TCR Friday Notes

Could the week have been anymore drab in regards to Cubs news? Nothing, nada, with only the death-defying stuntwork of Nomar and Uncle Victor to keep us warm at night. Of course I should be using this lull in Cubs news to touch-up, polish, start all those articles that I plan to post this off-season, but a healthy dose of anarchy has invaded my life the last few weeks, preventing any such endeavors. Anywhoo, to the notes: - From the NY Times:
The Yankees will have plenty of choices among free-agent relievers, including the left-hander B. J. Ryan, who was a closer for the Baltimore Orioles this year but had said he was open to setting up for a winning team.
Well I'm sure his agent is open to whoever is willing to sign the biggest paycheck, but in my undying fantasy where Hendry realizes a shut-down bullpen may be the most important thing for a team whose starting pitchers avoid late innings like they avoid the strikezone, I still hope Hendry finds Ryan's agent's number from MLB's directory assistance. Quick sidenote, where do GM's get the number of other GM's, or agents or folks like that? Is there an MLB phone number directory? Things I wonder about, such as where do super-criminals get their henchmen from? Back to Ryan, he apparently expresses a wish to play for a winning team, which will be an obstacle that Hendry would have to hurdle if talks ever got serious. Cause winning and the Cubs just don't go hand in hand. But we generally do look good on paper and having Ryan as the backup to Dempster as closer is about as full-proof as you can get. If it was my team, I'd likely reverse the roles or use Ryan against the meaty part of the order, no matter what inning they came up in as he's certainly the superior pitcher. Sure it's an expensive luxury, but when Dempster inevitably comes back down to Earth and stops looking like the 2003 version of Eric Gagne, you can all thank me later. And I'm aware that spending big money on relievers is usually a foolish plan, but A) it's not my money B) the Cubs do have that money to spend this off-season C) this would lower the odds substantially of Dusty and Co. mucking up late innings by trying to play matchups that they don't grasp all too well and D) my ticker can't handle another year of blowing late-inning leads. Am I being selfish? You bet!!! But it would be nice to know that a late inning lead is safe and games could essenitally be over after the 6th or 7th inning. As if I need numbers to prove my point, but here's what Ryan's done in the hitter's league the last 3 years: (2005) 2.43 ERA, 100/26 BB/K, 12.8 K/9, 3.85 K/BB, 0.51 HR/9 (2004) 2.28 ERA, 122/35 BB/K, 12.62 K/9, 3.49 K/BB, 0.41 HR/9 (2003) 3.40 ERA, 63/27 BB/K, 11.27 K/9, 2.33 K/BB, 0.18 HR/9 Hendry said something about getting pitching this off-season, hopefully this is what he meant. - AFL Stats so far:
B. Sing        .429/.556/.857 4/4 BB/K in 14 AB's
E. Patterson .222/.286/.278 2/4 BB/K in 18 AB's 1/2 in Stolen Bases
B. Coats       .500/.500/.667 0/0 BB/K in 6 AB's
M. Murton    .556/.619/.944 3/2 BB/K in 18 AB's
A. Guzman   7.04 ERA, 2/9 BB/K, 0 HR, 7.2 IP
J. Koronka    0.00 ERA, 1/8 BB/K, 0 HR, 5.0 IP
D. Aardsma  19.06 ERA, 4/6 BB/K, 1 HR, 5.2 IP
It's a hitter's league if you can't tell. - For those still hoping that Dusty finds his way out of Chicago somehow in the near future, there's a tasty bite from Joe Girardi:
"I think I have a great chance of getting one of those jobs[Florida or Tampa Bay], but to me, the situation has to be right," he said. "There are other opportunities I'm thinking about that might open up later on."
Some have taken this as Girardi pining for the Cubs job as he has strong ties with the team and city. And that may be true. Girardi would be a fool though not to take one of these jobs first, though. Showing that he can manage another team effectively would give him all kinds of honor points and if/when the Cubs job came available (assuming that's one of the opportunities he speaks of), he'll at least have some big league experience on his resume making him an even more desirable candidate. I doubt it would be all to difficult for him to even get wording put in his contract stating he can opt out if he's offered a job at one of thse more desirable opportunities. Maybe one of the aquatic creature teams would take offense to this and think he's not committed, BUT, he's already said it on public record that he's got a certain club in mind, so it should hardly be a surprise to the Sunshine state teams. - For the record, bush-league call by the ump in Game 2 of the ALCS. That's clearly an out gesture he made, he clearly had NO CLUE whether the ball hit the dirt or not, so the only reason he allowed to play to go on was that A.J. decided to run to first. I honestly think he saw A.J. running, thought that the ball must have hit the dirt or why is he running and let the play go. Eddings even said:
ì...as I'm making the mechanic, I'm watching Josh Paul, so I'm seeing what he's going to do. I'm looking directly at him while I'm watching Josh Paul. That's when Pierzynski ran to first base.,î
Umpiring by reaction, that's a new approach. So Paul reacted as if he caught the ball and A.J. (no I don't feel like spelling his last name) reacted as if the ball wasn't caught. So he decides to go with A.J. - must have developed a friendship with him over the previous nine innings. That being said, Paul should have still tagged him instantly(don't take chances in big games) and Escobar shouldn't have hung an 0-2 pitch. The White Sox are primed for a drubbing. They won the game on 2 unearned runs, I don't see that luck lasting, especially if they continue to play themselves out of innings. If you're going to give up outs bunting, then at least execute and then at least stop giving up more outs on the basepaths. There's aggressive stupid (Rowand going home with 0 outs) and aggressive smart (running on Jason Giambi every chance you get). The Angels still look far and away as the smarter team (minus Josh Paul). - Other potential FA news, Brian Giles and the Padres have made progress on a long-term deal and "the difference between the sides is "significant" but "not vast." The underlings in Philly talked to Billy Wagner this week and offered a proposal. Still some worlds apart apperently. Seems like a bush-league move by the Phillies towards whatever GM they plan on bringing in. Isn't that the sort of decision you want your GM to make? Maybe he has another plan and wants to use whatever available funds there are somewhere else. Or maybe he thinks, why the hell are you low-balling him? Sign him up now!!! The Braves are making Rafael Furcal a top priority this off-season. They'd like to sign him to a contract before the bidding war begins and word is that Furcal would prefer to stay in Atlanta. Once again, I'm sure his agent would prefer he sign the biggest paycheck, which it doesn't look like the Braves are willing to offer. It's going to take a bit of over-spending on Hendry's part to get Furcal it appears and that sure hasn't been his style. I'm guessing he's looking for something in the 4 to 5 year variety at $9 to $10 mil per year.
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Comments

Rob,

On the Beane/Macha thing on the last post I think it was both sides realizing for all their dislike for each other they were better off with each other than they were apart. Remember everyone thought the job was going to Bob Geren their BP coach and one of Beane's best friends. Even after he interviewed him and Ron Washington he wanted to interview Hershier. If he was totaly happy with Geren and he already had met the minority interview requirement why start interviewing other people. As you said in the previous post Macha sitution was great either. But I do have to say with all that young talent TB has if this new owner they have puts people in charge who know what there doing and lets them do things w/o interfering and gives them enough finachial support that team could be a serious playoff contender in a few years. That job to me looks better than the FLA job and depending on what McCourt spends in the future may be as good as LAD if he goes really cheap.

Great read Rob. Hope you continue to give updates like this through the course of the offseason.

"in my undying fantasy where Hendry realizes a shut-down bullpen may be the most important thing for a team whose starting pitchers avoid late innings like they avoid the strikezone, I still hope Hendry finds Ryanís agentís number from MLBís directory assistance."

Great piece Rob. I totally agree with the above. I hope Hendry has learned his lesson about roster construction, specifically in the bullpen.

thanks for the kind words, but where do super-criminals get their henchman? I really want to know... (and the phone # thing)

excellent article, first time in months i've read about the cubs and not wanted to throw up.

furcal and giles would be the top two guys on my list. those two and zero pitching help and i would be happy (and surprised)

it would be a shame if they both re-signed quickly before free agency even starts, the cubs need those positions and the markets would be very dry very quickly.

it would virtually ensure a nomar return, which i'm OK with but not excited like i am about furcal. nomar should be much cheaper though, and that money could go to BJ ryan or another good starter, not to mention the outfield holes (CF and RF, LF should be murton's, end of story)

finally, walker better be back on this team next year. it would be ridiculous to not bring him back for 2.5 M

It's interesting looking at the sox and Angels. Their strengths obviously lie in their pitching - both starting and bullpen. Offense-wise they aren't much different from the Cubs. None of them are above league average in OBP (although the Angels and Sox chose not to put their worse OBP guys at the top of the lineup) The sox actually fanned more times than the Cubs and that's with the DH in all but the interleague games in NL parks. Hard to believe any team fanned more than our Cubs. Sox fans keep trying to say their team plays small ball - mostly based, I think, on Pod's first four months. But they hit 200 homers and go through long stretches where they have as much trouble scoring runs as the Cubs. I think they're suffering through such a streak now. In the ALCS at least, they are anything but a small-ball team. They have absolutely sucked on the bases.

The Cubs have to put a bullpen together that doesn't give games away. I agree that it's risky to overpay for relief (another thing about the Angels and Sox - they haven't overpayed for it) and with all the marvelous reviews the system keeps getting you'd think someone could help out. I think you put together a great pen and then pray the starters find a way to stay healthy for a year or two - saying a special prayer for Prior regaining his control and lowering his pitch counts (I've given up on Wood accomplishing this) and that Hendry finds a leadoff man who can get on base - hopefully a guy Baker can look at and through whatever insane reasoning he uses, agree that he's a leadoff man.
That and the avian flu causing the complete quarantining of the city of St. Louis next year and I think the Division could be there for the taking.

Rob, actually there is a school of sorts in western PA - rumored to be in the Sharon/New Castle area - where super-criminals get their henchmen. Western PA has many, many toothless/inbred individuals who wind up at this school after failing out of the workforce. The super-criminal's 'scout' set up shop out here back in the early 80's when all of the mills and factories went down around the area showing an almost uncanny future knowledge (rumor is that he used Dr. Evil's time machine). One fact is that it is not Magneto copying Prof. Xavier's school-idea-thingie in NY. It is more like a factory where they churn out these henchmen by the 100's (I mean let's face it, super-criminals go through a lot of henchmen). I happen to live in this area and whereas I cannot completely prove its existence, I could have swore I saw Lex Luthor at Wal-Mart last night.

Rob, as far as the phone# thing, I know when you become a Domino's Pizza franchisee you receive this huge book-like packet with everybody's phone# in the entire Domino's system. It has to be similar in MLB.
I am sure every team office has either a outlook-type computer program with other team/GM phone #'s and/or a rolodex type of thing. Tremendous piece BTW, do you forsee any chance in Girardi or anyone-but-Dusty taking the reigns this year or are we stuck?

Oh we're stuck, I just hope no one is handing out any extensions as has been rumored. Another slow start/piss-poor play and we're middling around .500 come the middle of June and it should be time to move on. The fact that all the coaches got one year extensions is slightly promising, although I'd imagine that's pretty par for the course.

Hmmm, PA, huh? They did name one of their baseball teams after Pirates, they can be pretty evil....

It is one thing for Ryan to be the set-up man to a Hall of Famer in Rivera, it is an insult if the Cubs asked Ryan to setup for Dempster. B.J. Ryan is infinetly more talented throwing the ball than Dempster ever will be.

What I like about teams like the Sox, Angels, and Houston to an extent is that they can play long ball or small ball. They all have versatile lead-off men with 1-2 power guys in the middle of the order. When the long ball isn't happening they can claw, scratch and manufacture runs. Something the Cubs haven't done in over 20 years.

It's finite, not infinite. Is Ryan Dempster the second coming of Eric Gagne? No, of course not. Is he serviceable? Yes. Dempster certainly has the ability to be a top 10-15 closer. Ryan is top 5 or so, but it's not like Dempster is LaTroy Hawkins or something.

The Sox are looking good. If they win it all, the Southsiders--dirty, dispicable creatures--will be even more annoying.

Am I the only one who thinks Nomar's rescue efforts were staged to get him a larger contract. (Just kidding.) Maybe if Boras was his agent...

"Am I the only one who thinks Nomar's rescue efforts were staged to get him a larger contract."

He should have done it in front of a crowd like Rick Monday.

The Braves could re-sign Rafael Furcal, as long as the payroll budget is no less than $75 mil in 2006.

The following five Braves players are signed to multi-year big bucks contracts, and will make about $50 mil (combined) in 2006 salaroes.

1. Chipper Jones - $17 mil ($2 mil of that deferred to end of contract)
2. Andruw Jones - $13 mil
3. Mike Hampton - $13.5 mil ($2 mil to be paid by Rockies and additional $7 mil covered by insurance - Braves pay only $4.5 mil)
4. John Smoltz - $8 mil (+ additional $2 mil prorated portion of signing bonus)
5. Tim Hudson - $6.5 mil (+ additional $2.5 mil prorated portion of signing bonus)

So that's $50 mil in 2006 payroll just for those five players, although Chipper Jones has said he would be willing to defer more of his salary ($5 mil of the $15 mil salary in 2006?) if necessary, to resign Furcal. So it could be more like $45 mil for those five players.

The following 13 players are "auto-renewal" guys (pre-arbitration, $400,000 average salary) likely to make Braves 25-man roster in 2006:

1. IF-OF Wilson Betimit (utilty)
2. RHP Blaine Boyer (middle relief)
3. RHP Kyle Davies (starter)
4. LHP John Foster (LOOGY #1)
5. RF Jeff Francouer (starter)
6. RHP Chuck James (12th man)
7. OF Kelly Johnson (4th OF)
8. LF Ryan Langerhans (LF platoon)
9. 1B Adam LaRoche (1B)
10. 3B Andy Marte (could platoon in lF if Chipper stays at 3B, or could play 3B if Chipper agrees to move to LF))
11. LHP Macay McBride (LOOGY #2)
12. C Brian McCann (starter)
13. INF Pete Orr (utility)

So that's about another $5 mil in payroll.

It seems likely the Braves will tender contracts and (if necessary) go to arbitration with 2B Marcus Giles, LHP Horacio Ramirez, and RHP Jorge Sosa. I figure Giles will ultimately get about $4.5 mil, Ramirez about $3.5 mil, and Sosa about $2.5 mil.

So that's another $10 mil.

Besides wanting to re-sign Furcal, I suspect the Brsaves will sign (or re-sign) only one free-agent, and that would be Kyle Farnsworth to be the closer. I figure Farnsworth will get somewhere around $10 mil for two years ($5 mil per year), or possibly three years for Ryan Dempster money ($15 mil for three years)

So that's another $5 mil.

I can see the Braves trading deposed starting catcher Johnny Estrada to a team looking for a #1 catcher, like maybe the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves could probably get back a pitcher or two (righty reliever Lance Cormier and a potential-lefty starter like Mike Gosling?) and a right-handed hitting back-up catcher (Chris Snyder) for Estrada.

The remaining one, two, or three spots on the roster (depending upon whether Furcal is re-signed or not, and whether Estrada is exchanged for two or three auto-renewal players) would be filled by "rounding up the usual suspects" (six-year minor league free-agents) making about $750,000 per year if they make the 25-man Opening Day roster.

So we are now at about $70 mil in payroll ($65 mil if Chipper defers some of his 2006 salary), with the need to re-sign Furcal for about $10 mil per year.

BIG QUESTION: What is John Schuerholz's payroll budget for 2006? If it is $70 mil or less, I can't see him re-signing Furcal unless he can save payroll (about $6 mil) by trading arbitration-eligible Jorge Sosa and Horacio Ramirez for cheaper major league-ready pitching prospects, including at least one starting pitcher and one set-up type reliever. So keep an eye out for any article that deals with the Braves 2006 payroll budget. That is the key.

If Schuerholz has a 2006 payroll budget of at least $80 mil (or $75 mil if Chipper agrees to defer salary), then he can easily re-sign Furcal for $10 mil per year without having to move Ramirez and Sosa.

My guess is, Schuerholz will clear payroll (trade H. Ramirez and J. Sosa) if necessary only AFTER he signs Furcal, but will hang onto Ramirez and Sosa if he can't re-sign Furcal. If Furcal leaves, Wilson Betemit plays SS, and that is a significant defensive drop-off at that position, not to mention the loss of a lead-off hitter with no replacement in sight (I guess Marcus Giles would hit lead-off, and Betemit would hit 2nd?).

AZ Phil,

Even if Chipper wants to defer money in his contract so they can keep Furcal isnt the union going to have a big fit about like they did the A-rod deal to Boston? Is there a differnce?

for the most part all the union cares about is the contract value's worth stays intact and is paid in full without devaluation reguardless of deferment time

I agree that the Cubs need further work in shoring up the bullpen, but I disagree that a single big-money reliever is the answer. Instead, I'd infinitely prefer to bring in two quality middle relief/setup men for the same money. It's depth, reliability, and throwing strikes that we need from our bullpen, and it's sorely lacking in the 7th and 8th innings, has been for years.

So BJ Ryan? No thanks. Instead, think about these names (either via trade or free agency):

Scott Linebrink
Scott Eyre
Bob Howry
Rafael Betancourt
Octavio Dotel
Jesse Crain
Juan Rincon
JC Romero
Mike Gonzalez

Let's shop from this list. We can accomplish a lot more than the admittedly-very good BJ Ryan alone could give us.

Re AZ Phil & Braves payroll

FIVE MILLION a year for FARNSWORTH????
I don't think so. He had a couple of decent months before imploding in the biggest moment(s) of his career
He had five previous seasons of wild inconsistancy
and has major personal issues. He would be wise
to stay with Braves if they offer him anything as they
are the one team that can probably keep him on track.

I don't see any other MLB team making him any kind
of an offer to be a closer or more than a one year deal
for no more than a million and that is pushing it.

FYI what was the deal with Kolb? Do Braves owe him
any money or was he in his final year?

I don't see Furcal taking a pay cut to stay with the Braves and that is what it will amount to vs his open
market value. The Braves are under the gun to CUT
payroll again. I think they will take what money they
have and get some BP help

Jessica

Ummm Jessica the Cubs gave Dempster a 3 year 15 million dollar deal. Dempster previously had a long track record of inconsistency and injury. He also had a few good months.

Mark it down. Farns gets atleast 3 years 15 million somewhere. He did just as good if not better than Dempster this year.

3 years for 15 million. Farns can close a lot of four o'clock joints on that kind of money.

where do super-criminals get their henchmen from

Dusty gets them from the waiver wire.

what makes a good henchman?

lets see...a switch hitter, rarely walks, below average defensively where ever he plays, and gets 4 times as many at bats as appropriate

The Grady Little Fear is over, glory be.

http://redsox.bostonherald.com/otherMLB/view....

So now Dusty can be fired and we won't have to worry about this douche.

[Farnsworth] would be wise to stay with Braves if they offer him anything as they are the one team that can probably keep him on track.

Yeah, they're the one team that can do it... them and the Tigers... and the 2003 Cubs... and the 2001 Cubs... perhaps he really is an adequate reliever, hm?

Mark it down. Farns gets atleast 3 years 15 million somewhere. He did just as good if not better than Dempster this year.

GMs are going to snicker at the Dempster contract, not allow it to dictate the market. Farns did do just as well, but this doesn't mean teams are going to rush out to overvalue him... although, who knows, maybe Hendry will give him 5/15 too. It'd certainly make about as much sense.

On a side note, 24 hours from now, I'm going to be catching hell from every Sox fan I know, and anxiously waiting to find out whether I have to pull for the Cardinals or the Astros in the Series. Whatever happens, the 2005 season won't end soon enough.

(reverts to lurker mode and cowers in fear of the Series' inevitable arrival)

To whoever suggested Octavio Dotel,

He had tj surgery. He will be out most if not all of 2006. We could sign him like we did Dempster and Williamson.

IENPW,

Dotel had his TJ in like May. There has been some talk going around he might be ready for ST.

I agree Farnsworth won't get the same contract as Dempster. Probably something like 3 million with an 4 million/.5 buyout for '07 from the D-backs.

I heard Brenly (I think) say that the Angels have a lot of depth at short. I wonder if they'd be interested in an Aram-Ram for Cabrera and McPherson deal.

I'm sure Angels would jump on that deal. But why the hell would Hendry want to trade A-Ram for those two?

It would solidify the left side of the infield. It would also give the Cubs a left-handed power bat to balance playing a right-handed hitting first basemen. Those two players would be locked up for 3 and 5 years, unlike Aram-Ram who will proably be a FA after '06.

a lefty reliever?
anyone think jeremy affeldt and dempster could team up as 1a and 1b?
i think they could.
do i think dusty could handle it right? another question, another answer.
plus, affeldt could be had i think for brian dopirak and a robert novoa or two.

Let me get this straight: The league is snickering at signing Dempster to a 3 year/$15 million contract after he was, arguably, the 2nd or 3rd best closer in all of baseball in 2005?

Yeah, uh-huh!

Rather funny thing about stat-freaks is that you fail to comprehend that it's a distinct possibility that Dempster is a much better pitcher out of the bullpen than he is in the rotation. I'm not sure how that little "stat" passes you by, but I don't especially care either.

Dempster's numbers as the Cubs closer were as good as it gets.

Yet you can come here to this site and read that the Cubs should go out and sign BJ Ryan because Dempster's not very good. I'm sorry, but that's just funny.

This site gets worse and worse with every day.

Whatever happened to the days when Ruz used to write for this site on a regular basis?

"Is Dempster better as a reliever relative to as a starter" and "Is Ryan Dempster worth $15 million over three years" are two entirely different questions.

Also, everybody's aware of what Dempster's numbers were in 2005; unfortunately, "What are Dempster's numbers are likely to be from 2006-2008?" is the issue. And I'm sorry, but I don't think giving all this money to a guy who posted a 4.89 ERA over 900 innings from 1999 to 2003 is a good risk just because he gave us 90 good innings this year, during which he displayed the same problems with walks he's had his entire career. It'll be fairly obvious that there were better risks to spend $15 over 3 on as soon as the FA period opens.

I'm comfortable and confident with Ryan Dempster has the Cubs closer, with Wood as a fall-back crutch if Dempster is disabled.

On a side note, has anybody read "Moneyball"? And is it worth a buy/read?

i agree with the above. too much ryan dempster hating going on here it seems.

getting the runaround with "youre a starter, okay wait joe borowskis fucking wrist just broke now youre a closer, okay wait were gonna close with hawkins afterall youre a starter again, okay hawkins is a bust he's outta here youre the closer now" and still putting up them numbers after it all?

im glad we locked him down good and early so we dont have to worry about what happens to him.

oh, and i also think it was big mistake letting kent mercker go last year. id taken him over cliff bartosh, jon leicaster or even roberto novoa whom i just cant stand for some reason.

i think eric the great has the best thinking in post #17. we dont need any bj ryan dammit, just reliable guys to get us through the 7th and 8th so the ryan dempster can slam the door.

lemme go a step further;

**WARNING, IF YOU ARE SOMEBODY WHO THINKS KERRY WOOD CANT GO INTO THE BULLPEN BECAUSE OF HIS SALARY, PLEASE (A) DO NOT READ THE BELOW, AND (B) SEE A PROCTOLOGIST ABOUT REMOVING YOUR DAMN HEAD FROM YOUR ASS IMMEDIATELY**

(I) we re-sign glendon rusch because:
1) he wont break the bank
2) he can start if he has to (and had a complete game shutout to boot)
3) hes left handed
4) hes a 'veteran' for what its worth
5) he WANTS to be a cub (which i like, because its about time we got over the bad karma from the steve stone bullshit and the sammy sosa bullshit and get a TEAM here with good mojo, for which guys who want to play here when they could leave just as well is key)

(II) put kerry wood in the bullpen because:
1) if we start him, he'll just go down again, and cubsnation takes it in the ass, and now rusch has to make starts and the bullpen has to be juggled and were bringing up the mitres and the koronkas all over again.
2) kerry wood every other day with his stuff for an inning or two before the ryan dempster? i pity the fools who have to face that.
3) read (2) again.

to ryan dempster if youre reading this:
youre the man baby, just do your thing in 06, im with you 100%

to kerry wood if youre reading this:
get over yourself bro. youve only won 14 games in a year at the most and lately have hurt this team more than youve helped it. its not about you its about the team. time to evolve and move on.

to cubsnation:
we need a 5th starter to go along with HoF, Carlos, Prior and J-Will.
we need somebody in the pen to complete Rusch, Wood and Dempster (i for one think wuertz will be better in 06 by the way).
we need FA's for CF and LF (murton in left) and gradually phase in the felix pie era.
we sign nomar and t-walk w/ neifi on the bench and gradually phase in the ronnie cedeno era.

and yes, i have absolutely no idea what im talking about as usual.

GO CUBS!!

Dude, not "Cubs Nation". That's fuckin' weak, bro.
It's Cubdom, NOT "Cub Nation. Anyone who calls the Cubs' collective fanbase "Cubs Nation", needs their head removed from their ass... dude.

any guy who walks as much as dempster does and "only" gives up 1 HR in his small sample size should bother anyone.

his numbers are being propped by a HR total he just cannot hope to keep up.

yeah, he turned in a hell of a relief season, but i dont think too many people expect him to repeat it in the same quality.

i dont think too many people would be suprised to see him do well, but to expect him to just give up a homer or 2 is something i dont think a lot of people are holding their breath about. doubt too many would be displeased to see him get 3-4m a year, but 5 for 3 years...ow.

when you walk like the dumpster does you're saving grace is keeping it in the park. its going to be high-risk, high-reward or a disaster. when it comes to bullpen guys, when you're paying over 3-4m for them you're in a real sink/swim situation.

this is a team that wouldnt give urbina 4m a year...a team that wouldnt give tom gordon 4m a year...

*shrug*

Why I'm 100% behind Dempster as the Cubs closer, I believe the Cubs, withstanding any off-season injuries to the following players and Wood recovers on stride from his surgery, play it like this; let Wood start out in the rotation--he looked very good (granted it was a small sample size) when he pitched out of the bullpen. His delivery did look a little tweaked, so maybe he did adjust it.

Second, give Wuertz the props he deserves for a great season in '05. Put him in as your set-up man to start the season. And if things don't work out for Wood after a month+, put his ass in the pen for set-up role and delegate set-up/long-relief to Wuertz.

And if I just get a quick summary on whether or not "Moneyball" is worth a read from any of you who have read it. Thanks.

Líshanah tovah Cubfans...

Adam went 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored including a triple in the Venezuelan league...so far he's hitting .429

Relieving is different than starting. What Dempster did in 900 innings prior to becoming the Cubs closer means nothing at this point.

It's just too bad you can't see that. I mean, considering you have your head buried in stat books you'd think that one would register with you.

Many, many, many subpar starting pitchers have turned into excellent relievers and closers. You can probably find their names in those stat books if you look closely.

Is he going to keep the same home run ratio he currently has? Of course not, but he's a ground ball pitcher and he still will not allow that many. Besides, what are we talking about here? Raising his ERA from 2 to 2.45? Or...taking away his first 2 appearances out of the pen his ERA was around 1.5. Will that raise up to 1.85?

yeah, 15 million for that over 3 years is horrnedous. How dare you, Jim Hendry!

I expect Dempster to have a 2.5 ERA next season or slightly lower and the number of saves will depend on whether or not Prior can get through the 3rd inning without throwing 135 pitches.

He was at his best in save situations. I see absolutely no reason to not reward him for his stellar season. He most certainly would have cashed in more on the open market than he did with the Cubs. That's guaranteed.

The White Sox Win the Pennant!!

How 'bout that pitching.

The Cubs don't have a bullpen; the Sox don't need one...

Sox Win!
Sox Win!

In Dusty we trus...oh wait. Damn.

Tsumina, Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Sox going to the World Series, and Michael Jackson get acquitted. Definite signs that the end of the world is coming. It is going to be a very cold winter listen to the annoying white sux fans at my office.

man, the sox winning puts into stark perspective just how far away the cubs seem from winning the pennant.

did the cubs have 4 complete games all season?

What a difference a post-season run makes. Read alot of, "Isn't it great how the Sox are choking the division to the Indians?" It wasn't so much the Sox choking than the Indians just kicking major ass. The Sox won 98 games, they are a great team. Which is why are never understood the thinking of, "Well once they get to the playoffs that team will get swept." Give em respect where respect is due.

Meanwhile the Astro's have the Cards on the ropes. They are up 3-1. About a month into the season there was happy happy joy joy going on at TCR with the dismal start for the Astro's. While I never thought the Astro's would make it this far, much less make the playoffs I admired the organization working in some younger talent this season. That move alone will pay dividens down the road. Hell it looks like it has payed off now. Some talent as done well (Wily Taveras) other's haven't lived up to the hype yet (Chris Burke). And yet for all the praise we put on Jeromy Burnitz the Astro's got about the same production from RF as we did, only for about 5 million less dollars in Jason Lane. He is only 28.

I admire the Sox for winning with what they have and I admire the Astro's for winning with what they have. They got some sack. They are by no means perfect teams, but they come to play ball everyday. I think our Cubbies team just comes to pick up a paycheck sometimes.

This is what is at stake...

Redsox - Last World Series 1918 - Won WS in 2004.
Whitesox - Last World Series 1917 - Winners in 2005?
Cubs - Last World Series 1908 - Just 3 more years till the 100th anniversary.

I hear MLB is going to add a new rule that if an organization goes 100 years between championships they get an honorary WS championship. It is called the, "Chicago Cubs Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sears."

How many complete games have overpaid dicks like Kerry Wood and Mark Prior thrown? Oh yeah, I forgot, they're always at 110 pitches in the 5th inning and need to give way to the Mike Remlingers and Roberto Novoas and other deadbeats of the world.

I hate our team. I hate being a Cub fan. Hate hate hate. We'll never win.

"On a side note, has anybody read "Moneyball"? And is it worth a buy/read?"

It is interesting. A lot of good stuff. it does deify Beane a bit too much. If i recall right it also paints Kenny Williams as sort of a clown in dealing with the masterful Billy. What ever happened to Kenny Williams' team?

I hate our team. I hate being a Cub fan. Hate hate hate. We'll never win.

I love our team. I love being a Cub fan. Win or lose.

"It is interesting. A lot of good stuff. it does deify Beane a bit too much. If i recall right it also paints Kenny Williams as sort of a clown in dealing with the masterful Billy. What ever happened to Kenny Williams' team?"

I have heard that it contains excessive praise of Billy Beane everywhere I read something about it. Either way, I'll probably still give it a shot and purchase

"And if I just get a quick summary on whether or not "Moneyball" is worth a read from any of you who have read it. Thanks."

Definitely worth a read. It's an easy read - and somewhat an entertaining story. History is starting to prove out where Beane was wrong, and where Lewis was even more wrong for exalting praise to Beane.

I don't buy that the playoffs are a crapshoot. I don't buy that OBP is more important than batting average across the board. I don't buy that you can adequately evaluate a player you have never seen just cuz you have data on him. I don't buy that a fat catcher with titties is a good thing just cuz he walks. I don't buy that you should forsake HS pitchers cuz they are risky. And as time has passed, Beane himself has backed off of some of these things. (His last draft had a few HS pitchers in the top picks)

Statistics are nice - ABUSE of statistics is silly. That's my problem with Moneyball - it preaches the abuse of statistics.

"after Dempster was, arguably, the 2nd or 3rd best closer in all of baseball in 2005?"

Isn't that a bit of a reach?

I can list 10 closers who'd I'd take in a heartbeat, without thinking about Dempster, if you'd like.

Rivera
F-Rod
Wagner
Cordero
Hoffman
Nathan
Lidge
Izzy
Ryan
Guardado
Street

That's 11...and that doesn't include Gagne or Dotel who were hurt.

Dempster did a nice job - but let's not go overboard.

Just out of curiousity....what were those other 11 closer's save %? I understand that statistics show that Dempster's ERA might rise a little, but he can walk the bases loaded every night as long as he secures the "W" for us. If we are up 10, he can give up nine runs if he wants, as long as we win. Don't tell me other guys are better unless you have statistics to go with it, or at least a solid reason.

If you don't know Mariano Rivera, K-Rod, Wagner, Nathan, Cordero, and Lidge are better than Ryan Dempster the next question is...........you do know what baseball is correct?

Actaully Dempster had the BEST save % in the NL last year if I am not mistaken...

So LAST YEAR Dempster was teh best in the NL, and the guy I would of wanted to turn to to close out a game as he did it better than anyone else in teh NL.

K-Rod is totally overrated, and I thought that long before he got torched by the Sox this year. You help beat the Yankees in one postseason series and everybody thinks you're a god for life.

I love it. Houston (if they finish off the Cards) or the White Sox about to bust their dry spell, on the heals of the Red Sox busting theirs . . . and our shit ass Cubs renewing the worst Coaching/Management staff EVER so that Baker and the Boys can to continue to abuse the half ass roster that Hendry has assembled, make excuses, whine to the press, spreading bad attitude and heartless unfocussed efforts, and inspire Manny and Crunch to new heights of absurdity defending the biggest travesty in sports. The Cubs are Dusty Baker's vision in complete vivid detail. Enjoy. Meanwhile: Go Sox!!

Yeah K-rod is over-rated. Who the hell wants a 23 year old closer with a 2.67 ERA, 67 IP, 91 SO's, only 45 hits given up.

The guy hasn't even hit his prime yet. Damn I feal sorry for those Angels being stuck with him.

X-

I have a feeling you missed the point of Moneyball. Beane's organizational philosophy was never about OBP or college pitchers, it was about maximizing the return on his very small payroll.

Drafting fat catchers with high on-base percentages or more reliable (but less flashy) college pitchers was just the method he used at the time the book was published because those were commodities other teams didn't value. Likewise, he disregarded defense and speed not because they're unimportant, but because they aren't valuable enough to justify what they cost at the time.

The fact that Beane is now drafting lots of high school pitchers and focusing more on defense/speed is just a reflection that those players/skills have dropped in value and are now the most cost-effective options he has.

In other words, Beane's approach is just to buy low and sell high. That's why the book is called "Moneyball."

superj...thanks for your useless total bullshit post. just because you can't handle things i say you gotta call me a "dusty defender" or whatever excuse you have for trying to make things i say a side 1 vs. side 2 thing. heaven forbid someone calling out someone's bullcrap isn't actually a side 1 or side 2 thing...that'd be hard to stereotype!

evidently you didnt get to watch any cubs baseball in the 80s or early/mid90s.

don't worry...maybe after you get used to the team you can check up on its history and its past...especially the manager/coach crews.

btw, jim lefebvre and lee elia thanks you for your support.

My point exactly, Manny.

"what were those other 11 closer's save %?"

WHO CARES? Save %? That's a terrible case of cherrypicking a statistic.

"Don't tell me other guys are better unless you have statistics to go with it, or at least a solid reason. "

Sorry - I don't believe that you need a statistic to tell who is a better closer. I can look at two guys and tell you who is harder to hit against.

"So LAST YEAR Dempster was teh best in the NL"

You'd rather have Dempster than Lidge or Wagner? Save % is distorted by usage.

Let's put it this way - take a survey of players, managers/coaches, GMs, media, statheads, scouts, etc. Ask them what closer they think is the best in baseball. Excluding Cubs fans, I doubt you hear Ryan Dempster too much. Now maybe Cubs fans are smarter than all the players, coahces, managers, GMs, media, etc... Or maybe just homers who are selectively looking for something to be happy about after what was one of the most disappointing seasons ever in terms of failure to meet expectations.

"I have a feeling you missed the point of Moneyball. Beane's organizational philosophy was never about OBP or college pitchers, it was about maximizing the return on his very small payroll. "

No - I got it. The book was about finding what was undervalued. The "Moneyball Approach", however, is about finding something that the market undervalues and milking the hell out of it. That's why you see an Oakland lineup that is so one dimensional, and that can be so easily shut down by stud rotations. You don't walk your way to a WS - you have to hit.

"The fact that Beane is now drafting lots of high school pitchers and focusing more on defense/speed is just a reflection that those players/skills have dropped in value and are now the most cost-effective options he has."

It is also an indicator that he believes that you can draft and develop HS pitchers and assume that risk; something he was oppposed to doing a few years ago. He isn't outsmarting anyone - despite what he thinks. He is only ahead of his counterparts and hangers-on who do whatever he does a few days after he does it. So he's quicker on the draw than Depodesta and Ricardi - BFD. Smart GMs don't build absolute models, they do what is the best thing at that time, with that particular player/pick/situation. Beane's theory of temporary absolutism is his limiting flaw.

"Let's put it this way - take a survey of players, managers/coaches, GMs, media, statheads, scouts, etc. Ask them what closer they think is the best in baseball. Excluding Cubs fans, I doubt you hear Ryan Dempster too much. Now maybe Cubs fans are smarter than all the players, coahces, managers, GMs, media, etc... Or maybe just homers who are selectively looking for something to be happy about after what was one of the most disappointing seasons ever in terms of failure to meet expectations."--"X"

So, in other words, the leagues best closer is determined, not by who has the most saves/save %, but instead by who other players/managers/coaches/statheads believe to be the best closer? Hmmm....If you think his homeruns allowed rate will go up with his ERA, that is fine, but it is opinion, and just that. There is no support. I respect the opinion, it is a valid one. I do not respect taking that opinion and passing it off as fact. I do agree that his homers against will probably go up. But it is not fact. Period. It seems as though you are unwilling to admit that THIS YEAR Dempster was one of if not the BEST closer in terms of numbers. We DID NOT LOSE a game that he came on in a save situation. He blew a whopping two games, which, on a sidenote, we came back to win anyways...Dempster was top 5 this year. Will he be next year? Who knows...but, I do know that his value does not rest solely in the minds of other players/coaches/managers statheads...

"So, in other words, the leagues best closer is determined, not by who has the most saves/save %, but instead by who other players/managers/coaches/statheads believe to be the best closer? "

No - I am just saying that there is no single statistic that is a litmus test. Trying to create one is silly

"but it is opinion, and just that. There is no support."

As is the interpretation of whatever "support" you choose to use.

" It seems as though you are unwilling to admit that THIS YEAR Dempster was one of if not the BEST closer in terms of numbers. We DID NOT LOSE a game that he came on in a save situation. He blew a whopping two games, which, on a sidenote, we came back to win anyways..."

Actually, you can stop putting words in my mouth any time you'd like. I just said that he isn't one of the top 2-3 closers in the game. If you don't agree with me - that's your choice. It's all opinion. There is no "fact" involved. You can use whatever statistic you want, but the "best" closer is still a subjective evaluation because it requires definition of the meaning of the word "best". Now we were not saying if he had the best Save % of not - since I don't really care about his save %. I care about how he pitches.

"but, I do know that his value does not rest solely in the minds of other players/coaches/managers statheads..."

Nobody said it does. But again - thanks for trying to put words in my mouth.

Do you think Ryan Dempster is one of the 2-3 best closers in baseball?

This year he absolutely was.

"lol"

Then I am glad you aren't the GM of this team. Cuz I listed 13 guys I'd have close instad of him without even thinking about it.

I'm sure a lot of people are glad I'm not the GM, actually....I am glad I am not the GM, because I would have done some boneheaded moves. I'm not trying to say I know more than anyone else, but it seems to me that the the bottom line is "W"'s, and I think you and I look at that differently, in that I look at it from the perspective of "I don't care what you do as long as you get the "W"", and you look at it as "I want the person who is most likely, in my opinion, to get the W. If that makes sense. Not trying to put words in your mouth, but I think it is a difference of opinion. I look at the W, you look at how we are to get the W. I am ok with a difference of opinion.

Just FOR THE RECORD, Ryan Dempster was named baseball's best relief pitcher for the month of September.

The 2005 winners of the "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award" include Jose Mesa (April), Trevor Hoffman (May), Chad Cordero (June), Brad Lidge (July), Todd Jones (August) and Ryan Dempster (September).

I think a committee of 15 put together by MLB.com selects the winner each month.

So, yes, it's official. Ryan Dempster is one of baseball's best relief pitchers.

"include Jose Mesa (April), Trevor Hoffman (May), Chad Cordero (June), Brad Lidge (July), Todd Jones (August) and Ryan Dempster (September)."

Two of these things are not like the others,
Two of these things just don't belong,
Can you tell which things are not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

I don't think this officially makes Dempster anything.

"I don't think this officially makes Dempster anything."

Well, it does. The award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball.

Perhaps you will argue that the MVP awards, batting titles, and World Series don't mean anything either.

So for one month Dempster was considered the best RP in baseball and this makes him one of the games best relievers. Interesting. Is Jose Mesa one of the games best relievers?

I'd note that MVP awards, batting titles, and the WS require success over an entire season, but that was a hell of a leap anyway.

X Said:

'Now we were not saying if he had the best Save % of not - since I don't really care about his save %. I care about how he pitches.'

I'll go ahead and take the high save %- you can have Hawkins as your closer.

Well, the inference was made that no committee of players, managers, writers etc. would ever think that Ryan Dempster was one of the best relief pitchers. And that was all I was commenting on. Ryan Dempster was recognized by just such a committee as being the best in September.

We don't know if he would have made the major league top ten list for the year because that was put together and voted on before the September winner was announced.

Relieving is different than starting. What Dempster did in 900 innings prior to becoming the Cubs closer means nothing at this point.

Because you say so? Fascinating. If anyone is cherry-picking numbers and ignoring others to support their position, it's the camp using 10% of the sample.

... Besides, what are we talking about here? Raising his ERA from 2 to 2.45? Or...taking away his first 2 appearances out of the pen his ERA was around 1.5. Will that raise up to 1.85?

I'm talking about his entire game, and I'm talking about his 2006 possibly, just possibly, resembling the large body of largely worthless work he compiled before coming to the Cubs.

I'm completely mystified as to why so many people think this is a lock. The Cubs have just paid $5 million for 80 innings of work which by any reasonable standard of Dempster's career have a fairly decent chance of being worth a tenth of that, and they've locked up this incredible value for three years.

Ryan Dempster is going to make enough money to put him in the top ten among relievers over 2006-2008. I think we can all agree that, if he performs as well as the Cubs apparently expect, he'll slot in right in the 8-10 rank. (I think this is total garbage--as X pointed out, you can easily make a list of ten better relievers off the top of your head.) If so many Cubs fans are so willing to throw this kind of love behind 100 innings and "if", then maybe they deserve another 97 years of watching other teams win.

In respons to:

'Relieving is different than starting. What Dempster did in 900 innings prior to becoming the Cubs closer means nothing at this point.'

Ron Galt said:

'Because you say so? Fascinating. If anyone is cherry-picking numbers and ignoring others to support their position, it's the camp using 10% of the sample.'

2005 Bob Wickman
2004 Jason Isringhausen
2003 Eric Gagne - Keith Foulk
2002 John Smoltz - Eddie Guardado
2001 Robb Nen
2000 Derek Lowe
1998 Tom Gordon
1997 Jeff Shaw
1996 Jeff Brantley
1995 Jose Mesa
1992 Dennis Eckersley
1989 Mark Davis - Jeff Russell

That is a list of league leaders in saves who began thier ML careers as starters. Every single one of them was more effective as a reliever than a starter. It's not one person's 'sayso' that makes relieving easier than starting- it's years of statistical evidence.

That being said, I don't think it's a given that Dempster will have sub 3 ERA's for the next year, but I can certainly see the possibility.

"I'll go ahead and take the high save %- you can have Hawkins as your closer."

Well there's some intelligent conversation. Try the Yahoo Cubs board. With gems like this,you would fit in just fine there. Who said they want Hawkins? When we signed him, I said he was a great signing for a middle reliever, and a terrible signing if he was to ever close.

Is this an attempt to be a moron just to get attention?

"the best in September. "

Which equals the best in the year how exactly?

The Cubs were DEAD in September. They played a meaningless bundle of games. Dempster pitched well.

I'll ask the question again...How many of you would chose Dempster over Rivera, Wagner, Lidge and Hoffman to be your closer, salary notwithstanding?

X,

Try to refrain from the name calling.

'The Cubs were DEAD in September. They played a meaningless bundle of games. Dempster pitched well.'

The Cubs didn't play meaningless games in September. If you think they were meaningless ask the Phillies and the Astros what they thought. Which takes us to thier duel for the wild-card spot. Why don't you look up what happened in Philly on Sept 6th and 7th. If the Wagner hadn't blown those two games, the Phillies would have been the wild-card.

After you said 'I don't really care about his save % I care about how he pitches.' You then say 'I'll ask the question again...How many of you would chose Dempster over Rivera, Wagner, Lidge and Hoffman to be your closer, salary notwithstanding?'

Here you're contradicting yourself- first you say that save % isn't important, then you bring up 3 guys who have some of the highest ever save%'s and a 4th who most likely will once he qualifies. Do you not understand that there is an extremely high correlation between pitching well in the 9th (and occasionally 8th) inning and a high save % ?

Saves are when you come into the game with the tying run on deck or your team up by 3 or fewer runs, and you finish the game without surrendering the lead.

To answer your question: though I am not sure how it's even relevant to the discussion.

For 2005 I would rather have Dempster than Hoffman. For 2006 I would rather have Dempster than Hoffman or Wagner. For 2008 I would rather have Dempster than Rivera. The year Lidge is out with TJ surgery, I'll take Dempster then too.

"For 2005 I would rather have Dempster than Hoffman. For 2006 I would rather have Dempster than Hoffman or Wagner. For 2008 I would rather have Dempster than Rivera. The year Lidge is out with TJ surgery, I'll take Dempster then too."

It's posts like this that remove any doubt in my mind about the masses of Cubs fans. Dress up my dog in blue pinstripes, and there will be someone out there telling us how great he is.

After yesterday, Lidge is no longer a top closer. He will never be the same. Hopefully, he won't do what Donnie Moore did in a similar situation in 1986.

"After yesterday, Lidge is no longer a top closer."

Cuz top closers never blow games?

"He will never be the same."

Yes, Albert Pujols hits a HR off of you - and you will never be the same - I get it.

"Hopefully, he won't do what Donnie Moore did in a similar situation in 1986."

A regular occurence - blown save in the post season leading to that same end.

I get it...

That's like in 2001 when Rivera gave up 2 runs in the 9th to lose a game 7 in the WORLD SERIES 3-2... Using your logic, he was never gonna be the same, and he was going to kill himself?

Disregard his 2.29 ERA this season. Disregard his 1.14 WHIP. Disregard his completely nasty stuff. Albert Pujulos hit a huge HR off of him. GMAFB, he's still on the short list of best closers in baseball.

You CAN disreguard everything else that happened before. This wasn't just a blown save...this was a complete catastrophe. Rivera didn't get two quick outs & two strikes on the last hitter before they came back. He also only had a one run lead. It didn't happen on his home turf. His team wasn't making a once in a lifetime appearance. I tell you now he'll be useless the rest of this series, if he even gets a chance at all.

you are nuts.

well i guess you can cross lidge off your list eh?

or wait, his stats are still better than the ryan dempster so its an outrage for 15M over 3yrs yadda yadda yadda.

MORONS!

arent statistics fun though?

X,

You keep trying to belittle me, but you keep coming up short. So far you've called me a 'moron', which of course I am not. You are, in fact, an ignoramus because you don't know what the word 'moron' means. You then compare me to a dog. I forget the philosophical term for belittling someone who's arguments are superior to yours, because you don't have any coherent, sensible arguments of your own, so let's just call it juvenile and leave it at that.

Oh I forgot:

Here's some more names for you 'X'

Calvin Schraldi
Byung-Hyum Kim

Though I agree that one blown save isn't going to be the end of Lidge's effectiveness, if you don't recognize that he is becoming less effective as the NL central teams see him more and more, and he is a closer on a team that has a history of producing closers with arm troubles (he missed time this year with elbow soreness FYI), you're... hmm we already know you're ignorant, lets go with 'under-informed'.

"which of course I am not"

Of course

"Try to refrain from the name calling."
and then you say...
"You are, in fact, an ignoramus"
and...
"hmm we already know you're ignorant, lets go with 'under-informed'."
So we know you are a hypocrit also now...

"You then compare me to a dog."

Reading comprehension is a skill. Practice it. I never compared you to a dog. Re-read my post.

"I forget the philosophical term "

That's great - cuz nobody cares.

"Though I agree that one blown save isn't going to be the end of Lidge's effectiveness, if you don't recognize that he is becoming less effective as the NL central teams see him more and more, and he is a closer on a team that has a history of producing closers with arm troubles (he missed time this year with elbow soreness FYI), you're... hmm we already know you're ignorant, lets go with 'under-informed'."

First, your grammar is terrible. There isn't a complete sentence in the bunch. Second, if you think Lidge is "less effective"...

Heck - I'm just pressing the IGNORE button on you. This is a low level conversation that I don't care to be a part of.

Yes, it would be nice to refrain from calling me nuts. X, do you think Lidge will save another game in this series????

"Yes, it would be nice to refrain from calling me nuts."

I think that it is absolute nutty to say that Brad Lidge is now useless the rest of the season. If you are so sensitive that me calling you nuts for saying that one of the most nasty closers in the game will be "useless" due to one bad outing, then...well...not only are you nuts, but you are a crybaby. Those aren't names - that's my opinion of someone who thinks Lidge is useless, and being called Nuts is terrible.

Let's separate namecalling from observations and opinions. We are all adult enough (assumedly) to know the difference.

"do you think Lidge will save another game in this series????"

I don't know if he will have an opportunity - but if he does, I would bet that he converts.

I'll take that bet. If you're right, I'll gladly concede to you, but if I'm right, would you be able to do the same for me?

Concede that Brad Lidge is not as effective because of one or two bad outings? No - because I don't think that 2 outings is conclusive enough to deem him any less effective. How can one possibly say that a guy who has been as downright nasty as Lidge has been over the course of the past 3 years won't be effective because of one (or even two) bad outings?

If he has the same outing today, I'll say the same thing I said on Monday night. That was a case of a great pitcher giving up a hit and a walk to two very good hitters, and a HR to the best hitter in the NL. It takes more than one or two datapoints to make a trend.

I want to apologize to "X".I could care less about Lidge or the Astros. My dopey brother has been using my username to post on here. I have never sent a message before this, but I've been a reader for the whole season. This site has some of the best info, thoughts, & ideas on the Cubs. All of you keep up the good work, as I'll still be here reading all winter. Go Cubs!

No problem Kedzie...I don't take any of this personally. :-)

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