Game 65 Recap: Cubs 5, Mariners 4

Unlikely Heroes

Game Center, Play by Play, Box Score, Photos

W- Howry (3-3), the Cubs Bullpen, light-hitting shortstops L- Morrow (3-1), finger-wagging Things to take from this game 1. Good Bullpen Work Marquis pitched well enough through 5, got in trouble in the sixth, and wound up getting pulled after Ibanez hit a three-run double. Wuertz, followed by Marmol, Rapada and Howry, slammed the door, allowing the Cubs to come back late. Howry, in particular, looked very good in the eighth and ninth 2. Scoring early, scoring late We scored three in the first off of Weaver, featuring extra-base hits by Soriano, Pie and Fontenot, as well as a Floyd single. The big play of the game, however, came in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out, down by 1, Izturis (yes, Izturis) hit a two-run, go-ahead single. Howry made it stick. 3. Odd dust-up between Jose Guillen and Tim McClellan You can read the details, below. Gotta run!
  • Nice start to the Cubs half of the first: Soriano stretches a blooper down the LF line into a double, Pie smokes a triple to the CF vine, scoring Soriano, and Floyd laces a single to score Pie. Fontenot caps the extra-baseathon with a triple. 3-0 at the end of one, Weaver getting hit hard.
  • BJB with a story of how when he and Ron worked together in a booth in '90-'91, Ron would lose his reading glasses on his nose, and accuse Bob of having taken them. Heh.
  • Koyie Hill with a double down the RF line, then gets pickled when he breaks towards third on a ball hit back up the middle, which Weaver managed to field. More bad Cubs running.
  • Marquis is sailing along. How many good pitching performances with Koyie as the catcher, before it's a bone of contention? Only one base-runner through four IP
  • Floyd 3 for 3 so far, in the fifth. flips this one out to left, nice piece of hitting.
  • I always liked Weaver, and can't help but feel bad for him. He's showing his disgust with himself in the fifth, even though he didn't give up a run. Angrily swipe-catches the ball thrown back to him, a couple pitches after giving up the opposite-field hit to Floyd. the WGN close-up shows him grimmacing in anger.
  • and now, in the 6th, poor Weaver gets hit by a pitch right on his throwing arm. Looks like it hurt, but he stays in to run, at least.
  • Marquis might be losing it a bit, as he then walks Ichiro, and just visibly seems to be laboring
  • And there's a pink backback in the bullpen. I think it's by Rapada. Probably one of those zany hazing hijinks, where they emasculate the rookie by making them do humiliating things like carrying around pink backpacks? Oh, the humor, oh, the cruelty.
  • And with that bit of social commentary, DeRosa boots a ball at third. Weaver Scores. A walk to Guillen then loads the bases, all this without a hit in the sixth.
  • and the real killer comes when Raul Ibanez clears the bases on a double, 4-3 M's. Fontenot hesitated a bit on the relay throw to the plate to try to get Guillen, not sure it would have made a difference
  • and today's weirdness is Jose Guillen confronting the home plate umpire after he scores. It looks like Guillen accidentally bumped in to Tim McClellan as he was crossing home plate. Guillen pushed off a bit on McClellan, and McClellan gave him the finger. Er, the wag of the index finger, like don't do that. Guillen then comes up to McClellan, puts his hand on McC's belly, and has a nice chat with him! Finally the Mariner manager, Hargrove, drags Guillen off, and that's the end of it. Dumb play all around, as McClellan probably shouldn't have been right in the line of the runner, Guillen should habe known better than to push off, and McClellan should have let it go as just a part of the play, due to bodies getting in the way.
  • Cubs half of the sixth, Koyie Hill walks, takes second on a wild pitch, can't score on an Izturis single to right. Guillen throws a rocket in to home, keeping Hill at third. Jaques Jones in to pinch hit for Marquis, to try to drive in the runner from third with one out. He flies out, as does Soriano. Can't get that run back, still down 4-3.
  • That was the most godawful 7th inning stretch I've seen in..... well..... in two or three days, I guess..
  • The Fray at least makes an effort to talk baseball, for five seconds, before we get a half inning of discussion about the music business.
  • Clay Rapada's first MLB apperance. I've barely ever seen him throw, before. Comes in with runners on first and second, one out in the eighth. In to face Ibanez. Gets ahead with a called strike, gets Ibanez way out on front of a change up for a foul strike. Ibanez continues to be way out in front of another off-speed pitch. Eventually, gets the fly-out. Howry comes in to get Sexon on another fly. Between them and Marmol, some good bullpen work.
  • Brandon Morrow comes in for the 8th, and begins by walking DeRosa and Fontenot. Koyie Hill up to bunt (I keep typing Koyie, for the practice, and because "Hill" alone means Rich Hill, to me). Good bunt (with, it sounds, some help from a lucky bounce) and we get runners at 2 and 3 with one out, down a run, in the eighth
  • a pair of interesting decisions here: first, not to pinch hit for izturis, and second, to pitch to him when the pitcher's spot is up next (with Pagan getting ready to pinch-hit on deck) and first base open)
  • and Izturis comes through with a single down the LF line. With a bobble, both runs score and Izturis takes second. 5-4 Cubs. Morrow looks terrible. Can't field a bunt by Pagan, either. Morrow out, Green in, strikes out Soriano for the second out, Pie grounds out for the third.
  • Howry to keep pitching, for the save, since Dempster has gone four nights in a row.
  • A few pitches in to the ninth, and Howry continues to look good. Keeps throwing fastballs at 91, 92, on the outside corner to Betancourt. The blows him away with a fastball upstairs.
  • More of the same. Howry just keeps painting the outside corner with low-90s fastballs. Bloomquist goes down. Johjima makes contact, at least, but grounds out weakly to Izturis. Cubs win. Howry looks great.
Parachat Recap Inning 1 Euthanized cats. Euthanized cats on YouTube. Euthanized cats on YouTube fetishes. Wanting to uninvent the internet. Running hard out of the box. Fontenot is good. Inning 2 "Blanco has to be able to bend over before he can catch." - Crunch. This is true. The Men of TCR Growing Old Together: A new series on the Lifetime network? Wal-marts. Theriot. Inning 3 Baseball debates that grew old long ago. Barrett jokes. The grounds for Fontenot's next 7 Nobel Prizes. Fontenot and time-travel, and other physics-defying feats. Inning 4 Internet Identities. Inning 5 The Outfielders. Inning 6 Marquis' struggles and the Guillen/McClellan play. Should Ohman and Rapada be warming up at the same time? Izturis, Sharpies, The Fray. Guess the Parachatter. Are Cubs Fans' naturally pessimists, or optimists? Inning 7 Grunge Music. Is The Fray drunk, or high, or both? Lee being too selective? Inning 8 More on Lee's approach at the plate. Is Cliff Floyd in complaince with the MLB Dress Code? Kellie Pickler, revisited. Ugly country music singers. Why it's complete idiocy to let Izturis hit in such a crucial situation. Why it's sheer genius that Izturis was allowed to hit in such a crucial situation. Confusing Tom Green with Seth Green. Inning 9 Howry. Firefox. Winning.


Good win and some postive devlopments in the division also. Coco Cordero is starting to look at the end of the his Ranger days and Adam Everett is out 2 months with a broken leg. It looks like Houston going Loretta at SS. Big defensive downgrade.

"It looks like Houston going Loretta at SS. Big defensive downgrade"

Thats like the Cubs putting Cliff Floyd in CF.


All Hail Cesar!!!!

Obviously this does not vindicate my undying support of him whatsoever, but it's great to see him come through like that in a big spot. WAY TO GO IZZY!

Sorry if this is repeat, but Eddie Murray fired as Dodgers hitting coach, replaced by Bill Mueller.

To follow up what Chad says, today does not prove to me he needs to start more than 5 times a month, but it's a step in the right direction. The kid has pretty much taken your job, and if you want it, you have to take it back.

News of the Neifi from the Tigers' MVN site, regarding the Verlander no-hitter:

"Now, I may or may not have vomited in my mouth a little when that ball came to Neifi!!! Perez’s backhand, but the sea slug clipped it and tossed it from his knees, behind his back, to Polanco, easy as you please. And Polanco somehow sent it along to first for the double play to end the 8th. I thought that was a hit, that was ZE END, I was going to have to shed a wee little tear for yet another lost no-hitter, but NEIFI!!! PEREZ CAME THROUGH IN THE DEFENSIVE CLUTCH.

Read THOSE words. Savor them. O THIS WACKY WORLD WE LIVE IN."

And in other news, reports of Locust plauges in the midwest. More at 11

Oakland up 6-5, top of 11th.

Trans - just a quick correction:

In the 8th, with Izturis coming up Pagan had already been brought in as part of a double switch the inning before (replacing Floyd in left field and Howry hitting 4th). Doesn't explain why Lou let Izturis hit (unless he's psychic) but does explain why the M's pitched to him.

Great game. Hail Cesar. Happy to see Mueller still in baseball, always been a big fan.

Meh, I'm sorry I missed Parachat. I would've loved to play "Guess the Parachatter."

Enjoy this day Izzy, your BA with RISP is now .171! With lots of work, you might someday reach that shining plateau and hit .200. When that day comes, we will toast you with champagne and laurels. Keep at it kid, keep at it.

Capuno to the DL with a strained groin, Gallardo their top prospect called up to replace him. In other transaction news Augie Ojeda is back in the bigs with the snakes.

Nice to see them start winning these one - run ballgames; maybe we can stop reading about their poor record for awhile.

"Howry, in particular, looked very good in the eighth and ninth..."

And here I thought closers/set - up men could never, and I mean never, go longer than one inning.

"More on Lee’s approach at the plate. Is Cliff Floyd in complaince with the MLB Dress Code? Kellie Pickler, revisited. Ugly country music singers. Why it’s complete idiocy to let Izturis hit in such a crucial situation. Why it’s sheer genius that Izturis was allowed to hit in such a crucial situation. Confusing Tom Green with Seth Green."

Definitely made me chuckle.

I just heard that the Pirates have benched Jack Wilson and he might be available. He is only hitting about .250 this year. Is he enough of an upgrade over Izturis to pursue?

Why would you trade for an average to below average SS when you have a better then average SS in Theriot? If you can get a great SS, then fine, but there's no reason to trade for anything but that.

Forgot Jack Wilson. He is not an upgrade over Izturis. They are very similar. If you want to say he's better, I don't want to argue that, but there is not much that separates them. I say lets go big and get Tejada. Now that is an upgrade. My God! Think of that lineup:


That lineup kicks ass.

Hmm...except Tejada is on the downside...doesn't field well anymore, and may cost a bunch.

How exactly isn't Jack Wilson an upgrade?

Man..Tejada's bat would look good in the Cubs lineup though

Almost got fired today when the entire Indianapolis NBC affiliate viewing audience heard me scream "LOU, WILL YOU PINCH HIT FOR IZTURIS!?!?!!" while following the game on my cell phone from behind a camera during the 5:00 newscast this afternoon.

"Hmm…except Tejada is on the downside…doesn’t field well anymore, and may cost a bunch."

Sure, but we don't need 2004 Tejada. If he puts up numbers like he did last year, we are set.

Cub fans rejoice

a great day today

Bruce Froeming annouced he is retiring

Wes, can you post that on YouTube? Hell, mail me the tape and I'll get it on YouTube. For real. I'll pay the postage.

Also Double and Triple FU to the Cubs management for not getting Tejada when they could. I understand the whole A Gonz thing but I thought Tejada was making 10 or 11 mil at that time, but no. According to Tejada's first year with the O's was for 5 mil:

2004 Baltimore Orioles $5,000,000
2005 Baltimore Orioles $11,000,000
2006 Baltimore Orioles $11,811,415

FU Cubs management.

"Froeming Retiring" Best news I've heard since Andy MacFailure resigned. Froeming was my neighbor when I lived in Wisconsin many years ago. He was a total jerk even as a neighbor and did not get along with anyone. Even his kids were disliked by all.

Baseball is the better for his retirement.

he got a 4m signing bonus in 04, too...still...compared to the market 2 years later he turned out to be a deal...vlad did, too.

Anybody have a line on what the Cubs are thinking on Kroeger? Now hitting .380 with 10HRs at AA, and hitting .480 over his last 10 games.

Why isn't he at Iowa? He should be battling Murton for the next "Cliff's hurt again" call-up.

The Cubs finally won the type of game they have been losing all season -- a reliever walks the first 2 men in the 8th, then gives up the game winner to one of the weakest bats on the team.

Lineup for tomorrow? With Wells pitching, will Pie or Floyd sit? I assume Theriot will play 2B, Izzy at SS and Pagan in either CF or RF.

FYI -- KC puts an 8-spot on the Cards in the 2nd, lead 11-6 in the 4th.

No can do, Chad. A strict no YouTube policy. Sorry, big guy. If I could, I would. That'd go quite nicely next to the rest of my "screaming on TV" YouTube collection.

It's not really that audible, truthfully. I've watched it a few times over. The volume slowly escalates until "IZTURIS" is clearly audible. Got an awful stern talking to about it. I can confirm that much.

In an unrelated note, I do not except either Floyd or Pie to sit tomorrow. Wells isn't that tough of a lefty. He throws a ton of strikes. From the ULTRA-rare department, he's actually reverse splitting to this point.

Wells v. L: 382/414/618 (21-55 3 2B 2 3B 2 HR)
Wells v. R: 282/316/421(59-209, 15 2B 1 3B 4 HR)


that is classic good stuff. if they only knew what we all went through on a daily basis....

I have to wonder who has had worse games this year, Barrett or the Home Plate Umpires in Cubs games. At least I have never tthought Barrett is on crack.

Cedeno and Keorger are both 4-4 tonight

Cesar Izturis and I accept your apologies. A great day in the field, an even better day with the bat. Izturis should never be replaced by Ryan Theriot. Let Theriot play at 2nd base in complement to Mark DeRosa, and make DeRosa the "permanent" platoon partner in right field.

Bruce Froemming. A fat miserable fuck of an individual. A lousy bitter umpire. Somewhere Milt Pappas is jumping up for joy.

>>Euthanized cats. Euthanized cats on YouTube. Euthanized cats on YouTube fetishes. Wanting to uninvent the internet.

This pretty much sums up everything about society in the last fifteen years, doesn't it?


WES: I know - this can happen at any workplace!

Dude - be careful there! At least you are not rooting for the Patriots or other Colt's rivals...

Fortunately, I am locked in my own little post suite which is pretty well soundproofed. I scream there often in response to Cub activities.

Cesar Izturis and I accept your apologies.

For one game? You have to be kidding me...

Cesar and I are funny that way.

Cavs getting closed-out.

LeBraun is a great player.

But, no Jordan. Sorry Cleveland - there is still only one MJ.


Big rumor gaining steam that the Lakers and Bulls are talking deal for Kobe Bryant. Ben Gordon and Luol Deng to the Lakers, plus a swap of 1st round picks.

"Big rumor gaining steam..."

Is this YOUR rumor?

Have not heard any peep of this one.

Kobe was ALMOST a Bull prior to his last contract signing w/the Lakers and even going as far as looking at homes.

FWIW Cubs' last 22 games are against teams currently under .500 (same as the Cubs) - 19 being the four division rivals who do not brew beer and 3 against Florida. Last legit team the Cubs see are the Dodgers at Wrigley first week of September.

jacos — June 14, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

Further proof. When both Neifi and Cesar perform. In the same day no less. The signs of apocalypse
are always near.

In even better news, once the Padres get out of town, the Cubs have six more series until the All-Star Break. Of those 6 series, five are against teams currently at our below .500

@ TEX, @ CWS, vs COL, vs MIL, @ WSH (4 gamer), @ PIT

"The E-Man — June 14, 2007 @ 9:37 pm
Cavs getting closed-out.

LeBraun is a great player."

And LeBron is even better than that guy!

Chad, you little shit. I hate message board posters that think it is either (1) relevant, (2) interesting, (3) cute, and/or (4) witty to point out someone's spelling mistake.

No, it just tags you as a little dope. Stop it.

Eric, don't overrate yourself, you're not that great. Trying growing a sense of humor. And it wasn't a spelling mistake. It was ignorance to the name of one of the best players in the NBA. He's right up there with Kobie Briant, Dawayne Waid and Shack OKneel.

.347 .459 .633 1.092

guess this statline vs. lefties....

Sammy Sosa. Let's bring him home.

Kobe says ----i want to be a Bull ----however, i want to shoot over 50% of the shots. so we will lose, but i look good.

Further proof. When both Neifi and Cesar perform. In the same day no less. The signs of apocalypse are always near.

And Matt Murton is no where to be found. Rapture? Or just demoted?

Or just demoted?
I hope doctors can sew his mote back on...

Hank White update ...he is getting another cervical(neck) epidural cortisone shot today. Koyie Hill gets at least a few more weeks of playing time.

(from the Sun-Times):
Backup catcher Henry Blanco, whose recovery from a herniated disc stalled this week, is scheduled to have another cortisone shot in the injured area today. If it doesn't take, season-ending surgery could be next. ''Hopefully, this one will do it,'' Blanco said. ''We'll see.''

Somehow, looking at the remaining schedule and plotting a course through the rest of this season of mediocrity, which by hook and crook still lands us in contention come September ("Cheer up! We're still only six games under .500!") doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in me. Call me jaded, but at this point, I'll just take consolation in "one good month of baseball" if that's all I get, and leave the rest to fortune, without my burning out any neurons with vain hoping.

My, hasn't it been good lately to see starters turning in quality starts, and the occasional clutch/timely hit! This is the way Cub fans used to root, root, root for the home team.


"Zambrano motioned to reporters standing around the clubhouse and pointed to a box that contained a pair of red shinguards.

"It's a gift from my next catcher, Yadier," Zambrano said.

Zambrano was referring to St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, although he didn't specify whether he was going to St. Louis or Molina was coming to the Cubs."


"He’s right up there with Kobie Briant, Dawayne Waid and Shack OKneel. "

and Kerry Woods, no?

1. A really good series with the Mariners, all three tight games and the Cubs bullpen pitching much better. The offensive problems continue and given the current structure of the team perhaps patience (Derek Lee will get hot again and Aramis Ramirez will be back in the line-up soon) and seeing how Pie, Theriot, and Floyd perform with regular playing time may improve things.
2. Tejeda will definitely be available. Whether he is significant upgrade for the cost is another question as his range has really declined on defense and his power has declined somewhat on offense. For the stats see:
3. The bad Cory of 2005 has returned. OBP and slugging are both under .300 and his BA is approaching the dreaded "Mendoza Line."
4. Michael Barrett appears to be a very decent human being and for a catcher is a fine offensive player, but the first requirement for the job description of a "catcher" is naturally to catch the ball, and I think Lou must be as tired as I am of seeing Barrett fail to do that, whether it is the pass balls or dropping throws from the outfield. I would like the Cubs to replace him with Brian Schneider of the Nats, who is a superior defensive player and has some left handed pop.
5. Zambrano has pitched superbly since the blow up with Barrett and having Hill start catching him. However, if the Cubs are not going to sign him, then they should see what the market will give them for him.

I think it's time to abandon the silly theory that the Cubs will trade Z unless they are 100% out of it, which seems extremely unlikely at this point. Hendry will likely assess some time between July 20-25 but I don't think he goes anywhere, even if we're still 4-5 back in the Central and virtually eliminated in the WC.

Barrett, on the other hand...

Wild Thing,

I believe Carlos and Yadier are actually both very good friends. I've heard that two or three times on Cardinal broadcasts.

I really don't understand why anybody takes anything he says literally. Anything. At all. Particularly beat writers who actually are around him on a daily basis. When he says something sarcastic, you can't put sarcasm in print. And then everybody thinks the sky is falling.

I think you play Pie today, get him use to going against lefthanders.

Remember when Steve Garvey wore the Cubs hat at 1983 press conference in Chicago when he was a free agent?

I think it was yesterday when somebody brought up the possibility of trading for Jack Wilson.

First, we already have a good fielding shortstop with an OPS

Well, that was odd. As I was trying to say, we've already got Izturis, who like Jack, has an OPS

and i'm done. forget it.

For us Simpsons fans, Bart got the best of Homer again yesterday-

I heard Detroit has a good SS, he made a great play the other night to save Verlanders's no hitter.

Wild Thing:
“It’s a gift from my next catcher, Yadier,” Zambrano said.

Yeah, douchebag, the Cards love head case pitchers who don't throw strikes and beat up teammates when they have a rough streak.

You just might have a big strike zone if...

When Curt Schilling came within one out of pitching a no-hitter against Oakland last week - Shannon Stewart broke it up with single in the bottom of the ninth - the home-plate umpire was Ron Kulpa. "I told my crewmates and my dad that I didn't know if I'd ever come that close again to working a no-hitter," he said. The next time Kulpa was behind the plate was Tuesday night. At Detroit. When Justin Verlander, facing the Brewers, threw the second no-hitter in the major leagues this season


I heard Detroit has a good SS, he made a great play the other night to save Verlanders’s no hitter.

Not funny... those wounds are still fresh. :(((

Anybody have a line on what the Cubs are thinking on Kroeger? Now hitting .380 with 10HRs at AA, and hitting .480 over his last 10 games.
Why isn’t he at Iowa? He should be battling Murton for the next “Cliff’s hurt again” call-up.

Kroeger's got a problem named Jake Fox. Fox impressed Lou with his hitting in spring training and it looks like he's on some kind of fastrack. The Cubs have him playing the outfield and first base most of the time instead of catching. And now that the Cubs have settled on Soriano in LF and Pie in CF, Fox is playing RF for Tennessee -- replacing Kroeger (when Kroeger can DH instead).

But I agree with you, if it were me, I'd move Kroeger to Iowa and see how he does at that level. That would also allow Fox to get more time in the Smokies' RF.

If Kulpa is behind the plate during a Micah Bowie no hitter next week. We might have some proof of fishy happenings.

Yadier Molina and Crazy Horse Z are very close friends.

Seattle dumps Burroughs... with Ramirez on the DL he might not be bad to stock in Iowa, if for no other reason, for depth at 3B.

VERY well played, aaronb.

That's high quality work, my friend.

CWTP, I think you misread the fact that Fox is playing right and Kroeger DH'ing in the current series. They're trying to find spots for Fox, sometimes left, sometimes catch, sometimes first, but only right when it's a series that allows a DH.

Kroeger is the right fielder. He plays every day. There might have been a time when Fox and Kroeger were neck and neck for Tennessee (and Southern League) MVP, but that is long past. This morning, Kroeger is hitting .393 to Fox's .296. I guess that's the equivalent of a runner lapping another. Kroeger is leading the SL in BA by fifty points, somewhat remarkable for a cleanup hitter. (The guy hitting .343 is also a Smokie/Cub, Matt Craig.)

Kroeger leads the league in OBP (.463) by a little, and slugging (.635) and OPS (1.098) by a lot.

I like Fox, and I think the Cubs are intrigued by a utility player who can play RF and catch, but they're also in the market for a lefty-hitting right fielder who is a genuine right fielder. Kroeger is the real phenomenon in the Cubs organization this year, and is homing in directly on Floyd, who is playing well and is not conceding anything.

(What I really like about the Cubs this year is that nobody's job is safe.)

The guy most affected by Kroeger right now is Tyler Colvin, who probably thought he had an appointment in Wrigley some time in '08. Colvin is having a nice year at advanced A, but nice years don't begin to compare with what Kroeger is doing.

I don't think we'll see K in Iowa, or that it makes any difference. AAA is where veteran minor leaguers go to die. The outfield is crowded there with Kinkade, Hoffpauir (playing some left lately), Walker, Coats and now Murton.

I don't know about Kroeger. Seems like this year's Sam Fuld to me. What's his background? Exactly how old is he? What's the level of competition he's gone up against the last several years?

Tyler Colvin in 2008? That's very aggressive thinking. Too aggressive. He's playing high A ball right now and seems to have plenty of things to work on and improve. I suspect he sticks the year out at high A, and spends next year at Double A.

Jake Fox? Well... Difficult to think he's got any major league future unless he can turn himself into a poor man's Phil Nevin somehow. Fox needs to show he can play a tolerable 3rd base and 1st base to have any hope of carving out a utility ballplayer existence in the big leagues.

I'm as optimistic about our farm system as anyone, but I'm careful not to project too far into the future. I highly doubt that Kroeger is breathing down the neck of Floyd. Kroeger has played parts of two seasons at AA and parts of 3 seasons at AAA, with a month in the majors to boot. This leads me to a) expect that he would be doing well at AA; and b) to look more at his .276 career minor league line and .167 major league line coming into this season as being more indicative of his talent than his current average. Now he might turn out to be a stud, sure, but he also might turn out to be the next Dubois, Kelton, etc. Or perhaps more likely Miguel Negron, who was signed by the Cubs, initially tore up AA, then cooled off some, and is now in the Cardinals Minor Leagues.

Why does Kroeger deserve a shot IN THE BIG LEAGUES when everytime he's been at or above AAA he's been no better than mediocre?

He did have great success at every level until he went to the show in '04 (167/182/222). He had hit well in 60 games at AAA prior to that. In '05 he was back at AAA Tuscon and he went 261/316/422. '06 at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he went 231/270/370.

So he goes back to AA and is currently throwing up a 393/463/635 and now all of his problems are solved? He should be in rightfield right now for the big club?

Really? Somebody here actually thinks that?

Neither Fox nor Kroeger seem like legit prospects.

Kroeger is a 24 year-old AA'er who couldn't hack it in AAA the last THREE years. He strikes out a ton (104 K in only 441 AB last year!) and rarely walks. He seems to have "career MiLB slugger" written all over him.

Jake Fox will be 25 in a month, has never been above AA, and has yet to put up numbers that are impressive for an OF (in my opinion).

The main reason Josh Kroeger was assigned to AA instead of AAA at the start of the season was because Iowa was heavily left-handed, and Mike Kinkade gave the I-Cubs a right-handed bat in the middle of the order that Kroeger could not provide.

Minor League FAs signed during the off-season (like Chris Amador, Jorge Cortes, Jason Hart, Mike Kinkade, Josh Kroeger, Corey Myers, Val Pascucci, and Derek Wathan this past off-season) usually get the short-end of the stick when it comes to roster slots and assignments coming out of ST.

It's kind of like musical chairs combined with taking a number at a deli.

Clubs give roster slots first to their best prospects, putting them wherever the club feels they need to be. An example of this would Eric Patterson at 2B, Felix Pie in CF, and Scott Moore at 3B at Iowa on Opening Day 2007.

Then next priority goes to players who aren't necessarily top prospects, but who have spots on the 40-man roster. Guys like Buck Coats and Geovany Soto.

Then comes so-called "organizational players," guys who will not be 6YMLFAs after the season, like Micah Hoffpauir, Casey McGehee, and Chris Walker.

And then (last) comes minor league FAs signed during the off-season (like Amador, Cortes, Hart, Kroeger, Myers, Pascucci, Wathan, et al), guys who were signed specifically to provide organizational depth and to fill holes at the various levels (especially AAA and AA, but occasionally A+) should the need arise.

Actually, Amador and Kroeger were lucky (or maybe it's more like unlucky!) that the Cubs didn't release them at the end of ST (as happened with Hart, Myers, Pascucci, and Wathan). Instead, the Cubs assigned Kroeger and Amador to a level lower than where they have been playing the previous season or two (Kroeger had been playing in AAA the previous three seasons, and hit .332 with AZ at AAA in 2004, .261 at AAA with AZ in '05, and .231 with PHI at AAA in '06).

On the other hand, Pascucci did get released, but he signed a minor league contract with FLA, and now has 19 HR at AAA Albuquerque (and although he is tied for the PCL league-lead in HR, the Marlins have left Pascucci at AAA).

The problem with a player like Kroeger (or Pascucci) is that they get labeled as a "4-A" player; that is, somebody who has nothing more to learn or prove at AAA, but who doesn't appear to be able to cross the threshhold into the big leagues and stay there.

Most 4-A players get an NRI to ST (usually with a different MLB club every year), and an occasional shot at playing in the big leagues during the regular season (usually because of an injury, or maybe a September call-up).

A couple of years ago, the Cubs signed a minor league FA named Scott McClain. McClain has hit 312 HR in his minor league career (plus 71 more during his four years in Japan), and is the protypical "4-A" player, (He would probably be a charter member of the "4-A" Hall of Fame if there was one).

Since 1995--and interrupted only by his four year stint in Japan 2001-04, McClain has played in AAA every year, with seven different oirganizations (BAL, NYM, TB, COL, CUBS, OAK, and now SF). Next year, he'll probably be someplace else.

Anyway, at the very end of the 2005 season, the Cubs gave McClain a September call-up, kind of as a "thank you" for spending the season at Iowa and helping to mentor the younger Cubs prospects there. And then the Cubs released McClain immediately after the end of season. And then he signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A's. And now he is with the SF Giants' AAA club at Fresno. And next year he will be playing at AAA ______________ (fill in the blank).

As for Kroeger, if a slot becomes available for him at AAA, and when and if Cubs Player Development Director Oneri Fleita believes that Kroeger is not needed more at AA (where they are short of outfielders), then he'll get promoted to Iowa. But it isn't like Kroeger will "force" himself up to AAA based on how he performs at AA, as would be the case with a prospect.

When and if Kroeger gets promoted to Iowa (and he probably will at some point this season), and if he continues to hit there like he has at AA, then it's possible that he might get a September call-up, like Scott McClain did a couple of years ago. Or Kroeger could get a call-up before September if an injury bug hits the Cubs (as happened recently with Mike Fontenot, when Ward and Ramirez went on the DL and Cliff Floyd went on the Bereavement List at the same time).

And then after the '07 season, Kroeger will likely be a minor league FA again, and sign with some other organization, hoping to get an NRI to ST in 2008. And so on and so on and so on. Such is the life of an itinerant 4-A player.

Wes, sixty games is half a season at AAA. He hit .331 in sixty games in AAA having just turned 22.

Is Felix Pie ready? Do you have a billy goat in your closet, too?

He's doing what he's doing in the same league where Saltalamacchia hit .230 last year, and where Francoeur and McCann were promoted to Atlanta with BAs under .280. The Braves' team in the SL is Mississippi (managed by grenade thrower Phil Wellman). They're the class of the league and I'm sure they have people there the Braves are keeping an eye on, but no one is having a year like Kroeger's. I haven't looked at a Braves blog, but I'm sure that those folks keep an eye on AA also, because they know that that is where a few of next year's players will be coming from.

I'm just trying to provide the same service to Cub fans, like it or not.

Silent Towel,

Where did you hear that Kobe rumor? Is that some kind of Schmidt joke cause there is no way Pax would ever trade his 2 best players. must be true if ST says so.
Kroeger is 25 at the end of August. He is basically getting a 2nd chance after washing out of the Phillies system last season...hitting .231/.270/.370
His career #'s are .276/.327/.429 in the minors.
He is MASHING the ball at AA, and a guy hitting .393/.463/.635 should get a shot.

Jake Fox will get shot somewhere. He has power, and can play C, OF, and 1B. He may be a part time player, but player who hit like he does will get a shot. If he had some patience at the plate, he's be starter material. .296/327/.532 is pretty good.

I could understand where by a scouting perspective some player looks like he's reached the threshold of his abilities, but you can't avoid the fact that Kroeger is hitting .393 at AA, which is relatively insane. From his perspective, he's done everything (and more) that the Cubs could've asked for from him at the AAA level. Doesn't his success there earn him a spot at AAA to see if he can prove his worth there? At some point you have to reward performance and it seems like Kroeger's success this year is being completely ignored.

Also Kroger did not get to Iowa because the lasr couple of years he had a real bad OPS in AAA.

I meant "at the AA level"...

Silent Towel — June 15, 2007 @ 9:32 am
I don’t know about Kroeger. Seems like this year’s Sam Fuld to me. What’s his background? Exactly how old is he? What’s the level of competition he’s gone up against the last several years?


ST: I would make a distinction between Josh Kroeger and Sam Fuld, because while Kroeger has three years experience at AAA and is now back down at AA, Fuld is playing at AA for the first time this year.

Fuld's problem has been staying healthy (shoulder surgery, broken wrist, sports hernia, and strained oblique). He has only two-plus years' pro experience, while Kroeger has seven-plus years experience in pro ball.

Just because a player may seem to be a little old for his league, as long as he is contuining to progress upward (as is true with Fuld), he can still be considered a prospect. Now, if Fuld were to stall at a level, or get demoted, then he becomes a "suspect."

I have watched Fuld for several years now, starting when he was at Stanford playing Ariizona State at Packard Stadium, then in minor league camp in '05, '06, and '07, and at EXST this seaon while he was rehabbing from an oblique injury. And I believe Sam Fuld is a true MLB prospect.

With Pie in CF, Fuld might not remain with the Cubs (although I guess he could be a "4th OF"), but I believe he WILL play in MLB with somebody. He is a fast runner, an outstanding defender, he has a plus-arm, excellent plate discipline, and he's a good hitter. The only thing he lacks is power. (And he also needs to stay healthy!).

So 13 HR and 48 RBI in 61 games is not impressive?


And here's the key difference there, VA Phil.

Francouer, McCann went on to other levels (including the big leagues) to be successful. For more than 60 games. For more than half a season. Kroeger hasn't done that.

He's had the last two full years at AAA, and he hasn't done anything.

I did some homework on Josh Kroeger. Are you people serious to be excited about this guy!?! My Lord, he played several seasons at Triple A and is now back at the Double A level. He is the furthest thing in the world from a major league prospect. In fact, using the word "prospect" in the same breath as the name Kroeger is an insult to the word prospect. Kroeger is a career minor leaguer postponing moving on with his life. Good grief.

Jake Fox? Please. The man is a DH. He can't play catcher. Oh, maybe on an emergency basis. But guys don't make the major leagues as emergency catchers. He needs to vastly improve in the outfield or at 1st base before anybody should get amped up about this guy.

Sam Fuld? Soon to be 26 year old playing Double A ball. Whoopie.

Honestly, did some of you pee your pants over David Kelton and Trenidad Hubbard in the past?!? Why then the fascination with journeyman players?!?

Sheffield/Cornelia — June 15, 2007 @ 10:17 am
I could understand where by a scouting perspective some player looks like he’s reached the threshold of his abilities, but you can’t avoid the fact that Kroeger is hitting .393 at AA, which is relatively insane. From his perspective, he’s done everything (and more) that the Cubs could’ve asked for from him at the AAA level. Doesn’t his success there earn him a spot at AAA to see if he can prove his worth there? At some point you have to reward performance and it seems like Kroeger’s success this year is being completely ignored.


SHEFF/CORN: You are correct. Unfortunately, for 4-A itinerant minor leaguers, there is no justice in baseball. But still, I would expect Kroeger to get a move-up to Iowa (possibly replacing Mike Kinkade or Chris Walker), now that Murton is there providing a right-handed bat in the middle of the order (so that Kinkade isn't really needed).

Another thing about Kroeger is that unlike a lot of 4-A guys (like Kinkade, Pascucci, or McClain), he is a good defensive OF who can play all three OF positions (essentially the defintion of a "4th OF"). So if anything happens to Angel Pagan, Kroeger would probably be the best-bet in the organization right now to fill that slot on the Cubs 25-man roster. (The only two other possibilities from within the organization would be Sam Fuld or Chris Walker)

here is a summary...

Kroeger has been really impressive over the first 60 games of the AA season.

But based on previous history, it is a bit too early to excited about a guy who up this point has looked like a 4A guy at best.

So while he deserves watching, and possibly even a promotion to AAA (which isn't really necessary), lets wait and see what he continues to do.

Exactly Dave.
If was hitting .290/.330/.440 att AA, no one would be bringing up his name. Hitting .393 is impressive at any level.

As for Jake Fox, it's not like he's 29 and having a nice season at AA. He was drafted out of college, and has made his way through Low-A...a half-season due to injury at hi-A, a split season at Hi-A/AA, and now his first full season at AA, which will probably result in a trip to AAA mid-season.

No one is calling for these guys to start right now at Wrigley. Their are some of us who are interested in 2008. Hell...if the Cubs fell out of the race, I'd be interested in Fox this season..just to see what he can do.

Kouzmanoff hurt his back yesterday. Looks like he's out for a few days.

SD Union Tribune says that Pads super-prospy Chase Headley has been selected from AA and is expected to be in the starting lineup at 3B this afternoon.

So here's the question: what the hell do we do about our catcher situation after this season?

Assuming Barrett goes unsigned by the Cubs, which is likely at this point, what options do we have? The Cubs don't appear to have any legitimate mlb-ready catchers in the minors.

Wild Thing:

We trade for a catcher with a flashy glove and spend the next twelve months listening to people moan about the hole in our lineup.

"Where did you hear that Kobe rumor? Is that some kind of Schmidt joke cause there is no way Pax would ever trade his 2 best players."

ST diffuses and changes subjects when the heat gets turned up on any of his bullshit, in case you didn't notice. I.e. yesterday's "discussion" with Theriot, et. al.

He stated his "rumor" - which by all accounts to this point, was his own...

Wild Thing-
Kendall and Irod are fa's I believe.

In today SunTimes Joe crowley said the Sox should be trading Dye because he's a free agent and "the money saved will be used to sign Ichiro".


Ronny Cedeno at Iowa is now 14 for 30 over his last seven games, with a 347/446/537 (983 OPS) season average, 3 HR and 10 RBI, seven 2B, one 3B, and 16/12 BB/K in 111 PA (28 games).

AZ Phil, We dont like young players who fail when they are given a shot. We need someone like Jack Wilson who we've heard of.

No sarcasm in #99/. Nope, None whatsoever, really none at all. Lets go and get Royce Clayton instead.

Two words... Angel Berroa

Ronny Cedeno is look like a sure pick for the AAAA Hall of Fame.

Wild Thing:
Assuming Barrett goes unsigned by the Cubs, which is likely at this point, what options do we have? The Cubs don’t appear to have any legitimate mlb-ready catchers in the minors.

This year's class of FA catchers looks pretty loose. I wouldn't be worried about it one bit.

FA catchers after this year.

Ronny Cedeno still has the potential to be a very good major league infielder. He wouldn't be the first player to fail in his first year in the majors and then go on to a very productive career.

AAAA Cub Infield Hall of Fame
1b- I cant think of the guy who broke his leg .

Rynox — June 15, 2007 @ 11:15 am
Two words… Angel Berroa


Angel Berroa at Omaha (AAA): 271/307/329 (635 OPS), with 5/21 BB/K in 34 games.

Good comparison there, Rynox.

I believe Ronny also commited his 6th error yesterday ...

cubswinthepennant — June 15, 2007 @ 11:17 am
Ronny Cedeno is look like a sure pick for the AAAA Hall of Fame.


CWtP: That's really a brilliant comment. Comparing Ronny Cedeno with Scott McClain. Ronny Cedeno couldn't carry Scott McClain's luggage and steamer trunk.

Jock Jones for Rob Bowen. Is that feasible?

here we go

Soriano, LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .300
Pie, CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .268
Lee, 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .331
Floyd, RF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .319
DeRosa, 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .274
Barrett, C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .247
Fontenot, 2B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .417
Theriot, SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .268
Lilly, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .115

I'd like to see Cedeno get another shot in the bigs this year, or at least used as trade bait.

Bocachica, RF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .163
Cruz, LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .272
Gonzalez, 1B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .289
Cameron, M, CF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .246
Bard, C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .252
Greene, SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .228
Headley, 3B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Blum, 2B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .190
Wells, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .091

Eric S — June 15, 2007 @ 11:26 am
I believe Ronny also commited his 6th error yesterday …


ERIC S: But isn't defense overrated?

Rynox? Care to comment?

What happened to M. Giles? In any case, I'm glad we don't see him today. Adrain Gonzalez is the only guy in that lineup who scares me.

Let's get to 4-1 on the homestand. GO CUBS!

How do we avoid both Giles brothers?

And who in the heck is Hiram Bocachica? And why is he in the big leagues if he's got a career .631 OPS?

Boy, AZ Phil is on fire right now. Throwin' bows at all comers.

jacos — June 15, 2007 @ 11:23 am
AAAA Cub Infield Hall of Fame
1b- I cant think of the guy who broke his leg .


JACOS: "The guy who broke his leg"?

You got me on that one.

About what year are we talking about?


How about Hee Seop? Seems like a good fit.

Wes, B. Giles is on the DL with a bruised ego and broken spirit. I don't know where M. Giles is ... but keep that jerk off the field and I'm happy.

And why is he in the big leagues if he’s got a career .631 OPS?

See Perez, Neifi and Izturis, Cesar.

Okay... not quite fair. Perez is a little better than .631, but that is Coors aided.

cubswinthepennant — June 15, 2007 @ 11:43 am


CWtP: But you can't be in the Cubs 4-A Hall of Fame if you've never played higher than AA.

You gotta have years and years of time in AAA (not necesarily all in the Cubs org, either, but at least some of it) before you can qualify for the Cubs 4-A HOF.

I don't think this guy broke a leg, but how about Julio Zuleta? He's still mashin' in Japan, isn't he?

Julio like Hay-Zeus..berry, berry mach...but he no help me hit curve ball....

Jo-Bu Rules!!!!

"And why is he in the big leagues if he’s got a career .631 OPS?"

Because the vast majority of major league GM's don't use Sabremetrics as their end all be all.

Thanks Wes.

"Because the vast majority of major league GM’s don’t use Sabremetrics as their end all be all."

Who do they use then, magic juju? Boy, that worked well with CPat.

CWTP said: Ronny Cedeno [looks] like a sure pick for the AAAA Hall of Fame.

Not sure I buy into the concept of an AAAA player. Sounds like Cub-fan defeatism. "Dear Abby, David Kelton broke my heart. Then Brandon Sing came along and did the same thing. What can I do? Signed, Hopeless in Wrigleyville."

If a guy has big numbers in the high minors and can't make it in the majors, count his tools. He's missing some tools. Otherwise he'd get a few shots and he'd get over the hump.

Cedeno is not missing any tools, he's just a slow learner. I always thought he'd be a good player for his third team. But if the Cubs still have him when he finally figures it out, fine.


That's who I was thinking of. But AZ Phil disallows him because he never got above AA

Choi is a good choice.

What happen to Nick Jackson?

Listening to IZturdis on an interview, says his "power" is from the right side. HAHAHA. The power to hit it to the shortstop.

AZ Phil:
Rynox? Care to comment?

lol... AZ Phil feisty today. The Angel Berroa comment was a joke, btw.

Wild Thing, I don't know just how tongue-in-cheek your post was supposed to be, but you don't seem to know much about major league scouting and how players are evaluated. Maybe you should read up on it.

Joey Jo Jo Jr. Shabadoo,

That's the worst name I ever heard.

Where you been? You haven't posted here in ages.

And btw... this might be the wrong day to bring it up, but after seeing Izturis choke as much as he has, I'm ok with an offensive-type SS. As long as he's not a butcher in the field.

Chad - I've been in counseling after hear that my name was the worst you ever heard.

AAA 1B - Julio Zuleta, I can't remember if Carmelo Martinez had a great year there, but I remember he was a top prospect...

Melo' Carmelo played 1003 games in the majors.
I think that DQ's him for the AAAA team.

Whenever I see a post from JustanoldCubfan, my eyes and brain read it as "Just an old Cuban".

I guess it comes from 21 years in South Florida.

Wasn't shooting for SABR with the .631 OPS comment. If you don't hit, don't get on base, and don't have any power, it's awful hard to make a living.

Not much SABR about that.

Prolly too late for this but, Wes, OPS is SABR.

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