Sunday, August 31, 2003

Baker defends Alfonseca

Antonio Alfonseca entered to a chorus of boos in the eighth inning of Saturday's game. Manager Dusty Baker believes the fan reaction is out of line.

"That's not conducive to positive action and results," Baker said. "He is on our team. He's one of ours. That's not going to help. That's not going to help anybody, to be booed before you even get up. I know he hasn't pitched the way he's capable of pitching. He still has good stuff. Booing is not going to help him, it's not going to help the Cubs and it's not going to help the organization. He can get booed on the road, but when you're booed at home it makes it tough."

Well i am sure pitching good when your team is down by 5 runs is a nice. Its when we need Alfonseca in a tight 1 run game he goes out and serves up BP. The fans know it and dont like it. Pretty soon they are gonna start booing Dusty Baker for some of his boneheaded decisions. Managers dont last long in Chicago. Your no diffrent Dusty.

But sure it will help Alfonseca the booing. The fans will stop when he stops being a lousy pitcher. I mean really what are the fans supposed to do? Stand up and cheer for a guy with a 5.43 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and opposing hitters batting .290 with a .357 OBP against him? It makes it tough on us just watching him in the game.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Estes Shelled

He only lasted 2 innings and gave up 5 runs. Bloggers will be eagerly awaiting the excuses Baker has for Estes. Me personally he should just be released. But alot of us have been saying that for months now. But right now it really just needs to be done to get a cancer, who everyone expects to lose when he takes the mound, off of the team.

Let him sign as a FA to be a Cardinal or some other National League team where we can tee off on him a few times a year. Thats the best we can ever hope for Shawn Estes.

"From a confidence standpoint, I feel my stuff is still good, I still feel strong physically," Estes said. "I just hope some things start going my way. If some balls are hit at guys, it turns things around in a hurry."

"I sound like a broken record," Baker said, "but he had good stuff. They sort of pinged him to death. We just came up a couple hits short."


"The effort's not the thing," Baker said. "We ran into a hot club."

Always excuses, never Shawn Estes fault. Its official Dusty Baker is the worst manager in the National League.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Wood a D'back?

I think Ivy Chat gets upset everytime he hears that. He seems to think the D'backs are a poor struggling franchise that has no money and cant sign anyone. Nevermind the fact they are controlled by some of the wealthiest people in Arizona. $10-20 million these guys blow on giving away to charities. He cites this article.

"The crunch comes a year after the Arizona Diamondbacks suffered similar cash flow problems. Jerry Colangelo, the Diamondbacks managing general partner, convinced four local investors to pump $160 million into the team over the next 10 years in exchange for additional ownership.

The difference between the two franchises, however, is that the Diamondbacks minority ownership team is loaded with wealthy individuals and Valley companies that injected additional capital to make the franchise competitive."

So whats $160 million between 4 people over 10 years? $4 million a year. Chump change. The reason people always make a fuss about the D-backs money problems is because of their wealthy owners who are flinging cash around. There is no diffrence between the way the D-backs owners use their money than the way Steinbrenner uses his money. Its just with the D-backs you have to go thru alot more people, and it tends to get leaked out to the media. If Steiny wants to invest $200 million dollars into A-rod he will, he might not make a profit on his team anymore but thats his choice, and the price he will pay to win a WS. Its the same with the D-backs, except they have about 5-10 Steinbrenner type people loaded with cash and nothing to spend it on. And thats a bad thing?

Plus there is simply no way to tell what the true financial state of any franchise is. If we took the Cubs word we would be making less money than the Whitesox. I am sure the D-backs love that everyone thinks they are this poor little cash strapped franchise weighted in debt, and cant purse FA's. They have a huge TV area, a huge fan base that puts about 37,000 people a night in the stands, 25,000 of which are season ticket holders. Remember Phoenix is what the 8th largest city in the United States?

I am sure i will get some more e-mail from Chuck at Ivy Chat about how reading is a skill, and have i ever put a financial report together for a sports franchise? But he is in the dark just as much as i am and assumes way to much about a team controlled by very rich people.

Where people make their off-season home is a pretty good sign of where they want to play.........

Randy Johnson lives in Scottsdale
Curt Schilling lives in Scottsdale
Matt Williams lives in Scottsdale
Kerry Wood lives in Scottsdale

(actually i think one of them lives in Ahwatukee next to Todd McFarlane, could be Randy. Either way its just like the city of Scottsdale only south.)

Scottsdale and the Phx area are a magnet for professional athletes. They have great weather year around for training, some of the best golf in the world, and they are a short plane trip to skiiing in Aspen and gambling in Vegas. Not to mention a short drive from one of the most stunning places on the planet Sedona, Az. Colangelo knows this and thats why he has been able to land guys like Charles Barkely, Jason Kidd, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling over the years and keep them. Where as the Cubs will do everythng in their power to make an excuse not to sign a big time player that wants to be part of Chicago and the Cubs, Colangelo will go out of his way to land these type of players. The theory is if you love living there as your off-season home, then your gonna love playing there as your year around home and thus put up even better numbers. Schilling, Johnson, Williams certainly put up career years playing and living year around in the city they love. Maybe Wood is looking to be happy both at the ballpark and at home. Colangelo and the D'backs will certainly bend over backwards to make it happen, the question is will the Cubs?

Thursday, August 28, 2003


Wow what a horrible way to make a statement that you want to win the Central. Go out and hand 2 games to the Cardinals. Great starting pitching wasted by the bullpen, defense, and virtually no hitting except for Sammy Sosa. After 2 straight games of Farnsworth getting batted around like a dummy this is what Baker had to say.....

"I may have to reconsider things," Baker said Thursday......

"That eighth inning is killing us," Baker said. "They've outscored us 88 to 50-something in the eighth. My experience is you lose more games in the eighth than the ninth. That being said, I may have to go with Remlinger, right or left, and Alfonseca. Those guys have been in that situation late in the game many, many times down the stretch so I may have to go with experience."

See if you havent already caught on. Youth = losing, veterans = winners. Baker may never come out and directly say it, but thats what he does and what he believes. While i may agree Farnsworth is horrible along with Dusty, but Remlinger and Alfonseca are WORSE. It hasnt been Farnsworth giving up 88 runs in the 8th mostly its been Remlinger and Alfonseca. But to come out and say i need to depend on 2 of our worst pitchers down the stretch because they have experience is dumb. That experience is just as good at serving up game winning HR's has Farnsworth is to WP's in the dirt that score game winning runs. Case in point the last 2 games.

But then again what can Dusty do? You have had a horrible pen since July, no one was brought up from the minors to replace the poor performing ones, and i think its a tad late to start breaking in arms from AAA. But really can it be much worse?

But as Baker goes for stupidiest manager of the year this is what he says about his boy Alfonseca.......

Alfonseca did do his job Wednesday, even though he gave up a single to the National League's leading hitter, Albert Pujols, to start the inning.

"If we were playing up the middle more, that's an out," Baker said of the ball that snaked past shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

"He got a ground ball -- they just hit it in the perfect spot," Miller said. "(Alfonseca) got the ground ball he wanted against the best hitter in the league and it went downhill after that. What are you going to do?

"You can make all the right decisions in the world. This game is odd the way it works sometimes."

Ohh yeah Alfonseca did his job. What pipe dream is Dusty smoking? What is it with Baker and not putting blame on the people that need to be blamed. He is quick to yank Choi, Hill, Cruz, Farnsworth. But yet if your Lenny Harris, Shawn Estes, Antonio Alfonseca its always something else to blame?

If your in the veteran category no matter how terrible you are this is Bakers response...

"Well he pitched well, his velocity was good, the other team just did some great hitting, i mean what can you do? He was making great pitches."

"Well he is an exp veteran, he has been in these spots before, back in 1942 he was part of a championship team so he knows how to win, plus he has a great personality"

If your a rookie or young player these are Bakers responses.....

"Well i think we need to make a change, his last couple of outings have been rough, we need to more veteran exp, they just arent ready."

"Well the hitter has a few holes in his swing, besides you seen this other guy hit in BP? WOW! We really need the veteran exp, they just arent ready."

I really cant wait till this off-season and see what veterans Baker gets to put us over the top. Since he loves Alfonseca, can we expect his return? Estes is the next Loaiza so can we expect his return? Grudz did well, will we bank on another mediocre season from an aging veteran again? Maybe Jeffrey Hammonds is available to shore up the OF and we can get Mike Williams to be our closer to secure the bullpen.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Dusty getting upset?

Seems Dusty is getting tired of hearing that Estes needs to be replaced, from

"I don't care what people say, I'm the boss," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Baker parallels that to fans demanding the backup quarterback replace the starter.

"Until they get him," Baker said. "Then when they get him, it is, 'Oh man, we've got to get ourselves another backup quarterback.' As far as taking him (Estes) out of the rotation, you've got to have somebody to replace him in the rotation."

Fans may clamor for Juan Cruz, who is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA in eight starts since being sent to Triple-A Iowa, to take Estes' place.

"That's what people are talking about, Cruz," Baker said.

Baker pointed out that Cruz was 3-11 last season with the Cubs. He was 1-4 with a 5.68 ERA in 20 games, including two starts, and walked 19 in 38 innings this season with Chicago.

"If Cruz comes up and has trouble, they'll want me to replace him with somebody else," Baker said. "There's always going to be somebody."

He said you can't compare Cruz to a Mark Prior or Carlos Zambrano.

Ok 1st off Estes isnt our QB where the rest of the team is built around him. Estes is more like the kicker, easily replaceable, and no one gives a damn about. You dont do your job? I got about 50 other kids waiting to do your job. And i dont really care if you hit a 75 yarder 5 years ago in the SuperBowl to win the game. Thats not enough to warrant me to let you be my kicker, when your constantly kicking it out of bounds and letting the other team start at the 35 yeard line. OMG i spun off the reality ship............

The sportswriters know Estes sucks, the scouts know Estes sucks, I know Estes sucks, my blind grandmother knows Estes sucks, my dog even knows Estes sucks. But Baker is Shawn Estes only supporter. I am willing to bet his own team mates know Shawn Estes suck, maybe even to go as far saying his own pitching coach knows he sucks. The point is 30+ games left in the season, whats it gonna hurt to make a change? He hasnt found it after 130 games he isnt going to find it in the next 30 games. But wait maybe personal stats are why Dusty is doing this......

Baker said. "We've still got four guys in double-figures in victories and a potential for a fifth. We've got to find a way to make whatever we have better and more prosperous."

Potential for a fifth eh? That pretty much means Estes isnt getting replaced. Ahh but now i save the best for last....

Baker said a lot of outstanding pitchers, mentioning Curt Schilling, Nolan Ryan, Kevin Brown and Dave Stewart, struggled through .500 seasons before "getting it together."

Yeah i dont want to burst Dusty Bakers reality bubble but all of those guys had pretty dominating stuff. Something Estes has never had. To even think Estes is in that class of players is an insult.

I am now gonna take a page out of the Dusty Town handbook of dealing with prospects....

Hee Seop Choi was struggling, it seems the league has figured him out, so we are gonna send him to AAA to work on his swing. Besides you seen Randall Simon hit in BP? WOW.

Shawn Estes is struggling, it seems the league has figured him out, so we are gonna release him. Besides you seen Juan Cruz pitch in AAA? WOW.

Dusty Baker is a walking double standard. Sickens me to listen to his excuses and lies.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Kazuo Matsui

Kaz Matsui is going to be the next big thing from Japan this off-season. He is a 27 year old switching hitting short stop that has blazing speed, good power, and plays gold glove caliber defense. His stats can be found here, Kaz Matsui

The teams that have expressed interest in him are the Dodgers, San Diego, Seattle, Baltimore, Arizona and the Mets. Even the Yankees are looking to aquire him in their never ending quest to field a better team.

The reason i bring him up is because he is the type of player the Cubs desperately need. I dont think he is going to command the type of the money Tejada will get. Mainly because Ichiro signed a 3 year contract for $19 Million ($5 million signing bonus), and Hideki Matsui was signed for 3 years $21 million. So think 3 years $25 million for Kaz Matsui. So whoever gets him is going to get a relative bargain. No longer is Japan an inferior league.

For the most part he would give the Cubs a legit leadoff man who is an extremly accomplished bunter with some pop. He wont be a HR hitter just like Matsui probably will never hit more than 40. But he will hit somewhere between .300 and .330. Just like Ichiro and Matsui are hitting around their respective Japanese averages. Which means he will rely more on terrorizing opposing pitchers with his speed. Bunting, infield singles, extra base hits, HR's and the occasional walk. And once he reaches base he as the ability to turn that single into a double or even a tripple by swiping bases left and right. In otherwords the perfect lead off hitter.

Sadly just like last year the Cubs are expressing no interest in any player from Japan. I wanted Jim Hendry to dispatch scouts to Japan to atleast take a look at Hideki Matsui. He was a cheaper, younger, better option than Moises Alou. And its not like Alou was Todd Hundley you could find a team to trade for him if you really wanted to move him. So far i know the Dodgers, Mets, and Seattle have already sent scouts to Japan, with the Yankees i believe close behind. The Dodgers i would think are the front runners as Tommy Lasorda does some work for the Seibu Lions and has raved about him over the last 3-4 years. But money talks, anything is possible. Wish the Cubs would express some interest though.

Forget Tejada.........Cubs fans should be screaming for Kaz Matsui.

Estes is pretty good

"Shawn had as good as stuff as he's had all year," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He was throwing in the low 90s (miles per hour) with a good breaking ball. Balls they hit at 'em last night found holes today. After that the roof caved in. They beat us up pretty good."

This is after Estes pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing 7 runs 6 of them earned. His ERA went from 5.48 to 5.71. I guess Baker was right on with his comments, he has had as good of stuff as he's had all year. He sucked at the begining of the year and he sucks now.

The Chicago Sun-Times is clearly getting upset with the constant favortism of Estes and calls for a change.

But the the most troubling thing is Baker always seems to blame other things on why Estes always gets roughed up....

Baker even supported Estes' contention that the runs weren't always his fault.

''That first run that got them on the board, I've never seen that before,'' Baker said. ''It seems like anything that could happen would happen to Shawn.''

Soo lets get this straight. Veterans cant do their job its always someone elses fault? Rookie cant do the job he just isnt ready? Gotcha Dusty.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Two teams headed in different directions

I lived in Arizona for nearly all of my life and when they finally got a baseball team I was so happy that I would finally get to go to major league baseball games without having to travel to my cousins house out in LA. Spring training is nice if you want to see your favorites play for a few innings but its nothing compared to an actual game.

The happiest thing about the Diamondbacks forming was that Jerry Colangelo would head up the team. As owner of the Suns he always demanded the best out of his players. If you weren’t getting the job done, there wasn’t a place for you on his team. He may go to extremes, like the Jason Kidd trade after he was arrested for domestic violence. But in the end he always has a plan, he always has a vision.

He said in 5 years he would put the D-backs in the WS. And he delivered on that promise; he did it in 4 years. Andy MacPhail promised us a World Series in 5 years also and we are still in the building mode. Though things look brighter for the Cubs than previous years, but this recent series between Arizona and Chicago is actually two franchises headed in different directions.

Arizona was in a big bind earlier this year with their injuries and quickly falling out of the race. They could of went out and got some older players to fill in till they got their veterans back and tried to make a run. But they didn’t. They decided to rely on their farm system and let the chips fall where they may. Now Arizona's farm system isn’t anywhere near the top the last time I checked, but the point is they made a decision and went with it. They cut ties with Matt Williams, trade Kim to Boston for a 1b/3b named Hillenbrand and traded Womack.
By embracing a youth movement and really sticking by it they have now found players who probably would have never seen the major leagues. Guys like Matt Kata, Jose Valvarde, Stephen Randolph, Brandon Webb, Andrew Good, Robby Hammock, Oscar Villarreal, Lyle Overbay. This goes along with players that have been brought up in the past 2 years to the team that include Alex Cintron, Danny Bautista, Junior Spivey, Brett Prinz, and Mike Koplove.

The Cubs who have supposedly the better prospects have been much less reliant on their farm system. In the same time period only Patterson, Prior, Zambrano have brought significant contributions to the team. The only other players beyond those 3 that got a little bit of playing time were Choi, Hill, Cruz, and Wellemyer. But still in terms of going young and youth movement it dwarfs anything the Cubs are doing.

The problem is the vision is lost within the Cubs organization. After the 1999 season when the Cubs went 67-95 the talk was "going young." Somewhere between the end of the 99 season and the start of the 2000 season that vision was lost again. Yeah they got younger. Benito Santiago age 34 was replaced by Joe Girardi age 35. Gary Gaetti age 40 was replace by Willie Harris age 28. Lance Johnson age 35 was replaced by Damon Buford age 30. Mickey Morandini age 33 was replace by Eric Young age 33. Jose Hernandez age 29 by Ricky Gutiuerrez age 30. The result? 65-97 the next year.

In 2001 things needed to change again so Willie Harris age 28 was replaced by Ron Coomer age 34. Mark Grace age 36 replaced by Matt Stairs age 33, which led to Fred McGriff age 37. Henry Rodriguez age 32 was replaced by Rondell White age 29. And Gary Matthews age 26 for the most part replaced Damon Buford age 30. The Cubs got marginally younger but again no youth movement or going young. The result? 88-74. Better, but the team still had serious offensive problems. This was the year Sosa drove in 160 RBI. The next closest was Ricky Gutiuerrez at 66. Almost a 100 RBI difference.

In 2002 we thought we were that next player from being a contender. Girardi, McGriff, Deshields, Mueller, and Todd Hundley were all brought back and got another year older. Darren Lewis, Moises Alou, Chris Stynes were brought in to shore up our offense. You can say 2002 was a watershed in Cubs history as Patterson(?), Hill, Choi, Cruz, Zambrano, and Prior made their major league debuts. The result? 67-95. The offense was still a major disappointment.

So now we look upon 2003 the names change but the end product of the level of talent we get especially on the offensive side is horrible. Lenny Harris/Troy O'Leary/Doug Glanville/Tony Womack/Randall Simon/Mark Grudz (a bright spot, but had to have a career year just to be an average 2nd)/Eric Karros.
Year in and year out it’s the revolving door of talent on this team. One lousy player is replace by another lousy player. To the Cubs credit they have played much less of this kind of talent this year than previous years. The only constant thru all of this has been the rotation. Since 1998 the Cubs have slowly been trying to build that solid rotation, thinking that will carry them to a championship. The only problem is they think they can surround them with sub par talent on the offensive side. Virtually ignoring that part of the team.

The question remains. Are we the 1998 team thinking we are a few players away and just switch around the pieces and not get any better? Are we going to be like the 1999 team, switch around the pieces and not get any better? Or how about the 2001 team, and switch around the pieces and not get any better? A lot of players’ contracts are up at the end of this season. A few have had pretty good seasons, but its clear their better years are behind them. What pieces are going to just get switched around after this season and not make the team any better?

This is why I say the Cubs and D-backs are headed in two different directions. While we will probably be trying to squeeze the last bit of juice from old and washed up players the D-backs will be in the midst of a full on "youth movement" and well on the way to completely remaking their roster. While also remaining competitive. Because they are willing as a franchise to know when its time to depend on their farm. They don’t have the best talent or the best prospects but they are giving a lot of them a chance to see what they got. Injuries sprung up or players weren’t performing they went to the farm. If injuries spring up or player wasn’t performing on the Cubs it was someone off the bench with no upside who didn’t do much better.

The Cubs can sign veterans in the off-season, I am not just saying going full out with our prospects. But if that veteran isn’t going to be an impact player don’t try and cover up that position by playing over the hill, never has been or never will bee’s. Go with your farm full out.
But the Chicago Cubs this off-season have to make a choice though. Are we going to go looking for Lenny Harris, Joe Girardi, Willie Harris, and Damon Buford type players? Or are we going to go after the Pudge, Castillo, Vidro, maybe even Vlad type players? Or are we just going to finally depend on our farm to do it for once? In the Cubs case they need to do the last 2. Signing the "has been" and trading for them is doing nothing to improve the Cubs. They have to sign some impact FA's while also doing some development at some positions. A good mix of youth and veterans. Kind of like what the D'backs are doing.

So this off-season the Cubs should say goodbye to Grudz, Karros, Bako, Goodwin, Glanville, Lofton, Simon, Alfonseca, Estes, and O'Leary. And then not replace them with comparable veterans with different names. If your going to sign a veteran it better be an impact player. Nothing less than an impact player. The rest of the team you can fill out thru the minors especially the #5 starting spot and the bullpen. Since our minor leagues are stocked full of arms this shouldn’t be much of a problem to find replacements for Veres, Guthrie, and Remlinger if we don’t want them back or they are traded. We are not a WS caliber team so lets stop playing the we just need an extra role player to put us over the top game. You have to raise the overall talent on the ball club and again there are only two ways you do that. Go to your farm and/or sign the big time players. Your not going to get any better with the guys we have trotted out since 1998.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Be afraid, be very afraid

With the Tribune hinting they may want to resign Mark G. Dusty Baker has some interesting comments on Simon..........

"Simon can hit, and he's a pretty good first baseman,'' Baker said. "I don't know what's going to happen. Do you want to win or do you want to lose while you're developing? If you need to win, what do you do?''

Yeah it looks like Choi is gonna get the Bobby Hill treatment. 190 AB's? Thats enough to tell if your gonna make it or not make it. See ya later Choi, see ya later Hill. These veterans arent gonna be back? Yeah right. Welcome to the nightmare that is Dusty Baker.............

UPDATE: Lets see Choi was so good that not even Jim Thome could of been taken seriously by the Cubs. Now its not even clear Choi can beat out the stud Simon for 1b next year? Again i wish Baker put half as much faith in some of our farm talent as he does on a player who has barely worn a Cub uniform for 2 games.

UPDATE: As i was looking at this comment again it hit me. Dusty Baker wasnt brought in to win now. He was brought in as manager of a team that as in the process of doing its minor league development. Remember Baker saying it would probably take 4 years? And people say their isnt a disconnect between Hendry and Baker? I say wake up.
We arent exactly winning. Technically yeah we are 4 or 5 games over .500, so yeah your winning but thats more like treading water than winning. What San Fran, Braves, Boston, New York, Seattle, and Oakland are doing thats winning.

And i just have to add a few more qoutes from the man who has only had Randall Simon for 3 games, the first part is talking about Choi.....

"Mechanically, he had some flaws in his approach. I heard he was contemplating going to winter ball to try to straighten some of this stuff out. Right now, you've got to admit, Simon is a pretty good hitter."

Baker already has that twinkle in his eye for Simon, kinda like that twinkle he had for Estes. More Baker on Simon....

"You go out and watch the guy take batting practice, and he hits the ball harder than anybody I've seen in a long time," Baker said. "Have you seen the guy take BP? The ball rockets off his bat."

I think Baker is in love. Isnt it cute?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Bizzaro World?

My freind Matt pointed out an absolute classic of an article from ESPN's Rob Nyer. Bizzaro World.

I have never seen a professional writer slam a team as bad as he did. But sadly their is nothing i can disagree with in any part of his article. Its what alot of Cubs bloggers were saying. You know its bad when ESPN is making fun of you and your trades.
But then again we are Cubs fans right? We are used to be laughing stocks and living on bizzaro world, are we surprised?

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The Joke is on us

Today the Chicago Cubs in the stroke of brilliance aquired Tony Womack from the Colorado Rockies. All .220 hitting .250 OBP of Tony Womack. Yep the same Womack who isnt good enough to be on a contending Diamondbacks team and a .500 Colorado team.

In the Cubs quest to put us "over the top" they go dumpster diving for the second time this week. Thier must be a discount on Pirates and former Pirates that i dont know about. If this is putting us over the top this is just a sad and cruel way to try and do it.

Tony Womack brings nothing to our team we dont already have. Do we have a .220 batter? Check A-gonz, Miller, Bako, Olreay fill that role. Do we have Speed? Check got Goodwin, Glanville, Lofton to fill that role. Do we have a person who cant play 2nd or SS very good defensively? Ummm nope. DING DING DING we have a winner!

I guess Womack can show off his WS ring, and tell us all about how he is a "proven winner." None of which helps us very much.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Building for the Future?

Lets take a ride back in time and see what the Chicago Cubs were planning on doing.....

Damian Miller 12/11/2002
"They made a trade for me and obviously they wanted me to catch," Miller said Wednesday. "Hopefully they can look past 'Pudge' (Rodriguez) and be confident in what they have. I'm not going to put up 'Pudge' type numbers offensively - that's impossible."

This is 4 days before we even talk to Pudges agent. Remember Pudge was quoted as saying once the Cubs traded for Damian Miller it was pretty much over that he would sign to be a Cub. Which means the Cubs slammed the door shut before they even had a chance to talk to Pudge and his agent.
The Cubs were never ever gonna sign Pudge, otherwise Damian Miller wouldnt of said hopefully they can look past Pudge. It just means Hendry has already told Miller they arent going to get Pudge and he is going to be our starting catcher before they even go talk to the 10 time all-star.

General manager Jim Hendry has been busy already, beginning with the addition of manager Dusty Baker. Baker has a Pied Piper status -- a lot of players want to play for him in Chicago even though the Cubs haven't had back-to-back winning seasons since 1971-72. Baker is unfazed about the Cubs lack of success. "Why not us?" he says. That's the team's new ad campaign.

Lets see all of the players that wanted to play for Dusty Baker. Lenny Harris, Troy O'Leary, Shawn Estes, Dave Veres, Mark Guthrie, Mike Remlinger, Tom Goodwin, Ramon Martinez. Is this the kind of talent Baker attracts?

Dusty Baker while the Cubs were looking over the FA Shawn Estes 12/13/2002....
The Cubs do not have a left-handed starter pencilled in just yet and Estes could fill that role. But Baker said he does not have to have a southpaw in the rotation.

"I'd rather have a quality right-hander than a left-hander just because he's left-handed," Baker said.

Could Baker be lying? Only time will tell.

Hendry being interviewed by 2/12/2003 The Cubs ranked next to last in the league in offense last season and the lineup will be basically the same for 2003. Do you think the Cubs have enough offense?

Hendry: No matter what would've happened, we wouldn't have added more than one more bat. We're not going to not play Corey (Patterson), we're not going to not play (Moises) Alou, we're not going to not give Bobby Hill a chance or give (Hee Seop) Choi a chance. Obviously, even if we had gotten somebody to play third, we need Alou to be better, we need Corey to make improvements, we need Hill to do better and we need Choi to hold his own. We're not going to sign Jim Thome for $90 million and tell Choi to take a hike. You can say we have the same lineup but you have two young players who should make monumental progress and a star of your system who is ready to play.

Sooo lets get this straight. Cant get Kent because we wanted to give Hill a chance. Cant get Thome because we wanted to give Choi a chance. Cant get Pudge because Miller is our catcher. Patterson is injured.
Thats essentially why Hendry did nothing to improve the offense. Because he was going to do play the young approach, which never happened.

Cubs come up with excuses every year why they cant sign so and so. It will be interesting to see who the Cubs dont get this off-season. But they cant use we are playing the young guys excuse again. Thats unless Augie Ojeda is gonna be the opening day 2nd baseman since he is the best talent we can call up from the minors.

Dusty Baker 3/12/2003..
Baker wants a left-hander in the rotation. The Cubs haven't had a regular southpaw starter since 1993.

"I value them a lot, especially in our division," Baker said of left-handed starters. "You're playing Milwaukee and they've got (Geoff) Jenkins. With St. Louis, you've got (Fernando) Viña and J.D. Drew and (Jim) Edmonds.

"You've got to have something different," Baker said. "I'll take two lefties if I can get them. I'd prefer not to go all righty."

This is a switch from what Baker said before Estes was signed. I guess he did lie. He doesnt care about who is the better pitcher, he only cares that we have a lefty for the sake of having a lefty. You got to show something diffrent right? 4 good starting pitchers 1 horrible one. Yep your showing something diffrent Baker.

Dusty Baker 3/12/2003.....
"I stick with all guys if they struggle, but I don't anticipate Big Choi struggling," Baker said, using his pet name for the 6-foot-5, 240-pound infielder. "Big Choi's got some skills, not only with the bat but he's a pretty good first baseman, too."

Obviously Baker was really talking about Lenny Harris not Hee Seop Choi.

Sammy Sosa 3/12/2003......
"We have some young kids who can't be thinking about, 'If I don't hit, they're going to send me down to Triple-A,'" Sosa said. "We have to make those kids feel very comfortable and very good around the team and let them play. That's how you get everything out of a young kid.

Did you pass your notes to Baker? Hmmm I guess Baker threw them in the trash.

Dusty Baker on Hill, Patterson, Choi 3/16/2003...
"The No. 1 thing is, I want to go with what's best for the kid, because in the long run, it'll be what's best for both of us," Baker said, meaning the player and the team. "I've seen young kids ruined by pushing them too early and putting them in the wrong spot. I will not have that on my conscience to ruin some kid."

I think Baker is overly protective of prospects and babies them too much. Which if you look at his track record isnt very good with developing minor league talent. He is more likely to stunt the growth of a player than help him improve.

For the most part all of the talk was about developing the talent for the years to come. The plan never lasted long and officially died the day Hee Seop Choi was injured. From that day on it was all veterans all the time. Hill was never recalled, Cruz has never replace Estes, Choi is probably gone with the trade for Randall Simon.
Thier was never any question that this team could pitch but it really needed to strive to get young positional talent. I am very happy that we managed to get back to 1st place, but i dont want to see the Cubs throw out thier plan for building to the future that they hyped all winter simply cuz we are 6 or 7 games over .500.

UPDATE:I revised some sections of this post because i wrote most of it last night when i was tired.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Cubs aquire Simon

Well you hear that Choi? Thats probably the end of your career in Chicago. Am i being sarcastic? Who knows but with the way Cruz, and Hill have been treated like parasites to Dusty Baker anything is possible. Remember Hill had 190 AB's last year and got 4 this year. Hee Seop Choi has 197 AB's. How many AB's will Choi see next year?

Quoted 3/24/03, on the season opening series against the Mets...

"I don't want Big Choi to lose his timing by sitting out a couple days," Baker said. "I might do the same thing when we get to New York. I might have him face one of the lefties up there. Late in the spring, early in the season, when you barely have your timing, a day or two can set you back. It was Choi's turn to play."

Funny how Baker doesnt believe in his own philosophy after an injury. I guess if its the middle of the season and after a major head injury you dont need playing time to get your timing back? -shrug-

Friday, August 15, 2003

Goodluck Bobby Hill

Listening to the Cubs game today and they are saying Bobby Hill is the PTBNL in the Pirates deal. More later.......

UPDATE: Press release Pirates aquire Bobby Hill from Cubs

The Alex Gonzalez Myth

Wow i sure get tired of reading Alex Gonzalez hits better in the #2 spot, thats where he needs to stay, like at the begining of the year.

In the #2 spot this year Alex Gonzales has batted .246 in 289 AB's. In April he hit .290 in 100 AB's, May .204 in 103 AB's, June .226 in 93 AB's.

So roughly 3 months in the #2 spot where 2 out of the 3 months he is batting below .230. Is that acceptable?
Yeah i know people say well he hit .290 to start the year. Well lets think about that for the moment. At the begining of the year most pitchers are relying on thier fastball as they get into the season, its a known fact. And A-gonz is a great fastball hitter. But as like every year pitchers adjust and A-gonz doesnt. Last year Alex started off hitting .271 in the 1st month, in the next month his avg dropped to .185. Very much like his .290 start this year and then dropping to .204.

It doesnt matter where you bat Alex Gonzalez he can hit .220 just as well from the #7 spot as he can from the #2 spot. He doesnt see better pitches from the #2 spot when your scouting report says he cant hit breaking pitches. Sure he has actually hit something the last few days but history says it will never last and more than likely spend more time sticking with a struggling .230 hitter than actually getting production from that spot.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Cruz sent down, not happy

So goes prospects in Baker town.

Juan Cruz was demoted to Triple-A Iowa after Thursday's game, a move that angered the 24-year-old pitcher, who had an animated discussion about it with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

He has a right to be angry. He doesnt deserve to be sent down. We all know who deserves it....

Estes' 5.48 earned-run average is the highest of any NL starter. He also leads the league in most baserunners allowed per nine innings at 15.6 and has the third-worst strikeouts-to-walks ratio at 1.25.

You tell me whether Cruz should be upset or not?

Baker said he wasn't sure about skipping Estes' start but referred to him as a "recipient of misfortune" due to some errors behind him. He said he was not "dissatisfied" with his enigmatic left-hander.

"I'd be dissatisfied if he didn't have the stuff," Baker said. "Do you get frustrated sometimes? Yeah. Dissatisfied? No. He's frustrated. You can see it because he knows he has the stuff, and someday he's going to get it and get it big. I believe that from the bottom of my heart.

"Look at [Esteban] Loaiza … finally he got it. Because Loaiza has always had the stuff. Boom, all of a sudden, things come together."

Is this a joke? Dusty Baker you are fool for believing Shawn Estes is going to get it and get it big. If you believe it from the bottom of your heart you NEED to be FIRED!!!!!!!!!

Cubs win, Cubs win

What a great game today as the Cubs beat the Astros 7-1 to pull within a half game of 1st place. Hee Seop Choi got the hitting started off in the 1st inning with a 2 RBI double to left centerfield. And Clement was shakey but yet effective, pitching out of numerous jams as he went 5 2/3's innings.

The highlight of the game was when Alex Gonzalez hit a 2 run HR in the 8th inning. Right afterwards the Airforce Thunderbirds from the local airshow seemingly buzzed Wrigely Field as a thumbs up for putting the nail in the coffin of the Astros. The crowd at Wrigely was probably the loudest i have heard it in years as they were all standing up and cheering as Sosa went bat.
Clark & Addison points to the Zambrano Game in propelling the Cubs to the playoffs, but i think i am gonna pick today as the whole stadium and team were electric after that HR by A-gonz, more so than usual.

I dont know if you can call it the A-gonz game, because the United States Airforce had a nice little assist after that to pump up the crowd and team. Even if it did scare the crap out some of our players in the dugout, lol.

In other news Estes thinks he is just a tad better than he really is, from the Daily Herald...

Estes didn't seem surprised that Baker was so supportive.

"Why wouldn't he be?" Estes asked. "Other than today, I've thrown the ball pretty well my last 3 starts. I'm not here for a tryout. You're going to have bad games. He understands. I've thrown the ball a lot better than the results have shown this year, so I don't think there's any reason he shouldn't stick by me."

Sureeeeeeee you have Mr. Estes. Whats it at now 6 quality starts out of 24 starts? You may not be here for a tryout but you have been pitching like it is tryouts for the local softball team for most of the season.

More news from the Daily Herald about Kenny Lofton.

Lobbying for Lofton: With Corey Patterson expected back in center field next year after recovering from season-ending knee surgery this season, there would appear to be little room for Kenny Lofton.

That doesn't mean Dusty Baker doesn't value Lofton, who helped Baker's Giants get to the World Series last year after his trade from the White Sox during the season.

"Kenny's helped us a lot," Baker said. "This guy knows how to play - when to swing, when not to swing, when to bunt, when to run. It's hard for me to understand why he can't land a job someplace for an extended period of time.

Yep i agree Kenny Lofton has come in and done exactly what he is supposed to do. Great job Kenny! Though i wont go as far as saying, Kenny Lofton: 2004 everyday centerfielder, as Ivy Chat did. Or some of his more unflattering comments about Patterson.

1st off what if we did sign Lofton for 1 year as our everyday CF for 2004. What about next year? And the year after that? Are we only playing for 1 year and throwing away the future? So after Loftons 1 year we go back to signing Darren Lewis's, and Damond Bufords to patrol centerfield?
Yeah Lofton does alot of things better than Patterson, and on the other hand Patterson can do alot of things better than Lofton. Hey if Alou wasnt coming back next year i would say Lofton can play LF all he wants. Otherwise we have no need for him in 2004.

Also remember before Patterson went down he was on pace for a 30 HR, 30 steal season to go with 100 RBI, 100 Runs scored and a .300 average. Ohh and Patterson plays a very good CF also, lets not forget about that.

Corey Patterson: 2004 everday centerfielder.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Free Bobby Hill

Alot of bloggers have been on the free Choi wagon and Hill to some extent. I will now officially join the free Bobby Hill campaign. From the Chicago Sun Times.......

Second baseman Bobby Hill is recently off the disabled list at Class AAA Iowa and playing. But it didn't sound as if Hill being recalled soon was an option.

''I don't know if he is ready to play every day if he just got back,'' Baker said.

Not that you would ever play him Baker. This is just getting sickening to have Dusty Baker as our manager. Its just Bakers way of telling Hendry, "Dont call him up or i will do exactly what i did last time, let him rot at the end of the bench!"
At this point i want Baker gone. He is completly out of touch with what this team needs and who is the better option. If he seriously thinks Augie Ojeda gives us a better chance to win, he is about the stupidest person in baseball. Though most of us figured that out with Lenny Harris getting starts.

Hendry is powerless to stop Baker from being an idiot. The only thing he can do is release players to prevent him from using them. Maybe Hendry needs to release Ojeda to get Hill some playing time?
I dont know, but Hill has had a grand total of 4 AB's this year compared with last year where he got 190. If we are already giving up on Hill after 194 AB's in the major leagues something is seriously wrong with Dusty Baker and Cubs management. Its not like Hill has been completly horrible. He did bat .250 last year, if Alex Gonzales can keep his job hitting .250 after 10 years in baseball i am sure the Cubs can give a rookie more than 194 AB's to see if he can improve on those numbers in the majors regardless of what he did in spring training.

For the most part you can say Hill's career is over in Chicago. They guy we planned to play 162 games only got 5 games. The guy we stuck with instead of pursing Jeff Kent gets 5 games. Its a travesty, and a blatant lack of mis-management of the team if you factor in Choi, and the constant playing of O'Leary, Harris, Alfonseca, Estes.

Fire Dusty Baker, get a manager willing to work with prospects instead of abandoning them at the 1st little sign of trouble. I just wish Baker put half as much faith into Hill and Choi as he did into Lenny Harris.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Back to Cubs Baseball

I was laying low the last couple days just to make sure the Palmerio Saga was finally over. And thankfully he will not be coming to Chicago. Well and i was in a deep depression after the Dodgers series and Houston opener also.

I shouldnt be surprised to see the Cubs get shut down against half way decent pitchers. Its been happening all season. Like other people i scratch my head at why Dusty Baker plays Karros when we need a lefty bat in our lineup. Were so right hand dominated its pathetic and its no wonder we get shut down alot.

Zambrano has really stepped up his game in the 2nd half and quickly making himself staff ace 1AA. Tonight he pitched a brilliant 3-0 shutout of Houston to get us back to 2.5 games out. If we can buck up and win the next two games we can be .5 a game out. Seems like every start were waiting for Estes to mess up and lose his starting job, but all of the games have been important so we still want him to win. But with every start that he does half way decent it pushes Cruz further and further out of the picture. Since Prior has come back Cruz hasnt pitched in 11 days. And thats a shame. But then thier is a strange quote from the Tribune....

"Baker said Cruz has some arm soreness, and Hendry said he needs to pitch."

Clark & Addison Chronicle thinks its the writer getting a subtle jab in that thier is still a disconnect between Baker and Hendry. Which is probably true. Cruz probably isnt hurt its just a Baker excuse not to pitch him. Because if Cruz was truely hurt he wouldnt be on the team, he would be in Iowa on the DL or something. And certainly Hendry would not be saying that he needs to pitch. My guess is Hendry wants him to pitch but Baker is doing exactly what he did with Bobby Hill, dump him at the end of the bench and forget about him. After all Hendry can call them up, but Baker doesnt have to play them.

And sad to say i am not a Dusty Baker believer. I didnt want him as our manager. The last thing the Cubs need is a players manager. They need a manager who can kick them in the head and take charge and lay down the law. Buck Showalter would of been my choice as he wouldnt put up with half ass playing.
He has a proven track record of developing prospects into major league players. He helped rebuild the Yankees and helped the D-backs become contendors out of the gate. He may not be the holy grail of managers like Baker was. But Baker is more suited to coach veteran laden teams that need that extra push to get to a WS. The Cubs on the other hand needed a manager capable of working with the rookies. We just flat out got the wrong guy.

On another note. The Cubs declined the contract extension on Sammy Sosa and ofcourse speculation around message boards and blogs is the possibility of Sosa opting out and becoming a free agent. Whether Sosa does that or not remains to be seen but he would be bashed either way by the anti-Sosa folks. 1) Woohoo that loser and his 16 million are gone now we can get some "real" players. 2) What a ego maniac Sosa is opting out of his contract thinking he can get more money. Its all about the money for Sosa.

I dont know what people think good baseball players go for. But thinking you can get 2-3 good players in exchange for Sosa's salary is a pipe dream. Sosa is worth every single dollar we are paying him. And he will not opt out i think after this year. Its just a common sense approach to contract negotiation. What does it hurt to ask for one? If the Cubs say yes. Its a win win. If the Cubs say no. He lost nothing.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Palmerio round 3

Or is it round 4? I lost track of how many times he has said no. Last night it looked finally this stupid deal was dead. I wake up today and apparently he is still mulling over whether to be traded or not. My god this guy is so wishy washy my head is spinning. Here are some nice quotes....

"I'll take a few days and figure out what I'm going to do," Palmeiro said Friday before the Rangers' game at Toronto.

Take your time sweetheart.

"I'd prefer to stay, but a decision hasn't been made," Palmeiro said. "I'm leaning toward staying here. I definitely want to stay.

"It takes time. It's my right to think it over."

Keep thinking till your a FA and playing in Tampa Bay.

"It's hard. I've been here five years. I love the organization. I love the Rangers," said Palmeiro, who didn't think his image would be damaged by turning down a trade.

Wow he is worried about his image after Viagra ads? And we want him why?

Again i dont want Raffy but if he comes over he better damn well hit .350 with 10 HR and 40 RBI. Otherwise he is a complete waste of our time, money, and prospects. .250 isnt going to cut it.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Cubs win 4th straight

Ok off the Grace subject. I tend to get upset when people blame guys like Grace and Sosa for being the reason why the Cubs have sucked. Not vocal enough, Sosa makes too much money blah blah.

Anyways the Cubs are actually on a real honest to god winning streak and have managed to cut the gap in the NL Central to 1.5 games. I am actually getting that pennant fever! Zambrano won his 4th straight start to head to 10-8 on the year as the Cubs completed a 3 game sweep beating the Padres 9-3.

This is what alot of bloggers have been waiting for. For awhile thier it was really hard to get behind the Cubs and see which way this team was going. They would win 1 game then follow it with a loss, win 1, lose 1. The offense hasnt done any better its just that the pitching has been lights out since the all-star break.
With a solid 1-4 starting staff anything is possible down the stretch. Right now it seems the whole starting staff is in sync. And thats when you start rolling off winning streaks and making your run. Like duh. But were going to continue to have alot of 1 run games because of the anemic offense, but hopefully the pitching can keep the other teams down.


Every once in awhile i comment on what other bloggers are saying. Today it comes from Ivy Chat, and his remarks on Grace.

...Mark Grace, my least favorite player of the 90's, told the Chicago media that he wouldn't trade his title year with Arizona for any of the 13 years here in Chicago. Well, then why the hell weren't you more vocal about how bad the Cubs were while you were here? And why did you get bitter when they sent you out? And why were you so bitter when the D-Backs won? Were you really saying that you still wanted to be a Cub? Mark Grace is a loser. The fans ate up everything he did and he thanked them by being a good soldier and never rocking the Trib boat. We wanted to see a better team. Grace could have been a voice for the fan. Instead, he wanted to be Stoney's replacement. Thanks, pudknocker.

What does saying he wouldnt trade his title have to do with being more vocal about how bad the Cubs were? If you ever listened to Mark Grace over the years he was vocal about alot of things INCLUDING the Cubs. Just some people choose to ignore it. No one really cares what Mark Grace has to say about a lousy Cubs team, because guess what it was already common knowledge for the last 50 years. Now all of a sudden he didnt speak up enough? Ohh come on now.
In fact i think Chuck is just plain bitter Mark Grace left the Cubs and spoke the truth once he left. God forbid any other former Cub speak ill will of the Tribune and Cubs management. Ohh the horror! Ryne Sandberg has thrown around nasty comments about the Cubs for years and is one of the main reasons he retired early cuz he was sick of it. But yet just like Grace they had a weird sense of loyalty to the team they spent all these years with.

Grace wanted to remain a Cub and the Cubs basically ignored him with a you guessed it a low ball offer. They didnt respect him, why should he respect the Cubs? He put in all those years and atleast he should of gotten fair market value. The Cubs didnt think so apparently. But hey its what the Cubs have always done. Maybe Grace was fooling himself thinking they would change just for him. Anyways he had enough and found an organization committed to winning, something the Cubs obviously are not (and still are not). He saw for himself that the grass was greener on the other side and he saw the liars and hypocrits that run the Cubs for what they truely are. Business and profit 1st, competitive baseball team 2nd.

Let me tell you this right now. Mark Grace is going to haunt the Cubs in the near future i believe. Its no secret that him and Kerry Wood are good friends. And its probably not a far stretch to say that Mark Grace is letting Wood know how the Cubs run thier business. Vets, rehab projects, 1 year rentals, no vision for the future.
Wood has seen it all over the last 5 years and the only thing that might save him is the team actually winning. Which is why i believe the Cubs needed to win this year and sign guys like Kent and Thome in the off-season. Just to show they are committed to winning right NOW. They didnt do anything in the off-season and Wood signed a 1 year deal. Hendry is dieing to lock him up long term and not let him hit the FA market, thats if Hendry is a smart man. But as it goes on it looks like Wood is positioning himself so he can be a FA and be rid of the Cubs.
Wood of all people hates losing and isnt going to do the "wait and see" approach as his career slowly goes by. I have been saying it for the last 2 years that Kerry Wood will be an Arizona DiamondBack when he becomes a FA. And that will be mainly due to Mark Grace letting him know, its better to be on a team and organization committed to winning 1st.

The Palmerio Saga Drags On


"We've been talking, but so far nothing is really going on," Hart said.

Palmeiro's reason for not wanting to join the Cubs is unusual. He apparently found out the name of the prospect the Cubs planned to send to the Rangers and didn't feel that player would help the Rangers in the long run.

What do you think we are going to give Texas? Guzman? Beltran? One of our top prospects for a 2 month rental? He must be as crazy as Jim Hendry for pursing this guy.

"I didn't feel it would impact our club," Palmeiro said. "If it would have been a no-miss prospect ... some guy that would have gotten us over the hump and made a difference, I really would have considered it."

Well its pretty clear Palmerio could care less about helping the Cubs even if he was traded here. His comments are "our" and "us" all referring to Texas. Like he expects them to rent him out for 2 months and get awesome prospects in return. Who cares about the Cubs as long as it helps "US" meaning Texas. Not "US" as in the Cubs. Not that i wanted him anyways.

In other news the Cubs inquired about Tony Womack....

"The Cubs inquired about Colorado's Tony Womack, who was recently acquired from Arizona. But Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said the minor-league player the Cubs offered was not to the Rockies' liking.

"We really don't have any interest in that name," Hurdle said. "They don't seem willing to talk fair trade. As far as I'm concerned, it's a moot point."

Hendry dodging another bullet. I am glad Texas and Col are stopping Hendry from making monumentally stupid decisions. But this also sheds a little light and proof on how the Cubs do business overall. Notice how Colorado's GM stated, "They don't seem willing to talk fair trade." Thats just the way Hendry and Andy work. If they cant get an absolute steal of a trade they wont do it.
Clement and Alfonseca for Tavarez (please stop whining about Willis), Ramirez and Lofton for Jose Hernandez, John Lieber for Brant Brown. Seriously when have the Cubs in say the last 10 years done a fair trade? Or maybe i should say since when have they done it under Andy and Hendry?

The way i think the Cubs work is low ball offers and half hearted trade attempts. Thats why they hardly ever trade for anyone good unless the other team is in a fire sale and dont get FA's. Cubs management thinks its an honor to put on a Cubs uniform and if you dont accept its low ball offer it is that players loss. Sadly it almost always ends up being the Cubs loss and another teams gain to the post season.
The Cubs almost never negotiate with players. They will throw out 1 offer and wait. The player will say i want more than that. Then the Cubs will withdraw the offer and say they dont need him or his salary demands were too much. Ofcourse the press release the next day is, "Well we tried to get him, but his demands were just to high." Or some BS. No its more like the Cubs demands were too low contract wise.
The best example of this is Pudge. Cubs kept trying to push thier low ball offer of $7-8 million thinking they could get a steal. I mean come on what was Pudge going to do? Sign with the lowly Marlins? Hahahahaha he wouldnt dare. Yeah BTW how are those Marlins doing? He sure handles young pitchers pretty well huh? Ehh maybe that was just another rumour spread by the Tribune to have another excuse to not sign him.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Prior back, Choi gets another start, Palmerio still being hunted

Mark Prior returned last night and pitched a great game. He was on a strict pitch count and managed to get 6 innings on 80 pitches as he shutout the Padres.
But the Cub Curse was alive and well as Ramirez and Choi misplayed balls late in the game that nearly handed the game back to San Diego. I think the curse was just having a little fun at our expense. You know because in Cub land nothing comes easy and nothing is routine.

Baker plans to start Choi at first today after he started him there Tuesday to begin the Padres series. Karros hasn't fared well against right-handers Brian Lawrence and Adam Eaton, which has caused Baker to see if Choi can sustain the hitting turnaround he had last weekend against the Diamondbacks.

Thats good news to hear. Maybe Baker is also realizing that in a right hand dominated lineup, playing Choi is actually a good thing due that he is lefthanded.
Plus its so much more fun to root and watch Choi play than Karros.

The Sun-Times' Mike Kiley reports that the Cubs are still interested in Rafael Palmeiro. Although he has cleared waivers, Palmeiro would still have to waive his no-trade clause before a deal could be completed.

The Fred McGriff saga goes on. Does he or doesnt he? Be smart Palmerio just say no. We neither need nor want you. Yes yes thats Hee Seop Choi quickly disappearing from the rear view mirror in Hendry's mind. Prospects? We dont need to develop stinkin prospects!

And on a final note Hendry is out dumpster diving again as he is looking at Ronnie Belliard, Eric Young, Tony Womack, and Marlon Anderson to fill in at 2nd base with the injury to Mark Grudzielank. As long as Bobby Hill isnt dead, he should be the replacement. No if, ands, or old crusty veterans.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Alex Rodriguez

A few weeks ago i was in the middle of a post on how the Cubs could land Alex Rodriguez. But in the end decided not to post it because it was just a crazy idea in my head. But in the last few days things have changed a bit. Alex Rodriguez is upset down in Texas and i think this crazy idea i had a few weeks ago can actually work.

When thinking of getting Alex Rodriguez you immediatly look to his enormous contract. He is due $94 million over the next 4 seasons and $81 million in options the 3 seasons after that. His total contract by year is as followed...

Alex Rodriguez SS TEX Signed Dec 2000 - 10 years/$252M
2001: $21.0M^ (+$10.0M signing bonus paid between 2001-5)
2002: $21.0M*
2003: $21.0M~
2004: $21.0M~
2005: $25.0M*
2006: $25.0M*
2007: $27.0M*
2008: $27.0M~
2009: $27.0M~
2010: $27.0M~
-Deferred salary: ^$5M *$4M ~$3M deferred at 3% to 2011-2020
-Can void deal after 2007, 8 or 9. Guaranteed salary increase for 2009&10
-Numurous bonuses for MVP awards, All Star appearances, Gold Glove etc.

Forget restructering A-rods contract i am gonna show you how the Cubs can afford him. The Cubs right now according to The Cub Reporter have a payroll roughly around $88 million. Thats including Bakers salary and our two new pick ups Ramirez and Lofton.

To achieve a 2004 opening day payroll of under $90 million with an addition of Alex Rodriguez a few things need to happen....

1. Dont resign Mark Grudzielank, $5.5 million gone
2. Dont resign Eric Karros, $8.375 million gone
3. Dont resign Antonio Alfonseca, $4.0 million gone
4. Dont resign Shawn Estes, $3.0 million gone
5. Dump Lenny Harris (already done), $800k gone
6. Dump Troy O'Leary, $750k gone
7. Dont resign Kenny Lofton, $1 million gone
8. Trade Alex Gonzales (preferably in the deal to Texas), $5.75 million gone

In total thats $29.17 million chopped off our payroll in dead weight. So the payroll stands at $58.83 million.
Add in Ramirez's extra $3 million next year and Alex Rodriguez at $25 million and you have a payroll of $86.83 million. About $1.2 million less than what we currently have now.
The wild card in all of this is Kerry Wood. What is he gonna be signed for? So for now i am just using his $6 million salary.

If the Cubs wanted to bump thier payroll to $95 million they could add another bat like a Luis Castillo, or Ivan Rodriguez. Or go spend the $10 million filling out the bullpen with some younger more lively arms. I think the Cubs can fill out thier bullpen thru the minors. We are supposed to have all these great arms down thier and if they want to pitch in the majors for the Cubs it looks like the only place they can go is to the bullpen.

Overall the team would be adding 1 player but a player that is worth twice as much in terms of production than the group of 8 we are currently paying. If your gonna spend stupid money like that why dont you get your moneys worth in the best SS to ever play the game?

The Cubs 2004 roster could look as followed....

1) Patterson (would like him at the 2 slot but 2nd base is up in the air)
2) Choi (put his OBP too work)
3) Sosa
4) A-rod
5) Alou
6) Ramirez
7) Hill, Brendon Harris, or FA? Who knows
8) Miller

1) Wood
2) Prior
3) Clement
4) Zambrano
5) Cruz

1) Borowski
2) Farnsworth
3) Veres
4) Guthrie
5) Remlinger
6) Beltran etc.

Now thats a major league roster that could compete for the division and possibly a WS. The weak point is obviously the bullpen but like i said before money could be invested in bullpen help, possibly a closer and be around $95 million.

Texas needs to get thier payroll down to the $70 to $75 million mark for next year and they cant do it with Alex Rodriguez on thier payroll, according to The Sporting News. The Cubs are a perfect fit in my opinion as we can offer them some good arms and maybe get Blaylock or Teixera in exchange for taking on such a huge salary. But i would be more than happy with just A-rod.

Off Day Rant

The Karros Vs. Choi debate rages on. One side says Karros should play because we are in a division race, while the other side says Choi should play to be ready for next year.
Now i am sure most people know my position i want Choi to start no matter what. But how weak is the arguement for people who want Karros to start by using the were in a Division race arguement? I understand were only 3.5 out and i will take winning the division if we get it. But i am not holding my breath or want to delay the development of Hee Seop Choi for Eric Karros who has about 60 games left in his Cub career.

Lets put things in perspective. Boston is 3.5 games behind the Yankees. Same as the Cubs. Does that mean we are as good as Boston? Boston is 18 games over .500. Or take for example the Reds are they better than Philly, Montreal, Florida, LA, and Arizona?
The Reds are 9 games under .500 and 9 games out from the division lead while all the rest of the teams are .500 and above and 10+ games out of 1st.

Its hard to explain. Sure i love to be 3.5 out and in a Division race. But i know this team isnt very good. And me personally have not lost sight that this was supposed to be a building year. If we were 20 games over .500 sure play all the vets you want. But were .500. Thats nothing to be proud of if your trying to contend for a division title and its not Dusty magic dust thats making us .500 either. With or without Dusty Baker this team was expected to be .500 or better with the pitching staff we had. A full season of Prior, Zamb to go along with Clement and Wood? You do the math.

Dontrelle Who?

How good has Matt Clement been since July 1st? How bout a 2.11 ERA in 51.1 IP. And opposing batters are hitting around .130 off him in that same time span. More importantly he recently beat Arizona and San Fran going 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA and was named NL player of the week.

When we needed a win or innings out of our starter Clement has stepped up big time and is pitching better than he has ever before in his career. The good thing is this isnt a couple starts of being awesome followed by some down starts. He has been pitching like this for over a month with consistency which means he has found that happy medium where starters blossum into dominate forces. The only knock on Clement over the years is that his down periods were longer than his good periods.

Grudz injured

Most of the people are acting like this is another major blow to the Cubs season. In fact i am happy he is injured provided Bobby Hill gets the starts when he comes off the DL and isnt going to Pitt (I dont think he is). Call this the last hurrah for Bobby Hill either way. I know some people call him over rated but lets give him a nice 4 week stint of full playing time to see what we truely got. What do we have to look forward to? Resigning Grudz? I dont think any of us want to see that happen. If he fails, then go get a 2nd in the off season. But you will never know until you play him.

No offense to Grudz, i never expected much out of him but i could care less if he is hitting .400 just like Karros. Neither one figures into next years team and i see no point finding out if the crusty veterans can play so we can just be .500. Been thier seen that too many times. How bout trying something fresh and new? When is the last time any of us have seen a Cub team go young? Just a thought for future refrence.


Corey Patterson began his rehab Saturday and will continue to do rehab down down in Georgia. Hurry back Corey!!! We miss ya!

Once Prior is ready, Juan Cruz is headed for the bullpen and to a role the Cubs believe they sorely need: long relief.

Zzzzz we all knew Estes would never get bumped out of the rotation. I am just hoping this quote is an out right lie!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

The Hated One

I am sorry but in the blog world we lay our insults and comments on Lenny Harris, Troy O'leary, Antonio Alfonseca, Hundley etc. But one player always seems to miss the ire of Cubs fans and bloggers. His name is Alex Gonzalez.
Now i can tell you i have despised the trade that brought him to Chicago since day 1. I thought he was worthless then and is still worthless to this day. And it still amazes how Cubs fans act like Alex Gonzalez can do no wrong.

Currently his average is .230 and his OBP has fallen below .300. His career high BA is .253 (1999 he only played 38 games). His career high OBP is .313. He has never hit more than 20 HR's in a season. His career high in RBI is 76 and its the only time in his career he ever got above 70. And he strikes out 130-150 times a year to go along with about 40 walks. But yet he makes 5.65 million dollars. I am sorry but i can find a minor leaguer to do that for about 300k a year.

Choi is benched because he is in a slump? How bout benching A-gonz for being in a career long slump? I just want a little fairness out thier in the world, if we want Harris, O'leary, Estes, Alfon released or traded you should mention Alex Gonzales in the same sentence of over paid dead weight on this club. He doesnt get nearly as much credit for being worthless as these other guys.

Choi atleast has an excuse for a .230 avg. Rookie, injury. Whats A-gonz excuse? He has been in baseball for a long time and STILL hasnt figured out how to hit a baseball properly.

UPDATE: The 1st month of the season Alex Gonzalez hit .290 since then he has batted, .204 in May, .226 in June, .224 July. A 3 month long slump? OUCH.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

1 down, 2 to go

Its a happy day today as we no longer have to see Lenny Harris in a Cubs uniform for the rest of the season. He has just been released and Sergio Mitre has been recalled due to our 14 inning marathon last night.
All thats really left is Estes and O'Leary to get thier walking papers and i will be loony with excitment. Dont be afraid Hendry, keep cutting the dead weight.

Ofcourse on the bad side with Harris gone, us bloggers have lost a big subject to whine and moan about. Ohh well......happy day, happy day!!!!

Friday, August 01, 2003

Karros vs Choi

I keep hearing that a .320 hitting Karros gives us a better shot to win than a .230 hitting Choi. Is this really the case? So i decided to go back and look at how the Cubs did when Choi and Karros had 3+, 4+, and 5+ plate appearances.

Choi with 3+ PA's the Cubs are 30 and 18
Karros with 3+ PA's the Cubs are 25 and 35

Choi with 4+ PA's the Cubs are 23 and 11
Karros with 4+ PA's the Cubs are 19 and 29

Choi with 5+ PA's the Cubs are 8 and 1
Karros with 5+ PA's the Cubs are 3 and 7

This is in no way scientific. Maybe Karros always plays on the days when the team sucks, i dont know. But what it does show me is that when Choi gets a significant amount of AB's in a game the Cubs win alot more often. Were 12 games over .500 with Choi getting 3+ plate appearances, where as with Karros we are 10 games under .500.

And finally i checked out games in which Karros and Choi didnt play and what the teams record was.......

DNP Choi the Cubs are 16 and 22
DNP Karros the Cubs are 15 and 13

Again that shows me when Choi is out of the lineup the team is worse and when Karros doesnt play the team is better. Draw your own conclusions, but i think its just another nail in the coffin as why Hee Seop Choi needs to start over Karros. He simply gives us a better chance to win.

Bonds please shut up

Seems Bonds is a tad upset with Carlos Zambrano....

During the fifth inning of the Cubs 9-4 victory over San Francisco, after retiring Barry Bonds on a liner to the mound left three runners stranded, Zambrano began pumping his fist in exaggerated fashion while staring at the Giants slugger.

Bonds seethed afterward, claiming Zambrano was out of line.

"I didn't see it," Bonds said. "But that kid will respect me. He'll learn fast. … You have to show respect to get respect."

Ohhhh please. Thats sounds soooooo much like the school bully threat. Do you know who i am? Do you know who i am? Yes Barry Bonds we know who you are, but Carlos Zambrano could care less as you meekly hit a ball to him. He beat you fair and square and is happy he beat you. What should Zambrano do in that situation Mr. Bonds? Not care? Like you do?

Zambrano quickly put Bonds in his place for his comments.....

Zambrano had no regrets, saying he was not trying to be "cocky," but pointing out the hypocrisy of Bonds' misplaced anger.

"It was a big out," Zambrano said. "When he hit his 500th home run, he stood at home plate and watched it a little while, and then he runs. He has been doing that since he was a rookie, so I can do anything I want."

And Sosa stood behind Zambrano also.......

Sosa complimented Zambrano on his fist-pumping efforts, saying Bonds was in error if he thought Zambrano was being disrespectful.

"He wasn't showing up [Bonds]," Sosa said. "The guy is pitching against Barry Bonds, and he got him out. With the bases loaded? C'mon. He's a great kid. If it was me and I was a pitcher, I'd be doing the same thing. Getting Barry Bonds out with the bases loaded? Are you kidding me? That's not easy."

Your the one out of line Bonds. So please shut up. BTW we just won ANOTHER series against your team Bonds.....maybe your just a sore loser?