Rambling While Soaking Wet in this Soaking City

It’s not an off day, but it is Thursday, and the Cubs will not be playing until much later tonight, so that can only mean one thing. Well, it could mean a lot of things, but in this case it means it time to get your ramble on. Technically, it would be my ramble, but let’s just get our collective ramble going in the column and in the comments. I am bringing it with a few of my opinions. I expect to take some heat. All is fair here.

So, let’s do this.

  • First things first, Mike Quade will not be fired this year, nor should he be. The Cubs have played 23 games. TWENTY-THREE. There are 139 games left.
  • Give the man some time. He didn’t assemble this team. He is working with what he was given.
  • Granted, some things can be inferred after a month. I get that. But calling for a replacement is not right.
  • If Soriano keeps up this homer pace, I have no problem with .240 or .250. Batting seventh and crushing the ball a few times a week if fine by me.
  • I agree that Marlon Byrd should not bat third. I think we can all agree on that. But it appears that no matter who is hitting third, people will attack Quade for the sake of attacking Quade.
  • This behavior is near-sighted and unfair. I am all for being critical, but in order for a criticism to be valid it has to be fair. There are plenty of fair criticisms out there. However, there are many unfair as well.
  • So, who should bat third? Fukudome? Baker? Hey, they are both hitting over .400. There was a lot of hating going on with Jeff Baker, but he has played great this month and even hit righties.
  • Yes, there are five months left, but I can only judge on 23 games. Clearly, this will not last, but should we ride the hot bats?
  • And please know this, I’m not judging Baker on 23 games. Instead, I am just saying he’s hot right now. This is different than calling for the manager’s job after 23 games.
  • I am happy that Russell shaved. That “face salad” was awful. But it wasn’t as bad as his performance as a starter.
  • Quade called him a situational lefty after his second start. He got a third start. Clearly Quade doesn’t have full control. That might have been obvious before, but if not, it is obvious now. That had to be Hendry’s decision.
  • And based on Quade’s comments on Russell, I do not think he agreed with his boss.
  • Cutting 13 players and bringing up kids from the farm to replace them is not a solution, nor will it happen. Let’s move on from that idea.
  • B.Jax is still above .300, but has cooled and had his average drop by more than 100 points in 10 days.
  • I really wish I had the right answer for Tyler Colvin. I don’t. Sending him down could kill his confidence. Having him ride the bench is not going to work either. We will see what happens.
  • Now I know I am fanning the flames, but bringing up one or two might not be a bad idea. It is time to see what one or two of the guys can do at the Major League Level.
  • Yes, I tend to contradict myself, but that happens when I am just not sure how I feel. I want guys to have enough time, but the delusional, Cubbie-kool-aid- slamming-guy inside of me thinks one or two guys make this team a contender.
  • The realist in me knows that is not accurate.
  • Rob Whitenack is impressive. Let’s not rush him. He will not solve anything at this point, but I like what I have read about him and his performances. That is solid.
  • The sarcasm about Hendry resigning Fukudome if he has a big year is funny. I am willing to bet a lot of money that this would never happen. The resigning that is.
  • After reading that bullet again, I realized I needed to clarify that.
  • Yea, I know, I am feisty today. Not sure what got into me. I hope you guys enjoy the fiery side. This is not like me.

Again, these are my thoughts and in no way represent the CCO. I fully expect to get ripped by plenty, and that is fair. But if you agree, feel free to say that as well. I have not joined in on some of the conversations so I wanted to share my thoughts. The game is not on until 8:30 so there will be plenty of time to have a friendly debate.

Let’s get at least three this weekend. And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans

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"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain
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  • Cheryl

    I think you’re right about Quade. He doesn’t have full control. And, the reaction is probably based on some of his decisions like having Dempster bat when the bases were loaded. You’re right in saying it’s only been 23 games. Quade has to deal with the hand he was given. What he can and cannot do is hard to know. Yet its obvious that DeWitt and Colvin are riding the bench. If he doesn’t use the, why not send them both down and see what some of the minor leaguers can do? He has played Barney and Castro a lot and seems to recognize they are a good duo. He has tried to allow some players a breather and seems to make good use of the bench he has. But when you have Pena, Byrd and Ramirez not hitting in the clutch it’s bound to bring a reaction. I’m gld you are reminding us of the longer view. But it’s difficult not to be discouraged with the team’s performance and by extension Quade and Hendry’s actions.

  • xaxinho

    You seem too calm this week, but i agree with you… Sp
    ecially about colvin and soriano. And you didnt write about the great performances from pena and aramis. really too calm…

  • Bryan

    Brian…appreciate and respect your “thoughts” on this Thursday. One basic thing that you failed to note is that this franchise is operating with an approximate payroll of $130 million, and when looking at the early results, make-up of the roster, management skills, etc, the overall “report card” is a failure. Soriano will tank, just as he has in prior years….and even if he keeps up any level of respectable output it doesn’t balance the outrageous salary he gets. Colvin is another example of Cubs management not providing a youngster the playing time to work through his adjustments. Yes, I know that Castro and Barney are getting their daily playing time, but you don’t “sit” a kid like Colvin, especially for the likes of Byrd, Fukodome or Soriano. It’s frustrating that the Rays can see the immediate value in a kid like Fuld (no, I’m not annointing him the next HOF’er), but that the Cubs couldn’t figure out how to get him playing time, just as they didn’t Fox, Pie, etc. This franchise has ruined more prospects than probably any other organization.

    No, Quade won’t get fired this year, but it’s already clear that he’s overmatched managing at this level. Overall, we have the wrong manager, wrong GM, and wrong owner to represent a proud franchise with fabulous, loyal fans. It’s just sad to currently watch….at $130m!

    • Seth

      The Cubs did not ruin Feliz Pie or Jake Fox. They are just not good ML players. Same with Rich Hill, Corey Patterson, Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, etc. Casey McGehee is one guy you can point to that the Cubs missed out on and there may be a few others. I don’t understand accusations that we ruin players- if they come up and are not very good for us and then any other team they subsequently play on, maybe they just are not ML caliber players. Did the Angels ruin Brandon Wood? Did the Mets ruin Lastings Milledge? There are examples like this on every team. I hope Tyler Colvin ends up being a good ML player but I do not understand suggestions that we play him everyday when he consistently looks uncomfortable at the plate. I understand suggestions to possibly send him to Iowa but if he played more in the ML lineup and failed, you would have a whole other group of people complaining that we are not playing our best lineup everyday.

      • Bryan

        Sorry Seth, while I respect the reply perspective, I just disagree on a couple fronts. Let’s first take Jake Fox. This was a guy, that as I recall, batted approximately .430 in the system, and was raking the ball. Upon call-up, Cubs management should have played him daily for a minimum of 30 days to best assess his transition. But no, he sat on the pine, got a token few at-bats a week, or an infrequent start, and then fell into Lou’s doghouse. He never got an opportunity.

        On Pie, this was a kid that the Cubs marketing department pitched as the skilled 5-tool player. Hype, hype, hype…and then rather than let the kid settle into a role, his inability to produce early on sat him on the pine as well.

        Baseball, like most business roles, is based so much around confidence, positive feedback, and momentum. How many times have we seen prospect after prospect get called up, and then sit in a reserve role. And then management gets frustrated when they can’t succeed in the part-time role.

        Even Rich Hill….I remember a fews ago he pitched a masterful game against the Braves here in Atlanta. I recall it was a 2-hitter, and the local announcers couldn’t sing his praises enough. Then Rothschild decides he’s going to tinker with Hill’s stride to the plate to enhance Rich’s ability to keep baserunners from running on him. From there, “game over”, and the kid was never the same. He became a head-case, and management never invested in the right resources to work on his “mental game”.

        To the current…..with Pena being a total waste of $10m (please, no debate there), why wouldn’t you place Colvin at 1B, and just say “kid, have at it, and we’re 100% with you”. Give him several weeks of everyday playing time (at the same position), and then let’s see what we have.

        You have a rookie here in Atlanta named Freddie Freeman that’s playing 1B. He had stellar system stats, and is working nicely thru his transition to the bigs. He has some great days, some subpar days….but the organization is committed to the kid 100%, he plays everyday, is never threatened with a platoon type deal, etc.

        The Cubs organization just has way too many misses.

        • Seth

          Jake Fox is a 233 career hitter in the MLB. The Cubs gave him the opportunity to play in 82 games in 2009 with 216 AB, so really the equivalent of starting in about 55-60 games. He hit 260. When he was traded to Oakland and Baltimore for 2010, he hit 217 in 77 games. He has played in 7 games this year and is hitting 166. With 3 teams in two years, all have judged him as a utility player and the Cubs provided him the most opportunities to play to showcase his skills (and he failed to prove to have the ability of an everyday player). We could go into Felix’ and Rich Hill’s stats to show the same thing. You are not providing any examples to prove your argument of the Cubs ruining players.

          No one likes Pena and that is understandable. The Cubs were “smart” by only committing one year to any first baseman in the market last year. Paying Dunn would have been the dumbest thing they could have done. The Cubs obviously wanted to participate in the Pujols/Fielder and at the time Gonzalez sweepstakes in 2011 when we had bad contracts off our payroll. Would spending less money on guys like Overbay or Cantu have been better? Maybe. I’ll accept the Pena on account of it being 1 year and him having a few solid seasons in his career. Hindsight is 20/20 and it appears to have been a mistake- and we should all be glad he is off the payroll after this year.

        • cubtex

          Bryan- I have to agree with Seth on this one. Unfortunately for young players….it is pretty much produce or vamoose. Felix Pie beat out Sam Fuld for the CF job in 2007(although neither of them tore it up in spring training) and Pie played everyday and struggled badly! Jake Fox had no position to play. He is a liability as a catcher,third baseman and outfielder. Oakland found that out pretty quickly. It is not easy at all to make it in the majors at all! You might see that with Freddie Freeman as well. He is hitting .238 currently. If he dips below .200 you will start to see a platoon and some occasional days off against tough righties and if he still continues to struggle he will be sent down. Is that the Braves fault? If Colvin was making better contact and forcing the Cubs hands(like last year with Pinella) he would be playing. Just like Barney put DeWitt on the bench this year. It is a cruel game and you need to produce as a young player.

          • paulcatanese

            Nice to see you post. I agree on young “produce or vamoose”players. However what about the vets that are not producing? Aram,Byrd,Hill,Pena, what possible excuse is there for these guys playing? Obviously they do not have to produce and still hold their jobs.That needs to change to have things equal. Oh and by the way, have been watching Barney and his pivots, you are right, needs to start changing and come across the bag.

          • cubtex

            Hi Paul. Obviously with vets there is a track record and money involved. It’s not just the Cubs….but teams will stick with vets who have big salaries over a young player almost everytime!
            Yes, I have been watching Barney. He is an exciting player and I didn’t give him as much credit before,but he definately needs work on turning the dp. As mentioned…he hasn’t played many innings or games at 2nd in the minors..he almost exclusively played SS.

          • The Maven

            Cubtex and Seth,

            I don’t always agree with the “not good enough” argument. An organization having confidence in a player and giving them an opportunity also play a part.

            If you look at the careers of two former Cubs, Derrek Lee and Jake Fox, you’ll see the glaring difference. Both batted .259 in their first major league season. The combined average for Lee over his next two seasons was .220, for Fox .196. The difference, Lee played in 211 games over that time (average 105 per season) and Fox played in 84 (average 41 per season).

            While there wasn’t a huge difference in their batting, the organizations they were with were more interested in developing Lee than Fox.

            Fox has had the deck stacked against him during his career, having to battle Derrek Lee (twice), Geovany Soto, Aramis Ramirez, Kurt Suzuki, Daric Barton, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Matt Weiters, and Vladimir Guerrero among others for playing time. All of those players, while not hall-of-famers, were players that their organizations had a vested interest in their success.

            Sometimes, that’s just too much to overcome.

          • The Maven

            As for Freddie Freeman, the Braves have a long track record of allowing their home-grown players plenty of consistent opportunities before making any judgments on them. For the ones they don’t want, they’ll usually find a way to jack their market price and then deal them to someone, like they did with Adam LaRoche, Jerrod Saltamalachia, and Yunel Escobar.

            The good ones they keep, unlike some team we all know.

          • cubtex

            Maven. I think Bryan can agree on this one since he is from Atlanta. Look at Jeff Francouer. A first round pick who had a huge year in his 2nd year in the majors. He started to decline because pitchers adjusted to him and he didn’t. He was soon replaced and gotten rid of at a young age. Colvin needs to adjust or it will be the same for him. Soto bounced back in his 3rd year after a bad sophomore season. If he hadn’t…..do you think he would be starting now just because he is young or had a good rookie year?

            The Braves make mistakes too just like any other team. Do you think they would like to have Elvis Andrus back?

          • The Maven

            Touche, Cubtex. You are as usual very well informed. Yes the Braves do make mistakes at times, as they did with Andrus and Adam Wainwright. Francouer is having a decent bounce back with the Royals, while they also missed on Kelly Johnson.

            The point was that they give their prospects extended and consistent playing time before completing their evaluations, not just the knee-jerk responses you get from the Cubs (and some of their fans). Francouer could be another player added to the list I already gave.

            As for Colvin, that is a conundrum. He hasn’t shown he deserves more playing time, yet how much better can he get by going down and facing somewhat inferior pitching?

          • cubtex

            I would love to see Colvin succeed! The problem I have with him is that he doesn’t seem to shorten his swing with 2 strikes(ala Starlin Castro) and just put the bat on the ball enough. He has a long swing and it looks to me like he is trying to go yard on every swing. He needs to go the other way and put the ball in play more. I think he needs to be sent down and play consistently and work it out. Fukodome deserves to play against righthanders the way he is hitting. If the Cubs are able to move Byrd and/or Fuko later this year…bring up Colvin(if he figures it out) and Brett Jackson later in the year.

          • John_CC

            This is a good conversation…I’ll just add that Soto is prime example of allowing a young player to work through their problems. The Cubs like Soto, obviously (maybe to fault, but that’s a different story), but they also do not have a veteran and/or multiple overpaid veterans at the catcher position to block him. OK, Hill is a veteran and certainly overpaid, but he’s never been a starter, you know if the Cubs had a washed up and struggling catcher like Pudge (first that popped into my head) that Soto would never had a chance.

          • cubtex

            More on the Braves making their share of mistakes. Not only did they trade Andrus but also Neftali Feliz and 3 other prospects(one being Saltamachia) for Mark Texeira. They had Texeira for a little over a year and traded him to the Angels for……Are you ready for this return??? Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek. Do you think they gave up a little more to the Rangers for Tex than they got back in return from the Angels?

    • paulcatanese

      Bryan,posted a reply earlier and then pressed the wrong button. On Soriono, I am getting tired of everyone complaining (myself included) because he didn’t have much to do about it. One thing about him,he tries and I can’t say that about the other large contracts except Fukodome he also tries so that really leaves Aram in that category,he just goes through the motions. what the Cubs paid for in Soriono and Fukodome has not brought the results that were hoped for but they have not laid down and not given the effort. Colvin I agree he has not really had the chance he deserves and should be over Byrd,who in my estimation is the only viable trade option for the Cubs this year and should be. On Fuld , the kid got a break, he was traded, the best possible thing that could have happened to him. I’ll bet he jumped up and down with joy when he heard the news. Quade,I have posted daily about his shortcomings and totaly agree with you on him and JH both and the 130 mil. who knows after it comes off the books? There have not been many smart moves by the Cubs front office now and in the past,so there is no gurantee it will be better with the freed up money, there are still a lot of older vets out there that JH loves.

      • paulcatanese

        Bryan, forgot to mention two of the worst contracts ever,10mil for Pena and of course Koyie Hill and his increase. I would say those two are the icing on the cake. Those are two chalked directly to JH.

        • paulcatanese

          Bryan, if I read much further I see I am missing few more, Grabow for sure, and still out on the Shark,he at least showed a little.

  • Tony_Hall

    I get the Q has only 23 games and will give him this season to show improvement, but is that what we are left with at Clark and Addison, needing to give a guy a full season to learn how to manage. This is why I wanted a grizzly old vet sitting next to him as the bench coach. A guy who has been a big league manager, and doesn’t want the pressure anymore or the final say. Lou would have probably made a good bench coach for someone. That way he could still get his naps in, in the middle of the game.

    If Soriano hits 30 homers and bats near 250, I would applaud his batting…his defense on the other hand…

    Q will get attacked for who he bats third, until he tells ARam that he is 3rd!

    Rob Whitenack had a nice outing last night, after his promotion to AA 6 IP, 0 R, 3H

    Colvin needs to go to AAA, TO GET BACK his confidence. If it crushed it, then he wasn’t cut out for major league baseball.

    I don’t know, this team might play better with 13 guys gone..I’m just sayin…

    • Keith Moreland

      I think the Cubs would be happy at this point to get 2 more starter-quality years out of Soriano. Tom Verducci wrote an excellent piece on older ballplayers; they don’t perform anymore. Soriano was signed in the steriod era, when players routinely played well into their late 30s. Not anymore. Soriano is clearly in decline, and will probably be cut from the roster before his contract is up at the end of the 2014 season, when he will be 38.

      Sad, but there it is.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Bryan,
    I fully agree: in order for criticism to be valid, it must first be fair. “Wisdom”, so says Solomon by way of the Holy Spirit, “is always righteous (i.e., conforms to God’s Law) always fair, and always just” (Proverbs 1:3).

    So let’s consider what is fair minded towards:

    1. Mike Quade. To give him the benefit of the doubt since “it’s only been 23 games” is not fair. Quade got 34 games last year and 23 this year to make 57 games. He had six weeks of ST to find out what he had. He’s had from 2007-2010 as the CUBS third base coach to find out what he had. He’s been a bench coach on the ML level for 17 years. So I think any fair minded person on this board would be inclined to agree: he’s had enough time to find out what’s got.

    I agree: he will not be fired until this year is over–if even then. That his managerial skills are lacking should be obvious by his handling of the starting pitching staff; his handling of the bullpen (“burn ‘em!); his batting orders (Blake DeWitt batting #3); his handling of the youngsters last fall (“bench ‘em all”); his handling of Colvin (“start him exclusively against LHP”); the upside down platoon of Barney, a rookie!, only against RHP, and maybe even Carlos Pena. That Koyie Hill is even on the roster is insane, and who do you want to give credit for that boondoogle? Sure, Koyie got one hit in 32 AB in ST and one hit in 9 AB so far this year: a bunt single. But that doesn’t justify his presence on a ML roster, imo. Is that entirely a Jim Clueless thing? Sam Fuld didn’t get any AB last year, either. Who is responsible? Did Jim call that shot?

    2.Let’s be fair towards Jim Clueless, too. I will fully agree with you that Mike Quade does not have full control. It is obvious. So I expect you to get on the “FIRE JIM CLUELESS BANDWAGON.” He is Clueless, you know. And that’s a fair statement. If you are going to give Quade a pass, the ball is therefore being dropped by the next guy in line: Jim Clueless.

    3. I never was for, and never expressed a desire to release everyone on the ML roster and bring up the entire AA team. That sentiment belongs to another poster. I would like to see a few brought up, Bryan Jackson being one of them. It is of small concern to me that his BA has dropped down to .300. That will probably help him make it to the majors, since if you hit .400+, you haven’t got a chance (see Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir).

    4. Might as well let Funko bat #3. He’s a hotter hand than Baker and has some power. And it was supposed to be a RHP, too. It even makes sense since your first two hitters are RH, since Funko is a good OBP guy, since Funko is even a decent OPS and a decent slugging guy.

    5. Quade should be able to see that Carlos Pena isn’t a #5 hitter anymore. If Soriano deserves a drop to #7, then Pena, if Quade is going to play him, deserves a drop to #8.

    • paulcatanese

      Rip,excellent post,well thought out and precise and correct,can’t say any more than that,people will think wer’e in love.

    • John_CC

      Ditto Paul, excellent comments.

    • Brian

      Rip,

      I agree with you regarding Hendry. He needs to be gone.

      Please know that many things above came from many different places and many different people. In no way is anything written above in response to any one person.

      Sorry, I should have clarified that earlier.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Oh, I completely understood that you were speaking in general terms. Absolutely no offense taken here on my part for anything from anybody on this forum. I just love the CCO, and I like spouting off. It’s all fun; it’s all good. : )

        • Gary J

          Well said Rip :-)

  • Keith Moreland

    I agree with comments on Quade, and actually for all players, it’s a little early to draw sweeping conclusions from small sample sizes. Is Jeff Baker going to finish the season with a .900+ OPS? I doubt anyone here thinks so. Maybe against lefties, because there is a big sample size that supports the fact that Jeff Baker mashes left handed pitching. Mr. April isn’t a .400 hitter either, we have all seen that movie before.

    This is the year of burning bad contracts, not winning baseball games I am afraid. Our performance relative to payroll is pathetic, but the silver lining is that so much of our dead money comes off the books after this year, including Fukudome ($14.5), Pena ($10), Grabow ($4.8), Silva ($14.5), and also A-Ram ($14.5), depending on what you think of him. I could also include Shark’s $3.3 mil, though at this point we may pick up his option. That’s at least $45 mil, and maybe up to $65 mil depending on other moves. Hopefully we don’t waste that bounty, but we should have in excess of $30 mil per year to spend in FA, even after arbitration raises

    • John_CC

      I agree with you, Keith. But the frustration expressed by many of us on roster management is precisely because this year is a “burning bad contracts, not winning baseball games” year. If this is a fact, then why in the hell would you want to continue to play all of these guys – the old and aging vets with no future on this team?

      It is still too early to trade some the veterans and to complain that some of the youngsters are not up, so I will wait. But this season this team is clearly not going to be a contender, it is the perfect time to see if Colvin can work through his problems, to get Brett Jackson 400 MLB at bats, give Carpenter innings against major league hitters, etc.

      I really, really hope that the owners and upper management can see that it is imperative to work towards a future by getting the youth up and experienced while winning this year is not the priority (because it is not a reality). And it is not a “giving up” to admit that.

      (and a side note: Pena’s 10M$ does not all come off the books this year, remember Hendry needed him so badly that he put 5M$ of his salary on next year’s books)

    • roguesqr09

      For some reason, I highly doubt we will have a $130 payroll again next year. I’m guessing with the contracts going a way, Ricketts will tighten the belt and we’ll be lucky to be at a $100 mil payroll

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

        I bet you were also one of the ones that thought when Ricketts said he was lower payroll that they wold not spend 125 million this year. It is all relative to your prospective.

        If we only have a $100 million payroll but have a core in place to get better and add payroll to fill holes and need then I think most of us are all for it. Payroll does not equal production. We move Fukudome, ARAM, and Pena then replace them with cheaper players that we have control of for the next few years there is no problems with that. I actually would love to see an outfield of Jackson, Soriano and Colvin next year with Smith at 3rd and Vitters at first but they have to prove they belong and can produce.

        • roguesqr09

          And have to be given a chance by JH and the Cubs. That won’t happen at 1st base. I’d like to see those players up as well, but with JH bringing in the vets, I doubt we’ll even see Vitters next year, until it’s towards the end.

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

    I think you are right about Quade not having full control. I also think this is the reason he was hired over Sandberg. Ryno would have wanted final say on pitching staff, roster, line ups and probably the number of Ryne Sandberg Bobble Head Nights. Now I hope that as Quade gets more comfortable in his role that Hendry gets less and less influence. Hopefully Hendry is gone by the end of the year but that is a wait and see.

    I think that as our current owners get there act together, they will realize that Crane Kenny and Hendry need to be replaced with baseball guys before they totally gut the system again to get close to the big one.

    As far as having Pat Listache as the bench coach. I like him and he has earned the chance with the Cubs long ago. He should have been given a big league job when Lou was here but someone thought Alan Tramell deserved another shot at a big league job.

    I agree with who ever claimed that ARAM should be told to hit where you are needed and bat third already. He is our most complete hitter and he needs to be getting the most AB’s as possible. So do us a favor Ramirez man up, take the dang 3 hole, and be a professional hitter you should be because your days of being a complete player at 3rd is over. I still think they should have moved him to first this season but that is another conversation.

    I think that Colvin is at most a 4th OF’er on a good team. I have said it before he doesn’t work counts and he does not make adjustments in his hitting enough to be an everyday player. That being said he needs to get right or go back to the minors. I know that it could kill the kids confidence but wasting a spot on the bench while he “finds himself” is not an option either. Get it together or get gone.

    We are not going to cut half our roster, get over it. Live with what we got. Other than Hendry and Quade no one was saying we would make a run at a World Series this year but if we win 50 games with our kids this year we will never recover. Does no one remember the Detriot Tigers from the early 2000’s. It destroyed almost all of those kids being on teams like that. The Tigers had to spend a ton of money to get out of the hole they created.

    This was just my once a month long rant a lot of people will disagree with it but that is what is great about baseball. You live long enough you see a number of ways to get the same result. Which is what ever Cubs fan should want a WS win before we get called to the big Wrigley in the sky.

  • John_CC

    Just because Quade will get skewered by some no matter what he does, does not mean that is unfair for others to skewer him over specific things he does. (Did that make any sense?)

    So, yes, bat Fukudome in the 3 hole while he’s hot, Rip already clarified why that would be a good move.

    Or, how about acting like a Manager and telling Aramis that he is the 3 hitter, then park Soriano in the clean-up slot. Hell, he’s the only guy with a threat of hitting a long ball right now. And he would essentially be the hitter that hoped Pena would be, albeit right handed, in the cleanup spot – .240 BA with 30 HR and 100Ks.

    There are a lot things he can change. I do not advocate flip flopping lineups ala Pinella, but when an offense is so bad with such glaring holes i.e. Byrd hitting in the 3 hole, then changes have to be made. Stop bouncing the only productive hitters they have – Castro and Barney – all over. They are a good daily double, it’s the only part that has worked this year, leave it alone!

    Quade also deserves flak for the dumb things he’s said then done. Everyone railed on Lou for being candid and short. Frankly Quade talks way too much. The Russell comment (not being a major league starter) followed by yet another start was just a stupid thing to say and do. What is a player – or team – supposed to take away from that? Let alone a rabid, discerning fan base? Lou was nuts, what’s the excuse for Quade – Hendry is calling all the shots?

    There is a reason he’s been around for 17 years and never been hired as a manager, it’s because he is a coach.

  • Cheryl

    There are some good players on this team. Fuko doesn’t get much credit but he tries. For all his shortcomings, Soriano tries. Some of Quade’s decisions seem strange to the fans.It was pretty obvious he didn’t want to pitch who he pitched on the bullpen night this last time around. Byrd does need to be traded and as I said before, Soriano needs to find another home on an American League team, if possible. Pena has not lived up to expectations, to put it mildly. Right now the Cubs don’t have a good team. With some (and I emphasize some) changes they could be better. The question is will Hendry and Quade stay with the status quo? Or, will some changes be made?

    • paulcatanese

      Cheryl, like the post,we seem to toataly agree on all points and cannot add anything.

  • Gary J

    Haven’t posted in a while but had to chime in….

    “First things first, Mike Quade will not be fired this year, nor should he be. The Cubs have played 23 games. TWENTY-THREE. There are 139 games left.”

    (insert sound of applause here)

    This team has flaws – we all know it and discussed it ad nauseum all spring. The consensus is that it’s max potential was as a .500 club. And guess what? They’re 3 under now after the latest 3 game losing streak, but they’ve been riding .500 all season with 40% of their rotation on the DL. I don’t know what more you expect of the guy. He managed the team at the end of last season to the second best record in the bigs during his tenure.

    Barney is starting because he deserves it – so stop with the vets over youth thing. Colvin is sitting because he likewise deserves it. And B Jax still needs seasoning. The strategy of “let the kids play – it’s a lost season” after 23 friggin games is insane. Even at 3 games under we’re only 2.5 out. If we’d had Wells and Cashner pitching the last month instead of Coleman (holding his own) and Russell (should be back in AAA) we could easily be in first. This division is up for grabs. If we’re still playing .450 ball at the break – in TWO MONTHS – then let’s let the youngsters play and see what’s what.

    If we’re not in in by July, then I would expect to see Fuku and Bryd traded as “rentals” to someone for a couple of mid level prospects to make room for B Jax and whoever else is deserving of a look at the time.

    As for the roster budget… The majority of the bad contracts on the books were done because it was a mandate from ownership. If you want to get on Hendry for not standing up to his bosses at the time, so be it… but in order to get marquis guys (and at the time both Fuku and Fonzie were highly sought after) to come to a city with 100 years of history as the lovable losers, you’re going to have to back up the brinks truck.

    And note – in order to get Fielder or Pujols to come here instead of a team already on the brink of a ring, it’s going to cost us…. just saying.

    We’ve hashed through all this before though. Numerous times. I hasn’t changed since spring. It’s not going to change until fall.

    Personally other than Koyie, I thought Hendry did a pretty good job of filling holes without compromising our shot at big free agents next year when the other contracts expire. He wasn’t going to be able to make big moves – but I liked the moves he did make.

    And yes – Pena needs to be dropped in the lineup – he’s been horrible at the plate. But he’s been as good as advertised in the field. So that’s something. … it’s a small something…. but it’s something.

    But his $10mil…. in order to get a player of any skill to take a shorter contract, you overpay for the luxury of the shorter period. I’m not saying the guy has lived up to even the low expectations of hitting .230… but spending the money for a one year contract puts us in position to be major players next year in free agency.

    But as for the “Pena has been horrible – replace him with Colvin at 1b” – ummm… Colvin doesn’t come close to his defense and as bad as .168 is (Pena), .127 is worse (Colvin). If Colvin was hitting and Pena not – then OK. I get it. But he’s not so let it go. Plus Colvin’s OBP is under .200 too while Pena is over .300 (again… not much but it’s something) so there’s not an argument to swap the guys out based on performance. Pena is the lesser of two evils in the box and still great with the glove.

    And yes – Byrd needs to get out of the 3 hole. But Castro hit in the 3 hole Monday and Quade has said some things in the press about the lineup… so it’s not like it’s not already in flux.

    OK – I’m in danger of rehashing old arguments and talking in circles LOL

    So I’ll just close it with….

    Bravo for your view on Quade. :-) I’m with ya. He’s done the best with what he has. I don’t think a different manager would be getting different results (even Sandberg). 40% of the rotation down and hovering around .500 as long as they have? I’ll take that.

    • John_CC

      Gary, you lost me at “even at 3 under we’re only 2.5 out”.

      I respect your opinion and optimism and just have to disagree. If you want to talk about how many games are left, then please, you know that being “x” number of games out of first place is completely meaningless at 20 games into the season, far more meaningless than being 3 games under .500 at 23 games (most of which came against very weak competition), which to me has displayed quite well how this team plays baseball on a daily basis.

      I want to see the Cubs field a really good team again, I want so badly to get into a season like 2008 again. I do not care so much about a .500 team of aging veterans winning a crappy division. Actually I do not want to see that at all. I would much rather get rolling toward that 2008 type season again where an inspired team plays inspired baseball and is never out of game. The way to get moving toward that, in my honest opinion, is to cut the fat and get the players – Brett Jackson, Castillo, Flaherty, LeMahieu – that look to have a serious chance at competing in the MLB up to see what they can do.

      • Gary J

        I agree with you that 3 under or 2.5 back in April is pretty meaningless. But then labeling Quade as a bust of a manager during the same stretch of games also is premature.

        My point with that statement was that the division is completely up for grabs – that if we’d gotten off to a start like the White or Red Sox that would be something else… but (knock on wood) we didn’t.

        But we’re also short 40% of our starting rotation due to injury. You take out the games that Russell and Coleman have pitched, and this team is above .500… and the way the two injured guys came out of the spring it’s not unreasonable to think we could be leading the division all things being equal. And they’ll be coming back in the next couple of weeks – we remain within striking distance until then, and this isn’t a lost season.

        I know it’s probably overly optimistic – but it’s not a line of thinking without merit backed up by the play on the field. Well that and I’m an optimistic kind of guy :-)

        I WOULD like to see them play some stinking defense though – that inning by Castro during Garza’s last start was brutal. Our formula for winning in 2011 should be pitching and defense – not pitching and oops-my-bad :-)

        • John_CC

          You cannot take back the games lost. I find it ironic that you point that “IF” you take out the games Russell pitched they are at .500 while in the same post defending Quade and saying that it isn’t fair to judge him yet. I am judging him on the decisions he has made thus far – injuries are a part of the game and how a manager works with them is a big part of his job, so Quade failed miserably by trotting Russell out there for the third time.

          But this isn’t my point anyway. My point was that I do not want to follow a .500 team while all the while just hoping that they win the division because the competition is so bad. I want, more than anything, to follow a team that wins because it is a good team, a team that pounds out runs late in games, a team that does not take any lead for granted, a team that just wants to win everyday!

          This is not that team. It just isn’t. So I want to see some changes that get us closer that.

    • cubtex

      My opinion…..A manager does not prevent a good team from winning! The Cubs are an average team. Look at Terry Francona…he won a world series and is considered a good manager. They signed Crawford and got AGon and started off terribly. Is it his fault? The players need to perform!

    • Gramps

      Good comment Gary! I agree with most of what you said. I have not yet become a big fan of Quade. I do not like some of his game decisions, but I agree it is too early in the season to be ragging on him and I still will give him a chance. I always look at the Hendry bashing in a different way. I agree on what you said of the big money signings. I think his hand was forced by the Tribune to get players at any cost because they wanted to enhance the sale of the club. I realize he has made mistakes, and some of them have been very big, but there has never been a general manager that has not made them. The thing that gets me is that everybody wants the young kids to come up. When they talk of these kids in the system, who do they think brought these kids into the system? No matter what, Hendry is the general manager of the Chicago Cubs and he is the one who had to give the OK on the signings and drafting of these players. The minor league system seems to be one of the best in the major leagues and he, being the GM, has to get most of the credit. Sure, he signs scouts and advisors, but this has happened on “his watch.” I think this is the main reason he is still the GM of the Cubs. I remember the Bulls when they were in their previous heyday. Everybody hated Jerry Krause, but he eventually got players to add to MJ and we all know what happened. The biggest thing we have against us is that we have not won in over 100 years. But it seems to me that they are building an organization now that should bring an end to that in future years. For some of us, I hope it does not take too long. Like always, GO CUBS!

    • JedMosley

      I completely agree, sometimes i wonder if there is a “CCO kool-aid” people are drinking…

  • John G.

    I read the words “Hendry resigning…” and got all excited but then I realized you meant “Hendry re-signing Fukodome”. Talk about a buzzkill.

  • paulcatanese

    As I leave for the Dentist I think about the Cubs and tonight. They are returning to Arizona and I have a few questions. Will Dempster and big Z return to ST form? Will Garza not be able to throw a slider in the dry air? Will Pena get more than two hits?Koyie Hill the same? And will Quades fundementals come back into play? All of these questions will be answered tonight. Stay tuned for further developments.

    • John_CC

      Good luck with the dentist, Paul!

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

    I love to hear what people have to say. I have a suggestion…

    BULLET POINTS!!!

    I can’t stand these 4 paragraph diatribes. I don’t have time to read them so I scroll right past.

  • JedMosley

    I totally agree, great column