Archive for March, 2009

10 Best FA: You Want Any of 'em?

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Spring Training ’09 had a post the other day listing the 10 best available free agents:

1. Odalis Perez, SP. Perez is projected for a 4.44 ERA in 117 innings pitched. He beat that innings total in each of the last two seasons. One negative event not seen in the numbers was Perez’s spring holdout after he became unhappy with his $850K minor league deal with Washington. It seems that he’ll take a similar amount but wants a guaranteed deal. Perez said he has nine or ten interested teams.
2. Pedro Martinez, SP. Martinez and Perez are in a similar boat, auditioning in the WBC and hoping for guaranteed contracts. Pedro is projected for a 4.31 ERA in 110 innings and has reportedly looked good this spring. We haven’t heard much on him lately, aside from the Cardinals mulling him as a closer option.
3. Jim Edmonds, OF. Edmonds drops a few spots on the list given uncertainty over whether he wants to play in 2009. His center field glove is a minus, partially because he plays too shallow. But a projected batting line of .265/.363/.491 is nothing to sneeze at.
4. Ivan Rodriguez, C. PECOTA has Pudge at .263/.301/.364 in ’09, but simply the act of catching capably gives him value.
5. Ray Durham, 2B. Durham is projected for a .272/.360/.413 line, though he won’t help much defensively. He turned down a minor league offer from the Nationals.
6. Mark Grudzielanek, 2B. PECOTA does not like Grudzielanek, but perhaps he can beat their projected .320 OBP. Some have speculated he could help the Yankees.
7. Ben Sheets, SP. Sheets is unlikely to sign until after the June draft, since he’s a Type A free agent. 50 innings of his projected 3.77 ERA would give a small boost, so he’ll be a hot commodity if rehab from a torn flexor tendon in his elbow goes well.
8. Paul Byrd, SP Pale Rider film . Byrd is projected at a 5.06 ERA, but maybe the extra half-season of rest will allow him to beat that. He’d like to join a contending team at midseason, perhaps the Braves, Rays, or Marlins if the need exists.
9. Will Ohman, RP. Ohman’s the best available lefty, but he’s not drawing the interest from contenders he craves. He probably hopes to at least match Dennys Reyes’ two-year, $3MM deal.
10. Joe Beimel, RP. PECOTA sees Beimel slipping to a 4.09 ERA in 48 innings. He’s in the same boat as Ohman. ~ Source

So I ask you….do you want any of these guys? Can they help us? I would argue that someone like Ohman might be a good idea since the only lefty we’ve really got is Neal Cotts, and he spent time in AAA last year.

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Play Index Stat of the Day: 250+ K's and Less than 10 Wins

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

As always, highlight next to the A: to reveal the answer

Q: Surveillance divx Who is the only pitcher in ML history to amass a season with 250+ K’s yet fail to reach double digit wins?

A:

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Nolan Ryan (1987) (270 K’s & 8-16 record)

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30/Zero

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I don’t have a time to watch a ton of TV, but i’d been wondering when the MLB channel would get around to the Cubs.  I DVR’d the special yesterday and was completely disappointed.  In 1 hour I learned nothing new about the Cubs.  I garnered no new insight from Harold Reynolds and John Hart, and got to watch some “reporter” ask the same 2 or 3 questions of every single Cub, and then interrupt Sweet Lou as he was about to maybe say something interesting.

This leads to a question I’ve had since I decided to post on this site:  Besides my own eyeballs, where should I go for fresh and insightful MLB information?

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Play Index Trivia: Amazing Pitching Season

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Ok, I’m hooked on Play Index. Today’s trivia question is an impossible one. As always, highlight with your mouse to see the answer.

Q: Who is the only pitcher in ML history with a season containing 20+ wins and less than 25 K’s. It’s inconceivable, to quote the Princess Bride.

A: Slim Sallee (1919)

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Milling around the mound

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

I am back from Las Vegas, and can resume normal life. Sort of. I did see Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot there — at the New York, New York Hotel — getting turned away from the rollercoaster ride.

I apologize in advance for my inability to sneak in a Charlotte Rae reference. Or Miley Cyrus. Sorry Entertainment Tonight fans.

I saw an interesting article recently — two of the players rated “Most on the Decline” were Cubs. Guess which two? I’ll tell you because I don’t know how to activate the fancy highlight below for the answer feature. Derrek Lee (shocked? I’m not) and Carlos Zambrano (okay, maybe a little.)

Lee — major power outage since the wrist injury. More ground balls than ever.

Zambrano — last year was first of his career with under 200 innings pitched. Is the high mileage catching up? Fastball velocity is down each of the last four years. Contact rate is up — lowest strikeouts per nine last year of his career (6.2)

Thoughts? I agree with the assessment on Lee. I thought we should have traded him this offseason while he had some value and teams were looking for first basemen. I know his defense is still outstanding, but unless Lou wakes up and bats him sixth…well, he just does not fit in that three hole anymore. I disagree with Big Z. He may be changing the way he pitches — I hope so — and a smarter Z who pitches TO contact will go deeper into games and win plenty. I’m not ready to give up on him.

Let’s look at this pitching staff for a moment. Realistically, I don’t think that Gaudin or Samardzija will make the rotation. I’d like to see them both in the pen, but understand that the team thinks the Shark is a future starter, so he’ll likely start the season in Iowa doing just that.

Zambrano — as noted, he’s changing. For the better? We don’t know yet. What we know is this — even if he’s not the old Carlos, we can be fairly sure he’ll win 13 to 17 games. And hit a few dingers along the way.

Lilly — I wish he wasn’t playing in the world baseball tournament. Yes, it’s a tournament. Not a classic. He’s been our best pitcher the last two years. Great finish last year. A lot of wins after losses. I think he’ll get to 17 again this year.

Dempster — no idea if he can follow his 2008 performance with another like it, but I hear he’s worked hard again this offseason and that helped him last year. One bad game and it happened in the playoffs. I forgive him. Let’s hope for another 17 win season from RD.

Harden — the human question mark. Arguably our most talented pitcher. Also the most frail. Healthy he wins 15 – 17 games. Not healthy and we go to plan B. Shark? Gaudin? Heilman? Peavy?

Marshall — I like Sean Marshall. When we wouldn’t trade Rich Hill or Felix Pie…no one wanted Sean Marshall. Thankfully, because he’s turned out to be a fine pitcher. He’s my breakout guy this year, and I think he can win 16 games for us as the number 5 starter.

It’s a nice rotation — and healthy it’s very strong. Perhaps the best in the NL, although the Giants and Dbacks would contest that claim.

Next time maybe I’ll look at the bullpen. Or the outfield. Or Valerie Bertinelli.

More later. Or not.

Sherm

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Play Index Trivia: At Least 10 Losses Each Year

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Yesterday we ran the trivia question that asked which four pitchers have at least 10 wins in all of the years this decade. Surprisingly, Greg Maddux was not among them. Today we ask the opposite. To reveal the answer, use your mouse to highlight next to the A:.

Mother of Tears: The Third Mother move How to Make an American Quilt movie download Q: The Doom Generation dvdrip Who is the only pitcher with at least 10 losses in each of the 9 seasons so far this decade (2000-2008)?

A: Livan Hernandez

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Play Index Trivia

Monday, March 9th, 2009

How to Make an American Quilt divx The following trivia question is brought to you using the Baseball Reference Play Index Tool. Go Check it out!!!

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Q:

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Four pitchers have at least 10 wins each of the seasons since the turn of the millennium (2000-2008). Can you name ANY of them?

A: To reveal the answer, highlight below this line.

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Javier Vazquez, Mike Mussina, Tim Hudson, Livan Hernandez

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An asinine weekend time killer

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

There are many moments and things that typify cubdom in my world. Sometimes they come to mind and I think “That could only happen to the Cubs.” This week I was driving in my car and got a chuckle out of this one. I thought I might kill some weekend time to throw this at you. You might take a moment to add your definitive moments of Cubdom in the comments.

We all remember 2004. It was the year following the Bartman collapse. The Cubs went out and got Greg Maddux back and were picked by most to win the National League Pennant and go to the World Series. The Cubs choked. They began to blame the play-by-play team of Steve Stone and Chip Caray. This year would be the duo’s final year in Chicago.

Players began to rip Caray and Stone for being critical of the team. Kent Mercker called the broadcast booth during a game to complain that the team spoke too highly of Roy Oswalt. Moises Alou wanted Caray and Stone banned from the team’s charter flights. When Todd Walker was asked about the controversy he mentioned that the home town announcing team usually cheers for the home team and does stuff like give them fun nicknames.

For the remainder of the year Walker would be heralded by Caray and Stone as either the “Louisiana Lumberjack” or the “Louisiana Larruper.” As in “Here comes the Louisiana Larruper to the plate.”

I did not know (although I could have guessed by context) so here it is:  “Larrup”- (Noun) “a blow, especially one delivered with a lot of force.”

I miss Stoney.

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Pessimism? I'll show you pessimism!

Friday, March 6th, 2009

As I stepped outside this morning and was hit in the face with almost warm weather, my nostrils got a quick wiff of what’s just around the corner.  A rotting pumpkin on my neighbor’s stoop.  Seriously. 

But I digress, last night I sat and watched about three full innings of baseball.  I’m not saying it was Cubs or Saox baseball because after about that inning, I don’t have any idea who the heck most of the guys are on the field.  For all I know it’s the local pub sponsored softball team.  I basically listened to the annual Len and Bob interview of Lou, and the “State of the Cubs.” It’s the one reason I like Lou.  He doesn’t mince words. He told us the good, the bad, you take them both and there you have.  The facts of life.  Lou is our Ms. Garrett.  That’s right, I’m comparing him to Charlotte Rae.  Laugh now, but you know you see a resemblance. 

He keeps the “kids” in line, tells it how it is, the good side of the team, and the minuses.  And trust me kid-os, there are more minuses this year than last.  As Lou put it, the team that won the Central Division had a 20% turnover.  That’s some scary stuff. 

Speaking of scary, and I don’t mean a Milton Bradley meltdown, check out this abomination of a bullpen. The void between a three inning Zambrano catastrophe and trying to get to Marmol or Gregg, is wider than Louie Anderson’s waistline. Where’s the beef? It certainly isn’t hanging out down the third base line this year.

Then we have that Centerfield mess. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Fukudome is going to make a miraculous turnaround.  That’s about as likely as you finding me at Britney Spears concert, who by the way I hear is looking spectacular.  Not that I would know. Do us a favor and just play Reed “Daughtry” Johnson. I like my outfielders scrappy. And not Theriot scrappy. Although, we’ve got a short dude thing going on this year don’t we?

Honestly, we’re a Bradley hat throwing, Big Z forearm tightening, Soraino calve cramp away from blowing this thing.  I can feel it.  Just you wait.

Then again, I’ve been wrong before.  Just not when it comes to the Cubs.

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