Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Rockies – 04/25/11

Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (10-11) vs. Rockies (14-7)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (2-0, 4.21/1.66) vs. Esmil Rogers (2-1, 6.75/1.50)

Weather permitting … the Cubs open a three-game series tonight against a team they just faced ten days ago. The Rockies took two of three from the Cubs in Colorado but after splitting the first two, Q’s squad was in position in the third game to win the series … they just couldn’t put the game away.

After Wednesday the Cubs will not see the Rockies again during the regular season … and anything less than a season series split would end the Cubs homestand on a negative note (3-3 on current nine-game homestand).

The Cubs need a long outing from Matt Garza tonight. With another ‘Bullpen Day‘ on the horizon for Tuesday, anything less than a quality start from Garza will put more stress on an overworked pen. Q’s starters simply are not getting the job done … just a combined 17 1/3 innings over the last four games.

Tonight it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off his best outing of the season … and what should have been his second victory in a Cubs’ uniform. Carlos Marmol could not save Garza’s game for the second time after a solid six-inning performance in which he left with a 1-0 lead. The Cubs ended up winning the first of the day-night doubleheader on Reed Johnson’s walk-off in the 11th.

Garza was very, very good through the first five but labored through a 30-plus sixth inning. Garza struck out nine and gave up six hits, all singles, with three walks over the six-shutout innings. Mike Quade needs a similar performance tonight but maybe an inning or two longer. Garza benefited from a poor Padres offense in his last start. If Garza struggles with his command and starts issuing free passes the Rockies will take advantage.

Garza struggled in his first outing against the Rockies back on April 15. Troy Tulowitzki and company scored five runs on seven hits in six innings off Garza (four on the triple by Chris Iannetta). Jhoulys Chacin took care of the rest and the Rockies won 5-0. The Cubs offense needs to back their pitcher tonight … they have scored a total of one run in Garza’s last three starts.

The Rockies have had their way with Matt Garza (0-2 in two starts with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP), maybe the third time will be the charm for Garza.

Rockies Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Dexter Fowler – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Jason Giambi – 1-for-9 with 4 walks
  • Carlos Gonzalez – 1-for-5 with a home run
  • Todd Helton – 3-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Jonathan Herrera – 1-for-2
  • Chris Iannetta – 1-for-3 with a triple
  • Jose Lopez – 6-for-21 with a double and a triple
  • Seth Smith – 0-for-5 with a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 0-for-2
  • Troy Tulowitzki – 1-for-5
  • Ty Wigginton – 4-for-16 with a double and a home run

The Cubs will get their first look at Esmil Rogers. Q’s squad faced Rogers during Spring Training but that is the only time they’ve faced the rookie right-hander. Rogers had two excellent starts to begin the season. Rogers allowed one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings to the Pirates in Pittsburgh (one walk, seven strikeouts) then held the Mets to three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings (four walks and two strikeouts). Rogers hit a wall in his last start at Coors.

The Giants knocked Rogers out after scoring eight runs on six hits in three innings (three home runs, two walks and two strikeouts).

Esmil Rogers has been extremely good on the road in a small sample size this season (2-0 with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP), the Cubs must be patient tonight and not allow him to get comfortable.

Blake DeWitt (0-for-3) and Reed Johnson (0-for-3) are the only active Cubs that have faced Esmil Rogers during a regular season game.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne
  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Fukudome – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Baker – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Byrd – CF
    Soriano – LF
    Soto – C
    Garza – P

    It is a scheduled day off for Ramirez.

  • BillyFinT

    Here’s the Cubs to-do list of year 2011, which almost all CCO readers could have identified as “possibilities waiting to be happened.”

    The Obvious:

    1. Call up Bret Jackson and play him regularly.
    2. Sign Prince Fielder or another corner power.
    3. Make Ryan Dempster retire in Cubbie Blue.
    4. Keep Cashner healthy and start him regularly..

    The Not So Obvious:

    1. Sign Starlin Castro to an extension that covers his arbitration years and his first year of free agency.
    3. Keep Russell a LOOGY (lefty specialist).
    4. Fire Jim Hendry.

    The Wishful Present From Santa:

    1. Move Tyler Colvin to first base and play him there regularly.
    2. Sign a stopgap third baseman before, ahem, Josh Vitters be ready.
    3. Trade Alfonso Soriano and his $ 54 Million for someone of value.
    4. Trade Carlos Zambrano and his $ 37.25 Million (with player option).

    The Obvious are, you know, I know, even the Cubs should know. The Not So Obvious are more debatable. Jim Hendry has been a GM of mediocracy: The regime refused to change and improve. There will always be worse GMs out there, but enough is enough for the fans of Cubs Nation. Still, with possibly millions owed to him until offseason 2012, and consider to his credit a good farm pool of talents, can Ricketts pull the string?

    I know Colvin has the athleticism, the lack of plate discipline, and a poorer judgement of reading flyballs than a bunch of other right fielders (Fukudome might spoil us). I also hope he will improve, both defensively and offensively, if moved to an easier position. But again, isn’t Prince Fielder better?:

    Rosenthal in this article also mentioned how a shift can be effective (against the right-hander Bautista). I think that’s why Pena should be benched as a pinch hitter against righties. The shift on him for the past two years plus one month into his Cubbie days has extinguished his bat (wasn’t great at squaring contact to start with, just not his skill).

    Without a real future and a significant improvement for Pena, the move of Colvin to first base seems more reasonable than ever.

    The last thing I found intriguing is that Dempster has been the de-facto leader of the Cubs pitching staff for the past three years, despite his marginal value compared to true aces across the league. It’s just sad to see a great fan of baseball and a nice Harry-imposter leaving the clubhouse, but hey, isn’t this time to change? Give him some job other than pitching another 200+ innings (maybe as a coach in the minor league?), before it’s too late to get out of his current trend of embarrassment.

    • BillyFinT

      I was thinking of adding “Call up Welington Castillo” to the Not So Obvious. But I cannot decide if he’ll help the Cubs better if traded–assuming Soto is the better choice of every day catching, and the backup catcher can easily be filled… Yeah, just call up Castillo, or Clevenger, maybe add some trade value and a spark to the other 10 batters not named Castro and Barney. I wonder if Castillo is still hurt. He was the DH the other night from the Down on the Farm Report: Limited catching duty?

    • Tom U

      Dorasaga, the organization may have their stop-gap replacement for Aramis Ramirez in-house.

      Ryan Flaherty is hitting well enough in Tennessee that the Cubs may want to use him to buy an extra year of development for Josh Vitters. Although he had only one start at third this season, he played the position almost exclusively last year.

      Once Vitters (or LeMahieu) is ready, Flaherty will be a jack-of-all-trades, being able to play all four infield positions and outfield.

      • BillyFinT

        Thanks for the inspiring information. To be honest, I never thought Vitters is the answer as the future everyday third baseman. Of course, I’m only looking at his stats. Just late last season, he proved himself able to add more skills (better walk rate, more consistent contact) at a young age. The season is still long. If he doesn’t break out this year, who knows what the Cubs should do? The fans are wearing out; patience is expensive nowadays. The dropping attendance rate at Wrigley Field shows that.

        Flaherty might be the Cubs’ Zobrist, who plays every position for the Rays. But his bat was good enough for the Rays to find him an everyday player. Although I doubt Flaherty will ever be as good as Mark DeRosa overall, who played adequate second and third base and got on-base with pop throughout his career. Because if Flaherty was ever good enough playing short or second, then the Cubs wouldn’t have jerked him everywhere.

        • Tom U

          Sorry Dorasaga, I don’t want to sound like I’m disrespecting you, but that’s a bit of an old-school attitude.

          I don’t believe that any of the Tennessee Smokies feel like their being jerked around. While they have set starters at each position, Marwin Gonzalez is the only position player to line up at just one spot on the diamond. It hasn’t seemed to effect any of their batting.

          There seems to be a trend of developing a multi-position players in the majors. Ben Zobrist was a good example, but Chone Figgins, Juan Uribe, and Omar Infante are among others that can be cited.

          If Flaherty makes it to the bigs as a utility player, it won’t be because he’s not good enough to be a starter at one position, its that he’s too good to take his bat out of the line-up.

          • BillyFinT

            Yeah, I didn’t pick the right word. I guess that Cubbie frustration is gaining weight.

            By “jerked,” I simply wanted to point out that Flaherty should not be a utility player. Colvin can play first and Flaherty right-field. That will be a better way to develop the young man and help the team.

            But I’ve been following your report and a bunch of free reports (no, I didn’t pay for Baseball America, so that’s why), just never read a comment of Flaherty able to handle second base on an everyday basis for the Cubs.

            He probably has the athleticism to play third, second, and even shortstop on the Big league level, but before I see it (and before there’s more stats to prove it), I’ll stay skeptical and call him best a fourth outfielder.

            Now, does the Cubs need an outfielder like Flaherty? Defensively, this might suit him. Though if you go through the their batting numbers, guys like Zobrist and Figgins got on base A LOT more. Infante was famous for his glove. DeRosa had more pop and played good second base. They all found regular positions that they played the majority of their career.

            I just don’t see where to put Flaherty now, unless the Cubs start with the To-Do List and move Colvin to first base. That will mean a bench-role for Pena, and a lot of roster management, which I doubt will turn into obvious improvement that people will like, if not unconventional. Or else, Flaherty might end up like Hoffpauir.

    • SuzyS

      Why do you have “fire JH”…at #4 in the not so obvious section…to me…that is number 1 in the obvious to all section….until we get a better talent evaluator and deal maker…the Cubs will continue to go downhill.
      (See $10 million for Pena/the Garza Trade/Uncle Milty-Carlos Silva debacles as prime examples).
      While JH works extremely hard…it seems that true baseball smarts have eluded him the last several years….He had his run…and it really should be over.

      As far as some of the moves go…I’d just wait until after May (or potential super two statuses expire)…and then dump/trade as many vets as I could…and bring up the Smokies etc… see what we have inhouse…and hopefully a VERY productive off-season.

  • Andrew Leff

    Don’t worry about Matt Garza–he’s been solid all year. The key to this series will be the top of the lineup. With Starlin becoming a star, the Cubs have the most dynamic 1-2 punch in the MLB. They’re hitting .391 with 28 runs scored and 25 RBIs on the season. This past week alone the top two spots in the order drove in nine runs. That makes for the best top of the lineup in baseball. Check it out:

    • GaryLeeT

      “Don’t worry about Matt Garza–he’s been solid all year”

      Cite your evidence. Games against the Padres don’t count, just ask Zambrano.

  • Neil

    Excellent first inning for Garza

  • Neil

    Barney with his first career knock!

  • Skeldor

    you watch, fukudome is going to have a breakout year and Hendry will sign him to a 4 year 60 million deal LOL…..

  • Serothis


  • John G

    Darwin is evolving into quite a player.

  • Neil

    Darwin Barney hit first career big league home run in first inning Monday night. Barney’s 13 RBI are second on Cubs to Alfonso Soriano (14)

    • BillyFinT

      Highlight of the day, wait, of the season!

    • RynoTiger

      wow..Darwin Barney has more homeruns and twice the amount of RBIs that Carlos Pena has…

      hmm….what does that mean?…

      • paulcatanese

        Move Barney to first base?

  • GaryLeeT

    Looks like Rogers’ confidence is still shaken from his last time out. Go Cubs Go.

  • John G

    Is Steve McMichael singing the 7th inning stretch tonight?

    • Neil

      Wouldn’t that be great?

      • John G

        One of the great moments in Cubs history. I can still picture the veins popping out of Angel Hernandez’s neck. The only 7th inning singer to be ejected from the game.

        • JasonPen

          This is a clip of Hernadez doing the same thing to Pena while he was on the Rays-

          • John G

            I just looked it up. That deal with McMichaeal was 10 years ago. Seems like only a couple of years ago. And actually, they were playing the Rockies that night.

  • John G

    Well there goes the lead.

  • Neil

    Castro with three errors, Garza with three unearned runs … game tied.

    • Serothis

      garza just can’t catch a break can he?

      • Neil

        No he can’t. Should have been out of the inning. Threw enough pitches for 2 innings.

      • RickinMSP

        Your right, he’s pitched much better than the stats would indicate, blown saves and bad defense make it look as if a guy who really has pitched pretty well look not so good.

  • BillyFinT

    The Cubs might as well give away four more runs, so the folks in Denver can get free tacos.

    This is the kind of season when the good people should act philanthropy.

  • roughriider

    Once again the Cubs have Castro batting third. He’s gone 0 for 2 at bats so far and has 3 errors in 2 innings of play. Why don’t they just put him batting first and leave him alone ? He hasn’t been hitting well third in the order. Fukadome would be a better option. He’s left handed so is closer to first after his swing. Less chance of a double play.

  • Nathan

    Sucks castro made those three errors garza looks really sharp today.

    • paulcatanese

      Ten years from now Castro won’t even remember this game.

  • Neil

    Are they pitching around Baker to face Pena?

    I think so …

    • JasonPen

      That’s pretty sad, one more reason to put Pena on the DL (thumb), move Colvin/Baker to first, and bring up Jackson. Pena is not close to the run producer he was advertised as.

    • Baron_S

      Pena has 1 double as his only extra-base hit in 57 at bats….

      SURELY someone in the minor leagues could have done just as much!

      • The Maven

        Bryan LaHair is hitting .353 with 4 HR and 15 RBI at Iowa. Think he can hit .175 in the majors?

        • Ripsnorter1

          LaHair is just as bad, but for a tiny bit less money. LaHair has a huge hole in his swing, too.

    • paulcatanese

      Absolutly Neil, why would anyone want not to pitch to Pena. He even has the umpires tired of his act. The refusal to grant him time out had to be a reflection of Pena’s habit of stepping in and out between pitches, especially in the rain and cold.

  • Tom U

    I-Cubs come back to take the lead 5-4 in the 5th on homers from Luis Montanez and Brad Snyder.

    Tennessee down 7-3 in the 8th. Rebel Ridling 3-for-3 with a 2-run homer.

    Peoria in the 8th, with a whitewash of Clinton 9-2. Hayden Simpson 4.0 IP, 2 earned runs, 3 K’s, 1 BB and in line for the win.

  • Baron_S

    this is utterly painful to watch — its amateurish!

  • studio179

    Wet balls and hurried throws costing errors.

  • John G

    Another unearned run.
    It’s a Way of life.

  • Neil

    So far two runs in the fifth for the Rockies and not a single ball hit out of the infield

  • Baron_S

    Cubs were 10th from bottom in team fielding errors, and have now catapulted themselves to 3rd from bottom in 1 game!!

  • GaryLeeT

    A team like the Cubs, whose best starter is a #3 at best, is a team ripe for an extended losing streak.

  • Serothis

    I know there isn’t much love for fukedome but he’s been really hot lately. Yes I know he has a history of flat-lining after may but might as well play him while he’s hot right? (or possibly trade him while he’s hot, but that would be very unhendry).

  • Neil

    Great, Lindstrom …

  • Ripsnorter1

    Samardzija is having the best run of his life. I’m glad for him.

    • paulcatanese

      I only got to watch part of it,my internet went away,but picked up his stats and agree,he did do well. Lets hope he is over the hump.Maybe some of the boo’s will diminish,hope so.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Let’s see . . .
    The Rocks have 4 hits and 5 runs.

    Why does this have to happen?

    Castro has not gotten a hit in the #3 hole yesterday or today. Quade is cooling him off.

  • Neil

    More smart baseball from the Cubs … down by 2 in the 8th and Soto swings at the first pitch

  • studio179

    Mateo looks like he’s gaining weight. Hope he does well though.

  • Baron_S

    instead of skewering the team for the errors and shoddy play like Steve Stone would have — Len and Bob are talking about the weather, the hot dogs, and just about anything else. Could these guys be more disengaged and dull?

    this game was at least good for 4 anguished cries from Ronnie!

    • BillyFinT

      How about this?: The Cubs made 3 runs with 10 hits and 4 walks.

      The Roc only needed 4 hits and 2 walks for their 5 runs.

  • Cheryl

    The only thing Quade could do was to not yank Castro. That would have compounded his errors. Tomorrow switch him back to the leadoff position and put Fuku in the third position. Bench Pena for now and put Baker at first starting tomorrow.

    • paulcatanese

      Cheryl,think about this, every guy who has hit leadoff this year has been successful,Baker,Fuko,Castro. It seems Castro would be more comfortable leading off, but he may have a fight in the clubhouse for the spot, it seems enchanted for anyone who hits there. I really think Fuko could handle the 3 spot,so if it creates a better situation for Casto, so be it. Baker proved tonight that he can handle the 4 spot so give Aram another night off.

      • Cheryl

        I’m thinking that Castro took a step backwards in confidence. He did well in the leadoff so that’s why I place him there. He and Barney seemed a natural for one and two. If people play, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Fuko would probably consider it a clap on the back being number three, until June. As you said, give Aram another day off, but if not, play Baker at first and bat him fifth and leave Aram fourth if he has to be fourth. Bring up some players like Brett and Flaherty. Send down DeWitt. Flaherty can spell Aramis and Castro. Put Pena on the DL – doesn’t he have a thumb problem? And, bring up one of the starters that has been stretched out. Within 15 days maybe a trade can help relieve what’s there now.

        • Cheryl

          So, in a sense, I agree with you Paul.

          • paulcatanese

            And in a sense I agree with you. I am not against Fuko moving to the 3 spot at all and Castro back to 1 in the order it will work either way. And as for Pena and his thumb ,well out of courtesy I will leave that one alone. And yes,bring up the kids,they can do no worse.

  • paulcatanese

    Quick,someone hide all the calendars from Fukodome

  • studio179

    Oh well, Castro had a bad game…3 errors and 0-5 at the plate. It happens.

  • studio179

    Sloppy game. Tomorrow we get the Russell and bull pen game. Great!

  • Neil

    Cubs lost to Rockies 5-3 Monday night. Defense committed 4 errors; Offense 0-for-10 RISP, 12 LOB. Matt Garza’s line: 5 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 Ks in 6IP

  • Baron_S

    it truly might be counter-productive for this team to hover around .500 in the long-run… it is going to give Jim Hendry job-security and NOBODY can possibly want that…

    Pena looks overmatched by everything — fastballs, sliders, changeups — I haven’t even seen him make hard-hit outs — I think big-Z looks better at the plate……. We could’ve had Sam Fuld roam the outfield this year — he looks like the classical lead-off hitter we don’t have. —-

    Who would do Fuld-Pena now, huh?

  • Jonas

    Carlos Pena… wordscannot express how much I absolutely despise you… You are pathetic… at least we could put Colvin in if we wanted a .150 hitter at 1B… he would give us something to look forward to, o ya and he has more RBIs and HRs than you which in itself is pathetic considering how poorly he has played

    This is the saddest ‘heart of the order’ (and i use that term as lightly as humanly possible) in the history of baseball… our typical #3-4-5 hitters (byrd, aram, pena) have combined for less HRs than Colvin in just 47 ABs. I am thoroughly disgusted witth carlos pena and loath his stupid muppet looking face every time he comes up to bat

  • Aaron


    FINALLY! Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT happy about this loss. However, I AM happy about the end of this .500 nonsense.

    Had the Cubs continued on their 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4… garbage, we would’ve heard comments from Hendry, Ricketts, and Quade, and even some players that they haven’t played their best baseball yet, and they’re still at .500

    Now, we can finally get on with reality. The Cubs are a joke, and Carlos Pena, their $10 million 1B isn’t even a MLB hitter at this time.

    I believe I had Pena pegged for a sub .200 average, but regretfully, I had him pegged in the contest for 25 hr, thinking that he couldn’t possibly be THAT bad where his power leaves him as well, just as his hand eye coordination failed him last year with just 95 hits, and a .196 avg in full-time duty.

    Pena’s line this season is now .169/.306/.186 with 2 runs, 10 hits, 1 double, 0 home runs, 5 RBI, 12 walks, and 22 K’s (which might not seem all that bad of a ratio…until you consider he has just 72 plate appearances. That means that he has struck out 31% of his plate appearances, which is awful. In full-time duty, he’s on pace for 186 K’s, and also on pace for just 36 RBI.

    Right now, the Cubs have a minor league system that has MLB ready talent at AA, and as soon as they are honest with themselves, they’ll be able to move on and start the rebuilding efforts with players that actually deserve a chance.

    Based on age, performance this year, and overall career stats, these guys at AA are most deserving of a call-up right now:
    *not taking into account tonight’s stats
    Ridling-25 yrs old (in May): .404/.475/.692, 4 hr, 11 RBI
    Clevenger-25 yrs old (in April): .292/.358/.563, 3 hr, 7 RBI
    Flaherty-25 yrs old (in May): .333/.394/.649, 5 hr, 17 RBI
    Jackson-23 yrs old (in Aug): .375/.486/.679, 3 hr, 11 RBI

    Colvin finally reached the majors at age 24, and had a breakout season (too bad he can’t seem to crack the lineup this year in his “sophomore slump”). But the point is, if you look at most teams around the league that have standout young players, in almost every single case, the hitters will make their debuts before age 25.

    The problem with delaying their arrival is that you #1, inhibit their growth, but additionally, you’re actually making the entire system worse by doing so, because you cannot advance other worthy players.

    Just look at AAA for example. Scales, Snyder, Montanez, LaHair, Robinson, Camp, Moore, and Mota have virtually no chance of seeing the light of day with the Cubs.

    You look at guys like Lake, Ha, Cerda, Gibbs, Wright, etc., and they’re blocked by guys like that.

    So, not only do you inhibit upward mobility from AA and AAA to the big leagues by signing guys like Carlos Pena, Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Koyie Hill (regardless of current performance), you’re ultimately retarding the growth of the entire system. And by not demoting guys like DeWitt who can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, you’re doing the same thing (even though he’s young himself). You simply MUST play the young guys that produce, and if they need more seasoning, you send them to AAA. But AAA should NOT be a who’s who of guys like Snyder, LaHair, etc., 28 year old guys and older that haven’t been given a true opportunity at the MLB level to showcase themselves, as it is now. Instead, it should be mostly younger hitters that are no older than 28, that need more work at AAA, because they couldn’t stick at the MLB level. Then, if they fail at AAA, the next year, you see how they do in the offseason in winter ball, or Spring Training, before cutting them loose, otherwise you’re signing guys like Hill, Johnson, Baker, Ojeda, etc. for too much money when they’re nothing but back-ups.

    It’s a smart way to run an organization, and I can’t figure out why the Cubs haven’t understood this.

    Anyway, I apologize for another long post, but I’m just glad this .500 nonsense is over, and I hope we never hear this “glass half full” garbage about the season being young, haven’t played the best ball yet, blah blah blah, that we most certainly would’ve heard if they brought the record to even yet again.

  • Aaron

    Also….just wanted to add a few more things…

    The $10 million man who is being out-slugged by 2 pitchers (Coleman and Zambrano), might just get most of us our wish after all…..Getting Hendry fired. The reason I believe that is even an average businessman wouldn’t sand for a GM in his organization wasting that much money. It’d by like giving a branch manager $50,000 for an advertising budget, then watch them spend 90% of it on billboards on a deserted highway, and get something like $5,000 in revenue for their efforts (that come mostly from the other 10% of their budget….and then you watch them do EXACTLY the same thing the next season. There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s not a single business owner in the world that would stand for that type of decision-making from senior management, and they’d be fired on the spot.

    The Ricketts have now overseen Hendry for 2 full seasons, and have watched him up close during the final year of negotiations with the team with intimate knowledge of his decision-making. Hendry happened to strike out with every single decision he made in 2009. They watched as he struck out with every decision he made in 2010, save for the Marlon Byrd signing. And they’ve watched as he’s struck out on every decision for 2011, but the Kerry Wood signing. They’ve watched attendance decline each year they’ve owned the team, as well as concessions/merchandise revenue that are associated with declining attendance. Furthermore, they watched as Major League Baseball denied them ticket surcharges to fund the new Spring Training facility, and they watched as elected officials in Chicago denied them, then publicly shamed them for asking for entertainment tax revenues be extended to them for renovations on Wrigley Field.

    The margin for error with the Ricketts is VERY small, and as such, when revenues fall all around, everything is placed under a microscope, and they simply CANNOT afford to have a dunce like Hendry managing this team any longer. He makes far too many idiotic transactions for them to ignore it, and they must make a decision sooner rather than later.

    Hendry has been given a HUGE budget the past 5 years, and has just 2 playoff appearances to show for it, and the team is filled with aging veterans with immovable contracts. No other team gets a worse bang for their buck than the Cubs do.

    How did the Garza trade work out by the way? Gorzelanny is starting to look a whole lot better, isn’t he? How about his decision to hire Quade? Remember, this is the same idiot who one day said Russell is no more than a LOOGY, then a few days later, named him the starter for a 3rd time, even though he has a 12.71 ERA in his 2 starts with a MLB worst batting average against for righties of .469, and an overall batting average against of .390

    I’m sorry, but even guys like Coello, Diamond, and Bibens-Dirkx who have been getting lit up at AAA, could probably do a better job than Russell. Hell, even JR Mathes, the career minor leaguer has a decent shot of doing better than Russell as a starter.

    Which brings me to my next and final point….

    At what point do the Cubs cut ties with crappy players altogether?

    How about these lines:
    .244/.272/.513, 3 walks vs 21 K’s
    .182/.304/.186, 12 walks vs 22 K’s

    Those are the lines for Soriano, Pena, DeWitt, and Koyie Hill. Soriano’s line is particularly appalling, and that’s not just because of his bloated salary, but it’s because of the way he’s looked on both offense AND defense in doing so. As for Pena, I saw a recent post on another site that brought up some interesting facts about Pena’s decline. There is plenty of research out there showing the decline of hitters after age 33. However, the most prominent warning sign is a significant dip in a player’s batting average. It’s often a dead giveaway for a loss of bat speed, and even Len and Bob noted in Spring Training broadcasts how slow his bat looked. That can be backed up by looking at his 2010 numbers to begin with. But those fans who actually supported the Pena signing often cited his power numbers as a reason to believe he’d turn things around. What they failed to realize was the sheer amount of statistics we have to go off of for every major power hitter in MLB history, and what you’d find is a precipitous drop in batting average, but their power numbers wouldn’t completely fall off the map. With Pena, here’s his lines the past 5 years:
    .282/.411/.627, 46 hr, 121 RBI, 103 walks, 142 K’s
    .247/.377/.494, 31 hr, 102 RBI, 96 walks, 166 K’s
    .227/.356/.537, 39 hr, 100 RBI, 87 walks, 163 K’s
    .196/.325/.407, 28 hr, 84 RBI, 87 walks, 158 K’s
    .182/.304/.186, 0 hr, 5 RBI, 12 walks, 22 K’s *(incomplete 2011 season)

    As you can see, his slash line has declined every season, and his peripheral numbers have followed suit. The thing that’s interesting about Pena, is how many pitches he takes, and the amount of walks he draws. But what’s humorous about it, is even Koyie Hill, arguably the worst hitter in all of MLB could take pitches if he wanted to (in fact, he has, having accumulated 2 walks and 1 K thus far), and make himself more useful than Pena has. Don’t get me wrong, taking a walk is a big deal, especially making their pitch counts rise, but Pena isn’t getting paid $10 million to take walks. He’s paid to drive in runs. If Koyie Hill is your greatest comparable on the team, then you have HUGE issues.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs go cheap the next few years and reduce the payroll even further from where they did last year, down to around $100 million if it meant cutting ties with overpaid, underperforming veterans, and signing a big-time FA 1B in Fielder or Pujols (as their contracts alone would take the Cubs to around $90 million. I’d love to see them finally cut ties with Soriano, who isn’t even close to being even an average MLB OF. What he is, is an average DH, playing an integral part of a failing OF and failing offense in the National League.

    • BillyFinT

      Since you brought up the walks, I observed a growing amount of free passes this season THROUGHOUT BASEBALL (MLB), compared to the last three years, while a decline in putting balls in play.

      I don’t know what that means. A change of approach due to strike-zones benefiting the pitchers more? I don’t buy that “overprotective spring training” that someone on Harball Talk brought up, that GMs rest more everyday players if there’s a travel day.

      Anyway, it’s an interesting deviation from the norm. I’ll translate that: Everybody walks now; good for Koyie Hill.

      By the way, are you saying that Snyder and LaHair are too old and should be moved out of the Cubs system now? I thought the team should still give them a chance. Other than a backup, the Cubs might find an Andres Torres here, who boosted the Giants to a World Series. He was 32 years old.

      • Aaron

        I wanted the Cubs to give them the opportunity last year, and said at the time, that it’d buy a little more development time for the likes of Flaherty, Vitters, LeMahieu, etc., because they’d essentially only rely on them for 1 year, then see how the young players develop (which they appear to be banging hard on the door in AA right now). As I mentioned already, Ridling, Clevenger, and Flaherty need to be given a shot IMMEDIATELY, and this year is the perfect time for it. They will all be 26 next year, and they face the same predicament as LaHair and Snyder have, where they didn’t get the opportunity afforded to so many others because of their advanced age.

        • BillyFinT

          I see. Hmm… Snyder was resigned as a minor leaguer, and he’s out of option (6 years on the 40-man roster previously, I believe), so he’ll most likely be out of the system this offseason. LaHair is still an interesting case, so is LeMahieu, and definitely Flaherty.

          But where will Quade play Flaherty? Like said to Tom U, I would make him an right fielder, while move Colvin to first base. That’s two more roster management among the myriad the Cubs need to get back on track.

          Player development requires patience. I doubt GM Hendry has that. He’s not into the three players right now. The trade for Garza, the Pena signing, means that he’s waiting for someone else.

          I’m starting to feel, and you know better than me, at age 26, Ridling, Clevenger, and Flaherty might have lost their chance with the Cubs because the management is not high on them.