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Wednesday

9

July 2014

62

COMMENTS

Five Things Every Cub Fan Needs To Know for July 9th, 2014

Written by , Posted in General

1. The Cubs were swept in a double header – I looked at game one as a probable loss. Travis Wood hasn’t been the same pitcher this year that he was last season. It’s a good thing I’m not running the team because I was ready to lock him up to a long term deal after the development last season. This year it’s just not been there. Throw in the fact that he had to face Johnny Cueto, one of the hottest starters in the game this season and you have the makings for the a loss. That’s not to say we didn’t have our chances in game one. When we fell down 3-0 early I thought it was over, but back to back home runs by Chris Coghlan and Ryan Sweeney in the 6th made it close. We had more chances from there that were wasted, including a bases loaded situation in the 7th with one out. We just couldn’t get the run in. It was frustrating to watch it happen again after we had chances the day before.

In game two, we saw the debut of Tsuyoshi Wada, who came over from Japan to sign a deal with the Orioles a few years ago, but never got a chance to pitch due to the need for Tommy John surgery. He’s not a young kid, so he’s not really a “prospect”, but then again you never know what he can bring to the table for the next few years and that’s all I look for in pitching. Wada threw the ball well enough to get a win, but the bullpen completely wet the bed. When Wada left the game after five, the Cubs had a 5-0 lead and things looked good. When all was said and done, every Cubs reliever that entered the game had been charged with an earned run, which I can’t remember happening any other time this season aside from when it’s been just one reliever entering, and the Cubs had coughed up the lead.

If we have to find positives, we saw continued hitting out of Coghlan. We saw Anthony Rizzo go deep for the 19th time this season and Mike Olt didn’t strike out every at bat, which means he hit a home run.

Kyle Hendricks gets the start today, making his big league debut and I can’t be more excited. The game is on WGN, which I’m thrilled about considering the fact that the MLB.tv package wet the bed last night and was basically unusable.

2. The Athletics Like Luis ValbuenaKen Rosenthal reported in his column on Tuesday that the A’s were trying to get the Cubs to include Valbuena as part of the deal over the weekend. Theo and Jed balked at the idea, but Rosenthal speculates that perhaps a deal may happen still prior to the non-waiver deadline. I have done a complete 180 on Valbuena. I can vividly remember calling for him to be off the team just two seasons ago and now he’s blossomed into a very useful part of this team. He has good patience at the plate and generally plays a good third base. With the plethora of infield talent in the farm, if we can turn that into more pieces, I’m all about it. His value should be higher given that he’s inexpensive and still under club control on the cheap.

3. Who Needs a Shortstop? – The Washington Nationals are rumored to be in the market to acquire a young shortstop. The Mets also need a shortstop, though Keith Hernandez doesn’t think Starlin Castro is any good and doesn’t want him. What I think is important to point out to reassure those who worry about the “logjam” at the shortstop position. There is no such thing as too many shortstops. Just the rumors over the last two days about people’s interested in middle infield help should be enough to reassure that we’re going to be just fine with these guys.

4.The Red Sox are looking to deal Jake Peavy – Peter Gammons is reporting that Peavy has said he’s ready to go if Boston finds a deal. That doesn’t have a direct influence on the Cubs, but it makes me wonder if they would also want to deal Jon Lester before the deadline since they’ve had a hard time in negotiations with him. I believe they missed their opportunity to sign him and that he’s going to walk at the end of the year. I want him in this rotation next year so I wonder if Boston will look to deal him. Ideally, I’d rather him come here via free agency, so my hope is that Boston will not deal him and then he walks. We shall see. The Sox are looking more and more like sellers.

5. Minor MattersKyle Schwarber continues his assault on minor league pitching since being drafted in June. He went 3-f0r-5 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Since being drafted, Kyle has played in Boise and Kane County (Go see him now before you miss your chance if you’re in the Chicago area), and has posted a line of .436 / .511 / .872 with 8 HR and 23 RBI in 21 games. He’s a college hitter, so you’ll expect his bat to move quickly through the minors, but I didn’t expect him to come out this hot. I worry that his bat will far out pace his development at the catcher position and he’ll end up playing somewhere else. If we could develop him as a catcher it would be huge.

Bonus Thing To Know:

We’re giving away a copy of OOTP 15 – If you’ve never played the game, you need to. It’s a tremendous simulation baseball game and we’re giving away a copy of it at the end of the month to one lucky Twitter follower. Follow me on Twitter @vftb for a chance to win.

  • Dork

    Hoping to see shwarber at the end of July in Appleton

  • Dork

    Hoping to see shwarber at the end of July in Appleton

  • PLCB3

    Speaking of Japanese pitchers and Tommy John surgery, whatever happened to Fujikawa?

    • Dork

      He pitched a scoreless inning at Ariana last night

  • AC0000000

    Speaking of Japanese pitchers and Tommy John surgery, whatever happened to Fujikawa?

    • Dork

      He pitched a scoreless inning at Ariana last night

  • Doug S.

    Great to be in Chicago and walk into a bar with the Cubs game on by default. Not so great to gas that 5-0 lead in game 2 yesterday and reds sweep the dh.

    • Dork

      Those games that we have a 95% chance of wininng and then lose — suck

      • Dork

        One thing that really Irked me about last night was how Ricky bring in the Left hander (Wright) to walk one batter to start an inning. Starting an inning is not situational pithing. You are bringing in a cold pitcher and using up one of your lefties, then imediatly bringing in another cold pitcher. I would not have cared if the cubs had won, but it did irk me.

  • Doug S.

    Great to be in Chicago and walk into a bar with the Cubs game on by default. Not so great to gas that 5-0 lead in game 2 yesterday and reds sweep the dh.

    • Dork

      Those games that we have a 95% chance of wininng and then lose — suck

      • Dork

        One thing that really Irked me about last night was how Ricky bring in the Left hander (Wright) to walk one batter to start an inning. Starting an inning is not situational pithing. You are bringing in a cold pitcher and using up one of your lefties, then imediatly bringing in another cold pitcher. I would not have cared if the cubs had won, but it did irk me.

  • Dork

    I am hoping that Alcantra can stick for more than 2 days.

    • Noah_I

      I think there’s actually a possibility of this… maybe a trade is on the horizon for Valbuena, Ruggiano or Coghlan. I’d think Ruggiano is the most likely, since Valbuena can be useful next season to ease into the transition to Baez/Bryant, or hold a position until Russell is ready if the Cubs decide to trade Baez or move Bryant to the OF, and I think Coghlan is the guy the Cubs are most likely to want to keep next season. Any of these trades would open up a spot for Alcantara, either at 2B or CF. If the Cubs were JUST looking to bring someone up to fill the roster spot for a couple of days before heading back to Iowa, my guess is that it would have been Logan Watkins, especially since the Cubs won’t receive any attendance bump from promoting a high level prospect with them playing the next two days (the length of the paternity leave) on the road.

  • Dork

    I am hoping that Alcantra can stick for more than 2 days.

    • Noah_I

      I think there’s actually a possibility of this… maybe a trade is on the horizon for Valbuena, Ruggiano or Coghlan. I’d think Ruggiano is the most likely, since Valbuena can be useful next season to ease into the transition to Baez/Bryant, or hold a position until Russell is ready if the Cubs decide to trade Baez or move Bryant to the OF, and I think Coghlan is the guy the Cubs are most likely to want to keep next season. Any of these trades would open up a spot for Alcantara, either at 2B or CF. If the Cubs were JUST looking to bring someone up to fill the roster spot for a couple of days before heading back to Iowa, my guess is that it would have been Logan Watkins, especially since the Cubs won’t receive any attendance bump from promoting a high level prospect with them playing the next two days (the length of the paternity leave) on the road.

  • Dork

    I might have been too hard on Couglin, he is really starting to hit.

    • Noah_I

      Coghlan is an interesting case. He had a great rookie year in 2009, although the batting average was unsustainable due to a .365 BABIP. Still, even if the BABIP for that season was adjusted down to .300, you’re looking at about a .270/.340/.410 in his rookie season, which probably doesn’t win him the ROY award but is an average regular. My understanding was that he was never really healthy after that until this year. This could be one last hurrah, but maybe he can still be that mid to high .700s OPS guy he showed as a rookie. It’s worth playing him every day to find out.

      • Doc Raker

        I agree. This is the time we should be looking at these guys. I really lost interest in the won and loss record and I am focusing on all these fin young prospects for the future. I get excited when we win 4 in a row but then reality of youth hits me square in the face.

        Do you think they will even bring up any high level prospect this season? I am of the thought that Bryant will not see the bigs this year at all if only to delay his service time start date.

      • PLCB3

        If you’re not going to be competing and the player is not 100% ready for the show then I see nothing wrong with waiting so you get that extra year and don’t have to pay Super-2.

      • Dork

        It is not being reported this way but I would not be surprised if we did not see Baez and Bryant until June of next year.
        What the hell is 100% ready? You only know in hindsight

      • PLCB3

        Right like McJedEp would flat out say we’re going to wait until June to call him up so not only do we get an extra year of control but also so he won’t be a Super-2 player.

      • Chuck

        Well, that is somewhat true. However, I am confident that Baez is NOT ready based on his .242/.308/.453 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line coupled with his 28/106 BB/SO ratio at the ripe old age of 21. I would like to see him really start to dominate before calling him up.

        Contrast that with Alcantara’s stats of .307/.353/.537 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line. I don’t really like his 25/83 BB/SO ratio, but it is not horrible. He looks like he is ready for a call-up even though he is only 22.

        Then again, if you are 26 and still in AAA, you are “ready” regardless if you really are ready. It is s**t-or-get-off-the-pot time for you.

      • Dork

        Wouldn’t it be nice to see Alcantra just keep that slash line going at Wrigley?

      • Chuck

        He could be the lead-off guy the Cubs have been looking for since forever. 2B or OF of the future. I would rather see him at 2B.

      • Noah_I

        I think him being a leadoff hitter is probably ceiling, meaning he’s unlikely to reach it. I’d bet more on him being a .320-330ish OBP guy in the Majors (that BABIP won’t keep up in the Big Leagues) with 20 HR pop at an up the middle position. That’s a really valuable player, but someone who ideally is batting 6th.

        Addison Russell, who has shown good OBP skills in the minors, is probably a better bet to be the leadoff hitter of the future.

      • Noah_I

        Baez has been much better since the first month and a half of the season (which was 28 games for him due to injuries). In his 118 PAs through May 15, he was batting .142/.229/.255 with a 38% strikeout rate. Since then, he’s batting .297/.352/.563 in 216 PAs with a 28% K rate.

        However, I agree that there’s no reason to rush Baez. He’s showing signs of improvement in Triple A. His K rate by month has been 34.9% in April, 34.4% in May, 29.3% in June, and down to 24.4% this far in July (including today’s action so far), although considering it’s only been 10 games and 41 PAs one 3 K night would make that look worse quickly.

      • Doc Raker

        Alcantara is in the Cubs line up in Cinci tonight.

      • Noah_I

        Alcantara is the only one with a reasonable shot of being called up this year. Neither Bryant nor Baez are on the 40 man, and no reason to use up the service time in a year the Cubs aren’t competing. This is especially true for Bryant, who is less likely to sign a long term extension giving up some free agent years with Boras as his agent. And, of the two, Bryant is more ready for the Majors right now. I’d expect that you’ll see both of them in early 2015, and unless the Cubs just get off to a horrid start in 2015, I think they’ll be up in late April/early May once the extra year of service time is acquired. I don’t think you’ll see too much concern with the Super 2 deadline with the two of them.

      • PLCB3

        It’s after day 12 I thought? Because the season is 183 days and a full season is 172 days of service time.

      • Doc Raker

        you are a genius, enter Alcantara stage right………

  • Dork

    I might have been too hard on Couglin, he is really starting to hit.

    • Noah_I

      Coghlan is an interesting case. He had a great rookie year in 2009, although the batting average was unsustainable due to a .365 BABIP. Still, even if the BABIP for that season was adjusted down to .300, you’re looking at about a .270/.340/.410 in his rookie season, which probably doesn’t win him the ROY award but is an average regular. My understanding was that he was never really healthy after that until this year. This could be one last hurrah, but maybe he can still be that mid to high .700s OPS guy he showed as a rookie. It’s worth playing him every day to find out.

      • Doc Raker

        I agree. This is the time we should be looking at these guys. I really lost interest in the won and loss record and I am focusing on all these fin young prospects for the future. I get excited when we win 4 in a row but then reality of youth hits me square in the face.

        Do you think they will even bring up any high level prospect this season? I am of the thought that Bryant will not see the bigs this year at all if only to delay his service time start date.

      • AC0000000

        If you’re not going to be competing and the player is not 100% ready for the show then I see nothing wrong with waiting so you get that extra year and don’t have to pay Super-2.

      • Dork

        It is not being reported this way but I would not be surprised if we did not see Baez and Bryant until June of next year.
        What the hell is 100% ready? You only know in hindsight

      • AC0000000

        Right like McJedEp would flat out say we’re going to wait until June to call him up so not only do we get an extra year of control but also so he won’t be a Super-2 player.

      • Chuck

        Well, that is somewhat true. However, I am confident that Baez is NOT ready based on his .242/.308/.453 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line coupled with his 28/106 BB/SO ratio at the ripe old age of 21. I would like to see him really start to dominate before calling him up.

        Contrast that with Alcantara’s stats of .307/.353/.537 AVG/OBP/SLG slash line. I don’t really like his 25/83 BB/SO ratio, but it is not horrible. He looks like he is ready for a call-up even though he is only 22.

        Then again, if you are 26 and still in AAA, you are “ready” regardless if you really are ready. It is s**t-or-get-off-the-pot time for you.

      • Dork

        Wouldn’t it be nice to see Alcantra just keep that slash line going at Wrigley?

      • Chuck

        He could be the lead-off guy the Cubs have been looking for since forever. 2B or OF of the future. I would rather see him at 2B.

      • Noah_I

        I think him being a leadoff hitter is probably ceiling, meaning he’s unlikely to reach it. I’d bet more on him being a .320-330ish OBP guy in the Majors (that BABIP won’t keep up in the Big Leagues) with 20 HR pop at an up the middle position. That’s a really valuable player, but someone who ideally is batting 6th.

        Addison Russell, who has shown good OBP skills in the minors, is probably a better bet to be the leadoff hitter of the future.

      • Noah_I

        Baez has been much better since the first month and a half of the season (which was 28 games for him due to injuries). In his 118 PAs through May 15, he was batting .142/.229/.255 with a 38% strikeout rate. Since then, he’s batting .297/.352/.563 in 216 PAs with a 28% K rate.

        However, I agree that there’s no reason to rush Baez. He’s showing signs of improvement in Triple A. His K rate by month has been 34.9% in April, 34.4% in May, 29.3% in June, and down to 24.4% this far in July (including today’s action so far), although considering it’s only been 10 games and 41 PAs one 3 K night would make that look worse quickly.

      • Doc Raker

        Alcantara is in the Cubs line up in Cinci tonight.

      • Noah_I

        Alcantara is the only one with a reasonable shot of being called up this year. Neither Bryant nor Baez are on the 40 man, and no reason to use up the service time in a year the Cubs aren’t competing. This is especially true for Bryant, who is less likely to sign a long term extension giving up some free agent years with Boras as his agent. And, of the two, Bryant is more ready for the Majors right now. I’d expect that you’ll see both of them in early 2015, and unless the Cubs just get off to a horrid start in 2015, I think they’ll be up in late April/early May once the extra year of service time is acquired. I don’t think you’ll see too much concern with the Super 2 deadline with the two of them.

      • AC0000000

        It’s after day 12 I thought? Because the season is 183 days and a full season is 172 days of service time.

      • Doc Raker

        you are a genius, enter Alcantara stage right………

  • PLCB3

    Btw it’s July 9.

  • AC0000000

    Btw it’s July 9.

  • Adam

    you mean JULY 9th right?

    • Doc Raker

      No way

  • Adam

    you mean JULY 9th right?

    • Doc Raker

      No way

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    I’m happy to hear the game tonight is on WGN as well. Unfortunately the last few games on my MLB package have been the Reds broadcast, whom I find to be the biggest homers in all of MLB. They constantly praise the Reds players even when things go wrong (Bruce at 1B on Monday and the Reds rookie pitcher last night even after he wet the bed). At the same time they seem to go out of their way to find anything negative to say about the opposing team. I almost find them worse to watch than Hawk Harrelson’s White Sox broadcasts.

    • Doc Raker

      You know the best thing about the Reds broadcast?……….No Len Kasper which makes it the best broadcast of the Cubs game that you can get. Actually, they are such homers that when the Reds stink it up they get so upset it is entertaining.

      • PLCB3

        So a Cubs-White Sox game, which feed would you watch?

        The Cubs broadcast or the trash’s broadcast?

      • Doc Raker

        The White Sox because Steve Stone is one of the best even though KH is one of the worst but what makes them watchable is no Len Kasper. Len Kapser is the least insightful baseball broadcaster in the game, it’s like DeShaie’s is talking to himself when he says something insightful, Len never expands on DeShaie’s insightful comments. Len knows his music though…………….

  • Mark_from_Toronto

    I’m happy to hear the game tonight is on WGN as well. Unfortunately the last few games on my MLB package have been the Reds broadcast, whom I find to be the biggest homers in all of MLB. They constantly praise the Reds players even when things go wrong (Bruce at 1B on Monday and the Reds rookie pitcher last night even after he wet the bed). At the same time they seem to go out of their way to find anything negative to say about the opposing team. I almost find them worse to watch than Hawk Harrelson’s White Sox broadcasts.

    • Doc Raker

      You know the best thing about the Reds broadcast?……….No Len Kasper which makes it the best broadcast of the Cubs game that you can get. Actually, they are such homers that when the Reds stink it up they get so upset it is entertaining.

      • AC0000000

        So a Cubs-White Sox game, which feed would you watch?

        The Cubs broadcast or the trash’s broadcast?

      • Doc Raker

        The White Sox because Steve Stone is one of the best even though KH is one of the worst but what makes them watchable is no Len Kasper. Len Kapser is the least insightful baseball broadcaster in the game, it’s like DeShaie’s is talking to himself when he says something insightful, Len never expands on DeShaie’s insightful comments. Len knows his music though…………….