Archive for July, 2006

Trade Winds Blowin’

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

This comes from the Sun Times this morning:

The San Diego Padres reportedly are in the hunt for Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux, who would have to waive his no-trade clause to play for the National League West contenders.

Maddux lives in Las Vegas during the offseason and had talked about playing on the West Coast before signing with the Cubs in 2004.

The Cubs and Padres recently completed a swap of reliever Scott Williamson to San Diego for two pitching prospects. And the Padres have expressed interest in Maddux, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Well of course they’re looking at Maddux. After they fleeced un in the Williamson deal, who wouldn’t want to come back and see if it can be done twice. I don’t blame the Padres one bit for inquiring because according Hendry, the price is probably right.

I don’t know what to do with this rumor. We’ve heard a couple of teams mentioned in the Maddux sweepstakes, most of them out west. I’d love to see Maddux get himself a World Series before he retires. At this point, I think a deal is imminent and to be honest, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see it be OK by Maddux.

My Prediction: Atlanta calls their native son home for a last run at greatness. Maddux goes to the Braves, finishes out the year, and then signs on as Bobby Cox pitching coach in the spring. Once again, Atlanta gets what we want.

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Spoilers

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

Tonight the Cubs sent 47,686 Mets fans lurching toward the vomitoriums as they attempt to lock up the season’s series, winning 8-6. On the minus side Dempster came in and almost blew the save but this time Dusty had Howry and Ohman up just in case. For a change Dusty looked managerial as he handed the ball to Howry and the Cubs won. Neifi also showed that he has much more prowess playing the left side of the infield than the right, he committed a key error and looked sloppy on a double play opportunity later in the game.

On the plus side Carlos Zambrano re-took the major league lead for homeruns by a pitcher and Ramirez and Nevin combined for back to back jacks in the first. The Cubs were again scrappy on offense including doubles by Perez and Hank White and they played spirited ball against one of the best teams in baseball.

Tomorrow will be a problem since Mark Prior takes the hill – look for a high-scoring game and hopefully the Cubs will continue their offensive onslaught against the Mets.

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Winning ugly

Monday, July 24th, 2006

But it was still winning – the Cubs stopped their three-game slide with an 8-7 win against the Mets in Shea. Beating the Mets is always nice, even when you’re on pace to lose a hundred games. Nightmares of Tom Seaver, Ed Kranepool, Keith Hernandez, Tug McGraw, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry still torment me to this day, despite the fact that the Cubs no longer have divisional play against the Mets.

There was some timely hitting tonight, including back to back jacks by Ramirez and Jacque Jones. Earlier in the game Aramis got waved home by third base coach Mike Quade, but Ramirez chose to pull up and coast into third. I suspect that they will have speaks after the game. In my opinion the Cubs’ third baseman didn’t turn second base very hard and had less than a full head of steam heading into third. Ronny Cedeno played less than stellar shortstop tonight turning the double play but fortunately the Cubs had enough offense to win.

Prior to the game Derrek Lee was returned to the 15 day DL – it appears as though Lee was brought back too early following his wrist injury. I sort of expected this because they took his cast off and less than three weeks later he was on the bench in Chicago. How can one expect Derrek to build up strength and flexibility in that short a period of time? Hopefully now the Cubs’ brass will allow him to heal, condition properly and be fully ready for 2007.

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Here we go again

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Today’s loss makes about the ninth time this year that the Cubs have been swept; one of those was a four game sweep. That means that thirty-one of the Cubs’ sixty losses came when they were totally out-matched by their opponent – they couldn’t even salvage one victory. Excluding two game series, the Cubs have been swept in nine of twenty-nine series, or thirty-one percent of ’em. Almost a third of the time.

Lose lose lose. Or lose lose lose lose. Take yer pick, you have to have a strong degree of intestinal fortitude AND be a loyal fan to watch all these games and still hang in there. This team lacks in so many facets of the game. Sure they’ve been hurt. They were hurt in 2004 and 2005 too. Why do the Cubs consistently have injuries? Is it that they are not shedding injury-prone players? Are they unlucky or do they do a poor job of conditioning their athletes? Methinks all three of those scenarios are correct.

Why is it that every Cub team for at least the last four years has made fundamental mistakes on the field? I know it’s not from playing too many rookies, although some of this year’s rookies have contributed more than their fair share of bonehead plays. If I lived in Chicago I’d be tempted to go out to the ballpark early and see if this team ever does fielding practice or stretching exercises. And let’s face it, the 2006 Cubs can’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag.

Most of us concede that the leadership is very, very bad. Hendry looks like a knuckle-dragging cretin after the last trade – I can just imagine Jim waking up after a bad hangover and saying: “Trade? What trade?” Everybody seems to be looking for quality relievers but the best that our GM could get for Williamson was another team’s 16th and 19th-best prospects, both of whom have high ERAs and tons of walks. I’m scared to imagine what he will trade guys like Walker and Nevin for.

Today’s loss puts the Cubs back on track for one hundred losses. I am really looking forward to September of 2008, November too for that matter.

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Cubs send Williamson to Padres

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Today the Cubs traded seldom-used reliever Scott Williamson to San Diego for two Single A pitchers – both pitchers are supposed to have live arms. Here’s what www.sandiegopadres.com had to say about these two guys:

“[Fabian] Jimenez is 5-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 17 starts at Fort Wayne. He has struck out 54 and walked 52 in 87 1/3 innings. [Joel] Santo is 6-6 with a 5.38 ERA in 20 games, 15 as a starter. He’s 20-29 with a 4.92 ERA in 87 career Minor League appearances, 72 as a starter.”

What amazes me is that neither of these guys have had arm trouble. Otherwise it’s simply another “something for nothing” Jim Hendry trade – we trade something and get nothing. Look for more of the same when Nevin gets dealt.

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