Rambling About the Cubs Home Away From Home

Rambling About the Cubs Home Away From Home

Hello again, everybody.  It has been one of the better weeks for the Cubs in recent memory. They won not one, but two road series in a row. TWO. ROAD. SERIES. IN. A. ROW. The Cubs turned Philly and Miami into their home away from home and finished the road trip 5-5.  For a team with the second-worst record in the league, a 5-5 road trip is the equivalent of a potential wild card berth.

There is plenty to discuss this fine Friday as a lengthy homestand begins so lets get down to it and swap some seriously stimulating stats, and then some.

  • The Cubs low-balled Samardzija. He said no. The Cubs offered him the money he has earned, but not the money some believe he has the potential to command.
  • Again, he has never had a full season of dominance. He has never had a full season where he pitched like an ace from April through September. He has never proven he is a number 1.
  • I don’t know about you, but it is hard for me to rationalize spending $115 million on a guy who hasn’t proven it.
  • Finally, don’t get me wrong. I love the Shark. Heck, as you all know, I went to Notre Dame. I freaking love the guy, but he has to prove he is an ace to be paid like an ace.
  • Joke of the week: How do you know a guy went to Notre Dame? Don’t worry, he will tell you.
  • Apparently there are other players on the Cubs outside of Samardzija. Maybe I will talk about some of them now.
  • I was very happy to see Kris Bryant get called up to AAA. I have to imagine that Baez’s early-season struggles were a large part of that decision. Baez raked all season and was kept in the same place. Bryant was matching his numbers. It just makes sense to move him up.
  • Welcome to the Chicago Cubs Farm System, Kyle. Nice to have you. Please stop in and say hi while flying up through the system. And there you have it … the jinx is officially in.
  • Again, for the third or fourth week in a row, trade Hammel now. Every week his ERA rises and his value falls. Trade. Him. Now.
  • Starlin has been on a tear, and it is something to behold. It is the Castro of yore, and I’m lovin’ it. (Yes I am attempting to combine fictional periods of history with fast food slogans. And I am succeeding … in my mind)
  • Castro is on pace for approximately 24 homers, 90 RBI and a .295 average. That would be amazing.
  • And then there is the ‘Riz. Dude is going to hit 30 homers with 90 RBI and calm the fears of all the doubters who already broke ground on the Andrew Cashner Wing in Cooperstown.
  • Junior Lake has so much raw power and talent. Someone needs to harness it. If this guy can learn to hit .275, he will be a huge bonus. He has serious athleticism, 35-plus homer power, and the ability to steal 30-40 bases a season if coached properly.
  • Ricky, please get on this … NOW.
  • Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the “Core Four” and the recent draft picks, but Junior Lake is the one guy who is actually with the Big League Club now. Hitting nine homers in just over 200 at-bats shows promise.
  • Again, Ced Landrum stole like 74 bases in 12 games one year as well, so I probably have no idea what I am talking about here, but it is fun to imagine.
  • The Cubs are 10-7 in June. And yes, folks, I know they won five in row, but they also had a span of losing four out of five. The point being that the club is improving, and Rizzo and Castro are progressing, not regressing. Things are moving in the right direction.
  • If I were asked to predict this, I would say we would see Baez and Bryant with the Big-League Club sometime between April 20– May 15of next year. But that is just a guess. If either are called up this season, I will pay everyone who reads this column $5.
  • I won’t really pay you $5, but you get my point. Someone should really challenge me on this.
  • Okay, last bullet point of the ramblings … any free agent next year, pitcher or position player … who do you sign? In this case, money is no option. Who do you sign? I will refrain from answering for now, but I cannot wait to read your thoughts.

Summer officially starts tomorrow, my dad celebrated a great birthday yesterday, and Chicago is very close to getting into its “Best City in the World” this time of year mood, so for those around, get down, get up, and enjoy the greatest summer city in North America. And while you are at it, enjoy some baseball and some family.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

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  • GaryLeeT

    If Arietta keeps pitching at or near the level he’s pitched most of this year, pretty soon he’ll have me asking “Jeff who?”

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Agree 150% if Baez starts heating up him too. Along with Alcantara in the lead off spot.

  • Tom U

    According to Bose Hawks Radio’s Mike Safford, INF David Bote promoted back to Kane County while the Hawks get C Erick Castillo and draft picks INF Alex Tomasovich and OF Charlie White.

  • Steve Baier

    Agree totally on Lake. He’s the only outfielder on the Cubs’ current big-league roster with potential. Get his BA up, and he’s quite an asset to a team.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    35 HR power from Lake!?! Lay off the hippie lettuce dude.

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

      9 HR in 200 at bats? 24 years old and in 1st full season in MLB. Why is that even a question? I think it’s pretty obvious he’s got that potential in him by 26 or 27. They need to work on him to be more selective but he’s a guy that has shown to be coachable.

      • No Baseball In Indiana

        Because he has terrible contact skills, and poor pitch recognition. He’s never walked, can’t hit RH pitching, and always had a horrible k rate. He will never be a 35 hr guy.

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

          He’s in less than his first full calendar year of MLB. He is what he is? I think you’re selling him way short on his ceiling. I think it’s reasonable to consider a 2nd year player has a little bit of room for improvement.

          Have you been a scout? I’m not saying that condescending either. You’re breakdown is accurate of his current skills so I’m just wondering if you have a background in predicting a players future? If you do and your analysis is based on your years of scouting and evaluating MLB talent then I’d defer to you. But if you’re like me and a layman who watches 80 plus games each season, I don’t know if we’re qualified to prounounce a players future in absolutes.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            It’s not just my opinion. See my other post.

      • No Baseball In Indiana

        BTW I appreciate your optimism but here’s an article on Lake from 2.5 years ago before he switched from SS and he still has the same problems highlighted in the article. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/chicago-cubs-junior-lake-fangraphs-baseball-scouting-report-video/

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

          At 24 years old and less than a full season in, I still think he can improve. Look at Sammy Sosa or Nelson Cruz, Luis Valbuena or the multitude of other players that improved over the course of their career. Bill Mueller may be able to make some suggestions he’s never heard before.

          • No Baseball In Indiana

            Don’t get me wrong I think he’ll get better too. But I see him as a 4th OF with some pop and speed (maybe 15-15 guy) not a full time 30-30 or 35-35 player.

          • Chris K.

            I appreciate he has potential, but he’s not even seizing a spot in one of the worst OF’s in the majors. If he can’t beat out guys like Sweeney and Schierholtz, my hopes aren’t that high for him.

  • The Dude Abides

    I hope Baez and Bryant come up sooner rather than later, but, I think it will be mid to late June next season. Theo will be careful with the super two situation for both. Don’t agree with it but letting them play from June 20th on gives them 300 – 400 AB’s and keeps control for additional year.

    Crazy new world we live in unfortunately.

    • Guest

      The Cubs would still have team control for an additional year if they called them up after about April 20 (as long as the timing of the call up is less than 172 days from the end of the season). Super 2 is only for arbitration eligibility. As a big market team, super 2 should not be as significant of a consideration like it is for teams like Pitt and KC.

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

    Great ramblings! I am with you on Junior Lake. I’d like to see them work with him and develop him into that 275 average, 35 HR guy that I agree he can be.

    I’d like to sign John Lester, but not for a deal over 5 years. No 30 year old pitcher on more than a 5 year deal.

    Rizzo and Castro are very much improving. It’s beautiful to watch. The team as a whole shows me a lot of late. They have some excitement. And you didn’t even mention Mr. Valbuena.

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

    I don’t see how Bryant won’t start the season in Chicago a la Mike Olt. If he dominates AAA then shows up in spring training they won’t be able to keep him down. I also think Kalish is back next season :).

    • BigJonLilJon

      I like that plan. With what the Cubs are building – IE Baez, Bryant, Lake, all being the free swinger types…. Kalish could be very important in a table setting manor.

  • The Dude Abides

    IMO at this point Samardzija is doing us a favor by turning
    down any offer we make. He wants top of
    rotation money and we are willing to pay him about what he’s worth. We should however get top of rotation
    prospects from some team because they are prospects and if we are lucky two
    will work out long term and every team knows that going in.

  • BigJonLilJon

    Shark wants paid for what he COULD be, not what he is. In a world where FA’s get over paid for past performances, Shark must “do it” to get it first. A legend in his own mind right now. Trade him and get the top end/ML ready talented young pitchers for next year. Line them up with Wood, Arietta, Jackson(yikes), and a lineup featuring Castro, Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Olt, Kalish, Lake, Castillo, and we could see the beginning of something beautiful next year.

  • BillyFinT

    Let’s RAAAAAAAmble!

    First thing first, USA will kick ass in Brazil.

    Hey, Portuguese, just because you speak the same language there, doesn’t mean you have an advantage. On the contrary, it’s distraction, using your language to court all the beautiful ladies.

    I know in the Amazonian jungle of Manaus, all the bug bites and heat will annoy you more.

    But American footballers, they are used to it, because they played in worse places as professionals in the States.

    That’s just my imagination, of young American athletes playing like Pele as a poor kid, on the sands of Southeast Brazil…

    Do anyone else realized how big is Brazil? It’s a size of USA if we don’t count Alaska. And of course we don’t count Alaska. Who’s the last person other than a certain female president candidate that you heard is from there?

    I heard a commentator saying Columbian fans can just drive to the game of their National Team, and I was so going to write him a letter.

    I didn’t. This Americanism in me is too cool and forbade me to react immediately for pro sports.

    On that note, I missed all the good Cubs games the last three weeks, because I’ve been abroad. Very sad.

    No, not in Brazil. I would love to be there right now.

    Or not. I would be broke by now as we type if I was there.

    I’m always hopeful that the Cubs improve as a team, showing progress, and that will keep Shark and many more good pitchers with them.

    Then again, Shark proved that he’s not satisfied. That’s a paraphrase of Ernie Banks’ famous speech, of what his mom taught him.

    Shark was due to be paid market price, but I hope he bought insurance:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/max-scherzer-and-the-incentives-to-self-insure/

    “The market for buying and selling risk is very well established, and the prices that outside parties will pay to relieve a player of his risk-burden are likely much cheaper than the discounts MLB teams have been offering players in order to sign long-term contracts.”

    I need an insurance, in case my jaw falls off my skull. I’m never a believer of USA Soccer making to a World Cup Quaterfinal. Prove me wrong, fellas!

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