Archive for December, 2009

The time has come for us to say sayonara (to Neil Cotts)

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

In a non-surprising move, the Cubs today non-tendered LHP Neil Cotts. I have no grudge against Cotts but I was glad to see this – sometimes the Cubs have a tendency to believe too much in a rejuvenation project and Cotts was certainly that. Here in Nashville we would refer to him as a “one hit wonder” as he had that one great year and has been mediocre ever since. Hopefully Neil will resurrect his career elsewhere; despite being shipped down he kept his mouth shut and tried to do his job. He didn’t pitch particularly well but at least he was a trooper.

The Cubs have now made two Rule 5 moves – in addition to taking a look at the Cards’ Parisi they have also acquired the rights to Nationals pitcher Arismendy Mota (“mota” is Mexican slang for “reefer” so maybe this guy will be popular in the clubhouse.) He put up impressive numbers and he won’t have to be carried on the 25 man so my hat’s off to Hendry on this move. I’m not looking for much from Parisi, my guess is that the Cards will buy him back for $50,000. That will give the Cubs a free team dinner at Morton’s that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Not a bad move with nothing to lose.

Update by Joe:

Paul Sullivan listed the 8 players the Cubs did tender a contact to, with some notes on each of them in his blog:

Carlos Marmol: He’ll demand the most and make the most after 27 holds and 15 saves in 2009. Though Marmol won’t make closer’s money yet, the Cubs may decide to give him a multi-year deal after 2010 if he succeeds in his first full year as closer.

Ryan Theriot: After establishing himself as the starting shortstop in 2007, and with a respectable .288 career average, Theriot figures to cash in this year.

Jeff Baker: He hit .305 this year in 69 games for the Cubs, after being acquired from Colorado on July 2. The Cubs are hoping he can become the new version of Mark DeRosa, providing them with a solid backup at third for Aramis Ramirez.

Angel Guzman: After a series of injuries prevented Guzman from reaching his potential, he finally emerged in ’09 as a reliable setup man, limiting opposing hitters to a .191 average and posting a 2.95 ERA. More is expected of him in 2010, and he should get some save opportunities on days when Marmol isn’t available.

Sean Marshall: The left-hander has done everything the Cubs have asked without complaint, and even played left field during a wacky inning against St. Louis before the All-Star break. He’s 19-29 with a 4.55 ERA in his career, and needs to show more consistency.

Koyie Hill: Strong defensive catcher who filled in admirably for Geovany Soto. The Cubs are 60-36 in his 96 starts since ’07, a .625 winning percentage. Some of that is coincidence, but obviously Hill knows how to handle pitchers, which makes up for his lack of offense.

Tom Gorzelanny: He’ll get a shot at the fifth starters job, though Gorzelanny will have to significantly lower his ERA (5.63 in 13 starts for the Cubs) if he hopes to stay off the Iowa express.

Mike Fontenot: Barely made it to the arb-eligible list as a Super-Two player. A standout season in 2008 (.305 average) led to the Cubs giving him DeRosa’s position. But he struggled out of the gate and finished with a .236 average, losing his spot to Baker. The Cubs won’t non-tender him because they like his makeup and believe he’ll rebound. But it’s probably a make or break season for Fontenot.

The fact that we tendered a contract to Koyie Hill seems to tell me that he’s still the primary option to backup Geovany Soto. Other than Hill, I don’t really think we could have expected any other non-tenders off this list. Monday we’ll be back with a look at the non-tender names from around the league that might be options to fill one of our needs.

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Who Am I?

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

This seemed to be fun the other day, so let’s keep it going with round two. This one is not necessarily Cub focused.

Clue # 1 – I am the only player to ever hit for the cycle within the first 15 games of my career. (I did it in game # 14 against the Brewers)

Clue # 2 – In 1981, I finished 9th in the AL Rookie of the year balloting

Clue # 3 – I was a career AL player

Clue # 4 – I finished my career with 130 HR

Clue # 5 – I am the father of a current MLB player, who has also hit for the cycle

Clue # 6 – I was a two time all-star

Clue # 7 – I am currently the hitting instructor for the Charlotte Knights of the International League

Who am I?

If you have a “Who Am I” post you’d like us to run, send it to

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GirlieView (12/11/2009)

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Another week, another nothing to talk about. My TwitterBox (that sounds crude) has been overflowing with all sorts of  interesting MLB news … Cubs? Nuttin’ but rumors. Still awaiting something exciting. Until then …


  • I think Andy White has a great glove and, apparently, he’s been hitting fairly well in Winter Ball.
  • See, it’s been so long since I’ve commented, I’ve lost the ability to grey box things!
  • It is so very important to all who comments here at the VFTB that your expectations are met.
  • That link is a dead end. I’m suing.
  • I think you forgot t mention Fontenot’s mullet as a con.
  • So prepare for a trade or for a really “interesting” year.
  • Kenney really made sure any small percentage of leverage the team may have had was killed dead. Wonderful.
  • It’d be DOUBLE AWESOME (maybe even AWESOME SQUARED) to get a serviceable major leaguer AND take one away from the Cards!


  • I’d also like an “ace” that is not a complete nut-job — having tantrums like a three-year-old and rarely listening to the coaches and the people who pay him.
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Who’s Your 5th Starter?

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Carrie Muskat mentioned in her blog that the 5th starter spot would come down to Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, and Tom Gorzelanny. In my latest edition of the projected 25 man roster, Marshall was my projected 5thstarter, with Samardzija and Gorzelanny going to the bullpen. I’m not sure if that’s the best choice for how it shake out or if my Marshall love/bias is shining through a little. It leads me to ask your opinion on the matter.

Who Will Be the 5th Starter in 2010?
Sean Marshall
Jeff Samardzija
Tom Gorzelanny
Other (Currently in house)
Other (To Be Acquired)
Free polls from

Looking at the three, Samardzija has the best raw stuff, but is exactly that, raw. We’ve had him hyped down our throat for the last few years, but apart from that first wave of success, what has he really done to show he deserves that spot? In 34.2 innings of work, 7 innings more than he saw in 2008, he was awful. His strikeout / 9 innings rate went from 8.1 to 5.5, which tells you he wasn’t overpowering and out-thinking hitters as well as he was the year before. While he saw his walk rate decrease by a full walk per 9 innings, his WHIP went up exorbitantly from 1.41 to 1.76 primarily due to the fact that hitters were making more contact. That leads to more balls in play, which leads to more hits (4 more per 9 innings to be exact). What about that leads him or us to believe that he will be a viable option for a role that requires him to see hitters more than once in a game, which allows for adjustments? I’m not buying. In my book, if this becomes a three team race for that spot, the third name better not be his.

Gorzelanny is a guy that intrigues me a lot, and I was very happy when I saw he was part of the deal that brought John Grabow from the Pirates last year. It’s hard for me to, without being a total hypocrite, say Gorzelanny is a good option as the 5th starter when I completely write off Samardzija, but I’m ok withbeing called out. The only thing I have to go by is the success in 2006 and 2007 when he was a combined 16-15 (not good, but consider the team) with an ERA of 3.86. Since then, he’s been brutal to the tune of 13-12 with an ERA of 6.32. Doing it once has me thinking he can do it again. He has the most experience as a starting pitcher, which is also a plus in his favor. I think that if he can win the job outright, I’d be fine with seeing him in that spot. I put Marshall in there as of now simply because I think he’ll be the choice. If Gorzelanny ends up getting it, Marshall has shown he can pitch and pitch well out of the bullpen.

It’s long been noted that I’m a Marshall guy, so my opinion on his is a little biased. I think he has the makings of a very good back of the rotation type guy that fits in as a 4 or 5 guy in most rotations. His splits seem to tell a different story:

Split          W  L  ERA  G GS SV    IP  SO  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
Starter       16 26 4.86 59 59  0 311.0 211 1.434  6.1  1.79
Reliever       3  3 3.15 75  0  1  68.2  59 1.354  7.7  1.90

Looking at those numbers, it appears that his role in the pen seems to fit him nicely, which is why I’m OK with Gorzelanny taking the bull by the horns and winning the spot.

Overall, it will be interesting to see if it comes down to one of the three mentioned above or if a new candidate emerges either from the organization or from outside. That’s why I want to hear from you. Who’s your choice for that spot and why? Let’s get a good discussion going.

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Who Am I?

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Gonna start something that I think might be fun. As always, highlight with the mouse over each clue to see it revealed. Post what hint you got the answer on in the comment section.

Hint # 1 – I ended my career in a Cubs uniform

Hint # 2 – I am a former 1st round pick from the 1974 draft.

Hint # 3 – I am a multiple time silver slugger award winner

Hint # 4 – I once finished 4th in AL MVP voting

Hint # 5 – I led the AL in triples on five different occasions

Hint # 6 – I won the 1982 AL batting title

Hint # 7 – I spent the majority of my career as a CF

Hint # 8 – I am in the 2000 hit club, but didn’t even reach the 50 HR plateau.

Who Am I?

Got a “Who Am I” you’d like to submit? Send it to and we’d love to run it.

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Cubs Select Michael Parisi in the Rule 5 Draft

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The Cubs make a 1st round selection in the Rule 5 draft, selecting a RHP from the St. Louis Cardinals. (more…)

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Morning News With the Daver

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Good mornin’ (or whatever time of day it happens to be when you read this), Cubs fans. Well, you’d think it being the fourth day of Winter Meetings, there’d be a surplus of news items to issue forth. But, alas, when it comes to our beloved Chicago Cubs, there has been very little movement.

As of this writing, we still await a resolution to the Miltonian Dilemma. Rumors continue to swirl. (Mike Lowell? Really?) Talks continue to occur (reportedly, at least). And I still think that Jim Hendry is ultimately going to have to go limping back to the Tampa Bay Rays, graciously take Pat Burrell off their hands and try not to burst into tears agreeing to pay all of Bradley’s 2011 salary. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. Oh, and here’s the news:

Rich Harden is a Ranger! No, not an airborne ranger! Not even a Power Ranger. He’s a Texas Ranger! Wow, seriously? The guy who likes to pitch in cool temps, preferably at night, is going to Arlington? The guy who had major problems with the home run ball last season will be starting games in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball? Was the deal the Mariners reportedly offered really that bad, Rich? And, man, that $7.5 base figure sounds pretty low. Could the Cubs have swung that and still afforded a decent centerfielder? Probably not. Well, in any case, good luck. I’ll still miss watching you pitch. You are a true enigma.

The Cubs have chosen a Cardinal in the Rule 5 draft! Ha, take that, Deadbirds! He’s a right-handed pitcher by the name of Mike Parisi. Right now, that link goes to Paul Sullivan’s Twitter page, but I’ll try to update it with a more informative article once one comes out. Update: Better yet, see Joe’s post above!!!

The Cubs will not release Milton Bradley. I found this quote issued by Cubs president Crane Kenney yesterday fascinating. Now I realize everyone even remotely interested in Major League Baseball is aware the Cubs are trying to trade Milton, but Kenney really made sure any small percentage of leverage the team may have had was killed dead. Wonderful.

Milton has a fan on the South Side. Could the “mystery AL team” that everyone has been talking about be the Chicago White Sox? Well, no – probably not, considering Sox GM Kenny Williams is openly discussing Bradley. But ol’ KW sure has some nice things to say about the right fielder.

Still following the Spring Training Schmoozefest? Expect an answer in January. Until then, Mesa is upgrading, Naples is jockeying for position, etc. etc.

Go ice skating at Wrigley this month. Yes, the Cubs have confirmed that an ice-skating rink will be built in a parking lot adjacent to Wrigley Field. I haven’t strapped on a pair of skates since my mom forced me and my siblings to take figure skating lessons back in the early 80s. (Hey, she wouldn’t let me play hockey. I tried.) Assuming the temperature is above its current sub-arctic levels, this sounds like a good time.

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A third option (what shade of lipstick for the pig?)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

The winter meetings are nearing a close and the Cubs are still stuck with an ugly pig. Now I’m not being racist, I just don’t like this guy. Few people do, he has what’s called “people problems,” he can’t get along with folks. If Milton doesn’t realize this he’s dumber than a caveman (my apologies to the Geico pitchmen.) Everywhere Bradley goes he has racial problems, it appears that every fan in north America is prejudiced.

Now I’ve said my peace about the *few* Americans who still see race as a deciding factor so I’m not getting up on my pulpit now. The reality is that Milton Bradley *IS* a whining cry-baby and the sooner he’s in another city the better. That notwithstanding he’s still not gone. So what happens next?

IMO Jim Hendry has done a superlative job of using deception (four teams want Bradley,) persuasion (hey Seattle, what about Silva for Bradley,) cajolery (Bradley to Tampa for Pat the Bat then Pat to the Mets for Castillo) and surely chicanery. But will these produce results? Methinks not. When it’s all said and done we have to dump Bradley one way or another.

Should we eat his second year? Of course, if that’s what it takes. What is the alternative? I would strongly consider paying Bradley to stay home – after about a half a year of that he would beg to play elsewhere. And that might be the best course of action – I can’t see that clown in a Chicago uniform again. The Cubs owe Bradley two years’ salary, my point here is that one option should be to pay him to stay home.

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Evening Notes

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Braden Looper has apparently said he wouldn’t mind coming to pitch for the Cubs. He mentions that he has kids the in school in Chicago, which has me baffled. He must live in Chicago, but I can’t figure out why. He’s never pitched for a team here and wasn’t born here. He pitched for Milwaukee, so he must be smart and not want to live in Wisconsin. (Fox Sports)

The Royals have an interest in Felix Pie, but may not have enough interest to give up what the Orioles want? Geez, how much can a failed prospect with a damaged testicle really command? (Twitter)

The Cubs are interested in Mike Cameron and Marlon Byrd for CF, though we already knew that, right? I’ll be honest with you. I’d be willing to pass on both. (Fox Sports)

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs have interest in J.J. Putz. I wonder if he’s interested in being a setup man still. If not, Marmol probably needs to be shopped around, which would make me a happy man. I don’t believe in him and I don’t think he believes in him. (ESPN Chicago)

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