Going for the sweep yesterday, the Cubs ran into the usual problem….Jose Veras. If you missed the game, it’s hard to blame everything on him, but he certainly did his share of damage, again.
In his appearances so far this season, he’s posted the following:
Basically he’s had one appearance that didn’t result in a run and that was over two weeks ago. Not only should he not be the closer of this team, but you begin to wonder if he should even be on the roster at this point. Let’s take a quick look at what options the Cubs have going forward.
Option 1 – Keep the Faith – This is probably the most beneficial option given the fact that he’s signed to just a one year deal at $3.85 million with a club option for 2015 that kicks in a $0.15 mil buyout if it’s not picked up. It’s a relatively low investment for a “closer” and if the Cubs can get him right, he could be a flip candidate. His recent struggles are a reason why I continually preach the concept of building your bullpen from within and not buying it on the free agent market. You never know what you’re going to get. I’d rather gamble with low cost guys from my system and spend money elsewhere. Nonetheless, if the Cubs keep Veras and hope that either something is broken healthwise that can be fixed or hope he can turn it around, then you have to continually try to put him in the easiest situations to have success. No situations even remotely high leverage at all. I’d almost be in favor of having him be a ROOGY just so he can have that one bit of success and build on that.
Option 2 - Remove Him From The Roster – While this is the decision most want now (me included), what purpose does it really serve other than keep our mental health a little stronger because we don’t have to watch? He’s out of options, so sending him to the minors is not going to happen given that he’d have to clear waivers and would have to consent to it beforehand. That just leaves being traded (not happening), claimed on waivers (probably not happening), or releasing him. I don’t like those options quite yet. This team is not a winning team so we can afford to roll the dice and go with option one with the hope that it turns out in the positive.
What’s On Tap
After another series non-win, the Cubs face the Brewers this weekend. I’m out of town on a camping trip so the blog will be kind of quiet on Saturday and Sunday. Just be aware, but still come by to chat. To hold you over, we get a guest piece on why the Brewers will crush the Cubs this weekend by our Brewers SweetSpot Network Friend, Ryan Topp (Disciples of Uecker)
Hello friendly Illinois baseball brethren
Most of us in Brewer-land are just about as shocked as you are by the standings right now. Some of us harbored hopes of being sort of fringe wild card contenders, but I don’t think anyone saw a start like this coming. Despite having played 16 of 22 games thus far against teams that made the playoffs in 2013, the Brewers have jumped out to a 16-6 record, the best in the major leagues.
They’ve gotten very balanced pitching up and down the rotation and the bullpen has been completely lights out locking down wins. The offense isn’t killing teams, but they’ve used an aggressive approach early in counts to score enough runs to let the pitchers win games for them. Just how sustainable all this is remains to be seen, but they have a deceptively deep roster and should have some wiggle room to make changes as the needs arise.
Now, for those of you who might be thinking of visiting Miller Park in droves and treating a couple of our best players unkindly, be forewarned. Ryan Braun LOVES it when you boo him. Eats it right up. Thus far, all six of his homers have come on the road. His three homer game in Philly with a bum thumb was basically just him returning their “brotherly love” in kind. He ripped the hearts out of Pirates fans with 9th inning homers off of Jason Grilli on both Saturday and Sunday, just because he could.
Furthermore, don’t expect Carlos Gomez to just put his head down and run around the bases when he hits a 450-foot homer this weekend. That isn’t how he does things and this also isn’t a funeral. It’s a game. You know, for fun. I would advise against having one of your pitchers try and tell anyone on the Brewers how they should go about their business. That didn’t play in Pittsburgh and it’s certainly not going to play in Miller Park.
Seriously, though, there are times when it’s hard not to envy what the Cubs have going with their minor league system and the way the roster is being setup to win big in a few years. This right now is the Brewers time, though. It has to be, because the roster isn’t particularly young and this window to win isn’t going to stay open forever. So please, come on up to Miller Park this weekend and enjoy the hospitality. Enjoy the brats, the beer, and the roof. Go home with your team barely having put up a fight in a three game sweep secure in the knowledge that not only does it help your hosts, but it also helps your position in the 2015 amateur draft.