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   1. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: January 16, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2281360)
What happened to Wuertz? I think Novoa's the odd man out.
   2. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: January 16, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2281364)
I think Novoa and Wuertz battle for that last spot. I like Wuertz more, but we'll see.

It's also possible, maybe even likely, that someone will get dealt.
   3. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 16, 2007 at 09:26 PM (#2281376)
There’s a chance that this bullpen won’t be awful

I know these are the Cubs but I think that's a pretty big understatement. I'd take Wuertz over Novoa, and I think that bullpen has a chance to be excellent.
   4. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 16, 2007 at 09:58 PM (#2281406)
I forgot about Wuertz. The Cubs have run so many young guys through the pen the last few years, I have a hard time keeping track of them all.

But I never predict excellence for bullpens. I think relievers have a bigger year-to-year variance in performance than any other position on the field, and it's not particularly close. It's just the nature of the job.

I will say that the Cubs have done a good job in trying to put the right pieces in place, which is really all you can do. But if 3 of these guys end up with ERAs around 4.50, and we're blowing games with unfortunate frequency, I won't be surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised.

Guys like Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman, who are good year in and year out, are the exception rather than the rule. Aside from maybe Howry, who has been lights out the last 3 years, none of these guys is so good as to inspire total confidence.
   5. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 16, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2281434)
But I never predict excellence for bullpens.

Absolutely. Which is why I said "that bullpen has a <u>chance</u> to be excellent." I will say, though, that the fact that our "closer" is, what, maybe our 5th-best reliever (Howry, Eyre, Wood (if healthy), maybe Wuertz?) is a cause for concern. Hopefully, Piniella's not shy about trying somebody else there. I have the feeling that the Cubs wouldn't be at all upset about having Kerry Wood be the closer by the end of the season.
   6. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 17, 2007 at 02:06 AM (#2281525)
There’s a chance that this bullpen won’t be awful:

Last year the Cubs' 'pen had an ERA of 4.04 despite playing in a hitter park (PF: 103) in a league with an ERA of 4.49. I reckon that's an ERA+ of 114, which is above average (though only slightly above average. I think normal's about 110 nowadays). Throw in the fact that the Cubs' starters tossed fewer innings than any other team in baseball and it becomes a bit more impressive. Middle relief was one of the team's few strong points last year.

Anyone else find it humorous that UCCF seems to think the pitching might get worse as soon as Baker leaves?
   7. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: January 17, 2007 at 02:12 AM (#2281530)
I will say, though, that the fact that our "closer" is, what, maybe our 5th-best reliever (Howry, Eyre, Wood (if healthy), maybe Wuertz?) is a cause for concern.

Worked OK for the Tigers.
   8. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 17, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2281539)
Anyone else find it humorous that UCCF seems to think the pitching might get worse as soon as Baker leaves?

The average reliever's performance is not reliable from year to year. Guys will have a good season one year and a bad season the next. Go down that list of bullpen probables and you'll see good seasons of ERA+ of 130 or better mixed in with seasons where the ERA+ is under 100.

Do I think the pieces are there for a good bullpen? Yes. Am I convinced it's going to be a good bullpen? Absolutely not, and the identity of the manager has absolutely no bearing at all on the analysis. It's essentially the same bullpen that we had last year - the only differences are Wood if he's healthy and Cotts. I suspect in the end we'll get about the same bullpen performance that we had in 2006 - not awful, but not excellent. I wouldn't be surprised if it's better, or if it's worse.
   9. dcsmyth1 Posted: January 18, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2282143)
B James ERA projections for 2007:

Wuertz, 3.27
Howry, 3.39
Eyre, 4.06
Dempster, 4.62
Ohman, 3.94
Wood, 3.81
Cotts, 4.50
Novoa, 4.44

I always thought that the closer was supposed to have the *best* expectation, not the worst.....
   10. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 19, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2282884)
I always thought that the closer was supposed to have the *best* expectation, not the worst.....

What? Wood projects to 3.81.

But seriously, look at the track record of Cubs' closers. Those that manage to hold on to the job for multiple years are pretty rare. Dempster's hold is pretty weak, and I think this is one case where a short bad stretch will cost him the job.
   11. Greg Pope Posted: January 21, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2283854)
The average reliever's performance is not reliable from year to year. Guys will have a good season one year and a bad season the next. Go down that list of bullpen probables and you'll see good seasons of ERA+ of 130 or better mixed in with seasons where the ERA+ is under 100.

I haven't looked into this at all, but I thought that reliever years only looked good or bad based on sample size. In other words, a given reliever's years are probably pretty much the same, but in one year they have two outings where they give up 4 runs without recording an out, and the next year they avoid those two outings. It can come down to something as simple as each year they load the bases without getting an out and one year they give up the home run and the other year they don't.

If so, how much should that variance be taken into account?
   12. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: February 04, 2007 at 07:36 PM (#2291782)
Is Les Walrond still around? I want to see more Les Walrond! My thirst for Walrondery has not yet been slaked.

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