Sun Sets on 2009 Solar Sox

Mike Leake (CIN) threw four innings of shutout ball and Lance Zawadzki (SD) had three hits, including a solo home run and a two-run double, leading the Peoria Saguaros to an 8-1 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox at HoHoKam Park this afternoon.

box score

This was the final regular season game for both teams, as the Phoenix Desert Dogs (East Division Champions) and the Peoria Javelinas (West Division champs) will play in  the 2009 AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday. The Solar Sox finished in last place in the AFL East Division, with the worst record in the league.

Starlin Castro, Josh Vitters, and Michael Brenly were in the Solar Sox starting lineup today, and went a combined 1-11.

Castro hit 2nd, played six innings at SS, and got three ABs, grounding out all three times (4-3, 5-3, 4-3). He also made only his second error of the AFL season, a bad throw to 1st base. Castro finished the 2009 AFL regular season with a .376 batting average (6th in the league) and nine stolen bases (tied for 3rd). 

Vitters returned to the lineup at 3B this afternoon and went 1-4, roping a double down the line into the LF corner with two outs in the bottom of the 4th. He also bounced out 6-3, popped-up to the shortstop, and was called out on strikes. Vitters finished the 2009 AFL campaign 9th in the league in hitting (.353).       

Michael Brenly was the Solar Sox catcher today, and went 0-4, flying out to RF, striking out (swinging), popping out to the second-baseman, and reaching base on an E-6 in the 9th. Brenly went 1-13 over his last four AFL games and hit .240 overall.    

LHP John Gaub and RHP Blake Parker (both vying for spots on the Cubs 40-man roster) made their final AFL appearances versus the Scorpions last night at Scottsdale Stadium.

Gaub struggled in his one inning of work, throwing 23 pitches, but only 11 strikes. He loaded the bases on two walks and an infield single, but was able to escape the frame with no runs scoring. Gaub struck out one batter (lefty-swinging SF 3B Brandon Crawford).

Parker threw one inning of shutout ball, allowing a two-out double before striking out Steve Susdorf (PHI) for the 3rd out. 

LHP James Russell completed his AFL season on Tuesday, working a scoreless 9th. Russell pitched very well, finishing 3rd in the league in ERA (1.26) and tied for 2nd in WHIP (0.98). Russell had a 0.00 ERA over his last ten appearances, allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out 12 over that ten game span.   

RHP Andrew Cashner made his final AFL start on Tuesday, and went three innings. He finished 10th in the league in strikeouts.

AZ PHIL'S 2009 AFL FIRST-TEAM ALL-STAR SQUAD:

P - Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

C - Nevin Ashley (TB)

1B - Brandon Snyder (BAL)

2B - Marcus Lemon (TEX)

3B - Brandon Laird (NYY)

SS - Starlin Castro (CUBS)

LF - Colin Curtis (NYY)

CF - Grant Desme (OAK)

RF - Casper Wells (DET)

DH - Matt McBride (CLE)

MVP: Grant Desme  

 

 

Comments

Thanks for all the reports, Phil.

I see you've got Strasburg as your pitcher- is this a best performance list or best prospects or a combination of both?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 8:22pm.
Thanks for all the reports, Phil.

I see you've got Strasburg as your pitcher- is this a best performance list or best prospects or a combination of both?

================================

REAL NEAL: Best performance, but not just by stats. I also considered Donald Veal and Ian Kennedy for Pitcher, but after getting lit up in his first AFL start, Strasburg has been outstanding. His fastball has been consisently clocking 100 MPH+ in his last three starts. He supposedly will get the start on Saturday for the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the AFL Championship Game.

Hmm, maybe you should squeeze in one more AFL game report then ; )

Looking at his stats, you can see Strasburg's ERA is 'artificially' high. He rarely gave up fly balls, but managed to have three go out of the park. It wouldn't be possible to do that over a full season (give up 40 HR's with a 4:1 GB to FB ratio and all those K's).

In your mind is there any need for Straburg to pitch in AA next year (arbitration clock aside)?

"Strasburg was injured while shagging fly balls Thursday afternoon. He was then taken to a local hospital for X-rays, which revealed some inflammation in his left knee. The Nats released a statement terming it an issue that is "not considered serious," so he should be fine to continue his offseason regimen once the inflammation clears. He'll be good by the start of spring training."

Hmmmmmm. Thus began a series of freak injuries that dogged a career that held much more promise than it ever delivered.

If this ends up happening, he'll be mentioned along with Prior for more than his record-breaking signing bonus.

Mark Fydrich says "Hi"

Thanks for the great write-ups all fall. It's a treat for me to read.

seconded

Submitted by The Real Neal on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 9:35pm.

Looking at his stats, you can see Strasburg's ERA is 'artificially' high. He rarely gave up fly balls, but managed to have three go out of the park. It wouldn't be possible to do that over a full season (give up 40 HR's with a 4:1 GB to FB ratio and all those K's).

In your mind is there any need for Straburg to pitch in AA next year (arbitration clock aside)?

=============================================

REAL NEAL: If I was the GM of the Nats, I would want Strasburg to spend at least a month at AA, partly because it would push back free-agency for another season, but also to make sure he hits-the-ground-running when he does arrive (as happened with Kerry Wood in 1998).

To avoid eventual "Super Two" status, he would have to spend at least two months in the minors, but I wouldn't leave him at AA beyond a month if he shows he is obviously ready for The Show.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Imagine if he is very good in ST then they decide to send him down anyway - the players may not be too happy.

Submitted by Old and Blue
=============================================
Yes, Old, and Blue, I am the very best spring training/minor league reporter that has ever walked this earth. Why do you ask?

LMAO, well done.

Thanks as always Phil. I remember when you were just a poster here, seems so long ago.. =)

that grabes pic looks a lot like the Z pic from a while back...

Thanks Phil, head over to the Woodshed in Mesa on Dobson and University and have some chicken wings and tell them the King Salmon sent you.

According to Phil Rogers, who filed this while waiting for Miller's Pub to open today.

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2009/11/cubs-...

Oh, I lost the link, but Keith Law of ESPN graced us all with his top 50 free agents. According to MLBtraderumors he says Marlon Byrd is not a starter for a contending team.

Which of course makes me wonder if what Keith Law was doing during the 2009 season while Marlon Byrd was a starter for a contending team, and Melky Cabrerra won the World Series.

Rank Player
31 Marlon Byrd
Age: 32 Bats: R Throws: R
Position: Center field/Left field
'09 team: Texas Rangers Status: Free agent (Type B)

2009 STATS

GM
146HR
20RBI
89R
66OBP
.329SLG
.479AVG
.283Byrd is a classic fourth outfielder -- he doesn't play center field well enough to handle it on an everyday basis, but doesn't have quite the bat to play every day in a corner. His offensive line in 2008 was starter-worthy in a corner, but Byrd regressed in 2009; 25 regular corner outfielders beat his unadjusted .808 OPS. Plus, there's reason to doubt even that number for Byrd. Playing two years in a good hitters' park in Texas, Byrd has done much of his damage at home, posting a .290/.339/.415 line in 516 road PA over the past two years. A corner outfielder with a sub-800 OPS (that's light on OBP) who plays average to slightly above-average defense isn't a starter for a contending club.

Thanks, though that's going to get Rob upset (unless it's in the free bit which I doubt).

Since the Cubs are looking at him as a starter in CF - and even Law listed him as CF, and he played CF for a contending team which caught the ball better than expected in 2009, it doesn't make much sense to talk about him as a left fielder.

Any word on when 40-man roster moves will be made or at least what time the deadline is?

I'm sure AZ Phil has mentioned it in the last week, if you want to look around a bit. I want to say it's 15:00 EST...

Not sure if you guys are on twitter (what a stupid name) but just saw this:

[email protected]_JonHeyman - how could the Cubs be a suitor for Holliday? They're already right up against their budget limit.

Not sure where TF MLBTR got that one (and I asked), but thought I'd share.

Either Jimbo has a helluva trade up his sleeve to free payroll, Ricketts is opening the coffers even further, or.....

Somebody's full of shit and trying to stir up business where there is none.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_...

Heyman lists Cubs among possible suitors for Holliday. What is he smoking, and where can I get some??

http://hotstove.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/11/range...

T.R. Sullivan, Rangers writer for mlb.com says phil rogers 3 way trade rumor "not happening"

(translation, rogers is a big bs'er)

Grabow deal is done--Heyman/Muskat--Twitter

Muskat says 2/7.5

Yuck.

I was reviewing Jeff Passan's FA list:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-freeagent...

And there's a few guys I hadn't thought of before:

Brian Schnieder - if his defense is still good
Shawn Hill
Khalil Greene - who we discussed last year. A legitimate fielding SS.
Takashi Saito
Chan Ho Park

I think Saito's or Park's money probably just went to Grabow. The other guys I am talking about bringing in on ST invite type contracts.

Also from Heyman-- "• Cubs. New owner Tom Ricketts hasn't said how he will proceed. The general feeling is that new owners don't like to make waves, but they make big money and there are no guarantees."

I thought Ricketts already covered this?

He did, but Heyman is a national guy, not someone who agonized over every word of the introdcutory press conference like some of us.

Yeah, but he is aware that there must have been an introductory news conference, and that something about how they would proceed would almost have to be covered. I wouldn't think it would be difficult for him to find a transcript or adequate coverage to give him a flavor of what was said, so that he didn't blatantly lie by saying the Ricketts haven't said how they are going forward.

The media hasn't figured out how dumb Twitter makes them look by throwing casual, unfounded blurbs out onto the interwebs under the guise of "insider information."

In the back of my mind i think Ricketts is going to do something big to show he wants to win. Just an odd feeling of a big money free agent signing coming this way.

At worst he will go over the budget limit for a year to do it. He can fund that personally out of his own pocket.

At worst he will go over the budget limit for a year to do it. He can fund that personally out of his own pocket.

Assuming that the Cubs are a corporation, no he can't fund anything personally out of his own pocket. He could, in theory, issue some new stock and buy it for a ridiculous price - 10 shares at $1 million per - or something then later have the corporation buy the shares back at a $1 a piece, and earmark those funds for additional player salary, but that's all pretty convoluted, especially if it is a corporation that is owned by a partnership.

Anyway, there's no reason to do that. According to Scott Boras the Cubs are making $100 million in profit a year, so they can easily add $10 million in payroll and still get an outstanding ROI on the $850 million purchase price.

Are the Cubs a corporation?

I thought they were a family owned entity?

I assume they're a corporation for liability reasons. They could be a partnership, though, and they could be a corporation owned by a partnership (which doesn't make any money so they avoid getting double taxed).

If no one knows maybe we should ask Musket.

a question for the Mushbox

The Trib still owns like 5-10% of the team to help sale go through.

That would tend to imply that it's a corporation, at least for now.

Helpful for the topic, I think:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/21/news/companies/zel...

If the Ricketts followed their plan, it sounds like a partnership that owns a corporation, of which the

Helpful for the topic, I think:

http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/21/news/companies/zel...

If the Ricketts followed their plan, it sounds like a partnership that owns a corporation, or possibly a variety of corporations.

On the Illinois Secretary of State website, The Chicago Cubs Baseball Club is listed as a Limited Liability Company.

Thanks for the additional research.

I don't even know what a LLCompany is. Any Illinois tax or audit accountants around that can answer?

With a 90 year old ball park you would assume the owners need some protection from a law suit in case a grandstand collapses and kills 312 people.

Back to the original point. It would be difficult, but not impossible to throw some extra cash to the company without aquiring some new stock. I'd be surprised if Tom has got $10 or $15 million lying around, anyway. It would make considerably more sense to take the money out of the company and show a tax loss than it would to invest his own money is some convuluted charity program.

A LLC protects the owners personal property. If your business is a LLC, potential lawsuits can only be made toward the LLC, not the owner(s) themselves. In other words, a fan can't sue you and take your house if he slips on pee-pee.

Doesn't LLC typically stand for "Lesser Liability Corporation" though?

Limited Liability Corporation

I see what you are saying. He put Limited Liability Company instead of corporation. I can only assume he meant corporation.

Muskat sings 25 or 4 to 6...(something like the song, just off key)

http://hotstove.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/11/1120_...

Anyone know where we could get the latest details on additions to the 40 man? It seems like in years past it's just been sort of piecemealed togther until cubs.com puts up a new 40 man roster in 3 weeks.

Does this look accurate? I don't see Heilman on there so I'm not sure if this is up to date or outdated. I couldn't find a date on it obviously.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?...

nevermind. Sorry. That's only 33 players. My bad.

That's the one I was referring to. At some point it will be updated, but I doubt it will be today or tomorrow, probably in a couple of weeks.

You can edit your comments (until someone replies) by the way.

Alright, thanks. I was lazy on the counting.

No 40 man update at cubs.com but the Grabow Signing article.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

He's the old man of the bullpen at age 31.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog/_/post/467...

"I've had bone chips in my elbow for three years now," he said. "if you look at [veteran] pitchers, they usually have something going on in their shoulder or elbow. Throwing a baseball for all those years takes its toll. You learn to manage it."

No I meant Limited Liability Company. I always thought that LLC stood for Limited Liability Company which is kind of a hybrid between a partnership and a corporation.

A limited liability company or A company with limited liability (abbreviated L.L.C. or LLC or W.L.L) in the law of the vast majority of United States jurisdictions is a legal form of business company that provides limited liability to its owners. Often incorrectly called a "limited liability corporation" (instead of company), it is a hybrid business entity having certain characteristics of both a corporation and a partnership or sole proprietorship (depending on how many owners there are). An LLC, although a business entity, is a type of unincorporated association and is not a corporation. The primary characteristic an LLC shares with a corporation is limited liability, and the primary characteristic it shares with a partnership is the availability of pass-through income taxation. It is often more flexible than a corporation and it is well-suited for companies with a single owner.

All according to the arbitrator of all things good and holy, Wikipedia.

Personally, according to that, I have my doubts that they are a LLComapy. But, again, I'd look for an accountant who works in the state of Illinois to really clarify matters.

AZ Phil,
I was wondering what you project Jeffrey Antigua as. Do you think he has the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher also what pitches does he throw? Last but not least, where do you rank him among other pitchers in the organization?

Recent comments

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 4 hours 38 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 4 hours 39 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 14 hours 20 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 17 hours 18 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 17 hours 30 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 17 hours 39 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 17 hours 44 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 18 hours 2 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 18 hours 39 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 18 hours 56 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 18 hours 58 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 19 hours 16 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 19 hours 23 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 20 hours 19 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 20 hours 37 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 20 hours 41 min ago view