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Monday, September 17, 2012
Theo’s Mess in Chicago
Last October when Theo Epstein signed a $18.5 million deal to be President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, he left one storied franchise for another, intent on resurrecting a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. That’s 104 years, and since Theo the Wonderkid helped erase 1 86-year championship drought in Boston, he seems to be the guy for Chicago. But while expectations for his first season were modest (no one expected a pennant in 2012), the year could have gone much better. The Cubs have the second-worst record in baseball – only the Triple-A like Astros are worse in 2012. Epstein has swept away many of the players who were on the roster when he took over, reshaping the club, but some of those old players (Sean Marshall) have helped division rivals, while new ones (David DeJesus, Chris Volstad) have proved to be duds. To be fair, Theo needs some more time, and his best prospect (Anthony Rizzo) is playing well while several young blue chips are close to being ready for Cubs uniforms. In July, though, instead of watching a revived team, Cubs fans watched as Epstein shipped most of the veterans on the team to contenders at the trade deadline. This week, Theo told reporters that ”There might be some tough things we have to tell (fans) along the way, and there might be another trading deadline in our future where we trade away 40 percent of a really good rotation.” That doesn’t bode well for 2012 either, Cubbie fans.
Phat Albert’s production
It would be easy to look at Albert Pujols’ stats through September 15 and say he’s the same old Albert: 42 doubles, 30 homers, 96 RBI. But the fact is that Pujols – like most players in their 30s who aren’t using steroids – is showing signs of slowing down. It started last season in St. Louis when his slugging percentage dropped 50 points from his 2010 level and more than 100 points from 2009. This year he’s slugging 20 points lower again, and his on-base percentage is more than 70 points below his career average. This doesn’t look like a few off-years, it looks like a typical decline for a power hitter. Possibly even a rapid decline. For now, Pujols is hitting home runs at a decent rate for a corner infielder, but the 30 he has so far in ’12 is a dozen fewer than his season average, and remember in April when he didn’t hit a home run at all? And his RBI totals are not much to get excited about, since Albert hits in the middle of a good lineup and should get 100 RBI. Obviously, considering the huge investment the Angels have made in Pujols (10 years for $254 million), the deteriorating production must be a concern. Coupled with the fact that the Halos find themselves in third place, well behind the Texas Rangers, this season has to be a disappointment.
Thanks to Ed.
Posted: September 17, 2012 at 06:29 AM | 124 comment(s)
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