Johnny Cueto went out after the first batter last night, but the Reds still managed to beat the Giants in San Francisco 5-2. I think maybe I’m pulling for the Reds. The Tigers took down the A’s 3-1. Each was the first game in those divisional series, and the first games in the other two series – Cardinals/Nats, Orioles/Yanks – go today at 2pm CT and 5pm CT, respectively, today on TBS.
- Randy Wells, Blake DeWitt, and Alex Hinshaw are now free agents. By virtue of being veterans who were left off of the 40-man roster at the end of the season, each had the option of electing free agency, which they understandably did. Hinshaw was a mid-season waiver pickup, so there isn’t much sting there. DeWitt, the primary piece in Jim Hendry’s dump of Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot in 2010, was a light-hitting defensive third baseman who was never given a chance to play third base with the Cubs. So he became a light-hitting, poor defensive second baseman with the Cubs, and his departure was inevitable by the end of 2011.
- As for Wells, it’s a bummer, and there’s a team or two out there that will take a chance on him, at least on a minor league deal. I doubt he sticks with the Cubs. After back-to-back 3.0+ WAR season in 2009 and 2010, Wells struggled with a forearm injury in 2011 (and a return to the level of effectiveness afforded by his modest stuff), and didn’t crack the Cubs’ roster out of Spring Training this year. He didn’t take the news well, struggled in Iowa, struggled badly in a few starts and bullpen appearances with the big club earlier in the year, and then had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow in July. Even if the Cubs had kept him on the 40-man, he was going to be non-tendered anyway. Will he be back next year? Probably depends on where he sees his best chance of cracking a big league roster while in camp on a minor league deal – the Cubs would actually probably be one of his best bets, but we don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes. It’s possible both sides are ready to move on.
- Here’s a list of other minor leaguers electing free agency as of a couple days ago – Wells may actually be the most interesting name.
- Paul Sullivan writes up the 2012 season, which he notes came without controversy (unless you count the Dempster trade situation … which I do). The thesis, I suppose, is that Dale Sveum has been pretty laid-back and positive in a tough situation. It underscores that, once again, Sveum knew what he was getting into, and knew that the expectations for him did not include “winning.” At least not in 2012. Probably not 2013, either.
- John Sickels reviews his top 50 hitting prospects from earlier in the year, to see how they’ve done – the only two Cubs on the list come in for the precise thoughts you’d expect: Brett Jackson’s strikeout rate is terrifying, and Anthony Rizzo looks like he’s over his growing pains, and ready to be a solid regular.
- Thanks to BN’er Todd for passing on the only election sign I’ll ever post here. It looks like Kerry Wood may not be as committed to the Cubs as we thought.