Trade Deadline Rumor Roundup
TRADE RUMOR UPDATE (4:23 PM CST): Jayson Stark reports that the Mariners are asking a steep price for Ibanez:
The Cubs, meanwhile, are resisting attempts by Seattle to get Felix Pie and a second prospect for Ibanez. The Cubs almost certainly would be willing to offer a couple of prospects in the Sam Fuld stratum. But teams that have spoken with the Cubs say they've shown little sense of urgency to overpay to add a final piece or two of late.
A few notes about the Cubs/Brewers series first...
- So the Cubs win the battle of the aces last night, with Carlos Zambrano putting together the type of heroic effort that should be remembered for years. 118 laser precision-like pitches over eight innings with nine strikeouts and only five hits and the Cubs are guaranteed to be still in first place after the series ends. They're also set-up nicely for a series win or dare I say series sweep with Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden going the next two games. (Doing my best Mel Allen) How about that?
- The "struggling" Cubs offense has pounded out 26 hits over the last two games. Apparently you can just turn it on when it's needed most.
- Entering the series, Jason Kendall had morphed himself into a late-90's Ivan Rodriguez, throwing out 27 of 57 baserunners for a league-leading .474 caught stealing percentage. Lou and the Cubs baserunners didn't seem impressed. They're now a perfect five for five in the first two games. Kendall needs to take another dip into whatever fountain of youth he found.
Some trade rumors after the jump...
- Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs are showing interest in Raul Ibanez or any left-handed hitting outfielder. Jim Edmonds knee must be worse than they originally thought and it never hurts to have some insurance. It seems the Cubs are perfectly willing to move Kosuke Fukudome to center field on a full-time basis and find someone to play right field. Reader "Chifan" put together a list of some outfielders that might be available:
May I suggest a Ronny Cedeno for Andre Ethier swap?
- Scott Eyre is still very much on the block as well, although I wouldn't be surprised if he's a post-July 31st trade that has to go through waivers.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?