Archive for January, 2008

NY Mets Preview (Podcast)

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

After a devastating last-minute exit from the MLB postseason picture last season, New York Mets fans don’t necessarily have a lot to boast going into Spring Training. But MetsBlog.com’s Matthew Cerrone warns “The Pitch” that the Mets haven’t made an impact change, “Yet.”

Cerrone joins Joe Aiello and Brandon Rosage on “The Pitch” in another installment of the show’s 30-part team preview series leading up to Opening Day of the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

From the Mets troubled pitching staff, the exit of Tom Glavine and Paul LoDuca, a new deal for Endy Chavez and an improved NL East, this edition of The Pitch puts the microscope on the 2008 New York Mets.

LINKS
Mets Blog (Matthew Cerrone, author)

MP3 DOWNLOADS
2008 MLB Season Preview: New York Mets

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Philadelphia Phillies Preview (Podcast)

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Brandon Rosage and I are doing previews of every team on The Pitch, our podcast. We did this last year and it was a pretty big success. This year, we’re setting the goal to keep the shows short and sweet, while still bringing information from some of the best team bloggers on the internet. We hope you enjoy them.

In the first installment we were joined by Tom Goyne of Balls, Sticks and Stuff to talk some Phillies.

LINKS
Balls, Sticks & Stuff (Tom Goyne, author)

MP3 DOWNLOADS
2008 MLB Season Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

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Who Makes Up Your Pitching Staff?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

We’re beginning to near that hallowed date when pitchers and catchers report for duty in Mesa, AZ. The Cubs need to break camp with 12 guys on their staff cause that’s the way Lou likes it. That being said, what are your thoughts on who the Cubs should break camp with? Keep in mind that when you make your decisions, there a number of things to consider (i.e. Options remaining, Rule 5 regulations, 40 Man roster rules, etc.)

Here is a list of the current options that the Cubs have to choose from. Listed below is pitchers on the 40 man roster and non-roster pitchers who have been invited to compete for a spot in spring training. I’ve included some notes to ponder next to some of the names. Remember a few things:

  1. If you add a player that was invited to compete, but isn’t on the 40 man roster, he has to be added to the 40 man roster before opening day. That means someone on the roster must clear waivers or be released to be removed. Releasing a player means the Cubs pay the balance of his contract up front (not popular). If he’s claimed via waivers, the Cubs have no recourse, they simply lose the player.
  2. If a player is out of options, he has to make the opening day roster or clear waivers to be sent down.
  3. If you choose to not add a rule five pick to the opening day roster, he must be offered back to his original team.
  4. Your team should include 12 pitchers, because that’s the number Lou likes to carry.

40 Man Roster Guys

  • J. Ascanio
  • Neal Cotts – He must approve an option to the minors
  • Ryan Dempster*
  • Scott Eyre*
  • Sean Gallagher
  • Angel Guzman
  • Adam Harben
  • Kevin Hart
  • Rich Hill
  • Bobby Howry*
  • Tim Lahey – Rule 5 pick
  • Jon Lieber*
  • Ted Lilly*
  • Carlos Marmol
  • Jason Marquis*
  • Sean Marshall
  • Juan Mateo
  • Billy Petrick
  • Carmen Pignatiello
  • Jeff Samardzija
  • Kerry Wood*
  • Michael Wuertz – He must approve an option to the minors
  • Carlos Zambrano*

* = Out of Minor League Options

Non-Roster Invitees

  • Ed Campusano
  • Geoff Jones
  • Les Walrond
  • Esmailin Caridad
  • Jose Ceda
  • Chad Fox
  • Mike Smith
  • Shingo Takatsu

Joe’s Pitching Staff

1. Carlos Zambrano – SP
2. Ted Lilly – SP
3. Rich Hill – SP
4. John Lieber – SP
5. Sean Marshall – SP

6. Ryan Dempster – MR
7. Scott Eyre – MR
8. Kerry Wood – MR
9. Bobby Howry – MR
10. Carlos Marmol – MR
11. Jason Marquis – MR
12. Michael Wuertz – MR

There really isn’t much decision for the team to make with the pitching staff. Leaving Kevin Hart off the roster was tough, but it comes down to not having a spot available for him as of right now. I also seriously considered Jose Ceda, but his experience kept him off. Tim Lahey just doesn’t have enough to warrant keeping him. I’d send him back to Tampa Bay, because we’re not going to use him. Neal Cotts was the only tough decision for me. I think he’ll approve the move to the minors, but that’s assuming he doesn’t shine in the spring. Assuming that, I ask him to sharpen up in Iowa with the promise that he’s the first one recalled if he shows something. If he doesn’t approve the demotion, then I think you have to let him test the waiver system.

Now that we have the pitching staff done, we’ll take some time to look over the position players on Thursday. That’s when it gets a little hairy.

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Is the Roberts / Bedard Deal Really Worth Rich Hill?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I know that everyone is waiting eagerly every day for news that the Cubs have traded for Eric Bedard and Brian Roberts. I just can’t get my arms around the deal, and I’ll tell you why. It’s not that I don’t think it would make the Cubs a better team, but there are certain things I’ve heard that make me gun shy.

According to what I’ve read, one potential deal has Rich Hill, Felix Pie, Sean Marshall, Sean Gallagher, Ronny Cedeno and two prospects for Bedard and Roberts. Let me say right now, if that’s the deal on the table or being kicked around, I want no part of it. Dealing three young pitchers (two of which are lefty) all of which make no money at all would be insane. That would leave us with basically a rotation of guys over or close to 30 and nothing on the horizon but Kevin Hart and Mark Holliman.

I’d like to see the Cubs go back to talking about only Roberts. This was Hill’s first full season of duty. Compare that to Bedard’s first year and it looks like Hill is headed toward being the same pitcher as Bedard. Why deal him and two other arms for a guy close to free agency? It doesn’t make sense.

Now, if the Cubs could package something like Pie, Marshall, Cedeno, Gallagher, Veal, and the two prospects for Bedard and Roberts, I’d do that. I just don’t want to see Hill go in the deal.

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10 Commandments of a Baseball Game?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

I came across this post on Chop-N-Change, an Atlanta Braves blog on MVN and I’d like it to generate some discussion. What do you guys think of these?

1. Thou shalt not arrive after the first pitch.

2. Thou shalt not boo thy own team’s player.

3. Thou shalt not enter or exit a row during play.

4. Thou shalt not get up more than three times during the game. Exception: If you are seated in the last row and your seat is on the aisle.

5. Thou shalt not wear the apparel of a MLB team not playing in that stadium on that day.

6. Thou shalt not throw objects on the field.

7. Thou shalt not start “The Wave” or the batting around of a beach ball.

8. Thou shalt not cause a scene that disrupts others from watching the game.

9. Thou shalt not yell out curse words.

10. Thou shalt not leave the game before the final out is recorded.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Cubs Resign Wuertz

Monday, January 21st, 2008

From the Chicago Cubs Media Dept comes the word that the Cubs will not be going to arbitration after all with Michael Wuertz.

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Michael Wuertz have agreed to terms on a one-year contract for the 2008 campaign, thus avoiding salary arbitration. Terms of the deal were one year, $860,000.

Wuertz, 29, last season ranked second in the National League by stranding 33-of-38 inherited runners, an 86.8-percent success rate that trailed only teammate Carlos Marmol (87.8 percent success rate) for best in the National League. The righthander went 2-3 with a 3.48 ERA (28 ER/72.1 IP) in 73 relief appearances, second-most on the club behind Bob Howry (78 appearances).

A member of the Cubs organization since being selected in the 11th round of the 1997 June Draft, Wuertz is 12-6 with one save and a 3.56 ERA (86 ER/217.2 IP) in 220 relief appearances since making his major league debut in 2004. He has 240 strikeouts in 217.2 innings pitched, an average of 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Still A day late, and a dollar short

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Yesterday, Rick Morrissey had a decent article in the Chicago Tribune, about how 2008 is not going to be the year for the Chicago Cubs to get to the World Series, much less win it. He does believe that they improved, and that they have a good chance of getting to the World Series, but just because we’ve hit 100 years of futility, doesn’t mean this is a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. Even with the signing of Fukudome and Jon Lieber, the Cubs are still well short of being a true force in the NL. Although, is any team in the NL a force to be reckoned with? I’m still in shock that the NL was represented by the Rockies, and look where that got them.

As we’ve discussed many times here, the pitching rotation, although strong (Joe has shown the numbers prove it) still has a scary back half. With Hendry’s signing of Lieber this past week, it’s obvious upper management doesn’t feel to strongly about it either. Seriously, Lieber? I liked him during his past stint, but is he really what’s going to help us now? I get the mentality of thinking more arms in camp are going to create better competition. It’s a good thought. No offense guys, but if these guys want to be Major League pitchers, shouldn’t they be ready to show us our best stuff anyway?

As I’ve said before, I still cringe when I look at the holes we still have at shortstop and centerfield. You should be the strongest up the middle for defense, and I just don’t think the Cubs are. At all. When Mark DeRosa is your strongest defensive player up the middle, and I like Mark, you’re in trouble. As much as you guys love Theriot, he’s just not a good Shortstop, let alone one I’d want to anchor my infield around. The whole thought of Felix Pie in Centerfield, scares me as well. Yeah, he got some reps in ’07, but it wasn’t that impressive of a stint for a player that was supposed to be the #1 product out of the farm system. In all honesty, if Hendry is looking to make more deals, which he said he was, I’m hoping it’s for a serviceable shortstop and/or centerfielder.

This isn’t to take away the possibility that the Cubs can get to the World Series, because I believe they can, and most probably will. There just isn’t a team in the NL that gives me the willies, with the exception of Arizona, and perhaps the Astros. Of course, the Astros are going to rely heavily on Miguel Tejada, and who knows if he’ll even be allowed to play. The Cardinals are now in rebuilding mode, and the Brewers short purse strings have hampered them this off season. Mike Cameron? That’s the best you can do? Oy. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs have to battle the Reds for NL Central supremacy. I’ve got a feeling the powers that be, would revel in a Dusty vs. Lou battle. The old Cubs skipper trying to beat out the new Cubs skipper. It would just be fitting wouldn’t it? The Cubs lose out on another chance by a team led by the last man that almost got them there.

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Cubs Exchange Figures with Michael Wuertz

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Michael Wuertz and the Cubs are going to an arbitrator to determine what the righties salary for the 2008 season will be. Both have submitted their figures to the arbitrator and will have their hearing heard. The arbitrator will examine both side’s case and determine which figure is most warranted. Here are the figures:

Wuertz – $975,000
Cubs - $750,000

I tend to side with Wuertz. He’s pitched well for the Cubs, and it’s not asking much to pay a guy slightly under a million for that.

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Webtopia

Sunday, January 20th, 2008
  • ESPN is taking over the word! – (Source)
  • Kiefer Sutherland has been a good boy in prison. – (Source)
  • John Donovan of SI.com presents the MLB All Clean Team – (Source)
  • Packer fans are just plane nuts…and scary lookin’ too. – (Source)
  • Geoff Young presents 10 Pitching Seasons to Forget. – (Source)
  • The Biz of Baseball takes a look at effective Minor League promotions. – (Source)
  • Should MLB do away with team scouts? Jason Wolf thinks so, and I tend to agree with his arguments. – (Source)
  • Mike Fast of MVN takes a look at what exactly Pitchf/x is and why it’s valuable. – (Source)
  • John Beamer takes a look at the MLB rulebook for some quirky rules you may not know. – (Source)

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