Archive for the ‘General’ Category

GirlieView (11/27/2014)

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2014 Offeason = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.


  • I’m taking the Thurs/Fri off work to do what many of you are doing – watching football and overindulging.
  • I’m trying to find a way to get someone to watch my kids and then convince my wife to batch cook shirtless.
  • I just decided to go to Joe’s house.
  • Very generous of Doc to babysit Joe’s kids on Thanksgiving.
  • I’m trying to find a way to get to Joe’s house on Thanksgiving.
  • Party at Joe’s house!
  • I’ll be rushing to a computer to check out the latest lizzies. Shortly thereafter, I’ll be watching Joe’s kitchen webcam.
  • With both my sisters on the east coast, Thanksgiving is the one time of year in my family that everyone is together, which now includes 7 kids age 7 or younger, so lots of family stuff primarily at my parents’ house. Also putting up Christmas lights.
  • I’ll spend my morning running my girls out of the kitchen and the afternoon food comatose. We finally managed to pull hosting duty, so I bet we’ll get into the wine early. Should be great.
  • camping on the beach Sun.-Wed…traditional bird feast Thursday, and taking the new motor home to the Rose Bowl to tailgate for the UCLA/Stanford game on Friday. Should be a decent week.
  • Going to enjoy some food and football. Thanks Lizzie for giving Thanksgiving some blog time. Most people seem to view Thanksgiving as the bastard child of holidays, but it is personally one of my favorites!
  • Be funnier EVW…we’re counting on you.
  • Man, nothing like pressure…usually when I try to be funny I fall flat – it has to be spontaneous. For example, a horse walks into a bar and the bartender says: “why the long face?”
  • You see that is funny because horses actually have a long face.
  • Congrats to EVW on the MVL this time around. Watchout, Seymour and JSwan get a little irritable with the folks ahead of them on the Lizzie board. Pay no attention to any disparaging remarks they might throw your way. You deserve your ranking, don’t let them tell you different. Bushmills on EVW for everyone! Set em up!
  • I’ll buy a round of Bushmills any day if it gets me a Lizzie. Do Bushmills improve your eyesight?
  • Does Bushmills improve your eyesight? It adds 2-4 points on the opposite sex attractive scale but does not increase acuity. After 4 Bushmills every girl is a 10. I only drink 1 or 2 Bushmills per sitting. Seymour does not drink alcohol but does try to get his dates to drink 4 Bushmills in hopes of upgrading his attractive rating.
  • I’m off all of next week, so I’ll likely take advantage of that and sit around and watch football. The Canadian thanksgiving was last month, so I likely won’t be having any turkey next week though. EDIT: Whoops just realized U.S. Thanksgiving is not next week, but the week after. In which case I’ll be working and will miss watching football after all :(
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Ottowa Roughriders?
  • Roughriders verse Trojans, page 23 Hustler magazine July 2012, great read.
  • Trojans – Beavers is a way better match-up.
  • I’ll be glued to the Internet looking for updates on the Carlos Zambrano comeback.
  • Somebody is getting dealt. They didn’t trade for La Stella so he could sit.
  • As a Braves fan, I loved La Stella… He was an anomaly in our lineup… Someone that didn’t strikeout… ;) … The only negative I have to say about him is his defense… It is average at best…
  • So what you’re saying is he is the exact opposite of Darwin Barney.
  • Which reminds me…aren’t we supposed to be yammering on about platoons?
  • It is the time of year when our taste buds turn to yams, so it would be appropriate to be yammering about plantains. I wonder if Joe’s wife will be batch cooking some of those on Thanksgiving?
  • I believe Lester is the Cubs primary off-season target and to lose out on him would be a slight kick in the rebuild seeds, but not something that would knock everything off course.
  • I always hope to not get kicked in the rebuild seeds
  • Jeff Samardzija was an All-Star,
  • Remember his hair-do? Classic.
  • Heard a rumor he once played football.
  • Aren’t you curious as to who it was who told Joe to give himself credit for # 7? I’m thinking it was the same people who demanded he do that other thing.
  • Who wants to buy a free ticket to the Jets/Bills game in Detroit tonight? Some people are amazing.
  • We need a new post…this thread seems to have broke Doug.
  • What happened to that guy who was always hawking his 105 reasons book? I think he could bring Doug back.
  • I think we need a new thread, but to be clear I am not demanding 3 truths and a lie.
  • Shout-out to God for making the blog via re-tweet.
  • Don’t you just hate it when people try to play God
  • Somebody has to.
  • Pretty sure that is legit…beard and everything.
  • But the twitter account doesn’t have that little “verified” checkmark so perhaps it is an imposter.
  • I’m not one to question such things. Spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch.


  • Condiment fingers – over exposed. Ask Joe Anything – under answered. 3 truths and a lie – anti-climatic

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to Andy, Bryan, and Joe Aiello for their first 2014 off-season Lizzies!!!! P.S. Bryan, I agree, it’s my favorite!


  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go Eddie!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Eddie Von White
2. Doc Raker
3. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
5. Doug S.
6. Dork
6. Jerry in Wisconsin
8. Jedi
8. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy

Chit Chat

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Don’t be shy!


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Mark Buehrle – One of the Most Durable Pitchers of All Time

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry, Christy Mathewson. And Mark Buehrle. That’s an amazing list. How does Mark Buerhrle get on that list?

In recent years, baseball has moved more and more toward specialization. In the early 1900s, starters would routinely finish the games they started, often throwing every fourth day. Cy Young, the pitcher perhaps most famous for his rubber arm, topped 40 starts and 400 innings in multiple seasons. Now, the league leader in innings barely eclipses half of that total.

That’s what makes Mark Buehrle such an incredible pitcher. He has two no-hitters to his credit, but he is not known as a dominant pitcher. His 3.81 career ERA is definitely solid, but he has only received Cy Young votes in one of his 15 years in the majors. He just keeps his team in every game he pitches, game after game after game. Buehrle is a throwback to those early days of baseball. He never misses any time, which is why he has started at least 30 games for 14 consecutive seasons.

We know that Buehrle stands out among his contemporaries, but where does he stack up compared to pitchers like Cy Young through the entire history of baseball?

Most Consecutive Seasons with 30+ Starts
Pitcher Streak (Years) Time Frame
Cy Young 19 1891-1909
Warren Spahn 17 1947-1963
Gaylord Perry 15 1966-1980
Christy Mathewson 14 1901-1914
Mark Buehrle 14 2001-2014
Greg Maddux 13 1996-2008
Livan Hernandez 13 1998-2010
Steve Carlton 13 1968-1980
Phil Niekro 13 1968-1980
Tom Seaver 13 1967-1979
Mickey Lolich 13 1964-1976


It’s no surprise to see Young in the top spot with 19 consecutive seasons of 30 or more starts. However, it looks like the expansion era of the 1960s is even more popular than the turn of the previous century. Warren Spahn, Gaylord Perry, Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver, and Mickey Lolich—6 of the 11 starters with at least 13 consecutive 30-start seasons—all touched the 1960s during their streaks. Livan Hernandez and Greg Maddux are the only starters besides Buehrle from the current era who made the list, although Maddux’s teammate Tom Glavine was one of three starters who just missed with 12 consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, but for the 1994 work stoppage that limited Maddux and Glavine to 25 starts each, they may well have ended up with incredible streaks of 21 seasons (1988-2008) and 18 seasons (1990-2007), respectively.

Buehrle is already tied for fourth place in MLB history with his 14 consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, Buehrle is still just 35 years old and is showing no decline in performance. He has half a decade to go to reach Young, but it’s not inconceivable that he could reach that total, especially since he does not rely on big velocity to be effective. If he does break the record, it will be in 2020 when Buehrle is 41 years old.

I had my idea for this topic because of a fascinating article Bill James recently wrote on Rotation Emperors, which you can read with a subscription to Bill James Online. Rather than look at pitchers on the season-level, Bill looks at consecutive-start streaks. On that list, Buehrle became the current Rotation Emperor when Justin Verlander missed a start in late August of this season. Buehrle currently has 228 consecutive starts, which dates back to September of 2007.

What’s interesting is that Buehrle did not miss a start then because of an injury. Instead, manager Ozzie Guillen skipped Buehrle to allow rookie John Danks to get a start off the DL; the White Sox were well out of the race, so he was simply looking at his young pitcher to help plan for the 2008 season. That snapped a 224-game streak Buehrle had entering that rotation turn, which dated back to his sophomore season in 2001, his first season as a full-time starter. Had Buehrle’s streak not been snapped in 2007, his active streak would be 452 consecutive games. That would have been the longest streak, by far, of any pitcher Bill studied, going back to 1955 where Bill started his list! The player with the longest streak Bill studied was Jim Bunning, who had a streak of 337 consecutive starts end in 1968. That’s almost 50 years ago.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week®,

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10 Bold Predictions for 2014 – How Did I Do?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

At the beginning of the season, I made some predictions for what I thought would potentially happen. Obviously when you’re making bold predictions, you don’t expect all of them to come true. I find it funny that most people just crank these things out and no one usually goes back to see how they did. Today we’re going to do just that. Off we go.

1. Mike Olt will lead the team in home runs - OK, we’re off to a no so good start here. I didn’t think Olt was going to be a monster at the plate, though I hoped he would, but I didn’t expect him to struggle as much as he did. He said his eyesight was better and that it was the cause the year before for his struggles. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and Olt finished 5th on the team in home runs with 12, behind Anthony Rizzo (32), Luis Valbuena (16), Starlin Castro (14), and Welington Castillo (13).

At this point, I’m not really sure what the future holds for Olt. He’s generally dropped out of the discussion as a future building block, so now the question is what his role might actually be. I fear he may go the route of someone like Josh Vitters and just sort of fade off into the Cubs sunset. The one thing he has going for him this year and probably this year only, is that Kris Bryant won’t be called up immediately. He has a very small window of shared time at third base with Valbuena where he could impress. It may be his last shot.

2. Javier Baez will have started at least 15 games at shortstop for the Cubs by September 1. – While he only make five starts at shortstop before Sept 1, he did play basically the entire month of August, which was the point of the exercise here. My point was that Baez was going to be up and starting sooner than September 1 and I just figured it would be at shortstop.

3. Anthony Rizzo will finish in the top 10 for the NL MVP race - Had Rizzo not gone down for a period with an injury, he would have finished higher in the ballot. Nonetheless, it was announced the other day that he just squeeked out a win for me on this one with a 10th place finish in the NL MVP vote. That makes 2-for-3 so far.

4. Kyle Hendricks will make at least 10 starts for the Cubs - I knocked this one out of the park. 10 starts was a really bold prediction given that a starter, if healthy, only makes about 33-35 starts, and the fact that the Cubs had five guys pretty much locked into the rotation to start the year. Hendricks looked far better than I would have predicted, but I think we’ll see a strong regression to the mean in 2015 for him and he’ll settle in as a back end of the rotation guy. It’s tough to be more than that as a finesse pitcher, but maybe he’ll prove us wrong.

5. Pedro Strop will finish the season with more saves than Jose Veras - I feel bad taking a win on this one, but it is what it is. Strop finished the season with two saves and Veras had just one. Veras looked better pitching for Houston, but I’m fine with us releasing him when we did.

6. The bullpen will finish in the top 5 in the NL for ERA - It’s not a win for me on this one, but my point in the prediction was that this bullpen was going to be much improved. For a bullpen that finished 13th in 2013, an improvement to 8th is what I was going for. I can’t find a site that will allow for a double split to sort as a bullpen and month by month, but I would venture to guess that the pen was top five or just outside of it each month after Veras was released and Carlos Villanueva stopped getting in games as consistently late.

7. More than one player will represent the Cubs in the All Star game. - Nope. [UPDATE] I was told to give myself credit for this one. Rizzo was added by vote later. I don’t tend to count that spot, but I’ll take it.

8. Castro will be traded by the July 31 deadline and Darwin Barney will not.Got this one completely backward. I thought someone would want to trade for Castro and that the front office would make that deal. I also thought Barney had no value whatsoever. Instead, it’s Barney leaving and the Cubs receiving Jonathan Martinez in return.

9. People will quickly see why Arodys Vizcaino was considered a top prospect when he announces his presence with authority after being recalled from Iowa and becomes one of the top arms in the pen. – Boy, I really thought he was going to be huge for this pen. In fact, all spring training I predicted he would make the opening day roster. Instead, he was traded back to the Braves last week.

10. The Cubs will win 81 games in 2014 - I must have meant 2015.

Final Total – 5 out of 10


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Jon Lester Close to Signing with the Cubs?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

With the Russell Martin signing in Toronto, Cubs fans are up in arms about losing a guy that I feel is now an overpriced, aging pitch framer. Sure, he had a good offensive season last season, but overall, he’s not the best offensive catcher these days.

2006 23 LAD 468 26 4 10 45 57 .282 .355 .436 .792
2007 ★ 24 LAD 620 32 3 19 67 89 .293 .374 .469 .843
2008 ★ 25 LAD 650 25 0 13 90 83 .280 .385 .396 .781
2009 26 LAD 588 19 0 7 69 80 .250 .352 .329 .680
2010 27 LAD 387 13 0 5 48 61 .248 .347 .332 .679
2011 ★ 28 NYY 476 17 0 18 50 81 .237 .324 .408 .732
2012 29 NYY 485 18 0 21 53 95 .211 .311 .403 .713
2013 30 PIT 506 21 0 15 58 108 .226 .327 .377 .703
2014 31 PIT 460 20 0 11 59 78 .290 .402 .430 .832
9 Yrs 4640 191 7 119 539 732 .259 .354 .399 .754
162 Game Avg. 646 27 1 17 75 102 .259 .354 .399 .754

Don’t discouraged that the Cubs didn’t overpay. Even Paul Sullivan knows better. Instead the Cubs have made the news with the fact that Jon Lester met with Theo and Jed in Chicago today and is scheduled to meet with the Braves and the Cardinals. I’m not sure why he would sign with the Braves given the fact that they may be signalling a rebuild with the trade of Jason Heyward and my guess is that while St Louis has interest, it may be a ploy to visit the rival to try to garner a little more money. In the end, I think it comes down to the Cubs and the Red Sox. I believe Lester is the Cubs primary off-season target and to lose out on him would be a slight kick in the rebuild seeds, but not something that would knock everything off course. In the unfortunate event that Lester does not choose Chicago, there are a lot of names on the free agent market this off-season and next to keep the rebuild right on track.

  • MLB Trade Rumors posted about the idea that Travis Wood may be a non-tender possibility this off-season. While Wood didn’t have the best of years, I believe in his talent and I’d like to see him be a part of the rotation in 2015.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN Insider (Subscription Required) had a post about four potential trades for Cole Hammels. As you might guess, the Cubs made the list with a package of CJ Edwards, Billy McKinney and Albert Almora, to which I say ‘No Way’. I believe Almora is going to be a key outfield piece at the top of the order in the next couple years. Edwards I think may end up being a late inning guy due to his frame and McKinney I could take or leave. Almora is the key and that deal and I’m not moving him.
  • Justin Masterston is a named that popped up on Twitter as a potential option for the Cubs. Theo and Jed have already said they won’t sign two big name guys, so Masterson seems to fit that mold of a guy on a low risk deal that could turn into another gem. I’d endorse this one.
  • Patrick Mooney reported that Jason Hammel and the Cubs have mutual interest in a reunion. I’d also be for this.
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Cubs Send Arodys Vizcaino back to Atlanta

Sunday, November 16th, 2014


The Cubs announced a swap with the Atlanta Braves today:

The Chicago Cubs today acquired infielder Tommy La Stella from the Atlanta Braves, as well as Atlanta’s number four international signing bonus slot, for right-handed pitcher Arodys Vizcaino and three international signing bonus slots (slot numbers two, three and four).

La Stella, 25, made his major league debut with the Braves last season and led National League rookies with 36 walks and a .328 on-base percentage (min. 300 plate appearances). In 93 games, he hit .251 (80-for-319) with 16 doubles, one home run and 31 RBI, and compiled a .984 fielding percentage (6 E/368 TC) in 88 games at second base. He began the year at Triple-A, his first time at that level, and hit .293 (49-for-167) with a .384 on-base percentage in 47 games for Gwinnett prior to his promotion to the majors.

The five-foot, 11-inch, 185-pound La Stella was named the Braves ninth-best prospect by Baseball America heading into last season. He owns a .322 (326-for-1,013) batting average and a .407 on-base percentage in 288 career minor league games since he was selected by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2011 Draft. La Stella has 136 walks compared to 102 strikeouts in 1,197 minor league plate appearances.

In 2013, La Stella was named Double-A Mississippi’s Most Valuable Player after he led the team with a .343 batting average (97-for-283) and a .422 on-base percentage in 81 games. He recorded a franchise-record 23-game hitting streak, July 5-August 5, in which he batted .386 (34-for-88). Additionally, La Stella was named to the 2013 Arizona Fall League’s Top Prospects team after batting .290 (18-for-62) in 18 games with the Scottsdale Scorpions.

La Stella, a left-handed batter and right-handed fielder, was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star in 2012 with Single-A Lynchburg, a season in which he hit .397 in 23 games following the All-Star break. In 2011, his first pro season, he led Single-A Rome with a .328 batting average (76-for-232) in 63 games.

Vizcaino, 24, pitched in five September games for the Cubs last season and posted a 5.40 ERA (3 ER/5.0 IP) in his first major league action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2012. He was acquired from the Braves with right-handed pitcher Jaye Chapman, July 30, 2012, for left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed Johnson.

I admit, I’m saddened by this trade. I really felt like Vizcaino would be making a meaningful impact last season for the Cubs. He didn’t, but he was poised to make the opening day roster this season and be a power arm in the back of the pen. That said, I’d take a hitter over a bullpen arm any day of the week.

Given the fact that this international signing period, the Cubs figure to be penalized and not able to spend much anyway, don’t look much into the draft slot part of the deal from our side. The goal for the deal is trading a commodity that we didn’t have a use for (draft slots) and get a guy we valued higher than Vizcaino. I’m not sure I make this deal given the lack of playing time for La Stella in the infield, but that could be my Vizcaino bias kicking in.

Thoughts on the trade?

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GirlieView (11/13/2014)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

GirlieView Definitions

  • Lizzie = A funny, timely quote made on the VFTB site by our writers or commenters.
  • Lizard = The best Lizzie.
  • MVL = Most Valuable Lizzie’er: The person with the most Lizzies in the period under review (usually the past two weeks.)
  • Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason = The folks with the most aggregate Lizzie points YTD (1 point for every Lizzie, 3 points for every Lizard.)

As you already know, this is all completely subjective and according to my whims.


  • Enjoyed the series, though it may have ended on a more special note had KC won.
  • This Joe Maddon talk seems real.
  • Doc at the top of the list also real.
  • Happy for all the optimism 2015 brings.
  • Happy for how the Lizzie standings boost Doc’s purpose to live.
  • Well, well, well……….unsustainable huh, it will never last huh. Lizzie, you are an insightful genius that obviously understands humor.
  • I am a real pro at tuning out. Just ask my wife.
  • Your wife is biased, just like all wives are in regards to their husbands, because we all know how tune out our wives.
  • I actually read an article that suggested they keep Renteria as a bench coach if they hire Maddon.
  • Maddon must not be fluent in Spanish.
  • fellow Viewers
  • How about simply telling us, “The Cubs are a big market team and we certainly have money to spend on payroll, but we’re not doing that until our young players develop and we have a better chance to win.”
  • or something even more brutally honest like, “Our team is awful, and we will be for a while. Even if we spend on free agency, we’ll still be bad. And, it messes up our plans to get the best draft picks possible for a few years,” or words to that effect.
  • Len Kasper singing a lifetime deal scares the bejeepers out of me. John Legend, however, would probably love it.
  • or, you know, signing.
  • Both scenarios are equally as scary.
  • I’m particularly interested in whether or not Dave Martinez makes his way back to the North Side…so are many of the player’s wives.
  • That sort of reads like polygamy
  • I doubt Dave cares where the apostrophe is…
  • Unless, of course, it is in Cindy Sandberg’s blouse.
  • Wouldn’t be enough room… already filled with players hands and pine tar.
  • Castro is a proven commodity – the others are not, especially Baez, who has thus far only proven that he could work on a wind farm.
  • It’s tough when things you look up on the internet are not entirely accurate.
  • in my 50 plus years of viewing the cubs, i have never found them to be a cerebral or disciplined club, individual players excepted
  • Dude, nice to see your avatar. Let me catch you up, I’m still irreverent. Caps is still obtuse. Raker is still delusional (though Lizzie can’t resist his volume). Jswan is still sarcastically witty. Noah is still insightfully verbose. Joe is still the leader. Jedi is still baiting CAPS. And Lizzie is still watching over all of us.
  • Not afraid to say I’m elated to see multiple Johnsons on the same page. Welcome back old friend…Seymour is mostly correct, but forgot to mention that it turns out a lot of the polite regulars are Canadian. EVW is on fire, and apparently it isn’t uncommon and weird to maintain spreadsheets at home. Joe had a side business going selling prom dresses, but that apparently tanked.
  • Yes, welcome back. You have no idea the pain and speculation the absence of the Johnsons’ has put us through. And then Joe randomly comes and goes leaving us directionless for long periods of time.
  • Soriano retires because “the passion is gone” – and in the Dominican, passion is often translated “big money contract”…
  • subway Tomatoes are the worst
  • I am assuming you have a spreadsheet to factually prove they are the worst and you’re not just making that up.
  • No I just made that up, but now that you have questioned my integrity, I am going to have to prove it statistically.
  • Your blatant honesty has erased any alleged doubt I may have had about your integrity. Consider yourself exonerated.
  • Big fan of P&T. Seen them a couple times and quite enjoyed the BS series. Great targets and always managed to work naked boobies into their show.
  • Mmmm…Boobs!
  • How about them tomatoes!
  • at the time of posting there are equally 11 sandwich and baseball comments.
  • And if I were to suggest that the Cubs should pay the rest of E-Jax’s salary in the form of Subway sandwiches, which column would you put that in?
  • I’d defer to Dork.
  • I think you could put that in both columns making no net difference
  • If this 2 truths & a lie is anything like “Ask Joe” – we’re never gonna find out which one was the lie.
  • I think the lie is the nosebleed. Had he been a child gymnast, he would have been punched in the nose by a cool kid. Had he met 4 presidents, he also would have been punched in the nose by a cool adult when he mentioned this at a cocktail party. Since apparently one of the above is true, he must have had a lot of trauma to his proboscis. QED.
  • Who has been demanding this? I want names.
  • Nosebleed is the lie. All baseball fans have sat way up at one game or another. (place groan here)
  • I think Joe should leave the silly stuff up to us. I mean, we can take a topic like the sanctity of starting pitching and turn it into an organic tomato fest.
  • I still want to know who demanded this?
  • Bad news guys. Much like Olt last season, Baez managed to fly under the ROY voting committee’s radar.
  • When do we get to update the playoff odds? I am getting tired of looking at those 0s.


  • This whole manager things is just business as usual. Every manager and coach knows he keeps or loses his job on the whim of upper management. Kind of like getting a Lizzie. There doesn’t have to be a logical reason to get one, its all on how Lizzie feels at any given moment. Ricky knew the risks of the job when he took it. That’s management’s prerogative.

Shout Outs

  • Big shout outs to cap’n realist, and Ray Brettman for their first 2014 off-season Lizzies!!!! Thanks for being here!


  • Congratulations to Eddie von White, our Most Valuable Lizzie-er this time! Way to go EVW!

Top 10 of the 2014 Offseason (one point for each Lizzie, three points for the Lizard)

1. Doc Raker
2. Eddie Von White
3. jswanson
4. Seymour Butts
5. Doug S.
6. Jerry in Wisconsin
7. Dork
7. Jedi
7. Noah Eisner
10. Buddy
10. Sherm

Chit Chat

Believe it or not, the next GirlieView will be on Thanksgiving. What will you be doing for the holiday?

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Funtastic Friday – Two Truths and a Lie

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Before we get to the nonsense with this post, I figured we should get some housekeeping chores out of the way. So, let’s talk about some recent Cubs “news”

  • The Cubs signed Tsuyoshi Wada to a big league contract worth $4 million with incentives to earn more. The 33 year old lefty posted an ERA of 3.25 in 2014 over 13 starts. He figures to be in the mix for a rotation spot.
  • Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Sweeney were both added back to the 40 man roster after being activated from the 60 day DL. The 40 man roster stands at 37. Remember that players will big league deals need to be added as well as names we need to protect in the rule 5 draft. If there is going to be a “spending spree” this off-season,we’re going to see some guys moving off that 40 man roster.
  • Rumors recently have linked the Cubs to having interest in Russell Martin via free agency and Cole Hammels via trade.
  • 15 Cubs minor leaguers have been declared free agents according to MLB Rule 55. Those names include Josh Vitters and Marcos Mateo. View the full list.

We’re bringing this one back by popular demand. In case you were not around for the other two editions of the segment, the concept is simple. There are three statements below. Two are true and one is a lie. It’s up to you to determine which is which. All statements relate to me directly.

  1. I was a gymnast as a child
  2. I have met four US presidents personally in my lifetime
  3. I have never had a nosebleed in my lifetime

In the expansion era (1961 – 2014), only four Cubs hitters have posted a season which included at least 150 strikeouts. Can you name them?

NOTE: Next year this number will increase to five with the addition of Javier Baez.

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What Are Your Expectations for this Off-Season?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Free agency is open. Can you tell by the flurry of moves? It’s not like free agency in the NBA or the NFL. Things take some time to age and develop. As a result, we have some time to discuss.

As we head into the 2015 season, a lot of hype is beginning to surround this organization and particularly this off-season. Many predict the Cubs to be quite active on the market in prep for a contending team in the next two years. That leads to my question for discussion today.

What is your expectation for off-season moves this season? In other words, if the Cubs don’t do this, you’d be disappointed. Let’s get some good specific discussion going. Feel free to make predictions, post your off-season plan if you were the front office, etc. Or, just discuss the best toppings on a Subway meatball footlong. Your choice.

I thought this one would be fitting given the nature of the post.

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Can the Cubs Compete in 2015 if Starlin Castro Is Traded?

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Since the end of the regular season, the Cubs front office has made it clear that they intend to compete in 2015. Signing Joe Maddon to one of the richest managerial contracts in baseball only confirmed that. It’s fairly clear what the Cubs actually need to do to compete next season in addition to Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta proving their 2014s were not flukes. (1) The prospects (Baez, Soler, and Alcantara should be up on Opening Day, Kris Bryant will be up a couple of weeks later at most, and Addison Russell could be ready mid-season) need to contribute. This doesn’t mean that they all need to be stars, or even that none of them can be busts. As an overall group, however, they need to succeed. (2) The Cubs need to add top to middle of the rotation starting pitching. (3) The Cubs need a much better overall performance from their outfield.

In regards to number 2, most believe that the Cubs are going to sign two free agent pitchers this season, one from the top tier (Lester and Scherzer, with Shields as the fall back) and one from the middle tier (too many  to list, but includes Brendan McCarthy, Ervin Santana, and Jason Hammel). A minority, however, believe the Cubs will sign one big name pitcher and trade for another pitcher. TheCubs would have two options for what to give up in such a trade: (1) a prospect like Javier Baez or Addison Russell; or (2) Starlin Castro.

This piece is not to debate the merits of specific Starlin Castro trades, although I could see some potential matches depending on what the front office is looking to do. The Cubs could try do something like trade Castro to the Mets for a package headlined by someone like Noah Syndergaard, taking the potential risk and reward of using their 3 time All Star shortstop to obtain a near MLB ready prospect with ace potential. Or the Cubs could try to match up with the Nationals for Jordan Zimmerman if the Cubs were able to come to an extension with the Nationals’ right hander, which would also solve a short term (2B is their weakness if Rendon plays 3B) and long term (Desmond is likely gone after 2015, so they’ll need a shortstop) problem for Washington.

The question I’m examining, however, is if the Cubs could actually claim to be “competing” in 2015 if Castro isn’t slotted in as the opening day shortstop. Castro was worth 2.9 fWAR last season. For the sake of argument, let’s say that Castro would have stayed on that pace had he stayed healthy and been worth 3.5 wins above replacement while taking something around 99% of the plate appearances at shortstop. If the Cubs trade Castro, they need to replace those 3.5 wins.

On top of that, the Cubs were poor last season at second base, so the Cubs need to find a way to improve that middle infield position. I’d argue the Cubs should be looking for about 2.5 WAR from second base next season, which is pretty much exactly league average performance. This is in part to set reasonable expectations for Javier Baez, to be a league average player this coming season, not a superstar. If these numbers panned out, that provides a total of 6 wins above replacement from the middle infield.

If Castro is in the fold, the answer to “where do those wins come from?” is pretty simple. You count on Castro for the 3 to 3.5 WAR he’s been good for in 3 of the last 4 seasons, hope Baez becomes a league average, and have Valbuena as an early season fallback option if Baez continues to struggle so greatly making contact. But what if Castro was gone?

Second base actually wouldn’t be that great a concern. A Luis Valbuena led platoon should put up 2.5 to 3 WAR (Valbuena alone was worth 2.7 fWAR last season and 2.1 fWAR in 2013). The problem would be that you’d have no real backup option to Baez at shortstop until Addison Russell is ready, which could be in June, September, or in 2016. Baez definitely has the talent to become a great player as early as next season, but can the Cubs really bet on a player who struck out 41.5% of the time in his first short MLB stint to be anything more than league average in his age 22 season?

Not if they truly intend on competing in 2015. If the Cubs want to fight with the Cardinals and Pirates for playoff spots, Starlin Castro should be a Cub in 2015. Despite the prospect talent the Cubs have at the position and their need for high end pitching, now is not the time for the Cubs to trade their All Star shortstop. If Baez makes the necessary adjustments next season and Russell looks like the real deal, the Cubs can examine moving Castro a year from now with no diminution in value because of the long term team friendly nature of his contract.

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