Archive - Feb 2008

February 5th

MLB.com has a free head to head fantasy game that opened up today and I thought some of you might want to play along. It seems simple enough and you can even win $10,000. Since I'm already tied to a few other leagues that waste enough of my time, I thought this one would be easy to maintain as the scoring is pretty simple, you only have to set-up lineups once a week and to be eligible for prizes, you can't have trading. So if you're interested in a low-key fantasy league with your fellow TCR'ers, this is the one.

I created a private league and the live draft is Tuesday, March 4th at 2:00 PM CST. If anyone is interested in joining, shoot me an email and I'll give you the league name and password to join. It's a 12 team league, but if there's an enormous outpouring of interest, we can just open up a few more leagues.

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Also, reader Carlos has taken it upon himself to start a little contest of guess where Kyle Lohse will sign? Just choose a team and the terms of the contract and drop them in the previous post.

There's been a lot of talk lately about the potential sale of Wrigley Field to the state of Illinois. Many seem to be wondering why Sam Zell would risk devaluing the Cubs by selling its most valuable asset. The answer is simple...and obvious; more money.

While searching for the answer last night, I stumbled across the writers at Field of Schemes, who, in my humble opinion, are doing the Lord's work. It's been my long-held opinion that public subsidized stadiums are nothing more than corporate blackmail. The owners ask the state or local government to pay for their stadium. In return, the team won't move...how nice of them. The Field Of Schemes authors have a book whose subtitle explains it best: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit. Bingo! The octogenarian's in Florida have it right though, don't pay. In most cases, the teams need the city and its population more than the city needs the team (except Green Bay which I'm certain would be swallowed up by the Earth if the Packers left).

But how does this all relate to the Wrigley Field situation, you ask? The Chicago Reader explains what some of the reasoning might be behind Zell's plan (link found via Field of Schemes):

February 4th

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Sam Zell’s plan to sell Wrigley Field to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is “alienating would-be buyers” of the ballclub, A member of one of the prospective ownership groups says, “Splitting (the team and ballpark) absolutely diminishes the value of the team and my interest level.”

February 3rd

What a difference a year makes. During the 2007 spring training, the starting rotation discussion centered around which of these three candidates would be our number five starter: Wade Miller, Mark Prior, and Angel Guzman. Combined, they started six times (three apiece for Miller and Guzman) Trachsel also started four games, with the next smallest total belonging to Sean Marshall, at nineteen.  Congrats to Marshall for grabbing the "Ruben Quevedo Fifth-Man" mantle, and running with it.

This year? Carrie Muskat gives the rundown on the candidates for the two open spots in the rotation. The first bit of news is this notion that the fourth spot is open, that Marquis evidently has to apply for his old job. The other applicants being Dempster, Lieber, Marshall (also applying for his old job) and Gallagher.

Among the more interesting observations from the Muskat article is that Marquis has a history of fading in the second half. A quick check of ESPN's stats page shows Marquis with a 4.41 ERA pre-All Star break for the last three years, 5.54 after it. How stupid and unrealistic would it be to let him have the fifth spot for the first half of the season, then ship him off to some unsuspecting foe, and bring up Gallagher for the second half?

February 2nd

• There has been a lot of talk–some of it here–about how Milwaukee's signing of Mike Cameron and resultant shifting of Bill Hall to 3B and Ryan Braun to LF will improve the Brewers' overall defense. On Friday, Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus (subscription req'd) tried to gauge what that improvement might be.

According to Jaffe's rough, "back of the envelope" calculations, the Brewers project to be about 42 runs better on defense, which could mean between 1.5 and 4 extra victories. That's even assuming both Hall and Braun are below average at their new positions.

• Last week, I wrote about Dave Pinto's Lineup Analysis machine. Pinto finally fed the projected 2008 Cubs numbers into his virtual gizmo and the results show that the Cubs' most productive starting lineup would look like this:

Fukudome rf
Lee 1b
DeRosa 2b
Ramirez 3b
Soto c
Soriano lf
Pie cf
Pitcher
Theriot ss

In his write-up, Pinto shows (projected) love for Geo Soto and questions why Soriano's big bat would lead off, which puts Pinto in the company of many millions of wondering Chicago Cub fans.

• Just guessing here, but based on what we're hearing about operations in the Orioles front office, I suspect Peter Angelos keeps the key to the team's executive washroom locked in his desk, and when Andy MacPhail has to go, he has to ask Angelos for permission. I'm thinking sometimes the old man says yes, and sometimes the old man says no.

February 1st

The Cub Reporter was established in July, 2001, by Christian Ruzich, whose first post reflected on whether or not Jason Bere and Julian Tavarez could "keep this up all year." (They couldn't.)

TCR has grown into one of the largest, independent Cubs sites on the net. Our unique team of writers doesn't let their combined 174 seasons of heartache get in the way of offering fresh takes on all things Cub.

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