Quantcast

Indulge me the opportunity to remind you of how awesome Amazon.com is, and, for that reason, why I chose to partner BN up with Amazon in a kind of promotional relationship. My latest Amazon purchases include Season Six of Mad Men (gotta rewatch in advance of the new season, duh), a new wrist brace for tennis (yeah, I’m old, apparently), and a six foot extension cord the I only recently learned you can’t use for an appliance (oh, well – I can always use an extension cord for something else, and it’s so darn cheap on Amazon that it’s no big deal! (See what I did there?)).

If you are like me and you love Amazon – or if you haven’t been hooked quite yet – please make sure you head over to Amazon by way of this link, which will help support BN in the process. You could even change your Amazon bookmark to that link so that you don’t have to use your brain every time you want to do some shopping (or you can remember bleachernation.com/amazon, which will take you right to Amazon, too).

amazon_homepage_assoc_468x60

  • With the Cubs in New York to face the Yankees, the Alfonso Soriano questions were inevitable. Theo Epstein still believes the Soriano trade was a good one for both sides (ESPN Chicago), and I think it’s pretty hard to disagree. At the time of the trade, given the amount of money the Cubs were eating and the obvious ability still there in Soriano’s bat, you could say the Cubs didn’t get enough. But you’ve got to remember that the Cubs were up against no-trade rights that Soriano seemed intent on exercising with respect to just about any team that wasn’t the Yankees. That the Cubs got a pitching prospect in Corey Black who has mid-rotation upside (and some think his floor is as a big league reliever, which still isn’t bad, when it comes to floor) is pretty amazing. And, of course, all Black has done since the trade is look fantastic at High-A last year, and put together five hitless innings in his first AA start this year. Soriano got a chance to play some meaningful games in a place he was comfortable. The Yankees got a guy who’s done nothing but produce. Win, win, win. The best kind of trade.
  • (And, when the $13 million the Cubs are paying Soriano to play for the Yankees this year rolls off of the books, the front office will undoubtedly feel even better.)
  • Jake Arrieta was supposed to make a rehab start yesterday for Tennessee, but the rain washed it away. He’ll try again today, hopefully reaching the 80 pitch mark, and he tells the Tribune that he’ll probably do one more rehab start after that. If so, that would put Arrieta on schedule to make his season debut with the Cubs around April 26 or so. Arrieta will have lost about a month of the season to the shoulder stiffness that slowed him before Spring Training.
  • In the early going, ESPN’s Mark Simon attributes Anthony Rizzo’s elevated batting average to “softly-hit or medium-hit” balls that have fallen for hits at an elevated rate this year (after falling at a very unlucky rate last year). It’s too early to make anything of it (and, indeed, even over the course of a full season, we might not be able to make much of it), but I will be interested in following Rizzo’s hit placement this year, given the early prevalence of hits to the opposite field against the dramatic shift. You don’t have to hit it all that hard if you can skillfully hit it where they ain’t.
  • Patrick Mooney on the ready-made storylines for the Cubs/Yankees doubleheader today.
  • Mike Olt has now graduated from MLB.com’s top Cubs prospect list, thanks to his time in the bigs, which opened up a top 20 spot for a new entrant, and it is … righty Duane Underwood, one of a handful of excellent pitching prospects currently at Low-A Kane County. Underwood made his KC debut this weekend, striking out five over three scoreless innings.
  • Pitching prospect C.J. Edwards spoke with Tennessee broadcaster Mick Gillespie about his future, and about what he knows is coming for the Cubs.
  • Check out a cool new Tumblr project with answers to some baseball questions that you didn’t even know you had: Baseball Answers.
  • MightyBear

    I think Black could be a lock down closer if he doesn’t last as a starter. Great trade for the Cubs.

  • Jon

    I think Cory Black is the bullpen arm you bring up, use for 1-2 years, and then flames out. With a smaller frame, I imagine that he’s generating that velocity at the cost of maximum effort. It’s a really shitty thing to say in one aspect, but you need a ton of Cory Black’s because you will cyle through them.

    • CubFan Paul

      “I imagine that he’s generating that velocity at the cost of maximum effort.”

      Why not wait to get some video on him before you damn him. I’d imagine his floor is high by some because of he’s polished and has a repeatable delivery

      • Jon

        Nope. I’m damning him on the spot right here. Those are my powers.

        • Coop

          “It’s a really shitty thing to say…” Sometimes Jon nails it.

  • CubFan Paul

    “In the early going, ESPN’s Mark Simon attributes Anthony Rizzo’s elevated batting average to “softly-hit or medium-hit” balls that have fallen for hits at an elevated rate this year (after falling at a very unlucky rate last year)”

    Someone reads BN. I was saying exactly that all offseason here.

    • Funn Dave

      It was never a secret that Rizzo suffered from an abnormally low BABIP last year….

      • CubFan Paul

        It was the “how/why”, not just “well, he’s gotta low babip and was unlucky”

        The “how/why” on those “softly-hit or medium-hit” balls was his new all-field approach and trying to use LeftField. Huge difference.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I think we will all love Soriano more when he isn’t taking a bite out of payrolll anymore. I think he is a guy that the Cubs could embrace in the future as face of the past. He doen’t come with all the baggage of Sammy Sosa.

    • Funn Dave

      Idk, he seems to feel a stronger affiliation to the Yankees than the Cubs….I could be wrong, though….

    • ChicagoJoe

      Remind us again what meaningful accomplishments Soriano had that would want us to embrace the past.

      • srbutch5

        The Cubs don’t make the playoffs in 2007 and 2008 without him. It’s that simple. He also hit ~30 HRs for those seasons. Either of those meaningful?

      • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

        Are you serious?? Soriano was incredibly productive as a Cub. Maybe he didn’t live up to the contract, but he had an .812 OPS as a Cub.

        • ChicagoJoe

          Players are enshrined as greats for memorable moments, not their OPS.

          I remember going 0-6 in the playoffs in ’07 and ’08.

          This is also the reason guys like Dempster, Lee and Ramirez will also not be remembered fondly.

          I’ll take Prior, Wood, Zambrano, Sosa, Alou, and the like back anyday for what happened in ’03, but ’07 and ’08 were a failure. No one misses Sweet Lou either.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            Maybe to you, but I look at entire careers with the team, not just one at bat/game/season. Dempster, Lee, and Ramirez are among the Cubs who I remember most fondly. Derrek Lee put together one of the best, if not the best season, that I have ever seen.

          • Jon

            This is like picking your favorite items from a buffet line

            What about Prior shitting the bed in game 6?
            What about Wood shitting the bed in game 7?
            What about Alou throwing a temper tantrum on the field which was a huge distraction.
            You blame Lou, but what about the manager in 03, that couldn’t get his lazy ass out of the dugout in time to pull a pitcher that had clearly been rattled emotionally.

            • ChicagoJoe

              I’m not saying that those players all aren’t guilty of those transgressions you mentioned.

              But they at least got us to the big moments of the past decade plus.

              The guys on that ’07 and ’08 team simply just could not get it done when it matter.

              Soriano, Lee, Ramirez

              Game 1 2007 NLDS – 1 for 13
              Game 2 2007 NLDS – 3 for 14
              Game 3 2007 NLDS – 2 for 11
              Game 1 2008 NLDS – 2 for 12
              Game 2 2008 NLDS – 4 for 12
              Game 3 2008 NLDS – 3 for 12

              BA of .202. Enough said. Someone else can tally OPS.

              • CubFan Paul

                “The guys on that ’07 and ’08 team simply just could not get it done when it matter”

                Doesn’t matter if you watched and remembered the regular season(s).

              • Jon

                Those post season performances were disappointing, but it’s a team sport and it’s not all on them. I look at the big picture and the productivity they gave us during that time.

                I’ll certainly remember them more fondly than assembly line of AAAA bums we have seen on this roster the past 3 years.

                • ChicagoJoe

                  We can all agree on your last point Jon.

                  They will be remembered more fondly than Brian Bogusevic.

                  It really comes down to what you value.

                  For me, I like Cub Fan Paul, watched almost every game of the 2007 and 2008 seasons as I was a degeneric college bar employee in summer school.The fact that the season was so great and they all flat out choked in the playoffs was even more heartbreaking. They wouldn’t have had to win the World Series, but another appearance in the NLCS would have gone far for them in my book. That just really devalued anything that was done during the season for me. I think it actually made it hurt even more that they performed so well in season.

                  May be poor logic, but that comes more from the heart than the head. I was young, drunk and in love.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Again, the ’08 Cubs had been toast for a month before the playoffs: they were fundamentally a sub-0.500 team over the last month of the season. They then got the treat of playing a team that was fundamentally a 0.600+ team the last month of the season.

                We’ve had a few of those series in the first round over the last 15 years, and it almost never ends well for the sub-0.500 team.

                • Jon

                  and a Roided Manny, which still pisses me off to this day.

                • Brocktoon

                  So did the 2006 postseason never happen? Because that’d be aces.

          • http://CubbiesCrib.com GarrettFilsonFS

            Did you really say that Lee, Ramirez and Dempster won`t be remembered fondly? That`s utterly ridiculous

            • http://CubbiesCrib.com GarrettFilsonFS

              This was directed toward ChicagoJoe, sorry

              • notcubbiewubbie

                not everybody is a cubbie wubbie and think dumpster’s half assed imitation of harry caray qualifies you for the cubs hall of fame.they would never call any of those guys mentioned big game james.all average overpaid chokers. especially ramirez soriano and dempster.i believe d. lee has a ring.glad i am not a cubbiewubbie.

                • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                  Well, at least us cubbie wubbie’s can form complete sentences, it’s a nice skill to have.

                  • Jon

                    The hate really seems directed at Dempster…is that you Jenny?

                    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                      Na, it’s gotta be Derek Holland, upset that Dempster does a better Harry Carey impression than he does

                  • notcubbiewubbie

                    always ignore the facts and go for the cheap shot. no it’s really directed at all the butt kissing so called educated people on this website. excuse my grammar english teacher.

                    • mjhurdle

                      Why are we excusing your English teacher?
                      Is it because he/she obviously failed at their task?

                    • DarthHater

                      Okay, then, let’s stick to the facts. You’re an asshole.

                • Brocktoon

                  Dempster doesn’t do a Harry Caray impersonation, he does a Will Ferrell impersonation.

      • Jon

        He was a pretty productive player most of the time during his tenure with the Cubs. He was also decent mentor to younger players and in general well liked.

    • srbutch5

      He definitely has a bigger connection to the Yankees. Especially after going back there at the end of his career.

      And what Sosa baggage are you talking about? The PEDs that nearly every player was using (still no confirmation that he used)? The Cubs FO acting like he didn’t carry the franchise for over a decade?

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        What baggage? I don’t see ownership rolling out the welcome mat for Sammy. Arod was never caught in a drug test either, but he’s guilty as hell. I don’t think with the knowledge of hindsight that any rational person could believe anything other than Sammy was using roids.

        • srbutch5

          Ok, so let’s say he did use roids (95% chance he did). Why again would the Cubs completely disassociate themselves from him? He put fans in the seats during horrible seasons. He carried the 1998 team to the playoffs. He made them tons and tons of money and was the face of the franchise for over a decade. Why the venom against him?

          • mjhurdle

            Not wanting Sosa to be a celebrated part of the team’s public face going forward does not equal venom.

            I have no ill will towards Sosa, and hope he lives a happy life. But I also don’t want the Cubs to bring back someone I consider a cheater who, in his later years, appeared to become more of a me-first, no accountability player.

            That isn’t “venom”, just an opinion

            • srbutch5

              So you consider him a cheater. What about everyone else? How do you know who was using and who wasn’t?

              Sosa is a storied part of the franchise. Ignoring that and acting like his 13 seasons carrying the Cubs didn’t happen is probably the worst way to handle the situation.

              You don’t need to make the face of former Cubs. But you should recognize him for what he did for the franchise.

              • mjhurdle

                What he did for the franchised is already recognized in the record books, so that is taken care of.

                As for the cheating part, I don’t really care what everyone else was or wasn’t doing. A person is accountable for their actions, regardless of whether “everyone else is doing it (which is definitely not true, others were, but not everyone)”
                I don’t know who else was or wasn’t using, but that has zero impact on my evaluation of Sosa and his situation. If I was on a jury in a murder trial, im not going to let someone walk because I don’t know who else in the world is murdering people and just not getting caught. I will evaluate the person on trial based on the evidence against him. The whole “but…but…but…everyone was doing it and we don’t know exactly who was and wasn’t” is completely irrelevant imo.

                • srbutch5

                  I point out the “everyone was doing it” as a factor that he could very well be facing pitchers who were using as well. Where is the advantage if the batter and pitcher are both using?

                  Secondly, you “believe” he used and you mention a court case. Aren’t you innocent until proven guilty in this country? No positive tests for Sammy.

                  • mjhurdle

                    “Where is the advantage if the batter and pitcher are both using?”

                    Whether or not he had an advantage is not the issue I have with Sosa. Whether or not what he did was against the rules is what I care about.

                    The court case was mentioned not as standard of proof, because obviously the court of public opinion does not require the same level of evidence that the legal system does when deciding whether to revoke your freedom. If I was trying to determine if Sosa should be arrested, then I would say there is not enough proof that he used. if I am trying to determine if he was cheating and whether he should be incorporated into the face of the Cubs going forward, then I believe there is enough evidence to not associate the Cubs with Sosa.

                    • notcubbiewubbie

                      you should have an issue with pud selig and all the chicken bleep sportswriters who want to hang the steroid guys now, but when it was happening never a word spoken or written. Mr. Pud Selig can you say cha-ching when sammy and mark filled up your milwaukee ballpark when they came to town.

                    • Brocktoon

                      What makes you believe Sosa was on steroids?

                  • CubsFaninMS

                    No, but we are positive that, on at least one occasion, he walked into the batter’s box with a corked bat. How often did that occur and does that mean he is more likely to cheat through other means in order to be successful?

                    • Brocktoon

                      No it doesn’t mean that unless your speeding ticket means you’re a drunk driver.

        • srbutch5

          Also, can we confirm who wasn’t using PEDs during that era? How do we know the pitchers weren’t using? Roger Clemens ring a bell? I think we need to accept the era for what it was, a PED era. That doesn’t mean we should forget about accomplishments and what one guy did for a franchise.

      • Jon

        Tom Ricketts was asked this question on the radio a few weeks ago(Sosa coming back to the organization in some fashion). He was quite candid about how right now, that’s not likely to happen. I was a bit surprised.

  • Darth Ivy

    I can’t wait to be in the left field bleachers for the Cubs-Yankees series next month. Girardi will have to put Soriano out there for boths games. I mean, c’mon.

    • farmerjon

      I’ll be there too : )

      • Darth Ivy

        Nice. I’ll be wearing the BN royal blue t-shirt that I ordered this morning!

  • Webb

    I think it’s funny to see this article after reading the one a few weeks back questioning the need for a veteran presence in the lineup with good pop to help protect Rizzo and Castro and help them develop. That’s not to say I don’t like having Cory Black in the system, or that Soriano was worth the $18M he was being paid, but the reality is that that money was a sunk cost, and the Cubs are still paying $13M anyways, and Soriano still had plenty of value to offer the Cubs.

    To me, there’s a sliiight bit of talking out of both sides of the mouth to roar in praise about the Soriano trade, then lament the lack of hitting protection and veteran leadership.

    I have no conclusion here, I just think it’s important to point out. We still don’t know what Cory Black will be, but I knew what Soriano was, and I liked it, even if he wasn’t perfect.

    • srbutch5

      I think it’s clear this FO was punting 2014, so Soriano was expendable at any price to get a young prospect. They weren’t competing this year, so why have a vet that will only be on the team for 2014 and not the future?

      • Webb

        You can punt on wins and losses without punting on player development. Not to mention that an outfield of Sori, Lake and Sweeny would probably generate a respectably positive WAR.

        Why couldn’t Soriano be the same positive influence to Lake or Soler that he was to Castro?

        • Webb

          Shierholtz** not Sweeny. Got my handsome outfielders mixed up.

          • CubFan Paul

            Schierholtz is not the man-candy Sweeney is.

          • CubsFaninMS

            *** Albert Almora
            *** Kris Bryant

            lol

        • srbutch5

          I think he definitely could have been a great influence on the younger guys. I was simply acting as the FO. It’s also very apparent that money is a lot tighter than we all thought it was going to be. The $5M save for Soriano is real money to the Owner/FO…which is very sad.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      The Soriano trade wasn’t just about unloading him. It created an opportunity to give Junior Lake a shot in the big leagues. Granted Rizzo did struggle after Sori left, but he seems to be turning that around so far this year. Hopefully Olt will emerge as that bat that discourages teams from pitching around Rizzo.

      • srbutch5

        I don’t think they needed to unload Sori to get Lake in the lineup. Lake can play all 3 outfield positions. They could use him in CF or as a platoon in RF. I think it’s a convenient explanation.

    • CubFan Paul

      “lament the lack of hitting protection”

      Better players solves this “problem” (not named Shierholtz).

      or Ruggiano.

      Or Sweeney.

      I like the projected lineup next year that’s all kids. “veteran presence” is a myth or is moot when you have good players that can adjust and execute.

      2015

      1B L Rizzo
      2B R Baez
      3B R Olt
      SS R Castro
      LF R Lake/Soler
      CF S Alcantara
      RF R Bryant
      C Free Agent/Trade

  • DarthHater

    From the Baseball Answers: “Two men were arrested in September 2013 for breaking into Wrigley Field at three in the morning to steal some ivy as a souvenir.”

    HANSMAN???

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He didn’t break in, and he wasn’t arrested.

      Just forcibly ejected.

      • CubFan Paul

        Was he wearing a BN shirt??

        • DarthHater

          Nope. Just a banana hammock.

          • DarthHater

            You can’t buy publicity like that. Literally.

      • DarthHater

        My version of the story seems truthier.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Only because I used my ninja death-hamburgers to defeat that security guard.

        He was fast though…

        • DarthHater

          [img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7033/13896664995_3e4ed31041_n.jpg[/img]

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            Pfft…gotta go Leonardo. Raphael is a wuss.

            • CubFan Paul

              Say it to his face.

              • Funn Dave

                hahaha

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Aramis Ramirez was my favorite player of that era. When he and Fonzie were clicking they could put up a shit load of runs real fast.

  • JCubs79

    Good choice on Season Six of Mad Men Brett. That’s one of my favorite seasons of a TV show ever. This is going to sound really pretentious but I love the raw intellectualism in that season which go along perfectly with some subtle supernatural elements.

  • JCubs79

    Nice article on Edwards. Enjoyed reading his quotes.

  • Blackhawks1963

    Observations…

    20 pitchers with Tommy John surgery this year. The majority of whom are American born Caucasians who, the theory goes, are throwing as hard as they can at young high school ages. Latino pitchers are statistically holding up much better, and the theory goes they ease into throwing hard over several years when they are youngsters in their countries.
    So maybe the way to develop pitching is to concentrate on more Latino pitchers?!?

    Also, another theory floating is that a team should never invest heavily in a bullpen pitcher. Load up on young power arms, have them give max effort, then figure they break down in three or so years…rinse and repeat. Actually, a lot of truth in that. How many power arms last in major league bullpens? Not many.

    • CubFan Paul

      “So maybe the way to develop pitching is to concentrate on more Latino pitchers?!?”

      Most of those ‘showcase’ kids only become relief pitchers and not TOR pitchers.

      • Blackhawks1963

        Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Yovani Gallardo and a host of others would beg to differ with you. On average, the high-end pitchers who sustain consistent success in this league happen to be Latino pitchers. Justin Verlander has been an outlier in this regard. I’m not suggesting (completely) that race should play into pitcher selection, but when developing young pitchers then yes, the research is showing that young pitchers coming out of the Latino countries are a better bet than American born talent that are flamethrowing and accumulating a lot of innings at high school ages.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Wait, CC Sabathia is latino?? That’s new…..

        • CubFan Paul

          “Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Yovani Gallardo and a host of others”

          That’s a *small* percentage of success.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      That’s a nice observation. I wonder if some of the crap like antibiotics and steroids in the animal food supply aren’t factors in that. Those things add weight and size to live stock and are passed to humans with consumption. Adding weight and bulk to a human body could also put more stress on ligaments etc. In Latin countries meat consumption is far less that in the U.S and in countries like the DR people raise chickens in the most urban areas. Seafood and goats along with pork round out the diet. It’s lamentable that the crap we add to animal feed is banned in the EU and other parts of the world.

      • Jon

        Vaccinations too. We need to stop vaccinating our children to prevent these arm injuries.

        • Edwin

          Also, eat less Soylent Green.

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Sigh…

        • waittilthisyear

          my thoughts exactly

    • mjhurdle

      Can you link to something shows that Latino pitchers are “statistically” holding up better?

      • candyland07

        MJ ,can you show a link that they are not?

        • mjhurdle

          well, i can show a link that shows that 70% of ML pitchers are “white”, and only 23ish% are ‘Latino’. So according to that it stands to reason that, even if everyone was getting hurt at the same rate, the majority of pitchers getting surgeries would be “American born Caucasians”.

          Hence why i asked for the link. When someone says “Latino pitchers are statistically holding up much better”, i don’t think it is outside the boundary to ask where the “statistically” is coming from.

        • DarthHater

          It’s proper to ask the person who proposes a hypothesis (in this instance, woody) to provide some factual basis to support it. It’s asinine to expect the rest of the world to disprove every theory that gets tossed out on the internet.

          • waittilthisyear

            can anyone prove darth wrong?

  • Patrick W.

    Amazon is awesome. Keep saying it. Please.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+