Rambling About the Cubs While Seeing a Glimpse

Hello again, everybody. Something got into the Cubs since we last talked. They started played respectfully, won five in a row, and gave our eyes some baseball enjoyment. However, a blown save and a trip to the Steel City put the young Cubbies right back in their place. But, it was a nice respite, and hopefully a glimpse of more promising campaigns that might just be right around the corner … or not.

It’s Friday, it is almost officially summer, and it’s Fathers’ Day Weekend so let’s get down to rambling.

  • Trade Hammel now.  Just do it. Maybe there was a reason he was only able to garner a one-year deal in free agency. He is starting to return to normal. Get more than you expected, and get it now.
  • Don’t look now, but Luis Valbuena is having an impressive year. Who knew?  Seriously, who did? Every now and again you strike gold on a random signing.
  • Baseball games are just too long. I know Len has been talking about this quite often lately, but the Tuesday night’s game against the Mets was nearly four hours. I left during the sixth inning … three hours into the game.
  • I don’t mean to belabor the point, but this must be addressed. The bulk of baseball games are played on weeknights when both adults and children have to get up early for daily responsibilities like learning, taking care of said children, and making money.
  • If the MLB does not address this, ratings and league income will decline. I am lucky I live in the neighborhood, but people are not going to go to a few games a year with the family if it means getting home at midnight on a Tuesday.
  • The Shark has struggled a bit as of late. Yep, Captain of the Obvious is back again, but the point being, he has yet to go a full season as an ace, or some may argue, even as a number-2 in the rotation.
  • The next 45 days will be very interesting when it comes to the Cubs. The selling season is about to open, and the Cubs are ready to open the “Cuboards.”
  • See what I did there? Yes, I know, it was obvious.
  • As we all know, Bryant is destroying the Southern League, but is still a bit behind Baez’s pace from last season. I am not expert, but doesn’t it make sense to move Bryant up now?
  • Or is the myth that Double A is better that Triple A true? Baez’s first 6 or 7 weeks of this season could be the basis of an argument that it is not. And yes, I know, one example does not a sound point make.
  • Okay, I may be one of his bigger supporters, but it is about time for Mike Olt to go play every day in Iowa. He has to see live pitches regularly. He is more likely to be part of the Cubs future than Darwin. The future needs the practice.
  • And since this is the Cubs, one of the lone bright spots of the season, Emilio Bonifacio, is most likely on his way to the DL. The Cubs Way.
  • Anthony Rizzo this season … I like it, I like it a lot. The kid is on a good pace, and could finally be settling in to a nice little decade or more on the North Side. And wouldn’t that be great to see.
  • June 13- Luis Valbuena has the highest batting average on the Cubs. Oh right, it’s Friday the 13th.  Makes more sense now … but only a little.
  • I know I sound like a broken record here, but Hector Rondon, a Rule-5 pick, is just tearing it up. Give credit where credit is due. This was a great selection.
  • Jake Arrieta has a 2.50 ERA in seven starts. I like that a lot as well. Again, I understand it is only seven starts, and albeit a very dark cloud; there is still a silver lining or two. Jake is one of them.
  • Remember when everyone was freaking out about Javier Baez. He is just fine nowadays. And those in the know still have him as a top-3 or top-5 prospect. Yes, his average needs to improve, but he is clearly on his way back.
  • Reports were out this week that the Cubs would be spending this offseason, and Hoyer tentatively confirmed that.  Okay, he “very tentatively, kind of confirmed” that.
  • So, I ask, if it was up to who, who is the one free agent you want the Cubs to sign? I will be honest, I do not know for sure who will be free agents, but my gut tells me I want the Cubs to sign Jon Lester. Who is it for you?
  • And finally, I would like to wish my dad a very happy Father’s Day!  Thank you for everything. I couldn’t ask for more.

And to all of you out there who are dads or play the role of dad, a very Happy Father’s Day to you as well.  I have been told there is no greater gift in life.

Here is hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable Father’s Day Weekend. Also, as always, here is a shout-out to Moms everywhere.

And until next time … Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"The more reasons you have for achieving your goal, the more determined you will become." - Brian Tracy

Share on Fancred
  • whatdahelldoino

    james shields would be the guy i hope the cubs go after

    • mutantbeast

      Agreed- Shileds can be had , likely on a 3yr/50M or so contract. Hes been a winner everywhere hes been, and hes never been hurt. Scherzer has already turned down a 6/144m contract with Destroyed, Lester is overrated and from what I hear wants Tanaka $. Shields is the best pitching bargain on the market, For the OF Id suggest Seth Smith, yes a platoon lefty, but a good one against RHP.

  • Pingback: Rambling About the Cubs While Seeing a Glimpse - Cubs Chronicles()

  • woody34

    Scherzer or Lester if available.

  • triple

    I have always been behind Luis Valbuena and defending him. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, that I see the same in him as could be seen in Yadier Molina during his first 3 or 4 years in the big leagues; They are both guys who play solid defense and show an ability to identify the strike zone, and be capable of taking walks and not striking out too much. Yadier of course is a great QB behind the plate so it was easy to give him 120 starts per year. When a guy like that gets enough time in the majors to learn who all the pitchers are, after 3 or 4 years they know most the pitchers in the league and can also take advantage and get hits off of younger, newer pitchers in the league. As long as you’ve got the glove, play the game the right way, and know the strike zone well, you can prove to be an effective major leaguer. Not a star or anything (although Yadier has become one), but a player who is valuable to his team. It’s definitely still debatable whether he can sustain the success he’s having this year, and there’s no debate as he does not hit well in the clutch, but I’m definitely rooting for him. In fact, looking at his splits, he has batted much better in the 5-hole than the 2-spot. With Bonifacio going down, I wonder if Renteria would consider batting him lead-off?

  • triple

    I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t concerned about Javier Baez and his slow start, and he is still trending upwards and hitting better. But striking out in 35% of his plate appearances in AAA is kind of a big red flag. Comparing Bryant’s 278 plate appearances to Baez’s 240 PA’s from last season at AA, it’s astounding to see the similarities:

    Baez: 12 HR/PA, K/rate 28.8%, 20HR, 54RBI, 15 doubles, 0 triples
    Bryant: 12.63 HR/PA, K/rate 26.3%, 22HR, 56RBI, 18 doubles, 0 triples

    After seeing these similarities, it isn’t really surprising to me that Bryant is still in AA, and maybe he should stay there for some more experience. The good news is that at least there are some differences between Bryant and Baez, and that is Bryant’s ability to lay off more unhittable pitches, which directly effects his ability to make more contact and earn more base hits. Here are their AA stats that outline the differences between these 2 players:

    Baez: 64 hits, 19 BB
    Bryant: 84 hits, 39 BB
    Basically, in Bryant’s 38 more plate appearances, he’s managed 20 more hits and 20 more walks… That is kind of amazing!

    Those differences account for Baez’s slashline of .294/.346/.638/.983 and Bryant’s .359/.460/.718/1.178

    So after seeing all of this, I don’t think the FO needs to be in a rush to promote Bryant so quickly, although it probably will happen in another month when he does have another 125 plate appearances. But for now, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to leave him in AA where his confidence will stay high, he can continue to improve his defense, and maybe even get that K-rate down lower. Then he can be promoted to AAA and hopefully help Iowa make a run at the playoffs. It would be nice to see him get his feet wet in AAA while the team is playing games with something on the line. It would be even better to see him excel in that situation! That leaves me to wonder about Baez, and if he may end up being a nice show pony who nets the Cubs some big pitcher in the near future?

    • TheWrongGuy

      Good post triple.
      I for one am happy Bryant hasn’t been promoted to AAA or MLB, yet. I also noticed the high K rate and noticed it was similar to Baez’. Yet everyone that’s a fan wants to see them both in Chicago. I will say now if they promote either one now or before September call-ups they both will lose what confidence they have(it is said the game is 70% or more mental than physical). And thanks for the comparison I can see that my perceptions were correct about the high K rates and similarities.

      They are all prospects/suspects till on the 25 man in MLB.

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

      Good points…

  • paCubsFan23

    Im hoping we get Scherzer, but the Yankees will probably outpay everyone by a lot to have him. So realistically, Lester is a guy i would like to see in Cubby blue.

  • No Baseball In Indiana

    And queue Sharks June swoon, you can set your clock to it. Hopefully other FOs ignore the trend and overvalue him like some around here.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    My thoughts keep Samardzija. Trade Hammel. Bring up Bryant. Send Olt down to AAA get him regular plate appearances playing RF and or LF. Keep Valbuena at 2b for now until Baez is ready. Send down Ramirez stretch him out. To Start or keep him here and let him pitch 3 innings at end of the game. Bringing up Bryant can help show Shark he should stay and help show Top FA pitchers to sign. Stop playing AAAA players and have Lake start everday.

    Also comparing Baez and Bryant Baez is a lot younger. Play Baez at 2b in AAA NOW.

    • Tony_H

      If Samardzija will sign an extension, absolutely, but he wants to be a free agent.

      Baez is 11 months younger than Bryant, that’s all. I think Baez should play 3B and Bryant in RF, unless Olt is able to stick at 3B, than Baez at 2B or LF. The best part of all of this is the flexibility we have in so many of these top prospects defensively. Alcantara can play SS/2B/OF as well.

      • chuckleberry74

        But from what I understood, Alcantara is almost Darwin Barney defensively at 2nd…

        • J Daniel

          Alcantara needs to play 2b with Bryant or Baez at 3b with the other in the of, IMO.

          • chuckleberry74

            Agreed, clearly. Baez is better suited for 3rd or LF.

    • TheWrongGuy

      I agree and disagree.
      I agree trade Hammel. Look at what the “Stros did in the last draft with an extra pick traded for by trading Bud Norris(competitive balance 1st round pick):”Very impressive”.
      I disagree as far “Shark”. They need to remove a clubhouse/FO nemesis much like last seasons nemesis K. Gregg. The FO doesn’t take kindly to a player talking trash about them, nor the owner for that matter. IMO as I have said before as well as many others “Shark’s” days are numbered.

      • Patrick_Schaefer

        Shark has basically said he wants to win and be on a contending team so he a bad guy for that.

        • TheWrongGuy

          Shark wants $$$$, nothing else. Not a team player, he’s all about “Shark’s $$$$$” see the post from DenverMike. Shark only cares about “his” payday. The part he said about wanting to play for a contender is all media fluff.

    • mutantbeast

      I like Ramirez out of the pen. Fact is, hes striking out 45% of the hitters hes facing in releif. Thats dominant. Learn from the examples of Neftali Perez and Daniel Bard.

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

    Luis Valbuena…who knew? Me and Rip :)

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

    Johnny Cueto is restricted. If he makes it I’d be all over him. Same with Gallardo.

    Lester is a no brainer. But Cueto and Gallardo are both under 30. I’d be happy with any one, or two of those 3.

    • mutantbeast

      Cueto Id agree with. Gallardo is inconsistent. Cueto can be dominant on occasiopn. Lester wants to be paid Tanaka $ and Scherzer has already turned down 6/144m from a contending team, so its all about the $ with him. James Shields to me can be a realistic get. Possably Cliff Lee in a trade providing Filthies dont want too much.

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

    Valbuena was a pretty solid waiver claim. Rondon and Valbuena were pretty good gets for guys that others overlooked.

    Valbuena did take a while to get there, but as I said yesterday, he’s gotten about 1/3rd better each season. He’s got two more years before he’s 30, interesting to see how much he improves in that time.

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

    Shark isn’t a true TOR. If we can get a Garza like haul I say do it. If he’ll take a team-friendly deal sign him. He’s run his mouth in the press and that’s not a guy I want to commit a huge contract to.

    Hammel was very good in the start before last. But I agree, as soon as a viable deal for him is available, take it.

    • John_CC

      If by TOR you mean ACE then you are correct, Jeff is not an Ace. But he certainly is a Top Of Rotation pitcher, without doubt.

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

        I did mean ace, you are correct. But I’m not sure he’s a bonafide TOR either. TOR would mean #1 or 2 on a championship team. He’s got these stretches of inconsistency that have cropped up lately that make me question it. Some could be the result of being so good on a bad team, I’ll give him that. But if you’re playing in the World Series do you trust Shark as your #2 starter? I’d feel a whole lot better about him as a #3. He may go to a contender and prove he is a #2 but as of now I think it’s an unknown.

    • mutantbeast

      One thing Board-Shark has leveled off every June. Hes showing signs of doing it again. Shark should be traded-Bundy and Harvey from the Os would work just fine with me.

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

        Me too. I want Bundy. He could win a few Cy Young awards…

    • paulcatanese

      You mean a guy who says it like it is has no business being a Cub?

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

        I don’t think airing your business in the media is the way to go. We expect that of the team, coaches and management. Don’t think it’s too much to ask of a player.

        • Bryan

          So a player “aka employee” should just keep their mouth shut, correct? Do you do that in your company? This is a new era of communicating, texting, tweets, etc…and a different breed of player.

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

            If I publically declared my displeasure with my employer, whether my compensation, position or any perceived slight. I would probably be out of a job. Would you not?

            Shoot, I have to be careful whispering something like that to a co worker. Let alone the press!

        • paulcatanese

          Frustration will make all kinds of things happen. Keep in mind you or I are not on the field, feeling the things the players are.
          Put yourself in the Sharks shoes for a while.

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

            Point taken Paul. I’d jut prefer he not try to fight the battle in the press.

    • Bryan

      How can you say that Shark isn’t a true TOR. He’s gotten minimal run support, and had the lowest ERA over the course of the first 2+ months. What more do you want him to do? Every quality pitcher has an off day….and yesterday is no barometer. If the team had any semblance of a consistent offense that could overcome a 4 run effort by their starter, and still win a game on his behalf. I know, he should just keep an ERA below 2, and shut up to the press.

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

        I didn’t say he wasntz. I just said I wasn’t yet convinced. He’s been ery good for the first 3 months of this season and early last year. I’d like to see him maintain it over at least one full season or more to say for sure.

        To me a TOR is a #1 or 2 in a World Series. Shark may be that but I’m not quite convinced yet. I have nowhere said an absolute like you suggest.

  • John_CC

    Hey Brian, when you say Bryant isn’t quite up to Baez’s pace I assume you mean HR only, and maybe Is but I haven’t checked that. By all other metrics he is far better than Baez. I’ll trade a couple fewer homers for the .50+ OBP points and insane OPS everyday. Is there any question that Bryant is a far better hitter?

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

      I haven’t examined the stats but I was thinking the same thing. It seems that Baez was the slightly more prodigious power hitter but as far as all around batsman, Bryant is ahead. And I agree. I’ll take the guy that hits 35 HR and has an OBP of close to .400 than the guy that hits 45 HR but has the OBP around .300.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    For all those knocking Samardzija for what he said. I don’t understand why.
    Basically all he has said is he wants to be on a winning team a contender. He is getting close to 30 and doesn’t want to wait another 2 years to be competitive.
    He wants to win so your knocking him for that, makes no sense.

    • DWalker

      I can’t blame him for talking, its hard not to when the newsies are in your face after the team losing yet another game. my problem with him, and why I am not convinced he is always gonna be a 2-3 pitcher (where he is now, he is NOT an ace on this team) is his lack of focus and commitment. Big games he’s there, but once the team starts falling apart so does jeff. To me, he just seems to give up caring if he wins or not, gives a good enough performance every few games to remind everyoen he can be good and then phones it in. On a contendor where he might stay focused, he MIGHT be a very consistant lights out pitcher, but on this team he just doesn’t care. Like Ramirez, I don’t know that the cubs could ever offer him enough to actually keep him at free agency if the club isn’t a bonifide contender, and right now, I don’t think he wants to extend with the cubs.

    • Denver Mike

      I don’t blame him for wanting to win and be on a contender, but he should just stick with that. What made me think he’s a clown is when he started with this nonsense:

      “Personally, numbers and money don’t really drive me,” Samardzija told Mooney. “What does drive me is protecting and setting up the players behind me, the future generations, so that I’m not signing any of these crummy early deals for seven or eight years …. When you’re hitting your prime and you’re hitting free agency — like it’s supposed to be done — then that’s the way it sets up for guys behind you,” Samardzija said. “I definitely have a responsibility to the players that are younger than me and approaching arbitration or approaching free agency to keep the numbers where they should be.”

      I pulled this quote from another blog so I won’t link it here, but Neil had posted the same comments a couple months ago.

      It was after these statements I just started to think he’s full of crap. Let me paraphrase what I hear when he said this: “I’m demanding a $125MM contract, but it’s not about the money. It’s about making a better life for the up and coming players, because they might not be able to live off of $100MM, so it’s my responsibility to make sure they can eat. By the way, my teammates like Castro and Rizzo that signed those team friendly extensions early in their careers…they’re idiots. Don’t think I’m greedy though, I’m the martyr of MLB, waiting for free agency in order to make the world a better place for the players of tomorrow.”

      Good riddance.

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

        Yep. It’s not so much what he said as how he said it. He seemed to be trying to use the media to help get the outcome he wanted. I’m not crazy about that.

        If Theo went out and said Shark has been good but is asking for TOR money when e hasn’t proven to be one that would be viewed negatively. Unless he was really tactful about it. Shark wasn’t all that tactful.

  • chuckleberry74

    I think Lester or Shields would be great in the NL Central. They would come to the NL and continue to be excellent pitchers, while getting to face one fewer batter in the lineup.

    • mutantbeast

      Lester wants Tanaka $. Shields comes at a better price, in all likelihood. And Shields never gets hurt.

  • paulcatanese

    There are guys that would play the game for nothing. The players union won’t let them do that though.
    The problem is that Theo believes they should, and the payroll proves that, yet
    Theo spends money on pre-surgery, just completed surgery, and players who have not even re-habbed yet.
    Keeps players as long as he can in the minors, for dollar control, and the fact that once they are brought up the proof is in the mix, was it a good signing or not?
    As many on here who thinks Theo walks on water, let them see how long it’s going to take before the Cubs have the kind of winner that Theo is trying to predict, a consistant playoff type of team, its going to take a lot longer than
    people believe it will.
    Stocking the minors is one thing, but the insane way of handling the Major League is just plain stupid.

    • Bryan

      Well stated Paul. When you tank the season over 4 years it’s easy to “look good” in the draft when you’re always picking in the top 5. If I’m correct Theo has a 5 year contract (at $18.5m)…so how do you measure his success…and determine whether to extend him….it certainly can’t be based on major league performance, which has been a total disaster.

    • John_CC

      Paul, let’s be clear that Epstien works with a budget that is given him. Saying that he believe players should play for nothing is ludicrous and flatly false. Because if you think he gets to decide how much the player payroll is then lookimg back to his tenure with Boston would tell the opposite story, that he loves to pay players their full worth and then some.

      • paulcatanese

        That statement was partially in jest and should have explained that way. Then again if he has only so much to work with why wouldn’t he think in those terms?
        And the draft was pre-empted with the thought of signing players at a discount or under slot, so either right or wrong the thought of signing people at the total value is at the bottom end.
        A thought of Theo as a friend of players with salary has never
        occurred to me, as I think he is a cold calculating man, (as he should be) and not in anyone’s corner but his own and his master plan, and does not deviate from it. He wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t.

  • Roland Bowman

    Nori Aoki would be someone I would like to see them sign. He would not be an impact player. But a solid OF. A 2 or 3 year deal.