Thursday, June 30, 2005

More Trade Talk

Anyone have any comments about this one?:

"Another rumor making the rounds is that the Cubs might be willing to trade outfielder Jason Dubois and pitcher Rich Hill for Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Aubrey Huff." Chicago Sun-Times

I personally do not like this trade, but I'd like to see what everyone else thinks. Having a high-K lefty in Rich Hill is so attractive to me - and call me crazy, but I like Dubois.

Looking at Dunn

I clipped this from today's Red Reporter talking about possible Adam Dunn deals:

# Cubs -- Imagine a 3-4-5 of Derrek Lee, Dunn and Aramis Ramirez at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lack a "can't-miss prospect" but could overwhelm the Reds with a three- or four-player package because of the Cubs' vast depth of young talent. Cornerstone players in the deal could be major league pitchers Sergio Mitre and Todd Wellemeyer.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rumorspotting

Cubs may be interested in Mark Kotsay (and more here)
Patterson as trade bait? Not according to Baker.
Wood in Borowski out
Piniella a Cub? (this one is pretty ridiculous)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

A Cub Fan's Trip to New York

I know this is a little late, but I've decided to post some small observations from my trip to New York to see the Cubs play the Yankees (6/17).

- You can buy pretzels and roasted nuts anywhere in the city.

- A deli sandwich in New York is larger than one in Chicago

- New York accents can possibly reach the level of thickness I experienced at the Cub/Red Sox game the week before

- New York panhandlers give up much easier than Chicago panhandlers

- Yankee fans need grammar lessons (there were numerous "Chicago Suck" chants to which we replied "It's Chicago Sucks... with an 'S'")

- I saw the most sickening sight... no, it wasn't rotting flesh (as Bob Brenly so lovingly spoke of NY last night), it was a Cub fan complete with a Ryno jersey with his 8-year old son who was sporting full Yankee paraphernalia

- You can't see much of left field from the LF upper deck (tier level)

- Hotdogs at Yankee Stadium are no good

- You can't buy (or at least can't find) a scorecard on it's own - you have to buy a $7 program

- Corey Patterson vs. Mariano Rivera doesn't work out well for the Cubs

The Latest Rumors

It's getting about that time: the time for the baseball rumor mill to really get active. It looks like there are a least two somewhat interesting rumors coming the Cub's way. One of which is the prospect of trading for Austin Kearns of the recently shaken-up Reds. I personally don't think this one is going to happen, nor do I think it should happen. Kearns has been a perpetual injury risk - something the Cubs really don't need more of and his numbers have been ominously declining steadily throughout his career. Check out Ivy Chat's scoop on this.

The other rumor we have is the prospect of Moises Alou returning to the Cub outfield. I won't comment because I can't possibly believe this one. There are some other rumors floating around, but none have much substance. They include Preston Wilson, Aubrey Huff, Mark Kotsay, and Mike Cameron.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Payroll vs. Performance

After a brief discussion with a misguided (and presumably fairweather) Yankee fan, I decided to do the payroll vs. wins analysis for all of you. I believe the payroll numbers I found were for the current roster of each team (i.e. Sosa's money is not in the Cub total). The rank in the first column is the combined rank of low payroll rank and wins. So a team that has a low payroll and a good winning percentage will be high on the list. For the most part, it's a very rough look at who spends the best.

RankAvg. RankTeamTotal Payroll WLWPGProrated $/Win$ RankW Rank
16Washington Nationals$48,581,500 40290.58069$ 2,851,523 84
26.5Cleveland Indians$41,502,500 37300.55267$ 2,712,144 58
38.5Minnesota Twins$56,186,000 38290.56767$ 3,575,071 116
49Texas Rangers$55,849,000 37300.55267$ 3,649,672 108
59.5Chicago White Sox$75,178,000 46220.67668$ 3,893,490 181
610Baltimore Orioles$73,914,333 41270.60368$ 4,294,879 173
712Toronto Blue Jays$45,719,500 34350.49369$ 3,157,101 618
712Pittsburgh Pirates$38,133,000 31360.46367$ 2,974,264 321
912.5San Diego Padres$63,290,833 38310.55169$ 3,910,418 1510
1013Florida Marlins$60,408,834 34320.51566$ 4,361,066 1214
1113.5St. Louis Cardinals$92,106,833 44240.64768$ 4,987,068 252
1113.5Milwaukee Brewers$39,934,833 31370.45668$ 3,068,996 423
1315Arizona Diamondbacks$62,329,166 35350.50070$ 4,121,357 1416
1315Kansas City Royals$36,881,000 25430.36868$ 3,514,542 228
1315Tampa Bay Devil Rays$29,363,067 23460.33369$ 2,997,364 129
1616Los Angeles Angels$97,725,322 39290.57468$ 5,969,646 275
1616Detroit Tigers$69,092,000 33330.50066$ 5,139,074 1616
1816.5Oakland Athletics$55,425,762 29390.42668$ 4,553,232 924
1917Atlanta Braves$86,457,302 36330.52269$ 5,638,520 2113
2018Boston Red Sox$123,505,125 38300.55968$ 7,742,968 297
2118.5Philadelphia Phillies$95,522,000 38320.54370$ 5,817,505 2611
2118.5Chicago Cubs$87,032,933 34330.50767$ 6,189,348 2215
2118.5Colorado Rockies$48,155,000 22450.32867$ 5,292,476 730
2419.5Los Angeles Dodgers$83,039,000 33350.48568$ 5,994,794 2019
2520New York Mets$101,305,821 36320.52968$ 6,704,062 2812
2520Cincinnati Reds$61,892,583 27420.39169$ 5,381,964 1327
2722Seattle Mariners$87,754,334 31360.46367$ 6,844,585 2321
2722Houston Astros$76,779,000 28390.41867$ 6,630,170 1925
2924.5San Francisco Giants$90,199,500 28390.41867$ 7,789,083 2425
3025New York Yankees$208,306,817 33360.47869$ 14,820,248 3020

Saturday, June 18, 2005

From the Red States

Well, in my humble opinion, the next few weeks between now and the All-Star break will decide whether or not the Cubs will give the Cardinals a race in the NL Central. These next few series are crucial to the Cubs chances, because the schedule seems to favor the Cardinals heavily. Yes I can hear the whines coming already, but keep in mind the Cubs and Cardinals do play pretty much the same schedule, other than of course the interleague series of the White Sox, while were playing the Royals. Even with that in mind it is still pretty even because we only play the Royals 3 games instead of the normal 6. Also as I have said before I don't recall hearing any Cub fans whining when in 2003 we had to play the Royals who were (at the time) playing well over .500 and the Cubs where playing the White Sox who were (at the time) bringing up the rear in the AL Central.

Well I was looking at the schedules for both teams and here they are...

For the Cubs: 2 more with the Skanks, 4 with the Beermakers, 3 with the White Sox, 3 more with the Beermakers, 3 with the Nats, 4 with the Braves, and 3 with the Fish right before the break.

For the Cards: 2 more with the D' Rays, 3 with the Reds, 4 with the Pirates, 2 more with the Reds, 4 with the Rockies, 4 @ the D' Backs, and 4 @ the Giants.

When looking at their schedules, especially over the next couple of series with the Cardinals playing the D'Rays, Reds, and Pirates who they have owned over the past couple seasons it isn't too much to think we could win 9 or 10 out of the next 11 games. While the Cubs will have their hands full with the Skanks and the Sox. Not to mention a traditional tough team for the Cubs to beat in the Brew Crew. Closer to the break the schedule evens out a little with the Cards having to go to the West Coast, where they traditionally struggle.

I think these next 22 games or so will tell the tale in the division. If the Cubs are where they are right now, at the break, that will set up a great second half race with 14 games head to head. If the lead grows really any more than where it is now then it gets pretty tough for the Cubbies. Simply because most of the second half finds both of us playing within the division, which is the way it should be in my opinion. I don't think either the Cards or the Cubs will lose too many series inside divisional play, they both are just better than the rest of the division.

If the lead is where it is now or maybe the Cubs could gain a game or two by the break then your looking at the Cubs going having to go 8-6 or 9-5 to really put some heat on the Cards. However if it gets up to a 10 game lead then you're looking at having to go 11-3 or 12-2 to in those 14 games to make it a race. Not too likely.

I think the next 22 games will tell the tale. Should be interesting.

On a further note, after to speaking with my good buddy, and fellow poster on this blog Chris yesterday I am getting a little nervous about having to wear a Cubs hat at the end of the season. Especially when I come to find out that he as already got one picked out for me to wear. I can only imagine it being one of these big dorky Dr. Suess looking Cub hats. Especially when Lee has raised his average to .384, while Pujols remains in the .330's. I am not too worried about the Triple Crown because Albert is right with him in HR's and RBI's and really he has not went on one of his patented 2 or 3 weeks hot streaks, he has just been pretty steady, and consistent. He has just been well Albert Pujols. Once he finds that streak, which that too may come in the next few weeks feasting on the mediocre pitching of the D'Rays, Reds, Pirates and the like, I think he will catch and pass Lee in RBI's and HR's. Especially RBI's if Larussa would figure out what most people already have and that that is Larry Walker is getting too old and his stats were Coors Field inflated, and move him down in the lineup and replace him in the 2 spot with Grudzielanek. The you're looking at Eckstein and Grudzie in front of Albert, both of which have OBP's pushing .400.

So I'm not too worried about having to fork over two tickets for my fellow posters to any Cubs game next season. I am a little worried though that I might have to humiliate myself by wearing a Cubs hat in front of alot of people, some of which are Cubs fans. Chris especially. So I say come on Lee go back to being the .280 hitter you have been your whole career, and come on Albert just keep being yourself and doing what you have been doing for 5 years.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Hollandsworth on "Full House"?











Striking, isn't it?

Monday, June 06, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Ok, well since I was taking a look at the standings in the NL and I happened to notice that if the season ended today the Cubs and the Cardinals would both be in the playoffs, I have been thinking that my prediction at the start of the season of a Cards vs. Cubs NLCS ain't looking too bad after all. I backed away from my prediction after the injury to Prior but it appears that the injury has given the Cubs some spark. I was a bit skeptical because the first few games of the Cubs recent streak were against the Rockies and the Dodgers who are well below .500 since a 12-2 start. However after a weekend where the Cubs took 3 of 4 from a very good Padres team, in San Diego no less, it has taken the Cubs streak to a new level.

I know I am in the minority on this Cubs blog because my fellow posters generally have viewed the Cubs from a pessimistic, glass is half empty viewpoint. Especially my good friend Chris who might be the biggest pessimist I have ever met in my entire life. He calls it being a realist, but in trying to be objective, in reality I think the Cubs are a very solid team. I think the battle for the Central division in the NL will come down to the 14 games the Cubs and Cards have head to head, with 8 of the 14 being in Wrigley Field. However whoever loses the division wins the wild card. I know I am in the minority on this as most assume the wild card will come from the East, but I see things differently and here is why...

In the East there are 5 halfway decent teams, which no team will pull away from the other 4. They are all pretty equally matched, and I think Tom Glavine said it best last night on the Sunday Night Game of the Week, where he said "you could give reasons for all 5 teams to win the division, but at the same time you could give reasons for all 5 to lose the division." I think those 5 teams beat the snot out of each other for 18-19 games all season long.

In the West I see the Padres as the legit best team in that division. I feel they are about to run away with it and are by far the best team in the West. The D'Backs are much improved but I expect them to fade the longer the season goes along. The Giants are lost without Barroid and I think he comes back to late to make a run at the Pads or the Wild Card. That's probably fine with Barroid because he is only hanging on to break Hank Aaron's HR record. Barroid will come back sometime after the All-Star break and even though the media claims to hate him and he certainly hates the media, he will probably somehow even manage to win the MVP. You laugh but hey he has won it atleast twice when he didn't deserve it. The Rockies, well they are the Rockies.

Now the Central. As I said I think the division will come down to the head to head games between the Cubs and Cards. However the team that comes up short in the division pounds the other teams who leave alot to be desired (Reds, Pirates, Astros, and the Beermakers). So while the East teams are playing 60-70 games against other teams equally as good, the Cubs and Cards will be playing those same 60 -70 games against very inferior competition. Far below the quality of them. I think this makes all the difference in the NL Wild Card standings. Thats why I feel pretty strongly that the wild card will come from the Central just as it did last year. I also feel that the NLCS will come down to two teams from the NL Central, just as it did last year. The Cubs and Cards in the NLCS.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Ok, let me start off by saying this, and remind you this is coming from the biggest Cardinals fan alive, "as of right now, Derek Lee deserves to be the starting first baseman in the All-Star game." There I said it, he is having an amazing season, and deserves it.

Now having said the once thought unthinkable, let's put some perspective on the two. Especially motivated by Camden's last post where he says "who needs Albert Pujols when we got Derek Lee." First of all, even given Derek Lee's tremendous start to this season, if I was GM of the Cardinals and Jim Hendry called me up and wanted to trade Lee for Pujols even up, I would laugh in his face. In fact if any GM called and wanted to trade Pujols for any player in the game, I would laugh in their face. A-rod, I would stop and think for about 3 seconds, then laugh in their face.

Here's some perspective points to consider. I won't even get into career stats because there simply is no comparison. Anyone that says there is don't know jack about the game of baseball. I don't think even the biggest homer of a Cub fan would argue Lee's career stats over Pujols. So let's start with this season. Derek Lee is getting alot of headlines, as well he should, for leading the NL in all 3 triple crown stats. He, as I said earlier is having anawesome season. Even with this start, that has me asking the question "who are you and what have you done with Derek Lee?" Or better yet, when are you due for the league wide whiz quiz? Let's look at the numbers and after a blazing start for Derek Lee, and a sort of ho hum run of the mill start for Albert. Some might even say slow start for Albert. Derek Lee is a whole 7 rbi's and 4 HR's ahead of Albert. Albert is still 44 points off him in average, but I think the chances of Lee hitting .380 all year is far less likely that Albert hitting where he is at right now .335 or even higher. One decent week for Albert Pujols and he leads him in HR, and RBIS's. Albert's start is no story, he has been doing this for 5 seasons now. Lee's start however is news because for those same five seasons he has been hovering around .280-.290 and trying to get to the 100 rbi plateau. So when he comes out fast and into June is threatening to win the triple crown, thats news. However remember it was just two season ago when Albert threatened the triple crown, leading in all three well into July and early August.

As I said earlier Lee is doing awesome, if not for him this race in the NL Central would be over already but I still take Albert any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Albert simply is the best player in the game bar none. Lee is off to a great start, no question, but let's see what the stats look like in August and September and after the season. In fact it won't surprise me one bit if Albert doesn't out do Lee in all 3 triple crown stats before the seasons end. In fact I'll guarantee it. In fact if Lee beats Pujols in AVG., HR, or RBI the next time I am home in P-town I will wear a Cubs hat to church to be laughed at by my friend and fellow poster Chris. And if Derek Lee wins the triple crown this season, well I will throw in 2 tickets for all 3 of my fellow posters on this blog to any Cubs game they want to go to. Mark it down today June 4th, you heard me say it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Koronka?

This kid actually looked pretty good. I don't like making early comparisons, but as far as his arm motion and mechanics went, he looked like Barry Zito. His face even kind of looks like Zito's. I'm not saying he's got the same stuff, but he just looks like him. Regardless of our our new pitcher's look-alike status, he pitched a decent game. Koronka put up this line in his debut win:

5.0 IP
6 H
3 R
3 ER
3 BB
4 SO
1 HR
1 balk
5.40 ERA

If you take out his rough third inning you're looking at this:

4.0 IP
3 H
0 R
0 ER
2 BB
4 SO
0 HR
0 balks
0.00 ERA

Not bad for a debut. We'll see how he holds up while he's still in the majors.

MVLee

MLB.com had this moniker for our horse of a first-baseman. D. Lee had a 5-5 night and propelled himself back to the top of the MLB Batting Average lead witha .380 spot. How long can this last? Let's hope all year. Who needs Albert Pujols when you have MVLee?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

ONE MORE THING

Ok is the All-Star Game an exhibition or isn't it. MLB can't have it both ways. If it counts, which I think home field advantage in the World Series counts, then we need to quit letting the fans vote. I just looked at the votes and the leading vote getter in NL is Garciaparra, ok a guy who played 2 weeks and hit .200 leads the league. Second is Scott Rolen, again a guy injured and only hit like .260 when he was in there. Other questionable votes...Larry Walker, Jim, Edmonds, Carlos Beltran (I told you Chris, this dude was not worth the money he would get paid...I wish the Cubs had signed him) over players like Bobby Abreu. Dare I say it Pujols over Lee blows as well. Lee has had the better year so far, but I don't think you could ever go wrong with my man Albert Pujols, but Lee does deserve the start to this point in the season. My point is this right now the All-Star Game is not an exhibition, homefield advantage in the World Series is a big deal, so MLB should quit treating it like an exhibition. The player at each position with the best stats should start period. Unless of course you want to do what's right and go back to making the All-Star Game what it should be, an exhibition, and do what basketball does give homefield advantage in the World Series, to the team that deserves it, the one with the better record. You can't have it both ways Bud, when will this guy just do the right thing and put a pistol in his mouth and end it all.

FROM THE RED STATES

Ok, so I finally back off my prediction on a Cubs/Cards NLCS and the Cubbies manage to string together 5 straight wins, and pick up 2 games in the standings. Man it's a good thing I didn't live in the Old Testament times because I would have done been stoned to death a long time ago. So feeling that I have opened my yap and set a jinx on my beloved Cardinals, I am again predicting a Cubs/Cards NLCS. Hopefully it is not too late to break this streak that the Cubbies are on.

All this without Prior and Wood got me to thinking...I will not say I think the Cubs are better off without Prior, because as I stated before I think he is the best young pitcher in the game. However I do feel they are better off without the over hyped, over rated, primaddona Kerry Wood. I would be interested in finding out their record since he went down. I haven't the time to look it up right now, but off the top of my head I would have to say that it is very good. I know what the Cardinals record has been the last month or so, and the Cubs are about as many games out as they were when he went down, so I would have to guesstimate that there record is about the same, which is pretty good. If I am Jim Hendry, at the deadline I would try to find some team desperate for a starter, and still believing in the Kerry Wood hype, and see if you can't sucker some poor GM into a deal for a few prospects. Or maybe a good outfielder with a good bat. If you packaged Wood and Patterson, also over hyped and over rated, you might be able to get a few decent ball players.