1/31 Cubs and pitching

The Cubs appear to be stockpiling more pitching. FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported the Cubs had signed free agent pitcher Jason Hammel to a one-year, $6 million contract, pending a physical. The Cubs also have reportedly signed free agent pitcher James McDonald to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training. The Cubs would not confirm the reports.

In the last two seasons, the Cubs have signed free agent pitchers such as Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman, and then flipped them at the Trade Deadline for young prospects. They also dealt Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza the last two years, and were able to acquire young talent to the organization.

Hammel, 31, posted some of the best numbers of his career in 2012, going 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 118 innings over 20 starts for the Orioles. He took a step back in 2013, however, finishing 7-8 with a 4.97 ERA in 139 1/3 innings over 26 appearances (23 starts). Part of the problem may have been injury as Hammel was on the disabled list because of tenderness in his right forearm.

From 2009-11, Hammel proved to be a durable back-of-the-rotation starter with the Rockies, throwing at least 170 innings in each of those three seasons while posting a 27-30 record and 4.63 ERA, inflated by hitter-friendly Coors Field. Overall in parts of eight big-league seasons with the Rays, Rockies and Orioles, the right-hander has gone 49-59 with a 4.80 ERA in 989 1/3 innings.

McDonald, 29, was limited to six games last season with the Pirates because of shoulder issues, and posted a 2-2 record and 5.76 ERA. The right-hander was designated for assignment in September, and outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis but refused that assignment, and elected free agency.


Pitching is paramount, as I’ve been preaching for years. These are middling hurlers cited here. Don’t see how they add value to the club. If I’m mistaken,Please point out the error of my way. What I do know and am certain of is that we saw wall to wall stellar pitching in last season’s Playoffs in both the AL and NL. The conundrum is: how can the Cubs find a way to garner that equivalent of outstanding arms?

Well jhosk, how did Feldman add value to the club/organization? How did Maholm add value to the club/Organization? Both were signed after previous injury seasons.
Might Hammel add that same kind of value? Should Bosio work with McDonald on his many bases on balls and he gets it, might that add value?

Yes, I hear you, sir. I just do not see these two as having the same potential Feldman and Maholm had. Hope I’m mistaken. Did you all see the report that Michael Young is retiring? A fan recently asked if Young might be a candidate for the Cubs to sign and I suggested last season he might be a good fit for us in 2014. All that is moot now

Young would have been a good fit for any club last year, he was a very good player with some class. However he made big dollars and there was no reason to add him to a team like the Cubs. He would not have made much a difference.
You could be right on Hammels, but, look at the stats a year prior to signing with the Cubs on Maholm and Feldman. Not much difference, Cub scouts and Management really do their homework on signings, can they hit three times in a row? Its possible.

Well if you take a look at their numbers over their career, Feldman, Maholm, and Hammel have been very similar pitchers. All three have slightly below average ERA+, they have all had similar strikeout numbers; Hammel having the best strikeout rate at 6.5 K/9, all three have had basically the same BB/9 and H/9 over their careers. Am I saying Hammel is guaranteed to be what Feldman and Maholm were? No. But you should get in the habit of looking at some numbers before writing a guy off just because he doesn’t have much “name value”. And as far as McDonald goes, it’s just a minor league deal; no risk high reward. He has front of the rotation stuff. If he can keep his walks down he’ll be a huge pickup for the Cubs. Don’t forget it wasn’t long ago he was a top prospect in the Dodgers organization and was minor league pitcher of the year. When he’s on he’s nearly unhittable (first half of 2012 he was an all-star level pitcher). If Bosio can help him with his control and maybe get him to use a two seamer a little bit more he could be a huge value pickup for the Cubs. Chances that happens though, are pretty slim.

briney212, you stated all better than I could ever have, I agree 100% on Hammel and have nothing to add.
As far as McDonald, as you say, why not? Once again, you worded it very well. Bosio has had some success and so far doing his job very well. I also agree that chances are pretty slim on McDonald, but then again, some guys wake up one day and start trusting their stuff and throwing the ball over the plate.
So, you just never know.

Briney and yourself make some good arguments, Jasper. If I could be permitted to inject some football commentary on this baseball site, would like to point out that tomorrow is 02/02/14, and if one adds those digits, they equal 18, Peyton’s uniform number. Could bode well for the Broncos. Do you follow myself?

Wish I could discuss football with you jhosk, I am only into Football until the Packers are out. Just a Packer fan, not a Football fan. If you are for the Broncos, I hope they slaughter the Seahawks. lol

I hear you, Jasper. I was a Packer fan back in the day when they won the first two Super Bowls with names like Starr, Taylor, and Horning. Don’t have a favorite team these days, but do admire Peyton. He exudes dignity and respects the game and its history, and for those reasons will be pulling for his team tomorrow.

That was Paul Hornung, not Horning. I apologize for mutilating his name.

Thank You

Reviewing 2013 without tape, where are we? Any sports owner should ask, ‘without all our resources, who is on the field day after day?’

At times men better than your current year show their best. What matters is who is better. This is what made baseball the sport year after year.

Today we should forget our standards of reviewing the athletes before us. The fan’s investment is in tomorrow. Invent how to hit something, and see it for three outs until you’re up again.

Forget Len Kasper. He’s fake. Because of this influence, I can not watch my favorite team. Million bucks says he’s a big Kerry Wood advocate day guy. Theo?

Chip got booed out of town and we stuck with worse. A guy that doesn’t think. About baseball…

formula 1, George Wendt, Bill Murray with younger guys like Cusack and each who care enough to invest from after singing after Harry. Cut it off and if we still know who was invited let em vote. All those on record with homage, give them 99 percent with your final call. I’d like to hear a World Series too

Carrie, are you making the move to Mesa? We have not heard from you since the 31st of JAN. Not even an article on the signing of Hammel.
Hope all is well?

I apologize for the lack of posts. Am in Arizona now, and very glad to be done with the snow (unless it stays until April)

Very nice to see you back.

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