A Wild, Wild Night for Maholm and the Bullpen – Cubs 4, Brewers 7

Game Five – Cubs 4, Brewers 7
WP – Chris Narveson (1-0) LP – Paul Maholm (0-1) Save – Francisco Rodriguez (1)

Tuesday’s game was pretty much over before it ever got started … but to the Cubs credit they never quit playing. Paul Maholm made his Cubs’ debut Tuesday night and his performance is one he would like to soon forget.

Paul Maholm struggled mightily in the first inning and could not find the strike zone. Maholm gave up five runs on two hits with a pair of walks and hit two batters in the first inning. Maholm labored through a 41-pitch first inning, 20 for strikes, and ended up lasting only four innings. Maholm allowed a total of six runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks, two hit batsman and two strikeouts. Maholm threw 80 pitches, 45 for strikes.

Dale Sveum’s staff gave the Brewers too many freebies on Tuesday night. Paul Maholm, Rodrigo Lopez, Rafael Dolis and Lendy Castillo issued seven walks and hit three batters … 10 batters reached without having to earn it, add in the seven hits (two home runs) and that usually equals a loss at the big league level.

Rodrigo Lopez pitched two innings of scoreless ball in his season debut but walked one and hit a batter. Rafael Dolis (39 pitches, 20 strikes) allowed one run on one hit with three walks and a strikeout in two innings. Lendy Castillo (17 pitches, nine for strikes) showed a lot of improvement but still walked a batter. Castillo did record his first big league strikeout (Jonathan Lucroy) on Tuesday night.

The Cubs offense had chances once again but could not dig out of the five-run hole Maholm put them in. Three of the Cubs’ four runs scored in the third but by that time they were already down 6-0.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with two RBI) had another good game at the plate. Soriano drove in the Cubs’ first two runs with a bases loaded single in the third. Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a double, a walk and a run scored) bounced back nicely from his 0-for on Monday night and David DeJesus (2-for-4 with a run scored and a walk) notched his first multi-hit game in a Cubs’ uniform … the Cubs’ leadoff hitter reached three times in five at bats. Geovany Soto (1-for-4 with a home run) hit his first homer of the season in the bottom of the ninth

As a team, the Cubs pounded out seven hits (two for extra bases) and walked five times but could not string together any hits … 1-for-7 with RISP and left seven on base.

With Tuesday’s loss, the Cubs dropped to 1-4 on the young season …

On a cold night at the old ballpark, Paul Maholm barely made it through the first inning in his Cubs’ debut. Rickie Weeks checked his swing on a 3-2 pitch and began the game with a free pass. Carlos Gomez crushed a 1-2 pitch to left. The ball sailed over Soriano’s head for a double and Weeks held at third with no outs.

Ryan Braun gave the Brewers the lead (for good) with a sac fly to right center on Maholm’s first pitch. Weeks tagged and scored … and Gomez advanced to third on the routine fly. Aramis Ramirez hit a 2-2 pitch to Baker at first. For some reason (inexperience) Baker threw to the plate instead of getting the sure out. The speedy Gomez scored and Ramirez ended up at first.

On a 1-1 pitch to Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez stole second. Maholm hit Hart on a 2-2 pitch and the Brewers had runners on first and second with one out.

Alex Gonzalez ripped a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left … and just like that the Brewers took a 5-0 lead on Gonzalez’s three-run shot, his first as a Brewer.

Maholm continued struggling and hit Mat Gamel on a 2-2 pitch. After a visit from Dale Sveum, Maholm walked Jonathan Lucroy on four pitches. Chris Narveson attempted to bunt and fouled off a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Weeks grounded out to short to end the nightmarish first inning.

Maholm threw 41 pitches in the opening inning, 20 for strikes.

In 26 starts for the Pirates a year ago, Maholm allowed 18 first inning runs and hit only eight batters all last season

David DeJesus put together a good at bat that resulted in a single to right on a 3-2 pitch. Barney grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Starlin Castro started another streak with a double to right center (2-0 pitch). Alfonso Soriano took three straight out of the zone … but ended up swinging and missing at a 3-2 pitch to end the 34-minute first inning.

The wind helped Paul Maholm in the second as he continued to struggle.

Carlos Gomez led off the second with a bloop single to right. Ryan Braun crushed a 1-1 pitch that ended up in Soriano’s glove in left … the wind kept the towering drive from ending up on Waveland. Aramis Ramirez followed and crushed a 0-1 pitch. Soriano drifted back and caught the deep fly with his back against the ivy. Hart singled to right, Gomez ended up at third with two out. Gonzalez got under a 2-0 pitch and Byrd caught the ball in center to end the second.

Jeff Baker worked a one out walk after Stewart flied out to left to start the second. Soto struck out swinging for the second out. On a 2-0 pitch to Byrd, Baker broke for second and went to third when Lucroy’s throw ended up in center. Byrd popped out to a sliding Corey Hart in shallow right to end the inning (3-1 pitch).

The Brewers tacked on in the third. After Mat Gamel struck out swinging, Jonathan Lucroy launched his first homer of the season. Lucroy hit a 1-1 pitch through the wind and into the bleachers in left center … and his first homer of the season gave Milwaukee a 6-0 lead.

Maholm retired Narveson (grounded out to short) and Weeks (lined out to third) to end the third. Maholm threw 64 pitches in the first three innings, 36 for strikes.

The Cubs finally got on the board in the bottom of the third.

Paul Maholm struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to begin the third. David DeJesus followed with his second hit of the night (single to right). Darwin Barney ripped a 0-1 pitch into left for a single … and the Cubs were in business.

Starlin Castro walked on four pitches to load the bases with one out.

Alfonso Soriano lined a 0-1 pitch into center. DeJesus and Barney scored as Castro dove back into second safely.

The Cubs caught a break when Stewart’s routine grounder to short took a bad hop. Gonzalez could not field the ball and the bases were loaded for Jeff Baker. Baker hit the first pitch he saw into left center. Castro tagged and scored the Cubs’ third run.

With runners on first and second with two down, Ron Roenicke put the shift on for Geovany Soto. Soto ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. Weeks dove behind the bag from the shortstop position, and threw out Soto to end the inning.

Paul Maholm put together his best inning of the game in the fourth … other than a one out single by Ryan Braun, the Brewers did nothing against Maholm. After four, Maholm’s pitch count stood at 80, 45 for strikes.

The Cubs did nothing against Chris Narveson in the fourth.

Rodrigo Lopez made his season debut in the fifth and hit Alex Gonzalez on a 0-1 pitch to begin his outing. Mat Gamel flied out to right on a 2-0 pitch for the first out. Jonathan Lucroy struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and Soto threw out Gonzalez at second to end the inning.

Other than a two-out single by Alfonso Soriano, the Cubs did nothing against Narveson in the fifth.

Rodrigo Lopez walked pinch-hitter Norichika Aoki to begin the sixth. Weeks flied out to right center and Gomez popped out to short. Ryan Braun flied out to left center (0-2 pitch) for the third out in the sixth.

Marco Estrada took over for Narveson in the sixth. Jeff Baker (flied out to center) and Soto (struck out swinging) went down quickly. Marlon Byrd walked and on the tenth pitch of his pinch-hit at bat, Blake DeWitt grounded out to short for the final out in the sixth.

Rafael Dolis made his second appearance of the year and struggled with his command in the seventh. The Brewers were able to tack on after back-to-back walks to start the inning and the extra out the Cubs’ defense gave a very good offense.

Dolis walked Ramirez and Hart to start the inning. Alex Gonzalez flied out to left center (0-1 pitch). With Barney shifted over playing Gamel to pull, the Brewers’ first baseman hit a grounder to short. Castro fielded the ball, ran and touched the bag … but his throw to first was a little late. Gamel beat the throw and kept the inning alive for Jonathan Lucroy. Dolis fell behind Lucroy 3-1 … and Dolis’ next pitch was hit back up the box into center. Aramis Ramirez scored, 7-3 Brewers. Dolis ended the inning by striking out Nyjer Morgan swinging.

After six and a half, the Cubs trailed 7-3.

David DeJesus reached for the third time on Tuesday night to start the seventh. After DeJesus walked, Darwin Barney flied out to center. Kameron Loe induced a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Castro to end the inning.

Rafael Dolis stayed in and started the eighth inning. Dolis issued a leadoff walk to Weeks but retired the next three batters he faced … Gomez (flied out to left center), Braun (popped out to center) and Ramirez (grounded out to third).

The Cubs did nothing against Kameron Loe in the bottom of the eighth.

Lendy Castillo made his second appearance in as many days and put together a much better performance. Castillo retired Travis Ishikawa on a lineout to center (3-2 pitch) but walked Alex Gonzalez on five pitches. Mat Gamel flied out to right center.

Lendy Castillo stuck out Jonathan Lucroy swinging to end the ninth … the first big league strikeout for Lendy Castillo.

The Cubs tried to make it interesting again in the ninth.

Jose Veras started the ninth and served up a solo shot to Geovany Soto. Soto crushed a 1-2 pitch and the ball ended up in the bleachers in left center. Marlon Byrd struck out swinging for the first out.

Bryan LaHair pinch hit for Castillo and walked (3-1 pitch). Ron Roenicke decided he’d seen enough and went to his pen for Francisco Rodriguez.

On the first pitch to DeJesus, LaHair took second. DeJesus was caught looking on a 2-2 pitch from Rodriguez and Barney grounded out to second. Game over and Francisco Rodriguez notched his first save in a Brewers’ uniform

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Ryan Dempster will face Yovani Gallardo in game three on Wednesday afternoon.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

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  • Anonymous47701

    Byrd, Soriano and Soto need to go, NOW.

    • Ripsnorter1

      No.

      I’d love to see Byrd traded, but the Cubs have almost no power. Why deal away your two power bats? Soto can still hit 17-20 HRs. Soriano can still hit 25 HRs. Besides, Soriano is currently hitting .353. What’s wrong with that?

      • Ryjo723

        The point is to deal players when their value is (relatively) high. This team isn’t going to contend for anything this year, so the number of homeruns that Sori and Soto can hit are of very little importance, unless it builds their value to be traded to another team.

        I disagree with Anonymous in saying they need to go “NOW,” but if Soriano can put together a good year and waive his NTC, and if Soto can improve his stock, I’d be all for trading them in the right deal(Soriano for salary relief or a decent prospect with us taking on a bigger chunk of his contract, Soto for good prospects).

    • Zonk

      They don’t need to go now.  Ditching players quickly is foolish.  Teams aren’t looking to deal right now, they want to see how seasons shape out; this is why so few trades happen before June.

      BYRD:  He has started slow, but it should be noted his BABIP is .071.  He has hit into tough luck, and 18 ABs is not a large enough sample to judge a player.

      SORIANO:  We all agree he is not worth close to $18 mil.  That money is spent, though.  Beyond that, I think Soriano is a ML-starting outfielder.  His defense is improved, and he hits OK.  He has value.  Not $18 mil of value, but he has value.

      SOTO:  If we decide to “dump” Soto, there will be a long line of takers willing to sucker us.  He isn’t an all-star, but he is a top-15 starting catcher in baseball right now.  He has some pop, is OK behind the plate (arm isn’t great though), and is still relatively young.

      Panic mode, dump trades are dumb.  I would bet alot that Byrd is gone by the deadline, but it takes time for the market to develop. 

  • Aaron

    I stopped really paying attention to this game after the 1st inning, though I changed back a few times when the Bulls were on commercial. What I can tell you is that outside of Castro, Clevenger, and LaHair, there’s absolutely NO reason to watch the team while they’re at bat…and that saddens me, because this should truly be a rebuilding year.

    Other than Garza, Samardzija, and Dolis, there’s really no reason to watch the pitching either…and that also saddens me…you could maybe add L. Castillo to the mix of interesting arms to watch.

    So why do I say that?

    Dempster-old, (great guy though), but on downside of career, last year of contract too

    Maholm-was signed to 1 year deal after lackluster career in Pittsburgh, presumably to resurrect any trade value he had, then be dealt at the deadline

    Volstad-just like Travis Wood and Randy Wells in the minors, he’s had ample opportunity to prove he wasn’t a one-year wonder, and just like those 2, he has done NOTHING to prove it.

    Marmol-has 2 years left on deal (including this year), velocity down, and slider flat….control is also poor. We already knew this….he has been nothing short of disastrous in the closer’s role the last 2 years. 

    Wood-older, (same as Dempster, great guy though), but clearly on downside of his career….his average velocity is down somewhat, and his control is bad. Like Marmol, we know what he offers, so there’s really no compelling reason to watch when he’s in the game.

    Camp-can he just retire already? A sinkerballer that throws 85-87 mph tops with the ball sinking right down the middle of the plate about knee high….just gets hammered. He’s actually reason to turn the channel when he comes in the game, because you know it’s about to get out of hand

    R. Lopez-(see above)

    Russell-he’s a LOOGY. Is there anything else you need to know?

    Soto-but a shell of his former ROY self….we already know that he has a good season every other year, so what is the compelling reason to watch?

    Baker and DeWitt-I’m lumping these guys together, because this has just gotten ridiculous having both of them on the roster…this is now the 3rd full year of having them, and we already know they both will basically be .260-.270 hitters with minimal power and poor on base skills. In addition to that, we also know that both of them provide below average defense. So while they’re both “versatile”, they have limited range at 2B with poor defense, decent range at 3B but below average defensive skills at that position, and the OF both are very bad. DeWitt was tried at 1B in the spring, and was awful. Baker is also awful there. So why watch them? Furthermore, why in the hell are either of them still on the roster for that money?

    Soriano-enough said. What’s to watch? It’s not like he’ll magically learn to take sliders in the dirt.

    Byrd-Honestly, still have no idea why this guy is on the team….I’d rather cut him than have him on the team

    DeJesus-let’s see…injury-prone? check…coming off a bad year?…check….minimal power?…check….playing corner OF with minimal power AND minimal run production? check….so why watch? I guess the only other reason is to find out if he can rebuild trade value for the deadline

    Stewart-(see above…though historically, he’s had more power, just none whatsoever last year)

    Barney-he’s a singles hitter with no plate discipline and average speed. He’s also about a .270-.280’s hitter. In other words, he’s a righty version of Juan Pierre but with less average and far less speed

    I’m not saying all of this, because I’m trying to be all doom and gloom with everyone, I’m just legitimately posing the question:
    “What the hell is worth watching with this team?”

    The way I see it, is there should be a clear direction. Are the Cubs going young? Are they going old? What are they really trying to accomplish?

    I honestly cannot see what they’re trying to do with this team. You start looking at ages of prospects, etc., and you begin to realize that they need to find out rather quickly if these guys are worthy of building around, or not

    Again, you look at guys like W. Castillo, B. Jackson, Rizzo, McNutt, etc., and you start to realize that the time is now to start bringing some of these prospects along. 

    The Cubs are already 3 1/2 games out of first place, and we’re not even a week into the season. Furthermore, we’re  looking at being the 2nd furthest out of 1st place (other than the winless Twins at 4 games out) right now.

    I really do want to watch the Cubs, and watch them do well…hope for the best, but I am getting increasingly disinterested in watching games nowadays…it’s just not worth my time, because I’ve seen the show already…it was called the 2011 season. NOTHING has changed.

    • Dorasaga

      Dejesus gets on base and knows its importance. The rest of the Cubs, including all the high prospects “un-touted” under the J. Hendry Era, cannot.

    • Craig Y

      I agree for the most part, however I like watching Barney bat. He seems to be maturing at the plate, and I like what he is becoming.

    • Schwimmer

      Great Analysis, Aaron.  I was excited to have THEO & Co.  But I have been very “un-excited” to see the team that they have assembled.  I would have preferred seeing lots of young players on the roster this year like Castillo (who should be sharing catching responsibilities with Clevenger) and B. Jackson, etc.

      I think signing DeJesus was a big mistake.  THEO, basically has put together a “mediocre” and unexciting ball club.  There is no excitement or imagination.  

      I don’t understand THEO’S strategy of going after re-treads and players no one else wants in the hopes of getting lucky?

      Only low attendance and the CUBS poor performance will get their attention.

      • Ripsnorter1

        You wrote, “Only low attendance and the CUBS poor performance will get their attention.”
        Low attendance will get their attention, but nothing else. 

    • Agustinrexach

      Yup…Every opportunity to win is sacred…It seems like a loooong season already.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Come, come, now, Aaron. Things just aren’t that bad. 

      Let’s go right down the line of all of your negative doom and gloom, and correct your thinking. Think of it this way:

      Pitching:
      Dempster can still win 10-12 games. Put him on a team with a bullpen that can score (think Brewers), and he can do it.

      Volstad: its fun to guess just how far the HRs will travel. One of my friends tries to see if he can accumulate more frequent flier miles that the cumulative distance of Volstad’s HRs allowed. Last year my friend, who travels to China once a month, lost….. 

      Maholm: He can’t make the Pirates rotation, but he fits like a glove in ours. Think about how the Cubs are adding to his retirement (like they did for Doug Davis). He’ll complete his ten years in here, and draw a nice fat retirement check each month.

      Travis Wood: the key to the Marshall trade, enjoy Team Theo’s Dr. Goebbel-like efforts to “spin” the trade into a winner for the Cubs. That’s always fun to watch.

      Kerry Wood: I know people who have a pool about just how many times ole Kerry will land on the DL in 2012. And there’s another one at work which is based upon how many blown saves he’ll accumulate in 2012. When you look at things this way, he’s actually off to a good start. 

      Lopez: he’s your best bullpen arm, and he couldn’t make the team out of ST. I always enjoy watching Team Theo’s roster management, and this guy is a big part of it. He’s invaluable.

      Russell–Marshall’s replacement and the Cubs’ only LH reliever. I’m surprised he made the team, really. Sveum has no idea about how to use a LOOGY, and I get great enjoyment watching Sveum bring him in to face Aram, Ryan Braun, and other RH hitters with massive power. It warms my heart to see Sveum’s management of the pitching staff. It reminds me of Dusty Baker and the good times we had back then.

      Shawn Camp–what a great acquistion. After being released by one of the worst teams on the planet, he finds a home in Chicago. “Sweet Home, Chicago!” Don’t you know that Jamie Moyer has given up more HRs than any pitcher in ML history (512), but that Shawn Camp is going to overtake him? Shawn has left 500 HRs in the stands, and this could be the year that he overtakes Jamie. AND…AND…Shawn has always been a reliever, too! Makes the record just that much more special.

      Marmol: I have to admit I am somewhat disappointed that he managed to save Samardzija’s game the other day. The Cubs could have been 0-5 already, but Marmol blew it all. Actually he was up against a pretty tough competitor in Xavier Nady, so some credit has to go to him. Nevertheless I am convinced that Marmol can again lead MLB in appearances and blown saves in 2012–if—if—if he can beat out Kerry Wood.

      And as for Garza and Samardzija, it is going to be fun to watch to see what career MiL players the Cubs get in return for them. Jed will no doubt work out a deal that unload the Cubs of the burden of carrying them on our roster, which will restock our AAA bench. 

      Lots to watch here, Aaron. And tt’s all going to be very entertaining!

      • Ryjo723

        Maholm is a solid BOTR option, whether people on here want to acknowledge it or not.  The Cubs signed him to a decent contract, and if he ends up drawing interest at the deadline, great.  If not, they don’t have to worry about their 4th starter next year.

        Also, Travis Wood isn’t the key to the Marshall trade; it’s Torreyes, and most people realized that almost immediately after the trade was announced…

        The team is going to lose a lot of games this year.  They are rebuilding.  You’re aware of that.  You can try to watch the games and enjoy that baseball is back, you can try to find positives in the direction the team is going, or you can keep dwelling on the same things that are of little or no significance in the long run.

    • Zonk

      I see a plan.  The problem is the plan takes time.  What the Cubs need to do is acquire impact talent.  We don’t have much impact talent.  Acquiring impact talent takes time and/or money.

      The uninteresting guys on the ML roster are just keeping it warm until we have the young talent to contend.  The moves in the offseason were a start in that direction, getting Rizzo and a couple interesting pieces, but ultimately we don’t have the trading chips to acquire ML-ready impact talent with other teams.  Maybe Garza, but that’s it.

      So, we have to draft it.  And Theo and Co. inherited not much in the system, and haven’t had a draft yet.  It’s going to take time.

      I am giving Theo and Co. the benefit of the doubt, since there is a successful track record of building a world champion from an organization accustomed to losing.  Not just once, but twice.  If you look at the 2002 Red Sox though he inherited more talent than the 2012 Cubs have, so this is going to take some time.  Theo’s team made good use of the draft in Boston, so I’m hoping we can turn the farm system around.

      • GaryLeeT

        There is no excuse for a big market team to put an unwatchable product on the field. Saunders, E. Jackson, and Carlos Beltran, all signed short term deals. Subtract the contracts of DeJesus, and Maholm, and the players I mentioned, could have been had for about 25 million more than this year’s payroll. Now, keep Marshall, and Cashner on the team, along with adding the above mentioned players, then there could have been a product worth watching.

        • cubtex

          You and I agree!

        • Aaron

           I see what you’re saying, and I also wanted Beltran….but not at that price. I thought he’d sign a one-year deal, but he’s at 2 and $26 million, which is a HUGE risk, because of his injury history and this being a rebuilding year.

          Why the Cubs didn’t sign Saunders and Jackson short-term is beyond me. Saunders is an average pitcher, but better than Maholm. Jackson essentially would’ve replaced Volstad. In fact, the Cubs might’ve been able to get themselves a younger prospect instead in the Zambrano trade, but they needed someone to replace Zambrano, and that’s why they went with Volstad.

          To put it simply, if they had Saunders and Jackson, they likely would be worth a decent amount at the deadline (at least more than Volstad and Maholm). It’s actually why I wanted Beltran too…For crying out loud, look at what he brought the Mets at the deadline last year….Zack Wheeler, one of the better pitching prospects in the game.

          What’s done is done….this will be an awful team in an awful year, and we won’t be getting any decent prospects at the deadline, unless they trade Garza and Soto (if he has one of his patented every other year is a good year thing going on)

          • GaryLeeT

            I believe Beltran has been healthy the last couple of years, and so far this year, has more HRs than the Cubs do as a team.

          • Schwimmer

            Aaron you are one of the more knowledgeable fans on the site…so, let me ask you:  Why didn’t THEO want to just give MARSHALL a 3 year contract like CINCINNATI?  

            Why wouldn’t THEO want him to part of your team for the next 3 years?

            I never understood THEO’s thinking.  Obviously, no one was going to give up any 1st tier prospects for Marshall.  And, he wasn’t going to be that expensive to sign.  And, I know he loved playing for the CUBS.

            So, maybe I missed something?  Even if we forget about Wood — in the deal…I’m asking about the wisdom of trading away a very good “LEFTY” relief guy…when the CUBS could have signed him.

            What say you (and other fans)?

            Thanks, Larry

          • GaryLeeT

            I have been harping on this almost daily. At only 29, Marshall is the type of player for the now, and the future, that you trade for, not away.

          • Zonk

            Maybe we asked, and he didn’t want to.  You never know. 

    • Redlarczykg

      Aaron,

      We stinks!  

      The Cubs are designed to lose this year.  The only reason Risso and Jackson are in AAA is the year of control of their money.  Bring them up and sit DeJesus and move LaHair to RF.

  • GaryLeeT

    You would think a business man as smart as Ricketts, would realize that he is going to loose twice in revenue that he saved in payroll.

    • Aaron

       the payroll has nothing to do with them being bad. It has EVERYTHING to do with this “tweener” thing Theo and Hoyer have going on. They’re in between deciding on a full rebuild and staying somewhat competitive, when in fact, had they just done a complete rebuild, they might actually be more competitive, because they went on the cheap with the veterans they signed anyway.

      Maholm, DeJesus, Lopez, Camp, Baker, Johnson, and DeWitt….why? These guys don’t have a place on a winning team, much less a rebuilding team. I just don’t understand why they were signed.

      Would it have been that bad to just go with Rusin, B. Jackson, Jay Jackson, Rhoderick/Batista, Cardenas, Campana, and the recently signed Valbuena instead of these jokers? I don’t think so, and it not only would’ve been more compelling to watch, but I think they might’ve been more competitive.

      What baffles me is that we’ll get the rebuilding anyway at the end of this year once these veterans flame out like we all know they will….all the management is doing is delaying the progress, and to me, that’s asinine.

      • GaryLeeT

        In 100% agreement, but you don’t think they were trying to save on payroll?

        • Ripsnorter1

          ABSOLUTELY they were trying to save on payroll.

      • Zonk

        “Would it have been that bad to just go with Rusin, B. Jackson, Jay Jackson, Rhoderick/Batista, Cardenas, Campana, and the recently signed Valbuena instead of these jokers?”

        I think Theo would admit many of these ML players are roster-filler while we rebuild.  None are on long-term or expensive contracts.  But brining up a bunch of younger guys will not make us better.

        RUSIN:  He had a nice spring, but he has soft stuff, and is likely not a ML pitcher
        B-JAX:  Needs to make some contact, and set arb back a year, but he’s coming
        J. JACKSON:  Needs to prove he can get AAA hitters out first; he hasn’t.
        CARDENAS:  I think he would be on the roster, if he was cut before we re-signed DeWitt.  This also answers DeWitt.  DeWitt is gone if Cardenas was available sooner.  Could not have predicted that.
        CAMPANA:  Subject of much man-love here, but he is a marginal hitter, at best.  Can’t steal 1st base.  Not an impact player

        The problem is that there was no way this offseason to build a CONTENDER.  To win a few more games, sure, but what’s the point on breaking the bank to go from 70 to 80 wins? 

        • Coachdon

           Campana is not an impact player you say. Well, when he is on base he has an immediate impact. And I don’t see Johnson, DeWitt, Baker, or even DeJesus being impact players either. I’d much rather watch the young guys if they struggle than old guys that do the same thing.

  • Zonk

    There is an excellent article on Fangraphs about Jeff Samardzija.  CLiff Notes:  He’s for real.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/jeff-samardzija-stats/

    • John_CC

       Very positive analysis, all signs point up!  And I love the “F7″ nickname…that one should stick!