Cubs Decade in Review: 2000 Season
The New Year is fast approaching which means it's time for everyone's year in review articles. This year we get the added bonus of the end of decade. Due to the baseball schedule and offseason, I'll be looking at each individual season from the end of the previous season to the end of that season. Let's travel through the looking glass together and remember simpler times.
The Cubs finished off 1999 at 67-95 and dead last in the NL Central. Failure at that level demanded change and the Cubs fired Jim Riggelman and hired Don Baylor in November of '99 to start off the offseason and lead the Cubs into 2000. Jeff Blauser, Mickey Morandini, Benito Santiago, Steve Trachsel, Lance Johnson and Gary Gaetti were all on their way out and in mid -December, GM E. Lynch pulled a trade for Ismael "Blister" Valdez and Eric Young from the Dodgers for Terry Adams, Brian Stephenson and Chad Ricketts.
Free agent signings included Ricky Guiterrez, Todd Van Poppel, and Joe Girardi. The immortal Augie Ojeda was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles. Manny Alexander was sent to the Red Sox for center fielder Damon Buford. Y2K hit and all the computers kept working. The first move of the decade was signing reliever Brian Williams...he had a 9.62 ERA in 2000 and was released by the end of May. Willie Greene was signed..he played 109 games in 2000. The Cubs traded for Sarge Jr. from the Padres for Rodney Myers.
Kevin Tapani, Andrew Lorraine and Scott Downs rounded out the 5-man rotation for April. 7 years later Scott Downs would become a good reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays. Ruben Quevedo made his debut in relief in April, he would get his first start at the end of May. Julio Zuleta made his debut in April. The team finished March and April at 10-17. On May 2nd, Kerry Wood made his 2000 debut after missing all of 1999 after Tommy John surgery. The game was against the Houston Astros and he pitched 6 innings and struck out four and the Cubs won 11-1. They finished May 10-16 and Wood finished the season on 8-7 with a 4.80 ERA and 137 IP. His 8.7 K/9 rate was the lowest of his career (not including the 19.2 IP he threw in 2006).
After a disappointing 1999 and terrible start to 2000, GM E. Lynch offered to resign in mid-May, president Andy MacPhail convinced him to stay. In the June draft, the Cubs selected Luis Montanez with the third pick...Chase Utley went at #15 to the Phillies. The Cubs also drafted Bobby Hill, Todd Wellemeyer, Ryan Jorgenson, Dontrelle Willis, Jon Leicester, Jason Dubois, Buck Coats, Carmen Pignatiello and Jason Szuminski in that draft. The Cubs reacquired Brant Brown for Dave Martinez on June 9th in a deal with the Texas Rangers. The Cubs went 12-13 in June.
On July 19, Lynch quit anyway and MacPhail took over as GM. He traded Glenallen Hill to the New York Yankees two days later for Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena. On July 25th, he traded Ismael Valdez back to the Dodgers for Jamie Arnold, Jorge Piedra and cash. Valdez made 12 starts for the Cubs and had a 5.37 ERA. At the trade deadline, Henry Rodriguez was traded to the Florida Marlins for David Noyce and eventual pinch-hitter extraordinaire Ross Gload. Scott Downs was sent to Montreal for Rondell White. The Cubs had their best month of the year, going 17-9 in July.
They finished the last two months at 17-42 and finished the second straight season in last place in the NL Central - 65-97. They were 11-29 in games decided by 5 runs or more. Will Ohman made his Cubs debut in September. Sammy Sosa only hit 50 home runs. It was Mark Grace's last season as a Cub.
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.