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albert almora explosionWatching 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.
  • Harry Pavlidis

    As I just tweeted Brett, this has happened to a ballplayer before. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/03/01/sports/brett-in-hospital-for-surgery.html

  • Steve

    My favorite part of that Baez homerun was how, after just briefly watching the ball soar in the air, he sprinted around the bases until he was sure the ball was over the fence. I’m sure that’s the kind of thing the front office is trying to instill throughout the entire farm system.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, this FO is much more prone to preach casual jogging: as in, do not swing at bad pitches 4 times and then casually jog to first. They do not have a reputation for pushing the fake hustle stuff, however: that’s what Arizona does.

      • davidalanu

        I don’t think that running hard until you’re sure the ball’s over the fence is “fake hustle stuff”,

  • baldtaxguy

    I feel bad for Almora with this being public, but so glad it is not serious (i.e. hamstring).

    Great news on Baez, he is really having a special year right from Spring Training. Very interesting to see how he performs in TN.

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    I remember seeing on the bottom line on ESPN a few years ago:

    Kaz Matsui- 15-day DL (anal fissures)

    • B_Scwared

      I’ll never forget reading that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s definitely one that I won’t crack wise about because, well … it can be a painful issue. I’m, uh, told.

      • Jp3

        Yeah def not a funny issue, good to hear its probably not serious… Neither Is Mono from what I’ve read, it just takes a little recovery time, oh wait.???

      • baldtaxguy

        Definitely not an issue to crack wise.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Yeah, I realized the unfortunate pun there after I’d entered it.

        • baldtaxguy

          It is painful….bottom line

          • Bric

            I can’t comment from personal experience because I’ve never had any issues below the waste and above the knees (thankfully) but I gotta agree, there are NO minor injuries in the groin-butt area. Making jokes about that is hitting below the belt.

  • CubFanBob

    Wow last night Redsox lost their best middle relief pitcher Andrew Miller and Victorino came out if the game with a possible hammy. Olney tweeted Redsox are “@Buster_ESPN: The Red Sox are open to possible trade-market upgrades in the bullpen, and also at third base, depending on what’s available.”

    Are they that done with Middlebrooks ? I feel a mega trade brewing in the force.

  • Die hard

    Hemm-roids better than Ste-roids…. Somebody should pass him the flax and tell him to pass on the cheese

  • Frank

    When you slide and you aggravate hemorrhoids, it’s time to go under the knife. I hope he makes it through the rest of the season and then has surgery. Not to make fun of this, but he’d better start eating more veggies.

    • X the Cubs Fan

      I rather him have the surgery soon as possible if it can cause long term damage I wouldn’t take the risk. But I don’t know much about hemorrhoids.

  • @cubsfantroy

    I thought Dawson had more homers than that with the Cubs. Weird.

    • josh2

      Over 430 career hrs. Most were with Montreal.

  • Oswego chris

    Ahh Brett…as soon as I read “clever girl” I knew where you were going…hopefully she didn’t devour you after that and shred you with those claw things.

    Boy, it seems almost blasphemous that Soriano has more homers than the Hawk…

    There seems to be a bit more hemorrhoid talk on here than usual.

  • Jp3

    The Nats are probably going to be looking for SP help seeing they put Detwiler on the DL and Dan Harenis well, Dan Haren.

    • Jp3

      Damn spell correct. Meant Dan Haren is Dan Haren

  • ajbulls23

    I met Almora when he was here in the AZL. Very nice and respectful kid, but one thing I noticed was that he and some of the other young prospects didn’t take the pregame warm up to serious. A lot of talking and going through the motions. It was the one criticizm I had of him at the time and I wonder if it is still a problem. As far as the question of the RBI for Soriano, it shows that he can come through with runners on base. He isn’t distracted or feeling the pressure of coming through with a big hit with players on base. Some players can’t handle the distraction or pressure.

    • Jp3

      In all fairness it’s a game and there are 162 (140+ in the minors) games a year. It’s probably tough to get pumped as if its the wold series on an afternoon in July. As long as he hustles I’ve got no problem him.

      • ajbulls23

        He doesn’t have to get excited about it, but he needs to take care of his body so that he can have that long great career we all dream about. It’s easy enough to get hurt playing any sport, but you can put that 10 to 15 minutes in before the game to stretch out properly and loosen up. It’s all part of his investment into his future.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    Brett, maybe you could get Rexall to advertise on your sight. They have medicated wipes with witch hazel that have been a blessing to my tushy issues! Albert, if you’re reading this…you’re welcome!

  • http://Www.weareworkers.com The Skooter

    Here’s an anti-sabremetrics argument worth a couple of seconds- wouldn’t you argue that consistent two or more run homers or hits with risp is a worthwhile stat because the ability to perform in a higher pressure situation is a skill set in its own right?

    • Timmy

      i am pro sabremetrics but i am anti viewing players as permanently replaceable parts. every two months every player is viewed as a bargaining chip and not a player. the result is we never root for anyone anymore except for a few month period.

      it’s the mentality of sabremetrics that ruins the sport, not the use of statistics to evaluate players.

    • Hansman1982

      Nah, formerly advanced statistics, like BA tell us that players generally perform near career numbers.

      If clutch were to exist you’d expect the same of the opposing pitcher and you’re gonna face high clutch and low clutch guys. However, you’d also expect that truly low clutch players get weeded out long before becoming major leaguers as there is significant pressure to perform when the scouts are watching you in high school.

      • Timmy

        i think this is a very good point, but i’m not persuaded that any major leaguer is potential clutch. some have better track records under pressure and simply have some experience to handle the stress and arsenal of pitchers in important situations. that’s who you build around. as great as trout is, and he’s amazing, i still think miggy deserved that mvp with spades and spades.

  • Brian Peters

    Hemorrhoids can leave you begging for your mama. All you poking fun at him will get yours someday.

    • Jp3

      I don’t think anyone on this site was poking fun but that won’t stop Card fans from doing so… And I hope they too will get theirs if they want to bring this up in the future.

    • baldtaxguy

      Agreed, I see nothing of the sort. Very painful condition.

      Regardless, you are wishing ill will on others? Karma is nothing to play with. I’d back up from that comment.

      • Jp3

        No not wishing ill will, I’m merely saying that if someone IS laughing at him due to his condition they will get theirs soon, as you mentioned karma is a bitch. I’d hate to be the person that is snickering over it because it all comes back around

  • Gretchen

    IMHO, the most objectionable thing about RBI is the fact that it’s referred to as RBIs rather than RsBI.

    That’s as substantive as I get in a baseball conversation, folks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      And The Wife busts out the avatar. See, if she can do it, everyone can.

      (Go to gravatar.com, set up an account there with your picture, and just make sure to use the same email address there that you use to comment here. That’s it.)

    • Internet Random

      “IMHO, the most objectionable thing about RBI is the fact that it’s referred to as RBIs rather than RsBI.”

      I can appreciate that.

      • wvcubsfan

        resbees? I know the ribees is no longer acceptable because of idiot sports casters. Anything is better than hearing some idiot on ESPN say the is 4 RBI. RBI is not plural for us old folks I don’t care what the “R” stands for.

  • Toby

    I recall that George Brett left game 2 of the 1980 world series because of hemorrhoids. He had surgery and came back for game 3 saying his troubles were behind him.

  • Toby

    As far as RBIs go, there used to be a game state called GWRBI, which gave a hat tip to the player who drove in the winning run. Sabremetrics can’t track clutch, so it tends to dismiss it.

    I’ll take a .275 hitter who hits them when they’re needed than a .300 hitter who goes 3 for 4 in a blowout. Likewise, I’d sooner make a birdie on the 18th hole than the 3rd, especially if its the winning shot.

  • The Dude Abides

    “The trade for Stewart already looked like the worst move of the new front office’s tenure”

    Don’t forget about the 5.5 million gift they gave to Scott Baker, too early to make the final call on Concepcion, we shall see where he lands in a couple of years.

    • Deacon

      Let me nominate another trade. The Paul Maholm trade could go down as equally bad. They gave up a fantastic trade chip for a middle reliever who was waived and re-signed and a “starting pitcher” who has had 2 elbow surgeries and something like 4 surgeries in the last 3 years. They could have traded Maholm this offseason or this season at the trade deadline…..or kept him and not have had to sign “Occasional” Ed to the ridiculous contract for a Cubs team watching its dollars!

    • baldtaxguy

      A “worst” move does not imply that there were no other bad moves, especially when the sunlight of hindsight shines. The Stewart trade shines the brightest for this FO, which is relatively painless.

  • sect209row15

    An apple a day keeps everything nice and loose. I’ve been taking 2000 Mg of fish oil for good cholesterol and it has the same effect. My roommate in college had rubber bands put on the roid until it cuts off the blood supply and it falls off. Don’t they do that to a goats nuts?

  • fromthemitten

    I’ve never had hemmoroids, but I have had a colonoscopy and it was an unpleasant experience. They need to load up on the fiber in the clubhouse buffet!

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