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Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

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Steve Stone mailbag: Mike Quade's 2011 status

Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2010
11:40 PM

Steve Stone dives into his mailbag to answer your questions about the White Sox's recent acquistion of Manny Ramirez, Mike Quade's 2011 staus and more!

Tony, Chicago -- What are your thoughts on the White Sox claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers? Don't you think they should be more focused on pitching than offense?

Steve Stone: You can't really choose who is going to go on waivers. If at the time, they knew Eric Threets was going to be lost to the club, there is a good chance or possible scenario, Brian Fuentes to be claimed before Minnesota. But that wasn't the case. Kenny didn't have the luxury to wait and because Threets was throwing very well and it's still believed Thornton is not injured badly, they went after a hitter.
Roman, Hobart, Ind. -- Now that Frank Thomas Day has come and gone, what are your favorite memories of the Big Hurt playing on the South Side?

Steve Stone: You have to understand I was not on the South Side for his career. I was doing some baseball on the other side of town and consequently because our games was, most of the time, completely different in time and time zones, I didn't get to see a great deal of his career. Safe to say, he was one of the great hitters of all time. When you ask me about the great recollections, that is Hawk's plate.

Kate, Chicago -- If Mike Quade ends the season on a winning note, what are his chances of returning next season to manage the Cubs?

Steve Stone: As far as his chances, I said I like him as a good solid baseball man. I believe he knows the game, he certainly pays his dues and understands the culture, but there isn't much I don't like. I think he could make a good manager; I don't think he should manage the Cubs next year but then again, I don't have the decision to make. I am thankful for that and wish him best of luck; he is a quality man. We will have to see what Hendry and Ricketts feel about Quade, but about the many worthy candidates for what I believe is the last and greatest sports challenge -- to win a world championship in the uniform of the Chicago Cubs. If you know someone 102 years old, they were just being born when the Cubs won their last one.
Tommy, Winfield -- What are your thoughts of Sammy Sosa's recent comments about the Cubs not caring about him?

Steve Stone: I think they are very accurate as far as Sammy is concerned. The sad part is, there are a lot of things said and done at the time that maybe, maybe some people felt later on that they shouldn't have said. I know that probably applies to Sammy. I would hope that applied to the Tribune Company. After the death of Harry Carry in February 1998, having been on that broadcast with Harry's grandson Chip, what we were selling was Sammy and the Ivy. The Cubs had a very good break in '98 and made it to the playoffs in the Wild Card, only to be knocked out by Atlanta. Up until 2003, they were not great years and Sammy was a big part of the show most of the time, and sometimes the whole show. He probably made them about 200 million. When a guy does that for you, he deserves a little more consideration as you shoved him out the door. With that being said, we can just go back and perhaps bring him back into the family. I know about his performance-enhancing, but many players with the same cloud over their head. I believe he was an intricate part of the past. I think he should be welcomed back into the family some where down the line. This opinion won't be shared by tons, but that's how i feel about the situation.

John, Chicago -- What has surprised you most this season in MLB?

Steve Stone: Its hard to pin down one thing, but if I were to delete everything as a whole, the most surprising team, the Padres. They have done a tremendous job with a low payroll team in a small amount of time in putting together a ball club that has all the marks of a team going to the playoffs. It's a magnificent story. The Rangers are a good story, but not quite as surprising being in a four-team division and as many stars on that team that they were able to put that race to bed in the West. Omar Vizquel having an opportunity to play a lot more than expected and play better than people thought he could play. If the Sox go on to win, he will be one impressive array of contributors and one of the most surprising. Starlin Castro is also a great story of the year as the Cubs are concerned. It appears he is going to be an excellent player. Don't worry about those errors, they happen. He is here to stay. In my estimation, he could become a truly great story on the north side of town.

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.