Monday night randomness


More stuff backlogged in to my brain:

* I don’t know if everyone else talked about it and I was just to caught up in Playoff Fever, but last week’s mention of Angel Guzman’s surgery caught me by surprise. It’s not a national story as Prior and Wood have been, but it’s just as much a disappointment. Angel is now just another failed top level prospect whom the Cubs can not count on for next season and is unlikely to ever contribute. And unlike the other two, Angel’s never really gotten paid. It’s too bad.

* As much Jacque deserves to be free from the torture rack that wearing the Cubs uniform was for him, Jones, Floyd and Monroe are taking some power with them and no one seems primed to replace them.

The saving grace is those three were not adding much power last year and may not add it to their new teams next year. It’s still a hole that needs to be filled. Maybe Soto or Pie can step up, but this has to be in mind when the new outfielders are strong.

* Kaz Matsui signing with the Astros is not only good because it tricks the Astros into playing an over valued player for many games until they figure it out (and settling for average in the meantime), but it also saves the Cubs from a long term commitment they would end up very unhappy with. My biggest worry now is – well, if the Cubs were silly enough to think signing Kaz Matsui to a three year deal was the best idea possible, the second best idea might really be scary. (David Eckstein? oh no.)

* ESPNZone charged us ten dollars per person per hour to watch football on Sunday. Never watch football at ESPNZone. Go to a local sports bar. Might be good for other stuff.

* The Bulls……

* One more call to make tomorrow. It’s the day before Thanksgiving, so I think I’ve passed thru. Now I just need my car.

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Game 76: Cubs 8 – Rockies 5


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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white whale caught


Took long enough. It was clearly the different player options and injury protection they put in there.

All sorts of wacky things start to happen if he gets 425 PA or 100 starts, but let’s assume no. He should be used to spot people versus right handers and an effective pinch hitter. Note that he’s not sure if he’ll make the start of spring training – it seem possible he could start the year on the DL while rehabbing his Achilles tendon/bone spur injury.

11 hitters on the 25, as of now…

CA Barrett
1B Lee
2B DeRosa
SS Cesar
3B A-Ram
LF Murton
CF Soriano
RF Jacque

CA Blanco
1B Ward
UT Theroit
OF Pagan
OF Floyd

Floyd and Ward are lefties off the bench and kinda the same type of player. I wonder if they still would’ve signed Ward if they knew they were getting Floyd? Then again, they’ve been trying to get Floyd since day 1, so that couldn’t have been a surprise.

While I’ve still got him on the list, I think Pagan’s not making the team. Including the three starters, they’ve got five corner infielders and no one with center field experience on the team. If they’re telling the truth about trying Theroit out there, that’s great, but that also means he’s not working at SS and there’s no backup there.

(off topic: if Theroit’s the backup CF, doesn’t that mean Pie’s going for his spot? that’s gonna be a war.)

If Cesar went down during a game, DeRosa or Theroit could shift over and take his place, and they could call up Cedeno immediately after, but I believe they’ll instead keep Ronny or Tomas Perez on the 25 man roster just in case. This is one of the points where people who actually manage the game differ in how they do things than people who just watch (who’s take that risk.)

Cesar actually did play full seasons till 2005, but he’s fragile and he’s a guy you’d like to pinch hitter for, so from a tactical standpoint, I could understand keeping one of the no-hit SS as the 25 man. I’d actually prefer it to be Tomas Perez, because Cedeno needs to get some consistent at bats at AAA to get better and get evaluated. The potential problem, as it was with Neifi and Macias, is Tomas Perez is best used as the 25th guy, but there’s no guarantee he won’t be the first man off the bench.

I picked up this years Bill James Handbook and they’ve included the manager breakdowns, which are interesting, but like James said in last year’s introduction, they’re only a start. Maybe it’s just because of where the Cubs are right now, but I think they’d be improved if they included managers who didn’t manage in 2006 but would be considered for future jobs – we’re not going to read Pinella’s tendencies till we’ve seen a year of them. More specific to this situation, I’d like more breakdowns of pinch hitting – what hitter was the first off the bench, and how did he do. Some managers will use their best guys first, and some will hold them back for a key opportunity and use leftover hitters instead (like Dusty). It’s a NL only thing, but it’s a major difference in strategy.