The Cubs Pitcher You'd Least Like to Face, a New Knuckleball Hope, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs Pitcher You’d Least Like to Face, a New Knuckleball Hope, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The cast is off my foot in favor of a walking boot (though I can’t really “walk” on it for another week), and the doctor said everything looked like it was healing well. I got to see my foot for the first time yesterday after the surgery, and it was pretty shocking. I am not one to be put by the sight of blood or stitches or anything like that – I was excited to see it! – but I’ll confess, I felt sweaty and flushed when that wrapping came off. For one thing, there was far more work done than I realized (three big incisions, one going almost the whole way up my foot), and for another thing, the way the skin was stretched to accommodate the stitches was such a visibly plain reminder that I am, ultimately, just a hunk of meat on bones.

But, the good news is that my foot looks straight for the first time in 15 years! That probably also threw me off, because it was nearly unrecognizable as my own foot. I’ve still got six weeks in the boot, and then some undetermined period of rehab before I’m back to relative normal, but I remain very excited about being pain free for the first time in a long time.

  • Which Cubs pitcher would you least like to face? First, some of the Cubs give their answers:

  • For me, I’d think the answer has to be Kyle Hendricks. If Brandon Morrow blows you away and makes you look silly, everyone will just look on thinking that’s how it was supposed to be. But when Hendricks makes you look stupid – and he does, regularly – you look even more silly because the velocity readings are so humble. Dude will just pick you apart, and you will hang your head in shame.
  • But also, I’d be scared stupid, as a right-handed batter, facing Jake Arrieta’s crossfire delivery. He’s coming right at you, and tracking the ball has gotta be so much more difficult than it is against a more typical right-hander. I would pee. Not a *current* Cubs pitcher, mind you, but he did get mentioned.
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of Jose Quintana – mentioned as one of the possibilities in there – I wanna plug my dive into his exploding strikeout rate from yesterday. If you didn’t check it out, I think it’s worth your time.
  • More ideas to combat tanking, this time from Scott Boras (Tribune): “If you win 78 games you get $2 million more in the draft, or if you win 80 games you get $4 or $6 or $8 or $10 as you go up the scale and you get $10 million in draft money if you wins 86 games. You don’t win more than 68 games, you don’t get a top-five draft pick.” Obviously Boras has an interest in an idea like this, since it would increase draft spending AND free agent spending, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong. The issue I see is that the very best, big market teams – the ones that already should be able to have a scouting and player development advantage from a financial perspective – could stand to benefit the most from a setup like this. Yes, it would discourage tanking, but it would also reward (in a potentially very significant way) perennially excellent teams, making it all the more difficult to achieve the very parity that anti-tanking is supposed to be about.
  • Cameos:

  • Wouldn’t it be fun to see another late-30s knuckleball emergence like RA Dickey:

  • Sometimes I think we forget just how absurd Dickey’s story and run of very high-level success was. The guy was a completely washed up pitcher who’d bounced around and never really made it by the time he was 36 years old. The guy doesn’t even have a UCL in his elbow! And yet here he was, coming out of nowhere to throw one of the most unique knuckleballs we’ve ever seen – it had the great, unpredictable movement, but was paired with much more velocity than is typical. And he could consistently throw it for strikes. That was enough to allow him to be worth 18.1 WAR after he was 36, when he’d been worth just 0.5 WAR to that point in his career. I really want to see a run like that again.
  • Dickey, by the way, is still a free agent. At 42 in 2017, he quietly posted a 4.26 ERA over 190.0 innings for the Braves, which was 1% better than league average. He also gave up an amazing homer to Mike Montgomery.
  • An awesome set of historical tweets about the Cubs:

  • Jeter is savage:

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Author: Brett Taylor

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