Rambling About the Cubs As the Dog Days Fade Away

Hello again, everybody, and a good Friday morning to each and every one of you.  September starts on Sunday, and mercifully, the 2013 Cubs campaign will come to an end in about five weeks.  It has ended up as another frustrating season for the Northsiders, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit bigger and a little bit brighter.

So, with that, let’s do some rambling.

  • It has been a rough year, but every cloud has a silver lining, and Travis Wood has to be one of those.   Even after some rough starts, he is still sporting a 3.09 ERA.
  • Speaking of silver linings, she may be gone from our beloved town, but Ms. DeJesus will be running around the world in revealing clothing for the next nine months.  So that is cool.
  • Oh, wait? That is actually a real TV show? Not a bad idea at all. Next thing, they will have people running around naked on some deserted island trying to survive.
  • And back to baseball … really happy to see what Pedro Strop has brought the table.  If the Cubs really get ANYTHING from the Feldman deal, it is gravy.
  • Speaking of the trade, I truly believe Arietta will greatly benefit from an offseason of consistent work with Bosio. The skill is there, and I believe Bosio has proven to be very good at his trade.
  • Rusin has started eight games and has a sub-3 ERA. I know it is only eight games, but everyone had the same “wait and see” reaction to Travis Wood.
  • Fine, you’re right, we all still have a “wait and see” reaction to Travis Wood.
  • Alfonso Soriano is now the greatest baseball player to walk the face of the planet.  What he has done as a Yankee in the past month proves he is the GOAT.
  • Read what people have been saying lately about Sori, and think back to what just about everyone was saying two years ago.  If people do not think the current Cubs coaching staff is pretty darn decent … well, I can’t help you then.
  • Every player in the Cubs’ system is destined for super stardom, because every prospect always fulfills his projections.
  • Players shouldn’t be allowed to develop; they just have to produce form day one!  I mean, come one.  Immediate results are necessary.
  • And if they do not produce after 50 at-bats, they should be considered busts.  No one ever surpasses his minor-league numbers, no one.  Not even Hall-Of-Fame second basemen who manage the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Classy move by Brandon Phillips the other night. Or the exact opposite. And I only saw a portion, so this may be unfair, but it appeared Dusty was laughing. Never thought I would root for the Pirates.
  • I know there is a great deal of concern about Anthony Rizzo’s season, but I take solace in Eric Hosmer.
  • Eric Hosmer came up and raked for four months his rookie campaign, and then had a “sophomore slump.”  It happens.  He is currently batting .294.  He hit .232 last season.
  • Rizzo’s first four months and following sophomore season pretty much mirror Hosmer’s, but Rizzo’s second season will actually be more productive with more homers and RBI. Sometimes it just takes time.
  • The “sophomore slump” has been around in sports for years. I will give The ‘Riz a pass right now and hold judgment for another 12 months.
  • However, I wish the “Senior Slide” could apply to Castro right about now because I am not feeling good on this topic. Let’s hope we can simply chalk it up to a down year.
  • No better way to end this rant … And speaking of second basemen who manage the Philadelphia Phillies … from all of us at Chicago Cubs Online:
  • Welcome Home, Ryno!

That is all I have for you on this glorious Friday morning.  I wish each and every one of you a happy, festive and safe Labor Day weekend.

And until next time …

Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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  • Tony_Hall

    Great Rambling Brian, you have so many great points today!

    I hope that Ryno gets a standing ovation today from the Wrigley faithful.

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    Would not be surprised if Castro turns 25 in another organization.

  • cubtex

    One important bit of information on Hosmer’s turnaround. Once their hitting coach was fired and George Brett took over is when Hosmer started hitting. Hint to Jed and Theo.

    • cubtex

      At some point….somebody needs to be held accountable. The Cubs are dead last in all of baseball hitting with RISP. Last! They don’t get a lot of hits period. Castro used to get close to 200 hits(look at him now) Castro has never struggled until this year. Rizzo is having a terrible year. Barney is hitting like Mario Mendoza. A change needs to be made and a new hitting coach needs to be hired. Sveum needs to go as well. He can’t manage a game or develop young players, but other than that? If Mike Scioscia is let go by the Angels this offseason…..he would be a perfect fit for the Cubs. A no nonsense manager who gains instant credibility and works great with young players.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Here we go…..

        I do like your Mike Scioscia suggestion, but I think that he stays and Dipoto goes.

        • cubtex

          Seriously. Let me hear some good reasons on why the coaching staff should be brought back? Other than Bosio…..who can you defend?

          • 07GreyDigger

            You’ve heard my argument. And you disagree. So why bother?

          • cubtex

            Yea. I can’t think of anything either :)

          • 07GreyDigger

            I mean the one thing I thought of is talent level and scapegoatism (is this a real word?)

            Sveum may not be a great manager or a good one, but we can’t really judge him fairly due to overall talent. Do you think Tony LaRussa or Joe Torre could win 80+ games with Cody Ransom, Brian Bogusevic and Darwin Barney in a starting lineup? We can’t blame him fully for what’s going on hitting wise.

            Which leads me to my next point of having a scapegoat. Team hits bad. Who do we blame? The hitting coach. What do hitting coaches do? Tell hitters how to hit in every moment? From what I’ve heard and read they offer tips on how to improve the player’s abilities. Up to the player to take them. But you can’t blame the hitting coach fully. The player has to take some sort of blame.

            I mean did Castro have the best habits before? Sure. He hit .300, but was this sustainable?

            I agree the team deserves blame, but I just feel like ALL the blame goes to the team and none to the player. And it’s not fair.

          • cubtex

            from what you have read? OK that means it is true.

            Take away the win/loss record if you want. If they fired Sveum because of that, that would mean the Theo and the boys expected better results and would put the pressure on them to win. They don’t want that.

            Look at the regression of Castro and Rizzo. He is not even developing the young players. He hasn’t done anything to improve the future of this team moving forward. Nothing.

          • 07GreyDigger

            You blame him for developing hitters. How about pitchers then? I mean he hired Bosio after all.

            2012 ERA

            Starters: 4.52 ERA
            Bullpen: 4.49 ERA
            Total: 4.51 ERA

            2013 ERA

            Starters: 3.84 ERA
            Bullpen: 4.25 ERA
            Total: 3.97 ERA

            You’re right. He did nothing.

            As for hitters…

            I will not dispute the dropoffs but here’s some gains.

            2012:

            C: .212 13 HR 51 RBI
            3B: .201 12 HR 55 RBI
            CF: .229 9 HR 38 RBI
            RF: .241 11 HR 53 RBI

            2013:

            C: .275 13 HR 44 RBI
            3B: .226 24 HR 59 RBI
            CF: .264 12 HR 46 RBI
            RF: .251 25 HR 76 RBI

            You’re right. Totally useless!

          • cubtex

            that is not even worth responding to. Saying the improvement in positions are due to adding a new player for the position as gains? Are you kidding?
            Ye of low standards. I guess you are happy with being last in RISP and a 4.25 bullpen. I guess you are happy with losing 100 games last year and 95 this year. You’re right. He is doing a hell of a job. Sveum for manager of the year!!! Let’s get that rally cry going!

          • 07GreyDigger

            Not all new players were added. That’s weak. Sure there was a rotating cast of guys, but of the four positions I mentioned, 3 guys were the main starters the year before. Wellington Castillo, Luis Valbuena, David DeJesus.

            And the bullpen ERA is bad, but its still an improvement. 4.51 ERA and 4.25 ERA, a quarter point lower.

            You’ve already decided that Sveum needs to be fired, so you don’t want to see another side. I should have stuck with my original thought of not even bothering.

            When’s the torches and pitchfork party calling for Sveum’s head starting up?

          • J Daniel

            3 words … GET BETTER PLAYERS!

          • cubtex

            ok then bring back Mike Quade if that is the solution.

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

          I hrard Gardenhire suggested as he’s im final year with Twins. I think he makes a ton of sense. But keep Bosio!

          • cubtex

            Can’t go wrong with a former Longhorn.

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

            I take it all back…YUCK!

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

        Rizzo=terrible? A little strong for a guy with almost 25 HR Ray.

        • cubtex

          OK. Very bad. Look at his other areas. Average with RISP. That is one of the absolute worst in baseball for a #3 hitter. The one positive is his defense

  • Brp921

    Heading for Wrigley!

  • Canyon Cub

    I’ll consider believing in this coaching staff if we ever learn how to field bunts, and put them successfully down. Middle school girls travel teams are better than the Cubs at this.

    • cubtex

      Now Now Canyon…What do you think those bunting contests are for every spring training?

  • 07GreyDigger

    I think my favorite one is “Alfonso Soriano is now the greatest player to walk the face of the planet.”

    So true. He had some good years, but he’s not even close to that. He’s not a HOF player. We had a few of those. Dawson, Ryno. Does he even compare with them? Did you think in his prime years when we had him, is this a HOF player?

    Look at the guys ranked ahead of him on Baseball Reference:
    Jimmy Rollins, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Brian Downing, Lance Parrish, Tony Fernandez, Eric Davis.

    Are these guys HOF? I’ll say again. Soriano belongs in the HOVG (hall of very good).

    I wish him luck. Win that WS championship!

    • cubtex

      Thank you again for your vote Mr. Hall of Fame voter. I am not saying he will be elected but to discount his stats like there is no chance is ignorant. Let me help you since you have your mind made up. These are according to some….OLD SCHOOL STATS. Where baseball was played on the field instead of a computer.

      Andre Dawson- I loved the Hawk. Great character guy. Here are some career stats.

      .279 avg. 438 HR 503 2B 314 SB

      Alfonso Soriano current stats and he will add to these totals.

      .272 avg 400 HR 461 2B 285 SB

      Shhhhhhh! Lets keep that a secret Grey so some of these HOF voters might actually think they are pretty similar. And remember….some of these numbers were put up as a 2nd baseman.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        And how many Gold Gloves did Dawson win?

        • cubtex

          sure there is a difference there but to discount it like it is a given is ridiculous. both had 4 silver sluggers and again….Soriano played infield for half of his career. How many 2B in the history of the game had that combination of power and speed? Will he make the HOF? Probably not…but to write it in stone right now is ridiculous.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Nice assist Neil. To add to the CONVERSATION. Remember you argued your side and now I argue mine. Nothing is set and stone, it’s a discussion.

            Dawson:
            4 Silver Sluggers
            8 Gold Gloves
            1 MVP
            8 All Star Appearances
            1 Rookie of the Year Award

            Soriano:

            4 Silver Sluggers
            0 Gold Gloves
            0 MVP
            8 All Star Appearances
            0 Rookie of the Year

          • cubtex

            You mean you can have more than 1 rookie of the year? Lol.

          • John_CC

            This is fun.

            Dawson is also 36th all-time in RBI with 1,590.
            Soriano ranked 193 with 1,120.
            Hawk is 27th in Total Bases: 4,787
            Soriano: 3,745

            I’m not bashing on Soriano, he’s had a great career and will be considered for the Hall someday. But Dawson is in the top 25 to top 30 in so many career stats it is pretty crazy. He was an amazing ball player who waited too long to get the call.

          • 07GreyDigger

            Maybe it was all that time spent in the ivy. What year is it?

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Defense does make a difference. Soriano is a good player and will probably join many in the Hall of the Very Good.

          • cubtex

            depends if the writers compare his stats to a 2B or outfielder?

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            If they do, hopefully for him they will only look at his offensive numbers because defensively he was brutal at second base.

          • triple

            Fonzi played 3 full seasons out of 13 (not counting his 2 very short/partial seasons with Yankees) and didn’t even hit 100 HR at that position, yet you are trying to get him into the HoF for 3 seasons as a second basemen? That is laughable, especially coming from you Ray!

          • cubtex

            Triple. Sometimes looking at stats can be confusing. Here…I will help you out a little. I am not saying he WILL be a HOF but don’t overlook his credentials.
            Here you go.

            3 FULL seasons as a Yankee
            playing primarily 2B

            2001 18 HR with 43 SB
            2002 39 HR with 41 SB
            2003 38 HR with 35 SB

            then he went to the Rangers where he played 142 games at 2B in 2004 and 153 games at 2B in 2005. Hmmm. Somehow you overlooked 2 full seasons at that position with Texas.

            2004 28 HR with 30 SB
            2005 36 HR with 41 SB

            So lets add that up for you Triple. 159 HR in 5 seasons as a 2nd baseman with 190 SB. Not too shabbly to average 31 HR with 38 SB as a 2nd baseman over that span.

          • 07GreyDigger

            That’s a great point for argument. I took the liberty of comparing those numbers to comparable HOF 2B.

            Soriano:
            .282 159 HR 461 RBI 190 SB

            Charlie Gehringer
            .320 184 HR 1427 RBI 181 SB
            Tony Lazzeri:
            .292 178 HR 1194 RBI 148 SB

            Gehringer and Lazzeri played 14 and 19 seasons so I will agree that Soriano was able to put up similar stats in a lot less time.

            Soriano’s overall numbers are a little better than HOF’s like Rice and Kiner, but the thing that drags him down (for me) is the defense and the average. Is .272 good enough for the hall? Also, can you definitively say that during his era that Alfonso Soriano was among the top ten best in any given year? I’m not so sure.

          • Tony_Hall

            You seemed to miss this in his stat lines…

            2001 – 19
            2002 – 23
            2003 – 19
            2004 – 23
            2005 – 21

            ERRORS…..at 2B

            SS and that is livable (but still not good) but at 2B that is a guy being sent out to a position he can’t play.

            DEFENSE matters.
            OBP matters.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not ridiculous….common sense.

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

    Well ranted Brian! Agree on Rizzo, need to pump the breaks on him being a bust. An how bad is his year really when he’s likely to hit 23-25 HR? I’d like to see him do better with RISP and overall average. Ray has made me realize one area he is lacking and that is the 3/5’s and 4/4’s. That said I still think he is a future all-star.

    Castro has me worried. Strop has me excited. And you hit the nail on the head about Arietta woeking with Bosio. At this point Bosio is looking like one of te best developmental pitching coaches in the league. He takes poor and makes average, he takes average and makes good and he takes good and makes great! Overall I think that is a strength of Sveum and Bosio-as Spurrier would say “coachin them up.” Rob Deer, not so much. I hope he is replaced. What is Paul Molitor doing? Or if Sveum wants a Brewer how about Robin Yount?