Posted on: August 27, 2010 11:52 pm
As the Cubs continue to flush their season down the toilet we can start to look towards the future. I realize i have been talking about the future all year but guess what, thats really the only thing i have to be excited about so cut me a break (please). The main issue i wanted to talk about today was the managing opening for next year. Right now it is the most sought after job in baseball, who wouldnt want to try and be the guy that brings us Cubs fans our first World Series in 102 years. Well actually probably a lot of people but still it is a very coveted job. Their are a multitude of qualified canidates and i just wanted to take a look at them so that you as fans could make up your own mind on who you think is the best. The obvious fan favorite is probably the place to start Ryan Sandberg is probably the most beloved Cubs player right along with Ernie Banks and Ron Santo. He was a hall of fame second baseman who has succeeded at every minor league level he has managed at. Starting with Peoria Low-A, to Tennessee AA and now Iowa AAA. He has a personality that is known well and loved in Chicago and he already knows many of the players on this roster as he has already coached them and will know the many more that will come up. But he does lack expierence and i would hate to see him fail. It would be almost worse if they hire him and he fails horribly (although i believe he will succeed if hired.). The next best known option is current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a former Cubs catcher and a well respected manager. He was considered several years ago when Lou was hired but i think they went with expirence over who was actualy the best fit. Girardi already has a ring and has proved he is a good manager, i think he would excell in chicago. But i have to question wether he really would want to come to Chicago. He has a great gig in New York were your basicaly guaranteed to be in the playoffs. If I was him i would stay but if you want a real challenge there isnt a bigger one than the Cubs. Mike Quade is currently managing the Cubs on an interim basis. I dont think you can really read into any of the numbers the team puts up now. Even if they have a winning record because he didnt really mold any of these players and i hate it when teams hire the interim managers for what they did as the interim. But he does have expierence as both a minor league manager and first and third base coach. His knowledge of the game cant be questioned but im not sure he has a big enough personality for the role. Pat Listach is another option and similarly to Mike Quade he is a proven minor league coach who coached for the Cubs affiliates and also is the current Nationals 3rd baseman. But again i dont think he or Quade are the high profile signging the cubs are looking for. Bob Brenly, the current color commentator for Cubs baseball has also become a canidate. I have to say i do like Bob Brenly and he guided that 2001 D-Backs team to a World Series title. He has expirence, he knows the Cubs, he knows their system and his son plays for the High-A Daytona Cubs. He actually would be an solid choice and he is well known. Eric Wedge, the former Indians manager is also a major canidate as he was recently approached by the Cubs. He has obvious interest and has had success as a major league manager. His MLB record stands at 561-573 with one playoff appearance. Wedge has the expierence, he is well known but im not sure he would excite the fans. There are many other names that have been mentioned such as Bobby Valentine and Fredi Gonzalez but i consider these to be the major canidates for the job. As a die hard cubs fan i have to say i would love to see Sandberg as the manager as well as Girardi. The dream coaching set up would be Sandberg as manager, Greg Maddux as pitching coach and keep Rudy Jaramillo as hitting coach. But Greg still isnt sure what he wants to do in the Cubs organization and Sandberg is not a for sure. But i think the Cubs need to make a hire that will re-energize the fan base. While the Cubs may still be selling tickets the interest is begining to fade after 2 dissappointing years and bringing in someone like Sandberg would bring excitment. And i know he could fail but everyone will still love Ryno and it just seems like its the best choice.
Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:16 pm
Earlier in the week a started a series of posts that were going to cover each team in baseballs best players in the modern era (which i consider 1950+). I analyzed the Cubs then began working on the other teams, i decided it would be much more effiecent if i posted the teams by division and compare to see which would fare the best. I will post each teams lineup and #1 starter with their WAR and FLD numbers next to them.
1. Ryne Sandberg-2B- 4.2 WAR 4 FLD
2. Mark Grace-1B- 3.5 WAR 5.1 FLD
3. Billy Williams-OF- 5.2 WAR -3 FLD
4. Sammy Sosa-OF- 4.9 WAR 6.6 FLD
5. Ron Santo-3B- 5.7 WAR 1.9 FLD
6. Ernie Banks-SS- 3.9 WAR 2.8 FLD
7. Andre Dawson-OF- 3.0 WAR -.5 FLD
8. Jody Davis-C- 2.4 WAR 4.5 FLD
#1 Starter- Fergie Jenkins
1. Lou Brock-OF- 3.2 WAR -3.1 FLD
2. Ozzie Smith-SS- 4.7 WAR 15.1 FLD
3. Albert Pujols-1B- 7.8 WAR 6.3 FLD
4. Stan Musial-OF- 6.3 WAR 2.4 FLD
5. Jim Edmonds-OF- 5.5 WAR 4.4 FLD
6. Ken Boyer-3B- 5.2 WAR 6.8 FLD
7. Ted Simmons-C- 4.1 WAR -1 FLD
8. Red Shoendienst-2B- 2.5 WAR 5 FLD
#1 Starter- Bob Gibson
1. Craig Biggio-2B- 3.5 WAR -3.3 FLD
2. Cesar Cedeno-OF- 4.3 WAR .5 FLD
3. Lance Berkman-OF- 4.7 WAR .3 FLD
4. Jeff Bagwell-1B- 5.6 WAR 3.9 FLD
5. Jose Cruz-OF- 3.8 WAR 6.5 FLD
6. Doug Radar-3B- 3.4 WAR -1 FLD
7. Dickie Thorn-SS- 2.1 WAR 4.3 FLD
8. Brad Ausmus-C- .5 WAR -1 FLD
#1 Starter- Roy Oswalt
1. Joe Morgan-2B- 7.6 WAR .75 FLD
2. Pete Rose-3B- 4.6 WAR -4 FLD
3. Frank Robinson-OF- 6.6 WAR 5 FLD
4. Johnny Bench-C- 4.8 WAR 4.2 FLD
5. George Foster-OF- 4.3 WAR 4.8 FLD
6. Tony Perez-1B- 3.2 WAR .4 FLD
7. Vada Pinson-OF- 4.5 WAR 0FLD
8. Barry Larkin-SS- 3.7 WAR 1.5 FLD
#1 Starter- Jim Maloney
1. Paul Molitor-3B- 4.1 WAR .7 FLD
2. Robin Yount-SS- 3.7 WAR -2.3 FLD
3. Cecil Cooper-1B- 3.1 WAR .7 FLD
4. Jeromy Burnitz-OF- 3.7 WAR 4.2 FLD
5. Geoff Jenkins-OF- 2.8 WAR 6.5 FLD
6. Ben Oglive-OF- 2.7 WAR .1 FLD
7. B.J. Surhoff-C- 1.9 WAR 2.8 FLD
8. Jim Gantner-2B- 1.4 WAR 2 FLD
#1 Starter- Teddy Higuera
1. Roberto Clemente-OF- 5.1 WAR 11.3 FLD
2. Jason Kendall-C- 3.8 WAR -1.8 FLD
3. Barry Bonds-OF- 7.1 WAR 18.4 FLD
4. Willie Stargel-OF- 3.4 WAR -3.5 FLD
5. Donn Clendenon-1B- 2.6 WAR -.2 FLD
6. Richie Hebner-3B- 3.5 WAR -5.4 FLD
7. Jay Bell-SS- 3.1 WAR .7 FLD
8. Bill Mazeroski-2B- 2.3 WAR 8.6 FLD
#1 Starter- Bob Friend
Team WAR + FLD
Cubs- 32.8 WAR 21.4 FLD
Cardinals- 39.3 WAR 35.9 FLD
Astros- 27.9 WAR 10.2 FLD
Reds- 39.3 WAR 12.7 FLD
Brewers- 23.4 WAR 14.7 FLD
Pirates- 30.9 WAR 28.1 FLD
I think it is obvious that the Cardinals have the best team of the bunch and are lead by the best pitcher of the bunch as well. Cincinnati is probably the second best team on this list because their team WAR is tied for first with the Cardinals but their defense is 2nd to last and Jim Maloney dosnt rate up as highly as Bob Friend or Fergie Jenkins. The Cubs and Pirates are probably tied for 3rd, while the Cubs have a better WAR the Pirates have a better FLD, although Fergie may have the edge over Friend. The Astros are 5th and the Brewers are officaly the worst team of the buch. I got the WAR and FLD stats from Fangraphs.com which is an excellent site if your a stats junkie like me. I created the lineups by going to Baseball-Reference.com and anaylizing who i thought were the best at each position, obviously not everyone is going to agree with me on my stats. Also a side not i just picked the top 3 outfielders i did not pick the best at each particular position this time. If you have any comments please post them i love reading them and give me feedback please. I plan on doing the AL Central next.
Posted on: August 16, 2010 1:12 pm
I recently went on a long road trip to go see family, it seems whenever i go on these long trips i always bring my ESPN Basesball Reference and refresh my self on baseball history. While going over some stats i came up with a series of posts that i would like to start. I want to go team by team and put together what i think would be the best team from the modern era for each one. So to start it off i will warm myself with any easy one for me by begining with the Cubs. This team will consist of a 5 man rotation a closer and the full lineup. Here we go.....
1. Ryne Sandberg-2B-This was by far the easiest pick, Sandberg may be the best 2nd baseman of all time and definatly the best in Cubs history (Sorry Glen Beckert). His career .285/.344/.452 slash line may not look like a typical leadoff hitters but his basestealing abilities and the fact that there are better RBI guys in this lineup makes him the best fit for this spot. His 9 consecutive gold gloves and career FLD rating over 60 (Stat from Fangraphs.com) solidifies the Cubs infield defense.
2. Mark Grace-1B- While Mark may not be the sexiest pick on this team he may be one of the more consistent bats. A Cubs career slash line of .307/.386/.445 fits well into the 2 hole. He may not have had blazing speed but he got on base and played good defense at first with 4 gold gloves and a career FLD rating over 70 solidifies first.
3. Billy Williams-LF- He may be the pest pure hitter on this team, with a Cubs slash line of .296/.364/.503 he is the definition of a 3 hole hitter. There have been no other Cubs Left fielders that can compare to Billy in terms of of longetivity and production. His defense may be somewhat lacking with a career -41 FLD rating but his good outways his bad.
4. Sammy Sosa-RF- This was definatly the toughest pick, i wanted to put the Hawk here so bad but Sammy defined the Cubs in the 90's and early 2000's. Even with the steroids and character issues at the end of his career, he was still one of the best hitters to play the game. His Cubs career slash line of .284/.358/.569 proves that he is the perfect middle of the order bat. For most of Sammy's career he carried his teams and had little help, i can only imagine what Sammy in his prime could do on a team like this. His career 91 FLD rating also proves he gives us solid defense as well.
5. Ron Santo-3B- This was one of the easier choices although Aramis Ramirez gave him a run for his money. Santo would have to be my favorite player on this team because i love his personality but he is also one of the best pre-steroid era third basemen. His Cubs career slash line of .279/.366/.472 is solid especialy considering the stellar defense he provides with 5 gold gloves and a career 22 FLD rating.
6. Ernie Banks-SS- I couldnt leave off the best SS of all time, although he did play significant time at first his prime years were at short. His .274/.330/.500 slash line is great although on this team it only gets him in the 6 hole but there will still be plenty of oportunities for RBI's hitting behind Ronny. He adds to an already stellar infield defense with a gold glove and a career 54 FLD rating. Mr. Cub would finally get to the playoffs on this team.
7. Rick Monday-CF- When i started looking at the list of modern day Cubs CF i really couldnt find any that i like to go with this team. But then i saw Monday's name which whenever i see it i think of his heroic efforts to prevent a flag being burned rather than his baseball career. But i chose Monday mainly for his offense which was at his best when he was a Cubs hitting at a .270/.366/.460 clip. According to Fangraphs.com his defense was abismal though with a career -110 FLD rating which gives us a somewhat weak outfield defense.
8. Jody Davis-C- Catcher is a tough position to get quality players at, and there were only 3 names that i even considered to start at catcher. Because i Knew that i couldnt put Gaby Hartnett because i wanted modern players. So it came down to Randy Hundley, Jody Davis, and Geovany Soto. Soto went out because i dont think he has had a long enough career to out him on this list. So i compared Jody and Randy and Jody Davis's numbers are just flat out better than Randy's. With a .251/.313/.416 slash line he may be the worst hitter on this team but he gives us excellent defense behind the plate with a career 39 FLD rating and for a catcher thats not a bad stat line anyway. I think Geovany Soto may eventualy be the man to put here but he needs to play at a high level for another 4 years before I'll consider him.
Ill post the rotation tommorow
Posted on: July 31, 2010 6:51 pm
Well the 2010 MLB trade deadline is officially in the books and it was a rather tame one to say the least. It was a buyers market for sure, which i think prevented some teams from being willing to give up their top talent. The most interesting trade was the 3 team deal sending Ryan Ludwick to San Diego, Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and prospects to the Indians. The Padres seem like the winners in this one, aquiring a solid middle of the order bat to protect Adrian Gonzalez. The losers have to be the Cardinals, they trade away their starting right fielder who is a middle of the order hitter in a mediocre offense for a below average starting pitcher. Im sure there we be those who believe the pitching god of Dave Duncan can make him into a good pitcher but i have my doubts. Another interesting trade involves the Cubs and Dodgers, Chicago is sending Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers for Blake DeWitt and 2 AA pitching prospects. The Dodgers are getting a solid middle to back of the rotation pitcher in Ted Lilly. He may not have his best stuff any more but he has excellent control and can be dominant on occasion (such as his 1-hitter against the White Sox). The Dodgers also get a solid SS/2B with some speed who will hit around the .290/.330/350 mark and is an average defender. The Cubs get a mid level starter prospect and a throw in reliever prospect, to go along with 2B/3B Blake DeWitt. DeWitt is a 25 year old who was called up a little to soon in his career and hasnt shown a lot but has some potential. Although this year he has been a better player than Theriot, really this is a move that helps the Cubs get younger and cheaper as the attempt a quick rebuild. I think the Cubs get the edge in this one because they achieved what they wanted to. They dumped salary(although not all of it) they got some pitching prospects and got younger at 2B. The dodgers did get a pitcher who will help them down the stretch but DeWitt may be a bit better than Theriot at 2nd. Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, and Austin Kearns are all headed to the Yankees where they continue to assemble the best talent possible. Lance Berkamn is definatly a win because he is a very skilled player who is just having a down year, and the salary dosnt really affect the Yankees. The Astros are a completley different team then the ones that played the Cubs a few days ago, with Brett Wallace as the new first baseman and JA Happ replacing Roy Oswalt. The Pirates are really starting to show they are on the way up with some excellent deals. They moved some veteran relievers they signed in the winter such as Octavio Dotel(dodgers), DJ Carrasco(D-Backs) and Javier Lopez(Giants) and aquiring players with huge upside (John Bowker,Joe Martinez,James McDonald, Andrew Lambo,and Chris Snyder to name some). I think you have to consider the Pirates as really winners in the trade market, they may not be anywhere near contention but they have stockpiled a ton of prospects the past few years to where once some of them develop and they become contenders they will still have some in which to trade to push them over the top in a pennant race. That being said they are a while a way from contention. I was not suprised to see Adam Dunn stay mainly because i think the Nationals value him much more than any other team in baseball and they will most likely extend him long term because they will pay him more then anyone else. The MLB landscape has not changed that much through these trades, really the biggest impact is going to be the Berkman trade in my opinion, outside of that the rest of the moves wont achieve that much this year.
Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:59 pm
Well were about 24 hours away from the 2010 MLB trade deadline and as usual the trades and trade talks are picking up. The most recent trade coming when the White Sox aquired Edwin Jackson for Daniel Hudson and a prospect. I dont see the Sox holding on to him, most likely the will flip him in an attempt to aquire Adam Dunn. Im not sure that is smart for either side. Adam Dunn has made it clear he wants to play in the NL and he dosnt want to DH. And i think Edwin Jackson is extremely overvalued, yes he can be dominating but he has extreme control issues. The only place i see him succeding is in St. Louis if he works with Dave Duncan but there is no way that will happen. The Nationals have been doing well with trades so far, aquiring Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa from Minnesota in the Capps deal and i hear they got some good A ball prospects for Christian Guzman. The good thing about these trades is that they got quality prospects for players that were not essential to this years competitivnes or long term. Guzman had been a starter but since Ian Desmond came up at SS he as been relegated to a utility role. Matt Capps has been an outstanding closer this season and has made the Pirates look bad for letting him go. But he is playing somewhat over his head and the Nationals have a closer in the wings with Drew Storen. Even if Storen doesnt become the closer right away the Nationals are not contending this year and why do you need a good closer if your not going to win. Another interesting trade happened yesterday when the Phillies aquired Roy Oswalt for very little in my opinion. The Astros the flipped the main prospect in the deal (I dont remember his name just that he was a speedy CF similar to Michael Bourn) for Brett Wallace. Brett Wallace is going to have played for every MLB teams farm system before he gets called up it seems. The Phillies getting Roy Oswalt is more of an appology to their fans for not keeping Cliff Lee. I know everyone is saying this but just think had they kept lee and got oswalt what that playoff rotation could have achieved. Some other notable trades included- Angels aquiring Dan Haren for Joe Saunders and prospects, Tigers aquiring Johnny Peralta, and the Rangers aquiring Jorge Cantu. What i am really interested to see is who gets Ted Lilly and is Ryan Theriot or other Cubs players a part of the deal. I think the Dodgers want Lilly the most but im not sure who the Cubs get in return. There is a lot of interesting things going on in major league baseball and this along with the winter meetings is one of my favorite non-playing events in baseball.
Posted on: July 18, 2010 5:41 pm
Well now that we have past the All-Star break and are past half way through the season. While the Cubs may still have a chance i dont feel like the Cubs are going to do any better than 3rd in the division at this point. So now the talk should begin to shift from competing this year to, what can we do to be better next year. I think the first thing the Cubs need to look to do is trade their chips now. While the soon to be free-agents may not get them as much as they'd like its better than getting nothing if they leave next year. They may be able to get some minor leage talent that could be used to aquire a star in the off-season. Ted Lilly seems to be the Cubs biggest trade chip, along with Derrek Lee, Xavier Nady and Kosuke Fukudome. Now Fukudome may be hard to trade this year but i have a feeling next year we may be able to get something for him. But Lee, Nady and Lilly are all going to be free-agents and there are teams looking at all 3 of them. Lee is the hardest to part with because he has been such an important part of this team for the past 5 years. But sometimes you cant let sentimental value deter you from getting rid of something. Lee has been my favorite player for the past few seasons, and if they can get him to take a much smaller contract then I can see him staying although i feel the Cubs can upgrade at first in the off-season. Its time for the Cubs to change from the 07-08 playoff team, to a new team built around their young talent and new aquisitions. They have a core of young players that i do like, Geovany Soto has definatly rebounded from a rough 09' campaign to show that he is one of the top offensive catchers in the game. Starlin Castro has shown amazing range at short along with a consistent and patiant aproach at the plate to go with blazing speed. Tyler Colvin appears to be a solid young OF with a great power stroke and good speed. Andrew Cashner appears to be the set-up man for the time being and could be an even better closer than Marmol which may make him trade bate in the years to come. They also have some solid pieces in Marlon Byrd in CF, and Soriano in LF (although he may not be the star he once was he is still a solid power hitter.) and Ryan Dempster, Tom Gorzelanny, Carlos Silva, and Carlos Marmol. They main issue has been the dissaperance of Lee and Ramirez (although it appears Ramirez may be back) and the lack of a true ace. These missing pieces are what the Cubs need to fill via free agency. They can solve the middle of the order bat by aquiring someone like Prince Fielder or Adrain Gonzalez. A-Gon may be difficult bu the Cubs should have the cash for Fielder with Lee, Lilly, and Nady's contracts coming off the books. The next step would be aquiring an ace, im not sure if any are available on the free agent market but the Cubs could look into trades. If the Cubs do several of these things they could easily bounce back from a rough 2010 season.
Posted on: April 21, 2010 7:47 pm
Well the Cubs have played 14 games and as far as i can tell they are a complete disaster. They cant hit, play defense and the releivers can not close out games. The only strength we have right now is that are starting pitching has been excellent, which is not a suprise since thats what carried us last year. Lets really break this down though, i want to analyze each are and look at the problem.
It is not that the Cubs can get on base, its that they can drive runs in. Which was the problem last year as well. Now i am not overly concerned with that because A-Ram is the RBI guy and he is in a bit of a slump. But some of the other players need to contribute as well, but i really blame the Cubs offensive woes on the lack of production from A-Ram. The positives are that Geovany Soto is looking pretty good, the biggest thing is his patience at the plate, he is walking and has limited his strikeouts. Marlon Byrd has also been pretty good altough not very consistent.
Soriano has been playing abismal defense along with Xavier Nady (He still cant throw very far due to surgery.), Tyler Colvin comes in during the 7th or 8th nearly every game. Fukudome and Colvin are good and Byrd is decent. Fontenot has played solid defense at 2nd but Theriot's defense at short is very average. I think the thing i have been the happiest with is that Geo has been throwing out a lot of baserunners. Actualy i am very happy with Geo this season, he is hitting better and playing good defense.
The starting has been great with the exeption of opening day. Carlos Silva has been dominant, and Dempster is continuing to prove he was worth the contract extension they gave him in 09'. Lilly is coming back this weekend and Randy Wells has not had a sophmore slump. The bullpen has been the main issue, so much so that Zambrano has been put into a set-up role to hold the fort until the front office can bring in a true set up man. Carlos Marmol has been pretty good though, he has gone 3/4 in save opportunities and has not lost his control yet with a 12:2 K:BB ratio. But outside of Marmol the rest of the bullpen has sucked. They are to inexpeirenced and they need a veteran to anchor the pen until the young guys mature. Also the Cubs need to quit this unwarrented obsession with Jeff Samardzija, he just does not deserve a major league roster spot.
Posted on: April 9, 2010 11:15 am
Well the Cubs just wrapped up their opening series against the Braves with a solid 2-0 win. While i was not amazed by the Cubs performance through out the series there were some positives. One thing that stuck out to me was plate discipline, from the 2 games i got to watch they seemed very patient at the plate. That was a key to the 08' run and was something they lost in 09' hopefully that will continue. Another exciting thing i saw was the confidence that Marlon Byrd has, he has looked outstanding in almost every at bat. While he may not get hits in every AB, he is getting great contact with the ball and already has 2 HR. The last positive observation i would like to make is about the pitching. Excluding Carlos Zambrano, both starters pitched excellently and Dempster should have gotten the win. The bullpen has also been solid with the exception of Jeff Samardzija. Even Carlos Marmol looked as if he was in his 07'-08' form, and i am really liking Esmailin Caridad. So while the Cubs are only 1-2 there are many positives to take away from this game. they may not be hitting great yet but they look pretty good. I cant wait to see them tonight in Cincinnati, Carlos Silva is facing Homer Bailey at 7:10 Eastern Time.