Archive for March, 2010

Let’s Not Get Carried Away With the Colvin Love

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Monday came and went and did you notice the big surprise? Nope, the poem by Moe Thacker was not it (apologies on botching his name in the credit). Instead, the big news has been pushed to opening day.

Yesterday the final roster spot was announced so we can now wait the last few dead days of spring training before the real games start. Sometimes I wonder if you should only have to play spring games until you’ve decided on your roster. At that point, you should be allowed to stop playing games and just have practice until the season starts.

Part of that opening day roster is Tyler Colvin, who is this year’s Jake Fox. Last year I campaigned and pleaded for the Cubs to bring Fox up despite the fact that so many poo poo’d the idea of a kid without a position being on the roster. This year, Colvin raked in spring training and merited the call up, despite the fact that he’s in a somewhat similar situation. He also is a man without a position, not because he can’t play any of them, but because all of his are currently held by high priced players and we know it’s all about money these days. That fact has led some to call for Fukudome to be put on the trade block in an attempt to reward Colvin with the starting nod in RF. I would caution that move for a few reasons.

1. Colvin has never played beyond AA – That’s not really a knock against him, but more of a fact.  Here are his minor league numbers broken down by year and level courtesy of Baseball Reference:

Year   Age   Lev  PA 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS

2006    20    A- 288 12  6 11  53 12  5 17  55 .268 .313 .483 .796

2007    21 AA-A+ 519 35  5 16  81 17  5 15 101 .299 .324 .488 .812

2007    21    A+ 262 24  3  7  50 10  4 10  47 .306 .336 .514 .850

2007    21    AA 257 11  2  9  31  7  1  5  54 .291 .313 .462 .774

2008    22    AA 602 27 11 14  80  7  4 44 101 .256 .312 .424 .736

2009    23 AA-A+ 459 18  9 15  60  8  2 29  84 .286 .332 .480 .812

2009    23    A+ 129  5  2  1  10  3  1 13  27 .250 .326 .357 .683

2009    23    AA 330 13  7 14  50  5  1 16  57 .300 .334 .524 .859

Looking at those numbers, it’s hard to make the case that a couple of hot weeks against sub-par pitching in spring training means you need to anoint the kid with a starting job. He needs more experience before I do that.

2. Remember Brant Brown? Dwight Smith? Jerome Walton? – I only went back that far primarily because 1989 was really my first year really watching baseball with any weighted interest. That year we had two promising young outfielders anointed with a starting job. Smith replaced the Rafael Palmiero in LF and Walton replaced Dave Martinez. Both had great years and raised hopes tremendously only to slap us in the face the following years.

Brant Brown was another one that so many people liked and were afraid to trade for fear that he would turn into an all star somewhere else. Let’s just say that never happened.

It’s hard for me to be optimistic about trading Fukudome when we’ve seen the history of a few outfielders in the past that have fizzled out so quickly and so dramatically.

3. Was Fukudome really that bad? – Coming into 2008 we all had visions of Fukudome being a monster hitter in the US. After all, just look at guys like Matsui and Ichiro. Couple that with the fact that he was compared by many as a combination of both. A disappointing ’08 campaign led many to question his ability. 2009 saw ‘dome move to CF, not his natural position, in an attempt to make room for the one we shall not speak of. Playing out of position all year, which does have an effect on the offensive production, Fukudome saw his numbers improve to the point that he was considered above average offensively, if only slightly.  Looking at the numbers, there are a few things that jump out two me.

Year    R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+

2008   79 129 25  3 10  58 81 104 .257 .359 .379 .738   89

2009   79 129 38  5 11  54 93 112 .259 .375 .421 .796  104

First look at the dramatic increase in power, not in the sense of the longball, but the doubles. That increase made him a lot more valuable as a number two hitter. Second, despite the fact that he continued to strike out more than you might expect for someone who draws a lot of walks, he continued to draw a lot of walks and raised his OBP to .375. It’s still not around .400 like I’d like to see, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more increase this year as he continues to learn the American game and the pitchers he faces.

4. What happens when Soriano gets hurt? – We know it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. At that time, who will be the every day answer out there? What better option to have than some depth in the OF.

At this point, I don’t trade Fukudome unless it yields something this team sorely needs and doesn’t require us paying for his contract. I let Colvin get 2-3 starts, possibly more, each week and see how he does. If it’s not working I move swiftly to send him to AAA where he can play everyday and replace him with Sam Fuld.

Joe’s Question of the Day

If you could be one superhero for a day and have all their super powers as well as their look, which would you choose and what would you do all day?

My first thought was be to be Spiderman because of the ability to swing from tall building to tall building, but then I considered the fact that not only do we really not have any building that meet the requirements to make it worth it, but I think I would pee in my spidey suit from fear of heights.

My next idea was to be Superman for the simple fact that I would have the ability to look through walls. Then I again considered the heights thing and decided to pass.

I decided to go with the Incredible Hulk because I think it would be cool as crap to be completely ripped for a day and on top of that be bright green. Under normal circumstances this would send fear deep to my heart because of the fact that so many would stare and comment under their breath about what kind of crazy disease I must have contracted to turn my skin the color of an avocado.  When you’re big and ripped, no one will have the onions to even come close to staring, let along poking fun. How great would that be?

Just a few more days till opening day. Hang in there.

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Cubs set their roster

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Today the Cubs completed their roster moves; in doing so they made a couple of minor league assignments and they gave Kevin Millar his unconditional release.  This means that Chad Tracy makes the 25 man (yes, he of the mediocre spring batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage.)  But Tracy does give us a viable backup for oft-injured Aramis Ramirez at third – he’ll be better over there for thirty games than we’d be with Fontenot and/or Baker.

It’s a shame Millar didn’t make the club, he’s a class guy and he’ll probably end up in somebody’s organization in a management role.  I’d like to think that the Cubs offered him a stint in Iowa and more than likely he declined that.  That notwithstanding I’d be surprised if he gets a job with another team, hopefully he will.

From an offensive standpoint we look better than last year.  Gone are Hoffpaiur (whom I had hoped would succeed,) Blanco, Miles and the unspeakable name.  Yesterday Mr. Unspeakable mocked Piniella in their team game by throwing first base – it amused me that this class guy (or his manager) chose not to start him against the Cubs in their exhibition game.  Bad news Milton, the Cubs play the M’s in the regular season.  Will you have the cajones to show up at that game?  I doubt it, Bradley’s all hat and no cattle.  This Cubs team doesn’t have the respect going into the regular season that last year’s team had but it sure has better chemistry.  These guys like playing together and it shows.

I’m also positive about where the ownership is in this season’s start – I think Ricketts is watching like we are.  So another season starts – we have reason to hope.  Cards fans feel like we did last year, let’s see what happens.

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In the News: Last Man Standing (Updated)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

What is up in your funky house, Cubs fans? We’re rounding the last turn headed for the home stretch in spring training and, at the risk of sounding like Suzie Sunshine, I like what I’ve seen from this team. The pitchers look ready; the hitters have been hitting (more or less, give or take); no one is too-too injured (uh, except for poor Angel Guzman, of course); and the roster contains some nice depth at just about every position. (I’m still uneasy about the backup shortstop plan, but let’s see how it goes.) Oh, and there hasn’t been a whole lotta drama – which is nice.

I’m going to assume most of you are aware of the developments of the past few days: Namely, Tyler Colvin has made the team as the fourth/fifth outfielder (depending on how you look at it). And apparently Lou is reading my “In the News” segments because he basically said what I suggested last week: That Colvin will be rotated throughout the outfield, giving each of the regulars a day off here or there. The upside of this is it will get Tyler’s scorching bat into the lineup and keep the crafty veterans well-rested. The downside is it may keep those crafty vets from getting into a good rhythm and Tyler’s questionable plate discipline may come back to haunt him in those still-limited appearances. (Bruce Miles asked Lou the $10 million question regarding Colvin’s ability to draw walks. Check out Lou’s response here.) But, hey, once again, let’s see how it goes.

The other big story from over the weekend was the trade of Andres Blanco to the Rangers for the clubhouse-friendly PTBNL or cash. I was a little sorry to see Andy White go because he was/is a great glove man who could have done the team a lot of good. But his lack of options and waiver-wire desirability made trading him the right move. If this Fontenot-as-backup-SS thing doesn’t work out, the Cubs could call up Blanco’s younger counterpart, Darwin Barney. Of course, that would probably mean Tyler Colvin goes back down to Triple A. See what I did there? The circle is complete.

And now…on the with the scant few news stories* of the day:

Let’s be honest: It’s Millar v. Tracy.  Depending on who you ask, Lou will announce the winner of the FINAL 25-man roster spot either later today or tomorrow. Technically, Millar, Tracy, Fuld and Hoffpauir are all in the mix. But, let’s be honest, Fuld lost his spot to Tyler Colvin, and Hoffpauir has never really been in the running. (He’s also OPS’d only .675 this spring in 46 ABs.) Micah seems like a great guy, so I don’t want to rip on him. But he’s likely destined for yet another season at Iowa or, as I’ve said half-jokingly but it does make some sense, he could probably rake if he went to Japan. (Hat Tip to Bleed Cubbie Blue’s Al Yellon for first suggesting this.)

My vote is still for Chad Tracy: He’s looked good enough in spring training; he can back up third base and first base; and he can be the left-handed counterpart to Nady’s right-handed bench bat. And, ultimately, I think Tracy will get the nod. One Rangers blogger for mlb.com has speculated that Millar could grab a spot on Texas’ bench as they need a right-handed 1B backup.

UPDATE: According to multiple sources, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, Chad Tracy has won the last spot on the Cubs 25-man roster and Kevin Millar has been released. Carrie Muskat confirms, chiming in that Hoffpauir and Fuld have been optioned to Iowa.

Ted Lilly update: No news is good news.  Ted is still targeting somewheres in the vicinity of April 19 - 21 for his return. All hell can’t stop him now.

Spring training is almost over, but the new facility funding flap is not.  MLB Commissioner has declared the “Cubs tax” dead and, if you believe Phil Rogers, the Naples, Fla. folks are far from defeated. Mesa officials are now scrambling to find a way to fund the Cubs new spring training facility. The war is not over.

Cubs President Crane Kenney bought a house.  Hey, it’s a slow news day. Before you click on that link, guess which tony Chicago suburb Kenney opted for. Were you right? I was close but a little off.

Yesterday’s (Monday’s) game results: Cubs dominate Reds 8-1. Let’s hope our guys can manhandle Dusty’s crew this well during the regular season. Colvin got his obligatory RBI double while Byrd, Baker and Fontenot went yard. Randy Wells didn’t get quite as far into the game as I believe was intended. He made it only five and two-thirds innings and gave up seven hits. But, as Randy is wont to do, he limited the damage to only one earned run and he counteracted many of those hits with an impressive five strikeouts.

Today’s (Tuesday’s) game: Cubs vs. Giants, 3:05 CDT. Tom Gorzelanny gets the start for the good guys, former Cub Todd Wellemyer goes for the other guys. Here’s the Cubs lineup via Carrie Muskat:

Theriot SS

Colvin RF

DLee 1B (←Yes! He’s back!)

Aramis 3B

Byrd CF

Soriano LF

Fontenot 2B

Hill C

Gorzelanny LHP

And, last but not least, Joe’s Question of the Day:

If there were three foods that you could eat non-stop and never get full, fat or have adverse effects on your health, what three would you choose?

Oh wow – well, I’ve maintained for some time now that my three favorite kinds of food are: Indian, Persian and authentic badass, down-home BBQ. Now if we’re talking specific foods…um, probably honey, BBQ ribs and chips & salsa.

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*Reddish text = hyperlinks to my sources. Check back for updates! And leave a comment for Byrd’s sake.

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A Poem for 2010

Monday, March 29th, 2010

DREAM # 010 by Moe Thatcher

In springtime, a young man’s fancy turns to ………Addison and Clark?
And things that will happen in the Wrigley Park,
This could be the year the Cubs will make their mark,
It’s been more than one hundred years of dark,

Even though they didn’t spend much money,
And to many it may seem funny,
In spring, the outlook is always sunny,
Looking forward to days of milk and honey,

This is the time to lift our mood,
instead of no, let’s say we could,

Big Z lost all that weight,
So did Soto, his battery mate,

Without all that blubber,
Carlo’s pitches will be like flubber,

The opposing team will gape,
Geo’s in great shape,

Dempster’s ready to go this year,
Randy Wells’ time is near,
Marshall is still here,
Carlos Silva no longer drinks beer,
Lilly’s injury, never fear,

Marmol’s ready from start,
Grabow, Caridad, and the Shark will do their part,

Losing Guzman was a blow,
But Berg, Russell and Marshall will vanquish any foe

This years team will score way more.,
If they hit three, we’ll hit four,
The hitting will be no more punch and judy,
Now that our batting coach is Rudy

With D-Lee and A-Ram as three and four,
Giving us a strong core,
Soto and Soriano as they were before,
Theriot like Sandberg in 84,

Fukudome getting on base,
Nady, Byrd and Fontenot smashing it into space,
How bout that Colvin?
He’s hitting the ball all over the place,
I’m saying right here and now, we’ll win this race.

The lineup will be much better,
Can you write another song, Eddie Vedder?

You will say that I am crazy in the head,
And it’s hard to believe all that I’ve said,

By mid May, I may be ready to scream,
But sometimes things are better than they seem,
As everyone knows who follows this team,
Spring is the time to hold onto the dream,

By July or August it may be gone,
like the dry grass on the front lawn,
like old watches sold for pawn,
like the night sky at dawn,

But our new owners are wealthy,
and if Soriano and our pitching remain healthy,

and if Theriot, Fukudome and Big Z all have a career year,
Lee and Ramirez provoke fear,
Marmol, Grabow and Caridad have no peer,
Well let’s just say, it can happen here.

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Dang me!

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Is it time to eat my words or what?  Is this the same Tyler Colvin that I saw in San Francisco in September?  The kid was lanky and looked utterly clueless against curveballs in AT&T Park – now he’s filled out somewhat and he looks like he’s spent the offseason in the batting cage working with a curveball machine.  The way he turned on the breaking ball in the 5th was impressive – were I Piniella I’d be ready to cut him loose for a couple of days with instructions to find an apartment in Chicago.  This is a real positive sign – we’ve got a guy that has a chance to give us backup in all three outfield positions as well as a hot bat off the bench.  So somebody hand me my hat, I’m ready to eat.

Silva also impressed me today; he had a lot of good sinking action on his pitches and he only threw one “hit me hit me” pitch.  He also pitched out of his jam early and left the game with one on base and a 1-1 score in the sixth.  Russell has continued to impress and Caridad might be a surprise player for us in the pen.  I’d still like to see us get an experienced reliever though, three rookies out there is a daunting challenge to say the least.

Today the Cubbies traded Blanco for future considerations, the clear message is that they are going to chance it with Fontenot as a stopgap at SS.  Barney or Castro will be called up immediately if there’s any question about an injury with Theriot.  This also solidifies Theriot’s position as he will be starting nearly everyday at short.  The Cubs are really touting Jaramillo when it comes to his interaction with The Riot; one thing I’ve noticed insofar as the Cubs’ hitting instructor is that he always seems to be taking notes.

A minor injury question came out of today’s game as Byrd got hit by a pick off attempt and got a rather ugly knot on his cheek – let’s hope he’s okay.  Also taken off the roster today was Rule 5 selection Parisi who was outrighted to Iowa.

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GirlieView (03/26/2010)

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Happy Friday!

Speaking of Friday, it seems most of the roster-based announcements have been coming out on Fridays after Joe’s morning post and before my GirlieView, forcing me to actually report news yet again. Hold your breath, here it comes! (Dave is SO much better at this than I am!!)

The Cubs cut seven more players today:

Jim Adduci (OF)
Darwin Barney (IF)
Robinson Chirinos (C)
John Gaub (LHP)
Jeff Gray (RHP)
Marcos Mateo (RHP)
Bobby Scales (IF)

Some great baseball names in that list. Or adult film stars. Or cable guys. (See Lizzies.)

In other news, Tom Gorzellany and Carlos Silva were named to the starting rotation at least for now. I was hoping for Sean Marshall myself, but I don’t dislike Gorzellany. I think I just feel sorry for Marshall. I’ll get over it!

Also, LHP James Russell (who? Guess I should have been paying better attention to the farm reports. Hey Joe? What happened to the farm reports? Isn’t it humorous how I kind of ignored them when they were here and now miss them when they’re gone? I feel bad about that now!) was named to the bullpen for the final spot pending any last minute acquisitions before the start of the season.

All of this was well-covered on Twitter so if you keep up on that you already know it all anyway! So let’s move on. Oh, wait, speaking of twitter … Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (VFTB and/or GirlieView) and Facebook (VFTB and/or GirlieView).

GirlieView Quiz/Survey/Contest

Gosh darnit you guys, make a gal’s day and take a chance on the quiz will ya? Thank you MoondogKP for being the only one to take part last week. You are the winner just because you played! Course I did enjoy the other commentary. Soooooo …. (see Lizzies.)

I don’t really know how to top Joe’s thinker from this morning about bar fights and background music, or Dave’s interesting debate on dishes vs. laundry on Thursday, so here’s some simple Y/Ns for you.

1. Will the Cubs go after Chad Gaudin?
2. Should the Cubs go after Chad Gaudin?
3. Will the Cubs complete a deal for additional bullpen pitching before Opening Day?
4. Should the Cubs complete a deal additional bullpen pitching before Opening Day?
5. Blanco? Millar? Hoffpauir? Tracy? What’s your pleasure?

TIA for participating! Meanwhile, let’s move on to this week’s recap!

Lizzies

  • I think I saw an adult movie once in which an actress named “Diamond LaHair” had an affair with her CEO boss, “Wellington Cashner.”
  • I thought Wellington was the cable guy…
  • Kids need to be taught how to lose and how to fail.
  • I don’t know where this season is going to end up, but I feel like it’s starting out in a good place.
  • Boof?! Please, God, no.
  • “How much for your women? Your wife…the lee-tle girl. I want to buy your women.”
  • Andres Blanco looked pretty good at shortstop, too. (Just sayin’.)
  • They’ve got strings and straps and all sorts of innards to prevent you from the proper fold.
  • I am all about my ‘halves’ until it looks like an appropriate size for the closet.
  • I suggested he tell her that he found front row $700 tickets, and let her say no, look for some thing cheaper.
  • see if [Lou] needs a 46 year old Optometrist who can rake.
  • Big news coming on Monday.
  • You found Sherm?
  • Happy hooliganism!

Lizard

  • Hmmmm, y’know, for me – it’s a wash.
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Brackets, Bullpens and Bar Fights

Friday, March 26th, 2010

It’s Friday already. Not only does that mean that Lou will enlighten us on who made his rotation, but it also means another edition of Funtastic Friday. I have to admit that I’ve been a little disappointed in you lazy punks. Is it that hard to fire off a quick e-mail with something for the mailbag? It can be a question, random thought about anything, etc. We live in a day where your mobile device can do just about anything, so you really have no excuse. Then again, I can think of one person who doesn’t have a cell phone, but we won’t make fun of him. Come on people, fill my inbox with random bunches of crap at joe@viewfromthebleachers.com. A quick Cubs note:

Lou has said today is the day we’ll know who makes the rotation. Really, all four guys have earned a spot on the staff. That surprises and excites me a little because of the lack of experience in the pen. At least we know whoever doesn’t make the rotation will at least have ML experience. Put them with Marmol and Grabow and that means we’re not filling the pen completely with kids. Now, one to the fun (random crap that comes to my mind in random order)

Bracket busted yet? Surprisingly enough, mine isn’t. At the time of this writing (9:18p eastern), I was in the 99.3 percentile on ESPN, ranked 32K out of 4.8 million brackets. We’ve had fun with this bracket. My wife and I put up $10 (big stakes, I know) as a couple and each picked a bracket. Two other couple friends (that’s what happens when you’re married, you have couple friends) also put in their money. Top combined couples score wins the money and a night of free babysitting by the losing couple. It’s sad how exciting this is to people with kids, but we’re pretty psyched because we’re probably going to win the thing. What makes me laugh is the fact that all my wife did was go straight chalk. She has no idea anything about basketball or sports in general. In fact, if sports vanished off the face of the earth overnight, she’d be a happy girl. You can imagine how excited she gets when it’s time for baseball season and a long seven months of games every night. That’s what you get when you marry someone obsessed with baseball.

Big news coming on Monday. I can’t say anything more than that really. Just know that big things will be coming next week that we’re very excited about here at VFTB. I think the news should go a long way toward generating more readers and hopefully comments for discussion on the site. Then again, if you people quit being so apathetic toward lending us your thoughts, perhaps we could get some talking going. Come on, don’t be afraid. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you comment? The only thing I can think of is that Dave will beat you into submission with stats (insert rim shot here), but that’s not so bad. Come on, be brave and leave a comment today. This is the day to step out.

Deadspin.com’s Question of the Day

If you were in a bar or strip club and ended up having to throw down with another patron (whether he hit on your woman or spilled his drink on you), what music would you want playing in the background?


Perhaps before answering this question I should confess something about my past fight history. The truth is, I’ve only hit one person in my life (oddly enough, he occasionally writes for the site) and broke my thumb in the process. It seems that in the mad rush to knock his block off, I tucked my thumb into my fist and popped that sucker right out of place, snapping a small fracture in it. Let me tell you, that hurt like nothing I’ve ever felt before or ever want to feel again. I had to pop it back in place, which was not only painful, but incredibly gross. So, if you take all that pansy talk out of the equation, I’d have to pick Fuel by Metallica.

I don’t really listen to Metallica but that song pumps me up like crazy when I hear it in the car. If I had a fast car and that song on CD or the iPod, I would have lost my license by now due to speeding and aggressive driving. It’s funny, because I honestly think I would need to hear a song like this if I was going to have any chance at defending my wife’s honor in a bar fight. I’m such a weak pansy that I should probably just keep my butt out of those situations to avoid any possibility of it happening. My luck, the guy would kick my butt and steal my lady.

What about you? What song would you pick? Have you been in a situation like this before? I’d love to hear some good fight stories.

Happy Friday. Check back around the end of the workday to see if you won a Lizzie. Remember, you can’t win if you don’t comment.

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In the News: Colvin’s got hand…

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

…and he’s gonna need it. Hello, Cubs fans. My daughter’s on spring break this week, so I’m writing this from home and having a really hard time focusing. So let’s not mess around with fancy-schmancy intros and get right to today’s top stories*:

Lip service or serious roster decision? That’s my reaction to Lou’s latest comments re: young esquire Tyler Colvin, who is ripping through Cactus League pitching to the tune of a 1.06 OPS in 50 ABs. Yesterday, Sweet Lou floated the idea that Colvin could break camp with the team as 5th outfielder if he could get regular playing time. Um, yeah, good luck with that. I suppose Lou and his coaching staff could put together some sort of rotational schedule in which Colvin, who can play all three outfield positions, relieves each of the three starters throughout the week.

OR the Cubs could just send Tyler to Iowa where he can get regular ABs without such contrivances and, presumably, keep his confidence high. Lou did say that Colvin would be a starter if the Cubs had an outfield opening so, again, if this kid has a legit shot at being a starting player someday soon, why not just keep him on that path? Lou does seem to recognize the importance of this possibility, which I’m glad to read.

Angel Guzman has surgery, renewed hope. Angel had his shoulder surgery yesterday and, for better or worse, it was a relatively milder procedure than initially anticipated. This improves his odds of making a comeback with the Cubs next year. I think we all have to keep our expectations low with Angel, but it would be nice to see him on the mound again in some capacity.

The Toyota sign is coming. Architectural aesthetics be damned – it appears Tom Ricketts has every intention of striking a deal with Toyota for an illuminated sign of some sort in left field. I’m half-joking about the aesthetics thing. There was an interesting and somewhat convincing article in Sunday’s Tribune about the detrimental effects the sign would have on the look of Wrigley Field. But, as Tom points out, it wouldn’t affect anyone’s sight lines – including rooftop attendees. And, y’know, it’s another revenue stream for improving the team and the park. I saw a clip of Tom Ricketts addressing the matter on the news last night, and he seemed very matter of fact about it. Expect the sign to happen.

Cubs signing of Korean pitcher is now official. As reported here a few weeks (months?) back, Jin-Yeong Kim is now officially a Cub (uh, at least organizationally speaking). Kim reportedly received a $1.2 million signing bonus. Hat tip to Wrigley Bound’s Matt Swain for breaking/covering this story – I haven’t really seen it mentioned anywhere else.

Roster cuts coming tomorrow (Friday). Who shall go? Who shall stay? Will Kevin Millar’s cockroach-like tenacity (and .320 batting average) see him through to the finish line? As of this writing, the team is carrying 40 players but that number will drop to 30 by tomorrow (Friday).

Abe Lincoln’s ghost haunts Topps Cubs cards. Here’s a weird little story I came across. Some bored graphic designer at Topps apparently photoshopped a ghostly image of dead prez Abraham Lincoln onto several current and former Cubs player cards – including Milton Bradley. Hm, Milton Bradley…Abraham Lincoln…is that a political statement? I don’t want to know. Very odd.

Yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) game results: Cubs whup some Rangers ass with 12-1 victory. My man Sean Marshall looked a little shaky in the first inning but settled down to have a stupendous start – 4 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB and 5 K (!!!). Meanwhile, lefty bench bat candidate Chad Tracy showed a little of that rebound promise with two doubles that drove in five runs. Kosuke also went 3 for 3 in the lead off spot. (See, Lou? Fukudome batting lead-off and raking vs. a right-handed pitcher. Check the splits! Theriot can still hit well in the eight hole vs. RHP and bat lead-off vs. lefties.) Andres Blanco looked pretty good at shortstop, too. (Just sayin’.)

Today’s (Thursday’s) game: Cubs vs. D’Backs, 3:05 CDT. No word on lineups or starters just yet (is it Gorzelanny’s turn?), and I’m not sure whether I’ll get a chance to come back and post them. It does appear audio of the game will be available via mlb.com.

And last but not least - our newest VFTB feature: Deadspin.com’s Question of the Day! Here it is:

Which do you prefer: The feeling you get when you go to unload the dishwasher so you can do the dishes, only to find the dishwasher is either (a) empty or (b) only partially filled with dirty dishes, thereby saving you some work, or the feeling you get when you go to switch your clothes into the dryer and discover the dryer is empty, so you only have to fold one load of clothes?

Hmmmm, y’know, for me – it’s a wash. INSTANT RIMSHOT!

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*Reddish text = hyperlinks to my sources.

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Can the Mariners top 2009?

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Most everyone knows by now that the Mariners are the best defensive team in baseball, but by how much? At Baseball Info Solutions, we’ve recently projected Defensive Runs Saved (as introduced in The Fielding Bible – Volume II) for the 2010 season. We evaluated each player’s defensive performance over the past three years and prorated their performance based on the number of innings each is expected to play this year. We expect Seattle to nearly match their 110 Runs Saved from 2009 and dwarf the second-best Phillies, 2008’s best defensive team.

Best Projected Defensive Teams for 2010
Team Projected Runs Saved
Seattle Mariners 103
Philadelphia Phillies 49
Tampa Bay Rays 48
St. Louis Cardinals 38
Houston Astros 37

The Red Sox will be the most improved team, going from -52 Runs Saved in 2009 to a projection of 35 Runs Saved in 2010 thanks to their offseason acquisitions.

Franklin Gutierrez led baseball with 32 Runs Saved in center field in 2009, though new Mariners teammates Chone Figgins (31 Runs Saved) and Jack Wilson (27 Runs Saved) finished close behind. We project Gutierrez to retain his crown, but Wilson and 2008 champion Chase Utley should give him a run for his money.

Best Projected Defenders for 2010
Player, Position-Team Projected Runs Saved
Franklin Gutierrez, CF-Seattle 24
Jack Wilson, SS-Seattle 22
Chase Utley, 2B-Philadelphia 21
Albert Pujols, 1B-St. Louis 20
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B-Washington 19


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