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Chicago Cubs Headlines for Monday

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After having won three in a row to help ruin the Giants' postseason hopes, the Cubs were magnanimous in allowing them to win on Sunday. Randy Wells has been generous all month, allowing the other ROY candidates to move ahead of him, as he's not interested in personal glory. What may have been more interesting than a 5-1 loss yesterday was who Lou Piniella failed to mention when discussing next year's rotation before the game.

"You look at our starting pitching here for next year," Piniella said. "You've got (Carlos) Zambrano, you've got (Ryan) Dempster, you've got (Randy) Wells, you've got (Ted) Lilly, you've got (Tom) Gorzelanny, and you've got (Jeff) Samardzija, who is going to go to winter ball. And if this kid keeps improving, he'll be right in the mix. So we've got six nice arms."

The exclusion of Harden may have been unintentional, but the Cubs are likely concerned that the stability of his right shoulder is problematic, especially on a multiyear deal. Harden has faced questions about his shoulder before, and knows to expect it again.

Lou talked a bit about next year's lineup, too. I agree that getting another RBI guy would be great, but I also agree with the following analysis that having a productive Soriano and Soto would be just as good.

''If you had wish lists, the No. 1 wish is that Soriano comes back healthy and has a productive year, and so does Soto,'' Piniella said. ''That's No. 1.

''And No. 2 would be to add a real nice RBI bat to this equation.''

(snip)

Consider the kind of difference it might have made to have Soriano and Soto hit the combined 52 home runs, drive in the combined 161 and score the 175 they did last year -- instead of the 31, 100 and 91 they have now.


Big Z was talking again Sunday, and hopefully there's such little interest in the Cubs at this point of the season that no one will pay any attention.

"It's been a disappointing season," he replied. "People say, 'Why can't you pitch like that all the time?' It's not all the time I feel like that."

Zambrano has one start remaining, Wednesday night, to try to finish in double digits in the win column.

"Look, this is the only season I haven't won 16 or 18 or 14 games," he said. "If it happens again next season, two seasons in a row, I'll quit. Believe me, I'll quit. I just have to put this behind me.

"A lot of players on this team, it's been a disappointing year for us, for everybody. The only one who can say it's been a good season is ( Derrek) Lee."

And finally, a little bullpen talk to add on to the first story we examined this morning.

At least one of the fifth-starter candidates would wind up in a seven-man bullpen, along with closer Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman and Aaron Heilman. Assuming John Grabow is re-signed and Esmailin Cardidad pitches next spring as he has this September, that would leave one opening for such candidates as Jeff Stevens, David Patton and Justin Berg.

''Our pitching is pretty settled,'' Piniella said.

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45 Comments

Umbra said:

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I went down to Dick's Sporting Goods this weekend, and it turns out RBI bats were on sale- 2 for 1. If we could just get them in the hands of Ryan Theriot and Soto, we'd be all set.

flyball said:

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you do realize that just because it says RBI on the bat doesn't mean that the bats automatically hit RBIs

in the hands of some of the team they would turn into WAG bats

JulieDiCaro said:

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well then that's false advertising.

flyball said:

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or do the Cubs batters just have that much power? maybe they should channel it into fighting the forces of evil

Doc said:

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"Fighting the forces of evil"...

Like the Cardinals?

flyball said:

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that would have been helpful

JulieDiCaro said:

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i would have settled for fighting the Rockies.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That bullpen sucks.

flyball said:

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I'm not sure how it helps with the "spend now, next year or bust" thing they have going

gravedigger said:

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One thing's for sure: Heilman doesn't belong in it.

Umbra said:

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I've noticed that the atmosphere in the clubhouse is a lot different when Heilman isn't in it. The Cubs are 33-34 when he's in the game.

millertime said:

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Interesting piece of trivia, Babe Ruth was the first man to start using aluminum bats some 300 years ago.

millertime said:

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That blind governor of New York was on Meet the Press this weekend. What's his story?

thisyearcub said:

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I don't know, but Fred Armisen does a hilarious job of playing him on SNL.

JulieDiCaro said:

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he's s doofus--that's his story.

millertime said:

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How come I've just heard of Andrew Bird this past year or so?

millertime said:

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What's bark made out of?

I have a very inquisitive mind today.

flyball said:

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outer tree bark is just dead tissue

Doc said:

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just like my brain.

FrankS said:

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So it's similar to human hair and fingernails?

flyball said:

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that is literally the only thing I know about it

secdelahc said:

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Is there a reason that David Patton was mentioned as a possibility in the pen next year? Has he been getting innings lately? Because for the longest time, he was just a benchwarmer. If that's still the case, I'm pretty sure he'll either be traded or end up in Iowa next year.

Doc said:

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He might actually be a decent relief pitcher someday, but he really needed about 1 or 2 more years in the minor leagues before pitching here. It's the stupid rule 5 draft rules that screwed everything up with him this year. He really had no business being on a big league club.

secdelahc said:

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I completely agree that he needed a couple more years in the minors. It's very rare that a Rule 5 guy will really truly succeed that first year. It just seemed like a handicap to the team, having him on the roster and not pitching, especially with how craptastic the bullpen was this season.

Doc said:

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I think I've mentioned this before, but my Cardinal fan friend said that they had a similar situation last season on that team where they had a rule 5 guy on their roster that they didn't want to lose, and it really handcuffed the Cardinals all season. He said beware of the same happening to the Cubs. Well, honestly, I think it hurt the Cubs this year.

Doc said:

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So I was forced to watch the Cubs game yesterday because we didn't get the Bears game way up here in the north.

I wish I had seen the Bears game instead.

But, Soto has looked better the last few games he has played than he has all season. I sure hope he comes back strong next year.

Umbra said:

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I watched the Bengals-Steelers game, which was pretty boring right until the end, which rocked.

I think Soto will show up to camp next year fitter. I don't even know if that's been his problem, but do think he'll work on it.

OASN, Sunday's sermon made me think of Soto. The pastor was including broad (and contrasting) categories of people: young and old, men and women, rich and poor. Then he added another: American and Puerto Rican. The parallel structure was going so well before that!

Doc said:

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Our pastor, who is from Iowa, was glowing all service because of the victory over Penn State saturday. But his sermon was about forgiveness, which made me think about Milton Bradley.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I thought you were going to say he lectured you on weed.

flyball said:

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this is our last off day :(

thisyearcub said:

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Oh, there's a whole bunch coming a week from today ...

Doc said:

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Those are not off days, those are off months.

Doc said:

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also known as the Dark Ages.

flyball said:

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this season, just to make myself feel better I'm going to call it Recovery Time

Doc said:

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It probably is a good time to enter rehab.

flyball said:

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at least maybe I'll get some stuff done

flyball said:

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I'm bummed about an off day, so you point out the hundreds that are coming up?

aren't you just the nice guy

JulieDiCaro said:

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if I could come up with anything to post about, I would.

flyball said:

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I got nothing, its Monday

JulieDiCaro said:

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oh, I have something. Stand by.

flyball said:

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can I sit?

JulieDiCaro said:

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of course. would you like to entertain yourself with a video of the world's biggest zit?

warning--will most likely induce vomiting. i'm going to watch this video every time I get the urge to snack. I'll lose 150 lbs in a month.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNOxn-paCHs

flyball said:

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actually, I'd really rather not

Doc said:

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hurry! hurry!

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