Unavailable Games are Getting UG-LY

Although there was a slight incident preceding Cub right fielder, Milton Bradley's calf MRI, it apparently showed he has a mild calf muscle strain.

The patient in the MRI tube before Cubs right fielder Milton Bradley's appointment Wednesday broke the machine in a claustrophobic fit, forcing Bradley's test into the late afternoon.

Fortunately it wasn't Mr. Bradley that had the claustrobic meltdown. It would be interesting if it was one of the mlb umpires that are targeting him for his history of histrionics.

I believe getting an MRI on any ol' ouchie is a sad reflection on medicine these days, as it doesn't take a grizzled (Grizlo-ed?) veteran orthopedic surgeon to make that diagnosis accurately without an MRI.

The Cubs got the report on Bradley's strained calf just before game time, learning that the MRI showed a strain not severe enough to necessarily require a disabled-list move but not mild enough to assure he'll only need two or three days to recover.

I'm getting tired of Cub players being unavailable for 3-7 day stretches rather than just getting a 14 day DL stint which at least doesn't hamstring (pun intended) the 25 man roster. Maybe the Cubs can petition the league to make the DL only 7 games because they'd be the #1 utilizers of such a change. Bradley has avoided the DL this season (so far) but he's had three such minor injuries including a quad strain, groin strain and now calf strain. Outside of Bradley, the Cubs collectively have had a "rash" (we can treat that with ointment) of low level injuries including DLee's neck, Geo Soto's shoulder not to mention a plethora of flu outtages. 

Henceforth, I propose a NEW STAT that measures this. Call it: UNAVAILABLE GAMES (UG)...that way this clogging up the roster  can be more precisely monitored. In the real world they'd call it sick days and if you use up your sick days you take the time off without pay.

Now all we need is someone to keep tabulating this stat. Any volunteers?

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Comments

Can I volunteer someone else?

Another solution would be to have a player's family member killed whenever they have one of these maladies so that they can go on the bereavement list. Obviously, Milton would become an orphan in relatively short order if the Cubs take up that plan.

Huseby, another one of Hendry's sore armed draftees has a 14:1 K to BB ratio and has struck out 28 in 21.1 innings, after not K'ing anyone while earning his 3rd save yesterday.

Dustin Sasser pitched an inning in an otherwise forgettable Daytona loss to lower his ERA to 1.78 He's walked 11 and K'd 20 in 25.1 innings, but he's sporting a 2:1 GO/FO ratio.

Tyler Colvin went 2/3 with his 2nd HR of the year in his second game at Tennessee.

The hapless I-Cubs got shut out, but Reinhard, back in a relief roll pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with 2 K's and a walk.

I thought this was an interesting article on Huseby a few days back. Seems like the kid's head is in a much better place, which was all that you hoped for after the reports about last year. After his debacle of a 2008, it's nice to see that they seem to have a clear plan with the big righty. I hope they ponder a quick look at him as a starter at some point down the line, either later this year or the next - I'm still curious about him as a starter due to how promising he was 2 seasons ago. Maybe he's a guy that's better suited, mentally, for the pen, but I remember Greinke when he had his problems. Admittedly, a different situation, and if you try him as a starter again, and there are any signs that he can't mentally hack it as a starter, then you move him out ASAP.

http://www.pjstar.com/sports/x1083522635/Working-h...

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McDaniel struggled again last night. Teams should have better scouting reports now, so here's hoping he can adjust. Don't like seeing him with so few groundball outs.

Clevenger had a couple hits, which is a nice sign.

Thomas' slump continues - just wow. I mean, I think we all knew he was overachieving, but geesh, this is just such a quick and dramatic big collapse.

Luke Sommer and Henry Williamson were effective out of the pen last night, and both have been solid all year. I like the raw ability of Williamson, although part of me wonders if he's basically another Brian Schlitter. But the raw ability is intriguing enough, and a power arm is always nice.

Junior Lake went 2/7 in 2 games. Not great, but showing a bit more consistency. Work in progress, but I'm pleased with how he seems to have adjusted after a slow start.

I just called George Costanza and he is going to steal a motorized cart for Milton to use on the base paths. He is on his way to a nursing home now. I heard this is good for people over 72 or any retired persons in Florida. However, I am convinced this will prevent any further injuries.

"Remember when we gave Milton Bradley $30 million? That was awesome."
-The Chris Farley Show

Bradley = The Jerk Store's all-time best seller.

Dr. Hecht, I've discussed this unfortunate tendency with a few doctors over the years, and they've repeatedly said that they routinely order unnecessary MRI's because:

- liability concerns
- their "physicians, inc." guidelines make it very clear that ordering CT - Scans, MRI's and other tests are awesome revenue generators, so if there's any doubt in their minds, order it. IOW they don't want to order the tests, but their incorporated partnerships encourage it.

On a completely unrelated note.......

Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn are still healthy.

Yes because who would want guys who play full seasons. Much better to have the injury riddled player who maxes out at 400 AB's in his best health.

I don't know that I'd want a full season of Dunn or Ibanez trying to play right field in Wrigley.

They cover a helluva lot more ground running out there, than Milton does sitting in the damn dugout 65% of the time.

On a plus side though, "When Milton Bradley comes back healthy, it will be like making a deadline trade!!!"

Interesting ESPN analysis, but two things stood out for me:

He postulates that the club's meltdown two evenings ago during the Wells start basically broke the club's back for the rest of the season. Good grief, give me a break on the histrionics - we're not even at the AS break, but we're sticking a fork in them already?

"Still, Hendry better hope his veteran can somehow go back to being the player he was in 2005..."

Whaa? I don't believe anyone on the face of the earth expected Lee to have anywhere near another season like that one - it was a true anomaly, an outlier compared to his career numbers up to that point.

Actually I think it is even worse. He doesn't say that the loss broke their back he says that he is "convinced" that it might be good, it might be bad or it might mean nothing.

(if you follow the link from the first page)

"If it's true that you have to hit rock bottom before things get better, Piniella's team is either going to bounce back from this loss and start playing good baseball, or will continue to play poorly and meander its way through the rest of a disappointing season.

There are no other options -- not when a game is choked away like that."

So he predicts that the Cubs will either do well or do poorly after the Tuesday night game? Nostradamus watch out, you've got some competition!

Actually yeah there were a lot of people who thought that year was somehow turning the page or something. Baseball fans and teams are somehow constantly enamored by outlier years. It's how mediocre players consistently get signed after a good year.

I didn't think he'd match the #s, though I still thought he would be good because he had been pretty good before the outlier year. And all in all he has been good with us. It's the rest of the players we signed after career years that have pissed me off more because a lot of them were mediocre before their outlier year.

When the patient or consumer has to pay for the MRI test out of pocket is about the only way to take the gaming of the situation out of the equation. It's a third party payor game that makes this difficult to bring back to reasonability, although liability issues are in the equation as well.

MRI's are very useful in orthopedics and really have helped visualize specific types of anatomy to enhance making a better diagnosis, but it is a big stretch when it's being used to decide whether it's a grade zero or one strain of a muscle. I realize pro athletes are different and that it's all about the money. Time missed and more accurate assessments are what this entails. It's not about the general diagnosis or treatment (just time because big money is involved).

I've been meaning to track something like this on the sidebar or another page, similar to the Cubs Injury Calendar, but just non-DL days. I'll see if I can come up with something that is easy to read.

It won't be perfect, there are days where are a guy is unavailable to start but can pinch-hit and there are days when we just don't know, but it'll give us a decent idea.

I cannot believe that there was nobody around here this offseason to call Hendry out on these moves he made.

Surely there had to be someone who foretold the roster downgrade that was forced upon us?

I was over at BCB before, but I did not like the moves this offseason. I know Ceda came into the Marlins camp out of shape and got hurt (and last I heard, the Marlins are basically not expecting anything this year, after pre-season rumors that he had an outside chance to be their closer this year) but I hated that trade. One, I disliked Kevin Gregg. Two, Kevin Gregg ended up making 4.2 mil. At that cost, I would've preferred keeping Gregg and signing, say, Brandon Lyon (I know he's been horrible this year, but he was solid last year, and I'm referencing my thoughts during the offseason) and keeping Ceda in the system. I disliked the DeRosa trade. He hit lefties well enough that we were adding a lefty bat for a lefty bat's sake. That seemed forced, and while I've been excited with Chris Archer, that's with the benefit of hindsight. Add in that DeRosa has an outside chance at Type A, last I heard. The Wood thing was awful in three respects - one, losing him as the anchor and locker room guy, two, we didn't offer arbitration, and three, Gregg's cost meant that the savings weren't that great. I liked the Bradley move enough, but that may be due to expecting it since it was well known how much Hendry liked Bradley.

I mean, I sorta understood the moves from Hendry's perspective, but I didn't like it. In saying all this, I don't think we can look at the offseason and say, alright, that's the main reason. The injuries and struggles couldn't be fully anticipated (I mean, Soto being this bad offensively, no one really expected that). I thought we downgraded, but thought we had enough to win the division, though I did think St. Louis and Milwaukee were closer than most thought.

I hated the DeRosa trade (as did everyone else), but looking back on it trading him wasn't really the issue. The real issues are that Bradley and Fontenot aren't producing as expected and we didn't get anything tangible back in return. If Bradley had a .900 OPS and Fontenot had an .820 OPS, and we got at least one solid ML-ready bullpen arm in the trade, we'd be lauding Hendry for selling high.

Also, I think the real reason Hendry traded DeRosa was so he didn't have to face the pitchforked-mob clamoring for him to re-sign DeRosa to a new 3 year deal at the end of the season. Dude's 34 years old. Yes he's still got some pop and given our current situation he'd be a valuable asset to the team, but this was probably the best time to trade him.

meh...i still don't mind the dero trade. i liked fontenot going into the year...i still think he can somewhat match dero's power and plays 2nd as well as dero at the very least...better, imo, but not gold glove or anything.

the kids from the dero trade i like, too.

of course with the injuries it'd be REALLY nice to have him back now.

Can someone please explain the logic behind having a 15 Day minimum DL? I can understand 5-7 days minimum so teams don't pull any bullpen/rotation shenanigans, but there shouldn't be any reason to penalize teams for having an injured player.

That said, the Cubs absolutely need to start DL'ing Bradley when these fucking minor injuries pop up like this. If his contract is based on time spent on the DL, maybe he'll get the point and start playing through his little boo-boos like everyone else once he sees it's going to impact his wallet.

The Cubs DL Bradley and call up who? Jason Dubios or some guy who is hitting .200 in the PCL?

I don't give a shit who they call up, but playing shorthanded isn't a good strategy. They could call up Sam Fuld, another bullpen arm, someone to massage Geo's fat shoulder. Who cares? The point is, the Cubs now have one less bat and one less capable outfielder on the bench because Bradley doesn't know how to stretch before games.

Being without Bradley for 12 days and having Sam Fuld on the team instead isn't a good strategy.

Here's a link about stretching. Funny that most sports haven't figured this out. I realized this when I was 6.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/flexibility/a/a...

It's not that I want Fuld on the team when Bradley's healthy, but MB's missed 33% of the season so far without a DL stint. If the 3rd year of his contract is tied to days spent on the DL, he needs to be on the DL when he's not playing for a week.

That will have a few benefits.

1) The Cubs don't play with a short bench
2) His 3rd year won't kick in automatically
3) He might start playing through his little aches and pains once he realizes he can't get away with this day-to-day bullshit.

"3) He might start playing through his little aches and pains once he realizes he can't get away with this day-to-day bullshit."

Didn't he play while hurt earlier in the season with predictably poor results. If this injury is going to negatively impact his performance keep him on the bench or on the DL until he is healthy.

1.) Yes they would have more players. Enough players hasn't been the Cubs problem, usually, though. Players who belong in AAA has been the Cubs problem.

2.) I am reasonably confident this is incorrect. You have the thing where the A's had him on the DL when he said he could play, so it's unlikely that he would have signed a contract with such a clause. I also suspect that it's a violation of the CBA, because it would create such a blatant conflict of interest.

3.) When he tried that he didn't play well and Lou got mad and benched him. He busted his as down the line, and strained his calf. What's your consipiracy theory, he thought "well, I am going to take 3 days off, next time I hit a grounder that I can beat out (if the ump doesn't blow the call) I am going to fake an injury"?

The third year is tied to games played, not DL time. So if he sits on the bench that counts against him too. But he only needs 75 games played in 2009 before his 2011 option vests. You would think even taking every third week off like has been he could get to 75...

hmm, this is what we found..

http://thecubreporter.com/2009/01/28/bradleys-opti...

Jon Heyman at SI claims to have seen Milton Bradley's contract, and says the clause that would automatically kick-in the third year is that he needs to spend fewer than 75 days on the disabled list in 2009 to guarantee the full amount.


When it was first reported, Wittenmyer said it was
a multilayered set of clauses,
so I'm guessing the wording and legalese is a little more complicated
than just spending less than those 75 days, maybe there's something
about it not being due to a specific injury.

and originally...

http://thecubreporter.com/2009/01/09/bradleys-cont...

The contract pays $5 million in base salary in 2009 and $9 million in
2010 -- with a $4 million signing bonus split over the two seasons --
with $12 million due in 2011. But a multilayered set of clauses turns
the final year into a team option (with a $2 million buyout) if
Bradley's health becomes a serious problem this season.

and of course AZ Phil has his own take (written before the Heyman article)...

http://thecubreporter.com/2009/01/09/bradleys-cont...

If the contract is structured like Cliff Floyd's two-year deal with the
Cubs was, the 3rd year would vest once Bradley reaches 850 PA or 200
Games Started combined in 2009-10. Hopefully the "Games Started"
threshold for Bradley is more like 250 rather than 200 and the PA floor
is more like 950 than 850.

I'm more inclined to believe AZ Phil than Heyman, but that was what was reported.

 

great post

at this point it deserves its own thread

I got another link from Jon Heyman

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_...

his $20 million, two-year contract only becomes a $30 million, three-year deal if he plays at least 75 games in 2009, according to the contract filing

I have been believing its 75 DL days. If its just 75 games played i can see why the Cubs aren't in a rush to put him on the DL. However like previous posters said, having him sit on the bench for a week or more is a handicap to the team and hurts the team.

I would just DL him for each one of his injuries to A) Make him as healthy as possible to help our team B) Due to his injury past he could use the 15 days to heal C) To make him sit out as many games as possible to avoid the 3rd year option if he wants to keep playing this tick for tack injury game.

But even if you think about it only playing in 75 games is pretty easy for Milton to accomplish and then you realize he has the potential of missing 87 games (nearly 3 months) without suffering a major injury which is a pretty cool accomplishment. He managed to miss 2 months worth of AB's in Texas doing the exact same thing he is doing in Chicago now. He sat out games in Texas to preserve his stats so he could get a large money multi-year deal. That was his only motivation on earth. Didn't care about the Texas Rangers or anything else and its not like i didn't warn you guys about that.

Now his only care in life is ensuring he gets his extra 10 million and once he crosses 75 games played (or avoids DL) he might actually shut it down for the rest of the year. What incentive does he have to try for the next 3 years? Its all easy money for Bradley after that.

thanks, that must have been what WISCGRAD was referencing and Heyman was wrong the first time when he said he read the contract (which i never really believed that he read it).

It certainly makes more sense with the CBA.

-edit- Wittenmyer did say something about a multi-layered set of clauses, so I'm guessing it's a bit more complicated than just 75 games played though. Maybe there's a PA's clause as well. I remember Magglio Ordonez had some injury type clause as well in his, maybe it's something similar.

"his $20 million, two-year contract only becomes a $30 million, three-year deal if he plays at least 75 games in 2009, according to the contract filing"

I thought everyone knew about this take on his contract since it's what Cot's has up on their site.

Cot's just aggregates what they find in the papers and other sources.

I'm still unsure how playing in 75 games results in "multi-layered set of clauses", so there's probably more to this story.

agreed

I hope you'll pursue this.

Yeah, if it's multi-layered I bet it's some combination of games played and DL-time. I can see the agent putting something in there about time on the active roster because what if Bradley were say healthy and ready to play for 130 games, but he sucked terribly and Lou started benching him. They wouldn't want the manager's discretion regarding playing time to potentially have an impact on millions of dollars.

But the main point of course is that the bar doesn't seem overly high, it looks like it was set up to mainly avoid the option year vesting if he had a major injury. To date he has avoided that.

FWIW Discounting his first year in the majors, Bradley has failed to play in 75 games only one season before. So it's not much of a test. Barring a catastrophe he's gonna meet that mark.

In 2007 he wanted to come of the DL but the A's wouldn't let him.

I don't know why the rules changed, but if I recall correctly, it wasn't until the late 80s or so that they changed it to 15 and 60, it used to be 10 and 21.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090604&c...

31. Chicago Cubs: Tim Wheeler, OF, Sacramento State
Trying to figure out Tim Wilken's drafts might be an exercise in futility because there's no telling which way he might go. They have taken a college bat with one of their first two picks in each of the past three Drafts, for whatever that's worth. Wheeler could go higher if teams decide to go the college-hitter route, as he's shown an ability to make consistent contact, run well and hit with a little more power this year than he had in the past

shame you can't trade your late first round pick for 2 second round picks like the NFL. This would certainly be the year to try and do that if you're the Cubs.

I keep seeing reasonably intelligent people, like Kevin Goldstein say that opening up the draft to trading will improve the league parity.

I don't see allowing the rich teams to get the top 5 picks every year will restore parity.

no, I agree...big market teams would just trade up for signability guys...and small market teams would be happy to give it to them.

I was just saying that if it was in place, this would be a good year for the Cubs to take advantage of it...not necessarily calling for its implementation.

Seems like more of a chance for guys like Scott Boras and Tony Tanzer to strong arm teams and drive up the cost of Amature talent.

Bad for baseball IMHO

side note, but I think Tommy Tanzer is semi-retired now, maybe a couple guys left. Tanzer sorta made me feel sorry for Matt Harrington. Sorta.

I wasn't arguing with you, Rob, was just expanding the conversation.

From what I gather there's 1 guy in this draft and then about 30 guys who could go in a 15 pick range (2nd to 16th or 7th to 21st for example). Sure makes me wish we had offered arbitration to Wood.

Wheeler hit .385 .494 .765 with an astounding 17 HBP's against 200 at bats. 18 HR's 29 BB's 28 K's, and was named first team all WAC for a second time.

He looks WAY TOOO selective at the plate to be drafted by this Regime.

How does he look in a Baseball uniform? Is he really Toolsy? Does he have a good baseball face? Does he compete in Track and field?

I can see that happening, particularly if the board falls that way. With this draft being deep in arms, there's a chance a good positional talent would fall to us, and I expect this draft to be closer to 2007 than 2008 in terms of positional vs. pitching. I'd love to see us gamble on a HS arm like a Tyler Skaggs if the board falls that way, but I don't see us going HS in the first. I still think Alex Wilson might be a thought, who we drafted in the 10th this year. Most have him as a supplemental first, but that's a small difference that if Wilken likes him, it wouldn't surprise me.

Abe Vigoda however is....... still alive!

http://www.abevigoda.com/

As long as he stays out of daylight.

~hisses like vampire~

I can probably find the original dates and games missed, but here are the UG's I can think of

Bradley groin strain somewhere just after the first week
Marmol baby birthing
Lee neck spasms x2
Lee flu
Scales flu
Freel hamstring (the day he got traded)
Soto shoulder
Bradley current calf strain

They're apparently was also a quad strain by Bradley, but was that during spring training?

I think we need to find an H-word to add to the end of the stat.

the quad strain was in spring training for MB. I think MB also had some flu missed games.

I think I'd add suspensions to the UG criteria since the player is unavailable and they can't call up a minor leaguer to replace the missing roster spot. (Bradley@ 2, Z @ 5)

Bradley only missed one game for the suspension.

i think the flu was in spring training too for Bradley...

so far I've got:

Bradley (groin) - April 13th to April 27th (he played one full game on April 22nd and 4 PH appearances in that 12 game span. So is that a 11 or a 7 for UG's?)

Bradley (suspension) - 1 UG (May 15th)

Bradley (calf) - June 3rd - ? (so far 1 UG)

Zambrano (suspension) - 6 UG's (although really just 1 start and not really since the off-day)

Soto (shoulder) - 5 UG's (April 8th to 14th with one PH appearance on the 12th)

Ramirez (back) - 2 UG's (April 13th - 15)

Ramirez (calf) - 8 UG's (April 25th to 30 and then May 2nd/3rd)

Lee (neck) 2 UG's (April 27th/28th)

Lee (neck)- 5 UG's (May 6th to 11th)

Lee (flu) - 3 UG's (May 24th-26th)

Scales ((flu)  - 2 UG's (May 26-27)

Freel (hamstring) - 1 UG (May 9th)

something like 43 UG's so far total...that's counting a 7 for Bradley's first trip...could be more depending on how it should be defined.

Bradley - 9

Ramirez - 10

Lee - 10

Soto - 5

Scales - 2

Freel - 1

Z - 6

I suppose there could be 2 categories for "unavailable to start" and "unavailable to play" 

The new stat could be UGLA

Unavailable Games - Limited Availability

The player would receive two numbers, the total number of games completely unavailable and the total number of games that he was limited in some way, like an UGLA of 3-5, meaning 5 games limited, 3 of which he was completely unavailable.

The irony that Bradley doesn't even lead the team in this seems to elude everyone but me.

Nope... not just you.

if we go with the UG-LA version...I come up with this.

Bradley 9-13

Lee 10-11

Ramirez 10-11

Zambrano 6-6

Soto 4-5

Scales 2-3

Freel 1-2

I would have guessed Lee myself, forgot about Ramirez's back and of course this is not an exact science. Having to backtrack to keep count, there are days I'm counting as UG(completely unavailable) when they didn't play at all during a known injury that the player may have been available to pinch-hit but just wasn't used in the game.

Of course if you combine it with DL time, Z and Ramirez would lead this year.

 

I think we need to find an H-word to add to the end of the stat.
---
UGH, Unavailable Games and Helpless? ...or in Bradley's case Hopeless.

been meaning to a ask... is Koyie Hill grabbing at Kelly Johnson's _________ in the featured photo?

wait, that's not how you break-up double plays?

next you'll tell me this isn't the way to measure pants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPO1Kxx_W6k&feature...

I see where this is leading: can UGLA play third base?

...sorry unavailable.

although it wasn't a UG, Bradley was "rested" the game before he wound up getting the one day suspension...so he's getting into fewer games one way or another it seems.

A day off, to rest, is not the same as being unavailable.

Riot had the flu as well.

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