Please feel free to digest the Todd Wellemeyer trade and Marquis Grissom retirement in the post below, but I had to mention that... - Roberto Novoa has recovered from his bout with "valley fever" and will likely see Cactus League action before the team breaks camp on Thursday. - Dusty Baker has decided on who will get the bulk of the playing time at 2b, but he's not telling. Nana, nana, boo-boo - 6:1 odds that Dusty Baker is the first NL manager fired this year. Any takers? Only Bob Melvin of Arizona is a safer bet among NL managers. - Glendon Rusch goes against the Mariners today in Cactus League action.
So itís October 1968, and the Cubsí season is over. The Cubs finish 3rd in the National League (for the second consecutive season, both times behind the Cardinals and the Giants), and have played over .500 ball for two years in a row, the first time theyíve done that since 1945-46. 1969 looks like it might be The Year of the Cub.
I was being raked over the coals at work earlier this week, so I was never able to give my 2 cents on the Corey Patterson trade and I know you've all been waiting breathlessly for my take. To echo Ruz's statements, ìVaya con Dios, Coreylitoî. You wrote your Cubs tombstone the day you decided that you didnít want to play winter ball. Just another data point to verify the history of your arrogance. I do wish him luck with the O's and if he becomes the 30/30 guy we were all hoping for one day, don't worry, it would have never happened while he was in a Cubs uniform. I did find this quote from Korey regarding all the advice given to him highly amusing.
"Everyone has good intentions, but you have to know yourself and what parts to take in and leave out. I was listening to so many people. I wasn't being myself."
Here's some handy clip and save advice for you Korey, cut it out, put it into your wallet and refer to it the next time your on an 0 for 30 streak with 25 Kís:
Don't Swing at fastballs over my head.
As for the prospects we got in return, Carlos Perez will be lucky to have a career as good as the other Carlos Perez, and that's not saying much. Spears has tons of potential, just like the guy we traded him for once did, just in lesser amounts. He does have the upside of only being 20 and not being an arrogant idiot. There's a lot of comparisons to David Eckstein because of his frame and scrappiness. We can only hope he turns out that well. He played last year for the O's Advanced-A team, so he'll either get the bump up to AA or hang back in Daytona.
The powers that be here at TCR are unable to attend the Cubs Convention unfortunately. But, I'm guessing a few of you will be fighting the crowds this weekend. So please, drop us your notes in the comment and let us know the buzz filling the event. Who showed up, what's being said, which players have the hottest wives, and if anyone can get a question into Baker or Hendry, please, please ask them why they've soured on Todd Walker and what would possibly possess them into thinking of starting one of the historically worst offensive players of all-time over one of the best offensive 2B in the game today? I demand answers...
Next up, the first of two big-money bullpen acquisitions, Scott Eyre.
Pitcher
6'1", 215 lb
Bats Left, Throws Left
Age 34 (DOB 5/30/72)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (full-season career highs in bold, lows in italics)
86 G, 0 GS, 2 W, 2 L, 0 SV, 68 1/3 IP, 48 H, 21 ER, 3 HR, 26 BB, 65 K, 2.63 ERA
Please send your predicted stats for Eyre (as well as Michael Barrett, Hendry Blanco, and Ryan Dempster) to cubreporter @ gmail.com. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction.
The group-prediction project is going great! So far I have 45 entries for Barrett and 29 for Dempster. You can still get predictions in for those two, as well as today's candidate, Henry Blanco:
Catcher
5'11", 220 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 34 (DOB 8/29/71)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
54 G, 161 AB, 39 H, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 16 R, 11 BB, 24 K, 0 SB, 242/287/391
Look at that photo! His "action shot" on Cubs.com is one of him running the bases. Pretty funny. Please send your predicted stats for Blanco to cubreporter @ gmail.com. The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. One other thing -- you'll notice that I'm not asking for predictions on any sort of average (batting, slugging, OBP, ERA). I'm figuring all of those automatically from the counting stats that you're sending in.
Our next candidate, and first pitcher, for the group prediction is Ryan Dempster.
Pitcher
6'2", 215 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 29 (DOB 5/3/77)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
63 G, 6 GS, 5 W, 3 L, 33 SV, 92 IP, 83 H, 32 ER, 4 HR, 49 BB, 89 K, 3.13 ERA
Please send your predicted stats for Dempster to cubreporter @ gmail.com. The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. Along with your name, send in your handle from the comments if you post under a specific name. And don't forget, you can still send in your numbers for Michael Barrett as well.
Congratulations to ex-Cub reliever Bruce Sutter, just elected to the Hall of Fame. The rest of the ex-Cub candidates didn't fare as well -- Andre Dawson, Goose Gossage, and Lee Smith missed the cut, and Rick Aguilera, Gary Gaetti, and Doug Jones received less than 5% and fell off the ballot. I'm happy to see Sutter get in. He's deserving both as an innovator (he was the first great practicioner of the split-fingered fastball) and due to his performance on the field, and his election makes me hopeful that we're seeing the beginning of a re-eveluation of the pitchers of the first great relief era. I don't know if guys like Smith and Gossage deserve to be in the Hall or not, but I do know that they need to be examined through a lens that isn't distorted by the one-inning-only, 40+ save statistics being put up by today's closers. The complete results, with ex-Cubs in bold:
Bruce Sutter 400 76.9
----- 390 Votes Needed For Election -----
Jim Rice 337 64.8
Rich Gossage 336 64.6
Andre Dawson 317 61.0
Bert Blyleven 277 53.3
Lee Smith 234 45.0
Jack Morris 214 41.2
Tommy John 154 29.6
Steve Garvey 135 26.0
Alan Trammell 92 17.7
Dave Parker 76 14.4
Dave Concepcion 65 12.5
Don Mattingly 64 12.3
Orel Hershiser 58 11.2
Dale Murphy 56 10.8
Albert Belle 40 7.7
----- 26 Votes Needed to Stay on Ballot -----
Will Clark 23 4.4
Dwight Gooden 17 3.3
Willie McGee 12 2.3
Hal Morris 5 1.0
Ozzie Guillen 5 1.0
Gary Gaetti 4 0.8
John Wetteland 4 0.8
Rick Aguilera 3 0.6
Doug Jones 2 0.4
Greg Jefferies 2 0.4
Walt Weiss 1 0.2
Gary DiSarcina 0 0.0
Alex Fernandez 0 0.0
Our first candidate for the group prediction is Michael Barrett.
Catcher
6'2", 200 lb
Bats Right, Throws Right
Age 29 (DOB 10/22/76)
BRef card | ESPN card | BPro card
2005 stats (career highs in bold, lows in italics)
133 G, 424 AB, 117 H, 32 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 48 R, 40 BB, 61 K, 0 SB, 276/345/479
Please send your predicted stats for Barrett to cubreporter @ gmail.com. The categories to be predicted can be found at the initial post. Only predictions sent by email will be included in the final prediction. Please include your name if you want to be eligible for the fantastic prizes I'm sure I'll be able to round up before the end of the season. All rights reserved. Do not taunt happy fun ball.
The Cubs have traded Corey Patterson to the Orioles for two minor leaguers. ESPN Radio reports that the players are shortstop Nate Spears and lefthanded pitcher Carlos Perez. We'll gather as much info on these guys as we can find and post it here. * Spears is 21 years old. He was a 5th round pick in the 2003 draft. At High A Frederick last year he hit 294/349/429. From the Orioles Hangout prospect list, where Spears is ranked #14:
20-year old who hits .294 with 42 extra base hits in the Carolina League is something, but what is the real question. Only average defensively and not a speedster on the bases. His 36-82 BB-K ratio is a bit of concern as well. A little guy who doesn't have a projectable frame. If he turns those doubles into homers at a higher level he may become a better prospect, but right now it's hard to project him as more than a lower Division second baseman. He's a baseball rat who continues to beat the odds, so don't bet against him.
* Perez is 24 years old. He was signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican in 1999 and has started throughout his time in the minors, which means he has logged nearly 400 professional innings. Lat year at Delmarva (A) he went 11-8, 4.28. In 151 1/3 innings he struck out 146 (8.7 K/9) and walked 61 (3.6 BB/9). He's #36 at Orioles Hangout:
Started off the year like gangbusters. Went 4-4 with a decent 3.08 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 26 walks in 70 innings pitched through his first 13 starts. Lost his command a bit after that stretch and even worse, started to get hit like Mike Timlin in a save situation. Ended up with career highs in just about every category but allowed Sally League batters to hit .280 off him. With less then overwhelming stuff, and at 23-years old, Perez will need to prove more next year at Frederick.
At this point I would have been happy with a bag of used baseballs and a cheeseburger (As long as it was from In N' Out) in exchange for Patterson. Yes, he had five tools, but he misplaced his toolbox in 2003 and even a trip to Iowa last year couldn't help him find it. David Appleman at Hardball Times put into graphic terms what we all knew, which was that Patterson had a really bad year last year. Can he bounce back? Maybe. But it's not like he's a green youngster who is still learning how to play baseball. He's 26 years old, an age at which most players have figured out what works for them and what doesn't. Even more damning is the fact that he has over 2,300 major league plate appearances. That's nearly four full seasons, and it's more than (for example) Mark Bellhorn, Luis Rivas or Robert Fick. Again, he's not someone who has spent only a little bit of time in the majors and it still feeling his way. He's a guy who came up, got established, had some success, and has now settled into a specific style of play that leads to occasional power, guesswork swings, and very low on-base percentage. I didn't want the Cubs to even tender Patterson, so the fact that they're going to not only avoid paying him the millions of dollars he'd get in arbitration (or a new contract), but also get someone (anyone) in exchange for him, makes me happy. Vaya con Dios, Coreylito. May you rediscover the joy of occasionally taking a pitch. If you end up turning things around in Baltimore, I'll be in the front row cheering for you, but I haven't bought any tickets to Camden Yards yet. PS - Bonus points to whoever remembers the last time I used this headline (no peeking in the archives).
We have entered the most boring part of the year for a baseball fan. The season is long over, and the once-sizzling hot stove has been reduced to embers. We have nothing to occupy us except what-if scenarios and trade talk. This is the time of year that leads actual paid writers to write things like "Club relying on starters to stay healthy all season long." Seriously, if that's what the Cubs are relying on, I'm out of here. But fear not - there is a cure for boredom, and it comes from a non-baseball source. We're going to spend the next month predicting how the Cubs will do this season.
We can all go about the business of counting the days until spring training. It appears that Miguel Tejada has mellowed out on his trade demand and he'll be staying put, for now. It could all be a smokescreen from the O's camp to get teams to pony up their offers, but this quote from Orioles GM Jim Duquette makes me think it's on the up and up.
"This is the first time we heard this directly from him. We're elated that he's chosen to stay. We're all committed to improving the team, and it's easier to do it with Miguel than without him."
Doesn't mean Miggy won't change his mind in the middle of the season when the O's are hovering near last place, but for now, I think he's staying put.
The Cubs have invited the following players to Spring Training to join previous NRIs Marqius Grissom, Augie Ojeda, and Michael Restovich: * OF Adam Greenberg * RHP Bobby Brownlie * LHP Carmen Pignatiello * LHP Raul Valdez * RHP Randy Wells * C Dennis Anderson * C Jake Fox * IF Casey McGehee * 1B Brandon Sing * OF Buck Coats Arizona Phil mentioned most of these guys a few days ago, and none of them has a chance to make the team, but it will be great to see Brownlie throwing in Mesa. It's not much news, but it is actual news about the 2006 season. Pitchers and catchers report on February 15th, and the first Cactus League game is on March 2nd against the A's. That's only 55 days away! PS: I didn't open comments on the Frappr post because I didn't figure it was worth discussing. I guess I should have realized that you guys will talk about anything. At least that's one post where the comments aren't full of Miguel Tejada rumors...
Put your pin in the Cub Reporter Frappr! Thanks to Geoff at Ducksnorts for the idea.
Looks like the cellphone minutes that have been accumulating between Orioles GM Jim Duquette and Jim Hendry will finally payoff. It probably won't land us Miguel Tejada, but it does look like we'll rid ourselves of Corey Patterson. Rumor has is that the 2 teams are close to a trade sending Patterson for a mid-level prospect. If the Cubs can just rid themselves of Patterson's salary, I'll consider it a good trade no matter who we get in return. It should free up a 40-man roster spot as well so that we can welcome in the Marquis Grissom era.

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