So, here’s where things stand standings-wise: the Cubs are two games worse than Rockies with three games to play. Because the Cubs hold the tie-breaker, the only way the Cubs could not finish with the second worst record is if they sweep the Astros, while the Rockies are swept by the Diamondbacks. In other words, the Cubs’ “magic number” (in reverse) is just one. If you fancy yourself a mathlete, even if you think the Cubs have an 80% chance of beating the Astros on a given day (I’m being generous), and even if you think the Diamondbacks have an 80% chance of beating the Rockies on a given day (again, generous), there’s still only a 26% chance that the dual sweeps happen in a way that hurts the Cubs.

  • Matt Garza had some supremely high compliments for Cubs manager Dale Sveum, and, in the process of offering them, takes a back-handed swipe at the previous coaching staff. “If this [injury] happened last year, you wouldn’t see me, I’d be home,” Garza said, per Carrie Muskat. “I like coming here and hanging out with the guys. I have a whole different perspective on this thing and a whole different hunger and I’m chomping at the bit …. I told him we’re on the verge of [100 losses] … and I told him last year we were close to .500 and I hated every day of my life coming in here. It was miserable [last year]. I said, ‘This year, I enjoy it, and I look forward to coming in here.’ I said, ‘You brought that back, so thank you.’ Last year was a trying year. This year was a different type of mental fight but I can actually enjoy this one …. [Sveum]’s more open, more sociable with us. He treats us like players. It’s not like, ‘This is you, this is you’ — he gives you the opportunity to fail. The way he’s handled the situation we’re in right now, it’s tough. It’s tough for him to keep it the same way each day, that’s huge …. To end up with a guy like Dale is awesome, especially coming from the situation last year — I’m not even going to go into it — but this is awesome.” Wow. I mean, I can’t even make a cat’s pajamas joke. That’s just a flat out annihilation of all things 2011 Cubs, and especially Mike Quade. Strange to hear from a guy who, in the Winter, talked about how much he loved being in Chicago and playing for the Cubs, but I guess this time he really is happy? Whatever the case, I still like Garza a whole lot. I like what Sveum has done, generally-speaking, so I’m glad to hear that they’ve clicked. Keep in mind that other guys said wonderful things about Mike Quade last year and the year before, so this could just be a personality mesh kind of thing. Recall that Garza and Quade didn’t exactly end the year with hugs and kisses after Quade asked Garza to strike out on purpose so that Starlin Castro could try and get his 200th hit at home.
  • Chris Rusin on his time in the big leagues, which he hopes will continue next year. “It’s tough because everything is thrown at you,” Rusin said, per Carrie Muskat. “You really want to do well because you feel this is your only opportunity to make a good first impression. I try not to worry about that. Today was my last outing, and I wanted to give it my all and whatever happened happened, and just have a good time out there.” Rusin is not assured of a rotation spot next year, but he’s very likely earned a spot in the Spring Training competition.
  • The Daily Herald interviews Len Kasper, who sees the offseason as all about acquiring pitching.
  • Want to dig into the WAR formula for each of the various places that publishes WAR values? Well, they’re proprietary and mostly secret, but here’s a good start.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at the playoff races, which have all just about resolved themselves.
  • Cubbie Blues

    Strange to hear from a guy who, in the Winter, talked about how much he loved being in Chicago and playing for the Cubs, but I guess this time he really is happy?

    As far as Garza’s comments go, I am left wondering how much if it is a love the one your with situation. If he was so unhappy last year to go to work, how could he of been honest about loving to be playing for the Cubs over the winter.

    • King Jeff

      At the time he said those comments last year, Quade was already out the door, so I see no reason for him to throw Quade under the bus at that point. I’m also sure that Garza could have loved every aspect of being a Cub except for having to deal with Quade as a manager day in and day out. His new comments came when someone asked him about Svuem as a manager, and in comparing the two, I can see where Garza is coming from in his statements.

  • random_monkey

    he gives you the opportunity to fail


    • King Jeff

      Quade decided that once he saw you struggle with something, he never used you in that situation again. I still see some of this in Svuem. Early in the year he was stuck on that right handed lineup, but I think he got better about mixing things up as he got more comfortable with the roster and saw more of his players. Quade was pretty unwavering and stubborn, ie Tyler Colvin, and to a certain extent Wellington Castillo.

  • ssckelley

    “The Daily Herald interviews Len Kasper, who sees the offseason as all about acquiring pitching.”

    This season has exposed how bad the Cubs minor league pitching is at the higher levels. For anyone to believe the Cubs will not be going after starting pitching in the off season has not been watching these games over the past couple of months (not that I’d blame them). I am as excited as anybody over some of these prospects coming up but the lack of pitching has been glaring. Hopefully with this new FO and the people they have brought in will make better decisions drafting pitching prospects as the previous regime was horrible.

  • scorardpaul

    I think this question, and response by Len Kasper is closer to how I feel about this.

    Q. Former Cub Adam Greenberg, who was beaned in the only plate appearance of his career seven years ago, will get another try this week for the Miami Marlins. Are you surprised he is getting the opportunity?

    A. Yes, I am. On the surface, this seems like a great comeback story.

    But it smells of a publicity stunt, something I’m a little surprised Adam agreed to be a part of. No doubt he went through an awful ordeal in having his major-league career consist of one dangerous pitch all those years ago.

    But this next opportunity is essentially being staged, and for a guy who still believes he has legitimate big-league hopes, it is a bit strange to see him cut in front of the line ahead of some other deserving players who have never even gotten the chance to wear a major-league uniform in the first place.

    • Brett

      I can respect that position, even if I don’t agree with it.

      • TWC

        Adam Greenberg doesn’t deserve, nor did he earn, this opportunity. Jeff Loria is 2012’s Bill Veeck, and Greenberg is Eddie Gaedel.

        • Brett

          Well at least you offered your well-explained rationale. Clearly playing a midget and playing a kid who got blasted in the head with the only pitch he ever saw after earning his way to the bigs are exactly the same thing. Nailed it.

          (Is this really going to happen? Are TWC and I going to throw down? And is TWC aware that this has all already been hashed, re-hashed, re-hashed, and then re-hashed again?)

          • TWC

            Ha. I actually had a much longer post that I ended up deleting down to those two sentences. The Geadel comparison struck me over the weekend.

            If this was the end of the 2005 season and Greenberg was brought back to get his opportunity (“his one at-bat”), then fine, he “earned” that second attempt at an at-bat (yeah, I know the kid’s brain was still swimming in ’05). But in the last seven years he’s been barely a better ball player than *I* am. It just smacks of crass, Veeck-ish levels of absurdity to me. Greenberg’s willingness to be exploited to further his own goals doesn’t make it OK.

            Ultimately, I don’t really care what the Marlins do. I think it’s a pretty silly story that will be quickly forgotten. I’m damn glad that the Cubs didn’t take the bait though.

          • TWC

            Is this really going to happen? Are TWC and I going to throw down?

            Oh, hell no. I’ve met you, ‘member? I was so intimidated, I *ran* out of that bar.

            • hansman1982

              Ace (and all of his 5’6″ frame) is incredibly intimidating…met him in front of Wrigley and thought I was getting mugged…

              (*cough* by a leprechaun (sic) *cough*)

              • Brett

                Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!


                • hansman1982

                  Bert, Bert, Bert…if you are 5’8″ then Tony Campana has amazing power potential…

                  • Brett

                    Just had a physical last week. Shoes off, 5’8″.

                    • TWC

                      Mmm-hmm. By that metric, I’m 6′-5″.

                    • Brett

                      Yup. We’re throwing down.

                    • TWC

                      You’re looking to bloody me up on the day that I wore my BN tee? Ouch.

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Hi old friends nice to see you’re keeping things real in my absence

            • Brett

              Well, I did have an entourage.

      • DarthHater

        Brett, you need to go hug a cactus. 😉

  • ssckelley

    I think Garza’s comments about how happy he was last year and this year are consistent. Last year it sounds like he was happy playing in Chicago but not necessarily playing for the existing coaching staff. You can love playing in the city and the fans but not be thrilled with the coaches and he probably knew they were on their way out when he made those statements. This year it sounds like he is happy to be playing for Sveum.

  • Rice Cube

    Maybe Garza’s annoyed because Mike Quade gave him a terrible nickname. I don’t even remember what Garza’s Quade-fied nickname was. Garzy? Garz? Rasputin?

    • Brett

      Matty Ice.

      • DarthHater

        Eww. Sounds like something that forms around an ice fishing site after too many beers…

        • donnie kessinger

          Yeah, he is clearly Garzilla.

          • King Jeff

            I like Garzilla. It really fits his personality.

  • Brian Peters

    Brett, which pitchers do ya think the Cubs will chase in the offseason?

  • cubchymyst

    Garza comment about wanting to be around all the time makes you wonder about Stewart. Bruce Levine has said multiple time that Stewart will likely not be back. To quote Levine about Stewart, “In the opinion of some Cubs people he was a lethargic player.” I don’t get to watch many games, does anyone know if Stewart has been traveling with the team or if his rehab schedule is keeping him from doing so? If he isn’t traveling with the team at all it might explain Levine stance on him not coming back.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I am personally at the position where we have to find an impact pitcher with the 2nd pick (or 3rd if things go bad). There is no such thing as a can’t miss prospect. But, with the limitations in spending and the lack of FA signings probably in the foreseeable future, they can’t miss. That is what the FO is paid the big bucks for. We have a ton of 2/3 level pitching prospects at the lower level. We need high end prospects with ace potential. We need more than one, but that pick should be a good start. I personally wouldn’t mind Appel falling to us with money. I hope atleast 2 of them stand out this next year. Manea or Whitson could be two players that could stand out. I don’t see them taking a high school pitcher that high unless he had Dylan Bundy stuff. I know Meadows is thought of being up there. If he is a legit 5 tool with high end talent, then cool. But, if there is questions I hope we go pitcher in the first round.

    • Drew7

      Pitchers that young are just such an injury risk that I’m not sure taking one with the #2 pick would be a good idea.

      • fortyonenorth

        I agree about the young pitchers flaming-out. Appel’s older, though. Better odds of him making it to the bigs than, say, a 17 yr-old. Also, you’d expect him to *make it* quicker. If all went well, he could be pitching for the Cubs during the 2014 season.

  • Stevie B

    We really missed out having a high pick 2 years ago. That Bundy kid will be a stud very soon.

    • Stevie B

      That should have read ***NOT HAVING A HIGH PICK**** ^^^^

    • Jim L.

      We did get Javier Baez two years ago, so can’t be too disappointed. That Josh Vitters pick at #3 in 2008(?) really hurts at this point.

  • lou brock lives

    Garza needs to go in trade. He reminds me of Rich Hill – could not field his position or hit a lick. I want athletes who can field, hit / bunt, & pitch without being an idiot in the dugout. Yeah I want guys like Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Fergie Jenkins, etc.

    • ssckelley

      Yes, the front office should be focused on signing hall of fame pitchers. They come a long so often you know.

    • Drew7


    • baldtaxguy

      I want the Honey Bears back. Big breasted ones.

      • hardtop

        The Bears will not win another championship until the Honey Bears return! Bring back the Honey Bears! Their final performance was halftime of Super Bowl XX; it is not a coincidence there have been no super bowl victories since. Do you think the greedy little McCaskey clan will continue the ban on beauty after Virginia has passed? Probably, they are so damn cheap/selfish, they’d rather get their high rise apartments in Paris re-decorated than pay cheerleaders a few bucks.

        • MXB

          The same can be said for the Refrigerettes! (ewww!) Haven’t won a championship without them either.

  • Mick

    Is there even still a debate that maybe re-signing Garza is a better option than trading him for prospects? It seems that it’s just a forgone conclussion that we’re trading Garza that we’re not even considering re-signing him to a long-term extension. The timing of his injury may have ruined his trade value because it’s hard to believe a team would want to take on Garza without seeing him pitch for at least a month to prove he’s healthy. That would make Garza more of a candidate to be traded next trade deadline as oppossed to during this offseason. That also means the trading team wouldn’t get the draft pick compensation if he declined next year’s qualifying offer thus lowering his value even more. So, in this sceanario he’d be a 3 month rental and what type of return can we realistically expect? Would that return be worth trading our best SP? Wouldn’t having Garza for 2014, 2015, and on be more valuable when we’re projecting to be playing in post-season competition?

    • ssckelley

      I think it should be a debate. Depending on how serious Garza’s injuries are now may be the time to sign him to a contract extension. If they believe Garza is a top of the rotation type of talent then resigning him may be the cheapest option out there for 2013 and beyond without having to give up draft picks.

      • Brent Jamison

        Such a disappointing year for Garza. I really thought he was going to have a big year.

  • Pat

    “last year we were close to .500 and I hated…”

    What? When the hell was that, April 23rd? I think Garza must have stolen Geo’s stash.