Enhanced Box Score: Pirates 2, Cubs 4 – September 25, 2013

The Cubs closed out the home slate with a win, avoiding a sweep, and seriously dampening the Pirates’ hopes of winning the NL Central.

Jake Arrieta pitched to contact today – as he often does, despite the super stuff – and he was justified in doing so, giving up just four hits and two walks over six innings. Was it enough to lock up his presumptive rotation spot going into 2014? My early vote is: probably, but it depends on how the coaching staff works with him over the offseason (and what they think about that work).

And, hey, the game even finished up with Kevin Gregg being given a save opportunity.

sept 25 box

Full box.

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

143 responses to “Enhanced Box Score: Pirates 2, Cubs 4 – September 25, 2013”

  1. #23

    Shark, Arrieta, and Wood are a pretty darn good 3/5 of a rotation going forward. It sure would be nice to pick up a frontline starter somewhere, somehow.

    1. SirCub

      When I first read this comment, I thought that slash was a dash. And it makes me sad that it didn’t bother me.

    2. Rizzovoir Dog

      Tanaka?

    3. Senor Cub

      #23 I would rather have Wood, Zmard, and Arriata in the bullpen, maybe not Wood but Zmard and Arriata in the bullpen definitely. That means we NEED a #1, 2, Wood, 4, and Jackson a #5. That’s just how I see it, truth hurts.

      1. #23

        That wouldn’t make any sense to put 2 or 3 of your best starting pitchers in the bullpen.

        1. dob2812

          Jeff Samardzija is a No. 1. That is all.

    4. ClevelandCubsFan

      we need two front-line starters. I think two front-line starters and on key bat and we could be very very competitive next year until the prospects start arriving. But things have to line up right to get those guys…

  2. Kyle

    I really like our chances for having a good bullpen next year.

    We’re so close. It’s going to be like drowning in six inches of water if this team doesn’t pull something together next year.

    1. ssckelley

      I do to, compared to what we started the season with this bullpen looks pretty darn good. With just a few pieces I think this Cubs team could surprise many next year. Give me a right handed slugger for the outfield, perhaps another starter, an open competition at 3rd base, mix in some prospects graduating to the majors and we may have meaningful games being played after the trade deadline.

    2. Kramden

      It’s the offense.
      If the offense can generate some runs, the pitching staff is decent enough to give the team a chance next season.

      ….and regardless what “advanced” statistics say, Rizzo & Castro were the primary factor in this year’s flop.

      1. ClevelandCubsFan

        the advanced metrics and the standard metric tell the the same story. The Cubs did not field a postseason caliber performance at any position except maybe catcher.

    3. Eric

      I tend to agree, but I think we have to find a play-maker on offense. If that is a Baez or a resurgent Castro, then great.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        Players like Baez and Castro are not the issue that the Cubs offense has. For one thing, the offense is not that bad. Given the correlation between OPS and runs scored over the last 51 years, the Cubs should be on pace for a 644 – 677 runs scored (with 661 the expectation). The Cubs are on pace for 611. (There is, insofar as I can find, no particular rhyme or reason to the “over-under” each year: that the Cubs scored fewer runs than OPS predicts in 2013 predicts nothing about their over-under in 2014.)

        The Cubs big deficiency? OBP. Given the relationship between OBP and run-scoring, the Cubs should wind up with 580 runs for the year. Given the relationship between slugging and scoring, the Cubs should wind up with 708 runs scored. (85% of the variation in runs-scored is explained by SLG, whereas “only” 81% of the variation in runs-scored is explained by OBP: that is why the average of the two is a little below that predicted by OPS.)

        Now, some of the Cubs low OBP is due to unfortunate BABiP by a couple of key players: and given that BABiP in 2013 doesn’t predict BABiP in 2014, that probably will be better next year. But the biggest issue is walks: the Cubs are 11th in the NL in walks drawn. (They’ve actually had to pick up the pace to get that far up!)

        That written, the Cubs pitching is not quite up to snuff. The slugging allowed is slightly greater than the batter’s slugging, and the OBP allowed is a lot worse. (The team leads the league in walks allowed.)

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          I would add that the Cubs deviation between runs-scored and runs-expected is historically bad: 97% of the teams in the last 51 years have squeezed more runs out of their OPS than have the Cubs! However, getting the expected runs raises the Cubs winning total by only 5 games: and unless my eyes have gone really bad, they are much more than 5 games out of playoff contention.

  3. #23

    I agree about the bullpen. That should be a strength going into spring training.

    1. Funn Dave

      Or at least less of a weakness.

      1. Pat

        Of course, everybody said the same thing heading into this year.

        1. Hansman1982

          Less of a weakness, yes. Being able to honestly debate that it will be a strength…not a chance.

          Going into next year there really aren’t any relievers that make you curse. Yet.

    2. Jason P

      Small sample size, but Lim’s velocity has not been where it needs to be. He was supposed to be 93-94 on his fastball from a sidearm delivery, but he’s been right around 91. And with terrible command.

      There are still questions about the bullpen, they just aren’t as plentiful as they were coming into this year. Strop’s not going to maintain the 2.7 BB/9 rate he’s held up since the trade, so the question becomes can his ERA stay down when the walks come up? Will a full offseason’s rest be enough to cure Russell’s struggles since May? What do we have with Rosscup and Grimm? There are lots of potentially good options, but only 1 or 2 have a track record of sustained success over multiple years.

      But that’s still miles better than going into the year with Fujikawa, Bowden, Russell, Takahashi, Marmol, Camp. and Rondon as your bullpen. Yes, that was actually our bullpen on opening day this year.

      1. willis

        Yeah when I think of next year’s bullpen I’m not even considering Lim unless he’s the last man in there. I’m afraid he’ll get a hard look though and they’ll just have to learn that he’s terrible. Another TJS guy, I just don’t see him amounting to much at this level. He can plow through the minors, but his stuff isn’t going to play in the majors.

        I do like what Grimm could be out of the pen, to compliment Strop, Parker, Villanueva, Russell and Rosscup.

  4. pfk

    …and Castro with 2 more errors. 22 for the yeah…only a few more to beat his record. 3 years in a row with almost 30 errors each. Yikes!

    1. Cedlandrum

      22 is not almost 30. He only has 3 games left. He has gotten a little better every year.

      1. pfk

        You’re right, I overstated it. He’s tied for the most errors for a SS in MLB. Yes, he has improved and he needs to continue. The best have 12 or less per year. He needs to get it down to about 15-17 next year and then down to 12 or so in 2015, when the Cubs will be contenders. I think his hitting will come back – provided they quit messing with him. They started messing with Castro (be more selective, work the count, etc.) and Barney (pull the ball more) and they both suffered. Castro can get back to being an All-Star. Barney could eventually be a role player off the bench once one of the kids like Alcantara (sp) comes up. However, if we have enough bats in the lineup Barney is a good everyday player. He’s a solid, heads up ballplayer who is always talking with Castro to help him learn the game and to keep his head in the game.

        1. BWA

          Castro also has better range than most SS, so that makes up for some of it. In fact, I’d bet he reaches 15 balls a year that most shortstops wouldn’t, so that 22 errors is effectively the same as a shortstop with average range and 7 errors.

    2. Aisle 19

      And Baez had 46 errors this year in the minors.

      1. Cyranojoe

        Not that minors errors are comparable to majors errors.

    3. Bob

      22 errors isn’t an unusually high total for a SS, especially one with Castro’s range. It’s also a measurable improvement from the last couple of years. Hopefully that trend continues, and we put the “move him to another position” talk to rest, and can build the rest of the infield around him.

      1. Pat

        It does lead the league at his position for the third consecutive year. Not that errors are the best defensive metric, but I’d like to see him get closer to middle of the pack in that area.

  5. Dustin S

    Darnell McDonald forgot that we’re fighting for draft position.

  6. willis

    There will be plenty bullpen options going forward. Some good, live arms. Add one more good starter somehow and the pitching staff is close to about anyone in the division.

  7. clark addison

    But it’s a tough division. Even with improved starting pitching and a better pen, this team has not punch. We need at least two more big bats.

  8. clark addison

    oops, I mean no punch.

  9. 1060Ivy

    A critical piece of the improved bullpen has been Kevin Gregg, who either won’t be a Cub in 2014 or shouldn’t be relied on to repeat his superior 2013 performance.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      A critical piece of the improved bullpen is not starting the year with Marmol.

  10. Cheese Chad

    One of my favorite Blue Marker Tag Lines ever.

  11. Bret Epic

    Nice to see them win their last home game. Hopefully it won’t end up costing us a draft position.

  12. Crazyhorse

    Well ,THeo showed a maturity in not releasing Gregg maybe wearing that gorilla outfit and Larry his old boss giving him a second chance to rejoin the Redsox Organization when he quit and lost (what was that lame excuse….)
    glad to see that Gregg and Theo can coexist for at least a few more days.

  13. ruby2626

    Surprised there is no bitchin about Greg getting the save opp over Strop. Very Mike Quadeesque.

    1. TWC
      1. J.L.

        Yes, but you must realize those comments were made *before* Gregg struck out the side for the save. How do you expect people to avoid silly comments without hindsight???

    2. Crazyhorse

      Gregg earned the chance to finished his closer role with the Cubs . At the same token the Cubs do need to see if Strop can handle the pressures of being a closer with the limited inning left in the season.
      I do give Sveum credit in managing the emotional turnmoil after Greggs ill advised rant but it was Sveum that let slip that this was THeo idea to pass Gregg in the save situation. I guess Gregg took it personally and probably thought the Cubs were low balling his closer appearance, Which is tied to monetary bonuses he may recieve in the amount of games he finished. If i was gonna lose bonus money simply because it cheaper to start a rookie . I think most people would be upset in the same position. I mean when its all said and done . Gregg had a solid year. he worked hard and most of his saves consisted little drama. His contribution to this years team was good and unexpected and a tad unappreciated it seems on this site.

  14. cubzforlife

    I daydream about winning the lotto and how to spend it. My other dream is next year we compete for a wild card and I am in section 209 row 15 seats 1 and 2 for those games. A man can dream can’t he?

  15. Die hard

    Castro to Yankees for the big guy who could anchor staff in comeback year?

    1. Jason P

      Why would we want to hurt our chances of scoring 5 runs per game with Castro batting leadoff?

      1. Cizzle

        5 runs per game would put as as the #2 offense in baseball.

  16. J.F.Edwards

    I’m with you, Brett. I was ready to ditch Gregg after the tantrum but I’ve come to respect his apology, I appreciate his passion and belief in himself (that’s exactly the crazy you want in closers), and I’m glad the Cubs didn’t kneejerk the way I would have. Smart.

    I hope Gregg succeeds whether he comes back for a shot, or goes elsewhere. I’m glad he got a chance to show he can still sling it sometimes.

    And good on the Cubs for giving him a chance, and a second chance. They’re humans, too.

  17. another JP

    I’d like to see Arrieta starting for us next year- that would only make one other starting position available between Rusin, Cabrera, or Baker (if he signs again with Cubs). And now comes the vomit-fest in St. Louis… what could be worse than all the nyuk- nyuks that Cub fans will get when the Cards win the division with us on their field?

    1. willis

      If the 5th spot goes to any of those three you can guarantee another 95ish loss season. They have to go out and get one more arm to start. Hell I’d rather Villanueva start instead of any of those three.

      1. wvcubsfan

        I think Rusin has shown enough that he should get serious consideration for the 5th spot next year. i also don’t think that if he won that job it would mean that you could pencil in the team for 90+ losses.

        I’m really hoping this is just another in a long line of over reactions. Hopefully in the not too distant future determining who our 5th starter will be might actually be a determining factor of the season as a whole.

        1. willis

          It’s not an overreaction. I don’t buy his stuff at this level. None of them. Rusin came and did ok and then after a few starts he was lit up. He’s not that good. And I’m not wanting to see the rotation given up on before the season even starts by putting someone out there who every 5th day will get hit. Shark, Arrieta, EJax and Wood give the team a solid four starters. You grab one more in FA or in a trade…you have a decent enough rotation, if healthy, to keep the team in games. And soon enough (like, next year) I want this team to begin to learn how to win. Putting a very good rotation out there is a start to that. They have four pieces…should be a no brainer to reach into the pockets and at least spend to get one more starter.

  18. pfk

    Is it possible that anyone could be more negative than Gordon Wittenmyer? Anybody with a brain and some knowledge of baseball knows that Rickets/Theo & Co are absolutely on the right path. The minor league facilities across the board and the spring training complex are being upgraded to state of the art. And that takes alot of money. The minor league system has gone from one of the very worst to being top five. Wrigley will finally get a $400,000,000 renovation and that money isn’t coming from the public. As much as I love Wrigley once you get in the stands, the concourse, dugouts and other facilities are the worst in baseball. In a few years it will be brought up to today’s standards and the fan experience will be awesome. Best of all, this club will be very competitive year in and year out for many years to come and I have no doubt a World Series championship will happen. I think the “Bleacher Nation” blog is, hands down, the best reporting and intelligent analysis there is in Chicago. After I read the blog and then read people like Wittenmyer, I shake my head in disgust.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Well pfk your positive and insightful opinion are no longer the norm here. Here’s the new BN voice:

      MOAR RICKETTS IS CHEAP, SVEUM IS A HILLBILLY BUFFON, CASTRO & RIZZO ARE PATHETIC, STOP SIPPIN THE KOOL-AID, LOUD NOISES.

      1. Gutshot5820

        Goat you are just one creeepy dude. You spend your entire day trolling the BN board looking to make the same tired-ass old comments. You scare me with your cult-ish behavior, seriously.

        1. MichiganGoat

          Of course you do good night gunshot enjoy your life.

    2. Gutshot5820

      Not to be a Debbie Downer, but almost anyone with half a brain could have built the meat of the farm with the help of a multi-million scouting team.

      1 Baez – Was Hendry’s pick
      2 Bryant – No Brianer #2 pick because we deliberately tanked or even was tried and became the second worst team in the league.
      3 Soler – Our one offseason IFA pick worth anything so far… out of how many that we missed that are already playing great in the MLB
      4 Almora – No brainer #6 pick in the last year of Hendry’s reign

      Then, we basically sold/traded off our entire major league roster for three years in a row.

      It would be pretty tough not to have an elite farm after deliberately tanking for two seasons and trading off your entire team. Any GM worth a damn would have had similar results, how could you not?

      1. MichiganGoat

        Um #4 is completely wrong, but I guess I’m just being antagonizing by pointing out the flaw.

        1. Gutshot5820

          I meant as a result of the last year of Hendry’s reign. Should have been an obvious mistake,but you are too busy looking to damn other people and point out their flaws. So I stand corrected, thank you.

          1. MichiganGoat

            You are welcome

      2. pfk

        Well, I’ve been watching the Cubs for 60 years and NEVER have they had a management team or owner that did it correctly. The minor league teams under Hendry and his predecessors was simply one the worst – year in and year out. The facilities were the worst. No serious attempt to get Wrigley renovated was ever made. The Triangle building was just a drawing. No attempt to increase revenues with more signage. Granted, Hendry had a couple of stellar years – but nothing that could be sustained and in today’s free agent world, there would be no way to duplicate it. In the meantime the whole organization was crumbling.

        1. Adventurecizin' Justin

          I agree, pfk! It is nice to finally experience the bottom-up approach toward sustainability.

          1. Hawkeye

            “I agree, pfk! It is nice to finally experience the bottom-up approach toward sustainability.”

            Maybe it works maybe it doesn’t, but thus far I wouldn’t say it’s been nice to experience this approach.

        2. Drew7

          “The minor league teams under Hendry and his predecessors was simply one the worst – year in and year out.”

          This is starting to climb to the same level as people saying Maddux never had any velocity.

          1. Gutshot5820

            I disliked Hendry but we had a few awesome years with him. If Prior and Kerry never got hurt, we would have had a series of contending teams.

            You all talk about the dark Hendry era., how about the Ricketts era? The first five years will probably be one of the worst in the entire history of the losing-est worst sports franchise in history. That’s no small feat.

            We are going to great for the next decade because we have the greatest farm in history. yadaa yadaa yadaa. wake me up when that happens. A lot can happen that can go wrong in baseball. You should always be building you ballclub to win and at the same time building up your farm. Every season should be sacred and no large market ballclub should ever tank deliberately to build up their farm and yet we have been deliberately lowering payroll and tanking for the first five years of the Ricketts era.

          2. DocPeterWimsey

            Indeed: it’s worth remembering that people initially gushed about the farm system that Hendry helped create. Now, I do criticize Hendry for being slow to catch on to what are true tools but the simple fact is that a *lot* of people were making the same mistakes back then.

            1. Mike F

              Absolutely, it comes down to wins and losses, they are ultimately the test. The other test is teaching continuity. All the money in the world without teachers won’t work. Its why the Cardinals have succeeded in the minors so long. They place a high high premium on teaching. I am not completely convinced the Cubs have done that today and it has to be more than a 5 year thing, it has to be an overarching all encompassing part of the way they do business.

      3. hookersorcake

        Yeah anyone coulda gotten all of our top pitching prospects from trades. Including Arrieta & Strop. Pinyero for Hariston? Even Pierce Johnson was a comp pick from letting Aram walk.

      4. Hansman1982

        “No Brianer #2″

        Well, I don’t think there was a Brian worth the #2 slot this year.

        1. Gutshot5820

          Don’t you have anything else do in your life except troll the board and complain about a typo? Get a life guy.

      5. 5RunHomerun

        Theo & Co. have done a great job building up the farm system. While it is true that the Big 4 could probably have been assembled by most front offices, they are not the true success of this FO. They have done an amazing job of adding impact players all throughout the farm system. That is something with which many organizations struggle. Here are some examples of great things Team Thoyer have done that aren’t done by every FO.

        Example 1: Washington Nationals

        Similar to our Big 4, they were able to use their draft picks to select Strasburg and Harper. Easy decisions, anyone else would do the same. However, they looked like longshots to compete for the wild card or division this year around the halfway point of the season. They trailed the Braves, Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds by wide margins and none of those teams looked poised to collapse. This did not stop the Nationals from trading us Ivan Pineyro for Scott Hairston. The maximum potential Hairston could have provided may have been 1 win over the rest of the season, hardly enough to solve the Nationals’ problems. His most likely contribution was that of a power hitter against lefties who could be useful off the bench in tight situatioins. Pretty much, the Nationals had almost no need for him, but they traded us a seriously amazing, young pitching prospect anyway.

        Example 2: Everyone the Texas Rangers have traded to us

        For Ryan Dempster:
        Kyle Hendricks
        Christian Villanueva

        For Matt Garza:
        Mike Olt
        CJ Edwards
        Justin Grimm
        Neil Ramirez

        All of these guys are great additions to the organization. Hendricks was the pitcher of the year for the organization this year. Our three biggest needs a year and a half ago were pitching, catching, and third base. The Rangers have helped us solve two of our areas of weakness.

        Example 3: Daytona Pitching Staff

        Pierce Johnson (3.10 ERA and 2.98 FIP in 69.2 innings at Kane County, 2.22 ERA and 2.95 FIP in 48.2 innings at Daytona; drafted by Thoyer in 2012)
        Ivan Pineyro (3.40 ERA and 2.89 FIP in 45.0 innings at Daytona; acquired by trade in 2013 for Scott Hairston)
        Corey Black (2.88 ERA and 3.96 FIP in 25.0 innings at Daytona, 3.27 FIP in 82.2 innings for Tampa Yankees; acquired by trade in 2013 for Alfonso Soriano)
        C.J. Edwards (1.96 ERA and 1.81 FIP in 23.0 innings at Daytona, 1.78 FIP in 93.1 innings for Hickory Crawdads; acquired in Matt Garza trade)

        Three of these four were not in the organization before June of 2013. None of them were here before June 2012. They are all amazing pitching prospects. They formed the core of the rotation for the 2013 FSL champion Daytona Cubs, a team that won 16 of its last 18 games and went the first 43 innings of the postseason without allowing an earned run. Also, Edwards is being talked about as one of the top pitching prospects in all of minor league baseball. When Theo & Co. arrived, the Cubs didn’t have pitching prospects; they do now.

        So sure, any idiot out there could have put together the Big 4. But if they were all we had in the minors, we would be royally screwed for the future. And no, it isn’t easy to assemble a great minor league system just by tanking for a few years. Most FO’s don’t have the balls to tank in the first place. They go into “rebuilding mode” as an excuse for sucking for a year or two but do not really attempt to suck. A team has to make good picks in the draft, good FA signings, good IFA signings, and good trades with competing teams. Most FO’s don’t pull that off and are therefore stuck in perpetual rebuilding mode.

        Taking the Cubs farm system from bottom to top in just 2 seasons is not something that anyone could have pulled off. If that were the case, then baseball would have large turnover in teams at the top, and no team would miss the playoffs for more than 5 or 6 years at a time. That’s not what happens. Teams with bad FO’s struggle for years to put together a winning formula (think Royals and Pirates) while teams like the Cardinals, Red Sox, and Rays can have continual success.

        Theo & Co. are running the team well and have positioned the Cubs for much future success.

        1. Starlin Backer

          Very well said, 5run.

  19. macpete22

    Tanaka, Shark, Wood, E-Jax and Arrieta wouldn’t be a terrible rotation. As long as Tanaka is as good as he’s supposed to be, Shark and Jackson pitch better next season

    1. willis

      I expect both of them to pitch better next season. Adding Tanaka would be great but I just don’t see that happening with what it will cost. I’d love it though.

      1. macpete22

        My guess is they go out and sign someone to a one-year deal to trade around the deadline. Whether they bring back Scott Baker or go and sign Tim Hudson, Halladay, etc

  20. David

    Off the subject…. Seeing what McCann did tonight makes me want him as a Cub even more.

    1. macpete22

      I think he ends up in Texas

    2. The Dude

      I actually liked what C. Gonz did. He mashed that ball and the Braves should’ve just let him chirp once at them and let it be… but they had to antagonize and I’ve never seen a catcher stop someone in the base path like that. Should’ve been ejected immediately.

      1. Blublud

        I agree. I don’t know who McCann thinks he is. This is the 2nd time in a few weeks that he has felt the need to say something to some one else’s player. He should have been ejected and he should be suspended. Stopping a player in the base paths after hitting a homerun should not be tolerated. The braves are starting to look like a bunch of sensitive biatches. Next time McCann came to bat, I think I would have had to order a fastball towards the head.

      2. ClevelandCubsFan

        That’s a fail on the umpiring crew. The ump looks like he’s behind McCann doing nothing until Gomez gets up there. The whole crew, if necessary, should have stepped in. The ump could see that coming for AT LEAST 90 feet, and maybe 360.

    3. hookersorcake

      So trade Castillo?
      You do know that Castillo just had a better season than McCann has had in 5 years?
      So give a 30 yr old catcher 15+ million per?

      1. Drew7

        While I like Castillo, and don’t necessarily advocate signing McCann, your statement is incorrect.

        I’m not sure what measurement you used to come to that conclusion, but McCann has been better across the board offensively, and it really isn’t close:

        McCann posted a better BB%, K%, ISO, and a wRC+ of 124 (Castillo – 104). Making even more impressive – and making him an even better option as a FA – is that McCann did that with a deflated BABIP (.264), while Castillo’s was much higher (.343).

        If you were using WAR, then you have 2 issues:

        1) McCann posted 4 seasons (’08-’11) better than the 3.2 Castillo posted this year, so your 5-year angle doesn’t hold up.

        2) Castillo’s advantage in WAR over McCann in ’13 can largely be explained by his high defensive numbers, which can be tough to value for Catchers, especially when looking at a player’s 1st full season.

        Signing McCann may prove to be the wrong move financially, but he’s the better player.

  21. Gutshot5820

    “Boras Targeting $100MM+ For Shin-Soo Choo”

    Ok. I’ll have to pass on this one. Give me Tanaka for that price and it’s an easy decision.

    1. Good Captain

      Good luck to him but how likely are the Dodgers to sign him?

      1. Professor Snarks

        Maybe they will platoon him with Kemp. They’ll have the first $200 million dollar outfield.

  22. Mike F

    In general, there should be continuity in the organization and you build success by having a winning root strategy that goes on year in and year out. And yes Ricketts has invested in the minors and I sincerely applaud that. If they keep investing it will pay dividends. The truth is though, some of this is overstatement. They are paying for Wrigley because they obviously believe there is more to be made from the location than picking up and moving letting someone pick up the bill. These are big boys and sophisticated and they are doing what they are doing because of profit. We don’t need to pass the cup. And while Hendry’s superiors vacated the minors it is completely wrong to overstate the case by claiming he never had a good system. That is completely inaccurate, in the early 2000′s at times it was one the highest rated in baseball.

    I applaud your larger point, but I think to bury our heads in the sand and act as though Theo and these guys can’t fail is equally likely to lead to disappointment. And we don’t somehow make ourselves better by peeing on Hendry all the time. The 2003 team was a damn nice team. Hendry and Baker were 6 outs from the world series and the dump called wrigley as much Bartman bit us in the ass. With no foul room the course of history for the Cubs changed. And it is convenient for us all to give Theo the benefit we never did Jim. 2003 suddenly made lovable losing an unpopular thing on the North Side and Hendry probably spent too much trying to win combined with some very poor ownership motivation.

    1. Starlin Backer

      Bartman? We all forget the easy, waste high double play ball botched by Gonzalez. Killer!

  23. The Show

    Arrieta/Hendricks, Almora and Alcantara for Cargo?

    1. willis

      I do that in about 1.1 seconds.

    2. Professor Snarks

      We would. Colorado wouldn’t.

    3. ClevelandCubsFan

      I think Colorado would be asking for one more piece. And I think it’d be a name you’re trying to desperately keep out of your trade.

      1. N.J. Riv

        If the Cubs are going to be taking on that contract it’s hard to see them also giving up Baez IMO,

    4. ssckelley

      That would be giving up a lot for a guy who is a career .774 OPS away from Coors Field. You have to remember anytime you look at a player with Colorado you have to check the home/away numbers because the Cubs obviously do not play 81 games a year in a stadium that is a mile above sea level. Remember last year when everyone complained about losing Tyler Colvin after he had a good year? Yet away from Coors Field he was horrible and this year he has barely played. Don’t get me wrong Cargo is a good player but I think the Cubs could do better giving up that kind of prospect package for a player that is owed $64 million over the next 4 years. I think that kind of money could net the Cubs Elsbury without giving up the prospects.

      1. Kyle

        I remember similar concerns about Matt Holliday.

        Besides the fact that the hitters tend to adjust when leaving Coors Field, the Rockies also tend to play an inordinate amount of road games in strong pitcher-friendly parks.

        1. ssckelley

          Holliday has proven to be a damn good hitter and has given the Cardinals excellent production but he still is not producing as well as he did when he was with Colorado. If you compare his Coors Field numbers to Busch Stadium he is down about 20% across the board. Plus his numbers are not that far off from his away stats that he had when he was with the Rockies. In 2007, the year he finished 2nd in the MVP voting, he had a .860 OPS away from Coors Field. Those types of numbers I would consider giving up a package of prospects for.

        2. Spriggs

          Anytime a cardinal is involved, stats should just go out the window.

        3. C. Steadman

          I’m with Kyle, i think Cargo would be just fine with the Cubs…granted this is a SSS but his OPS in NL Central parks are (Wrigley:1.058, GreatAm:1.079, Miller:.918, PNC:.980, Busch:.694(gah the Cardinals are wizards))…maybe thats why Cubs fans love Cargo though…we remember him dominating the Cubs when he visits Wrigley 5HR in 11 games

          1. C. Steadman

            but i dont want to trade away too many pieces to get him, i’m just sayin he wouldnt struggle away from Coors as much as you think since he’ll still be playing 81 games at Wrigley each year

            1. ssckelley

              Yeah, you are right and if Cargo was a FA I think he would be worth 4/64. His career .774 away from Coors Field is still better than any of the regular Cubs starters, and like you say his OPS is pretty good in Wrigley. But to give up 4/64 AND the package of prospects it would take to get him I think you can find better value elsewhere.

              I think 4/64 could get the Cubs an Ellsbury and all you would lose is a 2nd round draft pick.

              1. C. Steadman

                yeah I’d rather sign Ellsbury and lose no prospects than trade for Cargo…the Rockies arent forced to trade Cargo so their price will be steep, especially dealing with the Cubs farm system which they probably know is loaded

        4. hansman1982

          “I remember similar concerns about Matt Holliday.”

          Well then, whoever had those concerns wasn’t looking at his road splits. In the three years before his trade away from the Rockies he posted road OPS above .800 which culminated with an .890 road OPS in 2008.

          This is the first year Cargo has had a road OPS above .800. (which also happens to be above .900).

          “Besides the fact that the hitters tend to adjust when leaving Coors Field, the Rockies also tend to play an inordinate amount of road games in strong pitcher-friendly parks.”

          I don’t seem to recall similar comments about a certain 3B.

          1. MichiganGoat

            Damn you hanDman stop using facts… I only want to talk about the emotions of a game.

            1. hansman1982

              Clearly you’ve never played Out of the Park Baseball.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Clearly you’ve never kissed a girl!

                NERDS!

                bth_137487b9de33b935.gif

              2. C. Steadman

                OOTP is my favorite baseball game since MVP 2005…(I own an XBOX 360 so i dont have the luxury of the Show)

      2. Cubbie Blues

        Gonzalez’s splits have looked completely different this year, for what it’s worth.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=7287&position=OF&season=2013

        1. ssckelley

          They have, he has been a much better hitter this season on the road. But is that still enough to give up 4/64 million AND a package of prospects?

          1. Cubbie Blues

            I didn’t say that, I was just pointing out that he has been better on the road this year. To answer your question, no, I wouldn’t.

  24. waffle

    I wanted the cubbies to be competitive-ish this year, but could live with it if they weren’t.

    Theo said, to paraphrase, where you don’t want to be is middling. He accumulated assets to build up our minor leagues and I think he did just that. Who on this board actually thought we had a chance to be better than middling this year? So Theo telegraphed exactly what he intended

    I think the turn around of our minor league SYSTEM, not just players, is amazing. The aggressive, consistent focus of our FO is noteworthy.

    They said they were going to do something and darn it they did.

    I fully expect to be talking about an annually competitive cubs team in the not too distant future. I applaud their approach

  25. ClevelandCubsFan

    Hypothetical rotation…
    Wood
    Shark
    Tanaka
    Arrieta
    Baker/Jackson (other is swing)

    Is it good enough to compete in the Central? Would you sign Baker? If not, do you go after Garza? Or else who?

    1. willis

      Good enough to stay in most games? Probably. Depending on if Tanaka is as good as advertised. But if you have an EJax as your #5, then the rotation is pretty good.

      Grab a good bat with that rotation, yep, I think they stick around for awhile at least.

  26. Brian Peters

    I missed the game. So, how bad was Lake’s throwing error (to FIRST BASE, for crying out loud)? Can’t find the video.

    1. AB

      I missed the game, but I don’t see an error for Lake in the box score, nor do I see why a LF would be throwing to first base.

      1. ssckelley

        There was no error issued since the runner was stretching the hit into a double anyway. Had the throw allowed him to advance to 3rd then it would have been an error. But a decent throw would have easily gotten him at 2nd base. Technically it isn’t an error but it cost the Cubs an out.

    2. Spriggs

      That elite tool he supposedly has is not translating so great in the outfield, so far. Boy, that was just an awful play.

  27. Jono

    Whoa, I had a dream last night that Baez got called up and was at 2nd. Then Castro kept sucking so the FO got rid of him and put Baez at short. What could that mean?!

    1. Spriggs

      That you are jealous of your father?

      1. MichiganGoat

        And have mother issues… or you were tripping balls ;)

  28. farmerjon

    I understand that part of the for accumulating minor league talent is to aquire major league talent, but i think i prefer to hold on to the kids for now. Sign Tanaka, sign Abreu, move Rizzo to LF, Lake to CF and start bringing the kids up when it makes sense

    1. macpete22

      No way Rizzo could play LF

      1. Jason P

        I would have said the same thing about Evan Gattis.

        1. Cubbie Blues

          Or, Bryan LaHair.

          1. MichiganGoat

            but he’s an All-Star so shut-up.

        2. bbmoney

          And you’d have been right. He might be out there occasionally. But he can’t really play left field….certainly not everyday. Neither could LaHair.

        3. Cubbie Blues

          Like this?

          noRJf.gif

          or This?

          aKu0n.gif

    2. ClevelandCubsFan

      Let’s say we sign Tanaka, Garza, an Choo. That costs us 0 prospects and leaves us a very manageable payroll. Let the prospects develop a little more and force a full logjam, then trade for a missing piece or two around the trade deadline. Isn’t that–given health–a very, very good Cubs team that might compete for a wild card spot?

      1. C. Steadman
        1. ClevelandCubsFan

          Yeah I think Boras is full of it on this one. I’m guessing Boras is thinking an average of 14 x 7. Maybe someone will give him 7, but I think 14 x 5 might be more realistic. I’d pay 14 for Choo; I just don’t want to give him 7 years. We’ll see if anyone else does.

          1. C. Steadman

            yeah boras is a little over zealous on Choo’s worth, especially considering that he’ll come with losing a draft pick…a 1st rounder for most of the teams that’ll be trying to sign him…but its definitely not gonna be an easy sign with Boras…

            1. MichiganGoat

              Boras always does this and every time people act shocked and amazed that he’s setting the bar so high. Last year he did with Bourn he asks for the sky and still ends up getting his players good contracts, hes the best for a reason regardless of how much douchebaggery he brings

          2. mjhurdle

            I agree that 5×14 is pretty realistic for Choo.
            But as always, all it takes is one team to go crazy and everything is blown out of the water. Boras has made a living finding the one team to convince to go crazy, but if he gets 100+ million for Choo, I will be very surprised.

            1. MichiganGoat

              yeah he got Bourn for 4/48 (with a 5th year option could be 5/60) that is a 12M AAV. Choo is better than Bourn so he will expect at least a 5/75 (15M AAV) so the 100M isn’t exactly over the top.

              1. mjhurdle

                I think it will come down to years and whether Boras can convince someone to go more than 5. If he gets someone to go over 5, than 100 is basically a lock.
                I don’t see him doing it, but like you said. he is the best.

    3. ssckelley

      Rizzo loses his value putting him in left. You end up with another lefthanded outfielder who has worse offensive production than Schierholtz and Bogusevic/Sweeney combo and you go from a + defense at 1st base to, potentially, negative defense in the outfield.

      If the Cubs were to ever jump into the Abreu sweepstakes (and I hope they do) they would have one hell of a trade piece in Rizzo.

      1. farmerjon

        With Helton retiring, perhaps Rizzo would be a valuable chip in a deal for CarGo.

        1. ssckelley

          hmmmmm, interesting idea. Cargo is only owed 10.5 million for next season. Have we seen projections on what Abreu might cost?

          1. MichiganGoat

            He will cost
            1954424_o.gif

            1. ssckelley

              Damn, that is a steep price.

              We might have to pass a collection hat for this one.

        2. ClevelandCubsFan

          I honestly think we are keeping Rizzo. You’ve got a young gold glover with plenty of promise to get better at the plate while you’re still not yet competitive. Jed went really hard for this kid, and I don’t think he’s changed his tune yet.

          1. ssckelley

            But the words “best hitter in the world” that scouts have used to describe Abreu keep ringing in my head. I do not recall Hoyer ever using those words to describe Rizzo. Right now the best hitter in MLB is Miguel Cabrera, if Abreu can come close to those type of numbers all of us Cub fans would be like “Rizzo who?”.

          2. CubbieBubba

            gold glover? dont forget about all the world series mvps

  29. SH

    What happened to the twenty-line all-caps MG troll screed? Wanted to read it for posterity.

    1. Castro to Barney to Chance

      I could have sworn I commented on it, but Belhaven can really cloud the mind ;)

  30. ssckelley

    Since the Twins lost yesterday the Cubs are now only .5 game in front of them for the 4th pick. Need to root for the Twins to beat Cleveland tonight. The Cubs do own the tiebreaker if they finish in a tie.

    They were also officially eliminated from the #3 pick with the Cubs beating the Bucs and the Sox losing to Cleveland yesterday.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      Ugh I don’t want to think about it. All I’ve got is enjoying the playoff fever vicariously. Go Tribe!

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