mesa solar soxVoodoo freaking magic, man …

  • The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday in their NLDS, sending the Cardinals to the NLCS, because of course. It was vintage Cardinals, with Adam Wainwright dominating, and guys like David Freese, Matt Adams, and Pete Kozma filling up the box score. The Cards now head on to face the Dodgers in the most can’t-they-both-lose NLCS matchup I can remember. The final American League divisional series is decided today between the A’s and Tigers at 7 pm CT.
  • At least the Cubs saw their future blowing up in Arizona yesterday. Making his first start in the Arizona Fall League (where he’s the second youngest player by a matter of days), Albert Almora led off and went 4-5 with a homer and a double. Kris Bryant was nearly as good, going 2-3 with a homer and a walk. Wes Darvill came in late and got in on the action with a homer of his own. Jorge Soler went 1-5, but at least that one was a bases-clearing double. Between them, Cubs prospects drove in 11 of the 13 runs the Mesa Solar Sox scored yesterday.
  • BN’er RotoChamp was at the Solar Sox’s AFL game last year, and offers an eyes-on report.
  • put together a Cubs prospect All-Star team (and, before you freak out when you don’t see Arismendy Alcantara at second base, scroll down to “utility”), and got thoughts from Cubs Farm Director Brandon Hyde on the players discussed. Really interesting look at some guys whom you might not otherwise hear a lot about.
  • A Tribune piece with thoughts from Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant on their seasons and their plans for the AFL.
  • Speculation in Cincinnati has the Reds possibly considering Cubs third base coach David Bell for their managerial opening (Bell was a manager in the Reds’ minor leagues before coming to the Cubs). Bell is technically under contract through next year, but the Cubs aren’t going to stand in the way of a coach interviewing for a managerial position, especially given their own ongoing managerial search.
  • Jacob Hannemann, the Cubs’ overslot third round pick in 2013, is finally back in game action, playing in the Instructional League in Arizona. Hannemann’s season ended shortly after it began this year when he suffered a slight tear in his non-throwing elbow.
  • kgd

    Second to last bullet should probably read “the Reds possibly considering Cubs third base coach…”

  • TR

    “Speculation in Cincinnati has the REDS possibly considering…”**??

  • TomDettore

    I think you meant to say the the Reds (not the Cubs) may be considering David Bell. I’m pretty sure that the Cubs are not considering him.

    • Brett

      You are all very fast. I’d corrected the typo before two of you guys dropped comments, but if you’d already opened the page …

      Much obliged, folks.

  • Stevie B

    Bryant and Almora…. like peas and carrots.

  • JM

    Hopefully these kids all just mature and grow and build even more solid credentials. Maybe with so many good players, they will feed off one another’s success and get all the better.

  • Kyle

    And just think, if the Cardinals hadn’t just promoted an insane crop of pitching, they’d have an equal or better farm system to us too.

    • Brett

      Why would we want to think that?

      • Kyle


        • DarthHater

          So THAT’s what that fist is doing… 😛

    • ETS

      I found it interesting that the Cards, with one of the deepest farms in baseball, didn’t acquire an impact player at the deadline. It is interesting in that several teams did the same thing so there is a “market is over valuing prospects” perspective, but also the Cardinals must feel really good about who they have on the team currently plus their with “near mlb” prospects.

      • CubFan Paul

        Maybe the Cards were saving their prospects at the deadline for a player that wouldn’t be available til this offseason/July 2014 (Price, Stanton)

    • ssckelley

      The Cardinals farm system should be good, they have only had 22 first round draft picks since 2005.

      • King Jeff

        But we have to keep the league competitive!!! MLB is just giving the Cardinals a fighting chance that they wouldn’t have otherwise. They have the self proclaimed best fans in baseball, but get bonuses because they couldn’t field a competitive team without revenue sharing and extra draft picks for being in a small market.

        • BlameHendry

          agreed, competitive balance picks be decided by more than just being a small market team… Winning % should play some factor.

          Also, how are they even a small market team? In recent years their payroll has exceeded $100 million several times and I don’t remember the last time it was below $90 million minimum.

  • Brains

    According to the Herald, part of the Cubs’ “plan” is to decrease fandom.

    • Billy

      I really hated that article. By trying to improve a stadium that desperately needs it the FO is trying to alienate fans? That’s a swing and a miss.

    • mjhurdle

      Two things:
      1) i can’t believe i wasted 3 minutes of my life on such a horribly constructed article
      2) As bad as it was, nowhere in the article does it say that the part of the Cubs’ plan is to decrease fandom.

    • DarthHater

      The message of that article is that the Cubs’ plan for winning involves sacrificing the team’s traditional charm (i.e. lovable losers) for the sake of becoming a winning machine. Nowhere does it say that the plan is to decrease fandom. Nor is such an idiotic proposition even implied by that article, unless one is stupid enough to suppose that a winning machine would not draw fans.

      • MichiganGoat

        prepare for the Brains duck and deflect response…so far Ricketts is suing the city and actively doing things to reduce fandom. But from here on out he has never said these things.

        • DarthHater

          I prefer to call it the ShitForBrains Shuffle.

          • MichiganGoat

            I keep trying to believe there is some satire/sarcasm with his posts but its just so inconsistent and irregular that I don’t buy the satirical/sarcastic angle.

            • Brains

              You guys are the best. B)

    • Eric

      I don’t think you read the article you linked to. Nowhere did it state or imply what you are claiming.

      • MichiganGoat

        Eric meet Brains

  • papabear

    Cubs can not stand in the way Bell- Major league baseball allows people to move up to other organizations without the teams permission. Bench coach to manager would be a move up so could not be blocked by the cubs.

    • Kyle

      That’s a well-respected tradition that I’m sure the Cubs will follow, but I don’t think it’s an actual rule? Could be wrong.

      • ETS

        Theo Epstein got a promotion and yet boston wanted compensation for allowing him out of his contract early.

        • Kyle

          Well, Boston argued that it wasn’t a true promotion, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            So, wait: does MLB have a rule saying that you don’t need permission from Team X to offer a guy a “higher” position in your own organization than he has with Team X? I honestly did not know that: I couldn’t figure out why the “promotion” part was relevant.

            • hansman

              The team has to give permission to speak to a contracted employee. Otherwise it’s tampering.

      • jj

        I believe it was the NFL that had an actual rule — which is why the practice of naming position coaches as “assistant head coach” began. MLB is just a matter of common practice.

  • cubsfan4life

    Hi Brett, Are you planning to do a write up about Bruce Levine’s comment from Sports Talk Live yesterday about Greg Maddux wanting to be the Cubs next manager with Bobby Cox agreeing to be his bench coach, his brother Mike as the Cubs pitching coach and Henry Blanco as the bullpen coach? I can’t tell you how excited I was when I read this information in the comments last night, but I can’t find anything else written about it online. I really hope Bruce Levine is correct. Theo and Jed need to make this happen !!!

    • Blackhawks1963

      There has been nothing to come out of the Cubs beyond announcement that Acta, Hinch and Renteria have been granted interviews. So until that time where we hear something about prospective INTEREST in the Maddux boys OR any other candidate my assumption is that TheoJed pick the next manager from the pool of 3 they have already had a first round of discussion with.

    • C. Steadman

      he’s a little young yet but I think Henry Blanco could end up being a good manager down the road

    • OregonCubsFan

      Please… please… please… be truth to this scenario. This would be way better than having Joe Girardi. In fact, there may be no better scenario I could imagine.
      However, as they say, “If it sounds too good to be true…”

      • cubsfan4life

        I agree, this would the best scenario. As a Cubs fan that currently lives in Atlanta, I watched Greg Maddux work with Bobby Cox for many years and I always felt that I was watching 2 of the smartest people in MLB. I think Greg would be a much better manager than Joe Girardi, especially if he had Bobby Cox helping him. I sure hope Theo and Jed are at least willing to talk to Greg Maddux about this possibility.

  • macpete22

    Go Dodgers. Greinke and Kershaw going games 1 and 2 on the road.

    • On The Farm

      I am still just going to hope Crawford continues his hot streak, or maybe Han-Ram can go off. Still holding off on rooting for Puig to be the hero, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

      • macpete22

        Better Puig than Freese or anybody else on the cards

        • On The Farm

          Can’t argue that.

          • JM

            I do hate those guys (Cardinals)!!!!

            • Frank

              If you hate them, please refer to them in the proper way. Shitbirds or turdbirds.

    • Mike Taylor (no relation)

      This is a lose-lose situation: if the Cardinals win=F%^$k, if the Dodgers win=PuigPuigPuigMoneyMoneyMoneyPuigPuigPuig for the whole off season.

  • Greg


  • terencemann

    I respect that MiLB treats itself like a competitive league that people should come out and watch as though they are real teams with real games that count for something but isn’t 80-90% of minor league strategy dictated by what players the front office wants to see in certain scenarios? It just seems a little odd that MiLB completely glosses over that fact when you read coverage of the season or coverage of a game.

  • Chris


    “the most can’t-they-both-lose NLCS matchup I can remember”: abso-fricking-lutely. I hate both of these teams so much.

    However, the difference is, I suppose, I respect the Cardinals (their organizational building and everything). There’s nothing whatsoever I respect with the Dodgers. Or their fans.

  • ssckelley

    Aw Brett, you give a bullet to Hannemann’s playing in the Instructional League but don’t mention Alamo’s 2 run blast?

    The IL team looks like a preview of next seasons Kane County Cougars.

  • Sarah

    I only caught the 7th inning of Pirates-Cardinals game last night when the score was still 3-1. I was hoping the Pirates could come back and pull it off, but like you said, it was classic Cardinals and Adam Wainwright just overpowered them.

    I am hoping the A’s can win tonight, but when it comes to the NLCS I just can’t decide which team is the lesser of two evils.

    • C. Steadman

      if the A’s are out tonight, then I don’t really have a team to root for anymore…Rays and Pirates already bit the dust

      • Patrick G

        I’m with you. Can’t root for LA, STL or BOS. Det would be hard to root for as well. This postseason blows

        • Sarah

          Yeah, I jumped on the Boston and Detroit bandwagons a few post seasons ago and don’t want to do that this year. I hate the Dodgers and there is no need to explain my dislike of St. Louis to fellow Cubs fans. The A’S are all I have left this year.

          • Patrick G

            Ya I’m from NY so I’m used to rooting for the Yankees every year which is kind of nice since the Cubs are never in it(sure not many of those out there) so Boston is out of the question.

        • Chris

          Agree entirely. My picks for divisional series were the A’s (still hopeful), Rays, Braves, and Pirates.


    • On The Farm

      I don’t mind rooting for the Red Sox. Their Rotation Lester (Draft), Buchholz (Draft), Lackey (FA signing, but was a bust for a few years anyway), and Peavy (traded prospect/young player for). And they have Pedroia and Ellsbury (Draft, draft). Just seems like a majority of their key players were acquired through player development, and I don’t have a problem with that…..unless the Cardinals do it. The Red Sox have the benefit of not playing in the Cubs division. Just my take

      • JM

        I know I’ll get blasted for this, but that is the same reasoning for me not hating’ the Yankees during their run in the 90’s / 2000’s. The core of their club consisted of homegrown talent, which took a lot of money to retain.

        Suppose our current big 4/5 have superstar careers, I would hope ownership would spend as much as it took to keep them in Chicago.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The 1990’s Yanks had a few “home-grown” starters were only Jeter, Posada and Williams: the rest of the starting batters came from other teams. Pettite was the only starting pitcher from their system. They got dubbed the “core” but Knoblach, O’Neil, Tino, Brosius, Wells/Clemens, etc. all were just as “core” to that team.

          What the Yanks had then was a great proportion of FA signings, prospects and trades that worked out within the same “contract duration” window. Since then, they’ve had a normal proportion (or greater) of busts. As Brian Cashman probably is only wiser now, that suggests an element of luck that we don’t usually consider in sports.

        • Sarah

          I can’t argue with you there. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte were all part of the Yankee’s young core in the 1990s and we see where that got them.

          • Ghost Dawg

            7 World Series Appearances & 5 Championships?


    Mike Matheny: first-time manager. It can be done. Don’t screw up again, Theo and Jed.

    • Eric

      I think Mike Matheny had plenty to work with from the get-go. We’re still about a year away from seeing the bulk of these prospects.

    • Chris

      Except Matheny simply took over the regime that was manipulated into the perfect thing it is today by LaRusa and Mozeliak.

      Honestly, Mozeliak should win GM of the Year EVERY single fricking year…

      • hansman

        Walt Jocketty should get GM of the year every year forever. He was the head of the Cardinals from 94 to 2007.

        • MoneyBoy

          Agree Hansman!!!

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Besides, isn’t Matheny a chump because he never bunts, his team doesn’t do particularly well in close games, and his hitters don’t do well in high leverage situations?

  • Justin

    I’d rather see a team of Nazis advance as opposed to the cardinals… Go dodgers

  • Cubbies4Life

    An adaptation of the song “Go Cubs Go:” “Go Whomever-TF-Is-Playing-Against-The-Cardinals Go!!!” Kinda wordy, but it works. Nice post, Justin, though most likely insulting to all nazis.

  • Aaron

    Is Starlin Castro to be trusted with his defense if the Cubs do make the playoffs in a couple of years? I’m not so sure. Is he the next Alex Gonzalez at SS in a big game with a big error?

    HOT TUB TIME MACHINE MOMENT: In a stunning eighth-inning turnaround, the Florida Marlins took advantage of left fielder Moises Alou’s run-in with a fan on a foul fly and an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez to score eight runs in an 8-3 victory Tuesday night, forcing the NL championship series to a Game 7.

  • waittilthisyear

    i am becomming irrationally excited about bryant. though i dont like that he spells kris with a k. i can get over that though