View From The Bleachers

September 15, 2010

Hump Day Heaven!

Filed under: Featured,General — Chet West @ 11:33 am

So, as many of you know, I have been doing this five questions thing for the past few weeks.

For the most part, I just like to see what others are thinking.  Throughout the week I keep an eye on the Cubs and questions pop into my little brain.  As this happens, I jot them down somewhere and save them for this little slice of “Hump Day” heaven.

This week, with football getting back into gear, and a bevy of other odd sports news I decided to stray a little from the Cubs (don’t worry, there is enough Cub related material to stay relevant) and hit some other topics.

Without further ado….

1) Has Aramis Ramirez ever been worth $14.6 million?

Aramis has said he will be exercising his option for 2011.  Or “leaning” towards it or “staying here” or whatever that means…..

I can’t stand the fact that he is getting this money.  He wasn’t worth it in his best season and he surely isn’t worth it now……Precisely why he would be insane not to take the option!!!!

Go ahead and pick his best season ever!  Throw some stats at me if you want.  I can’t think of one season when he was worth 14.6 million.

That money should get you a top of the line third baseman.  A slick fielding, hot-corner stud!!!

Don’t get me wrong, Aramis had some nice seasons in Cubbie blue, but a season worth $14.6 million?  I can’t think of one!

The problem is, I would reserve that type of money for complete players. Players who field and hit well.  Players who are consistent at the plate and in the field.  Aramis is anything but the above.

Here is the best part, he is actually going to get $16.6 million.  Yup, he has yet another option for 2012, a team option.  If the Cubs don’t pick it up they still owe him another $2 million for the buyout!!!!

(Just threw up in my mouth)

2) Could Darwin Barney be a full time third baseman?

Because of the above, I consider this more for the future.

A few weeks ago I didn’t think this kid was ready for the bigs at all, but lately? Last I checked he toted a .300 average and was holding his own defensively.

I am not saying he should be, as there may be better places for him up the middle, but I can bet you my Kevin Orie Rookie Card that he would be better then some of our “younger” options.

He kind of creeps up on the position a little.  I mean lets face it, Aramis will take a vaca-….I mean trip to the DL next year, likely more then one, and we will need somebody at the corner.  I would rather see youth served then pick up some over-the-hill rental for the season to the tune of $3 million or more.

For those who feel Vitters is the heir apparent, check again, something tells me he doesn’t make it out of the minors.

3) Should the proven steroid users give up their awards?

In the 75 year history of the Heisman Trophy the award has never been returned by a recipient or repossessed by the Heisman committee……until this week.

Because of the “benefits” illegally obtained by Reggie Bush during the 2005 season, USC has been taken to the woodshed by the NCAA and slapped with a myriad of penalties.

Reggie, in a move probably as much about PR as it is conscience, returned his Heisman award from that season.

While Reggie voluntarily gave back his award, I began to wonder if we should just start stripping awards from Major Leaguers who used steroids?

Make them ineligible for the Hall of Fame.  Don’t even let the writers or players vote them in! Remove them from the ballot!

While we are at it, strip them of their MVP awards, Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves, etc……

In a final blow, strip the teams and cities they played for of their World Series trophies and League Pennants!

Okay , maybe the last one was a bit crazy, but I bet players would think a little longer in the future about enhancing themselves through a pill or substance.

4) Which team would you least like to play for if you were a major leaguer?

So a lot of players put a “no trade” clause in their contracts and some just list teams they won’t play for.

If you had this power, who would be the first team listed under your “I will not accept a trade to this team under any circumstances” list?

It can be because of the geographic location, the ownership, the current players, any of the above.

5)  Have you been to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field in the last decade? How many have never been?

I want to get a good idea of those who have been and those who have not.

Some of you seem very indifferent regarding the shrine at Addison and Clark.  I am also starting to realize that the reason for such ambivalence is because many of you are from the middle of nowhere and could care less where the Cubs play because you have watched every game on TV or in another stadium (an away game).

Personally, I go to a dozen games per year or more. I love the place.

Okay, so all but two of the questions dealt with the Cubs.  I just can’t leave them alone…..addiction is a terrible thing to waste…..or something like that.

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Chet West is an IT professional living in Minneapolis, MN with his wife and two daughters. He has a pug named Banks and loves photography. Follow him on Twitter @chetwest19

  • Seymour Butts

    1 No, But… neither is anyone else (Arod). Salaries are what they are due to owner driven inflation. The Cubs are on track to pay 2 million in salary for every win. Not a fiscally sound move.
    2 Perhaps, too early to tell. But… the Cubs will go broke supplying him with bubble gum. Have you ever seen him not chomping feverishly on that wad?
    3 No. But…..I do feel bad for the 10-20 % of their contemporaries who were not on something. The abusers will pay with shortened life span for their pharmacologic transgressions.
    4 Mets. But… could also say the Yankees. Santo is right about NY. It is a cesspool.
    5 Zip. But… It’s due to my zipcode (99320). It is far easier to fly to west coast sites for a game, and good seats are usually readily available. I sat in the front row for 2 Cub games in Seattle this June. I would not be able to do that in Wrigley. I have averaged about 6 Cub games a year over the last decade, all on the road.

  • Deezer

    1) No, never. I like the guy, but no way is he worth $14+ million.
    2) Maybe, haven’t watched him enough though
    3) I think maybe Silver sluggers and Cy Youngs, but not Gold Gloves (being muscular doesn’t make you more reflexive)
    4) New York Yankees for two reasons
    – I grew up in Boston, splitting my loyalties between Cubs (mom’s side) and Red Sox (dad’s side), so I hate the Yankees with an undying passion and
    – I really like having a beard, which the Yanks don’t allow (superficial, yes, but a reason nonetheless)
    5) I have never been to a Cubs game period, home or away. I am, however, going to visit relative in Chicago next week for the Cubs/Cardinals series at Wrigley, and I’m beyond excited. Should I get work in Chicago next year (I graduate college), I plan on going to a whole lot more

  • MJ

    1.) Nope, not worth $14.6 or 16 Mil. I’d rather see that cash go to a bonafide Ace.
    2.) I still think Darwin is a super utility guy. But if A-Aram stays, let him back him up there.
    3.) Yes. All around. Defenisve awards, pitching, batting.
    4.) Yankees and Mets. I hate New York, and those teams. No way I’d ever play there. I actually decided not to play on my buddies team because decided to change to the Yankees. Yuck.
    5.) The past couple of years, only one time a season ( or more if I can get tickets cheap or free). I used to go to six or seven every year.

  • Pete O

    Go check the numbers fellas. Via fangraphs:

    Ramirez 2006 – WAR 4.5 worth $16.7M
    Ramirez 2007 – WAR 5.3 worth $21.8M
    Ramirez 2008 – WAR 4.7 worth $21.0M

    Granted 09 and 10 have been injury plagued for the guy, but he has DEFINITELY been worth $14.6M in the past and I suspect with some luck in the health department he’ll be worth it in the future as well.

  • MJ

    Another point in that sabermetrics are not always the gospel.

  • http://twitter.com/chetwest19 Chet West

    I already know the topic of my next post….

    “When Stats Don’t Tell the Whole Story”

    So what is the benchmark that they are basing those salaries off of for WAR?

  • mastrick

    I’m inclined to agree with MJ here, the Cubs really need to devote that money to a bonafide ace. We thought we were in great shape insofar as pitching was concerned but it appears that work needs to be done. I’ve said my peace with respect to Ramirez – the fact of the matter is that he will be back next year for his curtain call and it’s likely he will miss a substantial portion of the season to nagging injuries (most likely caused by poor conditioning.) That having been said we need a quality backup for 3B and decisions have to be made about Vitters. The day will come soon when he will have to be a 40 man decision – he missed the end of this year so next year is key for Josh and his development. That’s the problem with drafting high schoolers, you never know what you’ll get.

  • Chuck

    1) Yes. People tend to forget that up until the last couple of seasons there was not a better hitting 3B in the NL than Aramis. He was an absolute steal at $14M.

    2) It all depends on his glove. If he can’t field the position well, he needs to be a better hitter to justify it.

    3) After a lot of thought, no they should not. I assume that all professional athletes are/were involved in some sort of PED use. It continues to amase me that baseball does not get the free pass that football does. The proven users are just the ones who have been caught. Are you really a cheater if everyone else cheats? Is it fair? No, but life is not fair. Deal with it.

    4) I would not like to play for the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox or Dodgers. If they played in a dome the following would be OK: Marlins, D-Backs, Rays (just too freaking hot). If I was a pitcher I would not like the Rockies or D-Backs. If I was a hitter the Padres would not be ideal.

    5) I have been to many Cub games over the years. It is a great place. Tearing it down is not an option. I don’t need 5000 flat screens or an in-stadium day spa to enjoy a ballgame. Watch the game and be social with those around you. Have fun. Texting more than 4 times in a game is grounds for ejection.

  • Chuck

    Chet, stats don’t tell the whole story. But they sure do tell the most important parts.

    Also, it really depends on what stats you are looking at. I prefer more direct stats than WAR, VORP and such because I really don’t know what is going into them.

  • Chet

    The WAR stat scares me because it is trying to compile a bunch of information for a player and sum it up into one number giving them an overall value.

    Intangibles are huge in the game of baseball. Stats don’t measure that.

  • Jesse

    1) You know, for all the hell that ARam puts us through, he has been a part of the fabric of this team for better or for worse. He put fans in the seats, and I’m sure the money he generated in helping the Cubs look like a good team + jersey sales and merchandising is probably worth it to ownership… Still, that’s an obscene amount of money for a guy who is just okay.

    2) I struggle with the notion that Barney could be a fulltime guy @ third. He’s looked better as of late, but I am more inclined to side with MJ and say he’ll be a super utility guy.

    3) Nah, let the guys keep the awards (and Reggie Bush for that matter). Granted, they cheated, but until you can prove who did and who didn’t, it’s hard to prosecute across the board. Bad breaks for the guys who didn’t cheat, but that happens.

    4) If I was good enough to choose, I’d probably want to nix the Orioles, Pirates, Toronto, KC, and Cleveland… Of course, that’s just because they aren’t that good. Oh, and Washington.

    5) Been once in the last ten years. Tried catching a couple others, but I just can’t get work/life to make room for a game.

  • Buddy

    1. Players are “worth” whatever they can get.
    2. Maybe in slow-pitch softball
    3. No. A card laid is a card played.
    4. The team that has Dusty Baker as manager
    5. Quite a few, but not as many as I would like. The same can be said for any ML team really. A day at the ballpark is like a day on the golf course. How can you not have a good time?

  • Joe

    1. ARam has definitely been worth ALL the money! Do you remember the round table of 3B we had before him? I mean yes there are other 3B out there for less money, but can you win with a 45 year old Gary Gaetti? or a terrible Kevin Orie? Best clutch hitter in NL for 2 years there (granted it wasn’t this year) but even 09 he was great.
    2. Darwin is just another Fontenot, which ain’t a bad utility guy, I’ll take him over a Bloomquist or Counsel.
    3. I’m with Chuck, you can’t take them away. Just because Sosa bombed 60+ for years and Clemens had a sub 1.50 ERA doesn’t mean that the flub hitting .220 with 15 HR wasn’t taking PEDs… no one gives a shit if you’re mediocre and cheating. I believe more took PED than the 104 on the “list”. Leave them their awards, we all know the truth, and it will be much sweeter when a “clean” player breaks the dirty record.
    4. White Sox! Christ how can anyone like them/teammates/coach/fans/shitty field/south side. Padres – too close to Tijuana. Atlanta and New York (both) just plain hate those teams, always have always will.
    5. 1 – July 10 2009 Cubs v Cards. STL scored their first run in 2 seconds (double, sac bunt, Pujols sac fly) I didn’t even have time to take the first drink of my 5th Old Style. D-Lee hit a 3-run game tying blast. Pujols hit a HR into the basket in center, and hit a Triple down the 3rd base line… Yes Pujols hit a triple in Wrigley. Also, they gave Reed the start so I didn’t have to see Milton Bradley, all around great time. Cubs lose 8-3

  • mitchener

    I think i remember an analyst saying that he had the highest batting average w/risp even above pujols. Excluding this year he averaged between 25-30 hrs and 100 rbis and .300 avg. Hes at least around that mark

  • MJ

    “I’m inclined to agree with MJ here”

    Look out ladies and gentlemen, hell just reported a cold front coming in! :lol:

  • Eric

    As for Ramirez his best offensive year was 2006 however that was also his worst defensive year at -15 runs.

    Take a look at 2007 tho, his Rfield (runs from fielding) is actually a +3 that year. For reference it is a -14 this year and I think we can all agree thats true. His defensive runs saved above avg / 1200 innings (about 135 games) is about +12. His Runs Above Replacement for 2007 is actually a +43 his WAR is +4.0 and his dWAR (defensive WAR) is +0.3. So altho he might look awful this year, he wasn’t always as horrible at the hot corner as people think he was. These stats are from baseball-reference.com if you wish to peruse yourself. I could write a paper on this but I doubt anyone would want to read it.

    He signed his current contract after his 2006 year in which he was one of the best hitting 3B in the game that year outside of AROD (38 HR 119 RBI), altho as previously said he was bad defensively but who pays top $ for defensive whiz’s. AROD WAR was 9.9 that year and his salary was $22m compared to $10m for Aramis. So is $12m worth the extra 5 wins at $2.4m each? I think its about in line with AROD’s contract. But no he is not worth $14m this year but a few years ago one could argue he was. David Wright put up similar numbers to Ramirez that year but he was still in his rookie contract/arbitration years so his salary doesn’t compare.

  • Chuck

    I think the $14M is best served by getting a 1B who can mash so they can start scoring runs again. Personally, I like Dunn as a stop-gap.

    I am fine with Aramis at 3B next year because, when healthy, he is a very good 3B. Of course the “when healthy” times have been fewer and further between these last couple of years. Maybe he just does not fell like busting his butt for a crummy team…

  • cap’n obvious

    1. The short answer is no. He’s never put up that kind of offensive numbers, and my feeling is that he’ll be a lot worse defensively without DLee manning the bag to bail him out. Also, he has averaged roughly 133 games played a season over the last 8 years, meaning you can count on him to be out with an owie the equivalent of a month each season…which should knock 1/5th of his value, I think.
    2. Yes, I think Darwin Barney would make a great every day third baseman. For the Iowa Cubs. OK, maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates. For a team with a payroll over $100 million, this guy is not a viable option. Not even close.
    3. No. I think the fact that both pitchers and hitters were culpable should make the stats and numbers a wash. Sure, the hitting numbers were inflated…lets talk about Gagne’s save run…or Clemens’ strikeout numbers….
    4. If I were a major leaguer, I would least like to play for any AAA team. If I made it to the majors, I’d happily play for Baltimore, KC, hell, I’d have even played for the Marge Schott owned Reds, just for the opportunity to have made it to the show. Beggars can’t be choosers, and I’d have certainly been a beggin’.
    5. Though I live in southern California, I have made it to about 10 Cub games at Wrigley in the last 10 years. Last year, I was in the bleachers on Air and Water Show practice day, something like a 17-1 win over Pittsburgh. Was also there about 6 years ago when Sammy won one with a homerun in extra innings. Pretty sure Doc Raker’s daughter was on my lap when he hit it. Since I still have family in Chicago, and since I only opt to voluntarily visit them when the weather is good, I’ll probably always make an effort to get to a game whenever I’m in town. Fortunately, I have long time friends who work for huge pharma and tech companies in the area who can score me seats, so I usually don’t have to kick down for the tix. I wonder if I’d go if I had to actually contribute to the overpaid player fund?

  • Mr. David M. Beyer

    1) No. I don’t think he’ll hit like he used to anymore, and he certainly doesn’t seem interested in playing defense anymore. But, like Larry Craig and a reputation for puttin’ the moves on other gentlemen in airport bathrooms, we’re stuck with him.
    2) No. He’s a slap hitter. Unless he develops some power he should be a bench player.
    3) No. Don’t rewrite history. But I wish they could be arrested for fraud (pretending to play clean, then blemishing the sport when it turns out they didn’t). And go after everyone involved in handing out the presents, while you’re at it. How ’bout it, Laws of the Nation?
    4)The New York Yankees.
    5) Not since 1996, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Seeing a major league game is just too much hassle when minor league games are cheaper, easier to get into and out of, and just as much fun.

  • CubbieDude

    1. Compared to what? If Alfonso Soriano is “worth” $19 Million, if Kosuke Fukudome is “worth” $14 Million, then maybe Aramis Ramirez is “worth” $14.6 Million.

    2. Darwin Barney could be a full time 3B, but I thought Mr. DeWitt was the natural 3Bman.

    3. Forget the old awards. Give proven steroid users New awards.

    4. The job of every minor leaguer is to get to the major leagues. Regardless of which team in the majors that turns out to be. For $14 Million per year I would be happy to play for any major league team that exists.

    5. Could you define “…been to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field…”?

  • Terrelle Pryor 2

    1. No
    2. Idk
    3. Yes, they should, and I also like the idea of stripping titles too. College teams get stripped of titles for using one ineligible player, like USC when Dubya’s black brother played, let’s strip MLB teams who ride dopers to WS titles, like the Sawks in 2004 and 2007
    4. The White Sox. Jerry Reinsdorf is a horrible owner
    5. Yes, plenty. I live in Chicago. My first game was in 2001 when I was 13, I’ve been to 4-5 games a year since 2007, sans this year, I only went to 1.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    1. Absolutely!!! And thanks to Pete O for posting the WAR values
    2. I don’t think Barney is anything above a utility / bench player. He’ll spell you on a night here & there, and won’t kill you if a starter goes down, but if that’s the best you have to trot out to 3B on a nightly basis, you’re not likely to be in any postseason discussions…
    3. No. I know I’ll get flamed here, but if it wasn’t banned by baseball, then take advantage.
    4. Pittsburgh, Toronto and the White Sux
    5. Three in this decade at Wrigley, and since Atlanta is so close, we try to make at least one game up there when the Cubbies come to call

  • Seymour Butts

    @ Capn:
    Are you talking about DocRakers 22 year-old daughter?

  • http://twitter.com/MoondogKP MoondogKP

    1. Yes, Aramis was worth that money earlier in the decade.
    2. Haven’t watched enough to see.
    3. No.
    4. I’d never say I wouldn’t play in New York. Just hope someone would come along to get close to the money so I can go somewhere else. Oh, and not Toronto. The snipers still wait for me there.
    5. I went twice a month after I turned 21, and saw Livan Hernandez and Barry Bonds put on hitting clinics. The latter hit #50 in his magical year that early August weekend.

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