TCR Friday Notes
....counting down to Vegas (I'm going next week, Cubs arrive at the end of the month).
- Feel free to use this as today's game thread, Cubs stay home in Mesa and battle the Angels; Ryan Dempster vs. Ervin Santana.
- The big news of the week was another Lou lineup change, this one involving our highest paid player though. I immediately expressed my displeasure over the experiment, but I'll save my final judgement when it's actual put to use in a game that counts. Lou still has a few weeks to change his mind. I have no problems with moving Soriano to the 2-spot or the 5-spot or the 4-spot or even the 3-spot. I have all kinds of problems with giving Ryan Theriot even more plate appearances, even if it's just a handful more.
On the other hand...
There's just something about the Lou tenure so far that makes me give him the benefit of the doubt. It's not that I think he's infallible or anything. It's just that if he does go down this road with Theriot at the top of the order, I feel just as confident that he'll abandon it if it's not working. This is the complete opposite of how I felt about Dusty, who was stubbornly stupid.
- There's a brand spankin' new rumor about Brian Roberts today from the Sun-Times in which the Cubs have an offer of Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno, Jose Ceda and Donald Veal on the table. That would probably be three of our top four pitching prospects and two players that could be beneficial for the Cubs this year in Cedeno and Gallagher. A steep price to pay, but that's what happens when baseball folks start believing that leadoff hitter is an actual position. If it does happen though, it probably does make the Cubs a little bit better this year, and let's face it, it's all about winning this year.
- Speaking of Ceda, Oneri Fleita was on XM radio this morning with John Sickels. If Ceda does stick with the team, the plan was to use him as a starter so he could work on his secondary pitches. The way Fleita explained it, he'd be paired with another pither in a sort of duel-starters format to limit his pitch count and innings pitched, but he would be starting games.
- It seems Jim Hendry was less than genuine when he said that the Cubs asked about Johan Santana but were informed that he was not interested in signing a long-term deal with a team that has its spring training in Arizona. Part of it might be true, but it didn't prevent the Texas Rangers from making a serious run, a run that I think we'd all loved for the Cubs to have at least attempted, even if ultimately turned down. I know...sour grapes on my part...but we are looking at Ryan Dempster as a viable rotation candiate right now.
- A few shout-outs to some other Cubs blogs. It looks like "The View from the Bleachers" has taken up our old spot at MVN...best of luck with that. They are running a home run derby contest which you're all encouraged to enter. Our friends at Ted Lilly Fan Club were inspired by my spring traning battles logo and created their own (or they're just openly mocking us).
- Baseball Prospectus and Will Carroll came out with the Cubs Team Health Report. I don't care to giveaway all their paid content, but the "red lights" were Geovany Soto, Carlos Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Jon Lieber and Kerry Wood. Also on BP, Nate Silver figures out a way to measure "heart". The Cubs, unsurprisingly, were the second worst at something.
- I had brief brush with baseball fame this morning that I thought I'd share with everyone. I went to my physical therapy appointment this morning and usually bring a baseball book to read as their is some downtime with heat wraps and whatnot. Today I happened to pick up "The Neyer/James Guide to Pitching". So I show up and start reading as they put the heat wrap on my elbow and there's a gentelman there with his wife and their pre-teen son is getting his knee worked on. To make a long story short, he turned out to be former pitcher Greg A. Harris and we had an opportunity to chat for a bit. He had no problem rubbing it in that he was part of the '84 Padres when he learned I was a Cubs fan. I quickly looked up his entry in the book and came across this interesting note: Harris pitched with both hands on Spetember 28, 1995. So we talked it up for awhile, covering a few topics from being at the Cubs first scheduled night game (he was with the Phillies at the time) and the confusion of having Greg W. Harris in the league at the same time. Fun way to start my morning...
- I wanted to mention that we did indeed find accurate service time information on the Cubs and added it to our 40-man roster page. Thanks to Arizona Phil and "Mannytrillo" for the assists on that one. You can find a full list of all major leaguers at the website for "The Book", although some of the Cub's players were off a few days from what is the official list being sent out by the organization.
- Finally, every week I'll give a mention of one our new features on the site. This week it's our "RSS Info" page. For those slow on the learning curve, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Essentially all of our front-page content is published to our RSS feed, and users can subscribe to that feed in a variety of ways. You can see our number of subscribers in the sidebar on the right, closer to the bottom. I use Google Reader myself to keep track of some of my favorite baseball sites and that way I don't have to go visit each and every site looking for updates - it's all in one handy place.
Now, there's a wide variety of uses and if you look on our RSS Info page via the menu link at the top of the page, you'll see that you can subscribe via email or automatically add it your favorite RSS reader (Google, Yahoo, etc). It also MIGHT be a better way for some to view our content, like those on certain handheld devices, as it's a stripped down version of the site (you just get the articles).
And for those with a Myspace or Facebook page, or if you have your own blog or website, we'd certainly appreciate if you'd consider placing the RSS widget on your site. A handy little gadget that will display TCR headlines on your page. You can also use it as a widget on your desktop. Just click on the "Options" link at the bottom of it and you'll see a bunch of icons for the code you need, depending on the type of page you have. You can also click on "Get This Widget" and customize it further, including adding more feeds to use as a news aggregator, if you wish.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.