Sunday, August 23, 2009

If I were GM Part III

So there's all this talk aobut, OMG, what are we gonna do this offseason? How do we trade for? Who do we sign? There's still 6 weeks left here folks. What do we do now? On more accurately, what do we do come September 1?

Simple. If the Cubs are within 4 games of first place - not completely impossible, then it's business as usual. Call up a few guys, but for the most part, stick with the core, plus The Hoff and ReJo. That way, we're shooting to make up one game per week to make for an exciting final week. Once we get to the psot season, we'll have our A##es handed to us, but that's another blog.

The last 4 weeks, with the exception of the Cardinals, Sox and Giants we don't even get to play spoiler. Just 3 weeks of really sadly meaningless games.

Which is why I propose the following if the Cubs find themselves 4.5+ out of first.

1. Platoon A-Ram and Fox every other day at third. A-Ram ain't healed yet.
2. Get Fox behind the plate - he may be a viable candidate for catcher. Wouldn't mind him seeing more time at first either.
3. Platoon The Hoff and Sorry-I-Suck in Left. Hoff will need the playing time and AB's, and Soriano, like it or not - we're stuck with him for another 5 years, so lets do our best to keep him healthy.
4. Call up Samardzija and go with a 6 man rotation - Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Harden, Gorzelanny, Samardzija. This will ease the strain on the starting staff and allow Gorzy and Sammy to audition for the #5 spot for next year.

That's all I got for now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If I were GM Part Deux

This offseason can be ruled a success with relatively few moves, and that's a really good thing because there are few moves the Cubs can realistically make.

Kapper starts off his assumptions that the Ricketts will eat salary and move Milt. While that wouldn't be an entirely bad thing, depending on the move, let's not make that assumption and assume instead that what you see is what you get.

And that means the following positions are filled:

1B - Lee
2B/SS - Theriot
2B/SS - Vacancy
3B - Ramirez
LF - Sorry-I-Suck
CF - Johnson/Fuku
RF - Bradley
Catcher - Soto

SP1 - Zambrano
SP2 - Lilly
SP3 - Dempster
SP4 - Wells
SP5 - Gorzy/Samarjy/Marshall/Vacancy

Closer - Marmol/See Below
Setup - Guzman/Grabow/See Below
Bullpen - Heilman + above,

The biggest gamble from a starting position perspective was "Can Fontenot produce the numbers he produced as a part-timer as a full timer?" with the answer being a resounding Heckle-me Elmo NO!. So, there's a hole there and IMHO, the biggest need on the team. Releasing Harden to Free Agency allows this hole to be filled by one of the following names in order of preference - Orlando Hudson, Marco Scutaro, Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa, Miguel Tejada, or David Eckstein. Now, because all of these gents will soon be receiving their baseball AARP cards, here are the take it or leave it offers made to these boys -

Any of the top 3 would be offered 3 years at 4-8 mil/year.

Marco Scutaro - Solid hitter, some power, and he does it in the AL East - 4 Mil is 4 times his current salary

Orlando Hudson - Switch-hitting Freddie Sanchez - 5 mil is 2 more than this year, but not quite his peak. 4th option year

Freddie Sanchez - Solid hitter, minimal power - He'll cost 8 mil AT LEAST. Listed third because of cost. 4th option year

Mark DeRosa - 2 years/5-6 mil - 4th on the list because the legend of DeRo will never be as good as DeRo. Plus he's 35.

Miguel Tejada - 1 year, 5-6 mil - Solid hitter, Power hitter, but by his own admission maybe isn't great for SS any more. He will likely laugh at this offer.

David Eckstein - In lieu of Ryan Theriot, I'd have loved to have this guy on our team 6 years ago. But, since we have a Ryan Theriot, he's really not necessary and is last on the to-do list - 1 year/3 mil. - 3 times his current salary.

Now, for the fun picks - Above, I mentioned Marmol would be the provisional closer, one guy could not be had - Jose Valverde. Quite possibly the scariest man to ever don a baseball uniform. I'd love to have him closing games and Marmol will just have to realize that the 7th inning is just as important, if not more important than the 9th.

Finally, one last fun pick. I wouldn't mind, but won't get in an uproar if it doesn't happen, taking one last shot at Nomar in a backup 3rd base/first base role. Solid serviceable bat and good defender - just right for those times that Lee or Rami need a nap.

Now the touchy issue I know Kapper will hate. Leave the starting rotation alone. Zambrano when he's on - and I know that's a huge if - can go toe to toe with anyone. Dempster and Lilly can face down any #2's or 3's, and Randy Wells over the season, despite the length of service, hasn't gotten caught up to yet. At that point, I'd go with Gorzy (big asterisk here based on the rest of his body of work for this season) for the #5 slot keeping 2 lefties in the rotation. Marshall goes to the pen when he's frankly better suited and spot starts as necessary.

If Zambrano proves again that he just can't hack it as a #1, then see who's available come July.

Bear in mind, we are working on a budget here, and Lackey made 10 mil last season. So there ya have it. I may change my mind tomorrow, but that's what I got.

If I were GM...Part I

So Kapper, the ultimate Cubs fan, seems to have thrown in the towel. Already talking about next season. And well he should be. The Cubs are pretty much toast now, so yes, let's play Hendry for a few moments. Here's his actual tweet:

@thekapmanLatest post up on Kap's Corner. You play Cubs GM. Best plan wins dinner! Tweet this out to all your Cubs fan friends!

challenge accepted.

I'm gonna mull this one a bit, but names are already floating around like Sanchez, Tejada, Pinero, Lackey...hmm...Watch for this to come next couple of days...

This one is a toss up

So we can't go to San Diego without pointing out the following correlation -
Step 1. Cubs want to be more left handed.
Step 2. Henry Blanco ain't, but he IS a mentor to Geo Soto
Step 3. Henry goes elsewhere
Step 4. Geo Sucks.

So HEndry obviously dropped the ball right? I sure as heck know _I_ made this argument a couple of times. However - hindsight is 20-20 - even the strongest Blanco lovers have to admit, there is no way in hell that Henry Blanco catches 26 games in a row when Geo goes on the DL for smoking, er I mean his side.

Koyie Hill has been a serviceable backup. I would argue that over a season, I would probably rather have Hank White as a backup, but for a 1 month stretch of not having Jake Fox behind the plate, Hill will do.

Really, this one is a coin toss.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Excuses abound.

To follow up on this twitter post -

August 19th - Musky the Cub's blog - "8/19 Hendry: "It's 'whatever it takes' time" - Except of course actually doing anything...

The following was posted as a comment on the blog - just bringing it here to share as well.

It's whatever it takes time, but when the questions come about what does it take, he points to the field. Oh no, _I_ can't do anything of course! It's the players! THEY have to do whatever it takes. I certainly can't be expected to pick up a veteran leader with closing experience. No, I'll just let him trot down to St. Louis along with everyone else in the world...cough...DeRosa...cough...Holliday...cough.

See folks - this is the difference between action, and sad-sack excuses. You do not get a pass Jimmy b/c you put together a 97 game winner LAST year. If anything, you're MORE under the microscope.

Jim Hendry has just morphed from good GM to donut-munching moron.

I'd suggest Jim, that you avoid the press and keep your head down until you're officially fired this off season - about the only positive thing that'll come about from this ownership situation.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is it over?


It ain't good. With the Cardinals showing no signs of slowing down and the Cubs playing - well like they are it doesn't look too good. Keeping in mind that only 12 of the last 50 games this season are against teams that are above .500, there is a chance that they might back into the playoffs. Once they get there? Well, the 83 win Cardinals jump to mind, but frankly here's what would have to happen - we're going to assume that somehow the Cubs get to the post season - for the Cubs to win.

1. Zambrano wouldh ave to stay sane for a solid three weeks.
2. Harden would have to stay whole for a whole 3 weeks.
3. Dempster would have to throw strikes for a whole three weeks
4. Lilly would pretty much just have to be the Lilly we've all seen.


5. Soriano would have to stop swinging at pretty much any breaking pitches.
6. Lee would have to be Lee of May/June, not April or July
7. Ramirez would have to remember how to hit after October 1.
8. Bradley would have to not be the guy he's been all year.

That's a lot of not sucking. But hey, I'm a Cubs fan. That whole blind-optimism thing is kinda how we roll..

A picture's worth

"So let's see here, 50 games left this year, plus the off season, then 45 days of Spring training and another 162 games next year, minus 4-5 ejections, I figure I've got about 300 games left of this BS before I go to the Yankees..."

Just for fun, Lou switches between calculating the number of games and the number of calendar days left on his contract. Sometimes, he figures out hours, but he needs a calculator for that.


Hey! This guy -

You're kind of an a-hole. You've done the near-impossible and actually given Cubs fans a worse reputation than they already had. On ESPN. You stupid barrel of monkey spunk. Don't go to any more games. Don't wear that ugly-ass hat. You're not welcome here. We don't serve your kind. There's plenty of room in that park 8 miles South for degenerates. Have fun - they actually have a chance of not sucking this year.

And the sunglasses - really? Are those like Marty McFly specials? Really? Looking forward to that Tron release?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Knock Knock. Who's there? Opportunity...

Is John Smoltz this year's Jim Edmonds? With Carlos Zambrano chatting up his buds off in DL Central, Lilly out of the picture for another couple of weeks, Samard-however the heck you spell his name-our only option for starter #5, and Kevin Gregg's recent issues. Umm...Anyone know where we might be able to pick up a servicable 5th starter with elite closing experience?

Granted Smoltz isn't at the top of his game, but to be fair, Smoltz at 75% is better than many options the Cubs have right now. Jim Edmonds was released from the weakest hitting team in baseball last year and still came over and made a solid difference - didn't excactly wipe the floor with anyone, but he was definitely a difference-maker and more than once. Besides, he'd be a good band-aid to cover the #5 starter slot. As long as he doesn't allow 20 runs per game, who cares who the #5 starter is? And if he does, have a nice day.

Not to mention Smoltz might be the veteran leader, coming from a winning tradition, who might be able to get this team all on the same page.

And he's cheap. Is he left handed by chance? No silly. If he was, he'd already be signed...

Monday, August 3, 2009

You're the manager - Manage

Say what you want about Gregg - and beleive me the twittersphere has been SAYING things - At least he took responsibility last night:

"Two pitches. Twenty-five guys put together great efforts, and [because of] two pitches we walk out of here losing."

That about sums it up. But here's a couple of other quotes -

"He's the manager; you do what he says," Dempster said of Piniella...


"I don't know. I don't make those decisions." (about calling up BJ Ryan from AAA) and - this one's my favorite - "Why should I?" When asked if maybe Piniella might consider the possibility of changing Gregg's role as closer.

Right now, it seems like most of this team is padding themselves so when the inevitable crash comes, it won't be on them. Hey, I'm just a player. I listen to the manager. Hey I'm just the manager, I listen to the General Manager. Kiss my purple pimpled butt. But we'll get more into that later.

Look, at this point, you may as well leave Gregg. Marmol can't close the Dutch, let alone a major league team. Guzman, while he's shown dominating stuff at times, has no experience and isn't as consistent and one would need. Heilmann - shoot I almost got that out with a straight face.

Maybe Ryan will be the answer later - not now. But I wouldn't mind seeing him up here soon. Meantime, don't call for firing someone until you have someone else step up. GRegg gets just a touch more rope to hang himself with. After that, we'll need to talk a bit more.