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Well, the Rockies indeed (finally) won last night, leaving them tied with the Cubs coming into the series that starts today. Yay! Meaningful September baseball!

  • Tony Campana is headed to the Venezuelan Winter League, where he can pick up some of the at bats he didn’t get this year. In fact, he’s received only about 350 plate appearances all year, so it would be nice to see him get another 150 or so down in Venezuela. It would also be nice to see him work on his bunting, and groundball approach. Interesting side note: FanGraphs had Campana worth 1.5 WAR last year in just over half a season of work, almost exclusively from defensive value. Not sure I saw it that way.
  • David DeJesus is impressively realistic about the prospects for Cubs competitiveness next year, and the direction of the organization, given that he’s a 32-year-old who’s essentially never played on a team with a winning record. You could understand if he felt a little more urgent. DeJesus told Gordon Wittenmyer that he feels like this Cubs team has more talent than some of his Royals teams, but not enough pitching to win in the NL Central. ‘‘It’s one of those situations where, do you go out and spend money on free-agent pitchers when you’re rebuilding? That’s the hardest part about it,’’ DeJesus said.
  • Bruce Miles writes about Tyler Colvin’s time in Colorado, and wonders whether that’s the trade the new front office wishes they had back. Miles acknowledges that Colvin’s .853 OPS this year is built strongly on his 1.030 OPS at Coors Field, but, even for Coors, that’s good. Given that DJ LeMahieu hasn’t been terrible (.278/.310/.369), and the fact that the Cubs got nothing out of Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers, I’d say that, yes, they probably wouldn’t hate having that trade back. (Not that Colvin would have played, mind you – the Cubs would have simply worked out some other trade, which may have proved more fruitful.)
  • Dave van Dyck compiles where various Cubs players stand in certain stats, which is an interesting read if you merely want to see where the Cubs stand, and aren’t actually trying to learn anything about advanced stats.
  • A tough, but good, read on a friend of Brett Jackson’s who helped push him to succeed while she was dying from lung cancer.
  • An update on the article from yesterday, wherein Alfonso Soriano said he hadn’t really received outfield coaching until this season – Brad on Twitter passes along an old Scout.com article in which Lou Piniella discusses Soriano in the outfield, and notes that then-coach Mike Quade “works with him every day.” Now, Soriano’s comment that he hadn’t received outfield coaching until this year was always probably a slight exaggeration, but, at the same time, what he considers to be “coaching,” and whatever Quade was doing with him, might not be the same thing. Heck, the proof is in the pudding, right? Look at Soriano defensively back in 2010, when Quade was “working with him every day,” and in 2012. Night and day. In other words, Soriano likely believes he never received meaningful coaching, even if, obviously, there was some coaching going on.
  • Glenallen Hill’s One Homer

    We haven’t had a new reason to hate Quade in a long time, but it was (as always) welcome to hear

  • JR

    I feel like Sori saying that he wasn’t coached in left previously is him saying “See it’s not my fault I sucked in the outfield the last 5 yrs.” No doubt he looks better this year, but I have a hard time believing the old guys gave him nothing of value in defensive coaching.. They probably just didn’t connect with like the new coaches have.

    • Mat B

      Quade said he ran Soriano into the wall. What good does that do? He should have been teaching him how to approach the wall. Quade is and always was a MORON. I can’t believe he was ever hired as a manager.

      • JR

        Quade is a complete dipshit. But the only outfield coaching was them running Sori into the wall? I doubt that.. And Quade was only the coach last year. What about the other 4 years? No one noticed he sucked and gave him coaching all that time? I think Sori is just passing the buck.

        • Mat B

          I’m sure there was more instruction than that too, but if part of the coaching was running him into the wall, how good could the rest of the coaching have been? Also, I think he was doing the outfield coaching prior to being the manager. He was on the big league coaching staff for at least a couple years before becoming manager. I think…

          • JR

            Soriano really struggled when he got close to the wall, it was like he was scared of it or something.. So I am sure they did spend a good amount of time on that aspect. The previous coaches/managers probably did a shitty job getting him to buy in to the defensive side. But I bet he had a lot of coaching on how to defend than crashing into the wall.

            • Mat B

              Yeah, he looks much more comfortable going to the wall this season. I said it a couple months ago. I would love to have seen Soriano play the outfield if he had had Dave McKay coaching him the entire time since his transition from the infield. Regardless of the coaching or lack of, prior to this year, McKay seems to have made a huge difference.

              • JR

                Agreed. Not sure what McKay did, but he got Soriano to care about playing the outfield and buy in. The skill set was probably always there, but the want to was missing.

                • donnie kessinger

                  Too bad Kevin Costner wasn’t around to help Sori like he helped Mickey Hart…. “Don’t help them make a joke out of you Sori… we will work it together!”

                • bluekoolaidaholic

                  I think you nailed it.
                  Coaching or no coaching had little to do with him, it is all about attitude. He was a lazy, overpaid non hustler who booted the ball around and had a funny little hop and a bat too big for an aging vet with bad knees and declining skills.
                  But wow, did he turn that around.
                  He became teachable maybe, or Dave McKay got to him, or he didn’t like getting booed, or all of the above.
                  Too bad he and Ramirez didn’t do this last year and get started earlier. (sigh)
                  At any rate, my hat’s off to Sori this year. He not only has improved on the field, but has shown a lot of character and I hope he either is with us next year or brings a nice prospect or two in a trade.

    • hansman1982

      When I first saw that I thought that meant no instruction whatsoever but the more I think about it I believe that whatever instruction Soriano got this year makes it as if there was none before.

      I guess I just don’t see Soriano as a “passing the buck” kinda guy.

  • OCCubFan

    “Bruce Miles writes about Tyler Colvin’s time in Colorado, and wonders whether that’s the trade the new front office wishes they had back. Miles acknowledges that Colvin’s .853 OPS this year is built strongly on his 1.030 OPS at Coors Field, but, even for Coors, that’s good.”

    But in 200 plate appearances away from Coors Field, Colvin’s line is .238/.271/.404 with a .675 OPS.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Right. That’s the implication of a 1.030 OPS at Coors, and an .853 OPS overall. The point on which I chose to focus is that even very good hitters don’t necessarily put up a 1.030 OPS at Coors.

      Heck, even CarGo’s home/road splits (which includes a teeny, tiny bit in Oakland, but is 99% Coors/road) are 1.003 OPS at home, .735 OPS on the road. I’m not sure that makes CarGo a crappy hitter.

      • hansman1982

        Colvin is doing well this year…there is no doubt of that. How he would do at Wrigely is something we will never know.

        I’m over it – Colvin has been a thurth (combo third-forth) outfielder in Colorado. While he would have saved us from having a month of Campana starting in CF He wouldn’t have made much of a difference overall. I liked the trade then and I still don’t hate it.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Colvin wouldn’t have been anything here – he was always going to be traded. I don’t actually shit on the Stewart trade as much as some, but I’m saying that the question is not how Colvin would have done with the Cubs – it’s how another trade might have worked out.

          • donnie kessinger

            I thought the trade was a worthwhile roll-of-the -dice by the cubs… you never know how these things will turn out, but I don’t think Colvin’s ceiling is that high, and I think Stewert had a legitimate chance to succeed (although it did not work out). I certainly wish Colvin the best.

            • bbmoney

              I agree with Donnie.

              Knowing what we know now, sure it would have been nice to have gotten more. But I really, really doubt anyone 5 years from now anyone is really kicking themselves about this. We’ll likely have given up a couple of utility guys (or they would be for a good team…Colvin is really only starting now that injuries have occured) for a chance at a starting 3b that didn’t work out. It’s too bad it didn’t work better for the Cubs, but if it’s the worst deal we make over the next 5 years I’d be extremely happy.

            • Spriggs

              I always think of Vince Lloyd when I see your posts… he usually called Kessinger “Donnie”. Or “Young Donnie Kessinger” when he first came up. Those were the days!

              • donnie kessinger

                Yes!

    • AB

      Coors field is constantly rated as the #1 ballpark offensively for LH hitters, which works for Colvin because he is an extreme pull-hitter. Remember that walk-off HR by Cargo against Sean Marshall a couple of years ago that almost went into the third deck??

  • Kevin

    Mr. Ricketts, Do you want to fill up the seats with a sub-par ballclub? Bring back Ryno and Chicago fans buy up all the tickets. Tattoo Dale is a joke!

    • donnie kessinger

      It makes me wonder why they didn’t consider Ryno… is there some negatives about Ryno that may have kept him out? I do hope Sveum grows into the job as the talent level increases, but I have to wonder myself “What if” Sandberg were hired.

      • Drew7

        Yes. Ryno’s small-ball philosophy and overall “old-school” approach to the game couldn’t clash more with the views of Theo/Jed.

        • donnie kessinger

          Great answer Drew, sort of thought that myself.

        • Kevin

          Please explain Theo/Jed views in detail so we can all understand your reasoning. How is small ball worse than some bunting competition?

          • Drew7

            The bunt competition has always seemed like a silly PR-stunt to me. Besides, I didn’t say Sveum was the perfect example of a “Weaver-ball” manager, just that Ryno is very Mauch-ian when it comes to how he manages a game.

            Theo and Jed believe in Weaver-ball – the philosophy of keeping the line moving, not giving away outs, and where “situtational-hitting” doesn’t exist (hitting behind the runner, sac-flies, etc). The theory is summed up well by the Earl Weaver quote, “play for 1 run, score 1 run, play for 3 runs, win the game”.

            Ryno lives by the “old-school” approach – where situational hitting, bunting, and all that encompasses “giving yourself up” are frequently used. In addition to those tactics, you’d also likely see a lot of hit-and-run’s and steals, as well as a big emphasis on defense.

            The two philosophies really couldn’t be much more different. Weaver really was way ahead of his time in seeing that getting on-base and hitting for power are the two things that greatly impact a game (along with limiting those things on the pitching-side of the game), while also realizing the importance of each out and not wasting them.

            • Spriggs

              I agree with everything you said – except the first sentence. I believe that the bunting competitions served 2 important purposes.

              First, it got the players and coaches focused on something – and in a fun way, and in a positive team atmosphere. The interaction and the enthusiasm was something I had not seen before in a Cubs camp. They had fun with it and it accented their workouts – didn’t define them.

              Second, and probably of least importance, whether you are a small ball advocate or not, there are some situations where bunting is pretty good strategy and players should all know how – not just pitchers. And especially with the wind conditions at Wrigley Field. Playing for a run – late in the game can be the smart thing to do.

              But like I said, I agree with everything else you said.

              • Drew7

                It sounds like you were there. If that’s the case, and part 1 of your response is what you witnessed, then I agree with you.

                The second point – Yes and no. Yes, there are a handful of situations during the season that you may come across a situation that calls for a bunt by a position-player. The question is, does that reason alone warrant such a big chunk of finite practice time?

                Calling it a pure PR-move might be over-the-top, but it always seemed to me – without being there – that it was done just to show the fans that new management was “going back to the basics” and to show a commitment to being *fundamentally-sound*.

                • Spriggs

                  Yes, visited Fitch almost every day from mid Feb to early March… then at Hohokam after that for workouts and the ST games every day. Hohokam practice field is where they had the last round of the bunt tournament (so the public couldn’t actually see that). Favorite time of the year. The AFL is a close 2nd though!

      • Tommy

        If you take Theo’s word at face value, he said he was looking for someone with major league coaching/managerial experience, which Ryno didn’t have at the time.

        I like Ryno, but he acted like a spoiled kid who was entitled to the job when he didn’t get it, and then made the decision to leave the organization for the same position with Philadelphia. I might have my facts mixed up, but I seem to recall also that he stated he was only willing to take the manager role, and not a coaching position.

        What’s my point in saying all this? I haven’t the slightest idea. Just sayin’.

  • Patrick G

    Great story on Jackson

  • Kevin

    I’m not sure Ryno acted like a spoiled kid, Hendry lead him down a road and that road ended. Ryno has paid his dues and has done quite well helping the young kids fielding and batting. I think Theo doesn’t like Ryno because he doesn’t want others to force him into making any decision, talk about a big ego,,Theo!

    “Yes. Ryno’s small-ball philosophy and overall “old-school” approach to the game couldn’t clash more with the views of Theo/Jed.” There is nothing wrong with small ball philosophy, why do people keep saying that?

    Tom Ricketts – step up to the plate and be a man, don’t let Theo walk all over you,

    • DarthHater

      Three paragraphs. Three imbecilities. The moron trifecta.

    • TWC

      There is nothing wrong with small ball philosophy, why do people keep saying that?

      Yes, this wall is hard, but if I keep running into it, it WILL get softer!

      • DarthHater

        Blood! Blood! Blood makes the ivy grow!

      • hansman1982

        I was going to post an intelligent response…but you said it better.

        • TWC

          I like that you wrote that compliment on the back of your hand before you slapped me with it.

          • hansman1982

            Gotta make sure it soaks through your hippy shield.

    • Ogyu

      There is nothing wrong with small ball philosophy, why do people keep saying that?

      Here is some support for your point of view:

      http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/death-to-sabermetrics/

      :-P

  • willis

    It’s hard to criticize the colvin/stewart etc trade. They sent two, medium ceiling guys over for two guys who they believed had much higher ceilings. With the huge hole at 3B, I can get behind that. But Stewart and Weathers pooped the bed so we move on from it and try somehow to fill that gap at 3B short term until Baez is ready.

    • D.G.Lang

      The reason that Stewart failed to produce is that he was still SUFFERING with that wrist injury. Until this year, the doctors couldn’t find the cause of the pain and failed to correctly treat the injury. Now that they have finally found and CORRECTLY treated the injury it only makes sense to give Stewart another chance to prove that he can be the 3b answer.

      FWIW I have been coping with a lower back injury I received while in the army back in the 1964-1965 time frame. Despite multiple CT scans, a Myelogram, and multiple X-rays no one could find the source of all the pain until the year 2000 when I finally persuaded the hospital to take a MRI of my back.

      The results of that MRI showed what was causing all the pain and massive crippling back spasms that I was experiencing. While I still don’t have much free movement in my back, my pain level is much lower than it was before the MRI and proper medication. The point of mentioning this is that often times the actual cause of pain can not be discerned by X-rays alone and until a properly trained doctor with a lot of experience in intrepreting an MRI is able to do so and make the correct interpretation of what he is actually seeing, the actual cause of the problems will remain undetermined quite possibly for a long time. In my case, it took 35 years before the cause was actually found.

      In Stewarts case, we still don’t know if the treatment will be completely successful or if he will be completely healed by the time Spring Training is here, but the Cubs (and Cubs fans) should at the very least give him a chance to prove himself. Even if he is not yet completely healed the Cubs should at least give him a chance to obtain his complete healing and not trade him away before giving him that chance.

      He has always (before the wrist injury) showed a very high potential and he may still reach all of that potential. Right now it won’t cost the Cubs an excessive amount to keep him in the majors if he is showing much improvement or in the minors if he is showing some improvement and the likelyhood of even more improvement. In other words, the Cubs shouldn’t be in a hurry to trade him away since they wouldn’t get much for him if he is still injured and unable to improve. With what we have in the minors expected to be our future third basemen it is worth while to keep Stewart as a short time investment while waiting for our minor league players to improve.

      Since we aren’t expected to be capable of competing this next year it won’t be a big waste to keep him on the major league team. I believe that we will be competing more for a better draft standing than a playoff spot this next year anyway.

      When we consider the value of draft pick STANDING, it involves more than just the first round pick, it involves a ‘better’ quality pick in every round plus more money to sign them both in the draft and in the international signings.

  • mudge

    Epstein said one of the criteria was the managerial candidate have major league managing or coaching experience. Sandberg didn’t have that. So he would have been among countless thousands not considered for that reason. I don’t know why people so often act as if Epstein is always talking out of the side of his mouth, when he’s been real direct and as open about players and team direction as he can afford to be. There’s no evidence that he “doesn’t like Sandberg.” Sometimes it’s best to assume people mean what they say until proven otherwise. Is it just possible he’s a straight shooter trying to build the club?

  • gutshot5820

    Brett, it is disingenuous to spout our WAR figures and say this free agent is worth this much and that free agent is worth that much based on WAR figures. And then, totally disregard WAR figures for players like Campana and Barney, saying it is not believable or inaccurate. Better not to bring up WAR for any player in that case, because it’s a useless stat.

    • Drew7

      WAR is not a stat. As for the rest of your response, that’s taking it out of context just a bit.

      Personally, I find few flaws with the offensive side of WAR, and haven’t seen many people who do. It’s the way that factor in the defensive value (the same issue cited by Ace in both cases) that makes many people question it.

      • gutshot5820

        Ok, but when people spout off figures about how much a player is worth on the free agent market based on WAR, the WAR figure does INCLUDE the defensive metrics. So go figure. I think WAR has some value in evaluating a player, but when people start saying this free agent is worth this much and that one is worth that much based on WAR it makes me cringe. Then, when a player such as Barney and Campana has a decent WAR, it is not credible. Obviously, WAR has many flaws and should not be used in reference to what a player should be getting in the free agent market.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Easy now. I think I’m pretty fair in my usage of WAR, with all appropriate caveats about its accuracy. I use it for pitchers more frequently than hitters precisely because of the defensive issues (not nearly as pronounced with pitchers).

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