Watching the game yesterday, The Wife made a sophisticated sabermetric point, even though she was simply speaking from a common sense perspective. “They keep saying [Alfonso] Soriano hit a two-run homer. Why does it matter that it was a ‘two-run’ homer? I get that it’s because it scored two runs and that’s good for the Cubs, but for him, I mean. He didn’t do anything differently whether it was a two-run homer or just one-run homer, right?” I told her that she had just hit on an argument why RBI is a strongly overrated statistic – because, no, in terms of what Soriano did at the plate, there is no difference in his individual success and evaluation between a solo homer and a two-run homer. And then I think I said “clever girl” like that ranger guy in ‘Jurassic Park.’
- Big-time Cubs prospect Albert Almora left yesterday’s Kane County game an inning after coming up lame trying to break up a double play. He was apparently clutching the upper back of his leg, which was particularly unnerving for folks who remember that he missed about a week of action earlier this year with a hamstring injury (and who are on edge about Cubs prospects getting hurt, what with Jorge Soler’s injury). Well, his manager allayed those concerns after the game, explaining that it wasn’t a leg injury. It was hemorrhoids, according to the Beacon-News. “I think when he slid into second he aggravated it,” manager Mark Johnson told the Beacon-News. “I haven’t talked to him or [athletic trainer Shane Nelson] yet. We’ll see how it goes. Obviously it was killing him. I took him out. You can’t put him out there when he can’t go after the ball.” Now. I know that the instinct for some of you will be to make jokes, but, having dealt with awkward physical issues myself, I don’t think it’s wise to go there. Let’s all be mature adults, and note that there’s nothing for Almora to be embarrassed about here. It happens, and I’m told that it really, really sucks when it does. I don’t know the impact in terms of a baseball injury, because I haven’t really heard of this happening very much. I’m sure it makes it very uncomfortable to run, and hopefully it’s the kind of thing that can be brought under control with some medication. To emphasize: the newsworthy bit here is that, thankfully, it doesn’t look like Almora is dealing with a leg injury or a recurrence of his hamstring issue.
- UPDATE: As Harry Pavlidis notes there in the comments, the issue can become very serious – and has had a notable baseball history – as George Brett had to have surgery for a hemmorhoid issue back in his playing days. Hopefully Almora’s issue is far less severe, as Brett wound up missing a couple weeks of Spring Training for that surgery.
- Speaking of those Soriano homers yesterday, they leapt him over Andre Dawson for the 12th most in a Cubs uniform (176).
- Top prospect Javier Baez was promoted to AA Tennessee yesterday. How did he respond? Oh, no biggy. He just hit a mammoth homer to center field in his first at bat. Jed Hoyer told the media that Baez earned his promotion about a month earlier than the Cubs expected, thanks in large part to the adjustments he’s made over the past couple months. The Cubs felt he needed a new challenge.
- Although he was speaking to Dave Kaplan about the Scott Feldman trade, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer might as well have been selling the case for trading Matt Garza here: “”We’re just not in a position right now to not cash in that talent and trade him to a team that’s contending. We’re not right now. I don’t think you ever feel good about that, but our goal has been to flood our system with as much talent as possible, we have been clear about that. The only way to do that is to be aggressive.”
- In the same interview with Kaplan, Hoyer expressed confidence that first round pick Kris Bryant will sign. The deadline is Friday, and I remain as unworried today as I was the day the Cubs drafted him. It would have been nice to get Bryant into the system sooner, but a few weeks isn’t going to make or break the pace of his development. You just hope that, whatever happens, the Cubs still have the ability to land a couple more over slot types from their later rounds. We could find out a lot more about those within a few hours after Bryant signs, because I’m sure they’re largely already in place.
- We still don’t know when he’ll be back, or if post-All-Star break remains a realistic goal, but David DeJesus (shoulder strain) is hitting off of a tee and can lift his arm over his head. Seems like those would be good signs. Imagining he needs about a week’s worth of minor league games on a rehab stint, hopefully he’s within a week of that stint. That would put him on pace to return to the Cubs with about 10 days to go before the Trade Deadline. No, trading DeJesus isn’t the most important thing in the world, and may not even be the best thing for the Cubs, given his relatively cheap 2014 team option. But it would be nice for the Cubs to have the option to deal DeJesus at the Deadline if a team comes along and wants to make it worth their while. It’s not a knock on DeJesus, who is a great teammate and player. It’s just about giving the Cubs options.
- A bit on Dioner Navarro, who sounds like a good guy, and who continues to kill the ball this year.
- Ian Stewart signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. Shrug. It’s a minor league deal for a guy who wasn’t producing at all with the Cubs. If he ever does anything with the Dodgers, it’ll be one final kick in the grapes. The trade for Stewart already looked like the worst move of the new front office’s tenure (not the re-signing, since that cost only $2 million), which is probably a back-handed compliment.
- Travis Wood got the old shaving cream pie yesterday upon the news of his All-Star selection. I don’t care if folks say it gets old – I love it every time, and I hope someone takes up the banner from Matt Garza, if and when he’s dealt.