Now that the Cubs have traded away everything but the kitchen sink (just about, anyway), let’s take a look at the new-look post-deadline Cubs, which isn’t really saying much since they still suck. Here we present yet another list of ten things, which, while not exactly a top ten list, might still amuse and excite you like a Shiatsu massager.
Top Ten List:
Random Post-Deadline Stuff
10. Offense won’t exactly take that much of a hit.
The Cubs traded away the formidable Reed Johnson and former beast Geovany Soto but still retain Anthony Rizzo (because they were totally going to trade him), Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano, David DeJesus, Darwin Barney and the ever-awesome Jeff Baker. Reed was the only traded Cub position player with an OPS+ over 100 and he played only occasionally so it’s not a big deal. Barney has a sub-100 OPS+ but seriously, you’re not playing Barney because of his bat but because of his glove and the fact that no other Cub who is ready right now is better than he is and can play 2B. So offense should stay pretty much the same until DeJesus and Soriano are dangled for waiver-wire trades, at which point all bets are off.
9. Bryan LaHair took a major free-fall.
Remember when he put up All-Star numbers? The fact that he still has an OPS greater than .800 speaks to how awesome he was earlier in the season despite striking out a third of the time, and how far he has fallen since. He’s still third on the team in OPS behind Rizzo and Soriano because everyone else on the team has no power and can’t take a walk to save their lives.
8. Our pitching is going to be horrible.
I haven’t actually looked at career stats or splits or whatever (I’ll leave that to people with more time and intelligence than I) but if you check out ERA+, the only starter left on the team who has an ERA+ over 100 is Matt Garza, and he’s broken right now (he should be back after this weekend if reports are to be believed). Ryan Dempster and his career-year production are gone. Paul Maholm and his better-than-expected production is gone. Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood can eat innings but they haven’t been lights-out like earlier in the season (there’s still time to work out the kinks though). Then you have the revolving door at the #5 spot with the now-broken Randy Wells, the ever hittable Chris Volstad, and the man-who-would-be-a-pitching-machine Casey Coleman plus a slew of potential spot-starters that could be called up from Iowa but will probably get destroyed. Ewww.
7. WAR calculations must be broken.
WAR, or wins above replacement, is a way to measure how productive and valuable a player is relative to a replacement level player. It should be standardized but the details elude me. Anyway, WAR is broken because it says Darwin Barney leads the team with 4.4 rWAR (Baseball-Reference.com’s preferred calculation method). This is mostly buoyed by his superior defense at 2B because his bat really isn’t that special, even though Barney has entered beast mode by hitting five homers so far this season. I don’t think I trust that defensive component any farther than I can throw it.
6. With another home run, Alfonso Soriano will have 20+ homers every season he has been a Cub.
Yeah, you kind of expect that with the exorbitant contract, but any way you cut it that’s a pretty impressive achievement.
5. Starlin Castro has the power.
He may finish this season with somewhere between 15 and 20 home runs. He’s improved in this category in each season.
4. Carlos Marmol hasn’t actually blown a save or lost a game since early June.
You can look at his game logs. It was a surprise to me too, but better to have a guy get the job done than not, right? I’m sure everyone wants him traded and signing him to an extension was pretty dumb (yes, you totally need a closer on a team that rarely has leads or can put you in save situations) but Marmol has been doing his job more often than not.
Baseball is a cruel sport.
2. The Cubs haven’t won since the trade deadline.
Granted it’s only been two games, so take this fun fact with a grain of salt.
1. No matter how much they suck, they’re still not the Astros.
We’ve talked about the need for a high draft pick during a rebuild so you can read that. Based on the current standings, the Astros have a commanding lead over everyone else for next year’s top draft pick. Unfortunately MLB probably won’t investigate them for tanking better than the Cubs are. Colorado, despite the addition of former Cubs legend Tyler Colvin, has suffered some terrible performances and unlucky injuries and has the #2 pick. Cubs are currently tied with Kansas City for the fourth-worst record in MLB, but because KC has sucked more in the past this leaves the Cubs with the #5 pick in next year’s draft. We’ll see what happens, but rest assured that the Cubs are probably not going to end up sucking as much as the Astros will by the end of the season.