Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
It's an underrated facet of baseball, something that's often overlooked when analyzing a team. But when it comes to the 2010 Cubs, it can't be ignored. As the title suggests, I'm talking about defense.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
"What, Brett Favre flew to Minnesota? You mean, you mean he might come back to the Vikings? Ohmygodohmygod! This is unbelievable! This is the story of the year! Which is crazy, because it was also the story of the year in 2009! And also in 2008! I can't believe he might actually come back! I never in a million years thought that $20 million and a chance to go to the Super Bowl could lure him back with that bum ankle of his!"
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Chicago gets right-hander Robinson Lopez, right-hander Tyrelle Harris and left-hander Jeffrey Lorick according to the Cubs, who will send the Braves money in the deal.
Baseball America ranked Lopez 16th among Braves prospects before the season and suggested that he "may be the biggest sleeper in the [Atlanta] system." He's still just 19, but his numbers in A ball haven't been as impressive as the ones he posted in his Rookie ball debut last year. Lopez has a 4.37 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 so far in 2010.
Harris, 23, has played at three levels this season and has now reached AA. Overall, the reliever has a 2.90 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. Lorick, also a reliever, has yet to reach AA, but the 22-year-old has solid numbers so far in 2010: a 2.24 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.As always, we'll have to wait and see how this trade ultimately pans out. But for now, kudos to Hendry for getting something done even after the trade deadline, and I bid a fond farewell to Derrek Lee. I wish him the best; I'd have no problem seeing him win his second World Series ring a couple months from now.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
- If the season ended today, we'd have the Twins vs. the Yankees, the Rays against the Rangers, the Reds would battle the Padres, and the Giants would face the Braves. Wow. By the way, not one of those NL teams made the postseason last year.
- The Orioles roster includes four former Cubs: Jake Fox, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson and Cesar Izturis. Until they traded him recently, they also had Will Ohman. Looking at those names, it's obvious the Cubs have damning photographs of Orioles President and former Cubs President Andy MacPhail.
- Have you seen what Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is doing? You may recall that he hit for the cycle, including a game-winning home run, against the Cubs recently. But that certainly wasn't his only great game this year: he's second in the NL in batting, sixth in home runs and fifth in RBI. And he's only 24 years old.
- On that note, what's with the triple crown candidates this year? Joey Votto and Albert Pujols are both in the top five in all three categories, as is Miguel Cabrera in the AL. Josh Hamilton is just six RBI short of doing the same.
- The Cubs have fallen behind in the strikeout race: they're fourth with 62 fewer than the Giants.
- The Rays lead the majors with 140 stolen bases. No other team has more than 109. The Cubs have 42.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Dodgers fans are no doubt happy about the team's deadline trade with the Cubs, at least for now. Overall, the Dodgers are just 4-4 since they acquired Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot--certainly they'll have to do much better if they hope to catch the Giants or Padres--but the two former Cubs have performed well.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I can't resist the temptation to write about the Cubs after a rare win, and a blowout one at that. The Cubs dished out a tiny bit of revenge yesterday, scoring 14 runs in a three-inning span and slamming three three-run homers en route to a 15-3 win that gave the Brewers a small taste of their own medicine after their 18-1 shellacking of the Cubs on Monday. The Cubs still, you know, suck, and they remain in fifth place in the division, but nevertheless: Take that, Brewers!
- Colvin leads all rookies with 17 home runs.
- Among rookies with at least 200 at-bats, Castro has the second-highest average (.318), behind only Buster Posey.
- Castro's average would rank him third in the NL if he qualified.
- Castro's OPS (.823) is third-highest among rookies.
- Castro has five triples, the most for a Cub since Juan Pierre had 13 in 2006.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Jim Hendry had to trade Ted Lilly, and he did. That Ryan Theriot was included in the deal with the Dodgers was a bit of a surprise, but not an altogether bad one. But was the move good or bad overall? How'd Hendry do?
First of all, no one will know the answer to that question for sure until several years from now. Analyzing trades at the time they happen, especially when prospects are involved, is always a guessing game. Ricky Nolasco was something of a throw-in in the trade for Juan Pierre, but he has 12 wins this year. On the other hand, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was a key piece of the Mark Teixeira trade three years ago, yet he was still stuck in the Rangers' minor league system until he was traded to the Red Sox on Saturday (not because of struggles at the plate, but rather a mental block preventing him from consistently throwing the ball back to the pitcher accurately). So, you know, who knows?
But on the surface I'd say the trade was solid from Jim Hendry's standpoint. Let's break it into two parts:
1) Lilly for Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
Once again, Lilly simply had to go. The Cubs would have gotten nothing for him had he left as a free agent at the end of the season, so it made sense to shop him around. While the Cubs had to pay a portion of his remaining salary, the trade netted two minor league pitchers. From Bleed Cubbie Blue:
The other pitcher is , who was a fifth-round pick of the Dodgers in 2006. Smit struggled as a starting pitcher in their system for four seasons. This year they made him a reliever and he's thrived in that role. He's got a 5-3 record with a 2.49 ERA and six saves for Inland Empire in the Cal League, and if you know anything about the Cal League you know how tough it is to pitch there. He's got a 91-93 mph fastball and a hard curve. He's also been working on a splitter. Unlike Wallach, Smit throws strikes already: he's walked only ten batters in 53.2 innings this year. He was promoted to AA just before the trade, so I'd expect to see him start in Tennessee. His upside is probably middle-reliever, but potentially a good one.
Nothing fantastic, but two solid prospects. Given that the Diamondbacks didn't get any sure things for Dan Haren, it's understandable that Hendry couldn't get any studs in return for a (hard-luck) pitcher with just three wins. Given the Cubs' bullpen woes this season, they could use a couple more prospects in the system.
2) Theriot for Blake DeWitt
A swap of second basemen, though DeWitt has played third about as much as second in his career. DeWitt is definitely not a huge upgrade over Theriot, but the upsides are his age and his contract status.
Whereas Theriot is 30 and probably won't get much better than his career .287/.350/.362, DeWitt is just 24 and at least has the potential to improve upon his very similar-looking .277/.357/.381 slash line. DeWitt also hit double-digit home runs all five years he was in the minors. He probably won't ever hit for much power, but his OPS is over 70 points higher than Theriot's this season. From MLB Trade Rumors:
Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein calls his the "prettiest swing you'll see never turned into results," calling DeWitt a "constant source of disappointment" for the Dodgers.
Well that's not great, but again, the potential seems to be there.
DeWitt's defensive Zone Rating (don't ask) is also significantly higher than Theriot's (3.8 compared to 2.9).
And while Theriot is already in his first year of arbitration and is only locked up through 2012, DeWitt is under team control through 2014, meaning the Cubs have found a cheap, long-term solution at second base and won't have to scour the free agent market this offseason. Given that DeWitt is a lefty, there may be a chance that Fontenot will get dealt after the season.
This trade certainly didn't blow anyone away, but it's nice to have a couple more arms in the minors and I have to appreciate Hendry's creativity as he found a way to not simply make the obvious trade, but to fill a future need (second base) in the process.