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Very Bad News for the Brewers on Nelson, Maddon’s Unique Value, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

A few sleepness nights (one caused by The Littlest Girl’s sickness, one caused by an early-rising Little Girl who was separately sick, and one caused by my own sickness) have taken their toll on me. Last night, The Wife had to repeat herself several times before I could fully grasp a couple statements she was offering, and she said that confirmed that I am sleep-deprived. If anything around here has been incomprehensible the last two days, blame my tired brain.


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  • Good news on the pitching front for the Cubs in the big series against the Brewers: while the Brewers wound up having to lean heavily on the best of their bullpen in the Pirates series, the Cubs gave their top arms a break yesterday by getting blown out by the Rays (veteran move). With Jake Arrieta making his return today on a pitch count, that could loom large.
  • Very bad news for the Brewers in the longer term, as Jimmy Nelson’s shoulder injury ended up being worse than they were hoping once they got in there for surgery:

  • Labrum injuries are just about the worst thing that can happen to a pitcher, and it’s an injury that has nicknames like “The Career Ender,” “Baseball’s Toughest Injury,” and “A Pitcher’s Death Sentence.” The rate of pitchers coming back from it at the same level they had before is very low. Just a terrible break for the Brewers and for Nelson, who’d emerged as one of the best starters in the NL, and then jacked up his shoulder because he took an aggressive turn at first base and had to dive back.
  • Among other things, Kyle Schwarber is working on choking up in contact situations, though without sacrificing too much power (CSN). He’s still a work in progress, but it’s impossible not to be encouraged by what he’s done in the second half.

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  • I really enjoyed this read at ESPN about Joe Maddon’s path with the Rays, and how he fit with what they were trying to do (and how that, in turn, helped create the manager he is today). A quote from his former boss, Andrew Friedman, on the subtle things Maddon would do: “And one thing that Joe did really well when being mired in something, human instinct is X and he had a tremendous ability to rise above it and do the opposite. I feel like it benefited our players in a lot of different ways and often times they didn’t realize it in the moment, didn’t necessarily appreciate it in the moment, but that over time was wildly beneficial.” I think that’s probably true not only with the way Maddon manages young players and veterans, but also the day-to-day decisions he makes about who plays and when. It may not always look great in the moment, but there’s a longer game at work. It can’t be a coincidence that Maddon’s teams are always this good in the second half.
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
  • Hector Rondon felt fine after his bullpen session yesterday, but he still might not appear in a game for a few days (Tribune).
  • Old friend Clayton Richard had a rejuvenated year with the Padres (at least by the underlying metrics, if not his ERA), and he’s sticking around, signing a two-year extension worth $6 million.

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  • In case you want to take a trip to Milwaukee tonight to watch the Cubs:

  • One of the most interesting relief prospects in baseball (because of the huge success in the the low minors, the physical size, and the wide range of possible outcomes) is now a top 30 prospect for the Cubs:

  • Man, you can rip on sabermetrics all you want, but the Pythagorean Theorem has been around for millennia and it never hurt nobody:

  • So, former Cubs outfield prospect Jacob Hannemann won the minor league Gold Glove (there’s one for the entire minor leagues) in center field, and it’s wholly deserved, because the guy is a defensive stud. I’m reminded that the Cubs essentially let Hannemann go so that they could pick up Leonys Martin, instead. Martin was insurance, so I can’t rip the Cubs too much for getting him, even though he hasn’t actually been needed all that much (and certainly hasn’t done anything that Hannemann couldn’t have done yet, assuming Hannemann could also toss an inning). The Mariners actually brought Hannemann up to the big league level, where he’s been a bench piece, and I wish him well. It’s possible the Cubs weren’t going to keep him on the 40-man roster all offseason anyway, making this entire discussion moot. But there’s a part of me that wishes they’d found a way to give him just one more year to see if the bat would come around.

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  • An addendum to yesterday’s Jon Lester discussion, and the importance of location for his four-seamer (we’ll have more on Lester soon):

  • A play in three acts:

https://twitter.com/BleacherNation/status/910652973310758912


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Brett Taylor

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