Archive for January, 2006

Minor Setback for Bagwell

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Jeff Bagwell, who has been dealing with shoulder problems for awhile now, had a minor setback in his bid to return for this season. He was set to be examined by Dr. James Andrews this week, but then found out that his appointment was cancelled due to Andrew’s having a heart attack. Ouch!!! Andrews doing fine in his recovery process. I’m glad this is not a year where one of our pitchers was scheduled to see him, because that would push them back. Hopefully Andrews makes a full recovery. He is the Tommy John master so baseball would lose a great surgeon.

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Trading Corey Patterson (With Graphs)

Monday, January 9th, 2006

The Hardball times, which is a great site if you’ve never been there, has some graphs on Corey’s subpar second half last season. They, like other Cub fans and management, are not optimistic about a return of Corey. My favorite snip from the article is when they say that Corey was sent down to work on his swing. It was an attempt to “help him make better (any) contact.”

UPDATE: Corey Patterson is now a proud member of the Baltimore Orioles. In return, the Cubs received: Nate Spears (SS) & Carlos Perez (P)

Perez was an undrafted FA by the Orioles in 1999 and has yet to really impress. He spent ’04 & ’05 in Class A ball and last year posted an 11-8 record with a 4.28 ERA. He gives up almost 10 hits per 9 innings and walks somewhere between 3 and 4 per 9 innings. That looks like a WHIP of 1.5 or so. Not too good for a 23 year old who was repeating a level. The highlight is that he throws left handed and averages 8.68 K’s per 9 innings.

Nate Spears was a 5th round pick out of high school in 2003 by the Orioles. He appears to be a kid that draws some walks, has minimum amount of power and plays hard, from what I’ve read. It’s not a bad chance, if you ask me.
Did we get a ton? No, but can we really expect a ton when we wait this long to move Corey? I don’t think you can.

John Sickels had this to say about the two kids on his Orioles top 20 prospects in review.

14) Nate Spears, 2B
Hit .294/.349/.429 in 112 games for Frederick. Fair gap power, good polish, a typical scrappy second base type.

18) Carlos Perez, LHP
11-8, 4.28 in 27 starts for Delmarva, 146/61 K/BB in 151 innings. Nice strikeout rate, but he gave up more than a hit per inning and draws mixed reviews from scouts.

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This year’s dark horse

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Watch out Cubs fans! In recent years we’ve been looking over our shoulders (or above our heads) at rivals such as the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros. But as we all know, both of these perennial rivals have lost a lot in the offseason – expect both teams to pull back to where they are competitive with the Cubs in 2006. So here’s my pick to click in the 2006 Central Division – the Milwaukee Brewers.

First of all, the Brew Crew is well-managed by Ned Yost, one of the most underrated managers in the majors. This year their starter at catcher will again be former Cub Damian Miller; at first they will start highly-touted prospect Prince Fielder, son of former MLB bopper Cecil Fielder. One of the most highly-regarded youngsters in baseball, Rickie Weeks will start at second; another highly-touted prospect JJ Hardy will start at short. Third base will be manned by Corey Koskie, Carlos Lee will be in left, Brady Clark in center and Geoff Jenkins will supply some offensive firepower in right.

The bench players include Russell Branyan, who will mostly pinch-hit and back up at first base. Not much of a defensive player but he can still hit. Bill Hall hit .291 17HR 62 RBI and will likely be baseball’s best utility man. At third you have Jeff Cirillo, who can’t seem to hit for anybody except the Brewers. In the outfield you have fleet-footed Dave Krynzel who will play excellent defense, and he’s a scrappy guy who’s itching for a chance to play at the major league level. Nelson Cruz tore up AAA ball last year for the Nashville Sounds and will likely break camp with Milwaukee. FWIW I live in Nashville so I’ve seen most of these kids play firsthand.

The starters will be Ben Sheets, Chris Capuano, Doug Davis, Tomo Okha, Dave Bush and Rick Helling. The relievers will be fireballer Derrick Turnbow (also from Nashville,) Matt Wise, Danny Kolb, Jose Cappellan and Jorge De La Rosa.

So that’s what GM Doug Melvin has been up to north of the border – I give him my Dark Horse of the Year award for excellence at the GM level. He has taken one of the more modest budgets in baseball and crafted what appears to be a winner. Now I would be somewhat remiss if I didn’t also give Jim Hendry and Andy MacPhail an award too – they’ve been working tirelessly to make our beloved Cubs a championship-calibre team in their own right. So give it up for the Cubs brass! Here’s their award for all that they’ve done and are now doing:

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Best of luck Todd, you were a good Cub!

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Today’s Sun-Times article by Mike Kiley included the following comment: “…Jim Hendry is concentrating on dealing both Patterson and infielder Todd Walker, who had been the Cubs’ starting second baseman. Walker said toward the end of last season that he sensed he probably had fallen from favor with the club powers-that-be. Neifi Perez is the projected starting second baseman for ’06.”

Now first of all I’d sure like to know what Walker did to “fall from favor.” Every time I saw him he seemed to be Joe Cub – even going so far as to wear Cubs sportswear while off-duty. Secondly, I’d like to know what Neifi is going to give us starting at second that makes him a better choice than Walker. Sure his glove is a little better but will his offensive numbers even come close to Walker’s? Methinks not; Neifi was third in the league in 2005 when it came to grounding into double plays – batting him second behind newly-acquired Juan Pierre should effectively shut down biggest part of the Cubs running game. That notwithstanding, I’m sure Dusty is “drowning in enthusiasm” now that his pal Neifi gets the starting nod!

I’d like to wish Todd the best of luck with his new team – he’s a standup guy and he gave us what he had. And to the end he kept a zipper on his mouth despite the way the Cubs management treated him.

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Quick Rant

Saturday, January 7th, 2006

Before I begin my rant, let me tell you that the Phillies have reportedly offered Bobby Abreu for Miguel Tejada. If you are Baltimore, you take this deal. I would love to see the Cubs get Tejada, but this is a tremendous deal. Ok, now onto the rant.

The other day, I was listing to the local rock station on my way to work. They were discussing the Maurice Clarett hearing for robbery, and one of them came out and said how he felt that NCAA players should be paid for their services. He made three arguments that I’d like to give my opinion on.

Argument 1 – The majority of NCAA players are poor and paying them would help curb that.
To me, this seemed like a rather odd argument, seeing that money does not help to stop people from committing crimes. Even the rich people steal. As a paid college athlete, you would be far from rich, so odds are, you would still be hungry for more than you have. What I took offense to was the fact that he says the majority of players are poor. He gave no numbers and no definition of what poor is. Is it not being able to afford basic necessities? Or is it not being able to buy the latest bling or latest brand of shoes and throwback jersey? I have a feeling, his definition is # 2, because if it was the first one, a lot of kids would be dropping out of school to work.

Argument 2 – NCAA should pay the players because they are jumping to the pro circuit early.
Again, no numbers brought up from his part, but if I were to guess, I would imagine that under 10% of student athletes leave school early to go pro. You have to figure in ALL sports, not just football and basketball. In addition, the ones that do jump early are the ones that CAN jump early. You do not see some tubby lineman who rides the bench leaving after his junior year. No, he plays four years and gets his degree. In addition, the NFL and NBA have policies in place permitting at least H.S. from skipping college all together.

Argument 3 – The athletes make the school so much money and get nothing in return. They should be making at least a million.
Last I checked, they are getting a scholarship to top schools in the country to major in whatever they choose. It’s a free education, and free housing while you’re there. In addition, they get tutoring sessions that are not available to other students, as well as the opportunity to be showcased on a national scene for future employers.

Let’s take a quick look at what that adds up to at a school like Duke University

Tuition – $32,600
Room & Board – 8,950
Books – Aprox $600

Total = $42,150

That total is not figuring in the cost of advertising yourself to future employees on National Television and Internet.

So basically, these guys are making over 40,000 per year AND getting a degree to show for it. All the while, they are able to play football on TV. That is more than I make with a degree that I paid for myself.

Is it jealousy I am speaking from? Certainly not!!! I agree that athletes should be paid for their time. However, it should be the same wage as any college job, which is usually in the $6 per hour range. That can be spending money for them. It would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 per week take home pay. That’s plenty of money to live the life of a college student. 1 Million? That is absurd. Where does the DJ expect that money to come from? It would come from people like you. It would come from your pockets. Whether by taxes for a state school, or by tuition increases as a student. Pay the athletes for their time, but pay them like any other employee.

As this college basketball season heats up, make sure you do all your sports betting online.

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Trib: Cubs, O’s ‘closing in’ on Patterson deal

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Well it appears the days of Corey Patterson in Chicago are finally drawing to a close. The Trib has a fan poll that asks the following: What do you think of the Cubs being close to shipping Corey Patterson to Baltimore?
1. Goodbye and good riddance;
2. Depends on what they get, or
3. Brock for Broglio.

What’s your opinion? Mine is #1.

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Sometimes I think…

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Manny Ramirez is mentally ill. It’s like he doesn’t realize how stupid he looks going back and forth with his statements. Here is the latest.

“There will be no trade, I’m staying in Boston, where I’m familiar with the system and where I have a lot of friends, especially David Ortiz,”

Also, mad props go out to Dee Brown, who put up 34 points on MSU tonight.

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Interesting News

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

Well, Jim Hendry’s offseason is about to get a little more hectic. You see, Mark Prior had a clause in his contract that allowed him to void it and file for salary arbitration if he met the MLB service time requirements after either 2004 or 2005. Prior hit that target in the past year and has indeed filed for salary arbitration. Prior’s agent informed the team of this back on November 29th, so this is no surprise to the Cubs, but it does mean that the price of our pitching staff just went up. It also explains why the Cubs might have been willing to trade Prior to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada if the cheaper Eric Bedard was included in the deal.

It brings up some interesting scenarios too. For one thing, since Andy McPhail was hired by the Chicago Cubs, no player has gone to an arbitration hearing with the team. Could Prior break that streak? Mastrick’s been speculating that the team may be having problems locking Prior up with a contract extension, and this news supports his theory. Considering that Prior has better stats(and fewer health issues) than AJ Burnett, who was handed a mountain of cash this offseason, it would seem Mark’s got a pretty good case if this goes to a hearing.

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The pieces are pretty much in place

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Okay boys and girls, who’s your favorite clown? Yes it’s me, Hendry the Clown! Now we have all of our pieces in place, Neifi is going to start at second, Cedeno at short, Murton in left, Pierre in center and Jacque Jones and Marquis Grissom will platoon in right. We’ve shored up the bullpen with Eyre and Howry. Todd Walker and Corey Patterson will soon be traded.

Where will the Cubs finish in 2006?

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