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
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.