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   1. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:13 AM (#2702716)
I apologize in advance for the title... it was too appropriate to resist.
   2. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:33 AM (#2702730)
btw, could someone please explain why BTF's cub blog is named Gonfalon Cubs?

Every year, I expect the Cubs to win about at least 5 more games than they end up winning.
   3. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:41 AM (#2702737)
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double --
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
   4. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:52 AM (#2702743)
Much obliged.
   5. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:12 AM (#2702756)
It should really be Gonfalon Cubble, but I'm sure that has been discussed and rejected.
   6. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:15 AM (#2702758)
Don't blame me, I voted for "Cubtharsis"
   7. Hack Wilson Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:36 AM (#2702768)
Pops some of us, okay me, have suffered through most of those hundred years and yet the saddest day of all was the day Will Ferrell sang during the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley and hundreds of teeny bopper chanted that they wanted to have his baby.

Only disagreement with your summary is that Sean Marshall is a very tall Jamie Moyer and will still be pitching in 15 years. Good job.
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 29, 2008 at 06:34 AM (#2702800)
Ted Lilly – Set career highs in strikeouts and innings pitched. Throw in a dramatic improvement in walk rate and you get a career year. ERA actually understates how well he pitched. In 207 innings he surrendered a meager 3 unearned runs. Now, he’s a good bet to regress this season

Then again, he's one of the game's most extreme flyball pitchers, and as you mention in the article the Cubs could have a helluva defensive outfield if Pie keeps the CF job & everyone stays healthy.

Actually, according to Fielding Win Shares, last year's Cubs was the best fielding OF in baseball, about 3 win shares over second place, and about 7-8 over average. As a team, the Cub roster had the most FWS they've had in any season since 2007.

And with Pie & Fukudome hopefully landing starting jobs, it could be the best defensive outfield any team has had since Minnesota's Soul Patrol at the turn-of-the-millennium.

Oh, and Rich Hill is another flyballer.
   9. Raskolnikov Posted: February 29, 2008 at 06:47 AM (#2702803)
*DeRosa experienced heart palpitations earlier this week and is scheduled to undergo an outpatient heart surgery, whatever that could be*

Hmm, strange. Sounds like paroxysmal a-fib/aflutter, maybe they're going to do an ablation? Again, just speculation on my part - as the condition is unusual in a man in his early 30s.
   10. Phil Coorey. Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:46 AM (#2702823)
Great stuff there, Pops.

Lu read the preview and loved it as well.
   11. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: February 29, 2008 at 10:10 AM (#2702826)
And with Pie & Fukudome hopefully landing starting jobs, it could be the best defensive outfield any team has had since Minnesota's Soul Patrol at the turn-of-the-millennium.

Or at least since the second half of 2007 when Atlanta ran out Willie Harris, Andruw Jones and Jeff Francouer vs RHP.
   12. DKDC Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:36 PM (#2702983)
Now that the Brian Roberts rumors have died

Have they died down in Chicago? Because they are as strong as ever in Baltimore. The general consensus is that this deal will get done in a couple of weeks after the Orioles have a chance to scout some of the players on the Cubs side in live action.

Today's Baltimore Sun:

On a day when two Chicago Cubs scouts were on hand to watch him play, second baseman Brian Roberts stood out in the Orioles' otherwise dreary exhibition season debut yesterday.


The Orioles will dispatch a scout to Arizona next week to look at some of the players being discussed. Both sides feel confident that a deal could get done, but not immediately, as talks are expected to continue for a few more weeks
   13. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:46 PM (#2702993)
As a team, the Cub roster had the most FWS they've had in any season since 2007.

I *thought* it seemed like a hell of a drought...
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:48 PM (#2702996)
The general consensus is that this deal will get done in a couple of weeks after the Orioles have a chance to scout some of the players on the Cubs side in live action.

Excellent. Let's see Cedeno, Murton and Marshall go lights-out for a couple weeks.
   15. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:49 PM (#2702997)
And let's hope Pie sucks it up during that time (and wins the starting job anyway).
   16. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 03:53 PM (#2703002)
And Pops, you should really give Mr. Marquez his props for the title (which I like, btw...).
   17. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:01 PM (#2703008)
As a team, the Cub roster had the most FWS they've had in any season since 2007.

I *thought* it seemed like a hell of a drought...

Dag gummit -- I meant the most FWS they've had in a season since 1945. They had 49.9 & even if you adjust for the 154/162 game schedule back in the day, it was their best defensive squad in 62 years. Since then, they've added Fuku, Soto, & likely Pie, meaning their D should be better. I dunno if Soto's any good defensively mind you, but it's like the Polish Tank Divisions in the late 1940s. Even if they sucked, they were a helluva lot better than the damn horsies they replaced.

My prediction: as Zambrano goes, so go the Cubs. Last year, looking at his overall stats, he had a good season That's just Exhibit A in how stats can be misleading. As I'm sure everyone here knows, he was never good last year. He alternated between stretches of craptitude and brilliance in some pitching mutli-personality disorder.

If he's Good Carlos this year and lives up to his potential, the Cubs will win the division.

If he's Bad Carlos and it turns out that Carlos Gomez's analysis of his arm slot indicates a slow burning injury, then the Cubs have no chance.

If he in-between, as he was last year, then it depends.

Carlos Zambrano will have more impact on the 2008 NL Central division race than any other player in teh game.
   18. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:10 PM (#2703017)
I dunno if Soto's any good defensively mind you, but it's like the Polish Tank Divisions in the late 1940s. Even if they sucked, they were a helluva lot better than the damn horsies they replaced.

No kidding; I don't know anything about Soto's fielding metrics, but the mere fact that I wasn't regularly tearing my hair out watching him behind the plate suggests he'll be a damn sight better than Barrett and Kendall.

That FWS figure being the best in 62 years is pretty impressive. Guess I didn't realize they were that good.
   19. Weeks T. Olive Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:15 PM (#2703023)
If he's Bad Carlos and it turns out that Carlos Gomez's analysis of his arm slot indicates a slow burning injury, then the Cubs have no chance.

I disagree. I think if there is one team in baseball that could lose its ace and still have an excellent shot of winning its division, it's the Cubs for a variety of reasons.
   20. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:15 PM (#2703025)
No kidding; I don't know anything about Soto's fielding metrics, but the mere fact that I wasn't regularly tearing my hair out watching him behind the plate suggests he'll be a damn sight better than Barrett and Kendall.

I don't remember where I found this (and I can't find it now) but I seem to recall his minor league CS numbers were in the 30-35% range.

I wonder if the young kids in the minors are harder to throw out than their older major league counterparts?
   21. Weeks T. Olive Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2703033)
Nice preview, Pops, but I found the entry on Aramis a little strange considering he played in fewer games in 2007 than he has in every year since 2001 save one. I don't think I'd equate missing a month with perfect health. However, you're right that he was much less hobbled when in the lineup, mostly due to the fact that the injury that caused him to miss 30 games was a wrist injury and not his usual slew of leg/groin issues.
   22. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:50 PM (#2703067)
From the Baltimore Sun article:

the Orioles are believed to be looking for a package that includes pitcher Sean Gallagher, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, pitching prospects Jose Ceda and/or Donald Veal, and perhaps one other player

The Cubs had supposedly been making inquiries about Coco Crisp. I doubt there was much to that rumor if Baltimore has given up on acquiring Pie.
   23. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 04:51 PM (#2703071)
Damn lack of edit function. I'll try again.

From the Baltimore Sun article:


the Orioles are believed to be looking for a package that includes pitcher Sean Gallagher, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, pitching prospects Jose Ceda and/or Donald Veal, and perhaps one other player


The Cubs had supposedly been making inquiries about Coco Crisp. I doubt there was much to that rumor if Baltimore has given up on acquiring Pie.
   24. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 29, 2008 at 05:31 PM (#2703108)
Every rate stat for Wood postively screams "SAMPLE SIZE!"
   25. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 05:48 PM (#2703126)
Well, it's not like he hasn't always had a high strikeout rate.
   26. DKDC Posted: February 29, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2703183)
Brian Roberts in his first 5 spring training plate appearances:

2 doubles
1 single
1 walk
1 groundout
4 stolen bases (3 steals of third base)
3 runs scored

I guess he wants out.
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 29, 2008 at 07:10 PM (#2703195)
Great job, Pops.

For once, I feel pretty confident about how the Cubs' offense is going to perform. It probably isn't going to be great, but it will probably be average or maybe even good, and at this point it doesn't feature any glaring holes with even worse options on the bench. The offense wasn't good at all last year, but I see this year's being significantly better and have reasonable confidence about it not being downright sucky.

This is a big deal. I think most good teams have a pretty good idea of what they are going to get from their offense, and live and die on the vagaries of their pitching. Year after year the Cubs seem to have big questions about both, and I start the season thinking that this team is likely to win something between 65 and 94 games.

It should really be Gonfalon Cubble, but I'm sure that has been discussed and rejected.

I don't think it was, but I suppose there is nothing to stop us from changing it...

His poor hitting will only be exacerbated by Piniella’s reported decision to bat him second in the lineup this season.

Well, it depends on what form his poor hitting takes. Hitters like Theriot tend to be evaluated heavily based on batting average, and he had a career minor league BA of .271, and hit just .266 in the majors last year. However, BA wasn't perceived as much of a problem last season, as he hit .299 in April (which was a matter of being red hot in the second half of the month), and his BA bottomed out at .251 in late June. He rekindled things in July/Aug again which kept his BA respectable for the rest of the year despite tanking in September.

My thinking is that if Theriot starts the season off with months like he had in May/June last year, his hold on the number two spot will be very tenuous. And with the Brian Roberts deal seeming to have nine lives, he may never see it.
   28. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: February 29, 2008 at 07:28 PM (#2703215)
Well, it's not like he hasn't always had a high strikeout rate.

True, but there are so many weirdnesses for the other ones that you can't bank too much on that one, either. He's a different guy than the one who struck out 20 Astros one magical day.
   29. Cabbage Posted: February 29, 2008 at 08:04 PM (#2703277)
I assume Soriano is sticking with the leadoff spot?

Every rate stat for Wood postively screams "SAMPLE SIZE!"

FWIW, he looked good while doing it.
   30. Spahn Insane Posted: February 29, 2008 at 08:17 PM (#2703292)
He's a different guy than the one who struck out 20 Astros one magical day.

Thanks, Dr. I hadn't noticed. He's been a "different guy" from that guy since the fall of '98, and he's still always had very high strikeout rates. He's still got great velocity, so there's no reason to think he won't continue to strike out a lot of guys.
   31. Weeks T. Olive Posted: February 29, 2008 at 08:54 PM (#2703338)
True, but there are so many weirdnesses for the other ones that you can't bank too much on that one, either.

What exactly are you talking about?

(2007, Career)

H/9IP
6.66, 6.97

BB/9IP
4.80, 4.36

Ok, he gave up 0 HR last year and that won't repeat, but other than that, I'm not seeing a whole lot of "weirdness" in his peripherals.
   32. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:39 PM (#2703394)
Dag gummit -- I meant the most FWS they've had in a season since 1945.

Make up your mind: Are you Dag Nabbit or Dag Gummit?

Pick a side and stick with it. We're at war.
   33. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:49 PM (#2703410)
I'm going to comment on the article as I go through it, and then the comments in a follow up post...

Theriot is highly unlikely to make vast improvements at the age of 28 and he isn’t a clearly better option than the younger Cedeno. Theriot is highly unlikely to make vast improvements at the age of 28 and he isn’t a clearly better option than the younger Cedeno.

Cedeno, MLB Career: .247/.277/.349, 688 ABs
Theriot, MLB Career: .276/.341/.379

Cedeno's never hit well for a consistent period in the bigs, but he hasn't been given a really good shot in a while. He never looks like he can hit as well as he does in AAA (does that make any sense?). I think Theriot should definitely be better offensively, but Cedeno does have the potential that Theriot doesn't. I think the defense evens out, even though Ronny has more range and a better arm, he tends to make the boneheaded play and Theriot's pretty fundamentally sound.

Henry Blanco, Matt Murton, Ronny Cedeno and Daryle Ward. The final spot is likely a battle between Sam Fuld and Mike Fontenot. Remember, Cedeno has been practicing in center field so it wouldn’t be a shock if the Cubs decided to err on the side of too many middle infielders.

I was going to disagree with this, but if Ronny can show he can handle CF he'll make the team, IMO. I think Fuld's got the leg up, because outside of Fukudome no one else can handle CF. And if Pie struggles, Lou's gonna want someone who knows their way around out there. I believe both Cedeno and Fontenot would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors (out of options), so that may have some bearing on the final roster. Or we'll just see a couple of minor trades at the end of ST.

Carlos Zambrano – Got a shiny new contract and responded with his worst full season in major league baseball. Maybe that’s a little too harsh. Big Z came through with a 118 ERA+ and one excellent postseason start.

My problem was the inconsistency. He tended to be either great or terrible. He didn't have too many ok starts. Hopefully just by limiting the terrible starts (and turning them into mediocre), he'll have a good bounceback year.

Ryan Dempster

As you hinted, it sure sounds like his spot is assured right now. Lou was pleased with his initial ST outing. I'm cautiously pessimistic on this one. If it doesn't work, Lou's not going to stick with it. So that's the silver lining, I guess.

The Cubs are in good shape to have that for their 7th or 8th best starting option.

I agree. For some reason, I just hate Sean Marshall and am honestly surprised whenever he has a good outing. But that low on the depth chart, I can live with. Maybe he'd be better out of the pen, perhaps as a LOOGY. I dunno.

Kevin Hart – Has had one good year in professional ball to date. Lou took a shine to him so don’t be too surprised if he gets a chance to stick in the event of injury.

Unless they want to keep him as a starter (which is possible), I expect him to make the pen out of ST. He'll be, at worst, the long man out of the pen.
   34. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:52 PM (#2703413)
I dunno if Soto's any good defensively mind you

I don't know what his numbers were in his limited duty, but he sure *looked* outstanding. Maybe that's just how bad Kendall and Barrett were. But he looks like he should be able to keep the job even if he can't hit.
   35. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:55 PM (#2703419)

I agree. For some reason, I just hate Sean Marshall and am honestly surprised whenever he has a good outing. But that low on the depth chart, I can live with. Maybe he'd be better out of the pen, perhaps as a LOOGY. I dunno.


Marshall has shown virtually zero platoon split in the majors so far - that's about 230 innings. If he wants to have any sort of career he will have to find a way to do much better against left handed hitters or stick in the rotation.
   36. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:56 PM (#2703420)
the Orioles are believed to be looking for a package that includes pitcher Sean Gallagher, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, pitching prospects Jose Ceda and/or Donald Veal, and perhaps one other player

I'll do that, assuming the other player isn't one of the higher guys. The best part of that deal is that none of those guys are being counted on to do that much at the major league level this season (and maybe not even next). If the Roberts thing is in play, just get it over with already. I'm tired of reading about it, and will try not to comment on it again unless the trade is happenning.
   37. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 29, 2008 at 09:57 PM (#2703422)
Marshall has shown virtually zero platoon split in the majors so far - that's about 230 innings. If he wants to have any sort of career he will have to find a way to do much better against left handed hitters or stick in the rotation.

I didn't say he'd be a good LOOGY, but if his role is limited his numbers could end up looking pretty shiny.
   38. Andere Richtingen Posted: February 29, 2008 at 11:06 PM (#2703504)
Cedeno, MLB Career: .247/.277/.349, 688 ABs
Theriot, MLB Career: .276/.341/.379


Cedeño's career spans ages 22-24. Theriot's mostly 26-27. We probably know what we're getting with Theriot, and it's pretty marginal offensively even for a SS in the major leagues. With Cedeño, not so much.
   39. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 03, 2008 at 04:05 PM (#2704724)
I was glancing at the ST stats and noticed Lieber hasn't pitched yet. Is this expected? At what point will he be throwing in ST games? If not, when is he supposed to be ready for the regular season?
   40. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: March 03, 2008 at 04:18 PM (#2704737)
Make up your mind: Are you Dag Nabbit or Dag Gummit?

You should talk, you True Blue Male Prostitute deJesus Freak.
   41. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2008 at 04:43 PM (#2704771)
For once, I feel pretty confident about how the Cubs' offense is going to perform. It probably isn't going to be great, but it will probably be average or maybe even good, and at this point it doesn't feature any glaring holes with even worse options on the bench. The offense wasn't good at all last year, but I see this year's being significantly better and have reasonable confidence about it not being downright sucky.

The Cubs were 8th in the NL in runs scored last year, which I put closer to "average or maybe even good" than "not good at all" or "downright sucky"
   42. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 03, 2008 at 04:59 PM (#2704797)
As an Orioles fan, I'd be happy with Gallagher, Cedeno, Veal/Ceda, and Colvin/Patterson. I don't think we can expect more than that.
   43. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 03, 2008 at 05:10 PM (#2704818)
The Cubs were 8th in the NL in runs scored last year, which I put closer to "average or maybe even good" than "not good at all" or "downright sucky"

They finished 11 runs ahead of San Diego and 17 runs ahead of the Dodgers. It's probably more accurate to say they were the 10th best offense in the NL ahead of San Francisco, Washington, Arizona, Houston, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.

My intuitive mental adjustment for the DH & park probably puts the Cubs ahead of the White Sox, Royals and Twins. I would guess they are slightly ahead of Oakland (11 more runs than the A's despite no DH but in a much friendlier park for offense), maybe Baltimore and maybe Toronto. My (very debatable) guess is Chicago was around a 17-20 ranking among all the MLB offenses.
   44. Andere Richtingen Posted: March 03, 2008 at 10:22 PM (#2705186)
EqA places the 2007 Cubs as third from the bottom in the NL, 23rd in the majors. One might quibble about the 2007 park factor, but I think "not good at all" is fair.
   45. Shredder Posted: March 04, 2008 at 10:33 PM (#2706212)
The Cubs should alter the color of the "C" on their uniforms this year to mark the 100th year, much like UCLA did to mark their 100th championship. I'd consider buying one of those jerseys.
   46. baconears Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:22 PM (#2706725)
hh
   47. baconears Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:24 PM (#2706728)
You freaking idiots keep banning me for no reason. tell dan syzmboskie to get a life and quit bannign me.
   48. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: March 05, 2008 at 06:37 PM (#2706736)
You freaking idiots keep banning me for no reason. tell dan syzmboskie to get a life and quit bannign me.


Why don't you get a life and stop signing up for a place you know will ban you?
   49. Ennder Posted: March 08, 2008 at 06:10 PM (#2708731)
I don't buy Lilly's walk rate from last year, seems more like an outlier than a reality given his age. If the wind is blowing out much this year I think he is looking at a 4.25+ ERA.

As for the Zambrano comment, he doesn't mean any more to the Cubs than Sheets does to the Brewers. Both teams really need that ace since after the #2 guy I don't think they have great pitching.
   50. TOLAXOR Posted: March 08, 2008 at 08:16 PM (#2708801)
WATCHING KOSUKE FUKUDOME PLAY ON WGN TODAY MAKES ME *REALLY*, *REALLY* WISH HARRY WERE STILL ALIVE!!!
   51. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 08, 2008 at 09:20 PM (#2708829)
These are the saddest of possible words:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double --
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
"Tinker to Evers to Chance."


Gonfalon Cubs is nice, but why not "Ruthless Pricks"?
   52. something clever Posted: March 28, 2008 at 06:14 PM (#2722535)
The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Cubs fans happy.
   53. Andere Richtingen Posted: March 31, 2008 at 02:07 PM (#2724313)
When Pops wrote this article, it looked like BTF wasn't going to be publishing a "Looking Forward" series this season. Well, that's changed, so it looks like this preview will be moved to the "Looking Forward" blog.
   54. Meatwad Posted: March 31, 2008 at 02:21 PM (#2724330)
theres some high quality entertainment in reading the looking forwards from 2004 on
   55. Meatwad Posted: March 30, 2009 at 09:07 PM (#3119290)
more good reading here in this thread

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