TCR Friday Notes

- Colin Wyers, whom writes at GROTA and Statiscially Speaking, begins a series at the Hardball Times looking at the überstat systems like Win Shares, WARP and WAR.

-  The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.

-  Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.

More after the jump...

- It appears our curmudgeony manager has an aversion to pitchers. Hat tip to MLBTR for the links..

When ex-hitters become managers, some, like Lou Piniella of Seattle,
never develop an understanding for pitchers. Piniella has been able to
channel the manic competitiveness of his playing days into the dugout,
barking at umpires, screaming at his coaches, demanding accountability
for mistakes and sometimes just plain bullying his players. Hitters
like Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez have responded to his
intensity. Pitchers have not. Piniella ''is the manager who hates
pitchers,'' says Jeff Nelson, a Yankees reliever who used to pitch for
Seattle. ''It's not hard to understand why that is.''


Piniella
was a great hitter for 18 seasons; his professional responsibility was
to loathe pitchers. How could he just shut that off?


''He just
doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers.
He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying:
'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was
supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' ''


To quote Jim Kaat from Sunday night's BBWAA dinner, about his old
Yankees teammate Lou Piniella: "I've always been amazed that a guy
could be such a successful manager even though he hates pitchers." 

- A look at the potential mechanical flaws with Rich Hill. I have some issues with the article since it appears to be relying on stock photos from different time periods with no true reference point. For all we know, those could be at different points in his motion and nothing has changed. For the right way to do a pitching mechanics comparision, check out a Carlos Gomez or Chris O'Leary post (NSFMPH - Not Suited for Mark Prior Haters).  

Also, the article points to a re-teaming with O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz, although Hill has often given more of the credit to Alan Dunn. Of course, Dunn is the bullpen coach for the Orioles, so same difference.

- Wild-ass speculation on my part, but let me weigh in on this Blanco vs. Bako debate that seems to be raging. When the first reports of Bako signing came out I recall a throwaway line about the Cubs wanting someone who would be comfortable with not playing much. Then last week there was another throwaway line from a radio report that the Cubs weren't too pleased with Blanco last year. This leads me to the conclusion that Blanco did a bit of behind the scenes sulking about not getting into more games and probably why they chose to go another route. And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.

- To follow up recent top 50 announcers of all-time lists, Yahoo Sports does the bottom 50. I respectfully disagree on #13(Gus Johnson) and #29(Dick Enberg). If you don't like Gus Johnson, you watch sports for all the wrong reasons.

- The Heckler pokes fun at the Bleacher Stalkers.

- A relative new entry in the Cubs blogosphere - Bleacher Nation - spends some time covering other Cubs blogs.

- Wrigleyville23 and Out of Right Field have taken up our MVN spot after The View from the Bleachers left. Hope it goes better for you guys. (Bites lip...checks calendar to see when non-disclosure agreement expires).

- Harry Pavils at Cubs F/x did this year's Hardball Times Season Preview entry for the Cubs.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

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Comments

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Everybody’s talking about Rob G. About the blog he wrote, coming out just two weeks before spring training begins. About how he has it in for Ruz, maybe the most talented player in the blogosphere and certainly the most narcissistic. About whether he believes Evan Brunell, the president of the MVN, betrayed him in his final negotiations with the sports blogging network. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601088&si...

There were a lot of Torre defenders around here last year when he rejected the Yankees offer because he was 'disrespected'. I think it's clear now, who the punk was.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

highlights:

Jeff Samardzija says he hopes to "avoid the whole Triple-A stint" as he competes for the fifth starter's role with the Cubs this spring...Samardzija said Friday during a conference call to announce the formation of a Notre Dame scholarship in the name of his late mother.

"I got word that I was going to get a shot [to start] in spring training. That's all I need to know. There's an open spot, and during spring training I'll fight tooth and nail to earn it.

On ND grad Heilman:"I know Aaron pretty well," Samardzija said. "He came back to Notre Dame once when I was a sophomore. I'm sure he's going to be competing as hard as I am."

The scholarship Samardzija is endowing will be awarded annually to a Notre Dame student who has endured the death of a parent while continuing to strive for academic achievement.

And Bako is one of God's People, i.e. hits from the left side.

Quite the contrary: I believe that makes him "sinister."

very well played, sir.

The 2001 Mariners were a little rightly leaning in the lineup (2 LH and one SW), but the top two bench guys were switch hitters and their backup catcher batted lefty.

Scott Posednik and Brian Fuentes were also on that team - but I guess not good enough for Lou.

The '90 Reds team that actually won it featured... one switch hitter and one lefthanded batter in the lineup, or I guess two left handed bats since Morris had taken the job from Benzinger by that point. Lou did work in the Left handed hitting Jeff Reed during the playoffs, so he could go 0-7, so Bako has that to look forward to. Reed's 0-7 probably explains how they beat the Pirates.

Not to be a pain, but I'm sometimes called on to defend handedness here.

Who was the switch hitter in '90? O'Neill, Griffey and Morris were strictly lefty. Morris played 80 games, hit .340 and was 3rd in ROY, so that's a pretty good lefty threesome. Whether the Cubs can field three lefty hitters on a regular basis depends on Fukudome.

[Never mind, wrong Griffey!]

Benzinger.

Rotoworld: According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Mariners have joined the hunt for Cubs left-hander Rich Hill. The Orioles still have "the inside track," according to the report, but the M's could entice the Cubs with Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista or Carlos Silva. Dumping either one of those highly paid pitchers would also help Seattle clear payroll in its quest for free agent outfielder Bobby Abreu. Of course, this is all just speculation.

Based on that I would say the "Post-Intelligencer" is aptly named.

What, no Richie sexson or Chris Bosio?

God no..NO SILVA (3/36), BATISTA (1/9) or WASHBURN (1/10.35)...if we were goign to spend that kind of money might as well (3/48) for CY young winning Peavy...

Just don't understand why we wouldn't just let him show up to Spring training and try pitching if he sucks we can still get a PTBNL from the orioles...

I just don't get if Peavy wants out why doesn't he just for go his fourth year in the deal and demand out...San Diego would have no choice but to take a deal! This whole peavy and roberts thing in back to back years is so Fukin annoying!

wow, that's like 10 kinds of stupid...

Bj Penn or GSP ,What's the TCR consensus?

Actually I like both fighters for different reasons, but I gotta go with GSP because of conditioning. If BJ is in good aerobic condition, look out GSP. I just hope it doesn't go to the judges decision.

I still don't like the Cubs moves this off season : a big meh...

Journey With Ernie: Happy Birthday Mr. Cub!!!!

Bradley and Abreu are on opposite sides of the spectrum on swing at first-pitch fastballs which are strikes.

Bradley swings at it 93% and Abreu gives the pitcher a free strike 87% of the time.

We way over paid for Bradley...we should have just waited for everyone to sign and pick up Dunn or Abreu for 1/5-7 mil and used the rest saved for the Peavy deal!

Dempster was really smart to not wait out the market he made bank from the Cubs! We are going to regret that contract in say.....1 year when he becomes pumpkin again!

Approved.

Spongebob might be the smartest cubs fan eva.

This said from the same person who looks down his nose at Braden Looper
as a fifth starter for the Cubs.

it's true.

We just traded braden looper to Colorado.

And we still have to pay 10% of his salary for that privledge. Why would we bring him back?

I'd rather Marshall ,gaudin,heilman,adkins,and Rich Hill fight out the #5 job.

Looper excites me about as much as getting a physical by a Dr. With cold hands.

"We way over paid for Bradley...we should have just waited for everyone to sign and pick up Dunn or Abreu for 1/5-7 mil..."

can i buy some weed from you?

this is a week old (1/24) but Peter Gammons blog had this on Marmol and Harden...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=gam...

This week, the Cubs learned Carlos Marmol was pitching in the Dominican Republic, working feverishly to ready himself to pitch for his country in the World Baseball Classic.

Wonderful. Here's a 26-year-old with dazzling talent, a kid who fanned a third of the batters he faced last year, and with Kerry Wood gone to Cleveland and Ryan Dempster an All-Star in the Cubs' rotation is supposed to be the closer for a Cubs team whose expectations are to go farther than the first round of the 2009 playoffs. Marmol is heating up in January while pitching in the Dominican League playoffs, then he's going to go to spring training and slow it down, then turn it up again in the WBC, return to spring training and slow it down, then head north and be expected to be a shutdown closer beginning on Opening Day.
Start. Stop. Start. Stop. Start. And there is a full season ahead.

• Rich Harden had two choices at the end of last season because of the shoulder issues he's fought through: Either have surgery or try to rehab. Harden chose the rehab. He has worked really hard all winter, and if the Cubs can get 15-20 starts from him in 2009, they will be happy. And with new ownership in place, we know the possibility of trading for Jake Peavy will be re-addressed.

and this from a Buster Olney blog (1/31)...

Boras could not have been thrilled with Albert Pujols' reporting skills this week: In the same week Boras said the Manny market was heating up, Pujols said that Manny told him no teams are bidding on him.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=ol...

HAPPY 78th BIRTHDAY ERNIE BANKS!!!!!!!!!!!

Born 1-31-31

Yay for palindrome birth dates!

from "the schmuck stops here"...

I think the likelihood of Braden Looper signing here is maybe 40 percent, but that's probably more likely than Rich Hill coming over and solving his command problems.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/schmuck/200...

-------------
and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has a blog mention that the Phils are talking with Will Ohman (represented by super sports agent E-man). Pretty scarry having a lefty bullpen of Stevie E. and Oh-no-man (especially in the Philly launching pad).

Ohman is great as loogies go. He doesn't do so well against righties, but he has always dominated left-handed batters. He has a high k-rate, holds them to a low average, and suppresses slugging percentage. Even the OBP is just .285 against, which is pretty decent for guy who has some control issues.

Scott Eyre is clearly the weaker of the two pitchers, and he hasn't even had the same success against lefties. Having both of them seems pretty redundant at this point. But if it's me, I want Ohman over Eyre.

Bj Penn or GSP ,What's the TCR consensus?

How about the sport often described as "boxing from a distance"? With one of the greatest rivalries sports today, to boot.

Federer or Nadal in tomorrow's Australian Open final?

I go Nadal myself.

Nadal is an amazing machine, but I think most people give Federer the edge. Personally, I think Federer is a douchebag, but that's just me.

how is Federer a d-bag? He's as classy an athlete as there is. He's tennis' version of 1990's Maddux. Doesn't have a huge fastball but can put the ball on a dime. Look at how he carved up Roddick. Nadal is eurotrash. Greasy hair, florescent threads, and man capri pants. Plus Federer is a much better hardcourt player historically. I like his chances considering the extra day of rest and Nadal's marathon.

Nadal is all of what 23 or 24 doubt his semi match has that much of a toll on him. Though I think Federer will win, just because he needs it more going for the grand slam record and after losing Wimbledon last year to Nadal, if Nadal beats on the hard court it will make him the clear head and shoulder world number 1. So I will go Federer in 5 in a match that will 75% as good as the Wimbledon final.

Yeah, Fed's definitely not a douchebag. I prefer him to Nadal actually, although I like Nadal too. Djokovic and Murray are the douchebags.

I thought all tennis players were douchebags

2009 Australian Open: Nadal Beats Federer In Final

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal held off Roger Federer in another five-set Grand Slam final, keeping Pete Sampras' record of 14 major titles intact for now.

Nadal became the first Spanish man to win the Australian Open, beating Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 in a momentum-swinging, 4-hour, 22-minute final that finished just after midnight on Sunday.

Federer, trying to equal Sampras' record, sobbed at the trophy presentation.

"Maybe I'll try later. God, it's killing me," Federer said, crying. He returned to congratulate Nadal within minutes, saying: "You deserved it. You played a fantastic final."

~ snip ~

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/01/2009-aust...

I have decided to not represent Will Oh-man! any longer. He has made my
Blood pressure go up significantly.

Need a Cub fix?

Downloads of mp3's and you tube video's of the Cub 09 Convention

http://www.wgnradio.com/index.php?option=com_conte...

loved the Fontenot, Gathright, KHill, KHart and the Lillyhammer set.

Cardinals 28
Steelers 20

parachat anyone?

Steelers 24, Cardinals, 14

Steelers 28, Cardinals 26...

under47 total points.

Cards win would be nice. Don't have the satchel to bet money on anything other than the under.

Nadal in 4. Oh wait, uh.....

Steelers 27, Cardinals 21

As of late last week, there were only 19 roster spots remaining on 40-man rosters. There were still close to 100 unsigned free agents. This doesn't even tell the whole story of the competition for these precious spots. There are also 227 players on major league rosters who are out of options. Many of those are established players whose roster spots are not in question. But every team seems to have some interesting decisions, including the Red Sox, who have fewer players out of options (five) than any team in baseball.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/artic...

I heard on espn local that "Both Oakland and the Rangers are talking to the Cubs about Michael Wuertz." anyone hear of this? Can't find anything in the usual places.

Maybe we can pull the old bait and switch with Vizcaino instead?

I heard that same thing also. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I have nothing against Wuertz. In fact, I kind of like him, but it makes sense for the Cubs to deal at least one of their optionless relievers before the end of spring training--and it makes sense for it to be a guy who might bring something back, and a guy who isn't a potential starter or swing man. In my mind, that leaves Wuertz, Cotts, and Guzman--but Guzman is included because I don't think his health history will allow him to be used much in the starting rotation. Cotts is a lefty, and the Cubs feel they need that lefty reliever, so I think he stays. Guzman's value is pretty low right now. Then again, it may never get any higher.

Rotation:
Zambrano
Dempster
Lilly
Harden
Marshall

Bullpen:
Marmol
Heilman
Gregg
Vizcaino
Gaudin
Cotts
Guzman
Wuertz
David Patton
Hart
Rich Hill

Waiting in AAA:
Jeff Samardzija
Jose Ascanio
Jeff Stevens
Mitch Atkins
Randy Wells

That's a lot of pitchers, and I think that bullpen is filled with guys who can't be sent down, except for Marmol. That's also 11 guys listed, instead of the 7 that would make the pitching staff 12. So, maybe it's more like 3 or 4 guys who have to go? Would any of them clear waivers? I'm also assuming that Samardzija will be starting in Iowa, which is no given.

Maybe the Cubs can send Hill to the Orioles, Hart to the Padres, and Guzman to the Royals for ... some stuff.

It feels like we've got 3-4 rule V draftees.

I am really close to contributing $50,000 to the next Cubs blog site that has no suggestion, either explicit or implied, of a possible Peavy and Brian Roberts trade in its articles or comments. If a comment includes such a suggestion, it is deleted. If a writer does it, he/she is fired or forced to live in an East St. Louis housing project with an aging Cardinals fan (about my age) for two years.

Who brought them up?

That's a pretty sweet punishment though. Well done.

"If we started tomorrow … we'd have seven out of 13 (position players) that either hit left-handed or switch. We've never had that kind of balance before." - Jim Hendry

The 2006 Chicago Cubs
LH or SH position players

STARTING: Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Todd Walker
REPLACEMENTS: John Mabry 107 games, Neifi Perez 87 games, Angel Pagan 77 games, Freddie Bynum 71 games
OTHERS: Cesar Izturis, Tony Womack, Scott Moore, Buck Coats, Jose Reyes

TOTAL: 12/23 position players

So how'd that work out for us?

i think you should compare the talent level you're playing with to start with...

actually, who cares what these suits say anyway except "we're getting/not-getting _____" and "we're looking to add a player to ___"

meh...

Calling Hendry a suit is a bit of a stretch. He wears one, but its usually all bunched up and lookin' like it doesn't belong on him.

Nobody will ever hear me say this again.

Go Cardinals.

--- EDIT ----

I changed my mind. Big Ben just won me over.

Why are the Steelers wearing Seahawks hats?

Pitchers and Catchers report a week from thursday.

The Carribean series starts tomorrow (games on mlb network too! DR vs Venezuela 4pm Chicago time)

OOOooo! thanks for the heads up on the series.

RobG, I couldn't agree with you more about Gus Johnson. He captures more raw emotional moments in his announcer work than just about anybody. Though, he occasionally hits a slightly goofy note, he can't be in the bottom 50. Good call.

I also agree. Love him during March Madness.

Gus Johnson is pure awesome. I'll take a guy who's actually excited to cover the game and can convey that excitement over comatose Al Michael and Joe Buck any day, guys who always seem like they'd rather be somewhere else.

"The slipper still fits!"

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