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Friday

20

January 2012

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COMMENTS

Morning News: None of these things is quite like the other

Written by , Posted in General

 

Conference Championships – this is the most intriguing weekend of the football season. Two weeks of buildup and one game, or one week of buildup and two games? I prefer the latter. By the time the Super Bowl rolls around there’s a distinct “just play the game already” attitude due to the overwhelming two weeks of analysis. But this week, we get two great games that could easily go either way. The first game finds the Ravens in New England looking to pick up a road win to advance. You’ll get to see a great defense (Ravens) against a fantastic offense (Patriots) AND a crap defense (Patriots) against a pedestrian offense (Ravens) all in the same game. Once the AFC has been decided, there’s a rematch in San Francisco where the 49ers host the Giants – Eli’s Giants not Lincecum’s. Jeremiah has more than once remarked that the Jimmy Neutron helmet Eli wears gives him an inordinate amount of confidence when he takes a hit – he’s going to need that advantage against the 49ers’ defense. Either of these games could be ugly, great, memorable, or all of the above. In the end though, we’ll get one of four games 1) a Harbaugh Bowl II (Ravens v. 49ers), 2) a rematch from the 2008 Super Bowl (Giants v. Patriots), 3) two franchises with a bunch of Super Bowl wins between them (49ers v. Patriots), or 4) a quirky matchup which would guarantee either Eli surpasses big brother’s ring total or the NFL franchise from Baltimore makes a name for itself yet again in Indy (Giants v. Ravens). Any of those would be interesting matchups, but the one that would get the most hype would no doubt be the 2008 rematch.

Tim Tebow’s Take: He needs the Patriots to win so that Brady winds up missing out on the Pro Bowl next week in Hawaii (though admittedly, Brady might skip it anyway). Andy Dalton is the AFC’s first alternate QB, Tebow is next in line. It’s conceivable that one of the other two Pro Bowlers (Ben Roethlisberger or Philip Rivers) could bow out of the game for any number of reasons. So you may not be done with Tebow just yet!

Side NFL Noteour Vice President is a buffoon, although I bet most of you never heard about this yesterday. Somewhere Dan Quayle is trying to spell envious.

Captain Stubini – if you haven’t been tracking the sinking of the Costa Concordia, I’ll sum it up: if the captain had been French instead of Italian, we could’ve confirmed nearly every French stereotype in a single story. I always knew Gavin McLeod didn’t get enough credit.

Baseball? – that’s what I’m supposed to be covering? Not too much that’s terribly interesting, Jamie Moyer took a minor league deal in Colorado. At the age of 49 there’s no truth to the rumor that Seymour is recruiting him for next year’s fantasy camp. The Cubs re-signed Rodrigo Lopez – don’t worry, it’s just a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training and a decent pay raise if he stays on an MLB roster. Yu Darvish got $60 million (salary only, the posting fee was another $50 million) from the cash strapped Texas Rangers; no word on CJ Wilson’s analysis of the deal. And Fausto Carmona was caught using a fake ID; which is apparently redundant as his given name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia – not surprisingly he’s been lying about his age too!

And now for something completely different – the Carmona story reminds me of this famous Monty Python bit.

  • Buddy

    Jamie Moyer pitching in Colorado is one of the seven signs.

  • Doug S.

    Not completely sold on SF QB Alex Smith. Still thinking he’s due for a stinker game. Against Giants D, could be it.

    Ravens play like last week and it’s a long day vs. Brady/Belly, though Pats D is no Houston.

    Worst scenario for Jets fan is a Pats/Giants SB. Cross town rivals vs. hated enemies. (as in 2007) Dear football gods, please not again. Thank you.

  • chuck

    Jamie Moyer will be a disaster in Colorado. Now if he was with either the Dodgers or Padres, that would be a different story.

  • Doc Raker

    I always liked Hugh Neutron myself. Rumor has it that Hugh and Alec Berg are related.

  • Doc Raker

    Moyer is an enigma, how he has gotten people out for 25 years truly is the 8th wonder of the world.

  • Doc Raker

    Captain Stubini is the Maritime Homer Simpson, unbelievable.

  • Jedi

    Doug, I don’t think Brady will be playing catch with the Ravens DBs like Yates was for much of the game.

  • BLPCB

    Doug – There is a Jets fan here with me at Disney who said the same thing. He would root for the Giants if it happened. Who would you root for? A Giants-Pats Super Bowl would be like a White Sox-Cardinals World Series for us.

  • BLPCB

    WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! PENA IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7483618/tampa-bay-rays-carlos-pena-agree-one-year-deal

  • Jedi

    Hahaha, the ULTIMATE indictment on Hendry. Pena gets $7.25mil for a single season with his OLD team after taking $10mil from the Cubs. Really bad especially considering that his year prior to becoming a Cub was significantly WORSE than his prior to re-joining the Rays. Jim Hendry – baseball’s biggest sucker. Anybody still pimping the idea that Pena for 2011 was a “steal”?

    Can’t wait to hear what Raker thinks!

  • Dusty Baylor

    WOOT!!! YEAH!! The Cubs got rid of a +123 OPS+ player who played solid defense….Huzzah!!! Strike up the band?

  • Jedi

    By the way, the Indians signed Ryan Spilborghs – to a MINOR league deal. Anyone still pimping the idea that Matt Murton could get a big league deal?

    Remember Spilborghs was the guy that the Rockies chose as their 4th outfielder instead of Murton after 2009 – that’s the reason Murton was forced to go to Japan.

    It’s a mythbusting Friday!

  • Dusty Baylor

    You might be right…but who was available at 1B last offseason?

  • Jedi

    We needed a good 1B in 2011? Nearly anyone with two legs and a glove would’ve been fine. No need to pay a premium to obtain a guy who can’t secure a multi-year deal simply because we had an opening.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Spilborghs: .272/.345/.423
    Murton: .286/.352/.436

    Yep..Spilborghs, is waaay better. He’s a slightly better OF.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Uh…coming into 2011, weren’t the Cubs planning on competing? Isn’t that why they signed Pena?
    It’s easy to look back and say that they weren’t going to contend, but going into the season?
    We paid Pena $10 mill over 2 seasons….that’s premium?

  • MJ

    Wasn’t Pena’s $10 Mil deal really over two years???

  • Jedi

    Pena’s payment was spread over two years (backloaded for the Cubs’ benefit) – but for a single year of service.

    Maybe I’m more pessimistic than you Dusty, acquiring a single pitcher and a hitter for the 7th hole to play first base wasn’t enough to convince me the Cubs would be better than the 2009 or 2010 versions. I didn’t buy into Quade, ever.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I didn’t buy into Quade, but all things being equal, I didn’t anticipate:
    Wells going down
    Cashner going down
    Zambrano utterly sucking
    A-Ram’s power drain in April AND May
    Soriano’s unbelievable ability to NOT get on base
    Replacing the 4th/5th start with James Russell, Doug Davis, Ramon ortiz, Rodrigo Lopez and Casey Coleman for 2/3 of the season
    Going into the season, I’m not too sure Cub fans would have been thrilled with “a warm body” at 1B.

  • mastrickatwork

    I’m real surprised that Darvish signed – he could have gone back to Japan for one year and there would have been no posting fee next year. He took a pretty big paycut to come over now, wonder if he’s got a health issue…

    I’m eagerly awaiting news on Cespedes, he could make our outfield situation real interesting next year and possibly even this year. Everything on the web seems to confirm that the Cubs are really serious about this guy…

  • MJ

    $10 Mil over two years/one year of service is still a deal over what most here pined for.
    .
    Adam Dunn.

  • I think last year the scamps were clammoring about Colvin at first…or Micah Hoffpauir…or Jake Fox. It sort of all blends together. Maybe Hee Seop Choi.

  • Jedi

    Dusty, if you thought we’d be good with a healthy Wells & Cashner you’re already more optimistic than I was. Not saying I expected to be the second worst team in the league for most of the year – but I fully expected to miss the playoffs by a great distance.

    Why is everyone making a distinction about how long we have to pay back Pena? Would Soriano’s 8 years of service look better if we had 20 years to pay his salary?

    Pena got a 3 year deal from the Rays his first time around for a total of $24mil…then the Cubs paid him $10mil…now the Rays are paying him $7mil. So he’s not even worth to the Rays in 2012 what he was worth in 2009. The Cubs paid a significant premium on Pena last year (perhaps as much as 30%). That’s pretty terrible business.

  • Dusty Baylor

    I thought the Cubs could, with a couple of breaks, hit 85 wins.
    I thought that a rotation of Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, Wells and fifth starter X would be decent. I didn’t see Marmol’s significant backslide, I didn’t expect Quade to manage like the next Bruce Kimm. I thought Pena was a decent upgrade over an injured DLee.

    Meh. I’m just not cheering over Pena’s leaving, not do I think that was the most indicting signing of Hendry’s career. Pena put up a 123 OPS+, and was a solid defender. For $10 million? I was fine with that.

  • Jedi

    I’m not fine with paying a 30% premium to acquire players – which IS indicative of most of Hendry’s tenure. He was far from a free agent master.

  • Dusty Baylor

    BTW Wells 2010 season? Second half he was 4-7, with a 3.84 ERA. For a back of the rotation guy, that’s really not bad at all.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ok.
    Who was available to fill the 1B void last offseason?
    Adam Dunn? Don’t give me “the Cubs couldn’t signed anyone,” because that’s not what the Cubs were trying to do. They were trying to fill the 1B position with a veteran power hitter. who else fit that bill, that the Cubs could have signed cheaper than Carlos Pena?
    This off season, besides being a year older, Pujols and Fielder were also on the market.

    I’m much more upset over paying Soriano over 8 seasons, than what they paid for 1 season of Pena.

  • Jedi

    So we’re limited to only signing free agents in order to fill a position of need? You’ve neatly summed up the problem for me.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ok. A team needs a 1B. there is no minor league 1B coming up to take over. What should they do to get a 1B?
    The Cubs should have signed a shortstop, because there was a void at 1B?

    You didn’t answer my question. What should the Cubs have done to fill the spot at 1B?

  • BLPCB

    Why didn’t we sign Adam Dunn? He would fit everything ole Jimmy Boy likes: Lots of strikeouts, clogs the bases, terrible defense

  • Dusty Baylor

    Lol..perhaps because with Fielder and Pujols coming available, Hendry didn’t want to lock Dunn into a 4 year deal? Maybe?

  • Jedi

    There’s a fundamental problem Dusty – I don’t believe the Cubs needed to acquire another overpriced veteran last year. I would’ve avoided the free agent market altogether (kind of like we did this year).

    We certainly could’ve traded for someone capable of hitting 6th or 7th in a mediocre lineup and catching balls at first base. We could’ve trotted Jeff Baker out there (starting to seem like perhaps we’ll see a lot of him this year anyway) and at least then he would’ve been hitting at an appropriate spot in the lineup.

    You act as if the only option was to take out a loan to overpay Pena (which is essentially what we did). If THAT’S the only option, then doing nothing is actually better.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Maybe Hendry was lining up for a run at either Pujols or Fielder. That still doesn’t explain why he overpaid for a one year rental.

  • Dusty Baylor

    So you’re saying that going into last season, Hendry could have put Jeff Baker at 1B, and that would have been ok?
    Really?

    Also, with LaHair and Rizzo , I doubt we see much of Baker at 1B. Barring injury of course….or a team plane crash.

  • Jedi

    If Hendry had finally conceded that the team needed to be rebuilt – yes. Not overpaying for yet another veteran would’ve gone a long way towards making such a concession. I’m always going to be ok with rebuilding as opposed to stocking up on old guys that no one wants. I’d much rather risk blowing a team up one year too early instead of 3 years too late.

    Rizzo’s starting in the minors, or so they say. Both him and LaHair are lefties. And Ian Stewart is at 3B, allegedly. And 2B is far from settled. Baker’s usefulness is supposed to be against lefties – so yeah, be prepared to see a lot more Jeff Baker.

  • Buddy

    I’m fine with Baker playing vs. LHP, which is only about 1/3 of all pitchers.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Yeah..Baker. Great. I’m aware of his “awesomeness” against LHP. the central isn’t stacked with lefties..so unless the Cubs play the Phillies a lot, I’m pretty confident that we’ll see 175-225 AB’s of Baker…more than I’d like, but realistic.

    I am aware of LaHair’s and Rizzo’s handedness. I’m pretty sure that they’ll give LaHair a few moths to see what he can do, and if rizzo is doing decently at AAA, he’ll come up in June or July.

    Also…when have the Cubs ever rebuilt? Please tell me….really rebuilt? 1989 lightning is a bottle/1990 flash in the pan?

  • Buddy

    I don’t remember anybody saying Baker was “awesome” against LHP, but maybe I’m forgetting something obvious? Anyway, here are his career numbers vs. LHP: .309/.360/.520.

  • Batting average? What is this, 1987?

  • Dusty Baylor

    Well as long as Baker only face lefties..ever…he’s fine. Righties? He hits .239/.292/.364, and most of the league is right handed..so good luck.

  • Buddy

    I think that’s what we’re trying to say Dusty. He won’t face many RHP. He’s a platoon player.

  • Dusty Baylor

    @ Buddy I am hopeful….I’m also hopeful that LaHair or Rizzo will claim the 1B job fulltime at some point in 2012, so Baker can platoon in RF..or 2B..or AAA.

  • chuck

    A Baker/Pena platoon would have produced very solid numbers. Management was just too afraid to tell everyone they paid $10M for a platoon player. Once again pride took precedence over logic.
    Anyone who thinks the Cubs could have done better than a $10M deal for Pena last year is delusional. How much do you think it costs to acquire an above-average, power hitting 1B? $250k? Is this 1982? When the league-average paycheck is between $3M and $4M (that figure is artificially suppressed by rookie contracts, arbitration and service time provisions in the CBA) you have to pay that increased marginal cost to get a quality player. Why else do you think Pujols can get $25M per?

  • Doc Raker

    Pena doesn’t eve n deserve the $7M.

  • Norm

    Cubs get compensation pick = worth it for me.

    Cubs were still in the denial phase and it wouldnt have been a real crowd pleaser to put a nobody in there. I’d love to hear the better choices that signed for his money or less?

    And isnt TB’s Andrew Friedman the #1 choice for the Theo Haters? he’s good enough to be on your favorite GM’s AL East Contender

  • Norm

    Owner gives GM budget.
    GM spends budget.
    There is no reason, as was earlier mentioned, NOT to spend money. It was in the budget.

  • Jedi

    The GM spent part of the budget for 2012 to acquire a player for one season of 2011. Clearly the money was NOT in the budget.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Again though …this is not like Pena put up .225/.285/.380.
    He had a solid year for the Cubs last season, and for even the astronomical sum of $10 million of 2 seasons, he was a decent pickup. This wasn’t Dave Smith, Danny Jackson, Candy Maldonado…etc. Platooning Pena with Baker….probably not a bad idea really considering their splits…but Pena’s 450 AB’s to Baker’s 150..sure.
    @ Doc….why doesn’t Pena deserve the $7 mill?Fangraphs puts his 2011 season at $11 million. Sure I’d like to see the Cubs 1B hit .280 and up….but Pena’s OBP was .357..which is solid, especially for the Cubs.

  • Jedi

    I’m trying to let this go, but I can’t – Pena cost us $10 million for one season. We paid him $10 million, we got one season of him. Not two.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Edit- He cost us $10 million…OVER 2 seasons..for a total of $10 mill, according to fangraphs, the Cubs got $11.8 mill of Carlos Pena.

    Ok…so he’s the worst FA signing Hendry ever made the standard of which all signings should be made. I will now don my sackcloth and ashes, and march on the Cubs offices to protest such a horrible signing.

  • Dusty Baylor

    There were a lot of bad things about the 2011 Cubs..Pena was somewhere closer to the bottom of the list. I’m trying to picture Cub fans at the Cub convention last January not revolting if the Cubs came out ans said “Oh yeah..we need to rebuild..so we’re putting Jeff Baker at 1B.”

    I will let this go..I admire your conviction Jedi…which is always a good thing to have. I just disagree.

  • Jedi

    Dusty, when do we get that second season of Pena?

  • Smitty

    Lol@jedi’s last comment..i agree the money we spent was a bit much being as his previous season was lack luster at best, but he did pretty well, despite being a part of the 2011 cubs

  • Doc Raker

    Pena played for 1 season and the terms of his salary was to be paid over 2 years. Pena was paid $10M for that 1 season of service no matter how you cut it. Price and terms are two different concepts. IMO Pena is not worth the money he gets, fan graphs gets it wrong with Pena.

  • Randy

    This is comical, the Cubs come out on top here because they spread out the salary over two years. Yes we paid him $10 million dollars for one season of service, the upside is that the Cubs save via accrued interest and taxes. I was fine with Pena, he played a stellar first base and performed as expected at the plate.

  • Norm

    And I still have yet to see any mentions of better signings for cheaper dollars…

  • BLPCB

    Adam Dunn in 09 instead of Hasbro. We would have had him for 2011

  • Buddy

    If memory serves, last year some VFTB regulars wanted Lance Berkman to play 1B for the Cubs. As we all know, he ended up signing with St. Louis for one year, $8 million. Berkman didn’t play much 1B for the Cards, but he did turn in a great season offensively: .301/.412/.547.

  • Jedi

    It’s some sort of trap Buddy, don’t play along. Surely no one could’ve actually forgotten that Berkman was both better and cheaper.

    I guess a trade is not an acceptable method of acquiring a player, we must only fill voids through free agency.

  • Buddy

    A trap you say? So I shouldn’t fly to the cloud city of the Tibanna gas mines to save my pals either?

  • Dusty Baylor

    Yes..the Cubs had so many desirable players to trade for a power hitting first baseman coming into 2011. the list is endless, they had Starlin Castro..and …Brett Jackson, and…uh..that one guy? Berkman is a better player. He was cheaper. Going into the season, coming off a 2010 od .248/.368/.413, everyone just knew he would hit .301/.412/.547. Right? the Cardinals beat the Cubs to Berkman, and then they signed Pena.
    @ Buddy…that’s hilarious. As for the second year of Pena? Please note where I wrote “edit…$10 million over 2 years.”

  • Norm

    Ah, so spending money is somehow a worse idea than getting rid of talent? When YOU acknowledge they need to rebuild, you would rather trade minor leaguers than to get a 1 year stopgap for no talent cost?
    And please remind us all what 1b were traded last year?

    Buddy, correct, so now we have ONE better option at or below Pena cost (even if it was rumored that Lance didnt want to play for Cubs, but lets ignore that). Which so far means the Cubs got the #2 option, unless we hear of any more candidates?
    And the difference in cost between Pena and Berkman is $2M, and they get a draft pick? If Bud Selig starts offering draft pick for $2M a pop, I’d hope the Cubs buy a dozen.

  • Buddy

    For the record, I agree with you Norm. I was just attempting to answer your question about other options last year. Berkman was the best I could come up with.

  • Jedi

    Give me a break Norm, I stated several times I would’ve preferred no move. Go troll someone else.

  • BLPCB

    Off-topic, but the guy who fumbled those punts for the 49ers, Kyle Williams, is the son of White Sox GM Kenny Williams. LMAO

  • BLPCB

    And Cutler’s girl is pregnant with his kid. I thought he got rid of that hack, which happens to be my anti-spam word (well hacker, but same thing). I guess his bedroom protection is just as bad as his offensive line protection

  • BLPCB

    Last joke of the night: LeBron posted on Twitter today that the end of the 49ers-Giants game disappeared for him. It’s only fitting, since he disappears at the end of games.

  • MJ

    The only troll on here is you most of the time. You have myopic views, and bash everyone else’s opinions.
    .
    If you though Hoffpauir or Colvin were a better option at 1B, then that’s all that needs to be said.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    For the record, I agree with you Jedi. Overpaying for a rental never makes sense. Regardless of his OBP, OPS, or anything else you can pull out of the sabermetric alphabet soup. A stopgap who needs to be platooned isn’t really a stopgap.

  • MJ

    I would love for someone to breakdown the available 1st Basemen Free Agents from 2011, and their contracts. Hendry had a need for a power hitting, good defensive 1B on 2011, and if I recall, the market really sucked for them.

  • Yes. Let’s get someone to break this down. I’m on the edge of my seat, dying to hear more about the former state of the market for first basemen, before last season.

  • MJ

    There’s a fine line between sarcasm, and being an ass.

  • That was fully intended to be on the ass side of the line. Trying to kill this asinine thread…