Archive for December, 2011

Going Selling – Part One

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

For Sale

To this point, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have largely played the middle ground this offseason by signing David DeJesus to a two year, $10 million contract and trading Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers.  On the one hand, they have not brought in a big money free agent like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, nor did they place the winning bid on Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish (for those of you who did not here, the Rangers won with a posting fee of $51.7 million.)  On the other hand, they have not traded any of their significant contributors from 2011.

Many of those players could be traded for prospects.  The key to trading away established players for prospects, though, is determining which of your assets are currently overvalued and which are currently undervalued.  As with nearly all things economic, timing is everything.

Looking at the Cubs’ roster and the way free agency has gone so far this year, there are some Cub veterans who may be overvalued by the market.  But there are also players who not only may be undervalued by the market, but might become significantly more valuable as the season goes along.  In this post, I will examine a few players I think the Cubs should be trying to sell now.  Next week, my attention will turn to players I think the Cubs might receive better value for as the season progresses.

Sean Marshall-  The Cubs’ left handed setup man has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past two seasons.  In 2010, Marshall posted a 2.65 ERA while striking out 10.65 batters per nine innings and walking only 3 batters per nine innings, good for a 2.2 fWAR.  Marshall was even better in 2011, with a 2.26 ERA.  While Marshall’s K/9 dropped slightly to 9.40, his BB/9 also dropped to an excellent 2.02, and Marshall’s fWAR increased to 2.8.  Sean Marshall is also the only relief pitcher in baseball to be in the top 6 in relief pitcher fWAR in both 2010 and 2011.

Marshall is signed for $3.1 million in 2012 and will hit free agency after the season at age 30.  If Marshall puts up another season like his last two, he will be one of the best paid relievers in baseball starting in 2013.

While some teams are getting wise to the fact that relievers are volatile and often have very short peaks, some teams clearly continue to overvalue relief pitchers with track records of success, evidenced by the large contracts the Phillies and Marlins gave to Jonathan Papelbon and Heath Bell.  There are almost certainly teams that would be willing to overpay in prospects for a reliever with Marshall’s pedigree and reasonable salary.  And while Marshall has been great this season, a great bullpen is not likely to turn the Cubs into contenders in 2012, and the Cubs have some minor league depth in the left handed reliever category.

My one caveat to trading Sean Marshall now would be if the Cubs were thinking of moving him to the starting rotation.  Without argument, if Marshall succeeded as a starting pitcher his trade value would skyrocket.  However, I have not heard any concrete information that the Cubs are intending to use Marshall anywhere aside from out of the bullpen.

Carlos Marmol- The Cubs’ closer over the past two and a half seasons has been an image of inconsistency.  Marmol strikes out nearly a batter and a half per inning with a career 11.74 K/9, but also issues a ton of walks (5.88 career BB/9).

I do not think Marmol will have quite the range of teams interested in him that would be interested in Marshall, largely because Marmol is signed for $16.8 million over the next two seasons.  However, there are probably at least a few teams who have a hole in the ninth inning who would prefer an “established closer” like Marmol over a guy like Marshall who has never closed regularly.  I would disagree with those teams, but would be very happy to see the Cubs take advantage of any team’s irrational love for the save statistic to pick up some good prospects for Marmol.

Marmol had a down year last season (4.01 ERA, 0.8 fWAR) after having an excellent 2010 (2.55 ERA, 3.0 fWAR).  Usually, you do not want to trade a player coming off a down year because his value is depressed.  I think the situation is different in Marmol’s situation because his career has been one of streaky inconsistency.  As such, I doubt Marmol will add significant value with a hot first half, because a front office worth anything near its weight would have to know a week where Marmol cannot find the strike zone could arrive at any time.  If the Cubs can get a fair return for their inconsistent closer, they should take it now.  I would not expect the Cubs to get as good a return for Marmol as they would for Marshall.

Darwin Barney- I know what you are thinking.  Darwin Barney?  I will wholeheartedly admit that he is an individual with fairly limited trade value at best.  But look at the light hitting, strong fielding middle infielder free agents who have signed contracts this offseason.  Clint Barmes, Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, Nick Punto and John McDonald all received multiyear contracts averaging more than $1 million a year before Prince Fielder has been able to find a home.

I also think odds are pretty good that Barney’s value is only going to go decrease as 2012 progresses.  If not for a hot April, Darwin Barney would have been an unmitigated offensive black hole last season.  As a player with extremely limited power and who does not walk, Barney does not have significant offensive upside.  If I had to bet, I would put money on Darwin Barney being relegated to a back up middle infielder role with the Cubs by the end of May.  If there is a team that is more highly enamored with Barney right now, the Cubs should find that team and get something more useful in return.

As a final note, I will also just mention Matt Garza.  I did not originally intend to include him on either list, because I think his value is more tenuous.   However, rumors of Garza potentially being traded in a deal that would net the Cubs a prospect package headlined by Padres first baseman Anthony Rizzo have sprung up over the past few days, so I thought he was worth a mention.  Garza is only getting more expensive and coming closer to free agency with each passing season.  But Garza’s last season was by far his best, and the first where he came close to the ace potential he has been rumored to have.  If Garza has a first half of 2012 similar to his performance last season, his value could definitely increase heading into the mid-season trade market.  But if he reverts back to his Tampa Bay type of numbers, his value on the trade market will take a big hit.

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Morning News: Braun, Darvish, Trades, and a little man

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

 

Ryan Braun has (perhaps) a dilemma. Does he want to be known for PEDs or VD? Granted, they’re just rumors; but it might begin to explain Braun’s odd response to the whole mess so far. “Tell Victor that Ramon – the fella he met about a week ago? – tell him that Ramon went to the clinic today, and I found out that I have, um, herpes simplex 10, and I think Victor should go check himself out with his physician to make sure everything is fine before things start falling off on the man.”

Howdy, Yu Darvish. The Rangers won the bidding for Japanese superstar Yu Darvish. They made what is reportedly a record posting fee (slightly higher than what Boston paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka). The Rangers just saw their No. 1 starter, CJ Wilson, sign with the rival Los Pujols Angels for $75 million over 5 years. But the Rangers will almost surely have to shell out at least that much in salary and posting fee combined to acquire Darvish. They’ve also made several recent indications that they lack the financial ability to compete with baseball’s biggest spenders; yet they now seem poised to commit to perhaps the biggest risk in baseball this off-season.  Odd.  Signing Darvish would give the Rangers a plethora of starting pitchers, perhaps they’d like to deal one away?

Trade dominoes? Over the weekend (as you probably know by now), the Reds sent a king’s ransom to San Diego in order to acquire Mat Latos. Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal – both former first round picks – were sent along with former All-Star/chronically-injured Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. I like Cincinnati’s aggressive use of their prospects. Alonso and Grandal weren’t likely to get everyday jobs with the Reds at their current position (barring injury). I like the Padres return for a very young starter who they feel (reportedly) has maturity issues. What I don’t like – the idea that Latos is a front-of-the-rotation starter. I think the Reds probably gave up too much to get a guy who is likely a No. 3 at best. He has good numbers over 2+ seasons, but he should – he pitched his home games at Petco. So far he has 15 IPs or more in just 5 parks (predictably, the NL West teams). The fact that he has good numbers while pitching the majority of his innings in those parks is unsurprising, but it tells the Reds nothing of how he’ll pitch in Miller, Busch, Wrigley, or even Minute Maid – and most importantly at Great American. If you have him on your fantasy team – SELL.

Trade dominoes, again? The Cincy-San Diego trade means that now the Padres have a 1B logjam (allegedly). Young Anthony Rizzo is now blocked by Yonder Alonso, the assumed Opening Day starter at 1B for the Padres. Popular opinion has the Padres willing to deal Rizzo and apparently the Cubs are pushing to the front of the trade partner line. Initial reports had the Cubs exploring a deal centered around Garza and Rizzo; pardon me while I vomit. We’re expected to trade Garza for what is now the Padres second-best 1B “prospect” (Alonso is still a prospect to me)? Uh, no. As we all know, the Cubs are beyond thin at 1B – but trading Garza to acquire a prospect isn’t an option that should be seriously considered.

Quick hits: The new look Clippers destroyed the new look Lakers, albeit in the preseason. Tim Tebow lost to future HOFer Tom Brady (Merrill Hoge breathed a sigh of relief along with Tebow detractors worldwide). NFL teams with playoff or even championship aspirations showed up flat everywhere this weekend: Steelers, Bears, Ravens, Giants, Texans, and Jets all laid eggs this week. Not to be outdone, the Titans gave the Colts their first win of the season; but all were overshadowed by the choke in Kansas City. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t doing his championship belt dance when the Chiefs were battering his previously unbeaten Packers. And college bowl season has started – not any of the bowls you want to watch though, those will come next week.

World’s shortest firefighter. Link

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The Cubs Fan Gift Guide

Monday, December 19th, 2011

I know Christmas is only a few days away, but many unprepared souls (including me) are still shopping for their loved ones.  Here’s a moderately helpful gift guide for any Cubs fans still on your list.

CHEAP

  • Chicago Cubs Mr. Potato Head  I know it’s kitschy, but I don’t know a Cubs fan who doesn’t have one of these somewhere in their home or office.  And while it lacks the interchangeability of a full-sized Potato Head (its feet don’t even come off!), I’m pretty sure this toy is at least part of the reason my niece and nephew are able to recognize the Cubs logo.
  • Pennants  I can’t explain why I like pennants.  They’re not the easiest thing to display.  In a frame they look too bulky and weird.  Out of a frame, they’re magnets for dust.  And yet they’re appealing in some intangible way that no poster or painting could ever achieve.  The same goes for tin signs.
  • The W Flag  It looks like these are sold out right now in most official or unofficial Cubs stores.  However, you can still purchase the retired number flags for Banks, Williams, Santo, Sandberg, Jenkins, and Maddux.
  • Mitchell & Ness Duffle Bag  I have one of these, and I like it a lot.  It’s the perfect size for the gym or for short trips.  And thanks to the vintage styling, it’s a constant source of compliments (in case you’re the kind of person who needs strangers to approve of your hand luggage choices).
  • Underwhelming Autographs  Auctions sites like ebay are a great place to find joke gifts, like autographed Brant Brown and LaTroy Hawkins cards.  Last year I bought Jedi a baseball signed by The French Mistake himself, Jacque Jones.

NOT-SO-CHEAP

  • Autographs  Joke gifts aside, there is a ton of signed memorabilia on ebay.  And while nothing takes the place of waiting in line and getting your autograph in person, these can still be great gifts for the Cubs fan in your life.  And you can sometimes find surprising bargains.  For example, here’s a baseball signed by Mark Grace for less than $40.  Nevermind, I bought it.  Suffice to say, you can find some gems if you have the patience to look for them.
  • Fatheads  Decorate your basement, panic room, or fallout shelter with life-size wall clings.
  • Customized Jerseys  The Cubs.com store has a nice selection of customizable jerseys, and the cheaper ones can be had for around $100.  They’ve got the home whites, the alternate blues, and even the 80′s pullovers.  And in case you’re the one guy who thinks they look cool, you can buy a personalized batting practice jersey.
  • Bean Bag Chair  Watch the Cubs surrender a late-inning lead in slouched, semi-seated comfort.
  • Game-Used Baseballs  You can choose the specific game you want, although it looks like several dates are no longer available.  Or if you want to spend a little more, you can get that baseball turned into a wallet, a necklace, or cufflinks.  Although at that price, I think I’d prefer the cufflinks made from actual Wrigley Field seats.

CRAZY EXPENSIVE

  • Game-Used Base Stool  The “Game-Used” mania taken to it’s unnatural conclusion.  An interesting conversation piece, to be sure.  But does that even look comfortable?
  • Wrigley Field Murals  I don’t care if they’re simply Fatheads for rich people–if I had the space and the cash, I’d have one of these hanging in my home right now.
  • Vintage Jerseys  Hard to go wrong with any of these, but I think my favorite is the 1969 Santo.  Or maybe the 1984 Sandberg.  But then I’ve always had a thing for the powder blue/pinstripes road uni from the 70′s.  Oh, who am I kidding–I’ll take one of each.
  • Wool Jacket  Do I want to spend $450 on a jacket I can’t wear in the rain?  Yes.  Yes, I do.
  • Carpet Tiles  Make like the rest of the NL Central and walk all over the Cubs.
  • Recliners and Sofas  I see these proudly displayed online and in almost every MLB catalog that comes in the mail.  But has anyone ever actually bought them?  I’ve never seen one in the wild.

So there you have it.  Just a few suggestions as you wrap up your Christmas shopping.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pennants to bid on.

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GO: What’s Next?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

So, Theo’n'Jed have hired a manager, bench coach, made a couple of trades, non-tendered ol’ Koyie, a few other minor moves here and there …

In your opinion, what’s their next order(s) of business?

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GirlieView

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

 

Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays!

What a lovely drive home it was admiring the decorations setting the neighborhoods ablaze along the way. As I sit here drowning in Christmas movies, I must take a moment to thank my lucky stars. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with the support from loving family and friends. And thanks to all of you for your consistancy in humor and  up-to-date news in my rough semester!

Now, I breathe a sigh of relief and must return to Home Alone…

The Wizzies

  • Until then, I suggest MLB get a big giant bag of frozen peas to put on yet another black eye.
  • Well looks the Brewers just signed Ramirez to play 3B. Another Cubs castoff to play 3rd. They should just call themselves the Milwaukee ex-Cubs.
  • A tree stump from my backyard to play Alfonso Soriano—OK, this suggestion hasn’t been approved yet, but they cover the same amount of ground in LF.
  • Mrs. Pujols, shut up and go shopping.
  • I think the reason Braun talks high-school-locker-room-ese is because he never learned any other words. He’s my least favorite ballplayer in either league and I hope his testosterone-enhanced dangly bits fall off.
  • Also for the record, the name of the rock band “Queen” was a double-entendre’.
  • Finally Koyie Hill is gone. He was reaching the Neifi/Macias territory.
  • I’m thinking about buying myself a hoodie-footie. I would look great in that leopard version.
  • Livan…Livan likes his money. Makes a lot they say. He spends his days counting…in a garage by the motorway.
  • Korey is no dummy Buddy, making millions to strike out is a better deal than digging ditches.

Top Wizzie Contributors

Buddy-50

Doc Raker-49

Jswanson-41

BLPCB-28

Seymour Butts-26

Doug S.-23

Aaron-17

Jedi-15

Eddie Von White-13

Chet-12

Dusty Baylor-12

Question of the Week

I’ll keep it simple. What is the best part about the holiday season?

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GO: Who’s On First?

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Name your choice as the Cubs 2012 first baseman.

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Bunting for a Hit

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

by John Dewan

One of the projects we are working on here at Baseball Info Solutions for The Fielding Bible—Volume III is evaluating the effectiveness of defenders on bunt plays.  We currently have a method that does this, but we are developing a new method that takes into account the location of each bunt.  As every baseball fan knows, the key to an effective bunt is its location.  A bunt right back to the pitcher is pretty useless, whereas a bunt right on the third base line is excellent.  What we can do now is quantify how effective various bunt locations are.

We’ve broken the field into six zones.  We drew a line from home plate through the pitcher’s mound and through second base.  We have three zones to the left of that line and three zones to the right, broken up into equal sizes.  Think of them as pie slices with the center of the pie located at home plate. Zone 1 has all bunts that are along the first base line.  Zone 2 is in the middle of the area between the line we drew through the pitcher’s mound and the first base line, and Zone 3 is the area closest to the pitcher on the first base side.  Zones 4, 5 and 6 are to the left of the pitcher’s mound.  Zone 4 is closest to the pitcher. Zone 5 is between the pitcher and the third base line.  Zone 6 is along the third base line.

Here is a graphical depiction of the zones:

What are the batting averages on bunt attempts in each of these zones?

Before we do that, we have to take one more step.  We have to break this into two different situations, one where the defense is expecting the bunt (sacrifice situations) and one where the defense is not.  When a sacrifice situation was in effect last year (a bunt with men on base and less than two outs) there were 2,285 bunts put into play.  232 resulted in a hit for a .102 “batting average.”  On the other hand, there were 850 bunts put into play in a non-sacrifice situation last year, with 372 going for hits, making for a .438 batting average.

We’ve pointed this out before: bunting for a hit in non-sacrifice situations has been an effective strategy for many players since we started tracking this in the early 1990s.  The best bunters hit well over .500 when bunting for a hit.

As in real estate, bunting for a hit is all about location, location, location.  Here are the bunt batting averages in sacrifice situations by zone.

Bunt Batting Averages by Zone, 2011
Sacrifice Situations Only

Zone 1 .149
Zone 2 .094
Zone 3 .032
Zone 4 .026
Zone 5 .134
Zone 6 .291
Overall .102

As we would expect, a bunt down the third base line is best with a .291 batting average.  Bunting back towards the two zones closest to the pitcher get you .032 and .026 batting averages.

Here are the bunt batting averages in non-sacrifice situations by zone.

Batting Average by Zone, 2011
Non-Sacrifice Situations

Zone 1 .246
Zone 2 .412
Zone 3 .164
Zone 4 .139
Zone 5 .520
Zone 6 .720
Overall .438

Again, the third base line is most effective with a .720 batting average.  At a distant second is the middle zone between the pitcher and the third base line at .520.  The next best zone is interesting.  Pushing a bunt towards the second base position nets a .412 batting average.

In the chart above for sacrifice situations, we are counting all bunt attempts in the “batting average”. What if we consider a successful sacrifice as no at-bat, just like we do when we compute a normal batting average?  Here are the bunt batting averages by zone in this situation:

Batting Average by Zone, 2011
Sacrifice Situations, SH is not an AB

Zone 1 .591
Zone 2 .437
Zone 3 .140
Zone 4 .075
Zone 5 .482
Zone 6 .743
Overall .375

These numbers are now very similar to bunting for a hit in non-sacrifice situations, except along the first base line where the batting average becomes more than twice what it is in non-sacrifice situations.

“Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com.”

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2012 Cubs Prospect Preview

Friday, December 16th, 2011

The widespread opinion on the Cubs farm system is that it lacks top end talent but has a deep well of players that can be contributors on a big league team. It’s good to have depth, with guys like Darwin Barney able to play multiple positions and James Russell becoming a good LOOGY, but the Cubs need a couple more studs to build around Starlin Castro. By spending nearly $12 million on the 2011 draft, the Cubs demonstrated a financial commitment to add talent. Here is an early look at the 2012 Cubs top prospects from Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Baseball America:

Baseball Prospectus Fangraphs Baseball America
1. Brett Jackson, OF Javier Baez, SS Brett Jackson, OF
2. Javier Baez, SS Brett Jackson, OF Javier Baez, SS
3. Wellington Castillo, C Matt Szczur, OF Matt Szczur, OF
4. Dillon Maples, RHP Dillon Maples, RHP Trey McNutt, RHP
5. Matt Szczur, OF Trey McNutt, RHP Dillon Maples, RHP
6. Josh Vitters, 3B/1B Dan Vogelbach, 1B Wellington Castillo, C
7. Jeimer Candelario, 3B Ben Wells, RHP Rafael Dolis, RHP
8. Trey McNutt, RHP Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Junior Lake, SS
9. Marco Hernandez, SS Austin Kirk, LHP Josh Vitters, 3B/1B
10. Junior Lake, SS Dae-Eun Rhee, RHP Dan Vogelbach, 1B
11. Rafael Dolis, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP
12. Dan Vogelbach, 1B Josh Vitters, 3B/1B
13. Jae-Hoon Ha, OF Tony Zych, RHP
14. Chris Carpenter, RHP Wellington Castillo, C
15. Tony Zych, RHP Rafael Dolis, RHP
16. Ryan Flaherty, UT*
17. DJ Lemahieu, INF*
18. Zeke DeVoss, OF
19. Reggie Golden, OF
20. Marwin Gonzalez, INF*
*No longer in organization

 

I’d group Brett Jackson and Javier Baez as a step above all the rest. Jackson is just about Major League ready and he epitomizes the Cubs farm system; solid, but not a star. His year in AA and AAA produced a 274/379/490 line with 20 HR, 21 stolen bases, 73 walks, and 138 strikeouts. His issue is making contact; too many swings and misses which may keep his batting average in the Adam Dunn (Pre-White Sox) 240-250 range. But his other skills are strong across the board and he plays an important position in centerfield, so he’ll still be a valuable player with that low average.

Javier Baez was this year’s first round pick, ninth overall. He is currently a SS but most scouts believe he will have to move to 3B as he fills out with age. He arguably had the best bat speed in the entire 2011 draft pool and projects as a middle of the order hitter in his prime. I’m curious to see how his first year goes, as he has a reputation of being somewhat of an aloof teammate.

The most polarizing player of the lists, the Tim Tebow of Cubs prospects in my mind, would have to be outfielder Matt Szczur. Many have heard that Szczur donated bone marrow to a 19-month old girl with leukemia back in 2009. He’s a good guy (as is Tebow), Szczur’s abilities as a player are questioned (like Tebow’s) and you’ll find fans and analysts split on what to think of Szczur as a long term player (like Tebow). I’m a bit on the pessimistic side in thinking he won’t be good enough to be an everyday, long term player (like Tebow).

The Cubs top two pitching prospects are 19 year old Dillon Maples and 22 year old Trey McNutt. McNutt was a 32nd round pick in 2009 and jumped onto the scene in 2010. He had a down 2011 but remains one of the Cubs top prospects thanks to a mid-90’s fastball and plus slider combo. Worst case for him is he becomes a hard throwing relief pitcher with control issues.

Maples was taken in 2011 and was the overslot sign of the draft. Considered by most to be going to college, the Cubs took a shot in the 14th round and were able to sign him to first round money. He has the most upside of any pitcher in the system but there’s a chance he won’t be ready until Starlin Castro is eligible for free agency.

These five were the only players to make all three Top 10 lists. Catcher Wellington Castillo placed as high as three, with Baseball Prospectus saying his Perfect World Projection is “He could be a 20-homer catcher who slows down the running game”. Josh Vitters has been on these lists since he was drafted in 2007 as a sweet swinging 3B. He still has that sweet swing, but hacking away at everything isn’t working for him. He’s also not very good defensively and will really need to hit to make it as an everyday player. I have a feeling he’ll put up numbers like A.J. Pierzynski. Not so hot.

Finally, a couple of guys I’m excited to follow, but far away from Chicago. 1B Dan Vogelbach is a behemoth at 19 years old, topping the charts at upwards of 250 pounds, weight he uses to destroy baseballs. I’m anxious to see if he has a good approach to go with that 500 foot power.

Jeimer Candelario only showed up on Baseball Prospectus’ list but I like what I see in his Rookie League season, walking more than he struck out. The scouts rave about his approach, he’s a switch hitter with power everywhere and he’ll only be 18 years old for all of next season, so we’ll have to wait awhile.

Get used to Brett Jackson’s name as he might be the only player I’ve mentioned that ends up in Chicago this season. He and Castro provide a nice starting point for the rebuild but the new front office has a long ways to go to improve the talent in the system.

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Late Morning News: Tebow, Fielder, Darvish, and a little woman

Friday, December 16th, 2011

 

A little behind the scenes here at VFTB. For those of us on the West Coast, the “Morning News” gets done the night before because waking up in the pre-dawn hours to post an attempt at cogent thoughts on current events doesn’t typically work well. So when I logged on this morning to see the VFTB Morning News, I was disappointed to see someone had dropped the ball – even more disappointed to see that someone was me.

Suspensions for Tebowing – some high school kids from Long Island, NY have been suspended for Tebowing in the hallway before class. This story plus the recent inferences that Tim Tebow is romantically involved with Olympian Lindsey Vonn make me wonder how surreal Tebow’s life must be, daily. Remember, just 5 short years ago (2006) this guy was a homeschooler trying to find his way at a major university while also playing college football at the highest level. Now he is the pinnacle of pop culture.

Cubs are the favorites for Fielderaccording to Ken Rosenthal and his terrible bow tie. I still find it hard to believe that Pujols gets 10 years and Fielder will only get 6 or 7 (as Rosenthal reports). But if that’s the way it ends, 6 or maybe 7 years of Fielder wouldn’t be terrible (depending on the money). It’d be a Soriano-like deal, but Fielder is significantly younger than Soriano when the Cubs signed him. We might have a couple of weeks before Fielder signs with anyone, so this is probably far from over.

Blue Jays win rights to Darvish, reportedly – several sources are reporting that Toronto has won the rights to sign Yu Darvish. His cartoonish stats might be worth the risk for a good team. The Cubs need more than a single pitcher (or single position player, which is why it’s also fine with me if we come up short on Fielder).

The world’s smallest woman. Link

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