Archive - May 31, 2007

Cubs Pipeline to Venezuela in Jeopardy?

Luis Aparicio. Dave Concepcion. Manny Trillo. Ozzie Guillen. Magglio Ordonez. Bobby Abreu. Omar Vizquel. Carlos Zambrano. Miguel Cabrera. Ramon Hernandez. Johan Santana. Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. Victor Martinez. Melvin Mora. Felix Hernandez. Jose Lopez.   Just a few of the many past and present MLB stars from Venezuela. On Opening Day 2007, there were 51 players from Venezuela on MLB 25-man rosters, with many more Venezuelans playing in the minor leagues.  Since 1999, the number of Venezuelans playing in MLB has doubled.  Last July, the Cubs gave 16-year old Venezuelan RHP Larry Suarez (currently at EXST at Fitch Park) a reported $850K signing bonus (an amount equivalent to "2nd round money").

An Embarrasment of Riches…

...not in the "we have too much of a good thing kind of way", but more of the "wow this is embarrassing with how much this roster cost the Cubs." And as Mark DeRosa stated yesterday, "There's no good reason for this to be going on." A team built to hit home runs is currently 9th in the NL in runs scored because well, they're 9th in the NL in home runs hit (among some other reasons). Derrek Lee is on pace to hit 14 home runs this year as is Alfonso Soriano. Cliff Floyd won't even hit double digits at this point (8), and Jacque Jones and Matt Murton are in Juan Pierre territory at the moment. I'd love to believe that better times are to come, we still have the best run differential in the Central at +11 and the likelihood of all those players setting what would be essentially career lows for home runs in one season (when you consider playing time) is rather unlikely. This being the Cubs though, the unlikely and improbable in their most negative connotations has become standard operating procedure, so the best I could muster up is some sabermetric optimism after the jump.