The Cubs continued adding to their starting pitching depth in the past two weeks by trading for righties Eddie Butler and Alec Mills, both of whom had been designated for assignment by their old teams. Notably, the Cubs gave up prospects of at least modest value to acquire those players — righty James Farris went to the Rockies with an international bonus slot in the Butler deal, and outfielder Donnie Dewees headed to Kansas City for Mills. But the Cubs felt Butler and Mills were attracting enough interest to justify giving up talent to get them, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
“Both were getting phone calls,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Thursday in an interview with ESPN 1000. “They have options. They can make starts for you. Finding guys who can make starts for you is very difficult and very expensive. We showed the appropriate urgency to get those guys.”
The fact that both pitchers had options was clearly important to the Cubs, as Rogers notes. But the team also thinks Butler, in particular, has a chance to be more than a depth starter.
“He’s an excellent change-of-scenery guy,” said Hoyer. “Our best example is Jake Arrieta. Sometimes a talented guy needs a change of scenery, and that was our logic with Eddie Butler.”
As Rogers notes, Mills was only designated for assignment when the Royals signed Jason Hammel, whose option the Cubs declined earlier in the offseason. The team’s pursuit of starting depth now raises the question of whether the team would have been better off had it simply exercised the option. But Rogers says a key reason the two sides parted ways was that Hammel had a conflicted relationship with manager Joe Maddon, who Hammel felt didn’t have appropriate faith in him and who frustrated him by pulling him out of games before he would have liked to depart. Though the option on Hammel’s contract was a team option, the Cubs allowed him to decide whether he wanted to leave, and Hammel made the call. Rogers’ sources tell him that was due primarily to his relationship with Maddon.
In any case, beyond Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey, the Cubs now have Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson, along with Rob Zastryzny, Ryan Williams and now Butler and Mills. Of the last four, it has yet to be determined who the Cubs will turn to first should they need extra rotation help in the big leagues.
If Anderson can produce a healthy season with even a .1 WAR I’d consider it a solid pickup. 1-4 look solid, pending regress, and There’s certainly intriguing options at Iowa. Hopefully we won’t need to make the call, but Looks like a solid six man rotation with Anderson and Z/butler combo along with top four. Very confident heading into the season!
Hammel’s offseason seems weirder and weirder with every detail that gets put into print. The Cubs gave him the right to exercise their option on him?
They also have Jake Buchanan as depth, as well as Casey Kelly and Williams Perez.
Maybe Duane Underwood will surprise if a fair chance was GIVEN.At time he look like a middle of the order pitcher that has good stuff like we used to say about CJ Edwards who we know belongs.
I like underwood . Dylan cease looks like the real deal as well . 2 years away though
Maddon was a jerk with Hammel, for the last two years. I don’t blame him for wanting to leave. I’m shocked at the offer he had to settle for. He was a good pitcher and not given the opportunity to finish most games. Lester and Hendricks will be a solid 1-2 again, and arrieta might come back around. Hopefully Lackey still has some gas. Their hitting has one more year of experience, and Schwarber. Maybe Heyward will hit league avg. On our way to another dominant season!
So Maddon gets criticized for putting the team first instead of Hammel’s stats? I wish my favorite teams manager had that “problem”
That’s not what happened. The Cubs had the division on lock yet Maddon pulled Hammel very early in a meaningless game instead of letting Hammel work through the trouble. It made no sense at the time and I can’t blame Hammel whatsoever for being upset with Maddon. Pulling Hammel probably hurt the team more than it helped it because it really amplified the tension between Maddon and Hammel.
Maddon was trying to win games. It doesn’t matter if they had it locked down or were in a tight race or losing the season. It’s the manager’s job to manage the team towards a win. If Hammel had a problem with that then he doesn’t have his priorities straight and should not be on this team.
No. That’s not how you manage. When you have a division locked up you need to give all of your players confidence and experience going into the playoffs. That win over the Dodgers meant nothing.
Yeah but Hammel wasn’t going to make the playoff roster anyway. And I’m not sure I agree with that statement even if he was
@rols1026 Of course you know all, but I’d rather pull him in a meaningless game than send him back out there to get shelled some more and potentially hurt. He got shelled by the Mets, shelled by the Rockies, was on the verge of getting shelled by the Dodgers before he got pulled, shelled by the Brewers, and shelled twice by the Cardinals. All of those starts were during the second half when he’s known to fall apart and get hurt, but I guess taking that into account would’ve gone against your argument. I appreciate that he came back after getting traded to the A’s, but every game he was pulled from in 2016 was for the benefit of the team, yet he threw a temper tantrum like a child. There were tensions between Hammel and Maddon, but the only thing it hurt was his standing with the team. Also, I reckon the Cubs already had a good idea that he wouldn’t be a part of the postseason rotation, but hey, you tried.
Your argument makes absolutely zero sense. How does winning a game when you already have the division on lock help the team? Hammel struggling in the second half helps my arguement…. Lol. He needed to work through his kinks so that’d he’d be ready for the playoffs if called upon. Of corse the team wasn’t planning on him starting in the playoffs, but there are these things called injuries that happen to pitchers all the time. If any starter got hurt Hammel was next in line. He needed to be given more reps so that he’d be ready for the playoffs. And the Cubs FO giving Hammel the option to return clearly shows that they feel the team treated him unfairly. Cmon man, at least make sense if you’re trying to disprove my argument.
You manage to win ballgames. Period. It’s a team sport, you don’t assume anything.
Funny how it’s the same argument as others, only with more detail, yet it only doesn’t make sense to you. Hammel struggling doesn’t help your argument, it proves he should have a short leash, which he did. No need for him to get reps for the playoffs when he wasn’t going to make the roster in general. The Cubs FO letting him decide shows that they knew he had issues with Maddon because HE felt he was treated unfairly, not that they agreed with him. They gave him the option to stick with the team or pack his bags so he could cry elsewhere. Once again, you tried, with this attempt being worse than the first.
IIRC, part of the reason for removing Hammel against LAD was his “all or nothing” tendency. IOW, when he’s on, he’s really on; when he’s off, however, he gets shelled – and he usually struggles to make in-game adjustments to right the ship. Consider the following from 2016:
Hammel’s 5 worst starts (17.2 IP combined): 16.81 ERA, 2.83 WHIP, 5.60 HR/9, 6.62 K/9
Hammels other 25 starts (149.0 IP combined): 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 0.85 HR/9, 7.91 K/9
(Hammel also allowed an additional 5 unearned runs in his worst starts, compared to just 1 unearned run in his other starts.)
So, perhaps Maddon had solid grounds for his quick hook of Hammel against LAD. He may have decided Hammel didn’t have it that day, and history showed he was unlikely to get untracked mid-game. It couldn’t have helped that Hammel’s previous start had been terrible, and the B2B poor performances may have added fuel to Hammel’s frustration as well.
That said, I think Maddon was also eager to use his new toy, Rob Zastryzny, in a favorable matchup (LHP vs. Dodgers lineup), which may have made his trigger finger on Hammel a bit itchier than it otherwise would’ve been.
Only doesn’t make sense to me? OP was the one who first brought up my argument… Lol. Why wouldn’t he need reps? Who would’ve been the next starter in line if someone went down with injury? Way to just ignore that crucial point in your response. Why does he need a short leash if the game in question meant nothing to the team, but quite a lot to Hammel’s psyche? If the Cubs didn’t agree with Hammel about his mistreatment, and knew he wasn’t part of the long term plan, why not just decline his option? Why let him make the choice? Instead of responding like a know it all a-hole, try using substance in your arguments. You might actually earn some credibility that way. Again, your response makes zero sense and failed to address most of my argument. Guess I shouldn’t expect intelligent discussions on the Internet.
I do agree with tedmorgan that part of it was wanting to give Zastryzny reps. Although I think Maddon could’ve done this without pulling Hammel after ~50 pitches. Could’ve even given Zastryzny a start in that series.
There’s a good chance that the Cubs would have considered a 3 man rotation for the playoffs assuming one goes down. And before you bring up “what if more than one starter goes down?” then they have other major problems closing out the season that extra wins would help out with.
The long and short of it was that Hammel sucked towards the end and was on a short leash with the all encompassing goal of winning ballgames.
(The division wasn’t clinched until mid September.)
rols1026: “Instead of responding like a know it all a-hole” – please refrain from verbally assaulting other users like this. People will disagree with you, and, informed or uninformed, they have a right to do so.
Uh-oh, the comment police are here!
If you think that’s verbal assault you may want find a new place to spend your free time.
First off, the OP didn’t claim my post made no sense now did he? So obviously when I say my post coincidentally doesn’t make sense to the person it’s aimed at, I’m speaking solely to you. If someone went down with an injury, the Cubs would’ve been fine to finish out the regular season and then went to a 3 man rotation in the playoffs. So much for a crucial point huh? Just because a game is meaningless doesn’t mean they aren’t still trying to win, but I guess that’s a tough one to grasp. Moving on, I never said they didn’t see him as part of their long term plans, but whether he accepted the option or not, he wouldn’t have been resigned after this upcoming season. The Cubs let him decide as they knew HE had a problem with Maddon, which doesn’t mean they agree with him. What substance did you use in your arguments? Everything you’ve said is wrong, but feel free to offer me some more useless advice. Again, it’s funny how my response doesn’t make sense to you (who it is aimed at) but evidently makes sense to those who are upvoting it, of which you are outnumbered by. Strike three, you’re out, pal.
Hey Cubs fan. Shut up a grow a pair. Not even talking to you.
Your basing the validity of your arguments based on upvotes on the Internet? Man, that’s just sad. You said your argument only doesn’t make sense to me, but obviously OP disagrees based on what his original post said. “They would have been fine to finish out the regular and then went to a 3 man rotation in the playoffs.” That’s quite possibly the dumbest argument I’ve ever seen. So they’d have just used 4 starters for the last 6 weeks? Used 3 starters on short rest all throughout the playoffs? They barely won the World Series as is, no chance they win if everyone is constantly pitching on short rest. Of course they’re going to try to win every game they play but there are plenty of other factors other than winning that are important to consider, something you clearly don’t understand. And why would the Cubs possibly let Hammel make the decision to leave if they thought he was in the wrong? If they felt he was this selfish crybaby that you’re portraying him as, why not just decline the option? People agree with you because they like Joe Maddon and don’t want to believe he could be in the wrong here, not because you’re making any sort of a logical argument. “Strike 3 you’re out” what are you five years old? It really is mind blowing how dumb some people are.
I wish Hawk Harrelson was never a GM maybe my ChiSox would have multiple championships. STL would have never got LaRussa. Another Reinsdorf blunder, Harrelson not smart enough to teach preschool, hopefully he retires soon. Cards been whooping cubbies for 34 of my 36 years,Card’s are due for a couple down years, but they’ll be back on top soon enough
The Cubs have beat the Cards 10 years in the standings since 1980,so they haven’t been “whooping” them just the last 2 years. Get a clue before you post, and have fun with the rebuild…Guaranteed lowest interest rate in all of baseball!!!
Hammel tired if left in too long. He was also less effective as his innings piled up. Joe was doing what was best for him and the team. Arrietta’s walks were up last year but he had a good year. If you meant by coming back around to the previous year, that was never going to happen. He had a run that was better than any pitcher in history. If he repeats 2016, I’ll be happy.
Cubs Starting 5 Innings per start:
Hammel – 5.2
Lester – 6.1
Lackey – 6.2
Arrieta – 6.1
Hendricks – 6.1
Yeah if only Maddon hadn’t been such a mean guy and let him get 1 or 2 more outs, like his far superior counterparts, per game his offseason would have turned out so much different. His homers were up, his walks were up, his strikeouts were down, and his FIP and his ERA+ paint him exactly as what he is, a league average pitcher perfectly suited for a #5 spot. There is a reason Hammels has never thrown more than 177 innings in a season.
Maddon had his moments with Hendricks and Hammel both could have won 20 games. But always pulled early.Don’t be surprised if we have 3 -20 game winner s and a 15 by Lackey his last year as a Cub.
Would you rather have had 3x 20 game winners or a world series championship to boast about?
I vote world Championship.
Arrieta won two road World Series games. He has came around
Maddon had him on a short leash and pulled him the second he got into trouble, which he did with his control. You should be able to get more than 5.2 innings out of a top guy in a world series game. Arrieta was rough to watch from June on.
I was kind of onboard with Maddon’s pitching decisions, until I saw what he did in the post season, then I realized that won games in spite of his game management, not because of it.
Agree with everything you said amishthunderak hope Maddon stop pulling Hendricks early for God sake have faith in him. 2/3 times though the order.
As a Rockie, Butler never really found command of any of his pitches….
It’s worse than that. He also lost a couple ticks on his fb and his killer change completely. They’ll have to rebuild from ground up, and he’s 26. Got a feeling Cubs are going to regret one of these trades at least. I like both the guys they gave up
When he lost the MPH on his fastball he didn’t locate well enough to adjust. So he tried to use his breaking stuff more and couldn’t locate that well enough because pitches don’t break as sharply in the high altitude. The Cubs need him to focus on just locating the stuff he has which was the biggest fix for Arrieta. The stuff is there but you can’t get away with bad location in the bigs.
That’s what they said about Arrieta in Baltimore too.
Butler may have been highly thought of on the prospect list but his pure stuff was not as good as Arrieta. Also there were never any questions about Jake losing MPH on his fastball. People also forget Arrieta was an opening day starter for Baltimore so clearly he wasn’t a complete failure there he just didn’t live up to his potential. That’s were change of scenery and a new pitching coach can make a world of difference. The Cubs didn’t try to change Arrieta’s delivery the way Baltimore was. Also a simple change in position on the rubber helped him locate better.
He’s had great success for two years, but Maddon’s ego doesn’t lead me to believe he’s going to be the best guy for the Cubs within a couple of years. His handling of this is a bit worrisome…but the first WS title in 108 years gives him all the leeway he wants, I suppose.
Lol Maddon’s ego? Because he took Hammel out when Hammel was crapping the bed? Why don’t you watch some regular season games before passing judgement.
What you didn’t like the 7 run first inning he gave up to the Rockies or next game against dodgers when he got rocked:-).
It started in 2015. Maddon had him in a short leash then.
I always watch when CSN games got it covered WGN
You must be a cub fan poo-pooing a championship manager. Maddon had Rays in the mix either winning or competitive for years in A.L. East with zero payroll. He can be as arrogant as wants but he isn’t, he’s not Phil Jackson. His black magic he used on those bums is the only reason they got to W.S. & didn’t wet the bed in LCS. He’ll be managing the Cubs for as long as wants
1) Phil Jackson has won SIGNIFICANTLY more than Joe Maddon. He has earned his arrogance.
2) Those Rays teams were MUCH more talented than you give the credit for.
One guy on the entire team doesn’t agree with Maddon. One guy, who’s ineffectiveness is statistically provable, thinks he wasn’t treated fair. One guy on the entire 40 man roster, and it’s Maddon’s fault? Give me a break.
Actually 2 guys. Miguel Montero wasn’t happy with his role either. Also just because nobody came out and said they were unhappy doesn’t mean they weren’t unhappy. I’m sure Kyle Hendricks wanted to stay in some games and felt Maddox had a quick hook sometimes.
Pirates, Brewers & Reds don’t have funds to compete with STL & Cubs. Always gonna be a 2 team race for the foreseeable future & Cubs are loaded; it’s nice being in a division like NL central stacking wins by beating up on those lower market teams. Pirates window is closed start building the farm Pittsburgh.
I think Pittsburgh is better than the Cards
Tampa Bay, Baltimore, & Toronto didn’t have the funds to compete with the Yankees or Red Sox, but how has that panned out the last few years? Chicago is going to have some serious payroll questions coming up in the next few years. Their window may close before it opens fully again.
What serious payroll questions? They have the majority of the position players locked up via arb or cheap extensions for the next 5 or so years. If by few years you mean in half a decade, then yeah, I guess they could have some issues then
I hope we can’t afford all of the players who will become FA’s after the 2021 season…cuz that means the next 5 years will be awesome.
Rizzo is the only core piece they have locked up on the cheap. In 2018-2019 Bryant, Russel, Hendricks, Baez, Contreras, Schwarber, & Rondon and plenty others are hitting arb and will not be cheap, especially if they buy out years on them. Plus their going to need to buy pitching real soon, either trading from their prospect pool or dolling out money to free agents, for both the bullpen and rotation. If any of the young pieces falter and don’t pan out, same thing, they need to replace them somehow.
I’m not saying they won’t be competitive, but they don’t exactly have a tiny payroll now (7th in MLB) and assuming they don’t plan on living the Dodger’s life and continually being above the luxury tax line for years to come, they’re going to have to make some hard decisions in 2 -3 years.
They will also be losing the salaries of montero, jay, arrietta, lackey, koji, and davis after 2017, freeing up 69 million. 1st year and likely second year arb prices aren’t gonna be crazy and they have the additional revenue generated from a ws appearance and victory. They will also be getting a new tv deal during that time period. They will absolutely be able to afford to go over the luxury limit if need be. So I’m still not seeing how they are going to run into some huge money crunch in the next 2-3 years.
Russel and Baez are both players that contribute the most via glove. That is underpaid in arb. Hendricks also doesn’t post the huge arb counting stats either.
Bryant will certainly be expensive in arb, but that expensive is still relative.
Contreras and Schwarber could both be expensive for arb as well with the way they contribute but with the amount of of depth they have schwarber might not get enough pas to really rack up counting stats. We’ll have to see how Willson’s bat progresses to get an idea of what kind of arb salary he’d be looking at.
And with rondon, we’ll have to see how much time he spends getting saves as well. If he is setup or sharing closer duty, a lack of saves is also going to suppress his arb salaries.
And all of them outside of Montero are expected to contribute heavily this year and will need to be either re-upped or replaced come next season. If they resign Arrieta and/or Davis the $69MM shrinks fast. Replace them with free agents? Same. Running out of money isn’t their problem, if they go over that luxury tax threshold, its going to be for several years and not just one or two, no one is going to pay that new tax (which now includes draft pick loss) just to keep a core together.
Russel and Baez may not rack up high averages but they do have power (and Baez speed) and, on a team like the Cubs, a good chance of racking up high RBI’s, which do drive up arb prices. and While Hendricks doesn’t post huge K numbers and his ERA will probably climb, he still limits walks and that offense will allow him to flirt with 20 wins, which drives up arb prices.
If Wilson’s bat doesn’t hold up, they’ll be needing to bring in someone to either split time or take over for him as his defense wont carry a poor bat. And if Schwaber isn’t raking up PA’s, it’s because his SO got the best of him and they’ll need to bring someone else in because his defense isn’t going to carry him. If these guys arb prices are low it’s because they’ll need replacing and they won’t stand pat with poor offensive and defensive players that aren’t cutting the mustard.
If Rondon isn’t closing come arb time, that means they went out and got someone else to do it, which means more money. Theo tried the split closer thing in Boston where it played terribly and has avoided it like the plague with contending teams since. They lack high upside arms in the upper minors (and the guys in low ball are still low-floor guys) and their rotation shrinks to 2 (3 if one of their depth pieces from this year pans out) controlled guys after the season. They’ll need to restock that, by spending money or by gutting out their farm system, which outside of Happ, doesn’t feature many near ready premier players and isn’t as deep as it was before graduating so many players the last couple years. There’s a reason they didn’t spend big this offseason on a closer or rotation help even though they needed it, they know they need the money sooner rather than later.
You’re overestimating the costs of arbitration.
B Harper settled for $13.6 million in his 2d to last arb year. D Price was awarded just shy of $20 million in his last arbitration year. These costs are manageable for a big market team.
It’s not a problem, not all of the Cubs players are going to hit the Harper/Price level. And if they do, it’s gonna be a sweet 5 years.
And it’s not like Theo is stupid. He can read a spreadsheet just like you. My guess is that he’ll trade off some mlb talent for prospects if/when they develop other minor leaguers. But in the end, I don’t care; I’m just going to enjoy the ride.
Tv deal coming up money to burn
Harper was given a massive $8mm raise in what was really his first trip through the arbitration process as he signed away his first two years and Price also got a massive boost his second trip, his first trip was coming off a down year so he would have gotten even more. Theo isn’t stupid by any means but he’s made his fair share of mistakes (Heyward is looking like an addition to that list) and is loyal to prospects (remember his leave of absence from Boston, Theo was upset they flipped Hanley and Sanchez for Beckett & Lowell while he was gone, and the 2007 title never happens without those two) I too think Theo will flip some of the guys on the roster, but that’s what I’m talking about, trading of assets shrinks the window short term but keeps it open long term. They’ll still have holes to fill outside of retaining their youngsters too.
Not how it works. The luxury tax may not be a salary cap, but there’s a reason so many teams are trying to get away from it. If you get stuck over it, it can hamstring your team with the new penalties, no matter how much capital you have coming in.
The reason the Cubs didn’t spend much on free agents this year is because Theo had specifically said last year they were spending for two off seasons at once (Heyward, Zobrist, Lackey). The Cubs front office knew this off season was a dud. He also said this offseason that if they hadn’t won the World Series they would have made moves they “weren’t confortable with”. They will be back in the mix next year.
Hammel will never have a 15 game win season again. He was lucky the Cubs were behind him. He did not look to be in great shape, sweating profusely. If you can’t get along with a great manager, maybe the problem is you. The team will not miss him. Also the Cards payed way too much for 34 year old outfielder who had two great years but probably is declining.
Excessive sweating is not an indicator of being out of shape. People sweat at different rates. He was in better shape going into last season than he was in his career according to a preseason article. He just will never have the endurance to pitch a long season.
jason hammel always wore down. that’s why he would get removed early. joe was trying to protect him and the club by removing him, before the all star break hammel had numbers just as good as any of the other starters, but he wore down like he always does and ended up with a typical year, decent ERA ballooned because his second half is littered with bad, short starts.