View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Thursday

1

December 2016

52

COMMENTS

Things a Cubs Fan Needs To Know on Thursday

Written by , Posted in General

Trump Nominates Ricketts to Staff

It’s been a busy time in the sports world. The emotional honeymoon from the playoffs and World Series is wrapping up, football is in full swing and the onset of basketball has had my head spinning. So, it wasn’t until this morning that I ever heard of any kind of relationship between President-elect Donald Trump and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, let alone one strong enough to garner a spot for Ricketts on a team of gazillionaires to collaborate on Trump’s economic plan. The official title of the position is Deputy Commerce Secretary, where Ricketts will “help us cut waste and streamline government so that it works for the people of America,” said Trump before going on to sing sweet praises about the incredible job Ricketts and his family did with the team. Good for Ricketts—sure will look good on his resume. Wait, do people who are worth $1 billion even have one of those?

MLB Labor Talks in Final Hours

Naturally, the Cubs are good (great) for the first time in…a long time and Major League Baseball is on the verge of their first lockout in 21 years. At the time of this writing (4:30 p.m. CST) the collective bargaining agreement had yet to be renewed by midnight’s deadline although the general feeling was optimistic, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. The issue that allegedly has the two sides stuck is the luxury tax, as MLB is the only sport of the major four in the U.S. that doesn’t have a traditional salary cap. A failure to reach an agreement would put a hold on player signings.

My money is on an announcement of a “negotiation extension.”

Update:

Hoyer reacts to being excluded from Sale trade talks

Reports of the White Sox refusing to engage in trade discussion for the brilliant Chris Sale circulated on Tuesday, and general manager Jed Hoyer said Wednesday that he was not surprised. He put it simply: “I just don’t think you’re going to see a lot of deals between the two sides,” he told the Chicago Tribune.

Was Sale ever a realistic option anyway? We will never know for certain. But, it is slightly puzzling that the White Sox wouldn’t at least consider a trade package from a defending World Series champion whose front office has cheat codes on how to rebuild a franchise stashed somewhere deep in a gold-plated safe. Oh well, I guess. We need relievers anyway!

Way-way-way too early prediction of Cubs Opening Day Lineup

It’s been a relatively slow day in Cubs Nation, so allow myself to be a punching bag in the comments section with a precocious Opening Day lineup.

*Disclaimer: I, Nate Head, am in no way, shape or form to be held liable for any claims of “jinxing” a player in this lineup for injury (God forbid) before the season begins.*

So, with that out of the way, here goes:
Heyward CF
Schwarber LF
Bryant 3B
Rizzo 1B
Zobrist RF
Russell SS
Baez 2B
Contreras C
Lester P

What do you think?

  • Glenn Fermoyle

    You’re not a punching bag. That would be one he’ll of a lineup. Too bad we “don’t need” Mc Cutcheon. He would be awesome.

    • AC0000000

      There’s no way in hell a contending Pittsburgh would trade him within the division.

      • Eddie Von White

        I think you meant he’ll.

      • AC0000000

        Read the comment to yourself with he’ll instead of hell.

        There’s no way in he’ll (he will) a contending Pittsburgh would trade him within the division.

        This is how I learned the difference between it’s and its. If you can say the sentence as it is and it makes sense you use it’s. If you can’t, you use its.

      • Doc Raker

        Its very confusing

  • Kyle

    I’d be OK with that lineup assuming Heyward regresses back to his normal numbers.

    • Dork

      That is key, you can’t hand that spot to Heyward at this point until you see what he does at least in spring if not for part of the season.

      i would be ok with a non-traditional lead off guy in Swarbs, even Rizzo or Zo all of them work counts and have high enough OBP. Maybe you don’t need speed at the top if you hit 200+ HR’s.

      • Eddie Von White

        Agree.

  • Doug S.

    I hope the Cubs hire Ross in some capacity. Having him around might ease the transition for Lester.

    • Kyle

      Maybe Ross can be Lester’s personal home plate umpire?

      • Josh

        Or first base umpire, to help him be comfortable throwing there.

      • Joe Aiello

        Thanks for commenting, Josh. I think it’s your first time. Don’t be a stranger

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    The new CBA will now allow the team with the best record have home field advantage for the World Series. Which means that Cubs will just need the best record, and not have to overcome any Cardinal screw-ups in the All-Star game to get the home field advantage.

    • Kyle

      I don’t think the Cubs win the WS this past year if they had home field advantage. They played so poorly at home. They barely eeked out the 1 win. I think the pressure was too great. Maybe if they have the best record again and make the WS, it’s vastly different now that the pressure has been relieved, but I’m grateful they didn’t have home field this year.

    • AC0000000

      About time MLB moved into the 21st century. Even the system before the ASG of rotating between the leagues every year was stupid.

    • AC0000000

      Other changes:
      – Luxury tax limits change, as do the rates
      – A player can only get the qualifying offer once in his career, has 10 days to decide to accept or reject instead of 7
      – Smokeless tobacco will be banned for all new players
      – 4 extra off days added to the regular season starting in 2018
      – No service time during suspensions

  • Brad Lyerla

    With the signing of Jon Jay, I think he will be the starter in cf. Heyward in right. Schwarbs in lf. But I see heavy platooning ala’ last year with Zobist getting a lot of time at 2b and rf and occasionally in lf. Bryant doing as last year, bouncing out to lf every so often to give Javy time at 3b (and coincidentally opening up playing time at 2b for Zo). If I were Maddon, I would also have Schwarbs working out at 1b and getting 20 or so starts there.
    Will be interesting.

    • Sherm

      I don’t want Rizzo taking 20 games off – that’s an eighth of the season. He’s too clutch to miss that many games…he needs a day off every now and again, but no more than that.

      • Doc Raker

        Schwarbs is a better hitter. The Cubs have 3 MVP offensive players in Schwarbs, Bryant and Rizzo with rising offensive stars in Russell, Baez and Contreras, the line up will score runs while resting either one of them. They may arguably score more if you minimize slumps due to fatigue.

      • Sherm

        Don’t get me wrong – I love Schwarber and think he’ll be an asset to the team and a very good hitter, but you cannot say that he’s a better hitter than Rizzo (who has 3 x 30+ homer seasons in a row, and back to back MVP worthy seasons) when Schwarber has less than 250 at bats in the bigs and a .246 average to show for it. Yes, he’s shown signs of brilliance at the plate – and I hope that translates to a long and productive career – but today? I cannot agree that he’s a better hitter than Anthony Rizzo.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I did not check but imagine that 20 days rest is only about 8 or so more days than last season. I love Rizzo too. I am not suggesting platooning. Just more rest. And the days are chosen based on who’s hot, what’s going on in the division, etc.
        On a similar vein, I thought Bryant could have been rested a bit more last year. He had very few days off.
        Also, we have 11 games, I think, in American League ball parks next year. So, that is a way to get more playing time for our big bats in the lineup together.

      • AC0000000

        Same. And for the same reason. Now if Babe Schwarber hits 89 home runs, I’ll give him the leg up.

      • Eddie Von White

        I think Raker upped that number to 93.

      • AC0000000

        I’ll raise the stakes to 104. That’s how many dingers Ruth would have had under modern rules the year he hit 60.

      • Doc Raker

        I can say Schwarbs is a better hitter than Riz, watch. “Schwarbs is a better hitter than Riz” Raker

        93 jacks Sherm- that is the projection for Schwarbs in 2017.

      • Sherm

        If CAPS weren’t already “Captain Literal” I’d re-dub you that.

        I don’t care how many times he goes to Jack in the Box in 2017.

        Fun fact – Schwarber and Contreras have practically identical offensive numbers in their major league time. Is Contreras a HOF lock, too?

      • Doc Raker

        Stop with the logic and facts. I am exploring being a liberal so I just say things that aren’t true but fit my agenda figuring half of America will believe me and shame the other half that doesn’t.

        More importantly I have been researching Redbreast Irish and Green Spot Irish. My findings are Redbreast 15 is my favorite, Green Spot is good but the Redbreast 15 is outstanding. I am going to pick up the Yellow Spot and try that but I find it difficult to drink Buhsmills now.

    • Doc Raker

      I agree, Schwarbs need to get comfortable at first base. Rizzo had extended slumps so rest him a little more and his production could be more consistent.

  • Doc Raker

    JHey leading off, how can you be taken seriously after that? I bet you loved the Carlos Pena signing for $10M.

    The last thing the White Sox will do is help the Chicago Cubs. If Sale helps the Cubs win the White Sox will have to read about it on the front page of the Tribune (assuming it is still printed). It infuriates the White Sox that they are page 5 material even when in first place and the Cubs are in last place but to read about Sale doing well as a Cub on the front page is something The White Sox front office doesn’t want to do.

    • Nate

      In that lineup, the Cubs lack a true lead off hitter. Who would you have do it out of those guys? My thoughts were that Heyward, being the guy that he is, will work his tail off over the winter to get back to where he was. Also, with those guys behind him, he would see better pitches to hit. And, he has good speed and great baserunning instincts.

      • Doc Raker

        Zo, doesn’t Zo see more pitches and have a much better OBP than JHey? And JJ when he is in the line up. JHey needs to bat 8th or 9th until he figures it out, maybe 9th for that ‘2nd’ leadoff hitter.

      • Nate

        Yes, Zob would fit well at the top. I just like him as the anchor of Schwarb-Bryant-Rizzo. Worked pretty well in extras of Game 7…

      • Kyle

        ^ agree 100%. I don’t like Zo as leadoff. But, who is the leadoff then? Not sure I have a good answer.

      • Brad Lyerla

        What am I missing? Isn’t Jay likely to lead off most of the time?

      • Seymour Butts

        Nope, former cardinal center fielders are limited to back up roles only. Unless they have a seriously embarrassing canine back story.

    • AC0000000

      The trash have already said the Cubs won’t be excluded from trade talks. We don’t need Sale and his jersey cutting shenanigans. The trash don’t need to worry about winning. As long as Jerry’s crony Kenny Williams is there, they will suck.

    • Adam Peters

      I’ve got to agree, the idea of Heyward leading off is pretty ridiculous.

      I don’t see Jay leading off. His OBP was .339 last year. One point higher than David Ross.

      Almora won’t be leading off either.

      I don’t see Zobrist playing much RF–he really doesn’t have the skills. I’m sure we’ll see it, but when guys are going 1st to 3rd on him at will Joe will have to change course.

      The new school idea of assembling a batting order is you put your best hitter leading off, 2nd best batting second, etc. The notions that the leadoff hitter must be a base stealer and the 2 hitter is versatile and is the best one at bunting, etc. are obsolete.

      We could see something like:

      Bryant 3B
      Schwarber LF
      Rizzo 1B
      Zo 2B
      Russell SS
      Contreras C
      J-Hey RF
      Almora CF
      P

      I know I’m going to catch shit over the idea of Bryant leading off, but his OBP was only eight points lower than Fowler’s last year (.393, 385), and he’s pretty damn fast and he’s an excellent baserunner. For that matter Rizzo had the same OBP as Bryant so it could go

      Bryant
      Rizzo
      Zo
      Schwarber
      Russell
      etc.

      The truth is Maddon is going to have the time of his life dreaming up lineups next year precisely because he won’t have anyone who automatically gets put in the leadoff spot when he’s playing, so he’s going to do all kind of crazy stuff. We all could all write out 50 batting orders here and no matter how outrageous they seem I’m betting we’d see 40 of them used at least once next year.

      • Nate

        Clearly, J-Hey isn’t the ideal choice for a leadoff hitter, but there is a true lack of leadoff experience on this team aside from Fowler. Batting leadoff could instill some confidence in him and allow him to see good pitches to hit. Put a short leash on him, and if he is mediocre again, go to Jay. I wouldn’t want to see Bryant in the leadoff spot.

  • Buddy

    I don’t think the opening day lineup will matter much, but it is fun to talk about for sure. Joe will likely rotate lots of guys in and out this year. I’m sure Rizzo, Bryant, and Russell will play close to everyday if they are healthy, but everybody else will probably shuffle around quite a bit–Zobrist at 2B and Jay in CF vs. tough righties, Zobrist in RF and Almora in CF vs. lefties, etc. Not sure how many different lineups Joe used last year, but I’d bet on that number going up this year.

    • Brad Lyerla

      So, I have read on one site that Almora might spend significant time in the minors this season because he is not ready to hit in the majors every day.
      I get where Adam is coming from, but Jon Jay had a bad season last year. His career OBP is plenty good enough to lead off for the Cubs if he can bounce back to form. He is on the downside, but only 31.

  • Dork

    DId anyone see the Lester comment joking about how he tried to get pitchers throwing to first base removed from the game in the new CBA…to no avail? pretty good one.

  • cap’n realist

    you lost me at Heyward in the leadoff spot. Not sure where you get ‘being the guy he is’ there will be improvement over the winter. Wasn’t he the same guy before LAST winter? He’s never been a very good hitter or high on-base guy. Always a LOT more K’s than walks. I think we all just need to get our collective heads around the fact that he’s just not a very good offensive player. With that in mind, stick him in center and give me bats in the outfield corners.

    • Eddie Von White

      Totally agree with you, cap’n. If you want your lead-off hitter to hit a two bouncer to second twice a game and strike out the other two – Heyward is our guy.

      • Doc Raker

        We already went through that with Juan Pierre.

        Lead off with Schwarbs, he is the best hitter in the history of the game.

  • Doc Raker

    If Schwarbs never played another game in the big leagues when would he be voted into the Hall of Fame? 1st ballot? 2nd ballot? 3rd ballot?

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Never, because you need 10 years of playing time to qualify.

      • Doc Raker

        They would need to change that rule.

      • AC0000000

        There have been cases where it’s been waived

      • Doc Raker

        Well, there you go………………

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Almost all of them involve death of the player. I do not wish that on Schwarbs!

      • Seymour Butts

        Do you see the inherent problem with an argument that CAPS supports?

      • AC0000000

        I don’t support Raker’s argument. I was pointing out the facts. I was not aware that they only waived it in the case of death