Rambling as the Final Month of the Season Begins

The Cubs are coming home today to host the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend. After our boys played the spoilers in the Bay Area, they look to keep some momentum going as the final month of baseball starts on the North Side. It just cannot come soon enough.

So, let’s get this Friday going and do some rambling to ring in the beginning of our holiday weekend.

  • Could someone please tell this team that the games don’t matter in April, May or June either? That would make things much more enjoyable this time of year.
  • But then again, that goes with the whole idea that Mike Quade just might be the best manager of games that do not matter at all, at least to the Cubs.
  • San Francisco is one heck of a representation of why pitching is so important. The Giants have no hitting, yet are still in contention. Man, that would be nice.
  • Adding starting pitchers should be No. 1 priority for this team. It is the most influential part of putting together a competitive baseball team.
  • FYI, the 2011 Chicago Cubs are not a competitive baseball team.
  • The division should be up for grabs next year. Losing Prince Fielder will be a big blow to the Brewers. The Cardinals always compete. Will the Reds greatly underachieve again? Will the Pirates continue the purported revival? Oh, and then there are the Astros.
  • At least the Cubs are not the Astros. That is a sad situation in southern Texas.
  • Wait, I am confused. Are the Cubs looking for a new General Manager? I haven’t heard much about that.
  • What to do, or what to do with our corner infielders? What should we do?
  • I have a feeling we will see a little bit of Bryan LaHair. And I am even more certain that no matter what or how much he plays; many will think it is not enough.
  • I can already see the comments.
  • And I am not saying either side is wrong, but it is always entertaining to watch. LaHair did have a crazy awesome offensive season, but he will be 29 in November.
  • I do not see him as a player of the future, especially because he has not played with any consistency at the Major League level. Then again, he has only played in 45 games with a big league club. But, in no way is he any part of the Cubs’ future.
  • So, let the conversation begin.
  • Also, I am fine with resigning Carlos Pena to another one-year contract. However, I have yet to be contacted for an interview with Tom Ricketts, so I don’t think my opinion really matters regarding this topic.
  • I honestly have no idea what to think of Aramis’ future. The GM will have no past relationship with him so there will not be any sense of loyalty. I am very interested to see how that situation will play out. As I said, I really do not know what to expect.
  • Riddle me this: Why was Pena even placed on waivers? That whole scenario made absolutely no sense to me. I just don’t get it.
  • I have said it before, and I will say it again. I think Geo Soto’s days as a Cubs starter are numbered. A .229 average does not cut it for an average to below-average defensive catcher.
  • He is still under control for a few more years so I am not sure there is any sense to get rid of him, but he should have a short leash if he is a starter at the beginning of the 2012 season.
  • Well, I have taken up over 600-some-odd words of your time, so I will leave it at that.

I am sure there are plenty of you with thoughts about the GM and some other offseason moves that need to be made. So, l let’s hear what you have to say. Start unleashing your fury below.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Quote of the Day

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." - John Lennon

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  • Calicub

    Let LaHair and Pena/OF split spots.  Bring in Castillo/Clevenger and cut Koyie Hill. let the three catchers split starts and come spring training say winner is winner. 

    They put Pena on waivers for the same reason the Mets put Wright or Bay or whoever on wires.  To see if anyone would bite and pray to Selig a team like say the Yankees, (w/ whom Hendry must still have sneaky sneaky connections with say a pitching coach?) to claim him who are in contention and say hey the contenders want him but he’s ours CUBS 2012!!!!

    I for one am praying to Selig for either the BoSox (wont happen either way) or the Rays get permanantly knocked out of contention so moves can be made.  Ricketts better be willing to bend do demands but needs to safegaurd this organization from another Tyrant. if you will.

    • Calicub

      by the by has anything new occurred on the Baby Z situation? He should be back in what eleven twelve days?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Nothing new on Zambrano. He is eligible to return to the team on Sept. 12

  • woody34

    The Cubs have a way of stunting the growth of 1B prospects that come up.  When was Jake Fox brought up?  About 20 of LaHair’s homers ago and Fox played half a season hitting 11 HR’s.  That would be 4th on this team in HR’s.  We know LaHair is nothing more than a AAAA 29 year old ballplayer.  But those 11 HR’s would have been a few wins.  

    How is it that on a 25 man roster – Starlin Castro – is the only homegrown player worth a damn for our future?  How long has our scouting staff been running this show?  I hope Mr Ricketts knew what he was doing by giving this staff the funds to produce the prospects this organization has been in dire need of in a long long time.  103 years.  

    • J Daniel

      Jake Fox, REALLY?????  He got a shot in Oakland the next year, right?  How did it work?  Part time role player.

      • woody34

        That’s all LaHair will be too is my point. I’m just comparing the two as they had similar seasons before getting a chance. We could of utilized some of that power earlier in the season when no one on the major league team was hitting for power.

  • Tony_Hall

    Let’s take a look at the Giants starting pitchers.

    Lincecum – drafted by San Fran 2006 1st rd
    Cain – drafted by San Fran 2002 1st rd
    Sanchez – drafted by San Fran 2004 27th rd
    Vogelsong – drafted by San Fran 1998 5th rd (though had long route outside of SF before now)
    Bumgarner – drafted by San Fran 2007 1st rd
    Zito – Signed to monster contract 

    How have they built their rotation, internally, through the draft.

    Brian Wilson – drafted by San Fran 2003 24th rd

    There are very few quick fixes, and sound drafting and player development is ultimately how teams get built.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree Tony, have been barking that situation for a long time .

  • Tony_Hall

    Geovany Soto will be given a raise, through the salary arbitration system.  This is why I have been on the “trade him” wagon for a couple of years.  I really hope that the next regime, has a plan in place, for deciding long term keepers versus short term guys, who need to be sold high, instead of low.  If Soto was a long term keeper for JH, then he should have been given a contract that bought out his arb years, and made him at least more affordable, and a better team contract situation.  But by going year by year, they should have traded him, when his value was at his highest.

    • diehardcubfan

      Agree, Soto has not developed into the catcher we all thought he would become.  His rookie season was just a mirage.  He is not the long term solution anymore and time to cut strings and save salary.

  • Tony_Hall

    I went to the Peoria Chiefs game (Beloit Snappers) last night.

    The Chiefs had a great night for 7 1/2 innings. They were leading 5-1 in the bottom of the 8th, when the wheels fell off.

    Rubi Silva and Taiwan Easterling were fun to watch.  Both had just 1 hit, but hit the ball hard every time, hustled and played D.  Silva’s HR was opposite field. showing more power than I thought he had.  Richard Jones (DH) had 3 hits, with a HR.

    The last play of the game – bases loaded, 2 outs (after IBB to load the bases), score 5-4, Chiefs.  The count was worked to full.  Runners off with the pitch, grounder to 3B (to end the game?) Alcantara, who couldn’t just touch 3B, because the runners were going, throws tenatively to 1B, in the dirt, no scoop.  1B, never even realized that the runner who past the third baseman was the winning run, and never went after the ball in the dirt to make, even a play at home.  Chiefs lose, where a good throw, or a scoop would of won the game.  Also, if Pichardo didn’t nibble after getting ahead, the runners wouldn’t of been going.  On 2-2, he tried to hit the corner, going low and away.  

    Didn’t understand the use of the bullpen.  Garcia was left in for the 9th, after giving up 2 runs in the 8th, and seemed to be just left out there in the 9th as the mess occurred.  There was no one warming up in the 8th, when he was struggling, and no one got up in the 9th until after 2 batters, and then was brought in after only a few warm-ups, one batter later.

    • Tom U

      Tony, Casey Kopitzke told me that in the low minors, its all about learning and work. 

      I wasn’t there, but perhaps Garcia, who normally has been “lights out” needed to work more innings or the club wanted to see how he responds to  that kind of situation. 

      Kopitzke is a well respected manager in the organization, as he was tapped last year to manage the AFL team, which is an honor.

    • Gramps

      Sounds like Quade was managing the Chiefs last night!!!!

  • paulcatanese

    If they do bring back Pena, it had better be with a plan to speed up his time at the plate. In my opinion he is the worst hitter ever to watch at the plate. Just stand in there and hit the ball already. The in and out of the box is so agrivating to watch for me I deliberatly tape that part of the game and then fast forward it thru his time. Is he that insecure that he must step out on every pitch and call time so often? Its as though he must get his momentem up each pitch. To me I would be happy if he would do something with the first pitch, would cut off 30 minutes of boring time from the game.

    • Brp921

      He would possibly strike out less if he would swing at the border line pitches on the two strike counts. I wish there was some kind of stat that would record the ratio of walks verses strikeouts on close pitches, that were taken, with two strikes.

  • Brp921

    I wouldn’t mind if the Cubs decided to keep Pena next year if they could sign him for what he is worth. With Boras as his agent though, I can’t see that happening. That is why I would support giving LaHair all the playing time the rest of the year to evaluate, as much as they can, whether or not they feel he could handle the job on a full time basis for a season or more.

  • jw

    “Mike Quade just might be the best manager of games that do not matter at all”

    Too funny!!!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Josh Vitters is taking Brett Jackson’s spot on the Mesa Solar Sox roster (AFL)

    • ldsteam2011

      Does that mean Jackson is coming to Chicago?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        There is a report of a prior commitment but nothing official yet.

        LaHair is in uniform at Wrigley this morning

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    According to reports this morning, Zambrano will not rejoin the team this season but the Cubs will resume paying his salary on Sept 11

  • Ira Rosenberg

    Each team is required to have a certain number of players on waivers.   That said……that they didn’t get something for Pena is beyond explanation.

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

      If he would have cleared waivers where multiple teams bid on Pena we would have gotten better deals. All the Yankees were wanting to do was take on some of his salary and not even all of it.

      • Brp921

        I can understand wanting to get more for him, but if he’s not in the plans for next year then why not let him go? It makes me think they’re going to try to sign him and they have to know Boras is going to be asking more money and more years not less. So if thats the case then they’re just doing the same as they always have, paying veterans, who’ve already had their best years, to inflated contracts with more years than they’re worth.

    • paulcatanese

      Why? Why is that beyond explanation? Who in their right mind would pay him even one fourth what the Cubs paid and are paying for him. Why would another team inherit a guy who does almost nothing but strike out and pretty badly when he does that. Hits a home run once in a while. His Glove? Everyone raves about his glove, but that problem would be a moot point if they had infielders who could throw the ball at least ten feet near the bag. All they have is Pena compunding a problem that should have been fixed a long time ago.How much longer are the Cubs going to cover for someone’s immaturity , and blame poor throws and decisions on age? Pena makes it easier to not address that problem with his bailing out the bad throws. But thats it for Pena, decent glove, sporadic power and a lot of strikeouts, oh I forgot walks, he does get walks. Mr. Rosenberg, this rant was not in any way directed at you personaly in any way and I respect youre opinion.

      • cubtex

        Paul. I know you are not a Pena fan….but be a little fair. He is a low average guy who strikes out alot but he has walked almost 80 times this year. .346 OBP 24 HR’s. ……and he has a .993 fielding %. I feel he has done everything the Cubs were hoping he would do when they signed him.

        • Brp921

          Agreed. I just have to say that 10 million is pushing what he is worth, and as I recall wasn’t that supposed to be a special deal, so he could proove his worth, to earn a larger long term contract next year.

          • cubtex

            He has been a big upgrade over DLEE. In NL… I would rank 1st base this year Fielder. PuJols. Votto. Howard. Morse. Freddie Freeman. and. Pena right after Freeman.

  • paulcatanese

    There is no question that he brings a good glove to first base and that was part of the point I was trying to make. While he has saved many a throw over there, the errors on the left side of the infield are still above average. It does not have to be said that if Pena were not at first base the errors would have at the least been doubled. Thats another part of the point, the Cubs really do not address the errors where they start only where they finish, with Pena making up the difference. I saw when Baker is over there how inept he is with his footwork and is is half the glove that Pena has. His power is sporadic but it is genuine power, I admit that. His walks are great and he has a lot of them. I attribute most of them with his inability or willingness to swing at a pitch he does not think he can drive. Therfore takes a lot of called strike three pitches.
    I agree he has actually surpassed what he has done by increasing average,
    starting to hit the ball to the opposite field and taking it upon himself to get on base via the bunt. It is all very admirable, but I dont think that he has done everything the Cubs were hopng for when they signed him, I think they were expecting a much larger comeback, career year from him. The ballls he should get to or miss I blame Qua for, with the positioning of Pena in given situations. I think I am fair with the evaluation of Pena and he has improved, simply put, it was a lot of money for a one year fix that hasn’t worked out.
    And that is not entirely Pena’s fault, as he has been platooned,and very little hitting behind him to force pitches for him to hit. As good as his glove is, it is not curing the problem, then again the Cubs are locked in with what they have.

    • paulcatanese

      The post above was meant for cubtex, as usual I got it wrong, sorry.