Operation Spoiler, Phase 2

Andy Pettitte, LHP
17-9 2.42 ERA
165/41 K/BB, 17 HR in 215.1 IP
Carlos Zambrano, RHP
14-6 3.33 ERA
194/83 K/BB, 20 HR in 216.1 IP
2B Ryan Theriot 2B Craig Biggio
SS #Neifi Perez CF Wily Taveras
1B Derrek Lee 3B Morgan Ensberg
3B Nomar Garciaparra LF #Lance Berkman
LF Matt Murton 1B Mike Lamb
RF *Jeromy Burnitz LF Jason Lane
C Michael Barrett SS Adam Everett
CF *Corey Patterson C Brad Ausmus
P #Carlos Zambrano P *Andy Pettitte
I really had no idea that Andy Pettitte was having THAT good of a year. Z's quest for .300 will have to come from the right side. A hit in one or two at-bats will put him above .300, if he gets three or four at-bats and manages only a single hit, he'll stay below .300. 2 hits off Pettitte and he's a lock. Also, with 6 more K's, Z will top 200 K's for the first time in his career, plus help out my fantasy team. Macias's earth-shattering walk and solid throw last night weren't enough to get him in the lineup tonight. What's a guy have to do? Joking aside, good to see Theriot has recovered from his bout of food poisoning. I wonder if the Astros clinch before Sunday if Geovany Soto will get a start sometime this weekend? I don't believe he's gotten into a game yet since being called up. The Cubs can take the season series tonight as well, so far they're 8-5 against the 'Stros. They'll have to do it against their top 3, Pettitte tonight, Clemens tomorrow, and Oswalt on Sunday (assuming they haven't clinched by then). Puts the 'Stros in an awful spot if they end up tied with the Phils for the Wild Card as Brandon Backe will have to start a playoff death match. Of course having those guys pitching the next 3 games, where 2 wins clinch the playoffs is a good recipe for avoiding said death match. And be sure to come by Monday as we'll being posted our year end round-table discussion starting with the TCR writers. For the rest of the week, I'll try and keep the other playoff race summaries up-to-date after the jump. NL East The Atlanta Braves clinched the division on Sept. 27th NL Central Cardinals clinched the division somewhere around April 20th, I believe. NL West The San Diego Padres clinched the division on Sept. 28th NL Wild Card Astros up 2 games over Phillies Magic number: 2 Games Left: Houston (3): 3 versus Cubbies Phillies (3): 3 @ Washington AL East Yankees are up 1 game over the Red Sox and they play each other the final 3 games of the season Magic number: 3 Games Left: Boston (3) 3 versus Yankees New York (3) 3 @ Boston AL Central White Sox clinched the division on Sept. 29th AL West The Angels clinched the division on Sept. 27th AL Wild Card Tribe and Red Sox are tied. Magic number: 4 (for either team) Games Left: Cleveland (3): 3 versus Chicago Boston (3): 3 versus Yankees


Derrek Lee just set the record for most RBI's by a first basemen for a Cub..Congrats!! Z has already passed the 200 K mark for the season and currently stands at exactly a .300 average (1 for 2 today) and we're in the top of the 6th. He's pitching quite well so I'm thinking he'll get one more at-bat.

what the hell is going on? he just walked ensberg and berkman. if we go to the pen this things' over...

he threw 9 straight balls and larry the fairy doesn't make a visit. whats he waiting for the three run homer?

three straight walks!

Baker gave Z the milestone, pinch-hit for him on his 3rd at-bat. Z hit exactly .300 for the season with some pop. What a player!!!

I believe Soto got into a game last week, if I remember correctly. I want to say Cards or Reds, but I'm probably wrong. He just pinch hit though, so he still has an easy job.

I'm happy for Lee setting the Cub record for RBIs by a 1B but yikes, it's pretty amazing that in 12 or 13 decades some Cub !B didn't get more than 106. Like SS after Banks, just a real unproductive position for generations. And yes, I liked Mark Grace and Buckner to a lesser extent too but 106 RBIs? Wow. One of those things you hear and can't quite believe until you go through the personnel in your head and it makes total sense. Total depressing sense.

runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs, corey patterson has to be the worst in baseball...todd walker now hitting. our version of kirk gibson!

i'm worried patterson is going to get picked off or thrown out trying to steal. no cub has played this bad...

cub ist basemen since banks(from memory) '72 pepitone '73 pepitone/thornton '74 thornton '75 thornton '76 biitner '77 buckner '78 buckner '79 buckner '80 buckner '81 buckner '82 buckner '83 buckner '84 buckner/durham '85 durham '86 durham '87 durham '88 grace '89 grace '90 grace '91 grace '92 grace '93 grace '94 grace '95 grace '96 grace '97 grace '98 grace '99 grace '00 grace '01 stairs/coomer/mcgriff '02 mcgriff '03 karros/choi/simon '04 lee '05 lee

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

Who says the Cubs won't be playing meaningful games in October? What a game...'Stros lead down to one. Phils will owe all the Cubbies steak dinners if they make the playoffs. Who knew Walker was even available? I didn't see the game, did he limp up to the plate? Clemens vs. Williams tomorrow

Rob G. Walker didn't limp to the plate but he did limp to first after hitting the ball.

Fanzone, Didn't the great Pete LaCock figure in the mid-70s somewhere? Maybe post Thornton? Also, what was Billy Williams' last year with the Cubs? '74? He also played some first. I remember looking at Thornton's career a while back. He'd of been quite a hero here at TCR. Great OBP several seasons.

Way to go Cubs! Lets keep HOU home for October! Man is CLE in a choke job. Cant take a series from TB and are in xtra frames with the Charlotte Knights tonight. I dont get why Guillen would put in his bench guys. Wouldnt it be better for them to play BOS/NYY in the DS than the Angels?

CUBS 1B POST-BANKS 71 - Pepitone/Hickman 72 - Pepitone/Hickman 73 - Hickman/Bourque 74 - B. Williams/Thornton 75 - Thornton/LaCock 76 - LaCock/Thornton/Monday 77 - Buckner 78 - Buckner 79 - Buckner 80 - Buckner 81 - Buckner 82 - Buckner (Durham played CF) 83 - Buckner (Durham played CF) 84 - Buckner/Durham 85 - Durham 86 - Durham 87 - Durham 88 - Grace 89 - Grace 91 - Grace 92 - Grace 93 - Grace 94 - Grace 95 - Grace 96 - Grace 97 - Grace 98 - Grace 99 - Grace 00 - Grace 01 - Stairs/McGriff 02 - McGriff 03 - Choi/Karros/Simon 04 - D. Lee 05 - D. Lee

AZ Phil, Pat Bourque! Just putrid. One of the Breeden brothers must have logged some time at 1st too. Hal. Danny was the catcher. And no doubt Carmen Fanzone himself had to fill in a game or two over there. You had to keep his trumpet in the lineup. If you listed everyone that played even an inning over there, you'd never want to eat again.

Go Go Demp...If not Wagner, please resign him.

The more I think on it, the more I want Dempster back. This is something the Cubs can take credit for--seeing the potential he had as a closer and making it happen. If only they'd done it from day 1, right? God I hate LaTroy even now.

Dempster has always been Hendry's choice for closer, not Dusty's. That's why he wasn't used earlier. Dusty didn't trusty. You can read a bit about it here if you are skeptical.

#15: I was thinking the exact same thing about Ozzieball. I'd be staying up at night worried about getting stuck with the Angels in the first round. Because unless they get three Phenomenal starts from their rotation against the Halos, they would definitely lose that series. They can't outhit them, they can't outlast them in the bullpen, they play like garbage in the state of California and they, like most pitching staffs, have absolutely no answer for Vlad the Impaler. If they get them in the first round, Contreras wins Game 1 at the Cell, then they get swept out. How do you avoid getting them in the first round? Beat the life out of the Indians.

Of course, Dempster has always been Hendry's choice as a closer. Some of us don't need a google search to know that. But to hear Bluewater Pennant tell it, you'd think he'd been traded. After all, he's the only established talent the Cubs have had in the pen all season, and Pennant can't stop reminding us that "all the talent in the bullpen is playing for other teams."

I predict that Dusty will use Zambrano as a pinch hitter in these last two games. With the exception of Walker, he doesn't have a better choice. I listened to Stoney's comments on the Score and his take was we 2 1/2 times the payroll of Milwaukee and still had a horrible team. That, in my opinion, points the finger at Mr. Hendry, and is a major reason why Baker will not get fired. The pen looked good for about two weeks when Wood was setting up Dempster. Last but not least, what would you give the Marlins to get their malcontent Miguel Cabrerra? Would you trade Aramis and Patterson for Cabrerra and Lowell? I'd say they're going to make some big trades this year, we might be a good trading partner for them.

"The pen looked good for about two weeks when Wood was setting up Dempster." And then Wood started giving up home runs.

CWTP: "Dempster has always been Hendry's choice for closer, not Dusty's. That's why he wasn't used earlier. Dusty didn't trusty." Dempster was both Hendry's and Bakers SECOND choice as closer going into this year. And BOTH said so at a Q&A at teh Cubs Convention this past year. Remeber JoBo was pitching good in ST and was going to be teh closer and with Wood and Prior big question marks all ST, they decide to have Dempster as insurance for a #5 starter, which is turned out they needed. They only had 1 LH relief guy int eh pen and Rusch had shown teh year before that he could handle going back and forth from the pen or start (turned out to be a fluke). But then JoBo got hurt in ST and everything got mixed up again. Hendry and Baker did actually have this one right, but injuries to JoBo, Wood and Prior messed it all up.

Actually, Dempster was Busty's FORTH choice as a closer. Don't forget about Hawkins and Fox, the latter who's arm fell off! Best regards, Cle

"That, in my opinion, points the finger at Mr. Hendry,... Last but not least, what would you give the Marlins to get their malcontent Miguel Cabrerra? Would you trade Aramis and Patterson for Cabrerra and Lowell? I'd say they're going to make some big trades this year, we might be a good trading partner for them." Carmen, On the 1st point it reflects more upon Hendry's bosses than it does Hendry. He could not spend $$$ he was not given. He had no flexiabilty as the roster he had was at 90 some odd million already. He will have $$$ to spend this off-season by my calculations at least 43.5 MIL and as much as 45.5 to spend. I want a 10-15 mil OF (Dunn, Giles, Matsui, Soriano), Furcal (8-9 MIL), an 8th inning guy (2Mil), and either a Burnett/Dempster or Millwood/Ryan combo (15 MIL) that would add up to 35-41 Mil and the rest would go the bench. On point 2 NO WAY IN HELL would FLA trade Cabrerra he is so damn good and so cheap compared to what he can do. Plus any trade would have to be Hershal Walker like. Were talking something like Prior, Murton, Pie, Cedeno, Gallagher for him.

Chifan: "He had no flexiabilty as the roster he had was at 90 some odd million already. " And who had already spent the $90 million you are talking about....HENDRY!! It wasn't like he was taking aver for some other GM who made those deals. The deals that held him back from getting better players was his own doing. No excuses this year. He has like $30-$40 million availible depending on which options he picks up.

Dempster was just given a 3-year extension. No word on the cash. Good job, Hendry. Now keep it up...

Carmen Said: 'I listened to Stoney's comments on the Score and his take was we 2 1/2 times the payroll of Milwaukee and still had a horrible team.' The Cubs don't have a horrible team. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have horrible teams. The Cubs have a mediocre team. Despite all the calls for Hendry's head, the Cubs are not the worst $ to wins team, and they'll probably never be the best, because they have a payroll floor of about $70 million. It's nice of Steve Stone to take pot shots, but did he ever say what he would have done were he in Hendry's place last off season? There were four major factors that lead to the Cubs poor season- Wood, Garciaparra, Patterson and Ramirez. If any two of those things don't happen, the Cubs are probably claiming the WC spot for themselves this weekend. All this hindsight is 20/20 stuff is ridiculous.

"Hendry and Baker did actually have this one right, but injuries to JoBo, Wood and Prior messed it all up." Geez... Baker did NOT have this right. His first choice was LaTroy even after he proved in 2004 that he couldn't close. He said multiple times during ST that Hawkins and Borowski would be battling for the closer job. As has been pointed out, Dempster was Dustbag's 4th choice for closer. Don't try to spin it any other way or give Dusty credit for this. Hendry had the insight to want to try Dempster as closer out of the gate and if Dusty had any balls, he would've given him first shot after Sweaty Joe went down in ST... instead he sent LaTroy to melt down on the mound numerous times.

with Wood and Prior big question marks all ST, they decide to have Dempster as insurance for a #5 starter, which is turned out they needed. For the millionth time, can we get beyond this myth that Dempster needed to be the 5th starter? The only reason Rusch wasn't used as a starter was because Dusty thought he needed THREE lefties in his pen. (And he apparently forgot how good Rusch was as a starter in 2004.) Wood and Prior were both in the rotation at the start of the year. Wood pitched the home opener, and Prior was used the first time the Cubs needed a 5th starter. No one had to fill-in for either of them. Dempster was in the rotation for 1 reason and 1 reason only: Dusty wanted him there.

I like the Dempster extension. Now let's go out and make this team significantly better in middle relief and the outfield.

Nice move by Hendry locking up Demp for 3 years. 1-1 so far geting team ready for 2006. Just need to see how much we have to pay him to see how good of a move it is.

3yr 15.5m personally...im far from happy with this. hope it works for mr. free pass. his only saving grace so far is he's not been giving up the home run.

That is a little more than I had hoped for. I was hoping for 3 years/$12-$13.5 million... So for the money it was a good deal, not great, but keeping him around is very good. That means no Ryan or Wagner this offseason.

The Cubs will never be the best team because they have a "payroll floor" of about $70 million? What is a payroll floor? If you mean that is all we will spend, you are about $30 million off. I believe our payroll this year was about $100 million.

Payroll floor = minimum payroll. Payroll ceiling would = maximum payroll.

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  • crunch 6 hours 9 min ago (view)

    i can't believe this kind of stuff is what we're talking about 2 months into the 2020 season...i can't believe a lot of stuff about 2020 outside of the game, too.


  • crunch 10 hours 28 min ago (view)

    contract rights are retained by the team.

    in normal times this keeps labor relations between employer and player not too volitile with only a handful of player/owner issues.  in times like this you see a system that was not designed for an event like this.

    some owners are being responsible over the players who's contracts they control while other owners make us realize why the guillotine was occsasionally popular during revoltutions/revolts.


  • Jackstraw 10 hours 54 min ago (view)

    So they are all free agents?  Or still under contract and not getting paid?  I'm sure AZ Phil or someone else has covered this but I haven't been keeping up with all the fine points of baseball's problems recently.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 13 hours 27 min ago (view)

    Manfred is such a dreadful commissioner. It's his job to walk a fine line and maintain peace in labor relations. Instead he lets the owners do whatever they want.

    Cannot wait for a long, bitter strike after 2021. And for the owners to ultimately turn plenty of fan sentiment against players.


  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    "The A's told their minor leaguers Tuesday that they will not continue to pay them their current salary of $400 per week beyond May 31."

    classy.  absolute class act stuff right there.


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Evan Drellich @EvanDrellich
    The MLBPA is very disappointed with MLB’s economic proposal today, source tells me and @Ken_Rosenthal, calling additional cuts proposed “massive." League offered to share more playoff revenue, but on balance, those dollars are small compared to what players give up, PA believes.


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    A's are furloughing nearly all of their staff through the entire organization...including scouts, which make a shockingly low amount of money.

    the A's are owned by a multi-billionaire who inherited his loot from dad (founder of The Gap)...and him + family spent $10m trying to keep Obama from getting a 2nd term, which i assume is their idea of a good investment in their community...whereas paying loyal employees for years/decades for a few months is...well...*shrug*


  • Ryno 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    Depends on who you are.


  • Ryno 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    Sorry--Just needed to experience a little normalcy.


  • Ryno 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    That was the dumbest lineup I've ever seen.


  • Hagsag 1 day 19 hours ago (view)



  • Cubster 2 days 13 hours ago (view)


    speaking of Trump's trained rats...


  • Hagsag 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Cubster, your comments about President Bone Spurs could not be more accurate. Thanks for posting!


  • BobbyD 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Cubster: I agree with your comments, save one. That the president is "leading" America. He couldn't lead a pack of rats to a NYC dumpster on an August afternoon. The "man" is a f'ing disgrace. 


  • crunch 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    though the team cheaped out on this offseason (still an overall top-tier payroll), i was at least looking forward to seeing the beginning of the david ross era...and who was going to win the 2nd base job...

    nothing about 2020 baseball feels legit anymore.  just hearing the players talk about it, you'd think they were organizing a casual pickup game for charity at an inconvient time and place...doesn't seem like they're really stoked about it.


  • Cubster 3 days 10 hours ago (view)

    June 1st is a week from tomorrow. Given 5 weeks of spring training before starting (July 4th?), the season is on the brink of going bye-bye. It's bad enough in 2020 to be losing prime career years for Javy Baez and Kris Bryant, let alone Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks, and Willson Contreras. If one of them gets coronavirus, loses lung capacity, and alters their career arc, Cub fans will for a long time have a bitter taste in their mouths. All for, at best,  a bizarre half-season without fans watching in the ballparks.