Cubs Decade in Review: 2001 Season

Previous Reviews:

Coming off a second straight last place finish, Andy MacPhail had his first full offseason to try and rebuild the club after taking over for .

, , , and were allowed to leave via free agency. The overhaul began with signing in mid-November and later signings of , , and revamped the rotation and the bullpen. A trade with the San Francisco Giants of for landed the Cubs their new third basemen. And on December 19th of 2000, MacPhail made his big splash in free agency, signing catcher away from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hundley - a catcher turning 32 - had played in 53, 114 and 90 games over the last three seasons, but did hit over 20 HR's in each of the last two seasons even in limited playing time. The deal - for the 32 year old catcher - was for four years and $23.5M and thought

The Cubs also got from the Oakland Athletics for Eric Ireland and signed from the Minnesota Twins as a possible first base platoon. They ended up releasing oft-injured pitcher , They selected pitcher from the A's in the Rule 5 draft and then, before the end of spring training, traded eventual Rookie of the Year winner to keep Chiasson's rights as well as getting infielder from the A's.

was in the final year of his contract and was shopped around earlier at the 2000 trade deadline, with a possible for Sosa swap being one of the hot rumors. He finally signed an extension through 2005 during the middle of spring training.

The Cubs opened up at home against the Montreal Expos and dropped two of three including the first two games of the season. Opening Day lineup:

- 2B, - 3B, - RF, LF, - 1B, - SS, - CF, - C, - P

The 5-man rotation to start the year was Lieber, , , and .

They went on to go 15-9 in April though and with on the disabled list to start the season, was the surprise closer, starting the season with 6 straight successful conversions and 9/11 for the month. Gordon would come back in May and ended up with 27 saves on the year.


The team was up by one game by the end of the month over the Cincinnati Reds.

May went just as well and the team went 16-11 and finished two games up in the NL Central over the St. Louis Cardnals...the Reds dropped to 11.5 games back. was released in mid-May with and Jr. splitting center field duties.  tore up his kneecap in early May and and did most of the fill-in work. ended May with a .616 OPS and 4 home runs as a Cub to date. Sosa had 15 HR's through May and posted his second worst OPS by month - 1.060.

June rolled around and a pitcher from USC was receiving all the pre-draft buzz. The Cubs had the second pick in the draft, but the Minnesota Twins went with local high school catcher instead. The Cubs were considered to have lucked into Mark Prior at the time. They also selected Andy Sisco, , Ricky Nolasco, , , , and (unsigned) in the same draft and signed Jae-kuk Ryu a few days earlier.

The team went 15-13 in June with Sosa hitting 11 home runs and were up 4.5 games over the Houston Astros and 6 over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs began their pursuit of Fred "Crime Dog" McGriff as well. After a brief September call-up in 2000, was called up near the end of June and started on June 30th, splitting time with Jr. until the Cubs ended up trading for in July. went on the disabled list on June 19th with back problems and only started 26 games the rest of the season.

Felix Pie was signed as an amateur free agent on July 3rd. The Cubs signed on July 7th after he was cut by the Baltimore Orioles. He had a .785 OPS the rest of the way while playing mostly left field and second base. hit the disabled list at the beginning of the month, played two games in mid-July and then missed the rest of the month and all of August with a groin injury. and were the Cubs representatives at the All-Star game. finally waived his no-trade clause and was
acquired from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for and a player to
be named later which ended up being infielder . McGriff had
a .942 OPS with the Cubs the rest of the way in 201 PA's and hit 12
home runs... as many as hit all season. The Cubs traded and Peter Zoccolillo to the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever David Weathers and Roberto Miniel. Sosa had 34 home runs by this point, 99 RBI's and 83 Runs Scored. The Cubs went 16-10 and remained 4.5 games up over the Astros and 8.5 games up on the Cardinals. The Cub Reporter was started by Christian Ruzich.

In August, the Cubs regulars were now:

- 2B, - LF, - RF, - 1B, - 3B, - SS, - CF, Girardi/Machado - C

got a lot of fill-in work and returned from the disabled list as well. continued to be the Cubs best pitcher and finished the month at 17-5 and a 3.43 ERA. was 10-6 with a 3.50 ERA up until he went on the disabled list on August 4th with shoulder tendonitis.

Jr. and were put on waivers and selected by the Pirates and Cardinals respectively. was recalled on August 15th after briefly being sent down at the end of July. was outrighted on the same day.  was called up on August 20th to start the second game of a doubleheader versus the Milwaukee Brewers. He and was sent back down two days later in favor of . was called up on August 21st with being sent down. Cruz started that day and struck out 8, but was hung the loss in a 3-1 game.  He ended up making 8 starts on the season and had a 3.22 ERA on the year. The Cubs signed on August 29th to a major league deal.

The team had its first losing month in August at 13-16 and were 75-59 on the year. They dropped 8.5 games in the standings and now trailed the Astros by 4 games and were 2 games in front of the Cardinals. Sosa hit 17 more home runs and had his best OPS month - 1.405.

, White, Wood and returned from the disabled list at the beginning of the month and the team started 3-6 in September including a five game losing streak and dropped 6 games back of the Astros.

Then something terrible happened...

Major league baseball didn't resume for another week. When it did, the Cubs went 10-9 the rest of the season and finished five games out of first place in the Central and the wild card race. The Cardinals went 20-8 in September and October to tie the Astros, but were awarded the wild card due to a 7-9 head-to-head record versus the Astros.

ended with 20 wins - the Cubs last 20-game winner - and finished 4th in the Cy Young voting. struck out 217, even after missing a month, and finished 12-6 with a 3.33 ERA. Sosa tallied 64 Home Runs, an NL Leading 160 RBI's and 146 Runs Scored and was second in OPS at 1.174. He had 425 total bases and set the club records for extra-base hits (103) and slugging percentage (.737). He finished second in MVP voting to who set the home run record with 73 and had a 1.379 OPS. The team set a major league record with 1,344 strikeouts by the pitching staff starting a run that lasted through 2008 in which they led the league. won his World Series title...with the Arizona Diamondbacks.


I remember questioning releasing Sarge Jr, and Cairo at the time. I also remember thinking that we would win the division once we got McGriff and then being so disappointed by his play once he agreed to be a Cub. Some very odd moves through out the year for a team that was competing for a division title.

I recall being disappointed by McGriff as well, but he was great that year. The pitching started to fall apart at the end along with the injuries and the Cardinals and Astros just went nuts. Oswalt made his debut in May and they had the Dotel/Wagner bullpen that year. Lugo and Ausmus were sub .700 OPS guys, but everyone else was .800 or better (Alou, Berkman, Biggio, Bagwell, Castila, Hidalgo). Cardinals discovered Pujols that year, McGwire was finished (.187 BA). Lankford, Drew and Edmonds were the outfield, although Lankford was moved in August for Woody Williams. Morris and Kile did the rest of the pitching along with a bullpen by committee in Veres, Kline and some others. best cubs trades: Sandberg and Bowa for DeJesus Jenkins, J. Hernstein, A. Phillips for L. Jackson and B. Buhl. Worst: Palmeiro, Moyer, D. Hall for M. Williams, Wilkerson, Kilgus, S. Wilson and 2 minor leaguers Brock, J. Spring, P. Toth for E. Broglio, D. Clemens, B. Shantz

Without the Palmeiro trade we don't make the playoffs in '89. The 4 players from Texas played parts in the success of that team with Williams obviously being the key. As much as I liked Palmeiro during his AL days, he didn't hit with any power in the NL and may have been one of the least clutch performers ever to wear a Cub uniform.

and Palmeiro may not have found 'roids in Chicago. I think the Cubs could have found someone else to blow 11 games just like Mitch Williams if they were forced to though.

Damn that Jim Frey Trade Lee Smith in 1988 only to be looking for a closer in 89. Shoulda,coulda,woulda C-Girardi,Berryhill 1b-Grace 2b-Sandberg Ss-Dunston 3B-? Lf-Palmeiro Cf-Dave Martinez Rf-Dawson Maddux Sutcliffe Bielecki Moyer Sanderson Lee Smith Tons of talent came up through the ranks in the late 80's. If the Cubs had been better run, they could have had a mini-dynasty.

"3b - ?" The title of the Cubs book exploring the years between Santo and Ramirez.

bill madlock says "happy holidays, rob"

2/15M according to Olney tweet don't have Insider, so not sure which article, but sounds like Matthews/Burrell/Bradley/Castillo were the 4 players with various money I assume going somewhere. W/o being able to read it, I'm guessing it was Cubs get Castillo, Matthews to Mets, Burrell to Angels and Bradley to Rays.

According to MLB trade rumors the Cubs would have gotten both Castillo and Burrell. Then they would have tried to spin Burrell elsewhere.

intriguing, the Angels would have just seen their contract vanish apparently? ah well, I'm just thrilled to to have Carlos Rusch as part of the team.

Glendon Silva

by ESPN Chicago (I added their WARP-1 totals as Cubs in parenthesis) 1. Aramis Ramirez (28.9) 2. Carlos Zambrano (36.4) 3. Derrek Lee (21.8) 4. Kerry Wood (26.3) 5. Ryan Dempster (14.6) 6. Sammy Sosa (31.6) 7. Moises Alou (7.3) 8. Ryan Theriot (9.1) 9. Mark Prior (15.1) 10. Mark DeRosa (6.4) only checked a few names, but Soriano(9.9), Lilly (10.3) and Clement (11.5) have cases to be made. they also have the top 10 Chicago games Z's no hitter is 10th, Game 5 win over Braves in 2003 is 5th

Gotta laugh at DeRosa on the list. He gets extra points for being not Milton, I guess.

He gets points for versatility, jawline, forearm muscle, and stubble.

Probably gets points for....being productive while he was here?

You're right, obviously better than Lilly has been...

Where in my comment did I say better than Ted Lilly?

It's implied by defending his position on the list ahead of Lilly.

I never said anything about Lilly. Please reread my comment. Lilly has been good all 3 seasons here, and of course should be on the list.

So we're in agreement that based on production, DeRosa does not belong on the list. Which means that he's on the list for some other reason. So, what was the point of your original comment?

FWIW, this is what was written in the DeRosa entry: Though with the team for only a short period of time, he became arguably its most popular player. DeRosa was a key component of the 2007 and '08 division championship teams. He batted .289 with 31 home runs and 159 runs batted in during his two-plus seasons. His versatility and game-altering hits were his forte. And he could still win an election as alderman in Chicago.

Merry Christmas TRN.

I just wanted to see if you'd jump on the original comment, and then take me to task for something I didn't say. Thanks.

Watch out, he'll accuse of stalking him.

I feel quite chagrined. Baiting you into saying something stupid and then getting you to admit it was wrong and asking why you said it in the first place. Egg's all over my face.

I said nothing stupid. I said DeRosa was valuable here in Chicago. I said nothing about Lilly, but you mentioned him in responding. So, DeRosa was not valuable here? Is that your point?

You don't understand. Lilly was better and therefore DeRosa wasn't good. How is that not clear?

I see...thanks Joe!!

You're welcome. I speak Neal, so if you ever need clarification, let me know.

I don't speak Dusty or Joe, but luckily this instructional video was produced.

As you get to wear the Tom Emanski Video hat, and bring Fred McGriff along...

What happens when the indents take up all the space allotted for comments across the page? We are very close to finding out...

We all just inhale and hold our breath while we type.

fwiw, reading your original comment sure sounded like you were justifying DeRosa being on the list over other players.

Did I mention Ted Lilly? I said that DeRosa got points for being productive while here. That is all.

Watch out, he'll accuse of stalking him.

fwiw, I also though DeRosa, Theriot and Alou on that list were pretty silly, particularly DeRosa who only played 2 seasons and only one of them was what I would consider good.

Nice work, Rob, these are always fun.
Heard this: Yankees working very hard tonight on deal for starting pitcher. Remember that they came close to deal for Aaron Harang in summer

You know, I have to admit, that Hendry's right. The Yankees don't have anything we need for Zambrano. Harang's going to give up 42 HR's in that division pitching in that park, and probably still win 17 games.
#cubs willing to trade zambrano. but doesnt sound like hes the 1 in #yankees talks. and Z's agent said wont waive no-trade
I bet Z's gonna love hearing that...

Nationals and Cubs seem to be the finalists, Nats offering 2 years and closing job, expected to get between 7-8M overall...

Is anyone else excited about the Matt Capps era? Am I the only one saying "Meh." I'm tired of the underperforming relief pitcher the $$ and use the kids..

Good lord, we're going to have 8 million tied up in Grabow and Capps? Thats Milton Bradley, Marlon Byrd money!!!

I like Matt Capps. 2009 was pretty bad for him. His H/9 skyrocketed and his BB/9 went up a full point. Yeah, the guy doesn't really have a secondary pitch, but you don't necessarily need one when you have really good control over 93-96, which he does. The guy is a legit MLB closer in my book as long as he's on the corners and not in the fat part of the zone. He spent a lot of '09 in the happy zone.

Brandon Morrow to Blue Jays for Brandon League and a prospect

Per MLB Trade Rumors: Braves deal Javier Vaszquez and Boone Logan to Yanks for Melkey Cabrera, pitcher Mike Dunn and possibly another prospect. The Yanks not only eat all of Vazquez' salary but also ship $500k to the Braves.

I assume something similar would have been the offer for Zambrano..

Actually, MLB TR got it from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as per their usual "breaking rumors". Who will be the last CF-turd standing for the Cubs as a decent option on Cabrera is now "off the board"?

Well, Marlon Byrd of course? Re-sign Reed Johnson, platoon him with Tyler Colvin, don't throw money away.

Or sign any 2 of the following: Vlad Aubrey Huff Rocco Baldelli Brian Giles Chris Duncan Johnny Gomes And leave Fukudome and his weak ass bat in Center where it isn't such an albatross.

True, but Fukudome's defense is a plus in RF, but average in CF, at best. Gomes I suppose? I'd take a pass on any of the other guys...unless Vlad could DH...which he can't with the Cubs.

If I were running things I'd sign Huff and Baldelli You can get both guys on cheap, 1 year (Non-bloated backloaded Hendry contracts) Deals. Baldelli can platoon CF with Fukudome and split time with Huff in Right. Huff can back up 1st and 3rd and protect us in the event that Aramis gets injured again. Both guys should get 400-450 at bats.

I can see MLB allowing Baldelli to play both center field and right simultaneously, but when his name is in the lineup card twice, the umpires and opposing managers may take exception. Just sign him and let him platoon with Fuld and/or Colvin. Did Crisp sign yet?

Interesting idea, thus, Hendry will never ponder it.

Chris Duncan and Brian Giles? Really??

I don't trust numbers from Coors field west. Byrd only touched a 700 OPS once before moving to Texas. He is going to get 8 to 10 times more money than Baldelli or Huff will get. It just seems foolish to Buy high/overpay yet again from a career year.

huff isn't a RF'r...he's not even much of a LF'r...or a 1st...

Right field defense is VASTLY overrated. Would I put Huff at SS? NO Can he survive in RF about as well as Hoffpauir, Burnitz or Bradley? Sure

overrated or not huff isn't playing 150+ games in anyone's outfield. i don't even think huff sees himself an OF'r at this point. that 33 year old 240lbs. hasn't been too nice to his skill set.

That's why I advocated signing Huff AND Baldelli. Seems more prudent to me, than to sign Byrd for mega-bucks and just assume he will hit like he did in Texas. Especially considering that our OF backups are Fuld and Colvin. We have absolutely zero in the way of High-Mid minors Outfield prospects.

Braves may be in hunt for Byrd.

I don't understand that, Atlanta has 24 outfielders now after adding Melky.

Reeks of an Agent sending a smokescreen. As far as I can tell, nobody is on Byrd except for the Cubs.


Atleast Huff knows what its like to play 150+ games. Your Champion of Champions Milton maxed out at 141 in 2004. I will put Huff's health in RF over Bradleys health, and watch Huff play more games. Atleast I know Huff isn't allergic to playing fulltime.

I hate to admit it, but I am still intrigued by Ankiel. I know he was awful last year, but if Jaramillo can help him a bit, we have the chance to finally get a guy on the cheap who can really dominate a game either at bat or in the field. When was the last time we saw a throwing arm from the OF like this?

you're too caught up in demonizing milton to know what i think about milton. and besides...your point is crap because...huff is not an OF'r. he's barely a 1st baseman. he's fat and slow and hobbled. no amount of wishful thinking will make him a better OF'r than anyone who can actually play the OF...much less someone who can play RF and CF, neither of which huff can do.

How can I demonize Bradley any more than him choking his pregnant wife or any of his other insane comments or behaviors?

You should back off on the "choking his pregnant wife" thing. He may well have been defending himself. They had a history of problems, and Bradley himself called 911 once because his wife was hitting him. Moreover, neither were charged by the prosecutor investigating the case. Bradley's obviously not a good clubhouse guy, but the wife story is old news and Bradley seems to be as much the victim as aggressor.

lol I'm not a misogynist or anything, and I take all abuse seriously, but dude... really?

Really what? Really, Bradley made at least one 911 call because his wife was hitting him? Yes. Really. Really, neither were prosecuted for abuse? Yes, really. Baseball stars can have wives who attack them. Remember when Tawny Kitaen beat the shit out of Chuck Finley? Finley didn't hit back, and he got messed up. Bradley may have tried to defend himself. Who knows. I'm just saying that nobody was prosecuted makes it a non-story.

Bradley was defending himsef?!?!?! You might want to check the police reports on that one. A man defending himself doesn't go around the house collecting all the cell phones and keys and credit cards to isolate his wife and prevent her from calling for help. She had to run next door to get the police to respond. Clearly the acts of a man defending himself. He is just gonna take away her ability to leave, her communication, and her money. Sounds like what most aggressors in domestic violence cases do to their spouses in an attempt to control them so they can continue to abuse. Bradley is a 6 foot 225 pound man throwing a forearm shiver into his pregnant wife and forcing her to hit herself with her own hand until she bleeds. Now that he has caused physical assualt on his own wife, he attempts to prevent her from reaching the authorities and eventually flees. Ohh and just because no one was prosecuted doesn't mean it never existed. Thats a lame ass cop out to excuse Bradley for attacking his pregnant wife. Something similar happened, though with much more famous people, that prosecutors could not ignore... Police were called to the scene of a domestic quarrel in the early hours of 8 February, where Rihanna – then in a relationship with Brown – was found with injuries to her face. According to a police affidavit, the row began when Rihanna found a text message from another woman on Brown's mobile phone. He later tried to push her from the parked car, choking her, punching her repeatedly and allegedly biting her ear. When Rihanna pretended to phone her assistant for police help, Brown threatened to kill her. Hitting, choking, trying to stop a call for help. One happened in the public spotlight, the other happened in the saftey of Miltons own house. There isn't much difference in either case. The fact is Milton beat and choked his wife and then denied her a chance to get help.

Brown was prosecuted because there was a case. Bradley wasn't, probably because there wasn't a case. Remember, he'd called 911 on his wife before.

The Cubs would likely drop a total of $10 million for 2010 alone on Capps and Byrd if they were to sign both. If we went in-house with a CF platoon (Reed Johnson/Fuld-Colvin) and let the kids (Caridad, Berg, Gray, Stevens, etc.) fill in the pen, is there a real difference-maker out there that the Cubs could get with that $10 million?

Reed Johnson is not "in house". Hudson or Valverde would, to me, represent significant upgrades over what we have now. I think there's a real need to bring in Marmol insurance, that's probably the #2 need right now after a center fielder, in my mind. Capps is probably the best fit for that. If he bounces back, which seems likely, he can be peddled as a closer to some team that needs one after 2010. Right now Blake Parker is our backup closer.

Angel Guzman says Hi

BABIP and the DL say Hi right back.

Down to Cubs or Nats, per this guy via MLBTradeumors.

Is it a bad sign when I'm nervous about the contract numbers before the guy even signs?

$7-$8M over 2 years seems to be the buzz... probably the same as Grabow, except Capps is better (imo)

Capps has an interesting choice. Assuming that the money is roughly equal, he can go to the Nats as the closer (a good career move) and lose for two years in a lousy baseball market, or come to the Cubs as a set-up man (a backwards career move) where he and his wife have a high comfort level and play in an intense, somewhat dysfunctional environment. The agent would likely steer him to the Nats, while his wife would push for the Cubs.

I don't think it would be a bad career move for Caps to sign as a setup guy. Even if he doesn't take the closer role from Marmol, he's already "proven" that he can close, so when he hits free agency he's already got that check box marked. I doubt a lot of GMs around the game really look at saves totals. They want to know if you can handle the pressure, and then what your other numbers are. Also he'd get the brownie point benefit of being seen as a guy who wants to win and as a "team first" guy for signing with the Cubs.

The next few days are very busy and I might not get another chance to say it later, so Merry Christmas to everyone here. May Santa make all your Cubs dreams come true. (if your dreams are overpaying for a setup man and centerfielder)

It will likely be close to market value for 2010. It's the bloated backloading of the deals that will cause the most harm. Especially since we are likely bidding against ourselves with Byrd at this point.

Matt Capps will decide by tomorrow night between Washington and the Cubs. I understand that Capps isn't going to put the Cubs over the top, but having Capps will be better than what Howry or Gregg ever brought to the Cubs. Plus with Marmol and his control problems it would be wise to have someone else capable of stepping into the closer role. I think he would be a good complement to Grabow in the back of the bullpen. I also think that the Cubs will trade for a starting center fielder rather than be stuck with what is out in free agency. I can see Jay Jackson being a piece in the trade as well.

I'm probably more excited than I should be about the prospect of getting Matt Capps. It's not that he'll be the one to put the team over the top as Southpaw said, rather I'm excited the Cubs are paying attention to the bullpen. I've said many times that I blame the bullpen on 2009 more than any other aspect of the team. Aram getting injured was huge, sure, and Milton Bradley was a distraction, but the bullpen literally gave games away in April and May.

Interesting, to me at least, is that on Talking Baseball, Capps said he was all about being on a team with a chance to win. That would seem to describe the Cubs way more than the Nats.

Phil Rogers (always need to get that disclaimer out there early) says that in addition to the published trade/FA rumors re CF and a righty set-up man, Hendry has also been working on trade scenarios which would net the Cubs both a CF and relief pitcher.

DeJesus and Farnsworth?

Make that Soria and I'm in.

Transcript from his chat today (where he talks Cubs and Sox):

this was awesome...after saying Chapman at 4/35M is too rich for the Cubs and Damon is too expensive, we get this answer...
Steven Volchek (Wilmette, IL) The rich get richer. Vazquez is a Yank now, so is Granderson. Lackey is in Boston, and so is Mike Cameron. The Cubs are the 4th biggest franchise and don't have money? That's not right... Bruce Levine (1:13 PM) Look for the Cubs to be very active over the next ten days. Their first move might be to sign Matt Capps sometime on Wednesday.
This is the year!!!

chad fox hasn't been signed by the cubs yet...weird.

A big-market team that spends like a small-market team and plays like Pittsburgh? Interesting. I'm not sure that's a sustainable plan.

some intriguing notes... Chapman asking for 4/35M right now Cubs like O. Hudson, but not a priority Cubs would love to trade Fukkakadome, would have traded for Swisher if they didn't sign him (that's a bit of old news) Ricketts seem to love Ryne Sandberg

Ricketts loving Sandberg is understandable. He was the star of the team when Ricketts used to get drunk in the bleachers. And he probably has some less conventional favorites from the era as well. Can Jerry Mumphrey's and Paul Noce's long hoped for emotional return to their old team be far off? It has been too long, Mr.Ricketts. Let's make it right.

"With the trade and including the not-yet-finalized signing of Nick Johnson, the Yankees' payroll stands at $200.9 million for 16 signed players." damn...

I might have more confidence in the Ricketts kidz turning the Cubs around if Tom had said he wanted to emulate the Yankees (and their 7 trips to the World Series in the last 20 years) rather than the Red Sox.

I like the Red Sox model for this franchise. Maximize all of your assets (Minors,Arbitration,Free Agency,SABRmetrics) We aren't going to be spending like the Yankees. However a smartly spent 140 Million can equate to a perennial contender.

However a smartly spent 140 Million can should equate to a perennial contender.

Count me in on: Matt Capps signing with Cubs Wednesday. Mark Derosa signing with Bravos for nine points. Jason Bay to the Giants for six points. Jim Hendry being smart ohhh(bad choice of words) and not doing anything else for 30 days wait till february some one will be there for one year at a decent price why rush we can always trade (David Dejesus)or go with some kids to save for deadline.

I found this writeup on Cubs and former cub farmhands and how they are doing in winter ball this year (from the Iowa Cubs website)

Rosenthal reports that the Braves have signed Troy Glaus (to play 1B). Seems like Adam LaRoche was too pricey for them (but no mention on how much money Glaus has signed for).

People in Atlanta were pretty pissed about the Javier Vasquez trade to NYY. Frank Wren had been talking about adding a big right handed bat to the lineup and it appeared from the trade that Melky Cabrera was that bat. I guess you can understand the Braves fans being upset. After the trade, Wren came out and said that he was still looking for the big right handed hitter and he would use the $9 million the Braves saved by trading Vasquez to get it. If Troy Glaus is the big bat, I think Braves fans are going to stay pissed.

Mark Feisand of teh New York Daily News reports that the Cubs and Yanks did talk about Zambrano, and the Cubs were willing to take back Kei Igawa and his 2 year/$8 million salary, but the two sides couldn't make it work.

I'm not sure what Feisand is on, but I want some.

Rosenthal suggests Capps should pick Nats over Cubs.

Some valid arguments. I think if the Cubs have a slightly better offer on the table, he'll probably choose the Cubs, but Rosenthal has a point about the Nats are at least trying to improve and Capps being assured a closer role there. If I'm the Cubs, I'd give him the closer role, at least to begin with. With Caridad setting up, that'd make a pretty solid 8-9 inning. Marmol is not suited for the final two innings. He simply doesn't throw enough strikes.

Side note: Isn't Capps the guy Ron Santo always bitches about because he takes so long in between pitches? It would be amusing to hear Ron Santo's take on this deal.

I'd agree that Marmol had trouble throwing strikes in 2009, but 2007-2008 he threw plenty of strikes. 2007: 96K 35BB 2008: 114K 41BB 2009: 93K 65BB Could be he had an off year in 2009, like a lot of Cubs? I wouldn't just hand him the job maybe. I like the Capps acquisition idea regardless.

There's probably not a big difference between those 2008 and 2009 numbers, other than hitters laying off his sliders that didn't find the zone.

Ok...maybe...but 2007 and 2008 are similar. 2009 is the one that's differnet from a numbers standpoint as far as increased walks. The slider isn't what bothers me really, it's a reluctance to throw strikes with the fastball. I don't know if I buy it took 2 years for them to lay off the slider out of the zone. We'll find out this season.

He threw only slightly fewer fastballs in 2009 than in previous years, but he through both the fastball and slider at slightly higher average velocities. Overthrowing? I don't have any numbers for this, but I think he was wilder with the fastball and that it wasn't a matter of trying to be too fine--I think he got his mechanics out of wack.

There's a website that charts all the pitches, but I never save it and can never remember what it is. Rob G probably does. His control was bad in 2009, my real question is whether it was equally bad in 2008 and it just got masked with swings and misses at balls. In addtion to all those walks he also had like a dozen HBP last year - he was a mess.

Fangraphs has it on the players least percentage of each pitch thrown. I assume it just uses pitch f/x data and what they call a slider vs. a curve vs. a split-finger vs. a change isn't the most accurate thing. For example Marmol... shows a slight decrease in fastballs last year, but it shows a big increase in sliders, but that's because it considered too many of his sliders as curveballs last year.. Type "Pitch f/x data" into google and there some other sites that track that info as well.

Perhaps his former teammates have already briefed him on this possibility? I am thinking that Capps could certainly "back into" the job very easily.

LHP Jayson Ruhlman (2005 23rd round pick out of Central Michigan) was released after the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft. The 2005 draft was the last John Stockstill draft before Stockstill moved over to the Baltimore Orioles, and is arguably the worst Cubs draft of all time. In addition, 2006 8th round pick RHP Billy Muldowney (Pitt) was also released. Muldowney had TJS in July 2008 and then had continual setbacks throughout his rehab. And Rule 55 minor league FA 2B Nate Spears (the last vestige of the Corey Patterson trade) has signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds. And Brad Snyder should be in demand, given his MVP-level performance for Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific League (2nd in BA, SLG, and OBP, 3rd in SB and RBI, tied for 4th in triples and tied for 6th in doubles, with one of the best outfield arms in baseball).

Snyder should've made the 40-man once the Cubs had decided on trading Bradley (which they seemed to have done in September), in my opinion. Would've given them a little more room to wait and see on some of the free agent options if nothing else.

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  • crunch 1 hour 37 min ago (view)

    minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs).  this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living.  for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.

    activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen.  good work.


  • bradsbeard 5 hours 20 min ago (view)

    Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in). 


  • Arizona Phil 10 hours 33 min ago (view)

    azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.


  • Hagsag 16 hours 43 min ago (view)

    This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November. 


  • azbobbop 23 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.


  • tim815 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.

    I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.

    Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better. 


  • Hagsag 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    Thanks wrigley rat.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:

    RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN


  • Childersb3 1 day 12 hours ago (view)


    Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?


  • Hagsag 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.


  • tim815 2 days 21 min ago (view)

    If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.


  • crunch 3 days 35 min ago (view)

    bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.

    as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.

    it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.


  • Cubster 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.