Fruit Basket Upset!

fruit


Ideally there would be 32 teams divided equally between the four American time zones. We ain’t got that so here’s an alternative to shoot down on Day One of the Great Void…


Three 10-team leagues; left, center & right, constituted as follows:


LEFT = Angels, Dodgers, A’s, Giants, Padres, D’backs, Rockies, Rangers, ‘Stros & M’s


CENTER = Cubs, Sox, Royals, Cards, Twins, Reds, Tribe, Tigers, Brewers & Jays


RIGHT = Yanks, Bosox, Mets, Phils, Bucs, O’s, Nats, Braves, Rays, Marlins…


Every team plays the nine others in its league 18 times each…


Best record in each league + next seven best winning pct.’s regardless of league to post-season


The top six rest while 7/10 & 8/9 meet in best of 3 series; then seed 1 thru 8 according to regular season records…


Quarterfinal series = best of 5; semi’s & WS = best of 7…


The Mostly Stars game? Who cares? Not the players. DH? Outta here! Tradition/history? See Cooperstown…


I think, theoretically, any two teams could potentially match up in the WS; an intriguing possibility even though we know that, practically speaking, there’s one team that is doomed to never make another appearance.


Sorry, Rob, no more regularly scheduled west coast trips for the Cubs, but everybody saves on travel costs and makes America just that much less dependent on foreign oil.

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Comments

Interesting idea, but I hate a best of 5 so I wouldn't go with 10 teams. I think 8 is fine but would rather have all the series be 7 games and knock the season back to 150 games.

Since we're already dreaming geographically, I would break up the teams like this:
First, Contract the Mariners and Twins

West: Giants, A's, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies
South: Royals, Cardinals, Rangers, Astros, Braves, Marlins, Rays
East: Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Orioles, Nats, Jays
North: Brewers, Tigers, Cubs, White Sox, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

Or just east and west, 15 teams each or contract the Marlins or Twins, or whoever. Fuck it, contract the Cubs. That would be the right thing to do at this point

http://www.wsjh.ilc.edu.tw/goodsite/mlb_teams...

Contract the Cubs and put us out of our misery.

Is anyone else completely lost? What is this post about?

fantasy realignment

my favorite prospect update today was passan's article on bryce harper...him wanting to be in the MLB allstar game in 2012 and the reasoning behind his outfield-to-homeplate throw in the Futures Game being that he wanted to make a top-10 fielding play highlight list.

it's been a while since baseball had an ego this huge that could actually back it up.

rickey henderson was a decent team guy, at least. heh. ...not to say b.harper isn't since he's been signed...i dunno, really.

or the astros could just jump to the al west & leave it @ that...

Yes, an odd number of teams in a league is supposed to be a problem, but they could just schedule one interleague game on most days.

"I don't know if the Oakland Press columnist Pat Caputo is tapping into his sources or if he's just blowing smoke, but he's got a rumor so we'll pass it on:"

http://patcaputo.blogspot.com/2011/07/tigers-...

http://www.blessyouboys.com/2011/7/11/2269823...

baker and r.johnson should be 2 of the most wanted cubs guys...low money and trade liability for guys that can play multiple positions.

well if they want a 3b, the Cubs have someone else that won't suck...

Dombrowski and Hendry are buddies, so rumor might have some legs.

Considering the low prospect cost and low money owed, Reed and Baker should be easy pieces to move to get boring players back.

from George Ofman's twitter

Aramis Ramirez claims he won't waive no trade clause even though several teams really want him.

looks like he got his 10/5 rights sometime in early 2009 fwiw

That is unfortunate.

Don't know if I would entirely believe anything George Ofman reports, personally.

Mr 3/44

Aramis Ramirez went 10/5 on June 4, 2009.

The 2012 $16M club option supposedly becomes guaranteed and he supposedly get a $1M assignment bonus if he waives his "no trade" and gets traded, so A-Ram really should consider it more carefully before saying no.

BTW, the Diamondbacks would probably be the best fit for Ramirez (they need a 3B who can bat clean-up, they claim they intend to be buyers at the trade deadline, and they supposedly have available payroll to spend both this year and next year) and perhaps the best trading partner for the Cubs, too (with the D'backs having a power-hitting 1B prospect like Paul Goldschmidt at AA). The Diamondbacks also reportedly have expressed interest in acquiring Kerry Wood (he used to live down here in the off-season and I am pretty sure he still owns a house down here), so if he does agree to a trade (although not likely), Arizona might be the one place he would consider.

I would think that the Texas Rangers may have an interest in acquiring Carlos Marmol (especially with an eye toward moving Neftali Felix to the starting rotation next season). The Rangers have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and so the Cubs could probably replentish at least some of what they lost in the Garza trade if they could work something out with the Rangers. And trading Marmol might make sense if the Cubs do indeed intend to move Andrew Cashner back to the bullpen when he comes off the DL. (Cashner was the #1 closer in college baseball at TCU in 2008). No question Marmol is unhittable at times (especially over the final month of the 2010 season), but he also has the lowest save % and leads the league in blown saves (among N. L. relievers with at least seven saves) in 2011.

With 24-year old Welington Castillo hitting 298/360/542 at AAA Iowa in 2011 and having thrown out 53% of opposing base-stealers (8-15) while picking-off three more since 6/18 (he began the year with a sore thumb that affected his throwing), and with Geovany Soto in line to make at least $5M in 2012 (his second year of arbitration) and a FA post-2013, the Cubs might be inclined to move Geo at the trade deadline if they get a decent offer for him. The Giants are the obvious contender in need of a proven #1 catcher (what with the season-ending injury suffered by Buster Posey), although Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh are supposedly looking for an upgrade at catcher, also.

And finally, Reed Johnson has tremendous value as a cheap, veteran, first-rate 4th OF and almost certainly will get traded, and because he can play 1B-2B-3B-LF-RF, Jeff Baker should definitely draw some interest from contenders, too.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/174282813...

the guy that runs Boys of Spring trying to get money for his documentary. apparently you get more stuff, the more you pledge.

Hope the documentary is edited better than the little trailer sales pitch...

probably an AZ Phil question, but I'll throw it out to the crowd...

Why did the Cubs release Aaron Shafer this year?

2nd round pick in 2008, good numbers and peripherals for the most part until 34 IP in AA last year. Gets cut during the spring...

Goes to independent ball for a bit and then Braves sign him in June and he's got and he's got a 2.34 ERA so far for their AA team, although the walk rate is up and the K's down. But they've got him back as a starter as well...

I assume it's some loss of velocity thing, but just wondering. $625K signing bonus in 2008, seems like a quick hook.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

http://www.talkingchop.com/2011/6/1/2200624/b...

Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 5:37pm.
probably an AZ Phil question, but I'll throw it out to the crowd...

Why did the Cubs release Aaron Shafer this year?

2nd round pick in 2008, good numbers and peripherals for the most part until 34 IP in AA last year. Gets cut during the spring...

Goes to independent ball for a bit and then Braves sign him in June and he's got and he's got a 2.34 ERA so far for their AA team, although the walk rate is up and the K's down. But they've got him back as a starter as well...

I assume it's some loss of velocity thing, but just wondering. $625K signing bonus in 2008, seems like a quick hook.

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

ROB G: I guess it was a quick hook, but remember that Aaron Shafer is pitching for the Braves at Lynchburg (Hi-A), and he did well at Daytona (Cubs Hi-A) last year, too, before moving up to AA Tennessee at mid-season.

The Cubs released five pitchers from the Tennessee squad the last weekend of Minor League Camp (RHPs Aaron Shafer, Alessandro Maestri, Mike Perconte, and LHPs James Leverton and Chris Siegfried). The quintet lost out in a battle for AA Opening Day jobs to starting pitchers Trey McNutt, Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera, Chris Rusin, and Brooks Raley (who were virtual locks to be the Smokies Opening Day starting rotation), and relievers David Cales, Kyle Smit, Luke Sommer, Blake Parker, Ryan Buchter, Marco Carrillo, and Hung-Wen Chen.

In retrospect, while it's entirely possible that the Cubs made a mistake in releasing Shafer instead of Parker, Carrillo, or Chen, it's more likely that the mistake was drafting Shafer as high as they did in the first place. Despite really good numbers at Daytona last year, he has just marginal stuff, and he pitched just OK as a RH middle-reliever at Tennessee.

You have to remember that Shafer is pitching for the Braves in Hi-A, and although the Cubs could have also sent Shafer back to Hi-A (again) when he failed to win an Opening Day roster slot with Tennessee, they apparently decided to go with younger prospects at Daytona with higher upsides than Shafer, Maestri, Perconte, Leverton, and Siegfried. (So Whitenack, Struck, Rosscup, Kurcz, and Wallach won jobs in the D-Cubs Opening Day starting rotation, and Rhoderick, F. Batista, Beliveau, Latham, Lorick, Searle, Ebinger, and Rhee were selected for the pen).

I guess the best explanation for the Cubs releasing Shafer is that he pitched poorly at Minor League Camp and failed to win a job at Tennessee, and was not considered for a return trip ticket back to Daytona because (by all appearances) he mastered Hi-A last year and had nothing more to prove there. His job at Minor League Camp was to convince the Cubs Player Development staff that he belonged at AA, and he just plain failed to do that.

http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/07/11/...

The Red Sox are reportedly interested in Matt Garza. Rogers says that Garza is “high on the list.”

Rumor comes from Wrongway Rogers, so there you go...

I wonder if Hendry would actually trade Garza, even if we were offered a great package by the Red Sox. It would make his trade for him plainly look ridiculous (i.e. Cub fan realists like me who thought we had no chance to contend when the trade was made thought the trade was silly at the time...this would confirm to everyone that it was poor move).

Of course, this is from Rogers, so there is no chance this experiment will be tested.

if he got a "great package" from the Red Sox, how would it make him look ridiculous?

if he made them take Soriano and got 3 B-level/3-4 star prospects, he'd look like a fucking genius.*

just getting 3 B-level prospects and maybe some roster filler would make it a wash and they may get something better out of it.

but it ain't gonna happen.

*(of course if you think the Cubs gave up more than 3 B-level prospects for Garza, then you may have a different opinion. I'm using Sickels and BP rankings).

they're probably into garza for another season or 2, anyway...he's not a bad guy to have around. he won't be 6m next year, but he's not a guy with a sketchy arm. they don't have to go multi-year with him or even consider it yet if they don't want to...i smell backloaded 3+ year deal, though.

Ridiculous in that Hendry traded prospects for Garza just a few months ago as an important piece for contending in 2011 and in the coming years, yet gave up on that idea just 3 months later.

And I do believe they gave up more than B-level prospects...Archer is still only 22, and Lee and Guyer's production this year certainly have raised their status.

but if he theoretically got back an equal or better package in a deal, why would you find it ridiculous?

wouldn't you be happy that he improved the team, even if in an unconventional way? or are you so enamored by the prospects traded away?

BP: Archer 4-Star (#70 overall), Lee & Guyer 3-Star, Chirinos (Honorable Mention)

Sickels: Archer & Lee B, Guyer B-, Chirinos C+

So let's say Cubs get Jose Iglesias in a deal, plus 2 other top 10 Red Sox prospects, wouldn't it at the very least be a wash?

BA had Archer at #27 going into the season, which is B+/4-star ranking imo

Lee's improved his stock so far this year, Guyer probably a bit, while Archer and Chirinos are going the other way.

all hypotheticals...Garza's going nowhere because as you noted yourself, the deal was for more than just 2011. Marginally good news for Cubs is that the bad defense and bad luck will keep Garza's price down next season.

If he got a great package, it would be ridiculous because of such a radical change in plans in a limited amount of time.

Players are not like stocks and bonds where you buy them and then trade them shortly thereafter when their price increases. This is particularly true when the trade is veterans for prospects -- you trade prospects for veterans to compete for the division/post-season; in other words, such trade is based on a team-wide understanding of the plan to contend for the current and near-future seasons at the expense of future performance of prospects. Such thoughts should underline the entire organization and their efforts -- all free agent signings and other moves would be based on this understanding. For example, it would not have made sense for the Cubs to give up prospects to get Garza in the offseason but then trade Marmol and Ramirez for minor leaguers.

Yet, if we trade Garza (or any other productive veterans like Marmol or Aram) at the break, it is demonstrating that Hendry's trade for Garza in the offseason was ridiculous, a move to get a terrible team to contend that should have never been made. And even after the trade, the team was so bad that the plans for contention that would underline the team's plans for the current and near-future seasons would have changed in just 3 months.

That is why I believe Hendry would look ridiculous if he traded Garza right now, even if he received good prospects in return. I still am in favor of it happening, understand if you disagree with my point and, unfortunately, am fully resigned to the fact that this trade will not occur.

Kapman decides to go full Jay Mariotti on Aramis Ramirez on his twitter feed.

Aramis Ramirez bypassing the All Star Game is ridiculous. You have a responsibility to the fans and if you respect the game you go. Brutal.

The Cubs cannot bring Ramirez back next year. You have to change the culture and he is not the type of player you want to rebuild with.

and then

Let's be clear here: Jeter is just as guilty as Aramis for bypassing the All Star Game. Both guys are healthy and both played all weekend.

I'm sure he really feels that way.

fwiw, Ramirez claims that if they asked him a day or two earlier, he would have gone, but he had made plans to see his family by that point.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

Brett Jackson & Ryan Flaherty promoted to AAA Iowa?

http://www.micubs.com/resources/view/source-b...

I wonder if Ha moves to Tennessee. Sczur will likely take over CF there, so either he moves to a corner or moves back to Tenn (where he played earlier this year for a few weeks).

with perez released and Ojeda gone, makes sense.

Ha's done very little since April, could be Evan Crawford, who has been a little more consistent.

Logan Watkins has nice numbers over the last month and a half to take Flaherty's spot possibly.

In Bruce Miles latest blog he confirms the Jackson & Flaherty promotions.

And says Ha has been promoted to AA.

i vote for those moves! much rather see bj & rf than fp & ao...

Arizona Phil, I like Soto, but would not be opposed to trading him for some good prospects. The main problem is that Hill would catch the rest of the year and I could not stomach that. I belive we should write off this year and play guys that might figure in the mix for next year. However, Q -ball would play veterans. If he played Nady and Hill last year to get the job, he would play equally inept veterans this year to keep it. That is how he would think, but I would not agree. Last year I would rather have seen Hoffpauir and Castillo play every day.

Submitted by TJ on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 7:50am.
Arizona Phil, I like Soto, but would not be opposed to trading him for some good prospects. The main problem is that Hill would catch the rest of the year and I could not stomach that. I belive we should write off this year and play guys that might figure in the mix for next year. However, Q -ball would play veterans. If he played Nady and Hill last year to get the job, he would play equally inept veterans this year to keep it. That is how he would think, but I would not agree. Last year I would rather have seen Hoffpauir and Castillo play every day.

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

TJ: While it's true that Mike Quade would probably not want to hurt his chances of remaining Cubs manager by playing a lot of rookies, it's also possible that Quade won't be the manager for much longer, and that an interim manager who knows the Cubs farm system in-and-out and who would have zero chance of remaining manager into next season will take his place. And then that guy will play the rookies. Perhaps somebody like Cubs Minor League Field Coordinator Dave Bialas.

Hendry is also going to be trying to retain his job. Do we think HE is going to mandate the playing of kids?

Although if kids play and one or two of them perform well, that actually could help Hendry keep his job.

If we had any that were any good?

hendry kicked muh dog and it up n' died.

:(

also, everyone in the cubs minors...except the allstars that were traded for garza...are worse than neifi perez with a broken leg.

What exactly is keeping our booty of phenoms from leading us to our return to glory?

Being traded to the D-Rays.

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 11:57am.
What exactly is keeping our booty of phenoms from leading us to our return to glory?

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

DR AARON B: The Cubs might not have any phenoms in their system, but the scouts I've talked to from other organizations all say that they believe the Cubs have more future major leaguers in their minor league system than any other MLB organization.

Not necessarily future major league stars, but future major leaguers.

When you do nothing buy develop Bullpen,Utility and Backups. You can champion the quantity over quality arguments.

I'd rather develop 3-5 Stars over 10 years than the 6-8 Augie Ojeda's that we do.

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 12:59pm.
When you do nothing buy develop Bullpen,Utility and Backups. You can champion the quantity over quality arguments.

I'd rather develop 3-5 Stars over 10 years than the 6-8 Augie Ojeda's that we do

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

DR AARON B: Starlin Castro is a pretty good player, and so is Darwin Barney.

Brett Jackson, Welington Castillo, Ryan Flaherty, D. J. LeMahieu, and Matt Szczur are all likely future frontline MLB players, too. While there may not be a Hall of Fame superstar among them, they aren't Augie Ojeda Redux, either.

Trey McNutt (season derailed by blisters and a rib injury) and Rob Whitenack (TJS) are the only two pitchers in the Cubs system who appear (at least at this time) to be Top of the Rotation starting pitcher prospects, but that can change as other pitchers further down the line mature and develop better command, throw harder, develop a new pitch, or whatever.

Andrew Cashner might still be a starting pitcher, and if he is he could be a top of the rotation guy, too.

I appreciate the optimism and I always respect your opinion. I just don't share the sentiments in most of these cases.

Castro is a nice young player. However how useful will a 760 infielder be once he starts getting into arbitration and free agency money?

Darwin Barney is a 25th utility guy on a good team IMHO. Not enough On base or power to play in the live ball era.

Jackson seems to have some nice upside.

Rest of those guys just kinda feel MEH-ish. Just some flawed names for us to grasp onto when the Cubs are in suck/mess mode.

I do hope you are right and I am wrong however? Time shall tell?

However how useful will a 760 infielder be once he starts getting into arbitration and free agency money?

Raise your hand if you think Castro is going to have a 760 OPS in 2014.

Where is the growth in his game going to come from?

Is he going to be a Sosa 2.0? Is he going to triple his walk rate?

The best "tool" in Castro's arsenal right now is youth,Age related to league, and cost controlled deal.

Do you really think a 22 year old Castro is as good as he is likely to get?

I think he will tighten up his game to an extent.

I think he will become a better fielder.

Probably will end up being more fundamentally sound.

Don't think he's ever a .350 OBP guy though.

Don't think he's going to be a 20 Homer guy.

Probably going to be relegated to 750-800 OPS's forever.

Good player to have. AWESOME to have cheaply. Not sure a guy to be paying 5/75 beyond 2015 though?

Shrug, he's better than Jeter so far.

Jeter isn't worth 5/75 either.

I say that Jeter at his peak was FAR superior to what Starlin Castro will ever be.

it's too early to come to many of the conclusions you've come to anyway.

handicaping kids this young is hard...ones already in the majors is even harder to find a ceiling on.

no one has a clue if he's a renteria or a jeter yet...no one's expecting an arod or anything.

I think Renteria is probably the best case ceiling.

He isn't getting on base enough to be Jeter. Doubt he ever has Jeter Power.

Oh man, I would love it if Castro could be a Renteria. Renteria is admittedly my wet-dream shortstop. He's one of the best at getting after the ball and making the extraordinary plays. Very rarely will he miss a routine play.

That said, Castro has a long long ways to go if he wants to be a Renteria.

My wet dream shortstop is Marissa Miller

lol. Touche, sir.

Well, no baseball player is "worth" what he gets paid, if you think Jeter wasn't worth $15 million when he approached 1000 OPS...

If that is his ceiling that would be so bad.

That said, while these are clearly puff pieces, hopefully these guys are better at predicting the future.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

And from Castro's own mouth:

“I want to be better,” Castro said. “Better than I am now. Like a super, superstar. You know, a Hall of Fame player, like that. I want to be that.”

At least the guy has goals.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

I like Castro and Soto better than anyone on the Current Cubs team.

I just think we over rate them (and our prospects in general) Because the whole franchise is a shit-show right now.

My only hope is that Ricketts has enough and cleans this whole thing out. Crane Kenney down to Koyie Hill.

Nobody should be safe.

I agree that this team has numerous problems, and any and all trades should be considered. Actually I believe this was my point regarding why the Cubs shouldn't sign Dunn, and I believe TRN's point about not liking the Garza trade. Why polish the apple when the core is rotten.

I actually think the Cubs ownership gets this, but for various reason (e.g. ARam not wanting to be traded) I just think it is going to take longer than we fans would like for them to turn the ship around.

Submitted by Rob Richardson on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 3:13pm.
I agree that this team has numerous problems, and any and all trades should be considered. Actually I believe this was my point regarding why the Cubs shouldn't sign Dunn, and I believe TRN's point about not liking the Garza trade. Why polish the apple when the core is rotten.

I actually think the Cubs ownership gets this, but for various reason (e.g. ARam not wanting to be traded) I just think it is going to take longer than we fans would like for them to turn the ship around.

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

BOB R: It's in a Cub fan's DNA to be a pessimist, but I will just point out that this time last year the Arizona Diamondbacks were where the Cubs are right now, and they have turned it around, and they did it very quickly.

Of course getting rid of a moron GM (Josh Byrnes) and an unqualified manager (A. J. Hinch) had to happen first, but once that happened the turnaround came really fast.

As for who Ricketts might turn to if Hendry does get canned, I would say Joe Garagiola, Jr (the GM and architect of the 2001 AZ Diamondbacks World Series championship team and presently a Senior VP with MLB) might be a possibility. And current Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has a Cub connection going all the way back to the Dallas Green regime in the 1980's, and he will probably be looking for a job pretty soon.

joe sr. fills in for mark grace sometimes in the booth during some of grace's Fox commitment weekends...fun stuff.

He was a .347 OBP guy last year. Down this year, but not sure why you see .350 as out of the realm when he came close as a rookie. (He's at .341 career.)

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 1:55pm.
I appreciate the optimism and I always respect your opinion. I just don't share the sentiments in most of these cases.

Castro is a nice young player. However how useful will a 760 infielder be once he starts getting into arbitration and free agency money?

Darwin Barney is a 25th utility guy on a good team IMHO. Not enough On base or power to play in the live ball era

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

DR AARON B: I disagree about Darwin Barney's value. While he may be a utility infielder on the Yankees, Red Sox, etc, he would be an upgrade and the everyday SS on about ten MLB clubs right now, and that's where his value lies. At shortstop. That's why I keep saying that he will probably get traded at some point, because his future is at shortstop.

If he remains with the Cubs, I believe Barney will probably eventually be pushed into a back-up role, presuming D. J. LeMahieu takes over at 2B (as is anticipated). The only way Barney will remain an everyday player is if LeMahieu can't handle the everyday duties at 2B, or if the Cubs decide to move Starlin Castro to 2B (his best defensive position) and play Barney at SS.

I also strongly disagree about the "live ball era" thing. The "live ball era" is dead. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Brady Anderson and Jose Canseco are gone and aren't coming back. There are at least a dozen MLB teams right now today in 2011 with #1 shortstops who lack even Darwin Barney's offensive skills, and so Barney should have a lengthy MLB career as a starting SS (presuming he gets to the right team).

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 11:57am.
What exactly is keeping our booty of phenoms from leading us to our return to glory?

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

DR AARON B: Every scout I have talked to says the Cubs have more future major leaguers in their system than does any other MLB organization.

While that might not lead the Cubs to glory, it should make it possible for the Cubs to build from within should they wish to go that route.

That's what most of us thought last year when they named Q interim manager, that he was holding the spot and was going to play the kids. When we found out he would be considered, most of us still didn't think he had a chance. Last year when we were driving in the car and I heard the line up with Hill and Nady I would get upset and my wife would say why should I care because they suck anyway. In any event, I would rather see both Jacksons, Coleman, LaHair, Colvin and others playing at this point. I do acknowledge that some of these guys don't deserve a promotion, but a premium should be put on seeing what we have. Some guys step up when they get promoted, see Randy Wells. We never thought he would stick. Now we are probably seeing the real Randy Wells, but he rode it for awhile.

If you call them up now, and they suck, they still burn their pre-arbitration eligibility.. if they only get good in 2015 would you rather pay them $800K and have them for four more years or $2 million and have them for two more?

Exactly!

I'd rather push some of these guys to AAA. Let them play against the top level of ML competition. And use the callups on proven 4A guys like LaHair, and fringe prospects like Spencer and Flaherty.

Hope some of those guys can surprise going forward. Then you can add in our "Premium" C+/B prospect when they are ready.

I think Flaherty isn't a fringe guy, he should have a legitimate chance to be a regular or at the least, a very good supersub.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 12:54pm.
If you call them up now, and they suck, they still burn their pre-arbitration eligibility.. if they only get good in 2015 would you rather pay them $800K and have them for four more years or $2 million and have them for two more?

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

REAL NEAL: Not that the Cubs care, but players don't burn their pre-arbitration eligibility and/or six years of team control by getting called up in August and September.

Oh, I know, but if you call them up in July from AA this year, then send them down, then call them up for 97 days next year and then send them down, etc it adds up, rather than just springing them onto MLB as a fully developed big-league ready player.

Submitted by TJ on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 12:21pm.
That's what most of us thought last year when they named Q interim manager, that he was holding the spot and was going to play the kids. When we found out he would be considered, most of us still didn't think he had a chance

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

TJ: Mike Quade was the Cubs 3rd base coach prior to being named interim manager and he apparently thought (and rightly so, as it turned out) that he could prove to Hendry and Ricketts that he was a genuine viable candidate for the Cubs 2011 managerial job by finishing strong over the last two months of 2010. And having the players solidly on his side helped a lot, too.

On the other hand, Dave Bialas is the Cubs Minor League Field Coordinator, and so his motivation in playing the kids would be to show that the guys he has been in charge of developing into major league players can actually play in the big leagues.

In the case of Jim Hendry, 2011 is a lost cause, and there is nothing he can do to address the Cubs future in 2012 and beyond until the off-season other than making trades to acquire prospects and/or young MLB players and then giving them and the Cubs own prospects a chance to play in the big leagues over the last month or two to find out who is ready to play in Chicago in 2012 and who is not.

Hendry is not going to save his job by trading Geovany Soto and then having Koyie Hill be the Cubs #1 catcher. The only way he can avoid getting fired post-2011 is by making whatever deals he can for prospects and/or young MLB players in the coming weeks and by showing Ricketts that at least a few of the Cubs better prospects (like Welington Castillo, Ryan Flaherty, Brett Jackson, D. J. LeMahieu, Chris Carpenter, Jay Jackson, et al) are ready to step up and help the Cubs in 2012. If he can't do that, I believe he will be fired.

Arizona Phil, thanks for your responses. How are draft choices decided between Hendry and the draft guy. In other words, who is to get most of the blame or credit? Does Hendry hire the draft guy, does he direct him, or is he not responsible. If young guys come up and perform well, does it reflect well on Hendry, or not necessarily so and can it save his job?

Also, I like LeMathieu, but am not sure where he can play unless he developes power. He may be a lot like Matt Murton, i.e., good hitter for average, no power, no speed and lousy defense. Although Murton had the ability to draw walks, I don't think LeMathieu does.

Submitted by TJ on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 2:14pm.
Arizona Phil, thanks for your responses. How are draft choices decided between Hendry and the draft guy. In other words, who is to get most of the blame or credit? Does Hendry hire the draft guy, does he direct him, or is he not responsible. If young guys come up and perform well, does it reflect well on Hendry, or not necessarily so and can it save his job?

Also, I like LeMathieu, but am not sure where he can play unless he developes power. He may be a lot like Matt Murton, i.e., good hitter for average, no power, no speed and lousy defense. Although Murton had the ability to draw walks, I don't think LeMathieu does.

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

TJ: Tim Wilken runs the June Draft. He makes the picks. It's his draft. Hendry develops the overall philosophy for a given draft ("get me high-ceiling high school kids," or "get me close-to-ready college guys," etc), but it's Wilken's call as to who actually gets selected.

Wilken mainly relies on his area scouts and national cross-checkers to provide the scouting reports and info he needs to make the picks, but he will usually scout the guys considered for #1 or #2 picks himself (for example, Wilken personally scouted Hayden Simpson, but only after Cubs Arkansas Area Scout Jim "Crawdaddy" Crawford recommended him).

Occasionally one of Hendry's lieutenants (Oneri Fleita, Randy Bush, Gary Hughes, Dave Litlefield, et al) will push some guy they really like (for instance, Matt Cerda was recommended by Fleita after he personally worked Cerda out as a catcher at Cerda's HS), but mainly it's the area scouts & national cross-checkers who provide the reports and recommendations (called "turning a player in").

Hendry isn't responsible for making the picks, but he was responsible for hiring the guy who does, so that's where Hendry's accountability lies. That and the overall organizational philosophy. (BTW, Hendry and Wilken were buddies at Dunedin HS, and Fleita played for Coach Jim Hendry at Creighton).

But Wilken is only responsible for scouting in the U. S. & Canada. International scouting (Pacific Rim, Latin America, and Europe) is under the direction of Oneri Fleita and Paul Weaver. Wilken has nothing to do with that.

As for D. J. LeMahieu, as a hitter he reminds me most of Jeff Baker, or maybe Ryne Sandberg pre-1984. If DJLM can learn to turn on the ball and develop pull-power (as Sandberg did when Jim Frey showed him how to do it), he will be a premier player. He is the best pure hitter in the Cubs minor league system. Just that alone will get him to the big leagues. At the very least he will be Jeff Baker Redux.

As to what position LeMahieu will play, right now I would project him as an offensive-first 2B (as Baker was early in his career). I wouldn't say he's a slow runner, he just has below-average speed for a middle-infielder (who usually have above-average speed). He also absolutely murders left-handed pitching, so he's a lot like Baker that way, too.

Thanks AZ Phil, informative post.

Selig stuff...

extra wild card team could happen by 2012 playoffs, likes ASG determining home field advantage (that makes one person), CitiField likely to get 2013 ASG (that hasn't been decided yet?), possible modest replay expansion specifically mentioning "bullets" down the line

also some Reds rumors about Ubaldo Jimenez and deciding if they're buyers or sellers

http://mlbbuzz.yardbarker.com/blog/mlbbuzz/ji...

says more support for 1-game Wild card playoff than 3 game series at the moment...

didn't address possible realignment? question: if cubs were in a division by themselves would they finish first or last?

about to mention that, only thing I saw was that nothing would happen before 2013.

15/15 leagues seems to have a lot of support from players

as you mentioned earlier about the Astros moving, Selig may want to grease those palms before he approves the sale.

I think if my math is right, that's 6-8 interleague series that each team would have to play.

My math could very well be wrong.

question: if cubs were in a division by themselves would they finish first or last?

-------

It doesn't matter, they wouldn't make the playoffs :)

They would make the playoffs, but get swept in the first round

That's goofy. If they are serious about a second wild card they should shorten the season and make it a 5-game series.

the idea is to make winning the division important again...I'm all for it.

I hadn't thought of it that way- Makes sense. Also, it makes teams like the Orioles, Rays, and Jays much more relevant.

Okay, I'm on board.

Az Phil-

Have you gotten a chance to get over to any of the AZL Cubs games recently? I am curious to know if the team down there is just beating up on bad pitching or if they are just hitting the living tar out of the baseball. Geiger, Easterling, and the couple Latin kids (Hernandez, Amaya, Zapata, the pitching) seem like they could all use some challenge down there, but that could very much be a product of bad pitching. For anyone else, have we heard any rumblings on signing top ten round draft picks?

Submitted by W Flag on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 2:07pm.
Az Phil-

Have you gotten a chance to get over to any of the AZL Cubs games recently? I am curious to know if the team down there is just beating up on bad pitching or if they are just hitting the living tar out of the baseball. Geiger, Easterling, and the couple Latin kids (Hernandez, Amaya, Zapata, the pitching) seem like they could all use some challenge down there, but that could very much be a product of bad pitching. For anyone else, have we heard any rumblings on signing top ten round draft picks?

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

W FLAG: Taiwan Easterling needs to move up to Boise ASAP. He is too advanced to be playing in the AZL.

Dustin Geiger caught fire the final three weeks of Extended Spring Training and has not stopped hitting (and hitting for XBH power). I had thought that both Geiger and Wilson Contreras would get assigned to Boise at the end of EXST (with Geiger and Contreras taking turns rotating back-and-forth between 3B-1B, as they did at EXST), but the early signing of Paul Hoilman meant only one of the two could go to Boise, and that was Contreras. But it's only a matter of time before Geiger gets moved up, and I actually wouldn't be too surprised if he even got a "jump promotion" to Peoria, since there is nobody blocking him there. Geiger is rising up the charts with a bullet.

As for Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Oliver Zapata...

Amaya is a pure hitter with a line-drive stroke. A lot like D. J. LeMahieu in that respect. He's a below-average defender, though, and is probably limited to playing 2B-3B (his best position is 3B).

Marco Hernandez is a SS (right now), and while he has the range to play there, he might not have the arm to stay there long-term. Hernandez is a switch-hitter (he learned to switch-hit at AZ Instructs last fall), and while he really drives the ball LH (even showing occasional HR power at EXST), he is more of a slap-hitter when he hits RH (although he does hit for a decent average RH). But he's just a very good all-around hitter, even better than Amaya. And Hernandez has decent patience at the plate, too.

Oliver Zapata reminds me (physically) of Kirby Puckett. He's a bowling ball with plus-speed and a good eye at the plate. VERY patient. He's a good hitter, but he has no HR power because he has consciously tried to shorten his swing to make more-consistent contact. Zapata was doing great as the AZL lead-off hitter until Taiwan Easterling arrived, but I would think that Zapata will go back to the lead-off spot once Easterling gets promoted. Zapata plays all three OF positions, and while he has a plus-arm, he is a below-average OF defender (almost Alfonso Soriano-like at times), although it's certainly not for lack of effort.

BTW, Dong-Yub Kim may be the worst defensive OF I have ever seen, and I have seen some bad ones over the years. Unfortunately he's a really lousy defensive first-baseman, too.

Thank you Phil.

As for Kim, how does he look as a hitter? Does he have speed?

Submitted by springs on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 5:23pm.
Thank you Phil.

As for Kim, how does he look as a hitter? Does he have speed?

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

SPRINGS: Dong-Yub Kim is a big strong kid with plus-power. He struggles to make contact, though, and he isn't especially patient, either, so he has a ways to go.

He had a plus-arm (true RF arm) prior to undergoing labrum surgery last year, but now he doesn't throw very well and is limited to playing LF or 1B. He has average speed or perhaps even slightly below-average speed.

Baseball America has added McKirahan to the list of signed.

ROUND 21 (639): Andrew McKirahan, LHP (U. of Texas)
R/L, 6'2, 195, 21 years old
COMMENT: College junior... Lefty reliever... 3.05 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 5/13 BB/K in 20.2 IP and 20 games (all in relief) for Longhorns in 2011...

DeVoss was suposed to happen any day now... ten days ago. Baez is said to be close. Vogelbach is probably an 8/15 guy, if at all. Tony Zych threw at Wrigley a few weeks back, but nothing was really said after that.

From Bruce Levine's weekly chat:

Bruce Levine (1:10 PM)

That could be the case if Pena is traded. The Cubs already have good left-handed pitching in the pen. Gaub is certainly on their radar. ****** The Cubs may have a decision to make on Koyie Hill in the second half. I've heard San Francisco is interested.******

http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chicago/chat/...

- S. Castro ran for T. Tulowitzki
- S. Castro stole second
- S. Rolen struck out swinging
- S. Castro stole third

..unf

Regarding a post I put up recently about Cubs highlight videos, I got a response from mlb.com and a link to Cubs videos dating back to 2005 (though they say they've changed their encoding process and not all videos may work):

http://mlb.mlb.com/multimedia/tp_archive.jsp?...

That still didn't answer my question about finding links to videos from the 2003 playoffs, but I guess you can't have everything...

Cool, thanks.

Brewers are all in...

just traded for K-Rod to set-up Axford for 2 PTBNL's

You don't think they'll let him close and pick up his $17.5 million extension?

Thanks AZ PHIL for all of your contributions. It is great to have someone who has actually seen many of the prospects regularly play, and talk to scouts, to get perspective. There are those here who, fwiw, formulate opinions completely on stats, who have never seen any prospects they refer to.

I am wondering if you had seen much of Chris Carpenter working with Riggins or other coaches on control issues? Do you believe he has the stuff, and psych make-up to be a successful closer in the future?

If this is the case, Carlos Marmol could be used as Attractive trade bait. Although, for any trade now, I cringe with the prospect of Jim Hendry orchestrating a trade involving one of the Cub's few good players.

I think the completely unnecessary contract extension that Hendry doled out actually hurts Marmol's trade value.

No reason to extend any bullpen arm out 3 years IMHO? Especially when you only bought 1 year past arbitration.

I disagree with you as do many beat writers. The contract, considering the market, is reasonable moving forward.. He is also not a 35 year old pitcher and one woud think he would have plenty left in the tank.

He has not been that busy this year, and is having a "down" year like the entire team. But Marmol has filthy stuff and is well-respected by MLB players and managers.

EVERY refiever has a bad year. Well, Mariano Rivera is an exception, but for one that has seen Lee Smith get traded for Calvin Schilraldi and Al Nipper, I cringe when I hear people say that "three years is too long" for a reliever of his caliber.

He is 29, a former All Star, and really only became a closer in 2010. He also finished 70 games last year for the Cubs. Again, imo, it would be great to trade him for several key players. But, as the Lee Smith trade demonstrates, would YOU trust Jim Hendry to do it?

I don't.

I'm not saying Marmol isn't a good pitcher? I'm saying he's a luxury on a bad team and that saves are COMPLETELY over rated around the league.

Most teams aren't looking to commit 30 million dollars into a bullpen arm.

I think building a strong bullpen is VERY important, especialy if a GM can put together a lock-down pen that makes the other team think it's over after five or six innings if their team is behind your team.

A strong bullpen can create a lot of early-in-the-game anxiety in the other team, and give confidence to your team (especialy your starting pitchers) that a lead entrusted to your relievers will not be lost.

What you absolutely do NOT want to do is dole out multi-year multi-million dollar contracts to middle-aged middle-relievers (like Scott Eyre, Kent Mercker, John Grabow, Bob Howry, et al). That is stupid.

It should be possible to build a strong bullpen by developing relievers from within the organization (even if it's a starting pitcher prospect moved to the pen, since the pitcher can later be moved back to the starting rotation), and by signing minor league free-agents and MLB free-agents coming off bad years to minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training, since relievers (especially journeyman veteran middle relievers) are notorious for having good year/bad year/good year/bad year, etc...

My sentiments exactly in those last paragraphs. Building a bullpen from within has its value in that the GM doesn't have to go out and trade for bullpen arms or sign free agents. Bullpen arms are always a gamble, and it's better to make that gamble on young, cheap players under team control than to commit a bunch of money to a pitcher who isn't good enough to be in a starting rotation.

I absolutely agree!

Especially considering that bullpen arms is the the ONLY thing this franchise seems to do with any kind of regularity?

Cashner
Samjay
Guzman
Russell
Maine

Are all finished products and having some MLB success. Plus we have a ton of guys just below the surface who could fill in the bullpen blanks.

I'd be totally fine with Marmol getting dealt for a Smoak, Freeman, Belt type of corner bat. And Sean Marshall getting moved back into the rotation for 2012.

Might as well deal from strength and sell high on at lease one front?

Sean Marshall had some success as a starting pitcher before moving to the pen in 2008, and there is no reason not to move him back to the starting rotation if a replacement can be found for him in the pen. And (generally speaking and all things being equal) it should be a lot easier to find a reliever than a starter.

However, some guys are one-pitch or two-pitch pitchers (with one outstanding pitch or two decent pitches) who will struggle the second time through the order, some pitchers have quality stuff but lack the stamina to throw deep into games, and then there are others who show a significant spike in velocity when they throw only one inning (like Cashner and Carpenter). So those are the guys you want in the bullpen.

Agreed!

That is why I never understood the Cubs insisting that Samjay be a starting pitcher? Same with Cashner to a lesser extent.

Let guys be what they are going to be. Stop the square peg/round hole routine.

You put Marmol in the 7th inning and he'll suck. Why? He doesn't throw enough strikes. Batters will work walks. But in the 9th inning, Marmol comes out like a boss- he don't care. He's going to throw his electric slider and good luck, bud, at trying to hit it. Batters are amped and wanting to be the hero. Whose going to take a close 2-strike pitch in the ninth? Never underestimate the mental aspect of the 9th inning.

I would probably prefer a finesse closer, but Marmol can get the job done.

His ERA by inning:
7th 4.17, 41 innings
8th 1.90, 123 innings
9th 2.94, 156.3 innings

I guess hitters are even more amped up in the 8th.

I knew as I typed that I would see a reply with inning-by-inning stats. The simple truth is at some point you put Marmol on the mound and watch the game unfold- the game is not played on paper.

To quote some stats and come to a hasty conclusion (i.e. I guess batters are more amped up in the 8th inning) is foolish.

To quote some stats and come to a hasty conclusion (i.e. I guess batters are more amped up in the 8th inning) is foolish.

Or... to come to a hasty conclusion (i.e. Marmol can't pitch effectively in the 7th) that isn't based at all on facts is foolish.

It is a hypothesis based on a priori evidence. :)

Interesting guy on Cobert the other night who wrote a book about how people always believe what they're going to believe and then go and find the evidence to support their belief (and ignore anything that refutes it as immiterial). If he didn't use TCR as a case study, he should have.

I think Marmol had his best season as an 8th inning guy, and his second best season as a closer, and it doesn't have much if anything to do with the situation.

I think Marmol had his best season as an 8th inning guy, and his second best season as a closer, and it doesn't have much if anything to do with the situation.

******

You can use the same stats to claim he had a better 2010 as closer than 2008 as setup man.

For each stat he was superior in in 2008, he has a superior stat in 2010 in another stat.

Case in point, ignoring saves, batting avg against was slightly higher in 2010 but slg against was .058 points lower than 2008. k/9ip was 16.0 compared to 11 something, but bb/9ip were up in 2010. They were both great seasons. But that also falls in with what the Colbert guest said, you can use the numbers to support whichever side you want to argue.

His offensive numbers against him in 2011 are the worst since his rookie year, 2006, when he started 13 games. And 2009 featured long stretches where he was mediocre to awful.

One thing I found looking at Marmol's career splits was his ERA by catcher, which I know, doesn't really mean anything since so many other factors come into play, but it's still fun to look at.

Throwing out Rob Bowen and Welington Castillo, who caught Marmol a total of 7 and 6 plate appearances, Marmol's ERA by catcher for his career:

Henry Blanco: 6.17 (180 PA)
Michael Barret: 4.75 (303 PA)
Geovanny Soto: 2.40 (741 PA)
Jason Kendall: 2.20 (136 PA)

Blanco and Barret did catch him in 2006, his rookie season when his ERA was 6.08.

Marmol's FIP was best in 2010, then 2007, then 2011. xFIP best in 2010, then 2011, then 2007.

Confirmation bias. Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls it negative empiricism.

By the way, TRN, have you ever read Black Swan by Taleb? If so what were your thoughts? I think it would be a good read for stat guys and always wondered what a baseball saber person would think of it. No snark- it's a genuine question.

No I haven't. Is it a good read? Mostly I read fiction.

Yes it was, although I wish it would have been more of a research piece and gone through the peer review process, but I understand why it wasn't.

I think the completely unnecessary contract extension that Hendry doled out actually hurts Marmol's trade value.

No reason to extend any bullpen arm out 3 years IMHO? Especially when you only bought 1 year past arbitration.

to sum up

Jim Hendry did something, and it was the worst thing that a GM ever did.

Exactly what I'm saying.........

It wasn't an awful thing. It just wasn't particularly great either? It reeked of a guy "making a deal" simply because he felt like he should do something? It was a Dave Littlefield giving out extensions to Kevin Young, Brian Giles and Jason kendall during spring training a few years ago.

The appearance of having a plan, if you will?

Marmol gets $7M in his last year of arbitration, Papelbon got $12M, K-Rod $10M.

How do you not see that as a good deal?

$9.8 M the last year for his first year of free agency is near the top end, but if you're paying attention to FA contracts handed out, salaries are clearly on the rise again.

Which was my point exactly. Aaron B just is not familiar w/FA deals for comparable closers.

By most accounts, this was/is an attractive deal for the club.

Agreed, it was a good move to lockup Marmol and have cost certainty for 3 years. And if Marmol hadn't been extended, and had another year like last season, his price would have been through the roof. $9.8 mil for a closer in 2013, who is one of the hardest pitchers to hit in baseball history, is not a bad price. Now he needs to stay healthy and not have prolonged periods where he loses his control completely.

I also think that if the team wants/hopes to contend and not do a full rebuild, it makes no sense to trade Marmol and/or Marshall, unless you're getting back a package of cheaper MLB-ready replacements. If they really wanted to do a full rebuild, by all means, trade the veterans that have value, but otherwise, I'd rather see them only deal the guys they do not intend to bring back or have a replacement moving through the farm system quickly.

I like Carlos Marmol. I think he's a good pitcher and a nice piece to have.

I just think a 10 million dollar closer, on a 100 loss team is equivalent to drapes on a broken window. ESPECIALLY when that 10 million dollar reliever can likely net a couple of really nice rebuilding blocks to go forward with?

he's not a $10M closer until season 3, I think the Cubs do not plan to be a 100 loss team in 3 seasons.

Shortstops and closers
Are never worth the 12 mil
Free Agency pays

Submitted by The E-Man on Wed, 07/13/2011 - 8:09am.
Thanks AZ PHIL for all of your contributions. It is great to have someone who has actually seen many of the prospects regularly play, and talk to scouts, to get perspective. There are those here who, fwiw, formulate opinions completely on stats, who have never seen any prospects they refer to.

I am wondering if you had seen much of Chris Carpenter working with Riggins or other coaches on control issues? Do you believe he has the stuff, and psych make-up to be a successful closer in the future?

If this is the case, Carlos Marmol could be used as Attractive trade bait. Although, for any trade now, I cringe with the prospect of Jim Hendry orchestrating a trade involving one of the Cub's few good players.

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

E-MAN: I haven't seen Chris Carpenter work with Mark Riggins, but the thing about closers is that they often just appear suddenly, sometimes seemingly almost out of nowhere.

You give a guy a chance to pitch the 9th inning, and either he has the chops to do it or he wets his pants. The only way to find out is to put him out there and see what happens, but most teams don't feel they can afford to take that chance. The Cubs are in a position (right now) to try some guys out as closer, but I doubt that they would do that if Marmol is healthy. However, one way to do it would be if Marmol has thrown a couple of days in a row, and you say Marmol is absolutely not available today and you keep him in the dugout so you're not tempted to use him. And then you tell Carpenter (or whoever) that he is the closer today.

Despite what some people might think, being a closer is not just about stuff. There is a psychological factor involved that is just not the same for other relievers. I guess it would be like doing a tightrope act with a net (another pitcher throwing behind you in case you get into trouble) versus without a net (you either get it done - game over & you win, or you don't get it done - game over & you lose). A closer really needs to have a bit of daredevil in him.

An interesting thing about the Bill James Theory about using your best reliever at the most-crucial point in the game even if it's in the 7th or 8th inning is that that's how it was done pre-Sutter. Back in The Day there was no such thing as a closer. Starting pitchers closed their own games unless they got tired or got into a jam late in the game. The ace reliever (Larry Sherry, Elroy Face, Lindy McDaniel, Hoyt Wilhelm, et al) was called a "fireman," and he would not be brought into the game pre-emptively. Instead he would get brought into the game only if the starting pitcher was showing obvious signs of fatigue at a crucial moment in the game (even if it was the 7th or 8th inning) or was pulled for a PH in a tie game or something like that. But then the Fireman would finish the game, even if it meant that the fireman would throw two or three innings.

To do that today (with Complete Games a rarity) a club would probably need two bonafide closers where both would be capable of throwing more than one inning when they pitch, and where each would be available to pitch every-other day if necessary. I don't think that's a bad idea, as long as the guys you use as multiple-inning closers don't lose anything off their stuff if they throw more than one inning. (Most firemen in the 60's and 70's had a strikeout pitch like a super-sinker, a fork-ball, or a knuckler, that did not require velocity to be effective, while most closers today rely on fastball gas and/or a hard slider).

Unfortunately there also is an ego thing involved, where today's closers don't want to share the job with anyone. That's where it would be up to the manager and the veteran players on the team to create a climate where winning is the most important thing, and personal success is only secondary to the team winning. And then there is also a financial issue, since proven closers command larger salaries than set-up guys or middle-relievers.

PHIL: I do not remember Larry Sherry, but do however remember "Firemen" Wilhelm, Phil Regan, and Ted Abernathy, the side winder.

Submitted by The E-Man on Wed, 07/13/2011 - 2:25pm.
PHIL: I do not remember Larry Sherry, but do however remember "Firemen" Wilhelm, Phil Regan, and Ted Abernathy, the side winder.

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

E-MAN: Larry Sherry was one of the heroes of the '59 Dodgers World Series championship club, the one that beat the White Sox.

Speaking of Ted Abernathy and Phil Regan, Leo Durocher made a point of saying after the 1969 debacle that he should have alternated Regan and Abernathy as his firemen ("I shouldn't have put all of my eggs in Regan's basket"), instead of always going to Regan (and burning him out by September).

The best bullpens in the 1960's and 1970's had at least two (sometimes three) "firemen" who could both throw multiple innings and close games. Of course Complete Games were much MUCH more common back then, so it was unusual for firemen to get overworked, even though they might work two or three innings in relief.

IIRC, the one-inning fireman-closer thing started when Bruce Sutter hurt his shoulder when he was with the Cubs circa 1977-78, and when he came back he was limited (by doctor's orders) to throwing just one inning per outing. And then Tony LaRussa made the one-inning save (and automatic pre-emptive use of the closer with a three-run lead or less going into the 9th) virtual gospel when Dennis Eckersley was the A's closer in the 1980's. And since then it has become some sort of unwritten rule throughout baseball, although it doesn't necessarily have to be that way.

It's not just ego, it's $$$.

jeebus, Brewers scored on the K-Rod deal.

Mets essentially pay the rest of his salary this year as well, and the prospects are allegedly none of their top prospects (although no idea what they have left after Marcum and Greinke).

they're only on the hook for his $3.5M buyout next year, although their is the $17.5M vesting option. Axford better watch his back.

-edit- slight correction, Mets paying slightly less than half of his remaining salary for this season (about $2.4M), but Mets on the hook for the buyout next year if option doesn't vest.

Wow. Hard to believe nobody else was offering the Mets a little bit more.

I think the 17.5 mil option scared off everyone else, plus, KRod has a 1.40 WHIP, so it's not like he's pitching lights out. As long as Milwaukee can keep him from finishing 21 more games, it was a good, aggressive move trying to make their team better.

fwiw, Roenicke says Axford and K-Rod will share closing duties, I'm sure no more than 20 times for K-Rod though.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/676...

Sandberg stuff on a slow news day...

"I just want to [manage] at the major league level so wherever that comes I would listen," Sandberg said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.

His team is 53-37 at AAA.

minor league roster move for those interested, for some reason these barely register with me until they start happening with Daytona and above

LHP Brent Ebinger rejoins Chiefs and RHP Luis Liria also in Peoria, up from Boise. Roster at 24 players.

Seemingly only Astros or DBacks are options to switch leagues with Astros being the likely candidate due to new ownership having little pull.

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/7/13/2274319/mlb...

•Divisional teams will play each other 18 teams apiece. That's 72 games.

•Each team will play members of the other two divisions in its league six times apiece. That's 60 games.

•And each division will play a designated division in the other league six times apiece. In other words, the Angels would play home-and-home series against the NL East one year, the Central the next year, the West the year after that. That ensures that every team in baseball would come to Angel Stadium at least once every three seasons.
That makes 162 games.

Astros and Rangers in the same division makes way too much sense? I'm sure that new ownership would welcome the move.

Would think you would want an AL and NL team in Texas.

My choice would be Rockies to AL.

I think you use the question mark way too much, and almost always when it does not appear you are asking a question?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Inconceivable!

I'll try to tighten it up.....

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/...

Not exactly what I proposed but will take it...brings the cubs to twin cities, kc on regular basis plus 15 per league satisfies the ocd...

Something to kill time until tomorrow-
http://deadspin.com/5820716/the-100-worst-bas...

For Phil; The Cubs have not signed ay of their first 15 draft picks. I assume the 3 college guys sign and we will get our share of the rest. Are all of the high school guys set up to go to Arizona after the end of the Arizona League season. I would assume you would not want to burn a year on them with only a few weeks left in the season. Also, would you do the same thing with 3 Latin guys who are only 16 years old. Do they then workout all fall in the Instructional League.

Devoss making his debut at Arizona tonight (doesn't diminish your point or question, just wanted to cite the exception).

I guess the signing is official now.

ROUND 3 (98): Zeke DeVoss, 2B-CF (U. of Miami)
B/R, 5'10, 175, 20 years old
COMMENT: Draft-eligible college sophomore... Less-polished than your typical D-1 college player... Batted lead-off and hit 340/491/456 with 32 SB (10 CS) and 57 BB/30 K in 291 PA and 61 games for the Hurricanes in 2011... Gap hitter with plus-speed... Versatile athletic player... Played SS in HS and was moved to 2B at "The U.," but probably projects as a CF in pro ball... Drafted out of HS in 38th round of 2009 draft by Red Sox but did not sign...

Guzman starting for Daytona tonight...

-edit- LaHair batting third for PCL All-Stars tonight

http://mlbbuzz.yardbarker.com/blog/mlbbuzz/br...

Brewers targeting SS and 3B next, Rosenthal says they're looking for a "difference-maker". But two paragraphs before he brings up Jamey Carroll...

/facepalm

Brewers didn't even have one player in BP's or BA's top 100 lists, so you're not gonna get any good players out of them.

Yesterady Rosenthal wrote his obligatory the AL lost, there must be something wrong with the ASG article. His bone of contention was that the AL didn't get to use their best starters, because they pitched on Sunday. His solution... to expand the rosters.

Maybe it's an all /facepalm week for Rosenthal.

today in non-rumors

Rumors swirling about possible Aramis Ramirez/Angels deal, but a high-ranking source says there hasn't been any discussions.

http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/statuses/91264...

http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article...

previous article today on mlb.com about how Angels might have some interest, but are in need more of a left handed power bat (maybe Hendry can turn them towards Pena?)

Jim Callis chat: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospect...

Mike (Denver): What are your thoughts on Dan Vogelbach? Is he worth the 1.65 million dollar signing bonus that I'm hearing? Can the Cubs even sign him?

Jim Callis: There are whispers that deal may already be done. If so, that's a big bet on his power. It's intriguing power, but I'm not sure what else he brings to the table.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Your thoughts on Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty getting promoted to Iowa?

Jim Callis: Deserved and not a surprise. Jackson got off to a hot start this year and slowed down after he injured a finger, but I expect him to be a regular in the Cubs outfield at sometime next year. Flaherty is having his best year ever and he could be in Chicago at some point in 2012 also. Don't rule him out being Aramis Ramirez' successor at third base.

Tegan (Chicago): What's happened to Trey McNutt? He seems to really be struggling this year. Is he still salvageable or is he nothing more than organizational filler again?

Jim Callis: He's had repeated blister problems. Still has a quality arm, but it's been a lost season. Long-term potential hasn't changed, though.

Flaherty is having his best year ever and he could be in Chicago at some point in 2012 also. Don't rule him out being Aramis Ramirez' successor at third base.

but only if they can bring Jose Macias in for spring training to challenge him.

Vogelbach news would be neat....

-edit- Callis apparently has never seen prince fielder or Ryan Howard play baseball.

Or Adam Dunn!

Russ Canzler hits a 3-run HR for the only offense in the AAA All-Star game

did have a helluva nice season at age 24 in AA last year for Smokies, but was a minor league free agent, so decision was nearly as much up to him as Cubs to leave. Cubs could have put him on 40-man if they wanted.

LaHair 0/2
W. Castillo 0/2
Gaub .2 IP, 2 BB

...and at the game b.guyer (ex-cub, current tb) gets love from k.millar + k.rose who host a show on the MLB Network. millar does a segment about players having crap things happen to them or lacking hustle called "don't be that guyer"...he teased starting a "be that guyer" segment to go along with it.

tb is probably creating 3-5 promotions for his september call-up as i type this.

Baseball America has added a couple more players to the list of signed.

ROUND 6 (189): Neftali Rosario, C (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy - Gurabo, PR)
R/R, 5'11, 193, 17 years old
COMMENT: Polished receiver with a strong arm... Started to show HR power this season...

ROUND 22 (669): Ethan Elias, RHP (Grand Trunk HS - Evansburg, Alberta)
R/R, 6'3, 180, 18 years old
COMMENT: Member of Canadian Junior National Team... Signed NLI with Central Arizona JC...

QM - appreciate the updates. At least there's been some progress on Cubs signing their top 15 picks.

they happen to put bonus info in their updates?

just trying to fill-in the gaps on Wiklifield

Not so far. Other than DeVoss - $500K.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/201...

Clemens case ruled mistrial

Bonehead prosecutors.

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