Fire (sale) season

In Commentary And Analysis by berselius342 Comments

I almost wanted to leave that Padres recap up as a reminder that we ever thought this Cubs team might be good (dying laughing). With Anthony Rizzo being the first of the big ticket guys to be traded, I guess we should put up a new post.

The worst part of the Cubs window finally slamming shut is that I’m going to have to pretend to care about the minor leagues again (dying laughing).

So far, the Cubs have traded:

  • Joc Pederson to the Barves for 23 yo high A 1B Bryce Ball (12th in Barves system)
  • Andrew Chafin to the A’s for AAA OF Greg Deichmann (9th in A’s system) and A-ball P Daniel Palencia (12th in A’s system). Deichmann is a power hitter who is probably MLB ready. Palencia was an international signing from 2020.
  • Ryan Tepera to the White Sox for A-ball pitcher Bailey Horn. Horn was a third round pick for the Sox last year. He’s not super high ranked due to command issues but has a solid background.
  • Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees for A-ball OF Kevin Alcantara and A-ball SP Alexander Vizcaino, who are 7th and 11th respectively in a pretty good Yankees system. The Cubs are paying the rest of Rizzo’s salary for the year, which likely helped with the return on just a half season. Bonus to Rizzo, he can’t be given a qualifying offer this offseason.

I would be shocked if one of, if not both, of Craig Kimbrel and Kris Bryant aren’t moved by the deadline tomorrow…and I’ll update the post at some point if so.

It’s a bummer to see Rizzo to go, and I still wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up back with the Cubs next year. He’s been the public face of the franchise for some time and does a ton of community work. Here’s hopin’.

UPDATE

The Cubs kept busy right up to the trade deadline, and have now moved pretty much every position player or reliever of note.

  • Craig Kimbrel went to the White Sox in exchange for 2B Nick Madrigal and RHP Codi Heuer. Both guys have big league experience, which is a change from some of the other returns. Madrigal is an extreme contact hitter, but is out for the rest of 2021 with a torn harmstring. Heuer looks like he might be a solid reliever, and has many years of team control. He was pretty good as a rookie in 2020.
  • Kris Bryant went to the Giants in exchange for two kind of meh guys in OF Alexander Canario and P Caleb Kilian who are in the high-A to AA range. Looks like their ceiling might be league average player / back end starter, which isn’t nothing I guess.
  • Javier Baez and Trevor Williams went to the Mets in exchange for the Mets first round pick last year, OF 19 yo Pete Crow-Armstrong. It sounds like he’s a solid defender who could be playing CF in the bigs right now if his bat didn’t have to catch up to his glove.
  • Jake Marisnick went to the Padres in exchange for RHP Anderson Espinoza. Not a lot of details out there on the guy, but he has a weird 5 year gap on his B-ref page between A ball in 2016 and high-A ball in 2021.

Right now at best guess, the massively depleted Cubs starting roster probably looks like

  • C Willson Contreras
  • 1B Patrick Wisdom
  • 2B David Bote
  • SS Sergio Alcantara
  • 3B Matt Duffy
  • LF Ian Happ
  • CF Rafael Ortega
  • RF Jason Heyward
  • SP Cyle Hendricks
  • SP Zach Davies
  • SP Adbert Alzolay
  • SP Alec Mills
  • SP The Shambling Remains of Jake Arrieta
  • CL Rex Brothers?

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Comments

  1. Perkins

    I’m happy the Cubs seem to have gotten a good return, but it feels weird to see Rizzo traded. Even knowing the window had closed already, it makes it feel final and real in a way that it hadn’t before.

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  2. Rizzo the Rat

    The Chicago White Sox are finalizing a deal to acquire closer Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago Cubs, sources tell ESPN.

    — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2021

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  3. Perkins

    I’d assume the acquisition of Madrigal indicates the Cubs don’t expect to retain Javy, but maybe they’d still try to and move Hoerner to another position.

    And as I say that, it looks like Javy——>NYM

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  4. Author
    berselius

    It will be kind of funny if the Cubs end up trading everyone *other* than Kris Bryant (dying laughing).

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  5. dmick89

    The worst part is they traded all these guys and didn’t even get someone I have to watch daily in the minors in return. In a few years I’ll be like, “oh, this is the backup outfielder they got for Kris Bryant.”

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  6. Perkins

    dmick89,

    It seems like they went for a mix of upside and MLB-ready. Madrigal and Heuer seem like a good return for Kimbrel, but I’m not sure about the rest.

    The guy they got for Javy was the Mets’ top pick in last year’s draft, and is supposed to be good.

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  7. dmick89

    Perkins,

    I didn’t expect the Cubs to trade both of Javy and Rizzo. I thought one would stick around as kind of the veteran presence for the offense. I’d have traded both, but it’s the kind of thing teams do for dumb reasons sometimes. Considering they dealt both Bryant and Baez, along with Kimbrel, I just don’t think the Cubs got back the kind of talent I was hoping to see. I’d trade everyone they got the last couple days for a legitimate top prospect in baseball. This was more about quantity than quality and maybe that will work. It’s a hell of a lot less exciting though.

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  8. Smokestack Lightning

    dmick89,

    Agreed, but think even more so than usual teams are super-wary of doing Torres-for-Chapman deals at midseason. Only reason Torres for Chapman happened to begin with was because of 108 years.

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  9. Author
    berselius

    Hmm, looks like Espinoza (who they got in exchange for Marisnick) was a former top 20 prospect, who missed all that time due to multiple TJS’s.

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  10. Author
    berselius

    Only surprise left was that Jed didn’t manage to ship out Zach Davies as well (dying laughing).

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  11. Author
    berselius

    Lester ——> Urinals, who are 10 games out of first and 7.5 back of the Padres for a WC spot.

    wut

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  12. Perkins

    I’m going to be very interested to hear all the things about the Cubs clubhouse this year that will inevitably leak out. I’m still kind of shell shocked and floored at how abruptly and unceremoniously this era ended.

    The writing has been on the wall for close to a month, but I’m still really surprised that Baez and Rizzo were dealt. Even in a season that was plainly going to be a roll of the dice with the core on its last ride, I’d expected those two to remain to the end, and at least one of them to re-sign. It’s wild to think that just five weeks ago the Cubs were clearly buyers, and now a third of the active roster has been traded away.

    We’ll always have 2016 (and 2015 was fun as hell too), but it’s hard to shake the feeling this group should have been so much more, and it’s sad to see their time together end with a whimper.

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  13. dmick89

    So what’s best case scenario here? Madrigal improving and the Cubs trading him next summer for a couple of high ranking prospects? I’m really failing to see the upside in all of this because Madrigal looks like peak Theriot to me at best. How many of those guys do you need on one roster? One wasn’t enough? Was Hoerner getting lonely?

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  14. Perkins

    Madrigal has fairly extreme contact skills, and is likely to hit for a high average. He’s the type pf player I’d be more excited about if the Cubs still had Rizzo, Baez, and Bryant in that he’d balance out and complement their tendencies.

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  15. EnricoPallazzo

    Perkins,

    this concept of “balance” intrigues me…I was thinking that the goal was to just stock the team with the same type of player, and then assume that their assets would be multiplicative and their deficiencies would all just cancel each other out somehow

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  16. EnricoPallazzo

    dmick89:
    So what’s best case scenario here? Madrigal improving and the Cubs trading him next summer for a couple of high ranking prospects? I’m really failing to see the upside in all of this because Madrigal looks like peak Theriot to me at best. How many of those guys do you need on one roster? One wasn’t enough? Was Hoerner getting lonely?

    I don’t disagree but what was the alternative? Just hang onto everyone for one last goodbye tour, and then everyone goes their separate ways with the cubs getting nothing in return?

    selling off just a few pieces doesn’t make any sense and oit is blatantly obvious that the FO was not gonna spend the money to add the necessary pieces and/or re-sign the core. so even though the return was pretty disappointing, i’m not sure that there was a better outcome (other than getting an ownership group that would rather spend baseball profits on baseball instead of white supremacist politicians).

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  17. BVS

    Seems like part of the Cubs problem the last few years has been depth. There was the core and then…….. Ian Happ? I think a lot of that led to the TTO approach that became even more apparent in the last 2 yr.

    On the field, I’m most sorry to see KB go. I know that with Boras they were never going to extend him. If Lindor can convince Baez to be 15% more selective with his swings, then the Mets will have something. I assume Javy was asking >$20M/yr and though I love his D and his elan, that’s too much. In 6 years, I think we are going to be happy we got Rizzo’s best and he left still above average and we didn’t have to watch a precipitous decline a la Pujols. (Or Sosa). Yankee stadium will be good for Rizzo’s swing. Extending either Baez or Rizzo for $15M/yr seems justified based on performance and aging curves, but clearly less than they wanted. Cubs did the core solid by trading them to contenders and letting them be FAs without draft pick losses weighing them down.

    If CrowArmstrong turns into something good, and Brennan Davis does too, and Amaya comes up and transitions in, that’s a good start. Cubs will have about $150 million trillion to sign people. I know Ifs on prospects is kind of a fools errand, but you have to start somewhere.

    The alternative–keeping these guys thru the season, would have netted three comp picks. I don’t see that being any more valuable than what we got, and also farther away from success. Keeping the core is the Rockies MO. What do they gain by holding Jon Gray and Trevor Story? Maybe 5 more wins in a losing season this year. Maybe.

    This is Willson Contreras’s and Kyle Hendricks’s team now. I’m 100% behind that. Willson’s fire and Kyle’s balance seem pretty damn perfect to build around. And if Willson wants to stay a Cub, it’s time for him to extend.

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  18. BVS

    Postscripts. I think Madrigal is a great get, assuming he returns from injury well. Would be nice to have a couple players (w Nico) that have an OBP>.300. You can’t score crooked numbers with no one on base.

    Wow. Our bullpen really sucks now. If Brothers is the closer… Oh no! Maybe the 100mph guy they just called up.

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  19. BVS

    I’m going to have to pretend to care about the minor leagues again

    Jordan Nwogu

    Cubs’ve cornered the market on Nigerian/Canadian/BigTen prospects.

    Seriously though. I think this kid is awesome.

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  20. Smokestack Lightning

    EnricoPallazzo,

    Looking at the upcoming class, a lot of bigger names out there than usual, although quite a few of them are on the wrong side of 30.

    But if the Cubs are serious about returning to contention sooner rather than later, then they should be in on guys like Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Robbie Ray (assuming his breakout this year is for reals), Carlos Rodon, Kevin Gausman, maybe Jon Gray, and perhaps a Syndergaard reclamation.

    If they’re really serious about a quick bounceback, then they should also probably entertain bringing in this Chris Brian fellow, who looks like a pretty good player from what I can tell.

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  21. BVS

    With a new union contract, DH, and payroll flexibility, Cubs have positioned themselves well. I think Hoyer is up to job. Not sure Ricketts are, but we’ll see.

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  22. Author
    berselius

    Cubs will have about $150 million trillion to plow into more lucrative real estate investments

    Fixed

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  23. dmick89

    EnricoPallazzo: don’t disagree but what was the alternative? Just hang onto everyone for one last goodbye tour, and then everyone goes their separate ways with the cubs getting nothing in return?

    I’m not making the argument the Cubs should have held onto these pieces. It probably came off that way. I’ve been expecting these guys were gone for awhile. I just think the Cubs should have pulled the trigger earlier and increased their return. I’d have traded all of these guys shortly after the 2019 season.

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  24. dmick89

    Perkins: I’m going to be very interested to hear all the things about the Cubs clubhouse this year that will inevitably leak out. I’m still kind of shell shocked and floored at how abruptly and unceremoniously this era ended.

    Contreras kind of hinted at some shit awhile back when he went off on how some of the team was playing.

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  25. Perkins

    dmick89: Contreras kind of hinted at some shit awhile back when he went off on how some of the team was playing.

    I’m betting at least part of the underlying tension has been between the players who got vaccinated and the dipshits like Rizzo and Arrieta.

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  26. dmick89

    Perkins,

    Yeah, that’s probably a good point. That likely highlighted larger issues between players. Speaking of Arrieta, what the hell is he still doing around? The Cubs would literally be better off with someone from AA pitching. Either the pitcher develops into something or he helps the Cubs lose a bunch of games, which would be a good thing. Arrieta’s worthless unvaccinated ass is just a waste of space in the dugouts and on flights.

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  27. BVS

    Perkins,

    Wonder how much closer they are to 85% vax now. Iirc, they were 8 players away. What I saw was Rizzo, Heyward, Bote, Arrieta, Sogard and relievers not sure who. Bryant and Baez both said publicly they were vaxxed.

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  28. BVS

    BVS,

    Maybe they let him pitch 3 games to show if he has any effectiveness, then dfa him. If he shows something, another team can pick him up as depth.

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  29. Perkins

    BVS,

    Hendricks and Contreras also publicly said they were vaxxed. Hendricks seems pretty low key, but I wouldn’t be surprised if vaccine sentiments contributed to that dust-up between Willson and Rizzo.

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  30. dmick89

    Perkins,

    I’ll be surprised if more of that doesn’t happen in the near future. Vaccinated people are fucking pissed off at unvaccinated people right now and deservedly so. There’s no way that’s not going to have an impact and Rizzo being a dumbfuck about vaccinations isn’t going to help him on a new team either.

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  31. dmick89

    I find it laughable that the Yankees enforce a facial hair ban, but apparently don’t care about players putting other players at medical risk.

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  32. Perkins

    I’ve definitely reached the point where I’d root for the virus to run through and kill off a bunch of the dipshits choosing not to get vaccinated. The problem, as with biological warfare, is that it’s impossible to control the effects once someone is infected, so a bunch of kids under 12 (including my own) are at risk.

    I understand why they can’t deny medical care, but it seems a shame hospitals are wasting beds on people who’ve been able to get vaccinated for months.

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  33. EnricoPallazzo

    BVS,

    Oh shit heyward and bote are both anti-vaxxers?? That’s a bummer….I guess I don’t really give a shit at this point but heyward seemed like a reasonably-put-together dude.

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  34. Perkins

    EnricoPallazzo:
    BVS,

    Oh shit heyward and bote are both anti-vaxxers?? That’s a bummer….I guess I don’t really give a shit at this point but heyward seemed like a reasonably-put-together dude.

    Heyward gave a dumbass reason when asked, but I wonder if part of it has more to do with being black and from the south. Beyond the Tuskeegee experiments, black Americans have been given a lot of good reasons to distrust the healthcare system.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t offer that as a reason because a lot of Cubs fans are kinda racist and he’d be sure to deal with worse backlash than our calling him an idiot.

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  35. andcounting

    dmick89:
    I know this isn’t David Ross’ fault, but does anyone else think he’ll get fired after this season?

    I don’t think so since this scenario is exactly what the front office wanted this season.

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  36. dmick89

    andcounting,

    Yeah, but it might also be an opportunity to reevaluate. I don’t think any job is safe except for Hoyer. He’ll get this attempt to rebuild so he’s safe for a few years. Other than that, I wouldn’t be buying a house if I worked for the Cubs.

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  37. Rice Cube

    Oh hey, glad you guys didn’t delete me haha. Been a stupid couple of years since I moved away from Chicago.

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  38. Rice Cube

    I obviously have not read every comment, but I assume everyone here is annoyed with the events of the past few days, not to mention since like 2017 after the NLCS.

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  39. EnricoPallazzo

    Rice Cube,

    maybe i am the outlier but i was pretty happy with the events of the past few days. if you take it as a given that ownership fucking sucks, then the FO did the best they could with a shitty situation. i would have been much more pissed off if they didn’t sell every piece that could bring value.

    to be very clear, i would rather have seen everyone get signed to reasonable extensions, but that did not seem to be an option. so i think the FO did the next best thing and i think that the returns were pretty good.

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  40. EnricoPallazzo

    EnricoPallazzo,

    BN brett says it better than me: “Obviously the balance for fans is questioning whether the total sell-off was the right move at all, but I certainly get myself to a place where I believe the Cubs did quite well in their returns in a world where a sell-off was definitely coming.”

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  41. BVS

    Rice Cube,

    OV didn’t delete me either and I’ve recently meandered back here too. Apparently B and dmick don’t purge users like Kobach does voters…

    I’m disappointed about seeing these guys go without more success, especially because they all seem to be good guys and easy to root for.

    However one of my 1st comments after wandering back was how tired I was watching Rizzo kill rallies GIDP to 2nd, and Javy K’ing on a ball 3 ft out of zone low and away. I’d rather they leave now while most of memories are good, than watch a precipitous decline and be annoyed at how overpriced they became.

    5/74 seems quite fair for a 32 yr old 1b in decline. That Rizzo didn’t counter (acc to Hoyer) seems nuts to me.

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  42. Smokestack Lightning

    BVS: 5/74 seems quite fair for a 32 yr old 1b in decline. That Rizzo didn’t counter (acc to Hoyer) seems nuts to me.

    That Hoyer is stooping to air ticky-tack contract crap out now after all is said and done seems far and away nuttier than any of his claims.

    I know good PR and good player development don’t necessarily coincide, but unless there’s some sort of upside here I’m not seeing, Hoyer rolling the bus over three indispensable members of the team that killed 108 years doesn’t speak well for his ability to see this organization back to the top of the mountain.

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  43. BVS

    berselius:
    what is a Frank Schwindel

    It’s like your cable or cell phone contract. The company knows its giving you a bad deal,and so do you, but you sign up anyway.

    Also like being a Cub fan.

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  44. BVS

    Smokestack Lightning,

    Agree. Simply saying “we made good offers that I can sleep with at night, but it didn’t work out” would have been fine/better.

    Apparently he walked some of it back today, but I only read the headline.

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  45. Rice Cube

    I assume most feel that the Cubs should have supplemented this core instead of waiting for it all to fall apart.

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  46. uncle dave

    Smokestack Lightning,

    Something like 20 or so other teams are basically subject to the same voluntary parameters as the Cubs with respect to budget, extensions, service time, and all that stuff. So my guess is that Hoyer knows he needs to be a McMillan Man if he wants to move on to his next gig, assuming this one wears thin.

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  47. uncle dave

    Rice Cube,

    That’s certainly my opinion, though I’d add that the sowing took place a couple of years ago and we’ve just now witnessed the reaping.

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  48. dmick89

    Perkins,

    How many people did he infect? I don’t have any sympathy for these people who refuse to get vaccinated, but it sucks for everyone around him that did their part only for dumbasses like him to fuck it all up for everyone else.

    Whatever goodwill Anthony Rizzo had with me prior to last season for his tenure as a Cub is gone. Fuck him and everyone like him.

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  49. Perkins

    dmick89,

    That’s more or less my philosophy on everyone who’s voluntarily unvaccinated at this point. They’re holding the rest of us hostage to their selfishness and stupidity.

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  50. Rice Cube

    Perkins,

    Lots of businesses are moving towards requiring vaccinations to remain employed, so at some point they’ll get it or feel it in their wallets instead of just their arms.

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  51. Perkins

    Even if they’re planning a rapid retooling like the Yankees from 2016-17, it’s nice the Cubs have committed to a high draft pick in 2022.

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  52. EnricoPallazzo

    SK:
    cubs suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck

    you’re only saying that because the players are super shitty and ownership is clearly not willing to spend money on a good product and the FO just showed itself to be a spineless tool of the aforementioned shitty ownership. so there’s not really much support for your statement.

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  53. EnricoPallazzo

    cubs may be down by 7 runs in the first inning but don’t forget that they’ve got greg “the secret weapon” deichmann in the lineup

    no lead is safe from the secret weapon

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  54. Author
    berselius

    EnricoPallazzo:
    cubs may be down by 7 runs in the first inning but don’t forget that they’ve got greg “the secret weapon” deichmann in the lineup

    no lead is safe from the secret weapon

    He’s no Shawn Camp my frent.

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  55. Rice Cube

    Unless folks around here don’t care about the Cubs anymore, maybe it is time to get Josh out of hibernation and bring back the Hope Monster.

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  56. Rizzo the Rat

    Willson Contreras placed on 10-day IL with a right knee sprain. RHP Ryan Meisinger has his contract selected from Iowa. Austin Romine activated from 60-day IL. Kyle Ryan DFA'd

    — Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) August 12, 2021

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  57. Rice Cube

    It was apparently so hot out that someone had to bring water to Marcus Stroman on the mound. Global warming is a bitch.

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  58. BVS

    Rizzo the Rat,

    It would be hilarious if they announced tomorrow that they’d met the 85% vax threshhold. They have to be pretty close now, I’d think, depending on the status of the nonames that populate the roster now.

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  59. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    I was talking about the other Kyle, but I suppose the argument is that Rex Brothers can suck just as well and at least Rex can throw 95+ (dying laughing)

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  60. BVS

    This team reminds me a lot of the 2013 Cubs now, when I got to give my daughter one of her early lessons about being a Cub fan.

    4th game of year, in Atlanta at Turner. Top 3rd. Brent Lillibridge of wifebeater shirt fame bats. Kid says, “Daddy, is he any good?” “No honey.” He hit a long fly to the outfield. “But he hit it far.” “Yes, but hitting it far doesn’t matter when they catch it. He’s out.” Next batter, Alberto Gonzalez. “Is he any good, Daddy?” “No.” Hits a double. “But he got a hit!” “Even bad players surprise you sometimes, it won’t last.”

    Lost 4-1 that night. Kimbrel got the save.

    Lillibridge played 9 games for the Cubs. Gonzalez 11. Both picked up later by the Yanks at separate times and still sucked. Neither appeared in majors after ’13. Neither did 10-11 of their teammates. Aside from Rizzo, the only other players who are still in the bigs are Dolis, Raley, and Rosscup.

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  61. EnricoPallazzo

    BVS:
    Rice Cube,

    I realize this is a “who cares” decision, but it seemed to me that Kyle Ryan was marginally better than Trevor Megill…

    kyle ryan vs trevor megill is such a fantastically worthless argument. I love it. reminds me of when I witnessed two incredibly stoned friends have a sincere debate over leprechan 3 vs leprechan 4 for like a solid half hour.

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  62. BVS

    EnricoPallazzo: such a fantastically worthless argument.

    Particularly since Rice Cube was referring to Hendricks getting bombed and I was referring to Ryan getting dfa. (dying laughing)

    But this is the state of the Cubs team now. Soon we’ll be debating Mike Olt again.

    (dying laughing)
    Sob
    (dying laughing)

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  63. Rice Cube

    They could’ve gotten Zach Davies in a takey-backsies trade, at least Davies will wait until the 5th inning before giving up 7 runs

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  64. BVS

    Rice Cube,

    Padres sign Arrieta.

    Meanwhile in quieter but likely more effective transactions, the Brewers signed Colin Rea out of Japan (via whatever list you end up on when your baby is born early, but is apparently doing ok now).

    AJ Preller… Smh.

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  65. BVS

    Rizzo the Rat:
    Hard to imagine a team thinking Arrieta is an acceptable replacement for Darvish.

    Apparently there’s a pandemic of that opinion in MLB. Except Jake doesn’t think it’s real.

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  66. Perkins

    Remember when the Cubs had just thrown a no-hitter, were in first place, and looked like contenders?

    That was fun.

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  67. andcounting

    Perkins,

    It’s so funny, they had this amazing run where they simply wouldn’t lose if they were ahead by the 6th inning. Then they just . . . stopped ever being ahead at all.

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  68. Rice Cube

    andcounting,

    It’s been kind of mindboggling to me how systemic the failure of the Cubs is. It’s like the coaches didn’t know how to coach or the players refused to adjust as a unit rather than individually so the offensive issues were multiplied and nobody on the pitching staff wanted to throw strikes. Maybe that’s mostly anecdotal on my part, but it’s what I perceived.

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  69. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    I just look at it like, the starting rotation is so bad. All you really need is a decent five-inning start and you probably win but they’re literally lucky to get that once a week.

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  70. Rice Cube

    andcounting,

    My thing was that even before the sell-off, the players that we knew should be talented were just doing all the bad stuff and that is a reflection of some systemic failure. They can’t suck THAT bad, right?

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  71. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    I’m saying every other flaw on the team looked worse because the starting pitching is that bad. Cubs starters are averaging 4.9 innings per game, which is .2 below league average. They averaged 4.1 innings during the first double-digit losing streak. Their starters’ average game score is tied with the Pirates for worst in the NL. The starting rotation is absolute trash, and they had their worst stretch when the Cubs tanked. After gutting the bullpen there is just no hope. The offense did not have a colossal collapse, but the pitching staff did.

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  72. Rice Cube

    andcounting,

    The pitching staff was a direct result of the front office (probably due to ownership restrictions) not shoring up the starting rotation like they could have. So I absolutely blame the people in charge for being directly responsible for killing the team before its time.

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  73. andcounting

    Rice Cube,

    Agreed. My point is that if ownership hadn’t cried poor (leading to shipping off Darvish) the team wouldn’t have been doomed by design. They made some moves that actually improved the team, but dealing Darvish was definitely not intended even to pretend to be one.

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  74. BVS

    BVS: Aside from Rizzo, the only other player still in the bigs is Brooks Raley.

    Fixed. Dolis just DFAed by the Jays. Rosscup had already been sent back to AAA from his stint as a Covid-relief reliever.

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  75. BVS

    BVS,

    As an exercise in masochism, I looked at the White Sox 2013 roster from 2013. They had about the same record as the Cubs and finished last ~30 games behind too.

    Still in bigs today:
    Marcus Semien
    Chris Sale
    Avisail Garcia
    Leury Garcia
    Jose Quintana

    And Hector Santiago (80 game suspended list from testosterone violation)

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  76. Perkins

    Larry Rothschild (SD) ————> unemployment

    I haven’t been overly impressed with Tommy Hottovy, so I wonder if there’s any interest in a reunion.

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  77. Wenningtons Gorilla Cock

    As the owner of a pair of Larry’s game-worn pants, I support this suggestion. (dying laughing)

    Perkins:
    Larry Rothschild (SD) ————> unemployment

    I haven’t been overly impressed with Tommy Hottovy, so I wonder if there’s any interest in a reunion.

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  78. Rice Cube

    Wenningtons Gorilla Cock,

    Perkins,

    I recall one of the original ACB blogs (or it might have been OV by then) talked about how Rothschild was good at the FIP stats (i.e. reducing walks and HR, increasing Ks) but at the same time, even though the current Cubs pitchers are super frustrating in not throwing strikes consistently enough, Hottovy seems to be able to get the most out of them (which is a tallest midget thing at times), so maybe he doesn’t suck that much? I really don’t know as I’m not a pitching expert, just using my lying eyes.

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  79. BVS

    Perkins,

    Rice Cube,

    Aside from Davies, who is way worse than the mediocre 4th starter I thought he would be, I think this pitching staff has performed at or above expectations all year. I mean, getting a decent 6 weeks out of Arrieta to start the season was a miracle. Trevor Williams was good enough to trade. Mills and Alzolay are pretty much where they were predicted to be. The bullpen is made of reclamation projects. At least Dillon Maples is still in Iowa, so that’s a plus.

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  80. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    He’s out of options and this has to be nearing a non-tender situation.

    Although I guess if he’s just an auto-renewal and they’re gonna suck next year (ugh), might as well see what they can do…

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  81. Perkins

    BVS:
    Perkins,

    Rice Cube,

    Aside from Davies, who is way worse than the mediocre 4th starter I thought he would be, I think this pitching staff has performed at or above expectations all year. I mean, getting a decent 6 weeks out of Arrieta to start the season was a miracle. Trevor Williams was good enough to trade. Mills and Alzolay are pretty much where they were predicted to be. The bullpen is made of reclamation projects. At least Dillon Maples is still in Iowa, so that’s a plus.

    I think that’s fair, and he probably should get some credit for Darvish and the mostly serviceable to good bullpen folks. I suppose it’s just that Cubs pitching hasn’t exactly wowed me since 2016.

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  82. Author
    berselius

    Perkins,

    The Cubs haven’t really had anyone in the pipeline who was decent in a while, and Hottovy was in charge of the before the big league job fwiw.

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  83. Perkins

    berselius:
    Perkins,

    The Cubs haven’t really had anyone in the pipeline who was decent in a while, and Hottovy was in charge of the before the big league job fwiw.

    I blame McLeod for the barren pipeline, whether that’s fair or not.

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  84. BVS

    EnricoPallazzo,

    My comments tend to reflect the quality of the Cubs play.

    (Checks score… Sox 13 Cubs 6)

    Guess we’ll see next season if there was any Wisdom in the Cubs trying to Schwindel other teams out of their AAAA hitters, or if they are just paying romine fees.

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  85. Smokestack Lightning

    uncle dave:
    BVS,

    Fuckin’ Quintana, man.

    Whatever sound-ish logic behind the trade at the time, that for me was the turning point where the org began to lose its way to where it is now. To quote the distinguished gentleman above, “whether that’s fair or not.”

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  86. Perkins

    Smokestack Lightning: Whatever sound-ish logic behind the trade at the time, that for me was the turning point where the org began to lose its way to where it is now.To quote the distinguished gentleman above, “whether that’s fair or not.”

    With the benefit of hindsight, it was a horrible trade since Quintana fell off so steeply after 2017, but I remember being stoked at the time. It does feel like a turning point, though, as they dealt the last of their impact prospects to go all in on avoiding the World Series hangover. I hadn’t really appreciated the malaise in the player development machine at that point.

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  87. Smokestack Lightning

    Perkins: With the benefit of hindsight, it was a horrible trade since Quintana fell off so steeply after 2017, but I remember being stoked at the time. It does feel like a turning point, though, as they dealt the last of their impact prospects to go all in on avoiding the World Series hangover. I hadn’t really appreciated the malaise in the player development machine at that point.

    I don’t recall what I said about it at the time, but I remember feeling pretty substantial misgivings about it (before shrugging it all off with an In Theo We Trust, a bad habit that didn’t end until my brutal death on Tyler Chatwood Hill). Seemed needlessly dangerous to deal two high-ceiling prospects for a high-floor SP whose strongest selling point was his cheap contract. Those are the sorts of deals when you win them, nobody really cares that much, but if you lose them… egads.

    IIRC, the Quintana trade was all Theo; Jed didn’t want to do it. Which I guess bodes well if the Cubs can ever be bothered to develop elite prospects again.

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  88. Author
    berselius

    If I could go back in time I’d do the Quintana trade again in a heartbeat. Sometimes things just don’t work out. He had incredible peripherals, at least by what we knew at the time. I hate all prospects though so YMMV.

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  89. andcounting

    berselius,

    Yeah, I loved Quintana back then. The deal felt like a steep price, but I think after a championship it was pretty difficult as a fan to gauge values and strategies. Aside from “um, try to win another one” the idea of best practices for dynasties was the stuff of fairy tales.

    The one thing I hated and still hate was the emergence of the term “competitive window” and the thought process behind it. The Cubs had a ridiculously young championship roster, many of whom had their best years ahead of them. Not meaningfully building around that and instead going into short-term emergency acquisition mode was just fucking stupid, especially paired with the “we’re about to run out of money” mentality.

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  90. Rizzo the Rat

    Hardly the biggest of the Cubs’ problems, but I’m really missing Len & JD in the broadcasting booth.

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  91. BVS

    Rizzo the Rat,

    I like Boog and JD. I liked Len too. Dempster is OK but Sutcliffe is terrible and Bruce Levine on radio commentary is awful.

    Unrelated… Is Hendricks hurt? Or just distracted by a bunch of nonames playing behind him?

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  92. Perkins

    berselius:
    If I could go back in time I’d do the Quintana trade again in a heartbeat. Sometimes things just don’t work out. He had incredible peripherals, at least by what we knew at the time. I hate all prospects though so YMMV.

    Based on the information available at the time, I probably would too. Quintana was a consistent 5+ fWAR pitcher at the time, and still only 28. It looked like he’d be a solid #2 starter for awhile.

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  93. Smokestack Lightning

    I dunno, fellers. I’m not seeing the same Quintana you do. He was a nice player on a nice contract, but that’s not good enough for the cost of the team’s two remaining top prospects, imo. If using that sort of currency, I want a destroyer of worlds in return. Not a corner nibbler with a 20% K rate who doesn’t get enough groundballs, living and dying every year on his HR/FB.

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  94. Rice Cube

    andcounting,

    There was something very very stupid about the scouting and development after that initial glimpse of excellence, not just for Quintana, but for seemingly everyone on the roster. I just find it exasperating to see all that supposed talent just fizzle so disappointingly.

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  95. uncle dave

    andcounting,

    Yep, agreed. If you’re gonna empty out the farm to contend for a title, I don’t have much of a problem with that even with the benefit of hindsight. But as it turned out, this was a trade that was more about projecting a veneer of competitiveness while keeping the checkbook closed. I’m sure the owners got what they wanted, but I can’t say that it did much for me.

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  96. dmick89

    I’m wrong as much or more often than I’m right, I wasn’t a big fan of this trade and I remember my dislike for it grew rapidly. This was my first take on the trade:

    dmick89
    July 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm• Edit
    I wish I knew if the increase in home runs was responsible for his more than modest increase this season. I also wish I knew if he has established new marks for strikeouts and walks. I am concerned about the walks and especially the home runs.

    I wouldn’t have made this trade, but I don’t think it’s a bad deal for the Cubs. In many ways it’s a good trade for them, but their farm system is non-existent now.

    Looking back, I think the crappy farm system after this trade was a much, much bigger deal than I initially thought and a hell of a lot bigger than the average Cubs fan thought. I knew the system sucked after this deal, but it FUCKING SUCKED. They also were unwilling to spend. That was their only way out of the mess they created and they refused to do it.

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  97. Author
    berselius

    I loved the cheap Quintana contract, but was still under the delusion that they would invest those savings into the team (dying laughing).

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  98. Rice Cube

    berselius:
    I loved the cheap Quintana contract, but was still under the delusion that they would invest those savings into the team (dying laughing).

    Litany of sad gifs

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  99. EnricoPallazzo

    if a team signs multiple players that rejected a QO, then that team only loses one draft pick in total right? or do they lose one draft pick per QO player that they sign?

    and I realize that they also lose bonus pool $ etc but just wondering about the draft pick(s)

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  100. Perkins

    I had also assumed the Cubs understood emptying the farm meant they needed to spend money to stay competitive. For a little while, it looked as if they’d do that (like signing Yu Darvish), but after 2018 it seems like the owners pulled the plug.

    I doubt it will ever come from Theo, or even from Hoyer while he’s still employed in an MLB organization, but I’d love to know what conversations happened among ownership and the FO in 18/19. The messaging all along was that they’d planned to be active in a class that included Harper and Machado, then they went radio silent after picking up the option on Cole Hamels.

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  101. Rice Cube

    EnricoPallazzo,

    The next to last paragraph seems relevant to the Cubs –> https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-qualifying-offer-rules-explained-c259650658

    • A team that neither exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season nor receives revenue sharing will lose its second-highest selection in the following year’s Draft, as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest remaining pick and an additional $500,000.

    So they’ll lose multiple picks after the first round because at this point they should be below the tax threshold and they receive no revenue sharing, even though the Ricketts are broke or something.

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  102. Rizzo the Rat

    Sometimes it’s fun just to forget the season’s over and watch some random guys in Cubs uniforms win suspenseful games against some random guys in Pirates uniforms.

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  103. Rizzo the Rat

    Perkins,

    Yup. This reminds me of the 2011 4-game sweep of the Pirates (who has a winning record going into the series). It’s why I hate “tanking” and reverse standings. Bad teams can have exciting and even memorable games and series.

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  104. Rice Cube

    Perkins,

    Yeah, it’s a workload thing.

    Re: Reverse standings–>

    1. Baltimore (.316) <– yikes
    2. Arizona (.326)
    3. Pirates (.355)
    4. Texas (.358)

    GAP

    5. Miami
    6. Nats (I think Nats were better last season?) both at (.416)

    7. Twins (.438)
    8. Royals (.453)
    9. Rockies (.457)
    10. Cubs (.460)

    I forgot if the Cubs have to stay in the top 10, or make sure they have better than the 10th pick, to avoid losing a spot because of the Mets draft compensation situation.

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  105. BVS

    This story by Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic — “San Francisco’s secret? Giants say young, unconventional coaches fuel their surprising success” — stands out as a contrast to some of the resistance the Cubs encountered after their 2016 World Series run. The concepts will likely be a jumping-off point as Ross evaluates his coaching staff and Jed Hoyer’s front office tries to build “the next great Cubs team.” For too long, there had been muttering behind the scenes about Cubs players who were largely uninterested in new ideas and methods.

    From an article in the Athletic about Bryant’s return, but not referring to KB.

    Interesting comment. Apparently referring to a few players who are no longer with the team…

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  106. BVS

    Rice Cube,
    Yeah, I don’t disagree with that.

    I suspect part of this is the rift that developed between Joe and Theo, which I take to have been:
    Theo: We need these guys to put the ball in play, and stop grounding to 2nd when they do.
    Joe: They are big boys.^
    Rizzo: Watch me GIDP to 2nd.
    JHey: Hold my kambucha.*
    Javy: See my magic bat?
    Happ and Schwarber chanting: TTO. TTO. TTO.

    *I imagine with his physique, he doesn’t drink beer.

    Despite the track record on developing home-grown pitchers, I’ve had way more confidence in the Cubs’ more recent ability to find pitching over hitting. I think the org relied too long on the core being awesome (see ^) and put all their effort into pitching. Maybe some of our current AAAA guys become the next Justin Turner or Mike Yastrezmzmzki. That’d be a new thing for the Cubs.

    (Too be fair, I remember reading a lot of stories about how Heyward was working hard to retool his swing. So I probably shouldn’t include him in the above, obviously well-sourced, direct quotation.)

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  107. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    I think it’s a little like the original NES Ice Hockey, where you had the skinny fast guys, the medium sized guys, and the strong slow fat guys. You need a mix of each to balance the team, and that was part of the Cubs problem was that they had too many of the same type of power hitter. But I always held the belief that they were too talented to just completely fall off a cliff, so I feel like a good portion of the blame still goes towards the coaching and scouting people. Something broke and I really don’t know what, but it did break and it made me sad.

    KB did get on base today, but no hits, so obviously Cubs win the trade.

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  108. Rizzo the Rat

    If the Cubs are going to get destroyed like this, I’m glad it’s a former Cubs superstar doing the damage. I missed you, Tommy La Stella.

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  109. BVS

    Rice Cube: I feel like a good portion of the blame still goes towards the coaching and scouting people. Something broke and I really don’t know what, but it did break and it made me sad.

    Agree. Not sure if it was too many hitting coaches, or not enough consistency…

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  110. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    It’s kind of like how I’ve noticed that Cubs pitchers are maddeningly bad at throwing quality strikes. I know pitching is hard, but come on!

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  111. Rice Cube

    The worst part of this is when the Giants and Dodgers have to face each other in the NLDS while Milwaukee probably cruises to the NLCS over whichever NL East team decides they actually want to win the division.

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  112. andcounting

    It’s a shame Javy is wasted on the Mets, but last night he had a bunt single, a homer, and three walks. Since the thumbs-down incident he’s hitting Joe DiMaggio/Ted Williams/Barry Bonds.

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  113. BVS

    andcounting,

    I’m thinking the rest of the owners are wishing they’d listened Reinsdorph and voted against Cohen. Cohen makes Peter Angelos seem competent (though he may not be as bad as the owner of the Washington football team).

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  114. Rizzo the Rat

    FROM ELIAS: The Cubs are the 1st team in MLB history to lose twice in a season by 8+ runs after leading by 7+ runs. They lost 15-7 vs the Brewers on June 30 when leading 7-0. They lost 17-8 today after leading 7-0.

    — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) September 17, 2021

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  115. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    I can’t believe this until he is officially released or is seen wearing a completely different uniform next year. He’s like a bed bug, just kinda lingers…

    If only he had some command, I’m sad that it never worked out for him.

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  116. BVS

    Rice Cube,

    You’re right.

    From mlbtr

    Maples cleared waivers and has been sent outright to Triple-A Iowa, Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times was among those to pass along. He doesn’t have the requisite service time to refuse an outright assignment, so he’ll remain in the organization for the rest of the season. However, Maples will qualify for minor league free agency this offseason unless he’s reselected to the 40-man roster before the end of the year.

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  117. Rizzo the Rat

    Just about the only good thing about the last couple months is that Frank Schwindel has proven to be a major upgrade over Anthony Rizzo. As we all expected.

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  118. BVS

    After 2 pretty terrible seasons, if the Dodgers non tender Cory Bellinger rather than pay him $17M in his penultimate arb year, does the team that signs him still have to go to arbitration?

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  119. Rice Cube

    BVS,

    I think his free agency clock doesn’t change, but at that point without a contract offer, the arbitration process is not initiated and the team that attempts to sign him can offer him anything they want. I think the max pay cut is something like 20% off the previous year’s salary, but that might be an arbitration thing…

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  120. Perkins

    Rice Cube,

    I know it’s irrational, but I kinda hope the Cubs are able to bring Javy back in free agency. Mostly it’s because, win or lose, he’s an extremely entertaining player to watch and they hadn’t really had anyone like that since Sammy Sosa. I think I’ve watched maybe three games since the trade deadline, and I guarantee that number would have been higher were he still on the team.

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  121. Rice Cube

    Perkins,

    I cannot argue with you today.

    I don’t think he will be re-signed at this time, despite what Jed suggests about the Cubs having money and spending intelligently. Makes it sound like they’ll spend, but also enough wiggle room in the language to do the “oh well we tried” when nothing happens.

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  122. andcounting

    Perkins,

    I was just watching Mets highlights last night and was (dying laughing) at the game-winning run, Javy scoring from third on a ground ball to the pitcher.

    The announcer was all, “Most guys don’t try to score on a grounder to the pitcher even if the contact play is on, but the rules don’t apply to Javy Báez. This guy does things you’ve never seen before.”

    It was one of those days (a double header) with standard Javy tags and web gems scattered throughout. And that’s the thing with Javy you just can’t quantify: he just does things you don’t see anyone else do. The guy matter of factly told New York he was trolling them and just went on his merry way through a hot streak he’s still on even now.

    I’m not arguing that he makes the team any better than a ho-hum 3-5 WAR player would, but it makes the product better. I still check every Mets recap for Javy highlights and it’s not enough. He’s just so damn fun to watch.

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  123. Perkins

    andcounting:

    I’m not arguing that he makes the team any better than a ho-hum 3-5 WAR player would, but it makes the product better.I still check every Mets recap for Javy highlights and it’s not enough. He’s just so damn fun to watch.

    This is exactly it. It’s easy for me to say the Cubs should try to bring him back since it’s not my money, but his being on the team makes me much more likely to spend my money and time on Cubs-related things.

    One of the coolest baseball memories I have from being at a game was seeing him steal home in the 16 NLCS. He has one of the highest baseball IQs of a player I’ve seen, and watching him play is an absolute joy.

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  124. Author
    berselius

    Apparently, on the eve of his retirement Mike Shannon casually dropped some rumors that the Cardinals are for sale.

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  125. Rice Cube

    Mini-COVID outbreak for the Cubs, inching ever closer to the MLB record for players used by a single team in a single season.

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  126. Rice Cube

    SK,

    I got 52 and was proud of myself that I remembered all the catchers, even the random guy they selected off the taxi squad on the final day.

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  127. Rice Cube

    My feeling was that they instituted the ghost runner too early in extras, and that it put undue stress on the home team because the visiting team got the early chance to cash in with just a couple groundouts. To the first point, do it like in soccer or hockey where you do regular extras and then switch to the gimmick in the 12th inning or something. To the second, if the home team can’t win in regulation, maybe they don’t deserve to win at all?

    https://twitter.com/BizballMaury/status/1445053512048537614

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  128. Perkins

    I’m rooting for the Yankees, but it’s kind of cool that Schwarber has homered off Cole in two different WC games.

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  129. Perkins

    I wonder if the Cubs would try to bring back Schwarber next year, especially if the NL finally gets the DH. On some level, it feels more realistic than re-signing any of the guys they traded away, but I don’t have any fact-based reason to make that statement.

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  130. Perkins

    Rice Cube,

    Either sounds good to me, or both. They’re different enough hitters, and the Cubs seem to have indexed for contact bats at the TDL, that it’d be nice to see them back in the same lineup. I’d probably pay more for Castellanos than for Schwarber, though.

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  131. Perkins

    Hmm, I don’t agree with the “Dodgers winning” policy, but I do approve of the “Cardinals losing” policy.

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  132. Perkins

    I’m kind of amazed that after being worth 2.2 fWAR with the Cubs this year, Kimbrel was replacement level with CWS.

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  133. Wenningtons Gorilla Cock

    Rizzo the Rat,

    Seems like maybe we need a new “Better Know a Cub GM” thread. Based on my quick and dirty Googling, Hawkins joins the Cubs from the Foo Fighters where he spent the last 25 years as their drummer.

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  134. Perkins

    Rice Cube:
    Perkins,

    Dusty manages the Astros, along with former Cubs legend Martin Maldonado…and Souza is on the Dodgers…

    Oh yeah, except fuck the Astros with pineapples. I don’t really want LAD to repeat, but part of me would be happy if they beat the Astros and spent the next year just shitting on that organization at every opportunity.

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  135. Rice Cube

    I think the Dodgers can obviously still come back and win the NLCS, but bullpen gaming their way through the series and having your best relievers get beat probably doesn’t help.

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  136. Author
    berselius

    Wenningtons Gorilla Cock:
    Rizzo the Rat,

    Seems like maybe we need a new “Better Know a Cub GM” thread. Based on my quick and dirty Googling, Hawkins joins the Cubs from the Foo Fighters where he spent the last 25 years as their drummer.

    I guess we do need a new post at *SOME* point. I need to find the “who the fuck are you” graphic that we once used for our “Better Know a Cub” series, which seems to be something that was lost with the move from ACB (dying laughing).

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  137. Rice Cube

    BVS:
    I kind of want Dusty to win the World Series.

    But I really don’t want to root for Houston.

    I can’t argue with you today. I don’t think they’re (blatantly) cheating anymore and obviously Dusty isn’t (directly or otherwise) responsible for that, but that entire organization just deserves misery. But they’re probably going to sweep Atlanta, and I’m going to be wrong about that because baseball.

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  138. Rice Cube

    So I have had the (mis?)fortune of not being able to watch the broadcasts live, but it seems they really went all in on doing racist stuff at the Suburb-of-Atlanta ball park.

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  139. Rice Cube

    Behold, your next scapegoat! https://twitter.com/PJ_Mooney/status/1455259075579625474

    Patrick Mooney
    @PJ_Mooney
    · 8m
    The Cubs are planning to hire Greg Brown as their new hitting coach, sources told me and @sahadevsharma. Brown previously served as Tampa Bay’s minor-league hitting coordinator. As an area scout, Brown signed Kiké Hernández and J.D. Martinez as part of Houston’s 2009 draft class.

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  140. Rice Cube

    I completely forgot who the Cy Young finalists were…so I looked it up.

    Kind of interesting how other than Luis Garcia, none of the award finalists for this season even made it to the World Series, and a good chunk of them didn’t even make the playoffs. Value is weird and diluted in baseball.

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  141. Rice Cube

    Happy Thanksgiving, jabronis. May a potential lockout be short and fruitful for only the players because the owners are asses.

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