August 2007

Scouting Craig Monroe

By all accounts, Craig Monroe was having an off-season with the Tigers, who asked Monroe to turn in his uniform and his pass to the players' parking lot last Friday, when he was designated for assignment. Here's what Rotoworld had to say at the time of the move:
The Tigers are cutting a guy with 59 homers and 236 RBI since the start of 2005. He's even a pretty good defender in a corner outfield spot. The big negative is that he carries poor OBPs even when he's swinging well. Still, there are more than a few teams that would like to have him around and some would probably even play him regularly. Expect him to be traded before he can become a free agent.
So how far off was Monroe with Detroit this year?

Craig Monroe Traded to the Cubs

The man in charge of MVN's baseball sites and Pirates blogger Cory Humes tipped me that Craig Monroe has been dealt to the Cubs, his source is the FSN Detroit broadcast. Details to come. UPDATE #1: The deal is for the one and only PTBNL. Let's just flip the guy we're suppose to get from the Pirates to the Tigers and call it an Izturis for Monroe swap. Who's in?

The Marshall-Cherry Relief Plan

Cubs manager Lou Piniella and pitching Larry Rothschild have been talking lately about the stress and strain Cubs relievers are under this month, what with the Cubs playing twenty days in a row, the "Dog Days" of August, and the pressures of a pennant race. Both Cousin Larry and Uncle Lou have mentioned that on September 1st, bullpen reinforcements can be added, because that's when the rosters can be expanded from 25 to 40 players. And that's true. They are correct. But actually, they really don't have to wait that long...

Picking Up Distress Signals From Milwaukee

In light of the grotesquely ugly 8-3 loss that dropped their heroes behind the Cubs, Milwaukee fans are trying on second place...and the folks don't seem to like the way it looks on them. Fan comments from tonight's Milwaukee Journal Brewers Blog... “Something needs to change.”

2007 Rule 4 Draft - Final Signing Update

The August 15th deadline has passed, and the first 68 players selected by MLB clubs in this past June's Rule 4 Draft (First-Year Player Draft) opted to sign, including all players selected in the 1st round and the Supplemental 1st round. A total of 98 of the first 100 players drafted ended up signing pro contracts. The Cubs signed 33 of the 50 players they drafted, including the first 18, and 23 of the first 24. #1 pick Josh Vitters was signed with just hours to spare. Notables who got away include 25th round pick Victor Sanchez (third-baseman on the Team USA Junior National Team) and 33rd round pick and University of Texas catcher Preston Clark (the #1 catcher for Team USA who was rated the #5 college catcher going into the draft by Baseball America). Here is the current status of players selected by the Cubs in the draft, as well as players signed as Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) after the draft, and 5th Year College Seniors and Draft+Follows (DNFs) signed prior to the draft:

Game 120 Recap: Cubs 12, Reds 4

Living in Zeno's Paradox - just a half-step away...

Game Center, Play by Play, Box Score, Photos

W- Marquis (10-7) , the Pignatiello clan, division pennant races, Peter Cetera.

L- Livingston (3-3)

Things to Take from This Game: 1. The Big O Derosa went 5-5, Ramirez and Jones had 4 hits, and Theriot 3. D, J and T in particular were smacking the ball all over the yard. Theriot excelled from the leadoff spot, and Len and Bob noted on several occassions his aggressive baserunning. We ended the game with 20 hits, a high for the year. 2. Marquis settles down Marquis looked terrific in the first and horrid in the second, giving up our early four-run lead. But he shut the door from the third onward, and with the relievers gave the bats a chance to stake the team to an authoritative lead with a 7-run 8th inning. Nice work by Marquis today. 3. Pignatiello's debut I can't say that it looked pretty, but Pignatiello pitched an effective eighth inning in his major league debut. His family seemed very excited for the long-time Cubs fan. Congratulations to Carmen. With the Cards clobbering the Brewers, the Cubs are once more a half-game out of first place. Like Zeno traversing the stadium, will we ever take the final half-step? Details, details, details, below.

Cubbery

Esteemed reader Chad sends in an idea for a little off-day procrastination.... -------- I sent in a definition to Urban Dictionary of the word Cubbery:
To lose a game (or play so poorly) in such a strange manner that only the Cubs could do, that one can only sit in amazement.
The examples cited were: Wow, my team just walked six straight batters then threw a wild pitch to blow a three run lead, then gave up a grand slam to lose. That is some real Cubbery! Or:

Vitters and the Game of Chicken

Jim Callis, Baseball America's minor league guru was on XM Radio Saturday morning. He updated the first round draft choices which haven't signed yet. The deadline to sign is this next Wednesday, August 15th. The only one signed in the top 5 is Pittsburgh's (#4) pick potential closer Dan Moskos, who did sign for the slotted $2.5 million dollars. Callis thinks Cubs (#3) pick third baseman Josh Vitters will sign but is waiting to see what the #2 pick gets, KC's Michael Moustakas (a Scott Boras client). Everyone involved is eager to see how much above the MLB slot money the agents particularly Boras can get. He believes #1 pick David Price (also in the Boras camp) will sign and that they may already have an agreement but are trying not to release it until the last minute. It seems that if they announced it early it will affect how much above the slotted money the other top picks sign for. It's a game of chicken so blinking at the last minute makes it harder to make the other's blink in unison leading to falling dominoes. Although Callis thought all the top picks will sign, the two with the highest probability to not sign would be Boras clients, Moustakas and catcher Matt Wieters (#5, Baltimore).

Game 115 Recap: Cubs 6, Rockies 2

Jonesing for First Place

GameCenter, Box Score, Recap, Photos, Play by Play

W - Marquis (9-7), corner outfielders

L - Cook (8-7), scary beanings

Things to take from this game: 1. Hope Jeff Baker is OK. As detailed below, Baker took a Marquis fastball off of the side of the face. It clearly was a pitch that just got away from Marquis, and let's hope that there are no serious after effects, either for Baker or for the remaining games in this series. 2. Second verse, same as the first Much like the first game of the series, the Cubs were led by Jacques Jones who had an RBI double in the fourth and HR in the sixth, as well as a bunt base hit. Once again Murton added a solo HR and Kendall also threw in some nice hitting as well. Remind you a bit of previous playoff chases where we'd get lifts from odd sources like Marvelle Wynne or Randal Simon? Maybe just a bit. 3. A great Coors Performance by Marquis Marquis really pitched well through six, before coming out of the game after the Baker beaning in the seventh. Good command, using the slider for a few strikeouts and getting a ton of ground balls. 4. Howry escapes the eighth Marmol loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth. Howry came in, and a weak popup, groundout, and flyout later, and the Rockies left with only one run scored. Great relief. The thrilling details, below.

TCR Friday Notes

Just a few things that I've been meaning to mention. - In case you haven't heard the Cubs are up for sale. Also, the Earth is round, Ryne Sandberg retired and Sammy Sosa was traded. The two most intriguing candidates to emerge so far are Mark Cuban and us....the fans. 4 Fans Sake is the site and I encourage you visit them before brushing off the idea. If you scoff at the notion that the fans of a team could own a major sports franchise, you should be reminded of the Green Bay Packers, who just happen to have the MLB commissioner on their leadership board. Is it a longshot? Sure...but I leave you with these words from Robert Morgan:
"...a legitimate revolution must be led by, made by those who have been most oppressed:..."
Who's been more oppressed in baseball than Cubs fans? - Of course, if you prefer the Cubs to be lead by an ultra-competitive billionaire with a bit of a crazy streak, there's Mark Cuban. You may have noticed the ad in the right sidebar from TCR Founder Christian Ruzich who's selling the cleverly mocked up Cubs logos that read Cuban at his Spreadshirt store. Support the Revolution! You can also read his musings on life in Harrisburg, PA and whatever else he fancies at his blog, The Dilettante's Dilemma.

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