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Tuesday

16

July 2013

32

COMMENTS

Home Run Derby and Other News

Written by , Posted in General

News and notes from around the league

  • Yoenis Cespedes won the Homerun Derby last night defeating Bryce Harper in the finals. Cespedes put on a show in the first round with 17 homers and again in the finals when he topped Harper’s 8 homers with 5 outs left.
  • Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer will start the All-Star game for their respective teams.
  • Travis Wood shaved for the All-Star game.

Other Cubs News

With the All-Star Break, there’s not much news around the league. David Kaplan wrote that Garza was likely to be traded this week according to “sources” and then a semi-juicy rumor started by a Texas sports show host out of Dallas (take that for what it’s worth) saying the Cubs, Mets, & Rangers have a deal in place that will send Garza and Byrd to the Rangers, with Olt being the centerpiece involved. I don’t think Olt’s a target for a Cubs system with quite a few high end 3B and there’s no reports confirming this. However, there’s a moratorium on official news from teams during the All Star break so nothing official can happen until later this week and with all the recent debating amongst Cubs fans about trading versus extending Garza I wanted to share my 2 cents before a deal does get done one way or another.

Garza’s going to get at least 5 years, 15-20M per year on the open market, from some team who wants to pay him until he’s 36, maybe 37. If I had to guess I’d say he gets around the 5/80 deal every second tier pitcher seems to get, like Anibal Sanchez, John Lackey, etc.  If Garza was taking a 3 year extension for around 15-18M per year then I’d say yes, or even 4 years with a slightly lower AAV then I’d be willing, but obviously he’s not or the Cubs would have locked him down to a team-friendly deal already. He might want to be a Cub but he wants to get paid like the front line starter Garza  of 2011 (and the first 6 weeks of 2012). Except the Garza pitching for us know is not pitching the same way.

He’s already showing some signs of decline with his injuries and a decrease in velocity (1MPH drop on average fastball this year compared to 2011). The velocity is a major concern because his out pitch is his fastball which he’s throwing 68% of the time this year. He’s returned to using his fastball the amount of his Tampa/Minnesota days when he used to use it nearly 70% of the time. In 2011, his first year with the Cubs and his best season of his career, he only threw it 53% of the time.

Years

ERA

WHIP

SIERA

H/9

K/9

HR/9

FB%

GB%

% of fastballs

Pre-Cubs

3.97

1.32

4.30

8.7

7.1

1.1

40.8%

39.7%

69.8%

2011-2012

3.52

1.23

3.39

8.2

8.7

0.9

32.9%

46.7%

55.1%

This year

3.17

1.14

3.80

7.7

7.9

1.0

38.8%

39.8%

68.0%

 

 

 

I thought his evolution to a front line starter was directly related with his lower usage of the fastball and increased usage of his off-speed repertoire. Due to the injuries, he’s reverted back to his old, lesser productive ways. You can already see the same trends building from his earlier years with this year. His HR/9 is up, his K/9 is down, his groundball percentages (GB%) are down, and his flyball percentages (FB%) are up. He’s been helped by excellent defense from the Cubs and has a career low batting average against and BABIP right now (which was ultra low before last start’s 10 hits). Despite his low ERA, it’s a recipe that will not keep yielding these results. With all the peripherals matching his production of his pre-Cub years, it’s only a matter of time before the hits, and thus runs, catch up to him this year which will show he’s more of a #3 or 4, not a #1 or 2.

I don’t think this front office is going to spend big money on players on the wrong side of 30 which Garza hits this year. History shows the vast majority of pitchers start declining right around 30 and Garza already has some red flags. The only pitchers worth risking big money, long term deals on past the age of 30 are the top 2% of pitchers like Sabathia, Hernandez, Price, Verlander… because when they decline, they slip from aces to mid rotation guys. When a mid rotation guy slips, he’s a back-end starter or worse. The Cubs should and most likely will flip him for prospects while his value is high which will give another shot to an already strong farm system.

If you believe in run differential which has an excellent track record of predicting win/loss records, the Cubs have performed right around a .500 team.  The front office knows this, and the Cubs are much closer to being competitive than the record indicates. That’s why I expect the Cubs are only going to trade a handful of players this year including Garza, Schierholtz, Navarro, Gregg & possibly Soriano with an eye on next year being the first season the Cubs are competing, not rebuilding.

  • Chuck

    Prospects are just mental masturbation until they actually hit the Bigs and produce. When dealing for prospects you always go for the best player you can get regardless of position. Players get hurt. Players start to unexpectedly suck. Players demand trades or leave as a free agent. You can always shuffle players around in the field or trade them later for what you need. You can never have too many top prospects.

    • Eddie Von White

      Such imagery.

    • Eddie Von White

      Such imagery.

  • Jedi

    Garza’s a 3 or a 4 and Samardzija’s an established ace. What a mythology you’ve constructed.

    • Chuck

      The other thing people tend to forget is that Garza is 29 and Shark is 28. Most people think that keeping Shark is “going young” or some such nonsense. While Shark does have quite a bit less mileage on his arm than Garza does, he is not all that younger. An idea to consider is to trade Shark and keep Garza if Shark can get you better assets in return. Shark still has that “new player shine” that every GM seems to lose their mind over and Garza is considered a geezer.

      • All-Star T-Wood has established himself as our ace at a ripe 26. Or something like that. We have a whole international grip of tweens…maybe they will be aces next decade.

      • Michael Jimenez

        One reason to think the Cubs will extend Shark is because he has a lot less wear and tear on his arm given that he doesn’t have all the innings most pitchers of his age do given that he was primarily a football player. But I do think the Cubs are entertaining the idea of trading Samardzija given his age and the potential return in a trade of him. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but there’s a better than non-zero chance.

      • Jedi

        Matt Garza: pitched 241 innings in college (3 years)
        Jeff Samardzija: pitched 240.1 innings in college (3 years)

        Matt Garza: pitched 301 innings in the minors (parts of 3 seasons) before being an MLB regular
        Jeff Samardzija: pitched 485 innings in the minors (parts of 5 seasons) before being an MLB regular – and that includes the tail end of 2006 where he only threw 30 innings after being drafted; so it’s really more like 455 innings in 4 seasons

        The facts just don’t bear out this preposterous ‘less wear & tear because of football’ argument that continues to be perpetuated.

        IF one is to argue that Samardzija has less wear and tear on his arm, it’s because Samardzija was used as a reliever at the MLB level for parts 4 seasons whereas Garza caught on as a 180 IP-type starter immediately. Personally, I think the wear & tear is negligible between Garza and Samardzija.

      • I read somewhere that Shark played football in college.

      • cubsfaninthenyc

        Samarzida wasnt a full time pitcher in high school he was primarily a center fielder. He wasnt made a full time starter until college. During off-seasons and summer leagues he was at football camps, not baseball. This is all wear’n’tear if you ask me.

      • cubsfaninthenyc

        And high school is when most pitcher arms are the most abused with insanely high pitch counts, pitching on fewer days rest, etc.

      • Jedi

        So being hit by a 240lb linebacker in a violent sport produces no lasting wear & tear to worry about – but pitching year-round in HS is so taxing that it’s worth consideration when doling out a contract 10-15 years later (even without any injury history subsequent to HS). This argument is so tired it gave up long ago…put down the paddles!

      • cubsfaninthenyc

        ya it is something to consider because the top risk in long contracts is injury and there is a direct correlation with amount of pitches thrown to pitcher related injuries while there’s nothing to link football type injuries to adding mileage to a pitchers arm. how many tommy john surgeries have you heard of wide receivers getting?

      • Jedi

        So being hit by a 240lb linebacker in a violent sport produces no lasting wear & tear to worry about – but pitching year-round in HS is so taxing that it’s worth consideration when doling out a contract 10-15 years later (even without any injury history subsequent to HS). This argument is so tired it gave up long ago…put down the paddles!

      • Jedi

        To combat this epidemic, the Cubs should only draft players who didn’t pitch before they turned 18. (This policy has the added benefit of restarting the Theo-clock so that it’ll now be 2025 before anyone can rightly expect this team to be any good again).

      • cubsfaninthenyc

        Samarzida wasnt a full time pitcher in high school he was primarily a center fielder. He wasnt made a full time starter until college. During off-seasons and summer leagues he was at football camps, not baseball. This is all wear’n’tear if you ask me.

      • Michael Jimenez

        One reason to think the Cubs will extend Shark is because he has a lot less wear and tear on his arm given that he doesn’t have all the innings most pitchers of his age do given that he was primarily a football player. But I do think the Cubs are entertaining the idea of trading Samardzija given his age and the potential return in a trade of him. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but there’s a better than non-zero chance.

  • Doc Raker

    Is there anything lamer than the home run derby announced by Chris Berman? backbackbackbackbackbackback gone- please Chris, be gone.

    • Seymour Butts

      I agree, it’s right on par with a Raker “fastball”.

      • Doc Raker

        The big slow curve is Rakers out pitch, and his set up pitch and every pitch in between. Nine innings of slow curve balls, OK, I threw 4 ‘fastballs’ but no one could tell.

    • PLCB3

      It sounds like a quacking duck

    • AC0000000

      It sounds like a quacking duck

  • Seymour Butts

    If you subscribe to MLB.TV, click on the link below for a free pizza.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130714&content_id=53728734&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    • Pizzas on Seymour!

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I like them much more than Subway

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        I like them much more than Subway

  • Bones

    We have to trade him. 5 year $80 million is just too much. 4 year $52 is about the limit I would go. Someone will overpay us in prospects. Texas, Toronto, Dodgers, DBacks, Pit, StL. Keep driving that price up. I expect we will get back 2 top 10 organizational pitchers plus two lottery pick pitchers ( high risk/reward).

    • Jedi

      No one is giving us 2 Top 10s unless they manage to negotiate an extension with Garza before it’s done.

      • Maybe we could haul in two portly ++ power prospects. Fill the mid-A team with fat bash brothers.

      • Jedi

        Are they able to drink? If they’re under-21 I’m all in…any older than that and they couldn’t possibly factor into Theo’s 12-year rebuild.

      • Jedi

        Are they able to drink? If they’re under-21 I’m all in…any older than that and they couldn’t possibly factor into Theo’s 12-year rebuild.

    • Jedi

      No one is giving us 2 Top 10s unless they manage to negotiate an extension with Garza before it’s done.