The Curious Case of Bobby Scales

For all the pecularities that have plagued the 2009 Cubs, this Bobby Scales starting in left field has to be the most perplexing. First, let's look at the numbers:

Rk Date Opp Rslt Inngs PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
27 Sep 5 NYM W,5-3 GS-6 3 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .262 .357 .492 .849 LF
28 Sep 6 NYM L,2-4 CG 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .246 .338 .462 .799 LF
29 Sep 7 PIT W,4-2 GS-8 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .246 .333 .449 .783 LF
30 Sep 8 PIT W,9-4 GS-9 5 5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .243 .325 .432 .758 LF
31 Sep 9 PIT W,8-5 GS-7 4 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 .244 .322 .436 .758 LF
32 Sep 11 CIN W,6-4 8-9 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .253 .330 .456 .785 PH
33 Sep 12 CIN L,5-7 CG 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .244 .315 .439 .754 LF
34 Sep 13 CIN W,5-2 8-9 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .241 .312 .434 .746 PH
35 Sep 14 MIL W,2-0 7-GF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241 .312 .434 .746 PR LF
36 Sep 15 MIL W,13-7 CG 5 5 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .239 .306 .432 .738 LF
37 Sep 16 MIL L,5-9 CG 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .250 .314 .435 .749 LF RF
38 Sep 17 MIL L,4-7 6-GF 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .247 .311 .430 .741 PR RF
39 Sep 18 STL L,2-3 CG 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .240 .308 .417 .725 LF
40 Sep 19 STL L,1-2 CG 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .315 .420 .735 LF
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 9/20/2009.

That sums up to a slash line of 244/273/341/641 OPS. And this gets you playing time every game while Jake Fox sits with a .834 OPS (it was .857 before Scales started playing every day)?  In the meantime, Micah Hoffpauir has 1.041 OPS since being recalled (308/424/615).

Of course, his defense has been fantastic...check out how he turns a warning track flyball into a home run. Earlier in the week, he had an opportunity for a play at the plate, but decided to not make a throw that drew the ire of Carlos Zambrano.  He's also had some questionable baserunning moves to add to his legend.

I don't really have a point here as usual, other than wtf is going on? Some theories in the comments have been that the Cubs and Lou are just using this lost season to reward him for patience and struggles in reaching the majors. I don't buy that since the Cubs were still on the fringe of the playoffs just 3-4 days ago. BP surmised that Lou just felt it was easier to replace Alfonso Soriano in LF with another 2b that can't play the position well.  It's possible that he dug up some of those photos that Neifi! was holding over the Cubs all those years. But when all else fails, the most obvious explanation is usually the correct one - Lou's been replaced by a robot funded and programmed by the rival N.L Central executives.

Sunday night baseball tonight - Wainwright vs. Zambrano. If football is your thing, join the fun and chat activities at The Bear Truth. Game time for that is 3 pm CST.


I think that Lou doesn't think Hoffpauir or Fox can run fast enough to play left field, and also he likes that Scales stands on the left side of the plate while making his 73% outs.

Fox had 1 bad game defensively and got sent to the bench for the rest of the season. Scales has had a bad week, and still gets to go out there and cost us games on a daily basis. I am just glad that Lou plays the players who are performing. We just never realized that 'performing' included acting like a court jester with an outfielder's mitt on.

Maybe we can have some soft of honorific kick up to front office for Lou and get Trammel or Sandberg in as managers for 2010?

I'd like to note that this whole let's play Scales out of position in left field idea is probably hurting Scales as much as it is hurting Fox or Hoffpauir. I feel bad for the guy. Why not play him at 2nd sometimes, if Lou wants to give him a shot? Surely no team is looking at him and thinking, maybe Scales could be our backup corner outfielder. If he makes it as 25th man anywhere, it will be as a backup 2B/3B with the ability to pinch hit and pinch run for the pitcher.

I'm also all for Trammel as a manager. My opinion of him is based entirely upon my perception that he is more articulate than Lou and that he looks way better in a uniform. What other qualifications are there for a manager, really? Trammel as manager and Sandberg as infield coach would be interesting and a way to groom Sandberg for the job. They could send Von Joshua back to AAA where he seemed to have a more important role with the club.

A long-term look at his bat to see if we can just cut Miles or not. As for left field... I guess maybe because Baker and Font still needs their ABs?

What are the Cubs going to learn about Fox in September? OK average, mega power, bad D at every position not played by a guy named Lee or Ramirez. Maybe Hendry wants to limit Fox's exposure to maximize his trade value. First time for everything, I guess.

problem is, Cubs were still sort of in this thing until this weekend, they should have been playing the best player or the hot-hand.

But I'd rather see what Hoff or Fox can do with regular at-bats than Scales, wouldn't you?

Of course I would. I'd rather see a lot of things. But I'm not in charge of this train wreck.

Miles can play short, and doesn't play corner outfield spots.

What service time doe Scales need to qualify for a mlb pension? I didn't think games played vs days on the roster mattered.

Otherwise I can't figure any angle as to why he's in LF.

The Soriano-lite explanation doesn't work since Baker/Fonty in LF makes more sense than using BS.

THAT'S IT!!! Lightbulb goes ON...

B.S. in LF is Lou's cryptic message to all the suckiness of Cubdom 2009. It has nothing to do with Jake Fox. He's simply and obscurely saying to everyone including Jim Hendry: BULLSHIT!!!

The MLB pension vests on the first game played (maybe even on the first day on the MLB roster) so that is not an issue for Scales. This one remains a mystery to me. I wanted to see Fox get 100 ABs over September just to see what he can do.

Maybe Fox is unavailable because Lou has him out for stud?


$4 million dollar managers.

what a deal. maybe if we get a 6 million dollar manager things will be better. hell, let's get a 10 million dollar one.

Milton Bradley suspended for remainder of regular season.

...and that's that.

sell-low time. brilliant.

I don't think Lou is particularly inscrutable, even with regard to Bobby Scales. Scales may not be the exact player he wants in the outfield, but he's the right type: a little speed and a little power.

Unlike, say, Fuld, who has speed but no power; or Fox/Hoffpauir, who are the opposite.

Where do I get the idea that Scales has power? I had to search a little bit, but last year at Iowa he had 15 HRs. (That's more than the Cubs' two $10-million outfielders managed this year.) Scales also hit three home runs for Piniella between 5/12 and 6/6 this year.

It's too bad Brad Snyder broke his wrist earlier this season, since he can run and hit with power, and he's a real outfielder. We could have been watching him instead of Scales. Fox and Hoffpauir have no real future out there.

Wilken drafts a lot of guys who can play centerfield, so the Cub outfield will not have so many odd parts--Soriano, Fox, Hoffpauir, Murton, Patterson, Scales, etc., etc.--when the current group turns over. I guess the first of the Wilken outfielders, Colvin, will be in right field tonight.

Fuld has been hurt, but out slugged Scales in AAA this year. says Scales has 8 HR's on the season.

It comes down to the same argument I had the other day about Miles and Blanco: what do you want, a guy who can do a lot of things but do them all below average or a guy who can do fewer things but at an average level?

Hoffpauir has looked pretty decent to me in right field.

15hr for a 30/31 year old in AAA sounds about right.

Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Geo Soto leaves the WSux and signs with the Angels who lost Chris Ianetta to the Mariners.

    Freed... The Angels also promoted Bobby Scales from director of player development to special assistant

  • AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.

  • Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...

  • Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.

  • The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request

  • Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"

  • To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.

  • HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.

    Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.  

  • "they just fade away"

    (Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)

  • Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.

  • I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.

  • AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?

  • He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.

    Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.

  • I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.

    I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).

    Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.

  • "What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "

    As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.

  • Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.

    Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer