NL Central Is Going to Be Awesome

Not much going on in Cubsland, but the Reds are done putting the finishing touches on their 2009 World Series team. Today, they added Cubs scraps Jacque Jones and Daryle Ward on minor league deals. They'll join Arthur Rhodes's neck, Willy Taveras at the top of the lineup (snicker) and Ramon Hernandez. This was the plan to overcome a 280 run difference and 23 games.

As for the Brewers, Ben Sheets is going to have surgery on a partially torn flexor tendon that will keep him out 4-6 months. Why don't we just just go ahead and count out 2009 in its entirety? The Brewers were counting on two draft picks from a team signing Sheets and already got screwed on a first round pick when the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, which forced the Brewers to take the Yanks second round pick for signing Sabathia.  I'm not sure of the rules on free agent compensation if Sheets doesn't sign until mid-season or possibly next offseason (but I'm sure Arizona Phil does). They also recently announced they were done for the offseason and perfectly content with a rotation of Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan and whomever else they can pull out of line from a brewery tour.

The Astros big moves were to add Jason Michaels, Aaron Boone and Mike Hampton and cut ties with one of their better hitters from last year - Ty Wigginton. Ed Wade, you're a sly one.

The Pirates added...fuck, who cares....

The Cardinals added some relievers and Khalil Greene. Troy Glaus is likely to miss some part of the beginning of the season after shoulder surgery in January. If Chris Carpenter is healthy and back to form, well they could be interesting. They were a pretty good offense last year, added Greene to it and tried to address some bullpen woes. Carpenter would only make them better, but his health is one helluva of an if. 

So while many lament about the Cubs taking a few steps back this offseason or just treading water; (I'm in the treading water camp and when you won 97 games, that's perfectly acceptable. Also, after all these years of online chatting, I often find myself wanting to invoke parenthesis in the middle of an actual conversation with a live human being. But I fear they don't share my same addiction to chatting with anonymous online drawing parenthesis with my hands in the air looks weird) the rest of the NL Central seems to have accepted the Cubs as their dark overlords.

Also, our twitter page that I mentioned yesterday should now get automatically updated with the title of the post and a link back to the story. I also moved and added some things to the menu bar up top, should hopefully make things a little easier to find. TCR Junk Drawer is gone and has been replaced by Wiklifield and Arizona Phil's Corner. If anyone has a better name than "TCR Social" for links to our RSS info, facebook and twitter pages, I'm all ears. Finally, with the addition of an RSS feed to comments, you can now read comments from our mobile site. I'm hoping for a more functional mobile site by the end of the year, but at least it's something.


I vote we sign Sheets in July
Very entertaining piece Rob

Give Sheets the Wade Miller injured pitcher of tenure currently held by Chad Fox.

Cubs stay healthy, clinch by Labor Day.

Adding Sheets will be like making a mid-season trade?

I wonder if after the draft it will be safe to sign him without losing picks.

I am salivating at the thought of the Cubs RH hitters getting to smack balls at Tejada and Lee again. They should sign Branyan and have the worst left side defense in history.

"The Pirates added...fuck, who cares.... "

Rob, you're just loving the move from MVN and using it to the fullest aren't you?

probably a little too much...

funny story, my twins were born a little over 3 and a half years ago and I use to be pretty good about not cussing and I still don't cuss around them much. But for some reason since they were born, my wife and I use of profanity has grown exponentially, it's a nice break to feel like an adult again after having our brains melted by Dora the Explorer.

"after having our brains melted by Dora the Explorer"

You just need some grown up time, and by that I mean cussing every possible second.

Heading to Bahamas for week end cruise.

Finally going to see weather over 70 degrees since October.

Funny named site showing Harden working on a "gyro" ball-

is this the new Rickroll?

Somebody convince me to start using RSS feeds...I've never felt the need.

Looking forward to Sat. Feb 28th and my first likely chance to get on parachat. I have a government job now and I think my days of workday chatting are history.

It's sort of like junk mail and spam mail, only quicker. It's really great.

Awesome, sign me up. Can I have a side order of telemarketer messages straight to voice mail?

Act now and we'll throw in two 22 year old Mormons at your door for no additional charge.

So you're trying to tell me you do actual work AFTER LUNCH in your government job? Forgive me for passing my own judgement, but that's unpossible.

"your access to this site has been blocked"

Some of us need killer recommendations so when our government-sponsored fellowships expire at the end of August, we can get jobs despite the Job Market from Hell.

job market :: employment
peanut butter :: Salmonella-free snack

yeah...great times.

i'm working an internship right now for no pay solely because 1- the university is on a total hiring/pay freeze 2- someone has to do the research.

good thing i have my "real job," but there's some grad students hurting and freaking out right now.

I'm one of those grad students. "OHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIT"

Seriously. It's February and most of the people I know are still looking for jobs, and this is out of a top 35 law school. You'd think borderline top 10% people from a school like that would have offers galore. But my buddy can't even get interviews, or hell even rejection letters, he just never hears anything most times.

(full disclosure: I work at an internship for Ohio Department of Transportation, they're looking to hire me full time after, and I consider myself hella lucky)

THE PLAN: Kill the private sector, then we all get jobs with the government.

this isn't rush limbaugh talk radio distraction b/s...this is the real world.

it's not a sport with sides you root for and capitalism is alive and safe.

we're not looking jobs to fill potholes on public work projects here.

Maybe you should be.

I'll stick to my $30-$34 an hour contracting work. Thanks for the dumbass suggestion, though.

We are a top 10 political science program and out of 12-15 people on the market so far only 4 have jobs and one a post-doc. And everyone is experiencing the same thing you are talking about - nothing, not even rejections for the most part. If they do get one it's been the "sorry, economy sucks, there is a hiring freeze, job is no longer open" type letter.

School districts in the Southwest/South/Southeast are always looking for people. You don't even need an education degree at most of the schools, they're just taking bodies. That being said, the schools are lacking teachers because they aren't schools anyone wants to teach at. So its you're call.

i'm in the south...NCSU...full hiring freeze and a budget freakout. state-wide issues with money and people are still unclear what the next year brings as far as available money.

i have friends in chapell hill and durham (at a private school) seeing the same issues.

tight money is one thing, but this is an all-out freakout around here.

Apparently if you apply of a job with Mcklenburg County Schools online you can see how many other applicants have applied for the job. I haven't had to do it myself, but I am hearing things like 'Lunch lady' 500 applications. 'Adminstrative assistant' 1200 applications.

However, there are still restarauts and movie theaters and the aforementioned contsruction companies hiring.

I'm a grad student going on the market in the fall and I am freaking out. Luckily my girlfriend has a real job...

Real strong SAT analogy.

Andy must not work at the DMV?

I had the unfortunate task of undertaking that little adventure last week. Not a real helpful bunch.

2 girls behind the counter. One playing solitare on the CPU and one talking to a girlfriend on the phone while eating doritos. Can't wait to renew that badboy in 5 years !!!

Oh don't worry, they'll have been laid off. Everyone will be required to print their own licenses at home, or even better, maybe your driver's license will just be an app on your smartphone.

True Story: I wrote a check for my car registration. I had to re-write it because the DMV did not like the way I wrote the check. My sin? I wrote "seventy-three cents" instead of "73/100." I had to re-write the check. I was also amazed.

This is not as bad as the time I paid my car registration in cash (exact change mind you) and had to speak to the head of the DMV office. My crime? Not writing a check. I had to explain to her that the money she would not take was actually legal tender for all debts, public and private. It actually says so on the bill! I then explained that if the government would not take the money it issued (the nuances of Federalism would be beyond her) then we are all in trouble.

She took the money.

What's a check? I can honestly say I haven't written one of those in like 5 years. I think my wife still pays some of our bills that way.

Double post

so in looking at the schedule for the upcoming sale I noticed two things.

A) Sept. could be a cake walk
B) Our home series vs. the step-child team is during the week? Two 1pm games? WTF?

cubs take big selling games for granted and tend to book them for the day.

part of me don't blame them because they have so few night games...part of me still doesn't like it.

but why do the Sox get a weekend and we get Wed @ 1pm. Hardly seems like a fair split by MLB. Lately its always been back to back weekends. Why the change?

Actually, the last couple of years, the weekends have been spread out by a month.

It makes sense to me. Might as well take your three highest-demand games other than Opening Day and put them in the middle of the week. Not like it's gonna hurt turnout.

It seems to me like the Astros and Cardinals have the best chance to hang with us. Brewers and Reds need everything to break right.

Another interesting factor is the high-priced guys on noncontenders. I was reading somewhere that due to the economy, poor-performing teams should be more likely than ever to want to dump players if they know they're not in it this year. That could mean Cub-compatible names like Roy Halladay, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts or others. I hear there's some guy in San Diego, too.

I don't think either of those teams (Astros or Cardinals) have the pitching. I think they have the best chance, but we're still SIGNIFICANTLY ahead of all those teams on paper.

Houston will obviously run Oswalt out on Opening Day, but then they'll follow that with the likes of career 4.79 Wandy Rodriguez (who is admittedly coming off of a nice year), Brandon Backe, and they hope Mike Hampton. They're going to struggle getting to Valverde again, and may be worse, since they've added LaTroy into the mix with Geary and Brocail.

The Cards have Wainwright, then Lohse, Wellemeyer, and Piniero, which just isn't any good. Carpenter maybe, but it doesn't sound particularly optimistic. They've also got a 23 year old kid whose in his second year in the show closing games.

I like our situation considerably more than anyone else in this division. It's just not any good.

Well yeah, but this team is also outspending everyone. I just don't think the Cubs will run away with it like the 2008 Angels did, even if it looks that way on paper. I can even picture a scenario where this team is fifth in the Central in runs scored (not a probable one, of course). Yes, our pitching looks better, but I'd be surprised if we clinched before Game 155.

Alright, I'll bite.

Describe to me the scenario where the Cubs score 100 runs less, the Cardinals get the same production out of Ludwick and Ankiel, and the Brewers score 6 runs more, the Pirates score 21 runs more, and the Assholes score 44 runs more. I am going to rule the possiblilty of the Dunn less, but Jackie Jones added Reds making up 152 runs (approximately 1 per game) on the Cubs in 2009.

Complacency has clearly set in at TCR and in the media -- hope the players haven't taken the same approach.

Shortest write-up ever on Yahoo's Fantasy "Hotstove Helper"

The Pirates for 2009

The season hasn't even started yet. Don't start writing checks you might not be able to cash later. The Reds may be better than you think. Let's just see how Dusty continues to handle the young 'ins. Curses or not, we gotta watch our backs.

Recent comments

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  • Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.

    Tito 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?

    billybucks 1 hour 19 min ago view
  • "Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"

    No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.

    Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.

    The E-Man 1 hour 29 min ago view
  • I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.

    It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.

    Tito 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.

    SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round times.

    crunch 1 hour 51 min ago view
  • I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?

    BobbyD 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Best record in baseball and largest division lead.

    I'm jumping right now!

    Tito 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?

    Brick 3 hours 43 min ago view
  • ,571 winning percentage in May.

    I think they're gonna be OK.

    Tito 5 hours 6 min ago view
  • RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.   

    Arizona Phil 7 hours 25 min ago view
  • Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?

    BobbyD 7 hours 27 min ago view
  • Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.

    Old and Blue 9 hours 33 min ago view
  • If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.

    CTSteve 9 hours 40 min ago view
  • Hi Arizona Phil,

    Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?

    Raisin101 16 hours 12 min ago view
  • bruh...

    crunch 17 hours 26 min ago view
  • O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side). 

    Arizona Phil 17 hours 45 min ago view