If you’re just tuning in, it looks like today’s hot rumor is going to be the Cubs reportedly claiming Cole Hamels off of waivers from the Phillies. I wrote about it earlier this morning, and why, although the Cubs are extremely unlikely to actually get Hamels right now, this is a really good signal for the future.
- So, what’s going to happen with Nate Schierholtz, who was designated for assignment yesterday? Well, he’ll likely pass through waivers unclaimed (and, if he’s claimed, the Cubs would likely let him go to save the $1.5ish million he’s owed the rest of the way), and then the Cubs will try to trade him. Would a team take Schierholtz for, say, $500,000? I don’t think that’s a bad risk for a contender if they’ve got a reasonably open bench spot. Rick Renteria suggested to the Tribune that the Cubs will try to find a taker for Schierholtz, which maybe in turn suggests they are optimistic this won’t end in a release? I’m stretching. If the Cubs find no takers, Schierholtz will be released, and then will almost certainly sign with someone. If he makes it to bigs, the Cubs will save the prorated portion of the Major League minimum, or about $150,000.
- Every player is an individual and has to be evaluated on his own merits, but Schierholtz’s experience last and this year is a reminder that complementary guys, while very valuable, tend to become “complementary” guys for a reason. Guys like Chris Coghlan and Justin Ruggiano have been good this year, but let’s not expect too much from them next year.
- Although, speaking of Coghlan, this dude is just ridiculous this year, and just had his sixth straight start with multiple hits. He struggled out of the gate when he came up earlier this year as an injury replacement, but he’s been so thoroughly on fire for the last couple months that his overall line is now .302/.382/.498 over 235 plate appearances, with a .384 wOBA and a 145 wRC+. If he had enough PAs to qualify, that would be the 8th best wRC+ in the entire National League. That’s just nutty. Dare I do the thing where I say he’s just 29, and had injury issues that held him down the last few years? It’s not all smoke and mirrors, by the way: Coghlan has the best walk rate of his career (11.1%), and a strikeout rate (16.2%) below his career average. He’s controlling the zone very, very well.
- Advanced stats are funny when you look at just one start. Jake Arrieta last night: 16.20 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, .545 BABIP, 39.7% LOB rate, 25% HR/FB rate. If you judged by that game, alone, and without any other context whatsoever, you’d say Arrieta had some of the hardest luck ever. But, you can’t use the numbers that way. So don’t. Just take Arrieta’s start for what it was: a possible one-start blip in a hitter-friendly ballpark against a solid offense. It happens. Moving on.
- I like the way Arrieta discussed his start, by the way, including dropping an excellent “accordingly” transition (Cubs.com).
- If the Cubs ultimately do add Jacob Turner, which sounds like will happen today or tomorrow, they will have yet another interesting 4/5 to add to the stockpile that already includes Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, Dan Straily, Felix Doubront, Dallas Beeler and Eric Jokisch (and that’s before we talk about possible converts like Neil Ramirez and Justin Grimm). This offseason is going to be really interesting vis a vis that group. If the Cubs add the kind of pitching we hope/expect, there might be one spot open in the rotation next year for these guys. Having 6/7/8 good starters is critical for competitiveness, especially when you consider how lucky the Cubs have been with pitcher health over the past few years. It’ll make for some tough roster decisions, but I really like the way this is trending.
- A fun read from Matt Snyder on the Cubs’ approach to organization-building, and allaying concerns about OMG-Where’s-The-Pitching?!?
- So, MLB is trying to push up its vote on the next commissioner to next week, and it sounds like there’s a fight brewing between Bug Selig, who supports MLB exec Rob Manfred as the next guy, and a small cadre of owners (led by White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf) who are pushing Red Sox owner Tom Werner (New York Times). I don’t really care who gets the job, so long as they understand that ITEM ONE with a bullet is focusing on the next generation of fans for the sport, and how to get them hooked now. (That sounds like I’m pushing for a tobacco marketing executive, doesn’t it?)
- Jesse Spector evaluated the Cubs’ broadcast team during Javier Baez’s debut, and Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies acquitted themselves quite well (as expected).
- Although I can’t make it in tomorrow for Javier Baez’s Wrigley Field debut, I will be heading to Wrigley next Wednesday for 80s Night in the bleachers (complete with Zubaz pants that they’re giving out!). I need to figure out my 80s look. I hope some of you join me.
- I want to plant a big, sloppy kiss on this tweet:
Chris Young on his 10th win: "Wins are so far beyond a pitcher's control. … One day the media will stop evaluating us on that."
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) August 6, 2014