View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



November 2011



Morning Roundup

Written by , Posted in General

Morning, Folks! I hope everybody had a safe and fun Halloween, and that the sugar-induced comas have passed. Don’t forget to give us your feedback in the VFTB Survey. We would greatly appreciate it.

Thought #1: 27 years ago, the Cubs traded a couple of prospects to Cleveland for Rick Sutcliffe. He was acquired on the basis of a “win-now” situation, and indeed, he helped the Cubs to win, but his career was short and laden with injuries. With many people debating about acquiring Pujols or Fielder, the question arises: would it be wise for the Cubs to acquire either of them? Given the Cubs current situation (i.e.: we’re “rebuilding”) would it not be better to acquire players as if we are in a “win-later” situation? And, given the circumstances who should the club acquire/bring up from the minors? Brett Jackson has been compared to the likes of Curtis Granderson and Matt Kemp. What about Tyler Colvin? His numbers were horrendous in 2011. Should he get another shot with the Cubs, or is it time to let him go?

Thought #2:Aramis has opted for free-agency. Zambrano signed to play in Venezuela. Quade’s fate is decided this week. There is a (high) chance that these men will not be in Cubbie Blue next year. Theo and Jed have many decisions looming in front of them this offseason. They have been quite successful in the past, but what the heck are they going to do with the Cubs?

Thought #3: Today, I was contemplating my undying love for the Chicago Cubs and the sport of baseball. It is ridiculous. My lesson plans will be laced with baseball references. My classroom will be decorated with all things baseball. All the students that I teach will be inundated with baseball facts. Most of the meaningful conversations I have deal with the Cubs. A cab driver was taking me to a Rays-Rangers game in St. Pete, and we were discussing the Rays and some of their players, and he said, “If my girlfriend knew as much about baseball as you do, she wouldn’t be my girlfriend anymore. I could never date a girl that knew more about sports than me.” Fellas, what say you? If a lady knew more about a sport than you did, what would you say to her?

  • Lizzie

    Good stuff Katie! I’ll go on record with my prediction that Carlos Zambrano will be pitching for the Cubs in 2012. And by God I hope I’m wrong. Most of the long-timers around here know exactly how I feel about him and it’s not complimentary.

    As for the girl sports fan thing (though I admit I’m not one of the fellas you addressed!) to me it’s the same as with anything. If you’re a girl who knows it all and you ACT like you know it all, you’re not going to be well received. There’s an art to knowing a lot and not coming off like you think you know a lot. I do not have that problem since I admittedly don’t know a lot. But I’m glad I know enough to hold my own in a sports conversation, and I love learning new things and debating alternate opinions. I’d like to think the men in my life enjoy the camaraderie as well!

  • Buddy

    Not to nit-pick, but Sutcliffe pitched until age 38. He spent 18 years in the majors.

  • Dusty Baylor

    It’s a shame “The Red Baron” missed parts of 1985, 1990, 1991 with the Cubs. Damn.
    I think the Zambrano will pitch here with the new GM. I think The Theo-troika knows that they’ll not get much for him right now, and that they have gaping holes in the rotation.
    As for signing Fielder, I don’t care really…just because this team has so many holes, I;m not sure how it would be a good idea to commit that much payroll to 1 player. It also seems to contradict what the new Cubs brass is saying.

  • Aaron Yavelberg

    I’m kind of resigned to the fact that most people know more about sports than me, especially in terms of details and stats. I’m much more of a concept guy in general. I’d have no problem being with a girl knowing more about sports than me (although I like Lizzie’s point about not being annoying about it). I would, however, have a problem being with a girl who knew absolutely nothing about sports and who made absolutely no effort to learn. I’m interested in sports, therefore my significant other needs to have at least a basic knowledge of the teams I follow and the rules of the games (and I’m perfectly happy to compromise by watching Grey’s Anatomy or What Not to Wear with her, as well).

    Fortunately for me, I dated a girl who saw things the same way as me, and now she’s my wife (and a semi-converted Cubs fan to boot!). 🙂

  • Brad D.

    I think they should go after Pujols. It would be a refreshing start for him considering he’s only played for Larussa his entire career, as well as a nice way to potentially go out on top while Theo is “in office”. I agree you should build for the future and to stay relevant for a long time, however, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have some veteral leadership on the team who can contribute now.

    As far as the dating thing, nothing more attractive than a woman who knows her sports.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Going after Pujols is a mistake. He has made known that he wants 8-10 years. He’s 32, and who knows when the bottom will fall out? If not Fielder, then definitely not Pujols.

  • Buddy

    Unless they’re willing to take four- or five-year deals, I’d pass on both Pujols and Fielder.

  • Brad D.

    The worst thing that could happen is they dont come to an agreement. If you dont even try or do some research on the idea then you arent doing your job. He’s 32, not 42, and if Im not mistaken he just had a pretty good postseason. He would be a breath of fresh air compared to what the organization has had to work with as of late.

  • Chuck

    1) I have no problem with the Cubs going after Phat Albert or Prince. It is not my money and if it improves the team without interfering with the acquisition of other players, go for it. I would prefer Albert because he a) is better and b) it would cut the heart out of Cards fans. The only sports animosity that I have is towards the Cardinals and the University of Nebraska so I want to maximize that whenever possible. Albert may be older, but I think he will age much better than Prince. As for Jackson and Colvin, I think Colvin should get the shot in the beginning of the year with the understanding that it is put-up or shut-up time for him. Give him 6 weeks or so and if he can’t hack it call up Brett and don’t look back.
    2) I think Z will pitch because what other options do we have? He would be our #3 guy and we have to pay him anyway, so might as well get something out of him. As for Quade, what good does it do to fire him? The team stinks with him and will stink without him. Let him finish out the contract and let him ride off into the sunset. He has been with the Cubs and baseball forever and does not deserve to be scapegoated for this crummy team.
    3) I can’t stand it when women play dumb to stroke the ego of some Neanderthal mouth-breather. I look for three things in a woman (well I did before I got married) 1) she must be smart 2) she must have a backbone (not in a stuck-up way, but she must stand up for herself) and 3) she has to look good in a pants-suit. I admit that I can be a difficult person to live with so I need a woman who will not be afraid to put me in my place when needed. I am moody, sarcastic, I snore, I sometimes get into arguments for no particular reason, I have borderline OCD and I have been accused, at times, of ummm… well… having a disregard for the feeling of others.

  • “Not to nit-pick, but Sutcliffe pitched until age 38. He spent 18 years in the majors.”
    Yeah, but it seemed like 36 years as he walked around the mound 18 times between pitches.

  • Norm

    No thanks on a 1B at this point. That would be one of the last positions I’d look to fill.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Brad D.- It’d be great to have Pujols..sure…for the next 2-3 seasons. What would Cubs fans be saying after the Soriano debacle. I understand Pujols is much, much better than Soriano, but signing him to a 8-10 year deal is just not a good idea.

  • flyslinger2

    1. There are only so many “baddies” that can be replaced. The balance is achieving the right combination of defense and offense to hopefully end the 2012 season at .500. If that is achieved we could actually be in the playoffs, at least through a wildcard. That is enough to get the fan base charged up more then anything else, especially in the first year of a new regime. Pujols would cost an arm and a leg since he recently celebrated a world series. Does he really have a few more years in him? Time will tell but I doubt it. I think that money would be better spent in the farm system, bolstering it through better scouting and training.

    2. I firmly believe that psychology in sports, as it comes to team/player relationships, has taken a back seat in an extended yellow school bus. Personal behavior, accountability to self, team and fans is all but gone. If I was Theo “Z” would have a 100% performance/attitude contract from here on out. If he gets a regular salary you are enabling bad behavior by rewarding it with constant pay. He doesn’t get a paycheck if he doesn’t pitch his game in the rotation. He has to win 10 games in the season for additional performance based perks to kick in. If he displays one slight attitude towards ANYONE he looses 30 days of playing time. He is fined for the game that he was playing in and his pay scale for future games drops by 25% for each additional infraction. He can pitch. He has a few more years in him and someone needs to make him act like a grownup since he is in a grownup body.

    3. Women. Sigh. Been married for 28 years and she tolerates my enthusiasm for my sports (baseball, fishing, hunting and sex). She was a beautiful creature when we met in our teens and she is more so now. Sports was never part of our conversation, however she has attended a few sporting events with me over the years (pro football, college football, baseball and hockey). She actually expressed her enjoyment with hockey on several occasions. Had we been able to discuss the intricacies of pitching when we were first dating I would have thought that I was in Nirvana. I leave my conversations about sports with like minded women to columns like this. If a woman loves the sport, can talk intelligently about it and not overwhelm another man or woman then good for her. I think it’s incumbent on either man or woman to be aware enough of their group that they are with to not be a nuisance in whatever they discuss.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Quade deserves to be fired, because he can’t work a lineup, he repeatedly favors veterans who don’t deserve it, and his bullpen management stinks.

  • Doc Raker

    Mel Hall and Joe Carter went to Cleveland for Rick Sutcliffe. Carter had a pretty good career, look him up in Wikipedia under ‘RBI Machine’. I still make the trade, 1984 turned out to be the most exciting season of my life time and Sutcliffe was a big part of that.
    * I have been steadfast in wanting the Cubs to rebuild which includes no new big contracts and rid the roster of Soriano and Zambrano.
    * “Marry me”, that is what I would say if an attractive girl was an intelligent Cubs fan, assuming she possessed other feminine wiles necessary for a happy marriage. My wife was not a baseball fan but slowly is learning the game and starting to appreciate it. I was so happy when she would text me the score of the World Series games and tell me how tense the games were. Very proud husband.

  • Doc Raker

    More specifically, rebuild around Blake DeWitt. That is obvious though.

  • Dusty Baylor

    @ Doc……bwaaahaahaa

  • mrbaseball2usa

    * Make the trade. Sutcliffe went 16 – 1 and we were *this close* to meeting Detroit Rock City in the World Series.
    * I got a twenty that says Big Z is a Big C next year. His open-market value is negligible, and I just don’t see Theo letting that much money just disappear.
    * You wanna get hitched?

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    1) I don’t think Pujols or Fielder would be wise investments for a team with so many other holes to fill. If we were only a power-hitting 1B away from being competitive, then sure, go for it. But we need pitchers first–without better pitching, any money we spend on Pujols or Fielder is just a waste.
    2) Sounds like Aramis is gone. Perhaps Quade, too–if he didn’t convince Epstein and Hoyer he was the guy in the seven or so hours they spent together last weekend, I don’t know what might change their minds this week. I think it actually makes more sense to keep Zambrano around for the first month or so of the season. Someone will need a starter by then, and if he’s even been serviceable, the Cubs have a chance to get something back in return. Dump him now, and you probably have to pay someone to take him off your hands.
    3) Maybe more important than her knowledge of baseball or sports in general is her willingness to cheer for my teams. Those “House Divided” banners and bumper stickers always bum me out. Same thing when you see couples at Wrigley sporting opposing jerseys. I think I’d be miserable if I had to live out a major sports rivalry in my own house. In that regard, it might almost be easier if she didn’t know much about sports. I can teach her about baseball–it would probably be much harder to teach her to stop being a she-devil Cardinals fan.

  • Jedi

    Any conversation about Prince or Pujols needs to acknowledge that they’re each going to get at least 7 years from someone.

  • Buddy

    Hmmm. When I looked up Joe Carter, it said “out-making machine: career onbase percentage of .306.”

  • Dusty Baylor

    He made a lot of outs…sure…he hit a good amount of HR’s..stole some bases, and drove in a bunch of runs.
    He was a pretty good player most of his career…considering his low OBP, his career OPS+ was 105…

  • flyslinger2

    I think it’s a stretch to assume Pujols has 7 more years or anyone else at that age for that matter. Too many factors that I wouldn’t bank on. I would go to the bank on two years and be happy for each additional year that they can contribute positively.

  • gymjok

    Z-stays for now

    colvin/jackson-1 factor is if sori can be traded creating another opening in the OF (sori+cash for zito?)

    prince-if he opts for 4-5years now instead of 7 maybe thats a better chance of getting 1 more big deal after that-if so 1 think the cubs go after him

    gender should not matter as to who has more knowledge- no matter what the subject

    you might have drove near me-im not far from the trop

  • Doc Raker

    Buddy- There is always something in a stat line not to like. Joe Carter had a very good career. I would even say Carter was a clutch hitter but I don’t want to start an argument with you and Norm about some clutch metric you read in an elite intelligentsia periodical that claims different. Can a guy who hit a World Series winning walk off home run be considered clutch? Like I said, I would still make the trade. I will always be a fan of Joe Carter since he came up as a Cub. For those of you to young to remember, Joe Carter was a big prospect at that time, there was much talk about him and much anticipation about when he would be brought up to the bigs so when he was traded it was news. Sutcliffe surely delivered and the rest is history. Shortly thereafter there were 2 young pitchers that were big anticipated prospects to be brought up. First to come up was Jamie Moyer and then a season or so later a much anticipated arrival of Greg Maddux. They both went on to have pretty good careers. To think they both pitched 20+ years is pretty incredible.

  • Jedi

    @Doc – thank you Dallas Green…a man who didn’t last long enough with the Cubs.

  • Norm

    “Can a guy who hit a World Series winning walk off home run be considered clutch?”

    If you want to consider him clutch, sure.
    I’d consider it a clutch hit, like David Freese had some clutch hits last week, or Aaron Boone had a pretty clutch home run, but I wouldn’t say a guy is ‘clutch’ because of one game.

  • Seymour Butts

    1 Pass on the talented 1b men. Look at the last 2 year WS winners. Not teams of stars, just a few stars and a boatload of role players. Therefore the difference between a WS winner and everyone but the Astros is not much. Why not spin the wheel and see what happens. But, both of these guys are going to get salaries that are too far out of proportion to their useful baseball lives. Monitor, but don’t pull another Soriano deal.
    2 I think Z will be a Cub this next year, and it will on balance be a positive thing.
    3 Girls who know sports. I agree with raker they are mostly a great bonus. My wife is also not too sports literate, but that’s ok too, The one thing that really does go thru a guys mind is not what a girl might think. I have known several well informed females in the sporting light who shared many of my interests. The one that becomes a stumbling block is liking other girls as much I do.

  • Aaron Yavelberg
  • Jedi

    It’s going to be a great day!

  • Jedi

    “…and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level.”

    Seemingly Ryno is not an option.

  • Aaron Yavelberg

    I don’t have a link to this one, but I just heard it on ESPN Radio – apparently the Phillies have granted permission to none other than the St. Louis Cardinals to speak with Ryne Sandberg about their newly vacant managerial position.


  • chet

    I can’t wait until this Ryne Sandberg crap ends.

    The Cubs are not the team for Ryne at this moment. We don’t even know if his success at the minor league level would translate over. Not saying it won’t but at this juncture not worth taking a flyer on.

    I still like Brenly as an option.

  • Katie

    I doubt Ryno will go to St. Louis.

  • flyslinger2

    Interesting news on Quade. I thought he was a short timer-more of my hunch on the “New Agenda” that I referred to of Theo’s. They have publicly spoken the requirements for that person to fill the position. Ryno fits all but the “bigs” experience, so he is out. I bet Theo has someone in mind already and it is someone he has experience with, either as a member of his organization or someone he competed AGAINST and never wants him as an opponent again! Think about that premise for a while.

  • Jedi

    The Dodgers and Kevin Malone said the same thing to Mike Scioscia after the 1999 season…a year later he was cross-town managing the Angels. He’s now the longest tenured manager in baseball.

    With openings on the south side and in STL the Cubs have got to find a place for Ryno in the organization.

  • Aaron Yavelberg

    @Jedi – I don’t think the Sox are an option for Ryno. They announced that Robin Ventura was going to be their new manager a couple weeks ago.

  • Jedi

    My mistake Aaron – they made such a splash I almost immediately forgot!

  • Jedi

    Chet – does that mean you’re only in favor of getting a proven MLB manager? Because there are only a handful of those guys, and most of them have current jobs.

    I do think it’s hilarious that Sandberg’s good enough to get an interview from the WS champions, but not from us – that team that hasn’t won a title in 100+ years. If Hoyer goes and gets one of his unproven buddies this is going to feel a lot like Riggleman and Lynch…and we all know how hard it was to get rid of Riggleman.

  • Doc Raker

    I would like to see Ryne get a coaching position in the new regime, giving him a chance to learn at the major league level. Managing ego’s at the minor league level is very different than ego’s in the bigs. Getting Sandberg back into the Cub organization would be a positive thing in the long run but I would not hire him to manage in 2012 either. I wish Quade the best, I think the cards were stacked against him from the get go. I hope he ends up somewhere where he can succeed at whatever position he is hired for.

  • Doc Raker

    Seymour- Pujols was on the WS champion team, Fielder made it to the NLCS, this is Pujols 2nd world series title. In their prime those guys are worth a lot of W’s but they will ask to be paid past their prime and the Cubs have more pressing needs. I agree, no deal to either.

  • Doc Raker

    Interesting Joe Carter stat, his last game was with the Giants in 1998, game 163. He and former Cub Shawon Dustin lost to the Cubs for the NL wild card. The Giants line up had Bonds, Kent and Carter hitting 3,4,5. I believe Carter made the last out of the game which makes sense since he was an out machine.


    1. No to Pujols and Fielder! Too much money for a team that isn’t close to winning it all. It will be an albatross of a contract like Soriano’s deal. Give Jackson and Colvin a chance.
    2. Good riddance Dusty Jr. is gone. Ramirez’s lazy ass is out of town, and so is my Ramirez jersey. Same with my Bozo jersey, even if Bozo is back with the Cubs. I think Theo has to take a stand and get rid of Bozo. I wonder if we can turn him into gold, the way we turned Todd Hundley into Eric Karros and Mark Grudzelianik.
    3. If a girl knew more about sports than me, great. It would have to be the teams I like though. For me, hopefully I can find a girl in grad school at Ohio State, hopefully a Cleveland girl that way I can turn her into a Cubs fan. I got to find a girl who likes sports though.

  • Eddie Von White

    Great post Katie.
    1. As for Sutcliffe – he was a favorite in Wrigleyville, however his career was short because he never brought the Cubs a title.
    3. When I got married my wife was not sports interested much at all. Through the years she patiently and lovingly listened to my Cub cheers and rants. She couldn’t resist the Wrigley pull and without realizing it was soon on board.
    As for my children – My own fandom influenced them and they love sports – especially the Cubs. I knew they and I were in trouble when they started getting up early before school (while they were still in grammar school) in order to watch Sports Center.

  • Eddie Von White

    One more comment, Katie. The cool thing about sports and this website is that they are a break from real life. We love our teams, especially the Cubs, but win or lose, it makes no difference to us in real life. We still go work and/or school and meet the demands of life upon us. After we get married, our focus moves more to our spouse and family. Sports still remain a welcome diversion, but they tend to fade in importance. It becomes more important to be involved with your child’s little league team than it is to attend a game at Wrigley. You might find the perfect man who knows nothing about the Cubs, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything in common. Look for the foundational traits you want in a man, and then marry him. If he’s a Cub fan – great. If not, he will come around.