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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, April 02, 2004

Chicago Cubs

Signed IF Damian Jackson and P Glendon Rusch to minor-league contracts.

Jackson will be hard-pressed to make the roster.  They just have better infield options.

I’m about the last fan of Rusch left, but I do feel the Cubs might be better off sticking Mitre in the 5th spot temporarily than Rusch.

Both Jackson and Rusch should be in the minors in this organization.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 02, 2004 at 04:28 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 21, 2002 at 01:42 AM (#561560)
David G, this is karma for your gloating over the Girardi signing.

Cubs fans don't worry about karma.
   202. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 21, 2002 at 02:05 AM (#561414)
You're far too cranky about them this offseason for someone with no emotional ties.

I'm generally cranky. Seeing a team with a fine group of young talent not know how to utilize it long-term really annoys me as a fan of baseball.

Without rooting for the Cubs, I still want to see a core of Choi/Hill/Wood/Prior/Zambrano/Pena/Clement/Patterson/Smyth/Beltran with guys like Kelton/Palma/Jackson as role-players. Add Sammy Sosa and a few super values like Mark Bellhorn to the mix and that's a compelling team that I would love to watch play ball.

Watching Estes and Karros intrude would be like watching Robert Wuhl guest-star on Oz or The Wire. It's like eating a cheesesteak on moldy supermarket hot dog rolls.

That's what I find frustrating about the Cubs at the moment. The fact that they seem to have little interest in developing what could be one of the exciting teams of the decade. Does anyone here truly believe that if Choi has a bad April or something, Karros won't be the starting 1B? Or the same with Hill or Grudz if Hill makes two errors in a week?
   203. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 21, 2002 at 03:44 PM (#561417)
Without rooting for the Cubs, I still want to see a core of Choi/Hill/Wood/Prior/Zambrano/Pena/Clement/Patterson/Smyth/Beltran with guys like Kelton/Palma/Jackson as role-players. Add Sammy Sosa and a few super values like Mark Bellhorn to the mix and that's a compelling team that I would love to watch play ball.

What makes you think you aren't going to see that, more or less?

Choi/Hill/Wood/Prior/Zambrano/Clement/Patterson are going to make the major league club.

My biggest worry for 2003 is that Karros is going to face any RHP at all in place of Choi, or that Choi will have three bad weeks and be benched or demoted. Fans of what team do not worry about things like that? As for a Choi/Karros platoon at 1B, I'm fine with that. Choi is going to get his chance.

I don't know who this Pena fellow is, but I suppose any club can use a guy named Pena...do you mean Melian?

I like Beltran/Smyth/Kelton/Jackson/Palma a lot, but these are not names I would write on the 2003 roster in indelible ink. My prediction is that three of these guys will appear on the 2003 25-man roster at some point, and one will make a significant positive contribution. Otherwise, I'm thinking 2004, and there isn't a whole heck of a lot blocking any of them from making it.

I've been very cranky about the banality of Hendry's moves this off-season, but I'm not going to criticize the Cubs for failing to introduce their young guys. In fact, I think they were unusually proactive in that regard in 2002.

Oh, and as of this morning, Retail is saying that Bellhorn has the starting 3B job.
   204. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 21, 2002 at 03:46 PM (#561418)
Here's a question: would the Cubs have been better off signing Juan Acevedo than Alfonseca?

He looks to me like roughly the same pitcher at one third the price.

I would say yes.
   205. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 21, 2002 at 07:24 PM (#561562)
Jeff Webber --

I agree that Alfonseca is not below replacement level, but that's a pretty low standard for someone you just dropped $4MM for, huh? -- That he's no worse than a guy you can get for league minimum? The problem is wasted resources and, IMO, the very real possibility that the Cubs brass lacks a gameplan, sets improper goals, and ultimately cannot separate the wheat from the chaff. That was something I attributed to Jim Frey, Larry Himes, Ed Lynch, and Andy McPhail; I had better hopes for Jim Hendry.

At least he was quoted in the Tribune today recognizing the possibility that Bellhorn may start at 3B, with Grudzielanek as a backup (I'[ve always feared the opposite).

Walt Cook --

OK, I agree that for the $7MM (or slightly more, considering that he may have taken a "hometown discount"), Kent would have given the Cubs a bigger bang for the buck (so to speak). I guess my focus was on the pitching staff, though (considering that's where they spent on Alfonseca/Estes). There, other than Colon, I'm not so sure there are any real worthy $7MM investments.
   206. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 06:59 PM (#561567)
"True Blue, they've only committed to Remlinger beyond this season. The Cubs could certainly have done a little bit better this offseason, but they probably won't contend this year."

I agree, but that's kind of my point -- the Cubs truly believe (or spin) that they are only 3-4 players away, and rather than saving $$$ and using it where it would make a big splash and might make a difference, they spend $3MM here, $4MM there, and none of it on guys that will make a real impact this year or into the future. That's spending money for the sake of spending money, which is just dumb.

Why not recognize that 2003 isn't going to be their year, spend $1MM (or less) on a reliever, give Cruz/Beltran/Smyth/whomever a chance at that 5th starter role, and save yourself $6MM so you have the ability to get a true impact player?
   207. Stevens Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:22 PM (#561568)
<i>
   208. Bill Posted: January 08, 2003 at 09:34 PM (#562759)
Chad Kreuter, I understand. If you're a switch-hitting catcher who doesn't stink, you can hang around forever until your back or knees go. But Lenny Harris? How does a utility guy of no particular defensive ability with a lifetime OPS of .675 get to have a 16-year ML career? He is our generation's Jesus Alou.
   209. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 08, 2003 at 09:39 PM (#562761)
You did, Dave, you're a Padre now.
   210. Stevens Posted: January 08, 2003 at 10:41 PM (#562769)
The Cubs Bench, as of right now:
   211. Walt Davis Posted: January 08, 2003 at 10:57 PM (#562771)
<i>Karros
   212. Stevens Posted: January 08, 2003 at 11:01 PM (#562772)
Good point Walt. Forgot about Martinez. That takes care of my infielder.

I can't believe that Hendry would sign Dunston. What a waste.

I agree. So far, quite disappointing.
   213. Bill Posted: January 08, 2003 at 11:12 PM (#562773)
Davalillo and Bevacqua are nice comps but I'm sticking with Jesus Alou as the bottom of the barrel. Kurt doesn't have the AB's to really rank and I think Vic was a bit better player than Jesus.
   214. Bill Posted: January 09, 2003 at 12:00 AM (#562779)
Silas, I'm glad you took a moment to contemplate Jesus's body of work. It really is something to behold. How about that SB% (31/77)?

I think that the combination of his .292 BA in 1967 and the fact that his brothers were hitters put the idea in the heads of baseball people that Jesus could hit and no one ever took the time to think about it again.
   215. Bill Posted: January 09, 2003 at 12:18 AM (#562784)
Well, Vince was the best defensive outfielder in the league. And he was famous. And lots of odd things happened in 1944. And that's the best I can do.
   216. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: January 09, 2003 at 03:21 PM (#562791)
Grafitti seen in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY:

"Jesus is the answer.

What's the question?

Who is Matty Alou's brother?"
   217. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 09, 2003 at 05:32 PM (#562792)
Lenny Harris is about as useful as a fart in a spacesuit.

Given their current roster, the Cubs had one need in terms of position players, and that was a backup CFer who can hit LHP. I don't want to see Patterson in a strict platoon, but you don't enter a season where you intend to contend with a guy in the lineup who had <.500 OPS against LHP, and no backup plan. Shinjo, or better yet, Alex Ochoa, would have fit the bill.

O'Leary is not bad as a backup LFer, but he doesn't hit lefties and he isn't going to be very good in CF. Lenny Harris had a good year with the bat in 2002, but come on, that is unlikely ever to happen again, and he sure is hell is not an option in CF. And, the Cubs have too many backup IFers already: Grudzielanek, Martinez, Karros, and Orie make eight infielders total. With five outfielders, two catchers and eleven pitchers, that's 26 players.

I guess it's just an NRI, but Harris is the sort of NRI who makes the club. If he has a good spring it is virtually guaranteed, and that means that someone more deserving (Orie, primarily) won't get a spot.

Overall, this offseason I have been struck by the banality of Retail's off-season transactions. Rather than learning from others and picking relievers from under the sofa cushions of other organizations, he went for the bright shiny stuff in the store window. In this case, my guess is that he was actually impressed by the "most pinch hits of any active player" label. This is no way to run a major league team.
   218. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 09, 2003 at 11:47 PM (#562796)
While pinch-hitting is indeed a valued skill

Is it? I mean, is it a skill (obviously it would be valued)?

And if it is, does Lenny Harris have it? Career OPS as PH: .670. Career OPS overall: .675.

Here are his OPS's as a PH by year:

2002 .770
   219. Bill Posted: January 09, 2003 at 11:59 PM (#562797)
Just further evidence that a random sampling of 50 or 75 at bats in a season (which is what pinch hitting is) is just meaningless.
   220. Aaron Gleeman Posted: January 10, 2003 at 12:17 AM (#562799)
David -

Where did you find Harris' career pinch hitting stats?

I was looking for them on websites, but I couldn't find a place that had them.
   221. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 10, 2003 at 01:59 AM (#562801)
He didn't find them on any website. He made them up.

Now, Rick! Be nice!

Aaron, you can find career splits of all sorts on yahoo. Go to:

http://bigleaguers.yahoo.com/mlb/players/

and select the player. Hit batting splits, and you will find splits for every year in the player's career (unlike espn.com, which only provides splits for the last three), including splits by position, and PH is listed as a position.

Alternatively, if you do a simple yahoo search with the player name as the query, yahoo always gives you the player profile on yahoo sports as the top hit.

I hope this helps.
   222. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 10, 2003 at 09:06 PM (#562804)
there are certainly a small number of players who are awful pinch-hitters and who, if given a chance, would hit .117 with no power in that role year after year.

The problem is that we will never get the data to answer this question, because the .117 pinch hitter will not get the chance to prove himself otherwise. The only guys who get a large enough sample of PA's as a PH over a career are guys like Harris, and they are rare. Sure enough, his record as a PH is pretty much the same as otherwise. Dave Hansen has a career .786 OPS as a PH, .745 overall. Maybe there is something significant there, but I doubt it. Anyone know anything about splits for guys like Manny Mota? It seems to me that Bill James wrote something about this years ago and I forgot it.
   223. McCoy Posted: January 16, 2003 at 06:00 AM (#563390)
Well I for one am not going to admit the Cubs bullpen is very good. It still has Alfonseca on it and a bunch of old people on it. Besides Alf, Remlinger, Guthrie, and Veres who exactly is going to be in the pen anyway? Who is going to start? They have so many bodies under major league contract it is hard to tell.
   224. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 16, 2003 at 12:52 PM (#563398)
Well, Dusty Baker survived with a bench that couldn't hit lefties *or* righties!
   225. Lujack Posted: January 16, 2003 at 03:08 PM (#563399)
I think with this signing, the Cubs are setting up to trade one of their younger bullpen guys like Cruz or Farnsworth. Maybe for a certain Texas 3B prospect...
   226. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 16, 2003 at 04:47 PM (#563401)
These signings would be OK if the Cubs were legitimate contenders. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case.
   227. Stevens Posted: January 16, 2003 at 05:37 PM (#563402)
But surely they are illegitimate contenders? : ) And really, there's nothing like dangling an overrated relief pitcher come the trade deadline.
   228. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2003 at 06:31 PM (#563403)
And really, there's nothing like dangling an overrated relief pitcher come the trade deadline.

Well, there are at least 2 problems with this:

1) the Cubs haven't been all that successful dangling these guys before. Yes, they amazingly got warm bodies for Jeff Fassero, but nothing to get worked up about.

2) swapping overrated relievers for prospects only makes sense if you're actually going to play those prospects. Instead, those prospects will be bottled up in the minors because next year, you're going to sign overrated relievers and expensive veteran bench players in hopes of flipping them for prospects.

Remlinger and Veres are good pitchers -- somewhat overpaid but good. The rest of the Cubs pen signings have been a waste of money (or worse). There's no reason to think this pen will be any better than one stocked with Cruz, Farnsworth, Beltran, etc.

Why do folks get so worked up about veteran pens? Look at the Braves, who never spend money on their pen (until Smoltz), and always have one of the best. They have no qualms about throwing kids like Spooneybarger, Ligtenberg, etc. in their pen. They have no qualms about signing other teams' detritus to cheap contracts. Heck, who was the Cubs' best reliever last year? Joe Borowski. There's a lesson in that.

Oh well, once again mortgaging the future and wasting money in the hopes of squeaking into the wild card.
   229. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 16, 2003 at 06:45 PM (#563404)
To me, it looks like they will open Spring Training with a 7-man pen, most likely (in no particular order) Alfonseca, Borowski, Cruz, Farnsworth, Veres, Remlinger, and Guthrie. A lot is riding on the hope that Borowski, Remlinger, and Guthrie (in particular) will repeat their good 2002s and that Farnsworth will somehow rebound, but I also think that they realize that there is safety in numbers -- at least in the sense that one of the pen guys will likely crater, at which point they can either pare down to 11 men or bring up Beltran (or whomever).

In the end, although the team currently looks to have a 12-man pen, I'm not convinced it will stay that way and however it shakes out, I do think it will be for the better compared to last year. Even if the pen is simply league average, that should still make the team 5-6 wins better than last year.

As for Guthrie, he seems a tad overpriced, but that's obviously not something that has stopped Hendry before.
   230. Stevens Posted: January 16, 2003 at 07:08 PM (#563405)
Maybe the 7th reliever can back-up center field. : )
   231. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 16, 2003 at 11:19 PM (#563412)
jmoultz: "Who says the Cubs won't compete this year? . . . Let's be honest for a minute; everyone raise their hands if they think the Angels had a better chance last year than the Cubs do this year."

The punchline here is that there is a certain amount of luck that goes into having a championship (or even a playoff) team. I don't think that anyone who visits this site would deny that.

The question, however, is how much of it is just "luck"? jmoultz's post hints that much of it may be luck. If that's the case, the Cubs have as much of a chance as the Angels did, but what about the Pirates or the Brewers for that matter? While I love the implications of this -- it destroys Selig's "hope and faith" claim -- the fact of the matter is that while luck is an element of the equation, it is not the only element; indeed, teams can do things to maximize their chances should things go their way.

Have the Cubs done those things? IMHO, if I were to bet on them, I'd say they've improved from a 67-win team to a team much more likely to be .500, and possibly better (maybe 84-85 wins if they are lucky, 87-88 if they are exceptionally lucky). Not good enough for the playoffs (mainly due to low offense), but at this point I still see 2003 as a necessary rebuilding year, with definite hope for 2004 and beyond.
   232. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 17, 2003 at 12:51 AM (#563418)
jmoultz --

I think we are both missing each others points. As I read your thoughts, I figured you were saying "sure the Cubs can win -- after all, no one thought the Angels would win and they did." My point was essentially "Sure, everyone has a theoretical chance (even the Brewers and Pirates), but whose chances are the best?" or better stated, "Do the Cubs have a great shot (as you put it) for a division title in 2003?" To that, I personally feel that they've improved and could win, but I wouldn't bet on them to actually do it.

Let's look at it this way: The last three years, the NL Central winners averaged 95 wins. NL wildcard teams averaged 94 wins. Last year's Cubs won 67. Do you really think this year's team will improve by 27-28 wins? If so, (a) where do you think all these extra wins are coming from and (b) can I have some of whatever you're eating/drinking/smoking?

Even if I drink the Cubbie Kool-Aid and figure that bad players improve, good players stay good, and no one worsens, I figure the bullpen is good for about 8 wins compared to last year, the starters about 3 wins, and catcher, the infield, and the outfield are 1 win each. Even keeping in mind they underperformed their Pythag last year by 8 wins, that's about a 20 win improvement at best . . . and like I said, that's if everything falls into place.
   233. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 17, 2003 at 01:09 AM (#563419)
For the record, I have little problem with Sosa's or Bellhorn's Ks -- at least to the extent that both of them are drawing walks (Sosa 103, Bellhorn 76) and getting on base (Sosa .399 Bellhorn .374). In both their cases, it's a matter of taking pitches, working counts, and there is a side benefit -- they wear out pitchers.

Look at it this way -- last year, the Yankees had 5 players with 100+ Ks (Soriano 157, Posada 143, Jeter 114, Giambi 112, and Ventura 101). Despite the fact that these Ks didn't advance runners, they somehow found a way to score 897 runs, most in the AL.

As for Patterson (and Gonzalez to some extent), my problem isn't the strikeouts, per se, it's the lack of walks -- 19 for the year and only about 9 after April. Viewed along with his high Ks, it's obvious the guy had no clue about the strike zone . . . or even the importance of having a clue. That frightens me greatly.
   234. Stevens Posted: January 17, 2003 at 01:51 AM (#563420)
I'm just going to have a little fun and write out the roster minus the staff as I figure it is now and whether I think the Cubs will be better or worse at the position than last year. I'm gonna be bold and say the pitching across the board (though bought at retail and above) will be better.

Keep in mind the Pythag wins for the Cubs last year were 75. So they need to improve by 15 or so to have a good shot at the wild card? Let's say the pitching improvements give them 5. Cause that's a nice number.

Pos. +/- Comment:

Infield
   235. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 17, 2003 at 04:58 AM (#563423)
I'm not saying the Cubs can't improve by 27-28 wins next year, but let's just say that I'm not holding my breath about it either. Saying they have a "great shot" is just foolish. This isn't the NFL, where a limited 16 game schedule plus some luck on the injury front turns 4 win teams into Super Bowl contenders.

Simply put, your analysis assumes everyone improves and essentially has career years, even Sosa. That never happens, even on the Angels. Instead, every team has some players who improve, some who do about the same, and some who decline. In the Angels case, they had far more improve, but I don't think even Shredder is figuring more of the same for 2003. It also has too many "cans" (i.e., Bellhorn can improve, Gonzalez can improve) -- I'm not saying they can't improve, but I'm not guaranteeing it either (as you do with Patterson).

Overall, I agree with Kyle that last year's team was better than 67 wins -- not only does their Pythag prove that, but I lost a good hunk of change on just that fact. The "Plexiglass" principle alone would seem to make them improve 4-5 games.

Beyond that, let me run through my basic analysis (as briefly as I can). Keep in mind this is (A) optimistic and (B) extremely crude (think "back of a napkin"). As you'll see, it actually comes fairly close to Stevens's above:

Starting Pitchers
   236. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 17, 2003 at 04:59 AM (#563646)
Forgot about you.
   237. Fog City Blues Posted: January 17, 2003 at 06:33 AM (#563647)
How much longer until Shawon Dunston signs with the Cubs? Is it just me, or have the Cubs added about 18 new players this offseason?
   238. Mr. Crowley Posted: January 17, 2003 at 06:36 AM (#563648)
It's a trap!
   239. Bill Posted: January 17, 2003 at 04:54 PM (#563656)
You'd think folks would be so worried about having a regular center fielder who has a lifetime OBP of .278 that they wouldn't be spend a lot of time gnashing their teeth over Tom Goodwin.
   240. Bunny Vincennes Posted: January 17, 2003 at 06:00 PM (#563658)
Whenever I see the name Dusty Baker, I think Don Baylor. Maybe I drink too much.
   241. fracas' hope springs eternal Posted: January 17, 2003 at 06:05 PM (#563659)
Maybe you do, Jack, but I think the same thing.
   242. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 17, 2003 at 07:11 PM (#563425)
I generally agree with your +/- assessment, but as much as I'm a Bellhorn fan (he's a sentimental favorite), I think there is quite a bit of risk that he will decline -- enough that I'll call 3B a push. I also disagree about Alou in LF: I can see him getting more ABs, but I can also see age catching up with him, so the gains he gets on one end are wiped out on the other. I've got him as a push.

The question isn't really +/-, though; it's the magnitude. A 28-win improvement would be historic and I simply don't see that. Barring any other big changes, I'd bet on a 13-15 game improvement to .500 (which is itself quite a bit), with solid hope for playoff contention in 2004.

As for your "winning and losing are both contagious" section and that the Cubs need confidence (or put another way, they need to "learn how to win", I think we'll just have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.
   243. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 18, 2003 at 05:29 AM (#563671)
It sure didn't take the Cubs long to replace Darren Lewis, did it?
   244. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 18, 2003 at 11:16 PM (#563442)
jmoultz: "But I'd like to focus on your assessment that Bellhorn will decline."

-- I'm not saying Bellhorn will decline; I'm saying that there's at least an equal shot of him declining as improving. In the end, I'm assuming a push.

Going into last year, I was one of Bellhorn's biggest supporters (and I still am). I was demanding he'd make the team out of Spring Training, thrilled that he was playing (and well), and since the end of the season, I've been pleading his case to be the Cubs regular 3B over Mueller, Lowell, or anyone else they were suspected of bringing in. When people discuss Bellhorn's high Ks, I've come to his defense (both in this forum and others). Make no mistake: I'm a Bellhorn guy.

Having said that, even I didn't expect he would put up an EqA of .304, second on the team. It wasn't his projection going into last year and I can certainly the possibility that it drops into the .280-.290 range in 2003. Not saying it will happen, but could -- at least there's as much of a chance of that happening as having an EqA in the.320 range, no?
   245. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 19, 2003 at 01:33 AM (#563675)
As it currently stands, they have the following roster (with "possibles" from AAA in parens):

Starters (5 + 3): Wood, Prior, Clement, Zambrano, Estes, (Sirotka, Benes, Smyth)
   246. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 19, 2003 at 01:34 AM (#563676)
P.S. They've talked about the possibility of testing Bellhorn as a possible backup CF, but I don't know how serious they are about this or if it'll pan out.
   247. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2003 at 03:39 PM (#563680)
We just don't have any faith in the Cubs, based on past precedent. It's sort of similar to the skepticism that Grudzielanek and Karros will be bench players this year.
   248. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2003 at 03:40 PM (#563681)
Oh, and the benefit is not having to boot someone more valuable off the 40-man right now, when teams are possibly interested in waiver claims. There are better odds of slipping someone through at the end of spring training.
   249. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 20, 2003 at 04:10 PM (#563682)
And then when Bruce Kimmmmm moved me to # 6, I totally stopped walking.

No, you stopped walking in mid-May or so.

I'm not sure I have the burden of proof here. Goodwin was NOT given a roster spot. Everyone here is assuming he will be given one someday, but if that was the case I don't see why he wasn't given one now? What is the benefit of signing him to a minor-league contract if you are already planning on him being the backup center-fielder?

Flexibility. Yes, there are alternatives to Goodwin being on the 25-man roster and the backup CF, but I agree with those who are saying it is the most likely scenario.

And yes, Patterson may play every day, giving the backup CF little to do. In that case, we can only hope that Patterson betters his 2002 .480 OPS against LHP.
   250. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 20, 2003 at 07:46 PM (#563683)
Just to clean up a couple of things --

Lenny Harris: Yes, I did forget about you (perhaps I wanted to forget). Considering he's also an NRI, I'll add him as an (infielder), to lead to a total of 7 + 3

Lyman Bostock: You're right that they played Moreland as a RF and Durham as an OF (though I thought it was RF, not CF), but (a) at the time they got Moreland, he had played 113 of his 120 MLB games at C, where they had Jody Davis at C -- where else should they have played Moreland?, (b) Durham came up as an OFer with the Cardinals, and (c) either way, that's going back quite a ways, no? After all, at that point in time, neither MacPhail, Hendry, Baker, nor anyone else affiliated with the team was there. You might as well be referring to position choices made during the Charlie Grimm era.

Kyle: I'm not so sure who has the "burden of proof," per se; while you are correct in noting that Goodwin isn't on the 25-man roster, I think it's just as pertinent to note that teams don't normally play with only 4 OFers. In other words, I think it's safe to assume they'll make a move to bring in Goodwin or someone else. So long as whomever it is doesn't curtail Patterson's development, that's OK. I just think it'll be interesting to see whom they drop/trade/demote.

Kyle/Vlad -- The "benefit" of signing Goodwin to a minor league deal with an NRI isn't just the 40-man roster; it's also the fact that you don't have to add him to the 25-man roster as well (see above).
   251. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 21, 2003 at 03:27 AM (#563685)
Uhh, zonk, 1 walk per 20 ABs (what Patterson had in A-ball) isn't a sign of good plate discipline. In fact, the prospect reports after that season basically touted him as an elite player if (not because) he had plate discipline.

He did have a much better year in 2000 -- which made him one of the top propects in all MLB, then slipped a bit in 2001 and completely fell off the table last year (as you note).
   252. Brian Posted: March 24, 2003 at 10:09 PM (#563444)
I've noticed a lot of Paul Kilgus bashing on this thread. Guess it's mostly out of fun. I lived around the corner from Paul in Bowling Green, KY. We played sandlot ball together and against each other in organized Little League baseball.

Paul and I got reaquainted in our adult years when he pitched for the Okla. City 89ers (Ranger AAA team) and I lived in Okla. City.

Paul is just one of the most genuine people you'd ever want to meet. He has never forgotten his roots or his friends.

I hope you get a chance to meet him in person sometime. He's a great guy.
   253. Walt Davis Posted: May 06, 2003 at 06:24 PM (#565878)
Of course, as time goes on and Grudzielanek continues to postpone his slide into uselessness, it gets harder for me to make the argument that he'll need to be benched.

Ummm...the postponement has already been cancelled. 273/323/355 for a whopping 678 OPS. Even Bellhorn has a higher OPS. :-) Say, how's Bobby Hill doing?

The Cubs would do better to find a starting LF (Moises OPS of 705 is not encouraging).

It amazes me that ESPN's Bellhorn page still has him in an A's cap.
   254. Greg Franklin Posted: May 09, 2003 at 09:01 PM (#565882)
Benes to the Rangers for a PTBNL.
   255. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 05, 2003 at 04:14 PM (#566029)
With all the solid bullpen guys in Chicago's system, why the hell do they keep bothering with Alan Benes? It's not like they need to stay in Andy's good graces.
   256. N Posted: June 05, 2003 at 04:18 PM (#566030)
They need a token old pitcher in Iowa, and Beck just left...
   257. Rick A. Posted: June 05, 2003 at 05:38 PM (#566031)
Maybe they're waiting for him to have a last hurrah like his brother did.
   258. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2003 at 11:18 PM (#566032)
Please, please, please tell me that Steve O'Sullivan has no more chance of playing in the majors than I do.
   259. Mike Posted: June 06, 2003 at 12:26 AM (#566033)
I hope he does. He went to the same high school as me, except he's either two or three years younger than me. I remember him as being pretty small but that was a few years ago. He was always very good defensively though.
   260. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 06, 2003 at 03:54 PM (#566034)
Last year, Steve O'Sullivan saw 9 ABs at Boise (Rookie ball), so I wouldn't exactly call him a prospect.
   261. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 06, 2003 at 03:55 PM (#566035)
Also, I should add the the Cubs are still owed a PTBNL from the deal that sent Benes to Texas in the first place.
   262. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 06, 2003 at 10:46 PM (#566038)
"Maybe Benes can be the PTBNL from the previous trade?"

-- Theoretically, it could have happened, but of course it's too late now.
   263. Greg Franklin Posted: June 11, 2003 at 10:57 PM (#566044)
It was 2000.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/duceyro01.shtml

I am confused by Steve Lombardozzi since B-R shows him going to the Astros and spending over a year with them before dropping out of MLB. He'd have had to go back to the Twins for his statement to be true.
   264. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 17, 2003 at 04:14 PM (#566132)
I disagree with you on a couple of points, Dan.

I would hardly call Grudzielanek's defense "indifferent." He has a more than respectable .825 ZR and he's turned 53 double-plays. All told, even as he regresses to his career means as a hitter, he's probably still been a slightly above average contributor. I would like to see him go away and not come back, but not because of his defense.

I also think Hill has star potential, and would call Chuck Knoblauch as representing the extreme end of reasonable on the optimism scale. Will he get there? Probably not, but he has the ability and he has shown signs of it in his pro career.
   265. Greg Franklin Posted: June 26, 2003 at 10:22 PM (#566138)
Hill went back to Iowa today; Juan Cruz came up. That 350/400 stretch clearly won't happen in 2003 with all this Merlonizing going on.

Is this move due to Borowski's meltdown today vs. the Brewers?
   266. Greg Franklin Posted: July 07, 2003 at 10:20 PM (#563690)
TRDB:

With Patterson's injury, you're just a Shawon Dunston away from making your "real" lineup come to life. Congratulations.
   267. Cris E Posted: July 10, 2003 at 10:12 PM (#566432)
You can't put anyone on the 60 Day until the 40 man roster is full. Next time they want to DL someone and the 40 man is full they can move him to the 60 to use the spot. If Hubbard was on the 40 man then they just go 15 Day.
   268. All you Need is Glove Posted: July 10, 2003 at 11:55 PM (#566434)
I loved that show - 28 minutes of laser rifles being fired without hitting anything more essential than a uniform and then a two minute life lesson on how to cross the street.

Priceless.
   269. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 11, 2003 at 01:13 AM (#566435)
Not only did nobody ever get hit, but they could *see* the shots that would hit their vehicles so that they could jump out right before their jeep explodes.
   270. Sweet Posted: July 11, 2003 at 01:55 AM (#566437)
At some point they introduced android bad guys so they could show them getting blown up.
   271. Jason Posted: July 11, 2003 at 02:08 AM (#566438)
B.A.T.S, although I forget what that stood for
   272. J. Michael Neal Posted: July 11, 2003 at 04:43 AM (#566440)
I loved Cobra Commander.

"Morons! I have morons on my payroll!"
   273. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 11, 2003 at 02:54 PM (#566442)
This may be a stupid question, but didn't there used to be a 30-day disabled list, 15 years ago or so? Whatever happened to that? Does it still exist, and teams just don't use it anymore?

See the homepage link for a summary of the various disabled lists over time.

-- MWE
   274. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 11, 2003 at 04:41 PM (#566445)
I think it stood for "Battle Android Troopers".
   275. Guancous Posted: July 13, 2003 at 07:32 AM (#566449)
I remember being disappointed that WGN would pre-empt G.I. Joe and Transformers to show Cubs games in the early '80's. How wrong I was. I would kill for WGN to show more games and my cable package doesn't even carry it.
   276. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 15, 2003 at 08:45 PM (#566452)
Man, I have the urge to dig up my old action figures and weapons now.

What was really sick about the little action figures is that eventually, every kid with a small screwdriver turned a bunch of his Joes into an unholy body workshop in which the less popular figures had their limbs harvested in order to replace broken limbs of the more popular soldiers.
   277. flournoy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 01:26 AM (#566708)
Blame Marcus Giles? How about you blame Prior for plowing Giles over when Giles was fielding a ball?
   278. McCoy Posted: July 22, 2003 at 01:58 AM (#566709)
How about you blame Dusty Baker for letting Mark Prior go back out and pitch another inning.
   279. jesse Posted: July 22, 2003 at 05:00 AM (#566710)
dusty baker is the most overrated manager in the game and he doesnt know crap about managing pitchers.
   280. Primate Posted: July 22, 2003 at 05:52 AM (#566711)
Really? Wow.
   281. jwb Posted: July 22, 2003 at 07:59 PM (#566714)
An Illumnati conspiracy to keep baseball out of Northern Virginia? With the National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria? It seems unlikely.
   282. McCoy Posted: July 31, 2003 at 01:16 AM (#567085)
Don't the Cubs know that their season is done? They should be selling instead of buying.
   283. Guancous Posted: July 31, 2003 at 05:42 AM (#567089)
Doug Glanville, eh? That's like having engine trouble and painting your car green.
   284. H. Vaughn Posted: July 31, 2003 at 02:22 PM (#567091)
The Cubs have a lot of old guys who will be painful to watch this year and into the future as they are re-signed. Harris, Goodville, O'Leary, Bako, Lofton. . . heck, maybe even Grudzielanek's BABIP house of cards and Karros' violent platoon split will be put together and drive us all to drink.
   285. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 02:38 PM (#567092)
God. Drive us to drink? HOW MUCH MORE CAN I DRINK!? I feel like one of the characters in a Richard Yates short story. I'm silently screaming. I need a cigarette.
   286. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:35 PM (#567095)
Yes, a real backup centerfielder. A terrible player overall, but a suitable 5th outfielder when your bench is Choi, Troy F. O'Leary, Lenny F. Harris, Martinez, and Bako. When Lofton's got a sore hammy or something, Glanville is more palatable than any other option on the team that Baker would use.

Even if Kelton's CF experiment turned out with him being the equivalent of Dwayne Murphy, the idiot manager of the Cubs wouldn't play him. It's too bad that Dusty Baker doesn't look for players that remind him of himself - getting chances when they're young, hitting well, and retiring as soon as they start to stink.
   287. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:46 PM (#567096)
What's with the interest in Matt Stairs? Not that there is really anthing wrong with Stairs, but I fear an addition of Stairs is counter balanced by the optioning of Choi to Iowa, so that the Dusty Baker Veteran Superfriends can enjoy their golden year together. I've lost 30 lbs, this summer and exactly ten of those can be attributed to following the Cubs. Christ.
   288. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 03:56 PM (#567098)
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
   289. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:08 PM (#567100)
Clayton,

I think Choi has had a decent season. The only issue is that he isn't getting any playing time. I guess I can understand that given Karros has gone into a time warp and is having a nice season. What I don't get at all is why Choi isn't a prime choice off the bench in pinch hitting situations.

Rant #2. I was listening to the WGN Sports Radio talk program after Sundays game (I know, I know I shouldn't, it just makes me angry). But they were discussing how crappy Wendell Kim is and how if you want to have a genius like Dusty Baker as a manager, then you have to put up with having guys like Kim around. This to me, would be evidence that Baker is highly overrated. He's a genius, so he does stupid things like employ Wendell Freaking Kim?

Dusty Baker, NOT A GENIUS!
   290. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 31, 2003 at 04:45 PM (#567103)
Responding to a various thoughts:

Brian C (#5) -- I agree that the buck ultimately stops with Hendry, but have we been watching the same team? After watching TFG, TFO'L, and LFH get 429 appearances, how can you say that "Dusty has a major problem with playing guys who really suck"? Also, if you honestly believe that Dusty had nothing to do with the team's decision to put Martinez, TFG, and LFH on the 25-man roster, you're being naive. It's loyalty -- the same loyalty that keeps Wendell Kim as the 3rd base coach.

Clayton Wilcox (#12) -- Although I agree the team was a .500 squad a few weeks ago, (a) I don't think the Cubs have been selling anything they'll really miss from their farm system, and (b) the 'Stros and Cards have been weak enough that a few moves gives the team a realistic shot at the division.

They won't miss Hernandez or Bruback, probably won't miss Fransz, and even if the PTBNL is Hill, I don't have a problem losing him either -- struggling at AAA at the age of 25 (+4% OPS, -8% SEC), I'm not convinced he'll be an All-Star by any means and see him quite possibly as the next Chad Meyers, rather than the next Bret Boone.

I do worry, though, about what they will do in the offseason. Coming into this year, I liked the fact that Grudzielanek, Karros, TFO'L, et al. were one year temps, but now that the team has had a semi-successful run, what will they do? Will they resign any/all of these guys? For how much? The thought that they'd resign Grudzielanek for $4MM, for instance, scares the bejeezus out of me almost as much as resigning Karros at all.

Jack Vincennes (#14) -- If they get Stairs, I see him as the 4th OF/lefty bat that TFO'L isn't giving us. I think it'd be a good move, provided (a) they don't give up anything of real value and (b) they don't allow the move to push Choi further down the bench. I'm starting to think, though, that I'd rather see Choi getting ABs in Iowa than splinters in Chicago.
   291. Alan Posted: July 31, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#567104)
Coming off the bench as a defensive sub might help Glanville keep his "1" fielding rating in Strat-O-Matic.
   292. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 05:16 PM (#567106)
I find the media's love affair with Baker to be really interesting. Was he pilloried in SF after his horrible in game decision making in the World Series last year? I have a feeling he wasn't. I don't understand why the Chicago media isn't all over him for his love of Lenny Freaking O'Goodwinville.

I am generally not a negative sports fan, but there is something about this version of the Cubs that is driving me crazy. Perhaps it is my perception that they are on the verge of something, and that they'd rather piss it away to win a wild card then do the right things to make themselves a dynasty. I mean, what is the hurry, we've been a long for the ride this freaking long, who's jumping at this point?
   293. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 31, 2003 at 06:18 PM (#567108)
Brian C -- Sorry, I must have misread your post in #5 to mean that (a) the decisions are completely out of Baker's hands and (b) he just plays the cards that he's dealt -- which kinda suprised me that you'd say that. Thanks for clearing up my mistake in #23.

Jack Vincennes -- "Lenny Freaking O'Goodwinville" is priceless. I'll have to immediately steal it and use it as my own without proper attribution. Sorry in advance.

Oh, and as for pissing a dynasty away for the sake of a WC, I'm afraid of that as well, but at least they haven't done it . . . yet.
   294. Bunny Vincennes Posted: July 31, 2003 at 08:28 PM (#567109)
Steal away True Blue. Just buy me a beer someday.
   295. NTNgod Posted: August 01, 2003 at 06:31 AM (#567113)
   296. Transmission Posted: August 04, 2003 at 05:04 AM (#567287)
I've been waiting and waiting for the chance to get first post on Lenny Harris' release. Woo Hoo!

Alas, Grudzielanek gets hurt, leading to Augie Ojeda's call-up on the same day. That's some sort of karma that I'm too simple-minded to understand.

Christian says he's working on putting Harris' ineptitude into historical context, over at The Cub Reporter.

And the Cub site at MLB has an article on Harris that features effusive praise from Baker, and a quote from Lenny referring to himself in the third person. Apparently, he was one of the privileged few who was allowed to touch Sammy's boom box.
   297. scott Posted: August 04, 2003 at 09:41 AM (#567289)
isn't he also the all time pinch hit leader? that's gotta count for something. ;)
   298. Transmission Posted: August 04, 2003 at 03:16 PM (#567297)
Ebert and Roper both gave the movie a thumbs down on their TV show. Haven't heard a positive review yet.

Hill's on the DL, and now there's loose talk of the pirates taking someone else, since they landed Sanchez.
   299. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: August 04, 2003 at 03:18 PM (#567298)
Kelton can't play 2B, 3B, or any other position, really -- they should deal him to an AL team, IMO. Better news, though, is that LFH can't play 2B either.
   300. Bunny Vincennes Posted: August 04, 2003 at 04:32 PM (#567301)
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't even know what to say.
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