Quick Cubs Hits

- Xavier Nady won't be ready to play regularly until...June!

The exclamation point is for a little joke going around the TCR comments, but Piniella said they'll be cautious with Nady through the cold weather.  Considering he was suppose to be a 4th outfielder/pinch-hitter/short side platoon for Fukudome, it probably won't matter as much as I'm sure the Internet is about to make it out to be, but it could affect the roster construction. Sam Fuld who can play all three outfield positions moreso than Tyler Colvin could get a little edge if spring training numbers are close. Or the Cubs could finally go through with an 11-man pitching staff, considering two of them will be the losers of the 4th/5th starting rotation race.

- Milton Bradley spoke again, this time to ESPN. I'd rather watch back-to-back replays of the 2005 and 2006 World Series than revisit another Bradley story, but everyone else seems to think it's worth commenting on. He doesn't seem to say anything new except some odd reporting baiting about whether hate mail may have come from within the Cubs organization. Bradley doesn't outright deny the accusation, leaving it open with a "Who cares" and "I don't care to know". Scandalous!

Look, Bradley is (as reader "jumbo" wrote), the "ultimate narcissist crossed with a conspiracy theorist".  He'll never accept responsibility for himself and nothing will ever be his fault. Hendry knocked out the response with his:

 I think it's time maybe Milton looked at himself in the mirror. It is what it is. He didn't swing the bat; he didn't get the job done. His production was the only negative, or lack of."

But the Cubs are equally at fault, they signed him without knowing what they were getting themselves into and without putting anything into place to deal with his personality. Nothing that happened last year was a suprise to anyone but the Cubs, yet they handed out the three-year deal and they're the ones that thought Milton didn't need any special treatment. The Cubs are the people that buy rottweilers and then are shocked when it eats their kids. "But it looked so cute and playful at the pet store!"

- Remember this comment from Aramis Ramirez earlier in the spring?

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez refused to take batting practice against teammates during live BP on Saturday. When asked about it, Ramirez said he never takes batting practice against teammates. That’s just something he doesn’t like to do.

We all seemed a bit suprised by the statement, but it seemed reasonable enough. Problem is, our pal Arizona Phil who has been watching spring training for as least as long as I've been here at TCR (2005) and probably much longer, recalls things differently.

I thought it was odd when Ramirez didn't take "live" BP against Cubs pitchers at Fitch Park a couple of weeks ago, when it was said in the media that it's not that uncommon for the "big leaguers" to do that... except it IS unusual.


Ramirez took "live" BP in all other previous seasons, and he was the ONLY Cub hitter to not take "live" BP this year. And then in the 50-swing BP work-out at HoHoKam the day before the first Cactus League game, Ramirez did not get good swings until the last ten or so, when he was able to drive a couple of HR.

Hopefully it's just some oddness, but I wouldn't be too surprised if he's hiding an injury either.

- Jason Frasor is the hot topic for the Cubs and Twins to bring in as a reliever. Frasor had a great 2009 with a 2.50 ERA and 11 saves, to go along with 17 saves in 2004. Phil Rogers reports that the Blue Jays are looking for an outfielder in return and speculates on Tyler Colvin or Sam Fuld. Fuld wouldn't bother me, although the Cubs would certainly need to add an arm or two in there to complete the deal. But Colvin's been putting on a show in spring training and bulked up and looks like he's the first round pick he was meant to be. I'd be more than hesitant to trade him. Even though he doesn't have a job now with the Cubs, he has 3 minor league options left and there's no reason to rush him out of the system for an unspectacular arm, considering the run of bad luck and health the Cubs seem destined to run into.

While Frasor did have a good 2009, his career FIP is 3.80 that nearly matches his career 3.78 ERA. He keeps the ball in the park(0.79) and has good strikeout rates(8.29) and would be leaving the AL East. And he did pick up a change-up after 2008, which could be the reason behind his improved season. On the other hand, the Cubs would presumably be paying the whole bill and I don't think trading a potential 25-30 HR threat that could play center field on a "regular' basis (Jim Hendry's words on WGN on Saturday) for a reliever is a good use of resources. You'll find nothing in Colvin's past minor league records to support the assertion that he could be a starter or bring mad power, but you wouldn't have found them in Geovany Soto's either before 2007. Prospects mature at odd rates and Colvin is becoming an interesting option.

Comments

I think a big part of anyone's take on Colvin is how much you buy into his arm injury costing him power as a hitter. The .220 ISO that he put up in AA certainly plays into the theory that as he moved farther away from his surgery some of the long projected power returns.

If my Lilly prediction comes true, I will hate myself.

I'd trade Colvin or anybody else in the farm system if I thought it would get the Cubs to the World Series. Having said that, I don't see this team (even with minor tweaks...i.e. Frasor) playing baseball in late October this year. I see ownership watching to see if anyone working for the Cubs actually knows what their job is, and how to do it well. A lot of big contracts could be gone after this year -- Pinella, D. Lee, Lilly, Nady. Wouldn't Colvin also be able to play 1B? He might be an interesting LH option if he truly becomes a 20-25 HR potential bat.

Thanks for the nod in the post, Rob. It's been fun talking shit about MB

The problem I see with Colvin going forward is his complete lack of plate discipline. For every Vlad Guerrero that makes it with piss poor plate discipline, we see a thousand Jayson Nix,Kpatt,Mike Caruso's flaming out.

I just don't see any way that Colvin isn't exposed by MLB pitching over time. Ryan Harvey looked really good in BP too.

Tyler Colvin: .277/.320/.465, 105 walks, 341 K's in 1868 PA's
Ryan Harvey: .247/.300/.458 142 walks, 639 K's in 2329 PA's

Isn't Colvin considered more athletic than Harvey, as far as being able to play all 3 OF positions?

Harvey struck out at a clip of 27% per PA, awful.
Colvin is at 18.25%.

not a real fair comparison imo...20-25% is the worry point for me.

IF Colvin has really added this newfound power to his game, he'll walk more just by virtue of guys working around him and IF he can play center field on a regular basis, anyone should be thrilled with an .800 to .850 OPS guy.

but as I said, if you're just looking at his previous minor league numbers, there's not a lot to like.

He's not gonna morph into Fukudome patience at the plate, but 40-60 bb's isn't out of the realm of possibility (he actually had a decent iso OBP in 2008 although his overall numbers did suffer).

Rob and I had a discussion about this the other week.

First off, he's not Vlad Guerrero - Vlad had ridiculous plate coverage.

What you want to look at is K rate and Colvin K's about average. He doesn't walk a lot or to this point hasn't hit for so much power, but if he K's 100 times and hits 25 HR's - that's a pretty useful player in CF even if he only walks 25 to 40 times.

That's about the best I think anyone could hope for at this point- 25 HR's 40 BB's a .280 average, sniffing .500 slugging and holding his own in CF.

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  • When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.

    I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.

    VirginiaPhil 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.

    The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.

    Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.

    Old and Blue 5 hours 1 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 14 hours 3 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 14 hours 46 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 14 hours 57 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 15 hours 4 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 15 hours 7 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 15 hours 18 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 15 hours 24 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 15 hours 40 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 15 hours 40 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 18 hours 31 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 21 hours 4 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 21 hours 37 min ago view
  • If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.

    If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.

    Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.

    chitownmvp01 21 hours 38 min ago view
  • The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.

    billybucks 23 hours 35 min ago view