A little bit of actual news came out yesterday, when Gordon Wittenmyer cornered Aramis and got him to say “I’m staying”.
”Yes,” he said of his plans to return. ”I’m leaning on it.”
”I’m staying here,” he said. ”Put it that way.”
Good news for all sides. Obviously, Aramis has made it clear he doesn’t want to play for a losing team, and he voiced a lot of concern the last week over the Cubs’ ability to field a contending team in 2011. Aramis opting out and testing free agency would have made the already difficult task of turning this Cubs’ roster around that much more difficult, and Aramis probably would not have gotten $14.6 million on the open market.
I would expect Aramis to get back to being Aramis next season, though he has basically been Aramis since the All Star break. He’s projected to have around a .370 wOBA next season, which makes him well above average at third base, despite his below average defense. He remains the key to the Cubs’ success, and I have no issues with relying on him again next season.
I’ve been one of Samardzija’s biggest detractors for a while now, and while I don’t take any of it back, I’ll give Samardzija credit for somehow managing to not give up any runs last night. Anybody who watched that start understands how lucky Samardzija got, and he struggled with his command all night. The Cubs remain stupid if they plan on using him in the starting rotation next season.
Of course, this also gives us a great opportunity to laugh at the Cardinals, who got shutout by Jeff Samardzija. The Cardinals’ AAA team lit Samardzija up last week for seven runs, and yet the MLB team, with Albert Pujols, got nothing. St. Louis’ complete collapse the past few weeks has been amusing, and will almost certainly result in the end of the Tony LaRussa era in St. Louis.
One thing I have to say I like about Samardzija, he appears to be an okay hitter. I love a good hitting pitcher, and his RBI single last night was nice to see.
Other Cubs notes
The Wrigley Noodle, and all the jokes that came with it, is gone. The Cubs claim it was meant to be temporary all along, but the skeptic in me wonders if they heard one joke too many and figured it wasn’t worth it. I’m of the mind that anything that brings in money for the Cubs is a good thing when it comes to these advertising type things, so I’m sad to see the noodle go.
Xavier Nady since Derrek Lee was traded on .307/.340/.432/.772. That isn’t good, that isn’t bad, but it’s about what you expect from Xavier Nady when he’s healthy and getting regular playing time. I feel like he’s destined for the Royals outfield next season.
Bob Melvin being interviewed for the managerial opening. Eric Wedge, Melvin, Quade, and Sandberg have all interviewed now (by my unofficial count).