Posted on: April 22, 2010 3:53 pm

Quite possibly the most ridiculous thing ever...

Obviously I'm talking about Zambrano.

Lou's decision to turn Carlos Zambrano left me dumbfounded, perplexed and utterly baffled. It makes no sense to take one of your better pitchers, someone who routinely throws 180-200 innings, and put him in a role where he'll throw a 3rd of that. It's obvious why he did it, and it has nothing to do with any bad preferences by Z., he's the only starter who could. But it's still an idiotic decision on multiple levels.   
There are a multitude of things the Cubs could've done instead: 
  1. Take closing away from Marmol. Yeah, he wouldn't be in favor of it. But allowing Marmol to have his previous role and come into any situation that is most pressing would be best for the team. Marmol was great at coming into pressure situations and getting it done, and I believe he still could. Plus, at least I believe, that a team's best reliever should have a role similar to Marmol's old one, and not be simply a 9th inning guy. 
  2. Andrew Cashner. This is the most risky option. Cashner is just starting to come into his own with going an extended period of innings as a starter, but he was drafted as a reliever and has the pitch set for one. And well the Cubs certainly haven't shied away from switching pitchers between starting and relieving. 
  3. Someone new from Iowa. Mitch Atkins, Blake Parker, Thomas Diamond. Could've been anyone. And it's not like they have no one to send down (Shark). The Cubs have been able to strike lightening in a bottle with guys they've brought up in recent years (09-Carlidid, 08- Shark 07- Hart)
  4. David Weathers.  Probably the best option of any free agent reliever
There's no good option. Losing Angel Guzman really screwed up the pen for this year. But moving Zambrano to the pen is only robbing Peter to pay Paul, and isn't going to make the Cubs a better team.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 23, 2009 8:36 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2009 8:47 pm

The Emegence of a Bullpen.

It still boggles my mind how we won in April. Terrible offensive production from Soto, Lee, Bradley etc and that wasn't even our worst problem, the bullpen was. Marmol and Gregg...they sucked. Heilman wasn't bad other than one horrible outing. Hell the only guy to have an ERA under 3.9 we released. So like every team does every year, we made changes to the pen. Guzman got a bigger role, Heilman a lesser one. Neil Cotts somehow made it off the team alive, and David Patton got "injured".  Marshall got moved into the pen and guys like Hart, Stevens, Wadell, Ascanio, Samardjzia, and Fox have come and gone. And somewhere inbetween, the bullpen got good. Damn good.

In the month of July, the bullpen has accounted for only one loss: in a game where the team had absolutely no offense and the pen had gone 5 innings of 1 hit ball before they gave it up.

Kevin Gregg has lowered his ERA from 5.59 to 3.15 from May til now, and has blown as many saves as Kerry Wood did in just one series in Wrigley. And even in his last two outings, he's come in during pressure situations in the 8th and gotten the team out of them, something not done by closers not named Rivera.

Marmol's April ERA was bloated do to a meaningless outing in Arizona when he gave up 4 runs in a game that was already a blowout, but in un-Marmol fashion he blew two games in that month. He responded with an amazing May, which was followed by a bad June, and now a fantastic July. His July ERA is sub-1 and he hasn't walked multiple batters in an outing in almost a month.

Angel Guzman was pretty good in April, posting a sub-4 ERA and K/9 over 9 and he didn't blow a game. But that was his by far worst month. In May his ERA was 1.64, June it was 1.86 and now in July it's 2.45. His wHIP currently sits at 1.04 and he has blown all of one game all year.

Sean Marshall has been this year's Carlos Marmol. Coming into yesterday, he lead the league in stranding runners has a 1.42 ERA in the pen and a .159 BAA. Plus he plays left field. What else is there to say about the guy other than that I hope for success out of Kevin Hart mainly so they don't take Marshall out of the pen. 

Aaron Heilman hasn't been spectacular, and every once in a while he has a horrible outing which baloons his ERA (his ERA excluding his two worst games is 2.49), but his lessened role has done him well. He's perfectly fine as a innings eater and the 5th option in the pen.

Jeff Samardjzia is only an innings eater, it's hard to complain about anything he does. But if B.J. Ryan, Ascanio or Patten join the bullpen, he should be the one to go. But in all likelyhood it will be Jeff Stevens. For some reason I like Stevens, maybe it's just because I want him to quiet the DeRosa fanboys. He's yet to pitch in a close game, but he's also yet to surrender a hit.

So that's what we've produced, a bullpen that is arguably the best part of the team right now.
Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
Posted on: July 8, 2009 10:51 pm

State of the Cubs: Almost to the Break

First I'd like to apologize for this being the first one of these this year...I've been busier this year (and lazier). First some thoughts:

Alfonso Soriano batting 6th: I'm not a fan. The biggest problem with the Cubs this year has been hitting with RISP. Well Soriano, who is STRUGGLING and is typically better with the bases clear, batting 6th isn't exactly gonna help that. He's something like 0-5 sofar in those situations. So what do you do with him? Well you can't bat him real low in the order, cause then he won't get pitches to hit. And you have to play him, cause if the Cubs are going to have an substantial success, they need Soriano to be a force in the lineup. So while hitting him 6th isn't gonna do us harm right now, it's not the answer.

The 5th starter: Losing Dempster makes me regret us bringing up Samardzija and Ascanio to be relievers. Hell in his 8 AAA starts Ascanio has a .8 ERA. None of the other AAA starters are real options. Hell, the best minor league options would be Coleman, Jackson or Cashner in AA, but none of those are happening. Jason Wadell is still on the DL, and Cotts just had Tommy John Surgery, so Marshall is are only lefty option out of the pen...so it likely isn't gonna be him. So we're pretty much left with Kevin Hart.

11-man pitching staff: I don't like it, especially with Hart in the rotation. We play a lot of close games, and having an extra arm seems more valuable than 3 2nd basemen and 3 1st basemen.

The Schedule: After this 4 game set with the Cards, we don't see them or the Brewers again til September 14th. Whether that's good or bad remains to be seen. But good news is...first 4 games back are against the Natinals 

Speaking of the first games back: Lilly should start (shudder* bad memories from last year) if he doesn't pitch in the ASG and then Wells get the second game. Zambrano could use the extra rest as he's been the hardest worked Cub pitcher of the year. Although Lou has done a real good job with that this year: none of the Cubs starters is in the Top 30 of Pitcher Abuse Points. If Ted does pitch in the ASG though, I guess it will be Harden pitching.

The upcoming Cardinals series:

First the Cubs need to walk Pujols every chance they can. It's plain stupid to pitch to him.

Game 1: Rich Harden vs. Brad Thompson. It would be nice if Harden could not have a repeat of the July 4th Start and instead have a repeat of his previous start against the Cards this season: where he went 6 IP 2 ER 4 H 9 K. Ankiel is the only Card to have success off of him, as he has a HR in 3 Abs. Thompson has lost his last 3 starts and hasn't had a quality start since June 13th, and he hasn't faced the Cubs this year. Lee is 3-6 with 2 HRs against him.

Game 2: Ted Lilly vs. Chris Carpenter. Easily the pitcher's duel matchup of the series...as both starters have excelled this year. Pujols is the only Red Bird to hit Lilly well (9-31 2 HR). Lee hits .325 off Carp, and Soriano .387 with a couple HRs 

Game 3: Randy Wells vs. Adam Wainwright. Adam's 3rd start against the Northsiders this year: and the Red Birds have won all 3. But his last start was against the Aramis-less Cubs, the 3rd baseman is hitting .400 off of him.

Game 4: Carlos Zambrano vs. Todd Wellemeyer. Wellemeyer is getting beat up by the Brewers tonight and lost his only start to the Cubs this year. Theriot and Soriano hit him well, but he does own Geo (1-11). Z should be good if he can stay away from Ryan Ludwick
(6-8 2 HR)
Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
Posted on: May 9, 2009 5:10 pm

Former Cubs Update.

Let's look around the league at some of the guys the Cubs have gotten rid of in the last few years.

  • Angel Pagan is currently on the DL after elbow surgery. Recently he was arrested after driving on a suspended license and had multiple warrents out on him.
  • Ronny Cedeno is batting .138 with one HR in 29 ABs for the Mariners this year. He's also been suffering from a hamstring injury.
  • Henry Blanco is batting .176 with 3 HRs in 34 ABs as the backup catcher for the Padres
  • Chad Gaudin has made 3 starts for the Padres this year. He's 0-2 with a 4.08 ERA and 10 walks in under 18 innings
  • Bob Howry is 0-2 in 13 games for the Giants. He has a 3.97 ERA and has given up 1 HR.
  • Michael Wuertz is 2-1 with a couple saves and a 1.62 ERA for the A's
  • Scott Eyre is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA for the Phillies
  • Mark DeRosa is batting .244 with 6 HRs and 21 RBIs for the Indians. Much of that production came from Coors Field East (Yankee Stadium)
  • Kerry Wood is 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA and has converted 5 out of 6 save chances for the Indians this year.
  • Eric Patterson recently got called up by the A's. He's 1-8
  • Matt Murton recently got called up as well, by the Rockies. Hes 3-11 with a HR.
  • Casey McGahee is 3-15 without an extra base hit for the Brewers. He's been up all year.
  • Jason Marquis is 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA in 6 starts for the Rockies.
  • Sean Gallagher is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA (currently pitching so this is changing) for the A's. He spent some time in AAA.
  • Cesar Izturis is batting .253 with a HR for the Orioles
  • Felix Pie is batting .158 with a HR in 57 ABs for the Orioles
  • Rich Hill has yet to crack the Orioles roster. He has 6 walks in 7.1 innings in AAA
  • Jason Kendall is batting .208 and slugging .244 as the catcher for the Brewers.
  • Michael Barrett was batting .167 before being placed on the DL by the Blue Jays.   
  • Donald Veal has a 4.15 ERA in 4 games for the Pirates. He's walked 9 in 4.1 IP
Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
Posted on: February 1, 2009 1:04 am

Predicting the Cubs Roster

This is the roster as I see it now:

  1. Geovany Soto
  2. Paul Bako 
  3. Derrek Lee
  4. Micah Hoffpauir
  5. Mike Fontenot
  6. Aaron Miles
  7. Ryan Theriot
  8. Aramis Ramirez
  9. Alfonso Soriano
  10. Reed Johnson
  11. Kosuke Fukudome
  12. Milton Bradley
  13. Carlos Zambrano
  14. Ryan Dempster
  15. Rich Harden
  16. Ted Lilly
  17. Sean Marshall
  18. Neal Cotts
  19. Chad Gaudin
  20. Michael Wuertz
  21. Aaron Heilman
  22. Jeff Samardzija
  23. Kevin Gregg
  24. Carlos Marmol

That leaves on space left on the bench. Now with the trading of Mark DeRosa and Ronny Cedeno the Cubs have lost a lot of multi-position ability, especially on the infield. That being said I expect the Cubs to have Fontenot work at 3b, and possibly Jim Hendry will make another move for the infield considering the Cubs have 6 guys who can play in the outfield, but only 2 who can play short and 3rd. Also notibly absent is Luis Vizcanio, I don't think he makes the squad out of spring training. Other predictions: Alfonso Soriano stays in the leadoff role, Sean Marshall is the number 5 starter, Gregg and theShark split 8th inning duties with Heilmen also getting some time in the later innings. Fontenot gets the majority of the starts at 2nd, and Reed gets the majority of the starts in center.

Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
Posted on: January 23, 2009 12:43 am

Why Carlos Marmol shouldn't be closer.

According to a recent Cubs.com article, Carlos Marmol is not a lock to be the Cubs closer come opening day 2009. Now I'm definitely in the minority, but I don't want Marmol to get the job. Hell, I don't even want him as the everyday 8th inning setup man. Am I crazy? Probably. But I have a method to my madness. In '08 he was used a lot, in a variety of situations. The most valuable of which was coming into tight game situations and getting a key out, usually by strikeout (he lead the majors in K/9 for all pitchers with at least 80 IP). Only someone who followed the Cubs day in and day out last year can fully realize how important he was in that role. And obviously he can't do that if he's the closer. I feel that role is more important to winning than the closer is.

Now would Kevin Gregg be an elite closer? Probably not. Would he be better than Carlos Marmol? Probably not. But closers are the most overrated position in baseball and Gregg has shown he can do it. And even if we can't, we can always revert to the Billy Beane philosphy that good closers grow on trees. Depending on his development, Jeff Samardzjia could be an effective closer, but I seriously doubt if he could be an effective midinning stopper. Now would it be very unconventional to put an unedxpirenced Samardzjia in the 9th inning role, of course. But I trust him more to get 3 outs in the 9th with a lead, than to get 1 out with runners in scoring position in a close game.

Carlos Marmol is by far the best reliever on the Cubs, and one of the best in all of baseball. He shouldn't be wasted as our closer.

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 15, 2008 4:13 pm

Cubs/Brewers Breakdown Recap

Well I think CBS deleted the thread (knew I should've made it a blog entry too)...but I have it saved on my computer for reference.

  • C- I picked Soto, and I got it correct. I caught some flack for this choice, but Soto was the definite choice offensively, and was a very nice defensive catcher.
  • 1b- Picked Fielder and I was correct. Although Prince had an off year (or what I'd guess will be his norm year) he was still better than Lee offensively.
  • 2b- Picked DeRosa and I was correct. Caught a lot of flack for this one too. The 'Weeks had a great September' and 'every GM in baseball would rather have Weeks' people. My ass. Rickie Weeks sucks, and Mark DeRosa was awesome this year.
  • 3b- Picked Aramis and I was correct. Do I really need to explain this one?
  • SS- Picked Hardy and I was correct barely. Theriot was great at what he is, and Hardy is one of the least clutch players in the game (.221 w/ RISP). But still the defense and power gives it to Hardy, barely.
  • Lf- Picked Soriano and I was wrong. Although I blame that on Soriano getting hurt, twice.
  • Cf- Picked Cameron and I was right on a techincality. Cameron was better than Pie, although the Cfs that replaced Pie were much better than Cameron.
  • Rf- Picked Hart and was Correct. Both were All-Stars...lol...both sucked hardcore towards the end of the season. Hart sucked less.
  • 4th OF- Picked Reed and was correct. Not only was Reed awesome (.303 6 HR 50 RBIs .778 OPS), but Gywnn barely played at all.
  • PH Specialist. I picked Ward and I was correct. Well it helps that Gross ended up in Tampa, and that Ward hit this.
  • UTL Infielder. Picked Cedeno and I was correct. Got a lot of flack for this one, but come on...it's Craig Counsell.
  • Other Bench Player- Picked Dillon and I was wrong. Dillon didn't play that much and Mike Fontenot was Lil' Babe Ruth
  • Ace- Picked Carlos and I was wrong. The difference in ERA beats out the better record for Carlos, the fact that he was actually able to pitch in the postseason, and the fact that Carlos is the best hitting pitcher in baseball.
  • 2nd- Picked Lilly and I was right. Lilly was great, again, and Suppan wasn't.
  • 3rd- Picked a Wash and I was wrong. Dempster was simply amazing. Nuf said.
  • 4th- Picked Hill and I was wrong. I don't know how I could've predicted Steve Blass Disease. CV was good as a reliever, but as a starter he sucked. Yeah take that Ballinglove1.
  • 5th- Picked Parra/Gallardo and I was right. Lot closer than expected though.
  • Long Relief- Picked Lieber/Hart and I was wrong. Another one chalked up to injury.
  • Middle Relief- Picked Hart and was wrong. Damn did Hart suck, Mota was well Mota. He probably found another HGH supplier.
  • MR2- Picked Wuertz and was wrong. Wuertz lost it this year, and Torres was good until he ran out of gas.
  • Lefty specialisr- picked ADV none and was wrong. Piggy couldn't throw strikes and Eyre got traded...Brewers win by default.
  • 7th inning- Picked Marmol and was correct. Although he wasn't the 7th inning guy Marmol was still nasty. If I remember correctly, he has the lowest H/9 rate for a reliever in the history of baseball
  • 8th inning- Picked Howry and was correct. You might think to yourself, how in the world was Bob Howry a winner...well the other guy was Derrek Turnbow. Oh
  • Closer- Picked Wood and was correct. Took a lot of flack for this one too. Well who's laughing now. Sadly not me, cause Wood didn't get to pitch in October, so it's a repressed excitment.
  • Manager- Picked Lou and was right. Do I have to explain this one?

That makes me 16-10. I'll take that.

Category: MLB
Tags: Brewers, Cubs
Posted on: October 8, 2008 11:31 pm

Things that don't need to happen for the Cubs

Here are some ideas that have been passed around that shouldn't happen. AKA these are stupid ideas

1) Trade Derrek Lee. First off why anyone would consider trading the team leader, multiple time AS, multiple time GG winner, and former batting champion is beyond me. And even if they wanted to, Derrek has stated in the past that he loves Chicago and wants to stay. And he has a no trade clause. Then there's some belief that they will somehow be able to go out and get Tex to replace him. This is the whole bird in hand is worth two in the bush thing.

2) That the Cubs need a new leadoff hitter. The whole 'Cubs can't win with Soriano batting leadoff' is a myth. The truth is the Cubs can't win with Soriano playing like crap. Whether he's batting 1st, 3rd or even 8th it's not going to matter if he's batting .071. The bottom of the order is good enough to justify batting Soriano leadoff and it worked during the season, when he wasn't playing like crap.

3) Trade Aramis Ramirez. How the hell can anyone say this seriously? He's the most clutch player on the team, and if I remember correctly the franchise leader in postseason HRs and RBIs.

4) Micah Hoffpauir starting in right. That feeling I got when the Sam Fuld for Center Field talks occured last year, thats what I get when I see this talk. It's not good.

5) Trade for Ichiro. Oh the pretty penny it would take to get him. Plus all his teammates apparently hate him. Which leads me to my final one:

6) Sign Manny Ramirez. Repeat after me: Clubhouse Cancer.

The 2008 Cubs won 97 games in the regular season. They don't have many holes. If Cub fans want to build a team that's incapable of struggling for 3 games, they should try. But that team won't be assembled. Especially with the Yankees having a bunch of loose cash, a new stadium and the eagerness to get back to the postseason.

The Cubs stars in 2009 will be AmRam, DLee, Soriano and Zambrano. No new huge names. No saviors. Just more of the same. And I can take that.

Category: MLB
Tags: Cubs
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com