Cubs De-feet Sox at Maryvale

Tyler Colvin drove in three runs with a single and a triple, as the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team defeated the White Sox AZ Instructional league team this afternoon at Maryvale Sports Complex in Phoenix. Colvin joined the Cubs Instructs team at Fitch Park just last Thursday, and he is in camp to help prepare himself for duty with Team USA later this month. (Team USA will be playing several games against AFL teams here in the Phoenix area the last week of October, before heading to Taiwan for the World Cup in November). In addition to Colvin's three RBI, the other runs were plated on a bases-loaded sac fly by Jonathan Wyatt in the 6th, and two-out back-to-back doubles by Darwin Barney and Cliff Andersen in the 7th. Meanwhile, Cubs pitchers shut-down the Sox on just one run and six hits, including 11 punch-outs. LHP Donnie Veal got the start for the Cubs and had another strong outing. He didn't go six up and six down like he did last time, but he threw two shutout innings and pitched effectively. Rafael Cova was touched for a run and Mark Pawelek struggled with his command, but they did combine to strike out six over the next four innings, and then Jose Ceda and Matt Maradeo finished the game with a flourish, as the fireballin' Ceda struck out the side in the 8th and the side-slingin' Maradeo worked a quick a 1-2-3 10-pitch 9th. Though the White Sox Spring Training base is in Tucson, their instructional league team operates out of the Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training and minor league HQ at the Maryvale Sports Complex on the west-side of Phoenix. And playing there meant the Cubs youngsters got to play in a first-rate stadium for a change (that being the spiffy new park where the Brewers play their Spring Training games), instead of on the minor league fields they normally have to tread. The Peoria Chiefs' manager (some dude named Ryne Sandberg) coached 1st base for the Kubs Kollege of Koaches today, and organization roving catching instructor Casey Kopitzke got to try his hand at managing the team (Kopitzke also warmed up the pitcher between innings a couple of times--bet you won't see Lou Piniella do that!) Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only): LINEUP: 1. Leon Johnson, CF (2-4, K) 2A. Jonathan Wyatt, LF (2-3, RBI-SF, K, SB, PO) 2B. Drew Rundle (0-0, R, BB) 3. Tony Thomas, 2B (2-3, R, BB, K, SB) 4. Tyler Colvin, DH #1 (2-4, 3 RBI, 3B) 5A. Josh Donaldson, C (0-2, 2 K) 5B. Carlos Perez, C (0-2) 6. Josh Vitters, 3B (0-4) 7. Marwin Gonzalez, DH #2 (1-4, K) 8. Darwin Barney, SS (1-3, R, 2B, BB) 9. Cliff Andersen, RF (1-4, RBI, 2B, K) 10A. Mark Reed, 1B (0-1, R, BB) 10B. Steve Clevenger, 1B (1-2, R) PITCHERS: 1. Donnie Veal - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K (27 pitches - 2/3 GB/FB) 2. Rafael Cova - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K (25 pitches - 3/0 GB/FB) 3. Mark Pawelek - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP (34 pitches - 2/1 GB/FB) 4. Marco Tovar - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R,0 BB, 0 K (19 pitches) 5. Jose Ceda - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (15 pitches) 6. Matt Maradeo - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (10 pitches) ERRORS: Josh Vitters (E5 - bobbled ground ball) CATCHERS DEFENSE: Josh Donaldson 0-1 CS Carlos Perez 0-1 CS ATTENDANCE: 8
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Comments

No AFL game today Phil?

AZ Phil: I'm interested in your take on both Tony Thomas and Darwin Barney. Is Thomas the true leadoff hitter we'll be looking for in 2010?

Ok Az Phil,
" The Real Neal and myself have been trying to finds some answers over in the Cubs bats stay smokin hot section. The Real Neal question was #19 and mine was # 7! Also my brother was at the game today and said Ceda threw very well and very hard!

Rob G. — October 9, 2007 @ 6:08 pm
No AFL game today Phil?

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

ROB G: There was an AFL game today (Opening Day for the Mesa Solar Sox at Phoenix Muni), but since AFL game reports (box score, log, etc) are available on-line, I decided to go to the Instructional League game instead, since I couldn't be two places at once.

But as far as the Mesa Solar Sox are concerned, Sam Fuld had a nice first game (played RF, hit lead-off, and was on base three times, including a double, a single, and a walk), and Joe Simokaitis (SS) and Josh Lansford (3B) came into the game late, but both had a hit.

box score

None of the Cubs pitchers assigned to the Solar Sox (Gallagher, Roquet, Avery, or Berg) threw in the game today.

The Mesa Solar Sox first home game (at Ho Ho Kam Park) is tomorrow night.

Cubster — October 9, 2007 @ 6:56 pm
AZ Phil: I’m interested in your take on both Tony Thomas and Darwin Barney. Is Thomas the true leadoff hitter we’ll be looking for in 2010?

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

CUBSTER: Tony Thomas is essentially a right-handed hitting version of Eric Patterson (right down to the shaky defense at 2B), except while I believe Patterson has the aptitude to play CF, I'm not sure Thomas does.

However, Thomas is more animated and seems to be more passionate in his play than E-Pat, and I am hoping that will help Thomas to work hard to make himself at least a passable second-baseman. Because (unlike Patterson) moving Thomas to CF will probably not be an option.

Offensively. Thomas is a really good hitter (minimal power, though) and is also an EXCELLENT base-stealer and base-runner. He is a true "old school" #1 or #2 hitter.

As for Darwin Barney, I suspect he is a long-time member of the Derek Jeter Fan Club. He seems to have assumed some of Jeter's mannerisms, although he doesn't have Jeter's talent.

He is a good defensive shortstop and capable of making spectacular plays as well as the routine ones, but I am just not sure how much he will hit. He is a good base-runner, but he's not a base-stealer like Thomas. He probably will have to hit 8th if he makes it to the big leagues as an everyday player. He might end up being a utility infielder.

But Barney is defintely a savvy pllayer (sort of like a point guard in basketball) and would appear to have a high "Baseball IQ." He seems to always be aware of what's happening everywhere on the field. He also comes off like he has a ton of self-confidence (just like Felix Pie), and a lot of times those kinds of players play on winning teams, just because they have such a powerful positive attitude and belief that they can do just about anything (even when they can't) that you can't tear them down with doubt. That's how you get 100% out of your talent (whatever the limitations of your talent may be) .

slamdog — October 9, 2007 @ 7:02 pm
Ok Az Phil,
” The Real Neal and myself have been trying to finds some answers over in the Cubs bats stay smokin hot section. The Real Neal question was #19 and mine was # 7! Also my brother was at the game today and said Ceda threw very well and very hard!

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

SLAM DOG: I saw your question, but I didn't undestand it. Could you maybe rephrase it? Remember. I am senile.

As for Neal's question, I disagreed with his premise, but I didn't want to argue about it. Vitters HAS been playing. For instance, he played today (all nine innings). But there are other third-basemen at Instructs (Jovan Rosa, Josh Lansford,and Marquez Smith, although Lansford has moved up Center Street to the AFL's Mesa Solar Sox), and they all can't play every day.

And I usually don't go to the road games (although I did today), so sometimes Vitters will play in a road game that goes unreported here because I wasn't there.

The bottom line is, everybody plays, but not every day.

AZ Phil, Craig had asked a question in your entry yesterday in regards to Jeffry Antigua, Oswaldo Martinez and Dae-Eun Rhee and I was wondering if you had any input on that question. Sorry for bringing it up but I too was pretty curious about some of the names you had for potential guys at extended spring training next season.

As always, thanks for your updates...especially when you go on the road!

Charlie Manuel got a 2-yr extension and LaRussa said he won't decide on the Cardinals until they hire a GM.

Thanks for the updates, Phil!

The bottom line is, everybody plays, but not every day.
===========
and Az Phil watches every day, but not everywhere!

also in the "other baseball" news that has been reported here, but been hit/miss (mostly miss) on national coverage...

irod's 13m option (vs. 3m buyout) picked up by DET and izzy's 8m option (vs. 1.1m buyout) was picked up by STL.

Pawelek. Ye Olde Buste.

Navin — October 9, 2007 @ 7:48 pm
AZ Phil, Craig had asked a question in your entry yesterday in regards to Jeffry Antigua, Oswaldo Martinez and Dae-Eun Rhee and I was wondering if you had any input on that question. Sorry for bringing it up but I too was pretty curious about some of the names you had for potential guys at extended spring training next season.

As always, thanks for your updates…especially when you go on the road!

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

NAVIN: I'll answer it here....

craig — October 9, 2007 @ 4:05 pm

Phil, what can you tell me about Martinez? He’s had some interesting numbers when he’s pitched, but he seemed to vanish from summer league. So I assumed he got hurt. Any info? Also, he lists at 6′0″, not a lot of 6′0″ RHP who are viewed as very good arms or prospects. What do you see in him that you liked?

Also, what can you share about Antigua? I know the stats (very young, 6′1″ lefty, most innings for winning DSL Cub team, no red-flags in his peripherals). Have you seen him in Mesa and have 1st-hand impression, or have some other info on him you’ve gotten from sources?

The DSL team had some young players and won a lot. Do you have any inside or 2nd-hand scoop on any of the other guys down there besides Antigua?

Rhee is 18, right?

Last, you’ve seen Huseby numerous times, and come away impressed. That’s fabulous. His BA report had him pitching mostly in the 80’s, although getting up to 90-92 at times or something like that. From what you’ve seen, is that representative? Or would you say he’s a bit faster than that?

Thanks a ton for your reports, they are really fun to read.

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

CRAIG: Rhee is definitely 18. He has the same lanky physique as Robert Hernandez. In fact, Rhee reminds me a lot of Hernandez, except Rhee has a killer splitter as an “out” pitch. It is VERY good.

Mexican RHP Oswaldo Martinez really came on strong at the very end of EXST and at AZL. Before he got shut-down, his command had really improved, and he has a nice array of pitches (fastball, breaking ball, and change) that would be useful for a rotation starter.

I’ve never seen Jeffry Antigua throw, because (at 16) he was too young to be brought to Arizona for ST or EXST ‘07. But I was told by somebody with the Cubs who should know that Antigua was the #1 pitching prospect at DSL Cubs and to watch for him next Spring (2008). But I’ve never seen him pitch, so we’ll see.

The only other player I know of at DSL Cubs who is supposedly projected to be at ST and EXST (and probably AZL) next year is catcher Alvaro Sosa. He is supposed to be pretty good (decent, anyway). And outfielders Andres Quezada and Edgar Herrera were at ST and EXST this past season, but both got sent back to DSL at the very end of EXST. But either (or both) could be back at minor league camp and EXST 2008.

Among the Dominican position players, only INF Gian Guzman, RF Nelson Perez, and 2B Elvis Lara survived EXST (and both Guzman and Perez went directly to the U. S. after signing--neither played in the DSL) and got assigned to AZL Cubs this past season, although of the three, only Gian Guzman is at Instructs. Converted RHP Nelson Perez is quite the physical specimen, BTW, with tremendous HR power and a plus-plus OF arm. He had about a dozen OF assists at AZL Mesa in 2007, and that’s an amazing number for a player in a short season league. But he is VERY raw.

But I’m sure there will be several other Dominican pitchers besides Antigua at ST and EXST for the first time in 2008, like maybe Jose Severino and Ramon Rache.

And to keep morale high, the Cubs will probably want to invite at least one position player and one pitcher to ST 2008 from VSL Cubs/Twins. Like maybe EHP Edilmar Infante and catcher Carlos Guevara.

As for Huseby, his command is outstanding right now and he’s pitching with a lot of confidence. He’s not a gasser (he throws in the low 90’s), but his fastball has sinking action and his breaking ball is very good. And he’s throwing strikes! I would say he has turned the corner, and will almost certainly be a rotation starter at Peoria in 2008. I’m expecting big things out of Chris Huseby in 2008.

Rob G.:
"LaRussa said he won’t decide on the Cardinals until they hire a GM."

Smart move by LaRussa. It will likely buy him enough time to see Torre let go and see if Big Stein has any interest in bringing him in.

Wow, good stuff AZ Phil. Thanks!

Jose Severino had an insane K/BB ratio in the DSL (42 K/6 BB) and it'll be interesting to see how he performs state-side with such good control.

In "Pie in the Sky" news, Scott Boras says that he has "big plans" if A-Rod opts out of his contract.

He says that Rodriguez will play until he's 45, and because he'll break the home run and hits record, he's worth $500 million to $1 billion to a prospective owner/regional networks/etc.

Az Phil,

If Trammell gets a skipper's job this year who do you think would repace him as bench coach? My guess would be Pat Listach with Ryno taking over the Smokies. Would this be our guess as well?

Have there been Trammel rumors?

Ryno will probably get moved up, he very much wants to but I'm going to say that Lou's bench coach will be someone with a lot of major league coaching experience.

its weird going into an offseason where the team has no *obvious* point of upgrade.

yes, some think we need another bat, another reliever, and/or another starter...

i'm just saying there's no where you can point to and say "there's where the upgrade is going to happen."

to me, RF seems the most likely point of upgrade.

but hell, the team could trade for renteria and put the remaining loot into locking up wood for 2-3 years and trading marshall for e.santana. blah blah blah none of what i just typed matters cuz its 1 of 10921031893712 ways it could all go down.

Rob,

I have not any heard any speific Trammell rumors, but outside of a rotoworld blurb stating that Cleveland's AAA manager is the lead candidate and the Larussa to the yanks stuff there has not been any kind of Manager rumors. I do feel that he will get interviews as he did have a few last year and he did get alot of postive feedback on his job this year. His best chance to get a job could be in Cincinatti or St. Louis as aI fell Larussa will take a year off and take a west coast job next year.

basically Phil, I think I'm asking the question, who do you think has been the mastermind to this influx of prospects in the last few years thats has produced quite a few prospects?

Hey AZ Phil,

I don't argue about everything - thanks for the info.

What about Pawelek? Is he still a total mess? Are his control problems from trying to over throw? When he was drafted all the remarks were that he was polished and (I think) regarded as the closest HSP to the bigs. Besides the fat and injury problems, any clue to what's going on with him?

I think it's really smart for MLB to take three games off between playoffs series. That way they can compete for TV share against the NFL, NCAA FB and people who don't like to watch TV on Friday and Saturday nights. And of course, it also allows 3 starter teams a bigger advantage than if they got 1 day off and had to play like in the old setup.

ah colorado in a late october is that a baseball
no its a snowball.

go cleveland and rockies
not that i will be watching
i am done watching

jose ceda just strikes out everyone. unreal.

classic cub pitcher of the last 10 years though though.....he gave up 0 hits in 23 IP but still gave up 4 R bc of BB and other shi'ite.....absurd.

Real Neal,

Three of the series were sweeps not alot you can do about it. Outside of the ALDS's MLB is using pretty much the same format as they have always done.

Looking back over Dr. Hecht's five stages of grief, I would say I'm still in #3, anger, and plan to be there for a while, while most of the people around me at TCR are stuck in #1, denial. If they can't find a ready scapegoat--a Neifi, a Barrett, an Izzy--they pretend the whole thing didn't happen.

Of course I'm angry at Hendry. The Cubs have had four major chokes since 2003. They choked twice very recently: first in Florida, where they tried to hand the division to Milwaukee, except that the Brewers felt the heat themselves and lost three straight at home. (For the Cubs to choke successfully, they would have had to be playing the Brewers head-to-head.)

The longer the sale of the Cubs drags on, the less likely the Cubs will contend next year. Piniella is a lame duck at this point. He lost his magic, if he ever had any. He's just another Cub now.

VA Phil:
"Piniella is a lame duck at this point. He lost his magic, if he ever had any. He’s just another Cub now."

While Piniella clearly had a rough NLDS, I don't think it is fair to say he has "lost his magic". Also, I don't see how he is a lame duck, as he is signed through 2009. Even if Hendry does get let go this offseason or early in the season next year if the team stumbles coming out the gate again, the new GM will most likely keep Lou for the remainder of his deal.

Phil, thanks for comments.

I expect we'll hear from several of the DSL playes down the line, obviously that's always true. Sosa the catcher will be 22 when next short-season starts. Reliever Ramon Rache had some great K/BB/WHIP for DSL, but he's only 6'0" and will be 20 next summer.

Development patterns for Latin prospects is necessarily widely variable and very case-specific. (See Carlos Marmol, for example!) But often it works out that guys who are major-league prospects tend to be the 17/18-year-olds in DSL who are getting innings. Guys who are taller and who get starts are often the ones viewed with more potential.

Jose Severino had super control and great results, but he lists at 5'11".

The two DSL middle infielders who were 17 and played a lot were Starlin Castillo (SS, DSL all-star) and Junior Lake.

A bunch of pitchers had some appeal, combining youth with either size and/or nice effectiveness. Often the overall stats may be less indicative than the results once they settled in.

I have zero scouting info, just looking at stats and list sized and game results:
Yohan Gonzalez, 6'4" 210 4/15/90, 4 runs over his last 22 innings.
Rogelino Carmona: 6'3" 210 8/30/89 Nothing great, but stats competitive after he settled into rotation.
Pacheco Mota: 6'4" 200 7/13/90 Stats not good (low K's), but very big and young.
Julio Pena: 6'3" 185, 3/1/89. Low K, but he was a workhorse and they started him from day one with reasonable ERA. Sometimes guys who start all the time, despite lacking K's, are guys they see as projectible and having good arms, even if not yet a K breaking ball.
Marcos Perez: 6'1" 175, 1/1/90. Very low K's, but low walks and very effective.
Ramon Reyes: 6'3" 185, 1/2/89 Limited work, small sample size. But allowed only 1 hit over his last 6 games and 11 innings, had an earlier game with 7 K/0 walks.
Jose Severino: 5'11" 165 8/13/89 In rotation from the start, and posted slick 7-2 2.34 record with 42K/6BB/66 innings. Excellent control, but not sure a 5'11" righty with 42K/66 innings projects very well.

VA Phil:
“Piniella is a lame duck at this point."
----------------------------

I disagree completely. No way Lou doesn't finish out his contract unless it is by his choice.

From the "you know the idea is crazy when I agree with Manny" file.

Lou takes the worst team in the National League in 06, a team that struggled in the first 2 months of 07, and turned them into Division Champions. For all of that, he's probably going to finish 3rd or 4th in MoY voting.

So how on earth could someone call him "a lame duck" whose "lost his magic"?

Christ, I know you're bitter that he didn't play Pie, Fontenot, and Flud everyday, and the team didn't lose 90 games like your beloved Marlins, but get a grip...

Scathing critique of Chip Caray's work:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/sports/base...

Interestingly, he credits Dick "Quadey" Stockton as a good play-by-play guy.

I can't argue with much anything in the Chip article. He's really made me appreciate Len Kasper.

I didn't think Stockton was perfect, but I didn't think he was as bad as some where making him out to be.

Its also a bit surprising that the ratings for the first round were up significantly, even though they were only on TBS. You'd think simply moving a couple of the FOX games to cable and not having a single game 5 would have hurt, but they still had almost a million more viewers than last year. I guess we'll see if that continues now that New York, Chicago, and Philly are out of the mix.

Bleeding Blue,

I think Piniella is a smart guy, but before he managed his first game, people expected the Cubs to be able to win five more games than they lost, so he won't get any awards.

As for the "division champions" business, technically you're right, but only because they lost their final-week race for second place to the Brewers.

Once in the playoffs, they acquitted themselves as usual, providing the country with a good laugh.

And you guys are cool with it. The Yankees, Phillies and Angels also embarrassed themselves in the playoffs, but they're not cool with it, and neither are their fans.

The new owners, when they get here, I'm assuming will be young, dynamic and aggressive. (They will have to be in order to win the bidding.) They will have their own ideas how to run a ballclub, just as Hendry and McDonough did. They won't keep Piniella around for the final year of his contract, which is small change compared to some of the other contracts they'll inherit. So Piniella will have 2008 in which to try to beat out the Brewers again, who will improve more than the Cubs because they're younger.

Since you mention Sam Fuld (which I rarely do), I do wish he had been up there instead of DeRosa in that fifth-inning at-bat. As I said earlier, no rookie would have dared swing at that pitch.

"As I said earlier, no rookie would have dared swing at that pitch."

So much to comment on, but I'll just pick this one. Pie swings at pretty much everything. Pretty sure he was a rookie.

people expected the Cubs to be able to win five more games than they lost, so he won’t get any awards.

The Cubs won 8 more games than they lost.

The Real Neal — October 10, 2007 @ 1:36 am
Hey AZ Phil,

What about Pawelek? Is he still a total mess? Are his control problems from trying to over throw? When he was drafted all the remarks were that he was polished and (I think) regarded as the closest HSP to the bigs. Besides the fat and injury problems, any clue to what’s going on with him?

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

REAL NEAL: Back in 1998, Cubs GM Ed Lynch traded RHP Jon Garland to the White Sox for RHP Matt Karchner. The Cubs needed bullpen help in their stetch run, and they wanted Karchner, who had been both a closer and set-up man for the White Sox, and who would have been eligible for salary arbitration for thre first time after the ;'98 season, and who was three years away from free-agency.

Garland had been the Cubs #1 pick (10th overall) the previous season (June 1997) out of Kennedy HS in Granada Hills, CA, but by July 1998, his velocity had dropped to 86-88 MPH after being consistently 92-94 in HS. The Cubs thought he probably had a sore arm, but he kept denying it. They also thought Garland was "soft" and didn't have the personality and competitive makeup to overcome adversity.

The White Sox had scouted Garland heavily in HS, and had wanted to take him in the '97 draft with their first pick (#17 overall), but were disappointed to see him taken by the Cubs (who picked ahead of the Sox). However, when Lynch made inquiries about Karchner in 98, Garland's name was mentioned as being available, and so Sox GM Ron Schueler contacted the area scout who had followed Garland in HS.

That scout had a library of video on Garland, and thought that the change in Garland's arm slot and release point might be the reason for the drop in Garland's velocity.

So the scout told Schueler that Garland might be worth a shot, if the Sox could get Garland back to the same place he had been in HS. And so Schueler made the deal.

The White Sox took Garland into the video room and had him study his HS mechanics, arm slot, and release point, and asked him if he was willing to forget everything the Cubs had told him to do, and go back to the way he threw in HS. Garland said he thought he could, and in fact, his mother had been in Rockford that Summer (the Cubs MWL team was in Rockford back then), and when she saw her son's mechanics, she supposedly went ballistic and had a shouting match with the Rockford manager and/or pitching coach, telling him to please let her son go back to the way he threw in HS (the way he had thrown going all the way back to Little League), but the Cubs told Garland's mom not to interfere, because they're professionals and they know what they're doing. .

So Garland did in fact change his arm slot and release point back to what it was in HS, got his velocity back up to 92-94, and was in the big leagues to stay by 2000.

LHP Mark Pawelek was the top-rated HS pitcher going into the 2005 draft, but fell to the Cubs at #20 (overall) because he was advised by Scott Boras and had signed an NLI with Arizona State. But the Cubs weren't dissuaded, and signed him for $1.75M (a bonus equivalent to what an overall Top 10 pick got in 2005).

In his senior year in HS and in his first year with the AZL Cubs (2005), Pawelek threw consistently 93-95 MPH. His velocity now sits consistently at about 86-88 MPH. Over the past couple of years, the Cubs have tweaked Pawelek's mechanics, arm slot, and release point, had him junk two of his five pitches, and told him to stop playing long toss between starts (a part of his routine in HS), They also have accused Pawelek of coming to Spring Training the last two years unprepared and out-of-shape.

There is nothing wrong with Pawelek's arm. His only two injuries have been a broken hand and a hairline fracture of his right elbow (non-throwing arm). His problems are part mechanics and part mental (fear of throwing his fastball and getting ripped). And it's entirely possible that the Cubs are responsible for both of those situations.

I'll betcha somewhere an MLB club has HS video of Mark Pawelek and is just waiting from the Cubs to give up on him. I'm not saying I know that, but...

There's a difference between "being cool with it" and accepting reality for what it is. The Cubs did pretty much what we expected this year, which was a big improvement from 06. They also finished up a lot better than people thought they would if you'd asked the question in May.

Pardon me if I don't take a, "they lost three game, lets burn the fucker down" approach. I can't speak for fans of other teams, but it seems like most people in New York are not happy with the possible removal of Torre, and while I'm sure Phils and Angels fans are disappointed with how their seasons ended, It seems like very few of them are calling their seasons total failures. Its the playoffs, its short series, and clearly the best teams don't always win in those situations.

Yeah, the Brewers are younger, so they will be better, or some of those kids could have "sophomore slumps" or the other hiccups that come with being young players. Just being young and talented alone doesn't win ball games, which is why the Brewers didn't win the division in 2007.

the chip article is another example of the NY media machinery defending that view of the world from NYC, whatever they see west on NYC is probably Taiwan (and I'm sure the TBS execs told Chip it's the home of the Yanks #1 pitcher?)...it was correct to blast Chip for his lack of facts and preparation and historical baseball knowledge (some things never change, but at least he's enthusiastic) but if they think the Yankees got it bad (from TBS) they need to review the Stockton-Darling team's work...at least Bob Brenly and Tony Gywnn brought something to the table (compared to Darling) but it was sickeningly obvious that it was a bad choice of pairings from the beginning. Chip and Brenly and Gwynn should have been given a NLDS series (not necessarily on the same teams though); Stockton and Darling should have been excluded although maybe Darling could have been inflicted on NY. Steve Stone should have been their ace in the hole but he was somehow lost in the mess TBS made of their broadcast pairings, Ted Robinson who Stone was paired with for the Red Sox-Angels series worked but Stoney would work anywhere he was placed.

Bleeding Blue:
"Its the playoffs, its short series, and clearly the best teams don’t always win in those situations."

Very true, but amazingly this year the better teams did win, which is a good thing to see.

craig — October 10, 2007 @ 8:44 am
Phil, thanks for comments.

I expect we’ll hear from several of the DSL playes down the line, obviously that’s always true. Sosa the catcher will be 22 when next short-season starts. Reliever Ramon Rache had some great K/BB/WHIP for DSL, but he’s only 6′0″ and will be 20 next summer.

Development patterns for Latin prospects is necessarily widely variable and very case-specific. (See Carlos Marmol, for example!) But often it works out that guys who are major-league prospects tend to be the 17/18-year-olds in DSL who are getting innings. Guys who are taller and who get starts are often the ones viewed with more potential.

Jose Severino had super control and great results, but he lists at 5′11″.

The two DSL middle infielders who were 17 and played a lot were Starlin Castillo (SS, DSL all-star) and Junior Lake.

A bunch of pitchers had some appeal, combining youth with either size and/or nice effectiveness. Often the overall stats may be less indicative than the results once they settled in.

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

CRAIG: Besides Alvaro Sosa, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake are probably the two most-likely DSL Cubs position players to get invites to Minor League Camp next March. Also OF Andres Quezada, who almost made the AZL Cubs roster this past season.

As for DSL Cubs pitchers, besides Jeffry Antigua, I have no idea who the Cubs will bring to Minor League Camp next March. I know the Cubs have (in the past) rewarded DSL Cubs pitchers who throw strikes. The Cubs do not tolerate pitchers at that level who do not throw strikes. But it's hard to know what will happen with the other DSL pitchers.

I don't think the pitcher's height and/or age is necessarily as important as you might think. It could be sometimes, but not always.

So Piniella will have 2008 in which to try to beat out the Brewers again, who will improve more than the Cubs because they’re younger.

younger?

Average age of Cubs pitchers 28.4
Average age of Brew pitchers 29.1

I don’t think the pitcher’s height and/or age is necessarily as important as you might think.
=========
...or weight.

I will always remember Caray's use of the word "predegistation" at the end of one inning of that series. Worst example of someone's name going a long way towards their success - with an honorable mention to Joe Buck.

Az Phil -

After seeing Pie having trouble adjusting to MLB pitching, what do you see him doing over the next 3 years. I know he has very solid skills and defensive presence ,which should not be understated, but it seems as though he is heading down the path of being a much more "likeable" Corey Patterson w/ his high K rates and challenges in hitting for a usable average. Give me your thoughts on him being able to get to that .275-.285 range to be a useful player for the cubs in the next year or two.

slamdog — October 10, 2007 @ 12:50 am
basically Phil, I think I’m asking the question, who do you think has been the mastermind to this influx of prospects in the last few years thats has produced quite a few prospects?

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

SLAM DOG: Tim Wilken is an excellent scouting director, and the Cubs have expanded their international scouting to where it is now world-wide.

Steve Wilson was appointed Pacific Rim Scouting Coordinator about a year ago (and that was way overdue), and Wilson has signed several players out of Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Australia. The Cubs have just re-established a club (albeit a co-op team) in thre Venezuelan Summer League, and do a fairly good job scouting and signing players out of Latin America (although it could stand some improvement). And the Cubs have even signed two European players (RHP Alessandro Maestri in 2006 and, just recently, 2B Dwayne Kemp out of the Netherlands).

Oneri Fleita and the player development people are OK. There are some really good coaches in the system. They don't always get 100% out of what they're given, but sometimes it's hard to tell where the fault lies with that. Sometimes players just stop developing or sometimes even slide backwards. The Cubs PD people seem to do pretty well with position players, but development of pitchers has been more problematic. I think that's the biggest flaw in the player development system. I think they sometimes tinker with pitchers too much, and end up losing them. There have also been too many shoulder and elbow injuries, although I can give you no statistical data to compare with other organizations. It's just what people are saying (if you know what I mean).

JF — October 10, 2007 @ 11:01 am
Az Phil -

After seeing Pie having trouble adjusting to MLB pitching, what do you see him doing over the next 3 years. I know he has very solid skills and defensive presence ,which should not be understated, but it seems as though he is heading down the path of being a much more “likeable” Corey Patterson w/ his high K rates and challenges in hitting for a usable average. Give me your thoughts on him being able to get to that .275-.285 range to be a useful player for the cubs in the next year or two.

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

JF: I think Felix Pie just needs to play everyday. That's how he has improved in the past. Put him in the #7 spot in the batting order and let him play. He might struggle a bit, but every opposition scout I've talked to thinks Pie is going to be a VERY good big league player, improving his hitting, base-stealing, and power with more experience and playing time.

Pie is only 22 and he has one minor league option left, so it probably wouldn't be the worst thing to have him spend 2008 at Iowa, playing CF every day and hitting 3rd in the order while improving his approach versus LHP. Especially if the Cubs can't trade Jacque Jones. And then Pie would be the Cubs CF in 2009.

AZ Phil,

Great story on Garland/Pawelek. I also have to wonder how someone so highly rated as Pawelek could fall seemingly so fast. I think Hendry/Cubs made a great move in Tim Wilken, now they need to make a similar move in Player Development.

The Cubs PD people seem to do pretty well with position players, but development of pitchers has been more problematic.

Seriously, Phil? We haven't developed a better-than-league-average position player on the big club since Mark Grace.

[...] Cubs De-feet Sox at MaryvaleBaseball - The Mesa Solar Sox first home game (at Ho Ho Kam Park) is tomorrow night. Arizona Phil says: October 9th, 2007 at 7:26 pm Cubster October 9, 2007 @ 6:56 pm AZ Phil: I m interested in your take on both Tony Thomas and Darwin Barney. Is Thomas [...]

Ken Rosenthal seems to think the Cubs are going to keep Trachsel. That blows my mind.

djchi — October 10, 2007 @ 11:16 am
The Cubs PD people seem to do pretty well with position players, but development of pitchers has been more problematic.

Seriously, Phil? We haven’t developed a better-than-league-average position player on the big club since Mark Grace.

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

DJCHI: I believe the Cubs player development people have generally developed most of the position players they have been given into whatever those players wrere capable of becoming.

Now they are getting better position players from Wilken's scouting department, so we'll have to see how that works out. Wilken tends to draft guys with mutiple-tools, and maximizing the potential of those players is where coaching and player development will come into play. There is only so much you can do with Hee Seop Choi, Jason Dubois, Ryan Harvey, and Brian Dopirak.

From Rotoworld:
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal expects the Cubs to exercise their options on Steve Trachsel and Daryle Ward for 2008.

Ward at $1.2 million is pretty much a no brainer. But Trachsel at $4.75 million?? Are you fucking kidding me?? There is absolutley no reason to pick up that option. The buyout is only $100K. Trachsel has no place on this team next year. NONE!!

The Yankees, Phillies and Angels also embarrassed themselves in the playoffs, but they’re not cool with it, and neither are their fans.

This actually is a really interesting statement, and its along the lines of several comments I've heard here recently, along the lines of The Cubs lost in the first round of the post season, thus the season was a failure.

So do other teams fans really think like this too?

It might not be a great representative sample, but I just scrolled through the other mvn blogs to see what Yanks/Phils/Angles fans were writing about their season.

From the Yanks blog:
what makes this one just a bit easier to take is that this flawed team fought back from oblivion to go on a staggering run to get into the post-season with a bullet, and really give fans hope that they could win yet another championship. They didn’t win, but what they did accomplish was pretty remarkable.

From the Phils Blog:
For the Phillies and their fans, the 2007 season came to a disappointing end early Sunday morning. The season itself was far from disappointing, and Thanks, Phillies, for a fantastic season.

And from the Angels Blog, I'll just give you the title:
My final thoughts on a solid, if not successful, 2007 Angels season

It might not be a perfectly representative sample, but it doesn't look like those fans of other teams are embarassed by their teams disappointing end to their season. It sounds to me like they aren't happy with how things ended, but they still recognize that making the playoffs is a solid feet and they are focusing on what small improvements can be made to reach the ultimate goal next season. I don't know why that approach is so hard for some Cubs fans to understand.

I think Ken Rosenthal is half-right.

Daryle Ward has a mutual option for 2008, and I can see the Cubs exercising the club option part of that. Not for sure, but they probably will. Then it would be up to Ward to decide if he wants to come back for another year. It's unlikely Ward will get more than what the Cubs will be paying him in '08 anyplace else.

But Trachsel is another matter. No way will the Cubs bring Trachsel back in 2008 for $4.75M. Absolutely no way.

Maybe they think they can trade Trachsel?

Just a rumor at this point, but considering what they gave up for him they must have had more than a one month plan with him. But like Juan Pierre, you need to cut your losses.

Hopefully it's a cruel joke by Rosenthal. I didn't realize Ward had an team option. Woohoo!!! If Floyd leaves, he'll probably get a few more spot starts in as well.

Oh, mutual option, that makes more sense. I guess it'll depend on if Ward thinks he can get more PT somewhere else. It seems like a lot of AL teams would do better with him as DH than what they have going (okay mostly just the Twins, Angels and Rangers).

Bleeding Blue:
"The Cubs lost in the first round of the post season, thus the season was a failure."

I don't think this past season was a failure, but it was clearly not a success, IMO. And quotes like this from Lou is not something I like to hear: "To go from last place to first, to have a 19-game differential, win a division, I think you should be pleased."

Pleased? Come on Lou, this is not Tampa Bay.

I am happy that this team won the division and improved, but not pleased we did not get any further that getting swept in the 1st round. The goal of this franchise should be to win the WS, anything short of that is not anything to be "pleased" about.

Would it have been better if we lost in 5?

I feel sorry for anyone who wasn't pleased overall by this season. We all want more, but come on...

Rob G.:
"Would it have been better if we lost in 5?"

Yes, it would have been just slightly better.

Tito:
"I feel sorry for anyone who wasn’t pleased overall by this season. We all want more, but come on…"

Please, don't feel sorry for me. To me, being pleased gives the connotation that one is satisfied with the results. I am not satisfied with a division title and being swept in the first round. It was nice, but not something to be pleased with, IMO.

the article didnt mention how much caray loves to hear himself talk. when the indians won it, he just kept blabbering on, trying to make some kind of profound statement about the end of the yankees season. it was making me sick. as someone else mentioned, i didnt realize how much i liked len kasper.. .

I'm pleased with the season, there still is no magic playoff winning formula, never has been, never will be. We didn't hit or pitch very well for 3 games. We pretty much have our core players set up for the next 3-5 years, hopefully Hendry adds the extra touches that he did in 2004.

Entertainment value through September--Excellent
Entertainment value in October--Poor.
Satisfaction level for the entire season--Significantly improved over prior 3 seasons (62 seasons?) but still much too frustrating.

Achieving ultimate Victory (11 postseason wins)--Priceless

I don’t think this past season was a failure, but it was clearly not a success, IMO.

I don't think it was a total success either, I would hope no one would think that way.

I also think its silly to call the season a total failure.

Several Goals were met, The cubs significantly improved their record and they won the division. I think you can be pleased about that. I don't think anyone should be satisfied with the overall result, and I don't think anyone should be pleased with how the Cubs performed in the playoffs, but this slash and burn because they got swept mentality just doesn't make sense to me.

BTW, I don't think that pleased means "totally satisfied," but I don't see the point of getting into that argument over symantics.

"there still is no magic playoff winning formula, never has been, never will be"

Bullshit! Chadball guarantees post season success. You should know this by now!!

Also count me in on the side that is very pleased with last season. The Cubs played winning baseball, we went to the playoffs and have reason to think that there will be more of the same next year.

I just assume you're kidding Chad.

I was pleased with the season in so much as I felt it was a step in the right direction. You can't look at 2007 in a vacuum. We have all they key players who contributed to this season returning next year, and should expect improvement from some of our younger players.

You can't expect a full turnaround in one season. It would have been nice to go from last place to winning the World Series, but that's completely unrealistic. I believe Hendry successfully put together a team that has a chance to win for the next few years.

they = the

Rob, if I was kidding, would Chadball be an entry in Urban Dictionary? I think not!

hehe.... Chadball.

Nice work chad...

Truth be told dave, I didn't put it there. I am very glad it is there and flattered. But it weren't (affectation) me!

well let's see, I assume Chadball would start with good starting pitching and good defense and timely hitting, right?

Doug D.:
"You can’t expect a full turnaround in one season. It would have been nice to go from last place to winning the World Series, but that’s completely unrealistic."

Don't tell that to AZ or COL.

I am very pleased with the way the season went. It was disappointing to see the Cubs lose in the playoffs, but I didn't expect them to be there in the first place. A World Series win would be awesome, but 1 team gets there every year out of 30. It's kind of an unrealistic goal. Honestly, I would be much happier putting together a string of a consistently good seasons, winning records, division wins. I don't think you can set an expectation any higher than a division win. Once you hit that point, it's really a crap shoot from there.

Manny --

I'd say he has a point. It's not that it's unrealistic that it could happen, it's that it's unrealistic to expect.

Doug D.:
"I was pleased with the season in so much as I felt it was a step in the right direction. You can’t look at 2007 in a vacuum. We have all they key players who contributed to this season returning next year, and should expect improvement from some of our younger players."

While I understand your thinking, 2004 should have taught us all something. The team (2003) needs to take advantage of every opportunity they have as who knows what the next year (2004) holds. We had very few major injuries this year, there is no guarantee that will be the case next year.

The Cubs won 8 more games than they lost.

It's group amnesia or something, Dave, but you're forgetting the last three.

Don’t tell that to AZ or COL.

2006:
Cubs: 66-96
AZ: 76-86
Col: 76-86

While I agree that both AZ and Col had big turnarounds, the Cubs were significantly worse than either team last year.

It’s group amnesia or something, Dave, but you’re forgetting the last three.

Nothing to do with amnesia - I am not forgetting that they lost the last three... just looking at the records like every other person does.

But now I understand what you mean.

I am not forgetting that they lost the last three...
=====
I AM forgetting the last three. That's because I'm still in the denial stage of grief (and the Versed drug rep is so accomodating).

dave:
"the Cubs were significantly worse than either team last year."

Yes they were worse, but they all went from worst to first (w/ COL 1/2 game back). That was my point.

I assume Chadball would start with...
=====
Rob, you're getting things backwards. It's not predictive, just results oriented. Chadball starts with the end result and works toward the beginning of the season. Every world series winner plays Chadball.

"well let’s see, I assume Chadball would start with good starting pitching and good defense and timely hitting, right?"

Rob those things are the core of Chadball.

Cubster +1

Cubster, that is not true. Chadball =

"Method or doctrine used in baseball that guarantees as much success in the regular season as in the postseason."

Rob those things are the core of Chadball.

So the Cubs were what again?

1st in Team ERA and Starters ERA (among NL Playoff teams)
1st in Defensive Efficiency (same criteria)

Timely Hitting? Depends on what your criteria is...
Cubs were 2nd behind Rockies in BA with runners on and 3rd in OPS (ahead of the Dbacks)

w/RISP they were 3rd in OPS again (still ahead of the DBacks) and 1st in BA

I think that’s the right question, Rob, and to me the answer is definitely yes. Then there wouldn’t be any talk of “lying down like dogs.”

who cares what the talk is?

The team lost, they lost cause they got bad performances from Lilly, Hill and Marmol and couldn't buy a basehit with runners on despite putting a lot of runners on.

End o' story. :)

Sure but read the definition. If they employed Chadball, their pitching and timely hitting would have been the same.

no idea where the italics came from...

"The team lost, they lost cause they got bad performances from Lilly, Hill and Marmol and couldn’t buy a basehit with runners on despite putting a lot of runners on."

By your own admission, they Cubs ignored Chadball. That is why they lost.

Damn, you're right Chad. The Cubs held a meeting before Game 1, I think it was at a Chili's in downtown Phoenix and it went something like this:

DeRosa: We had a great run guys but I think we need to change the way we do things.

(A rumbling from the participants)

DeRosa; Hear me out, this is playoff baseball, we can't just assume what worked in the regular season will work in the postseason. I've talked to Lou and I think it's in our best interest to have Ted Lilly throw a 3-2 meatball to Chris Young with 2 runners on and for Rich Hill to throw the same meatball in Game 3. Then we as hitters are going to take a lot of pitches, work the count, get runners on and then ground into a bunch of double plays.

Who's with me?

Was this a successful season?

As always, it depends on your definition of "success". If you were told before this season that the Cubs would win their weak division and get a shot in the playoffs, I think most of us would've said 'That's great by me".

Consider:
1. The Cubs win their division.
2. The only Cub player with a real health issue for next year is Mark Prior.
3. The Cubs seem to have found a strong catcher for next year.
4. The holes in the roster don't seem impossible to fill.
5. The Towel was banned from TCR.

Sounds like a pretty good year to me.

*So do other teams fans really think like this too?

It might not be a great representative sample, but I just scrolled through the other mvn blogs to see what Yanks/Phils/Angles fans were writing about their season.
*

The Yankees, Phillies and Angels have all won the World Series within living memory.

The Cubs have not.

To say you are satisfied with ANY Cubs season that does not end in a World Series victory is as absurd as a convict who just got released after a 99 year lockup whose first date ends with a peck on the cheek.

er, as absurd as said convict being pleased with such an outcome. Solly.

Damn, you’re right Chad.

Rob... You need to lay off starting arguments. ...

In short - in trying to sound correct all the time you're coming off as a know it all who, quite frankly, DOES NOT.

:)

*“You can’t expect a full turnaround in one season. It would have been nice to go from last place to winning the World Series, but that’s completely unrealistic.”

Don’t tell that to AZ or COL.
*

Or the Twins team that did it in the 80s (90s?).

the Cubs ignored Chadball. That is why they lost.
=====
Chadball: implies multiple timelines, and only those that can violate the temporal directive can facilitate the Cubs winning the world series.

Somewhere there is a timeline where Zambrano bunts the runner over to third for Soriano's sac fly, Lilly's pitch to Young was swung and missed and DeRosa spanks a gapper to the right centerfield wall.

Voila...Chadball.

Voila…Chadball.

and here we come NLCS (still in denial, remember?)

I definitely do not know it all, that ended when I got married, now I only know half, the Angelfan Wife knows the other half.

To Sum up the Cubs 2007 Season for me:
I thought the movie started out slowly but really picked up in the middle. It looked like it was headed for a strong ending, but definitely don't hang around for the credits.

Danville Joe:
"5. The Towel was banned from TCR."

He was? Really? Why?

P.S. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

I like that word "meatball," Rob, because I can use it in a sentence to define the difference between the Cubs and Arizona, to wit:

You can throw a Cub a meatball, and unless it's Soto he probably won't do anything with it.

Jones can hit a meatball, actually, he just won't pull it over the wall.

Normally, Ramirez hits meatballs, but not in this NLDS.

Soriano, sometimes.

Lee and DeRosa, rarely.

He was? Really? Why?

Because you weren't around this summer and I needed to fill my quota of bouncing one person a season. :)

and when they miss a "meatball" does it mean the are swinging with a wet noodle (mmmm...spaghetti)

Is there an alternate 2007 Cubs season, like a director's cut or something that VA Phil watches?

Rob G.:
"Because you weren’t around this summer and I needed to fill my quota of bouncing one person a season. :)"

But I have never been bounced. I am being serious, why was he bounced. The other poster I know that has been officially banned was "The Hawk" (the best thing John Hill ever did).

Manny -

I think it had something to do with racial slurs and generally being a dickhead to everyone all the time.

well there were more than that who have been banned, someone else can rehash the thread if they wish and the reasonings.

It's mostly because we didn't like the way he looked.

It’s mostly because...

I thought it was mostly because he was a closet Cardinal fan

If we're supposed to be unhappy because the Cubs failed to win the World Series, what're we supposed to do? Stomp our feet? Hold our breath? Punch a hole in the wall? Is that what "real fans" do?

Just wondering...

Manny, I just remember that months ago The TCR Powers That Be had had enough with The Silent One, and that the last I've seen of him. Details would have to come from them. I believe it was Rob G. who pulled the plug on him.

Thanks Doug D., I guess it was just too disturbing for Rob G. to give an straight answer. Rob, go to your safe place...:)

I don't think anyone said they were "satisfied". That's different than pleased. The season was fun and interesting, especially considering how poor '06 was. It was "pleasing." I "enjoyed" it, but I'm not "satisfied" with them losing in the playoffs. It didn't make me "happy." I'm going to continue to use "quotes" here.

that too Cubster..

we don't like closet anything around here...

Tom Cruise would be gone quick.

There may not be a general winning formula but there is a significant winning correlation this year. I noticed this while working on something entirely different. The best teams in both leagues and all four remaining playoff teams have pitching staffs that are older on average than their hitters. You can check it out at sites like baseball-reference.com

Of course the Cubs were the one team in the playoffs that was the complete opposite. Their pitching staff was younger than their position players. But then they play in the weak NL Central where the Reds, Cardinals, Astros and Pirates also had younger staffs relative to the rest of the team.

What it means, I leave up to you.

I believe it was Rob G. who pulled the plug on him.
======
wow, I didn't know he was ventilator dependent

I hadn't heard this one before..............
-----------------
From the Sun-Times:

"Jones also can hit for power. His career-low five homers in 2007 were an aberration that might have been caused as much by his early-season turmoil as anything. Although he probably won't admit it, clubhouse insiders said Jones lost more than 10 pounds during that stressful period when the Cubs benched him, traded him, then called off the trade, and it's not a reach to think that affected his power when he started hitting again in July."

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

if that correlation showed up in previous years I'd be intrigued, I'll guess that it hasn't.

JJ should be interesting this offseason, I can see him asking (politely) if Hendry would try and trade him to a team that would play him everyday or get more of an assurance from Lou and powers that they won't bench him if he struggles.

Does he deserve that assurance? No, but I can see it playing out that way.

we don’t like closet anything around here…

Chad is a closet mullet owner. Except he doesn't keep the mullet in the closet. He just hides it from TCR.

And Johann's mom likes closets, at least from my experiences.

JJ still only hit 3 HR's in the 2nd half after he turned around his hitting funk. Why was he not hitting HR's then? I don't really agree with the excuse for the 1st half, but even if you accept it, where was his power in the 2nd half?

And in 2006 he was dealing with all the booing, high expectations and the racist stuff going on, but he still hit a good amount of HR's. I just don't buy the excuse.

Up Next on Rob's Banned List:

1. Chad
2. Manny
3. Transmission

I kid, I kid.

obviously JJ got off the 'roids, there's no other explanation.

If I remember right, Silent Towel made a brief and quiet parachat appearance the night the Cubs clinched the division.

If anyone was sober in the parachat that night, you probably remember much better than I.

Rob G., I'd be delighted if they politely showed Mr. Jones the way to the exit.

DeROSA: Jacque, you sure you don't want some of Zambrano's cobbler?

LILLY: Yeah, there's plenty. It's delicious.

JONES: No, seriously, I'm fine with my celery. (stupid fat ugly jacque fat pig no wonder no team wants you FATTY FAT HIDEOUS JACQUE)

Brick +2

Is there an alternate 2007 Cubs season, like a director’s cut or something that VA Phil watches?

Rob G +5

(am I allowed to give out points?)

Is there an alternate 2007 Cubs season, like a director’s cut or something that VA Phil watches?

I think he actually has the censored version, where all of DeRosa and Lee's at-bats got taken out.

well last time I brought out the Comment of the Day to point out something I thought was particularly funny and have some good-natured fun, you guys decided to get all nasty about it and use it to beat each other up. (Wow, big surprise, welcome to TCR)

Just keep it fun is all I ask (hope for)....

Rotoworld blurb says something about Dodgers thinking of moving Pierre to LF (snicker) and signing Jones or Torii.

As long as they trade Matt Kemp to us, I don't care what they do. If they could throw in Billingsley as well, that would be great. We'll give you JJ and Trachsel, they should be vetty enough for you.

They'll also decline options on Randy Wolf and Lieberthal in all likelihood.

looks like Cubs will be playing in Tampa next year along with Toronto. I'm surprised it's not NY.

oh, June 17-19th for the Drays series

http://tampabay.devilrays.mlb.com/news/articl...

June 13-15th for the Blue Jays in Toronto (someone's mentioned that already)

Can we get Mitre back for that series to face Halladay?

Anyone know if we get any AL East teams at home next year?

My brother put Chadball into the Urban dictionary. I disagree with it, because what happens if two teams play Chadball and they meet in a series?

The other poblem with Chadball, that I nailed him down on at the time of the urban dictionary posting is that Chad has no idea which are the Chadball teams, until after the series have played out.

One of these days when I am feeling a little more motivated I'll put AIENTKILIMFYORB or Chadworld in there.

Yankees turn to come to Wrigley. Maybe Wood can beat Clemens again. Seems like we should be on the road against Boston.

We could bring Remlinger back to strike out Giambi....

Figured it would be NY since it's the last year of their stadium.

Alright I missed that day or I'm dense or both - what's AIENTKILIMFYORB mean?

All I Ever Needed To Know, I Learned In ....

Let you figure out the punch line, but it is Chad, so it can't be that hard.

Rob G.:
"Up Next on Rob’s Banned List:

1. Chad
2. Manny
3. Transmission"

Only second? I am going to have to bump Chad off.

two Chadball teams in the same series...

Thats how the Temporal Cold War got started! One day Zambrano's your Ace, the next day he never existed.

=================================
AZ Phil wrote:
DJCHI: I believe the Cubs player development people have generally developed most of the position players they have been given into whatever those players wrere capable of becoming.

Now they are getting better position players from Wilken’s scouting department, so we’ll have to see how that works out. Wilken tends to draft guys with mutiple-tools, and maximizing the potential of those players is where coaching and player development will come into play. There is only so much you can do with Hee Seop Choi, Jason Dubois, Ryan Harvey, and Brian Dopirak.
==============================

I'm not asking for an Albert Pujols every year, but it would be nice to just once get a Michael Cuddyer or Jermaine Dye or Aaron Rowand before I can say we've even done a passable job developing position players.

Here are the home-grown Cubs who have held an everyday job for a full season who came up for the first time since 1990:

Rick Wilkins (Regular in '93/'94)
Rey Sanchez (Regular in '93-97/spent most of his minor league career with the Rangers but '90 and parts of '91-92 with the Cubs)
Derrick May ('92-94--God it seemed longer than that)
Kevin Orie ('97-98)
Doug Glanville ('97)
Brant Brown ('98)
Corey Patterson ('02-'05)
Ronny Cedeno ('06)
Matt Murton ('06-07 but spent '03-'04 with Red Sox farm clubs)
Ryan Theriot ('07)

Collectively this group has produced the following seasons with an OPS+ over 100: Murton '06, Patterson injury-shortened '03, Brant Brown '98, Kevin Orie '97. And if you draw the line at OPS+> 103 and 350 at-bats, we haven't produced a single one.

Until we get one everyday major leaguer for one season from the farm, there's no way other than to call it an abject failure.

On a blog like this, I think people are inclined toward group-think and also group-see, so an alternate view can be useful.

If somebody else has an explanation why Cub teams tend to do this little choke thing starting in late September, I'm all ears. But nobody does, apparently because it didn't really happen, I made it up.

On a different subject:

Pie doesn't have to wait till spring training to get some hitting practice. He can go back to Licey in November and see if he can do a little better job of hitting there this time. The Dominican League is tough, especially for a 22-year-old playing with his elder homies.

there are major problems with causation in some of these arguement.

just because the sky is blue more often than not when j.jones hits his doubles doesnt mean you should not play j.jones on cloudy days.

A+B doesnt always equal C even if the data backs it up.

the A and the B have to have strong links of probable causation. A and B can be debatable in influence, but the outcome of C needs to at least have a strong argument from both A and B.

outside influences cant be ignored just because the equation "works" as-is...

Until we get one everyday major leaguer for one season from the farm, there’s no way other than to call it an abject failure.

I disagree, at least to an extent.

The farm has also produced Lee and ARam - it just took trading some of the Cubs' prospects in order to do so.

"If somebody else has an explanation why Cub teams tend to do this little choke thing starting in late September, I’m all ears. But nobody does, apparently because it didn’t really happen, I made it up."

people have presented plenty of different views, you just have to read them.

whether you accept them or not is in consequence...its been presented.

"Collectively this group has produced the following seasons with an OPS+ over 100: Murton ‘06, Patterson injury-shortened ‘03, Brant Brown ‘98, Kevin Orie ‘97. And if you draw the line at OPS+> 103 and 350 at-bats, we haven’t produced a single one."

Well center fielders, shorstops and catcherson average are going to fall below the 100 OPS+ line, and Wilkins had an OPS+ of 146 one year.

The other problem is that the Cubs never enter full blown rebuilding mode, so they never go with three rookie players in a year like a lot of other teams do. Maybe that wouldn't change anything, part of it depends on how much you believe in the combination of opportunity and success. There was that first basemen Zuletta(?) who would have had a fine ML career given the opportunity, and Hinske, who I consider a prospect of the Cubs farm system as well.

dave:
"The farm has also produced Lee and ARam - it just took trading some of the Cubs’ prospects in order to do so."

Very true dave, but that was like 5 years ago, and those minor league players we did trade turned out to be no good. And at that time it was believed that the Cubs had a top tier farm system, so GM's actually thought those top prospects were good. Since then it has gotten worse and been shown to not be very good. Thus very possibly scaring away some GM's from making any more deals like those you mentioned.

Well center fielders, shorstops and catcherson average are going to fall below the 100 OPS+ line,

Neal... do know what the league average OPS+ is by position? It this available anywhere?

weird...ricky nolasco(FLA) is in AFL (with special permission because of vet. status).

poor elbow...

Not that I know of, dave. I don't think anyone uses it other than BR and BR doesn't get all that analytical.

The other thing about rebuilding mode is that it may also be started with a sell off, where you can land a Dontrelle Willis or Jeff Bagwell to jack up your RoY count.

theriot, fontenot, cedeno, murton, pie, soto, weurtz, wood, marmol, hill, hart, and zambrano.

why arent these guys on a MLB roster?

you'd think they'd be good parts of someone's system worth using in the bigs.

hell, its nearly 1/2 of a roster.

Whatever went on earlier, Tim Wilken seems to be doing a good job making the Cubs very competitive in the not-too-distant future.

He's had, what, two drafts? Colvin was a surprise pick but in his first full season he established himself solidly at AA and he's due for another promotion.

Samardzija was a decent pick for the fifth round. It was Hendry who decided to empty his wallet, not Wilken.

AZ Phil has seen the new guys and he seems pumped!

piece in the sun-times pimping j.jones and saying "woah now" to pie.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

written by the honorable Imnot Putin Mynameonthis.

woah now...

looks like the author was in the summary...and in all capitals...

GORDON WITTENMYER

yeah, that big G big O big R big D...

I, as the president of the Jacque Jones fan club, paid Mr. WITTENMYER to write a positive article on Sir. Jacque.

Don't worry - he was as cheap - kind of like .... someone's mom?

Tigers sent us Ed Campuasano back, that Clay Rapada/Monroe trade makes a lot more sense now (okay a little more sense).

http://mvn.com/mlb-cubs/?comments_popup=1201#...

WBION put together a cobbled 2008 schedule, here's some updates with Toronto, Tampa, Pitt and Atlanta added.

Mo 3/31, We-Th 4/2-3 vs. MIL; all games at 1:20*

M 4/7 and 4/9-10 @ Pitt

Fri-Sun 4/18-20 vs Pitt

Tu-Th 4/29-31 vs. MIL; 2x 7:05 + 1:20

Mo-We 5/5-7 @ CIN

Fri-Sun 5/16-18 vs Pitt

Mo-We 5/19-21 @ HOU

Fri-Sun 5/23-25 @ Pitt

Mo-We 5/26-28 vs. LAD

Th-Su 6/5-8 @ LAD

T-Th 6/10-6/12 vs Atlanta

Fri-Sun 6/13 -15 @ Toronto

T-Th 6/17-19 @ Tampa Bay

Fr-Su 6/20-22 @ CWS

Mo-Th 6/30-7/3 @ SF

Fr-Su 7/18-20 @ HOU

Mo-We 7/21-23 @ ARI

Mo-Th 7/28-31 @ MIL; 3x 7:05 + 1:05

Fri-Sun 8/1-3 vs Pitt

T-Th 8/12-14 @ ATL

Fr-Su 8/15-17 @ FLA

Mon-W 8/25-27 @ Pitt

Fr-Su 9/5-7 @ CIN

Fr-Su 9/12-14 @ HOU

Tu-Th 9/16-18 vs. MIL; 2x 7:05 + 1:20

Fr-Su 9/26-28 @ MIL; 7:05, 12:05, 1:05

* = notes that game will likely be moved to 7 p.m. Su 3/30

FYI, Campuasano was a Rule V pick by the Tigers and had season ending surgery. He needed to clear waivers though to get sent back to us but I believe a team would have needed to keep them on their 25-man roster to keep him.

Cubs play WSox six times, so don't they lose a AL team to play against?

Don't we always play the WSox 6 times?

Rob G. — October 10, 2007 @ 4:06 pm
FYI, Campuasano was a Rule V pick by the Tigers and had season ending surgery. He needed to clear waivers though to get sent back to us but I believe a team would have needed to keep them on their 25-man roster to keep him.

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

ROB G: That's correct. Because Campusano was a Rule 5 pick and spent the entire 2007 season on the 60-day DL, the Tigers (or any team claiming him off outright Waivers) would have had to keep him on their 25-man roster the first 90 days of 2008, and given his TJ surgery last Spring, they probably figured that they wouldn't be able to do that.

So the Tigers probably were hoping that they could maybe get him through waivers and that the Cubs wouldn't want him back. either, and then if they could get him through waivers and if the Cubs declined to take him back for half the Rule 5 Draft price, then the Tigers would have been able to send him outright to the minors, thereby keeping him in their organization and (likely) at Tigertown EXST next year where he could continue his rehab.

So now Campusano will instead be joining Angel Guzman, Todd Blackford, Michael Cooper, Billy Muldowney, Rafael Dolis, and others in the "Pitchers Rehab Group" at Cubs EXST next season.

BTW, Campusano does NOT have to be placed on the Cubs 40-man roster. Because he had to clear Outright Waivers before being offered back to the Cubs, he is automatically outrighted to the minors. However, he will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft (again) this December if the Cubs do not place him on their 40-man roster by 11-20-07, and he will be a six-year minor league FA after the 2008 season unless the Cubs place him on their 40-man roster sometime prior to 10-15-08.

Theoretically, the Tigers could select Campusano in the Rule 5 Draft again this year and put him on the 60-day DL for all of next season, and then keep him on their 25-man roster the first 90 days of 2009.

BTW, Campusano was a MWL All-Star (closer) at Peoria in 2006.

Chad-
Yeah, so they will not play two of the other AL East Teams

If Yanks are coming here, no Red Sox or Orioles.

Have the Cubs played the Orioles yet?

Oops...sorry. Missed Rick WIlkins' one good year.

As far as I can tell, the Cubs system has produced three players who have held a full time starting job elsewhere in MLB (500 AB or so) for more than one year since 1990: Eric Hinske, Corey Patterson and Doug Glanville. Brendan Harris looks to add one more name to the list next year. Please correct me if I'm forgetting anyone. I feel like I have to be.

An OPS+ of 100 isn't a high bar. It's biased against shortstops and center fielders, sure, but it's also propped up by pitchers, bench guys, and injury replacements. A better standard is "hold a regular job" and we're really struggling to meet that at any position. And to me, Julio Zuleta=Roosevelt Brown=Gary Scott=Kevin Orie. Wonderful hype. No help.

Before I drop my skepticism, all I ask is for the system to produce one guy to hold an everyday job for multiple seasons and for at least one of those seasons to be above league average. That's a low bar. We haven't even approached it. I hope Tim Wilken is successful but I'm gonna wait a while before proclaiming him as such.

For those of you anxiously awaiting today's Instructs report, they started the game 90 minutes early and so I got there late.

However, I can tell you that the Sox drubbed the Cubs, and the Cubs lineup was:

LINEUP:
1. Leon Johnson, RF
2. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
3. Tyler Colvin, CF
4. Brandon Guyer, LF
5. Ty Wright, DH #1
6. Josh Vitters, DH #2
7A. Carlos Perez, C
7B. Steve Clevenger, C
8. Jovan Rosa, 3B
9. Drew Rundle, 1B
10. Gian Guzman, 2B

PITCHERS:
1. Chris Huseby (3 IP)
2. Ryan Acosta (2 IP)
3. Marcus Hatley (2 IP)
4. Hernan Ramos (1 IP)
5. Marcos Mateo (1 IP)

I did get there just in time to see Marcus Hatley get tagged for 8 runs (7 ER) on 8 hits (one HR) and a walk in his two innings of work, though.

If I haven't mentioned it before, two instructs players are out with season-ending injuries:

Welington Castillo, C (knee surgery)
Brian Jost, 1B (shoulder)

well doing a little detective work...

Yanks are @ Pitt June 24-26 (T-Th) and Red Sox are at Houston the weekend June 27-29th.

I doubt we'd play both at home that week but I assume we're either getting the Red Sox in the middle of the week or the Yanks right after that. I would be surprised beyond belief if we missed both of them.

and thinking about it a little more, I can't imagine they'd set up Red Sox/Cubs series in the middle of the week.

My bet is the Yanks that weekend at home.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?pa...

50 "Greatest" moments in LCS History

Garvey's HR in Game 4 is #21, Durham '84 is #11, Bartman #8

AZ Phil, once again thanks for your reports even if you missed most of the game. What do you think of Marcus Hatley? He had good numbers in the AZL, is a DFE from Southern California and a former position player.

And what about Ryan Acosta's secondary pitches? I know he was a SS and a pitcher in HS so I wondered how raw he'd be but he was already in Boise to end the season and I know you seem to like him since you've earmarked him as someone to watch next season if he remains in Mesa.

Bartman as one of the greatest moments. That's really shitty.

By the way, I believe I read the Cubs aren't playing EITHER the Yankees or the Red Sox next season (via press releases from each time about their interleague schedules). The Yankees will play Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and San Diego in interleague play.

The Cubs play in Tampa in the middle of June and play in Toronto right before that.

re: 175

phew...TB and TOR...

btw...regional rivalries...am i the only one sick of STL vs. KC...no matter if STL wins or loses?

yeah, it makes sense...and other areas balance out (NYY/NYM - LAD-LAA), but damn...KC/STL, maaaaan.

crunch-
What about TB vs FL or TX vs Hou.... never mind.

who is MIL's AL rival? DET?

The Twins

Mil's AL Rival=Twins

The Brewers had a nice rivalry with the White Sox years ago when both were in the AL. I used to like going to County Stadium and rooting for the Brewers. I wish they were still in the AL so I could go to games near Chicago and actively root for a team a few times a year.

NL Central Rivals:

Cubs/White Sox
Brewers/Twins
Cards/Royals
Astros/Rangers
Reds/Indians
Pirates/White Sox (I guess)

You would guess Tigers I guess but the Pirates have played the WSox this year and again in 2008.

I guess when you have 16 and 14 some weird things happen.

NL East:
Marlins/DRays
Yanks/Mets
Nats/Orioles
Phillies/????
Braves/????

I thought it was the Red Sox/Braves but they aren't scheduled for 2008.

NL West:
Angels/Dodgers
Giants/A's
Padres/Mariners (why oh why?)
Rockies/????
Dbacks/????

on the Ed Campuasano thing, me thinks Hendry had a pretty good feeling that he was on the way back when they dealt Rapada.

Call me crazy.

When do we get our Pirate bounty? (See what I did there...hard-ee, har-har)

me also thinks Royals/Cards will start balancing itself out in the very near future.

#183-
Driving me nuts.

btw Jacos,

Cubs @ Orioles in 2003, Cubs took 2 of 3.

Estes and Clement took the first two but Z couldn't get past Rick Helling for the sweep.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId...

Sosa must have been serving his suspension, but now it's clear why Z lost that game. The batting order from that game:

Grudz 2B
Gonzalez SS
Corey CF
Alou DH
O'Leary LF
Karros 1B
R. Martinez 3B
Bako C
Goodwin RF

Reds/Indians
Pirates/White Sox (I guess)

The Pirates and Reds sort of share Cleveland. Detroit kind of gets in on the action as well...

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought KC only played one series with St. Louis this year, and instead got an extra series in with Colorado, since the Royals are about the only team that fits as a geographic rival to the Rockies.

Sosa must have been serving his suspension, but now it’s clear why Z lost that game. The batting order from that game:

Sosa was serving a suspension, or Dusty just wanted "his guys" to get a little extra playing time.

Speaking of which, anyone notice how Dusty's name has been remarkably absent from the who could replace Joe Torre conversation? He'd have a couple of fresh arms in Kennedy and Hughes to destroy, er, I mean build his rotation around, there's already tons of veterans in the lineup, and we'd all get to see Dusty deal with the New York media. Everyone would win!

no Pirates/Indians this year.

Pirates get all the AL East teams except Boston and the White Sox.

Detroit seems to be a free agent. They so far are going to play Dodgers, Cardinals and Rockies at home. Not sure of their road schedule yet.

Hmm, 2007 they also played Cardinals along with some NL East teams.

Royals do play Rockies this year but I think it's the AL Central/NL West's turn to match up.

AZ Phil,

Thanks for giving us baseball after the season is over, and for what it's worth, you live the life I hope to live someday when I retire. In 35 years. Good grief, I hope the Cubs win the World Series by then...

http://www.squawkingbaseball.com/?p=25

Obviously Manny Acta is not a real baseball man. How he ever got a managing job from the basement of his mom's basement, I will never know. Chad, make sure to send him a email flaming him for reading Baseball Prospectus.

that should be - 'from his mother's basement'

Bleeding Blue:
"Speaking of which, anyone notice how Dusty’s name has been remarkably absent from the who could replace Joe Torre conversation?"

Well, here in NY/CT his name has actually been mentioned on sports radio about the possible job. But with Mattingly and Girardi the logical next options if Joe goes, it would surprise me if anyone else got a real interview, even Larussa. Go Big Stein!!

Royals do play Rockies this year but I think it’s the AL Central/NL West’s turn to match up.

It might be their turn, but I remember the Rockies/Royals playing in a rivalry weekend this year too, actually I think it was the same time the Cards were playing the Tigers.

Vince,

ESPN 1000 carries an hour from Screamin A's NY show at 11 CT and last night he was talking up Dusty for the job. My gut tells me they will keep Torre because if Steinbrenners only concern is winning the 08 world series, then losing Pettitte, Posada, and Rivera will make that task very hard and all 3 have been rumored not to want to come back without Torre.

"When do we get our Pirate bounty? (See what I did there…hard-ee, har-har)"

Booty. It's called booty.

Also, Dusty (forget your biases) would be a horrible fit for any team in New York.

Well, here in NY/CT his name has actually been mentioned on sports radio about the possible job.

I've only listen to national shows on ESPN and XM, and I've heard all the usual names, from Giaradi and Mattingly to LaRussa, and then the typical retreads, like Buck Martinez and Bobby Valentine, even Mike Hargrove's name was used once, but I've never heard Dusty mentioned by anyone this week.

Dusty would be a horrible fit for any team, here's hoping he goes to the Cardinals or Reds.

Az Phil: Do you think Tyler Colvin has a chance to be our starting rightfielder next year?

"Dusty would be a horrible fit for any team, here’s hoping he goes to the Cardinals or Reds"

Way to ignore your bias there Rob.

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