View From The Bleachers

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Sunday

5

November 2017

43

COMMENTS

It’s that time of year

Written by , Posted in General

It’s that time of year when we have two choices: speculate about what’s going to happen, or remember what did. I’m not overjoyed about either, personally. It’s a little early to be obsessing over every Twidiot’s (idiots who Tweet their thoughts without any factual basis for those thoughts. Usually sports reporters) latest “scoop.” Stanton to the Cardinals. Arrieta to the Dodgers. CAPS to Disneyworld. It might happen. It might not. But none of it is going to happen anytime soon. For now, we wait to see who gets a qualifying offer. If I’m the Cubs, I certainly make a QO to both Arrieta and Wade Davis. Why not? If either or both choose to take it and stay? Great! If they don’t, at least the Cubs get some compensation for the loss.

If you want to learn more about the new rules of the QO, here’s a good link:

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/259650658/mlb-qualifying-offer-rules-explained/

If it’s my money – and make no mistake about it, it ISN’T – I’d try to keep both Arrieta and Davis. I’ve written in this space before that I think Jake Arrieta is in better shape than most pitchers and I believe he’ll continue to pitch very successfully over the next several seasons. He’s a known factor. He’s a fan favorite. Why not take a run at him? If he can be had for 4 or even 5 years? I’d try to get that done. He’s thrown hundreds less innings than Yu Darvish…so his arm is younger even if he’s not. I didn’t want Darvish anyway…but after the World Series? I double don’t. (is that a thing?)

I’d keep Wade Davis, too, if possible. First of all, he really cost the team NOTHING this year. He was free. Sure, he earned $10M, which isn’t a lot for a closer of his caliber in this day and age, and they got him for Jorge Soler, people. Even if you overpay him for a couple of years? You win based on that. I’d try to give him a three year deal – well, I’d try to overpay him for two, but would settle for three, if possible. Theo doesn’t like to pony out too much cash for closers, but the way the game is being played these days? You need a tight bullpen – especially on a Joe Maddon team, where starters are fragile and innings are unicorns.

If you can keep those two guys – you don’t have a ton of off-season moves to make. You still need another starter – and if you keep Arrieta, you’re probably looking at a trade, not free agency to accomplish that. You’re always looking for bullpen pieces that can help improve that part of the game…especially after this post-season (again…if they aren’t burnt out completely from overuse because of Maddon’s desperation to UNDER-use starters all year, maybe things play out differently.

They don’t need a lot of position player help – they have excellent young talent. It needs to be made smarter in all things baseball, but the raw talent is there. Personally, I don’t trade much…if anything from the big league club. I think if you’ve held on to Schwarber this long? You might as well give him another season to see what he can do. You can always flip him during the season, if needed. I do NOT move Baez or Russell. Someone, I won’t name names  (it was Colin) suggested moving Happ or Almora. I would NOT move Almora. I think he’s going to be a special player. I know a few others see it, too. I wish Maddon would. For one thing, he’s younger than Addison Russell. He’s a plus plus center fielder, and there are not a lot of those. And I believe he will hit at this level and hit well. Note to Joe: AJ Hinch did not play the lefty/righty game and lift everyone every time a new pitcher came in. And he won the world series with his best players playing. Let’s try THAT. For the record? Happ is younger than Almora, but in my opinion, won’t be as good as Almora eventually will. I think Ben Zobrist would be a great, well, neighbor, but he should not be starting on this team other than spot starts. I think we are stuck with Heyward. Sorry. I’d still package him WITH Schwarber to the Red Sox for Betts – and I think the Sox would listen because they NEED the big LH bat, desperately.

I’m okay with the switch hitting Caratini as a backup for Contreras. If you MUST have a more seasoned veteran…I’m fine with Avila…but he’ll cost you a lot more $$.

I’m sure that Theo will do something – that will shock, surprise, sadden, or thrill us…but that’s how the game goes. Maybe all those things. As long as he doesn’t trade Adbert Alzolay.

  • Colin Kruse

    I appreciate the shoutout

    • Sherm

      I’ve lived the Southern California Cub fan life, and the one thing we all learn from that is to root against the Dodgers. Not BECAUSE of the Dodgers – in fact, I like some of the players, but because of the fans. All of my DFF’s (Dodger fan friends) seem to think that the Dodgers have just dominated baseball since it was invented, but that’s not the case. I “get” Yankee fan arrogance (although, you really need to be at least 70 years old to have serious Yankee fan arrogance.) Hey, they’ve won 27 WS titles (in 40 tries, which is a nice winning percentage, too.) My DFF’s seem to think they are the “Yankees of the National League.” They’re NOT. Both the Cardinals and Giants have more WS championships than the Dodgers. The Dodgers have 6 – in 19 tries, and any Dodger fan under 30 has not seen them win a World Series (I don’t count being “alive” as “seeing” since the last one was 1988.)

      One advantage of living in North Carolina is that no one really talks baseball, so it’s a non-issue. Of course, they are all college basketball snobs, so there’s that.

      • Kyle

        I ducking hate Fuke.

      • Sherm

        Tell me about it – I went to UNLV.

  • Brad Lyerla

    I would try to keep Davis and Arrieta too, for the very reasons that Sherm identifies.

    • JTBarrett16

      Me three

      • Buddy

        Cubs will likely make qualifying offers to both Arrieta and Davis. Both will likely decline.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Of course, they will decline. My question is what ability does the club have to negotiate after the qualifier is declined?

      • Buddy

        I was just making a general comment. Wasn’t trying to put words in your mouth. Sorry for any confusion. To try and answer your last question, the Cubs have more money than Yoko Ono, so they can certainly offer mega deals to anybody they want. I don’t believe that will happen here. If they can bring one or both of those pitchers back on team friendly deals, the Cubs would probably be interested. However, I’m sure other clubs will make offers outside the Cubs’ comfort zone. So long story short, or maybe short story long…neither will be back next year.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Can’t disagree. Thanks.

      • Doc Raker

        Well, ya.

      • Buddy
  • JTBarrett16

    CAPS to Disney World is happening and happening now.

    • Did you track down Aladdin?

      • cap’n realist

        Orlando looking to make a deal with anyone right about now…

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Do you think they will take Kapernick?

      • JTBarrett16

        That was yesterday at Magic Kingdom. Have you taken your kids to Disney World?

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    Hey Sherm did you read the article on Alzolay where Theo said he could possibly be the Ace on the staff one day.

    • Sherm

      I saw that – projecting him as a #3 starter or higher…someday. Which means he’ll be traded LONG before we see that happen. Theo has never been big on home grown pitching talent – and I think it’s because it is so risky. So much has to go right for a young arm to make it to the majors, much less have top of the rotation stuff, and it frequently does not…more often than not, SOMETHING keeps them from every becoming what they are projected to be. His approach, and it has worked, has been to let guys develop elsewhere and then get them via trade or free agency when they have become a proven commodity. I can’t say that I’d argue too strongly against. I’ll be happy for Alzolay when he wins his first Cy Young with the Mariners. Probably.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I just hope we do not get Felix Hernandez in exchange for Adbert. He might just be a little old when that trade happens.

      • Sherm

        Right? It’s sad really – there was a time when I really wanted them to trade for him since he was being wasted in Seattle.

        King Felix is YOUNGER than Jake Arrieta – by one month.

        King Felix has thrown 1400 more innings than Jake Arrieta. ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED more innings.

        Long live the king, but the king is done. He’s an OLD 31. Jake is a YOUNG 31.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Would you have traded for Verlander a season ago? I would not have. But he was excellent for Houston in the last month. That could be Jake for the next three years.

      • Sherm

        Absolutely – I wrote that here a few months back. I think he has plenty left in the tank, and again, is in great physical shape. Smart, which is a huge quality in a pitcher, too. When I heard of the big deadline “deal” with the Tigers, I wrongfully assumed it was for him. Of course, it was for the dynamic duo of Avila and Wilson, which to me was a waste of the Candelario asset. We already HAD Caratina, and other back up catchers are easy to get (as was proven by the Rivera pickup twelve minutes later.) As it turned out, we got Justin Wilson and the Astros won the World Series. Oops.

      • cap’n realist

        I wish I saw it in the numbers. Low K/9 numbers for a high end starter. Those guys are almost always a K an inning in A and AA.

      • Sherm

        Doesn’t matter – they’re hyping him to trade him. Theo doesn’t build pitchers.

  • Doc Raker

    Almora created left handed pitching and is one of the best CF in the game. He can hit right handed pitching if given the chance. Keep Almora.

    We all knew, or should have known, that Zobrist 4 year deal was 2 years too much and it turns out it was 3 years too much. If Zo is going to be a starter on this team along with Heyward then we will have to wait 2 more years for this team to have a chance of winning again. Like Sherm said, Zo is a spot starter at this point but I don’t have faith in Joe Maddon accepting that reality.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I bet Lefty Grove has something to say about who created left handed pitching.

    • Adam Peters

      It does seem that Maddon is going all Dusty/Neifi in regard to Zobrist. Hopefully the rest of the bats will awake from the dead in 2018 so Zobrist’s numbers don’t look acceptable the way they kinda did in 2017.

      • Brad Lyerla

        Agreed. In a year where nobody could sustain offense, Zobrist had more big hits than most. His lousy numbers were better than some other lousy numbers. Plus, he had more good at bats than most even with disappointing outcomes.

      • Doc Raker

        Zo got a big hit Nov 2 2016, can’t recall a big hit from Zo after that.

    • Brad Lyerla

      Epstein has been quoted as saying that playing time will be earned next year. I have not seen any criticism of roster decisions directly, but that statement is thinly veiled . . .

      • Sherm

        The “between the lines” message there is incredibly close to saying “Maddon is on the bubble, too.” Theo does not like to lose, nor does he like to see a poorly constructed lineup with the tools he has worked hard to provide. I think they gave Maddon rope this season past, partly due to the win the year before and also out of respect, but I think that’s all he’s going to get.

        Theo’s Step #1: Replace YOUR coaching staff with one that I know and trust.

        Theo’s Step#2: Let’s see how it goes.

        He (Epstein) has got to be dying inside that Girardi is available and they are really not in a position to go get him. He’d be perfect for this team, and especially Willson Contreras. Girardi was a VERY smart catcher, and he helped Posada get so much better, and was doing the same for Sanchez…among other managerial duties. They could offer him a shit-ton of money to be bench coach…but why would he take that and even Maddon with the 1000 yard stare would see THAT writing on the wall.

      • Brad Lyerla

        I am reading Epstein a little more softly than you. I think he is putting some pressure on Maddon to not play favorites in awarding playing time. But the make over of the coaching staff still has Maddon’s finger prints all over it.
        We’ll see.

      • 100% agree with the Girardi stuff.. sort of pisses me off.

      • JTBarrett16

        I also want Girardi but I think he’s going to take 2018 off.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Good because that means if Maddon messes up Girardi will still be available.

      • Adam Peters

        That would be PERFECT. Then the Cubs can hire him for 2019.

      • Sherm

        Maddon should be Girardi’s bench coach. The bench coach is the player’s “buddy” on the coaching staff. They hang out, have fun, chit-chat, do each other’s hair, whatever. The manager has to make the hard decisions ABOUT players, so he stays slightly removed from all that. Maddon is better suited to BE a bench coach. He’d never accept the demotion – his ego has grown and wouldn’t allow it, but it’s the best position for him. He doesn’t like to make the hard decisions (like pulling Schwarber from the leadoff spot, or benching Zobrist or Heyward, or putting Baez at shortstop permanently – and therefore either doesn’t, or takes too long (probably until the FO steps in, i.e. plausible deniability.)

        There’s no way in hell that Joe Girardi was making out his lineup three days in advance of any game…and then sticking with it no matter what. That’s just crazy.

      • Adam Peters

        That making out the lineup in advance business was pure B.S.excuse making. That’s the kind of crap I hear from my 14 year old daughter. Doesn’t really make any sense upon scrutiny, but sort of, kinda sounds plausible at first blush if you’re not paying very close attention.

      • JTBarrett16

        Mattingly better trim his sideburns then so jeter doesn’t fire him and hire Girardi.

      • JTBarrett16

        This is only my prediction. He could very well do something with Jeter in Miami or he could give up managing all together.

  • Ben

    What are unicorn innings sherm? Enlighten me

    • Sherm

      In my mind, when I wrote that, I was referring to those potentially magical innings that the starters COULD and SHOULD pitch…but unfortunately do not, because Joe prefers anyone in the bullpen to his starters. (Also known as the “6th” and “7th” on many teams.) Thus, he plays the “match up game” and “yank the starter” (no, Seymour, it doesn’t mean THAT) too early, in my opinion.