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Sorry about the site hiccup yesterday, I have no idea what happened...but I took it as a sign that I needed to upgrade the site immediately. A kind reader volunteered to help me and we took advantage of the downtime by upgrading the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7...the upgrade before the upgrade. Now I need to make the comment and theme modifications. Hopefully by Tuesday, the actual new site will be up and running, but I'm sure there will be some hiccups along the way.

So expect the site to be up and down periodically throughout the weekend. Feel free to leave comments when it is up. Thanks for your patience and enjoy the holiday weekend.

Blackmon RF, Herrera SS, Pachecho 1B, Gonzalez LF, Hernandez C, Colvin CF, Nelson 3B, LeMahieu 2B, Pomeranz P

vs.

Mather RF, Vitters 3B, Rizzo 1B, Soriano LF, Castro SS, Castillo C, B. Jackson CF, Barney 2B, Samardzija P

The Rockies recent 5-game win streak and the Cubs continued excellence in losing has earned the Cubs a 3-game lead for the #2 spot in next year's draft for the time being (4 games over the Twins). The Cubs still "trail" the Astros by 9 games for the top spot and doubtful they can tank enough to get there.

As for the lineups, two ex-Cubs start for the Rockies. The thin air of Colvin has certainly helped his power and probably his confidence and he's enjoying a solid season with an .884 OPS through 319 PA's. His home/road splits are about as extreme as you'd expect out of a Rockie (.991 vs. .775). He had an amazing June with an OPS north of 1.000, gave back a little in July(.720), but is enjoying another fine month in August (.985).

LeMahieu (still just 23), hasn't quite reaped the benefits of the Mile High city, but has been taking advantage of the Rockies' injury bug with some playing time and a solid .789 OPS in the second half.

As for the Cubs, Joe Mather is leading off, an image of that lineup card should be the cover art for the Cubs year-end review.

I realized my Cubs apathy reached a new height when I had no idea who the Cubs are playing today and don't really care to look it up.

- In the news, Kaplan's impeccable, most-excellent sources told him that the Cubs and Starlin Castro are working on an extension that would take him up to free agency and beyond. Rosenthal piggybacks on it with a tweet today saying that it should be a 6 to 7 year deal possibly with a club option and that it could be completed by next week. If my math is right, that should take him through 2018 and possibly 2019 which would be through his age 29 season. The numbers on this should be fascinating. My prediction yesterday was something in the 6/60 range, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's higher considering inflation and factoring in the usual rise in salary numbers.

Theo is already saying nice things about Castro in the media, so looks like this is just crossing the t's and dotting the i's, and hopefully doing it a lot better than Jim Bowden did during the trade deadline.

- Filed under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up", Ryan Dempster was put on the Rangers restricted list for personal reasons and won't make his start for Saturday in Toronto. Sounds terrible, until you find out that the personal reason is that Canadian-born Ryan Dempster can't find his Canadian passport.

- And in "Sad Trombone" news, Mark Prior has been released by the Boston Red Sox. The 31-year old had a 3.96 ERA in Pawtucket in 25 innings with 38 K's, but 23 walks.

A bit of an old news at this point, but the previous thread is overloaded with yet another should the Cubs spend or wait to develop some talent first argument. A good 2-3 years more of that discussion...I'm excited.

The big news is that the Cubs fired Oneri Fleita, VP Of player personnel. Of course, last September, Fleita was about to jump ship to the Detroit Tigers and Ricketts gave him a 4-year deal before hiring Theo Epstein. Some thought such a move before hiring a GM would scare off potential top candidates and that was obviously proved wrong. Ricketts did his homework, knowing Fleita was well-respected in the business, while certainly assuring any prospective candidates that if they decided otherwise, he'd eat the contract...better to whiff on a 4-year management contract than a 4-year player contract. 10 months later, that seems to be happening. Epstein had nothing but nice things to say about Fleita and Fleita will certainly catch on somewhere else, which probably means Ricketts will only on the hook for the difference in salaries.

Besides Fleita, the Cubs manager of Baseball Information was also fired, Chuck Wasserstrom. I'm guessing his Excel spreadsheets running on Windows 3.1 weren't sophisticated enough for the TheJedi. Ari Kaplan's job title (Manager of Statistical Information) was also eliminated, but Kaplan will remain within the organization as a consultant.

Cubs are laying a 6-1 ass-whooping through 5 on the Astros behind 2 DeJesus home runs and 1 by Castro along with the pitching of Justin Germano.

I just sent out a mass email (hopefully the one and only that I'll ever send out) on signing up for a new user account with Disqus. In case you've switched emails without updating your TCR account, I've included the text below the jump. But my intention is to upgrade the site sometime this week or next weekend. It sounds more dramatic than it is as most of the changes will be aesthetic in nature and I'm probably rushing it a bit as there are plenty of minor changes I still want to make, but if I don't get the site up and running, I'll just continue to procrastinate and it'll never happen.

While I think I can handle this myself, if you or someone you know is familiar with Drupal, CSS or databases - drop me a line. I can throw a little money your way.

Provided with no comment (click on the links if you're not familiar with the saber stats)

Darwin Barney (Age 26):

  • 268/309/389 .306 wOBA, 85 wRC+
  • 4.9 BB%, 9.5 K%
  • 31 XBH, 31 RBI, 48 R, 6/7 SB
  • 7.9 UZR, 2.0 WAR

Starlin Castro (Age 22):

  • 272/301/414 .303 wOBA, 83 wRC+
  • 3.9 BB%, 16 K%
  • 32 XBH, 52 RBI, 53 R, 17/27 SB
  • 7.1 UZR, 2.1 WAR

So pretty much out of nowhere yesterday, the Cubs decided to promote Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. In a lost season, where getting the #1 draft pick is more important than winning 70 games, I'm all for going with the youth movement. Now when the Cubs were keeping Rizzo in the minors to delay his shot at free agency, TheJedi were spouting that they like their prospects to get a full 162 games at the Triple A level. Rizzo ended up with 163 between his time in Tuscon and Iowa to the tune of a 336/405/670 slash line. There was another factor and that was the play of Bryan LaHair, who after a red hot April deserved all the chances in the world to keep his spot. Yeah, they could have moved him to the outfield sooner, but between LaHair's early play, Rizzo's long-term future and that the Cubs were going to suck regardless, it was a wise decision to keep Rizzo in Iowa.

It seems the site was down for a bit, apologies.

I'm about to take off with the family to the game. Go Ninja Go!

Dejesus, Castro, Rizzo, Soriano, LaHair, Clevenger, Barney, Valbuena, Samardzija vs. Billingsley tonight.

Have a great weekend!

Tags: 

Here are BP's and BA's take on the prospects the Cubs acquired over the last 2 days ranked by potential awesomeness.

3:16 PM: Nevermind, looks like 3B Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks. Villanueva was #100 on BA's top 100 prospects in baseball list before the season. He was #7 on Goldstein's top 11 list:

Year in Review: After impressing last year in the complex leagues, Villanueva was a Sally League All-Star in his full-season debut.
The Good
: Villanueva has outstanding bat speed and impressive power for his size, projecting to hit for average with 15-20home runs annually. He's an impressive athlete with average to slightly-above-average speed; he has improved his defense at third base, and has good hands with a strong arm.
The Bad
: Other than the bat, Villanueva is not exceptionally toolsy. His approach could use improvement. He's filling out and getting stocky, and will likely lose some of his speed down the road.
Ephemera
: Villanueva was used in six different spots of the Hickory batting order in 2011, but had the most success in the six-hole, hitting .357/.410/.629 in 20 games.
Perfect World Projection
: Above-average third baseman.
Fantasy Impact:
A good batting average with some power and more speed than your average third baseman.
Path to the Big Leagues
: Villanueva is buried in Texas at the hot corner, and the Rangers have experimented with him at other positions. He'll begin the 2012 season at High-A Myrtle Beach.
ETA
: 2015


Not finding much on Hendricks.

3:14 PM: Heh, on that note, one dude is hearing that it's Odor and Roman Mendez. Don't take that too seriously yet.

3:12 PM: Pure speculation on my part, but Rougned Odor (that's a terribly unfortunate name) is a Class A position player in that top 20 list.

3:06 PM: Rosenthal says a Class A pitcher and a Class A position player are headed to the Cubs.

3:03 PM: Here's a Rangers top 20 prospect list to start speculating upon. It won't be Profar or Olt.

3:00 PM: And fin. I'll try and get the prospects for Dempster up before I take off here.

2:58 PM: Scott Miller of CBS saying Rangers as well for Dempster...and so is Buster Olney.

2:57 PM: Whomever Ken Gurnick is, he's dropping the Rangers as the destination for Dempster. I believe he's the Dodgers beat writer for mlb.com

2:50 PM: Bowden saying Yanks "may have" acquired Dempster.

2:49 PM: Dodgers beat writer for the L.A. Times Dylan Hernandez says Dodgers are out on Dempster and they're done making deals today.

2:41 PM: The NL Central has been busy, Pirates get Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider (that happened last night). Cardinals get reliever Ed Mujica and Reds get Jonathon Broxton.

2:15 PM: Nightengale saying that Soriano likely staying put, but of course he'll easily clear waivers, so an August deal is always possible.

2:06 PM: Kaplan says Tigers and Cubs are hard at work trying to complete a deal for Soriano.

2:03 PM: Dempster has allegedly said he'd waive his NTC for the Yankees, Rangers and Dodgers.

1:25 PM: Heyman tweet claim Dempster has already told Cubs he'd agree to a trade with Yankees...sure. Rothschild and Hendry are over there, so it does make some sense.

1:09 PM: Some Dempster to the Yankees or Diamondbacks rumors floating.

12:33 PM: Olney saying that Diamondbacks are working on something big and then teases a Justin Upton for Matt Garza deal as making sense. Of course the Cubs are on Justin Upton's no-trade list.

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