View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Monday

30

October 2017

53

COMMENTS

Playing Catch Up on Cubs News

Written by , Posted in General

It’s Monday, and the stories of VFTB demise have been greatly exaggerated. As of right now, we’re not going anywhere. Because the news for the Cubs has not been earth shattering, let’s talk about what we do know since we’ve been eliminated.

  • After the World Series ends, the real fun begins. MLB Trade Rumors came out with their annual salary arbitration estimates for all the teams. Remember that when a player is eligible for arbitration, the team has a couple of choices. 1) They can sign the player to either a one year or multi-year tender. 2) They can outright release the player with no guaranteed money required to be paid to the player). 3) Take the matter to an arbitration hearing in which the team submits their offered one year number and the player requests his. Both teams go before the arbiter and the arbiter chooses one of the two numbers based on the evidence presented by both sides. For the Cubs, eight players are eligible this year. The only one I feel has a chance to just be outright released is Leonys Martin. The rest will either come to a deal for a one year contract or negotiate a longer term deal. I don’t think we’ll see any deals greater than one year given the names on the list and where they are in the MLB service time period.
  • MLB free agency begins the day after the World Series, and the Cubs have some players who are eligible to file. This year’s list: Alex Avila, Rene Rivera, Jon Jay, Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, Wade Davis, Koji Uehara, Brian Duensing. Once the players file, the Cubs have a five day window to make a decision as to if they plan to offer a “qualifying offer” to the player. Essentially, it’s offering the player a one year deal at approximately $18 mil. In the event the player accepts, then he’s a part of your team for 2018 at that price. If he declines, then he goes to free agency with the draft pick compensation tag around his neck, and the Cubs would get a compensation pick when a team signs that player. Of the players listed above, the only one I’d defintely give the offer to is Jake. That’s a no brainer. I’d probably consider it for Davis as well, as getting him back on another one year deal isn’t the worst thing in the world, and the draft pick would be nice if he declines and wants to test free agency. I’d guess Davis would decline the offer, as he’s running out of time to cash in on that bigger free agent deal. Two draft picks would help ease the blow of losing both this off-season.
  • Coaching changes have been happening in bulk. John Mallee was replaced by Chili Davis as hitting coach. Gary Jones has been replaced by Brian Butterfield as third base coach. Eric Hinske took a job as the hitting coach for the Angels and was replaced by Andy Haines as the assistant hitting coach, which is a position that is different from assistant to the hitting coach. Finally, and most importantly, Jim Hickey was hired on to replace Chris Bosio as pitching coach. Hickey worked in Tampa with Maddon and Bosio was a holdover from the prior regimes, so you have to imagine it will be good for Maddon to get one of his guys in that role.
  • Jacob Hannemann, a former Cubs outfielder prospect, has been claimed off waivers from the Marlins. To make room on the 40 man roster, Mike Freeman was designated for assignment. I don’t see this as a long term addition to the 40 man. I’d venture a guess that Hannemann would be designated when the Cubs make a move to add for next year, but you make the move to have his rights. If you designate him and he clears waivers, you can send him to Iowa and give him a shot to show something. He was rated as the 23rd prospect in the Cubs system last off-season.
  • Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward have been nominated for a gold glove. Somehow, so has Ben Zobrist. This would be why I put zero importance in MLB awards. Rizzo already took home the well deserved Roberto Clemente award, which is given to an outstanding ambassador for MLB. Rizzo’s charity work with kids is phenomenal.
  • Dave Martinez has taken a job to be the next manager for the Nationals, which means the Cubs bench coach is open. Get your resume dusted off, Sherm. Although, you may have to compete with David Ross.
  • Buddy

    Glad to hear VFTB is staying put! Keep up the good work!

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Hey Sherm, does this mean you have to have a dance off with Mr. Ross for the bench coach job?

    • Sherm

      I’m in. Let me know the time and place.

      Joe Maddon would keep me around about a week. Since we’ve pulled back the curtain and realized he’s not a real wizard after all? I don’t think he’d appreciate my contribution to the process, and while a bench coach strangling the manager would make for great television and social media fodder, it’s probably not best for the team.

      Stayed up and watched perhaps the greatest baseball game ever played last night.

      Side bar: thank goodness it’s being played in a dome or out west and the players are able to play without the influence of poor weather.

      Why do I think it was a great game? A number of reasons. 1.) Houston won. Not a Dodger fan. Just can’t muster up anything for them. But I’ll say this, having watched a good deal of them lately – I do like Bellinger. He’s a good ballplayer. Cool under pressure. Hard not to like Taylor, too. Plays hard and smart. 2.) Unbelievable offensive baseball game. Not just the home runs. The home runs were really a by-product of an intelligent approach. Patience, when applicable. Both things that our beloved Cubs cannot seem to do, unfortunately.

      Did you hear Bregman’s post game interview (on the field?) He said that before the game winning hit, the hitting coach talked to him, and some other players and he talked about the at bat that was coming…he went up to bat with a plan. NOT to smash the ball 890 feet. He’d homered off of Jansen the night before on a slider, so they discussed that the slider would likely NOT be the first pitch – so he went up looking for the cutter…got it, hit it, and won the game. That’s smart baseball. He’s 23. Only going to get better with that approach. I didn’t know who he was until late in the year because of all the names on that roster…but he’s not going anywhere.

      Bellinger – after game three…AFTER the game – stayed late to work on cutting down the big swing and hitting the ball the other way of a tee. Got in early before that game to do the same. Had 2 big opposite field hits to win that game.

      Last night, Andre Ethier slaps an easy single to left against the shift.

      Chris Taylor – makes adjustments during each at bat. Got that game tying single on a pitch that most hitters CANNOT hit because they’re trying to JACK it out. Situational.

      Springer – slows it down. Start waiting for his pitch instead of swinging at the pitcher’s pitch…and is on base all night last night. What? Three walks and he’s on base FIVE times, including a homer on the first pitch after making a bad decision in the field and allowing a run to happen. That’s what a leadoff hitter needs to do.

      AJ Hinch. Doesn’t have a bullpen (right now) that is firing on all cylinders, but he’s not yanking guys the minute they give up a hit or walk. Sometimes you have to ride it out. It doesn’t always work, but you can’t change pitchers every batter and expect to have anyone or anything left late in the game. I hope Joe Maddon is taking notes.

      I didn’t even mind Joe John Bucksmoltz last night. (Actually, I enjoy Smoltz’ commentary a lot)

      Probably good that the Cubs were not in that game. Don’t know if my heart would’ve held out.

      Actually looking forward to the game on Tuesday…

      • Adam Peters

        I could sense that the shameless fawning over Kershaw by Buck was about to begin in the fourth then, just in the nick of time, the Astronauts put a 4 on the board off him and we were spared hearing about “the best pitcher of his generation, and maybe in the history of baseball.”

      • Sherm

        Exactly! Right when they posted the “He wins 156% of the games when he has a 3+ run lead” and can feed 5000 with a loaf a bread and a fish head…the Astros lit him up.

        Don’t get me wrong. He probably is the best pitcher in baseball right now. If not the best, he’s top three. But (much like the hitters we love, who feast on the Reds and other crappy pitching) he spends a good deal of the year pitching against below average teams and below average hitters. There are not many easy outs in that Astro lineup. Same with LA. We’ll find out tomorrow night just how good Justin Verlander is. (And I have a hunch? The answer is VERY good.)

      • Doc Raker

        You nailed that Peter Adams, now their attention will turn to Justin Verlander and how he can win that elusive World Series title with a Cy Young Justin Verlander performance. That will be the obvious talking point for Buck, Verducci and Rosenthal while Smoltz with simply stick to the facts of the game being played.

      • Sherm

        Smoltz is great – he tried to explain, a few times, WHY he said something (like pitching “backwards” to Taylor, but Buck would interrupt him with nothing. He was able to get back to that explanation, but a couple of others? We’ll NEVER know.

      • Rewatch / watch the condensed version on MLB.. gives you chills

      • Sherm

        I watched every minute of that 5 hour and 17 game. And by the way, it wasn’t too long. Not even close. It was exactly as long as it needed to be.

        #quitfuckingwithbaseball

      • Doc Raker

        How long does the condensed game take? 4 hours and 12 minutes? That’s a Lizzie, just sayin…

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Doc, I know we are all going through Lizzie withdrawal, but each and every one of your comments are not Lizzie’s, if they were Sherm would have never have been at the top of the Lizzie board.

      • Doc Raker

        Lizzie’s are in the eye of the beholder. Your statement is true and is probably worth a Lizzie assist if someone took your sauce and buried one.

  • JTBarrett16

    The rules for qualifying offer have changed. A player can only be offered once in their career and if they already have that’s it. Also you only get a draft pick if the contract they sign is more than 50M, and it’s not a first rounder anymore. That said I still offer it to Davis and Arrieta too.

    • Doc Raker

      I would not want Davis at $18M.

      • JTBarrett16

        He’ll get more than 50M on the open market, don’t you think?

      • Buddy

        I could definitely see a team giving Davis $50M plus. Not the Cubs of course.

      • Sherm

        Probably. This season he was a little lucky, and a lot good. I think the brain trust, and there are times I use that term loosely, had hoped that his replacement would step up from within and make that an easy decision. They didn’t and it isn’t. Edwards, the heir apparent, couldn’t finish the season the way he started. They will need SOMEONE to close, and Davis is a known entity (at least.) At least make him the one year offer unless you have a better plan…

      • JTBarrett16

        I think when you have a team that is built to win now, you need to overpay for certain roles, and this is one of those roles where I think we need to pay up. I wouldn’t mind giving him 4/60. If Hardee’s can eventually become the closer they envisioned, then you trade Davis. If you don’t trade Davis and Hardee’s emerges, then you’ve got 2 studs at the end to shorten the game

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        If Carl’s Jr. comes around you keep both of them, and try to develop a third. If you can make the game as close to a five inning game for the opponent you do it. Of course you also need a manager who is willing to let the starters pitch into the seventh so you do not over use the bullpen.

      • Buddy

        Maybe a trade for an arb eligible closer like the Padres’ Brad Hand?

      • JTBarrett16

        Why not do both? Keep Davis and trade for Hand? I like the idea of building a power bullpen like the Yankees had with Miller Betences and Chapman

      • Buddy

        Because it will likely take 3+ years at a hefty salary to bring back Davis, and I just don’t think the Cubs are interested at that price. Not for a guy with an injury history who at most will throw 75 innings per season.

  • Doc Raker

    That game was unbelievable. How does a game with 2 Cy Young pitchers turn into a 13-12 back and forth softball game.

    I have never seen so many 2 out nobody on rallies that netted 3 runs.

    • JTBarrett16

      I can’t believe I missed it. Of course being absolutely destroyed from Ohio State-Penn State the night before played a huge part in that

      • you forgot the “t”

      • JTBarrett16

        I’m still recovering from the tOSU-PSU game. Better?

      • JTBarrett16

        You should change your name to tjswanson

      • Doc Raker

        And the Selects Academy hockey game. That game was one for the ages.

      • JTBarrett16

        Yup

    • Karen Hirsh

      This WS just shows you…without great pitching your team cannot win even with super hitting. Pitching is everything!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Doc Raker

        I want to party with you

      • Karen Hirsh

        I live in Florida. Use to live in LA. Hope to go to opening day for Marlins since they play the Cubs. I think Astros will win. Verlander is super.

      • JTBarrett16

        I want to go to Dis-ney World!
        Take me take me take me take me now!
        NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW
        Dis-ney World take me there right now!

      • Doc Raker

        Verlander could of won that game had he bunted. Also had they not pulled him and left him in to bunt after the lead off walk that run would of scored and the game would of been tied. Verlander pitched great but lay down a bunt if yo can’t have a competitive AB.

  • Doc Raker

    Big Toe Joe- thanks for sticking around but who is going to document my genius?

    • Sherm

      That’s an excellent question. Well, technically, you document whatever you say as soon as you hunt and peck it in, but who is going to recognize it? That’s the question. So, I’ve given it a little thought (very little, as you’ll soon see.) When Harry died, the Cubs went with guest singers for the stretch. Maybe we should go with guest genius recognizer writers. We could take turns. Maybe:

      – Hirsches Kisses?
      – Cap’n’s Really’s?
      – Adam’s Ribs?
      – Eddie Von Wisecracks?
      – Two’s Views ( for Junior…but if we do that, Eddie’s could be called “Senior’s Moments”)
      – Buddy’s Hollers?
      – Trevor’s Axioms?
      – Jerry from Wit-consin?
      – Colin’s Scope?
      – Brad’s Briefs? (He’s a lawyer – I’m not referring to his underwear)
      – Swan’s Cygnets?
      – Big Toe’s Jam?
      – CAPS um…nevermind, it won’t work.

      • JTBarrett16

        CAPS’ Locks

      • Buddy

        I like it!

      • Eddie Von White

        Let’s do it.

      • You’d all be fantastic!!!

      • Adam Peters

        All kidding aside, this actually isn’t a bad idea.

        My Lizard equivalent can be the Full Rack, which makes an excellent double entendre. I concede it would be better if I were female, but still…

      • Sherm

        This will keep us all busy for at least…I don’t know, three days?

        Why are so many of my brilliant ideas countered with, “all kidding aside”?

      • Eddie Von White

        It must be your avatar. Nobody ever says that to me.

      • JTBarrett16

        Trailer I saw for a movie once:
        Kid: Dad, what’s a rack?
        Dad (angrily): IT’S A COUNTRY! AND IT’S A VERY BAD ONE!

  • JTBarrett16
  • Ben

    The question is what is the percent chance that David Ross takes that bench coach job?

    • JTBarrett16

      Not happening. At least yet. You do realize coaches have to go through the same grind the players do in terms of travel and being away from family and Ross retired in part to spend more time with his family

      • Eddie Von White

        You do realize that’s what everybody says when they retire.

      • Imagine CAPS with Ross in that role. “Joe should put Ross in to play second.. that would be 5 catchers.” “If Maddon would have pinch hit Ross there, that would be an all-catcher 1-2-3.” “Counting Ross, there are three catchers on the bench.” etc

      • Eddie Von White

        That makes my brain tired.

      • Doc Raker

        On a Tuesday………

      • Ben

        In november (man…. this probably would have been a lizzie if lizzy’s were still a thing)

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I was listening to Sutcliff on ESPN radio, he believes that Ross will not take the bench coach job now, but he also believes that Ross will be the one who replaces Maddon when he is no longer the Cubs manager.