Considering the lineup, and it being his (secondary) debut with the Cubs, I just don’t know that Jake Arrieta could have possibly pitched any better today. A couple hits to Carlos Beltran and a couple walks. That’s it. That’s all Arrieta gave up in seven scoreless innings, topping it off with a seven-strikeout cherry. The dude simply has great stuff – the kind that probably teased the Orioles for so long that they agonized about giving him up in the first place. That’s not to say that Arrieta is a lock to continue being the guy we saw today (and against the Brewers in July), but it’s nice to know he can be this guy.

The offense took advantage of the consistently declining Jake Westbrook, and we had ourselves a good ‘ole fashioned blowout.

august 16 box

Full box.

  • Alex

    Will Viscaino be pitching for the Cubs in 2013?

    • brickhouse


  • Jason Powers

    2014 Potential FA Market and Moves for the Cubs:
    The selection of any free agent guy depends upon how close one feels the Cubs are to competing in 2014 for the division.

    Catching – dearth of talent the Cubs minor leagues leaves them with Welington Castillo as their best on the roster option. FA Saltalamacchia, Navarro, and McCann are the possible best options. Navarro may want to go elsewhere for a full-time job or more pay. Salt has his negatives. McCann might get hurt and wants likely the highest paid catcher slot of 15 million plus.

    So another choice: trade for up-n-coming AA/AAAminor leaguer backstop, probably finding a team with a severe 3rd base weakness (who covets Olt or likes Vitters) and has a catcher. The Yankees have depth in the minors at the backstop; and likely don’t have a 3rd base option screaming (Bichette, Jr. is one they have). Does Vitters plus a low minors pitching prospect bring back a catcher like Gary Sanchez? Likely not.

    But this area is a must do – how they solve it will reflect the plan ahead, I think.

    Mets: Kevin Plawecki is doing things in A+ ball. Purdue grad – so, that to me clinches it. 😉
    They have Travis D’Arnaud coming up, so maybe, the are willing to do a deal – for their various holes.

    2B/SS – Can be solved internally. Barney is going to be 28. He’s a gold glover; but he’s a tradable piece in a package deal than by himself. Castro, still very young, could rebound, and is signed through 2020. If Castro were to rebound in September, his value could too. Teams with a need up the middle for glove or a star could be worth making a trade for a SP ready to go.

    Ben Zobrist would be a versatile option, if Tampa is somehow too short of cash for his $7M 2014 and 7.5M 2015 options. Currently, Tampa’s attendance is down from last year by 118K, which has to result in some revenue shortfalls. Tampa has numerous FA holes to fill and David Price will be adding to their payroll through his Arb 3 salary. But, they have plenty of space to sign players, healthy minors, and will trade as needed for talent.

    And yes, they could be a PRIME trade target for the Cubs. (Unlikely we’d gut the minors for Price, but Zobrist, could be a more reasonable purchase, though he is not on the right side of 30.)

    Robinson Cano will want the moon – and the Cubs are not in the big market, LA Dodger mode of buying up all the high priced talent.

    3B – Luis Valbuena + minor leaguer. Ransom is 38, not going to do it going forward. If Vitters was ever healthy, he might have been the option. Kris Bryant has to be a mid-season consideration. The position is in flux until the heir apparent is selected.

    OF – Schierholtz, DeJesus, Lake, plus two.

    An interesting player: Soon to be 37 year old Carlos Beltran. Do the Cards make the qualifying offer? Do they feeling their payroll is sustainable above 120 million? (If the go to the playoffs, yes. No playoffs, I wonder. And don’t they have their plentiful minor league system to leverage?)

    Beltran has hit the daylights out of the ball in Wrigley Field. (.344/.426/.644 is his highest OPS in existing ballparks. Of course, against Cubs pitching.) But maybe he gets 1-2 more seasons as a gun-for-hire in Chi town. If we are going to target just one big name guy, this makes sense from statistical standpoint. He’s a switch hitter than ha hit better as a lefty, but slugs pretty well still as a righty. Injuries have slowed – but he is flip candidate to a playoff team if that need arises.

    Ellsbury and Shoo are marque guys that will command major cash. Likely, no. But Ellsbury has the Bo Sox connection.

    With the cuts to payroll nearly assured, (salaries at 85 million is my projection) the Cubs have only about 20 million to burn on FA (after ARB hearings) in 2014. So it will likely be only 1 area they will target – pitching, outfield, or again the bullpen. (Though we got enough arms that are bullpen types.)

    Starting Pitching – Matt Garza, Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes, Josh Johnson, Scott Feldman, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, James Shields have various appeal.

    The Cubs are probably not going to pay top dollar for another starter after the Jackson season. So Garza, Santana, Hughes don’t fit. Feldman will depend on his usefulness in Baltimore down the stretch.

    Fangraphs has Jackson at xFIp of 3.70 with a 1.9WAR. Baseball reference has him at -1.1. Who’s right? Has Jackson been that valuable? His peripheral stats say no – 2.33 K/BB, 7.2K per 9 are down from Washington last season. I’d say he’s ate innings, and not always performed badly, but 13M is not getting what it should to me.

    Overall, the Cubs are likely to try the reclamation program – get a pitcher coming off injury for cheap – and plug that arm in the rotation. This will depend on how the rest of the rotation lines up.

    Cubs could pass on all FA pitchers, until the market clears the best, and be in for whatever is left, and will take a minimal contract.

    The 2014 Cubs plan depends on the internal financial factors that Ricketts controls, and the projected expenses and revenues they are expecting down the road.

    Should be a fun offseason of either swapping, or standing still. The former means they have a win plan for 2014; the later, a plan for 2015 and beyond. Guess will see.

    • Kyle

      On the question of fWAR vs. bWAR for pitchers, it’s simple, they are both right.

      bWAR describes how valuable a pitcher has been. fWAR describes how valuable you should expect him to be going forward.

    • another JP

      That’s your potential FA moves and now I’ll tell you who the Cubs are likely to target: Navarro, Sweeney, and Gregg. I don’t believe the team just divested itself of contracts for Marmol and Soriano with the idea of going after any high priced players in a market that isn’t all that great. And all our minor league talent will start arriving next season- no reason to dump money into high-priced FA anymore. Next year’s team will look a lot like we do right now.

      • Jason Powers

        As I said, if they don’t do much, it’s certainly says they have reliance on those minor leaguers.

        I also said they probably can’t target more than one higher price FA.

        I don’t expect them to wow us with any FA signing.

        Let’s see if attendance can fall below 2.4 Mil in 2014, if they don’t shape up….We are down 215K * $50 per fan roughly (Team Marketing Report provides a per cost ) = 10.75 million in revenues lost so far in 2013.

    • mjhurdle

      “The Cubs are probably not going to pay top dollar for another starter after the Jackson season.”

      really? you honestly think that Jackson’s performance is going to dictate the Cubs actions going forward?

      • X the Cubs Fan

        Jackson has been our best starter besides Wood.

        • Cyranojoe

          Best or worst starter, that should be entirely independent of the decision to get another top-dollar starter. The one has nothing, statistically, to do with the other.

          • mjhurdle

            Edwin Jackson and his stats (good or bad) are going to have absolutely nothing to do with whether they pursue a pitcher that they see as contributing to the club.

      • Jason Powers

        I think putting another big contract on a pitcher is unlikely. It wont dictate…but risk is measured and bias can creep in despite what anyone thinks. If clayton kershaw were available would the cubs pay him 26 million if he was considered twice as valuable as edwin jackson was perceived to be? I think you know that answer….it shouldnt matter but you are not writing that check. (This assumes the same downside and upside exists forboth…variance is equal.)

    • Good Captain

      Great thoughts Jason, thanks!

      In re Beltran and the Cardinals, I don’t know who, if anyone, Beltran may be blocking, but if he isn’t blocking a highly awaited prospect next year, I suspect they will at least make a qualifying offer. In fact, their preferred route at this point may be to obtain a compensatory pick for him next year, but his and the Team’s performance this year leave them in good shape if he accepts the offer. If signing Beltre triggers the loss of a compensatory pick, I don’t see anyway the Cubs bite that bullet.

      Sorry for all the “if’s”.

      • King Jeff

        Oscar Taveras and Matt Adams are both potential replacements for Beltran and that large chunk of salary he would give the Cards. I’ve also read that they may need a different spot for Carpenter if Wong sticks at second. As crazy at it sounds, Beltran is likely somewhat expendable for the Dirty Dicks of St. Louis.

    • Funn Dave

      “Should be a fun offseason of either swapping, or standing still. The former means they have a win plan for 2014; the later, a plan for 2015 and beyond. Guess will see.”

      I’m guessing the latter. Some of the moves they made this season, including Sori, show that they seem to have given up on 2014 and are more concerned about saving money and talent for the future.

  • Corey

    It’s a good problem to have when you don’t know what to do with the surplus of players in the minors haha.

    Once we have a solid lineup decided in ~2015, it would be time to trade everyone who is good for younger prospects, that way you don’t waste talent in the minors.

  • Ty Cobb

    Look I don’t know how you guys make it through the day, because your entire lives are comprise of making excuses for a crap team that has been bad for a long time and wont get better for a long time. The Cubs aren’t even a sports team anymore, they’re a brand. And that brand is “we lose and you have to take it”. Maybe we’ll be better by 2020, but look at the Nationals this year – there are no guarantees that a youth culture will equate to victories. So we’re just wasting our time right now on the gamble that we might be better later. 7 years down the toilet.

    • Illini Iceman

      Yet here you are on a Cubs blog leaving a comment. What does that say?

    • ssckelley

      Y u mad bro?

    • Kramden

      So Ty Cobb…. What do you suggest that the Cubs and the rest of us do (and nothing that starts with an “F”, please)?

      • Jason Powers

        Free country, dude. If he wants to curse the Cubs, it is well within his right.

        If you haven’t said the F word, or SOB, or GD, to your screen watching the Cubs over these many years, you are either very tolerant, or lack a scrotum, or live with overbearing parents that keep faithful to the sabbath and swearing. (And need to leave the nest..JMO)

        Swear words, though crass, are about releasing frustration at the horseshit way the Cubs often have played.

        I agree they have terribly run the operations for many of 105 years. To a greater degree than any other organization…

        I give this group until 2016 to make the playoffs, then it is on to the next MGMT philosophy. Hopefully I’ll make my fortune, and buy up the Cubs (HA HA). (Or meet a billionaire than can BUY Joe Ricketts & Co. several times over…and wants to invest in MLB for some reason…)

      • ssckelley

        why would you take suggestions from a butthurt Cardinal fan?

        • Jason Powers

          IDK who’s allegiance is to who anymore. I see plenty of contradiction on this board daily.

          People playing both sides of an issue. Vacillate with the mood they are in – and their argumentative side kicks in.

          There are a few worth listening to. And some so pedantic and pontificating that put me to shame.

          I want a strategy that will win. Sure, we can’t outspend all other teams. But as Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College Professor and long time economic authority on the sport wrote, “the Cubs are behaving like a mid-market team.”

          • ssckelley

            But this one was obvious, only a butthurt Cardinal fan would come over here and try to start this crap. I am sure there are plenty of Cub fans trolling their sites as well. It is funny, the Cubs are crap this year and the 1 team they can beat is the hated Cardinals.

            There are times when the debates get really good on here, no offense Brett, but sometimes better than the blogs.

            • Jason Powers

              I agree with this…

  • Ty Cobb

    I don’t know about you idiots, but I want to have fun at a baseball game within a 10 year lifespan. They don’t even say wait until next year anymore, they say wait until sometime in the future when we give you permission to care about the team. For now you’re all fantasy baseball enthusiasts with no real world team to enjoy. Some of us don’t like fantasy baseball, we like sports.

    • ssckelley


      • Brett

        I have no idea what that is, but it’s glorious.

    • RY22

      If you cant have fun at a baseball game you are probably a pretty terrible human, and based off of the way you talk to people I am guessing that is probably the case

  • Jason Powers

    On June 3rd, the Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers had identical records at 23-32.

    2013 Dodgers
    2002 Oakland A’s
    1978 Yankees
    1951 Giants
    1914 Boston Braves

    Why not us?

  • rockin’ dawg

    While I am excited about the Cubs’ future & minor league talent, I don’t completely disagree with Mr. Cobb. It’s a tough pill to swallow asking your fans to lower expectations to nil for the next couple years. At the very least, we could sign some 30ish FAs to fill some holes next year and try to be competitive.

  • http://bleachenation Sacko

    I Think we will go after another high priced pitcher and one more bat. considering and hoping about playoffs in 2 years.

  • cub2014

    I think FO will try and bring in a stud pitcher,
    a cheaper reliever and starter (for flipping
    purposes). Along with a power hitting right fielder.

    Some depends on how Arrieta and Rusin finish
    this summer.

  • cub2014

    I meant right hand power hitting left