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Organizational Recap: Bring on Chapman

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Cubs 4 @ White Sox 5 (Box Score)

THE CHAPMAN TRADE – Yesterday I mentioned that because I didn’t know the details of the trade, I couldn’t give my opinion on if I liked it or not. Now we know that it was Aroldis Chapman going to the Cubs for Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren, and Rashad Crawford. I saw a lot of buzz on Twitter yesterday when the news came out that it was a 4 for 1 deal that the Cubs overpaid, but let’s break it down for a minute.

Torres is a 19 year old shortstop with a huge ceiling. He ranks #24 in the pre-season MLB top prospects list by MLB Pipeline and has been considered the # 1 guy in the Cubs system many experts. In other words, he’s got a lot of potentialHowever, the fact remains that he’s 19, plays shortstop, where the Cubs already have two very talented people capable of manning that spot, and is probably 2-3 years away from the majors at best. As much as Cubs fans complain, this was someone the Cubs could afford to part with.

When you look at the rest of the guys, what are you frustrated with losing? McKinney? Since having knee surgery, he’s not been the same player this season and is probably a 4th outfielder on a Major League roster at best. It’s like losing someone like Matt Szczur. It’s depth. Warren came from the Yankees anyway, and while he may have figured into the plans as a potential member of the rotation in the future, he wasn’t producing this year. Crawford is a throw in. Essentially this trade is Torres and some scrubs for Chapman. It’s in no way a “blockbuster”, but it helps this team get better this year, which is the goal. The goal this year is to win the World Series. That’s what Theo and Jed are trying to accomplish and I’m all for it.

The other issue of the domestic violence has been a sticking point for a lot of people and they feel like it’s horrible to root for someone who has this in their history. My feelings on that are this, and pardon the religious aspects. People sin. They sin every day. I do, and you do. We all do. I don’t know the exact details of what went down that day, but the fact of the matter is that it happened, Chapman has asked for forgiveness and served his suspension. His girlfriend has forgiven him and they are still together. It’s time to move on and play baseball. It’s the same way I feel about Ray Rice. Give the guy a tryout and let him try to play football again.

ARRIETA IS NOT BACK? – If you look just at the box score, you’ll come away thinking that Jake Arrieta had a bad outing, but the fact is, he really didn’t Yes, he gave up four earned runs, but he really was in command most of his start. Todd Frazier got him for a three run homer that made it look worse than it was. I wasn’t “happy” with the start, but I’m also not going to get up in arms and say things like “See, I told you that start post All Star break was a fluke.” or “Jake’s broken…it’s time to panic”. I never know if the Cubs fans on Twitter are serious when they post stuff like this, but I would imagine they are since Cub fans are a fickle bread. The fact is, I’m not worried about Jake. He’s going to be just fine.

DID JED KEEP OUR RECEIPT? – New acquisition, Mike Montgomery, got into his second game as a Cub and grabbed himself a loss in the bottom of the 10th. That’s two straight outings he’s come in and given up a run. I mentioned in the post where he came over that I was a little skeptical of the trade, but that losing what we lost to get him didn’t bother me. I didn’t trust Montgomery to be the savior from the left side in the pen, which adds to why I’m so excited that we went out and got Chapman. Montgomery can definitely be a useful piece in that pen, especially to spell someone like Travis Wood who has been giving it all he has, but he’s not going to be the shutdown guy, I don’t believe.

THE RIZZO SUBSTITUTION – Maddon has a weird way of doing things sometimes and you either love it or hate it. Most of the time, I like it, but last night I found it odd. In the 9th inning, with the go ahead run on 2nd base and two outs, Maddon pulled Anthony Rizzo off of 2nd for a pinch runner in Szczur. That leaves no true first baseman on the roster to take the field in the bottom half of the inning and potentially into extras. It didn’t make sense. Rizzo is a good baserunner and Szczur doesn’t bring that much more speed to the table to make it worth it to lose the defense and bat that Rizzo brings to the table. I didn’t like the move. We didn’t lose because of it, but it made no sense to me.



PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

  • AAA – Mark Zagunis (LF) – 2 for 3, 2 R
  • AAA – Jordan Pries (SP) – 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • AAA – Felix Pena (MR) – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
  • A-Adv – Yasiel Balaguert (1B) – 3 for 4, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • A – Eddy Martinez (RF) – 2 for 3, HR, 4 RBI

HIGHLIGHTS

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Organizational Recap: Chapman Coming?

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Cubs 6 @ Brewers 5 (Box Score)

CHAPMAN RUMORS – We heard late last night massive talk that the Cubs are close to a deal with the Yankees and that it’s basically done. It’s hard to comment on it when we truly do not know all the details and I hate commenting on rumors, so I will say this. If the Cubs move Gleyber Torres and it brings Aroldis Chapman back and it helps us win the World Series, I’m good. At this point I’m ready to win a World Series. Is Torres a high price of a piece? Of course, but sometimes you have to push the chips in and go for it, especially when you have an embarrassment of riches.

SERIES WIN – We took care of business this weekend, thought we made it difficult on Sunday to win the series. In the end, we won the series and that’s the key. Just keep winning series. This week, with the split with the White Sox, let’s focus on taking 3 of 4. Just keep winning series and this will be a fun second half.

NEW TOYS – We got to see Mike Montgomery and Joe Nathan, Joe’s new toys, pitch this weekend. Montgomery got into the game on Saturday and Nathan on Sunday. What were your thoughts? While Nathan got into trouble early, I was very impressed that he hung in there and struck out the side to get out of it.


PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

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Organizational Recap – The Brewers Are Bad

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

Cubs 5 @ Brewers 2 (Box Score)

  • AM I OLD? – I spent my Friday night excited after a day off from baseball ready to sit on the couch and watch Cubs and Brewers in July. Am I a loser?
  • WELCOME BACK – Dexter Fowler came back from his DL stint, was told to monitor things and check in to prevent re injury risks, and promptly decided to go off, finishing the day a triple shy of the cycle. I forgot how nice it is to have him back at the top of the lineup.
  • BAD NEWS BREWERS – I thought this one was going to be a laugher after the first couple innings. The Brewers looked like a minor league team out there the way they threw the ball away and booted things. It wasn’t pretty, and then they settled down. I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to be a Brewers fan right now. Oh wait, yes I can. We recently lived it and have been living it all our lives as Cub fans.
  • I LOVE THAT ARM, BUT SIMMER DOWN – If you missed it, Willson Contreras unloaded a throw from left field to the plate that started almost at the warning track and made it to the plate on a fly. It was an ill advised throw in the situation, but boy was it a thing of beauty to watch how strong his arm is.

PERFORMANCES OF NOTE

  • AA – Chris Coghlan (LF) – 1 for 3 in a rehab start
  • AA – Jack Leathersich (MR) – 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 K – First outing since coming from Arizona League
  • A-Adv – Charcer Burks (LF) – 3 for 5, 2 2B, RBI
  • A-Adv – David Bote (2B) – 3 for 4, 2 R
  • SS – Chris Pieters (LF) – 3 for 5, 2 RBI
  • SS – Jesus Castillo (SP) – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

HIGHLIGHTS

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Organizational Recap – A Series Win and a Trade

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Mets 2 @ Cubs 6 (Box Score)

THE TRADE – If you missed the news yesterday, the Cubs made a trade with the Mariners for bullpen help. The Cubs acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery and right-handed pitcher Jordan Pries in exchange for Paul Blackburn and Dan Vogelbach. Montgomery is the arm that immediately helps this pen with another lefty, who has pitched to lefties to the tune of a .164 / .269 / .254 split line. He’s a young, cost controlled guy who throws in the low to mid-90’s on his fastball and uses as cutter, curveball and a change. My one concern about how well he’s done against lefties is his BABIP of just .204. That has to balance out over the long haul and since he’s not a massive strikeout guy (under 1 per inning), I worry a little, but overall I like the move. Vogelbach did not have a place on this team and was doing well in AAA this year. He didn’t have the makings of being a centerpiece to a huge deal for someone like Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman, but he brought back and arm and I can see the Cubs continuing to shop. To be honest, I’m more upset about the loss of Blackburn, who was developing nicely and moving along through the system. I saw him starting next year with Iowa with a shot to make the rotation as a call up if needed. It is what it is and now we hope Montgomery helps solidify things a little more back there in the pen with the rotation appearing to get back on track.

THE SERIES WIN – While we didn’t “balance the books” with the Mets for the regular season, we took a series that I considered pretty important out of the break. That’s two series wins in a row with a date with the Brewers up next this weekend. There is no reason why we shouldn’t win that series as well and continue the momentum into the split series with the Sox.

THE THROW – If you missed the game, you missed Jason Heyward showing his value in the outfield. Now if he would only show his value at the plate.


STARTING PITCHERS

AAA – Drew Rucinski – 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

AAA – Jake Buchanan – 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

AA – Tyler Skulina – 5 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

A – Justin Steele – 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

SS – Jose Paulino – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K

TOP HITTERS

AAA – Dexter Fowler (CF) – 1 for 6, 2B, 2 R

AAA – Jorge Soler (LF) – 0 for 3, 3 K’s

AA – Bijan Rademacher (LF) – 2 for 4, 2 2B, R

A – Eddy Martinez (RF) – 3 for 4, 2B, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R

SS – Wladimir Galindo (DH) – 2 for 4, R

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Organizational Recap: Missed Opportunities, but Jake is Back

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Mets 2 @ Cubs 1 (Box Score)

  • GOOD JAKE BACK? – We didn’t know what we’d get from Jake Arrieta coming off a really long rest with the All Star break and being bumped to the last guy to start out of the break, but he put that all to rest. I hope and pray that all that was wrong was fatigue and that a mental and physical break would cure things. It sure looked like a different pitching rotation this time through, capped off by Jake’s outing last night. That’s a huge positive to take away from a night that we should have come away with a victory.
  • SO, ABOUT THAT HOT STREAK…Anthony Rizzo was hot as fire coming into the game and was promptly shut down in grand fashion. He went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts and contributed -0.149 WPA, which means that when you start with a 50% chance of winning, he took away almost of 1/3 of it with his performance. Tough night for Rizzo, but it happens. Some nights you put your tail between your legs and come out fighting the next day.
  • CRAZY LINEUP – I got a tweet last night that the lineup Joe Maddon rolled out there was the reason we lost. They said that Kris Bryant should not have been in RF, that Willson Contreras shouldn’t be in left, etc. I say to that: poppycock poppypenis (sorry, it’s a family blog). Maddon has done a wonderful job of putting guys in positions to allow the Cubs to have tremendous depth. That depth is huge when guys like Jorge Soler (well, maybe not him cause he sucks), Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber (I miss him) go down. The Cubs didn’t lose that game because of the placement of players. They didn’t even lose the game because Noah Syndergaard was on the mound. They lost that game because of failure to take advantage of opportunities that were presented to them wrapped in pretty wrapping paper with a lace bow on top. When you load the bases against Jeurys Familia, one of the best closers in the game, when he’s not even close to throwing strikes, and then fail to score, you deserve to lose the game. The Mets tried to give it away and we treated it like we were playing hot potato and want that win out of our hands as quick as possible. Now it’s important to win the series finale today against Big Fat and keep the momentum rolling.

STARTING PITCHERS

A-Adv – Jeremy Null – 0.2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB 0 K

SS – Bryan Hudson – 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 2 K

TOP HITTERS

A-Adv – Yasiel Balaguert (1B) – 4 for 4, 2 RBI, R

SS – Chris Pieters (1B) – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI

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