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With last night’s loss, the Cubs are assured of leaving Colorado with, at a minimum, a one-game worse record than the Rockies. Since the Cubs hold the tie-breaker over the Rockies in terms of Draft standing, that is effectively a two-game “lead.” A loss today would make it effectively four, with just six games to go.

  • Dale Sveum is perturbed about yet another “bone-headed play” last night, when Joe Mather improvidently tagged from second on a fly ball to left field, with Josh Vitters tagging from third. Mather was thrown out before Vitters scored, and the Cubs didn’t get a run (yes, that is a carbon copy of a play from Houston last week, when Dave Sappelt did the same thing). What can you say? It just seems like the kind of mistake you wouldn’t make in high school. Mather, for his part, said he thought he could make it.
  • Chris Volstad says he’s had a successful year, despite his crummy numbers. Per Carrie Muskat: “This is the year when I’ve learned the most as far as how to use my stuff individually, how to attack hitters, how to study that type of thing, as opposed to just relying on other people to do it or guide me along. It’s definitely a learning process and it’s taken a little bit of time but this is the year when I’ve grown the most.” Volstad is arbitration-eligible again this Winter, and would make a raise on his current $2.66 million salary. Is it worth tendering him, knowing he’ll get at least $3 million (and could get as much as $3.5 or $4 million, in an extreme scenario), just on the chance that the just-turned-26-year-old will finally make good on his physical talent? It’s a fool-me-once type of situation, but I can understand why teams are so reluctant to give up on him. God help my stupid optimism, but I’d probably tender him. Volstad starts today for the Cubs.
  • Paul Sullivan does a mailbag, which includes some interesting thoughts from a reader on the inattentiveness of young men these days. The reader is trying to explain why the Cubs seem to suffer from so many ….. OH MY GOD THAT DOG HAS SHOES ON!
  • Not entirely unrelatedly, here’s a humorous and informative Twitter exchange between Cubs prospects Logan Watkins and Dustin Geiger, the takeaway of which is that it looks like prospects who aren’t playing in organized leagues this offseason will be training in Arizona with the club in November and January.
  • Another not entirely unrelatedly, here’s an interview with Albert Almora over at FanGraphs. The whole thing is a treat, but this was my favorite quote: “We have video here and watch it constantly, every day. I have an iPad and it has what I’ve done against that pitcher multiple times. It helps, of course. I like to see the way a pitcher works and how he throws to you — how he’s been placing pitches with you. Stuff like that. Every day is different, but sometimes you have a better idea of what’s going to happen and what he’s going to throw.”
  • (Speaking of Watkins, Michael Brenly tweeted a congrats to his roommate on being named the Cubs’ minor league player of the year. The award wouldn’t shock me, but I haven’t seen the official announcement yet.)
  • Not to jinx it, but Darwin Barney can tie the Major League single-season record for consecutive errorless games at second base if he makes it through today’s game unscathed. The record is 141 games, set by Placido Polanco in 2007.
  • Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke on a range of topics, including the Cubs’ plans for free agency this offseason, which will obviously be getting its own post later this morning. Didn’t want you to think I missed it.
  • Kyle

    “Not to jinx it, but Darwin Barney can tie the Major League single-season record for consecutive errorless games at second base if he makes it through today’s game unscathed. The record is 141 games, set by Placido Polanco in 2007.”

    If he does make an error, we can wait until his career is over, then start a campaign to give him 141 token appearances at 2b over the rest of his life to give him the record anyway.

    /crossthread
    /stillnotgoingtohugabunny

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If his error is the result of a line drive to the head, rendering the rest of his career potentially moot … then maybe.

      • hansman1982

        So if the liner hits him in the arm and that arm is then severed by the line drive you are ok if he never gets another AB…

        You cruel bastard.

        • hansman1982

          Or what happens when that liner is hit to him at 90% of the speed of light? Certainly would have a hard time making it back on the field then…

          THAT’S RIGHT YOU HAVE NO ANSWERS FOR ME!!!!!

          • Cubbie Blues

            He would definitely have a hard time making it back to the field since the field would be incinerated by the plasma blast. The question is, would the plasma blast or the ball reach him first?

            • hansman1982

              The plasma blast would as the plasma would build in front of the ball.

              Interesting side note. Due to the speed of the ball it would increase in weight from .31 pounds to .71 pounds.

              If you were to increase the speed to 99% – 2.21 pounds
              99.9% – 6.98 pounds
              99.9999999999999% – 7,414,552 pounds

              Physics is fun.

              • Cubbie Blues

                Despite what my wife says, yes, physics is fun.

                • cubchymyst

                  That should be written phun with a PH.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    Isn’t that chemistry? Never mind, chemistry isn’t phun at all.

                • Stevie B

                  “I’m in the math club, uh the Latin club and the physics club.”

                  “What do you guys do in your club?”

                  “Well, in physics we… we talk about physics, properties of physics. “

                  • David

                    So it’s sort of social. Pathetic and sad, but social…

                    • Stevie B

                      Thanks David…couldn’t pass on that one. One of my fav movies.

          • cubchymyst

            If the liner hits him at 90% of the speed of light the Cubs will be getting a new stadium with all of the improvements they have been so badly wanting. The can honor Darwin Barney by naming second base after him.

            • hansman1982

              They probably wouldn’t be known as the northsiders anymore though

              • Cubbie Blues

                I’m guessing most of the Rickets owners are typically at the games. If this is the case they would be gone as well. Who then owns the Cubs? Would Joe actually be the new owner then?

                • hansman1982

                  I won’t get into that but typically if the owner of an asset dies the asset is controlled by the estate. In this case there would be a will that would dictate ownership.

                  I am sure there has been precedence before of baseball owners dying unexpectedly or not having a plan already in motion to transfer ownership. But my guess is that MLB would probably take control and sell the franchise to someone else.

            • Stinky Pete

              Wait. Why are the Cubs getting a new stadium after Coors Field has been incinerated?
              “At least 90 people are dead after attending a ballgame in Denver.”

              • hansman1982

                In the case of the Cubs, clearly the past 100 years should have taught us that God hates the Cubs in Wrigley. As such, every ounce of the fallout from the nuclear blast would fall on Wrigleyville.

                • Stinky Pete

                  Okay. I get it. Line drive at 90% speed of light in Denver and Wrigley blows up. Are we safe in Iowa then?

                  • hansman1982

                    yes…the nuclear blast cares not about us

              • Cubbie Blues

                I blame Jim Hendry.

    • MikeL

      Kyle,

      Sorry…but that was a really dumb statement and not the same thing at all…..

  • bbmoney

    “Mather, for his part, said he thought he could make it.”

    sigh.

    I don’t really care about winning or losing right now, but I do care about playing the game right and player hard. I guess Joe was playing hard, but he was also playing the game like a little leaguer. In explicable. I’m also wondering why the Chicago media isn’t blaming Vitters for not running hard enough………

    • hansman1982

      Well clearly the all-knowing Chicago media, ESPN, MLB, SI, etc… beat writers know something that we don’t know here.

    • Spencer

      I mean, it’d be extra dumb if he thought he couldn’t make it.

  • cubchymyst

    I’m on the side that the Cubs should keep Volstad around. If next year ends up with the Cubs trading 2/5 of their starting rotation again at the deadline then they likely end up in a similar position they are in now with pitchers grabbed off of waivers to fill in the rotation. Leave him in the minors and just save him for depth. I am giving him a little leeway because he is so tall and its been written that taller pitchers sometime take longer to develop control.

    • FFP

      Tender Stad. I am marking this page so that 18 months from now we can all tease Brett about his reluctant approval of this move. I know it’s a little gamble, and the boy may be posturing about his getting coached up this year (I read an implied ‘finally’), but when the deck looks like it does with Volstad, you double down.

      • King Jeff

        I’m going to mark so that next year, when we have a 3 million dollar pitcher with a 6 run era at Iowa again, I can have a good laugh. On the other hand, I’d gladly eat crow if the Cubs re-sign him and he shows some progress next year.

  • ETS

    Dear Paul Sullivan – Blame it on my ADD.

  • ETS

    OMGosh does Jed hoyer say he is going hard after grienke!?!?!? [/sarcasm]

    (sorry after yesterday, I couldn’t help that one.)

  • hansman1982

    You know, I was gonna do a long piece about Volstad’s effectiveness but then Brett said something about a dog with som…OMG HERE IS A DOG THAT HAS SHOES ON THAT IS TRYING TO WALK ON ICE!!!!

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I’m all about keeping players like Volstad around….UNTIL they get expensive. If he’s going to be up for $3M this year, see ya later.

    4.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 isn’t going to cut it.

    • JB88

      I can live with the K rate, but only if his GB% were about 5 or 6 percentage points higher than the 48% at which it currently sits. For a sinker ball pitcher 48% ain’t that impressive.

      The BB rate is another story. That rate is wholly unacceptable.

    • Chris

      I think it’s hard to give up on a farely young pitcher with projectible stuff. He just looks like a workhorse… until he throws a fat fastball right down the middle to 3 straight batters. The Cubs have money to spend. $3mil for one season might be a worthwhile gamble to bring him back, just in case he figures things out. Samardzija started to figure things out at about the same age. Granted, he was jerked around from one role to another, and he has better stuff, but you never know. This money won’t prevent the Cubs from doing other things in free agency, so why not. If what he’s saying is true, and he is learning here, keep the lesson going for another year to see what happens.

    • MightyBear

      Agreed that the walks are a problem.

  • ssckelley

    I find it amazing that someone can be 8-23 with an ERA of 5.75 over the past 2 seasons can be awarded a 3 million dollar salary in arbitration.

    • EQ76

      agreed… If I start sucking at my job, I don’t get a raise.. even if I have “potential” I’d still have to earn it.. I’ve never understood why so many players have terrible years and then get arb. raises the next off season.

      • JB88

        I’ve never understood how people in corporate America can even try to compare their situations to a professional athlete’s situation. In all of MLB there are somewhere around 360-400 pitchers who are pitching or are capable of pitching on a major league roster. Of those 360-400 pitchers there are roughly 150 at any given time who are part of a 5 man starting staff.

        If you were to even assume that there are another 100 or so pitchers capable of being a starting major league pitcher who are pitching in other leagues (minors or international), that still means that there are roughly 250 people in the entire world who are capable of doing what Chris Volstad is doing, even if he isn’t that great.

        This is simple supply and demand economics, frankly. The supply of starting pitchers is far less than the demand, which drives the price up dramatically.

        • scorardpaul

          great post, and I agree. That is why you don’t give people feel good at bats. This is a game for big boys who wear big boy pants. People who play in the majors have a special talent, and nothing comes easy.

        • EQ76

          Dude, I wasn’t trying to compare what I do to a MLB pitcher.. Nor do I need a lecture on the differences between my job and a pro athlete.. My point I was trying to make was that he has had a terrible 2 years in a row and will probably get more money in arb next year. THAT is what I do not understand. It’s a pretty simple point I was trying to make.

          As for supply & demand, he’s been as bad as any other AAA pitcher we’ve brought up. there’s virtually no demand for that poor of a performance when you can just pay Rusin/Coleman/etc. peanuts compared to what Volstad is slated to make.

          But honestly, a player not performing well should not get a raise.. ever. that’s my 2 cents.

          • JB88

            I wasn’t really calling you out and I’m sorry for not making that clear in my post. Lots of people do it, on this board, at games, otherwise. Sorry that was directed toward you. That wasn’t my intent, but it is certainly the way my post came across. So, my bad.

            As for the last sentence of your post, I don’t disagree, but that is the way the financial model has been crafted in MLB. Sort of a check and balance I guess. Ownership gets to control the rights of a player for a period of time and, as a by-product, players typically become more expensive during their arbitration years, regardless of their performance.

            • EQ76

              I hear you.. It just doesn’t make sense to me.. I know baseball inside and out, played some college ball and have a dad and uncle that played in the minors. I also have a few buddies in or used to be in the bigs, so I get it and how it all works. I guess I just think MLB would be better if the players didn’t get rewarded for a bad season like they do. I know theses guys are the best of the best and not all can be all stars, but maybe a pay deduction would get some of these guys’ arses in gear and they’d try a lot harder and perform better. It’s worse in baseball than other sports.. shoot in the NFL if you don’t perform, they just cut you.

        • Spriggs

          I think being a member of one of the most effective unions in the world has as much to do with his salary and his raises – as supply and demand does.

      • Chris

        Can’t argue with that either. The resource the Cubs have plenty of is money. It’s a ridiculous amount of money for Volstad to get, but what the Cubs don’t have a surplus of is pitchers with potential. He’s getting to an age where he may not have “potential” anymore, but maybe it’s worth one more year to find out. The money is insignficant to the Cubs rebuild plan. As long as he’s not hurting a better players development, and they feel like he has been learning something, he might be back competing for a rotation spot. Even if they cut him in the spring, the money won’t make a dent in their budget.

  • Chris

    Agreed. It is what it is. They have the money. He might be worth one last chance to pull things together. He’s a guy you’d hate to give up on, and then watch him figure it out for the A’s or another team.

  • MightyBear

    Regarding Volstad I will sort of quote Casey Stengal “You gotta be a helluva pitcher to lose 12 games in this league.”

    • MightyBear

      Sorry he’s 3-10, I thought he was 3-12. “You gotta be a helluva a pitcher to be 3-10 in this league.”

  • mudge

    I would not hate to give up on Volstad.

  • Stu

    What other options do the Cubs have? Is he preventing another starting pitcher from pitching with a better chance of minimizing the number of runs the opposing teams can score.

    And THAT is the whole point of it.

  • King Jeff

    I can’t wait to see the reaction to the Hoyer write up later. I’m looking forward to the write up as well, but I have a strange feeling that the comments section is going to be very interesting.

    • TWC

      We could probably just copy/paste in the comments from yesterday an no one would be the wiser.

      • hansman1982

        I copy and pasted Jed’s quote into yesterday’s thread (granted it was late when I posted it) and there are precisely 0 replies.

        Just doesn’t fit the narrative that the FO is tanking seasons because this is a dream vacation for them.

        • King Jeff

          That sucks big time, because I’ve had to wade through that garbage all season to get to comments I actually wanted to read. I honestly want to hear where all of those opinions are at now.

        • Chris

          I saw this too, although I’m not sure I saw your post. I think it’s reasonable to expect the Cubs to spend some money on pitching. I’ll have to refer to an earlier post I made, late at night last night, where I went over potential free agents they could/should consider. I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I believe they can and will sign guys to high per year contracts, but for short terms, like one to three years. Those players can’t cost a draft pick. And none can have a no-trade clause. Amount of money spent is less important to me as number of years and having the ability to move guys if the team is not contending at the deadline. As long as they continue to build out from the young core of Castro, Rizzo, Samardzija, great. It sounds like they will be ready when the free agency bell rings. And getting a couple of innings eaters that are actual effective major league pitchers is a great idea. Long term flexibility just has to be protected.

          • King Jeff

            I don’t see why anyone would have complaints about a plan like that. I think this is as bad as we are going to see the Cubs for a long, long time. There is no reason to think that the team can’t/won’t go out and sign a couple of starters, and a couple of position players in the 5-10 million a season range, for 2-3 years each, and continue to stockpile young talent through the draft, internationally, and trading away guys on short term deals who will bring back long term assets.

  • King Jeff

    If the Cubs don’t go to arbitration with Volstad, he becomes an unrestricted free agent, correct? I don’t see him getting 3 million on the open market, so I can’t see why the Cubs would go ahead and give it to him. I know pitching is thin, but there can’t be that much of a market for a guy who hasn’t really gotten any better since the start of the year, and has a +6 era.

    • Chris

      You never know though. What if the Cardinals swoop in, Dave Duncan fixes him, and he’s the next Chris Carpenter that we have to play against for 8 years. I agree that he’s probably not worth the money. But you’d be paying for the exclusive right to keep him around. If you non tender him, he can go anywhere. That money is inconsequential to anything the Cubs need to do this offseason, so if you think he’s still got potential, why not just hold on one more year. Conversely, if they don’t believe in his talent, see you later Chris Volstad.

      • Spriggs

        The Cubs can’t stop the cardinals by signing every horrible pitcher in the world — just so they don’t get to fix them. The cardinals will be turning some other pig into a silk purse no matter what the Cubs do. Signing horrible pitchers ourselves, only serves to make us more horrible.

  • Spencer

    I really hope the Cubs tender Volstad. He is a quality pitcher and despite his lack of success so far in MLB, I think next year will be the turning point for him and he’ll become one of the centerpieces of the organization for several years. Who cares if he looked abysmal for 3/4 of the year this year? He even managed to WIN this year. Clearly he is on the upswing. If only the Cubs could build their rotation with FIVE Chris Volstads.

  • Stu

    Again, who is Volstad blocking? I’m not necessarily a fan of his implosion innings where it looks like batting practice for he opposition, but who would have INSTEAD of Volstad that would be better? Ideas?

  • Hee Seop Chode

    Are you guys really concerned about a 1 year 3MM contract? This seems like one of the few remaining opportunities to gain a compeditive advantage by spending money.

    Chris Colstad sucks, and this is still a no brainer.

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Good thing this was written before today’s game.

  • Diesel

    I hope Volstad doesn’t come back. He is horrible and makes me want to get wasted drunk when he starts.

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