Thoughts on Cubs Offseason Moves

Some my own, some inspired by others...something to distract from the Jay Cutler bashing.

Matt Garza - I don't think anyone is particularly upset about the Cubs getting Garza, it's more a question of is he worth the 5 players they gave up. There seems to be the camp of why make this move now? Matt Garza doesn't make you a contender and he or someone similar will be available during the season. To that I say, the Cubs have to sell tickets in April. And also what's your definition of a contender? While the idea of needing a marketable product may be appalling to those that feel sports teams are owned by the city they live in, the Cubs would have been doing a bigger disservice to their fans with their only improvement being a .196 hitting first basement looking for a second chance.  Without the Garza trade, the Cubs are a mere afterthought when discussing the NL Central and I can't say that I'd make them the favorites now, but they deserve an invitation to the conversation at least. And that chance is what all fans are looking for come March and April, just a chance that the Cubs can contend and I think it's there now.

As for the prospects, fans like to value their teams' prospects much higher than the rest of the league does, so I try not to get too wrapped up in the original outcry. My overall feeling of the system is that while vastly improved of recent, there's not a lot of superstars in there(cross your fingers on Josh Vitters) and I don't think the Cubs traded any away. Diamond Futures had a take on the trade that I happen to agree the selective excerpting:

Yes, maybe Chris Archer or Hak-Ju Lee was the best prospect in the Cubs' system. But given the current lack of elite talent in the respective systems that is exactly why now is the time to trade them. The reason that a team like the Rangers--with a much stronger group of top tier prospects--wasn't able to reach a deal with the Rays, can likely be found in the fact that when the Rays wanted the better prospects from Texas' system the Rangers found the price too high because they would be dealing better players. A similar ask by the Rays might have been Jurickson Profar, Engle Beltre, Robbie Erlin and Max Ramirez. So, instead of questioning Jim Hendry and Doug Melvin, Cubs’ and Brewers’ fans should be praising them for some brilliant acquisitions that should make baseball a lot more interesting around Lake Michigan this summer.

If you personally think Archer or Lee are nearly guaranteed to be All-Stars one day, you'll have a very different take on the trade. It also depends on how much you think Garza will improve getting out of the AL East. I think for three years of Matt Garza and presuming mid-3 ERA's and 200+ innings, the Cubs aren't going to miss any of those prospects. They may perform well for the Rays, but will they perform any better then the players the Cubs will be employing in their positions? My crystal ball never worked too well, but I don't see Chirinos being better then Soto or that much better than W. Castillo when considering the expected little playing time of a back-up catcher. I don't see Brandon Guyer or Sam Fuld doing much over say Reed Johnson or even Fernando Perez. Lee's probably my favorite prospect of the group, but the Cubs could draft a college shortstop with the #9 pick this year and he could be ready by the same time Lee would be to play in the majors. Archer's the real wildcard I guess and I certainly could see him being a real good pitcher in the majors by 2012, but I expect Garza to be a real good pitcher in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for the Cubs.

Carlos Pena - The Cubs didn't want to pay the sticker price on Adam Dunn and I certainly understand the hesitation. 4/$56M is a tough pitch to sell for a guy that no one but Adam Dunn thinks can play a capable first base. With money coming off the books next year and another year flush with first basemen on the open market, I think it was the wise move to go for the one year stop gap here. Whether Pena is the right choice (and apparently Berkman was the Cubs first choice) remains to be seen and this deal could go down in a blaze of failure not seen since Milton Bradley graced the Friendly Confines. That being said, there's things to like, Pena's skillset isn't all that different than Dunn's, both have power, patience and lots of strikeouts. Pena plays better defense, better "clubhouse" guy and cheaper, Dunn is considerably more consistent. Assuming unlimited budgets aren't a reality for the Cubs, it seemed to be the best choice out of the options available.

Kerry Wood - He signed for $1.5M, what's not to like?

Tom Gorzelanny - I would have preferred to keep him over say Carlos Silva if the Cubs just wanted to limit the decisions Mike Quade and Mark Riggins had to make about the rotation. But dealing Silva's weighty contract wouldn't have netted anything for the Cubs in terms of players and the haul they got for the Nationals, while not spectacular, certainly has some potential. Burgess immediately replaces Guyer in the system as the guy that can play all 3 outfield positions with some power. It's not meant to be a 1-to-1 comparison, but rather that they slide into the same  projected roles to the big league club down the line. Morris seems to have a good arm and a lot of work needed to make it useful, let's call him Ninja Jr. from here on out. Graham Hicks sounds like a stock character name for a BBC show, but can't have enough strikeout throwing lefties in your system. Presuming the Cubs had to make a trade to alleviate payroll issues, I think it was a decent haul for a non-descript starter that couldn't crack the Pirates bullet proof rotation just two seasons ago.

Gave Up Acquired

C. Archer

H. Lee

B. Guyer

R. Chirinos

S. Fuld

T. Gorzelanny

X. Nady

M. Garza

F. Perez

Z. Rosscup

C. Pena

K. Wood

M. Burgess

AJ Morris

G. Hicks


Other then Jeff Samardzija and Koyie Hill still being in the organization, I'd say the offseason was pleasantly surprising. Don't mistake that for some grand proclamation that this is the Cubs year, but I think Hendry did the best considering the mess he helped create. And if there's one thing Hendry has shown over his tenure, it's that he's better at quick fixing after a disaster then fine tuning his own masterpieces. He did it in 2003 coming off a dismal 2002 season and he did it again in 2007 after 2006. Here's hoping the pattern repeats in 2011.


I suppose if free agents count, then we "gave up" Xavier Nady as well.

knew I forgot someone.

So are you willing to consider revising your Project .500 to Project .520?

.510 with the Garza trade...

if I had to predict today, I'd go Reds, Brewers, Cards, Cubs but I think they're all in the same 2nd tier of the NL. Ultimately it will come down to injuries and career years as it usually does.

1st Tier - Giants, Phillies
2nd Tier - Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Padres, Dodgers, Rockies
3rd Tier - Nationals, Mets, Diamondbacks
4th Tier - Astros, Pirates

(subject to change before Opening Day when I actually give it some thought)

Ultimately it will come down to injuries and career years


i still dont get all the garza hate. yeah, if you want a guy like that and be able to pay him 6m in 2011 after his last few seasons...with 2 more years of club control after that...well, yeah. as a FA he'd probably command 12m+...

brews got green-key, but they're also paying him 27m for the next 2 years...a decent deal, but not a hands-down bargain and he wasn't given away.

you can at least count on garza to show up and pitch like dumpster...which is as close to a #1 guy as the cubs have.

Two factors to the Garza hate. He's a guy who's stuff is better than his actual production. 95% of Cubs fans are tired of filling the organization with those type of guys.

The other problem is that deal was made to sell tickets. No one thinks the Cubs are going to win in 2011 with Garza. If two of the four prospects the Cubs traded Garza for work out in the majors like they're expected to, the Cubs are going to have to replace those players with FA players (or more Matt Garzas). Essentially they announced to the world "We have no plan, other than to try and stay on the 85 win treadmill".

120-140m teams don't do "off seasons"

17.5m for garza/wood/pena works for me, honestly...great to see wood give a discount.

The Red Sox don't make deals like the Cubs did. Put it that way.

well Red Sox are smart, Yankees have done it all the time though, or at least they use to. Check out the Diamond Futures link in the article for some examples.

It all comes down to what the Cubs value their prospects. They seemed to be very high on Archer, but I'm sure they're very high on Garza and felt that was a wash. The rest all seemed movable to them from the beginning of the offseason. And yes, I agree, they have no plan, they never have. It's all very reactionary GM'ing by Hendry.

No plan? The plan is for Jackson to play center, so no spot for Guyer. The plan is for Castro to play short--that's also his own personal plan--so no spot for Lee. The plan is for Soto and Castillo to do the catching, so no spot for Chirinos. Garza "replaces" Archer.

Maybe you don't like the plan, but there it is.

I pretty much said all that in an earlier comment, I get the trade and I'm even in favor of it.

But if you haven't noticed the pattern over the last 9 years of Hendry overreacting each offseason with short term fixes rather than a long term plan on how to build a winner, I recommend actually reading some of the posts around here rather then just commenting on whichever awesome line some fringe prospect put up that day.

You're right, I was a little quick to press Save on that last one. Then I was in the processing of editing it to acknowledge your post #10, where you said a lot of the same things, when I got distracted by something going on at work. (I hate when that happens.)

Anyway, I tend to think that Hendry has reformed a bit under new ownership.

I'm hoping that the moves Hendry has made are part of a more-than-one year plan. Adding Garza strengthens the rotation for the next three years, not just one. Also, signing Pena for one year rather than going "all in" on Dunn leads me to believe that Hendry plans on spending some big money on a first baseman in 2012.

It seems to me that Hendry has built a Cubs team for 2011 that will be competitive, but probably not playoff worthy, with an eye toward making some big moves in 2012. At least that's what I hope is happening.


+ has NO TRADE rights

+ Alfonso Soriano - $18M
+ Carlos Zambrano - $18M
+ Ryan Dempster - $15.5M player option (includes $1.5M in deferred salary)
+ Aramis Ramirez - $16M mutual option or $2M club buy-out
Carlos Silva - $12M or $2M club buy-out option
Marlon Byrd - $6.5M
Sean Marshall - $3.1M
+ Jeff Samardzija - $3M club option
Carlos Pena - $5M deferred from 2011 salary

TOTAL - $87.1M for nine players (including $5M deferred salary FA Carlos Pena), and I am presuming at this time that the Cubs will exercise 2012 club option to retain Ramirez, Dempster exercises player option to remain with Cubs in 2012, Cubs decline Silva 2012 option and pay $2M buy-out, and Cubs decline to exercise 2012 club option on Samardzija, making Samardzija an "auto renewal player" for 2012 unless he is outrighted post-2011 or is non-tendered on 12/2.

Jeff Baker
Kosuke Fukudome (see NOTE)
Matt Garza
Koyie Hill
Carlos Marmol
Geovany Soto
Randy Wells
NOTE: Kosuke Fukudome is technically eligible for salary arbitration post-2011, but he can demand Outright Release if he is not signed to a 2012 contract by 11-15-2011

TOTAL: Very hard to predict right now, but I would say it's very likely that Fukudome won't be back, and it's possible that Baker and/or K. Hill will get non-tendered. That leaves Garza, Marmol, Soto, and Wells (1st time eligible), and let's say for our purposes here that K. Hill and Baker are tendered, and each player eligible for salary arbitration has basically the same kind of year in 2011 that they had in 2012:

Matt Garza - $8.5M
Carlos Marmol - $7M
Geovany Soto - $5M
Randy Wells - $2.5M
Jeff Baker - $1.5M
Koyie Hill - #1M


So that means $112.6M for 14 players, with 11 slots to be filled by auto-renewal guys, so that's another $6.5M estimated for auto-renewal players on the 25-man roster and on optiional assignment to the minors, for a grand total of...


Not knowing what the Cubs 2012 payroll budget will be (it looks to be around $130M in 2011), Hendry might have only about $10M to spend on payroll additions (players acquired via free-agents or trade)

However, if Randy Wells is traded or non-tendered and is replaced on the 25-man roster by an auto-renewal player, that would take the projected 2012 payroll down to $117.1M.

And if the Cubs also decline their $16M 2012 club option on Ramirez (which is possible if he has another year like he did in 2011), pay him the $2M buy-out, and replace him with an auto-renewal guy, the 2012 payroll goes down to $103.6M (or $104.1M if Wells returns in 2012).

So if all this comes to pass (but with Ramirez, Baker, K. Hill, and Wells back in 2012), here is the probable $119.1M Cubs 2012 Opening Day roster...

Chris Carpenter
Andrew Cashner
Casey Coleman
Ryan Dempster
Matt Garza
Jay Jackson
Scott Maine
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Marcos Mateo
Randy Wells
Carlos Zambrano

Welington Castillo
Koyie Hill

Jeff Baker
Darwin Barney
Starlin Castro
Blake DeWitt
Aramis Ramirez
Geovany Soto

Marlon Byrd
Tyler Colvin
Brett Jackson
Fernando Perez
Alfonso Soriano

Clearly 1B will need to be addressed by trade or FA, unless Colvin or Soto moves there, but then that creates a hole someplace else.

And 3B will also need to be addressed (if in-house, probably with either Marquez Smith or Josh Vitters) if Ramirez does not return in 2012.

If Brett Jackson does a Starlin Castro and forces his way into the lineup sometime in 2011, either Colvin could be moved to 1B, or Marlon Byrd could be traded (and if Byrd is traded, that saves $6.5M in payroll).

The starting pitching staff could probably withstand the loss of Randy Wells, any one of a number of Cubs minor leaguers or minor league FAs could likely fill back-up roles if Baker and/or K. Hill are non-tendered, and there should be an abundance of in-house auto-renewal candidates for middle-relief jobs.

The bottom-line is, even if Ramirez returns in 2012, the Cubs will probably have a hole in the lineup somewhere, and it looks like it will be at 1B and the #3 or #4 hole in the batting order.

So by going cheap with Pena and deferring half his salary. We can't afford to fix 1st base again next year?

Cubs were trying to get Adrian Gonzalez, and I assume an extension would have gone with it. i'm sure they can afford to fix 1b if they find a player they like.

It's just not Adam Dunn.

I'm sure if Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder are on the market they will find money for those two guys.

One thing to keep in mind, if Pena bounces back and improves his batting average all the way up to .230ish he's still going to get booed mercilessly at Wrigley. Fans aren't going to tolerate a middle of the order hitter striking out or not making good contact as often as he does.

"Fans aren't going to tolerate a middle of the order hitter striking out or not making good contact as often as he does."

They will if he taps at his heart at the fans and hops when he homers.

~wait for it~

And then start juicing like a m'fer.

I dont even know what that statement means Jacos.

In his prime Sosa was a .275+ hitter. Sure he struck out but he took his walks crushed alot of HR's and knocked in alot of RBI.

Carlos Pena is coming off his 3rd straight season of hitting .247 or below. And it seems the more he plays the worse he hits. Carlos Pena at his absolute best is a very poor version of Sammy Sosa.

Sosa's crap year that made people hate him was a .253 BA 35 HR and 80 RBI.

Carlos Pena is arriving with a .196 BA, 28 HR's and 84 RBI. And people are kinda cool with that.

Were the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 hoping he has something left in the tank. Ya us i guess.

Pena's trend is going down, and coupled with how inpatient Cubs fans have become the last few years, I think that could turn out to be a bad marriage. Just remember how frustrating it was to see DLee struggle last year. Pena hits more hr's than Lee but hits at least fifty points less.

Hopefully Pena does get off to a good start, because if the team is going to be mediocre AND have constant booing, they're be no fun to watch at all.

Yes. Batting average is how we measure good players.

Oh it's not 1986?

Was is the .325 OBP or the .407 slugging percentage that saved him in your eyes? He put up better slash stats with the Tigers before they relegated him to AAAA status.

Last year Pena struggled with injury. He had a bad year average-wise. He did manage to get a .325 OBP...bad, but not horrific.
He has never been a high average hitter. If he manages even a return to the .227/.356/.537 of 2009, and hits 30 HR's while playing decent 1B for his salary....That wouldn't be a good year for what he's getting? I'm just not going to judge a player solely on batting average, or ignore Pena's 144 HR's over the last 4 season. He's been a solid power hitter, and for the most part, a decent 1B for the last 5 years. He'll strike out a lot...walk a good amount...and hit home runs. For 1 year? This was a nice pickup.

According to Fangraphs rather dubious value calculation, if he repeats his 2009, the Cubs would be getting about what they pay for.

Strikeouts weren't really his problem, last year, in comparison to his better years, it was his horrorific BABIP - part of that he causes by being slow and attempting to hit through a shifted defense. Hopefully with cheap HR's at Wrigley to be had in left center, Jaramillo will get through to him.

2 good points there Neal....also battling plantar fascitis and a hand injury probably weren't helping either.

Actually, according to their win value metrics, he only needs to perform 80 percent as well as he did in 2009 to earn what he made on the 2011 market.

I will buy into the injury thingfor last year. Butwhat about theprevious 2 years andanyseasonwhere he gets over 200AB's? He reallyisnt a good hitterandis getting older.

Pena doesn't hit for average....true.
DLEE:.291/.361/.462, 20HR,90RBI,93R
Pena: .247/.377/.494 31 HR, 102 RBI, 76 R

DLEE .306/.393/.579, 35HR, 111RBI, 91R
Pena:.227/.356/.537, 39HR, 100 RBI, 91 R

Is he really that much worse than what we've had? Batting average aside?

"Hopefully with cheap HR's at Wrigley to be had in left center, Jaramillo will get through to him."

I don't think HRs in left-center are as cheap for a lefty slugger. Wrigley loves right-handed power, left-handed not as much.

But I echo your hope that Jaramillo can find something to improve his power output. And if that means going oppo, all the better.

I remember reading articles about Pena back after he had his breakout year with the raise that framed the narrative as his career pretty much as follows: Player who had great promise but whose game was seen as having significant drawbacks. Coaches tried to teach him how to remove those drawbacks, and it screwed up the things he was doing well. Bounced around organizations. Found success when he got back to his own game, not what coaches told him.

If Pena sees himself that way too, I wouldn't count on Jaramillo making a big difference, unless he manages to find something to say to Pena that Pena likes too.

It's where the cheap home runs are, regardless of which side of the plate you stand on. Edmonds got more than a couple there. He's another guy they used to try to shift on.

"It's where the cheap home runs are, regardless of which side of the plate you stand on."

If "cheap" means "closest," then I agree, but if it means "easiest to hit" then I think hitters get cheap homers to their pull field.

But with their historical power trouble at Wrigley, maybe there are no cheap lefty homers there.

Jim Edmonds and his Cubs power surge takes issue with your assertion.

Jim Edmonds' hot streak does not a trend make.

Wrigley tends higher than average on Park Factor for home runs, true.

But when splits are taken into account, most of that is from righties. Lefty power is actually suppressed at Wrigley.

Now would be a great place to link to the source I can't find so you have something other than my word to take for this.

OK, but what the hell are you talking about?

No need to be confrontational.

You're familiar with park factors, TRN? They can be developed not just for runs scored, but for home runs, singles, etc. That's the link in my previous comment.

Further, they can be developed for splits on those stats. So you can see which parks have a higher park factor for RH or LH home runs.

Which will tell you which parks are more favorable (and therefore offer more cheap HR) to left- or right-hand hitters.

I have seen a report, and I cannot find it now, that showed Wrigley's park factor for righty HR is high, but its park factor for lefty HR is low.

So, it's easier to hit HR for righties than for lefties in Wrigley. Therefore, more "cheap" HR for righties.

just follow the Marlon Byrd plan, make sure you have a good first month.

You can hit like Ryan Theriot in Aug/Sept and no one notices.

Hey, that is a great plan. It made Kosuke Fukudome an All-Star.

Cubs got themselves in a pennant race unfortunately so they were still paying attention in Aug/Sept on Fukudome.

Byrd was complete shit for 33% of the season, no one noticed.

Aramis complete shit for 33% of the season but it's in April/May and he's a bum.

"Aramis complete shit for 33% of the season but it's in April/May and he's a bum."

Last year? More like 50% of the season.

OPS by month


my definition is a sub .700 OPS, yours may be different

He missed two weeks in June.


Check this out-

Are the June averages off? His highest OBP was .247 and was consistently below yet ends up with .342 for the month.

What am I missing? Not much of a stat guy I admit.

.342 is his OBP for the month of June

the OBP number after each game is his season line after that game so it's weighed down by the previous 2 months.

June is when he stopped listening to Soriano about how to try to play through an injury.

I still feel he sucked until July.

The daily OBP is actually "year to date" OBP. The monthly total is for that month. So his .342 OBP in June raised his yearly OBP from .222 on June 4th to .247 by June 30th.

Pretty much that last sentence is all you need to know about the 2010 Cubs.. that and they called up the Triple C's.

I couldn't agree more...Red Sox makes deals to win championships, Cubs make deals to give the appearance of contending.

I personally believe the Cubs had a higher chance of winning a championship during the next decade before the Garza trade than after. And I don't believe that adding Garza makes our chance of winning next year or 2012 more than the neglible level it was already.

Is it an announcement if everyone already knows?

kidding aside, my guess at the motivations to the trade, besides the obvious we have to answer the Greinke trade, is the Cubs felt they could absorb the loss of all those prospects for a little immediate help.

Chirinos::Castillo, Soto
Lee::Castro, Flaherty, LeMaheiu, etc
Guyer::Burgess, so on

now of course they gave up the better prospect (at the moment) in the cases of Lee, Chirinos and Guyer but I have a feeling the Cubs like some of these other guys as much or nearly as much.

i dunno how garza is some disposable "that type of guy" when the numbers...out produces what we even have.

it's not like he's 30+, either. he's pitched in the AL East, has postseason experience, seems like a lock for 200ip, and turns in sub-1.30 whip while doing it.

i guess if you're not a dumpster fan you're not gonna like garza...not like they're super-comparable, but it's as close as we have on this team and he can hold his own.

I don't think the Garza trade was made to sell tickets. Does anyone really think Ricketts or someone in the front office approached Hendry and told him to make a deal to help sell tickets? No.

I think Hendry is an optometrist, probably as all GM's need to be, and also didn't want to completely waive the white flag for an entire year. Are they likely to contend? No. Are they more likely to contend with Garza on the team? Of course.

And, as I said when the deal was made, while I don't really think the Cubs are going to contend in the next couple of seasons, I think Hendry took a look at the larger landscape of available and possibly available starting pitchers over the next couple of seasons (after Lee had signed and Greinke was traded) and realized Garza was not only the best guy that will likely be available in 2011/2012, but that Hendry also had the means, both in talent and dollars, to make a deal for him.

As much as I complain about Hendry, I'd much rather have an aggressive GM that is trying to win, even if I disagree with his method of roster construction, than have another GM who sits on his hands and builds perennial 75 win teams.

I don't think the Garza trade was made to sell tickets. Does anyone really think Ricketts or someone in the front office approached Hendry and told him to make a deal to help sell tickets? No.

not so blatantly...

I think Hendry could see the landscape after the Greinke trade and even losing Berkman to the Cards that he needed to make a move to contend and I'm sure there's a prevalent theme of please keep us relevant from the owners.

I'll put it like this, I don't think he includes Archer if the Brewers don't get Greinke.

my take on it...

I think there's a very real possibility that a conversation close to that happened.

"Jim, we've seen the Brewers make some pretty good deals, any chance we could do something like that?"

And the end of the day - it's a 2 win trade, and it cost us $3 million in payroll. I just think those four prospects, $3 millon, and Gorz, are worth more than 2 wins and the prospects we got back.

There's really no justification for this trade, outside of selling tickets. I am not sure who's going to be available over the next two years, but I'll tell you one guy who won't be... Chris Archer.

there's no justification in picking up a 26/27 year old who pitches 200ip, sub 4.00era, sub 1.30 whip while pitching in the AL East?

did i walk into the twilight zone here?

i mean, hey, chris archer is neat, but the guy needs to put a ball over the plate before we put him in the rotation over the next 2+ years.

Not at the expense of four prospects $3 million and a pitcher who pitched just as well, if not as long, last year, for a team that's not going anywhere, no.

Gorzelanny pitched ok for the Cubs last year. Garza is better, more durable, and has playoff experience.

It is ridiculous to compare Gorzelanny to Garza.

Seriously??? You just compared Sloth to Garza??? Get a clue!


Archer was a grade C. 15-20 range prospect 12 months ago.

Other than Pena over Dunn, Hendry has had one of his better offseasons. He's actually sold high on several assets. Gorzo, Archer, Guyer and Chirinos.

No way those guys net us what they did just a handful of months ago.

Archer's upside is, at least, as high as that of Garza. Archer also may never reach the majors. When you are not in contention, you are interested in future upside. When you are close to winning the championship, Garza's current production is more important.

Guyer was our best hitter in the minors last year at an age appropriate level. Lee was our best middle infield prospect and a potential leadoff hitter better than anything we have. Chirinos was a catching prospect who hit well at AA. These are all valuable.

If this were the offseason for the Cubs after 2003 or 2008, then this trade might make sense. After 2010...I'd rather have the potential Archer, Guyer, Lee and Chirinos than Garza.

Just a FWIW, Garza would have ranked 7th among Cubs starters in ERA+ last year, and I think FIP as well. Tampa was a very good place to pitch. think Garza might fare better getting to pitch in the NL Central than the AL East?

Uh... you think ERA+ may already compensate for part of that?

honest question, does it balance for divisions?

I thought it just was based on leagues.

I'm sure a lot of folks, me included, expect a Ted Lilly here and I'm sure there are other examples pitchers moving from the AL East to the NL. Drawing a blank on that at the moment myself....

Halladay moved from the AL East to the NL. His ERA dropped .035 via fewer walks and better defense.

that's a 12.5% drop I believe, which would come to .48 ERA dip for Garza.

If you take a 3 year averages, it was a 20% drop for Halladay. For Garza that would make a 3.05 ERA.

Lilly dropped 11% on his ERA from one year to the next when joining the Cubs, 15% from his 3 year Toronto averages to his first year with Chicago and 18% from his previous 3 year Torono averages to first 3 years with Chicago.

AL run scoring dropped off from 2009 to 2010 by .35 runs/per game(4.85 to 4.45) while NL went down just .10 runs/per game. I don't know if that's a trend or just an anomaly yet, Garza's numbers stayed the same from 2009 to 2010 and faced 3 of the top 6 offenses (although they're R/G went down as well).

He'll getting something similar with Reds, Brewers and Cards, but Reds and Brewers didn't quite pace the field as much as Yanks and Red Sox did. He also gets Astros and Pirates instead of just the O's on the bottom feeders.

The wind might blow out for everyone of his starts and he'll put up a 3.90 - 4 ERA, but I certainly can see him improving a half run and I'm sure that's what the Cubs are expecting.

Lilly and Hallady both went from bad defensive teams to good (ish in the case of the Cubs) defensive teams. Garza is moving in the opposite direction.

It's not like I make up the numbers at three seperate websites to win hypothetical arguments. There's lots of things that are possible, but I think if you expect Garza to pitch a lot better than he did last year, you're going to be in for a surprise. In 2009 he dominated the Yankees and Red Sox, yet his ERA was essentially the same. It won't take the wind blowing out at every one of his starts for him to have a greater than 4 ERA. All it will take is him to do exactly what he did last year.

Is bad defense going by defensive efficiency or FIP?

by FIP, Lilly and Halladay look worse then their ERA's just like Garza before the move.

By defensive efficiency, I can see where you're going, although Lilly in 2006 had the 10th defense to the Cubs 6th defense that ended up the top defense in 2007. I don't think we know where the Cubs defense will be in 2011, (probably not the top).

I also could easily see Garza's walk rates improving drastically just by not having a DH and seeing the pitcher, just like Lilly and Halladay, which in turn would improve his FIP dramatically.

He's also moving from a park which was the best to pitch in last year, to one of the worst.

It could happen, but if you crunch the numbers, a lot more than any of us are doing here, it doesn't seem like it should be expected to happen, and it's certaintly not a slam-dunk to happen.

In Toronto Lilly wasn't a guy who constantly beat his FIP. In Garza we've got a guy who has got to both beat his FIP, and improve his FIP to improve.

*and I meant bad defense by my recollection of defensive efficiency.

.... *kerplooie*

Even more important. He now gets to face the pitcher once in about every 9 opponents. The DH in the American League hurts pitchers to the extent of about half a run per game.

The AL average team ERA was 4.14 last year. The NL average was 4.02 last year. The AL was still a little better than the NL last year based on head-to-head.

If you take the park factors straight up between Tropicana and Wrigley, and apply it to half of Garza's innings his 2010 ERA would have been 4.81 on the season... still excited?

Absolutely not, I think we should both slash our wrists!!!!!!

You first and I'll be right behind you!!!!!

I am amazed you're still alive after the White Sox signed their DH.

Garza has given 30+ starts each of the last 3 seasons, pitching 184 innings, then 203 and 204. Gorzelanny pitched 136 innings last year, 47 the year before, 105 in 2008.

I'll take Garza. Gorzelanny isn't as good a pitcher, and he's not shown to be as durable.

Technically Gorzellany pitched 124 innings last year and 141 the year before, but you're making a strawman argument. I said "pitcher who pitched just as well, if not as long."

By ERA+, Gorzelanny pitched better. By xFIP, Gorz pitched better. I would guess by SiERA may like Garza's season a little better than Gorz's last year, but baseball prospectus has him worth less than one more win (and that's not a rate stat, that's a counting stat).

Garza is going to have to deal with the Brewers, the Reds and the Cardinals this year, while pitching in Wrigley and in front of a not-very good defense. Don't expect Garza to drop a half run off his ERA. we're going to count minor league mistake. Mea Culpa. I'm sure Gorz's 6.66 ERA in 2008 and 5.55 ERA in 2009 were both due just to bad fielding and luck.

I am also willing to wager, that if you polled MLB executives, players, managers, batboys, etc...most would say that Garza is a better pitcher. No, I'll take the guy who is less durable, and more likely to get shipped to AAA. because he pitched well in a stetch of games last year. I'll just ignore his career, and go by last season.
Over Garza's career, he gives up fewer walks per 9 innings, strikes out more batters, gives up fewer hits/9 and his career ERA+ is 107 to Gorz's 93.
But I'm wrong. Sure
Oh...and Gorz made it 7 innings or more 4 times last year to Garza's he doesn't go deep into games either?
Ok whatever.

"I'm sure Gorz's 6.66 ERA in 2008 and 5.55 ERA in 2009 were both due just to bad fielding and luck."

Well, the ERA in 2008 was probably mostly due to just coming back from a shoulder injury, and his FIP in 2009 (when he struck out a batter per inning, more than Garza, and also beat Garza in BB/K ratio) was pretty good.

But keep living in 1986, if that makes you happy.

"Oh...and Gorz made it 7 innings or more 4 times last year to Garza's he doesn't go deep into games either." Dude, which word was too big for you to understand in "a pitcher who pitched just as well, if not as long"? Seriously, I want know. The longest words only had six letters and in baseball discussion "pitched" and "pitcher" are used quite often.

(By the way, the AL teams pitched two more complete games, per team on average last year than NL teams, but averaged four fewer shutouts. Your apply my baseball knowledge and logic test for this off-season will be to explain why that happened).

Ok..I'll take a pitcher that can be counted on to pitch deep into make 30 starts, and pitch 180-200 innings ever year. You can have the guy who struggles to stay in the majors, doesn't make a full season of starts, and puts up inflated ERA's most years. 2009?? Gorzelanny made 7 whole starts in MLB..I'm soo excited.
Career #'s:
Gorz: ERA+ 93, K/9 6.6, BB/9 4.1, WHIP 1.491, Hits/9 9.3
Garza: ERA+ 107, K/9 7.1, BB/9 2.8, WHIP 1.315, Hits/9 8.7

Garza also has pitched 170 more innings, and made 23 more starts in 1 less season.

I liked Gorz as the 5th guy. But to say he's as good as Garza is hilarious. you get punched a lot? Just curious.

No, I never get punched, idiots tend to get a clue much quicker in real life than they do at TCR.

Did you score very low on the reading comprehension of standardized testing? It's a rhetorical question. 9 times in this thread in this thread you've misquoted me, and then proceeded to argue with it. I've never said that Gorz has been as good as Garza for the length of their careers, or that he pitched as many innings as Garza did last year. All I said, was that last year when he pitched, he pitched as well as Garza. (Defining "pitching" as over the things which a pitcher has control.) If Gorzelanny was in the Rays rotation last year, he likely would have had a 3.70 ERA.

What part of "shoulder injury" do you not understand, while we're at it?

Lol...Gorz wouldn't make the Rays rotation.
I like discussing this with you TRN....but I usually try to take great pains to NOT INSULT YOU, OR ANYONE ELSE I discuss with. You, on the other hand, take every opportunity to do it.
My point has been this:Who cares if Gorz pitched "as well" as Garza last year, but in fewer innings, fewer starts, and against weaker opponents?" Garza is a better pitcher, and is more reliable. So who gives a shit about losing tom Fucking Gorzelanny.

The point isn't Gorzelanny... the point is that Garza doesn't bring nearly as much to the organization has he cost.

Hmm. Maybe? Chirinos might be a backup catcher someday...Guyer might be a 4th/5th OF. Is he more likely somewhere between his 2008 and 2010 seasons? I was not thrilled to lose Chris Archer....and Hak-Ju Lee looks like he might develop, or he might not develop at the plate. He's awfully young to tell really.

I think it will be more obvious to you as the season plays out. The Cubs went from the fourth best team to the fourth best team - and weakened their farm system, and spent extra money to do it. In 2011, the difference between Gorzelanny and Garza doesn't push the Cubs into the playoffs. In 2012 to 2015, the difference between Garza and the guys we lost may keep us out of the playoffs. There's no real upside.

If Chirinos or Guyer or Lee is a regular in MLB in 2012, I will pay you $50.
Lee might be ready at the end of 2012. Might. Archer I didn't understand giving up. I think a better point is that even with the addition of Garza, the Cubs are still not good enough to contend in 2011. I agree there.

You could lose $100 on that one, if anyone remembers. (Edit: maybe you didn't promise $50 each.)

Everybody thinks that Cub prospects can't be starters in the majors unless they're top picks or phenoms like Vitters and Castro. What about Casey McGehee? He's no all star, but he's the Brewer 3B. Marquez Smith was better in the minors than McGehee: look at their last year (both at age 25) at Iowa.

I could give you a decent-size list of Cub prospects who could be everyday players, though maybe not with the Cubs: Barney, Chirinos, Guyer, Smith,Tony Thomas, Flaherty, Ridling. Then you have guys the Cubs like for certain positions: Vitters, Jackson, LeMahieu, Castillo. Burgess I've gotten more sceptical about. Campana I'm not sure, but he's a type of player the plodding Cubs could use. He's better than Sam Fuld.

Chirinos may be an MLB starter by June of this year. Teams don't covet backup catchers, and the Rays certainly coveted Chirinos.

The more I look at Guyer's progress since he joined the Cubs organization, the more I like what I see. Take a look at those AA numbers again, they're really sick and it's not like they came from the Texas league.

Yes both guys were older than you like a top prospect to be for their leagues, but they didn't dominate the SL by spending three years there and learning all the pitchers. I think that's a truism that the Rays may be on to that other organizations are a little slow to catch up to.

Lee I would agree has too many holes in his game (aka his swing) to earn a MLB job by next year, but he's got no one in front of him either.

guyer is still just a doubles-power contact hitting guy, though.

if he can play CF on the ML level that helps his value to a team, but he's going to go to bat and swing.

i'm not sure how much pitch selection he's actually looking for at the plate, but it helps he can hit well what he is seeing.

You're talking about Guyer or Byrd?

Guyer had a really good season in AA. True. Is he suddenly a .344 hitter? Maybe? I doubt it.
My issue, as it has ALWAYS been with the trade was that this trade doesn't make the Cubs a contender for 2011. I have never had issue with Garza....rather that the trade is shortsighted. Chirinos in AA at age 26? If he wasn't hitting, he should be ashamed of himself.

So you think any 33 year old man could hit in AA because he's older? That's not how it works.

I think a lot of us are confused as to why this deal, now. Unless Soriano and Ramirez both return to form, and Colvin improves...and....

A lot of ands.

I read somewhere that half of his games last year were pitched against the Yankees and Red Sox. Let's not pretend Garza is a dud... he's a good pitcher and probably becomes one of the Cub's top pitchers. In my humble opinion.

I envision Garza becoming the Jay Cutler of the Cubs.

The Jason Schmidt of Cubdom

This is a good point. As another FWIW, his 2010 2.0 WAR would have been 6th on the 2010 Cubs. His 2009 3.8 WAR, however, would have easily led the team. Here's hoping for more of the latter in his future.

Baseballs Larry Bird if you will

Hendry's an optometrist? You'd think he would be able to see things more clearly. I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

I agree with most of your sentiments, except I don't particularly mind Hill or Samardzija. I still have a tiny bit of hope for Jeff. You never know when the light bulb is going to go on.

I have a little more hope for Burgess than TRN does, since I'm sure there are pretty good players who struck out a ton in the minors. The one who came immediately to mind was Derrek Lee, who struck out 170 times in AA at the age of 20. Neither of the two Ryan H.'s, Howard or Harvey, ever struck out that often (in the minors). Granted, Lee hit 34 dingers that year, which Burgess hasn't done. But when Burgess K'd 162 times at age 19, he did hit 24 HRs. Last season his K's were a manageable 116 but his power fell off a bit. We shall see.

I don't like anything about Perez except his speed, including his poems, videos and essays. He's no Brandon Guyer, and I hope he loses his job, if there is one, to Campana, who can match his speed and is three years younger, and who, by the way, has earned a shot.

But that's a minor issue. My big disappointment in an otherwise intriguing offseason is if I have to see Fukudome in Cubby blue again. This guy really has to be untradeable to still be around.

I want Ninja to figure it out too, but without an option this year, that's gonna be tough to keep him on the roster.

Not that a trade was out there that was even worth it...

I don't mind Samardzija, but I don't mind Jeff Blauser either. Both are water under the bridge.

At this point, it's not reasonable to expect Burgess to make the majors. Maybe he'll "figure it out" or get a new batting coach or whatever, but he's not in Derrek Lee's class as a prospect, and never was. If he hits 34 HR's in the Southern League like Lee did (two years younger), and puts up a 900+ OPS, then we'll talk.

On further review, I think I'm going to concede this one to you. It wasn't easy to find other examples besides Derrek Lee of good hitters who struck out a lot in the minors. Ryan Howard should probably not be used as a model; and Chris Young, with all his strikeouts, has to hit HRs AND steal bases--which Burgess doesn't do--to keep his job.

Burgess looks like a real longshot.

That's what I think now, but Jackson struck out too much in college to be a legitimate prospect, so you never know. Maybe the Cubs have some coaches who can teach a guy to go from ridiculous to merely offensive K numbers.

Good summary. I agree with most of what was written.

However, you forgot to account for the -8 VORM the Cubs put up between 4/5 and 8/22.

If everything goes right, this is a 90-win team. Everything never goes right, especially for this franchise; I'll place my bet around 80-85 wins in an improved NL Central.

82 to 85 win range sounds about right. Team is setup for 2012 anyway, if they're just interesting-enough to watch in 2011 and play reasonably competitive ball, then I'm satisfied I guess. The Cubs team to watch in 2011 isn't in Chicago anyway, it's in Tennessee, that's where nearly all the top prospects will be.

I disagree a bit with Rob on the quality of the Cubs system, I think it's certainly top 10 in the bigs even after the Garza trade. Name me more than a half-dozen teams that have a more interesting top 10 than this:

B. Jackson, McNutt, Vitters, Carpenter, LeMahieu, J. Jackson, Sczcur, Castillo, Golden, Simpson.

That's pretty damn good, and Simpson rates just a 10 right now only because we haven't seen him pitch pro ball yet due to his mono. If he lives up to his gaudy college numbers, he'll shoot up to where Archer was rather quickly.

Guess it depends on your opinion of B. Jackson, but I only see vitters with the potential to be a regular all-star in that group. The rest could be good, but I don't see greatness there. That's not to say the system is poor, but the cubs stars are past their prime at this point and they need replacements quick. But if you include Castro and cashner, things are a lot rosier.

When you see Sczcur I think you'll change your mind on that. He's a great athlete, admittedly, pretty far from the majors at this point, but it wouldn't shock me if he reaches AA by the end of this year.

I haven't seen Sczcur at all but everything I read makes me very interested. I just wish next time the Cubs get a football/baseball player they get one with a pronounceable name.

I just wish next time the Cubs get a football/baseball player they get one with a pronounceable name.
Hail Caesar...Hendry had the Gaul to sign this one.

Yeah, I read that's how you pronounce is name, but I sure as hell don't think "Caesar" when I see Sczcur. I think, well, ScuzCur.

ScuzCur, LOL. I am sure it's been pronounced that way by a few teachers along the line.

Let's just refer to him as TRON from now on.

1,2,3,4, FIF

Actually, it's two Z's and one C, not the other way around.



(I would learn how to spell Coach K if he was a Cub.)

do most organizations top 10 prospects all become all-stars?

I guess I'm not being clear. I have no problem with the cubs system overall, wilken did the job hendry asked him too and get him major leaguers. But I don't see a lot of great major leaguers in there right now, top 20 prospect type guys and those are the ones I'd worry about trading away.

If you're a top 10 organization, you should probably have two guys you can see as being All-Stars. Sort of like the Cubs before the promotions/trades of Cashner, Castro and Lee.

I'd say Vitters is 90% likely to be a total bust.

OMG, I have to say I side more with TRN on this Garza trade. More from the direction that I don't understand how it gets the team deep into the 2011 Playoffs. It's hard not to see it as a ticket selling move.

I have no problem trading any of these guys if this is the move that puts them over the top. Garza is a good pitcher who's immediately a Top 3 pitcher on this staff. But where is this team going to be around October 10th -- watching the playoffs, right?

I think the problem I have (and maybe others here) is that Hendry has a plan which, of course, he doesn't. the plan to build a team from within? Or to deal prospects away continually hoping to catch lightning in a bottle?

That said, I like Garza....I just don't "get" the move in a year where they might be the 4th best team in the division.

3 years of Club control makes it understandable. Especially as we start to phase out of the Silva, Dempster, Zambrano contracts over those 3 years.

Chances are we have a good NL 2/3 starter for 3 years and 2 first rounders when he leaves.

Last year at this time, not one guy we dealt was in our top 10 Prospect lists. Honestly not one guy in the deal was in most top 15 lists.

Lee was on everyone's top 10 prospects list, and Archer was 8th on BP's list last year.

There's also a chance that Garza blows his shoulder out in spring training and never pitches a single inning for the Cubs.

TRN - Thanks for the chuckle. Only on a Cubs blog would you see this kind of tortured pessimism... I'm right there with you, though, I admit, my fear is not just limited to Garza...

Well, actually I was trying to express the fact that putting all your eggs in one basket increases risk. I don't think Garza is going to get hurt (for example like I did Pevay), but it sure as hell wouldn't shock me either, pitchers get hurt.

There used to be an addage that you never trade a position player (Brock) for a pitcher (Broglio), basically for this reason.

I thought the thinking was that the free agent market for starting pitchers next offseason is thin, so the Cubs felt they had to act now.

Not sure this is true, just the spin I had heard.

List of Starting Pitchers who could be free agents after 2011 season: (thanks, MLBTR

There's nobody even remotely close to a Garza-quality SP on the list who realistically becomes a free agent.

Mark Buehrle (33)
Chris Carpenter (37) - $15MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Bruce Chen (35)
Aaron Cook (33) - $11MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
Kyle Davies (28)
Ryan Dempster (35) - $14MM player option
Zach Duke (29) - mutual option
Jeff Francis (30)
Jon Garland (32) - vesting option
Aaron Harang (34) - mutual option
Rich Harden (30)
Livan Hernandez (37)
Edwin Jackson (28)
Kenshin Kawakami (37)
Scott Kazmir (28) - $13.5MM club option with a $2.5MM buyout
Hiroki Kuroda (37)
Paul Maholm (30) - $9.75MM club option with a $750K buyout
Jason Marquis (33)
Sergio Mitre (31)
Scott Olsen (28) - $4MM club option
Roy Oswalt (34) - $16MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Vicente Padilla (34)
Brad Penny (34)
Oliver Perez (30)
Joel Pineiro (33)
Nate Robertson (34)
Wandy Rodriguez (33)
C.C. Sabathia (31) - may opt out of remaining four years, $92MM
Carlos Silva (33) - $12MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout
Javier Vazquez (35)
Adam Wainwright (30) - $10MM vesting option for '12, $12MM for '13
Tim Wakefield (45)
Chien-Ming Wang (32)
Brandon Webb (33)
C.J. Wilson (31)
Chris Young (33)

Thanks Paul.

The following season actually looks pretty good (at this point).

So the 2013 excuse is sort of out the window. Lots of those guys will be available via trade or free agency.

Everything for 2012 depends on Jackson, Vitters and LeMahieu. If they have great 2011 seasons in AA, the Cubs could use them to replace Ramirez, Fukudome, and the 2nd base carousel. Hendry then goes all-in on Pujols or Fielder. I like, if the young players can get it done.

Well, if we get Pujols into the lineup, you can carry a couple of Brendan Harris's (not that I recommend that).

BTW, seen on Twitter while catching up on TCR posts--Cubs to sign Todd Wellemeyer to a major league deal, though NOT guaranteed. I'm guessing this means he gets Arizona in March to win a middle relief job or go somewhere else.

Wellemeyer would be better than Justin Berg or Thomas Diamond in a middle relief role, I guess....

According to Bruce Levine, the #Cubs signed Todd Wellemeyer to a 1-yr, non-guaranteed deal for $800,000. Wellemeyer can earn an add $400,000

also found on twitter

$800K for Wellemeyer....yeah..that's much better than Coleman, Jay Jackson, or Chris Carpenter...

He did have a good year in 2008....great?

Non-Guaranteed makes it all good to me.

If he wins the job, good for him. If he don't then its no biggie. Guy always had a live arm. Just awful control/command.

This game will always stand out in my memories of Cubs games over the years.

May 15, 2003, and the Cubs had taken a 4-2 lead in the top of the 17th inning at Milwaukee but had run out of pitchers, so rookie Todd Wellemeyer (just brought up from Iowa and making his major league debut) was pressed into service, and struck out the side 1-2-3 for the save.

The Cubs ended up winning the N. L. Central, and that game seemed to give the Cubs the spark, lift, and confidence they needed to play championship baseball (at least up until the 8th inning of game #6 in the NLCS...).

I remember that game also.

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:34pm.
BTW, seen on Twitter while catching up on TCR posts--Cubs to sign Todd Wellemeyer to a major league deal, though NOT guaranteed. I'm guessing this means he gets Arizona in March to win a middle relief job or go somewhere else.

Wellemeyer would be better than Justin Berg or Thomas Diamond in a middle relief role, I guess....


JIM H: The Todd Wellemeyer contract is now being reported as a minor league deal in all of the MLB transactions lists.

In a candid Q&A conducted on Tuesday morning, the New York Yankees general manager made a number of predictions. Among them: Shortstop Derek Jeter(notes) would soon move to the outfield, Joba Chamberlain(notes) won't move back to the rotation because he got hurt as a starting pitcher and that the Boston Red Sox are a better team than the Yankees.

Yikes! I thought the rumors in the last few days that he would leave after the season were just more rumors, we heard those a few years back and instead he signed another contract with George. I think that article confirms Cashman is actually looking to get out.

Can we trade Jim Hendry for Brian Cashman? I'm all for that.

Does he bring the Steinbrenner's checks with him?

I don't think Cashman is a terrible GM by any stretch, but he's had a little bit of an advantage to his peers.

Other then not being Hendry, I don't know what the appeal would be...

The problem would be that Hendry would throw in McNutt and LeMehiu into the deal, and explain to us how difficult it is to be a GM in the AL East.

Seriously, I am sure that Cashman wants to prove he could do it with a smaller payroll. I doubt he gives either Jeter or Arod their current deals without ownership telling him to.

Napoli flipped to Rangers for Frank Francisco

Clay Rapada ends up where all ex-Cubs minor leaguers end up

10/$30M per is what he's asking for from Cardinals...they claim he's serious about not negotiating past the opening of spring training.

In the what if game, Cubs, Mets, Angels, Cardinals, Astros, Rangers, Mariners as the potential suitors, maybe Giants? I guess I wouldn't count out Yankees, don't ask me how. Red Sox I assume will be more than happy with Gonzalez. Dodgers will be in the middle of a sale at that point.

Unless he can hit .400, I don't see any first baseman being worth $30 million a year. I don't really see any player being worth $30 million a year until payrolls go up over $200 million outside of NYC.

I'm aware this is only my opinion and not the opinion of major league GMs in a game where Ryan Howard makes the kind of money that Ryan Howard makes right now.

The one thing that is sort of tricky about it, though, is appearance scarcity. You only get so many plate appearances for the hitters on your team. Would you rather have 8 guys worth $10 million each and 5 bench guys worth $10 million, or 8 every day players worth $15 each and five minimum salary guys.

"Would you rather have 8 guys worth $10 million each and 5 bench guys worth $10 million, or 8 every day players worth $15 each and five minimum salary guys."

Reminds me of an article I can't find (I think from Baseball Prospectus) from many years ago that asked the question if "Stars & Scrubs" teams did better than all-around teams. The author's contention was that each path was valid and successful teams came out of both ideas about the same, but the Stars & Scrubs would be faster to put together.

This one is for Stevens, #149. I just wanted to get it out of the right-hand border.

Since for one reason or another--none of them good--the Cubs have not had a pull-hitting lefty slugger (before Colvin) for many years, but have instead had opposite-field types (or an occasional straightaway type) like Choi, Hollandsworth, Burnitz, Jones, Edmonds, Fukudome, and Bradley in some combination at Wrigley field for every game--wouldn't that skew the park home-run statistics?

In that case, you're not really talking about the park, you're talking about the GM.

Park factors, when calculated properly, factor out home team construction. I think it's often done by using all the road teams' stats, rather than the home team's, but I'm not certain if that's always the case.

Anyway, park factors from a reputable outfit should have that concern taken care of.

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  • Kershaw gets hurt by his defense and gave up 2 more runs. Blach has 8 shutout innings.

    Mets already won as did Cards.

    tomorrow is gonna be helluva fun if Giants hold on. We're all rooting for a 3-way tie I presume.

    Rob G. 19 min 17 sec ago view
  • good news is now 5 K's for Lester through 4 (in a quest for 200 for season). Bad news is he's already at 86 pitches.

    Rob G. 49 min 41 sec ago view
  • be curious how long Maddon sticks with Lester to try and let offense get back into it and get him the win (4-2 as I type, was 4-0)

    Fwiw, he needed 2.1 IP to cross 200 for season so he got that at least. He also needs 9 K's for 200K's on season and he has 4 through 3.

    Rob G. 55 min 30 sec ago view
  • cubs score 2 runs thanks to predictable reds pitching and horrible CIN defense...cubs only down by 1 now. heyward even got a gift 2rbi double out of an easy popout. neat.

    crunch 55 min 48 sec ago view
  • something named Ty Blach has outpitched Clayton Kershaw through 6 innings (1-0 Giants).


    Rob G. 58 min 9 sec ago view
  • not that finishing 2nd place will matter much nor did this game, but have to think if Hendricks pitches well tomorrow, he could leapfrog Lester in Cy Young voting. Don't see anyway Scherzer doesn't win it regardless and it doesnt' look like Lester has any incentive clauses that matter. Also might give Cueto some votes.

    Rather remarkable how many teams have really good 1-2 options this year.

    Nats: Scherzer and Roark (and Strasburg was great before injuries)

    Cubs: Lester and Hendricks (and Arrietta is still damn good just not as consistently lately)

    Rob G. 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • pretty much what I'm gathering from this thread is that it doesn't matter who you play in  5-game series, but no one wants to have to deal with Cardinal fans if we end up losing.

    I can respect that.

    Rob G. 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • first game for lester giving up more than 2 runs since july 24th. hell of a run.

    crunch 1 hour 40 min ago view
  • doh, yes...dunno what happened there. jake arrieta is all "bro wut?"

    crunch 2 hours 12 min ago view
  • lester going for #20...cubs haven't had a LH (thanks jpep for the correction) 20 game winner since d.ellsworth in 1963.

    crunch 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • fwiw, all the games are free on

    crunch 2 hours 15 min ago view
  • Short rest for MadBum would be 2 days. WC game is Wed., Games 1 & 2 are Friday/Saturday.

    billybucks 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • A left-handed one...

    JoePepitone 4 hours 25 min ago view
  • J-Hey not finishing with an offensive onslaught.

    If Geoff Blum could be a Playoff hero, there is hope still...

    The E-Man 8 hours 14 min ago view
  • Giants scare me. I think you're wrong about Bumgarner, he would pitch on short rest for Game 2 and then full rest for Game 5. Cueto would go Game 1, then short rest in game 4. Add in some really tough outs in that lineup and I want nothing to do with them. With that rotation they can easily steal a series.

    Cards are a tough matchup. The rivalry evens out their comparable lack of talent. And like someone said, they love HRs, which is how to beat the Cubs. The upside is that I would feel really good about Lester twice against STL.

    John Beasley 9 hours 28 sec ago view
  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 21 hours 53 sec ago view