The Rundown: Frazier DFA Dismaying, Rotation Injuries Mounting, Rizzo Throws Shade at Ricketts, Schwindel Sets Dubious Record
“Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT, neckties, contracts, high voltage…” – AC/DC, Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)
The decision by Jed Hoyer and David Ross to DFA Clint Frazier before the Yankees series started has me more than a little miffed at the Cubs. It’s not that I expected the 27-year-old to finally meet his potential, nor do I think he is any better than any of the outfielders on the 26-man roster. We know who/what Frazier is, and frankly, he probably would have had to yield to Seiya Suzuki once he comes off the IL. Frazier certainly wouldn’t have made a difference in yesterday’s beatdown.
Still, the timing of the whole thing sucks. When Frazier signed with the Cubs I’d bet he circled this weekend’s games on his calendar. After all, going back to Yankee Stadium to potentially flash the abilities with which he’s teased all of baseball had to be the highlight of his season. Hoyer and Ross thought journeyman reliever Chris Martin was a more appropriate roster choice, however, so the outfielder was sent packing. The Cubs have a little less than a week to trade Frazier or send him to the minors, an option he should decline.
Ross said Frazier was “emotional” after hearing the news, though the third-year manager acted like it was business as usual for the slumping franchise. Words on paper generally lack personality, but Ross actually seemed a little frosty when asked about the decision.
“If you get fired from your job in New York or Baltimore, does that affect you any [worse]?” Ross said. “Only he can answer that question. Bad news either way, right?”
In case you missed it, the Cubs were swept by the Yankees after being outscored 28-5 in the three-game set to fall to 23-36 on the season. Martin didn’t pitch in yesterday’s 18-4 loss, though Frank Schwindel did in spectacular fashion, so cutting Frazier was neither a net positive nor negative for the Cubs. It was just a brutal and cold-hearted decision by the president of baseball operations and his manager.
Team Ricketts has been nothing short of a shitshow since 2018, so much so that I actually looked at the salary implications of the moves. Last week, the Cubs settled with Willson Contreras and avoided arbitration by agreeing to pay him $625,000 more than their initial throw. Frazier signed for $1.5 million (plus another $1 million in incentives), which means the Cubs could save about $975,000 by removing themselves from the obligation to pay him. It’s a bit sad that a big market team might be that cost-conscious, and though that’s probably not the impetus for the move, it’s a shame that it actually crossed my mind.
Speaking of Contreras, more slimy underhandedness may be at play when it comes to the starting catcher. The Cubs could be manipulating his market value in trade or as part and parcel of a potential contract extension.
Perhaps the Cubs felt like they were doing a good deed by essentially granting Frazier midseason free agency, though it seems like Ross was never really interested in giving the young man a chance. The rapid ascension of Christopher Morel probably made the move a little easier for Chicago’s brass to digest, but they didn’t sell it that way so the whole thing just stinks. And, let’s face it, Martin has no future with this team and could have been easily replaced by a lower-paid minor league veteran like Mark Leiter Jr. or Robert Gsellman.
The bigger news is that the Yankees showed the Cubs what a big market team should look like. The Yankees have hoarded championship trophies for a century and have gone to the World Series 40 times in 100 years. Ricketts hoards pennies like he anticipates a copper shortage and the Cubs, who play in the nation’s third-biggest market, have just six World Series appearances with one championship in the same time frame.
Perhaps Frazier should consider himself lucky. I would love to see the Brewers pick him up once he clears, and then watch him destroy the Cubs when the two teams meet on July 4. Yes, I’m actively rooting against the Cubs these days. Thank you, Messrs Ricketts, Hoyer, and Ross.
Cubs News & Notes
- Hoyer defended his decision to DFA Frazier instead of Jason Heyward.
- The Cubs bottomed out this weekend when it comes to hitting with runners in scoring position. A streak of 48 hitless at-bats ended when Ian Happ singled in the 7th inning, advancing P.J. Higgins from second base to third.
- The Cubs’ starting rotation has thinned considerably. Wade Miley joined Marcus Stroman on the IL and Kyle Hendricks hasn’t pitched since June 1 due to dead arm/fatigue.
- Miley has a left shoulder strain and that’s ultimately going to diminish any trade value he might have had.
- Matt Swarmer tied a major league record by allowing six solo home runs to the Yankees on Saturday.
- Suzuki’s recovery from a finger injury is going a lot slower than the team expected.
- Anthony Rizzo called out Cubs ownership for not fielding a consistently winning team.
- The fan-favorite first baseman did tell announcer Boog Sciambi that he’ll be forever connected to Chicago.
- Schwindel said he’s felt no pressure replacing Rizzo, the former face of the franchise.
- Sean Newcomb was activated off the IL yesterday and was promptly battered by the Yankees.
- Seven MLB players, including Contreras, have increased their trade values thanks to strong performances during the last 4-6 weeks. Ex-Cubs closer Carl Edwards Jr. made the list, too. I’m surprised Happ did not.
- It almost feels like it’s time to pay more attention to the Cubs’ affiliates than the big league team. Infielder James Triantos is one guy to keep an eye on.
- David Kaplan rarely pulls any punches and he hit the nail on the head in his reKap of yesterday’s loss. It’s time fans stop supporting this franchise until Ricketts and Hoyer assemble a team that is genuinely trying to win ballgames.
Odds & Sods
If it leaves the yard, by definition it lowers BABIP. I’ve made this argument too many times after too many beers so I’ll let you decide if the metric is truly as meaningless as I believe it is.
Here's an example of why I always say there's a practical cap on BABIP:
Hitters this year, by my count, have thrown 574 pitches. Hitters, naturally, are murderizing them, to the tune of 16 homers and a .796 SLG.
Batter-pitchers are *still* only allowing a .324 BABIP.
— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) June 13, 2022
Climbing the Ladder
“Singing, ‘We’re gonna vent our frustration.’ If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty-amp fuse.” – The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want
Happ had a decent series, but that’s all I’ve got. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle yesterday.
The Yankees blasted 11 home runs over the weekend, though none off of yesterday’s starter Keegan Thompson, who couldn’t get out of the 1st inning. Daniel Norris continues to be ineffective and he could be the Cubs’ next DFA candidate. I’d bitch that he’s keeping Caleb Kilian in the minors, but does it really even matter?
Kilian could be an option to start Wednesday’s game against the Padres.
- Games Played: 59
- Total Plate Appearances: 2,252
- Total Strikeouts: 515
- Strikeout Rate: 22.86%
- Team Batting Average: .242
How About That!
The Braves swept the Pirates over the weekend, running their winning streak to 11 games.
The intentional walk Tony La Russa called for last week with Trea Turner at the plate and a 1-2 count wasn’t the most egregious free pass in baseball history, but it is in the top two.
Mike Trout revealed that Alex Bregman won the controversial fantasy football league that was the source of last month’s onfield extracurriculars between Tommy Pham and Joc Pederson.
Joe Maddon apparently resorted to shaving his head into a mohawk to help stop the Angels’ recent double-digit losing streak. He was fired the same day.
University of Tennessee reliever Ben Joyce threw 29 pitches 101 mph or faster in a recent outing, something no major league pitcher has ever accomplished.
The league shamefully continues to prove that it’s okay with teams blatantly surrendering.
Members of the Angelos family are reportedly fighting over control of the Orioles.
The son of ex-Yankees star Steve Sax was among five U.S. Marines killed in a military training flight last week.
Sunday’s Three Stars
- Matt Carpenter – I had no idea the Cubs-killer played on the Yankees, but I’m quite aware now after he hit two home runs with seven RBI yesterday.
- Schwindel – The only thing that would have been better than his seven-pitch relief appearance would have been if he gave up his tater to Rizzo instead of Kyle Higashioka, who really deserves this spot thanks to his two-tater performance on Sunday.
- Carlos Rodón – The veteran lefty stymied the Dodgers with eight strikeouts across six two-hit innings, giving the Giants a sweep in their weekend set.
Rip Sewell wouldn’t be very proud of this offering by Schwindel.
The Cubs brought in 1B Frank Schwindel to pitch in the eighth inning.
This is how Kyle Higashioka responded 😳
(via @Yankees) pic.twitter.com/fLuUTD6MI5
— ESPN (@espn) June 12, 2022
Monday Morning Six-Pack
- The Bears have completely turned over their franchise since February and actually look like an expansion team right now. At least Ted Phillips is no longer attached to any news dispatched from Halas Hall.
- Second-year quarterback Justin Fields struggled a bit during Wednesday’s OTA, but Chicago’s coaching staff is impressed with his improved footwork and quick release.
- Country music star Toby Keith revealed he’s been battling stomach cancer but it appears the worst is over because he’s actually planning on a return to touring.
- One study indicates that measures to prevent suicides might help reduce the number of U.S. mass shootings.
- The U.S. Fed is expected to announce its interest rate decision later this week. It comes after Friday’s hotter-than-expected U.S. inflation numbers for May. The consumer price index rose 8.6% last month, the highest increase since 1981.
- Three months after McDonald’s suspended operations in Russia, the restaurants have
reopened in Moscow under new ownership with a new name, Vkusno & Tochka, which translates to “Tasty and that’s it.”
They Said It
- “We haven’t been able to give [Frazier] real opportunities to watch him succeed right now. It’s a tough decision. I think we think a lot of Clint, his ability. I just hadn’t been able to with the appendix and the limited at-bats, not being able to see a real spot for him is just one of those tough decisions. I think he likes it here a lot. I think he believes in his baseball skills, which we do, too. I think it’s just one of those really tough decisions we have to make sometimes, which stinks. Nobody wants to make those in this business.” – Ross
- “All the big market [teams] have plenty of money to spend, so, yeah, a team like the Cubs should be competing every single year.” – Rizzo
Monday Walk-Up Song
Beer for breakfast? Cheers to Keith this morning, and best wishes for a full recovery.