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Wednesday

3

June 2009

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I'm done being patient

Written by , Posted in General

.!.

I’ll get right to the point. I’m tired of losing and I’m tired of the “it’s still early” talk. I watched last night and actually thought I would see a no hitter. When the no no was over, I went made my way to the other room to work on some stuff. I came back into the living room only to see that the lead was gone and we’re in extras. Absolutely ridiculous. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take mediocre baseball, and that’s what this team is prone to producing. Blame it on one player if you like, but it’s a team that gets measured in the standings and right now that team sits in 4th place, four games back, with eight more road games to play before coming back to Wrigley and their best hitter on the DL. Things are not good.

Here is what I need to see this road trip for me to feel better. I wrote these before the start of yesterday’s game.

  1. City of Rott ipod 6 wins – Playing Atlanta, Houston and Cincinnati, there really isn’t any reason why we couldn’t win 2 of 3 in each series. It made it a little tougher to do it versus Atlanta now, but I don’t see why we should expect any less on this trip if we’re going to be major players in this division.
  2. Two or more HR by two of either Lee, Soto or Bradley – Lee hit one last night, but Bradley went down with a day to day leg injury. That puts some pressure on Geo to start hitting for some power. It’s time for our heart of the order type guys to step up. Lee has done a good job lately and has gotten that average up. He can’t carry this team, so we need the other two to begin to produce and I want to see it happen on this trip.
  3. Night of the Comet on dvd At least one start for Jake Fox – Don’t even start with the fielding garbage. What we’re doing right now is not working. It’s time to try something new, even if it’s for one game. Give the guys like Fox and Hoffpauir as many at bats as possible to see what they bring to the table, primarily because they’re hungry to play. Both were in the minors longer than they would have liked and want to show what they’ve got. Throw Fox out there. I don’t care where you put him. Put him in RF for Bradley. Put him in LF to give Sori a night off with his leg. Put him at 3B, where he’s worked with Trammel over the last week. Just put him in there. I’ll take an error or fielding miscue if it means we’re trying new things. I’m not afraid of failure, we’ve been doing it for 100+ years, but I get excited when I think of the possibility of success.

    Fast Lane film

Down on the Farm

Iowa 0, Nashville 3 – Box Score

Mark will be recapping a game or two in this series, which is good because there was nothing to see here.

Tennessee 0, Carolina 1Box Score

Can Mark recap this one too? The Smokies have now lost 10 straight. Nothing to see here either. Ty Wright did go 2-for-4 at the plate and is hitting .282 on the year. Casey Coleman had a good start over 6.2 IP, allowing 8 H and 0 R despite 5 BB. He got the ND but has an ERA of 2.91 this season.

Daytona 1, Sarasota 6Box Score

Tony Campana went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Robinson Chirinos was held without a HR after hitting two grand slams and two non-grand slams over the weekend. He did drive in his 25th RBI though and is hitting .364. Perhaps Geo should begin to worry. =)

Peoria vs. Beloit – Suspended due to rain

Max Manus download


Baseball America Minor League Transactions

Released: RHP Jesse Estrada, OF Richie Robnett
Acquired: 3B Anderson Machado from Pirates for future considerations
Recalled: 1B Jake Fox, 2B Bobby Scales
Added to 40-man roster: LHP Jason Waddell, SS Andres Blanco
Optioned to Triple-A: LHP Neal Cotts, 2B Bobby Scales
Reinstated from DL: LHP Jeremy Papelbon, 2B Robinson Chirinos

Like good magicians, the Cubs made Michael Wuertz disappear into thin air. Chicago dealt the righthanded reliever, who’s doing fine in Oakland, thank you, to the Athletics in the February trade for middle infielder Justin Sellers and outfielder Richie Robnett. Sellers the Cubs simply dumped on the Dodgers for minimal compensation, while Robnett they recently flat-out released.

Congratulations to Fox, who has gone 3-for-7 in his first four big league games of ‘08. If you followed the minors at all this season, then you’re aware of the huge numbers posted by the slugging first baseman (who’s seen a bit of time at third, too) at Triple-A Iowa. The 26-year-old Fox batted .424/.503/.881 in 151 at-bats, mashing 17 home runs in 41 games while leading the minors in average, on-base percentage and slugging.

The Cubs liked what they saw in spring training from Waddell, a 27-year-old lefty reliever who joined the organization as a minor league free agent after eight years and nary a taste of Triple-A with the Giants. He received the callup despite not being all that effective with Iowa, posting a 12-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 2/3 innings and allowing an .893 OPS to lefthanded batters. At his best, the quick-working Waddell pumps strikes across the plate with a high-80s fastball and a sweeping curveball that he delivers from a cross-body delivery. The Giants made him an eighth-round pick out of Riverside (Calif.) CC in ‘01. (Source

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  • I used the term “the stench of disaster” on a thread here two weeks ago; some comments responded with ‘it’s early’ or ‘panic if you want.’ Will people say the same now? This ballclub is the Titanic and sailing into a sea of icebergs. It is no longer early.

    This team is the worst defensive team I can recall. No one here can play baseball. Marmol came in, remember, after D.Lee dropped a ball at 1B. It was a little league error. It cost us the game every bit as much as the terrible pitching.

    And while Geovany Soto is non-hitting his way right out of the starting lineup, his play behind the plate has been even worse. He failed to block a low pitch as a batter struck out, he took his time finding the ball, and was slow chasing it. (The pitch that got Zambrano suspended was another pitch he was very slow in finding and chasing — if he had gotten on that ball quickly, Z would have had no reason to be angry).

    The situational hitting is ridiculous. Soto is removed for Bobby Scales just in order to get a sac bunt down. Scales pops up.

    Don’t forget that Heilman is awful out of the bullpen as well.

    Who here inspires confidence? Who here is fun to watch? Who here do we really want to keep around? Reed Johnson & Kosuke Fukudome among the OFs. Koyie Hill as the backup C. Ted Lilly and Randy Wells as starters. I am running out of names. No one in the IF. No relievers. Not much hope.

    One bright spot. I still marvel that the Chicago National League Ballclub is currently on a 9-game losing streak in postseason games. I wonder if that is some kind of shameful all-time record. It really feels likely now that there will be no chance to add to that streak. no chance at all. A team must qualify for the postseason in order to lose there.

  • Will people say the same now?

    Yea… I still think that this team is far from a disaster. They were over .500 in May, even with an 8 game losing streak.

    And there have been some positive signs. Lee has been hitting the ball very well (leading the team in OPS since May 1st). Fontenot is hitting the ball better. Bradley has been hitting the ball better. Wells has been great. Lilly has been good.

    This team is the worst defensive team I can recall.

    Huh? Not even close.

    The pitch that got Zambrano suspended was another pitch he was very slow in finding and chasing — if he had gotten on that ball quickly, Z would have had no reason to be angry

    Really? Have you ever caught before? Soto got to that ball as quickly as expected. Don’t blame Soto for Z’s bad pitch.

  • At least one start for Jake Fox – Don’t even start with the fielding garbage.

    Well… defense does matter.

    But even more, from what I have seen, both Fox and Hoffpauir have looked pretty over matched against any half decent off-speed pitches. The league appears to have made some adjustments on Hoffpauir, and it probably won’t take long with Fox. There really is a reason that both guys spent so much time in the minors, and it isn’t solely because neither of them can play much defense.

    BTW… for all you Hoffpauir fans who think he should start over Lee.
    Hoff: .278/.330/.474 .804
    Lee: .253/.331/ .438 .770

    Lee is definitely catching up, and Lee still only has a .274 BABIP compared to Hoff’s .315.

  • This team is the worst defensive team I can recall.

    BTW… the Cubs are 7th in the NL (i.e. right in the middle of the pack) in errors, 11th in fielding %, 4th in infield RZR, and tied for 4th in outfield RZR.

    The Cubs haven’t been great defensively, but they have hardly been the “worst defensive team I can recall.”

  • The Cubs haven’t been great defensively, but they have hardly been the “worst defensive team I can recall.”

    It depends on how far back he can recall. =)

  • MJ

    Will people say the same now?

    Still too early. As Dave said, even with an eight game losing streak this team still finished the month two games over .500.

    We keep pointing the fingers at the poor offensive production, but how many games has this bullpen blown? I can think of three Randy Wells games off the top of my head. I watched until Randy was pulled, looked at my wife and said, “the bullpen will blow this game.” Sure enough after watching Deadliest Catch, I came back, and it was tied.

    If Hendry makes any moves, it needs to be for the bullpen. It’s atrocious.

  • Mastrick

    I’d like to see Jake Fox and Hoffpaiur split time in right until Bradley is back. Rather than go day to day with Milton he should go immediately to the DL so that his bench spot isn’t wasted. Who to bring up? Doug Deeds, Chris Robinson, somebody who can pinch hit. Perhaps even Tony Thomas.

    I’m also thinking that Carlos Marmol could benefit from a dose of humility – send him down to Iowa for a week and bring up Justin Berg. Minor league demotions are sometimes good motivational tools, Marmol’s issues are in his head and some Des Moines smelling salts might do the trick. It might be time to try Guzman in save opportunities as well. At this stage I think everything is on the table except the status quo.

  • MJ

    I’d like to see Jake Fox and Hoffpaiur split time in right until Bradley is back.

    Last time I checked we had a pretty good outfielder named Reed Johnson, sitting on the bench. I’ll take him over those two defensive nightmares anyday.

    I’m also thinking that Carlos Marmol could benefit from a dose of humility – send him down to Iowa for a week and bring up Justin Berg.

    Considering he’s the only arm in the pen I have any faith in, this is just riduculous. Can we please all stop playing EA Sports General Manager?

  • I’m also thinking that Carlos Marmol could benefit from a dose of humility

    I wrote this in the previous thread, but since it got brought up here too, I will post the same:

    Before last night, in Marmol’s last 15 outings, he had 21 k’s, just 2 ER (for a 1.5 ERA), and had an OPS allowed of just .589.

    He had a bad outing. It happens.

  • By the way… why was Marmol coming in with a 5-run lead anyway?

  • MJ

    Because Lou has no idea which arm is going to suck night to night. Or he has no idea what he’s doing.

    Example: Scales pinch hitting for Soto, then subing in Hill….I really wonder if he’s lost it.

  • Mastrick

    I’m starting to wonder if Piniella is losing his marbles too

  • rob

    Lou pinch hit Scales for Soto because he needed someone to lay down a sac bunt in the 11th inning. You aren’t going to pinch hit Hill trying to get a sac bunt.

    Any talk about Lou losing his marbles is off base. He is trying to play a rotation of guys who have glaring weaknesses. The big guys you have brought up for offense like Hoffpauir and Fox cannot play defense. Fox himself has even admitted to not being very good defensively. Ramirez goes down and you have to replace him with Aaron Miles? Bradley is hurt again and will be out for a little while. There are some odd decisions being made somewhere. Like the first time Bradley went down and they choose not to DL him. So they are a guy down on their bench and they have to pinch hit Zambrano regularly.

    It is not too early to worry for real reasons. Who knows when Ramirez will be back and what will he be like when he comes back. This is not some small injury. Ramirez is their most reliable hitter and without him they are in trouble. Derrek Lee is OK but the thing that has been pointed out on this site ad nauseum is that his inflated numbers from a few years ago were not consistent with his career numbers. He is not going to be a 30 home run 100 rbi guy…more like 23 and 85 (and his error is a major reason we lost that game last night.) Soriano will be Soriano which is fine unless you have no Ramirez and other struggling guys and need more than a solo home run to lead off the game.

    Let’s talk about sample size for a moment. Any thought that Soto, Fontenot, and Theriot will certainly come around fails to consider the dreaded sample size mantra. One year does not a career make. How many catchers have the Cubs have that had a really good year and then failed to follow that up. Hector Villenueva anyone? Theriot is an OK player. Fontenot is an OK player. Reed Johnson and Fukudome are OK players. How many OK players can you have in your everyday starting line up. Right now you have four OK players starting everyday. A catcher who is supposed to bring pop, but looks out of shape and has no guarantee to produce the same results as last year. You have a streaky right fielder whose bat could be used further down in the lineup for now except for the fact that his bat disappears when he is moved down in the line up. You have a clean up hitter who should be batting fifth. Your best hitter will be out for at least another month- probably more. Your left fielder bat is injured again and probably will be a few more times through the year. Not to mention defensive insufficiencies of not being able to throw out base runners and not getting to balls that other middle infielders or corner out fielders would get to.

    How about these batting averages from your non platoon starters yesterday: Soriano .244, Theriot .283, Lee .253, Bradley .220, Fontenot .231, Soto .211…a true murderer’s row.

    What about the pitching? A previous comment said that Lou doesn’t know from night to night who will pitch well. That is right on. Guzman is looking good. Marmol is great enough to break your heart. Kevin Gregg and Aaron Heilman both have a plus 5 ERA. And Marmol, Gregg, and Heilman both have a WHIP at 1.5 or greater. Which means that when they come in to pitch their one inning, chances are that every time at least one guy will reach base and another guy has a better than average chance of reaching base. When you come in with one run leads this is not good. First guy gets a hit, next guy bunts him over, the next two guys have a fifty percent chance of getting a hit and the game is tied.

    The starting pitching has been fairly good but there are concerns there as well. Zambrano pops his lid every year and now will be punished for being late for a team flight as well as being suspended by the league. Dempster has been up and down this year. Harden is a consistently a 15 day DL stint waiting to happen. How long will Randy Wells perform this well just to never win the game? How much do you trust Marshall? I know he is a fifth starter although now he is a fourth starter. And being a fifth starter doesn’t mean you don’t care if he can win his starts which is how some people discuss the fifth starter role.

    Underneath all of this runs the story line that the Cubs still have not been sold and it is being reported in multiple places that the Cubs cannot add payroll right now. Which means the chances of adding one of the big starting pitchers, or thunder to replace Ramirez, or even a guy like DeRosa (even if they would want to) is very unlikely. This is probably your team for the year. And the chances of winning the World Series with this core is slip sliding away. If not this year, you are probably looking at rebuilding in the years to come. Will Lee, Soriano, and Ramirez be better next year or worse?

    But why worry? It’s only been one hundred years. that’s a small sample size.

  • Lou pinch hit Scales for Soto because he needed someone to lay down a sac bunt in the 11th inning.

    Then bunt with your best bunter – Dempster.

    Any thought that Soto, Fontenot, and Theriot will certainly come around fails to consider the dreaded sample size mantra.

    I agree with you on Fontenot. We don’t really know what type of player Fontenot is, especially in a full-time role. I am not as convinced about Soto. Soto didn’t just have one good season. He had two, if you could his great numbers in AAA. As for Theriot, not sure what he needs to come around to. He has actually arguably been better this year than in either of the previous two seasons.

    Hector Villenueva anyone?

    Huh? What great year did Hector Villanueva have? He never even played in more than 71 games in a season.

    Fontenot is an OK player. Reed Johnson and Fukudome are OK players. How many OK players can you have in your everyday starting line up.

    Most teams have several “OK” players in their lineup. But not really sure why Reed Johnson is included in that. He isn’t in the every day lineup. Very, very few teams have good players at every position.

    Not to mention defensive insufficiencies of not being able to throw out base runners and not getting to balls that other middle infielders or corner out fielders would get to.

    Again… huh? What balls do the Cubs corner outfielders not get to? Since Soriano moved to left he has had one of the top ranked ranges in baseball in LF. And Milton Bradley is far from a bad RF.

    How much do you trust Marshall?

    Probably more than any other 4th or 5th starter in the game.

  • MJ

    ^ I think you’ve got your outfielders flip flopped.

    First guy gets a hit, next guy bunts him over, the next two guys have a fifty percent chance of getting a hit and the game is tied.

    I’d say the odds are a lot less than 50/50.

  • First guy gets a hit, next guy bunts him over, the next two guys have a fifty percent chance of getting a hit and the game is tied.

    The stats are off, but not by that much. He is just getting them the wrong way. If you want to know the probability of a batter reaching base, you don’t look at WHIP. You look at OBP allowed.

    Gregg has allowed a .358 OBP this year, which basically means that there is a 35.8% probability that each player he faces will reach base. What it also means is that the probability of 1 of 3 batters reaching base against Gregg is 100%.

  • As to the patience thing, I am not really sure what the Cubs could do.

    Don’t get me wrong – I am frustrated (but not freaking out yet) about the way this team is playing.

    But what moves could the Cubs make to make this team better? Fox and Hoffpauir getting playing time are not the answer. What players are available that would make the Cubs better?

    It is one thing to say that you are frustrated and out of patience. What what can this team really do?

    I actually don’t think that the Cubs need to do much, and that they will be fine. This is in part because I think that the Cubs will start playing better, but also because I don’t see many alternatives that actually make this a better team.

  • Seymour Butts

    Words have the power that is given to them by the receiver, and thus some words that are offensive to some do not have that effect on others. That said sometimes only cursing can bring forward your true feelings, but in deference to those who are easily offended, feel free to substitute your favorite adverb freely in the following.

    I am so mother pollinating take a leak-ed off by our bull pen. How many times must Randy Wells look so good only to be stabbed in the heart by the pollinating clowns we put out there to “save” the game.
    I didn’t know that much about Kevin Gregg when we traded for him, but I didn’t like the move. Now I pollinating hate it. When K Wood blew a lead, we all knew how he felt about it. He wore it on his sleeve. Gregg just stands there and chews his fornicating gum looking like he has no care in the world. I’m guessing he’s more contrite in the locker room, as no one has removed his piece of number 2 head off.

    There I feel better.

    I guess I lean a little more toward Dave’s sentiment in that I think we have played extremely badly for most of the year, have had numerous injuries, and still are quite close to the lead in the division. Even a modest return to average form should produce more wins than losses. And our division competition is all seriously flawed.

    And I give in on Milton Bradley. There were those of you who warned about his frailty, and I did not want to believe it. Well, guess what? He make R Harden look like he comes from the planet Krypton. He may well put up better numbers, but can’t be counted on as a full time player. Ever again.

  • MJ

    I still think the Cubs are deeper than anyone else in the Division. St. Louis is really one Pujols injury away from falling fast, and Milwaukee would be in trouble if they lost Braun. Both those teams are playing well above their abilities, and although LaRussa seems to have a knack for getting teams to do that, they’ve all faltered down the stretch.

    I’d still rather see the Cubs struggle now, than in October. As long as we get to October.

  • I did not word my criticism of the Cub defense the way I wanted to. Other teams are of course worse. I meant to suggest that I cannot remember any Cub team that was supposed to be a contender being so bad on defense. And consistently. We are all aware that the Cubs have a good record in games without error but the Cubs lose games with an error. Good teams follow an error with a great play or something to help the team win. The Cubs follow an error by losing. Count on the Cardinals to fold if you like but they have the best manager and the best pitching coach in baseball and while they do not win championships every year, they show up and play and compete every day. This Cub team does not.
    Go ahead, continue to be optimistic. I would not want to spoil that for you. But this ballclub will spoil that for you unless something major is done. Since the start of the season, through injuries that are not DL’s and those that are, through cold streaks and bad pitching and terrible hitting, the only things done have been to shuffle the deck with Iowa. So now one-fourth of the ballclub was at Iowa in April. Has that righted the ship? Of course not. One of the coaches should be reassigned, maybe more. Someone should be traded just to shake up the deck.
    Something should be done to give us hope. No, it is not early.

  • cap’n obvious

    A few random thoughts. Larry King style. It’s not just that Marmol has lost his moxie, its that his stuff doesn’t look all that great either, which could mean arm trouble…Gregg still has the flattest fastball I have ever seen…its like a pitching machine…Theriot’s defense is starting to get to me, when that ball popped out of his glove last night, then he fell down?…Scales has got to get the bunt on the ground…if we have guys that have been in the system for 10 years that can’t get a bunt down, maybe the problem is the system and not the players…I am tired of Lou looking like a deer in headlights…I am tired of Rothschild, period…I agree with Dave that if Lou wants a bunt, why not use Dempster…2200 CTA buses in Chicago and not one of them can run down Bradley…the Cubs weak defense up the middle is starting to really show…the Cubs HAVE played poorly and are only a few games back, but I think most teams are much worse than the Cubs, so they should still be winning more games than they are.

  • Some readers seem quite content that despite everything the Cubs are a .500 ballclub. Winning one and losing one is the definition of mediocre. I am no longer satisfied with that. Here in Chicago the 22% that are White Sox fans have been insufferable since their good fortune in the run for the title in 2005. They had their year. The Red Sox had their year twice. I truly fear the Cubs had their year, and it was 2003, and that dagger in our hearts will rust before the ballclub rectifies it.

  • Scales has got to get the bunt on the ground…if we have guys that have been in the system for 10 years that can’t get a bunt down, maybe the problem is the system and not the players

    Bobby Scales has only been in the Cubs system since the beginning of 2008.

  • Some readers seem quite content that despite everything the Cubs are a .500 ballclub.

    Wrong. Content is not the right word. I am actually extremely disappointed in the way that the Cubs season had gone so far. But that doesn’t mean that it this entire season is a disaster. But an honest assessment of the Cubs season up to this point gives me some hope for the rest of the season.

    By the way- at this point in 2007, the Cubs were 23-31, and went on to win the division.

    Again, the Cubs have played well below expectations, due to both a bunch of players having extended slumps and key players having injuries. I believe that the Cubs are still positioned relatively well to win this division, though I am much less confident than I was at the beginning of the season.

    Rick- what realistic things would you do to make this team better?

  • MJ

    Go ahead, continue to be optimistic.

    I’m never optomistic. I’m causally hopeful.

    But this ballclub will spoil that for you unless something major is done.

    Nothing major? Are you saying losing A-Ram for two months, isn’t major? Or most of the line up not hitting? Some teams would have folded after that. (See 2005 Cubs after D-Lee vs. Furcal).

    It’s not just that Marmol has lost his moxie, its that his stuff doesn’t look all that great either, which could mean arm trouble…

    Not sure Marmol has lost his moxie, but Lou is pulling a Dusty by using him every chance he gets. His arm has got to be hurting or tired.

    maybe the problem is the system and not the players

    Paging, Mr Hendry. Mr. Jim Hendry.

  • rob

    If I remember right Soto had pretty average numbers in the minors up until a couple years ago when he got a sudden power surge. I remember this because some questioned what caused that sudden power surge.

    I have to say that I am not a tremendous stat guy but I dont know how you realistically measure what balls corner outfielders should have gotten to due to the fact that they didn’t get there…how do you know? But I know from watching the game that when Soriano has to range far for a ball towards the lines or towards the warning track that he slows up or doesn’t go full out often. I don’t think he is a disaster in the field. I do think he pulls up on balls. Bradley is OK but he does not have good outfield range.

    Most teams have OK players. But right now the Cubs are starting OK guys at 2B, SS, 3B, CF, and in my opinion 1B. They are starting underperforming guys in RF, LF, and C (and in some opinions 1B). That takes up all of your positions. How many championship teams can say that?

    I dont trust Marshall more than every other fourth and fifth starter in the league. But that is just a difference of opinion.

  • If I remember right Soto had pretty average numbers in the minors up until a couple years ago when he got a sudden power surge.

    You are correct, but again, it wasn’t just for one year. What happened was that he put a lot of work in, lost a bunch of weight, and started to hit the ball really well. He did so for two years before this year.

    I have to say that I am not a tremendous stat guy but I dont know how you realistically measure what balls corner outfielders should have gotten to due to the fact that they didn’t get there…how do you know?

    Here is how they determine RZR:

    RZR (or ZR)(Link)
    Revised Zone Rating is the proportion of balls hit into a fielder’s zone that he successfully converted into an out. Zone Rating was invented by John Dewan when he was CEO of Stats Inc. John is now the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, where he has revised the original Zone Rating calculation so that it now lists balls handled out of the zone (OOZ) separately (and doesn’t include them in the ZR calculation) and doesn’t give players extra credit for double plays (Stats had already made that change). We believe both changes improve Zone Ratings substantially. To get a full picture of a player’s range, you should evaluate both his Revised Zone Rating and his plays made out of zone (OOZ). You can read more about the Revised Zone Ratings in this article.

    The defensive stats are not perfect, but they do a pretty decent job.

    But right now the Cubs are starting OK guys at 2B, SS, 3B, CF, and in my opinion 1B.

    FWIW, the Cubs have the following rankings in OPS, by position that you listed:
    2b: 16th
    SS: 3rd
    3B: 8th
    CF: 2nd
    1b: 12th

    We can obviously throw out CF and SS, as Kosuke/Johnson and Theriot are hardly having just “okay” seasons. 3b is going to be hurting when your start is one of the top 3b in baseball, and he goes down. So that leaves us with 2b and LF. 2b/Fontenot/Miles/crap is obviously a problem right now. But 1b was a problem early, but Lee has been hitting the ball very well since May 1st, with a line of .319/.410/.597 OPS: 1.007. He has hardly been the problem.

    I dont trust Marshall more than every other fourth and fifth starter in the league.

    What 4th or 5th starters in the game do you trust more than Marshall?

  • rob

    You cannot throw away criticism of Soriano, Bradley, and Lee based on sample size and then say that Kosuke/Johnson and Theriot’s above average performance should be accepted as normal. Theriot’s numbers have dropped and they might stay where they are at. I would be surprised if they went up. Those guys have statistically been OK players. That has always been what you have said about Theriot. Johnson is OK and the jury is still out on Kosuke. None of those OK guys scare other teams regardless of their OPS rankings.

    With regards to 3B we are not talking about Ramirez being gone for a week. He will be gone for at least another month. What we have currently at third is what we will have for a long while so you can’t throw that out. It is what we have. And your rankings are just the NL so the comparison would be much worse if the players were compared to the entire league.

    Currently the Cubs are 24th in batting average, 20th in OBP, 17th in walks, 9th in total strikeouts, 23 in runs scored. They are 19th in OPS. They are 18th in fielding percentage.

    The question has not been whether or not the Cubs are miserable. The question is whether or not there should be worry that they will not make the playoffs. We are now one-third of the way through the season. How could the argument be made that it is still too early?

  • rob

    And unless I don’t understand something the RZR stat doesn’t make sense. Guys are playing in different sized outfields thus the zone size would be different. The right field zone in Wrigly Field is not the same size as the zone size in a place like Turner Field. So the guy playing 81 games at Wrigley is not comparable to anyone else in baseball because every stadium is different and no one but Soriano plays 81 games at Wrigley Field. It also does not take into account that the wall at Wrigley is made of brick and so if someone is afraid of the warning track because it is ten feet away from a brick wall the statistic does not measure that. Not to mention running towards the lines where there are bullpen mounds that someone might be afraid to trip over and so they slow down their pursuit of fly balls. The statistic treats all outfields as equal. There is no way that they are.

  • You cannot throw away criticism of Soriano, Bradley, and Lee based on sample size and then say that Kosuke/Johnson and Theriot’s above average performance should be accepted as normal.

    I agree. My point is that those players have been performing well, while others have not been. I have never thrown away criticism based on sample size, instead I have said that we have to understand their numbers in the context of limited sample sizes.

    Theriot’s numbers have dropped and they might stay where they are at.

    They have?
    April: .317/.374/.378 OPS: .752
    May: .273/.339/.525 OPS: .865

    His OPS has gone up over 100 points, and that is going down?

    And your rankings are just the NL so the comparison would be much worse if the players were compared to the entire league.

    You can’t compare total team numbers in the NL against the AL. The AL has a DH, which is often one of the best hitters on their team. The NL has a pitcher, which is almost always the worst hitter on the team. It is comparing apples and oranges.

    How could the argument be made that it is still too early?

    I am no longer saying it is too early. I am saying that I am not freaking out, and I have given many reasons for this. Can this team continue to struggle and play mediocre baseball? Absolutely. But this team can also start playing like they should, and win this division. The Cubs couldn’t be playing much worse right now, which is actually somewhat encouraging due to the fact that they are still .500 and only 4 games out.

  • The right field zone in Wrigly Field is not the same size as the zone size in a place like Turner Field.

    I believe that this is wrong. The zone is the same size in every field. Just because a field is bigger doesn’t mean that a player should magically be able to cover more ground.

    A zone stays the same size, but in bigger parks a player has more area outside of the zone where they may or may not be able to get to a ball.

  • rob

    If zone size is the same does that mean wind speed is the same? Does that mean that all fields play the same? It is no easier to play 81 games in a dome than it is in the wind in San Francisco? The zone might be the same but the factors are clearly not. The stat is ridiculous.

    Your rankings were position against position not team against team (Mine were so your point is correct against my overall numbers). But comparing Theriot’s SS numbers to other SS numbers should include all SS not just NL. If you are going to say where our position players rank against other position players you should use all MLB teams.

    In pursuit of higher slugging numbers Theriot’s average has dropped 45 points and his on base percentage has dropped 35 points. His slugging has jumped and he is on base less and getting less hits. How can you say that his numbers have gone up? I am not sure how you can say his numbers have not gone down when you quote one stat and ignore the others. Seems contrarian to me.

  • What would I do? That’s a tough question in season, as major trades don’t happen in season much any more. First thing is find someone to trade with to get a major league 3B. Mets got Mike Lamb stashed in AAA; I don’t care much for him but some decent player can be had. I guess this rubs the most because we have no one all the way down to Josh Vitters who is far too young to be the next best 3B in the organization. Jim Hendry gave Casey McGehee away and he is helping some in Milwaukee. Fontenot is a utility player, not a 3B at all. It is too late now, of course, but Jake Fox should have been at 3B every inning from the start of the season, since the Cubs have no one else. At least we would know if he could fill in.
    I would give Koyie Hill more starts behind the plate. He is hitting and he is trhowing the ball better than Soto who looks completely lost.
    I would fire Larry Rothschild and Gerald Perry. There is a spot where a team can make a move to light a fire under some players’ butts. I nver much liked Larry at all. He comes out, talks to a pitcher, goes back and watches the same wildness continue. When Dave Duncan goes out there, the inning is often over in a few pitches. I think the Cubs would be helped by bringing in an outsider as pitching coach. I like Von Joshua and would bring him to Chicago to replace Perry.
    I would realize that brittle players like Bradley and Aramis are not ‘day-to-day’ and do not need a few days to heal. If Bradley is hurt, DL him. Aramis should have been DLed the first injury. The hope that these guys will heal has hurt us over and over. I wonder if any other team has played with fewer than 25 guys more games than the Cubs have.
    Unfortunately, the good question of what I would do is answered by some ideas but nothing like bomb enough to get these players playing ball. This team was set up by Hendry and Piniella and might be beyond repair. But the structure of the contracts of Soriano, Bradley, Lee, Zambrano — lots of guys — will make the rebuild a long process. I fear the Cubs will not contend by September this year, then make a few adjustments and send us back to 95 losses. That, I would suggest, is the stink of disaster. There might not be any help.

  • Boy, though, this wonderful spot allowing us to get together and rant a bit is sure a help, isn’t it?

  • The zone might be the same but the factors are clearly not. The stat is ridiculous.

    Okay… if you say so. But the people that have put them together have put a lot more thought into them than “it might be windy.” But since you disagree with the stats so much, who is better defensively in LF than Soriano?

    If you are going to say where our position players rank against other position players you should use all MLB teams.

    Okay… SS: 7th, CF: 3rd. Not really sure what your point is, being that those two positions have still be incredibly productive even when looking at all of MLB. Further, even when just comparing position to position, the impact of the DH still has an impact. A lineup has an impact on each player in it, and in turn will impact their production.

    In pursuit of higher slugging numbers Theriot’s average has dropped 45 points and his on base percentage has dropped 35 points.

    Yup… and he has been more productive in doing so. His OPS went up 100 points. I will take a drop in average and OBP with a 200 point increase to slugging any day.

  • Jake Fox should have been at 3B every inning from the start of the season

    maybe… but he still wouldn’t be any good there.

    Mets got Mike Lamb stashed in AAA;

    Mike Lamb put up a whopping OPS last year, and has a .530 OPS in AAA this year. No thanks.

    I wouldn’t really be opposed to any of the changes that you would make, but I also don’t think that any of them would really have any real impact on the team. Lamb over Miles/Blanco? Hill over Soto? New coaches?

    None of those things will make the Cubs healthy. None of those things will increase the Cubs BABIP, or batting average with RISP.

  • More on this…

    How can you say that his numbers have gone up? I am not sure how you can say his numbers have not gone down when you quote one stat and ignore the others. Seems contrarian to me.

    It has nothing to do with being contrarian. It has to do with understanding what brings value to a team. Theriot has brought more value to the team by adding power and decreasing his average and obp.

    Theriot is 3rd in the NL in Runs Created, and 6th in the NL.

    He also 5.48 RC/27 in April and had 6.04 RC/27 in May. His numbers clearly haven’t gone down, and have actually done the opposite of that.

  • rob

    It has everything to do with being contrarian. You agree with the premise that there are many reasons to be worried. Yet you pick out sentences and clauses that can be questioned when taken as a single fact and not in the context of an entire argument. It is contrarian to say many times that Theriot is just an average player and then quote statistics to argue with someone who agrees with you. Picking apart arguments is simple. There are a million statistics many of them ridiculous. Theriot’s stats might make him the sixth best SS in this or the 8th best in that. Does that mean that out of all the SS in baseball you would choose him sixth if you were choosing for your team? The last home run on Theriot’s power surge came on May 13. Since that time his average has dropped 13 points, his ops has dropped 50 points, his slugging has dropped 40 points, his obp has dropped 20 points. Ryan is on pace to hit 15 home runs (counting the year as a whole and not guessing that his home run power was fleeting), knock in 66, and score 80 runs. This makes him OK in my book.

  • It has everything to do with being contrarian.

    Not in the case of Theriot. Look… I don’t have high expectations of Theriot. But so far Theriot has been very good this year. It has surprised me. And his power surge has shocked me, but in turn has made him much more valuable.

    You claimed that his numbers went down, and it simply is not true. He was more productive in May than in April, even though is average went down.

  • Rob Bukowski

    He was more productive for a stretch in May than April so he was more productive for the month. But I think that was not a norm it was a variance and not a trend. I dont think it will hold up and I doubt you do either.
    Regardless with what I wrote earlier Theriot was just a small piece of what I think is a very problematic whole.

  • Fair enough… I don’t disagree that this team is struggling. That is obvious.

    My point has been that it is unlikely for the struggles to continue, at least offensively.

    Look – this team was the best offense in the league last year. Fairly easily. There have been minor changes – Fontenot for DeRosa, Bradley for Edmonds – but for the most part this offense still has its core in place. Did they outperform their abilities last year? Probably a bit, but they are also under performing their abilities this year, and it isn’t unreasonable to expect the several players who are struggling to bounce back. Lee already appears to have done that, Fontenot has shown signs of life, Bradley was showing signs of life before getting hurt again last night.

    I am most worried about C and Aram not coming back healthy, along with the bullpen.