I-Cubs Get Thumped by River Cats

Nate Spears and Brad Snyder smacked home runs, but it wasn't enough, as the Sacramento River Cats (the Oakland A's AAA affiliate) scratched out a 10-5 victory over the Iowa Cubs this afternnon at the Papago Park Sports Complex in Phoenix.

Spears missed several games after being hit on the hand with a pitch last Saturday, but he returned to the scene of the crime (and the lineup) with a bang today, hitting the first pitch of the game over the RF fence.

The first three I-Cubs pitchers struggled, as Randy Wells and Dumas Garcia had difficulty throwing strikes, while Ken Kadokura was just plain awful (five runs on eight hits--including three doubles and a triple, in just two innings of work), but Justin Berg and Jeff Stevens retired the last six batters they faced, Berg with an easy 1-2-3 nine-pitch 7th (eight strikes and only one ball, resulting in a 6-3, Ks, and P-3), and then Jeff Stevens struck out the side in the 8th.

In Iowa Cubs roster news, hard-throwing 26-year old RHP Rocky Roquet (who has been terrible since reporting to the Iowa Cubs) has been traded to the Oakland A's for a PTBNL (Roquet was an NRI to big league camp), LHP Edward Campusano (another NRI to big league camp who got sentt back to Iowa) has been released (couldn't throw strikes, never really recovered from April 2007 TJS), and OF Richie Robnett (acquired from OAK in the Michael Wuertz trade, and then outrighted off the 40-man roster last week) and IF-OF Matt Camp have been demoted to AA Tennessee. So the Iowa Cubs roster presently stands at 33 (16 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders, and five outfielders), with nine cuts left to make by the end of the week (the AA and AAA regular season roster limits are 24, not 25).  

Here is today's abridged box score (Iowa Cubs players only). Randy Wells batted twice (including once after he had already been replaced on the mound) because he is being prepped as a rotation starter for Iowa, and the Cubs wanted him to get a couple of ABs in addition to extending his pitch count up past 50 (he was used as a one-inning reliever in Cactus League games before he was optioned to Iowa from big league camp).

LINEUP:
1. Nate Spears, DH #1: 1-3 (HR, 6-3, 4-3, BB - 1 R, 1 RBI)
2. So Taguchi, RF: 0-4 (F-8, F-9, 5-3, 4-6-3 DP)
3. Esteban German, 3B: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, BB, 6-3 - 1 R)
4a. Randy Wells, P-DH #2: 0-1 (3-U SH, F-8)
4b. SKIPPED
5. Jake Fox, 1B: 0-2 (Kc, HBP, BB, F-8 - 1 R)
6. Brad Snyder, CF: 1-3 (4-3, 3-U, BB, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI)
7. Jason Dubois, LF: 2-4 (1-3, 2B, Ks, 2B - 1 R)
8. Mark Johnson, C: 2-3 (1B, F-8, BB, 2B - 2 RBI)
9. Andres Blanco, SS: 0-4 (P-4, 6-3, 4-3, Kc -1 RBI)
10. Luis Rivas, 2B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-8)

PITCHERS:
1. Randy Wells - 2.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1 WP, 51 pitches (26 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Ken Kadokura - 2.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R (6 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 43 pitches (27 strikes), 3/1 GO/FO
3. Dumas Garcia - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 46 pitches (22 strikes) , 1/4 GO/FO
4. Justin Berg - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, nine pitches (eight strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
5. Jeff Stevens - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 17 pitches (10 strikes)

ERRORS: NONE    

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Comments

Arizona Phil -

Thanks for the great updates. How does Brad Snyder look in CF? I figure Fuld will get the majority of the CF AB's, but if Snyder can play all over the outfield, then I like the Iowa team carrying four outfielders (Fuld, Snyder, Dubois, and Deeds). If Snyder isn't great in CF, then I see the Cubs needing a 5th outfielder like a Taguchi (or I thought Matt Camp could be the backup CF'er, but he was just sent down).

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/...

not official, but looking that way.

Gallagher didn't make the A's rotation...

my favorite part of that article...

"Management believes Veal, a Rule 5 pick, is closer to being major-league ready than Meek was at this time last year."

vs. Cubs 08

4ip 1h 7bb 2k 4er in 3 games...

13ip 11h 12bb 7k 10er overall...

setting the bar a little high there huh management?

for the interruption in service last night, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

P.S. - Reds interested in Sheffield

Phil, is Mark Reed still with the I-Cubs? Thanks.

Christina Kahrl (Baseball Prospectus) published this a couple days ago in an article entitled Bargains and Boondoggles....

Special overpriced scrub award: Because you can make mistakes on the bottom of the roster as easily as you can on the top, let's bring up AARON MILES of the Cubs, or perhaps more properly GM JIM HENDRY for giving Miles a two-year, $4.9 million contract. His projected value of his production in 2009 is $550,000, barely above league-minimum, and is projected to drop to $425,000 in 2010. Flushing $4 million over two years is small potatoes, but one of the things we expected in terms of changing free market behavior is that we anticipated that mediocre players would have a hard time while teams (wisely) pay a premium to top-end talent. That's still generally true, but every once in a while you still see bad deals like this.

... just Jim being Jim.

Question: Isn't Chad Gaudin's $2mil salary now guaranteed, since he wasn't waived yesterday?

Just checking, because one option put out there was cutting Gaudin and saving most of his salary. Obviously the Cubs feel that he is in their plans, or tradeable at that price tag.

Cubs vs Yankees Friday in New York
7:05 ET, televised

ESPN's guide to New Yankee Stadium
http://sports.espn.go.com/travel/stadium/?stadium=...

46-54 degrees, 70% chance of rain predicted

Lou may wish he was back in Arizona.

Who is the jackass that buy's $53,200.00 season tickets to the Yankees?

Probably the same jackasses who pay hundreds of dollars for single CBOE tickets at Wrigley. Or the same jackass who pays thousands of dollars for Cubs season tickets.

Nate Silver (BP) says the Cubs defense isn't going to be what it was last year....2nd best FRAA (measures the runs saved or lost relative to the MLB average) in NL. Notable reasons given include the loss of Mark DeRosa who was above average at nearly every position he played.

Cubs (2008 FRAA: +58 | 2009 Projection: +6)

From +58 to +6 in a year? Silver is out of his head or displaying his Cub hatred again. I'm not sure I buy that DeRosa was that great defensively, and even if he was, I don't know that Fontenot is much (if any) worse. Edmonds was good, I suppose, but Fuku/ReedJ should be as nearly as good, and Bradley will be solid in RF when he's out there. Even accounting for the fact that players are a year older, and that some of them probably had career years defensively, it doesn't explain a 52 point FRAA drop. Just ridiculous.

it does explain it if the stat is stupid and too variable by it's very definition.

It is not ridiculous if the stats show that it is unlikely that the players will repeat those years.

Look... it is all predictions based on the historical data. It isn't Nate Silver's opinion.

I'd like to see the article myself, not sure where SIlver is getting his Ramirez and Soriano information from...Ramirez was back to his below average self last year by FRAA and Soriano has been average to well-above average ever since he moved to LF by their numbers. Fukduome should be an upgrade defensively to Edmonds although the drop to Bradley in RF should wash that out. Fontento vs. DeRosa...I'd probably take DeRosa but Fontenot looks to be improving.

Looks all about the same to me....

I agree with you! But Silver doesn't think Bradley is up to the job. He also thinks the good defense we got from Soriano and Ramirez last year was a fluke.

FWIW St.Louis is also projected to drop about 50 points down to FRAA minus land.

Understandable. Bradley has really been dogging it this spring.

I know, I know, I'm just 'shooting the messenger' at this point, but I get cranky when people tell me the Cubs aren't going to win everything.

I've been largely skeptical of predictions ever since everyone thought the Cubs would finish 3rd or 4th in 2007. *flips big middle finger to all those people*

More DeRosa silliness. Contrary to rumor, DeRosa didn't cover right field and second and third bases at the same time.

I know he has a strong arm, but DeRosa had zero outfield assists last year. In what way, then, was he an above-average outfielder? I remember him being wall-shy, like nearly all converted infielders.

DeRosa is really a third baseman, so he got traded to a team that needed a third baseman. He couldn't play third for the Cubs, so they had to move him around. A good player can usually find a team and a position and stay there. Let's hope DeRosa has landed in a place where he doesn't have to perpetuate the myth of the "super sub."

I know he has a strong arm, but DeRosa had zero outfield assists last year. In what way, then, was he an above-average outfielder?

Yea... I heard that OF defense is only about throwing the ball.

This, of course, coming from the same guy who thinks that dealing with fly balls in the infield is the same as dealing with fly balls in the outfield.

Draw your own conclusions from the fact that Theriot was inept in the outfield.

To me, if a guy can't catch a fly ball in the outfield, he's probably not who you want running out from the shortstop position to catch a ball over his shoulder in short left center. It's not his strength, in any event.

No one has seen Soriano play first, but I can picture him dropping pop-ups and missing throws.

Conversely, the fact that Hoffpauir seems to be a slick fielder at first suggests that he's not as bad an outfielder as has been alleged. My guess is that he could be decent with practice.

Draw your own conclusions from the fact that Theriot was inept in the outfield.

Okay... but one of them sure will not be that dealing with balls in the air is the same in the outfield and infield. Have you ever played baseball before?

Conversely, the fact that Hoffpauir seems to be a slick fielder at first suggests that he's not as bad an outfielder as has been alleged. My guess is that he could be decent with practice.

HUH!?!? Because he is good at first he would be good in the outfield?

You have to be kidding me.

mental retardation. neat.

i guess fontenot can't field...wait, he can...better than dero.

i guess bradley can't field...wait, he can...better than dero in RF...

i guess the new guys...wait, fuck...everyone else is the same except a fuku/gaith CF which both are competent and then some.

i guess the added D edge from d.ward and r.cedeno will be missed...wait...

brb, making a pretty dress out of wasted paper from printed out spreadsheets.

the kicker is nate silver knows better...but BP doesn't "sell" that logic.

i guess fontenot can't field...wait, he can...better than dero.

Huh? He can field better than DeRosa? Not so sure about that...

i guess bradley can't field...wait, he can...better than dero in RF...

Umm... Bradley isn't replacing DeRosa in right, he is replacing Fukudome. Or, actually, he is really replacing Edmonds.

the kicker is nate silver knows better...but BP doesn't "sell" that logic.

Knows better? He is using stats to make a prediction. Sometimes those predictions are wrong. Often they are right.

I am really not sure why people are getting so upset. His point wasn't only that DeRosa would be missed, but also that ARam and Soriano had pretty good defensive years last year (according to BP's defensive stats), but they are inconsistent and are unlikely to reproduce their defensive production. DLee is getting worse, not better, defensively.

I would say that the Cubs are, at best, the same at 1b, 3b, LF, C, SS. They are probably worse at CF and RF. And there is a good chance that they are worse at 1b, 3b, and LF.

"Huh? He can field better than DeRosa? Not so sure about that..."

it's one thing fonte can do well. his footwork is great. dero had good footwork and was good on popups, but that's about all i'd give him, personally. he didn't murder 2nd, he was good...but i'd take fontenot over dero at 2nd in a fielding clinic. it's not like one is a slam dunk over the other or something.

and bradley is a new starter...the starter he's replacing is also staying a starter and he should have no issue in CF.

and yes, nate silver DOES know better. FRAA is not something you'd place a prediction around, especially as a team aggregate, imo. It makes UZR look classy.

i have no idea how you put RF as worse with bradley in RF...he's a superior arm to fuku if nothing else. he can definitely cover more ground than dero out in RF.

i have no idea how you put RF as worse with bradley in RF...he's a superior arm to fuku if nothing else. he can definitely cover more ground than dero out in RF.

Are you serious? You seriously think that Bradley is as good, or better, thank Fukudome in Right Field?

Wow.

Props to Dave for getting Huh? and Ummm... in the same post.

is there a link to this btw? Don't see it on BP.....

It was in ESPN Magazine. Insider subscription needed.

well shiite, I don't like paying ESPN money for their garbage. But yeah, if he said that he the defense from Soriano and Ramirez using FRAA was a fluke as navigator said, I'd like to know what numbers he's looking at...

Ramirez's career year on defense was 2007 and Soriano has been average to well-above average in LF.

Also - and I can't answer this - but how does FRAA measure intimidation? Because at some point teams are going to just stop running on Soriano's arm and his assists will look like he's having a bad year and bring everything down with it.

He didn't give the actual numbers for individual players.

okay...but did he actually say that Soriano and Ramirez defense in 2008 was a fluke or something like that by FRAA? Just don't make sense...

The stregnth of Sori's defense is based entirely on his arm, without which he would be Burrell-bad in left field. So I'm not sure how arm strength can be a fluke.

he ain't nowhere near Burrell bad, just cause he doesn't look pretty doing it all the time, he still has speed to make up for being an outfielder for only 3 years.

Let's just say I hold my breath on every fly ball.

Here is what he said:


2008 FRAA: +58
2009 projection: +6

They had a great year in the field, trailing on the Rays with a +58 FRAA. The problem is that it had all the makings of a fluke, as this is a veteran club with streaky defensive players such as Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs also traded Mark DeRosa, who was a defensive asset at virtually every position he played, and are now counting on Milton Bradley in rightfield, even though he spent last season mostly as the Rangers DH. Overall, Chicago's defense should still be solid, just not he asset it was last year.

Later... in the same magazine, Tim Kurjian wrote:

Aramis Ramirez anchors one of the NL's better defensive clubs. Chicago's lone possible concern is the centerfield platoon of converted corner outfielders Johnson and Fukudome- although Fooky was huge in right.

Aramis is the defensive anchor? oh dear...

streaky I can buy, but don't see the big fall-off to be honest that they're predicting, unless Theriot becomes a bigger liability than the average that he seems to have shown so far...

Yeah, see this is where shit just doesn't compute. I can buy Silver's analysis if he's projecting, say, a +30 FRAA, half of what it was last year. I may not agree with it, but that's a defensible analysis of what that number would be. The problem is either 1) there's a huge drop in the stats that isn't explained well in the analysis or (more likely in my opinion) 2) Silver has some general ideas on the Cubs' D this year or needs to fill space at least and thus fudges the numbers around to make his point. Unless we can see the formula for FRAA (which, I might be mistaken, but I believe BP won't give out), there's just no reason to put much stock in this as "stat-based" material. It's an opinion, and one from a guy who's gotten a bad rap as a Cub hater in the past.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but again, I am pretty sure that Silver and crew use stats and not opinions. Typically with these kinds of projections they use player specific historical data, along with things like age, to project what a player, and in turn team, will do in the future.

I don't think that the FRAA formula is messed up in this situation. If anything, it would be the projection formula.

Nate Silver is a Cub fan, says he reads TCR every once-in-awhile (probably not at all since his election site went nuclear).

Yeah, Cub hater probably was less than accurate. How about self-loathing Cub fan pessimist?

So it IS that Nate Silver? I wondered...

Saw him on the Maddow show... cool.

FRAA is a shit stat that becomes messy smeared shit when you blanket apply it to teams that change lineups yearly.

now go give BP your money so they can go buy travis hafner rookie cards.

It's amazing how good the infield can throw when D. Lee is at first base.

If you accept the BP metrics (which at least generally align with defensive efficiency)

It should be about a wash at 2nd with Fontenaught and Miles replacing Fontenaught, DeRosa and Cedeno - maybe a slight drop.

Johnson and Edmonds were 9 runs below average, which Fukudome/Gahtright and Johnson should be able to better in center.

In right will give a little back with Bradley over Fukudome/DeRosa.

At catcher will lose a smidge with Hill instead of White.

At pitcher we'll lose a little with Marquis gone.

But still the defense should be solidly above average.

An outfield of Soriano/Gathright/Fukudome ought to not let too many balls drop.

i know you started with a proper disclaimer so don't take this one personally...the qualifier is in place...

what those shit D stats don't tell is what we've seen out of K.Hill this spring...the guy's arm accuracy has become pretty damn deadly an arm and leg over what he was before his finger-fusing. i dunno what caused it...probably him working extra f'n hard on it in order to prove it.

...and if johnson/edmonds are 9 runs below average on D i'd like to see the 90 or so ichiro's out there.

AZ Phil,

I'm hoping you will post the Iowa, Tenn, Daytona, and Peoria rosters early next week? Any major surprises, yet?

Submitted by Wrigley Rat on Wed, 04/01/2009 - 8:16pm. Arizona Phil -

Thanks for the great updates. How does Brad Snyder look in CF? I figure Fuld will get the majority of the CF AB's, but if Snyder can play all over the outfield, then I like the Iowa team carrying four outfielders (Fuld, Snyder, Dubois, and Deeds). If Snyder isn't great in CF, then I see the Cubs needing a 5th outfielder like a Taguchi (or I thought Matt Camp could be the backup CF'er, but he was just sent down).

===========================================

WRIGLEY RAT: Brad Snyder can definitely play CF. He has plus-speed (especially for a big guy) and can cover a lot of ground, and he has an outstanding arm (he made a throw yesterday on the fly from in front of thc warning track in straight-away CF to 3B). He also has plus power. Very toolsy guy. But he's not a very good hitter. Lots & lots of swings & misses. He looks confused a lot of times when at bat. He appears to be the type of athlete where maybe baseball wasn't his first sport (reminds me a bit of when Michael Jordan decided he wanted to play baseball).

Depending on whether So Taguchi accepts an assignment at AAA, I would say the Iowa startimg outfield will be Deeds-Fuld-Snyder LF-CF-RF, with Taguchi as the 4th OF. Otherwise, Dubois could make the squad as a 1B-LF (but I think he will will probably get released) or Bobby Scales (who appears to be in decline) as a multi-positional 3B-2B-1B-LF-RF. Also, Jake Fox should get some reps in LF (the more I see him play 1B, the more I think he can't play there, either).

The starting infield should be Fox-Spears-Blanco-Reynolds 1B-2B-SS-3B, with Esteban German and Luis Rivas the back-ups (Reynolds should play some 1B, too). And then Welington Castillo & Mark Johnson should be the catchers (Jake Fox is still the emergency 3rd catcher), with Shawn McGill probably assigned to Daytona and Chris Robinson released .

Matt Matulia is still on the Iowa roster and he travels with the squad, but he has been the 1st base coach lately. I suspect the Cubs wil deactivate him by plaing him on the minor league 7-day inactive/DL list, and keep him around as a player-coach (coaching intern) as they have in the past with Casey Kopitzke and Issmael Salas and others. Matulia and I-Cubs Manager Bobby Dickerson have a good relationship, and Matulia is the type of guy the Cubs might project as a future minor league manager or instructor.

The Cubs like to have one "organizational player" (in other words, somebody making less than $20,000) at AA or AAA signed to a player contract who can be reactivated short-term in case an infielder or outfielder at Iowa or Tennessee goes down with a relatively minor injury, so that they don't need to go out and sign a free-agent just for a week or two. This player takes BP and fielding practice, but otherwise is not active and is used as a 1st base coach until he's needed.

BTW, the position players at Tennessee will probably be Wright-Robnett-Adduci LF-CF-RF, Canzler-Thomas-Barney-M. Smith 1B-2B-SS-3B, with Justin Sellers (2B-SS-3B) and Matt Camp (2B-SS-OF) the utility guys. And then Blake Lalli (C-1B-3B), Robinson Chirinos (C-2B-3B), and Steve Clevenger (C-1B) will allternate at catcher. The one "wild card" is OF Brandon Guyer, who could get jumped all the way from Boise to AA, but might get squeezed out by the roster crunch at Tennessee and end up at Daytona. But Guyer is now a Top 10 prospect in my book. He reminds me a lot of Eric Byrnes.  .    

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I look forward to the start of the season for each of these minor league teams. Keep posting these great reports - I learn more about our minor leaguers from you than anywhere else!

Submitted by Q-Ball on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 8:30am. Question: Isn't Chad Gaudin's $2mil salary now guaranteed, since he wasn't waived yesterday? Just checking, because one option put out there was cutting Gaudin and saving most of his salary. Obviously the Cubs feel that he is in their plans, or tradeable at that price tag.

==========================

Q-BALL: The Cubs had until 2 PM (EDT) yesterday (Wednesday) to place Chad Gaudin on Release Waivers if they wanted to save $1.5M. They still might have done that without announcing it. Or perhaps they are sure they can trade him before Sunday, with the only question being which offer they will take.

BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if the PTBNL the Cubs get back for Rocky Roquet might be halfways-decent, perhaps even somebody on the A's 40-man roster. Roquet had a bad spring, but he still projects as an MLB middle-reliever or set-up guy. The Cubs have four openings on their 40-man roster right now  (most teams' 40-man rosters are full and they're looking to drop somebody to make room for an NRI who made the team out of ST)  and so the Cubs can easily afford to take somebody back in a trade who has options left. Jerry Blevins, maybe?

The A's and Cubs see a lot of each other in Spring Training (the Cubs minor leaguers only play SF, OAK, and LAA in minor league ST games), so the Cubs know the A's prospects VERY well (and vice-versa).

Thanks AZ Phil! If the Cubs intend to trade Gaudin, I wonder what his trade value is. At $2 mil it must be positive, since otherwise why would they have paid him.

Probably not high though, as his recent work has been troubling, though before that he was certainly a serviceable #5, or long man in pen.

Have you seen JOHN GAUB LHP this spring? I'm wondering what the plans are for him.

According to Cub scout Stan Zielinski he's already got an average to plus major league fastball (89-95 MPH) and has a chance his slider will develop into major league quality as well. The Cubs thought about drafting him in 2006 but wound up taking Taylor Parker instead. At any rate Gaub was the guy Wilken liked even more than Stevens in the DeRosa trade.

I played with Gaub in a summer league in South St. Paul for a summer and a half. He's had some shoulder trouble that limited his use while he played for us, and if I remember correctly led him to lose some time playing for the Gophers.

I'm involved with a semi-pro summer league myself SJS. You're right, of course, about the problems. But, from all reports Gaub has been healthy the last year and a half.

If he's healthy, then he'll fit in as a guy out of the pen.

Director of player personnel Oneri Fleita has a track record of making changes right up to the last day of spring training, so with a few more days left before they break camp, i'm sure there is a lot of discussion on these rosters still going on.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/852953.html

“There were some personal issues,” Fleita said of Acosta. “We had reached a point where mutually we thought it was time to go in a different direction and try to start new somewhere else. He’s a nice young man who is still young obviously. These are tough decisions to make, but sometimes you reach a point that it’s best that both go in a different direction, and we certainly wish him well.

Acosta btw was immediately picked up by the Royals.

article also mentions that Latham was indeed released...and Gian Guzman(19 years old) has been converted from SS to pitcher.

Fleita says Vitters has had a nice spring. Articles says he should start in Peoria, although possibly Daytona.

Thanks for the update on Latham.

Fleita seems to run a tight ship.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Cubs might have some interest on a minor league deal....

Lou says he's not sure what he'll do versus lefties at 2b quite yet, at least not in the first game vs. Wandy Rodriguez.

How about Chad Gaudin for Jeff Baker?

Now, you see everybody dress up nice. Font got his new outfit from "Gap for Kids" and Theriot's suit is from "Men's Wearhouse." When you see those things, you know it's time to go. Guys are excited and ready to get out of here. The new luggage tags are good, Otis yelling at everybody is another good sign. Like I said before, guys are excited and they want it to count. This trip will help us regain our focus. You have those Opening Day jitters and hopefully we get them out of the way and roll into Houston and start playing good baseball.

Johnson seems to like David Patton as well..

http://reedjohnson.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/04/go...

LF Alfonso Soriano, RF Joey Gathright, CF Kosuke Fukudome, 1B Micah Hoffpauir, 2B Mike Fontenot, 3B Bobby Scales, SS Andres Blanco, C Koyie Hill, P Ryan Dempster.

The Cubs are taking several extra players to New York for the two-game series, including Justin Berg, Doug Deeds, Bobby Scales, Mark Johnson, and So Taguchi.

A whole lot of MLB teams are panicking over ticket sales -- not the Cubs though, but they are offering a few Commissioner's discount deals listed on this page

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/mlb/tickets/value.jsp

The Cubs NEED a little panic with their ticket sales. Their buying up a bunch of tickets and 'legalized scalping' racket is complete and utter bullshit. I live in Ft. Wayne, so anymore I just go see the Cubs in Cincy, it's not that much further. Usually I find a couple stray tickets for Wrigley throughout the year anyways... people who can't go or whatever.

So true. I'm in FTW also and took my son to Wrigley for his first time last summer. I hadn't been there since pre-2003 and it was a big pain in the ass as well as expensive. We've been to Cincy to see the Cubs and it was much easier and cheaper. I got the whole family of 4 into Cincy for about 25% of what I paid on STubHub for two tickets to Wrigley.

Cubs up 7-1 in the 2nd...

Soriano leadoff HR, K. Hill bases-loaded triple...

Dempster with another hit, .429 spring average.

maybe I should take his comments about Jason Motte more seriously

jason motte has a really nice pitch.

one day he might get a 2nd one.

Going back to our discussion about the lone female reader who has since abandoned TCR (Jessica, I believe) from a few days ago (and forgive me if this is Scott-Eyre-is-broke / 3/44):

I think I accidentally discovered her whereabouts.

http://deadspin.com/5195852/brewers-fan-saves-biki...

In the comments thread, someone posted a picture of Greg Maddux. In response, a commenter with the handle, "J-No" (with a Chicago Blackhawks avatar), replied, "Is it getting warm in here?"

Now I love Maddog as much as the next Cubs fan, but that has to be her, right? Considering the dude looks like a pedophile, I can't imagine that many blog commenters have a crush on him.

In conclusion, I've now reached the end of the internet.

Am I really going to get the scoop on this? Bears got Cutler, acc. to ESPN.

holy fuck

[edit] immaculate conception!

Not that I thought Kyle Orton was the answer at QB, but the Bears just overpaid for another guy that will be the source of constant aggravation for many years to come. He will win them some games, but when it counts, he will cost them dearly. As someone from Denver, I have seen his act up close. And giving up two first rounders and Orton for him was WAAAYYYY too much.

Considering the Bears' draft choices, I'm happy for them to trade picks away for a real live QB.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU JEBUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe two in a lifetime events can happen this year, a good Bears QB and something else!!!!!!!

In some ways it's a good thing - Angelo and Lovie just bet their jobs on a guy who's probably going to fail.

well that was unexpected, they also signed Orlando Pace. Add Torry Holt to the mix and we're on to something...

Kudos to the Bears for finally getting a real QB...hopefully Ron Turner doesn't kill him.

If he doesn't work out, they can just make it known that they're looking to trade.

Love the pessimism.

This guy threw for 4k yards last year, he's young and big all three things a bears QB has not been or done in 50 years.

Ha.

The Bears make a bold move. Right.

April Fools Day was yesterday. Not fallin' for it.

Next thing you'll try to sell me is that Blago got indicted.

just for the record, 2 blagos were indicted. what else are brothers for?

Maybe STOPPING you from doing stuff that will get you indicted?

nothing succeeds like excess.

Dude, I was kidding. The Bears got him because of just such a happening.

Rob hates Cutler too...

I am not a fan of Jay Cutler.

If the QB is the leadership position (and I think it is), Cutler is NOT the guy I want leading my team. He clearly seems to lack maturity as evidenced by his continual whining to the media, to the ways he's handled relationships with people, the way he's publicly called out some of his teammates, to the general division he seems to create around him.

The guy has skills, but he's not a guy I'd ever want to go into battle with because I just don't believe in him and I just wouldn't trust him.

(I live in Philly and this is true, to a lesser degree, about our QB.)

I am not a Bears fan (I'm not from Chicago-- being a Cubs fan is a product of childhood loyalty created by growing up on Harry Caray on WGN), so I don't lament this move. But I feel for you guys, because I think Cutler is a guy that will disappoint you.

"I live in Philly"

That should disqualify you there.

McNabb only lead you to what 4 NFC championship games?

Keep booing Santa.

I don't that the argument is as simple as you're making it.

(No offense, but the booing Santa comment is old)

And to qualify my statement, I've only lived in Philly for two years so I don't want to pretend that I'm an expert on Philadelphia sports teams.

What I will say is that people in Philly gripe about McNabb for the same reasons I predict Chicago people will gripe about Cutler-- they are both really talented athletes who seem to sincerely (and unfortunately) care more about themselves than their team and their larger responsibilities.

McNabb has QB-ed at least 2 NFC Championship teams (I don't think it's 4, but I could be wrong), but I really didn't observe that the leadership came from him. It came from players like Brian Dawkins who, ironically, is now in Denver (which everyone in Philly is still steaming over).

The best way I can boil it down is that McNabb has the ability to win games, but he doesn't always have the desire. And I want my QB to ALWAYS want it, not just when he feels like it, and not just when he's pissed off because he got benched (which is what happened this year).

Pretty much everyone in Philadelphia just wants McNabb to shut it, suit up, and focus his energies on winning instead of all of the other distractions he seems to create around his own personal needs.

I expect everyone in Denver felt the same way about Cutler, and I'd expect that to carry over to Chicago unless Cutler goes through some kind of purposeful rite-of-passage.

McNabb made 4 NFC championships, won one....all fans hate their QB's that aren't named Brady, Montana or Elway (and maybe Peyton Manning).

and I don't think anyone in Denver really hated Cutler until he threw this hissy fit in the offseason.

No one in this town hates Peyton Manning. That dude could hate Jeff Samardzija and everybody would just look the other way.

"all fans hate their QB's that aren't named Brady"

Brady Quinn? You know he and Samninja are old buddies...

If you're not a Bear fan, then you probably don't recognize how shitty our QB's have been for a long long time. I'm not looking for a buddy. I want a QB who's not a piece of shit on the field. He can hate puppies and talk shit about Samardzija all he wants after the game. I'd have been more than happy to have had McNabb...well, maybe not 2009 McNabb but a few years ago maybe.

Also, Cutler is, what, 25? Still got some maturing to do.

I'm confused by this. Sounds to me like you actually want Rob G as your quarterback.

I can tell you that Rob G. is all about winning...

Talking shit about Samardzija is the ultimate evil...I was just using that as an example of the douchiness I'm willing to accept from a QB.

I'm also not refuting your opinions. Cutler may be a problem...personally I'd still mark a lot of it up to his youth. All I'm getting at is that our standards for QB have been set pretty low so someone of his talent is certainly a cause for excitement for (some of) us.

Thank you, Joe. Same for Bradley hit 30 HRs, and 100 RBIS do what you want.

"What I will say is that people in Philly gripe about McNabb for the same reasons I predict Chicago people will gripe about Cutler-- they are both really talented athletes"

And you must not be much of a Chicago fan because I defy you to name one talented Cubs, Bears or Bulls player that Chicago griped about.

This city reward mediocrity as much as greatness.

Jacos,

As I mentioned, I actually am NOT a big Chicago sports fan (no offense). I've followed the Cubs faithfully since 1984, but never really got into the Bears or Bulls (except for when MJ was playing and, of course, that's when EVERYONE I know was a Bulls fan).

Because of this and because I don't live in Chicago (although I like the city), I don't fully know the city's dynamic towards its athletes. You guys certainly have a better understanding of that than I do and I won't argue with that. I just thought comparing Cutler to McNabb seemed fair, though I could be wrong on this one. I'm just one dude talkin'.

I guess what I'm questioning are the distinctions between ability and leadership, and how much these distinctions play themselves out on the field.

For example-- does T.O. destroy teams, or not? (I am not posturing, I am only asking)

Seems like these questions have come up a lot when we start talking about Sammy Sosa.

By the way-- I'm new around here, so go easy on me.

Romero,
Please except my apologies.

Just excited about what could easily be the biggest trade in Chicago history.

Welcome aboard and being a cubs a fan like us you should know about mediocrocy.
Congrats also as being apart of my first ipod post!

Jacos,

I am STOKED that I made it into your first Ipod post. That fucking rules.

And the more I think about it, the more I wish I hadn't thrown a wet blanket on the Cutler trade. He certainly is a step-up, talent-wise, than Orton, Grossman, Miller, etc. I actually hope the dude works out great for the Bears because the more better players there are, the more the entire sport gets elevated (this same idea causes me frustrations in the converse).

Plenty of people hated Sosa even pre-cork/pre-walkout. I wasn't one of them, but you'd hear it all the time sitting in the stands.

To corroborate, I didn't 'hate' Sammy, but I never liked him. I actually appreciate him more now that he's been destroyed by the Cubs.

"Also, Cutler is, what, 25? Still got some maturing to do."

Thank you.
I'm not a Bear's fan...my team from IN hasn't had a quarterback problem in years...but reading this thread I couldn't believe nobody was emphasizing this point
What is he a 3 year NFL player? That's just a guess, but it's certainly not long. NFL quarterback is probably the hardest position in professional sports to succeed at at a young age. The Colts were 32-32 in Manning's first 4 years...

I don't believe that anybody's saying Cutler has production difficulties so much as being so self-centered as to be a problem. Some Jets D players were talking about not wanting Cutler because he was such a prick during their game last year. Also it seem to recall a number of Chargers talking about being especially amped to get the Broncos for the last game of the year, specifically because of comments Cutler had made. And finally it seems clear to me that he whined his way out of Denver because he got his feelings hurt for being a potential trading chip.

Not production, attitude.

Having said that, he's 25 or 26 and just been through a series of incidents that maybe didn't go so well. As a Bears fan, I hope he takes the fresh start, keeps some of the cocky, and tones down some of the over-the-top stuff. Seems to me Zambrano is about the same age and not as clowny as he was 2 or 3 years ago.

It's a bold move by the Bears management, the first one I can recall. A good risk, as I see it...the D is getting older, the window may be closing, the division is there for the taking, maybe turn things around enought to get other guys more interested in coming here as free agents.

Last thing is, in the next 2-3 years, if Kyle Orton improves at all it will be because he's with better talent. He sure as hell wasn't taking this Bears team past a first-round playoff loss. I'll bet the $20 internets bucks he doesn't get the Broncos any farther either. Cutler may be a strikeout and he may be a home run. Orton is either going to be a single, or a routine groundout.

Not that I was cognizant back in those days, but I remember everyone saying Elway was the same immature QB because he wouldn't sign with Indianapolis.

I will gladly take an egotistical ass who can get the ball to Devin Hester when he is 10 yeards behind the defense, or who can move around and avoid a sack and make a play.

Bears QB has been like Cubs 3B before A-Ram arrived.

Cutler makes Hester, Olsen and Forte better. Much better.

2 IP, 3 ER...10.91 ERA in Arizona, if Hendry could get Neifi Perez for him I'd be impressed.

Dempster 4 IP, 7 K, 0 BB, 3 ER

Marmol 1 IP, 1 ER, 2 K

Fox 1 IP, 0 ER

and soriano hits his 5th homer of the spring to go with his 5 doubles, 0 sb, and 3 cs...

What's a 'double'?

the most common misspelling of dooble.

Ah. Thought that might be it, but wasn't sure. So it's like 'prolly' and 'supposably'.

Matthew Leach says the NL Central is a muddle and up for grabs and that the Cubs probably made moves this winter that weakened them....

then he says they have the best lineup and the best rotation and picks them to finish first.

ooo-kay

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090326&c...

I think you can argue the Cubs are weaker...for the regular season. They traded/let go of full season depth (Wood, Marquis, DeRosa) for hoped-for playoff production (Bradley). I think they will be weaker during the regular season (win fewer games) and still win the division.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/rockies/2009/04/02/roc...

The final piece of the puzzle remains a reliever. More than ever, it’s unlikely to be the Cubs’ Chad Guadin. The Rockies have liked him in the past, but according to a team source, their pursuit has cooled based on the right-hander’s performance late last season and this spring.

Orton = good leader, couldn't throw the deep ball for shit. Bring on Cutler.

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