August 2010

AZL Cubs Conclude 2010 Season With Victory

Scoring a run in the bottom of the 7th to take the lead and then seven more in the bottom of the 8th to put the game away, the AZL Cubs closed out their 2010 Arizona League season by coasting past the AZL A's 11-4 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa Sunday night.


The Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano Cubs

Reader dcf (he of the Ron Santo for the Hall pieces from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years


The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.

Mike Quade Era Starts With A Bang, Will Surely End with a Whimper

The Cubs came out thumping last night for their new manager knocking out 15 hits and taking 6 walks, 3 of them by Soto as they pitched around him in the 8th spot. The last time the Cubs had an interim manager it was 2002 and the job went to Bruce Kimm (with Rene Lachemann getting one game before Kimm took over). The Cubs responded well that first game for Kimm, winning 7-3 over the Braves, but he ended up going 33-45 on the year, nearly identical to Baylor who was 34-49 before being fired.

You have to go to 1991 for the next mid-season firing, when Don Zimmer got canned after going 18-19 and once again a one game gig was given to bridge the gap, but this time to Joe Altobelli before Jim Essian took over.  If my math is right, the Cubs won that game as well for Essian, a 5-2 win over the Mets thanks to Greg Maddux, but Essian didn't fare much better than Zimmer did for the rest of the season finishing with a 59-63 record.

Some other interim manager results since 1970 for the Cubs.

Medical Sabermetrics

MAJOR NEWS UPDATE:

Lou Piniella will resign after today's game vs Atlanta. His mother's health has not improved and instead of going the medical leave of absence route again, he's handing over the managerial chores to...THE FORMER IOWA CUB MANAGER... drumroll, please...[[[Mike Quade]]]. Pfffft.


There is a segment of the news reporters who actually cover medical meetings and try their hand at using medical lingo on their readers. I found this article online (and several other sources picked it up including the LA Times) but it originates from a news feed that the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine provided after their 2010 annual meeting from Providence, RI.

This is clearly an epidemiologic study. I'm thinking medical sabermetrics is a better term.

The study was based on data from MLB's disabled list published online data from 2002-2008, so it didn't really need a doctor to do this, it probably was done by a doctor who is a baseball junkie. Hmmm.

Dr. (and Major) Matthew Posner took the raw information and tabulated the frequency and distribution of injuries by anatomic site, position, AL vs NL and time of season (before or after the All-Star break). Nicely done. Clean and simple.

"Even though baseball is a passion of many people and our national pastime, there is very little information about the epidemiology, characteristics or distribution of injuries in Major League Baseball,” said Maj., Matthew Posner, MD, orthopaedic surgeon at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. “This study attempts to evaluate Major League injuries over the period of six years.”

On to Dr. Posner's findings after the jump...

The Derrek Lee Era

With Derrek Lee's departure to the South and front running Braves, the Cubs lost one of their finest players over the last 30 years. But just how fine was he?

I think we can agree that since 1980 (arbitrary cutoff by me, live with it) that Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are your top two Cubs depending on how much you want to dock Sosa for his alleged indiscretions. That leaves a quartet of Cubs vying for spots 3-7 among position players: Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.

Let's go to the HTML table:

2010 Rule 4 Draft Deadline Update

The deadline for signing HS, JC, and college players (other than seniors) selected in this past June's Rule 4 Draft has past, as the Cubs announced the signing of four draft picks (RHP Ben Wells, RHP Kevin Rhoderick, LHP Casey Harman, and LHP Brian Smith) prior to the midnight deadline on Monday.  


In total, the Cubs signed 29 of their 50 draft picks, just about the usual number they sign each year. In addition, the Cubs signed four Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) to provide depth at Mesa and Boise.


Here are the 2010 draft picks and Non-Drafted Free-Agents (NDFA) who were signed by the Cubs, and those who the Cubs were not able to sign. The highest draft pick to get away was 6th round pick OF Ivan DeJesus, who will be attending UAB.

Braves Targeting Aramis

That's the story on NBC Sports citing Talking Chop of SB Nation, which isn't what I'd call a go-to news source. But alas it's out there and if the Braves do put in a waiver claim, I'd like to hope Hendry just lets him go to the Braves and saves the money for the rest of this year and most likely next.

Game Preview: Cubs (48-67) @ Cardinals (64-49)

Derrek Lee is back, Hoffpauir gets sent back down...okay, why not?

With Soto on the DL, Aramis still out, Colvin in the penalty box and Soriano incapable of moving spots in the batting order without the Earth's magnetic fields being reversed, we get to witness the following lineup featuring Blake DeWitt batting 5th.

Fukudome, Castro, Lee, Byrd, DeWitt, Soriano, Barney, Hill, Diamond

vs.

F. Lopez, J. Jay, Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, Molina, Schumaker, Westbrook, Ryan

Brewers Beat Cubs and Suddenly, Ron Santo Seems Quite Articulate

Things have gotten so bad with the Cubs that Ron Santo's heavy sighs and plaintive wails and exclamations of "C'mon!" and "No!" actually capture precisely the way I now feel while listening to or watching the action.

Tuesday night the Cubs fell to a season-worst 15 games under .500, losing their seventh in a row, 4-3, to the Brewers. (Lest we forget, the Brewers had lost five in a row before this series began.)

Lilly Declining? Wallach Decent? Looking at the Deal

Now that the trade deadline is behind us, what are Cub fans supposed to pay attention to? The games?! I tried that earlier tonight, and I'm sorry I did.

— I heard a recorded interview with Derrek Lee on WGN Radio early this evening in the run-up to the Cubs/Rockies game. David Kaplan asked Lee about Ryan Theriot, and Lee described him as "a grinder." In that moment, I came up with my own definition of a grinder. It's a guy who plays hard enough to occasionally make you forget that he's not very good.

Recent comments

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  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 39 min 7 sec ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 1 hour 13 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 11 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 21 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 5 hours 4 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 9 hours 49 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 9 hours 50 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 19 hours 32 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 22 hours 29 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 22 hours 42 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 22 hours 51 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 22 hours 56 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 23 hours 14 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 23 hours 51 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 1 day 8 min ago view