Ricketts Gets the Keys, Spring Training Update and Other Notes
- The Ricketts family are the new official owners of the Chicago Cubs and will have a press conference on Friday. Maybe they'll bring a new GM with them.
"My family and I are thrilled that this day has finally come and
we thank Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball owners for
approving our ownership," said Tom Ricketts. "Now we will go to work
building the championship tradition that all Cubs fans so richly
- It's hard to tell how much is Chris DeLuca taking educated guesses or basing his column off some sources, but he seems to expect much of the same for the next two years with Ricketts in charge. Certainly don't expect a big jump in payroll (he throws out $143M) and Hendry isn't getting a blank check to rid himself of the Bradley mess.
- Speaking of the sale, Paul Sullivan is as bitter as ever.
Tribune era is
officially over as Ricketts familly takes control of the Cubs. First
order of business: Get rid of Milton Bradley.
- Bruce Miles offers up some free advice for the new boss.
But working against any Florida bid is the lengthy spring travel in
that state -- especially in a location nearly three hours from the
Tampa area -- and a decadelong exodus of teams from Florida that will
put 15 of 30 big-league teams in Arizona next spring for the first time.
And considering the Cubs are the jewel of the Cactus League, the
state's biggest spring-training revenue producer, filling stadiums
across the Phoenix valley and owning almost every league attendance
record, Arizona is especially motivated even in a tough economy to
invest in the team's future there.
- Kerry Wood confirms the racist letters sent to some Cubs players. Stop making that shit up Milton.
- The Daily Beast says 5 of the top 10 richest baseball players including endorsement deals and so forth are Yankees. Competitive balance at its finest.
- Kevin "Tampering" Towers, who I must remind everyone is not the Padres GM anymore, has let it be known that it's just a matter of when the Padres will trade Adrian Gonzalez.
- After missing out on Manny Acta, the Astros have settled on Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as their new manager.
- I generally scoff at these "this is how to fix the Cubs" articles, because ultimately the writer falls into the trap that there are no limitations and every player in the league is available and they're all dying to play for the Cubs. And while I don't think John Lackey is headed to the Cubs, Hendry's favorite contract toy - the backloaded deal - could possibly net the Cubs one decent free agent this offseason.
- Kevin Goldstein's recent take on Jeff Samardzija:
It's almost remarkable that the Cubs still think Samardzija can be an
effective starter in the big leagues. He's made no secret that he wants
to return to the rotation, but two late-season starts in the majors
were disasters, and now he's merely holding his own in Mexico, allowing
10 runs and 28 baserunners in 18 innings for the Aguilas. Turning 25 in
January, with each passing year, it seems that Samardzija will never
graduate from thrower to pitcher, and for most, his ceiling ends at
I'm not really gonna argue against Samardzija detractors right now, but that's a leap on the definition of a disaster start. (5 IP, 3 ER versus the Brewers in his last appearance of 2009).
- Baseball Intellect takes a look at J.J. Hardy's swing and if he can bounce back in 2010. I still don't see any reasonable scenario that involves the Brewers willing to trade Hardy to the Cubs and the Cubs looking for a shortstop.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.
Brooksbaseball.net has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.
As I was fearing in my post yesterday, Maddon keeps trotting Strop out against the Redbirds and he constantly fails. I understand the psychology behind this, but in a series where there is a finite lock on who moves on, why does he keep riding the wrong horse?
AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?
Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.
AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.