Archive for February, 2006

Why not?

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Crazier things have happened. I was browsing through Rotoworld and I saw the following little factoid:

Free agent Roger Clemens gave up a homer to his son, Koby, on his first pitch in a simulated game at Astros minor league camp today.
After the homer, he went up and in on Koby next time through.

Clemens can’t play for Houston unless he sits out until May 1st – perhaps the Cubs should take a run at this guy. Sure, it would cost some money but maybe bringing the first Cubs championship to Wrigley in 98 years might intrigue the Rocket…

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Did Hendry Make a Mistake?

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

As the rumors last year were flying that Dusty Baker was on his way out, Jim Hendry quietly made no such move. There were speculations on managers like Grady Little, Bob Brenly, Uncle Lou Pinella, and even Joe Girardi. I mentioned in a comment section of one of the posts that I really liked Joe Girardi. I thought he was a good leader and will never forget the time he had to announce the death of Daryle Kile to thousands of angry fans who wanted a game to begin.

This season Joe Girardi, who has no big league manager experience, will be molding and shaping the young Florida Marlins. I caught this article awhile back and it made me wonder if maybe Hendry made a mistake after all. Sure I harped on Joe for having the facial hair policy, but now here he is working the guys butts off in spring training. Normally that wouldn’t sound so revolutionary, but then you have to catch the part where it says that he runs the foul poles right along with the players. At 41, Joe isn’t exactly an old fart. He’s leading by example and I think that is the only way to lead.

Here are some highlights of the full article:

With temperatures in the 80s on Tuesday, Marlins pitchers lined up for one of the most grueling drills of spring training: “running poles,” a series of 14 sprints across the outfield grass from foul pole to foul pole.

That’s when left-hander Scott Olsen looked over at manager Joe Girardi and said with a sneer, “Why don’t you run with us?”

In the clubhouse a few minutes later, Olsen wrapped a cold towel around his head and marveled at how Girardi, 41, outpaced many players.

“He ran, like, 12 poles and he wasn’t even fazed,” Olsen, 22, said. “He might have run more than 14. I ran my 14 and got out.”

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Stupid should hurt

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Well I’ve got to give Hendry credit on this one. A fair number of people disagreed with Hendry’s dumping of Corey Patterson – you can call it what you will but that’s what it was. If either of the guys the Cubs got for Patterson amount to a hill of beans then I’m going to become the Pope o’ Rome. But I liked the trade because two slim chances were better than no chance at all.

Now that Corey is comfortably situated in his new environs he’s begun to speak a little about his time in Chicago and where he intends to go in an O’s uniform. Corey blamed part of his failure in Chicago on all the advice he received. According to Corey he tried incorporating all of the advice he was getting and his willingness to do that degraded his performance even further (Mastrick snorts derisively at the deliberate distortion of the facts – Patterson consistently refused to listen to the Cubs coaches!)

When asked about the approach he plans to take with the Orioles, Patterson was simple and forthright: “I pretty much just stick to my strengths — know myself and go from there…basically, what it comes down to is you wait for a pitch in your zone. If you get it, try to take advantage of it. If you swing at a bad pitch, you swing at a bad pitch…you can’t worry about it, because if you do that, you’re not focusing on the next pitch. And that’s what it comes down to.”

Later Patterson was asked about his low walk totals and this is how he responded: “I don’t even pay attention to that stuff. I just play the game, and that’s all you can do,” he said. “The numbers will be there at the end. Some of the people that walk may get on base, but they can’t steal and end up clogging the bases. Sure, you want to get on base, but there are a lot of different ways to look at it. The main thing is knowing yourself and knowing your strengths.”

Sorry folks but that fella is dumber than a box o’ rocks. I hope he banks the $2.8M he gets paid this year because I see a beer truck in Corey’s future.

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Prior threw 20 pitches today

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Today’s Chicago Tribune and made light of the fact that Mark Prior threw off the mound today. Nine days after pitchers and catchers reported, Prior threw twenty pitches and said that it felt “awkward;” according to Mark it was the first time since his last start in September that he threw off a mound. Twenty pitches? What did he do the rest of the practice, talk baseball with Dusty? No wonder rumors are flying around about his health.

I seem to recall last year during spring that Prior said it might be a good idea to throw year round in order to avoid the elbow tenderness. What happened to that idea? I sincerely hope that Prior is 100% ready to go by Opening Day – he was a #2 overall draft pick and the Cubs really need him to live up to that level of expectation.

If Mark is indeed nursing an injury that’s one thing – but if he’s as healthy as he claims he’d better start working overtime because that level of preparedness and work ethic ain’t gonna cut it.

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Stats Stats & more Stats

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

One of my favorite things about baseball is how you can compare basically every player in the league based on their stats. No other team sport can you really do that as effectively as in baseball. As we get ready to get into the meat of Spring Training, I’d like to put together a series on various stats that are not considered common. My goal is to establish the purpose of these stats as well as to provide you with a benchmark for evaluating what would be considered an exceptional, above average, average and bad performance. For example, most people understand the basics on batting average. It’s generally considered a good season if you put up an average above .300. However, when we get to stats like Slugging %, On Base %, OPS, etc., most people fall short in their ability to translate or decode those statistics. My goal is to provide you with not only a quick tutorial, but also a quick reference for when you want to come back to it.

With all that being said, I’d like to get your requests for some common stats or not so common stats that you would like to be better informed on. I will do my best to help out with as many as possible. Just leave your suggestions in the comment section. The series will probably run in the latter half of March and will be followed by our season preview articles.

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