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Rondon’s Role, Trade Valuations, All Cubs Playoff Wins, and Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

hector rondon cubsWith The Littlest Girl home with me during the workday for the next month and a half, I’m having to train myself not to respond to her every cry when I know her needs have otherwise been met. I know that sounds like a non-problem, but, man, it’s tough. I know she’s OK … but she’s crying. She needs her daddy! WHY ARE YOU TAKING ME FROM HER!?!? I SHOULD RUN RIGHT NOW!!!

… and what do you know, she stopped. She’s fine, Brett. And she’s learning. Keep typing.

  • Although Hector Rondon has been bumped from the closer role with the Cubs twice now in the past six months, Theo Epstein told CSN that it wasn’t about Rondon – it’s just that there are fewer than 10 pitchers in all of baseball for whom you’d bump Rondon, and Aroldis Chapman and Wade Davis just happen to be two of them. If healthy and effective, Rondon would give the Cubs one of the best setup options in baseball, pitching behind one of the best closing options in baseball. Given the questions about that health and effectiveness, however, after an ugly August and September (though it’s debatable just how much those months actually meant and just how bad he actually was or wasn’t), I would say that the Cubs couldn’t afford to be caught flat-footed in April, just in case. Thus, the addition of Davis. And, if Davis deals with any arm issues, hopefully Rondon is Rondon, and the Cubs have one of the best back-up closers in baseball.
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  • Fun fact on Rondon? His xFIP in 2016 (2.90) was actually better than in 2015 (3.50). Is that 18.2% HR/FB ratio from 2016 actually sustainable? Almost certainly not.
  • Dave Cameron writes at FanGraphs comparing the Adam Eaton trade to the Nationals with the Dexter Fowler signing by the Cardinals. Which was the better move? Well, it actually depends a great deal on how you value the prospects that were sent to the White Sox, but, as near as we can tell, the deals were actually very similar in total value (hey, it’s almost like professionals in front offices kind of have an idea what they’re doing). The Eaton trade has been panned by many as a panic move by the Nationals, but there is some thinking that the top prospect they gave up – pitcher Lucas Giolito – is not the tip top arm many believed him to be earlier this year. And further, the deal the Cardinals signed Fowler to – five years and $82.5 million – is just about what his actual value projects to be.
  • This will make for some very nice holiday viewing:


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  • I saw this video of what appears to be an intentional slap bunt all the way into the outfield, and it got me wondering about whether this could be replicated with a high enough rate of success to make it worth trying. I’m guessing probably not, but there’s so much space to work with when the infield is already coming in for your bunt:

  • Which Cub would you most want to see giving that a try? You’d need decent speed, serious bat-to-ball and wrist skills, and would ideally bat from the left side. I wonder if Ben Zobrist could pull it off. Obviously Javy Baez has a lot of what you’d look for in something like that. Kris Bryant would probably put it over the left field wall if he tried, which I guess would also be fine.
  • While you’re enjoying pondering that, you should like Baseball is Fun on Facebook for more like that:


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  • Ah, the annual Cardinals Voodoo Magic recipient arrives:

  • Michael found an old video of Harry Caray on the Late Show with David Letterman, telling stories about the Cubs, Wrigley Field, and, yes, drinking. Miss you, Harry.
  • The physics of a batted ball is crazy enough that when you try to figure out not only the ideal launch angle but also the ideal *directional* angle to maximize distance, you find out that there is a not a simple answer. One short version? Balls hit down the lines are likely to be hit harder than balls from gap to gap, but because of the spin you typically see on those balls, they won’t travel as far as balls hit to the power alleys. Read Eno Sarris’s super nerdy (in the best way) take for more, but the super short version: all else equal, it seems like the pull-side power alley is the best place to hit a ball for maximizing distance.

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  • I am not a season ticket holder, so this is how I’ve gotten the bulk of my tickets over the past several years:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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