Archive for the ‘General’ Category

10 Bold Predictions for 2014 – How Did I Do?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

At the beginning of the season, I made some predictions for what I thought would potentially happen. Obviously when you’re making bold predictions, you don’t expect all of them to come true. I find it funny that most people just crank these things out and no one usually goes back to see how they did. Today we’re going to do just that. Off we go.

1. Mike Olt will lead the team in home runs - OK, we’re off to a no so good start here. I didn’t think Olt was going to be a monster at the plate, though I hoped he would, but I didn’t expect him to struggle as much as he did. He said his eyesight was better and that it was the cause the year before for his struggles. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and Olt finished 5th on the team in home runs with 12, behind Anthony Rizzo (32), Luis Valbuena (16), Starlin Castro (14), and Welington Castillo (13).

At this point, I’m not really sure what the future holds for Olt. He’s generally dropped out of the discussion as a future building block, so now the question is what his role might actually be. I fear he may go the route of someone like Josh Vitters and just sort of fade off into the Cubs sunset. The one thing he has going for him this year and probably this year only, is that Kris Bryant won’t be called up immediately. He has a very small window of shared time at third base with Valbuena where he could impress. It may be his last shot.

2. Javier Baez will have started at least 15 games at shortstop for the Cubs by September 1. – While he only make five starts at shortstop before Sept 1, he did play basically the entire month of August, which was the point of the exercise here. My point was that Baez was going to be up and starting sooner than September 1 and I just figured it would be at shortstop.

3. Anthony Rizzo will finish in the top 10 for the NL MVP race - Had Rizzo not gone down for a period with an injury, he would have finished higher in the ballot. Nonetheless, it was announced the other day that he just squeeked out a win for me on this one with a 10th place finish in the NL MVP vote. That makes 2-for-3 so far.

4. Kyle Hendricks will make at least 10 starts for the Cubs - I knocked this one out of the park. 10 starts was a really bold prediction given that a starter, if healthy, only makes about 33-35 starts, and the fact that the Cubs had five guys pretty much locked into the rotation to start the year. Hendricks looked far better than I would have predicted, but I think we’ll see a strong regression to the mean in 2015 for him and he’ll settle in as a back end of the rotation guy. It’s tough to be more than that as a finesse pitcher, but maybe he’ll prove us wrong.

5. Pedro Strop will finish the season with more saves than Jose Veras - I feel bad taking a win on this one, but it is what it is. Strop finished the season with two saves and Veras had just one. Veras looked better pitching for Houston, but I’m fine with us releasing him when we did.

6. The bullpen will finish in the top 5 in the NL for ERA - It’s not a win for me on this one, but my point in the prediction was that this bullpen was going to be much improved. For a bullpen that finished 13th in 2013, an improvement to 8th is what I was going for. I can’t find a site that will allow for a double split to sort as a bullpen and month by month, but I would venture to guess that the pen was top five or just outside of it each month after Veras was released and Carlos Villanueva stopped getting in games as consistently late.

7. More than one player will represent the Cubs in the All Star game. - Nope. [UPDATE] I was told to give myself credit for this one. Rizzo was added by vote later. I don’t tend to count that spot, but I’ll take it.

8. Castro will be traded by the July 31 deadline and Darwin Barney will not.Got this one completely backward. I thought someone would want to trade for Castro and that the front office would make that deal. I also thought Barney had no value whatsoever. Instead, it’s Barney leaving and the Cubs receiving Jonathan Martinez in return.

9. People will quickly see why Arodys Vizcaino was considered a top prospect when he announces his presence with authority after being recalled from Iowa and becomes one of the top arms in the pen. – Boy, I really thought he was going to be huge for this pen. In fact, all spring training I predicted he would make the opening day roster. Instead, he was traded back to the Braves last week.

10. The Cubs will win 81 games in 2014 - I must have meant 2015.

Final Total – 5 out of 10

 

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Jon Lester Close to Signing with the Cubs?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

With the Russell Martin signing in Toronto, Cubs fans are up in arms about losing a guy that I feel is now an overpriced, aging pitch framer. Sure, he had a good offensive season last season, but overall, he’s not the best offensive catcher these days.

Year Age Tm PA 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 23 LAD 468 26 4 10 45 57 .282 .355 .436 .792
2007 ★ 24 LAD 620 32 3 19 67 89 .293 .374 .469 .843
2008 ★ 25 LAD 650 25 0 13 90 83 .280 .385 .396 .781
2009 26 LAD 588 19 0 7 69 80 .250 .352 .329 .680
2010 27 LAD 387 13 0 5 48 61 .248 .347 .332 .679
2011 ★ 28 NYY 476 17 0 18 50 81 .237 .324 .408 .732
2012 29 NYY 485 18 0 21 53 95 .211 .311 .403 .713
2013 30 PIT 506 21 0 15 58 108 .226 .327 .377 .703
2014 31 PIT 460 20 0 11 59 78 .290 .402 .430 .832
9 Yrs 4640 191 7 119 539 732 .259 .354 .399 .754
162 Game Avg. 646 27 1 17 75 102 .259 .354 .399 .754

Don’t discouraged that the Cubs didn’t overpay. Even Paul Sullivan knows better. Instead the Cubs have made the news with the fact that Jon Lester met with Theo and Jed in Chicago today and is scheduled to meet with the Braves and the Cardinals. I’m not sure why he would sign with the Braves given the fact that they may be signalling a rebuild with the trade of Jason Heyward and my guess is that while St Louis has interest, it may be a ploy to visit the rival to try to garner a little more money. In the end, I think it comes down to the Cubs and the Red Sox. I believe Lester is the Cubs primary off-season target and to lose out on him would be a slight kick in the rebuild seeds, but not something that would knock everything off course. In the unfortunate event that Lester does not choose Chicago, there are a lot of names on the free agent market this off-season and next to keep the rebuild right on track.

  • MLB Trade Rumors posted about the idea that Travis Wood may be a non-tender possibility this off-season. While Wood didn’t have the best of years, I believe in his talent and I’d like to see him be a part of the rotation in 2015.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider (Subscription Required) had a post about four potential trades for Cole Hammels. As you might guess, the Cubs made the list with a package of CJ Edwards, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora, to which I say ‘No Way’. I believe Almora is going to be a key outfield piece at the top of the order in the next couple years. Edwards I think may end up being a late inning guy due to his frame and McKinney I could take or leave. Almora is the key and that deal and I’m not moving him.
  • Justin Masterston is a named that popped up on Twitter as a potential option for the Cubs. Theo and Jed have already said they won’t sign two big name guys, so Masterson seems to fit that mold of a guy on a low risk deal that could turn into another gem. I’d endorse this one.
  • Patrick Mooney reported that Jason Hammel and the Cubs have mutual interest in a reunion. I’d also be for this.
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Cubs Send Arodys Vizcaino back to Atlanta

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

 

The Cubs announced a swap with the Atlanta Braves today:

The Chicago Cubs today acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Atlanta Braves, as well as Atlanta’s number four international signing bonus slot, for right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino and three international signing bonus slots (slot numbers two, three and four).

La Stella, 25, made his major league debut with the Braves last season and led National League rookies with 36 walks and a .328 on-base percentage (min. 300 plate appearances). In 93 games, he hit .251 (80-for-319) with 16 doubles, one home run and 31 RBI, and compiled a .984 fielding percentage (6 E/368 TC) in 88 games at second base. He began the year at Triple-A, his first time at that level, and hit .293 (49-for-167) with a .384 on-base percentage in 47 games for Gwinnett prior to his promotion to the majors.

The five-foot, 11-inch, 185-pound La Stella was named the Braves ninth-best prospect by Baseball America heading into last season. He owns a .322 (326-for-1,013) batting average and a .407 on-base percentage in 288 career minor league games since he was selected by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2011 Draft. La Stella has 136 walks compared to 102 strikeouts in 1,197 minor league plate appearances.

In 2013, La Stella was named Double-A Mississippi’s Most Valuable Player after he led the team with a .343 batting average (97-for-283) and a .422 on-base percentage in 81 games. He recorded a franchise-record 23-game hitting streak, July 5-August 5, in which he batted .386 (34-for-88). Additionally, La Stella was named to the 2013 Arizona Fall League’s Top Prospects team after batting .290 (18-for-62) in 18 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions.

La Stella, a left-handed batter and right-handed fielder, was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star in 2012 with Single-A Lynchburg, a season in which he hit .397 in 23 games following the All-Star break. In 2011, his first pro season, he led Single-A Rome with a .328 batting average (76-for-232) in 63 games.

Vizcaino, 24, pitched in five September games for the Cubs last season and posted a 5.40 ERA (3 ER/5.0 IP) in his first major league action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2012. He was acquired from the Braves with right-handed pitcher Jaye Chapman, July 30, 2012, for left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson.

I admit, I’m saddened by this trade. I really felt like Vizcaino would be making a meaningful impact last season for the Cubs. He didn’t, but he was poised to make the opening day roster this season and be a power arm in the back of the pen. That said, I’d take a hitter over a bullpen arm any day of the week.

Given the fact that this international signing period, the Cubs figure to be penalized and not able to spend much anyway, don’t look much into the draft slot part of the deal from our side. The goal for the deal is trading a commodity that we didn’t have a use for (draft slots) and get a guy we valued higher than Vizcaino. I’m not sure I make this deal given the lack of playing time for La Stella in the infield, but that could be my Vizcaino bias kicking in.

Thoughts on the trade?

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GirlieView (11/13/2014)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.

Lizzies

  • Enjoyed the series, though it may have ended on a more special note had KC won.
  • This Joe Maddon talk seems real.
  • Doc at the top of the list also real.
  • Happy for all the optimism 2015 brings.
  • Happy for how the Lizzie standings boost Doc’s purpose to live.
  • Well, well, well……….unsustainable huh, it will never last huh. Lizzie, you are an insightful genius that obviously understands humor.
  • I am a real pro at tuning out. Just ask my wife.
  • Your wife is biased, just like all wives are in regards to their husbands, because we all know how tune out our wives.
  • I actually read an article that suggested they keep Renteria as a bench coach if they hire Maddon.
  • Maddon must not be fluent in Spanish.
  • fellow Viewers
  • How about simply telling us, “The Cubs are a big market team and we certainly have money to spend on payroll, but we’re not doing that until our young players develop and we have a better chance to win.”
  • or something even more brutally honest like, “Our team is awful, and we will be for a while. Even if we spend on free agency, we’ll still be bad. And, it messes up our plans to get the best draft picks possible for a few years,” or words to that effect.
  • Len Kasper singing a lifetime deal scares the bejeepers out of me. John Legend, however, would probably love it.
  • or, you know, signing.
  • Both scenarios are equally as scary.
  • I’m particularly interested in whether or not Dave Martinez makes his way back to the North Side…so are many of the player’s wives.
  • That sort of reads like polygamy
  • I doubt Dave cares where the apostrophe is…
  • Unless, of course, it is in Cindy Sandberg’s blouse.
  • Wouldn’t be enough room… already filled with players hands and pine tar.
  • Castro is a proven commodity – the others are not, especially Baez, who has thus far only proven that he could work on a wind farm.
  • It’s tough when things you look up on the internet are not entirely accurate.
  • in my 50 plus years of viewing the cubs, i have never found them to be a cerebral or disciplined club, individual players excepted
  • Dude, nice to see your avatar. Let me catch you up, I’m still irreverent. Caps is still obtuse. Raker is still delusional (though Lizzie can’t resist his volume). Jswan is still sarcastically witty. Noah is still insightfully verbose. Joe is still the leader. Jedi is still baiting CAPS. And Lizzie is still watching over all of us.
  • Not afraid to say I’m elated to see multiple Johnsons on the same page. Welcome back old friend…Seymour is mostly correct, but forgot to mention that it turns out a lot of the polite regulars are Canadian. EVW is on fire, and apparently it isn’t uncommon and weird to maintain spreadsheets at home. Joe had a side business going selling prom dresses, but that apparently tanked.
  • Yes, welcome back. You have no idea the pain and speculation the absence of the Johnsons’ has put us through. And then Joe randomly comes and goes leaving us directionless for long periods of time.
  • Soriano retires because “the passion is gone” – and in the Dominican, passion is often translated “big money contract”…
  • subway Tomatoes are the worst
  • I am assuming you have a spreadsheet to factually prove they are the worst and you’re not just making that up.
  • No I just made that up, but now that you have questioned my integrity, I am going to have to prove it statistically.
  • Your blatant honesty has erased any alleged doubt I may have had about your integrity. Consider yourself exonerated.
  • Big fan of P&T. Seen them a couple times and quite enjoyed the BS series. Great targets and always managed to work naked boobies into their show.
  • Mmmm…Boobs!
  • How about them tomatoes!
  • at the time of posting there are equally 11 sandwich and baseball comments.
  • And if I were to suggest that the Cubs should pay the rest of E-Jax’s salary in the form of Subway sandwiches, which column would you put that in?
  • I’d defer to Dork.
  • I think you could put that in both columns making no net difference
  • If this 2 truths & a lie is anything like “Ask Joe” – we’re never gonna find out which one was the lie.
  • I think the lie is the nosebleed. Had he been a child gymnast, he would have been punched in the nose by a cool kid. Had he met 4 presidents, he also would have been punched in the nose by a cool adult when he mentioned this at a cocktail party. Since apparently one of the above is true, he must have had a lot of trauma to his proboscis. QED.
  • Who has been demanding this? I want names.
  • Nosebleed is the lie. All baseball fans have sat way up at one game or another. (place groan here)
  • I think Joe should leave the silly stuff up to us. I mean, we can take a topic like the sanctity of starting pitching and turn it into an organic tomato fest.
  • I still want to know who demanded this?
  • Bad news guys. Much like Olt last season, Baez managed to fly under the ROY voting committee’s radar.
  • When do we get to update the playoff odds? I am getting tired of looking at those 0s.

Lizard

  • This whole manager things is just business as usual. Every manager and coach knows he keeps or loses his job on the whim of upper management. Kind of like getting a Lizzie. There doesn’t have to be a logical reason to get one, its all on how Lizzie feels at any given moment. Ricky knew the risks of the job when he took it. That’s management’s prerogative.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to cap’n realist, and Ray Brettman for their first 2014 off-season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for being here!

MVL

  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go EVW!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Doc Raker
2. Eddie Von White
3. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
5. Doug S.
6. Jerry in Wisconsin
7. Dork
7. Jedi
7. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy
10. Sherm

Chit Chat

Believe it or not, the next GirlieView will be on Thanksgiving. What will you be doing for the holiday?

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Funtastic Friday – Two Truths and a Lie

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Before we get to the nonsense with this post, I figured we should get some housekeeping chores out of the way. So, let’s talk about some recent Cubs “news”

  • The Cubs signed Tsuyoshi Wada to a big league contract worth $4 million with incentives to earn more. The 33 year old lefty posted an ERA of 3.25 in 2014 over 13 starts. He figures to be in the mix for a rotation spot.
  • Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney were both added back to the 40 man roster after being activated from the 60 day DL. The 40 man roster stands at 37. Remember that players will big league deals need to be added as well as names we need to protect in the rule 5 draft. If there is going to be a “spending spree” this off-season,we’re going to see some guys moving off that 40 man roster.
  • Rumors recently have linked the Cubs to having interest in Russell Martin via free agency and Cole Hammels via trade.
  • 15 Cubs minor leaguers have been declared free agents according to MLB Rule 55. Those names include Josh Vitters and Marcos Mateo. View the full list.

We’re bringing this one back by popular demand. In case you were not around for the other two editions of the segment, the concept is simple. There are three statements below. Two are true and one is a lie. It’s up to you to determine which is which. All statements relate to me directly.

  1. I was a gymnast as a child
  2. I have met four US presidents personally in my lifetime
  3. I have never had a nosebleed in my lifetime

In the expansion era (1961 – 2014), only four Cubs hitters have posted a season which included at least 150 strikeouts. Can you name them?

NOTE: Next year this number will increase to five with the addition of Javier Baez.


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What Are Your Expectations for this Off-Season?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Free agency is open. Can you tell by the flurry of moves? It’s not like free agency in the NBA or the NFL. Things take some time to age and develop. As a result, we have some time to discuss.

As we head into the 2015 season, a lot of hype is beginning to surround this organization and particularly this off-season. Many predict the Cubs to be quite active on the market in prep for a contending team in the next two years. That leads to my question for discussion today.

What is your expectation for off-season moves this season? In other words, if the Cubs don’t do this, you’d be disappointed. Let’s get some good specific discussion going. Feel free to make predictions, post your off-season plan if you were the front office, etc. Or, just discuss the best toppings on a Subway meatball footlong. Your choice.


I thought this one would be fitting given the nature of the post.

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Can the Cubs Compete in 2015 if Starlin Castro Is Traded?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Since the end of the regular season, the Cubs front office has made it clear that they intend to compete in 2015. Signing Joe Maddon to one of the richest managerial contracts in baseball only confirmed that. It’s fairly clear what the Cubs actually need to do to compete next season in addition to Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta proving their 2014s were not flukes. (1) The prospects (Baez, Soler, and Alcantara should be up on Opening Day, Kris Bryant will be up a couple of weeks later at most, and Addison Russell could be ready mid-season) need to contribute. This doesn’t mean that they all need to be stars, or even that none of them can be busts. As an overall group, however, they need to succeed. (2) The Cubs need to add top to middle of the rotation starting pitching. (3) The Cubs need a much better overall performance from their outfield.

In regards to number 2, most believe that the Cubs are going to sign two free agent pitchers this season, one from the top tier (Lester and Scherzer, with Shields as the fall back) and one from the middle tier (too many  to list, but includes Brendan McCarthy, Ervin Santana, and Jason Hammel). A minority, however, believe the Cubs will sign one big name pitcher and trade for another pitcher. TheCubs would have two options for what to give up in such a trade: (1) a prospect like Javier Baez or Addison Russell; or (2) Starlin Castro.

This piece is not to debate the merits of specific Starlin Castro trades, although I could see some potential matches depending on what the front office is looking to do. The Cubs could try do something like trade Castro to the Mets for a package headlined by someone like Noah Syndergaard, taking the potential risk and reward of using their 3 time All Star shortstop to obtain a near MLB ready prospect with ace potential. Or the Cubs could try to match up with the Nationals for Jordan Zimmerman if the Cubs were able to come to an extension with the Nationals’ right hander, which would also solve a short term (2B is their weakness if Rendon plays 3B) and long term (Desmond is likely gone after 2015, so they’ll need a shortstop) problem for Washington.

The question I’m examining, however, is if the Cubs could actually claim to be “competing” in 2015 if Castro isn’t slotted in as the opening day shortstop. Castro was worth 2.9 fWAR last season. For the sake of argument, let’s say that Castro would have stayed on that pace had he stayed healthy and been worth 3.5 wins above replacement while taking something around 99% of the plate appearances at shortstop. If the Cubs trade Castro, they need to replace those 3.5 wins.

On top of that, the Cubs were poor last season at second base, so the Cubs need to find a way to improve that middle infield position. I’d argue the Cubs should be looking for about 2.5 WAR from second base next season, which is pretty much exactly league average performance. This is in part to set reasonable expectations for Javier Baez, to be a league average player this coming season, not a superstar. If these numbers panned out, that provides a total of 6 wins above replacement from the middle infield.

If Castro is in the fold, the answer to “where do those wins come from?” is pretty simple. You count on Castro for the 3 to 3.5 WAR he’s been good for in 3 of the last 4 seasons, hope Baez becomes a league average, and have Valbuena as an early season fallback option if Baez continues to struggle so greatly making contact. But what if Castro was gone?

Second base actually wouldn’t be that great a concern. A Luis Valbuena led platoon should put up 2.5 to 3 WAR (Valbuena alone was worth 2.7 fWAR last season and 2.1 fWAR in 2013). The problem would be that you’d have no real backup option to Baez at shortstop until Addison Russell is ready, which could be in June, September, or in 2016. Baez definitely has the talent to become a great player as early as next season, but can the Cubs really bet on a player who struck out 41.5% of the time in his first short MLB stint to be anything more than league average in his age 22 season?

Not if they truly intend on competing in 2015. If the Cubs want to fight with the Cardinals and Pirates for playoff spots, Starlin Castro should be a Cub in 2015. Despite the prospect talent the Cubs have at the position and their need for high end pitching, now is not the time for the Cubs to trade their All Star shortstop. If Baez makes the necessary adjustments next season and Russell looks like the real deal, the Cubs can examine moving Castro a year from now with no diminution in value because of the long term team friendly nature of his contract.

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Giants Win World Series, Maddon Kicks Off Offseason & More

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

We’ve reached the end of the line. It was yet another incredible season from start to finish with highlights scattered all throughout. The season ended this past week, but it didn’t take long for things to get going in the offseason. Let’s get to it.

Giants Win World Series…Again

For everyone who complains that baseball features the same World Series teams over and over again (normally mentioning the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox when they say it), they may have some added ammunition with the result of this year’s championship.

The San Francisco Giants completed their quest for their third World Series win in the last five years, with a 7-game victory over the underdog Kansas City Royals. Viewers didn’t exactly take to the series but for those who watched, they definitely got a boatload of entertainment.

After a decisive 10-0 victory at home in Game 6, the Royals were riding high coming into Game 7. It was unclear going into the game as to who would pitch for San Francisco, but Bruce Bochy eventually decided on veteran Tim Hudson, who didn’t even last two innings. Jeremy Affeldt quieted a rally then postseason hero Madison Bumgarner put their bats to sleep to clinch it.

Bumgarner’s performance has to be considered one for the record books and he showed the country that he deserves to be talked about amongst the top arms in the game. If the Giants history provides any pattern, you’d have to bet that they’ll somehow manage to miss the playoffs next season but as for now, they’re World Series champions once again. What were your thoughts on this series? Did you find it entertaining?

Maddon Hired By Cubs

Though the Chicago Cubs weren’t exactly looking for a manager heading into the offseason, with Rick Renteria doing an adequate job for the 2014 season, they were presented with an opportunity to make a move that they just couldn’t pass up. In this case, the Tampa Bay Rays loss was the Cubs’ gain.

With the hiring of former Rays manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs have to be seen as seriously taking a step forward in their rebuilding process. They’ve spent the last few years ridding the team of it’s bad contracts and strengthening the farm system and the hiring of Maddon should drastically help those young players once they get to the big leagues.

Maddon, long known as one of the best managers in the league, will finally be paired with a front office that doesn’t mind throwing around money when the circumstances call for it. With the Cubs rumored to make a run out of some of the big name free agents this year, this could be a quick turnaround.

While it was unfortunate that the Cubs had to let go of Renteria after only one year, it just wouldn’t have made sense for them to pass on a manager of Maddon’s caliber. With top-flight managers adding at least a handful of wins each year, the addition of Maddon should be a big one. How much closer do you think the Maddon hire pushes the Cubs towards contention?

Twins Choose Gardenhire’s Replacement

Along with the Maddon and the Rays separating, the Minnesota Twins decided to fire long-time manager Ron Gardenhire a couple of weeks ago. Much like the Cubs, the Twins didn’t waste much time in finding a new skipper.

In a move that may draw some ire from fans of Twin Cities baseball, the team is reportedly set to hire Hall of Famer Paul Molitor to be their new manager. Molitor has been a part of the coaching staff for the last year, which is something that upset many Minnesota fans.

While he has an extensive track record as a player, the fact that he has been within the organization that has struggled through four 90-plus-loss seasons in a row is a mark against him. Some new blood probably would have been preferred, but Molitor has the baseball acumen to be able to help facilitate this rebuild.

I personally think that someone like Dave Martinez, who extensively uses analytics and connects well with younger players, would have been a better choice, but Molitor should be a pretty safe option. With the talent that the twins have coming through system, Molitor should have them competing within the next couple of years. Was the hire of Paul Molitor a smart one for the Twins?

This Week’s MVP: Hunter Pence (.444/.500/.667, 1 HR, 5 RBI)

This Week’s Cy Young: Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 1 SV, 0.43 ERA, 17 K)

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Free Agency Eve News Roundup

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

If you read our piece on the key dates to know this off-season, you know that tomorrow begins the first day that free agents may sign with a new team. If you believe everything you read, then the Cubs should have a busy off-season signing everyone with a pulse. While I do think this will be an active off-season on the market for the Jed Hoyer, I don’t think the Cubs will completely break the bank and break from the idea that the core of the team is going to be the farm. It should be a fun time nonetheless, so let’s catch up on some news as we head into Monday.

Cubs Pick Up Option on Jacob Turner (Source) – Turner was acquired via trade with the Marlins in August and made eight appearances in a Cub uniform yielding not so great results. While the entire 2014 season was a bust for Turner (6-11, 6.13 ERA, 1.602 WHIP), the Cubs look more at the fact that Turner is just 23 years old and is a former top 10 overall pick in 2009. There is a lot of talent there and if someone like Chris Bosio can tap into it like he has with former castoffs like Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, then the rotation gets a huge boost in depth all for the cost of just $1 mil. It’s a low risk, high reward move that the front office has hit on quiet often the last few years so I’ll trust their judgement on this one.

Arizona Fall League Update – Carrie Muskat posted some updated stats from the prospects in the system who are participating in the AFL

Dan Vogelbach: 15 games, .217, 2 doubles, 4 RBI
* Addison Russell: 11 games, .196, 2 home runs, 1 double, 10 RBIs
Jacob Hannemann: 11 games, .293, 3 doubles, 2 triples, 7 RBIs
Bijan Rademacher: 7 games, .333, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 RBIs

Gerardo Concepcion: 6 games, 10 1/3 innings, 7 earned runs, 10 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
C.J. Edwards: 4 games (4 starts), 10 innings, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
Ivan Pineyro: 4 games (3 starts), 7 2/3 innings, 8 earned runs, 8 hits, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Zach Cates: 6 games, 7 2/3 innings, 10 earned runs, 14 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts

* Note: Addison Russell no longer playing in AFL

The Rooftop fight is slowly coming to an end - Bruce Levine is reporting that the Ricketts family is close to purchasing two of the rooftops.

Numerous sources have confirmed that the Ricketts Family LLC, a different entity from the Cubs, is close to finalizing a deal to purchase two roof top buildings owned by George Loukas and his family. The buildings overlook Wrigley field.

This significant sale would be a huge win for the Ricketts family in their ongoing battle with the 17 roof top owners. The rooftop owners have sued the Cubs for going ahead with plans to put up seven signs and two electronic video boards in the outfield that may block some roof top views.

The sale by Loukas points to many others falling in line and selling the other rooftop buildings to the Cubs. An unconfirmed source said the sale price was $6 million per building; that was not confirmed by a second source.

Five years from now, this is all going to be a distant memory and Wrigley Field is going to be an unbelievable experience, but until then we’re stuck listening to more of this bickering.

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