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December 2011

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COMMENTS

Crystal Ball II – The Wrath Of Buddy

Written by , Posted in General

The New Year is right around the corner, which means Spring Training can’t be far behind. With that in mind, it’s time to do a bit of forecasting for 2012. I promise to get it right this year!

  • Ian Stewart will be a useful hitter vs. RHP, but will struggle against southpaws. Fortunately, new Cubs manager Dale Sveum will limit his at bats against LHP, which is something Mike Quade wouldn’t have figured out.
  • David DeJesus will become a fan favorite and lead the team in on-base percentage.
  • Matt Garza will continue to pitch well, but this year he’ll actually receive some run support. As a result, his win total will increase, but uninformed fans will think he’s a much better pitcher, even when his other numbers stay basically the same as 2011.
  • Starlin Castro will hit the 20-homer mark for the first time in his career.
  • Geo Soto will bounce back from a disappointing 2011.
  • Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd will continue to make outs at an alarming rate.
  • Alfonso Soriano…Nevermind. I just can’t talk about this guy anymore.
  • Carlos Zambrano will be traded to Miami for 10,000 copies of Don Johnson’s 1986 album “Heartbeat.”
  • Carlos Marmol will torment me for yet another season.
  • The Cubs will draw 3 million+ again, but for some reason many fans will still talk about “attendance problems” at Wrigley.
  • Bob Brenly will say lots of annoying things.
  • Len Kasper will say lots of annoying things.
  • Buddy’s head will start hurting during Len & Bob’s first 2012 broadcast, and it will continue to hurt through their last 2012 broadcast.
  • Prince Fielder will sign with the Rangers.
  • Prince the artist will continue to make crappy music.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers will survive the loss of Fielder and win the N.L. Central.
  • The Cubs will finish with 80 wins and trim some serious dead weight from the roster along the way.
  • Justin Upton will win the N.L. MVP award. Miguel Cabrera will bring home A.L. honors.
  • The Angels will win the A.L. Wild Card and go on to become World Series champs. The sports media universe will give the credit to Tim Tebow.
  • VFTB users will finally stop posting political comments. Forget that one. It doesn’t have a shot in hell of coming true!
  • BLPCB

    I like your optimization. I hope we can trade away Bryd and Barney. The political discussions on here are very civil.

  • I honestly just found ‘Heartbeat’ on Spotify. Not going to lie, ‘Coco Don’t’ is one hell of a song.

  • Lizzie

    Are you obliged to dress in the fashions of the day when you listen to it? I’m not sure how well the sockless loafer look goes over in chilly Montana.
    P.S. Great stuff Buddy, as usual!!! I’m not sure what you do for a living but if it doesn’t involve comedy writing you missed your calling.

  • I did trudge out to start the wife’s car this morning shirtless in flip flops…not a sensible choice…we got several inches of snow last night. Sad to report that close-toed shoes and a pastel sportcoat would have been an upgrade.

  • Danny B

    There’s a lot of hatred for Barney floating around, but I thought he showed signs of fantastic defense last year. And he wasn’t a terrible hitter for his first cup of coffee. His plate discipline definitely needs work though. And Marlon Byrd? The guy plays like a professional. At least he adjusts at the plate and tries to hit to the correct field, and can at least make a productive out. No one talks about how Pena, Soto, Soriano, and many others in the lineup are guess hitters. It was hilarious to watch them guess fastball and break their knees swinging at a breaking ball. I’ll take Barney’s defense and upside over DeWitt any day. Sure Barney didn’t make flashy plays (see Brandon Phillips) but that’s because he knew how to play the ball right off the bat.

  • Danny B

    And for the record, I love Bob and Len. They are much better than many other commentators- Buck, McCarver, Morgan, Sutcliffe, and the horrendous White Sox team. I can’t watch the Sox unless they are on mute. Lord those two are terrible. (I don’t mind Steve Stone, but the Hawk overshadows the fact that Stone is even there. Just horrible to listen to.)

  • Noah

    Danny, I’m sorry but Darwin Barney has very minimal upside. He’s 26 years old and not going to add any power. Pitchers learned to bust him in with hard stuff after April last season. If you look at his stats month by month last season, you’ll see he had a hot April and was somewhere between bad and atrocious every other month.

    With that said, I like Barney as a back up middle infielder. He’s a solid defensive player at both middle infield positions, which is what you really want out of your backup middle infielder. If the Cubs had mashers all the other positions, they could survive a defense only player at 2B batting 8th. But they are a team in need of offensive production.

  • Danny B

    Noah, I agree. I meant upside compared to DeWitt, Stewart, and Baker. Stewart may have the most of the bunch, but Barney fits a philosophy of keeping a young(ish) player while he is affordable to see how he turns out. Besides, I’m hardly considering Barney’s offense. I see him as an 8 hitter or late-inning defensive replacement, not compensation for Ramirez and Lee’s numbers.

    And an added note on Soto- everyone bashed on Tyler Colvin for his inability to hit breaking balls, but Soto was never acknowledged for the same weakness. I don’t think he will bounce back, and his defense is above average at best (if that). I say trade him to the AL West, where all teams are apparently required to have 20 catchers on their 40 man rosters.

  • Norm

    But Soto has a career OPS over .800 and he’s a catcher. That’s the sixth best catcher OPS in baseball since he came into the leauge.
    I can understand giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    That being said, I don’t think we’ll see the 2010 numbers out of Soto again.

  • Danny B

    Soto has done the same thing for the past 3 years since his breakout season. I’m ok with a 15 HR, 60 RBI, 20 2B catcher who is decent on D, but my point was that he can’t hit a curve ball. You’re right though Norm, I forgot that he can draw walks. I bet he would have even more trade appeal than I thought. But perhaps it’d be smart to see how Castillo comes along in his development first. I just think Colvin was handled incorrectly by his managers, but I guess we’ll see how he fares in Colorado.

  • MJ

    OK, so I’m confused. Now there are rumors the Cubs are going to sign Reed Johnson, They may be trading Marshall for another Wood (Cinci), and they were told they could not hire any Red Sox staff until 2014, but somehow managed to hire to Red Sox scouts?????

  • Jedi

    Marshall deal is done…pending physicals. My understanding is that it was straight-up. Marshall for Wood. Sad to see Marshall go, but the Reds are apparently in a win-now, overpay for trades mode currently – they seem unwilling to even explore the FA market.

  • Jedi

    Now I see other reports that the Cubs are ALSO getting two minor leaguers along with Wood…I wonder if the Reds want to acquire anyone else from us right now. Jocketty must plan on retiring soon.

  • BLPCB

    I hope they want Soriano and Bozo the Clown

  • Noah

    I think its more that the Reds are going all in over the next two years, but know once Votto is a free agent they can’t keep him unless he gives a BIG hometown discount. At that point Rolen will be retired, Brandon Phillips will be 32, Drew Stubbs will be entering his second arbitration year, Jay Bruce will be making $10 million or more a year, etc. etc. I just have a feeling the Reds will be all in for 2012 and 2013, then blow it up and try to rebuild around Bruce, Mesoraco and a couple of their high upside pitchers.

  • Buddy

    I don’t know anybody who hates Barney, but I do know lots of people who hate his out-making and non-slugging ways. Same with Mr. Byrd.

  • Jedi

    Noah, that sounds a lot like win-now. You’ve had a hard time grasping my sarcasm today.

    Buddy, the Byrd stuff doesn’t make any sense. Often times the same people who hate Byrd have been pimping Coco Crisp as a good solution in CF if we were to dump Byrd. Those two are the same player…and a similar issue with Barney. Barney might be worthless, but so is Ian Stewart (a guy who can’t hit at Coors, can’t hit – .229/.309/.427 career road splits; for comparison, Barney career is .276/.313/.345). Stewart’s Byrd-like OBP drops off the table when you put him outside of Coors Field…he can’t hit there, he can’t get a walk away from there.

    I also think it’s funny that it’s ok to be cynical of other Cubs fans and their reaction to personnel decisions, but to be cynical about the almighty Epstein and his right-hand Hoyer is just too far. There’s a fair amount of elitism going around.

  • Buddy

    I think it’s OK to be cynical of anyone or anything. Free country and all that.

  • Eddie Von White

    Danny B – You are so right in so many ways!

    Now I am confused – we have two Woods’? I can’t see the forest through the trees.

  • Jedi

    Buddy – that sounds an awful lot like a political statement. (And I didn’t mean that last section of comment for you; sorry if it came off that way)

  • mrbig

    Sad to see Marshall go, but what good is a closer with no games to close?

  • Buddy

    If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve.

  • Jedi

    “None of the above”

  • Doc Raker

    Carlos Pena will continue to hit .210 somehwere other than Wrigley Field and uninformed fans will still think he is good.

  • Buddy

    Doc will learn to spell in 2012.

  • Doc Raker

    Don’t count on that.
    *Danny B- How can you ‘love Len and Bob’? What part of their broadcast appeals to you? The inane references to bad bands and lollapalooza? Len’s monotone voice? Len not knowing whether he is at a baseball game or a cricket match?
    Give a listen to a Giants broadcast with Mike Krukow and let me know if you can tell any difference.

  • Doc Raker

    I think the Reds are serious about winning and will keep Joey Votto as a free agent. Remember the mystery team that made a strong run for Pujols?

  • Buddy

    Just kidding of course. I type like I’m drunk. Maybe I am drunk.

  • Doc Raker

    Tis the seesun.

  • BLPCB

    If this Danny B is who I think he is, he’s a White Sox fan.
    Hey DB, the White Sox suck! Quack, quack.

  • Doc Raker

    Maybe Danny B is trying to make a positive change in his life. I heard he goes to meetings where he has to stand up and say, “I am Danny B and I am a White Sox fan” and has a sponsor who he can call anytime he feels the urge to actually go to a White Sox game.

  • Jedi

    one man’s sponsor is another man’s PO

  • Buddy

    So, are you guys happy with the S. Marshall-T. Wood deal?

  • CubbieDude

    Buddy, It all depends on the identity of the “two prospects” who are coming along with Mr. Wood. If they’re really good players, then I can live with the transaction. If they suck, then I’m not happy with the deal.

  • @Buddy RE drunk…cheers
    @Buddy RE Marshall…it was bound to happen. The youth will offset the Reed Johnson signing, so not upset
    @Raker RE Danny B…I had him pegged as Darwin Barney under pseudonym
    @Danny B…I’m with you on most points. Just keep in mind that Len and Bob certainly have to wash Pat Hughes’ jock strap between broadcasts

  • Norm

    The Cubs get 850 innings or so (assuming 150 IP per year) of averageness in exchange for 70 innings of greatness. I doubt the prospects are anything more than lottery tickets.
    Cubs probably get more under old CBA, but Marshall wont be a Type A free agent, so his value drops a bit.
    “like” is probably a good description, but it is, yet again, a boring move that still improves the future.

  • Doc Raker

    I think Marshall could of been of more value as a starter but if this gives the Cubs 2 or 3 solid players in 3 years when they should contend then it will be worth it. I think the Reds are building to win now and they may.
    * If Danny B is a recovering White Sox fan he probably has a sponsor and a parole officer.

  • BLPCB

    Idk if it actually is the guy I life-guarded with last year

  • Danny B

    BLPCB, I’m not the fella you life guarded with last year, and I’m also not a White Sox fan. I’m a genuine Cubs fan (contest it if you must) and I actually used to write for this site, but haven’t in quite some time. I hope to write again soon, as I’m garnering more opinions on this team as it comes to shape.
    Doc, it should have been apparent that I’m not a White Sox fan when I said I hate their commentators. I don’t attend any rehab meetings, and I’ll make my case for Len and Bob now:
    I personally like Len, but I could understand how others may not. He is a bit monotone and his knowledge of the game is surely questionable. Bob, however, is a former catcher and WS winning manager who brings a ton of insight to every ballgame. But the main reason I like him is he is not afraid to call out players or managers for how they act, unlike so many other broadcasters who make excuses for their respective teams and players. Sure, Bob is zany, and I guess that’s not for everyone. As for Krukow, I know his voice well. He is one of the commentators on MVP 2005 for the PS2, I game which I have been playing since it came out (yes, I’m proud of that, and I’m open to any and all barbs regarding that comment). I like Krukow. But I like Bob Brenly more.

  • BLPCB

    I believe you, I was just messing around. I actually did lifeguard with a guy named Danny B last year, he was the head guard at the pool. I also guarded with his brother and sister, and the whole family are White Sox fans.

  • Norm

    I like Len and Bob too. Bob for the reasons Danny mentioned and Len because he brings with him an understanding of sabermetrics. With Bob being more conventional, they have a nice balance.
    If anyone ever sees a ranking of broadcast teams, i would put money that you would aee them in no worse than top 10, but even top 5.
    Fangraphs is doing something like that now where readers rate the broadcast crews.

  • Doc Raker

    Danny B- so glad to hear you are not a recovering White Sox fan. I am glad you enjoy Len and Bob. I agree that Bob has some insight and I do think Bob is much better in the booth when paired with someone other than Len like when he does a national broadcast. Give a listen to Kip and Krukow during a real game. I have the same MVP game with Kru and Kip and although it is good a real game is a real game, big difference. My favorite color guys are ex pitchers, Krukow, Don Sutton and Steve Stone, they do a great job in breaking down the cat and mouse game between the pitcher and the hitter. That is were 90% of the game takes place and to hear someone talk about the thought process of the at bat from the pitcher and hitter perspective is best for me. Mark Grace of the Dbacks is right up there with these guys because he does his color like a thinking hitter and he is funny, he fills in the dull moments of the game like he is in the dugout with his teammates. I agree Len has a grasp of sabermetrics but he only mentions it sparingly like he is ashamed of it. If that is his strength he should speak more of it and EXPLAIN it to the masses better. To me he is a boring play by play guy that simply reads the scoreboard, “2 balls no strikes to Castro”, tell me something I don’t know Meat! I have no use for someone who simply tells me things I already know. Maybe I just know to much, I am sure Buddy would agree to that.

  • Eddie Von White

    You are pretty smart, Doc.

  • Buddy

    Absolutely!