pedro strop cubsWe are so very close to reaching the $12,000 goal for the BN Blogathon fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. That’s enough to sponsor two wishes, and we’re just $380 away. That’s also $380 away from locking me up for 36 STRAIGHT hours on Tuesday and Wednesday (I’m not rounding up for the final hour – we’ve actually got to get to $12,000). Once again: I can’t thank you all enough. This is a very, very good thing that you’ve done.

  • Things got dicey after Chris Rusin left the game last night. Each of Pedro Strop and Kevin Gregg allowed three baserunners in their inning of work, but no runs. Dale Sveum was particularly effusive in his praise of Strop. “Strop … that’s what stuff does,” Sveum said, per ESPN. “When you have stuff and you need to strike guys out with guys on third base and less than two outs … that was one of our most exciting innings of the year.” Get ready to have your eyes popped: since joining the Cubs, Strop’s thrown 9.2 innings, allowed no runs, four hits, and three walks, while striking out 12. That is pretty much as good as it gets. Strop is 28, and projects to be under team control through 2017. No, he won’t keep pitching like this, and yes, some of the wildness concerns will probably pop up at some point. But the Cubs really may have landed a good one in that Feldman deal (and I haven’t even mentioned Jake Arrieta, whom it looks like we’ll see in a doubleheader on Tuesday).
  • Nate Schierholtz has been well-received by the folks in San Francisco, where he played for most of his career before coming to the Cubs (by way of a trade to the Phillies last year). More eye popping for your pleasure/pain: over a seven-game hitting streak, Schierholtz is hitting .455/.520/1.045 with four doubles and three homers. Although I still think there’s a whole lot of sense in keeping him for next year, he couldn’t have picked a better time to get crazy hot and give the Cubs some options this week.
  • Speaking of options this week, Dale Sveum called those Jeff Samardzija rumors “silly.” Dale Sveum told the media yesterday (Carrie Muskat): “I don’t think that’s going to happen. We have control of a guy for 2 1/2 more years. I think think somebody had to throw something out there and was bored and put some silly rumor out there.” I join Sveum in his doubt that anything would actually happen with Samardzija, but, strictly speaking, the rumor was simply that the Cubs were “listening” on Samardzija. Why wouldn’t they listen? Trading Samardzija, however, is an entirely different thing. And those two more years of control are huge – not only do they make Samardzija’s price to acquire in trade exorbitant, but they make him hugely valuable to the Cubs’ organization. The future and the rebuild are the things, but I can say with confidence that the Cubs don’t want to suck in 2014. (You can see Muskat’s piece there for more from Samardzija, himself, on the “silly” rumor.)
  • Reliever Chang-Yong Lim is another step closer to being ready after working his way back from Tommy John surgery (the Cubs signed him this offseason as a reclamation project), having now been promoted to AAA. I still believe the Cubs would like to be able to give him a look in late August or September, assuming there is a 40-man spot readily available to him. Then again, those 40-man spots could become a premium this Winter as the Cubs look toward the Rule 5 Draft. Of course, theoretically, Lim could pitch well in August and September, and then be traded in the offseason (he’s under control for 2014).
  • Matt Loosen, who was earlier this year sent from AA down to High-A and responded by embarrassing everyone else in the league, is now headed back to AA for a third chance (he got an unsuccessful look at AA last year, too). He’s got the stuff to be a successful back-end starter down the road, but first, he’s gotta make that AA adjustment.
  • Alex Remington at FanGraphs digs into “strong” and “weak” divisions over the years, which makes for an interesting overall read. Notable? The tallies are pre-2013, and the NL Central shows up as often on the “strong” list as on the “weak” list. In other words, remember the 20+ years of hearing how weak the NL Central was? I’m not so sure that was ever true. And it sure as hell isn’t true now.
  • Austin

    I’ve been MIA for the last week or so and haven’t been able to follow anything about the cubs. So if someone can inform me how Junior Lake has looked the last week that’d be awesome.

    • Henson

      That is like Stewie asking Iowans about corn 😉

      • Magilljl


        • MadisonCub

          There it is.

          You ask Iowans about James Fenimore Cooper novels.

  • Oswego chris

    Keep Schierholtz unless you can get a top flight arm….the guy I would shop over the next few days would be Russell…has some nice value, and will be replaceable(Rusin)…remember the outcry about trading Sean Marshall? If teams are going to give you something for a situational lefty…run with it!

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Couldn’t agree more! I do wonder what a package of Nate & Russell could bring back. But, I wouldn’t trade Nate unless overwhelmed. Russell scares me because his stuff is underwhelming, in my opinion. A desperate contender may buy high and I’d hope they’d jump all over it.

      • Good Captain

        Agree w/ the sentiment on Schierholtz. That said, an overwhelming for Schierholtz isn’t as overwhelming as a deal for Smardz….and I suspect someone will eventually qualify w/ such an offer. Personally I’d prefer to deal DeJesus of the two but I don’t think that’s likely.

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          Who would have thought that we’d have a surplus of decent OFers, making Soriano expendable? Even if we deal a DeJesus or Schierholtz, i don’t see us being in the market for Choo or Ellsbury.

          • Good Captain

            Because both FA OF’ers you mention will want I believe a minimum of 4 years guaranteed, I tend to doubt that we’ll want to tie up significant $ and time w/ those players mentioned but time will tell. Like you, I’m beginning to believe the tide has turned.

            • X the Cubs Fan

              No ones giving Choo four years…

              • Louis

                I disagree. He will get 4 years and laugh to the bank.

                • JayPaul

                  I believe the Cubs follow the same model they have been. Signing flippable pieces and maybe a sole player to a slightly larger contract who may become a core piece. I think they repeat this with an eye towards being competive and locking up any young players that come up and prove they are core pieces. When the time is right i believe their significant additions will come via the trade market from positions of undoubted surplus.

    • Ivy Walls

      The only incentive to exchange is if a team overpays for Schierholtz. As for Gregg, & Ransom, well…

      This regime is very cunning. They keep adding while exchanging. Soriano’s and Marmol’s deals were steals! Cubs reclaimed just over $9M in cash for this year with possibly another $1M more if the rumored trades take place and Cubs get prospects in return.

      $10M pays for the $7.89M spent on Intl signings and the $2.12M in overage taxes for their feeding frenzy. Therefore besides the prospects/players received in those trades;

      Guerrier (useful reclamation)
      Olt, Edwards, Grimm, Ramirez(?)
      Strop, Arrieta

      Plus (with money reclaimed from trades)

      Jen-Ho Tseng
      Eloy Jimenez,
      Gleyber Torres
      Jefferson Mejia
      Erling Moreno
      Johan Matos

      Plus Cubs have $7.5M budgeted for next year on the books from Soriano and Hairston

      That money could be used for FA draft choices they seek in overslot signings or FA MLB signings.

      Trading Schierholtz, Russell and/Villaneuva or Samardzija does the same, it provides a pathway for more future talent acquisition and a reclamation of $$ assets,

      Looking at the landscape the above $3.6M still on the table for this year and next year’s arb increases for three plus Villaneuva, that is $11M plus arb increases of at least $6M in next year’s salaries.

      What I am saying is this a window to how big a year talent acquisition is for the Cubs and will have an impact not only for 2014-15 but also 2016-2020

  • praying the cubs get ready to win

    Lake has been sensational. He has extremely well and runs well and has played outfield well. With Soriano gone, he will be a keeper and play the rest of the year. He now has control of playing regularly.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I hope the system that is being built always has a Junior Lake for every Brett Jackson. So far, I think Lake has Soriano-like potential plus. The power might not be the same, but he still has some better tools.

      • JayPaul

        This. One of the upsides of keeping Sori for at least this season was for him to be around to mentor someone with very similar tools as himself. I wish Fonzie all the luck, just saying it would have been in the pro side for keeping him.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    Off topic, I watched Dempster pitch last night & noticed that he doesn’t do the glove jive like he used to. I wonder why?

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    Back on topic, Strop has dominating stuff and I hope he can hold down the closers role for the next 3 years.

  • Ian Afterbirth

    It’s interesting in the FanGraphs article that the central divisions in both leagues appear only once on the “strong” season list but several times on the “weak” list. It all seems to be about the coasts.

  • Big Daddy

    I haven’t commented in a while, but I read here every day. I have been impressed with Theo and Jed. Other than the Ian (DB) Stewart debacle, they have done really well with trades and signings. I actually have hope that we will win a world series before I die now.

    • ssckelley

      The FO did the right thing, they gave him a shot and when he decided to make poor decisions they acted on them and eventually released him. As far as the original trade is concerned I still do not think that deal was necessarily a bad one, imagine trying to find room on our 40 man for Colvin and LeMahieu. Colvin hits poorly outside of Coors Field and LeMahieu does nothing for me, IMO he makes a good utility player and pinch hitter.

  • tgk

    If they get an awesome offer, like Skaggs & Bradley, I would almost prefer they trade Shark. Love him as a pitcher, but just have this feeling he is going to want to be a free agent and max out. Don’t know who his agent is and can’t say that I would blame him, just don’t want another Maddux scenario.

    • Jackson

      No way could we get both. Maybe one and a lower tier prospect or two but definitely not both. I’d honestly love if we could get one and a lower tier guy or two though. Especially Bradley.

  • Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Brooks Raley (SP) is the only left handed pitcher in IOWA.
    Hunter Cervenka (RP), Zach Rosscup (RP), Eric Jokisch (SP), and Austin Kirk (SP) are the lefties in Tennessee.

    We don’t have MLB-ready lefty relief pitching.

    We’d need some lefty arms in return for Russell.

    • JayPaul

      Rusin would prob get first crack next season, maybe sooner if Arrieta pitches well in his upcoming start. Even after Rusin has put together back to back great starts, Arrieta is the one who is going to be given every opportunity to grab a starters role. Im sure if that is still an issue this offseason, it can prob be addressed through free agency. I think Rusin is next in the Marshall/Russell line though. Raley will also be out of options after next year and Rosscup should be on the 40 man.

  • Jordan

    If the Cubs could Trade 28 year old Samardizja for 22 year old Skaggs and 20 year old Bradley that would be a no brainier. I don’t think the Diamondbacks would ever let that happen though. On another note, has everyone noticed how well Chris Archer (Cubs’ trade piece for Garza 2 years back) has been throwing for the Rays? Sure would be nice to have him in our rotation now!

    • tgk

      Was really just throwing it out there because that is what was rumored, as an example. I guess my point is I think it could be likely he walks after 2015. I guess what makes the most sense is to get him extended this offseason, and if he won’t take their best offer trade him next year at the deadline. Ideally he signs, just have an inkling (and I have absolutely zero inside info-just my hunch) he will want to test free agency.

  • nkniacc13

    So with Arrieta not on 40 man you have to think there will be a trade before he comes up if in fact that is what happens

    • Mush

      He is on 40 man and because of DH team can add 26th extra pitcher for that game and then send him right out.

  • jmc

    I don’t know boys and girls but reading this site about future prospects makes me hope to believe

  • Die hard

    As predicted several weeks ago Dodgers slowly transforming Marmol to starter by calling him up for long middle relief… Stretching him out slowly in game situations — he could be ready to start down Sept stretch if in contention and give them 5-6 good innings

    • DarthHater

      Let’s see: 5 innings in 5 games in the minors, and 2 appearances in LA of 1.2 innings, followed by 1 inning. Yes, that proves it beyond any doubt. You definitely are an idiot.

      • MichiganGoat

        But but but IT WAS PREDICTED… Hence it will be true

      • hansman1982

        Slowly…as in over the course of the next decade.

    • BlameHendry

      Really? You think any MLB team would have a 2-pitch pitcher try to start?

      • DarthHater

        BlameHendry, meet Die hard. One thing you should know. Die hard is quite insane. 😛

      • Theo&Jed Koolaid

        Bring back Hendry!

    • Andrew

      Please tell me your joking or are you really that stupid?

  • Nick

    Looks we are in for a treat. Let us know where to send Chik-Fil-A gift cards to get you through it!

  • Bric

    Samardzija is never going to live up to all the hype that 99% of the posters on this site (and apparently Svuem) think he is. Svuem’s B.S. is starting to sound too much like Hendry and Quade so he should be careful what he says. Lucky for us Thedsein hasn’t proven to be that stupid yet. Listen to all offers and trade him now.

    • YourResidentJag

      Exactly. If Theo and Jed don’t believe in paying for past performance, why do it now? Acquire a younger version of him.

    • Kyle

      He’s in the top 30 pitchers in MLB in fWAR since the beginning of last season. What would he have to do to live up to the hype?

      • X the Cubs fan

        “Logic”!!! Also top 5 in MLB in Ks.

      • YourResidentJag

        It’s not what he would have to do. It’s–does an extension make the WAR values look less significant. Right now, they’re great because of what he currently being paid in arbitration.

  • Brent

    Percentage these guys are traded before the deadline:

    Gregg – 99%
    Navarro – 80%
    Scheirholtz – 50%
    Russell – 40%
    DeJesus – 35%
    Shark – 10%

  • CubsFaninMS

    For all of you newbies… here is a quick spelling lesson for Cubs fans. Believe me, it does take some practice to get them all correct.

    Our backup catcher = Dioner (dee-ONNER) Navarro
    Our flame-throwing starter = Jeff Samardzija (suh-MARD-juh)
    Our manager = Dale Sveum (SWAI-mm)
    Our right fielder = Nate Schierholtz (SHARE-holtz)
    Our starting catcher = Welington Castillo (cah-STI-yo)
    The center fielder with the hot wife = David Dejesus (de-HAY-soos)
    The injured backup outfielder = Brian Bogesuvic (BO-guh-SEH-vic)

    • Danimal8


  • Voice of Reason

    If the Cubs could get a young and very promising starter and another couple of top prospects for Shark then they should certainly pull the trigger.
    We know what we’re getting with Shark. He is a very nice number three starter and a little less than average number 2.
    Very nice number 3 starters are pretty easy to come by.
    I know that Shark’s contract is very friendly. Knowing that then he should certainly command quite a return.
    Theo and Jed need to keep stocking the minor league shelves with really good talent, just like they’re doing.
    Moving Shark in a trade would certainly help get this team closer to being ready to compete in 2015/2016.

    • Chad

      I agree with moving shark, but only if the cubs get an absolute haul. A Skaggs and Bradley + low level high upside type of return. I like Shark, and if the cubs keep him I will be fine with it, but if they can get a return like I just mentioned, pull the trigger. 2.5 years of control, and then big pay day. It could be with the cubs or with someone else, who knows. I think this would likely be a off-season deal though, likely not a deadline deal. Again I think most here like Shark and would like it if he were a part of the future, but IMO, he has more value as a trade piece than as a starting pitcher for the cubs.

      • Chad

        Also, I’m completely on board with the get rid of all major leaguers tied to Hendry (including Castro). The minor leaguers don’t really count IMO because they are being groomed by Theo’s crew/system. Although I could see Baez included in a big deal.

    • Feeney

      Just curious how many teams in the NL have a true number 1 pitcher? And a true number 2?

      Cause Shark is 16th in xFIP in the NL. He’s 20th in WAR in the NL. So there are numbers that suggest he is more than a number 3 pitcher.

  • Joepoe321

    Aaaaaaaaannnnndddd you jinxed him :(