Cubs

Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

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Cubs notebook: Colvin and Soto are all in

Friday, Jan. 14, 2011
10:50 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

If you saw that broken maple bat stabbing Tyler Colvin just above his heart, its almost impossible to forget the image. It left him in a Miami hospital bed with a tube in his chest.

It took more than a month before the 25-year-old outfielder felt comfortable enough to go jogging. But Colvin says that he feels strong again and has regained weight from last September. His 6-foot-3-inch frame has filled out to around 210 pounds.

Colvin also insists that hes pushed that freak accident out of his mind.

Im not going to go out there and play scared if thats what youre implying, he said Friday at a Cubs Convention that is clearly marketing youth.

Colvin is featured on the programs cover alongside Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner, two other impact rookies from 2010. Colvin no longer has to answer serious questions about playing first base, but everyone is curious to get a better read on a player who hit 20 homers and struck out 100 times in only 358 at-bats.

Staying is the hard part. You cant get complacent. You just always have to get better, Colvin said. I havent had any setbacks with anything. Im cleared 100 percent to do whatever I want.

Soto gets a huge raise

Geovany Soto avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year deal worth 3 million, a source confirmed Friday. It is a reward for his production in 2010 his .890 OPS was highest among regular major-league catchers, at a cost of only 575,000 and another sign that he is progressing after shoulder surgery.

Four Cubs filed for arbitration on Friday: Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Sean Marshall and Tom Gorzelanny. Marmol who dominated in his first full season as closer (38 saves, 138 strikeouts in 77.2 innings) would be open to a multi-year extension.

Part of the logic behind the Garza trade was that he would be under team control for the next three seasons, but the 27-year-old pitcher hasnt heard much about a long-term arrangement yet.

I have no clue, Garza said. I stay out of that and I wait until I get a call from my agent. I just let him handle that and I take care of everything between the lines.

Radio silence from Wood

Kerry Wood has been promised a role within the organization whenever hes done pitching, and plans to raise his children in Chicago and be a Cub for the rest of his life.

But theres no agreement in place for a future media job Ron Santos eventual replacement on WGN? as one radio station speculated this week.

Wood joked that hes been practicing his calls and he is comfortable in front of the cameras but right now he doesnt even see himself working in radio or television once his playing career ends.

Not at all, Wood said. I dont think that would ever be an interest to me, getting behind the mic on a regular basis and broadcasting anything, much less baseball.

Etc.

Chairman Tom Ricketts said that the Cubs will unveil their 2011 plans to honor Santo on Saturday. A statue outside Wrigley Field and a No. 10 uniform patch would be good places to start. Greg Maddux, who has become a trusted voice in the front office, has to attend to a family emergency and will not be a part of Saturdays baseball management panel at the Hilton Chicago.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

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USA TODAY

Why did Kris Bryant get a first-place vote in this year's National League MVP balloting?

Kris Bryant was the 2016 National League MVP. And despite having what could be considered an even better campaign this past season, he finished seventh in voting for the 2017 edition of the award.

The NL MVP was awarded to Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday night, a fine choice, though it was nearly impossible to make a poor choice, that's how many fantastic players there were hitting the baseball in the NL this season.

After Stanton, Cinicinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto finished second, earning the same amount of first-place votes and losing out to Stanton by just one point. Then came Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon ahead of Bryant.

But there was someone who thought Bryant deserved to repeat as the NL MVP. Yes, Bryant earned a first-place vote — as did everyone else mentioned besides Rendon, for that matter — causing a bit of a social-media stir considering the Cubs third baseman, despite his great season, perhaps wasn't as standout a candidate as some of the other guys who finished higher in the voting.

So the person who cast that first-place vote for Bryant, MLB.com's Mark Bowman, wrote up why he felt Bryant deserved to hoist the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award for the second straight year.

"In the end, I chose Bryant because I believe he made the greatest impact, as his second-half production fueled the successful turnaround the Cubs experienced after the All-Star break," Bowman wrote.

"Though I don't believe the MVP must come from a playoff contender, in an attempt to differentiate the value provided by each of these three players (Bryant, Votto and Stanton), I chose to reward the impact made by Bryant, who produced the NL's fourth-best OPS (.968) after the All-Star break, when the Cubs distanced themselves from a sub-.500 record and produced an NL-best 49 wins."

It's easy for Cubs fans and observers to follow that logic, as the Cubs took off after the All-Star break following a disappointing first half. As good as Bryant was all season long, his second-half numbers, as Bowman pointed out, were especially great. He hit .325 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .548 slugging percentage over his final 69 games of the regular season, hitting 11 home runs, knocking out 21 doubles and driving in 35 runs during that span.

Perhaps the craziest thing about this year's MVP race and Bryant's place in it is that Bryant was just as good if not better than he was in 2016, when he was almost unanimously named the NL MVP. After slashing .292/.385/.554 with 39 homers, 102 RBIs, 35 doubles, 75 walks and 154 strikeouts in 2016, Bryant slashed .295/.409/.537 with 29 homers, 73 RBIs, 38 doubles, 95 walks and 128 strikeouts in 2017.

Of course, the competition was much steeper this time around. But Bryant was given the MVP award in 2016 playing for a 103-win Cubs team that was bursting with offensive firepower, getting great seasons from Anthony Rizzo (who finished third in 2016 NL MVP voting), as well as Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist. While the Cubs actually scored more runs this season and undoubtedly turned it on after the All-Star break on a team-wide basis, Bryant was far and away the best hitter on the team in 2017, with many other guys throughout the lineup having notably down years and/or experiencing down stretches throughout the season. Hence, making Bryant more, say it with me, valuable.

So Bowman's argument about Bryant's impact on the Cubs — a team that still scored 822 runs, won 92 games and advanced to the National League Championship Series — is a decently convincing one.

Check out Bowman's full explanation, which dives into some of Bryant's advanced stats.

Game on as Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis and Alex Cobb turn down qualifying offers

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AP

Game on as Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis and Alex Cobb turn down qualifying offers

During the middle of Jake Arrieta’s 2015 Cy Young Award campaign, super-agent Scott Boras compared the emerging Cubs pitcher to another client – Max Scherzer – in the first season of a seven-year, $210 million megadeal with the Washington Nationals.

Now don’t focus as much on the money – though that obviously matters – as when Scherzer arrived for that Washington press conference to put on his new Nationals jersey: Jan. 21, 2015.

It might take Boras a while to find a new home for his “big squirrel with a lot of nuts in his trees.” Teams have been gearing up for next winter’s monster Bryce Harper/Manny Machado free-agent class for years. Mystery surrounds Shohei Ohtani, Japan’s Babe Ruth, and the posting system with Nippon Professional Baseball. Major League Baseball’s competitive balance tax may also have a chilling effect this offseason.

As expected, Arrieta, All-Star closer Wade Davis and pitcher Alex Cobb were among the group of free agents who went 9-for-9 in declining the one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer before Thursday’s deadline.

With that formality out of the way, if Arrieta and Davis sign elsewhere, the Cubs will receive two third-round picks in the 2018 draft.

By staying under the $195 million luxury-tax threshold this year, the Cubs would have to give up a second-round draft pick and $500,000 from their international bonus pool to sign Cobb, an obvious target given their connections to the Tampa Bay Rays, or Lance Lynn, another starter on their radar who turned down a qualifying offer from the St. Louis Cardinals.

That collectively bargained luxury-tax system became a central part of the Boras media show on Wednesday outside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, where he introduced “Playoffville” as his new go-to analogy at the end of the general manager meetings.

“The team cutting payroll is treating their family where they’re staying in a neighborhood that has less protection for winning,” Boras said. “They’re not living in the gated community of Playoffville. Certainly, they’re saving a de minimis property tax, but the reality of it is there’s less firemen in the bullpen. There’s less financial analysts sitting in the press boxes.

“The rooms in the house are less, so obviously you’re going to have less franchise players. When you move to that 12-room home in Playoffville, they generally are filled with the people that allow you to really achieve what your family – your regional family – wants to achieve. And that is winning.”

Boras also represents four other players who rejected qualifying offers – J.D Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Greg Holland – another reason why this could be a long winter of Arrieta rumors, slow-playing negotiations and LOL metaphors.