I’d Like to [Criticize] You

Well Dusty is back at it. You've probably already read this quote in the comments or another paper but it's so mind-bogglingly idiotic, I'd thought I'd share it with you all:
"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage. On-base percentage just to clog up the bases isnít that great to me." "I think the problem we have to address as much as anything is the home run problem. They have out-homered us 2-1 in our own ballpark. That's the bigger problem."
Well yeah, our offense has been pretty darn putrid this year, here are our ranks in a number of categories: 10th in Home Runs, 15th in Extra Base Hits, 12th in Slugging Percentage, 16th in On-Base Percentage and 16th in Runs Scored. You can definitely see where power has been a problem this year. And it's really hard to put your finger on why that's been a problem. I mean it seems like we're missing a solid thirty to forty home run bat in the lineup. Right now the Cubs stand at 128 homers on the year, add thirty home runs to that and we're fifth in homers. Where could that come from? Maybe the guy who finished third in the NL MVP voting last year? Maybe if we didn't replace him with zeroes, Neifi, Jerry and Mabry for the bulk of his absence, we'd be doing a little better in the power department. I don't know, call me crazy.Yeah it's been a problem in terms of not having the proper backups on the bench to fill Lee's role, a fault which lies equally on Baker and Hendry. I put this up in the comments but it's worth repeating. Here's the Cubs rank in a number of offensive categories since Dusty took over. (HR/XBH/SLG/OBP/Runs Scored) 2003: 8/7/11/13/9 2004: 1/1/2/11/7 2005: 2/2/2/11/9 2006: 10/15/12/16/16 Hmm, which number seems to be dragging down our runs scored every year, particularly in 2004 and 2005? I think it's pretty clear that OBP is what has brought our offense down and not the power so much. The loss of Lee this year was catastrophic, particularly when Dusty decided to try and win with pitching and defense despite not having many good pitchers. He had some power bat options like Restovich and Nevin when he arrived. Yeah, they're not glamorous, but if he really feels that power was lacking, don't go starting the likes of Mabry, Neifi and Hairston instead. Go far away Dusty!
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Comments

Worth $13Million?

Ralphael Furcal -
Season 125 514 87 146 25 5 7 44 30 .284 .356 .393

J.P.
Season127 542 63 154 28 12 1 28 44 .284 .328 .386

Seems like Juan Pierre is the real value this year. They both stunk it up in the early going...

Does anyone have any figures on how many solo homers the Cubs have hit over the last few years? My recollection is we had a lot of guys with only a few more RBI than HR.

Following Dusty's (il)logic, how is OBP incompatible with home runs? Aren't homers more effective when someone is on?

Dusty's mind works in mysterious ways.

Solo Hr's:

2006: Cubs 72/ Opponents 103
2005: Cubs 119/Opponents 123
2004: Cubs 141/Opponents 97
2003: Cubs 87/Opponents 87

Derrek Lee hit 31 solo hr's last year of his 46, Aramis 14 of his 31. Who needs guys who get on-base in front of your best hitters.

Solo HR rank/Overall HR rank
2006: 15/10
2005: 2/2
2004: 1/1
2003: 12/8

I suppose you can take all the teams and do a percentage of their solo home runs compared to their total home run totals, but I don't care to do that right now.

If you want to do it yourself go to ESPN.com stats page and filter it by "None on"

I am a little bit more pissed off about the Cubs selling out to corporate schills to use the field before games.

It has been obvious for years this team clearly doesn't get the practice it needs during the season to stay sharp, and these events cost us games during the season. Most importantly without the practice you get all of these weird plays that destroy the morale of the team.

This story needs bigger play, but since the Tribune is the dominate media center for Chicago and reporters who cause trouble for the Tribube get blocked access to the team, this story will never be at the top of anyone's radar. It will just be mentioned in after thought at the end of an obscure article.

ìOn-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage. On-base percentage just to clog up the bases isnít that great to me.

I've sincerely, honestly tried to figure out what Dusty might be thinking in this comment. I've gone over and over it again in my mind. The only thing that possibly fits is that Dusty must think that there are more possibilities for outs at more bases when more men are on-base. That is, if you have runners on first and second, outs can be recorded at first, second, or third, instead of just at first when the bases are empty.

However, if this is Dusty's logic, it's the reasoning of an addled brain, literally. By focusing on the higher potential for outs when there are more baserunners, he's blind to the also higher potential for runs to be scored. Not to mention that baserunners can add extra fun to the mix by increased oppportunities such as hit-and-run, base-stealing, sac flies, and increased pressure on the defense to perform.

Surely, someone in the front office of the Cubs is paying attention to all of these statements that just don't make any sense. I just can't think of any reason why anyone can defend keeping this guy around next year.

I think the key for this year's crummy offense is Derrek Lee missing the season, and then coming back as a shell of himself when he did return.

Put a 100% healthy D-Lee in the lineup hitting 3rd, maybe sign Ray Durham and put him in the #2 hole and move Izturis to the 8 slot, maybe exchange Jacque Jones for a different RF (a "true" RF with more stable L/R splits, one who can hit clean-up every day--like maybe Magglio Ordonez), and the Cubs will score a lot more runs.

I find it odd you blame Dusty for having a bad bench. He has his issues, but being provided a terrible bench; three questionable starting position players in left, short and second and continuing ignorance in believing the two china dolls can be healthy falls squarley on the GM and President of the Cubs. You can fire Baker, but the problems remain. Until McPhail and Hendry go and the tribune no longer owns this club, get used to losing.

No decent manager will come here next year with the GM on a short leash, get ready for the Bob Brenely or Larry Rothschild era to begin; and another 70 to 75 win season.

I'm sure Dusty is thinking about all the station-to-station baseball we played in May/June where we stranded everbody cause we couldn't buy an extra base-hit. Valid enough, Ramirez was horrible during that stretch, Murton and Walker weren't hitting for any power either then and he was putting in Neifi/Hairston as Lee's replacement. And of course Pierre wasn't doing squat. Of course a few more guys on base and you'd have scored a few more runs, even at station-to-station baseball. Or next time don't insist on a number of versatile bench role players who can't hit a homer.

I find it odd you blame Dusty for having a bad bench.

Aside from a few players, I'm not sure Rob was doing so. The question is which bench players do you play when the starters go down? Dusty has had a penchant for playing the worst possible bench players more than they should, sometimes even over starters.

Btw, grow a pair and post under a real name, troll.

as for the practice thing, yeah, it's crap, but Dusty already said he don't practice during the season (yet he wants young guys). So it wouldn't matter much. Plus don't most teams start taking batting practice at about 2 hours before game time? That still leaves a good hour to get fielding drills in or whatever if these guys are still on the field at 3:30.

And there's all those road games, you know like half the season, where it's either stay in your hotel room or go to the park. Rather than the home games where guys are with their families or doing personal appearances and whatever.

It's crap, but not that big a deal to me especially when the time was going to be used anyway by our fantastic, world-class manager.

I'm sure Dusty is thinking about all the station-to-station baseball we played in May/June where we stranded everbody cause we couldn't buy an extra base-hit.

Maybe so, but surely a quick retort would be, "So, Dusty, you'd prefer a one-two-three inning?" I was trying to think of something that he could honestly defend, if a member of the media were actually bold enough to challenge him on the point. But, hey, what was I thinking? Dusty having a defensible opinion? A member of the media asking a bold question?

I've been called worse, but the personal insults and cheap shots won't be tolerated for long here directed at me or others. (But yeah, a lot less tolerance when they're directed at me)

Anyway, I believe I said the inadequate backups was equally Dusty's and Hendry's fault and then said usage of these players falls on Dusty. Dusty has shown and said a number of times he likes versatility off his bench, guys who can play a number of positions. Those guys generally can't hit and they definitely don't hit for power. And he could have used Nevin more or Restovich more when Lee went down if he really felt that power was a problem. Not great options, but better options than Neifi/Hairston/Mabry that got the bulk of Lee's missed playing time.

If you want to continue a civilized debate, I'm here, if you want to scream insults, go call talk radio.

Managers have input on the players they want on their team. High profile managers have tremendous clout in getting who they want on their roster.

So to sit back and blame only Hendry or McPhail for giving Dusty these lousy players is not only wrong but dis-honest.

Dusty is the 2 time manager of the year, you honestly think he sits back and just lets Hendry decide all the players that are going to be on his roster? Your kidding yourself if you do.

Since 2003 the Cubs have become more and more Dusty's vision of a MLB team. And sad to say the Cubs have not improved one bit in that span, and are now getting much much worse by the year.

If Dusty had said : ìOn-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage, but on-base percentage IN AND OF ITSELF isnít that great to meî... I could understand his point.

That is, getting a lot of guys on base is fine, but if you don't have guys in the lineup who can drive them in once they get on-base, or if the guys who do get on base have trouble scoring from 2nd or going from 1st to 3rd on a single to the outfield or scoring from 1st base on a double with two outs, OBP might not be all that great.

Ideally, every hitter in the lineup should be capable of being a lead-off hitter in an inning and doing whatever he can to get on base, every hitter in the lineup should be capable of getting a hit (preferably an XBH), a sac fly, or even a ground out when necessary to drive in a run, every hitter in the lineup should be capable of bunting for a hit or laying down a sac bunt late in a game, every hitter in the lineup should be capable of executing a hit & run, every hitter in the lineup should be able to hit with two strikes, every hitter in the lineup should be capable of hitting the ball to the right side of the infield with no outs to advance a runner from 2nd to 3rd, and every player in the lineup should be capable of stealing 2nd with two outs and two strikes on the hitter, or going from first to third or scoring from 2nd base on a single to the outfield, or scoring from 1st base on a double with two outs.

If the Cubs could find more players with as many of those skills as possible combined in one player, they would lead the league in runs scored, and OBP would take care of itself.

This is not the first time Dusty has referred to ìclogging the bases,î as previous posters to this site have pointed out. See http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi... and http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi....
It is clear that the Cubs do not value on base percentage as an organizational philosophy. Players with high OBPs are not sought for acquisition (unless the OBP is an afterthought, as in the case of Derrek Lee), players with low OBP have that fact overlooked when acquisitions are considered (like Jacque Jones and, to a certain extent, Pierre, whose skills as a leadoff hitter do not impress) and players that happen to have decent OBPs that happen to be on the roster despite the foregoing are often not played in favor of players with low OBPs who have other ìattributesî that are not objectively determinable (like Perez over Walker this year). Statements like this from Dusty merely confirm what has happened in practice time and again for years.
In business, managers that perform poorly are often cashiered. Managers that both perform poorly and willfully ignore key performance metrics are among the most deserving of the unemployed. I think Dusty needs to be fired, and perhaps Hendry too. To review, the Cubs are last in the NL in runs scored and OBP. They are 29th (out of 30) in the major leagues in OBP (ahead of only the Devil Rays) and last in the majors in runs scored. They are 11th (out of 16) in the NL in home runs and 12th in the NL in team slugging percentage. As might be expected from their low team OBP, the Cubs have had more at bats this year with no runners on than any other team in the NL. There are those who suggest that the Cubs do not do a good job of driving in runs; to that I am tempted to say, how can you tell? The sample size is too small. They are last in the NL in number of at bats with runners in scoring position. They are last in the NL in walks with 307, a full 57 walks behind the team with the next fewest, the Pirates, and 184 fewer than the team with the most, the Reds. They are also last in the majors in walks.
It is obviously true that more home runs would help, as Dusty points out. I thought going into the year that the team was short at least one stick from a corner outfielder. The loss of Lee has been devastating. He was the offensive player this team could have least afforded to lose. His loss should not have led to the death spiral that was May and June, however.
It has been a difficult year, to put it mildly. The Cubs' pitching has been poor, with a team ERA of 4.76 (14th in the NL), with injuries and rookie starters certainly not helping things. They have allowed more runs, 650, than any other NL team. They are last in the NL and in the entire major leagues in walks allowed, with 537, 30 more than the team with the next most, Kansas City, and 48 more than the NL team with the next most, the Pirates. They have allowed 115 runs more than they have scored, which is an enormous number, one that would be difficult to overcome even with a great offense (only two NL teams have scored more runs than the Cubs have allowed, the Mets and the Phillies). However, I would like to see a lot more "clogging the bases" with baserunners, as I think that would lead to more runs scored. It seems to work for the successful teams. If Dusty doesn't see it that way, he needs to go. Pierre and Izturis batting 1 and 2 next year will strangle the Cub offense in its cradle.

I should say that our OBP rank would probably be up to 10,11 or 12 if we did have Lee all year as well. He was nearly as much a detriment to our team's power as on-base ability.

And Dusty's still clueless.

AZ Phil,

I disagree. OBP is the prime-mover. To me, the more relevant stat is 1 - OBP, which is of course the % of PA's a player gets out. Simply put, the lower these numbers are for your players, the more likely these players are to extend the inning. When guys are proficient in the art of not-getting-out, the chances of these same guys getting out consecutively goes down. Three .320 OBP guys stand a 31% chance of going 1-2-3 in an inning. Three .360 OBP guys stand only a 26% chance of going 1-2-3. One curious thing I notice is that the change in the chance of getting out in order decreases faster than the increase in OBP.

I do very much agree, however, with your statement that the Cubs should strive for a line-up in which anyone could conceivably lead off. IMHO, the only choices you should be making in line-up construction are prioritizing the power for the upper-middle and the weaker batters in general towards the back. The idea that a team needs to go out and "get a lead-off hitter," as if "leading off" was some specialized skill is ludicrous and wrongheaded.

Even if you believe Dusty's point was that getting on base with no one behind you to drive you in is worthless, that's still ridiculously short-sighted.

There are many more benefits to getting on base than the immediate scoring of runs.

How about turning the lineup over more times/game to give your best hitters more ABs?

How about forcing the pitcher to throw more pitches and get to the bullpen earlier?

How about giving your own pitcher more time to rest between innings?

Or forcing the opposing pitcher into the stretch where he's usually less comfortable?

It's unfathomable to me that someone as dense as Dusty Baker not only has a job managing a major league ballclub, but actually is the second highest paid manager in the game.

I think it's amazing that this idea that Dusty didn't play Walker or sat Walker to play Nefi is still being circulated. When Lee was down, Walker was in the lineup. Walker was the opening day seond baseman. Doesn't anybody believe that Walker shares at least some of the blame for the death spiral that was May and June?

slugging has been a huge problem for this team this year.

not just homers, but doubles, too...a double can take a guy from 1st to home if he's fast enough and 2nd to home if he's not b.molina or p.burrell.

last year the pen was a huge problem...any pen that loses about 30 games for your team is a huge problem.

this year its slugging and finding a starter who can actually put in his work effectively (sans an april maddux and a may+ Z). ob% is a problem this year, too...but the slugging that has carried to production hasnt been there consistantly.

this team was playing a LOT of 90ft-at-a-time baseball pre-allstart break. it was pretty hard to watch 1-2 guys get on base only to see them walking back to field their possition before walking across home plate.

Perhaps, Wernert

Walker did have a .626 OPS in June. Not too good.

Managing a major league club has to be considered one of the most elite professions in the entire world. Managers are paid on par with many Fortune1000 CEOs, yet managerial jobs don't seem to be awarded by merit.

All major league PLAYERS have to earn their jobs through consistently good performance (except Neifi), so why is it different for managers? Why are they handed multi-million dollar jobs just because they've been around the game a long time? If a player struck out 200 times a year and couldn't hit the ball out of the infield, he'd be out of a job, so why does a manager who can't even grasp the simplest of baseball concepts, makes ignorant racist remarks, consistently makes stupid in-game decisions, and has a BS excuse for everything get to keep his job?

If Walker's going to have June pinned on him, then he should get April (358/436/507) to his credit.

Did someone say he sat Walker? Walker moved to 1st, Neifi/Hairston/Womack (stricken from my memory) played second most of the time when Lee went down, so essentially they replaced Lee in the lineup the first time he went down. The second time it's been mostly Mabry/Nevin. No doubt Walker could have hit better during May/June (like just about everyone else), but the falloff between Lee and Neifi/Hairston/Womack is Grand Canyon size in terms of offense and power.

managing isnt about winning...it is to fans, but for the most part major league (and minor league) managers are there to keep people from killing each other and bringing out the best in the players.

smiles with ready-to-task for 200 days is more important of a managerial skill than "making" a team win.

when it comes time to take the pulse of the team, the players will get the blame for not coming through...when you have an out of control clubhouse, no matter how many wins you got, the manager will get the blame. davey johnson knows a lot about this.

#12 of 22: By Rob G. (August 25, 2006 01:23 PM)
I've been called worse, but the personal insults and cheap shots won't be tolerated for long here directed at me or others. (But yeah, a lot less tolerance when they're directed at me)
--
WOW.....not much of a cheap shot from #7, really....I've seen most of you regulars treat the part time posters (me included) far worse.

Good job promoting opinions on your site.

Joe Farrier
Newton, Iowa
[email protected]

Dusty's comment is complete bullshit for one reason: he had one of the best slugging teams two years in a row, and he still didn't put high OBP hitters at the top of the lineup.

For Dusty, it's speed/contact at the top, slugging in the middle, rookies/trash at the bottom. OBP isn't even a consideration.

i think the "cheap" shot isnt the message itself, but the "name" of the person who posted it.

Vorare,

I like your assessment of Dusty's thought process vis-a-vis line-up construction. Let's face it. The dude is stuck in the 1980's. He simply can't come to terms with the fact that baseball has revealed a lot of its secrets to us in the last 5-10 years.

managing isnt about winning...

Well then the Cubs have the perfect man for the job in Dusty Baker!

but for the most part major league (and minor league) managers are there to keep people from killing each other and bringing out the best in the players.

And of course the reason you want a manager to bring out the best in his players is so that the team...

(wait for it)

Wins!

i wish it was that easy bleedingblue...so do a lotta people who arent managers anymore even when they "win".

we can bitch about how people paid that much should blah blah blah, but its not that way. its not...period. fantasy land.

a LOT of baseball players are semi-to-uneducated. a lot of them really do need to be told what to do and when to do it cuz its all theyve done since age 14-16. and if you've hung out with a large group you can really see a bunch 20-somethings acting like 16 year olds who have their mom's minivan for the entire night to pick up their friends and rip ass all over town.

give them a few million dollars and it doesnt get any better.

What on earth are you talking about, Crunch?

its english...read and comprehend...good luck.

Seeing the 2004 stats/ranks again is very depressing. Incidentally, in the five games the Cubs lost by a run late in the season, their problem really *was* too little slugging.

9/25 - 4-3 Mets (11 innings), 2B, HR, 8 walks
9/26 - 3-2 Mets, 2B, 5 walks
9/29 - 4-3 Reds (12 innings), 2B, HR, 7 walks
9/30 - 2-1 Reds (12 innings), HR, 6 walks
10-1 - 5-4 Braves, 4 walks

On the other hand, having a relevant final week of the season was nice, to say nothing of the thrills of a SECOND CONSECUTIVE WINNING SEASON.

Does anyone feel bad about hyping up that "accomplishment" yet?

Promoting opinions is exactly what I'm trying to foster around here rather than a bunch of talk radio/bar room insults.

I'm not doubting for one second that babysitting millionaires is a large part of a managers job.

But the fact remains that the biggest reason that job is important is because an unfocused team rarely wins games.

The fact remains is that the two biggest reasons a manager gets fired is 1-an inability to win, or 2-an inability to get along with team executives.

Very rarely will you see a manager fired because his team won, but he couldn't handle the babysitting role.

#17 of 30: By Horatio (August 25, 2006 02:14 PM)
AZ Phil,
I disagree. OBP is the prime-mover.

---

HORATIO: FWIW, the Dodgers lead the N. L. in OBP, are 9th in slugging, and 5th in runs scored. They also lead the N. L. in LOB.

The Mets are only 8th in team OBP, but are third in slugging, and second in runs scored. They have also left the 5th fewest runners on base.

The key to scoring runs is not just to get runners on base (which is important, but not THE most important thing), but rather to drive them in once they are on base. This is best accomplished by slugging (XBH).

Clearly, Dusty should have been fired Oct. 3, 1993, when he started Salomon Torres instead of Bill Swift, and he never should've managed another major league game again after that, except for Chicago Cubs Opening Day 2003-06.

I don't think being a good manager is necessarily about who wins the most games. Dusty won a lot of games with San Francisco, and I'm sure he exhibited a lot of the same flaws he has now with the Cubs. Being a good manager is about making the best decisions day in and day out that will give your particular team the best chance to win.

You could be a great manager with a shitty team and not win many games, or a poor manager with a great team that wins a lot. All I ask is for a manager to give a team the best chance possible to win. That means not having ass backward views of simple things like how high OBP can help your team. It also means setting a tone for your clubhouse that doesn't make it acceptable to make excuses for everything.

Dusty blows.

AZ Phil: If the Cubs could find more players with as many of those skills as possible combined in one player, they would lead the league in runs scored, and OBP would take care of itself.

I know what you are saying, but some teams have a reputation for being "difficult outs" or "disciplined batters". The A's & Phillies come to mind. I think this "hack at the first pitch you can reach" is more of a taught behavior coming from the coaching staff and ultimately the manager. In fact I've heard Cubs coaching staff say "they didn't mind if guys swung at the first pitch as long as it's a good pitch".

Forget OBP, AVG, SLG, I just want to see Cubs batters take more pitches and be more difficult outs. 1. When you get deep in a count, you see better pitches. 2. When you make the pitcher work it's more likely you can run the starter off the field.

"Very rarely will you see a manager fired because his team won, but he couldn't handle the babysitting role."

johnson, mckeon, showalter, b.martin, etc. etc.

there's a lot more "non winners" who are competitive, but the clubhouse is a disaster (miley, reds) in the mix, too.

davey johnson is my prime example...he's managed the hell outta some games...unfortuately he's pissed off almost everyone he's managed and the organizations that hired him to manage. his in-game skills, even when winning, did not outweigh the baggage to the team off the field or in the clubhouse.

"HORATIO: FWIW, the Dodgers lead the N. L. in OBP, are 9th in slugging, and 5th in runs scored. They also lead the N. L. in LOB.

The Mets are only 8th in team OBP, but are third in slugging, and second in runs scored. They have also left the 5th fewest runners on base."

I think what high OBP allows a team to do is score runs consistently. High slugging could mean you'll score 10 runs one game, and none the next. Obviously you need a combination of both OBP and SLG, but I think a team's OBP numbers provide the consistent run-scoring ability, as many true sluggers suffer from an all-or-nothing approach at the plate.

I'd much rather have my team score 5 runs everyday than 10 one day and 0 the next. You end up with the same number of runs scored for the season, but in the first scenario you'll likely have a winning record, and in the second you'll be .500 at best.

The key to scoring runs is not just to get runners on base (which is important, but not THE most important thing), but rather to drive them in once they are on base. This is best accomplished by slugging (XBH).

they're both great, but there's been enough studies out there that demonstrate OBP is a bit more important than slugging in terms of runs scored. But you need both to be a good offensive team (top 5 in your league), just good at one or the other puts you in the middle (2004 and 2005 Cubs), sucking at both puts you a the bottom (2006 Cubs).

There's a difference between keeping your players happy and keeping your players happy and focused on winning. Dusty does a great job of the former and a piss-poor job of the latter. He also does a terrible job of shielding his team from fan/media criticism.

"Dusty's mind works in mysterious ways"

Not really, when guys are on base bad things happen.

Double Plays- See Neifi Perez
Picked off/ caught stealing-Bynum/Pierre
or the best Doubled off base on fly ball to outfield-Jacques Jones

Get guys on and your just asking for it, dude.

AZ Phil,

I was mainly pointing out that I thought you had a backwards logic when you said guys should be able to do a, b, and c and the OBP will come naturally. With that I disagree, because to me that is putting the cart before the horse.

I realize very much that XBH are a huge factor in an offense. Indeed, I have said before on this very board that the only two things that matter in an offense are 1. not getting out and 2. mashing the ball so your baserunners can run home.

One thing that occurred to me. We're always looking at "team" OBP and "team" SLG. Perhaps it'd be wiser to look at OBP and SLG in 4 and 5 player chunks? For example, the 3-4-5-6 hitters on the Mets have a higher X than this other team and most of their production comes from there. Perhaps team totals can mislead a bit. I'd wager a team with all .335 OBP guys would score a lot fewer runs than a team with five .380 guys and four .280 guys

DOUG D: I understand your point about boom or bust sluggers, but the Mets have only been shut out five times this season (tied for 3rd fewest times in the N. L.).

I think the key is to get about four or five guys who are sluggers capable of getting an XBH when needed (i. e. "run producers") in the lineup together hitting somewhere 2-3-4-5-6-7, so that if a couple aren't producing, there are others who can "pick up the team."

Teams like the Dodgers that have a high OBP but don't have more than one or two two sluggers (run producers) in their lineup get guys on base OK, but they end up leaving a lot of them stranded.

#35 of 47: By Rob G. (August 25, 2006 02:56 PM)
Promoting opinions is exactly what I'm trying to foster around here rather than a bunch of talk radio/bar room insults.

Then be objective and call a spade a spade....Crunch's comment/retort #33 is a perfect example.

If you bite, expect to be bitten back......many of the "regulars" are your worst offenders.

Continuing in the best interest of not hiding behind my words or name,

Joe Farrier
Newton, Iowa

No, re: # 10 in my experience, the home team has batting practice first, before the visitor. So when the Cubs are at home, as soon as battng practice is over, the other team comes out and takes batting practice. So, when we are the home team, as soon as batting practice starts, no fielding practice is possible (while batting practice is occurring.) Any fielding practice has to happen BEFORE batting practice. And I assume that is when it does happen. I just have never seen it for practical reasons, ie, the park is not open that early. Rather, in my experience, if you get to the park as soon as it opens, you will get to see some of the opposing team's batting practice and none of the Cubs' batting practice.

As for being on the road, any fielding practice would have to happen very early, even before the home team comes out to take batting practice. This is because, by the time the home team finishes its batting practice, there just is not enough time for both batting practice and fielding practice, that is if the Cubs were to do any fielding practice, which seems kind of doubtful.

#46 of 47: By Horatio (August 25, 2006 03:14 PM)
AZ Phil,

One thing that occurred to me. We're always looking at "team" OBP and "team" SLG. Perhaps it'd be wiser to look at OBP and SLG in 4 and 5 player chunks? For example, the 3-4-5-6 hitters on the Mets have a higher X than this other team and most of their production comes from there. Perhaps team totals can mislead a bit. I'd wager a team with all .335 OBP guys would score a lot fewer runs than a team with five .380 guys and four .280 guys

HORATIO: That's probably true. The top individual OBP guys in the league every year are (generally) the middle-of-the-order run producers, especially #3 hitters like Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols. It's seldom where you will find a lead-off hitter "table-setter" type in the Top Ten in OBP.

My main point is that if I had to choose between a high team OBP and a middle-road SLG (like the 2006 Dodgers) and a high team SLG and a middle-road OBP (like the 2006 Mets), I'd take the high SLG, because I think all things being equal, a high SLG translates into more runs than a high OBP without a high SLG (the latter of which translates into a lot of LOB).

In other words, OBP without slugging doesn't produce as many runs as SLG without OBP. So that's why I said slugging is more important than OBP, although both matter. SLG just matters more. IMHO.

Managers are hired to win games, not babysit professional baseball players. There may be instances where a winning manager was fired because they did such a poor job of controlling the clubhouse and building team chemistry, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

To paraphrase Herm Edwards, You hire the manager to win. Building comraderie and team chemistry is almost always necessary to win, but managers who do a great job of building team chemistry and still lose get fired.

In other words, OBP without slugging doesn't produce as many runs as SLG without OBP. So that's why I said slugging is more important than OBP, although both matter. SLG just matters more. IMHO.

I present the 2004 and 2005 Cubs, your high slugging, no OBP team, middle of the pack run scoring team.

Anyway Dodgers are still 5th in runs scored and the park and division don't help their slugging or run scoring at all. Of course neither does Shea.

But as I said, there's a number of studies out there that show OBP to more important than SLG, but you need both to be good, not just mediocre.

Of course, one thing we can all agree on is that the Cubs need some better players.

Boy am I glad Hendry stayed out of that crazy Beltran circus two years ago. Sigh...

Re: #19 and #24

I assume that these are directed at my comment in #15 above. While it is true that during the period following Lee's injury (on 4/19) until Nevin was acquired (on 5/31) and Lee's abortive first comeback (from 6/25 to 7/23), Walker played a lot of first, it is also true that from 6/13 until Walker was traded on 7/31 that Neifi started games Walker did not start 13 times out of 42 possible games, which I find unfathomable given the disparity between Walker's OBP and Neifi's. So yes, I think "Dusty didn't play Walker or sat Walker to play Neifi". Also, I think Walker shares a lot of the blame for May and June for not hitting; there was nothing in my earlier post to suggest the contrary.

>>Of course, one thing we can all agree on is that the Cubs need some better players.

Boy am I glad Hendry stayed out of that crazy Beltran circus two years ago. Sigh...

you seem like a bright fella joey, I'm sure you can tell the difference between comment #7 and #33. And being a "regular" means they've probably heard my spiel 800 times about avoiding the personal insults, so I don't go too crazy reminding them unless they're in a particularly surly mood that day.

But it's pretty clear you have something against me, so I suppose we'll go through this dance a couple hundred more times. Yeah for the TCR readers!!!

It appears that Dusty is creating a convenient excuse for himself to use when he is finally fired or his concract is not renewed. The other day, he gave an interview to USA Today talking about the Cubs racist fans. The article even included quotes from his wife. The article in today's Trib about pitch counts included a quote from Dusty that read:

ìIf I left somebody out there 167 pitches, youíd [criticize] me.î

Apparently, an editor at the Trib deleted the word "lynch" and substituted "critcize." According to www.ronkarkovicefanclub.blogspot.com:

"An editor at the Trib said the word was changed to avoid injecting racial overtones into a minor baseball story. But who was the Trib protecting by making that decision? The readers? I hope the paper wasn't insulting it's readers so boldly. Dusty Baker? There's no incentive to do so. He'll be let go by the Tribune Corporation after the season. The Cubs' image? Now, we may be on to something. The Trib, of course, owns the Cubs. They have every reason to protect the Cubs' image as a warm, fuzzy, family-friendly entertainment option."

It could be just a coincidence that Dusty chose to use a racially charged word in a quote just days after giving an interview where he claimed (or at least inferred) that Cubs fans are racist, or it could be an intentional exit strategy. I guess only time will tell for sure.

Oops...should be "contract"

Cub fans have a right to be frustrated about station-to-station baseball, having watched it for many years.

Baker argues that having players with high OBP would magnify that problem, presumably because more rallies could be killed, and more baserunners erased, by bad hitters or hitters who simply didn't come through.

Like many others, I just can't conceive of a way in which having a lineup of higher-OBP hitters wouldn't help the problem Baker is identifying. Obviously, XBHs produce runs quickly and thrillingly, and the ideal lineup is one that is at least a threat to hit for extra bases at any part of the order. But a lineup whose hitters cagily seek to get on base any way they can -- even if only by a single or a walk -- would still be a vast improvement over many Cub lineups of recent mintage.

Also, OBP has the advantage of being able to be tracked, observed, and predicted. The Baker/Hendry-style method of just looking for aggressive hitters who can rake (or bemoaning their absence), without regard to OBP or other objective measures of the player's performance, has not been effective. It also leaves the fans in the dark, with no choice but to accept the team's scrounged-up excuses (Lee was hurt; Burnitz had a down year; Patterson was uncoachable; Walker's defense was bad and that cost him playing time; etc.).

Is that why he doesn't mind so many walks by our pitchers? They are just clogging up the bases for the opposition so it is a good thing??? That is the logical conclusion.

Here's who the Cubs need to sign (I could be wrong):

Torii Hunter
David Dellucci
Alfonso Soriano
Brad Radke

Radke's done, it'll be a miracle if he survives the season. No way he throws a single pitch in 2007, and he said he'll probably retire.

Radke article.

http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopi...

Good guy, good Twinkie.

Agreed. Radke is the very last thing we need. His arm or shoulder is 99.9% shot. He is hanging on by a thread. Brad has been quoted as saying he knows he would need surgery to continue and that he is not going to bother with it at this late point in his career. If there was a miracle cure, surely he would stay with the Twins at this point. He is the only guy on the team, isn't he, who goes back to the Tom Kelly years?

My Vote for Free Agent Signins:

Craig Counsell
Jason Schmidt

My Vote for Trade Acquisitions:
Vernon Wells

"This is exactly why it's foolish to assume that the cubs will finish first in the race for this offseason's top FAs. there's no precedent to point to in this regard"

Maybe for the 20th anniversery of the signing of Andre Dawson, Hendy may get nostolgic.

I would give my right nut for Vernon Wells.

"I would give my right nut for Vernon Wells."

But would you give Pie, Hill and some A-baller?

Just to be clear, I only want Wells as a trade and sign.

Q: Why would Toronto trade Vernon Wells?

A: He clogs the bases and prevents runs from scoring
B: He's bad for "team chemistry"
C: He won't stand for the National Anthem
D: They won't

please submit your answers in the form of an answer

(Rob can't answer, he's an idiot.)

E. He's going to be a free agent and doesn't want to play his entire career in the Artic Circle.

I would give my right nut for Vernon Wells.

Be careful what you say...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLNXRjgFrJQ

Craig Counsell? Tori Hunter? Yes, lets accumulate as many expensive, past-their prime players as possible. I wonder if Sandberg wants to come out of retirement? Maybe we should thow big bucks at him too.

Rob G- HAHAHA! I remember that.

"You baastahds!"

Wells is fa after 2007, but if no extension he may get traded. And yes I would want contract before trade.Whats going on with Gibbons up there makes Dusty look like Connie Mack.

Wells at Wrigley=40 hrs.

I have always liked Counsell. He is getting up in age but he plays pretty good defense any where you put him and swings a decent stick with some speed.

I have wanted him for years over the Lenny Harris, Jose Macias, Neifi Perez's of the world. Unlike those 3 Counsell could still start and not humilate himself or the team.

I will take 200-300 AB's of Counsell off the bench over anything Perez did or the rest of the craptastic middle infielders this team has signed over the last 4 years.

Counsell would be a great option as a SS, 2b and 3rd base backup.

"Counsell would be a great option as a SS, 2b and 3rd base backup."

Sure but if this is our idea of an off-season splash. WE'RE FUCKED!

hell, i wouldnt complain about counsell as the full time 2nd if the price is right compared to the options on the table now.

He is the only guy on the team, isn't he, who goes back to the Tom Kelly years?

Actually there's still a few around who at least played a few games under Kelly.

Hunter is the only one who saw significant playing time back then. But Cuddyer, Rincon, and until he was traded last month, Kyle Lohse also played during Kelly's last year. Not a bad list considering its been 5 years.

Face it guys, the Cubs are a beer and circus organization. They aren't about baseball at all.

4/5 of their 2007 rotation is already decided: Z, Prior, Miller, Marshall and ???????? Impressed? How about giving the atrocious Cedeno a guaranteed spot at 2nd. The outfield in a word: pathetic. We're back at 2002 level without the upside.

the cubs owners may be a beer and circus organization, but they got a GM who has 100m+ to manage. there's no stipulation attached that says "dude, you must make everything suck."

if the trib really didnt care about being competitive they could have a 60-70m payroll and still fill the place 3/4 capacity...and near-to-100% for the night/weekend games.

i wasnt a big trib booster in the 90s, but the last 3 seasons with the 90-100m payrolls...man, that's a top quality tool. yeah, it could be more but its really been on the upswing since even just 5-6 years ago adding 1/3rd of its current payroll...it certainly is a top competitive payroll even if its not being used wisely in some opinions.

btw...unless traded Z/prior are pretty much the only 2 guys who are locks to be in the 07 rotation (barring someone's arm falling off).

cedeno isnt guarenteed anything, but he is the team's top kid in the pecking order for middle IF.

and the OF still isnt known. pierre isnt a lock. this team could have pie or hunter out there in 07 for all we know now.

I wish I had your optimism, Crunch. Didn't we hear the same song and dance after the 2004 and 2005 seasons? The only thing remotely interesting about this team is when the other team is batting. Seeing if Hill, Guzman, and Mateo can develop is about all there is at this point.

optimism about what?

z/prior being the only 2 locks? pierre not guarenteed to come back? cedeno not locked into a 07 starting role?

seems pretty straightforward. team's got 25-ish million to spend. not like they gotta replace the world and has 10m to do it.

CF, 1 corner OF slot, 2nd, 1-2 SP...that's it.

assuming aram's gonna get his extention, the corner IF sluggers are locked in...SS...corner OF...C...BULLPEN (sadly/interestingly most important cuz its a DEAD market there...1 corner OF slot...set in stone.

yeah, the end rotation will probally have 2 kids in it...guzman, hill, marshall...*shrug*

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