Cubs 99% Sure to Stay in Mesa

The Fox TV News affiliate in Phoenix has the infamous "source close to" the Ricketts (an executive apparently) saying the Cubs are likely to stay in Mesa. Apparently Bud Selig has even put in a word to the Cubs that he'd like them to stay there and I'm sure that will carry some weight with the new owners who appear to be the kind that don't want to rock the MLB boat.

Good news for those of us who prefer Mesa and who have Arizona Phil writing at their Cubs blog. Thanks to navigator for the link tip.

Of course it doesn't mean the drama is over, as the Cubs said they would pick a site to exclusively negotiate with first.  So if this is true, Mesa and Arizona still need to come up with the funding for all the new facilities that were promised

 


UPDATED: Kaplan and Co. are chiming in as well saying a Monday vote by the Mesa city council to approve funding is the last hurdle.

UPDATE #2: Here's the plan unveiled by Mesa today.

  • 15,000 seat stadium
  • city would own stadium and training facilities
  • Cubs agree to take over maintainence of facilities in exchange for advertising rights in stadium including naming rights of stadium
  • overall cost is in the $84M range and should be approved by city council on Monday
  • site yet to be determined
  • The Mesa city manager warns that even if funding is approved, Cubs have yet to formally agree to anything.
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Comments

What is sheer madness is the length of spring training. With all the domed stadiums and southern locations, baseball could easily start real games much earlier. Start the season, rather than end it, with the 40 man roster for the month of March, then cut the roster down by April 15th (tax time-HA!).

The season will end in September with the WS in October, with NO snowflakes during a what always was a summer, summer, summer game.

Point is, clubs, villages and fans will not have to invest so much in meaningless games with huge facilities. Heck, they could go to colleges to work out like the NFL does.

I know this would never happen because it makes too much sense, but I just don't think "Naples vs Mesa" makes for very exciting news. I'm Scott Brown and I approved of this message.

The problem with favoring warm weather cities or domed stadiums in the early part of the season is that those teams will be disproportionately disfavored come the end of the season. Each team needs their 81 home games, and it's not fair for Northern cities with outdoor stadiums to get the bulk of their home games during the pennant stretch.

I think the issue is who gets home games when attendance is higher, which is not April and May. I quick look at interleague play tells us that MLB is much more interested in making money then they are in making sure the playing field is level.

Your reasoning is much more likely, Rob.

Isn't the season six months long? Wouldn't it be possible to make up the imbalance in June and July? Plus games won in April count the same as games won in September.

It also snows in Chicago and Detroit in October.

Rob's right. June & July are high-attendance times. That's the real issue.

Nobody suggested taking June and July out of the schedule. Sheesh.

You are proving my point. Cold weather cities (especially one that plays mostly day games) will get home games in warmer weather when attendance would be higher. Besides, domes like Minute Maid have a TON of Cubs fans there anyway. Even inter league games with Tampa would work. Think out of the box. College teams do this - they are already playing games, and teams from the Dakotas (for example) are in California for this month.

Or are we really talking about the economies of Arizona and Florida?

PS - TRN - HA HA, post season in Chicago in October?!?! Come on, you're a CUB fan...

I think the point being made was that attendance is higher throughout baseball for all teams, and teams that would be forced to take on more games in March/April would lose out on that.

Also, there's a rule of how long a team can be on a road trip which would need to be renegotiated.

There is no way the Brewers will accept more home games in April and May, when the kids are in school, so the Cubs don't have to play in the cold.

at the very least they should cut it down a week, the players would be in favor of it much more than adding mandatory double-headers to the schedule and they could squeeze in a 7-game Division Series then and truncate the playoffs.

of course, I'm also for a 154 game season...

I agree. The 162 game season is too long and the World Series is too late. After all, the 162 game season was brought in to have a balanced schedule in a 10 game league (9 games, home and away, with 9 other teams). Thats out the window, so the specific number of games is no longer important.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog/_/pos...

Gregerson, H. Bell and J. Frasor are of interest...

talked to agent of J. Contreras, interest in Calero not as intense as earlier reported.

The team talked to the agent for reliever Kiko Calero, but they have no interest in him at this point.

moving past Dye, sounds like he wants too much, mention Reed, Nady and Ankiel.

and Crasnick says Cubs interest in Sheets is overblown
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove09/colu...

I've never even heard of those guys, but they seem like nice fits, as long as they don't cost a top 12 prospect. Toronto may have interest in Stevens or Gaub.

Gregerson seems exactly like the kind of guy the Padres would be desperate to keep. He's young, cheap and very effective. Bell makes $4 million this year, and unless Hendry has serious doubts about Marmol, giving up top prospects and taking on the salary seems to make little sense.

Frasor makes more sense from the Blue Jays view, as he will be 33 in August and makes $2.65 million as a middle man who had a career-best WHIP (1.02) last year. This would be the best time for them to move him for prospects, and the Cubs indeed have some up and coming bullpen depth to offer.

Submitted by Seamhead on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 1:31pm.
Gregerson seems exactly like the kind of guy the Padres would be desperate to keep. He's young, cheap and very effective. Bell makes $4 million this year, and unless Hendry has serious doubts about Marmol, giving up top prospects and taking on the salary seems to make little sense.

Frasor makes more sense from the Blue Jays view, as he will be 33 in August and makes $2.65 million as a middle man who had a career-best WHIP (1.02) last year. This would be the best time for them to move him for prospects, and the Cubs indeed have some up and coming bullpen depth to offer.

==================================================

SEAMHEAD: The big differences between Jason Frasor and Luke Gregerson is that Frasor has MLB closer experience and could become the closer if Carlos Marmol implodes, but Frasor also will be a FA after the season so the Cubs would be just renting him unless they sign him to a multi-year deal. I would think the Jays would want Angel Guzman back for Frasor.

I would think if the Cubs are serious about acquiring Heath Bell it's because they don't trust Marmol as the closer, in which case the deal (if it's made) might be something like Marmol & Guzman for Bell & Gregerson. (Gregerson is a Chicago kid, BTW).

Marmol and Guzman for Bell and Gregerson sounds awful to me. I'm still hoping Marmol refines his control at least to the point it was in 2008.

I don't think there's any way the Cubs trade Marmol. They've been very publicly confident in his abilities to handle the closer role, even if the fact that they're shopping for a good RH setup man indicates they're privately less confident.

I suppose Guzman for Frasor wouldn't be terrible, since Guzman's always an injury risk, but we're not really gaining much there -- it's just substituting one good setup guy for another. Guzman's still relatively cheap, esp. if he can replicate last year's performance. If we have to add another nice BP arm, trade true prospects.

Guzman was by no means "Lights out". Particularly after an inning of work. Last year was the first year I can remember in years, he was not on the DL more than 15 days.

So, for me if he's traded and someone comes back who is equal with perhaps less injury history, I'd say sure.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-...

Soriano, Wells and Zito are your nominations...

Anyone got an idea on Theriot's value? I'd kind of like to see them go to arbitration. With him asking 3.4 and the Cubs offering 2.6, we've got a easily rounded number to ponder. Is Theriot a $3 million first-year arbitration player?

if they go to arbitration, it's either 3.4M or 2.6M, there's no in-between. They would have to settle on $3M before the hearing for that to happen. Maybe give him an ASG bonus or other unlikely to attain bonus to make it $3.4M to get him to agree.

Yes. Of course. But if they go to the arbitrator, he would have to decide if Theriot's value is above or below the midpoint--in this case, it's conveniently the nice, round value of $3 million. If Theriot is worth a cent below that, he gets the Cubs offer. If he's worth that or more, he gets his own value.

So again, is Theriot a $3 million first-year arbitration player?

It's impossible to say. The arbitrators can be quite arbitrary, they're not baseball people. He hasn't won any awards or anything, so that's in the Cubs favor. It all depends on who the arbitrator determines are comprable players, and what they got paid.

I would put the liklihood of it actually going to arbitration at around 0.5%, so it's not worth agonizing over. The Cubs don't even go to arb with guys they don't like, and they love Theriot.

"The arbitrators can be quite arbitrary..."

Can I quote you on this one?

Oh wait - I did!

Nevermind...

I'd give him the entire 3.4 million, then call him into the office to tell him he's been sold to a Siberian semi-pro team. Enjoy your season, douchebag!

for all the hell given theriot...and well, he's not all that...

but unlike most of the rest of the crew he's shown up ready to play every day the past 3 years. it's mediocre...it's average...but it's rarely bad.

I would support letting Theriot go to arbitration, but Hendry has a long, proud history of not going to arbitration, so I doubt it would happen.

In a world where Samardzija makes 2.5 mil, they'll probably just give Riot the money. Whatever. It's only $800,000.00

We'll all chip in and buy some extra hot dogs this year.

They don't mediate in arbitration.

The arbitrator either picks the owners figure or the players figure.

No middle figure

The arbitrator must decide if the player is below or above the midpoint between the two values.

All I can say as to paying Theriot $3.0M or more is 'Come on, Starlin Castro and Hak Lee!'

Or I'd rather pay the 'O' dog $3.4M for 1 year.

This is a bit off topic, but does anyone remember if there were any other teams competing with the Cubs for the services of Kosuke Fukudome? I'm trying to remember and I can't think of who, if anyone, was also seriously interested in him.

Padres reportedly offered more money but wanted him to play CF.

Mariners and Royals also had interest I believe.

White Sox also offered more than Cubs did.

Yes, the White Sox reportedly offered more money, although I never read an actual dollar amount. There were several teams in on him.

From Wikipedia:

"Fukudome said in an interview that one of the main reasons he chose the Chicago Cubs over the other three teams trying to sign him to their roster was because he wanted to be the first Japanese player to play for the team."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosuke_Fukudome

Thanks, everyone. It's amazing that I can't remember any of this. It wasn't that long ago.

The Trib is now reporting that the Cubs are staying in Mesa pending a vote by the city council on Monday...

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/

some fun trash talking between major leaguers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrSdNFEm0Dk&fe...

maybe they should put that money into making a game that doesn't have technology from 3 years ago.

thanks MLB for selling exclusive rights to franchise a MLB game. EA sure couldn't do a better job...yeesh...

NSFW - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r66RuVoNmMw

almost as funny

from the link in the update...

The Cubs and the city of Mesa are close to a final agreement on a new Arizona spring-training home for the next 25 years that would include a new stadium, for which the Cubs would have naming rights.

"The Brewers and right-hander Todd Coffey avoided arbitration on Tuesday by agreeing to a one-year, $2,025,002 contract."

ha...he signed for $800,002 last year. good arm on the guy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivNptwIrQkI

"The Mets and OAK might be in the best position to be aggressive, based on the agents' perception of who has money this late in the winter." - buster olney via twooter.

wonder how much that's gonna cost...

$2.5 million.

That is it, he was the final guy who hasn't been mentioned as "on the Cubs Radar". I think his appeal increases in direct proportion to your lack of faith in Soriano.

increases in direct proportion to your lack of faith in Soriano.
---
Soriano has had hamstring/quad injuries which cost him a month here and there... so a replacement for a few weeks could be very important (and I'm not thinking Jeff Baker for that issue) and that's not including Soriano's mystery knee (chondromalacia) problem from last year.

...and lack of faith in Fukudome vs LHP
and the need for a righty off the bench with some pop.

Reed Johnson does offer better defense but if Fuld is the 5th OF, that's not so necessary methinks. But it's all about the price tag.

I don't want Gomes in right, really, at all. It ain't gonna be pretty.

Here's Wittenmeyer's full article...worth reading. Me likee a lot.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

...according to a baseball source with knowledge of the Cubs' interest.
Gomes...is one of a pool of at least five OF's the Cubs are looking at, but comes with the advantages of relative youth (29), a willingness to sign a one year deal to fill the backup role the Cubs have available and a strong desire to play for the Cubs.

"Absolutely," siad Gomes confirming the discussions. "...I'm a big fan of the Cubs, and a big fan of the city -- it's probably on of my favorite cities on the tour, as well as my wife's."

...but (Gomes) feels he's a better fit than some of the other players the Cubs have contacted.

"Most guys are seeking multi-year deals. I think that's kind of where I stand out with other free agents," he said.

and we thought Dye was bad at defense...

Can't we just trade for Jake Fox instead?

No shit. What is Hendry doing?? Gomes is another DH floating around in the wrong league. Jake, on the other hand, was actually quite an adequate corner outfielder in the limited play he got out there last season.

Plus, he's cheap.

And, he can catch.

jake fox looked pretty crappy out in LF, imo.

his play at 3rd was just embarrassing...so much stuff off the hip.

he's got a decent arm, though.

I really don't think he hurt us much in LF , strange routes an all. The infield is another matter entirely. In fact I think his debacle at first base is probably why he's no longer a Cub. Can't wait for Lou to try Gomes there. He will you know.

I'm not defending Fox's defense. I just wondered in what universe he's less desirable than Jonny Gomes, especially at a lower salary presumably. At least Fox is clockwork with the stick.

In the universe where we get rid of Aaron Miles and get two players back for him.

Gomes was a better offensive player than Fox last year by the way.

Well, you might as well pine for Felix Pie, too.

Not a bad 4th OF either.

For some reason I want Dye for 'veteran leadership'. Not a big Johnny Gomes person.

Seriously, did you watch Fox in the outfield last year? He made Soriano look like Joe Dimaggio....

It's a dubious achievement I know, but I watched every game the Cubs played last year thanks to a subscription to MLB TV.

Here's hoping Jonny Gomes has a great year in the outfield if he winds up with us, but I fear he's Jake Fox Bad out there...maybe worse, which may seem unimaginable now but just you wait.

head back over to mlb.com and you can see actually highlights of Gomes making defensive plays in the outfield - though one play in left has a Fox-like route to ball.

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id...

Now check out Jake Fox's highlights... don't look too long though, because his next defensive gem will be his first.

http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com/search/media...

gomes is pretty cruddy in the OF, himself...

we'd probably still have jake fox around if hendry didn't want jeff gray from the A's in that miles/fox trade (or the A's didn't insist on hendry finding a way to make fox part of the trade).

we don't need fox or gomes, though...we got bobby f'n scales. YEAH! BOBBY F'N SCALES!!

Submitted by crunch on Thu, 01/21/2010 - 11:58pm.
gomes is pretty cruddy in the OF, himself...

we'd probably still have jake fox around if hendry didn't want jeff gray from the A's in that miles/fox trade (or the A's didn't insist on hendry finding a way to make fox part of the trade).

we don't need fox or gomes, though...we got bobby f'n scales. YEAH! BOBBY F'N SCALES!!

==========================================================

CRUNCH: Jonny Gomes has one of the worst strikeout rates in MLB. He is a K-machine, especially against RHP. He had a horrendous year in 2008 (182/282/383), earning himself an August demotion to AAA in the midst of the Rays run to the A. L. pennant. He (understandably) got non-tendered after the '08 season, and then signed with Cincinnati. He had a MUCH better year with the Reds in 2009 (267/338/541) than he did with the Rays in 2008, but he benefitted from playing home games in an extreme hitters park (his home numbers were better than his road numbers). And then he got non-tendered (again) by the Reds.

I suppose Gomes would be an OK-passable platoon-partner with Kosuke in RF with an occasional start in LF when Soriano is out of the lineup, but I definitely wouldn't want to sign him for more than one year. If the Cubs were to sign him for one year, he would be eligible for salary arbitration post-2010 (he has 4+097 MLB ST through the 2009 season, so he wouldn't be eligible to be an Article XX FA until after the 2011 season). He alao is out of minor league options.

yeah, im not even touching the bat thing...for all the pop he has he's a 1/3rd chance of a K.

gomes for me is one of those guys i wouldn't mind too much, though, especially on a 1 year deal.

it's either him or dye that can produce that kind of pop (or baldelli if you're really optimistic) still out there to snag. hell, i wouldn't mind either of the 3 as long as they're comfortable just snagging 200-300ab's barring injuries to others. as far as who i'd like the most...i really don't care, they all got their +/-'s when you weigh their talents.

Dye at least is a known clubhouse leader. He's clearly the optimal choice to me IF he's alright with 300 ABs and a reduced salary. He can spell Lee as needed as well and would be the first PH off the bench. And if Soriano goes out for any length of time, well, I'd prefer Dye much more than Gomes or certainly Baldelli.

I have been supporting the idea of getting
Gomes from the beginning. Not because he is the
greatest thing since sliced bread but because he
can deliver the best bang for the dollar
and not be hanging around on a 3 year deal.

The market for OFers is crap and the Cubs have
some payroll coming off the books next year.
Gomes makes sense if your going to target FA's
next year.

The team needs a legit threat against LHP, and
a DH bat. Sam Fuld, Byrd, Baker, Font none of
these people can strike fear into a pitcher.
Gomes can if he is on.

We put up with Glenallen Hill and we loved him.
We can love Gomes as well. And thats the kind of role
i envision him with this team. Unless Bobby Scalles
is what you like in the OF.

Also in Gomes' favor is that he is actually lobbying the Cubs to sign him, and that has worked in the past for other players (see Milton Bradley).

In his interview in the Sun-Times he says all the right things, that going to Chicago is his favorite road trip, that his wife loves Chicago, that he appreciates baseball's history (code word for saying he doesn't care about the lack of player-amenities at Wrigley Field), that he loved playing for Lou Piniella in Tampa when he first came up to the big leagues, that he will play anywhere the Cubs want him to play (and will be happy to even take some ground balls at 1st base in Spring Training even though he's never played there before), and (most importantly) that he is willing to sign a one-year deal for a "fair" salary. I'm surprised he hasn't offered to drive the team bus and help the ground crew on his days off.

And I'm really amazed that Hendry hasn't signed him by now.

"Candyland, a Milton Bradley Game"

one-year deal...

Boras got him a one-year deal at $3.25 million plus another $500k in incentives, so he could conceivably make more than Byrd this year.

Not bad considering the injuries and poor performance of 2009. I'm betting he puts up solid numbers this year in K.C.

That's Theriot-money. Not bad.

Yeesh, if you're white, young, and in the Cubs farm system the fans got your back, no matter how mediocre you are. Give Jake Fox a rest, people. He's okay, but he's no Matt Murton or Sam Fuld.

My dream lineup: Fuld CF, Theriot SS, Fontenot 2B, Hoffpauir 1B, Murton LF, Fox RF, ? 3B, Koyie Hill C, P

But yes, more on-topic, I'd pass on Gomes, too. I think the money would be better spent on a bullpen arm just in case Marmol decides he, again, doesn't want to throw strikes.

Good point Ryno, but who should they spend the $$ on for a bullpen arm?

People making a big deal with Marmol being wild and some wanting him traded.

You would think he turned in a 5.00 ERA season instead of a 3.41.

I get it the walks are high but he doesn't give up many hits and he doesn't give up the long ball. And he can strikeout batters at will it seems like.

I don't think people know how special it is to have a RP who can go 70+ innings only give up 40ish hits and strikeout over 90. If all that blemishes that is a high walk total you guys would be tripping over yourselves to get that player from another team that doesn't want him.

Career stats from your 27 year old closer...

307 IP - 195 hits given up....getting excited now?

How about 362 strikeouts (200 walks) in that span? And a 3.42 ERA (some of it inflated by his starting games in his rookie year).

Not perfect but he is damn close.

The problem I have with Marmol is that pitchers that have a hard time throwing strikes are inconsistent and have a difficult time beating good hitting teams that just wait them out. I would be more impressed with Marmols 40ish hits in 70+ innings if he hadn't walked 65ish batters during those same inninges. A 1.46 WHIP just isn't that exciting.

But as you say Marmol has the potential to be something special so why not role the dice.

You're correct that Marmol doesn't give up a lot of hits, but it almost doesn't matter because he gives up so many walks and HBP. In fact, he led the NL in 2009 among relievers (not just closers) for walks and HBP. I don't think that's the kind of guy you want pitching in save situations.

No, you're right. Maybe I'm a little *too* tough on Marmol because a lot of the games he struggled through last year were very high-tension. And 3.41 isn't bad for a final result, definitely good enough for middle relief. I would like to see a veteran reliever added, still, as a backup plan. Someone who won't blow you away, but be a steady, low drama pitcher in case Marmol doesn't regain his control.

I think Guzman is more than passable as a Closer "backup" option.

His injury problems will likely be less pronounced if he worked strictly a 1-inning closer anyhow.(similar to Kerry Wood)

a 3.41 ERA as a closer isn't very good.

that's would be about 15-16th among relievers with 20 or more saves...and he was beyond lucky to even achieve that.

but he's had better years with less walks so hopefully he can find that groove again

His ERA in september (as the full time closer) 2.84. He was 9 for 9 in saves and a 18/9 K/BB.

I think that those numbers show he will be just fine as the closer.

yes, one month of anything in baseball is always a good idea to come up with firm conclusions.

He's got great stuff, he has little control of it and to quote our pal crunch, "that's who he is".

after 3 years in the league, hitters are figuring out that they don't really need to swing much cause he rarely gets the ball in the zone.

but he's cheap and I do agree that he will be "fine". As for good...not necessarily.

My point was that his numbers as a full time closer were better than they were in the set up role. That combined with his 08 season gives me reason to believe that he will be fine as a closer. He has unhitable stuff, and seems to have the mentality of a closer.

Marmol is getting worse, not better, every year. That's a warning sign to some.

Also his BABIP numbers are not sustainable. He's been lucky, really lucky, and kind of lucky in his three seasons. If you even that luck out he comes to about a 4.20 ERA last year. It's entirely possible that he maintains his K rate, improves his walk and HBP rate and still has a worse season this year.

2007-.260 BABIP
2008- .197 BABIP
2009- .240 BABIP
Well, I'd guess that the 2008 BABIP is unsustainable.
If he throws strikes this season, he should do well. If he doesn't he won't. Simple as that?

Lucky for 3 consecutive years?

Me thinks that it's more so that Marmol is really tough to hit.

he is tough to hit and I do believe BABIP numbers for most good relievers trends lower than what you normally expect (don't quote me on that though). But giving up 1-2 free baserunners an innings is never a good long-term plan and he's not that unhittable.

If he goes back to 4-5 BB/9 innings, he'll probably get by just fine and be up there among the best in the league, but a near 8 BB/9 rate is never going to work. It'll be a disaster.

His career BABIP is .247, better than Nathan, Rivera, K-rod, Papelbon for example

.247 is significantly better, and that includes .265 in his first season.

Rivera: .276
Hoffman: .278
Nathan: .263
Papelbon: .282
F-Rod: .281

Yes it's possible that he is the one guy in the history of the game to control where guys hit the ball, but I wouldn't want to bet the Cubs season on it. Then you factor in that he didn't give up as many HR's as would be reasonably expected last year...

Well, that's a good point Neal. How many HR's would he have been reasonably expected to give up?

3 in 2007
10 in 2008
2 in 2009

Somewhere in there?

his HR/9 rates and HR/FB% are insanely low for 2007 and 2009. They were pretty normal for 2008. So yeah, somewhere in-between....

well I was trying to say that he is still due for a little bit of correction, although not a ton. For the most part I agree with your thoughts on Marmol.

sorry if that was confusing....

Looking at the 2009 numbers for these same closers, here's how many runners they allowed/innings pitched:

Hoffman 50/54.0
Rivera 61/66.1
Nathan 66/68.2
Papelbon 82/68.0
Rodriguez 90/68.0
Marmol 120/74.0

Of all of these pitchers, Marmiol gave up the fewest hits, yet allowed the most baserunners. It could be that Marmol is almost unhittable or it could be that it is unnecessary to get hits against him. In either case, I don't think as closer can be successful long term with the kind of BB and HBP numbers Marmol has.

THat's true...walking that tightrope, Marmol would be hard pressed to be a successful closer.

I'm probably one of many fans hoping Marmol is more like he was in 2007 and 2008 than he was in 2009.

What does being white have to do with it. No prospects were more loved than Pie and Choi, and neither were all that white. Were any Cub players more loved than Banks, Williams, Jenkins or Sosa.

If race is a factor with anyone, it is with you.

Sosa was trade to Baltimore in 2005 because he was booed so loudly at the Cubs Convention that Hendry realized he wouldn't be able to survive the season with the Cubs fans.

I think it's a stretch to say that Sosa was traded because the fans boo'd him. Sosa was beloved during his time with the Cubs. But towards the end, he fell out of favor in the clubhouse as well as with the front office.

Considering how badly his performance fell off once he left the Cubs, I've often wondered if the Cubs front office found out about his steroid use and moved him because of it.

I think you give the fans far too much credit. They don't have the kind of clout it takes to force the Cubs to make personnel decisions.

I'm sure that it never occurred to the front office that Sosa might have used steroids until 2005.

He only used them to stay healthy. Low doses.

So you looked at this sequence of events:

1. Hendry tries to trade Sosa
2. Hendry announces that he's not going to trade Sosa because he can't get good value for him
3. Sosa is uproarously booed at the Cubs convention
4. Hendry trades Sosa for little value, after saying he wouldn't do that

and you can't figure out what the catalyst for the trade was?

You're fooling yourself if you think MLB teams make personnel decisions based on a few fans booing. I can't tell you specifically why Sosa was traded, but it wasn't because of a handful of disgruntled fans.

Also, it's a fairly weak argument to suggest that Hendry said one thing and then did another, so it must be because the fans were unhappy. Believe it or not, Hendry's not the first GM to say one thing but do another. In fact, I think it's in the job description.

Chirinos gets top billing for his exploits in game 1 of the VWL championship series.

With 5 postseason HRs and 17 RBI in 15 games to add to his gaudy regular-season numbers, Chirinos should (one would think) bring the VWL MVP award to Mesa with him next month.

The VWL has a 15 post season games?

Yeah, they play a lot of games. Chirinos appeared in 48 of the team's 63 regular-season games. Then came a 16-game round robin (Chirinos played in 14) and now a best-of-seven championship series. Here is the team's website if you're interested. Click on Estadisticas.

Baseball is a 12-month grind when you're a 25-year-old minor leaguer.

It's not the majors but there's a big pool of players and they don't waste time on you. Ask Felix Pie about being sent home, or, more recently, Jim Adduci. Jake Fox tore it up for Licey (Dominican league) last year and it was a precursor of big things with Iowa and (to some extent) Chicago.

last year's top winter performers

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

you win some, you mostly lose some

I can't read the subscription article beyond Jody Gerut but I assume it focuses on offensive numbers without regard to defensive position or ability. The key for me with Chirinos is that he's a catcher and that Jim Callis named him the top organizational catcher defensively, which was high praise alongside Castillo and Brenly. Of course, Callis could be wrong, but he's answering the right question. The recent numbers just tell me that Chirinos can swing the bat. So could Fox and Hoffpauir, and a lot of good it did them. But if you're a top defensive catcher and can swing the bat, you can play in the majors.

Look at Koyie Hill, a crappy hitter who earned 69 starts last season.

chirinos is legitly worth looking at though the verdict is still out on whether he can catch 100+ a year.

jody davis helped him turn a corner a couple years ago, legit. his plate approach is fresh.

right now he's still bench-filler as a ceiling, but it's only been the past 2 years his ceiling has been redefined.

the real bonus right now is he wasn't moved from infield work because of his glove (he was/is still an infielder along with catching) and he can cover at least 2nd/3rd along with C.

see you on the bench in 2011 if you can beat clevenger and wellington castillo out.

I admire your ability to get excited about a guy who spent most of last season at Daytona after nine years in the Cubs system.

Sosa was traded to Baltimore due to Baltimore being on the coast, thus its proximity to ships of trade. This gave him an advantage in choosing his next boombox as many, many models were available to choose from.

BTW, I was at the Ball Park in Arlington when Sammy hit his 600th. The Rangers posted a few ushers and usherettes to pass out commemorative flyers of the 600th occasion. By the time I got to the front of the line, the 30,000 were gone, which was interesting since there were only 12,000 paid in the park. I'm wondering, what do these commemoratives go for these days? Has anyone seen them on e-bay?

I'd prefer a baseball card of the man who gave up the 600th homer, a one Mr. Jason Marquis.

I'd prefer a baseball card of the man who gave up the 600th homer,
---
who was wearing Cub uniform #21 at the time.

Baseball Symmetry, Catch It.

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