TCR Tuesday Notes
I'll have to keep this brief...deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.
- Another solid outing by Randy Wells, albeit against another poor offensive team. Of his 10 starts, only 3 have been against offenses currently in the top half of runs scored for their league (Brewers, Dodgers sans Manny and Indians sans DH). Of course, he pitched pretty well in those 3 starts, so I'm not really sure I have a point here. Besides Wells, the three scoreless innings by the bullpen were kind of neat to watch and it looks like a Sean Marshall/Angel Guzman 7th innning combo may help solidify the bullpen along with Marmol scrapping his Mike Fetters impression.
Wells did hit in the bottom of the sixth, and then was immediately lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 7th. This is nothing new for Lou, but now he has a 6-man bench. I somewhat understand the reasoning, as a pinch-hitter was due to lead-off for the Braves and Lou wanted to force Bobby Cox to burn a player, and indeed he did, putting in Gregor Blanco and then lifting him for Jeff Francouer when Lou went to Sean Marshall. Yet, I would have rather seen a pinch-hitter up there in a close game.
The other curious move is the slow de-evolution (is that a word?) of Lou Piniella into Don Baylor. It's becoming rather common for Lou to call the sacrifice bunt with Ryan Theriot early in games if the lead-off hitter gets on to start an inning. A strategy that I can only politely call...fucking ridiculous.
- Bruce Levine covers most of the days Cubs-related news of the day over at ESPN Chicago. It looks like the Cubs final sale price will be $850 million with Sam Zell and the Tribune forming a new partnership and retaining a 5-7% stake in the team, an elaborate plan to minimize Zell's capital gains tax hit. On top of that, the Ricketts were essentially forced to borrow $450M from three banks to finance the deal at interest rates between 5-6% (not bad), which means they'll need to come up with $25-30M to just cover the interest. Levine says the Cubs netted about $45M last year, so expect some creative ways to add revenue, such as personal seat licenses for season ticket holders (maybe, I'll get out of the 70,000 range on the waiting list).
- The same article says that Reed Johnson will bat lead-off when a lefty takes the mound, which doesn't look like it will happen until after the All-Star Break against the Washington Nationals. Alfonso Soriano begrudingly accepts the move down in the order on certain conditions.
''That's fine,'' Soriano said, ''as long as we play like we're playing.
If the team hits better, and we start winning, that's fine.''
- Once the Ricketts do take over, they'll need to decide what to do with Wrigley Field, including a potential major upgrade to be done by 2014.
Known as Wrigley 2014, the plan calls for new concourses, washrooms, concessions, skyboxes and a club seating lounge.
Adjacent to the ballpark, the team would finally develop the
so-called triangle building and turn the street in between into a
Fenway Park-style pedestrian promenade bustling with shops and
- For all the hand wringing about the Cubs so far this season, they're currently tied in the loss column with both the Brewers and Cardinals, a game out of second place and two out of first place. The Cards and Brewers face off for a three game set this week and then the Cubs play four against the Cards this weekend at Wrigley. The team run differential so far shows they're right about where they should be, as are the Cardinals and Brewers. The Reds 21-run loss last night hurt them dearly in the expected win-loss category, but looks like they were playing a little over their heads before that. The Pirates should be around .500 if not for a 5-12 record in one-run games. But as they continue to trade away their better players, that'll be tough to maintain. Here's hoping the return of Aramis and the rest of the bats starting to warm up, that they start to pound their opponents appropriately (that also sounded dirty).
UPDATE: An update on the sale from Crain's Chicago Business thanks to Cubnut . Zell has lined up a second offer led by Marc Utay that he will be presenting to the bankruptcy court. The deal is said to be for a higher purchase price but requires more financing and less money upfront. Great...let's drag this on a little longer. If the bankruptcy court has its say, they'd probably favor the Ricketts deal as they want as much money as soon as possible, but the owners could possibly favor the Utay deal and the higher purchase price which would up the value of their franchises. Zell and Trib would probably prefer the Utay deal if I understand this all correctly, as the more that is financed, the less Zell has to pay in taxes.
(tears hair out)