Adam Greenberg Got His At-Bat and Other Bullets

The final day of 2012 has arrived for the Chicago Cubs. Bittersweet? More sweet than bitter? Are you ready for 2013?

  • Theo Epstein says the 100+ losses this year aren’t on Dale Sveum “in the least bit,” and says Dale has done an excellent job managing the team. Theo is essentially saying, “sorry, Dale, I gave you a crappy roster and you did the best you could.” Which is true. But that’s neither a criticism of Theo or of Dale. It’s just the process. I think everyone is expecting at least some improvement in 2013, though probably not a ton.
  • The Cubs are expected to rest a bunch of the regulars today.
  • Dale Sveum on Brett Jackson’s call-up this year, and what he’s expecting of the young outfielder this offseason: ”It’s up to them to make the adjustments and learn from their experience in the big leagues and that’s a big reason why we bring them to the big leagues, so they can have an understanding of how big league pitching is different.The development in Triple-A was average and too many strikeouts. You bring him to the big leagues to show him this is a whole ‘nother caliber of pitching that you have to be able to make adjustments during the winter to be able to compete at this level …. I’d like to see him completely revamp his swing and lower half. They’re not things that you’re asking somebody to stand on their head about. There are players in this game who have made drastic, drastic adjustments and it’s propelled some of them to Hall of Fame stature and long careers in the big leagues. I’ll go to my grave saying if you don’t make any adjustments in this game, you won’t stay here long.” A complete revamp is risky, but might be necessary. Recall, Anthony Rizzo made some pretty significant changes to his swing between 2011 and 2012, and the dividends were obvious. So it can be done.
  • So, Adam Greenberg got his one at-bat last night for the Marlins, and, as a reasonable observer could have predicted, he struck out on three pitches against R.A. Dickey (something Dickey has done to many hitters this year). I’m not sure whether it was fitting, but it was what happened. I’m glad he got his shot, and I look forward to seeing what happens next for him.
  • FanGraphs looked at each team’s set of free agent signings from last offseason, and how those free agents performed this year relative to the expectations set by the contracts they received. You’ll be pleased to hear that the Cubs did better than most with their four free agent signings, on average exceeding the WAR expectation by 0.4 per free agent (good for 8th in baseball). It’s not entirely clear who FanGraphs is including in those “four” free agents, but it looks like it was David DeJesus, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and Kerry Wood. That’s three pretty obvious wins to me, and one seat-filler. Not too shabby.
  • How many factual errors can you cram into one paragraph of a letter to the editor? Let’s find out. I count at least three. Can you spot ‘em?
  • The MLBullets at BCB focus on the stories being played out today.
  • I always knew there was voodoo magic in St. Louis, and now they’ve discovered the source: the city was sprayed with radioactive particles for years after WWII.* No wonder the Cubs can’t beat the Cardinals. They’re essentially playing a team full of Spider-Men. (h/t BN’er Anthony on Twitter.)
  • *Is that a legit site? I have no idea. But the story was too good to pass up. Caveat emptor.
  • Remember that Cubs fan who caught Josh Vitters’ first home run in Milwaukee, and instead of asking for swag, asked for the chance to sing the National Anthem at Wrigley Field? Well, Paster Peter Bender got his wish on Monday, and you can see him sing here. Pretty cool. Makes me wonder: if you caught a ball like that, and could ask for one “experience” type thing in return, what would it be? I’d be torn between first pitch and seventh inning stretch.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

93 responses to “Adam Greenberg Got His At-Bat and Other Bullets”

  1. hansman1982

    The factual errors paragraph is for subscribers. If only I cared about the Tribune.

    1. hansman1982

      ahhh…apparently you do not have to pay to get online access…hooray reading comprehension.

      1. Eric

        Why did I waste 30 seconds with an old email for that crap article. Written by someone who never went to a cubs game, probably can’t name one cubs player, and isn’t even a good writer.

  2. Kyle

    What I really want out of this season is for everyone who defended the Joe Mather decision this spring to remember this the next time they talk about handing out jobs based on spring training performances.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      But…. but…. he earned the job then!!!!! After all, isn’t that the purpose of spring training?!?!?

      [/sarcasm]

    2. TWC

      You mean, SUPER JOE?!

    3. gratefulled

      You are right. With LaHair in right and Valbuena at third…wait, what was your point?

      1. gratefulled

        I mean if he would have played more then it is possible the Cubs could have lost over 100 games.

        1. gratefulled

          I’m sure he also begged and pleaded to bat lead-off too.

          SUPER JOE FOR PRESIDENT 2012!!!

          1. BluBlud

            Now why would Joe Biden drop his VP label to run for President.

    4. CubFan Paul

      Eh, Mather was the hottest bat in spring training and afterwards Sveum left him on the bench damn near at-batless til May. Mather went cold when he should of been platooning with Stewart & LaHair to start the season in my opinion

      1. TWC

        Right, it’s totally Sveum’s fault that Joe Mather blows. Totally. Because his bat “went cold”.

        1. CubFan Paul

          Yes. Hot bat plus bench equals cold bat

          1. TWC

            In 2009, Milton Bradley had a colossal Spring Training (hit .460 w/ a 1.326 OPS). How’d THAT end up working out?

            1. CubFan Paul

              Let’s keep it relevant. Bradley had been starting for 8 years before 2009 and had a .775OPS that year. Mather never was a starter

              1. TWC

                If the premise to the argument is that Spring Training stats are almost entirely meaningless, then I’d say the comparison to Milton Bradley’s (meaningless) spring is entirely relevant. You might note that Ryan f’ing Theriot and Koyie — yes, Koyie — mf’ing Hill were right behind Bradley in the team stats leaders in ’09, with OPSes ~ 1.000.

                1. CubFan Paul

                  I never said or argued that spring training stats are meaningless. I’ve been basically arguing the opposite because I firmly believe Joe Mather should have gotten more April at-bats over Stewart & LaHair

                  1. TWC

                    I never said or argued that spring training stats are meaningless. I’ve been basically arguing the opposite…

                    Yeah, I know. And that’s the problem. Spring Training stats *are* meaningless.

                    And for all my problems with LaHair, for the first six weeks of this season, his at bats were the only thing the Cubs had going. I can’t understand how you can retroactively wish for Mather to have taken ABs away from LaHair during that time.

                    1. CubFan Paul

                      Against LHP, against LHP. Mather should of been starting against LHP in april is what I said or what I didn’t make clear. Based upon Mather’s, LaHair’s, and Stewarts spring, Mather should of have gotten April starts against LHP

                    2. TWC

                      Yeah, I used the phrase “almost entirely meaningless” above, I just didn’t feel like typing it out again.

                      I would argue, however, that Joe Mather’s ST stats are 197% meaningless.

                  2. Chris

                    Maybe you can make a hindsight argument that Mather should have taken at bats from Stewart, but there’s no way you can say he should have taken LaHair’s at bats. Mather is an end of the bench type that is versatile enough to play infield and outfield. That’s the role he should have always played on this team, at best. Just like LaHair, the league would have found his weaknesses and exposed him for the mediocre player he is. His best role is as a versatile bench guy that gets an occassional start against a lefty.

    5. Chris

      Mather was a non-roster invitee to spring training. He had a crazy-good spring. Who did he knock off the roster? Campana. He was a versatile guy to have around. He didn’t hit much. That’s about what I expected going into the season. While I’d rather have Campana on the bench, I can’t complain about Mather being there. Having said that, I pray he’s not invited back for 2013. There are always going to be jobs handed out in spring training. That’s a part of what spring training is for. Now on good teams, it should be bench guys or bullpen arms fighting for a roster spot. That’s all Mather should have been fighting for. It seems like you’re just looking for something to be grumpy about on this one.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        It is a pretty damning statement about the Cubs system that Mather is starting. It is not like Sveum is pulling a Dusty and starting Mather over clearly superior players: Mather is playing instead of a bunch of “meh” players.

        Still, he’s probably not the worst bench player available.

        1. Chris

          I think where they really got hurt this year is they had way too many left handed bats. Mather was one of the few right handed options off the bench, and basically the only one after Reed Johnson was traded away.

        2. hansman1982

          really up to the deadline he had 158 PA and an ok .646 OPS. For a guy who can play 5 positions acceptably and be the 23rd man that’s not too bad.

          Granted he has under-performed that number to the tune of a .462 OPS in 80-some odd PA since the deadline but to be too upset at Joe Mather being on the roster (and getting 230 PA) is nit-picking at this point.

          1. Kyle

            All the games count. There’s no good reason to split the sample up like that.

            1. Kyle

              And it’s really not nitpicking, because he’s the most egregious example of one of the biggest examples of why the 2012 Cubs were so utterly terrible: They had way too many unacceptably bad baseball players on their team.

              In theory, a team should always be able to find replacement level players to fill out their roster. For whatever reason, the Cubs managed to field an unconscionable number of players who performed below that level. If they intend to improve in 2013, 2014, 2015, or whenever, they need to figure out why that was and fix it.

            2. hansman1982

              you are right, all games do count. At no point do I insinuate otherwise.

              1. Kyle

                So why split his stats up? That kind of argument never works. You can always hack a guy’s stats up to say “outside of when he was bad, he was okay” or “outside of when he was good, he was terrible.”

                1. hansman1982

                  For me the post-deadline 2012 season doesn’t really matter as the Cubs threw in the towel so I simply care about what players did when there was some hope of contention. At the point when having a different player would have mattered.

                  So all games do count (which is why I provided his post deadline stats) I just care about being able to change what would have made a difference in us selling off at the deadline.

                  1. Kyle

                    Okay, so before the deadline he had an almost acceptable OPS for a backup while playing terrible defense at a lot of different positions. He was still a sub-replacement player who had no place on an MLB roster.

                  2. cubbiesOHcubbies

                    If you want to look at stats from when there was a hope of contention you may want to just look at the first week for that sample size. After that we were just waiting for the trade deadline.

        3. SirCub

          Remember when Tony Campana was a regular starter? Wow.

      2. Kyle

        That doesn’t have to be what spring training is for, because it doesn’t work. Handing out jobs to terrible NRIs who have good springs just leaves you with terrible NRIs on the roster. I said it at the time, and I’ll be saying it next spring.

        1. Chris

          Not sure where you’re going with this thought, but EVERY team gives jobs out during spring training. Teams sign NRIs all the time too. This isn’t a Cubs-specific practice. I agree, Joe Mather sucks. But he’s a versatile player and he had a better spring than several other players that didn’t make the cut. The great thing about NRIs is if they have good springs and then suck in-season, they don’t make much money and you can launch them if you have somebody better to bring along. I’d rather have no NRIs making the team going forward. But it happens. And some actually do fill roles they are chosen for on their given teams. Decisions into the final spots on most rosters hinge on a players performance during spring, when all other criteria is equal. It happens every spring, with every team. Maybe those players aren’t all NRIs, but that wasn’t your original argument. Spring stats play a role in which players ultimately make a roster. Bad players making the team isn’t desirable for any Cubs fan, but he stepped up where there was a roster spot. When this team is better, there will be less opportunity for a guy like Mather to sneak on the roster. And he served as a functional backup and defensive replacement on a team that was not very deep to begin with. Maybe he played more than he should have due to a lack of talent, but I can’t fault the FO for adding him to the roster just because of your revelation that spring stats are faulty. Something tells me they understood that going in.

          1. Kyle

            “Not sure where you’re going with this thought, but EVERY team gives jobs out during spring training.”

            Do they? I don’t believe that’s necessarily true, and even then, it’s usually to decide among a small number of players who appeared to be roughly equal going into the spring.

            Joe Mather was known to be terrible and was clearly worse than several players who got sent to Iowa. Giving him a roster spot based on his “hot” spring was a terrible decision, and he ended up being one of the worst players in the major leagues this season.

            Whatever process led to Joe Mather being on the roster, staying there, and being allowed to rack up a -2 WAR performance needs to be reexamined.

            “Teams sign NRIs all the time too.”

            Sure, and then they cut them.

            “This isn’t a Cubs-specific practice. I agree, Joe Mather sucks. But he’s a versatile player and he had a better spring than several other players that didn’t make the cut. ”

            Which should lead you to the conclusion that they shouldn’t have been cut in favor of Joe Mather, because spring training stats are meaninglses.

            “The great thing about NRIs is if they have good springs and then suck in-season, they don’t make much money and you can launch them if you have somebody better to bring along.”

            The only good thing about NRIs is that they give you enough players to fill out intrasquad games and practices and such until your regulars are ready to shoulder more of the load.

            “I’d rather have no NRIs making the team going forward. But it happens.”

            It doesn’t have to.

            “And some actually do fill roles they are chosen for on their given teams. Decisions into the final spots on most rosters hinge on a players performance during spring, when all other criteria is equal. It happens every spring, with every team. ”

            All other criteria weren’t equal. The important criteria, the history of performance in competitive games, said that Joe Mather should have been lucky to be competing for a spot on the Iowa Cubs.

            “Maybe those players aren’t all NRIs, but that wasn’t your original argument. Spring stats play a role in which players ultimately make a roster.”

            It shouldn’t.

            ” Bad players making the team isn’t desirable for any Cubs fan, but he stepped up where there was a roster spot.”

            So what if he “stepped up?” The real evidence we had available to us was his history of playing organized games, and that evidence said he had no business on any MLB roster.

            “When this team is better, there will be less opportunity for a guy like Mather to sneak on the roster. ”

            This team won’t get better until we figure out why we gave jobs to players like Joe Mather and fix it.

            “And he served as a functional backup and defensive replacement on a team that was not very deep to begin with.”

            No, he didn’t. He served as a horrible backup and terrible defensive replacement who became the 2nd worst player in the National League by WAR (and still has a chance to tie for first on the last day.)

            “Maybe he played more than he should have due to a lack of talent, but I can’t fault the FO for adding him to the roster just because of your revelation that spring stats are faulty. Something tells me they understood that going in.”

            The results this year tell me they don’t, unless they were intentionally trying to make the team as bad as possible, which I don’t think we can rule out.

            1. Chris

              I could attempt to counter every point you’ve made here with weak arguments, as you’ve done to mine, but that will take too long. What players should have made the team over Mather in spring training? Refresh my memory. I don’t see it. They were all garbage, and of the garbage, he played the best in that sample size. Shocking… spring stats are meaningless. Yet all teams pay attention to them. They should not be the highest weighted factor in making a roster decision, but my point is they are a factor. And it’s not a failing of Cubs management that they’ve used spring stats to help make certain roster decisions, for end of the bench players like Mather. Listen, I didn’t agree with adding Mather even as a non-roster guy. But it didn’t bother me that he made the team, only because I didn’t see a better alternative in camp at that time. I might have argued on Campana’s behalf if asked, but it wasn’t such a big difference in my mind, so I let it go. Do I want him on the 2013 Cubs? No. Should they be an improved team in 2013, and avoid having guys like this filling out roster spots? Yes. But you can scan every team in the league and find one guy that was terrible and overexposed when given too much playing time. This is not unique to the Cubs. Bad teams have bad players. What a revelation. They need to get better in 2013. Not arguing that either. Questioning the rationale of Mather over Campana seems trivial at best, and I’d pick Campana every time.

              1. Kyle

                “What players should have made the team over Mather in spring training? Refresh my memory. I don’t see it. ”

                Dave Sappelt and/or Luis Valbuena, depending on whether you want an IF or OF.

                “Yet all teams pay attention to them.”

                You keep saying that, but it isn’t true.

                “But you can scan every team in the league and find one guy that was terrible and overexposed when given too much playing time.”

                The problem with the 2012 Cubs is that you can find a *lot* of those players. We managed to field 6 of the National League’s 32 players worth 1 negative WAR or worse using B-R. Way more than any MLB team with a competent front office should have. You have to ask yourself why that is? Well, part of it is because they were inexplicably willing to give an MLB job to a historically terrible player based on a small sample of non-competitive games, and then he turned out to be as terrible as his history would suggest.

                1. Chris

                  We can keep saying yes it is – no it isn’t true regarding spring stats and how much weight they hold on roster decisions. You can’t prove to me that there is a team that completely eliminates them from consideration, just as I can’t prove to you ever team factors them into the discussion when making a decision. We’ll disagree, but you can’t just call me wrong and call it a win for you. Dave Sappelt completely revamped his swing and only started hitting the ball in Iowa in July. He did not have a history of strong performance at the major league level to immediately just say he should be on the team. I think that’s what the FO wanted to happen in spring, but Sappelt proved otherwise in spring, and continued on the negative path for months in Iowa. Valbuena has not been measurably better than Mather so much so in his career that he was an obvious choice either. Again, I agree that he should have been on the team over Mather, given what we’ve seen this season, but at the time it wasn’t as obvious a decision as you’re making it sound. Good for you if you were on record saying so back then. Yes, again, you’ve pointed out they had bad players on the team with your WAR comments. I wasn’t surprised going into the season, and I’m not surprised at what the results have been. Should they have less bad players in 2013, yes. Do I expect that they will, yes. You’re twisting this into a commentary on the front office and they’re willful attempt to tank the season. I can’t agree with that assessment.

                  1. Kyle

                    I’m not “twisting” anything. The front office managed to field a shocking number of players so bad that they should never have found their way onto an MLB roster. That’s the entire concept of replacement level.

                    A front office that fields a team with 6 players a full win below replacement level has failed at something. That is a simple fact. Even if you are only gathering up minimum-wage players at no cost, you should be able to do better.

                    “Intentionally tanking” is the explanation I’m *hoping* for. Because if they actually thought Joe Mather could be a useful MLB bench player, or that Steve Clevenger was better than Welington Castillo, that’s even worse.

        2. ssckelley

          I have no problem with Mather starting the year with the Cubs. He and LaHair got off to great starts, if I remember correctly he was close to leading the teams in home runs with 4. But when the bottom fell out and the wheels fell off continuing to put him in the lineup and then batting him leadoff was ridicules. Mather should have been designated for assignment a long time ago and for whatever reason they kept him around.

    6. Cub Fan Dan

      Ah spring training! That was the time I said to myself: “Hmmmm… Maybe we got a steal with this Volstad guy?”

    7. MaxM1908

      Point taken, Kyle. But, you have to admit he provided some excitement in April.

  3. Ari Gold

    In regards to 2013, It doesn’t really matter to me about the win-loss record. I’m really looking forward to the organization taking a huge step forward overall. How does Baez, Soler, and Almora progress? Does an impact pitcher emerge in the minor leagues? How does Samardzjia progress, along with Castro and Rizzo. Hopefully Bjax cuts down on his strikeouts enough to become league average. My guess is we’ll be bottom 5 again as we’ll have another round of sell-offs in July. But it’ll start getting better in 2014.

    1. Chris

      I agree with all those points and I too look for general progress within the organization. Having said all that, to pre-empt Kyle, would you object to the Cubs signing free agents this offseason? They would have to be smart fiscal decisions, and any veteran on the team at the trade deadline must understand they could be traded if the Cubs are not in contention. Having a core of players under team control for their prime years is the key to building a consistent winning team. Castro and Rizzo seem to be the only sure things as far as a core goes to this point. Hopefully, Vizcaino and a couple of other players move into the core sometime in 2013.

      1. Ari Gold

        Yeah, I think the Cubs should/need to sign free agents, especially starting pitchers. Maybe we flip them at the deadline for some prospects, or maybe we luck out and someone begins to realize their potential.

        1. Kyle

          That’s the key. Even if you don’t care about the wins and losses for 2013 and are looking to 2014 for competitiveness, they have to significantly improve the pitching this offseason..

          As of right now, we have Samardzija, Wood and maybe Russell for 2014 with nothing particularly interesting in the high minors. They can’t assemble an entire pitching staff in the offseason after next season, so they need to get at least halfway there this offseason.

  4. Sully

    Right on Ari. Totally agree. That’s the key to 2014 and beyond.

  5. hansman1982

    “Expansion” Nationals
    Eight-years not seven
    Dusty wasn’t fired – his contract expired

    ???

    1. TWC

      Who the frack actually writes letters like that to the editor? I mean, writing in to correct the record, or to provide additional information to a previously published story, sure, I get it. But that crap? And it was published without, you know, a cursory scan for accuracy? Odd.

      1. hansman1982

        Working in customer complaints (written to our regulatory agency) you would be appalled at the inability of the average person to string letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into coherent thoughts.

        1. TWC

          Oh, no, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. I’m familiar with the internet.

          What really amazes me is that someone would write a letter like that to the Trib. I can’t help but let my ageism shine through and assume that he’s old and/or still think that the Trib owns the team.

      2. butlerdawgs

        You’d be surprised at how many letters like that, and I’ve seen much, much worse, come into the newspaper where I work. Generally speaking though, we edit for accuracy and grammatical mistakes. I remember one person wrote in saying how the high school (one of the top ones in the state of IN) wasn’t teaching the students anything because he went to a restaurant, and the person couldn’t make change. We counted 17 spelling and grammatical mistakes in a three paragraph letter that we had to correct.

    2. dabynsky

      The eight years was the part I couldn’t get.

  6. cubzforlife

    Just listened to Greenberg on jonathan brandmeier’s radio show on Wgn. Greenbergs convinced he’ll be on the Marlins or another major league team in 2013. Yup, thats what he said. My Cubs moment would be first pitch to ernie banks.

  7. cccubfan

    The Nationals are an expansion team????WHAT? Another 100 loss season? WHAT? When did this guy crawl out from under a rock. Have you ever heard of the Expos by any chance? SORRY Brett I know he’s not reading this, but oh well. We finished about where we were supposed to and I, like so many others, are lookign down the road at the big picture and not what happened in 2012. Theo and the FO have a plan and it needs to play out before anything big happens. No apologies to anyone need to be given………….

  8. Spriggs

    My experience wish – no doubt – wouldn’t be granted, but I would ask to be put in CF for one pitch. I would sign a contract for $1. The pitch could be a pitchout. Or not. I would be in the Baseball Encyclopedia.

    1. scorardpaul

      Spriggs, until last nights game, that wasn’t allowed. It used to be that you had to earn your way to the record books

      1. TWC

        *cough*cough* Eddie Gaedel *cough*cough*

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Gaedel was under strict orders not to attempt to move the bat off his shoulder. When Veeck got the impression that Gaedel might be tempted to swing at a pitch, the owner warned Gaedel that he had taken out a $1 million insurance policy on his life, and that he would be standing on the roof of the stadium with a rifle prepared to kill Gaedel if he even looked like he was going to swing.

          Nice job Veeck. When you try to be a douche you really go all out.

  9. Northside Matt

    This may have been discussed elsewhere, but why didn’t the Cubs bring back Greenberg? I know Theo wants to get out of the sentimentality business and that’s fine. But this season has been historically bad and this team could use a nice PR story.

    1. Chris

      I can only speculate, but this move always felt like a gimmick that a minor league team would do. I don’t have hatred for Greenberg, the Marlins, or anyone advocating that he get his 2nd at bat. But if I were Jed/Theo, I would have politely declined the request and offered him an opportunity to throw out the first pitch or sing the 7th inning stretch. Maybe he could be a non-roster invite to spring training. Plus, I don’t think this would have turned into a PR opportunity for them anyway. I think the local sportswriters would have been all over them for doing something like this.

      1. Northside Matt

        I would agree that this is more of a minor league gimmick, but that team on the field isn’t much better than a top triple A team.

        But you make a valid point. Theo & Jed have been against moves like this. Even if they wanted to sign him, they probably would have been called out for their hypocrisy. I just thought it would have been a nice thing to do.

  10. 100 Years of Tears

    I’m convinced that had Marmol not blown the save on Opening Day, and the Cubs had beaten the Nationals, we would have won our division while the Nats ended up in the cellar…

    Not really, but it’s a nice delusion to keep me preoccupied.

  11. Mr. Gonzo

    My moment would be singing a “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” duet with Alyssa Milano during the 7th inning stretch. That would also guarantee a highlight on Sportscenter.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Or doing just about anything with Alyssa Milano. Welcome back Jr. High crush. Oh, how I’ve missed you.

  12. jim

    IMHO: 2013 CHICAGO CUBS
    MENU for “success!
    NEED: a very good 3rd baseman
    NEED: a very fast outfielder
    NEED: at LEAST: 2 very good starting pitchers to go
    along with GARZA & SAMARDJIA

    p.s THIS TEAM “must” be able to play small ball in
    tight games! THIS TEAM “must” be able to “score”
    with runners in scoring position!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The CUBS are “solid” at 1st, 2nd, & shortstop.
    That being said, CASTRO “must” improve his
    fielding!
    GO CUBS!

  13. Spencer

    If the Cubs only lose 90 games next year, how many people will consider that a success?

    1. Kyle

      It depends on how and why they lose 90 games. If they improve the pitching but Rizzo and Castro both miss the season due to fluke, recoverable injuries, I won’t consider it that bad. If they lose 90 while fielding another pitching staff of retreads and making no progress on that front, it’s a failure.

  14. mudge

    The single thing that bothered me most about Sveum’s managing this year, was trotting out Ian Stewart day after day after day with an obvious problem until he couldn’t play at all. Baby an injury? A day or two off around an off day? Did this bother anyone but me? The other thing is, errorless streak was wonderful, but not trying out Adrian Cardenas for an extended stretch at second base seems like a missed opportunity for a team that had so much trouble scoring runs.

  15. MichaelD

    “I think everyone is expecting at least some improvement in 2013, though probably not a ton.”

    I personally am not expecting any improvement next year. A couple of weeks ago I would have predicted that the Cubs would have lost 97 or so games this year and about five more next year (102). Since they have dropped here at the end, maybe the loss total will be pretty much the same.

    This team has some work to do in free agency just to be equal to this year’s bad team. They have to find players to replace Dempster’s and Maholm’s production just to get back to even.

    Now perhaps they will go strong in free agency or Castro, Barney and Rizzo take big steps forward or some players from AAA provide wins (yeah right). But as of right now my prediction is for a team of worse quality and about the same number of wins, since this year’s team underperformed their Pythagorean projection.

    1. mudge

      We’ll all look forward to that, then.

  16. willis

    Next year is all about starting pitching. There are at least (if you buy Wood) two spots needed for guys that can come in and keep the team in games. Rizzo, Castro, Soriano can provide pop in the lineup, need a 3B and need either Jackson to go bananas or definitely need someone in the OF to compliment Soriano and DeJesus.

    DeJesus-RF
    Barney-2B
    Rizzo-1B
    Soriano-LF
    Castro-SS
    Castillo-C
    ?-3B
    ?-CF

    Garza
    Shark
    ?
    ?
    Wood?

    Marmol
    Russell
    Cabrera
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?

    Lots of work to do to not be a 100 loss team again. Which is pathetic for this organization.

    1. BluBlud

      Add Bowden, Chapman and Camp to that list of relievers.
      I also don’t see a problem with giving Campana a shot at the everyday CF job is Jackson is not ready. I personally would rather have Campana over Jackson anyway.

      1. JR

        I agree with everything but Campana. That dude really sucks. Just because he hauls a$$ doesnt mean he’s good at defence.

      2. Drew7

        I really thought we’d heard the last of the “Campana as the everyday CF’er” nightmare.

        Jackson is a 4th-outfielder at best, but Campana shouldn’t even have a roster spot.

  17. hcs

    Is that a Big Head Todd reference in the first paragraph?

  18. OCCubFan

    “FanGraphs looked at each team’s set of free agent signings from last offseason, and how those free agents performed this year relative to the expectations set by the contracts they received.”

    Thank you, Brett, for calling our attention to this interesting article. Who intrigued me was that the 5-year average $ per WAR varied with position. Why is one WAR provided by a CF worth $6.3M, but one WAR provided by a 2B is worth only $2.5M? At first glance, it would seem that a win is a win is a win no matter who provides it. Can someone explain this?

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      I will bet that it has to do with the variance in WAR around the mean and the shape of the distribution. If there is a lower variance for CFers, then a CFer who is 4 wins above the average will be rarer than a 2Bmen who is 4 wins above average. Thus, although both help the team just as much, it’s harder to get the CFer helping that much and thus an X WAR CFer is worth more than an X WAR 2Bman.

  19. JR

    Brett, since it sounds as if BJax needs to redo everything with his hitting do you see him starting at AAA again next year? I swear he looked completely different in 2011, and for whatever reason changed stuff around..

  20. gary

    I do not think we should just give lahair away. He is a left handed hitter who had 16 homers in limited playing time. That guys dont grow on trees. I know he isnt awesome but lets keep him if we cant get something decent for him. He is also cheap.

    1. King Jeff

      Well, the Cubs kind of just bleed power hitting lefties who strike out a lot and can only play first base and a barely passable corner outfield spot. So, I say, those guys do grow on trees.

  21. Stu

    Jackson needs to probably shorten his stroke and minimize the extra body movement. As I recall Rizzo moved his hands down also. Maybe he can see the ball a little better.

    Glad to finally hear that a prospect can change something and improve.

    1. Kyle

      Jackson needs to probably learn to sell cars or something.

      1. dabynsky

        Why? A guy that can run and play good defense can find work in the big leagues for a long time. It would be disappointing if that is all BJax is capable of giving us, but he will be around for a while in some capacity in the big leagues.

        1. Kyle

          Even those guys need to be able to hit a baseball once in a while, and his defense isn’t *that* good. It’s average-ish in CF, good in the corners.

          1. JR

            Jackson had a terrible and very dissapointing year. But why do you continue to just act as he absolutle garbage? He changed a bunch with his stance this year and tried to fit into the new way.. But is it impossible that he goes back to what made him a top 30 prospect going into this year? I dont think so..

          2. dabynsky

            Doesn’t change the fact that there are plenty of guys with his skillset that have found work for a long time even without being able to hit. He might only be a fourth or fifth outfielder, but he will be in the big leagues.

  22. Dougy D

    I would probably shag BP or something like that for my ‘experience’