As Denard goes, so goes Michigan. You can’t really grouse and do the “if Denard hadn’t been injured Michigan would have won” thing for a number of reasons. But it’s still a bummer that it happened  – it was a pretty meaningful loss in the Big Ten, as far as those things go this year.

  • If the Tigers weren’t toast already, they sure are now. Another 2-0 loss to the Giants (where can the Cubs find a Ryan Vogelsong?), and it’s a 3-0 series. Free agency begins immediately after the end of the World Series (with players able to sign with new teams five days later), so we could be looking at the official start of the offseason as soon as tonight.
  • There isn’t much in the way of Cubs news today. New White Sox GM Rick Hahn doesn’t really see the Cubs as competition, but he’s hopeful that Chicago can become a Sox town soon ( … ).
  • Matt Szczur is profiled, featuring thoughts from Jason McLeod and Brian Harper (Mesa’s hitting coach, and Daytona’s manager). It’s pretty clear at this point that he’s not viewed as a near-term starter in the big leagues, which is something of an issue given his presence on the 40-man roster. He’s more likely to be a fourth outfielder type (and he could be a good one with his speed and defensive ability), but getting even there will require a healthy step forward next year.
  • That’s it. I told you there wasn’t much today.
  • Nathan


    • Frank

      I would love to see Manti Te’o in a Bears uniform next year, preparing to take over for Urlacher when the time comes. Don’t know how realistic that is, though.

      • David

        Saw Te’o at a restaurant earlier today. Was great to see him being very patient and accommodating with picture and autograph requests. The guy had to be exhausted, just getting back into South Bend.

  • Nathan

    I would love to see them trade up in order to get him.

  • Ben (BG2388)

    I did not think Notre Dame was for real before yesterday. I will admit they proved me wrong. However, I still think Bama would beat them by 17+. I hope all of you in the NE are safe and sound.
    Roll Tide

    • Kubphan82

      We were told ND would lose by 17 to OU.. Though the spread was 10. The D IS THAT NASTY….

      Brett, sorry to hear about DRob, as an ND fan I was hoping for a UM win, you know it’s only a computer thing…. and a desire to not see players injured….

      Lattimore’s injury made me cringe.

    • Jim L

      Notre Dame runs the table, we may get to see that game. The game at USC doesn’t look like the big match-up as it did before yesterday’s game. The USC defense looks shaky but it will be a good test for ND’s defense to shut down, or limit, SC’s passing attack.

      • Nathan

        I will be going to the USC Notre Dame game this year. It should be an awesome atmosphere

  • Clark Addison

    Sczur could become a Campana with a better bat and glove.

    • Frank

      Yes–but then, that’s not really Campana, is it?

    • Luke

      Szczur isn’t as fast as Campana either.

      I wouldn’t write off Szczur as a starting center fielder in 2014+ quite yet. He isn’t likely to be an All-Star at the position, but he may yet be able to fill it ably.

      • Spriggs

        I am not writing off Szczur by any means, but having seen a lot of the AFL games this year, I must say that his defense and his speed in general have been very disappointing to me.

        His routes in the outfield leave lots to be desired. I know Harper called him a great defender, but he has a lot of work to do. His arm is average, at best.

        I am wondering if he is fighting some kind of injury (does anyone know?), because I don’t see his speed being anywhere near elite. He isn’t even close to being anywhere near Campana-like.

  • North Side Irish

    Saw this on MLBTR this morning…not really news (especially coming from Cafardo), but since it’s a slow day and all…

    The Cubs appear to be players for 18-year-old pitcher Shohei Otani, but Theo Epstein recently expressed trepidation about plunging back into the Japanese market. Otani was recently taken with the first-overall pick in the NPB draft and the Nippon Ham Fighters have until March to try and sign him. A major league club can still sign him at any time, but it would likely irritate Japanese baseball officials.

  • Internet Random

    New White Sox GM Rick Hahn doesn’t really see the Cubs as competition, but he’s hopeful that Chicago can become a Sox town soon.

    What a coincidence. I’m hopeful I’m going to win PowerBall and MegaMillions soon.

    • Frank

      Ugh, I’m so sick of the “Sox Town” nonsense. Joe Cowley put up a stink abut it a few years ago. The only way that I could ever imagine this becoming Sox town would be if the Sox were to move to a more convenient and desirable location. Their stadium is in a bloody slum.

      What’s more, while the White Sox have a Championship under their belts, neither team has been able to string together enough consecutive good seasons to deserve to be “Chicago’s Team.” Even in 2005, when the Sox did take over Chicago, they only rented it. No sooner than the confetti from their parade was swept away did the topic of baseball conversation go back to “what will the Cubs do next?”

      This is a Cubs town. Always has been. Probably always will be. This being said, I could care less whose town it is. I’d much rather have the less popular team with a World Series under their belts in anyone’s lifetime than the ironically popular team whose main claim to fame is finding new and exciting ways to lose.

      • Frank

        I agree about the “Sox town” stuff. My experience is that there are only about a dozen Sox fans–the rest are all anti-Cub fans.

      • Pat

        To play devils advocate here, that’s not necessarily true. First of all the always has been part is patently untrue. For most of the fifties, sixties, and seventies the sox were a bigger draw. The real separation began when the sox went to pay per view (or the seventies equivalent thereof) and the Cubs started getting carried nationally on WGN.

        Thing are cyclical in nature, and I would almost guarantee that at some point the sox will again be the bigger draw. No idea when that would be but it is almost guaranteed to happen at some point. Remember, until five years ago one of the great axioms in this country was that real estate always appreciates.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The real separation began when the sox went to pay per view (or the seventies equivalent thereof) and the Cubs started getting carried nationally on WGN.

          Actually, the real separation began when midwest industry began going extinct in the 1970’s. That hit the south side of Chicago and adjacent areas very hard, with a lot of the population leaving. Many of the grandchildren of those Sox fans do not live near Chicago and have no particular allegiance to the ChiSox.

          The northern parts of Chicago did not see this in the same way: the shift to “service” jobs benefited the area, and people who moved there quickly became Cubs fans. Where the TV issues might ahve been important is the fact that the descendants of north-siders (and former northsiders) seem to still be big Cubs fans – the Cubs always have a huge road attendance – and TV might be part of the reason why. ChiSox fandom really has no analog: they rarely have many fans at road games. (Heck, the Cubs probably have nearly as many fans at some of their road games as the ChiSox have at a lot of their home games.)

          But at this point, we really cannot call it a cycle: the Cubs have been the city’s baseball team for over 30 years now. ChiSox fandom simply suffered a big extinction even a long time ago and it has never recovered.

          • jt

            I lived at 918 Waveland during that period. On a sunny day I’d just stroll over to Wrigley, pay my $2.00 and choose a seat to my liking in the bleacher. It was a few more dollars for the grandstand but it was a lot quieter in case I wanted to do some reading.

  • die hard

    Drew Sutton is a FA 3B..never given a real shot with any club…Cubs may want to consider him for 3B on a 2 yr contract with club option..could fill temporary need

    • Whiteflag

      maybe a minor league deal.

      • calicubsfan007

        @whiteflag: How old is sutton?

    • Lou

      If that’s the case, Cubs might as well take a chance on former Cubs minor league 3b Russ Canzler–now with the Indians.

  • zach

    I dont think Szczur is a number 4 outfielder yet. It might take him til he is 26 years old but there are some bad outfielders on alot of teams. Look in the WS games Blanco and Berry. I see szczur being a solid player. He might not hit for a high average or power but he get on base and steal while playing solid defense. He will be more valuable then Barney.

    • jt

      In 2011 Szczur did hit 10 HR. Not a lot, but it does show he is not totally without power.
      Seems that is never going to be his game but he should be able to show enough to keep the OF honest.
      Every thing that everybody seems to be saying is that he is a work in progress and that he is doing the work as instructed.
      Where will that lead? Luke seems to have the best handle on that and he is saying that it is not clear.

      • Kyle

        Szczur needs to show that he can hit for some sort of power and draw walks at the same time, and ideally he needs to do it at an age-appropriate level. And a little more hit tool wouldn’t hurt either.

        He’s a prospect and I wouldn’t write him off entirely, but I’m not convinced he’s a top-15 prospect in the system right now.

        • jt

          I’m more inclined to believe his potential is in the hands of his coaches rather than his stats. We agree he has tasks to work. He needs to know the corners of the plate and how to control them at higher level than he has been. There is going to be a learning curve there and there is no guarantee that he will succeed. However, the walks are a positive indication.
          I agree that he has to show at least gap power at some point. He is going to have to learn some of the mechanics they are teaching him… at least on some pitches that he would be able to “turn on” (whatever that means).
          I think we agree on a lot here. I’m not sold on the age-appropriate level thing though.

  • Cryinmybluecoolaid

    Arron Fit of Baseball America said “BA has learned that #Vandy pitching guru Derek Johnson is leaving to be #Cubs minor league pitching coordinator.” Vandy is a top program but I know very little after that. I would say this sounds promising. Does anyone have knowledge of Derek Johnson as a pitching coach?

    • Luke

      Vandy has had some very good pitcher pass through Nashville in recent years, headlined by David Price. At first glance, I’d say this is a nice move for the Cubs if it comes to pass.

      • North Side Irish

        I like what I’m reading about Johnson’s approach. Sounds like he is a believer in the long toss regimin which would be new for the Cubs organization. But it sounds like he also shapes workouts to the individual pitchers rather than forcing everyone into one system. They really are rebuilding the whole organizational philosophy…

  • Fastball

    Szczur needs to do really well the remainder of his winter assignment. I would love to see us put him in a nice prospect package for a player we do need. We don’t need Szczur so let’s use some of these guys like him and Watkins etc. and make some trades. I doubt he is in Thed’s plans anyway so lets got the show on the road starting around midnight tonight.

  • Njriv

    Does anyone think the Cubs will go after BJ Upton?

    • BluBlud

      Yes. I think he a high Target that the Cubs will definitely aim for.

      • DarthHater

        Oh, boy. An outfielder who, over his last roughly 2,500 plate appearances, has a batting line of .242/.316/.420. Sounds like an ideal cornerstone for a rebuilding team.

        • David

          In 146 games in 2012 he produced 3.3 WAR. 4.1 in both 2010 and 2011. A down year in 2009 but was a 5 and 4.5 WAR player the two years prior to that, if you want to go that far back.

          He’s likely to be a good value and he has been a very productive player.

  • Tyler

    So this is just an idea that popped in my head today. Could the Cubs possibly trade Matt Garza/Brett Jackson for Jacoby Ellsbury? Or perhaps throw Dan Vogelbach in there?

    And if this is a trade that could potentially happen, would you like the Cubs to do it?

    • calicubsfan007

      @tyler: I am not too sure about that trade. I feel like we are giving up way too much for Ellsbury.

    • Starwin Bastro

      As good as Jacoby is he becomes a FA in 2014 (likely huge investment), we have 2 solid CF prospects in our system (Almora and Soler) and I think if we trade Garza we should be looking for high quality pitching prospects in return. Interesting discussion would be would you rather trade for Upton or Ellsbury? I say Upton based how often JE gets injured and the fact he has only really had one superb year so far

    • Brett

      Why would the Cubs want to trade Garza (let alone Garza plus Jackson plus Vogelbach) for one year of Ellsbury? That isn’t really much of an overall upgrade for the 2013 roster, and, if the Cubs are going to deal Garza, wouldn’t you rather it was for prospects or at least young, long-term-controlled players?

  • Tommy

    I don’t think this FO is looking to trade away assets for players approaching their 30’s. They seem to be creating one of the youngest teams in MLB, and I don’t see that changing next year.

    I do love Ellsbury, though. I really doubt either team would do that trade, though.

    • Tyler

      Yeah, good points made by all. I don’t really see Garza traded over the offseason anyways, given the injury. I could see Ellsbury as a fit in Atlanta, with the leaving of Michael Bourn and their overhaul of pitching prospects.

  • Zach

    I wouldn’t do that deal but Brett if the cubs were you know they would try to get an extension.

  • ramy16

    Do you guys think Torri Hunter can help us out at center? Really hope Theo and Jed go after Ervin Santana!

  • Fastball

    Why not sign Jim Thome to play CF if we are going after Hunter. We could have the oldest team in baseball. That may sell tickets. NOT

  • ramy16

    Thanks for being an ass slowballs.. My point i was trying to get is Jackson really isnt ready for 162 games yet and with Torri you know he’ll hit 16-20 hrs and his defense is good.. Or i know Theo would love to have Coco Crisp

  • Njriv

    Anyone else in love with Ashley Chavez from MLB fan cave?

    • Njriv

      I’m the only one then?

  • Jeff

    The Riot!!!

    • Nick

      Just horrible

  • TonyP

    Theroit gets under my skin. He is such an ass hat.

    • Njriv

      Anyone else notice the nicotine patch on his right forearm?

      • TonyP

        I was to busy laughing at his little mullet to notice the patch.

  • TonyP

    Please hit a homer, I don’t want Theriot to be the world series run!

    • TonyP

      winning run

      • TonyP

        Oh damn, Congratulations to SF Giants. Make the offseason count Thed.

  • someday…2015?

    And let the off-season begin! Congrats Giants on another world series title.

  • ReiCow

    Great win for my Huskers! You will just have to wait until next year, Brett!

    Now to avoid being washed away by Sandy…


  • Korean goat

    Wake up cubs fans, Breaking News from korea.
    Hanhwa Eagles, a pro baseball team in korea, allowed Hyunjin Ryu(LHP) to go MLB by posting system today. He was born in 1987 and korea no.1 ace now and many people believe he will be better than Chen of Baltimore Oriols. Media say there is some MLB teams besides Detroit Tigers interested in him. An unknown MLB scout said Ryu could be 3rd in rotation and paid a 10M ~ 15M posting fee on september. Does Theo take an interest in him? If cubs, I will be so happy. Here is some pitching clips

    • Korean goat

      Though you don’t want, you can see heesup choi at 2nd clip.

    • Luke

      Though it is always tough to say from online video only, it looks like he’s got some good breaking stuff. I didn’t see a great deal of movement on the fastball, but it did look like he could locate it well.

      I think… not sure on this… that sense he is coming out of a professional league he is not subject to the IFA caps.

      • Brett

        I believe you are correct – players who’ve reached at least a certain age (23 for Eastern leagues, I think), and who’ve played pro ball for at least a certain number of years (four, I think), aren’t subject to the cap. If that applies to Ryu, and the Cubs like him, they’ll definitely go after him.

  • terencem

    This will be Szczur’s third (and final) option year, right? He started using them in 2011 after they signed him to the new contract and were required to add him to the 40 man roster, if I’m not mistaken.

    • Brett

      No – he was added in November 2011, so 2012 was his first option year. His contract required him to be added to the 40-man after the 2011 season (lest he be Rule 5 eligible), not before it.

    • Luke

      Speaking of Szczur, he is maintaining a nice OBP in the Arizona Fall League. Not showing much power still, but an OBP of .371 with 8 walks against 6 strikeouts is nothing to sneeze at.

  • notcubbiewubbie

    tell the riot to show his second world series ring to jim hendry!!!!