end of the alphabet


the Cubs agreed to assume $15 million of his $18 million contract in a trade that should be announced soon.

The Marlins will send 6-foot-8 right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad in return, according to multiple sources


Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G CG SHO SV IP ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
1998 17 CHC-min Rk 0 1 .000 3.15 14 0 0 1 40.0 1.600 8.8 0.0 5.6 8.1 1.44 CBZ · ARIZ
1999 18 CHC-min A 13 7 .650 4.17 27 2 1 0 153.1 1.383 8.8 0.5 3.6 5.8 1.58 LNS · MIDW
2000 19 CHC-min AA,AAA 5 6 .455 2.62 43 0 0 6 117.0 1.316 7.2 0.4 4.7 6.8 1.46 WTN,IWA · SOUL,PCL
2001 20 CHC-min AAA 10 5 .667 3.88 26 1 0 0 150.2 1.274 7.4 0.5 4.1 9.3 2.28 IWA · PCL
2001 20 CHC NL 1 2 .333 15.26 6 0 0 0 7.2 28 2.478 12.9 2.3 9.4 4.7 0.50
2002 21 CHC-min AAA 0 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 9.0 0.889 2.0 0.0 6.0 11.0 1.83 IWA · PCL
2002 21 CHC NL 4 8 .333 3.66 32 0 0 0 108.1 111 1.449 7.8 0.7 5.2 7.7 1.48
2003 22 CHC NL 13 11 .542 3.11 32 3 1 0 214.0 139 1.318 7.9 0.4 4.0 7.1 1.79
2004 23 CHC NL 16 8 .667 2.75 31 1 1 0 209.2 160 1.216 7.5 0.6 3.5 8.1 2.32 AS,CYA-5,MVP-28
2005 24 CHC NL 14 6 .700 3.26 33 2 0 0 223.1 135 1.146 6.9 0.8 3.5 8.1 2.35
2006 25 CHC NL 16 7 .696 3.41 33 0 0 0 214.0 136 1.294 6.8 0.8 4.8 8.8 1.83 AS,CYA-5,SS
2007 26 CHC NL 18 13 .581 3.95 34 1 0 0 216.1 117 1.331 7.8 1.0 4.2 7.4 1.75 CYA-5
2008 27 CHC NL 14 6 .700 3.91 30 1 1 0 188.2 118 1.293 8.2 0.9 3.4 6.2 1.81 AS,SS
2009 28 CHC-min A,A+ 0 1 .000 4.15 2 0 0 0 8.2 1.385 9.3 0.0 3.1 6.2 2.00 PEO,DYT · MIDW,FLOR
2009 28 CHC NL 9 7 .563 3.77 28 1 1 0 169.1 118 1.376 8.2 0.5 4.1 8.1 1.95 SS
2010 29 CHC-min AAA,Rk 0 0 5.40 4 0 0 0 5.0 1.400 10.8 0.0 1.8 9.0 5.00 IWA,CBZ · PCL,ARIZ
2010 29 CHC NL 11 6 .647 3.33 36 0 0 0 129.2 127 1.450 8.3 0.5 4.8 8.1 1.70
2011 30 CHC-min A 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 4.0 1.500 6.8 0.0 6.8 9.0 1.33 PEO · MIDW
2011 30 CHC NL 9 7 .563 4.82 24 0 0 0 145.2 81 1.442 9.5 1.2 3.5 6.2 1.80
11 Seasons 125 81 .607 3.60 319 9 4 0 1826.2 122 1.319 7.8 0.7 4.1 7.6 1.87
162 Game Avg. 14 9 .607 3.60 36 1 0 0 207 122 1.319 7.8 0.7 4.1 7.6 1.87
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/5/2012.

This is a smart baseball move. Volstad is worth the gamble; the Cubs are going to be making a lot of those types of gambles to see who is worth keeping around when (if!) the next wave of competitive rolls thru, and it seems a decent use of otherwise useless innings. Either Zambrano will pitch well in 2012 and be out of the Cubs price range, or he’ll pitch bad and not worth signing. It’s also a great offering to the Cubs base, who have bought in to the idea of a ‘necessary culture change’ to the point the right amount of subtractions is worth more than any additions.

It also breaks my heart. We’re now five seasons away from when Z was really Z. He had the biggest win total in 2007, but the hits per 9 jumped that year and have never gone down again. He’s not been the guy you’d go out of your way to see every time he starts since, but he still usually put together one really strong stretch every year, usually right before or after a blow up. He still is out there trying (except for those meltdowns), it’s his arm started going out on way too early. Prior and Wood will be remembered as the arms the Cubs (possibly) mangled via overuse at a young age, but Zambrano was throwing 200 IP at 22 and 23 and 24 with them, and maybe it just took a little bit longer for it to catch up to him. Prior’s pitied for his his failed career, Wood is respected for battling thru his arm problems, but people seem to just blame Carlos for the same problems. Mostly because he’s made himself such an easy target.

It’s sad it ended like this. It’s depressing that it’s the second franchise guy who’s left on such terrible terms in a decade. Maybe Carlos will be welcomed back to the family before Sammy – Carlos is always willing to admit his mistakes (just not stop making them) and perhaps he’ll be a calmly guy when he’s no longer competing – but it’ll be years down the line. Zambrano acted like a jerk, but I’d wish he’d also be remembered for being the best player on the team and easily the most entertaining for the last decade.

I understand why he had to go, but I wish people remember why we were happy to have him here.


picturing postive outcomes


Big Z is a hitter, no-hitter


hits: 1

hits allowed: 0

also awesome:

“the World Series, that’s the main concern”

oh no!


Carlos Zambrano left Wednesday’s game in the seventh inning with an aoparent injury.
Catcher Geovany Soto saw something following Zambrano’s last delivery and called out the trainer. Zambrano wanted to stay in, but the decision was made to take him out. Once he was in the dugout, he reached for his shoulder, suggesting that’s what the problem was.


It was a nice season, anyway.

quips report to spring training


to me, it’s not baseball season until Carlos starts being quotable.

Zambrano looks forward to opening day

“The one who invented the light [bulb] tried 2,000-something times, and he finally did it,” Zambrano said. “We have light because somebody thought about doing that. … I don’t want to spend 2,000-some times to win the first game on Opening Day, but I will do it this year and go from there.”

Fukudome in the house (note the first official 2008 appearance of Paul Sullivan snark)

Kosuke Fukudome was welcomed to the Cubs clubhouse Friday morning by wacky pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who was wearing a jersey with Fukudome’s number 1 after slipping a No. 11 jersey into the Japanese star’s locker.

Zambrano told Fukudome that the pitcher was “the real No. 1,” though in reality, we all know Zambrano is only No. 1 in walks allowed and punches thrown at teammates.

Eventually, Zambrano took off the jersey and handed it to Fukudome, who quickly learned he had been Punk’d. Fukudome smiled all the way through the prank, as the Japanese media horde, along with several Chicago TV stations, recorded every second.

Santana’s trade to the Mets may mean Z is no longer the best Venezuelan pitcher in the NL, but he’s got a tight grip on most insane. This should be a fun season.

Anyway, I wouldn’t actually mind Fukudome third, especially with the Roberts trade stalled. You could do something like this

1) Soriano (assuming he’s stuck there)
2) Lee (OBP!)
3) Kosuke
4) A RAM
5) DeRosa
6) Soto
7) Theriot
8) Pie

It doens’t matter if Theriot doesn’t return to early season form or Pie bounces back, because they’re not making outs between the best guys. If Brian Roberts ever did become a Cub, I’d put him second, Lee 4th, and slide everyone else down a spot. I’m not thinking too much about that deal, though, because it seems totally stalled.

Reality is Soriano, Theriot or DeRosa, Lee, Ram, Kosuke, Soto, DeRosa or Theriot, Pie as the opening day lineup, but it’s nice that Kosuke wants to bat third.

(The Dempster thing was totally overblown. How dare an athlete – or whatever Ryan is – suggest his group is going to succeed.)

NLDS Game 1: Diamondbacks 3 – Cubs 1


Cubs 0-1
Diamondbacks 1-0

POTG: SP Z! (6 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 8 K; 2B)
Runner Up: 2B Mark DeRosa (H, BB, HBP)

I need to get this argument out of my system, because arguing with human beings, arguing with the radio and arguing with newspapers hasn’t helped so far. Writing it out usually does the trick. Since the Cubs are indeed playing another game today, it doesn’t serve a purpose to dwell on it.

Whatever time Z got yanked – after 6, after 7, after 8 (I’ve been arguing with someone who thinks he could’ve gone 9, which would’ve put him at 127 pitches and pitching in 3 days) – it makes absolutely no difference if the Cubs can’t score any runs. Z pitching one more inning would not have changed the offense, you can’t prove Z wouldn’t have run into trouble, and even if he didn’t, Marmol’s always going to be the first guy out of the pen but now facing a better portion of the Diamondbacks order. You’re getting the same result whenever you pull Z, and if the Cubs weren’t going to score regardless, they’re better off saving Z for a day where they might. (Let’s take a moment to note that Arizona is going with a 4 man rotation, which means Z faces Micah Owings next time thru, not Webb. That’s a much better shot.)

I find the whole argument about pulling Zambrano completely and totally insane and inane. It’s like arguing if it’s better to get to the North Side via Lake Shore or 90/94 – if you don’t have enough gas to get you there, it doesn’t matter which route you take. The Cubs ended up pulled over to the side before the big S curve and for all the complaining about taking the wrong route, the actual problem was not stopping at BP sometime earlier. In 2007 baseball, pitching can not be blamed for any lose where the offense scores 3 or less runs – it takes a heroic effort to win with little support.

Marmol’s problem clearly wasn’t the batters he was facing, but overthrowing the ball and pulling everything to the left because he was too hyped up, then trying to just get pitches over which got them cranked. Maybe Wood would’ve handled the moment better, but you’ve got to go with your best bet, and Carlos Marmol arguably has been the MVP this year.

I greatly admire Lou for believing in the move he made and refusing to back down from people who had decided what story they wanted to tell without taking a look at the scoreboard.

Sometimes, the other team is just simply better. This was one of those games. Tip your cap and try again tomorrow.

These things I know to be true

– The Cubs aren’t winning the series if they score 1 run a game
– The Cubs aren’t winning the series if Carlos Marmol turns into a pumpkin
– at least the first and probably the second problem won’t be such an issue when the Cubs face the non-Webb pitchers.
– The Cubs must get ahead early to take the Diamondbacks bullpen out of the game.

I think I’m not really as mad about this as I am about the extremely annoying guy in the blue/white Under Armor-like shirt behind home plate all night. He had tickets in the surely most expensive section in the ballpark and he wasted them, so either he’s filthy rich or someone was dumb enough to give him free ones. He clearly didn’t care about wasting the money for the tickets, because he spent half the game turned around chatting with someone, a full inning flirting with the blond girl who was sitting in that section (and also not paying any attention) and the rest of the time watching himself on television. He gave Narcissus a run for his money, and the stupid “Hi [whomever]” signs he kept trying to hold up were unreadable even in HD but still very distracting.

This guy really should’ve been ejected after he tried the flashing Cubs logo thing, and I’m figuring it was only because the game was so close to being done (those people who left early just after can also get lost) and because he was in the expensive section – if someone did that in the bleachers, they’d be banned for life. At the least there was a payoff at the end, when he picked up a plastic glass of whatever and he got distracted or got yelled or whatever and the glass slipped from his hand and splashed onto the floor. Serves him right for standing around like a goof and acting the part all night.

(These are the kind of things you notice when the team’s doing nothing at the plate.)

This dude, more annoying than anyone calling home on their cell phone and waving to the camera, gave me two ideas:

1) Baseball needs to find some fabric that allows one way viewing – you can see out, no one can see in, like a one way mirror – and use it to cover the area behind homeplate (as well as any visible basement area like where this guy was sitting). TV still has the whole rest of the stadium for reaction shots, and we don’t have to stare at people who are purposely trying to distract attention from the game so we will look at them instead.

2) The next great idea for a cable station is to have no TV shows at all. Just turn a camera on in a public metro area, broadcast that camera’s feed on your network, and promote it’s existence. It’d basically be the most high profile webcam possible. Everyone who so desperately needs to be on TV can seek it out and do whatever, and it ought to be cheap enough that it can be added to every cable system in the universe and maybe those people can get the exposure they want. I’m not sure who’d bother to watch this, but if you can make being on TV not so novel, perhaps people will get over it when they get good seats at a sporting event.

Ted Lilly and the Cubs are going to beat Doug Davis and the Diamondbacks today. I’m not even worried about it.

Game 136: Dodgers 11 – Cubs 3


Cubs 70-66, +1.5
Dodgers 72-65, -4.0

POTG: LF Alfonso Soriano (2B, HR, 2 R, RBI)
Runner Up: SS Ryan Theriot (H, BB, RBI), 2B-3B Mark DeRosa (2 H, RBI)

Sometime, it’s better to let the emotion of the moment pass over you before you start commenting on it. You might be better of having some perspecitve on the moment. I tend to do that here, because I’ve got no one demanding me say anything right after the game (or anything ever), but then I’m also not paid millions and millions of dollars.

Do fans have a right to boo? Yea, sure.
Does it ever make sense to boo? I don’t know. I’m not sure it has any positive effect on the team, though the game is just entertainment and if you night’s entertainment is booing the team when they’re bad, did you still get your money’s worth?

Should players take boos or cheers personally? NO. They’re not cheering for you because of they think you’re a swell person or in appreciating of your work with charity, though they may feel those things. Fans cheer based on what they think the player has done for them, what they’re doing right now, and what they think may do for them next. (They may also boo the player as surrogate for people who don’t actually step on the field but are responsible for the player to be there.) Once the crowd of people watching your game switches from supportive parents to ticketholders, the fan reactions become completely shallow, impersonally, and transitory. It’s always been like this and it will always been like this.
Is there any easy way to distance yourself from the reactions of the crowd? No no no. It’s too tasty to give in to buy into the crowd cheering YOU rather than the double you just hit, and it’s too late to give up once they start booing the walks you’re giving up.

This is just one drama of what will be many with Z over his baseball life with the Cubs. He said something stupid, he apologized the next day. Last I checked, the Cubs were still up by 1.5 and the earth was still rotating around the sun. My cable’s gone out as I written this today, so I’ll have to peer out the window occasionally to double check that the world has not come to an end.

The only thing that really bugged me is Z riling against the fans for booing other people, but only being upset about it to mention it when they were booing him. There were people standing up for the likes of Jacque this and last, but I don’t remember Z being one of them.

Hey, cable’s back.

Game 72: Cubs 5 – White Sox 1


Cubs 33-39, 8 1/2 GB
White Sox 29-40, 12 1/2 GB

POTG: Z! (8 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 12 K)
Runner Up: LF Soriano (2 H, HR), 3B A Ram (2 H, HR, 2 RBI), CF Felix Pie (H, 2 RBI)

Carlos Zambrano is the awesomest thing ever. Brian Kendrick should change his finisher name from Sliced Bread #2 to Carlos Zambramo, because he clearly is the greatest thing since. If the team sale means Z doesn’t get resigned, I may have to buy Extra Innings, change the name of the website and throw out half my t-shirts. You MUST pay this man.

I was driving and eating a pretzel dog when the game was going on. I figured I was going to be too late to the Chicago area to hear this game live on WGN (and I was right), so I just turned my iPod on for the trip and waited till I got home to find out any of this (though I did get a phone call indicating it was going to be worth my time.) This was a great call.

Interesting but not particularly surprising they put Bowen behind the plate for the first Z start they could. I don’t think they want Carlos to be attached to Koyie (and to be fair, he probably is only attached to non-Barrett pitchers), but Bowen didn’t seem to be the different maker here. You’re not going to look good the first time you catch Z’s stuff, and Bowen sure looked like he was catching Z for the first time. It worked, so no complaints.

He’s like 2 more of these away from an All Star Birth, right? 10 wins, ERA may be under 4…

Some of those Soriano home runs would look really nice with runners in front of him.

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Game 9: Reds 6 – Cubs 5


POTG: RP Michael Wuertz (1 IP, 3 K, 3 IHR stranded – if they had a Game Score like stat for relievers, that’d be a 100)
Runner Up: 3B/LF/RF/2B D Riot (3 H, 2 RBI, 2 SB, nice fill in at 3B), RF Jacque Jones (2 H, R, BB, SB), C Michael Barrett (2 H, BB, RBI)

WGN Radio via Chicago Sports: It (only) took a 4 loss streak to cost Pinella his sanity.

THAT’S IT. No more two days off in a row any more! All that free time only leads to pain. This story about A Ram hurting his wrist weeks ago, hitting 400, and then the wrist swells up…well, you know, I hope when Hendry was telling the reporters this story, he was doing all sorts of winks and facial expression to convey he didn’t actually believe this crock of a story, because I don’t know how any one sane could.

The DeRosa injury I tend to believe. I was more annoyed that he tried playing thru it, because he was quite obviously not feeling well enough to have an even marginally effective at bat. Santo almost went off on that, and I kinda hope he does in private – Mark shouldn’t be getting in the game if he’s hurting that bad, and the coaches should know that he’s hurting that bad and not put him in.

I’m pretty sure Santo slammed down his headset after the Ohman appearance – it sounded like that as they went to break. That was unbelievably awful, and it’d take a lot of faith to go to him again in any situation with runners on base (or maybe any situation at all.)

And Z…well, I think I wrote about it last start, where he’s really good, but he’s got that one horrible inning that prevents him from being great. Hughes had a similar thought, that Z appears to lose a few wins a great pitcher would have, because he self destructs with a big lead. (At least he’s hitting 429)

Regardless of if the Cubs go on to win 60 games or 90, this is one they’re going to regret not having.

Unrelated: I’m going to miss Extra Innings on Monday when you have to start paying for it and I don’t. There’s nothing quite like watching LaTroy Hawkins pitch for the Rockies, followed by Juan Cruz pitching for the Diamondbacks. And who’d ever figure that the Rockies has M-imitation funny commercials? Crazy.

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Game 5: Cubs 6 – Brewers 3


Cubs 3-2, win series, 1 GB
Brewers 2-3

POTG: 1B D Lee (2B, 3 H, RBI, R), 3B A Ram (HR, 2 RBI), LF Matt Murton (2 H, R)
Runner up: SP Z (7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 6 K, 2 BB; H, RBI; W 66), RP Ryan Dempster (2 K, IP, S 62)

Carlos still had that one inning where he lost his mind, and it would’ve been disastrous if not for Derek’s nifty double play. Still, he’s on the right track, and at least he’ll get an April win for sure this time around.

As long as Derek and Ram and De Rosa are hitting over 400, this will be a tough team to beat. I don’t quite think it’ll work out that way.

Other things I don’t think will work out include Cesar Izturis batting second. Pinella’s theory is he can turn a below average hitter into a good hitter if he spots them between Soriano and Lee, but I think I’d much rather just bunch the good hitters together and not make outs directly in front of our good batters.

I know the stats say batting order doesn’t make much difference unless you do it in a vastly unproductive fashion, but I choose to believe they just haven’t found the right analysis yet to prove that it does matter.

Quick game.

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