Archive - 2009

November 2nd

Cubs Trio Help Solar Sox Glow to Victory

Starlin Castro jacked-up his AFL league-leading batting average to .423 as he ripped two singles, knocked-in two runs, and scored one, Josh Vitters tripled and scored, and John Gaub tossed a 1-2-3 7th, leading the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs, Marlins, Red Sox, Angels, and Twins) to a 7-2 victory over the Peoria Saguaros (Padres, Reds, Indians, Braves, and Astros) in Arizona Fall League action this afternoon at sunny HoHoKam Park in Mesa. 

box score

Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Mike Cameron

I'll go through a few more lower level free agents this week and pick it up to some possible bigger names next week. As we know, there's talk that if the Cubs can move Milton Bradley, they'd put Kosuke Fukudome back to right field and try and improve the outfield defense with a more true center fielder. And that's where Mike Cameron comes in...

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.

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 1 hour 29 sec ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 3 hours 58 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 4 hours 10 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 4 hours 19 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 4 hours 24 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 4 hours 43 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 5 hours 37 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 5 hours 38 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 5 hours 56 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 6 hours 4 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 6 hours 59 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 7 hours 17 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 7 hours 21 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 8 hours 31 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here: http://www.thecubreporter.com/05242016/cub-power-d...

    QuietMan 9 hours 10 min ago view