Block party with the worst Cubs game ever!

Did it seem like it was National Block Party day yesterday?
I had to go get more brats at about 1, and I swear I drove by 3 on the little trip to the Jewel. 
Ours had a million kids, a pet parade, a raffle, an egg toss, a firetruck visit, the Chicago Mounted Police (2 guys on horses!), that giant inflatable room where kids can jump, incredible barbecue, bean bag toss competition, a dj (Hokey Pokey! Lady Gaga! The Macarena!), musical chairs, frosty cold malted beverages and the worst Cubs game possible on the radio.
At one point I walked into the house, turned on the tv.
It's 5 nothin', Cubs not winning.
I walked into the back yard, came back in about a minute later. 
Now it's 8 nothin' and Big Z is getting pulled.
Good God, remember the end of last year when he won all those (8, I think) games in a row and you thought, "HE'LL NEVER BE MORE APPEALING TRADE HIM NOW!"
I read Phil Rogers this morning. 
He says there's an unconfirmed rumor the Yanks might be interested in Soriano.
Anyway, there's another Phil who lives a couple houses down, and he comes over with the old 1986 Crosstown Classic mug.
That's the photo above. 

Just look at old man Jimmy Frey.
2 years before this, 1984, he comes this close to the Series.
He gets canned after winning just 23 of the first 56 games.
Compared to strapping young Tony LaRussa with the big guns and a 72-90 Sox team with a payroll of about $10 mil.
10 mil?
Anyway, what fabulous art!
I found a  for a recent crosstown classic, and it has this joke in it:
SOX FAN: Why'd it take the Cubs so long to get a website?
SOX FAN: They could never string three W's together. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

How come that seems so...not unusual?

These Cubs were Sutcliffe and Davis and Dunston and Ryno and Maddux and Moreland and Dernier and Durham and GOD DO I MISS THAT TEAM.
Even though they won just 70 games that year.
Right now the Cubs are 38-57.

Wonder if they'll be as good as '86? 



I like the joke but I think it would work better if it was about Q-ball. //Why doesn't Mike Quade have his own web site? He won't have one until he can string three W's in a row.// elsewhere: Peter Gammons just tweeted a bit ago that Jim Hendry has no interest in trading Dempster or Garza. I'm pretty sure that's 3/44 Pete.

Restating Gammons: Jim Hendry has no interest in making the Cubs better for the future. I actually understand not wanting to trade Garza (though because of my displeasure with the trade for him, I have trouble liking him on the Cubs), but why would you want to keep a player who is: (1) a 34 year old pitcher having his worst year in 4 years; (2) scheduled to be paid over $10mm next season; and (3) playing on the team with the second worst record in baseball with little hope to be in contention next year (the last year of Dempster's contract). Not sure there is a more appropriate situation for a player to be traded. Dempster would likely disallow any such trade, so perhaps Hendry leaked that he won't trade Demps to avoid any fan reaction to Ryan refusing a trade. But I don't believe Hendry is that calculating. I just think he likes Ryan Dempster and won't trade him.

they wouldn't get much in return and they'd have to spend to replace him in the the end it'd probably be barely worth doing or not worth doing. they're not going to "punt" 2012 anymore than they would in 2011. teams that spend this much don't take years off very often, if at all. he's probably not off the table, he's just going to cost if someone's coming looking for him. too bad Z isn't helping his case to make himself attractive to other teams.

Could not disagree more. $12 million on Dempster in 2012 can be spent on something to replace him. Also, there are not many great starters on the market this year...I think we could get at least one mid-level prospect for him. This is better than Dempster as a 35 year old next year.

most of Demp's peripherals have been pretty consistent over the last 3 years now including this season, I think he has the second highest BABIP though in the NL, at least before the last start. A better defense and a better team and he's easily worth the $12M this year and next. If they can move him for a equal or similar pitcher with 3-5 years of club control, great, but I don't think they'd get that. Demp also has the rather unique situation with his kid that he probably doesn't want to change if he doesn't have to...

Demp is a good pitcher who is getting older. The Cubs were terrible last year, are terrible this year and likely will not be good next year (his last year under contract). Please explain why again to me that you would keep him at $12 mm for next year? He likely will reject any trade, but that isn't the discussion...the question is whether he should be traded by the Cubs. And I don't think there is a clearer yes -- he (1) is still pretty good and has value, (2) is getting older and will not be under contract when/if we ever contend again, and (3) we have the 2nd worst record in baseball with him on the team. That last point is what makes me laugh when people say we don't want to give up on 2012 by trading Dempster. We had Dempster in 2010 and, before the Q-Ball miracle run, had the third worst record in baseball. We have had Demspter for a good part of 2011 (though, as often happens with aging pitchers, he was injured for part of the time) and we have the second worst record in baseball. I like Dempster and think his contract is fine. For a contender. We are not a contender with or without Dempster so if we can shed his $12mm contract, that is a good move. Particularly if we receive value in return.

I am always confused by logic like this. It seems that if you aren't convinced the Cubs can make the playoffs you should just completely shitcan the year--sell off veterans, play young guys, save money, and plan to win 60 games. But what does that do? Fans would be pissed and not show up. The team has one of the highest payrolls in the majors and doesn't have to drastically save money. The team doesn't have that many young guys to plug in to gain experience in a lost season like that. It just doesn't accomplish anything. We are scrapping the bottom of the barrel for starting pitching now (Ortiz, Davis, Bush, Lopez). If you get rid of Dempster, you just have to find more of those guys for next year. We don't have enough young players that he is blocking anyone. The Cubs should keep him and add a few players to try to contend for next year. And even if that fails and it turns into a learning season for younger players, then you want a starter like Dempster around. You want young guys to experience winning at least a few days a week.

It's about time the Tigers go all-in and make the trade for Dempster, which ends up along these lines

smoltz was a 22nd rounder with a 5.00+era/1.60+whip in the minors in the part of 2 seasons he had played. it's kinda rare and unexpected to do what smoltz did the following years. the braves loved him, though...he was pure stuff and no idea what to do with it playing over his head...ATL put him even more over his head. he figured it out (especially his control) and it paid off the following season...good for him.

So should we spend more on veterans who get us the second worst record in baseball? Would you ever admit that the current plan is NOT working? Sometimes these trades bring young players to help the future...I am sure the Atlanta fans loved Doyle Alexander, but probably were happy with that trade. Sometimes, having $12mm to spend in the offseason is enough...perhaps that $12mm could be used to help replace whatever Demps gives us next year. But Dempster will be 35 next year. He is not part of the future. You somehow believe that this team, which is getting nothing but older yet still has been one of the worst teams in baseball over 2010-11, can contend with just a few additions. I don't agree and perhaps that is why we disagree on Dempster.

Would I ever admit the current plan is not working? Sure, if that were the case. Would you ever admit that perhaps you are overreacting in the midst of a bad season? This season sucks and we all feel just as shitty about the future as you do. But we felt this way in 2002 and 2006 as well, and then with just a few moves -- yes, that's all it took -- the team turned it around. With a payroll this high, that happens. The "plan" that you see as not working is the same plan they have taken every year since 2003 and it has brought us 3 division championship teams, another 89-win team, and another 83-win team that finished second. The plan is to spend $125 million+ on payroll to field a veteran team capable of winning. Does it work every year? No. No plan does. But on the long term it is a more effective plan than trading veterans in hopes of getting a John Smoltz in return and playing a bunch of rookies with no real potential all season just to see what happens.

It was a shit team last year. They changed very little roster, sooo... It is a shit team this year. Why are you so in love with these guys? It's a shit team.

At least 2002 offered an emerging dominant talent in Mark Prior - I forget what Wood's status was that year. Unfortunately, 2011 has offered Cashner's shoulder injury and the continued pantsing of Randy Wells. Oh well, hopefully another Prior-like talent will fall into the Cubs lap with the #2 pick next June. We got that going for us at least.

In response to your comment about Wood, Kerry was healthy in 2002 -- 213.2 IP, 12-11 record with 3.66 ERA, 217 K's & 4 complete games.

Thanks JP - a 200+IP year from a then 25 year old Wood certainly no small accomplishment.

Also we had Z and Juan Cruz breaking into the rotation. We had Bobby Hill starting to push for the 2nd base job. And we still had a prime Sosa and Alou in the outfield. That 2002 team probably SHOULD have contended. This squad really never had much of a chance.

Moises Alou was 36 in 2003. and they had to replace 2 of the 5 guys you mentioned.

I'm talking in regards to "Having Hope". The ML system was heavily hyped by "experts" back then. The 2001 team was unexpectedly good. The 2003 team was good. The 2002 season began with great expectations.

I'm sure no one would be too upset if they got all of Dempster's contract off the books and received a couple of top 50 major league prospects. But I don't think that's on the table. So then it becomes what makes it worth trading him? Just taking the money off the books and getting marginal prospects? Does that really get the Cubs anything? I'm not sure it does. There's certainly not a wealth of starting pitching on the market next year. Maybe the Ricketts are the type to save money now and use it later, but I haven't seen anything to indicate that. Get a couple good prospects, but pay a lot of Dempster's salary? Cubs have never showed that willingness to pay off salaries of useful players. Besides Castro, I'm fine with them trading just about anybody right now, but just making trades to show the appearance of doing something, doesn't make a lot of sense. Will it improve the Cubs somehow is the question to be asked? And since we're rarely privy as fans to what has been offered or discussed in deals to well after the fact, not much use getting bent over it.

Well if we can trade Dempster, we can see if Dave Bush can.... I can't even finish that

Who says we trade him just to show appearances? I think we can get a decent mid-level prospect and some lesser prospects. Maybe someone with pure stuff, like Smoltz discussed above. Or maybe someone who becomes a dependable middle reliever over 2013 and beyond. Either way, just the chance that those players COULD be helpful in the future to a contending Cub team is more valuable than paying Dempster $12mm to lead us to another season 20+ games under .500

Either way, just the chance that those players COULD be helpful in the future to a contending Cub team is more valuable than paying Dempster $12mm to lead us to another season 20+ games under .500 that is not a statement of fact though... I'm sure the Cubs intend to compete next year, like they did this year, and any team with a $125M payroll can turn it around in one offseason with the right moves. they can likely trade Dempster next year if they're out of it and get a better or similar deal since he'll be owed considerably less.

Not sure I agree with the premise that "any team with $125mm payroll can turn it around in one offseason with the right moves". That has been our attitude for the last few years. One attribute of a good leader is to realize when plans previously undertaken are failing and make new plans. Not just assume it will get better with a few changes. Just because we have a high payroll, there is no evidence based on the last few years that we should have a realistic belief that we can contend next year. Particularly when the only significant change that likely could occur is replacing Pena with Pujols or Fielder. That would not make us a contender.

the cubs...and most every team...will not punt/rebuild/etc with that kind of payroll. it's just something you gotta start with as a baseline when you handicap the situation. right now dumpster and garza are the only reliable starters the cubs have. Z is hard to count on right now and wells has been a disaster this year.

I don't disagree, but being the best players on the worst team shouldn't mean you are safe, should it? Demps is dependable and his dependability is valuable. Much more valuable to a contending team than to the second worst team in baseball. I just believe in taking a chance on trading for prospects. The Cubs shouldn't be special...when other teams are terrible, they trade highly paid players. The Mets just traded K-Rod, rumors are that Beltran could be available for the right price. The Mets are significantly better than the Cubs -- why would the Cubs be different?

Beltran's contract expires after the season. Mets didn't want to pay a closer $17.5M. The Cubs don't mind paying Dempster $12M next year. They seem more than willing to move Ramirez though cause they don't want to pay him $16M next year.

That is my point...the Cubs shouldn't want to pay $12mm to Dempster unless they believe they are a contender. Feeling ok paying that amount, rather than trying to build for the future, is a mistake.

my point is I'm sure the Cubs believe they'll be fielding a contender next year.

I should have clarified... $125M and money to spend, not $125M and most of the money already tied up in aging players and no room to maneuver. Not sure I agree with the premise that "any team with $125mm payroll can turn it around in one offseason with the right moves". sure they can, whether they will is no sure thing of course. But higher payrolls still have a greater chance of being good, but it's not 100%, probably not even 90%. just agree to disagree by this point... the cubs aren't blowing anything up and they will attempt to compete next season and ryan dempster is still a very useful pitcher worth his money.

I don't disagree that teams that spend more money typically are better than teams that spend less. That doesn't mean that Soriano, Zambrano (or Vernon Wells or other poor signings) are worth the amounts they are being paid. And they limit what you can do. So if you were GM, unless you believe that we can win 25 more games than we will this year from signings, then the correct move is to attempt to compete next year and beyond by moving players who are (1) getting older and are not part of the future, and (2) still have trade value. Demps fits this category. Mind you, the discussion started not as "will the Cubs trade Dempster". We know the answer is a mid to high 90th percentile of "no". The question is should they trade Dempster. I don't believe they can take the team they have and add significant players to be contenders in 2012, so I think the answer should be "yes"; unless you can identify enough people to add to turn us into a team with a reasonable chance to be a contender next year, I am not sure how your answer is different.

I don't believe they can take the team they have and add significant players to be contenders in 2012, so I think the answer should be "yes" I'm sure you felt the same after 2006 and 2002. Anyway, I don't know the exact targets at the moment and I don't know if Hendry will be in charge. I have no problem trading Dempster, I have a problem trading him for B- prospects that won't be ready for 2-3 years, if ever. He's just not a guy they have to move. Soriano, Fukudome, Pena, maybe Ramirez, even Z are higher on my list.

So trade Dempster for a prospect package, sign Fielder, find a replacement SP for Dempster. Or keep Dempster and sign Fielder. Either way you're within a few million of each other. The idea that the Cubs will not put a team out that they can at least say has a chance is zero. They have to at least attempt to field a contending team.

The difference is $12mm (plus any money saved this year from trading Demps). That seems relevant.

is a "maybe" prospect and handing a multi-year deal to this FA market to save 1-4m in 2012 seem like a good idea? 3+ years of some of these guys would make me pause.

Who is your replacement for Dempster and what salary is he paid?

If we are not going to win next year, which I do not believe we will, I am fine with Cashner and Jay Jackson getting full years in the rotation.

Has Hendry asked the Phillies for permission to talk to R.S.? If Ricketty wants to put fannies in the seats, that's the only hope. Of course, Q will go on to manage the post divorce Dodgers to 3 W.S. titles but we can say we trained him...for 25 years. BTW the Rangers have been playing night games and winning them, with record high lows for 9, 10 PM. And Arlington has not been known to evaporate humidity at night either. So goes the theory (if there ever was one) of sunshine, heat and the wind blowing out for daily excuses. Wonder if things would change if a Hall of Fame guy took the reigns.

I like it!

on Wed. the cubs are having a "chip and dip plate" giveaway. if they're losing i sense the grounds crew picking up a few dozen impromptu frisbees.

chip&dip demolition night?

A whole bunch of seats emptied after the fourth inning. Something else going on in Chicago?

Air conditioning?

Hey look, the cubs lose a series

Hey look, the Cubs are 20 under .500. -OR- Hey look, the Cubs are 12.5 back of the Pirates. I'm not sure which is more embarassing.

I went to that cross town game in 86 Was cold rainy night at old Comiskey Only highlight was triple by young ss Dunston

from rosenthal Sources: #Cubs' A. Ramirez on #Angels' wish list, but Ramirez still adamant that he will not waive his no-trade clause for any club.

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  • Eric S 30 min 5 sec ago (view)

    Brewers Game 2: Happ, Rizzo, Javy, Schwarber, Willson, JHey, Bote, Kipnis (DH), Nico, Chatwood 


  • Eric S 46 min 45 sec ago (view)

    The MLB team Player Pools may soon be bumped up to 75 players from the current 60 player limit - which would make a lot of sense.


  • crunch 2 hours 43 min ago (view)

    "Chicago Cubs  @Cubs
    Our Aug. 7-9 series at St. Louis has been rescheduled as three 7-inning doubleheaders at Wrigley Field.

    #Cubs will be home team for Game 1. Cardinals home team for Game 2."


  • Eric S 2 hours 54 min ago (view)

    It's been fantastic how little use the pen has had (relatively) thanks to the starters going for six-seven innings. Hopefully Chatwood keeps the line moving tonight. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 hours 38 min ago (view)

    I agree with all of this except maybe Tepera. I'd put him firmly in ??? territory. I feel like he's looked better than his results but it's hard to say given small sample size.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 34 min ago (view)

    Managerial change making a difference I think. Hopefully the changes to the amateur scouting department also bears fruit


  • Cubster 18 hours 23 min ago (view)

    David Ross might be worthy of a little credit, especially sorting out the bullpen issues.


  • crunch 18 hours 27 min ago (view)

    this team is amazing.  i want more than 60 games of this.  darvish since mid-season last year has been great stuff.

    also, wick got to close.  kimbrel hasn't worked in quite a while.


  • Eric S 19 hours 9 min ago (view)

    39 pitch inning by Burnes.


  • crunch 19 hours 44 min ago (view)


    ...well, it is true that's the plan...but...umm..."allegedly"


  • QuietMan 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    Cubs to play double headers Monday and Wednesday against the Cardinals.


  • Eric S 20 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Ha! Hope Nico goes on a heater!


  • Cubster 20 hours 51 min ago (view)

    "Not thrilled" if on cue, Nico leads off with a double and a later Schwarbsbomb.


  • Eric S 22 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Updated Bullpen tiers:

    Tier 1 (Closer/Firemen)

    Wick and Jeffress (interchangeable)

    Tier 2 (Preferred Setup roles)

    Tepera, Sadler, Rea (!)

    Tier 3 (Face lefties exclusively if possible)

    Ryan (has to get that fastball out of mid-80s or head to South Bend)


    Tier 4 (Long man innings eater)


    Tier 10 (reserved for use when either up or down by 10+ runs)


    I think that covers it?


  • Jackstraw 1 day 13 min ago (view)

    Wait.  The bullpen can get worse?  That's unpossible.


  • Eric S 1 day 32 min ago (view)

    Well, shoot.

    Here we go again: Nico, Rizzo, Javy, Willson, Schwarber (LF), Happ, Bote, Souza, Caratini

    Not thrilled with Nico leading off when the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history was available but whatever