How Cubs senior vice president Craig Breslow’s journeyman career is still profitable


Mesa, Arizona — Lefty Ryan Borutski and his 2018 Buffalo Bisons teammate knew Craig Breslow would end up in the front office of some team.

“He was always known as the smartest guy on our team,” Borukchi said. “I think he can solve his crossword puzzles in about five minutes. He’s always been the guy that young guys like me when I was at Triple A would go and talk to.” bottom.

Breslow, now the Cubs’ assistant general manager and senior vice president of pitching, was in the final years of his playing career and was trying to make it as long as possible. In an effort to reinvent himself in the NBA, he overlapped with Tyler Duffy, Julian Merryweather, and Borutski, all pitchers the Cubs added this offseason.

They signed Duffy and Borutsky to non-roster invitational deals, with Merryweather claiming immunity from the Blue Jays.

“We were joking in the office, ‘Hey, what about this guy, what about that guy Breath? ‘ Where did you hang out with him?” said Breslow.

Breslow played in 10 organizations before cutting his spike.

The last two years of his career — when he played with Duffy for the Twins, Merryweather for Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate and Borukki for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate — extended the life of jokes and laid the foundation for his future at the forefront. The role of the office.

Breslow questioned various general managers he played for, including Billy Beane, Mike Hazen and Theo Epstein. “And that’s also become more and more apparent as my baseball career has lasted longer. [almost] I was 40 and had spent 20 years of my life doing one thing, and I never thought I would be able to jump into a completely new industry and compete with a 22-year-old.”

Luckily for Breslow, his interests and expertise matched. That was evident when he overhauled his mechanics after the 2016 season, while also mentoring a young pitcher he had played with from Double-A to the majors.

Rapsodo, originally a golf company, released baseball tracking technology that year, and Breslow said it loaned the unit during the offseason. (He gave feedback back to the company.) In addition to dropping slots in his arms, Breslow was using pitch data to try to recreate some of the best pitches in baseball.

Daffy still remembers the first time Breslow threw a “weight” at him.

“I was like, ‘If you do that, I don’t want to play catch with you anymore,'” Duffy said.

In conversations with young pitchers, Breslow wanted to make analytics available to help them realize that many concepts were already intuitive to them.

“I had a real opportunity to have conversations with people who weren’t grounded in ‘if you don’t understand this, you’re going to be a dinosaur,'” he said.

For example, a pitcher may not know what “seamshift wake” means.

“But you knew your fastball would play differently than someone else with a similar speed.” [for] There is a way to communicate all these things without rejecting them. It doesn’t feel like the people at your office desk are dictating the rules of the game. You’ll be like, “Oh, that makes a lot of sense.” And I really enjoy the opportunity to be that conduit. ”

Looking back on 2017 and 2018, Breslow described Duffy, Merryweather and Borucchi as “bright guys”.

“At the forefront of this analytics revolution, they all had their own unique ability to do things and were looking at data to help explain the reasons for their success,” he said. “And actually, I probably would have had a lot of fun with them for another couple of years, because each of them was on the brink of a breakout, for different reasons.”

For Duffy, that breakout came in 2019 when he reduced his use of sinkers and relied on four seamers and curveballs. He posted a career-best ERA in consecutive seasons. His speed slowed, and the Twins released him last August, finishing his run with the only organization he knew.

Duffy texted Breslow when he heard the Cubs were interested this offseason.

“It’s comforting to know that someone I know is here,” said Duffy.

The youngest member of the trio, Borutski made his debut as a starter for the Blue Jays in 2018. He converted to the bullpen in 2020 and had his best season (2.70 ERA). Toronto traded Borutski to the Mariners midway through last season, and a forearm strain sidelined him for his final two months of the season. In November, the left-hander cleared waivers and opted for free agency.

A conversation with Breslow helped him make the decision.

“After finishing the call with him, I was really excited about the opportunity and their goals being here.”

Merryweather underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2018 season, delaying his major league debut with the Blue Jays until 2020. We scored 5.64. Toronto appointed him in January.

Breslow called Merryweather with the news that the Cubs claimed him.

“It’s cool to go full circle,” said Merryweather. “He still helps me pitch. Go ahead.”

Note: right fielder Seiya Suzuki (Left diagonal tension) made a right catch on Wednesday and started baseball activities.manager David Ross Suzuki told reporters he plans to perform a non-contact swing on Thursday.

Suzuki, who was injured before the Cubs’ spring training opener, is set to start the season on injured reserve.

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 1

• left handed Drew Smiley Allowed 2 runs for 4 thursday innings.Both runs scored Caleb Roberts A home run in the 4th inning.

• Outfielder Cody Bellinger He responded with his second home run of the spring and the first in a Cactus League play. He also homered against Team Canada.

Patrick Wisdom Spring’s first multi-hit game. He was the only Cub with two hits.

• right handed Jameson TyroneWednesday’s simulated game was called off due to rain, and was in a minor league game against the Giants. He allowed 4 runs and 7 hits in 5 innings.

On deck (divided squad): Dodgers at Cubs, Friday at 3:05 p.m., Mesa, Marquee, Ryan Pepiot versus. Hayden Wesnesky.

Cubs of the White Sox, 3:05 p.m. Friday, Glendale, Nick Neidhart versus. Mike Clevinger.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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