2007 Year in Review

This is about the time of year everyone starts putting up their looks back at the year that was 2006. But hey, what's the fun in rehashing the misery that was last year when we can take a peek into next year? So here are tomorrow's headlines today: January 3rd: Cubs sign Cliff Floyd....and every other remaining free agent. Rival GM's complain that "Spendry" hasn't left anyone for them. Hendry responds with "when you haven't won a World Series in 98 years, you have to do things a little different". Also petitions MLB to expand to a 60-man roster. 9th: Mark Prior begins throwing program, Cub layout relevant dates for public. He'll play long toss for a week, then pitch off flat ground for another week and then slowly increase his pitch count off a mound. By February he'll be complaining of arm soreness, in March he'll come down with a "mysterious illness" that takes him out for a few weeks, April he'll start his rehab program from scratch, May will consist of minor league starts, June he'll make a few starts in the majors, get shelled and go back on the disabled list. 20th: At the Cubs convention when asked by a fan that despite all the money spent, the team did nothing to address its problems with walks on the hitting or pitching side Hendry responds with, "Obviously we have no idea how to build a winning team, but we're obviously confident that even the most ill-conceived teams get lucky once in awhile. Obviously I'm also confident that with the hiring of another big name manager, that all the criticism will be deflected away from me." February 15th: Pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Zambrano comes into camp with twenty new bats and new gloves for first base and the outfield, says he's ready to play everyday and help the team anyway possible. When asked about cutting down his walks while pitching, he takes one of his twenty new bats and bludgeons writer to death who asked the question. Writers all agree to say nothing since it was Phil Rogers who asked. 16th: Mark Prior complains about arm soreness. 20th: The rest of the team reports, Piniella encourages Ramirez to hustle around the bases by releasing a bobcat whenever he puts a ball in play. 21st: New hitting coach Gerald Perry begins working with hitters and explaining the concepts of patience and waiting for your pitch. Team looks on with bewilderment. Perry scratches head and proclaims, "Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue." 23rd: Piniella and coaches show up to morning practice and field is empty, ballplayers nowhere to be found. Finally tracking some down on the golf course, Kerry Wood explains that under the old regime they'd play catch for a few days and then could do whatever they want as long as they showed up for the Cactus League games. March 1st: Cactus League games begin. Trying to get back in the swing of things, Piniella gets into it with an ump over a third strike call. Not getting anywhere with the old standbys of kicking dirt on the plate and hand gestures that imply the umpire is blind, Piniella pulls out a stun gun and tasers the ump. After cracking a few jokes in the post-game news conference, the league basically ignores the incident saying it's just Lou being Lou. 16th: Mark Prior complains about feeling fatigued and nauseous. Cubs call it a "mysterious illness" and say he'll sit for a month. 20th: After Ronny Cedeno makes his 20th error of the spring by throwing a ball ten feet over Derrek Lee's head, Piniella runs onto field, demands Cedeno hold out his right hand and chops it off with a machete. Piniella holds it high in the air and exclaims, "We will play good fundamental baseball, damnit!" Cubs don't commit an error the rest of spring training. April 1st: Cubs and Zambrano agree on a six year/$100 million deal. Naturally Z negotiates the entire deal himself, including incentives for hitting .300, 30 Hr's, Silver Slugger and other offensive categories. No reporter dares question the structure of the deal. 2nd: Opening Day versus the Reds features Zambrano versus Arroyo and Zambrano celebrates his new deal by going 3 for 3 with two homers and six Rbi's, but falls short of the win when he's pulled in the bottom of the fifth after his 130th pitch and tenth walk. The team goes on to win 20-12. 10th: Prior begins playing long toss for second time this offseason. 19th: Cubs call up a number of AAA prospects and sit all their regular starters. Cubs not willing to tempt fate after Nomar and Lee's injuries happened on the same day the last two seasons. May 3rd: Cliff Floyd's season ending injury occurs, blowing out a knee running the bases. Everyone who bet the under on May 25th smiles as does Matt Murton. 28th: Despite batting .400 with a .500 OBP, Theriot can't crack the starting lineup over Cesar Izturis who's mired in a 10 for 200 slump with 10 singles. But the D's been good. June 17th: Mark Prior makes his first start of the season against the Padres and pitches reasonably well going five innings and giving up two runs. Unfortunately in the bottom of the fifth he collides with Marcus Giles and breaks his arm ending his season. 30th: Marcus Giles hitting 300/380/460 for the Padres, Derosa struggling at 250/310/410. Theriot still can't crack lineup and the readers of TCR can be seen collectively banging their head against the keyboard since I run a Giles/Theriot/Derosa comparision every day in the game previews. July 3rd: All-Star teams are announced and the Cubs place 6 on the team including Zambrano, Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, Barrett and Rich Hill. TCR's write-in campaign for Ryan Theriot falls just short. 31st: In a complex seven team deal in which Stephen Hawking was brought in to help consult with, the Cubs manage to land Miguel Tejada and Dontrelle Willis and only give up Mike Fontenot, Mark Holliman, Clay Rapada and Grant Johnson. Hendry completes deal while under anaesthesia undergoing his third angioplasty within the last year. August 20th: After a beanball fest between the Cubs and Cardinals, which resulted in two bench-clearing brawls and ten ejections, Piniella responds in the post-game press conference with, "Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. I think Larry killed a guy with a trident." September 16th: Cubs clinch division title in St. Louis on a 3-2 victory. Reporters question LaRussa's move to pinch-hit for Scott Rolen with Gary Bennett against Ryan Dempster who strikes out Bennett to end the game. Larussa wearing all black with sunglasses and constantly looking over his shoulder defends decision by saying Bennett's hit Dempster better in his career. October 7th: Cubs win Division Series over the Dodgers when Nomar can't get to an easy grounder to his right due to his ankle, oblique, hamstring and back ailments that he's trying to play through. 23rd: The Cubs and Indians begin the 2007 World Series. Pigs seen circling the Sears Tower. 30th: In a eighteen inning marathon at Cleveland where the teams exchange the lead eight times and fire and brimstone can be seen falling from the sky, a groundball goes through the legs of Derrek Lee down the right field line in the bottom of the seventeeth with a man on first for the Indians. A suspicious looking fan wearing headphones and glasses reaches down and touches the ball and the umpires rule it a ground rule double and force the runner to stay at third. Bob Howry walks the next batter and has to face Travis Hafner with the bases loaded and nobody out. Hafner appears to win the World Series with a single to right field but Grady Sizemore trips attempting to score and Soriano forces him out at the plate and the Cubs pull off the miracle triple play when the other runners are ruled out for leaving the basepaths thinking the game was over. In the top of the eighteenth, Piniella pinch-hits for Mark Derosa with Carlos Zambrano who hits a 500 foot homer to give the Cubs the 11-10 lead. Z stays in the game to close despite pitching a nine-inning shutout the night before to force game seven and strikes out the side on ten pitches. The final pitch bounces in the dirt though and Barrett is unable to locate it despite it being right underneath him. Z runs to the plate shoves Barrett to the ground and throws a 150 mph strike to Derrek Lee to nail the runner by a half a step. Temperature in hell drops to 0 degrees. 31st: Lou Piniella retires and Jay Mariotti writes article saying the Cubs were one of the best teams ever and that Hendry did an amazing job building the team and is the best GM in the business. November 5th: At the team's organizational meetings, team discusses potential promotions and tie-ins for World Series win for 2008. Roster is never discussed. 10th: When asked about the manager search, Hendry announces an American Idol like search around the country and the winner will be announced in February. Asked whether that will negatively effect any pursuit of free agents, Hendry responds by saying the Cubs have no intention of making any moves this offseason or for the next 99 years. Pleads with Cubs fan not to be greedy. 11th: Jay Mariotti writes article saying that Hendry is an idiot and is ruining the the ballclub. Hendry sends Zambrano to teach Mariotti "a lesson". 30th: Dusty Baker seen outside of Wrigley wearing sign saying, "Will Manage for Food". December 5th: Hendry sleeps through the entire Winter Meetings. 31st: Cubs raise 2008 ticket prices to $100 a bleacher seat and up to $1000 for a premium seats. No one notices. Feel free to include your own predictions in the comments and Happy New Year!
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Comments

*golf clap*

man, someone must have given you a starbucks gift certificate for xmas.

assuming derosa/theriot doesnt fail and everyone stays healthy the 08 offseason should be a very boring time for the cubs.

all slots taken except for 1 possible starter, 1 possible OF, 1 possible SS, and catcher.

well, it could be up to 2 starters if Z leaves...either way, not much of an 08 shopping list.

Good work Rob...that was nice.

August 20th: After not adding any improvements to a mediocre team at the trading deadline and the team marred in a 4-15 slump, "Teflon" Jim Hendry finally gets fired. The last straw was the team getting swept in a 4 game home series versus division rival St. Louis Cardinals. Mark Prior was making his first start of the season and left after 2 innings with arm soreness after giving up 7 ER. On a side note, after hearing of Hendry's departure, the 10 closest Krispy Kreme's to Wrigley Field all close up shop in anticipation to drastic loss of sales.

"2nd: Opening Day versus the Reds features Zambrano versus Arroyo and Zambrano celebrates his new deal by going 3 for 3 with two homers and six Rbi’s, but falls short of the win when he’s pulled in the bottom of the fifth after his 130th pitch and tenth walk. The team goes on to win 20-12."

That was brilliant.

Nice article, Rob.

and someone must have put a lump of coal in manny's stocking. :(

no starbucks, plenty of free oxygen in Vegas though.

So what did I miss? I hear this guy who talks to seals and plays a mean guitar signed for as much money as an everyday player. Those better be 33 damn good starts a year.

And how the hell does Boras keep getting GM's to outbid themselves by so much. No one was even close to the Giants offer and it's not like you really needed to convince Zito to stay in the Bay area. Guess he needed to make up for the Matsuzka signing somehow.

I don't think it's a terrible signing or anything, I think Zito will be quite fantastic the next 2-3 years as the NL tries to adjust to him and he gets to stick with mostly pitcher parks and even after 2-3 years he'll still be better than average, that's for sure. But still $18 mil a year? Just wow.

Mets are going to have pull that Lastings Milledge card for a pitcher though now. Glavine, Maine, El Duque and then some combo of Pelfrey, Heilman, healthy Pedro in June-ish and whomever doesn't seem like a good plan.

Sounds good to me

instead of 20 people endlessly bitching about dusty for any/all reasons and digging up even the most passively critical media reports to pile on top of everything we get 1 person's hendry thing. i'll take those lessened numbers.

replace the aug. 20th rant with "dusty" and the gist to managerial duties and it'd be a different story...but it'd also get 20 more posts heheh

I sense manny/crunch tension. Did I miss something?

its not tension...ive just been reading a lot of single-sided hendry posts from manny that mirrors the 2+ years of pleas for reason and vocal slapbacks for anti-dusty rants that are reading almost mirror-imaged of the dusty rants.

its in the last post...ive just read a lotta it lately and brought it up.

i dont get it, but ultimately it doesnt matter. im sick of hearing about guys in suits, that's nothing new. im just suprised the vigor of the anti-hendry stance from someone who railed against similar during the extremely maddning "dusty days" of non-stop piling of complaints.

i know i can be abrasive sometimes, but im not looking a fight. none of this matters to me too much, but im not hiding behind that statement as a means to say whatever i want whenever i want. i also dont use it to ignore criticism.

me and mike bitch...ultimately it doesnt matter...me and ____(fill in the blank) bitch, same thing.

people call me out, i have my say...i call people out, they have their say.

im not perfect and ive probally crossed a line every now and then, but hey...go internet.

What? Manny's criticisms of Hendry seem reasonable and without any sort of bias. :)

As you said, go Internet.

Rob G.:

31st: In a complex seven team deal in which Stephen Hawking was brought in to help consult with, the Cubs manage to land Miguel Tejada and Dontrelle Willis and only give up Mike Fontenot, Mark Holliman, Clay Rapada and Grant Johnson. Hendry completes deal while under anaesthesia undergoing his third angioplasty within the last year.

Hahha, Brilliant!

Rob G.:

Feel free to include your own predictions in the comments and Happy New Year!

1. By June we'll all be wondering how DeRosa is an upgrade to Todd Walker.

2. Rich Hill will come back down to earth.

3. By the end of the year we'll be wondering what the Cub's will do with the other year in Blanco's contract.

4. Wood & Prior will combine for approximately 50-60 IP.

5. Pie will suck at the major league level... big time.

someone put coal in Ryno's stocking too. :(

this is from the link by slamdog in the previous post about Wilken...

"We won two World Series, five AL East titles, were organization of the year twice. Seven of 12 years we produced the most major-leaguers and had 15 straight first-rounders make it," Wilken told the crowded ball room. "With respect to the Yankees, we handled them better from 1983-94 than anyone.

"We also had six scouts of the year, a batting champ, an MVP, six Gold Glove winners, three Cy Young Award winners. I still don't understand why you wouldn't want to live in a beautiful city like Toronto full time."

I guess that last line was a shot at Ricciardi who I'm guessing doesn't live in Toronto the whole year.

he lives in worcester, aka wooshster, mass...born/raised there. not like he's living in montreal cuz of access to strip clubs or cuz he thinks there's too many asian people who breakdance in toronto.

Obviously, you quoted Jim Hendry correctly.

Cubster's addendum:

in March he’ll come down with a “mysterious illness�? that takes him out for a few weeks...

this episode includes a visit by Prior to world renown Sports Gynecologist, Dr. Stork, who finally makes the correct diagnosis on him...uterine fireballs.

Excellent Work Rob and Happy New Yr to you and to all the TCR writers and posters.

several serious LOLs while reading in coffee shop, good work.

I can still drum up some of my old Dusty hate. No? Ahhh alright.

I have never been much of a fan of Hendry. Different guy, same game plan as the previous guy. Now that McPhail is gone Hendry looks like a brand new guy. Whether it was McPhail or the Tribune holding back Hendry I don't know but this off-season he has gone out and addressed nearly every weakness this team has. Hard to complain about that.

I think the Cubs as an organization are finally scared of getting that 100th anniversary mark.

Happy New Year in advance, fellow TCRers.

Gerald Perry is now the Cubs pitching coach wow how bizzarro!

Sadly, the Prior stuff will probably be really, really close to the way it goes down. The team would be an instant contender if he someway, somehow got over his injury tendencies. I honestly don't expect Prior to ever pitch a substantial amount of quality innings in a Cubs uniform again.

Hey, we can still blame Dusty for Prior and Wood's injury problems, and for lack of major league ready homegrown players. ;)

"On a side note, after hearing of Hendry’s departure, the 10 closest Krispy Kreme’s to Wrigley Field all close up shop in anticipation to drastic loss of sales."
_______________________________

Why not throw in a "why'd the chicken cross the road" joke... that's about as fresh and entertaining as these donut jokes.

thnx Rory for the pitching coach catch....whoops.

BJS, what's your problem? If you don't like his joke, cram it. No one cares about your thoughts on whether Rob's jokes are fresh or not.

You posts are probably the least fresh and least entertaining things on this board.

it was manny's joke he was critiquing, fwiw.

Whoops. Sorry, meant to type Manny.

Rob G.:
"and someone must have put a lump of coal in manny’s stocking."

That wouldn't be coal, Hendry being fired would be the best stocking stuffer one could get...:)

BJS:
"Why not throw in a “why’d the chicken cross the road�? joke… that’s about as fresh and entertaining as these donut jokes."

Sorry, my Michael Richards comedy school classes must not be working. I will ask for a refund.

Great job, Rob G.

I have the HBO "Cubs Curse" program on Tivo and I have not watched it yet. May do it tonite.

Prior's health reports should be believed as much as the Soviet's reports in the 70's on their leaders.

Have a rockin' New Year, stay out of trouble.

It's kind of a pathetic, but I actually found myself nervously awaiting the outcome of the post. I had to stop and make the realization that it's not real. Everything just seemed so plausible.

RYNO: -
So in June - if you are wrong - are you going to stand up and take it like a man and admit it? OR - is this supposed to be completely a tounge-in-cheek post?

If it was supposed to be funny...oh.

1. By June we’ll all be wondering how DeRosa is an upgrade to Todd Walker.

2. Rich Hill will come back down to earth.

3. By the end of the year we’ll be wondering what the Cub’s will do with the other year in Blanco’s contract.

4. Wood & Prior will combine for approximately 50-60 IP.

5. Pie will suck at the major league level… big time.

"It’s kind of a pathetic, but I actually found myself nervously awaiting the outcome of the post. I had to stop and make the realization that it’s not real. Everything just seemed so plausible."

If that makes one pathetic, then I'm as guilty as you are.

Huff deal is 3/20 according to Baltimore Sun btw...

That wouldn’t be coal, Hendry being fired would be the best stocking stuffer one could get…

Gee, can't imagine why folks around here might think you have some sort of agenda against Hendry. I figure most Cubs fans would rather want a World Series championship as a stocking stuffer, but to each their own.

Rob G.:
"Gee, can’t imagine why folks around here might think you have some sort of agenda against Hendry."

I don't like him as the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs. Doesn't mean I have an agenda. Many people dislike Izturis as the starting SS for the Chicago Cubs (me included), doesn't mean they have an agenda against him, just wish the organization did a better job.

"I figure most Cubs fans would rather want a World Series championship as a stocking stuffer, but to each their own."

That would be more than a stocking stuffer..:) But yes, absolutely I would rather be wrong about Hendry and have the Cubs win a WS title. But to be honest, at this point, I just don't see it happening, but he will have another 162 games to prove me wrong, and I will be rooting the team on this year just as hard as I always have.

Great blog...but you forgot one thing....THE TOWEL DRILL!?!

The E-Man:

So in June - if you are wrong - are you going to stand up and take it like a man and admit it?

There's no need to be so standoffish, Eman. I have been wrong in the past and have admitted it. Example, I thought Mitre was going to be the next Brandon Webb. I was wayy off on that. I admitted it.

Anyways, Rob G. entertained predictions in the post, and those are my predictions. If you don't like them, let's see your own predictions.

Rob G.:

someone put coal in Ryno’s stocking too.�

That was pessimistic of me, wasn't it? How about this prediction:

6. Cub's win the division.

Go Cubbies! ©

Hey, did you guys see this? It's a Cub's recliner. I had to laugh when I saw it and I wondered if any of the TCR crowd owns this. I was also trying to think of accessories they should sell with it, example:

* Built-in tissue dispenser, so when the Cub's are robbed of a trip to the world series by a certain overzealous fan you can cry yourself to sleep in the chair without getting up.

* Built-in AM radio, for those Sox-Cubs games that are called on TV by Hawk & DJ... you can hit mute and tune into WGN 720 instead.

Any other ideas?

Aramis comes out the blocks slow and as usual, and hits .189 for the month(s) of April/May.

Izzy wishes his BA was that good.

Beers go up a dollar-fifty each and a riot starts out in right field. (Someone's got to pay the rent).

At least the cellar will belong to someone else this year.

Jan 13th

A press conference is held to announce the attendees for the 2007 Convention, Phil Rogers asked if there was any truth that Sammy Sosa was invited to attend and the Cubs were going to offer him an incentive laden contract. Jim Hendry had no comment but he did throw a Krispy Kreme at Rogers, witch was quickly retrieved by Carrie Muskat.

Jan 22

Cubs announce the signing of Free Agent Sammy Sosa. pending a physical

David Newhan said he got minor league invites from both the Mets and Cubs.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/y7vvge

Sounds like Wilken will have to get in line to have his differences out with RIcciardi behind Buddy Bell and Ted Lilly and then maybe he can address those problems!

Nice job Rob G.

I would have thrown in a Felix Pie breaks Jerome Walton's hitting streak record on his way to RoY.

A fun game: count how many mistakes Dayn Perry has in his trashing of the Zito deal at foxsports. I coun't 4

Thanks for the New Year's laughs, Rob. My predictions:

June 16th: Len's 350th power-pop reference ("Izturis' balky hamstring not expected to be a material issue")

August 20th: Santo's 5,000,000th "Gaa! JEEZ!" after Barry Zito hits a walk-off HR off Mark Prior in his return to action following surgery to repair bionic implants

new STL drinking game when watching the cards play...with kennedy and eckstein now on board...take a drink every time any announcer says "scrappy".

you'll be sloshed before the 7th...just like harry.

Rename Busch Stadium the Scrap Heap?

Barry Bonds Took Steroids, Reports Everyone Who Has Ever Watched Baseball

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/46188

Ryno:

O.K. - that's better - a touch more optimism. I mean come On - you aren't that pessimistic all the time are ya?

How about this New Years' prediction:

1. Cubs: 89 Wins

2. Izturis will not be the team's shortstop by the "break" or before.

3. DeRosa will be a nice surprise, but will be poor offensively at first and the fans will boo. He'll come on after the first 4-6 weeks...

4. Rich Hill will be solid and will turn into the team's solid #2 starter.

5. Lilly will do well, winning 15 games.

6. Marquis will be better than last year, and about what is to be expected for a 5th starter - except he'll have to pitch in the #4 slot!

7. As a former business major, Mark Prior will use his entrepreneur's skills and come up with a branded, mass-marketed towel for use in physical therapy. His pitching career will not resume with the Cubs until May, and he'll be servicable until he's traded at the deadline to a West Coast team.

According to a Mexican paper, Miguel Cabrera has a 200M extension on the table from the Marlins.

That maybe true Carlos but it makes ZERO sense.

Wrong about Izturis, he'll hit 275 , play near gold glove defense and his pitcher will just go nuts over him being the SS and we'll worry about the other 7 hitters in the lineup and hope they hold up their part of the bargain.

Wrong about Izturis, he’ll hit 275 , play near gold glove defense and his pitcher will just go nuts over him being the SS and we’ll worry about the other 7 hitters in the lineup and hope they hold up their part of the bargain.

You see, a .275 average would probably mean a .290 OBP, and Neifi redux. Plus, it appears Piniella is seriously thinking about Izworthless in the two spot, giving us a lead off man and two hitter who will probably combine for an OBP of about .310. Also, if Cub pitchers go gaga over Izturis, they are even more clueless than we expect. This staff will once again be one of the heaviest strike-out and flyball staffs in baseball.

Put Theriot at SS, let him hit second because the almighty Alfonso just HAS to lead-off, and deal Izturis to a team that overvalues him like the Cubs.

How about this New Years’ prediction:

1. Cubs: 89 Wins

i must have overlooked the announcement from mlb that there would be a 175 game scheduled for 2007.
as things stand, this club may have recovered to .500.
here's hoping hendry musters up his courage and trades for another starting pitcher. z/lilly/marquis/hill/sign-in-mystery-guest just doesnt get me all warm and fuzzy.

Izturis has maintained an OBP about 50 pts higher than his BA for the bulk of his career, if he hits 275, he'll likely have an OBP around .325.

Soriano has a career .325 OBP and .340 when batting leadoff.

let's address our supposed extreme flyball pitching staff:

Career G/F Ratio:
Z: 1.69 (but gradually going towards 1.0 , only 1.24 last year)
Lilly: 0.82
Hill: 0.68 (I doubt he's that extreme but I don't have his minor league numbers)
Marquis: 1.48 (1.16 last year)
Miller: 1.22
Prior: 0.95

Dempster: 1.29 (1.75 last year, 2.69 in 2005, I think we all know he's pretty much an extreme groundball pitcher by this point)
Cotts: 1.18
Howry: 0.83
Eyre: 1.00
Ohman: 1.06 (0.73 last year)
Wood: 0.96
Wuertz: 1.05 (1.74 last year)

So Z and Marquis are groundball pitchers (hopefully Z goes back to being more of a groundball pitcher along with Marquis) and Hill and Lilly are flyball pitchers. Break even. Then it depends on Prior or Miller, one who's pretty much break even (prior) the other a groundball pitcher (Miller). The bullpen looks about break even as well, just depends on who gets the most innings.

roths on prior from the latest trib article...

-----

"I talked to him quite a bit before Christmas," Rothschild said. "In his mind, and in the trainer's mind, he would like to know sometime before spring training where he is [physically].

"He doesn't want to have the feeling he is letting people down like last year. I don't think he wants to go to spring training and have anything hanging over his head."

Thanks for your response Rob. I was a bit unkind to Izturis, but his lifetime OBP is only 36 points above his BA, so a .275 AVG would mean a .311 OBP. That doesn't cut it in the two hole in any shape or form.

As for Soriano, my main point is that I think it is a joke that a guy who consistently slugs well over .500 is leading off. Especially when he only puts up an average, at best, OBP. For the additional 20-30 at bats he gets leading off over a season, I think he would be much more valuable hitting behind the number 2 and 3 hitters, rather than the 8 and 9 hitters. Plus, a Lee-Soriano combo would add a unique speed dimension in the middle of the order, especially with DP-prone Aramis hitting 5th.

Finally, you're right that the Cubs are a middle of the pack fly ball staff. However, that combined with the fact that they easily led the majors again last year in strike outs resulted in them being dead last in MLB in ground ball outs induced. I have to think that when someone is drooling over Izturis's defense, he's not thinking about how well he goes back on a pop up.

Fair enough on the other points, but the discrepancy of Izturis's OBP to his BA has risen pretty much every year along with his pitches per plate appearances, so I'm not sure his career numbers are too relevant on this one.

OBP over BA & #P/PA:
2001: 10/2.88
2002: 20/3.10
2003: 31/3.21
2004: 42/3.55
2005: 45/3.64
2006: 50/3.60

I'd think it's safe to assume that he's developing a little more patience as he gets older and I'd make a safe bet that it's a lot closer to 50 than 36.

But he shouldn't be batting second in any lineup that's for sure.

Feburary 15th 2008: Pitchers and Catchers report, and Zambrano is standing at the camp telling pitchers to go home claiming he will pitch every game in 2008. Hendry decides Zambrano in the lineup everyday is needed more than having a good bullpen.

DC:
"i must have overlooked the announcement from mlb that there would be a 175 game scheduled for 2007.
as things stand, this club may have recovered to .500.
here’s hoping hendry musters up his courage and trades for another starting pitcher. z/lilly/marquis/hill/sign-in-mystery-guest just doesnt get me all warm and fuzzy."

I don't know what kind of agenda you're trying to pass off with that post, but come on....:) Just teasing of course, I agree very, very much with your post. Happy New Year!!

This is a .500 team right now at best. That may be enough in this division, but they're not a good team. Without some unexpected production from at least a couple of players this team will fail to even reach .500.

Jim Hendry's spending spree this offseason seems to have bought him some slack from most Cubs fans for some reason. I'm not really sure why. He's taken a team that won 66 games and made them a 75 or 80 win team. He's done this while he's made the team payroll in 2007, 2008 and 2009 so large that it's going to be nearly impossible for this team to contend beyond 2007.

Cubs fans are easy to please. Jim Hendry has put together an offseason that is not sufficient enough to make them contenders in 2007 while at the same time making it nearly impossible for them to contend in the next 3 or 4 years. This has been his most destructive offseason as the Cubs General Manager yet Cubs fans are thrilled with the work he's done.

Lester, damn dude, your a bummer of a guy.

It is going to be nearly impossible for the Cubs to contend beyond 2007??!?! As opposed to what, our last 98 years of contending?

The team that won 66 games didn't have Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano who between them provide 200 RBI, 80 HR's, and 200 runs scored.

The team that won 66 games didn't have anyone behind Carlos Zambrano picking up the slack. We now have 2 guys capable of pitching 400 innings, winning 30 games and having an ERA in the low 4.00's. If the #4 and #5 guys are capable of winning 10 games each in 30 starts then you got 65 wins coming from your rotation alone.

I think a lot of people forget that Angel Guzman, Mark Prior, Juan Mateo, Glendon Rusch, Wade Miller, Kerry Wood, and Carlos Marmol combined for 60 starts and 11 wins.

You may not like the Marquis signing but he won 14 games in 33 starts and he costed a hell of a lot less than that collection of pitchers. Ted Lilly won 15 games in 32 starts, but hey we aren't improved in the slightest bit by replacing those 60 starts with Marquis and Lilly. Give me a break.

I am a pretty harsh critique of the Cubs faults and weaknesses over the years and I can't find much to complain about this off-season.

If you thinking adding all these players is destructive then what do you call the last 98 years of losing? Our Golden Age of championship teams? I don't know how much more destructive an organization such as the Cubs can get after the last 98 years.

the lester arguement's already happened i believe. no matter what is said he's gonna keep that stance.

http://mvn.com/mlb-cubs/?comments_popup=47

that thread gives the reasoning...i dont find much weight in it, but that's his view. a lotta it is based on a slew of stats that don't really apply to a 2006 team vs. 2007 team arguement and dont take in account what was actually being played on the field last year.

a lotta it comes from a bad misuse of stats to build a case.

If you had to pick for center field, would you move Soriano there and have Murton play left? Cause im tierd of seeing no one in left field. Who would you have in center?

Also I go to the team website at yahoo sports and for latest team photos its a photo of Ken Griffy Jr. on the on deck circle. Come on /: (

Opps, should proof read, i'm tierd of seeing no one in center field not left.

Lester:
"He’s (Hendry) taken a team that won 66 games and made them a 75 or 80 win team. He’s done this while he’s made the team payroll in 2007, 2008 and 2009 so large that it’s going to be nearly impossible for this team to contend beyond 2007."

While, yes the money already spent in future years is really high, we don't know what the plan is of the Trib as to the payroll in those future payrolls. They have shown they are willing to spend more money now, so maybe they will continue to raise it in future years to give the GM flexibility to fill holes. But if, 2007 equals a WS title, then I will deal with the worries about 2009 and on at that time.

Lester, you're insane. There is no reason why this team cannot compete next year. They, when healthy, have the best lineup this side of Boston. And with just a little bit of starting pitching, which was upgraded from last year this team is in good shape to win well over 81 games.

my short review of the offseason...

Offense
it really depends on how CF and Jones plays out. If all stays the same and we add Floyd, that's an offense with a lot of depth and pop. Certainly better than what we had going into 2003. OBP will always be an issue with this team, but it MIGHT be less of an issue with Lee presumably healthy, Soriano's spike last year is for real and a coaching staff that at least doesn't piss on the concept like the last regime. I certainly don't believe we'll be last again.

Pitching:
Well obviously the plan was to get innings out of the starters and it really depends on if Marquis goes back to his 2004/2005 ways and if Lilly does enjoy the fruits of the NL. But yeah, I would have done things a little differently cause I believe we're basically relying now on the unknowns of Prior/Hill instead of Prior/Wood. At least Hill will probably be healthy. Bullpen could be amazing with a Dumpster bounceback and/or Wood being healthy.
Also quite a bit a depth there imo, starters and bullpen.

I'm certainly not ready to pencil them in as winner of anything yet because well the offseason isn't over yet. But I think Hendry for the most part got the best players to fill the roles needed.

Happy New Year all!

Here is something from our great "Sage", Carrie "Muskrat", in case you missed it:

"Grading on a curve: The Cubs were aggressive, signing Soriano, Ramirez, DeRosa, Wood, Miller, Marquis and Blanco to deals before Thanksgiving, totaling more than $230 million. Soriano, coming off a 40-40 season, should thrive at Wrigley Field, and could be a 50-homer player. The rotation added an innings-eater in Lilly. On a scale of one to 10, give them a 7: improved and hoping for good health."

even if you dont like derosa and izturis its hard to argue against soriano/dlee/aram/barrett...and you gotta hate murton + have nothing but incompetence marked for j.jones or his unknown replacement for being the guys backing up that core of 4.

in my view i've already added murton in with those 4 and would make jones a #6 if he sticks around...that's my opinion, though.

the IF is above average with the gloves across the board with barrett being the weak link there...and its not like he's incompetent, he's just a guy you can steal on more often that he should be.

the OF depends on how well soriano adjusts to his new position and whoever is playing in jones' spot (which will hopefull be jones, i hope).

the pen is just strong, period (even without a show-stopper closer)...the starting crew is debatable depending on how you feel about everyone but Z and there's enough back/forth on the whole thing that im not gonna rehash it.

I agree. Plus, this team did what they needed to do after a dismal season like '06: bring in lots of new faces and shake things up. It remains to be seen if the culture will change, but I'm optimistic.

There is no reason why this team cannot compete next year. They, when healthy, have the best lineup this side of Boston.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chad I'm going to assume you've heard of the Yankees who despite losing Sheffield and looks to have a Doug Mientkiewitz/J.Phelps type at 1B, still boasts a better lineup than even Boston from top to bottom. With all the K's the Cubs won't lead the NL in runs scored.

IFC, fine. They do not have a better lineup than the Yankees. It was more of a figure of speech. So, they have the best lineup in the national league.

And K's don't determine runs scored. The Cubs had the 7th least amount of strikeouts in baseball last year - 928 (I was actually suprised by this) whle the indians struck out 1204 and finished second in runs.

From my Archives on 2006-2007 FA Pitchers:

From the rumormonger on 10/14/2006

Want someone who's plain tough to hit?  Good luck with that.
With BABIPs adjusted to the league average, here are the best free agent pitchers in hits per nine innings.  The following group allowed fewer than a hit per inning.

Jason Schmidt, Ted Lilly, Barry Zito, Mike Mussina, Gil Meche, Roger Clemens, Byung-Hyun Kim, Andy Pettitte, Vicente Padilla

Best control? Here are the rankings.

Carlos Silva, Greg Maddux, Jeff Weaver, Woody Williams, Roger Clemens, Jamie Moyer, Jason Johnson, Aaron Sele, Brian Moehler

Mets have the best lineup in the NL. I think if the Cubs stay healthy they'll be top 5 in runs scored. That's probably more of a feeling by me than based on any real hard evidence, but I'm feeling optimistic with the turn of the calendar.

dodgers look pretty good...with good pitching, too.

no real 40-50hr proven tallent, but the team will have it's share of 10-30hr types scattered throughout...and a very annoying pierre/furcal 1/2.

im glad the mets didnt land zito even if he ended up in the NL anyway.

mets and dodgers are the only NL teams right now that really concern me as a cubs fan. houston could be interesting, too (especially if they land roger or make another trade to take on someone's payroll conern...they still got money).

stl has a lot to prove with their pitching and very little to fall back on as of right now.

What? Houston is awful.

Rob, still think were slightly better. Lee can still out hit Delgado, Soriano still out hits Beltran and ARam still outhits Wright.

I wouldn't call Houston awful especially if Clemens comes back.

WIthout Clemens they seem to be just another team around the .500 mark that needs a lot of breaks to go there way, kind of like the Cubs and most every other team in the NL.

Dodgers have good pitching, but who the hell is going to be even near 30 homers on that team? If they can get something for Penny, but right now Gonzalez/Kent are their big power threats. Ugh.

oh Chad, unless Soriano continues the on-base upswing, it's Beltran quite considerably with the lead.

I'd give Lee the lead over Delgado but not by much
Ramirez vs Wright, slight nod Ramirez
Barrett>Loduca
Derosa vs. Valentin, who knows?
Reyes >>>>>>>>>> (x infinity) Izturis
Alou > Murton/Floyd (by a bit)
Green vs Jones - push basically

of course when it's Endy Chavez vs Murton/Floyd, that's a big difference and it really depends on what we end up doing with Jones. If he's replaced with Pie or some vet crap, we're going to be well behind.

sorry off topic.

anyone know the link for that crazy german cub fan?

scroll down like two posts off the front page to a post labeled TCR Friday Notes and it's at the bottom of that post...

Rob I disagree with your assessment on Soriano. You base it solely on OBP. That is only one stat. Soriano still out homers and out steals Beltran. I love Beltran but I still give a slight nod to Soriano. But you seem to agree with me on Lee and Ram over Gado and Wright (slightly and that is what I said too).

tyvm

I totally disagree that Ramirez is better than Wright. Wright does everything Ramirez can do only better and faster.

He plays gold glove defense, he can steal bases, and he can hit for power and is an RBI threat. He is the most complete 3rd baseman outside of Scott Rolen and his injuries in baseball.

Wright is the better player across the board. I would deep six Ramirez in a heart beat for him.

sorry i still cant find that link.

Oh and Boise State just won one of the more amazing games of College Football I have ever seen.

Statue of Liberty play at the end for the win.

Mike,

David Wright may become a better player than Aram, but he has not done it yet. Aram outhits David Wright so far. Wright hasn't even topped 30 homers yet. Aram has done it 4 times, granted in more years. But that is exactly why I say that Wright may BECOME better but right now, ARam is a superior batter.

And I was not talking about defense when I said we have the best lineup in the national league.

So just cuz Ramirez hits more HR's he is better? That is a pretty silly defense.

Wright had a .912 OPS Ramirez had a .913. He is just as good as Ramirez with the bat....add in his speed and defense and it's not really a debate who is better.

Then we should start a debate. Here ya go:

Best finish to a Boise State/Oklahoma game.

Discuss.

For the record, I think it was the one that just ended.

Oh and I forgot I will take David Wright's .365 BA, .449 OBP with RISP over Ramirez's .293, .378 last year.

The guy is already a monster with RISP.

the discussion was just offense I thought, if you want to throw in defense, I'll change my evualtion of players.

I'll retract my quite considerably comment, offensively I'd say Beltran is slightly better than Soriano.

Throw in defense though, then I'll go back to quite considerably.

German fan link, damn you for making me look it up. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5zEHF_ajIw

watched the end of that game, pretty fun. Boise State pulled out the whole bag of tricks, hook n' ladder, statue of liberty, couple of others. Pretty sweet!

It's going to be fun to watch Boise State try to extend this cinderalla story..oh wait....their undefeated season is over and they had no real chance to play the best teams. YEAH BCS!!!

Wright also strikes out a ton more than Aram but doesn't walk that much more. And yes, home runs means a ton. Wright's OPS is only close because of his higher OBP equals out the stat. But when considering sluggers, actual slugging percentage is far more important. I don't care for OPS as I don't believe in adding two percentages to get a stat.

OPS baaaaaaadddd

Hulk angry at OPS!

2+2 not equal 4... argggghhhhh

yeah, smart folks use GPA where they weigh OBP 1.8 times more important than SLG. Just crazy stats guys who don't know anything though...

BJS, 2 + 2 = 4 yes but if a guy is 2/4 in one game (.500) and 3/6 in the next (.500) he's not batting 1.000! You don't add averages. If anyone can show me any statistical method outside of baseball that ADDS averages to get a meaningful stat, I'll shut up.

re: dodgers

they dont have the huge power bats, but they do have kent, lgonz, etheir, nomar, furcal, betemit (if full time at 3rd which is where i think he's slated) all in that 15-30hr area with doubles power to compliment. russel martin, who's also got a bit power, catching...pierre leading off...

personally, i like the dodgers pitching...

Chad:

If anyone can show me any statistical method outside of baseball that ADDS averages to get a meaningful stat, I’ll shut up.

Team OPS directly relates to runs scored per game. Has something to do with getting on base, then slugging the ball. I didn't used to believe in OPS until I saw it for myself. E-mail me at:

[email protected]

and I'll send you the Excel file. It's compelling.

chad,
you don't add averages if they are both the same one like you did (AVG+AVG). it can be meaningful if you add two different categories like OBP and SLG which by the way is the very definition of the stat OPS (OBP PLUS SLG). it is a very meaningful stat as crunch just mentioned because of the direct relationship between team OPS and runs scored (i.e. the higher the OPS of the team, the more runs they score).

mlb.com:

Teams will continue to pester the Indians with offers for Jake Westbrook, who is signed through '07. But unless the Indians are overwhelmed, they aren't likely to bite. What is assured is that the Tribe will be looking for a middle infielder particularly adept at shortstop to back up Jhonny Peralta, who's coming off a disappointing '06.

Click Here for the full story.

Jones/Cedeno/Marmol - Westbrook?
Jones/Cedeno/Harben - Westbrook?

What do you think?

http://www.lohud.com/blogs/2007/01/status-of-...

D'backs reportedly asked for a 72 hour negotiationg window with Randy Johnson meaning a deal has been agreed upon between Yanks and them.

for manny:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ybc2m4

BP's Top 10 Giants prospect list

Excellent
1. Tim Lincecum RHP
Very Good
2. Angel Villalona 3b
3. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP
Good
4. Emmanuel Burriss, SS
Average
5. Eddy Martinez-Estevee, LF
6. Sharlon Schoop, SS
7. Fred Lewis, LF/CF
8. Nate Schierholtz, LF
9. Billy Sadler, RHP
10. Mike McBryde, CF

BP says Lincecum should start out at AA next year, so enjoy. Assuming normal progression, doesn't look like anyone else on the list will start the year there.

I am pretty sure .912 OPS in Shea is better than .913 in Wrigley.

Also, of the two components, OBP is more important. A team that has a 1.000 OBP and a .500 slugging is going to score a lot more runs (pretty much infinite) than a team with a 1.000 Slugging and .500 OBP.

Wright's career BA OBP SLG are all better than Ramirez's.

But, yeah, if you don't count hitting and baserunning I would take Ramirez over Wright.

Ryno,

I know all the arguments and I have seen it all here many times over. It is obvious that if you have many people on base throughout the season and you hit many extra base hits during the season, you will score runs. That's not my point. My point is this, great players hit the ball really well, they will hit many home runs as well as other multi-base and single base hits. Good sluggers always get on base. I don't need to look at a stat like OBP or OPS to know how good Albert Puljos is. Its the application of OPS that I think everyone has taken the wrong way. OPS as used in a moneyball philosophy is not needed to evaluate marquee players. Its used for lesser player to see what kind of net result they can bring to the table.

I am pretty sure that Wright only plays half of his games and at Shea and Aram only plays half at Wrigley. As well, Wright has yet to hit 30 homers in one season. I would also say that you cannot go to the career SLG. So it took Aram a couple of more years to develop than Wright. It happens. So lets look at the last three years. Of which Aram has outplayed Wright. Will Wright get better? Maybe. Maybe he becomes Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt and Craig Nettles are rolled into one but not yet. To this day Aramis has out performed Wright.

And your last little comment, can you be more douchey?

Good point, and I'm totally on board with that, Chad. Even guys like Dunn or Swisher who don't hit for average get on base.

Aramis has outplayed Wright over the last 3 years? Technically true because Wright barely has played 2 1/2 seasons in the majors.

The only true comparison you can do is the last 2 years. And well Wright is better in almost every single category. Who out played who? David Wright did.

The site seems to be acting weird, my comment box doesn't update with the new comments but they seem to be there when I go to the permalink.

Weird...

Hmmm my post didn't show up, take 2.....

Aramis has outplayed Wright over the last 3 years? Technically true because Wright barely has played 2 1/2 seasons in the majors.

The only true comparison you can do is the last 2 years. And well Aramis isn't out performing Wright over the last 2 years thats for sure.

Good point, and I'm totally on board with that, Chad. And people do put way too much stock into the stats.

Not really Mike. Aram has out slugged him and last year out RBI'd him. Two years ago he out homered Wright in 123 games and almost got him in RBIs while playing nearly 40 less games. Look, Wright may develop into a much better player but not yet.

Boise State - Guys, I fell asleep after the Rose.
HAs anyone seen highlights on Youtube? Links?

Also - Jhonny Peralta? Was he dyslexic? Never seen this spelling before!

ROB G: What was up with the server from early a.m. until now? I could not retrive the site.

brendon "i want new luggage for xmas" harris traded from the reds to the drays...next stop...japan.

Yeah I couldn't get into the site either...

Thanks Rob G. for the SF Giants list. I really hope Lincecum starts here. He is suppose to be a STUD.

Our favorite former LF bust, Jason Dubois was signed to a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Well you have to play to put up the stats Chad. They don't award the Tour de France to the fastest guy who dropped out after the first couple stages.

The fact is over the last 2 years, David Wright has out performed Aramis across the board. He is the better player the last 2 years from hitting, to defense, to running the bases.

So Aubrey Huff signs with the Orioles (yawn), meaning Cliff Floyd is one step closer to becoming a Chicago Cub. Right?

If I'm reading the Tribune article on Larry Rothschild correctly, it sounds like Mark Prior is as big of a question mark as ever. Gee, there's a surprise. Stick a fork in him folks. That nasty case of vaginitis that has plagued him for three years will plague him for a fourth.

Mike, its just not true. Aram's got him in homers and slugging in each of the last two seasons.

Jason Dubois's career BB/SO? 13/81. Eerie.

David Wright vs. Aramis Ramirez

I would take Wright 100 times out of 100 over A-Ram. Wright is an exceptionally gifted talent.

That was not the argument Towel. I would take Wright as well. But that is because I think he will continue to get better. Right now Aram has out hit Wright and will probably do the same this year.

they were having traffic issues and started caching stuff including the comments which meant they wouldn't show up right away...

I'm not exactly sure if it's all quite fixed yet.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/18r

stuff about Samardzijia making a decison. Mentions he's probably a 2nd round pick but may fall due to being non-committal and not much is guaranteed if you're not a 1st round pick. Says he topped out at 99 mph while at Notre Dame.

well this is getting annoying with the comments...

anyway Keith Foulke taking a physical for the Indians, sounds like a one year deal with a mutual option for 2008.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/18r

updated the FA Frenzy contest, only Real Neal had the Giants anyway for a mere 3 pts so not much changed. Chifan3887 is the winner. I'll put up something more formal in the near future.

Yea...I would take Wright over Ramirez any day also.

99 mph fastball vs. slow white wide receiver? Hmmmmm....which one will make more money in sports?

Mark Prior? Who's that?

Can't he just be a slow wide receiver? And is he really slow? Or are you just assuming he's slow because he's white? Honest questions, I don't know much about his football game.

He's not that slow, though I don't know his actual 40 speed.

Mel Kiper says this:

6. Jeff Samardzija Sr. WR Notre Dame
Great hands and speed for his size.

I have yet to find a 40 time.

Here we go. He runs/ran a 4.6. Which is not elite speedster, but not slow either, especially for his size and hands.

sam's gonna have to just love football to walk away from the millions he'd give up with baseball.

i just hope if he chooses the cubs we wont have to hear about football this and football that for the next 2-4 years.

Here's what it says about him at that link:

"Weaknesses:
Lacks elite timed speed...Will likely have a hard time separating from cornerbacks at the next level and won't be much of a deep threat..."

So can he be a good WR in the NFL, maybe (I don't think so, myself) but my whole point is that is baseball skills afford him a much higher ceiling as far as earning potential.

CRUNCH: "...sam’s gonna have to just love football..."

You have some interesting ways of using your own abbreviations for athlete's names.

Living pretty close to South Bend, I have NEVER seen "sams".

Maybe you should trademark it in case he becomes huge?

Go internet!

My guess is Jeff S. projects to be a 3rd/4th string possession receiver like Brandon Stokely of the Colts. If he has any kind of control to go with that 99mph fastball then he should top out as a #1-#3 SP. Hmmm pretty obvious what choice he should take. Factor in that NFL players don't have as long a career so he has less opportunity there to accumulate the big bucks.

yeah, im not following much convention when shortening people's names sometimes...just following the flow of the convo and hoping it doesnt get lost in the mix.

"sams" comes from nothing other than not wanting to call him "samninja"

http://cubdumb.blogspot.com/2006/12/mccarthy-...

take it for what it's worth, but some story about why Williams traded McCarthy, something about Williams making a play for McCarthy's sister that McCarthy didn't take too kindly too....

probably nothing, but it was an odd trade.

lol... funny, could be true if you believe Texas came out on top on that deal.

espn's recently renewed and front-page-hyped team depth charts are out...

includes the gems of cedeno at SS, soriano at CF, and jones in RF....mark prior the #3 starter (with marquis/hill following).

an expanded view of the team shows that izturis isnt even a cub...how about that. maybe he's gonna pitch.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/depth?tea...

"...an expanded view of the team shows that izturis isnt even a cub…how about that. maybe he’s gonna pitch."

LOL!

Do you think Lou would PH Z or Marquis for Izturis, ala LaRussa?

I'm wondering if he has a track record of doing this at his other manager's spots?

crunch:

espn’s recently renewed and front-page-hyped team depth charts are out…

Ouch, according to that, the Cub's only have 1 left-handed bat, and he's wanting to be traded. Yikes.

The E-Man:

I’m wondering if he has a track record of doing this at his other manager’s spots?

His previous jobs have been AL teams, except for, I think the Red's for a short time, so I don't think there's much of a track record.

Rocco Baldelli. Sean Marshall, Will Ohman and Scott Moore, does that get it done? Then trade Jones for a prospect or two, sign Floyd as 4th OF, and call it an offseason.

Note to Lou Pa: at least TRY hitting Murton 2nd in Arizona, OK? Trust me, you'll like it.

that thread gives the reasoning…i dont find much weight in it, but that’s his view. a lotta it is based on a slew of stats that don’t really apply to a 2006 team vs. 2007 team arguement and dont take in account what was actually being played on the field last year.

a lotta it comes from a bad misuse of stats to build a case.

What? How do stats not apply when we're talking about one season to the next? I suppose if I said Juan Pierre would not hit 25 home runs that it's an inappropriate statement because we just don't know what he's going to do next year. Bullshit! We know what nearly every player's capabilities and reasonable expectations are. You can choose to ignore them if it helps you sleep at night, but don't try for one second to say that it's an example of misusing stats because it is not. It's not using the stats you like, but you're using ones that paint this team in as good a light as possible.

This idea that Soriano and Lee are worth 80 home runs, 200 RBIs and 200 runs scored is a joke. How many times has each of these players hit 40 home runs and how many times have each driven in 100 and scored 100? And, most importantly, are RBIs and runs scored a team dependent stat? Yes, they are.

The Cub Reporter used to offer some of the best analysis of any blog when it began and it's turned into a site not much different than the cubs.com message board. It's a shame what Ruz has allowed to happen to his site.

Lester, you’re insane. There is no reason why this team cannot compete next year. They, when healthy, have the best lineup this side of Boston. And with just a little bit of starting pitching, which was upgraded from last year this team is in good shape to win well over 81 games.

Are you serious? The current Cubs lineup is:

Soriano
Izturis
Lee
Ramirez
Jones
Barrett
Murton
DeRosa
Pitcher

If that's the 2nd best lineup in baseball then baseball needs to rid itself of not just 2 teams via contraction, but about 16 to 20 teams. Shooting this statement down statistically isn't even worth the time it would take it's such an absurd claim.

Isn't it ironic that Cubs fans whine, bitch, moan and complain about the Cubs not using stats to eveluate players when they, themselves, don't even care about them in the first place?

Statements that don't agree with the company line just get deleted now?

The probability of Sam becoming a quality NFL wide receiver and getting a quality paycheck are much greater than the chances of him becoming a quality major league baseball pitcher and getting a similar quality paycheck. His chances of "cashing in" playing baseball are materially riskier than his chances of doing the same in the NFL. It's just a fact. Personally, I think he will perform quite nicely at the NFL level and would be a fool to pass up that opportunity. He should bone up on the great decision making of Josh Booty, Drew Henson and Joe Borchard for further proof of what should be the right decision for himself.

Lester:
"This idea that Soriano and Lee are worth 80 home runs, 200 RBIs and 200 runs scored is a joke."

Even if they are "worth" those stats, it is not like the Cubs will be adding those stats. You have to take into account the players who they are replacing and their stats. For example:

Cubs at 1B last year: 25 HR, 90 RBI and 81 runs
Cubs at CF last year: 3 HR, 41 RBI and 88 runs

So even if Soriano and Lee are worth those original stats, the Cubs only add 52 HR, 69 RBI and 31 runs. Definitely nice additions, but not as shock and awe as the original stats look. And that is another reason why I think the team hasn't improved as much as most think.

You can choose to ignore them if it helps you sleep at night, but don’t try for one second to say that it’s an example of misusing stats because it is not.

Comparing Soriano's '06 to his career numbers is a misuse of stats if you're trying to gauge the improvement to the Cubs offense simply because it's irrelevant; the Cubs didn't have Soriano in 06, they had Pierre. Do you honestly believe Soriano isn't an improvement over Pierre?

Ditto Lee. Lee lost 400+ at bats to injury and most of those at bats went to scrubs like Mabry and Neifi. Why don't you do a little statistical analysis of Lee versus those players?

Beyond that, you can't look at stats alone to declare that a player won't repeat a prior year's performance. Lee is a perfect example of that: his '05 surge wasn't the result of luck (high BABIP), it was the result of a change in his approach that closed a hole in his swing and let him make better use of his power and plate discipline. You look at his stats and say "career year" while someone who watched his mechanics closely will say "different player."

LESTER: "The Cub Reporter used to offer some of the best analysis of any blog when it began and it’s turned into a site not much different than the cubs.com message board. It’s a shame what Ruz has allowed to happen to his site."

Dude, if you really feel this way, it would be apparent that you would be more comfortable at 1060 West, where its "Neg 24X7, all the time".

Best of Luck, Happy New Year, and Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Cubs at 1B last year: 25 HR, 90 RBI and 81 runs

That's just a bit misleading dontcha think?

If Dusty had simply inserted Mabry/Nevin/whoever from the bench and put them in at 1st, you could use this line of reasoning.

However, that's not what happened. In reality, DLee's replacement in the lineup came largely from Neifi and Hairston, even though they were playing 2nd base defensively.

Something is seriously wonky with the server. Posts seem to be taking quite awhile to appear and I'm not entirely sure if they're coming up in order.

Actually a few good tidbits from Muskat's mailbag:

- Looks like #31 will be retired sometime in the near future as Lilly was not allowed to use that number. Most likely after Maddux retires.
- According to Elias Sports Bureau, Ryan Dempster was the worst closer in baseball in 1-2-3 innings. He retired the side 21 times out of his 75 innings.
- Another reason to really question the MLB HOF: Carrie Muskat has an official vote. HOW SAD!!!:(

Manny -
"So even if Soriano and Lee are worth those original stats, the Cubs only add 52 HR, 69 RBI and 31 runs."

Even if you take those figures at face value (even though Lee was replaced by Neifi, essentially), that's still fantastic.

69 RBI + 31 R = 100 extra guys crossing the plate next year. 100 runs is the difference between a bad offensive team and a good offensive team. The Cubs scored 713 runs in 2006, good for 28th in the league. 713+100=813, or 11th in the majors. That's a pretty huge swing if you ask me.

Not to mention, you have to account for intangible benefits of an improved lineup. It's harder for opposing pitchers to pitch around guys if you have all that extra power in the lineup. Also, the lineup will be turned over faster and we'll get into opponents' bullpens sooner. All good things.

Another reason to really question the MLB HOF: Carrie Muskat has an official vote.

Normally this would make me sick. But wasn't she the one who just wrote the real nice case for Hawk (Dawson, not Harrelson)?

Doug D.:
"69 RBI + 31 R = 100 extra guys crossing the plate next year."

That is flawed thinking as a good chunk of those are duplicate as HR's would be counted as a run and RBI, but really only account for one run. But still it is an improvement, but again not as much, IMO, as many on here are thinking.

Here's the total performance by the 2006 Cubs broken down by position. Hopefully it'll format correctly:

P  AB  HR RBI BB  SO  Line
C  603 21  89 46  81 .287/.341/.473
1B 609 25  90 67 127 .266/.337/.437
2B 627 13  57 48  75 .274/.326/.411
3B 627 39 121 50  70 .282/.340/.544
SS 615  4  50 24 116 .246/.275/.324
LF 610 17  76 57  98 .280/.346/.428
CF 703  3  41 33  39 .294/.333/.393
RF 628 31  94 42 130 .288/.337/.498

Personally, I think it's reasonable to expect a slight drop at C, roughly the same performance at 3B, and small to large boosts at every other position. No, it's not the Yankees or the BoSox or probably even the Mets, but it's a solidly improved lineup.

Number 31 should be retired in Jenkins' name, not Maddux's.

# 31 should be retired in Jenkins' name, not Maddux's.

Sorry about the double post. My first didn't show up right away.

Manny:
"That is flawed thinking as a good chunk of those are duplicate as HR’s would be counted as a run and RBI, but really only account for one run."

Good point. I still think that with all the improvements to the lineup, another year of seasoning for Murton, more reliable production from 2B, and a full year of D-Lee, the offense easily improves by 100 runs.

The pitching/defense should also improve with a full year (hopefully) of D-Lee's Gold Glove at 1B, Izturis's great D at SS, and (again, hopefully) a set pitching rotation.

I can't envision any scenario, barring catastrophic injuries, that this team doesn't contend.

Am I the only one having a lot of trouble with the site today? Comments in the popup window are different than the ones under the permalink, and it seems to be taking a very long time for any comments to show up.

The old TCR site may not have been the snazziest site on the web, but at least it was reliable...

Doug D.:
"the offense easily improves by 100 runs."

I hope you are right. That would be an outstanding improvement. My guess right now is around a 60 run improvement.

Yeah Vorare I am having problems too and there were even bigger problems yesterday as the site was down most of the day.

Go Internet...

Barring any major/extended injuries, this team wins at least 85 games as is. The '06 team, like the majority of the Dusty-era Cubs, crumbled in the face of adversity. There was an almost complete offensive power outage after D-Lee went down. Aramis and Pierre didn't show up until June, Lee missed most of the season, Murton had a rookie slump early on and Jacque had a slow start. Alot of things went wrong all around the same time. The offense bounced back in the 2nd half last year, ranking 5th in runs scored, but the starting pitching stunk all season. Cubs starters had the 2nd worst ERA in the NL last season.

A full season of Lee & Soriano is a massive improvement over Pierre and Neifi.

Z, Lilly, Hill, Marquis, Miller will be a significant improvement over the carnage we witnessed from the rotation last year.

Tbone--

Hear hear. Why have the Cubs snubbed Fergie for so long? Because of his pot bust? That seems almost quaint with the passage of time, given all the deadbeats we have in baseball today. How about we focus on the numbers and note that Fergie was pretty much without question, the 2nd or 3rd best pitcher in the history of the franchise (gotta give #1 to 3-finger, and probably #2 to 19th century guy John Clarkson).

All Fergie did was take the ball every single time his number came up, and pitch. Well. Retire his number already. I have a framed #31 signed by Fergie with his HOF and Cy Young notations, it's one of my proudest Cub mementos. He signed it for me in person, very cool!

I agree with bjs above, Cubs look to me like they've improved this offseason back to .500 status or maybe a bit better if everything falls into place. Not great, but the NL is very weak right now, and our division particularly so. 85 wins might just be good enough for the postseason.

I would feel a lot better about things though if Hendry acquired one more bat, and Kerry Wood emerges as a quality closer by summertime.

they're working on the issue......

Cotts received a one year deal at $825K

http://www.register-mail.com/stories/010307/S...

story about Joe Dimaggio saying the Cubs turned down a "no-risk tryout". Good to know the stupidity has always been there.

seems to not be working in the pop-up window but okay on the permalink I believe...hmm

Rob G-
On Dimaggio,

My dad told me that story also, and the reason why they didn't was because of his knee.

It's up there with Mays trying out for Red Sox in Boston and someone from stands yelled "Get that n*****r off the field!"

No wonder Cubs and BoSox have two champsionships between them in last 100 years.

seems to be working now....email me or drop a comment if it starts happening again.

Eric the Great:
"Why have the Cubs snubbed Fergie for so long? Because of his pot bust?"

I think he has been "snubbed" so far for 2 reasons.

1) It was not just pot he got busted with, it was also cocaine. And with the PR sensitive Cubs, they wanted time to heal that wound some.
2) Since Maddux also wore that number, they figured all along that they would just retire the number once in honor of both guys after Maddux retired.

Cotts for 825K is a bargain.

Carrie Muskat has a vote and Nate Silver doesn't? Well, she does a nice PR job after all...

#31

Couldn't they retire for BOTH?

I mean, two great players wearing the same number?

Its like, "which child do you love more?".

Would this be unprecedented?

I know that Maddux and Fergy were both great players, but they also both spent large chunks of their careers playing for other teams.

It just strikes me that in the first 100 years of the franchise the Cubs retired only 2 numbers, and now they are making plans to retire a 3rd number since 03.

Personally, I like that the Cubs honor their great players both with flags above the grandstand and with banners in the concorses and I think both players a very deserving of those honors. But I also like that the Cubs reserve retired numbers only for the elite who spent the vast majority of their careers as members of the Cubs. Neither Fergy or Maddux meet that threshold in my book, and honoring them in this fashion sets a bad precident in my opinion.

Berra and Dickey both wore #8

Wikipedia-
"Dickey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954. In 1972, when Berra was elected to the Hall of Fame, the Yankees retired uniform number 8 for both men."

Comments are no longer on the permalink? Is that change going to stick?

I'm still getting comments when I click on the permalink. Is it not working for you Dave?

and now they're gone, okay....

we'll get it fixed.

No...I am only getting the original post, but none of the comments.

I sent an email out to the admin, when I first clicked on the permalink I saw your comment #184, but after I submitted my message it all disappeared.

Maddux does not deserve to have his number retired as a Cub. As a Brave, yes. But not as a Cub.

Fergie? I don't think he did enough as a Cub to warrant it either. Just getting to the Hall of Fame doesn't mean you deserve your number retired.

Is anyone else already fed up of the new MVN.com engine/design? Just saying...

Cotts also gets a $150,000 bonus for being WS MVP.

Newhan probably going to Mets according to SI's Jon Heyman.

how quickly we forget about the first day of winter meetings when the site was completely shutdown at the old servers. (something that seemed to be happening with more frequency)

We're basically the guinea pigs for the move over. The quirks will get worked out and eventually they'll be some more bells and whistles. Your cubs fans that have been waiting for a WS championship for 98 years, I'm hoping you guys can remain patient for a few weeks while they get everything figured out.

Rob, that's why there's testing and beta versions exist. I don't mean the servers, they're working fine (especially for a site the size of Australia), but the Movable Type engine (I'm a huge fan) is at least 2x easier to configure and mantain than Wordpress.

Plus, something as easy as changing the color palette for TCR hasn't been done. I swear, that could be done in twenty minutes.

rotoworld lied to me....

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6331096

Cotts has more than just the WS MVP bonus, the specifics just aren't mentioned.

The deal also includes some other award bonuses for Cotts

I agree with the basic sentiments of Bleeding Blue and Chad, the Cubs need to be very selective on who they retire numbers of. If not, it could lead to a very slippery slope like the Yankees where they have 16 numbers retired. In another 100 years, they might be wearing numbers in the 100's. And yes they have had many GREAT/ELITE players, but they retired Ron Guidry's number for christs sake.

But I don't have a problem retiring #31 for both of them, but besides #21, for you know who, there really shouldn't be anyone else at this point who will even be considered. And with the way FA has changed teh game, the chances anymore of a player staying on a team for 10 years or more are getting slimmer and slimmer, thus making it less likely a Cub player will get their number retired. Except for #13 for NEIFI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Correction: "that's why there's a thing called site testing and why beta versions exist."

The Wikipedia entry for Neifi! Pérez is hilarious; some excerpts:

However, during the 2006 season he attempted to bunt for a hit with two outs in the 9th inning, leading many to question his knowledge of the game.

Despite a strong debut with the Cubs in 2004 and a strong start in 2005 which led to Dusty Baker deciding to make Pérez the everyday shortstop, Pérez' offensive numbers slowly descended closer to his career numbers.

Pérez's offense has attracted serious criticism, and has even led to him being the namesake of the Neifi Index.

well the big thing that need to be tested is how it handles traffic and commenting, none of that will happen without you fine people though.

As for Wordpress vs Movable Type, I don't know much about the inner workings nor do I have access, but just in terms of posting and plugins I 've read about, wordpress seems far better. The comment moderating and IP address lookup are already far better for me. Spam has been pretty much eliminated as well as duplicate comments and until the last two days, the comments were loading far quicker.

I'm hoping to add an HTML toolbar to the comments and get rid of the jibberish above the typing box, as well as automatically shortening URL's and a preview button.

This website sure is balky. What's the deal?

On the retired numbers thing I think it is important as to which team they will go into the Hall of Fame representing. Fergie went in as a Cub and has generally been identified as a Cub, hence I'm for his number being retired. Maddux will not go in as a Cub and should not have his number retired. If I had to decide that #31 was retired for both or neither, I would vote for neither.

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