Cubs Monday: Excitement abounds

You’ve probably seen by now the news that the Chicago Cubs reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with Jason Hammell. While it might not set your heart aflutter, the best case scenario is that the Cubs have another Scott Feldman on their hands and can get a couple prospects for him at the deadline.

Visual approximation of Jason Hammell

Visual approximation of Jason Hammell

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.

Of course, having been on the disabled list, he might turn out more like Scott Baker and end up making $6 million to rehab at Cubs facilities this year. The Cubs also signed James McDonald to a minor league contract.

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.

It hurts a little that he chose free agency over being with me in Indianapolis, but maybe he’ll pitch well enough to make the roster and mend my broken heart.

Bill Mueller is already working hard as the Cubs’ new hitting coach, and one of his first pupils is already in Mesa. Darwin Barney is out west trying to become a better than .208 hitter.

“[Mueller] and Brumley work together very well,” Barney said. “Their ideas are simple: ‘Let’s stabilize the base, let’s release some tension and let’s be the same every at-bat.’ That’s just a simple version of what they’re trying to do with me. I really believe in it and I feel good moving forward. Hopefully things work out for our offense this year. I think it will.”


“I got to the big leagues with my offense, as most guys do,” Barney said. “The defense came. You have to remember that this game is hard and you’re not always going to play as well as you want. Unfortunately, nothing came together last year, and I’m very confident that’s not going to happen again.”

Mueller sounds like part hitting coach part life coach.

“It’s a matter of getting these guys in the cage, getting some work in and really being good listeners to start,” Mueller said. “Once we establish a relationship, we can have an understanding of where they place value on things as far as their approach, their emotions and their swing — ‘swing’ meaning their mechanics. That’s the process. We’ll start implementing and trying to impact these guys as soon as possible and try to tell these guys how we feel about any particular situation.”

Only 10 more days until pitchers and catchers report, and it can’t come soon enough.

15 thoughts on “Cubs Monday: Excitement abounds

  1. Doc Blume says:

    This is going to be a long two weeks leading up to spring training.

    And then it’s going to be a long spring training…and a long season.

    Bill Mueller sounds way too mental to make an effective MLB coach.

  2. juliedicaro says:

    Who the hell is Brumley? I feel like they just made that name up.

    1. mightybear says:

      Mike Brumley used to be an infielder in the Cubs system and played for the Cubs and a few other teams. His dad was a catcher with the Senators. He’s been around awhile.

  3. sloanpeterson2 says:

    One of the takeaways I got from the Super Bowl pre-show was that the owner of the Seahawks made 1000 personnel moves to make up the team that got to the Super Bowl. How many moves have Theo and Co. made so far?

  4. Doc Blume says:

    Is that Mike Brumley…as in the crappy middle infielder for the Cubs from the 80′s? Is he a coach or something?

  5. Doc Blume says:

    Looking at the organization from pre-Theo, everything is pretty much changes in terms of personnel.

    I’m just not sure they’ve filled some of these positions with people any better than were there before with Jim Hendry.

  6. johnnywest333 says:

    I heard that I could save up to fifteen percent on auto insu……

  7. Carl Heartscubs Gierhan says:

    Mike Brumley it is! He’s the assistant hitting coach.

  8. Drew says:

    I like what they’re saying. Hopefully, they can actually make it work.

  9. juliedicaro says:

    I mean, what else, really, can they say? We’re just going to have to muddle through 2014 and hope that we start to see some dividends in 2015.

  10. juliedicaro says:

    Being told the Cubs are “kicking the tires” on Arroyo. Could be a decent pickup if he comes down in years (he wants 3), cuts his hair, and agrees not to make any more albums.

    1. Drew says:

      I’d be ok with that. I’d give him two years an some options based on performance.

      1. Dusty Baylor says:

        Hmm.. a prelude to trading Samardzija?
        Wood, Samardzija, Arrieta, Jackson, Hammel..Arroyo?

    2. FrankS says:

      Meh. Another flippable contract. He’s gonna be 37 this season. At some point he’s going to be real bad instead of just average.

      1. FrankS says:

        As far as the music, I just listened to his cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Slide” and it was pretty good.

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