Ol' Times with Ronny Cedeno / Game #78 Preview

I watched the game intermittently last night, and one of my tune-ins happened in the top of the 7th. The Cubs were leading 3-1 but Pedro Alvarez had connected for a one-out single and then Ryan Doumit ripped a 3-1 pitch into the leftfield corner for a double that moved Alvarez to third. The visitors had the tying runs on base with just one out and roughly 100 pitches into the evening, Ted Lilly looked like he might be out of gas. Len Kasper surmised that this was probably the game's defining moment.

Then Ronny Cedeno stepped into the batter's box.

Cedeno swung at Lilly's very first pitch, a fastball inside, off the plate, and popped out to Starlin Castro. The runners remained planted at second and third.

According to FanGraphs, Cedeno's failed at-bat increased the Cubs' probability of winning by 11.3%, making it the most damaging Pittsburgh at-bat of the night (even more costly than the Ryan Church strikeout which followed). And it was all so Ronny.

Cedeno and his 59 OPS+ are back in the Pirates lineup against Tom Gorzelanny, who is returning to the Cub rotation this afternoon because he's the guy who does NOT have anger management issues.

The offensively-challenged Cubs are sitting Colvin (893 OPS) and Soto (.402 OBP, 862 OPS) in favor of Fukudome (.320 SLG with 1 HR since May 1st) and Hill (586 OPS) because...well, I don't know why.


Buccos vs. Tom Gorzelanny (2-5, 3.41; 1-0, 5.23 all-time vs. Pirates)
Tabata 7, LaRoche 4, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Doumit 2, Alvarez 5, Milledge 9, Cedeno 6, Lincoln 1

Cubs vs. Brad Lincoln (0-2, 6.00; first appearance vs. Cubs)
Fukudome 9, Fontenot 4, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Hill 2, Castro 6, Gorzelanny 1


I was at the game last night, and when Hill hit his second double, I think my quote was something like, "Damnit! Now Lou will think that Hill can hit and he'll get more undeserved playing time."

and catching after a night game too.

i was @ the game monday night, sitting as far away from the team as possible; literally in the last row of the upper deck! only @ wrigley will one find consecutive seats in the middle of a row numbered 10 & 112...i thought ron santo's bounced first pitch in the pregame ceremony was a poignant moment...

Red Sox and Rockies had scouts at last night's game.


Levine on the radio said Lilly could block trades to eight teams.

probably looking at Pirates players :)

The Red Sox could have been checking out Koyie Hill. That would also explain the day start after a night game.

more likely Soto, Hill's our starting catcher, we can't lose him.

/slams head in door

I wasn't exactly being serious about Hill.

They did want Hill.

Just not Koyie.


I'd send them an outfielder not named Colvin. I'd even pay the shipping costs.

Fukudome could be a decent fit for the Red Sox actually, Cubs just would have to pay most of it.

It'd make more sense for the Cubs to dump as much salary as possible rather than looking for a real player/prospect in return, wouldn't it?

When you mean "The Cubs" do you mean the owners' pocketbook or the organization's overall health?

Well, I'm assuming the Cubs can't afford to dump everybody they need to be rid of if they pay everybody's whole salary. They'll have to pay the players that end up actually playing for the team.

I would also think that Fukudome is just not valuable enough to be worth a good prospect even if he were essentially free. But I might be wrong about that. I overvalue prospects.

I am not sure I am following your logic. There are 29 teams that will take Soriano at the major league minimum for 3 years. The Cubs could replace him with a major league minimum player for three years, making the payroll cost neutral.

The more money the Cubs pay, the better prospect they get back, just like it has been with every team trading high salaried veterans for the last five years.

You think the Cubs should trade everyone and continue to pay their salaries, and then trot out a team of players making the major league minimum for the next 3 years, while they wait for prospects obtained in these deals to pan out (if they do)? Am I understanding you correctly?

Are you asking me or Charlie? Because that's what post 12 seems to indicate... sort of.

Um, no, post 12 is pretty clearly the opposite of your post. Charlie is saying that the Cubs might be better off freeing payroll by trading high salary players for nothing, in exchange for the other team paying chunks of their salaries. The Cubs could then use this gained payroll to sign new players to replace them. They might be just as good, but cheaper, and not signed for as many years, etc.

You are suggesting instead that the Cubs trade the players but continue to pay all of their salaries, play players earning the major league minimum in their places so as not to put on payroll, but gain good prospects in return.

That's what I meant.

Though I didn't mean to suggest they'd do that with every high-paid player they would trade away. Just that they might have to do it with some.

And the money wouldn't necessarily go to free agents, though that's one place it might go. It could also go to arbitration eligible players, and young players who might get signed to extensions (though I'm not sure who is in that position yet).

I would agree with you. I think freeing up some payroll would be good, for all of the things you mention above, and while prospects are nice, many don't pan out. So I would be happy if the Cubs just dumped some of these guys for payroll relief and some low-level prospects, rather than putting all of their hope in a Matt LaPorta type player panning out.

I am not suggesting anything, captain oblivious, I am just trying to figure out what Charlie was asking.

As I pointed out, and obviously it needs to be repeated because you two don't get it: The Cubs are not operating in some 4th dimension. They have to play by the same rules as everyone else. The more salary they pay for the players they dump, the better prospects they get. The only other things that figure into the function are declining revenues and scarcity of roster spots.

You do realize that you are pretty much the only one on here that resorts to name calling in posts, right? Jeez.

We are all aware that the Cubs play by the same rules as other teams and the more money you pay the more prospects you get back. No one above said anything to the contrary. I think you misread. We are simply trying to debate whether it makes sense to pay more and get prospects back or pay less and free up payroll. And we could have this discussion if you weren't insulting everyone.

Sorry, when I am discussing something with someone and then someone else butts into the conversation and starts putting words into my mouth, I think that's rude. I guess we were just brought up differently. If we were having the conversation face-to-face I would give you a look that says "what the fuck are you doing? Go away." but I can't do that here.

Going back to the origal post, #12. The answer is no. No, it does not make sense for the Cubs to pay all of Soriano's contract to get an A quality prospect back, because you can't expect that prospect to do better than Soriano for league minimum.

You are on a blog. Its a public conversation.

And The Real Neal lecturing someone else on what is rude? Priceless.

I hope posting this made you feel better about yourself.

yup... much better.

Sweet! I'm going to print that out and put it on my wall!

What has always struck me is the PR implications of these player dumps. Fukudome is still owed, I don't know, $21 million. Suppose the Cubs shipped him to Boston along with $11 million. If they didn't get a prospect in return, fans would say that Fukudome was only worth half of what Hendry was paying him.

With a prospect in the deal, you can't be sure what the prospect is worth, so you can't say what Fukudome is worth.

I would say the prospect is in the deal to make it smell better.

I thought it was amusing when the Bulls traded Hinrich and a draft pick for nothing. But at least they weren't shelling out, and everyone knew it was all about their pitch to Lebron.

Didn't the commissioners' office veto the trading of players for only money when Finley tried it in 1976?

If my memory of history is correct, since you can't trade draft picks that only leaves propspects that must me returned for a salary dump.


“Finley was not done just before the June 15th trading deadline he attempted to sell Vida Blue to the New York Yankees, at the same time he sold Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Red Sox. With A's in Boston Fingers, and Rudi wore a Red Sox uniform but never entered the game. The next day Commissioner Bowie Kuhn refused to allow the deals and all the players returned to Oakland.”

". . . the trading of players for only money . . ."

In this case, the Cubs would be sending the player and the money.

The player and a Brinks truck, I should say.

Does anyone on this team NOT have a NTC?

Jim Hendry.

Anyone have any idea if Gorzelanny is on a pitch count today?

I would be surprised if he goes more than 90 pitches. But Lou will probably forget that he's been out of the rotation, so expect 110 if he's sharp enough.

Pulled out for a PH at 77 pitches.

With the two hits today, A-Ram now has a higher June OPS than either DLee or Soriano. I'm not saying it means anything, because he hasn't come to the plate that much, except of course that nobody in this lineup is doing much aside from Byrd. Even Colvin's June numbers aren't that great.

what a dead ass team.

To quote the Japanese guys "Major League", they're shitty!!!

Looks like that Konerko HR really messed up Cashner. Hasn't been the same pitcher the last 2 times out.

he'd be better if they didn't make errors behind him.

so will there be any major changes after they are swept by reds this week end?

Short answer: no.

yup, Lou will pace instead of sit during the games and the lineup card will be carried out by an adorable labrador puppy.

Ooooooo a puppy!

neat! about time...

Anything that results in Lou burning extra calories is a plus.

Lou's fat, is what I'm saying. I just want to make sure everyone is aware that he's fat. He's a fat old man. I would make a senility joke too, if someone had provided an opening.

Hotel/apartments/retail bulding across from Wrigley gets approved.


3-9 against the Pirates

Dotel has 16 saves out of 27 Pirate wins, 7 against the Cubs.

All that video needs is some naked hotties and it would be perfect. Very funny
Honestly, I was expecting boobs.

That's my favorite animated gif ever.

I still say Pablo is the greatest athlete in the history of the world, though...even though, thankfully, I didn't keep him.

The numbers are in: Fukudome totals 1 extra base hit and 1 RBI in June.

The number are in. Going into last night's game, Fukudome has driven in a higher % of base runners than anyone else on the Cubs.

If that is supposed to be a rebuttal, it fails. Navigator is pointing out that Fukudome has sucked in June. The stat you cite is driven largely by his 16 RBI in April. We all know he starts out well. His % of runners driven will drop as the season goes on just as it always does. He has hit .344 in April, .253 in May, and .200 in June.

I flipped a coin three times and it came up heads every time... therefore the coin will come up heads if I flip it 2,000 times.

According to Fangraphs

They took paragraphs and used some stats to say it, and it's true. Pitchers are not afraid of him. Why would they be? Maybe he should start pulling the ball again

good stuff but lines like this drive me fucking nuts...

Theriot needs to knock more than two extra-base hits a month and stop putting himself at the mercy of the pitcher.

no fucking shit. And Aramis needs to hit some home runs once in awhile. Lee should rest his neck and reverse the age cycle. Soriano shouldn't swing at bad pitches, etc, etc, etc...

You should post that over there.

The question to me is, why don't more Juan Pierre's of the world get the exact same treatment?

Yesterday Theriot inside outed a pitch that was 6 inches off the inside corner of the plate - I've never seen that done before.

Yeah, his stroke that produces ground-ball hits to the right side works best with inside pitches.

It's the perversity of a hitter who has to be careful not to hit a ball on the nose, because if he does, the left fielder doesn't have to move.


Molina to Rangers for Chris Davis or Saltalamacchia

-correction- apparently not getting Davis or Salty

Correction for Johny Ray and Juan Samuel's kid.

Recent comments

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  • 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.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.