Tag:Kosuke Fukudome
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:38 pm
 

Thursday afternoon rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It appears the Padres' Heath Bell may be the next big name off the trade board. CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller writes the talks are heating up, but there's still plenty of other trade rumors out there, so here we go:

• The Red Sox are looking at starting pitching, but they are telling team's they're focused on a right-handed-hitting outfielder, CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler tweeted.

• Knobler also reports the Tigers are down to three options for a starter -- Hiroki Kuroda, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Guthrie.

• Have the Red Sox and Mariners matched up for a deal? FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports the Mariners had two scouts watching the Red Sox's Triple-A team on Wednesday and another eyeing the Double-A team. The Red Sox are "all over" left-hander Erik Bedard, a source told Rosenthal. Boston could also be interested in right-hander Doug Fister or closer Brandon League, too.

• Bell expects to be a Ranger by Friday. Why? His parents are flying in from Texas on Thursday to spend 10 days with his family in San Diego, Bell joked to reporters after Wednesday night's game. Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune also says the Braves, Indians and Reds are the most interested in Ryan Ludwick, but you may want to cross the Indians off the list after they acquired Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs on Thursday. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets that the Philles are also interested.

• After Wednesday's loss to the Rockies, Kuroda -- who has a no-trade clause -- told reporters, "My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform [other] than the Dodgers uniform right now." Still, MLB.com's Ken Gurick writes the Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tigers are still making a push for the right-hander. 

• The Brewers are interested in the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal and Jamey Carroll, but the Dodgers will only trade one of the two, Rosenthal writes. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said the Giants have talked to Los Angeles about Furcal.

• La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says the Twins aren't looking to deal Denard Span, but notes the Nationals may be interested in Ben Revere or prospects Joe Benson and Aaron Hicks.

The rumor on Wednesday was that the teams were considering a Span for Drew Storen trade, but MLB.com's Bill Ladson cites a "baseball source" as saying the Nationals wouldn't do that deal.

• The Twins are looking for bullpen help, FoxSports.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes, and could be targeting the Rockies. Colorado could deal right-handers Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle, and could even give up closer Huston Street for the right price. The Rockies would be interested in Minnesota's Kevin Slowey.

• Rangers manager Ron Washington reiterates his call for bullpen help. The team is apparently interested in Bell and Leo Nunez, with Robbie Erlin and Chris Davis being dangled.

• The Phillies have given up on getting Houston's Hunter Pence, Heyman tweets. The Braves are the last team in on Pence, he said.

• The Mariners will be busy selling off pieces between now and Sunday's deadline, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes.

• The Cardinals are focusing on middle-infield help, Rosenthal tweets, as shortstop Ryan Theriot struggles.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: July 28, 2011 12:31 pm
 

Indians deal for Cubs' Fukudome

Kosuke FukudomeBy Danny Knobler

The slumping Indians have acquired outfielder Kosuke Fukudome from the Cubs.

The 34-year-old Fukudome has been mostly a disappointment in his time with the Cubs, but he has a .374 on-base percentage this year, and is in the final year of his contract. The Indians will give up two low-level and low-value prospects in exchange (Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith), and the Cubs will pay most of the remaining money on Fukudome's contract.

In other words, this is the kind of low-risk acquisition that fits the surprising Indians the best.

The Indians were no-hit on Wednesday by the AngelsErvin Santana, and they've scored just seven runs in their last five games. They remain just one game behind the Tigers in the American League Central, despite going just 22-35 in their last 57 games.

The Indians are in a somewhat tricky situation. They want to show their players and fans (attendance has been up at Progressive Field) that they're trying to make the most of this surprising opportunity to win, but at the same time they need to preserve their best prospects in order to have an even better chance to win big in the years to come. So while the Indians showed interest in both Carlos Beltran and Ubaldo Jimenez, the two biggest names on the trade market, a deal for either one never seemed likely, and wouldn't have made much sense.

Fukudome costs much, much less in prospects, but could give the Indians at least an incremental boost.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 8:02 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:25 pm
 

With rebuild on way, who could Cubs trade?

Soriano

By Evan Brunell


The Cubs are gearing up for trade season, as GM Jim Hendry and his staff plan to determine the team's future leading up to the trade deadline. The Chicago Tribune says that Chicago will start taking bids on overpriced or underachieving players, as Hendry continues his third rebuild, although he could be out of a job once the season ends.

With those parameters in mind, who could the Cubs deal?

Kosuke Fukudome, right fielder
Original contract:
4 years, $48 million
Contract remaining (includes 2011):
1 year, $13.5 million

Fukudome is enjoying his most productive season and has gotten better with each of his four years in the majors. He's playing center field on Friday for the first time since 2009, which tells you the Cubs are trying to keep his bat in the lineup. He still doesn't hit for much power, but that doesn't matter when you have a .400 OBP. Even better is the fact he is no longer a platoon player against left-handed pitching.

Chance of being traded: Fukudome has never really seemed to fit in Chicago, although his disappointing production to start is partly to blame. The Cubs project to have an Alfonso Soriano - Brett Jackson - Marlon Byrd outfield next season, so Fukudome would appear to be the odd man out. There are several teams in demand of an outfielder and it will be hard to do much worse than Fukudome in production, salary and cost to acquire.

John Grabow, reliever
Original contract:
2 years, $7.5 million
Contract remaining: 1 year, $4.8 million

For a team rebuilding, do they really need a reliever tasked with getting left-handers out -- but isn't? Grabow's contract is obviously not a hindrance, but his performance this season isn't up to par. While he's still getting lefties out at a better clip than righties, he hasn't exactly been a lockdown reliever. In 31 innings, Grabow has walked 11 and whiffing 16, posting up a 4.94 ERA and 4.79 xFIP.

Chance of being traded: Grabow isn't getting the job done overall or against left-handers, and the contract is hefty for his (lack of) production.

Carlos Pena, first baseman
Original contract:
1 year, $10 million

Pena isn't really underachieving thanks to his power production, nor is his contract prohibitive, but a .220 batting average is disappointing even if it represents a 24-point increase over 2010. By trading Pena, the Cubs could give Tyler Colvin an extended shot at playing time in the second half, plus gear up for possible runs at Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. There are teams out there that would welcome Pena's 14 bombs and .350 OBP.

Chance of being traded: Pena will probably stay, as none of the clear contenders other than the Angels appear to have any interest or need of a first baseman. If Washington somehow stays hot and inserts itself in the postseason race, they could use Pena as Adam LaRoche is now lost for the season due to injury. Washington actually coveted Pena over LaRoche, but the former Ray opted for Chicago.

Aramis Ramirez, third baseman
Original contract:
5 years, $75 million
Contract remaining: 1 year, $14.6 million, plus $16 million club option ($2 million buyout)

Ramirez has a no-trade clause and has already said he won't allow a trade out of Chicago, but he could always change his tune based on where he would be traded or just by flat-out changing his mind. After all, as Alfonso Soriano said recently, why would you block a trade if the team wants you out? Ramirez had a brutal first half last season before recovering in the second half. He hasn't been much better this season.

Chance of being traded: Unless a team is really desperate and the Cubs agree to cover the buyout plus some of his current deal (fat chance), Ramirez is staying.

Alfonso Soriano, left field
Original contract:
8 years, $136 million
Contract remaining: 4 years, $72 million

Soriano's 2009 is looking more and more like an aberration -- at least for now. That's good, but he still hasn't reached the level of play he flashed in his first two years with the Cubs. The 35-year-old is a liability on defense, is showing regression in plate discipline without much difference in contact levels and is just overall a massive risk for a team to take on.

Chance of being traded: Unless Soriano is part of another bad contract trade (for Barry Zito?), he's going to be finishing out his deal. How this contract is going to look in two years is a scary thought.

Carlos Zambrano, starting pitcher
Original contract:
5 years, $91.5 million
Contract remaining: 2 years, $38.875 million, plus $19.25 million vesting player option

Out of all the players on the list, Zambrano looks the most appetizing. Unfortunately, it's almost by default. Big Z has just one year after this remaining on his deal and it's a long shot he will get that player option to vest as he has to finish in the top four of Cy Young Award voting next season to trigger it. But as everyone knows, he's quite a hothead and is too erratic and inconsistent in his pitching. His 4.50 ERA won't draw any fans, although he's always capable of ripping off a dominating stretch as everyone witnessed in his final 11 starts of 2010.

Chance of being traded: Teams are always in need of pitching, so Zambrano might be able to find a new home by July 31. The odds are that he stays and is part of the rumor mill during the offseason.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 11:34 am
 

Pepper: No rule change needed at 1B

By C. Trent Rosecrans

BASEBALL TODAY: There may not be a more interesting division in baseball than the American League Central. While the surprising Indians lead the Tigers by a game, the White Sox and Twins linger. Can the Twins, now just 6 1/2 games out, continue to get themselves in contention? Will Jake Peavy be able to stay in the White Sox's rotation? NESN.com's Tony Lee joins our own Lauren Shehadi to discuss.

RULE CHANGE NEEDED?: And just yesterday, I was going to make a sarcastic joke that I was surprised I hadn't heard Giants fans complain about safety at first base after the Albert Pujols injury.

For weeks after Buster Posey's injury we heard long discussions about changing the rules for plays at the plate and how the catcher had to be protected. Scott Cousins was vilified and scapegoated. Well, Wilson Betemit was taken off the hook when Cardinals manager Tony La Russa put all the blame on the shoulders of rookie Pete Kozma, even though in both cases the injured player deserves much of the blame for being in a  poor position (and I'm not saying either deserved to be hurt, just that they put themselves in a bad spot and got hurt -- it happens).

Anyway, the New York Times is the first (and only that I've seen) to start up the change-the-rules-at-first-base bandwagon. My response? In a word: no.

LUDWICK ON THE MOVE?: Ryan Ludwick was moved last July from one contender to another -- from St. Louis to San Diego (in a three-team trade that brought Jake Westbrook to St. Louis); he could be on the move again.

The Phillies, Marlins and Reds have all reportedly asked about Ludwick's availability. Ludwick is hitting .255/.322/.393 with a team-high nine home runs this season, but is hitting .279/.324/.419 away from Petco Park.

The Padres could also move some of their relievers, with the Phillies and Cardinals having already checked in on the availability of Chad Qualls and Heath Bell.[FoxSports.com]

SHIPPING HANLEY?: Are the Marlins better off without Hanley Ramirez? Ramirez is in the third year of a six-year, $70 million contract that pays him $46.5 million over the next three years and does not include a no-trade clause. [Palm Beach Post]

MADDON APOLOGIZES: Joe Maddon didn't intentionally pull the wool over the eyes of umpires Monday by not having Sam Fuld face a batter after warming up in the eighth inning, it's just that Bob Davidson was behind the plate, and he didn't know the rule any better than Maddon did. Maddon apologized to the umpires and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. [Tampa Tribune]

FAUSTO FLOUNDERING: One Ohio team has already demoted its opening-day starter to the minors, and the other team may soon be sending its opening-day starter to the bullpen if he doesn't get it together. Cleveland's Fausto Carmona is 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts this season and is 1-6 with a 9.73 ERA over his last seven starts. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

ESCOBAR IMPROVING: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar has seen his batting average rise nearly 50 points in the last two weeks, and his glove was already playing at a high level. Is the one big-league player the Royals got from the Zack Greinke trade beginning to show why the Royals thought he could be part of their next wave of talent? [Kansas City Star]

HEADED HOME?: The Hanshin Tigers are scouting Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome if either Japanese player decides to return to Japan after the season. Fukudome would be a better fit for the Tigers, who play in Japan's Central League. Like in MLB, NPB has one league with the DH (the Pacific League) and one without (the Central League). [YakyuBaka.com]

GREEN LIGHT: The Rangers' Craig Gentry is pretty fast. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

RESPECT: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen sometimes goes out of his way to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans, but not when he's talking about the other Chicago team's shortstop, Starlin Castro. Guillen calls Castro "amazing." Guillen gave some encouraging words to Castro after Monday's game, and that meant a lot to the young Cub. [Chicago Sun-Times]

TURNING 20: Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez celebrated the 20th anniversary of his big-league debut Monday. The 39-year-old Rodriguez has 13 Gold Gloves and an MVP since he came up as a 19-year-old with the Rangers. [MLB.com]

NICE PICK: With the Yankees in town, the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with former Reds first-round pick Chad Mottola, who was taken with the pick before the Yankees took Derek Jeter. Mo Egger of ESPN 1530 in Cincinnati breaks down why Mottola wouldn't have played for the Reds even if they picked him. Hint, his name is Barry Larkin.

ARMS SALE: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times looks at what the Mariners could get for Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, two guys who are having pretty decent years.

COMPELLING CAMPANA: A great story in The Tennessean about Cubs outfielder Tony Campana. As a kid in Franklin, Tenn., Campana battled Hodgkin's disease and couldn't play baseball, but was still in the dugout with his teammates, cheering them on. His coaches at the time didn't think he'd survive, much less be in the big leagues.

WORTHY CAUSE: There's a petition online to have Vin Scully call one more World Series. Scully hasn't called a World Series on TV since 1988 and is still one of the best. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

CUTTER CUT: The Jays have told recently demoted Kyle Drabek to shelve his cutter for now. The team wanted him concentrating more on his fastball, but he kept going back to the cutter more than the team liked. The Jays hope he gains confidence in his fastball and lessens his reliance on the cutter. [National Post]

NO CHANGE IN POSTING: The posting system for Japanese players coming to the United States won't change, NPB Tracker passes along (since I can't read the original Sanspo report).

GOLDEN GROOMING: You may have missed the Golden Groomer Award, a monthly award given to the baseball player with the best facial hair. The last winner was Reds minor league catcher Corky Miller. [OMGReds.com]

LOGO FUN: Check out this really cool graphic of all the team's cap insignias since 1950 (including batting practice). Hat tip to the fine folks at the UniWatchBlog, which had a cool thing worth reading about spotting baseball fields from the sky.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:52 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Weeks edition

3 Up, 3 Down: One Weeks up, one down

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jemile Weeks, Athletics -- In his ninth big-league game, the younger brother of the Brewers' second baseman is already making a name for himself. Weeks went 2 for 4 with three RBI in Thursday's 8-4 victory over the Royals, doubling in two runs to start the scoring in the second and also coming around to score in the four-run frame. He added an RBI single in the fifth. He's now hitting .344/.364/.594 since being called up to replace the injured Mark Ellis.

Nick Blackburn, Twins -- The Twins right-hander out-dueled Mark Buehrle by going eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits and one walk, while striking out one. Buehrle allowed just three hits and two walks in seven innings, but did give up the game's only run. Blackburn is 5-0 since the start of May.

Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs -- The Cubs right fielder came into Thursday's game having driven in just six runs all season, so you know where this is going -- he had four on Thursday, including a three-run homer in the seventh off of Daniel Ray Herrera to break the game open for the Cubs. Fukudome had three hits on the day and was a double shy of the cycle.


Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- Jamile's older brother was thrown out twice trying to stretch a single into a double. Fukudome gunned down Weeks both times on Thursday, in the fourth inning and the seventh inning. Weeks maybe should have learned his lesson on Wednesday night when he tried to stretch a double into a triple and was gunned down at third. 

Fernando Salas, Cardinals -- St. Louis' closer gave up his first homer of the season, a three-run shot to Nationals rookie Danny Espinosa in the 10th, allowing the Nationals to not only sweep the Cardinals, but also move out of last place in the National League Central.

D.J. Carrasco, Mets: Ugh -- a balk-off win for the Braves courtesy the Mets' reliever. Following Lucas Duda's two-out error, which allowed Diory Hernandez to get to third, Carrasco stopped his motion and then restarted it -- a balk that nobody in the park missed, scoring Hernandez and giving the Reds a 9-8 victory in 10 innings. It was the second walk-off balk in Mets history.

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Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:01 am
 

Pepper: Advance scouting undergoing change

By Evan Brunell

GAMECHANGER: Technology is awesome. Pretty sure we can all agree on that. But technology also has the unfortunate side effect of throwing things into disarray and causing conflict on what the better option is. Witness the stats vs. scouting issue.

The Royals have dived head-first into technology when it comes to game video, using it as an opportunity to scrub the position known as advance scout. Instead, the scout now works out of Kauffman Stadium and analyzes video.

"After a while, you've just got to accept the fact that I've got more information at my fingertips right now," advance scout Kelly Heath said, "than I could ever get by jumping on a plane and checking in a hotel room and getting a taxi and working on three hours' sleep, and watching a guy in six at-bats or 10 at-bats and trying to make a decision after getting a limited view."

Now, Heath can look at thousands of at-bats spanning years or dial up spring training games to get a look at an opposing team's recent Triple-A callup. That never happened before. The Royals are benefiting financially from this transaction as they no longer need to pay Heath's flight and hotel rooms, but they're also benefiting on the field. The club leads baseball in assists, which is being credited toward the extra knowledge that Heath is bringing in his new role, while K.C.'s hot offense may also be partly due to the new way of doing business.

"You don't need an advance scout anymore, in my opinion," manager Ned Yost added. "You've got everything at your fingertips. Everything I need or we need to see is on the video."

You can bet that other teams will eventually latch on to this. It's a no-brainer: why send someone jet-setting all over the country for six solid months just to get a glimpse of a batter a few times a game (if you're lucky) ? And what if that batter is in a slump? You can't properly evaluate that batter or how to pitch to him in that scenario. That's where video comes in handy. And it sure sounds as if Heath's getting plenty of sleep now.

FOCUSED ON LEHIGH: Domonic Brown knows that Philadelphia is his future, but right now he's worrying about his Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley. Brown recently returned from fracturing his hamate bone and is trying to get back into the swing of things. He should be starting in Philly before long. (Philadelphia Daily News)

SELIG BETTER THAN YOU THINK: Commissioner Bud Selig doesn't exactly inspire confidence when you look at him, but has there been any other influential and more effective leader than Bud has been for baseball? (New York Magazine)

THE SEASON DOESN'T END IN APRIL: In the north side of Chicago, many are wondering if the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome will continue the trend of scorching Aprils followed by a below-par season or if, finally, this season's hot start proves a harbinger of things to come. (Chicago Tribune)

MCL TORN: Terrible news for the Mets who may have to deal with the loss of top pitching prospect Jenrry Meija for the season after tearing the MCL in his elbow. There's no question that this is a major setback for the team, who were probably counting on Meija being an important part of 2012's rotation. (New York Times)

TACKLED: Wow. Just wow. An inebriated Red Sox fan jumped on the field late in the game in an highly ill-advised move -- after all, police and venues with large crowds are on alert for possible retaliation in Osama bin Laden's death -- and a security guard made that abundantly clear by demolishing the fan with a tackle. (YouTube)

COMEBACK TRAIL: Just over a month ago, Alfredo Simon was in a Dominican Republic jail on charges of murder. While he hasn't been cleared yet, he's getting ready to play in a game again and is expected to start Thursday for Double-A. Yes, start -- the reliever has been converted as the Orioles attempt to build up depth. (Baltimore Sun)

LEGEND GONE: Emilio Navarro passed away Sunday at the age of 105. Don't worry if you don't recognize the name, but Navarro was reportedly the oldest ex-professional baseball player who used to play in the Negro Leagues as the first Puerto Rican to do so. (New York Times)

THE BIG 8-0: Willie Mays is turning 80 years old and feels better than he has in years. (San Francisco Chronicle)

SEE YA NEXT YEAR: Andy Pettite says he's definitely not pitching this season but 2012 is a real possibility. Will the Yankees have moved on by then? (Chicago Tribune)

SEALs: The Pirates visited Navy SEALs on Monday, just a day after Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of fellow SEALs in a pre-arranged visit that received glowing reports from the squad. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

WATCH BASEBALL ON YOUR PHONE: The ability to watch video on one's phone isn't a novel concept anymore, but how crazy is it that we can watch full TV shows, movies or sports games on something that fits in your pocket? MLB is aware of the phenomenon and has a new package with special pricing out for those who want MLB.tv on their phone. (Tuaw.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:59 am
 

Pepper: Johan's return on horizon



By Matt Snyder


When Mets ace Johan Santana underwent surgery on his left anterior shoulder capsule last September 14, the thought was he might return to the mound in the majors in early July of 2011. He's still not far enough along in the process to make an accurate call on when he might suit up for the Mets again, but he's definitely progressing and has had very few setbacks so far.

Tuesday afternoon, it was reported Santana was making "firm" throws from 120 feet. Remember, a pitching mound is roughly half that distance from home plate. He reportedly might back up to 150-foot throws before getting on that mound to feel things out from there, but he might be ready now to start the process on working himself back onto the hill. (ESPN New York)

Even if he did get on the hill within the next few days, Santana would need several bullpens and a minor-league rehab stint before rejoining his team.

Still, after an abysmal start, things are looking up for the Mets. They've won five straight games and now can at least think about getting Johan back at some point in the first half of the season. Santana is 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 496 strikeouts in 88 starts for the Mets.

BASEBALL TODAY: Will Andre Ethier keep his hitting streak alive? Can the Red Sox rebound with Josh Beckett on the mound? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to fill you in.

ABOUT THAT STREAK: I had some thoughts on Ethier's streak and hitting streaks in general yesterday. In case it got buried in the Everett/Dykstra madness, here it is .

ZIMMERMAN/HAMILTON DOING BASEBALL THINGS: Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Hamilton are two of the big names early in the season who have gone down with injuries. Both resumed what are terms as "baseball activities" Tuesday. Zimmerman did some light throwing and running, while Hamilton took some fly balls in the outfield and lightly tossed them back. Hamilton isn't anywhere near a return to the Rangers, though. Zimmerman was supposed to be at least close to back by now, considering the initial prognosis was three weeks -- and that was April 9. The Nationals are taking extra precautions with their star third baseman, so things are going to move slowly. He is expected to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before returning to the big club. (Nationals Journal )

MATUSZ PAIN-FREE: It's been a rough 2011 for promising Baltimore pitcher Brian Matusz. It seems like he's only suffered setback after setback in his attempt to return from an intercostal strain in his shoulder. Tuesday, however, was a good day. Matusz threw long-toss (120 feet) and some light tossing off the mound and did so without pain.

"I felt really good. I felt good health-wise and I felt good mechanically," he said. "The pain's gone. I want to keep it that way. I've just got to be able to build my way back up as possible without taking it too far too fast."

Matusz and the Orioles are looking at a mid-May return. (School of Roch )

SAVE SKEWERING: Matthew Leach of MLB.com wrote a great column on how managers have been taken out of their best mindset simply by one stat: Saves. The simplest way to put his point is that the highest-leverage situation in a game for a relief pitcher could come in any inning, and if it falls somewhere before the ninth inning, the manager refuses to use his best reliever, simply because it's not a save situation. And this could actually cost teams games. A highly recommended read. (MLB.com )

MR. APRIL: Kosuke Fukudome is an elite player in April. Seriously. This is his fourth April. In 343 April (or March) plate appearances in his career, Fukudome is hitting .358 with a .466 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, 10 home runs, 43 RBI and 53 runs. His 1.015 OPS absolutely dwarfs his next highest total for any month (.834 in August is next, while June and September are below .640). Fangraphs.com notices that this April, where he's almost hitting .500, is different than the past three, however.

SQUEEZE PLAY SANDWICH: There won't be a middle ground here. You'll either think this "sandwich" looks awesome or disgusting. I fall in the former camp. (This is why you're huge )

THE THREE-(BLACK)HOLE:
The Red Sox are getting nearly nothing out of the third spot in the batting order. Considering the three options coming into the season to hit there were Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia, it's a bit puzzling. Good analysis here, and -- much like the writer -- I'd expect the Red Sox just leave Gonzalez there and he will come around. (WEEI.com )

OLD-SCHOOL VS. NEW-SKOOL: Here's an interesting piece about a fan taking his young son to both Miller Park and Wrigley Field and how much more kid-friendly Miller Park is. No, it's not the typical -- and played and over-played -- assault on Wrigley Field fans and the so-called party atmosphere. He points out all the activities for kids to do, Bernie Brewer going down the slide, the fact that there is a roof when the weather is bad and that there is a playground. His broad point is that getting kids to love baseball starts with getting them to have fun at the ballpark and it's not fun for a six-year-old to sit in frigid weather at a place like Wrigley. Even as a Cubs fan, I'm OK with that logic. At least it wasn't another uncreative attack on Cubs fans. (Platoon Advantage )

HIS NAME IS TREY: Of course it is. The grandchild of Ken Griffey and son of Ken Griffey Jr., Trey Griffey, is looking to break into the collegiate sports world. Only he wants to play football. He's in the 2012 recruiting class, but unfortunately he's only been offered by Florida International. Still, the wideout does still have his senior  year and some pretty enticing bloodlines. (Dr. Saturday )

UBALDO THE ROCKS' WORST STARTING PITCHER? Say what? Beyond the Box Score measures this question with some data. I don't think anyone would predict this would be the case for the entire season, especially if Ubaldo Jimenez is completely healthy. The broader point is that with Esmil Rogers, Jason Hammel and Jhoulys Chacin coming into their own while Jorge De La Rosa throws well, the Rockies' rotation is pretty deep. It's a big part of the reason the Rockies are off to a franchise-best start and have done so pretty much without the help of Jimenez or Carlos Gonzalez.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 12:34 am
Edited on: March 1, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Getting to know the Cubs

Posted by C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Quade

KNOBLER: Cubs Camp Report -- All Smiles

MVP

MVP usually stands for Most Valuable Player -- but a player may not be the most valuable for the Cubs this season, instead the most valuable person could be manager Mike Quade. Quade didn't inherit the easiest job in the world -- the fact that it's been more than 100 years since the Cubs won the World Series is proof. Between managing the Psychiatrists' Row Rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Silva and Matt Garza and juggling a lineup full with the overpriced (Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome), the past-their-prime (Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena) and the unproven (Starlin Castro), Quade's got some interesting parts, but it could just as easily spin out of control as it is to work out.

PLAYER ORACLE : Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown to Carlos Marmol

Mordecai Brown played with Bob O'Farrell for the 1916 Chicago Cubs

Bob O'Farrell played with Phil Cavarretta for the 1934 Chicago Cubs

Phil Cavarretta played with Minnie Minoso for the 1955 Chicago White Sox

Minnie Minoso played with Rich Gossage for the 1976 Chicago White Sox

Rich Gossage played with Greg Maddux for the 1988 Chicago Cubs

Greg Maddux played with Carlos Marmol for the 2006 Chicago Cubs

POP CULTURE

Whenever the Cubs win at Wrigley Field, they play a song called Go, Cubs, Go and the entire crowd sings along. The song was written in 1984 by Steve Goodman, a Chicago native and Cubs fan.

However, Go, Cubs, Go is just one of three Cubs song written by Goodman, along with A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request and When the Cubs Go Marching In . The former is his masterpiece (and that's saying something when you're talking about the guy who wrote The City of New Orleans and You Never Even Called Me By My Name ) and also the impetus for Go Cubs Go .

When then-Cubs GM Dallas Green called A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request "depressing," Goodman wrote Go, Cubs, Go out of spite. Goodman, was a realistic Cubs fan -- when he sang Take Me Out To the Ballgame he switched the lyrics to, "It's root, root, root, for the home team, if they don't win, what else is new," and A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request is written in that tone. The kicker to the song is:

The dying man's friends told him to cut it out

They said stop it that's an awful shame

He whispered, "Don't Cry, we'll meet by and by near the Heavenly Hall of Fame

He said, "I've got season's tickets to watch the Angels now,

So its just what I'm going to do

He said, "but you the living, you're stuck here with the Cubs,

So its me that feels sorry for you!"

Goodman debuted the song in 1983, and then he died of leukemia on Sept. 20, 1984. Four days later, the Cubs clinched the Eastern Division title, only to fall to the Padres in the National League Championship Series. 


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