Prior to Leaving for Iowa

Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez homered, and Mark Prior got his final 2007 ST start before being optioned to AAA Iowa, as the Cubs and Rockies battled to a ten-inning 4-4 tie in front of a capacity crowd of 12,716 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park today in Mesa. box score Since the interest in Mark Prior's outings seems to exceed the interest Cubs fans have in most other Cubs pitchers, before I do anything else, I am going to post the pitch-by-pitch play-by-play for the three innings Prior worked. MARK PRIOR VS COLORADO ROCKIES 3/28 at HOHOKAM PARK TOP OF 1st INNING: Willy Taveras batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (swinging) Pitch 2: Strike 2 (foul bunt) Pitch 3: Ball 1 Pitch 4: Ball 2 Pitch 5: Ground single to left, between SS and 3B. Kaz Matsui batting Pitch 1: Ball 1 Pitch 2: Strike 1 (swinging) Pitch 3: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 4: Line drive to CF, misplayed by Alfonso Soriano for error, Taveras scores, Matsui to 2nd base. COMMENT: This was a line drive that Soriano should have played conservatively, allowing it to bounce in front of him for a single, with Taveras advancing to second. Instead, Soriano made a foolish dive-attempt where the ball bounced off his glove as he was hitting the ground, and the ball then bounced past him. This is not the type of chance a centerfielder should take with nobody out and a runner on base. Garret Atkins batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 3: Ball 1 Pitch 4: Ball 2 Pitch 5: Strike 3 (called) Atkins strikes out. One out. Todd Helton batting Pitch 1: Ball 1 Pitch 2: Ball 2 Pitch 3: Ball 3 (Wild Pitch - curve bounced into dirt, Matsui advances to 3rd) Pitch 4: Ball 4 Helton walks, runners now on 1st and 3rd. Matt Holliday batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Pop up to short left-center, Floyd catches ball, Matsui tags up and scores, Floyd tries to make backhanded flip to Izturis after making catch, ball goes past Izturis, Helton advances to 2nd base. E-7 charged. Two outs. COMMENT: This ball was popped into shallow left-center and NEVER should have been a sac fly. Soriano should have just taken charge and made the catch, but instead allowed Floyd (who has trouble starting and stopping) to make the catch, but then of course Floyd couldn't stop and make a throw to the plate, so he tried to flip the ball to Izturis, but the throw was off-target and went past Izturis into LF. Keystone Kops stuff. Steve Finley batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Ball 1 Pitch 3: Fly out to CF Three outs 1ST INNING SUMMARY: Two runs (both unearned), one hit, two errors, one left. MARK PRIOR PITCHES: 23 13 strikes 10 balls ============================ TOP OF 2nd INNING Troy Tulowitzki batting Pitch 1: Ball 1 Pitch 2: Lazy fly ball hit to warning track in right-center, ball drops between Soriano and Jones for double. COMMENT: Once again, Soriano seemed tentative and looked for Jones to make the catch, while Jones (understandably) expected Soriano to catch the ball since Soriano was closer. Chris Iannetta batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Strike 2 (called) Pitch 3: One hop chopper to 3B, Ramirez throws out batter at 1st base, Tulowitzki holds at second base. One out. Aaron Cook batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (foul bunt) Pitch 2: Strike 2 (called) Pitch 3: Ball 1 Pitch 4: Bunt popped up, caught by Prior in front of the mound Two outs Willy Taveras batting Pitch 1: Ball 1 Pitch 2: Strike 1 (foul) Pitch 3: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 4: Line drive to LF, Floyd comes into make catch, misses ball for two-base error, Tulowitzski scores, Tavarez on second base. COMMENT: This was an easy line drive to left where Floyd had trouble starting from a standing stop, and just couldn't get to the ball fast enough to make an easy catch, and so once he did get to the ball, it was a much more difficult play, and he missed the catch, as the ball rolled to the LF fence before being retrieved by Soriano. Kaz Matsui batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Ball 1 Pitch 3: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 4: Ball 2 Pitch 5: Foul Pitch 6: Strike 3 (swinging) Three outs COMMENT: Strike 3 to Matsui was thrown as hard as Prior can throw the ball, and it had some giddyup on it, too, although I do not know the MPH reading. 2ND INNING SUMMARY: One run (unearned), one hit, one error, one left MARK PRIOR PITCHES: 19 14 strikes 5 balls ======================================= TOP OF 3rd INNING Garret Atkins batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (foul) Pitch 2: Ball 1 Pitch 3: Ball 2 Pitch 4: Ball 3 Pitch 5: Ball 4 Atkins walks Todd Helton batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (called) Pitch 2: Ball 1 Pitch 3: Pop-up, caught by Ramirez in foul territory One out Matt Holliday batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (foul) Pitch 2: Ball 1 Pitch 3: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 4: Ball 2 Pitch 5: Pop fly into short RF, caught by second-baseman Mark DeRosa. Two out Steve Finley batting Pitch 1: Strike 1 (foul) Pitch 2: Strike 2 (foul) Pitch 3: Ball 1 (Wild Pitch - curve ball in dirt skipped past Blanco, Atkins advances to second base) Pitch 4: Foul Pitch 5: Strike 3 (swinging) Three outs COMMENT: Outstanding change-up thrown by Prior for strike 3 3RD INNING SUMMARY: No runs, no hits, one left MARK PRIOR PITCHES: 18 10 strikes 8 balls MARK PRIOR THREE INNING TOTAL: 3 IP 2 H 3 R 0 ER 2 BB 2 K 2 WP 60 total pitches 37 strikes 23 balls 1/5 GB/FB ======================================= As you can probably tell, the Cubs piss-poor outfield defense really let Mark Prior down today, with Soriano making a couple of bad decisions, and Cliff Floyd just simply not able to make plays, because he has difficulty stopping and starting. Otherwise, Prior pitched very well, and should not have allowed any runs, and probably shouldn't have allowed more than one hit. So the Cubs trailed 3-0 heading into the bottom of the 3rd, and Aaron Cook was throwing the ball very well for the Rockies, getting ground ball after ground ball. But Alfonso Soriano managed to golf one of Cook's sinkers over the left-centerfield fence for a two-run HR (Blanco had reached base leading off the inning on a two-base error by third baseman Garret Atkins--the ball literally was blasted right between his legs and into the LF corner). Michael Wuertz replaced Prior to start the 4th inning, and threw the ball much better than he did yesterday when he gave up consecutive home runs to his first two batters. Wuertz went one inning today, throwing 14 pitches, allowing a lead-off walk, but then getting a couple of strikeouts (Iannetta and Tavarez). Angel Guzman was brought into the game in the 5th, and went three innings (45 pitches 16-15-14, throwing 28 strikes and 17 balls, with a 3/4 GB/FB), facing the Rockies' starting lineup the first time through the order, and then mostly minor leaguers (plus back-up guys like John Mabry and Jamey Carroll) the second time through. Gooz allowed one run (earned) on two hits and one walk, with one K, in his three innings. And he did look sharp. Meanwhile, the Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the 6th on back-to-back home runs leading off the inning, as Derrek Lee (HR over the RF fence into the Cubs bullpen) and Aramis Ramirez (HR over the Budweiser sign in left-center) took Rockies LOOGY Tom Martin deep. I doubt that a LOOGY like Martin would face D-Lee/A-Ram during the regular season, though, unless it was a "garbage" situation in a blow-out. Neal Cotts replaced Guzman in the 8th and threw one inning (and a LOT of pitches in that one inning--24 to be exact), but he did not allow any runs or hits, and finished with one BB and one K. Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th, and retired the Rockies on 20 pitches, walking John Mabry before getting a strikeout and a FC to end the inning. Federico Baez once again was the extra innings "emergency pitcher," working the 10th inning where gave up a two-out double off the CF hitting background that was misplayed into a triple by Soriano (he got too close to the wall, and so the ball bounced back over his head into medium CF) and a walk before retiring the side. On offense, Soriano and Ramirez were both 2-5 with a HR and a single. Ramirez's HR was his seventh of the Spring, while Soriano's was his 4th and D-Lee's was his 3rd. The Cubs also drew four walks today (Jacque Jones twice, and Cedeno and Lee once each). The Cubs struck out only once all day, and that was PH Robinson Chirinos, who was called up from minor league camp just for the day. Carlos Zambrano was scheduled to pitch in the AAA game versus the Giants' AAA Fresno affiliate at Fitch Park, and Donald Veal was the starting pitcher in the AA game, but I had to leave before the games started to get to HoHoKam for the first pitch. The Cubs play their final game in Arizona tomorrow, facing the hometown Diamondbacks, who will be making their one and only 2007 ST appearance at HoHoKam Park. Wade Miller is the scheduled starter for the Cubs. Tomorrow's game will be starting at 12 noon local time and it will have a nine inning "curfew" (no extra innings), which will give the Cubs an extra hour to beat the traffic and get to Sky Harbor Airport to catch their flight to Las Vegas, where they will be playing the Seattle Mariners in a two-game pre-season exhibition series this weekend.
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Comments

Thanks, Phil.

How anomalous do you think the OF performance was, today? Fluke? Sign of things to come? Floyd, Soriano and Jones just sounds like a scary OF defense.

AZ Phil,

Great recap as always..........do you think Lou is getting this that Floyd CANNOT play OF anymore? After watching Pie up close, how many games do you think he needs to be ready for the show? Do you agree their best OF is Soriano, Pie, and Jones left to right? It seems the sooner they can get Soriano back to LF the better.

Transmission — March 28, 2007 @ 7:40 pm
Thanks, Phil.

How anomalous do you think the OF performance was, today? Fluke? Sign of things to come? Floyd, Soriano and Jones just sounds like a scary OF defense.

=========================

TRANS: I wouldn't describe today's outfield play as fluky. It really does suck.

Cliff Floyd should NOT be allowed anywhere near the outfield unless and until his achilles is 100%. He's a gimp right now, because although he runs OK once he gets going, he has all kinds of problems starting and stopping.

Alfonso Soriano does not have the ego to play CF, He is very courteous to the corner outfielders right now, and he needs to learn to be more assertive and more of a "ball hawk." He also takes too many stupid chances trying to make spectacular plays that might have worked at shortstop, but don't work too well in CF because there is nobody playing behind him. And he also has problems throwing balls to home plate without hitting the pitcher's mound. I don't think you'll see 20-some asists from him in 2007 if he stays in CF.

This isn't going to happen, but the Cubs would probably be better-off (defensively) with Soriano-Pie-Jones in LF-CF-RF, or if they want Pie to stay in AAA for a while, then Soriano-Jones-DeRosa LF-CF-RF and Theriot at 2B, but then I don't know what the Cubs would do with Murton and Floyd.

I would think that Murton should have some trade value, but I don't know how much.

Floyd should be a DH in the A. L. because if there is one thing he can still do, it's hit. He just can't play LF.

QUESTIONS: Why did Floyd want to play in the National League when he could be happily DHing in the American League? And what made Hendry think Floyd was healthy enough to play LF? Inquiring minds want to know.

cause if he can still hit, he can sub for Derrek if he's hurt or be one heckuva bat off the bench. We were more than covered as a team for this with Murton. As for Floyd's reasonings you'll have to ask him, I'm sure he felt his heel would be healthy by now.

Floyd may also have wanted to play in Chicago, regardless of position. That begs the question of why the Cubs and not the White Sox, where he could DH. Perhaps its his relationship with Hendry. Who knows...

When is Lou's "fieriness" going to help the fundamentals and defense? Cubs have committed the 5th most errors this ST.

i think lou recognizes these defensive deficiencies and therefore wants to only carry 11 pitchers for now. i have to believe, or perhaps more accurately i want to believe, that our woeful outfield defense is as apparent to hendry and loupa as it is to azphil and the rest of us. on a side note, is anyone else completely dazzled by the performance of cedeno this spring? he's walking up a storm, playing credible ss defense, and hitting at a great clip. he is, for me, the biggest surprise of the spring. maybe he has figured something out.

I dont know how I did ST in the past without you Phil.

AZ Phil, I second 'c murder'. I've read every eye witness account you have provided. It has been awesome. Thanks so much to you and all the guys at TCR for the stories.

The outfield defense is dreadful. The $136 million investment belongs in left field, period. Especially in light of Felix Pie waiting in the wings to play a superior defensive center field. Jacque Jones is a good right fielder with a bad throwing arm. But his left-handed bat is very much needed. That means Matt Murton eventually is the odd man out.

Mark Prior topped out at 88 MPH today. It can be stated that Prior has been the victim of lousy defense all day long. But the far greater issue is that his velocity simply isn't coming back. Triple A hitters know how to hit 88 MPH meat. Prior could very well get lit up like a Christmas tree in Des Moines. Then what happens? Do the Cubs force him to have arm surgery? Do they simply cut their losses and send Prior packing? Do they have the training staff order the bigger tube size of vaginal cream?

from ye ole sun times...

Cubs manager Lou Piniella announced his starting lineup for Opening Day:

Alfonso Soriano, CF
Matt Murton, LF
Derrek Lee, IB
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jacque Jones, RF
Michael Barrett, C
Mark DeRosa, 2B
Cesar Izturis, SS
Carlos Zambrano, P

mannytrillo — March 28, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

When is Lou’s “fieriness” going to help the fundamentals and defense? Cubs have committed the 5th most errors this ST.
------------------

Maybe I'm the only one who noticed, but it seems pretty funny to me that your blind support of Baker has turned into a overly critical analysis of Lou.

Which manager do you feel the 2007 Cubs would be more successful under? You are obviously opinionated about both, so anything along the lines of "managers don't matter" would certainly be a cop-out.

He is very courteous to the corner outfielders right now,
-----------
Prior may be heading for Iowa but at least he will at least have a solid OF defense behind him. After today, I'm sure he will have an appreciation for Pie in CF and Pagan in RF.

After today's OF fiasco, I wish they would have tried JJones in CF more extensively (which was the initial thought after signing Soriano) as he knows how to be a ballhawk and experimented with the more "courteous" Murton/Soriano in the corners.

by courteous, does that mean he says "excuse me" after botching a play?

Henry:

he’s walking up a storm, playing credible ss defense, and hitting at a great clip. he is, for me, the biggest surprise of the spring. maybe he has figured something out.

For what it's worth, Cedeno played excellent defense in the field in September last year. He turned some real gems. Maybe his shabby defense & weak bat last season were just first timer jitters. I think he's definitely earned another shot.

And... I hate to say I told-you-so, but everyone thought I was crazy when I said I wouldn't have offered Prior arbitration this off season. Now there's the issue of carrying a $3.75 mil dollar AAA starter & the roster spot. Of course he could still turn it around... I'm just saying, if I'm running a ball club, I'll let some other team play the role of rehab clinic. Nothing personal against Prior, it's just business.

"Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th, and retired the Rockies on 20 pitches"

sigh...i still dont know how he manages to throw 3-4 outtings a week constantly putting in 15-25 pitch outtings.

hope he can keep the ball in the park this year at an extraordinary level like a couple years ago.

the Cubs would probably be better-off (defensively) with Soriano-Pie-Jones in LF-CF-RF

Yeesh, AZ PHIL, just the other day you implied I was batty or perhaps naive for wanting to keep Pie for his defense instead doing the smart thing .... sending him down to Iowa for more "seasoning."

The Cubs need Pie now, BEFORE the fans start booing. They need him, if only to continue CENTER FIELD FOR DUMMIES with his pupil, Soriano. They need him, if only for the option of shoring up the outfield defense when it's close and late.

LNL:
"Maybe I’m the only one who noticed, but it seems pretty funny to me that your blind support of Baker has turned into a overly critical analysis of Lou."

Nope, not critical of LouPa at all yet. It is a more tongue -in-cheek fun as this ST I have heard on TCR many times how Lou will not put up with mistakes and the team will be better fundamentally, etc. So far during ST things haven't changed much. But I really don't blame him for it.

"Which manager do you feel the 2007 Cubs would be more successful under?"

Between Baker and LouPa? I really have no clue, but I don't think either would do much better than the other.

Rynox:
"everyone thought I was crazy when I said I wouldn’t have offered Prior arbitration this off season. Now there’s the issue of carrying a $3.75 mil dollar AAA starter & the roster spot."

Yeah, that is a big nut to have down in the minors. I asked on the previous thread but didn't get any answer, but is Prior the highest paid minor leaguer now?

I'll say one thing...the pressure is definitely on Matt Murton to perform at a high level right out of the box. The outfield defense is going to drive Sweet Lou beserk. Hence, he is going to be sorely tested in wanting to move Alfonso Soriano to left (where he belongs) and plop Felix Pie in center. If Murton gets off to a lousy or non-descript start, it will likely be the "excuse" Hendry / Piniella need to get the outfield properly situated.

Dusty Baker sucked. He came to Chicago and rested on his laurels. The man achieved fine success in San Francisco with veteran-laden teams and deep pitching staffs. He sits on his ass, gnaws on the toothpick and waits for the three run homer. That 1970's style of dugout management doesn't work anymore. Sweet Lou is a gigantic breath of fresh air. The role of manager is vastly overrated in baseball, but nevertheless we have a very good one now in the Cub dugout.

And all I can say is thank God Hendry wasn't stupid enough to hire Joe Girardi.

if the the role of a manager is "vastly overrated", why would make a hill of beans difference if girardi were hired or not?

IMO, Joe Girardi is a self-important ass clown. The man was run out of Miami on a rail by Larry Benifast, one of the best GMs in baseball. The alleged "feud" with the owner could have been resolved if the Marlins wanted to resolve it. They didn't. Fortunately, Jim Hendry doesn't like Girardi either. Hence why Girardi was not a serious candidate for the Cub opening.

Silent Towel:

by Larry Benifast, one of the best GMs in baseball

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Yeah, there's nothing that screams authenticity like a guy with an anonymous screen name calling a public figure out for being a "self-important ass clown" on an internet message board.

That'll show him.

BTW, I attribute most of the Marlin's *relative* success last year not to the GM Beinfest being a genius, or even Girardi, but to their solid pitching and pitching coaching: Rich Kranitz. Any way we can get that guy back?

Hey, here's a question:

When do you think the AAA rotation will be announced, including opening day starters, etc? I live in Austin, and the I-Cubs are opening down here this year... I'm going to go to at least one of the games, but I'd like for nostalgia's sake to be able to catch Prior if I can.

And: Trans, do you wear a tweed jacket? I always picture you in one whenever I read your posts.

It was the owner who ran Girardi out of town, not the GM. I think pitchers are more important than the pitching coach, and Benifest assembled the pitchers. Ramirez and Uggla were pretty big parts of the Marlins success last year, if I remember correctly.

And: Trans, do you wear a tweed jacket? I always picture you in one whenever I read your posts.

Wow, I’m amazed that there are people pondering what I’m wearing…. At the moment, it’s black boxers.

Naw, I don’t own a tweed jacket. In real life, I actually try to avoid as many of the professorial stereotypes as I can. It’s only online where I exude an air of detached pompous, authoritativeness.

~grin~

funny...i always imagined you in powder blue latex.

We're getting warmer, there..... lol

This can be the great TCR fundraiser - The Dress-Me-Up Transmission doll.

Just remember, you MUST have leather patches on you tweed coat.

And a pipe.... there has to be a pipe.....

My fantasy league has three separate outfield positions and a 10-game eligibility requirement. I just need Alfie to survive in center long enough to get me that eligibility and everything will come together perfectly.

I'll take it a step further. And while I have no idea what you look like, I now and forever will picture you as Donald Southerland from Animal House. Sorry.

There seems to be a satisfaction about Prior's Spring Training "failure" - if that's the right word - with many on this site.
But I don't see how the Cubs challenge for 90 wins with this current starting rotation. To do that will take a healthy and effective Prior sooner rather than later, so there isn't anything good about him being sent down.

That's why all the talk about the Cubs covering themselves with a deeper rotation and bullpen had very little truth to it.

Even if Prior is the highest paid minor-leaguer, $3.575 million is a relatively cheap gamble in a market where bad starting pitchers are getting big guranteed money.

The only good thing about Prior getting sent down was that some national writers who didn't do any homework on the matter said earlier that Prior couldn't be optioned at this point in his career. There were at least 2 to do that, including Will Carroll in a radio interview.

Ok this thread has degenerated into grown men having fantasies about what each other is wearing. lol

And in other news, Cubs rank 2nd to last in Fan Satisfaction Rankings...

Interesting link 10man. So essentially the Cubs have degenerated to the Pirates level of "nice place to go and sit for a couple of hours" but PNC edges out on affordability, by a wide margin. Hmmm, here's hoping this is the year that expectation changes....

Anyone wanting to ride Megabus to Pittsburgh in April for the Cubs series is welcome.

Wow, enough subjective things they're trying to measure objectively, in that ranking? I wouldn't put more stock in it than I do in some guy's fan-blog rankings. This just has Nice Charts To Make It Look Scientific.

cubswinthepennant — March 28, 2007 @ 9:53 pm
the Cubs would probably be better-off (defensively) with Soriano-Pie-Jones in LF-CF-RF

Yeesh, AZ PHIL, just the other day you implied I was batty or perhaps naive for wanting to keep Pie for his defense instead doing the smart thing …. sending him down to Iowa for more “seasoning.”

The Cubs need Pie now, BEFORE the fans start booing. They need him, if only to continue CENTER FIELD FOR DUMMIES with his pupil, Soriano. They need him, if only for the option of shoring up the outfield defense when it’s close and late.

==========================

CWtP: All I've ever said about Felix Pie this ST (and it wasn't meant to imply that you are batty or naive, because I absolutely do NOT believe that) is that as long as Soriano, Jones, Murton, and Floyd are on the team, Felix Pie did not have a chance to make the Cubs Opening Day roster (which was true), and I also wrote that wherever Pie is, he needs to play everyday (which I still believe).

So my only disagreement with you is that I would not keep Pie as a back-up "4th OF" in Chicago right now. I want Pie to play everyday, because he still has some rough edges to his game that will be best addressed by regular PT. If I were Piniella/Hendry and wanted to keep a a 4th OF, I would use Angel Pagan for that purpose before I would do that with Pie.

However, I have also written that I strongly believe the Cubs will at some point this season (or next off season at the latest) trade Matt Murton to open up CF for Felix Pie, and so they can move Soriano to LF (where he can do the least damage). Contrary to conventional wisdom, I think Jacque Jones will remain with the Cubs and play RF through 2008, partly because the Cubs like the L/R balance in the lineup that Jones helps to provide, and partly because Murton would have more "trade value" than Jones.

As far as Felix Pie is concerned, I'm sure you know from my writings here at TCR over the last three years that NOBODY here is a bigger Felix Pie than I am. I believe Pie is a future GG CF and that he is very close to being ready right now and I would not have a problem with him being the Opening Day CF in Chicago. But until the Cubs can move Murton (or Jones, if they feel comfortable playing Soriano in RF), Pie's immediate future is at Iowa.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I think Jacque Jones will remain with the Cubs and play RF through 2008, partly because the Cubs like the L/R balance in the lineup that Jones helps to provide, and partly because Murton would have more “trade value” than Jones.

Contrary to this suggestion, I think the Cubs are more likely to keep Murton precisely because he has more "trade value". He has more trade value because he's the better player(career 111 OPS+ vs 101), he's younger (25 v 32), he's less expensive, and his best days are ahead of him. It would be foolish to trade that away in order to keep a left-handed hitter. I don't think the Cubs are quite that foolish. If that's conventional wisdom, then it's right on target.

First, let me chime in with several others in saying what a great job you do with these game wrap-ups, AZ Phil. I especially enjoyed the pitch-by-pitch rundown of Prior's outing.

He does seem to be pitching, if not spectacularly, at least effectively. The obvious question is: Will his velocity ever return or will he (and the Cubs) live with his current state? And if so, is Prior savvy enough to outsmart hitters while pitching in the upper-80s?

Second, a stupid question: When you say "Angel Guzman was brought into the game in the 5th, and went three innings (45 pitches 16-15-14 ..." What exactly do the numbers 16, 15 and 14 represent? All apologies in advance for my ignorance.

Last, as a big fan of Matt Murton, all this talk of a trade saddens me, yet, in light of how atrocious the outfield defense has been this spring training, I'm beginning to see the logic in it. A Soriano-Pie-Jones does make sense defensively, even if the Cubs would miss Murton's OBP. Would Murton be more valuable in a trade than in serving as a backup left-fielder/pinch hitter?

Thanks again for all the great info.

Daver — March 29, 2007 @ 9:09 am
He does seem to be pitching, if not spectacularly, at least effectively. The obvious question is: Will his velocity ever return or will he (and the Cubs) live with his current state? And if so, is Prior savvy enough to outsmart hitters while pitching in the upper-80s?

Second, a stupid question: When you say “Angel Guzman was brought into the game in the 5th, and went three innings (45 pitches 16-15-14 …” What exactly do the numbers 16, 15 and 14 represent? All apologies in advance for my ignorance.

================================

DAVE: Mark Prior did indeed pitch effectively yesterday. He should have given up only one hit, and shouldn't have hit 60 pitches after only three innings. But the first two innings were prolonged by errors and misplays, and it meant that he hit his pitch limit sooner than he might otherwise have.

The "45 - 16-15-14" for Angel Guzman means he threw 45 pitches total, and the other numbers are the number of pitches he threw per inning. When a pitcher throws around 15 pitches or less per inning, it usually keeps him fresh and allows him to throw more innings. If Gooz had had an inning where he threw 20+ pitches or 25+ pitches (and that's been his main problem in the past), it would have probably sapped his energy faster. He certainly looked just as strong in his third inning of work as he did in his first, and probably could have easily gone another couple of innings, but Cotts and Dempster needed to get their work, too.

Not throwing a lot of pitches in any one inning helps a pitcher stay fresh longer. For instance if one pitcher has thrown 90 pitches but has not thrown more than (for instance) 18 pitches in any one inning, and a second pitcher thows 90 pitches but has one inning where he throws (let's say) 25 or 30 pitches, that one inning where the second pitcher threw a lot of pitches can well mean he will tire before the other pitcher will.

Also, as a pitcher throws more and more pitches in a given inning, he gets progressively more fatigued in that inning, and once he gets to around 25 or 30 pitches, even if it's only the first or second inning, he is susceptible to losing velocity and losing the "bite" on his breaking ball, even though he might recover his velocity and bite after resting between innings.

In ST, pitchers throw 15 and then 25 pitches in any one "live" BP two-inning outing. Once they hit 25 pitches in one sequence, they stop and rest, because when most pitchers throw over 25 pitches without stopping, they get tired, and might change their mechanics to compensate for their fatigue.

I'm not really big on pitch counts, but to the extent they have value, the pitch count per inning is more important (in my opinion) than the overall game pitch count.

Soriano's going to be the center fielder, they've already said that he won't switch posistions mid-season. If Pie comes up, he'll probably play right, if Jones gets traded. If he stays in Iowa for the majority of the season and is given CF job next season, the Cubs can move Soriano to either corner. There are a couple of teams that could use Jones, the A's and the Phils come to mind.

Who knows? Maybe by the end of the season Soriano is so good in center that Pie stays in right, or goes as part of a package to replace Zambrano in the rotation.

Allen,

I agree with you about the satisfaction some seem to be gleening from Prior's lack of arm strength. I think it is just people like to say 'I told you so', rather than a wish that the organization does poorly.

Thanks for your generous explanation, AZ Phil! I had a feeling the numbers thing was something like that, but I couldn't quite wrap my head around it. You've provided a very helpful metric to use when watching pitchers -- Cubs and otherwise.

Thanks again!

REAL NEAL: I don't think moving Soriano from CF to LF in mid-seson would be a big problem, since Soriano played LF all of last season in Washington. However, moving him to RF in mid-season would be a completely different matter.

Because of the afternoon sun and the wind at Wrigley Field and the potential for outfield misplays to cost three or four bases instead of just two, RF is not the place to play Soriano. Misplays in LF usually only cost two bases instead of three or four, so that's what I meant when I said that Soriano would do the least damage in LF.

If Soriano continues to play CF like he is playing it right now, he will not stay there for long. His main problems are lack of assertiveness, difficuilty in going back on fly balls, misreading line drives, over-charging ground balls and line drives hit in front of him, and hitting the pitcher's mound on throws to home plate.

Soriano seems to still have the body memory and instincts of a middle infielder, as he charges balls hit in front of him the way an infielder would play balls hit in the infield, knowing that there are outfielders backing him up and playing behind him (Ryan Theriot does the same thing when he plays OF, BTW). Except there isn't anybody playing behind him in the outfield.

Soriano has a similar problem on fly balls. He's fine coming in to catch lazy fly balls (which is why he has been moved further back in his set-up), but he has difficulty drifting back to catch fly balls hit over his head. Again, as an infielder he had outfielders playing behind him to call him off fly balls once they got to a certain point in the outfield.

Trans:
"Wow, enough subjective things they’re trying to measure objectively, in that ranking? I wouldn’t put more stock in it than I do in some guy’s fan-blog rankings. This just has Nice Charts To Make It Look Scientific."

True, but the point is it's the fans' opinions, which are totally relative and measurable against each other. You can't objectively measure stuff like Fan Relations, Ownership, or Stadium Experience, but you can measure how a team's fan base feels about those things relative to other fans' feelings about their own teams.

I'm not really surprised to see the Cubs where they are (LONG history of losing, ridiculously high ticket prices, pervading sense of ownership's value of a dollar over winning), but the Red Sox are 26th? Come on. They just won a World Series, they're in the playoffs almost every year, their owners spend almost as much as the Yankees, they have a classic park, and probably the best/most interesting roster in the league. Bostonians are a bunch of ungrateful complainers if they don't like that team.

Why don't we {the cubs] face it....Woods and Prior
both need to go somewhere else. There mental
thoughts , ability could be better used elsewhere and NOT ON THE CUBS PAYROLL.

We could use that $$$ to obtain or use it to train more usefull talent. We could also use Clint Barmes
in the infield. He just was sent down to AAA
with the Rockies. Only some food for management to think about... We do need pitching, but for
gods sake, lets buy, or train, somebody who can stay out of the training room . Heck for half their salary, I will go set in the whirlpool and have a cold one, a sandwhich and listen to Ron and Pat on the radio.

Soriano’s going to be the center fielder, they’ve already said that he won’t switch positions mid-season.

Was it three balls that Soriano misplayed yesterday, or four?

People like to boo high-priced players who don't perform. Soriano could become our A-Rod, thanks to Lou's (Hendry's?) wacky idea that Soriano's defensive skills should be given high exposure.

Washington, his third team, found a place to hide him on defense, and he responded with his best year. So Lou hangs him out to dry in center!

In a recent game when Soriano asked to be added to the lineup at the last minute, Lou had Murton penciled in in right. That's a possibility. Murton's arm is suspect, but he usually manages to do the job, whatever job you give him.

When people talk about trading Murton, I think back to what Scott Williamson said about him. "He's a franchise player." No one ever said that about Jacque Jones.

1) Who is this "Woods" people keep talking about? James? Tiger?

2) And why all this talk about trading Murton again? I tell you again that Matt is the RH reincarnation of Wade Boggs. Or wait a minute... Boggs isn't dead yet, is he?

VIRGINIA PHIL: Hi cousin!

At this point, I would rather see Soriano-Jones-Murton LF-CF-RF than Murton-Soriano-Jones, even though Murton does not want to play RF and even though he is a barely-passable defender in left fielder. I am not as concerned about Murton's arm as long as he can handle the Rigors of RF in Wrigley, but I'm not sure he can.

In my opinion, Soriano needs to be moved to LF immediately, Jones is the best option (right now) in CF (unless the Cubs recall Pie), and then DeRosa would be the best option in RF, with Theriot playing 2B.

I wrote about trading Murton a couple of weeks ago, and discussed the type of player the Cubs would want back for Murt. I said that they would probably want a young catcher or shortstop, or maybe even a quality young bullpen arm.

I like Murton a lot and don't want to see the Cubs trade him, but unless the N. L. gets the DH sometime in the next few days, I don't think he is going to be around much longer. He is Odd Man Out. But that doesn't mean the Cubs can't get a good young position-player (catcher or SS) or maybe a quality bullpen arm back for him in a trade.

AZ Phil,

I know you have seen a lot more of Soriano than I have in center (and seen him live which is obviously a big help), but I still think you're over reacting. He's made some nice plays out there so far, so the potential is there. Sure it's going to be a rough month or two, but I would say give him through the end of May before making a final judgement.

Describing Murton as 'barely passable' in left is... well, wrong. Ramirez and Bonds are barely passable in left. Murton, by statistical standards and professional scouts' opinions, is a solid and improving left fielder.

The Real Neal — March 29, 2007 @ 11:09 am
AZ Phil,

I know you have seen a lot more of Soriano than I have in center (and seen him live which is obviously a big help), but I still think you’re over reacting. He’s made some nice plays out there so far, so the potential is there. Sure it’s going to be a rough month or two, but I would say give him through the end of May before making a final judgement.

Describing Murton as ‘barely passable’ in left is… well, wrong. Ramirez and Bonds are barely passable in left. Murton, by statistical standards and professional scouts’ opinions, is a solid and improving left fielder.

====================================

REAL NEAL: You're right about Murton. I should have said he is a "passable" LF, not "barely passable."

And as far as Soriano is concerned, what you said is what I believe the Cubs will do. For better or worse, Soriano will remain in CF at least through May, and the Cubs will hope he shows a lot of improvement.

If he does not improve, I believe he will be moved to LF around June 1st, and either Pie will get recalled to play CF, or else Jones wll be moved to CF and either DeRosa or Murton will (by default) play RF. June-July is when I believe Murton is most-likely to get traded.

Jock Jones is a franchise player.

My fearless predictions...

Murton's going nowhere unless we land a superstar in a trade.

Cubs will end up eating most of JJ's contract at some point, probably this offseason.
----

Soriano already stated he doesn't care much about getting moved around the OF anymore like he did last year or even before getting into camp. Pie will play CF if/when he gets called up.

Jacque Jones would make a pretty nice 4th outfielder. I'd rather have that then getting 2 non-prospects for him and $3 million. Of course, he probably wouldn't be too crazy about it, but if the Cubs win, he may not moan too much.

RE: Matt Murton's value, Cubs OF defense, etc.

If Lou is the manager he's already demonstrated this spring, no way he's going to live with yesterday's OF adventures for very long this season. That's point 1.

Point 2, barring a trade, Lou has to know Soriano has to go back to LF and Pie is his best option at CF. That means: LF--Soriano, CF--Pie, RF--Jones or DeRosa.

Point 3, all the love for Matt Murton on this site: I think he's an above average hitter, a fine American, probably votes in every election and calls his mother every Sunday night. BUT, he's at best an average defender with AT BEST average instincts and an average arm to play LF only. Is this a guy we want to be a cornerstone of the Cubs OF?

There comes a time in baseball, usually around 13 yr olds when the baselines go to 80 ft, that you realize it doesn't pay to put the big slow guy in LF anymore because he's a great hitter. You need fast guys who can cover the gaps with speed and arms that turn doubles into singles and triples into doubles. All too often, that one base advance is the one run between victory and defeat. That, folks, is why Murton is not only more tradeable but more expendable than Jacque Jones is as of today.

We'll all have to sit back and watch how long Lou wants to put up with OF defense that's going to cost us games this year.

Point 3, all the love for Matt Murton on this site: I think he’s an above average hitter, a fine American, probably votes in every election and calls his mother every Sunday night. BUT, he’s at best an average defender with AT BEST average instincts and an average arm to play LF only. Is this a guy we want to be a cornerstone of the Cubs OF?

it's LF, it's not even a remotely important defensive position.

and why can't Soriano just move to RF? He's got the arm for it. He'll figure out the sun soon enough. Give him a few months in center as is, Wrigley's a pretty easy center compared to most parks as is. My only concern is him learning to be the captain out there as AZ Phil touched upon. I can't imagine it's that hard to pick up.

Jacque Jones would make a pretty nice 4th outfielder. I’d rather have that then getting 2 non-prospects for him and $3 million. Of course, he probably wouldn’t be too crazy about it, but if the Cubs win, he may not moan too much.

yeah, I'm good with that too, doubt JJ would be though and Hendry seems to pride himself on being a man of his word and I'm sure he told JJ he'd be a starter when he signed that FA deal.

Someone better tell Bonds, Ramirez, Dunn, Bay, Ibanez, Holliday, Anderson, and Burrell to go back to T-Ball. Scott Posednik is here for their jobs.

Anyway, I thought AZ Phil said the game was starting early today?

The Real Neal — March 29, 2007 @ 11:43 am
Anyway, I thought AZ Phil said the game was starting early today?

===============================

REAL NEAL: The Cubs game starts at noon today, which is an hour earlier than usual.

Do you have some information to the contrary?

Thing is Murton hits lefties AND righties well. Jack Jones looks like Scott Eyre batting against lefties.

BTW, there is also a nine inning "curfew" on today's game at HoHoKam. There wiil be no extra innings. The early start and nine inning limit are so the Cubs can get on their buses and hot rod their way down Loop 202 to Sky Harbor Airport and catch their charter flight to Las Vegas. They should be there in time for dinner, and a show, and whatever else they might do that will stay in Vegas...

I’m sure he told JJ he’d be a starter when he signed that FA deal. (#59)

Hendry probably talks to Pie once in a while, too, and when he didn't call him up last September, I suspect he told Pie that the job would be his to win in spring training.

Hendry's a little over-committed right now.

Jock Jones is a franchise player. (#55)

Good--in that case there should be a lot of teams who would like to latch onto him for the next two years.

I suspect he told Pie that the job would be his to win in spring training.

Yes, he did. And I'm surprised more people don't remember it. He told Pie if he wanted to be the Cubs CF to go out and get it in ST. Then he signed Soriano and handed CF to him.

By this time it should be clear that there's no real plan for Pie, so they continue to raise the bar for him. Now he's supposed to hit .325 at Iowa if he wants to get called up... NOBODY HIT MORE THAN .304 AT IOWA last year (>68 AB's). And only Cedeno did it in 2005.

George:
"If Lou is the manager he’s already demonstrated this spring, no way he’s going to live with yesterday’s OF adventures for very long this season. That’s point 1."

What is Lou going to do, bench Murton, JJ, Floyd and/or Soriano after they screw up defensively? These guys are just not good defensively at all. This crap is going to happen.

BTW, CWTP...only 8 or 9 guys in AAA hit .325 last year.
But hey, no pressure Felix....

Murton will be fine in LF, and he could probably be serviceable in RF with some practice. It makes no sense to just jettison Murton so that Soriano can shift to LF...
Murton is 5 or 6 years younger than Jones, and could surpass him soon...if not this year.
He did have an awfully good second half last year, and significantly upped his power.

DB, Murton is just a forth OFer. Dont you read the blogs?

Manny,

No, he's not going to bench anyone for making an error. The point is to put your team in the best position to WIN. That's what a manager gets paid to do.

Maybe Soriano will figure out CF, maybe Murton will find 30-40 feet more in his arm, maybe Murton could be significantly more productive offensively than Jones, and maybe Bush will figure out how to solve the Iraq problem. The best indicator of future performance is past results. That's out of the Management 101 handbook.

I beg to differ with you, Rob G., but every position on a baseball field is important even LF. Teams win Divisions every year by 1-3 games. That's 1 or 2 bad plays (or can be) by a mediocre LF. The LF's already mentioned are offensive studs whose production usually overcomes in games won, what their defensive lapses give up. Maybe a lot of you put Murton in that category. I don't. Look, I really like Murton. I really do, but offensively I don't see him producing significantly more victories for the Cubs over 162 games than Jones will. I see them fairly even offensively, and Jones is much better defensively.

That's why Soriano, Pie, and Jones from left to right for as many innings per game as possible.

Yeah, if he was Jason Dubois out there in LF you might have a point, but he's not. Average at worst...not best.

And he's 25 years old, his offense will only get better particularly with his skillset. He's got plate discpline and developing power, the numbers will only get better. The best we can say for Jones is he'll hit as well as he did last year, chances are he'll decline.

Like I said, if Matt Murton gets off to a poor to medicore start, then Hendry and Piniella will have their excuse to move Alfonso Soriano to left where he belongs. Murton is barely passable in left. Whoever considers him "solid" needs to get their head examined. He doesn't judge balls very well, doesn't cover a lot of territory even though he has decent foot speed and has a bad arm. He is definitely not material for right field. When the Cubs mercifully move Soriano to left (and they will eventually), then Murton becomes 4th outfielder or, most likely, is dealt.

George?

Why does every investment portfolio/strategy begin with:
"Past results do not guarantee future performance?"
Jacque Jones is 32 on April 25th...he is a decent OF, with some pop, and a little speed.
His career #'s are .280/.328/.461...in a good year, he'll hit 25 HR's or so, and drives in 75-80 runs.

Murton is 25, and already surpassed Jones last year in OBP and average. His SLG of .444 last year is not significanly worse than Jones' .461 career mark. He is entering the prime years of his career, and is significantly cheaper than Jones.
He significantly increased his power numbers in the 2nd half of last season.
It's not like Jones steals 20-30 bases a year, or is a Gold Glove outfielder as well.

Murton has much more upside, and is one of a few players on the Cubs who gets on base, and can hit for average with some pop.

Why oh why do people continue to rail against Jacque Jones?!? The guy is a proven solid ballplayer. Good outfielder (lousy arm), good speed, good power and routinenly puts up quality numbers. Oh, and he is signed to an imminently affordable contract and is only 32 years of age to go along with being a desperately needed left-handed bat.

It is the Matt Murton Love Society that really hates Jones, because deep down they know Murton is going to be the odd man out (and not Jones) when the time comes to put Alfonso Soriano where he belongs (left).

Lets see if Matt Non-Spectacular Murton ever puts up the type of offensive numbers Jones did in 2006.

ST....i hope for the Cubs sake, that you are wrong, or that Murton gets off to a strong start.
He wasn't on fire in spring training, but is
.273/.351/.500 that bad? With 3 HR and 12 RBI in 21 games?

I'd like to know what Murton did to soour your opinion so much....Also, do you have any positive opinions on the Cubs?

|Why does every investment portfolio/strategy begin with:
“Past results do not guarantee future performance?”|

Pretty sure that is to protect themselves from false advertising suits.

Murton Vs Jones

Murton has average, bat control, plate discipline, age, salary, arm accuracy, can hit both right handers and left handers
Jones has power, bats from the left side, looks better in the outfield.

I think I'll take Murton, and let Pie and Soriano sort out right and center.

Hmmm Dusty Baylor, lets tear apart your flimsy argument...

1. Murton is only 25 and has upside. Why does he have upside? Jones is only 32, which is certainly not old by any standard.

2. Murton is cheaper than Jones. Well, Jones is signed to a very reasonable contract. And the Cubs carry a $100 million payroll and therefore aren't pinched for dollars. Money differential is, for all intents and purposes, a non-factor.

3. Murton is a lousy outfielder and restricted to playing left field. Jones on the other hand can play all three outfield slots and is a quite good corner outfielder.

4. Jones hits home runs, drives in runs and runs the bases well. Murton hasn't demonstrated the proficiency to do anything but hit for a good average and have a quality OBS.

5. Jones bats from the left side of the plate on a right handed dominated ballclub.

6. Murton plays left, the position Alfonso $136 Million Soriano should be playing.

BTW ST...Jones is not that good out there....and average numbers over his career....Murton is entering his prime, Jones is leaving his...Jones is affordable at $5 mill, Murton makes 10% of that.

Desperately needed? I'll take a player who hits both right and left handed pitching, thank you.
Murton's second half last year, of his ROOKIE YEAR....of .319/.390/ was pretty effing good.

But, by all means, let's cling to a decent veteran player and trade a younger, cheaper player with much more upside.

hey, I'm glad the Cubs kept Jones this year, Murton/Floyd, Soriano, Jones that's got potential for 100 homers out of your outfield and 90 is pretty safe bet.

But going forward, Murton will be the better player over JJ, probably starting as soon as this year.

My opinion on Murton isn't soured. You miss the point. The point is that Alfonso Soriano absolutely needs to be in left field, Felix Pie is a natural born center fielder and Jacque Jones is a capable right fielder who brings a needed skill set to the table. Murton would be a swell guy to have around if the Cubs had the DH. Then, either he or Soriano could DH. But of course they don't.

And sorry, but the Murton I have seen up close and personal over the past year and a half is solidly non-spectacular. Yes, he can hit for a nice average and has good plate discipline. But the rest of his skill set is mediocre (speed, power, run production potential) to weak (defense, arm). Offensively, he is sexier version of Todd Hollandsworth in his prime, albeit a Holly that hits from the right side. Murton shapes up to be a nice ballplayer. But not a cornerstone piece. Especially when your little old $136 million investment needs to be playing his position and you have a gifted young center fielder waiting in the wings. Murton is the type of player that likely plays for 5 or 6 teams over the course of a career.

ST:
1)Upside? Please note Murton's second half improvement.

2)You brought up the reasonabe contract Jones has, so why does that make Murton's less reasonable if he is cheaper?

3)did you watch any Cub games last year? 7 errors last year in RF? Jones is average, with better speed than Murton.

4)Murton has one season under his belt, and showed more power in the second half.

5)Murton hits RHP and LHP. Jones couldn't hit me if I was thrown by a lefty.

6)Obviously, the Cubs feel differently.

Keep this in mind as well. If you play jack jones you have to keep/pay a platoon partner as well. Murton will hit well against everyone.

1. Murton is only 25 and has upside. Why does he have upside? Jones is only 32, which is certainly not old by any standard.

Jones is not "only 32", he's old by current standards. Look at the teams that won the World Series five out of the last six years. They did it with players 32 or less.

We're already committed to Soriano. There's the one old starter in the ouftield we can afford to carry a few more years. But because of the long season and the playoffs that let wildcard teams into the mix, the teams that have been winning it all are the younger ones.

Why does Soriano NEED to be in Left? He has the best arm and is the most athletic of any Outfielder in the organization. If Sammy F'N Sosa can survive in Right. Why on earth wouldnt Soriano be able to do the same? Sounds like a weak minded argument to me.

Soriano needs to be in left, because Jones needs to be in right, duh!

Murton is also under club control for 4 more years. Jack is only under control this year and next. It would be shamefully short sighted to dump Murton for pennies on the dollar when there is absolutely no reason to be doing so.

When is someone going to break out the "Carrie Muskrat said that Murton is a subpar defender" line of reasoning? Jack Jones is an OK ballplayer. However he has no real business in Right either. His throwing arm is the weakest I have ever seen out there. Only slightly better than Juan Pierrre's sparrow flipper.

well not sure JJ really has that weak of an arm, horribly inaccurate seems more appropriate. I mean, there's no doubt he sent many a worm to their graves with those throws last year. :)

Dusty, RobG, et al:

My argument isn't that Murton is not as good an offensive player as J. Jones. Let's call them, at worst, even as of today with Murton having obvious more longevity. My point is OF defense as well as offensive production.

I don't project Murton as anymore than an average defensive LF with average power numbers for the position. I don't see Soriano as an adequate CF or RF this season. Maybe he can play RF by next year, but I wouldn't be willing to give up the chance to win this year. Pie has to be in CF or RF this season (for defense alone), and has more upside than Murton, Floyd or Jones. Murton doesn't have the arm to play RF today. A RF has to be able to throw from medium deep RF to 3B. Murton can't do that unless you guys are watching a different #19.

So, Soriano--LF, Pie--CF, and RF--Who? If not Jones, then who?

How about see if Soriano adjusts to CF and if necessary move him to RF? He has the arm for RF and it would be beyond stupid to punt Murton just for the potentially added defensive benefit of letting Soriano play the position he played last year.

Your staring at Murton/Pie/Soriano at your OF for the next 4 years and you want to risk losing that just for this year? No way...

A good defensive CF might be good for 2-3 wins at most with his glove. Okay, that's important. A good defensive LF/RF is good for 1 freaking win at most.

You keep the offense, unless the D is so damn awful that your pitchers cringe whenever the ball is hit that way, which certainly is not the case in Murton and hopefully won't be the case with Soriano in CF.

Now gimpy Floyd might be a problem...

RobG,

I hope you're right about Soriano. I'm sure Lou will give him 25-30 games in CF before he pushes any buttons. What's not coming through is the source of my passion for OF defense. I was an OF for many years including High School, I coach outfielders, and I know what good OF defense means to a team especially the pitching staff. I'm not armed with definitive stats, but it's more than a couple of wins a year. Even so, that's the margin between Division winner and 2nd place most years.

I don't know about Murton, Pie, Soriano for the next 4 years.........when Colvin is ready, I think it's going to be Soriano, Pie, Colvin.

I don’t know about Murton, Pie, Soriano for the next 4 years………when Colvin is ready, I think it’s going to be Soriano, Pie, Colvin.
......................................................................................
GA, very well may be the case. However Colvin is FAR from a finished product and Pie has yet to prove he is anything either. Just because the cubs say someone is a surefire hot prospect doesnt mean that it is so.

yeah, I'm sure in HS ball, when there's a huge disparity in talent levels, there's going to be a huge disparity in the what it takes to win and lose.

in the pros though, your talking the best of the best and there aren't too many times when some manager is going to put someone out there that will be a disaster at least for not much length of time, so I'll stand by my kooky numbers, there's plenty of folks smarter than me who've studied it.

I hope Colvin becomes an All-Star, let's see what he can do past SS-A ball though before we pimp him for a gig. Let's deal with it when he proves himself ready.

Maybe someone can help me out.... Our radio station schedule says the cubs final pre season game is SATURDAY APRIL 1ST ????? HELLO----
Our contact is out of the office until mid April.
Season starts Monday April 2nd at Cin. Do the cubs play this Sunday April 1st or not ??

Does anyone know if the Cubs play this sunday as their final pre season game ??

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