Archive - Oct 2007

Elias has released their annual player rankings which MLB uses to determine free agent draft pick compensation if a player signs with another team and is offered arbitration by their former team. It's a rather insane system based off the last two years worth of numbers that relies heavily on the triple crown numbers and counting stats. A ranking that has five players higher than Alex Rodriguez and one in which Troy Percival would net the Cards a supplemental pick. Players are classified into five categories:
  1. DH, 1B, OF
  2. 2b, 3b, SS
  3. Catchers
  4. Starting Pitchers
  5. Relief Pitchers
The new collective bargaining agreement has lowered the percentages meaning less players would net their former teams draft picks. Type A free agents are considered the top 20% at their position and Type B are from the 21-40% range. Under the old CBA, Type A free agents were the top 30%, Type B were from 31-50% at their position and there was a Type C for players from 51 to 60% at their position. Under the current CBA, a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration but signed with another team would cost his new team their top draft pick as long as it's not a top 15 pick, plus his former team would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If it is a top 15 pick, much like the Cubs last year in signing Alfonso Soriano, they would lose their second round pick instead. If a team signs multiple Type A free agents, they would lose their second round pick and then their third round pick and so forth and which round goes to which team is based on who scored higher in the rankings. Type B free agents cost the signing team nothing, but the previous team gets a pick in the supplemental round between the first and second rounds. Some players of interest after the jump....

Once again, it's time for the TCR Free Agent Frenzy, which really is the MLB Free Agent Frenzy and we just piggyback off of it. This year's winner will likely receive the Chicago Cubs Legends DVD Set although I might switch it up on you to something of equivalent value. Whatever it is, it'll definitely be Cubs related and something any true Cubs fans would want. So just follow their contest procedure and post your guesses in the comments but with one minor change. They have Joe Torre as the final option, we're going to switch that to Kosuke Fukodome for our contest since Torre has all but agreed to go to the Dodgers. Also, if you want to choose retire for someone like Bonds, go right ahead. Please ONLY use the comments for your contest entries, save the rumor mill for the previous thread if you can. Finally, please submit your picks in the same order that they appear in the MLB.com contest, but of course switching Torre for Fukodome. My picks after the jump...

October 29th

With the 2007 World Series history, today marks the beginning of the 15-day MLB Free-Agency Filing Period, where MLB players with at least six years of MLB service time who are not signed to a contract for 2008 are eligible to file for free-agency under Article XX of the CBA.

First of all, how angry do you think Bud Selig was Sunday night when Scott Boras effectively shattered Bud’s edict prohibiting major announcements during the World Series by telling Ken Rosenthal of Fox who then told the world that Alex Rodriguez would be opting out of his Yankees contract? Not that the report smothered any World Series drama: the Sox and the Rox took care of that by playing four long, mostly tedious games that were decidedly short on compelling moments. Back to Boras. Even before the A-Rod announcement, I felt like I was having an all-Scott Boras weekend. First, I happened on the Boras profile in this week’s New Yorker (headlined “The Extortionist”). It paints a picture of a profoundly driven man who has built a firm with an infrastructure—complete with talent scouts, stats guys and sports psychologists—that would put many Major League front offices to shame.

October 27th

We’ve seen Cub ownership try to squeeze every little ounce of revenue from us whenever they can, but due to a tight schedule they’ve missed the big one. Now that the Wrigley field playing surface is being reconstructed by the Sodfather, Roger Bossard, they are moving all that historic dirt out and not selling it. The Sun-Times site even has a video (if you can stand waiting through the commercials) through the knothole gate in right field, Wrigleyville resident Ken Vangeloff said it looked like the Tribune was having a demolition derby or tractor pull, but the fan’s just didn’t show up. I could see them selling Urn’s of infield dirt… with a locker room/uniform number and card you can label:

#14 -- Uncle Fester

So my poor Uncle Fester’s ashes are getting a free ride in a dump truck outta his native Cook County. The Cubs are not selling it to fans. Per Shamus Toomey’s interview of Cubs VP, Mark McGuire in the Sun-Times:
“We have been accused of selling everything all of the time,” McGuire said. “But in this project, we didn’t want to do anything to impede” the tight schedule.

October 26th

Which of the following Hall of Famers never played for the Cubs: Richie Ashburn, Al Simmons, Rabbit Maranville, Ralph Kiner?

Schilling v2

 

11-2, 19 GS, 133.1 IP, 2.23 ERA, 25 BB, 120 K

October 25th

Things you think of while watching a World Series slaughter and waiting for an all-old rerun of The Daily Show to come on: * Last night’s one-sided contest looked like the Dads vs. Kids softball game at the annual Cub Scout Picnic, only in this version, the dads wanted to be sure the kids went home in tears and never had the will to get on the field again. *Fox’s Ken Rosenthal had to point out that the Rockies were stepping up in class by matching up with the AL’s best after fattening up on the lowly Diamondbacks and Cubs in the NL playoffs. Bad enough to have your favorite league trashed (however deservedly); even worse when your favorite team has to be mistakenly dragged into the argument to illustrate the point. *I look at that Boston lineup and a very small part of me is glad the Cubs aren’t on the field to face it. I’m imagining it would feel pretty hollow to have finally made the Series after all these generations, only to be disemboweled in front of an international audience. *The consensus before the Series--that Boston was the better team and that Colorado’s miracle ride was about to skid off the road and crash into an embankment—was certainly borne out by last night’s result. But even assuming the Red Sox roll again tonight, I think the games in Denver may prove to be challenging for Boston. The altitude, the unfamiliar park, the selling of Rocky Mountain Oysters in the concession stand—lots of reasons for the mighty Red Sox to be thrown just a little off kilter. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. The thought of three more games like Wednesday night’s is just not anything to be excited about. Finally, a non-World Series Cub note: At The Hardball Times, Dave Studeman reports on Net Win Shares Value, i.e., which teams got the most and least for their payroll dollars in the season just past. A shout out to possibly soon-to-be-ex-Cubs Jason Kendall and Craig Monroe, who showed up at 2nd and 7th respectively on the Worst Values of '07 list. On the positive side of the ledger, the Cubs 2007 free agent class finished as the fourth best value in the game. Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Detroit led the way.

2 for you today...
What is the full birth name (first, middle, last) of Harry Caray?
Which Cubs pitcher was the first African-American to throw a no-hitter in the Major Leagues? Bonus points for the opponent and the year.
As always, web searches are discouraged. And for what it's worth, I've never even heard of the player that is the answer to the second question.

October 24th

The final tallies aren't in for the 2007 preseason prediction but there were a few other contests we ran over the years that I never got around to calculating. So now is the time... 2006-2007 Free Agent Frenzy Full Results 1. Chifan3887 - 64 2. WPZ - 59 (Now known as Wrigley's Believe it or Not) 2. Junior - 59 Chifan3887 takes the prize by being the only one to correctly pick Greg Maddux signing with the Padres last offseason.

October 23rd

Which dubious single-game NL record did Glenn Beckert set in 1972?
Good luck with that one....

Today we welcome five esteemed Cub bloggers who were kind enough to share their thoughts on the questions which the TCRers addressed on Monday. The guest list includes: Andy from Desipio.com, Adam from Bugs and Cranks, Joe of View From The Bleachers, Cub Reporter alum and Mayor of Cub Town, Derek Smart, and the Ted Lilly Fan Club. It's an honor to be your hosts, gentlemen. Thank you for coming over to play in our sandbox. Enjoy… 1.) What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Joe (View From The Bleachers): My favorite moment of the season was by far the comeback on June 25th, when the Cubs had seemingly blown the game in the 9th after a bullpen implosion that allowed six runs. The Cubs came back and won it on a walk-off, two-run single by Soriano that made Len Kasper’s voice crack. I wanted to jump up and scream, but the family was asleep. Adam (Bugs and Cranks): Aramis Ramirez' walk-off homer against the Brewers on June 29th was probably my favorite memory. It was the moment where it really seemed like winning the division was going to happen.

October 22nd

A double dose for you...
Following the 1973 season. the Cubs traded future Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Vic Harris and what future four-time batting champion?
AND
Who has taken the most career walks as a member of the Cubs?
Web searches are discouraged....

With a lull in the offseason action and on the playoff diamond, we thought it's time to break out the TCR roundtbale. As always, TCR is not responsible for the opinions and viewpoints of its authors. ------- 1. What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Cubnut: Two come to mind: Ramirez's game-winning home run against the Brewers at the end of June and Lee's pinch-hit grand slam to seal a win against Team Grinder. I also enjoyed the early-season game (at Cincy?) in which Lou Piniella stormed out to the mound in the ninth inning, screamed five or six words at a struggling Ryan Dempster, then made a u-turn without ever actually stopping. After all the mealy-mouthed managerial nonsense of the past few years, I thought that moment was refreshing AZ PHIL: Aramis Ramirez hitting the game-winning HR in the bottom of the 9th off Brewers closer Francisco Cordero at Wrigley Field. Transmission: I agree with AZ Phil. Dr. Hecht: I was at the game where Lou Piniella had his tirade with umpire Mark Wegner. I still love watching it on the highlights that I've saved for my iPod. The first portion of the season had been so disappointing. The day before Zambrano had his altercation with Barrett and the Cubs were a 22-30 to that point. The Cubs wound up losing the Saturday game to the Braves 5-3. So what was to like? Although many have said Lou's antics were contrived that day, particularly because Pagan was pretty clearly out out at third, it really had a tangible feel that Lou was doing the right thing for his club. He was doing what any good 1950-60's manager would have done...go toe to toe, belly to belly and kicking some All-American third base dirt on a very prissy modern day umpire, you know, these umps who nowadays toss players for blinking improperly. Somewhere above (or below) the ghost of Jocko Conlan was enjoying Lou's display. I love old style baseball, not to mention an Old Style when Lou went ballistic. Rob G.: The Aramis walk-off homer was the "oh my god" moment of the season. But that whole period from the end of June until Soriano hurt his hamstring, there was a general feeling that the Cubs would find a way to win most of their games. I'm not sure there's a more reassuring feeling for a baseball fan when you know your team will find ways to win. Christian: Mostly I have an overall general memory of slowly remembering why I like this team. Four years of Dusty Baker had really soured me on the Cubs, and the off-season, with its questionable signings and news that my favorite player wouldn't be playing this year (if ever again) didn't help. Once the season started, it took a few months for me to even want to pay attention anymore. Once I did, I realized how different the team looked and how much more interesting they were under Piniella. I guess the specific moment I can point to is the June 29th game, when they came back from a 5-0 hole in the first to win on A-Ram's walk-off homer. Beating the first-place Brewers to win their seventh in a row, I think I felt for the first time that even if they didn't make the playoffs (which seemed a foregone conclusion at that point), they would at least be fun & interesting to watch down the stretch.

October 21st

This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused).

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