MLB has released the latest update on the All-Star voting and there would be three Cubbies in the starting lineup. Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome are one and two among the outfielders and Geovany Soto has a commanding lead over Brian McCann at catcher.
Of course, none of them deserve it, but it pays to be on a popular team that also happens to have the best record in baseball. A matter of fact, all the Cubbies are enjoying the residual benefits of a. 632 winning percentage. Derrek Lee is second in the voting, Mark DeRosa is second (poor Dan Uggla), Ryan Theriot is third and Aramis Ramirez is second(actually well-deserved). Using an advanced metric such as Runs Created, as tracked by The Hardball Times, here's how the All-Star voting should be shaking out. An asterisk indicates they are actually leading the voting.
C - Brian McCann (2nd in the voting). Geovany Soto is third in Runs Created and VORP at catcher behind McCann and Martin.
1B - Lance Berkman* - Derrek Lee is 7th in RC and no, his defense does not make up for that difference.
2B - Dan Uggla (4th in the voting, although Utley is just behind him in runs created). Mark DeRosa is 5th in Runs Created at second base.
SS - Hanley Ramirez* - Ryan Theriot is 6th in Runs Created, but third in the voting.
3B - Chipper Jones* - Aramis is 2nd in Runs Created and the voting.
OF - Nate McClouth, Pat Burrell & Jason Bay (Burrell is 6th, McClouth is 15th and I'm not sure where Bay is, but it's below 15th). Fukudome is 5th in Runs Created and tops among right fielders. Soriano is tied with Juan Pierre right now, mostly due to injury, but enough said.
When they get around to deciding about the pitchers, Dempster and Zambrano are currently six and seven in pitching runs created. Zambrano's current DL trip will probably cost him a spot and Dempster's glossy win-loss record will probably get him a trip to Yankee Stadium. Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol both have very strong cases as well. Marmol is second in Relievers Expected Wins Added as tracked by Baseball Prospectus in the NL and second in Win Probabilty Added as tracked by Fangraphs (in both cases he's behind Brad Lidge). Kerry Wood doesn't fare as well in the advanced metrics, but is tied with Brian WIlson for the lead league in saves and has pretty-looking 2.56 ERA.
So the Cubs will likely have anywhere from six to eight representatives at the Mid-Summer classic. The three starters voted in and Aramis, plus whatever pitchers get tabbed. Maybe they don't all individually deserve it, but this team certainly does. And I think we're all smart enough around here to realize that the power of being a Cub, plus a good team equals lots of All-Star players.
And let's say I wouldn't be suprised if a Cubbie made the list of five for the last spot that gets voted in by the fans. That player could be Marmol or Wood or (gasp) Aramis if the reserved selection is really messed up. And let's say the power of Cubbie Nation or whatever term you wish to label the enormous collection of Cubs fans around the world, will be sure that player voted in is a Cub.
Now if there are two Cubs on that final five list...well, we might have a mini-Cub civil war on our hands.
AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.
Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...
Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.
The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer