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ryan-theriot-cardinalsI did not crack open a couple beers and watch ‘The Bachelor’ – the freaking preview show – last night with The Wife. If someone tells you otherwise, he’s a dirty liar.

  • Although it probably won’t be met with quite as much fanfare as the Ted Lilly retirement, another Cub from that era has hung ‘em up, and it’s the guy whose time with the Cubs ended via the same trade that ended Lilly’s time with the club: Ryan Theriot. That comes via Chris Cotillo, who notes that Theriot didn’t actually play in 2013. Once the kind of gritty, scrappy guy that sets Cubs fans’ hearts atwitter, Theriot lost a chunk of those fans when he made some ill-advised remarks upon joining the Cardinals for the 2011 season (something about finally being on the “right side” of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry), where he ended up winning a World Series. He won another one with the Giants the next year, proving that the Cubs truly are cursed. I don’t bear Theriot any ill-will, the Cardinals comments notwithstanding. Theriot was living proof that guys can blossom late, and the prospecting game can be wildly wrong about certain players. He was the primary shortstop on the two best Cubs teams in recent memory – 2007 and 2008 – and he should get appropriate love for that, if nothing else (plus his .387 OBP in 2008 was just fantastic – was worth 3.3 wins that year).
  • The question is: will Theriot be invited to, and then participate in, next week’s Cubs Convention?
  • Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times annually projects vote totals for the Hall of Fame ballot, and he’s gotten pretty good at it. This year, he’s got Greg Maddux at 99% (as we discussed, he almost certainly won’t be unanimous, even though he should be), Tom Glavine at 94%, Frank Thomas at 85%, and Craig Biggio at 76%. From there, the narrow misses are Mike Piazza (71%), Jack Morris (70%), and Jeff Bagwell (62%). Tim Raines is next at an even 50%, before you get down into the PED guys.
  • Speaking of the continued Hall of Fame debate, Jack Morris – the pitcher of the ’80s to some people who weren’t paying attention – is something of a flashpoint for “traditional” baseball voters and modern, statistically-inclined voters. The memories say he was a Hall of Famer, but the numbers say he wasn’t even close. Know what else says Morris wasn’t a Hall of Famer? His former teammate, Lou Whitaker. Well, at least he’s saying that if he and Alan Trammell aren’t in, Morris shouldn’t be either.
  • Bryan Cole at Beyond the Boxscore does some MIT-level shit to determine whether the concept of “saving the bullpen” actually holds any water. Conclusion? Not really. Leaving a starter out there to try and rest up the bullpen for future games does not appear to have an appreciable impact on the team’s success in those future games.
  • The calendar has turned, and there are lots of opening days to start looking forward to – like Iowa’s.
  • Your prospect porn moment of the day:

  • Jay looks at some of the playoff action from the NFL this weekend, among other Bears Bullets.
  • On the comments: I would just like to say that, in the first week since the move to requiring registration for commenting, I have been deeply pleased with the markedly improved discourse around here. It’s probably a combination of the intent of the change (to reduce drive-by jerks), the time of the year, and some kind of variation of the Hawthorne Effect, but I just wanted to commend folks. Tons of great discussions in the comments over the past week, and very little pissing.
  • MikeyEsq

    That’s some Grade A, wrapped in a brown paper bag, discretely delivered to your doorstep with no return address listed prospect porn.

  • nate1m

    I know this should have been up over the weekend but I noticed you had Olt as a placeholder ‘until the Baez/Bryant/Castro dam bursts’, does this mean you don’t think Olt could be good enough with the bat that his, theoretically better, glove would force a move to the outfield once those guys start coming up?

    Side note, I can’t log in with my old name which was just nate. Anyone else having a problem/solution?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Did you try resetting your password for the username “nate”?

      As to the substance, I only meant that it seems like there is more love in the organization for Bryant and Baez (justifiably so), and one of those two is likely to wind up at third base (or to push Castro there). Olt could definitely be the guy long-term – it’s just not necessarily likely.

      • TK

        On the matter of poster behavior . . . Don’t take this the wrong way, but when ONE written page (this one) contains “shit,” “pissing,” and “Prospect Porn,” you have consider that you’re not exactly conveying the proper model of expression from which to expect to stimulate readers (responders) to act, and express themselves, in the classiest manner. To borrow a line from Remember the Titans . . . “Attitude reflect leadership.” Its also not helping your cause to break the barrier to getting that increased (i.e. locker room) access you mentioned a couple days ago. Cubs will never consider you to be a serious journalist (and therefore not entertain your desire to get “inside”) while printing such, then getting upset at posters for following your lead.

    • Blackhawks1963

      Mike Olt is a “prove it” player at this point. My expectations for Olt are not good to be honest. I also think it is silly to assume a guy who couldn’t hit .200 at Triple A in 2013 is going to burst on the spring training scene and win the 3rd base job out of camp. To simply chalk up all of his struggles to vision problems that have since been corrected is very naive. At a minimum I think he needs to spend a few months at Iowa to recapture his hitting approach and get back on solid ground before a major league trial makes any sense.

      • gocatsgo2003

        While I agree that Olt should likely spend the majority of the year at AAA to get his groove back (assuming his vision issues are a thing of the past), I don’t think it’s that much of a leap to ascribe much of his 2013 struggles to vision issues. He put up very consistent numbers in his ascension through the minors before getting plunked in the head.

        Quite frankly, it’s pretty impressive to put up an OBP in the area of .300 at the AAA level without really being able to see the ball, so I’m not sure his approach needs much changing.

  • baldtaxguy

    “The question is: will Theriot be invited to, and then participate in, next week’s Cubs Convention?”

    “…Theriot says that he always wanted to be a part of [the Cardinals' tradition].’”

    I would not extend him an invite. If he was there, I’d have something to say to him.

  • JakeMac

    How much longer now before we can all agree to officially retire the “Can’t Quiet The Riot” t-shirts?

    • hansman

      Like, um…NEVER?!?!

      Why would you even suggest a thing?

  • NorthSideIrish

    If you check out the rest of Sickels’ feed, he also says he believes Baez will be a starter in the majors despite the swing-and-miss issues, but also dispels the comparisons with Sheffield. Bat speed, yes, but Sheff had a much better approach at the plate.

    He also says his Cubs Top Prospect list will be out tomorrow.

    • CubFan Paul

      Sickels seems late to the party with old information.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    My favorite Theriot moment came in Seattle, when a fan tossed him a ball to sign and he dropped it. A couple of us in the stands had a good chuckle at that.

    And the fact that Ryan Theriot has not one but two World Series yet guys like Robin Yount and Cal Ripken don’t shows that there is no baseball justice!

  • Fishin Phil

    Brett, it is only fitting and proper that a montage of Theriot’s greatest TOOTBLANs be assembled and posted at this time.

    • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com Tommy (TC)

      I can’t give you that, but let’s laugh at his defense!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMv9Vls7mRg

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      I’m sure the TOOTBLAN site and twitter feed has that if he hasn’t already posted something. It’s impressive how many TOOTBLAN happen each year and it all is because of Theriot – that is his legacy.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I think some caution is in order with Baez. He is still a very raw hitter whose athletic gifts have overwhelmed lower level pitching. He’s going to have to adapt the major league pitchers and develop an approach at the plate…he’s not going to come into this league and overwhelm anybody for long. To be honest, his swing and miss tendencies are a red flag that is going under-reported. Comparing him to Giancarlo Stanton is very silly at this point. Stanton came into this league as a quite disciplined hitter in terms of looking for a pitch and doing something with it.

    The best thing for Baez is to lower immediate expectations and let him spend 2014 at Triple A. There’s no sense in rushing him. Let him develop as a hitter to go along with his athletic gifts.

    • Cizzle

      “His swing and miss tendencies are [...] under-reported”

      That’s a stretch considering it’s on literally EVERY scouting report.

      • Isaac

        Yeah, sometimes I wonder if it’s overemphasized seeing as he has a .342 career OBP.

        • hansman

          He also has a career K rate that is approaching 25% and only getting worse as he progresses.

          • Kyle

            Considering how fast he’s progressing, that’s not that bad. He could have been in age-appropriate levels and had a lower K-rate and threatened 60 HRs.

            • Isaac

              He clearly sacrifices contact for prodigious power. Is it his biggest red flag offensively? Sure. Is it 90% of very-young-power-hitters biggest red flag? Yes.

    • Cheese Chad

      Blackhawks1963 report on Greg Maddux 30 years ago…..”I’d caution how good he will be. He doesn’t throw very hard and guys will adjust to his movement. He’s not very big either so he could break down. I’d leave him in AAA until he’s 32 so you know he’s proven” ;)

      • Kyle

        Greg. Maddux. Threw. Hard. In. His. Prime.

        • Cheese Chad

          Some of those aren’t actual sentences.

          • Kyle

            Artistic. License. For. Emphasis.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              And no matter how often we emphasize it, people will still persist in the fairy tale that Maddux never threw hard.

              • Cheese Chad

                I found it kind of funny the other day when Tom Glavine said “I might not have even been drafted until much later in the draft these days because I didn’t throw hard and that seems to be all they look for.” He’s got a bit of a point. If you can’t top 95 you can get passed by.

        • Noah_I

          This is true, but based on velocity today a lot of scouting types would view him more as a 2 ceiling type as he was more a 91-93 type in his prime than the 94-96 that prospectors love. I think it’s just hard to see until someone is in the Majors that this guy’s control and movement are SO awesome that he’s going to join the argument that he will be an ace, much less one of the two pitchers in the argument for best pitcher of his generation. And, in all fairness, Maddux didn’t reach his prime until about 4 seasons into his career. But that’s just because Maddux’s prime as crazy good and crazy long that 1988 and 1989 don’t reach the quality of 1990 to 2001.

    • gocatsgo2003

      What am I missing here? Stanton’s minor league career K-rate was 26% and his MLB career rate is 29%. Baez’s career K-rate so far is 24%. The biggest difference so far is the walk-rate, where Stanton’s minor league rate was 11.7% and Baez’s to date is 5.8%.

      Either way, this is not the “swing-and-miss” issue you’re describing.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Stanton is and was a classic “aggressively selective” hitter. He swings very hard at strikes, resulting in a lot of HR and a lot of misses. He lays off of pitches outside his swing zone, resulting in balls (and called strikes).

        This is very different from Baez, who is just “aggressive” (I guess).

    • davidc

      Umm, you realize Stanton has one of the highest K rates in the game, right?

  • ChrisFChi

    Granted Theriot played well at ss for us, those comments he made still resonate with me. Good luck to him.

  • Boogens

    “He was the primary shortstop on the two best Cubs teams in recent memory – 2007 and 2008 – and he should get appropriate love for that…”

    (said in my best Tony Soprano voice)… He’s dead to me.

  • Jim

    Fantastic read on “saving the bullpen”. Just another of those old time baseball axioms that don’t hold much water anymore…

  • NorthSideIrish

    Found this somewhat interesting…basically it’s a rough examination of so-called “lucky/unlucky” players using BABIP vs. Line Drive Percentage from last year to see which players are due for a regression or correction (BABIP/LD%). The average percentage was 1.423, so anyone above that was “lucky” and below was “unlucky”.

    https://www.numberfire.com/mlb/news/1607/2014-mlb-rebound-candidates

    Basically, for the Cubs the unluckiest player was actually Darwin Barney (1.17) who was actually one of the unluckiest players in the league. According to the numbers, both Rizzo (1.32) and Schierholtz (1.33) were somewhat unlucky last year as well. On the other side Wellington Castillo was extremely “lucky” at 1.59, as well as Valbuena (1.49) and (sigh) Castro at 1.47.

    The so-called luckiest player in the league last year was Yasiel Puig who was the only player in the majors with a percentage over 2.

    • CubFan Paul

      Luck is a lazy argument for babip

      • Kyle

        Dismissal of luck (or better put, variance) is the lazy argument in this case.

        More proof that the “Barney’s BABIP is justified because he hits the ball softly” argument is complete bunk.

        • Norm

          I don’t care what its called. If a guy is way over his career BABIP or way under his career BABIP, I’d bet on it regressing.
          If calling it luck is lazy, than I’m even lazier than lazy cuz I don’t call it anything but regression to career norm.

        • CubFan Paul

          “Dismissal of luck (or better put, variance) is the lazy argument in this case”

          Semantics.

          Ability, Adjustments, and Execution is babip.

          Luck is the lazy argument.

          • Kyle

            Calling it luck is more predictive of future results than calling it those things.

            Your opinion on this matter has been disproven.

            • CubFan Paul

              “Calling it luck is more predictive of future results”

              If only that made sense.

              Luck belongs in the same bin as aliens, God, and Bigfoot.

              • hansman

                Well seeing that it is a statistical certainty that “aliens” exist and if we truly are just a computer simulation there is a guy or group of guys who created the universe and control it….

                That just leaves it to the possibility of Bigfoot.

                • CubFan Paul

                  I never said luck, aliens, God, or Bigfoot didn’t exist.

                  People use luck and Bigfoot to describe babip because they don’t watch games, as in, there was nothing unlucky about Barney’s offense last season.

                  • Kyle

                    Incorrect.

                    Plus, what if someone who watched every game disagreed with you? Your entire argument would fall apart.

                    • CubFan Paul

                      Sounds like something someone who doesn’t watch the games would say

                    • Chad

                      Sounds like something someone who doesn’t understand baseball would say

                    • Drew7

                      “Sounds like something someone who doesn’t watch the games would say”

                      Sounds like something someone who has no defense for his stance aside from snarky, played-out, anti-sabr jabs would say.

                    • hansman

                      I love the “WATCH THE GAME!!!!!!” argument.

                    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                      What are these “games” you are talking about? I thought this was a site where we discussed spreadsheets. I’ll have to look up this made up word everyone is calling “games.”

                    • CubFan Paul

                      I’m not a dinosaur/anti sabr. I just don’t use luck as argument or for an explanation.

                      Numbers are more tangible.

                    • Kyle

                      “Sounds like something someone who doesn’t watch the games would say”

                      Sounds like someone *deep* in the throes of the backfire effect would say.

                    • Kyle

                      “I’m not a dinosaur/anti sabr. I just don’t use luck as argument or for an explanation.

                      Numbers are more tangible.”

                      Your hypothesis is testable. If it were true, then players with extremely low BABIPs would likely continue to have extremely low BABIPs. This is not the case. Therefore, your hypothesis is rejected.

                      You disagree because it just doesn’t feel right to you. That’s half a step short of Chass-dom.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      And what is the inevitable bell curve around a mean, then?

                    • CubFan Paul

                      “Your hypothesis is testable”

                      What exactly are you assuming my hypothesis is?

                      “You disagree because it just doesn’t feel right to you”

                      So now my feelings/gut is involved? I can assure you that’s not the case.

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    The difference is what people process when they see two grounders, one for a hit and the other for an out. One group sees one grounder muscled through for a hit and sees the other grounder as the batter rolling his wrists over for an out. The other group sees that the pitcher got both batters to roll over their wrists, but that a fielder was able to reach one ball and not the other.

              • Kyle

                Semantics.

                Luck has multiple meanings. There is one meaning that fits with that list, and one meaning that perfectly applies to this conversation before your post. From context, you should have been able to tell what was meant.

                This is about some weird bugaboo you have with the word “luck” and not a real understanding of baseball.

  • Voice of Reason

    Piazza is the best hitting catcher of all time.

    Why aren’t those stupid sports writers voting him in?

    • Blackhawks1963

      Steroids. Too much smoke around Piazza in terms of performance enhancing drugs.

      • brickhouse

        I agree with voice of reason that Piazza is the best hitting catcher of all time. Even if he took steroids he won’t be the first hof player that used and won’t be the last if elected.

        • Blackhawks1963

          Piazza isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame anytime soon. I agree with those keeping him out. The steroid innuendos are too great to ignore. I don’t want any cheaters in the Hall…if there are already some performance enhancing drug cheats in the Hall, then that doesn’t justify any more getting in. Personally, I don’t see anybody who is currently in the Hall who looks suspicious.

          For me, a big fat no to Piazza, Bagwell, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, Palmiero, Manny Ramirez, Giambi….

          • Voice of Reason

            Then why didn’t the sports writers who are not voting him in to the hall now write stories about piazza being on steroids when he was playing?

            The sports writers knew he was on roids and didn’t write a column about it. Now they want to say they won’t vote him in cause he was doing steroids? I’d like a list of the writers who didn’t vote piazza into the hall and then ask them why they didn’t write a story on him using roids when he was playing?

            Sports writers are idiots. Baseball needs to get the voting process out of their hands. Obviously the writers don’t have a clue.

            • gocatsgo2003

              Why didn’t they write those stories on, well, everyone?

              • Voice of Reason

                You are correct. Why didn’t they write on all of them?

          • Norm

            “Personally, I don’t see anybody who is currently in the Hall who looks suspicious.”
            -
            Then I guess you don’t consider greenies a PED.
            That’s the morale police for ya. Only the morale police get to decide what a PED is and isn’t.

      • Norm

        What smoke, specifically?

        • bbmoney

          Bacne. Too much bacne. Must have been ‘roiding.

  • http://www.twitter.com/justinjabs @justinjabs

    I cheered for Theriot and loved 2008. That being said he never reached Reed Johnson levels of love from me. If he was invited to #CubsCon, I would not applaud his intro (still bitter about “right side”) but I don’t think I would boo.

  • hansman

    Yes, he could hit like Stanton, provided that he doesn’t have a Brett Jackson-esque K issue.

    Although, if mid-late AA season Baez is the real deal, he’s better than Stanton.

  • Fastball

    I think Theriot got a job with MLB network, ESPN or some media network for this next season.
    Once a Cub always a Cub. He made a comment to solidify his place on his new team. Otherwise he probably would have had to live with a lot of crap in that clubhouse. I consider him a double agent who was spying on the Cardinals for Hendry at the time.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Brett, I was reading a post here late in the evening about Vogelbach allegedly losing 30 pounds and reportedly had a club assigned personaal trainer. I also am aware that Rizzo and Castro had an off season program too. I guess it’s all part of money being invested into player development. Wondered if you have any more detailed info on that subject. Possibly a future topic during this slow time in January.

  • NorthSideIrish

    Sickels’ initial prospect grades for the Cubs…

    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2014/1/6/5279966/chicago-cubs-farm-system-preliminary-grade-breakdown

    Have to think Baez and Bryant got the A’s…and I’d guess Almora as the A-.

  • jeff1969

    What Theriot did by saying what he did when he joined the Cardinals is inexcusable. I recently heard Steve McMichael admit that he knew how bogus it was for him to join Green Bay for his final season, and for me as a fan, his doing that kind of spoiled his fan-image. But, he then said his knees were shot, he knew he didn’t have much left so he said he was knowingly just stealing $800,000 from those Green Bay idiots. True or not, it would take something like that for Theriot to even approach a reconciliation. Let him go hang in St. Louis if he needs friends in his retirement.

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