It’s Catching

On Wednesday night, with the bases loaded and the game tied, one out in the bottom of the ninth, Mike Wuertz struck out Pat Burrell swinging. Michael Barrett though allowed the ball to get away, and though he recovered in time to catch Jimmy Rollins in no man's land, marooned between third and home, Barrett then literally threw the game away. What ought to have been a simple inning-ending rundown turned into a catastrophic game-ending score. And that led me to think, just how bad is Barrett's defence? And to what extent does it undermine his rather more quantifiable offensive value? The common consensus, which is based based largely on just watching the two behind the plate and with which I agree, is that Barrett is at best a mediocre defensive catcher, but that Henry Blanco is a fine defender, one of the best in the game. Perhaps it would be interesting to monitor just how the two have fared so far this year. There are plenty of complex defensive metrics around that aim to measure defence, but I generally find them just too obscenely obscure, abstract, incalculable, contradictory etcetera. But Catcher ERA, a very simple yet alarmingly crude and therefore flawed statistic, gave me an idea - calculate each pitcher's line throwing to Barrett, and then their line throwing to Blanco, and see what that throws up. And so I did...

Greg MadduxIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett101.21191519624.96151
to Blanco39.03955243.9243
Carlos ZambranoIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett87.2691034733.3916
to Blanco59.142228593.0303
Mark PriorIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett25.02458294.6810
to Blanco81.1591227833.3202
These are the three pitchers who've thrown the most innings to both catchers. All the same, the sample sizes are still far from overwhelming, and neither are these numbers adjusted for ballpark, strength of opposition, days of rest, and what not. It's tough to draw many firm conclusions then. It's even tougher with regards to the rest of the numbers, because simply not enough innings have been thrown to one or both catchers such that a comparison holds any real value. With that in mind, here are the rest of the splits all the same...
Ryan Dempster (SP)IPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett23.125214255.0112
to Blanco11.11218115.5600
Ryan Dempster (RP)IPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett22.116114242.4200
to Blanco11.090553.2710
Mike WuertzIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett34.233424435.1933
to Blanco10.080583.6010
Roberto NovoaIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett17.221116145.0900
to Blanco9.0603121.0000
Todd WellemeyerIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett17.12059186.7510
to Blanco7.110570.0000
LaTroy HawkinsIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett12.0123374.5010
to Blanco7.061461.2900
Will OhmanIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett18.11626171.9620
to Blanco6.282665.4010
Mike RemlingerIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett27.224310234.2301
to Blanco5.172278.4401
Glendon Rusch (RP)IPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett28.035315284.5001
to Blanco3.060136.0000
Chad FoxIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett5.151696.7500
to Blanco2.231226.7500
Sergio Mitre (RP)IPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett10.01654138.1020
to Blanco2.121213.8600
Cliff BartoshIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett18.12179145.8910
to Blanco1.120210.0000
Joe BorowskiIPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett10.01251107.2020
to Blanco1.000010.0000
Jon Leicester (RP)IPHHRBBKERASBCS
to Barrett5.150736.7500
to Blanco0.2101113.5000
All other pitchers have thrown just to Michael Barrett. What do all these numbers tell us then? Not as much as I'd like. All the same, a number of things are at least suggested if not categorically stated...
  • It appears as though when pitching to Barrett, a lot of our staff has had problems keeping the ball in the park, and allowing home runs is the single worst thing a pitcher can do. Look not just at Maddux, Zambrano and Prior, who all have higher home run rates with Barrett, but also Wellemeyer, Hawkins, Mitre, Bartosh and Borowski, who've gone crazy and given up 25 dingers in just 67.2 innings pitching to Barrett. That's insane, about twice as bad as Eric Milton even! With Henry Blanco on the other hand, even if you don't overlook Mark Prior and his nine homers allowed in three starts, this hasn't been as much of a problem. If this enormous difference in home runs allowed is for real, and it may not be, Barrett's game calling could be rendering his bat null and void.
  • Just how amazing is Henry Blanco's arm? He's allowed just eight stolen bases this year, and has thrown out ten. But four of the steals he's allowed were off Greg Maddux, who does so little to hold runners that Michael Barrett has thrown out just one of sixteen this year. Off pitchers not called Greg Maddux then, Henry Blanco has allowed just four bags to be swiped off him in nearly 220 innings behind the plate, and, as we all know, even though it was a bad throw, Hector Luna was clearly out in that Sunday night game against the Cardinals! So that's three. Scott Podsednik, Willie Harris and, last night, er, Chase Utley. Yes, that's right, it took until August 4th for a National League baserunner to really steal a bag off Henry Blanco!
  • Blanco seems to work better with Zambrano and Novoa in particular, the two pictures for whom Spanish is also their mother tongue. Perhaps then it would be a good ploy to use Blanco as Zambrano's personal catcher, and to then use Novoa specifically in relief in those games. At the very least that might establish whether or not Novoa and Blanco really have something going, or whether it's just an oddity of the nine inning sample size involved. Sergio Mitre threw a complete game shutout, remember, nine innings is nothing. With Zambrano and Blanco, it's a bit clearer - they seem to work well together.
  • Does Blanco have trouble catching lefties? Not one of Ohman, Remlinger, Rusch and Bartosh has fared particularly well with him behind the plate. Then again, besides Ohman, they've not fared particularly well with Barrett either, although Rusch as a starter was of course excellent. That's not to mention though that Remlinger and Bartosh probably wouldn't fare that well with the greatest defensive catcher in the history of the world back there. It's probably nothing, or just 16.1 innings...
Continue the discussion in the comments...
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Comments

"twice as bad as Eric Milton"

that's cold...hehe

Great research. If you don't mind me asking where did you grab the catcher ERA stat from? Or, did you just do hardcore calcs?

Also, the totals breakdown like this right:

Blanco 257 innings caught CERA of 3.46
Barrett 705 innings caught CERA of 4.56

Great analysis John. What's your opinion on what the catching situation should be for next year? Should we keep the status quo or we try to trade Barrett for a catcher like I-rod or Damian Miller, or trade him for something else and sign a free agent like Ramon Hernandez or A.J Pierzynski. My personal prefernce would be trading him and either I-rod, Miller, Pierzynski be the starting catcher.

FROM PREVIUOS THREAD:
4th and inches:
"but SOMEONE will have to take the blame for this team's performance which is, by all descriptions, underachieving. "

Is it really?

I recall many a person on here saying all year, even before th season started this was a .500 team. The HIGH end of wins perdicted was 90. With about teh average being 85 or so. So if this team neds up with 84 wins, is that underachieving? It shouldn't be as a majority of Cubs fans thought this team was a .500 team or only a couple games over. that is right in line to what they are doing, so how is the team underachiving. And they lost Wood, Prior, and Noamr for long periods of time. Did you think this was a 95 win team coming into the year? This team is eperforming to what most people thoguht the talent would do. And maybe slightly better considering the major injuries.

They're just playing like shit, and under-achieving while doing it.

They are not underachieving....

Have you been watching them lately....they have had numerous late inning comebacks and victories...the Cardinal series..the Giants series had them in many come from behind 1 run wins....

I have never wavered on my assessment of this team....it being slightly better than .500 and that is what I think we eventually will be at. The starting pitching is good, bullpen shaky...defense better than it was last year and offense really questionable/inconsistent.

The Cubs are victims of high expectations. 2003 was an anomaly and with that still not cracking 90 wins....1984, 1989, 1998 and 2003 were anomalies...totally deviating from normal Cubs seasons. If the Yankees crash and dive in 4th place this year it is an anomaly....if the Pirates finish 3rd, it is an anomaly...well the Cubs are a .500 team and recent good times in 2003 isn't going to change it one iota.

Offensively there is Lee and Ramirez.....that about does it-- Pitching is not as good as false expectations makes it and we can't hit with the best of them....Plain and simply this club can't outscore a lot of teams....

Not-surprisingly the Cubs best record is against the Central...yet we haven't played Houston and St. Louis as much as we have Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Cincinatti....once we play Hou and Stl I assume the Central record will fall in line with the .500 record as well.

Underperforming?? Heavens no...just a victim of unrealistic expectations.

Manny..
You are right in the sense that this team doesn't have all stars up and down the line up. But in any given season winning the division or grabbing the WC is a relative thing. If the other teams in your division aren't mighty (NL central - except for Cardinals) then doing the basics right alone can take you very far. This team has been consistenly making base running blunders, have been striking out to mediocre pitches and been loosing to mediocre teams. Now given all the limitations of this team, do you think this team that bad that they can't win a series against the D'backs?? Look at how many wins we got at home.

If you come up with the excuse that this was expected of this team straight from day one then may god help the cubs ..with this attitude we will not be able to go to the WS in a zillion years..

-C

Houston is on pace to win 88 games and I don't doubt it will take 88 if not more to win the WC.....

With 54 games remaining and a 54-54 record....the Cubs need to go 34-20 against the toughest part of it's schedule in order to be at 88 wins. Maybe Houston won't win 88 but someone most likely will...If it is the Cubs 34-20 will be extremely difficult.

Cubfan-
You did stick by your prediction that the team would be basically .500 maybe a few games above and it appears right now you are RIGHT and I agree with your assertion that this team is NOT underperforming.

I predicted 90 wins as a healthy team, 86 for a team with major injuries (which we have unfortunately became). I think that is right in line with many on here and right in line with about this team will end up.

This is not an underperforming team, just like last year's wasn't considering we had even MORE injuries. Just not talented enough to overcome the injuries and make the WC.

Bill, I went through Henry Blanco's game logs, being sure of course to check that he didn't leave the game early and so on. That eventually gave me the numbers for the pitchers throwing to Blance, and I subtracted them from pitcher's season totals to get their numbers throwing to Barrett, because the Cubs haven't used a third catcher. Took quite a while, and I didn't end up proving as much as I'd hoped. Still, since you can't find these numbers anywhere else, I thought I'd share...

ChiFan, I think one thing that is pretty undisputable is that Barrett has a good bat for a catcher. There are three questions here then, and I don't have the answers for them (and so I can't really answer your question). Firstly, how valuable is a catcher's bat is relative to a catcher's defence? Secondly, how accurately can that defence be measured? Thirdly, if Barrett's defence is indeed poor, is it easier to turn a good hitter into a good catcher or a good catcher into a good hitter?

Just about the only thing that I do know here is that at just $4m a year, Barrett's defence is going to have to be pretty sensationally bad for him to not be worth that kind of money. And, my gut instinct is that while Barrett's defence leaves a lot to be desired, and some of these home run rates are scary and do have me questioning what, where and when as regards the pitches he's calling, and so on, it's not so bad as to make him not worth his contract.

And if he's worth his contract, since there are no great catchers out there, though I like Ramon Hernandez quite a bit, my gut instinct is that we're probably best off sticking with Barrett and spending money to improve the team elsewhere. We're certainly better off I think with Barrett than we would be with Pudge, who's two and half times more expensive and whose bat is overrated, if not his defence also. Defence is about more than just throwing out basestealers.

Cubby87:
"If you come up with the excuse that this was expected of this team straight from day one then may god help the cubs ..with this attitude we will not be able to go to the WS in a zillion years.."

How is that an excuse? If the team was not talented enough to win enough games, how is that an excuse? As of now, I overestimated the talent by a few games and many on here were right on with their thoughts this was only a .500 team. That is not excuses, just assesing the team.

Since the discussion has shifted to here I'll re-post this from the previous thread.

For those who have been discussing who is responsible for the players not making fundamental plays, here are Dusty's thoughts:

"After pitchers Jerome Williams, Glendon Rusch and Mike Remlinger all failed to cover first base, Baker said he and pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be certain to emphasize those shortcomings, among others, to their players.

"Somebody is going to have to pay,'' Baker said. "Somebody is in trouble. It was like doo-doo on the mound or something.

"Don't ask me. Larry is going to address it with them. That's Larry's department. I'm in charge, but a manager is in charge of certain functions.

"It has to do with responsibility in your department. There's a chain of command. Don't worry. It will be addressed. Contrary to the popular belief, I don't let nothing pass. Nothing. I'll address it sooner or later. I can address it calmly or I can address it very aggressively.''

DON'T ASK ME...THAT'S LARRY'S DEPARTMENT.

Whatever.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-k...

Cubfan..
So from your explanation Dusty baker must be either hallucinating or lying to the media whenever he says that 'we are in the run for the playoffs'. So from your explanation champaign will be flowing in the clubhouse when we end the season at .500.
I understand your reasonings but I am sorry that yours is a very pessimistic explanation of things.

Stars are born after great victories and great performances not before them. Wins make managers great. Oh now you are including 'DLee' in our 2 man elite offensive group. Probably you wouldn't have done the same in March. Now that DLee is having a monster year and ARam has is offense going (or atleast before the slump), he and Aram (some people even went to the extent of saying that Jimbo made a huge mistake in paying Aram 8+M when Aram was in a slump) are the only offense this team has??

Can't you see that some teams are ahead of us not because they have baberuth's and hank aarons but they had been doing the basics right??

-C

JH-
Why doesn't Rothschild take over pitch calling duties then when Barrett is catching? That might be a better option and maybe the staff has more confidence if Larry was calling the pitch instead of Barrett. Just an idea...

Cubby78-
I will copy and paste my repsonse from previous thread:
JJ-
I think this is setting up the clear answer for the offseason. Larry is the only coach from ther prior regime on the staff and Hendry will fire him instead of Baker to send a message.

Many on here have questioned Rothschild and how good he is with all the injuries and some relievers going on to other teams and doing well. Well, this might be Larry's last stand...

Manny,
I know about the gaping holes we have up and down the lineup. But those holes will not explain in a century why the players day in and day out lack emotion on the field. I have been watching other games and teams, those that doesnt stand a chance of reaching the playoffs, leave alone being in contention but I can see that desire to win in their approach, that fire in their eyes.

This team has been extrememly morose and the slogan they came up with seems to be 'we have to go out tommorow and get a win'.

-C

I thought the ball was foul-tipped, but obviously Barrett didn't play it well after that. I don't think catcher is the "problem" with this team, however.

Without Wood, Garciaparra, Patterson and Prior for most/all of the season, this is a .500 team. That's what we're looking at. The only reason this team is in the hunt is because Derrek Lee has had a HOF year. I don't think it's Dusty or Hendry's fault; though I think of Dusty as only an average manager. I like Hendry.

Most preseason previews I saw predicted the 2005 Cubs would finish 3rd behind St.Louis and Houston this year on the backs of Prior and Wood if they were healthy.

85, 86, 87 wins on average.

Cubby 78,

You are right this team is playing like there going through the motions. There emotionless on the field and that is the clearest reason that Baker has to go he has lost this team. It wouldn't surprise me if we starting anther long losing streak.

Hairston is on the 15-day DL and may be done for the year.

Patterson is supposedly his replacement. Dusty's comment?

"He'd be the logical choice."

Of course he would. Logic dictates that a guy hitting .219 in AAA would be
brought up to play for a team supposedly contending for a play-off spot.

If they bring him up, the problem is bigger than Dusty -- Hendry would have
to be held accountable, too.

if patterson is brought up, will dusty have to "talk to corey and lawton and walker and hairston and barrett" to make sure that everyone is happy? what if corey "really really wants to" bat leadoff? oh man, however will our player's manager deal with that?

he'll probably say that the lineup is rothschild's department too.

Can't you see that some teams are ahead of us not because they have baberuth's and hank aarons but they had been doing the basics right??

Yes...and with most Cubs teams this has always been the case. My analysis of the Cubs being a .500 team takes this into account. yes they have potential...but they have a manager who is pretty aloof and the players are doubtful to reach their full potential as a team. They don't play smart ball.

Don't use injuries as an excuse...St. Louis has been without Rolen, Walker, Molina, several others for a lot of the season. Injuries must only effect the Cubs negatively right? Unlike Larussa, Johnny hesitates to play the AAA or AA player to fill in for the injury. Johnny uses washed up vets because they have stood on a major league diamond more than the young guy....you can see the result in the standings--who is the better manager again?

I know the stats aren't entirely conclusive, but I believe Barrett's poor handling of the pitchers is part of the problem with the under-achievment of the pitching staff. Using your own eyes is a very good way to judge, and the staff in general just looked more confident on the mound when Damian Miller was here in 2003.
The stats don't help ease my concerns about Barrett as the long-term answer at catcher.

He are my questions to anyone who thinks the Cubs aren't underperforming.

Are the Brewers an equally talented team as the Cubs?
Are the Nationals and a Thome-less Phillies more talented teams than the Cubs?
What about Oakland who several people wrote off for dead? Or even Toronto who'se above 500?
And Who on here thought before the season that the White Sox were the most talented team in baseball?

I don't know if its a lack of winning, or getting spoiled from the talent we saw last year, but Cub fans seem to think they need a perfect team to win. This team certainly isn't that, and its certainly not as good talent-wise as last year's team, but they are much more talented than a lot of teams in the playoff hunt and far better than either the 89 and 98 Cub playoff teams.

Yes, the Cubs are underperforming. Just like they did last year.

CHIfan-
"There emotionless on the field and that is the clearest reason that Baker has to go he has lost this team. "

It is unsubstantiated comments like this that really make me wonder if you maybe have somekind of vandetta out against Baker. I mean, how many come from behind, late inning wins have the Cubs had in the past 2 weeks? If the team was dead and emotionless, why would they keep coming back in every game? And how has he "lost the team"? Please show me one quote from any player since the AS break that would substantiate that claim of yours. I think it is more wishing it was the truth than actual fact.

Like CWTP, and other have said, this team was prediciteed to be a 81-85 win team, that is what most predicted their talent level to be and that is where they are at. Basically saying that is what they thought of the $100 million spent this year by Hendry.

That's another issue in fandom... new Cubs fans (maybe older ones too) being spoiled by the talent last year and thinking/expecting them to have the same every year. Every team needs role players to go with stars. Look at the Yankees, their $200mm payroll isn't guaranteeing them shit. Even as it sits right now, the Cubs pitching staff has more talent than most in MLB, yet people continue to call for another top-line starter. I think that reflects on the 2004 rotation and unrealistic expectations.

What is wrong with Patterson coming back to play stellar defense and bat 8th from here on out?

A lineup of:
Lawton
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Burnitz
Garciaparra
Barrett
Patterson
P

It looks pretty good on paper. The biggest problem of late has been scoring runs and scoring runs from 3rd base w/ less than 2 outs. Clutch hits. Those become contagious - we just need to start doing it.

I don't like Hairston in CF. I don't like Macias in CF. I don't like C. Murray in CF.

The only scenarios I like better are Murton in LF, Lawton in RF, Burnitz in CF - Dusty will not play Murton (we've seen that) so this will not happen. Or, call up Pie (if healthy) and let him give it a try - Dusty won't play Murton though with a .450+ average, why would he play Pie?

Green Lantern-
Come on man, show the whole quote. You are misrepresenting what Baker said. This is his entire quote, basically taking a stab at Patterson.

"You'd think that would be the logical choice. If nothing else, we need somebody to catch the ball."

I took that as basically all he expects out of patterson is to play some D as he can't hit, but can catch the ball.

Also, Hendry is the GM and makes the decision on the 25 man roster with advice from Dusty, so if Patterson does get called up Hendry is just as much to blame, if not more, than Baker.

manny,
"If the team was dead and emotionless, why would they keep coming back in every game?"

They are in that come back situation because they are sleeping ..yes sleeping for the first 6, 7 innings. If you put zeroes on the board for the first 6, 7 innings then you better come back. I think this is the least they can do. Its like me saying "Today I got up from my bed and went to work" Wow..an accomplishment right??

If they have been scoring runs and if they are outbatted by the opposition in the first 6 innings (say the score is 7-5, 6-5 with the cubs down) and if they come back and win then that would really qualify as an accomplishment. Not when they had been dead for the first six innings, taking a nap on the bases and suddenly they wake up after the seventh inning.

Again they keep coming back in every game because they are digging that deep sh** hole in every game and are finding themselves in a situation to crawl back up. Its the LEAST they can do and its NOT an accomplishment.
-C

Manny--"this team was predicted to be a 81-85 win team"

Revisionist. History.

I don't really want to dig it up, but I'm fairly sure my prediction, of around 85 wins, was at the low end of the TCR range.

At the 2/3 point in the season, three numbers stand out to me: 109,
.054, and 135.

109 is the difference between the number of walks the Cubs' pitching has
allowed and the number of walks the offense has drawn. It is the
highest total in the NL, and second highest in baseball after the lowly
Devil Rays. There is such a disconnect between how our pitchers
approach the game and how our hitters approach the game - I think this
is an issue of great importance and needs to be addressed before
anything approaching consistent overall performance is achieved.

.054 is the difference between J.D. Drew's EQA (.322) and Jeromy
Burnitz's EQA (.268). I know Burnitz has come up with some big hits,
and he has done a fine job in RF, but it turns out that he really is a
pretty lousy offensive corner outfielder, like most of us expected. The
Cubs were cautious and overly optimistic about the offense to start the
season and they missed out on an impact player. With LF a big question
to start the season, and Nomar in decline phase and a huge injury risk,
a big bat was absolutley required in the other corner outfield spot.
Instead we got an outmaking machine in the middle of the line-up who
puts up decent counting stats.

135 is the number of HRs given up by the staff. It is the third highest
total in baseball. It is even worse when you consider that the Cubs
lead the majors in strikeouts - they have given up more home runs per
balls in play than any other staff in the game. What is the issue here?
I think a number of plausible explanations are available, including
poor pitch selection, poor understanding of opposing hitters, etc.
Rothschild needs to take some major heat as well.

Yesterday's loss pretty much clinched another year of failure (I realize
others would claim this point was reached much earlier in the season).
Comments about the poor fundamental play of the team cogently
address some other issues that, combined with the above, and Dusty
Baker's overall ineptness, demonstrate why this organization continues
to fail to put a strong club on the field.

On a lighter note, check out cubs.com's picture of Rich Hill in the box
about today's starting pitchers. You can't tell me that's not
intentional :).

I recall many a person on here saying all year, even before th season started this was a .500 team. The HIGH end of wins perdicted was 90. With about teh average being 85 or so.

Wow, talk about changing the curve to defend Dusty. That statement isn't even close to accurate.

I can't say what individual posters had for their 2005 predictions, but lets look at what the TCR "staff" writers predicted:

[Ruz] I see the Cubs at 89-73
[Brent] 91 wins
[John] 92 wins
[Rob]...I predict 95 wins

Personally, I said 92 in the Prediction Contest.

Saying the average was around 85 is just flat out wrong. This team is underperforming.

Note the post-Nomar's-injury date on this post, for example.

My quick take on the Cubs the past few years based on wins:
...
2005- very slight underachievers thus far (expect 88-90 wins)
Posted by: mannytrillo at May 4, 2005 07:32 AM

Luke, for the record, JD Drew is injured.

Yeah, Manny, there were a number of people on this board who thought this team was a .500 team or not much better. And they said so.

But, from what I read on this board, MOST of the comments were optimistic and more than a few posters (like me) thought this team was capable of 88-94 wins this year. And most of the comments I read here were of the opinion this team would certainly compete with the Cardinals and the Astros for the NL Central title.

Question: Who in their right mind would think this team could compete for the wild card or NL Central title being "a .500 team or a little better?" That wasn't the tenor of the comments I read here before the season started.

Did anyone think that .500 was good enough to win the damned division, especially if we're competing with those two teams (Astros and Cards)?

Did you Manny, in that warped, deluded mind of yours, or what passes for one, actually think playing .500 ball was good enough to compete for the division?

What, did you think we moved to the NL West? Apparently, .500 there might actually win it!

Was the general tenor here that the Astros and the Cards would suck to the point that ".500 or a few games over" would be good enough for the Cubs to win ANYTHING?

HELL NO! On the contrary!

I sure as hell didn't see "the majority of Cubs fans" on this board think that this was no more than a .500 team. Hell, if that were the case, I wouldn't be reading all of the strong, passionate remarks I've read here this season from day-1.

If "a majority of Cubs fans thought this team was a .500 team or only a couple games over" I wouldn't be reading all of these posts from pissed off people on this board.

Bottom line: this teams has not met expectations, for the second year in a row, for whatever reason. And, as such, they have UNDERACHIEVED.

And there's no guarantee they're going to FINISH "a .500 team or a few games over."

Hell, if the Cubs continue to LOSE 2 of every 3 games they play, if they continue to lose series after series, if they continue to lose to teams they probably should beat, if they continue to show a glaring lack fundamental baseball skills, like plate discipline and covering first base, they'll be labelled UNDERACHIEVERS, and rightly so.

Your interpretation of comments here is striking, but we've come to expect that of you. You've never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.. or post..

You're wrong, but you'll never admit it, that's just not your style. In fact, I've never seen you admit an error here. You strike me as a person who thinks they haven't been wrong since, oh, lets say, 1963, when you THOUGHT you made a mistake.

Your comment Manny, as usual, makes no sense whatsoever. But hey, this is America and everyone is entitled to their opinions, be they right or wrong.

Manny,

Anther problem this team has is that they ride emotion hence all those late comebacks all coming at once. Cubby 78 was right they wouldn't have to make those comebacks if they did what they had to do for 7 innings. That is why they have 7 game streaks of 7 wins and losses plus a 8 game losing streak. Oh and here's a quote for you:

"I think Jerry and I all year long felt that was a good mix," Walker said about the Cubs' 1-2 punch. "You don't have to have a guy who's going to steal a lot of bases, you've just got to get on base. Jerry and I over the last few games have done a good job of that. He's done a great job leading the games off and we've rolled through the rest of the lineup. Give Jerry a lot of credit for that."

Walker is clearly saying that Hairston should be the lead-off hitter all year, and he should have been. Walk also has had quotes about how idiotic it was to have c-pat at leadoff. Find me any quotes of Orioles players saying Mazzilli lost the team. You probably won't but that team's play
sure said that. The way this team has been playing for most of the season suggests the same.

so with a completely healthy team, the cubs were predicted by some internet folks to win 5-7 more games than they probably will...FIRE EVERYONE!

as for the st louis injuries, they didn't have anyone hurt until a month ago, by which time they had already run away with the division. so that comparison is invalid.

if the internet people were told in march that nomar would miss 90% of the season, kerry wood would make only a dozen starts or so, mark prior would break his elbow, corey patterson would spend a month in AAA because he couldn't hit, jason dubois would be a huge flop, joe borowski AND latroy hawkins would be cut/traded due to horrific performance...what do you think they would have predicted for a record? .500 ball? yeah, right.

btw the barrett/blanco CERA thing is inherently flawed; barrett has been stuck catching guys like koronka, mitre and company. even without that variable, CERA is pretty sketchy as far as stats go.

as for the st louis injuries, they didn't have anyone hurt until a month ago, by which time they had already run away with the division. so that comparison is invalid.

7/26/05 Larry Walker Placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 23, with a stiff neck.

7/22/05 Scott Rolen Placed on the 15-day disabled list with aggravation stemming from a surgically repaired small labrum tear in his left shoulder.

7/18/05 Reggie Sanders Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hairline fracture of his right fibula.

7/9/05 Randy Flores Activated from the 15-day disabled list.

6/24/05 Roger Cedeno Activated from the 15-day disabled list and designated for assignment.

Randy Flores Placed on 15-day disabled list.

6/18/05 Scott Rolen Activated from 15-day disabled list.

6/12/05 Cal Eldred Activated from disabled list.

6/6/05 Roger Cedeno Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury.

5/12/05 Scott Rolen Placed on 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder sprain.

4/27/05 Jason Isringhausen Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right abdominal muscle.

4/15/05 Cal Eldred Placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 11, with a viral infection.

4/12/05 Bill Pulsipher Placed on 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.

4/2/05 Mike Lincoln Placed on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Matt Morris Placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder problems.

_______________

Now take a look at Cubs injuries...

7/25/05 Kerry Wood Placed on the 15-day disabled list with right-shoulder inflammation.

7/15/05 Adam Greenberg Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion.

6/29/05 Kerry Wood Activated from the disabled list.

6/26/05 Mark Prior Activated from the 15-day disabled list.

5/29/05 Nomar Garciaparra Transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

5/28/05 Mark Prior Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right non-displaced fracture of the lateral epicondyl (elbow).

5/25/05 Mike Remlinger Placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 21, with a left hand fifth finger non-displaced distal phalanx fracture.

5/17/05 Chad Fox Transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

5/2/05 Kerry Wood Placed on the 15-day DL with a supraspinatus muscle strain in the right shoulder.

4/26/05 Chad Fox Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow injury.

4/21/05 Nomar Garciaparra Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin injury.

4/11/05 Todd Walker Placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee sprain.

4/3/05 Mark Prior Placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 25.

3/31/05 Scott Williamson Placed on the 60-day disabled list while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Seems VERY similar...looks like Cards have added 11 to the DL...the Cubs 10....

Make injury excuses all you want....some go out and play and win despite them...the Cubs have a "fall back" excuse for why they fail...others win inspite of the "excuse".

>>Luke, for the record, JD Drew is injured.

Yeah, thanks John, I should have made a point of mentioning that. I know that's been the major problem with him forever and a day and that the month he's missed has been crucial. However, even with that lost month, he has been worth almost 20 runs above average offensively in RF; Burnitz has been worth -3.7. In addition, after a pretty healthy season last year, he was well worth the risk coming into this year, when the Cubs were looking to win it all. The team settled for moderately expensive mediocrity instead of expensive, albeit somewhat risky, greatness.

John Hill-
What do YOU think the average predicted win total was for the Cubs?

I do know that LAS VEGAS had the Cubs at 86 wins (because I bet over...damn you Cubs). I think that is a very good barometer. And usually Vegas goes high on popular teams, becuase fans like to bet them and they need to protect themselves on fans coming in and betting their team.

That guy who ran the cubs contest would have a good read as to what the CUBS FANS thought was the average win total was of hardcore fans. Maybe should ask him to average out projected wins from contest participants.

Chris,

Yeah, and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon!

Just what was the crux of your comment... that, if everyone on TCR knew BEFORE the season what they know NOW, they would have made LESS optimistic PREDICTIONS?

Well, DUH!

WORK WITH ME, PEOPLE! :-)

Good grief...

Typical Manny, proven wrong, and still won't admit it.

Chris, in fairness, you'll also have to tell them in March that Lee would head into August as the favorite for MVP, that Aramis would maintain his stellar production from 2004, that Barrett would do the same with his good-for-a-catcher production, and that we were getting a Burnitz closer to the 2004 model than the 2002-2003 models, as the first wasn't expected and the last three weren't certain at all. I think pretty much everybody factored in a pitching injury at some point.

Blue:
Saying the average was around 85 is just flat out wrong. This team is underperforming."

Thanks for clearing that up. Maybe I am wrong in saying that, but like I said Vegas had 86 wins as the win total. I thiink that is a better barometer than biased fans picking what they "expect" the team should do. Vegas has millions on the line on htat number, while fans have NOTHING.

But thanks for posting that Blue, it appears i am wrong about what most fans on here thought. I always thought my 90 win guess was higher than most. WOW!!

At the beginning of the season I predicted 93 wins, with 750 runs scored and 640 against. That's a modest offensive regression from 2004, and a significant defensive boost. I assumed that Wood and Prior would be healthy and up to snuff, and that our bullpen couldn't be worse than last year.

Well, our bullpen is worse, Prior and Wood have been injured, and even when our starting pitching has been healthy it hasn't been very good. We are 15th in the league in team ERA. We are on pace to allow 721 runs. Offensively, we are on a pace to score 732, which isn't great, but near my prediction when you factor in the Nomar injury.

Our offense could be improved, but its our pitching that's keeping us out of the playoffs. That's what needs to be fixed.

4thandinches...
Maybe I am wrong, but I know Cubfan said it early on that this was a .500 team and I don't recall many that argued very much with him about that. Like CWTP said (maybe you should attack him too), that 85-87 wins was about the average guess for wins with this team. But I do know that I have heard 1000 times on here that this is a .500 team.

You know man, you could be much nicer than personally attack me with your post. Just state what you think and there is no need to throw in all the persoanl attacks, but I guess I shouldn't expect that from you, huh?

Manny,

I thought the post was people on this board... Cubs fans on this board... the pre-season predictions of people who post on TCR.

WHO THE HELL SAID ANYTHING ABOUT LAS-FREAKING-VEGAS!

Hell, if that's the case, lets Google everything written and printed about the Cubs since spring training.

My God, what's with you, man? You were wrong... admit it and go from there!

Cubfan:
'Make injury excuses all you want....some go out and play and win despite them...the Cubs have a "fall back" excuse for why they fail...others win inspite of the "excuse"."

Or maybe STL is just a superior team. I don't think there was a sane fan who realistically thought the Cubs could beat STl this year. STL is just better, injuries or not.

Incidentally, Tradesports has it at 89.5, although nobody took that seriously, especially after the first hints of injuries.

Manny,

No, because you're an arrogant so-and-so, and I personally can't stand you. Beyond that, i just don't agree with you much. And you're the world's biggest hypocrite, one who regularly twists the facts to fit your warped conclusions and feels free to level personal attacks at others. Yet you're the first to whine when people return the favor.

Other than that, you're a great, stand-up guy! Never change!

Blue:
"Typical Manny, proven wrong, and still won't admit it.

Please read my post #47....you should wait a little before opeing your mouth. Oh yeah, speaking of wrong, make sure to go back t the end of the last thread about your Dubois comments...you were proven wrong, now go and admit it. :)

No, the rather obvious crux of my point was that when one considers everything that has gone wrong this year, it's incredibly myopic to blast the team for being around .500 and about 5 games out of the wild card.

If the critics had known about all the injuries and poor play, they would have predicted the Cubs to go 70-92. Instead everyone remains stubbornly insistent that they are failing because they are 5,6,7 games off of the pace they "expected" in March...back when it was thought that nomar, wood, prior etc would be healthy and that borowski, hawkins, patterson and dubois would be effective.

Is that so hard to understand? Is it stubborness or just stupidity here?

Chris, is there no point at which you stop taking those excuses?

The coaching staff of the Cubs over the past two years has shown themselves to be outright incompetent. Period. It's clear that the players are all expected to take what little coaching they are given as optional. Look at Kyle freaking Farnsworth's line right now. Look at the fact that after an ENTIRE CAREER full of injuries and OBVIOUS bad mechanics, it was only this season that Larry "Overrated" Rothschild decided to take an extensive look at videotape and analyze Kerry Wood's mechanics! Look at the fact that when Chad Fox, with his history, was unable to throw the ball more than 12 feet in the bullpen, nobody decided to say "Hey, Dusty, I think you should maybe warm someone else up, just in case."

I could go on and on and on - these are just a few of the more horrendous, obvious, and grossly incompetent examples that I can think of off the top of my head. And the biggest point I have is that it's not the actual record that kills me.

I don't even bother to think of where we would be in the standings if our staff was competent anymore. I just think about how much more enjoyable (by which I mean less maddening) the games would be to watch. Simple as that.

Please read my post #47....you should wait a little before opeing your mouth.

Manny, it was hard for me to read your post number 47 when I was writing post number 45

You see Manny, number 45 comes before number 47. So I will accept your apology.

Well, unless the people at BP are insane...

NL CENTRAL
Team Average Std. Dev.
St. Louis Cardinals 1.25 .45
Chicago Cubs 1.83 .57
Milwaukee Brewers 3.91 .99
Houston Astros 4.08 1.08
Cincinnati Reds 4.25 1.05
Pittsburgh Pirates 5.67 .65

Six of 13 writers picked the Cubs to make the playoffs in some fashion. Two predicted them to lose the Series.

For the record my prediction was the Cubs to finish 05 with 80-83 wins for the season and be closer to 4th place than 2nd (if not 4th place)

4thandinches-
I love you too...:)

Didn't your mom teach you if you don't have anything nice to say don't say nothing.

You can tear apart my arguments all you want, but come on can you please not attack me? That is all I ask. If you can't, then please don't read my posts.

Manny, my guess as to the average pre-season prediction would be around 90, and on the fringes of both the division and wild card races (since no-one as I recall expected that the Cardinals would be as good as they once again have been). That's purely a guess though. But I can say with absolute confidence that the average prediction here was nowhere near 81-85, or 83 if you will, and for you to suggest that it was, purely in defence of Dusty Baker, is as disingenuous and nauseating as the way that a lot of people here try and pathetically pin every single failing of the individual players upon Dusty's shoulders.

Manny,

Even if everyone else thought we would suck this year, you said they should win more than 86 wins. So you should be the most angry at Baker.

Pre-season I posted Hendry's addition by subtraction was ludicrous. I thought the Cubs lost a lot of offense in Alou and they lost a good starter in Clement and did not replace either and the Cardinals losses could be overcome easier. I thought the division would be weaker and the wildcard probably wouldn't come from the East (I may just be wrong...Houston has an excellent chance at it) and I did think St. Louis would run away with the division again. That offense still is the most potent in the NL and Hendry flawed thinking the leagues pitching could cool the Cards offense.

So yes one of us at least had the Cardinals picked to be the best team in the NL.

As for everyone else I think most backed down from their 2004 predictions of 95-100 wins to around 90-92 wins for the 2005 season.

I will say less people chewed me out for predicting a .500 season this year than last...but that is probably because they didn't want 300 post threads debating the same thing over and over.

Chifan:
"Even if everyone else thought we would suck this year, you said they should win more than 86 wins. So you should be the most angry at Baker."

I said 90 healthy and 86 with injuries. if they go .500 I would say they underpeformed in my opinion by 5 games. And Baker would be partly repsonsible for that.

Reading through the comments today, wow what an ass kicking this has been...

Chris, your entire argument centres around the assumption on your part that people made their predictions thinking that the entire roster would be healthy all year. Baseball doesn't work like that, and I'm sure our readers here are intelligent enough to consider that when making a prediction. And, if they did, with the Cubs on pace to end up with 9 wins fewer (which I base upon my guess as to the average prediction being 90 wins), I think they'd be justified in arguing that the Cubs have either underperformed or have been unlucky, one of the two. And, personally, I don't really see the unlucky argument. Take a look at the luck that the Cardinals, Braves and Dodgers have had this year with injuries, and I think you could perhaps argue that we've even got off lightly!

JH:
"But I can say with absolute confidence that the average prediction here was nowhere near 81-85, or 83 if you will"

Well, then i am clearly wrong and admit it. Sorry, i thought my 90 win prediction was at the top of the curve.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Phil Rogers column today. He is somewhat of a dope, but he may be on to something this time (i.e. Dusty is in his last days in Chicago).

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

analyzing the bench and the farm system is important when making predictions...because injuries do happen...lots of them sometimes. Also knowing what your GM and management styles are--do they bring up young guys tearing it up in the minors when injuries happen or are they likely to make a trade or sign someone elses veteran who isn't performing so hot for them.

One of the reasons I keep picking the Cubs to be .500 or therebouts is because I see a real conflicting styles between Hendry and Baker. I don't think they are on the same page and in this game they have to be....or pretty good teams end up playing .500 ball.

Is this clubs talents that much similar to Milwaukee's? Maybe it is.....or maybe Milwaukee is running a better farm system who to pool players from...or maybe they get the most of the talent they have whereas the Cubs don't.

Bottom line is I look at the organizations history--seldom do I pick the Cincinatti Bengals to win the division in the NFL...reasons for that--team history proves most years they will win 1-4 games and that's it...anything else is an anomaly and the following season likely will be 1-4 again...same with our Cubbies...the playoff seasons are so few and far between they have to be considered anomaly seasons...

I will say it is MUCH more fun watching a team you didn't think would be good actually get to the playoffs...than watch 100 million payroll teams with a prediction of 95 wins and WS championships end up playing .500 ball.....

I haven't even seen an anomaly year in which the Cubs were favored to win a lot...who actually did and actually got all the way.....so to pick them to win 90+ games is extremely risky and usually way off.

Ron Galt-
Do you bet on that site?? If so, next year we should get together and try and middle some teams. A 3.5 win gap is HUGE.

Did you happen to calculate the W-L record of the team when Blanco starts and when Barrett starts? I'd be curious....

Here would be a good lineup with Hairston out:
Lawton L
Garciaparra R
Lee R
Ramirez R
Burnitz L
Walker L
Macias S
Barrett R

Adam, Did you realise you put Macias in the lineup you called good?

I'd flip Walker and Nomar, and put Murton in instead of Macias (with Burnitz or Lawton playing CF) and call it good.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?c...

There's nothing really interesting there, but someone might want to read it anyway.

any word on the changes that will have to be made today? We're adding Nomar, Kerry and Williamson AND putting Jerry on the DL. That's a lot of roster wrangling considering Nomar and Williamson were both on the 60-day DL meaning their promotion to the big club will require moves to the 40-man roster. I keep trying to go to this and other Cubs sites to figure out what will happen but have heard/seen nothing. Anyone know?

John,

Great analysis on our catchers, this is what keeps me coming back to this site.

Cubfan,

Yes, I agree 100%, there seems to be a philosophical difference -an ever-widening gulf - between Hendry and Baker. Judging by what they've said, especially this year, it just seems like they're not totally in-sync and are heading in different directions.

Someone mentioned the Rogers column in yesterday's thread. I read it and its pretty much what I've said for a while now.

Say what you will about Rogers, I'm not one of his greatest fans, but he nailed it on this one. The same kind of rumors (from Baker's so-called "friends") started bubbling to the surface out here in 'Frisco just before Dusty left (by mutual agreement). And that was from a laid-back SF press corps not known for its aggressiveness.

It's deja-vu all over again, as Yogi would say. Chicago's a much rougher town than SF was, in a lot of ways, and Dusty's finding that out now.

Its one thing to be TOLD about one thing or another... and its something completely different to actually EXPERIENCE it.

Chicago is the city of broad shoulders, a fishbowl where everything one does or says is examined, re-examined, spun, dissected, editorialized, skewered, twisted, misinterpreted, et al.

If Dusty does move on, I wish him luck, I just hope he moves to a medium-small market town that is a better fit for his talents.

Rob, that's easy enough to do. Cubs are 18-12 when Blanco starts, so that makes them 36-42 when Barrett starts.

Bear in mind though that Blanco's 30 starts breakdown thus as far as the SP goes: Prior 13, Zambrano 9, Maddux 6 and Dempster 2.

The breakdown for Barrett on the other hand is: Maddux 17, Zambrano 13, Rusch 10, Wood 10, Mitre 7, Williams 7, Dempster 4, Prior 4, Koronka 3, Hill 2 and Leicester 1.

We've used 11 starters this year. Last year we used just 7 - Zambrano, Prior, Wood, Maddux, Clement, Rusch and Mitre.

Maybe Dusty could work miracles in Kansas City?

Seems to me this is really a two-pronged question:

(1) What did rabid Cubs fans expect from their team?

(2) What did impartial analysts expect from this team?

It would be inconceivable to me that the majority of posters on this board, myself included, didn't expect more from the Cubs than impartial analysts. Why? Becuase we are trrue fans who, for the most part ("Cubfan" being a general exception...every year) are optimistic about our team and want to believe that "that will be the year" I believe, for example, that my prediction put the Cubs at somewhere between 85 and 95 wins depending on health. I believe that 85 is where the Cubs are going to shake out, which given the injuries, makes sense.

My recollection, generally, is that most of the stats-minded prognosticators had the the Cubs in the mid to high -80s (meaning 84-88) win column. These should have included guesses about relative health though. I think that if these predictors were run without Garciaparra and WOod for most of the season, they would have put the Cubs even lower

So are the Cubs underachieving - I think the answer has to be yes - but given the injuries, not by very much if at all.

Thus, if you ask the question in this manner: are the Cubs underachiving to a degree where Dusty Baker should, objectively, be fired? The answer should be NO. (THat doesn't mean that I don't think the CUbs should fire him because I do - after all, I'm a rabid Cubs fan!)

In regards to Rothschild calling pitches when Barrett catches -- not the best idea. Though it could certainly prevent mental mistakes, it could precipitate more physical ones. For the pitch calls to come from the dugout is a complete rhythm killer for pitchers. Think about Maddux and Z, two of the quickest workers in the game. It would force them to slow down when they're not comfortable working slow. And worse, in Maddux's case, he's the one deciding what to throw anyway. So the pitch would have to go from Larry to Barrett to Maddux, and if it was good it would have to go back to Barrett (with a shake-off from Maddux) and back to Larry, and over again.

Bad idea.

If it was no good, I meant to say.

Manny,

Okay, I promise to '86 the personal attacks... and I hope YOU promise that I'll never have to open a thread here where the first thing I see is a message from you saying "To 4thandinches and all of those Dusty haters, etc, etc., etc." or words to that effect. AGREED?

Detente, anyone?

And I love you too :-)

Agreed. I personally really appreciate that. I understand you and many others do not agree with some of my thoughts, but we are all on teh same page as wanting the Cubs to win.

I love it when us cub fans get all warm and fuzzy...

now how about winning a few friggin games by blowout scores

GROUP HUG...then kick some met arrse

Milky,

I read your post and my reaction is: Huh? :-)

Justin,

Does Rothschild actually call the pitches from the bench? If its true, that explains a lot (i.e. why Prior and Maddux have "personal catchers", why some pitchers seem to work faster and with better rhythm with Blanco behind the plate, etc.).

Now that's a pretty significant development. Does anyone else have any other info on that? John? Ruz?

I'm going to Google that, see what i can come up with...

I think it's pretty common for managers and/or pitching coaches to call pitches from the dugout. I doubt it disrupts the pitcher's rhythm much.

Pretty good column by Kurkjian in which I agreed with just about everything he wrote. Rogers discusses potential replacements for Dusty. Grady Little? God help us all if that happens.

If Grady Little comes within 500 yards of this team I freakin quit.

John,

You always give great info, but please learn how to spell offense and defense. I know it shouldn't bother me the way it does, but your spelling makes you sound less intelligent.

Manny,

Yeah, I'm with you on that one! The bottom line is we're all here (and I'm posting while I'm supposed to be working!) because we want the Cubs to finally celebrate in October with a World Series win!

I don't know about the rest of you guys and gals, but I've been rooting this team on for 42 years, and I'd like to see them win at least ONE before I die!

Its like going to Vegas and winning a couple of bucks... then you lose what you won... and what you came in the door with.

Then you gamble to try to get back what you lost, so you can at least go home and say you broke even... but all the while you just keep digging a deeper and deeper hole!

That's oft-times how I feel about this team, no matter WHO was managing them! We're just trying to go home even most years, and we keep digging, and digging, and digging...

It still bugs me that the Marlins came into this league in the 90's and already has won the big prize. Now that really gets me!

4thandinches:
"It still bugs me that the Marlins came into this league in the 90's and already has won the big prize. Now that really gets me!"

TWICE!!! UGH.........

4thandinches:
"It still bugs me that the Marlins came into this league in the 90's and already has won the big prize. Now that really gets me!"

TWICE!!! UGH.........

Spelling Marm--"Please learn how to spell offense and defense. I know it shouldn't bother me the way it does, but your spelling makes you sound less intelligent."

It's deliberate. If you wish though, you can interpret it either as a constant reminder either of the fact I'm not as clever as I pretend to be, or of the inferiority of the English. But really, it's just my way of saying that I disapprove of your bastardisation of my language.

You always give great info, but please learn how to spell offense and defense. I know it shouldn't bother me the way it does, but your spelling makes you sound less intelligent.

Funny, I always thought it made him sound more British.

I don't think anyone took injuries or severe performance failures "into account" when making their predictions...certainly not to the extent the Cubs have seen today. Skeptics thought Wood and Nomar might get hurt, but no one could predict the injuries would be this severe. No one predicted such an awful year from Patterson, Borowski, DuBois and Hawkins. No one thought we'd have John Koronka starting big-league games for us.

Is it so hard to be objective? I don't think that admitting the Cubs have done as well as could be expected considering everything that went wrong is a vote FOR Dusty Baker...Baker is an average manager and without wood, nomar, patterson etc this is an average team. Half of the other managers in the league would have this team a few games better, the other half a few games worse.

I really think we're underestimating the loss of Nomar...take a look at how bad Perez has been and imagine even an average year for Garciaparra in that place instead. How many wins would that be worth?

Again, the knee-jerk reaction to disregard anything that could be construed as a "defense" for dusty baker is plaguing this site. It's partially because people don't know how to discuss things without an agenda, and partially because everyone is so worked about about Manny. The deeper you dig yourself on one side, the deeper the other side digs as well. Using every opportunity to credit or discredit Baker is wholly fruitless and unentertaining.

British and unintelligent are easily confused though, Ron.

4th and inches - my point was that
(1) objectively, the Cubs really aren't underachieving given their injuries and the quality of players they have; and
(2) nonetheless, I, and many folks on the board are still pissed about the current state of affairs becuase, well, obviously, we want are team to be performing better:
(3) people shouldn't confuse points 1 and 2 and yet most of the posts do (myself included on numerous occasion)

This means, re: Dusty, that there is no objective reason for him to be fired this year (i.e., regardless of the manager, the Cubs would still be performing generally the way they are right now and yet we Cubs fans would still be unhappy about it).

Changing the manager might make us all feel better, but it wouldn't truly help this team...at least this year.

Spelling Marm, when you try to correct some one's spelling and they are not wrong, you look ignorant.

P.S.

although prognasticators here may have expected 90-95 wins, national baseball writers pegged the Cubs for about 85, something still very much in reach.

I'd be much more comfortable shifting the language target over to the Canadians.

At any rate, consider your favored spellings bastardized. :)

SCHOOLMARM:

Okay, someone tell me how in the wide world of sports we let Dr. Laura on this board! HOW'D THAT HAPPEN?

Good gracious, if I wanted to hear from Dr. Laura, I'd talk to my mother-in-law!

Seriously, though...

John,

Dude, your spelling is cool man, most of us realize you're from the other side of the pond.

This board is part of the global marketplace and I'm sure I speak for a majority of us when I say we're glad to have you.

It's not that you're less intelligent, it just means there's more than one way to spell "colour." And we have to DEAL WITH IT!

IMHO, your spelling should not be an issue or an opening for a cheap shot at your intellect, it merely highlights a simple CULTURAL DIFFERENCE between us and our European neighbors.

We better get used to the fact that we're on a chat board, and there are Cub fans in Russia... and China... and India... and Brazil... and all over.

People from Great Britain (and elsewhere in the United Kingdom) have similar, but different ways of spelling the same words. Webster's Dictionary doesn't have a problem with it, nor should anyone else on this board.

Typos and spelling erros are common in this forum... but most of us get the thrust of what's being said and I don't think its really a barrier to communication.

I'd seriously hate to think there someone out there actually GRADING us for spelling and content! YIKES!

SCHOOLMARM, IMHO, that post was uncalled for, and actually makes YOU look less intelligent... but of course, that just my two cents... and every has a right to their own opinion.

4thandinches --

I wasn't implying that Larry did call pitches; I was only responding to the suggestion that he should do so when Barrett is in the game.

As to whether or not it's common to call pitches from the dugout -- you know, I'm not really sure if it is or isn't anymore. Mazzone sure doesn't do it, because he's rocking like a psycho mental patient all game long. And I haven't seen Barrett looking over in the last couple of years, except occasionally when there was a runner on to get the call for a pitchout or a throw over to first. But that doesn't mean it isn't happening. I was just going on experience. The pitchers I caught alwasy hated for the signs to come in from the dugout when they were in rhythm.

Oh, and John: I think you're a bright dude. You spark thought in other Cubs fans, and you do your homework. You can follow the recommended spelling for any country you want.

Oh, and John: I think you're a bright dude. You spark thought in other Cubs fans, and you do your homework. You can follow the recommended spelling for any country you want.

SchoolMarm, just wait until you see what John does with "skeptic". And be careful using the word "fanny" around a Brit.

Of course there are plenty of full-time 'Mericans who can't distinguish between their and there, your and you're, or even between have and of(could of, should of). I think it's all good, in that it usually doesn't prevent effective communication.

As for John's intelligence, he's a Brit who loves baseball. That at least puts him near the top in his country.

I think John Hill represent all that is good and wholesome in the world. With an accent.

Manny:
"I predicted 90 wins as a healthy team, 86 for a team with major injuries (which we have unfortunately became). I think that is right in line with many on here and right in line with about this team will end up.

This is not an underperforming team, just like last year's wasn't considering we had even MORE injuries. Just not talented enough to overcome the injuries and make the WC."

I remembered you prediciting a higher number than that, and you even seemed VERY confident this was a playoff team after Nomar, Wood and Prior were done (after the Red Sox series). But that's irrelevant, I'll take your word for it.

However, your low end is 86 wins. For the Cubs to get there, they need to go 32-22 the rest of the way. Currently, they are on pace for 81 wins, which is 5 wins less than your prediction, and the difference between being in the playoff race in September, and being completely out of it.

So I guess my question is, if 86 was your low prediction...would 81 wins be considered under performing?

I do think 86 wins is reasonable considering the talent on the field....But, I think that 81 wins is underachieving even with the injuries. But more than that, on a game by game basis, it seems to me that there have been more games that the Cubs have given away, then games they have stolen. Many have balanced out, but I do see this team as underperforming considering they have shown what they are capable of doing...but then fall apart right after that.

I think Barrettís arm is underrated. If you remove his his SB/CS numbers from when Maddux is pitching heís good for 8th in the major leagues as far as caught stealing percentage, just behind Mike Matheny. Of course, if you were to remove the worst numbers for other pitcher/catcher combinations everybodyís CS% would improve. But I think Maddux is especially bad at holding runners on, and his numbers warrant being dropped.

Also, I think Blanco is underrated as a hitter. Over their careers heís been more adept at drawing a walk then Barrett, but Barrettís been the better contact hitter. His power numbers are comparable to Barrettís when he makes contact. Of course Barrettís in the prime of his carreer and Blancoís on the downward slope. But I think Blanco is a very competent backup and has good pop for a bench player.

Justin,

Oh, okay, thanks for the clarification on the "calling pitches" thing. I didn't see the earlier speculation.

Thanks, I was worried there for a minute!

Shefield, the reason your rep sucks is because you say self fellating crap like this:
"http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/3864884"

Re: #95

Well said, Chris.

"self fellating"...very nice turn of phrase

This is goofy. You can talk numbers all day, but Barrett is a far better catcher. While it could be argued that he lost the Phillies game for the Cubs,

I put the blame on an impotent bullpen that tends to load the bases in the 9th inning and a starting rotation that is grossly underacheiving. I'd rather see an entire shakeup of the bullpen & rotation next year. Maybe Wood will be better with some surgery, maybe not, let some other team figure it out, God knows there is enough talent in our farm system to use and/or trade away for some solid starters. I'm sure Arizona and Colorado scouts have been eyeing Mitre.

Remmy jettisoned!!!.....Whoohoo!

Chris - since you picked a quote from my post I will elaborate:

1. you and I are on the same page - my point, as I clarified later, was that the Cubs aren't underachieving and that Dusty shouldn't be fired for the Cubs peformance this year.

2. most well-regarded stat analysts do factor in injury possibilities - i.e., they may only estimate 390 at-bats to Garcaiparra and 22 starts for Wood and Prior, etc. I then said that if they ran their analyses knowing that even these projections were overstimates, they would have the Cubs winning fewer games (i.e., be a .500 team).

As far as projections being off re: performanec, I'm not sure that it really matters since they will be off on individual performance projections in both directions - i.e., most stats-based predictions would not have had Lee doing nearly as well as he has, would have had Burnitz performing worse than he has, and may still have had Patterson taking a decline this year (since his underlying indicators didn't predict any growth).

3. Just because I think that the Cubs and Dusty should part ways at the end of the season doesn't mean I think Dusty can be fairly "blamed" for this season's record. I just think that Dusty's zeitgeist has done all the good it possibly can for the Cubs (and it has done some good) and that diminishing returns is all I see in the long-term future.

Ben,
Do you have link or did this come from radio/tv? I can find anything about roster moves.

Ben - is that official? Do you have a link?

Obviously I meant "CAN'T"

>>> Regarding today's roster moves, Remlinger is indeed going to be designated for assignment, that's pretty much official, and Cedeno and Mitre are absolute locks to be sent down to Iowa. I'm just awaiting confirmation of who will be replacing Jerry Hairston on the roster, and then I'll have a new post up on the main page...

This post is the 4 or 5th thing listed on a google news search for "remlinger". Cool.

Ryno, always happen? When else has this happened?

Who *shouldn't* be starting right now to make room for Mitre? By all rights Rusch should also be starting, but it's pretty difficult to make a case for displacing either Hill or Williams.

What are the odds of Murton getting a start tonight over Macias?

You mean over Calvin Murray. ;)

Is Calvin Murray official?

Basically if the Astros or Nats win a few more games than they lose from here on out it will be very difficult for the Cubs to win the WC.

IF Houston were to go 27-27 in the remaining games (considerably easier schedule than the Cubs face btw) the Cubs would need to go 32-22 just to tie Houston. And if Florida goes 31-25 in their remaining games they would have 86 wins. So basically no one in front of the Cubs can go on a big win streak....no one can play much better than .500...Houston and Washington can't play any better than .500 and the Cubs need to win 10 more than they lose from here out in order for the Cubs to be tied for the WC....

Cubs haven't been more than 1 game better than .500 for any month this season...and remember Dusty will say this next month was spring training all over again for Nomar, Wood etc..

murray isnt even on the 40-man...why would he be brought up?

i dunno if anyone would be brought up until saturday anyway...and i imagine it'd be patterson.

and before anyone blows up 1000 posts, dont be suprised to see macias in CF...esp. sicne there's 2 nights of lefties on the mound to go...at least tonite he'll probally start.

injuries and backups...see the last thread for the cause/effect of that...hehe

*** Who *shouldn't* be starting right now to make room for Mitre? By all rights Rusch should also be starting, but it's pretty difficult to make a case for displacing either Hill or Williams ***

A fly-ball pitcher at Wrigley? hmmmmmm... no thanks

I'd move Hill to the bullpen.

LMFAO!!!

From Yahoo! Sports, The Cycle, Ryne Sandberg writes:

"...Who's hot: The Cubs bullpen. It allowed only one earned run over 9 1/3 innings this week against Philadelphia."

Except -- for all the crying we've done about the bullpen -- He's RIGHT.

And the one bullpen run allowed was the steal of home

at 3:20 scoreboard update. officially, nomar, kerry and scott w. all called up. hairston DL, mitre AAA, remlinger DFA

"The Cubs are victims of high expectations. 2003 was an anomaly.."

How so? Pror, Wood and Clement pitched to their ability and Z came into his own. We had a reliable closer, an all star caliber OF in Alou, Sosa and a performing CPat and Lofton.
We had excellent defense up the middle in Miller, Gonzales and Grud. An all star caliber 3B for 4 months in ARam, an effective platoon at 1B with Karros.Choi.Simon.
The only questions were middle and late relief. But no team is perfect.
This team was good enough to win more than 88 games and good enough to win the WS. We all considered them overachievers because as Cub fans then we had no expectations. But the fact is, the Cubs have underachieved every year for the last 3.

Sure injuries have played some part, but you only have to look at the pathetic fundamentals, brain lapses and ridiculous lineups to realize that there are other significant contributing factors.

I'm not trying to bash anyone. Just laying it out.

DBT....do you have a link?

But Alex...2003 was an anomaly....that season deviated from the normal Cub season.

So last season Wood, Prior and Clement pitched to their abilities...AND when hurt their replacement did an outstanding job as well. We had the same outfield in Sosa, Alou and CPat...even better infield of Ramirez, Nomar at trade deadline, platoon of Walker, Grudz and Lee at 1B....

Last years team was not much different than 2003. They won the same amount of games...BUT did not get to the playoffs....other teams had a better year than the Cubs....once again 3rd place in the division....last year was not an anomaly...it was a normal year for the Cubs...

This year started out with false expectations as well....they are playing to their ability...very much a normal Cub year...this season is not an anomaly....

Lets face it for a team who until last season couldn't put 2 consecutive winning seasons together in who knows how long.....isn't going to be projected to be playoff contenders too often...nor should they until they prove 1, they can play a full season and dominate and 2. they won't choke in the post season....

Any post season involving the Cubs in my lifetime has involved the Cubs choking big time....so to project them pre-season to win 95 is a joke at best.

DBT, where did you read that. Is tonights lineup up somewhere too?

Sure injuries have played some part, but you only have to look at the pathetic fundamentals, brain lapses and ridiculous lineups to realize that there are other significant contributing factors.

Again you are proving my point...you have to assume Cub teams are going to be horrible with fundamentals, brain lapses, bad lineups etc....all playing into why you should NOT get your panties in a bunch pre-season about any Cub team. I've rooted for them for 40 years and have learned that most Cub teams are going to give you close to .500...a bit higher or a bit lower...and almost always will never hold it together for the full season...and ALWAYS will fail and choke in post season....

You have to assume Cubs teams are just like that until proven otherwise.

in this modern era where youre lucky to see 50% of your team return from year to year...comparison or blanket guesses based on past performances are almost moot.

we get practically a different team every year or two now...

hell, the only person left on this team from just a few years ago currently is kerry wood and...umm...well, that patterson guy is in AAA...

Don't know if anyone has posted the link yet, but here's the Cubs official press release re: today's roster moves: http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/p...

Looks like Kpat is getting more time to iron that swing out in Iowa. Look for Macias, not Burny, to start in CF for the duration (sigh)

If this is true...
>>>at 3:20 scoreboard update. officially, nomar, kerry and scott w. all called up. hairston DL, mitre AAA, remlinger DFA

...I'm guessing we're in for a healthy dose of Jose Ma-Suck-Ass in center field and probably batting 2nd too. Yee-hah!

Post 139..

Very true and yet very frustrating at the same time.

How is it a long established organization with umpteen millions of dollars to invest in the organization as the Cubs...can be in business hundreds of years and not be successful for so long....

Then you look at organizations without a lot of payroll to spend--and low and behold they win championships in their first 5 years...Diamondbacks and Marlins....

Then the Marlins completley gutted their team for payroll reasons...and low and behold within a few more years are world champs again....How can that be?

The Cubs organization is probably incredibly embarassed by this fact.

Could the Cubs totally dismantle the Current .500 ball club...rebuild from square one...and maybe put a World series champion on the field within 5 years? You and I know the answers to that....they simply won't...they simply can't...the names on the scorecard may change each year, but the long dejected faces remain the same...it's the organization, it's the Wrigley's, it's the Tribune, it's the Cubs....they simply do not know how to win and don't expect to win--(not in the same sense that Atlanta and New York Yankees do).

That is what espn 1000 is reporting.

Anyone know who got booted off the 40 man to make way for Nomar and Williamson?

.329 since April for Macias.

Remlinger got booted off the 40-man.

the 40 man was already intact...no booting needed

...and the cubs have verified the up/downs via press release

They had to kick somebody off and it was Remlinger.

gotcha...semantics...

That's right there was a spot open. I was thinking they needed to kick off two.

Is Hendry that stupid? He is going to give a weekend at least of Macias in CF. The only reason not to recall C-pat is Hendry telling Baker his OF is going to be Murt-Burny-Lawton. Is playing Macias Dusty's way of trying to get fired?

there's 2 games in a row vs. a lefty...calm down

If Remmy k's rollins/utley/abreu the other night, does he still get DFAed?

Yes

Honestly, while its kind of a rock and a hard place, I'm glad they're leaving Patterson down.

In the short term it hurts (particularly if Dusty uses Macias), but Patterson needs to figure out that he isn't owed a spot on the major league roster. He's not doing particularly well in Iowa right now, and until he decides that he needs to get things figured out, its best to leave him in AAA.

Cubfan,

"Any post season involving the Cubs in my lifetime has involved the Cubs choking big time..."

The '84 and '03 teams were the only ones that choked.

Most of the '89 team played well. If anyone choked it was Zimmer, another of our great players' managers who wouldn't insult Dawson by moving him from the cleanup spot where he constantly stranded runners. The Cubs didn't play great but losing 4 games to 1 is hardly a choke.

The '98 team started Glark against Smoltz, Tapani against Glavine (a heartbreaker) and Maddux against the long inactive rookie Wood. They were outscored 14-4in three games. That's not a choke, it's a route.

Chad,
You're missing something. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL DEMLINGER K'S ROLLINS, UTLEY AND ABREU, SO DUSTY AND HENDRY NEVER HAD TO WORRY ABOUT IT.

Is playing Macias Dusty's way of trying to get fired?

Remember when I said Baker had to know Gerut was getting traded on Sunday? And Hendry most certainly wouldn't want a guy he was trading injured screwing up the trade....and Hendry most certainly told Baker to sit Gerut...so Baker PLAYS Gerut (something he hardly ever did in the short time he was on the team)....

Dusty is his OWN man and I think he makes that perfectly clear with his lineups....you watch how much Nomar ends up playing and how much Perez plays....Perez will get most of the time....Dusty is his own man even if he is boneheaded proving it.

I hope we get to see this lineup:
Lawton
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Nomar
Burny
Murton
Barrett

"Remember when I said Baker had to know Gerut was getting traded on Sunday? And Hendry most certainly wouldn't want a guy he was trading injured screwing up the trade....and Hendry most certainly told Baker to sit Gerut...so Baker PLAYS Gerut"

what?

do you believe that to be true or know that to be true cuz that's pretty out of left field...

i dont get it...seriously...

there's a lot of revisionist history and making assumptions true going around the board

post 159...

I think Walker is a horrible #2 hitter....I'd put Murton number 2. He hits well to opposite field, has better numbers than anyone else on the team....I'd move Walker to the 6 spot. I can't help but think Burnitz would do well protected in front of Lee and since having Lee 3rd and Ramirez 4th isn't really doing anything to help score a lot of runs lately..why not protect Burnitz? He needs protection.

Sorry CUBFAN, I disagree with you on the Gerut point. That's ludicrous to think that Dusty would go against orders of Hendry, HIS BOSS. He obviously didn't know anything about the Gerut deal. That deal got done right at the deadline too, so Hendry wouldn't have known early either. There were other teams in on Lawton right near the end as well.

Also, the first week I bet Neifi plays about 1 out of every 3 games at SS, and then 1 out of every 4 or 5 after Nomar gets warmed up, and Neifi will probably vulture 1 out of every 5 games at 2B against a lefty.

CUBFAN,
You're saying put Burnitz #3, what a terrible idea. I am not against Murton at the #2 but I have 100% confidence that Dusty wouldn't do that, and it's better to have a lefty hitting 2nd because he would have a better chance of moving a runner from 2nd to 3rd on a groundout/flyout to the right side.

post 160 IF Hendry and Baker aren't on the same page as far as potential trades and deals that ultimately lead to trades you can bet Baker is aware of them...IF NOT that is even more indicative of Baker and Hendry not being on the same page and keeping communications open.

If Baker is informed then what do you think Hendry told Baker or at minimum, expects Baker to do with Gerut IF Baker knows he is getting traded? Do you think Hendry told him "Go ahead and play Gerut, I got a trade pending with Pittsburgh...lets risk hurting him so this trade can't go through?" or "Lets sit Gerut because I think I've got a deal for him today"?

Do you really think Hendry would want Baker to play Gerut on Sunday? Or is Baker simply being his own man? Or does Hendry not keep Baker informed of players possibly being traded that day and not playing them?

So why is Ronny Cedeno still on the big sqad?

Chad, I would guess he's still on the roster because with Macias in center, or at least in the mix in center, they view him as the 2nd back up middle infielder.

"Remember when I said Baker had to know Gerut was getting traded on Sunday? And Hendry most certainly wouldn't want a guy he was trading injured screwing up the trade....and Hendry most certainly told Baker to sit Gerut...so Baker PLAYS Gerut (something he hardly ever did in the short time he was on the team)"

The easiest way to get fired from a job is insubornation and the second is incompetence. He committed the 1st on Sunday like cubfan said. Hendry had to have told him something could be going down with Gerutbecause Levine on his Sunday morning show said a trade for Lawton was possiable. The second would be playing Macias when he has Murton. Hell if he wanted a vet he could play Holly.

ARE YOU TWO (CUBFAN AND CHIFAN) COMPLETE IDIOTS?

These deals get worked out right at the deadline. Yes, Hendry was working for Lawton but he didn't have a deal in place hours before the deadline. Baker has to put his lineup card in approximately 3-4 hours before gametime. You are being complete idiots if you think that Hendry knew he had a deal done that Sunday morning (about 6 hours before the deadline) and told Baker not to play Gerut, and then Baker did play him. There is no way Hendry had that deal in place any more than 30 minutes to 1 hour before the deadline, and by that point the game was underway.

Macias, for the glorious career:

Vs LHP: 256/280/370
Vs RHP: 260/310/379

He's getting worse. Over 2002-2004:

VS LHP: 241/271/360
VS RHP: 251/294/374

But whatever. Pox on all involved.

Can we knock off this Gerut/Baker/Hendry conspiracy stuff? It's completely out of left field.

Can Ronny Cedeno play CF, otherwise what's the point of keeping him around?

Although I can't say I'm surprised by the moves....

I expect to see a lot of Macias in CF,,,,woo!!! He is hitting .320 since April folks, remember, the emptiest .300 hitter baseball has seen since Alex Sanchez. Hopefully he'll bat second too...

Exactly right, Drew. There's no way Hendry even thought he'd be making a deal on Sunday, let alone for Lawton, let alone tell Dusty how to make out the roster (which Hendry has said he leaves to Dusty alone).

Cubfan and Chifan, I'm no Dusty apologist, and usually would be labeled in the opposite camp. But even I know that you're being ridiculous. Stop coming up with ludicrous conspiracy theories.

I bet they will send Cedeno down by the end of the weekend and bring up Patterson or someone.

Any speculation where Remmy may end up? I assume we pay his salary for the remainder of year.

Drew, I agree that's what they'll do. But they may wait to see who clears waivers and see if they can make a waiver deal for someone they feel comfortable with in center.

Just speculation, but we might be seeing Marquis Grissom joining the Cubs before too long.

Andrew,

Baker had to know that Gerut was involved in a trade, and if he didn't than Hendry had a stupid moment having a player that could be traded in a game.

"Can we knock off this Gerut/Baker/Hendry conspiracy stuff? It's completely out of left field"

Nah. don't. The mind boggles at all the possible plots that can be hatched from the minds of Cub fans driven insane by years of following their team. Some more to consider:

Is the Lou Brock who ended up playing for the Cardinals the same one who played for the Cubs or was the real one kidnapped and replaced by a guy who hit 50 points higher before arriving in St.Louis?

Why didn't anyone ever graduate from the College of Coaches? What conference were they in? Why wasn't it co-ed?

What happened to "The Gloamin'" into which Gabby Hartnett hit his famous homer?

With the release of Remlinger does it not become apparent that the Cub organization's true plan for 2005 was to pay more in salary to people who aren't on the team than to those that are? And should they not be applauded for being close to their goal?

There's a new post in which you can discuss the roster moves...

I Can not believe the theory that Dusty intentionally played Gerut just to piss off Hendry is being discussed again. I swear that Dusty hating has turned into a mental illness for you two that has crippled your grip on reality.

For all we know, The trade originally involved someone else, and there was a change during the conversations. There is a reason why it didn't happen until the last minutes, none of us have a clue what the discussions were.

I'd say it easily happens every year where someone is traded mid game and is pulled from a game. Dusty is working on the field on the game plan for that Sunday afternoon game. He probably got to Wrigley at 10:00am and was obviously there through the trading deadline.

Hendry didn't have time to go chat with Dusty before the game, he was working the phones to see what was going on. If anything, I see it FAR FAR FAR more likely that Dusty would be irked at Hendry for not warning him that a trade was in the works for Gerut, than for Dusty to basically say "Fuck you" to Hendry and play him just to piss hendry off and be insubordinate.

Seriously guys, what the hell planet do you live in. Get a grip.

Here's my two-cents as to why Cedeno stayed:

1) no doubt, had Hairston not been injured, Cedeno would have been sent back to Iowa...the DL spot left the Cubs the option to stay pat

2) With Holly relegated to the bench, no need to bring up another LH batter in Ben Grieve (who doesn't offer any D and can't pinch runner). I'd rather have had Grieve or Scott McClain on the 25 man roster over Macias this entire year, but that's neither here nor there.

3) I'm not sure if there are any spaces available on the 40 man roster, but I guess Hendry did not consider either Kelton or Murray worth moving onto it. Kelton, much like Dubois, has nothing to offer for outfield defense, but would provide some righty power off the bench esp. if -- fingers crossed -- Murton gets some significant PT while Hairston is on the mend. I'd definitely take Murray for a two week stretch in CF than Macias for both glove and bat.

maybe I have an easier time identifying sarcasm in posts than most people....but the great thing about sarcasm is it's very close to being possible.

Johnny B. had a contentuous relationship with Sabean and Giants ownership in SF....it does seem Dusty does things Dusty's way regardless of what the "company" wishes.....

the Gerut/Baker scenario (for those who need it spelled out) is simply a "what if" thing....and some of it does add up.

Your abacus may be broken, Cubfan.

L O L

Our problem is that our pitchers aren't aggressive enough. They need to be more intimidating ... like Kerry is (when he is pitching). Opposing hitters are too comfortable at the plate.

Just two comments real quick...

Are their any bites on centerfielders out there that we might be able to clear waivers or maybe that has been out of baseball (what about Rickey Henderson, can he play center.....I didn't follow him to see how he did in indie league baseball this year)

Also, what do we think about Davey Johnson as manager???

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