Around the Web...

Some reading material to hold you over...

- John Dewan at ACTA Sports points out that if the Cubs do acquire Jake Peavy, they'll have 3 of the top 10 pitchers in opposing OPS over the last 5 years.

- Speaking of Peavy, the latest rumors were for Vitters, Jeff Stevens, Garrett Olson, Welington Castillo and Kevin Hart according to Bruce Levine or,  if you prefer Lee Hamilton on XM Radio,  Vitters, Olson, Hart and Sean Marshall.

- The Levine link above also says the Cubs seem more interested in a shortstop, third base and second base back-up, such as Juan Uribe, over a first and third back-up. It appears Micah Hoffpauir may not have the roster spot we all assumed.

- A look at Ronny Cedeno over at Fangraphs.

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Anything good, or not-insulting said about Ronny Cedeno is a flat out lie!

cedeno not being so sure-handed up the middle has been a dissapointment.

the guy has quality middle IF pop in his bat (15+HR type guy), but he's still got a cruddy inconsistent swing.

without the solid D he's gonna go from serviceable to meh...

Stats don't measure dumb. He's definitely got talent and I've always liked him, but I'm really not going to miss him because I've got so little faith in his baseball intellect.

stats also don't measure a better defender if punto is in the same league as cedeno in their computations.

a pair of eyeballs can see punto's range outclassing cedeno even if cedeno had low error totals at 2nd. where's the "footwork equation" at? =p

"Levine said Bako will not cost the Cubs $500,000 as rumored, but between $700,000 - $800,000.

The Cubs apparently were not thrilled with Blanco's play last year and with the fact Bako is a left-handed hitter would give them more flexibility."

Not thrilled? I think this has all be discussed in another thread, but what was there to be "not thrilled" about?

I don't think Lou appreciated the flame art on Hanks arms.

Blasphemy! By far the best tattoos on the team. They're so cool Joel Zumaya copied off him and got some too (then hurt himself playing Guitar Hero)

I'm fairly optimistic on Ricketts' ownership but, man, does that picture make me want to slap him and mess up his hair.

i vote tbone for owner.

Thank you. I promise to never look that preppy.

You got a problem with preppy? Who are you, AC Slater?

Yeah, i don't like preppy.

As for AC Slater, not knowing who that is I googled him and see he was a character on "Saved By The Bell." One of the only pleasures of being 50 now is that I was too old to watch one second of Saved By The Bell. I have a couple of friends who wrote on it, however. By far the hackiest experience of their hack-writing lives. Worse even than when they wrote on that thing with Bob Sagat and the Olsen twins.

This comment reveals you as a fraud. There were no scripts for Saved by the Bell. Every word was transmitted directly from God.

Actually, I don't particularly like preppy either, but I hated AC Slater. I was a Zack Morris fan all the way. Since you haven't seen the show, you can't comment about it's quality. It was awesome. I learned a lot about education, love, no-doze addiction, and silk shirts from that show.

lol...terminal preppy

It would be nice to get Peavy without Witters and Marshall...but i'd doubt the pads would do something like that..

Then, in my opinion, they can continue to pay Peavy's salary. I don't think the Cubs need him as bad as a lot of fans think.

Vitters + 4 other players of value is too much. Cubs need to keep at least one of Marshall, Olson, and Hart as rotation insurance even if they do get Peavy. I may have a bit of a mancrush on Marshall, too, but I'm going to pretend that has nothing to do with this.

I like Peavy, but completely agree with you...we have to have at least Marshall, Olson, or Hart for our rotation. We all know that Harden will not pitch 30 games this year...if we give up all of these guys, who fills that spot in the rotation?

...if we give up all of these guys, who fills that spot in the rotation?

Gaudin? Samardzija? Guzman?

Wow, notwithstanding Prior the only person more fragile than Harden is Angel Guzman :)

CHAD FOX IN THA HOUSE!!

I could defend Gabor Paul Bako II by saying he was just overexposed last year, getting 299 at-bats with the Reds...but he looks just as bad getting only 120-170 at bats too. At least he is "savvy" and "experienced," not to mention "crappy" and "a waste of a roster space." Keep Koyie Hill..save the $300K...

Koyie Hill has too many vowels in his name. I don't like him.

Does the "Y" count as a vowel in the context of his first name? I believe it does.

I believe that it does not, because it only serves to change the sound of the 'o' vowel. Sort of like saying 'Toy', which is different from 'Toe', but also different from 'Tod'.

Well, therefore, isn't it part of a dipthong, which would make it a vowel? Like o+i, for instance.

You know it's the offseason when.............

although I hope they keep Marshall (from the mix of Olson/Hart/SM), Chad Gaudin or Angel Guzman are the likely righty versions of long relief/spot starter.

don't they make special hunting goggles to control Cedeno's "deer in headlights" problems?

the goggles...they do nothing.

We could just make everyone else wear those car whistles to rectify the same problem.

..if we give up all of these guys, who fills that spot in the rotation?
-------
reminder: if those guys are given up the 5 man rotation is: Z, Peavy, Dempster, Lilly, Harden. So it's not the 5th spot in the rotation but the "what if" spot when one of the fragile starters isn't available.

don't down play the "what if." In fact, don't call it "what if," call it "when it happens." When Harden starts, he goes 5 maybe 6 innings. He has been fragile his entire career, has never pitched 200 innings...the "what if" guy you speak of could become one of the most important aspects of the team. Gaudin is coming off injury, Guzman...well Guzman is sure to go Guzman on us, and Samardzija has yet to develop enough pitches to become a big league starter.

Angel Guzman...what's the ETA on his DL trip...

I put the over under at May 15

May 31st or 28.1 innings pitched, whichever comes first...

After his first fill in start for Harden being on the DL.

signs 4-yr deal with Royals...

hopefully that revolving rumor dies now...

More interested in Uribe than Peavy, huh?

Okay.

Maybe I should feel more of an attachment to Hart and Marshall, but fuck it, I don't.

More interested in a Uribe-type than a 1b/3b-type for the bench. Unrelated to Peavy.

Semi-interesting article on park factors over at Rotoworld:

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/features/column.a...

I guess it's not news that San Diego is statistically the most pitcher friendly park or that Wrigley is one of the more hitter friendly parks.

emphesis on "semi"

did that article actually say anything?

park factor...playing with a 10% give/take and for most parks it depends on the quality of team fielded and chance.

the analysis is pretty weak.

Actually it said that it didn't depend on the quality of the team.

There is one problem with park factors, though, which is sample size. When you've got roughly 13 players who make up 80% of your data, one or two players who happen to be particuarly good home players (or attrocious away players if your glass is half empty) can screw up your numbers.

Generally you expect players to be about 8% better at home than on average, with the other 2% in winning coming from 'superior knowledge'.

it does depend on the quality of the team, though. they make a statement how it's not about that, but that was just confusing (though clear if you read it correctly).

it's about how they play and how they play on the road...you get a bump in park factor by default if your team is good to begin or or sucks to begin with.

my problem with park factor generally isn't the bottom or top teams...it's allllll that middle ground fighting for that 10-point spread. believing in park factor also means giving little to no credence to "home field advantage."

basically, it's a tool i wouldn't for a player without knowing what type of hitter he is (line drive power vs. moonshot power, etc.) unless he was in an extreme park like SD. dodger stadium at night is a FAR different park than dodger stadium during the day. wrigley field play depends on the wind and the wind at wrigley isn't something you point to and can say "june-august it will blow in 90% of the time."

i don't think it's a junk stat, but it's one i don't think takes much analysis and i really don't like how that article "sold" the stat.

Nothing you said there involving is correct.

It doesn't depend on the quality of your team, unless you play with a different teams on home and the road.

You don't get any bump in park factor depending on how good or bad your team is.

Park factor and home field advantage are seperate elements. Each game of baseball is played by 1 home team and 1 road team.

You're a little bit correct when you start talking about conditions and players, but you'd be more on target if you talked about how an individual player is affected by the conditions and his manager's usage. If you start to break the park factors down into really useful catagories, you really run into the problem of sample size, and not knowing how much is due a to a player's home field advantage or his tendencies to hit well because of a the makeup of a particular set of circumstances.

"It doesn't depend on the quality of your team, unless you play with a different teams on home and the road."

im talking year-to-year change of the makeup of the team in relation to handicapping park factor (such as in that article)...could have been clearer.

people march out park factors wildly changing over time as if it means something that a park has 3 years of being a pitcher's park then 3 years of not being one. it takes the human element of how a guy reacts to the park out of the equation and how the teams change over that period.

there's nothing inherently special about many parks that make them more or less friendly to hit in unless you know some things about how the park plays that's unique to that park...there's a lot in TB and MIN's parks for instance that a lot of road playing defenders don't get and the hitters can take advantage of if they've been there long enough to know how stuff plays off the field.

Petitte to Yankees, 1 yr/5.5M can go up to $12M in incentives

Russ Springer to A's...

Would that be good or bad?

sounds like a licensing nightmare given that they'd have to create or buy all their content to start with aside from "in studio analysis/talk" stuff.

good for now because it would be nothing but highlights and old games and talking heads...

The article says that Trib has rights to broadcast live games for 10 yrs or something (not sure if that's part of the sale or not), but if all the live games went on there....not so good.

But I doubt that...WGN is still useful to the Cubs, although not as much as the 80's and 90's.

it probably is part of the sale.

part of the sale of the dodgers included a fox sports low-bid/price for 15 years (i believe it was 15).

wonder how MLB handles licensing their legacy video or if they even control it at all.

all I read was 25% of the rights to "a regional sports network" which I assume to be CSN or whatever it's called. I assume the broadcast rights are actually tied up for awhile in contracts.

Since I don't think they get WGN, I assume the contract remains the same.

Obviously when those rights expire, the Cubs and Ricketts can choose to do what they wish...

It could potentially be VERY bad, if Comcast decided to be spiteful and not pick up the new channel because they're pissed about losing the Cubs on Comcast Sports Network.

It would be like when Comcast wouldn't pick up the Big Ten Network, and most of us here in Chicago couldn't watch those games for a year.

Put 100% of the games on WGN like they used to be. That only helps the Cubs gain popularity around the country.

Since the Cubs already own 25% of CSN, I'd think that getting away from them would be an interesting hurdle before the Cubs could create their own channel.

If the Cubs left CSN, certainly the value of that business would fall substantially. Of course, the profits from the new channel could more than make up for it, but would the new owner be willing to take the risk. Also what would the fallout be with the other teams/owners of CSN? Would the Cubs try to sell their share in CSN while creating a new channel?

I'm 100% for moving all the games to WGN. Being in Cleveland, it's the only cubs access I get without sitting at my computer for a few hours to watch on mlb.tv. WGN carries about, 20% of the games now? They could reach a larger audience with WGN...but Im sure they've figured out the business side of being on CSN instead of WGN.

Agreed 100%. In Wisconsin I only get WGN games or when they play the Brewers. It's annoying that I actually moved closer to Chicago from where I was in Iowa but we don't get CSN here so I lose 75% of the games I used to see.

well now WGN and the team are separate for the first time since cable TV became a noticeably huge part of the US landscape.

it could get interesting in a few years as far as that relationship goes.

It really is a shame that the WGN connection is gone.

I myself became a Cubs fan because they were always on when I got home from school, and during the summers. I didn't have MLB TV and Direct TV packages when I was 10.

I suspect that many people were fans for much the same reason. This franchise wouldn't be worth 900 Million dollars without the WGN influence.

Where will the next generation of fans come from?

Same reason I started to follow. Being 6 and getting home from kindergarten at noon, there isn't much to do but watch the cubs.

No more WGN games ever? Where have i been?

kenny ken ken giggle giggle *blush* awww shucks guys rosenthal...article on dumpster and how canadians have opinions on things that involve him. those wacky canadians!

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9135814/Cubs-ov...

Well screw them all. Dempster has a contract with the Cubs, not with Team Canada. I'd be cool if he wanted to play, but I respect him for standing his ground and for placing his loyalty to the Cubs ahead of pride.

naturally, I blame Canada

If MLB and the owners were truly as committed as they say they were, they'd be willing to play the games in May-June and sacrifice a measly 8-10 home games each, maybe less if they started the season a week early.

Instead, they'll willing to let the players, particularly the pitchers, add an extra, unnecessary risk of injury.

from the Cubs.com site by Barry Bloom (trumping a fluff Carrie Moustache piece about Cub starters)

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090126&c...

Towers said he last spoke with Cubs GM Jim Hendry on the phone about a week ago, but he added that there had been no substantive trade talks since a four-way deal that included the Phillies and Orioles broke down in December as the Winter Meetings closed.

Towers did say on Monday that Olson was a player he likes and was "identified" as part of the deal that was considered last month.

Wouldn't commenting on Olson be considered tampering?

"Towers said he last spoke with Cubs GM Jim Hendry on the phone about a week ago"

So SD & the Cubs are in talks about acquiring Peavy? Awesome. That's all I need to know.

Well, I hope he likes him on the Cubs because that's where he is.

Towers=Loser

i've been watching one hell of awesome program on MLB Network and i couldn't really figure out why i liked it until 1/2 way into it...

it's called "Epic Moments" (hour long program) and it's basically clip after clip after clip...really fast editing, all over the place timeline-wise...some backing music...the original calls by announcers/players/etc on the clips...

but the cool thing is there's NO commentary or setup.

if you're a fan of the game you pretty much know what you're seeing, but the cool thing they can pack a CRAPLOAD of highlights into a small time period because we don't need back story to know why that "epic moment" is epic. they tag a small year graphic on the clip and occasionally a small graphic with a name.

cool stuff...don't see a lot of TV like this.

I'm jealous, stupid Tucson tv network.

That sounds awesome. Honestly, I could watch well-edited sports highlights for a week straight.

Especially while you are laying low, in a safehouse or with a close relative.

Cause I'm pretty sure your wanted for Murder right now.

Josh Kalk over at The Hardball Times continues the tradition of quality analysis at that blog in an article on first pitches (particularly fastballs), who swings at them, who doesn't, and what results they get.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/first-pi...

Curiously, Alfonso Soriano's name doesn't seem to come up. Three current Cubs are included in the article, that I saw at least, Geovany Soto, Milton Bradley, and Joey Gathright.

"Curiously, Alfonso Soriano's name doesn't seem to come up."

that would imply soriano actually has a method to swinging his bat besides..well..just swinging.

yes, it's more technical than that, but the guy is a real hardcore "see-ball, swing" hitter.

I always thought he swung at a lot of first pitches. That his name doesn't come up in Kalk's analysis would seem to indicate he's not in the top ten in just about any statistic relating to the first pitch--not even slugging percentage on the first pitch.

All this talk about who we would give up and who we would keep if the whole JP (not Juan Pierre) deal goes down has reminded me of a little memory I had...remember that one season when Rich Hill didn't suck? That was cool.

I don't think Rich Hill's downfall has gotten the proper attention. One minute he's a quality number 3 MLB starting pitcher on the rise, and the next minute he can't find the strike zone with a Garmin. How does something like this happen?

I know it's happened before (see: Ankiel, Rick), but it just seems so bizarre. You don't just lose all of your ability without getting injured. It's like if a math professor suddenly forgot how to do simple algebra.

well supposedly he had back problems...he's also had these control issues before 2007. He couldn't find the zone for a month in spring training or the minors and then it would click for him. I'm not going to look for the article now, but he credited a book and some pitcing coach with helping him focus on the mound. I wonder if he has ADH or something similar.

He'll be find if he can't pitch. He went to Michigan, and should be able to find a gig.

I thought I read it was more mental than physical also.

better yet remember when rich hill had that good year and then came
the offseason when the cubs could have traded him but every time a
team inquired ther were told he was off limits.

Doug Glanville has a nice piece up in his NY Times guest column. It includes a two-paragraph homage to Ron Santo.

Doug's pieces are always worthwhile and thought provoking, about both baseball and life. I look forward to reading his articles every time they appear. They make me feel like I have a window into what it is like to actually live the day-to-day experience of being a major league player.

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