View From The Bleachers

July 26, 2016

Organizational Recap: Bring on Chapman

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 7:40 am

Cubs 4 @ White Sox 5 (Box Score)

THE CHAPMAN TRADE – Yesterday I mentioned that because I didn’t know the details of the trade, I couldn’t give my opinion on if I liked it or not. Now we know that it was Aroldis Chapman going to the Cubs for Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and Rashad Crawford. I saw a lot of buzz on Twitter yesterday when the news came out that it was a 4 for 1 deal that the Cubs overpaid, but let’s break it down for a minute.

Torres is a 19 year old shortstop with a huge ceiling. He ranks #24 in the pre-season MLB top prospects list by MLB Pipeline and has been considered the # 1 guy in the Cubs system many experts. In other words, he’s got a lot of potentialHowever, the fact remains that he’s 19, plays shortstop, where the Cubs already have two very talented people capable of manning that spot, and is probably 2-3 years away from the majors at best. As much as Cubs fans complain, this was someone the Cubs could afford to part with.

When you look at the rest of the guys, what are you frustrated with losing? McKinney? Since having knee surgery, he’s not been the same player this season and is probably a 4th outfielder on a Major League roster at best. It’s like losing someone like Matt Szczur. It’s depth. Warren came from the Yankees anyway, and while he may have figured into the plans as a potential member of the rotation in the future, he wasn’t producing this year. Crawford is a throw in. Essentially this trade is Torres and some scrubs for Chapman. It’s in no way a “blockbuster”, but it helps this team get better this year, which is the goal. The goal this year is to win the World Series. That’s what Theo and Jed are trying to accomplish and I’m all for it.

The other issue of the domestic violence has been a sticking point for a lot of people and they feel like it’s horrible to root for someone who has this in their history. My feelings on that are this, and pardon the religious aspects. People sin. They sin every day. I do, and you do. We all do. I don’t know the exact details of what went down that day, but the fact of the matter is that it happened, Chapman has asked for forgiveness and served his suspension. His girlfriend has forgiven him and they are still together. It’s time to move on and play baseball. It’s the same way I feel about Ray Rice. Give the guy a tryout and let him try to play football again.

ARRIETA IS NOT BACK? – If you look just at the box score, you’ll come away thinking that Jake Arrieta had a bad outing, but the fact is, he really didn’t Yes, he gave up four earned runs, but he really was in command most of his start. Todd Frazier got him for a three run homer that made it look worse than it was. I wasn’t “happy” with the start, but I’m also not going to get up in arms and say things like “See, I told you that start post All Star break was a fluke.” or “Jake’s broken…it’s time to panic”. I never know if the Cubs fans on Twitter are serious when they post stuff like this, but I would imagine they are since Cub fans are a fickle bread. The fact is, I’m not worried about Jake. He’s going to be just fine.

DID JED KEEP OUR RECEIPT? – New acquisition, Mike Montgomery, got into his second game as a Cub and grabbed himself a loss in the bottom of the 10th. That’s two straight outings he’s come in and given up a run. I mentioned in the post where he came over that I was a little skeptical of the trade, but that losing what we lost to get him didn’t bother me. I didn’t trust Montgomery to be the savior from the left side in the pen, which adds to why I’m so excited that we went out and got Chapman. Montgomery can definitely be a useful piece in that pen, especially to spell someone like Travis Wood who has been giving it all he has, but he’s not going to be the shutdown guy, I don’t believe.

THE RIZZO SUBSTITUTION – Maddon has a weird way of doing things sometimes and you either love it or hate it. Most of the time, I like it, but last night I found it odd. In the 9th inning, with the go ahead run on 2nd base and two outs, Maddon pulled Anthony Rizzo off of 2nd for a pinch runner in Szczur. That leaves no true first baseman on the roster to take the field in the bottom half of the inning and potentially into extras. It didn’t make sense. Rizzo is a good baserunner and Szczur doesn’t bring that much more speed to the table to make it worth it to lose the defense and bat that Rizzo brings to the table. I didn’t like the move. We didn’t lose because of it, but it made no sense to me.



PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

  • AAA – Mark Zagunis (LF) – 2 for 3, 2 R
  • AAA – Jordan Pries (SP) – 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • AAA – Felix Pena (MR) – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
  • A-Adv – Yasiel Balaguert (1B) – 3 for 4, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • A – Eddy Martinez (RF) – 2 for 3, HR, 4 RBI

HIGHLIGHTS

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July 25, 2016

Organizational Recap: Chapman Coming?

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 6:56 am

Cubs 6 @ Brewers 5 (Box Score)

CHAPMAN RUMORS – We heard late last night massive talk that the Cubs are close to a deal with the Yankees and that it’s basically done. It’s hard to comment on it when we truly do not know all the details and I hate commenting on rumors, so I will say this. If the Cubs move Gleyber Torres and it brings Aroldis Chapman back and it helps us win the World Series, I’m good. At this point I’m ready to win a World Series. Is Torres a high price of a piece? Of course, but sometimes you have to push the chips in and go for it, especially when you have an embarrassment of riches.

SERIES WIN – We took care of business this weekend, thought we made it difficult on Sunday to win the series. In the end, we won the series and that’s the key. Just keep winning series. This week, with the split with the White Sox, let’s focus on taking 3 of 4. Just keep winning series and this will be a fun second half.

NEW TOYS – We got to see Mike Montgomery and Joe Nathan, Joe’s new toys, pitch this weekend. Montgomery got into the game on Saturday and Nathan on Sunday. What were your thoughts? While Nathan got into trouble early, I was very impressed that he hung in there and struck out the side to get out of it.


PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

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July 23, 2016

Organizational Recap – The Brewers Are Bad

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 6:55 am

Cubs 5 @ Brewers 2 (Box Score)

  • AM I OLD? – I spent my Friday night excited after a day off from baseball ready to sit on the couch and watch Cubs and Brewers in July. Am I a loser?
  • WELCOME BACK – Dexter Fowler came back from his DL stint, was told to monitor things and check in to prevent re injury risks, and promptly decided to go off, finishing the day a triple shy of the cycle. I forgot how nice it is to have him back at the top of the lineup.
  • BAD NEWS BREWERS – I thought this one was going to be a laugher after the first couple innings. The Brewers looked like a minor league team out there the way they threw the ball away and booted things. It wasn’t pretty, and then they settled down. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be a Brewers fan right now. Oh wait, yes I can. We recently lived it and have been living it all our lives as Cub fans.
  • I LOVE THAT ARM, BUT SIMMER DOWN – If you missed it, Willson Contreras unloaded a throw from left field to the plate that started almost at the warning track and made it to the plate on a fly. It was an ill advised throw in the situation, but boy was it a thing of beauty to watch how strong his arm is.

PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

  • AA – Chris Coghlan (LF) – 1 for 3 in a rehab start
  • AA – Jack Leathersich (MR) – 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K – First outing since coming from Arizona League
  • A-Adv – Charcer Burks (LF) – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI
  • A-Adv – David Bote (2B) – 3 for 4, 2 R
  • SS – Chris Pieters (LF) – 3 for 5, 2 RBI
  • SS – Jesus Castillo (SP) – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

HIGHLIGHTS

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July 21, 2016

GirlieView (07/21/2016)

Filed under: Featured,General — Lizzie @ 1:00 pm

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely, and/or interesting quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2016 Season = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • I like the chit chat…reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live Coffee Talk segment…”I’ll give you a topic…Barry Foote was neither a berry, nor a foot…discuss.”
  • Grape Nuts are neither grapes nor nuts.
  • Testicles. Family blog.
  • Malt balls are balls made of malt.
  • I find MLB’s All-Star game to be a joke.
  • Love to chit chat, just ask my wife. “Hi honey, I am home. Did you see the Cubs choke another one away today? First place my fanny. Can I pour you some Redbreast Irish over some rocks? We need Schwarbs honey, I am telling you” Wife- “I’ll take a double”
  • Does she take a double because of the Cubs or because you’re home?
  • Jon Lester is scheduled to make his last start before heading to San Diego this Saturday. Since his blankey is on the 7 day concussion DL, Lester will throw to Willson Contreras and NOT Miguel Montero. I can’t tell you enough how excited this makes me. The training wheels are off for Contreras and the Cubs are beginning to trust him over Montero.
  • I’m pissed that we hit into 17 double plays. Okay, three, but whatever.
  • Peeved – (family site).
  • I’m a Willy fan. (and no, Seymour, that’s not a dick joke)
  • Willy played hard?
  • Batting down in the order is helping Heyward. Wish we’d have thought of that.
  • It’s not fun to write about, and it’s certainly not fun to talk about, which is why Sherm sent me a text last night saying he couldn’t possibly write any thoughts for the post without cursing.
  • 3 days in a row of letting that (insert family acceptable borderline profanity here) Sean Rodriguez hit HRs against us.
  • our TV broadcasts are not very informative.I think the world of Pat Hughes on the radio-side,
  • So for 2 innings they couldn’t understand why bAez just didn’t take the double play in front of him and then come to the conclusion that he is just smarter than everyone else. I wonder if they got call from Thed telling them that bAez is being marketed as a smart player so get with it.
  • I hate Bryan Adams.
  • I don’t know who Bryan Adams is.
  • I love Bryan Adams
  • we’ve seen two distinctly different teams this year. The great one and the really shitty one. I’d settle for a good one from this point forward.
  • Hendricks (and I can’t believe I’m typing this) is the best pitcher of late because he’s executing his plan. If we hit the playoffs tomorrow? I think I’d start HIM.
  • I’ve never been a Baez fan. I’ve always been a Soler fan, but now I am neither. Package them up and make a deal.
  • Soler, unfortunately, is prone to injuries (I’ve never seen anyone out as long with a hamstring pull. Have you?) Baez is prone to stupid.
  • When Eric Fryer was at bat Len said, “So if Fryer goes deep is it a Deep Fryer?” Seriously. Len said that. Probably waited all day
  • Suffice it to say for now, that I am optimistic about this organization, this team and this particular squad. I plan to enjoy the rest of the season, starting with the All Star game tonight. But, as always, I will cultivate a bit of detachment – just enough to protect my psyche, in case the gods do not smile again this year.
  • My sense is that the Cubs will not trade Kyle Schwarber until they give him the chance to show how good he can become in left field. His hitting is too high quality to do otherwise.
  • Let’s just talk about trading bAez, Soler, Montero or Ceasar or Len.
  • After the second straight day of attacks on one of my favorite musicians, I feel it’s important to Make A Stand. These sort of attacks tend to Cut Like a Knife, and though many of you may not be fans, it’s important that he can Depend on Me.
  • Cock Robin was known for their hit song “When Your Heart is Weak” which, as I understand it, continuously plays on a loop in Seymour’s waiting room.
  • Fast forward to September 10th, 2001, I met a tall exceptionally attractive woman on a first date in Manhattan Beach, California. We had a great time for the first half hour or so, but then the conversation lagged. She asked what type of music I was into. I couldn’t admit to Chumbawumba at that point, so I muttered “Bryan Adams.” Turns out SHE LOVED THE GUY! The next day was extremely tragic for all of us, but we decided to keep seeing each other. Three months later, we flew to Vegas to see him live at the Paris Casino on New Year’s Eve. I kicked down for 13th row tickets, the best I could afford. The first 12 rows of the venue were completely empty, the usual Vegas garbage of hanging on to the best seats as a thank you for the worst gamblers. After a single song, he stopped the show and asked the ushers to orderly move everyone 12 rows closer. Initially, they refused, and the head of the casino had to come on stage and meet with him before they’d do it…but he steadfastly said that his fans deserved to be close. We ended up in the front row. The following 4th of July I got engaged to that woman, and 15 years later, Bryan Adams’ music is something we still agree on. Unlike 3rd Eye Blind and Chumbawumba, my marriage and Bryan Adams have stood the test of time. Sure it’s cheesy, and the lyrics are bad, but admit it, you know the words. “I got my first real six string…”
  • Very romantic, Cap’n. And when it comes to the romantic, the regulars on this site could be All Stars. That’s what it takes Cubs fans. You have to be a crazy romantic.
  • Crazy romantic? You’re half right.
  • Move on to the awards post. Baseball geeks talking music can’t end well.
  • The Len Kasper Award goes to VFTB for 3 days of music related headlines during the all star break.
  • As for the bullpen, the near future looks rather grim…pun intended.
  • Stats are great indicators. Another is rise in blood pressure, mine. Grimm and Cahill lead the group in that category.
  • Wasn’t the Cole Hamel no hitter last year the first Sunday game after the All Star break? DejaVu?
  • If Darvish would have done it, would it have been DejaYu? Thanks, I’ll be here all week.
  • Played some baseball IRL yesterday and missed the game. Theriot game… 1-2 with a walk and two errors.
  • I also can’t help saying that it was a gorgeous July night in Chicago. Poetic with a huge moon rising over the right field bleachers. The kind of night that night baseball was made for. I also liked the 6:05 start. Home a little after 9. Nice.
  • I’d prefer to see the pitcher hit, or not hit, as the case may be – and keep that strategy in the game. Not a DH fan.
  • Tough loss. I didn’t like Baez’ bunt. We needed an rbi there. Not another runner.
  • It sure looked like a different pitching rotation this time through, capped off by Jake’s outing last night.
  • When you load the bases against Jeurys Familia, one of the best closers in the game, when he’s not even close to throwing strikes, and then fail to score, you deserve to lose the game.
  • Salad Man steps up in the 9th with the bases loaded with Familia struggling to throw strikes and immediately swings at 2 pitches out of the zone. He wins the Horrible At Bat of the Day award which is pretty hard to do with Miguel Montero in the line up.
  • These are the situations that matter in October, anyone can hit when it is 8-0.

Lizard

  • Do simple better.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout out to Nate Head for his first 2016 Regular Season Lizzie!!!! Way to go!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Sherm, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Brad and Doc Raker gave him a real challenge this time! Thanks for the great commentary gentlemen!

Top 10 of the 2016 Season (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Sherm
2. Doc Raker
3. Eddie von White
4. Seymour Butts
5. jswanson
6. Doug S
7. Joe Aiello
8. Brad Lyerla
9. cap’n realist
10. Dork

Chit Chat

  • Not that we wouldn’t be talking about this anyway, but on this off-day maybe we can chat about how we’re feeling now that the All Star game is over and the Cubs are back to work. I think we were all a bit frustrated going into the break. How about now, any better?
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Organizational Recap – A Series Win and a Trade

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 7:05 am

Mets 2 @ Cubs 6 (Box Score)

THE TRADE – If you missed the news yesterday, the Cubs made a trade with the Mariners for bullpen help. The Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Jordan Pries in exchange for Paul Blackburn and Dan Vogelbach. Montgomery is the arm that immediately helps this pen with another lefty, who has pitched to lefties to the tune of a .164 / .269 / .254 split line. He’s a young, cost controlled guy who throws in the low to mid-90’s on his fastball and uses as cutter, curveball and a change. My one concern about how well he’s done against lefties is his BABIP of just .204. That has to balance out over the long haul and since he’s not a massive strikeout guy (under 1 per inning), I worry a little, but overall I like the move. Vogelbach did not have a place on this team and was doing well in AAA this year. He didn’t have the makings of being a centerpiece to a huge deal for someone like Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman, but he brought back and arm and I can see the Cubs continuing to shop. To be honest, I’m more upset about the loss of Blackburn, who was developing nicely and moving along through the system. I saw him starting next year with Iowa with a shot to make the rotation as a call up if needed. It is what it is and now we hope Montgomery helps solidify things a little more back there in the pen with the rotation appearing to get back on track.

THE SERIES WIN – While we didn’t “balance the books” with the Mets for the regular season, we took a series that I considered pretty important out of the break. That’s two series wins in a row with a date with the Brewers up next this weekend. There is no reason why we shouldn’t win that series as well and continue the momentum into the split series with the Sox.

THE THROW – If you missed the game, you missed Jason Heyward showing his value in the outfield. Now if he would only show his value at the plate.


STARTING PITCHERS

AAA – Drew Rucinski – 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

AAA – Jake Buchanan – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

AA – Tyler Skulina – 5 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

A – Justin Steele – 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

SS – Jose Paulino – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

TOP HITTERS

AAA – Dexter Fowler (CF) – 1 for 6, 2B, 2 R

AAA – Jorge Soler (LF) – 0 for 3, 3 K’s

AA – Bijan Rademacher (LF) – 2 for 4, 2 2B, R

A – Eddy Martinez (RF) – 3 for 4, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

SS – Wladimir Galindo (DH) – 2 for 4, R

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