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Posted on: November 10, 2009 6:51 pm
 

Football Talk

Im sure that if any of you have read my blog before that i am a baseball enthusiast. But you may also like to know that i do know a little about football. Being a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan and living everywhere besides Dallas in my life has presented me with some challanges before. But i being a Cubs fan i know how to handle these issues. Anyways i wanted to do a post about this football season thus far and preview the upcoming Cowboys @ Packers game.

The coolest thing to see in a football season is how hyped up fans get in a city where there team is competetive and in the playoff race. Living near Cincinnati i get to see Bengal fever everywhere, theres a lot of "Who Dey" cheering and talking about Chad Ochocinco. Cincinnati is a fun football city, and i think everyone has been suprised at how well they've played thus far, and you have to give Pete Prisco some props because he totaly called that one ( I know i laughed when i first saw it). But the Bengals are for real, Cedric Benson has been a beast, when you rush over a 100 yards on the Ravens twice in a season that is impressive. Carson Palmer is always a legitamate QB, he is a great leader and winner and has all the physical tools of a good QB. Then you have the imfamous Chad Ochocinco, he may talk a lot but he has been showing what he can do week in and week out on the field. And the Bengals defense has been outstanding, i think when i looked at them this season this was the only part of the team i knew would be good for sure. They have two lockdown corners in Hall and Joseph, a solid linebacking core and are really dominating opponents. They now sit atop their divison at 6-2 and are coming up to their most important game thus far in the season at Pittsburgh. If they win it they will gain a bigger lead in the divison and will have beat the Steelers both times this season, if they lose they will fall to second place. I will be very interested to see how it plays out, because i think the Steelers are a much better team now than that last time they played.

Now when we start talking about the Boys (Dallas Cowboys) the first thing i want to say is how about Miles Austin. He has accumulated 612 yards and 7 tds on only 27 receptions. He is really responsible for the Cowboys turn around this season. He gives the Cowboys that instant offense threat. Lets take the Eagles game for example, the games tied at 13 each and with one catch Austin goes 49 yards for a TD to give the Cowboys the lead and the eventual win. Roy Williams is starting to get in a rythm with Romo and hopefully he can continue to get better to give the Cowboys another awesome option to throw to. Witten hasnt put up the same numbers from last season but he is again the most reliable reciever on the team. He continues to make key 3rd down conversions and is the saftey valve for Romo, if no one else is open it goes to Witten. With all of those receiving options the Cowboys also have an awesome 3 back system that is working great. As you might have seen Tashard Choice is becoming the Wild Cat option, but in my opinion he is really emerging into the Cowboys best option. He is the most consistent of their backs, Felix Jones is the "Home Run" threat, he has tremendous speed and can break games open with big runs. And of course everyone knows Marion Barber, the physical runner, he is still the used the best in the 4th quarter where he can run over the tired defenses. The biggest improvment for the Boys aside from Miles Austin is the defense. They have really stepped it up. They have always been a pressure defense with guys like DeMarcus Ware, and Jay Ratliff but now the secondary is really starting to play to their potential. Mike Jenkins got his 3rd pick of the season on Sunday and a lot of analysts are raving about him, and with Terrence Newman on the other side they are becoming a hard team to pass on. And the 3rd reason why the Cowboys have improved is the maturation of Tony Romo, he is protecting the ball a lot better. He has a 9-1 TD-INT ratio during the Cowboys 4 game win streak. He isnt fumbling or getting picked off. All of these factors are making the Cowboys a force to be reckoned with.

I really like the match up this weak against the Packers, the Cowboys beat them last year and i think it will be a similarly good game for the Boys. The Packers main struggle this season has been protecting Aaron Rodgers, their O-Line has allowed a league high 37 sacks thus far this season. Basicaly we're looking at a bad O=Line going against one of the better pass rushes in the league. Im guessing Rodgers gets sacked at least 4 times. Now Rodgers is a great QB but the O-Line really hurts the Packers. Also their defense realy hasnt caused the amount of presure the thought it would. The game should be close the 1st half but i think the Boys can put it away late in the 3rd quarter. The Boys are hot, and they have a balanced offensive attack, the Packers are cold (lost to the Buccanears last week) and like i said they can't protect the QB, and eventualy Rodgers is going to get hurt.


Posted on: November 9, 2009 6:21 pm
 

Trade Reviews/Previews

Well the offseason officialy started last week and it has already been very interesting. So far the most intriguing trade to me has been the J.J. Hardy for Carlos Gomez trade. On paper right now it seems like an even deal, but after looking over the numbers, i think the Twins will benefit the most from this trade. That;s not to say i dont think Gomez will contribute, or be a valuable player but J.J. Hardy will improve the Twins more than Gomez will the Brewers. Had Hardy not crashed offensivly his value would have been a lot higher, and he might not have even been traded. So basicaly the Twins bought low on a high potential, he plays exceptioanl defense, and if he can return to his 07-08 form, he could be a 20 HR threat at SS. The aquisiton of Gomez will allow the Brewers to let Mike Cameron go, and let them use what they would have paid him to improve their pitching, which is the biggest concern for them right now. When you look at the potential the Twins have on offense with Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Cuddyer, and now Hardy they have a serious edge in the AL Central. I already talked about the Iwamura- Chavez deal which the more i look at i think the Rays got the edge for that one.  Iwamura is kind of expensive for his production, while the Rays aquired a cheap hard throwing reliever that is under team control for a while.

Rumor Discussion-

Talking about the Cubs for the offseason, GM Jim Hendry made it clear that they are going to move some pieces around this season and that they are going to go more towards trades than spending money on free agents although he said they might still sign some people. For me that is great news, because the Cubs seem to be better traders than buyers ( We like to overpay for players). Just think about it the heart and soul of our team (Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee) were aquired via trade. What i like more is the fact that the players we have given up in trades never really pan out. Lets take a look at some Cubs trades from recent years.

Aquired                                                           Recieved

John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny                            Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, Josh Harrison

Rich Harden, Chad Gaudin                                  Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson

Derrek Lee                                                        Hee Seop Choi

Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton                             Jose Hernandez, Matt Brubeck, Bobby Hill


Those are 4 of the most significant, recent trades made by GM Jim Hendry, all 4 of those trades were successes to an extent. But if you compare that to his free agent signings you will understand why i am glad he wants to do more trading.

Alfonso Soriano-  8 years  $136 mill

Kosuke Fukudome-  4 years  $48 mill

Milton Bradley-  3 years  #30 mill

These 3 contracts are really holding the Cubs back from being able to due much this offseason (although i dont know who they would get). Obviously the Bradley contract is the worst, Fukudome is getting way overpaid but he does contribute. Soriano has the potential to still live up to that contract, but im not suret the Cubs should have signed him so long he is going to be in his mid to late 30's before his contract expires. Now the Cubs have made some bad trades, and some good signings but overall Hendry is a better trader than a buyer. I will be interested to see who the Cubs go after, the only thing we no for sure is Bradley is going somewhere else. I have heard the Cubs are going to go after pitching, more likely relief and insurance for the rotation. I havnt heard a ton about offensive trades, im sure Brian Roberts rumors will pop up like they usually do this time of year. The Cubs seem like they are confident in Jeff Baker at second, so it seem like they are going to try and improve the outfield. I have heard some rumors about the Cubs going after Mike Cameron, Marlon Byrd, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday although the latter two are less likely. Cameron would actualy be a good fit, he would provide great defense in the outfield which is something the Cubs have been lacking for many years and he hits for solid power. I am not as crazy about Byrd although he did play for Jaramillo and he played well last year. If the Cubs can bolster the pen, get rotation insurrance and get at least 1 outfielder to replace Bradley they could easily be in contention especially since the Cards most likely wont retain Holliday.


Posted on: November 4, 2009 4:59 pm
 

The Future for the Pirates

If you havnt heard, the Pirates recently aquired Akinori Iwamura from the Rays for Jesse Chavez. Once i heard about this trade i wanted to sit down and take a look at what Neil Huntington has done and will do with the Pirates. First of all i want to say that i am a huge fan of this trade however unimportant it is in the realm of baseball. The Pirates gave up an expendable middle reliever for a solid middle infielder and a huge upgrade from Delwyn Young. Middle relievers really can be found anywhere and are very unpredictable as it is. On the other side it is difficult to find a solid defensive middle infielder who will provide solid offensive production. Here is a look at their projected depth chart.

C- Ryan Doumit
  - Jason Jaramillo

1B- Garrett Jones
    - Steve Pearce

2B- Akinori Iwamura
    - Delwyn Young

3B- Andy LaRoche
    - Ramon Vazquez

SS- Ronny Cedeno
    - Brian Bixler

LF- Lastings Milledge
CF- Andrew McCutchen
RF- Brandon Moss

This is a completley different team from the 2009 opening day roster, its younger and has a lot more potential. I love Doumit at catcher if he is healthy this season he could be one of the top catchers in the league. Garrett Jones really broke out this year, he has decent speed and good pop and projects to be the Pirates #3 hitter. As i said ealier i like Iwamura, he has speed and is an average/above average defender, who hits for decent contact (career .281 hitter). Now i am not a fan of Andy LaRoche, he doesnt poscess the power to play a corner infield position. Offensivly he just isnt that exciting for a third baseman, although he is pretty good defensivly. Ronny Cedeno is one of those players that i root for (probably because he's a former Cub). He is an average to below average hitter at SS and is below average defensivly. Realy he isnt that valubale but he is young and still has potential to be better. The Pirates pocess a speedy outfield with Milledge in left and McCutchen in center. Milledge is another high potential guy and hit fairly well once he came over to Pittsburgh from Washington. Andrew McCutchen was in my mind the Pirates best player last season. He put up a .286/.365/.471 stat line in under 500 AB. It will be interesting to see him in a full season my projection for him next season is  .290 avg  15 HR  50 RBI  30 SB. In right the Pirates have Brandon Moss who is mediocre offensivly but is a quality deffender. The Pirates are going the full rebuilding route so i would doubt they make any big free agent signings. But if Pedro Alvarez comes up and takes over 3rd and plays the way everyone thinks the Pirates will have their corner infielders set, and LF and CF are in good shape right now. The Pitching staff looks viable right now with Maholm, Duke and Ohlendorf at the top who are all decent pitchers, if their farm system can develop another good starter in 5 years they could be competitive. One thing you may see the Pirates do a lot of is trading, Matt Capps will probably get traded this season, maybe Maholm. Neil Huntington has this team on the right track, like i said in 5 years the Pirates may not be the worst team in baseball anymore.
Category: MLB
Posted on: November 2, 2009 8:44 pm
 

Profesional Baseball needs a salary cap

Well the Yankees are about to prove for about the millionth time (exagerated number) that you can buy yourself a championship in baseball. If you have enough money you can get all the best players on one team. I think that is the major reason why football has beat out baseball as the most popular sport in the U.S. There is such parity between the good and bad teams in MLB. The same 10 teams are good every year, while the small market teams have to get really good G.M.'s just to make the playoffs. Severe measures need to be put in place to correct the failing system that is currently in place or baseball will continue to lose fans. It gets really boring when the same franchises dominates the league year after year. I realize the players union will freak out if a salary cap is put in place because then Mark Teixera couldnt make the $180 mill he needs to live off of. The players in Major League Baseball are the most overpaid of any sport, the amount of guaranteed money these guys are getting is crazy. 10 years ago this wasnt really a problem, yes the Yankees were very succesful but small market teams were still able to compete against the bigger markets. But now with the minor league talent being treated like free-agents, the big market teams are spending tons of money are foreign prospects and draftees. Thus preventing the smaller markets from building through player development. Lets take a look at the teams that were over .500 and how big their markets are.

New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays*

Minnesota Twins*
Detroit Tigers

Los Angeles Angles
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners

Philadelphia Phillies
Florida Marlins*
Atlanta Braves

St. Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs

Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants

With the exception of the Rays, Twins, and Marlins the teams over .500 all have pretty high salaries and fairly large media markets. Teams like the Rays and Marlins have been able to build through the draft, the Rays due to the fact that they were awful for a long time and were able to get high picks. The Marlins have always been smart in analyizing talent and trading their good players for prospects. The Twins are just good at making trades and they have done some building through the draft. The rest of the teams have for the most part built themselves by dominating the free agent market and making trades. Now that does not apply to all of these teams (Giants, Rockies, Braves) but again many of the teams i am listing that arnt that way didnt make the playoffs. Out of the Playoff teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Angels, Phillies, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies)  6 of those teams have high salaries or made big trades for expensive players. Basicaly what im tryig to say is that the big market teams are really dominating the rest of the league and need to be restrained, thats why i believe there needs to be a .....$120 mill salary cap. That way it still gives the better teams some room to get the bigger players but not enough to complete dominate them. And with some shrewd managing any team could have a shot at the World Series. And im not saying all of this because im a fan of a small market team, cause im not im a cubs fan we have a $135 mill payroll. I just want the sport to be fair. And if your a Yankee fan who wants to bash on this post because you are nieve enough to think that the Yankees dont buy themselves championships. Please dont post on here because i am not going to read it.
Posted on: November 1, 2009 9:36 pm
 

Cubs trade rumors

Well the were nearing the end of baseball season, and the hot stove has started to heat up. The big trade discussion for the Cubs is where will Milton Bradley go and what will we get in return. I have heard many possible destinations including Tampa Bay, San Diego, Texas, and Toronto. The big rumor a few weeks ago was a Bradley for Burrell deal with the Cubs still eating a significant amount of salary. I am not a huge Pat Burrell fan but i would perfer just about anybody over Bradley. The latest rumor which was recently denied by Cubs officials was a Bradley for Vernon Wells trade. Now thats an interesting one, i want to take a closer look at that one. One source had confirmed that this rumor had some legs but as i said it was later denied that the Cubs had looked at Wells. But the rumor was that the Cubs and Blue Jays would split the contracts and each eat $43 million. So the Cubs would eat more money and take on a longer term contract for a player who put up similar numbers. But if you take a look its not a bad trade. Lets analyize these 2 players and see which team has the edge.

Milton Bradley- Over his 9 year career he has shown to be injury prone, accumulating over 500 AB in only 1 season. He has a career .277/.371/.450 stat line, which isnt bad he hits for decent contact and is a very patient hitter although that was his undoing this season. He had some speed early in his career but knee injuries go rid of that, and he has become an average to below average fielder. From what i watched of him this past season he would try sometimes but he made a lot of mental errors (throwing a ball in the stands with only 2 outs, losing balls in the sun etc...). But he did post career numbers in 2008 with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo (read previous blog post to hear praise of Jaramillo) and posted a .321/.436/.563 stat line. So it makes you wonder should the Cubs try to work out their differences with Bradley. But he openly insulted the entire Cubs fan base, he got into physical arguments with Pinella and even other players said he was a distraction. But if you look at his statistical value based on Fan Graphs dollar value system he was worth $5.1 mill last season, but he earned $9 mill. So he did not earn his paycheck last season but could he next season? What is he worth for a trade? Those are all questions that we will find out over the next few months.

Vernon Wells- Over his 9 year career he has shown that he is the opposite of Bradley when it comes to health, in the past 8 years he has only accumulated less than 500 AB once and had accumulated over 600 AB 5 times in that 8 year span. Over his career he has put up a .280/.329/.470 stat line, he isnt as patient as Bradley but he has more pop and hits for simlar contact. He still has some speed, swiping 17 bags last season. but has proved to be a liability in the outfield the past 2 years. He does play CF though which is a position the Cubs are looking to improve. He struggled last season hitting his 2nd lowest batting average of his career (.260). According to Fan Graphs he was woth negative dollars last season, mostly due to his fielding, and over the past 3 years the most he has been worth is $5.5 mill. But it seems that if the Blue Jays want to move on from what is now considered a bad contract this could be a possibly good move. It would let them free up some money, and they would get a player who could potentialy hit over .300 and 20 HR. For the Cubs, he could be moved to RF to help his defense and if he works with new hitting Coach Rudy Jaramillo, plus the general boost that AL hitters get coming to the NL (excluding Milton Bradley) he could be an excelent addition. He would provide another middle of the order hitter to go with Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano. I would love to see a lineup that went

1. Fuld/Fukudome
2. Theriot
3. Lee
4. Ramirez
5. Soriano
6. Wells
7. Soto
8. Baker
9. Pitcher

The only problem is that the whole reason the Cubs signed Bradley was to add a left handed hitter to the middle of the order to provide a balanced attack. Wells is a righty and would then cause the lineup to be 7-1 righty. So basicaly if Hendry makes this trade it defeats the whole purpose of why we got him in the first place. But Wells has a better history (3 gold gloves, 1 silver slugger, not many injuries) but he is more expensive, and has a longer contract.

Decision- Undecided

I would take this trade and hope Wells plays better, i think he would offensivly but our outfield defense is shakey enough without adding Wells. If we moved him to right that could work. But this would be one of those signature trades for a GM, it can make our break you reputation. If we trade Bradley and then he does amazing the next season it makes Hendry seem impatient. And if Wells dosnt perform your stuck with another Soriano situation. But if Wells plays well and Bradley stays the same it seems like a steal. If i am Hendry i sit on this one to see if there arnt any less risky trades, although with Bradley's performance and attitude almost all the trade offers will have risk. But i think if you really need to get rid of Bradley and this is the best offer you take it. Im just not 100% sure Bradley has to go. I kind of want to see him here for 1 more year then if its bad trade him, because with one year left on his contract he would seem less of a risk and more teams would want him. At the end of discussing this im not sure what i wold do with Bradley, thats why im a fan and Hendry is GM.
Posted on: November 1, 2009 3:12 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2009 9:39 pm
 

MLB Team Analysis- Chicago Cubs

Well as you probably could have guessed based on the title of my blog, I am a Cubs fan. So writing this without being biased is somewhat of a challenge but i'll manage. Lets first start off by discussing what has happened during the off-season thus far. The Cubs were finally sold to the Ricketts family for over $800 million. So now we can finally make things happen, it seemed last offseason the front office couldnt do much due to the fact that the team was in the process of being sold. Although they did make some big moves (none that were positive) they still seemed restrained to do much. Now that has been worked out, also the Cubs have added the best hitting coah in the buisness in Rudy Jaramillo. The Jaramillo signing i think will end up being the best move made, just for the fact that we really struggled last season offensivly. It wasnt that we didnt have good hitters, but for some reason they all slumped. Jaramillo has worked with Soriano before and hopefully can fix his swing, i also think he will be a positive influence on Soto. So without making a big free-agent splash the Cubs will be able to improve their offense. Lets take a look at the team by sections.

Rotation- B

1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Ted Lilly
4. Randy Wells
5. Tom Gorzelanny

Carlos Zambrano hasnt lived up to his contract so far in his career. Did Dusty ruin his arm? Zambrano should be in his prime, but he really hasnt contributed the way he should. He has a lot of talent, but he has been injured a lot the past 3 years and is wild. He is no longer an ace if he ever was but is a solid top of the rotation guy. Ryan Dempster , although he didnt get the wins this season he pitched fairly well, and proved he didnt just pitch for money last season. He still pitched 200 innings, even with some time on the DL. He still has some gas left in the tank and should still be a solid middle of the rotation guy. Ted Lilly was the best pitcher on the Cubs staff last season, again he didnt get the wins (poor run support) but he had 3.10 ERA which was the lowest of his career. He has decent strikeout potential and competes every day, he is another solid top of the rotation guy. Randy Wells , had he gotten better run support he would have been rookie of the year. But the lack of run support killed his chances although he still posted a 12-10 record with a 3.05 ERA. Wells was the suprise of the year for the Cubs. He has good control, he doesnt strikeout a ton of batters but he doesnt walk a lot either. Hopefully he doesnt have a sophmore slump, he is a great option for the back of the rotation. Tom Gorzelanny came over at the deadline from Pittsburgh and was thrust in a starting role right away. He pitched fairly well in 7 starts with the Cubs. He showed good strikeout potential but he did give up some homeruns. The Cubs hope he can pitch like he did in 2007 as the Pirates ace. He has the potential and is still only 27 years old. The Cubs rotation is what carried them to a winning record last season, hopefully they wont have to rely so heavily on it this season.

Bullpen- C+

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Angel Guzman
SU- Sean Marshall
MR- Aaron Heilman
MR- Jeff Samardzidja
MR- Jeff Stevens
MR- Esmalin Caridad

The Carlos Marmol era has begun, he is finally the closer and actually looked better as a closer than set-up man this season. The risk with Marmol is that he is extremley wild (65 BB in 74 IP) but he also strikes out a ton (93K's in 74 IP). He was 15/19 SV/OP last season so he seems ready to be the closer for a full season, he could become one of the top closers next season or he could be very inconsistent. Angel Guzman ws great last season, in 55 apperances he posted a sub 3 ERA (2.95) and had 47 K's. He did suffer an injury late in the season but was effective as a middle reliever. He should move to a set up role and if he continues to pitch how he did this past season he could 20 + holds. Sean Marshall was the lone left reliever early in the season and pitched well but wore out down the stretch. He was relieved as the lefty specialist at the end of the season when the CUbs aquired John Grabow who may be resigned but its not for sure. If so Grabow would be in this spot. Marshall posted a 4.32 ERA in 55 apperances and 9 starts (ERA inflated from starts) and had 68 K's and 32 BB in 85 IP. Aaron Heilman improved from 08 but is still a average middle reliever who is best suited for mip up duty. In 70 apperances he posted a 4.11 ERA 65 K's and 34 BB. Jeff Samardzija, Jeff Stevens, and Esmailin Caridad are all young relievers (Caridad and Samardzidja could be starters) who have a lot of potential. Samardzidja got beat up a lot last year mainly due to the fact that he is a 1-2 pitch guy, he needs some secondary pitches. Stevens and Caridad looked good in their short stints in the majors, i think the Cubs are hoping that one of them breaks out next season. Overal this is an average to above average Bullpen

Infield- B

C- Geovany Soto
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Jeff Baker
3B- Aramis Ramirez
SS- Ryan Theriot
IF- Mike Fontenot
IF- Andres Blanco

Geovany Soto struggled mightly this season hitting a .218/.321/.381 stat line. Soto was injured a while this season and i think that sophmore slump hit him pretty hard. This is probably the worst you will ever see Soto, he did improve his BB/K ratio and he hit a little bit better at the end of the season. With the help of new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and just general improvment after a sophmore slump he should improve significantly. Derrek Lee had his second best season of his career last season posting a .306/.393/.579 stat line. Lee is the Cubs 2nd best hitter and an excellent player. He was the Cubs best hitter last season and he showed this season that he is finally fully recovered from that broken wrist in 2006. Jeff Baker came over from Colorado for virtually nothing and he stabalized second base after Mike Fontenot struggled as a starter. He posted a .305/.362/.448 stat line as a Cub. If he can continue to hit that way he will stay the Cubs starting 2nd baseman for 2010. He also has some versatility, he can play 2nd, 3rd and a little outfield, and has a positive fielding rating at all positions. Aramis Ramirez was sorely missed this season after he seperated his shoulder, Ramirez is the main cog of this Cubs offense posting over 100 RBI's 6 times in his career. Ramirez absence was probably the main cause of the Cubs offensive stuggles last season and with him healthy they should score at least 50 more runs then 2009. Even with all that missed time he still hit a .317/.389/.516 stat line in 306 AB. Ryan Theriot was one of the few healthy players last season, he didnt hit as well as he did in 2008 but still put up a solid .284/.343/.369 stat line. He has decent speed posting his 3rd straight 20+ SB season. Theriot is a pretty average deffender, you could do worse but you could do a lot better to. All and all he is a solid player, the best current player to come out of the Cubs farm system. Mike Fontenot, and Andres Blanco are solid infield options. Fontenot dissappointed as a starter but still has value, he also may have some trade value if the Cubs want to upgrade at 2nd. Blanco is the best deffender on the team, he is a good SS and a good 2nd baseman. His offense isnt great but it gets the job done. This is an above average group, the only place to really improve would be 2nd.

Outfield  C+

LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Kosuke Fukudome
RF- Milton Bradley
OF- Sam Fuld
IF/OF- Jake Fox

Alfonso Soriano was another dissappointment on offense last year. It seemed like pitchers just figured out all you have to do is throw a ball in the dirt and he swings at it. He did hit 20 HR but he hit under .250 and is always a liability in the field. Soriano has worked with Jaramillo before and performed well so hopefully he can help some, although i realize i am giving hitting coaches to much credit for what they can fix. But Soriano was really good at the begining of the season so i can only get so mad at him. Plus he is going to be are #6 hitter, he's awfully good for hitting in that spot. Kosuke Fukudome played a little better than last season but still cant hit for a full season. He is an excellent deffender (although he is a better corner outfielder) and he can hit but not all the time. He is more of a 4th outfielder, i would like to see Fuld get more time in center. Milton Bradley will more than likely be gone after this season, but there is still a minute chance he stays. He isnt a great fielder, he is an average hitter and he is a locker room disturbance. Basicaly Jim Hendry wasted $30 million. There are a lot of trade rumors right now, so i have a feeling by the winter meetings he will be somewhere else. Sam Fuld  is probably the most patient hitter on the team and is a hard worker. He dives for balls and competes in every at bat. He has some good speed and could be another Theriot type player. Jake Fox was good in limited playing time posting a .259/.311/.468 stat line. He was excellent in the minors and it really carried over to the majors. He has the power to be a solid corner outfielder and could be trade bait. He can hit but he dosnt have a definate position and isnt very good at any position he plays. If he stays in Chicago he will be a backup forever. All in all this is a potentialy good outfield but this is the area the Cubs need the most work.

Overview B-


The Cubs strength is their rotation which has excellent depth and talent. They have a solid infield and bullpen but if they do not improve the outfield they wont be able to make it to the playoffs. The Cubs are a team that needs some tweaking but not a major overhaul, basically the same situation as last year. Hopefully Jim Hendry's decision making is better this offseason. If the team stays as is they will be 2nd or 3rd in the division. With some additions they could compete with the Cardinals for the division.

* Sorry about the double post of this blog post


Posted on: November 1, 2009 3:11 pm
 

MLB Team Analysis- Chicago Cubs

Well as you probably could have guessed based on the title of my blog, I am a Cubs fan. So writing this without being biased is somewhat of a challenge but i'll manage. Lets first start off by discussing what has happened during the off-season thus far. The Cubs were finally sold to the Ricketts family for over $800 million. So now we can finally make things happen, it seemed last offseason the front office couldnt do much due to the fact that the team was in the process of being sold. Although they did make some big moves (none that were positive) they still seemed restrained to do much. Now that has been worked out, also the Cubs have added the best hitting coah in the buisness in Rudy Jaramillo. The Jaramillo signing i think will end up being the best move made, just for the fact that we really struggled last season offensivly. It wasnt that we didnt have good hitters, but for some reason they all slumped. Jaramillo has worked with Soriano before and hopefully can fix his swing, i also think he will be a positive influence on Soto. So without making a big free-agent splash the Cubs will be able to improve their offense. Lets take a look at the team by sections.

Rotation- B

1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Ryan Dempster
3. Ted Lilly
4. Randy Wells
5. Tom Gorzelanny

Carlos Zambrano hasnt lived up to his contract so far in his career. Did Dusty ruin his arm? Zambrano should be in his prime, but he really hasnt contributed the way he should. He has a lot of talent, but he has been injured a lot the past 3 years and is wild. He is no longer an ace if he ever was but is a solid top of the rotation guy. Ryan Dempster , although he didnt get the wins this season he pitched fairly well, and proved he didnt just pitch for money last season. He still pitched 200 innings, even with some time on the DL. He still has some gas left in the tank and should still be a solid middle of the rotation guy. Ted Lilly was the best pitcher on the Cubs staff last season, again he didnt get the wins (poor run support) but he had 3.10 ERA which was the lowest of his career. He has decent strikeout potential and competes every day, he is another solid top of the rotation guy. Randy Wells , had he gotten better run support he would have been rookie of the year. But the lack of run support killed his chances although he still posted a 12-10 record with a 3.05 ERA. Wells was the suprise of the year for the Cubs. He has good control, he doesnt strikeout a ton of batters but he doesnt walk a lot either. Hopefully he doesnt have a sophmore slump, he is a great option for the back of the rotation. Tom Gorzelanny came over at the deadline from Pittsburgh and was thrust in a starting role right away. He pitched fairly well in 7 starts with the Cubs. He showed good strikeout potential but he did give up some homeruns. The Cubs hope he can pitch like he did in 2007 as the Pirates ace. He has the potential and is still only 27 years old. The Cubs rotation is what carried them to a winning record last season, hopefully they wont have to rely so heavily on it this season.

Bullpen- C+

CL- Carlos Marmol
SU- Angel Guzman
SU- Sean Marshall
MR- Aaron Heilman
MR- Jeff Samardzidja
MR- Jeff Stevens
MR- Esmalin Caridad

The Carlos Marmol era has begun, he is finally the closer and actually looked better as a closer than set-up man this season. The risk with Marmol is that he is extremley wild (65 BB in 74 IP) but he also strikes out a ton (93K's in 74 IP). He was 15/19 SV/OP last season so he seems ready to be the closer for a full season, he could become one of the top closers next season or he could be very inconsistent. Angel Guzman ws great last season, in 55 apperances he posted a sub 3 ERA (2.95) and had 47 K's. He did suffer an injury late in the season but was effective as a middle reliever. He should move to a set up role and if he continues to pitch how he did this past season he could 20 + holds. Sean Marshall was the lone left reliever early in the season and pitched well but wore out down the stretch. He was relieved as the lefty specialist at the end of the season when the CUbs aquired John Grabow who may be resigned but its not for sure. If so Grabow would be in this spot. Marshall posted a 4.32 ERA in 55 apperances and 9 starts (ERA inflated from starts) and had 68 K's and 32 BB in 85 IP. Aaron Heilman improved from 08 but is still a average middle reliever who is best suited for mip up duty. In 70 apperances he posted a 4.11 ERA 65 K's and 34 BB. Jeff Samardzija, Jeff Stevens, and Esmailin Caridad are all young relievers (Caridad and Samardzidja could be starters) who have a lot of potential. Samardzidja got beat up a lot last year mainly due to the fact that he is a 1-2 pitch guy, he needs some secondary pitches. Stevens and Caridad looked good in their short stints in the majors, i think the Cubs are hoping that one of them breaks out next season. Overal this is an average to above average Bullpen

Infield- B

C- Geovany Soto
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Jeff Baker
3B- Aramis Ramirez
SS- Ryan Theriot
IF- Mike Fontenot
IF- Andres Blanco

Geovany Soto struggled mightly this season hitting a .218/.321/.381 stat line. Soto was injured a while this season and i think that sophmore slump hit him pretty hard. This is probably the worst you will ever see Soto, he did improve his BB/K ratio and he hit a little bit better at the end of the season. With the help of new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and just general improvment after a sophmore slump he should improve significantly. Derrek Lee had his second best season of his career last season posting a .306/.393/.579 stat line. Lee is the Cubs 2nd best hitter and an excellent player. He was the Cubs best hitter last season and he showed this season that he is finally fully recovered from that broken wrist in 2006. Jeff Baker came over from Colorado for virtually nothing and he stabalized second base after Mike Fontenot struggled as a starter. He posted a .305/.362/.448 stat line as a Cub. If he can continue to hit that way he will stay the Cubs starting 2nd baseman for 2010. He also has some versatility, he can play 2nd, 3rd and a little outfield, and has a positive fielding rating at all positions. Aramis Ramirez was sorely missed this season after he seperated his shoulder, Ramirez is the main cog of this Cubs offense posting over 100 RBI's 6 times in his career. Ramirez absence was probably the main cause of the Cubs offensive stuggles last season and with him healthy they should score at least 50 more runs then 2009. Even with all that missed time he still hit a .317/.389/.516 stat line in 306 AB. Ryan Theriot was one of the few healthy players last season, he didnt hit as well as he did in 2008 but still put up a solid .284/.343/.369 stat line. He has decent speed posting his 3rd straight 20+ SB season. Theriot is a pretty average deffender, you could do worse but you could do a lot better to. All and all he is a solid player, the best current player to come out of the Cubs farm system. Mike Fontenot, and Andres Blanco are solid infield options. Fontenot dissappointed as a starter but still has value, he also may have some trade value if the Cubs want to upgrade at 2nd. Blanco is the best deffender on the team, he is a good SS and a good 2nd baseman. His offense isnt great but it gets the job done. This is an above average group, the only place to really improve would be 2nd.

Outfield  C+

LF- Alfonso Soriano
CF- Kosuke Fukudome
RF- Milton Bradley
OF- Sam Fuld
IF/OF- Jake Fox

Alfonso Soriano was another dissappointment on offense last year. It seemed like pitchers just figured out all you have to do is throw a ball in the dirt and he swings at it. He did hit 20 HR but he hit under .250 and is always a liability in the field. Soriano has worked with Jaramillo before and performed well so hopefully he can help some, although i realize i am giving hitting coaches to much credit for what they can fix. But Soriano was really good at the begining of the season so i can only get so mad at him. Plus he is going to be are #6 hitter, he's awfully good for hitting in that spot. Kosuke Fukudome played a little better than last season but still cant hit for a full season. He is an excellent deffender (although he is a better corner outfielder) and he can hit but not all the time. He is more of a 4th outfielder, i would like to see Fuld get more time in center. Milton Bradley will more than likely be gone after this season, but there is still a minute chance he stays. He isnt a great fielder, he is an average hitter and he is a locker room disturbance. Basicaly Jim Hendry wasted $30 million. There are a lot of trade rumors right now, so i have a feeling by the winter meetings he will be somewhere else. Sam Fuld  is probably the most patient hitter on the team and is a hard worker. He dives for balls and competes in every at bat. He has some good speed and could be another Theriot type player. Jake Fox was good in limited playing time posting a .259/.311/.468 stat line. He was excellent in the minors and it really carried over to the majors. He has the power to be a solid corner outfielder and could be trade bait. He can hit but he dosnt have a definate position and isnt very good at any position he plays. If he stays in Chicago he will be a backup forever. All in all this is a potentialy good outfield but this is the area the Cubs need the most work.

Overview B-


The Cubs strength is their rotation which has excellent depth and talent. They have a solid infield and bullpen but if they do not improve the outfield they wont be able to make it to the playoffs. The Cubs are a team that needs some tweaking but not a major overhaul, basically the same situation as last year. Hopefully Jim Hendry's decision making is better this offseason. If the team stays as is they will be 2nd or 3rd in the division. With some additions they could compete with the Cardinals for the division.

Posted on: October 27, 2009 7:35 pm
 

D-Backs Wrap up

Hello readers, sorry its been a while since my last post it has been very busy with MLB playoffs, NFL season, NBA opening night tonight, NHL season, plus the college im going to next year is having their pre-season scrimmage tommorow so there is a lot going on. But i finally got around to finishing the D-Backs today. Lets talk about their outfield.

Outfield  C

LF- Conor Jackson
CF- Chris Young
RF- Justin Upton
OF- Eric Byrnes

Justin Upton may be the best player on this team, and i think he is better than his brother B.J. He put up great numbers last season putting up a .300/.366/.532 stat line. For a 22 year old outfielder those are phenominal statistics. He also has good speed, swiping 20 bags in 25 chances, and he had a positive UZR rating according to fangraphs.com. Upton is just an all around good player, the only thing he could improve upon are his strikeout and walk numbers (55 BB, 137 K). Chris Young had a rough year in 2009, he struggled to hit over .200 and struk out 30 percent of the time. He put up a disappointing  .212/.311/.400 stat line and he only stole 11 bases. He also had a negative UZR rating according to fangraphs.com. Young has never been a contact hitter but he really struggled this year, his value has gone down each year and if he continues to get worse the D-Backs may need to find a different answer in center field. Conor Jackson was out most of the season, and even when healthy he is an average hitter and an average fielder. He makes solid contact but puts up low power numbers for the positions he plays. I think he is more of a reserve type player, not a starter.Eric Byrnes has really fallen from his once elite status although he did improve some from last year. He has become exclusivly a reserve outfielder, but should Jackson be injured he could be a decent fill in option. They have a couple of young options for backups, but none with immediate impact. All in all an average to below average group.

Overview C+

I like the pitching staff, the bullpen is pretty good. But their offense needs some work, they have players to build around but are still several good players away from contending. I like Justin Upton, he seems like he could be one of the best players in the league eventualy and Mark Reynolds is a good power hitting 3rd baseman but outside of those two they are mediocre. They are not in horrible shape though and have the possibility to contend.
 
 
 
 
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