scott bakerThe Taylor Family is moving. It’s just an in-town move, but, with two little kids, it’s a production. We close this week, and then start moving stuff – that’ll continue into next week, so you may notice intermittent absences/delayed posting this and next week.

  • Scott Baker looked reasonably good yesterday against the Brewers, even if the velocity wasn’t where you’d like it to be (he sat in the 87 to 89 mph range, touching 90 – a few MPH below where he was in his pre-surgery career). He didn’t get many strikeouts (the one he did get came on a legitimately nasty slider to Yuniesky Betancourt), but he threw five shutout innings with just two hits and a walk. The most interesting thing about the performance is what Dale Sveum said after the game. After initially offering very little (“First time out, he did a great job and we’ll leave it at that and evaluate going forward.”), thankfully Sveum expanded to say that he’s not yet saying yes or no as to whether the Cubs will go with six starters the rest of the way, per There is a lot that goes into deciding what’s next for Baker (including how he feels today), and it’s something that I’d think would have to be discussed at an organizational level.
  • For his part, it sounds like Baker felt good about the outing, and added that he was pitching to the conditions (wind was blowing in), which could explain the volume of balls in play. We’ll see if he gets another start or two before the season ends, or if he gets a handful of innings out of the pen. As I’ve said, I don’t think you can definitively learn whether Baker is “back” based on a small number of September innings. Instead, I suppose you can evaluate – and this happens as much in between his starts as it does during them – what kind of deal would make sense on which to try and bring Baker back in 2014. The Cubs, if they want Baker back at all, will undoubtedly seek a one-year-plus-option deal for very little guaranteed money (depending on their internal evaluations, a minor league deal (with a good split rate) doesn’t seem impossible at this point). So long as the Cubs aren’t counting on Baker as the 5th starter, I have no problem with them bringing him back on the right deal.
  • Much more on Baker here from ESPNChicago.
  • In an interesting follow-up to the Anthony-Rizzo-batting-second-then-back-to-third-because-second-is-for-slapping thing, Sahadev Sharma spoke with both Rizzo and Sveum on lineup construction. It sounds like neither completely buys into modern theories on lineup optimization, and Sahadev, for his part, notes that most believe even the optimal lineup might net your team only one win over the course of a season (to which I say: when a team is in a playoff race, one marginal win could be huge). Sveum suggests his ideal two-hole hitter would be a pull-lefty (which, in turn, suggests to me that his belief on the role hews a little more closely to the old school bunty-slappy stuff than the best-overall-hitter stuff). More importantly, though, Sveum understands that it all depends on personnel. The Cubs, right now, don’t have enough impact bats in the lineup for any of this stuff to matter. Give it a read.
  • Pete Ricketts – one of the Ricketts Family members who sits on the board of the Chicago Cubs, and, together with his siblings, owns the team – is running for governor in Nebraska. Pete hasn’t been visibly involved with the Cubs on the same level as Tom or even Laura or Todd, so I don’t know that his attentions being taken by campaigning will have any noticeable impact on anything in our world.
  • Luke D

    Cubs move to Omaha!

    • ETS

      Beat me to it.

      Go Omaha Cubs!

  • Luke

    I’m sure the Nebraska thing will feed the trolls with more irrelevancies to slosh around, but I can’t see it having much of an impact beyond that.

    • Brett

      Agreed. I note it because of his role with the Cubs and because it’s news, but I don’t think it will have any noticeable bearing on anything.

      • MichiganGoat

        If Pete wins won’t he have give up his seat on the board? Not that it will change anything just curious.

  • Robert Johnson

    Sometimes I think Cubs Management puts too much emphasis on power pitchers.

    • CubsFaninMS

      Ivan Pineyro, Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks (Epstein) and Rusin, Raley, Jokisch (Hendry). IMO, we have a healthy mix power and finesse. The problem is… we lack elite fireballers. The only one that jumps out of the screen from our farm system is C.J. Edwards. Zastryzny, Paniagua, and Maples could turn into more but it’s too early to tell for them moreso than Edwards.

      • Nate

        Corey Black should be a legit power guy with a fastball in the mid 90’s that has hit 100 in the past. Just not sure if he’ll wind up a starter or not.

      • ssckelley

        Cubs still have Henry Rodriguez in their system.


    • Jay

      Everybody puts too much emphasis on the gun these days….but, you can’t teach a high-90’s fastball.

      Considering that Baker rehabbed on our dime to the tune of $5+ million, I’d be interested in what terms he’d think fair for next year.

      • Edwin

        It probably depends on what other teams are willing to offer him.

  • chrisfchi

    I hate moving. So damn stressful. I will be doing the same next week myself.

    • Luke

      I’ve moved a ton in the past decade. Hopefully I made my last move for awhile earlier this year.

  • Deez

    Good Luck on the move. I just moved about 5mi in April, but you don’t realize how much “junk or stuff” you have until you start packing. I can only imagine now with the kids.
    My only suggestion is to shop around & pay for movers.
    It took my wife & I more than a month with our schedules & packing adequately w/ movers to move stuff. When I look at the money & time I put into buying equipment, packing, renting a truck, & getting movers, I should have just paid for the movers.

  • SenorCub

    We’ve moved a bunch of times. I will be moving one last time next year. The lesson learned which has been expressed here already is, PAY to move. I will not try to move on my own again, not worth it.

  • MightyBear

    Bring Baker back. A rotation of Samardijza, Jackson, Wood, Baker and Arrieta/Rusin could be quite formidable with Villanueva, Arrieta/Rusin (whichever doesn’t make it), Hendricks and possibly Jokish, Raley, Coleman or a FA would be a good stable of starting pitchers for next year.

    Brett, good luck with the move. We moved last November and I’m still clearing boxes. It’s brutal but worth it.

  • cubchymyst

    I wouldn’t oppose a 6 man rotation to finish off the year. Samardzija and Wood have both already thrown a new high in innings pitched. An extra starter might allow both a little extra rest to end the season in a lost year.

    • willis

      I’m totally down with a 6 man rotation from here on out. Why not? The IP concern and then getting to see Baker the rest of the way. Win-win. The only thing I don’t like about it is taking a start or so away from Arrieta.

      • Scotti

        I’m not sure about a six-man with this current lineup, but a six-man rotation is the most injury friendly possibility out there (and, as such, the most economically friendly as well–you don’t have to replace lost starts due to injury as frequently).

    • Mike

      Came here to say this. You get more starts for Baker, and guys like Samardijza and Wood get more rest. In a lost season, that’s win-win.

      • cms0101

        I’m all for that approach. I just don’t want to see Baker return next season. He didn’t fool me with that performance yesterday. I don’t have any confidence he can be a successful major league pitcher, and the Cubs have better options. There will also be better options in free agency to fill the last rotation spot. Let him get some work and sign with someone else in the offseason.

  • cubchymyst

    I am always worried when I move because I always use used chemical boxes because they are sturdy, all the same size and cubed. But when I move in I am carry boxes inside with labels like methanol, acetone, and chloroform. I’m sure when I move in anyone watching thinks I’m setting up a meth lab.

    • Michael Hammermeister

      In some neighborhoods the welcome wagon is there for you, in others it’s the paddy wagon!

  • Werner

    There is moving and then there is moving with kids and several rings of hell are between them.

  • CubsFanSaxMan

    It’s easier to move across the country then across town. That being said, use the move across country philosophy to move across town. If possible – HIRE IT OUT! Pay for the professional movers with the big semi. A lot easier than with friends and pick-up trucks. Have fun!!

  • jon

    Thank God football season is here to take my mind of this horseshit baseball team!

    • Jono

      It is horseshit, but it’s our horseshit 😉

  • JoeyCollins

    If Pete is running for Govenor does that make Todd the Mike Donnely of the Ricketts family. I would watch a Black Sheep 2 but make it a documentary where they follow Todd around campainging in the sticks. Who gets to play the David Spade part though?

    • Jono

      Dale Sveum?

  • Sandberg

    Look forward to hearing the inside scoop on the lineups on the podcast.

  • frank

    Moved three times one year. That sucked–but I agree with those who say to hire it out. Hiring good movers was some of the best money I ever spent.

    • DarthHater

      I moved three times in a year once. Those darn detectives just kept finding me…

  • FastBall

    Have fun moving. You are lucky its an in town move. We are moving to Austin, Tx in November. I have to get this house ready to go on the market and get a lake house ready to sell at the wrong time of the year. Then there’s the move. I am glad my wifes company is paying for most of it. My emploer P&G won’t pay but they are letting me move and keep my job. So we have seen our last Ohio winter it seems. :) pretty happy about that. Austin is a long way from any baseball I want to watch :(