A Tie is Like Kissing Good Bye

Long story short, Mark Hamilton's solo homer with two out in the top of the 9th gave Memphis a see-saw 7-6 win over Iowa today that also advanced the Redbirds to the PCL playoffs and ended the Cubs' season. The teams deadlocked for their divisional crown with records of 82-62 and split their season series 8-8 but the playoff berth goes to the visitors on the basis of their superior intra-divsional record.

It was another pulsating game in a pulsating series. I would say that the umpiring left a little to be desired, not necessarily in terms of the accuracy of calls, but in the length of fuses. After all, these were two teams in a dead heat with 140 games down and four to go. Thicken the skins and stop tossing people in the early innings. More on that later.

For the second straight day the wind was blowing briskly out to left and was a factor.

Iowa starter Jay Jackson was shaky at the outset, loading the bases with one out in the first but escaping unscored upon. In the second he got himself in the same jam but wasn't so lucky this time. Tyler Greene was at the plate with teammates at second and third when he checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch. The plate ump called it a foul ball but Greene swore the pitch had hit him on the forearm. The plate ump asked one of his colleagues on the bases and he too said foul ball. But Greene must have shown evidence of a mark where the ball had struck him because he was suddenly waved to first. You know who, back in the dugout after yesterday's banishment, joined the conversation at that point but his brief and somewhat restrained argument fell on deaf ears and the game resumed with the crowd actually into the action on the field for a change. Alas, Jackson was nonplussed by now and became even more so when he lost the ruling on another checked swing that ensued on his first pitch to the new hitter. In the middle of his next windup the plate ump broke out of his crouch to eject someone inside the Iowa dugout who turned out to be Mitch Atkins. Another delay, after which Jackson completed a four pitch walk to force in a run. A sacrifice fly followed but Jackson finally made it back to the dugout trailing by only 2-0.

In the bottom of the inning back to back doubles by Bryan LaHair and Bobby Scales and a single by Robinson Chirinos, who had three important hits and dug a bunch of sliders out of the dirt behind the plate in my first look at him, tied the score and the game was on.

Jackson labored again in the 3rd, giving the lead back on a single to his counterpart as the bottom of the Memphis lineup got to him. The frame ended when Chirinos threw behind a runner at first to pick him off and a runner breaking from third was eventually tagged out trying to score in the confusion.

In the top of the 4th Scales made a great diving catch of a wind-blown popup down the line in right to start Jackson's first 1-2-3 inning of work. In the bottom of the frame Dubois led off with a prodigious blast to tie the score before Scales was safe on an error and Chirinos doubled him home to give the I-Cubs their first lead of the day. Jackson then doubled off the center field wall and I noticed Sandberg smiling and gesturing at the dugout railing while the Redbirds pow-wowed at the mound. He seemed confident.

When Dubois homered again in the 6th to put his team ahead 6-3 it looked bubbly for the home team. They had been overcoming leads throughout the weekend, not blowing them.

Jackson was removed after surrendering a leadoff double in the top of the 7th. Justin Berg came in and served up a run scoring single and a double that put runners at second and third with no outs. A grounder and a sac fly were all it took to tie the game from there.

While Iowa was failing to score in the bottom of the 7th and Memphis was being put down in order in the top of the 8th some kid with #28 on his back and nothing else [all the other players' names were on their jerseys] was nervously throwing in the Memphis pen. He took his nerves with him to the mound in the bottom of the 8th and walked Dubois on four pitches leading off. Better than allowing him the hat trick I guess. Then he fell behind LaHair and the dam seemed about to burst. Instead LaHair grounded sharply into a 6-4-3 double play with a 3-2 count even though Dubois was running on the pitch. The kid, whose name turned out to be Alan Reifer, was new in town, having come a running from Springfield after yesterday's 15 inning affair drained the Memphis relief corps.

Hamilton's dramatic homer made Reifer the winning pitcher in his first Triple A appearance, but not before the aggressive Chirinos hit the first pitch from closer Josh Kenney in the bottom of the 9th for a double and got stranded at third. While Reifer was working into and out of trouble in the 8th Kenney was making new friends by returning a cell phone dropped over the RF railing the way young ladies used to accidentally on purpose drop their hankies.

One minute 10,000 people were on their feet headed for the playoffs. The next, the season and the summer were over.

It took a long time for the parking lot to clear after the game. I didn't really mind the lingering.


Too bad for the I-Cubs, I guess they'll have to wait til next year like the big club.

Is it too soon to criticize Sandberg for this and say we shouldn't hire him since he couldn't get it done?? (c'mon, you know it's coming...)

Thanks for the updates all season, Mike W, they're appreciated.

Nice MLB debut yesterday for 28-year old ex-Cubs minor league RHP Adalberto Mendez, throwing six innings of one-hit shutout ball for the Marlins at Philadelphia.

A journeyman minor league middle reliever for most of his career, Mendez was selected by Florida from the Cubs in the Minor League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft post-2007, and his even making it to The Show is a surprise, not to mention doing what he did yesterday.

Mendez was originally signed by the Cubs as an infielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, before being converted to pitcher in the DSL in 2002.

Phil, is there any action at Fitch Park these days?

via cm:

RF Fuke, 2B DeWitt, CF Byrd, 1B Hoffpauir, LF Colvin, 3B Baker, C Hill, SS Barney, P Silva

hope soto didn't bang himself up too bad stopping a run at the plate yesterday...he didn't seem too hurt creating a run at the plate later in the game.

via p.sulivan:

Fuld, Scales, Snyder. Berg and Samardzija among call-ups.


Well... it is a night game after a day game the previous day, so it makes sense to rest your best hitter.

Is Castro still on the shit list or what? Isn't it kind of a big deal that he's sitting considering he's still in contention for the batting title?

Someone let Quade know he only has about 20 games left in his managerial career, so he might as well stop fucking with the Cubs' future.

Sitting down two games is really going to screw things up?

It will if he doesn't have enough ABs to qualify.

Besides, what's the point of sitting him? To punish him like a little kid? Forgetting how many outs there are is obviously stupid, but why not just pull him for the rest of the game rather than sit him for multiple games.

I'm probably just bitter because I'm going to the game tonight and he and Soto are pretty much the only bright spots this year and neither of them are playing. If the Cubs' wretched play hasn't turned away enough fans, playing stiffs like Baker and Hill day in and day out should finish the job.


Possibly the worst Cubs'infield lineup ever?

/think of the history Doug!

Scales called up today also.

Shark called up.

If you read that link you'll see Shark boy is already bitching about how long the team left him at Iowa. If I'm the GM and hear a crappy 'prospect' bitch like that I send them right back down.

Good thing you're not the GM since you don't know the season is over ; )

You can still send players to the minors when the minor league season is over.

You can, but he's not "going down" he's going on vacation, and since he's already on an ML contract, you're paying him for it.

You're paying him no matter where he is. Hmm, would it be a punishment to send him down? Yes, it would. He wants to be in the majors and establish himself as a real big leaguer. But if he's going to suck, and have an attitude on top of that, he can go to hell.

No. Room. To. Bitch.

Jim Hendry: "We need to see just how bad Justin Berg really is", said Hendry. "He sucked up here, cannot get anyone out in a pressure situation in AAA, so we think as he is one of our top pitching prospects, we should give him another chance to stink up the joint with the Big Club again."

What a shitty pitcher.

It angers me to see the White Sox have such success with their young pitchers (Sales, et. al.)

I can't believe Hendry said that.
It's nice to see some honest feedback to the players. Soto, I thought I told you to shave those sideburns!

It angers me to see the White Sox have such success with their young pitchers (Sales, et. al.)

You mean like Marshall? And Marmol? And even Wells? Even Cashner?

Floyd and Denks are from Phils and Texas.

I KNOW where they came from. Both Danks and Floyd were risks by Williams that at young ages would blossom - (Floyd at 23 traded to the Sox, Danks at 21) and DAnks (not "Denks"), a first-round pick (#9) was traded to the Sox for Brandon McCarthy and Davey Paisano. McCarthy has been mediocre at best. Floyd, another former 1st round pick by the Phils, was obtained by the Sox along with Gio Gonzalez for Sweaty Freddy.

Both pitchers were making peanuts when they came to the team. So, yes, the risks at the time paid off. Wells would not be in the Sox' rotation at all. He has had limited success in the Bigs, and has turned back into a pumpkin. Why you mention him as a "success" is just a poor call. That leaves Marshall and Marmol LOWITZKI, both of whom are good - but of course overworked. The Sox are loaded with young pitching to the point that they had the luxury of trading Daniel Hudson and Clayton Richards.

I will remind you, that AZ PHIL has as well noted that the bona fide up-and-coming starters on the Cubs are few and far between at best. Certainly as far as I know there is not one former #1 draft pick among them.

So, yes, as I said - "it angers me to see the White Sox have such such success with their young pitchers."

I wish it were the Cubs.

"DAnks (not "Denks")"

I go with the classic Latin spelling of the name.


Certainly as far as I know there is not one former #1 draft pick among them.

Ever heard of Andrew Cashner? And the Cubs recent #1 picks have mostly been hitters, which makes it pretty tough to have #1 picks turn into "up-and-coming starters."

I also think it is funny that you talk about folks like Sales, he of the 13 innings pitched in the bigs. And BTW, I could have also thrown Gorzellany in the Cubs young pitching category.

Don't get me wrong - the Sox have some impressive young pitching. But they are have also been relying on Freddy Garcia in their rotation.

"Ever heard of Andrew Cashner? And the Cubs recent #1 picks have mostly been hitters, which makes it pretty tough to have #1 picks turn into "up-and-coming starters."


I would rather have Freddy Garcia right now than David Wells as a number 5. Not that it would have made that much difference. But Wells as a converted catcher , and having to be absolutely perfect in order to succeed in a game - all I can say is "Blech".

At 144 innings pitched, the lowest among the starters by 30+ other than Peavy, I think "relying on him" is a bit of a stretch.

More so, its, "if he can pitch .500, great. Better than that - fantastic."


Most folks think that Cashner is the real deal, and an "up-and-coming starter." He also was a first round pick.

My point about Garcia is that if the Sox have to rely on Freddy Garcia, their young pitching depth isn't that awesome.

Isn't David Wells like 50 years old?

Yes, but he can still pitch ;)

1st career AB for b.snyder.

3 sliders, K.

it was vs. a tough lefty, though...

Bobby Scales on Sandberg: "He never aired us out."

Isn't the perception among Sandberg lovers that Sandberg WILL air players out and Sandberg will make those "mollycoddles" "accountable?" And isn't the perception that there is no worse insult than to be called a "player's manager?"

maybe sandberg takes the "praise in public, criticize in private" approach?

Thinking about Sandberg managing the Chicago Cubs, I get that same feeling of "meh" that I felt when I learned the Cubs acquired Jeff Baker. Unless Sandberg is going to occasionally fill in at second base, I think Sandberg managing would be a move toward mediocrity. Of course, a move toward mediocrity would be an improvement this team, so who knows. Eyeroll

Of course, Sandberg has had success at every level he's managed, so naturally he'd be mediocre with the Cubs. At the very least, he knows the young talent coming up in the system, and can maybe utilize some of it? This is not a team that is close to competing, so why try to pretend it is? The Cubs need to suck it up and realize this..there are too many holes to think they can patch it up and contend in 2011. 1B...2 SP, the flammable bullpen except Marshall and Marmol...a back-up catcher, a definite 2B (DeWitt?)...And the hope that Ramirez and Soriano can be at least solid next season rather than a pile of "meh"."

"This is not a team that is close to competing, so why try to pretend it is?"

If we had Matt Capps and Adam Dunn we'd be setting our playoff rotation right about now.

Would you mind showing your work on this assumption.


It's not impossible to think we can be competitive next season with a couple of additions.

A full season from Z and Aramis, added to a Dunn and a solid #3 starter. Who knows? 87 wins usually puts you in the NL central race.

Thank you very much, Drayton McLane.

What fantasy world do you live in that we can rebuild without signing free agents?

Not to mention it would be borderline criminal to start running this thing like we're the Pirates.

Agreed, but Adam Dunn sucks.

I'd love to hear other ideas from the TCR faithful.

adam dunn 4 manager.

year-round football betting for all.

Work toward 2012 while Colvin, Castro, and Cashner get used to the bigs and some of our other young players (Jackson, Vitters, Castillo, Carpenter, etc.) hopefully continue to develop.

Where do the Cubs get Dunn and a #3 hitter and pitching? I won't be angry if it happens (without crippling the Cubs with more Soriano/Fukudome/Bradley-esque contracts), but I don't see it right now.

#3 starter, not hitter.

Javy Vazquez or Jeremy Guthrie are 2 low cost options for that.

Then take flyers on some bullpen arms like a Frasor, Dotel, Rauch, Linebrink, etc.

It's not a complete lost cause.

those are 10m pitchers.

doubtful that they are

Guthrie was 1st time arb-eligible this year. Will have right at 4 years of service time at seasons end. Makes 3 million. So he's likely a 5 million dollar pitcher, with 2 more years of club control.

Vazquez is finishing a 3/34.5 contract. His having a terrible year this year makes him a prime "buy low" candidate. 1 year incentive laden contract, with him moving back into the NL would surely be something he'd consider. Maybe 1/5 with the potential to earn another 5 in performance bonuses?


What magically happens in 2012? Do the middle infielders in the minors grow into 40 Homer corner infielders?

The dumbest thing to do in baseball is rebuild without the prospects to rebuild. Ask the Pirates about that. It's how you turn 1 underachieving year into 17 in a row below .500.

Well, in 2012 Brett Jackson will likely be in the majors, Jay Jackson may become a back of the rotation starter, Chris Carpenter may turn into a high risk rotation guy, Castillo may be ready to take over at Catcher, thus moving Soto 1B or making him trade bait, Guyer might be ready to be a supers-sub who can hit lefties, Chris Archer will be 23, McNutt will be 22, Dolis will be 23, Nick Struck will be 22, and Robert Whitenack will be 23. Josh Vitters will turn 23 in August 2012. Ryan Flaherty and/or DJ Lemahieu may get more consistent at the plate (or they may not, of course). Dae-Eun Rhee, who had a pretty poor year coming off of TJ Surgery, but who knows, will be 23. Hak Ju Lee will be 21.

At that point the organization should have a better idea what to expect of these guys long term.

But, much more importantly, don't we have a few guys coming off the books in 2012? We'll be done with Fukudome, right? Dempster's contract, I think, ends after 2011. Silva will have one year left, I think? What does Zambrano have left? Aramis will be gone. Byrd won't have much time left on his contract. It's a better time to do the big fixes that this club needs. If they go out and sign more guys to long-term contracts this year, they might just make this mess stretch even farther into the future.

Why do it?

I don't see any problem with playing Colvin or Hoffpauir at first and waiting for a bargain to become available, if one does. If Dunn is cheap, great. If Vasquez is cheap, great. Go for it. But they Cubs should not sell out the future for 2011, which isn't particularly promising. And we dont' really know what players will cost yet. I'm not really saying the Cubs should absolute not, under any circumstances, try to be competitive in 2011. I'm saying that they should be cautious.

Even IF all those guys pan out (which ain't happening).

You still are going to have a ton of holes. Dempster comes off the books. Where do we get the replacement #3 starter?

Why does every player on the roster need to be cheap and cost controlled? This is a 140 Million payroll outfit. No need to go bargain hunting for every piece we roster.

Just because we have made some Free Agent mistakes in the past. Doesn't mean we swear off Free Agency from today forward.

I'd much rather we follow a "Red Sox Model". Have a strong farm system. Once kids show star potential you find a spot for them. If you don't have a top level kid to take a job, then you find a top level guy on the trade and free agent market.

You seem to advocate filling our roster with Minor League filler. Then hoping that all of them exceed all expectations and turn into stars. That isn't any kind of strategy to winning anything.

"You seem to advocate filling our roster with Minor League filler."

Not at all. Of course not all of those guys will pan out as productive major leaguers--that's ridiculous. But by 2012 the Cubs will have a better idea what to expect of them and they will also have a few of the prohibitive contracts coming off the books. That adds up to having a better sense of what the organization leads long term and having resources (dollars and prospects) available to fill those needs. If that means that a minor leaguer fills an important role on the team, fine. If not, then they know what there needs are long term and they can trade off valuable player-resources in order to get the player they want because he's best for the organization.

Of course the roster isn't going to be composed entirely out of Ryan Flaherties and Jay Jacksons. But But it only takes a couple more Fukudome/Bradley(Silva) contracts to screw the team for a few more yeas.

Problem then becomes that there will be more holes to fill.

Instead of filling First base now, you are looking at filling 1st,3rd, OF spot, #1 and #2 starter all in the same off season.

How can we fill all these spots without spending money?

Submitted by Paul Noce on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 10:41am.
Agreed, but Adam Dunn sucks.


Paul N: The big problem with Adam Dunn is that fans expect him to be a traditional middle-of-the-order run producer, while he has the mindset of a lead-off hitter.

He looks at a lot of pitches, works deep into counts, and is willing to get called out on strikes if he doesn't get the pitch he wants. He is one of the least-aggressive power hitter I've ever seen. He does take a lot of walks, but again, that's because he takes a lot of pitches and won't swing at pitches out of his "zone."

I remember when Dunn was acquired by the Diamonbacks a couple of years ago, D'backs fans I know would go crazy because Dunn would come up in an RBI situation and invariably either take a walk or get called out on strikes. He did hit home runs (a ton of HR), but it was the lack of passion hitting in RBI situations that drove D'backs fans up the wall.

I talked with somebody who managed Adam Dunn in the minor leagues, and he said Dunn was the worst defensive player he had ever managed. At that time Dunn was playing LF, and on every pitch he would take one step back and one step to the right, just like he would do when he was in the shotgun formation when he played QB in HS. It took the Reds two years to break Dunn of this habit.

He probably is best-suited to play 1B (or DH) and hit 3rd in the order, but you have to make sure that there are at least two RBI guys hitting behind him, because Dunn is not a traditional run-producer type. He is a #1 or #2 hitter in a lug's body.

The thing is, because of these perceptions. His cost will be lower than it probably SHOULD be.

The guy is a 900 ops hitter. That is valuable in any era in baseball. We are talking about signing the guy to Fukudome/Dempster type of money. I think he's way more valuable than either of those guys are.

So you need to put a couple of good hitters around him? Other than Barry Bonds, who doesn't fit that description?

"The guy is a 900 ops hitter."

OPS is one-half OBP, which in Dunn's case, with the low BA, is largely walks--so you're basically saying what Phil is saying: The guy tries to draw a lot of walks and is successful.

I thought Phil's description of what's wrong with Dunn was dead-on. Also reminded me of Bradley, except for the home runs.

Boswell had a nice piece on the pros and cons of Dunn in the Wash Post the other day.

"I'm sick of two-year contracts. It's the same every year [with mid-season trade rumors]. I think I've proved I deserve more than that."

I'll be very happy to come here and congratulate you on your wisdom and forsight when Javier Vazquez and Adam Dunn sign for a combine 5 years and $50 million guaranteed... I may be a little slow, dodging all the pig shit falling from the sky, but trust me, I'll give you your kudos.

Remember the mid 90's Indians? Who was their Adam Dunn?

Jim Thome

Jim Thome came up with the Indians as a slap hitting third basemen.

Thome hit 20 home runs in 390 MLB at-bats as a 23 year old. He has a .411 OBP and .500 SLUG in the minors. That sounds a lot like Adam Dunn.

I would hardly call that "slap hitting."

Jim Thome had 3 HR in his first two seasons over 235 PAs, dipshit.

Yup... as a 21/22 year old. Again - his numbers in the minors (i.e. when he "came up") looked nothing like a slap hitting anything.

Further, Thome did nothing during the Indians' prime years in the mid-90's (which is what you originally referred to) that resembled a slap hitting 3b. He quickly became an excellent MLB hitter with very good patience and power, decent/mediocre average, and a lot of strike outs. That sounds a lot like... Adam Dunn.

Submitted by Dr. aaron b on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 10:09am.
It's not impossible to think we can be competitive next season with a couple of additions.

A full season from Z and Aramis, added to a Dunn and a solid #3 starter. Who knows? 87 wins usually puts you in the NL central race


DR AARON B: If I had to bet on what the Cubs will do post-2010, I would say that signing Adam Dunn will be Hendry's #1 priority, and that Dunn will end up with the Cubs as long as he is willing to accept no more than a three-year deal (something like 3/39). It would help Hendry if he could move Fukudome and just give Dunn Fukudome's money ($13.5M), but that isn't goining to happen. I believe Hendry will do whatever he can to move Fukudome, but if the Cubs have to eat too much salary to get a deal done, they'll just keep Kosuke as the 4th OF, with Colvin playing RF most every day. .

I don't thnk the Cubs will be going after a starting pitcher, because I think that (barring injuries) they will go into the 2011 season with Dempster-Zambrano-Wells-Gorzelanny-Silva as the rotation, with J. Jackson, Carpenter, and Coleman at AAA and Archer, McNutt, and Rusin at AA to start the season, with all six projected as future MLB starters. So I don't think the Cubs will look to sign a FA starter anytime soon.

I do think Hendry will once again attempt to acquire a combo back-up closer/RHP set-up man, though, possibly Jason Frasor (who will be a FA post-2010), with a likely 2011 Opening Day bullpen of Marmol-TBD-Marshall-Cashner-Grabow-Samardzija-TBD. In talking to the Cubs Player Development people, the organization believes Angel Guzman going down with a shoulder injury was a key loss, because the Cubs went into ST counting on Gooz to be their 8th inning set-up guy/back-up closer after they were unable to sign Matt Capps or acquire Jason Frasor.

I'd be more than fine with that off season.

I don't trust Silva or Wells at the back of that rotation personally. So I'd like to see us trade for a Jeremy Guthrie type of cost controlled vet.

So Phil, it's your impression that Cashner will permanently be a reliever for the Cubs? No chance to become a starter?

Submitted by Jumbo on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 5:14pm.
So Phil, it's your impression that Cashner will permanently be a reliever for the Cubs? No chance to become a starter?


JUMBO: I think Andrew Cashner will remain a reliever in 2011, although he could be moved back to the rotation if the other starter prospects (J. Jackson, Carpenter, Coleman, Archer, McNutt, Rusin, et al) don't develop.

But Cashner was the #1 closer in college baseball in 2008, and he can touch 100 MPH when he throws just one inning, so I suspect the Cubs will keep him in the bullpen unless they see some over-riding reason to move him back to the starting rotation. He is projected as an 8th inning set-up guy or closer.

No work required, I just read the comments at TCR.

I think I get your point.

So that's sarcasm...well done Neal

"Sandberg has had success at every level he's managed."

I keep reading that, but I can't seem to verify it.

Peoria 2007: 71-68
Peoria 2008: 60-78
Tennessee 2009: 71-69 (strong second half, made the playoffs, beat Huntsville 3-1, lost to Jacksonville 3-1)
Iowa 2010: 82-62 (tied for best record in PCL, but no playoffs)

His four teams overall: seven games over .500.

In the same time period, Jody Davis won the FSL championship with Daytona and Bill Dancy has a shot with Tenn this year. Peoria made the playoffs the year after Sandberg left.

I like Sandberg because he's feisty and classy and seems to be smart--but it's hard to tell without watching pretty closely--and mostly because he's aggressive and likes to send runners. That's why I wish he had stuck around to manage that 15-inning game that they lost. He'll have quite a few runners, like Jackson, Colvin, Guyer, Castro, Lee, maybe Campana, that he can send.

Girardi--I know he's smart.

Fuck...Joe Girardi...would be the dumbest man alive to leave a team that is a threat to win the World Series every season, that has limitless resources, and a team that is stocked. A team that doesn't rebuild, but goes and actively gets good players to replace ones that leave. To leave that, to come to a Cubs team with holes in the rotation, lineup, bullpen, and bench...but other than that, they're ready to contend in 2011!

Billy Williams was once again described as "classy." Isn't that a euphemism for "Thanks for not getting too bitchy when we passed you over for the manager's job time and time again?"

I was born in 1973, so I don't remember Billy Williams all that well. But it sure seems that personality-wise that he and Derrek Lee have similar personalities. Durable, unemotional, fairly consistent from year to year. Not that Lee was as good as Williams, but did any fans dislike Billy Williams for "not showing fire?"

No, I don't ever recall any fan dissatisfaction about Billy for "not showing fire". Occasionally Billy would express displeasure about something, so you knew he could get ticked off about things.

Overall, Billy's consistency was at a little higher level than Derrek's (received MVP votes in 8 different seasons vs. 4 for Derrek) and he never had a season with 27 GIDP, so there was never a particular area of under-performance for the fans to focus on. In addition, Derrek made the mistake of having a monster season early in his Cubs career, thereby setting up high expectations that couldn't be matched later on whereas Billy's two biggest seasons came at ages 32 and 34 (1970 and 1972), so his career was a nicely progressing climb to excellence.

If the Cubs sign Adam Dunn (and I think there is a fairly good chance they will), I suspect the 2011 Opening Day lineup will be:

Byrd, CF
Castro, SS
Dunn, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Soto, C
Colvin, RF
Soriano, LF
DeWitt, 2B
Dempster, P

Looks like a fairly good everyday lineup to me.

We'll need a new manager to get Soto out of the 8 slot, though.

I think DeWitt and Castro makes a bit more sense at 1 and 2, and let Colvin bat 8th to learn some more patience, but health and steps forward by Colvin, DeWiit and Castro would make that a pretty good lineup, regardless of the order.

The manager will most likely want Colvin somewhere near the middle of the order, around 6th probably if Dunn is batting 3rd. Handedness. Colvin batting 8th sounds like a recipe for failure to me.

I'd rather see DeWitt batting 1st or 2nd, though. I'm not that excited about Byrd as a top of the order guy--maybe a number 2 on a team with lots of power and very little OBP, but not #1 in this lineup.

Dunn batting second could work, too.

If you push Fukudome to a backup role, do you still make him the April starter? How much do we believe in the patterns he established in his first two years, even when there is no apparent reason for them (like hitting extremely well in April)?

Fukudome is having a much better year than Ty Colvin is at this point. It shouldn't really be a foregone conclusion that Tyler wins the job and gets 500 at bats next year. Fukudome has over 70 points of OBP on Tyler right now.

without fuku or sori going somewhere adam dunn probably can't happen.

the pitching is a huge enemy for the club...both starting and pen...the pen is just unbelievably horrible, though. i can't recall the last time i saw a cubs pen this horrible. it's not just NL bad...it's MLB bad.

Not scoring runs isn't going to help this pitching staff. Dunn would play first base. So why would moving Sori or Fuku matter?

it seems many of us don't believe we're going to pick up guys for the numbers you're throwing out.

we got a guy like ben sheets getting 10m to maybe play healthy for OAK and holliday signed a slugger's contract last year that was insane for years and loot.

Dunn is probably a 12 or 13 per guy.

Guthrie is an arbitration case. So he isn't going to jump from 3 to 10 during the 2nd round of arbitration.

Vazquez MIGHT still get 10 from someone, But who? He was dominant last year in the NL. Terrible this year in the AL. Those signs point to a 1 year "Rebuild value" type of contract.

Maybe Kevin Millwood might be worth taking a 1 year gamble on? Surely he could be had on a cheap 1 year deal?

Red Sox will probably throw a shit load of money at Dunn. White,goofy, lh, perfect Red Sox.

They seem like an organization that doesn't overpay for anyone anymore.

They will probably offer the same 3/39-4/48 that we will. Up to Adam if he wants to DH in Boston or play 1st in Chicago.

Except for declining starting pitchers.

Beckett, Lackey

and the japanese pitcher so important that they booked every hotel room on the floor he was initially booked into when he came here to negotiate.

...and 14m a year for jd drew...and 12m a year for lowell...

if they count as recent...

They re upped beckett this year

AZ Phil

Any thoughts on possible backup catchers for next year? I know that's a pretty late order concern, but I wonder what the possibilities are.

Submitted by Charlie on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 12:51pm.
AZ Phil

Any thoughts on possible backup catchers for next year? I know that's a pretty late order concern, but I wonder what the possibilities are


CHARLIE: I don't know if the Cubs are going to want Welington Castillo to get more time at AAA or if they think he will be ready for MLB next season, but based upon how he is being used right now (or not being used), my guess is W. Castillo will get another year at Iowa before we see him in Chicago for a full season. He's only 23 and still a bit raw, so it would not be the worst thing to let him get more-regular playing time at AAA at least until the rough edges have been smoothed-out.

I think the Cubs will almost certainly add Robinson Chirinos to their 40-man roster post-2010 (they have only until the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series to do it, though, because otherwise he can be a Rule 55 minor league free-agent), and he could be the Cubs back-up catcher next season. The thing about Chirinos is that he can play 2B and 3B, too, so he has more versatility than does Welington Castillo.

C-1B Steve Clevenger made the Southern League All-Star team this season (his second straight year at AA), and he is a possibility to get added to the 40-man roster on 11/20. Clevenger was a shortstop in college, and then was immediately moved to 2B after he signed with the Cubs. Then he was converted to catcher at Instructs after just one season in the minors. Clevenger is a savvy kid (probably will be a coach or manager some day), and pitchers like throwing to him because he really knows how to work hitters (he's like a pitching coach on the field). But his catching mechanics still need work, and I'm not sure he will ever be anything more than a back-up C-1B-LHPH at the big league level.

Perhaps a Chirinos/Clevenger combo as a back-up to Soto (with Chirinos filling Jeff Baker's role plus back-up catcher and Clevenger also the #1 lefty PH in addition to being a back-up catcher) could be a possibility in 2011, but for that to happen both Chirinos AND Clevenger would have to hit enough in Spring Training to make the 25-man roster, and that also assumes that Clevenger will get added to the 40-man roster by 11/20, because otherwise he is a good candidate to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

As for Koyie Hill, Jim Hendry likes him a lot and probably will try to keep him around in 2011 in some capacity. What I think with probably happen with K. Hill is that he will get non-tendered on 12/12 (although he could get outrighted next month if they need his spot on the 40-man roster right away), and then the Cubs will offer him "major league money" ($700K) to sign a 2011 minor league contract with an NRI to ST, so that if other options don't work out, K. Hill could be the back-up catcher again in 2011, or at least until one of the young guys proves he's ready to take the job. And if it turns out that W. Castillo, Chirinos, and/or Clevenger do win the job in Spring Training, K. Hill could go to Iowa and be available as an insurance policy in case a veteran catcher is needed in Chicago during the 2011 season.

Chris Robinson got an NRI to Spring Training this past March and he probably will get another one next March, but he will likely spend the 2011 season back at AAA (or even at AA if there is a roster crunch at Iowa), and then he can be a Minor League FA post-2011. He's probably best-described as a "4-A" type.

Michael Brenly will almost certainly be the #1 catcher AA next season, and will probably get an NRI to ST. He developed as a hitter in 2010 to the point where he looks like he might be an MLB prospect, although he is still at least a year or two away from contending for a big league job.

The Cubs are very weak at catcher below AA, and so they may try and re-sign Mark Reed and/or Mario Mercedes (both are eligible to be minor league free-agents post-2010). Offensively-challenged Luis Flores will likely be the #1 catcher at Daytona in 2011, and 2010 3rd round pick Micah Gibbs (who struggled at the plate at Boise) will probably be the #1 receiver at Peoria, with either Chad Noble or Jeff Vigurs the back-up.

I wouldn't be surprised if one or two players are converted to catcher at Instructs (the Cubs tried to convert both Jae-Hoon Ha and Brandon May to catcher last year at Instructs, but it didn't work out for either player). AZL Cubs IF-OF Jake McAloose might be one guy they'll try there this year, and Boise 3B Dustin Harrington might profile as a catcher (third-baseman's arm and a thick lower-body).

Thanks, Phil. That's pretty impressive detail on backup catcher options and low-level minor league catchers. Couldn't ask anyone else and get that in-depth a response.

I'm rooting for Chirinos to have a career as a backup C(/2B/3B). He's stuck around and seems to have worked damn hard at the game.


aram out again tonight...

via CM:

2B DeWitt, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 1B Nady, RF Colvin, C Soto, LF Soriano, 3B Barney, P Wells

via P.Sulivan...paraphrased via a series of tweets...

the ricketts are filming a reality show episode today at wrigley. for those wondering how tom ricketts has the time between asking people if they want his autograph or a photo with him...well, evidently it's todd ricketts reality appearance.

MLBTR writer Ben Nicholson-Smith has a post about Geo Soto as a contract extension candidate basing his stats midway between Brian McCann and Chris Iannetta at the start of their arbitration years. Apparently McCann got $15M and Ianetta got $7.8M. Somehow I don't see Soto at $9-12M yet but the author speculates that Soto's 2011-14 seasons might go for McCann money, estimating $14M (as McCann signed his deal earlier in the process, implying Soto has more leverage than McCann had) .


Ugh. Why can't they stay young cheap forever?

Geovany Soto can't be a FA until after the 2013 season, so I wouldn't expect the Cubs to start talking multi-year deal with Geo until Spring Training 2013 (at the earliest).

There is really no reason to sign an arbitration-eligible player to a long-term deal unless the player is a slam-dunk sure-thing to stay healthy AND not go into a prolonged slump, and based on how he performed in 2009 and the likelihood of injury at the catcher position, I would say it would be an unnecessary risk to do anything but go "year-to-year" with Soto until he gets a lot closer to free-agency, even if it might mean losing an arbitration hearing somewhere along the way.


Not sure if I agree with not signing a catcher based on durabiity, but Soto may be one of the guys where the year-by-year carrot works best due to his conditioning issues, or it could have been that 2009 was enough of a wakeup call for him. Time will tell.

maurer may be good, but i bet MIN wishes they would have waited another season before they paid him like a .400ob% 30hr guy.

23m a year from 2011-2018. yow.

That and the Ryan Howard deals will be the worst in Baseball in a few years.

Mauer is 27 this year and still one of the premium hitters in the game, despite not having a lot of HR/Flyballs.

So much of his value is tied with him being a Catcher though. If injuries force a move to 1st or DH (very likely over the next EIGHT YEARS). Now you are talking about Mauer in the same regards as a 23million dollar Shin Soo Choo, Billy Butler or Josh Willingham.

Good players sure, but not guys you want 25% of your payroll tied up in.


Yes, it's ruining the Cardinals.

Also, when guys move from behind home plate they hit better.

yeah, but...23 million bucks. they seem to be expecting more 2009, not a 2008 clone.

I would think they were expecting about 15-20 HR's and a .350 hitter, so they're slightly disapointed with this year.

Az. phil
obviously cubs have alot of time and money tied up in Samardzjia
1. Will they let him start this September.
2 Would they not want to give him every chance to start next year?

I dont expect success but why put him in pen when they made decision
to start all year.

kinda wondering if he's gonna do winter ball and if his role will be SP or RP if he does.

Submitted by rokfish on Wed, 09/08/2010 - 9:19pm.
Az. phil
obviously cubs have alot of time and money tied up in Samardzjia
1. Will they let him start this September.
2 Would they not want to give him every chance to start next year?

I dont expect success but why put him in pen when they made decision
to start all year.


ROKFISH: I expect Jeff Samardzija to get two or three starts before the end of the 2010 regular season. He will also probably be given a chance to start in Spring Training next March (just like he did this past ST), although if Dempster, Zambrano, Silva, Gorzelanny, and Wells all come out of ST healthy, I suspect Samardzija will end up in the bullpen.

One thing we do know is that if the Cubs want to get rid of Samardzija before the start of next season (and this is presuming he does not waive his "no trade"), they will have to release him and eat his 2011 $2.8M salary, minus a pro-rated portion of the $400K MLB minimum salary if he subsequently signs with another MLB club. Otherwise, Samardzija WILL be on the Cubs 2011 25-man Opening Day roster, and he will likely spend the entire season with the Cubs, no matter how badly he pitches.

he'll be the righty 2011 complement to Grabow


I'm thinking Angel Guzman's going to be better in spring training, then somehow will find his way to the 60 day DL.

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