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)


''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.''

But if we go back to stinking, I want my rightful place as the lead-off hitter back. I wish Bradley was a team player like me.

Crain's reporting that Tribune Company has lined up a deal with the Utay group and will be presenting both that and the Ricketts offer to the bankruptcy court.

Crain's says Utay offer is for more money but less cash upfront; says Ricketts has "a real edge."

As I mentioned here a couple months ago,

"Nothing new about this really. Ricketts was the top choice of the owners rather than Zell. But you have to have the owners on board to get the deal done so they went to the top of the list. Other bids were higher and as it's turning out probably more viable."

It should be clear now that Utay's bid is as genuine as Ricketts', NOT just a PR move by Zell. Zell would prefer the Utay deal because (1) Zell wants the deal financed and (2)the $$ are bigger.

thnx...updated the story

Just briefly hear something about it on WBBM (the all news station in Chicago) saying that the new guy's deal looks better because it involves more cash and less debt than the Ricketts offer.

dueling stories then as that is the opposite of the Crain's story and previous reports on why the Ricketts offer was taken in the first place was because it was for more cash and less debt than the other offers.

I suppose we'll see...

I should know more about this, but can someone explain to me why there can be any other bidders at this point? I thought that the Ricketts just won out on the bidding when this was done over the winter.

Also, in a short format, what is the next step once a bidder is choosen? Does it go to the bankruptcy court or the MLB first?

I would think it would go to the bankruptcy court first. MLB approval is the final step, once that is given the deal is done.

accoring to Levine in the link just below, major league baseball would look at the "contract draft" and could approve it by this weekend with a final 75% approval vote taking place in August (usually a formality).

Not sure when bankruptcy court would look at everything, but I'm guessing it takes some time to get that scheduled and for the most part would also be a formality, although I guess they now could have their say on which offer they prefer.

when they picked the Ricketts deal originally, the two parties entered an exclusive negotiating window (I believe 90 days) to complete the deal. It was not completed within that time period, so Trib could reopen talks which they did with the Utay group while still talking with the Ricketts. It's my understanding Trib preferred the Utay deal, but the Ricketts deal had a better chance of getting past the bankruptcy court and major leagues for approval.

Levine runs down the sale process here:

fwiw, every news story I've pulled up (which all seem to take from each other) says the Utay deal is higher than Ricketts offer but less cash upfront.

also, the Sun-Times says this 2nd deal is B.S.,w-tribune...

The Cbs online story seems to just be quoting the Crain's story...

However, Tribune boss Sam Zell had hoped to
get $1 billion or more for the franchise; the deal is certainly still a
step down from the $1.3 billion offered by sports franchise impresario
Mark Cuban, according to a New York Times report from last
August. That deal was effectively scuttled when Cuban was charged with
insider trading by the SEC in November. This last-minute foul-up sent
Zell scrambling to find another buyer for the franchise. 

My gut is taking the Sun-Times position that this is all bullshit to try to squeeze Ricketts more.

The Utay deal is likely just a failsafe incase MLB or the bankruptcy judge have an issue with the Ricketts deal and they dont want to make the changes. Just get this thing over with by October so we can spend cash in the off-season, its not like a big impact player is going to be avalible at the deadline.

My understanding is that it would be offered as a point of reference for the bankruptcy court, part of showing that due diligence has been done in finding the best offer.

"Just get this thing over with by October so we can spend cash in the off-season . . ."

I don't understand this sentiment. I just don't get it.

What does a franchise have to do to prove to its fans that high-priced free agents tend to be bums?

Once upon a time, the Braves had two players named Jones who were future hall-of-famers. One of them was allowed to become a free agent.

Was he the real future hall-of-famer, or the bust/bum?

Once upon a time the Braves signed a pitcher named Greg Maddux to the richest pitcher FA deal ever. How'd that go?

That's true, and I'm sure there are other examples, including Lilly and DeRosa, but Hendry's streak right now is Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley, and Hendry is the one whose wallet people want to stuff with more dough.

Maddux was always a keeper, as even the Cubs dimly perceived. Most teams would have held on to him. It's the bounce-around guys like Soriano and Bradley who are poison.

DeRosa, Lilly and Marquis were signed in the same off-season as Soriano.

Actually, among pitchers in the NL with 50 innings or more, Wells is 34th out of 79 in difficulty of opponent OPS against (0.725), and he has faced the toughest hitters in comparison to the rest of the staff (although the differences are small - ~0.05 to -0.10 points of OPS). He's also 2nd in VORP among rookie pitchers after last night's outing. He's a pleasure to watch - mixing pitches and location and throwing strikes.

A far more sophisticated analysis than I attempted...thanks. As I said, I wasn't sure I had a point and it doesn't seem like I did.

No problem - you were more than clear about the hypothetical nature of your musings. In reality, Wells really does have it easy (as does everyone in the Senior Circuit): in comparison, the 34th toughest opposition OPS in the AL is .754.

Every pitcher on the Cubs should get an added degree of difficulty simply by virtue of not getting to face their own lineup.

is .03 a big difference?

Brett Jackson drove in the tying and winning runs last night with a triple in the bottom of the 7th. Boise 5-4 over Eugene.

We can cheer that he won't burn us this weekend...

DeRosa to the 15 day DL, retroactive to July 1st for a sprained wrist

reported by Rotoworld but confirmed on the site by an insert with the update to an old article on him getting an MRI. No word on what the MRI showed as far as I can find.

Sabathia to the Brewers

...oh crap, that article is exactly a year old.

Exactly HOW does Jason Marquis have 11 wins?

He has pitched very well, which isn't that much of a surprise since he's always pitched well in the first half. His career record before the all star break is 60-38, a .612 winning percentage, with a 4.16 era. In the second half he has a carer mark of 30-37, .448, with a 4.93 era. And he's in a contract year.

How'd that last contract year go for Marquis?

He won 14 games, despite being left in by Larussa to take a shelling twice when the bullpen was exhausted. Those two outings raised his season era almost a full point.

And despite his less than stellar reputation, he's 76-60 in the last 5 1/2 seasons.

So it comes to a 5+ ERA and still lead the league in losses. The guys' been a free agent twice, and the first time he had a bad year. Concluding that he's having a good year this time because he's a free agent doesn't make any sense. The data you have on that indicates the exact opposite.

Well my bet that Marquis would have more wins than Marshall this year is looking pretty good. Marquis 11, Marshall 3. ^.^ A few people took me up on that.

The thing is a lot of sinkerballers end up in Colorado or Arizona eventually and they usually do pretty well there. Especially for a workhorse like Marquis. He might fall off a little during the second half, but I don't think it will be anywhere near the dramatic falloff he usually has.

Marshall on the other hand... you never know if you're going to get Johann Santana or Glendon Rusch. I did enjoy the two games in a row he appeared against the Tigers. In both games he came in just to face Granderson and struck him out on 3 pitches each time.

That was a sucker bet, just because Marquis was expected to be a third starter and Marshall the fifth starter. I'll take Marshall + Wells for more wins than Marquis.

the aaron sele effect.

Just got back from the game down here in N'awlins. Shit game for the Cubs as they lost 4-1. Harldy anyone there as it rained early today and the first pitch was at 11.30a. Once the game started the rains had completely stopped. Sat near the Cubs bullpen and Jeff Stevens (saved last night's game) tossed the wife a ball so that was pretty cool.

So Taguchi led off the game with a homer but that's about all they could muster against NOLA. 8 players got 1 hit each (including notibles Scales and Dubois). Casey Fossum started and was decent with 7 K's / 0 BB but had two tough innings back to back. Could have escaped the 4th with mininal or no damage but also misplayed a sacrifice bunt (hit given) and they wound up scoring 2 big runs.

Here is the box:

Wait... the Cubs have Casey Fossum? I missed that one.

They signed him a few days ago.

Are you sure it wasn't Casey Kasem?

Yeah, I had to scratch my eyes too.

Also sorry about the typo - should read, 'notables,' not 'notibles.'

Chicago Cubs
Draft pick signed: OF Glenn Cook (46)
Placed on restricted list: RHP Francisco Acosta, RHP Jordan Latham
Recalled: RHP Kevin Hart
Placed on 7-day DL: RHP Jacob Schmidt, LHP Neal Cotts, LHP Casey Lambert, OF Cody Shields

Cook is the linebacker, right?

i'm getting word that dempster is going to the DL and Zambrano will pitch tonight.

the extra silver lining is that means z will probably pitch against the cards on sunday.

That's not good. Wonder who gets the 5th starter's gig after the ASB. I would guess Smardizija gets first try. I would also guess that means no more 11 man staff.

according to Bruce Miles, Hart will start tomorrow...

by my count we don't need a 5th after the asb. i think he's retro'd to 7/3 so he could come off and be ready to pitch in the 4th slot.

something like:

Harden or Dempt
Dempt or Harden

guess it depends on the severity, but a broken bone is usually a good 3-4 weeks to heal, then rehab...

They have the ASB, bring back Marshall to the rotation.

my buddy played offensive and defensive line on two broken legs my senior year of high school.

three words:


"my buddy played offensive and defensive line on two broken legs my senior year of high school."

I don't think Dempster would make a very good high school lineman.

i think he would kick ass against 17 year old boys.

Was he gay?

was? yes. but he's better now.

I guess that was poor phrasing on my part. Maybe he died of a broken heart...

to be fair, it was the best his life would ever get...

WSCR is reporting that Dempster broke his big toe on his right foot and is headig to the DL retro to 7/3/09. Kevin Hart is on his way back to Chicago.

Yep, Muskat has Dempster to DL, with broken toe. Hart recalled....

Wow, Z on 3 days rest. Didn't Demp take a hard grounder off his foot in his last start? Then again, I guess the Cubs would have known about it sooner if that were the case.

Maybe they did know about it, but were waiting to see how it felt.

speculating 4-6 weeks - halladay, answer your phone.

"by my count we don't need a 5th after the asb. i think he's retro'd to 7/3 so he could come off and be ready to pitch in the 4th slot."

How quickly does a broken toe heal?

they scratched that retro talk

CUBSTER will be able to give more info on this, but as a middle-age guy, who is not a pitcher, broke my 4th toe two years ago and it still hurts. This can be a nagging, painful affair that can only take longer to heal when needing to push off.

Since I have tickets for tomorrow's game expecting to see Z, I just threw up in my mouth. Hart is no replacement for Dempster.

So now we will have two starters on the Defending Central Champs from AAA. Kevin Hart has been only completely shit every time I have been in attendance at Wrigley when he's pitched.

I am really, really, bummed...


I wonder who will be starting wednesday then? The best guess I think would be Samardzjia. I know Hart has been stretched out as a starter at Iowa but I imagine his 2 weeks in the pen here have unstretched him a bit. Marshall is too vital of a cog in the bullpen to have him throw an emergency start. Harden would be on 3-days rest from his aborted start on Saturday, but his injury issues and his suckiness of late that is a bit dangerous. I guess they could do a BP game with Samarzjia and Hart going to 3 IP a piece and then hope you have a lead and let your the back end finish it. I believe we are at 39 on the 40-man so I guess Jay Jackson could always get a callup but that would start the arb clock and waste an option year which is stupid to do for 1 start

they already announced Hart is starting tomorrow...

- sigh -

I REALLY HOPE I'm wrong, but it could be a "Phillies/Reds" game.

Again, I really hope a miracle happens at Wrigley.


Man, you need some Xanax.


Well, if you had tickets tomorrow and just found out crappy Kevin Hart was pitching instead of Carlos Zambrano, you might understand.

Its probably gonna be ugly, TITO.

I'll take them off your hands if you would like. :)


Lowitz, you can ALWAYS go down and pick up a single in a great spot cheap if you want to go to a game. You know that right? :)

countdown until someone mentions Marquis and his MLB leading win total....3....2....1.....

This is a really, really bad thing.

There is no easy solution here, imo, and, trading with many teams in the race PLUS the Cubs situation just is not going to happen.

Wasn't Heilman (ducks from CUBSTER) vying for a starter's spot in ST?

I'm not advocating, just grasping...

Very bad...

from twitter:
@dat_cubfan_dave Unconfirmed reports are that Demp broke his toe jumping over the dugout railing after #Cubs win. Call it the Gatorade machine's revenge.

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