Operation Spoiler, Phase 2

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


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

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

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

three straight walks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 53 min ago (view)

    20s sounds about right. Considering they have gotten pretty much nothing out of pitching development in the last decade and only number one picks and Bote on the hitter side in the same time frame, that's pretty telling. I guess Contreras falls into that too but he had been around quite a while before Theo and Jed


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 55 min ago (view)

    I was thinking that too, Phil. EJM failing so badly was another spectacular miss. Guess they should have let sleeping dogs lie when his first deal fell through (Dodgers or Giants, I think?)


  • tim815 5 hours 48 min ago (view)

    MLB.com rated the Cubs 22 out of 30.

    This season figures to tell quite a bit. No teams are terrible at player development anymore, and no teams look at the draft as a hopeless puzzle.


  • KingKongvsGodzilla 9 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Are these guys out of the org now? 


  • K Dub 13 hours 39 min ago (view)

    PHIL: Any velo readings on Ramos? Earlier reports also had him sitting 98-99. Thanks!


  • George Altman 19 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Phil, serious question: How good is the Cubs Player Development Department? Scale of 1 to 30 with 1 being best.  I mean, I can think of 5 teams right now who don't have near the Cubs resources but do better year after.

    I mean there are organizations across sports who seem to coach the crap out of their draft picks and signees. They just got 4 teenagers for Darvish, but do they have the coaches to get any of them to the show? 

    My pessimistic grade would be about 24.


  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    DJL: How about Eddy Julio Martinez as a spectacular miss? A $3M signing bonus out of Cuba and he never made it out of AA. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 20 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Wow, that's a pretty spectacular miss. He was so highly thought of when he signed.


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 33 min ago (view)

    TIM: Richard Gallardo doesn't seem to be progressing as a SP, so he has apparently been moved to the bullpen.  He has a tendency to labor through innings and nibble too much and throw a lot of pitches. 


  • tim815 20 hours 46 min ago (view)

    Anything on Gallardo, of interest, from today?


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 48 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released LHP Ryan Kellogg, RHP Alex Moore, 3B Fidel Mejia, OF Jose Gutierrez, OF Eddy Julio Martinez, and OF Zac Taylor from Minor League Camp. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 55 min ago (view)

    And despite what you might read elsewhere, It was - NOT - a "hot" gun.  


  • Arizona Phil 21 hours 21 min ago (view)

    He certainly could have forced the Cubs to release him with full salary as termination pay, so he must like it with the Cubs.  


  • Charlie 23 hours 11 min ago (view)

    Follow-up on last week's discussion of Baez's contact and plate discipline woes. Another Fangraphs article notes that he is among league leaders in combined positive change in zone swing rates (swinging at more pitches inside the strike zone) and reduction in chase rate (swinging at pitches outside the zone). See the last table: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/lets-look-at-some-earl...

    This makes his 45% strikeout rate and 1.7% BB rate all the more strange.


  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    he may not be worth much to us as fans, but every indication points to him being quite popular in the dugout.  nice to see him stick around as an emergency callup catcher.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Tony Wolters clears waivers and is sent to the Alternate Training site in South Bend.