Bold Move Cotton: Z to the Bullpen Starting Friday

Zambrano to bullpen starting Friday. "Because of his stuff" Lou sez. Z is cool with move.

We'll see if the bullpen gets better, but it's certainly gonna be a lot more expensive. How many bad starts by Gorzelanny or Silva before this gets reversed?



It really makes a lot of sense, to me. He hasn't pitched better than any of the other guys, he's the guy who will be most "intimidating" back there and, honestly, he has concentration issues which he may not have if he's only facing 3 or 6 batters with a 1 or 2 run lead.

Of course he is also the pitcher most likely to walk a batter, which is what you want in high leverage situations. I guess I'm not as shocked, as I am disappointed that the Cubs two highest paid players are unable to successfully fulfill the roles that they are being paid for.

Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This is dumb. How can Jim Hendry say he's a GM? Fire his ass and Lou's too for not fighting this. "Whatta ya going to do?" Go F' yourself.

I would venture a 100% solid guess that the idea is Lou and Larry's to move Z to the pen.

You don't think he consulted with the guy who gave him the number 1 starter money and NTC so if you do want to trade him now you diminish even more by moving him to the gdamn bullpen?

yes, I'm sure they talked to Hendry about it as they do with all moves. And you know, maybe Hendry even brought up the idea. But any thoughts that Hendry is force-feeding it to Lou is divorced from reality.

Not force feeding, BUT HE AGREED!! They are both dumb asses!!

I agree. Hendry should have been fired when Rickett's took over, but now Lou should leave with him for this stupid move. Not only does it diminish Z's value, but they're taking a guy who pitches 180-200 innings, reducing that to 60-70 in the pen, and having lesser quality pitchers throw the other 120+ innings. That makes no sense. I know Z isn't number 1 caliber starter the last few years, but he's better than Gorzelanny, who is the beneficiary of this nonsense. I understand not wanting to move Silva to the pen since he is regaining his form, but put Gorz in the pen and STFU. They expect Gorz to get rh hitters out in innings 1-6, so why can't he be expected to get rh hitters out in the 7th, or 8th? Either has has big league talent or he doesn't. They needed a righty reliever so badly only because Hendry built a $136.6 million team with no bullpen to speak of. Hendry should be kicked to the curb immediately.

Since everyone from the team who has discussed it has said it's temporary, why are you saying that it's going to reduce Zambrano's innings by 100? Carlos Zambrano struck out less hitters/9 and had a 2:1 K to BB ratio last season, compared to Gorzellany who had a 3:1 K to BB ratio and K'd over a batter per inning. Zambrano's expectedFIP was 4.27, Gorzellany's was 3.73

Maybe you missed this. "Temporary?" Piniella said. "We're trying to stabilize things and win some baseball games. This will give Jim and the front office more opportunities hopefully to do something (via a trade). If not, this could be not temporary."

If Gorz and Silva's ERA's run up to 6, it will be temporary.

Lou didn't say it was temporary. From Sullivan's Tribune article: " Is it temporary? "Temporary?" Zambrano said. "He told me that probably (assistant general manager Randy Bush) or Jim Hendry was looking for an eighth inning guy. And when they find a guy and trade (for a) guy and get that guy here, I will be back to the rotation. "Right now they need somebody to step up in the eighth inning. I don't like to be a reliever. I don't want to be a reliever, but this team needs somebody to step up and help the bullpen." So Zambrano is OK with staying in the pen all year if they need him there? "I told Lou I want to help this team until you find somebody," he said. "But I told him I want to be back for the playoffs. When, or if we go to the playoffs, I want to go back in the rotation because I want to pitch in the playoffs." Piniella had a slightly different story when asked the same question. "Temporary?" Piniella said. "We're trying to stabilize things and win some baseball games. This will give Jim and the front office more opportunities hopefully to do something (via a trade). If not, this could be not temporary.""

It goes towards accountability. The other guys have done their job, so Z gets demoted. To me, it's Lou finally doing what he says he will do - which is a pleasant change. I doubt it's Hendry's decision. GM's assemble the rosters, they don't typically dictate who the starters and releivers are going to be.

It's hypocritical to say this is what's best for the team, having an $17.875 million setup man...who struggles early. Smart. What would have been best for the team, aside from firing Hendry, was to bench Soriano's ass a long time ago. So if you're going to trot that train wreck out to LF day in and day out because of his contract, you can't move Z to the pen and claim it's best for the team. Z has no track record of success as a reliever. If they really wanted what was best for the team they would have moved Dempster to the pen, at least he had some success as a reliever. It would still be a dumb move since Dempster has been a solid starter. Why don't they just send Shark Face to the low minors where he belongs, send Russell down, activate Lilly, move Gorz to the pen, and call up a right handed reliever? AKA Cashner or someone else.

it's lou's call to make, not the GM's. if hendry is making the calls to any manager besides "here's a player, use him" then both should be fired, imo. i have no doubt all 3 people are involved in discussions about this, but it's the manager's team once he gets his parts and hendry didn't meddle with other managers much.

what a huge crock of shit...

meh, nearly as dumb as moving Dempster imo with the added benefit that he hasn't pitched in b2b days for 8 years and won't be available to pinch-hit anymore (that's probably a good thing). It should help the bullpen though. Since I have little faith in Gorz and Silva both keeping up anything respectable, I doubt this lasts long. But I appreciate the outside-the-box thinking....

Agree on the OTB thinking. Second from the bottom in the f-ing division, do something besides shuffling the lineup deck DAILY.

WTF? Yeah, don't trade for or sign a reliever, just use your most talented starter in that role. I mean, shit, he hasn't been great, but fuck. Can we swap Lou with Santo? And did Sullivan really type 'sez'? Go fuck yourself.

It'll serve them all right if this fucks up Z's brain and he's never the same when he goes back to the rotation. Un-fucking-believable. This is pony league shit. Fire 'em all. P.S. Did Lou say what the fuck I'm supposed to do with Z now in fantasy league? Shit.

Z will have SP eligibility. Is nice.

That's my biggest worry about this move, along with the fact that your nominal best starting pitcher is now a setup man, which never makes sense in any world.

The Phillies tried this same thing with their former #1 starter. look how that turned out...

you got a guy pretty much conditioned to throw 120 pitches+ without his arm falling off and now we're getting him off that throwing schedule. it's not like the guy aces through his first 30 pitches then falls apart... depending on how long it goes on it could be a cute trip back to "starter shape" ...and to do this we only have to gamble on silva/gorz keeping their crap together. neat.

Lou on Z to pen: "This is a significant move... Not a panic move." seems a bit panicky...

It's more like, "We're fucked, let's take as many people down with us as possible". In other news, Marmol will be converted to catcher. If, on the other hand, there's more involved here, like they think this will actually help him get his focus or whatever back, then cool. But shit, you don't take apart your car to fix your bicycle. Come on, moving Z to make room for Gorzeshitty?

Will be fun to see Carlos squeeze 120 pitches into the 8th inning.

Theriot 6, Baker 4, Lee 3, Byrd 8, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7,Soto 2, Colvin 9, Silva 1

Either Z takes to the pen and dominates and the rotation stays healthy and good and this improves the team or Z doesn't take to the pen, it still sucks and/or Gorz and/or Silva suck and Z gets moved back in a month and the Cubs are in the same place they are today. as long as the leash is pretty short on Gorz and Silva, as it apparently was with Z, I'll live with this move...

Z says wants to help team but calls move temporary. 'Like Schwarzngr say, I will be back.'

Like Schrodinger's cat say, I will be back, maybe.

kudos on the metaphysical reference

Thanks. Kudos are yummy!

or Z's even worse in the pen, whether "stuff" or nerves, but now there's nowhere to put him. or Gorz/Silva suck and Z's mind is all f'ed when he goes back to the rotation.

The same place as today, but having wasted more time to right the ship...

when does Soriano get moved to the pen? he doesn't have to pitch, just hang out there during the games.


Holy balls!

Zambrano is the new Babe Ruth. Put him in right field! ;-)

I don't think the sky is falling as far as this decision is concerned, but I'd sure like to hear something resembling a logical explanation from Larry on it. It might just be dumb enough to work, but even if it is, it's still dumb.

This seems to me to be the move of a manager and a general manager who believe that if they don't win they will be fired. Hopefully the Rickets family will use their veto power if there are future moves that attempt to morgage the future for an uncertain present.

While that's a valid assumption, they probably feel that way because if they don't win they will be fired. And rightfully f'ing so. As I'm reading all this, it occurs to me that the Cubs have been built to 'win now' for the last few years, and they've been managed/GM'd like a fucking dynasty. It's as though Jim thinks that since the Cubs are his fav team and the fans return to perennial Cubbery-hell that the rest of the world believes it too. You know who doesn't know the Cubs are a dynasty? The Dbacks and the Dodgers in the playoffs, that's who. Ask Dusty Baker about Game 5 in the '03 NLCS. Yes, game 5, where he left his starter in (yet again) to get shellac'd because the arrogant bastard was so sure we'd win 1/2 in Chicago that he didn't fucking care about losing game 5. Why do I say that? Because Lou did the same fucking thing with the whole "saving Z for game 4" bullshit. And I'll tell you something else, Lou says Z is mature and agreed to it.... I DON'T GIVE A FUCK IF HE AGREED OR NOT. Lou is the manager, if Lou says throw bp in a pink fucking dress Z better get to the big and tall store for some pink taffeta. Look, JH gets paid to build a team and manage prospects, minors, etc. The players get paid to play well and win games. But Lou is paid because he's supposed to know how to win games. ALL of them, not just the ones he feels like showing up for. Lou last year and starting this year looked like he's been suffering from Dusty Baker syndrome,aka I-don't-give-a-fuck disease, similar to I'm-smarter-than-you-therefore-I-can't-lose-itis. But if he's got the balls to take the 'ace' of the staff (which Z ain't, he just gets paid more) and make him a fucking setup man? Bravo old man. He either believes that this is the best shot the bullpen has of at least finding a map to respectability and/or will be good for Zambrano, not to mention he's giving JH time to find a decent trade (which has been stated, and is a bitch this early in the year because you were supposed to have this shit worked out in the spring). The other option is he knows he's done, he doesn't fucking care and he's throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. The benefit to all this is it's good for Zambrano mentally (helping the team, blah blah) which I think will make him a better starter and hopefully avoid his usually shitty August. All this of course if he doesn't fuck up his arm. Okay. I think I'm vented for today, thanks guys!

And I'll tell you something else, Lou says Z is mature and agreed to it.... I DON'T GIVE A FUCK IF HE AGREED OR NOT. Lou is the manager, if Lou says throw bp in a pink fucking dress Z better get to the big and tall store for some pink taffeta. ________________________ This is the most beautiful poetry to me. Well done

If your boss tells you to do anything in a "pink fucking dress" you don't have to do it. You can sue for sexual harassment. A good manager consults his employees when changing their roles unexpectedly. If Z didn't want to do it, that doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't have to, but it's good to know that Z understands the reasoning. Not every workplace should be an Ours is but to do and die environment.

I don't want to sexually harass anyone (not at work anyway), but I have a hard time when I have to convince someone to do what I'm telling them to do. Them: Why do we have to do this? Me: How about because I asked politely and I explained exactly what I wanted and answered all your questions. And because I just fucking told you to. Some other fun workplace sayings: "If you don't do it, then I'll have to do it myself, and then you'll have to go home" "I can get any moron off the street to not do what I tell them - I don't need you, someone with knowledge, skills, and experience, to do that. I can pay them minimum wage" "I'd like for you to be happy and agree with what we're doing, but it's not a requirement." and to quote The Wolf, drumroll please: "Pretty please, with sugar on top, do what the fuck I told you"

I know what you're saying Jumbo, these guys need to respect the manager role more. On the other hand, there are reasonable expectations that the manager will maintain a good relationship with the players and be nice to them. And yes, I'm pretending like Lou never called Bradley a piece of shit in the tunnel.

PLEASE tell us how you really feel, will you?! "Lou did the same fucking thing with the whole "saving Z for game 4" bullshit." I was in attendance as were some others "The Night Rich Hill Went Down" on "Sweep Night 1" in the Playoffs. I do not believe that the Cubs would have won that series anyway noting the lack of hitting with RISP in the series anyway. However, I also do not think that either Dusty IN GAME 6, or Lou, understands that even if there is a potential for great risk in the Playoffs on behalf of the Cubs, where there could be a great reward (such as a victory) - based on the team's miserable failure rate - this must be taken on behalf of the fans. Dusty, in revisionist history, should have had Clement in when Prior faltered. Lou should have said, "Fuck it. You are pitching."

1. This is stupid 2. $18,000,000 #6 hitter. $18,000,000 middle relief. Awesome Hendry. Awesome.

i don't get how it's not dangerous to take a guy like Z who can throw a TON of pitches and remove him from that routine. It could take him 2-4 weeks to get back to throwing 100+ pitches if this experiment goes foul. it's not like he's lights-out (or anything resembling it) on pitches 1-30 and then falls apart. it's not like he's lost velocity or he holds things back when pitching to a team he has to face batters 2-3 times. he throws a mix of crap all game. he doesn't have some lights-out pitch he holds back to use for an out he doesn't want to show batters too much. the team is about to put one of the most stretched out and capable-of-long-use arms in this era into a 10-30 pitch situation. uggg...

Exactly. If anything, this year, Z's gotten better as the game's gone on. This move proves that 1) either the coaches ain't thinking or 2) they really do have shit for brains.

2-4 weeks to get back to throwing 100+ pitches? Kinda like being on the 15 day DL? I'm not worried about his arm. They can get him back to 115 pitches in 2 or 3 starts if need be. He'll have a short couple of starts before that obviously, but it's not like they're ruining his arm here. Yes, it's obviously dumb to take your most resilient arm and move it out of the rotation, but everybody who has pitched in the show has thrown out of the bullpen at some point in their lives. It's been 8 years for Z, but he's been there.

im worried about the prospect of him staying in the pen for months...after all, we're barely 3 weeks into the season. if he's only down for a few weeks or a month i'm not that worried about the march back to 100+.

That's a fair point, although I have a hard time believing this will last for months, mainly because we'll be out of it by then. Plus, Z's going to go absolutely fucking apeshit if he's down there all year. Even if we are talking about 2 or 3 months, it still won't take much more than about 4 starts to get him back. Problem is, when you're talking about an 75 or 80 pitch limit for him right out of the gate, you're talking about 3.2 innings, not 5 or 6 like normal pitchers.

yeah, i honestly believe (with nothing other than just a hunch based on how absolutely cool Z is with this) that this won't last long. there's messages coming out from the cubs camp that this could last a while, though. i don't know why they'd let it drag on too long, though. even they have to realize Z's best use isn't as a set-up man.

" i don't know why they'd let it drag on too long, though. " How long did Soriano bat lead off?

Well, let's see, there were those two playoff years...

If the other five guys continue to be good starters, and Z pitches well and settles then pen issues, then why not leave him there? Does it save us payroll money to have Silva pitch in the bullpen and Zambrano pitch as a starter? If one of the other guys sucks, then Z will move back to the rotation. I don't really get the big deal.

I think the big deal is that our pen is so bad that Z has to make the move. If I'm an owner I have to look at the front office staff and pitching staff and ask "how were you so wrong on the current bullpen pitchers' ability to record outs?" Seriously. Picture having to take your top 1, 2, or 3 sales rep and forcing him into an inside support role?

If I told you March 30 that Carlos Silva will force Z to bullpen when Lilly comes back, with no difference to Z's pitching or injury 14 games into the season, you would say I was nuts. I didn't think Dusty could be replace on Mt. Idiot, but move over Lou is the new Zeus.

I actually LOLd at this, because nuts? I'd have called and had you committed to the looney bin

I think it makes sense as a short-term plan. Z misses, 2-3 starts while pitching in the pen, Cubs ride the hot hands in the rotation and have time to see how Cashner and Thomas Diamond (and other minor league pitchers) do in their next few appearances. If he's there for more than two bad or questionable starts by either Gorzo or Silva, then I'll be upset. If that all works out, Z could still make 29 or 30 starts on the year (provided he stays healthy). It doesn't save the team by any means, though. And if Gorzo or Silva stink it up immediately or Z pitches badly out of the pen, it actually hurts the team.

I actually think this makes sense. Z cannot control his pitch counts, which is actually a pretty important trait for starting pitchers. He has also been the worst performing starter this year. As long as Silva and Gorzellany have short leashed on them once they begin to suck (and I am pretty confident they will), I think this is the most reasonable thing to do. I don't give a damn how much he is being paid. If he sucks, his role should be diminished until he begins to suck less than someone else(I'm looking at you, too, Samardzija!!!).

wscr- Z saying "he does not want to be a reliever" doing it because "temporary". Lou said "it will be temporary until Hendry trades for a reliever" So he's there until July. Brilliant. Just shut up already.

Levine had a post last week saying Hendry "will gladly overpay in prospects if he gets the go-ahead from the Ricketts family to trade for a pitcher like Bell and absorb his $5 million contract." probably some writer hyperbole there, but well there it is...

gladly overpay in prospects to the Pads for Bell. Well, at least he told us it was coming..... Hey Rob, mark this post now, something tells me we'll be using it again sooner rather than later

Well Cashner and Castro out to just about cover it for Heath shit!!!!!

Z as a closer = Jose Valverde? It's possible.

"Is it crazy, or does it make so much sense that it just blew your mind?" I guess the whole idea here is to shore up the bullpen. So if Z can go out there and provide some stability and consistency on a relatively temporary basis, then I say go for it. I even sort of like the fact that the team is trying something crazy. There is an excellent chance that having Z in the bullpen will not make the bullpen worse, so why not give it a try?

... and if he replaces Samardzija, I wold say that there is a 100% chance that he won't be worse...

imo, the only thing right about this whole thing is having the manager and the player on the same page with both giving a quick vocal "it's cool, man." lilly's back this weekend...hope they snag a reliever before the weekend begins. i kinda think we're probably gonna see that happen given how uber-chill Z is about all of this.

16 quality starts last year from Z. How many have Gorzalani and Silva had in last 3 years.

When they were hurt? What a stupid question. Marquez smith started more games than Aramis Ramirez last year - lets cut Ramirez and play Smith.

That's the point he's a reliable and durable starter.

Haven't kept count, but after tonight I'd say that's 3 for Silva already.

WFAN- Larry Rothschild - "felt right move, thinking about doing it for awhile" Did not seem suprised. (add another idiot to this boat)

I haven't read the comments yet, but, holy buttfuck, batman

WSCR-Paul Sullivan "guessing Lou's idea, larry said yeah sure" "not particularly good first inning guy" "interesting to see" Sullivan was giggling during this interview. "Z said if it's whole rest of the year it will be okay as long as he gets to start in the playoffs"-HOLY SHIT Sullivan "Hendry had to sign off on it, has not talked to Hendry yet" Z rationalizing that "Mariano is the "ace" on Yanks." This is all just so dumb. summary.. doesn't want to be a reliever, but bullpen needs help, team looking for a trade and will move back once it happens. What a dick that Z, being all cool and shit about it.

ya. A trade should fix this team. Totally get that.

Who is saying Z is a dick? That being said he is a mental midget, so I don't know how the most psycholigical fragile pitcher we have will do in tight 8th inning and then bouncing him back to starting rotation. This is so wrong in so many ways. It's a baseball abomination.

Who is saying Z is a dick? mostly Wittenmyer, Sullivan, Kapman or they have certainly implied it many times that he's overpaid, selfish jerk 1/3 of that is true...

lost in the world of prior and wood...Z's been a near-perfect cubbie from a fan's point of view. well, lost everywhere but the paycheck.

I just have to say this. There should be a kill shelter for shitty teams that spend money like the Cubs and the Mets do and can't win games.

I miss the college of coaches. They never would have let this happen.

oh, and Lou, if you wanna make a statement, bring up Vitters and Castro and then play with your nads while the rest of the organization tries to figure out what to do with that huge beer belly of yours.

Lite em up, O&B!!!

....okay silva let's just get out there and continue to confuse people like me. i'm down. whatever. crapball it up to the max.


Even God is pissed off at this move.

Silva: No Hitter through 0.1 Eat your words!

Wouldn't it have just been easier to put together a respectable bullpen this last winter?

Absolutely not. That would have addressed a need and made too much sense. One phrase explains Lou, Hendry, etc..."Often in error, never in doubt."

Phil Rogers just dropped a name in on who could have influenced the Z to bullpen....Greg Maddux. Phil says "Maddux has alot of influence with the pithcing"

Phil just doesn't want fans taking shots at Lou on his way home (literally) Because Maddog hasn't had the opportunity to have us bitch about everything he does (yet...)

So what did Maddux see? That Z has lost his stamina or that he has some special ability to pitch in relief?

Kap losing is fucking mind on CSN over Soriano. The day Cubdom imploded.

I'm surprised Kap wasn't too busy putting up photos of athletes hot wives to notice anything was going on with Soriano.

now that Z essentially disproved every BS thing he was saying over the last 2 years, he needs a new whipping boy...

I turned him off as soon as he thought Z to bullpen was a good idea.

I'm guessing you didnt read Al Yellon today, then.

No love for a fellow blogger? :)

If Wrongway is somehow correct, it could explain Z's non-freakout: respect for Maddux, or at least organizational politics. I still think it's completely bananas. it will also be a chore to watch.

I could actually see Z thriving in this role for a while. He's one of those really athletic guys that wants to do everything but what he's supposed to do. He's a pitcher, but wants to be a great hitter. Maybe after he gets his fix in the bullpen, he can try something with the Bulls or Blackhawks.

Len said if they trade for a reliable set up man, Z will be right back in the rotation. So they're trying to trade Gorzalanny or Silva for a reliever? If so, keeping them in the rotation would be best value wise.

Damn it. That sort of make sense.

You could put a hell of a bullpen together for $18,000,000 per year. But you shouldn't give it all to the set-up man.

So the logic is: It's better to lose more games, as long as you don't spend too much money on the bullpen. Interesting.

In the piece by Paul Sullivan that Rob linked to above, Z said he wanted to do what he could to help the team and compared it to Piniella coming to Soriano and asking him to move back to second base to help the team win. I'm sure it was a throw away line, but let's overanalyze it for a second. Does the idea have merit? Moving Soriano to the infield would open up a spot in the outfield for Nady (or Colvin). It could add some much needed firepower to the offense. Is Soriano so bad at second base that it would hurt more than it would help?

soriano to 2nd what huh?

Yes, he is so bad at 2B that it would hurt.

In case you haven't noticed, Fontenot and Baker have been doing pretty well as a platoon so far. And Soriano is finally outhitting our bench outfielders.

Soriano is actually outhitting everyone on the team except for Soto.

Don't try to dissuade us from our blind hatred with 'reality'. We all know that Soriano is the worst hitter since Jose Macias.

Let's face it-it's a spanking. Lou is fed up with Z and his lack of professionalism. I give Lou credit-he doesn't care about the contract, he's demoting him. He warned Soriano two weeks ago and he's already playing better. I dig the move. If they don't shake things up now the race could be over by June.

Uh, what? Where exactly was that said?

It's a stupid move. It's a move that shows how bad the front office was in the off season. You mean to tell me that we have to take a reliable starter out of the rotation because we don't have a pitcher in the entire organization that can be counted on to throw strikes and record outs in the 7th or 8th innings. That is just ridiculous.

What is your proposed solution, a 6 man rotation? Your reliable starter's ERA is 7.45, and he only made 28 starts last year, despite being the opening day starter. The guys who are in the rotation: 3.15 0.95 2.45 1.93 "Hey Carlos Silva - sure you've been our best starter and but you only make $11 million not $18 million so you're going to the pen. You see, we're all about accountability here at the Cubs." That's what Lou is supposed to tell him? Think people, just think.

FWIW, the front office was yards better this past off season than the one before. They overpaid Grabow and he forgot how to pitch. That combined with Guzman's TJ is the main reason why the pen looks like dogshit right now, and they're trying to recover. meh.

Give GRABOW some time. He's a streaky pitcher (but I'm not sure Hendry actully took this into consideration because a guy who tanks for 2 months isn't exactly a ripe condidate for setup man). Look at what he did last year: ERA Apr 1.74 May 6.94 Jun 2.57 Jul 2.19 Aug 0.00 (14 appearances!) Sep 6.39 So far we're seeing the May/Sep Grabow

How many innings are these monthly stats calculated from? What are his monthly ERAs by season over his career? I hate to come with a knee jerk sample size comment, but it sure makes me wonder

Grabow career: March/April: 2.97 ERA, 57.2 IP May: 4.55 ERA, 65.1 IP June: 4.83 ERA, 63.1 IP July: 3.27 ERA, 71.2 IP August: 3.26 ERA, 69 IP Sept/Oct: 5.75 ERA, 67.1 IP

WTF is wrong with you? The small sample size you are bitching about is ...obvious to everyone else...all of last year. The point: he has been running hot and cold. That's all. yeesh!

Just that your point is meaningless. He's hot and cold: so is everyone except Pujols. No need to debate it, I was just trying to figure out how many innings he pitched each month and, although I didn't specifically ask this question, how many innings does it take to analyze a reliever without the sample size argument.

Bold move is right. High risk, potentially high reward. I argued that Z might make a great closer as long as five years ago on this very blog. It seems to me that part of what Lou said is true..."because of his stuff". Only guy on the Cubs who can miss as many bats as Z is Marmol. If you limit Z to 3 or 4 or 5 hitters in a game he doesn't stick around long enough to lose focus. He gets to be the center of attention 3 days out of 5 rather than 1 out of 5. Envision a Cubs team where after Marmol in the 8th, the other team gets to stand in against a 94-95-96 mph fastball that Z himself may not know where it's going. I think odds are about 1 in 3 that it turns out well, but if it does, tell me how many teams would have a better back end than Marmol and Z?

Limit Z to 3, 4 or 5 hitters will ensure he doesn't stick around long enough to lose focus? Every pitch is an opportunity for Z to lose focus. Anything Z perceives as a bad call by an ump, cheap hit or defensive lapse is enough for him to not only lose focus but to immitate Anthony Perkins in "Fear Strikes Out."

good that movie. it's one of those over-acted as hell, but good story baseball flicks.

So replacing one of the most reliable and durable starting pitchers in last 6 years with a recently surgically repaired pitcher, Carlos Silva and Tom Gorzalany could be a good thing?

No, but taking the guy with the 7.45 ERA out of the rotation and replacing him with Lilly could be a good thing. Who were you talking about, by the way?

Len compared this to when Brett Myers moved to the bullpen for a while. I actually thought that was a very fair comparison to a very comparable pitcher. Two guys with similar stuff, abilities, anger issues, etc, etc.

Viva la Cubs.

I think #75 hit on something Z in bullpen for a month or so let the starters Gorzo and Silva build up trade value or if they continue too suck Lilly. Zambrano is going nowhere Gorzo,Silva, or Lilly could. On a different note we will see how much clout Lou has with Hendry when next roster move is made. Samardzja should be the one visiting Iowa, but it could be Russell.

Continue to suck?

You misread that. It says "continue too suck Lilly". Clearly, they are part of Lilly's fluffer entourage. This is the real reason that they're staying and Z is being moved. Apparently, Z is all teeth.

Apparently, Z is all teeth. I don't know why, but this rings true for me.

Samj and Russell have no business being on a 130 million dollar payroll team. This is how dumb the Cubs talent evaluation people are. They see Cashner has a starter, but they are not bright enough to figure out that the farm system is there to help the major league team. Cashner could be brought up for the bullpen, i don't know about 8th inning duties but his strikeout ability could be put to good use for this team. But the Cubs management team has blinders on to the world and would never ever think of that possibility. Its as a starter or bust.

Agree on Samardzija....he's just awful. I think Russell has pitched pretty decently.

You obviously missed Spring Training. Cashner could have made the team but he didn't throw strikes. Russell who pitched well in the AFL continued to pitch well in ST and has pitched well in the bigs.

That's a great point I had forgotten about, wasn't Cashner a stud CLOSER at TCU when we drafted him?? WTF??

Suggested reading: Comment #124. Cashner 5 innings 8 walks. Russell 13 innings, 4 walks and didn't give up a run until after Cashner was sent down. It doesn't make sense, in my mind, to argue that the Cubs should take Cashner out of a starting role and make him a reliever, so that they don't have to take Zambrano out of a starting role to make him a reliever. I could see the Cubs calling up Cashner to relieve if adding one reliever helps get them into contention, though (and if he continues to excel).

Or near the All-Star break, after he's pitched a significant number of innings as a starter and can finish up his season with 25-40 more as a reliever.

is the plan is to keep Z in the pen until Kerry Wood comes off the DL, then get #34 back from the Tribe? and Jeff Gray will make some spending money to sell his #34 jersey? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "As the Woold Turns"

Given the offense finally waking was a bit hidden but did anyone notice the somewhat crappy 8th inning last least it started out like crap: 6-1 score, Marshall's first 3 men get on base (single, triple, single) comes Berg who gets two outs. (I'm thinking, don't change pitchers here...Berg just got two easy outs, Grabow...oh, no...oh, yes...sheit) Pinella takes him out for Grabow to be used as a LOOGY and it works. I think someone woke Lou up.

I did notice, but it was also against a guy in like his third MLB game (Davis) So I'm not ready to pat anybody on the back just yet...

Bradley should be in the lineup on Friday night when the Mariners open a three-game weekend series against the White Sox.
and with soreness in his right and left calf muscles the past few days, he was out of the starting lineup in Wednesday night's series finale against the Orioles. He left Tuesday night's game in the first inning with tightness in his left calf. Discomfort in his right calf limited him to pinch-hit duty on Saturday night against the Tigers. "It's nothing serious," manager Don Wakamatsu said...

You gotta let him go, dude. You just gotta let him go.

Why are we getting Bradley updates?

Real Neal pull your head out of your ass. Your complaining that Z has a 7.45 ERA 2 weeks into the season? Were talking about a pitcher who has never had a season ERA above 4.00 in his career. But lets freak the fuck out and listen to Real Neals lame excuse for why Z needs to go to the bullpen and how he thinks it makes sense. Besides 2007 (his first full year starting) Gorz hasn't had an ERA below 5.00. Carlos Silva has been gifted with facing some of the worst teams in baseball and doesn't exactly have a great track record lately of keeping an ERA over the course of the season under 5.00. Also with Silva, one thing is out of line with reality. The guy gives up hits like they are going out of style, he has done it his entire career. His 19 innings and only 10 hits given up isn't going to last. Z isn't going to the bullpen because he sucks, he is going to the bullpen because this team needs a pick-me up because no one else in the bullpen can get the job done, besides Marshall. Silva, Gorz, Wells would all be shitty relievers. But if you listen to Real Neal Z is going to the bullpen because he is the worst guy in the rotation after 2 weeks. Knee-jerk reaction much Neal?

While I disagree with your tone, you do make a good point that Gorz & Silva would probably make bad relievers. Plus, how do you take a guy pitching 2-0 0.95 ERA out of your rotation? Carlos Silva, ace extraordinaire.

Here is another "Real Neal" has dumb ideas moment. Aramis Ramirez is hitting .132, maybe its time for him to help out the bench and let Baker or Tracy take over 3rd base, because he is clearly our worst hitter at the moment. Forget all those 100 RBI seasons, he is done stick a fork in him.

When they hook you up to the crack inhaler at work, do they sanitize it from the night shift? It's about accountability, a term you're obviously not familiar with. If you get the shit kicked out of you, or suck you get a lesser role. That's what Lou has said he was going to do for a year now, and he's finally doing it. When Soriano played left field like, well, like MikeC applies reason - he got benched. You're a fucking moron if you think that I've said that the future prospects of Silva are better than Zambrano's, but there is only one guy who has sucked Donky balls in the rotation this year, and that's Zambrano. Deal with it, Z has.

Come on guys. It has been pretty cool around here with mostly a moratorium on the personal insults. I am no angel, but we can respectfully go at it without resorting to the previous personal attacks that happen mostly when the team is sucking ass.

Not to get all school yard, but it seems like MikeC started it. I only say that because I know we got on TRN for something along these lines last year and I wouldn't want for the context here to go unacknowledged.

Here is another "Real Neal" has dumb ideas moment.
When they hook you up to the crack inhaler at work, do they sanitize it from the night shift?
:D haha

Real Neal was using the logic of 3 starts versus an entire career to justify Zambrano going to the bullpen. Either Real Neal is stupid or a retard. There is no insight, there is no factoring in ability, there is no history taken into account. It's just about the dumbest justification to use for why Zambrano is in the pen. And it's not like this is the first time he has done it. Zambrano is in the pen because we have crappy pitchers all around. And most of them aren't suited for the bullpen role. I don't give a damn about Carlos Silva and what he is doing now, you gonna put that whirlwind hit giving up machine in the bullpen? Thats why Zambrano is in the pen and it is all Milton Bradley's fault, because we paid 30 million for him. See circle of life Simba.

1. I didn't send Zambrano to the bullpen. 2. The Cubs biggest two problems are the offense and the bullpen. If Zambrano is so great, wouldn't using him to address one of the biggest problems be a good idea? Zambrano is not an ace. I wish he were, but he's not. He's a #2-or #3 starter, and thus far on the season, he's been the worst, by far of the four guys. Maybe he'll be a dominant setup guy - he's been a mediocre starter for four years. The only reasonable argument I've seen to keep Z in the rotation ahead of the others is because it helps your fantasy team. If you do crappy, you lose playing time. I know you though having Soriano bat .215 for three months last year helped the team win, but you were wrong and you're wrong again here.

First, it is nice to see that Soriano is taking the criticism in the proper way and is trying to improve his game. Good for him. Moving Z to the pen appears to be a ploy to give Hendry time to trade one of the starting pitchers (I would assume Gorzelanny is the most likely to go). Of course the problem I have is that I would rather trade Z and I think Silvia is a better fit in the bull pen because he throws strikes.

Yes, Soriano deserves a small measure of forgiveness for hearing the criticisms and doing something about it. Even on the home run he hit, he was running out of the box.

Why only a small measure?

Because it's only lasted two days.

He doesn't deserve any credit one way or another. We just have to accept him for what he is. He is good for two weeks...and then he sucks for three weeks...good for a week...terrible for two weeks.

Can't please everyone all the time. As for me, I'll forgive him a little bit. If he starts clobbering the ball (and it appears he just might) and stops stinking up left field then I'll forgive him more.

Hey i remember Alex Gonzalez who would hit in April, then disappear for 3 months show up for a week then disappear for the rest of the year and everyone loved that sack of worthless crap. People didn't start realizing he was worthless till he screwed up the most important defensive play of his life. And even then he doesn't get the proper blame for it, its all about Steve Bartman. Grrrr i hate me some Alex Gonzalez.

Last year he was good for two weeks and bad for four months. He's been running the bases hard for two days, something he hasn't done... I can't remember last time he did that, so that's a good sign. Should he be applauded for doing something that he should have been doing all along? Shrug.

Uhhhh Soriano hurt his leg early in the year. He essentially played the rest of the season on one leg. So kinda hard to run really hard with one bad leg.

even harder in the leadoff spot...still getting over that one...for years.

You weren't a Cubs fan in 2009, but the manager said that if a player wasn't 100% he wouldn't play. Therefore Soriano must have been 100%.

You might want to update your version of reality to include facts. Lou said that in regards to Milton Bradley, because he was tired of Milton deciding when he would play, or not play, and his lack of hustle.
So what did Piniella have to say? That Bradley will sit until he's 100 percent, that he will run out ground balls, and that he'll be moved down to the No. 6 hole when he eventually returns to the lineup. In what could be a seminal moment in the Cubs' 2009 season, Bradley got his first real lesson of Life under Lou. Asked about the nice chat, Piniella gave a CliffsNotes version of the meeting: "I had a conversation with Milton. He's not 100 percent. When he's 100 percent I'll put him out there to play. Until then, I'll use (Reed) Johnson and I'll use (Micah) Hoffpauir in the outfield."
That was April 23rd, exactly one year ago today.

They had the interview on, that quote you have there is either from another interview or a misquote.

does this mean that since zombie could pitch on any given day that the cubs will let him designate the blue jerseys for all road games now?

"That's not a good team," one NL scout said bluntly. "They're not a contender, not as constituted. They've got some good offensive players, but they've got no team speed. And they've got pretty good starting pitching, but that bullpen is terrible. So all teams have to do with the Cubs is just grind the starters down and get into that bullpen. And that's exactly what's been happening." The interesting stuff is later on: • Cub snub: The Cubs have plenty of problems. But Derrek Lee isn't one of them. Nevertheless, with Lee on the last year of his contract, we're hearing that when Lee's agent, Casey Close, checked in on whether the Cubs were interested in talking extension, the response was: "Let's see how this year plays out." The Cubs don't have any policies against handing out extensions. Carlos Zambrano's deal stands as living proof. But Lee will turn 35 in September. He makes $13 million a year. And the Cubs essentially have been telling all their players they're not extending anybody until the new owners get a chance to assess what kind of team they have. So the way this year is going, they may feel a serious urge to blow up half the roster. But if Lee comes anywhere close to last year's numbers (.306, 35 homers, a .972 OPS), he'd seem like the last guy on this payroll the Cubs could afford to wave sayonara to.

You know, the more I listen to these anonymous scouts, the more I think they sound a lot like Wrongway Phil or, more accurately, my old uncle repeating Wrongway Phil. It's not that I necessarily disagree with him. But what great wealth of information is that scout calling upon to tell the Cubs they have no team speed and a bad (bad and young, to be accurate) bullpen? It's not like he's discerning some hidden insight into Cubs suckitude.

When he says "Scout" he means "my 12 year old nephew who spent 8 minutes looking at the stats on".

very astute nephew there, you gotta admit...

Me no likey. It screams desperation. The bullpen is a complete shitstorm and Hendry should have been canned pre-season for that. How could anyone not see that the bull pen was going to suck and the starting pitching is in a precarious position? VERY POOR planning. Tired of it. More of the old cub thinking, which gets us nowhere. Get rid of the Samaninja who's just happy to be collecting a fat check. Grrrrr.

Get rid of the Samaninja who's just happy to be collecting a fat check. Grrrrr. Releasing Samardzija doesn't make the Cubs better; he's not blocking some long list of great relief pitchers in our minor leagues. However, I suspect that at some point Thomas Diamond takes the spot of either Gerg or Samardzija in the MLB bullpen, and one of those guys goes down. (I think Lilly takes Russell's spot, by the way, unless the Cubs trade Gorzo.)

Sharkboy never earned his spot in the majors, and doesn't belong here. He has a 5.89 career mlb era in 50 games with a career whip of 1.69, and he didn't exactly burn down the house in the minors either with a 4.28 era with a 1.447 whip.

I support sending him down for now to bring up a pitcher like Thomas Diamond or maybe Jeff Stevens. But releasing him solves absolutely zero problems--the Cubs still have to pay him and they wouldn't stand to benefit then if he ever figured something out.

In 2008 in Iowa, Smardizjaa earned a promotion to the big leagues. He never earned a promotion to Iowa, but he was probably the best pitcher we had there once he arrived.

Recent comments

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 21 min ago (view)

    Good to see Roederer and Velasquez  providing some production. From what I've followed they haven't been up to much. Granted this season isn't great for development


  • Arizona Phil 5 hours 23 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have added OF Brennen Davis to their AZIL Active List roster. 


  • crunch 6 hours 46 min ago (view)

    "He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable."

    reggie golden flashblacks...if BP was a game he'd be an all-star.


  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 40 min ago (view)

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of their Top 10 position-player prospects (M. Amaya, Davis, Hearn, Howard, Made, C. Morel, R. Morel, Quintero, Roederer, and Strumpf -- listed alphabetically) are two or more years away from the big leagues, in most cases more like three or four or even five years away. 


  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 55 min ago (view)

    TIM: One of the things people wonder about when they see a young shortstop for the first time is does he have the arm and range necessary to play SS or would his tools maybe be better suited for 2B, 3B or OF. So far at Instructs Kevin Made has shown all of the attributes of a SS, and he is an advanced hitter (for his age) as well. 


  • Arizona Phil 8 hours 34 min ago (view)

    AZBOBBOP: Ethan Hearn showed off his plus-arm by back-picking a runner off 1st base last week. You don't see catchers with the confidence to attempt pick-offs much out here. 

    He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable. His hitting (contact and barreling) has improved at instructs, and that's one of the things he needed to improve.

    His receiving should improve with experience as well. 


  • azbobbop 21 hours 40 min ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?


  • tim815 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 


  • Charlie 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.


  • bradsbeard 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 


  • crunch 3 days 22 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.


  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    In fairness those 28 games he played at 1B were breathtaking that year


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 1 min ago (view)

    Cubs fire asst. hitting coach Terrmel Sledge. I knew it was his fault!