January 2009

- Colin Wyers, whom writes at GROTA and Statiscially Speaking, begins a series at the Hardball Times looking at the überstat systems like Win Shares, WARP and WAR.

-  The Hardball Times also looks at hitters with an affinity at swinging at first pitch fastballs - Gathright (in a bad way) and Soto (in a good way) are mentioned.

-  Fantastic piece by Stats Inc. on newly acquird Aaron Heilman and his repertoire. There's some words of warning in there, but it's pretty clear he has filthy stuff.

More after the jump...

UPDATE: ESPN AM 1000 reports the deal as a $750K non-guaranteed contract that becomes guaranteed if Bako survives (on the roster) to the end of March. Bako gets $150K if he is released before the contract becomes guaranteed, and he can earn an additional $300K in incentive bonuses, based on At Bats (or more likely Plate Appearances?)... -- AZ Phil

===========================================  

As expected, the Cubs have signed veteran catcher Paul Bako to a 2009 contract. ESPN's Bruce Levine reported yesterday on XM radio that Bako will get $725,000, but that has not yet been confirmed. Bako replaces Henry Blanco as the Cubs back-up catcher. 

The 36-year old left-handed hitting Bako has spent all or parts of the past 11 seasons in the big leagues, playing for ten different MLB clubs in that period. If you're at a Super Bowl Party on Sunday and the game isn't too interesting, see if anybody can name the ten MLB teams Bako has played for.  

This will be Bako's second tour of duty with the Cubs. He was previously with the Cubs for two seasons (2003-04).

Bako hit 217/299/328 last year as the back-up catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, and has gone 196/239/346 versus LHP and 216/293/271 versus RHP over the past three seasons. He has hit 231/305/317 over the course of his career (745 games). Obviously, he isn't much of a hitter, but he makes up for it by having virtually zero power. But at least he hits left-handed. 

Defensively, Bako threw out 29% of opposing base-sealers in 2008 (Henry Blanco threw out 46%). 

Bako is so old, he attended Louisiana - Lafayette back when it was still called Southwestern Louisiana.

As an Article XX MLB free-agent, Bako will have "no trade" rights through June 15th.

Somewhere, Koyie Hill is warming up the circular saw.

 

Reports are out that Andy McPhail is adding to his Cubs minor league collection, much like I use to collect G.I. Joes. The latest acquisition looks to be left-hander Rich Hill.

One industry source said it's a "strong possibility" that Hill will
wind up with the Orioles, perhaps as early as next week. The Orioles
will likely give up a player to be named who could be contingent on
Hill's success in Baltimore.

The O's just need to make some room on their 40-man roster for the deal to go down. This would also clear a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster for the new Jose Macias that the Cubs have been in search of lately.

Also, Bruce Levine did a guest spot on XM radio that I heard on my drive home. He said that the Paul Bako signing should go down tomorrow, mentioning $725K as the contract amount. The only other revelation from the interview was Levine saying that Felix Pie was the big hang-up in the Cubs not getting Brian Roberts last offseason.

Before I get to what's going on with Aaron Heilman's knee, I've got a few odds and ends to mention.

I've figured out what the heck Cubs GM, Jim Hendry, is up to this offseason. In a nutshell, in an attempt to beef up the middle of the lineup he wanted to add one of the all time great sluggers to the Cub lineup. Unfortunately Hank Aaron is just about to turn 75 years old. So this great idea came to him in a dream...swap out Hanks (Blanco, Williamson) and accumulate Aarons (Miles, Heilman). Voilà, plan #44!

The newest acquisition (Aaron Heilman) grew up as a Cub fan. It seems that this is the first directive from Tom Ricketts, all new organizational members must be diehard fans.

On to Aaron Heilman's medical issues. I've not been able to find a precise diagnosis to his 2008 left knee ailment other than it being labeled tendonitis. This LINK goes to an article from Sept 12th, 2008 discussing what problems Heilman was dealing with last year.

Last night on WGN radio, David Kaplan interviewed Aaron Heilman and specifically asked him about his knee problems. All we got was "athlete speak." It does seem that they have a therapy treatment plan that was worked out for him to address his issues this offseason.

Kaplan:  In terms of your knee. I'm reading an article on ESPN today, it said knee pain played a role in your 2008 struggles. Would you agree that your knee was a problem and how is it today?

AH: Right now it's great. I feel healthy, everything feels good. I struggled a bit early on in the season trying to figure out a routine that would work best for me. By the end of the year I had figured that out. It certainly took a lot longer than I thought it would and that I hoped it would. It certainly wasn't 'the' factor that caused me to have a year I wasn't particularly pleased with. When you are going through something like that, you're trying to figure it out, you're trying to do different things every day, you don't really quite have a routine because you're not sure how you're going to feel the next day, that can play a role into it.  We've got all those issues hammered out. I'm looking forward to staying with a good program, staying healthy all year and just going out there and competing. 

Tendonitis refers to inflammation of a tendon and there are several tendons around the knee. The largest two are the quadriceps tendon (which inserts into the patella/kneecap) and the patellar tendon (which goes from the patella to the tibia below the knee).  Tendonitis of either one is common. There are also hamstrings (medial or lateral) and even the gastrocnemius which is more of a calf muscle but the tendons go behind and above the knee attaching to the femur.

From the good folks at Home Run Derby, come these pictures outside of Busch Stadium.

If the images won't load after the jump, just click the link.

Jon Heyman at SI claims to have seen Milton Bradley's contract, and says the clause that would automatically kick-in the third year is that he needs to spend fewer than 75 days on the disabled list in 2009 to guarantee the full amount.

When it was first reported, Wittenmyer said it was a multilayered set of clauses, so I'm guessing the wording and legalese is a little more complicated than just spending less than those 75 days, maybe there's something about it not being due to a specific injury.

This was probably posted in the comments, but Bruce Levine on his blog also said that once the Heilman deal is finished - which will clear a spot on the 40-man roster - the Cubs will sign Gabor Paul II Bako on a one year, $750K contract.

The Cubs are also said to be weighing offers on Danny Noonan...err, Rich Hill, and looking at adding another bench player such as Juan Uribe that could cover 2B, SS, 3B and possibly 1B. The Cub seem determined to make it virtually impossible for Micah Hoffpauir to make the team out of camp.

And if this Peavy deal doesn't happen, the Cubs may try and sign Braden Looper or Randy Wolf, to try and make it virtually impossibe for Sean Marshall to break with the team. A good way to keep his service time down I suppose. Of course, I think odds are high Rich Harden will be doing the Mark Prior-spring-training-DL-trip around March 20th routine because he wasn't quite ready when spring training began.

The Cubs moved yet another once-upon-a-time prospect in Ronny Cedeno today, along with left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson to the Seattle Mariners for Aaron Heilman. You'll remember Olson as the pitcher the Cubs received along with Hank Williamson for Felix Pie about a week and a half ago. That makes the net trade:

Cubs get: Hank Williamson, Aaron Heilman

Cubs lose: Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie

Cedeno's fate was likely sealed when the Cubs acquired Aaron Miles and I'll shed no tears on this loss. Cedeno might be more talented than Ryan Theriot, but he's shown all the baseball intelligence of a junior high dropout. I also find it a bit amusing that the one rookie that Dusty Baker ever gave much of a legitimate shot of playing time to - besides maybe Matt Murton - was Cedeno in 2006. Dusty Baker's eye for talent strikes yet again.

A whole lot of nothing going on and I haven't had much time to polish up a few articles I've been working on, so in the meantime, let's play "Guess the Cubs Opening Day Roster".

If you haven't checked out our depth chart or 40-man roster list recently, know that Arizona Phil has taken it upon himself to do the bulk of the updating, which instantly classes up the joint by about 300%. Also, you'll see that the Cubs bullpen is rather set unless the Cubs trade or cut some players before Opening Day, which is most definitely possible. Assuming the standard roster make-up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers), here's your 3:2 odds for the Cubs opening day roster.

Some reading material to hold you over...

- John Dewan at ACTA Sports points out that if the Cubs do acquire Jake Peavy, they'll have 3 of the top 10 pitchers in opposing OPS over the last 5 years.

- Speaking of Peavy, the latest rumors were for Vitters, Jeff Stevens, Garrett Olson, Welington Castillo and Kevin Hart according to Bruce Levine or,  if you prefer Lee Hamilton on XM Radio,  Vitters, Olson, Hart and Sean Marshall.

- The Levine link above also says the Cubs seem more interested in a shortstop, third base and second base back-up, such as Juan Uribe, over a first and third back-up. It appears Micah Hoffpauir may not have the roster spot we all assumed.

- A look at Ronny Cedeno over at Fangraphs.

Tags: 

The Sun-Times yet again scoops the Tribune on their own business affairs. Although heavily rumored for some time, there's now the infamous "person familiar with the process" going forward with Thomas Ricketts - diehard Cub fan - as being the Tribune's bid of choice. The bid is rumored to be in the $900 million range and supposedly not the top overall offer, but would provide more money up front to the struggling Tribune corporation along with a more conservative financing approach.

But there's always a twist...

Tribune is not locked in to negotiate only with one bidder. Others remain free to enrich their offers.

It's probably doubtful that anyone else will come in with a late bid at this stage of the game, and with local ties to Chicago, Ricketts would certainly appease the major league owners. But this sale has dragged on for this long, there are no guarantees that it won't drag out longer.

Addendum: If the Cubs do, in fact, replace Henry Blanco with Paul Bako (per all the rumors) and the explanation is tied to the team wanting to "become more left-handed," these numbers might be of interest:

Paul Bako's lifetime batting line against RHP: 2015 PA's, .240 / .317 / .321 / 638 OPS
Henry Blanco's lifetime batting line against RHP: 1708 PA's, .222 / .281 / .352 / 633 OPS

Not much of a gain, especially considering all of those intangibles that Blanco was said to have contributed to the team--the same intangibles that are cited by the Padres upon their signing him.


The Padres signed 37-year-old Henry Blanco to a one-year, $750K deal on Wednesday. Blanco will back-up and mentor young Nick Hundley (no relation to Randy or Todd).

The Cubs signed Michael Wuertz for $1.1M today, thus avoiding any ghastly arbitration cases with any of their players. Not including auto-renewals - which Arizona Phil on the right sidebar estimates at around $3.5M total -  the Cubs payroll for 2009 is at $134.1M, so they still have a few million in wiggle room.

They also released their NRI list for spring training.

MLB has released the 45-man provisional rosters of the national teams that will be playing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Rosters will need to be cut-down to 28 (with at least 13 pitchers) by February 24th. 

There are presently a total of 17 Cubs major leaguers and minor leaguers on the provisional rosters of the WBC teams:  

In what may be a precursor to an eventual trade for San Diego Padres ace RHP Jake Peavy, the Cubs have traded OF Felix Pie to the Baltimore Orioles for LHP Garrett Olson and minor league RHP Hank Williamson. Olson was thought to be one of the pitchers Padres GM Kevin Towers wanted back in a Peavy deal.

The 25-year old Olson was a Supplemental 1st round pick (48th overall) of the Orioles in the 2005 Rule 4 Draft out of Cal Poly (he was selected with the compensation pick Baltimore got for failing to sign their 2004 #1 draft pick, RHP Wade Townsend), and was rushed to the big leagues by the Orioles after being named their Minor League Player of the Year in 2006, logging MLB time in both 2007 and 2008. A scouting report from his senior year in college showed him having three quality pitches, including a fastball that sits at 88-90 MPH but has touched 93, a 12-6 "hammer" curve (his "out" pitch), and a decent change-up. He has performed very well at AAA over the past two seasons (he was a AAA IL All-Star at Norfolk in 2007), although he has been hit hard to the tune of a 6.87 ERA and 1.82 WHIP with 21 HR allowed in 165+ IP in 33 starts so far at the big league level. Olson was a college teammate of Cubs prospects RHRP Rocky Roquet and 3B-turned-RHP Josh Lansford, and he supposedly wants to be an FBI agent if his baseball career doesn't pan out.

''His arm action's good; he's throwing free and easy...He's not close to throwing off a mound yet. There's some issues
there, no question.''

No, not a reprint of a 2005 article or 2004 article or 2006 article, but rather Larry Rotschild talking about Rich Harden at the Cubs Convention on Saturday. Don't worry though, the Cubs have the spin ready.

 Cubs insiders say Harden is right on schedule toward a strong, on-time
and well-conditioned start to spring training and the season
.

Of course they believe that...but what about this?

There is this article in today's Sun-Times about Rich Harden's winter rehab. He's working on a  6 day a week strengthening program that could be the most rigorous of any Cub this offseason. It's designed to "ease" him up to pitching conditions "by the end" of spring training. Fine. I remember this somewhere in the not too distant Cub past (including the Larry Rothschild quotes). Flushed with a strong sense of Déjà vu, I finally saw some new information in the article:

But sources also confirmed Saturday that Harden has a tear in the joint, just severe enough that some players might seek surgery but slight enough to be in a range often treated effectively with a strengthening program, therapy and a well- managed work schedule.


Gordon Wittenmyer in the Sun-Times doesn't give enough info to make me absolutely certain but the implication is Harden is putting up with a "Kerry Wood type" rotator cuff tear. I do recall that Harden underwent an MRI/Arthrogram after the season to better assess his shoulder issues and before the team decided to pick up his $7 Million option. The press was told this on October 8th:

General manager Jim Hendry said an MRI-arthrogram on Harden's shoulder revealed no tears of the labrum or rotator cuff, referring to Harden's problems as "subtle instability in the shoulder."

At the Cubs Convention yesterday GW's article says "sources" confirmed Harden has "a tear in the joint." This implies the rotator cuff tissue has an area that is showing structural damage on the MRI/Arthrogram, but not involving the full thickness of the cuff tendon and thus without any detachment from it's insertion on bone (greater tuberosity). Any surgical repair has to take down some degenerative tissue that is worn but not detached. The results of surgery on that type of situation would be iffy for a high end starting pitcher, especially if they were counting on him for 2009. Hence he's on a non-surgical treatment protocol analagous to what Kerry Wood went through after his MRI/Arthrogram in July 2006.

I always had this idea about the phrase "and more". When I first started out here in Los Angeles, I was editing commercials for musical artists, not really my thing, I'm more a movie guy, and it didn't help that about 99% of the artists were trash and the music industry is darker than a snuff film.

So we did a lot of compilation albums, soundtracks for stuff like "The Matrix" or all the Grammy artists, etc, stuff you're sure to have seen at some point. And all these albums would list like four to eight of the more popular artists or songs , something like (in your best Don LaFontaine voice) - Marilyn Manson, Deftones, Rob Zombie, Rage Against the Machine, And More!- acknowledging the bands whose agents weren't as good to get them advertised, but at least they made the album. So the sort of inside joke I always had with my bosses at the time was that if I were to ever start a band, I would call it "And More".

Think about it, you'd be listed on nearly every music soundtrack or compilation CD commercial ever done. Do a little viral Internet video and instant buzz for your group.
So to the would-be rock stars in our readership looking for a band name, you're welcome, let me know how it goes. And if you don't like "And More", I recommend "Skull-Fuck Cedeno", "Gay Witchcraft", "Bees" or "Johann's Mom".

FA Frenzy update "and more" after the jump...

These past few days I've been thinking. I've had the thought that maybe certain things are true and we need to accept them. For example:

  • Maybe Andre Dawson and Ron Santo really aren't hall of fame players. For the past few years they've done all sorts of changing of the way that the veterens committee elects members and all still come back with the same news for Ron. These are his peers that aren't seeing it. Perhaps we're simply blinded by the fact that we so badly want to see something go well for the guy. As for the hawk, maybe those days in Montreal on the turf cost him his spot.
  • Maybe trading Mark DeRosa, as unpopular as it was from a fan standpoint, was a good idea. You always hear the saying that it's better to trade a guy a year too early than a year too late. We've seen the latter in the last few years with guys like Marquis and we'll probably see it again with someone like Felix Pie. Perhaps Jim Hendry made the right call.
  • Maybe Kosuke Fukudome just needed a year to get used to the big leagues and he really won't suck in 2009. It would be a great help to us and would allow us to keep Milton Bradley as healthy as possible. Perhaps we just need to hold out hope.
  • Maybe Ronny Cedeno will finally learn to not be a retard with the mental errors. After all, we did agree to a contract with him today.
  • Maybe....just maybe...The Cubs will win a World Series in 2009.

Then again, maybe I'm retarded.

Some of you may wonder how a Spring Training roster is constructed.

The template generally looks like this:

We're in a bit of lull here until spring training or at least until the new owner is chosen. Luckily, The reporters found Hendry yesterday and we have some soundbites and speculation to dissect.

When the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa to Cleveland the same day they signed free agent Aaron Miles, conventional wisdom suggested Miles would be DeRosa's replacement.

I question this conventional wisdom...I thought everyone assumed it would be Fontenot? If Miles gets regular playing time versus righties over Fontenot, I'm predicting he'll be the new Neifi! whipping boy.

Tags: 

The BA Top 10 came out yesterday...and surprise! Josh Vitters is #1.

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Dae-Eun Rhee
  5. Welington Castillo
  6. Kevin Hart
  7. Starlin Castro
  8. Ryan Flaherty
  9. Jay Jackson
  10. Hak-Ju Lee 

You can view every BA Top 10 list since 1992 (sans 1997 and 1998) at this incredible new site started by some really smart people.

Rob invited us to pitch in with our Hall of Fame predictions on Sunday night, but I didn't have a chance to reply until now. Here goes:

I predict Ricky Henderson will receive somewhere around 511 votes, Jim Rice will finally get in the Hall with, oh, I'll say 76.4% of the vote, and two clowns will even cast ballots for Jay Bell.

I don't know anything about this pitcher or the site, but it's being reported by Sports Hochi(?) that the Cubs are close to signing left-handed pitcher Ken Takahashi. A 40-year old pitcher (technically 39, he'll be 40 by next April) that had a 3.50 ERA last year in a 115.2 IP last year; the article mentions he could start or pitch out of the bullpen. NPB Tracker that picked up the story says that the Cubs were searching for some support for Kosuke Fukudome.

We tried this with our labrador when she was about two. She tore through everything in the house and outside while me and The Angel Fan Wife were both at work, so we decided to get her a buddy in the name of a dalmation that we affectionately named Wrigley. For the five years we had Wrigley before she passed away they had nothing to do with each other and co-existed like two roommates forced together in a rent-controlled apartment that neither one wants to give up. So my advice to the Cubs is to do your homework and make sure the breeds get along...and make sure they have their shots...don't leave any food out either...make sure at least one of them is fixed as well.


P.S. - If this is indeed a major league deal, the Cubs will need to drop someone off their 40-man roster before it's finalized.

P.P.S. - Some stats from Japanese Ballplayers.com and a more thorough scouting report from NPB Tracker back in late December that included a couple of videos.

P.P.P.S. - Cubs deny the report.

The Hall of Fame voting results are going to be announced on Monday and it's expected that Rickey Henderson and possibly Jim Rice will get in. I'm gonna separate my votes into two different ballots, because I can, and because I don't take this stuff too seriously.

Dying Cub Fan, the author of the three-part series on Ron Santo's Hall of Fame merits, returns with a look at the flaws of the Veteran Committee vote.


From Ron Santo’s standpoint, it’s hard to see how the 2008 Veterans Committee voting could have gone any worse, particularly when you compare the results to the voting results announced in February 2007. Due mostly to rules changes, there were 18 fewer ballots cast in 2008 than in 2007. Santo’s vote total this year decreased by 18 votes, perhaps not entirely a coincidence. In 2007, 25 electors that returned ballots did not vote for Santo. In 2008, the same number of ballots did not vote for Santo, again perhaps not entirely a coincidence. From 2007 to 2008, Santo went from being five votes short to being nine votes short, and his voting percentage dropped from 69.5% in 2007 to 60.9% in 2008.

We finally get word on the specifics of Milton Bradley's contract from the Sun-Times:

The contract pays $5 million in base salary in 2009 and $9 million in
2010 -- with a $4 million signing bonus split over the two seasons --
with $12 million due in 2011. But a multilayered set of clauses turns
the final year into a team option (with a $2 million buyout) if
Bradley's health becomes a serious problem this season.

So $7M for 2009, $11M for 2010 and $12M in 2011 with a $2M buyout team option in 2011 if the mysterious clauses kick-in.


And looks like I missed the top 10 prospects from Scout.com, they posted them before Christmas...silly me.

  1. Josh Vitters
  2. Jeff Samardzija
  3. Andrew Cashner
  4. Welington Castillo
  5. Jay Jackson
  6. Ryan Flaherty
  7. Mitch Atkins
  8. Tyler Colvin
  9. Kevin Hart
  10. Micah Hoffpauir
  11. Esmailin Caridad
  12. Brandn Guyer
  13. Marcos Mateo
  14. Jovan Rosa
  15. James Russell
  16. Dan McDaniel
  17. Chris Carpenter
  18. Aaron Shafer
  19. Ryan Acosta
  20. Matt Cerda

 

A small blurb in the Boston Herald about the Red Sox going after John Smoltz made me wonder if Smoltz should be the Cubs top target. Oh sure, a 27-year old Jake Peavy not coming off arm surgery sure sounds swell, and the Sun-Times is stoking those fires again.

''Hopefully, we'll still add another pitcher before Opening Day.''  (Jim Hendry)

But the numerous roadblocks to that destination still make it highly unlikely that the Cubs will ever land on planet Peavy. If Hendry is intent on adding another pitcher, and I assume starting pitcher, I sure hope he's looking into John Smoltz over the normal grab bag that has produced Wade Miller, Jon Lieber and Glendon Rusch the last few years. But then of course, considering Smoltz just came off arthroscopic shoulder surgery to fix his labrum, sounds like Smoltz might fit the pattern.

The folks at Deadspin already had this covered and Fire Jay Mariotti looks to be back in business, but let it be known that Jay Mariotti is back for the New Year and he's proclaiming that the Internet is the wave of the future. Mariotti is also predicting a deep global recession, the U.S. voting in a black president., Ken Griffey Jr. being traded to the Reds and that one day, people will walk around with telephones in their pockets. 

Of course, his entire article is just more of the same bullshit he spewed on the back inside cover of the Sun-Times three to four times a week, there's little point in dissecting it. More importantly though, they've allowed AOL users to comment on his articles.

No good shall come of this...

I love baseball newsy days in January. I love roster moves. You can see that I don't even mind listening to a baseball guru or two.

Fox's Baseball analyst, Ken Rosenthal was on WGN Radio's "Sports Central" show hosted by David Kaplan tonight. For those not able to listen, here's a summary of his take on all things recently swirling in Cubsville. He takes on Milton Bradley vs Lou Piniella (a dangerous mix). Could these two ever be as lovable as Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in the 2003 film, Anger Management? Somehow, I just can't see LouPa getting Bradley to sing, "I Feel Pretty".

Plus a bit more on the shrinking odds to acquire some guy named Jake.

On to the details, after the jump...

Our wonderful radio listening audience heard Bruce Levine of ESPN1000 reporting that the Milton Bradley signing is about to become official. Three years and $30M sounds like the damage, which seems a bit expensive with the Rays about to sign Pat Burrell for two years and $16M total. I'll chime in later with a thorough analysis, but adding the AL OPS leader, even if a bit of a fluke, is never going to hurt your team. That is unless Bradley kills a racist Bleacher Bum, then things might go bad.


UPDATE: The deal is pending a physical and it appears that 3/30 isn't completely accurate. Wittenmyer says there will be wording in the contract to protect the Cubs on back end of the deal if Bradley misses significant playing time on the front end. Wittenmyer also says that the Marquis deal should be completed today with $875K going the Rockies way.

The rest of the world might have been on holidays the last few weeks, but general managar Jim Hendry was busy shuffling the deck chairs on the Cubbie Titanic. Things happened at a rather fast and furious pace last week, so let's revisit with a more in-depth look. What you may have missed while in your drunken egg nog stupor...

Cubs Sign Gathright

Granted, this was before the holiday break, but it's not like I can let a Cubs move go without commenting. Gathright, as we all know by now, can jump over a car and he can also jump over a pitcher if needed. He'll also take a swing at Julian Taveraz which certainly warrants a +1 if this was Deadspin. We also know that Gathright grades at 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale for speed, one of those five tools that Corey Patterson supposedly possessed. A shame that scouting scale hasn't been revamped to include a sixth tool for "baseball IQ" or "can't layoff a breaking pitch".

Back to Gathright, we know he's fast, we know he can jump a car or player, but what he can't do is play baseball very well.  He's a track star wearing a baseball uniform. The speed is fun and all when you're getting a .365 BABIP like he did in 2007, but when lady luck isn't on his side, he's a .265 hitter with a slugging percentage below his on-base percentage. When Ryan Theriot says you hit like a girl, you've got problems.

And as for his 80-grade speed, you'd think a guy so damn fast could steal at better than a 75% clip. While passable by the laws of baseball sabermetrics, when your only real benefit on the field is your wheels, he should be much closer to the 80% or higher range like Dave or Brian Roberts. Of course, speed also is beneficial in the field, but Gathright rates as below average by BP's fielding metric over his career

I still contend that on a one year, $800K deal, he was brought in as no more than a backup plan and motivation for Felix Pie this spring training. I don't think that contract will keep the Cubs from cutting him if Pie can put together a nice spring training. If he does stick, we just hope Piniella uses him appropriately, which would be not much at all.

The weekly radio baseball gabfest known as "Talking Baseball" (ESPN AM 1000, Chicago) hosted by Bruce Levine (and frequently Chet Coppock, in the role of sidekick) is a nice source of Cub information. Of course you have to wade through lengthy questions that often take minutes to unfold. Interviews with management are usually cloaked in generalizations, clichés and unrequited hope.

This saturday's show featured an interview with Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel, Oneri Fleita, as well as some discussion on the management's thinking behind the recent Mark DeRosa for prospects trade.

Fleita was not going to short change us on clichés like  "You've got to play the games" and  "Everybody starts in first place." Still it was good to hear about prospects in the news like Josh Vitters and the 3 newest pitching prospects acquired from Cleveland.

Bruce Levine updated and opined about the state of the Cubs roster changes including keeping the roster flexible as well as the progress on acquiring a sense of left handedness with attitude (feisty Milton Bradley, scrappy Aaron Miles and the even scrappier Mike Fontenot).

He also has an opinion about Jake da Ace, aka he-who-must-not-be-named.

The incredibly wordy play by play after the jump...

TCR reader Jacos survived the cold and wind and a close encounter with Ronnie Woo-Woo to return with some nice shots from the Blackhawks/Red Wings game (including a shocking image of Red Wing players having to pass through a cloud of poison gas on their way to the rink--an allowable "home ice advantage" under NHL rules). Enjoy.

 

 

The last hockey player had barely stepped off the temporary ice rink at Wrigley Field Thursday afternoon following the 2009 NHL Winter Classic before Blackhawks team president John McDonough was in front of the reporters' microphones with another big idea.

In a reversal of sorts of the Blackhawks/Red Wings game at Wrigley Field, McDonough is proposing that the Cubs and Cardinals move their July 11th game from Wrigley to the United Center.

Pages

X
  • Sign in with Twitter