View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



June 2011



Game 66 – Come From Behind Surprise

Written by , Posted in General

Cubs 5, Brewers 4

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

Let’s break with orthodoxy here – the Cubs won this game inexplicably. Down 4-1 late in the game Mike Quade got tossed for arguing balls and strikes.  Way to show some moxy Mike!   Despite the win and last minute heroics this team needs to be broken up.

There’s no way to make this franchise look pretty – all of the older players must be traded. This is a team of losers and I only watch them when I have to. So what needs to be done? I propose the following acts which should happen no later than the All Star Game. What I recommend is as follows:

  • Immediate dismissal of Crane Kenney and Jim Hendry.
  • Takeover of said functions by Tom Ricketts.
  • Trade immediately if possible: Pena, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Byrd, Johnson, Marshall, Wood,  Dewitt – anybody of value except the youngest players.
  • Rebuild the minor leagues, trade guys that aren’t panning out, promote guys that are.
  • Put Quade on an “improve or be fired” program with a one year objective, he’s not putting the right lineup card in, playing guys like DeWitt in left field instead of Campana.

I’m not going to try to make music out of sour milk, it’s time for a change.

Stars of the Game
Based on Win Probability Added (WPA)

1st Star – Yovani Gallardo (.323 WPA)

2nd Star – Aramis Ramirez (.321 WPA)

3rd Star – Starlin Castro (.233 WPA)

Cubs Hitting: +.292 WPA

Cubs Pitching: +.208 WPA

  • Buddy

    So you want Tom Ricketts to be the GM.

  • Randy

    Tell us how you REALLY feel Mark! Seriously it’s easy to armchair manage a MLB team, but reality is what it is and we’re kinda stuck. I disagree with your assessment of DeWitt in the left field. Campana has a soft bat and is crazy useful off the bench, just look what happened last night as an example. He disrupts defenses and builds rallies, and is better used in that role. I’m not quite willing to turn the Cubs into the Pittsburg Pirates v2.0 just yet, no fire sale needed. Get the kids work while the vets are injured, play for pride and next year!

  • Buddy

    I agree with Randy. Don’t trade just to trade. If you get a good return for Byrd, Marshall, Ramirez, Dempster, etc., then pull the trigger. Otherwise, don’t give them away just because your fans are mad. Also, there will be exactly zero bidders for Alfonso Soriano’s services. The Cubs are 100 percent stuck with that contract.

  • Norm

    Immediate dismissal of the GM (which would follow with Fleita and Wilken leaving) and then trade they guys, so who is going to make those trades? Ricketts??!? A new guy that’s had 2 weeks to become familiar with the players and scout the league?

    “Rebuild the minor leagues, trade guys that aren’t panning out”…who wants someone that isn’t panning out and why trade ANY prospect?

    Sorry to say it, but prepare yourself to sit through this for another few months at the least…

  • Ramirez played a decent third base as well as hit the tying home run. Geez, what a difference it would make if he showed up to play every day.

    With Z going tonight, could this be the first three game win streak!?!

    But when are the Cubs going to stop swinging at the first pitch? Soto’s home run was on the first pitch. Fukudome’s 8th inning double? First pitch. Campana’s 10th inning lead off double? First pitch. Castro’s game winning single? First pitch!

    Also first pitch: Castro’s first inning single, Johnson’s fifth inning ground out, and Baker’s seventh inning fly out.

    That’s seven times the Cubs swung at the first pitch. When will it end?!?

  • CWL

    I have read this blog for years and have never commented, but I cannot help myself after reading this ridiculous post.

    This isn’t fantasy baseball, you can’t just trade who ever you want (Soriano). And a casual fan cannot be a GM (Rickets).

  • Kris

    This is exactly what I was trying to say the other day–you don’t trade players for the sake of trading them or, as Buddy said, just because your fans are made. If you’re not getting anything in return, then you’re just shuffling the deck and potentially hurting yourself financially and otherwise for future seasons.

    Is it time for something to change–absolutely. But trading half your team isn’t realistic. Having the owner act at GM isn’t going to happen and would be a disaster. And how in the world would you rebuild the minor league system while also rebuilding the team in Chicago and apparently all of the management/coaching? That’s the equivalent of just saying “shut the entire Cubs organization down.”

    What are some realistic, plausible changes that may happen before the deadline?

  • Doc Raker

    Byrd and Wood should not be traded, Byrd hustles and is a good example for the youngsters and Wood took a home town discount to stay in Chicago- keep Wood in Chicago. Soriano is untradeable and Aram is a difficult trade with the 2012 option vesting with a trade.
    * On the bright side of things the Cubs put a quality come back together with help from Aram and the youngsters. Campana made that a double out of the box, he was hustling fanny right out of the box. That kind of hustle gives the team energy, let the kids play.

  • PackerCubBull

    I agree 100% that we need to hold a fire sale and fire Jim Hendry. But I agree, don’t just make trades for the sake of making a trade.

  • Doc Raker

    PS- Do no trade Marshall, he is a quality pitchier who is currently being under unitized. He should be in the rotation right now.

  • Buddy

    If Byrd comes back healthy, a team like the Braves might be interested. They’re playing Jordan Schaefer in CF right now. The Giants lost Freddy Sanchez to an injury, so Jeff Baker could be on their radar screen. The Tigers could certainly use Aramis Ramirez (Inge has mono and Kelly can’t hit), but it sounds like Ramirez won’t approve a trade, at least right now. Any number of contending teams would like an extra arm–starter or reliever. Would the Cubs part with Dempster, Marshall, or Wood? If so, what would the asking price be?

  • Norm

    I don’t understand why you would NOT trade Byrd, Marshall, or Wood.
    Ask yourself:
    1) When do you foresee the Cubs being World Series contenders?
    2) When does Marlon Byrd’s contract end?
    If the answer to #1 is after the answer to #2, he’s trade bait, period. Not to mention there is a certain top prospect that’ll be ready to take over the position for 2012.
    Same goes for Marshall. If the answer to #1 is 2013, why wouldn’t you trade a relief pitcher for a player in AA that will just be starting his career when the Cubs are trying to win again?
    Wood I can understand, I’m thinking he’s got a verbal agreement with Hendry to stay put. Fine. But if not, he’s a valuable trade chip. Hendry won’t screw Wood over. If Wood’s traded, he’ll give Hendry the OK.

    Keeping these guys is NOT in the best interests of the organization. It’s a small picture view when you need to look at the big picture.

  • Buddy

    I’m with you Norm. In the right deal I would have no problem trading any of those players. And if the Cubs are dying to bring Wood back, just re-sign him in the offseason.

  • I’ll bite. The reason our record is so goddamn putrid is wholly due to playing non-professional-caliber athletes in a professional league. Having any success in 2011 was completely dependent upon having bounce-back seasons from fragile players, which has proven to be the mess we speculated it may be. The answer sure doesn’t lie in a role playing guy like Campana, and we are unlikely to find another Castro in the minor leagues, let alone within our farm system. This whole thing is contract driven…blathering on about cleaning house is a joke. If last night’s game sparked a guttural negative reaction towards the Cubs, you are on the wrong site.

  • PackerCubBull

    Buddy, I agree with you. I was thinking that also. Bring him back over the winter. Send him to a contender at the trade deadline so he has a chance to win, much like the White Sox did with Thome in 2009. Except you bring him back in the winter, and don’t let him join the rival Cardinals where he becomes the final piece.

  • Buddy

    Sounds like Barney is headed to the DL with a knee strain.

  • Randy

    A lot of Negative Nancys today. Fire sale won’t help us, if trades are made they should be strategic and to fill specific needs in the farm system. If anything we should look at moving some of the prospects themselves, Colvin comes to mind as someone who is never going to develop the patience or pitch selection to be sustainably successful at the major league level. Of the people we have available to trade who are actually tradable, I’d focus on Grabow, Fukudome, Johnson, and Baker. Go get some upside first and third basemen into the farm system, and maybe a corner outfielder or two. Lastly for the love of God can we stop trying to shop Sean Marshall? Quality southpaws out of the pen, who can pitch more than one inning and get both lefties and righties out, are crazy rare.

  • Seymour Butts

    Non-professional players? I’m confused isn’t this a Boise Hawks site?? I’m fairly certain they get at least $300 a month which makes them Professionals.
    Arm chair GM-ing is either fun, or a waste of time (see twitter, face-book, etc) depending on your point of view, but other than the 2 regular readers who do have the power to do something about it, the rest of us are just blowing smoke.

  • Buddy

    I don’t think anybody is saying “shop Sean Marshall.” I think the idea is deal him, or anybod other than Castro, if the price is right.

  • Buddy

    I meant “anybody” not “anybod.”

  • MJ

    I think this may be the first time after a post by Mark, that I can let everyone do the talking for me! LOL!

  • chet

    I actually feel the pain you are going through just by reading your post today. All of the points you make above are definitely on everybody’s “wishlist” but unfortunately not at all realistic. However, I don’t think i want Ricketts as GM for the Cubs….even for a half season. It would be like appointing Jim Hendry as VP of TD Ameritrade….

  • chet

    also, the title of the post sounds like something that would happen in jail.

  • Doc Raker

    Marshall is a young man who can pitch another 10 years, the Cubs can be good within that time frame. He isn’t over paid and in my opinion is under utilized. He would be a 15-20 game winner in St Louis, let him stay here and help the team rebuild.
    *Double TIVO tonight, Cubs and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup.

  • Doc Raker

    Marshall is due to be a free agent after 2011. As a reliever his value is lower than a starter. I think he should be a starter. I would sign him to a 3-5 year deal right now at his present reliever value and then make him a starter.

  • Little Raker

    That’s genius.

  • Norm

    Marshall’s velocity ticked up to 90-91 mph as a reliever, it was in 87-88 as a starter. He’s not going to throw 90-91 as a starter.
    Worth a try? Sure. Likelihood of success? …..
    And I would NEVER sign a relief pitcher to a 3 year or more deal. How many of those have worked out?

  • Doc Raker

    The relievers we have signed in the past were never young and in their prime. Alfonseca, Howry, Eyre, Hawkins, Gregg and others were always guys that had big years elsewhere and then came to Chicago in their declining years. What sets Marshall apart from them is that he is in his prime years and will be for 3-5 more years, he is only 28 years old. He also relies on a relatively low arm stress pitch, the curve that is thrown with little elbow and shoulder torque, he is just pulling the ball down to his waist to get that rotation. His pitching motion is similar to that of Jamie Moyer, opposed to a violent throwing motion like a right handed power pitcher. I think Marshall has a lot of potential left in him for many years to come and I think he is currently undervalued. Marshall, like Ted Lilly, never relied on blowing fastballs by people, they rely on keeping hitters off balance. A 87-88 mph fastball following that big hook is plenty for him to be an effective starter. Mix a change up into that 88 mph fastball and big hook and now you are talking great stuff.

  • Katie

    No matter what trades/signings are made or not made this season, the Cubs aren’t going to be contenders for a few years. We have a young team. The Reds were terrible for years, and then all of sudden they got really good. I think the Cubs can have that type of resurgence, but it’s going to take a few years to build it up. The young guys need to get some experience. The only way to do that is to let them play and let them lose. They will learn.

    Byrd should be kept til his contract is up – he’s a good guy to have around. I would keep him just to have him as an example for the younger guys. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to get rid of Ramirez. He seems to get injured at crucial times in the season, and then gets hot after the team is out of contention. He’s been showing an unusual amount hustle recently.

    Having Ricketts GM would not be a good idea. He’s not a baseball guy. He’s just a rich guy that bought a baseball team. Someone that wants to win more than anything else needs to be in charge (Mark Cuban, anyone?). If the only options at GM were Ricketts and Hendry, I’d keep Hendry (hypothetically, of course.).

    On a positive note, though, the Cubs took two from the division leader. Can’t complain about that. Being down on a team won’t make them any better. I’m pretty sure they are aware of their record and their weaknesses, and I sure as heck know they feel just as badly about it as we do (in general. There may be a few guys that are apathetic, because hey, they’re getting paid lots of money to be on the DL). Sure, they have a lot of improvements that need to be made, but at least we aren’t the Astros.

  • Kris

    If last night’s game sparked a guttural negative reaction towards the Cubs, you are on the wrong site.

    Yay for the most sensible thing any of us has said! 🙂 I may be feeling crappy about this season, but I can’t helped but be cheered a little by a nice comeback and two wins in a row. (This is how they suck me back in!) I think that’s part of why I was surprised to find a fire-sale post today.

  • PackerCubBull

    We should see if we can hire Billy Beane as our GM. He could build a winner in 3 years with the resources he would have here. The problem with this team is they are trying to win now and in the future and they are doing a lousy job at both.