Gone With the Wind?

Is it just me or has the number of good old fashioned slugfests at Wrigley Field dwindled in recent years? Even throwing out the fact that this year's Cubs couldn't hold up their end of one, my sense is that there are lots less of the 10-9, 11-7, 14-10 type scores that used to tax the old green abacus on a regular basis once the summer wind started to blow out of the south.

Who else listened to or saw the Cub-Phillie classic that I think was 8-7 after one and ended 23-22? I remember moaning that the Cubs were the only team that could put up 22 and still get beat.

There's a site called Ballpark Factor that's up under the auspices of The Worldwide Leader in Sports. It lists an index that rates the MLB venues in terms of hitter friendliness year by year for the last decade. Wrigley Field ranges from a high of #2 in 2007 to a low of #25 in 2001. This year it stands at #11 so far. The average ranking over that span is 10.6.

Has the intersection of Clark & Addison gotten caught in the crosswinds of Nino & Nina? Has the slugfest fallen victim to global warming? Am I just imagining things?

All I know is that losing despite homers from Williams, Santo & Banks was more entertaining than dropping two out of three while mustering a not so grand total of four runs to a team that blew into town on the heels of a 17 game road losing streak.

The Cub hitters are vagrants scavenging at a dumpster. Maybe the new regime could install a gigantic fan behind the home plate screen and turn it on when the home team hits, sort of in the spirit of tailoring the groundskeeping to suit your strengths and weaknesses. I'd love to see Theriot crank one off the Toyota sign [which I saw in person for the first time Monday night and kind of like, by the way]. Of course that would require the removal of at least a few seats; ones that there are still people sitting in at every game.

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Comments

Personally I think we've lowered standards. Aramis is good, but is he really a reliable cleanup hitter? Castro is good, but do we really need to field 4 minor leaguers every night? Etc. etc.

you will enjoy todays line up

colvin
fonty
guess
go on guess again
byrd
fuku
castro
hill
demp

Not that it really matters, because this whole team sucks and the season is over, but Hill? Again? Really?

Soto is doing something wrong, clearly. Like, maybe he doesn't cup the balls or something.

There's a link to a Colvin piece in there:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/colv...

So much for high hopes.

that article made my brain hurt...badly.

it's a bunch of crap treating every player as if they all have the same skill sets and numbers just "happen."

It's not a bunch of crap, but you need more than 18 players, especially when they have widely divergent results.

yeah, it's a bit of an overstatement, but the day chris richard is comparable to brennon boesch just because of numbers is a sad day. actually, it's just stupid because they don't even swing a bat similarly.

chris richard is a long-time durham (tb AAA) flunky. guy will probably end up being a coach when they get tired of hiring him to fill in at 1st and be the cleanup hitter.

HAHHAHA!

Nice work. Quality humor.

With the lineups Lou has been making it's almost like he is openly daring the Cubs to fire him.

I made this comment three weeks ago.

And you remembered and no one else did. Hmm.

Aramis has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last several years. He truly has been a great hitter. Of course, he has been completely awful this year, but the last several years he has been really damn good.

His numbers post surgery last year were pretty lucky.

Cubs sign Dominican shortstop.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects...

I like that we are spending in the Dominican.

Wonder if we will ever get someone who ISN'T a Shortstop?

Would be nice to have an impact bat in the minors at some point.

I think in the Dominican they only play with 9 shortstops. It makes for long games and a lot of wild pitches.

Mike,

Your post brought to mind Piniella's quote the other day to the effect that the Cubs need some more athletic players if they're going to succeed in games where the wind is blowing in and home runs are less likely and also, in some of the new, big parks like CitiField. I find logic in what he said but was more struck by how, yet again, he seems to be calling out Hendry in public for having pieced together the wrong team.

Hendry's support of Piniella seems unwavering even as the manager throws up his hands and says, essentially, "What do you expect me to do? This is the team they stuck me with." Is Hendry afraid that if he canned Piniella he would force Ricketts to decide whether he wants Hendry picking the next manager and that the owner's decision would be no, he didn't?

WWSD

What would Sandberg do?

After watching the Cubs farm system for 3 seasons, I'd like to believe that Ryno would approach the roster construction, defense and lineup differently.

of course so would Santa Claus, and don't any of you tell me that there isn't any Santa.

Next year, I predict they will make radical changes at least to the classic Cub gameday cap:

http://www.footballfanatics.com/MLB_Chicago_C...

This feels like an off-season for me.

diamond and barney named pcl all-stars...

Honest question... who is the most valuable player (batters and pitchers) on the Cubs right now?

Marmol.

My honest answer would be Silva. It's mind-blowing.

silva/byrd/marmol...which is sad...very very sad.

Ne!f!

If you mean valuable in terms of winning and losing, it's got to be Marmol with Byrd leading the position players.

If you mean valuable as in value to the organization, Marmol/Castro/Colvin/Soto.

"Boston had one of its top talent evaluators watching the Cubs earlier this week. The Phillies’ Gordon Lakey, Philadelphia’s top scout, has been in and out of Chicago the last two weeks. And Detroit’s vice president of player personnel Scott Reid, one of Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski’s top lieutenants, is watching the Cubs this weekend."

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

And, because they are TALENT evaluators, they both went home empty handed. Or, in the case of the Detroit guy, will try to catch an early flight back to spend some time with the kids this weekend.

Yes, we just lost a series to these guys.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/pirates-sign...

fontefail...

dumpsterfail...

schlitterfail...

i'm just going to stop now...

stupid dempster, you should know better than to give up a run

Fun fact: Cubs last scored a run on July 22, 1989.

I appreciate that there's still humor here...

(Lord knows there's no f@#$ing baseball to speak of....)

I'm so glad that we have Koyie Hill in the lineup today, due to his great defense. I mean, what would the Cubs have done without his bad throw to 2nd on a sb and his passed ball?

So all his defensive numbers are below Soto's now?

Yup... looks like it.

And if you buy into the "works with pitchers so well" line, that didn't go so well either.

Free Soto!

2 hits..7 runs...still only 2 outs and a guy on 2nd.

now that's quality cubbery.

Our hopes for turning this thing around today have all gone down the Schlitter.... (ducks)

forgot this

*rimshot*

3 hits...9 runs..rest the same.

before this day is over piniella may have to be referred to zambozo's medical team...what a postgame presser this should be! what a line score! i can hear the boos - i can see the beer cups on the warning track...

let's all stand & sing 'take me out of my misery...'

9 unearned runs...lulz.

I feel that 7th inning could have gone better.

8th, too.

I feel that the first half of this season could have gone better.

I feel that the last century could have gone better...

buyers remorse? but hey, let's not forget about those new pee troughs...

Is vomit channeled more efficiently away, too? This question has probably been answered, knowing how Cubs' crowd likes to imbibe...

Okay.At the moment I'm living in the Cincy area and this is brutal. An hour hasn't gone by where some jackass stops by to say "Let's Go Cubs."
We haven't even made it to the AS break and the locals are all ready getting insufferable.
Blow this team up, please. teh suck

It's bad here in Chicago too, with the faux Dusty love all over the media and the Cubs TV guys for some reason. While they're falling over trying to pat Dusty on the back, they forget that the Reds are in second place because someone has to be, and the Cubs and Brewers are having crap years while the Astros suck as expected and the Pirates are, well, the Pirates, when they take their "Cubs Dominator" belts off.

Bottom line, Dusty and the Reds are in second place much more because the rest of the division sucks than because Dusty is doing such a great job. He has their second best hitter leading off, and a stiff with a .285 obp batting second. Dusty is still Dusty. What troubles me the most is that Lou seems to be taking lineup advice from Dusty.

The Reds are actually in first, and they would be first in the AL Central, and a close second in every other division by the AL East.

So there's our slugfest. Happy?

fart

The other day Bruce Levine said Hendry was on a plane when the Soriano deal went down.

I saw this in the comments section of Bruce Miles blog today (Bruce is responding to someones question):

"I wish I had an easy answer for you. This was painful to watch today. And we all see the same game every day. There's not a whole lot of defense for this. With Bradley, they had the right thing in mind with a high-OBP, high OPS guy. They overpaid way too much for a bad personal fit. Fukudome? Bad scouting.

Soriano? Add an assist to Kenney, McDonough and the Trib.

Ultimately, it lands at Hendry's feet."

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/4325#comments

You know, for all the Hendry bashing, I have a hard time blaming him for this team's struggles.

This year we have seen Soto and Soriano rebound and Byrd play very well. With a decent Lee and Ramirez, this team's offense looks very different. Silva has obviously been great, and the rest of the starting pitching (sans Zambrano) have been quite good. The bullpen has some holes, but hasn't been terrible, especially lately.

What it comes down to is that no one thought that Lee and Ramirez would perform the way that they have.

Here is what I mean. In the TCR prediction contest, 85 of 99 people chose ARam or Lee to lead the team in home runs. 97 of 99 chose one of them to lead the team in RBI. 55 of 99 thought one of the two would lead the team in OBP (with the other votes mostly going to Theriot or Fukudome). 68 of 99 thought they would lead the team in WAR. 92 of 99 thought one of them would be the top Cub in MVP voting.

Pretty much everyone that participated in the prediction contest thought that ARam and Lee would clearly be the Cubs two best players, and put up significant numbers.

What it comes to is that you a) can't really predict that your two best players would be downright awful, and b) be able to weather the storm when your two best players are that bad.

Don't get me wrong - Hendry has made some bad decisions (Z, Grabow, Howry, Soriano), but he can't (at least fully) be blamed for the mess this team is in right now.

As an avid AZ Phil reader, I really didn't expect ARam was ready to go this spring, and I really hope Hendry didn't think so either. The dude hasn't been right since Day 1.

DLee ... totally different story.

To respond directly to the point: Between ARam and Lee, they're about 50 RBI off the pace where they would be if both were healthy and productive. If you add 50 to the run differential, it would put the team overall at +8. Sure, that would make a difference, and probably put the team right about where most Web commenters thought they'd be ... on track for 84 wins.

I agree with you, and would extend the same amnesty to Jaramillo. One would think that a hitting coach on a team that simply CANNOT SCORE RUNS would have some explaining to do; but mostly, the hitters who have been working with Jaramillo are doing okay. I can't prove it, but I have an impression that Lee and Ramirez do not work with hitting coaches. When asked about the two floundering sluggers, Jaramillo has said things like, I'm working to gain their confidence, just give it time. Translation: they don't give me the time of day. The truth is that both of them need help and should accept it.

We've heard that Tom Ricketts has been using the Redsox management as his road map to the Cubs longer term future.

Right now I'm hoping that Tommy boy considers using the Diamondbacks as a role model to the immediate future.

Except for Gibson. Although the Gin with a pearl onion sounds about right.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNjQ0NzUwMTY=.html

By Kaz Nagatsuka, Japan Times, Tokyo
July 03--Matt Murton is no longer known as just a carrot-topped player but also an exceptional hitter for the Hanshin Tigers.

Murton, an outfielder in his first year in Japan, played in all 69 games for the Kansai club (through Thursday), leading the Central League with a .355 batting average and 105 hits. He tops Hanshin with a .407 on-base percentage, 54 runs scored and nine stolen bases as well.

Murton is on pace for 219 hits this season, which would overtake Ichiro Suzuki for the Nippon Professional Baseball record achieved in 1994

He's tinkered himself out of a big league career. Watch that OBP climb if he makes a run at Ichiro's hit record he won't get any strikes to hit.

Tuffy Rhodes is all like, whatever.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090...

Guys like Murton and Rhodes, and on the other side of the coin, Fukudome and Kaz Matsui, always raise the question, how much easier is it to hit in Japan than in MLB?

I still think Murton is a fringe starter in the majors. He's just a very boring fringe starter, whereas there are plenty of other fringe starters who "have a lot of upside" because they have tools they aren't capitalizing on.

But I never understood Murton's ground ball love.

Whatever the record is for guys left on base while getting shut out - looks like the Cubs are going to break it today.

This team even annoys me when they win. That should've been a blowout.

When does Hendry start with the trading? Somebody has to want Lilly at least.

Hey, if they win tomorrow they're only 9.5 back!

I just flipped you the bird through the computer. what a crap year.

I was just pointing out what our GM is going to be thinking.

Remember this is the guy who wasn't "going to trade Maddux for someone fans have never heard of". It may be better to hope that Lee and Lilly qualify as type A or B free agents and we get picks for them over getting another Cesar Izturis.

Lee has fallen to a low B in the latest Elias rankings, and if he keeps playing like this he'll slip out of the B compensation completely.

However, it makes no difference if he is an A or B, the Cubs won't risk offering him arbitration and having him take it.

B would be a lot better than A if Lee has a good second half (which I'm not predicting).

oops...i asked a question as a reply which paul had already asked...dur.

I can't speak to the accuracy of the writer of this story. For all I know he's BigBird's cousin, the Cookie Monster.

Personally, I think it's BS. But I'm sharing it anyway.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/415138-mlb...

Says Marmol about to be traded to Reds. Byrd being actively shopped.

today in, Things That Make No Fucking Sense

that being said, Heisey and Boxberger wouldn't be a terrible get...just not a very Hendry move.

Agreed. As trade speculation goes, this one doesn't make any sense. We already have a glut of outfielders, so why deal for another? Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, Nady, Colvin, and Jackson on his way. We'd have to get rid of both Byrd and Fukudome for an outfielder acquisition to make any sense.

And the Cubs will want to keep Marmol. We'd need 3 or 4 quality relievers within ready to push Marmol, or we would have to have a glaring need in a contending year to trade Marmol.

This writer's not even trying to make sense.

This, of course, isn't criticism of you, QuietMan. I realize you didn't write the story.

In the future, should I keep the crazy internet rumors to myself?

nah, we all need a good laugh or an excuse to let our jaws drop.

keeps things interesting. heheh.

I agree.

The guy has updated things in his comments section.

"One of my sources just called and said that the Cubs were now asking for Travis Wood rather than Boxberger or Joseph.

Looks like the deal may fall through.

We'll find out in the next couple of hours."

My apologies to BigBird and the Cookie Monster for dropping their names in with this bozo.

that is the stupidest thing ive read/heard in a long time.

"Coming into 2010, he was ranked the fourth-highest prospect by Baseball America."

wut?

that must be team lists, because he's not on anyone's top-100 list.

Keeper League

Alvarez or Smoak?

smoak probably pays off quicker (esp. with park factor), but alvarez has a much higher ceiling. alvarez looks like he's not quite ready to click, though.

okay, someone not in my fantasy league

Without knowing what kind of scoring system (specifically avg vs. obp) I'd go with Smoak. Much better hitting park, better lineup around him, and a little bit closer to reaching his potential.

pretty all encompassing pts league....

thinking Alvarez only cause I have Pujols and Youkilis and worried Youkilis won't be 3b eligible next year.

Alvarez. Almost solely because he plays 3b. And I would also agree that he probably has a higher ceiling than Smoak.

Players in organization with 50 RBI on July 4:

Hoffpauir 54
Wright 51
LeMahieu 51
Rohan 51

That's Greg Rohan, Peoria. His teammate Justin Bour has 47. Brett Jackson is next with 45.

Ramirez re-injures thumb.

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

They don't say how long he'll miss.

Marlon Byrd only Cub All-Star

if I read that correctly, Omar Infante made the team...

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100...

also Chris Young of the Padres, although I think they meant the DBacks

No Marmol? Pffft.

psst...

i think ted lilly might be done with the 7th. maybe go take him out?

- J. Stevens relieved T. Lilly
- C. Miller homered to deep left

oh, the iron knee.

I think Stevens might be done with the 7th as well. And the majors. Maybe remove him from the roster?

- D. Stubbs flied out to right
- M. Leake flied out to right
- B. Phillips homered to deep left
- O. Cabrera singled to shallow left
- P. Janish singled to shallow center, O. Cabrera scored
- P. Janish to second on balk
- J. Gomes homered to deep left, P. Janish scored
- J. Stevens relieved T. Lilly
- C. Miller homered to deep left
- J. Bruce walked
- M. Cairo walked, J. Bruce to second
- J. Bruce to third on wild pitch
- D. Stubbs homered to deep right center, J. Bruce and M. Cairo scored
- M. Leake walked
- B. Phillips singled to shallow right center, M. Leake to second
- B. Howry relieved J. Stevens
- O. Cabrera lined out to center

wow. damn u dusty...or barrett...or some black cats...or something. that's some 2-out failure and then some. impressive follow-up to that 9 unearned-run inning.

"Boston had one of its top talent evaluators watching the Cubs earlier this week. The Phillies’ Gordon Lakey, their top scout, has been in and out of Chicago the last two weeks. And Detroit’s vice president of player personnel Scott Reid, one of Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski’s top lieutenants, is watching the Cubs this weekend."

-- http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Why do the talent evaluators have to actually show up physically? How are the Cubs supposed to impress them with their immense talent pool if the scouts actually show up and watch them play?

Submitted by Old and Blue on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 2:47pm.

Why do the talent evaluators have to actually show up physically? How are the Cubs supposed to impress them with their immense talent pool if the scouts actually show up and watch them play?

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

OLD & BLUE: So they can schmooze with the other scouts and pad their expense accounts, go out to dinner with somebody they know from the organization and get some inside dope on the team. Maybe do some shopping.

It's kind of like when "scouts" from bowl games attend a football game where they could just as easily stay home and watch the game on TV. It's because they aren't actually scouting the game, they are being rushed by the alumni.

Well here's to hoping they're schmoozing so much they aren't paying any attention to what's going happening on the field. If they ARE paying attention, the Cubs aren't gonna get squat for the players they try to move.

Given what happened to day, it's kind of ironic that the Reds originally drafted Stevens.

marlon byrd with a diving catch...at least he's earning his loot.

at least the reds held up their end of the bargain to answer the question, "whatever happened to the wrigley slugfest?"

and colvin...

I-Cubs vs. Isotopes rained out, nuclear doubleheader with fireworks tomorrow!

http://iowa.cubs.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ym...

after taking a look at what the managers did with the expanded roster...they can go screw themselves.

we don't need a roster expanded big enough to allow a useless amount of bats to participate.

omar infante is a f'n allstar for christ's sake...

Oh - you mean the guy Hendry traded for Jose Ascano? How'd that work out?

Actually Ohman and Infante.

I never had a problem with Infante. That he made the ASG - good for him.

Jacque Jones was traded even up to the Tigers for Omar Infante after the 2007 season. Jone hit just .147 between the Tigers and Marlins in 2008, played Independent ball in 2009, and is now a 35-year old in AAA for the Twins.

Infante was then shipped to Atlanta with Will Ohman for Jose Ascanio.

Ohman has been inconsistent; he had a decent season for Atlanta in 2008 (3.68 ERA), but then sucked in 2009 (5.84 ERA in just 21 games), but then has been solid this year for Baltimore (2.88 ERA, league-leading 41 games so far).

Infante has performed well as a utility infielder for the Braves, but that's all he has been. His career OPS is .702 (Theriot for example is .711) and he has no power or speed (just 38 HR and 39 SB in a career of over 2,200 ABs).

Ascanio averaged nearly a strikeout an inning in AAA Iowa in 2009 and then posted a 3.52 ERA in 15 games for the Cubs that season out of the bullpen before he was traded to the Pirates with Kevin Hart and Josh Harrison for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Ascanio struggled in 2009 before having shoulder surgery. He is currently on the 60-day DL rehabbing.

Hart struggled in 2009 after the trade and then again in spring training, and recently discovered he has a torn labrum. He is now on the DL.

Harrison currently has a .782 OPS in AA as a second basemen, and has 23 doubles, but has no speed or home run power.

And of course we are all familiar with how bad Grabow has been and how pretty good Gorzelanny has been.

Overall, the value of Gorzelanny as a lefthanded 5th starter on a good staff is probably slightly greater than the combined value of what the Cubs lost in all of these deals - 2 minor league pitchers with serious arm problems, a minor league second basemen with no real upside, a washed up outfielder, an inconsistent middle reliever (Ohman), and a utility infielder (Infante).

Well Ascanio and Kevin Hart turned into Gorzelanny and Grabow. Grabow was fine last year--signing him to a 2 year contract this off season was a separate mistake. And Gorzo has given us absolutely no reason to complain. So it's been okay, I think.

But I can't remember how we got Hart.

Freddy Bynum?

Bynum as Neal said...

we got Bynum in a 3-way trade for Jon Koronka with A's and Rangers.

March 31st: Cubs received INF/OF Freddie Bynum from Oakland Athletics and sent LHP John Koronka and cash to Texas Rangers as part of a three-team deal. The Rangers also received LHP John Rheinecker from the Athletics. The Athletics received RHP Juan Dominguez from the Rangers.

we got Koronka from Reds for Phil Norton
August 25: Traded LHP John Koronka for LHP Phil Norton.

Norton was drafted by the Cubs.

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