Quantcast

No series win for the Cubs after going up 2-0, and having an easy win slip away yesterday, and a could-have-been-better game today.

Edwin Jackson had his best start of the year, but, even in so doing, he was frustrating early, doing the two things that have plagued him early in games since he came to the Cubs: he was out of the zone too often (walks) and, when he came into the zone, he was up too often (hard hits). That gave the Diamondbacks three early runs, and that’s all they would need.

But they got a couple more later on off of, yes, Jose Veras, who simply doesn’t have anything right now. Some time to collect himself may be necessary at this point.

The Cubs had a shot to break things open right from the get-go, loading the bases against the young righty on the other side, but they squandered that opportunity, and there really weren’t too many more.

Some of the repeat issues on the year popped up today …

april 24 box

Full box score.

  • Edwin

    At least Bolsinger got to pitch well in front of his hometown, right? I mean, he probably had family at the game. So that’s neat. I guess.

    • JM

      I wonder how many guys have their first career win against the Cubs…

      …or their first hit or home run or RBI…

      • Edwin

        I don’t know, I think most teams feel like that though. Living in Milwaukee, most Brewers fans I know have the same feeling.

  • http://www.ehanauer.com clark addison

    Stick a fork in Veras. He’s done.

  • http://BleacherNation blewett

    Might as well waive Veras. He is no longer a flippable asset.

  • Edwin

    I’m starting to think that this might not be the 1/40 magic season I was hoping for.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    It seems that this organization is good at scouting prospects, but whoever is doing it on the MLB level is not getting the job done. Veres and Jackson, somebody in the FO is wishing the could take those two back. No wonder they are shy about signing a big name FA if they can be so wrong about these two guys. At least Wright looked better, so I will withhold judgement on him for now.

    • JM

      I think this has been touched on quite a bit in different posts. They’ve managed to scout several players that have been quite good for the Cubs. One or two,or even a handful of players that haven’t panned out hardly means they aren’t good at the MLB level.

      I think nearly every team has players they wish they’d rather not have signed.

      • Kyle

        I think the record of the team shows that it’s more than just a handful that haven’t panned out.

        • JM

          Not when you consider payroll, what is expected of them, and the direction the team is taking.

          • jp3

            So we just set the bar really low for the FO?? Is that how it works when you hire super smart guys? Set the bar really really low that way if they go over it a little we can say well that’s better than we thought?;)

            • JM

              Of course not. But I would say that this was all foretold by the FO, that there would be a period of hard times while the club was being rebuilt from the bottom up.

              I’m not satisfied and I’m not happy with the results of the season thus far, but when you look at the organization as a whole, there is massive improvement and sound basis for hope.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      What about Maholm, Hammel, Feldman, Schierholtz, Villanueva, Bonifacio, Travis Wood, Valbuena, Hector Rondon

  • Paddy26

    Pretty tough to come in with a 15 ERA and have it go up.

  • Medicos

    RR just said that the Cubs locker room is filled with “decent” players who dislike losing. This team is on a pace to wind up 42-120 Down through the years, it seems like the Cubs have usually had rosters filled with clean-cut, “decent” players. Maybe it’s time to bring in some A–hole, hard nosed, scruffy looking athletes who know how to win ballgames. The Red Sox won 3 World Series with players with an attitude such as Big Papi, Pedroia, Damon, Napoli, Victorinio, Ellsbury, Peavy Lackey, Martinez, Ramirez, Shilling, etc. Something has got to change soon at the Friendly Confines!!!

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      I hope this is a joke but I know it’s not. So you are saying what the Cubs lack is a Crash Davis gritty scrappy full of TWTW & BellyFire… just want to make sure I fully understand this irrational post.

      • JM

        Don’t look too much past the argument. There is a culture in Chicago and it’s not one of winning…

        Heard a saying once and it’s not far from true…

        What do you get when you throw a good dog in with a bunch of bad dogs?

        All bad dogs.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          So when teams lose the are a losing culture and when the win it’s a winning culture? Huh I never made the connection. Chemistry, culture, attitude, and the rest of these abstract words are always thrown around are and they are meaningless,

          Better players = WINNING
          Bad players = LOSING

          there are teams that have great attitudes and culture and lose and teams that hate each other and win. This is just little league rah rah bullshit, these are professional athletes they don’t care about this.

          • candyland07

            The Cubs stink. The record speaks for itself. The team and W-L record reflects a truly bad team , not an underachieving team simply a bad team .. The teams saberametrics are near the bottom in every offensive category for the past two years and this year is no different.

            The Cubs have been cheap , but that is not the issue , When the Cubs front office did spend money on player acquisitions they mad bad choices . They bought E Jackson for 13 or 14 million and gave a pair of closer close to 15 million and the only production for those millions are basically Veras numbers ,

            Hail Hydra -er Hail Team Epstein

            They gave the Yankees 14 million so Soriano can hit home runs .

            the list can go on and on and on ……

          • JM

            Ok. If that’s all there is to it, then all they have to do is sign all the best players.

            That’s easy enough. And exactly who are those players? It stands to reason that all the best players make the most money, rather the best players get the largest contracts. Take the teams with the biggest contracts and they MUST be the champions each year.

            Funny when you hear a championship team talk, after they’ve won it all, they almost always talk about team chemistry, heart, camaraderie, and all that other stuff you think is crap.

            If they think it is important, then I’m inclined to agree with them.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Oh come on that is what they are suppose to say, it’s part of the poetic narrative that humanizes the sport. We create story and abstract concepts to create a beautiful story. It’s myth making. Not to mention players that just won the greatest championship are of course feeling a connection with each other. We have fictional & poetic devices for a reason because describing life is dull without turning something into an idolized myth. It make the game look pure and beautiful and gives us lessons to teach our children but make no mistake it is a fantasy we’ve created and believe in.

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                Exactly goat, it comes down to one simple thing, winning creates chemistry

              • JM

                Thank you for clearing that up. It’s nice to know that one of the most beautiful parts of winning and celebration is all just fraudulent.

                Keep in mind, I’m not saying that chemistry creates winning, but I do believe that the element is real and beneficial.

                Has there never been an athlete that you’ve thought is better than he “should” be simply because he had a better work ethic? Or one that you think could be better if only he wasn’t so lazy?

                • mjhurdle

                  “Has there never been an athlete that you’ve thought is better than he “should” be simply because he had a better work ethic? Or one that you think could be better if only he wasn’t so lazy?”

                  actually, i tend to find when you look at the “better than he should be” guys, it only proves the idea that there is no such thing as chemistry.
                  Look at David Eckstein. He was small, and people always laud him as the ‘try-hard, never say die’ guy that defied the odds because he just gave it his all.
                  Do you think he was successful in the majors because he just tried harder than any other smaller guy before? Altuve just has a better work-ethic than any other short, small ballplayer and that is why he is doing good?
                  You have to either say that those players are successful because they are more talented than other smaller players before them, or that all the smaller players before them really just didn’t give it 100%, or try hard enough, or want it enough.
                  To me it is more likely that they just had more talent.

                  • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                    Its simple: Who hits the ball better gets more outs while pitching. Thats the reality of baseball the rest is the beautiful stories we hold onto.

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  I didn’t call anything fraudulent, I said it is a narrative created to understand what’s happening. People absolutely feel all this but it is not what one the game, it the euphoria of success. And because that emotion is beyond words we create myth to explain what happened and how we feel. Its a very real emotion but its not something you can create by adding a few scrappy people in the mix. You can’t manufacture it, it has happen organically.

                  But my greater point still stands. Winning = Happy, Losing = Sad the rest of the story is just that STORY.

                  When my children were born I had euphoria I could not describe but I’m asked to vocalize it even write it down. The emotion is real the story is my myth.

                  When I had to write about my story of discovering I had MS, I had to write a myth of some facts combined with the mythology of how I feel and what I think about that day. It is one of the most beautiful aspects of humanity, we create myth to explain the emotions we feel.

                  • JM

                    I would say that the emotion is real and the story is your reality.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      And another myth is born

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      You do understand how you just proved my point don’t ya?

                    • JM

                      Not at all. Maybe you need to review the definitions of myth and reality.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      I know them very well JM, myths are born to explain the reality we can’t understand. They are the lessons we teach our kids, the description of how we feel, the essence of writing and storytelling. Whenever we wright or tell a story we are spinning a myth, because reality can never be contained by words. Its not a bad thing, its the beautify of humanity our ability to humanize everything. It is why we have art, but when we confuse the stories we hear with reality it can become motivating and dangerous. Our stories are myths, some myths are greater and more repeated than others. But they are not real.

                  • mjhurdle

                    perfect example of this is the Boston Red Sox

                    When they won World Series, beer and fried chicken was funny and lauded as an example of these players loving the game and each other enough and playing relaxed. Francona was one of the best managers ever for being able to relate to his players that well.
                    When they lost, it was a cancer, a sign of how undisciplined the team was and how dysfuctional. Francona obviously had no control of the locker room.

                    Same actions. But winning made those actions great, losing made them horrible.

                    the only thing we know for sure is, the Red Sox were/are good when their good players are healthy and playing.
                    when they are not, they lose.

                    • JM

                      Different teams, different chemistries.

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      JM you see what we are saying but you just can’t let go of those myths and are trying to bottle a myth into something that can be repeated… ie “chemistry” “grit” “hustle”

                    • mjhurdle

                      JM, so the fact that it worked when the good players were playing, and didn’t work when the good players weren’t playing means that it was just bad chemistry?
                      Isn’t the simplest common denominator there the good players, and not some mysterious “chemistry”?

                    • JM

                      I Do see what you are saying, but I don’t think winning is as simple as good players versus bad.

                      Did you look up the meanings of myth and reality?

                      We’re out of space, and I’m out of time.

                      Good day!

                    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                      JM I’ve taught classes on Myth and writing, the concept of a myth is more than the short phrase in a dictionary. Myth making is how people understand, humanize, and describe reality. Reality indescribable, we created a language to interact and then we used to words to create myths. Myths are powerful all religion is based on myths, we all believe in certain myths and calling it a myth is not diminishing it power. But myth are blueprints they are metaphors for our lives. We have the concept of reality because of myths. Myths are created everyday they are not just classical mythologies or D&D fantasy (fantasy is different from myth the are the an idolized myth)

                      I can discuss this all night but please don’t insult my knowledge on a subject I’m very educated with.

          • Bric

            Well Goat, I think you’re giving a little too much credit to a bunch of rich 20 sometings when you call them professional athletes. Starlin Castro is not and is never going to be Cal Ripken or Derek Jeter. In fact, none of these guys would be legit starters on more than a couple teams in the league. That’s why there is such a thing as coaches. It’s their job to put players in the best position to produce and be successful. And it’s the front office’s job to produce and acquire quality talent. If you seriously think that that’s happening here then we just have a serious difference opinion. BTW- if it’s not time to blame the FO and ownership after what we’ve seen in the first month, then when? 2017?

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              I’m not talking about a coaches role or who’s to blame. I’m
              Talking about gritty hard nose mythical players.

          • JM

            When I was a kid opening up a pack of baseball cards, I’d go through them and if I didn’t know the player I would show them to my dad and ask “is he good? Is he good?”

            After a while he realized I was going to be asking this question a lot. He ended the questions for good when he explained that if the player was in the big leagues, then he was a good player.

            I guess I’m saying there are no bad players, just varying levels of good.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              Thats not what we are talking about, yes the better good players are the best. Oh and that story about opening baseball cards was a beautiful narrative.

            • candyland07

              Baseball Cards 10 cents a pack, Mom gave me a dollar . I would buy 1 pack individually ten times, would drive the cashier crazy. memories when winning meant nothing but seeing the players play. Kinda like oh forget the record speaks for itself..

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          And the hot dog reference silly, there are plenty of “bad makeup” guys on every team.

          • JM

            I didn’t say anything about hot dogs.

            It was simply analogy about team culture and what a person can learn from their surroundings.

      • Medicos

        Michigan Goat—You’re exactly correct. Those are the kind of players the Cubs are lacking. Years ago, the Oakland A’s won 3 WS with a roster filled with “Crash Davis, gritty scrappy full of TWTW and Fire in the Belly” attitudes. Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Catfish Hunter, Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers, etc used get into arguments with each other but when on the field they knew how to win ball games.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          No I know your joking… They won because THEY HAD GREAT PLAYERS not because of some tobacco spit scruffy attitude. I don’t understand how every does understand the better your players the better your team the more you win. It’s noe if this nonsense. But it does spin into fantastic stories but it does NOT win you games.

          • Medicos

            MICHIGAN GOAT—Obviously a team that wins a WS has to have some GREAT PLAYERS. The Cubs throughout the years have signed numerous talented young HS-College players, I believe it was 5 or 6 years ago, there more former Cub signed pitchers hurling on other MLB teams other than the ones that originally signed them than any other team in the baseball but somewhere along the way through Cubs minor league system (AA, AAA, AAA) many players just don’t progress to be successful on a MLB level That’s the main aspect of Hoystein PLAN A. Build a farm system that can develop signed talent or players that have procured through “flipping” and have them progress to achieve a succesful-winning MLB career

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              This is not the discussion it’s tiresome when change the discussion that they started just to get back to what the really want to talk about- hatred of the FO.

          • Brocktoon

            Unreal: that A’s team is the best example AGAINST team chemistry. The only guy that team hated more than each other was their manager.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          It had everything to do with belly fire and had nothing to do with the fact that 3 of the guys you named were Hall of Famers

          • Medicos

            3-2 Tommy: Love your sense of humor. How do u analyze the Cubs teams that had Santo-Banks-Jenkins-Holtzman- Beckert-Williams-Hundley.-Kessinger and won nothin’?????

            • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

              Was before my time so never watched them play, but not all great teams win championships, only 1 team can win each year, and the team they lost to did have Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan.

            • Patrick W.

              Clearly those guys just liked each other too much.

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

                Wait, I thought good clubhouse chemistry was a good thing…

                Damnit, now I am going to have to change my whole thinking on this chemistry thing.

                Bad = good

                Good = bad.

                • Patrick W.

                  You never see Reggie Jackson and Gene Tennace hanging out.

                  • DarthHater

                    I just learned from Wikipedia that Gene Tenace’s actual first name is “Fury.” Now that’s some belly fire!

            • Brocktoon

              Banks was mediocre by time Santo, Jenkins and Williams were any good. The rest of the guys you listed were always mediocre

              • 70′s Cub

                Kessinger was a good fielding SS, Beckert and Hundley didn’t last. Remember Jim Hickman? Ken Holtzman for Rick Monday trade. Holtzman won his WS. titles w/A’s I remember him hitting big in the World Series. Monday went to the Dodgers and saved the flag from burning! 1970 was really the year the Cubs should have made the playoffs. 69 was Met crazy they won every day every fing way.

              • Medicos

                BROCKTOON: Gotta defend Mr. Cub Ernie Banks. Considering Banks was 36 to 39 years-old from 1967-1970, he helped Leo Durocher win a hell of a lot of games at the Friendly Confines:

                1967 (87-74) 1968 (84-78) 1969 (92-70) 1970 (84-78)

                ..276 BA .246 BA .253 BA .252 BA
                23 HR 32 HR 23 HR 12 HR
                95 RBI 83 RBI 106 RBI 44 RBI
                .310 OBP .287 OBP .309 OBP .313 OBP
                .455 SLG .459 SLG .416 SLG .459 SLG
                .765 OPS .756 OPS .725 OPS .772 OPS

                All Star Game 1967 and 1969

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Yeah and Milton Bradley and Jacques Jones to anchor the outfield.

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

      “This team is on a pace to wind up 42-120″

      Unless you believe that this is the worst ballclub in modern baseball history, that should tell you that we have had some terrible negative variance.

      The thing that should put the whole “clubhouse chemistry” to bed was the 2003 vs. 2011 Red Sox clubhouse. The same atmosphere went from them playing loose and free to being a distraction and somehow a serious negative.

      • Brocktoon

        It should also tell him to check his math. We’re on a 54-108 pace.

  • Blackhawks1963

    The Cubs took a low risk flyer in Veres and it hasn’t worked. Just cut him and move on. Not a lot of money to eat.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      If Veres were a hunting dog his owner would have shot him already.

      • Edwin

        That just sounds like cruelty to animals.

      • JM

        That made me laugh…

        …isn’t it currently Turkey hunting season?

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Can’t answer that JM I’ve got the PETA people banging on my door.

          • JM

            Don’t be rude. Open it and offer them a hamburger.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      Yeah that’s got to be coming if Ramirez & Rosscup stick somebody has to go.

      • Jason P

        That’s a big if. I could easily see them sending Ramirez or Rosscup back.

        I think if Theo and Jed liked Veras enough to sign him as their closer, a few bad weeks won’t be enough for them to do a complete 180. I never liked him as a closer, but if he can recover just a little bit, I have a hard time believing the Cubs have 7 relievers better than him.

        Right now though, he’s painful to watch. A mysterious “injury” to give him some time off would be well in order.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Yeah the magical 30 day DL sounds good, but Fuji is also coming back so unless regains some control or trades are made we might not have any choice than let him go.

          • Jason P

            I completely forgot about Fujikawa.

            Rondon, Grimm, Strop, Russell, Wright, Villanueva, and Fujikawa are all pretty much guaranteed a spot barring a trade, so there really isn’t a spot for Veras. Then again, it’s not like Wright or Russell are all that great, but you’d hate to have to go with one lefty again for an extended period.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          Veras always had control issues (4.5+); he never was much of closer – Dempster has more SVs as a closer than Veras ever has. What they liked was the K-rate (9+). And probably most of all: he was cheapish (3M). He is 33 – and well, they likely figured he’s be the VET presence to anchor the BP.

          2013 Regular season and playoffs were an aberration they hoped would carry forward. So far, not so much.

          • 70′s Cub

            Thanks Jason for doing the research the Cub FO is bringing guys w/control issues, game three of this series was Marmol like! Today’s the D’back closer w/ a 5-2 lead produced straight forward first pitch strikes……bingo game over.

            • candyland07

              honestly, last year everyone was complaining Marmol , this , Marmol , Marmol that…..! Well a years goes by and Team Epstein bring in a cheaper 5 million dollar Marmol wanna be. just bad luck i suppose.

              Anybody got the dude the CUbs had last year , that same dude that called out the front office cause he thought he earned the right to close cause he did not pitch like a marmol. anybody got that number ? somebody ask the front office if he is still available.

              • DarthHater

                Boy, I wonder what it would be like if you actually came here and spewed this stuff every day?

                • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                  Universes would collapse

    • Jon

      The Cubs would still be on the hook for most of Veras salary this year plus the buyout. It’s frustrating to see the Cubs fall short on elite FAs only to turnaround and piss $$ on bums like Veras

      • fossilhippie

        Are you implying there have been no busts among the elite FAs this year?

    • Pat

      They probably need to DL him for at bit, but you simply cannot start cutting free agents after six appearances and 5.2 innings pitched. Not if you want to continue to have free agents sign with you.

      • baldtaxguy

        What “continue?” Ian Stewart?

  • bnile1

    Looking at the total lack of effectiveness from a guy with a long track record of success and the fact that he simply doesn’t look like the same pitcher, I have to think there are only 2 likely explanations. Alien abduction with pod person replacement, or he’s hurt. The former is of course in jest, but the latter is I think the most likely (and unfortunate) explanation.

  • Jason P

    I know having an all power arm bullpen is nice, but some point you have to pay some attention to command/control. I would have perferred a guy like Edward Mujica (I know, slow start, but his peripherals are decent) who at least doesn’t walk guys.

    • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

      Diversified stuff. I think if you can a mix of types of arms you can give hitters’ fits.

      1 guy is a hard sinker, slider dude; 1 is the 97MPH 4-seam, splitter type; another 2-seamer, decent curve with a 15MPH differential of the 2-seamer. 3 lefties, 3 righties. Maybe a lefty with a change that gives RH batter’s fits. And location. location. location. Something like that…(IOW, not a perfect model, but something to consider.)

      • Jason P

        I think the Cubs are going to be righty-heavy in the bullpen for a while. Russell stinks, and Rosscup’s really the only other lefty of note.

        That said, if you have righties that can avoid the free pass and consistently get left-handed batters out, it shouldn’t be a big deal. I’m excited to see if Vizcaino can establish himself as our closer of the future.

        • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

          It is sorta bad that: they rebuilt the entire pen, and so far, the results haven’t been all that good. Course, we just keep plugging them in!

          • Jason P

            If there is a silver lining, it’s that most of the struggles have come from guys who won’t be around long term anyway.

          • Voice of Reason

            What’s the alternative? Instead if using the bullpen use guys like valbuena to pitch middle relief?

            • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

              I didn’t say there was one.

              I suspected it would be pretty bad this season for the offense. The BP – I supposed couldn’t be much worse than it started last year. Well, it’s not so far been a bright spot. And we are shuffling the deck pretty quick.

              On early results…

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                While the bullpen as a whole might not be a bright spot so far, 2 of the 3 long term pieces in that pen (Grimm and Rondon) have been HUGE bright spots so far. While Strop was awful yesterday, as a whole, I’d say he’s been what was expected. Will be nice to get a look at Rosscup and Ramirez as they could also be long term pieces in the pen.

                • http://deepcenterfield.mlblogs.com/ Jason Powers

                  Sure. I was talking to the “unit” not so much each individual.

                  Weak Analogy: we are playing a long hand of draw poker. Start with 5, toss 3; draw again. Then a wildcard (dealt if you re ante up.)

                  I knew the bus from Iowa would get a workout.

  • cubs2015

    Would like to see Rondon and Grimm tag team closing/setup opportunities since they seem to always pitch aggressively this year. Love the bringing up of Ramirez, Rosscup who both look good. Especially Rosscup earlier in year. What young outfielders are struggling at the major league level that we can buy lowish on???? Outfield hurts to watch, at least the infield has reinforcements arriving in month or two. Bring up Vitters, he has nothing left to prove in AAA

  • ssckelley

    For the first time this season the Cubs did not lose a series!!!!

    #silverlining #babysteps

    • Medicos

      I knew there was something positive concerning the series against the DBACKs. I’m sure Garza and ARam are anxiously awaiting the Cubs arrival in Milwaukee this weekend.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I just noticed they gave an error on the ball Rizzo hit in the first inning. No way. Wasn’t the toughest catch ever, but any time a guy leaves his feet to catch a ball, any scorer in any town gives a hit. Not even a question for a home team player.

  • Voice of Reason

    Why would anyone be surprised by the record?

    Its a horrible team. They’ll lose 100 and could easily break the franchise record for losses.

    I’ve been saying this all along. I’ve also been preaching letting the rookies play every day. Nice to see Olt in the lineup more and more.

    This season was never about this year. You don’t add veras as your premiere free agent signing and expect to win. This season is about getting ready for the future. The team will be more fun to watch when Bryant and Baez get up to the bigs to go with Olt and lake and rizzo and Castro.

    Its the worst cub team ever but there’s light at the end of the tunnel!!

    • cubbcard

      if we draft great power pitchers right now it will be 5 yrs before anyone wins 20 games for the cubs that is home grown.

      • ssckelley

        Shhhhh, we don’t talk about pitchers wins around here.

  • cubbcard

    we are looking ay the marmol situation all over again they blew 26 game last year. a good closer would have made us a 500 or better team. you can’t go out and get one guy that is a middle of the road average closer to stop the bleeding. thats is fundamentally unsound. at least let this weak hitting below average pitching staff of starters keep the games they have earned by giving the team a halfway decent closer. have some mercy for pets sake. if i were jeff S. i would be on the phone to my agent telling him to get me the H out of here first chance you get. no respect for the efforts of who is playing for the cubs. its like asking your quarter back to just keep going back to pass but your going to get sacked most of the time . but keep dropping back .

    • Voice of Reason

      So if we had a great closer we would be at .500 right now?

      • Brocktoon

        No a good closer would have only added 15+ wins last year so he’d have only added 2 wins thus far this season

        • BT

          So you are saying a good closer is worth 15 WAR, and would be worth 2 WAR right now?

          • Brocktoon

            Nope but cubbcard apparently is

    • DarthHater

      Spending a lot of money on a “elite” closer is one of the dumbest things a team can do. That’s why Billy Beane doesn’t do it.

      • 70′s Cub

        Agree Darth however ….Protecting the closing Job before spring training started 3 years straight looks like a flaw in this FO’s Management strategy. This guy like Marmol came to camp and performed like crap yet we gotta hear about a 3 million dollar flipping strategy. 5-14 season over, please FO save the every season is important BS.

      • Brocktoon

        Not sure if sarcastic…

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

          I don’t know if Darth is sarcastic but it’s the truth.

          By the time elite closers hit free agency, they’ve used up their arms.

          Name the last elite closer to sign a free agent deal and still be the team’s closer 18 months later (hell, I bet you’d have a hard time coming up with one that was the closer all year his first year)

          • Brocktoon

            I’m not disagreeing with the overarching point, it’s iust that Billy Beane just acquired Jim Johnson and his 10m salary this offseason

            As to your question, Soriano is in his 2nd year of his Nats contract and is still closing. Papelbon is in year 3 of his contract, year 3 of closing.

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

              Well then…I fail.

              • Brocktoon

                Again that’s not to say I disagree with the idea that big money for closers is a bad idea, but I’m not opposed to a little certainty in the pen either. We’ve seen the last 2.1 seasons how a pen can turn out when you try to grow it from within. Sure you can throw 12 arms into a pen and by July you’ve figured out which 3 are going to be productive, but in the meantime you’ve wasted 3 months on Schlitter, dolis, et al.

                When it comes time to actually compete of like some guys I can write in in marker as reliable relievers, just don’t pay for saves. Pay top dollar for the elite setup men, who are basically the same pitchers as the papelbons of the world just without the pretty number on their stat sheet.

              • DarthHater

                “Well then…I fail.”

                What’s new. :-P

            • Brocktoon

              Joe Nathan 2 year deal in ’12 closed both years. It’s the non-elite guys that lose their jobs. (Which is why teams have caught on and they’re all getting 1 or 2 year deals at this point) The elite closers have held together pretty well on their contracts

              • DarthHater

                Maybe, but I can’t help wondering if we don’t just pin the “elite” label after-the-fact on the guys who have succeeded at holding together. The real question isn’t whether there are closers who perform well in Year X and then again perform well in Year X+1. They exist, of course. But the better question, in my opinion, is: what percentage of closers who perform well in Year X do it again in Year X+1 and what percentage of them don’t?

                If, as I suspect, there is significantly greater performance volatility for closers than for other positions, then you’ll get more marginal bang for your buck if you spend it on one of those other positions. However, if closer is really the position where your team needs help and you have the money available, then maybe it makes sense to spend on a closer in that kind of situation.

                • Brocktoon

                  Looking at it from AAV seems like the easiest way to determine who the market deemed elite. Not much in the way of busting at the top unless it was due to injury which is the obvious caveat with all pitching

                  • DarthHater

                    There are plenty of studies demonstrating the high volatility of relievers – and not just due to injuries.

                    • Brocktoon

                      Link?

                    • DarthHater
                    • Brocktoon

                      Well that’s obnoxious. But thanks for the 2nd link. I needed a refresher course on the VIX

                    • Brocktoon

                      The first link was also quite helpful with 1st result linking to a jason friggin stark column from 4 years ago, the 2nd to David schoenfields page where his most recent piece was asking if relief pitchers were the new moneyball

                    • bbmoney

                      Here’s another one for you:

                      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/relief-pitching-metric-correlations-year-to-year/

                      compares RPs to SPs year over year and the correlation in their performance. The correlation in RP performance is quite a bit lower than the correlation in SP performance. Hence, higher variability. Hence why even elite relievers typically get 4 year deal at most and those rarely work.

                    • Brocktoon

                      First off in the top 45 AAV relief contracts you have the following 4+ yr contracts

                      Papelbon(runs through 15)
                      Nathan
                      Cordero
                      Wagner
                      Kimbrel(begins in 14)
                      Ryan

                      First off your dealing with a sample size small enough that it’s basically worthless to analyze but you have Papelbon looking fine through 2.1 seasons, Nathan performed for 2 seasons and got hurt, Cordero, performed for all 4 years, Wagner performed for 2.75 years, got hurt, came back and performed for .3 years, and Ryan blew out his arm after a year. So literally everyone performed as expected when healthy.

                      As to the study linked there are obvious sample size issues when comparing year to year stats of guys pitching 60 innings (especially when in comparison to starters with 3x the sample from which noise can sort itself out)

                      The comments bring up a separate issue they I hadn’t considered. There is a survivors bias involved here in that a failed reliever will shuffle to a new role in the pen (ie Veras)while a failed starter will be shuffled off to the pen and won’t carry much weight in a year to year comparison.(ie any starter without options who looks rough to start a season.)

                      Further down you have MGL(creator of UZR, former consultant to the Cardinals and I believe at least one other team and all around anti social weirdo) stating they relievers are LESS volatile than starters.

                    • bbmoney

                      I don’t know man. First of all you’re right that’s any awfully small sample of 4 year contract to draw any conclusions from. Second, your performance evaluations are extremely generous. Cordero’s skills declined almost immediately, so have Papelbon’s (look at the K’s he’s not the same guy). Ryan, Nathan, and Wagner provided about 5 healthy years out of the 12 they were signed for. Sure that happens with starting pitchers too, but that’s not good.

                      I’m sure it’s not a perfect study….but as far as volatility goes from year to year I think it’s pretty spot on. Of course RPs have smaller sample sizes from year to year…because duh….but that’s all we’re worried about when signing a RP because that’s all their going to pitch in a year and the fact remains they’re more volatile from year to year. If you want to just attribute that entirely to a smaller sample…fine….still a reason to not pay them as much or for as long because they just don’t pitch as much because their performance will vary more and there is less certainty and certainty is valuable.

                    • bbmoney

                      and that’s a bad ass run on sentence to wrap things up.

                    • Brocktoon

                      I’ll reiterate what I said upthread, I’d invest my pen money in elite “setup” men because they’re not being overvalued by dumbass save totals. And relievers aren’t being paid nearly as much nor for nearly as long as starters, so that’s already happening.

            • DarthHater

              The Billy Beane point was kinda tongue-in-cheek. I prolly should have said something like: “Spending a lot of money on an “elite” closer is usually not a smart thing for a team to do. That’s why Billy Beane generally tries to avoid it.”

              However, just as there are a few situations in which sacrifice bunting makes sense, so there can be some situations in which it makes sense to spend big (but never TOO big) on a closer. But in most situations, relief pitcher performance is just too volatile and too readily replaceable to justify a really large layout of dollars.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      Because that Jonathan Papelbon signing has worked out GREAT for the Phillies. How about Brandon League for the Dodgers? Hell even look at the contract the Cubs gave Carlos Marmol. Bullpen arms are incredibly volatile and growing your own/signing on the cheap is the best way to build a bullpen. The more Justin Grimms/Hector Rondons in the bullpen, the better.

    • Pat

      A good closer would not have made much difference. An entire good bullpen might have, but not as much as you think. The best bullpen in the majors (Texas) only blew 11 saves total. So yes, if they had the best bullpen, they might have had a chance at .500. Or not. A good team like Texas probably had far more 2 and 3 run save opportunities than the Cubs did (really don’t feel like looking into that much detail right now). The median for the league was 18, so with a league average bullpen (again ignoring the amount of leads blown, as well as if multiple saves were blown in a single game and frequency of save opportunities) they would have won a whopping 74 games. Assuming they didn’t have generally bad players, which they did. That makes a difference, as bad players are more likely to have bad results and it’s not a matter of luck.

  • Dustin S

    I am doing my best to stay positive on RR, but I really don’t understand putting Veras in a 3-1 game. If he doesn’t agree that his shoulder is hurting (cough) and takes a 15-day DL to work things out, I realize he has to pitch sometime. But Veras can’t be put in a situation other than long relief mop-up duty until he remembers figures things out. Of the 8 bullpen arms, Veras is the guy he puts in that situation to give them the best chance to win that game? Just seems like being stubborn.

    Was at the UC for the Blackhawks game last night, an amazing time. Offset some of the 9th inning frustration from yesterday.

    Lastly, my dislike for instant replay grows every game. It’s awful. It’ll never happen but my hope is that it goes back to what it was originally intended as, just for rare home run balls, maybe a close play at the plate. Not every other throw to first or every stolen base tag is replayed, or the slow walk out while video is reviewed and waste everyone’s time routine.

  • cubbcard

    elite closer is not what i’m asking for just a decent average guy. in that 100 anniversary game rod on could have closed it out . the fans and players need a series win , first three game winning streak since july 10th. if you just want to loose then just lose them all then, don’t spend more than the league minimum on anyone but a bonafide core player : rizzo castro, wood jeff s. The island of misfit toys. i want to be a dentist not a ball player

  • diamonddon

    The difference between winning and losing in the majors is a fine line. As is said, every team will win 60 games and lose 60 games. Its what you do in the other 42 games that determines whether you are a good team or not. Better talent does help to overcome some mistakes, but good winning teams do the small and sometimes unnoticed things, such as driving in the runner from third with less than 2 outs or making contact putting the ball in play or hitting to the right side. It seems the Cubs are last in the majors in driving that runner in from third with less than two out. Situational hitting such as hitting to the opposite field when the pitchers constantly pitch you away. The Cubs consistently don’t do the small things that win games. Walks will kill you as they have the last couple of games. When you aren’t doing the small things to win, errors and poor bullpen performances are accentuated. In addition, RR lack of substituting a better defensive player in the ninth yesterday in right field really hurt. Not doing the all these small things result in losing.

    On a different point, signing Veras was a huge mistake. He sucked in Milwaukee a couple years ago and is not closer material. I think Ramirez or Rondon should be the closer.

    • ssckelley

      Perhaps the Cubs are just getting their 60 losses out of the way early.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      And better players makes winning those other 42 easier, better hitters hit better in all situation, the Cubs just need better players.

      • Voice of Reason

        Thank you, captain obvious.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          And you’re missing the point of the conversation again Lou, now what would you like to change this discussion toward?

          • Voice of Reason

            I was just commenting on you thought that the cubs need better players.

            After making a comment like that you should hope I change the topic.

            • Patrick W.

              If it were so obvious and didn’t need said people wouldn’t be suggesting getting gritty players an advocating for good and bad chemistry. The statement stands in contrast to some kind of silly things being said. You often do well to combat silliness with plain obvious facts.

              I rule for Goat.

      • diamonddon

        Agree Michigan Goat! Hopefully the Baez’s, Bryant’s, Almora’s and Alcantara’s are coming soon AND the Rickett’s family is willing to spend some money on some top pitching free agents including re-signing the Shark!!

    • candyland07

      Almost everything you say is true cept the Cubs might not win 60 games. For a team not to win 60 games gotta be as bad as bull crap or bison crap.

  • 70′s Cub

    Strop and Veras do not have enough reliable command to be used as closers. I will give the FO credit for moving Shitt ter out after the first week Strop should be moved down to triple A to work on throwing strike 1 on the first pitch. Until that ability is proven he will be traded from organization to organization!
    What to do w/Veras 33 year old free agent well for starters the Cub FO has plenty of recent experience to draw upon. Think Scott Baker value or Scott Feldman value win some lose some. Just don’t take to long to make the decision low leverage time for now (mid June value) and think next target! Because he is a vet he only needs to put together 4 straight weeks to be considered trade worthy.

  • Jon

    Baez is 0-2 with with two more Ks tonight. Starting to worry…..

    • ssckelley

      You think the Marlins want him?

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

      Welcome to the club.

      Although he carried his K-tacular start much deeper into the year last year.

      • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

        Do you remember who many PA before the mashing started?

        I too have always been hesitant to get excited about Baez that K rate is frightening.

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

          If I remember right I was calling for him to be traded ASAP through mid-May.

          Looking at the numbers…it “peaked” on May 14 150 PA into the season. He had a running 40 PA K rate of 35% and then it plummeted as low as 7% (for the previous 41 PA) on May 28. It climbed back up to 21% until his promotion.

          I still think that last offseason would have been the time to strike on trading him.

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            I do wonder what trade offers we might have refused. My suspicion is that every team had these same concerns and the offers weren’t worth it so the better choice was to roll the dice and hope we win.

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      I forget what his adjustment period was like in Daytona & Tennessee. When he gets to that level of PA then I worry.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        You’ve got a while before you need to worry.

        Considering he’s coming off a layoff due to the injury right now, a few rough games in a row wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          So by end of May we should start to see the K rate and if it doesn’t it’s time to worry.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            By the middle of May we should be watching the vector on the K rate.

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

          With Baez, that worry should always be there.

          It’s just not freak out time, yet.

          • DarthHater

            [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Kua7Ha9xoKI/UTn3SAEYREI/AAAAAAAABU0/ciho5GUc7es/s1600/freaking+out.jpg[/img]

          • 70′s Cub

            How do you guys rate Baez’s glove at SS?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              From what I saw in Tennessee, he looks more reliable on the routine play than Castro, but doesn’t have Castro’s range. I’m not sure has quite as quick of reactions, either. Footwork is still a little messy, but no more so than any other young shortstop.

              I think he can stay at short for awhile and probably be no worse than average, but long term I suspect he’ll be better off moving to second or third.

      • Jason P

        It was about 50 plate appearances at Daytona (right now, he has 45 at Iowa). At Tennessee, he had a 33.7 K% after 101 plate appearances at Tennessee, but he also had a .917 OPS.

        I’m a little concerned. Maybe a 5 on a scale of 1-10.

  • Stogie

    The team will return from the road trip 7-20. 120 losses, here we come!

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

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/some-hitters-to-start-worrying-about/

    I like this. The Cardinals have 2 players on this list.

  • Jason P

    Nice breakout night from Vogelbach — he was 4-4 with a bomb. Almora had a nice 2-hit night as well, though no walks still.

  • diamonddon

    I will gladly take a higher strike out rate if Baez hits 37 HR’s and has over 100 RBI’s like he did last year! Power hitters tend to strike out more.

    • Jason P

      Well, except for Rizzo that is…

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+