What's So Big About Z?

He said he would meet the press on Wednesday afternoon but word was he jetted back to Chicago instead. Then the plan was to talk with media types after a pitching cameo Thursday night. He pitched a little but didn't talk at all, using the Iowa Cubs media relations people the way bigshot execs use secretaries to dodge phone calls. The enabling continues.

To his credit, Carlos Zambrano took it upon himself to scribble a few marks of Zorro for unaccountably adoring fans before last night's game in Des Moines. The biggest crowd of the year, nearly 13,000, had assembled, but Zambrano wasn't the only attraction. It also happened to be Casey Blake bobblehead night and Casey Blake is big in these parts. He hails from Indianola, a village not too far south of town.

When the game began Zambrano was sequestered back in the team clubhouse behind the leftfield wall and beneath the Cub Club restaurant. He used the diversion of the weenie race to sneak unnoticed into the Iowa bullpen after the bottom of the 3rd, like a kid returning to class from the principal's office. I swear the breeze picked up and a fleet of threatening clouds spread over the ballpark upon his arrival on the field. What might happen? 

He started warming up during the bottom of the 6th and was greeted by an immediate and fairly prolonged standing ovation when he made his way from the bullpen to the mound to pitch in the top of the 7th with the game tied at four. Don't ask me why. After a routine grounder to second retired the first hitter he faced, the second laced a single to left. Then Sam Fuld rescued him with a leaping catch as he banged off the wall in left-center. Carlos acknowledged the support with a gesture in Fuld's direction that was more cheerful than many he's directed at teammate fielders in his angry past. The next batter lined one to left that Ty Wright dived for and appeared to catch only to have it pop loose. The play was a test of the new Zambrano's forebearance but he left the brief argument for others to make on his behalf before going back to work and managing to wiggle out of his shift unscored upon.

He pitched no more in competition but did return to the bullpen and throw for a few more minutes during the top of the 8th. Then he took a seat on the bullpen bench until the side was retired, at which point he waved adieu and walked through the fence back to the sanctuary of the clubhouse.

If the fans turned out in droves to see the incredible shrinking 'Z' the press did not. I was one of just a half-dozen or so scribes who were kept waiting on the outfield side of the clubhouse door while Zambrano was supposedly being fetched for a chat. Then came the explanation that he had left the building, preferring to address his Chicago teammates, the last team he beat, before speaking for public consumption. Fair enough. Minutes later, after the disgruntled pack of writers had dispersed, guess who emerged from the clubhouse under police escort to a waiting car?

I hope the clubhouse messenger got a big tip. God and Tom Ricketts know, the pitcher formerly known as "Big Z" can afford it.


I think this whole article is exactly the wrong tone and notes all the wrong things. This, in a nutshell, is everything that is wrong with the media (the small mindedness, the pettiness, and obvious prejudice . . . etc.)

Just two simple questions, how is he supposed to act and does he need to approve it with you first?


Really? This is what's wrong with the media in a nutshell?

I think the problem with the media is people don't want to hear good reporting, they want to hear their opinions echoed on TV/Radio/Newspaper. Yeah, that's right, I blame us.

If you're point is that a lot of other things are wrong with the media, I could agree; I should have said "sports reporting/blogging". I personally am 100% away from what you proclaim is wrong as I am not part of the "us" that wants to hear "my" opinion (I already know my opinion and could care less about "hearing it").

If you in any way are implying that the above post was helpful, useful, or "good" I feel sorry for you. There were a few useful nuggets mixed in with a whole lot of mean-spirited, petty, small-minded, self-absorbed windbaggery. It was the terrible in general but worse for a "Cubs" space, particularly the completely arrogant douchebaggery of making fun of Cub fans cheering for Cub players.

I know it is pointless that people actually look at themselves when they "puff-up" and spew their bile about "players they do not like"; but in the quixotic hope that one person understands I ask simply--what good does it do?


I still really liked it. Shame Z felt the need to big-time the Des Moines press corps. I guess might as well until he has to face the Chicago one, but lame nonetheless.

This isn't the Associated Press. I'm pretty sure the whole point of blogs is that there's room for opinion, and I think Mike is really good at capturing the feeling of the situation, and I like the interjection of his personal opinions.

If he were just reporting the facts for some kind of large news organization, then I suppose I'd agree with you. Personally, I don't come here for box scores and colorless game recaps.

Since you didn't ask.

What I don't like about blogs and Cubs spaces are personal attacks ("windbaggery", "douchebaggery") nor, Sir, do I enjoy overuse of "-ery" unless it's "Cubbery", which we all know is fitting and descriptive and (unfortunately) much overused this year.

Honestly dude? If you're too fucking deep and thoughtful for us lowly TCR'ers, go start your own fucking blog about how great and misunderstood Zambrano is. Come back in a few months with your smoking jacket and your millions of fans and let us know how it works out; I'm sincerely curious. But don't bother trolling here.

I enjoy our small-minded, petty prejudice around here, that's what makes it fun.

(We tend to be small-minded about liking the Cubs, we're petty about who we root for and why, and we're prejudiced every fucking year that maybe there's a chance to win.)

(Oh, and we have Arizona Phil, who lends legitimacy to the rest of us and brings up the average fan IQ here.)

wow...will just say this: that's actually two questions; one complex & one simple, so i'll simply answer the simple one - no...

awesome report Mike.

I like to think he just got wind of the unforgiving Des Moines press corps.

Schlitter activated from DL. Stevens sent to Iowa.

Season saved ; )

via Rotoworld

Cards willing to offer Brenden Ryan for Oswalt...such a deal!!!!

Scott Moore DFA'd by O's.


the folks upset about Soriano batting leadoff should be upset with Colvin hitting there, right?

...crunch? You're kind of the authority on this issue.

it's more than crunch...

crunch just likes to beat it to the ground, then backs up on it with his car, then gets out and pees on it and then tells us that manager responsible for it doesn't matter.

I say that with love.

Someone has to bat leadoff. The only powerless guys in the lineup are our middle infielders. One is too inexpereienced to lead off, and the other is sporting a .313 OBP. If you insist on batting Theriot somewhere, leadoff makes the most sense, followed by 8th. I'd probably bat Castro there and Theriot 8th.

Unless I am mistaken, the current idea is to bat Colvin leadoff against lefties. Colvin has a higher OBP and slugging % against lefties, but I assume if I take a look at the other starters, I'd find the same thing, since they're all RH hitters.

Someone has to bat leadoff.

I agree with that.

The only powerless guys in the lineup are our middle infielders.

not sure why the leadoff guy has to be powerless...

i'm not sure why ob% no longer matters as long as they hit homers.

that used to be an important subject during the pierre-era though it's not like he slacked...he just didn't "walk enough"

i'm not sure why ob% no longer matters as long as they hit homers.

Soriano's was .344 and .350 in 2007 and 2008 when hitting in the 1 spot.

with an injured leg and power needed elsewhere. even if you liked what you saw i have no idea how you weren't disgusted to see him leading off when he had to windmill his legs just to make a double (and turning doubles into singles at the same time). there was nothing wrong with that swing. it was crazy to me.

last year he got a free ride from many, including you, while he was flailing in the leadoff spot.

there was also the "soriano mental midget" he can only do leadoff stuff, but i forget who all latching onto that chestnut.

last year he got a free ride from many, including you, while he was flailing in the leadoff spot.


I'm pretty sure I was on the ride that said he should be benched or DL'd and certainly dropped in the order the way he was hitting.

okay, my bad, then.

my whole "soriano thing" was based upon need elsewhere not a disdain for anyone with power hitting leadoff, btw.

i think he's deserved a 3/4/5 slot in the lineup a lot more than he's recieved it for many years during injuries and prolonged slumps by others...and while he was rehabbing those legs.

I was one of the people who defended (careful word choice, I refuse to say 'liked') Soriano in the leadoff spot.

His splits (someone can back me with a link, that'd be great) were atrocious when he hit ANYWHERE else in the lineup. Power dropped, average dropped like 30-35 points, it was literally ridiculous.

The problem with Soriano is he has a preconceived notion about what kind of player he is, and he's stubborn as hell about it.

Question: Does Sori make a better LFer than 2Bman? Answer: Obviously.

But now go back and look at the asspain Frank Robinson had convincing him of that.

Next question: Do his HRs make a TON more sense lower in the lineup than leadoff? Answer: Obviously.

Now convince pitchers to throw him BP fastballs to hit ;-)

No, seriously, convince him that batting 4-5-6 in the order isn't somehow a slam against his masculinity and he's on board.

How long did it take Lou to ease him into it??? Even you'd have to admit, it's not like he jammed him into the 6 spot and suddenly he's an RBI machine.

And before you blame the media for asking about it forever, it's because they know Soriano wanted to keep leading off and they know he's hardheaded and they were trying to sniff controversy, which sells newspapers.

not sure why the leadoff guy has to be powerless...

No one said that. But it stands to reason that if you have a guy with little power, you put him in the lineup where his lack of home runs will have the least negative effect, which in the NL is batting #1.

The other spots in the lineup are all going to have more baserunners on base, despite having fewer PA's.

myself, if a power guys leads off, whatever...as long as we don't need that power.

the kyrptonite that's kept soriano out of prime RBI spots still weirds me out. him hitting 1st with leg injuries weirds me out.

when our 3/4 hitters were on their failure route this year soriano kept bringing up the last 1/3rd of the lineup. when dlee and aram take injury turns soriano is still a power afterthought.

first, he's good enough to put that power up front (even though 300ab of sub-.300 ob% last year and leg injuries years before) then he's bad enough to stash in the 6 slot when there's guys in front of him failing on ob% and power combined.

soto's gonna hit 7/8 forever, himself, it seems, no matter the ob% or power or people in front of him not getting it done.

i already answered this before once from you and from another.

if you dont want it "beat into the ground" listen the first time or don't bring it up. =p

want to have a discussion about theriot is a singles hitting little shit or managers or something now?

if you dont want it "beat into the ground" listen the first time or don't bring it up. =p


are you trying to say just because you said it, that makes it true?

want to have a discussion about theriot is a singles hitting little shit or managers or something now?

after our discussion of Dusty Baker never hurting arms.

i'm not the one calling my replies "beating it into the ground"

especially when it's on topic to what was baited to me by name and brought up...again...

colvin hasn't been the best power hitter on the team for a few years.

Soriano came here as a FA after 2006 season, right?

he could use the extra ABs and seeing the extra pitches.
that is not why he's batting leadoff, that's what they do in the minors on a rehab stint.

also, when it comes to these "types" of guys leading off why does OB% no longer matter as long as they hit homers?

I'm sure I never said that or implied that, but curious statement from someone always upset when people are allegedly misconstruing his statements. And Colvin has a .314 OBP heading into the game.

Personally I don't care about Colvin hitting there, was wondering why the lack of outrage over the current Cubs best/2nd best power hitter at the moment hitting there who doesn't steal bases either.

And on cue, Colvin and Soriano hit HR's.

Really, the big question is why team leader, great clubhouse presence and all around humanitarian doesn't walk into Lou's office and say "I bat 7th, Soto bats 3rd".

soriano wasn't an unknown in 2006...or 05...or 04...or 03...

and yes, 150-200K 30-50bb colvin could use some extra ABs on a 2010 team not in contention who would like to see colvin as a regular next season.

"I'm sure I never said that or implied that"

a lot of people have...it was a reply to your post, but this one was more generalized for "everyone"

...all of this should clear up the "lack of outrage" from both me and i assume others. our biggest issue this season seems to be power and hitting related, and that issue got half-season of ABs doing f'n nothing...at least byrd stole a few of those middle-order ABs

Yeah. Except this season doesn't matter at all and we don't have any real leadoff candidates. But Colvin is not an ideal leadoff man. He should be closer to the middle of the lineup.

Other options are Byrd, Theriot, and Castro, right? Castro would probably make more sense, since he is hitting. Byrd has been producing runs too, so swapping him and Colvin doesn't make much sense, except it does get a higher overall OBP at the top of the lineup. And Theriot hasn't been very good this season.

It's hardly the biggest concern on this team. In 2007 and 2008, when so many things were working well for the Cubs (at least starting in the second half of 2007), it was easier to focus in on things like batting a low OBP power hitter in the leadoff spot.

still on this huh?

let's see what he can do rather than what he's already established himself as.

colvin hasn't been the best power hitter on the team for a few years. he could use the extra ABs and seeing the extra pitches.

deja vu part 3 on this question and 2nd from the person asking it.

also, when it comes to these "types" of guys leading off why does OB% no longer matter as long as they hit homers?

If you want to understand an old-fashioned manager like Lou (or Sandberg, I hope), talk to an old-fashioned fan like me.

Colvin is fast. He has speed.

There. Now if I do a CTRL-F and search for the words "fast" and "speed" on a page that discusses the leadoff position, I can find them.

No problem finding "OBP"--and if Fukudome were leading off, no one would be asking why.

But Fukudome gets thrown out stealing by Doumit.

Theriot runs pretty well, but it's always disappointing when they get through the bottom of the order with men in scoring position, and a pitty-pat hitter steps in.

Colvin is just holding the spot for Brett Jackson, anyway, who both runs well and draws a lot of walks.


Man, you're being kind of tough on Zambrano. Did Z really say he was going to talk to the media and then renege or was that some Iowa Cub spokesman who said that?

It seems to me that Z is guilty of two things. (1) Being a consistently horrible opening day starter. (Ignore his first and last starts this season and he has an ERA of 3.88) And (2) Being a bit tactless when pointing out the defensive failures of his teammates.(and perhaps his indignation was righteous, his BABIP against this season is 3.74!)

Zambrano's last start was on opening day?

gee, i guess his BABIP got lost in the shuffle, but now that you point that out perhaps i'll reconsider so we can have a merry christmas around here...

You're a gentleman.

And I just noticed that BABIP I gave Z is a bit high. Should read .374 .


Royal's OF David DeJesus is out for the season.

Ted Lilly's contract allows him to block a trade to Tampa Bay (which I haven't heard were ever interested in him). Lilly can supposedly block trades to 10 teams, including the Phillies and Twins.


dejesus went into that wall hard...surprised he still played after that.

It's Cranky Friday at TCR!

I thought beating the Cards was supposed to put everybody in a good mood.

Yeah, it's put me in a better mood.

I'm in a great mood, that was a fun game, nice game by Wells.

I haven't checked since early yesterday, but Cubs were 2nd in the majors in runs scored in July behind.....the Giants!!

The other day AZ Phil posted that Z didn't play the major league big shot and seemed to really enjoy hanging out with the kids on the AZL Cubs and, if I remember the post right, signing some autographs. And today the Cubs made a point of saying Z won't be talking to the press until he deals with the whole apology thing, so I'm kinda thinking it's no big deal he didn't talk to the Iowa press.

As far as leadoff man goes, the Cubs don't currently have a leadoff man, and haven't for quite awhile, so I'm not sure what all the bickering is about. Just enjoy watching them suck like I've learned to do over the years. You'll all be happier.

Oh, tonight I've got some seats right behind home plate at the Iowa/Round Rock game. Despite today's win, I figure the overall quality of baseball isn't going to be much different than the parent Cubs.

how baseball players treat each other vs. how they treat the press is a whole different thing for some guys.

some dudes HATE the press and need to be kept away from them by their managers/teammates. some dudes love to run their mouths to them. some just don't even like dealing with them, but have nothing against them.

most of the people who hate the media can either give lip service statements (garciappara/dusty) or they can say stupid crap over-reacting and causing "issues" (bradley/ozzie).

z's got this whole primadona thing going along with whatever media issues he has. he doesn't seem much for traveling with the team or having teammates/players he hangs out with outside of the diamond except for road games.

I guess all you are saying may be true, but it's hard for me to know since I've never met the man. He seems pretty cool in the dugout to me -- I'll never forget the way he made Fontenot reach up to high five him when Fontenot was a rookie coming in to the dugout after a home run, and some other silly stuff.

I'm not defending him, though. I just really don't give a damn either way. All I know about Z is that his pitching has sucked over the last couple years and he'll go away, eventually, if he doesn't get better.

How he treats the press, or even the fans? I just don't care. There have always been jerks in all sports, and nice guys, too. In the end the only thing that anyone remembers, and is recorded for the fans of tomorrow, are the results on the field.

oh yeah...whatever Z's issue is...no clue. i'm not familiar with any huge media beef, though it seems some writers are not fans of his. i dunno when that sea-change started with those reporters.

it's weird cuz Z was a really stable and not-heard-but-awesomely-seen performer for years living in the shadow of wood/prior's news.

we really didn't get to "know him" through the press for quite a while.

Interesting point, that. It really is all a bit peculiar.

little clarification & then i'll be done...first,there was chicago media there if that matters; dave van dyck of the trib for one; don't really consider myself part of the media though i try to strike the pose occasionally for the sake of tcr on days after a stay @ a holiday inn express - my problems w/ cz are that he is a crap teammate, irresposnsible, immature, underperforming, overrated [not any more] & overpaid...going back to mr. christmas' comments from this morning.., it would be more accurate to say that cz is the problem w/ baseball in a nutshell, in my opinion..i simply do not feel that his performance, especially since being awarded the contract of an ace, rates a standing ovation @ any level...poor pitching can, i suppose, be overlooked but beating up & berating teammates in the dugout despite that you yourself aren't pulling your considerable weight is just beyond the pale, BABIP & the rest of that acronym crap be damned! please don't think i blasted cz just because i didn't get an audience w/ him! i thought very little of him before this week for better reasons than that even though i confess he's given me a few good laughs over the years...

I suppose he likely is who he always has been. We just tend to notice a little better once the velocity starts to go.

Submitted by Old and Blue on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 3:43pm.
The other day AZ Phil posted that Z didn't play the major league big shot and seemed to really enjoy hanging out with the kids on the AZL Cubs and, if I remember the post right, signing some autographs. And today the Cubs made a point of saying Z won't be talking to the press until he deals with the whole apology thing, so I'm kinda thinking it's no big deal he didn't talk to the Iowa press.


OLD & BLUE: Speaking just about Carlos Zambrano as a person, I would say he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met.

He frequents Fitch Park during Spring Training when he is not playing at HoHoKam, sometimes taking BP with the minor leaguers, sometimes just cheering them on. He organizes pick-up games at Fitch during the off-season ("Z" is the DH), and he seems to genuinely love to play baseball.

I think what happens is that he sometimes has trouble channeling his passion for winning in an appropriate way, and he lets his emotions (which he wears on his sleeve) spill out in ways that can create tension on the field and in the dugout.

But Zambrano is a good guy. He is NOT a jerk. He means well, but sometimes he lets his emotions get out of control.

Thanks, AZ. Yeah that confirms what I figured to be the case. Watching a guy on TV in the dugout can't give a LOT of insight into a person, but it's just hard to imagine a guy clowning around the way he does being a jerk. Of course, he also slugged Michael Barrett in the dugout, so I guess he really is a bit of a mess. I still have a hard time not rooting for him, though, and I hope he can move beyond being what he is now -- a middle relief-quality pitcher.

Fascinating, and damn you.

It's so much easier for me to blindly dislike Zambrano, and here you go making me wanna root for him.



"interest in Cubs left-hander Ted Lilly has stepped up dramatically and a trade could be completed by the end of the weekend, major-league sources said Friday."


Why are we keeping Lou and trading Lilly? It just seems backasswards to me.

With any luck for mr. christmas and the rest of us Mike Wellman when your little clarification is finished so are you. Man you suck!

it's just a blog, dude. he's a point man to write some great I-Cubs coverage as well as some editorial/opinion pieces outside of that...or at least that's the bulk of his work so far. the whole nature of opinion pieces won't satisfy everyone.

hell, me and rob are "bitching" in posts above over lineup construction crap, but we know it's just opinions rather than stating we're the authority of the situation.

put a bit of a media filter on...it's blog stuff.

don't know what you're talking about, this is my screensaver, T-shirt and boxers



Robby, dude, not cool. What the hell? Mike reported what happened. If you don't like it, keep your damn insults to yourself. The first time you post on here is to criticize someone. That's classy.

Cards offered Aaron Miles for Lou



If I'm Hendry I'm gonna have to sleep on that.

Has Miles ever managed in the minors??

He could be body guard to our top prospects until they reach Chicago.

Saw Ryno's I-Cubs tonight here in Texas and I have to say I liked what I saw from an overall perspective. Seems like there is some good fundamental baseball being taught. I think Mike W can speak to whether or not it has worked well over the course of the season but I liked the aggressive baserunning I saw on the bases tonight.

Of course, it being Sam Fuld getting a triple out of what would have been a double by a lot of players I guess is more a reflection on Fuld than Ryno.

The I-Cubs look like a team that does not like to lose. With the score 4-0 I-Cubs favor, when Round Rock scored their first run one of the players (I forget which one -- maybe Bobby Scales) threw an arm out in disgust. I thought he was gonna bean somebody with the baseball but of course he just ended up lobbing it to the pitcher.

According to reports the Cubs would like to move Lilly before next start,
smart move the last start was excellent,my question is would Samardzja
take his rotation spot on tuesday as he pitched last on wednesday.

I would think Zambrano would go back to the rotation once Lilly is traded.

I hope the Cubs just let Smardz be a reliever. He throws hard enough that he can essentially be a fastball pitcher for an inning at a time. He definitely doesn't seem to have the arsenal to be a started, let alone the control. He fucking sucks. But I think he will be a fine replacement to Howry next season. We've already got money committed to him, so why not trot him out there instead of another journeyman fill in?

Looks like Chone Figgins has been possessed by the old spirit of Milton Bradley. Cubs could probably get him cheap. Silva?


Don't know about you but I've been watching the Seattle Boston series the last few days. The 5th inning Figgy-Wakamatsu altercation in the dugout was tonight's highlight. Milton Bradley went 0/4. He's having quite a July, .167 .268 .194 3Runs 0 RBI. Now hitting .201 on the season. (.074 .167 .111 when batting third..where they were hoping he'd fit). The other night he was incredibly doubled off first on a lazy spinning pop to the shortstop. Everyone who saw it is still scratching their head. It was another classic brainfart by MB.

Last night's hero for Boston was none other than Eric Patterson who won it for them with an extra base hit in the 13th after the Mariners came from five back to tie it 6-6 in the ninth.

Well, Chone is signed through 2014, as is Soriano. Figgins is due approximately $9M per year.

Seattle desperately needs offense, and has a DH spot that Soriano could fill. Not sure of their ability to replace Figgins.

If there was any interest from the Mariners, I would do a straight swap of these two. Cubs would have to send at least $6M/year along with Alf. The Mariners would pay an extra $3M per year to upgrade offensively from Figgins to Soriano.
Cubs would clear a space for an outfielder and be able to line up Byrd, Jackson, Colvin next season. It would knock $3M per off the payroll for 4 years and give the team a Major League caliber 2B and leadoff man. We could say goodbye to Theriot, Font, and Baker all at once.

Obviously this is all just me talking out of my ass.

4 Figgins
6 Castro
9 Byrd
5 Ramirez
3 Lee/Hoff/FA (come on Prince Fielder)
7 Colvin
2 Soto
8 Jackson (protect the rookie ala Castro this year)

Soriano would also have to agree to go to Seattle, which I don't see any reason why he would.

The Tigers have lost Magglio Ordonez for 6-8 weeks.

My fantasy team is well aware...

Are you suggesting to trade Soriano to Detroit? From a need standpoint it seems reasonable that Detroit would like him this season, but beyond that not likely.

Interesting to look at Detroit's contracts on Cots...
Beyond 2010 they only have Cabrera and Verlander locked into long term contracts ($55MM committed for 2011 and $42MM committed for 2012-14).

Compare this to the Cubs payroll commitments:
2011 - $103MM
2012 - $62
2013 - $19
2014 - $19

After 2011, these contracts will expire:
Ramirez (buyout/option)
Silva (buyout/option)
This will clear $41.5MM combined.

Then after 2012, these contracts:
This will clear $38.5MM combined

The locked in starting rotation based only on current contracts:

2011: Zambrano, Dempster, Silva, Gorzellany, Wells
2012: Zambrano, Dempster, Gorzellany, Wells, _____
2013: Gorzellany, Wells, _____, _____, _____

Best organizational candidates to fill in the blanks:
Marshall, Cashner, Jackson, Carpenter, Archer

2011: Soriano, Byrd, Fukudome, _____, _____
2012: Soriano, Jackson, Byrd, _____, _____
2013: Soriano, Jackson, Byrd, _____, _____

Not a whole lot of room to maneuver here, except Colvin to 1B:
Jackson, Snyder, Aducci, Burke

2011: Colvin, Theriot/Font, Castro, Ramirez
2012: Colvin, LeMahieu?, Castro, Vitters?
2013: Colvin, Castro, Lee/LeMahieu, Vitters

The second base situation hopefully changes before next year:

Barney, Vitters, HJ Lee, LeMahieu, Watkins, Flaherty

2011: Soto, _____
2012: Soto, _____
2013: Soto/Castillo, _____

Soto is arbitration eligible through 2013.

Hopefully we continue to have some more promising drafts and have some prospects battling each other for some of these spots
Edit - I forgot about moving Colvin to 1B

Projected lineup for 2011 (wild guess):
6 Castro
3 Colvin
8 Byrd
5 Ramirez
7 Soriano
2 Soto
4 Font/Theriot
9 Fukudome/Platoon parter

Not really suggesting. Just threw it out there. And prayed a little bit.

Byrd's only signed through 2012. And am I the only one who thinks Colvin is wasted at 1b?

No, I'm with you on that one.

No, I agree he'd be wasted at first.

Especially since we can find a legit bat to stick at first.

unless they can move fuku, colvin seems destined for playing a lot of 1st with the occasional LF/RF spot start unless fuku takes that role.

you got to put him somewhere and LF/CF are adequately spoken for quite a while.

Fuku's value will be that he's a 4th outfielder who can get on base and field all 3 positions.

He can get 250-350 at bats in that role.

If the Cubs want to be competitive next season. They absolutely need to get an impact bat in the middle of this lineup. Colvin and Dunn sound a lot better than Fukudome and Colvin. At least if winning is going to be a priority.

dunn is a guy who commands a lot of money who treats this game as if it's a hassle to play it. he's great when it's time to get a college basketball march bracket together or b/s'ing when NFL season gears up.

he damaged his reputation in CIN pretty badly and hasn't done much to help it in WAS...still, someone will give him a boatload of cash. manny's never been punished in the pocketbook for taking his skills for granted.

Who gives a shit if he "loves the game"?

I'll take perennial 40 Hrs and 400 OBP, and you can have hustle and scrap.

Care to bet on the outcome?

this team seems to be a little sensitive and without a leader. adding adam dunn you need a leader or he will run that clubhouse to his whim...which is usually not a baseball-related whim.

he's not a jackass, he just doesn't give a damn and runs around the clubhouse sosa-style.

i just don't see the club throwing 15m multi-year on a guy like that when money is already tight.


here's a quick exchange of how he deals with media, btw...in a positive article written about him from earlier this season...he's probably better off in a hands-off market unless he's got a proper babysitter...

"I'll tell you when it affects me, it affects me when I have to talk about it all the time, because people bring it to my attention," he said. "If people don't bring it to my attention, then I don't care."

But the media negativity doesn't get to him outside the clubhouse. Dunn, as he so often has said, repeated today that he doesn't read the newspapers. How about TV?

"Hell no," he said. "When do I have time to watch TV? How am I gonna watch our games on TV?"

We've got 110 million committed to non-Adam Dunn guys right now. Maybe one of those dudes can be a leader?

I'm ready for this organization to start getting guys based on talent. Tired of athleticism, good face, looks good in a uni, will sell tickets taking precedence over actual baseball acumen.

i wish one of those big contracts was a leader, too. we got a bunch of weenies in the clubhouse even if they do their training and show up ready to work. our last true player leaders i can remember (guys that "took the shit" for the club and gave the press enough to words to work their job) were kerry wood and mark derosa.

adam dunn isn't "cancer" or a jackass like jason werth...he's just vocal and easily frustrated.

he also seems to "be into" whatever the person who's talking to him isn't. he's known to be a frustrating person.

he's confident. he's a guy who can easily take over the clubhouse, but he's not a guy who should be a leader given how he acts. at least he's not getting into fights with guys, though.

You are correct about Byrd. And I think you're not wrong about Colvin playing first. I listed him there for a few key reasons:
1 - I don't think we'll be able to trade Fukudome without paying his entire salary, which makes a trade unlikely.
2 - Since $103MM is already committed for next year, I don't think we'll be signing any slugging 1B like Dunn or Fielder or whoever else
3 - We have little in the minors to take over at first. Yeah, Hoffpauir, but he would be a complete white flag from a competitive standpoint while Colvin has some residual excitement from the fanbase.
4 - I don't think the team will bring in another outfielder either, because Brett Jackson could be in the mix in either spring training or partway through the season. Giving away KFuk to sign someone who would block Jackson seems like a lot of work that will only cost money.

I don't think Colvin would be a disaster there, just more of a small market type way to go now that Zell's not spending other people's money anymore.

If we don't get a big time first baseman, then it will speak volumes about the Ricketts ownership.

That is why I'd be shocked if they didn't get one. No way does Tom Ricketts want to deal with the local scrutiny of being "cheap".

4/48 - 4/52 sounds completely reasonable for Dunn. Especially with Lee and Lilly off the books, and Fuku and Grabow coming off next year.

Good health and Dunn in the middle of this lineup can make this team a fringe contender.

I don't have a link for this. But I believe it's been reported that he told the Nats he wanted 4/60.

I'd love to get Dunn.

6 Castro
9 Colvin
8 Byrd
3 Dunn
5 Ramirez
7 Soriano
6 Soto
4 _____?

Bench: C, Barney, 1b/3b, KFuk, lf/rf

Found the link:


More than three years. More than 15 per.

I'd heard he wanted 4/60. However I'd think we could get him closer to 4/48-4/52. He wanted 4/60 in the 08-09 offseason, and he had to settle for 2/20 in the Washington baseball purgatory.

I think he'd jump at the opportunity to be a Chicago hero. Just sayin

What do you see the Cubs doing with Fukudome between now and next year.

I'm not really in favor of starting Jackson in the big leagues. I'd like to see him face AAA pitching for at least a couple of months. we still haven't seen much of the power. And it would be nice to see what he does against pitchers who are a little more polished.

And why is Soto batting 6th in your lineup, as well?! Unless Lee really turns it around, he should bat ahead of either Lee or Hoffpauir (who may not even be in the picture for any future Cubs 1B jobs).

The hardest hit ball I saw in spring training was about a 500 foot double Jackson hit off of the center field wall at Ho Ho Kam. One thing I am not worried about is his power, it will arrive at some point - assuming he doesn't K his way out of a career.

Does Brett Jackson have 150K's and 10 walks or something? Lol..TRN..you make it sound like he is putting up a .240/.290/.450 line or something rather that the .312/.415/.497 that's he's put up in his 2 seasons. HE seems to get plenty of hits and walks too.

You're right, if Brett Jackson continues to maintain a .395 BABIP for his career, he'll have no trouble being a .300 hitter.

Here's a list of guys in MLB history with .390 + BABIP's.


Knock 50 points off his batting average and OBP , and 70 off his slugging and tell me how excited you are about him.

As I tried to teach Rob G, during the off-season, focus on K rate for ML hitters, not on BB/K ratio. You would have never promoted Shawon Dunston to the majors and you would have thought Dave Magadan was Hall of Fame bound if you look at BB/K ratio.

And you would have predicted Derek Jeter's stats to come down in the majors based on his abnormally high minor league BABIP. After 2000 plate appearances, his minor league average was .308 and OPS was .803. In the majors he has been .315 and .841 with a .357 career BABIP.

Is Jackson's BABIP high? Yes. So others should take heed of your warning and realize that he has been partially lucky. But you also have to realize that it is a bit odd to have a lucky streak that is spread over 2 years and 5 different teams/leagues. And that not every player has an average BABIP. Skill is involved. Good hitters, especially line drive hitters, have higher BABIPs.

Simply put, we have less than 400 ABs in the low minors to go on here. So no one has any idea how good he might be in the majors. And certainly BABIP does not have all of the answers.

Read post #90.

Read post #104.

As I tried to teach Rob G, during the off-season, focus on K rate for ML hitters, not on BB/K ratio.

get over yourself dude, you're not important...nor right.

You would have never promoted Shawon Dunston to the majors and you would have thought Dave Magadan was Hall of Fame bound if you look at BB/K ratio.

that sums up my position perfectly. /sarcasm.

It's interesting that over 18 major league seasons, Dunston's career WAR is only 10.0. Magadan? 22.2.

If you use a stat that includes baserunning, I'd bet Magadan loses all of that advantage. He sure was a nice OBP guy in a time when walks weren't so easy to come by.

Wait, Dave Magadan was a better hitter than Dunston??

Poppycock! Blasphemy!! The Shawon-O-Meter disagrees!!!!!

/more sarcasm. (Although I don't believe Magadan had his own 'meter'...)

But I was right, and you were wrong, which you would have admitted by now if you were able to get over yourself, dude.

Yeah, because there is always a right and wrong answer with two fans arguing over which minor league statistics best predict major league success. It's like 2+2=4.

But I was right, and you were wrong

according to what?

according to THE real neal. who is always right. except when he is wrong.

you can't really argue with that.

I wasn't just looking at that. I'm looking at the fact that this isn't 1982, and players striking out is part of the game. No one chokes up on the bat with 2 strikes and puts the ball in play. I look at, that over 2 seasons, Jackson is putting up an OPS over 900. Please excuse me for getting excited over a Cubs minor leaguer who isn't the second coming of Sam Fuld or Jim Effing Aducci. It looks like Jackson has some pop...has some speed, is solid defensively, and will walk. I'd love him to strike out less. If he keeps hitting, I couldn't give less of a shit if he strikes out 120 times a season....if he walks 50-70 times too...hits .280/.370/.420 playing a solid CF.

Don't tell me who I'd promote 28 years ago ...Dave Magadan...Dunston.. Sheesh.

Fukudome will be obviously be on the trade block all winter, but who knows if there will be any takers. Obviously there will need to be cash going along with him and/or coming back. (Hendry tribute)

If Fukudome stays on the team next year I think we should get him a new platoon partner and play them through the next season. Let Jackson start out again at AA and move him to AAA then possibly to Cubs during the season. We're stuck with Fukudome, so use him instead of rushing Jackson. Still, when Jackson's close to ready I don't think they'll hesitate to bring him up and use him like Colvin.

Soto batting 6th - I had him at 7th, but I wouldn't quibble about who's 3,4,5, or 5,6,7, etc. I guess I assume that a FA is brought in to provide some power that left with Soriano.

I'm drunk.

Waiting for z is like waiting for wood, and prior from 2004-2006.

It's over.

Shakespear would laugh if such a tragdy was presented to him.

F it.

Ive bben overserved.


imo, Z's issue isn't his arm or his head. he's just not the pitcher he was, but if he can harness his control he's still the guy who can go out there and toss.

then again, this insistence by the cubs org/lou/hendry/etc. that Z be a pen guy in 2010 is scary. i wonder wtf is really going on with the guy.

A .374 BABIP will drive any pitcher over the brink. And Z was already crazy.

Even if you take out this year completely, from 2007-2009, a three-year period with 574 IP, Zambrano's ERA was 3.89. An ERA of nearly 4.00 in the NL is simply not an ace, and that's how he is being paid and was billed when signed. That is why so many people are upset and I am sure partially why he has gone crazy.

Also, if you want to blame some of his problems this year on his abnormally high BABIP, then fine, but then also examine that same statistic over time. It was abnormally low in 2005 (.256) and 2006 (.257), normalized somewhat in 2007 (.272) and 2008 (.273), and was basically league average last year (.306), and is .373 so far this year.

It's not a good trend, however you want to look at it. This is especially worrisome for a sinker ball pitcher like Zambrano who depends on the ball being put into play. During the same period his ground ball to fly ball ratio has dropped, from 1.06 in 2005 all the way to 0.81 last year. And last year his double play percentage was an abysmal 5% compared to his career average of 11%.

He has been a bit unlucky this year, yes, but we also have 5 years of statistical evidence indicating that his pitching skills have diminished.

Ground ball pitchers typically have higher BABIP's, they just make up for it with getting more double plays. Also, though I agree that BABIP's in the .250's aren't likely to sustained, his true level was probably south of .306.

His main problem has been the deterioration of his K rate and the increase in walks. Again, if you're walking guys, you better be giving up ground balls or you're going to give up a lot of runs.

To me, I always try to think about why pitchers succeed with the Cardinals when they seem to suck elsewhere. WWDDD?
From what I've read/heard, Duncan has tons of scouting info that goes into the pitching gameplan. His other main point is for pitchers to keep the ball down in the zone - and he is great at helping make the mechanical adjustments for them to do so.

So to me, Zambrano needs to use his sinker as his primary pitch. Keep the ball down. There are probably other items that need to be addressed, too.

No, that's not it at all.

His walk rate has remained virtually unchanged for his entire career: 4.0, 3.5, 3.5, 4.8, 4.2, 3.4, 4.1, 4.0. His career average is 4.0. He was slightly high in his 16-7 season of 2006, but has come back down to his career average since, even having a very good year (3.4) in 2008.

His K rate has also remained relatively stable: 7.7, 7.1, 8.1, 8.1, 8.8, 7.4, 6.2, 8.1, 8.6. His career average is 7.7. He dipped a little in 2008, but has been normal (even above average) last year and this year, when in fact he has struggled the most.

Look at his K rate per batter, though. But You're right in that his walk rate is fine... unless he stops giving up the ground balls.

So the K rate increase tells me he's trying to be too fine because he doesn't trust the Defense....?

Z definitely doesn't have the stuff he used. The press knows that his personality is more interesting to talk about, though.

Z's issue isn't his arm or his head. he's just not the pitcher he was

If he isn't the pitcher he once was, it would seem that would have to do with his arm...

i just think he can still harness what he's got left to be effective.

I said two seasons ago when Z started arbitrarily messing around with his arm angle that no good would come of it.

Watch him throw from 2003-05 and then watch him throw from 2008-10. Not even close to the same angle, and therefore, not the same action on his stuff. More lateral movement & less sink. He's also had just a tick less velocity since then, which isn't the biggest deal in the world, but noteworthy nonetheless.

Guessing hurting his back might have caused changes .

pulls a Barrett/Soto...

and then Soto pulls a Yadier by throwing out Jay.

gotta be the worst 3/4 hitters in the league

if cubs lose 1 game a week in next 4 weeks,i'll give them a chance.

/not asking for much


Silence is (Reggie) Golden.

The Cubs now have signed 24 of their first 50 selections.

"It feels good," Golden said of being in a Major League clubhouse. "I grew up watching these guys play, especially Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano. I've got chills."

(hopefully the chills don't lead to mononucleosis)

Golden is fast -- he looks fast standing still -- and Clark agreed. How fast?

(sounds like a Jimmy John's commercial is in his future)

"I would have gotten here sooner, but I was stuck behind Alfonso Soriano."

From Friday's Sun times-

"The only guy who gave Zambrano the tough love he needed, the late Oscar Acosta, was fired as pitching coach in 2001.

''I like Zambrano, but I don't trust him,'' Acosta said in training camp that season. ''He can con you for a while. He can show you lights-out, and then when he gets what he wants, he gets in a comfort zone.''

Guess it was not a maturity thing.

Looks like Detroit could use Lilly,Nady,and Fontenot as soon as sunday.

I was hoping for Fukudome and Theriot.

the continuing saga...cz threw 2 effective innings last night in texas w/ 3 k's; had in my notes from the other night & meant to mention that, unlike other rehabbers in last couple years like harden & lilly, cz wore his pants tucked up under the knees old-school, like the organization makes all the kids do...easy to imagine the cz that azp describes when there is no pressure & it's let the good times roll - i just find it hard to warm up to the guy from perspective of a long-suffering cub fan which is the only way i'll ever know him...he may simply not be up to the additional pressure that comes w/ a mega-contract in a media fishbowl...cubs are becoming regulars on sunday night espn; 3 weeks straight!

You're probably a bit too baby with the bathwater on Z. He's a talented guy with some anger and immaturity issues, who has had some back and shoulder problems the last two years.

Him ejecting the umpire was priceless, and him punching Barrett should have gotten him suspended. Just because he gets paid a lot and has a short temper, doesn't make him the devil.

i know what the bathwater part is; what's the baby? devil, no; more trouble than he's worth, i'd say yes; hopefully a gm out there says otherwise...

One thing about Zambrano is that he seems to prefer hitting to pitching. It's almost as if he tolerates being a pitching only because it gives gives him a chance to be a hitter, but if he can't be a pitcher and get to hit, he'd rather be a position player. That's why I can't see him being a relief pitcher or ever wanting to play for a team in the A. L.

Part of Big Z's value as a starting pitcher is that he is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, and his ability to hit can help to temper some of his off days on the mound.

In that sense, "Z" is a lot like Jay Jackson or Brooks Raley when they were in college. Both played OF on days they weren't pitching and were their own DH on days they did pitch. Hitting makes Zambrano happy, and helps him get his mind off his pitching when he's struggling.

So for better or worse, he really needs to be a starting pitcher.

That reminds me that Huseby is .308/.379/.442 in 58 PAs at Boise.

Yea... I heard 58 plate appearances was a pretty worthwhile sample.

Relax, Big, I wasn't touting Huseby. There's a story there. You may not be aware that Huseby was a pitcher last year, a good one, at Peoria, but after a bout of wildness this spring, he said screw it, I want to be a hitter, so they sent him back to Arizona and now Boise. So far, he's not falling on his face. AZ Phil's describing Zambrano as a hitter at heart reminded me to check how Huseby was doing.

I was at I-Cubs game last night in Round Rock. Exciting to watch Z pitch. Two easy innings, 3ks, breaking ball had good bite, fast ball was sitting at 92mph according to the stadium gun and Z even got and at bat and hit a single. The crowd was hostile but nothing interesting happened. I was about 8 row behind Cubs dugout and Z appeared to be in good spirits, smiling and having fun. After pitching the 7th and 8th, he stayed in the dugout through the bottom on the ninth and then left for a shower after Round Rock tied the game in bottom on 9th due to some suspect defense by Barney/Scales. My first thought with Z going two innings was that a Lilly deal may be near and Big Z was stretched out in order to go back to the rotation at that point.

Gotta think that's the plan--that if the Cubs can get something they want for Lilly, Z is the next guy to get a crack at the rotation. The Cubs don't seem to have any interest in giving Cashner or Jackson a shot at the rotation (yet--maybe in September?).

I am sure any moment now, someone is going to post Castro's and Theriot's stats since Castro's call up and ask "How does this help us?".

riot was leading the NL in hits before the callup.

where does that leave it?

woo numbers!


HOF Induction ceremony starting, on mlb netowrk and thru mlb.com website.

A lot of people wearing Cub Jerseys!

Sandberg sitting in row behind Hawk.

Billy Williams sitting next to Jon Miller

Joe Morgan talking about himself while presenting the award to Jon Miller.

<--- Stunned.

ahhh, dawson; refreshing...

Recent comments

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  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 26 min 55 sec ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 3 hours 5 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 3 hours 14 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 4 hours 15 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 6 hours 13 min ago view
  • Agree -- I think you want to keep him on a regular schedule.

    billybucks 6 hours 32 min ago view
  • Ramos torn ACL

    jacos 7 hours 26 sec ago view
  • Sure, its not about his record.

    jacos 7 hours 2 min ago view
  • Do you start him Sunday or not?

    @jonmorosi Pitchers w/ sub-2.00 ERA in year of 185+ IP this century: Pedro ’00, Clemens ’05, Kershaw ’13/’14, Arrieta ’15, Greinke ’15, Hendricks ’16.

    Rob G. 8 hours 23 min ago view
  • Yeah -- that would be rough for him. But, Monty is getting people out, he's a lefty and he has experience working out of the bullpen. Hammel? None of the above.

    billybucks 9 hours 18 min ago view
  • even if he's not starting, abandoning hammel would be a bit of a 'screw you.' i think it might be -monty +hammel, but it's speculation.

    either way, someone's gonna be disappointed.

    crunch 10 hours 19 min ago view
  • Joe said he is leaning towards 11 pitchers and 14 position players.

    - 4 starters, Chapman, Rondon, Strop, CJ, Wood, Grimm, Monty. No dice for Cahill or Smith.
    - 3 catchers, Rizz, Zo, Addy, KB, Javy, Heyward, Fowler, Soler, Coghlan, TLS and then Sczcur over Almora?

    billybucks 10 hours 30 min ago view
  • Cubs 3B Jason Vosler made two really bad throws on consecutive AB in the 8th. Fortunately the game was no longer in doubt at the time  

    The first one was a one-hop lob that allowed the batter to reach base on an infield single, and the second was air-mailed so far over the first-baseman's head that it went over the fence and landed in Field #4.

    Arizona Phil 11 hours 5 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Despite the HR, Donnie Dewees is really more of a slash hitter (the HR was an opposite-field line-drive) who can accumulate lots of doubles & triples. He's also a good bunter and can get on base that way, too. Although he was thrown out trying to steal in the game, he's actually a good base-stealer and baserunner.

    Defensively he has plus-range and tracks fly balls OK, so he can play CF, but he has a rag arm that requires the middle infielders to go out further into CF to make relays.

    Arizona Phil 11 hours 6 min ago view