Rambling One Week before the Cubs Opening Day

It has been a few weeks, but it is Friday, and it is time to ramble. The Cubs are fresh off of a victory over the Red Line rival and getting ready to head north. We have sprung ahead as hope springs eternal every year for Cubs fans. So, let’s get down to the brass tax and start rambling. Here we go …

  • Opening Day falls on April Fool’s Day this year. Insert any line here about the Cubs being a bad joke or fooling us season after season.
  • Sporting News ran a brief box story about Matt Garza and his propensity to allow many fly balls. It was not comforting to read nor was watching Omar Vizquel tattoo a ball over the wall in right field yesterday afternoon.
  • Omar Vizquel has had 10,226 career at-bats. Vizquel has 80 career homerun. In 21 seasons, that averages out to less than four homers per year. Do I need to keep spelling this out?
  • I am really excited about cheering for Kerry Wood on Opening Day. I cannot even imagine the emotions. That is going to be very cool. I really hope that is not the highlight of the season.
  • I am really scared this will be the highlight of the season.
  • Starlin Castro has me very excited about his potential. He has been raking this spring and is leading the team in homers. Aaron Boone said during yesterday’s telecast that it is just a matter of time before he starts hitting the ball out with consistency.
  • I feel bad for Scales. It appears everyone thought he earned a spot. Apparently, he never had a chance.
  • At least that is my opinion. He could not have done more to make the squad. So, if he never had a chance, it appears his presence didn’t really motivate DeWitt.
  • However, it appears DeWitt lost his job at second to Barney.
  • Did anyone else notice that Fukudome has struggled this Spring? His batting average is not that much better than DeWitt’s.
  • In other words, it is NOT good.
  • If this has been mentioned by someone, I apologize in advance, but is it me or has Carlos Marmol put on some “pudge?” He looks a bit hefty. Not that he is Carlos Silva, but I noticed a difference.
  • You just knew Carlos Silva was going to have a solid outing Wednesday. You just knew it would happen. I hope the decision-makers are not fooled by this. Give the job to Cashner. Please.
  • I have said it before, and I will say it again … when there is money to be made, athletes normally step up to the plate. And in this literal and figurative case, Aram will step up to the plate.
  • Fukudome is hitting .195 this spring.
  • Colvin will be starting in right field every day by June 1st. The only exception is that if the Cubs are struggling, and they are showcasing Fukudome for a trade.
  • Sorry, the last sentence I typed made me laugh.
  • Welington Castillo is batting .667. Koyie Hill is batting .037. Castillo will be sent down, and, unfortunately, I kind of understand why.
  • Castillo excelling in Triple-A would be great motivation for Soto, and allow Castillo to see regular at-bats.
  • If I had one hope for the season, it would be that the “Three C’s” continue developing, give us hope for the future.
  • And one last thing, I think we have tried before, but we need a good nickname for the “Three C’s.” Present your idea below, and we will pick one over the next week!

Well, that is all for now, faithful. I hope I have entertained and educated. If I annoyed and agitated, then I am sorry. But since most people, especially women, find me awesome, I am sure you all had a great time reading.

I cannot wait for next Friday! No matter what, Opening Day is one of the greatest days of the year!

I hope each and every one of you has a great weekend.

And until next time …
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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  • Ripsnorter1

    I’m trying to figure all of this out . . . .

    DeWitt won the 2B job by hitting .167 this ST, with a .180 OBP and .250 slugging. He’s not striking out much. He is hitting ground balls to the INF. His Ground Outs to Air Out ratio is 2.73. You don’t want to see that kind of percentage unless you are 25 years old and your name is Vince Coleman or Luis Castillo. He is a 3B by trade, but he has the power of a SS. So they are making him the starting 2B for the Cubs, since 2B is close to SS on the field. He cannot turn the double play, is not a good fielder, and he cannot run the bases. He doesn’t hit with any power–even less now that Rudy Jarmillo has him so goofed up at the plate. It is important for DeWitt to make this team since he was THE piece that made the Lilly/Theriot trade so valuable to the Cubs–that and the $2.5 million in salary relief the Cubs got from the deal. If DeWitt doesn’t make the team, Jim Clueless loses face.

    On the other hand, Scott Moore can play 3B, 2B, SS, and 1B. He can turn the double play. Unfortunately, Scott managed to hit a mere .342 with .658 slugging and .405 OBP this ST. That isn’t enough to make the team since Scott is so old: he’s 27 now. Worst of all, the Cubs got Moore for free. That means that Jim Clueless cannot save any face by having him on the team. Therefore Scott deserves his fate: having a locker next to Bobby Scales in AAA Iowa.

    And that brings me to Scales: he just can’t hit enough to make the team.
    He had a lousy .500 OBP, slugged a pathetic .542 and hit almost nothing: .375. Like Moore, he cannot make the team with such poor numbers because he has three strikes against him: he’s free, he’s old (33), and he cannot help Jim Clueless save face by being on the team.

    So now I think I’ve got it all figured out: Mike Quade is losing sleep over these roster moves because he has finally figured out three important facts:

    #1. He’s working for a guy that doesn’t have a clue about how to build a winning team.

    #2 Jim Clueless’ managerial decisions are not based upon winning, but upon “saving face.”

    #3 The Cubs are going to challenge the Pirates for the cellar in 2011.

    • Bryan

      Amen…and we have an owner who sits with his thumb up his ass while these absurd moves are being made. An incompetent GM, and a gutless manager. Here’s hoping we’ll see lots of empty seats at Wrigley this year to send a clear message.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Hey rip are you willing to bet your reputation on the cubs winning more than the Astro’s? You seem to forget that the Stros are going to loose a 100 games this year and I do not think either the Cubs or the Pirates will. If Houston wins more than the Cubs I leave here and never come back. If the Cubs do You go away so I do not hear the same song and dance every day?

      • Ripsnorter1

        Rich,
        Two points:
        #1 I will wait until the rosters are announced before I make prognostications about the standings.

        #2 You could simply not read anything I post and you’d have immediate relief. Why wait until October?

      • Tony_Hall

        Richard – I just don’t get why you went there!

        If you don’t like what someone writes – don’t read it. It seems simple to me.

    • Last_ginger

      Dewitt didnt win the job. Hes the utility man. Barney and Baker will platoon at 2B with Dewitt seeing more time at 3rd(his natural position) then 2B

      • Ripsnorter1

        We’ll see if Baker and Barney platoons, or Baker and DeWitt platoons at 2B. I know they have been working DeWitt out at 3B. Aram may be traded at the deadline . . . .

  • Tony_Hall

    Scales, Moore, Castillo – All these guys earned a spot on the team…never had a chance. At least a miracle could still happen with Castillo and his 650+ avg in ST.

    • JedMosley

      I’m thinking it would have been best to send down DeWitt and keep Moore to let DeWitt get his problems worked out on an everyday basis. Oh well. I would like Castillo on the roster only if he splits at bats with Soto and gets enough playing time, which could possibly end up happening with Hill anyways. Otherwise, It’ll be good to go down and get everyday action. Also, anyone else noticing that Barney is most likely to play when Fukudome is leading off and Colvin is most likely to play when Baker is leading off. Any chance the Cubs try leading off Barney so they can play Colvin more?

      • Tony_Hall

        Dewitt should be in Iowa. Everyone knows it, JH doesn’t want to accept it. Roster management is just not his thing…

        I would rather Castillo was the back-up catcher for the ML team. Back-up catchers can play alot, as starting catchers don’t play everyday. Castillo could be given 2 starts a week at the ML level, instead of 5 starts at AAA, I will take the ML experience in this case.

        Hill is not a future starter, but Castillo might be, and we all know that Soto needs days off.

        • JedMosley

          Like I said Tony, if he gets a decent amount of playing time then I’d like to see it happen. Let’s just hope hell freezes over so we can see it.

  • Tony_Hall

    Castillo is already ready to play at the ML level. Chirinos was close as well.

    Soto and his ever growing cost, is expendable and should be traded, when the opportunity appears.

    • cubtex

      To be honest I think the Cubs should look to deal both Soto and Marmol in the near future. I question the longevity of both players….especially Marmol. With Marmol’s violent delivey and all those sliders he throws it is not if he gets hurt….. but when!
      With Soto, you have to wonder if he will continue to keep the weight off throughout his career. I would have no problem dealing either one of these 2 players provided they get back excllent value in return.

      • Tony_Hall

        Hurray! We agree on something. Soto that is…

        I understand the thought on Marmol, but I don’t trade difference makers, I want to add them, and he is a difference maker.

        We don’t have many difference makers, that we can move him out, without getting one in return.

        The problem is they waited too long to give him an extension, and then didn’t do it, with team friendly, team options. I know, he would have to sign it, but a young pitcher with a violent delivery, IS going to take guaranteed money, we should have leveraged it to be more team friendly.

      • Tony_Hall

        One thing to know, saying to trade Soto, can bring out some people who love Soto. I was all for trading Soto this winter (Sell High) and use Castillo/Chirinos and if needed Hill to catch. Of course, I would have played Castillo and Chirinos all September to see how they did, so we could have had a better idea, if it would work, going into the offseason.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I would not trade either Marmol and Soto. You do not–repeat–you do not trade difference makers. You do not trade Maddox, Madlock, Jenkins, Sutter or Lee Smith. All such trades backfire. It was dumb to trade Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, too.

          Marmol is a difference maker. Keep him.
          Soto has got five good years ahead of him. Keep him, and play him 110 games catching, and 40 games as DH and 1B. Keep Castillo on the roster and play him 52 games as your starting catcher, and another 25 games at 1B or LF. He’ll also be a valuable PH. The Cubs are STUPID not to keep him on the roster. Hill cannot field, run, hit or hit with power. Castillo can hit and hit with power. We need him. And don’t tell me Reed Johnson is a bat off of the bench. His power is completely gone. He’s a .255 singles hitter now, and the speed is gone so that he cannot steal bases anymore.

          • Tony_Hall

            DH – Do you know something we don’t? Not many games a year to do that.
            1B – If there was ever a ST to give him some reps, this was it. I don’t see it happening.

            We’ve had this discussion many times. Obviously neither of us have persuaded the other to change our opinions.

            I keep holding out hope that they surprise us and cut Reed Johnson, and somehow put a bat on the bench.

          • Ripsnorter1

            The Cubs will have 9 games in which a DH will be used. Give Soto all 9 games off from behind the plate, and let Castillo play.

            Soto played 22 games at 1B in 2007 for AAA Iowa. He has played 1B in 2004, 2002, and 2001. I know the plan is Jeff Baker. But this would give us the freedom to cut Jeff Baker. I would assume that you would be all for that.

            Yes, I still say keep Soto, and yes, you still want to deal him. One of us will get our wish in 2011.

            Reed Johnson: still has a nice glove, but his other skills are greatly diminished: stolen base speed, power, hitting for average. I like the guy, but we need a big bat.

          • Tony_Hall

            If they do trade him you go, If they don’t I go…

            Of course go means have to go to a game at Wrigley and pay the Cubs for this mess.

          • John_CC

            There are two types of “difference makers”. Marmol is an elite closer and that is one type. The other type is an all around impact player – you know the type.

            The chances for a closer to make that difference is when the team is leading or at least tied in the final inning of a ballgame. And then, the true difference that gives him value is if he is on a team where it actually matters. The impact player makes a difference no matter the situation or day or team.

            Let me try to explain my logic better: The Cubs are a 75 win team – and most of us can agree on this, and will remain a work in progress team for the next couple years which is the duration of Marmol’s contract extension. The value of a “difference maker” like Marmol – an elite closer – is far greater to a team that is actually in competition for post seasons and championships. The offensive impact player makes a difference no matter what team he is on, and arguably, make a greater difference to a mediocre team.

            Finally, closers come and go way too easily. I’m not saying that offensive players don’t get injured, but an elite closer’s status is more tenuous. Sure some are a lot better than others, but I argue that they develop far more frequently than the offensive greats. I am talking about Longoria, Kemp, CarGo, Tulo, Braun etc. I’d rather have a Joel Hanrahan and AGon than a Marmol and Pena. Maybe that is a bad analogy but I think you get my point.

            If Marmol could be flipped to a contending team for a young, true impact hitter…I would do it. The Cubs desperately need someone – ANYONE – to begin to build around. It is not Castro or Colvin and surely not Marmol. You cannot build a team around a closer.

          • Tony_Hall

            I do see your point, and if they could get a young stud bat for him, I would say do it. But it’s not gonna happen.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes, you are correct in that you best not try to build a team around a closer.

            Yes, you are correct that I would also deal a Marmol for a young player with a big bat: Robinson Cano, age 28. But the Yanks won’t make that trade, he is an integral part of their team. How about Ryan Braun? The Brewers won’t do that, either. The Reds won’t deal Votto or Bruce for Marmol. The Braves won’t part with Heyward for Marmol.

            What am I saying? The Cubs have always dealt off a difference maker for 2 or 3 non-difference makers in return. They trade great players for good ones, and the they then make themselves more average (or below average).

            The key to building a winning team is to accumulate above average and great players. This is something Cubs’ management doesn’t do very well.

          • John_CC

            I know, Rip. And I knew after I threw names out it would be misconstrued as a trade proposal. That is not what I was saying. None of those players would be traded by their teams. And Hendry could never get it done.

            But you get my point. There will be a team, I will venture to guess this year, that will be in dire need of a true stopper. When a team is heading to the post season and the back end of their pen breaks down, they trade for the now.

            Maybe it will be the Phillies. Brown and Singleton for Marmol and DeWitt, right now.

          • Aaron

            John,

            That idea of Brown and Singleton for Marmol and DeWitt is a tremendous idea…and if I were the Phillies, I’d do it in a heartbeat, but if I were the Cubs, I’d want them to include Antonio Bastardo, and here’s why:

            In 2007, the Phillies traded Mike Constanzo, Geoff Geary, and Michael Bourn for Eric Bruntlett and Brad Lidge.

            Lidge, if you’ll recall, was coming off a down year, in which he had just 19 saves, and several blown saves. Bruntlett was a LOT like DeWitt, except he had a better glove. Constanzo was a top prospect coming off a 27 hr, 86 RBI campaign in AA (he’s since fallen off the map, but the point is, what he was considered at the time of the trade), Geary was a 30 year old reliever coming off a subpar season, and Bourn was blocked in the Phillies OF, but was coming off a very good season.

            In this case, the Cubs would be dealing one of the top closers in the game, coming off one of the most dominating performances in terms of strikeouts and hits allowed of any closer in recent memory….NOT coming off a down year as Lidge was (actually, it was 2 straight down years for him). Marmol’s stock is rising, while Lidge’s was falling.

            Therefore, it’s a fair asking price to demand Brown, Singleton, and Bastardo, especially since Brown has not impressed with his call-up last year. The Cubs can then turn to Wood for the closer’s role, and groom either Cashner, or even Carpenter for the closer’s role in the future. Additionally, the Cubs can ask for that much in a trade, because with Marmol being signed to the extension, there is cost certainty for the near future.

  • Tony_Hall

    JH was just given a copy of the Sporting News – “Hey guys! It says here that Garza is an extreme flyball pitcher, and that Tropicana Field covered that up a little bit, and that Wrigley will expose it….can you believe that they are going by stats…hahahahha…we never saw that when we watched him pitch. We will show them all, how much smarter our eyes are to their stats, hahahhah”

    • cubtex

      Tony, I just want to make people aware of the fact that just because a pitcher is a flyball pitcher does not mean that the pitcher sucks and can’t have success. In terms of Garza, I think the fact that he can pitch around a #8 hitter to get to a pitcher will help him out this year.

      Below are a list of some flyball pitchers and the 2 at the bottom pitch at an extremely hitter friendly park and seem to do OK.

      Jered Weaver
      Johan Santana
      Ted Lilly
      Matt Cain
      Cole Hammels
      Cliff Lee

      • Tony_Hall

        Of course they can.

        Garza should do very well in April and May (especially with our schedule) win it is cold out and the wind blowing in more.

        Look out though win the wind is blowing out.

        Hammels and Lee have some pretty good offensives, to help outlslug on those slugfest days.

        On your list though, are mostly true ACES – Santana, Cain, Lee, Weaver. and borderline Hamels. Lilly I consider similar to Garza, but I like Lilly better, but not his age for the future.

  • Tony_Hall

    Brian – I will disagree on the money to be made line for ARam. Even though ARam had his option to return, he also had the option to opt out, and make a lot of money this past offseason. That is huge motivation for last year.

    How did that work out for us?

    He would have been 1 year younger, another 3B option than Beltre, and look at the years and cash he received. Next offseason, ARam, is one year older, will not get as long as a contract, and even with a good season, is only 1 year removed from such a bad season, to demand a big payday.

    I also, don’t think Aram responds well to this type of pressure.

    ARam has already made more money than he can spend in his lifetime. He doesn’t seem motivated by much, and I don’t think his FA this winter, will do it either.

  • Tony_Hall

    A must read!

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0325-haugh-jim-hendry-cubs-chi20110324,0,5755450.column

    “Every decision to use a Cubs player unlikely to be here next year over one who will be illogically puts more emphasis on the present than the future.

    That’s just the opinion I shared Thursday with general manager Jim Hendry to get a reaction that puts the Cubs’ grand plan for 2011 into better context.

    To me the Cubs seem stuck between keeping enough veterans around to see how long they can compete in a weak division and waiting for the Albert Pujols auction to start next November. Choosing between Silva and Cashner for the fifth starter’s role is symbolic of the direction for an organization with an improving minor league system that should use today to create better tomorrows.”

    Use the link to read the full article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      One good thing about that article is if the Cubs falter which a lot of people seem to think is going to happen, JH has already taken full responsibility and can be held accountable by say June or July.

      Why should we be satisfied with a rebuild like the Pirates and or Marlins always seems to do? Why shouldn’t we expect to contend while we retool? I think that when you are one of the top revenue teams in the league and have one of the strongest followings we should be able to contend every year with sound management. Not saying we are in position this year just why not expect the best year in and year out.

      • Tony_Hall

        This team should never have to do a Pirates like rebuild. But that would take much better roster management, then JH has done. Unfortuanetley the position we are in, is going to take a years to totally clean up.

        I don’t think the division will be all that tough, but that is the point. The best teams are in the East and West, right now.

    • Aaron

      I’m glad you posted this Tony…I was actually prepared to do so as well.

      I thought the comment about Hendry not worrying about performance/keeping his job was particularly indicting of the Ricketts regime.

      I do not believe there is any accountability whatsoever, and it’s no wonder the Cubs haven’t won anything under them yet, despite having a top 5 payroll.

      I would like to believe everything that the Ricketts, Hendry, and Quade have said, but everything from winning a championship and building a consistent winner to giving young players a chance, etc., it goes back to the old saying, “actions speak louder than words), and there is absolutely NOTHING the Cubs have done under the Ricketts that says they’re building a winner or giving young players a chance by their improved player development.

      If anyone has examples, I’d love to hear them, because I’m not claiming that what I say is 100% right (it’s close though…LOL). I guess one of the moves people could say was meant to “build a winner” was the deal for Garza, but there’s a couple problems with that:
      1) He’s looked AWFUL this spring, and even in his supposedly “good” starts, like yesterday, he looked bad.
      2) The Cubs dealt the future for the present in that deal, making it a “win at all costs” season, except for the fact that they actually reduced payroll, leading one to question whether any of the moves make sense. The problem I have with the Garza trade, re-signing Hill, signing Pena, and NRI guys like Looper, Wellemeyer (since cut), and Johnson, is that fact that Garza makes $5.95 million, Hill $850,000, Pena $5 million this year, $5 million next January, Looper gets $3.5 million for making rotation, and Johnson (though I can no longer find exact terms online) gets around $1.5 million.

      That’s essentially $16 million pegged for guys that won’t make a damn difference in the Cubs’ postseason quest. Garza likely has the best shot of making a difference, though the argument there would be if he is really an upgrade over Ted Lilly, who he is essentially replacing. You also have to ask if Pena is better than Lee (he isn’t), etc. The point is, none of these players will make a bit of difference, and it is troubling to think that Hendry spent $16 million for that.

      Then, you have to go back to the offseason of 2009, where he spent $2.2 million on Miles, $4.2 million on Gregg, $800,000 on Gathright, $200,000 on Bako (severance for being released), $1.625 million for Heilman, $7 million for Bradley (contract escalated in 2010 and 2011). How did those players work out for the Cubs?

      DeRosa would’ve cost the Cubs $5.5 million, Edmonds would’ve likely cost $850,000 (based on 2010 contract), Wood likely would’ve taken a discount somewhere around $7 million (he got $10 million/yr from Indians), and of course, there was Dunn and Abreu, who both would’ve cost less than Bradley for less years as well. Dunn signed for $10 million/yr for 2 yrs and Abreu signed for $5 million for 1 yr. By my count, that’s $18.3 million-23.3 million

      By contrast, the Cubs spent a little over $16 million on Miles, Gregg, Gathright, Bako, Heilman, and Bradley. Bako and Gathright were released, Miles was on the DL most of the season with a case of ineffective-itis, and both he and Heilman were dealt that offseason for pennies on the dollar, and obviously, Bradley was dealt for a swap of bad contracts.

      Anyway, the point is, NOTHING Hendry says is true. He’s an encyclopedia of contradictions. The Cubs can’t afford to have him leading the franchise any longer.

      I hope people don’t misunderstand regarding my distaste for Hendry…yes, I can’t stand the guy, but I want him to succeed for the betterment of the franchise. In fact, if Hendry had made the call to just name Cashner the 5th starter, Mateo (or whomever else is doing a good job this spring) for the pen, Moore or Scales as a back-up, Castillo or Ramirez as back-up catcher, and gone out and found a decent, young 4th/5th OF on the waiver wire, I would have confidence in him.

      But as it stands now, Silva is the 5th starter, Cashner to the pen (or Iowa), Russell as the lefty out of the pen, despite his horrid spring instead of Maine, who did well, DeWitt instead of Scales or Moore, Hill makes the team despite one of the worst springs I’ve EVER seen a hitter have in an above average amount of plate appearances nonetheless, and the oft-injured Johnson makes the team.

      My prediction is that Silva makes a handful of starts, and due to horrendous results, the Cubs are forced to release him, but because Cashner is in the pen, they won’t make a switch early season, and have to go with someone at Iowa like Coleman. Furthermore, DeWitt and Hill prove they can’t hit their way out of a paper bag, and ultimately get released or in DeWitt’s case, optioned out, and Johnson spends a good amount of time on the DL, while Fernando Perez gets the call to replace him (as he is the only OF at AAA on the 40-man roster)

      • Gary J

        “I do not believe there is any accountability whatsoever, and it’s no wonder the Cubs haven’t won anything under them yet, despite having a top 5 payroll.”

        It’s their second year as owners for crying out loud and the payroll was already set with the long term deals signed as dictated by the Trib during the “let’s beef up the value of the team before we sell” period.

        Hendry – I know the arguments… but you can’t blame the owners for not having won anything….

        …..

        ….yet.

        It’s like saying “but what has Quade done really? any playoff appearances? No? Fire the guy!

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I’m very concerned about Pena, Soriano back to back in the lineup. When Pena comes up with the bases loaded opposing pitchers will be smirking to themselves knowing that there isn’t a better 4,5 batters to get back to back strikeouts on in the league.

    • Charlie Cub

      I agree , I would love to see this lineup

      Barney
      Castro
      Byrd
      Pena
      Ramirez
      Colvin
      Soriano
      Soto

      • Aaron

        That’s a good lineup. The only problem I have with it is Barney and Castro will get their fare share of hits, and despite neither being known as “patient” hitters (though both work the counts and take walks occasionally), Byrd is the extreme. He’s going up there hacking, and rarely takes a free pass. In fact, he swings at just about anything in reach of the plate, even if he fouls it off weakly. And then, you have the strikeout machine Pena behind them. The way I see it, Barney is primarily a singles hitter, while Castro gets his share of doubles and triples, which means you’ll find a lot of runners on 2nd and 3rd situations. So, in that respect, it makes sense, because Byrd puts the bat on the ball, making it likely he will drive in at least one run. So, let’s say worst case scenario is he grounds out to the right side, scoring a run, which makes it runner on 3rd, 1 out. With Pena following, he’s either going to hit it out of the park, or NOT make contact at all (more likely than not, it’ll be not making contact), so you then have runner on 3rd, 2 outs with ARAM up. ARAM gets the job done, driving in runs via sac fly, or getting his fair share of hits. But a sac fly wouldn’t work in this case, so then you start the next inning with Colvin, and he’s a lot like Pena with not making consistent contact (though slightly better). Soriano is a hacker, can’t hit the curveball, can’t catch up to the middle-in fastball anymore, and has a VERY slow bat at this point. On the other hand, Soto knows how to take a walk, and drives in runs too.

        Therefore, the best lineup might be this:
        Barney
        Castro
        Pena-he’s either going to hit it hard, or strike out. If runners are on 2nd or 3rd, or 1st and 2nd, he’s likely not going to hurt you with a GIDP *he actually hits better 3rd or 8th, and you don’t pay a guy $10 million to hit 8th
        ARAM-he’s here to clean up what Pena doesn’t do *ARAM has slightly better avg and OBP in 3rd or 6th, but he does about as well in 4th
        Soto-let’s say Pena and ARAM both fail…Soto knows how to take a walk, and thus can put another runner on base, and get closer to turning the lineup over *Soto actually hits best 4th, 6th, 7th or 8th (best is actually 4th, but I put him 5th, because it makes the most sense in this lineup)
        Byrd-If Soto gets it done, the likelihood of Byrd making contact is VERY high, and he at least gives another opportunity to turn the lineup over *Byrd’s best spots in the lineup are 4th and 6th according to splits
        Colvin-he’s the wild card here. As mentioned, he’s a lot like Pena, in that he swings and misses a lot, but he also has a knack for getting his share of hits, which is better than Pena can offer. *Colvin actually hits better in 6th or 8th, but
        Soriano-he’s pretty worthless, *but he actually hits best in the 8th spot in the lineup with a .305/.335/.441 slash line in 220 ABs with 15 doubles, 5 hr, 24 RBI

        The Cubs need to use a lineup like this to turn it over, and ensure that they get guys on base early on (which Barney and Castro know how to do), and mix run producers in the middle of the lineup with Pena, ARAM, and Soto, and end it with wild cards like Colvin and Soriano

        • cubtex

          Aaron- Lineups cannot just be based on where a hitter hits best for a limited amount of time. How many at bats did Soriano have in the 8th spot compared to other spots??? You know that is a HUGE factor. I know you have a strong dislike for Soriano….but he is one of the Cubs better offensive right handed threats! Soto is too slow to hit in the 2 hole! He can’t go first to third very well!

          And by the way…..It is Friday but I am not drunk…..yet!

          • Aaron

            Wow….you might’ve just lost all credibility with this statement: “I know you have a strong dislike for Soriano….but he is one of the Cubs better offensive right handed threats”

            Really?!? Soriano a threat? He can’t hit the breaking pitches, can’t even hit mid 90’s fastballs anymore, can’t field (which means he’s likely to be replaced later in games for defense, thereby reducing his impact offensively late in games), and he strikes out at an alarming rate , considering he doesn’t have the offensive numbers to make up for it. But other than that, yes, he’s a threat….LOL….a threat to the Cubs if they’re down in any game and have any hope of coming back, and he’s walking up to the plate.

          • cubtex

            Why must you attack everyone Aaron? Were you picked on as a litte boy?? First of all…other than Ramirez, do you agree he will hit more home runs than any of the Cubs right handed bats? He might even hit more than Ramirez. He is a fastball hitter! I thought you researched better Aaron. They’re not many fastball pitchers than Soriano cannot catch up to. He is on the downside of his career…Yes but to bat him 8th???? Cmon.

            Secondly, you’re lineup with batting Soto 2nd is terribly flawed and something every manager would like at the top of the lineup….Speed..which Soto lacks.

            Can you imagine this scenario. Soto Walks with one out. Next batter….base hit…Soto stops at 2nd…. Ramirez base hit and Soto is held up at 3rd. Next batter double play and the Cubs are out of the inning with 0 runs scored.

            Again Aaron…It was pointed out to me to have a discussion without attacking….Why don’t you try it as well! Calling people drunk who disagree with you and whatnot is ridiculous!

          • Aaron

            !) How am I attacking you?
            2) Yes, I agree other than ARAM, he will hit more home runs than other Cubs righty bats, but again….what are you comparing it to? If you’re tooting the Cubs horn (and Soriano’s) by saying he is a righty “threat” because he simply is on a dreadful Cubs team, then, yes, you’d be right…but in comparison to other teams, he’s a joke. Just look at the Cubs’ righty options: Byrd, Soriano, Barney, Soto, Castro, Baker, and Johnson….NOT a very impressive power hitting bunch, is it?
            3) Looks like you started drinking early…..Please tell me where I listed Soto in the lineup above?….yeah….upon further examination, he’s batting 5th in my lineup. In case you didn’t read, I had Barney, Castro, Pena, ARAM, Soto, Byrd, Colvin, Soriano
            4) Yes, i could imagine that, which is why I did NOT place him there
            5) Oops, my bad, were you picked on as a young kid?!? LOL…..it was a joke….get over it!

  • cubs1967
  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Can someone explain this one?

    Robert Redford throwing out first pitch for Cubs opener

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      From Comcast SportsNet:

      Robert Redford – The Natural, Drysdale’s high school teammate and Ricketts film partner – will throw out 1st pitch Opening Day at Wrigley.

      • paulcatanese

        Yes Neil, Redford,because of the backing Redford is getting for his new movie The Conspirtors,also Redford looks like he could go out and play.He has always been a good athlete and had a baseball scholorship to Colorodo. aAnd at the least think of the autographs he will sign, Good will for the Cubs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      They think that will be there one sell out of the year?

    • studio179

      Well, at least they did not go with Charlie Sheen.

  • paulcatanese

    The only thing that really held my interest yesterday was Castro and Barney and the defense they put out on the field,outstanding. Castro and Barney,the names remind me of the Flintstones. Seriously these two, if allowed to play will continue to be a bright spot on an otherwise dismal season. But that would make too much sense. Scales should be on this team also. Castillo should be on this team,both will not be and that is a travesty. Pena looks like he is living up to his rep with strikeouts even against a 2nd line starter. And Hill,nevermind. Omar did hit one but Sutcliff said it was an Arizona HR,whatever that means.Anyway the Sox lost.And by the way,good post Brian.

    • Charlie Cub

      Absolutely !! With out there defense that’s a game we would have normally lost ! Those two seem to feed of each other . Which is why I think they can create alot at the top of the lineup, not to mention on the field.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    Did anyone else notice that Garza was getting squeezed yesterday? He must have a seriously bad rep with the Umps that they would do that in a ST game.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes,I noticed and also noticed that it bothered
      Garza ore than a little. Sutcliff and Aron commented on it and also said Garza has a short fuse and has to learn to get over those things.

  • paulcatanese

    After the debut by Barney at 2nd yesterday why in the world would Quade put Baker there today? The real problem here is lack of concistisy..

  • nick_ss

    I might be in the minority here; while it is a great story and all, I do not understand where all of the love for Bobby Scales comes from. He is a 33 year old career minor leaguer! I am very glad to see he will not be our 2nd baseman and leadoff hitter! Stick with the youth in Barney!!

    • Tony_Hall

      He would be a better back-up than Dewitt or Baker. He knows he will not be a starter and will provide a more dependable glove and bat. He is not a long term guy, but neither are Baker and Dewitt.

      This coming from the guy who will pick the young guy over the old guy, almost everytime.

      I would have rather seen Moore and Scales than Dewitt and Baker. Then factor in the extra cash savings and maybe we could buy JH a clue!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat:

    Cubs relievers who’ve made it: Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Russell, Samardzija. Cashner has made team, but TBD start/relief

    • Cheryl

      Don’t see how Russell and Samardzija are there. And I agree with a lot said about Baker, Dewitt, etc. But Barney made it. Moore and Scales should have made it. I feel especially bad for Scales. He’s 33 and doesn’t have the years left in his favor. Even Quade said Scales knew how to play. Where is this manager who admired Camp? I don’t know how much wiggle room Quale had with J.H.. But we should have seen more of the newer guys break through. We still don’t know about Castillo vs. Hill. Max may end up warming the bench. Not a very happy summary.

    • studio179

      I typed too soon on Russell. He made it. Ahh!

  • Tony_Hall

    (@Joelsherman1) Exec from another team said Cashner going to be part #Cubs rotation so Silva is out Cubs will eat big $ to make him go away 36 minutes ago

    I hope this is true!