thecubsfan.com

on Soriano, redux

Jul
31

the thing about being on the internet for three or four lifetimes is I can occasionally go back seven years and see what I said about silly things

I don’t think we’ll know for sure till the deal is done or he’s gone (given the A-Rod and Manny drama, it seems likely they’ll at least try moving him sometime in the ’10s),

YEP. I was beginning to think Soriano would be the guy who just never gives up his no-trade clause. I don’t he wanted to at the end, and I think it was underreported how Theo & Jed pretty much told him he’d be benched if he stayed any longer. That probably wouldn’t have gone over too well – manager is okay with developing but wants to win to show progress – so it’s best it didn’t happen no matter how much money it took.

The deal [is] a high percentage of the payroll and he probably won’t produce at a level where it’s an even bargain…but if he contributes towards a World Series win (or, gasp, multiple ones!), then everyone will be fine with whatever he’s getting paid. At least for a year, anyway.

multiple world series. NOPE.

The FanGraphs number WAR calculation was highly quoted as proof Soriano was actually worth his contract after all. Some of that is fair, some of that are contract prices going way up…and some of that is goofy UZR ratings giving Soriano much more credit for defense in his first five seasons with the Cubs than he should’ve gotten. You can only tell the story about Soriano getting much better the last two years if you acknowledge how bad he was to previously, and those Fangraph value numbers have Soriano as a better defender than hitter in his first two seasons. That’s not what I remember seeing.

Soriano had the misfortune to have his big dropoff season the same time the team did. He was hurting the team, but he wasn’t the only one and it took him until the last couple years to shed that. It was still an overly optimistic deal, made hoping they could pay a good player into being a great player, like a lot of Cubs free agency signings at that time.

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Game 76: Cubs 8 – Rockies 5

Jun
27

Cubs 37-39, 7.5 GB
Rockies 38-39, 6 GB

POTG: LF Alfonso Soriano (2 H, 2 R, 2B, SB, OF Assist [10/32]
Runner Up: RF Uncle Cliffy (HR, 2 IBB, intense terror of oppositon – or everyone thinks DeRosa sucks, not sure), SS Fontenot (R, 2B, RBI, BB, SB, no problems at odd position), C Koyie Hill (2B, 2 RBI), RP Michael Wuertz (2 IP, H, 3 K, WP)

Dan B asked me to mention Shawon-O-Meter, so I will. I think someone needs to start a Pie-O-Tron – what with the speed and the gun and the wild swinging, he’s the modern day successor.

Weird but true: With Milwaukee’s surge and the NL West teams knocking each other around, the Cubs are actually closer to the Wild Card lead (6.0) than the division number I’ve started to put up there. They’ve just got more teams to past that way; a win today puts them ahead of Rockies into 5th. Far more important, at the moment, is how close they are to being 500. They haven’t been two games under since May 20th. Last time they got to one under, it was Z on the mound, same as it’ll be today.

When Tulowitzki’s ball ricocheted off the left field wall, just before the indent, I thought it was actually a bad bounce. The ivy stole energy, and the ball seemed to die a bit short of where Soriano was expecting. And he still picked up, fired to second, and DeRosa got it so quick, he had time to trip and still put down the glove for Tulotwitzki to slide into it. That was as amazing as any home run he’s hit this season. I don’t know why people are still running on Alfonso, but it’s cool to see them pay.

Floyd’s really starting to grow on me. Getting a regular spot has helped, I think, but he’s just generally on fire – 342/419/526 this month. The Pagan/Floyd timesharing arrangement is working great, much better than Floyd/Murton/Jones was going.

It was nice of WGN to show a shot of Jacque in the dugout near the start of the game, not just to let us know he didn’t get traded, but to generally reminds us he still exists. He’s so the forgetten man on this roster. At least he’s had plenty of time to think about what he’s going to say when he leaves; yesterday was a chance to work it over in his mind for a few hours. Just for Jacque’s own sanity, they’ve got to make a deal in the next couple of days. Heck, I’d prefer it to be Thursday, just so he can leave on the off day instead of being hassled.

The end of this game started to mirror the previous game, with the bullpen starting to blow. I think I would’ve been more worried if Monday’s game didn’t also feature a big comeback, but I think that’s also what motivated Lou to pulling Marmol rather than let him work out of his own jam.

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Game 75: Cubs 10 – Rockies 9

Jun
26

Rockies 38-38, -5.5
Cubs 36-39, -7.5

POTG: 2B Mike Fontenot (5 H, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, CS)
Runner Up: 1B Derek Lee (3 H, R), RF Mark DeRosa (3 H, 3 RBI, R), CF Angel Pagan (HR, 3 RBI, BB), LF Alfonso Soriano (H, 2 RBI), SS Ryan Theriot (2B, SB, 2 H, 2 R)

To be honest, I watched this game (and had earlier gone to see the Cougars game) but I wasn’t much focused on it. It was on my TiVo, I kinda paid attention, I sometimes drifted off into other things and realized I’d been watching 3 minutes of commercials. Early on, I got a “I want to go crazy over what just happened, but I can’t because you’re watching on tape” phone call, so I figured something weird happened at the end. I just couldn’t figure out what it could be, because the Cubs were cruising for most of the game. Every time Marquis got into trouble, I figured that must be it, but he kept squirming out. After Eyre bailed out of Wuertz’s jam in the 7th, I was completely confused and figured it must’ve been a freak play rather than a close finish.

And then the 9th happened, and all heck broke loose. There’s gotta be something wrong with Scott Eyre. Either he’s hurt, or he’s done. It’s late June, he hasn’t come around, it’s time for some sort of action. You can tell Pinella has given up on him, because he’s only been in 4 games of the last 20. It doesn’t make sense to keep him on the active roster at this point.

I’m giving up Howry more of a benefit of the doubt, even though he was more horrible. It was his third day in a row, his fourth in five games, and his fifth in a week. That kind of workload will kill you. The Cubs really needed another arm down in the pen last night. Howry will almost surely get tonight off, and Marmol’s probably the closer for the night.

My guess is Eyre and Dempster go on the DL. This would allow the Cubs to circumvent the “can’t call back up for 10 days” rule to call up at least Gallagher, and whomever else. Bringing in two fresh arms will allow them to push back going to twelve relievers for another couple days. Perhaps that’ll get them enough time to do something with Jacque.

Nice of Soriano take my stats with runners on and stick them back in my face. I’m more than willing to be wrong about those sorts of things, just didn’t expect to be so rapidly wrong.

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Game 74: Cubs 3 – White Sox 0

Jun
25

Cubs 35-39
White Sox 29-41

POTG: LF Soriano (HR, 3 H)
Runner Up: 2B Mike Fontenot (2 H, SB), 3B A Ram (2 H, 2B, R), LF Uncle Cliffy (2 H), SP Sean Marshall (6.1 IP, 5 H, BB, 3 K, W [4/10]

The White Sox are an awful team.

It STILL would be nice for Soriano to get a home run with a man on base. Soriano has 15 home runs now, and only ONE with runners on base. (A three run shot on June 4th.) 4 are leadoff home runs, so that’s 10 homeruns with no runners on and a possibility to do so. To be fair, he’s had twice as many plate appearances with no runners than men on, but compare these numbers…

Men On: 103 PA, 239/340/341
None On: 211 PA, 342/370/663

Something’s off. Weird how he takes so many more walks with men on; if you factor out the IBB, it’s 300, but he’s still walking twice as often. The power is none existent with men on. Perhaps we DO want Soriano leading off!

For his career, Soriano loses 22 points off his average and 66 off slugging with men on, but the different in on base is tiny compared this year. It’s a thing with him.

How did Ryan Dempster hurt his oblique? We’ve never found out, and it seems a bit important. If Mamrol wasn’t hot and Howry wasn’t solid, they’d be in trouble right now. Well, as much as trouble as team already 7.5 games out could be.

After hearing so much about it, I’m kinda sad I missed Hawk losing his mind about the obstruction call and being totally incorrect about it the whole way. WGN totally kicked Comcast on production for this play and this game, and it wasn’t close. They’re the real winners here.

Stalled out on writing this, because it sure sounds like a move is coming down today, and there’s gotta be a 5% chance it’ll be JJ day. Lou wants to add another pitcher. Ward, Fontenot, Pagan and whichever is the backup catcher today aren’t going down. That leaves Jacque and the Riot, and while it makes sense to send down the guy who’s 0 for his last 19, it’d be an awful lefthanded bench.

Even though there’s potential to be a firestorm is Ryan goes down while Jacque stays, I think sending down Theriot is the right move. Releasing Jacque while still paying all of his salary for the 1 2/3rd more seasons for nothing isn’t the right move. Just not certian they’ll make it.