Archive for November, 2005

More on Corey

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Well, since nobody asked me, I guess I’ll throw in my opinion on the Corey Patterson situation. I’m sure it will shock no one that Corey Patterson can’t get out of Chicago fast enough for me. Corey’s problems are obvious: he has terrible strike zone judgement, he thinks he can hit any pitch out of the park(and he does), he is a terrible bunter and he has a very long swing, which negates his tremendous speed. On defense, he is capable of making terrific plays, but also makes more than his share of brutal ones. He doesn’t judge flyballs well in the outfield, relying on his speed and athletic ability to make up for the bad routes he often takes. However, he does possess that wonderful speed, and good power for his position, which is what has kept him with the team this long. Patterson teases us so much with what he could be, we overlook what he is. The worst overall outfielder on a team that played the likes of Jeromy Burnitz and Todd Hollandsworth in 2005.

Is it too soon to give up on Corey? Not for this team. Everyone on the Cubs coaching staff from Garry Mathews to Gene Clines to Dusty Baker himself have expressed puzzlement over Patterson’s struggles, and they’ve all implied, at various points, that Corey’s problems are in part due to his refusal to listen to any instruction. And while there might be a coach out there who could get through to Corey, the Cubs decision to retain Dusty Baker and all his coaches would indicate that Patterson likely won’t be unlocking his potential in 2006. Combine that with the fact that the fans will be calling for his head the first time he swings at a pitch in the dirt, and Chicago just doesn’t seem like a good fit for Corey.

So the question is, what do we do with him? As Mastrick pointed out, Patterson made $2.8 million last year, and will likely get a raise this year (the 25% cut is a nice thought, but it never happens). Corey simply can’t be in the plans as the opening day centerfielder, not if Jim Hendry doesn’t want to burned in effigy. He could be used off the bench, but most of the better bench players and pinch hitters are guys who know how to mentally prepare, and can do what the situation calls for, namely lay down a bunt, make contact with runners on, or draw a walk to start a rally. Patterson isn’t capable of such things, and $3 million-plus is a lot of money to spend on a guy who would be a far worse pinch hitter than Jose Macias. So I think the Cubs need to cut the cord here. Corey won’t command much in a trade (as evidenced by the fact that he wasn’t claimed off waivers before being sent to AAA last year) but sometimes you’ve got to simply cut your losses. Joe compared dumping Corey to building a dream house and giving it away, but I think a better analogy might be this. You’ve begun building your dream house, only to discover that the land lies on an abandoned coal mine, and the entire thing is sinking into the ground. Should you continue to build, or sell the land and try and recoup your losses? Neither decision is particularly lucrative for you, but it’s pretty obvious which course you should take.

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Rumor Mill

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Rumors are swirling everywhere around Juan Pierre and it’s making my head spin.

Pierre to Chicago Cubs?

Pierre to White Sox?

Pierre to Dodgers?


Pierre to Rangers??

It’s all getting a little crazy and just needs to end. I really think we WILL get Juan Pierre, even though a lot of reports have him going to the Sox. I’m confident on this one.

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The Patterson problem

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Okay, it’s time to beat a dead horse again. Jteezy and I got into another discussion about what to do with the Cubs enigmatic centerfielder. My concern at this time is that the Marlins have cut enough salary to where they are under the $40M ceiling they wanted to get to – I suspect that they are really turning the screws now on Hendry to get Pie for Pierre. I’m also suspicious that Hendry is using Pierre as a foil in his discussions with Furcal’s agent – why else is this deal not done?

In either case it’s time to send Mr. Patterson on his merry way. Every day on Rotoworld I see where this major leaguer or that is playing in Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico or the DR. They aren’t doing it because they have to, they’re doing it to hone their skills. And where is Corey? Sipping Cuba Libras on a beach in Copacabana? Eating hotdogs at the Varsity in Atlanta? He sure ain’t working on his ability to hit, in fact he hasn’t done that since he donned a major league uniform.

Corey is the same player he was when he came up – he is flat-out resistant to change. His attitude is “stay the course.”

Jeez Louise, haven’t I heard that somewhere before?

Accordingly I call on the Cubs to set a firm timetable, a commitment to when and in what steps they will deal with the “Patterson problem.” I wish to go on the record now as favoring a “cut and run” solution. Let’s let this loser go – if anything it will send a message to the team about bucking the management. I go on record now for releasing Patterson no later than December 8th (if he cannot be traded) and signing Kenny Lofton to a two year contract by the same date if Juan Pierre cannot be obtained.

Joe’s Opinion:
My thoughts on this “issue” is a more optimistic one. I have not given up on Corey Patterson. We all acknowledge that the talent is there. Everyone is mad at him for not going to winter ball to work on his skills. However, let me present some arguments for you to consider.

1. Winter baseball in a foreign country can be just as frustrating, if not more, than playing in the U.S. – When you are in a place where you don’t have any friends and sometimes do not speak the language, it makes it even tougher to focus. All Corey would be doing there is growing more and more frustrated.

2. Sometimes you need to step back. – We all have jobs that sometimes get us down. We go through a spell where nothing we can do is going well. I have it happen in teaching. I go through times where no matter how easy the math concept is that we’re working on, the kids look at me with dumb looks on their face. I grow frustrated and need to take a step back and rest. It is usually God’s timing that those are the times where things like Thanksgiving break and Spring Break come along. The same goes for Corey. After last year’s complete failure in which nothing was going right for him, maybe the answer is not more baseball, but less baseball.

3. Corey is coming to the prime age of his career. – At this point of careers, players begin to figure things out and put up their best numbers. Should this scare the Cubs into keeping Corey? Certainly not, but it does deserve consideration. We know that the numbers can be put up, because he did it in 2003 before he got hurt. At this point in his career, he could be primed to breakout.

4. Stubbornness? – I read in the Pete Rose book that he was not stubborn or selfish when refusing to change positions to help the team. It was the way he was told and not asked to change positions. Now, obviously I am not in the dugout or on the practice field when the coaching staff is working with Corey, but perhaps this is the issue. Maybe the coaches are not asking him for his opinion, but rather, just telling him what he needs to do. I’d like to know if this is the case, because perhaps this is the issue for Corey.

5. We have so much invested in Patterson – We’ve come this far, so why trade him or, God forbid, release him as is talked about above? It would be like investing tons of money in building your dream house and then giving it away to whoever gets there first. That would be stupid. At this point, we need to circle the wagon and give Corey one that try. Until we have someone better to fill his shoes (Pie – perhaps) then why not hold tight. Last time I checked, we were a little short on good outfielders. So, unless you want Jose Macias getting the start as the fourth OF, it would be wise to hold on to Corey and see this investment through.

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After Thanksgiving Housekeeping

Friday, November 25th, 2005

As you slowly recover from a case of massive over eating, let me inform you of some subtle changes I have made to the site in the last 48 hours. First, I updated the poll on the right. I left the last one up for a long time on purpose to really get a good feel for the five starters that people most wanted to see on this team next year. I’ll put the results into a post sometime this weekend.

The second thing that I did was update some of the team blog links. I went through all of them and got rid of some dead blogs that were not being updated on a regular basis anymore. What you see down there should be fresh and entertaining blogs for each team in the league. Give them a look. Also, if you find that I have missed a great blog that covers a certain team, please let me know so I can add them to the list. My goal is to always have a fresh set of links that can be resources for the readers when they want to know what the other teams are doing or thinking.

The third thing I did was update the Cubs Blog Army links on the right. With the CBA site not really doing much these days, I took it upon myself to make sure the blogs on the right are the ones in the army that are consistently bringing consistent content just in case you get bored with us. Make sure you check all of them out.

The fourth thing I did was update the meet the staff page to reflect our new welcomed addition of Mastrick aka: Mark Strickler to the staff. We’re excited about having him so make sure you check that page out and take a look at his bio.

The fifth thing I did was to update the recommended reading section of the site. I added a bunch of books to the list, with links to the page where you can purchase the book. These are all books I have read, with the exception of the Banks to Sandburg to Grace book that Tommy used all summer. All of them are excellent reads and I highly recommend them for you to pick up and read.

That’s about it for now. I’d like to close by saying a big THANK YOU to all the readers out. This site is just over two years old now and I am loving every minute of it. I look forward to being here for a long long time. Please, if there is any way we can improve the site, please let me know by shooting me an e-mail or catching me on AIM for a quick chat. I’m online all the time. Enjoy your leftovers, and don’t worry about the mess. Our sexy little maid will clean it up.

Also, if you want to, Bet On Football

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Thanksgiving Day Nuggets

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Let me start by saying Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers. I hope your day is one of rest and thankfulness, with a hint of the three F’s: Family, Food, Football. I thought i’d give you a few little nuggets to chew on as you wait for the big meal.

Furcal Update
Apparently there are four major players in the Furcal sweepstakes: Atlanta, NY Mets, Dodgers, Cubs. Los Angeles has just entered the race, which lessens the Cubs chances to 25% if you look at it as a straight probability problem. Obviously there are other factors, but the point is, the more teams that show interest, the more the Cubs are going to have to make themselves the overwhelming favorite. Judging on the past, and the Pierre rumor, I don’t see it happening. Pierre tells me that Hendry is looking elsewhere for his leadoff hitter and if Furcal comes, great. That’s the usual attitude toward Free Agents and it really needs to change.

Josh Beckett Deal not done?
So word out of the Boston Herald has the Josh Beckett deal not quite done. Apparently the Red Sox are not completely sold on the idea of Beckett being shut down last year due to shoulder issues. They have until 6pm today to finalize the deal or it becomes void. Now, obviously that doesn’t mean anything, because the two sides could begin to negotiate once again until something is reached. It just makes me laugh that the Red Sox fans, my favorite fans in the world, went crazy with joy over this deal like Beckett was the second coming of Pedro. Now, the deal may not happen. Nothing would make me happier than to see the stupid Red Sox get a lemon and have Beckett be a total bust.

Matt Clement Coming to Chicago?
Not quite that exciting, but he could possibly be spotted there quite frequently this summer if a rumored trade of Clement to Milwaukee for Lyle Overbay takes shape. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has that little nugget at the bottom of their article on the Brewers agreeing to terms with catcher Chad Moeller. I’d like to see this move because it means that I would be able to see one of my favorite former Cubs on TV more often. Come to think of it, I have the MLB package, so I guess I could have seen Clement any time I wanted, but something about watching the stupid Red Sox makes me cringe.

Mets going crazy
Enter Carlos Delgado. Potentially enter: Billy Wagner, Alfonso Soriano, Rafael Furcal. Where are they getting this money? I went to Shae last year and let me tell you, the tickets were not expensive. The stadium was not full. That is the stuff that brings revenue, so where is it coming from? Maybe my boy Steinbrenner secretly has stakes in both teams and has found a way to try to win in both leagues. That would be hysterical. It would be as if he joined the same fantasy baseball league two times with a different e-mail address in an attempt to increase his chance of winning it all.

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