kid-watching-tvOn the heels of yesterday noting how much I’m looking forward to watching the Olympics at Sochi, I think that goes double after reading hilarious (and depressing) accounts of what it’s like over there in terms of preparedness for the games and the influx of people. A pair of tweets from Tracy St. Clair and Dan Wetzel pretty much sums things up.

  • Want to dream about what a huge new TV deal would mean for the Cubs besides a dramatic increase in revenue? How about what the Dodgers will be doing on their new TV home this Spring: at SportsNet LA, the channel created by a partnership between the Dodgers and Time Warner, Dodgers fans will get to see every Dodgers Spring Training game during the day, and then an hour-long studio show on the Dodgers every night. That would be awesome, and I imagine the coverage only gets deeper during the season. The only rub? The network is still haggling with cable and satellite providers to actually carry the channel.
  • BP’s Ben Lindbergh dug into yesterday’s PECOTA projections reveal, and there are actually a few nice bright spots for the Cubs. Of the top six projected improvements in total value among offensive players, the Cubs have three: Starlin Castro (1), Darwin Barney (3), and Anthony Rizzo (6). Of course, in Castro’s and Barney’s cases, the big improvement comes in large part because of the depths to which they sunk in 2013. The Cubs also have the number six pitching improver (Edwin Jackson). The Cubs have none of the bottom offensive “decliners” from 2013 to 2014, and none of the bottom pitching decliners, either. So, the good news is that this roster is primed for positive regression. The bad news is that the roster is still, um, not great.
  • For the 2013 calendar year, per Baseball America, the Chicago Cubs spent more on international prospects than any team in baseball outside of the Texas Rangers. Note that the 2013 calendar year covers portions of two international signing periods, and, if memory serves, the Rangers spent a whole lot in the first half of 2013 (which was the end of the 2012-13 signing period), whereas the Cubs spent a whole lot once the 2013-14 period opened up on July 2.
  • Dave Cameron looks back at the time the Mariners traded one year of Ken Griffey, Jr. for four cost-controlled years of Mike Cameron and a handful of prospects (can you believe that was 14 years ago?). With a better understanding of player valuation, Cameron notes that the Mariners completely jacked the Reds. (And that’s considering the fact that Griffey wielded a no-trade clause that limited the Mariners’ options to pretty much just the Reds, and granting that it would have been a steal even if Griffey had been fantastic in that year with the Reds.) We simply think about things differently now.
  • … speaking of which, we think about the value of players like Mike Cameron differently now (above average bat playing excellent defense in center field), which makes me all the more giddy when I hear Cameron comps dropped on Albert Almora.
  • A couple guys in the Cleveland Indians analytics department discuss, generally, what they do (spoiler alert: they provide analysis for just about everything the baseball ops department does).
  • Diehardthefirst

    Would Cubs improve by settling with Barney on one year and then trade to Yankees for Gardner to protect Rizzo?

    • Norm

      Gardner to protect Rizzo?
      And going to give up someone of value to get Gardner in the first place?

      • http://obstructedview.net Myles

        Darwin Barney does not have all that much value. He’s a glove-first, glove-second, glove-third, bat-fourth SS that would hit .220/.260/.320 in the AL East. He’s a utility guy on even an average team. Brett Gardner is an above-average CF who only has one fewer year of control than Barney does. Brett Gardner could be traded at the deadline for a bottom of the Top 100 prospects. Darwin Barney could be riding pine on a last place team at the deadline. There is no way the Yankees would make this trade.

        • Xruben31

          Brett Gardner is not going to get a top prospect from any organization, especially at mid-season.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Gardner always has been pretty good at getting on base. If a team has a black hole in LF or CF, then he could represent a decent upgrade. (He is a superb LFer, too, so the runs-saved with the glove could mean something.)

            However…. even though they have a better chance of coming in last than of coming in first, the Yanks won’t be selling off position players at the deadline. If they did, then they might part with guys like CC and Kuroda who do not figure to be prominent in the plans any time soon: they might even eat CC’s salary in order to get desperately need prospects (particularly middle infielders).

            As for Gardner protecting Rizzo, except for the fact that all the data shows that there is no such thing as protection and except for the fact that Gardner has below-average power (which is the heart of the “protection” myth), he’d be awesome at it. Well, he’d be just as good as everyone else.

            • Diehardthefirst

              Barney and Shark for Gardner and prospects provided all 3 sign long term deals?

              • DocPeterWimsey

                No way. One, the Yanks wouldn’t want someone like Barney. Yes, they have fielding issues: but Barney cannot makeup for the fact that Jeter is a statue. They probably are better off with Kelly Johnson there for net production. (Moreover, there is the very real chance that they will be using Brendan Ryan at SS and moving Jeter to 3rd: and competing in the AL East with just one bad bat is hard enough!)

                Two, the Cubs don’t want Gardner, particularly for Shark. Gardner is already 30, after all. Gardner might make a nice addition for the Cubs as a salary dump, but: a) his salary actually is low, particularly for a Yankee; b) the Yanks don’t do that, anyway; and, c) the Yanks desperately need prospects.

                The Yanks have only three prospects of any note (Sanchez, Austin and Williams), and supposedly they refuse to trade any of them to fill the holes in their IF and starting rotation.

                • Cheese Chad

                  I dream on the day people stop responding to Diehard as if he is purposefully trying to make sense.

    • http://obstructedview.net Myles

      I’m sure the Yankees are just besides themselves with joy at the opportunity of trading Actually Really Good Player Brett Gardner for Darwin Barney.

  • mdavis

    i read over on mlbtr that the Cubs watched Yoon along with the Rangers yesterday. I’m still really in favor of them going after him. Maybe he’s nothing more than a back of the rotation/swing man, but 27 years old, and with Hammell and injury/flip candidated, Arrietta a wild card, Shark a potential chip, it couldn’t hurt.

  • Edwin

    Other than the defense, I’m not seeing much (at least at first glance) to compare Almora and Cameron. Cameron had an ISO around .200 and a career BB% of around 10%. Last year Almora had an ISO of .137 and a BB% rate of 6.3%.

    I see Almora being more of a David DeJesus type player.

    • Jason P

      If Almora became Dejesus in his prime with the bat and Mike Cameron on defense, I think everyone would take that.

      • Edwin

        Sure. If he turned into Barry Bonds, I’d take that too.

      • aaronb

        I thinking Almora is going to have some OBP issues.

        Brian McRae with less speed is the comp I see.

        • JeffR

          Based on what? He has a low walk rate so far but he has done nothing but hit. I would guess his walk rate will go up once he gets challenged a little, which will force him to become a little more selective. He may never be over 10% but I can see it being around 8 or 9.

          • aaronb

            He was at 3.3 for his career until august last year. I see the same issue with him that Vitters has had.

            His bat is good enough that he chases pitches he should be laying off of. And traditionally that is a REALLY tough habit to break.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Vitters and Almora are very different beasts. After his age 19 season, Vitters had a 4.6:1 K:BB ratio. Almora had just less than half of that: 2.3:1 K:BB. That came from both ends: Almora’s walk rate is half again higher than Vitters, and his K rate is 70% of Vitters.

              Vitters stats do match the observation that he basically swung at everything. (He looked very pretty while doing so, though, according to all of the analysts.) Almora’s stats match the profile of a guy with a good eye and a huge red zone. Analysts have not noted his tendency to swing at everything, which actually is noteworthy given how often they worry about this with Cubs minor leaguers.

              • aaronb

                His strike zone judgement HAS been mentioned as suspect. It’s just coded as Overly agressive, or “A work in progress” because he is early in his development.

                Let him put up another 3/4 walk rate this year and see what the pundits start to say.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  I’ve seen no such reports. Instead, I’ve read repeatedly that Almora has a huge hit zone, and as this hit zone (probably) will decrease when he faces better pitching, the question is: will he he keep his swing zone matching his hit zone?

                  At any rate, the data corroborate that: guys who chase pitches they cannot hit don’t put up Almora’s K numbers.

                  • aaronb

                    Here is an article from John Sickels expressing concern last summer. He is optimistic (which I am too somewhat). But he generally is extremely sunny on prospects this low in the development curve.


                    • ssckelley

                      You do realize that article was written March 15th of last year right? Almora only walked 2 times in 145 PA in his first partial season as a pro. Sickels even mentions in that article “rookie ball stats and small samples can be deceptive”.

                    • Cubsin

                      Sickels must not know what he’s talking about. He said Almora has plus speed, while we all know he’s slower than a three-legged possum.

          • blublud

            You are dreaming if you think Almora will walk 8-9 % of the time. He’ll be a 5-6% guy.

            • ssckelley

              Since Almora is only 19 years old how can we say that for certainty? Cameron did not exactly look like a high walk guy either when he was 19/20 years old. In fact he only walked 6% as a 20 year old playing at South Bend. At 19 Almora walked at a slightly higher rate and made much better contact.

              • Drew7

                You’re talking to BB here. When has he ever not been 100% certain on anything?

                • ssckelley

                  So the Barney comparison still stands? :D

      • Voice of Reason

        Dejesus in his prime???? Dejesus has always been average. I don’t want Almora to be a fourth outfielder.

        Let’s raise the bar a little bit!

        • JeffR

          If Dejesus could play near gold glove caliber defense in center people would view him much differently.

        • Edwin

          2005 and 2006 David DeJesus was pretty good. I’d take that from Almora any day.

    • JCubs79

      You’re comping 3/4 of a Low A year to Mike Cameron’s career stats. You can’t do that right now. Cameron is a projection comp.

      • Edwin

        Pretty sure I just did.

        I get that Cameron is a projection comp, I just don’t think it’s a good projection, at least at the moment. Cameron played elite defense at the MLB level; expecting any player to come up and play defense like that is a tall projection. We also know what drawing walks and hitting for power was a big part of Cameron’s game, and that so far drawing walks and hitting for power has not been a part of Almora’s game. That could easily change, and then Cameron starts to become a better projection comp.

        • ssckelley

          If you look at what Cameron did in the minor leagues comparing Almora to him is nice. Like Almora he did not hit much for power until later on and if you compare Almora’s stats to Camerons at the same age it appears Almora is further along with the bat. Cameron once went 451 plate appearances in the Midwest League without a single home run at 20 years old, in fact he was horrible that year. Almora turns 20 in April and it is unclear if he gets assigned to Kane County or advances to Daytona.

    • Norm

      I’ll say Kirby Puckett comp.
      Since we’re just throwing out names.

      • baldtaxguy

        I’ll add Fred Lynn (he just had a birthday I believe).

        Not as an actual comp, but just ….because….

    • mjhurdle

      Almora compares well to Cameron’s bat if you look at the same level. Both played in low A and A ball at age 19. Both had about 250 ABs.
      Cameron shows more speed and higher BB%. Almora shows better slugging and OBP.

      If the defense is similar, then I can understand the comparisons. It isn’t perfect, but anytime you are trying to compare a 17 year MLB career to 389 At Bats in A ball and lower, you are going to be left with an imperfect comparison.

    • blublud

      Almora as Mike Cameron would be exciting. Chances though, are not good.

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

    I would love to see something like MLB Network, but just Cubs. All games (spring training and regular season), longer and better pre-game and post game. On off days or nights or whatever, rebroadcast historic Cubs games. Weekly fireside chats with Theo. A nightly studio show. Some sort of fan show with heavy heavy Twitter integration to interact with the network. Uhh….just anything and everything Cubs.

    • ssckelley

      An all Cubs channel would be awesome!

    • CubsFanSaxMan

      Can we give Brett his own show? That would be “the cat’s pajamas!”

    • Funn Dave

      Wouldn’t you rather watch professional analysts discuss basball than random viewers tweeting in nonsense? And would you still want a Cubs channel if you had to pay extra for it?

  • ssckelley

    I can’t help but wonder if some day we won’t look back on the Garza trade last year in the same way fangraphs did with the Griffey trade.

    • aaronb

      I don’t see any way we get that kind of value out of the trade. The only “big” prospect we got out of the deal is a small framed pitcher in Low A ball. Chances are that if he makes the bigs, it will be as a reliever.

      Solid haul for a short term rental…But a quantity of fringe prospects over a blue chip haul undoubtedly.

      • blublud

        I think you need to reevaluate your view of that trade.

        • mdavis

          right. a top 100 pitching prospect, a guy who was a top 50 prospect before eye issues caused a tough year, and 2 pitchers with upside and power fastballs. horrible return for 2 months of garza.

          • aaronb

            I said it was a solid haul for a 2 month rental.

            It was the Rangers version of Brett Jackson, Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera and Dylan Maples more or less.

            Better than waiting out a comp pick. Most likely not a single franchise defining haul once its all said and done.

            Certainly not a big enough return to justify punting the 2013 season.

            • blublud

              You are joking right? Tell me youre joking……..Wait you’re holding a straight face. You’re not joking. This is so far off, its not even funny.

              • aaronb

                Substitute Pierce Johnson for Dylan Maples if you will. The larger point still stands.

                • blublud

                  Substitute Jackson for Vogelbach, Dolis for Hendricks , Maples for Johnson and I guess Cabrera can stay. That MIGHT be closer.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              “It was the Rangers version of Brett Jackson, Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera and Dylan Maples more or less.”


            • ssckelley

              Wait, you mean to tell me Garza would have given the Cubs a chance at the playoffs? You do realize that he pitched poorly for the Rangers coming down the stretch.

              • aaronb

                I’m saying no such thing. I said multiple times above that it WAS A GOOD HAUL FOR 2 MONTHS OF GARZA.

                I’d have preferred the Cubs to have made a bigger attempt at fielding a winning team in 2013, as opposed to sucking and hanging any success on that Garza dump.

                Just as I’d rather them TRY to field a good team in 2014 as opposed to losing another 100 games and roster-bating over whatever middling package we end up getting for Jeff Samjay.

            • Jon


            • ari gold

              aaronb needs a time-out.

  • Diehardthefirst

    All Cubs channel? The cure for insomnia?

    • troybulletinboard

      with shows like, “most disappointing prospects”, “gut punching losses”, “remember that game that almost made you cry?”, “mickey morandini’s tips on life”

    • baldtaxguy

      Your wrong here. I’d be all over something like that. If they could get the minor league games on the channel…ooo la la.

  • BenRoethig

    The one thing I wonder about these TV mega-deals is whether they can actually live up to the promise. CSN Houston just filed bankruptcy after struggling to catch on and actually costing the Astros Money. I wonder about the same for LA SportsNet.

    If we could come to an agreement with CSN Chicago at so that they could expand CSNC+ to CSNC 2 to be able to take on WGN’s Blackhawks games after 2016 and the Sox/Bulls games after 2019, at 25 years for the 70 games and a 20 year extension for the remaining games in the range of $750k- $1m per game (the current CSN games are $435k per game, the WGN 70 are $286k), I’d take it. Though I’d insist on an inflation clause. Even with a market the size of Chicago, there’s no guarantee with competing networks and definitely no guarantee 5 years from October.

  • Brocktoon

    Why would Cameron describe Antonio Perez in terms of how he was viewed a year after the trade rather than what he was at the time of the trade, that being an interesting, but not even top 100 prospect?

  • Cubsin

    If and when there is a Cubs Channel, I hope they’re creative enough to market it to cable and satellite providers all over the country as a stand-alone pay to view channel. There are Cubs fan all over the planet. I just hope my cable company (1) makes the Cubs Channel available and (2) doesn’t package it with 99 other sports channels I’d never watch.

    • Brocktoon

      There would need to be changes to MLB’s TV structures to allow you to watch games through it. I got YES Network from my cable provider in the past, but Yankee games were blacked out. There are some changes on the horizon, but I’m not sure they will go that far.

  • Patrick G

    I get the Yankees network since I live in NY and don’t think I’d ever change the channel if the Cubs had their own network

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Since the Dodgers technically have their own channel they don’t have as high of revenue sharing with the smaller market teams (leaches), correct?

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      Did the Dodgers TV deal technically get approved? They essentially had Time Warner completely invest in the creation of the network, while the dodgers minimally were exposed to any risk and investing in the network, while also receiving a staggering $8.5 BILLION contract which blew every other tv contract out of the water. MORE IMPORTANTLY they have to minimally share revenue with smaller markets as opposed to if the were to just outsource the TV rights to the games, then they’d be expected to give a bigger piece of the pie

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