The Cubs Bunt Tournament gets back underway today (purportedly), and will feature a handful of Sweet Sixteen match-ups. Never bet against Gonzaga.

  • Have you assumed that the Cubs have had worse luck than most teams when it comes to injuries over the past 10 years? It certainly has felt that way, but, for the most part, we’ve had only our gut on which to rely. Well, FanGraphs recently took a look at injury trends over the past 10 years, and the data is interesting. It turns out that, in terms of total trips to the disabled list, the Cubs have been one of the more unlucky teams (or more eager to use the DL), with the 10th most DL trips in baseball since 2002. But, in terms of total days lost to the disabled list, the Cubs are actually just about average – 14th. And if you think that figure is being skewed by the early 2000s (as I might have), you’d be wrong – the Cubs have actually been one of the most healthy teams in the last three years. That’s actually a pretty disheartening thing to hear, isn’t it?
  • Dale Sveum says Rodrigo Lopez, who threw two perfect innings yesterday, is “definitely” in the mix to make the Cubs’ rotation, as is Jeff Samardzija. “He’s definitely in the mix,” Sveum said of Lopez. “I think everybody is in the mix for those last couple spots. We don’t know what’s going to happen with [Jeff] Samardzija. It’s going to be an interesting month.” Sveum added some high compliments with respect to Samardzija: “The way he’s throwing the ball, it’s going to be hard to think that anybody is going to hit him that good. He’s throwing the heck out of the ball and he’s on a mission to win one of them spots.”
  • John Sickels takes an extended look at Bryan LaHair and concludes, among other things, that he’ll probably hit in the bigs (above average overall, though below average for a first baseman), and won’t be a butcher at first base. Sickels doesn’t believe LaHair could handle a corner outfield spot long-term, because of a lack of range.
  • This weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres extended their young center fielders – Andrew McCutchen and Cameron Maybin, respectively. McCutchen, 25, gets six years and $51 million (plus a club option at the end for $14.75 million), which buys out his final pre-arbitration year, his three arbitration years, and his first two free agent years. Maybin, 24, gets five years and $25 million (plus a club option at the end for $9 million), which buys out his final pre-arbitration year, his three arbitration years, and a year of free agency. The deals truly look like win-win for the players and the teams. The team gets a theoretical discount in exchange for guaranteeing a large chunk of dollars up front. The player gets life-changing money and security in exchange for giving up the hope of mega dollars. It’s probably time for the Cubs to strongly consider making this kind of move with Starlin Castro.
  • Speaking of Castro, the Cubs’ shortstop is excited about the possibility of batting third this year, because he wants to “drive in more runs.” He says, though, that he understands he doesn’t need to try to do too much, and that preparing to bat third is not all that different from preparing to bat first.
  • Bruce Levine appears to be a big Dale Sveum fan, even though the Cubs’ manager is not interested in shooting the breeze with the media.
  • Multiple reports have Andrew Cashner hitting 103 several times yesterday in his first Spring Training game with the Padres. I say good for him, and good for the Padres.
  • Jim Hendry talks, in part, about his time in Chicago, and about the special burden that players feel while trying to finally win it all for the Cubs.
  • A “things are different this year” piece from Patrick Mooney, but, to his credit, he aptly notes that folks were saying the same thing at this time last year, in Mike Quade’s first Spring Training at the helm. It does seem to be the case that players are working a bit longer this year.
  • MLBullets over at BCB – featuring bees and an absurd number of home runs off a top prospect.
  • Looking for a way to find the top online sportsbooks, perhaps to take advantage of the absurd Cubs World Series odds these days? Check out these sportsbook reviews, which will probably help.
  • WGNstatic

    Regarding injuries, maybe I am not typical in this thought, but I have felt the Cubs have been pretty healthy the last few years.

    If you go back to the early 2000’s, I don’t think of it so much in terms of total team days on the DL. Instead, an interesting analysis would be something like the loss of expected WAR by those DL stints. Having Prior, Wood, Nomar spend long LONG periods on the DL hurt far more than DL visits by lesser players. I’m still not sure that the Cubs were really any worse off than other teams, but that would be the metric I’d be interested to see.

    • Brett

      Totally agree – I could tell that aspect of this analysis was really lacking when, for 2011, it looks like the Twins were one of the luckiest teams, health-wise, which we know is not true.

    • EQ76

      Health problems are also more about who gets hurt rather than how many get hurt. Koyie Hill never seemed to get hurt but guys like ARam and D-Lee did. That’s the difference to me.

  • TWC

    Is it asking for too much to wish that a manager — from ANY sport — learn the difference between “well” and “good”? I’ve long, long ago given up on the “less”/”fewer” distinction.

    Regardless, I’ll admit I enjoyed the hell out of doing some gardening yesterday to the sounds of Cubs baseball. Anyone know when Pat Hughes’ first game will be? Yesterday’s team of Len Kaspar and Some Otherdude was pretty iffy most of the time.

    • MichiganGoat

      Here is a quality article on the well vs good debate.

      Grammar Girl rocks!

      • Ron

        I am so with you, the improper usage of copulative verbs drives me crazy!

        This is why I like BN!

        • MichiganGoat

          Ah years of teaching in struggling urban schools has made me immune to the nit-picks of grammar and usage. I just want students to write an honest, complete, and thoughtful sentence.

          • Ron

            I nit pick my kids 6 and 3, all the time. Not enough of it in my opinion. Just trying to support our local inner city teachers here!

            • MichiganGoat

              Thank you I wish more parents would focus on the nuances of language regularly, and that our elementary schools would focus more on grammar and usage so by the time they get to High School I don’t have to devote a unit to parts of speech. The real eye opener for me was when I realized there is only one standard in the state’s expectations for high school. The federal expectations is for high school to focus on college readiness and hence there are no standards to measure grammar and usage (by high school that is expected to be mastered). Yet we all know that large group of students are not prepared for college readiness programs by 9th grade, and still I am measured by the ability of a student who comes to me reading at the 4th grade level by his ability to succeed on the ACT.

              Okay off soapbox- GO CUBS. I’ll be looking closely at the co
              competition for the 5th outfield spot.

              • Brian

                Sorry man, my third grader is to concentrated on the ISATs to worry about language and grammar. Need those good scores to get money into the school systems, don’t you know.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Oh I know and it’s the systemic flaw in our current educational system. We teach to pass a test not to actually… LEARN.

                  • Brett

                    Every teacher will say the same thing … and, yet, for some reason, the stupid testing system remains. Why would we want to listen to teachers about teaching, right?

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Exactly what do we know. I have found that the people who do not deal with the educational system on a daily basis have a rose-colored view of education and the decision makers look at how school was 20 yrs ago and think that we can compare the apples and oranges of then and now. The truth is that 20 years ago we did not try to teach every student in the way we try today. Before a student that struggled was swept under the rug but thankfully today we are trying to educate everyone. The problems is that we are expecting every student to perform and succeed in the same way. There are many indicators (early warning signs has us teachers call them) that tell us how disadvantaged many students enter the schools. Until we realize that different pathways are needed we will be flawed.

                  • Addie’s daddy

                    Very interesting thread today. . . It’s a systematic flaw in our society that drives the educational system — it’s the various arenas of our society who want our schools to “train” students not engage them in learning. As you know, MG, it is a different approach for teachers like yourself who want to support student learning as opposed to training them. We really do need to do a better job of communicating what learning is and is not (and demanding that needs to be the focus).

                    UGH . . sorry I need to stay off the soapbox (and caffeine). . . opening day can not come soon enough

                    Go Cubs

    • CubFan Paul

      TDub gardens? that’s definitely a man card violation. Baseball doesn’t make it okay.

      • scorecardpaul

        Gardening is a great hoby. It is one of the things in life that can bring great joy and satisfaction. not to mention increase property value.

        • Brett

          Plus, we don’t know what he’s, eh hem, gardening…

          • Katie

            Yup, exactly. I heard he’s quite the gopher slayer as well.

            • TWC

              Seventy-odd degrees, calm winds, clear sunshine, baseball on the radio, and two dead gophers.  It was really like the greatest day in the history of ever.

              • MichiganGoat

                Of course you whacked these gophers with the BanHammers that Brett decided were not worthy for him to wield.

                • TWC

                  Nope.  This:

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Not as cool as me thinking of you playing whack a mole with a BanHammer while you play mandolin between deaths. You killed my dream!

          • MichiganGoat

            Zing – plus he is a landscape architect so I’m sure gardening is more complex than pruning a few flowers. Of course I spent the weekend reading John Keats and writing a lesson on the Romantic poets. Keats accomplished more in few years than most authors do in a lifetime. Amazing verse from such a young man.

            • TWC

              Actually, this weekend’s activities were far more utilitarian: trenching for and installing 100-ish lineal feet of water mainline so I can get a hose bib (and future irrigation valves) in the back half of my property.  It’s fascinating stuff, I know.

              But I was thinking about poetry the whole time.

        • Luke

          I’d love to be able to put in a garden.

          Of course, first I need to get out of apartments, and that’s easier said than done.

      • farmerjon

        Absolutely nothing feminine about gardening, of course, I’m probably biased…

      • Ron

        Easy, some of the greatest Americans were gardeners/farmers! There is nothing like the smell of freshly turned soil, no man card violation here!

  • daveyrosello

    Well, that’s great that Cashner is dialing up triple digits, but I was more encouraged to hear Theo say this weekend what we all know to be true: relief pitchers just aren’t that valuable. If Rizzo pans out, his WAR contribution will be significantly higher than anything Cashner will ever contribute.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wish Cash well, but I’m not freaking out over that trade. The Marshall trade OTOH, well, let’s hope Torres is a legit 2B prospect, because the early look on T-Wood is brutal.

    • Kyle

      I haven’t been following all the comments lately. Is this the winner in the “first person to take spring training results seriously” race?

      • CubFan Paul


  • jim

    Last spring “competition” for last rotation spot landed cashner and wells on dl with sore arms in april and ruined the season. Cashner for AAAA rizzo will go down as big as brock for broglio. Young arms are most valuable asset.

    • CubFan Paul

      *Relief* pitchers are NOT valuable assets. everyone knows this..

    • TWC

      “Cashner for AAAA rizzo will go down as big as brock for broglio.”

      Ha!  I get it!  I get jokes.

      • Brett

        Hey! That’s what I say!

  • jstraw

    DL-Day is an obsolete, old-school stat. It’s time for the sabremetricians to get to work on ADL-Day (adjusted disabled list days). Not all player days are equivalent. Is a player an every day starter, a platoon, a bench player? How much is he paid? How often did the minor-league call-up start or play? Did errors go up during his absence? Did team OBP go down?

    This is important stuff.

    • Brett

      Yup. This would seem to be an extraordinarily important data point. Dollars on the DL? Take the runs a player creates over an average 162-game schedule, and take the proportion of that equal to the time spent on the DL?

  • die hard

    They could be one of the healthier teams because they didnt hustle to take extra base, dive for flyballs, crash into walls (Johnson excluded), steal bases, and play 110% each game.

  • Cubsin

    The metric clearly should not be payroll dollars. Losing Castro would be much worse than losing Soriano, not 5% as bad.

  • Benjamin Raucher

    Health is always a major issue. It is the luck of the draw.