You Won't Believe This, But...

The Cubs have re-signed FA RHP Chad Fox to a 2009 minor league contract, and Foxy also gets an NRI to Spring Training. Because he signed his minor league contract prior to December 11th, he will be eligible for selection in next week's Rule 5 Draft, and I'm sure he'll be in great demand.

Final Score: Dodgers 103,000; Cubs 25,000

At The Biz of Baseball, Maury Brown reports that a full post-season share for the 2008 WS Champion Phillies amounted to $351.504.48, and full shares for the AL champion Rays were good for $223,390.05 apiece.

The Cubs' share of the total players' pool came to a little over $1.5MM. The team awarded 50 full shares of $25,032.89, with 11.03 partial
shares and five cash awards also being distributed.

Evening Wrap-up

Some of this has already been reported in the previous thread, but rumor has it that there are a few jerks out there who don't read every comment of every thread.  I can't imagine who would be such a loser, it's just something I heard...


For those ignorant non-message board reading unwashed masses, I sadly report that Henry Blanco's brother has been murdured in Venezuela.  Carlos Blanco had been kidnapped two weeks earlier and held for ransom.  For several years now, Venezuelan players in MLB have had cause to worry about their families' safety back home.  Before making news for his attempt to use a machette to, uh, creatively beat out the fire he had started by dousing five employees with gasoline, Ugueth Urbina had to cope with his mother's kidnapping.  The personal security measures that Venezuelan players have felt compelled to take since then are eye-opening.  Our sympathies are with the Blanco family. 


Our sympathies are also with Dusty Baker, if he thinks Kerry Wood will sign with Cincinatti in order to serve as set-up guy to Francisco Cordero. 

The latest rah-rah piece from Muskat informs us that the Cubs like their current roster as they enter the winter meetings.  As well they should.

Finally, there's some phony-baloney corporate-sponsored baseball awards that the fans can vote on, and that carry about as much weight and meaning as your vote on  (I didn't link to it, on the grounds that no good could possibly come of it.)

My votes:  


The Best of TCR: The Hendry Chronicles

Everthing Arizona Phil writes in the comment section is worthy of a Best of TCR article. But this Best of TCR writeup is to show that I can find a post when news is particularly thin (beyond those gimme's from our TCR guru in the desert). Thanksgiving weekend is usually a desert of baseball news unto itself. Thus to brighten our tumbleweed desolate weekend, my long time friend, The E-Man steps up with a summary of Bruce Levine's ESPN AM-1000 saturday morning "Talking Baseball" weekly radio show. Enjoy (except for the part where he says that my season tickets will be more expensive). Take it away E-Man:

Just heard Hendry on WMVP this AM with Bruce Levine.

Jimbo came on the show...

- no slam dunk with Marmol as closer. He is not "set to close", but it is Lou's decision. They (Marmol/Gregg) may share duties. One may close more in the beginning of the year than the other.

636 Reasons for Cub Fans to be Thankful in 2008

In a special, Thanksgiving edition of his Stat of the Week, John Dewan chronicles the Cubs' aversion to taking walks from 2003 through '07.

Here is how the Cubs hitters ranked among NL clubs in BB:

2003 14th of 16 teams
2004 14th of 16 teams
2005 16th of 16 teams
2006 16th of 16 teams
2007 15th of 16 teams

Last year  was a different story.

Lou Piniella's Last Thoughts on the Playoffs

I read the Sun-Times writeup on an interview with Lou Piniella in yesterday's paper and thought it was worthy of TCR discussion.

''The two things that I take from the postseason are that I didn't get a chance to pitch [Ted] Lilly, and he was such an integral part of us getting there.."

Here's my translation of Lou's comment #1:

1) The Ted Lilly Fan Club Super Computer predicted this.

NL Central Smackdown Revisited

Back in April, I put up some polls for our readers to rank the position players and number one pitchers in the division. I originally intended to get them up before the season started so any hot starts wouldn't influence the results. I failed miserably at that and the poll results showed that (Derrek Lee second?). Nonetheless, let's revisit the fun.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.