View From The Bleachers

December 9, 2010

In the News: Who’s On First

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 5:00 am

I typically pride myself on being a generous tipper when I go to a restaurant. If you’ve ever worked at a job where tips are a big part of how you get paid, you know what it’s like to get the shaft in that area. On Sunday, Mrs VFTB and I took the kids out to eat Mexican food after church. Child # 2 is not quite 1 year old so he needs a high chair. They provided us with one that had no buckle at all. Because of that, the little man wanted to climb out of that chair like his hair was on fire. I had to hold him the entire meal. If you’ve ever had to do that, you know it’s tough to eat that way. On top of that, the waiter got my order wrong. I ordered a quesadilla with spinach, mushrooms and cheese. The order came with no mushrooms. Unfortunately he never came back to check on us until we were finished with the meal. I mentioned to him that my order was wrong when I went to pay the bill and he asked why I didn’t say anything at the time. I replied that I didn’t because he never came back to give me the chance to speak up. Common sense would say that when a customer complains about your service, you do what you can to make it right. Am I wrong? Instead he just ran my card and went about his day. Little did he know that I only tipped that fool 10%. My question to you is this.

How do you handle tipping? – Do you have a system that determines what percent you tip? Have you ever not tipped? Let’s talk tipping.

Cubs Sign Carlos Pena to 1 yr deal…more coming?

I was beginning to worry that Jim Hendry wasn’t aware of the fact that Derrek Lee was no longer a member of the team. I thought he might just be under the impression that the position was taken care of and that was why he hadn’t been moving on filling the need. We saw Adrian Gonzalez traded. We saw Lance Berkman sign. We even heard rumors that Prince Fielder was going to be moved. None of those news stories involved the Cubs, who have a terrible need at 1B. All of a sudden the Cubs news came fast and furious and may not be done. With the Pena signing, there are still rumors that Hendry has had talks with Texas on a deal that would send Robinson Chirinos and Rafael Dolis to the Rangers for Chris Davis and Darren O’Day. If this deal gets done, it’s a huge win for us. Chirinos probably isn’t going to play with us in anything more than a backup role for the next few years. Dolis is intriguing, but definitely not untouchable. Davis would give us a prospect to fill the spot once Pena left after 2011 and O’Day would instantly make the bullpen better. If this deal is there, it needs to get done.

Discussion Question: What are your thoughts on the Carlos Pena deal? Grade it out. I give it a B with the potential for an A if Jaramillo can fix that batting average.

Could Matt Garza be coming to play with Pena?

There has been overwhelming talk that the Cubs need to address the rotation this year. We’ve seen rumors that Brandon Webb could be a target. While that’s a nice story and a guy well worth trying to resurrect from the dumpster, a legit starter is very much a need. Consider the fact that a good part of the reason that the Cubs finished where they did in terms of starter success was because of the late push by Zambrano and great starts from Ted Lilly. Both could be gone. Zambrano’s showing may be just another mirage and Lilly isn’t coming back. The Cubs have question marks in that rotation and Matt Garza would go a long way toward filling that void. Bruce Levine mentioned that Cubs have interest there and that the Rays are looking for prospects in return. No word on who those prospects are, but I can’t imagine he’d be cheap. If we can get him, I’d do it.

Also mentioned in the Levine report is the fact that the Tigers have offered Armando Galarraga for Tom Gorzelanny. Thanks but no thanks on that one.

Congress Honors Ron Santo

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. 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 and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail

  • Buddy

    I’m a huge Matt Garza fan, even though he’s a serious hothead. Hopefully the Cubs can make that trade happen. Speaking of hotheads, it would be pretty interesting to see Garza and Zambrano on the same team.

  • Chuck

    Re Tipping: Generally, I do 15% unless the service is terrible or outstandig. In your case skipping the tip altogether would have been acceptable in my book. I know some people will cry “But tips are a big part of his pay!” But, service is part of his job. Do your job. Conversely, while I was on the road last week I went to a restraunt to watch a Bulls game while eating and I wound up camping out there until the game was over. The waitress stopped by numerous time to get refills and such. To reward her for her service while I camped out I gave her a $10 tip on a $15 meal.
    Re Pena: I give it a B as well. If he turns it around he will be a great help to the club. He could also be moved to a contender for prospects at the deadline too if the Cubs are as mediocre as I think they will be. If he regresses even more, it is only a 1-year deal so they can move on next year.
    Re Webb: If it is a minor-league deal for minimal money, do it. From all indications I have seen he is done. If he can get healthy enough to be a good bullpen guy, that would be fine by me. If he wants a multi-year multi-million dollar deal, pass. It is sad because he was once a great pitcher.

  • Bobbi Wickham

    Matt Garza would be a nice addition, but I’m still pretty pessimistic about this off season. The best part of this office season so far is that Yankee fans are already flipping out about the Carl Crawford signing. It’s beautiful. I don’t hate the Yanks or anything, I just think its funny when other teams give them a run for their money.

    RE tipping…I have never not tipped in the US. I live in Germany right now where tipping is not as standard and people here usually tip 10% at most (the service is generally terrible but that’s partially because they expect people to linger). Back home I usually tip 20% for good service and 15% for indifferent service. The server usually has to be rude to me to get 10%, which I think would have applied in your case Joe.

  • Bobbi Wickham

    The best part of this off season, not office season. Jeez…

  • MJ

    Tipping. I’m a tried and true 20% tipper, unless they really suck. Every server starts at 20%, and works their way down depending on their service. Quite honestly, Mrs. MJ and I only tend to frequent three places, so the staff knows us quite well, and the service shows that. So much, in fact, that we get comped a lot of drinks. Which is a whole different problem when it comes to tipping!

    As for Pena, I give it a B. It’s a good stop gap until next year’s crop of 1B become available. I don’t think he’ll hit .196, but closer to .240 which is fine by me, if he’s scooping up A-Ram and Castro errant throws.

  • Smokie

    I am sorry, but how can anyone justify paying 10 million for a guy that hit under 200. What do guys like Brian LaHair and Blake Lalli have to do to get a shot! LaHair had a monster season at Iowa last year and Lalli is a career 300 hitter who I watched all last year and is someone who I feel may be the best pure hitter in our system.

  • MJ

    This is on SI:
    “The Cubs inquired about pitcher Matt Garza from the Rays, but when Tampa Bay asked about Colvin and Sean Marshall, the talks went nowhere”

  • Joe

    I have no standard on tipping. If you do an excellent job, your tip shall be excellent. If by chance your service was terrible and I or my girlfriend find ourselves talking about you (the server) in a negative way during our meal, guess what? you’ll probably be talking about me as I walk out the door, in a negative way. I’m like Mr. Pink in the fact that you don’t HAVE to be a server. My girlfriend is a server, so I’m not a blatant Gregging Gregg-hole to servers.
    Pena deal gets a B+ from me. The + is my infatuation with Quade and Jaramillo, I am getting pumped to see Quade in action for a full season. His exuberance and energy, IMO, will benefit everyone from Castro/Colvin to Pena/Soto/Soriano/Ramirez. Now benefit does not mean 95 wins, but a competitive team that won’t embarrass the city or the fan base. I think I’ve said this before, so I won’t be too crushed if I’m way off, just my yearly cubs experience of getting excited about the season in December.
    I wouldn’t mind Garza on the staff, he’s fiery and I want a team with the “we’ll kick your ass on or off the field” attitude.

  • cap’n obvious

    I tip to the next dollar up from 20%, unless something went wrong that I feel the server could have controlled. I waited tables for a few years in college and made, for the time anyway, ridiculous money. If you’ve never done it, you have no idea how much of your experience is outside the realm of what the server can control. If you can’t afford to tip 20%, think of going to less expensive places.

    The educator in me wants to give the Pena deal an incomplete. It grades out as a C- right now, but on the off chance he doesn’t REALLY suck, I’ll hold off on bashing it too much more. $10 million is really a lot of jack…I don’t care if its $5 mil over 2 years or $500k over 20 years. I read yesterday that the Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla 1.2 million a year EVERY year from now until 2035. BOBBY BONILLA. A good hitter for sure, but one of the worst defenders I ever saw at 1B and in the outfield. And just a good hitter, not a really great one. The guy never drove in 100 runs in a season for the Mets. His agent should wear a mask and wield a pistol while Bonilla drives the getaway car…

    Finally, and I really don’t want to get all political…I loved Santo as much as ony of you, and was truly touched to see the media support and coverage he got. That being said, windbag congressmen, in a sick and pathetic attempt to draw support from constituencies have no real place taking up valuable lawmaking time talking about ballplayers or any celebrities for that matter. All of the “special commendation” and “general speech” stuff should be left to the media, and our elected leaders should get focused on being part of the solution and stop being the heart of the problems.

  • Seymour Butts

    I tip too much. On a recent 26.37 bill I rounded up to $40. I usually round up to an even number, but it causes me to do math, which I understand most of America can’t do terribly well. In your case Joe, zero would have been appropriate. A 10% tip did not send any message to the server other than you were a cheap mother gregger. Give them nothing and make them think.
    Pena is a B to me.
    I’m not terribly concerned about getting a big name, big dollar pitcher. That strategy often fails, and we have enough arms, they just need seasoning. Say you bring in a Garza for instance. That’s a spot that numerous guys on our roster, or in our minors can’t aspire to. Kind of deflating. I know a person who is rather close to one of these pitchers, and it takes a toll when your boss doesn’t believe in you enough to even let you compete for a job, but brings in a hired gun. Sit tight and let what we have age, Nobody is expecting much of a year anyway, even Pena is seen as a stop gap.

  • http://Matt Matt

    If you eat, the minimum is $2, then it’s based off of service and %. I would do the Gorzy for Galarraga. Galarraga is a ground ball pitcher who is arbitration eligble until 2013. Gorzy has topped out, he’s a better fit for a bullpen because he’s going to turn into a left handed version of Jason Marques. Just a guy eating innings hoping his teams scores 5+ every now and then getting blown out. The Rangers want Garza too. So there is a chance of a 3 team trade in the works. I’d really like to see the cubs pick up Michael Young from the Rangers along with Davis and O’day.

  • John

    The Pena deal up front I give a C. He cant be much worse average wise than last year. If he bebounds and has a decent year I will stick with the C, if he has a year like 2007 I will give it a A. If he repeats last years stats I will give it a F. Overall I think 10 million is to much to pay for him but at least Hendry for once was smart enough to limit the contrat to one year.

    As far as pitching B Webb wouldnt be bad at a minor league deal or a incentive ladden contract at 1-2 million. Take a flier on him and see how it turns out. If I remember correctly that is the type of approach taken when the cubs got Dempster. For Garza I am all hestitant to say make a trade with the Ray, look at all the teams they have fleeced with trades in the past. If the ray are looking to trade a) the player is in decline or will be shortly and b) they do a better job evalutating opposing teams players than any one. They always seem to come out on top in trades.

    Seymour I am with you on tipping in part due to being a former bartender. Tipping generously and going place that they know you will ensure you always get the very best survice.

  • Chuck

    Another thing about tipping, if you are eating out with kids and it is “kids eat cheap or free” night calculate the tip as if the kid meals were full price. Just because the meal is cheaper does not mean that they worked any less.
    I would rather see the Cubs spend the prospects/coin on a better 2B than another starter. Pitching was not the problem over the last few years, hitting was.

  • Chet

    Call me crazy, I would have traded Colvin and Marshall for Garza.
    I think Colvin has a better chance of busting then doing well, call me crazy but I bet he struggles to stay on the Major league roster this year.

    Keeping Fukudome is not a bad idea. Don’t know why but I just feel like Colvin has struggles ahead, something about his approach at the plate.

  • Terrelle Pryor 2

    On the subject of tipping: I deliver pizzas, so I know what getting shafted is all about. 2 bucks or 10% is the baseline, whichever is greater. I usually go to bars and such, and I’ll tip at least 2 bucks on food, usually I tip $3 or $4 (for a $10 burger or wings) because they’re pouring Cokes too, when they could be making a drink for someone else. In your case, Joe, I would have asked to speak with a manager, and given him 1 penny so he knows you know tipping is expected. Not giving a tip could imply you don’t know about tipping.

    On the subject of the Pena deal: F-minus. Because he hit below the Mendoza line last year, and there were better options on the market *cough*Adam Dunn*cough*. This is the 2nd time in 3 off-seasons Hendry has had a chance to go after Adam Dunn and not gotten him, and has instead settled for sub-standard garbage, when Dunn could have been had for the same price or a little more

  • Big Q

    I consider myself a fairly generous tipper. I know this because my wife always tells me that the tip I leave is too much. I do have a sliding scale in my head based on the service taht we receive. I also refuse to tip if the service is horrible, in your case there probably would have been no tip and I would have consulted with the manager. I go to restaurants for the food and I return based on the service. Most good restaurant owners/managers know this.

  • greg

    I like all the other would be deals more than Pena deal. Andruw Jones is what comes to mind with this deal. Good thing its only one year, bad that we pay 5mil for two years. One thing I hate about Hendry is his back loaded contracts. Did he get a no trade clause?

  • jswanson

    I was dependant upon tips for the better part of a decade. I waited tables for a few years before doing the bartender/bouncer thing. I used to over-tip, now usually drop around 20%. If I get exceptional service, I will give an exceptional tip…usually in the places my wife and I frequent. It is a delicious cycle. (sorry)

    Broken record here, but Pena is a D+ at best. How quickly did you all forget that Derek was playing Gold Glove/batting champ level first base for $13M/yr? Now we give $10M to a guy with a worse stick than Koyie Hill…

  • chris in Illinois

    “Now we give $10M to a guy with a worse stick than Koyie Hill…”





    ……here they come; Koyie Hill is awful. Just awful. “Worst Hitter in the World Who Actually Gets Paid To Hit Baseballs”. Mr. Hill has SIX career homers in 700+ PA’s. Carlos had seven last July alone.

    Compared to Hill, Carlos Pena is the single greatest hitter in the history of the Universe.

  • Seymour Butts

    OK Chet, you’re crazy.

  • Buddy

    I’m with you Chris. Words can’t describe how bad Koyie Hill is. He very well may be the worst hitter in all of baseball.

  • ccak123

    i give the Pena signing a B+. This signing has so much more upside than downside. The downside is that he hits 20 bombs and 80 rbis and hits below .200. Upside, on the other hand, is the Pena from 2007, hitting close to 45 homers and driving in 100+ rbis. Plus he plays solid defense and is an instant plug in the lineup as a left handed power hitter.

  • walterj

    the signing of pena gets a c , but the value of the contract brings it down to a d- . hendry outbidded himself again . as far as garza , he was one of 8 pitchers that served up 28 homers or more . zambrano and wells combined served up less homers than garza alone . do the math …30 teams x 5 pitchers is 150 . out of 150 pitchers he was in the bottom 8 of hrs allowed . on a day the wind is blowing out , the bull pen will be starting in the second inning .he might make a good 3rd or 4th starter , but to trade away a lot of prospects thinking your getting an ace would be foolish .

  • Doc Raker

    I tip 20% usually. At my usual lunch places I leave a minumum $3 or 20%, whichever is more. I only go under 20% if the server is wearing an Obama pin.

  • Doc Raker

    Carlos Pena- $10M for .196 avg and 28 HR’s. Seems expensive, seems stupid expensive. So when does the terminology of “If he has a year like 200X it will work out” leave the Cubs vernacular? The hitting trend is downward for these veterans from the horse pill era, when will Jim Hendry and these other fools handing out contracts figure that out. Hendry is a fool, fire him and anyone else that thought signing an old horse pill slugger for $10M would be a good idea. There will be no less than 10 rookies in 2011 that hit better than Carlos Pena.

  • Doc Raker

    The Cubs will have the most expensive underperforming line up in the history of man kind.
    Sorryano .258 for 18M, Aram .241 for 15M, Fukudome .263 for 12M and now Pena .196 for 10M. If only Sorryano hits like he did in 2006, if only Aram hits like he did in 2006, if only Pena hits like he did in 2007 and if only Fukudome hits like he did in 2005 in the Japanese league everything will work out just fine. Greg these guys, the business of baseball is gregged and I am tired of it.

  • Larry Sproul

    I also tend to tip too much . Something I have to try and change . Great service a great tip but crappy service ?? You get the idea . The service industry has to do a better job training servers .

    Hope Pena can swing the lumber better than .196 ! If not it could be another year of headaches for Cubs Nation .

  • Buddy

    When I tip, I usually include some free fantasy football advice. Things like “You gotta play Josh Freeman,” or “Malcolm Floyd is questionable this week.” They love it.

  • MoondogKP

    I work in college towns, so I tend to tip up a bit, normally 20% or better. If you give me bad service, however, you might not like me too much.

    I’m a Pena supporter, so I give it an A-. Great, great glove that will continue to save Aramis from a plethora of throwing errors. His OBP has consistently been .130 higher than his BA, so if that rebounds to a reasonable level, which is very likely, Pena’s back to near .400 OBP. Oh, and he can crush a ball. Fit him fourth with Soriano and Aramis around him, the lineup has balance and the chance to be very good.

    Chet needs to be in a padded room. Garza, while good, costs more than the Cubs can afford, and giving up a bullpen arm when they are more in need for this team than a starter is, well, stupid. Plus giving up 5 years of Colvin plus 2-3 years of Marshall for 1-2 years of Garza is not good math.

  • http://Matt Matt

    $10 million to a guy who will hit 5th at best.

  • Buddy

    Apparently the Rays are shooting down the Garza trade rumors. “Matt Garza will be pitching for us,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times.

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