TCR Friday Notes

I just wanted to thank Sweet Lou and Aisle 424 once again for their guest posts last week. Be sure to visit their blogs on a regular basis as well. I had one more guest column lined up, but the server issues last week preempted it. The plan is for it to be up next week.

Speaking of the server issue, everything seems to be working smoothly once again. Or at least it has since Monday when I got back. Anyone still having issues connecting? We did have to upgrade to a higher server package at three times the cost, so I'm now forced to take on advertising on my body parts for $5 a pop.

- The Cubs made some roster moves today, Marcus Mateo, John Gaub, Jeff Gray adnd James Adduci were optioned to Triple A. Darwin Barney, Bobby Scales, Robinson Chirinos were assigned to minor league camp leaving 33 in camp. It appears James Russell will be added to the 40-man roster and make the team (a 0 ERA in spring will do that for you) and Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva will be the starters, leaving the bench as the final puzzle to be solved.

Starters: Soto, Lee, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome

Starting Pitching: Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Gorzelanny, Silva (who has actually pitched decently since his first outing)

Bullpen: Marmol, Grabow, Berg, Caridad, Marshall, Samardzija, Russell

Bench: Hill, Nady, Baker with Hoffpauir, Blanco, Fuld, Colvin, Millar and Tracy fighting for those last 2 spots in theory.

If I'm keeping track correctly, that also leaves Mike Parisi, Chris Robinson, Ted Lilly and Angel Guzman to round out the 33 with Lilly and Guzman set to start the year on the disabled list. The Cubs are probably trying to work out a deal to keep Parisi is my guess(or move him to another club) and Robinson is just around to have an extra catcher.

- Say hello to new Cubs blogs, Cubs Locker and Cubbery: 100 Years and Counting. That makes 53 on the Cubs blogroll on the lower left sidebar. I don't know much about Cubs Locker, other than they've been around since 2006 so I guess they're not that new, but Cubbery is written by smalbrecht who many know from Parachat on game days. I'm not sure if he's paying residuals to Chad or not.

- Great quote discovered by Cubnut by Duke coach Mike Kryzewski on his seniors not living up to expectations:

“Just judge people for who they are right now. We are not the Yankees.
We’re not – thank goodness we’re not the Cubs, who are my favorite.

- I can't remember if I linked to this before, but here's Alex Eisenberg's look at the Cubs farm system from Baseball Intellect and his top 15 Cubs prospects.

  1. Starlin Castro
  2. Hak-Ju Lee
  3. Brett Jackson
  4. Josh Vitters
  5. Jay Jackson
  6. Andrew Cashner
  7. Chris Carpenter
  8. Kyler Burke
  9. Ryan Flaherty
  10. D.J. LeMahieu
  11. Dae-eun Rhee
  12. Logan Watkins
  13. Chris Huseby
  14. Chris Archer
  15. John Gaub

- 10 minutes with Bill James and 1200 words on heart and Nomar Garciaparra from Joe Posnanski.

- Morgan Ensberg has a blog and it's really well-done. He, like everyone else in baseball or who talks about baseball or has ever watched baseball, has an opinion on Milton Bradley.

- I want to get up our yearly Cubs prediction contest by Monday. What would be some good questions? Here was last year's questions if it helps.


First player/coach ejected? I can't remember what all questions we had last year - or who won.

Is the FA contest done yet?

I added the link to the post and below if that helps. I gave Jermaine Dye until Opening Day to sign for the FA contest.

I actually do have prizes lined up for both, just have to verify the results when I get a moment.

FA Frenzy '10 entries

TCR Prediction '09 entries

I do know that I'll make the total wins a tiebreaker question this year.

"Number of Chicago Cubs IP for Samardzija?"

"Number of Zambrano meltdowns?"

Which will we see first: ivy on the walls or the same old 'new' Zambrano?

Just heard Bruuuuuuuce on ESPN Chicago.

Bench decisions will be made March 31st.

Berg indeed did not get the pen spot and Russell did - he confirmed via Lou.

Also, a Lou sound bite was played where he said, "All four guys pitched well this Spring (meaning Fat Boy, Wide-Out, Gorzy, and Marshall). I am just not impressed with Wide-Out, but who knows? Maybe Greg Maddux will teach him how to develop one more pitch and create more movement? Ha! We'll see in due time.

Should Silva and Gorzo both pitch equally - what happens when Lilly returns???


Justin Berg, he's a right handed relief pitcher. AZ Phil has him listed under the auto-renewal guys on the right hand side of the page.

Kidding aside, I have lost track. 5 starters, Marmol, Grabow, Russel, Marshall, Smardijia, Russel ... doesn't that leave room for Berg or Gaub?

well Gaub got sent down today and Berg had already made the bullpen, hence my question mark.

I'm assuming E-man just got the name mixed up.

Geez maybe I did. I was pretty caffinated.

It doesn't make sense to me that both Berg and Russel will make it.

What I gathered, unless I did get the names f'd up, is that Berg will be down, and Russel up.

Maybe AZ PHIL can straighten this out?

as the post reads:

Starters: Soto, Lee, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome

Starting Pitching: Zambrano, Dempster, Wells, Gorzelanny, Silva (who has actually pitched decently since his first outing)

Bullpen: Marmol, Grabow, Berg, Caridad, Marshall, Samardzija, Russell

What doesn't make sense?

Maybe he meant Parisi...

Nope. That makes sense now. I guess I was not sure how many pitchers the team would be carrying to start the year. Also, I was thinking (always a source of trouble) that no way would Lou want two rookies in the pen.

Lou likes rookies. Soto, Fontenot, Hoffpauir, Wells, Caridad. Koyie Hill was a rookie or near-rookie in 2007. It depends who they are. He didn't like Pie. He liked Fox but couldn't figure out a position for him.


I like "Fat Boy and Wide-Out", remeniscent of Jay and Silent Bob. You may even want to go with "Wide-Out-Side" for Smardijszia.

"Wide-Out Side"

I like it.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 12:37pm.
I like "Fat Boy and Wide-Out", remeniscent of Jay and Silent Bob. You may even want to go with "Wide-Out-Side" for Smardijszia.


REAL NEAL: I believe "Fat Boy" and Wide Out" were the two A-bombs the U. S. dropped on Japan in '45.

AZ Phil made another funny!

Historical/pop cultural note for those who are unfamiliar (i.e., I'm going to explain the joke now):

From Wikipedia at

Fat Man and Little Boy (a.k.a. Shadow Makers in the UK) is a 1989 film that reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret Allied endeavor to develop the first nuclear weapons during World War II. The film is named after the nuclear weapons known by the code names "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", and also potentially as a reference to the portly Gen. Leslie R. Groves and the seemingly much younger Robert Oppenheimer, the respective military and scientific heads of the project, who dominate the film.

Also a Simpsons reference:

"Fat Man and Little Boy" is the fifth episode of sixteenth season of The Simpsons and the last new episode of 2004.

Weren't those atomic weapons?

Yes. You are correct.

1 hour til CHC/OAK on WGN...replay at 9pm (Eastern) on MLB Network.

Just what I needed - another reason to go to Hooters after work instead of the gym.

"Unless we make a deal," manager Lou Piniella said. "Remember, (general manager Jim Hendry) and Randy (Bush), are both working hard to get us an experienced right-hander. So, if we do anything, that would be the final spot. If not, yeah, Russell is in line."

mentions Berg is in as well

Cubs projected for 2nd on 4 of the 6 systems, 4th on 2 of them. All in the 80-win range.

I really need to take a good luck at this - we talk here a lot about the 2008 Cubs - but the 2008 Cardinals were a 4th place (an 86 win 4th place) team. I just am not seeing a talent gap between them and the Cubs. Essentially these systems are saying that the Cards without Pujols are as good as anyone else in the NL Central. Does anyone really believe that?

why the hell is Soriano starting over Colvin?


Yay! Good answer! Good answer!

heh...jake fox and epat are out of options for the As.

well...WGN has their "bad music" CDs to play on tap. they're ready for the regular season.

btw, this 80s revival is played out, but given the kids i run into, work with, and teach on campus there's a hell of a selfish "me me me" streak going on to match the 80s media revival. no one wants to get involved with anything,'s a very "spectator" lifestyle.

I am probably just getting my young whipper-snapper phase on, but man it seems like kids today are more self centered than I ever remember... any they have the attention span of chihuahuas on meth.

i'm seeing less kids smoking, less overall bitching, kids more focused on their education, but they seem to lack even a shred of imagination or adventure unless the adventure is some "package" they can buy into.

even without the bitching many seem to be on a real "take it!" streak and are willing to walk over people to do it. too many aren't good at it and either don't follow it through fully or just end up causing drama because of it.

When we were kids we played with sticks and dead racoons.

Then Atari 2600 came out.

my family was too poor to have sticks and dead raccoons...we just sat on the floor and breathed oxygen. we made a game of it, seeing how many imaginary balloons (too poor for balloons) we could blow up.

then we found an atari 2600 that someone threw away shortly after buying it because it was a flaming piece of crap. we broke it apart to use as sticks to kill raccoons with. good times.

Oxygen? Rich bastard...

No kidding. We had to 'water down' our oxygen with nitrogen and other bits of junk. Couldn't afford the pure stuff...

When we were kids we played with sticks and dead racoons.
when I was a kid I had to walk 2 miles to school in sub-zero weather without earmuffs only to find school was closed. as expected, my ears fell off.

Then they invented the radio, so they could announce school closings.

Later on, I went to a Hot Tuna concert and stood next to the speakers and couldn't hear for weeks, of course without ears, nobody knew.

Then you must have been ecstatic when they invented contact lenses.

Taping/stapling your glasses to your head had to get old after a while.

Rob: Len just mentioned that Tracy and Hoff are battling for the last "spot." I don't know if he misspoke or if you missed something. But your projection looks right to me.

if millar already has a slot locked up before

we already got a not-ready-for-D nady on the bench.

My personal opinion is that any combination of Rob's candidates other than Fuld and Tracy is a mistake.

Most of you have probably read about this guy in one of my previous posts, but here is about 8 minutes of video from the first time in the minors when he (a switch pitcher) faced a switch hitter. The confusion that ensues is very funny, but we also get to see how he switches from one hand to the other... Am I the only one that is fascinated by this???


That's a sweet gimmick and likely to get him noticed, but my guess is the lefty-on-lefty, righty-on-righty advantage is probably outweighed by him actually learning to pitch well from one side.

Sitting around 88-89 MPH in this relief appearance. I was present at his debut in 2008, and he ran it up to 98 that day. His delivery looks to slow to me right now; I'd like to see him amp up the windup, especially out of the pen, but maybe that exacerbates his control problems. An uneventful two outs so far.

he was hitting low/mid-90s earlier in ST games, fwiw.

You can't really judge based on the TV gun. It could be reading really slow. Or in 2008 it might have been reading really high.

Rob --

Thanks for the shout out and the opportunity to write a guest post. I appreciate the opportunity.


nice one least you didn't walk him.

nice follow up by giving up a least you didn't walk him.

nice follow up by giving up a least you didn't walk him.


More reasons why Hendry is looking around to see if he can get another closer/set-up dude.

God damn! I saw that too. What a pile of shit as Fuky tries to score on a shit pop-up off the bat of Millar. 1-out and 2nd/3rd. Terrible.

I really do not want Millar on this team.

Can't they ,just hire a part-time comedian if they need a "clubhouse lightener" so bad? Or, just have Seinfeld on?

in a tie game, too. i don't care how many of these guys got tee-times.

I know it's just Spring Training, but that was a shit play. It's also the type of play where someone gets hurt. That was a really awkward slide by Fukudome.

yeah, it took him a while to get theriot getting up late on an awkward play earlier it wasn't too nice until they got up and walked off.

In my brain, everytime I see Millar I'm going to hear the Seinfeld music now.

Can't you see him in an episode as Kramer's brother? that's the real reason we had to get rid of milton?



Baseball prospectus taught me earlier in the off-season that the third base coach should have been fired if he didn't send Fukudome in that instance:

I'm not a subscriber, but if I get the idea of where they're going, is BP actually suggesting there's a 50/50 chance of a runner scoring on a sac fly? Do they present any data?

Even if the data says the runner scores 50 percent of the time, sending the runner more often will only lower that percentage.

I might not be understanding that article fragment, but from what I see, it doesn't make mad sense.

The guy essentially said that you should always send the runner from third regardless of how deep the ball was hit or who it was hit to, because the marginal value you get from the run scoring (having one run with 1 out is a little better than having no runs and a guy on third with 1 out) always justifies the chance of him getting thrown out.

Fukudome getting throw out yesterday was a classic example of why the writer is a moron - because he said "only 10% of runners get thrown out, therefore the runner should always go, no matter what", not realizing that the 10% that get thrown out are on balls that are hit shallow like the one yesterday.

The real reason that it was a stupid call, though, is because you risk hurting Fukudome and the catcher in a fucking spring training game.

The sac fly should at least make it into the outfield. IIRC, the ball Fukudome was sent home on barely made it out of the infield.

"Ken Griffey Jr. hit a walkoff grand slam off Kip Wells as the Mariners edged the Reds 6-5 on Friday." couldn't that one have been on tv.

I'm guessing Waivin' Wendell Kim had a two headed coin.

Recent comments

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  • crunch 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • My guy Addy

    jacos 3 hours 40 min ago view
  • oh, another a.russell HR...whatever.

    crunch 3 hours 55 min ago view
  • Dylan Cease throwing gas tonight for the Emeralds. In first three innings, has hit 100 mph six times, averaging 98 mph

    Eric S 4 hours 13 min ago view
  • Can I get a gif of Joe West's jowls waving as he chews gum?

    /Asking for a friend

    jacos 4 hours 37 min ago view
  • my gawd...that castillo-to-bryant pickoff was a thing of beauty. the knock on him in the minors being slow out of the crouch is looking less like a thing.

    crunch 4 hours 49 min ago view
  • bless your heart. *pinches cheeks*

    crunch 9 hours 46 min ago view
  • real shame I missed this week's episode of The Crunch Reporter.

    It's highly unusual.

    It does matter a little.

    It matters much less than you think.



    Rob G. 9 hours 48 min ago view
  • four winds field is awesome. it's crazy how minor league parks have "grown up" since the 80s/90s and that park was one of the late-80s models that showed a low-capacity ballpark could look like you're at something other than a highschool baseball game.

    crunch 10 hours 54 min ago view
  • On another topic....I returned to South Bend last night for the 2nd time this season (still haven't tried either the deep-fried mac & cheese sandwich nor "The Porknado", as the drive home is over an hour and that could get ugly), and was pleasantly surprised to find D. Underwood pitching in a rehab start. He looked good -- although, to be fair, these are low-A hitters -- fastball consistently at 94-95 (if the SB scoreboard is to be believed -- several pitches were clocked in the 30s...) and with good location.

    billybucks 12 hours 2 min ago view
  • he gains nothing, no advantage, no saving of resources, nothing...there is not a cost/benefit tradeoff...him letting the running game go on around him for others to control isn't gaining him an advantage elsewhere. it's putting him at a disadvantage even if it's not cashed in with a run.

    crunch 14 hours 42 min ago view
  • And out of respect for the rest of TCR, I'm done on this. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the other camp, but time to let it go. (Until the next Lester start. I kid.)


    Tito 14 hours 46 min ago view
  • He is putting himself at a disadvanage. But how much of one relative to the rest of his game? He's not Justin Germano -- he's inarguably one of the best SPs in baseball, issue or not. It would be more of thing to discuss ad nauseum if it constantly caused him to give up runs and lose games. But it doesn't.


    Tito 14 hours 55 min ago view
  • shouting down my points about lester with "well, it didn't hurt" is like saying it doesn't matter if a guy starts out walking 3 guys every inning as long it's followed by a K and a double play.

    it's like elevating ERA and wins to a high level while ignoring what it took to get there.

    crunch 15 hours 1 min ago view
  • I'm asking how much it has hurt Lester and the Cubs this year. Do you have that answer?

    I legitimately don't recall you answering that quesion, apart from the condescending silliness you just posted. So if you did answer specifically about the impact of Lester's issue, I'd like to re-read it. Thanks.


    Tito 15 hours 14 min ago view
  • if runner = on base and pitcher = j.lester then lead = large

    if lead = large then probability of extra base on following hit > average of mean

    okay, enough of that silliness... can read more on the thread i copy/pasted this from the last time you decided you needed to talk to me about me.

    crunch 15 hours 21 min ago view