Not Liking the Marshall Plan

Well Cubs camp stands at 29 right now with the demotion of Mike Restovich and then we get the surprise of camp that Sean Marshall may possibly overtake Jerome Williams for the fourth spot in the rotation, while Williams slides into the long relief role out of the bullpen and POSSIBLY get the 5th starter spot for that April 15th game. A bit of a shocker I'd say. Fantastic spring and all by Marshall and he's always been one of my favorite Cubs prospects over the last 2 years, but the likelihood of Marshall tearing up the big leagues after only 10 AA starts in his career is somewhere between "not bloody likely" and "what the hell are you thinking?" Trust me, I'd like nothing more then for him to dominate major leaguers from the get-go, but the guy has yet to survive a minor league season without a trip to the disabled list and now we're going to throw him out to the dogs and see if he can survive the strain of the majors? It would be nice if this organization actually had a plan to develop young talent. Oh wait, they do, it's called, "Whoever's Hot, Call them Up!" Marshall's control, poise and knowledge of the game are all very good, but the leap from Hi-A to the majors is a doozy, let's hope he can handle the jump without falling flat on his face. - Thanks for saving us from ourselves, Mr. Grissom. Does Angel Pagan owe him some Chewbacca-like life debt now? Or is it more of a "Saving Private Ryan" moment as in "Earn this....earn it!" - The Cubs released Russ Rohlicek and he's not too thrilled. Apparently he goes in for a 35 minute jog at 7am where he passes Minor League Director Oneri Fleita and says hi, and by 8:25 am Oneri is telling him that he's gone. That's class.
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Don't look now, but a certain Lenny F. Harris, the career leader in pinch hits, was released from the Florida Marlins today after being told he would not make the team.

Sounds like Dusty's bench problem is solved, with Grissom out of the way.

Just look at it in perspective. Marshall may be young and inexperienced, but on the other side of town is a guy named Boone Logan, who has all of 5 and a third innings of experience above rookie ball, who made the cut. Marshall's practically a wizened, crusty veteran compared to him.

Can someone explain that Russ Rohlicek thing a little more? I clicked on the link and it tried to make me sign up for an $80 subscription. With the new 2006 pricing structure, that's roughly 1/3 of a bleacher seat on a prime date, so needless to say I have to save every penny.

The release of Rohlicek is nothing compared with the Blackhawks shoving a pink clip under Billy Reay's door on Christmas Eve. Now THAT was class.

that's pretty much the whole explanation in the post. They told him "he wasn't they had expected"

Rohlicek goes off a little about being treated poorly and riffs a little about why they would trade Van Buren and why Raul Valdez would get an invite to spring training and believes he pissed off somebody from the big league club, but doesn't know who.

blah, blah, blah

He may or may not be ready, but as I've said before the Cubs don't have the luxury of choosing

He may or may not be ready, but as I've said before the Cubs don't have the luxury of choosing a <3.00 ERA pitcher to fill in for Woody and Prior.

I think it's a good idea to give Marshall a shot and see what he can do. I'm just afraid that the "shot" Marshall gets will be like the shot Mitre had last year: What 3-4 games, and given up on because of a bad game against the Yanks.

Rohlicek... dude's messin' up the vibe. Get lost, dummy.

The differnce bewteen Logan and Marshall is the Sox are asking Logan to a 2nd loogy and we asking Marshall to be a starter. I think Marshall is ready though it would not hurt for the kid to get a few starts in AAA. Jwill has never been a good spring guy.

I just like the fact that Dusty is relying on a kid (Marshall) in this situation. His reputation is of course to do otherwise, especially when he's in a jam.

Just a quick note that the roster is down to 28 with Rich Hill being optioned to Iowa.

If Marshall is in the rotation, why not pitch him second against Reds so he could have easier debut than the Cardinals and Wrigley Field?

Erubiel Durazo was released by the Rangers this week: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

Might be worth a look to back-up DLee and pinch hit. Good bat with some pop, but injuries are always a factor with this guy.

Deja vu all over again. I can't believe the season is starting next week and the Cubs rotation shapes up like this:

Zambrano -- looks ready. pitching today
Prior -- starts season on DL for 3rd year in a row
Wood -- on the DL for maybe the 83rd time
Maddux -- looks ready.
Miller -- DL. May at the earliest

Rusch -- who the hell can tell? He looks fat, just like his pitches are.

Williams -- not only may have pitched himself out of the temporary rotation but may have pitched himself down to Iowa.

Marshall -- was unhittable when I saw him this spring. Would have more K's and fewer walks if the umps were giving him calls on the black and the hitters weren't so fooled they couldn't make a swing. Dusty needs to jump out and argue balls and strikes when the umps don't give Marshall those calls. But he won't.

Middle relief --- Cubs weakness now their only strength.

Closer -- Dempster looked gawdawful this spring. Not ready for prime time.

Undaunted, Cub fans are betting heavy on the Cubs to win the NL pennant. The sports book futures in Vegas have them down at 4:1, behind only the Mets 2:1 and Cardinals 5:2 .

Can 79-83 win the wildcard?

*inserts comment about Jerome Williams K:BB*

I must say I am shocked, but I'd rather rush a pitcher than a hitter.

I was really hoping Tim Salmon couldn't find a home in Anaheim, but he now looks to be their DH on most days. Oh well....

Rusch has looked ok his last two outings.

I think Juan Rivera will get the bulk of the DH duties when he isn't filling in for Anderson and Erstad.

Marshall has to pitch through the injury nexus somewhere, and if he's already pitching above Williams' level (not surprising considering his higher ceiling), why not allow him to do it while helping the big club? His missed time was caused by a funky splitter grip that he's abandoned and by laudable Cub caution when he felt a shoulder twinge. His strengths - command, makeup and a multi-pitch repertoire - buttress the typical rookie-pitcher vulnerabilities.

BTW, I was looking over some spring training stats and came across Jeff DaVanon's name. I think me and Crunch wanted the Cubs to pick him up.

Anyways he is having a nice spring and all but I liked this part of his game...13 BB, 3 SO's.

Am I missing something? (today's game, in progress at Yahoo):

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore;_ylt=AoI...

"HOME RUNS: ANA - BRANDON WOOD (2) OFF TODD WELLEMEYER IN THE 6TH"

I saw the same box score with Wellemeyers name in there???

Sorry about hijacking this, but

If you are the owner of "Third String Rejects" or "Sharon Inbreeders" in the yahoo fantasy league that I'm in, please check your email that you have listed on that account and try to respond in due haste.....

Please return to your regularly scheduled programming...

It was off Mark Watson, an NRI who I think we can safely say will stay uninvited. Not sure why we are pitching these guys so close to opening day (really want another LHP?). It would make sense as he was followed by Koronka

Count me among those in favor of giving Marshall a shot. What constitutes a "shot"? Well, let's take it one start at a time.

As for cubswinthepennant's post about our starting rotation, look, Miller was never, ever slated to be in our starting rotation on opening day so it is unfair to list him in the rotation and then say that he is another injured member of our starting rotation.

Wood? I never expected him to be ready by opening day, even before the knee surgery.

I think our rotation will be okay until May. Let's see what happens then. Chances are that we will get at least one additional guy by then, Wood, Prior or Miller. I just do not see this as being the kind of problem it was last year. The Cards are a much weaker team on paper. The Astros are weaker, too. If we can play .500 ball in April, we should not be far behind the leader.

Dempster? The box score suggests he pitched well yesterday. We have an excellent relief corps. Nothing at all to worry about here at this point.

Gee, let's get at least a week into the season before we start raising the white flag.

Miller was never, ever slated to be in our starting rotation on opening day so it is unfair to list him in the rotation and then say that he is another injured member of our starting rotation.

Miller isn't slated to be in the starting rotation on opening day. No kidding? Neither is Wood. Neither is Prior. We all know that. And it's unacceptable.

They are 3/5ths of the starting rotation as envisioned by Jim Hendry. And as usual, it's all a pipedream.

The opening day rotation is

Zambrano
Maddux
Prayer
Prayer
Prayer

They are 3/5ths of the starting rotation as envisioned by Jim Hendry. And as usual, it's all a pipedream.

I think ARM's point is that in fact only Prior was envisioned by Hendry as being part of the starting rotation. Rusch and Williams, if I recall correctly, have always been spoken of as starters, until very very recently.

Miller and Wood are rehabbing from major surgeries and, though many of us expect them to return to the rotation eventually, can't be honestly considered as part of Hendry's plan for the rotation at the start of the year.

LoL, that is kind of true Cubswin....

Zambrano
Maddux
Prayer
Prayer
Prayer

God that is sad. But that is the reality.

They are 3/5ths of the starting rotation as envisioned by Jim Hendry. And as usual, it's all a pipedream.

It would be a pipedream, only if that statement was close to being factually accurate.

Miller was never envisioned as part of the rotation at the start of the season. He was a cheap flyer who was picked up by Hendry for song - knowing full well he wouldn't possibly pitch until May at the earliest.

Actually, I don't think we have a Prayer, let alone three.

I hope that Marshall does well, but the April rotation of Zambrano/Maddux/Rusch/Marshall/TBD is especially concerning with how poorly Maddux tends to pitch in April.

Well hopefully the Cubs can pull it together for the two series with the Cardinals, and the series in LA. Otherwise they should be able to compete with the rest (Cin, Mil, Pitt, Fla).
If they had the healthy rotation they could of had the makings of one hell of a start.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed.

come may...the club should have a surplus of pitching. wood, prior, zambrano, maddux, w.miller, j.williams, rusch...and now it looks like s.marshall and a.guzman are in the mix as mlb-shot-ready. that's 9 guys...and ryu's name isn't even in that mix.

some may wanna go 'but...injuries will happen!' and that's totally baseless brought on by nothing at all worth mentioning. the past? well, that's the past...just cuz something happened doesn't mean it has a thing to do with what's going on now or it'll play out exactly like it did in the past.

pierre/hairston/dlee/aram/jones/murton/barrett/SS

that dont look bad...speed up top who can actually get on base and 20-40HR power in the 3-7 slots...and jones/murton/dlee arent just power bats who are statues on the basepaths.

t.walker/mabry/blanco/pagan/neifi

holy crap...a real bench with gloves AND bats.

howry/eyre/williamson/dempster/ohman...wuertz/novoa

best pen the cubs have seen in years. there's no wagner or rivera there, but i dont think too many teams are gonna be thrilled to face howry/eyre/williamson/dempster in any combo for 3-4 innings.

april is missing 2 (or 3 depending on how you feel about miller) big starters, but there's till Z/maddux there holding it down for a few weeks while the health trickle hopefully turns out righting itself come may.

I have no problem with Marshall being the 4th starter. People complain constantly that Dusty just wants veterans regardless of how they perform in spring training and that there's no true competition. Well here's a case where the young guy clearly outperformed the veteran and is being rewarded for it. Why not take a shot and see what happens? Almost every world series team gets big contributions from unexpected sources. Unless you're the Yankees or Red Sox that is. Don't take this as I'm saying Marshall is going to get this team to the series this year or that the Cubs are even a real contender for it with or without Marshall. I'm just trying to say that I think we have a good idea what Williams will give us and Marshall may do better then that but we aren't counting on Marshall to carry this team until Wood and Prior get back. I'm relying on Zambrano, Maddux, Lee, Aramis and the bullpen to keep the Cubs in contention until they can get to full strength.

Andrew and Bleeding Blue, yeah, you interpreted my post correctly.

All I was saying is, sure, we signed Miller, but when he was signed no one, from Hendry to Dusty to Miller himself, thought that Miller would be ready to start the season. He was not signed as a guy who would be on our 25-man roster to start the season. Rather, like Chad Fox, the thinking was he would be ready somewhere down the line. In fact, what I recall is that it was hoped that Miller would be ready to help out a bit in a supporting role by August. That has been moved up to May now so that is a plus.

So I am just saying that in no way can the Cubs' thinking or plan on Miller reasonably be called "unacceptable." It is just plain erroneous to include Miller's name amongst the Cubs' plan for the starting five. Miller's name has never, ever been in that list.

Wood will throw to live hitters on Friday btw....

Facts from an inside source...

* Sean Marshall has won the #4 job. Jerome Williams will go to bullpen.

* John Koronka, Roberto Novoa, Rich Hill will all start the year in AAA

* Rotation in AAA will be... Hill, Guzman, Ryu, Waldron, Valdez

* Cubs released Rohlichek after 1 outing in Spring Training. Also have released several minor league players who were not fully recovered from operations and will soon be fighting lawsuits from the players for neglegent care.

you know, for such an optimistic handle as "cubswinthepennant", the lamenting pessimism is absolutely fucking ironic. jesus christ the season is right around the corner! whats the good of bitching about wood and prior now? whats next, ambling around still muttering about our rotation outside wrigley with one of those "the world is ending" signs strapped on? how pathetic an attitude.

Yahoo's MLB page shows this as the headline:

"Injuries, incompetence could continue Cubs' curse"

I love that they didn't overlook the incompetence part.

Cubs lost 8-4 to Angels btw

Z goes 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Koronka 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER
Aardsma .1 IP, 1 K, 0 ER
Watson(?) got shelled for 4 runs in an inning

Z goes 2 for 2 with a double
Ramirez, Hairston, Pierre have 2 hit games

the thing i cant understand about some of this pessimism is how some can just destroy anything of any value on the cubs aside from Z/lee/aram yet heap praise upon MIL/STL/HOU not using the same standards they do for the cubs.

this makes no sense to me.

if you're gonna compare teams and tallent...at least put the same level of scrutiny on everyone.

just cuz mike maddux is a good pitching coach, that doesn't mean MIL's reclaimed tallent from other teams are destined to flourish.

just cuz houston has a bunch of young bats with upside to compliment berkman/ensberg doesnt mean that pitching can be ignored outside of oswalt/pettite/lidge.

stl may have lucked out or tallented out or whatever the past few years plugging in scrubs in full-time playing positions and having crap to gold off their bench, but their LF/2nd, bullpen situation, and depth is nothing more than a gamble right now.

MLB is launching an investigation into past steroid use

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

El Toro:
"People complain constantly that Dusty just wants veterans regardless of how they perform in spring training and that there's no true competition. Well here's a case where the young guy clearly outperformed the veteran and is being rewarded for it."

You better run for the hills saying that. The angry mob will no doubt be angry at you. But seriously, Baker has had no problem going with the youngters in pitching, because they have actually been decent. The position players have been bad (Dubois, Hill, Choi).

Yep, things just got a bit darker for ol' Barry Bonds, the guy who said just a day or two ago that his life is a living nightmare. Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell will be heading MLB's investigation into past steroids' use. And a major sponsor of MLB announced today that it will not allow its name to be used for any celebrations of Bonds this year. What are the odds that Barry will be actively playing by the time the Giants show up at Wrigley on Labor Day weekend? I would put it at less than 50-50. More than likely, Barry is gonna announce at some point that he is injured and cannot play.

Rob G.:
"MLB is launching an investigation into past steroid use"

I guess we will need to see the scope and what they are looking for and who they are looking at to see if this even makes sense. If this is purely a witchhunt to go after Bonds, this would be a HORRIBLE injustice, with Selig just trying to save face.

I hope they are looking into EVERYONE from Bonds to McGwire to Sosa to Canseco to Palemiro to Caminitti to Giambi to Sheffield and everyone in between.

I can see it now, Bonds goes ona tear this year and about 5HR's short of teh record, Selig suspends Bonds "for the best interest of baseball" without Bonds failing a drug test. What a disaster that would be!!!

Crunch your #41 is a very good post. It's really fascinating how some Cubs fans can search things out to panic about. Turning the Wade Miller signing into a negative because he won't be ready for another month and a half takes such a total disregard for facts and context that it makes me wonder about the real agenda of the person making the argument.

I am far from a glass-is-half-full optimist, but Jeezus people, relax a bit. The week before the season starts is supposed to be the most fun time of the year. If you can't find things to get excited about at this stage, why bother being a fan at all?

There will be plenty of things to worry about once the season starts (there always are). Take it easy for a week.

#40 of 44: By Rob G. (March 29, 2006 06:36 PM)
Cubs lost 8-4 to Angels btw

Z goes 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Koronka 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER
Aardsma .1 IP, 1 K, 0 ER
Watson(?) got shelled for 4 runs in an inning

Z goes 2 for 2 with a double
Ramirez, Hairston, Pierre have 2 hit games

ROB G: The guy who got shelled for four runs in the 6th was LHP Mark Watson, a non-roster ST invitee with the Cubs four years ago! And they say you can't go home again...

In a final round up of the usual suspects, Jim Hendry has issued Last Minute UNOFFICIAL Non-Roster Invitations (LMUNRI) to Watson (ex-Indians, ex-Mariners, ex-Reds, ex-Hiroshima Carp), RHP Matt Skrmetta (ex-Pirates, ex-Expos, ex-Tohoku Rakuten), and RHP Brian Reith (ex-Reds), who are spending the last days of 2006 Spring Training with the big club, with the EXTREMELY, ULTRA, VERY slim hope of MAYBE, POSSIBLY getting a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Expect to see Skrmetta and Reith pitch in tomorrow's game at HoHoKam. I know I am.

BTW, today's game was kinda interesting,. The Cubs opened with five straight hits off Angels ace Bartolo Colon, including a line-drive single to right by Pierre, a beee-utiful bunt single down the third-base line by Hairston, an infield single by Derrek Lee (and subsequent throwing error by 1B Kendry Morales--who is a helluva butcher in the field, BTW--that allowed Pierre to score and Hairston to take 3B), a line single to LF by Aramis Ramirez, and a line single to RF by Jacque Jones, resulting in three runs. Then the Cubs bats went silent.

Meanwhile, Zambrano was pitching very well, and also got himself two hits along the way, including one hustle infield single.

A weather front moved through Tempe in about the 5th inning (no rain, though it looked like it might), and so the wind blew straight-out about 30 MPH for the rest of the game.

John Koronka threw nothing but four-seam fastballs and sliders, and gave up a wind-blown triple to RF (somewhat misjudged by Jacque Jones) and a wind-blown HR over the CF fence. He also got three or four stomach-churning fly outs at or near the warning track to go with one K in 1.2 IP.

And Mark Watson was just as bad as I remember him from Spring Training four years ago. He really ruined a nice game for Cubs fans by profoundly sucking in his one inning of "work."

But seriously, Baker has had no problem going with the youngters in pitching, because they have actually been decent.

As long as you don't forget that's largely been because Hendry has simply left Dusty no other choice.

I can't think of a single veteran who has not gotten playing time under Dusty because Dusty has decided to play a young pitcher instead.

And No, I don't consider starting the 23 year old Sean Marshall instead of the 24 year old Jerome Williams a case of "benching a veteran"

At least Hendry learned one thing after the Shawn "6+ ERA" Estes experiment of 2003...

True Bleeding Blue. Guys like Ohman and Wuertz were used as last resorts because of injuries to some of the veterans.

Bravo, board! I can't remember the last time that everyone seemed so perky and optimistic. Don't worry, Monday will be here before long and we can all go back to our grouchy old selves.

I would feel better if Marshall went to Iowa for a couple of starts and Guzman had the 4th. But I like Ryu going to Iowa in a rotation rather than rotting in a bullpen. I think the up and down, starter to reliever hurt Mitre and Wellemeyer. As for Williams? He shall pitch long relief unless he is offered to the A's for Bynum. JMHO

scooter

Hey this is the best I have felt about this club in several years. The smartest thing Hendry has done in a while is beef up the pen. look at how many games we lost in the 6th thru the eigth ining last year because we failed to hold the lead
This year were going to turn a lot of games to 5 inings and last year we lost them. With Willamson,Eyre and Howry shutting the door and handing the lead to Dempster in the ninth. I just hope he gets his money worth from Pierre. It's going to be shear agony to look at the Marlins Staff in a year and see Willis, Nolasco, Mitre, Pinto and Wellmeyer. That's half of a Major Leaque Pitching Staff and all ex Cubs. Jim I hope you kept the right guy,s.

hell, you got a great chance of seeing mitre/nolasco/willis together this season.

Looking at the schedule, why is Marshall starting against the Cards during opening weekend at all? We don't need a 4th starter until the 12th. CZ could start on Saturday with normal rest after starting on Monday. Then #2 goes Sunday, #3 on Tuesday the 11th, and Marshall makes his debut on Wednesday the 12th.

With our pitching injuries as bad as they are, we shouldn't be digging a deeper hole by using an unproven rookie instead of Zambrano under any circumstances.

I like the earlier comment about Z, Maddux and three prayers being the starting staff. But I'd have to say that even Maddux warrents half a Hail Mary on most days.

Sadly, this will be my first season away from the Cubs broadcast area. Alas, this is the only thing I'll miss about Indiana. Anyway, I am thinking of buying the mlb.tv thingy. Has anyone else tried it? - is it worth it (more so than the radio package)?

Oh yeah, and Dusty Baker...rarrrarrr...Hendry sucks..rabblerabble..Rothlicek...rabble...DL...

drewdown: * Rotation in AAA will be... Hill, Guzman, Ryu, Waldron, Valdez

Beware Pacific Coast League

valdez? what rock did they find him hiding behind?

Amusing side note from the Tavarez/Gathright brawl...

Joey Gathright did not play Wednesday. He has a stiff neck from the punch he received from Boston's Julian Tavarez on Monday.

He's day-to-day. Interestingly, it turns out that Gathright is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, suggesting that Tavarez is a pretty lucky man for getting away with taking the swing.

Hehe, god I wish that fight was allowed to go down. Tavarez has been begging to get his ass kicked for years.

Ozzie Guillen is such a dick it is amazing....

The other day when the Cubs tied them up in the 9th, he did not want to go into extra innings for whatever crap reason. But tonight I am watching the news and what do I see?? The CHW winning in the 10th inning.

What a jackoff this guy is...

#54 of 60: By 433 (March 29, 2006 09:28 PM)
Looking at the schedule, why is Marshall starting against the Cards during opening weekend at all? We don't need a 4th starter until the 12th. CZ could start on Saturday with normal rest after starting on Monday. Then #2 goes Sunday, #3 on Tuesday the 11th, and Marshall makes his debut on Wednesday the 12th.

--

433: I can't believe the Cubs would want to pitch Rusch on three days rest on Sunday 4/9 and Maddux on three days rest on Tuesday 4/11, which would happen if the #4 starter doesn't pitch until Wednesday 4/12:

MON 4/3 - Zambrano
TUE 4/4 - DAY OFF
WED 4/5 - Rusch
THU 4/6 - DAY OFF
FRI 4/7 - Maddux
SAT 4/8 - Zambrano
SUN 4/9 - Rusch (pitching on three days rest)
MON 4/10 - DAY OFF
TUE 4/11 - Maddux (pitching on three days rest)
WED 4/12 - #4 starter
THU 4/13 - Zambrano

That's why it will be more like this (subject to change if there are rain outs):

MON 4/3 - Zambrano
TUE 4/4 - DAY OFF
WED 4/5 - Rusch
THU 4/6 - DAY OFF
FRI 4/7 - Maddux
SAT 4/8 - Zambrano
SUN 4/9 - #4 starter
MON 4/10 - DAY OFF
TUE 4/11 - Rusch
WED 4/12 - Maddux
THU 4/13 - Zambrano
FRI 4/14 - #4 starter
SAT 4/15 - #5 starter
SUN 4/16 - Rusch

Wow, people still making a big deal about Ozzie only wanting to play 9 innings?

I really wish we got to finish that game against the Sox it could cost us the division come September. I mean really who gives a crap? We are limping out of camp with a pitching staff held together by a little duct tape and some hope and prayers.

It is the managers call on whether to play extra innings or not in spring training. Hell it isn't even unusual. Ozzie has a healthy pitching staff with guys slotted in already. He doesn't need to go extra innings to get some of his other pitchers more work because they have no idea who is going where like the Cubs do at the present time. That is our problem not Ozzie's.

Ozzie did it for 2 reasons, because he can and he knew it would get under the skin of Baker and whoever hates the Sox. His team is ready to go, while the Cubs are scrambling. You can get upset about it, but it is like getting upset because the sun rises in the morning. No one cares.

whats sad about
Zambrano
Maddux
prayer
prayer
prayer

is that maddux most likely won't win 15 games. We can probably expect 10-14 not to mention 20+ homers again.

From the guy who we are putting in the #2 slot.

Yes. Our starting pitching right now is a huge question mark as usual.

But look, Burnett to start season on DL too. And we wanted him.

It seems to me that the word DL and Pitcher are insanely common now.

Josh

This is the best news for Cubs fans so far this season....

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb...

It is the kiss of death. If a player is on the SI cover, bad things happen. I am a huge believer in this curse. In case you don't believe it....

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/is...

Ever since that cover bad things have happened to those guys. Notice the date of July 7, 2003 for that cover, 4 days later Prior ran into Marcus Giles. Prior also suffered his achilles tendon strain at the end of this season which caused him problems for 2004.

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/is...

Again notice the cover date of October 13, 2003. October 14 is the famous Bartman game. October 15, is the final game of the series and no way the Marlins can win 3 straight and beat Prior and Wood back to back. 2 days after the SI cover, Wood surrenders 7 earned runs.

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/is...

A month after that cover he was injured. 2004 wasn't kind to Wood as he missed 2 months with a sore triceps. And that was the beginning of the long road of injuries in 2005, and heading into this season. A month after that cover he was injured.

Now it is Albert Pujols turn. But knowing Pujols it doesn't matter if he has to bat with one arm, he will play through the pain and still put up MVP numbers.

Oh in case you are curious Carlos Zambrano has never appeared on an SI cover. He if ever does, grab the women and children and head for the hills.

You want Zambrano to be good this season, just not good enough for them to slap him on their mid-season cover.

I got one more.....

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/is...

Remember that famous cover? Nomar only played 21 games that year.

The kiss of death!

What is all the whining about the pitchers we traded to the marlins? only Nolasco (sp?) looks to be any good. when we started mitre most people on this site bitched and moaned and blamed dusty. now we trade him and he is going to be cy young? i hear all spring how wellemeyer sucks from most posts, and now we are going to be sorry because he got traded to the marlins. willis was a throw in, no one thought he would be this good. i doubt the marlins thought he would be as good as he is. things like this happen. Ryno was a throw in and look how he turned out. do you really believe that anyone thought he would be a HOF? no, the cubs got lucky on that one.

and more thing while i am ranting. you all complain that dusty doesn't play the kids. yet this post is complaining because he is going to start a rookie in the #4 spot in the rotation. YOU CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. if you are going to bitch about dusty not playing kids then you can't bitch when he is going to start them. i want to see cedeno in the starting line up, but based on his spring, neifi should be the starting SS. what else does marshall have to do to prove he is ready for the bigs? there are a number of players who make the jump from AA to the big leagues. But maybe you are right, lets go with Hill who hasn't been as good as Marshall this spring just because he has more experience. saying that sounds like the very comments you would rake dusty over coals for making.

"As long as you don't forget that's largely been because Hendry has simply left Dusty no other choice."

Yeah, it would have been much better had the Cubs signed AJ Burnett or maybe Carl Pavano last year.

When I saw the headline I thought the Cubs hired Dwight Gooden-
http://www.suntimes.com/output/sports/cst-spt...

I wonder if Neifi wore his ninja mask.

I don't like Dusty as a manager. He doesn't accept advise from his superior (Hendry). Ex. Make Dempster your closer or Put Rusch as starter. He destroys starters and brings a lack of unity to the clubhouse with his lack of leader ship. God I swear he sounds more like a politician than a ballclub manager. He goes with his gut; (veteran) Hollandsworth, latroy etc.. and never with the stats; Hairston, Dubois.

There's my rant.

I don't have a problem with the roster this year or last. However, I know that the Dusty factor will:

Never concider using Wood as a closer even if the rotation is doing well.

Never platoon J Jones even if he struggled against leftys.

Take at bats away from Cedeno even when the veteran does not improve the chances of winning.

And lastly, take Maddux out in the fifth (or at least go to the mound)
Category ERA INN H R ER HR AVG
FIFTH INNING 7.64 33 48 28 28 8 .345

Someguy,

Dusty has a pretty strong track record of pitching young pitchers (overpitching them actually in innappropriate situations) and he does so mostly because he has no other option. If you think that Dusty is an advocate of youth because he is pitching Marshall when Wood and Prior are injured and Williams has an 8.00 era and Rusch is our #3 starter than I got some serious swampland to sell you.

Dusty is completely inadequate as a manager in every way accept kissing players' asses.

Hi Folks:

Another season is beginning, ski season is winding down, the cherry blossoms are in bloom along the Tidal Basin and around the Jefferson Memorial, and an old man's fancy turns to baseball. I will actually be able to see games live again and hope to make a trip back to Chicago this summer as well as catch the Cubs play the Nationals. Reading about how Jim Bowden is malpracticing as GM of the Nationals gives me some appreciation of Jim Hendry (he may not be Billy Beane, but thank God he is not Jim Bowden).

I already see that the tempermentally optimistic are already peeved at the tempermentally pessimistic, but folks, you are just going to accept us. Especially, as a Cub fan of 40 years (gosh it hurts to write that), not expecting to much of the Cubbies has certainly been right 90 percent of the time, and when they do have their once in a decade fling, we are pleasantly surprised, a delightful sensation before the inevitable (what I now will call) Bartman moment. (formerly called the Leon Durham's glove moment or Ron Santo's black cat moment).

So, about this season, I would say that Hendry did a reasonable job in improving the abysmal outfield by bringing in Pierre and Jones, given the alternatives. Even if Pierre has a mediocre season, that would will probably mean an extra 50 runs for the offense given that he is replacing the offensive black hole that was (and is) Corey Patterson. How good the outfield will be depends on Murton. If his play is close to the level he showed last September, the Cubs offense will be considerably better than last year even with less production from D. Lee, who will be good, but will not match the career year he had last year.

Shortstop I don't expect much from, whether it is Nefi or Cedeno. Fortunately, this is a down decade for shortstops, at least in the NL as only decent one is Furcal, and even he is not worth 13 million a year. Barrett, despite his defensive shortcomings, really does give the Cubs an edge at catcher.

The bench is the best of the Dusty era. Mabry is a real plus and gives Dusty a chance to rest Ramirez at 3b and Lee at 1b (Lee defintely seem to wear down the last twom months of last season).

The bullpen remains, despite the money spent on it, a crap shoot. Outside of Rivera in the Bronx, pitchers in major league bullpens always seem unpredictable to me from one season to the next. I think a lot depends on whether these guys get lucky with some good outings at the start of the season, which will build their confidence. Alternatively, if they get knocked around, as Hawkins did at the start of last season, then pretty soon both we and they start thinking every time they come into a game: "Oh, God, here we go again."

But the reason I can be comfortable with my tempermental pessimism is the starting rotation. Both the Cardinals's starters and Milwaukee's starters look better health wise and production wise then the Cubs. The Cardinals with Edmonds/Pujols/Rolen in the line up still have a much better offense the Cubs, despite the improvements. Houston, I am not so impressed with, until Clemens shows up they have only two good starters (on Sunday, the Washington Nationals lit Brad Backe up with 7, count them 7, home runs. Take my word for it, the Washington Nationals are not the 1927 Yankees). With poor pitching depth to go along with a weak offense, Houston, you have a problem (and as long as Brad Ausmus and Adam Everett are in it it will stay a lousy line-up).

I see the Cubs improving to 85 wins, a substanntial imrpovement of their well earned 79-83 of last year. But the failure, as MannyTrillo has and will note to ad nauseam, to acquire a another good starter (which I admit is easier said then done) means expecting more than a six wins improvement is unrealistic. I predict 3rd place behind St. Louis and Milwaukee (and we can experience the Schadenfreude of Tony LaRussa self-destructing in the playoffs again).

Gosh, I stil hate it that the White Sox won. And given their weak division, they have a chance of winning it again, although I expect their pitchers to regress some this year.

Finally regarding the Dusty flailing, and counter-flaingly, the record will show that Dusty has never had a problem starting young pitchers, whether with the Cubs or the Giants. Dusty's problem is developing and trusting young hitters and fielders, the everyday players, although, to be said in his defense, neither the Cubs or San Francisco farm systems have had a great track record of producing everyday players. My bigger problems with Dusty are his inflexibility in running his bullpen, his inability to understand importance of OBP in setting up his line-up, and his Tony LaRussa/Bobby Cox like poor tactical skills in managing a game (which probably goes to show that tactical skill is the least imprortant part of a manager's job). But my biggest problem with Dusty was/is the way subjects young starting pitchers to overuse as he did in 2003 and 2004. Hence, we start 2006 with Prior and Wood both on the DL. Hence, if Marshall pitches really good now, that might not be such a good thing long term. Hence, my hope that this is Dusty's last year.

Along with not firing Baker at the end of 2004, and not getting a closer and outfielder in 2005, Hendry has now topped it all by LOWERING the Cubs' payroll after back to back 3,000,000 attendance seasons where the team underachieved ALL THE WHILE adding 1500 $60 bleacher seats. We CUBS fans are IDIOTS for supporting this current front office.

Dusty destroys starting pitchers? I am sooo tired of hearing that. You know, I have my concerns about Dusty. But listeing to some people, you would think that Dusty is to blame for everything bad that has ever happened to the Cubs, including 1984. Please let's see the evidence that Dusty destroys starting pitchers. I have read all the posts about Wood and Prior. But Dusty only got here in 2003. Wood missed the entire 1999 season before Dusty even got here. Wood had high pitch counts, presumably, in both 2001 and 2002, again, before Dusty even got here. So why is it that none of that matters and that the innings Kerry threw in 2003 are the entire reason for Kerry's current problems? Sorry, I do not buy it.

As for Prior, the guy has had some freak injuries. Is Dusty to blame for those injuries? What connection is there between the freak injuries and Prior's current problems? Yeah, I know, this is a shoulder and the freak injuries were to other parts of the body. But like the ol' song goes, one bone or body part is connected to the next one. We have talked about pitch counts in 2003 and, okay, Prior led the league with about 113 pitches per start that year. I just do not believe that citing that figure proves, first, that those pitch counts have anything to do with Prior's current problems or b) even if they do, that Dusty somehow should have known that 113 pitches a game for Prior, the guy the experts said was invincible, the guy with the perfect mechanics, would be Prior's downfall for the rest of his career.

So while it is certainly easy to repeat the chant the Dusty destroys starting pitching, I am not convinced.

AZ Phil -- thanks for pointing out what should have been obvious to me about the schedule and the rotation. Not sure what I was thinking...but as long as Z goes on Saturday, I'm happy.

I cannot imagine somebody disliking Baker more than me, but I don't necessarily blame him for overusing Wood and Prior. I am open to the idea but I never made up my mind about pitch counts etc. I do remember loving the 2003 season and really wanting those two pitchers in there atthe end of the season as much as possible. Not saying Baker isn't to blame but I personally don't hold thatagainst him.

On the other hand I feel he has horrendous INSTINCTS on about every level and in particular with relief pitchers. When I talk about misuse of pitchers I am more talking about having the almost uncanny ability to put in a lefty who's bad against lefty's late in a game, or a rooky who is a guarnatee to walk somebody in in the eighth inning, or resting a hot pitcher when there is a day off the next day. He just sucks at strategizing and reading a guy's emotions.

And he cannot comprehend OBP and splits (and I am not even a big stats guy myself). But he makes it look like rocket science in his inability to EVER chose the best matchup.

I think Dusty's lack of accountability has really been what's always bugged me about the guy, and it causes me to notice every mistake he makes. But, destroying pitchers is not one of those mistakes. For every time Dusty left a guy out there too long, he also took someone out too early. In '03, I was pissed whenever he walked to the mound to pull Prior, Wood, or Z. How many no-decisions did those guys get because of a crappy bullpen over the last few years?

Wood and Prior had high pitch counts for a couple reasons: 1) They were the Cubs' best options and 2 of the best pitchers in the game, and 2) They are both strikeout pitchers. A SP who only throws 5 innings per outing really isn't very valuable because he burns out the bullpen and ends up with too many no-decisions. If it takes them 120 pitches to get through 6 or 7 innings, then that's what they have to do to give the team the best chance to win.

I blame Dusty for A LOT of the Cubs' problems, but pitching is not one of them.

I am always open to blaming Dusty for something SOOOOO I thought long and hard and I do actually blame him and Rothschild somewhat for the fact that Woody and Prior (the whole staff actually including Clement and Z at times) were consistantly in the 100 pitch area by the 4th and 5th inning. It seems if a whole staff is on a trend like that thatthe coaching staff might be accountable for the K fixation and overall philosophy.

Hendry has now topped it all by LOWERING the Cubs' payroll after back to back 3,000,000 attendance seasons where the team underachieved ALL THE WHILE adding 1500 $60 bleacher seats. We CUBS fans are IDIOTS for supporting this current front office.

I said last fall that because the Cubs cleared so much payroll off the books that 2006 they may very well come in lower than they did in 2005....and by gauging this dysfunctional group--I would bet on it. I was right again about this bunch.

As some have pointed out--the Cubs fought harder for 1500 bleacher seats (at 60 bucks a pop) than they did for good talent to improve this ballclub so they could at least compete for 2nd place in the division. Hendry says, "Good pitching (starters) is hard to find"...yep Jim--especially when other teams signed them..and once again out-dealt you!

Those of you who respond that "But Houston and St. Louis aren't nearly as good as they were last season..." get a clue

Addition by subtraction was tried last season....to a sub .500 season. Let history teach you a lesson....Houston and St. Louis may not be any better...but the Cubs were MUCH WORSE than them last season and put all their eggs in a VERY inconsistent commodity called "relief pitching"....and YES the starting rotation is in worse shape than last season....We could well be worse than last season as well....

So instead of being aggressive in the off-season we remain, and grow ever more, dysfunctional.

A review of the Cubs pitching staff.

http://beyondtheboxscore.com/story/2006/3/29/...

you all complain that dusty doesn't play the kids. yet this post is complaining because he is going to start a rookie in the #4 spot in the rotation. YOU CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

Except the choice here wasn't between a veteran and a rookie. Dusty picked a 23 year old to start instead of a 24 year old.

If Jerome Williams was a 30 year old pitcher who was being moved to the bullpen to make way for Marshall, then this would be a valid point. But that's not the case here.

Dusty did not have ANY choice but to start a kid in this situation, its just a matter of what kid it was going to be.

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the possibility of the Tribune Company selling the Cubs. Dare we dream?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1143692416050...

Uh, newsflash... Guzman hasn't pitched above the Double A level either, and has been injured for the past two seasons on and off. Sound familiar??? Looks like he would fit in great with our current pitching staff. We wasted all our top tier minor league arms on that danged Juan Pierre trade. I'm telling you, Ricky Nolasco was dominating last year against the likes of Jeff Franceour and Jeremy Hermida at West Tenn, and this year he may be in the Marlins rotation. Meanwhile, we have Shawn Marshall(Injured for the second half of last year) and Guzman(Out all year) along with Jae Kuk Ryu(Needs some work at Iowa), and according to Ricky Nolasco in The Jackson Sun today, he's heard the the Cubs are looking for pitching now. That's a bit funny if you asked me, but in the way where you laugh but you realize what has happened, and then you want to cry.

Bluedog -- interesting WSJ article. The Trib bought the Cubs in 1981 for $21 million, and the estimated value today is around $500 million? Not a bad investment.

I may be in the minority, but I would rather have the Trib own the Cubs than an individual, who could be fickle or emotional or cheap. The Trib certainly runs the team like a business, but the company (at least in recent years) has given its management team a lot of autonomy and a nice payroll figure to work with. From a fan's perspective, those are the two most important things -- and arguably the only two things that matter.

A new owner -- especially if it's an individual or a small group -- could do a lot of things differently. Examples that scare me: (1) get cheap now and then, especially when his/their other businesses aren't having good years; (2) move/threaten to move the team to the burbs; (3) make wholesale changes ot Wrigley that would make the Trib's recent tweaks pale in comparison; etc.

I'm thinking of all the young Cubs position players that Dusty refused beyond all reason to fully commmit to as starters during his Cubs era: Bobby Hill, Mark Bellhorn, Choi, DUbois all come to mind. If only that moron would simply trust young players the Cubs would have such an awesome offense.

Sorry to be so snarky but this old chestnut of Dusty hurting the CUbs becuase he won't play young players ignores the reality that those guys just aren't very good - which is why they are all major league back-ups fighting for roster spots. Its the Cubs farm system that has been the problem vis-a-vis position players.

Hey Milky,

What about the fact that it took a media storm for him to play Merton even though he was batting .350 and suddenly Hairston went from unfit to play LF to starter when faced withthe choice of Hairston or Merton. What about the fact that we got to watch Neifi and Macias pinch hit and start ahead of Merton and Cedeno, etc. etc.

Baker certainly had crap to choose from most of the time -- but he also was very reulctant to trust good performing youngsters and all to willing to play the crap LF and SS and PH optins when they sucked even MORE than the youngsters.

Apologies for adding another layer of snark, but what exactly are Todd Hollandsworth and Eric Karros up to nowadays? While Cubs' young position players had flaws, it's pretty clear that the Cubs were playing veterans for the sake of playing veterans, which makes no more sense than playing rookies for the sake of playing rookies.

Milky--seriously---Bobby Hill and Choi are both all but out of baseball. Bellhorn has had TWO good years, and Dubois would still have a shot over Murton?

If people want to bash Dusty because his moves on the field, then fine; but not everything that has happened is his fault.

I'll be the first to say he should've given Murton & Cedeno more time last year, but was it his fault Hawkins imploded? Was it his fault Wood, Prior, & Nomar went down or that Zambrano was out of shape for the first few months of the season? I remember everyone saying "when we get healthy, we'll make our run..." Come September, we get everyone back--and nothing.

What the hell was Prior doing all offseason that he comes into camp unable to pitch? Why resign Walker if you don't want him? Why, for the second straight year, did Hendry put all his eggs into the Wood/Prior basket? I'm just tired of the blame going to one guy over and over.

Ron - "it's pretty clear that the Cubs were playing veterans for the sake of playing veterans, which makes no more sense than playing rookies for the sake of playing rookies."

No - its not pretty clear - what's pretty clear is that Hill, Choi, Bellhorn and Dubois are at best...marginal major league players - which is exacty what Hollandsworth and Karros, for example, were near the end of their long relatively successful careers. The point is that many folks assume that the young players MUST be better than the veterans just because they are young but that's just a silly assumption. The great majority of young players don't pan out at all (and these examples that everyone cites to have not indeed panned out). The point is not that Holly or Karros as two examples were better than Choi or Dubois - the point is that its a toss-up and to say that its evidence that Dusty is dumb, inept or doesn't understand baseball is just dumb and inept becuase the underlying evidence doesn't support that position.

He's commited to starting 2 guys who have a miniscule number of major league at-bats and he's doing so on a team in a city that hasn't won a world series in almost 100 years - the pressue on him to win is tremendous and his job is at stake. BUt the fact that he's doing so doesn't necessarily mean he's somehow been forced to do it or that he's suddenly seen the light or a tacit admission that he's been wrong in the past - perhaps it just means that Murton and Cedeno seem to be BETTER than the other scrubs. Only time will tell, but, of course, that's the entire point.

Dusty has many flaws but the evidence on this one is really weak...so why do folks harp on it so much?

Lloyd McClendon: I realized I might be doomed in Piitsburgh as soon as we traded Aramis Ramirez

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-pira...

The thing I don't get about Choi is why he wants to be a journeyman bench player in the U.S. when he could probably be a home run god in Japan or Korea. I think he's a supreme person and I hope his Red Sox stint works out for him.

I just caught shit from every manager in my fantasy league for picking up Wood and sticking him on the DL. Let's see who's laughing in July. :)

What about the fact that it took a media storm for him to play Merton even though he was batting .350

Murton (who is Merton?) played quite a bit down the stretch.

I'm sorry, but forgive me for remembering that a guy won Rookie of the Month the first month of the season and lost playing time to Random Non-Special Soon-To-Be-Non-MLBer shortly thereafter, and for believing that this does not bode well for keeping Neifi out of the lineup (where he'll be near the top) once/if Cedeno slumps.

Choi is probably still waiting for a team to use him intelligently so he gets a legitimate chance to duplicate the 883 half-season OPS in Pro Player (although surely it's safe to lump that achievement with Dubois and Hill); thankfully, he appears to be in a good position to receive it.

*The point is that many folks assume that the young players MUST be better than the veterans just because they are young but that's just a silly assumption. *

No, the FACT is that the young players (Cedeno, Murton) cost about 4-6 million less than the also-rans who play in their stead (Neifi/Mabry/Hairston--previously Neifi/Holly/Macias. 4-6 million dollars less the Cubs then have to sign actual decent players to fill their many other holes--like CF/RF/2B.

As to the guy who prefers the distant, uncaring, vast, evil--yet business-like!--Tribune Empire owning the Cubs rather than some sports-obsessed lunatic like Cuban or Steinbrenner--I guess you like 100 years of losing.

Cause Mark Cuban has how many championships since he took over the Mavs?

Maybe Simon Cowell can buy the Cubs.

433 you make some good points about Trib ownership. But personally I with the owners would go cheap sometime. It's worked twice for the Marlins in their short history. I would not be surprised to see them win a 3rd World Series before the Cubs win their next.

As for Wrigley, I love it as much as most. But the Cubs have been playing there for close to 80 years, and no champions have called it home.

But for me the main reason I want a single person to be the Cubs' owner is so that the fans have someone to hold accountable.

Yeah it sucks to have Mark Cuban as an owner. He goes out and gets the players to compete and does his best to keep the best team possible on the court. I really hate owners like that.

We need more owners and yes men like Hendry who see Todd Hollandsworth as a starter and believe addition by subtraction is the master plan to win the division.

I just want to add a comment about Wade Miller before this thread is retired. I'm surprised that some very good Cub fans don't know that Hendry signed Miller with the specific intention that he would be a significant starter THIS YEAR in the rotation.

But that's exactly what Hendry said and Miller's contract is based upon him starting.

He gets a base salary of $1 million with another $1 mil in incentives based on starts.

If he starts 10 games he gets $100 K
When he reaches 15 games he gets another $200K
At 20 games he gets $300K more
And at 25 starts he gets another $400K.

His incentives aren't based on anything other than starts.

The only way Miller signs a contract like this is if he was signed to be a part of the regular rotation, not the bullpen.

Cause Mark Cuban has consistently won championships, right?

"Choi is probably still waiting for a team to use him intelligently"

Right - Choi is a victim of the stupidity of just about every major league franchise and all of their talent evaluators... Or he's really not that good. I know where I'm placing my bet (remember - its just a bet - maybe he will pan out, but that doesn't change the fact that he's hasn't yet).

Plus, you're just picking at the edges here - you're saying that the Red Sox might use him intelligently as a PLATOON player...with J. T Snow. This will be an interesting experimental year becuase the similarities between Karros and Snow are pretty good. We'll see what happens

"duplicate the 883 half-season OPS in Pro Player (although surely it's safe to lump that achievement with Dubois and Hill)" - BY this I assume you mean the half-season in which he hit something like 10 home runs in APril and had people on this board (perhaps you were one of them - hell, perhaps I was), crying at how stupid the CUbs were for trading him for Derrek Lee - the ultimate Proof that Dusty was an idiot and hated young guys...and then was below average for the rest of the year?

You're judging a guy and thus implictly Dusty (and really almost all ML GMs/managers) based on something like 75 at bats? When the other probably 700 at bats the guy has are totally different? AGain, I know where I'd place my bet.

Final point (and original one). DUsty wasn't refusing to play good young guys - he was refusing to play relatively crappy guys. And maybe, just maybe he was right and we were wrong.

I really don't mean to pick a fight on this ROn - so please don't confuse some sharp wording for actual sentiment (I just can't help but write today like a sarcastic jackass!)

Some Pierre news, nothing suprising but nice to hear....

Pierre sat in front of his locker at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa, Ariz., recently, eating some lunch off a paper plate and quietly watching a Pete Maravich bio on television. That's about as still as you'll see Pierre anywhere near a baseball diamond. It's about as close as he comes to actually relaxing.

Pierre is in camp and hitting before 8 a.m. every day. He bunts. He slaps balls the other way. He pounds balls into the ground. He pulls them down the first base line. And then he does it some more. He's worked so hard this spring that Baker has had to talk to him about taking it easy.

Hopefully the rest of this Cubs roster will learn from this mans work ethic. Nothing is ever handed to you, you have to work your ass off for it every single day.

Dusty has many flaws but the evidence on this one is really weak...

Lets actually look at the evidence.

I can think of one case of where picking a veteran clearly turned out to the be right call. Grudz vs. Hill. Grudz is still having a nice career, while Hill is a journeyman bench player.

Now lets look at everyone else.

Bellhorn vs. Lenny Harris:

Dusty starts Harris for nearly 30 games even though his trusty vet can't even hit 200. After Hendry releases Harris, he goes on to win a ring purely as a bench guy with Florida. Bellhorn goes on and gets a ring too, but does it in an everyday role with Boston where he hit a respectable 264/373/444.

I'd say Bellhorn was the better choice there, but Dusty wouldn't play a youngster who actually knew how to take a walk.

Choi vs. Karros/Simon

Choi starts out struggling to be more than a platoon with Karros, but does well. Suffers an injury and never got another chance at consistant playing time with the Cubs.

Choi ends up struggling to get playing time and bounces around. He's been streaky, but has still put up decent numbers in limited ABs.

After leaving Chicago, both Karros and Simon struggle to even find bench work and are both out of baseball within a year.

Conclusion: Say what you want about what Choi has done, Dusty flat out never gave him a chance because of his trusty mediocre veterans.

Dubois vs. Hollandsworth: Dusty gives Holly the starting job before spring training, but does give Dubois some platoon ABs. Leads to some comically bad double switches, just so Holly could get in the game. Dubois doesn't even get to finish a game he started until a month into the season. Dubois eventually got a chance to start, and put up numbers similar to the mediocre numbers of Patterson and Burnitz but was replaced by Holly again within a few weeks.

Dubois is still a raw free swinger with power, but could potentially be a bench player with Cleveland. Holly at last check was struggling as a Non Roster Invite.

Conclusion: Two mediocre players, but Dusty still clearly gave more chances to Holly.

Murton vs. Holly/Hairston:

Murton gets a call up and does remarkably well - in the few chances he does get to play. Dusty still prefers to give Holly ABs, and eventually works Murton into a 3-way LF/CF platoon with Hairston and Patterson (the same Hairston whom Dusty said couldn't play Left Field earlier in the season when both Dubois and Holly were struggling). After Holly is traded, Hairston is injured, and Murton keeps hitting 400, he finally gets to be a starter for the last 2-3 weeks of the season.

Holly: Was traded to Atlanta so Dusty couldn't keep playing him, where he remained on the bench while several other rookies were starters in the OF. Didn't even make the playoff roster and was released.

Murton: Appears to have the starting LF job this year. However, now that Grissom is gone, Hendry pretty much left Dusty no other choice here. Even I don't think Dusty would go so far as to make John Mabry a starter, but we'll keep our fingers crossed in case Murton's average dips below 300.

Cedeno vs. Neifi: Now this is the odd one in my book.

Dusty has seemed to actually like Cedeno and has given him far more chances than any one else discussed so far. While Murton was hitting 400 and struggling to get ABs, Cedeno was actually getting semi-regular playing time in an another 3-way platoon where Cedeno with Neifi and Todd Walker. Dusty wouldn't take Neifi out of the lineup, but he did seem perfectly fine with Cedeno getting ABs against LHP, while Todd Walker sat and watched Neifi play 2nd.

Conclusion: Inconclusive. It appears that Dusty is going to give him a shot, we'll just have to see how he performs and how much of a leash he's being given.

Overall: Dusty has give a mediocre veteran the nod in every case he's been matched with a mediocre prospect. While many of the young players benched by Dusty have struggled to get consistant playing time on new teams, most of those mediocre veterans can't even find work in baseball.

Hopefully the rest of this Cubs roster will learn from this mans work ethic.

Yeah, that's definitely his MO.

Between DLee, Maddux, Murton, Barrett, and Pierre, we're actually getting some likeable guys this year.

I'm be happpier having guys I feel good about rooting for. It's certainly an improvement over 2004 Sammy, Latroy, Farnsworth, and Patterson.

Regarding Murton, I don't know who is more responsible for the double-clutching that went on with him last year (McFail, Hendry, Dusty or the comination of all three) but it was surprising that they just didn't let Murton play after all the fanfare when they brought him and Greenburg up to put a spark into the team. Here's the chronology for those who are interested:

July 7 - Murton purchased from Diamond Jaxx
July 29 - Murton red hot 14 for 29 since call-up
July 31 - Cubs acquire Matt Lawton
Aug 19 - Murton optioned
Aug 19 - Dusty says Murton did nothing wrong. He'll be back
Aug 27 - Yankees acquire Lawton from Cubs
Aug 30 - Murton recalled
Nov 2 - Lawton suspended for steroids

"No, the FACT is that the young players (Cedeno, Murton) cost about 4-6 million less than the also-rans who play in their stead (Neifi/Mabry/Hairston--previously Neifi/Holly/Macias. 4-6 million dollars less the Cubs then have to sign actual decent players to fill their many other holes--like CF/RF/2B."

Well if you're going to put FACT in capital letters, the "facts" ought to be correct.

(1) Cedeno and Murton are the starters this year.

(2) Neifi, Holly and Macias each made $1 million or less last year. SO they made a combined 1.7 or so million more than what three rookies would have made. Plus, at least as to Neifi and Macias, you don't want rookies as backups becuase you want them to get everyday playing time.

(3) Macias was not starting games at SS or LF over Cedeno or Dubois (or Murton). Actually, I don't think he ever played SS at all last year and if he played LF it was only in some lat inning scenario becuase I know he never started there.

(4) Perez was only starting becuase Nomar got hurt...and then Cedeno got hurt in September as well which is why he didn't get more PT.

I'm surprised that some very good Cub fans don't know that Hendry signed Miller with the specific intention that he would be a significant starter THIS YEAR in the rotation.

Bluewater Pennant, you really really need to work on your reading comprehension.

Nobody said that Hendry doesn't expect Miller to be a starter in the rotation at SOME POINT THIS YEAR. Not a single person here has even suggested Miller's role will be in the bullpen.

What you can't seem to get, is that he was NEVER envisioned as a starter at the START OF THE SEASON.

To say that its unacceptable that Miller is injured to start the season is nonsense. He was never expected to play until May at the very earliest. That is exactly why he has an incentive laden contract. He will get paid based upon when he is able to return, which isn't known now, just like is wasn't known when Hendry offered him the contract.

Cause Mark Cuban has consistently won championships, right?

Yeah Chad, but the Mavs are also around the top 5 teams in the league every year..you wouldn't take a situation like that or a similar baseball situation like the A's (albeit with a much lesser payroll) than to finish 4th or 5th in the divison most years under the Trib's watch?

Also, in case no one has posted this Novoa was sent to AAA so the roster should be at 27 right now.

Chad, you're really dense if you don't think that an owner like Cuban, an egomaniac who has tons of cash of his own, is better to own a team than the TribCo, who has no ego to fill and is responsible to provide stockholders with profits.

To only be able to say "Cuban hasn't won titles" is amazingly childish. They have the third best team in the NBA this year. Is it Cuban's fault that the best team over the last few years is in his division, making them have the #4 seed every year? He took a TERRIBLE franchise and put them in the top 5 in what, 5 years? they'll win a title before the TribCo does, and apparently that's the only way for someone like you to evaluate merit as an owner.

it's about process, results are often coin flips.

"is better to own a team"

should be

"isn't better to own a team"

and i'm glad to see Bogey jumped on this as well.

Chad's Wade Miller comments are similarly way off base. I have nothing else to add to what Bleeding Blue said on this issue.

Superjimmer said: What about the fact that it took a media storm for him to play Merton even though he was batting .350

Scott De B. said:Murton (who is Merton?) played quite a bit down the stretch.

Superjimmer says: I was actually talking about Thomas Merton who got 36 at bats last year as a pinch hitter and . . . oh just kidding. Seriously though Scott my point was that Murton didn't get his AB's in big chunks until about 4 weeks after the media crawled up Dusty's ass.

Also to the dude who asked if it was Dusty's fault that Hawkin's imploded. Well, uh, not really but name another manager who would have left him in to blow 9 of 11 one run saves in a pennant race including three in the last week and a half, without trying ANYBODY else. That is horrendous. And yes I do blame Dusty for finishing off Hawkins' confidence even if Dusty didn't start it . . .

Bleeding Blue - you're missing the point. The issue is not whether Dusty started veterans over minor leaguers - its whether Dusty's decision to do so was just a blatantly poor choice based on what was happening at the time and/or whether it actually hurt the CUbs in any meaningful way. And there simply isn't any evidence in any of these micro scenarios to support the sweeping conclusory criticisms on these issues.

I'll just point out a few things:

Bellhorn/Harris - This was just plain weird becuase Bellhorn actually had a VERY good 2002 for the Cubs at 2b. The Cubs needed someone at 3b for 2003 even though both he and Harris were pretty piss poor 3bmen. But, for whatever reason, Bellhorn just sucked in 2003. I looked it up and it was even worse than I remember. He hit .212 with a .635 OPS. And even after he was traded to COlorado of all places he still only hit .232 with a .632 OPS. SOmething was just wrong with him. Maybe...he had a very nice year for the SOx in '04 but then sucked last year again. I don't know which years represent the real Bellhorn. In any event he was actually platooning with Harris but did get the majority of starts over Harris. Now Harris sucked too with a sub .200 batting average and a sub .531 OPS. BUt what did the Cubs miss out on here? Another 95 at bats (that's what Harris had at 3b for the CUbs that year) with a .635 OPS versus .531 OPS? Its all ass and I think that Bellhorn's piss-poor play was just magnified because he was such a dissapointment. Anyway, while I never would have started Harris at all, its not nuts that bellhorn was regarded as shitty by Dusty becuase he was shitty that year.

CHoi/Karros - this one has been rehashed so much its not worth it other than to say than Karros/Simon played just as well as Choi could have played after Choi returned from his injury and just clearly wasn't as good as he had been before it. CHoi got his starting job back - looked lost a the plate for about a week and the switch was on... but Karros and Simon performed just fine.

Its just too early to assess Dubois other than to say that he didn't outperform Holly in any relevant way.

And again - Murton and Cedeno are slated as starters this year and were going into the offseason. They were given the chance to play, performed well and have been rewarded. If you want to criticize the CUbs for sending Murton down once Lawton arrived that's fine but regardless of how well a AA player hits in 27 at bats, if you get a guy like Lawton you have to start him ove Murton and every other major league club would have done the exact same thing. 20/20 hindisght only on that one.

If we're really going to discuss the merits of the Trib owning/selling the Cubs, let's not just point to specific examples of owners that are wildly successful or unsuccessful. If the Cubs get a new owner, it could go either way -- which is the main cause of my concern.

For every Mark Cuban (fantastic owner) there is a Peter Angelos (dope). My point was that you don't know what you are going to get, and more imporantly, once you have it you are stuck with it. More accountability on the part of ownership would be nice I suppose, but what would it really change? The owner doesn't have a boss, and it's his money to spend or not spend.

Cubs fans aren't going to stop going to games anytime soon, and it wouldn't take long for a greedy owner to realize that he actually makes more profit with a $65 million payroll than he does with a $100 million payroll.

Most importantly, the Trib is a publicly traded company. This means that when the company sells a business unit, the Board of Directors is obligated to take the highest offer that gives the shareholders the best value (this is an oversimplification but basically true). This is important because the Board won't be allowed to search out a buyer who has the best intentions to build a winner, or to spend money, or to keep the team at Wrigley, etc.

I'm not saying things are perfect with the Trib, but they could be a lot worse.

MIKEC:
"It is the kiss of death. If a player is on the SI cover, bad things happen. I am a huge believer in this curse."

Wow, people still making a big deal about SI jinx? You can talk about it, but it is like talking about the sun rising in the morning. No one cares. :)

MILKY:
"I'm thinking of all the young Cubs position players that Dusty refused beyond all reason to fully commmit to as starters during his Cubs era: Bobby Hill, Mark Bellhorn, Choi, DUbois all come to mind. If only that moron would simply trust young players the Cubs would have such an awesome offense.

Sorry to be so snarky but this old chestnut of Dusty hurting the CUbs becuase he won't play young players ignores the reality that those guys just aren't very good - which is why they are all major league back-ups fighting for roster spots. Its the Cubs farm system that has been the problem vis-a-vis position players."

AMEN!! I have been saying that for a while now, but Dusty haters don't want to hear it. They spin it anyways to still bash Dusty, just like saying he hurts pitchers. Just like the crap about Dusty not wanting his players to walk, yet players walk MORE under him than other managers. I guess they feel if they keep saying their WRONG critiques enough times people will start thinking it is the truth.

"Just like the crap about Dusty not wanting his players to walk, yet players walk MORE under him than other managers."

Care to back this up with some stats Manny? It also doesn't help your case that Dusty basically has said that walks clog up the basepaths for faster guys . . .

Also if Dusty is so OBP/walk conscious how does he put the two worst guys (Neifi and Patterson) in the world at OPB at the tiop of his order? Hmmmmmmm...

Bleeding Blue:
"Bellhorn vs. Lenny Harris:

Dusty starts Harris for nearly 30 games even though his trusty vet can't even hit 200. After Hendry releases Harris, he goes on to win a ring purely as a bench guy with Florida. Bellhorn goes on and gets a ring too, but does it in an everyday role with Boston where he hit a respectable 264/373/444.

I'd say Bellhorn was the better choice there, but Dusty wouldn't play a youngster who actually knew how to take a walk."

Surprisingly, you conviently left of Bellhorn's stats with the Cubs from that year. In 2003 they year you are talking about, he batteed a ROBUST .209. BAD EXAMPLE!!!

AS for the other examples, all I can say is SPIN SPIN SPIN.

You will ook at it one way and one way only, and that is against Dusty. It is hard to read anything you say as unbiased.

I am sure you will say the same about me and that is cool.

I don't think the owner argument was between a sports-obsessed egomaniac like Cuban versus the Trib; it was between a general individual versus the Trib. If you get someone like Cuban, you're EXTREMELY lucky. If you get someone like Bill Wirtz, you're screwed.

That said, I would much rather have an individual who didn't have to answer to shareholders own the Cubs. The Cubs are a cash cow for TribCo, and they need to exhaust all profits from them while they hemorrhage cash in their media divisions. Just a few examples of corporate greed from the Trib owners:

1) Expanded bleachers
2) Yearly increase in ticket prices
3) $250 seats behind home plate with no additional amenities
4) Ad-board behind home plate
5) Sears ads all over the stadium
6) NEW from Chicagosports.com: the new bleachers will be named the "Bud Light Bleachers." Great, because we need to advertise for the company who owns the Cardinals.
7) Extorting the rooftop owners for 17% of their revenue
8) Lowering payroll this year despite all those additional sources of income

It's perfectly clear that the Tribune cares only enough about the Cubs to keep the seats filled, which is currently the easiest job in sports. Winning doesn't add to their bottom line when the stadium sells out regardless.

Superjimmer:
"Care to back this up with some stats Manny?"

You are actually ASKING that question? John Hill last year did a very indepth study on it. It has been rehashed 100's of times on here. Players walk more under Dusty than other manager. PERIOD, deal with it.

Here is the link to his study:
http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

I am not saying it is because of Dusty, as we will never know that, but it does happen.

Superjimmer-
The Dusty doesn't like walks thing along with veteran/rookie playing time and hurting pitchers via pitch counts are all things that have been proven over and over to be without merit.

Again, if haters keep saying it over and over I guess they think the ill-informed will just start believing the misinformation.

I never made any comments about Wade Miller (re: #109)

Secondly, what more do you want the Tribune company to do? The Cubs have had a top tier payroll for a few years now. They have given McPhail/Hendry/Baker the money. It hasn't worked out real well for them. So stop blaming the Tribune Company.

My point about Cuban is this: throwing money at a problem only goes so far. You CANNOT buy a championship. If that was the case the Yankees would ALWAYS win. Big Steiny threw un-Godly money out there in the 80's and to no avail. They didn't win a World Series. So stop with this NONSENSE.

Doug I agree with most of your points in you last post but you are way off base on one

"7) Extorting the rooftop owners for 17% of their revenue"

What is this Russia? Are we communists now? Those ASSHOLES who sell tickets to watch the Cubs play from outside the stadium should be able to profit from the Cubs product?

Do you understand how absurd that is? Those building owners take no risk and have not expenses (or very little) and make profit for free. Its no different than you downloading "V is for Vendetta" from the internet, burning copies on DVD and selling them.

That's not corporate greed, thats just protecting your business.

harris? bellhorn?

you gotta be f'n kidding me...

who cares.

they're crap. CRAP. forget what you thought you knew about them. minor league ob% and etc. etc. dont mean a damn thing.

a guy who can take a walk but cant field dont mean jack. bellhorn CANT PLAY 3rd...he can barely play 2nd...hell, he makes todd walker took good there on occasion. when your main attribute is you can take a walk, who cares when about that when its about all you can do. at least hatteberg can actually play 1st...

STAT HEADS...BASEBALL IS NOT A GAME OF DH's.

dubois can go hit homers all he wants off of kids in AAA who dont have refined breaking pitches, but just cuz he can do that don't make him a MLB player.

how a guy gets his #s is more important than the numbers themselves sometimes.

adam dunn has had like 1 sac fly in about the last 2 million years or so, but if you got a guy on 3rd and need a ball put into the outfield, if adam dunn is on your bench you better put his ass up there...numbers be dammed.

let's pass the basket a few times around t-c-r, and perhaps ruz will purchase the club? he already has the built-in general manager = arizona phil. with rob g as the new marketing department?

In any event he was actually platooning with Harris but did get the majority of starts over Harris. Now Harris sucked too with a sub .200 batting average and a sub .531 OPS. BUt what did the Cubs miss out on here?

We're talking about 100 points of OPS, that's fairly significant. Certainly Bellhorn is an odd one, but he was clearly better than Harris, and even when Bellhorn was struggling he was still sporting an OBP of around 350. It clearly is a case of Dusty picking a horrendous veteran over a young player.

CHoi got his starting job back - looked lost a the plate for about a week and the switch was on...

Choi never got his starting job back. I don't believe he ever even played in 3 consecutive games after returning from his injury. If the situation was reversed, you know full well that Karros would have been given every chance to work his way back into the lineup.

Murton and Cedeno are slated as starters this year and were going into the offseason. They were given the chance to play, performed well and have been rewarded.

Sorry, but I have to disagree that Murton was given a chance to play last season. From the time he was called up at the begining of July until mid-September, Murton recieve sporatic playing time at best. In the first 6-7 weeks of his big league career, Murton was getting less than 10 ABs a week despite hitting 400. Thats far less time than the veteran also rans including Holly, Hairston, and Patterson. Once every veteran was either traded away or proven to be a total failure, only then was Murton given his chance.

murton last year?

i'm sorry, but did you totally miss murton getting EATTEN UP on the inside pitch?

did you catch him when he returned to his increased role suddenly able to turn on it better?

he was WORKING...

what you do outside of the game, unless youre finished and polished, is a LOT more important than the game itself.

jason dubois got called up by cleveland and spent the last month and 1/2 with the pro club working with vets and coaches without playing a single inning in a single game.

he wasnt sitting around mixing gatoraide in buckets and helping load the laundry.

The Dusty doesn't like walks thing along with veteran/rookie playing time and hurting pitchers via pitch counts are all things that have been proven over and over to be without merit.

No it hasn't Manny, only in your screwed up view of what you want to think has it been proven over and over. I remember the the long dead arguement of where you were citing case studies as your bullet proof arguement for everyone being wrong. Most of us went and looked at these supposed case studies and they were hardly scientific, they were written by people like you and me with very loose facts.

Basically anyone who writes something that agrees with what you believe in is correct and no one can argue against it because well it has been proven by some guy writing on the internet about it.

Don't even attempt to go down that path again. You got burned once pulling that crap, don't do it again.

Doug D -- I think that an individual owner would have been likely to do all 8 of those things you listed, and probably sooner than the Trib did. In fact, I'd say that the Trib was in fact one of the LAST owners to do several of the things on your list -- those things are now commonplace across baseball. The commercializing of the product on the field has certainly not been limited to teams that are owned by publicly traded corporations.

And let's not forget that recently the Cubs have had the highest or near-highest payroll in the NL. The Trib is not cheap in that respect.

Surprisingly, you conviently left of Bellhorn's stats with the Cubs from that year. In 2003 they year you are talking about, he batteed a ROBUST .209. BAD EXAMPLE!!!

That ROBUST .209 also included an OBP of 341 - meaning he was at least taking a walk.

Dusty instead picked a vet batting .183 with a .255 OBP.

I'd say that's a perfect example.

AS for the other examples, all I can say is SPIN SPIN SPIN.

Manny's world view: If you can't refute it, and it doesn't make Dusty look good, it must be spin.

you guys are in mid-season form already....

shouldnt this arguement center around the position, not the hitting?

bellhorn cant play 3rd...he's bad at it. i'm not being hard on him...he dont have the arm or reaction time for 3rd. he can barely play 2nd, but he's not suited at all for 3rd.

well crunch I don't see how you can get eaten up by the inside pitch while hitting .400. But you got the inside scoop of what Murton was doing off the field so I gotta defer to you. ps - just kidding.

how you get your #s are more important than your #s.

a AA kid without a scouting report is how his vulnerability was slow to show itself.

murton's august showed that.

feast in july, suffer in august...limited play...coaching...return and thrive again.

he was being exploited by the inside pitch, mostly.

According to you Crunch the Cubs do everything wonderfully well. How is it they haven't won in 98 years and had a losing record last year?

Manny, here is a stat for you:

The 2005 Chicago Cubs were 28th (of 30 teams) in Walks with 419 BB all season. The only teams worse were Detroit and Tampa Bay. You tellin' me Dusty likes OBP and Walks? Laughable . . . especially when the guy flat out says he doesn't like them . . .

super...what the hell does that have to do with what im talking about besides you changing the subject and personally attacking me?

nothing.

now...you wanna talk about baseball or me?

that's a lame copout to take crap im bringing to the table that's on topic to the discussion only to have that drivel you just wrote as a reply.

its not only totally wrong, but its your lame attempt at a personal attack disguised as a lame joke.

you wanna stereotype me and put me somewhere you can take real-life things i say and make them not matter...that's not any way to make a point, but its a great way to avoid things.

In 2004 the Cus were 25thof 30 teams in BB with 489 Walks.

Cubs not Cus. darn.

I am not personally attacking you Crunch. I am noting that you almost without variation refute EVERY criticism of the Cubs. So I am wondering if you can explain why we are so consistantly bad?

that, once again, has nothing to do with what i said above...and you're once again...not right.

i do not refute every criticism...and when i do i bring reasons.

and my explainations of why bad things happen dont mix with yours...ive brought them up a ton. some people like to believe injuries dont impact this club....i have no idea what to say about those people's views. if there was proper backup it might not have mattered.

another 5+ wins or so outta the 162 played the past few seasons and it might not have mattered much, either...

look...im gonna have my opinions...you're gonna have yours.

but im talking about things here that dont have anything to do with me...i'm talking about the Cubs.

these views about bellhorn not playing 3rd well enough to actually play there in an everyday role or murton falling victim heavily to the inside pitch only to progressively improve on it are not radical theories...they're pretty much an accepted fact.

Injuries my ass. I watch the games. We had plenty of chances to win LOT of games we lost in 2004. ANd Dusty Baker was the reason in about every way imaginable.

In 2005 Dusty did not have a lot of talent and he mis-used what he had. Hendry did not do his job.

This offseason Hendry screwed us Cubs' fans over massively by not landing a decent free agent despite a potentially adequate payroll surplus. Traded too much for Pierre and left Dusty in charge.

Every team has injuries. Plus ours are predictable. Prior and Wood are always injured.

We are marketed a differentteam than we field AND our manager cannot maximize what is ON THE FIELD. THAT is what is happening. Injuries are the lamest (pun intended) excuse there is.

Why be an apologist when the evidence screams at you Crunch?

evidence screams at me?

and if you're gonna keep calling me an appoligist can i start calling you an insane rambling doomsday anti-cub cultist?

i seriously dunno where to begin with that rant, btw...

wood/prior...by your logic if they're gonna be predictably injured then should i be impressed the cubs are looking at 7-9 starters for this year, or should i be pissed the cubs dont just cut them?

traded too much for pierre...ummm...they didn't even trade a top pitching prospect in our system...they gave up some good arms, but they didnt give up a top arm.

and as for this:

"In 2005 Dusty did not have a lot of talent and he mis-used what he had. Hendry did not do his job."

what?

huh? seriously...what/who was wasted...last i recall EVERYONE sucked ass off the bench. only hairston was worth mentioning.

you gonna point to 19 innings of hawkins or something as the downpoint of a bad year?

and the injury to garciappara wouldnt have kept neifi from 500+ ab's huh?

and hairston having to play for a weak CF/LF/2nd all year isnt an idication of a lack of depth...

what tallent wasted? a month of murton? some dubois magic that doesnt exist? the belief that hawkins is somehow a super setup man and a crappy closer cuz he magically throws different stuff in inning 8 rather than inning 9?

dusty? man...that 05 team had a hell of a lot worse problems than some manager...

I can't believe I'm even doing this, but it was easy to find - its from an BTF post from August 31, 2003 talking about the very debate we're having now. In the end, all it shows is exactyly what I was saying to begin with - that there are all debatable decisions - not stupid, not crazy, and certainly not proof that Dusty hurts the CUbs by his fascination with veterans and hatred of rookies. And trust me, I loved Choi AND I Think Baker is a shitty manager - but dear lord folks, lets not contort the facts to blame him for things that just aren't true:

Factual set-up is someone complaining that Baker has an irrational bias against Choi and that he played well upon return from his injury:

"Played well" is stretching it a little bit, don't you think?

We'll go from his return on June 30 to the All-Star break.

His numbers: .208/.259/.292.

You call that playing well? The guy had 2 doubles and three singles in 24 at bats, while drawing three walks. I'm not impressed.

But do you want to constrict it even more, say, from June 30 to July 7?

Fine. That's .333/.375/.467. So your argument is that from July 8 forward, Dusty screwed him up. Well, Dusty benched him for one game, a 4-3 loss to Florida on July 8. That was a start against the lefty Dontrelle Willis, so Dusty goes with the righty Eric Karros, who went 1 for 3 with a walk.

Then Choi got two more starts in a row, against Florida and Atlanta, and went a combined 0 for 7. Are we to believe that getting benched for ONE GAME against a very hot left-handed pitcher demoralized Choi so much that he spiraled into a slump? I'm not buying it.

Dusty benched him July 11th and July 12th. July 11th was another start against a lefthanded pitcher, Mike Hampton. Karros played instead, and went 3 for 5. Hmmm. On July 12th, the Cubs again faced a lefthander, Horacio Ramirez. Choi was benched, and Karros went 0 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

On July 13th, Choi got the start and went 0 for 2 with 2 walks.

Then came the All-Star break.

On July 18th, Choi did not play, as the Cubs were, once again, facing a lefty. He shut out the Cubs, 6-0, but Karros went 2 for 3.

On July 19th, Choi got the start and went 0 for 4.

On July 20th, it was the lefty Willis again, so Karros was in the lineup. Karros went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 RBI, and 4 runs scored. The Cubs won 16-2.

On July 21st, Choi got the start and went 1 for 6.

On July 22nd, for the first time since the injury, Dusty did not start him against a righty, this one being Greg Maddux. Karros went 3 for 4 with 1 run scored. Choi went 0 for 1 in a pinch-hitting appearance.

On July 23rd, the Cubs faced another lefty, Randy Wolf. Karros started and went 1 for 4, but the Cubs lost. Karros at this point is hitting .336.

On July 24, Karros started but Choi replaced him midway through the game. Choi went 1 for 2 with a three-run homer.

After that, Choi sits, and Karros starts for several days.

It seems to me that the decision to bench Choi actually came on July 25. Up to that point, Choi was generally starting every time the Cubs were facing a right-hander. Since coming off the DL, Choi's numbers from June 30 to July 24 are .189/.250/.324.

I don't know how Walt characterized it, but I can't cut up those numbers any way to show that Choi played "well" upon his return. If he was so upset about being benched against left-handers, well, welcome to the Big Leagues, kid. In (admittedly only) 15 at bats against lefties this year, he's batting .067/.391/.133. Karros, on the other hand, is batting .382/.462/.569 against lefties. That's what we call a good platoon. If Choi were playing for Casey Stengel, his ass would have been platooned, too."

Oh..and ya know what, Choi still can't hit lefties to save his life (but I still like the guy, but I would have platooned him too).

That's some interesting stuff there, I certainly didn't realize the Cubs faced lefties that much in July of 03.

But the fact of the matter remains, that Choi started on consecutive days only once from his return and never played 3 days in a row during that time. Dusty gave him all of 9 starts and 37 ABs before benching him. Its not exactly shocking that he couldn't get things on a role during that time.

And more importantly, if Choi/Karros was the only case we were talking about you wouldn't be able to draw a solid conclusion off of it. But when you take this situation, along with every other young player he's had with the Cubs, and his track record of developing a total of 1 position player during his decade in SF, we've got more than enough data to show pretty clearly that Dusty has an extreme preference of playing veterans over rookies.

developing a total of 1 position player

Is that Bill Mueller or Rich Aurilia? I'd have to say 2 myself.

I was thinking Aurilia, but Mueller is a fair addition.

So, TWO position players developed over a decade in San Francisco. I think my point is still very valid.

i dont think you can blame the managers of the cubs for not brining kids in...that kinda falls on the GM and whoever else wants to meddle in the draft and sling trades.

here's the giants top 5 draft picks the entire tenure of dusty...1993-2002

http://www.sports-wired.com/teams/team.asp?ID...

to thin the list...here's the only worth mentioning...

1994 - Bobby Howry (5th) traded to WSox before making it out of AA.

1995 - Russ Ortiz (4th) dusty played him

1997 - Scott Linebrink (2nd) pitched 2.1 innings for the giants before getting traded to houston to bounce up/down in the minors/majors

1999 - Jerome Williams (1st) well...we all know dusty will play him =p

2000+ has some interesting prospects around, but you can't really lump any dusty influence in there...

there's truth to the 'dusty likes vets' arguement, but its not a damning across-the-board in every case vets are #1 forever type thing going on with him...

MIKEC:
"Don't even attempt to go down that path again. You got burned once pulling that crap, don't do it again."

OK Dad, whatever you say. Just don't send me to my room or take away my Ipod.....PLEASE!!!!

You can try and bully others, but it doesn't work with my MIKEC. I hope TCR keeps the bullying check from Day 1 of the season.

I will continue to post what I think, you can read it or not.

Bleeding Blue's world view: If I don't agree with it, Dusty must of done something wrong and its his fault, nobody's elses.

See we both can play that game...:)

Superjimmer:
"You tellin' me Dusty likes OBP and Walks?"

When did I EVER say that????? I said the study that John Hill did has shown that players walk more under Baker than under managers. What causes that, we don't know, but if it was reversed, I am SURE everyone would say it was becuase of Dusty.

"Laughable . . . especially when the guy flat out says he doesn't like them . . ."

Firstly he said he doesn't like BB's as much when they are by slow guys. Not that he doesn't like them in general. It is one of the most misquoted things at TCR, you'd think by now people would of actually read the real quote.

Milky-
GReat post man....

Thanks for telling the history like it was and not the revisionist history some want to throw at us to try and spin to hide their hatrid toward the manager.

Karros was the guy who should of been playing and he was. Baker started Grudz at 2B over Hill and Karros over Choi in the 2nd half and both were the right moves and was all part of what led to a division title.

Thanks again Milky for taking the spin and revisionist history out of it.

Bleeding Blue's world view: If I don't agree with it, Dusty must of done something wrong and its his fault, nobody's elses.

When I start yelling "spin" or "La-La-La, I'm not listening" to your arguements, you'll have a point. But since I didn't, you don't.

But I understand your frustration Manny, my points are backed up by facts. Since you can't challenge those facts, you have to find some reason to try and dismiss them - even that amounts to sticking your head in the sand.

Bleeding Blue:
"But I understand your frustration Manny, my points are backed up by facts."

Yes, the facts contorted in your anti-Baker mind maybe. Like your revisionist history of the Choi/Karros thing. Milky showed you the "facts", not what you thought were the facts.

Get over yourself man...

Manny, I love how you throw out things like "Revisionist History" when Milky's statements actually support what I said.

My exact quote from #125 is "I don't believe he ever even played in 3 consecutive games after returning from his injury."

That is a fact, and its a fact supported by Milky's statement.

Please, tell me where you see the revisionism or spin or whatever you want to call it when you can't accept the facts.

Bleeding Blue:
"Conclusion: Say what you want about what Choi has done, Dusty flat out never gave him a chance because of his trusty mediocre veterans."

Nor should he of. Dusty absolutely 100% made the right call sticking with Karros after the injury (Just like he made the right call benching Hill adn going with Grudz). Milky showed you he was batting .336 on July 23rd. How do you bench a guy hitting like that? But instead you spin it to say Dusty supports only vets, but in fact he was doing what was in the best interest of the team. Just admit that and then we will agree.

Milky showed you he was batting .336 on July 23rd. How do you bench a guy hitting like that?

Because a mediocre vet will always be a mediocre vet. They may have a nice little streak, but they will always revert to the mean.

Case in point, while Karros was hitting .336 on July 23rd of 2003, his August and September lines were pathetic. In August Karros hit 182/237/255 and in September 234/250/404 - those numbers were just as bad or worse than Choi's July numbers.

If Dusty treated vets and rookies equally, then why wasn't Karros benched?

Did you forget about Randall Simon that Mr. Hendry traded for??? He went .282/.318./.485 while he was here.

Hendry must of felt Simon was an upgrade to Choi or he wouldn't of traded for him.

Ok, so we're changing the arguement a third time?

Karros wasn't getting it done and Dusty wouldn't play Choi, so yes, Hendry got another option.

But that didn't stop Karros from playing even after Simon showed up. Karros still started 17 games after Simon arrived despite his piss-poor August and September numbers.

So I'll ask again, if Karros and Choi were treated equally by Dusty, then why didn't Karros get benched just like Choi when he struggled?

manny, the fact that dusty doesn't like walks by slow people shows that he's an idiot. those people are still on base, which is the most important thing in the game. "clogging the bases" is beyond stupid as a concept....no matter how slow a guy is, how often does this matter? basically never. if it's a single, he's going to second. if it's a double, he's going to third. in neither case does he actually clog the bases.

hendry would rather play karros/simon platoon than karros straight up. dusty is extremely lucky that simon had a career 6 weeks (plus playoffs), i feel confident that simon would have played regardless. he swings at everything and dusty sure don't mind that.

Bleeding Blue:
"Karros wasn't getting it done and Dusty wouldn't play Choi, so yes, Hendry got another option."

Or maybe Hendry, like Dusty, realized Choi was no good.

Bleeding Blue:
"if Karros and Choi were treated equally by Dusty, then why didn't Karros get benched just like Choi when he struggled?"

To get the real answer you would need to ask Dusty or Hendry, but I would assume because they thought Choi was no good.

Green Lantern:
"the fact that dusty doesn't like walks by slow people shows that he's an idiot. those people are still on base,"

Again, you are misinterpating the quote like most on TCR do. He said he thought walks were overrated. Not that he doesn't like them, but OVERRATED, when walks occur by slow runners.

To get the real answer you would need to ask Dusty or Hendry, but I would assume because they thought Choi was no good.

So Dusty thought Choi was no good.

But Dusty though Karros was just fine, even though he was putting up numbers that were just as bad, if not worse, than Choi's?

And you actually wonder why people think Dusty shows favoritism to mediocre old veterans????

Bleeding Blue:
"So Dusty thought Choi was no good."

I would assume that, and along with Hendry, as he went out and traded for Simon.

"But Dusty though Karros was just fine, even though he was putting up numbers that were just as bad, if not worse, than Choi's?"

Who is to say Choi wouldn't of continued to get worse?? Also, you for got to mention the 2003 postseason numbers:
Karros:
-NLDS: .375/.375/.750 (2 HR, 2 RBI)
-NLCS: .231/.333/.231
Simon:
-NLDS: .429/.429/.571 (2 RBI)
-NLCS: .294/.294/.588 (1 HR, 4 RBI)

AGAIN, Baker made the absolutely 100% correct decision in benching Choi and playing Karros in the summer and Simon/Karros late in the year and into the playoffs. Also, he made the right move in benching Hill to start Grudz. Of course you can't admit that OBVIOUS point because you can't admit Baker did anything right.

Well, walks are most certainly not overrated and Dusty sounds completely clueless and incompetent for saying that. He either doesn't understand the importance of walks or doesn't care.

Neifi/Corey at the top of the order.
There's nothing you can say to defend that.

Baker made the absolutely 100% correct decision in benching Choi and playing Karros in the summer and Simon/Karros late in the year and into the playoffs

So Dusty was 100% right for benching Choi for hitting .182/.270/.303 in July.

And Dusty was 100% right for continuing to play Kerros who hit .182/.237/.255 in August.

And you accuse me of making all of my statement based on my emotions towards Baker!

The Rookie Choi gets benched benched because in 33 sporatic at bats he does poorly, but the Veteran Kerros gets to keep his same position for doing worse in significantly more (55) at bats!

Sure maybe Choi would have gotten worse, but maybe he would have gotten better, we'll never know. Unlike the veteran Karros, who got to continue his craptastic hitting into September where he surged to a line of 234/.250/.404!

Seriously, the only difference between the two is that one was a veteran and the other was a rookie (well technically, the veteran did slightly worse) yet the veteran lost no playing time, while the rookie barely saw another at bat.

Yet someone is going to say with a straight face that Dusty treats rookies as fair as he treats veterans? Come On!

Just to be clear - my sole point from the very get go here is that the evidence doesn not support the idea that Baker was categorically wrong in his decisions re: playing time of rookies/veterans. My only point was that they were not black/white decisions but ones that reasonable minds can disagree about and thus, Baker's decisions to platoon (becuase for the most part its not a question of him just replacing a rookie player with a veteran) are not the no-brainers that many folks assume they are. AGain, you might disagree with the decision, but the fact that most of the young players we're talking about have had disappointing careers given the assumptions implicit in any argument that Baker should NOT have platooned them with veterans, speaks pretty loudly. The point is that the facts don't back up the assumptions that the young guys were the clear better choices and would have continued to be...

By the way, from today's Rotowrold:

Indians manager Eric Wedge said today that Todd Hollandsworth has made the Indians as a fourth outfielder, beating out Jason Dubois.

Milky, I think you are missing one key element of the Dusty rookie vs. vets discussion.

It is more than simply giving vets more playing time than rookies, which he certainly does do in my opinion.

But when Dusty does play rookies, he gives them almost no room for error. If a rookie struggles for a month under Baker, he should not expect to see the starting lineup again for a long time. If a veteran struggles, Dusty will give him every opportunity to get out of a slump - as the Choi vs. Karros example shows so perfectly.

The Indians choice of Holly over Dubois is pretty funny, especially since Dubois knocked the cover off the ball this spring while Holly didn't even hit his weight. However, based on what I've read on the sitation, Cleveland still thinks Dubois has a future and thinks its better for him to get consistant at bats starting in AAA than for him to get sporatic at bats as a bench player in the big leagues.

MILKY:
"Indians manager Eric Wedge said today that Todd Hollandsworth has made the Indians as a fourth outfielder, beating out Jason Dubois."

HA HA HA

Classic....I guess Wedge is now a vet guy too.

last word

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