TCR Friday Notes

A little extra this week to get you through the three day weekend... UPDATE: Cubs signed infielder Tomas Perez to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. - If I had a vote for the Hall of Fame, it would have went to Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Mark McGwire, Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, Bert Blyleven and Alan Trammell. I still can't forgive Lee Smith for Game 4 of the NLCS, so screw him on my imaginary ballot that doesn't count for anything. - Here's one that seemed to miss or just didn't care about. It seems pitcher Adam Harben (the bounty in the Phil Nevin trade) whom we just invited to spring camp had Tommy John surgery in October after a few games in the AFL. If you recall, he was removed from the 40-man roster during the offseason and part of the condition of him resigning with us on a minor league deal was that he'd get a spring training invite even though all he'll be doing is rehabbing at that point. That's an odd little series of events. Harben who was up there on some of the Twins prospects lists a year or two ago has been suffering from some loss of velocity on the fastball. We'll see if the surgery helps him regain some of that along with his prospect status. - A hat tip to "Buried Treasure" for this blurb from former Yank and author of the excellent "Ball Four", Jim Bouton.
Q: Do you really think we need a panel of people, including Bill James, to figure out statistics and steroids? In Ball Four, you talked about players in the 1960's taking pep pills called greenies. And if you have a panel that is going to evaluate statistics based on cheating, are you going to alter Gaylord Perry's numbers? (David Block- Brooklyn, NY) A: Greenies were performance enablers (usually to overcome the effects of hangovers), not enhancers. Gaylord Perry's spitters were in plain view, and the unwritten rule was that if you could master it and get away with it, more power to you. In any case, batters could factor spitball pitchers it into their play. Steroids, on the other hand, are a secret weapon that force non-users to take health risks in order to compete. Historical analogies - advantages or disadvantages due to shorter seasons, no night games, travel, racial barriers, etc. - aren't relevant because, in each case, players of a particular era played under the same conditions. What distorts statistics is unfair (and hidden) competition within the same era.
- As we all patiently wait for the gremlins to be removed from the servers, you can find a new blogroll by clicking on the "Friends" link underneath the mysterious "Authors" box to the right. The layout kind of sucks and the category headings are ginormous but I think you'll find some interesting stuff. - As I was poking around the web, there were a few members of the Cubs blog army that I found something worth reading, so I thought they deserved a shout out. So go check out Cubs Cafe, A Hundred Next Years, Wrigleyville23 and the (mostly) satirical Fire Lou Piniella! and say hi. - More Cubs blog news, former TCR writer Derek Smart has added Phil Bencomo to the writing staff of Cub Town, formerly of Cubbiepalooza. From Mr. Smart himself though, I found this bit of self-reflection good for a laugh-out loud moment:
One of the tendencies of the blogging community, something we do with regularity and lustful aplomb, is take comments by players/management/MSM writers that are, in our humble opinion, intellectually substandard, and with our combination of rapier wit, flawless logic, and overwhelmingly massive capacity for holding onto petty grudges, craft a response that leaves the originator bleeding and trembling jelly-like on the point of our word-swords (a construct we know is imaginary, since it requires the target to have read the salvo, and as all of us who read blogs know, nobody reads blogs).
- I've been meaning to mention this for months and I'm losing karma points each time I forget, but the good fellas at GROTA have put together a fund that they plan to present to Derrek Lee at the Cubs Convention to help with his Project 3000. If you have the means, help a fella and his family out.Donate to Project 3000! - If I get a moment before Sunday morning to look at some chat programs, I'll throw something up on Sunday for those who want to talk during the Bears game. Otherwise reader Chad has his own Bears chat site we can all congregate to as well. - Not to get all "The Bears Reporter" on you, but these articles on Rex Grossman from "Kissing Suzie Kolber" are some of the funniest reads I had all week. (NSFW most likely). - And your standard issue, Youtube clip of the week, this time Wrigley Field circa 1929. [kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] I found that along with some old Bears footage over here along with a link to a converter program that allows you to download YouTube videos onto your own computer. Go Bears and we've got some new articles in the pipeline for the next two weeks starting on Tuesday, so be sure to check in if you can, you know, actually access the site.


funny, Rotoworld has a picture of Burnitz for Jason Bay on his page...

Cubs Winter League roundup..

And He Smells Funny Too"

Japanese not interested in fat, unethical Sammy Sosa-

is that a joke site or real? I can't imagine anyone publicly stating that, ouch!!!

If it's for real, there's also a story about Ichiro getting out of Seattle after this year.

Looks real, I got the lead from

Worth a chuckle:

"I'm not going to play until I'm 40," said [Pedro] Martinez, 35. "You're not going to spend your whole life on a career and not even have time for family or anything."

the "perez" with the minor league signing was tomas perez...also alex s. gonz. to a minor league deal.

both getting a SI invite.

Rob, the link for Chad's site doesn't work...

alex s. gonz. is being signed to the cubs and/or KC depending on what site you check...looks like it may be KC.

only mentions tomas perez in the cubs official press release.

a(S)gonz to KC...per their press release. bad cookie.

The SS competition is shaping up nicely.

t.perez would/should be good for cedeno if cedeno doesnt break with the team. he can play pretty much anywhere.

if cedeno continues what he's currently doing down south, he could very well be in the plans off the bench in the majors...wouldnt count on it, though.

Didn't S. Gonzalez retire?

Thanks much for the mention...

it's nothing more than a link to a parachat button because the football site we go to at SB Nation won't allow a chat program because they're fascists.

Wow, Jason Bay is signed on the mega-cheap...

Hendry lured him out of retirement with a big bag of cash, Carlos.

man, I really thought Jacque for Rodrigo Lopez was what we were going to get.

But alas, Lopez goes to the Rockies for RHP Jim Miller and RHP Jason Burch.

Hendry is going to have to try and pawn him off to the Marlins, Rangers, Pirates or Indians now.

Jock seems like a Rangers kind of guy. I don't mean that he's the kind of player they usually look for. It just seems like he's the kind of player that should, at some point, plays for the Rangers.

Ignore my grammar, please.

Rodrigo López is gonna get pummeled at Coors...

speaking of Erstad, A's offered him a one year deal.

"Cubs sign Perez" ??????? I don't care what the first name is. I can't deal with ANOTHER light hitting utility guy with the last name Perez. I had flashbacks and my stomach became sick. Here's to hoping Lou keeps him in the minors.....

""It's great to be with a team that wants me to be there," said Lopez, 31."

Nice shot at Angelos. Are the Orioles the new Devil Rays?


Thanks for the shout out. I've never received one of those. I feel 20 years younger. Seriously, TCR has set the standard for a long time. Thanks for doing a great job carrying on what Christian started.

Go Cubbies.


t.perez would/should be good for cedeno if cedeno doesnt break with the team.

t.perez will add about as much infield depth in '07 as Auggie Ojeda added in '06. Cedeno is better than Tomas.

Good stuff today, Rob. Especially the YouTube video -- never seen anything like that before. That was awesome.

Also... maybe someone with more info on Harben could tell us if he could benefit from a velocity increase with this TJ surgery? It's always hard to tell, but sometimes the young guys do pick up a few MPH.

Boy..I dunno if I agree with greenies not being performance enhancers. I understand the Gaylord Perry argument about the spitter, but I think that portion might be a tad off base.

However, if they are, you don't even want to think about how many guys would get suspended for it.

At the same time, I'd reckon at one point a few years back it was probably awfully close to an even playing field because nearly everybody used 'em.

Nats sign Jerome Williams?!

I hope he comes back to Wrigley, now! Pleeeeze!


doubt tomas is much more than AAA injury replacement and teaching fodder.

he is the type of veteran who you could keep in AAA to work with others.

i dont really see cedeno breaking with the team if izturis is healthy, honeslty...and i dont see tomas breaking with the team before cedeno gets his shot...his "many gloves" role is being filled by theriot, anyway.

maybe someone with more info on Harben could tell us if he could benefit from a velocity increase with this TJ surgery?

Who couldn't benefit from a velocity increase?

Anyway the THT Annual has an essay on Tommy Johns surgeries and one of the symptoms of guys with UCL problems is often a drop in velocity and the TJ surgery tends to give it back to you, in some cases even increasing what you once had.

And I think I recall when the trade was made from some scouting reports that he'd lost some mph's from his fastball, fwiw.

Ichiro not happy in Seattle-

He would be a nice mid season pick up.

how much is left for longterm pickups, though?

none of us know and could be countless.

there's still the "z issue" and the 08/09 payrolls are kinda scarey before Z even enters the money shuffle.

personally, its hard to even say something like this about the only true ace on the team, but i dunno if the cubs can keep Z at 17-18+m longterm and not become a 120+m team in the years to come.

the spending has been a nice surprise, but hardly any of it has been publicly announced and the ceiling of the spending is still a mystery.

A kind of funny Letterman clip...

More offseason fun: a site traffic graph comparing the five major sports in the US -- notice how pronunciated are the spikes and depressions between offseason/regular season traffic and how was basically dead during the strike -- also, how all five sites are beginning to decline after a 2004-2005 peak. To my surprise, there's a clear winner, Internet traffic-wise, and it ain't baseball nor football.

Carlos, that's because the NBA season is in full swing, while the NFL season is winding down and the MLB season hasn't started yet. Look back at what sport was on top at different point in any given year, and it nearly always corresponds to whatever sport is "in season" for that time of year.

well if your talking about the NBA being the clear winner it's pretty much because of Yao Ming..

although it seems to me that MLB and NBA kind of go back and forth. NFL is pretty much an American sport.

And MLS isn't a major sport, golf, Nascar, college football I would guess trump it easily, I'm sure they trump hockey as well by now.

Sunday Rogers Rumor:

Your favorite and mine, Phil Rogers today:

"If the Cubs are going to make a Jacque Jones trade before spring training, it probably will be with Pittsburgh. The Pirates are intent on adding a left-handed hitter and might be willing to give up one of their left-handed-hitting center fielders, Chris Duffy or Nate McLouth. "

Where does he get this stuff?

The Pirates don't want to trade Duffy, they like what they saw from him to end the year.

Plus it looks like he has outstanding speed. 26 SB's, 1 time caught stealing.

You want a realistic option that you might not be happy with? Colorado would like to move Wily Taveras for a hitter with some more pop.


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  • Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-

    J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:

    Ryno 21 min 20 sec ago view
  • Sigh.

    Ok... maybe.

    Ryno 47 min 29 sec ago view
  • With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

    bradsbeard 49 min 31 sec ago view
  • Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

    Hagsag 52 min 36 sec ago view
  • This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.

    The E-Man 55 min 50 sec ago view
  • This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.

    johann 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

    LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

    RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 24 min ago view
  • AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

    I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

    * bats or throws left 
    # bats both

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 52 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.

    Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)

    VirginiaPhil 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

    Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

    Arizona Phil 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.

    Send Soler down!

    Old and Blue 4 hours 43 min ago view
  • Awesome thanks AZ

    Old and Blue 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

    John Beasley 5 hours 35 min ago view
  • Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!

    Hagsag 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.

    i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.

    crunch 9 hours 36 min ago view