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

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  • That's great, Kris -- prove it with some hits!

  • ill Lou Malnati.

  • Hah which reminds me this is a good article about Ross:

  • Gordo tweeted:

    "I'm pretty comfortable moving all over. I like it that way, too. It keeps me on my toes and ready each and every game.”--Bryant last week.

    So it could be he's just saying the right things, but I believe him.

  • Which means if you shut this place down, and the Cubs go back to their old ways, we will all have to hunt you down, kidnap you, and strap you to a chair to listen to Tim McCarver and Joe Buck repeatedly, with dollops of Hawk Harrelson thrown in for good measure.

  • You got a problem with David Ross?

  • La Stella (3B) batting fifth. Could be the La Stella game.

  • [Drafts plans for CTSteve idol.]

  • Pitcher batting 9th. Bryant in left, Schwarber in right.

  • i'm not ready for it to end.

    i'm not ready for "well, they weren't supposed to make it this year..."

    i'm not ready to talk about the off-season yet.

  • I can relate to that, E-Man. I don't think I'll enjoy watching a high-stakes away game like this on TV. I've watched a lot of games this season after they ended or at least after the Cubs got out to a decent lead. Since they usually win, I've gotten to see a lot of baseball.

    But in this case I think we should probably all watch the game live, and not let the pressure exceed the pleasure.

  • Remember, as I told my wife when our kids went off to college -- this is a good thing! Enjoy it!

  • Fully agree -- can't prove it. But, the numbers are what they are, and a lot of his OF games have come in Aug & Sept, when he has been killing the ball otherwise. And, knowing how baseball players love routine, it seems logical that it could at least be a a factor.

    Really, really, really hope I'm wrong on this.

  • Indeed! It has been absolute blast -- from getting swept by the Phillies to sweeping the Giants, I have always enjoyed being part of this group. Hope we have a lot more games to talk about this year.

  • Yes, cheers to me! I've noticed a fairly strong correlation between my tenure and Cubbie victories. 

    And thanks to Michael for our new diggs--and to y'all for sticking around! 

  • CHEERS to CT Steve for keeping this alive in 2015. Who would have thought that the season would have been so successful to this point? Thank you CT STEVE!

    I think I may be too nervous to watch the entire game. I will probably watch in bits and pieces - and constantly check MLB App. I will be like Blockhead: Nervous Nellie.