CHICAGO – The topic of statistics this time of year first came up with Mike Quade last week when the Cubs’ manger said he’d do whatever he could to help starter Ryan Dempster reach 200 innings pitched.
In most cases, managers tend to stay away from discussing players’ numbers due to the fact that they can affect contracts. In Dempster’s case, it doesn’t, on the surface, appear that reaching the 200-inning mark would impact his bottom line.
Dempster’s contract allows him a player option for 2012 at $14 million. But would Dempster take a pass on the option if he wasn’t happy about how he was being used or the direction the team is heading?
Quade said he is still considering changing his pitching rotation to help Dempster reach 200 innings.
“Looks like it’s going to work out start-wise,” Quade said. “There’s a chance he’s going to get two more. But we have to look close at that 200 innings pitched or not.”
On the topic of stats, shortstop Starlin Castro also is in pursuit of 200 hits. Entering play Sunday, the Cubs’ all-star was six hits short of 200.
“When you’ve gone through what’s going to amount to 700 at-bats for him, then if there’s things I can do that are important to him within the realm of what we are doing here, sure I’d take a look at helping him out,” Quade said. “But all bets are off if you’re in the hunt [for a playoff spot]. If I can juggle something or do something for somebody that will give them an opportunity to one of those important spots on the stat sheet then I will do so, but I’m not going to do something like let’s get Carlos Pena 10 steals.”
These situations are not unique. Manager Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox also feels rewarding players who have achieved are important.
My ESPNChicago.com colleague Doug Padilla pointed out Saturday that Mark Buehrle is going to get 200 innings pitched on the season (Buehrle currently is at 192 1/3rd at the moment). Padilla pointed out that the iconic White Sox’s pitcher will be the only active big-leaguer to have at least 10 wins and 200 innings-plus over the past seven seasons.