TCR Friday Notes

The week started off with a flurry of moves to clear money and space off the roster and it looks like Hendry is wasting no time wasting that space and money.
The Chicago Cubs are pressing hard to sign the free-agent second baseman. One source close to the negotiations said he wouldn't be surprised if Matsui is offered a contract similar to the three-year, $14.4 million deal the Mets gave Torrealba.
Dave Kaplan on WGN radio pretty much said the same thing. I have nothing good to say about this. - The Wrigley resodding project should be done by this weekend, two weeks ahead of schedule. Some other noteworthy details that have been touched upon in the comments:
The warning track has been extended 3 ft to help the outfielders better gauge when they'll crash into the unforgiving brick.
The infield "crown" was removed, lowering that portion of the field 14 inches. Groundskeeping guru Roger Brossard, who was in charge of the project, says it should help runners with their footing as they were essentially running downhill when rounding third base.
Brossard and Wrigley head groundskeeper, Roger Baird placed a small canister with their names on it somewhere below the playing surface. Anyone care to guess the contents in the canister?
- Interesting story from Reuters:
Researchers who studied the impact of initials found that baseballs players whose first or last name starts with the letter K, which signifies a strikeout, tended to strike out more often than other players.
I love it, next time Hendry is unsure on bringing in new players might as well use this, probably work just as well as his current method: Kerry Wood - Good Kaz Matsui - Stay Away Kosuke Fukudome - Stay Away Jason Kendall - Stay Away Korey Patterson - Stay Away - The front of cubs.com has a short piece with interviews highlighting Ernie Banks's 500th homer with some nice historical footage of the Cub great. YouTube Find of the Week The Cubs have had 12 official no-hitters in their history and I found Don Cardwell's gem from 1960. The backend of a double-header versus the Cardinals, Cardwell walked the 2nd batter of the game and then retired 26 straight including two nice defensive plays by his outfielders to save the no-no.
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Comments

What happens to DeRosa if we sign Matsui? Does he go to RF?

we'll see what the Cubs are thinking but my guess is Kaz is being targeted for shortstop.

He played there in Japan and with the Mets when he first came over. Not to 3/44 myself, but good range, lots of errors.

could he platoon at short with theriot

usually don't sign a FA contract this early to be a platoon player, but the splits seem to suggest him and Theriot might be suited for that.

Earlier in the week Hendry said they were looking for a lefty bat with speed. But I just don't see Kaz passing up starting job offers to be a reserve unless it's just about the money.

If this happens, here are the scenarios in order of likelihood:
- Kaz as your new starting SS
- Kaz splits SS/2B duties.
- Kaz as your new starting 2b, DeRosa as utility player at SS, RF, 2B, 1B and 3B...even LF if necessary.
- Kaz in a SS platoon with Theriot
- Kaz as a bench guy to replace Fontenot

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AI...

Tigers put in a call on Kuroda fwiw...

Giants making a big push for fat Miggy...

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/...

This from MLBTR

Quick note from Danny Knobler: free agent starter Kenny Rogers has fired Scott Boras, and reiterated that the Tigers are his first priority. Not a good offseason so far for Boras.

Rogers will represent himself. Jason Beck says Rogers received two contract offers through Boras from the Tigers and they were declined. I imagine now they'll get something done soon.

Korey Patterson - Stay Away
Klphonso Soriano - Stay Away
Kerrek Lee - Stay Away
Barry Konds - Stay Away
Jesus Khrist - Stay Away
Overused not very klever Joces - Stay Away

Nice You Tube ROB G! Love "Brick" with his patented, "Watch it now!" keeping you on the edge. Just fantastic. What a contrast compared to "Nasal-y Len".

Love the Andy Frain Ushers!!

It was a breeze getting past them and stealing seats in the middle innings.

Now, the 70 and 80 year old "Seat Hawks" have amazingly quick instincts and hard-as-nails training to eject your ass. Even with two outs, in the bottom of the 9th, with 500 people in attendance.

Oh, for the Andy Frains...

so in the free agent /where they will go contest

how many people had arod and yanks a match?

answering my own question
i think one for 8 points

I don't recall, I still need to add about 12 more to my Google spreadsheet and then i was going to publish it. I'll try to get to it this weekend.

if I recall, only a couple had Schilling back to Boston too...

most had Posada to the Yanks.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

BA's Top 20 AFL prospects...

I think it's more based off potential than what they did in the AFL.

Gallagher at #18.

borowski had arod and schilling right for 8/12 points
i think

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/...

Cubs not a good baserunning team last year...

23rd in Baseball Info Solutions Rankings, 29th in BP's rankings

maybe that's why they're going after Kaz, 6th in BIS rankings, 11th by BP

Derrek Lee near the bottom in baserunning...

All year Derrek Lee hobbled around like Barry Bonds....And NOBODY noticed or mentioned it. I think there is/was something wrong with one or both of his knees. Every time he would dive for a ball, slide, etc, he would get up with a grimace(not the fat purple freak from McDs). I think this has/had something to do with his lack of power(and less than mediocre baserunning). I just hope it does not persist into 2008 and beyond.

http://blogs.jsonline.com/brewers/archive/200...

If Brewers can't find a LF they might move Braun there, Pedro Feliz an option at 3b, which considering how bad their D was last year might not be a bad idea for them even though he's a pretty awful hitter.

word be that Kaz and Fukudome went to the same high school fwiw...

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/comments/2007/...

supposedly that's somewhere in a BP article out there as well.

"he would get up with a grimace(not the fat purple freak from McDs)."

There were a couple of drunken nights in college when I woke up next to something resembling a Grimace

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-11-1...

"major league baseball players whose first or last names began with K (the strikeout-signifying letter) are significantly more likely to strike out, according to the report published in the December issue of Psychological Science."

Great now it's our fault for calling him K-Pat.

or Korey

US, Japan, Cuba and Netherlands the Final Four in the Baseball World Cup...

Maybe thats why Barry Bonds walked so much. Hmmm?

I have been to Japan during their HS baseball tournament.

It is the equivalent - maybe not even - to NCAA March Madness.

The entire nation is transfixed on the laddered games with the "powerhouses" and "cinderellas". It is remarkable. Cheerleaders, fight songs, gambling galore (not in the stands!), incredible media coverage, and "honor".

There may be quite a bond between these two.

way to 3/44 me Chad...check the post.

And don't used "Overused not very klever Joces", you'll make Neal angry, you wouldn't like him when he's angry...

Read the post? Why the hell would I do that?

Kaz Matsui sucks balls. I don't care if he can assist in aiding the Cubs in kloning an at-his-peak Sadarahu Freakin' Oh, the man should not be obtained for the ludicrous amount of money being discussed.

Even if the sign him for half of what's being bandied about, it's still a f*cking rip-off.

They sign him--that's it, I'm rooting for Milwaukee.

Mr blargh --

I marvel at the depth of your commitment to the Cubs.

I'll miss your witty perspective.

Re #27 --

If the Cubs were unfortunate enough to klone Sadarahu Freakin’ Oh, he'd strike out all of the time (at least according to the Reuters article).

From MLB.com (Hot Stove)

Philadelphia officially released Iguchi, who batted .301 while filling in for the injured Chase Utley last season, on Thursday. But a contractual stipulation that required the Phillies to release Iguchi without offering salary arbitration -- meaning the Phillies won't get draft pick compensation as they would have -- meant Iguchi would go on the market as a free agent.

Iguchi's agent, Rocky Hall, confirmed to MLB.com that five teams -- the Angels, Astros, Brewers, Padres and Rockies -- have expressed an interest in talking with his client, though Iguchi cannot begin negotiations with new teams until Monday at 9 a.m. ET.

There are 8 other letters that have a higher strikeout rate than K according to The Hardball Times.

No use bitching about Kaz until we see the contract terms. The big payroll rumor is 120 mil. If that that is the case we can afford to otherpay to improve the bench (Even if Kaz starts at SS we are better with Kaz starting and Theroit on the bench then Theroit starting and Cedeno off the bench.) That said Kaz at anything higher than Dero's deal is a bit much. The Infante trade improved the bench as Fontenot isnt that much better a hitter and atleast Infante can be a PR and play multiple postions.

What about Iguchi at 2B for the Cubs? He is now a free agent. Let's get him before the White Sox try to get him back. He hit .301 for the Phillies last year and is far better than anyone we are thinking of pursuing now. (See my previous post # 31)

What about it guys? Well.....Rob G., ChiFan3887, E-man, somebody?

Gordon Wittenmyer was on the Baseball Beat with Chuck Wilson on Thursday afternoon. Wilson and Wittenmyer talked about the current status of the Cubs and what the team's off-season plans appear to be.

According to Wittenmyer, Lou Piniella is looking for a diverse lineup and that is their main goal for the winter. Piniella wants a lot of flexibility in his roster where the team does not rely on the long ball, like they did down the stretch of last season.

Wittenmyer mentioned he thinks the Cubs could end up trading Ryan Dempster and mentioned Carlos Marmol will compete for the closer's spot and could earn the job. He said Jim Hendry is working hard to resign Kerry Wood. Wood will be allowed to compete for the closer's role if he resigns with the club. Wittenmyer said the Cubs have a few concerns about the possibility of Wood being the team's closer. One, Wood must throw strikes from, as Wittenmyer put it, "the get go."....two, throwing 3-4 days in a row

that link with the reuters article is part of the reason sociologists think psychologists are f'n stupid...and the psychologists have the better reputation...wtf...

seriously, im not dismissing the entire field, but yeah...psychology is full of stuff like that...just like sociology has its share of hack work.

amazing how similar it is the mathematical pursuits of some in the baseball stat-chasing world sometimes, though.

amazing how similar it is to the....

that should read.

I feel sorry for Brewers Bar...

as for Iguchi, the Cubs seem to be looking for a lefty with speed who can play SS, none of which Iguchi can do...

If the Angels are interested makes me think that Kendrick for fat Miggy trade is pretty close.

what's the point in worrying about kaz? he dont come with a 10 year 28m per commitment...this is a team with a 100-120m payroll. the risk on him is pretty minimal and well...umm....if you can play 2nd/SS well and switch hit and you're not 40 you're tradable. we see it yearly with guys that wont make anyone's fantasy baseball team, ever.

what's the biggest issue if he signs...a little less playing time for theriot? cedeno or theriot goes in trade? mike fontenot doesnt get a chance to get back to that 1 glory month?

'what’s the biggest issue if he signs' We waste 3% of the payroll on a player who isn't any better than what we have currently? The goal is to improve the team, not fill they payroll allocation.

Intersting on the BA top 20 article. They may as well have just made that article before the season started, because it's quite obvious none of the player's performances altered their standing in BA's collective mind. BA's never been one to let success get in the way of ranking players.

Who the hell is Gordon Wittenmyer?

I have to agree that the baseball study is probably pretty stupid. Study all the letters in the alphabet, probably 10 of them have signifcantly higher K rates and 10 of them have significantly lower K rates. Doing a study without understanding the concept of coincidence is a waste of time.

Shamelessly pimpin' my blog:

Click here or click on my name.

I posted a semi-detailed entry on the K initials and strikeouts coincidence...comments welcome.

I think I lost a comment to moderation. In any event, I blogged at some length on the K-thing. Click my name if you want to read it.

Cruch - "what’s the biggest issue if he signs…a little less playing time for theriot?"

Yes, this is an issue. Theriot might have been the only guy that actually put forth an effort throughout the whole season. When "Kalphonso Koriano" struck out 4 times a game at balls in the dirt, when Lee made bad base running decisions, and when Ramirez mised his flight to the playoffs and ultimately didn't show up...Theriot was the one player finding a way to get on base, disturb a pitchers concentration, and make something happen. For lack of better words, "he does the little things." For other examples on how valuable this is, see the '05 White Sox, David Eckstein, Dustin Pedroia, Kenny Lofton, etc.

djchi - I read your blog stuff and agree with most of it. Didn't you also find it strange when reading their initial article that they have no table of results and that all of their controls were "ORs". Seems like they ran the K - Initial regression with one control, then another, etc. without them all together. And their controls don't make sense. Why would country of origin impact K-rates? How about position, place in batting order, home run rates (maybe more K initialed people are power hitters!!). They are both in business schools, which is odd. Not sure how in the world they got this published in the flagship journal of psychology.

Who is to say though that Kaz can't do what Theriot did? He also steals bases and distracts opposing pitchers, etc. If Kaz could do the litle things starting, then it leaves Theriot to come off of the bench and pinch run or hit.

I know there is quite a bit of vitriol for BCB as being the "younger, dumber, little sister", but someone over there was able to talk to Scott Eyre last night and the recap was definitely worth a read.

Scott even mentioned something about Marquis upsetting the Cubs management and could be trade bait...

if we were making a trade with alot of payroll
(recieving) i would insist marquis be included
as are payroll dump

I like Iguchi as a player, but he turned down the PHI's to be their everyday 3b because he wants to be a everyday 2b so like Rob said he doesnt appear to be a realistic option. I am surprised the Sox are not interested. They seem like they might bring back the 07 team sans their middle relievers, Pods, Erstad and maybe Crede, also Richar sucked last year.

Also that the Brewers are interested is intriguing. Maybe they would move Weeks to 3b and Braun to LF.

They could also use Weeks as trade bait for a SP.

WISCGRAD - "Who is to say though that Kaz can’t do what Theriot did?"

I believe THE REAL NEAL said it best...we are trying to improve our team, not allocate more money to something we already have. Why add someone who "might be able to do what Theriot did." We have Theriot already, don't add 14.4 million to duplicate hime. Kaz's switch hitting is a plus as well as his speed on the bases...but don't forget Theriot stole 28 bases last year. Theriot also plays great defense. He had 11 errors last year, 8 of those at short stop...that is better than Tejada, Eckstein, Jeter, H Ramirez, Hardy, O. Cabrera, Kahlile Greene, Renteria, Jose Reyes... to name a few.

$14.4 million would look better in right field, the bull pen, or the starting rotation.

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/story/2007/11/...

The Eyre piece, I see a mention of a Marquis rumor but nothing about upsetting the management, although it wouldn't suprise me if he did.

who's to say kaz is junk?

well, those that are have just as valid of a point as those of us who dont think he's junk.

there was a similar discussion and disdain for derosa vs. theriot last year.

i, personally, like how kaz swings a bat and his ability to hit breaking stuff. i like his D...i like his speed.

overall i dont think its anything special, but unless he gets injured i dont see a contract that's a dead weight...as long as he can field and swing and run his contract is movable. even though people believe there's 10 guys like theriot/kaz/etc. in everyone's system there's not.

Fat Miggy wants to be a skinner Miggy:

http://www.miamiherald.com/591/story/307149.html

Given this info, I wonder if Pie, Epatt, Gallagher, Marshall and Soto would work for Miggy. Put him in RF and to quote those NFL.com Fantasy Football ads: Championship.

Re: the Eyre piece.

I hope he is playing guitar hero left handed. There are times when I play guitar hero right handed and have some serious pain in my left wrist. That game is not safe for the wrist and carpals.

Go Illini!

NL Central news...

Astros sign Geoff Blum (print the playoff tickets)
Mulder on pace to be ready for spring training
Eckstein looking for "Lugo money"...
Cordero and Brewers still talking but not close
Rangers interested in Fukudome and Kuroda...

Braun asked by Yost to take 1000 groundballs a day to work on his D according to Olney

DJH - I just don't see it as Kaz vs. Theriot. As it was last year, Fontenot could play 2B, only, and has no speed or power. Theriot can sub at more positions, can hit just as well, and can run. I love Theriot and agree with everything you said about him. I see Kaz + Theriot as better than Theriot + Fontenot. So I don't see it as not improving the team. Is that improvement worth 3-4 million next year? - maybe I'm not sure. We can debate that, but would we be better with Kaz than Fontenot or Cedeno on the roster, I think so.

I also doubt that this 3-4 million would keep us from signing someone else we want.

foxsports.com reported that due to Fuku's handsome offer from the Giants (not SF), the star OF will probably stay in Japan.

So - what's next?

Our entire team for Carl Crawford?

Last year Kaz, 3 time loser Matsui hit .249 .304 .333 on the road. Theriot hit .266 .326 .346 on the season. Matsui hasn't played short with any significant playing time for three years, and he wasn't any good when he did. The guy is a waste of a perfectly fertile egg when it comes to MLB baseball playing. His EQA was lower than Ronny Cedeno's. No point, no value.

"No point, no value."

That's what I'm sayin' upon further review.

What's the point?

A big factor is the "Jack Haley" scenario. Matsui used as a recruiter to his old HS buddy. But, as the report says, if Fuku is really leaning towards staying in Japan, WTF?!

Contents of Baird's buried canister:

- powdered billy goat horn
- 2 preprinted 2007 Cubs WS tix
- The Pocket Guide of Gay WItchcraft
- written contract between Jim Hendry and Satan
- cicada larvae
- Bartman's eyebrows

There is a bit of cherry picking going on. You keep mentioning how horrid Kaz's stats were on the road. Theriot away from Wrigely last year: 230 .311 .298. Even worse.

"There is a bit of cherry picking going on. You keep mentioning how horrid Kaz’s stats were on the road."

Well unless the Cubs are planning to take the remanents of Yankee Stadium to Chicago, last time I checked, Wrigley favors right handed batters.

Oh yeah, and that must have been the plural 'you' because I keep mentioning how his stats have been horid ever since he arrived in the majors, with the exception of the time he batted in Coors.

Wrigley's park factor was even greater than Coors' last year. I can't find stats for LHB vs. RHB in ballparks, but I would like to see them if you have them. In the end we are talking about five or six hits on the road or at home that made the difference in his BA splits last year.

I remember last year everyone was up in arms about over-paying for DeRosa after a career year. Yet you Neal said the: "maybe you’ll realize that Hendry has more knowledge of the market forces at play than we do." You also cautioned us not to fret about his career year because "these are human beings not statistical trends."

So at this point, I'm willing to trust Hendry if that is the way he wants to go. If he turns into Neifi redux, I'll be the first to say "Yeah, I was totally wrong on Matsui."

"I remember last year everyone was up in arms about over-paying for DeRosa after a career year."

Do not include me in your "everyone". I was all for it and he went for "market". Mark Loretta and DeRosa were sort of in the same niche in the FA market last year.

WGN use to play no-hit highlights when they had a few minutes to kill in the 70s. I haven't seen the Cardwell no-hitter in over thirty years. It gave me goose bumps.

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