Archive - Nov 2009

November 30th

A whole lot of noting happening still so let's look at the Hall of Fame ballot.

The newbies for this year are:

2010: Roberto Alomar, Kevin Appier, Andy Ashby, Dave
Burba, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga, Pat Hentgen, Mike Jackson, Eric
Karros, Ray Lankford, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark
McLemore, Shane Reynolds, David Segui, Robin Ventura, Fernando Vina,
Todd Zeile

Let's couple that with the returning candidates and here would be my ballot. As I did earlier in the year, I've broken it down in two ways.

November 28th

Well I'm sure there are some bugs, but as far as I can tell everything is functioning with one minor exception. That being under the "Our Writers" drop-down menu, the links for Arizona Phil's latest (also under AZ Phil's Corner), Cubnut's latest, Dr. Hecht's latest, etc currently aren't working. Some of the code is clashing with some other code and now they're waiting for the other to apologize. I should be able to fix it down the road, but it's not particulalry vital either for the site...at least not for the moment.

As for the upgrade, most of the new bells and whistles are behind-the-scenes, but they will appear around the site as the offseason progresses. The one change you will notice is in the comments. We've added something called AJAX comments, which is basically some cool javascript code that will now post your comments without having to refresh the whole page (although it doesn't seem to work for the first comment of a post if you click "Add New Comment"...shrug). That should save on some load times for everyone. You still need to refresh the article or go to the front page to see if anyone else has posted new comments, but all your postings will load right up at about half the time. So let's say you visit the site and there are a bunch of new comments and you want to reply to a couple of them. You can do that without having to refresh the page three times and losing your place. The one little bug in that is that the comment subjects get erased after the first reply, so if you guys can stay on top of filling that in I'd appreciate it. It's always better for other users using the flat view if you type in a unique comment subject anyway.

Anyway test some things out and let me know if you come across any bugs.

UPDATE: Also, the ability to add signatures to your comments has disappeared. This wasn't a decision on my part, rather the developer that created that functionality didn't update it for this version of the software. If I can find a suitable replacement, I'll install it.

UPDATE #2: One feature that was requested awhile back was a Return to Homepage link at the bottom of the comments so you don't have to scroll all the way back up. It's there now.

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November 26th

There's going to be an upgrade done to the site sometime over the weekend, so apologies if it's down when you try to escape your in-laws . This could last anywhere from late Thursday night through Sunday(the upgrade and avoiding your in-laws) and I'm sure it's a guarantee that the Cubs will pull off some big news event just to mess with me.

See everyone on the other side and enjoy the holiday break.

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November 25th

According to Sun-Times beat reporter, Gordon Wittenmeyer, with the signing of John Grabow to a 2/7.5 contract (backended as only Jim Hendry can do) and the trading of Aaron Heilman to the Snakes, the Cubs have supposedly made their final bullpen move of the offseason.

The deal appears to secure the final key piece to the Cubs' projected 2010 bullpen, coming one day after the team traded veteran Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I'm pretty happy to see Heilman move out of town but replacing him with Grabow seems kind of blah. It's a Hendry thing to get a grizzled veteran for that 8th inning setup role and since Grabow is able to get lefty and righty hitters out (i.e. not a LOOGY), he's the heir apparent for the crusty veteran out of the bullpen for 2010.

List em. Since Jim Hendry was given the reins to the GM job in 2002, he's added through trade or free agency the following veteran bullpen lugnuts: Antonio Alfonseca, Mike Remlinger, Dave Veres, Mark Guthrie, Alan Benes, Phil Norton, Joe Borowoski, LaTroy Hawkins, Glendon Rusch, Cliff Bartosh, Scott Williamson, Chad Fox (twice), Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, Neal Cotts, Chad Gaudin, Jon Lieber, Luis Vizcaino, Aaron Heilman and lastly Grabow. I'd say for the most part, that's the ugly underbelly of MLB pitching although I know the Cubs are far from being alone in accumulating pitchers like these. Hence, I'm hoping the 2010 Cubs get more out of their young pitching so we don't see Chad Fox (round three?) ever again. Esmalin Caridad, Jeff Stevens and Justin Berg, I'm talking to you. It would be really nice to see productive seasons out of the recent 40 man roster additions including John Gaub, Blake Parker and even longshot/hotshot Raphael Dolis.

November 23rd

I've gotten a bit addicted to Sporcle since someone posted that quiz of Cubs Opening Day Lineups in the comments. Since not a damn thing is happening, I created one on all the players to grace Cubbie uniforms or been associated with the team that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Good luck.

The silly website won't let me add a note to the quiz or I just can't figure it out, but the asterisks next to their position indicate that the player, manager or executive played or managed less than two seasons with the Cubs(roughly). The year is the year the player was inducted. And although I did my best to put alternative spellings in there, since I don't think it should be a spelling contest, I think it's perfectly acceptable to look up the spelling of the name if you think you know an answer and it's not accepting it.

-edit- speaking of, I apparently have a typo on Joe Tinker, I put in Tinkers and it won't let me edit it, so there's one.

-edit #2- finally figured it out, the Tinkers/Tinker typo has been fixed.

November 20th

The Cubs added pitchers John Gaub, Blake Parker and Rafael Dolis along with catcher Welington Castillo and OF James Adduci to their 40-man roster. All five were eligible to be selected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft and the deadline was today to add them. Arizona Phil has been keeping track of this on the right sidebar of course. He had Matt Camp on his short list of players he thought the Cubs would protect - rather than Adduci - but he got the other four.

Besides Camp, I would guess that Steve Clevenger, Alessandro Maestri, Thomas Diamond, J.R.Mathes or Greg Reinhard might draw a little interest.

- Muskat blogged that the Blue Jays contacted the Cubs about Roy Halladay.

...there's a catch. He's owed $15.75 million in 2010, and the Blue Jays
want some of the Cubs' top prospects. No. 1, the team can't take on
Halladay's salary. The Blue Jays apparently have a wish list and Milton
Bradley is not on it. A player like highly regarded shortstop Starlin
Castro most likely is, and the Cubs don't want to part with him,
especially since they might only have Halladay for one year.

A good time to show your committment to winning Ricketts family - we're all counting on you.

- Phil Rogers tried to sell a 3-way trade of Luis Castillo to the Cubs, Kevin Millwood to the Mets and Milton Bradley to the Rangers. It was quickly shot down though by the Cubs and Rangers.

- Carlos Marmol claimed the Cubs were pursuing Pedro Martinez, but the Cubs shot down that as well.

- John Grabow's deal is official, 2/7.5M. A report from Bruce Levine said it would go up by a million in the second year, so that makes it $3.25M in 2010 and $4.25M in 2011 if that ends up being the case. Also should note that Grabow's been dealing with bone chips as well for the last three years. I'm sure that won't bite the Cubs in the ass.

- Last day to enter the TCR Free Agent Frenzy contest, I'll shut it down sometime this weekend.

November 19th

Mike Leake (CIN) threw four innings of shutout ball and Lance Zawadzki (SD) had three hits, including a solo home run and a two-run double, leading the Peoria Saguaros to an 8-1 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.

box score

The Cubs have traded RHP Aaron Heilman to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two minor leaguers, LHP Scott Maine and 1B Ryne White. No one on the Cubs or their fans is probably gonna miss Heilman so I won't waste much space on him, but it was a good way for the Cubs to get something for a guy that was probably a good bet to get non-tendered.

Bruce Levine is reporting that a deal with John Grabow should be completed today for two years and nearly 7.5 million. I had expressed my indifference in the past over resigning Grabow. Oh sure, his ERA has been pretty good the last two years, but with a BB/9 rate near 5 last year and 4.15 for his career, I don't think anyone would really miss him if he got away. I was asked in the comments yesterday how I'd handle this situation and here was my response.

November 17th

Nick Evans (NYM), Mike Moustakas (KC), and Colin Curtis (NYY) each crushed two-run homers, and Ian Kennedy (NYY) threw five innings of one-run ball, leading the Surprise Rafters to a 9-2 drubbing of the Mesa Solar Sox in Arizona Fall League action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon, in what was Andrew Cashner's final AFL start.

box score

November 16th

Danny Espinosa (WAS) had three hits and drove-in four runs and Josh Bell (BAL) cracked a three-run homer to cap a seven-run 4th, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs drubbed the Mesa Solar Sox 11-1 this afternoon at HoHoKam Park, clinching the AFL East crown and earning a berth in the 2009 AFL Championship Game versus the Peoria Javelinas next Saturday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. 

box score

I think they're on the verge of announcing the N.L. Rookie of the Year and Randy Wells was in the running for most of the season. Ultimately I don't think he'll get more than a few third place votes from the Chicago writers and I don't have much time to put together a full analysis, so I'm just going to lazily look at WAR values over at Fangraphs.

Randy Wells - 3.0

Garrett Jones - 2.6

J.A. Happ - 1.8

Chris Coghlan - 2.3

Andrew McCutchen - 3.4

Tommy Hanson - 2.6

Casey McGehee - 2.2

Colby Rasmus - 2.3

My guess is that it ends up Hanson, McCutchen, Happ by the voters and I would certainly encourage a more robust analysis than just WAR values, but there you have it. The Internet Baseball Awards voted Hanson the winner with Wells finishing 8th, for what it's worth.

On the AL side,  Elvis Andrus and Rick Porcello seem to be getting the most press with Andrew Bailey also in the mix.  Fangraphs has Andrus at 3.0 WAR, Porcello at 1.8 and Bailey at 2.4. Pitchers Jeff Niemann(3.2 WAR) and Brett Anderson(3.8 WAR) both surpass Porcello by WAR values but don't seem to be getting much hype. My guess is the voters give it to Porcello as most of Andrus's value came from his glove. Porcello got the nod at the Internet Baseball Awards.


Andrew Bailey wins the A.L. award with Andrus and Porcello finishing second and third. Chris Coghlan took the N.L. award. He was followed by Happ, Hanson, McCutchen, McGehee and then Wells finishing 6th.

 

November 13th

A little under the weather and mourning the end of the Bears season, so some brief notes to hold you over for the weekend.

-  To add fuel to my "they better offer Rich Harden arbitration" fire, the Seattle Times suggest the Mariners have some interest in Rich Harden as I imagine a few teams will.

- Our pal Alex Eisenberg at Baseball Intellect has a new premium article scouting left-handed pitcher James Paxton (drafted by the Blue Jays in the supplemental round in the 2009 draft). The video in the game is against LSU and there's three at-bats of D.J. LeMaheiu which he does a little breakdown of. 

- Congrats to Carlos Zambrano on his third Silver Slugger award. I know Z gets a lot of heat for his Babe Ruth like swings and not worrying enough about his pitching, but I suggest if you have a problem with that you should go follow an AL team. Players like Carlos Zambrano is what makes the National League more fun.

- On the Curtis Granderson rumor front, MLBTR has a link up saying the Angels and Tigers have been talking...Granderson would presumably patrol left field.

- And now the greatest 4:30 minutes you'll watch this weekend, hat tip to Big League Stew for the find.

Enjoy the weekend!

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