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donnie murphy cubsFor those of us old enough to remember – it’s crazy that it’s been long enough to even use that preamble – it’s impossible to mention today’s date without a note of sadness. We remember, we honor, and we keep on keepin’ on.

  • Donnie Murphy’s homer last night gives him 10 with the Cubs in just 122 plate appearances. That would put him on pace for something in the 50 to 60 range over a full season. I use to say things like that jokingly, but when you reach 10 homers, you’re doing something. Murphy for so long felt like just another minor-league-deal-pick-up-then-toss-aside-at-the-end-of-the-season kind of guy, but I’m starting to wonder whether he’s going to be worth offering a contract for next year (he’s arbitration-eligible, if the Cubs choose to tender him a contract). He’s always hit fairly well in the minors, and hasn’t ever had much of a shot in the bigs. He’s versatile, has some pop, and is still only 30. Depending on the Cubs’ plans for the rest of the infield and bench, I could see Murphy being a worthwhile piece to keep around. The question is whether he’s worth something in the range of a $1 million guarantee and a 40-man spot. On the season, he’s hitting .282/.352/.618, but keep in mind that his BABIP (.309) is more than 40 points higher than his career mark (.267), and his OBP is inflated by 5 HBPs. Murphy’s a guy on whom you’ve got to keep perspective: he strikes out a lot, doesn’t walk much, and probably will never got on base at a high clip. But a bench guy who can play all over and has some pop? Fairly useful, even if his line projects to fall down quite a bit.
  • (In the end, though, how can you put a price tag on the ability to have a season full of “Thank you, Donnie,” and “Donnie, you’re out of your element!” comments? Bring him back!)
  • Edwin Jackson nearly matched Travis Wood’s dominating start against the Reds in the first two games of this series. What did their starts have in common? No walks. It’s so simple, and yet so important (and, frequently, so difficult).
  • The Cubs will indeed go with a six-man rotation for the next two turns through the rotation, allowing Scott Baker to make two more starts, and giving the other guys an extra day of rest. All good by me.
  • In his last 33 games – yes, I picked the spot in late July when his production appeared to bottom out – Welington Castillo is hitting .311/.407/.495. The best part? He’s got 15 walks in the 123 plate appearances in that stretch.
  • It’s tough to have the last name “Gretzky” and become something of a forgotten prospect, but that’s essentially what’s happened to Trevor Gretzky since he was drafted by the Cubs in the vaunted 2011 draft. Injuries and some performance issues have troubled his first two years, but he’s just 20 and played fairly well in limited time in A-ball this year. The power isn’t there yet, but that comes later for some guys. An interesting write-up on Gretzky from CSN Chicago.
  • A look at Darwin Barney’s offensive struggles this year from ESPN Chicago, and a look at the successful Nate Schierholtz move from CSN Chicago.
  • You may or may not recall that, many moons ago, I helped run a funny t-shirt site called Unholy Cows. Well, the buddy with whom I worked is re-launching the site on his own, and you should check it out. Lotta funny shirts on there.
  • cubsfanforever

    Donnie equals bench spot- depending on who they want to have on 40 man roster. Past performance tells me this wont continue but on a shitty team who really cares. Hopefully next year a little more competitive.

    • Eternal Pessimist

      Donnie’s career (minor and major league) wOBA is just over .300, which is just under the league average for 3B. Maybe we should sign him, ‘juice’ him up, and have him help us early in 2014. By the time he pees in a cup and gets his 50 game suspension we can bring up Baez to take over.

      • cubsfanforever

        nice one

  • Jono

    When I read about Donnie Murphy, my mind naturally goes, “CHARLIE MURPHY!!!” in a Dave Chappelle-Rick James impersonation. It’s funny everytime

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18gElAzSL4E

  • Frank

    Brett, Speaking of t shirts…I was just given a t shirt that says “God Bless America, Except Arizona, F_ck Arizona. (u replaced here, but not on the t shirt) I live in Arizona now, so it’s fun walking around with it. (yes I live here now, so have pity on me)

    Whats wrong with using a 6 man rotation all year? I always thought it would have some benefits.

    • Chad

      It’s fine if #6 is as good as #1 (though that is a big problem in itself, unless you have Verlander, Price, Scherzer, Kershaw, C.C., and King Felix). But if you do a 6 man rotation instead of 5 you would lose about 5 starts from each of your top 5 starters to get your 27 starts/per pitcher. Assuming your #6 is #6 because he’s the 6th best starter on your staff your are losing a lot of opportunities for better pitchers to start.

    • RoughRiider

      Frank.
      I’m guessing that because you like wearing that shirt in Arizona, while living in Arizona and feel you need to be pitied means that you were forced to move by your parents. Let me give a young lad some advise. Don’t crap on the floor were you live. Someone may take extereme offense. I think that people who wear clothing of that ilk are just showing their lack of dignity. If you don’t like Arizona ,wait until you hopefully graduate in a few years and then move.

  • Adam

    Tell your t-shirt buddy we’d (I’d) love to see a simple Cubs colored t-shirt that says “In my lifetime” . I think many would purchase one.

    • Jono

      +1

    • baseballet

      And another one for older fans that says “Not In My Lifetime”

  • cms0101

    Murphy is probably close to a lock for a bench spot next year. I agree that he can’t continue this pace, but maybe he’s figured out enough to stick in the majors for good this time around. I don’t feel like he should start regularly, but playing 3rd against lefties or giving Barney a break at 2nd could be a nice role for him on next year’s team. He essentially replaces Ransom, who started out well but has fell off significantly to the point of getting designated.

    • cubzfan

      There’s no way Barney is the starting second baseman next year. No way.

  • CubFan Paul

    “…a guy on whom you’ve got to keep perspective: he strikes out a lot, doesn’t walk much, and probably will never got on base at a high clip.”

    The better version/ceiling of Darwin Barney.

  • sprtswiz1

    Shut the fuck up Donnie!

  • jaslhill

    No offense, Brett, but you lost me at “important bench piece”.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Not sure why I would take offense to folks caring only about the superstars the Cubs don’t have …

  • danimal8

    “I am the Walrus”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      :)

    • tbone

      Shut the f_ck up, Donny. V.I. Lenin. Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I’m not too worried about Gretzky’s power. It’ll show up.

  • ssckelley

    Brett, another possibility is to grant him free agency until after the rule 5 draft to free up a 40 man spot. These 40 man roster spots are going to be valuable later this fall.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Absolutely. That was always possible – the question here is whether he’s played himself up to another level. Many of the best bench players are typically signed before the Rule 5 rolls around. And the Cubs control Murphy’s rights right now, but only if they tender him a contract before the Rule 5. That’s why it’s a tricky question.

      • ssckelley

        Don’t they have up until the rule 5 draft to make this decision?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You’re right – I forgot that the new CBA moved that date back a little bit (now just a week before the Rule 5). That said, the decision remains the same – let him test free agency, or retain his rights (at the cost of a 40-man spot).

  • Brian

    And don’t forget, “I’m going home, Donnie!” or “That’s your name, Dude!”

  • zach

    im throwin rocks tonight! mark it dude

  • ACA

    The Dude abides

  • http://bleachernation grip

    I was given a T-shirt a couple of years ago which still gets a lot of attention when I wore it last year at Spring Training… it’s shows a large Cub logo in the center and above it, it states:

    ANY TEAM CAN HAVE A BAD CENTURY !

    p.s. It needs to be updated.

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