Cubs Ramblings from the Scoreless Bronx

Hello again, everybody. It was another rough week for the Northsiders in what is bound to turn into many, many, and many more rough weeks for this team. I have some observations and truths to share with you below. I will try to keep it lighthearted, but some things just need to be said.

With that, let’s stop wasting time, and get down to rambling. And no, I do not believe rambling is wasting time.

  • The Cubs faced two pretty decent pitchers in the Bronx this week, and responded well scoring zero runs in two games. Well played, Cubbies.
  • While Tanaka has looked awesome, I will remind you of Dice-K’s first season. To the national media, slow your role on this one, champs.
  • Three games does not a career make. He may be the real deal, but I am still fine with not spending the money on the kid. The lion share of Japanese players has not been successful for a long period of time.
  • Baseball is rough … Rusin comes in on Saturday and does a great job of saving bullpen arms, and is immediately sent to the minors the next day.
  • Yes, I understand that moves are made for specific games, but buses and $19 per diems are not the same as chartered flights and Hiltons or Hyatts.
  • I really do like that Yankee fans are back to their normal mental state thinking that the Cubs are a good barometer to rate a pitching staff. Ah, the east-coast attitude … never fails to make me laugh.
  • I hope I did not just alienate anyone. No, you are one of the nine east-coasters of which this does not apply.
  • Captain Obvious rearing his obvious head … simply put, the Cubs need better players.
  • I am not going to lie, I figured Baez had broke his ankle. I really did. That is my mindset with this team. I was overjoyed and elated (I like being redundant) that it appears to be a minor injury. Friggin’ elated that it was minor. Not mad that he got hurt, happy that it was not bad.
  • Other teams or fans of other teams don’t share this mindset.
  • I am writing this as the Hawks are about to go into Overtime. It really has me thinking about the Cubs winning it all. Six or seven years ago you could hear a pin drop in the UC during a hockey game and now Chicago is a hockey town.
  • A crazy hockey town. Tom … go talk to Rocky.
  • As regular readers know, I am a huge Ricketts apologist, but he is going to keep getting killed in the media if he doesn’t spend money.
  • And while I totally understand that point, I will ask you to tell me below … spend money on who? Who should he have spent money on? Give me three examples of great offseason signings the past two years. I am not saying examples do not exist, but I just want to hear them.
  • I know it’s been less than three weeks, but Bonifacio has been great. Completely and totally unexpected.
  • While I have been very clear that Olt should be playing every day, Valbuena’s OBP is over 150 points higher than his batting average. That is impressive.
  • His .207 batting average is not. Olt, Olt, Olt. And yes, I know that Olt is batting, well, .207 as well. Olt could be the future. Valbuena is not.
  • Five Cubs have two homeruns. No one else has any.
  • If Junior Lake plays every day, he will have a very good chance to eclipse Jose Hernandez’s strikeout record. He has 15 in 38 at-bats. He is on pace for … a lot of strikeouts.
  • The Shark is there for the taking. Will someone pony up for him? Or will he sign with the Cubs? What is going to happen? I have been very anchored in my thinking that he will remain a Cub, but I may be starting to waver. Let me know what you think.

That is all for now. And again, if I wasn’t clear above, I want more Mike Olt. More Mike Olt. To those who observe and celebrate, I hope you have a soulful, joyous and enjoyable Easter Weekend.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

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"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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  • Gemon

    Good ramblings Mr. McCabe thank you. We just need offense plain and simple. I don’t know what else to say….We simply need to be a team that hits and scores more runs, at least 5 or 6 per game consistently and cover for pitching that is inconsistent. How do other teams find and develop such good hitters and why can’t the Cubs? And shouldn’t a “rebuild” go faster than this? Thanks….

  • GaryLeeT

    “The lion share of Japanese players has not been successful for a long period of time.”

    Let’s face it, the lion’s share of pitchers from any country, aren’t successful over a long period of time. I think Tanaka’s body type, and sound mechanics will help him to be more durable than most.
    The Cubs will need an ace, hopefully, sometime this decade. In my opinion, they have blown several opportunities to get one, with Darvish being the best. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but one isn’t going to just fall into their laps.

    • Tony_H

      I actually agree with you on this one, pitchers are tough because the failure rate is so high to go along with the rate of arm injuries. That is why I like that they have drafted lots of arms and picked up guys like Tseng in the IFA market.

      Of course, I can’t agree with everything, as I think saying they have blown several opportunities to get one is overblown, because as you then follow it up, one isn’t going to fall into their laps. The pitcher has a say in it, and getting the top guys like Darvish will happen once the team is close enough to make a guy like Darvish believe the team is going to compete for a World Series.

      • GaryLeeT

        “The pitcher has a say in it”

        And that say will be “no” for the foreseeable future.

    • Brp921

      I wanted Tanaka as much as anyone and actually thought maybe we had a chance to get him. The question is though, will he be worth the money, and the terms of the contract, the Yankees agreed to, to get him. I can’t see any one guy being worth that, let alone an unproven pitcher, no matter his potential. I think Theo made the right decision to bow out once the price to get him reached what the Yankees offered.

    • cubtex

      How did the Padres find their ace? Got to hope another gm makes a mistake trading a young power arm for a minor league position player.

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

        That’s not a hands down mistake Ray. Sure, it would be great to have Cashner but we received a player with all -star potential who is coming to his own right now. That trade looks like a win for both. Of course assuming that Cashner stays healthy which before last year had been a problem.

        You can disagree with it and call it a mistake in your opinion. But you act like it’s an obvious, bone-headed move which is clearly not the case.

        • cubtex

          Look at our system. They don’t have anyone(possibly CJ Edwards but he is not built like a horse like Cashner is) with as much upside as Cashner. It was a huge blunder. Theo gambled that Cashner wouldn’t be a starting pitcher and lost. You could always sign a FA 1st baseman. Jose Abreu etc. TOR arms are not easy to find(just ask Theo)

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

            It’s hardly a blunder. Jose Abreu doesn’t have the ceiling of Rizzo. Rizzo could be the top 1st baseman in the league in another couple of years. Cashner has played the equivalent of one full season. You’re ready to fully decide the fate of this trade and it includes a guy that couldn’t ever stay healthy. Cashner could be on the table with TJ at any moment. I hope it doesn’t happen but it could.

            It’s not a blunder, it’s a preference. Theo went with the safer bet and right now both look good. It easily could turn and only us end up winning. But most likely not the other way around.

          • cubtex

            Pitching Pitching Pitching. There is no comparison trying to field a team with a TOR arm or a 1st baseman. A preference? So you think if the Marlins traded Jose Fernandez for Rizzo(that would be a fair trade or as you call it a preference?) Rizzo is the safer bet against any pitcher. So is Darwin Barney but that doesn’t make it a good trade.

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

            I agree with that. But at the time Cashner was a skinny kid that couldn’t stay healthy. Who knew he’d grow into the beast he is? He’s a great story with his turnaround and now staying healthy. When we traded him it appeared he could be out of the league in a couple years or be the next Barrett Loux. You have to give to get. We gave an injury prone pitcher who at the time was looking like at best a closer for a stud 1st baseman who looks like he may be an all-star. Disagree away but blunder? Sorry but no. I’m very happy for Cashner he has turned himself around and become durable, for now. I hope he can keep it up.

          • SuzyS

            cubtex, We are always going to disagree re Cashner. If not the Rizzo trade…he would have been traded for someone else by now….The same rational you use for Tanaka, and possibly Shark leaving would apply to Cashner. The Cubs needed to be rebuilt from the ground up….and the Cubs would not be able to keep an injury prone “Ace” hanging around in the middle of a revamp.

            If Cashner were with the Cubs now…he would be kept…IF he would agree to a long term contract…and that contract offer would be under market value…due to his injury history.

            From this point forward, I agree with you on Pitching, pitching, pitching.

            But it wasn’t our pitching that caused us to lose 2 to the Yankee’s the other day…it was Hitting, Hitting, Hitting.

          • cubtex

            Look at Cashner’s size and frame. Look at his mechanics. Look at what he is making per year. Huge mistake.
            I agree this team needs EVERYTHING. Pitching, hitting,bullpen arms….you name it. Look at what they have in the system for starting pitching. Hendricks is a 5, Rusin is a 5. Pierce Johnson is maybe a 3. Edwards is a wild card. But my point about Cashner was they wouldn’t be paying him 20 mil per year(like a Tanaka) for the next 3 years. Cashner will not be a FA for several more years.

          • SuzyS

            I understand your point…and I just disagree…and more importantly…we’ve been over this time and time again ever since the trade occurred.
            This is an old time worn argument…and there’s nothing that’s going to change it.
            Time to look at what can or might be done in the future…not what happened several years ago.

          • cubtex

            It is just hard to see what they gave away. National media is praising this kid daily as one of the top young starting pitchers in all of baseball and we traded him away. Padres got a steal.

          • GaryLeeT

            As the ONLY commenter who hated the deal from day one, and took a barrage of grief for my position, I agree.

          • Patrick_Schaefer

            Do you like the Sean Marshall trade? Or what about Garza? Or Feldman? Arrieatta has the stuff to be Tor starter if he can put it all together

          • GaryLeeT

            The Marshall trade was OK so far, but the rest have a long way to go before we really know if they were great.
            So far, Theo & Jed have picked all the low hanging fruit, like drafting with top 5 picks, trading away good players, and signing low cost retreads. The real test will come (we hope) when they are drafting 31st, need to sign FA help, trading for players that will contribute immediately, and have to hang on to good core players.

          • Ripsnorter1

            There are many pitchers with great stuff. The next issue is control. Arrietta is probably only going to be a AAAA pitcher. Before one can say he’s a TOR starter, just remember these numbers:

            4 yrs experience
            5.23 career ERA
            1.428 career WHIP
            6.9 k per 9 IP career
            4.0 BB per 9 IP career

            This isn’t TOR starter stats.

          • John_CC

            Do you know what the White Sox paid for Abreu? Just curious, I look it up, because that is a factor as well.

          • John_CC

            Alright, here it is. Jose Abreu signed at 6/$68, a little over $11M per.

            Rizzo signed a 7/41, he’s making $5M this year and next, $7Mil in his age 27-28 seasons. That could be a huge savings to spend on a $20M pitcher when it matters.

            Another thing I just learned is that 1B is second highest paid position after SP. So in trading a potential TOR pitcher for a potential top tier 1B is a shrewd move. Considering the fact that the pitcher traded is 4 years older than 1B, I think that matters a lot as well.

            The top ten 1B salaries start with 32 y.o. Teixeira – $23M (blah!) and end with 32 y.o. Adam LaRoche – $10M.
            *edit – this is for 2013

            In 5 years, do you not expect Rizzo to be worth way more than his $7M salary?

            But like I’ve said many times, I am holding out judgement of the trade until this season is over. I want to see another full season out of Cashner and Rizzo’s recovery from the Sophomore Slump.

          • cubtex

            Well that’s pretty obvious if you consider Cabrera and Pujols are 1st baseman. What does Rizzo have in common with Cabrera and/or Pujols? They run out to the same position is about it. Those 2 have been proven all stars for many many years and that is why they are paid. I would have rather paid 11 mil for a 1st baseman than trade away the best arm in the system for one.

          • cubtex

            just looked it up. Cashner is not a free agent till 2017 and is making 2.4 mil this year. Ouch!

          • John_CC

            Good to hear from you Suzy.

          • SuzyS

            Thanks John…always enjoy your comments.

          • brent carmona

            Left handed power is a pretty rare thing too :)

            Rizzo has less risk and will have the longer career I bet. However, cashner has looked darn good in his starts this year, his stuff has been disgusting for sure.

          • cubtex

            I agree Rizzo will have a longer career. Not much wear and tear for a 1st baseman :) It’s not about longevity but supply and demand. Look at the cost factor of what he currently is. They would have to draft another guy like him to have such a cost controlled asset. Hopefully this years draft they will find another Cashner. I hope Rodon slips. Thanks for the post yesterday by the way!

          • cc002600

            I know you love Cashner, and yes, right now he looks really good. But you keep saying he is TOR starter when he has yet to prove that. He will be 28 and the most he has pitched is 175 innings in 1 year. sorry, that is not impressive. TOR starters throw 200+ innings consistently. Cashner is long on potential, short on results. And remember, he has the added benefit of pitching in the world’s greatest pitcher’s park. If he throws 200+ innings for a couple years in a row and wins 15-20 games, then you call him TOR starter, until then he is not, not even close. he has proven NOTHING.

          • cubtex

            Hey- My Yankee 78 win guy and Cashner is a stiff guy. I didn’t think I would hear from you after those 2 nostradamus predictions. lol

          • cc002600

            LOL. Abreu is hitting whopping .213 right now. What has he proven ?

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          I agree…I will take 7-9 years of Rizzo vs maybe 3-5 good years of Cashner, as injuries always derail pitchers more than 1B.

  • The Dude Abides

    It’s not so much who we missed out on as you mentioned you can always find some out there. I’m more interested in the one and only one they have went out and got, Edwin Jackson??? Gotta get yourself some Edwin Jackson when you are on a tight budget with limited resources.

    • cubtex

      One of the worst FA signings in the history of the Cubs.

      • SuzyS

        Ummm, I can think of others that are worse…case in point…Mr. Milton Bradley.

        • cubtex

          that was 30 mil for 3 years. But yes he was bad.

          • SuzyS

            IMO, Bradley was the worst…he was a total headcase…like EJAX, other teams only signed him to one year contracts. If you recall…$10 mil per year was humongous to him at the time…He was used to getting less then half that on an annual basis.
            If EJAX could just get close to a .500 pitcher and continue to eat innings his $11 mil. salary is about average in today’s market. The smart thing this FO did was to front load the contract…as opposed to Hendry’s penchant for back-loading contracts.
            Until the Cubs become more competitive…they will have to overpay FA…and I won’t blame the FO for that.

          • cubtex

            IF I could get a dollar everytime IF was mentioned in front of a statement for EJAX :) He’s brutal.

          • SuzyS

            Agreed. But the hope is “IF”…so we can get rid of him.

        • JasonOfTheBurbs

          did we trade anyone good for Todd Hundley? On the flipside, we traded Hundley for a haul that helped us in 2003 div title.

          But yeah…Bradley was a horrible signing.

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

          And they paid the market for the guy. He was gonna get signed by someone for that price. Theo caved to fan pressure to bring someone in on that one. Doubt he’ll do it again. You want pitching, you want FA’s, well that’s what this was. So far it’s not working out but that’s baseball.

      • John_CC

        The most overstated hyperbole in the history of the CCO.

        HA!

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

    I agree Olt should play.

    Free agent signings, I would have liked to have seen Ellsbury, Tanaka and Irvin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez. I wouldn’t have tourched Cruz or Cano. Would have considered Corey Hart and stayed away from Bourn.

  • Steve Baier

    Strikeouts or no, I’d still prefer Lake start the majority of games. Ditto for Olt.

  • cubtex

    Good rambles Brian. I agree about Tanaka(I bet you didn’t know that :)
    He is for a win now team. Tanaka would have done no good for the Cubs but win a few extra games for the next 2 years(isn’t that what all the supporters say they don’t want?) 2015 will be bad again. So you are gambling on a guy with that (Japanese hesitation that puts all that strain on your shoulder) staying healthy and dominant in 2016(more realistically 2017) Not a good gamble imo

    • GaryLeeT

      Are rebuilds suppose to have an eventual progression towards winning? A case could be made that this year’s team is worse than last’s. And like you say, what could possibly happen this year, to make next year’s team better? I mean, I really like Bryant, and Baez, but let’s face it, if they were the next Mike Trouts, we would know it by now.

      • cubtex

        this is the worst team under Theo imo

        • Ripsnorter1

          Question:
          Why would any team pitch to Castro or Rizzo?

          *Our OF consists of 5th and 6th OFs from other teams.

          *2B? Barney is hitting .120.

          *3B? Valbuena is hitting .207. Olt is hitting .207.

          *C? Castillo is okay, (currently .209 BA) but Baker is a poor offensive catcher.

          We have no run producers. So why not just pitch around Castro and Rizzo?

          • cubtex

            Agreed. Ruggiano Sweeney Lake Schierholtz Kalish is an embarrassment.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Speaking of 1B…..
          Pirates, for some completely inexplicable reason, just traded for Ike Davis.

          Mr. Davis is having great difficulty hitting above the Mendoza line. He’s hitting .208 now, and he hit .205 last year.

          It seems the Pirates are collecting 1B with poor contact skills.

          • cubtex

            He’ll put up Rizzo type numbers from last year. 25 HR’s with 80 RBI and a .230 avg

          • Ripsnorter1

            If he could do that, the Pirates will celebrate. But I think that’s too optimistic.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Look at Lake’s K totals. 3 more today. He’s striking out about 45% of the time.

            Since he cannot catch the ball, why not call up Jackson, who fields better, runs better, and does everything better. He doesn’t strike out that much.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Better check that….
            Jackson has fanned 17 times in 33 AB and is hitting a whopping .121.

            Confidence is shot. Forgetaboutit.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Jackson is on the DL. See previous report.

          • cubtex

            I know. I mentioned Lake’s K total a couple of days ago. BJax is on DL. I would call up Vitters and play him everyday in LF

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    you can buy a lot of Taco Bell for $19. In my first real field job, I got a $35/day per diem…I didn’t know what to do with myself…that is a LOT of Subway and Taco Bell!!!

    • John_CC

      You mean you didn’t know what to do with yourself when you weren’t on the toliet!

  • SuzyS

    Brian, thanks for a good ramblings. Checking twitter…we may finally have something really special in Vizcaino.
    I’m hoping he can make the pen this year…and potentially convert to a TOR pitcher in a year or two…as he builds arm strength.

    • Roland Bowman

      I think that should be a good plan for any starting pitcher recovering from Tommy John. One year as a relief pitcher.

    • John_CC

      I think he will be the prospect that will make the most difference this year.

    • John_CC

      I think he will be the prospect that will make the most difference this year.

  • BillyFinT

    Brian, this is Captain Grammar speaking (while not trying to laugh). You cannot title your well-being with “from” the Bronx, unless you were there and witnessed these Debacle Cubs. You would be “Rambling On the Bronx,” or used some other particle instead of being “from” there, unless of course, you considered your mental state connected with New York at all time.

    That’s my rambling of the night. I must say the Cubs won’t go anywhere, not away from my screen, because I’ll still catch as many games as I can.

    God bless Phil Caverretta and Stan Hack, may they rest the soul whom lost too many World Series. More than you, Theo, ever witnessed in person.