Happy Friday morning to you. Lizzie will be along with the annual Lizzie awards later this afternoon. Until then, let’s talk about some things I’ve read over the last few days. Before we do, though, I wanted to take a minute to remind you of a few things you might have otherwise not known about or forgotten about.

Did You Know?

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Ted Lilly’s Injury / Surgery

Maybe it’s because I didn’t watch a game all September or maybe because I didn’t see it when it was mentioned, but I can’t remember reading or hearing anything about Lilly’s shoulder hurting let alone that surgery was going to be needed in the off-season. Shoulder surgery is not something we’re particularly fond of when it comes to pitchers in Chicago. I have terrible memories of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood and the towel drill reports we would hear year in and year out coming from spring training. We’re told Lilly will be back in April, but to me that means if all goes well. What if there are complications, does that mean May or even June? Will he come back as effective as he has been since he signed with the Cubs? Did you know that since 2006, Lilly has the third most wins (59) among lefty starters behind only CC Sabathia (67) and Johan Santana (63). That’s more than Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte. Lilly is the best pitcher from a consistency standpoint that this team has and his health is vital to our chances next year. I really wish this surgery would have taken place a month earlier. Lilly addressed that by saying:

“If I would have known I’d be in this situation a month earlier and it wouldn’t have gotten better, then I would have preferred to do it a month ago,” he said. “If you’re going to go out there and pitch, you’re going to have to battle through discomfort and soreness. Sometimes they get better.” (Source)

Obviously he can play the hindsight card, but the fact remains that this team was out of contention in September and at that point he should have gotten evaluated and had the surgery.

Should Jim Hendry Be A Little More Worried?

A bad off-season last year, but a relatively good one the year before. I’m curious to see where people stand on Jim Hendry. I think he does good things, but like any GM, has his weak points. Trading appears to be one of his stronger skills, while his free agent signings leave some scratching their heads. What bothers me most, though, is his contract negotiating. Look at the long term, back loaded contracts that come with no-trade clauses and I’ve got to think that the Ricketts family can’t possibly be on board with moves like that going forward. In the Tribune, Hendry was quoted as saying:

“I’m certainly capable of leading the baseball organization to where everyone wants it to go, and if there comes a day when I’m not the right guy, then I don’t think I should be here anyhow.” (Source)

Do you agree with that initial statement that he is someone capable of leading a team to the championship? We’ve not seen it yet.

Promise at Third Base

Josh Vitters, who many regard as one of the top 50 prospects in the game came in 7th in Project Prospect’s ranking of the third base position. Vitters was a high school kid when he was picked, but he’s developing nicely and should be ready just about the time we’re looking for another third basemen to replace Ramirez. The note attached to Vitters on Project Prospect was:

Elite contact hitter w/ pop; Can he hit for power in AA with virtually no patience? (Source)

Vitters should start the year in AA, especially after a stint this year at the Arizona Fall League.

Maybe We Should Stop Telling People To “Keep Your Eye on the Ball”

An Idaho man is suing the Cubs Class A affiliate Boise Hawks for $2 million, claiming he lost his right eye when he was struck by a foul ball, according to a complaint posted on courthousenews.com.

Bud Roundtree, who was at the game with his wife and two grandsons, says the mesh netting around an elevated dining area at the stadium gives fans a false sense of security. (Source)

I’m not trying to poke fun, but at the same time aren’t there signs posted everywhere in stadiums to watch for foul balls? If you don’t want to get hurt, pay attention and don’t sit in places that put you at risk. I have an issue with $2 million that he’s suing for. I’m curious to see what you all think. Maybe it’s just me demonstrating a lack of empathy. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Potential Free Agents

Got this in my e-mail and I figured I’d share it with you as it’s that time again:

Random Linkage

Minor League Averages by League – (Source)

The Onion’s take on Mark McGwire – (Source)

No Best of 7 for 1st Round according to Selig - (Source)

Cubs.com’s pathetic attempt at a headline – (Source)

Tim Lincecum is a pot head that needs a crack whore for a girlfriend – (Source)

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail