TCR Scheduled Downtime

At some point tonight, probably around 10pm CST - although it could be later, could be sooner - we'll be doing a small software upgrade and the site will be down for however long it takes to get done.

If you're still parachatting these days, you can load the link before the upgrade kicks in and keep it open. Once it connects to Parachat, it shouldn't need to access our site, unless you get booted out and have to log-in again.

Lineup for tonight is Fukudome, Blanco, Lee, Hoffpauir, Fontenot, Baker, Hill, Colvin and Dempster versus Brad Penny.

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Look at all those lefties!!! We're going to win!!!

jeeeeeeeeff f'n baker.

alive another day...

http://muskat.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/09/924_wis...

Lou wants an RBI guy in the middle of the order, doesn't care what side of the plate they hit from...

that's...that's just awesome.

so if I read that correctly, Lou basically admitting he (and Hendry) fucked up 2008 overreacting to the playoffs and then trying to pigeon-hole some ideal r-l-r middle of the order for most of the season.

There was certainly no shortage of lefty-hitting power threats who could play right field last winter - Ibanez, Abreu, Dunn. It wasn't even the fault of the mold; it was just a poor choice on the person.

All I heard before the season started was how Ibanez's career was pretty much over. Not just here but in mock fantasy drafts, etc. It was ridiculous.

Looking back at some of my pre-season comments, I found this right after MB was signed... hehe...

Submitted by Ryno on Tue, 01/06/2009 - 5:38pm.
Milton fucking Bradley?

On the bright side, the Cubs will have someone in the outfield who will fight back when he gets booed.

For the record, I wanted David DeJesus (to play CF).

Still do.

saying Ibanez or Dunn could play RF is a bit of stretch, of course with the year Bradley had, you'd sacrifice the defense this year for the power they showed. Hell I would have been all for Dunn...if you're just going to give up playing defense, do it with a sure thing power and on-base threat..

and this whole get left-handed thing was dumb from beginning....nothing more than an overreaction to seeing the Phils win it all and a bad matchup against the Dodgers.

Should have put Soriano in RF.

At least his throwing arm would be put to some use out there.

Yeah, that was my thought, too; if the Cubs *had* been interested in Dunn, Soriano definitely would've had to switch corners. The whole athletes v. murderers' row dilemma.

yeah, Soriano has the arm and i was for the move before the year...

but watching Soriano in left this season, error after error, balls bouncing past him....that's a lot more doubles into triples if he's out in right doing that. Let's hope it's just his knee...and not, for example, just a guy who's happy that he made his money, does not nothing to work on his game and is too busy cheating on his wife and taking public appearance money no matter how demeaning the event is...

Soriano's arm is OK. His release is quick. I've never thought his arm angle was great for an outfielder. He doesn't throw over the top and his throws really tail sometimes. I like him better in left than in right.

the fact he still gets away with his hop blows my mind.

1- it slows his forward momentum and adds time to him getting rid of the ball because he stops forward movement and then has to put his body in position to throw while landing

2- he doesn't time his jump well at all on a lot of stuff not directly under him...that adds even more time to him giving up the ball

at the plate the guy has crutched on sitting at the very front of the box and swinging hard/fast...hoping he catches breaking stuff before it breaks and swinging a bat so fast he can catch up to the fastballs. he's losing a touch of that bat speed and weirdly (or not) he's having more issues with fastballs.

there's a lot of quirks with his game that don't work well, but he keeps doing it.

he's not the young kid he once was...he needs to tweak his game before the game swallows his career, imo. it's minor stuff, but he can't just keep doing the same old stuff.

the only thing i've noticed tweaked about soriano's approach in the field or at the plate is his back leg timing at the plate he keeps playing with. he needs more than that to help him out, imo.

Fundamentally, he's a disaster and always has been. He does not seem interested in changing his approach. He has some truly freakish physical abilities which have allowed him, when healthy, to do some fairly ridiculous things. He had that 40-40 year, and even last year, when he was hot, he could carry the team for a time, which is not something I think I can say about any other player on this club, even Lee or Ramirez. I think age and injuries are eroding those abilities and that just leaves a player who's a disaster fundamentally with no interest in improving.

I think he swings by far the heaviest bat on the team.

him missing or fouling off late so many fastballs has been getting alarming to me...i hope it's more injury than declining skills...i dunno. i hope he's ready/able to adapt to taking a step or 2 back in the box if it's declining skills, though. it's gonna happen one day no matter how many laps he likes to run and how correctly he feeds his body to keep it in good shape.

The reason for the hop is that it steadies his glove. If you're running your shoulders (and the rest of your body) move up and down, while jumping you move in a relatively predictable parabola. It's the same reason the jump shot has replaced running shots in basketball.

I don't think you can conclusively say it has any impact on his throwing. Before this year he had a quick release and an accurate arm, with pretty good arm strength for a left fielder. If he stops his hop does he get an extra 15 feet on his throws? Maybe, but he may drop an extra 10 fly balls a year, and slow his release or lose some accuracy. It's just not that cut and dry.

when you stop your forward momentum you waste time. you have to adjust to throw rather than stepping into it with your motion, too.

his arm has always been great...still is pretty damn nice. it doesn't mean he should cheat himself with bad mechanics.

if he actually was centered on the ball more often than some of his body-twisting hops (which also wastes time) i'd feel more comfortable with it, but that's not showing itself, either. sure, most of the time it's a moot point and he gets under the ball with no throw play to make anyway, but it's just a bad habit that won't look any better as his body ages.

He doesn't stop his forward momentum when he hops, though. That would be physically impossible.

if you catch a ball stepping into the catch you're in much better shape to get rid of the ball toward any area of the infield than the hop/leap/peter-pan soriano move.

soriano isn't usually leaping forward into the ball, he usually makes a form of a stop and pivot move. when he has to twist his body to adjust to the ball it's even worse form when coming down to position himself to throw.

Soriano doesn't hop when there is a runner tagging and he knows he has to throw it. He just catches it on the run and releases it like normal.

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=4200417

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=3433277

http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=3274365

". . . this whole get left-handed thing was dumb from beginning."

Yeah, and the grapes were probably sour, anyway.

Cub fans have been deprived of certain things their whole lives--left-handed power hitters, lefthanded starting pitchers, base stealers at the top of the order--and so these things don't exist or don't matter.

Left-handed power hitters: name a good one on the Cubs since Billy Williams. (At age 38, in his last productive season, McGriff hit 30 HRs in 2002.)

Left-handed starting pitchers: any good ones between--who? Ken Holtzman?--and Ted Lilly?

Base stealers: there have been two decent ones, Eric Young and Bob Dernier. Of the Cubs’ top-ten career base stealers only one of them, Ryne Sandberg, played in my lifetime, which goes back a ways.

I just don't think it means anything when a Cub fan dismisses the importance of left-handedness, or speed. How would you know?

I think that it's safe to say that many of us here watched Mark Grace, Ted Lilly, and Juan Pierre, each one of the better left-handed hitters, left-handed pitchers, and speed demons among his contemporaries. Does that qualify us to determine whether handedness is important?

Also, are we to understand that the only way a fan can appreciate the value of a particular player or type of player is to have that player (or type) on the team that happens to be the fan's favorite or home team? Do we not pay attention to anyone not on the Cubs?

Are we also unqualified to determine that handedness and speed do matter? Are you disqualified as a Cubs fan from making that judgment?

I read often in TCR that the Cubs were stupid to think that a left-handed bat in the middle of the lineup would improve the team.

Since Fukudome and Bradley did not turn out to be middle-of-the order run producers, I don't see how one can infer that.

no, they were stupid to mess with the best offense in 2008 just to fit an extra left-handed bat...

Had they simpy swapped one right-handed bat for another left-handed bat, well then we could simply isolate the problem. Instead they traded one of the team MVP's from last year, dumped Edmonds, moved Fukudome over and upped Fontenot's playing time and inserted Bradley, along with dumping Marquis, Wuertz, Wood, etc to make Bradley's salary fit.

Some of those moves may have still happened, maybe not, but  nonetheless it was all an over-reaction to a bad matchup and bad play in the NLDS.

Also they:

Dumped Felix Pie,Ronny Cedeno,Jose Ceda

Gave Chad Gaudin 3 million dollars and cut him in ST.

Bright spot to keep in mind for 2010.....

Cubs are the only NL team to have 4 starting pitchers with an ERA below 4.00.

Despite his injury, Dempster has pitched 186 innings and has his ERA down to 3.68.

despite his baby being in the hospital for 2 months to start the year...

Yes, indeed.

Seems like a genuninely good guy to root for.

There's been a lot of well-deserved piling on Hendry this season, but for the credit-where-credit-is-due file: Jeff Baker.

Maybe he's just had a lucky second half or something, maybe it's legit, I don't know. All I know is this acquisition had all the makings of yet another train wreck, but he's been great. Mark DeRosa part deux.

Do you think Cubs could trade him to Cleveland?

Where has AZPhil been lately? Hopefully he will provide some nice updates about all the new Korean guys at Fall Instructs.

There's a write up on the Korean guys on Fangraphs:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/hak-ju-le...

Whoops, there's also one on Tyler Colvin:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/first-rou...

Take this with a grain of salt..but

"The Brewers' Mike Cameron has had a strong year defensively, leading the NL in putouts, (394), total chances (402), range factor per game (2.9), and other numbers, such as range factor per 9 innings (3.0), ultimate zone rating in runs above average (plus-11.3), and range runs above average (plus-15.5)."

All indications that I've seen, numerical and observational, say he's had a good year on defense and can still play out there.

For one reason or another, his stolen bases are way down this year, 6s3c from 17s5c in 2008. I don't have any historical data, but it could be an indicator.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/story?i...

As Lee and Baker were mobbed by teammates in the dugout, relief pitcher Angel Guzman slapped the side of Lee's helmet, causing Lee to experience neck spasms that forced him to come out of the game for defense in the bottom of the ninth.

Gooz: "If I'm going down, I'm taking someone with me. Preferably the team MVP."

http://trueslant.com/georgecastle/2009/09/20/bradl...

At the same time, Hendry’s pro-scouting apparatus must be fixed once and for all. He’s either getting bad information or not enough information. There are whispers that Hendry’s employ of close associates does not serve him well. To be sure, you need a posse of folks in whom you can trust. But what if, like players, some scouts simply can’t cut it anymore?

more Bradley stuff in there and the faults of Hendry...

He neglects to mention Fukudome. There was a scouting glitch there. They certainly didn't acquire him to play centerfield and bat leadoff. He doesn't bat in the spot in the order where a right fielder should bat because he doesn't drive in runs.

We know the name of the Fukudome scout: Gary Hughes. And yes, he's a buddy of Hendry's. But who scouted Bradley? Apart from Bradley's psychological issues, he has problems with his lefty swing--ask Von Joshua. But Joshua wasn't asked for a scouting report. Who was?

Also Miles and Heilman. (Miles was probably Lou's idea. He claims Miles hurt the Cubs last season.)

I did enjoy G. Castle's line about Jacque Jones:

Chicago scouts somehow missed Jones’ throwing problems, in which he’d sometimes emulate a quarterback intentionally grounding the ball.

Which reminds me: when Jones let loose one of those funny throws, and fans booed, were they booing Jones or the folks who scouted and signed him?

no one can seriously think jones' arm wasn't a blazingly obvious thing to anyone scouting him. it was a pretty big joke in MIN, even amongst his manager.

i guess they should have re-up'd on burnitz. the FA market was a little thin at the point jones was snagged if i remember correctly.

09 trader-jim sucked...he cashed in on baker (so far), but everything else seems to have failed miserably. the weurtz-for-nothing thing still bugs me...especially in retrospect watching this pen this year. weurtz didn't have much nice to say about his handling/non-use in 08 once he got to oakland. seems like he had to go.

Jacque Jones was pretty decent his first season:
.285/.334/.499, 27 HR, 81 RBI...7 assists, 2 Errors decent defensive range #'s

He sure sucked the first half of 2007 though, and never found his power stroke at the plate:
First half: .233/.294/.335, 2 HR, 20 RBI
Second half: .332/.374/.458, 3 HR, 46 RBI

He was the definition of scatterarmed though...oof.

My friend, you do not remember the 0-for-21 or whatever it was before Jacque Jones got his first hit as a Cub. And crunch is right about Jones... there were no secrets about what you were getting and he came as advertised.

Me? I never said there were any secrets?

What kind of reaction would anyone have to the Cubs giving some pitching help to the Mets for either Jose Reyes or Carlos Beltran*?

* full no-trade clause

If New York was offered a legitimate starting pitcher and a few prospect arms for one of those guys, my gut tells me they'd have to consider.

Would that make the Cubs better/worse?

the only legit arm that makes that deal is Zambrano...

throw in that you're talking a pitcher and acquiring a position player and the risks involved in that, the Cubs would have to sweeten the deal to get Beltran. I have no idea why the Mets would look to move Reyes or do they have some shortstop in the minors ready to take his spot? They're certainly not taking Theriot.

The problem is Zambrano just wasn't very good this year. And by not good I mean he could translate excellent ability into good results.

If I'm the Mets and I'm willing to trade Beltran or Reyes, I'd look for someone good.

I think Z's slipped since his first 4 years, a little out of shape, a little too cocky, a little injured and a little unlucky, but he had a 3.35 ERA on Aug 1st before his 2nd injury.

If you're the Mets and can have a 1-2 of Johan and Z, with Z not having to be the ace and go-to-guy, that might be worth exploring. Of course, I don't know why they'd want to trade Beltran.

Also, and this is quite important, Hendry has already made it known that he has a tough time dealing with Omar Minaya.

I'm disappointed, obviously, by this season. I can't remember a team that I've just disliked this much. I don't enjoy watching them play, even when they win. But, that said, I don't have the anger that seems so prevalent here. There's so much vitriol for Hendry, for Bradley, for Soriano, for those who dislike Bradley, etc.

As I've said before, my preference was for Ibanez in RF...my second choice was Ibanez in LF and Soriano in RF. After that, I wanted Abreu, then Bradley, but I didn't think Bradley would be a problem and I was really pulling for him to succeed. After this season, I really don't like him and will be happy to see him go. That's it, I don't hate him, I'm not excessively angry at how he's behaved, nor am I excessively angry at Hendry, though. It was a gamble and it failed. I just want the season to end so they can start over.

Right now, my hopes for the offseason are 3: 1) Trade Bradley for whatever. The bridge seems to have been burnt, but I can't imagine he'll have another poor year at the plate. Start He-Man in RF or platoon he and Fox. Then move Theriot to 2nd and acquire someone to play SS (or acquire a 2B) and move Fontenot and Baker to the bench. 3) re-sign Grabow and also de-goggle the relief corps.

There are actually quite a few players I like on this team. Ramirez, I've always liked, and D Lee. Dempster because he appreciates that they can have fun while doing their job. Reed Johnson just because he plays like crazy man, Sam Fuld same. I even like Z because he seems to be quite a goof in the clubhouse. I don't want to see him traded unless we get something back for him. He's 28 -- and seems just like the type to come back and have a strong year unless he goes all Bartolo Colon on us, as someone else here mentioned.

Hendry and Lou both had really, really bad years. But I'm not gonna be crushed if they both come back next year. I've seen an awful lot of bad Cubs management teams and this is by far not the worst.

If Ricketts wants to give them one more year, what the hell. A part of me says Hendry should be the one to fix his mess, and I bet he'll be the first to admit he had a pretty bad year.

de-goggle the relief corps -- classic.

To clarify, there are players I like on the team as well (especially, Dempster and Ramirez)...but the team as a whole has been unlikeable to me.

I wasn't really embarrassed to be a fan of this team like I was with the '04 version. There were a few guys who got on my nerves, Bradley and Soriano probably most often, but they didn't come off as a bunch of whiners like the Alou and Merker lead team five years ago.

The Cubs would be far less entertaining and good without Z, so he's probably my favorite player to root for. I understand why folks get frustrated with him though, but in the end baseball is entertainment for me, so either do it on the field by being great at it or show some personality while being good on the field. I like the way Ted Lilly and Lee play, but they're kind of stateusque. Dempster seems like a good guy and all, but he seems more athlete funny than actually funny to coin a Bill Simmons phrase.

Ramirez is the best hitter on the team, but glares at his home runs, Soriano cheats on his wife and gets paid to be humiliated, Marmol cheats on his pregnant wife, Bradley is a jack-ass....

Everyone else isn't good enough at baseball for me to care that much...I guess I'm waiting on Soto still.

I agree about Z for the most part. He has been my favorite Cub the past few years and his is the only jersey I own. I love watching him play, but, frankly, I am getting tired of the immaturity. I want him to be the ace and a team leader, but he can just be too knuckleheaded at times.

Ramirez is the best hitter on the team, but glares at his home runs, Soriano...gets paid to be humiliated...Bradley is a jack-ass

You can figures this stuff out by watching the games.

Soriano cheats on his wife...Marmol cheats on his pregnant wife, Bradley is a jack-ass

You learn this stuff by reading sports tabloids.

Maybe the trick to liking a baseball team is to refuse to learn anything about the players that isn't directly related to baseball. Marmol seems like a heck of a nice guy if I just extrapolate his personality from what I see on WGN.

it was a lot easier when I was younger to find guys to root for...

can you imagine how cocaine-gate from the 80s would play out these days?

hell, the owner collusion thing is almost a totally forgotten subject to some.

people want to understand our stars now...i guess that's why they get paid a zillion dollars, but i have never been as interested in the lives of my favorite player (grace) as some are in people they don't care about.

a lot of people who hate bonds can tell you a LOT of specific things about bonds without mentioning much specific about what he did on the field.

My favorite player is Mark Grace as well!

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