Cubs Hot Stove Round-Up
Baseball's fourth season is about to warm up and I'll try and summarize all the gossip every couple of days.
- Ken Rosenthal says that Ryan Dempster won't sign with the Cubs before the Cubs exclusive negotiating window closes on November 13th. A rather wise move by him and his agent. There's no reason not to test the waters and see what is actually available for him as rival teams cannot discuss money over the next two weeks. He still may very well sign with the Cubs on a hometown discount, but that discount will be based on what the prevailing market is offering. Rosenthal speculates a four year deal for Dempster with the Cubs interested in three years. Rosenthal also speculates that if the Cubs cannot resign Dempster, they'll up their efforts on Jake Peavy, which sounds like a grand plan to me.
- Bruce Miles at The Daily Herald says Jim Hendry is ready for the GM meetings this week.
"This isn't a club that needs an overhaul," Hendry
insisted. "It's a 97-win club that just played very poorly for three
games in the postseason. When things settle in and a few weeks go by,
it's not like you need 15 new guys.
"You want to add three or four more guys or shuffle the
deck a little bit. It's the nature of the game. You make roster
changes. People come, people go. It's certainly not an overhaul club.
It's just a club that our goal is to make it better than it was at the
end of the regular season and get ready to take another shot at it."
Miles also suggest that the Cubs are more interested in bringing Kerry Wood back on a one-year deal with a couple of option years. It's likely that Kerry will get some guaranteed multi-year offers though, so we'll see how deep that Cubbie blood runs in Kerry.
- The Trib's Paul Sullivan reports the Cubs have fired Kosuke Fukudome's translator in hopes of finding someone who jells better with him, which I read as "has a better understanding of where the good strip clubs are in each city". Sullivan also guesses that if Fukudome is indeed moved to center field, either Felix Pie's days as a Cub are numbered or they'll find a leadoff hitting second basemen and move DeRosa to right field. The only leadofff hitting second basemen that go from the left side that I can think of are Brian Roberts, Chone Figgins and Akinori Iwamura, unless someone thinks Orlando Hudson is up for the job. I know Brian Roberts will be a hot topic again this offseason, but Andy McPhail did recently mention they'd like to extend him and I'm not sure Figgins or Iwamura will be available either.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.
They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?
He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.
What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.
(All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)
Lester will probably be all right.
I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.
I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.
Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?
He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.
But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.
The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.
Yup. Thanks Q
Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNekUcY-XM
I for one hope that Sosa comes back soon.
O/B interesting you should mention that. Google ESPN Science Aroldis Chapman and you'll be treated to how his mechanics and delivery are possibly historic. It's the 120% of his body stretch plus the torque. They compare him to the Unit and NRyan.
Amazing how much lower the production gets when Bryant runs into a mini-cold streak. He doesn't stay cold for long. If just one of Zobrist or, gulp, Heyward, gets hot, they oughta have one more really nice winning streak in them. Having a closer that you have absolute confidence in can't hurt.
I hope they hold onto Jimenez. Outfield depth is questionable, especially with McKinney, who struggled this year but still, gone.