Dear John

We had some laughs, some good times last year, you milked $7.5 million out of Hendry despite a rather pedestrian major league career because you throw from the left side. Let's just part ways now before anyone gets hurt any further.

20/20 Hindsight: Heading into the bottom of the 7th, the Braves had *Heyward, *McLouth, Pinch-Hitter for Medlen, #Cabrera, Prado, #C. Jones, *McCann coming up. Lou went with Sean Marshall in the 7th, probably with the hope to go with Grabow in the 8th and Marmol in the 9th. Marshall gets Heyward and McLouth swinging and pinch-hitter Matt Diaz to pop up. It took him 13 pitches to get through the inning. He's now thrown 3.2 IP of perfect baseball in 2010, facing 11 hitters and striking out 7 of them. He's clearly pitching well to start the season, dare I say brillianty. I mention in Parachat that Lou should just stick with Marshall (his spot wasn't due until 9th in the top of the 8th) but he would never do it and would probably go to Grabow or possibly Caridad and Grabow. This is the "safe" thing to do as far as managers are concerned. Use your relievers in defined roles and one inning at a time regardless of the situation because that is what is expected and you have to answer less questions in the post-game press conference if things go wrong because you followed the "book".

Lou goes to Grabow to turn Melky around.  Melky is about 50 pts worse OPS-wise from the right side in his career, so good move to have a lefty, although he would have had the same advantage with Marshall. Cabrera grounds out to Theriot. Next up is Prado who has a 28 pt OPS advantage when facing lefties, although his iso slugging is even better - 186 to 115. Lou could have also left Marshall in to face Melky, then go to Caridad to face Prado and then bring in Grabow to face Jones. Prado doubles and next up is Chipper.  Chipper is worse by about 60 pts OPS-wise from the right side although still north of .900 for his career.  Grabow falls behind 3-1 and then leaves a change-up up in his eyes with first base open and the lefty Brian McCann up next (759 OPS vs. lefties compared to 896 vs righties). Game over.

The Good: Ryan Dempster goes 1-2 with the bat including making contact with the bases loaded that led to a Troy Glaus error to score the first run of the game.He strikes out 9 from the mound in 6 innings, including retiring the last 11. Soriano goes 2/4 including a double off a Jurrjens slider in his first at-bat. According to MLB Gameday, Soriano sees 12 fastballs, 5 change-ups, 4 sliders and 1 curveball.

Ex-Cub Watch: Rich Harden's line: 3.2 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 H, 5 BB, 8 K

Milton Bradley: 1/3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 HR

Ronny Cedeno: 2/5 with the walk-off RBI single

Next up: Tommy Hanson vs. Randy Wells tomorrow night as Cubs try to avoid the sweep. I expect to see Jeff Baker and possibly Tyler Colvin in the lineup.


But it looked to me like Uncle Milty let a deep flyball nearly drop on his head and it cost the Mariners the game.

didn't see the close-up, play was up against the wall though. Did look like it was catchable if he jumped but I'll have to wait for the replay.

Catching it would have been a nice play. It hit the scoreboard over his glove. Not Soriano-bad, but not Milt's finest hour defensively.

2 RBI's for Bradley = the month of April with the Cubs, right?

r.davis just took a homer away from bradley at the wall on the run...dude has some serious speed.

As I type, Uncle Milty is 1/11 on the year. His only hit is a home run.

If you recall, last year he started 1/12 and his only hit was a home run as well. Of course he then went another dozen at bats without a hit and bottomed out with a BA of .042.

I was at the Cubs games last night. Dempster was a little shakey initially, but settled in nicely. I must have heard a thousand Braves fans ask, "What's the deal with flipping his mitt back and forth?"

Soriano did not look good. His double was on a check swing that went over Glaus' head and down the first base line. Most of the people around me were confused as to why they played the theme to Happy Days every time Soriano came to the plate. Finally, one guy said it was because the restaurant in Happy Days was "Al's." Everyone was satisfied. I just buried my head in my hands.

Speaking of music, they played "Mr. Roboto" by Styx (Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto) every time Fukudome came to the plate. I don't mean to be overly sensitive, but that seems slightly racist to me.

Ramirez did not look particularly good at the plate. I know it's early in the season and I only saw one game, but I was hoping for more (like a homerun everytime he came to the plate).

To say that Mike Fontenot is short is doing a disservice to short people everywhere. He honestly looks like someone's little brother when he's out on the field. Standing next to Troy Glaus (who is a really big guy), he looks like a ventriloquist dummy (No offense, Mike). When he scored a run, he went to give Derrek Lee a high five and I swear he had to leave his feet to do it.

Xavier Nady was hitting some bombs during batting practice. Not so much during the game.

Marshall and Caridad looked good (I think the Atlanta announcer mispronouced Esmailan). Grabow looked like a guy who would rather be somewhere else.

Turner Field is a pretty nice ballpark. I think I'll try Cincinnati next.

Since they're obviously into the deep nuances of "Happy Days," I thought they'd play it for Samardzija. Jumping the Shark, don't you know. LOL re people not getting it for Soriano though.

I don't think that's too sensitive re Fukudome. It's not like "Mr. Roboto" is his nickname or something (not that that would be a great thing either); it's clearly a reference to his race, and a cheesy, childish, ignorant one at that. The man is one of many Japanese ballplayers, not a circus freakshow. Not that I expect much from the Braves on this kind of thing.

I'd be cool with it if they used Polysic's JRock version

The Roboto racism charge is a stretch.

so you're saying a team named the Braves that does the Tomahawk chop might not be the most racially sensitive?

hmmm, this needs further investigation.

Speaking of the whole Braves thing, there was a guy walking around the ballpark in full war paint and head dress. He walked around the stadium giving a psuedo-war cry and taking pictures with a bunch of people. I assumed he worked for the Braves. As it turns out, he's just a fan that comes to most of the games. He apparently doesn't watch much baseball. He's too busy walking around the concourse getting his picture taken,

In the South???

I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in here.

Your Claude Raines is impeccable.

Wait...what Claude Raines line are you quoting? Not N x NW?


I think you are thinking James Mason.

Claude Rains was not in North by North West

Thanks. Indeed. I thought Claude was in another Hitch film.

Hey Rob..I'll bet I can get you to gamble?

We will be in Cincy Friday for the tremendous Silva inaugural outing. Homer Bailey has shown improvement, so this could make for some tiresome "1908" chants, Ron Santo has no legs observations, and goat jokes. Nevertheless, we will withstand that and the temps in the mid-forties to see our beloved team. The girlfriend will be sporting a 1969 Ernie Banks jersey. I iwll be wearing football weather clothes.

If this is your first trip to Cincy, the ballpark is nice. There are good views everywhere. Try the Skyline chili if you want to sample the local fare. Just remember, Cincinnati-style chili is sweet, not "hot." The beer is a little overpriced ($8) for the market. You can get the cheapie beer I think for $4.50-5.

If you see Marty Brennaman punch him in the sack for me.

May I add another former Cub's line from Tuesday? Felix Pie, 1-4 .250

Also, Mcgehee could certainly haunt us this year if the trend continues.

We will see him in Wrigley next week.

If McGehee keeps this up, there will be many of us wondering what we missed when evaluating him as a prospect. For example, everyone but the Brewers.

The next order of Business for the Ricketts is to remove Jim Hendry's ability to hand out contracts. Especially those longer than 1 year.

Or just fire him finally...just a thought!

Nice to know I can go back to scrolling through Manny's posts and not miss anything.

Can we assume the there will be a fine coming when an umpire (Joe West who I believe is still active) calls the Red Sox and Yankees a "disgrace to baseball" for slow play?

he's right.

okay, disgrace is a little strong, but wtf are they doing those games?

Oh, I agree with his conclusion. It is just that if a player or manager calls an umpire a disgrace after a clearly blown call they are fined and maybe even suspended.

The Braves and Yankees hitters take a lot of pitches, probably more than any other team, so guess what happens... the games go longer.

West isn't half as bad as the local sports guy here who was calling for the games to be shorter, but not the Sox-Yankees games - since those are premium games they should go longer. He just wanted the Royals vs Nationals games to be done in 2 hours.

Fat Joe is THE WORST ump working now. should have retired years ago and the union protects him.

But what a singer "Country Joe" is.

What are we fighting for'd?

better get millar into the clubhouse for some stand-up before the chemistry set explodes [see my tongue in my cheek?]...what is the track record w/ 3 year pacts for middle relievers? and do other teams give multi-year deals to their coaches, a la rudy & i believe larry? santo's in mid-season form already...

5 yr/30M+ extension with Brewers

Seems like a good deal, if he can stay healthy for most of it.

Does it go into effect this season or next? If it begins next year it will buy out arbitration and 2 years of Free Agency. If that is the case then the Brewers did really well here.

Gallardo will receive a $1.25 million signing bonus as part of the new deal. He'll make $500,000 this season -- as opposed to his previously-renewed contract of $450,000 -- $3.25 million in 2011, $5.5 million in 2012, $7.75 million in 2013 and $11.25 million in 2014. The option for 2015 includes a $600,000 buyout.

buys out arbitration and 1-yr of free agency with a club option for the 2nd-yr of free agency.

not sure I'd risk buying out too many pitchers under 25 myself...

Look for a Fielder signing sometime soon as well...


Not so awesome for the Brewers then. 11.25 for year one of Free agency and an unknown figure for year 2 of potential free agency. Not Jim Hendry terrible, but not Evan Longoria level bargain either. 5/30 from 2011-2015 would have been much club friendlier.

2015 option is $13M fwiw or $600K buyout.

That backloading that $30 million doesn't make sense to me. The overall figure seems fair, but unless the brewers think they have a shot at it for the first 3 years of that contract and not the last 2 years, I don't see much point in the actual distribution of dollars.

it's just an anticipation of what both parties expect to be made in arbitration and free agency. Gallardo takes a little less overall for guaranteed money over the next 5+ years. The Brewers get cost certainty and possibly save a few million as long as Gallardo doesn't blow out his arm.

a team getting to keep millions and draw it's interest (or have to account for it's existence) vs. paying it out now makes sense in the long run.

it sucks when they pile up all together at one time, but it generally only sucks if the gambles are bad ones.

putting off paying out 10-15 million bucks over the next 3 seasons is a nice chunk of change for the club.


Still think the Brewers should have gotten an extra year out of Gallardo in the deal. They are the ones taking on most of the risk.

the front loaded contract screws with people because they see it in the NFL and NHL (usually with older players), but the only team motivation behind it is the salary cap.

you're just not gonna see a lot in baseball front-loaded. there's not much incentive unless the GM has money for the year he has to spend that year...which is kinda rare.

The motivation should be the ability to have money in following years. If not for all the backloading on this roster, we could have seen much more activity this offseason.

However most GM's are more worried about keeping their jobs today, than they are about worrying about tomorrow.

That makes sense.

I was thinking that the Brewers should just pay him 2-3million more in his first two years so that in that last year he wouldn't have an untradeable contract if he didn't become an ace. But if they want to trade him in that last year and he's only worth $9 million according to the team they want to trade him to, they can just send that cash along then. So the banking direction makes sense. Thanks!

Sweet jeebus... guess picking up Dontrell Willis for this start against KC was a bad idea... 1 IP, 21 pitchs... 8 strikes. 2 of those strikes were hits. My fantasy team is having about as good of a start as the Cubs are having.


the only delivery he can repeat the past couple seasons is his car route to the ballpark.


Suffice to say I was playing the weakness of KC more than I was the strength of Willis. So much for that plan.

Johnny Gomes walk-off HR to beat the Cards, Pirates gonna lose as well.

Cubs are back in this thing.

If we can win today we'll be just a game back with 159 to go. We should be able to make that up - how many head-to-head games with the Cards and Pirates are remaining?

not sure, but tonight's an absolute must-win.

i'm registering and

if they lose my sharp wit will let management and cubs-nation know what's up.

Rudy Jaramillo really dropped the ball last night.

i swear, the guy is worse than hitler and my imaginary 3 year old could do a better job helping my imaginary 90 year old grandmother hit a baseball.

rage rage rage rage...

theriot, fukudome, lee, ramirez, byrd, Colvin, Baker, Hill, Wells

if lou is smart about this Colvin thing, he'll rest Fuku and Byrd the next 2 games and give Colvin 3 starts in a row (Bailey, Harang, Leake scheduled this weekend)

rain right now in Atlanta, shows it should subside by game time though.

Yes, the more Colvin, the better.

Hardy vs. Pineiro (3/14 for his career but b2b games with HR's) or Sean Rodriguez vs the lefty Brian Matusz.

Should have gone with Hardy last night, but Snider did have a decent game so no big deal. I'm leaning towards Rodriguez at the moment.

-edit- M. Byrd vs. T. Hanson is also an option, but wasn't giving Byrd much consideration for tonight.

Micromanaging matchups is like changing numbers in roulette, it's a sure road to insanity.

goes deep for third straight game...

I will applying my Scott's Wrigley Field blend grass seed to my lawn this week end.

~yes, I am a lemming~

awesome, make sure to keep the grass high when you have a sinkerballer going that day.

"make sure YOU'RE high"


I will write a report and keep a running diary for all you green thumbs.

enjoy your name-brand kentucky bluegrass seed ;p

for those with very hot or very long summers (southwest), this is one you might want to avoid. it's a cool season turf that likes a lot of water.

I hear TCR just qualified for a study of baseball fans by socio-economic status.

turf is area-specific unless you want to work really hard and waste a lot of water.

it's probably a mix of kentucky bluegrass and perenial ryegrass. if you're a cubs fan living in SoCal or similar you don't want to be planting that, though.

they're also selling fertilizer branded with the MLB teams, too.

imo, they should have done a better job making sure people know these turfs are area-specific before it causes headaches for people. they do state this, but it's one caveat you have to look for a bit as far as i can tell.

It's a good point, crunch, and I support consumer rights activism (especially when based on spreading info). If anything, the sociological study should be done on baseball in general, and the sale of turf grass should be part of it.

Charles Nader?

That's awesome, jacos. I'd do it but with 6 acres it would get a bit pricey. Plus, Obama says the era of excess is over.

Chicago Cubs
Signed: 1B Micah Hoffpauir*
Released: RHP Todd Blackford, RHP Dan McDaniel, RHP Arismendy Mota, RHP Julio Pena, RHP Jake Schmidt, 1B Kevin Millar, 3B Derek Helenihi
Added to 40-man roster: LHP James Russell, 1B Chad Tracy
Optioned to Triple-A: 1B Micah Hoffpauir, OF Sam Fuld
Option transferred: RHP Rafael Dolis and RHP David Patton (Double-A to high Class A); RHP Marcos Mateo (Triple-A to Double-A)

damn, nothing to show for Todd Hollandsworth.

pushed back to Sunday with a stiff back.

Z will pitch Saturday.

looks like Nady will get a start tomorrow in the OF, I presume for Fukudome, although I thought he was going to play LF unless Soriano is getting b2b days off.

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  • 2nd in defensive WAR, NL.

    6th in NL in RBI

    Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.

    The E-Man 12 hours 24 min ago view
  • Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.

    billybucks 13 hours 39 min ago view
  • Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.

    billybucks 14 hours 23 min ago view
  • There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!

    billybucks 14 hours 23 min ago view
  • Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.

    billybucks 14 hours 25 min ago view
  • Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.

    Jackstraw 14 hours 28 min ago view
  • Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.

    Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.

    billybucks 14 hours 29 min ago view
  • Baez still learning

    jacos 14 hours 56 min ago view
  • heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.

    he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.

    crunch 16 hours 50 sec ago view
  • stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.

    that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.

    crunch 17 hours 6 min ago view
  • brock stewart...steven times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.

    crunch 17 hours 55 min ago view
  • Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.

    VirginiaPhil 22 hours 26 min ago view
  • video of Maddon.

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 1 day 13 hours ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 1 day 13 hours ago view

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 1 day 13 hours ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 1 day 13 hours ago view