Archive - Oct 2009

October 30th

The Tom Ricketts Drinking Game

Tom Ricketts and family will be introduced to Cubs fans everywhere in a press conference on Friday morning at 11am CST and probably a couple dozen TV and radio interviews. To help you get through the day, I suggest grabbing your favorite alcoholic beverage(bring a thermos if you're at work) and follow along with this drinking game I designed.

Drink when:

October 29th

Updike to Williams to This?!

John Updike was as fine a writer as Ted Williams was a hitter. Updike won two Pulitzers, Williams a pair of MVP’s.

When the former died in January of this year I marked his passing by listening to a recording of Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu. It’s a classic essay he wrote for The New Yorker in the aftermath of Williams’ last game at Boston’s Fenway Park in 1960; a day when The Kid famously and fittingly homered in the final at-bat of a career that was both tempestuous and illustrious.

It’s beautiful; something that could turn non-believers into baseball fans the way Handel’s Messiah might call pagans to church.

It could not have been an accident that Updike was there to observe the event and later share his thoughts with whomever they concerned, although a preface to the recorded essay makes it sound as though it was just that. His first purpose for being in Boston that day was adulterous but, finding his paramour not at home, he went to the ballpark instead.

When Williams died in 2002 the poignancy of his death was overridden by the announcement that his head was to be frozen for future reference. His son, John Henry, who I recall accompanied his father on an autographing expedition to Des Moines in the mid-90's to raise funds for the Bob Feller museum not far from here, was having Ted posthumously decapitated and iced on the basis of a signed cocktail napkin that came with no certificate of authenticity. How at once cryonic and ironic.

Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Kelvim Escobar

Trying to figure out which relievers the Cubs may try to acquire - if any - to bolster a poor bullpen performance is like trying to find a decent Cubs position player developed by the Cubs farm system over the last 35 years. For all I know the Cubs won't do much but try and resign John Grabow and then see who might stick from the current crop of youngsters plus a few Chad Fox-type reclamation projects that they might hope to stick...and probably Chad Fox himself.

We do know Hendry likes his strikeout pitchers and Escobar has a 7.89 K/9 rate for his career which trends higher when he's worked out of the bullpen as you'd expect. There hasn't been much chatter on Escobar since he went down with a shoulder injury after pitching just 5 innings in 2009 (and he missed all of 2008 as well after labrum surgery), but I think it's a fair bet he'll come back in 2010 as a reliever...that is if he's coming back at all.

October 28th

Cub Contingent Leads Solar Sox to Victory

Andrew Cashner threw four innings of no run, no hit ball, and Starlin Castro had two hits, drove in a run and scored two more, and made the defensive play of the day, as the Mesa Solar Sox exterminated the Scottsdale Scorpions 12-5 in Arizona Fall League action this afternoon at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.  

box score

Bad Contracts, Milton Bradley and Other Cub Related Links

- Nick Steiner takes a look at Milton Bradley using Pitch F/X data and comes away impressed.

The fact that Bradley has such a bad year - and it wasn't even that bad
- can be placed solely on a huge drop in ISO from his previously
established norms. His plate discipline and contact skills were just as
good as they were in 08 and the year before that, and there is no
evidence that the drop in ISO is anything "real". Despite the
personality problems, teams are apparently lining up to try and steal
Bradley away from Jim Hendry because he is still a very good player.

You'll make no friends around here Mr. Steiner with that sort of reasoned analysis.

- Speaking of Bradley, he makes MLBTR's list of bad contracts along with Soriano and Aaron Miles. All the hype to date has been that the Cubs will have to take on one of those (or something similar) to move Bradley.

- Bruce Miles says the Cubs should pass on Gary Matthews Jr. and responds to my inquiry in the comments that there are indeed clubs interested in Bradley.

- Bruce Levine concurs with Chris DeLuca that a payroll around $140M for 2010 should be expected and save up for another ticket price increase. He also says the Cubs are in talks with "Tampa, Toronto and three or four other clubs with players with big contracts that they would like to move."

- Dave Cameron at Fangraphs is thinking about bad contracts as well and suggests a ratings bonanza would follow a GM summit where each team brought one bad contract and threw them into a pile. Then each team picks one from the pile and has to go home with it in what he has dubbed Bad Contract White Elephant.

Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Akinori Iwamura

Let's move back to the infield and check in on another possible second basemen...the Rays Akinori Iwamura.

 

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2007 28 TBD 123 559 491 82 140 21 10 7 34 12 8 58 114 .285 .359 .411 .770 105
2008 29 TBR 152 707 627 91 172 30 9 6 48 8 6 70 131 .274 .349 .380 .729 92
2009 30 TBR 69 260 231 28 67 16 2 1 22 9 1 24 44 .290 .355 .390 .745 94
3 Seasons 344 1526 1349 201 379 67 21 14 104 29 15 152 289 .281 .354 .393 .747 97
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/27/2009.

October 27th

Ricketts Gets the Keys, Spring Training Update and Other Notes

- The Ricketts family are the new official owners of the Chicago Cubs and will have a press conference on Friday. Maybe they'll bring a new GM with them.

 "My family and I are thrilled that this day has finally come and
we thank Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball owners for
approving our ownership," said Tom Ricketts. "Now we will go to work
building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly
deserve.  

- It's hard to tell how much is Chris DeLuca taking educated guesses or basing his column off some sources, but he seems to expect much of the same for the next two years with Ricketts in charge. Certainly don't expect a big jump in payroll (he throws out $143M) and Hendry isn't getting a blank check to rid himself of the Bradley mess.

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Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Cubs record for last 3 months of regular season baseball: 59 - 23. (Aug, Sept/Oct and April, with one still to go).

    That's a .720 winning percentage and projects to 117 wins over 162 games.

    That's a lot of dance parties.

  • So where does Warren G rank in the list of terrible "Take me out to the ballgame" renditions? It's gotta be near the top.

  • They only need to win 18 more in a row to match the 1984 start of the Detroit Tigers.

  • I agree that it is frustrating and baffling and I am surprised more teams don't try and take advantage of it. However, in the end, I would rather have a pitcher that has 4-5 outs innings versus 4-5 runs innings.

  • 17-5!

  • .464 obp play him over Mr june-august

    And he can play the field

  • I don't have any problem being "reminded" of it -- but anything more than a short sentence about it makes my eyes glaze over and skip to the bottom.

  • per Len: Not Wrigley Field Friendly confines today, it's Szczur's Palace

  • It's kinda neat seeing guys with such little experience doing so well off the bench. Usually it's guys with a bit more time. How many major league at bats do those two have between them?

  • It's really not any more newsworthy than a pitcher who runs up and misses it with his glove, walks the batter instead, or throws it into right field where some runs score. Holding the ball was brilliant. He knew he didn't have the throw eyed. And then he follows up with a gutsy performance. The guy rocks.

  • Hail Szczur!

  • Of course it's noteworthy. I was going to make a post about it if you hadn't. But per Robs point the headline should be "Lester pitches 7 innings with only 1 ER and and 10ks" with "he got himself into a jam by not throwing on a fielded bunt which he was able to pitch out of." As a paragraph in the article and not the headline.

    Or as I write this the headline should be Szczur hits a grand slam but Lester kept them in it the whole game which can be a sub headline.

  • Szczur szlam!

  • Bones!!

  • between him and lastella there's a R/L combo that seems to be comfortable + productive off the bench.

    handy stuff for a playoff contending team.

  • Well, he's consistent at that then.