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.
What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?
Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...
I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."
OK, boys -- find a way to win today.
There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:
-6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100
Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel
Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.
Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.
For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.
He reminds me of a little of a young guy currently on the Cubs' DL, who is also tank-like in appearance.
draft signings are trickling in...rounds 6-9 are signed + a random slew of others.
filter by team.
Former Major League All-Star Jim Hickman dies at 79
Yep...sort of. Matheny says Rosenthal will no longer pitch the 9th, and they will mix/match Oh, Siegrist and Broxton.
Duane Underwood now 0-5 with a 5.44 ERA for Tenn. Urp. Warren not sharp at Iowa tonight. When will Cease and Hudson be ready?
On a positive note, Jiminez with his 10th HR tonight. He has a .924 OPS -- the only player in the league with an OPS over .900. Leads the lead in 2B, SLG and OPS, tied for the league lead in HR and 3rd in Avg. Nice!
- The pressure of going for the regular-season wins record is now gone.
- Joe will come up with more wacky dress-up ideas for the team to wear after they lose their next get-away game.
- There is more clarity on Spencer Patton.
- We play the Reds next. They aren't very good.
- We'll have at least a 9 game lead after today.
EDIT: - Contreras looks like the real deal.
Other than that, not much -- nasty stretch. Two ugly losses in the last 4 games.
Ugh -- give Lackey a 4-1 lead, you hope for better.
Joe: "We lost. They beat us. Now where's my '09 Guigal Bordeaux glass...?
I forgot how rail thin skinny Carl Edwards Jr. Is - he threw some nasty stuff - hope that continues