Cubs May Seek Reliever...Hopefully One That Can Hit

What are you gonna say about last night's game? Rich Harden looked dominating for a second straight game and the offense looked maddening for the about the 60th time this year. There's not a lot of strategy to complain about when the Cubs couldn't even muster a hit. The Cubs need to try to punch through tonight with Carlos Zambrano on the mound versus Father Time to avoid the sweep.

According to Wittenmyer, the Cubs do have some limited payroll flexibility to add a "mid-level" player, but don't expect a run at Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. Wittenmyer mentions relievers as the most obvious targets and throws out the names of George Sherrill and Chad Qualls. If Geovany Soto has any setbacks recovering from his oblique injury, a catcher will become the focus with Rod Barajas being mentioned.

Milton should be back in the lineup today after a few private hitting sessions with Lou. Lou says he needs to relax at the plate and then spends a few sentences throwing Hendry and Milton under the bus for not getting Raul Ibanez or a left-handed hitter that could actually hit a home run or two.

"The only thing I talked about last season was a need for a left- hand
bat in a predominantly right-handed lineup who could hit the ball for
power and drive in some runs," he said. "You look at our production
last year and it was mainly from the right side.

"We didn't bring [ Jim] Edmonds
back and Edmonds hit quite a few home runs, so we needed a left-handed
bat. That's it. That was what I mentioned, that we could use a nice
productive left-hand bat in the middle of our right-handed hitting."

Piniella paused for some time before finishing his thoughts and finally said:

"Look, we still need a left-hand bat who can hit for some power and drive in runs."

This is as much on Lou as well as Bradley. Fine, Lou wanted a run-producing bat from the left side and Bradley hasn't delivered and Hendry (so far) signed the wrong guy. How about stop being so stubborn and move Bradley from the middle of the order and put him in a spot that his current talents might be better suited for? While I still think he'll start hitting, right now he's nothing more than a guy that can take a walk, move him to the top of the order and let him set-up some guys who are hitting. And while you're complaining about hitting, how about getting Jake Fox a start behind the plate instead of Three-Finger Hill?

You know, I don't think managers are all that important to a team, it starts with the talent, but if there's anything a manager needs to do its to work with the talent he does have and give them the best chance to succeed, not force them into pre-conceived roles that they're not suited for.


Adam LaRoche and two steel mills to Boston for...

Jason Bay smiles

breaking out my workout video: Beans of Steel?

via Rotoworld...

My computer is the actual manager. Whatever the stats say, that's what Lou will do. Welcome to the Matchups game, I'm Gene Rayburn.

Where is Billy Martin Fire when you need it?

I think I'll be able to recap.

In Parachat, alone. Someone should join me.

Today's game (Wednesday) features an epic matchup: Koyie Hill vs. Paul Bako. It's like spring training, all over again.

It remains to be seen which backup catcher will emerge victorious.

"J. Baker doubled to shortstop"

This is not something you see every day.

that's not what happened but that play as described does happen usually when there is a little pop to short left field near the line the hangs up but doesn't get caught.

". . . move him to the top of the order and let him set-up some guys who are hitting."

Lee is 4 for his last 21, and Aramis is hitting .190 since his return, so I'm not sure who he would be setting up.

If you have to play Bradley, then yes, he'll do the least harm batting second, where he'll draw a few walks. But there's something to be said for speed at the top of the order. You're already playing the OBP game with Fukudome at leadoff, where he has stolen zero bases. He's not a real leadoff man, any more than Bradley is a real number two. You'd rather not have either player.

Fukudome, at least, is not a bum. He's almost tradeable, which is an improvement. It's conceivable that someone might want Fukudome for, say, six million a year, assuming the Cubs absorbed half his salary over the next two-plus years.

Bradley and Soriano may not be worth a third of what they're getting, so you're not showcasing them. You're only putting them in the lineup to protect Jim Hendry.

All the more reason to fire Hendry. Meanwhile, Lou is justified in complaining that he didn't get what he asked for and that his hands are tied, lineup-wise.

Lee is 4 for his last 21, and Aramis is hitting .190 since his return, so I'm not sure who he would be setting up.

You have no understanding of sample size, do you?

Lee and Ramirez are good hitters. But Lee is in a mini-slump and Ramirez is not there yet. I was responding to the phrase "guys who are hitting," which didn't ring any bells.

4 hits in 21 at-bats? That really isn't even a slump. And nice arbitrary cut-off.

To claim that Bradley wouldn't be setting the table for anyone, and base if off of 21 at-bats, is silly.

But there's something to be said for speed at the top of the order.

that something is that it's not that important...and Bradley can take an extra base which is all you really need. Lou don't call for the steal much anyway.

Lou is justified in complaining that he didn't get what he asked for and that his hands are tied, lineup-wise.

or he coud fill out a different lineup and not complain, just a thought...

Fuku, Bradley, Lee, Ramirez, Fox, Soriano, Fontenot, Theriot...

see not hard, then Bradley can do what he does which is control the strike zone w/o folks bitching about him not swinging at close pitches

But why play Bradley at all? Fuld has a .370 career OBP, the same as Bradley. Plus he can run and catch and throw. At Wrigley, they love Fuld more than they hate Bradley.

Of course, Fuld's numbers are based on a career in the minors, where he is stuck, because teams are not looking for high-OBP guys who can run and catch and throw, especially outfielders. They're looking for run producers.

I agree with you, if Bradley has to play, then bat him second, it's all he's good for. The reason he has to play, though, is that Hendry is sitting upstairs watching.

let me know when Sam Fuld leads one of the major leagues in OPS...

WTF? You seriously think that Fuld is as good, or better, than Bradley?

You have to be kidding me.

Based on Bradleys career and this year Fuld could give Bradley a run for his money.

I am not saying Fuld is good or deserves to be a starter its just Bradley is so god damn awful.

Your talking about a career .820 OPS from Bradley coming off a career year at age 31. His career year was 22 HR and 77 RBI. Not a 40 HR, 120 RBI season, but a 22 HR, 77 RBI season. A league average OF in his career year. Didnt impress me then doesn't impress me now.

If your brought in being billed as our teams huge offensive upgrade, you are batting in the middle of the lineup and all you have to show for it is a .242 average and 22 RBI, i think its time for his ass to take a seat and let Sam Fuld play. I think we can squeeze 22 RBI out of Sam Fuld from 227 AB's. Or even better let Fox play RF.

Based on Bradleys career and this year Fuld could give Bradley a run for his money.

You think that Fuld would come close to an 820 OPS? He hasn't really come close to that in the minors, and his minor league OPS is 45 points lower than Bradley's major league OPS.

But sure... Fuld could give Bradley a run for his money.

You and manny must hang out, as it is pretty clear that you share the same blinders that force you to be completely irrational.

What blinders are those? RF is a prime run producing position right? At what point does a .240 BA and 22 RBI from the heart of the lineup disgust you? And i have blinders on because i believe Sam Fuld if given the same chances as Bradley could easily match those historic numbers? Its not a terribly difficult feat to accomplish what Bradley has done this season with any career minor leaguer.

This idea that Bradley is going to suddenly, any day now morph into this massive offensive force knocking in runs left in right is still living in a fantasy world. He hasn't done it his entire career what makes you think he will start at age 31? I think most of you thought you were getting a 30 HR, 100 RBI RFer and are still waiting for that guy to show up. He has never even come close to a 100 RBI season and he isn't a major power hitter.

He is an .800 OPS hitter who averages 50 RBI a year. Thats what we paid 30 million for. This isn't a guy who averages 30/100 coming off a career high of 50/150. He is a 13/50 coming off a 22/77. And your shocked he sucks? LoL.

First, no one has said that a .240 BA or 21 RBI is good.

Second, if you think that the first half of this season is more indicative of Bradley's ability than the rest of his career, then you sure aren't worth arguing with.

Third, if you think that Sam Fuld will outproduce Bradley at the plate for the rest of the season, I think that is absurd.

I never expected Bradley to put up a 30/100 year this year. But I did expect Bradley to play 120-130 games, and give the Cubs an OPS between 850-900. From 2003-2008, Bradley has had a line of: .295/.391/.488 OPS: .879. That is basically what I expected from him this year. And he has been a disappointment.

Bradley hasn't had an OPS this low since 2002. And you are going to tell us that you expected that? Now that is worthy of laughing out loud.

Let Murton play!!!

Listen to the context before you leap.

Rob said Bradley should hit #2 and draw walks. I said Fuld could do that--and also steal bases and play stellar defense (and get the crowd going).

If you want somebody to bat 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7, then Fuld is not the answer, but Fox or Hoffpauir would be better than Bradley.

So there's really no spot in the lineup or on the team for Bradley, and yet he must play, for Hendry's sake. I think that exonerates Piniella to some extent, who seems to detest Bradley and recently followed him into the clubhouse in order to fight him, if I recall.

you have some strange belief that Hendry is forcing roster moves and decisions on Lou, and that Lou is some poor simpleton that has to play all these overpriced FA's that Hendry stuck him with, when all Lou really wants to do is play the hot hitter.

I guess you just conveniently forgot that Lou left Seattle and Tampa because both organizations didn't spend enough to his liking and weren't committed to winning in his eyes. 

Lou may wanted a different player here or there (and the only one I can really think of is Ibanez, although Lou also said he's not really RF'er), but he's just as culpable for the spending spree as Hendry. No, he didn't sign the individual players, but he's said many times that he wanted an organization willing to put up the money to win and if you give him the players, he'll win with them.


My point about why Lou plays who he plays is simple and oft-repeated, if a bit lonely.

The manager works for the team and part of his job is to protect the team's investment in high-priced players.

At this point, I suspect the Cubs would love to pay another team $9 million/year for the next five years to take Soriano off their hands; plus $6 million per the next two years to take Fukudome; plus $5 million per two years to get rid of Bradley.

Unfortunately, only Fukudome might be worth half what the Cubs are paying.

Soriano's value and Bradley's value go down even further when they don't play. If they played and started hitting, their value would go up. So the manager is always tending to give them starts.

Soriano, by the way, loses a lot of value batting sixth instead of first. Half of his value was the other "forty" in forty-forty.

Never mind whether Soriano is really a leadoff hitter. Lou has to keep up the pretense. That's my take anyway. Hendry has tied Lou's hands. Otherwise Lou wouldn't complain, he would just play other people.

Soriano, by the way, loses a lot of value batting sixth instead of first. Half of his value was the other "forty" in forty-forty.

I didn't know you were not allowed to steal bases when you batted 6th.

I just spent a bit of time with Cot's baseball contracts and BR's batting-order splits.

If Soriano settles into the #6 hole, he'll be the only $15+ million everyday player batting lower than fourth on a regular basis--with the possible exception of Ordonez, whose contract expires this year. At this point the Tigers have very little investment in Ordonez to protect. Even Andruw Jones usually hits cleanup.

Most elite hitters hit fourth, while a few (Manny, Teixeira, Beltran and Helton) hit third. (Pujols makes less than $15 mil.) Michael Young usually hits second, and Ichiro and Jeter lead off.

When Cub players are on a hotel elevator on the road, Soriano rides to the top. DLee and Aramis must wonder why the #6 hitter doesn't get off on the same floor they do.

Lou has to keep up the pretense. That's my take anyway. Hendry has tied
Lou's hands. Otherwise Lou wouldn't complain, he would just play other


but yes, when you start shelling out big contracts, you do get stuck if those players underperform, I'm not arguing that. I'm arguing your claim that Lou isn't responsible for it or he would do something different if Hendry wasnt' forcing his hand (which Hendry isn't by the way). I really have no idea where you get that Lou in the last year of his deal, in his suppose last managerial job would really give a crap about sitting someone if he wanted to. He plays Soriano and Bradley and a struggling Lee because he believes they will start hitting due to their track records and because he seems to be a bit of a stubborn ass this year.

Offense is fun.

Insurance runs?

Where's that duck

scott eyre is...

Anyone else have an issue with Lou burning through 2 pinch hitters (Fontenot and Fox) when the Cubs are up 4 runs with a man on 3rd and no outs?

Just doesn't seem like it's really necessary to do that to your bench and only backup catcher in that spot. Then again, this is also pretty nit-picky.

-- edit --

I should also note the original PH scenario was for Jeff Baker, so it's not even like Lou was hitting for the pitcher. Does he really have so little confidence in Baker just putting the ball in play in that spot? I don't know, I'm confused.

Also, I assume Blanco has to come in and play 2B now, and we're out of backup infielders.

-- edit again --

By replacing Baker with Fontenot, Lou was essentially forcing them to go with Eyre. Normally I'd be cool with that, but we were destroying Durbin. Leaving Baker in there probably keeps Durbin in the game for at least one more batter.

Can anyone tell I'm extremely bored and watching all of this on Gameday?

Then Blanco almost gets a broken arm batting in the 9th...


For now.

Is Sori really playing 2B now? ("watching" box score on Net at work currently)

No, Blanco is.

Full marks to K. HIll for playing every day, but -- woof -- his bat (or lack thereof) is brutal.

Hurry back, Geo.

Why Pinella can't find more at bats for Fox is perplexing - why not start him against a lefty? The offense today obviously did well, but if you're not going to give Fox a start against a lefty when your offense is pathetic, you can't complain about Hendry.

Fox played catcher all through college and in his first few years in the minors - it's not like he's just learing the position.

That's a great idea. Put a, by all accounts, really bad defensive catcher behind the plate to catch a starter who has a lot of movement on his pitches and play the best base stealing team in the NL. Cause that would end well.

The better question is: Why not let Fox catch four or five inning Monday night?

Cubs are 19-13 in games Hill has started this year.

Hill has now thrown out 10 of 21 would-be base stealers (48%).

Interestingly, Fox threw out his share of baserunners in the minors: 17 of 44, 39%.

Cubs are 19-13 in games Hill has started this year.

You do know that baseball is a team game, right?

Cubs are 19-13 in games Hill has started this year.
and he adds 5 mph to all the pitching staff's wonder we're seeing so many 96 mph fastballs

even Jamie Moyer was throwing harder in Hill's presence.

Koyie Hill will be the next dos equis beer guy once the most interesting man in the world croaks.

Keep catching my friend.

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 3 hours 44 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 13 hours 25 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 16 hours 23 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 16 hours 35 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 16 hours 44 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 16 hours 50 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 17 hours 8 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 17 hours 44 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 18 hours 2 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 18 hours 4 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 18 hours 21 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 18 hours 29 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 19 hours 24 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 19 hours 42 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 19 hours 47 min ago view