That's What You Get For Having Two First Names

Kevin Gregg has been relieved of closing duties according to Lou Piniella.

"I think we're going to make some changes as far as what we're going to
do in late innings," Piniella said. "We'll have some more tomorrow."

That "more" will either be Carlos Marmol or Angel Guzman most likely, and I'm sure Lou will go with experience and name Marmol the new closer. Instead of losing by home runs, it'll be by walking in runs. I know I feel better.

The Cardinals won last night leaving the Cubs six back in the division. You might as well kiss that train good-bye. Never say never and all, but it would take a NY Mets-like collapse at this point and I don't see it happening. Of course, I doubt the Mets did either. The Braves and Giants won and the Cubs dropped a half game to the idol Rockies leaving them four back and in 5th place in the wild card. What's the August equivelant of June Swoon? August Ambivelance?

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based on keeping with Cub tradition, Lou names Aaron Heilman closer.

"John Grabow pitched 161/37 innings of hitless relief before Carlos Marmol retired the final two hitters in the eighth. Then Gregg fell apart in the ninth."

Nice typo, Sully.

Too late, Lou. Shoulda done it after the Braves blown save.

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

"Too late, Lou. Shoulda done it in April."

Fixed

Too late, Hendry. Should never have traded for that goggled fuck.

/Double fixed

When you fucking walk David-fucking-Eckstein you absolutley get what you deserve.

Gregg should be DFAed; he does nothing for us in a set-up role and we clearly should have no interest in bringing him back at any price / role next season. Maybe someone will claim him and we'll at least get the salary relief the rest of the season.

I know the 2005 Cubs are supposed to be the baseline for team hate, but this squad is certainly up there. Soriano goes without need for comment, but between Gregg's ridiculous comments about becoming a "premier closer" this year in Spring Training, Miles' general ineptitude, and Lou's clueless management this has been a miserable season to say the least.

For a team that should have clearly been out-of-sight of the competition in the division race at the AS break, they really have found a creative bunch of ways to basically throw the season away.

At least we don't have to listen to Dusty Baker make excuses for this teams suck. Now only Jim Hendry makes excuses for the suck. Lou pretty much calls it as he sees it.

It could be worse, in theory.

giving credit to little cubster for this rant...

Problem: Lou giving his roster rest when it's not needed. Why does he take Jeff Baker out of the lineup when his bat clearly has heated up and after they had a sunday rain-out?

Result: Fontenot left 7 men on base.

Doink.

I don't think you gain much by replacing the closer at this point.

The Cubs don't catch the St. Louis Cardinals in September.

Ok. So keep rolling Kevin Gregg out there?

That's a better solution?

Hate to state the obvious, but....this is now an audition for 2010 closer.

Rather than test Marmol and/or Guzman in the false world of spring training, see how they handle closing in Aug/Sept.

Gregg won't be back, and he is clearly a basket case, particularly on the road. Time to cut our losses on him. Bad trade, bad result -- move on.

Neither Marmol nor Gooz is likely to be worse than Gregg, and maybe we will find a closer for next year, when the playoffs will hopefully be much more likely than they are for 2009.

Who was it that wrote the article about Zambrano and kept using the word "we" to our annoyance? I ask because I came across an amusing Mark Twain quote today...

"Only the president, editors, and people with tapeworm have the right to use the editorial 'we'." Mark Twain

I lol'ed.

That was Kaplan but I glanced at an S-T on the train today and saw that Slezak had a piece w/a similar theme re: "la-Z" today. Right, because the problem we all need to talk about is an offhand remark by the guy who hasn't played for 2 weeks.

Excellent Twain quote btw.

~cue "My Way" playing in background~

So we have arrived to the point of the season where even our Cubbie blinders can no longer block the sun like brightness of the shiny turd that is the Cubs 2009 season.

We can be thankful that they have not dragged us to the final week like their doppleganger the 2004 Cubs, great on paper terrible in practice.

If the Ricketts family can do one thing when they take over this team in 2013(hopefully) they will blow up every aspect of this organization from Crain Kenney down to the beer vendor who would not sell me a beer back in June in the sixth inning.(Overserved my ass)

Screw Hendry
Screw Lou
Screw Soriano
Screw Z
Screw Bradley
Screw Miles
Screw Esther
Screw Heilmann
Screw Rothschild
Screw Farney
And most importantly, let us not forget screw Michael Barrett.

As I fall from the ledge and I look up to the sky,I'm hoping some day this team will reward us. And with this faith I hope before I crash through the pavement that my fat ass crushes Kevin Gregg or one of his relatives.

See ya in the funny pages.

Peace and Chicken Grease.

If Fontenot can do this more, he could justify himself as a starter, batting stats aside.

Who is surprised that:

- Gregg, who led the league in blown saves last year, has blown a lot of saves this year?
- Bradley, who has a history of being a selfish prick, is a selfish prick?
- Fontentot, who has never been an everyday player, sucks as an everyday player? He reminds me of a backup NBA center who gets 3 rebounds per game in 10 minutes against the other team's backup, and some team signs him expecting 12 rebounds per game in 40 minutes.

Who, other than Hendry, is really surpised?

The injuries and Sori/Marmol/Soto (when healthy) have been surprises, but the 3 above were easily foreseen.

Lee, K-Fuk and Theriot are about as expected.

I actually think Lee, K-Fuk, and Theriot have exceeded expectations this year (although Theriot's OPS+ is still only 96). Unfortunately, everyone else you mentioned has performed so far below expectations that we find ourselves in this predicament. Also, our best player has missed a huge chunk of the season. That never helps.

What really sucks is the only places we can really improve in the offseason are the bullpen and 2B. Those would certainly help, but we're essentially stuck (either by contract or choice)at the positions where an upgrade would really help (RF, LF, C, Ace SP).

If Ricketts has money to spend, there's always room for another SP. I assume Harden won't be back, so someone else needs to join Z, Lilly, Demp and Wells in the rotation. I assume Marshall and Gorz will simply be fall-back plans.

John Lackey will be available, but knowing Hendry's M.O., he's much more likely to go hard after someone like Harden or Erik Bedard and give them a big contract.

Just took a look at the 2010 MLB FA list, and except for LF there's not much out there:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/12/2010-mlb-fre...

We might want to take a look at Marco Scutaro at SS, and move Theriot to 2B. Scutaro's 5th in SS OPS in all of MLB this year. Unfortunately, he's 34.

Jason Bay, Carl Crawford, and Matt Holliday are all FAs this year, but we've got way too much money tied up in our outfield as is.

I'm not very well-versed in all the random bullpen guys that are available, but I'm generally averse to spending more than $1-2 million on a middle reliever.

With the dearth of talent available out there, I'm really wishing we had gotten in on Cliff Lee or Halladay, especially because it looks like Lee's only scheduled to make $8 million next year.

I like the idea of Scutaro for a year or two if the price isn't insane (though I think the Cubs should deal for Punto, Bradley for Punto straight up...). I'd move Bradley and find someone like Chavez or Crisp for CF, move Fuku back to RF, move Riot to 2B, move Fonte to the bench, and leave Aaron Miles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean without a life jacket.

The bullpen is a mess. Keep Grabow, Gooz, Marmol... scrape out the rest.

I'd move Bradley and find someone like Chavez or Crisp for CF, move Fuku back to RF

Yea... because what the Cubs need is LESS offense.

Find offense somewhere else.

In St. Louis?

Left field or 1st base are the most... well, we can't move those contracts either. There are no middle infielders likely to improve on what we have that would compensate for the difference in offense Bradley offers over those scrubs, and they're not that great defensively.

Nick Punto. Really? Wow....what year is this? He makes Mario Mendoza look like Derek Jeter:
.210/.313/.261 career is .247/.318/.324 OPS+ is 72??

He'd better be Ozzie Effing Smith...

He's one of the best defensively.

He may be one of the best, but can that possibly justify having a player in the lineup with a .573 OPS?

Anyone?

Rays have the option on Crawford, something very reasonable like $7-8M IIRC. He'll likely get traded, along with Scott Kazmir, was the rumor I heard.

The two of them would be a nice package to Chicago, but it'd likely cost mad prospects and not leave any money to help the bullpen.

Second time I've heard the assumption that Harden won't be back. What is this based on? I'm not arguing, just asking.

He's as fragile as a Faberge egg and he's going to want a big, multiyear deal. Also, until very recently, his high-90s fastball had dipped down to 89-91 mph.

He might be back, but I hope Hendry's of the opinion that slightly above average talent but durable is better than highly talented but injury-prone. However, given the fact that he signed Milton Bradley and traded away Marquis for nothing, I'm really skeptical that he'll ever learn this lesson.

Jose Ceda...where are you now?

seems to have disappeared. Not on the Marlins 40 man as far as I can tell. Last link is from Feb when he was shut down with a sore shoulder. Anything more recent?

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090217&c...

What really sucks is the only places we can really improve in the offseason are the bullpen and 2B.
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a new owner asap would be nice, I know it's a cliche but change starts at the top.

I'd be okay trading Bradley. Spare me the stats, I have no idea what his numbers look like and I don't care. He doesn't help a team win.

"Okay, listen up -- we've got a switch hitting guy who can't hit left-handed, isn't a particulary good outfielder, doesn't take extra practice to learn how to play the sun field, feels the need to constantly remind the media what a talented player he is, and is a colossal all-around selfish prick whom his manager once called 'a piece of shit'. He is scheduled to make $10MM per year.

Who's in?"

Bobby Scales and Andres Blanco though, they are winners...they fucking sweat winning man.

Bobby Scales is a minor leaguer. All I've ever said about him was he has a nice swing.

Andres Blanco could be part of a winning team, sure.

Not sure where you're going with this, though, my comment was about Bradley and how he doesn't help the team.

Ryno, I know you said "spare me the stats," but I'm going to give them to you anyway because I'd love to help support your point.

Bradley has managed a 104 OPS+ this year, so he's essentially a league-average hitter. That wouldn't be so bad if he weren't:

1) Playing a premium offensive position
2) Injury prone
3) A misanthrope who never fails to play the victim

We all have different thresholds of tolerance for these things, but for me, I need an OPS+ of at least 135 to put up with all the bullshit he brings to the table.

Edit: One more thing - he's getting out-slugged by Ryan Theriot. Should we add Bradley to the Scrap Pack?

Q: When's the last time Milton Bradley came up with a big hit for the Cubs when they needed it?

A: No clue, I don't recall it ever happening.

I think you may have misinterpreted my post. I was agreeing with your point about Bradley. We need more than league average hitting from a right fielder who only plays 70% of the time and bitches to the media all year.

Also, I should note that OPS+ is NOT adjusted for position. So his 104 OPS+ is leage average for ALL hitters. The average RFer should have a much higher OPS+.

Nope, I understood and that's all good info. Thanks. I just continued my rant in the wrong spot.

He singled in the 9th to drive in the tying run against the Phillies on 8/11. Not exactly the Homer in the Gloamin', I grant you, but something.

Bradley's first half was marked by poor play and some poor sportsmanship. His second half has been marked by good play and no behavioral issues. I have many more complaints about other aspects of this team than I do about Bradley.

Hmm. This week might deserve a break from TCR. See ya when the Cubs and TCR don't make my sphincter spasm.

that's hot

MB hit a nice run scoring double a couple weeks ago off the cf wall.

all i can think of.

guess tjat makes him..."Clutch" Cargo, Spinner and Paddlefoot all rolled into one package

Ah, love the reference. What a program, with its cutting-edge 'animation' - real mouths superimposed over static drawn faces. (Cue the music for the Kinks' song "Low Budget") Except for the motion of the creepy mouths, the drawn portion changes at about a 5 seconds per frame rate. Makes South Park look like a frickin' Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) animation festival.

I showed my teen-aged kids about 3 minutes of a Clutch Cargo episode on YouTube. They were so repelled by the images that I can get my way now just by threatening to show it to them again.

Watching Clutch Cargo (with his pals Spinner and Paddle Foot) on the Ray Rayner Show was one of the highlights of my childhood. Ahhh, good times.

Yikes, it occurs to me that without Gregg's 6 blown saves, the Cubs are tied for first and ahead in the loss column. Sure, you very rarely find a perfect closer, but it just goes to show you how important a good closer is.

but it just goes to show you how important a good closer is.
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I agree, the Phils rode Lidge's perfect season to the WS last year and Ryan Franklin is 30 out of 32 for saves this year.

These blown saves are tough on the psyche of everyone involved... especially me.

Probably stuck this offseason. If it were me I'd.

Offer arbitration to

Harden
Grabow

DFA Miles

Get Aramis' shoulder fixed RIGHT NOW rather than letting it linger into 2010

Look for some scrapheap options to invite to camp for middle relief and middle infield.

Collect the draft picks and spend HEAVILY on the draft and in Latin America next summer.

This roster is probably still good enough to win 85-90 games next year with the current cast. But the window is closing and it's time to add some assets to the ML system. If not were going to look like Baltimore post 1997. They haven't won anything since.

I 100% agree on offering arbitration to those two guys, but it's just not Hendry's MO.

You can't offer Harden a 4-5 year deal, but it would be awful to lose him for nothing. The risk of getting him back on a 1 year deal for $10 million (my very rough guess as to how much he'd get in arb) isn't so bad. If he doesn't accept, then we at least get something for him in the draft.

I assume Hendry will work out a deal with Grabow before it ever gets to arbitration.

If Miles is on the Cubs next year, I swear I'm going to get some wire cutters, sneak in through the knothole, and drop a big, fat turd on home plate.

If Miles is on the Cubs next year, I swear I'm going to get some wire cutters, sneak in through the knothole, and drop a big, fat turd on home plate.

lol

I am completely, 100% serious when I tell you this:

I'd give you $50 to do this.

Mark me down for 20

I'll throw in $20 as well....You'll get $50 more if you get a video of it with steam coming off of it.

it's too early to shut him down. they can't throw in the towel just yet. the cubs "can" make up a game a week. tall order. but don't waive the white flag just yet.

Submitted by Ryno on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 7:48am.
I don't think you gain much by replacing the closer at this point.

The Cubs don't catch the St. Louis Cardinals in September.

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

RYNO: Even if the Cubs are out of contention for both the N. L. Central crown and the Wild Card (and I don't think they are... at least not quite yet, anyway), what the Cubs would gain by replacing Kevin Gregg with Angel Guzman (for instance) now would be an opportunity to find out if Gooz has the chops to pitch the 9th.

Guzman does have the lowest OPP OPS among Cubs relievers, and he would probably be the one reliever now on the staff who would give Uncle Lou the least stomach upset in preparation for the post-game meal.

Personally, I believe Guzman does have the personality, temperament  and stuff needed to be a closer, but I would be concerned about whether he is durable enough to pitch two or three days in a row without losing something off his stuff on the second and third day.

Or depending on whether he has cleared waivers or can clear waivers (and the Cubs are now in a position to win a waiver claim on just about anybody they want, since there aren't many contending teams behind them in the standings), Padres closer Heath Bell could be a Cubs trade target. It would probably cost the Cubs two of their Top 5 prospects (Cashner, Vitters, J. Jackson, Castro, and/or Carpenter) plus an MLB-ready reliever (somebody like Jeff Stevens), but Hendry just might be willing to pull the trigger on such a deal because the Cubs would be getting a proven MLB closer not only for 2009, but also for 2010 and 2011 (Bell can't be a FA until after the 2011 season).

Hendry has shown he's not shy about trading prospects for more-established guys, especially if he can control the player he gets beyond just the season he makes the trade.

Okay, valid. But I guess you also run the risk of Gooz failing and losing confidence. I think it might be worth it to give him a shot though.

Personally, though, I don't care who pitches the 9th the rest of '09.

Texas Rangers get Pudge Rodriquez for ptbnl from Astros

Vikings sign Favre to a 2yr deal

...both on rotoworld.com

What year is this?

Submitted by Doug Dascenzo on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 12:53pm.
If Miles is on the Cubs next year, I swear I'm going to get some wire cutters, sneak in through the knothole, and drop a big, fat turd on home plate.

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

DOUG D: I don't want to get your hopes up, but Andres Blanco is eligible to come off the DL today (he's been on a minor league rehab at Iowa for several days), and so the Cubs could DFA Aaron Miles and reactivate Blanco without having play without a back-up SS. Not that Blanco is any kind of a difference-maker, but at least he's not Miles. .

Presuming Miles were to get DFA's and then get released and then sign with another club (like STL) for the pro-rated MLB minimum, the Cubs would be on the hook for his entire remaining salary covering the rest of the season plus next year minus the pro-rated MLB minimum salary, meaning the Cubs would have to pay Miles about $3M to go away (and they have done that before, most recently with Luis Vizcaino earlier this season), while saving about $500K in payroll that they currently have allocated to Miles over the next couple of years, and that $500K would pay Andres Blanco's salary next season (presuming Blanco remains with the team next year).

It does seem like the Cubs lose whenever Aaron Miles is on the Active Roster. I'm not saying he's bad luck, but it's kind of like in Poltergeist II whenever that preacher (Reverend Kane) comes around and it immediately starts raining. The main difference is, Julian Beck (who played Kane) was terminally ill with cancer when he made the movie (and he looked like it, too), whereas Miles is a cancer.  

Thanks for the info, Phil. I wouldn't mind if the Cubs did what you described.

Blanco seems to be an upgrade defensively and a modest upgrade offensively (although that's not saying much-- Miles' numbers at Iowa are worse than Blanco's at Chicago). If Blanco can take Miles's place on the roster for roughly the same cost, I'd do that.

As for the rest, thank you for referencing someone I really respect (Julian Beck), though for reasons other than you mentioned.

(will the theater geeks come out from hiding on this?)

There's not a lot of evidence to support Blanco being a better hitter than Miles. Much larger sample sizes were used, for example, to determine that Bradley is a vastly better hitter than Fukudome. Miles hasn't gotten it going with the bat. Based on what we've seen over 4000 PAs (or whatever Blanco has) he'll never get it going - but he may get better offensively like Ozzie Smith did. It's debatable, had Ozzie played to day that he'd get that chance, though.

This is why I don't always trust stats. Clearly they aren't always predictive

and drop a big, fat turd on home plate.
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...and Miles bounces one off home plate, spinning foul right into the Cub dugout.

...or grounds weakly into a double play.

Perhaps we forget that as one of the "Golden Young Arms" with great potential, Gooz has been on the DL like every year in his career (using exaggeration, Real Neal).

As stated above- isn't durability a concern?

'Closer doesn't matter -- the season is already over'
is leading the Trib Poll

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

FWIW, I don't think the season is over yet. But Hendry has to go get a closer from somewhere else (e.g. SD) to save it. Guz is too fragile and Marmol too all over the place to handle the job.

Mathematically it's not over, but the likelihood they pull this off now is extremely small and getting smaller every day.

I'd be all for trying Gooz as the closer, but that's really just robbing Peter to pay Paul since we'd be losing one of our only effective setup guys, and presumably replacing him with Kevin "The Goggled Howry" Gregg.

Anyway, we've all known in our hearts since sometime in May that this team wasn't going to do it this year. At this point, I'd rather Lou find out who should be a part of next year's team than keep trotting the same guys out there on their inevitable march toward a .500 season. Fuck it, let's see if Fox can play 2B. Let's see what Fuld does as the regular CFer and move Fuku back to RF. Shut down Aramis before he does any more damage to his shoulder.

The season's over and has been for weeks. This team has no consistency other than sucking and bad fundamentals.

I didn't like trading for Gregg last offseason, but if he's going to be held accountable for blowing so many saves lately, why isn't Hendry being held accountable for adding Gregg and the other horrible moves? Hendry should be fired now, not after the season.

Submitted by The E-Man on Tue, 08/18/2009 - 1:22pm.

Perhaps we forget that as one of the "Golden Young Arms" with great potential, Gooz has been on the DL like every year in his career (using exaggeration, Real Neal). As stated above- isn't durability a concern?

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

E-MAN: Without looking up the stats, it seems like Angel Guzman is at his best throwing every-other day or maybe every third day, although when he does that he can throw two innings per appearance. While that work pattern does have value and Gooz has helped the Cubs this year (a lot), unfortunately closers often have to throw two or three or sometimes even four days in a row, and be just as good on the last day as the first day.

Carlos Marmol probably benefits by throwing more often (but only one inning at a time), so it's possible he would be better suited than Guzman to be a closer, but not if he can't keep from walking (and hitting) the world.

It's kind of a dilemma.

So I think Hendry will probably try to make a deal for a closer, and (presuming he is available and has cleared waivers or can clear waivers) Heath Bell would probably be the best bet among the closers on the also-rans, even if the Cubs have to pay a heavy price to get him.

Or if the Cubs want to go more cut-rate, Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls is probably available, and he won't be a FA until after next season. Except  he's not that much of an upgrade over Gregg, although Qualls does (like Gregg) throw strikes but (unlike Gregg) he doesn't give up the long-ball as much (but then nobody does).

Reds closer Francisco Cordero is probably available, too, but he's scheduled to make $12M in both 2010 and 2011, plus a $12M club option (or $1M buy-out) in 2012. And if Hendry wouldn't give Kerry Wood that kind of money long-term, I doubt that he'd be interested in acquiring Cordero, either 

Thanks AZ PHIL.

'Bout what I am feeling on The Gooz.

I would try Grabow and/or Stevens at closer. Guzman gives up big HR's as well, and can't handle the workload, Marmol should be in Daytona. Not sure who else we could use.

Grabow and Stevens, fine. The Cubs should bring up Gaub pretty soon, though. His WHIP and ERA in 22 innings at Iowa look like typos.

I wouldn't give up on Marmol until we had tried a new pitching coach. All of Larry's boys get wild: Zambrano, Hill, Wuertz, Marmol. The reason Lilly isn't wild is he's not one of Larry's boys.

Where did the Marmol inference come from, anyway? Lou just demoted him to the media last week.

I wouldn't waist any decent prospects on a closer for this year. This year is over, we shouldn't get desperate to try and salvage it.

As for Harden, there a lot of stupid teams out there, but I don't think anyone will give him a 3 plus year deal. Maybe we can get him with a low base and incentives. If he likes being here, he may be interested, but he probably would have to go through free agency to see what market he has.

Didn't somebody give Ryan Dempster 4/52 just last offseason?

Marmol just needs to work on his walks, other than that his pitching is fantastic. Remember he is young in pitching years, he was a former catcher.

Marmol can strike out people, doesn't give up alot of hits and keeps the ball in the park. Since 2007 hitters have only batted like .150 against him.

Aren't Valverde and Rafael Soriano FA's this offseason?

www.cubby-blue.com

cubby blue's take on Gregg...and a picture of what he found on his breakfast plate this am.
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"Standing on that double yellow with cars going by both ways, that's what it feels like watching Kevin Gregg pitch."

Mathematically the season's not over (though it's pretty close), but considering how hapless the Cubs have been all season long (particularly of late) and how strong the Cardinals have looked (again, of late especially, then, well, yes ... it's over.

I've always been one of the stronger Hendry supporters around here, but I've about had it. I understand he's been pretty handcuffed with the ownership situation, but he made this bed, damnit, and it's his own fault if it's no fun to sleep in. Sinking so much payroll into a middling offense is just not any kind of recipe for success. And, truth be told, he's really not done anything close to a decent job in building or rebuilding the farm system as GM. That's not to even mention his ridiculous method of roster and prospect management.

So, after long advocating restraint, I can't back Hendry anymore. Although I think he had some good ideas (and some terrible ones), it's time for him to go.

Unfortunately, it likely will be 2013 before Ricketts gets ahold of this team.

I think the Cardinals planted Miles on our team to be a spy and destroy our chances...

I think Lou screwed up last night by keeping Fox in left and not doing a double switch when Fuld pinch hit. Fuld may have caught that ball...

Guzman has given up 6 dingers in the same amount of innings as Gregg.

You know the Cubs aren't giving up on the season-they're getting everyone back for their September push. They won't make it and we all know it but I don't see them white flagging it just yet.

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