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kyle hendricks cubs featureBe advised: due to a scheduling conflict, there will be no BNTV this week. Watch one of the old episodes, and pretend it was a re-run week. I’ll be back with a new episode next Tuesday.

  • The Cubs have changed up their rotation slightly for the final week of the season, swapping Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks so that Hendricks can get two more starts, including the season finale (Cubs.com). It’s an interesting move for a team with so many guys they could theoretically give starts to, and probably a tip of the cap to Hendricks’ dominant run. After two more starts, Hendricks will be up to 31 on the year, between AAA and the bigs, and right around 190 innings – a very full season. That should prepare him well for 2015. Although you normally don’t like to see a significant innings bump from one year to the next (Hendricks was at 166.1 last year), that bump isn’t enormous, and it’s not like Hendricks has pitched through a bunch of high-stress innings. As we’ve discussed before: while Hendricks doesn’t have front-of-the-rotation stuff, and likely won’t continue this level (2.28) of ERA success next year, it’s not at all unreasonable to believe he can be a very good member of the Cubs’ rotation next year – even if it features a top external addition, Jake Arrieta, and a second quality external addition.
  • With two very good final starts, by the way, Hendricks could be looking at 90ish innings, a 2-point-something ERA, 8 or 9 wins (though I lament the stat, voters consider it), and a WAR approaching 2.0. Where am I going with this? He could actually get some down-on-the-ballot Rookie of the Year votes. That would be pretty cool.
  • Javy Baez tells the Tribune that he’s not looking to bulk up this offseason, and might even like to drop down from about 220 pounds to 210/212. And even the 220 is down from the 235 Baez says he was at to start Spring Training. The tricky part for younger guys can be sustaining weight – wherever you want to start – throughout the long season.
  • Yasiel Puig talks about his workout buddy, Jorge Soler, in this LA Times piece. Puig says good things about Soler’s future. And then someone criticized him for being too flashy. Probably.
  • Speaking of Soler, he’ll likely start all six of the Cubs’ remaining games, given the off-day in between the final two series. He was pulled early on Saturday because of wet conditions – good call, RR – and didn’t start yesterday, per his hamstring recovery protocol (Cubs.com).
  • Patrick Mooney writes about the Cubs’ plans to pick up pitching this Winter, and nails it when remarking that, while it is worth continuing to try to hit on reclamation types, you can’t expect to be competitive doing that, and you can’t expect it to keep working out so well. In other words, the Cubs have to pony up for some tried-and-true types (of course, even those guys don’t always work out).
  • Speaking of the impending JumboTron at Wrigley Field, Kyle Hendricks told the Tribune: “It will be nice, and the fans are going to like it, to be honest with you. The players are going to like it. All around it’s a good idea …. There has been some debate about it, but everyone’s going to realize it was much needed and it’s not going to change the atmosphere at all.” And he went to an IVY LEAGUE school, so you know he knows what he’s talking about. I look forward to the JumboTron.
  • A potential GM vacancy to keep an eye on: Atlanta Braves. It sounds like Frank Wren could be in hot water.

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