Saturday, July 31, 2004

Cant Wait

I just have to put up the picture again, hopefully to be replaced with him decked out in full Cubs attire tomorrow.

Nomar a Cub! Posted by Hello

I just have to say Nomar Garciaparra has been one of my favorite players in all of baseball. It is no surprise that Ted Williams himself loved to watch Nomar hit. The reason is Nomar is a professional hitter, year in and year out he simply hits. So it is no wonder one of the greatest pure hitters enjoyed watching him.

Mark Grace is and always will be one of my favorite Cubs. I respected his game of singles and doubles and hitting for average and not striking out. I always thought Mark Grace's best trait was being one of the harder batters to strike out. To me that is the sign of a true and proffesional hitter. So now that Nomar is a Cub, he instantly becomes my favorite player on this team.

Here is hoping for the debut of Nomar tomorrow and Maddux's 300th victory. Let's work on that Wild Card and if the Cards slip up, let's just steal the division away also.

Harris Was the Key has the winners and losers after the trade deadline, including this....

It was the Red Sox who turned a simple little Cubs-Expos deal into a four-team fireworks show by connecting the dots that were keeping Montreal from getting the prospect it wanted (Brendan Harris) and finding the last piece (Cubs pitching prospect Justin Jones) that allowed Minnesota to move an unhappy Mientkiewicz.

If Boston never came a calling then the trade probably would of been A-gonz, Beltran, and a C level position prospect for Cabrera. Boston got into the mix and Montreal was probably asking, "If we can help you pull Nomar Garciaparra will you throw in Brendan Harris?" Then the Redsox probably went a calling to the Twins for Minky, with Minnesota saying, "You really don't have anything that interests us." So Boston asked the Cubs if they would give up one of their prized minor league arms to compensate the Twins.

Cubs were then in the drivers seat at this point with Brendan Harris and a A ball prospect the only thing standing in the way. I just find it hilarious that Brendan Harris was the key in swinging Nomar, un-freaking believable.

Not Creative

I never thought Hendry would actually admit it.

The Cubs also talked to the Expos about acquiring Cabrera. Hendry said he didn't initiate the complicated trade with the Red Sox, Twins and Expos.

"I'm not usually one to be creative enough to do these four-way deals," he said. "I always call them 'Billy Beane deals.' I'm from the school that it's a hard enough job to do a one-on-one. The potential that it became a three- and four-way was probably at lunch time today."

I know I bash Hendry on not being creative and then when I get my wish I declare him a god. Maybe Hendry was just lucky on this deal, just in the right place at the right time. I still don't care how we got Nomar.

On the flip side it only reinforces my fears about Hendry and his inability to be creative not only on trades but free agents. For all the wonderfull news of getting Nomar the Cubs still left 2 unanswered questions from my Cubs goals. 1) Decide Walker or Grudz 2) Find a closer. So while Hendry got the SS of our dreams he dropped the ball in 2 other areas. I guess you can't fault the man who had visions of Nomar dancing in his head.

Cubs Comments

Cubs players comment on the addition of Nomar from the Chicago Tribune...

"Alex has become a good friend of mine, and I'll miss him," catcher Michael Barrett said. "He led the NL in fielding percentage and he was clutch for us last year. But we're getting a proven .300 hitter."

Barrett's last sentence says it all. A good friend A-gonz may be, but he can't hit a lick.

Matthews' job as a hitting coach just got easier because the Cubs traded a .217 hitter for one batting .321.

"We still have a lot of work to do," Matthews said. "But Nomar is Nomar."

Read the whole article. If you want a run down of his stats click here.

Also Forklift points out a trait of Nomar we should all get used to. His routine with his batting gloves and tapping of his feet. I believe for every pitch he will undo the velcro on his batting gloves and generally fidget with them and adjust his gloves. Then when he steps into the batters box he taps the tops of his toes in the dirt, before he settles in to take his next pitch. I remember they did a story on superstitions in baseball a few years back and they profiled Nomar and his habits. If I remember correctly he said it was for good luck, and kept him focused in between pitches. What ever it does for him, it works!

Reaction from the other side

A Large Regular
Not sure if the rest of the country can fathom the psychological bombshell trading Nomar is for Red Sox Nation. Personally - hearing about the trade will remain with me the rest of my life similar to the news of the Challenger disaster or President Reagan being shot. I know that seems to be out of whack as far as priorities are concerned but that's the God's honest truth and I'm sure many Red Sox fans feel the same way......

- Nomar was the best baserunner I ever saw in a Red Sox uniform. He may not have been the fastest baserunner but he was the best. Just look at the number of triples Nomar was able to rack up.

Imagine that, the Cubs actually have a decent base runner on top of that also.

Sports Retort
But I'll miss Nomar. I feel like my dog just got run over. That he was likely to run away in a few months anyway doesn't make me feel any better.

Baseball Told the Right Way
Many more deals coming through today, and I am still in shock. I can't believe they are true because I can't believe the Red Sox are that stupid.

Humbug Journal
A miracle falls to the Cubs,
Getting Nomar for nothing but scrubs.
Will the Expo and Twinkie
Cabrera and Minky
Be cheered in the old Boston pubs?

Not Likely.

Joy of Sox
Everyone -- and I mean every single poster -- thinks Theo got the fleecing of his life (and frankly can't believe (a) he'd pull the trigger on such a one-sided deal and/or (b) that that is all Nomar could fetch). There has to be some secret part of the deal -- some other players -- that we have not been told about yet.

Told you it wouldn't be pretty in Boston if Nomar was traded.

Message Boards....
All that being said, I feel a little empty tonight. Recent details aside, Nomar is a guy who is going to be remembered in the history of RSN in the same breath as Pesky, Yaz, and perhaps even Williams. You cannot say he did not give all and leaves us with many fine memories from a warm summer night.

The implications of a Red Sox - Cubs World Series are now biblical in scope.

The Cubs welcome his hustle and heart!

I love the way Nomar plays the game and will miss him in a Boston uniform. That being said, I must admit it is with some sense of relief to see a potential good ending to what has been an excruciating SS drama for nearly 8 months.

Theo Epstein now officially joins the long, long list of stupid Red Sox GMs. And it didn't take too long, did it? Actually, Dan Duquette lasted longer in the 'we're not sure he's a total idiot yet zone."

Nomar Deal is Final

Nomar a Cub! Posted by Hello

Cubs - Nomar Garciaparra, Matt Murtin
Redsox - Doug Mientkiewicz, Orlando Cabrera
Expos - Alex Gonzalez, Francis Beltran, Brendan Harris
Twins - Justin Jones

Breakdown: Past sins are forgiven. I said we will find out if Jim Hendry is a good or poor GM depending on what he does by the end of the trade deadline. Nomar Garciaparra is a Chicago Cub, thus Jim Hendry, I fall to my knee's and proclaim you a god!

For once I feel like the Cubs have shaken the past image of small moves and safe trades with the Nomar deal. This is an impact player. This is a difference maker. He instantly makes our lineup better. Forget about his pouting in Boston since the A-rod fiasco, this guy is a clubhouse leader for a team that has no clubhouse leader.

But the biggest thing Nomar brings to the Cubs is an injection of excitement. To the fans and most importantly to the entire team. This jolts the franchise. It wakes everyone up and lets them know, "Hey we just got one of the best SS in baseball, we are serious about winning a damn World Series, so lets go out and do it!" I feel rejuvenated, so I am sure the players are pumped as well.

Secondly, we have the rest of the year to convince Nomar to remain in Chicago beyond this year. Much like Scott Rolen did with the Cardinals. Forget the prospects. I told you Brendan Harris would never be in a Cubs uniform again and he won't be. Beltran? Didn't have a clue he was going to be traded. But it figures doesn't it? Another prospect used in the majors by Dusty another trade away from the Cubs. The only question is when is Jason Dubois and David Kelton getting new uniforms.

The bottom line is, I feel we can win now more than ever. They say one player can't make a difference. They are correct. But when you add Nomar to Sosa, Am-Ram, Lee, Alou, Patterson and Barrett you start getting a lineup that is good top to bottom. You get a better over all team. And that is what Nomar's addition to the Cubs means. We just made the team better. Orlando Cabrera couldn't do that.

Blockbuster Brewing

Went to go see the movie Manchurin Candidate instead of waiting around to see if the Cubs do anything. When I got back home i trolled the usual sports websites and saw the ESPN MLB section is saying that Nomar Garciaparra will be calling Wrigley Field home!

Nothing is official yet, but this looks like it could be announced any minute now!!

UPDATE: ESPN TV just announced Nomar Garciaparra is a Chicago Cub in a 4 team trade!! Details soon........Hell yeah!!!!

Update 2:
Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra is heading to the Cubs in a blockbuster trade that also involved Expos shortstop Orlando Cabrera.
The Expos originally sent Cabrera to the Cubs for shortstop Alex Gonzalez, third baseman Brendan Harris and Class AAA righthander Francis Beltran -- a trade that was the precursor to a four-team blockbuster that would send Garciaparra to the Cubs.

In other parts of the deal not yet confirmed, righthander Derek Lowe could be headed to the Twins.

If all parts of the deal go through, the Red Sox could end up with Cabrera and Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz.

In addition, Dodgers outfielder Dave Roberts told Fox Sports Net that he has been traded to the Red Sox.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Remember Brendan Harris?

When Harris was demoted I said you probably saw the last of him in a Cubs uniform. If Pie and Guzman are off limits for Cabrera then I am sure Dusty and Hendry are doing their best to get rid of Brendan Harris.

Wait for it..........

Done Deals

I guess I will use this post to track done deals, and see if the Cubs slip up and surprise us.

Mets -
The Mets made two stunning trades Friday, acquiring Pirates righthander Kris Benson and Devil Rays righthander Victor Zambrano.

Dodgers -
Hee Seop Choi, Brad Penny, Murphy to the Dodgers in exchange for Guillermo Mota, Paul Lo Duca, and Juan Encarnacion.

Charles Johnson traded to the Dodgers pending the approval of Johnson

Padres -
Stark reports the Padres have aquired firstbasemen/DH Brad Fullmer from the Rangers for a minor leaguer to be named later.

Phillies -
The Philadelphia Phillies made another move to shore up their wobbly bullpen late Friday, getting reliever Todd Jones from the Cincinnati Reds in a four-player deal.

Jones, 36, gives the Phillies another right-handed setup man.

Earlier Friday, the Phillies sent Ricky Ledee and a minor leaguer to San Francisco for right-handed reliever Felix Rodriguez, who also could be used in a setup role.

Creative Deal Making

I keep talking about creative deal making. Making trades with and for players who aren't necassarily available.

The Dodgers proposed deal is what I call creative deal making.

L.A. gets Finley from Arizona, and Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi from Florida.

Florida gets Guillermo Mota, Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion from L.A.

Arizona gets Jayson Werth from the Dodgers, and prospects from the Marlins.

If the Dodgers can pull that off, that is a great trade for them. They not only improve the pitching but they improve the offense as well. Notice how L.A. is willing to trade off current parts and even an all-star catcher to improve the team as a whole. You have to give a little to get a little. Hendry's deals involve giving very little and getting everything in return. Which works fine for teams wanting to move pay roll but does little to get players from teams who have no pay roll problems. That's why the Expo's are in no hurry to trade Cabrera for fear of being stuck with his contract. They can just offer arbitration to him in the winter and when Cabrera rejects that the Expo's will get draft picks in return.

Update: Just as I am writing this, the deal has gone through Choi, Finley, Penny are Dodgers. Charles Johnson has been traded to the Dodgers to replace Lo Duca, and Randy Johnson could be on his way also to the Dodgers.

Geez talk about a team shake up.

Update 2: Got ahead of myself there. Choi, Penny, Murphy to the Dodgers in exchange for Encarnacion, Lo Duca, and Mota. Dodgers are then trying to spin off Penny and who ever else to the D'Backs for Randy Johnson.

Still Working on Cabrera

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry continued Thursday to work on acquiring a shortstop. Not the Boston Red Sox' Nomar Garciaparra, however, but the Montreal Expos' Orlando Cabrera. Not as sexy, perhaps, but how appealing has catcher Michael Barrett been since crossing the Canadian border and finding himself in Chicago with a .296 average, 12 home runs and 47 RBI?

If you want to doubt Cabrera, you also have to admit that former Expo Barrett had plenty of skeptics after joining the Cubs last winter. Those second-guessers are now in hiding.

Yeah ummmm there are some differences to take in to account.

  1. Barrett is 27, Cabrera is 29.
  2. Barrett never played a full season, Cabrera has started the last 4 years and his numbers are unimpressive.
  3. Barrett was still learning a new position and there were questions about his durability behind the plate. While that has yet to be answered still with Barrett, Cabrera has no such excuse of learning a new position.

At age 29 Cabrera really should be showing us more than what he has been. I don't buy that hog wash that it is because he is playing in Montreal and wants out is the reason his numbers stink. The reason his numbers stink is because he stinks.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Trade Deadline Goals

I forget If I have done this before and I am too lazy to check my archive. 

  1. Decide who is the starter at 2nd base and trade the other one. It is either Grudz or Walker? Stop this platoon crap. Because Dusty isn't even platooning them correctly by starting Grudz against right handed pitchers.
  2. Find a bat. Upgrade the offense. With this pitching and more offense you have a better team.
  3. Find a closer. Whether it be Urbina, Mesa, Julio, or Dempster. One thing is to make sure Latroy Hawkins isn't the closer after Saturday.

That should be Hendry's mission to solve in the coming days. A good GM will solve these problems, a bad GM will say we can win by doing nothing. Let's see which GM decides to show up.

No News is Good news?

There has been no additional news on Cubs trades since the Boston rumor resurfaced. I personally think Hendry isn't creative enough to pull off a trade for what he needs from a team that doesn't know if they are going to trade someone or not. Case in point....Nomar.

If anything big happens it will come out of the blue and we will all be shocked. By the end of the trade dead line I fully expect Orlanda Cabrera (A.K.A. A-gonz Version 2.0, the Non Strike Out Model)and a bull pen arm as pick ups for the Cubs.

I just don't see anything big happening to give this team a boost before the trade deadline.

Kiley on Clement.

Mike Kiley says Clement is going no where.

The Cubs assured starting pitcher Matt Clement weeks ago, when the rumor first surfaced out of Boston, that he wasn't going to be traded for Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Forget about it. Not going to happen.

So just because the Boston Globe resurrected the idea this week and said the Cubs and Red Sox continue to talk about the deal, that doesn't make it true. The clubs have spoken, of course, with the trade deadline approaching Saturday, but not with that exchange on the table.

When that misguided arrow out of Boston hit Milwaukee on Wednesday, the Cubs again told Clement he would not be traded. And Clement can tell you why general manager Jim Hendry won't make that swap, if indeed Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein ever seriously considered it.

"I don't think he wants to blow up the rotation," Clement said.

Did I mention we are 11 games back now after last nights great offensive explosion? Looks like Hendry is going to be stubborn and keep Clement and miss the playoffs this year. I will be wanting your resignation at the end of the year Hendry if the best you can do is Cabrera.

Phil on Nomar

Phil Rogers makes his case for Nomar Garciaparra.

Starting pitching has not been the Cubs' problem this year.

Even with Wood and Prior combining to make only 20 starts, the starters have a 3.59 ERA, the best in the NL. But Wednesday marked the fourth time in the last five games they have scored only three runs.

As pitiful as this seems, given the presence of Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, they need to do something major for the lineup--not just add a spare part like Florida's Jeff Conine, who they also have been scouting.

According to sources, the Cubs-Red Sox talks center on Clement and Gonzalez for Garciaparra. Boston is trying to get Hendry to put a young player, most likely a pitcher, into the deal.

If there's a chance, seal this deal, Jim.

You won't need one of your top five starters if you do reach the playoffs. Garciaparra, however, could figure in every October game. That outweighs the loyalty you must feel toward Clement

Garciaparra only is hitting .323 lifetime in the playoffs. We don't need that do we?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I Just Don't Get it.

Strolling the boards and blog comments sections the same thing keeps popping up. "The Cubs strength is it's starting pitching. When we get to the playoff's we will need Clement more than Nomar."

Yeah ummmm news flash. If we get to the playoffs, Matt Clement will be coming out of the bullpen. Bench Wood? No. Bench Prior? No. Bench Zambrano? No. Bench Maddux? No. So the odd man that is out is Matt Clement. Would be nice to have Nomar in the playoffs than never seeing Clement huh?

The other comments I see are..... "Well what if Prior, Z or Wood get injured and we trade Clement? Then we have Rusch and maybe Mitre. That is too much of a risk!"

Yeah ummm news flash. Even with Prior and Wood missing time this team has the 1st or 2nd best ERA in the NL. Matt Clement is 7-8 with a 3.05 ERA and yet the Cubs are 54-46 while having one of the better staffs in the NL.

So why exactly is this team 54-46 with a top 2 pitching staff? It is the offense silly. Most teams have 2-3 good starters and win World Series titles and division titles all the time. We don't need 5 starters to be competitive. If we can trade one of them for some offense then that is what this team needs to do, because it is obvious that stellar pitching is getting this team no where fast. That should be plain as day to any Cubs fan who has sat down and watched any amount of Cubs games this season.

But since we have the chicken little fans not wanting to trade Clement for Nomar for fear of a starter injury, what would happen if Am-Ram or Lee went down for a period of time? Are we ready to see A-gonz and Macias dragging down an already putrid offense? We already suffered through the Rey Ordonez and Macias experiment that landed us 10 games back in the division. An injury to one of our offensive bat's and you might as well deep six the team.

This team has shown it can win with injured starters and shown it can't win with injured position players. If you want to peddle the injury route then the Cubs could ill afford an injury on the offensive side, but could easily afford an injury to the pitching side. Thus, Nomar Garciaparra's addition benefits this club in every aspect.

Pie And Guzman Safe

Neither Pie nor Guzman is being dangled in any swaps that general manager Jim Hendry is considering before the non-waiver trade deadline passes Saturday. The Cubs have high hopes for Pie and Guzman and won't tamper with their future by letting go of either one.

The most staggering speculation this week was that the Florida Marlins might consider trading closer Armando Benitez to the Cubs for Pie and Guzman if the defending World Series champions decide by the end of the week that they are sellers and not buyers. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel floated that possibility.

But even though Benitez is among the National League leaders with 33 saves -- one behind Danny Graves' league-leading 34 for the Cincinnati Reds -- that deal never would have a chance if the Marlins insist on Pie and Guzman. Not to mention the fact the Cubs and Marlins have not been in contact about any deals in recent weeks.

Rest easy Cubs fans on that issue atleast.

The Rumor That Will Not Die

Just when you thought the Nomar rumors were dead in the water.

Confirming a report in Wednesday's Boston Globe, the executive says the Sox are "working on" a trade that would send shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs for righthander Matt Clement and also have talked about dealing righthander Derek Lowe to the Padres in a deal that could land them center fielder Jay Payton.

The Cubs resisted trading Clement due to physical questions surrounding righthanders Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, but their rotation is the healthiest it has been all season. Wood, Prior, Carlos Zambrano and Greg Maddux still would form an impressive front four, and lefthander Glendon Rusch could take over the fifth spot. The addition of Garciaparra could make the risk worthwhile.

You pull that off Hendry and I will declare you a God!

Expo's Playing Hardball

In the same article it also mentions Orlando Cabrera.

For the latest evidence that the Expos' fortunes soon will change, consider their surprisingly aggressive negotiating position on shortstop Orlando Cabrera, a potential free agent who is drawing trade interest from the Cubs.

The Expos are telling the Cubs that they want quality prospects for Cabrera; otherwise, they will simply keep him, offer him salary arbitration in December and accept draft-pick compensation if he departs.

While the Expos might only be posturing, they at least would be in position to carry out their threat once Major League Baseball sells them to a group that presumably will be more inclined to invest in the team.

I can see Hendry talking with his staff...

Hendry: The Expos are a crap franchise, let's just offer Mitre and tell them we would gladly take his salary of their hands.

Assistant: Yeah, ummm they said they don't want our useless crap, they want real prospects.

Hendry: How dare they insult me! Did you make it clear to them that we are doing them a favor?

Assistant: Yes, they said they weren't going to be our trade b**ch like Pittsburgh.

Hendry: Great now where am I going to find a offensive SS on the cheap?

Assistant: I hear Jose Hernandez is available.

Mystery Team

I found this very interesting.

When a rival general manager inquired about center fielder Carlos Beltran on Tuesday, the Astros responded that he was unavailable. The Astros' position is unlikely to change before Saturday's deadline, but a poor series against the Diamondbacks could persuade owner Drayton McLane to shift course abruptly.

Rival GM? Unless the Reds were the team inquiring that leaves only the Chicago Cubs. If that is so then it is a day late and a dollar short in jumping on the Beltran band wagon. He would of been nice to have BEFORE we got our butts handed to us by the Cardinals.

I would be SHOCKED if the Astro's traded him much less to the Cubs. And even if the Cubs were to make a deal it will cost an arm and a leg to get Beltran because Houston doesn't want to deal him in the division. The Cubs would have to make an offer the Astro's couldn't resist.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Choi Vs. Lee

I was going to do a break down to see how Choi and Lee were doing this season but Northside Lounge beat me to it.

There is very little difference between these two guys this year. What edge there is falls in Lee's favor. If your question is "who is better," than Derrek Lee is your answer.

On the other hand, there is a significant edge to Choi in terms of age and a massive edge to Choi in terms of dollars. If your question is which one of these guys should the Cubs have gone with, the answer is as it was then: Hee Seop Choi.

Check out Northside's break down of the hitters to see how he came to that conclusion. Choi is proving he is for real, and we haven't even seen his best yet.

More Trade News

The rumored names haven't changed. Hendry is one of many GMs talking to Montreal Expos general manager Omar Minaya about shortstop Orlando Cabrera. The San Francisco Giants also are said to be involved in the Cabrera talks. Because the Giants could be one of the Cubs' main wild-card competitors, whoever gets Cabrera might get a boost toward that goal.

It's possible that Hendry has identified another starting shortstop other than Cabrera whom he is trying to acquire, but no names come to mind. Omar Vizquel has told the Cleveland Indians he wouldn't approve a trade, so that appears unlikely unless Vizquel has an 11th-hour change of heart.

Vizquel is now officially out. Cabrera still isn't much of an upgrade to help out any team that gets him. The article says Hendry wont deal just to look busy but rather deal to upgrade. You trade for Cabrera to replace A-gonz and your trading to look busy.

Benitez a Cub?

Depending on how far the Marlins fall back in the next few days will determine if they are buyers or sellers.

The Marlins might be able to pry Triple-A catcher Dioner Navarro from the Yankees as part of a deal for Penny. Unable to afford Pudge Rodriguez, perhaps they could settle for "Pudgito."Shipping Pavano to the Twins might bring a corner outfielder like Michael Restovich or Michael Cuddyer, among other pieces. Shipping Benitez to the Cubs might net a young right-hander like Angel Guzman along with toolsy outfielder Felix Pie.

Benitez would be the best closer on the market if available. The question is, is Guzman and Pie too much?

Monday, July 26, 2004

New Blogs Added

Updated my Cubs blog links and added 94 Years and Counting, Old Style Cubs, Any Team Can Have a Bad Century, Cubbie Hole, The Cubdom, Wrigley Ravings, and Behind the Ivy.

And I will take an excerpt from Old Style Cubs....

Even in a losing effort the Cubs manage to hit 3 home runs, but no one was on base, because the Cubs can't seem to get plain old hits to save their lives or their playoff hopes. I'm not saying stop hitting home runs in favor of hits, but I'm saying stop acting like Sammy and be consistent: you might hit the game-winning home run (July 21st), but 2 times out of 3 you'll strike out and get booed like crazy at Wrigley.

Hawkins Not the Answer

Jay Mariotti as usual goes off on the Cubs closer situation.

Quality closers, of course, don't let their emotions fluctuate like decibel meters at rock concerts. To no one's surprise, Hawkins has cracked under stress like no other Cub. That's a whopper statement on a club that, over the last week, has seen Carlos Zambrano wig out on national TV, Sammy Sosa order Cubs fans to stop booing him, and Moises Alou criticize team broadcasters Chip Caray and Steve Stone (not exactly Howard Cosell and Jim Rome) for not promoting the (ha, ha) offense.

How bad has Hawkins been as closer? How bout approaching Joe Borowski and Kyle Farnsworth levels. Shocking, yes I know.

April-May he was primarily the setup man, while June-July he has been primarily the closer.
  • April - 2.53 ERA - .158 OBAA
  • May - 1.00 ERA - .164 OBAA
  • June - 3.45 ERA - .270 OBAA
  • July - 7.36 ERA - .387 OBAA

Yes batters are hitting .387 off of Hawkins this month. That is not a typo.

Jim Hendry's Weakness

The Tribune's Paul Sullivan answers trade questions in his latest column.

The Cubs need to move Sammy Sosa, even if it means eating part of his salary. This would clear the way to pursue a trade for Steve Finley who wouldn't fit in any other way. -- Mark Hillenbrand, Palos Hills, Ill.

The Cubs are not going to move Sammy Sosa, and there's no place for Steve Finley unless Corey takes a seat ... which is not going to happen. And have the Cubs ever eaten salary?

I am sure alot of Cubs fans have wondered why Jim Hendry hasn't pulled a trigger on a trade for this team like he did last year. Well the fact is he can't. Most of the teams that were expected to be lousy are actually pretty decent. Which means very few teams are willing to give away players for nothing the way Jim Hendry likes to trade. With out that option available he is dead in the water. His negotiation skills in a straight up trades are non-existent.

Name me a player being given away? Not even Orlando Cabrera of the Expo's is being given away for nothing. Hence why you have yet to see him in a Cubs uniform. Omar Vizquel is hitting atop the #1 offensive team in the AL. Yes the Indians have rebuilt quickly with all there prospects and contending to a degree.

So what is going to happen in the next few days?

  • Jose Mesa - Nope - Pirates are the hottest team in the NL right now.
  • Ugueth Urbina - Nope - Detroit knows his services will be in demand and the Cubs will likely have to give up a A prospect for him.
  • Jorge Julio - Likely - A shakey closer, but young. Baltimore is taking offers for him, the Cubs have expressed some interest.
  • Orlando Cabrera - Likely - Though if the Cubs can't find someone to take A-gonz this drops to unlikely.
  • Omar Vizquel - Nope - Indians don't really have any top of the order hitters and are in no hurry to move Vizquel.
  • Nomar Garciaparra - Impossible - I would love it, but I never truely believed it was possible. Plus Boston took 2 of 3 from the Yankees over the weekend so they got some confidence back. Atleast Boston fought back to win, while the Cubs rolled over.

My predictions are usually pretty good. So if my crystal ball is plugged in, our great mid-season trades will be Jorge Julio and Orlando Cabrera and the Cubs finishing in 4th place. 

Wait Til Next Year Board Game!

An amusing yet painful board game that ESPN Page 2 created.

Some of the ones I liked...

Prior hit by Asteroid. Lose four turns.

Fall off roof after 15th Old Style. Move back one space

Linda Ronstadt ejected for dedicating "Take me out to the ball game" to Michael Moore. Lose turn.

I swear I had nothing to do with the making of this game! Linda appears purely out of coincidence.

New Template

I have been trying to figure out how to take parts of the blogger template and use them with my old template. Just wasn't working out the way I wanted it to. I really like some of the new Blogger templates so I decided to just use one of them as the base and then modify it over time for a more personalized look.

I like that each posts has it's own seperate box and makes the whole thing much more organized.

Say it aint so!

Apparently Dusty might be thinking of Farnsworth as closer.
After Hawkins walked Jim Thome leading off the ninth inning Sunday and watched him turn into the winning run, manager Dusty Baker was asked whether he'd consider someone else, like Kyle Farnsworth, as the closer.

"I don't know," Baker replied, declining to give Hawkins a vote of confidence. "It's too soon [after the loss]."

I don't fault Baker for considering Farnsworth as a closer because he hasn't seen the the implosion the previous 3-4 times he was named as the Cubs closer and bombed. You think Hawkins is bad as a closer? You thought Joe Borowski was terrible? Wait till Farnsworth is named closer and let the fire works begin.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Over at The Cub Reporter a reader offers his suggestion for the lineup of the Cubs. One hitting spot I have to quickly disagree on.

2. SS - Alex Gonzalez

And here's counter-intuitive manuever number one. Last year during the first month of the season, Gonzo batted #2 behind Grudz and hit 295/368/390. Now those aren't A-Rod or Barry Larkin numbers but they certainly do not suck relative to what the Cubs have put out at shortstop in the past 3 months. I attribute his improvement batting second to the fact that pitchers are less likely to pitch around him with the meat of the order due up, and so they throw to his strength -fast balls in the strike zone- whereas when he bats seventh or eighth, he sees a steady diet of sinkers, sliders, and curves 6 inches outside or worse and he expands his strike zone. Let's put Gonzo where he can succeed and by extension the club will succeed, too.

How quickly they forget. I don't know how many times I have to go over this but Alex Gonzalez is a April hitter. An April hitter only hits in April because pitchers are using their fast ball more to establish their timing. After April pitchers are more accustomed to throwing their breaking stuff and dont rely on the fast ball as much.

This is further proved by Gonzalez's 3 year splits by month.
  • April - .276
  • May - .210
  • June - .250
  • July - .223
  • August - .239
  • September - .253

However the author suggests that A-gonz naturally bats better in the #2 slot because they are less likely to pitch around him. That is silly. No one pitches around a .230-.240 career hitter. Again the author quickly forgets that A-gonz has hit an anemic .255 in the #2 slot in 888 AB's over the last 3 years. The author also quickly forgets that last year A-gonz hit .256 total for the year in the #2 slot in 312 AB's. 

The reason Alex Gonzalez gets no respect is because of what I have addressed. I don't want a .250 hitter with a .302 OBP batting in my Cubs #2 slot. It didn't work in 888 previous AB's and it will not work in 888 more AB's. You don't try and get your worst hitters the most amount of AB's in a season or game. That is why lineup's are created generally from best to worst.

The other gripe about the article is Derrek Lee batting #8. But you already know what is wrong with that. Go read this fans suggestions about a lineup and make your comments.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Oh yeah the rotting corpse of Moises Alou has risen from the dead. When a 38 year old baseball player goes into a slump you don't know if it is short term or the end of his career.

  • June - .192 BA - .263 OBP - 5 HR - 12 RBI
  • July - .328 BA - .438 OBP - 7 HR - 15 RBI

Hmmm hits well against the poor teams, gets shut down against the better teams. But nice to see him hitting anything atleast.

Keep your eyes on the Yankees Vs Boston series this weekend. If Boston gets slaughtered again then the faint window of Nomar getting trade will be open. If not we can look forward to signing long term a SS currently hitting .230. No I am not talking about A-gonz.

Update: Five minutes after I write that the Yankees have gone up 3-0 and there is a brawl on the field between A-rod and Varitek. Are we seeing the Boston implosion? I don't know, I am not seeing anything actually, I am watching the Cubs game on Fox, lol.

I don't know how many people are aware of falling concrete at Wrigley.

A Plainfield man said a brick-sized chunk of concrete fell from a tier above his family after a Cubs game July 16, nearly striking his 5-year-old son.

Another fan reported to the city on June 9 that he saw falling debris along the first-base side, Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek said. No one was injured, and the Cubs inspected the area in question at the request of the city, he said.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said Wednesday he would not hesitate to shut down sections or the entire ballpark to protect fans from falling debris.

I think the Tribune spends a few million dollars a year on up keep of the stadium. So they have been doing their best over the years to keep Wrigley in tip top shape. I could not imagine the Cubs playing in somewhere besides Wrigley Field.

Maybe Zambrano is just confused with life.

Zambrano vowed again Friday he would not change his fiery demeanor.

"Sometimes somebody has to wake up their team," Zambrano said. "Sometimes somebody has to do something to get things going. But I didn't do that to wake up the team. If I have to do something to get them emotionally up, I will do it."

Is he taking lessons from Dusty Baker on how to deal with the media? Say two completly opposite things in the same sentence and then let you the reader decide what he is really saying. It is like those choose your own adventure books from the 80's.

But the main point of the article is Baker is upset why Morris didn't get suspended. 1) Morris didn't hit any one. 2) Morris didn't hit the same guy twice 3) Morris didn't hit a guy after the previous guy hit a HR. That is why Morris gets no punishment while Zambrano does.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Want to implode your singing career? Support Michael Moore!

LIVERMORE - Linda Ronstadt's political message sent close to a hundred concert-goers home early Thursday evening.

What had been a mellow evening at Wente Vineyards, with the crowd even serenading her with "Happy Birthday" at one point, turned into a rush for the exits by some fans angry by her encore tribute to filmmaker Michael Moore.

"She just had to do it," one fan steamed as he headed for the parking lot. "It was good until the end," another yelled to TV crews waiting outside the concert.

Yes that's Linda again, this is not a reprinting of her little fiasco in Vegas. Glad to see more people are equally disgusted with Moore's film. Bravo people. Support your freind, lose your fans. What an interesting way to destroy what singing career you have left.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

What Cardinals fans think of the recent Cubs series.

A few samples from a Cardinals fan Web site Wednesday, slightly expurgated for consumption in this family journal:

"These two games have got to be the highlights of the regular season for this year. What could be any better than watching the Cards put down the cavities of the league while making them look like fools because of their juvenile antics?"

"The Cubs are a bunch of clowns. They ought to show up to games packed into a Volkswagen Beetle. They whine when they strike out. They whine when the give up home runs. It's never their fault."

"The Cubs weren't like this until Dusty Baker came along. Maybe it comes from his association with Barry Bonds."

The sad part is, it is true.

I got my wish as Zambrano was suspended.

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano was suspended for five games Thursday and LaTroy Hawkins got a three-game suspension.

The suspensions for Zambrano and Hawkins are scheduled to begin Friday. They were also fined undisclosed amounts by Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

Is it funny now Cubs fans? Is it no big deal anymore Cubs fans? Was it worth it to hit Edmonds now Cubs fans?

You act like an idiot on the mound, this is what you get. We need all of our players and we got bumbling idiots like Hawkins and Zambrano trying to make the situation worse. I hope this sinks in with them, that their behavior is not tolerated in MLB.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I am just going to stick with the bashing of the Cubs current state of affairs. I never have been so ashamed of my teams actions on the field as what happened the last few days. Even when the Cubs were losing every year they never made such fools of themselves as what has happened recently. The sports columnists see it, yet the Cubbie Blue sun glasses fans giggle and clap and cheer when Jim Edmonds was plunked not once but twice! So I bring to you yet another columinsts taking to task the Cubs embarassing behavior.

Cubs players are doing more than losing games; they are making a public spectacle of themselves...

This year, three Cubs pitchers—all key ones, Kerry Wood, Hawkins and Zambrano—have been so unable to control their emotions that they have thrown fits on the field, running the risk of stiff disciplinary action in a season when the injury-riddled Cubs can ill afford to lose a man.

Manager Dusty Baker, backing his players no matter how harmful their actions could prove to the organization, seems to believe the proper response to be: "You never lost your temper?"

I would like to think Andy MacPhail, Jim Hendry and Baker, as authority figures, would call the Cubs together in the clubhouse and beseech them to put a stop to their petty blowups for the greater good, rather than patting them on the backs for showing a fiery and feisty spirit.

Baker said of Hawkins' Wrigley wig-out: "That's not melting down. That's showing passion to win."

No, that was melting down. I have seen melting down, I have seen passion to win and trust me, that was melting down.

The Cubs have more than two full months to repair the damage. But what they are doing at the moment is more than mere losing; it is self-destructing.

Just shut your mouths Cubs players and win ball games. You are looking like fools right now and it is depressing.

And Another Thing! as usual has a long post on today's game.

Dave and I got to talking late in the game about how this team badly needs a shakeup, like the one they got just about this time a year ago with the acquisitions of Kenny Lofton and Ramirez.

I agree this team needs a major shake up. I am a Sammy Sosa homer BIG TIME. I am not afraid to admit it. I defend him alot. Just not today. I am not going to get on him for his current slump I know he will start hitting and his numbers are still pretty good after missing a month. But if he can be dealt for things we need like a lead off hitter or some prospects for LF, SS, 2b, or bullpen then do it.

Chances of Sosa agreeing to a trade? Zero, zip, nada, zilch.

Some pitchers just can't be closers. I have said for atleast the last 3 years Farnsworth is a mental midget who can't handle being a closer. Leave him as a set up man and you will get a long career out him. Make him a closer and he will be out of baseball in 2 years.

Hawkins is of the same caliber. While i cringe to call him a mental midget he simply implodes when in the closers role. Leave him as a set up man and you will get a long career out of him.

Francisco Beltran earlier in the year I said should of been made the closer. While he hasn't pitched well since I mentioned that, I think he has the mental make up to be a closer, but not a setup man. Some guys thrive on pressure situations, and to me Beltran seems like that type of person. Even if he hasn't shown it in the setup role. Eddie Guardado enjoyed success as a setup man, but he turned it up a notch as as a closer.

I could be wrong, but it can't be much worse than watching Hawkins blow leads than Beltran. Atleast we would get back a decent set up man that is dominating.

Jay Mariotti gets it 100% correct.

It's one thing to succumb to injuries and stinking-bad luck, quite another to suffer a pathetic, childish meltdown in the biggest game of a wobbling Cubs season. In one of the damndest things you'll ever see on a baseball field, Carlos Zambrano foolishly waged a purpose-pitch war with Jim Edmonds and the potent St. Louis Cardinals on an embarrassing night at Wrigley Field, hitting Edmonds twice and challenging the opposition as if he were a plus-size Pedro Martinez.

In the end, the Cardinals were the men's men while Zambrano departed as the little boy, ejected in the eighth inning after MVP candidate Scott Rolen rocked him for a two-run homer and Zambrano followed by cowardly plunking Edmonds. This exhibition of petulance is among many reasons why a white flag should be placed atop the center-field pole and the Cardinals should be declared National League Central champions.

It's over. At this point, the Cubs will be fortunate to win a wild-card berth.

Read the entire article. I wish I could write exactly what I feel like Mariotti. I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks.

Speaking of sore losers. I think it is official, the pressure of being the favorites has become a burden to great for this team to handle. So imagine my surprise with the Cubs up 8-1, I dozed off thinking ok we got this in the bag. Only to wake up later and check the final score that we had lost 11-8!

Judging by what went on with our great closer Latroy Hawkins I think it was best I was in a deep coma. I probably would of been firing remote controls through my TV.

Cubs reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who gave up Pujols' go-ahead homer, was ejected after he started yelling at Tschida as he walked toward the dugout in the middle of the ninth.

So is this how the 2004 Cubs are gonna act each time they serve up a go ahead bomb? Just throw at the next batter or start argueing with the Umpire to get ejected? This team has completly lost it's mind and Dusty needs to start cracking the whip. He has lost control of his team at this point.

Note: I think what I am trying to say is you can lose with class and dignity or lose like the Cubs have the last few days. Pout, moan, bitch, gripe, blame, everyone but themselves.

I like these comments from 94 Years And Counting.

9) I've loved Michael Barrett all year, but his confrontation after Edmond's homer was misplaced; it made the Cubs look like losers. Instead of yelling at the Cardinals, he should have talked to Carlos. Instead, he embarrassed Cub fans everywhere. When you're getting your ass kicked fair and square, shut your mouth and take care of business on the field-it gives the genetic mishap Cardinal fans more smugness. It makes you look like a poor loser. I hate Jim Edmonds, too, but face it-he got pegged, and then bitch-slapped Zambrano the next time up. Yes, he showed him up after the dong-so let's be grateful Sammy doesn't get pegged for his goofy home-run "hop". But the best way to deal with it is to bitch-slap Edmonds right back, not cry because he's showing off. I would have preferred that, instead of pegging Edmonds the second time (which was, admittedly, funny at the time), that Zambrano would have pitched around Rolen and struck Edmonds out again. That would have been shoving it up his arse.

At least Zambrano has fire. Carlos, Aramis and Barrett seem to be the only guys that display any. Sammy's in his own world, naturally (what the hell was he saying to Carpenter anyway? The big phony), and Moises is trying to figure out where his career went.

Some times it is hard for me to write exactly how I feel. Huey's remarks about Barrett express what it felt like to me not only with Barrett but Zambrano also. We just looked like a bunch of sore losers, period! Check out the rest of his list. He doesn't post much but when he does it is usually worth reading.

Hmmm. Some Cubs bloggers didn't have a problem with Zambrano's antics last night. The excuse I hear is Edmonds deserved it. Hmmm so in Zambrano's next start he deserves to get beaned in the head for his antics right? I am sure those same bloggers will have no problem with that. After all Zambrano deserved it like Edmonds huh?

Come on people. Z was taking out personal grudges at the expense of trying to win. To bad Z was more concerned about plugging Edmonds than serving up meat balls for home runs. And to get pay back after Rolen took him deep was to nail Edmonds as revenge for that HR? Huh? Can you get any more dumb? The other team beat the big bad Z, and all Zambrano could do was pout off the field after getting intentionally ejected. If he doesn't want to a pitch he should be suspended for his next 2 starts. You don't pull that childish crap. This isn't little league. In fact little leaguers are more mature in a game than how Z acted last night.

This was just too good to pass up.

Singer Linda Ronstadt not only got booed, she got the boot after praising filmmaker Michael Moore and his new movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" during a performance.

Before singing "Desperado" for an encore Saturday night, Ronstadt called Moore a "great American patriot" and "someone who is spreading the truth." She also encouraged the audience at the Aladdin hotel-casino to see the documentary about President Bush.

Ronstadt's comments drew loud boos, and some of the 4,500 people in attendance stormed out of the theater. People also tore down concert posters and tossed cocktails into the air.

"It was a very ugly scene," Aladdin President Bill Timmins told The Associated Press. "She praised him and all of a sudden all bedlam broke loose."

Timmins, who is British and was watching the show, said he didn't allow Ronstadt back in her luxury suite afterward and she was escorted off the property.....

On Monday, Moore released a letter to The Associated Press that he intends to send to Timmins.

"For you to throw Linda Ronstadt off the premises because she dared to say a few words in support of me and my film, is simply stupid and Un-American," Moore wrote.

Moore said Timmins owes Ronstadt an apology.

"I have an idea how you can make it up to her -- and to the millions of Americans you have offended," Moore wrote. "Invite her back and I'll join her in singing 'America the Beautiful' on your stage. Then I will show 'Fahrenheit 9/11' free of charge to all your guests and anyone else in Las Vegas who wants to see it."

First off, bravo to the audience. 2nd, next time I am in Vegas Aladdin you get my business! People just want to hear the old hag sing, so shut up and sing. I know in my heart the average American isn't dumb enough to believe Moore's un-truth full movie. And most of the 4,500 voiced how they disapproved of her association with anything to do with Michael Moore. If you want to stand behind your good buddy Linda be prepared the reap the whirl wind.

As for Moore's comments on the casino owner being un-American. Hmmm 4,500 people upset and demanding their money back. Fans hated Linda, so she got the boot. Isn't democracy grand? I can't think of any thing more American than what the Aladdin did. Bravo!

I guess it could be worse, we could have a socialist style system and the National Guard could be called in to pistol whip the crowd back into apologizing to Linda and then making the casino owner disappear for some "re-education."

I need to bask in my glory now. In my Cubs Pundit Roto League I am currently tied for first. Me and Am-Ram for President have been going back and forth with the lead for most of the season. I thought I was going to have a really strong pitching staff and weak hitting. In reality it has turned out to be the opposite. To start the year I had Kevin Brown, Tim Hudson, Matt Morris, Mark Prior, Brandon Webb and Jose Contreras for the starting staff. Pretty good ehh? Morris left via trade, Webb can't get W's, Contreras was never consistent, Prior got injured, Kevin Brown and Hudson are currently on extended DL stints!

So my starting staff is pieced together with Dontrelle Willis via trade, Oliver Perez from the waiver wire, and Dewon Brazelton pitching from Tampa Bay. He was the 3rd over all pick behind Mark Prior and Joe Mauer. Brad Lidge and Francisco Rodriguez have held my staff together posting saves and holds and striking out 155 batters in 100 innings.

The offensive side I tried to concentrate on by sending J.D. Drew and Magglio Ordonez for Carlos Beltran and then later sending Beltran, Choi, Figgins and Morris for Bonds, Sweeney, Green and Woody Williams. Bonds has helped my offense alot and is keeping me up in alot of categories by himself alone.

View Fme ume ume ume ume ume ume ume ueague I am in and it is a head to head league. I am currently 10.5 games in first place. I mostly credit an OF that consists of Bobby Abreau, Carlos Beltran, Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki to carry my offensive load. Other notables are Nomar Garciaparra, Chone Figgins, Victor Martinez, Jose Vidro, Jorge Posada and Scott Podesdnick who have played alot on my team.

Lidge and Francisco Rodriguez again carry my pitching staff with Matt Morris and Tom Glavine.

Why I am posting this? Well when your up, you run your mouth. When your down you keep it shut. I just want bragging rights at the end of the year, hehe!

Kim speaks about his coaching blunder.

"I know he's had a problem with his leg," Kim said. "I'm not making any excuses. I made a very bad call that I felt cost us the game. That's why I apologize to all the Cub fans, the Cubs front office and my teammates."

Asked if his mistake was sending a player with a groin problem, Kim replied: "It wasn't a groin problem. The trainers basically let me know that when he runs straight, he's pretty good. It's something to watch, and so that's what I did. He started out running pretty good, but I'm not going to make an excuse. It was the wrong call."

I have heard a few of these apologies from Kim in the past. Yet he keeps on doing it! Get hit by the stupid stick one too many times? It is like an old comedy bit or something with a guy standing in front of the stove and keeps touching the hot burner. You keep hearing from the kitchen, "Ouch, Ouch, Ouch." He knows it is hot yet like a moron he keeps burning his hand wondering why it is hot. It is a self full filling prophecy. If you keep sending runners on stupid plays your going to get them thrown out. And if you keep touching the hot burner your gonna burn your hand. At some point you have to learn to STOP DOING THAT!

Since Kim will not be fired, how about moving him to 1st base and taking the 1b coach and putting him at 3rd. Let Wendell Kim become the shin guard tote boy.

Phil Rogers has a pretty good article about the Cubs offense and some other things.

Manager Tony La Russa might not be declaring victory yet, but I'm not bound by diplomacy. The Cardinals are simply too good for the Cubs and everyone else in the Central, including Houston with or without Jimy Williams.

I have to agree, it was always a matter of whether the Cardinals got good enough pitching for their offense and the answer is they are getting much more than they expected.

Given the way Zambrano was jumping around Monday night, making a fool of himself by giving an extra-large, Johnny Petraglia-after-a-300-game fist pump after striking out Mike Matheny to end the fourth inning down only 2-0, you'd think it was the Cubs whom other teams were trying to catch.....

It's time to do better. Either that or develop some humility.

The Cubs are acting like a team in first place but playing like a .500 team. And it is time to do better, Rogers has called out Sammy Sosa as well in the article because we need him more than ever now. Read the whole thing.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The Cubs dodged a bullet on the trade market as Rich Aurilla was trade to the Padres.

He will be a utility player here," Bochy said. "He will help us on the field and in the clubhouse. He's a clutch player and a winning player. And he's versatile."

San Diego is not a hitters park either, so I dont expect an improvement on his numbers. Let's see if the Cubs can dodge another bullet on Cabrera. If Nomar isn't available the trade market looks bleak.

A few new names that could be available are Carl Pavano and Armando Benetiz of Florida. Technically we could use both of them but Benetiz is what we need. But we still really need an extra bat.

Northside Lounge comments on Kim.

Putting all of these things together my dog would have made the right decision to stop the runner at third. If he stops, then you have first and third with no men out. Too bad for the Cubs, my dog not only cannot talk, but she is not the third base coach for the Cubs. Wavin' Wendell sent the runner home only to have him be nailed by 10 feet. The only thing that would have made this worse is if he had reinjured himself in the process. The next batter hit into a double play (why wasn't Barrett on second after the ball went all the way to the catcher) and the Cubs left the inning without scoring.

A stick figure holding the stop sign would be better than Wendell Kim.

The Cubs have officially imploded. Ok Carlos Zambrano has imploded. I love Big Z's fire, but he acted like a complete ass today. Hitting Jim Edmonds in the 1st inning to load the bases, then Edmonds took him deep in his next AB, Zambrano then struck out Edmonds in his 3 AB, 4th AB after Scott Rolen hit a HR to put the Cardinals up 5-3, Zambrano takes out his frustrations on Jim Edmonds again and hits him. For which he was rightfully ejected. What a completly class less move by Zambrano.

The Cardinals played it smart and never retaliated for Zambrano's antics. Sosa and Carpenter even had a little conversation on the mound as Sosa was heading back to the dug out. I am sure Carpenter was saying, "Man you guys need to get Z under control." With Sosa nodding saying, "No sh*t!"

I have to bring up Wendell Kim who again was the difference maker in a loss. Sending a fresh off the injury Am-Ram home against one of the better OF arms in baseball, Reggie Sanders. You know this story, runner gets nailed by a mile at home plate. How many times do we have to see this tragic tale played out? The story always ends the same.

On the bright side Rey Ordonez was designated for assignment, ending his Cub career. How could we ever win without him? Ohhh wait.....

I never liked the hiring of Dusty Baker as our manager. I thought he was the wrong manager to guide a young up and coming team, and certainly the wrong man to handle our pitching staff. I still feel that way to this day. I cant say for certain whether the injuries to the rotation are all because of Dusty, but i feared this happening before we played 1 single game under him. But that is like saying 1 day the rotation is going to have injuries, gee ya think?

I wanted Buck Showalter as our manager. Last year I posted on boards and various places about that and was made fun of alot. "Look at what Dusty has done with our team, and look what Buck has done with Texas. They have no pitching! hahahahaha."

Fast forward to today and which team is up and coming and which team is going down in flames? Buck Showalters prospect lead team is 52-27, 25 games over .500 and in first place. The Cubs are 49-42, 7 games over .500.

Correction: Apparently Yahoo standings were messed up and Texas was actually 52-37, 15 games over .500. Thanks for the info Tom!

This article from the Chicago Sun-Times sums up some key points.

For the Cubs, there have been too many guys going 0-for-4 and too few clutch hits. Part of the problem is the fact that the Cubs have no leadoff hitter and, aside from Patterson, little basepath speed. Another contributing factor: The Cubs are not adept at bunting or advancing runners, fundamentals that can come in handy during a pennant race. And scoring a runner from third with fewer than two outs seems to be a foreign concept to this team.

I cant help but ask myself some questions. Buck is known for teaching his teams good fundamentals and having an all around well rounded team. How many losses could he have prevented just by never hiring Wendell Kim? Would Rey Ordonez even be on this team if Buck was our manager? How many losses would have been prevented with Buck and his knack for teaching his teams good bunting, and base runnings skills? How badly do the Cubs need a manager to teach those skills now and then keep drilling them on it so they don't forget?

I still think Baker will be fired after only 3 years as the Cubs manager. And in that time he will accomplish nothing and leave the team worse off than where he found it. Older, slower, less talented. If the Cubs don't make the playoffs this year, the Dusty love fest will officially end, and next year you will hear whispers of him on the hot seat. Win or else. It might take another year of listless baseball to finally put this team back on track to where it should of been headed last year. To fielding a younger, quicker team, that is less reliant on hitting the HR and more reliant on getting a simple base hit or walk.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Grrr, another reason why I wont see the piece of fiction called F 9/11.

The family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone was shocked to learn that video footage of the major's Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"It's been a big shock, and we are not very happy about it, to say the least," Kandi Gallagher, Maj. Stone's aunt and family spokeswoman, tells Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson.

"We are furious that Greg was in that casket and cannot defend himself, and my sister, Greg's mother, is just beside herself," Miss Gallagher said. "She is furious. She called him a 'maggot that eats off the dead.'"


The family does not know how Mr. Moore obtained the video, and Miss Gallagher said they did not give permission and are considering legal recourse.

Again the liberals love to use dead american soldiers in their propaganda because they can't speak for themselves. It is a coward's move, and utterly pathetic. Good thing this family is seeking legal recorse and attempt to take some of the money out of Moore's pockets. This is one of the reasons why we don't allow footage of flag draped caskets returning home to be photographed. Those are human beings inside those coffins. They are not political bargaining chips.

And if any of you think the banning of these photographs from being released is just another attempt by Bush to control the image of the war, this policy was put in by Bill Clinton.

If you want to use the image of dead soldiers, what ever happened to asking the family for permission? I already know the answer, because 99% of them would tell people like Michael Moore to go fuck themselves.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Caught this via one of The Cub Reporters regular posters.

Written by Transmission: I've decided to dig into David Groeschner's qualifications to be head trainer of a major league team with a $90million payroll and world series aspirations.

There's a cite for the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society that lists each MLB trainer and includes a short biography.

Having made a quick and dirty database of the degree, major (where listed) and years of service in MLB of every head trainer and the first-listed assistant trainer, Groeschner ranks (by this admittedly superficial glance) as one of the two least qualified head trainers in MLB, with several if not most of the assistant trainers appearing more qualified as well.

Dave has a B.S. in Phys Ed. from South Carolina and five years of MLB service as an assistant trainer at San Fran. The only other two head trainers that have so few years of MLB experience both have Masters Degrees, one in physical therapy, the other doesn't specify. Only fourteen bios allow one to figure out the trainer's major; and of those fourteen, four are in Phys Ed, but the majority are in something more... well.... directly medical, like Phys Therapy or Sports Medicine or Exercise Science.

When I turned to examine assistant trainers, Groeschner still looked underqualified. The majority of assistant trainers (I was lazy here and only looked at the first of sometimes several assistant trainers listed for each team) also have more years of service in MLB than Groeschner, and ten of them have Masters Degrees

That said, maybe I was selling a South Carolina Phys Ed degree short. I don't mean any disrespect to their university, or to PE teachers. What does one have to learn in order to get a Phys Ed. degree from South Carolina?

Checking the U of South Carolina College of Education website

the answer seems to be, "not much." There are two sorts of Phys Ed degree - one for teaching, and one for corporate and pro sports sorts of positions. Looking at the requirements for the second sort of Phys Ed degree....

There's a course on Movement Education, one on Measurement and Evaluation, one on Fitness Assessment and Prescription, but they're all part of the general "Professional Education" part of the program. Having a degree in secondary education from a state university, myself, I can say anecdotaly that most education students and teachers I know find their Professional Education courses to be very, very useless.

In the courses listed under the Major itself, there are classes with obviously no relevance to Groeschner's current situation, classes like "Lifelong Health and Wellness" and "Dance and Gymnastics". The three classes that stand out as relevant are "Exercise Physiology", "Biomechanicis", and "Sports Skills".

You tell me: Do you think nine undergraduate credits in Exercise Physiology, Biomechanics and Sports Skills from South Carolina, plus the surrounding credits on general phys ed topics and professional development topics, plus a few years paying his dues in the Giants' system (see below) is enough to warrant being the trainer to the Cubs? He is the least qualified head trainer in terms of MLB experience, has the minimum education level, and one of the less useful and relevant education areas for the job. Compared to the thirty assistant trainers Iexamined, he still comes out as less experiences, less educated, and with a less relevant education background than the average trainer. The best I can say about him is that he must have served under Stan Conte in San Fran...

(Again in closing, note the superficiality of this study: several degree majors went unlisted, I didn't examine every single assistant trainer, there's no (easy) way of telling whether the Phys Ed program at S.C. is particularly rigorous, or how well he did in it, and so forth...)

I will credit all of the injuries that have been happening to the Cubs as just pure bad luck. What I won't let slide are the shady time returns that our training staff says when players should return. Almost every single time they have been off by a matter of weeks if not months. To me that is denial or unable to properly diagnose the present injury and treat it the 1st time. If that is because Groeschner is an incompetent trainer he needs to be fired. Judging by his qualifications he should of been the last person the Cub's hired.

But being one of Dusty's boys you know his job is safe, just like Rey Ordonez, and Wendell Kim.

The Cubs track record of treating common injuries isn't impressive this year. So how do you feel about the news that the Cubs are unsure how to treat Mark Prior's current injury?

"The MRI results were extremely positive," Hendry said. "There is absolutely no damage to the ulnar collateral ligament or ulnar nerve. The exact words used by Dr. (Stephen) Adams were that the ligament is robust and in perfect shape. There's absolutely no possibility of Tommy John (surgery) or ligament reconstruction or anything like that."

The problem with all the good news is that it did not include a way to treat Prior's pain.

Cubs trainer Dave Groeschner said the injury is not prevalent, and therefore treatment information is not plentiful.

The problem now is that the pain comes and goes, and it is a dull, livable pain rather than a sharp, debilitating pain. As a result, the Cubs bristled at the suggestion that they should have returned him to the disabled list to deal with the problem.

Maybe the Cubs should stop being so bull headed and shut down Prior for the rest of the year and get him 100% not just for next year but for his career.

The up and down nature of the Nomar trade talk continues.

According to the Boston Globe, a MLB executive "with direct knowledge of the talks between the clubs" says the Cubs think their chances of acquiring Nomar Garciaparra are "50-50", with the only chance of that happening being a 3 way deal in which the Redsox acquire Randy Johnson. The paper also reports the Redsox have tried to acquire Mariners SS Rich Aurilia, who was designated last week, but he appears to be headed to the Padres.

According to the LA Daily News, the Diamondbacks are focusing on the Angels, since they aren't impressed by the prospects the Yankees could offer for Johnson. Meanwhile, Angels owner Arte Moreno is backing off from a statement earlier in the week in his downplayed the chances of the team acquiring him.

Nothing really new, but I will take 50/50 odds over 1 percent odds.

In the same article it also talks about Aurilla.

Baker acknowledged talking to shortstop Rich Aurilia, the former Giant who was released by Seattle and is a free agent. Presumably the subject of Aurilia replacing injured Alex Gonzalez came up. "Right now, what do you do if you sign Richie and then get Alex back?" Baker asked. "Then you have too many [shortstops]. Let's not shove Alex into the grave yet."

Great Aurilla found Baker's phone number. My word of advice to Cubs management, take the cues from Rey Ordonez, Jose Macias, and Ricky Gutierrez. If NO other team wants them YOU don't need to go out and get them!

My bitter Cub's radar smells Aurilla, or Cabrera in our future and the Cubs talking how they will really help our offense. I am just going to call bull***t on that right now.

Did I not call it? Brendan Harris was showing good plate discipline in the few glimpses we saw of him, and in his last start he had a pretty good AB where he was down 0-2 and came back and worked a walk. I said after that the way Dusty rewards his younger players with good performances is by not playing them anymore. I said that was the last time we will see Harris in a Cubs uniform this season, hell maybe ever, lol.

With the status of Mark Prior unknown, the Cubs went to a 12-man pitching staff Friday when they took long reliever Todd Wellemeyer off the disabled list, where he has been since May 22 with a strained shoulder. They sent infielder Brendan Harris back to Iowa.

Yep, can't have Brendan Harris showing up the lousy veterans. Better send him down before he gets his batting average too high. Gee I wonder what uniform Harris will be wearing next season, Expo's? Mariner's? Diamonback's?

I know, I am being sarcastic, but I have Dusty's mentality down pat. It is a crime Harris is being sent down and Rey Rey continues to reside on this roster. We deserve to continue losing with the baseball decisions being made by Hendry and Baker.

Friday, July 16, 2004

The Cub Reporter has an open letter to Randy Johnson.

Randy Johnson would of been nice about 5 years ago. But we simply don't need him now. I didn't want Greg Maddux either, I just think this team needs offense more than pitching.

If by some act of god Randy Johnson were to appear in a Cubs uniform, it would be a truely awesome thing. But I would still bitch and moan about our offense that gets zero attention from Jim Hendry.

And losing to the Milwaukee Brewers with Matt Clement on the mound doesn't impress Randy Johnson. Clement is now 7-9 with a 2.98 ERA. Johnson has a 2.84 ERA this season and is 10-7. He is frustrated with the lack of offensive support. So why do you think Johnson is eyeing the Cardinals and Yankees the most?

Looks like Boston is backing off on trading Nomar Garciaparra and trading for Randy Johnson.

According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox [stats, schedule] have expressed tepid interest in acquiring Randy Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but their chances of landing the Big Unit are being assessed at only 1-10 percent.

Johnson said Monday that he would only agree to be traded to a team with a legitimate chance to win a World Series championship and stressed that he wouldn't approve a trade to a team with a "theoretical chance to win." With the Red Sox, Anaheim Angels, New York Mets and Cubs each far from locks to qualify for postseason play, the only team that isn't a "theoretical" World Series contender at this point is the Yankees.

Reports that the Sox are discussing a three-team trade with the Chicago Cubs [stats, schedule] that would send Nomar Garciaparra [stats, news] to the National League club for prospects who would be sent on to the Diamondbacks appear to be extremely premature.

In fact, one of Garciaparra's teammates said the Sox informed the two-time batting champion over the All-Star break that they will not be trading him.

"I asked Theo if anything was happening and he said, 'No,' " Francona said before last night's series opener against the Angels. "So to comment on it is silly.

One industry source said the frenzy in New England about Johnson's acquisition in Boston is "bordering on comical" and estimated the Sox' chances of acquiring him at "one percent, if that."

I know I have been setting my self up for a severe let down if our best pick up at the dead line is Orlando Cabrera or Rich Aurilla. Over all I think it is a smart move to keep Nomar in Boston, even if he is disgruntled. Trading him would be like Babe Ruth all over again for Boston fans.

What is now scary is that Randy has supposedly said the Cardinals are one of the teams on his wish list. Most will say that the Cardinals don't have the money to afford him. But I would not put it past the Cardinals GM who has found creative ways in the past to get players. Randy Johnson with the Cardinals offense immediately propels them to World Series contenders and I can't imagine the Cardinals atleast entertaining the possibility.

No structural damage is what Hendry said about Prior's elbow in a news conference today.
I think we can all breath easier.

What is it with the Cubs and their poor estimates of when players should return? Is it our trainer who could possibly be the worst trainer this planet has ever seen? Is he the cause of making injuries worse by not treating them and just applying the wait and see approach?
Now Am-Ram could be out for an extended period of time.

There were differing signals Thursday from the Cubs, who had hoped Ramirez would return last weekend in St. Louis. Then the hope became that he would play immediately after the All-Star break. Ramirez hasn't been placed on the disabled list, even though he hasn't played since early July because of a groin injury.

"Maybe tomorrow,'' manager Dusty Baker said.

Later, he suggested caution might delay Ramirez's comeback a little longer.

Yay, just what we need.

So what is this frightening news I speak of?

Shortstop Rich Aurilia could be on the verge of signing with the Cubs, according to the Oakland Tribune. Aurilia was designated for assignment by Mariners over the weekend and talked to San Francisico, his former team, but was told there was no interest.

I hope he lost Dusty's number.

Like I said I am obsessed with the trade rumors. Randy and Nomar dancing through my head. I am just not used to those kind of names being thrown around. But in my next post I will show some frightening news on what else could loom on the horizon instead of Nomar and Randy.

Anyways back to the Randy rumors. Johnson is said to be saying it is either the New York Yankees or no where.

New York Yankees or bust?
A person who speaks often with Randy Johnson confirmed Wednesday that Johnson’s public comments this week about a possible trade from the Diamondbacks should be interpreted to mean the Yankees are the only team he is interested in joining.

I really don't see NY and Az working out a deal. Jerry Colangelo and George Steinbrenner HATE each other. George and many owners were insulted when the young upstart Diamondbacks were flashing the cash to prospects and acting like a franchise that was around for 30-40 years. Then there was the incident where the D'backs were on the verge of signing David Wells, when the Yankees swooped in and offered him a contract at the last minute. D'backs management was furious and hold a grudge to this day.

So if that is true, NY or bust for Randy then he will be staying in Az, Nomar will stay in Boston and the Cubs, well we are left with absolute crap to improve the team.

Fantasy Moment: What if the Cubs have been interested seriously in Randy Johnson because they were secretly worried about Prior's arm? That would be the only reason the Cubs may be trying to deal for him alone. But my fantasy goes deeper, what if in this bizarro world we turn around and deal Clement and get Nomar also? Cubs splashing cash like there is no tomorrow, doing two block busters in 1 decade, much less a span of 2 weeks. Cubs fans all over the world would drop dead if that happened. But don't you think it is about time the Cubs risk the hearts of it's fans and shake it's image once and for all of being the lovable losers by doing something out of character for once? If for once season the Cubs could act like the New York Yankees where no player is out of reach or too expensive, let it be this year.

-------End of Dream Sequence-------

Dear god is that Rey Ordonez at SS?! Someone one wake me from this nightmare!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Prior injury part deux.

Though Prior experienced elbow pain in his last start in Milwaukee, the Cubs kept it quiet, and he hoped it would go away with nine days of rest.

"It's something I've been dealing with on and off since spring training," Prior said. "It has been kind of a mental battle, going in every game and battling myself to make sure I'm all right, make sure I'm healthy. Hopefully we can get some answers this time on what it really is. I can't tell you where I'm at or where I'm going to be.

Elbow pain nine days ago and the Cubs best medical treatment is, "Na Na Na Na Na Na, if you ignore it, it will go away! Na Na Na Na Na Na Na!" What is our trainer an idiot? This sickens me and depressed me at the same time.

Ivy Chat may be correct...

Mark Prior leaves the game tonight after 1 and 2/3 innings pitched with a sore elbow. This is likely the same injury that really shelved Prior back in March.

Prior does reveal that this has been going on since spring training, so it certainly falls within the time frame.

I can't even begin to speculate how serious his injury is, but it is not good when the media is mentioning this.

Prior will undergo tests Friday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. If it turns out to be a torn ulnar lateral ligament, the Cubs right-hander could face the prospect of undergoing season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery, and returning next July at the earliest.

It is like they are setting us up for the worst. And if it turns out to be this serious I will blame it all on Dusty Baker for completely abusing Mark Prior when he injured his achilles last September by increasing his workload. With out the normal power from his leg's Prior probably tried to compensate by using his arm to throw harder which caused more stress on the elbow and resulted in the lingering damage.

I don't buy the theory that increased workloads don't cause arm damage that is peddled. You find me one single doctor who tells you after an injury to increase your work out rate and the injury will heal. On top of that Prior had never pitched that many pitches in 1 game or pitched that many games or innings in a season. I think we all bought into Prior is a robot and has perfect mechanics BS. Hell it looks like Baker bought that hook line and sinker as well. But when a pitcher isn't used to that kind of work load and he is injured at the same time you have no idea how his body will hold up in that situation.

In the end Baker rode his horse until it broke, damn the consequences. That I am convinced of.

Walker is struggling since the return of Grudz.

Since going 4-for-6 against St. Louis on June 23 in Busch Stadium, Todd Walker has made only six starts in 17 games at second base, hitting .174 over that span.

Manager Dusty Baker said Walker has been working out at third and first base, but he has been unable to give him any regular playing time.

"We've got plans for 'Walk,'" Baker said without elaboration.

When Grudz was scheduled to come back from his injury I posted that if you want to hurt the team you play Grudz over Walker.

So how has the team performed since June 23rd and the return of Mark Grudz? In that span we have gone 7-9 and played our worst baseball of the year. June 23 also happened to be that horrific 9-10 loss to the Cardinals. You can make a case that the loss to the Cardinals has demoralized the team or the loss of Am-Ram has hurt the offense to explain the current Cubs slump.

But since the offense suddenly went kaput I will focus on the Grudz, Walker situation. Since Grudz's return he has been batting .232 with a .303 OBP. That's compared to Walker who was batting .283, and had a .367 OBP at the top of the order. It really puts a kink in your offense when one of your best OBP guys suddenly gets replaced by a mediocre player. Howl and scream all you want on that one, but Grudz has been a mediocre player his entire career.

Baker says he has plans for Walker, those plans should include permanently handing him the 2nd base job.

Chalk it up to increased playing time to Rey Rey and Macias for our current slump as well. In the end Grudz isn't getting the job done. People were cruel and mean saying to Choi after his injury that he just doesn't have it, we CAN'T be experimenting with a 1B prospect in the middle of a pennant race!! He has sucked since his injury!! But I hear barely a whimper that Grudz should be benched. Why is that? Choi only got 67 AB's after his injury, Grudz has gotten 55. That was enough for most people to label Choi a failure and now it is enough to label Grudz a failure.

Play Todd Walker if you want to win the 2nd half. Nuff said.

Another interesting twist is that the Cubs are going after Randy Johnson for themselves. Like what I saw in this article.

With all due respect to Messrs. Youkilis, Shoppach, and Alvarez, the Sox just don't have what it's going to take to pry Johnson from Arizona in the ol' farm system. That's why popular theory has them dealing Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in exchange for a bevy of prospects that they would then turn over to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Johnson. Great scenario. Run with it boys. Page One!

One problem. The Cubs apparently want Johnson. So those prospects may be going direct, without a stopover.

Ok so let's run with that theory for a second. Say we do get Randy Johnson, first off I would like to say HOLY CRAP. Johnson, Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Clement/Maddux. A rotation for the ages. A baseball fans wet dream. On the reality scale it doesn't make any sense and pretty much means Clement is out of the rotation whether it be in the bullpen or to another team.

What is equally weird is how this reporter portrays Randy's and Schilling's relationship.

For all the talk of animosity between Johnson and Schilling, the sanest view would be to look at it as a working relationship. There's probably not a lot of hatred there on Johnson's part toward Schilling, but perhaps rather an unwillingness to pitch with him again. Nothing wrong with that. I have best friends that I would never work with again, if only for the mere fact that if we were to reunite, we'd probably all get fired. (Actually, maybe we should have been the first time, but that's another story for another time…).

I don't think this reporter covers baseball too much because as far as I know Randy and Curt are very good freinds on and off the field. During the all-star festivities they both arranged for their families and themselves to spend time together. On top of that Curt Schilling credits Randy Johnson for helping him become an even better pitcher by using replay video on his lap top to study opposing hitters.

Does that really sound like they have animosity between each other?

Update: Watching the game right now and Mark Prior has just been taken out of the game with what they are saying is a flare up in his Achilles Heel injury. Maybe dealing for Randy Johnson isn't such a bad idea after all. -shrug- I am getting tired of the injuries to the starting rotation.

Update: Right elbow discomfort is what they are saying on Prior. Great, just great. What is next? Kerry Wood achilles heel injury?

Lately I have been pretty much obsessed with a possible Nomar trade. While I will entertain the possibility and go through the what if's  I also try and keep a realistic perspective of the situation. While I would like nothing more than Nomar in a Cubs uniform I still honestly think it is a fantasy, a pipe dream, wish full thinking. The odds of Nomar being traded to the Cubs are about the same as winning the lottery, I believe.
However I will still comment on it until the rumors die, the trading dead line passes or Nomar is traded some where else.
Today on the radio it was announced that the Arizona Diamondbacks GM has discussed trading Randy Johnson with 5 teams, I can't remember 2 of them but the other 3 were Boston, Cubs, and New York Yankees. Which means a Nomar deal is still likely because the only reason we would be in talks about Randy Johnson if we were using it as leverage to get Nomar.
The Chicago Sun-Times and now the Chicago Tribune are saying a Nomar trade is unlikely.

If the Cubs were to acquire Garciaparra to replace the returning Alex Gonzalez for the stretch run, they probably would have to include Gonzalez in the deal or find someone to take the remaining $3 million of his $6 million salary. The Cubs seldom eat players' salaries, and having a $6 million player sitting on the bench isn't the best use of resources.

That has always been the Cubs achilles heal. If you have an over paid crap player and you have the chance to replace him with a stud the Cubs will pass because they don't want the over paid crap player sitting on the bench when he could be starting and earning some of his pay check. It has always been a stupid Cubs sticking point, that has cost them more players and lost more games than any other decisions they have made over the years.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Chicago Tribune says Cabrera more likely than Nomar.

So how could the Cubs ever acquire Garciaparra without upgrading this year's Red Sox by giving them a legit major-leaguer? After all, Epstein wants the playoffs, not prospects, for moving Garciaparra.

It would have to be a three-team swap. If rumors are true that the Red Sox are seriously looking into acquiring Arizona's Randy Johnson, then the Cubs can get Garciaparra if Boston wants to dump his salary to make room for Johnson, who has $16 million coming next season.....

The Cubs appear much more likely to cut a deal with Montreal for shortstop Orlando Cabrera. Cabrera isn't hitting well this year, but that almost makes him more attractive for the Cubs. Team scouts believe Cabrera can be a different player in a Cubs uniform.

Cabrera can be acquired for prospects. Garciaparra's price is a starting pitcher. The Cubs can do the former, not the latter.

I still don't think Randy will be traded. But that is typical Cubs philosophy that they think they can turn a question mark into an answer. I have to disagree that we could not afford to give up a starting pither. We wont be able to keep this rotation together forever, and if it means half a season of Nomar in exchange for half a season of Clement, I say it is a no brainer. We need Nomar's bat everyday more than we need Clement on every 5th day.

If the Cubs are sooooo concerned about losing Clement and trusting someone from the minors or Rusch then the Cubs should also inquire about Byung Hyun Kim. He has had some injury concerns this year but if Cubs scouts think he is fully recovered then they should swing a deal for him. Kim has 6 years in the majors and is only 25 years old. But if the Cubs were get him he needs to be a starter, not in the bullpen.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Ivy Chat has heard that Boston will be trading Nomar Garciaparra.

I haven't seen anything official on any websites yet, but I will bite, lol!

I don't care what it takes to get Nomar in a Cubs uniform. You want to energize this team and give us a legit shot to make the playoffs you go out and you make Nomar Garciaparra the Cubs SS, if he is available. A real GM of the Cubs wouldn't of passed on Beltran, a complete moron of a GM would pass on Nomar.

Apparently the Cubs might be talking to the Expos about Orlando Cabrera

General manager Jim Hendry declined to discuss a report that the Cubs have spoken to Montreal about 29-year-old Orlando Cabrera, who's hitting .286 in July after a rough start.

The Cubs likely would have to give up a decent pitching prospect along with Gonzalez, who will become a free agent at the end of the year and isn't in the team's 2005 plans.

Gonzalez earns $5.75 million while Cabrera makes $6 million, so their salaries are a virtual wash. Hendry is looking to improve the offense and perhaps add a reliever before the July 31 trading deadline.

I will take it I guess. But he isn't going to help anymore than keeping A-gonz. To me a nothing deal if it happens. We take a inconsistent hitting SS and replace him with another inconsistent hitting SS.

The only thing that makes him better than A-gonz is he doesn't strike out 100+ times a year.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

John Kruk to me has made Baseball Tonight on ESPN fun to watch. I like to hear what he says and doesn't say sometimes. He doesn't try and sugar coat things, he just says it like it is.

Kruk has a good piece asking why more ex-players aren't working in baseball. The most important thing he talks about is team chemistry.

What I'm saying is that most of these guys focus too much on talent, and there's so much more to playing the game than talent.

There's the rigors of playing a whole season. How a guy handles failure in front of 35,000 people. How he fits in with the team.

Now love them or hate them, the Yankees do this better than anyone. And no, it's not because of George Steinbrenner's checkbook.

They don't bring in anyone that the current roster doesn't want. When they traded for Roger Clemens, they asked Derek Jeter what he thought. When they got A-Rod, you better believe they talked to Jeter again, third base or no third base. Why just Jeter? Because that's who they are building the team around, and he speaks for everyone. He's been around long enough to know who is going to work in this clubhouse.

I am a huge Arizona Wildcats Basketball fan from all my years growing up in Arizona, and the one single reason Lute Olson fields a top notch team every year is because during the recruiting process he lets the potential recruit hang out with his current players. Those players then report back to Lute Olsen and he asks them how he would fit in with the current team. Olsen has passed on quite a few Blue Chip high schoolers because his current roster simply did not like the person for whatever reason.

I believe a team that plays together is better than a team that plays like a bunch of individuals. Even if the team that plays like individuals is considered superior. Ask the Detroit Pistons how playing like a team can triumph over the star studded lineup of individuals the Lakers put on the court.