August 2007

Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Notes Sean Marshall vs. Micah Owings Lineups:
Theriot SS Young CF
Jones RF Hudson 2B
Lee 1B Byrnes LF
Ramirez 3B Jackson 1B
Floyd LF Snyder C
DeRosa 2B Reynolds 3B
Kendall C Upton RF
Pie CF Drew SS
Marshall P Owings P
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?
Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Notes Carlos Zambrano vs. Matt Cain Lineups:
Theriot SS Roberts LF
Jones CF Davis CF
Lee 1B Winn RF
Ramirez 3B Klesko 1B
Ward RF Durham 2B
DeRosa LF Aurilia 3B
Kendall C Vizquel SS
Fontenot 2B Rodriguez C
Zambrano P Cain P
Why in holy hell would you play Ward in Telephone Company Park's right field over DeRosa? UPDATE: Reader Andy says he heard Lou in the pre-game press conference say that DeRosa is playing right and Ward in left. Sounds like it might be a typo on SI.com or Yahoo's part. AZ PHIL UPDATE: To make room on the 40-man roster for OF Craig Monroe (acquired earlier today from DET), the Cubs have designated OF Buck Coats for assignment. Coats was having a fine year at AAA Iowa, hitting 303/363/435 and leading the entire Cubs organization in OF assists with 15. The Cubs now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright Coats to the minors. If he isn't traded and manages to clear Outright Waivers without being claimed, Coats is eligible to be a six-year minor league FA after the 2007 season. ROB G. UPDATE: I rule (in regards to Buck Coats). And I don't know what the hell is going on with the lineup but I just saw Ward field the ball in right, so I assume that's where he's playing.
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? Monroe was all kinds of brutal this year with the Tigers, posting an OPS+ of 67. He still hits lefties though, 277/321/501 for his career and 302/317/542 this year. He's played all three outfield positions in the majors although I can't speak about his defense. His Rate2 numbers at Baseball Prospectus are 96, 90 and 104 from left to right for his career, 100 being average, so that's not promising. I assume Jake Fox or Felix Pie are the first casualties of the trade. By the time Soriano is healthy, rosters will have expanded and we'll have September to hopefully figure out our playoff roster. UPDATE #2: The Cubs will also get cash considerations from the Tigers in the deal and a 40-man roster move will have to be made before tomorrow. Arizona Phil speculates either Angel Pagan to the 60-day DL or Neil Cotts being DFA'd. Both sound reasonable to me and I'll throw in DFAing Buck Coats who doesn't seem to have much future with the club. UPDATE #3: Tigers Insider says the Cubs have until October 15th to send over Mr. PTBNL. AZ PHIL: Craig Monroe is signed through this season and is making $4.775M, and will not be a FA until after the 2008 season. He will be eligible for salary-arbitration after this season, where even if he takes the maximum 20% cut, he still can’t get less than $3.82M in 2008. So unless he gets REALLY hot with the Cubs and makes himself indispensible, I’d look for Monroe to be a 12/12 non-tender.
Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Notes Rich Hill vs. Barry Zito Lineups:
Theriot SS Davis CF
DeRosa 2B Ortmeier 1B
Lee 1B Winn RF
Ramirez 3B Bonds LF
Floyd LF Molina C
Fox RF Feliz 3B
Kendall C Aurilia 2B
Jones CF Vizquel SS
Hill P Zito P
Reader Doug Dascenzo with this gem from yesterday's preview:
If Rich Hill faces Barry Zito are we risking an implosion of the universe, like if Young Marty McFly accidentally crossed paths with Old Marty McFly in Back to the Future II?
Who knew that day would ever arrive? Way back when, the folks that run ESPN's SportsNation asked me to submit my choice for "The Face of the Franchise". The only stipulation being that it be a current member of the organization. This was back in May and might have gone with a different choice had Carlos Zambrano's extension been signed, but at the time being it seemed Derrek Lee was the obvious choice and my fellow TCR writers seemed to all agree. And so did Paul Sullivan. Ouch! You guys can read all about it over at ESPN.com and feel free to vote. Now pardon me, while I slice my wrists with a dull razor.
Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Notes Jason Marquis vs. Tim Lincecum Lineups:
Theriot SS Roberts CF
Jones CF Durham 2B
Lee 1B Winn RF
Ramirez 3B Bonds LF
Floyd LF Klesko 1B
DeRosa RF Molina C
Fontenot 2B Feliz 3B
Kendall C Vizquel SS
Marquis P Lincecum P
spcubsgiants Hopefully the Giants bring another fine defensive effort as they did at Wrigley. Is that Rodriguez catcher still around?
Category Cubs Giants
Runs Scored 575 (8th) 535 (13th)
Runs Allowed 529 (2nd) 551 (5th)
Team Defensive Efficiency .716 (2nd) .702(6th)
Starters ERA 4.07 (2nd) 4.16 (4th)
Relievers ERA 4.02 (10th) 3.95 (7th)
Batting Average .270 (7th) .253 (13th)
On-Base Percentage .331 (9th) .324 (12th)
Slugging Percentage .412 (8th) .386 (15th)
The Matchups
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
J. Marquis 10 7 4.25 146 80 59 18 5.13
T. Lincecum 7 3 3.95 116.3 125 52 11 3.62
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
R. Hill 7 7 3.73 147.3 135 50 24 4.68
B. Zito 9 11 4.48 145.7 100 68 19 4.97
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
C. Zambrano 14 9 3.86 168 139 77 20 4.66
M. Cain 5 13 3.78 157.3 124 70 10 3.87
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...
Game Chat Joel Pineiro vs. Ted Lilly Lineups:
Ryan 2B Theriot SS
Ankiel LF Jones CF
Pujols 1B Lee 1B
Encarnacion RF Ramirez 3B
Rolen 3B Ward RF
Edmonds CF DeRosa 2B
Molina C Murton LF
Pineiro P Kendall C
Eckstein SS Lilly P
Game Chat Kip Wells vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
Miles 2B Theriot SS
Ankiel RF Jones CF
Pujols 1B Lee 1B
Edmonds CF Ramirez 3B
Duncan LF Ward RF
Rolen 3B DeRosa 2B
Molina C Murton LF
Wells P Kendall C
Ryan SS Zambrano P
Game Chat : BR Preview : Press Notes Anthony Reyes vs. Sean Marshall Lineups:
Eckstein SS Theriot SS
Taguchi CF Jones CF
Pujols 1B Lee 1B
Encarnacion RF Ramirez 3B
Rolen 3B Ward RF
Ludwick LF DeRosa 2B
Molina C Murton LF
Reyes P Kendall C
Ryan 2B Marshall P
Possible chance of rain, you can check out the live webcam of conditions outside the park if you wish. (Thanks to reader cubswinthepennant for that link)
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.” “…the manger has lost this team, they have no energy…Yost needs to be gone, the sooner the better!!” “(Yost) doesn’t know how to keep a team fresh.” “Other teams seem to have a book on the Brewers and know how to play them every day.” “The team seems to lack a leader.” “…this is quickly turning into a ‘typical Brewers season.’ Is .500 even a reality at this point?”
Game Chat Braden Looper vs. Rich Hill Lineups:
Eckstein SS Theriot SS
Ludwick LF Jones CF
Pujols 1B Lee 1B
Encarnacion RF Ramirez 3B
Rolen 3B Ward RF
Edmonds CF Murton LF
Molina C Fontenot 2B
Looper P Kendall C
Ryan 2B Hill P
With Carlos Zambrano signing a multi-year contract extention today, here are some Cubs 2008 payroll and post-2007 off-season roster projections:
cardscubs With the big Z news, I'll keep this short and save the starter's previews.
Category Cardinals Cubs
Runs Scored 533 (10th) 564 (8th)
Runs Allowed 596 (12th) 519 (2nd)
Team Defensive Efficiency .698 (9th) .713(2nd)
Starters ERA 5.16 (16th) 4.06 (2nd)
Relievers ERA 3.87 (6th) 4.07 (10th)
Batting Average .273 (5th) .271 (7th)
On-Base Percentage .338 (6th) .332 (8th)
Slugging Percentage .405 (11th) .412 (8th)
The Daily Herald is reporting that the Cubs have called a 10:15 AM (CDT) press conference where they are expected to announce a multi-year contract extension for RHP Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano, who is eligible to be a free-agent after this season, is presently signed to a one-year contract for a $12.4M base salary, plus another $2M+ in potential incentive bonuses related to All-Star selection (didn't get that), Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, a top three finish in the Cy Young Award vote, a top three finish in the MVP, and MVP in the LDS, LCS, and WS. AZ PHIL UPDATE #1: ESPN Radio 1000 is reporting the deal will be five years for $90M. That means an average salary of $18M per year over the length of the deal. Still unknown are any player options, club options, and/or vesting options that will be built into the contract.
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:

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.
Game Chat Bobby Livingston vs. Jason Marquis Lineups:
Hamilton CF Theriot SS
Keppinger SS DeRosa 2B
Griffey Jr. RF Lee 1B
Phillips 2B Ramirez 3B
Dunn LF Fox RF
Hatteberg 1B Murton LF
Valentin C Jones CF
Encarnacion 3B Hill C
Livingston P Marquis P
Hide the women and children if the Cubs lose this and get swept by the Reds at home. A loss also means the Cubs will be back at .500.
I heard it on the WGN broadcast and Jonathan Mayo confirms it on his draft blog. I'll update with the contract details when they become available. It appears the only first rounder not to sign was the Orioles top pick Matt Wieters. UPDATE: My bad, Wieters did sign and received the second highest bonus in major league history at $6 million, just below Justin Upton's $6.1 million from two years ago and more than this year's top pick David Price received - $5.6 million. UPDATE #2: Rumor is the deal is for three years/$44 million. Spread the word. UPDATE #3: I was kidding about the 3/44 deal, a joke from the off-season rumor mill. Paul Sullivan and Baseball America are both reporting a $3.2 million bonus for Vitters, no word on any other details. It appears he's headed to the Cubs Arizona complex to start his pro career, we'll await breathlessly for Arizona Phil's reports.
Game Chat Phil Dumatrait vs. Ted Lilly Lineups:
Hopper CF Theriot SS
Keppinger SS Kendall C
Griffey Jr. RF Lee 1B
Phillips 2B Ramirez 3B
Dunn LF DeRosa 2B
Conine 1B Fox RF
Encarnacion 3B Murton LF
Jorgensen C Jones CF
Dumatrait P Lilly P
Who has the most career victories as a Cubs pitcher?
Good luck.... And you can keep up-to-date with the today's draft signing deadline at Baseball America's blog. At the moment eight first-rounders have yet to sign including the Cubs pick, Josh Vitters.
Game Chat Aaron Harang vs. Carlos Zambrano Lineups:
Hamilton CF Theriot SS
Keppinger SS Jones CF
Griffey Jr. RF Lee 1B
Phillips 2B Ramirez 3B
Dunn LF Ward RF
Hatteberg 1B DeRosa 2B
Valentin C Murton LF
Encarnacion 3B Kendall C
Harang P Zambrano P
As discussed earlier today, the Cubs have optioned Sean Gallagher and Eric Patterson back to Iowa and called up Illinois-native Carmen Pignatiello along with Jake Fox. Henry Blanco was moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Pignatiello on the 40-man roster.
Redscubs Time to start righting the ship....
Category Reds Cubs
Runs Scored 547 (7th) 538 (8th)
Runs Allowed 609 (15th) 498 (2nd)
Team Defensive Efficiency .680 (15th) .716(2nd)
Starters ERA 4.68 (11th) 3.97 (2nd)
Relievers ERA 5.10 (16th) 4.07 (11th)
Batting Average .256 (12th) .270 (7th)
On-Base Percentage .326 (11th) .330 (8th)
Slugging Percentage .426 (7th) .407 (9th)
Z draws another tough matchup and then Cubs kryptonite takes the mound for the final two games - lefties. Lilly has a 1.39 ERA versus the Reds in two starts this year with 19 K's and only 2 BB's in 13 innings. Marquis faced the Reds once earlier in the year and threw six innings with only a mere earned run against him in the third game of the season. The Matchups
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
A. Harang 11 3 3.37 160.3 146 41 13 3.30
C. Zambrano 14 8 3.69 161 139 75 20 4.66
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
P. Dumatrait 0 1 7.71 9.3 6 5 0 3.56
T. Lilly 13 5 3.51 151.3 124 41 19 4.11
Player W L ERA IP K BB HR FIP
B. Livingston 3 2 4.24 46.7 20 7 7 4.78
J. Marquis 9 7 4.18 140 78 55 17 5.03
Jeff Vorva at The Daily Southtown reports that sources are claiming the Cubs will call-up 24-year LHP Carmen Pignatiello from AAA before tonight's game at Wrigley Field versus CIN, and that RHP Sean Gallagher will be optioned to Iowa, where he can get regular work as a rotation starter. Pignatiello was named Illinois Baseball Player of the Year by Gatorade and the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year in 2000, as he went 14-0 with a 0.79 ERA for Providence Catholic HS in New Lenox, before being selected by the Cubs in the 20th Round of the 2000 Rule 4 Draft. Tiggy led the Florida State League in strikeouts while pitching for the Daytona Cubs in 2003. The Cubs have been operating with one lefty in the pen (Scott Eyre) since Will Ohman was optioned to Iowa a week ago. As you can see by his stats at Iowa, Pignatiello is not just a LOOGY, but he is in fact more effective against left-handed hitters (.163 Opp BA and 0.80 WHIP) than he is versus right-handed hitters (.245 Opp BA and 1.28 WHIP). In his last eight appearances, Pignatiello has thrown 8.0 IP, allowing one run on six hits and one BB, while striking out eight. Tiggy is eligible to be a minor league FA on October 15th if he isn't added to the 40-man roster by that date, so doing it now merely keeps the Cubs from further postponing the inevitable. Pignatiello was eligible to be a six-year minor league FA after the 2006 season, too, but he opted to re-up with AAA Iowa after getting a Cubs slot in the Arizona Fall League and an NRI to Spring Training. To make room on the 40-man roster for Pignatiello, I would think the Cubs will likely transfer injured catcher Henry Blanco (neck) to the 60-day DL. Since Blanco has already spent 60+ days on the 15-day DL (and since time spent on the 15-day DL counts toward time spent on the 60), he can be reactivated at any time. UPDATE FROM ROB: Jake Fox is on his way up too, no word on the corresponding roster move.
It pains me to include the St. Louis Ankiels in this table, but with Tony's Boys just three games behind the Cubs in the loss column, include them we must.
  Brewers Cubs Cards
Record 62-56 60-57 55-60
Pyth Record 59-59 62-55 50-65
Games Left 44 45 47
Home 22 23 24
Away 22 22 23
vs. Other Two 9 11 14
Over Last 75 36-39 40-35 39-36
Over Last 50 24-26 29-21 26-24
Over Last 25 9-16 12-13 13-12
Win Division* 53.7% 42.5% 3.5%
Win Wild Card* 2.6% 3.0% .2%
*From the Playoff Odds Report at Baseball Prospectus (subscription required), which involves running one million computer simulations of the rest of the season.
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: That team's Cubbery stopped them from scoring a run even though they had the bases loaded with no outs. The examples of Cubbery through the years are plentiful, a meltdown in the Big Apple being the most noticeable event this year.  So go at it, what are some of the most Cubbery moments in your lifetime?
Who was the first member of the Cubs to win a Gold Glove Award as an outfielder?
Start your guesses...
Game Chat Sean Marshall vs. Tim Harikkala Lineups:
Theriot SS Mastui 2B
Jones RF Tulowitzki SS
Lee 1B Holliday LF
Murton LF Helton 1B
DeRosa 3B Atkins 3B
Fontenot 2B Spilborghs RF
Kendall C Barmes CF
Pie CF Gil C
Marshalll P Harikkala P
Game Chat Rich Hill vs. Josh Fogg Lineups:
Theriot SS Mastui 2B
Jones RF Tulowitzki SS
Lee 1B Holliday LF
Murton LF Atkins 1B
DeRosa 3B Spilborghs CF
Fontenot 2B Hawpe RF
Kendall C Torrealba C
Pie CF Stewart 3B
Hill P Fogg P
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).

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.
Game Chat Jason Marquis vs. Aaron Cook Lineups:
Theriot SS Taveras CF
Jones RF Mastui 2B
Lee 1B Holliday LF
Murton LF Atkins 3B
DeRosa 3B Hawpe RF
Fontenot 2B Tulowitzki SS
Kendall C Torrealba C
Pie CF Baker 1B
Marquis P Cook P
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.
Looks like what the Chicago Cubs have done for pitching injuries (see Exhibits A and B), the St. Louis Cardinals continue to do for substance abuse (see Exhibits A, B, and C). But Rick Ankiel did hit a home run.

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