Today we continue our series of asking 5 questions to a sabermetrically inclined blogger from each NL Central team.  For the Cubbies we bring you Harry Pavlidis who writes about the Cubs at Cubs F/X and about MLB at The Hardball Times among other places.  Thanks to Harry.

1.  What were your initial thoughts on the Garza deal?  Seemed like an incremental upgrade at a pretty high cost.

I think he’ll be a solid pitcher, possibly providing surplus value.

But getting Garza cost the Cubs some guys with upside, particulary Archer. This trade could be a bust for either side, but it is probably going to be a more nuanced situation.

2.  What does the future hold for Cashner?  What role do you see him fitting into?

He seemed to settle into a starting role in the minors, but he spent so much time in relief it has become hard to imagine him handling 30 starts. It’s interesting that he’s spending some time working out with Ryan Dempster, so he’s pushing himself to develop stamina that way.

And I’m not talking about tolerating Demp’s sense of humor–the man is a running machine. He’ll be dragging Cashner up Camelback as they get ready for Spring Training.

If he can handle the workload, he’s got the big arm for the job. We’ll have to see how his secondary stuff can be leveraged when facing a batter more than one time in a game, though.

3.  Anyone that follows you on twitter knows you’ve been paying attention to Castro this offseason.  What do you see him doing this year?  How concerned are you about his error total in winter ball?

Me, what? OK, maybe a little.

His error total is a big concern. Sailing throws well over the or around the first baseman has become a habit. He’s also made some ill-advised throws to other bases. He can hit, the power will come. He can run well enough, not a big part of his game. He has excellent range at short, and his arm strength is fine. If he can get over this Steve Sax thing quickly he’ll be fine. Quickly, as he’s not in a very patient environment.

4.  SP depth seemed to be a strength before the Gorzellany deal. Is that still the case?

I’m more comfortable with the prospects for 2012 than 2011. That’s based on two things: studying the minor league records has made me more pessimistic about some of the “close” guys, but actually more hopeful about some of the younger guys.

A big battle between Casey Coleman, Carlos Silva, Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells and whomever else you want to include is not a horrible thing. But it’s now for two spots and it’s a right-handed bunch.

5.  How did the Cubs fan base react when Mike Quade was hired instead of Ryne Sandberg. Was it viewed as much of a slap in the face to Sandberg as it was portrayed nationally?

It was viewed that way by a large segment of the fans and some of the media. But it was very hard to argue against Quade. His experience dwarfs Sandberg’s, and certainly had things go his way and made the most of his sudden audition. A lot of the reaction had to do with Ryno himself, who displayed a sense of entitlement.

Chicago Cubs Cap Insignia

Image via Wikipedia

Our tour through the NL Central continues with the Chicago Cubs.  Today is the graphical version, and the questions with a fellow saber minded blogger will run tomorrow so be sure to stop by then.  Unfortunately this graphical version will have to be abbreviated in comparison the the Reds version as there aren’t any ZIPS projections out for the Cubs that I could find, and I wanted to be consistent in my choice of projection algorithms.  That said I still have some charts for you looking at their 2010 season.  The first looks at how the Cubs looked across the range of baseball activities.

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Pitching = good; Batting = ugh.  I could foresee this trend continuing based on their team construct.  Now, looking at ages

This makes me a lot more optimistic than the Reds chart.  Castro will boost the left hand side of the chart, but the Garza deal won’t help the youth movement much.

© 2011 Gas House Graphs Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha