Archive for December, 2005

Took the words right out of my head

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

The other day I was thinking about the Prior / Tejada trade. Well, let me rephrase that. Everyday I have been thinking about the Prior / Tejada trade, but the other day in particular, I thought about something that I thought was insignificant at the time. However, now that I see someone else thinking it too, maybe i’m not crazy for thinking it. Mark Prior is young and is a true competitor. He understands baseball and plays to win. With that being said, if we hold on to him and play Cedeno at short, like I mentioned, maybe Prior’s competitive juices will kick in hard this year to prove everyone in the organization wrong. Maybe this year is the year he goes crazy and wins 20. Mike Kiley of the Sun Times says something similar:

He is competitive enough to believe his best days are ahead of him and to feel challenged by the very idea the Cubs would think he was expendable in any deal. While he hasn’t reached his long-predicted Cy Young form, that remains a realistic goal….But he also is positive he is better than his career numbers of 41-23 with a 3.24 ERA. Prior expects to be good enough this year to possibly win 20 if everything falls in place.


A quick request for all you readers out there. I could use a few things from you, via the comments section.

1. Know of any good baseball sites that we do not have listed in our links? Preferrably reference type of sites.
2. Know of any great baseball reads that we do not have listed?
3. Know of any contests you would like to see this summer? I have a prize I have been dying to give away.

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Am I stupid? & Zito Rumors

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Battling with a case of writer’s block lately, I just decided to let you in on my feelings for the current club. One thing I have always tried to maintain on the site and as a fan is a positive outlook. That doesn’t mean I am a homer and will go to tons of games when they are losing. Last year, for example, when Dave and I went to New York to watch the brutal sweep that basically put them out of it, I vowed to Dave and my wife that I was done with the Cubs for that year. True to my word, I did not watch another Cub game for more than 2 innings the rest of the year.

Be positive does not mean you can be real as well. With that being said, I’d like to take a short, real look at this ballclub and give you some opinions. They may surprise you and get you to ask “Is he stupid?”

Personally, I do not make the Tejada deal unless Eric Bedard is in the trade as well. A lot of people have been up in arms about the idea of dealing Prior, as was I at first, but if you have a shot to get an MVP shortstop and a very promising young pitcher in Bedard, you make that trade. When you look at Prior, you see a kid with CY Young potential. People argue that under Leo Mazzone, he could win multiple Cy Young awards. This is a dumb argument for NOT trading him, because last I checked, it’s irrelevant. We do not have Leo Mazzone, nor will we ever have him. He wants to be in Baltimore and will probably be there for life. So not trading Prior for that reason would be like taking your ball and going home. “If I can’t play with it, no one can!!” Bedard would fit right into our rotation and Tejada could anchor our lineup nicely. In addition, it would make Todd Walker expendable come deadline time when we know that Cedeno can play.

Now, in terms of Cedeno, I get this kid in the lineup any way possible. There is not 1 reason you can give me that justifies Dusty Baker starting Perez over Cedeno ever unless it’s due to injury or rest. He is tearing up winter ball and hit .300 at both levels of baseball last year (ML – .300 & AAA – .355) We know what we have with Perez. We don’t know what we have with Cedeno, so we need to see him.

Matt Murton – He needs to get the starting Left Field job and be assured that he will not be benched when he goes into a slump. Slumps happen and I can guarantee it will happen to Matt. Dusty has got to realize that he is a tremendous hitter with a great knowledge of the strike zone. He reminds me of a future batting champion. If Murton can get the full time job, that would be the smart move.

Jacque Jones – Call me a homer, but I believe in Hendry on this one. If he saw something in Jones, then I am going to trust him. When he traded for Ramirez, he was nothing special. When he traded for Lee, he was not the upper tier guy he is now. When he signed Neifi, as much as we hate to admit it, he performed admirably as a fill in. In fact, some were even voting him into the all star game. Hendry seems to know what he’s doing in terms of evaluating sleepers, so I am going to trust him on this one, especially, because I think he’ll bring in one more OF to help the team out.

Pitching Staff – In my opinion, the staff is not as shaky as it appears. Everyone talks about how Prior is fragile, but his injuries were freak ones. Zambrano is a horse. Maddux is smart enough to make up for his diminishing skills these days. Jerome Williams, when you look at him from a number for or five standpoint is not bad, and Glendon Rusch has proven he can get the job done as a starter. That doesn’t even include Kerry Wood, who could end up being a wild card. With the improved bullpen, I see know reason why the pitching staff should be a problem for this team.

All in all, I have no problem going on a limb and picking this team, as it stands RIGHT NOW, as a 2nd place team with potential to win the division.


Misc. Notes

  • In case you did not notice, we added a prospect search tool on the sidebar. It lets you type in a last name and will pull him up on The Baseball Cube, for stat info.
  • I am looking for some new poll suggestions. If you have any, e-mail me
  • I am scheduling an interview with Pat Huges for later this January. If you have questions, send them to me via e-mail.
  • As of 10:45 EST, we were 16 hits away from 100,000. Thank you so much for making us what we are in this short of time.

UPDATE:

Straight from Rotoworld:

David Kaplan on WGN radio said he believes the Cubs are discussing a Barry Zito deal with the Athletics.
Matt Murton or Felix Pie would be nice, but the A’s probably aren’t going to deal Zito without getting some immediate help and the Cubs don’t have a lot to offer. We’re skeptical that the A’s would trade Zito for one of the outfielders and either Jerome Williams or Rich Hill. Dec. 30 – 12:22 am et

Also, this is your last weekend to Bet on Football during the regular season.

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Site issues

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

We’re currently having some issues with our archives and comments so please bear with us while we resolve this issue.

UPDATE: – We’re all fixed now. New content will be up tonight or early tomorrow.

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Okay Santa Claus is finished

Monday, December 26th, 2005

Oh well, he didn’t bring me a new manager or GM, nor did he give Corey Patterson one-way airfare out of Chicago as I’d hoped. But sometimes Santa brings gift certificates – you have to wait until after Christmas to get your goodies :)

Len Kasper said in Joe Aiello’s interview that he thought Corey was going places and he also said that he felt Hendry had one more blockbuster deal up his sleeve. Since the 2005 team is largely assembled I don’t think there should be any sense of urgency insofar as the blockbuster trade is concerned – Hendry should watch his wallet and make sure he doesn’t get his pocket picked.

And you know, the more I thought about the Tejada/Prior rumors, the more common sense told me that you *never ever* trade a quality pitcher for a quality hitter. Unless Baltimore includes Bedard in that deal I really don’t think the Cubs should risk moving Prior.

So where do we go from here?

At this stage Hendry should look for a three-way deal with someone (OAKLAND) who wants to dump salary and will trade a big name player (ZITO) for Hill and Pie; then we can turn around and send the guy we get (ZITO) with Cedeno for Tejada. OR, we can keep Cedeno and move some other young players for a quality starter.

And of course we should send !@#$ing Patterson on his merry way for a decent righthanded-hitting outfielder to platoon (more or less) with Jones in right.

Perhaps there is still hope for the Cubs in 2006 – with Hendry and Baker out of their comfort zones and managing like their jobs are on the line….who knows? Crazier things have happened.

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Christmas Past

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

The year was 1966. I was somewhat precocious as an 8-year old and it would prove to be my most memorable Christmas to date, not for its joy or the presents under the tree but for the one who wasnít there on December 25.

Steve, my oldest brother, was in Viet Nam. His letters were few and far between that year. We would wait for the mail every day and I vividly recall the postman looking down and shaking his head. On occasion, when Mom didnít think anyone saw her, she was off alone in some room, weeping softly, fearing the worst. She told me that happened every time she heard Elvis sing ìBlue Christmas.î He sang it a lot in 1967.

What I remember the most that year was the tree. It was white, they called it a flocked tree, treated with some substance to preserve it indefinitely. This was necessary this particular year because that tree wasnít coming down any time soon. Not until Steve could see it for himself.

January came and went and my brother didnít make it home and so we waited. And the tree stood in our living room waiting with us.

February. While our neighbors celebrated Valentineís Day, they must have wondered a bit to themselves about the family down the street with the white Christmas tree that stood at attention, waiting for Steve to come thru the door. Those who knew us understood. After Christmas we didnít turn on the lights. We told our friends, when you go by and see the tree lit up, you will know our boy is home with us.

March. No brother. at school weíd sing ìWhen Johnny Comes Marching Homeî and Iíd proudly substitute Steveís name in the song. But the tree didnít budge.

April. The frigid winter had given way to the balmier waves of spring. On my way home from school, I started down the alley that led to our back door. And then I saw him. There he stood, my brother, in the flesh, safe from bullets and bombs and hand grenades. The shouts must have been heard for three blocks.

That night, the lights went on and our family was all together again.

This post is dedicated to those families who are separated from loved ones this year. And say an extra prayer for Colts coach Tony Dungy and family, as they prepare to bury his son.

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Len Kasper Interview

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Yesterday I had the privilege of interviewing the Cubs play by play man, Len Kasper. He has taken a lot of heat in his first year from the fans for not being good. I have to say that I disagree with them. I have enjoyed Len and Bob from the beginning. They keep me entertained during the game, which is their primary role as TV guys. Sometimes I think that people miss that. They are not there to be your eyes, they are there to make the TV time fun. For me, they have done that.

The interview went smooth, except for the first 3 minutes or so when the tape recorder was not functioning properly. Here are the topics we discussed in the interview:

  • Len’s Background

  • Working with Bob
  • Getting used to Chicago
  • The Cubs Offseason
  • Miguel Tejada Rumors
  • Word Association

The interview is in MP3 format and is about 20 min long. Click the listen button and see what you think. And please let me know your feedback. I have an interview with Pat Hughes scheduled in January. Merry Christmas everyone.

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New Poll and Announcement

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

With a lot of people freaking out about the offseason, I decided it was time to lighten things up a bit. With that being said, I give you a new poll that isguarantee to make you think a little. I know who I would pick, but I’ll wait for your votes before I share mine. Feel free to talk about it in the comments section though.

*****Announcement*****

Christmas Eve, you will have access to an interview with Len Kasper that is taking place today. It should be a good time had by all so enjoy that.

If you really want to keep thinking offseason, then check out Mariotti’s column today. It highlights my thoughts to a T.

Don’t forget to Bet on Football this weekend

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Let’s compare and contrast two teams

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

During the first part of the offseason they had no manager or GM. Now here’s their starting lineup: Furcal, Lofton, Jeff Kent, JD Drew, Garciaparra, Bill Mueller, Jose Cruz Jr. Dionner Navarro. The starting pitchers are Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Odalis Perez, Tomko, and ??. Relievers are Gagne, Brazoban, Duaner Sanchez and a bunch of unknowns. The bench looks thin. Cesar Izturis will be ready in July or so and I suspect Nomar will move to the outfield.

Now here’s how our fair-haired boy has done with his hundred million dollars: Pierre, Walker, D Lee, Ramirez, Jacque Jones, Matt Murton, Barrett, Cedeno/Perez. The starting pitchers are Wood (?,) Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch. Relievers are Dempster, Eyre, Howry, etc. The bench looks thin.

You get my point. In 1980 Ronald Reagan won an election by saying: “Are you really better off than you were four years ago?” Until we hold the Cubs management accountable for *results* we should content ourselves with being loveable losers and having fun times at the best ballpark in baseball.

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Prior for Tejada?

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

Rotoworld reports that the Cubs and Orioles have discussed a swap that would send Mark Prior to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada. They claim that the Cubs also want Erik Bedard thrown in and that the O’s would like Felix Pie added to the equation. There is also talk about a three-way trade that includes Manny Ramirez going to the O’s and Prior and Tejada.

I wonder if talks to lock Prior up past 2006 aren’t going too well…

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