July 2007

A Look at Cubs ‘08

2008 will be the 100th Anniversary of the last time the Cubs won a World Series. This past off-season (post-2006 season), the Cubs went on a $300M+ spending spree, hoping to win a World Series (or at least maybe get into the playoffs) before the Centennial Celebration commences. But with the new owners of the Cubs yet to be decided (apparently until further notice), it appears that the club's executives may take a passive approach toward the future, as evidenced by failing to sign Carlos Zambrano to a contract extension, taking the risk that he will walk away after the 2007 season. So here is what the Cubs might look like in 2008 should the sale of the club remain in limbo, and if the Trib decides to continue taking a more passive approach to player retention and acquisition during the next off-season:

Rest Of NL Lets The Cubs Down

In Tuesday night's 78th All-Star Game, the American League beat the National League 5-4, the tenth consecutive ASG victory for the AL. The Cubs' Alfonso Soriano brought the NL to within a run with a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but after J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, and Orlando Hudson walked to load the bases, the Angels' Frankie Rodriguez retired Aaron Rowand to secure the win.

Linking

I apologize for the lack of original content the last few days, weeks, etc. We should have had some extraordinary first half review or second half look-forward for all our wonderful readers. Unfortunately real-life and a lingering family emergency has sapped my time and motivation these days. I do hope everyone understands. In the meantime, some Cub-related links worth reading. Baseball Prospectus Free Talent All-Stars

Might Right Make Might?

In the aftermath of Friday night's loss at Pittsburgh to Pirates LHP Paul Maholm, Cubs manager Lou Piniella called for another right-handed bat, mainly to hit off the bench. Stating the player will almost certainly have to come from within the organization, the candidates named in Paul Sullivan's article in the Chicago Tribune are (alphabetically):

TCR Friday Notes

A few quick tidbits for your discussion... - Bruce Miles with some news and notes heading into the break. The cliff notes version is that Hendry reiterated to him that he'll have the resources to add payroll for the stretch drive, Piniella is smart and Dempster wants to be a starter. At least that's what I got from it. - Neifi Perez suspended 25 games for using a banned stimulant. Reader (CA) Phil had the best line:
Now we know what put the ! in Neifi!

Will the Three Men in a Two Seat Boat Mess with our Success?

Dr. Joseph Hecht takes a look at what's troubling Henry Blanco and the possibilities to our roster if he does return ------ Henry Blanco remains on the DL after getting three cervical (neck) epidural cortisone injections for his disc herniation. The latest from this Sun-Times article says he’s going to start testing how improved he is by throwing to second base. If his rehab progresses he might be ready after the All-Star break. If not he’ll probably opt for season ending cervical fusion surgery. If Hank White can return, it seems odd to say but his bat will be considered an upgrade compared to Koyie Hill and Rob Bowen. Based on the small sample size of Bowen and Hill’s play this year compared to Blanco’s play from 2006, it might be. Blanco’s defense this year was affected by his disc problem, which pinches a nerve sending pain down his arm as well as possibly creating some weakness. So which Henry Blanco that shows up after the All-Star break is anyone’s guess. Improvement from cortisone injections doesn’t imply complete resolution of the problem. If Blanco’s defense isn’t up to his previous standards, I’d rather we keep our defensive catchers and not mess with the chemistry they’ve brought. Who gets moved off if Blanco can play?

We’re Half Way There

Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer We've got to hold on ready or not You live for the fight when it's all that you've got We're half way there Livin' on a prayer Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear Livin' on a prayer Where have you gone, Bon Jovi? A (Cub)nation turns its lonely eyes to you. 81 games in makes projecting stats pretty much 3rd grade math - which makes it right up my alley.

Soriano and Lee Named to NL All-Stars

Scott Eyre though is still waiting for his phone call. Soriano got edged out by MLB public relations in the final vote as Bonds surpassed him. As the MLB.com article states:
He trailed Soriano 1,332,581 to 1,213,423. In the final vote total, Bonds had 2,325,391 to Soriano's 2,202,513.
Hmm, two-plus months of voting results in a million-plus votes but in the last week they doubled their vote total? Okay, sure. Richard J. Daley approves.

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  • The floor is more valuable than the ceiling. It's the same reason we drafted Kris Bryant instead of Jon Gray.

    John Beasley 38 sec ago view
  • Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres. 

    link 

    Arizona Phil 54 min 44 sec ago view
  • Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.

    chitownmvp01 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.

    He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.

    chitownmvp01 4 hours 54 min ago view
  • When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.

    I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.

    VirginiaPhil 8 hours 27 min ago view
  • Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.

    The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.

    Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 30 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 19 hours 32 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 20 hours 15 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 20 hours 26 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 20 hours 33 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 20 hours 36 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 20 hours 47 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 20 hours 53 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 21 hours 8 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 21 hours 9 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 1 day 54 sec ago view