TCR Friday Notes

I'll ease back into TCR with some links...

- Geovany Soto will be back in the lineup tonight just in
time for some Coors Field inflated hitting. Way to pick your spots

- A rather crucial 7-game swing here for the Cubs...4 at Colorado and then 3 at home versus Philly. The Rockies are a game behind the Giants in the wild card and one ahead of the Cubs. Pitching matchups for this weekend are: Zambrano vs U. Jimenez (3.76 ERA), Dempster vs. Marquis (3.49), Wells vs. Hammell (4.62) and Gorzelanny vs. De La Rosa (5.00 ERA, although 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA in July, but then got crushed in his first August start against Philly).

- Here's a great Dusty-ism, except it's from Hendry.

"I can't say enough about Hill," general manager Jim Hendry said. "He really saved us."

- Carlos Marmol leads all of baseball with a 8.48 BB/9 rate and at least 50 innings pitched (52 currently). I went back to 1995 and only found 2 other instances of a walk rate above 8 per nine innings and at least 50 innings pitched, John Rocker in 2000 (53 IP) and Stephen Randolph in 2004 (81.2 IP). Not a good career choice for Marmol...

When I think of control-challenged relievers that played for the Cubs, my mind always wanders to Mitch Williams. His career worst (using the 50 IP cut-off) was 7.79 BB/9 in 108.1 IP for the Rangers in 1987. In his 2 years with the Cubs, he walked 5.84 in 1989 (a career best) and 6.78 per nine innings.

- The Cubs signed their 6th round pick, LHP Brooks Raley to a $750K bonus, and inked their first 12 picks to date. The deadline is August 17th.

- Julio Castillo, the Cub farmhand that was indicted for throwing at a fan during a brawl last year, ended up getting 30 days of jail time and three years probation. As far as I know, he's still a member of the Cubs organization, although I'm sure Arizona Phil would know better.

-  Kevin Hart made his first start for the Pirates last night, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs, 1 BB, 9 H, and 5 K's.

- Chad Gaudin has been traded from the Padres to the New York Yankees for a player to be named later...he could replace another ex-Cub in Sergio Mitre in the rotation.


Yankee's plan to acquire all ex-cubs for the bottom end of their pitching staff...

side by side with Sergio Meatball stands Chad Gaudin (who is still on the Cubs payroll)

So the Cubs can't hit a sleepy 84 MPH Justin Lehr fastball, but they'll probably clobber Jimenez' 98 MPH fastball...

What a silly game.

Chad Gaudin - he of the 5.00+ era and 1.88 SO/BB fame.

Carl Pavano to Twins for a PTBNL

Roster move for Soto?

DFA Hendry?

Good choice.

Very little range and seemingly powerless these days.

Yes, Julio "Animal" Castillo is still a member of the Cubs organization (he is technically on the Boise Reserve List). He was at Fitch Park throwing bullpen side-sessions & sim games for about three months before going to Dayton for the trial. What his ultimate future with the Cubs will be, I don't know, but he does throw in the mid-90's...

Castillo is the man-child from the jungles of Hispanola (near the Dominican Republic-Haiti border) who caught a rat at the Peoria Sports Complex a couple of years ago and kept the rodent as a pet in his motel room while he spent the summer pitching for the AZL Cubs.

I was surprised to see that Milton Bradley is on a pace to appear in 134 games this year.

But, what are the chances? That would be the second highest total in his career (2004 - 141 is tops) and he averages 90-100 games per season. Time may be running out. Uncle Milty has appeared in 88 games already.

you could probably tack on another 10+ games to that if he wasn't rested for matchups.

If he wasn't rested for matchups, he might have had a limb fall off by now, due to his Mark Prioritus.

Re Hill: I don't like watching him come to the plate either, but maybe catching is mostly about catching, and maybe there's more to catching than the usual stats. If a catcher has workable ideas about how to get a hitter out, it could show up in the final score.

By my count, the Cubs are 55-30 in games that Hill has started, going back to 2007 when he took over for Michael Barrett. When you consider that Hill weakens the team's offense when he plays, it's even more remarkable.

After 2007, people mostly dismissed Hill's team-related success as lucky timing, but now it has happened again.

After 2007, people mostly dismissed Hill's team-related success as lucky timing, but now it has happened again.

Who knew that, in addition to adding 5 mph to a pitcher's fastball, Koyie Hill would also make Soriano hit better, Bradley hit better, ARam get healthy, Fukudome to come out of his slump, etc? He really does have super powers, eh?

The Cubs haven't been winning more games (since Soto went on the DL) because of Hill. They are winning games because they are scoring more runs. And Hill has had very, very little to do with that.

Who knew Big Lo was Koyie Hill's kryptonite?

In addition to signing LHP-OF Brooks Raley (6th round pick out of Texas A&M) for Supplemental 1st round money (he received nearly $250K more than 2nd round pick D. J. LeMahieu got), the Cubs also recently signed left-handed hitting slugging catcher Sergio Burruel (19th round pick out of Trevor Browne HS - Phoenix, AZ) to an above-slot bonus, and Burruel made his pro debut (as DH) last night for the AZL Cubs (he walked and crushed a double in four PA).

LHP Aaron Kirk (3rd round pick out of Owasso HS - Owasso, OK) made his pro debut Wednesday night, threw one inning, and struck out the side. He has plus-velocity.

The Cubs have now signed 29 of their 50 selections from the 2009 Rule 4 Draft, including their first 12 picks and 14 of their top 15, although two of the players who signed (17th round pick RHP B. J. Dail and 23rd rounder OF Jeffrey Pruitt) subsequently had their contracts voided.  

The AZL season is over on August 28th but the Boise season doesn't end for another ten days after that, so expect several AZL Cubs to get promoted to Boise on August 29th.

Wow, I didn't realize Kirk had plus velocity. That's nice to read.

That's a steal for Raley. A really impressive coup for the Cubs scouting department to get that guy. For about 2/3rds of the season he was the best pitcher in the country (though never the best prospect of course). Oh yeah, and he projects to be a Darrin Erstad type in center field and with the bat. Any word on what the Cubs are wanting to do with him, Phil? Or rather what he wants to do?

He was drafted as a pitcher.

True, but the Cubs have a history of letting people choose. I am sure they would have loved to convert Harvey to pitching two years ago, for instance.

That's why I'm all for the death penalty for any offense. :)

The people at the Sporting News apparently don't follow baseball very closely. Their MLB home page has a picture of Carlos Zambrano and the blurb underneath reads:

"Victor Zambrano and the Cubs try to figure out how to win on the road as they head to Colorado in a key series for both contenders. That's just one of several intriguing matchups this weekend, Ryan Fagan says."

Update: it took them a few hours but they finally fixed it.

Scary note for the Cubs:

Of the next 31 games the Cardinals play, only 3 are against a team currently over .500 (Dodgers).


That's kind of scary, but I still fully believe the Cubs biggest enemy right now is the Cubs. If they can just do what they do, they'll be alright.

Anyone want to take a flyer on the Giambino as a LH bat off the bench?

He's only hitting .193 this year, but has 40 RBIs to go along with 11 HRs. Could he be this year's Jim Edmonds (although mostly as a PH)?

No thanks. He's an admitted steroid freak, and if you want to overlook that he can't play any position and he can't hit. So what value does he have? Why Oakland gave him almost $6 million guaranteed between this year and next year's buyout is beyond me. He sucks.

Nah. This team is dislikable enough even without Giambi. I'm okay with a slightly less muscly Micah Hoffpauir off the bench.

Giambi's dislikable? I always kinda figured him to be a fun, beer-drinking, party guy.

Also, he grows one helluva mustache.

Anyway, he doesn't really fit anywhere on the Cubs, but even at .193 he's got more RBIs than Bradley. Shit, just last year he hit 32 HRs and had an OPS+ of 128.

file this under fun with the rule 5 draft: Pirates place Donald Veal back to the DL with a sprained left index finger

file this under McFail ain't doin' us any favors: Gregg Zaun from the O's to the Rays for cash considerations

file this under I'm selective when type and pasting: Brewers recalled RHP Jesus...
(that outta help their pitching staff)

Just a couple weeks ago we saw a ball get lost in the jersey of an opposing pitcher... you don't have that problem with a robe.

well played.

Unbelievable... waiver claim on Rios.

Who the hell would want that at that price?

The Dodgers? They have a recent history of terrible contracts.

Normally the Dodgers couldn't get anybody through waivers at this point, but in this case, I can see why nobody got in their way.

Maybe the Mets? That's about my only reasonable guess, if they think he can really help them the next four years or whatever he has left.

I'll guess it's the Giants. But you can't count the Royals out, their GM seems to make some questionable financial moves as well, but the Giants are starved for offense and they talked about trading for Rios a while back.

I like Rios. They can have Bradley, Heilman and Miles in exchange. This defeats the purpose of shedding payroll? I don't care.

.. you don't have that problem with a robe
can't be correct, wasn't he a lefty?

So the whole thing about Donald Veal and how the pirates might be stashing him on the dl (or not for that matter) made me think of something.

Often a young player like David Patton may be coerced into playing along with a fake injury in order to stay with the team. If I'm him I would do the same, you get to stay on a first place team and have a future with a club like hte Cubs (in this case, i'm considering it a good thing).

But let's take a guy like Donald Veal. He was Cub but then gets Rule 5'd to the Gulag. If they are trying to stash him even though he's not really hurt, couldn't he file a grievance with the union? (this presumes that he'd rather be a Cub, as of course anyone would)

I think the $440K he's getting paid to sit on the DL is what's keeping him happy, considering he'd be nowhere near the majors with the Cubs. Same goes for Patton.

I wonder if there's some sort unwritten rule that you agree to do it...or be branded as someeone who's not a team player.

you'll be hard pressed to find a coach in highschool or college that would want a LH catcher...the curve stops there many times.

from the "throwing to 3rd thing" to worries about RH hitters (way more of them than lefty hitters) being able to sneak signs easier...there's plenty of excuses to go around.

.. you don't have that problem with a robe
he can pitch, and catch all at the same time even with a catchers glove on his right hand.

dos equis XX

if that saw went any deeper, Koyie Hill might have been your most recent mlb left handed catcher...

Still climbing the ladder in Yankees' system. Was promoted at the beginning of July to High-A Tampa. Has a 2.60 ERA, 1.10 WHIP. Still pitching with both hands... How far will he go? It sure has been fun to follow...

I think it would be such a valuable skill to be an ambidextrous quarterback so you could roll out to either side and throw on the run.

I hope this guy makes the majors. Would be really cool to watch.

Pat Transvenditte.

Smoltz DFA'd by Red Sox...

The Hoff sent down to AAA, as some of you had desired, to make room for "Oblique-Man"

Submitted by Cubster on Fri, 08/07/2009 - 1:42pm.
file this under fun with the rule 5 draft: Pirates place Donald Veal back to the DL with a sprained left index finger


CUBSTER: Donald Veal has spent 85 days on the Pirates 25-man roster in 2009, so five more days on the Active Roster (and presumably he will be reactivated after rosters expand on 9/1) and the Rule 5 restrictions will be lifted for 2010, so that the Pirates can option Veal to the minors in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (if they wish).

David Patton has already spent 90+ days on the Cubs 25-man Active List in 2009, so he could just go home for the rest of the year because he has spent enough time on the Cubs 25-man roster for his Rule 5 restrictions to be lifted next season. (If a Rule 5 player spends less than 90 days on an MLB Active List in the season following selection in the Rule 5 Draft, the Rule 5 restrictions continue into the next season until the player has accrued 90 days of MLB Service Time).

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 7 hours 51 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 10 hours 49 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 11 hours 2 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 11 hours 10 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 11 hours 16 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 11 hours 34 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 12 hours 10 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 12 hours 28 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 12 hours 30 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 12 hours 48 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 12 hours 55 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 13 hours 51 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 14 hours 8 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 14 hours 13 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 15 hours 23 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 16 hours 2 min ago view