Doug Mientkiewicz homered, drove in two runs, and made a spectacular sliding catch, and a 9th inning Cubs rally fell one run short for the second day in a row, as the Dodgers edged the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Arizona, in a game played before a capacity crowd under partly cloudy skies and in mid-60’s temperatures
Free agent Ben Sheets is hurt and has a torn flexor tendon origin at the elbow. The injury happened last August, he tried to play thru the injury and his last Brewer appearance was 2.1 IP against the Cubs on Sept 27th. Missing the playoffs after 8 seasons as the Brewer ace plus being in a free agent year must have been nearly as painful as his elbow. Yet circumstances of impending free agency may have created some controversy as to who is responsible to pay for treatment of Sheets elbow malady. After all, if Sheets was still under contract with the Brewers and if they thought his injury needed surgery, wouldn't he have already undergone the surgery that is now proposed for him? The Brewers did offer Sheets arbitration, which he declined and no surgical decision was made as his season ended nor at the time he declined arbitration. This implies that the Brewers medical staff didn't think his elbow needed surgery and would heal with rest. So in looking for a new employer, the Texas Rangers were readying a 2 year deal when Sheets physical exam (functionally a second opinion) set off alarms.
From the above article:
Talks between the Rangers and Sheets reached an impasse within the past several days, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. The two sides were close to agreement on a two-year deal, according to a major-league source, but they already had concerns regarding the right-handers' checkered health history. It is believed that the physical examination revealed the tear and caused the Rangers to scotch the deal.
The surgery, to repair Sheets' partially torn flexor tendon, is expected to be performed by noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. Sheets' agent, Casey Close, could not be reached for comment, but sources say that he maintains Milwaukee should pay for the surgery since the injury stems from his time with the Brewers. While that dispute is resolved, Sheets now hopes to have the surgery next week, sources say.
Brewers assistant GM, Gord Ash in an mlb.com article added:
We're working our way through all of the details and we don't know the answer yet," Ash said. "Major League Baseball has regulations related to workers' comp and there are procedures and protocols that have to be respected. We're working our way through those so I can't give you much insight other than that.
I always wondered if pro baseball players who get injured are covered under workman's compensation?
UPDATE: Here are the contract terms according to SI.com: $8 Million in 2008 with a $4M bonus ($12M total). $12.5M in 2010, $13.5 M in 2011 and a 2012 $14M player option which is almost a guarantee to be picked up. And as I mentioned earlier, I'm about 90% certain he's earned 10/5 no-trade rights.
It's being picked up by multiple news sources that the Ryan Dempster Experience will call Chicago home for the next four years. It sounds like it might be for a total of $52M a year or $13M on average. That's a pretty good deal if he pitches like he did last year, not so much if he pitches like 2001-2003. For what was out there though and for how much the Cubs and Dempster seem to like each other, it sounds like the right deal. He really did have a fantastic 2008 season. His 152 ERA+ was good for third best in the NL.
Baseball's fourth season is about to warm up and I'll try and summarize all the gossip every couple of days.
- Ken Rosenthal says that Ryan Dempster won't sign with the Cubs before the Cubs exclusive negotiating window closes on November 13th. A rather wise move by him and his agent. There's no reason not to test the waters and see what is actually available for him as rival teams cannot discuss money over the next two weeks. He still may very well sign with the Cubs on a hometown discount, but that discount will be based on what the prevailing market is offering. Rosenthal speculates a four year deal for Dempster with the Cubs interested in three years. Rosenthal also speculates that if the Cubs cannot resign Dempster, they'll up their efforts on Jake Peavy, which sounds like a grand plan to me.
|SP||*Randy Wolf||SP||Ryan Dempster|
|8-11, 4.73, 134 K, 64 BB, 158 IP||15-5, 2.95, 160 K, 69 BB, 176.2 IP|
|CF||*Michael Bourn||LF||Alfonso Soriano|
|LF||Ty Wigginton||SS||Ryan Theriot|
|SS||Miguel Tejada||1B||Derrek Lee|
|1B||#Lance Berkman||3B||Aramis Ramirez|
|3B||#Geoff Blum||C||Geovany Soto|
|RF||Hunter Pence||RF||Mark DeRosa|
|2B||*David Newhan||CF||Reed Johnson|
|C||Humberto Quintero||2B||Ronny Cedeno|
|P||*Randy Wolf||P||Ryan Dempster|
The Cubs get to enjoy their off-day with a nice come from behind win yesterday and a 5-1 road trip that puts them on the right side of the .500 mark away from Wrigley. They'll play 16 straight starting tomorrow, 13 of those coming at home and the three road games at Pittsburgh. It seems like a great time to increase their lead in the Central, but the Brewers have a pretty easy go of it as well. The schedules through September 4th (three game series unless otherwise noted):
Cubs (16 with 13 at Home): vs. Reds, vs. Nats, @ Pirates, vs Phillies (for 4 games), vs Astros
Brewers (14 with 9 at Home): vs. Astros, vs. Pirates, @ St. Louis (2 games), @ Pitt, vs. Mets
Cardinals (13 with 7 at Home): vs. Pirates(2 games), vs Braves, vs. Brewers (2 games), @ Astros, @ Diamondbacks
So that's looking forward, but what about taking a look back at the 2008 season. Peter Gammons on Friday brought up Geovany Soto's name as an National League MVP candidate and it got me thinking about who is the Cubs 2008 MVP.
Your candidates after the jump...