Your 2009 Wild Card Cubs!
And here are the 29 players eligible to play in the 2009 post-season for the Chicago Cubs:
* bats or throws left
# bats both
* Tom Gorzelanny
* John Grabow
* Ted Lilly
* Sean Marshall
# Koyie Hill
# Andres Blanco
* Mike Fontenot
# Aaron Miles
# Milton Bradley
* Kosuke Fukudome
* Sam Fuld
Any player who is on a club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB 15-day or 60-day DL as of midnight August 31st is eligible to play in the post-season (LDS, LCS, and World Series) should his team qualify.
Prior to each post-season series (LDS, LCS, and WS), each participating club submits its 25-man roster for that series to the MLB office. However, the 25-man roster (Active List) can be altered at the start of each series, depending on how the club matches-up with its opponent.
For instance, if a club so chooses, it could go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players in the LDS, replacing a starting pitcher with an extra "bat off the bench." And then the club could maybe replace a left-handed reliever with a right-handed reliever and/or a "5th outfielder" with an extra middle-infielder in the LCS, and then perhaps replace the extra utility infielder with "no defense" DH for the World Series. As long as a player is on the 8/31 post-season roster, he is eligible to be added to his club's 25-man roster for a post-season series.
In addition to the 29 Cubs players eligible to play in the 2009 post-season, any post-season eligible player who is on the DL at the start of a post-season series is considered a "roster exemption," and can be replaced on the Active List by any player (regardless of position) who was in the organization as of August 31st (and this includes minor league players). However, a minor leaguer who is selected to be a post-season roster-exemption "replacement player" must be added to his club's 40-man roster before the player can be placed on the 25-man roster.
Also, a player who is injured during a post-season series can (with the approval of the MLB Commissioner) be replaced prior to the conclusion of that series by a player who plays the same position as the injured player (a pitcher must replace a pitcher, a catcher must replace a catcher, etc). However, if an injured player is replaced during a post-seson series, he is ineligible to return to the Active List (25-man roster) for the balance of that post-season.
So prior to the start of NLCS, the Cubs can designate 25 players from their 8/31 post-season eligibility list as "active," with the additional right to replace any post-season eligible player who is on the 15-day or 60-day DL at the start of the NLCS with any player who was in the organization as of midnight 8/31, regardless of position.
INF Andres Blanco (strained calf), RHP Chad Fox (sore elbow), OF Reed Johnson (broken foot), and RHP David Patton (strained groin) were on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL on 8/31, but Blanco was reactivated from the DL today, and Patton is supposed to be reactivated tomorrow. Johnson is still recovering from his injury, but he will probably be going on a minor league rehab adssignment in a few days and should be 100% healthy by October. So unless somebody gets hurt during the last month of the regular season, Chad Fox will be the only Cubs player who was on the DL on 8/31 who will likely qualify as a potential post-season roster-exemption. However, the Cubs could have had a second potential post-season roster-exemption, but (apparently) chose not to take advantage of the opportunity.
LHP Neal Cotts is on the Cubs 40-man roster, and was on optional assignment to AAA Iowa when he suffered a season-ending elbow injury in July that required "Tommy John" surgery. Cotts was placed on the Iowa DL at that time, but if the Cubs had recalled him from his optional assignment yesterday and immediately placed him on their MLB 15-day DL, they would have had a second potential post-season roster-exemption.
It probably won't matter, partly because the Cubs are unlikely to get into the post-season, and partly because they probably wouldn't need more than the one post-season roster-exemption that Chad Fox provides. But still, why not take advantage of the rules and get a second potential roster-exemption in case it's needed?
For instance, maybe Micah Hoffpauir has a hot September (leading the Cubs to the top of the "Wild Card"!), and Justin Berg throws "lights out" (a la Les Lancaster '89) while Aaron Heilman gets creamed, such that the Cubs want to replace their 3rd lefty reliever (Gorzelanny) with an extra bat (Hoffpauir) and an ineffective righty reliever (Heilman) with a hot one (Berg). Right now they could do one move, but not the other (unless another post-season eligible player goes on the DL prior to the post-season). But simply by recalling Neal Cotts from his minor league Optional Assignment yesterday and placing him on the MLB 15-day DL (as they did last year with Rich Hill), they would have had two post-season roster-exemptions instead of one.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.