Paul Maholm continued his streak of pitching quite well, and the Cubs’ offense latched on to one excellent performer …

  • Sven-Erik312

    With nearly a 4 hour rain delay, the game was too late to watch here in Sweden. Before Rizzo got here, I was thinking that one guy cannot change this team. But I’m begining to think that I am wrong. This guy might just mean the difference between the Castro, Lehair and Soriano getting better pitches or not. It will be interesting to see how well Rizzo hits after the rest of the league has seen him in a few months.
    This is why I am begining to wonder if all the trade talk is going to really happen with regard to the pitching staff. All in all, it was a great start to the second half, I hope it continues.

    • hansman1982

      It also helps that the Cubs have a 3.80 ERA since he arrived as opposed to a 4.59 ERA in the 22 games proceeding (the game immediately following the last winning streak).

      • DocPeterWimsey

        And just think of how good the pitching would look if DeJesus and LaHair weren’t costing the Cubs a run a game in the OF! 😉

  • True(ly) Blue

    It seems that he really hits when his legs feel good. (I can relate as my legs are shot and everything is harder.) Seems like the ideal DH, eh? However I think that American league GM’s believe that his cost is higher than his value even if the the Cubs pick up at least half of his money. Too bad for the Cubs. Keeping him and somehow playing him less so that he feels good and hits well seems to be the only option as the Cubs are stuck with his cost one way or another. Is this what the FO calls a sunk cost? Thanks Jim Henry.

    • Fishin Phil

      I think it is a combination of his legs feeling better and the fact that he is now using a normal size bat. Remember, at the beginning of the year he was still using a telephone pole for a bat and not hitting worth a crap.

  • someday…2015?

    I think trading Soriano all depends on what means more to the Cubs FO… Keep him and save money for FA’s down the line(what I prefer). The other side, is the Cubs get a deal close to what the Astros got for Lee… So what means more to the FO, Money for the future, or another prospect or two and a loss of I believe around 90 million for a player not on your team?

    • someday…2015?

      Well actually now that I think about it your not really saving money, still got to pay the guy. Its just way too much money to pay someone not on your team.

  • leroy k.

    And just like that Mr. Maholm has a winning record 😉

  • calicubsfan007

    So far, the Maholm gamble looks like its working out! Plus, the more wins, the less likely we get stuck with a selfish jerk like Appel!

  • Doctor_Blair

    I’d prefer to deal Soriano to an AL team that needs a DH as I am sure Theo and Jed would like to do. But the dude has value in that role, for sure.

    Soriano will never meet the expectations he was signed to years ago – I think we can all agree to that. But if he were a solid hitter like his is now and we HAD to keep him on I say it’s better than getting a mil or two in salary relief. Dude is a team player, usually positive, and seems to make adjustments to hit decently well. Not to the level of his contract (we all agree), but hey if the AL isn’t gonna pay, keep him and use him where you can. He has value.

  • Ashley

    I would not be shocked to see Maholm traded as well as Garza and Dempster. He has been a really good back end guy for the Cubs and there could be a few teams out there that come after him,

    As for Soriano I happy to see him hitting the ball but the thing that has impressed me all year is his improved defense, now I know that won’t matter if he goes to the AL but it is still very impressive to say the least.

    • magilljl

      Agreed on all accounts. Maholm, if he continues like he has, will definitely draw some interest. He’s not expensive to keep, so I think it will fully depend on what on what teams are willing to offer. Hopefully the Phils lock down Hamels and Brewers make that rumored offer to Greinke…help drive up the price of our guys.

  • magilljl

    The Cubs have openly stated they’ll cover most of the cost to move Soriano, and have also stated they’ll pay the majority of salaries for better prospects in return. However, if Soriano keeps performing like he has, I would say his value (whether salary relief or prospect grade) will keep rising and end up costing prospective suitors more to get him….which is why I doubt he gets traded this year.

  • Serio

    I don’t want the Cubs paying 90% of his salary…that’s just way to much.

    • CityCub

      It’s prolly gonna happen either way tho

  • hansman1982

    The problem with other GMs not wanting him is the same reason the Cubs GMs want to dump him. This is the old-age career year that a lot of sluggers seem to have. See Berkman last year, Thome the year before, Helton in 2009, Chipper in 2008 (and 2012 (although Chipper is a bit of an anomoly at that, even after 2008 his OBP has been really good)).

    If history is any guide this is Soriano’s last hoorah and unless a team loses a corner OF or DH to season ending injury, odds are Soriano will play out his contract here.

    Then again, Theo and Jed do have a history of making a whole bunch of smoke in spot A and then a trade comes out of spot B.

    • Twinkletoez

      The last good year argument is the reason other teams should want to trade for him. The cubs are going to pick up 90% of his salary, so the trading team can enjoy his last hoorah and then cut him from the team next year with little to no cost.

  • Atfinch

    Kaplan put a note on Twitter indicating that Soriano is hitting .296, 56 hits in 53 games, 17 HR, 37 RBI and OBP of .369 since switching to smaller bat. Those are great numbers….

    • hansman1982

      wow, literally the only stat Kaplan got right was the home-runs (easy because Soriano had 0 before the switch).

      According to an article published by Carrie Muskat on May 13 (commonly used date of the switch) Soriano had been using the bat for a few weeks before then. However, from May 13 on it has been 52 games, .289 .357 .621 triple slash, with 38 RBI. Going back 53 games the triple slash is .285 .355 .611.

      Assuming the two week thing means roughly May 1 he is hitting: .288 .358 .586 with 42 RBI.

      Is it wrong of me to dislike Kaplan so much that I always double-check his “facts” as he spews them?

      • Oswego chris

        When we went to the Louisville Slugger I got to see and hold one of Soriano’s bats…it was ridiculous…

        • hansman1982

          Did they say how much it weighed? I have heard everything from 42 to 34 ounces

          • Jackalope

            Soriano has used a 35-inch, 33-ounce bat for the majority of his career.

            from ESPN

        • hansman1982

          also, did they have any Ruth bats? Similar story there, I have heard 40-52 ounces (52 is just unworldly)

      • atfinch

        Lol – I wasn’t going to that extreme to double check, I just thought it was interesting that he was hitting this well since ditching the big club. Either way I’m sure teams that may or may not be interested in picking up Soriano as a DH have to have realized the uptick in stats since the downgrade in bat size.

  • Spencer

    If Soriano keeps hitting like he is and playing defense like he is, I will happily keep him.

  • Spencer

    Imagine if the Cubs trade Soriano, Dempster, and Garza. At least they would have more money to offer Appel than the Pirates did.

  • Abe Froman

    That’s not how it works Spencer. There are limits to what each team can spend in the draft which were instituted this year. So if the Cubs went over the limit they would lose draft picks the following year as a penalty. Plus, their payroll is going to be way down next year so they would have plenty to spend other places than free agency. If the Pirates could have spent more without losing a pick they would have as they did in previous years, but the new rules prevented it.

    • Spencer

      That is not what I meant. If the Cubs finish with the worst record in baseball, they get the first pick in the draft, which has the highest slot recommendation (greater than the recommendation for the #8 pick, which is what the Pirates had this year). That means that the Cubs would be able to work with a greater slot recommendation to try to entice Appel to sign if they drafted him #1. Not to mention Appel will have next to no leverage next year since he will be a college senior.

      • Kyle

        Appel comes from a super-rich family, iirc. Leverage doesn’t really apply to him in the same way it does for most, iirc.

  • alsongs

    I think Soriano is not being dealt because any possible suitors are demanding McKay as part of the deal, and the Cubs refuse to let him go.

  • Jackalope

    I was interested by the discussion surrounding Soriano’s switch to a lighter bat this year and decided to search for more evidence of improvement beyond his simple slash line.

    Plate discipline (from Fangraphs): Sori’s swung at significantly less pitches outside of the zone (39% in 2012 vs. 46% in 2011) and less pitches in the zone (67% vs. 69%). His greater selectivity has resulted in swinging and missing on the fewest percentages of pitches in his career (12.6%).

    Pitch values (from Fangraphs): While Soriano has always mashed fastballs, for only the second time in his career, he is posting a non-negative run value against sliders. Coincidentally, pitchers are throwing him the fewest sliders since he was a Texas Ranger (only 20%). Instead, he is facing more changeups and curveballs.

    Homerun power (from ESPN Home Run Tracker): Soriano’s home runs this year have travelled further and with a higher speed off the bat than every year since 2006 when they first started recording the data.

    2012 true distance: 410 ft
    2006-2011 avg true distance: 400 ft

    2012 speed off bat: 104.8 mph
    2006-2011 avg speed off bat: 103.7 mph

    These data seem to support the idea that a lighter bat has improved Soriano’s bat speed, allowing him to hit the ball harder. A quicker bat may also be giving him an extra split second for pitch recognition to pass on the slop and crush the good ones.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Why? Because we give guys running major league ball clubs way too much credit. Most are to busy figuring out how to appear even smarter to the public. They do dumb things and many are afraid to make a move that could make them look bad. Self preservation. Cubs have made it clear they would pick up most of the salary, but still no takers. Yet many teams in contention struggle to score 4 runs a night.
    Still hasn’t made an error yet this season either and has thrown out five guys.

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