Oh, Travis Wood, What Have You Done? And Other Bullets

Yoenis Cespedes is your 2013 Home Run Derby champion. While the event doesn’t mean anything in the standings, I couldn’t blame any of you who looked on wistfully and thought “what might have been …. ” The Cubs were reportedly the runner-up for Cespedes’ services a year and a half ago, but they really weren’t terribly close to matching the A’s winning offer, which included free agency after just four years of control. When I think about that miss, I mostly just credit the A’s for having the vision – and balls – that other teams didn’t.

  • Travis Wood is at the All-Star festivities in New York this weekend, but, if you were there, you might not notice him:

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

100 responses to “Oh, Travis Wood, What Have You Done? And Other Bullets”

  1. Carew

    Dat bat speed

    1. MichiganGoat

      he also has a very laid back and comfortable looking stance and swing (minus the Thor like violence that comes from his power swing), I know very little about batting and what to look for but when a player seems comfortable and relaxed I see that as a good thing. As compared to someone like Soriano who has that super tight stance that just looks unnatural. Maybe a coach can chime in a give us an analysis

      1. mjhurdle

        Soriano’s swing is tight because he hears footsteps from Soler in AA and he is pushing himself too hard to perform so he doesn’t get replaced.
        - Die Hard

      2. Scotti

        On that particular swing Baez has a ton of load–way more than necessary. Any decent MLB pitcher could exploit that by changing speeds. Fortunately Baez has had success with a smaller load and he doesn’t need that kind of load to hit for good power. For Baez it will be a matter of knowing when to keep it short and when to load up like that. He isn’t likely to hit for a high average though I believe he could if he sacrificed the load. He still could hit 20-25 HR without much load but I get the impression that he likes the long ball. Kind of the opposite of Vogelbach who has massive natural power but sacrifices it to some degree to hit to all fields.

        1. gocatsgo2003

          You mean… almost like he’s a 20-year old kid still learning how to hit professional pitching?

          1. Scotti

            No. Age has nothing to do with it. Experience may factor to a limited degree but there are scads of prospects who have blown by 20 then 25 then 30 who, with experience, never learned that they don’t need to overload. On the flip side, most 20-y/o prospects DON’T overload so it really has nothing to do with age whatsoever. Baez has issues that are very specific to his swing/circumstance and that is what I addressed.

        2. BluBlud

          I completely agree Scotti. I think Baez is a showboat type of hitter, which is the one thing i don’t like about him. I feel if he stop trying to crush the ball and used a more relaxed approach, he would be a much better hitter and would also take more walks. Once he loads to swing, there is no stopping that bat, no matter where the pitch is.

          1. Scotti

            You are right in that once he starts that swing there is no stopping it but that’s okay in certain counts. His confidence / cockiness can be an asset if he develops right–you don’t want a guy who doesn’t believe in his abilities–but it needs to be honed. He has time and seemed to pick up the value of working the count down in Daytona so I’m looking forward to see what he does with the count the rest of the year in AA.

  2. EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    Bobby flipping Bonilla!!! My hero! Might very well have the best and smartest agent alive when he signed that deal.

    1. Spriggs

      “We Chillin’”

    2. pete

      Bonilla’s deal is awesome but still only the second best sports deal of all time. The Spirits of St. Louis deal with the NBA is still paying out over 35 years after the ABA/NBA merger. To-date, the Silva brothers have received close to $200 million for merely letting their (money hemorrhaging) team fold. My heroes.

  3. cubchymyst

    The Matt Harvey thing is funny. I wouldn’t of know that was travis wood without his name behind him. I am disappointed about the beard, but can’t blame him. I shaved mine because it is constantly in the 90′s in kansas and the beard doesn’t help with the heat.

  4. Randall

    Looked like a big (Cory Patterson) swing. Crazy fast. Hope he keeps getting better. Look forward to seeing him in a cubs uniform in Sept.

    1. mdavis

      i hope you mean Sept. 2014.dont think he’ll make it to chicago this year

  5. Tom A.

    Your are so correct Brett ! The Matt Harvey piece was great and he seems so real-person and level-headed. I love players with that kind of talent and attitude. He is who should get the big contract !!!

  6. Chef

    I attribute Wood’s facial hair decision to the “Lincecum Effect”. Timmy got hair cut, Timmy pitch good.

    next month- Timmy’s arm fall off.

  7. Stinky Pete

    “Playing productively in center field for the Cubs this year is a dangerous game.”

    Fixed that for ya.

    1. Fishin Phil

      Campana – Belly Fire = Borbon.

      1. On The Farm

        + Oak barrell = Bourbon?

        1. Fishin Phil

          Yes, I would like to see Pedro stuffed in an Oak Barrel and shipped off somewhere.

          1. MichiganGoat

            When you’re done with you barrels I want it to age some stout.

  8. CubFan Paul

    Cespedes’ agent, because of Cespedes’ age wanted either a 4yr deal (then free agency) or a 10yr deal to lock him up during his prime.

    The Cubs offered a 6yr deal. That’s not a runner up offer in my opinion. That’s a “I know we won’t win this bid” bid.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Oh I feel like we’ve covered all this ad nauseum before but lets do this one more time. The A’s were the only team willing to give a unproven player that had only been seen on a limited basis a deal that would only give them 4 years of control. Other teams (including the Cubs) believed he might need a year or two in the minors to fully develop but the A’s as Brett said “having the vision – and balls” to give him what he wanted. Its easy to be Cpt Hindsight and lament over Cespedes and Darvish but revisionist history is not reality.

      1. CubFan Paul

        There’s no hindsight Goat. His agent wanted either a 4yr or 10yr contract. The Cubs offered neither.

    2. TWC

      Gee, Pauly, if we had known you were in on the negotiations we’d have been looking to you for scoops.

      1. CubFan Paul

        6yrs isn’t 4 or 10. You didn’t have to be in on the negotiations to know that. Theo&Co offered a no shot offer.

        1. DarthHater

          Not true. If the Cubs knew that another team had already met Cespedes’ demand and nonetheless offered less, that would be a no-shot offer. But if they did not know what other teams had offered and they offered less than the player demanded, that’s just ordinary negotiating. So unless you know what the Cubs did or didn’t know at the time, you’re not in a position to say it was a no shot offer.

          1. CubFan Paul

            4 or 10…not 6

            1. DarthHater

              If he asked for 4 or 10 and every team offered him 6, that doesn’t mean that an offer of 6 is a no shot offer.

              1. CubFan Paul

                what other teams offered 6yrs? The Cubs were the only ones to my knowledge.

                1. DarthHater

                  That’s not the point. The point is that if they did not KNOW what other teams were offering at the time, then 6 years was not automatically a no-shot offer. If they did know that other teams had already offered Cespedes what he was asking and they nonetheless chose to offer him six years, then that would be a no-shot offer. But whether it is or is not a no-shot offer, depends on what they did or did not know when they made it. So, unless you have inside knowledge about that, you can’t say whether it was a no-shot offer.

                  1. Kyle

                    It would seem pretty odd for the agent not to go back to the other major interested party before accepting a deal.

                    1. CubFan Paul


                    2. MichiganGoat

                      And the Cubs decided (as did others) that he was not worth a 4 year deal. The A’s are the only ones who did and therefore he signed with them.

                  2. CubFan Paul

                    ‘That’s not the point’

                    that’s not your point

                2. MichiganGoat
                  1. King Jeff

                    The Marlins were really desperate to get Cespedes, and Soler. Failed on both, and this was during their spending spree days to try and hype the fanbase.

    3. mjhurdle

      To be honest, i think the Cubs decision still might be the correct one.
      As noted in a post below, Cespedes is struggling mightily this year.
      The talent is obviously there, but he does need some seasoning still. What if it takes him the rest of this year and most of next to get back on track?
      At that point the A’s paid top dollar for Cespedes to get his experience in their organization just in time to bolt for FA once he finally make it.
      Second guessing is a dangerous game to play. For me, i was satisfied with the Cubs offer to him, and no matter what Cespedes eventually does, i still think that it was wise not too go with too long a contract for an un-proven player like that.
      The 6 year offer to me was more a a smart, conservative move than a ‘i know we wont win’ move.

  9. Mr. Gonzo

    Cubs CFs = Spinal Tap Drummers

    1. Danny Ballgame

      Peter James Bond will break the mold, or die trying

  10. Spencer

    Here’s info that the Mets’ deal to Bonilla may have actually been really smart.


    1. jpeck

      I believe the Mets owner was a huge investor in the Madoff scandal.
      He probably thought he was raking in great profits and could beat that 8% easily. Bonilla’s money is also guaranteed.

  11. On The Farm

    “Not sure how Julio Borbon and Dave Sappelt have escaped it. ”

    That’s because no one really cares when they are playing CF anyway. Could you imagine the favor god would be doing the team if Sappelt would have had the shoulder injury instead of DeJesus or Sweeney?

  12. Jeff

    Brett, you scared the crap out of me. My first thought after reading the heading of this story is that Wood is now tied to the Biogenesis investigation.

    1. On The Farm

      Clearly you haven’t been checking Wood’s fastball velocity if you were worried he might have been linked to the guys juicing.

  13. scorecardpaul

    Loved the video of the Baez HR. I didn’t know that Dan Vogelbach was the Smokies 3rd base coach??

  14. Jono

    Every Cubs fan should recognize Samardzija

    1. On The Farm

      You mean the Sharknado?

      1. Jono

        I like showing off my spelling skills. S-A-M-A-R-D-Z-I-J-A.

  15. JulioZuleta

    Wow, I didn’t realize Cespedes has been struggling kinda badly this year. Hitting .215 with a 98 OPS+. Not horrible, but I thought he was doing way better.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Also, just realized Yasiel Puig has a .513 BABIP. Hah. I’d love to have either one of them, but I don’t think either of them is going to nearly match the initial hype the media created. Kind of a shame the way ESPN and well, pretty much all writers, blow guys up so much after a good week. Puig will probably settle into a .265-.270 hitter, might be a pretty good player, but it’ll be a huge disappointment to everyone after the media made him out to be the next Bo Jackson/Babe Ruth/Roberto Clemente hybrid.

      1. fromthemitten

        Cespedes has been in a massive slump. It’s my fault, I jinxed him by acquiring him on my BNFL team

      2. mjhurdle

        100% agree.
        ESPN had an article up in Puig’s second week of big league action that was comparing his swing and tools to Hank Aaron.
        There is just no excuse for reacting to a good week/month/or even year with such over-blown hype.
        It isn’t good for the fans, and it isn’t fair to the player.

      3. MichiganGoat

        and here is to the patient approach to Soler produces a career that will trump both of them.

      4. Rebuilding

        To be fair to ESPN (which I don’t like to do) their hype on Puig has been about .01% of the hype of the LA media. I think his biiiiigggg personality has a lot to do with it, too.

        1. JulioZuleta

          What’s unfortunate is that the media is going to take the lazy route and compare Soler, another Cuban RF, to Puig. I actually hope Soler struggles the first few weeks that he’s up to prevent this type of situation.

  16. Serious Cubs Fan

    Anyone else see this: Matt Harvey asks New Yorkers about Matt on Harvey on late night Jimmy Fallon special. Absolutely Hilarious. Harvey is one of my new favorite players


    1. TWC

      Did you bother to read the bullets this morning?

      1. Serious Cubs Fan

        Oh well thats embarrassing. Skipped over that one

      2. MichiganGoat

        We have bullets?

        1. Jono

          They’re for humans only. No goats.

          1. DarthHater


            1. Jono

              ok, ok, goats are welcome. geez.

            2. MichiganGoat

              Thats right we’re learning, we’re arming, we’re plotting… get ready for the 2014 Goating

            3. cubmig

              That image should carry a “Warning” label to all those hunting for goat meat….. What’s that saying? “A picture is worth a 1,000 words.” ?

    2. JulioZuleta

      …That’s in the bullets…of this article…

      “Holy crap, the Jimmy Fallon/Matt Harvey bit was awesome and hilarious. You should watch it.”

    3. MichiganGoat

      You mean the link in today’s bullets????? But yeah is was very funny.

    4. Coop

      Hey, did anyone see that Travis Wood shaved his beard?!


  17. fromthemitten

    As somebody who is unable to grow a beard in his late 20s I am furious at Wood for taking his own beard for granted. I suspect his ERA will skyrocket as a result of karma

    1. fromthemitten

      Does this leave James Russell as the sole caveman on the pitching staff?

    2. JulioZuleta

      I was hoping getting rid of the beard might help him *shave* a few points off his ERA.

  18. PKJ

    If you think about it, the Mets will be able to flip that cash many times over by 2035 if you start from the beginning. Not a bad deal for either side. Us lay folk don’t truly understand how important access to cash truly is.

  19. DarthHater

    That guy doesn’t look anything like the bearded version. I think some other team has kidnapped the real Travis Wood and substituted an impostor in his place.

  20. sans

    Travis Wood has been a pleasant surprise in the Cubs’ rotation. However if we’re going to adhere to advanced metrics–as we often do in order to defend a player’s poor performance–we’d be remiss to ignore the amount of luck on Wood’s side; as was the case with Feldman prior to his being traded.

    Fans tend to use advanced metrics only when it benifits them.

  21. DarthHater

    For future comparison purposes, what was Wood’s BABIP (Batting Average Beard In Place)?

    1. sans

      Jesus Christ, DarthHater. You just brought this entire blog to a screeching hault with that joke.

      1. Jono

        Brett needs to give Darth a one day suspension

        1. DarthHater


          1. Jono

            I win trach.jpg

            1. Jono

              damn, that didn’t work

          2. Jono


            1. Jono
              1. Jono


                1. Jono

                  the symbolism here is bind boggling

                  1. DarthHater


    2. JulioZuleta

      My friend’s dad makes the worst and most predictable jokes ever but for some reason, I still find them funny. Darth is pretty much on that level at this point. No matter how bad, I still find it amusing. I don’t like it…

      1. DarthHater

        You’re welcome.

  22. JonKneeV

    JG Wentworth should call Bobby Bonilla and see if he needs cash now.

  23. magilljl

    The sound of that Baez home run is just… wow.

  24. Justin

    What’s the latest on Soriano trade talks? Are they still around?

  25. Patrick W.

    If I were the grumpy old man statistics and analysis is ruining the game type I would point to the Harvey video, particularly the last kid, and say “See? This is what’s wrong with the game… that kid just spits out numbers and doesn’t even recognize the ACTUAL PLAYER in front of him” and then I’d brew some tea and open up the newspaper to read the obituaries.

  26. Funn Dave

    Is there any way for non-Twitter users to contact the author about procuring a book?

    1. DarthHater

      Sure. Open a Twitter account. Procure the book. Then close your Twitter account. Problem solved.

      1. Funn Dave

        Ugh….I suppose….

  27. How Good Has Travis Wood Been, and Does He Merit an Extension? And Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] you were looking to contact BN’er Oswego Chris about his book offer from yesterday, you can also check in with him on the Message [...]

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