October 2007

What’s Your Type?

Elias has released their annual player rankings which MLB uses to determine free agent draft pick compensation if a player signs with another team and is offered arbitration by their former team. It's a rather insane system based off the last two years worth of numbers that relies heavily on the triple crown numbers and counting stats. A ranking that has five players higher than Alex Rodriguez and one in which Troy Percival would net the Cards a supplemental pick. Players are classified into five categories:
  1. DH, 1B, OF
  2. 2b, 3b, SS
  3. Catchers
  4. Starting Pitchers
  5. Relief Pitchers
The new collective bargaining agreement has lowered the percentages meaning less players would net their former teams draft picks. Type A free agents are considered the top 20% at their position and Type B are from the 21-40% range. Under the old CBA, Type A free agents were the top 30%, Type B were from 31-50% at their position and there was a Type C for players from 51 to 60% at their position. Under the current CBA, a Type A free agent who was offered arbitration but signed with another team would cost his new team their top draft pick as long as it's not a top 15 pick, plus his former team would get a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. If it is a top 15 pick, much like the Cubs last year in signing Alfonso Soriano, they would lose their second round pick instead. If a team signs multiple Type A free agents, they would lose their second round pick and then their third round pick and so forth and which round goes to which team is based on who scored higher in the rankings. Type B free agents cost the signing team nothing, but the previous team gets a pick in the supplemental round between the first and second rounds. Some players of interest after the jump....

TCR Free Agent Frenzy Contest

Once again, it's time for the TCR Free Agent Frenzy, which really is the MLB Free Agent Frenzy and we just piggyback off of it. This year's winner will likely receive the Chicago Cubs Legends DVD Set although I might switch it up on you to something of equivalent value. Whatever it is, it'll definitely be Cubs related and something any true Cubs fans would want. So just follow their contest procedure and post your guesses in the comments but with one minor change. They have Joe Torre as the final option, we're going to switch that to Kosuke Fukodome for our contest since Torre has all but agreed to go to the Dodgers. Also, if you want to choose retire for someone like Bonds, go right ahead. Please ONLY use the comments for your contest entries, save the rumor mill for the previous thread if you can. Finally, please submit your picks in the same order that they appear in the MLB.com contest, but of course switching Torre for Fukodome. My picks after the jump...

Scott Boras, Extortionist and Ex-Cub

First of all, how angry do you think Bud Selig was Sunday night when Scott Boras effectively shattered Bud’s edict prohibiting major announcements during the World Series by telling Ken Rosenthal of Fox who then told the world that Alex Rodriguez would be opting out of his Yankees contract? Not that the report smothered any World Series drama: the Sox and the Rox took care of that by playing four long, mostly tedious games that were decidedly short on compelling moments. Back to Boras. Even before the A-Rod announcement, I felt like I was having an all-Scott Boras weekend. First, I happened on the Boras profile in this week’s New Yorker (headlined “The Extortionist”). It paints a picture of a profoundly driven man who has built a firm with an infrastructure—complete with talent scouts, stats guys and sports psychologists—that would put many Major League front offices to shame.

Ashes to Ashes

We’ve seen Cub ownership try to squeeze every little ounce of revenue from us whenever they can, but due to a tight schedule they’ve missed the big one. Now that the Wrigley field playing surface is being reconstructed by the Sodfather, Roger Bossard, they are moving all that historic dirt out and not selling it. The Sun-Times site even has a video (if you can stand waiting through the commercials) through the knothole gate in right field, Wrigleyville resident Ken Vangeloff said it looked like the Tribune was having a demolition derby or tractor pull, but the fan’s just didn’t show up. I could see them selling Urn’s of infield dirt… with a locker room/uniform number and card you can label:

#14 -- Uncle Fester

So my poor Uncle Fester’s ashes are getting a free ride in a dump truck outta his native Cook County. The Cubs are not selling it to fans. Per Shamus Toomey’s interview of Cubs VP, Mark McGuire in the Sun-Times:
“We have been accused of selling everything all of the time,” McGuire said. “But in this project, we didn’t want to do anything to impede” the tight schedule.

World Series Notes From Cub Country

Things you think of while watching a World Series slaughter and waiting for an all-old rerun of The Daily Show to come on: * Last night’s one-sided contest looked like the Dads vs. Kids softball game at the annual Cub Scout Picnic, only in this version, the dads wanted to be sure the kids went home in tears and never had the will to get on the field again.

Cubs Trivia

2 for you today...
What is the full birth name (first, middle, last) of Harry Caray?
Which Cubs pitcher was the first African-American to throw a no-hitter in the Major Leagues? Bonus points for the opponent and the year.
As always, web searches are discouraged. And for what it's worth, I've never even heard of the player that is the answer to the second question.

Contest Updates and Winner

The final tallies aren't in for the 2007 preseason prediction but there were a few other contests we ran over the years that I never got around to calculating. So now is the time... 2006-2007 Free Agent Frenzy Full Results 1. Chifan3887 - 64 2. WPZ - 59 (Now known as Wrigley's Believe it or Not) 2. Junior - 59 Chifan3887 takes the prize by being the only one to correctly pick Greg Maddux signing with the Padres last offseason.

TCR Roundtable: Guest Stars Edition

Today we welcome five esteemed Cub bloggers who were kind enough to share their thoughts on the questions which the TCRers addressed on Monday. The guest list includes: Andy from Desipio.com, Adam from Bugs and Cranks, Joe of View From The Bleachers, Cub Reporter alum and Mayor of Cub Town, Derek Smart, and the Ted Lilly Fan Club. It's an honor to be your hosts, gentlemen. Thank you for coming over to play in our sandbox. Enjoy… 1.) What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Joe (View From The Bleachers): My favorite moment of the season was by far the comeback on June 25th, when the Cubs had seemingly blown the game in the 9th after a bullpen implosion that allowed six runs. The Cubs came back and won it on a walk-off, two-run single by Soriano that made Len Kasper’s voice crack. I wanted to jump up and scream, but the family was asleep. Adam (Bugs and Cranks): Aramis Ramirez' walk-off homer against the Brewers on June 29th was probably my favorite memory. It was the moment where it really seemed like winning the division was going to happen.

Cubs Trivia

A double dose for you...
Following the 1973 season. the Cubs traded future Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Vic Harris and what future four-time batting champion?
Who has taken the most career walks as a member of the Cubs?
Web searches are discouraged....

TCR Roundtable: Writers Edition

With a lull in the offseason action and on the playoff diamond, we thought it's time to break out the TCR roundtbale. As always, TCR is not responsible for the opinions and viewpoints of its authors. ------- 1. What was your favorite memory of the 2007 season? Cubnut: Two come to mind: Ramirez's game-winning home run against the Brewers at the end of June and Lee's pinch-hit grand slam to seal a win against Team Grinder. I also enjoyed the early-season game (at Cincy?) in which Lou Piniella stormed out to the mound in the ninth inning, screamed five or six words at a struggling Ryan Dempster, then made a u-turn without ever actually stopping. After all the mealy-mouthed managerial nonsense of the past few years, I thought that moment was refreshing AZ PHIL: Aramis Ramirez hitting the game-winning HR in the bottom of the 9th off Brewers closer Francisco Cordero at Wrigley Field. Transmission: I agree with AZ Phil. Dr. Hecht: I was at the game where Lou Piniella had his tirade with umpire Mark Wegner. I still love watching it on the highlights that I've saved for my iPod. The first portion of the season had been so disappointing. The day before Zambrano had his altercation with Barrett and the Cubs were a 22-30 to that point. The Cubs wound up losing the Saturday game to the Braves 5-3. So what was to like? Although many have said Lou's antics were contrived that day, particularly because Pagan was pretty clearly out out at third, it really had a tangible feel that Lou was doing the right thing for his club. He was doing what any good 1950-60's manager would have done...go toe to toe, belly to belly and kicking some All-American third base dirt on a very prissy modern day umpire, you know, these umps who nowadays toss players for blinking improperly. Somewhere above (or below) the ghost of Jocko Conlan was enjoying Lou's display. I love old style baseball, not to mention an Old Style when Lou went ballistic. Rob G.: The Aramis walk-off homer was the "oh my god" moment of the season. But that whole period from the end of June until Soriano hurt his hamstring, there was a general feeling that the Cubs would find a way to win most of their games. I'm not sure there's a more reassuring feeling for a baseball fan when you know your team will find ways to win. Christian: Mostly I have an overall general memory of slowly remembering why I like this team. Four years of Dusty Baker had really soured me on the Cubs, and the off-season, with its questionable signings and news that my favorite player wouldn't be playing this year (if ever again) didn't help. Once the season started, it took a few months for me to even want to pay attention anymore. Once I did, I realized how different the team looked and how much more interesting they were under Piniella. I guess the specific moment I can point to is the June 29th game, when they came back from a 5-0 hole in the first to win on A-Ram's walk-off homer. Beating the first-place Brewers to win their seventh in a row, I think I felt for the first time that even if they didn't make the playoffs (which seemed a foregone conclusion at that point), they would at least be fun & interesting to watch down the stretch.

ALCS game 7 and Parallel Universes

This is a bonus Sunday random notes edition of TCR. When Rob G. posted that he thought it would be spooky if Kerry Wood homers in tonight's ALCS final game, it got me thinking. The reality is that if manager Terry Francona brings in Josh Beckett to pitch 4 innings and shut down any Indian rally it will have haunting parallels to one of the more painful days of my life. My son, Ken, was in Boston's Fenway last night and since he's been in Cleveland for college, I've given him permission to root for the Tribe. He also attended the 2003 NLCS games 6 and 7 with me, therefore, he had explicit instructions not to reach for any catchable foul balls near the wall (unless he was sure it would reverse the timeline distortion Bartman had caused).

TCR Friday Notes

It be rather slow when it comes to all things Cubs related these days but we've got a few things planned for next week for your enjoyment. In the meantime, notes start walking: - Cubs.com has a new offer for an online fan club. Your twenty bucks gets you this:
Cubs Club members will receive benefits unavailable to other fans, including your very own 2007 Membership Card, MLB.com's Gameday Audio for the 2007 regular season, exclusive ticket offers, access to the home postgame press conference video archives, the ability to view Wrigley Field 24/7 through our interactive web cameras, and access to our exclusive editorial content and blog provided by the staff of Vine Line.
It seems to be just worth the Gameday Audio that usually goes for $14.95 I believe. UPDATE: As always, read the fine print or well just read it thoroughly. It's not such a great offer since the Gameday Audio expires at the end of 2007 and there's about 5-12 games left on the year that matter. You can read the full membership benefits here.

We’re Movin’ on Up…

Cubs front office promotions include Oneri Fleita and Mark O'Neal. FLEITA WAS: director of player development and Latin American operations NOW IS: vice president of player personnel It's a new title, so what becomes of Oneri's old position? Is this a cost cutting move (24 fewer letters on his business card)? O'NEAL WAS: head athletic trainer

Notes From Dusty Baker Press Conference

From Dusty, himself:
"I love challenges." "I know I'm not a miracle man. I don't know if it's going to take a year or two years or whatever. But we're dedicated to winning.” "I want to dispel the reputation that I can only work with older players…I'm looking forward to having a mixture of young and old. I sometimes feel I have more in common with younger players." "I want to help guys on the team have a winning attitude. I'm almost more of a teacher than a manager."

Cubs Minor League Free-Agents

The contracts of 18 Cubs minor league players expire on October 15th, and so each of the 18 is eligible to be a free-agent. The Cubs have until the day after the conclusion of the World Series to decide whether to add a potential minor league free-agent to their 40-man roster (which the player cannot refuse), offer the player a minor league contract for the following season (which the player can refuse), or just allow the player to walk away.

Cubs Reportedly Interested in Japanese Pitcher

Paul Sullivan at the Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs and the Seattle Mariners are the two MLB clubs who have expressed the most interest in Hiroshima Toyo Carp RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda is 32-years old and an 11-year veteran of Japanese major league baseball. Because he is an unrestricted FA, no posting fee would be required.

Brewers Drive Cubs (and AZ Phil) to Drink

The Brewers Arizona Instructional League team took advantage of five errors, two passed balls, and three wild pitches, en route to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs AZ Instructional League team at Maryvale Sports Complex Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") in Phoenix this afternoon. (The "Big Stadium" at Maryvale was pre-booked for the championship game of some national senior league baseball tournament, so the Brewers and Cubs had to play their game down on the "Lower 40").

Who Do You Want for 2008?

After our twenty-one game turnaround in 2003 from 2002, Hendry and Co. didn't rest on their success and spent the offseason of 2004 and the season building one of the best Cubs team ever assembled on "paper". Taking out the bitter ending, the team ended up winning more games and having a better run differential than the 2003 team despite significantly more injuries to key players. A quick reminder course on what happened after 2003: C - Subtracted Damian Miller, added Michael Barrett (say what you will but we had a better team ERA in 2004, gave up less runs as a team and Barrett was definitely an offensive upgrade that year) 1B - Subtracted Eric Karros, Hee-Seop Choi and Randall Simon; Added Derrek Lee INF - Added Todd Walker and Jose Macias to the bench SS - Added Nomar Garciaparra mid-season (Should have added Miguel Tejada during the off-season) OF - Subtracted Kenny Lofton; Added Todd Hollandsworth to the bench SP - Subtracted Shawn Estes; Added Greg Maddux to the 2nd best starting staff in the league RP - Subtracted Juan Cruz, Mark Guthrie, Antonio Alfonseca & Dave Veres; Added LaTroy Hawkins, Kent Mercker, Ryan Dempster and Glendon Rusch There are a few peons I'm probably missing but that should be all the significant moves. In 2007, the Cubs improved nineteen wins from the disaster of 2006 and once again find themselves atop the NL Central but still short of their World Series goal. The precedent though has been set that Hendry will unlikely sit idly by and be happy with a division title and McDonough has already hinted that the Cubs will continue to push on for the trophy. The question though is who and what positions should the Cubs target and where can the team improve within and where should they look for outside help?

The Five Stages of Baseball Grief

Swiss born psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., published her groundbreaking book on the five stages of grief in 1969. It's been a model for those who have to deal with grief, to understand why we react the way we do and therefore to adapt to what life has thrown our way with some insight. Here they are and feel free to post where you are at this point: Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Depression, Acceptance. Cubs fans will most definitively recognize many of the 5 stages over the decades and for the most senior of us remaining, over the century. Here are a few of my thoughts regarding the events surrounding some of our lasting experiences with grief.

TCR Game 3 Roundtable

A chance to relive the horror... ---------------- (After Chris Young's first pitch homer and Drew's sun-aided double) Rob G: Should Jason Marquis have been warming up before the first pitch? Cubnut: Prediction: Cliff Floyd won't be the only guy who is victimized by that late afternoon sun today. (Hill K's Jackson) If we can hold them to one run, maybe this half-inning will actually provide a momentum boost for us. (Upton singles in a run) If we can hold them to two runs, maybe this half-inning will provide a momentum boost for us. Rob G: Well maybe that inning will give Lou a momentum boost to get the bullpen going.

TCR Game 2 Roundtable

Our [censored] Game 2 thoughts... ----------- Cubnut: If I had to condense last night's game into a single, telling snapshot, it would be the image of Ted Lilly slamming his glove to the ground after throwing Chris Young that 3-2 meatball in the second inning. That moment captured Lilly's dismal performance, lack of poise, and the frustration of watching them. It appeared to me as though Lilly couldn't spot his curveball and was determined to compensate by trying to throw his fastball 130 mph, thus all the wild-high pitches. Rob G: It seemed pretty obvious from the beginning that Lilly didn't have "it" tonight, that "it" mostly being his control. He was ever so close from escaping the second before throwing such a lousy 3-2 pitch to Young that I'm pretty sure 5 of 6 TCR Writers could have hit out. The 4-2 lead still seemed within reach but apparently this is Stephen Drew's coming out party. I'm thrilled to have been invited. If I had known beforehand I would have suggested postponing it until the spring...of 2008.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Yeah, it's the past but you keep complaining based on the past. First they tanked and shouldn't have. Now they make some comments about needing to have a budget and you say they're crying poverty -- all before any trades/signings have been made. (They signed a $155 million pitcher last year, I recall.)

    FYI, the Cubs have had a skating rink the last couple of years. It's not a permanent structure (obviously) and probably doesn't cost all that much. But who knows, maybe it'll be the reason they don't win a World Series.

  • Thanks guys! Pretty sure Bill Murray says thanks too.

  • Awesome job, Tim!

  • Classic.

  • Outfielder Chris Young signs "multiyear" contract w BoSox.

    Wow, Dombrowski is a buffoon

  • Not sure I understand the logic, especially for more than one year.

  • well, that's the past. we're left with the present. even though that past you're seeing is some weird black/white either/or where hybridization of ideas isn't allowed...nonetheless...

    the present is ice skating, movies, concerts, beer gardens, hotels, office space and other wonderful baseball activities based around a young, successful baseball team.

  • All money making ventures, which would have been offset with a reasonable TV contract that previous ownership screwed up

  • Brilliant!

  • Nah, I'll probably just contemplate how they should've done a Padres-style all-in plan.

  • of course not. maybe go ice skating and think about it a while. make advanced reservations at the hotel they're starting construction on. check new releases for possible entertainment from the movie screens they want installed. think about renting an office in the new office spaces. write a letter to the cubs requesting your favorite beer be added to the beer garden. lobby your favorite band to play the outdoor venue.

    ...and in between that maybe they can find $40-50m to invest in the product that all of this revolves around.

  • let's not get caught up on phrasing for a setup and lose the gist of the post. i don't care what one wants to call the playoff exit.

    -crapping out
    +they lost their playoff attempt

    there. now we can focus on something other than not liking the tone of a line that's setting up a point.

  • I didn't like the entire post, if that helps.

  • Making the NLCS with a young team = "crapping out of the playoffs with a young team."