Author Archives

By way of Gordon Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times, Lou Piniella talks about the importance of finding days off for Soriano, Ramirez, Lee, et al.

Hmmm, sounds like what you could use, Lou, is a “super sub.”

Meanwhile the 26th Cub, Brian Roberts, showed up for Orioles camp and got to choose between discussing his as yet unrealized trade to the Cubs and the presence of his name in the Mitchell Report.

Have the Chicago/Baltimore talks cooled to the point that the supposed principals aren’t even thinking about it any more? Andy MacPhail claims he spoke to Roberts Tuesday morning and the subject didn’t even come up.

Dedicated to cockfighting, that is.

Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramírez is prominently featured in a recent issue of a Dominican cockfighting magazine, En La Traba, in which he is pictured with several roosters that he raises for fighting. Of roosters, he said in the magazine, “When I’m in the Dominican Republic, I’m dedicated entirely to them.”

Too bad all of this is going on in the D.R. It would be a perfect topic for that new Henry Waxman reality show.

Chicago’s favorite former Chunichi Dragon gets the attention of the New York Times today. The article talks about how Fukudome played shortstop (badly) for his first three years as a pro, and the memory of that evoked this funny, self-deprecating description of what kind of shortstop Fukudome was:

“The kind that caused my pitchers great anxiety.”

(Actually, the comment came through Fukudome’s translator. I guess that means the comment wasn’t self-deprecating...just deprecating.)

Most interesting part of the piece to me was the connection drawn between Fukudome’s move to the outfield and his emergence as a big-time hitter. Fukudome thinks it's no coincidence that the events happened in tandem; says he found playing the outfield "much more relaxing."

If Fukudome struggles early, I hope the right field bleacher creatures at Wrigley give him a break. Otherwise "relaxing" will be the last word he'll use to describe his new home.

-- Dayn Perry’s anti-All Star list–the worst National Leaguers, position by position–includes no Cubs, but two exes, Jason Kendall and Juan Pierre.

Congratulations, men.

-- Riffing off of Friday's Stat of the Day feature at Baseball-Reference.com, a list of players who went an entire season without a BB or HBP, here’s a list of Cub hitters who achieved the feat, in descending number of plate appearances:

Joe Carter (52 PA’s in 1983)
Dee Fondy (51 PA’s in 1957)
Mike Hubbard (39 PA’s in 1996)
Bubbles Hargrave (37 PA’s in 1914)
Don Young (36 PA’s in 1965)
Billy Cowan (36 PA’s in 1963)
Coaker Triplett (36 PA’s in 1938)
Rob Talbot (32 PA’s in 1953)
Sandy Martinez (30 PA’s in 1999)
Jeff Kunkel (29 PA’s in 1992)

Note: no Neifi Perez. Just doesn’t seem right. (And yes, Bubbles Hargrave is Pinky's brother.)

-- A tv-related note by way of the Muskrat: Comcast marks the 10th anniversary of Harry Caray’s passing with a day of Harry-related programming on February 18th. Included will be a documentary on Harry’s life and complete rebroadcasts of three big games from Caray’s time with the Cubs, including the NL East clincher in 1984.

--The sun is out in Chicago today for what seems like the first time in months. A fitting reason to point out that pitchers and catchers report to Mesa 5 days, 23 hours, 48 minutes and 26 seconds from now.

Today, Carrie Muskat asks herself, "Can Dempster make a successful conversion from closer to starter?"
Her answer:

After three seasons as the closer, Dempster is switching back to the rotation for the first time, full-time, since 2002. The right-hander has trained hard this offseason, but it won't be easy to go from one-inning outings to seven or eight. He'll be challenged with the addition of Lieber.

I think Dempster will mostly be challenged by the fact that he is not a very good starting pitcher.
Dempster's career numbers as a starting pitcher only, along with those of another guy who we often kick around:

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.”

• 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.

Jerry Crasnick has a story up at espn.com about the significant number of free agents still looking for work. "The game's rampant unemployment problem," he refers to it jokingly.

It's a long list--more than 90 players are still unattached according to ESPN's Free Agent Tracker--but 12 of the names on the list caught my eye:

Antonio Alfonseca
Paul Bako
Luis Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Kenny Lofton
Ramon Martinez
Damian Miller
Corey Patterson
Josh Paul
Neifi Perez
Sammy Sosa
Steve Trachsel

From the headline on this post, you can probably guess the question:

If you absolutely, positively had to make room on the current Cubs roster for one of these former Cubs, which one would it be?

Would it be Lofton, who, in his age 40 season, still turned in a .296/.367/.414 line for the Rangers and Indians and could keep centerfield warm until Pie grows into it? Of course it would be Lofton, so take him out of the equation.

Antonio Alfonseca
Paul Bako
Luis Gonzalez
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Kenny Lofton
Ramon Martinez
Damian Miller
Corey Patterson
Josh Paul
Neifi Perez
Sammy Sosa
Steve Trachsel

Now what you do say? And no, death is not an option.

mlbtraderumors.com flagged this story by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, reporting that Adam Jones of the Mariners is on his way to Baltimore in a deal for Eric Bedard. According to Baker, Jones is scheduled to be in Baltimore Monday so he can take a physical. No definitive or semi-definitive word on which other Mariners might also be headed to the O's.

Baker's report is based on an interview between Jones and a baseball writer in Venezuela, where Jones has been playing winter ball. Said the player:

"(Mariners GM Bill Bavasi) called me yesterday and told me the news. I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He's one of the best."

Naturally, there has to be a little remaining intrigue in this never-ending story. In the last hour, Roch Kubatko of the Baltimore Sun posted this:

I would love to file an entry confirming the Erik Bedard trade to Seattle and releasing the names of the prospects that Orioles president Andy MacPhail acquired in return for the left-hander. Just one problem: Nobody on the Orioles' side is confirming that a deal is done. All we have so far is Adam Jones telling reporters in Venezuela that the Mariners told him that a trade was completed and he should fly to Baltimore. Pretty strong stuff. But the media here needs someone from the warehouse to provide confirmation, and it's not happening.

Obviously, with this being neither a Mariners blog or an Orioles blog, the primary reason to note any of this here is the possibility that having dispatched Bedard, Andy MacPhail might finally get around to moving Brian Roberts. Also, if the M's/O's deal is a reality, we Cub fans can once and for all dispose of any fantasies that the Cubs might actually have been able to land both players from Baltimore.

Tags: 

With the wind chill factor in Chicago approaching 137 degrees below zero and Spring Training still 21 days, 14 hours, 9 minutes and 41 seconds away, I found this fun little diversion courtesy of David Pinto at Baseball Musings.

Based on work by Cyril Morong (Beyond The Box Score), Ken Arneson (Catfish Stew), and Ryan Armbrust (The Pastime), Pinto has fashioned a Lineup Analysis machine. You simply feed nine players into the formula along with their OBP's and slugging percentages, and what you get back is a series of run projection numbers, based on various lineup permutations of the players you entered.

For yucks, I entered numbers for Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Fukudome, Pie, DeRosa and Soto, plus a generic Cub Pitchers line (.167 OBP, .207 SLG, based on the Cub pitchers’ ’07 hitting performance).

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter