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This week is managerial interview week, apparently, as the Cubs will have in a minimum of two candidates, but as many as four. More on that later today, as well as another Lukewarm Stove roundup, and some more on Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer.

  • Carlos Zambrano made his long-awaited Winter League debut yesterday (his first outing since his August meltdown; August 2011 meltdown, that is) with mixed results. On the upside, he struck out three over 2.2 innings, and appeared healthy. On the downside, he gave up two runs, three hits, two walks, hit a batter, and had a throwing error. One of those runs? A solo bomb to Bryan LaHair.
  • The Cubs, and presumably other big league teams, had a scout in attendance to watch Zambrano, who is under contract with the Cubs for 2012. Cubs’ President Theo Epstein, who is expected to speak to Zambrano this week, refused to confirm the Cubs would be shopping Zambrano, but almost everyone believes the best outcome is Zambrano pitching elsewhere in 2012, with the Cubs saving a few million on the $18 million he’s owed.
  • The Onion, as it so frequently does, skewers the Cubs in a humorous way. In an article entitled, “Theo Epstein Disgusted To Find Cubs Playing In Old Stadium With Weeds Growing All Over Walls,” faux Epstein is quoted as saying, “That hunk-of-junk scoreboard in center is apparently broken—they change the numbers by hand—and I don’t even know if this place has electricity. If this is the way they take care of their ballpark, I’m not surprised they never put together a winning team here.” First, you laugh. Then, you think.
  • Noted White Sox homer, Joe Cowley of the Sun-Times, last offseason wrote that Chicago had officially become “Soxtown.” He’s eating those words now in the face of an offseason dominated by Cubs’ headlines, even after the Cubs put together a miserable 2011 season. He concedes Chicago remains “Cubstown.”
  • Stop by the Message Board, if you haven’t already. It’s a little more free-wheeling than the blog, but with the same interesting discussions and bright commenters. Also: burgeoning discussions on the greatest rock albums of all-time, which is certain produce agreement and no discord.
  • CubFan Paul

    Free Big Z!! Free Big Z!! Free Big Z!!

    we need pitching ..he’ll be back because he won’t waive his No Trade Clause (just to be a dick & to rebuild his value in his contract year in famaliar surroundings)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Zambrano has said he’ll waive his no-trade clause if the Cubs ask him to. That was back in August, though.

      • CubFan Paul

        yep, back in August before the ‘blow up’ in Atlanta. he’ll be under a lot of pressure to perform well in 2012 and moving and adjusting to a new team are now things he can avoid. He & his agent have been telling people he wants to stay in Chicago with the new regime and i think that’s code for “im not waiving my NTC”

        with a solid 200inning 2012 he’ll be a big time 2013 free agent pitching candidate but it all starts with staying home, being a good soldier & teammate, and pitching like he did post Anger Management in 2010 ..Theo&Co. will be stuck between Big Z a hard place

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          No. In August, after the blow-up.

          • CubFan Paul

            either way Brett a lot has changed since then & i bet you a “I Told You So” that Z & his agent play stubborn donkeys this offseason

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Z might not approve a trade to just anywhere, but I’m comfortable in saying that there are a handful of destinations he’d be happy to go to.

              • hansman1982

                Z’s agent should also see that if Z can keep it together this year a change in scenery would be the best – this way he could say it was simply the regime that was in place and with a new start elsewhere he is a better man.  If he blows up either here or elsewhere…well good luck getting a middle reliever contract.

    • JulioZuleta

      He would help his value by waiving his no trade clause. Nothing good can come of another season here; if we find a deal and he won’t waive it, you congratulate him on earning the long relief role in the bullpen and see if he changes his mind.

      • louslew

        If he won’t waive his no trade clause congratulate him on his 3rd base job in single A.

  • cubs4life

    Its kinda mixed feelings with Big Z. He is almost like the T.O. of baseball… he really shouldnt be in a cubs uniform next year, however we need pitching badly, and even if he does waive his no trade clause, we end up eating probaby around 15 million for him to play for someone else, and the chances of getting really anything of value back is slim to none..

    what if we did manage to save 3 million on zambrano, Is there even a FA starting pitcher we could sign for 3 mil a year?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thing is, I just don’t think Z can be effective as a Cubs next year. The Cubs need starters, absolutely. But my guess is Zambrano stinks up the joint if he’s on the Cubs next year.

      • Michigan Goat

        Regardless of his play on the field he has proven to be a cancer and I don’t think anyone that has been around the last few years would enjoy having him back. Now I wouldn’t be shocked if Theo/Jed can’t find a decent trade, decide to him a chance (since they haven’t dealt with the previous antics), and then trade him as soon as he shows promise or just outright drop him if his performance or attitude are questionable. I see Soriano more likely to stick around than Z before the season begins.

      • MrCub73

        I want to see Zambrano on the first bus out of town, but I think he can still be a very solid pitcher in Chicago. Look what he did after anger management, he can still pitch like that and when you have the kind of attitude he does, that may actually increase his chances of pitching well in Chicago. Almost everyone around him will be different and he would be trying to prove he was the victim, not the one that was the real problem. I know a couple people with loose screws like Zambrano and they almost always going in cycles that makes everyone think they are now magically cured, but they always blow back up. I just hope if he comes back, he pitches well, so they can trade him before he blows up.

        Even though I think it is possible, I hope he does well in his next eight starts and impresses some scout that believes Zambrano will be an asset that gets their team over the top next year. In a lot of ways, Zambrano’s attitude needs to go regardless of how can pitch.

  • Kyle

    I’d still like to bring him back. It’s a contract year, and while I’ve never believed in the contract year improving players’ performance, I definitely believe it would affect Zambrano’s behavior.

    Tell him he’s getting a fresh start with a new manager, and tell his agent to make sure he understands that the difference between good behavior this season and not is likely 10s of millions on his next contract.

    If he acts up, pay him to go away like you did this year. But I’m betting he won’t, and the Cubs can get a full season of an adequate pitcher and then draft pick compensation at the end.

    We have so many holes to fill this offseason, I see no need to self-inflict another one.

    • CubFan Paul

      my point exaclty kyle

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Time heals all wounds, eh? I’m not sure how many of Z’s teammates would agree.

      Also, the Cubs will never – never – get draft pick compensation for Zambrano. He’s making $18 million in 2012, and, thus, there is no chance the Cubs offer him arbitration at the end of the year, even if he somehow magically has a resurgent year after a half decade of declining performance, attitude, and velocity.

      • Kyle

        “I’m not sure how many of Z’s teammates would agree.”

        They aren’t paid to agree. They are paid to play baseball. You don’t have to like all of your co-workers.

        • Michigan Goat

          But you should feel confident that your co-workers won’t assult you, if he is in the dugout next year everyone will just be waiting for the breakdown and hope that they aren’t in the way.

          Z is that former mental patient that is one missed dose away from true Berserker mode. The “Cub Way” does not have Z’s behavior as acceptable. Remember Theo got rid of Manny for all his antics and he was a vastly superior player to Z.

          • Kyle

            Crazy, emotional people in the clubhouse are nothing new, and the Cubs can’t be an effective baseball team if they get rid of everyone who qualifies as such.

            What would your reaction be if Zambrano got in a screaming match with the manager before a game, having to be restrained from getting into a fistfight with said manager?

            Now what would you say if I told you Ron Santo did the same thing.

            Zambrano is hardly the first nutjob in an MLB clubhouse, and he won’t be the last. You just would never hear about it if the media in this town didn’t love their scapegoats so much.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I guess I just don’t understand why Zambrano is a player anyone would want to fight to keep on the team. It would be one thing if he were this incredible pitcher – then, putting up with his repeated, terrible behavior would be worth arguing. But “average” would be a good performance in 2012 for Zambrano. Is that really a guy worth fighting for? Worth risking the clubhouse for?

              I don’t believe Zambrano’s expected 2012 production (particularly in Chicago) will be terribly difficult to replace. Is that where we disagree?

              • Kyle

                He’s an average pitcher and a 1 WAR hitter at this point in his career. That has value. Putting a dollar sign on it, I’d say something like $10 million for 2012. If we can save $8 million in a trade, I’d consider it a wash.

                I’d much rather have a team that can control the crazier elements of its clubhouse rather than fall into the “We were losing, let’s find a scapegoat” mentality that was a hallmark of the Hendry era.

                Given that we already have two holes in the rotation, who are you eyeing as the third available pitcher that can replace Zambrano’s production?

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  1 WAR is nothing, and even less meaningless when discussing a pitcher.  As for replacing him, any number of journeyman vets could equal his production and leave no ill feeling.

                  I understand your point its the same point that makes people want to bring back ARam, but that lack of an immediate replacement does not mean you bring in player that has a negative impact on everyone around him.

                  • Kyle

                    1 WAR is never nothing. And the fact that a pitcher creates a run doesn’t make the run any less valuable, that’s silly.

                    The difference between Zambrano and Ramirez is that Ramirez would cost quite a bit to bring back. Zambrano’s contract is a sunk cost, so in the choice between keeping him and getting rid of him, he is essentially free.

                    If Zambrano were a free agent and Ramirez were under contract for next year, I’d be arguing to keep Ramirez and let Zambrano walk, not the other way around.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    For comparison – a horrible, horrible, terrifying comparison – Doug Davis was at a 0.7 WAR last year as a pitcher. Zambrano was at a 0.9.

                    • Kyle

                      I believe you are using fangraphs WAR, which isn’t particularly useful for a pitcher like Doug Davis.

                      It’s meant to be predictive, which means it’s using peripherals to project his ERA, and then projecting his WAR from that and not his actual runs allowed.

                      For Davis, in his small sample size he was able to give up just 0.39 HR/9 innings, something he could never sustain over the long term. But because of that, fWAR projects his WAR as if he were a 3.86 ERA pitcher.

                      Zambrano’s 0.9 fWAR is just his pitching. Fangraphs also estimates his batting a 1.0 WAR, for a combined 1.9 WAR in less than a full season. That’s slightly above average.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      All fair, and I was just tossing Davis out as an extreme example – though I stick to my point on the batting WAR. A sample size of 48 PA is too small to draw any kind of conclusions.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  A couple things: Zambrano is not a “1 WAR hitter at this point in his career.” He happened to be a 1 WAR hitter last year, a year in which his OPS+ was 66(!) points higher than his career average. His OPS was 202(!!!) points higher. And all of that in a whopping 48 plate appearances. If you want to say that’s who he is, you’re welcomed to. For me, I’ll go with his career 64 OPS+ in 708 plate appearances. Sample sizes and all that.

                  So, from my perspective, even if you do the whole WAR valuation thing, Zambrano is projected to be worth about 1 to 2 total WAR next year (and I’m being generous, given his steady decline). That’s worth $4 to $8 million, assuming you can completely ignore any deleterious effects he has on the team by virtue of being “a jerk.” If the Cubs can trade him and save $4 million (I think they can do a touch better) while picking up a prospect, even the advanced statistics suggest they should do so.

                  Why do we continue to disagree? Aren’t we on the same page now?

                  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                    Thank you Brett.  I’m offically done with this “arguement,”  points have been made and the back and forth continues.  For any BleacherNation Virgins this place is great because we avoid the back and forth arguing there are other places that LOVE that kind of discussion but here its just not what BN is, we are not ESPN First Take.

                  • Kyle

                    The league OPS has gone down by just about that amount too, so the 66 points is not as significant as you’d think. He’s averaged about 0.9 WAR per full batting season in his career. Projecting anything less than +0.7 WAR for his batting would be recklessly pessimistic.

                    Before last season, he was never less than 2.3 WAR for his pitching. Last season, he was on pace for about 1.4 WAR with his pitching before he was pulled.

                    So even if you assume his pitching last year, the worst of his career, was the new normal, then he’s still a 2 WAR player going forward. And that’s twisting the numbers to get to be as pessimistic as possible.

                    If you think his clubhouse problems make him unkeepable, I understand but I disagree. But you really can’t project him as just a 1 WAR player. Not even in the ballpark.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      66 points in OPS+, not OPS. That figure is enormous. It was 202 points in OPS.

              • CubFan Paul

                yes. Z was better than Coleman, Russell, Davis, Lopez, Ortiz, and at some points Dempster and Wells

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  I was better than Coleman, Russell, Davis, Lopez and Ortiz. That’s not saying much.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I make fun of “chemistry” perhaps more than anyone, but I think it would be inaccurate to suggest that how his teammates feel about him – especially strongly negative feelings – would not impact his performance. I stick to my story: crappy teammate or not, I can’t see Zambrano pitching particularly well next year with the Cubs. And it ain’t just the teammate/crazy stuff, mind you: he’s in the midst of a massive decline. That’s simply what’s happening.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      If the Cubs bring back Zambrano, I wonder how many current Cubs would instruct their agents to request a trade. Kaplan has been saying on Twitter that a very substantial number of his Cub teammates do not want Zambrano back. Between spending 2012 on a likely rebuilding team and spending 2012 with Zambrano, I’d not be surprised to see some guys decide that other pastures have to be greener.

      And I agree that there is no chance the Cubs offer him arbitration. He will never see anything approaching $18 million on the open market again, and if the Cubs offer arbitration he is guaranteed (under the current CBA anyway) at least $14.6 million (I think). He’d accept, and that means the Cubs won’t offer it.

      As to where he could go? Like Soriano, the Cubs will need to eat a fat chunk of that contract, but if they do he is absolutely movable. They might yet get a Top 100-esque prospect in return for him, if they eat enough of the contract. Miami would certainly be interested at the right price (free). I think Zambrano would be happy to play on a contender that needs an arm (Texas? Anaheim?), a team with a pitcher friendly ballpark that will improve his stats heading into free agency (San Diego?), or a team where he is around familiar people again (Yankees?). His agent would love for him to play in New York. The media would ignore him… they’d be too busy obsessing over what A-Rod did or didn’t do or say with someone or the other a day or two ago.

      • Kyle

        ” I wonder how many current Cubs would instruct their agents to request a trade.”

        Zero. I know Kaplan likes to beat the drum on how terrible Hispanic players are, but even if Zambrano is every bit the monster that Kaplan believes he is, they aren’t going to flee the team en masse just because of his presence. He’s hardly the first jerk in a MLB clubhouse, and he won’t be the last.

    • Michigan Goat

      Z has had multiple “fresh” starts and promised before that he won’t go all El Toro Loco but everytime he does, at some point you just have to call BS, pack his things and send him packing (wait didn’t HE already do that?)

      • Kyle

        Why do you have to? Are we a superfriends clubhouse or a baseball team? If he’s one of the best 11 guys we have control of at throwing a baseball, I don’t see why we have to care if he’s friends with his teammates.

        Micheal Jordan was a raging jerk, too.

        • Michigan Goat

          Did you just compare MJ to Z? I remember seeing MJ carry his team and performing when needed and I remember Z getting into fist fights in the dugout, throwing countless coolers, breaking innocent bats, and then cleaning out his locker and leaving the ballpark. The comparison to make is Sammy Sosa expect Z was never as dominate a Raging Sammy and the team decided he had outstayed his welcome.

          Seriously MJ!

          • Kyle

            Jordan also punched teammates. Many of his teammates hated him. So you agree, essentially, that was the player can do on the field or court is what matters, not how liked he is?

            Zambrano is certainly not a great player at this point in his career, but he is a useful one, and the Cubs need useful players.

            The Sosa comparison is a good one. Whenever the team starts to lose, the media in the town finds a player to scapegoat and run out on a rail . Unfortunately, the old management followed right along and sold useful players for pennies on the dollar. I expect more of the new management.

            • oswego chris

              whoooa…comparing Zambrano to Michael Jordan?

              yes Michael punched teammates in practice while competing, yes he was a jerk to them, and blah, blah, blah….so I will grant you that there may have been some similarities there…

              but he was the best player in the universe and won 6 titles and made many not so talented players rich….

              you mentioned the Superfriends Kyle, Michael is Superman, Big Z would be the Wonder Twins pet monkey Gleek, he wouldn’t even be comparable to Aquaman or Wonder Woman….

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                Big Gleek?  Well done as always Chris.  At best Z could be Apache Chief expect instead of growing in size he grows in insanity.

                Agreed on MJ there is no comparision, and the mere mention of it is preposterous

                • Kyle

                  So exactly how good does a player have to be before you don’t care about his terrible attitude and clubhouse problems?

                  The line is apparently somewhere between Zambrano and Jordan. Just trying to nail it down.

                  • hansman1982

                    Did MJ consistently throw hissy fits on the sidelines? Did MJ decide to chuck the ball at Magic Johnson’s head when a game wasnt going his way?  Did MJ decide to walk out on his team?

                    Yes, if Z was the league ace then we might be able to look past some of these things – like we did with the Barrett incident – but since they are piling up and he is starting to suck that is all the more reason to move him.

                • oswego chris

                  Apache Chief!…that’s great…someone else at least gets the referrence…I think Apache Chief was a lame attempt at diversity among the Superfriends…like “Black Vulcan”….I like how in the 70’s they always had to put Black in fron of whatever it was….Black Frankenstein, Blacula…

                  • CubFan Paul

                    Marvel’s Black Panther..

        • louslew

          Whoa Kyle, you just opened a BIG can of worms, making a negative comment about MJ in Chicago. Be sure to lock the door after you get out.

  • Michigan Goat

    Maybe I missed it but what was the result of Z’s grievance hearing? Did the Cubs have to pay all of his 2011 contract or did they save a few dollars.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The can kept getting kicked down the road. To my knowledge, it has not yet been resolved. It’s a fair chunk of change still on the table – almost $3 million, I think.

  • johnbres2

    Big Z is as good as gone. Cubs will pay probably half of his salary. Someone (Yankees?) will take him.

  • Dave H

    So if he doesn’t get traded and he then blows up again, can he go back on the “F.O.” list again? I can’t remember the actual name, sorry.  I say if that is the case, inform all parties involved that if he pulls that kind of stunt again, he is back on the list and we stop paying him for the rest of the year. Give one of the kids a shot in his place. You could live with a sub-par and young staff at this point.  We have for a while anyways.

  • grandjudy

    bigz-zzz-zzzzz-zz…..

  • Jeff

    I’m not saying I think he should be welcomed back and handed a started spot by any means. I do think he could have some value to the team next year, beyond creating 2 or 3 million in salary relief. I think we all should look back to this spring to see how this could potentially play out. Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzelanny were 6th and 7th starters and considered expendable. Silva became a headache, and was dumped. The Cubs lost two starters in the first week of the season and had to rely on smoke, mirrors, and the bubble gum that is holding Doug Davis’ left arm together for most of the year. I think the smart thing to do here, is to hold on to Zambrano. Let him pitch in spring training and compete for a rotation spot, all while actually planning on him not being around. If he comes in with a good attitude for the new manager and front office, and pitches even somewhat effectively during spring training, he becomes a much more valuable asset than what he would be if traded or released sooner. If he is still a headache to deal with, then it becomes an easy decision. I think waiting on deciding what to do with Z is the most intelligent option. His contract isn’t going anywhere, even if he is, and the value on a return for his services is never going to be lower than it is right now. I think the guys in charge now are smart enough to think proactively, and the more I think about it, dumping him now seems more and more like a Hendry “reactionary” move that reeks of the Cubs’ past mistakes.

    • CubFan Paul

      & Boom goes the dynamite ..you nailed it Jeff ..i cant wait to say I told you so to the Z detractors, especially those who think 2012 is/will be a throw away year

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        What exactly are you “telling us,” so that we can make sure it’s for the record when it happens? :)

        • CubFan Paul

          he’ll be pitching for the 2012 Cubs

          • EQ76

            I’ve been feeling the same way.. it could be more cost effective for him to pitch for the Cubs rather than paying him to pitch elsewhere.. I’ve had this sneaky suspicion that Epstein/Hoyer will opt to keep him on for the year then let him walk.. shoot, if he gets 10-12 wins for us this year it’s better than any other option I can think of out of our 4 or 5 guy.

            I’m sure this will come down to the clubhouse.. if most of the players are fine with it and the media isn’t (which they won’t be) then I think they keep him for this year. Keep in mind also, this is a contract year.

            • Fishin Phil

              I expect the new front office won’t give him away, but I think any reasonable offer of salary relief will be jumped on.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Ok. I put the chances he’s pitching for the Cubs in 2012 at about 15%. Does that still get me an “I told you so” if he’s still here?

            • CubFan Paul

              yes, because when you write about Z, you almost make it sound it 100% he’s gone or you dont mention the no trade clause as if it doesnt exist. I’m not beating the table to keep him, im saying odds are a lot higher than 15%

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Then we understand each other. I’m not saying (nor have I ever said) Zambrano is guaranteed to be gone. I’ve simply said, considering what he did last year, considering his declining ability, considering his contract situation, considering his statements that he would accept a trade, and considering that Tom Ricketts said on national TV that he has a hard time seeing Zambrano come back, it is highly unlikely (to me, about 85%) that Z is back with the Cubs next year. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.

                • CubFan Paul

                  you’re not being unreasonable. but with our need for pitching and lack of farm arms im at 60/40, 50/50 that he’s back/gone

                  ..DayLight Savings Time is so confusing (especially here in Indiana). The BN times appear to be eastern, making me central when looking at times on here now even tho I think i’m still eastern ..its throwing me off today

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Yup, the BN times are Eastern (I’m Eastern), so this time of year it gets a bit wonky for folks in Indiana, in particular.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      You’re Eastern???

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Columbus, Ohio. I’m one of those come-home-from-school-Cubs-on-WGN-get-to-Chicago-when-I-can Cubs fans.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      Interesting….So you’re saying that when I check my computer at 7:00 am and there’s no new post and I’m here thinking “This selfish bum is sleeping in on me when all I want to start my work day is a little Lukewarm Stove”….It’s really 8 am for you”??????

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Yes. Some of them bullets posts take two hours to gather, sift, and write. End serious defense to a joking comment.

                    • Hawkeye

                      I did always wonder why you were able to get out some pretty early posts.   It also does give you a little slack being the last person to report the Official Epstein news. I was wondering why you went to bed so early ;)

                    • TWC

                      “Beauty rest”, Hawkeye.  It’s called beauty rest.

                    • Hawkeye

                      TWC, we have all seen pictures of this guy posted all over the site, I don’t think anybody is going to buy the “Beauty Rest” defense.

                    • TWC

                      He just needs a lil bit more, that’s all I’m sayin’.

                    • Hawkeye

                      Brett Cubs

                      Just a little bit more?   Who are you kidding TWC?  There are not enough hours in the day for beauty sleep to do this guy a whole lot of good.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Bastards. All of you.

                    • JulioZuleta

                      To be fair, one could argue he is mid-yawn in that picture due to a lack of said beauty sleep.

      • JulioZuleta

        “Z detractors” is a fancy way of saying “people with a brain”.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Be careful the troll zombies just heard you say BRAINS

  • rocky8263

    When money’s not an issue and you’ve been on a team your whole carrer it’s the little things that start to matter. If Z was allowed back would he get his two lockers by the entrance to the locker room? Would the other guys defer to him at the post game spread? As goofy as it sounds I can see him making demands if he were allowed to rejoin.

  • JulioZuleta

    Just a little AFL stats for everyone in one spot (I was just looking it up and theought some people might want it).

    NAME
    Vitters 77 AB .338 AVG .366 OBP .885 OPS 5 2b 3 HR 13 RBI 4 BB 9 K 2 SB
    Lake 89 AB .315 AVG .365 OBP .983 OPS (!) 6 2B 3 3B 5 HR 16 RBI 5 BB 23 K (!) 16 SB (!) and 0 CS (!)
    Lemahieu 92 AB .293 AVG .381 OBP .783 OPS 4 2B 2 HR 15 RBI 10 BB 14 K 10 SB 2 CS

    Carpenter 11.2 IP 3.09 ERA 16 K 2 BB 1 HR 1.11 WHIP
    McNutt 12 IP 6.75 ERA 6 K 5 BB 4 HR 1.83 WHIP
    Hatley 12 IP 11.25 ERA 4 K 3 BB 2 HR 2.33 WHIP

    Some thoughts: Keep in mind, all small sample sizes, but Junior Lake is doing everything (16 SB 0 CS?? and the power #s???) Vitters has a solid OBP. DJ is having a nice little under-the-radar showing (he and Lake are #1 and #2 in SBs in the entire league) . Carpenter is mowing people down. McNutt needs to strike more people out, I know a lot of people are going to say “High ERA because he is a sinker-baller and the defense in the minors isn’t nearly as good”, neither are the hitters. He is really starting to fall in my eyes. 4 Hrs in 12 IP out of a sinker baller?? Hatley is getting destroyed. Again, all small sample sizes, but the position players plus Carpenter are dominating, and McNutt and Hatley are struggling.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      One other cliche-ish statement to add to the list on McNutt, though, is that sinkers don’t sink quite as much in Arizona. So that could be a part of those homers.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        We’ve seen that in spring training enough times to not rule it out. BA lists his breaking ball as a mix of a sinker and a curve that drops hard towards the hitters back foot. We’ll see when he hits AAA.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      6K in 12 IP for McNutt looks a little funny. It almost looks like his breaking ball isn’t working forcing him to rely too much on his fastball, which hitters are sitting on. Could be the blisters, could be the dry air, could be a lack of innings this season, or it could be more advanced hitters just aren’t fooled by his stuff. We’ll find out next season, one way or the other. Or someone else will find out, if he does get moved.

      I like Vitters BBs, particularly compared to the Ks. If he can keep that up, he’s going to look awfully good in the tiny ballparks of the PCL. Patience may have paid off on this one. I can’t wait to see what he does in spring training.

      I would not have guess that LeMahieu would be able to steal that often in the AFL. For the 2011 season he only had 9 in the minors (against 8 CS). Did he learn something from the Cubs coaches while in the majors? What ever happened, if he can swipe 15-20 a year for the Cubs, I have no qualms penciling him in as the starting second baseman next season.

      Lake’s 23 Ks in 89 ABs are high at any level, except possibly for a serious slugger. He’s young yet, though. If he can harness his swing a little better, he could be pretty good. I’d be happy if he can keep his K rate under 20% next season.

  • baseballet

    Bryan LaHair continues to hit! He leads the Venezuelan league in OPS. He has 46 total bases in 18 games.

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