View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Wednesday

3

May 2017

60

COMMENTS

Northside Archives – Jeff Blauser

Written by , Posted in General

On December 09, 1997 the Chicago Cubs signed shortstop Jeff Blauser to a free agent contract. Signed to a two year deal worth $8.4 million Blauser was supposed to be the answer to the Cubs woes at shortstop. With Ryne Sandberg out of the picture the Cubs needed a power bat in the middle of the infield. They certainly weren’t going to get that from second baseman Mickey Morandini. That’s why general manager Ed Lynch went after the Atlanta Braves all-star. It was a move that proved to be a day late and a dollar short.

The Jeff Blauser who donned the Cubbie blue was not the same Jeff Blauser who had touted Braves threads for the beginning of his career. A 4.8 WAR player with Atlanta in 1997, Blauser put up a WAR of -0.6 in 1998. You read that right, the hard hitting shortstop wasn’t able to hit much of anything in 1998 and posted a WAR in the negatives. His slash line was an extremely unappealing .219/.340/.299. The California native remained a stout fielder, but his bat was why the Cubs acquired him and his bat failed so much that when the playoffs began Blauser found himself on the bench relegated to a pinch hitting role.

1999 was supposed to be a bounce back year for Blauser, but it turned out to be much more of the same. His slash line of .240/.347/.420 showed slight improvement. Now a platoon infielder, Blauser’s power numbers remained the same, with a slight uptick in home runs but an equal down tick in doubles. His WAR did jump to 0.8, but that’s nowhere near the type of player the Cubs thought they were getting in the former all-star shortstop. It’s not surprising then that following the 1998 season the Cubs released Blauser and he retired from professional baseball.

Blauser is just one of many failed free agent signings the Cubs have managed to produce throughout the years. His failures remained especially troubling throughout the years because they helped to push the narrative of Cubs big time free agent signings falling flat on their respective faces. 2017 is not 1999 though, or 2004, or 2009. Recent success has made it easier to forget the transgressions of the past. But man, just a quick look at Jeff Blauser’s stats with the Cubs leaves an aura of pain that is hard to move beyond.

  • Bryzzo1744

    I never knew that about Blauser. I remember Jose Hernandez as the shortstop on those teams. I referred to him as Knandez because he struck out so much.

    • That’s fucking hilarious.

      • Doc Raker

        Don’t encourage him, he has no idea you are being sarcastic

    • Bill Thompson

      Blauser, Hernandez, didn’t much matter. 🙂

  • Adam Peters

    Is Washed Up, Shadow-Of-Their-Former-Selves Cub Free Agent Signings theme going to be a series? LOTS of material there.

    • Eddie Von White

      Man I hope not. Then we’d have to do a series on The-One-That-Got-Away.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Please do not bring up Adam Dunn, Please!

    • Bill Thompson

      I do like doing history articles, so maybe. 🙂

  • Bartz

    Signing a guy after a career year is never a good move, especially when the career year wasn’t anything spectacular and he had been in the league for 11 years.

    The bad signings are countless. Milton Bradley, Todd Hundley, Dave Smith, Candy Maldonado, Howard Johnson are just some that come to mind.

    • Adam Peters

      Alfonzo Soriano. Steals 41 bases with Nationals–Cubs sign him for a score of years for a quadrillion dollars. Did he steal 41 more cumulatively in the rest of his career?

    • Bryzzo1744

      Ryan Dempster. The only years he tried hard were 2008 and 2012. Those years happened to be his contract years

    • Bill Thompson

      It’s the nature of the beast though. No team is immune, or will ever be immune. For as much as the stats say otherwise, baseball will always be a past performance based free agent system.

  • Sherm

    Two words

    “Jim Hendry”

    {{{Drops mike and walks off stage}}}

    • Bryzzo1744

      Hendry wasn’t the GM for this one, but overall he was terrible.

      • Sherm

        It was during his tenure, nonetheless

      • Bryzzo1744

        But why should it be held against him when he didn’t sign off on that one?

      • Sherm

        I’m out

      • Two words. Don’t engage. (At times I can’t follow my own advice, but I try like hell.)

      • Eddie Von White

        Two words: Adam Dunn – oh wait…

    • Doug S.

      Two more words.

      Edwin Jackson.

      Though I think that was from the current administration.

      • Bryzzo1744

        It was. What a stupid deal to give to him 4 years. He was a nomad his whole career, and has since played for another 3 or 4 teams.

    • Bill Thompson

      Not Hendry’s signing, and I’d never call Hendry great, but he did make some good signings during his stint.

  • Doc Raker

    I had blocked out the Jeff Blauser at bats from my memory, thanks for nothing.

    • I called him Klauser because I’m an idiot.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Now That is funny!

      • cap’n realist

        J von Kswanson

    • Bill Thompson

      You are welcome 🙂

  • Dork

    I must have blacked out on the cubs during a lot of this era only vague memories and no spreadsheets

    • Bill Thompson

      Most Cubs fans have blacked out many years.

  • Dork

    I do feel better this morning if anyone cares

    • Right there with you, Dork.

    • Bill Thompson

      Okey dokey

  • Hope the bulk of the VFTB crew was able to catch last night’s game. Things were really clicking for Javy.. it was great.

    • Bryzzo1744

      That triple was on a full count. JD said exactly what I was thinking, Baez needs to bring that approach on a regular basis.

      • Adam Peters

        You two are geniuses!

      • Bryzzo1744

        The point is our lousy broadcast team actually noticed

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        That was JD who notices occasionally as opposed to Len who thinks he is at a rock concert. So don’t make it a team.

      • cap’n realist

        Late in the game Len went with the ‘fun fact’ that there are more molecules in a glass of water than cups of water in all the earth’s oceans. JD was clearly impressed then confused. Len clearly thinks he’s Bill Nye, which is cool because I truly believe that Bill Nye would do a better job as a play by play guy. I changed the channel to the Blues Preds hockey game because even St. Louis Blues hockey is better than Len and JD. For the record, I think this crowd has been spot on in its criticism of Len, and perhaps too easy on JD, who brings precious little to the table.

      • Adam Peters

        Bill Nye is about 10,000 times smarter than Len. *And* he understands broadcasting better.

        To be fair to JD, Len doesn’t let him get too many words in edgewise.

      • I agree. I think JD might actually have some good commentary inside him somewhere, maybe, but he quickly lowered himself to Len’s level and spends the broadcast attempting to make humorous puns. The only difference I can find is that JD’s are about pop-culture and Len’s are about pop-rock.

      • Mark_from_Toronto

        I think that much like Bob Brenly before him, JD has some good commentary in him in that he was a former MLB player. The problem lies in the fact that Len rarely asks anything about the player perspective during games.

      • cap’n realist

        Water molecules? Holy Tim McCarver, that’s some bad baseball broadcasting.

      • Doc Raker

        JD was good in Houston, I used to listen to Houston broadcasts when he did the games. JD does have some good insight, when he was in Houston he had a play by play guy that understood his comments and the play by play guy would respond back within a conversation about the baseball game being played in front of them.

        With Len at play by play JD has no such play by play guy and JD sinks to Len’s level of obtuse puns that offer nothing more than a disgusted guffaw from most. Please, sign my petition: Fire Len Kasper- #cubnationdeservesbetter

      • Adam Peters

        Oh, OK. Sorry.

      • Doc Raker

        I was thinking how I miss the wild swinging bAez after his fourth hit, I thought he might try and stretch it into a double since he needed a double for the cycle. Which begs the question: If he was missing a single from the cycle and hit an obvious double does he stop at 1st to make the cycle?

        Here is my question: bAez is 8-10 in this series. Are the Philly pitchers throwing strikes to him unnecessarily or is he being selective?

      • Bryzzo1744

        The fact that he worked a full count tells me better selection. Wild Javy would never get to the point.

    • Eddie Von White

      Carl Eddie Jr. was hitting on all 8 cylinders too. He’s my favorite Cub right now.

      • cap’n realist

        he is easily the baddest 132 lb. man in all of baseball right now.

      • Doc Raker

        Baddest as in goodest, not really bad but nasty goodest.

      • Eddie Von White

        He’s the goodest and the baddest 132 lb. man in all of baseball right now. I said to my wife after he pitched the 6th inning: “Joe better bring him back out again. He is pitching so well tonight, but he won’t because it makes too much sense.” Then when Eddie Jr. trotted back out for the next inning, my wife says: “You were wrong.” To which I said, “More than happy to be wrong … this time.”

      • Eddie Von White

        He’s the goodest and the baddest 132 lb. man in all of baseball right now. I said to my wife after he pitched the 6th inning: “Joe better bring him back out again. He is pitching so well tonight, but he won’t because it makes too much sense.” Then when Carl Eddie Jr. trotted back out for the next inning, my wife says: “You were wrong.” To which I said, “More than happy to be wrong … this time.”

      • cap’n realist

        That’s KRondon to you.

    • Bill Thompson

      Since this post he’s had much better at bats. He’s still streaky, but he’s showing much better pitch recognition.

  • Bryzzo1744
    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      Haven’t they learned yet that celebrating with guns is dangerous. Oh I forgot this is St. Loser.

    • Bill Thompson

      Would mock it, but pretty sad in actuality.

  • Doug S.

    First inning woes continue. Get Zobrist out of the field already. Enough.

    • Bill Thompson

      Good thing they weren’t too quick on this trigger. Zo is average to below average defensively at this point, but he’s still a skilled enough hitter to make up for that,

  • Bryzzo1744

    Looks like Muskrat agrees with Sherm’s idea of the first inning guy:
    http://m.mlb.com/news/article/228108632/cubs-rally-with-big-6th-to-beat-phillies/?game_pk=490511

    • Bill Thompson

      It’s an idea I wouldn’t mind. I’m all for testing out theories and new ways to try and play the game. Though, personally, I’m more a fan of using your best reliever in the high pressure situations, whether that be the 5th, 6th, 7th, etc.