Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Ronny "What, who me?" Cedeno
Garrett "Oh, come on, I just got here!" Olson
Aaron "Older, Less Talented Version of Peavy" Heilman
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick adds:
Olson had been mentioned as a potential trade chip if the Cubs decided to make another run at San Diego's Jake Peavy. The Cubs' deal with Seattle could put an end to speculation about the team trying to acquire Peavy.
Apparently, Jerry hasn't spent a whole lot of time reading the newspapers in this city. There won't be an end to the speculation just because Olson is gone. The writers will just replace all references to "Olson" with "Heilman" in their old articles and run them again as the latest "rumor" about the imminent Peavy trade. Good times.
Personally, I will miss Ronny. He was like a taller, less likeable version of Augie Ojeda.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Beat that Sun-Times!
Breaking news tonight, the winning bid for the rights to negotiate with Jake Peavy's agent goes to the Ricketts family for a recession "discount" of:
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
From the Trib:
The Cubs waved goodbye Sunday to another center fielder of the future, trading Felix Pie to Baltimore for two young pitchers.
Once considered a five-tool prospect and the best player in the Cubs' farm system, Pie never panned out in stints with the Cubs in 2007 and '08.
Of course, the other "center fielder of the future" they are referencing is former Cub (and Oriole, oddly) Corey Patterson, another guy who was touted as a "five-tool player." Hmm, I think I'm sensing a pattern developing here.
There was a time not too long ago (think the Jerome Walton era) when prospects were just "good" or "not terrible" or even "less shitty than their predecessors." But with the invention of the interwebs and the increased scrutiny placed on each team's farm system, phrases like "five-tool" began to creep into the lexicon. For those of you unclear on this five-tool concept, it basically means a player is great in five categories:
1) Hitting for Power
2) Hitting for Average
Think Willie Mays, Duke Snider, pre-steroids Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. when he could still walk upright. In other words, players who were better than everyone at everything. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, our version of a "five-tool player" is a tad different. A five-tool Cub is a player who:
1) Stumbles into the occasional long ball
2) Hits balls fair more than foul (or not at all)
3) Catches balls hit in his general direction
4) Throws balls at or near cutoff men
5) Runs like he has in fact "dropped the plow"
Needless to say, Cubs fans have been less than thrilled with our version of these "five-tool" players. For us, phrases like "can't miss" and "highly-touted" translate to "overrated" and "god-awful." Throw out the injury-shortened season where Patterson was starting to figure it out and the Cubs have yet to have a five-tool prospect succeed at the pro level.
What's even more frustrating is that they both often showed signs of greatness. Along with the aforementioned "breakout season" for Patterson, we have seen glimpses of their potential. There have been breath-taking catches, eye-popping lasers to the plate, jaw-dropping speed on the bases and even flashes of power that lasted more than one plate appearance.
But for every game that made Brenly say "I think the light just came on for him," there were 25 games where it was hard to believe either had played baseball before. To make matters worse (impossible, I know), both players were slow to adapt their game when they struggled. Corey hated to run or to use his speed in any way to help the team. Pie had a stroke so long that after strikeouts, the ball could go around the horn TWICE before he had completed his swing. To the casual fan, they appeared arrogant, selfish and a tad "prickish."
So they struggled and management made excuses.
"Be patient," they said.
"It's only a matter of time," they pleaded.
"They've been successful at every level," they harped.
But they never panned out. Patterson was booed out of town and thanks to a renewed urgency to "win now," the Cubs decided they couldn't wait around for Pie to stop swinging out of his shoes 4 times a game. Could Pie be good at some point? Maybe. Should the Cubs have waited to find out? No.
We all understand that evaluating prospects is a tricky business. As Hendry mentioned:
I don't think Soto was ever in the top 10, and I know Theriot was probably never in the top 30.
True. But neither of those two were "five-tool."
Maybe that's a good thing.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
As a card carrying member of the loser brigade, I list two things that I would be willing to travel to see. The first of which is baseball (which, of course, will be evident in exactly 28 days when I board a plane to get the hell out of the weather and into AZ for year two of the FOtG Spring Training nerdstravaganza). The second is a Hold Steady show.
The Hold Steady has been the best live band in America for at least the last three years running and regardless of your musical tastes, seeing a Hold Steady show will simply reconfirm your faith in humanity. There are very few things like a show in which five middle aged guys who look more like accountants can produce enough energy that people are willing to furiously and continually jump up and down for two straight hours, pausing for only seconds to slam whatever $2 beer happens to be on special that night. I have seen this band roughly 6-7 times in the last three years and cannot once say I left disappointed.
So to see that the Hold Steady was going to headline the annual Len and Bob bash meant two things: (1.) I need to once again congratulate these two for actually knowing a band that has created relevant music in the last 40 years (something their predecessors behind the mic did not), and (2.) I needed to bite the bullet and, for the first time in years, pay the ridiculous fees Ticketbastard charges (2 $28 tickets=$85. What. The. Fuck.) in order to go to this show.
And, of course, the show didn’t disappoint. I figured I’d compile a few thoughts that crossed my mind during the show:
Girls are angry part one: Ryan Dempster introduced Tom Morello, the opener. My wife’s comment: “Keep track of where he sits. Ryan and I need to have a chat about game one. Asshole.”
Overheard at least 4 times during Morello’s set: “Hey, is this the Guitar Hero Guy?” Ugh.
The two fucksticks behind me felt the need to Boo loudly every time the word “Cubs” was mentioned. At a benefit. For Cubs charities. Which helps kids. Apparently, there were no third base coaches to assault on the way to the show.
Saying Tom Morello is “a little” political is like saying Ronny Cedeno is “kinda” dumb or Cardinals fans “sort of” like jean shorts. The guy has a lot to say about the state of the country.
Morello closed with “This Land is Your Land.” The losers behind me booed again. So far, they hate baseball and America. I hope someone mentions puppies so they can complete the trifecta.
Len and Bob joined the head of Cubs Charities (boo!) to present the check for just over $41,000. Well done, gentlemen.
Girls are angry part two: Accepting the check, the Cubs Charities guy commended the bash by saying “two years of the Len and Bob bash, two division championships!” Some girl in front of me shouts “They’re not paid to win division championships, they’re paid to win the fucking World Series!” Yikes.
The Hold Steady open with “Stay Positive.” Can’t say that about the women in the audience.
After ripping through 7-8 songs, Craig Finn stops to mention his allegiance to the Minnesota Twins who, in his words, “have had a great offseason. We’ve added…nobody. At least we’ll be familiar with all the players next year.”
The waitresses are just walking through the crowd holding cases of Bud Light in the air. And charging $6 per can. Welcome to the House of Blues Sponsored by Bernie Maddof. Can’t they at least try to hide the fact that they’re charging $6 a can for a beer that costs $12 per case at the grocery store? Thanking my waitress for my beers just now kinda felt like high-fiving your rapist.
More Finn: “Everybody here comes from a different place and supports a different team. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: The Yankees suck.”
I always appreciate a musician more when they display even the slightest aptitude for baseball. And don’t wear skinny jeans.
Closing song for the night: “How a Resurrection Really Feels.” As the song kicks into gear after a lull, confetti is dropped into the group, the house lights go up and the crowd explodes. Hooray music.
Valet guys might be the greatest human beings on the planet. God damn its cold. Why the hell do I live here?
All in all, a great set (as usual). Morello was solid and the Hold Steady were, as usual, rawkstars. On a night where the wind chill reached -40 degrees, it was nice to remember that baseball isn’t far away. I can’t wait to start the “hopeful-happy-nervous-happy-nervous-angry” cycle that begins every year in February . Here’s to baseball. And great music.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The Trib is reporting today that the White Sox are on the verge of bringing back the slightly svelte Bartolo Colon with a one-year incentive-laden deal. Unfortunately, they took the high-road with their assessment of his...abilities.
"No one is sure what Colon has left in his 5-foot-11-inch, 250-plus-pound body. He started only seven games for Boston last year but won four of them before straining his back while batting in an interleague game."
Thankfully, the Sun-Times was more than ready to step in with a zinger about his weight.
"The White Sox were looking to add a veteran pitcher to compete in the starting rotation at some point this offseason, and all signs pointed toward it being the pitcher nicknamed "Big Game.''
Rather than take a chance on the ailing shoulder of Freddy Garcia, however, they are now poised to ink a certain right-hander known more for his "Big Waist.''"
Get it? He wrote 'waist' instead of 'waste' because Colon is fat. I can't believe anyone would stoop so low as to attack a person's "dietary issues."
Personally, I think this signing is a giant mistake for the White Sox, not that my opinion carries much weight. Colon will turn 36 this year, which isn't a huge deal unless you care about velocity or durability. I mean, you have to be pretty thick in the head to think that the "4 wins in 7 starts" he posted last year is ample enough evidence to give him a shot. I understand that the contract isn't large by any means, but I doubt White Sox fans are getting a chubby thinking about Colon on the mound.
At least they still have Buehrle.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
- (papá) father
Whatever, it was a slow news day, so sue me.
I particularly enjoyed what the "Padres Blog” had to say about the signing.
"Signed for $1 million by the Padres last offseason, Prior suffered setbacks in his recovery from shoulder surgery and needed additional surgery that ended his season. He never appeared in a game, either in spring training or during the season."
Dictionary.com (sorry) defines a setback as:
1. An unanticipated or sudden check in progress; a change from better to worse.
Unless you get your sports news only once every 10 years, probably not.
If glaciers are sudden, then yes.
A change from better to worse?
His arm is still attached to his body so I guess technically it didn’t get any worse.
Good news is he only got signed to a minor league deal AND they also signed Chris Burke who dropped these numbers last year in a 165 AB.
.194, 20 Runs, 12 RBI, 2 HR.
Monday, January 12, 2009
While the results were far from shocking, there was one thing that stood out...
That's right, TWO "experts" thought that Jay Bell deserved to be in the HALL OF FAME. Not the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame or the Arizona Diamondbacks Hall of Fame or even the "People Born at Eglin Air Force Base" Hall of Fame, I mean the ACTUAL Hall of Fame.
In fact, he received DOUBLE the number of votes as Jesse Orosco! So according to my math, they think he is twice as good as Jesse Orosco! For shame!
And people wonder why no one cares about the HOF anymore.
In case you aren't a fan of Mr. Bell (and I don't know why you would be), here are his career stats according to his Wiki page:
In his career, Bell batted for .265, with 195 home runs, 868 runs batted in, 1123 runs scored, 394 doubles, 67 triples and 91 stolen bases. He also won the Gold Glove award in 1993 and was selected to the All-Star game the same year and in 1999.
Those stats got him not one but TWO votes, proving once and for all that baseball writers are morons.
The defense rests, your honor.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
So I had planned on posting about how amazingly moronic and predictable EVERY article about the Bradley signing was today. If you were smarter than me (chances are good) and ignored these piles of warm dung, let me tell you, they were...what's the opposite of earth-shattering? Earth-mending? Earth-fixing? Basically they were about normal.
1) He's been suspended before and has a temper.
2) He is injury prone.
Get out of here, really?
3) Mark DeRosa will be missed.
Wow, your insight is unmatched!
4) He's not Jake Peavy.
Are you sure? Better double check.
Basically, it was just the same article written by 10 different columnists using 5 different puns for headlines.
As I prepared to use my unrivaled fan base to run some more sports "writers" out of town (I'm looking at you, Haugh), Martin came across something on CBSSportsline or CBSSports or whatever the hell they are calling themselves these days that literally blew my mind. Now, I know it is a little early in 2009 to be declaring anyone the Biggest Moron of the Year, but if someone beats this dude, well hats off to him.
Fix this team: Chicago Cubs/ Orioles/Giants
The Contrarian(BTW, I wish I was embellishing any of this, including that name, but I'm not. Someone wrote this down and posted it on the interwebs. Apologies to Bad Kermit for stealing the style for this post from HJE's always amazing Muskbag posts.)
I'm tired of hearing that the Cubs are close. It's time to get rid of the old contracts and build around Rich Harden and Carlos Zambrano with defense, hustle and enthusiasm. Call it the Ryan Theriot / Mike Fontenot era.
(OK, here's the thing, a know a sane person would stop right there and go bang his head against the wall for an hour. I am not that person.)
Let's dive right in...
So that's what this team was missing...enthusiasm! Here I was thinking it was guys who could hit, field and pitch in the postseason. Also, I had my lawyer file an injunction to prevent anything from ever being called the "Ryan Theriot/Mike Fontenot Era." You're welcome.
1st I love the acquisition of Joey Gathwright.
Let that one sink in. The Gathwright signing is what he OPENED with.
He's actually hit at every level he's been used at. I mean 3 AB's per game not just as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. He also had very good numbers for assists in the minors.
Good to know he could throw out guys with minor league speed. World Series, here we come!
He'll never hit for power but start him. While he's starting think about how Bobby Dernier changed the cubs.
I thought about it, then I cried a little bit.
2nd Its time for the 3 Amigos to move on.
Look it's a 20-year-old movie reference!
Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Alfonzo Soriano are the big name big dollar guys that have actually forced me to watch the hustling Tampa Rays instead of the swing for the fences and miss Cubs. I'd move all 3.
I'm thinking what "forced" you to watch the hustling Rays may have been related to the Cubs forgetting to win a playoff game.
I'd send Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, while eating a portion of those contracts, to Baltimore. Brian Roberts ? No thanks. More big money. Nice Player but so are Fontenot and Theriot. Let's keep those guys hustling.
What's your deal with all the hustling? This isn't soccer. Better question, we're paying them to take our two of our best players? That's nice of us.
Lee and Ramirez to Baltimore for A bag of magic beans works for me, but I'd rather have 4 prospects/ suspects.
I'm on the fence with this magic beans vs. players debate, but I have to say, I'm leaning towards the beans. I mean, they are magic beans.
1. Little Lefty Troy Patton who could fit nicely between the big righties and become the next Jamie Moyer. Patton is 23.
The next Jamie Moyer? I'm sold.
2. 3B Tyler Henson, who strikes out too much but has power and speed potential. He's 21.
So you traded Aramis, who has decent plate discipline and drives in a ton of runs, for an unproven 21-year-old who strikes out but can run really fast? Can't see a flaw in that logic. Go on...
3. LF Luis Montanez, a former Cub Farm hand who it seemed to click for last season at Bowie. He's 27 and finally had a break out year.
A former Cub minor leaguer! You had me at former.
4. and AA Right Hand starter - the big name- Chris Tillman, only 20, Tillman dominated at Bowie last year. Going 11-4 with 154 k's.
So we traded BOTH corner infielders for a potentially great pitcher and some young kids who love the hustle. I can feel the enthusiasm, can you?
Baltimore signed Isturiz to play SS next to Roberts, They have Left Handed Power in Scott, Markakis, and Huff, a good looking young kid in Adam Jones in CF, but they have an aging 3B in Melvin Mora and no one at 1st base. If Matt Weiters is what they think he is - Lee and Ramirez in the cozy Camden Yards (I've been to Wrigley and Camden Yards are the better hitters park) is a good fit.
I know the name is confusing, but it's just the one yard.
They have young pitching in Liz, Olson, Guthrie, Burres, and rookies Matusz and Hernandez. So giving up some kids is do-able and it clears space and helps the cubs long term.
At 1b - I'd look hard at Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske as a short-term and possibly surprising long term replacement.
I hope to God there are two Eric Hinskes.
Hinkse grew up a cub fan. Started his career in the cubs minor league system and brings a solid left-handed bat to battle it out with Micah Hoffpair. Hinske can play 4 spots.
FOUR positions??? Is he counting DH 3 times?
At 3B - The short term place holder should be Ty Wiggington an under-rated RH power bat.
If Ty's rating is "lacks a pulse" then he's underrated. If it's anything above that, I think he's rated perfectly.
Josh Vitters eventually takes the role but Wiggington can play baseball and 5 positions. Hinske can play here too, against Righties.
Is Righties an actual person or is he speaking of right-handed pitchers in general?
At 2B - Fontenot Both Backed by DeRosa
Trouble with math again. While he does have the heart and hustle of men twice his size, he is in fact just one dude. Sad but true.
At SS - Theriot With Ronny Cedeno back
In CF - Gathwright With Reed Johnson in Reserve
In LF - Montanez With DeRosa in Reserve
So on this fictitious team, DeRo doesn't even start? The most consistent hitter, a guy with decent power and high RBI potential is now a backup? Head hurting...
Which brings me to my next cap clearing trade Rafeal Soriano, can go to a team more tolerant of players that can't touch a curve ball.
I'd try and trade him to a team that knows his actual name.
I'm thinking mutual salary dump here- Soriano and Fukudome to San Francisco for Barry Zito and Nate Schierholtz.
That is not a typo. He thought that, nodded to himself and then typed it. "Rafeal" Soriano and Fukudome for Barry FUCKING Zito (he had his legally changed, I believe) and Schierholtz. I don't have the words to describe how stupid that idea is. I just don't.
Sure Zito took some raps but he started out 0-8 and finished with 4 quality starts in 5 games.
Damn critics. Don't they know that winning is overrated?
With Lincecum, Lowry, Cain, Sanchez as the big four the Giants can afford this. Schierholtz could be a future all-star but Soriano and Fukudome already are and Fukudome's Japanese Heritage would play well in San Fran.
Brilliant. The Giants would totally take on Soriano's monster contract and Fukudome solely based on the fact that Fuku is from Japan. Most trades are actually based on where a person was born. It's a fact. Look it up.
In RF - Schierholtz
Catching - Soto. And Koyie Hill.
Wait, why aren't we trading Soto too? No one has a bunch of hustling 22-year-olds they don't want?
Zambrano, Zito, Harden, Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster make a very expensive Starting Rotation and they also leave Rich Hill and Jason Marquis to move for prospects.
If you take off the "for prospects" at the end of that sentence, it actually works for me.
The Bullpen. Gosh I wish they'd have kept Kerry Wood -
Fiddlesticks, I agree.
but Guzman, Samardzija, Marmol and Gregg from the Right Side all have closer potential. Gaudin is solid in the middle.
and Cotts, and Sean Marshall man the Left Side.
So the Lineup is -
I would advise against reading this next section on a full stomach. Don't say I didn't warn you.
1. CF Joey Gathwright - the next Willie Wilson/ Bobby Dernier
2. SS Theriot
3. RF Schierholz
4. C Soto
5. 1B Hinske / Hoffpair
6. 3B Wiggington
7. LF Montanez or DeRosa
8. 2B Fontenot
Wow. I would comment here, but he's not Dunn (you love it) with the awesomeness yet.
If Free Agent Adam Dunn comes cheap enough he could play RF with Montanez moving to the bench.
Yep. Because, when you are trying to build on defense, enthusiasm and hustle, the name Adam Dunn should be at the top of your list.
But we added speed in CF, kept the defense strong up the middle, added Left Handed power, reduced the clutch strike outs by moving Soriano, added another veteran lefty who has a much different arm angle than Ted Lilly. Kept a youthful bullpen in place. and Added - potential future rotation pieces in Patton and Tillman and a potential future stick in Henson. Not too mention getting younger with Schierholtz, Montanez, Gathwright representing the future core with Hoffpair and Vetters and Soto.
The lack of any type of logic whatsoever in that paragraph makes my physically ill. Maybe this is a all just huge joke. Let's just move on.
Marquis would move to the Rockies or Mets.
He would have to, there is no room for him in this awe-inspiring rotation and his arm angle is too similar to Ted Lilly's.
Hill would be a nice addition with the Yankees.
Yes he would. If we do none of the stuff this guy suggests (and god-willing we won't), we MUST do this one. I'll even pitch in on his plane ticket.
Maybe you'd move Cedeno, a reliever, and Reed Johnson or Felix Pie for the right bag of prospects.
Replace "prospects" with "balls" and you might have some takers.
But this team would be capable of winning, fun to watch, and capable of sustaining winning with guys like Pie (who I think strikes out too much), Colvin, Henson, Vetters, Tillman and Patton coming on.
Yeah, let's make sure we keep Pie in all this. He hustles too much to let go.
It also leaves Zito and Lilly as lefties over 30 and puts a lineup in place with only Wiggington at 3rd over 30 at 31.
Youth before talent. That's how you build a consistent winner.
The bench is veteran and flexible with Hinske at 3B/1b/RF/LF, DeRosa- if not starting- capable at SS, 3B, 1b, LF and RF, Reed Johnson who can play all 3 outfield positions, Ronnie Cedeno in the middle of the Infield and Koyie Hill as the back-up catcher.
I hope Reed Johnson likes to run, because unless we can convince the other team to only hit the ball directly to Hinske, there will be a whole lot of balls rolling all the way to the ivy.
It moves 6 players over 30, by leaving Daryle Ward off the roster and moving Fukudome, Soriano, Lee, and Ramirez and confirming that Jason Marquis is expendable.
No Daryle Ward! Have you know soul, sir?
It also puts players behind the oldest parts of the roster and makes future moves, like trading Ted Lilly, a long term possibility but not a necessity.
Arm angle, shmarm angle, we need more young hustlers!
This team contends - for a long time.
No, no they don't.
Monday, January 5, 2009
According to ESPN, the Cubs have inked everyone's favorite mental patient, Milton Bradley, to a 3-year, 30 million dollar deal. As you are probably well aware, I am a HUGE fan of this deal.
The Countdown to the Meltdown (trademark pending) begins in 3, 2, 1...
Wonder if I can write off a $200 Bradley jersey as a "business expense."