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   1. Voodoo Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3500617)
I'm not sure what we would have wanted the organization to do with the bullpen this year that would have been different. Would we have really wanted Hendry to pay retail and give veteran relievers multi-year deals? The one instance in which he did that, Grabow, is the biggest gripe. What other offseason options would there have been? Obviously, losing Guzman was very unfortunate (though not surprising).

For this bullpen to be effective enough for the Cubs to compete, Marmol needs to vintage 2008 (seems doable), an effective #2 reliever needs to be found (seems like Marshall is the guy) and they need another two relievers from within the organization to step up and be effective. Grabow should be one, he is overpaid, but his history suggests that he should at least be marginally effective, at least against lefties. The other one could be Caridad, or it could be any other pitcher in the organization. Every year, teams manage to find effective relievers in their system or off the scrap heap.

In short, despite a hideous first week, I don't believe the bullpen is going to be the chief problem for the team this year, and if it is, we're probably going to be pretty good. I'm far more worried about the offense, and of course, about what Lou is going to be able to do with that albatross in left field.

I will say that I hope Lou utilizes Marshall correctly out of the bullpen. He can pitch multiple innings and should not be used as a situational reliever. If he is indeed the de facto set-up man, I would like to see him pitch in the 7th and 8th innings in certain situations.
   2. berselius Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:23 PM (#3500619)
I think Berg is okay, but not a guy you want to put in higher-leverage situations. I think Marshall and/or Gray will be the setup guys by the end of the month. I still believe in Caridad's ability too. Grabow blows though, and he should not be facing any RHH.

I think things will settle down to (in order of leverage)

Marmol
Marshall
Gray
Caridad
Berg
Grabow (LOOGY)
Gorz/Silva (long)

Russell ---->Minors
Samardzija -----> glue factory
   3. berselius Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:24 PM (#3500621)
Also, Marmol looked absolutely INCREDIBLE on saturday. That was vintage 2007-8 Marmol. That guy has the filthiest stuff in baseball when he can get it near the plate.
   4. berselius Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:32 PM (#3500628)
Grabow's OPS splits look kinda close, but if you look at his FIP it's a huge difference

http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=1848&position=P&season=0

career vs LHP 3.36
career vs RHP 4.66
   5. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:39 PM (#3500636)
It's just one week. Obviously something needs to be done with The Domer, and using Grabow as the eighth-inning setup man is highly questionable, although admittedly I don't have another name to nominate at the moment. I don't know if I see Marshall in that role, either.

But other than that I'm willing to ride it out a little while longer and see what happens. Fact of the matter is that no bullpens are flawless, yet that's exactly what the Cubs' pen has needed to be. Let's try scoring five or six runs in a game a few times and see how things shake out.
   6. Voodoo Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:40 PM (#3500638)
In other news, does anybody else find the new slogan, "It's A Way Of Life", depressing?
   7. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 12, 2010 at 04:41 PM (#3500641)
Really? Taking your eyes off the ball and worrying about the wall? Quit being such a #####.

Honestly, I wish he'd run breakneck into the wall and be out for 6 months.
   8. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:00 PM (#3500656)
VoodooR

I like the concept behind the marketing plan, but the "Way of Life" thing reminds me of an awful lot of losing rather than winning even though they use the "W" flag in it (which I think is well done). My relationship with the Cubs has a long history of disfuctionality, and something taht I try not to think a whole lot about.
   9. Weeks T. Olive Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:07 PM (#3500665)
Biggest "Gee, Ya Think?!?" moment of Sunday's game came from Thom Brennaman during the Reds broadcast.

Brennaman (shortly after Soriano's error): "No disrespect to anyone, but if you're a Cubs fan, you look at Soriano and his contract and you think about him playing left field for you the rest of this year plus FOUR MORE years, and you really have to wonder about that."
   10. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:11 PM (#3500668)
Thommy always was the master of droll understatement. I guess.
   11. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:26 PM (#3500685)
It doesn't hurt he'll take any opportunity to slam the organization when possible. But yeah, Soriano has turned into a black hole much sooner than expected. I figured he'd be moderately useful until 2011 or 2012. But we're trotting into Sammy Sosa circa 2004 territory where he's only really in there because of his contract.
   12. SteveM. Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3500687)
Other then Marshall and Marmol (and maybe Russell), I have seen enough of this pen. I don't think I have ever seen such an inexperienced bullpen before.
But I am trying to remain optimistic. Serenity now!
   13. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:42 PM (#3500700)
With regards to Soriano, why has his defense gotten so bad? He was never great but now every fly ball is an adventure out there. He's making Manny look like a defensive wizard.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:47 PM (#3500709)
Honestly, I wish he'd run breakneck into the wall and be out for 6 months.

Wouldn't insurance on his contract cover that? That might be a huge win for the Cubs.
   15. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2010 at 05:51 PM (#3500711)
Coming soon to Wrigley - remote-controlled walls.
   16. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 12, 2010 at 06:03 PM (#3500721)
I agree with preaching patience on the bullpen, but whether we like it or not it's become the story. 3 blown leads in one week is grabbing everyone's attention. I do hope Lou rides it out, but that remains to be seen.

It's just one week. Obviously something needs to be done with The Domer, and using Grabow as the eighth-inning setup man is highly questionable, although admittedly I don't have another name to nominate at the moment. I don't know if I see Marshall in that role, either.

Why not on Marshall? And not just based on this year, but the last couple. He gets righties out, he's a tough matchup with good stuff.
   17. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2010 at 06:18 PM (#3500734)
Why not on Marshall?

It's not so much a question of ability as usage. Simply put, I'd like to see Marshall get more innings. If Lou wants to use him as a late-game multi-inning guy, I'm all for it (although that gets tricky due to a dearth in Lou's options when it comes to the double-switch).
   18. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 12, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3500738)
Well, we know Marshall can play LF. And he's probably better out there than Soriano...
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 12, 2010 at 07:01 PM (#3500780)
I wouldn't get too antsy on the bullpen. LaTroy Hawkins has been lights out this past week and if anyone believes that is sustainable then the Tooth Fairy is qualified to be Surgeon General
   20. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 12, 2010 at 07:33 PM (#3500815)
Look to the minors. Blake Parker, John Gaub, Jeff Stevens, and Jeff Gray should all be ahead of Berg and Samardzija on the depth chart.
   21. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 12, 2010 at 07:54 PM (#3500833)
I wouldn't get too antsy on the bullpen. LaTroy Hawkins has been lights out this past week and if anyone believes that is sustainable then the Tooth Fairy is qualified to be Surgeon General

Why not? He's always been good in the set up role. Move him to the 9th, and then duck and cover.
   22. Brian C Posted: April 12, 2010 at 08:10 PM (#3500862)
[post redacted - wrong thread]
   23. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 13, 2010 at 01:08 AM (#3501205)
I'm not particularly worried about the bullpen. Other than Samardzija, who doesn't belong in the majors, they have good pitchers in the bullpen, I think. You can't get too upset about a short stretch of bad games. What they lack is a true lights-out guy; Marmol is an outstanding talent, but he hasn't shown the sort of command you want from your bullpen ace. This last week notwithstanding, Caridad has shown excellent control in his pro career, but he's also pretty much a one trick pony and I'm not sure his act is going to play well in the majors. Still, these are some good pitchers, and Grabow and Marshall aren't exactly chopped liver.

I'm much more concerned about the hitting.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: April 13, 2010 at 01:51 AM (#3501220)
Well, I wasn't high on Grabow when they grabbed him last year, criticized the new contract (esp at that money), so I'm not gonna lay off now. And his primary skill against RHB is an ability to pitch around them whenever possible. (And the fact that he has a 2/1 R/L split in terms of BF is pretty telling -- yes, LOOGYs tend towards 50/50 but that suggests teams will PH against them even more often so they seem to think he's pretty hopeless against RHB.)

It's not time to panic yet but the Cubs will need to start exploring new options soon. The old Cox/Mazzone model was to give the guy (maybe) 8-10 innings to show his stuff, then the next young kid or old guy off the scrap heap was given a go. What's Russ Springer up to at the moment? Anyway, the scary thing is that we haven't had any bullpen injuries yet. The bullpen might right itself if Marmol and Marshall and Caridad and Grabow (he does have his uses) stay healthy and the latter two right themselves but ... we're in big if territory by then.

As I mentioned in some other thread, I'd like to add to Moses' first pessimistic bold prediction thread:

11) Marshall and Marmol will be the only relievers used when the Cubs are ahead by less than 5 or behind by less than 2 ... neither will break 70 IP.
   25. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 13, 2010 at 05:08 PM (#3501634)
Oh, and I mentioned it somewhere on here, but unless the bullpen becomes lights out in the next month, Cashner's gonna wind up in the pen, and I am not going to be happy about it.
   26. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 13, 2010 at 05:16 PM (#3501645)
Oh, and I mentioned it somewhere on here, but unless the bullpen becomes lights out in the next month, Cashner's gonna wind up in the pen, and I am not going to be happy about it.

Considering how many chances BPJ has gotten to try starting, I wouldn't be too worried that Cashner would be stuck there long term. It might actually be the best way to get him to the big leagues. I'm saying "might"...
   27. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 13, 2010 at 06:40 PM (#3501741)
Cashner didn't go to Notre Dame.

He's (still) transitioning to a starter's workload after being a reliever in college. If they abandon that plan now, they're going to abandon it for the forseeable future.
   28. Meatwad Posted: April 13, 2010 at 08:41 PM (#3501869)
dont forget that bpj signed a ml contract to start with so you just knew he was going to be up soon to begin with
   29. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 14, 2010 at 03:48 PM (#3502481)
Caridad to DL, Jeff Gray called up.
   30. berselius Posted: April 14, 2010 at 08:31 PM (#3502766)
It looks like Lou's plan is to just try and push his starters as deep into games as possible, even when it's clear they're out of gas
   31. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: April 14, 2010 at 09:19 PM (#3502815)
LaTroy Hawkins has been lights out this past week and if anyone believes that is sustainable then the Tooth Fairy is qualified to be Surgeon General

Whyyyyyyy do you have to be so right?
   32. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 14, 2010 at 10:13 PM (#3502841)
Cashner didn't go to Notre Dame.

dont forget that bpj signed a ml contract to start with so you just knew he was going to be up soon to begin with

That has more to do with BPJ being on the team, versus the Cubs constantly trying to make him a starter. Well, maybe because he's got a bigger deal they feel they get a better return (yeah right, like Hendry even knows what that means).

LaTroy Hawkins has been lights out this past week and if anyone believes that is sustainable then the Tooth Fairy is qualified to be Surgeon General

Whyyyyyyy do you have to be so right?


I should have qualified that. Managers should just stop pitching LaTroy in Wrigley. Outside of there, he's fine setting up.
   33. Andere Richtingen Posted: April 14, 2010 at 10:49 PM (#3502859)
I actually felt bad for Hawkins there.
   34. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: April 17, 2010 at 03:15 PM (#3505160)
Don't know if it's been mentioned elsewhere in Cubs threads, but Cashner's been nuts in 2 starts in AA. He leads the Southern League in Ks with 20 in 10.3 innings against 2 BBs, 1 HR and 5 hits. Not that it's led to run prevention as he's given up 5 runs.

Maybe I'm silly in my optimism, but if Cashner keeps pitching that well, I can't see him pitching in the bullpen too long after he gets settled into the Majors. Maybe he'll get broken in in the pen, but long term he'll just prove to be too valuable in the starting role. That is, assuming he can average 5.5 or so IP per start. Considering that they pushed for Samardzija to start, even though he doesn't appear to be a big league quality pitcher, I'd imagine they'll do the same with Cashner.

In other minor league news, Thomas Diamond is off to a good start in AAA, striking out a batter an inning in his two starts (10Ks, 4BBs, 0 HRs in 10 IP). I could see him getting a shot at relieving with the Cubs soon. Starlin Castro is off to a quick start in AA (.342/.350/.500). Flaherty (.143/.217/.143) has struggled in his first 8 games in AA & Vitters has gotten off to a slow start in the Florida State League (.225/.244/.300). Brett Jackson has shown patience, but little power so far (.314/.455/.371) in the FSL. Keep in mind that it's a tough place to hit, the league average hitting line there is .242/.313/.338.
   35. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 20, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3508452)
I know its early, but this team is really scuffling right now. The starting pitching has been decent, but last nights game against the Mets is a microcosm thus far.
   36. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 20, 2010 at 03:21 PM (#3508460)
Sorry, no time for a full recap this week, but I'll like to this story:

NEW YORK — Ted Lilly allowed one run over seven innings in his rehab start for Class A Peoria on Monday and appears ready to return to the Cubs' rotation.

Lilly struck out nine and walked one in his 88-pitch outing, allowing three hits while notching the win. He even attempted a stolen base, though he was thrown out at second on a close play.

Lilly is expected to start for the Cubs on Saturday or Sunday in Milwaukee. Asked whether Carlos Silva's and Tom Gorzelanny's starts this week against the Mets will determine who stays in the rotation, manager Lou Piniella hedged.

"We feel good about all our starters," he said. "We're fortunate in that regard. Unfortunately, someone is going to have to go into the bullpen."

But it wouldn't be anyone besides Silva or Gorzelanny, right?

"I didn't say that," Piniella said. "All I said basically is somebody's got to leave the rotation to go into the bullpen. We have not made definite decisions."


Let's say Z scuffles a little bit tonight, who'll be the first to suggest Lou moves Z to the pen? Kaplan? Rogers?

BTW, WTF was Lilly attempting a steal, ever, much less on a rehab start? Gotta like the effort I guess, but man, that's dumb.
   37. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: April 20, 2010 at 03:22 PM (#3508462)
double
   38. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 20, 2010 at 03:28 PM (#3508473)
Yeah, Ted, just keep it healthy. I'm looking forward to watching Lilly in person this weekend. I'm there for the entire series.
   39. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 20, 2010 at 10:31 PM (#3508991)
Let's say Z scuffles a little bit tonight, who'll be the first to suggest Lou moves Z to the pen? Kaplan? Rogers?


Gordon Wittenmeyer

22 hours before the question was asked.
   40. Meatwad Posted: April 21, 2010 at 03:55 AM (#3509449)
z shouldnt go to the pen. what a disaster that would be
   41. SouthSideRyan Posted: April 21, 2010 at 08:43 PM (#3510002)
Annnnnnd Lou just announced Zambrano to the pen.

What a bunch of ####### morons.
   42. Spahn Insane Posted: April 21, 2010 at 08:59 PM (#3510017)
Yeah, but they're scouting Looper as well, so it'll all work out.
   43. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 21, 2010 at 09:00 PM (#3510020)
Link?
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: April 21, 2010 at 09:05 PM (#3510025)
I'm getting the Z to the pen stuff secondhand (via a friend, via Tweet from Hairy Muskrat). Here's the Looper link.
   45. caspian88 Posted: April 21, 2010 at 09:09 PM (#3510028)
Rotoworld has posted the Zambrano move.

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_main.aspx?sport=MLB&id=3106
   46. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: April 21, 2010 at 09:40 PM (#3510052)
Haha.

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