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   1. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 09, 2007 at 09:39 PM (#2435039)
Despite the many badly timed bullpen implosions we’ve witnessed, the Cubs relievers have an ERA almost identical to that of the starters.

I've been told that when you factor in inherited runners, the Cubs 'pen becomes worse.

There are 121 pitchers in MLB that have thrown at least 70 innings up to this point. If you rank them by BABIP, ALL FOUR of the Cubs top starters are in the lowest 20

This means the defense has been terrific. Seriously, a low BABIP isn't something to worry about, its when a pitcher's BABIP is much lower than his teammate & he doesn't throw a knuckler. All Cubs SP have really low BABIP? Well, suddenly I like their prospects to maintain it a whole lot better thank you. (looks at the numbers) Marquis & Hill will get worse, but when four guys responsible for 57% of IP on a team are all really low, that's actually a really good sign.

I’m willing to believe that the Cubs have a very solid defense that helps their pitchers on balls in play, while Milwaukee is not so strong in that department, but it’s not enough to explain this discrepancy.

Why not? Chicago team BABIP (Formula I'm using: ((H-HR)/(TBF-HR-W-HB-K)) is .275 (616/2242). Milwaukee's at .295 (696/2360).

If the Cubs had Mil's BABIP, they'd hav 46 more hits allowed. Other way around and Milwaukee's alowed 48 fewer hits. That's about a hit every two games. Sounds perfectly within the real of believability to me. Note: I haven't seen nearly enough of Milwaukee's defense to say if they're as bad as this difference makes them out to be).

I wouldn’t bet the farm on the Cardinals being out of it, but I think most people see a two horse race as we head across the straightaway.

In his book "Winners" Dayn Perry makes an excellent argument that Walt Jocketty is a master a midseason trades.

The Cubs really don’t have any everyday players blowing their projections out of the water, so if anything I expect them to improve offensively.

Ah, but then the question becomes who gets the playing time.

Offensively, they'll be worse at the catcher. Barrett was having an off-year (still is. Incredibly, he hasn't drawn a single walk since the trade), but Hill & Bowen have been mindblowingly dreadful. Assuming one of them hits better (how can they not?) and Blanco will improve things, they'll still be worse off at this slot. I mean, just last sentence I was reduced to saying Blanco will improve the club's offense at this position for the love of Mike!

RF should get better as Jones has played his way to the bench.

I really like the way Piniella's got all the hitters involved, but I'm worried that he's overusing his arms in the 'pen. Hopefully it'll get better when Dempster gets back joining Marmol & a revitalized Howry for a nice core.

Hope no one sees their shadow in this thread -- 6 more weeks of no posting at GC.
   2. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 09, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2435084)
Other things worth noting (thanks to the new update at b-ref.

So far, the Cubs have the worst offense in all baseball in the extra innings. They should improve then, and that'll help.

Key difference: Milwaukee's the best against LHP and the Cubs are among the worst offenses agasint southpaws. Makes sense, given that the Cubs have the league's worst lefthanded hitters.

The Cubs offense is like the old Durocher Cubs with their sinkholes. Even with Barrett, their next-to-worst at catcher, worst at short, & 14th best at CF. Man, that BABIP better be due to defense or those guy are really indefensible.

Upshot: Cubs have a great top of the order but a terrible 7-9.

Cubs are pretty generic in situational hitting, except when the bases are loaded. Then they're terrible. Actually, they suck in most situations with a runner on third.

The earlier the game, the better the Cubs hit. They have the 6th best sOPS+ in innings 1-3, 7th best in innings 4-6, 11th best in innings 7-9, and are by far the worst in extra innings. Their sOPT+ is 24 in extra innings, next worst is 46.

Cubs hitters do much better at day than at night.

I have no point, I just LOVE the new update.
   3. CrazyAboutLou Posted: July 09, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2435085)
I wish I had this much free time.
The cubs will win this cupcake division. Have some faith!
"Don't give up, don't ever give up."
   4. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 09, 2007 at 11:33 PM (#2435113)
Despite the many badly timed bullpen implosions we’ve witnessed, the Cubs relievers have an ERA almost identical to that of the starters.

I've been told that when you factor in inherited runners, the Cubs 'pen becomes worse.


Has anyone shown that stranding inherited runners is a skill? I've asked this question a number of times and I don't recall anyone answering.

There are 121 pitchers in MLB that have thrown at least 70 innings up to this point. If you rank them by BABIP, ALL FOUR of the Cubs top starters are in the lowest 20

This means the defense has been terrific. Seriously, a low BABIP isn't something to worry about, its when a pitcher's BABIP is much lower than his teammate & he doesn't throw a knuckler. All Cubs SP have really low BABIP? Well, suddenly I like their prospects to maintain it a whole lot better thank you. (looks at the numbers) Marquis & Hill will get worse, but when four guys responsible for 57% of IP on a team are all really low, that's actually a really good sign.


It may indeed reflect defense, but perhaps you don't believe in the DiPS concept. In any case, I find it hard to believe that the Cubs defense is that good, and that luck is a better explanation for it.

I’m willing to believe that the Cubs have a very solid defense that helps their pitchers on balls in play, while Milwaukee is not so strong in that department, but it’s not enough to explain this discrepancy.

Why not? Chicago team BABIP (Formula I'm using: ((H-HR)/(TBF-HR-W-HB-K)) is .275 (616/2242). Milwaukee's at .295 (696/2360).

If the Cubs had Mil's BABIP, they'd hav 46 more hits allowed. Other way around and Milwaukee's alowed 48 fewer hits. That's about a hit every two games. Sounds perfectly within the real of believability to me. Note: I haven't seen nearly enough of Milwaukee's defense to say if they're as bad as this difference makes them out to be).


It's not that Milwaukee's is so bad, it's more that Chicago's is so good. And I was citing the BABIP stats for the top four starters, not the whole team. The DiPS ERAs for Marquis, Hill and Zambrano are all on the mid to high 4's, and if they regress to that, obviously the Cubs are likely to be giving up a lot more runs. I actually don't expect Zambrano to regress, unless he's hurt, which he might be. The point is that the Cubs are relying on Marquis, Hill and Lilly to continue to be this good, and I don't see it, particularly looking at their BABIP (Lilly, admittedly, doesn't look so bad in this department, but relying on him to keep his ERA <4 seems like a tall order).

I wouldn’t bet the farm on the Cardinals being out of it, but I think most people see a two horse race as we head across the straightaway.

In his book "Winners" Dayn Perry makes an excellent argument that Walt Jocketty is a master a midseason trades.


He is, but he's got a lot of holes to fill. I'm guessing that Jocketty not only knows how to make a great midseason trade, he also knows when to fold. We'll see if 2007 is one of those years or not.

Hope no one sees their shadow in this thread -- 6 more weeks of no posting at GC.

Again, are you volunteering?
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 09, 2007 at 11:58 PM (#2435132)
I wrote earlier and will reiterate that the Cubs still have some bullets in the holster if needed. I think it's pretty obvious that Cedeno has got his "sea legs" and would nudge the Cubs offense forward. The young catcher is currently wounded but might be an option later on if things require it. And Hendry has shown some skill on the trade front. And when the team is trailing the GM of said team tends to be more "motivated".

The Brewers issues are pretty straightforward. The offense is HIGHLY dependent on the home run. At last count I believe 46% of the teams runs had scored via home run. Sans power it goes into a deep sleep. Note the Brewers abysmal record against teams in big ballparks. Sure some of it is the quality of the team (San Diego) but a good portion of it is that their long fly balls end up on the warning track. (Pittsburgh/Washington). The starting pitching has been a real disappointment since early May. Suppan has been dreadful. Vargas has been just a hair better. Capuano either injured or ineffective. Sheets has carried the rotation the last two months with only Dave Bush waking from hibernation the last three weeks. If not for some solid pinch-pitching duties by Gallardo and Villanueva the pitching line would look even worse. We keep being told that Suppan is a second half pitcher, but the guy I am seeing better have one serious magic switch or that 6 plus ERA since mid-May ain't going away. Vargas simply cannot get past the 6th inning. He literally fades whether he has reached 70, 80, or 90 pitches. Let him keep his job until August and then let Yovani pick up the rest of the season. This keeps Gallardo's innings down while still getting your best guys in the rotation when it counts.

As for the bullpen, the Brewers have two guys at Triple A who deserve jobs in Grant Balfour and Joe Thatcher. Yost doesn't trust Spurling anyway so Melvin might as well swap him out as Ned also makes a habit of tossing the new guy into the pond right off the bat. If he swims he gets into the bullpen rotation. If he sinks he gets buried for mop-up work. My guess is that either guy with the Sounds will keep from drowning.

Hart and Braun will definitely regress in the second half. Nobody noticed but Corey had a 22 game hitting streak in the first half. I seriously doubt Weeks will do much of anything this season. The wrist injury has completely sapped his bat speed and by playing he has fallen into horrible habits at the plate. The team would do everyone a favor if they put him on the DL for the rest of the season and look to 2008. That or at minimum have him take a month off. Right now he's just getting frustrated while not aiding the team's cause. The team was counting on Hall to finish with a rush but now he's likely not back until late July and who knows if his bat will follow? Jenkins might heat up but playing part-time his impact will be minimal. The Crew will score fewer runs while counting on the starters to get their heads out of their collective *rses.

And the Crew's defense is "ok". It's better than in previous years but nothing special. Last in the league at turning double plays which is a combination of a strikeout staff, a flyball prone staff, and a second baseman shaky on the pivot.
   6. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 10, 2007 at 12:51 AM (#2435195)
Again, are you volunteering?

Before the season began I e-mailed Furtado if I could have the keys to Primate Studies. He never responded. I've moved on. I'm not looking to expand on any responsibilities at btf.

It may indeed reflect defense, but perhaps you don't believe in the DiPS concept.

I don't get this comment? I think defense matters when it comes to balls in play thus I don't believe in DIPS? If the entire staff is showing really low BABIP, that's a sign of defense doing its job.

I think it's pretty obvious that Cedeno has got his "sea legs" and would nudge the Cubs offense forward.

(checks). Holy crap - Cedeno's going shitass crazy in Iowa, hitting 383/457/611. Damn.

For schit and giggles: NL teams by BABIP
1. NYM .270
2. CHC .279
3. SFG .285
4. SDP .285
5. DCN .287
6. STL .289
7. MIL .298
LEAGUE AVG: .298
8. LAD .302
9. COL .302
10. ATL .303
11. ARI .303
12. HOU .306
13. PHI .308
14. PIT .311
15. CIN .312
16. FLO .315

Man, that's a fearsome split down the middle. Last year there was a 40 point split from first to last.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2435202)
Chris:

You have to check the veracity of my claim? You wound me. Sniff, sniff...............
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:03 AM (#2435210)
Harv,

Trust, yet verify.
   9. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:09 AM (#2435277)
I don't get this comment? I think defense matters when it comes to balls in play thus I don't believe in DIPS? If the entire staff is showing really low BABIP, that's a sign of defense doing its job.

You were making it sound like you thought it was entirely defense. My point was that I really don't think defense explains Jason Marquis' ERA (or I suspect Hill's, or Zambrano's up to this point).

(checks). Holy crap - Cedeno's going shitass crazy in Iowa, hitting 383/457/611. Damn.

And yet, I haven't heard any suggestion that the Cubs intend to call him up. Instead we will continue to watch Theriot stink it up.

I don't think Cedeno is going to get another chance in this organization. Time to trade him. Pennies on the dollar is better than what the Cubs will ever get out of him.
   10. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:17 AM (#2435395)
Theriot? He can play just about every position and he has a 95 OPS+ against righties this season. He's a very useful piece. You want to get rid of someone, cut Izturis loose.
   11. McCoy Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:32 AM (#2435400)
Theriot is stinkin it up? When did that happen, I must have missed it. No he is not an all-star but I think he helps this team out and would probably help most teams out. He went into a bit of a funk in the middle of June but over the last 10 games he raised his batting average by almost 20 points, his OBP by over 20 points, and his SLG by almost 30 points. The guy is super fast, will take an occasional walk, and can play several positions.
   12. greenback needs a ride, not ammo Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:20 AM (#2435421)
Has anyone shown that stranding inherited runners is a skill?


It is a function of SLG%. Not a particularly great insight, that.

I wish I had the confidence in Jocketty's ability to recognize a lost cause that you apparently have.

Over at their blog, MGL and Tangotiger have been beating the dead horse that you must regress teams differently (i.e., "harder") than individuals.
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:43 PM (#2435512)
Theriot is stinkin it up? When did that happen, I must have missed it. No he is not an all-star but I think he helps this team out and would probably help most teams out. He went into a bit of a funk in the middle of June but over the last 10 games he raised his batting average by almost 20 points, his OBP by over 20 points, and his SLG by almost 30 points. The guy is super fast, will take an occasional walk, and can play several positions.

Yeah, Theriot is okay. What I meant to say, and expressed poorly, is that if Theriot continues to play like he did in May-June, which is a definite possibility, we are still not going to see Cedeno.
   14. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2007 at 01:50 PM (#2435518)
I can't believe we won't see either or both of Cedeno or Murton within the next month or so; Jones will be traded somehow, some way, Floyd will probably end up injured for an extended stretch, and Izturis might as well (that might be the best incentive to play him more often).
   15. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:45 PM (#2435570)
There are 121 pitchers in MLB that have thrown at least 70 innings up to this point. If you rank them by BABIP, ALL FOUR of the Cubs top starters are in the lowest 20

--This means the defense has been terrific. Seriously, a low BABIP isn't something to worry about, its when a pitcher's BABIP is much lower than his teammate & he doesn't throw a knuckler. All Cubs SP have really low BABIP? Well, suddenly I like their prospects to maintain it a whole lot better thank you. (looks at the numbers) Marquis & Hill will get worse, but when four guys responsible for 57% of IP on a team are all really low, that's actually a really good sign.

It may indeed reflect defense, but perhaps you don't believe in the DiPS concept. In any case, I find it hard to believe that the Cubs defense is that good, and that luck is a better explanation for it.


I don't think that Dag Nabbit is overlooking DiPS at all; he's saying that if it were one pitcher, that pitcher could be expected to regress, but if it's an entire staff (or rotation), then it's probably not just a matter of getting lucky on BABIP -- that defense probably has a lot to do with it.

To that end, the Cubs DER is .718 -- 3rd in baseball and 2nd in the NL only to the Mets. Milwaukee's is .698 -- 15th in MLB and 7th in the NL.


The Cubs offense is like the old Durocher Cubs with their sinkholes. Even with Barrett, their next-to-worst at catcher, worst at short, & 14th best at CF. Man, that BABIP better be due to defense or those guy are really indefensible.

The defense is good, but as Harvey observed, Ronny Cedeno is ripping it up at Iowa (to the tune of .383/.457/.611 -- a translated EQA of .318, better than anyone on the major league squad). Lou Piniella has noticed this as well, but they really can't do anything about it until they unload Cesar Izturis.
   16. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:46 PM (#2435572)
Hart and Braun will definitely regress in the second half. Nobody noticed but Corey had a 22 game hitting streak in the first half.

I (and my fantasy team) noticed.
   17. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:48 PM (#2435573)
Again, are you volunteering?

--Before the season began I e-mailed Furtado if I could have the keys to Primate Studies. He never responded. I've moved on. I'm not looking to expand on any responsibilities at btf.


Hey, I know you put out articles at THT, but if you have something you want to write about the Cubs, you can always forward it to Andere or me and we would be happy to post it here.
   18. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2435579)
Lou Piniella has noticed this as well, but they really can't do anything about it until they unload Cesar Izturis.

Would it be that big a deal to just cut Izturis? How much does he make?
   19. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2435580)
And yes, I realize this is the Cubs, who've never quite grasped the concept of sunk costs, even though they're swimming in cash.
   20. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2435590)
'07:$4.15M

'08:$5.45M club option (or a $300k buyout)
   21. TomH Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:02 PM (#2435592)
I don't think that Dag Nabbit is overlooking DiPS at all; he's saying that if it were one pitcher, that pitcher could be expected to regress, but if it's an entire staff (or rotation), then it's probably not just a matter of getting lucky on BABIP -- that defense probably has a lot to do with it.

But sometimes, over the course of a team's half-year, it IS luck. Note the Yankees good BAPIP (team has a lousy, rotten KO/BB ratio, but a decent ERA) this year, and try to explain how great their ability to turn balls into outs is; nah, it's a lot of luck.

Another way to check it out would be to see if the Cubs' BAPIP was also good last year and in 05 (some parks are more prone to poor DER than others), and whether or not it seems they improved their team D in 07.
   22. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2435607)
The current Cubs team -- both defensively and in terms of the pitching staff -- are far different from last year, let alone 2005.

It seems to me that when you look at one pitcher and see that his BABIP is out of whack, it's fair to say that he'll regress. If it's a teamwide phenomena, though, you have to recognize that the defense probably has a lot to do with it.

Otherwise, you're essentially saying that there is no point to looking at team DER because it, like BABIP, will also regress to the mean. That's preposterous.
   23. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2435630)
'07:$4.15M

'08:$5.45M club option (or a $300k buyout)


So $4.45M to get rid of him, less whatever he's earned in '07 to this point. Not bad, if it clears a roster spot for someone better (i.e., Cedeno).

Of course, the Cubs don't get the concept of sunk costs (have I mentioned this before?), so it won't happen without the use of special tools (and no, I don't mean the "special tools" in the Cub front office).
   24. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2435640)
How are the Cubs likely to improve their team for a division title run?

1) Call up Cedeno.

Is this really likely? They already have DeRosa, Theriot, Fontenot, and Izturis all on the 25 man roster. Do we really think that Piniella is going to want a 5th middle infielder? I know he uses DeRosa and Theriot for other roles, but is that often enough to create room for Cedeno? I doubt it. This is an injury only situation

2) Call up Murton

This isn't very likely either, given how poorly Murton has done in AAA. I know we need right handed power in the outfield, but we already have Soriano, Floyd, Jones, Pagan, and potentially Pie. We don't need 6 outfielders, so we'd need to DFA/trade Jones for there to be any reason for this, and Floyd would have to get injured before Murton sees much time.

3) Trade for someone

We have a lot of room to improve in the outfield, at catcher, and middle infield, probably shortstop. Given what I've outlined above, I find it hard to believe that a trade for anything other than catcher is going to make sense given the volume of players to fill the other positions. Can we really trade for Ken Griffey Jr. or Adam Dunn without reducing the outfield backlog? If we had an injury to Floyd and ditched Jones, we could, but it's still unlikely. I honestly don't know of any catchers offhand that would be worth getting that teams would want to dump for prospects, so I don't know if an upgrade there is possible.

And what prospects could we trade? Do we have much that other teams want? Most of the young people with value are on the team already, or are considered part of the future. What has value that we can afford to part with?
   25. SouthSideRyan Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2435663)
This isn't very likely either, given how poorly Murton has done in AAA.


299/380/506
   26. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 04:00 PM (#2435665)
299/380/506


I could have sworn a recent Cubs article said that they thought Murton was doing poorly. Either my memory is off, or the Cubs are idiots.

Both are equally likely.
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:18 PM (#2435760)
Another way to check it out would be to see if the Cubs' BAPIP was also good last year and in 05 (some parks are more prone to poor DER than others), and whether or not it seems they improved their team D in 07.

Here is how the Cubs have done and ranked in MLB in BPro's Defensive Efficiency (which I think is just 1-BABIP):

2007: .718, 3rd
2006: .705, 6th
2005: .707, 13th
2004: .702, 13th
2003: .700, 16th
2002: .693, 26th
2001: .698, 20th
2000: .700, 12th

Maybe there has been a real, recent improvement trend in defense that is responsible for this recent trend -- certainly there is reason to think this ballclub is better defensively than last year's -- but it still doesn't pass the sniff test for me. Especially when guys like Marquis have an ERA in the mid-3s and opponents' BA of .231. I would expect the Cubs as a team to regress to the middle of the curve.
   28. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:23 PM (#2435764)
I could see the argument that the curve may tighten, but I doubt the Cubs are going to have a large regression in terms of rank.
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:25 PM (#2435769)
299/380/506


I could have sworn a recent Cubs article said that they thought Murton was doing poorly. Either my memory is off, or the Cubs are idiots.

Both are equally likely.


Actually, it's the latter. Murton started out very poorly in Iowa - big shock: the guy's spent two years proving he's a major-league hitter and he gets demoted; I could see that affecting one's concentration for a few games.

But your 1) and 2) in #24 are what get me. I get the sense that the Cubs aren't in a hurry to call up Cedeno because they don't really believe the .390 batting average - he stunk last year, so they've convinced themselves that he's not a major-league hitter. Murton, on the other hand, hit WELL in 2005 and 2006 for the Cubs, but they're not going to call him up because he struggled his first week in Iowa. They're not even consistent in their idiotic rationalizations.
   30. Sweet Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:45 PM (#2435789)
Call up Cedeno

Ronny Cedeno has now hit .368/.428/.561 in ~500 PAs at AAA.

Applying 2007 PCL MLEs, this translates to .315/.355/.463, which seems a little harsh, but there you go.

Combining that with his actual MLB stats (~700 PAs of .245/.275/.343) gets you .274/.303/.393 over roughly two major-league equivalent seasons. That doesn't look so shiny, but when it comes from a 22- and 23-year-old shortstop with decent defense and baserunning skills, you have yourself an asset. To be squandered, apparently.
   31. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2435795)
Combining that with his actual MLB stats (~700 PAs of .245/.275/.343) gets you .274/.303/.393 over roughly two major-league equivalent seasons. That doesn't look so shiny, but when it comes from a 22- and 23-year-old shortstop with decent defense and baserunning skills, you have yourself an asset. To be squandered, apparently.

Of course, like every Cubs prospect, Cedeno's reputation as a fine defensive shortstop was destroyed when he played with the major league club.
   32. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2435803)
but when it comes from a 22- and 23-year-old shortstop


I could have sworn he was 26/27 by now.
   33. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:01 PM (#2435814)
It does seem like a couple of easy improvement can be made from within, but that we're all resolved to them not happenning. I think it's much more likely that Izturis can be dumped (no contract for next season) than Jones, but I still think they both will be dumped. That leaves CF and C as the two areas where they'd have to go out of the org to improve. I wonder if the Twins would consider selling off Hunter if they don't get really hot soon. The Cubs would definitely overpay. Kinda makes me wish they had tried to get Milton Bradley when he was available.
   34. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:07 PM (#2435823)
That leaves CF and C as the two areas where they'd have to go out of the org to improve.

Somebody mentioned somewhere that he might be injured right now, but catcher Geovany Soto was putting up an OPS over 1 in Iowa as of last week. As for CF, personally, I'd throw Pie out there every day, offense be damned (I'd also bat him 8th, not 2nd, though).
   35. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:16 PM (#2435838)
When Blanco got hurt, the Cubs brought up Hill instead of Soto. I'm pretty sure Soto wasn't hurt at the time. I would guess the reason had to do with working with the pitching staff; at the time if they called up Soto, the catchers would have been a rookie and Barrett. Once Hill came up and the pitchers started pitching really well to him, I guess he cemented a spot on the team. I don't think any of us (or even the Cubs) know how much credit of that actually belongs to Hill, but if only for a mental reason (whether comfort or superstition) I'd prefer to punt the offense at C than CF, and that's also partly because I don't think Pie is ready (and I didn't think he was ready when they first called him up). He'd gain more from playing everyday in AAA, IMO.
   36. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:18 PM (#2435841)
Just quickly looking through teams that would probably be sellers, there isn't much that would make a huge impact at CF of C. The Royals aren't going to trade Buck, if the Twins sell, they'd keep Mauer, the Yankees will never get rid of Posada, and the only CF who is hitting really well is Hunter, and the Twins will probably shop him if they think they're out of it.

So we're stuck with bringing up Cedeno and Murton to try to improve the team.
   37. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2435843)
So we're stuck with bringing up Cedeno and Murton to try to improve the team.

Talk about deja vu. The Cubs spent $300 million and their mid-season reinforcements are the same as they were in 2005.
   38. Spahn Insane Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2435865)
Talk about deja vu. The Cubs spent $300 million and their mid-season reinforcements are the same as they were in 2005.

Difference being, the talent core they'd be supplementing this year is better (thus more likely to contend--duh) than it was in '05, which makes getting them into the fold more crucial.
   39. Excel Hearts Choi Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2435866)
and the only CF who is hitting really well is Hunter, and the Twins will probably shop him if they think they're out of it.


What about Lofton? He has a .301/.386/.431 line. He is drawing a lot of walks (about 1 walk per 2 games), and has 20 steals. His contract expires at the end of the season, and would add about $3 million to the payroll (I believe there are some incentives in there as well).
   40. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2435867)
Talk about deja vu. The Cubs spent $300 million and their mid-season reinforcements are the same as they were in 2005.


True, but that money signed two of our pitchers, who are doing well, and the one outfielder who is performing well above average. Aramis is also paying well, though I suspect that by the end of the contract he will be a DH.

The big problem is that we have 3-4 holes offensively that still need to be addressed, and I doubt we have the payroll flexibility to fix it with a trade.
   41. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2435871)


What about Lofton? He has a .301/.386/.431 line. He is drawing a lot of walks (about 1 walk per 2 games), and has 20 steals. His contract expires at the end of the season, and would add about $3 million to the payroll (I believe there are some incentives in there as well).


I forgot about Lofton. His OBP would make him a good player in the 2 hole.

I also think that if we aren't going to play Murton, use him to trade for a corner outfielder and just bring up Pie.
   42. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2435888)
Difference being, the talent core they'd be supplementing this year is better (thus more likely to contend--duh)

Absolutely. I didn't mean to suggest nothing's changed in two years. I was just struck by how calling up Cedeno and Murton seems to have become an annual recurring theme of the Cubs.

I like Lofton as an option for CF. Where's he playing these days?

Is there any chance that Cliff Floyd would be able to attract anything in trade? I still cannot figure out what Jim Hendry was thinking when he made that deal - Floyd is completely redundant on this team when you've already got Ward/Jones/Murton, and the latter two of those actually have advantages relative to Floyd (Jones can play CF, Murton's a RHB).
   43. Excel Hearts Choi Posted: July 10, 2007 at 06:46 PM (#2435892)
Lofton is in Texas, and they have no reason to hold onto him.
   44. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2435937)
What disappoints me to a small degree is that the Brewers "Operation Kiddie Corps" has gone about as well as could be expected. Meanwhile, other teams in the division get older or get injured or simply adrift and the Crew still struggles on the road, gets rolled in PNC, and goes through periods where the level of play is horrid.

I know. Unreasonable fan.
   45. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 10, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2435952)
What disappoints me to a small degree is that the Brewers "Operation Kiddie Corps" has gone about as well as could be expected. Meanwhile, other teams in the division get older or get injured or simply adrift and the Crew still struggles on the road, gets rolled in PNC, and goes through periods where the level of play is horrid.

I know. Unreasonable fan.


In some ways the Brewers remind me of the Indians of the late 80s/early 90s, who kept bringing up great position players but never got it together, before finally hitting paydirt with a perfectly gelled pitching staff. The Brewers' pitching staff currently consists of Ben Sheets and a bunch of other guys who are capable of putting up a good year, backed by a strong bullpen.

I'm convinced that if the Brewers stick to their guns, they will be in the postseason soon, probably this year, and can remain a fixture at the top of this division. Unfortunately, their starting pitching hasn't gelled so well, which is too bad because their bullpen is looking pretty good.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2007 at 07:46 PM (#2435971)
Andere:

I know I likely read as impatient. But I am VERY aware how narrow the window of opportunity can be for any team.

I am also disappointed that the starters continue to struggle to gain consistency. It shouldn't take a half season every year for a Dave Bush or Capuano to find himself.

Sighhhh....
   47. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2007 at 07:47 PM (#2435972)
Andere:

I know I likely read as impatient. But I am VERY aware how narrow the window of opportunity can be for any team.

I am also disappointed that the starters continue to struggle to gain consistency. It shouldn't take a half season every year for a Dave Bush or Capuano to find himself.

Sighhhh....
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 10, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2435977)
And along with being impatient I'm technically inept.........
   49. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: July 11, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2436838)
Hey, I know you put out articles at THT, but if you have something you want to write about the Cubs, you can always forward it to Andere or me and we would be happy to post it here.

As of this Monday, I'm listed on the site's main page as one of their authors. (blows whistles, throws confetti).

But sometimes, over the course of a team's half-year, it IS luck. Note the Yankees good BAPIP (team has a lousy, rotten KO/BB ratio, but a decent ERA) this year, and try to explain how great their ability to turn balls into outs is; nah, it's a lot of luck.

Yeah, but the Cubs are second in K's and 7th in walks. That's one of the best K/W ratios in the league. That's all the more reason this might mean something. Also, Voros himself once pointed out (I believe in a TO thread) sometime before dying in a grease fire with Enders, David Jones, & the original Alphalfa, there is a relationship between high K-rates and allowing fewer hits than one would expect. The Cubs, as a staff, should allow fewer hits than DIPS would claim because of their good K rates.

I can see the Cubs BABIP getting worse, but more due to the theory that teams with near league leading figures at the midpoint should cool off. (The best numbers over a 87 game sample size should be better than over a 162 game sample size). I made the same argument recently in saying Milwaukee's offense should cool off.

and the only CF who is hitting really well is Hunter, and the Twins will probably shop him if they think they're out of it.

Well, they are 7 games out of the wild card.

Re: dumping Izturis or Jones:

Here are the teams with the worst sOPS+ in baseball that are still in the pennant race:

30. Boston (!) 60
29. Oakland 63
28. Toronto 66
27. Cubs 70

Good luck trying to dump that one.

Jones? Well I guess he can play any outfield slot. Here's worst at the various positions still in the hunt (again, by sOPS+):

LF
27. Min 68
26. Det 70
23. Tor 86
22. LAA 91
21. SDP 91

CF
28. LAD 73
25. CHC 82
22. Bos 87

RF:
28. Ari 76
27. SDP 78
22. NYM 84
21. NYY 85
20. CHC 85
   50. csi: bedford falls Posted: August 15, 2007 at 07:51 PM (#2486188)
the more the cubs suffer, the better...

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