First off, is there a more appropriate picture for MLBlogs than this one, titled “Fans Shed Light on the Game?”
“JERRY: You should just do it like a Band-Aid. One motion! Right off!”
As a fan of the Seinfeld series for years, this is one of my favorite quotes from the show. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll recognize it as Jerry’s suggested method of breaking up with someone in comparison to the best way to taking off a band-aid…one motion…RIGHT OFF! Sure, it’s uncomfortable and hurts a bit, but it’s going to hurt anyway so just get it over with and move on already.
Free agents: RHP Ryan Dempster, OF Jim Edmonds, RHP Chad Fox, RHP Bob Howry, RHP Jon Lieber, 1B Daryle Ward, RHP Kerry Wood.
Eligible for arbitration: IF Ronny Cedeno, LHP Neal Cotts, RHP Chad Gaudin, OF Reed Johnson, RHP Michael Wuertz.
Club options: RHP Rich Harden ($7 million; picked up Oct. 8), C Henry Blanco, $3 million ($300,000 buyout).
Player options: None
Non-tender possibilities: None
Geovany Soto, .285, 23 HRs, 86 RBIs
The Cubs expect Soto to follow up his sensational rookie season with another solid year. Henry Blanco was a mentor to Soto, but whether that’s worth the $3 million option owed him will have to be determined. Blanco started 45 games.
Derrek Lee, .291, 20 HRs, 90 RBIs
Micah Hoffpauir, .362, 25 HRs, 100 RBIs (Triple-A)
Hoffpauir is a solid left-handed bat with no place to play. He could be a better-than-average backup, but Lee never likes to take a day off.
Mark DeRosa, .285, 21 HRs, 87 RBIs
Mike Fontenot, .305, 9 HRs, 40 RBIs
DeRosa did seem to play more right field than second base in the final month because of Kosuke Fukudome’s struggles. Fontenot is a solid left-handed option.
Ryan Theriot, .307, 1 HR, 38 RBIs, 22 SBs
Ronny Cedeno, .269, 2 HRs, 28 RBIs
Theriot improved from a year ago, although his numbers did go down again in the final month of play. Cedeno hit .378 in the first month but didn’t maintain that pace.
Aramis Ramirez, .289, 27 HRs, 111 RBIs
DeRosa is the backup at third to Ramirez, who notched his sixth 100-RBI season in the last eight years and set career highs with 44 doubles and a .380 on-base percentage.
Alfonso Soriano, .280, 29 HRs, 75 RBIs
Kosuke Fukudome, .257, 10 HRs, 58 RBIs
Reed Johnson, .303, 6 HRs, 50 RBIs
Felix Pie, .287, 10 HRs, 55 RBIs (Triple-A)
The Cubs head into the offseason again unsure about center field. Johnson made a positive impact and Jim Edmonds (19 homers, 49 RBIs with Cubs) did better than expected. Pie starred in the Minors but hasn’t been able to make the transition. He is still young. Soriano is signed through 2014, Fukudome through 2011. Fukudome batted .217 after the All-Star break, and one option the team may consider is adding a Japanese hitting coach.
RHP Carlos Zambrano, 14-6, 3.91 ERA, 188 2/3 IP, 130 K’s
LHP Ted Lilly, 17-9, 4.09 ERA, 204 2/3 IP, 184 K’s
RHP Rich Harden, 5-1, 1.77 ERA, 71 IP, 89 K’s (Cubs)
RHP Jason Marquis, 11-9, 4.53 ERA, 167 IP, 91 K’s
LHP Sean Marshall, 3-5, 3.86 ERA, 65 1/3 IP, 58 K’s
Dempster earned the Game 1 start in the NLDS after winning a career-high 17 games. A wild card in the mix is lefty Rich Hill, who won 11 games and led the team in strikeouts in 2007. Hill struggled with his control and back problems in ’08. Another option to be considered is right-hander Angel Guzman.
RHP Carlos Marmol, 2-4, 2.68 ERA, 82 Gs, 114 K’s
LHP Neal Cotts, 0-2, 4.29 ERA, 50 Gs
RHP Michael Wuertz, 1-1, 3.63 ERA, 45 Gs (Triple-A)
RHP Jeff Samardzija, 1-0, 2.28 ERA, 26 Gs (Cubs)
RHP Chad Gaudin, 9-5, 4.40 ERA, 50 Gs (Cubs/A’s)
RHP Kevin Hart, 2-2, 6.51 ERA, 21 Gs (Cubs)
If the Cubs don’t re-sign Wood, who had 34 saves in his first season as a closer, then Marmol would likely get the job with Samardzija as the No. 1 setup man.”
PROSE AND IVY THOUGHTS:
As for the free-agents: How do you not figure out a way to keep Ryan Dempster? As far as I’m concerned he’s one of the most valuable pitchers in the game right now. 17 wins in his first year back in a starting rotation, which could have been higher if the Cubs didn’t blow a couple of those games for him late…and I guy who is comfortable pitching late in a game if need be in the postseason. Some may feel Dempster jinxed us this year with his predictions in the Spring, but I’d rather have a confident pitcher who can follow it up and performs well in Wrigley, than some unknown Wrigley-untested potential bum with a big name. I say keep Dempster…and Wood. Sure he’s a heart attack across the board for Cubs fans and is extremely injury prone. But, with Marmol in the set up role, its hard to find a better 1-2 punch late in the game. Unless of course they feel like spending for K-Rod. Then Marmol K-Rod may send us to 161-1 next year (I don’t want to get ridiculous of course).
As for those eligible for arbitration: Goodbye everyone! Except Reed Johnson. I say keep Johnson, lose Edmonds and try to find a strong left-handed swinging center-fielder to start for us, keeping Soriano in left and Fukudome in right. Fukudome went South come the second half of the season, but I have a feeling that was just first year exhaustion and will get better as we go on. His defense is impeccable too. Having him on the team as a first option RF and Derosa around to back him up when the lumber goes silent is a situation I’m okay with.
Club options: Harden is going to be our leader in wins next year. That’s how I feel about Harden’s potential in a full season as a Cub so I’m thrilled the Cubs picked up his option. Blanco? I don’t know. He’s fine as a back up. $3M isn’t that much for a back up catcher so I suppose I’m fine with keeping him. Not sure who else we’d get to back up the extremely talented Soto. Thoughts anyone? I’d pick up the option unless anyone has any better ideas?
The rotation: I would leave our rotation as is however I would switch out Marquis for Marshall as our fifth starter. This of course would require re-signing Demp.
The bullpen: Get rid of Cotts, Weurtz and Gaudin. See what that money can get us elsewhere. Love Marmol in the set up role of course and is the perfect go to guy if Wood can’t handle the closing job or gets injured. If that’s the case, I agree with Muskat: give Samardzija a shot in the setup role and see what happens.
Clearly a left-handed heavy swinging bat is needed. Maybe that requires signing a rightfielder who’s a lefty and moving Fukudome to center with Reed Johnson as the fourth fielder and Pie close on everyone’s heels again? I’m a huge Pie fan and like the kid’s potential, but I have a feeling we’re looking at 2010 for his first complete season as a starting CF for the Cubs. Hendry might end up having $118 million dollars to play with this off-season. That’s the same number he had last winter and he followed that up with a repeat title in the Central.
Same spending amount sounds great. How about greater results? (RIGHT OFF!) Wait ’til next year! Go Cubs Go!
This video sparked the stream of conciousness that follows. Please watch before reading.
Historically, aside from all the wins and losses and eliminations and playoffs and naming of a World Series champion this year…going forward the record books and baseball landscape are going to look a bit different as they are about to lose two of their East coast mainstays, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. One with simply a new building and one with not only a new building but a new name. Depending on how things go this weekend, as of end of day Sunday, Shea Stadium will cease to exist as the home of the New York Mets. As a kid who grew up on the East Coast, this is where I’ve seen most of the baseball games I’ve gone to. When I went to the game the other night I couldn’t help but feel sad that this place was no longer going to exist. You could tell fans around the ballpark were already thinking about the fact that Shea would no longer be around too. Hard not to with fans taking pictures for their own favorite memory spots inside and outside of the stadium, as well as the organization’s countdown to the final home game.
There’s a certain vibe that can be felt in a ballpark. Some don’t exactly share the same amount of history as others do. Either they haven’t been around as long or haven’t had the same amount of successful, memorable seasons as other teams have had in their ballparks. Wrigley and Fenway will now be the last two remaining stadiums from the OLD days. They are classics…historical landmarks in the fabric of the baseball society. With every new cookie-cutter stadium that is built and named after some stupid cell phone company or bank, the closer we get to losing a large part of what has made baseball what it is today. The venues that the game has been played in. Think about it. Some of you may have moved with your family at some time in your life. Left the house that you grew up in. Left the only home you and your family have ever known. It’s a sad thing to go through. I know because I’ve fought my family on them doing so for a long time now. I’m sure eventually it would be best for my parents to move out of the house that is now a little too big for them and its been a little selfish on my part to request that they stay. People say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a house. You’ll still be family no matter where your parents live and regardless of whether you’ll be able to go back to the only home you’ve ever known or not, it’s about where your family is that makes a house a home, not the actual house itself”. That may be true, but then why does it matter so much to so many that nothing does change and that you’re able to keep the same house forever? It’s because that’s where all your history lives and breathes. And as baseball fans, our fellow fans become our baseball family and our stadiums our baseball family’s home.
Root for a team long enough and you don’t even need to know the people around you at the ball game. Just the simple fact that you wear the same team colors and have laughed and cried at the same history of the team together is all that matters. When it comes to being a baseball fan, that’s what matters. The memories. And the memories will always be there. It just doesn’t feel the same though when you think about the fact that the tangible place in which those memories took place will be gone forever. And for baseball fans that have had to go through this around the country, it’s a very sad thing. Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium and every other ballpark that has been shut down over the years because it was simply to old and out of date to invest in and carry on, had fans that went through the same thing New York Yankees and New York Mets fans are going through now. The memories live on but the tangible home of those memories soon to be lost forever. That is a sad thing. One of the biggest necessary evils of the game I suppose. Let’s just hope Wrigley Field is never added to the list and that Cubs fans never have to experience this kind of loss.
Final score: Mets 7, Cubs 6. Will any of what occurred in the past four days matter come October? Who are the Cubs going to play in the NLDS? This race has been so entertaining, I don’t even want to be able to know the answer to that until after all the games end on Sunday.
By beating the Mets in the house the Amazin’s built, the Cubs clinched home field advantage throughout the NLCS. Now whether they make it that far remains to be seen. However, with the home field advantage Wrigley has been so far this year for the Cubs…that is definitely more great news this club can enjoy, in addition to repeating as NL Central champs, clinching the division on Saturday against the Cardinals.
The magic number is down to two. One win for the Cubs…one loss for the Brewers. That’s it. That’s all that is standing between the Cubs and a repeat title in the National League Central. 151 games played. 92 won. 59 lost. And at home, a record of 53-25. Tomorrow at Wrigley they get another opportunity to celebrate on the home field, for the 54th time this season…and if accompanied by a Brewers loss…this celebration will come with the division and another trip to the postseason…another chance to get to and win the World Series.
What an amazing game tonight. Dempster achieved his career high win count with 16 after failing to reach the mark in his last few starts. Soriano comes through as does Ramirez in extremely clutch situations. Marmol duels his way to lead the Cubs into the top of the ninth holding on to the lead. And in a classic battle of speed versus power, Wood defeats Fielder in a one-on-one battle of the NL Central titans to hold off the Brewers push and win the game 5-4 in front of an extremely excited Wrigley crowd.
Carlos Zambrano is the man.
Why ‘yikes’? First off, I can’t believe its been so long since I posted last. The past month and half was extremely stressful for a number of reasons and while I made sure to watch the games, read the box scores and follow the standings, it was hard to find the opportunities to talk about it all and share my thoughts about it on here. Things have settled down a little bit though, so it should be a bit easier to do so. Expect more posts and pitchers of beer handed out down the stretch. This season is turning out to be intense…
umpkins. A rock star. Work hard, play harder. Yet you know what beating and exhaustion he couldn’t take as long as his time as a rock star? Following the Cubs on a regular hard core basis. Oh sure, he’s still a die-hard fan, but he’s more watching the roller coaster from a far than actually sitting on it like he used to. No wonder…a .487 winning percentage since he entered the world in 1967. He’s not in the running for the “if for anyone” award here, but still, I love the fact that being a Cubs fan was harder on him than being a rock star. Hilarious.