Updating you on the Taylor Family situation – because why else do you come here? The Wife’s sickness turned out to be the flu – like, the legit influenza kind – so that has thrown all of our travels and family’ing for a loop. I took both of the kids with me to one travel stop yesterday solo, which is why there was a little less written here yesterday than typical for a Monday. That’s going to be the case again today, because The Wife is still under the weather, and I’ll be taking at least one of the kids (the other might be too sick to travel now, too) to our next stop. Once again, you’ll likely notice a little less around here than usual, but there should be a few things throughout the day, and probably some evening stuff once I’m able to sit down for a minute. Breaking stuff might be delayed.
In the meantime, some breezy Bullets hammered out while I try to convince the kids that they love quietly watching TV …
- The Cubs did not get Korean infielder Jung-Ho Kang, as expected, but he did come to another NL Central team – the Pirates. Well, that is to say, he will come if the Bucs can sign him to a contract now that they’ve won his exclusive negotiating rights for a little over $5 million. What do we think about this development? Well, the scouting reports were never overly kind to Kang, 27, despite his huge KBO numbers, and the relatively small posting fee seems to reflect an industry acceptance of those reports. Ben Badler hears that Kang could be a nice utility player, and Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projection indicates the same. That’s likely what the Pirates are expecting him to be, given that they’ve already got a solid second baseman (Neil Walker), shortstop (Jordy Mercer), and third baseman (Josh Harrison). If Kang can play all over and put up a 90 wRC+, then he’s probably going to be worth the $4/$5 million annual contract he gets. No one is expecting him to be an impact player.
- A great read from Sahadev Sharma at BP on the Cubs’ moves behind the plate, and where they’re going with this Montero/Ross thing. It isn’t just about pitch-framing, although that’s quite clearly an important piece of the puzzle. Also: by swapping out Castillo for these guys right now, rather than giving Castillo a little more time, we are reminded again that the Cubs believe their window of contention opens in 2015.
- Russell Carleton writes at BP about the time-honored stars-and-scrubs lineup question: is it better to have stars and scrubs, or a lineup of a bunch of average guys? It looks like the answer is what we’d expect – stars and scrubs is better – but only very slightly over the all average lineup. Just as it was with the “balanced lineup” – the effect is what we think, but smaller than what we think.
- Speaking of stars and scrubs, the Giants’ ZiPS projection is out, and there are stars (Posey, Bumgarner) and scrubs (Blanco, Lincecum) getting regular time. I know they just won the World Series, but this is not a good looking team. (Your reminder: just get into the playoffs. That’s all that matters.)
- After an 0-4 night with a couple strikeouts, Javier Baez’s Puerto Rican line is down to .346/.400/.654 (“down”). The good news is that those two strikeouts were the first in a little while. He’s now at 11 Ks in 30 plate appearances (36.67% – it’s falling!).
- In case you missed it last night, we discussed Jason Motte’s contract structure, which includes bonuses tied to games finished.