At Least Carlos Marmol Got Some Work

The Cubs split versus the best team in the league and head out for a 9-game road trip, where they've played ever so well.

Why the Cubs Lost:  Sean Marshall spotted the Dodgers a five spot in the first and the Cubs never mounted much of a rally. Marshall didn't get particularly hit hard until Mark Loretta doubled in the third and fourth runs. In Lou's in-game interview he said he noticed Marshall wasn't throwing his curveball and sent Rothschild out there to tell Marshall as much and if Pitch F/x data on Gameday is accurate, it took Marshall 22 pitches before throwing arguably his best pitch. He managed to survive to the fifth inning but ended up with 4.2 IP and 7 ER, 8 total and his ticket firmly punched to the bullpen once Rich Harden returns.

The offense managed a little more than nothing against Eric Milton. John Miller - desperate to keep people tuned in to ESPN after the top of the first - was quick to point out that Eric Milton is something like the active leader in giving up home runs, but the Cubs didn't manage even one and will enter June just a game over .500.

It Wasn't All Bad: Just most of it...

Reed Johnson had three hits and kept up his hot-hitting and Soriano reached base twice in-between 2 strikeouts. 

Jason Waddell struck out the first two lefties he faced (okay, one was Eric Milton) and worked a scoreless inning.The bullpen remained unscored upon since Monday for a streak of 15.1 IP (if my math is right) although Jose Ascanio gave up an inherited run on a stolen base by Matt Kemp with a seven-run lead that let James Loney score from third. With a 6-run lead in the seventh inning, Russell Martin also stole a base.

In the top of the 8th, Carlos Marmol drilled Brad Ausmus of all people. I guess that was to retaliate. I'm not sure that really sends the intended message other than, "if you embarrass us, we'll go after your inconsequential back-up catcher".

Sometimes You Just Get Beat: Reed led off the second with a double on a ball Matt Kemp laid out for and missed. A nice hustle play. The scrap was on full display as he advanced to third on a deep fly to left field and ran on Juan Pierre's arm. Then a short fly out to right that Jamie Hoffmann had to dive for and Johnson decided to run. With Fontenot due up next and then the pitcher(although probably a pinch-hitter), it was probably the right decision as they'd probably work around Fontenot, plus with Hoffman laying out to make the catch, you have to think he'd have problems getting on his feet and making an accurate throw, but that is exactly what he did, nailing Johnson easily.

Armchair Managing: In the top of the first with runners on second and third and one out and the eight place hitter up in Hoffmann, Lou decided to bring in the infield and pitch to him, rather than the intentional walk to face a pitcher that hasn't played in two years. Hoffman hit a long fly to center to score the final run of the inning. I think you have to walk him there and try to get the K or double play ball from the pitcher.

I also think you shouldn't let the team bat around in the first.

 

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Comments

I disagree with the arm chair managing. Pretty much I am against intentional walks any time prior to the 9th inning, though.

I laughed out loud with the Fox at bat in the 9th. That was a definitive, "Welcome to the Big Leagues, Rook" sequence.

Vitters hit another HR today. At this point, there's no reason for him to continue in Low A. I am pretty sure they hit hot shots to 3rd in the FSL.

Robinson Chirinos hit two grand slams today and is hitting .347 .382 .722 for Daytona. Once again, maybe a promotion is in order. Castillo can go down and learn to hit.

A few hours before Fox was overmatched in front of several rabit Cubs fans in Wrigley, he went 1-2 against the Memphris Red Birds.

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stat...

I'd also rather face Jamie Hoffman with 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd as opposed to ON FREAKING FIRE Juan Pierre with them loaded and 2 outs. If that's a struggling player hitting after the pitcher, I'd be more likely to consider it.

I could see Chirinos go up at some point, but he's really there to act as more of a mentor guy, IMO. They bumped Mark Reed up over him, which should be telling, as Mark Reed doesn't have much value. I believe someone, maybe AzPhil, speculated once upon a time that Chirinos may be groomed for a coaching role, and I can buy that with how they've handled him.

Castillo's offense has been disappointing. That said, considering his upside and how highly the organization views him, I imagine he'll get some more time, considering they pushed him aggressively last year and he's shown some signs of life in May.

As noted in my other post, the three things in our minors today that stands out for me:

1. Cashner's control - still not sure he's a starter, but back to back solid outings.

2. Hart looking better - on the 40 man, so here's hoping he's ready if we need him.

3. Hank Williamson - very intrigued with him. Solid performance and I like power arms.

Maybe Soto wasn't calling it.

So, Wells in rotation and Marshall in pen. Definitely adds more flexibility to the pen, with Marshall's ability to matchup or be utilized as a long man.

In his 3 starts Hart's thrown 14 innings, 6 hits, 2 ER's, 3 BB's, w/ 15 K's...retired last 15 he faced yesterday...Samardzija's homer Saturday is the only one the I-Cubs have to show for their last dozen games.

It was nice to see a lefty come out of the pen and not walk 8 guys. Very refreshing.

Armchair Manager II - YOU make the call:

With Cubs runners at the corners, one out, down by six runs in the 7th and a tough RH pitcher on the mound, do YOU:

a. Let your struggling former ROY catcher, a RH hitter, flail away, or get overmatched with important RISP?

b. PH for him with a lefty power hitter, with a chance of at least getting a sac fly?

If you chose "A" - you are RIGHT! Move to the DUGOUT!

If you chose "B", you are only partially right, because that move was made with TWO outs meaning the sac fly scored no one. Move your marker to "Des Moines". And, in the correct choice, "A", the catcher did not even swing at strikes 2 or 3!

As said, nice debut for Waddel. Reed Johnson - Series MVP!

The only bright spots after your team is toast in inning ONE.

Well, this looks somewhat disturbing:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/16009...

Given the Cub's past penchant for drastically underestimating the extent of player's injuries, this doesn't appear to bode well regarding our 3rd baseman woes in the future.

Garrett Adkins should be relatively cheap at this point. He’s no Rammy, but he sure ain’t Fontenot/Miles/Scales either.

Even if he costs you 2 B level prospects, you should be able to recoup those when he leaves via FA after the season. Hendry just
Has to have enough satchel to offer the guy arbitration.

actually, he looks to be under club control for next season. All kinds of flexibility with adkins.

Pull the trigger.

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/colorado-...

The Rockies have been looking to unload Atkins for several seasons.

Here is why:
Home: .330/.386/.516
Road: .255/.324/.410

Unless the Cubs are going to start playing in Colorado....I dunno.

Aaron Miles 204/250/265

Mike Fontenot 224/307/392

Andres Blanco 111/111/222

Any way you slice it, he will be an upgrade.

Could be a nice chance for Jim Hendry to "buy low" on somebody, for the first time in his tenure.

Aaron Miles 204/250/265

Mike Fontenot 224/307/392

Andres Blanco 111/111/222

Garrett Atkins .194/.270/.285

If they can get him cheap, great..if not...keep walking.

what Dusty Baylor said...I'd rather have DeRosa back than trying to get in on Atkins. It would probably cost the same.

Hell, I'd take Adrian Beltre for half a season (I think he's a FA after the year) just for his glove. Maybe the Phils would trade Feliz in hopes of landing a starting pitcher? Not that I really like Feliz that much, but seems like a decent trade match-up. I think they have Dobbs or something.

that all being said, best bet would be to see if Fox can stay hot and not kill us defenisvely. Sadly, Lou is going the Neifi for Lee route and essentially replacing Ramirez with Scales or Blanco.

Sigh.

 

Trading a Cubs' pitcher for Feliz might make sense for the Phillies as well, though there are good reasons for them not to give up Feliz quite yet, especially since they have been at or near the top of their division all season.

But even though they are playing well, the Phils' rotation was already shaky, and losing Brett Myers makes things worse. One thing the Phillies can afford to give up is a little bit of offense.

Feliz has been hitting better this year than most years (his plate discipline is much improved, so that is encouraging), and from what I've seen he is REALLY GOOD defensively. Feliz would certainly be an upgrade from what we are currently putting on the field. Having Feliz every day, or almost every day, at third makes 2B better and the bench better. The Phils would almost certainly want a rotation starter in return, which might mean...who? Marshall? Wells? Harden? Or maybe a minor leaguer-- Hart? Or maybe they'd try to put Ascanio and/or Guzman into their rotation? Maybe they'd want a combination of these.

Thinking about a multiple-player trade, something the Phillies also have are two really good OF prospects (three if you count John Mayberry, though I'm not positive I count him). At AA is Michael Taylor (hits RH-ed) who has hit at every level of the minors, displaying strong peripherals and being age-appropriate for his league. Also, Dominic Brown (a lefty) is at high-A ball and young, but really putting up strong numbers.

The Phillies also have some good arms in the lower minors (Kyle Drabek, Vance Worley, etc) that are worth having.

If they traded Feliz, the Phils would probably play Greg Dobbs at third for now, which would be a definite drop-off defensively and perhaps offensively (or maybe they would do a Dobbs/Bruntlett platoon, though Bruntlett has really sucked offensively the past couple years). Plus, their line-up is very left-handed already (Howard, Utley, Ibanez) so they may be reluctant to lose one of the true righties in their line-up (Rollins and Victorino are SH, Werth is a RH, and Ruiz and Coste are both right-handed catchers). The Phils also have a decent infield prospect in Jason Donald, who is playing SS at AAA right now. He's not hitting as well as he was expected to, however, so I'm not sure the Phillies would be comfortable entrusting him yet as the heir-apparent to Feliz at third.

The Phils also may want to see if their minor-league call-ups can pick up the slack for a while. They do have a couple of decent arms (Carpenter, Bastardo, Kendrick, etc) that might be lightning in a bottle. And if J.A. Happ pitches well, then they eventually get J.C. Romero back (no relation to me), their pitching staff might be ok, esp if Moyer, Blanton, and Hamels return to their norms (all three are currently under-achieving, though Moyer is nearing 50, so he might just be out of gas).

All that said, it seems like there are definitely things both sides could gain from this trade, though I would probably be surprised if the Phillies did anything anytime soon without first learning for sure that the team they have on the field is not good enough. By that time, A-Ram may already be back at third base, hopefully playing well.

what a thorough response to an off-handed trade idea...

Feliz is damn good with the glove and at least has a little power...probably nothing the Cubs would explore unless Ramirez couldn't make it back. As far as starters, I was thinking  Marshall or Wells or maybe if they like Heilman as one. Guess it depends how desperate either team gets.

They can have Harden if they give us Utley back.

Rob-- I live in Philly and follow both the Cubs and Phils, so I had the information to spare.

As for Feliz, his power numbers are down a little this year, but his OBP is up. I think this probably expresses an adjusted approach to his hitting.

And if Philly trades Utley, the locals will fucking burn down the stadium. No lie.

If the Phillies make a move for a starter, it's likely for a high level guy. I've got a hard time seeing them have interest in the Ascanios, Marshalls, Wells, and Guzmans of the world to start and fill a key void when a guy like Carlos Carrasco is in AAA (look past the ERA, Carrasco's actually pitched fairly well this year), particularly when Feliz has played so well this year. Kyle Drabek is likely a top 50, if not top 30, prospect - can't see them moving him unless it's part of a package for a stud young arm in his prime (not saying Drabek himself can land said arm - just that I don't think they give up Drabek unless it's the right situation).

My guess is that they'll see how their young arms can do for awhile, but come deadline, may try to shop a package involving say, Carrasco and a top OF talent (and another piece, or two), for Bedard/Peavy/Oswalt (or another top arm that emerges).

woah there, tolstoy...

best bet would be to see if Fox can stay hot and not kill us defenisvely.

then why not let him stand out in left for a week, and at least have genuine infielders playing the infield? not missing a lot by scratching soriano at the moment. let fox hack and slash until he's cooled down.

lee has been sat this year when not healthy, also soto and milton. time for lou to do the right thing on soriano for a few days.

You want to bench Soriano for a week? Really?

don't really think soriano's knee is making him swing at everything, but it's a nifty excuse he can use.

Now Fox in LF and Soriano at 2b or 3b...that's some out-of-the-box thinking, but I don't think the pitchers would appreciate it.

(I only mention Soriano at 3b instead of 2b because he has the arm and if he indeed has a sore knee, getting taken out trying to break up a double play isn't such a good idea...more theory than practical).

...and Soriano started his professional career at 3B, moved to SS in the Yankees system (where people say he was actually quite adept) and only wound up at 2B because they had no room for him to play anywhere else on the big club at that time.

Soriano 3B, Fox LF makes too much sense to happen.

And while we're at it, put Geo back on a diet. He's listed at 35 lbs over his playing weight last year.

well Kosukue Fukudome started at SS, but that shouldn't happen either...

but while Fox is taking grounders all over the field during pre-game drills, maybe we can entice Soriano somehow to get out there.

3rd may be easier on his knee as well.

How exactly would 3B be easier on Soriano's knee? With all the lateral movement, diving, nd quick stopping at 3B, it is absolutely not a good place to play with a bad knee.

Focus closely "may be".

I don't know the exact problem with his knee, it could be something caused by impact which would be mitigated with less running.

Ok. Sure.

Please focus on: stopping and starting quickly and lateral movement will not be good for a knee. If he can't handle just running, the activities at 3B will not be less of an issue.

I suggested third base too, don't think the movement is really all that different than 2b, other than he wouldn't have to be worried about getting taken out on a slide.

but being moved to a new position or one you're unfamiliar with, isn't really a great idea if you're nursing a suspect injury.

Your points are well taken. Except, having tried to play 3B with a knee injury, I can tell you that the lateral movements needed to do so create a lot of stress and instability in the knee, which can result in further injury.

If he can't play OF, 3B would be a mistake, as far as the injury issue exists.

Thank you doctor. Are you going to now discontinue talking out of your ass?

Hmmm...I was actually speaking from personal experience, from when I was 19-20, trying to play 3B in the Sunday Morning League in Peoria IL.
I was certainly no Soriano...but the movements at 3B will not be easier than OF for a knee injury.

Perhaps you're "misremembering" what I said?

And my brother cannot play the outfield but can play the infield because of his bum knees.

My point is, and it was clear from the start, that unless you know exactly what is wrong with the knee you can't say which position would be better or worse for it.

"My point is, and it was clear from the start, that unless you know exactly what is wrong with the knee you can't say which position would be better or worse for it."

Oh really? Then why was your first post on the topic (post #51) state only: "3rd may be easier on his knee as well." I don't see where it 'was clear from the start'. it looks like you were giving an opinion on what position may be better.

I don't know how you people can operate computers without knowing what "may be" means.

I would assume any arguement suggesting Soriano going to 3rd base would be dumb enough on those merits alone, much less whether his knees can handle it or not.

I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who went from the OF to anywhere on the INF but 1b at the age of 33 or older.

"I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who went from the OF to anywhere on the INF but 1b at the age of 33 or older."

Does Chipper Jones count? I am not sure this sheds any light on if Soriano could do it too.

Soriano @ 3B...

Please no.

Trying to break Rob's formatting.

I for one welcome our new hopping, bum-kneed, third base playing overlords.

I hate you people.

Chipper was already mentioned. But Biggio also did it.

Pete Rose.

I think the point is if your two options are Fox in left and Soriano at third, or vice versa, those options are reasonably close. It would make more sense to me, however, to have him play his matadorial 2nd base, just because he's played that for so long.

I don't think Fox's bat is worth having any of those defensive alignments though. Maybe letting him play third, just to keep those other two on the bench and Pepper Spray at his preferred position.

Ohh 2 players? Wellll sheeesh piece of cake for Soriano, lets try him at catcher as well.

Note: Biggio and Chipper played the position previously and then did some OF time and returned to their old positions. You guys are talking about taking Soriano from 2nd to OF to 3rd, which is pretty much un-heard of. I am open to a return to 2nd base because he has logged over 6000 innings there but your smoking crack if you think he can play 3rd base.

Ok.

What level of baseball is your brother playing?

FAR too much "outside the box" thinking for the Cubbie braintrust to move Sori or Fox to 3rd base.

We've been stuck with handedness over production for 3 years now.

I could support Beltre fairly easily.

The only rub with him is the onerous contract. Is Hendry in a position to take on that level of salary?

I'd say the .595 OPS is the other rub...he's owed about $8M on the rest of the year. The later the Cubs wait, the less that becomes...but basically $2M a month he earns.

If Ramirez is indeed done for the year, and no one would know that for awhile, you might need to make that play for a big name/big bat.  In the meantime, if they really just want to bridge the gap, a move for Teahen or DeRosa, both of whom could slip into utility roles would be the wiser move.

-edit- plus the Cubs might want to hold on to their trade chips for a catcher, a reliever or Bradley or Harden's replacement before they go all out on getting a 3b for a month.

I thought they were seriously downplaying the Aramis injury from the start.

The reality is, that a shoulder injury and a wrist injury are the worst possible afflictions to Baseball sluggers.

Look at BJ Upton this year as exhibit A in what a shoulder injury can do. That was a "Minor" procedure done during the offseason. Upton was ready to play by opening day (more or less). And he has been around the mendoza line all season.

Absolutely the worst course of action is the old, McFail/Hendry "When Aramis comes back, it will be like making a deadline trade" Talk.

visions of 2004,2005,2006 all over again.

You all have my stamp of approval on a Feliz trade. You're welcome.

No Aram, no playoffs

Barring a big trade to replace ARam, which I just don't see happening, I have to agree. Sad...

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/pete...

Peter King about the Texas closer, and an amazing outing. This is a great story!

Great story... but 169 pitches? For a guy who topped out at 4 1/3 innings during the season?

Not sure what Garrido was thinking letting him throw that many pitches.

I hadn't realized that Dusty was a special advisor to the Longhorns coach. It was a great story, hope he is OK.

Yeah, I found it pretty shocking that they left him in there for that long. I understand that he was pitching really well and all, but, especially for a guy that is supposed to be the closer pitching one, maybe two innings, this seems like a bad idea. Even if it was the pitcher's idea to stay out there... A great read though, and it's hard not to smile about it...

Soto – in 39 AB’s with RISP, is batting a robust .205

An OPS of .565

Fukudome
26 AB’s with RISP – .423BA with a 1200+ OPS

You like small, worthless sample sizes, don't you?

That's why they're "Fun Facts". Read into them what you wish.

just to give him 2 days rest...I imagine Reed would get the start since he had a nice week and is chock full of scrap.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/16009...

Hate to say it but the best catcher on this team is one K. Hill, both defensively and offensively. Soto has lost whatever mojo he had working last year. Maybe Hank White's mentoring meant more to his performance than we realized...is Wellington Castillo ready yet?

Based on numbers, no. He had a better May than April, but next catcher up might be Steve Clevenger, who's at AAA now. That said, Soto will get every chance to try to work things out as long as he's solid defensively.

Solid defensively?

Man, I wish.

He has just been bad overall with D and O in 2009. You really see the difference playing head-to-head against Russell Martin.

I don't know the numbers on this and I don't really care, all I know is opposing runners are running on Soto at their leisure. Chris Duncan for god's sake.

Even though you don't care...runners are 26/32 on Soto this year (19% CS) as opposed to 2008 where they were 69/94 (27% CS). Of course 27% is not great or anything either, but middle of the pack was just fine because of his offense.

On the whole, he's on pace to give up a lot more SB than last year, too and he was even out for a while with an injury.

Zambrano has missed time too, which will make your SB numbers worse.

Well, Ned Yost said that Cubs pitchers are terrible at holding runners on and it really puts catchers in the hole.

BTW, did anyone ever call Paul Sullivan on this http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/spor... ?

"I agree opposing base-runners stole on Cubs pitchers at times, particularly on Rich Hill. But to suggest they were that instrumental in Kendall’s poor throwing stats is ludicrous. If that was the case, why didn’t they steal on Soto?

At any rate, look for the Cubs to try to run on Kendall early and often this season. If it really was the Cubs pitchers and not Kendall’s arm, we’ll soon find out."

Kendall threw out runners at a 43% clip last year.

Kendall worked with his dad in the off season to totally re-work his footwork and throwing mechanics.

Zambrano is one of the toughest pitchers in the game to steal on.

fwiw Kendall also had Lasik surgery during the off-season.
He was pulling out all stops to improve.

Nice catch-

SunTimes building (gone for 5 years) appears in ESPN shot at Cubs game last night.

http://deadspin.com/5273853/espn-engages-in-a-bit-...

Hopefully they have updated the NY city shot.

Ooooh - low blow.

At least it's Chicago.

Why baseball tickets are the riskiest of the major sports...

I shelled out some pretty hefty $$$ to take my son and 2 friends to last night's game. The game was effectively over before the Cubs came to bat, given how lousy Soriano, Bradley, Lee, Soto and Fonty are going.

Doesn't happen in football or basketball.

Some Detroit Lion and LA Clipper fans would like to differ with you.

I made a trip to San Fran to see the Bears on Opening Day with Kordell Stewart starting. I think 10 minutes into the game it was over. Great trip.

maybe Greg Dobbs? Unfortunately the Cubs are more likely to land Lou Dobbs for 3B.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6946647208...

If we want to talk about options, I'll offer up Dan Uggla then. The Marlins are reportedly willing to listen to offers with their struggles. Uggla's been struggling this year, but last I checked, he seemed to be having some bad luck. We need an offensive jolt, he might be a solid get that might not cost as much. Is he a sure thing? No, but I'd roll the dice ... if the price was right. IsoP's still pretty solid. Cost-controlled, although the arb numbers will get high. Yes, a defensive butcher. His K's are down a bit and his walks are up.

Now, I'm not sure we match up with them. I'm not sure they're willing to call it a season, for justifiable reasons (no team in the NL East looks that good). We'd probably have to part with a solid prospect, coupled with perhaps a Marshall or a Wells, and maybe another piece.

Just a thought.

I doubt it would take Marshall + two more guys to get Uggla, if the Marlins are motivated sellers. His BABIP is down a bit, but his HR/FB rate is about the same as usual, throwing out last year as lucky. He'd probably be a pretty good power hitter in Wrigley, but he's a 150+ K guy who would drive a lot of Cubs fans bonkers.

guess I should've been clearer ...

a) I don't think that we match up well. We don't have a high level upper level arm they'd likely want. We don't have a top of the order guy to fix their woes up there (although Chris Coghlan may do it for them).

b) I don't think they are motivated sellers yet. There's no reason, not with the NL East being very mediocre as of now.

c) i don't think marshall or wells would be the main piece to a deal, more a secondary asset, with the top asset being someone from the system. Problem is, this goes back to a - don't think we match up all that well with them.

_________________

Edit: Reading it again, it sounds like I misread it the first time through. Are you suggesting it might cost less than Marshall/Wells and 2 pieces, with Marshall/Wells as the main piece (which wasn't my intent in the random thought I threw out, as noted above)?

Yeah, I think Wells + another power arm could probably get it done. Marshall would be less appealing to them because he's ready to make more $$ with arbitration.

But we are the Northern supply line for Marlin pitcher re-stock. Right?

If that's all it took to get Uggla, I'd probably do it. I think it'll cost more because

a) Not really many sellers are expected.

b) Along with a, not many power bats on the market.

c) The cost-controlled years left for Uggla.

Here's hoping you are right, though. I'd probably make that move, depending on who the power arm was (I wouldn't move, for example, Jay Jackson or Dan McDaniel).

I am probably higher on Wells and lower on Uggla than you are. You've got to keep in mind that unless the economy picks up the FA market is going to be absolutely flooded with 5th and 6th year players that teams won't offer arbitration to.

Quick case in point, Howard was going to get $14 or $18 million for a his 5th year in 2009. Dunn signed for $10 million, after getting $13 million for his sixth year.

There's going to be a huge glut of FA players and Uggla, a useful but flawed player, is a guy who probably will not be offered arbitration by the Marlins.

I see what you are saying, but not many of those guys will be available at the deadline, and deadline dynamics have always been a different animal from off-season stuff, in relation to value.

As for Wells, I think he's improved a lot and should be viewed as a potential mid-end of the rotation arm that can throw strikes and eat innings. The keyword there being potential.

That said, if 2 or 3 from the Sanchez/Miller/Nolasco/West crowd can get going (or in West's case, maintain his performance), their SP need is much less.

So in other words, Hendry loves him and is on the phone right now. Hendry should change the spelling of the team to Kubs.

Sorry, dudes, I have to give some serious man love to you all. I mean, all I can do to contribute here is make a few funnies, because your knowledge of baseball is just off the fucking charts. I thought *I* loved baseball. Case in point. I posted something about Longoria and Lincecum being picked after Tyler Colvin and crunch, like one second later, corrected me.

And I read through here and I just absolutely know I don't need to read any of the other baseball sites, including the Trib. Although I do enjoy the writing of the beat guy somewhat so sometimes I take a peek.

If you guys ever need a man date hit me up. I'll teach you how to drink hard and forget all your damn stats.

But, seriously, major props to y'all. I live in Texas now so I get to say that.

Whew. Okay, finally finished reading this mess.

Here are my thoughts (he said in a Manny Trillo-like voice).

There aren't many.

Soto is so good at placing pitches that he can hit .200 for all I care.

And not hit a home run all year. He is the poster child of how catchers help pitchers.

Jake Fox is a hacker. I am not convinced at all he will be an impact player but I was wrong about Hee Seop Choi, who I was convinced was dynamite.

Micah HoffPOWER needs more at bats. He has shown he can hit to all fields but he's been struggling lately with some off speed stuff and he needs a chance to get back out there cuz the league is adjusting to him.

Pedro Feliz sucks. I saw him a lot in SF. He just sucks. He'll hit for power for a week and strike out for 3 weeks. He's a poor man's Soriano. He is a good fielder though.

Trading Sean Marshall would be a huge mistake. Remember that this is a guy who parked himself next to Greg Maddux when he was here. He's a student of the game. His first innings, generally, suck, but after that he makes adjustments time after fucking time. Keep him, at all costs.

So there.

"Who cares if we're .500 at the end of May?" said first baseman Derrek Lee..."

http://www.sbrforum.com/MLB/959605/cubs-braves-pre...

I agree. I'll take 4th on June 1st and 1st on Oct 1st, over 1st on June 1st and 4th on Oct 1st.

Pujols twisted his ankle trying to stretch for a double...stayed in the game for the time being.

Pujols still playing, guess it looked worse than it was...Volquez though lasted one inning upon his return from the DL...looks like the back again.

nevermind, numbness in pinkie and ring finger for Volquez.

Good job Dusty. :)

tips a 32oz. gatorade on the curb.

BYE HOMIE...

Iowa lost to Memphis today 6-2.

On the plus side

James Russell threw 3 shutout innings. Numbers look good - can't wait to hear about stuff. Still disappointed he failed as a starter, but well, some thought he was a pen arm from the start. Wonder if he'll be a factor later in the year (if he pitches well at Iowa).

Sam Fuld went 3/5 - hey he's on the 40.

On the downside

Mitch Atkins - I don't think he's that much worse than what he was last year, but he's definitely struggled.

Tennessee down big to Carolina early

Hung-Wen Chen was banged around again. I want to see him succeed, but there were a lot of Cubs fans that were ridiculously high on him entering this season. Best case - Mitch Atkins, imo, which looks bad right now, but is a decent guy. Just not someone to get too excited over. Maestri's been solid out of the pen so far. Tyler Colvin is hitting .500 at AA!!! (okay, it's 2 AB's).

Daytona's up 3-0 on Sarasota in the 7th.

Chirinos continues his home run binge, with 2 more (solo and 2 run shot). Hope Rosa is slowly getting out of his funk - I was relatively high on him, higher than most probably. Love the swing when it's on. Searle scattered 9 hits in 5.2

Chirinos is going George Brett on that league. Even if the Cubs don't consider him a prospect (a point I'm not conceding until I hear someone actually say it), they should promote him just to make him seem like one.

Someone needs to let Searle know that the Cubs strike people out. If he wants to pitch to contact, he can go to the Cardinals. 1 HR in 46 innings, though, is pretty nice.

he's shitting his pants?

I was thinking of his '77 season when he had 22 HR's against 24 K's.

Holy shit, Brett got screwed on the MVP in '85. Never knew that before.

Rich Hill pitching vs Seattle/Washburn tonight...

one scoreless IP with one hit, one K

Ryan Braun left the game tonight with what Rotoworld dscribes as a "painful looking knee injury" as did Mike Cameron, combine those with Volquez going down again and Votto's aniexty problems it looks like the injury bug has finally decided to hit other NL Central cities.

Braun fouled a pitch off his leg, Macha insists he's fine. Cameron may have some tendinitis issues.

http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?...

Submitted by The Real Neal on Sun, 05/31/2009 - 9:45pm.
Vitters hit another HR today. At this point, there's no reason for him to continue in Low A. I am pretty sure they hit hot shots to 3rd in the FSL.

Robinson Chirinos hit two grand slams today and is hitting .347 .382 .722 for Daytona. Once again, maybe a promotion is in order. Castillo can go down and learn to hit

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

REAL NEAL: I think the Cubs will wait until after the MWL All-Star Game later this month before moving Josh Vitters up to Daytona. In fact, there should be a number of moves made within the organization at that time (the week of June 22), after the draft and once the Boise and Mesa squads are formed.

As for Robinson Chirinos, he has spent nine years in the Cubs farm system (he was signed as a 16-year old out of Venezuela), and he has been a Rule 55 minor league FA (six-year minor league FA) twice (he re-signed with the Cubs both times). He was the primary utilty guy at AA Tennessee last year when Oneri Fleita suggested Chirinos try catching, and after Chirinos agreed, he spent a couple of months at Fitch Park, working with minor league roving catching instructor Casey Kopitzke and player-coach Danny Fatheree, before getting moved up to Daytona toward the end of the sesaon.

It looked like Chirinos had made the Tennessee Smokies Opening Day roster (with Clevenger and Lalli) this past April, but he got sent to Daytona the last Saturday of Minor League Camp when Welington Castillo got sent down to Tennessee from Iowa.

What surprised me was that the Cubs chose to promote Mark Reed to Tennessee last month (rather than Chirinos) when Steve Clevenger was moved up to Iowa. I realize that Reed has spent three seasons at Daytona and maybe he needed a move up to Tennesee just to keep his sanity, but Chirinos really should have gotten the call-up, and he really deserves a promotion now.

I suspect the Cubs will try to re-sign Chirinos to a minor league contract once again post-2009, perhaps with the added enticement of an NRI to big league camp as a reward for his long-time service with the Cubs. And now that he has learned the art of catching, he could be a valuable super-sub utility guy on a AA or AAA 24-man roster.

Chirinos is well-liked by the Cubs minor league people, and he will likely have a job in the organization waiting for him when his playing days are over.

As always awesome info, and thanks.

I think that Vitters should be promoted at his own time table, rather than as an organizational nicety, since he's really the only impact bat we have in the minors. The organization should be catering to him (not kissing his ass, just focusing on his development). Ideally the plan has to be for him to take over at 3rd and push Ramirez to 1st when Lee's contract is done, which means you want to have Vitters at least starting in AA next year.

Have you heard anything about what is going on with Chirinos's bat? Is it just a matter of being more experienced and out-guessing the FSL pitchers or have their been other changes. Obviously he's not going to slug .800, but a guy who can play around the diamond and bat .250 in the majors has some value.

Baltimore 1-0 win over J Washburn and Seattle

Hill, R IP 7.0, H 2, R 0, ER 0, BB 3, SO 7, HR 0, ERA 4.15, W, 2-0

Good for him. Hope he turns a corner.

to be fair though, it was Seattle Mariners...it's like pitching against the Cubs these days.

oh burn.

Indeed. But, it is still the Majors.

I am wondering if psychologically he just felt doomed in the Cubs system?

Why is it that after all of the support he received, all of the nurturing and hand holding, he failed.

Yet - he goes to Baltimore, and now seemingly thrives? I just don't understand this when I relate it to the industry I work in.

I would agree mostly E-Man.

However..how much nurturing and support did he get last season, and in the off season? He went 11-8 in 2007, but got 5 whole starts in 2008, going 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA, 18 walks/15 K's. He was having control problems, but Uncle Lou couldn't wait to ship his ass to AAA. Turns out he may have been affected by the back injury he was claiming.

I wish him well, as long as it's not against the Cubs

Just remember that the start before he went 3.1 IP with 6 ER. On a day when he has command, doesn't walk people, and doesn't think too damn much, Hill has always been effective. Remember last year:

April 4, 2008 - 6 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB
April 10, 2008 - 3 IP, 3 ER, 4 BB
April 18, 2008 - 5 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB
April 23, 2008 - 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 BB
May 2, 2008 - .2 IP, 1 ER, 4 BB

One or two good starts followed by a poor one. I'll be impressed when he manages to put it together for a long stretch. The Orioles can afford to put him out there for a year or two and deal with his radical inconsistency and hope he irons things out and builds confidence and turns into a bonafide star. The Cubs simply cannot afford that. A 2-3 inning start kills the bullpen and could make the difference in a pennant race.

In the end, I hope he does well, at least until we get our PTBNL, at which point he tank and I won't care a bit.

That makes sense fellas. So, in a rebuilding mode - which the Cubs have not voluntarily done in a long time - players can be nurtured in a "safe" environment without the pressures of having to succeed immediately. If they do - its a bonus.

I have a question: are there any guidelines to a PTBNL? IF player from Team A, traded to team B, throws three no-hitters and is named league MVP (this is a Hypothetical statement Real Neal, and NOT to be taken literally), would Team A get to choose a top prospect in return? AAA? AA?

Rich Hill had bona fide success in the Majors - so, if he wins 13-15 games, let's say, what does Hendry get to choose from?

That link summarizes it pretty well. I would only add that sometimes deals are offset by other deals. So if Hill really does outstanding the Cubs might be entitled to one of the Orioles better minor league prospects, but what they really need is major league help at the trade deadline. So maybe come July Hendry agrees to just take a small sum of cash as the PTBNL for Hill, and when the Orioles are unloading some veterans, they choose the Cubs over other teams for one the Cubs want and take back a low-level prospect in return.

I see. Like Steve Trachsel?

Very helpful. Thanks.

One of the following:

Felix Pie
Scott Moore
Luis Montanez

in the case of Rich Hill, the Cubs and O's agreed that the quality of player the Cubs received would be tied into Rich Hill's performance. That's not always the case. What the actual parameters were in this deal, we don't kow...but it could have been something like if he spends all year on the DL, Cubs just get cash...if he pitches 100 IP by the ASB, the Cubs get their pick from these 5 players or 15 players. No one knows what those parameters were though or the cutoff (although I imagine the 6-month cutoff applies)....but the better Hill does, the better player the Cubs will get back.

If the PTBNL is tied to Rich Hill's performance I'm guessing the very best we could get in return would be
LHSP (A+) Zach Britton or RHSP (AAA) Dave Hernandez.

The Orioles' starting rotation started to take a more rounded shape on
Monday, when they acquired southpaw starter Rich Hill from the Cubs in
exchange for a player to be named later. That future return will be
tied to how Hill performs as an Oriole, and in some potential
circumstances, it could even be a cash transaction.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090202&c...

To be honest, I'll be surprised if the return even has the potential of going that high. Most indications are that Britton is highly regarded within the Orioles organization, almost as highly as their top 3 arms. Hernandez I could see a better chance for, as I'm not too enthused about Hernandez's arsenal, but even then, as a "ready" arm in the Orioles system, I just don't see it.

My guess is that our options will probably be a borderline talent in the upper levels or a raw guy with some upside, but is far away. My hunch would be that we would go with the latter, based on some of Hendry's recent dealings, and I'd be fine with that.

I'd disagree that there's any strong startss. 4.5BB's per 9 is the best he was able to do, and that was the first start of the year. That's a shit load of walks he was giving up. What you have there is as series of starts, some of which he was able to get by in despite his control problems, probably due to some lucky batted balls. In 2007 he gave up 2.91 BB/9. In 2008 it was 8.24.

I'd rather focus on earned runs given up than walks. He was struggling with his control, sure. But 5 innins 1 ER, 6 innings 2 ER seems pretty solid. Maybe strong starts is a little strong?

In the end, as you said, 2/3 inning starts won't get the job done.

I never used the word strong...

I said good starts, and 6IP-2ER; 5IP-1ER; 5IP-2ER are good starts, IMO, especially for a 4th or 5th starter.

But again, the real problem is every 3rd or 4th start he sucks balls.

especially for a 4th or 5th starter.

Wasn't Hill the 2nd or 3rd starter going into 2008?

In 2007, Z, Lilly, and Hill all had nearly identical numbers, and were clearly the top 3 pitchers in the rotation. An argument could actually be made that Hill was the best of the bunch in 2007.

To start the 2008 season, Lou had his starting staff in this order:
Z
Lilly
Dempster
Hill
Marquis

I think that is a fairly accurate way of determining he was likely the 4th starter, at least in the eyes of Lou and many Cubs fans.

No... that was really only to break up the lefties.

I don't know of many Cubs fans who thought that Dempster would out-pitch Hill in 2008.

Good, strong, whatever.

If you're walking that many and not striking out 12 per 9 or have a ridiculous GB rate you're not going to be successful. It's just a product of luck and small sample size.

Hill was the 3rd starter. Dempster had to earn a rotation spot in ST.

Hill's last start was his 5th, Z had already had 7 by then, Lilly 6, Dempster 6, and Marquis 5. Whatever the idea out of spring training about how they ranked 1-5, it was clear just a couple of weeks into the season that Hill and Marquis would be skipped when need be in favor of getting the other 3 more starts.

Also, not sure what you are really arguing with me about, it seems we both agree he is inconsistent and not a good bet for the Cubs rotation for 2008 or 2009.

Hill was the 3rd starter, but was slotted 4th to break up the lefties, as Dave already pointed out.

I am trying to illustrate to you that sometimes the outcome of a game doesn't reflect how well a pitcher was pitching. You can see from the very start of the year that Hill was walking guys at a higher rate than he did in 2007. He was lucky to have those 1 and 2 ER games. It's also how most baseball people knew that Trachsel was going to suck as a late season addition for the 2006 Cubs.

when he has command, doesn't walk people, and doesn't think too damn much,

Absolutely right.Did you watch the Orioles game last night? Rich and Matt Wieters were playing catch. Wieters would throw Hill the ball and immediately crouch down and give Hill the sign. Rich would take a look and throw. No thinking involved. They had the batters feeling rushed. After the first few innings Hill was masterful. He combined with the 8th and 9th inning relief to retire the last 20 Mariners in a row.

Hill's physical problems seem to have started when the Cubs altered his delivery prior to 2008 spring training. As Paul Sullivan reported last February 28th,

Rich Hill has allowed an 83% (39/47) stolen base rate during his career. To help improve that, he has made some alterations to his delivery, which he will use whether or not runners are on base

Sometime in mid March Hill said his back was hurt. First Hendry then Lou, for some unfathomable reason, said it was a mental problem. But he went on the DL with a back problem twice last year and this year he had elbow problems. Yet, the Cubs had him playing winter ball. I think he just needed rest.

'nuff said.

That's a pretty good summary, nav, and I missed the Sullivan note in Feb. '08 about "alterations to his delivery." I do remember that Rothschild was teaching Hill to slide-step in late 2007.

I never understood that, because a lefty can lift his leg and still throw to first, so why slide-step?

It wouldn't surprise me if Kranitz is just highly competent at what he does, as opposed to you-know-who.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.js...

Was just looking at the Boise Hawks' web site, and found a by-team listing of former Boise Hawks that are currently in the majors. The entry for the Mets was Francisco Rodriguez... Were the Hawks affiliated with a different team when he came through? Or did we somehow give up this guy? Anyone have a clear explanation for this? I don't recall ever hearing that K-Rod was affiliated with the Cubs...

From Wikipedia:

The team was founded in 1987 as an independent member of the Northwest League, and joined the California Angels organization in 1990. In 2001 the Hawks moved their affiliation to the Cubs.

Okay, thanks dave!
What was the Cub's short season affliate prior to 2001?

From the brilliant Wikifield:

Short Season A

2001-2008: Boise Hawks(Northwest League)
1999-2000: Eugene Emeralds (Northwest League)
1994-1998: Williamsport Cubs (New York-Penn League)
1978-1993: Geneva Cubs (New York-Penn League)
1969-1970: Huron Cubs (Northern League)
1961-1965: Wenatchee Chiefs (Northwest League)

brilliant indeed....if only there were 72 hours in a day and didn't have to sleep.

So the mlb beat reporter for the Braves posts an article titled:

"Needs aside, Braves like where they stand"

... which... basically says nothing. So you are acknowledging you have needs and you like it? What? It's this kind of sophomoric reporting that drives me nuts. They might as well title the article:

"Fluff"

Blah.

Go Cubs!

Substitute Cubs for Braves and it could be a quote from Derrek Lee.

I agree the title is iffy, but I think the writer was trying to get across the idea that the NL East is a very flawed division, from top to bottom (and his article does touch on that).

There was an article that made the front page of Google News this weekend with a headline that read something like, "Dick Cheney Supports Waterboarding"

Really? Holy Shit!

To be fair to the writer's, they don't write the headline, the idiotic editors do. When I was in college I wrote for the newspaper and did an article about Nelson Mandela and South Africa. In one sentence I referred to the local citizens as South Africans, and my editor tried to change it to African-Americans. She didn't understand what the problem was.

Wonder how much Andy Marte would cost us. He seems to be doing well in AAA and you know the Indians have to be sick of him.

Marte is better than Fox defensively at 3b, but I would say that Fox is definitely a better hitter. I just don't see what Marte brings to this team.

I think Fox playing anywhere other than first base is going to make pitchers afraid to let the ball get hit and really cause some catastrophic knock-on effects. Marte would be an defensive upgrade over the Fontenaught, and likely hit as least as well as Scales and Torres.

I remember when Andy Marte was considered a top prospect. I was mildly surprised they were able to slip him through waivers this past offseason.

Barring a surprise, the Indians should enter sell mode soon. His AAA numbers aren't that much better than his last stop there (2007), outside of a much higher BABIP. Overall, I'm not sure this is a Hoffpauir case of late developing skills. In saying that, Marte has always had enough skills and ability. The glovework was there - it's a matter of his swing being consistent enough. Therein lies the problem. Overall, is it worth a look if Aramis doesn't get better? Perhaps, but I have doubts that Hendry would go the trade route and give a youngster time to learn on the job. I mean, I'd be fine adding him (minor league depth chart at 3rd base sucks in the upper levels - Kyle Reynolds (end of the line), Marquez Smith (if he makes it up, I think it's for his versatility), Jovan Rosa (might end up at first)).

I also wonder if the Indians would fork him away that easily now that he's shown signs of life. While they finally made the much needed Peralta move to third, he's a free agent after 2010 unless he has a huge year (there's a 7 mil 2011 club option but a 250000 buyout). Wes Hodges has struggled and was an iffy guy and Lonnie Chisenhall is a few years away. I think they'd listen, but I wouldn't want to overpay for Marte.

Here's a cool baseball website I had never heard of: Hit Tracker Online. It lists the distance, pitcher, etc. for every hr and posts the video too.

http://www.hittrackeronline.com

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