Rambling as the Second Half is Under Way

Wasn’t that nice? What a great break. Three full days used to wash away the stain of a pitiful, pathetic and, well, piss-poor first half of the Cubs’ season.

If it could have gone wrong for the Cubs, it did. From head-scratching decisions to abysmal performance on the field, the first half was an awful display of baseball. The Cubs are only bested by the Houston Astros when it comes to the absolute worst team in baseball.

So, with that out of the way, the second half has begun, it is Friday, so let’s go do some friggin’ rambling. How about it?

  • Okay, did I just watch Game 6 all over again last night?
  • That is 7 blown saves for Marmol, and it is not even August. This is bad.
  • I will admit it: I miss the towel drill. I really do.
  • Let’s be honest, if the Yankees wanted Rothschild, he could not have been that bad. I think the pitching performance thus far in 2011 validates that.
  • I have a Kosuke, I have an Aramis, I have a Marlon and a trio of Carloses. Who is interested? Get ‘em at a great deal now. This is your place for one-stop deadline dealing. We have what you need. Don’t miss out!
  • Your leaders in clubhouse for victories Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano with SIX!! Six wins. That is stomach-churning bad.
  • Many stats can sum up the Cubs season, but that one wraps it up pretty nicely.
  • Is it me or did Chris Berman only reference one Phoenix suburb on Monday night? That had to be an order from the higher-ups. And your winner: Yuma.
  • Samardzija has five wins. So, one of our middle relievers has ONE less victory than our two best starters at the All-Star Break.
  • Combing these stats feels like staring at an eclipse. I don’t want to, but I just can’t look away.
  • Who is renting Kerry Wood for two months? This could become a great plan for the next few years. Trade Kerry Wood every deadline for two or three years for a few low-to-mid-level prospects. One of them is bound to pan out.
  • Kerry Wood: The gift that keeps on giving and a Cub for life. Plus getting all these prospects in trades for him only benefits him when he is Greg Maddux’s assistant in a few years.
  • Matt Garza’s ERA is 4.26 at the break. That is best among regular starters. That is also awful. Thank you.
  • I would like to see a little more power from Starlin. Many pundits believe it will come with time, but I am anxious to see a glimpse. Anyone else with me on this one?
  • I was actually excited to see Starlin steal two bases in the All-Star game. Then he got thrown out at home. Sums up the Cubs perfectly.
  • Maybe some of Bochy’s knowledge and strategy rubbed off on the Q-man during the game. Starlin should be running much more often over the next two and a half months.
  • Or he won’t be doing any of that at all. I am done with thinking or even wondering what is going to happen. I am just in the game of watching and processing now. However, the processing part can be very difficult when so many things just don’t make sense.
  • Thursday night was Geovany Soto bobblehead doll night! I wonder if they can make one of Jerome Walton to go along with it. That would be a great set of shocking ROY disappointments.
  • Yes, I know I went there before regarding the Soto/Walton correlation, but I just couldn’t help myself.
  • Soto was hitting .228. I would really like to see a big second-half from this kid and Thursday night was a good start. Without it, many questions will arise about his future. A strong second season in Iowa from Castillo could portend of things to come in 2012.
  • Fukudome is still hitting .270. TRADE HIM NOW!!!
  • And we will finish it this way: Tell me what you are hoping to see during the second half of the baseball season. One thing. What is the number one thing you want to see from the Cubs?

And with that, we are done rambling for the column, but I hope the comments are just getting started.

Enjoy your Friday, and until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"The will to succeed is important, but what's more important is the will to prepare." - Bobby Knight
Share on Fancred
  • Demitri

    I want to see the people responsible for this gone. Starting now. My god.. I didn’t know Hendry was signed for life.. Wish we had a small market GM. Then he could focus on developing young players and when the time is right go buy your need.

  • Cebourelly

    Soriano to the Yankees Ram to the Angels or Braves and Fukudome someplace out west

  • J Daniel

    The number one thing is even more empty seats as it will force change at the top, just not high enough to include Ricketts.  But everyone else must go, including the coaching staff.  The answer is always GET BETTER PLAYERS but does anyone trust this management at this point to make the appropriate trades?

  • Tony_Hall

    #1 thing, I would like to see from the Cubs?

    Fire Jim Hendry!

    It all starts there.

    • J Daniel

      Tony,
      Agree with you but it may take empty seats to force the move.

    • cubtex

      Derek Holland with back to back complete game shutouts with the Rangers. I imagine the Rays might be thinking they should have taken the Rangers package for Garza?

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

        They thought they needed a short stop with a high upside. But man did Texas offer a better deal or what.

        • cubtex

          Time will tell but the Rays really wanted Archer and that is what sealed the deal. I think the Cubs got rid of Archer just in time. 108 hits in 95 IP in AA? He got roughed up again last night 5.1 8 hits 6 runs 5 Earned.

      • Tony_Hall

        I wish they would have taken the Rangers off too.

        But they did get a pretty good SS.

        Hak Ju Lee is rated at the 7th best prospect in the minors by ESPN.  Bryce Harper is #1.  This list is about who is the best, not who is the best and will be on a major league roster tomorrow, or even April.  

        http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/6768361/mlb-keith-law-updated-2011-top-50-prospects

        Hak-Ju Lee
        SS
        6-2
        170
        Analysis: He’s a four-tool player with fringy power who profiles as a plus defensive shortstop who can hit and run. Preseason Ranking: 49

        • cubtex

          They got a pretty good shortstop in A ball for a back to back 200 inning guy ALCS MVP and 15 game winner in the majors. Pitching at the major league level is much more valuable unless you enjoy watching Ramon Ortiz,Doug Davis and Rodrigo Lopez.

          • Tony_Hall

            Ranked #7 for all prospects.

            15 game winner…how’s that count going this year?

            I believe his past history of 11 and 8 wins, is a lot closer to what his 4 ERA and 1.333 Whip is for this year.

            With or without Garza this year was not the year, and neither is 2012.

            By the time the Cubs are competitive again, Hak Ju Lee will be a starting SS and Matt Garza will be in Boston or NY with a FA contract, that he’s not worth.

            And no, watching those 3 is no fun, that is why they should have been the team trading a vet for near ready prospects, like Holland.  Then again, Holland has a 4.32 ERA and a 1.407 WHIP, like Garza with the Rays, a good offense makes those numbers look good with a 8-4 record.

          • cubtex

            We will always disagree on this trade Tony. I do not really acknowledge any other prospect list but baseball america, so I do not see Lee as a #7 prospect.
            Everything that I have read about the trade is that the Rays would not have done the deal without Archer being included. He was the centerpiece of the deal. Seeing how Archer has re-gressed this year…and his future in doubt as a starting pitcher, I am sure the Rays are disappointed in how he has looked this year and have to be questioning themselves for not taking the Rangers offer of getting back a mlb starting pitcher in Holland.
             
            One question….Where are all these near ready mlb starting prospects and what teams are willing to trade them? And for who? With such a shortage of MLB starting pitching…do you honestly think the Cubs can aquire a top pitching prospect for Fuko? Pena? Byrd? I think you know better than that. The Cubs have only Garza as a sub 30 year old pitcher with a successful track record in the majors.
            How many more pitchers like Garza are available in the trade market…and for what price?
            You are right…he will not get 15 wins this year but how many wins should he have if the bullpen did not blow any of his games and his team could score a run in that complete game 1-0 loss.
            I definately value starting pitching more than you do and I will trade a player like Lee any day for a pitcher like Matt Garza.
             

          • Tony_Hall

            So sorry to hear that you don’t consider ESPN, even a recognizable information source, but the list they did, was just updated, and removed players who had made it to the majors already this year. 

            Never said that their were all these near ready mlb starting prospects and which teams were willing to trade them.  What I said was I would have rather seen the Cubs adding players who have more years left than a couple before FA, and in their expensive arb years, who will be gone before they are competitive again, by trading off their vets, instead of trading off our prospects for other teams vets.  This hasn’t worked, but it is the only way that JH knows to build a team.

            Not sure how you value starting pitching more than me.  I would love to add a Garza as my #3 pitcher, if I already have 2 real aces in my rotation, and I thought we were missing that type of pitcher to make a run at the World Series.  Otherwise, I don’t like trading 5 prospects for a player who will be in another uniform before this team is competitive again, just to say we did.  It hasn’t helped the Cubs be competitive this year, has it?

            Do you not see that Garza will be gone as soon as he is a FA?  We have him for 3 years (2011, 2012, 2013), and they will be his expensive arbitration years.  Then he will be off to a team that will pay FA type money.  If JH is smart, and we know he is not, he would put a 3 year contract in front of him (buying out his 2 remaining arbitration years) and put in a club option for his 1st FA year, that would be below, projected salary figures, but give Garza the comfort of guaranteed contracts.  If Garza is not willing to sign it, then you know he is looking ahead to his FA payday and will be gone for sure.

            Anyway, you are right we won’t agree, but the 1 thing you have to agree with, is regardless of having the great Garza on this team, the Cubs are going no where and don’t look even close to going anywhere for a few years.  And that is how I measure a trade for a veteran.  Did it help us get to the playoffs, to have a shot at a World Series?  It didn’t, and I and many others knew it wouldn’t, so I would rather have the prospects in our system and the extra cash still available to help buy out some of our aging, overpaid vets contracts, so that we can start over.

          • cubtex

            I am sorry you are already conceding the next 2 years. I am sure many Pirates fans did that for this year too and San Francisco fans the year before. It is not a 3 year fix in the NL Central. Who would have thought Kevin Correira would have 11 wins at all star break,Jeff Karstens and Chad Morton to do what they have done. Surprises and career years happen for teams to win. As I said…this is the NL Central. They are not dealing with 160 million payrolls in the Red Sox and 180 mil in the Yankees. The Brewers will be weaker next year, The Cards will be crippled if they sign Pujols and will probably have to dump some salary. You don’t need to win 100 games to win this division

            Here is my point on who we gave up.
            1. Chris Archer- Originally aquired by Cubs in DeRosa trade as a throw in. Always had command issues. Had a year and a half of excellent results but strikeout to walk rate was always below average. Downgraded now by many scouts because of command issues and now looked at as a future bullpen guy.
            2. Hak Ju Lee- I know you are already penciling this guy in as a starting shortstop in 2 years(I’ll believe it when I see it) Slap hitter who is making a lot of errors and stolen base rate below average. How many Korean born everyday major leaguers have been all stars?
            3. Brandon Guyer- 4th outfielder
            4.Chirinos- Who knows if he’ll ever make it but a backup catcher at best.
            5. Sam Fuld- Fan favorite who plays great defense but will hit around .250

            If you say Garza is a #3. If you can find 2 pitchers to add who are better, I will put money down in Vegas that the Cubs win the Central next year.

            So the Cubs gave up 5 players who would not help them for the next couple of years and maybe never! Archer would not help them next year. Lee would not help them next year. Guyer would be a 4th outfielder at best next year. The Cubs have Castro at short,Vitters in the minors,LeMahiieu in the minors,Flaherty in the minors,Barney at 2nd currently,Marwin Gonzales in the minors,Baez who they just drafted,Candelario in the International league. Looking at video of Lee, I think I will take my chances with the group the Cubs kept. Slap hitting shortstops don’t thrill me.

          • cubtex

            how you measure a trade for a veteran? He is 27 years old! He is about the same age as Chirinos and Guyer. He is not ready for the rocking chair.

          • Tony_Hall

            I measure a trade for a veteran, based on how much they get paid.  You are vet, once you are paid like one.  This guy could be around for 10+ years.  If it is with the Cubs, this will be a steal of a trade.   That is why I have said, since the trade, that JH needs to sign him to a contract, to get a “deal” and payroll certainty for the Cubs and to make this deal make sense.  If he pitches 3 years and the Cubs don’t win (not likely) and then leaves, this is a bad deal.  Can we at least agree on that?  That winning is what matters.
             

          • cubtex

            What you need to acknowledge is that the Cubs can always deal him in year 3 before free agency if they are not in the race, and get possibly a better return than what they gave away for him. They still have all of next year and half of 2013 to utilize Garza if they are in a divisional race. Like I still believe….teams can go from last to first in this division. But, like you suggested…I would like to lock up Garza on a long term deal now at less if he is willing.

          • Tony_Hall

            I have no confidence that JH can turn this team around, with all of the baggage he has, and how many prospects he has unloaded.  It isn’t always about each individual prospect, unless they are a stud prospect, its about the quantity of them  You trade prospects to supplement the big league club, when you are close, not when it is a lost year.

            Also – Garza did start the year as #3, and hasn’t done much to differentiate himself from the averageness of Dempster and Zambrano

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Archer was not a throw in player in the DeRosa trade. The Cubs wanted him more than Stevens and Gaub.

          • cubtex

            Ok. If you say that I stand corrected but I thought I remember Gaub was the one they really liked and Stevens was another pitcher who they liked and rolled the dice on Archer.

  • GUEST

    All I want is pitching.
    Good pitching will make everyone and everything look a lot better.

    • Jiba11

      Not with a league leading 78 ERRORS.

  • jw

    Its so Cub to have a deeply flawed product with great temporary value (Marmol) and not trade when value is high. Knowing the talent you have is something good clubs do

    • jey518

      Especially in a completely lost season like this one, everyone seemed to know it except for the fearless leader Hendry.

      • jw

        They call him Trader Jim for a reason…he has no leadership vision, no coherent philosophy or strategic plan. He is really in the wrong position and it is killing the Cubs organization. Either Ricketts is not making any change because of financial reasons or because he is as clueless as Jim… in any case it makes all of the ideas posted here on this board fun but irrelevant because there is no creativity or coherent thinking going on at the top.

  • Chriswicker16

    There is whispers the Cubs have a deal in place for their 2nd round pick, per Jim Callis.

  • Cloycub13

    Brian solid as always!!! And do I sense that you are coming over to the dark side?? It seemed as if you were on the Give Mike a chance boat. That dingy has shown that it’s bottom is made out of a screen door and the oars out of noodles… are you hopping off the boat or bailing water hoping for some duct tape and bondo?

    Been a while since I have posted. Been watching limited games but reading here daily. There just isn’t much more to say.

    What do I want to see…..1. Unceremoniously and unequivocally  FIRE the hell out of anyone involved…Kenney, Hendry, Bush, Quade…. And then the fans should file a lawsuit for moneys spent on a team that is so inept, so pathetic, so bad, so loserish with the added caveat that the above named defendants be also arrested for the murder of a loyal and rabid fan base!

    2. Sign most of the draft picks..Spend the damn money Tommy Boy. Set yourself up for the future with some thunder in the minors.

    I will stop now as I may go off on an epic rant and be banned from this site and that would truly be tragic.

    Keep it up guys… some day “From the wires” will rain down uppon the CCO and we will have reason to dance in the streets…. I just may be 85 with a replaced hip at that point (For reference that would be 50 years from now).

    Good luck staying sane out there!

  • Aaron

    I would like an entirely new management team from top to bottom. In order to accomplish this, as many have pointed out, the Cubs need to continue losing, and losing badly, such as last night, making Quade look like an amateur. Obviously, teams cannot land guys from other organizations until after the season is over, so my changes would be made then…although, Hendry and Quade can go now with interim replacements filling in:

    President: Gillick
    GM: Cherington, (interim GM should be Gary Hughes, who is directed by Ricketts to clean house)
    AGM: Maddux
    Manager: Sandberg, (interim manager should be Dave Bialas, who is the minor league field coordinator, and knows the system, and will play the young guys)
    Pitching Coach: Leo Mazzone (see if he’ll come out of retirement)

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

      I would rather have Pat Listache as our interm manager. Then I would let our new team president decide who is our new manager and GM. I still think that someone from the Red Sox organization to head any rebuilding effort.
      A small part of me can’t get over the idea of telling Beane he can have the same ownership stake here that he has in Oakland and let the chips fall where they may. There has been rumblings that Beane will take his ball and go home if Oakland is not able to get a new stadium.

  • Aaron

    Brian, since this is the most recent posting today and many on here probably did not see my post from last night, I thought it might be worth sharing (though it has nothing to do with changes):

    ********************************************************************************************
    Also, Cubs signed yet another UDFA in catcher Taylor Davis from
    Moorehead State….I’m seeing rumors on PSD (which is NOT even close to
    100% factual most of the time, and I realize that), but they’re saying
    on that site that rumors are Baez will sign around $2 million, Maples
    will sign for just under $2 million, Vogelbach will sign for around $1.7
    million, Zych for $400k, and they think Jacquez and Shoulder won’t sign
    at all, because Jacquez is not doing well in the California Collegiate
    League, so he won’t get big money, and Shoulders is asking for about
    $600k while the Cubs are offering about $100k supposedly. Outside of
    those guys, there’s not much else to report.

    I’d be thrilled if
    the Cubs got Baez, Vogelbach, Zych, Maples, one of Lockhart or Dunston,
    and one of either Urban or Jacquez to sign….Getting Jensen, Shoulders,
    Zimmer, etc. to sign would be icing on the cake, but as I’ve said on
    numerous occasions, the Cubs MUST sign some power bats and power arms,
    and those guys can help fill that void. 
    ********************************************************************************************

    Here’s the website….keep in mind, these are bloggers. Some claim to have “inside connections” with one of the guys saying his brother is a Cubs scout. Take it for what it’s worth:
    http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=608957&page=147

    You can scroll back a few pages, and look for the other discussions. On the final page, they talk about Dunston possibly signing close to the Aug 15th deadline. If most of what they say is true on here, that Selig is the one holding up a lot of these deals, because they’re almost all overslot, then I certainly understand, and will eat crow.

    Selig’s thinking is actually pretty smart, and good for the other teams involved, because the longer he makes the Cubs wait, the more picks from other organizations will sign, thus the Cubs can offer pretty much whatever they want, and not have other teams complaining up them driving the prices up to sign their own picks.

    I’m still a bit skeptical….but I’m willing to admit that’s a logical explanation as to why they are at the bottom of the league in # of picks signed. The problem I have with all of this, is despite Selig’s possible good intentions for MLB, the delayed signings mean that these players are behind the rest of baseball in terms of development, and in a season in which the big league club is an absolute disaster, and the next year or two will be spent rebuilding….the Cubs can ill afford to delay player development.

    • cubtex

      Close to 2 mil for Maples? I don’t see that happening. I bet he goes to North Carolina.

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

      If what this is saying about Selig holding up signings because of the amount over slot they are then we all are going to have eat our fair share of crow on this Aaron. You have said why you need to now let me say why I do.

       I have been the one saying that if the Cubs were in as bad financial shape that Selig would be all over us about the amount of money that has been spent in the Rule 4 Draft and in Amateur Free Agency.  It sounds like that is exactly what he is doing behind the scenes not a good sign at all.

      I take my crow smothered in brown gravy with a side of buttered cabbage.

  • Denio

    Well the upside to yesterday’s game is that the phones are probably ringing about the fire sale that is going to start soon.. Contrary to what JH said a couple of weeks ago.. ( Should of had 10 cent beer night and then we could of had a real fire sale )
    I like Brian’s idea of a (rent a pitcher program) with Kerry Wood..
    We paid a high price for Matt Garza… who is to say that he will even want to stay with the Cubs… I wouldn’t… Good pitcher in his prime with a team that is going no where for a few years.. I would hook up with a contender..
    The rest fall into the (cash for clunkers program)  (fuke..baker…dewitt..soriano…etc. etc.)
    just my opinion…

    • cubtex

      I would hold onto Garza and see if you can build around him. Of course if sone team blows you away….move him too.

      • Denio

        I would keep him too, but will he want to… He could do what Kerry Wood did, and play almost anywhere he wants… no team is going to turn him down..
        Money isn’t everything… well not to everybody…
        I am just thinking the situation in the organization from top to bottom is getting pretty bad… The crap that is going on has to have an effect on everybody… fans included…

  • roseyc

    Hendry says that Marmol and Marshall are untouchable. The only untouchable should be Castro and Barney.on the current roster.Don’t give them away but bargain and bring in talent. Us Cubs fan would be estatic if we had the best talent in baseball like the Marlins did after they did their fire sale. Then we’ll still be loosing but making progress towards be a complete organization. But Soriano is going to have to be bought out and let’s move on. Zambrano and Fudkedome have to go. But first Hendry and Quade need to go

    • Demitri

      I agree with you about the fire sale. Can anyone tell me how the Yankees doit? Yes they have a high payroll, ignore that, but they have a good farm system. . Its not like they lose every year to get high picks

      • cubtex

        Yanks aren’t afraid to trade top prospects for major league ready players… Example…Austin Jackson for Curtis Granderson. Arodys Vizcaino….their number 3 prospect in 2009 who has been very average in AA for Javier Vasquez. Granted Vasquez was a bust but the Yanks didn’t get burned on this trade.

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

    Good rant as always Brian. I think it is funny that Soto goes 4 for 4 on his bobblehead night. That is pretty funny now lets see if he can go perfect 2 nights in a row. Wait if Quade stays on his current line of thinking Soto will bat 8th tonight and get nothing to hit.

  • Lomach

    #1 thing – Greg Maddux hired as the new GM.  #2 thing – Ryne Sandberg hired as the new manager.