 walks and 25 strikeouts.
  • DeJesus has four homers, a .274 average and a plus .340 OBP … hard to say this was anything but a good signing for the Cubs.  Yes, I know it is only May 10.  I am just saying …
  • “Travis Wood is the best pitcher in baseball.” Does Dale Sveum not know that the Cubs would have won two consecutive World Series had they not traded Sean Marshall?
  • Travis Wood has started seven games. He has seven quality starts. He has a 2.33 ERA. His WHIP is 0.93. He is 3-2.
  • Yea, that makes sense. Everyone can hoot and holler, but the guy has been awesome.  If he keeps it up, it looks like a genius trade, and there are no two ways about that.
  • Well, I guess you take away the two World Championships the Cubs would have won with Sean Marshall to make the above statement true. Okay, I am done with that now.  I promise.
  • Nate Schierholtz should be batting third. That is just the way it is.
  • And I am pretty excited about Welington. Yes, I must remind myself it is May 10. It is only May 10.
  • I will ask Neil to post this Ramblings again in late August to see how I horribly wrong or amazing right I can be.  Or just extremely average.
  • I was serious … let’ s give Rizzo a nickname.  NOW.  Let’s read everyone’s thought below.  We need to get this done.

I hope this has given everyone some food-for-thought and some fodder for discussion on a beautiful Spring Friday.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you'll never enjoy the sunshine." - Morris West

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  • Tom U

    A very Happy Birthday to former Cub Jim Hickman

    • redlarczykg

      Fond memories of a journey man turned All-Star!

      • Ray Ray

        And he was involved in one of the most memorable plays in All Star history.

  • Tony_Hall

    Seemed like a theme today….

    Rizzo
    Gregg
    Valbuena
    DeJesus
    Wood
    Schierholtz

    Maybe the FO has made some good moves.

    • 07GreyDigger

      No! Impossible! I want to Cubs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars so they win RIGHT THIS SECOND! ARGH!

      • Ray Ray

        Agreed. Good thought

        • 07GreyDigger

          Sarcasm sir. Sarcasm.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            LOL

          • Ray Ray

            yea…so was mine.

          • Brp921

            Sarcasm:

            A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound.

            A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.

            Your right. Theo is God and no one is entitled to a different opinion than yours.

            Sarcasm sir. Sarcasm.

    • John_CC

      Rizzo will be the best trade that the Cubs have made in years. I believe it could prove to be as good or better than Hendry’s steal of Aramis. Rizzo is going to be an All-Star caliber 1Bman year after year.

      Gregg — ehhh, way too soon. This cannot end well.

      I’ve always liked the DeJesus signing. It was great signing the day they made it and it still is.

      The Wood trade was again a really smart deal.

      I liked the Schierholtz sign when they made it as well. Looks like a good one.

      Sveum’s confidence in Luis is paying off quite nicely as well.

      Does this balance out the lost bet on Stewart yet? How many more positive trades and signings do they have to make to make up for losing three minor leaguers in DJ, Colvin, and whoever the other guy was? How many?

      How about Villanueva? And Feldman?

      Unfortunately, the FO is going to have to bat 1.000 to please some fans.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I agree on most. I think the signings balanced out a while ago and we’re firmly in the positive column. The Stewart deal is really the solitary move that hasn’t worked out well for us. Even in that we lost guys that currently look like career minor leaguers. I do think DJ could be a solid player but maybe not as well.

        In barely one year Theo has completely changed the pulse of this organization…for the better.

        • willie smith

          ummmmmmm……the team is 13-21 which is worse than the last year of JH-Quade.(and last year lost over 100 games)
          hold the kool-aid just yet…….

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Again, you’re not looking at what the goal is. The goal is sustained success. We can’t build this in one year. The goal is to be a perennial winner. You need to quit judging Theo based on this year. He doesn’t care how we finish this year. In fact it’s probably better if we finish in the bottom 2 or 3. He’s not losing on purpose but he’s trying to build from the bottom up. When you look at it from the right perspective it’s going fabulously. If you look at it by how many wins we’ve had in years one or two (which isn’t how Theo is looking at it) then it’s bad. Even if we get to .500 don’t expect it to last. Anybody not named Rizzo or Castillo and probably Castro, that is playing well, will be traded at the deadline for prospects. We’re trying to build a consistent winner starting in 2015 and maybe seeing signs of it next year.

      • texcubnut

        One bad trade does not negate all the good signings, trades, and all the other groundwork and work being done by this front office. I’ve never drank the ‘kool-aid’ and I’m not starting now. I know their grade is incomplete but if I had to assign a grade it would be A- or B+ because I believe they have done an outstanding job on the draft and International signings and I would also give a high mark for Hendry’s last draft.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Robert-Koenig/1295439291 Raymond Robert Koenig

    Who’s taking Dolis’ spot? QG?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Yes, Dolis down, Fujikawa activated

  • SLAPBETHMURPHY

    Anthony”The Whizz” Rizzo

    • redlarczykg

      Just don’t call him “Whizzo”. Already been used on Bozo Circus.

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    How about “Big Slick?” He’s just a smooth looking and swinging guy. In the field too, everything he does is smooth.

    Travis Wood has been great. I’ve always been a fan of this signing because he’s a starter and he’s always had potential. I never understood all the vitriol about this one. Sean Marshall has been and never will be more than “just a guy.” Travis Wood may not be much more than that but at least he can pitch 7 plus innings. I think it comes back to it was an early deal in the regime and it was shortly after Theo didn’t sign Sandberg as the manager and a segment of fans were anti anything he did. Many of them still feel that way because of that one decision.

    I agree Schierholtz should bat 3rd.

    DeJesus has been getting on base for two years. I thought it was a savvy move since he’s been here. If he hits more than 20 taters I’ll be tickled to no end. If he keeps this up, more than likely he’ll go in a deadline deal and bring us back a B level prospect.

    I’m very excited about Castillo. Really I’m excited about the future in general. Rizzo, Castro, Castillo are all cornerstones. Wood, Shark as well. Then we have Schierholtz, Villanueva, Feldman, Russell and DeJesus that all look capable of bringing back B level prospects at the least. Then there’s Barney, Borbon, Sweeney, Hairston, Jackson that may turn out well or may be misses. Some may go in trades and some may stay.

    Baez, Soler, Almora look promising as well as Vogelbach, Lake and others. Add in Appel or Gray plus some other draftees and we’re shaping up to be a contender for years. A lot will depend on this draft. If we can get some pitching that can join the club within 3 years we’ll be in business.

    Overall it’s an exciting time. We may not be winning a bunch now but the future is extremely bright. I believe “perennial contender,” will be our description within 3 years. The way we’re being managed is setup for sustained success. With guys coming up to start for the club and other guys waiting to plug and play. With enough depth to make a deadline deal for a guy that can put us over the top, and still have studs coming up behind in the minors. To me that’s the key, being able to trade prospects at the deadline and still have other prospects at the same position to provide depth.

    • John_CC

      No offense boardrider, but this is what I’m talking about…”big slick” — really? A little to easy to rhyme with something else that would be completely inappropriate everywhere outside of the clubhouse!

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        LOL, that’s true John. I prefer “Fats,” anyway. I’m stuck on Fats and the more I say it the more I like it.

    • Ray Ray

      Within 3 years? Really? That is what I don’t understand. So we hired Theo to take 5 years to build a consistent winner. My point all along has been that if given a 5 year window to build a winner…almost any gm could have done this rebuild. Why is this anything special or extraordinary?

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        If any GM could do it then why isn’t every GM with over 5 years presiding over a winner? Why didn’t Hendry’s teams win year in and year out? Theo’s not just building a winner, he’s building a perennial winner. A team that could go to 10 straight postseasons and win a championship or 2. A program like that takes time, especially when starting from being the among the worst farm system in baseball. When Theo took over we had one great player in the MLB (Castro) and one great prospect (Baez). The cupboard wasn’t just bare, it was completely empty! To look at what he’s done in less than two years, to me it’s nothing short of mind-blowing. I would have never predicted we’d be where we are now with respect to the farm system and the young talent both on the Cubs and in the system.

        • willie smith

          1 great prospect???
          vogelbach?
          maples?
          who drafted smardz?
          cashner?
          castro?
          baez?
          devoss?
          whitenack was great till TJ blew him up…..
          and let’s remember JH was told to spend on the mLB roster; not the minors or drafts; when he was allowed to spend on drafts; he got baez-vogelbach-maples……
          unlike theo who is allowed to lose on purpose and trade vets for suspects and spend on draft…sort of…….since the blew it on ryu, cespedes, darvish and puig and got the cheapest of them all in soler.
          until the cubs make the playoffs under theo; let’s hold the kool-aid…….

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Baez and Castro are the only great prospects you mentioned. Vogelbach…maybe? Devoss, Maples…are you serious? Shark…he never did anything before last year and even then he’s probably a #3, #2 at best. He may end up as an all-star but isn’t yet. Cashner…can’t stay healthy, and didn’t the lowly Cubs knock him around just last week? Trading him for Rizzo was a great move. Don’t kid yourself. We had one of the worst farm systems in baseball.

            And Soler was the cheapest but he was also the highest long-term ceiling. They weren’t looking to bring in a guy that could make a difference in the bigs now. You’re looking at what is happening from the wrong perspective.

        • Ray Ray

          Hendry had pressure to field a competitive team each year to keep fan base happy. Theo doesn’t. Huge difference.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Absolutely. So it’s comparing apples and oranges. I’d just say so far Theo is doing a better job at his mandate than Hendry did at his…

          • 07GreyDigger

            Couldn’t have said any of this better myself. Kudos!

  • John_CC

    Nice ramble Brian and happy Friday.

    But you cannot just makeup nicknames. It does not work. They are forced and or contrived. And plus, everyone doesn’t need a nick-name. Why does Rizzo need a nickname? Rizzo is a pretty cool name. Just like Starlin. Why doesn’t he need/deserve a nickname?

    OK, my ranting ramble is over! :)

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      True, Rizzo sounds cool…

    • texcubnut

      On the money, John. Nicknames are usually earned and given in the ‘clubhouse’ by the other players. And… spot on, on Brian with another excellent ramble. I enjoy them as much as Tom’s minor league updates and almost as much as Neil’s everyday posts.

    • paulcatanese

      Agreed, besides the fans in the stands will decide what is appropriate as they always
      do. Rizzo is a good name that can be changed simply by putting the accent on different sections of the name. The public address system will do it. “now batting third Aaanthoney Rrrriiizo” that’s sounding good to me.

      • John_CC

        Right. I’d probably say it:

        Anthony Riizzzzzzoooooooo

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    The more I think about it in my head “Fats,” Rizzo just sounds legit as hell to me.

  • DWalker

    hearing Dolis optioned back down and Loe refused assignment to IA so is gone. So that clears a spot for Fujikawa + 1 more?

    • Ray Ray

      So how many options does Dolis now have left? They burned 2 options of his this year for a total of 5 days on the Cubs 25 man roster. Not the best use of service time.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Rafael Dolis is on his fourth and final option year. Dolis
        was granted a fourth option year due to lack of professional service time.

        Minor league options are based on years/seasons and not the
        number of times players are send down and recalled during one season. Once a
        player, such as Dolis, is optioned to the minors, he is technically on an
        optional assignment. The player can be recalled as many times during the season as the club would like and use only (1) option. Once optioned down, unless there is an injury, a player must remain in the minors for (10) days.

        • Ray Ray

          Thanks for the explanation.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            You’re more than welcome.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            Yes definitely Neil, I’ve always wondered how that worked.

  • Tony_Hall

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/05/trade-candidate-david-dejesus.html

    “DeJesus isn’t an elite bat, but given his history of strong OBP numbers and an affordable club option for 2014, I’d imagine he could net at least one of a trade partner’s Top 10 prospects with another respectable piece in the deal as well.”

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      That makes good sense to me…

    • Ray Ray

      That would be more than I think they could get. As mentioned he is a platoon player. He can’t hit lefties. We shall see.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, I agree about Dejesus, as I think he is a very good fill in or starter for many clubs, a good journeyman player. If possible he should be kept for his attitude alone, would make a great 4-5 outfielder if the Cubs can afford the luxury with the roster.

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        I agree. He’s a starter on most teams and a super-outfield-sub on a championship caliber team. He’s every bit as good or better as Angel Pagan.

        • Ray Ray

          Angel Pagan hits around the same vs RHP and vs LHP. He also steals bases. DeJesus is a platoon player since he can’t hit lefties at all.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            It looks like you are correct Ray. But a guy that only hits lefties is a platoon player, if you can hit righties you are a starter 4 out of 5 games. If you told me I could have Pagan or DeJesus I’d snag DeJesus in a heartbeat.

          • 07GreyDigger

            I’d take Pagan. DeJesus is probably a 4th OF on a very good team.

          • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

            You may be right. I officially recind my “in a heartbeat,” comment. But I still say it’s close.

    • John_CC

      No doubt DJD would fit well on quite a few teams. Look at the contending teams’ outfields, KC could use him back, Boston – he’s better than Johnny Gomes; how about TB – he’s a lot better than Sam Fuld; Minnesota doesn’t like to make trades but they might want to soon as they’ve climbed over .500 and have some holes in the OF; the Pirates LH outfielder is Travis Snider.

      I hope he goes to a contender. He deserves it.

  • Tom U

    I hate to sound like Willard Scott here, but today is also the birthday of Kane County RHP Pierce Johnson.

    • paulcatanese

      I know you are making the same bucks as
      Willard so that’s a good comparison, heard
      you had more hair too:)

  • John G

    So what’s wrong with the obvious?
    Ratso Rizzo
    And after the ump calls “ball four” he just has to say “I’m walking here…I’m walking here!”

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      LOL, that would be a good one. But I still have to go with Fats…