NL Central Links: Miller, Gomez, Cubs

A pair of intra-division matchups are on tap for the weekend as the Cardinals host the Cubs for a three-game series and the Pirates travel to Miller Park for a three-game set against the Brewers.  The Reds, meanwhile, will host the Rays in interleague play and face a tough matchup in Tampa ace David Price tonight.  Here's some news from around the NL Central…

  • Shelby Miller has struggled in his first two starts of 2014, and as Fangraphs' Dave Cameron explains, Miller's problems began at the end of last season, which explains his near-total absence from the Cardinals' playoff run.  An injury could be responsible for Miller's issues, "but this version of Shelby Miller isn’t very good, and unless he flips a switch sometime soon, [the Cardinals are] going to have to start looking for alternatives."
  • Carlos Gomez's strong 2013 season and his red-hot start to 2014 has made his three-year, $24MM extension from the Brewers "look like a steal," in the words of Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe.  Gomez's extension, signed in March 2013, kicked in this season and keeps the center fielder in Milwaukee through the 2016 campaign.  As Jaffe notes, it's rare for a player to improve as much as Gomez has after amassing over 1000 PA in the Major Leagues.
  • Jason McLeod, the Cubs' VP of scouting and player development, tells CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney that though the Cubs' system is somewhat lacking in blue chip pitching prospects, it doesn't mean the Cubs will specifically focus on adding a young arm with the fourth overall pick of the 2014 draft.  “We’ve made no secret that we’ve tried to acquire as much pitching as we can….But if you look at our last two drafts, we’ve taken two position players with our first pick, because we felt Albert [Almora] and Kris [Bryant] were the best players at those picks," McLeod said.  "That’s how we’re going to approach this draft as well. We’re not going to draft on need. We’re going to draft the guy that we feel will provide that long-term impact for us.”


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27 Comments on "NL Central Links: Miller, Gomez, Cubs"


Mil8Ball
1 year 3 months ago

And to think Carlos Gomez was largely predicted as the biggest dissapontment for 2014.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
1 year 3 months ago

You cannot underestimate the damage done to Gomez by his prior organization’s attempts to turn him into a slap hitter. It took years for him to get that old swing developed.

He is my favorite player to watch and anyone who thought he was going to be bust failed to notice the improvements started in 2012.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

Though the Twins undoubtably mishandled Gomez, they didn’t try to turn him into a “slap” hitter. They tried to get him to work the count a little and hit line drives so he could utilize his speed more often. The early Gomez was a wild kid who was prone to terrible ABs with lots of pop-ups and Ks. He grew up.

Mil8Ball
1 year 3 months ago

I don’t think they mishandeled him, it was more they gave up too early on him if anything

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

I think it was a little of both. They certainly gave up on him too soon, but at the time, it looked like the had a bunch of OFs waiting in the wings and they badly needed a SS.

When I think of how they mishandled him, I think of how they platooned him in CF with Denard Span, even when he was hot and deserved to play every day. They also tried batting him leadoff when he couldn’t take a walk to save his life. I was also disappointed that the Twins didn’t turn him loose as a base stealer. I think Gomez could steal 65 sacks in a season.

Sky14
1 year 3 months ago

I really liked the Gomez-Hardy swap (the second Hardy trade, not so much) at the time because Gomez was raw in every facet of his game with the Twins. Anybody who saw him play regularly would have saw a guy who was fast but not a good base-runner, missed target on his throws and hacked at the plate, a sort of Willie Mays Hayes. Hard to fault the Twins staff for his problems it just took development, even took three years for him to figure it out with the Brewers. I like what you said in an earlier post, “He grew up”, perhaps it was the fast track in the minors that slowed his development.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

Yep, Gomez was raw, raw, raw. I didn’t like the JJ trade. I was never a fan of him in MIL. Watching JJ flail around at Target Field, who would’ve predicted he’d be a two-time Gold Glover within a couple years.

In hindsight, I almost cannot believe how the whole Johan Santana trade debacle played out.
Johan — Gomez — Hardy — Jim Hoey

Disgraceful!

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
1 year 3 months ago

Well, working the count a little isn’t his thing, and tinkering with that took away what he was best at. He has a lot of natural power to go along with his speed. The Twins were so focused on what he couldn’t do that they became blind to what he could do. It cost them what could have been a building block player.

The Twins make me sad. Supposedly they have changed some of their philosophy, but when I look on the field I see the same players with different names, all trying to be some cookie cutter version of a Twin.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

Good points. It makes me sad too. At least lately.

However, there’s a rather simple explanation that’s been driving them to mold players to do things the “Twins Way.” These types of vanilla players remain cheap for a long time.

Nobody prices themselves out with a good OBP or fielding percentage, but being among the league leaders in RBI, Ks, and saves can jack a player’s price up real quick.

If you have enough of these types of players, you can build a pretty good ball club that can win 90+ games. Until the playoffs come around…

KJ4realz
1 year 3 months ago

So… Money ball?

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

The Metrodome Twins and Oakland A’s were in the same boat financially. The A’s used a more statistical take on player evaluation, while the Twins relied more upon the “eyeball test.” It worked well for a while, until a certain GM took over and ruined the team in 4 short years.

daveineg
1 year 3 months ago

To be fair the Brewers tried the same thing. They wanted Gomez to bunt at least once per game. It was ridiculous for a guy with his power to be bunting so often. It wasn’t until 2012 that they basically freed him up. He still uses his speed on the basepaths, but now he uses all his tools.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

It’s the second week of the 2014 season; A little early to render a verdict.

Mil8Ball
1 year 3 months ago

Technically you are right, but they guy has mashed and looks better at the plate than ever before. Before an impacient hitter he is now waiting for that one bad pitch…and he doesn’t miss often.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

I’m a big Gomez fan. What we’re seeing now is the player who was traded for a top-notch Johan Santana. I’m rooting for him. He’s one of my favorite ballplayers.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
1 year 3 months ago

He’s been very good on my fantasy team too. Oh, and did i mention he plays a stellar center field and gives it his all every time he steps on the field?

He’s a potential MVP candidate by my estimation.

Tko11
1 year 3 months ago

The Cubs are spot on with their drafting strategy. Take the best available player instead of possibly reaching in order to fill organizational needs.

Miller to the pen or AAA and Martinez to the rotation!

raymondrobertkoenig
1 year 3 months ago

The Cubs will continue to do whatever generates the most revenue for ownership.

BlueCatuli
1 year 3 months ago

Really?

Bones
1 year 3 months ago

And real Cubs fans know what the real plan is and doesn’t allow ESPN to dictate how they think.

Ted Matula
1 year 3 months ago

How does losing 95 games generate revenue? They could dump some money into payroll and win 83 games every year and probably increase attendance. Instead they are staying on task with the rebuild, to the detriment of revenue (for now).

Red_Line_9
1 year 3 months ago

The only place the Cubs might hurt revenue wise would be in pre-summer ticket sales. Their simplest, most cost effective fix, would be to improve the bullpen. It’s been nightmarish in the early going.

Jack Miller
1 year 3 months ago

Tiny bit of an overreaction by the cards, two starts don’t determine a season

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

It was just a Fangraphs writer making those claims. I’m sure the Cards are a better judge of Shelby Miller’s capabilities. After all, they actually know the guy.

BlueCatuli
1 year 3 months ago

That “just a Fangraphs writer” happens to be the managing editor and senior writer for the site. Not saying his word is gospel, but he’s incredibly bright and doesn’t just pontificate without some knowledge of the situation.

0vercast
1 year 3 months ago

I didn’t mean to denigrate the writer, I was just surprised that he would be pulling the fire alarm so soon. Fangraphs is a quality resource I frequently read. Nonetheless, the last say belongs to the personnel mgrs of the Cardinals, arguably the finest organization in pro sports. I highly doubt they’re in panic mode, as the article would lead one to infer.

daveineg
1 year 3 months ago

It’s worth noting that Boras is Gomez’ agent. Boras almost always takes his guys to FA. Why did he settle here for a modest deal one year from FA? Gomez made strides in 2012 so his 2013 season didn’t come out of nowhere. My guess is Boras didn’t want two premier CF in the same FA market. He also represents Ellsbury. With Gomez locked up, the demand was greater for Ellsbury. Gomez should still be able to cash in after 2016.