I was completely remiss yesterday in not noting that it was the 15th anniversary of Harry Caray’s passing. Much love to Harry, who is almost certainly still drinking.
- Tony Campana was quite gracious after being traded by the Cubs yesterday, returning to the Cubs’ clubhouse to talk to the media after the trade was announced. “I knew there was a chance of this happening,” he said, among other things, to the media. “I kind of made myself ready just in case it happened. I was glad there was a team out there that wanted to go get me. I’m excited now …. It was kind of crazy [how much fan support I got]. I wasn’t expecting that. I kind of expected [to be designated]. When [the fans] got so mad, it was a humbling experience for me.”
- Jed Hoyer on losing Campana, per Cubs.com: “It’s difficult to lose Tony from the organization. Great person, he’s a fantastic base stealer and a guy we really enjoyed getting to know. But ultimately you can only protect 40 guys on the roster, and he got caught up in the roster crunch. We have a little bit of depth in the outfield and less depth in pitching, and given that, it led us to designate Tony for assignment.” Sounds about right. I don’t think anyone would wish Tony ill with the D-backs. If the Cubs aren’t in competition, may he steal many a game-winning base for Arizona.
- FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron takes up the mantle of defending yesterday’s Tony Campana trade from the Diamondbacks’ perspective, saying that bench guys have value, and Tony Campana may be one of the most uniquely valuable bench guys in baseball (because he’s one of the best, if not the best, base stealer in the game right now). That’s what I’ve been saying about Campana’s value for months, though it doesn’t change the fact that, on this Cubs team, he was a gratuitous piece that they didn’t need. I’ll take the two young arms (about which, more later), thankyouverymuch.
- Beyond the Boxscore notes that Tony Campana’s 2012 season was historic: it was the only time in history that a player has struck out at a rate greater than 20%, had an isolated power of less than .040 (which is tiny), and still provided positive WAR value. That is simultaneously impressive, and terrible.
- The comments on the BN Facebook page weren’t quite as severe on the news of Campana’s trade as they were when he was DFA’d.
- I can’t really criticize Dusty Baker for continuing to talk about his time with the Cubs – which ended more than six years ago – because people keep asking him about it. And he answers. So, on that level, I’m not going to make fun of Dusty. But there’s just something that doesn’t sit right with me about these comments, which he made to Dave Kaplan: “At the time when I was sent out [by the Cubs] I wasn’t ready to go then. When I was there they quit spending money and they quit reloading. Then right after I left they started spending money again. I would have loved the year we went to the NLCS to have added on and reloaded even more but the Tribune Company was in trouble and they quit spending. In one year we lost Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa and that is a lot of home runs and RBIs to lose. We also had some guys hurt and I was told to play some young guys to see what the young could do. That’s the kiss of death because the record still counts against you and it goes on your record. It was all good, it’s all for a purpose. I’m much stronger because of the experience. It made me stronger. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You fill in the blanks.” I guess I hate the idea that he cares so much about his record, and that’s why he wanted to stay in Chicago – to pick up more wins while the Trib spent ungodly sums driving up the Cubs’ sales price. It reminds me how much I appreciate the fact that this front office isn’t judging Dale Sveum, right now, based on his win-loss record. Given the roster they put together, and given the organizational goals last year and this year, judging on wins and losses would be pretty stupid.
- Bradley Ankrom, who used to write for Baseball Prospectus, and currently works at Bloomberg Sports, released his top 100 prospects list, and six Cubs made the cut: Javier Baez (17), Albert Almora (21), Jorge Soler (29), Dan Vogelbach (87), Arodys Vizcaino (88), and Jeimer Candelario (99). As you can see, Ankrom is considerably higher on the Cubs’ upper tier prospects than most other rankings services. Which means he’s fair and smart, naturally.
- The first round of the Cubs Bunt Tourney went off yesterday, with Luis Valbuena, James Russell, Brian Bogusevic, Edwin Maysonet, Travis Wood and Drew Carpenter winning their first round match-ups. Also winning? Bullpen catcher Andy Lane, over Dave Sappelt, and video dude Nate Halm, over Hector Rondon. Carrie Muskat also posted the rest of the first round match-ups for the already-started tournament, and although it doesn’t look like a bracket, it’s a bracket.
- I put together a page on the functional side of how to start a blog like BN, for those of you who want to know how you actually put a site together.