Offseason Roundtable, Part 1: The One Where We Discuss Z, Theo, and Cashner

Every now and again, we here at Obstructed View like to get together in a chat room and discuss our favorite Star Wars characters and how George Lucas is ruining them, but we also sometimes talk about baseball and the Cubs.

In this portion of our latest discussion, we talked about Theo, Carlos Zambrano, and Andrew Cashner.


mb21 : I was thinking about what you guys think was most surprising this year (positive or negative)? 

berselius : Can we include this week’s events? 

mb21 : most surprising thing, player, event, place, fan, whatever…

mb21 : If we include this week’s events, we’ll all say the same thing.

Aisle 424 : Ryan Theriot getting to the World Series?

berselius : Mine is tangentially related

AndCounting : Biggest surprise to me was probably Hendry being fired almost a month before anybody knew about it. I thought he was gone, but I never would have guessed they’d keep it a secret in a million years.

berselius : and this Theo stuff isn’t that big of a surprise looking back

mb21 : To me, it would have to be Carlos Zambrano. I knew the guy had issues and I knew that teammates weren’t especially fond of him, but that shit just got weird.

Aisle 424 : I think one of the biggest surprises was how much I do like Matt Garza.

berselius : the biggest surprise to me was seeing MO and 424 saying complimentary things about Tom Ricketts

Aisle 424 : Nobody is more shocked than I am about that. The question I now have is did he “learn” or was this all part of the plan?

mb21 : Pretty impressive that Ricketts could keep the secrets he has so far.

Aisle 424 : That and he actually seems to be backing up his talk about building up the Cubs system in the development areas. Between his spending on the draft, his spending in the Dominican on a facility there, and now his near-hiring of Theo Epstein, I have far less problems with his wearing Harry Caray glasses or walking around the stands signing autographs.

berselius : Yeah, agreed on the Z stuff

mb21 : If MO gives a compliment to Lance Berkman I’ll be surprised. 

berselius : If MO gives a compliment to TLR I’ll be surprised.

AndCounting : Yeah, Z being run out of town was something we all saw coming more or less. The way it happened was truly unique and surprising.

berselius : I’d never have guessed that it happened the way it happened, but then again I’d never have guessed what could have been the spark anyway.

mb21 : Exactly, AC. Really, the only question was how it was going to happen and it never occurred to me it could happen that way. The end of a very strange and very good career.

mb21 : What was the spark? I don’t even remember.

berselius : Unless he was spotted eating dinner with Ozzie again

mb21 : Can the Cubs trade Z?

AndCounting : A pitch that sailed behind Chipper Jones.

Aisle 424 : …and his cleaning out his locker.

berselius : Z got hammered, was left in, arguably deliberately threw at Chipper (twice) to get ejected, then left the clubhouse early

mb21 : Ryan Theriot almost went deep.

berselius : threats of retirement, etc. etc.

berselius : They can trade Z, but the market is pretty much Miami

Aisle 424 : I think the market could be larger if the Cubs eat just about all of his salary.  If Z was a free agent, I bet someone, somewhere would sign him for $1 million hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and if he doesn’t work out, he can be released.

AndCounting : Any chance Theo keeps Zambrano around?

mb21 : I forgot about hitting Chipper. That was cheap. Z had been frustrated all season and some of it rightfully so.

berselius : They’ll have to eat a lot of the contract, but probably a little less from FLA

Aisle 424 : I just looked him up on B-Ref and he was worth .7 WAR with only 145 innings pitched.  I don’t think it is a stretch that someone could think they get 1 WAR out of him at the end of a rotation for dirt cheap. So there could be a market, just not a bidding war.

mb21 : If there’s anybody that would keep Z around, it’s Theo. I think it depends on who they hire as manager. I still say it’s not likely.

Aisle 424 : Exactly.  Theo is probably not going to give much of a damn about the shennanigans.  He is not that far removed from dealing with Manny on a regular basis, so this is not unfamiliar territory for him.

berselius : It’s more likely now than it was a month ago but not that much more likely

mb21 : I agree with that, b.

Aisle 424 : Me too, the other thing to consider is whether Zambrano even wants to stay at this point. He may be saying the right things to the press, but his agent may be talking a different story behind closed doors.

mb21 : What about Andrew Cashner’s future?

berselius : Actually, maybe even less

berselius : The big posthoc knock on Theo this year was clubhouse chemistry

AndCounting : Good point, b.

mb21 : The clubhouse chemistry issue that was supposedly a big deal in Boston probably does make it less likely.

Aisle 424: I think that all depends on how much of an issue Theo actually thought it was.  The only reason any of this was a problem was because they lost 20 games in September. If it was the Cubs, we’d hear about how day games kill the Cubs chances. 

berselius : I don’t give a damn about it. As many pointed out, if the Red Sox had won more games everyone would be pointing to the guys hanging out and playing video games as a sign of great chemistry.

Aisle 424 : Yep.

berselius : But that’s an easy knife for NDB at all to keep sharp

AndCounting : I don’t understand how Cashner can get enough innings as a starter. How durable can he be over the course of a season? Has he ever pitched a full season as a starter at any level? 

berselius : Have they made a decision about him yet? IIRC he’s starting in the AFL but that could just be to give him more innings

berselius : I guess the Cashner decision is going to be re-evaluated by Theo anyway. The chances of Cashner —–> SP are MUCH greater than they were earlier this year

Aisle 424 : I don’t know about that. From what I’ve been reading about Theo, he seems to think that the latest market inefficiency is in the health of players.  I don’t fully understand, but I think he’s more willing to take a risk on injury-prone guys and taking more extreme (and costly) measures to keep them healthy.

mb21 : No, Cashner has never pitched a full season. I don’t see how he can get the innings to be a starter either. Not without seriously risking injury.

berselius : They can try to baby him next year

berselius : Didn’t the sox do that with Bucholz?

mb21 : I think most starts in the AFL are for about 3 innings. 

AndCounting : I could see him becoming a closer, unless Epstein toys with that “we don’t need a closer” philosophy again.

Aisle 424 : All the different ways that Theo can toss away the standard rulebook for operating a baseball team is staggering, if he is allowed to run the team without meddling from Tom and Crane when things might get a little controversial.

mb21 : I guess my question is this: can you get more value out of Cashner in the bullpen or babying him for the next year or two as a starter? Common sense says starting, but are we even sure he can do it? I’m not.

Aisle 424 : Yeah, I think he has to decide how realistic on a risk/reward level it would be to keep Cashner healthy as a starter vs. how much help he would be to the team as a reliever. And also whether he could have a medical training team intact soon enough to fulfill his vision of increasing the health of the players.

berselius : Eh, they have Marmol and Marshall. I don’t think they’ll move both of them

mb21 : If they moved one, I could see Cashner being the 8th inning guy. Part of me would like to see him earn a spot in the rotation and I’m just not certain he has yet.

berselius : I don’t even remember what his injury was. He’s hitting 100 in the AFL so I’m not that worried. Not like what happened with Randy Wells this year.

mb21 : He had a shoulder injury.

AndCounting : I think he’s healed fully, but I can see whatever caused the injury in the first place reprising itself if he comes back as a starter. But I’d still take the gamble and just bring him along slowly.

berselius : yeah, I agree with Adam. Have him start, but limit him to 100 innings or so and make sure they skip starts when they can.

mb21 : I guess if they do it slowly I don’t have an issue, but I think you’re looking at no more than 120 innings next year and probably no more than 160 the year after.

mb21 : That being said, I can completely understand if they make the decision to leave him in the bullpen.

Aisle 424 : I would rather they start stretching out Marshall if they really need an extra starter that badly. I think he’d stretch out a lot faster and has never had injury issues.

berselius : Of course, the other thing we’re not mentioning is that he hasn’t really established whether he can be an effective starter, health aside.

Aisle 424 : And that is the problem with Marshall as well, except for the health part.

AndCounting : True. I guess there’s no better time than next year to try to prove he can.

berselius : He looked great in his first MLB start, and has been injured. Still a lot of uncertainty even without the health stuff.

mb21 : That’s my point, b. I really don’t know if he’s earned it. My guess is that if he’s a starter next year it’s because the Cubs have nobody else.

berselius : Yeah. There better be a good reason if F7 gets a rotation spot before him

Aisle 424 : I think I would need Theo to personally show me his calculations if that comes to pass.

mb21 : I just worry about injury. He was never really stretched out. Not since being drafted after 2 years in the bullpen.

mb21 : Cashner has basically had a reliever’s workload now for 4 to 5 years.


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