Archive - 2007

November 5th

Ten Cubs have won the NL Batting crown, a total of twelve times - name the ten and bonus points if you can name the two repeat winners.
And today is the last day to enter TCR's Free Agent Frenzy Contest!

I know a lot can change (and very likely will change) over the next couple of seasons, but AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW, here is the payroll preview for the Cubs 2008-09:

November 3rd

The Cubs have declined their 2008 club options on RHP Steve Trachsel and OF Cliff Floyd, and the Cubs and 1B-OF Daryle Ward have agreed to exercise the 32-year old Ward's $1.2M mutual option for 2008, bringing the Cubs #1 LHPH and back-up 1B back to the team for one more year. Ward is one of the top pinch-hitters in baseball, going 296/404/464 as a PH over the past three seasons, with 37 total pinch-hits (including four home runs and nine doubles) and 23 pinch-hit walks over that period of time. Trachsel, who turned 37 on Halloween, was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on August 31st for 3B Scott Moore and RHP Rocky Cherry, but pitched poorly for the Cubs in September and was left off the Cubs post-season roster. The 34-year old Floyd was signed by the Cubs as a FA last January. Trachsel and Floyd had filed (provisionally) for free-agency earlier this week while waiting for the Cubs to decide whether to exercise their options for next season. The only issue still to be resolved regarding potential Cubs free-agents is Scott Eyre's $3.8M player option for next season. Eyre has until November 12th to file for free-agency. If he doesn't, he returns to the Cubs in 2008. The Cubs have also added RHP Adam Harben to their 40-man roster. Harben was acquired frrom the Minnesota Twins in September 2006 as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin deal, but suffered a torn elbow ligament while pitching in the AFL a year ago. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, Harben was non-tendered last December 12th, but signed a minor league contract with the Cubs that allowed him to spend the 2007 season rehabbing at Fitch Park in Mesa. He made three rehab starts for the AZL Cubs in August, and should be 100% by the time pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park in February. The last season prior to his injury (2006), the now 24-year old Harben was a rotation starter for the Twins in AA. It's possible the Cubs will bring Harben back the same way they did with Rocky Cherry after Cherry's 2005 TJ surgery, and that is as a late-inning reliever. Cherry had been a rotation starter prior to his injury, but found success as a set-up man and closer when he returned to action in 2006. Harben has two minor league options left. ===================================== Speaking of minor league options, here is the 2008 minor league option status for players on the Cubs 40-man roster who have less than five years of MLB service time (and thus cannot refuse an optional assignment to the minors). * Must clear Optional Assignment Waivers to be optioned to minors NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Ronny Cedeno Geovany Soto ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT: * Neal Cotts (eligible for salary arbitration) Mike Fontenot * Angel Guzman (likely 60-day DL in 2008 after TJ surgery) Rich Hill Carlos Marmol Angel Pagan Felix Pie * Michael Wuertz (eligible for salary arbitration) TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Jake Fox Sean Gallagher Adam Harben Sean Marshall Juan Mateo Matt Murton Eric Patterson Billy Petrick Ryan Theriot THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Sam Fuld Kevin Hart Carmen Pignatiello Jeff Samardzija

November 2nd

The list of post-2007 minor league free-agents has been released by MLB, and ten of the 18 Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be free-agents after the 2007 season have filed: Federico Baez, RHP Cory Bailey, RHP Gary Cates, INF Jorge Cortes, OF Ben Howard, RHP John Nelson, INF Mike Nannini, RHP Mike Mahoney, C Ryan O'Malley, LHP John Webb, RHP The eight eligible Cubs minor league FAs who did not file (and this means they almost certainly have signed 2008 minor league contracts with the Cubs) are: Robinson Chirinos, INF Adam Harben, RHP Koyie Hill, C Geoff Jones, LHP Josh Kroeger, OF Carlos Rojas, INF Issmael Salas, INF Les Walrond, LHP All eight of the players who have (apparently) re-signed with the Cubs for 2008 will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft next month if not added to the Cubs 40-man roster by November 20th. Normally, to get a player eligible to be a minor league FA to "re-up" (sign a minor league contract for the following season), a club needs to offer a salary equal to or greater than what a player would get on a "split contract" if assigned to the 40-man roster (at least $31,125 for players never on a 40-man roster previous, or at least $62,500 for players who have been on a 40-man roster previously in their career), plus (for veteran players) an NRI to Spring Training. So I fully expect to see Adam Harben (who was rehabbing from TJ surgery this past season), Koyie Hill, Geoff Jones, Josh Kroeger, and Les Walrond on the list of non-roster players invited to ST with the Cubs in 2008, while Robinson Chirinos, Carlos Rojas, and Issmael Salas will likely report to minor league camp at Fitch Park on March 1st, albeit with a lot higher salaries than they had in 2007! Ex-Cubs and ex-Cubs minor leaguers who have filed as minor league FAs from other organizations include: Manny Alexander, INF (WAS) Francis Beltran, RHP (BAL) Bobby Brownlie, RHP (CLE) Jon Connolly, LHP (DET) Gookie Dawkins, INF (PHI) Jason Dubois, OF (BAL) Shawn Estes, LHP (SD) Jason Fransz, OF (BAL) Adam Greenberg, OF (KC) Lindsay Gulin, LHP (MIL) Chad Hermansen, OF (NYM) Jose Hernandez, IF (PIT) Nic Jackson, OF (PHI) Mike Kinkade, IF-OF (NYY) Richard Lewis, 2B (KC) Jose Macias, IF-OF (MIL) Pat Mahomes, RHP (TOR) Sandy Martinez, C (FLA) Luis Montanez, OF (BAL) Miguel Negron, OF (NYM) Carlos Perez, LHP (BAL) Jose Reyes, C (NYM) Aaron Sisk, INF (TB) Jerome Williams, RHP (MIN)

The Cubs have seven left-handed hitting center-field prospects in their system, four at the upper levels, and three more at the lower levels. It's likely that one of them will eventually end up as the Cubs everyday CF. But the big question is, which one?

Who was the first member of the Cubs to hit a home run in the World Series?
What was the title of the famous poem by Franklin P. Adams that immortalized the double-play combination of Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance?
Bonus points if you can name the third baseman during that period....

October 31st

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 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.


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