Rob G.'s Archives

TCR Friday Notes

There's only one other combination that would have made the World Series any less interesting for most Cubs fans. I'm really not sure how to go about rooting in this series. Sure I'd have to hear it from my White Sox friends if they won, but that might be better than watching Roy Oswalt win one or Berkman. To the notes: - Anyone else think this vacuum of silence over the last few weeks is a calculated plan by the Cubs brass and PR departments to stay low? The less noise we make over here on the north side, the less people will notice that we finished below .500 despite a substantially higher payroll then that other team in Chicago who'll be playing for a World Series this week. I see one of two things happening this off-season because of the White Sox success. Option #1) Endorsed by Jim Hendry himself is that the Cubs stay the course and do whatever they were planning to do this off-season anyway. Not sure what that course is, but I think it involves accumulating every "versatile", light-hitting middle infielder available. Option #2) That the Cubs PR department isn't about to let the White Sox steal their thunder and there are some discussions going behind closed doors that the Cubs need to make some splashy moves this off-season. I'm not saying expensive, cause when you work for the Trib you stick to the budget, rain, wind or snow. But I do think splashy, some trade or free agent signing that will bring in one of those players that people can't help but talk about. The first name that comes to mind is Manny Ramirez, but he is grossly expensive, a headcase and will make us remember just how good Jason Dubois and Moises Alou actually were in left field. But the boy can rake. All speculation on my part, but one of the advantages of being owned by a mega-conglomerate is the PR department is ready to go at a moments notice.

Baseball America’s Year End Review

Baseball America has gotten around to summing up the past season in the minors. For each league, they ranked the top 20 prospects in terms of major league longevity and impact. Here's a recap of all things Cubs I could find for your reading enjoyment in these dark days. Arizona League (AZL Cubs RL): #1 Mark Pawelek Chat Wrap with Allan Simpson No discussion on any Cubs players but there's a note that Pawelek was the only first rounder in the entire league. Northwest League (Boise Hawks SS A): #2 Donald Veal #20 Mark Reed

TCR Friday Notes

Could the week have been anymore drab in regards to Cubs news? Nothing, nada, with only the death-defying stuntwork of Nomar and Uncle Victor to keep us warm at night. Of course I should be using this lull in Cubs news to touch-up, polish, start all those articles that I plan to post this off-season, but a healthy dose of anarchy has invaded my life the last few weeks, preventing any such endeavors. Anywhoo, to the notes: - From the NY Times:
The Yankees will have plenty of choices among free-agent relievers, including the left-hander B. J. Ryan, who was a closer for the Baltimore Orioles this year but had said he was open to setting up for a winning team.
Well I'm sure his agent is open to whoever is willing to sign the biggest paycheck, but in my undying fantasy where Hendry realizes a shut-down bullpen may be the most important thing for a team whose starting pitchers avoid late innings like they avoid the strikezone, I still hope Hendry finds Ryan's agent's number from MLB's directory assistance. Quick sidenote, where do GM's get the number of other GM's, or agents or folks like that? Is there an MLB phone number directory? Things I wonder about, such as where do super-criminals get their henchmen from? Back to Ryan, he apparently expresses a wish to play for a winning team, which will be an obstacle that Hendry would have to hurdle if talks ever got serious. Cause winning and the Cubs just don't go hand in hand. But we generally do look good on paper and having Ryan as the backup to Dempster as closer is about as full-proof as you can get. If it was my team, I'd likely reverse the roles or use Ryan against the meaty part of the order, no matter what inning they came up in as he's certainly the superior pitcher. Sure it's an expensive luxury, but when Dempster inevitably comes back down to Earth and stops looking like the 2003 version of Eric Gagne, you can all thank me later. And I'm aware that spending big money on relievers is usually a foolish plan, but A) it's not my money B) the Cubs do have that money to spend this off-season C) this would lower the odds substantially of Dusty and Co. mucking up late innings by trying to play matchups that they don't grasp all too well and D) my ticker can't handle another year of blowing late-inning leads. Am I being selfish? You bet!!! But it would be nice to know that a late inning lead is safe and games could essenitally be over after the 6th or 7th inning. As if I need numbers to prove my point, but here's what Ryan's done in the hitter's league the last 3 years: (2005) 2.43 ERA, 100/26 BB/K, 12.8 K/9, 3.85 K/BB, 0.51 HR/9 (2004) 2.28 ERA, 122/35 BB/K, 12.62 K/9, 3.49 K/BB, 0.41 HR/9 (2003) 3.40 ERA, 63/27 BB/K, 11.27 K/9, 2.33 K/BB, 0.18 HR/9 Hendry said something about getting pitching this off-season, hopefully this is what he meant.

The Worldís Most Useless Playoff Predictor: LCS Edition

I went 3 out of 4 in the Division Series and if I actually paid attention to what I wrote, I might be 4 out of 4. Let's review the rules: #1) Find the teams that have been playing well for longer than a weekÖ.a good 2 month stretch or longer is nice. #2) Find teams that have a knack for coming from behind #3) 2 dominant starters on staff equals trouble for other team. #4) Aggressive managing is better than the same old thing works managing. #5) Never go for a team with a bad defense particularly up the middle (CF, 2b, SS & C) #6) And of course there is the ex-Cub factor. Onto the predictions we go....

Collage of Coaches

Dusty gets his wish, as the entire Cubs coaching staff will be back for 2006. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild apparently weighed the opportunity to be reunited with his World Series champion co-workers Dave Dombrowksi and Jim Leyland, but decided to come back to Chicago on a one-year contract.

AFL Report

Some of you may know reader and roster guru AZ Phil from the comments and roundtable discussions and well he doesn't get that name for nothing. He'll be checking in from Arizona while he catches some of the Mesa Solar Sox games over the next few weeks. He's kindly offered to provide us with his scoop from the ballpark on how the lil' Cubs are doing. Thanks to Phil and hope you enjoy Box Score | Log Although the Solar Sox lost again today(5-3 to the Peoria Javelinas), I got to see†another fine offensive performance by Matt Murton and Brandon Sing. (Murton hit 5th and played LF, Sing hit 6th & was the DH). Murton was 2-3 with a walk, including two doubles, one sliced into the†right-field corner, and the other smoked to left-center.†Murton scored both times he doubled. The one time he came up with men on base (bases loaded, one out),†he rolled into a 6-4-3 DP. It was nice to see Murton play a single to the outfield aggresively and make an immediate throw home without thinking about where to throw it,†something you all may remember he failed to do a few weeks ago playing†behind Carlos Zambrano.†††

Friday Notes Edition

Hope everyone is enjoying the playoffs, so far. Sure it's tough not seeing the Cubs in there and even tougher to see the White Sox and Cards playing, but if you're a fan of just the game of baseball, you generally get to see some well-played games. - The Cubs were suppose to announce any coaching changes by yesterday, but I haven't come across anything yet. I'm assuming the hold-up is being caused by Larry Rothschild. Hendry gave Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski permission to interview Rothschild, who worked with new Tigers manager Jim Leyland back in 1997 when the Marlins won the World Series. Indications are that Rothschild was offered a new contract by the Cubs for one year and it'll just depend if Rothschild is more interested in coaching with an old friend in Leyland or trying to stick around and finish what he's started in Chicago.

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  • See ya on parrot chat

  • In what was probably the last start for RHSP Jeremy Null at EXST... 
    Intrasquad game this morning on Field #5 at Riverview Baseball Complex: 
    4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/4 GO/AO, 75 pitches (50 strikes) 

    Next stop is likely either South Bend or Myrtle Beach (TBD)  

  • There does seem to be something funky about closers pitching in non-save situations -- they never seem to be as effective. But, to your point, there could not have been a save situation in that game, so why not use your best reliever?

  • Heyward getting the night off.

    Grand Slammin' Sczcur in RF - La Stella batting 2nd

  • Your thought: don't pitch Rondon at all, since a save can't happen in extra innings at home.

    Maddon's thought: might as well pitch him now, because there's no later.

  • It looked like the baserunner might have screened Russell some though it's still a play he should have made.

    I wasn't thrilled with the use of Rondon in that situation. In save situations opponents have a 77 OPS. In non-save situations it's a 116 OPS. We had other relievers for that spot we could have used.

  • I'm not sure if it's his normal swing but it's obvious he can hit and he's always hit for power just not HRs so if it is his normal swing there's something else going on.

    This article from spring training said he was trying to pull the ball a lot more:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/making-too-much-of-...

  • Oh, thanks. I guess I should actually look at the schedule. Yay, 3-game road trip!

  • Good call, indeed. This ought to be a good series.

  • Sorry to nit-pick -- but the games against the Nats this week are at home.

    Can't remember a worse weather-start to a season. Yuck.

  • Basically Russell booted a slam dunk DP grounder letting a run score. But he drove in the tying run in 9th. Just not their day, Rondon notwithstanding.

  • Didn't see the game, but it sounded like the Cubs gave away 2 runs with poor fielding. Bummer.

    Well, it's been a fun diet of Reds, Brewers and Braves, but now the Cubs have to play real teams in May (Pirates, Nationals, SF, Cards and Dodgers) -- hope we are all still smiling when we wake up on Memorial Day.

  • He does seem out of synch. His body seems to start forward, then his arms sort of try to catch up -- if that's his normal swing, he will never hit for power. It's an all-arms slasher swing, but the timing seems off.

    He is currently slugging .256 -- I realize the weather has been bad, but that's epically bad. Currently 92nd out of 94 qualified NL batters. Yikes.

  • Weird home stand -- 3-1, with 2 rainouts, vs. two teams that will lose 100 games. Feels oddly disappointing.

    Miserable baseball weather all week -- hopefully better weather will get the bats going. Not just walking, but actually hitting.

  • That strike call on LaSterlla was terrible