Limping In

Boy oh boy, these last two weeks are gonna be fun. We're pretty much reduced to personal milestones and the .500 mark, so here's a handy clip-and-save for the last twelve games: * Greg Maddux needs three more wins to get to 15 wins for the 18th straight season, and the Cubs will juggle the rotation so he gets a shot. * Carlos Zambrano needs two more wins to match his career high of 16, set last year. If he gets those two wins, he'll have 50 for his career. He's already set a career high in strikeouts, and is over 200 IP for the third straight year. * Zambrano is also currently hitting .303, easily the highest mark of his career and the best batting performance by a Cub starting pitcher since Mike Krukow hit .314 in 1979. His SLG of .474 is the highest by a Cub pitcher since Dave Roberts slugged an even .500 in 1978. * Derrek Lee is 6 homers away from 50, 6 extra-base hits away from 100, 12 hits away from 200, and 27 total bases away from 400 for the season. He also has a five point lead in the batting race, a race I ridicule and make no mention of unless a Cub has a chance at winning it. * Jeromy Burnitz is 2 homers away from 300 for his career, while Todd Walker is 2 away from 200. Walker also has a good shot at a new career best in SLG. *Michael Barrett is 1 homer and 8 RBI away from tying his career highs (16 and 65), set last year. He's also in range of new career best in OBP and SLG. * Henry Blanco has a good shot at career highs in AVG and SLG.
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Comments

"Just being out there on a regular basis, you get a better sense of the strike zone." - Murton

Oh, a nice little jab at Dusty.

To the bench he goes!

A) I hate personal milestones with the exception of the BIGGIES (500 HRs, 3000 Hits, 300 Wins, etc.) And even those give me a mild distaste, as there really isn't a difference between a guy with 500 HRs and a guy with 498 HRs.

B) The rest of this miserable season is all about NEXT YEAR. It has been so for a long (duration arguable) amount of time.

C) The primary goal should be to develop players, or identify improvement areas for next year.

D) We have the foundation to be a 90+ win team - which puts you in contention. That's all any of us are asking.

E) Hendry should be looking at the following holes, in no order
1) Manager
2) SS
3) Backup IF
4) 4th starter
5) Closer
6) LH setup
7) RH setup
8) All 3 OF spots
9) Health - or this team's distinct lack thereof
10) The future of Wood with the club

There are pieces here that might address each of those issues. We could, possibly, have all of those pieces for next year, already here (Dusty, Cedeno, Neifi, Williams, Dumpster, Ohman?, ?, Murton, Patterson, Burnitz, etc.) But my guess is that we probably don't - and that FA should be used to solve many of these issues.

But to say that the rest of this season is about personal milestones...yuck... (No offense ruz, as I like your analysis of the milestones out there that are unfortunately going to be focused on as highlights for this miserable horsecrap we put up with this year.

yeah, nice jab...dusty's really pissed...the very next paragraph says...

"I've said before, I was getting more and more impressed, and that's why I'm using him,'' Baker said. "Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds more success. We're bringing him along, and now we're playing him every game.''

and as some old white dude on the radio says...that's the rest of the story.

oh nos!

manager! manager! manager!

fire! brimstone! doooooooooom!

having put in a couple years rooting for AA ballclub (Midland TX Angels/Rockhounds) I can sympathize with rooting in "its all about individual effort" mode, but sorry that this usually involves first giving up on the fortunes of the team. We're there- its time.

"Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds more success. "

Freaking moron..Are you telling me the only way to discover talent that you can have confidence in is to waste a full season? I am not 100% sure about Murton either way. Frankly, I haven't seen enough of him (in person) to say. I haven't been going to many games lately (lost interst - sold off a bunch of my tickets) so my personal observations on Murton are based on far too small a sample size. His numbers are spectacular though.

IMHO, Dusty is a significant part of the problem. He's not all of it. He's not even the majority of it. But he is certainly in the team picture. Yes, the players need to play. Yes, the GM needs to put a complete and balanced roster out there. And Yes, we need some sort of health over the course of the year. But I am from the school of thought that a manager's job is to not lose games for a team. To me, Dusty loses more games than he wins. That's a problem.

im a moron for giving you the next paragraph after you overreact and say a manager is gonna bench a guy?

okay.

i guess you're the only person here allowed to have a view on something.

go internets.

maybe you learned a lesson about the cubs and wont buy tickets next year...i hear tampa bay could use some fans.

Crunch, I'm pretty sure the "moron" X was refering to was Dusty, not you.

At least that's how I read it.

crunch, pretty sure he was calling Dusty a moron...par for the course around here.

Bob, please let me know if I'm wrong here. But have you ever made a comment on here that didn't involve complaining about people complaining about Dusty?

Yes, you are wrong. Next question.

And the reason for me pointing that out, by the way, was that crunch probably should've figured out who the poster was talking about since the word "moron" is tossed around about Dusty quite liberally.

people disagree around here, but it's rare that another poster calls someone a moron.

with all the doom/gloom around here i cant tell what's what anymore.

ive already had 3 posters here call me a moron/useless/etc. for stuff ive said...some of it having absolutely nothing to do with me having an opinion and it just being a trait of the player in question.

at least there's not another person calling me out for something i didnt even do/say/etc.

could care less who thinks dusty is a moron, but im getting kinda touchy about having my head bit off just for passing some info/etc.

Zambrano is also 10 Ks away from 200 for the first time in his career.

"...but it's rare that another poster calls someone a moron."

Oh really? Check the archives.

Isn't it wonderful that Dusty is taking credit for Murton's success. I mean hell Dusty should be taking credit, he has done every damn thing in his power to make sure Murton has failed.

Have a good game, get benched for a week. Only face lefties for awhile, shoot he never faced in righties in the minors. Jerked up, down, left, and right and yet somehow Murton keeps his hitting skills together.

Jesus, if a rookie can survive what is termed by rookies "Hell Year" they can make it anywhere. To bad the only real graduates of this boot camp in the last 13 years have been Russ Ortiz and Rich Aurilla.

I guess I haven't been around long enough (though, in actuality, it's been plenty long enough)...I've not seen many direct "moron" jibes, but now that you mention it, I don't doubt it. My mistake.

Hey Crunch...not you...not you at all man...

When I was talking of Morons, I was specifically talking about Dusty.

Sorry for the confusion! :-)

X

Walker's two homers away from 100--I think that's what you meant, Ruz.

Also, I've got a question about Minnesota's Jesse Crain, if anybody has an answer. I was checking out relievers to see who has solid young bullpen arms, and I noticed Crain's numbers are really strange. Throughout the minors he struck out more than a batter per inning every year, but since coming to the big leagues he's only struck out like 3.5 per nine innings. ESPN's scouting report claims his fastball reaches up near 100. I can understand a decline in K/9 when making the leap to bigs, but his has been astronomical to the point it seems almost unbelievable. He's having a great season otherwise, and the league isn't hitting much against him at all. My question is: How is a guy with apparently fantastic stuff--like a 100 mph heater--suddenly completely unable to miss bats? His K rate is lower than your average soft tosser, and I can't figure out how this can be. Anyone seen him pitch?

hey, sorry i was confused, too...no worries and thanks.

For what its worth, I can't stand people on this site/blog calling people moron's etc...its ridiculous.

For the record, let's just assume any time I use the phrase Moron, it refers specifically to Dusty. :-)

Carmen - you won't even make an exception for calling DUSTY a moron?

I'm not fond of calling other posters/bloggers morons. I don't partake in that activity. But Dusty, the players, the GM, etc. are a different story IMHO.

Jesse Craine's K rate is a mystery. http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/whe...

His velocity is down 5 MPH, but his K rate as collapsed.

Justin, yeah, Walker's about to hit 100 HR -- I'll fix that...

If hendry gets rid of burnitz and brings up pie next year, do you think there's a chance dusty starts the sarge in left ahead of murton? how about speier at SS ahead of cedeno?

If hendry gets rid of burnitz and brings up pie next year, do you think there's a chance dusty starts the sarge in left ahead of murton? how about speier at SS ahead of cedeno? too many youngsters

If hendry gets rid of burnitz and brings up pie next year, do you think there's a chance dusty starts the sarge in left ahead of murton? how about speier at SS ahead of cedeno? too many youngsters

Exactly Mike C, I love how Dusty is co-opting Murton's performance and acting like he nurtured him through to success. Dusty is the ultimate tool. An egomaniac who turns all attention to himself and then throws pre-adolescent temper tantrums when held responsible for his erratic and poor performance.

All while comnpletely sucking at his job with a complete lack of intuition or feel for winning strategy, clubhouse morale, and PR.

Moron. The man is a human momentum killer.

Here's a couple interesting trivia questions. Who are the last two pitchers with at least 6 years in a row of sub 2.85 ERA?

If I am not mistaken the answer and one other guy are the only two to have 7 in a row since 1920.

The only guy in history I know of with atleast 8 in a row is Walter Johnson.

>Who are the last two pitchers with at least 6 years in a row of sub 2.85 ERA?

Mad Dog's got to be one of them . . . from 1992 to 1998. Seven years in a row.

Yep, his streak of 7 years with an ERA lower than 2.75 was the only one of it's kind since Walter Johnson.

Gotta increase this font size, I kept double-checking to see whether people were calling each other Mormons.

that would rule...then i could reply to people calling me out by saying "your moms"

Talk like a Pirate Day -

"God do we suck. Which one of us will be involved in boneheaded trades this winter? We're almost out of players worth stealing."

Lol, Tbone

zing!

I think there is another milestone that could be reached. Neifi Perez is within 4 games of reaching his TSP. Total Suckage Percentage. Jose Macias has already hit his personal best at 1.000.

I remember being called many things...all of which weren't much good...when I said the Cubs were a .500 team and Derrick Lee could easily be a 48 HR a year player....

Oh well...I guess I really do suck.

Turn that "confidence" comment around on Dusty for a minute. Maybe if he had confidence in Murton it would breed success and that success would breed more-oh forget about it...

Here's what I think we need for 2006:
1. a leadoff man
2. a 3rd starter
3. a #5 hitter
4. a good setup man

Here is my wish list:
3 new outfielders, at least 1 must be an "A" player. Let Murton compete for a starting job, if it is his from the outset of spring training, then our team is not playoff caliber.

Another "A" pitcher. The only two pitchers who I think we can count on are Prior and Zambrano...that is not nearly enough considering our offense won't compete with the Cardinals no matter what we do. Even with a healthy Wood, we are still too prone to injury if we count on the same rotation to get us through the season as we have the last two.

Experienced, "B" middle relievers. I don't think it's necessary to overpay for a supposed top reliever...we have been burned too many times before doing that...we just need a solid core of veterans who have a proven track record over the last couple years, who appear to still be heading toward their peak...to compliment a couple of the young guys from this year.

New pitching coach...between all the injuries and inconsistancy, whatever Rothschild is doing ain't working. Get some fresh blood in there to work with these guys...it can't hurt.

murton will probally keep his LF job...unless he keeps forgetting cutoff men exist for a reason or he doesnt continue his progression on handling the inside pitch. he'll show plenty this fall/winter in arizona.

team's gotta worry about RF/SS as their #1 priorities it seems...some vet help for the pen...the todd walker situation...the CF situation is there, but they still got patterson/hairston no matter how good/bad any of us think of them (neither are much of value in RF with their arms compared to CF/LF...or if walker goes...2nd for hairston)

should be an interesting shuffle this offseason with a good hunk of loot of spend and interesting options to spend it on.

This is what we need for 2006.

A whole new OF, a whole new bullpen, a whole new bench.

Piece of cake. We should be contending for the World Series by 2016 at this rate.

Bring on the 100 year anniversary! The south has been reenacting Civil War battles for decades in a vain attempt to change history. Maybe the Cubs should start reenacting what it was like to actually win a World Series. Hell they could put the show on the road and make millions touring the country. The Tribune would love that extra .02 cents a share for their stock holders.

d.lee/aram/zambrano/prior/wood/maddux/barrett

that's a returning core a lotta teams would love.

walker/hairston/murton will probally be back, too

SS/RF/CF/2-3 relief spots/1 starting spot to figure...

that's not too much of a shopping list to fill and they got a good chunk of loot to do it with. they even have flexibility in-house in the CF+SP slot.

no SS is gonna break the cubs bank even if nomar returns to an incentive-laden contract (unless they decide to splurge on furcal).

Z will probally sign a back-loaded deal as par for this era and they could have some very serious room to move monitarily when it comes to RF/relief.

oh...and they'll need at least 5-10m to resign jose macias for his 150ab's a year.

WHITE SUX!!!

Woo!!!

Only 2.5 game lead. Biggest choke ever??? Would at least add something to this season for us Cubs fans!!

Not hearing as much love for Ozzie anymore. All the talk early when the team was winning, about how his in your face style was so great. Same thing happened to Dusty, just how most Chicago fans are, but Ozzie wasn't a proven good manager yet anyways, so the praise was WAY too early.

Justin, as someone that drafted Jesse Crain in a fantasy league and followed him very closely, I'm well acquainted with the story of The Disappearing Strikeout Rate.

When Jesse Crain was promoted to the major leagues for the first time mid-season 2004, he did indeed throw a mid-/high-nineties fastball, though he probably only touched triple digits on hot guns, in much the same way as Burnett, Farnsworth and Billy Wagner aren't true 100mph hurlers either. All the same, Crain complimented his explosive fastball with a superb slider and a somewhat inconsistent but at times very good curveball. It was stuff that few minor leaguers stood a chance against, and he did indeed strikeout around 11 batters per 9 innings down there.

Upon reaching the big leagues though, the Twins insisted upon Crain making some adjustments. They wanted him to throw his fastball with more sink and movement, and to achieve that they had to alter his mechanics and in particular the way that he used his legs in his delivery. Crain made the changes, but when he turned up to spring training this year, he discovered that he couldn't throw anything harder than 90 mph. He'd lost 6-8 mph off his fastball. That more than anything has been why his strikeout numbers have dropped, it's just so much easier to hit his fastball.

But while it's been easier to hit his fastball, it's been hard to hit it anywhere hard. The contact that Crain has induced this weak has been ridiculous - he's had more pop-ups, bloops, weak line drives, shallow flyballs, meat and drink groundballs hit off him than some pitchers will see in a lifetime. Part of it is to do with the way his fastball moves, sinking at times and running ever so slightly onto the hands of righties and the thin part of the bat. Part of it just has to be beginner's luck, and hitters not having adjusted to him yet.

Over the course of the season, quite a bit of his fastball velocity has returned, and he's up to 93mph now. All the same, what he was originally doing was working for him, so he's still pitching to contact as opposed to pitching to strike batters out, if you know what I mean by that. He puts it there and says "hit it", and for some reason they can't.

Another factor could be that hitters are picking his slider. He throws it very overhand, and it breaks quite a bit downwards, but you very rarely see hitters put a fastball swing on his slider and come up empty as a result. Maybe there's just enough late movement on it or something, but hitters have seemed to me to be often timing it but either hitting the top or bottom of it, resulting in more groundballs and popups. I haven't seen very many of his sliders belted. That kind of treatment is reserved for when he hangs his curveball, which isn't very often, because he simply doesn't throw the curveball that much.

I haven't watched many of Crain's appearances lately, but for the first few months of the season I watched the majority of them, and that's the impression of him that I got. It was an impression that left me uncomfortable owning him in my fantasy league, so I moved him. Pitchers with .216 averages on balls in play against scare me, because those kind of numbers tend to head up in a real hurry faster than you can say "fluke". So I moved him and for the most part nothing's changed since, he's continued to strike no-one out while putting up an ERA in the mid-2.00s. He's definately one to watch, or be watchful of.

I may be in the minority here (go figure), but I take no real pleasure in this Sox fade. I would feel mildly happy that certain Sox fans who were crowing more about the Cubs doing poorly than their own team winning would then be upset. However, my dad is a lifelong Sox fan, and I've got a good friend who loves the Sox but loves Wrigley, too. I'd feel horribly for them, just as my dad felt horribly for me in '03.

Paul Sullivan:

PS: "They could even go retro, bringing back Philadelphia free-agent center fielder Kenny Lofton... [who] shows no signs of slowing down."

Yup. Because when an old guy hits better than he has in years, it's safe to expect him to do it again.

PS: "Combined average of Cubs leadoff hitters. The Cubs rank last in the National League in this category, where the average team has a .273 average from its leadoff men."

Anybody remember "addition by subtraction?" There's a real easy way to solve this problem...

And finally...

PS: "Cubs pitchers' earned-run average with Henry Blanco behind the plate. It zooms to 4.52 with Michael Barrett catching. With a team built around its starting pitching, the Cubs may have to decide whether to sacrifice some of Barrett's offense for Blanco's defense and game-calling skills, evening out their playing time in '06."

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

lol.

Take one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, and sit him so Henry Blanco can get more playing time. Brilliant!

Barrett is probably one of the worst defensive catchers in baseball. What ever he has with the bat is lost on his defense.

Barrett is not even remotely good behind the plate. Hell he cant even do a simple run down. And forget about his ability to block pitches in the dirt effectively.

A catchers 1st job is his defense. A pitcher needs to go up there and be confident that they can throw all their pitches and not have to worry about whether your catcher can stop them or not.
More importantly it has been rumored for months that our starting staff is very unpleased with Barrett's defense and game calling. With Mark Prior being the most vocal.

I said this years ago. You figure an organization built around it's pitching staff would atleast invest the money in a real catcher for all their young studs. Instead the Cubs invest in a converted 3rd baseman, who doesnt have a clue how to catch. Probably the worst decision this organization has made right behind signing Baker.

A lot of this Cubs-Sox stuff depends on the atmosphere in which one becomes a Cubs fan. I'm from a South Side Cubs family. Growing up and in high school there were people on both the Cubs and Sox side of the fence, and everyone rooted against the other team just as much, if not more so, than for their own team. I'll be going to the last two games and rooting my head off for Cleveland.

People who grew up on the North Side, or are WGN (or international!) fans and therefore didn't have exposure to this kind of thing probably don't care as much, or at all. It's nice for us South Siders, though, as it effectively gives us something else to play for. I'm not sure what moments everyone else will take away from the 2005 season, but mine will be the email I get to send around October 8 (if not earlier): "Hey guys, won a playoff series recently?"

Maybe Barrett should stop calling for the fastball way out of the zone on 3-2 and those hanging curveballs.

I'm with Bob in the fandom dept. Rooting against another team doesn't make me a better Cub fan, especially when the team is in the other league.

And as a Chicagoan, I'm all for having a World Series here right now.

Maybe the Cubs should start reenacting what it was like to actually win a World Series. Hell they could put the show on the road and make millions touring the country.

I love this idea. They could bring the current team with them to serve as the Washington Nationals-style foils. Who needs winter ball?

I have thought for some time that it was no accident the staff suffered once Damien Miller was sent off. Barrett's bat is pesky but his anti-clutch passed ball habit in 2004 and his general inexperience/difficulty calling a game have certainly hurt the Cubs.

I share Mike C's assertion that a badass defensive catcher who can call a game makes a lot more sense for a staff of aces such as we felt we had at the start of 2004.

I also take no satisfaction in the Sox troubles. I hope to God they hold off Cle or the Yankees and make it. There are certainly some difficult Sox fans who have gotten under my skin over the years but it has never made me hate the Sox.

Frankly I would love to see them win a WS so the Cubs' brass would really have a fire lit under their asses. More competition is better when a team has sucked as along as the Cubs . . .

Hey Ron Galt I totally see your point though . . . if I grew up a South Side Cubs' Fan I mighthave more trouble rooting for the Sox. My bets friends were/are Sox fans nad they would tease my ass off if the Sox won it all.

However I would happily endure that if it somehow motivated Hendry/McPhail to dump Baker and sign some sweet players.

Allow me to clarify...I would never root *for* the Sox. If they made the World Series, I would not root for them to win, even if they played the Cardinals. I just don't hate them to the point where I'd root for them to gag this lead. It's apathy about them more than anything else.

Hey Hippo I believe you mean the Washington Generals, although to have the Nationals throw the games would be okay too.

To root for the White Sox, all you have to say to your self is what would a White Sox fan do if the Cubs were in the same situation.

I went to a Sox game this year against the Twins, and I saw two guys, they were not together,
one had a Sox road jersey with the number 69 on the back and the name said "CUBSUCK" and the other guy had a Floriday Marlins jersey that had the number 03 and the name said "Bartman".
Why you would drop $ 150.00 for custom jerseys, who knows?

My theory is that there are three fans in Chicago, and in order of biggest group it goes-
1.Cubs
2.Hate Cubs
3.Sox

Excuse me while I clean off my tomahawk and my war drum.

Go Tribe!!

I have thought for some time that it was no accident the staff suffered once Damien Miller was sent off.

Cubs Team ERA (Rank in NL)
2003: 3.83 (3rd) (683 RA) (Damien Miller 114 Games, Paul Bako 70 Games)
2004: 3.81 (3rd) (665 RA) (Michael Barrett 134 Games, Paul Bako 49 Games)
2005: 4.23 ERA (666 RA) (10th) (Michael Barrett 122 Games, Henry Blanco 51 Games)

That's obviously total games played by catchers, I don't have a breakdown of their starts.
---

2003 (Games Started)
Matt Clement (32)
Kerry Wood (32)
Carlos Zambrano (32)
Mark Prior (30)
Shawn Estes (28)
Juan Cruz (6)
Sergio Mitre (2)

2004 (Games Started)
Greg Maddux (33)
Carlos Zambrano (31)
Matt Clement (30)
Kerry Wood (22)
Mark Prior (21)
Glendon Rusch (16)
Sergio Mitre(9)

2005 (Games Started)
Greg Maddux (32)
Carlos Zambrano (31)
Mark Prior (25)
Glendon Rusch (17)
Jerome Williams (14)
Kerry Wood (10)
Sergio Mitre (7)
Ryan Dempster (6)
Rich HIll (4)
John Koronka (3)
Jon Leicester (1)

Must be Barrett and not the health of the staff, yup! And just for good measure, let's look at the relievers.

Bullpen ERA:
2003: 4.16
2004: 4.03
2005: 4.31

Alright ERA, not to mention bullpen ERA's aren't the world's greatest measure of things, but you get the idea. Stop blaming Barrett for the pitching problems this year. We were actually better last year in all aspects with Barrett catching more games than Miller. Is his defense great? far from it, but I don't know how you can attribute our pitching woes to Barrett.

Does no one remember when Miller was an automatic out when he was on this team?
He mad Scott Service look like Mike Piazza.

Barrett is a horrible defensive catcher and just not a very smart player in general. But like it or not, he's the catcher for a couple more years.
I remember the Cubs pitchers all professing their love for Miller when he was traded prior to the 2004 season.
Now they have "Run-down Barrett"

By X, about the holes on this club

"1) Manager
2) SS
3) Backup IF
4) 4th starter
5) Closer
6) LH setup
7) RH setup
8) All 3 OF spots
9) Health - or this team's distinct lack thereof
10) The future of Wood with the club"

I have to disagree... I think the OF has to take precidence over everything. Matt Murton is the only passable outfielder we currently have. Burnitz is fine, but I don't want to see both him and Murton out there, who I don't think will be much better than average. One average-ish corner outfielder is fine, with our infield, but not two.

I would love to see Brian Giles out in right for us. I think the .400+ OBP from him would be great. I have dreams of having both him and Damon (or Matsui) in the outfield, but that's a little too much to ask. Just one.

As for SS... I still think we should re-sign Nomar. Another one year contract, lots of incentives, maybe with a Club option. I don't think Furcal is a great option, but if Nomar goes elsewhere he can fill the leadoff gap.

For the bench, we should keep Hairston, Neifi, Blanco, call up Greenburg and Fontenot.

Patterson needs a change of scenery, I don't expect him to be back with the Cubs next year.

Our pitching staff is fine. We could use another starter, and use Jerome Williams as a swingman/Wood insurance (assuming Wood is back in the rotation), but Z, Prior, Maddux, Wood Williams is not terrible. We can build the bullpen from within our organization. Unless we're going to sign Billy Wagner, which would be awesome, I think we can get by with Dempster as closer and Van Buren, Ohman, Williams?, Novoa, Williamson, Weurtz bullpen. We should let Rusch go.

As for Barrett being the reason for the pitching woes... I don't think so. His CERA is 4.52 this year, while it was 3.88 last year (right with the staff ERA). Blanco's this year is 3.57. At first, it looks like Blanco is alot better, remember that he's caught a majority of Prior's games, so it really isn't comparable. If the pitchers thought that Barrett was calling a bad game they would either get it called from the bench, or call it themselves.

Sorry for that long rant-like thing. I just had to go on for a bit.

The interleague play has definitely amped up the Cubs/Sox rivalry. Before that, most Cub fans didn't give the Sox much thought. And that's what pissed my Sox fan friends off the most. It's like they didn't even rate being hated. They were nothing. Now, with the Sox fans able to play out their inferiority complex three times a year in Wrigley Field, Cub fans have begun to get pulled in. Alot of Cub fans are obnoxious. But they aren't angry and mean in their obnoxiousness like Sox fans. They hate the way we used to hate the Mets. Maybe that was part of the second city inferiority complex being played out by us. The same kind of inferiority complex the Sox fan feels.

"I think the OF has to take precidence over everything. "

I did say that those were in no particular order...I agree the OF is a key issue in terms of both the defense and the offensive productivity.

"I think we can get by with Dempster as closer and Van Buren, Ohman, Williams?, Novoa, Williamson, Weurtz bullpen. "

No way... There is not one guy there who is a lock for anything...not one. If that's the bullpen we come into next year with, I'll be mighty pissed.

"I think the OF has to take precidence over everything. "

I did say that those were in no particular order...I agree the OF is a key issue in terms of both the defense and the offensive productivity.

"I think we can get by with Dempster as closer and Van Buren, Ohman, Williams?, Novoa, Williamson, Weurtz bullpen. "

No way... There is not one guy there who is a lock for anything...not one. If that's the bullpen we come into next year with, I'll be mighty pissed.

I tell you what...if that is the opening day roster, I will take my season tickets down to a local ticket broker and sell the entire season tickets and just buy single games as I desire to big games. I am not sitting through that kind of a bullpen.

more baker/murton fodder for those keeping track...

``He's got the legs (to be a power hitter),'' Baker said. ``We know he can hit the ball to right field, he's got a good eye for the strike zone and he can run and he's making fine progress for a young man who came out of Double-A.''

In one of the year's more bizarre columns, Billy Corgan uses a keyboard without a shift key to weigh in on Corey, Dusty, Sox-haters, and the incredible lameness of using "Jump" for the pregame music.

Barrett is a plus behind the plate. Saying he's an awful defensive catcher because of the mistake on the rundown in Philly is ridiculous. Aimlessly referencing "rumors for years" that Barrett is unliked by the pitching staff is even more wishful thinking.

Besides, I thought Dusty was the scarecrow to burn. Why all the hate for Barrett? He's probably the best catcher the Cubs have had in about 60 years.

"I think we can get by with Dempster as closer and Van Buren, Ohman, Williams?, Novoa, Williamson, Weurtz bullpen. "

Dempster is a good closer, say whatever you want about WHIP are that but the only stat that matters for a closer is save% and his is 93. Novoa has flat out Filthy stuff and can be a good 7th inning guy. Wuertz has shown when he can locate he is as good as anybody in that pen. Ohman is an effective LOOGY. Williamson and Van Buren need to be DFA'd. All the pen needs is a 8th inning guy who can close if need be. With all this talk about Wagner and Ryan why is nobody talking about getting Hermanson or Gordon. Their proven closers who have no problem being set-up guys. Here should be Hendry's priorites (guys who he should target)

1. OF
(Matsui, Soriano, Kearns, Huff for CO and Bradley, Lofton, Payton, Winn for CF)

2. Bench
(Branyan, Bigbie, Graffino, Mackowiak, Luis A. Gonzalez, Byrnes, Hillenbrand, Tracy) the only bench guys I would keep are Blanco, Hairston, and Greive

3. Pen
(Gordon, Hemanson, Kolb)

Williamson and Van Buren need to be DFA'd.

If you vote to DFA Williamson now, then by the same logic you would have voted to cut Dempster after 2004. He had TJ less than a year ago. If he can remain healthy next season, he will be a huge part of our bullpen.

DFA Van Buren? Why?

AAA
1.98 ERA 54.2 IP 33 H 65:22 K:BB
Cubs
1.80 ERA 5 IP 2H 3:6 K:BB

Yes, he's walked batters, but there's no reason to think it isn't a statistical anamoly considering 3 came in one inning. He's been pretty effective in his 4 games. If we resign Dempster we will have a serviceable bullpen coming back.

williamson's gonna be back anyway...that's pretty much a given unless he somehow injures himself sometime soon.

Barrett is a dumb defensive catcher, deal with it.
Not just because of one play... he stinks on a regular basis. Great bat, weak defensive catcher.
Catcher is the position that defense most takes precedence over offensive contributions.

Is there another Kolb besides Dan that I'm not aware of?

Dempster is a good closer, say whatever you want about WHIP are that but the only stat that matters for a closer is save% and his is 93.

So the amount of baserunners a pitcher allows doesn't have anything to do with his chances of getting a save? That's novel.

Chris, you are both a poor troll (as in obviously here to irritate people) and a poor judge of talent. Baker is no scarecrow he is a flat out liability. Try watching the games.

As far as Barrett his ability to perfectly time passed balls is absolutely uncanny. He is not the most comfortable or experienced catcher out there. I am pretty sure he was converted from another position too. Correct.

Re: #76

I don't think that's what was said. I think what was said is that Dempster has convered 93 percent (or whatever it is) of his save chances. I think the ones he blew, he got the win. (Two times at least.) I guess the other side is, well, he has a high WHIP so his luck's going to run out. The point is, it hasn't. (And you know, he got Pujols out that time in St. Louis, I don't care how hard the ball was hit. If people are going to complain about his WHIP, you can't also complain about outs that are hit hard.)

I say he's a good bet next year to continue his success of this year. Just my opinion, of course.

DFA Van Buren, and replace him with Dan Kolb?

That's got my nomination for Bizaro post of the week.

why is no one talking about Hermanson ???...

Oh but they are:

"Guillen told Hermanson what most of us could already see. The ninth inning belonged to someone else after the right-hander with the aching back blew three saves in his last seven chances. With less than two weeks left in the season and the Sox' cushion getting uncomfortably thin, Guillen is prepared to trample a few egos."

"DFA Van Buren? Why?"

To save 40-man room for guys that needed to be from the rule V draft. We have Aardsma, Novoa and Wuertz plus in my plan we would get one of Gordon, Hermanson, or Kolb for the 8th. Dont forget Guzman will have to be in the pen next year.

"So the amount of baserunners a pitcher allows doesn't have anything to do with his chances of getting a save? That's novel"

WHIPS
Beck in 98 1.32
Williams in 89 1.50

CL can be good letting guys on base. He justs has to pitch to the sitution. If want to overpay for Wagner and Ryan be my guess, but I'll take my chances with Dempster.

"If you vote to DFA Williamson now, then by the same logic you would have voted to cut Dempster after 2004. He had TJ less than a year ago."

Dempster 2004: 20.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .208 BAA

Williamson 2005: 12.2 IP, 6.57 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .271 BAA

Add the facts that Williamson is coming off his 2nd TJ and not his 1st and is older than Dempster was makes it a differnt sitution.

"Is there another Kolb besides Dan that I'm not aware of?"

No. Kolb had a great 2 years working with Mike Maddux. Working with his little bro will help him. His problem this YR has been location of his 2 -seamer if he gains that back he will be fine.

Yea, because Mazzone stinks at helping pitchers succeed.

CWTP,

He has a back problem give him the off-season and he will be back to what he earlier in the year.

Bleeding Blue,

Van Buren has proven nothing in MLB and Kolb has proven he can close on this level. He is not as good as he was in 04 and not as bad as he was this year. If he has a season like 2003 he would be a solid member of this pen. He had 1 bad year. At this time last year he was everyone's ideal closer for this year. That seems pretty fickle.

"Yea, because Mazzone stinks at helping pitchers succeed."

Differnt styles are better for differnt people. Remember that Litenberg, Rocker, and Wohlers all severly lost their control under his tutledge. Its was not Mazzone's fault, but sometimes styles dont mesh.

For the record: As a relief pitcher DEMPSTER does not have a high WHIP

His WHIP is 1.25 which ranks him 66 out of 282 pitchers who have any relief appearances this year in the National League. Of the top 47 relief pitchers based on innings pitched (D is 47th), Dempster ranks right in the middle of the pack (23rd) in WHIP. He has a better WHIP in relief than Ohman does.

Hitters have only a .222 batting average against him and his OBA(OBP) is below the league average. He's 4-0 and 28/30 with a 2.04 ERA in relief.

VanBuren hasn't proven anything on the MLB level because he's pitched for all of 5 innings at the MLB level! Oh and by the way, he's got an ERA of under 2 in that time frame.

Yeah, lets DFA him so we've got room for guys like John Koronka or Todd Wellemeyer or Scott McClain or Jon Leicester.

As far as Kolb goes, sure for 2 years he proved he could be a big league closer. So did Danny Graves, Shingo Takatsu, Jorge Julio, and Antonio Alfonseca should we try to get them too?

Van Buren has proven nothing in MLB

Come on. As Bleeding Blue pointed out - he has pitched in 5 innings!! What do you expect anyone to prove in five innings? Van Buren has been dominant in AAA. He at least deserves a chance. To DFA a player like Van Buren would be foolish.

"Williamson and Van Buren need to be DFA'd."

You need whipped with a wet cane for that comment.

"Yeah, lets DFA him so we've got room for guys like John Koronka or Todd Wellemeyer or Scott McClain or Jon Leicester."

All those guys would be gone too.

Players I would take off 40-man or 60-day DL by DFA, Non-tender, trade or let them go their marry way in FA:

Fox
Hill (Trade)
Koronka (DFA)
Leicester (DFA) though Id try to sign him to ML deal
Mitre (trade)
Rolicheck (DFA)
Rusch (FA)
Van Buren (DFA)
Williamson (FA)
Wellemeyer (trade)
Fontenot (DFA) He and Theriot are the same player but Theriot can also play SS.
Lewis (DFA)
Macias (non-tender)
Mcclain (DFA)
Perez (FA)
Walker (trade)
Burny (FA)
Cpat (trade)

That leaves 19 spots

Players I would add to 40 man from purchasing guys and trades from guys who were on 40man
Pie
Nolasco
Ryu
Marmol
Marshall
Sing
Shipman
Soriano
Bigbie
Luis A. Gonzalez

That would give Hendry 9 spots to play with for FA, July Trades, and to bring up guys from the minors during the season.

That would give Hendry 9 spots to play with for FA, July Trades, and to bring up guys from the minors during the season.

So you're going to dump your best AAA pitcher from this year, who was just put on the 40 man last month, so you can leave space open for later in the year when you might want to add someone in a trade or from the minors???? (as if you couldn't go and DFA/60 day DL someone if you need space then)

Might I add that while your entire premise is just flat out bizarre, you make it even more twisted by saying you're going to trade guys like Wellemeyer and Mitre.

So, somehow you think you'll get good trade value for guys who are out of options, but you try to get anything for a guy with 6 years of club control in front of him, who posted an ERA under 2 in both MLB and PCL this year??

"Differnt styles are better for differnt people. Remember that Litenberg, Rocker, and Wohlers all severly lost their control under his tutledge. Its was not Mazzone's fault, but sometimes styles dont mesh."

That's a differnt theory.
Kolb will just flourish under the great Larry "hide-in-the-dugout" Rothschild.

"Dont forget Guzman will have to be in the pen next year"

Guzman has one more year of options left
added to the 40 man in november 03

"Guzman has one more year of options left
added to the 40 man in november 03"

IENPW,

Are you sure everything I have read (including AZ phil) says that Guzman is out of options.

Cubs.com has Guzman listed as being placed on the 40-man in October of 03, but he was brought up to big leaugue camp as an NRI. Does that count as an option? Where is AZ Phil when you need him.

Are you sure everything I have read (including AZ phil) says that Guzman is out of options.

Why wouldn't he get the three years? Unless I am mistaken AZ was mistaken and admitted to it. I'll find the link.

He has to be on the 40 man roster to be optioned. It's the whole point of an "optional assignment." When a player is a NRI in Spring Training he isn't optioned to minor league camp, he is assigned to minor league camp. The terms outrighted, optioned and assigned cannot be mixed up. They all have different meanings just like contract purchased and called up.

http://www.all-baseball.com/MT/mt-comments.cg...

Comment #35
ONE OPTION YEAR LEFT AS OF SPRING TRAINING 2006:
David Aardsma
Ronny Cedeno
Angel Guzman
Richard Lewis
Roberto Novoa
Will Ohman (must clear waivers to be optioned)
Corey Patterson (must clear waivers to be optioned)
Renyel Pinto
Jerome Williams (must clear waivers to be optioned)

pen next season is too early to call...the "locks" are

ohman/wuertz/novoa/williamson

but hey...there's 3 more slots to fill after that including the "closer" and what to do with guys like wellemeyer/r.hill/leicaster/koronka/mitre/vanburren/etc.

not all of those guys can stay and even the 4 locks arent guarenteed not to be moved via trade.

its a bit too early to be diving into the "future pen" situation, imo...

then again almost any speculation is baseless at this point, but the whole pen thing is wide open and wild...not all the "wild card" options the cubs hold are even worth keeping for lack of dependability and sheer overabundance.

some will be cut, some will be dealt...and hopefully whoever's left will have some dependable arms to go with them...i'm in the "i dont trust dempster" camp, so no, that wont do it for me, though its not like i wouldnt mind seeing him come back.

Regarding the catchers, I'm not going to comment on the defense, but here's some interesting numbers about their offense since the ASG:

Barrett: 45/152 H/AB, 20 BB, 381/533/914 OBP/SLG/OPS

Blanco: 26/78 H/AB, 8 BB, 391/551/942 OBP/SLG/OPS

While it's likely that Blanco couldn't keep up that line for a full season, and yes, he did have a 427 OPS before the ASG, but I think it's interesting how, combined, the Cubs have likely had the best catcher (offensively) in the league since July, and both guys are contributing significantly. Blanco has been far from a gaping hole in the lineup for months.

Remember?:

Blanco started hitting when he changed his uniform number from 9 to 24 (the number he wears in Winter Ball) after the All Star break. He then proceeded to double in his first two at bats and has been a power at the plate ever since.

HOW do you sabermetricize that?

HOW do you sabermetricize that?

Easy. It's called going back to the mean. Before the break, Blanco was horrid, even by his weak career numbers so odds were he would show improvement eventually. He did.

Now he's having a hot streak, and his average and slugging are above his norm. If the season lasted a little longer, or if he was made an everyday player, the odds are he'd fall back toward his career numbers. Jersey Number change or no Jersey Number change.

And for the love of god Bluewater Pennant, can you make up your mind about which Catcher you like this week? First you complain about Dusty using Blanco, then you complain that Dusty didn't use Barrett when he was injured for a weekend, now it appears you think Blanco's the superior catcher again? Hell, considering your obsession with former Cubs, you probably said the Cubs should still have Paul Bako at some point.

Remember?:

Blanco started hitting when he changed his uniform number from 9 to 24 (the number he wears in Winter Ball) after the All Star break. He then proceeded to double in his first two at bats and has been a power at the plate ever since.

HOW do you sabermetricize that?

Baby Maddux remember?:

Blanco started hitting when he changed his uniform number from 9 to 24 (the number he wears in Winter Ball) after the All Star break. He then proceeded to double in his first two at bats and has been a power at the plate ever since.

(file this anecdote in "things that can't yet be sabermetricized")

sorry for the 1 1/2 post. Not sure how that happened.

again, Bleeding Bore, what on earth are you talking about?

talk about Bizarro posts. You have an OPS of 1.000 in that regard.

Bluewater Boats, Which part of the english language didn't you understand?

The part which easily explains why Blanco's good 2nd half isn't that much of a surprise.

Or the part which wants to know which one of your multiple personalities is posting today?

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