TCR Friday Notes

...Friday's game thread is below...

- As you've probably heard by now, the Cubs received 25-year old outfielder/first basemen Doug Deeds from the Twins today as the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe deal. A ninth-round selection of the Twins in 2002, the lefty was an honorable mention on John Sickels top 20 Twins prospects before 2007, but didn't make the cut in 2008 after a rough year in AAA. His scouting report on Scout.com before the 2007 season sure had some encourging notes:

Deeds is one of the more polished hitters in
the Twins’ organization, and each year he seems to grow at the plate.
He has the ability to hit to all fields, and has shown the ability to
hit at every level he has played at during his Minor League career.

Deeds is a great defensive outfielder, and
should have a future as an everyday corner outfielder in some
organization, hopefully the Twins. He makes all the plays in right
field, and has a tremendous arm that enables him to scare potential
base runners from advancing a base. He uses good closing speed to get
to balls that most outfielders do not get to, and has had his fair
share of outfield assists throughout his Minor League career.

His career line is still a solid 291/374/463 and hopefully a change of scenery will benefit him. I imagine he'll be headed Mike Wellman's way and on to Iowa.

- I don't care to read too much into Lou's quick trigger with Rich Hill yesterday, even if Lou is hinting that Hill better straighen it out soon. He seemed set on wanting to start the righty Jason Marquis as is, and I think Hill just gave him an excuse with his lack of control to get Jon Lieber in there as soon as possible. As for Felix Pie, let's say I wouldn't be too surprised if he gets sent down soon and Matt Murton gets called up. Reed Johnson would take over full-time CF duties, Murton would roam the outfield and Kosuke would probably be the CF backup, much like he's doing tonight.

Personally, I think 23 plate appearances isn't enough to judge a 23-year old kid. I do think that if Lou wasn't on board with giving Pie a legit shot to play through some early struggles, he should have been traded this offseason for someone Lou would play...like that Brian Roberts character we heard so much about.

- We had a couple lists this week of the All-time greatest Cubs killers. I can't get the spreadsheet that "Big_Lowitzki" gave me to import into google docs to give you the full results, but here's the bottom 10 with at least 350 PA's versus the Cubs.

Player OPS vs. Cubs
Career OPS
Difference
Will Clark .606 .881 -0.275
Barry Bonds .874 1.051 -0.177
Mike Piazza .772 .922 -0.150
Lance Berkman .861 .971 -0.110
Reggie Sanders .727 .830 -0.103
Dary Spencer .620 .722 -0.102
Ryan Klesko .768 .870 -0.102
Tom Haller .653 .754 -0.101
Albert Pujols .945 1.040 -0.095
Darrel Evans .697 .792 -0.095

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As reader "Chad" noted in the commments, we've owned Pujols to a tune of a .945 OPS. I'll see if I can put up some proper pitchers lists in the near future, which some of you started in the comments already.

- There was some brief talk about Korean Cubs pitching prospect Dae-Eun Rhee yesterday in the comments. That reminded me of an email I received earlier in the week from a guy who runs a website called the East Windup Chronicle. He's recently been hired by the Cubs as a scout in Korea, and although he can't discuss the players the Cubs are targeting, he does do write-ups on players after they've signed. One such player is Dae-Eun Rhee and here's a little excerpt:

He’s listed as 6′2 and 195 lbs, which is 10 lbs. heavier than his
signing weight. He throws right-handed and his birthdate is 3/23/89.
What makes the team really excited about this kid is the fact that he’s
already throwing three pitches well and is working on a fourth. His
best pitch is a tailing four-seam fastball that usually comes in
between 87-93 MPH. He can locate it to both sides of the plate and has
very good control overall. He throws a well-developed 11/5 curve that
drops as low as 73 and a less-developed splitter in the 77-82 range.
The fourth pitch is a power slider.

You can also find his site in our TCR Blogroll under the prospects section.

- It seems our Cubs Injury Calendar corrected itself when I updated Scott Eyre's entry. It use to duplicate the entries once you tried to navigate the calendar. Chalk it up to Google weirdness.

- Some site updates you may have noticed over the last few weeks: Added a Cubs schedule widget to the right sidebar, updated the "Quick Links" in the left sidebar and added a "TCR Approved" Amazon affiliate store of personally endorsed products by the TCR writers. Plus some social bookmarking links on the bottom of each post for BallHype, Digg and Stumble that help promote the site.

.- The TLFC and TCR have a little bet for the season. Seems TLFC thinks Ryan Braun is going to repeat his monster 2007 campaign, while I'm a bit skeptical. We set the bar at 35 HR's and a 925 OPS. I say he reaches neither and TLFC says he'll hit both or above. If he reaches one, but not the other, it's a tie. The stakes: TLFC gets to take over TCR for the day if Braun does hit 35 or more home runs and has a 925 OPS or higher. TCR gets a black TLFC cap and clock from his Cafepress store if Braun is unable to reach both goals.

- You may have noticed the Rotohog link at the top right of the page. They tell me there's a Cubs league you can join now as well. It's free to create a team and they offer all sorts of prizes (and we get some kickback for any teams that sign through that link).

- Speaking of kickback, don't forget about our TCR April Pledge Drive, even if GROTA doesn't care for the idea. I promised an update each Friday and so far we've received 18 donations for a total of $411.30. A good average, but a bit short of our hopeful, if not realistic goal (100-$2000). I would be thrilled with about $800, which would at least cover our startup costs and I could pay our writers back. And thanks to all that have donated so far.

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Comments

i dunno crap about the kid, but...a AAA corner OF/1st who's near the end of his minor league eligibility years? couldnt go for some A/AA kid...meh...

whatever...

i dont care much for braun and having TLFC win would mean MIL is doing better than it could be doing...

NONETHELESS...

go braun. start working on the new TCR graphics. i vote ted lilly with an animated gif flaming skull. that would be bitchin. k-rad...

If the Cubs don't add him to their 40-man roster by the end of the World Series, Doug Deeds will be a six-year minor league FA after this season.

Like Josh Kroeger, Deeds destroyed AA pitching, but has struggled to hit at AAA.

While Deeds might end up at Iowa (where he would temporarily replace the injured Micah Hoffpauir at 1B) he could also end up at AA Tennessee, where Smokies 1B Matt Craig is also on the DL. 

The shame about Pie is that he might be the right player to be the Cubs CF, and is here at exactly the wrong time. This is a team with a manager and leadership that has bigger plans than just winning the Central division. Rob is right that they should have traded him before spring training for Roberts if that would have gotten the deal done. None of us really know what the O's were looking for then or now or if the Cubs even have the 'right package'.

What is obvious is that Lou isn't a Pie fan (unless he was hitting about .285+), and Hendry is a fan. From all his minor league history, Pie takes some time to get adjusted to every new league then brings his numbers up over the last 60-80 games. Lou isn't going to give him that much time in a season where the Cubs are favored to make the playoffs. Johnson has succeeded in at least winning platoon status with Pie, and Pie isn't a player that's going to progress to the point where he's a valued starter getting only 2-3 starts a week.

The one offensive need the Cubs have is for a leadoff hitter that could put up numbers like Roberts. I have to believe (or hope) Hendry is still working to make that deal. In the meantime, I would rather the Cubs bring up EPat for the LH bat in CF versus RHP that would be tough on Johnson.

Lahey returned to the Twins...go figure.

Hard to believe Will Clark wasn't a cub killer - he was in the 89 playoffs that's for sure.

Rich Hill is in the bullpen as of tonight, according to cubs.com. While I know Hill has been struggling through spring training and the season, it's not like Ted Lilly has been lights out either. Between Hill and Pie, I'm starting to wonder how strong Lou's Dusty-like veteran favoritism tendencies are.

I guess Lou playing a bunch of rookies and young players last year doesn't count? Without Lou, Marmol, Theriot, Fontenot, and Soto, to name a few, would probably be in AAA with no major league success under their belt.

Right now Lou couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag.....
* Ruin Pie by not playing him
* Distroy Pie's trade value by playing him in 4 games and sitting him on the bench
* Weaken the outfield defense by playing Ward in right and Fukudome in Center
Sorry Ward - I know you haven't played rightfield in 3 weeks, but you are a very good pitch-hitter who couldn't catch that ball going over your head if you played right three weeks in a row.
* Over pitch Zambrano (107 pitches)on a night you (Lou) admitted he didn't have his good stuff.

Who is responsible for player "development" - not Lou.

I hope I am wrong, but Lou is pigheaded and the game has passed him by.....

You, sir, are pretty short-sighted here.

1. There is no evidence that Pie is being "ruined". When a player cannot hit major league hitting, and another player on the roster can, guess what dude? Pie STILL has value as a defensive whiz and will get playing time.

2. Did you mean "destroy"? If you meant destroy Pie's trade value - do you not think all of the GM's already know that Pie is "hitting-challenged", now?!

3. PH specialists HAVE to see some game experience. Whether it is in game 12 or 37 - ALL managers will try to get some time for their bench players so they can see some "real" pitching.

4. 107 Pitches to Carlos Zambrano is not "overpitching" him.

I think that Lou is not perfect, but I and many professional writers, GM's, players, etc., have seen him change the culture of LOSING on the North Side to one of winning. He today, STILL, is onf of the top 5-6 in baseball.

Perhaps you'd want to become a Reds fan and follow the Great Dusty Baker around?

"major league hitting" = major league PITCHING

E-Man

...and you think his trade value has increased by the way Lou has handled Pie? - NO!

Pie is our player, if we don't give him a chance to play - it is our loss.

Don't get me wrong Johnson is a nice 4th or 5th outfielder who should not start against RH pitching. He doesn't bring close to the outfield defense what Pie does. I would bet that given a chance (+200 AB) Pie will be a better hitter that Johnson - overall.
Oh yea - you're right, there were lots of teams looking for Johnson when he was CUT from the BlueJays. Teams were falling over themselfs to get him - as a starting centerfielder!!!

With Pie in center and Fukudome in right - it would have been a different game last night.
But lets not forget, Ward added a great offensive punch last night - 4 ground balls to the right side of the infield.

107 pitches is too many when your pitcher is losing and he doesn't have his stuff.

and don't even get me started with how Lou is handling Rich Hill!!!!

I'm not sure I follow part of this logic:

Play Pie even if he is not hitting; but Lou should not have played Ward because he went 0-4??

If your own arugment holds about playing Pie so he will do well over the long run, then you have to agree to play Ward once in a while so he keeps his stroke and gets pinch hits for us over the long run.

Also, on Johnson: the Mets, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers were all rumored to be interested in him when he got released. His career line in over 2,000 at-bats is: .282 .344 .410. In 200 at-bats so far Pie is .211 .265 .317. Now I like Pie a lot, but to just simply assume that Pie would out-produce Johnson given 200+ at-bats is a tenuous proposition.

Pie should either play or not be on the major league roster - period. If he is going to be on the major league roster than give him quality playing time - time to grow into a major league hitter. He is not going to do anything for the team sitting on the bench. Is it me or is Pie the FIRST player in major league history who has not hit over 300 in his first 100 major league at bats?

Yes - other teams were lokking at Johnson, but not as a STARTING centerfielder on a playoff team?
Mets - corner outfielder / injury replacement
Red Sox - 4th outfielder
Rays - not a play off team
Rangers - 4th outfielder and not a playoff team

Ward does not belong in RIGHTFIELD. Yes - as a pitchhitter Ward needs at bats, but not at the expense of losing a game with his defense (which he did)!

Sweet Lou said Fukudome is getting tonight off - against a LH Starting pitcher. So do we get Johnson in center and Ward in right? Great outfield defense!!!
Although I am looking forward to another four ground balls to the rightside of the infield - which is ONLY good when there is a man on second with no one out....

Poor Lilly.

derosa in RF, cedeno 2nd i'd bet...that's lou style.

could be anything...

First, to blame an entire loss on Ward's defense is stupid. Baseball is far more complicated than that.

Second, how many PLAYOFF teams have a STARTING center fielder with a career average of .215??? Playoff contending teams have good, proven center fielders. We didn't, so we picked up Johnson.

No, Pie is not the first player to fail hit .300 in his first 100 major league at-bats. But he is also not the first player who to hit .215 in his first 200 at-bats and then, again not surprisingly, find himself not always starting. This particularly happens on playoff contending teams where the fourth outfielder is a career .285 hitter in the big leagues and also plays sound defense. If Ellsbury hadn't hit .353 last year then he would have been benched or sent down too.

And this whole argument about what Ward did at the plate is just plain dumb. So if he had gone 4-4 with 4 homers it would have been ok? I guess Lou forgot to look into the future before yesterday's game.

Ward misplayed a flyball in RF that caused a run to score... The fly ball turned into two runs - the Cubs lost by two runs 5-3. Without that misplay in RF - it is a different ballgame.
Now maybe if Ward had provided some (OK - any offense)last night his defensive difficulties could be over looked.

The Cubs have not been a good defensive team so far this year - Lou doesn't need to compound their defensive problems by playing Ward in RF.

Ward does not belong in RF.

We just won 5 games in a row and you're complaining a guy hitting .200 and looks lost at the plate isn't starting? Pie's trade value is not being ruined, other teams knew he couldn't hit lefties and he had an extended look last year, if you forget, in which he looked like crap then.

Everyone would like to see Pie get established, but it's hard to do when he's not hitting and you're trying to win games. I'll take winning the division over trying to establish a player who may or may not become an average starter.

As for Ward, I'm not trying to pick on you, but you do know that pinch hitters need to start a game every now and then to help keep their timing sharp? Most teams, ideally, start their bench players at least once a week. Ward has 1 start in 8 games. If you want and expect Ward, Fontenot, Cedeno, Johnson/Pie, and Blanco to stay sharp they need to start once in a while. Ward's a good hitter, and Johnson historically can't hit righties that well, especially tough righties like Myers from last night. And Pie just plain blows right now. He swings at anything 6-10 inches inside. He has no knowledge of the strike zone.

As for Zambrano, 107 pitches isn't overusing him. And it's not like he was hurt. He didn't have his good stuff. Maybe you didn't want the bullpen get overworked the previous 3 games in Pittsburgh and understand the team needed a starter to step up and give them 6-7 innings.

ward starting is one thing...ward in RF is another.

at least with lou we dont gotta hear every move of his dissected. god knows he's already made a few moves (including wasting a player announcing a switch before a pitching changing using 3 players instead of 2 in a game that became extra innings) that would have been jumped on for 100 posts by the dusty hive-mind.

every manager is gonna do a LOT of thing people consider "stupid".

"Pie's trade value is not being ruined, other teams knew he couldn't hit lefties and he had an extended look last year, if you forget, in which he looked like crap then."

THANK YOU!! My point exactly as previously stated. "LOUD SUSTAINED APPLAUSE"

The dude has no clue...just like trying to bang your head against a brick wall...

In the sixth, Ryan Howard opened with a double. Burrell followed with a double over the head of Ward in right.

"What can I say?" Ward said. "I'm doing the best that I can. It's been three weeks that I've been in right field. It's tough getting good jumps being that long. There's not really any excuses. I gave it my best effort the ball, and it was over my head."

Elsewhere, Brian Giles let a ball go over his head in right. In fact, it nearly hit him in the head. (he made a nice play to avoid it)

What is San Diego thinking? Bench him.

d.ward was a horrible OF'r in Houston and nothing's changed.

the only thing he has is an average arm. he's slow, his ball tracking skills are awful, and the OF in PHI isn't a small place to patrol.

even in his youth (and many lbs. ago) he was a bad OF'r...he's the type of guy you stick in LF in fenway.

ultimately it doesnt matter THAT much cuz its just a handful of games he should play there (hopefully). still, he's a pretty cruddy choice for an OF slot, much less a big OF...and RF, damn...

Gavin Floyd had no hitter through 7 1/3.

I 8th Hawk announced the stats for the game he didn't want to announce that the Tigers had no hits but he did.

Edgar Rentaria promptly hit the next pitch into right center.

Mercy.

100 pitches is pretty normal for any pitcher in the league. I dont know what the hell this guy is talking about with Z being overworked last night. Say what?!??!

Okay - not overworked is too tough of a term, but waisted!!! Zambrano normally throws over 100 a game, but Lou waisted it last night and should have cut his loses.

But Id perfer not to have Zambrano go over 100 in a game he doesn't have his best stuff and has already lost it mentally. By the sixth inning, lets save the arm for a game that wasn't already thrown away by the manager.....

My main arguement is that Lou is sailing this ship as a pigheaded captain. If the manager and GM aren't going to be on the same page - the team is not going to develop or win.

I have a really hard time getting on board with this argument. Our bullpen just got worked to death in the Pittsburgh series. There's still another 2+ games until the next off day. There's absolutely no reason to trot Marshall, Lieber, or anybody else out there for 2+ innings just so you can save Z 20 pitches. That's dumb.

And you're right about our pigheaded captain sinking the ship. Finished above .500 last year. Above .500 right now. Lou IS KILLING US. Come on, dude. Seriously.

mjkillshot:
Right now Lou couldn't manage his way out of a wet paper bag.....
* Ruin Pie by not playing him
* Distroy Pie's trade value by playing him in 4 games and sitting him on the bench

lol... biggest thing lowering Pie's trade value is Pie, but I'm sure everyone knows my feelings on him already so I'll just leave it at that.

The San Francisco Giants' starting lineup today:

Fred Lewis
Eugenio Vélez
Randy Winn
Bengie Molina
José Castillo
John Bowker
Dan Ortmeier
Brian Bocock

I bet Matt Cain's pissed.

There's no reason to put Ward in RF tonight. As Crunch said, DeRosa could easily spell Fukudome tonight.

9th inning, two out, runner in scoring position, SF trailing StL by a run and PUJOLS lets a ball roll right through his legs.

Tie game.

Very un-Pujolsian even though the scorer has it down as a hit.

We'll have an extra inning ball game today in SF.

Hey - Hows that allstar reed johnson doing in center tonight?

0-4 with 2 K's.....

You forgot to mention the very nice play in center on a deep fly ball over his head toward the right-center angle in the wall. He got a really nice break on the ball and hauled it in.

Being the outfielding afficianado that you are, I thought you'd be sure to notice that.

Joe - it was a nice play.
I just didn't think we were taking outfield defense into account.
Im swimming against the current here - stating that Ward should not be in RF to keep is bat warm.

I don't think there is a question over who is a better defensive outfielder between Johnson and Pie.
Pie should be in there for his defense and to either hit is way on or off the major league roster.

If Pie keeps hitting .182, his defense won't make up for his abysmal offense.

Agreed.
But he isn't going to get a chance to improve his batting average sitting on the bench. There is NO reason he shouldn't be playing against most if not all RH startig pitchers.

Although I suspect two of the reasons are Solarino hitting under 200 and Ramirez hitting under 250 (although he has had some timely HRs).

Heh... I love when people attack a player for having a bad game. And hopefully you do realize that even after Johnson's 0-4, he still has significantly better numbers than Pie so far.

So if you want to play silly and ridiculous sample size games, I can do the same.

Fukudome sucks, being that he hasn't had a hit in his last 8 at-bats.

Johnson is obviously better than Pie, being that Johnson has such better numbers this year.

DeRosa is better than ARam.

Dempster is one of the top five starters in baseball.

Should I go on?

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