Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Sherrif in town...

So, here come the Ricketts, the mighty Riiiiicketts...Ok, I've been watching too much hockey. So can I just tell you how excitied I am to have the Ricketts family owning the Cubs? This morning I woke up - and that's about the same amount of excitement.

I still don't get why everyone seems to think this Ricketts deal is the big turnaround we've all been waiting for. I don't. His name ain't Steinbrenner. It's not even Cuban. Even God wouldn't dump millions and millions into this team. The Cubs are in the top 5 for payroll already - they should be winning now, but they're not. More of the same is not going to help. Playing fundamentally sound baseball will help - and history is not on our side on this point.

Good luck Ricketts. I for one do not expect you to balloon the payroll, or spend just for the sake of spending. Everyone else in the known universe does. Just make sure you let everyone down easy.

And don't even THINK about keeping Bradley.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2009 Wrap up

A .500 team. A 140 million dollar .500 team. That pretty much sums it up. A disastrous offseason that lead to a mediocre season. Every time the Cubs threatened to grab a respectable hold on a +.500 record, they quickly squashed that dream with another losing streak. It was almost funny.

The GOOD news is, Jimmy-boy only signed one ridiculously bad contract. Had he dumped money into 3-4 bad contracts - well, then we have some serious issues. Fortunately, only "The Mistake" is destined to not earn a single dollar we'll be paying him next year.

Yeah. THAT'S the good part. Coming up, we'll be looking at some potential moves to be made. We'll continue breaking down the 2009 roster. We'll anxiously wait with baited breath to see what player Jim Hendry managed to win a bidding war against himself for. And we'll hope he doesn't share a name with a popular board game company.

More minutes to come.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2009 End of Season Roster

Updated daily until the World Series -ish.

Roster #1- Carlos Zambrano - Everyone except those who matter wants this guys gone. Fortunately, the ones who matter are right.
Roster #2 - Aramis Ramirez - Once again proving he's the most clutch hitter on the team. Almost an RBI per game. Sick.
Roster #3 - Carlos Marmol - 12 balls followed by 9 strikes. Named closer next year in an attempt to get it down to 8 balls before 3 K's.
Roster #4 - Ryan Dempster - Considering his daughter lived in a hopital through June, 11 wins is freakin' awesome. You are hard core.
Roster #5 - Ted Lilly - Had an "off year", leading the team in wins. The best starter for the last 4 years. Only All Star, well deserved.
Roster #6 - Mike Fontenot - Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 starting second baseman - unfortunately. Get used to pinch-hitting.
Roster #7 - Reed Johnson - Good for one spectacular catch in April, then decent play the rest of the year. Still thinks he can bunt.
Roster #8 - Alfonso Soriano - Leg fell off in May, didn't tell anyone until September. Going to be here a while - get used to it.
Roster #9 - Milton Bradley - "The Mistake" Period. End of list. Can't get out of town fast enough. And take your lying-ass mom with you.
Roster #10 - Derrek Lee - Slow start, then took off like a rocket and didn't look back. Almost enough to carry the team. Almost.
Roster #11 - John Grabow - With Guzman and Marmol, he completes a deadly trio. And guess what Lou, HE'S LEFT HANDED!
Roster #12 - Kevin Gregg - Don't worry Gregg. I'm sure the 7 blown saves, 4.79 ERA and 13 HR's won't affect your contract opportunities.
Roster #13 - Rich Harden - Only starter to pitch almost the entire season. Missed 2 weeks b/c we all forgot he was supposed to be injured.
Roster #14 - Kosuke Fukudome - Much more consistent this year. Still spins like a top at the plate when he's off. Still a waste of money.
Roster #15 - Randy Wells - Spot starter ends up leading the team in wins. Can you say Wally Pipp?
Roster #16 - Geovany Soto - Duuuuude. You like totally got major muchies last year. No more twinkies. Let's hope you weren't a 1 hit wonder.
Roster #17 - Aaron Miles - Even Mendoza thinks you suck.
Roster #18 - Ryan Theriot - When Piniella says "Drive the ball" from now on your first thought should be "Which car should I take?".
Roster #19 - Koyie Hill - I have it on good authority that he once threw out Jesus trying to steal a base - with 1 hand. Hard freakin' core.
Roster #20 - Jeff Baker - Rumor has it, the Cubs have asked him to change his last name to "DeRosa".
Roster #21 - Sean Marshall - Dear Sean, you're a bullpen pitcher and the sooner you get that through your head the better off you'll be.
Roster #22 - Tom Gorzelanny - Not as hard to spell as Samardzija, but close. Is hoping to rehash his 2006 not-too-shabbiness.
Roster #23 - Aaron Heilman - We just found out why two teams didn't want him last year. Decent 11th bullpen guy,
Roster #24 - Angel Guzman - Wants to change his name to "marmol" and move into the setup slot. Welcome. Stay healthy and it's yours.
Roster #25 - David Patton - I had to google him to make sure he was still a Cub. Elvis was seen more often at Wrigley than this guy.

Honorable Mentions:
Micah Hoffpauir - Still the hoff, but no longer capitalized. Hitting .239 will do that.
Jake Fox - Think Pedro Serano. If you make the mistake of throwing a fastball, he'll hit the piss out of it. If not....
Sam Fuld - Quickly replacing Reed Johnson as the fans' favorite backup outfielder.
Bobby Scales - Proved without a doubt that he can only play on dirt, not grass.
Andres Blanco - Made the play of the year. Couldn't get to 1st base in a women's prison with a fist full of pardons.

Predicitons vs. Reality

This is almost comical, but here we go -

Predictions vs Reality

Total wins - Predicted - 94

Wow...that was a laugher. Knowing the issues facing this team going in, I only trimmed 3 wins off their record. Sheesh. The boys ended with a ridiculous 83 wins.

1st NL Central by 5 games

Ok, I didn't expect the Cubs to be a remarkably 500 as they were, but nobody saw St. Louis coming. And by nobody, I mean really nobody. Cubs ended up diown by 7.5 games, remarkably still in second place.

Team Batting Average - .264

I wasn't too far off on this, all things considered. The Cubs could hit just fine. It was situational hitting where they failed, spectacularly, every single freakin' day...Anyway. .255.

Milton Bradley games - 96

Let's add a caveat here - I should've said Milton Bradley full games. He ended up with 124 games, BUT he pinch hit 16 times, which brings the total down to 108. Add to that the 15 days he SHOULD'VE spent on the DL at the beginning of the season, but for Jim Hendry's pride, and the total is down to 93. However, Jimmy did finally sack up and suspend "The Mistake", so 108 sounds right, and only 12 more than I thought.

Fukudome games - 100

Fuky appeared in 146 games this year, but again, only started 129. Bear in mind that Fuky was consistently average this year, with the ups not nearly as up, and the downs not nearly, thankfully, as down. So he got more starts - still a waste of money.

Rich Harden Starts - 24

Rich was the only Cubs starter to pitch a full season, until he was shut down in Mid-September. Considering most of the civilized world thought he'd be having shoulder surgery in June, that's remarkably consistent. He started 26 games. Boo yah.

Rich Harden Starts of 7+ innings - 5

5. Boo yah. One freakin' predicition thus far. Yippee for freakin' me.

Over/under 200 innnings for starters -
Dempster - over
Lilly - over
Zambrano - over
Harden - under
Marshall - under

DL stints affected my three overs and with 200, 177, and 169.1 respectively, I gotta say I whiffed on all three of those. Marshall and Harden - shocker of all shockers didn't climb over 145. Next year I'll make it more challenging and set it at 185.

No surprises there.

Home Runs -
The Hoff - 13 9

Initially predicted 13, then switched it to 9. He ended up with 10. Minor league stint didn't help his numbers. Nor did his .239 BA.

Bradley - 25

"The Mistake" managed only 12 home runs. Out slugged by Aramis "82 games" Ramirez. Nice job dipsh*t.

Lee - 20

Lee made a strong comeback this year after breaking his wrist 2 years ago. Finished the year with a team-leading 35. He may be back ladies and gents. But remember, and I will next year too - he's a slow starter.

Ramirez - 33

Only played in 82 games, and hit 15. Multiply that by 2 - that's 30. So I was close.

Soriano - 35

Dude, "manning up" does not always mean playing hurt. Sometimes it takes a bigger man to acknowledge that you're not helping your team. You only hit 20 HR and overall sucked worse than you usually did, and I suspect it was largely because you could barely walk for 4 out of 6 months.

Fontenot - 23

This is such a f*cking joke it's barely worth the bandwidth.

Soto - 19

Pot smokin' hippie. Stay of the green stuff and drop another 35 pounds. No more twinkies.

Yes, Fontenot will have more home runs than Lee. - see above comment.

Starters ERA - 4.25
Relievers ERA - 3.85

These two eras are all over the place with all the spot starting etc. Let's put it this weay, for the bulk of the season, starting pitching was NOT the problem.
For the first couple of months, the bullpen was a HUGE problem, but even they got their crap together come August-ish.

Marmol ERA - 2.49

Marmol would've been fine if he hadn't gotten so upset about not being made closer. I don't suspect that was his whole problem, but it was a lot of it. Given the fact that he consistently walked the bases loaded before striking out the side, his 3.41 ERA is a blessing.

Gregg ERA - 3.15

I guess, I really can't explain what I was thinking. Maybe I assumed that Hendry couldn't have had a total clusterf*ck of an offseason and at least ONE move had to have worked out and maybe you wouldn't be that bad. God that was freakin' dumb. 4.72 - Nuff said.

Runs Per Game - 4.89

Off by .5 run - 4.39. Lost way too many games with a 1 or 2 run differential.

Runs Allowed Per Game - 4.35

I was actually really close on this one - 4.17. As I said, the pitching was for the most part, not the problem.

One Run games W - 59%

.421 - I didn't count on having such a crappy bullpen at the start of the year, and a crappy closer for the rest of it.

Home Wins - 52


Road Wins - 42


Once again, off by 11 games - they had to come from somewhere. Cubs gave away a lot of games, both home and road. Their overall record speaks for itself.

So that's it. Of all the prediations I made, I was only right about Rich Freakin' Harden. Good for me. Stay tuned for the season wraps in the coming months.