A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines for Monday: Butt-Watch 2009

[Cubbiejulie wakes up] Here's hoping Carl will forgive me for adding on to his spectacular headlines:

 

When last we left Rich Harden:

The Chicago Cubs would have trouble re-signing starter Rich Harden(notes) this winter. The guy has been the most consistent starter in the second half but the health of his pitching shoulder is apparently unpredictable and giving somebody $50 million or $60 million for four unpredictable years is something the new owners of the Cubs probably don't want to do this winter.

This is helping to feed speculation that a deal will get done with the Minnesota Twins, which apparently claimed Harden off waivers, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Twins still have some kind a chance to win the American League Central, currently being led by the Detroit Tigers 4.5 games ahead of them. Meanwhile, the Cubs are pretty much done, falling to 10 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

Either way, the Twins would love to have Harden, since it could help their chances to sign him in the off-season, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Let the obsessing begin.





Remember in Sunday's headlines when Lou said that Carlos would be sharper yesterday? Well, that didn't quite happen. Big Z didn't even manage a 4-inning outing this time, giving up 11 hits and 3 earned runs. But look at the bright side - at least it didn't cost us a chance at the playoffs. Let's see what Lou had to say after his bold Saturday prediction:

"I thought he'd be better today, I really did," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose Cubs fell to 65-63 and to 10 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.

Apparently Big Z has some mechanical issues, but he's got till April to work on them before there are any meaningful games:

"He's opening up; his front shoulder and his arm are dragging," Piniella said. "He's going to have to work on it. They (the hitters) are getting a good look at him. They're not swinging and missing at all, which gives you a pretty good indication that you're showing the ball to the hitter a little prematurely, and it gives the hitter a longer look.

"In other words, you're not staying closed enough to drive through the ball."


And it's almost cute now that the team still talks about a pennant race:


"Of course," Zambrano replied when asked if he was disappointed. "We're in the middle of a pennant race. And I pitched OK, I didn't make too many mistakes, but it looked like [the Mets] came ready to hit."


And to continue the theme, Lou hasn't quite publicly given up yet:


"Nobody gives us a chance. Just keep it that way," he said. "I love it. What people write or don't write has no bearing on how we do.

"There's nothing wrong with playing the role of a big underdog. We've got to go out and play on the field regardless of what people write or don't write. The less attention, the better."


In the throes of a season-long sophomore slump, Geovany Soto is going to lose more playing time to Koyie Hill. Maybe he can spend some time on a stationary bike instead of sitting on his rump in the dugout.


Soto went 0-for-4 in Sunday's 4-1 Cubs loss to the New York Mets. He is 1-for-11 on the current homestand. For the season, he's batting .212 with 9 homers, 31 RBI and a .318 on-base percentage. Last year, Soto won Rookie of the Year honors with 23 homers and 86 RBI.

"Yeah, I think we're going to catch Hill a lot more and go with Hill," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella. "It has been a struggle. I've tried to get him going."

Hill is batting .245 with 2 homers, 19 RBI and a .329 OBP. When Soto was on the disabled list for much of July and part of August, Hill caught 26 games in a row and performed creditably.


Rounding things up...


  • The Fonz got his shot, he should be back Tuesday
  • Fox will continue to play left till the return of the Fonz
  • No consummated trades for Heilman or Harden
  • Ramirez has an 18-game hitting streak at home
  • Expect 7 or 8 Iowa Cubs to join the team Tuesday
And don't forget tonight's A Very Special LOHO Podcast entitled Cubs Fans and Racism. Look for special guests including Jack McDowell. The rumor mill is aflutter with other unconfirmed guests, including Jesse Jackson and Nancy Grace. It's at 9 ET/8 CT. Links and other info can be found by clicking on the above link.



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96 Comments

secdelahc said:

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Looking at the bright side, I'm sure Santo was happy that they won a series against the Mets.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Thanks to Chicago Subtext's Amy Guth for turning me on to the funniest site I've seen in . . . well . . . ever:

http://dontevenreply.com/

gravedigger said:

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Also one of my favorites ever. I hadn't looked at it in a few weeks -- the parrot one is an instant favorite.

gravedigger said:

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I'm still laughing at it.

secdelahc said:

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That was was hilarious! I was sitting in the lounge at school LMAO, and everyone was staring at me because of it...

kiwibob said:

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Just posted on the podcast nit but I see you are here so here's a replay.....
Boooo!
I have failed in my attempt anyway, Boo to me....
I was writing about how certain discourses end up crystallising popular opinion around polar opposites... a situation that creates a gulf between people across which communication is difficult if not impossible.
It was around 3000 words long and I was going to post it on my blog and link to it so people could go and read it if they want.
Sadly... the complex nature of the debate defeated both myself and my Phd co-blogger (although we came close) and we are going to have to chew over the subject a bit longer.
And another, more resounding BOOO too because I'm being flown to Kiwiland tomorrow now and I'm going to be in mid-air during the podcast which especially pisses me off because it was the podcast that got me thinking all this stuff and I was going to ring in with an "international" viewpoint and possibly inform you of local time and weather/toilet conditions.
I will certainly be listening to it tomorrow night and I hope it proves to be an experience that leaves everyone feeling wiser and more connected rather than the opposite.
And good work Julie ....
Despite the crappiness of the season, you and everyone here have made it very special....
Pip pip
KB

JulieDiCaro said:

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Oh boo.

No Bob for podcast = no fun

JulieDiCaro said:

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Dammit--Mark Cuban is ignoring my Tweets.

Jerk!

gravedigger said:

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I still kinda wish he bought the Cubs.

Doc said:

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I actually think, in the end, except for some short term financial problems, the sale to Tom Ricketts may be the best of both worlds for the cubs. I think Ricketts might actually bring the energy and motivation to the organization that it has lacked with the faceless tribune ownership...something that many Cub fans wanted from Cuban...but Ricketts doesn't bring the baggage along that would have distracted from the play on the field.

Don't get me wrong, I would have liked Mark Cuban as well, but I think in the end, Tom Ricketts will be a better owner. And besides, Ricketts truly is a Cub fan while Mark Cuban was not.

thisyearcub said:

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I did notice that Cris Collinsworth used one of the favorite terms around here when he said Jay Cutler "can be a headcase at times."

Also, gonna be a looooong season for Broncos fans.

Doc said:

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It really is amazing that Jay Cutler has gotten such a bad rap this past off-season...especially when it all came down to the fact that the Broncos basically were the ones that tried to replace him. Maybe I'm a big cry baby too, but I probably would have acted the same way. McDaniels is going to be a colossal failure in Denver I believe.

thisyearcub said:

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Both sides didn't handle the situation the best. The people dressed up as babies last night were hilarious. Cutler is a baby, but McDaniels is a hothead. Put those two together and it equals ASPLOSION

JulieDiCaro said:

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You know what makes me laugh? Cutler was so upset about the possibility of being traded that he demanded a trade.

Hee.

Doc said:

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As a precursor to tonight's pod cast...

I've been looking at Milton Bradley's statistics...

At home, where he has claimed to be so uncomfortable, and has to deal with this hatred all the time, he is batting .329 with a .447 OBP.....compared to a .210 average on the road with only 10 rbi...um...it seems to me that he actually thrives on this negative energy aimed toward him.

So, basically, in order for him to play well, he has to do this stuff...he has to get the crowd to be against him. Unfortunately, what is the cost to the Cubs and their fans for him to do all this to play well?

secdelahc said:

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That's a good question, doc. Sooner or later, I think the rest of his teammates are either going to get really annoyed with him for all the BS, or get swept up along with him in it all. But they might not react as well to everything, so then they suck worse than they do right now.

It's kind of a lose-lose situation.

JulieDiCaro said:

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aren't you supposed to be in school, young lady?

secdelahc said:

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I'm on a break. I've only got two classes today. One was at 8am, and the other starts at 1pm.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hurrah--that leaves lots of time for LOHO in-between!

secdelahc said:

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Alas, I had some reading to do. And I got suckered into fixing one of my classmates' laptops. Monday seems to be the only "slow" day. And it will probably get a lot busier as the semester goes on.

thisyearcub said:

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The past few weeks has at least absolved Bradley of the whole "if he had stepped up more when A-Ram went down, Cubs would be in first" thing.

He is but one man, albeit one who is now outperforming his salary though.

thisyearcub said:

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Let me precursor that with "I don't think anyone has said that here" so no one gets mad.

Doc said:

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Honestly, I wouldn't say that he didn't step up, but the truth is, Bradley's stats while Ramirez was out weren't too bad...in fact, just a little below his career averages. So I kinda agree with you on that...

But 36 rbi this season is not outperforming his salary.

gravedigger said:

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I hate RBI as a statistic. If you could kill a statistic, I would get stabby with RBIs.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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I'd kill wins. Relievers can suck and get a win. Ever since Nolan Ryan went 8-16 with a 2.76 ERA I was done. At least all RBIs reflect some level of success.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Dude, what is up with that picture?

LOL!

gravedigger said:

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No, they don't really. They measure your team's success. But I do agree about wins, that is an equally useless statistic. I would commit a double homicide.

David Kaplan said:

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So you don't think a talent to hitting with runners on base, in scoring position?

gravedigger said:

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Can you please put that in a complete sentence?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Speaking of wins, did you know the Cubs have TWENTY EIGHT LOSSES this season in games in which the starter has a quality start?

Puke.

gravedigger said:

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That's re-god-damned-diculous.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't want to kill them, I just think they should be weighted for where you hit in the lineup most of the time.

is that dumb?

gravedigger said:

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I see what you are saying, but you still couldn't compare. If you hit third in a lineup with two leadoff men who are always on, you're going to have more RBI than someone hitting behind Theriot and Fontenot at 1-2.

thisyearcub said:

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It's not all about RBIs. In fact, it's least about RBIs. And yes, he is now officially outperforming his salary.

JulieDiCaro said:

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how does one "outperform" his salary? isn't he paid to be as good as he possibly can be?

gravedigger said:

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I hate to say "read it at ACB," but the answer to this question is "Read it at ACB." There's a post by shawn over there that explains it thoroughly and clearly.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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It explains it thoroughly and clearly but that doesn't make it right.

gravedigger said:

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...

Are you going to just leave it at that, or explain why not? Because if someone makes a rational argument that makes sense and seems to explain a situation, I'd usually call that "right."

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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What I'm saying is that the argument was made rationally (as in he was sincere and calm) and made clearly (as in he didn't write in all caps or with a lot of exclamation points). But that doesn't make the statistical measure accurate. And by saying Bradley, with his negligible production, actually deserved MORE money, well, I don't buy it.

gravedigger said:

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OK, I see what you're saying.

But why don't you buy it? He's done all that I expected of him this year, and all that, statistically, I think we could have expected from him.

I really hate this discussion because it hints at blaming him for this shit season, when he's among the least blameworthy.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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It's been a team disaster, that's for sure. But I'm not about to let revisionists somehow claim Bradley's had a good season. I don't think he has but I respect that you think he has.

gravedigger said:

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And once again the blog eats my response.

These are Bradley's OPS+ for April through the present: 68, 110, 101, 139, 148.

Bad, OK, OK, good, and good. He hasn't had a bad year. And he's had a better year than anyone not named Lee or Fukudome.

Doc said:

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I'm sorry folks...Jim Hendry brought Milton Bradley in here, and paid him $30 million, TO DRIVE IN RUNS! PERIOD! Whether or not he was the right person for that job is another question. But he got paid $30 million to drive in runs. And he is not doing that.

The Cubs already had a high OBP left handed hitter in right field in Fukudome. Bradley was brought in to provide what Fukudome didn't do last year, which was drive in runs and provide protection for Lee and Ramirez.

Say all you want about bradley, but he didn't (and is continuing) to not provide this team the thing he was hired to do.

gravedigger said:

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I know. God damn Milton for not making Theriot and Fontenot get on base more often!

thisyearcub said:

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As usual, GD gets post of the day.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I think a lot of people forget that Bradley hit .243 before the ASG, significantly below his career average of .279.

gravedigger said:

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I also care fairly little about average. But. Shawn's post takes that into account as well. Yes, he started slow. The entire team started slow. Then he picked it up. And, well, nobody else did.

So it is funny to me that every day there's a bunch of "Milton Bradley boo!!!!111" kind of posts, but none of that about the other half of the team that totally shit the bed.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That is completely untrue--and this is the kind of thing that ticks me off. We've spent WAY more time complaining about Aaron Miles, Fontenot, and Soriano than we have about Bradley.

flyball said:

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I think if Bradley wasn't here there would have been a lot more complaining of Soriano and Zambrano though, but when the season is going down the drain and everyone is trying to find a reason and someone to blame those guys have some built up good will with the fans, Bradley is new and doesn't have that

more often than not the new guy is going to get the crap deal

gravedigger said:

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What I mean is that it is a daily thing right now to totally dissect Bradley. People want to hate Bradley. This is clear.

It is different with Miles because he was supposed to suck, and Fontenot's situation is different because while people mention it, its not with the same vitriol that you hear with Bradley.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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I don't think people want to hate him. They can't help it. He's just so unlikable as a person. As a player, he's been mediocre this year. That never helps, but it hurts a lot more when fans think you're an ass.

gravedigger said:

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I like him. And he's been better than mediocre.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Better than mediocre, fine. I'll stipulate he's been better than mediocre.

oog of ulams said:

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He's posted an OPS of 1.597 over the last week. That's higher than Albert Pujols' OPS in that timeframe. How many RBI though?

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the second worst wOBA (.161) batting in front of him or anything like that. That's why RBIs are so great; they're not dependent on inherited baserunners at all!

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Dude, he had five RBIs this week. And a pair of homers. Over the course of a season that's 50 homers and 125 RBIs. You just shot your own theory to hell.

oog of ulams said:

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I needmorespacethatnthis.

JulieDiCaro said:

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You also like Dick Cheney.

thisyearcub said:

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I think herein lies a lot of the debate with this subject.

Personally, I'll take an unlikable player (or one who's deemed unlikable) who does well over a likable player who is crappy.

Yesterday, someone said Bradley should ride the bench "so maybe he'll shut his mouth."

Fans are different, no doubt about that.

flyball said:

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I think most fans, in all sports, like having a good player on their team that is disliked by fans from other teams, but the 2 keys are the team has to do well and the player has to do well

see Tyler Hansborough, Dennis Rodman, Ozzie Guillen, the Oakland Raiders

Doc said:

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I know we have a new diary...but I have to respond here...

I decided to do a little research...is there no one on base when Bradley bats?

Ok...I've run through some stats...

Milton Bradley has had 416 plate appearances this season. In those appearances, 247 men have been on base. That's a .594 ratio of men on base-to-plate appearances.

Compare to other players on the cubs:
Fukudome: .574
Soriano: .522
Ramirez: .743
Lee: .723
Soto: .723
Fox: .854

So looking at this, Bradley has not batted with a significant number of people on base...especially when compared to other big boppers in the cubs lineup.

But here is where the stats do take a turn:

players who are on base when a batter is hitting that score a run...

14% of runners on base when Fukudome bats score.
Soriano: 13%
Ramirez: 20% (he must be clutch!)
Lee: 17%
Soto: 10%
Fox: 19%

When Bradley has batted, of the 247 baserunners he has had on base, on 25 of them, or 10% have scored...slightly lower than Geovany Soto. In fact, the only batters who have a lower percentage are Aaron Miles (6%) and Sam Fuld (5%).

This is not good. Over the course of his career, 14% of Bradley's baserunners have scored. Last year that number was 16%. His career high for a season was 19%.

To Julie's point, Bradley actually hit in the .270s between May and the All-Star Break. Not horrible, and that was when Ramirez was out. He just didn't drive in any of the runs that we needed during that time period.


millertime said:

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I heard Abe Lincoln might call in to the Podcast. FYI.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I don't want to ruin the surprise, but we *might* get a certain HUGELY famous singer on the eve of her huge comeback.

I can't tell you her name, but it rhymes with "Schmittney Schouston."

secdelahc said:

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Are Bill and Ted getting him with their Phone booth time machine?

JulieDiCaro said:

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What does everyone think about Harden?

Do we want to keep him? Do we want to trade him? Or do we just want draft picks?

flyball said:

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I like Rich Harden, but if this is a chance to being in young fresh talent I think they should

Doc said:

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Well, if the team does trade him, it is indeed a sign that management is looking toward next season, which I think they should do.

I personally would like to see them offer Harden an extension now...but I don't think he'd take it, and I honestly don't think the Cubs are all that interested in keeping him around...especially for the money he will probably command next year.

So, honestly, if the Cubs would get a couple of decent players for him now as opposed to him leaving town this winter and we get near nothing (does he qualify for a draft pick?), then I say make the deal.

But, honestly, I don't think the Twins are going to offer anything of value for Harden.

gravedigger said:

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I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere that Harden would most likely be classified as a Type A free agent, so he would garner a (or two?) compensation pick(s).

gravedigger said:

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I prefer to keep him. He's good at baseball. This team needs more players who are good at baseball. His problems have been shoulder related, right? Those tend to be the trickiest (see Prior, Mark). But I think it would be worth it to give him an extension, and maybe one that has similar clauses to Bradley's contract or Ordonez' contract, that let them out of it if he spends significant time on the NL.

Also, if he's traded, the best we have to look at is Sean Marshall.

One other thing, BTW, when I clicked "Reply" I got a popup ad. I hope that was just some kind of glitch. I will boycott CN if they are going to use popups and popunders. Not cool.

gravedigger said:

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On the DL, that should say.

gravedigger said:

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The more I think about this, the more I think Hendry needs to make re-signing him a top priority.

Did you know that in his 12 starts with the Cubs last year, he had an ERA+ of 252? Unbelievable.

He's one of the best pitchers in all of baseball if he's healthy.

flyball said:

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those last 3 words are some of the most depressing in Cubs lexicon

JulieDiCaro said:

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Psych!

Bruce Levine says they're both staying put. Why anyone would claim Heilman is still completely lost on me.

Ed Nickow said:

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You were my muse, of sorts, today ...

Waivers In Haiku: Harden's Butt Stays Put
Harden starts tonight
Cubs asked more than Twins would give
Julie is happy

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-sports-in-haiku/2009/08/waivers-in-haiku-hardens-butt-stay-put.html

JulieDiCaro said:

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Oh hee.

I love that.

gravedigger said:

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And, oh my god. I did not remember that Hendry got him for Eric Patterson, Sean Gallagher, and Matt Murton.

Hendry is really good at fleecing other teams in trades.

flyball said:

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so am I allowed to publicly like Koyie Hill now?

Doc said:

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BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

flyball said:

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I take that as a no

Doc said:

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oh...oops...sorry...I didn't mean to stop you from that...

I need to work on not having outbursts like...

ugh...

oops...

BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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he's the best catcher we've got, even if he does have toe thumbs.

so. . . yeah.

flyball said:

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the season might have tanked, but being right that he wasn't going to suck and was a better choice for backup makes me feel better

gravedigger said:

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I wouldn't brag too much about this.

flyball said:

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yeah, I know, 1 piece of ok news (not even good, just ok) and I got overly excited

its been a long few days

gravedigger said:

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Someone needs to tell Steve Stone that his website is god awful.

gravedigger said:

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ESPN says Harden and Heilman are sticking around.

JulieDiCaro said:

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You guys wanna hear something weird?

There's this girl I went to high school with. I haven't seen her in a billion years, but she friended me on FB not too long ago. The other day, I got a notification that she tagged me in a photo. So I went to look at it.

It was a photo of her family, and when I ran the cursor over her face, I saw that she was tagged as me.

How can that happen? I mean, someone would have to physically type in my name for the tag, right?

gravedigger said:

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Yes, you are correct. She'd have to type it. It is possible that she could have started typing and then a list of names came up and she accidentally clicked the wrong one. Or that she just doesn't understand tagging.

But yeah, it sounds like she's trying to pretend to be you.

JulieDiCaro said:

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In a photo with her family? WHA?

gravedigger said:

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Perhaps she's an idiot? Does her first name start with "Jul" or her last name with "dic"? If so, she maybe just typed those and clicked the wrong name that came up.

flyball said:

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de-tag yourself, its easy

JulieDiCaro said:

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I did.

I'm going with Mark's first explanation, maybe a list of names popped up and she clicked on mine by accident.

Karen said:

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I got a popup ad too...not when replying though...just when coming to the site. I guess it's not that annoying if you want to see Jason's ripped abs. Yuck

JulieDiCaro said:

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Oh, that "300" ad? I've been getting that, too! What IS that?

gravedigger said:

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I don't know, but they need to knock that shit off.

Karen said:

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I don't know...I closed it as soon as it came up. What's even stranger, though, is that I am at work and we NEVER get popups.

gravedigger said:

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From @shitmydadsays on twitter: "I just did an hour on the gym machine. I'm sweaty and I have to shit. Where's my fannypack, this workout is over."

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