Archive for September, 2009

GirlieView (09/11/2009)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Question of Last Week

Last week I proposed a list of position players and asked whether you wanted them back next year or not. It was again really interesting to me. I’ll actually save this plus the previous week’s pitchers edition until next spring and see how well we stack up against the Opening Day lineup.

Six Votes
- Derrek Lee

Five Votes
- Jake Fox
- Kosuke Fukudome
- Aramis Ramirez

Four Votes
- Jeff Baker
- Andres Blanco
- Geovany Soto
- Ryan Theriot

Three Votes
- Koyie Hill
- Reed Johnson

Two Votes
- Milton Bradley
- Sam Fuld
- Micah Hoffpauir
- Bobby Scales

One Vote
- Mike Fontenot
- Alfonso Soriano
- Ernie Banks

Zero Votes
- Aaron Miles

Question of the Week

Eh, let’s skip it. We’ll all be more in the mood in oh, say, next March.

Lizzies

Slim pickins this week, particularly since I’m not going anywhere near the political chit chat. But here’s my four favorites!

  • I must admit I mowed the lawn while my dad watched the game this afternoon.
  • 4 games over a holiday weekend and I didn’t see a single inning.
  • Interesting to see that Geo and Theriot were drafted the same year as Prior. They don’t seem like contemporaries since they took such different paths to the bigs.
  • Lizzie, they’re all “off days” this year.

Have a great weekend! :-)

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Catcher Pickoff Leaders

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Over the last several seasons, no one compares. Yadier Molina has nabbed more baserunners who fell asleep on the bases than any other catcher by a wide margin. Here are the leaders in catcher pickoffs since 2003:

Most Catcher Pickoffs
(Since 2003)

Player

Pickoffs

Yadier Molina

33

Miguel Olivo

19

Jose Molina

17

Ivan Rodriguez

13

Jeff Mathis

11

How much is that helping his team? In The Fielding Bible—Volume II, we spent a considerable amount of time and effort on translating catcher defense into Defensive Runs Saved. We are now adding catcher pickoffs as an additional element. Based on analyzing run values, each catcher pickoff is estimated to save the team .46 runs. Over the years, Molina’s 33 pickoffs are worth 15 runs. Once again, no one compares to Yadier:

Defensive Runs Saved Leaders—Catchers
(Since 2003)

Player

Runs Saved

Yadier Molina

45

Jose Molina

35

Ivan Rodriguez

35

Gerald Laird

23

Paul Lo Duca

21

In 2009, the Yadier version of the Molina brothers is once again doing well, currently tied for third in most defensive Runs Saved at catcher. Here are the 2009 Runs Saved leaders for catchers, now including catcher pickoffs:

Defensive Runs Saved Leaders—Catchers
(2009 through September 10)

Player

Runs Saved

Koyie Hill

8

Rob Johnson

8

Yadier Molina

4

Russell Martin

4

Kenji Johjima

4

Miguel Montero

4

Jeff Mathis

4

Joe Mauer

4

David Ross

4

Eliezer Alfonzo

4

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com.”

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The Prior Draft…Revisited

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I’m bored and so I thought I’d take a quick look back at the 2001 draft, the Prior draft to see what else was available. I tried to keep it round by round to look at realistic talent available each round to see what we could have ended up with.

Round 1

Cubs Select: Mark Prior (2nd pick)

Other Notable round selections: Mark Teixeira (5th pick), Casey Kotchman (13th pick), David Wright (38th pick)

Round 2

Cubs Select: Andrew Sisco (2nd pick)

Other Notable round selections: J.J. Hardy (12th pick), Dan Haren (28th pick)

Round 3

Cubs Select: Ryan Theriot (2nd pick)

Other Notable round selections: Kirk Saarloos (10th pick), Scott Hairston (22nd pick)

Round 4

Cubs Select: Ricky Nolasco (2nd pick)

Other Notable round selections: David Bush (3rd pick), Jeff Keppinger (8th pick)

Round 5

Cubs Select: Brendan Harris (2nd pick)

Other Notable round selections: Ryan Howard (4th pick), Skip Schumaker (28th pick)

Later Rounds

Cubs Select: Sergio Mitre (7th round), Geovany Soto (11th round)

Other Notable late round selections: Edwin Jackson (6th round), Kevin Youkilis (8th round), Dan Uggla (11th round), Chris Young (16th round), Johny Gomes (18th round), Zach Duke (20th round), Andre Ethier (37th round)

What’s the point of this exercise? I’m not really sure. I guess boredom more than anything. It’s fun to look back and see what might have been. Imagine if we still took Prior, but then hit with Haren, Bush, Jackson and a guy like Ethier. Wow.

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Sweet Lou and the Cubs

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The title of this new book, published in 2009, is: “Sweet Lou and the Cubs – A Year Inside the Dugout”. It is written by local writer and media guy George Castle. Technically, it recaps the 2008 Cubs season. However, it also contains a lot of pertinent information of recent historical vintage, and portends what, sadly, was to come in 2009. In that sense, it is almost nauseatingly accurate.

There are numerous chapters focusing on Lou Piniella, per se, but also chapters about Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Reed Johnson, Ryan Dempster, and Kerry Wood.

There is an entire chapter devoted to the late July, 2008, Brewers series in Milwaukee, which is where I rejoined the Chicago Cubs sleigh ride after a thirty nine year absence.

Former Yankees coach Bobby Meacham describes Lou Piniella thusly:
- “One thing that it was clear, he wants to win,” Meacham said. “I really don’t think players care whether their manager yells at them or puts his arms around them. I don’t think they care if he yells at an umpire. They just want a guy who wants to win. That’s why players want to play for Lou. A team sees how bad Lou wants to win, and that team exudes the same attitude.”

Lou described the preferred style for all his teams:
- “I like certain types of teams to manage,” he said. “I’m basically a guy who doesn’t like to sit and wait for a three-run homer. I like to be able to force the issue a little bit, I like to be able to hit and run a little bit, I like to be able to steal a little bit. That does a lot of different things for a baseball team.”

After winning a world championship with Cincinnati, Piniella’s ultimate boss, Marge Schott,
- “would not discuss a contract extension during the season. So immediately afterward, Piniella quit – and set the pattern for the remainder of his managerial career. Unless the situation suited him to a T, he would not linger or let aggravations fester. He’d just walk away.”

Ken Griffey Jr. said of Lou:
- “He didn’t like losing, from Day One. He didn’t accept losing. He felt if you don’t play hard for me, I’ll sit you. Give me 100 percent, I’ll back you. If you don’t, I won’t back you.”

Piniella insisted:
- “I really hurt for a player who’s not playing much. Like I tell the players, stay ready because if you go out there and you help us win a baseball game, you’re going to get a chance to play. The players found few shades of gray with Piniella. They knew if they produced, he’d find a spot for them. If not…”

Cubs president Andy MacPhail’s motto for improving the Cubs back in 1994 (and still in 2004) was:
- “Slow, steady, and unspectacular”. MacPhail’s office was described as a place “where new ideas go to die.”

The author describes the Cubs as of 2005:
- The Cubs were way behind other teams in most facets of baseball operations. How could they compete with teams who benefited from spacious, modern ballparks and an adherence to modern sabermetrics analysis that enlightened franchises like the Red Sox had long embraced?

Andy MacPhail resigned in September 2006, shortly after stating:
- “You can make the case that the best thing (for baseball) is for the Cubs to win three championships in a row.” But in the 12 years leading up to that statement, MacPhail had never mentioned publicly the Fall Classic as the Cubs’ ultimate destination, preferring to carefully refer to being “competitive” and playing meaningful games in September.

There are fifteen pages of professional grade color photographs included in this book.

Cardinals pitcher (and ex-Cub) Todd Wellemeyer describes the managerial/coaching tandem of Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan as causing the Cardinals to:
- “be a Cubs competitor to be reckoned with no matter their level of talent”.

Wellemeyer describes Cardinal’s pitching coach Dave Duncan as:
- “a wizard with the Wellemeyers of the world, who either have not gotten a chance in several organizations or have underperformed.”
- “It’s not one specific thing I can come up with,” Wellemeyer said…. “He’s not one of the guys who sits there and does the rinky-dink (mechanical) stuff. He’s not so much into that. It’s more the intangible stuff (mental approach).”
- “He’s seen me pitch before. He knew what I had. Same thing with these other guys. That’s why it’s so hard to explain – I can’t give a direct answer. It’s him and Tony, absolutely.”

Finally, Ryan Dempster is quoted with the following words to live by for Cubs fans:
- “Laughter is the best medicine. If you’re laughing, life is better.”

I’m reminded of the climactic scene in the movie “A Few Good Men”. A junior Navy JAG officer (Tom Cruise) badgers the witness: “I want the truth!”. The Marine Corps Colonel in the hot seat (Jack Nicholson) responds: “You can’t handle the truth!!” Remember that scene?

Well, the same situation presents itself here. You want the truth? Think you can handle the truth? It’s all here.

The book is titled “Sweet Lou and the Cubs – A Year Inside the Dugout” by George Castle. I recommend it very highly. If you can handle it.

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Why in the world are we starting Scales in LF?

Monday, September 7th, 2009

I want to preface this article by saying that I like Bobby as a possible 25th man in the future but why in the Sam Hill are we starting him in left every day? Granted it makes sense to bench Soriano at this point – he isn’t contributing to the team as he should and he has health questions. But Scales is an infielder, shouldn’t we be giving him some subs at SS and 2B? Does Piniella see him as a missing piece in LF that needs a chance? Fox has a line of .282 10 HR 39 RBI with 67 games experience, shouldn’t we be looking harder at him or Hoffpaiur? These guys are on the line for next year’s 25 man, I seriously doubt that the Cubs are considering Scales as a pivotal player in the outfield. So what is Lou thinking about?

I really question this guy’s decision-making at this point and it’s sad because I like the fella. I lived in NY when he was the left fielder there and watched him dress down Reggie when he shagged on a couple of plays. I’ve like his spunk and attitude but it appears to me that his best days as a manager are past him.

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Cubs Win….Who Cares?

Monday, September 7th, 2009

The Good

  • Derrek Lee hit his 30th & 31st homeruns of the season. He should finish the year with the most home runs in a single season if you throw out his ungodly 46 HR year in 2005. I’ll admit it. I was wrong about Lee this year.
  • Carlos Marmol picked up save # 10 with a two strikeout 9th inning that didn’t include a walk. Maybe the closer job is the right one for him. Did I actually just say that? John Grabow and Angel Guzman contributed with holds in the 7th and 8th innings. Both have been nice surprises this season.
  • Milton Bradley drove in a run.

The Bad

  • The win was against the Pirates…and solidified the fact that they have now finished below .500 for 17 straight seasons.
  • Coming into the game, we were still 8 games out of the wild card with less than 1% chance at making the post-season according the Baseball Prospectus.

Top Minor League Performances – 9/6


The Way We Hear It

According to Paul Sullivan, the Cubs may look seriously at signing Chone Figgins to add a little speed to the top of the order. I can’t say I’d be opposed to adding a guy like Figgins, especially if it means that Alfonso Soriano is never again considered for that leadoff role.

Soriano is going to be having surgery on his knee later this month, according to Sullivan. Soriano was quoted in the arcticle as saying “Lou said it’s not good to play on one leg,…I was 80 percent, but now I’m down to 50 or 60 percent. I play with my knee on my mind, and I’m scared to get hurt. If we’re out [of it], it’s better to do the surgery before we go to the Dominican [for the off-season].” Maybe he’ll get lost in the Dominican and never come back.

The Cubs claimed and received Ranger’s minor league pitcher, Thomas Diamond and assigned him to AAA. Diamond is a 1st round pick from the 2004 draft that hasn’t lived up to the draft position.

Useless Trivia

Since this team bores me to death, I thought I’d take a look at Baseball Reference to use their play index tool. I found this gem about a lack of patience at the plate.

Q. – Since 1954, what is the longest streak of games by a Cub without drawing a single walk?

A. – 70 by Scott Bullett achieved that feat over the course of games in late 1995 – 1996. During that stretch, which spanned 104 at bats, Bullett hit .269 with a pathetic .274 OBP.


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Where’s Harry?

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

The title of this book is “Where’s Harry?”, but, for me, a better question might have been: ”Who’s Harry?”.

Harry Caray came to the Cubbie’s broadcast booth in 1982, while I was six or seven thousand miles away on a rock called “Okinawa”. Watching Cubs games on TV was not something I did that year. Or any year from October, 1969 until about July, 2008. So the Harry Caray era came and went while I was away. But, of course, he remains BIG in Chicago, more than ten years after his death. So I read this book to learn about the man, the myth, and the legend.

Just as I was starting to read the book, someone saw the cover and shared her opinion: “Harry Caray?? He was a terrible singer, but his heart was in it.” And then she added this analysis of the 2009 season: “I’m beginning to believe in the curse. Maybe we should sacrifice a cow on the pitcher’s mound at Wrigley Field, to lift the curse of the Billy Goat once and for all.” On that note, I began my reading of this book.

“Where’s Harry? – Steve Stone Remembers His Years with Harry Caray” by Steve Stone with Barry Rozner (Foreword by Bob Costas), was written by Steve Stone, who had worked side by side with Harry, starting in 1983, until Harry’s death in 1998. The book was written and published in 1999, a year or so after Harry’s passing. I learned a lot by reading this book. Here are some highlights:

- “Harry Caray squeezed more life out of one body than anyone in the history of human bodies. He didn’t get cheated out of a swing. He didn’t go down looking at a called strike three. He didn’t leave anything in the clubhouse.”

- “…Harry got me started on the cigars and even bought me the first box, and then every time I would smoke a cigar in the booth he would go on a lengthy tirade.”

- “Just so you know,” Harry said, “I’ll take the opposite side of an argument just to get a conversation going and play devil’s advocate. I’ve made a career out of that. After all, that’s what baseball is all about. There’s always more than one way to do something in baseball and it’s fun to talk and argue about it. That’s good TV.”

- “We’re all just temporary actors on a stage. Players come and go, owners come and go, and broadcasters come and go, but the game lives on.”

- Harry had a very simple, if not naive, way of looking at life. “I’ll treat you how you treat me,” was pretty much the extent of it.

Speaking of golf:
- “Harry decided, actually, that what most people do at country clubs is play golf in the morning, eat lunch, play cards all day, and drink all night. And Harry liked that program OK, except for the golf part. So for the benefit of his temperament, he skipped the golf and went right to the rest of the day.”

- One of his famous sayings when he saw a younger woman was, “Young lady, you need an older man in your life.”

- “I’ve been married three times, and I’ve probably paid alimony longer than anyone in history,” “My first wife was a wonderful woman. It was all my fault that we didn’t stay together. But in 1979 I was sending her checks and thinking, ‘Holy cow, I’ve been doing this for thirty years already. How long will this go on?’ So I put that in a note with my monthly check.
“Two days later I got a letter back that said: ‘Dearest Harry, till death do us part.’”

- “Well,” Harry answered, “first of all, we’re getting Italian food because that’s what I eat every night after the game. That’s what I eat about 360 nights a year and I’m not changing tonight. And secondly, I’m paying for it. And if you don’t like any of that, then you better get out of the limo right now and go back to the hotel because that’s the way it is.”

- One thing about Harry that always looked perfect was his wild and wavy white hair. “Stan, I want it to look like Bob’s Big Boy,” Harry would say. “Flop it up real nice on top so it looks like Bob’s Big Boy.”

- A lot of people thought he mentioned restaurants or bars so that he could eat free or drink free, but that was never the case. He paid his own way. Period. “If you want to buy me a drink, that’s fine,” Harry would say. “If I like this place, I’ll mention it on the air but only because I like it. If you pay for my dinner, I’ll never mention it again.”

- ”Steve, baseball is the little kid eating a hot dog with his mom and dad, getting mustard all over his face,” Harry told me early in the 1983 season. “It’s the little old lady waving to the camera and hoping she’s on TV. It’s the sun and the cotton candy and the beer and the bleachers. That’s baseball every bit as much as the game and I always feel like it’s our job to let people at home feel that.”

- I remember he used to say to me, “Steve, what Italian do you think sang in front of the most people last year?”
I don’t know, Harry, you tell me.
“Why it’s me, of course!” he’d yell with delight.

- “I want the Cubs to win, but I like to see good baseball and if a player on another team makes a great play, I say that.”

- He was born Harry Christopher Carabina in St. Louis on March 1, 1914. And not long after that, he was an orphan.

- “You want to know what wins games? I’ll tell you what wins games. Pitching wins games, and scoring more runs than the other guy wins games.”

In summary, I don’t love Harry, because I didn’t even know Harry. But after reading “Where’s Harry?”, I think I now understand Harry, and I like Harry. I highly recommend “Where’s Harry?”.

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GirlieView (09/04/2009)

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Intentionally late here to give Sherm’s fantastic post some extra top time. Really enjoyed it, Sherm! Wondered about Gordon myself. Liked his hairy cartoon.

Quick Weekly Wrapup

I can’t imagine anyone really cares about the scores for each game so I’m skipping it. If you’re upset about that I trust you’ll let me know!

Question of Last Week

So last week I proposed a list of pitchers and asked whether you wanted them back next year or not. I’ll repeat the list with the final tallies. I found it interesting and telling:

Here was the question: Which of these Cubs do you want to see on the team next year? (Pitchers Edition)

Six Votes
- Ted Lilly
- Carlos Marmol
- Sean Marshall
- Randy Wells

Five Votes
- Ryan Dempster
- Tom Gorzelanny
- Angel Guzman

Four Votes
- John Grabow
- Jeff Stevens

Three Votes
- Rich Harden
- David Patton
- Jeff Samardzija
- Carlos Zambrano

Two Votes
- Write In Candidate – Fergie Jenkins

ZERO Votes
- Kevin Gregg
- Aaron Heilman

Question of This Week

Which brings us to this week’s question.

Which of these Cubs do you want to see on the team next year? (Outfielders/Infielders/Catchers Edition). Again don’t consider no-trade or length of contract or dollar amounts or that you probably wouldn’t be able to give them away for free. Just play king and pretend you can offload anyone you want. I’ll tally the results for next week’s GirlieView.

  • Jeff Baker
  • Andres Blanco
  • Milton Bradley
  • Mike Fontenot
  • Jake Fox
  • Kosuke Fukudome
  • Sam Fuld
  • Koyie Hill
  • Micah Hoffpauir
  • Reed Johnson
  • Derrek Lee
  • Aaron Miles
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Bobby Scales
  • Alfonso Soriano
  • Geovany Soto
  • Ryan Theriot

This Week’s Lizzies

  • It had to go this way, it has everywhere else he’s been.
  • Did you actually type in [sic] or do you have software that just does that for you when appropriate?
  • The other part of me secrectly wants this team to miss the post-season to show Jim Hendry that maybe the team that scored in the top of the league in most offensive categories last year didn’t need quite as much tweaking as he thought. Then again, an almost 40% turnover on the roster is far from tweaking things.
  • I didn’t make the effort to gray box it, kind of like the Cubs effort this year
  • 2 wins in a row, yippie skippie.
  • “The people who say “we” when the team wins but “they” when the team loses…”
  • Instead we got 5-5. Pathetic.
  • I just get the feeling that there’s more (or less) going on here than meets the eye.
  • I don’t feel that Lou has control of the team.
  • Hey Yogi? It’s over.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! :-)

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Hey Yogi? It’s over.

Friday, September 4th, 2009

They’re done. And for some inexplicable reason they seem to be getting worse, not better! This is off the cuff (who has time for a .500 team?) but here are my thoughts and grades for this year: In no particular order of importance or anything else:

1. Alfonso Soriano: I don’t like him. Never really have, and less now than ever before. Bottom line? I think he’s probably just an idiot, not a bad guy. Hate the home run admiration. Hate the hop. Hate his Efense (there’s no “D” in it.) Hated the Jon Cena “can’t see me” hand thing. Hate the fact that if I threw a ball right now, in my office, into the ground? He’d swing. And miss. I know that we have a big, bad contract issue with him and that there are not too many solutions with happy endings. Why isn’t VJ asking him to try a lighter bat? Anyone else concerned that his decline in productivity and “healthful resilience” might be related to PED testing of recent years? This guy should be hitting his stride right about now…he can’t even hit that. If he’s not healthy — fine. Take the rest of the season off and let’s see him come out strong in 2010. Not sure that his hitting woes are health related, however. Grade: for all that $$$ and all those K’s? F+

2. Kosuke Fukudome: He’s had a decent year. He’s done a decent job in CF — not his natural position. Unfortunately, he’s being paid to be more than decent. Thankfully, he’s been better than last year — especially in the second half. He really does not have the power or the speed we were told he did when they signed him. Not his fault — he is what he is. A pretty good player who works hard and gives his all. Above average, but not by too much, in my opinion. He has done a better job at the leadoff spot than I expected. We’re stuck with him, too. Grade: C+ that would have been a B if he were making $8M and not $12M.

3. Milton Bradley. Um, surprise? Don’t like him. I dubbed him Milkit Badly on the first day of spring games when he drew a base on balls and hurt himself walking to first. I don’t take it back. For the record, I don’t think he’s an idiot, just a bad guy. At least he’s bounced back — somewhat — offensively since that God-awful start. Let’s see. I should say something nice. Oh, okay — he has a good eye. I don’t think he’s a clutch hitter. It seems to me that he is worse with men on base than otherwise. Stupid comments notwithstanding, he’d be okay if the rest of the supporting case were all on their game. Since they aren’t, and haven’t been, way too much has fallen on this guy’s shoulders — and he doesn’t have the shoulders to bear that weight. He should be a number 6 hitter for someone — probably a small market team that doesn’t get the national microscope that the Cubs do. He’s probably not tradeable. Hopefully, he’ll adapt and be much better next year. Defensively, he’s been okay. Not great, but not bad, and he catches the balls he’s supposed to which in my mind is the most important thing. Grade: C- (C as in Can’t shut up, Can’t drive in runs, and Coming on strong when it doesn’t matter)

4. Derrek Lee: I apologize to DLee for anything I said, wrote or thought about him that wasn’t entirely positive. Except for calling him out early on when he was sucking, because, well, he was sucking. But good Lord, he’s be outstanding since then and deserves the team MVP — if they give such awards on teams that grossly underperform. I have to think that his wrist is finally healed — he’d been rolling it for almost a year and a half and hitting grounders…now he’s driving those same pitches with authority. Sorry Derrek. You are the man. Also a good teammate and person, from what I can tell. Go ahead and trade Hoffpauir to an AL club. Lee will be here a few more years. Grade: A

5. AAndres Fontebaker: Okay, this is a tough one.

5a. AAron Miles could not hit water if he fell out of a boat. Period. Piss off, AAron. No one here wants you. Grade: F-

5b. Andres Blanco: He’s the guy I want out there. For one half of every inning. Just the defensive half. If Blanco and Miles had a bat fight no one would get hurt. Keep this guy as a late inning defensive replacement. And teach him to hit. Grade: C (A for defense + F for offense)

5c. Mike Fontenot: Not the guy. I wanted him to be the guy. Really, I did. But he’s not and he never will be. He’s just not that good. He’ll never be a starter — or at least shouldn’t be — because he’s just not that good. This experiment should be officially closed. Trade him. Grade: D

5d. Jeff Baker: Just the name, Baker, makes me cringe, but he’s done fairly well after a slow start for the team. Plays with some gusto and has starting hitting the ball. Hasn’t been here long enough to deserve more space in this post. Grade: B-

6. Ryan Theriot: This is it. We’ve seen the best of Ryan Theriot. Period. He isn’t getting any better. Ever. If you like what you’ve seen, than fine. If not, tough. The organization likes him and he’s the guy, for now, at short. He’s worked hard to become a fairly good hitter, and is a serviceable shortstop, despite the girl’s arm. Grade: A (because it’s the best he can do. It’s an A for effort. Which I’ve never understood, because there is no A in effort. You could say it’s an A for Affort, but that’s stupid, because affort isn’t a word. You could say E for Effort, but that’s equally stupid, because everyone knows that there is no E in the letter grading system.)

7. Aramis Ramirez: Clutch guy, even injured. He’s an important piece of the Cub puzzle, and I wish they’d shut him down now and fix that shoulder for 2010. Has turned himself into a solid defensive 3b and is truly one of the better hitters in the game — especially when it matters. Kind of the anti-Milton, in that regard. Not much to add. Grade: I’m giving him a B because he’s missed so many games, but his performance when he’s in there is obviously “A” work.

8. Geovany Soto: Let’s be blunt. Oops, sorry, Geo. Could it possible be that he’s fallen this far because Henry Blanco wasn’t there to watch over him? Just wondering. It’s got to be something, because he’s not the same guy who won the ROY last year. Let’s write it off to world’s worst case of sophomore jinx and move on. I won’t be so kind if you repeat this year’s performance next year, though, Geo. Grade: F

9. Koyie Hill: I think he’s done a great job as a backup catcher. He’s not a starting catcher — on any long term basis for a team that has post season aspirations, but as a backup? He’s great. He works hard. He tries hard. He’s not much of a hitter, but many catchers nowadays are not. He’s decent defensively. Grade: B (for Backup…who was thrust into the starting role. Can’t really complain about the way this guy has played. They should add a “no power tools” clause to his contract, though.)

 Let’s see…who else is there?

10. Reed Johnson: The Ryan Theriot of the outfield. Except older, slower and less talented. The broken foot didn’t help. I don’t see him on the team next year. Grade: I (Incomplete. Remember that one?)

11. Sam Fuld: This has to be the shortest team ever assembled and he subtracts from it. I like him as a fourth outfielder, pinch hitter, pinch runner, shoeshine boy, etc. He’s always going to give you 110%. Which for his size, is like 85% from everybody else. But whatever. Grade: C+

12. Jake Fox: Despite all the negative press on his defense, he doesn’t completely suck. Don’t get me wrong. He sucks, but not completely. I’d like to see what kind of offensive numbers he could put up if he actually played everyday. He’ll probably need to be in the AL for that to happen. The man has power and can drive in runs. Grade: A (because he’s had to play a number of positions, which isn’t easy, and has performed very well at the plate despite periods of inactivity between starts.)

13. Micah Hoffpauir: Ah, who cares? He’s trade bait.

I’ll discuss the pitching staff at another time. This has gone on way longer than I had hoped.

BTW — whatever happened to Gordon?

More later. Or not.

Sherm

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