A League of Her Own

Cubs Headlines For Tuesday: You Wanna Throw Up Here Or In The Car?

 

After last night, I think. . . . both.

Though Harden wasn't traded to Minnesota and wound up pitching for the Cubs, he turned in one of his worst outings of the second half in a 5-3 loss to Houston.

"I really can't explain it," he said. It was relatively simple to explain. Harden allowed five runs on five hits over five innings, walking six batters and throwing 98 pitches to negate a nine-strikeout performance. Carlos Lee added to his Cub-killing credentials, homering and driving in four runs off Harden to lead the Astros' offense. "That was not what the team needed tonight," Harden said.

Well obviously.

I continue to be highly amused by the Cubs insistence that they're still "in it." Does anyone else think they're sitll in it?

The decision to keep Rich Harden instead of trading him signals the Cubs still believe they have a realistic shot at the wild-card spot.

"We're going to go after it," manager Lou Piniella said Monday. "We have Harden in our rotation. If our relievers get hot, we can put a little winning streak together. There's still time, so we'll see what happens."

Of course, the Cubs were in the thick of the race until a week or so ago, when they went 2-5 on the West Coast trip to San Diego and Los Angeles.

Okay Lou/Jim, let me 'splain you something. As I once heard statistician-extraordinaire John Dewan explain, we're actually FURTHER out of the WC spot than we are out of the division. While we're only 10.5 out in the division series (hemlock, anyone?), we're actually 11.0 games out in the WC race (6 back of Colorado/San Fran + 2 back of Florida + 3 back of Atlanta = 11). The chance that we'd be able to catch ALL four of those teams in the time remaining is highly unlikely. We'd be better off hiring someone to Gillooly Pujols.

But be all means, continue to delude yourselves until we're mathematically eliminated.

Lou may be mad at Soto, but he thinks there's still hope for the two of them. Maybe some couple counseling would help:

Manager Lou Piniella said he still envisions Soto as his starter in 2010.

"I don't see any reason why not," he said. "It's been a little bit of a mystery to me why he has struggled so much this year. I really don't have an answer to it. I don't think Von Joshua, our hitting coach, has one either. I would've thought coming into this season that he was going to have a solid season."

Soto has no answers either and said he didn't know what the Cubs' plans were.

"That's something I don't have any control over," he said. "I've just got to go about my business and work hard and whatever happens, happens."

Crane Kenny waxes poetic about the salad days when he and Milty first met:

As for Bradley, the Cubs aren't sure which direction to take. Bradley has improved his on-base percentage to .401, but his RBI total (36) is not what they expected when they gave him a $30 million deal.

More important is Bradley's penchant for alienating fans, umpires and the media. He's owed $21 million the next two seasons and may be difficult to trade because of his reputation.

Remember, it was Bradley who desperately wanted to play for the Cubs last winter, basically ignoring other interested teams.

"As much as we courted him, I've never seen a player court us like he did," Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney said at the Cubs Convention. "He was scouting us in the third game of the World Series, sitting in Los Angeles trying to figure out where he would play in our lineup, and he left himself, basically, with no escape clause. He was negotiating with us and really didn't have a safety net.

"This is a guy who chose Chicago, and the pressure, and the limelight."

This seems less to me like "courting" and more like a stalkerish obsession, but perhaps Crane has never experienced unconditional love.

Oh yeah, and the sale of the Cubs has been approved by the bankruptcy judge.

The family of billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has agreed to buy a 95 percent stake in the team and its Wrigley Field home for around $800 million, but the deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court, as well as Major League Baseball.

Judge Kevin Carey approved Tribune Co. attorneys' proposals regarding notification to interested parties, including creditors of both the Cubs and the company, which also owns the Chicago Tribune.

The process approved by Carey calls for any objections to be filed by Sept. 17, followed by a Sept. 24 court hearing on Tribune Co.'s motion for court approval of the deal. Carey also approved breakup fees ranging from $5 million to $20 million to be paid if the sale falls through.

Hendry wants us all to know that he never really considered letting Rich go to another. Not really.

"It was the biggest non-story," Hendry said. "We always run everyone through what we call trade waivers. Everybody in Major League Baseball usually runs their whole team through. We had 12 people claimed over the course of the month, and for whatever reason two names were made public.

"It's not something we ever discuss, possible trades or, 'were we close.' I can honestly tell you we never gave it any really substantial talk because we would certainly never, ever give up unless we're out of it. If we were 15 (games) back, obviously, you might have looked at things a little differently with certain people.

"For the 12 that were claimed, two were stories and the other 10 were the same results as those two."

Okay. . . we're 11 games back. So 4 more games until you start making moves for next year?

Finally, Happy September Call-Up Day, Everyone!:

The Cubs will begin their September call-ups today, and when it's all said and done, they'll have about eight additions to the big-league roster.

Today, first baseman-outfielder Micah Hoffpauir, infielder Andres Blanco and reliever Justin Berg will come up from Class AAA Iowa. Pitcher David Patton will arrive Wednesday.

Depending on Iowa's playoff run, other players who figure to get the call over the next week or so are infielder Bobby Scales and pitchers Esmailin Caridad, Jeff Samardzija and Jeff Stevens.

Before I sign off the headlines, I want to thank everyone who emailed, texted, Twitted, listened and called in the podcast last night. We had the larges audience we've ever had and some surprisingly good, level-headed discussion. I didn't even get a chance to read off my list of Milty's transgressions since 1999! In fact, we did such a good job, I'd be surprised if Chicago ever had any race problems again EVER. It was that good.

7:05 game tonight, kids. If you're all very, very good, you might get a special treat from a guest blogger this afternoon.

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48 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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I have to say, I fully support this commericial that encourages me to have Nutella for breakfast.

flyball said:

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Nutella is the all-day food

JulieDiCaro said:

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I just had some on my toast.

What should I eat next, corporate America?

berselius said:

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Eat a KFC bowl! It's the next logical step to just blending together a bunch of food and 'eating' it through a straw

flyball said:

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I have to say the podcast last night was great, good discussion, great points, and I want to thank you for keeping me occupied because everytime I looked up at the game it kept getting worse

JulieDiCaro said:

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I have to say, I had my doubts about whether or not Matt and I could keep it civil, but once we got started, it was all good.

flyball said:

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nah, the discussions over real topics are usually very civil

Ed Nickow said:

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I just want to say that even though Matt didn't particular like the "Wrigley Racism Report" I thought it was pretty funny.

And it made a valid point - while we're all fairly certain there are actual racists saying actual stupid things at Wrigley you do have to look pretty hard to find it on any particular day.

Sorry I didn't think of that last night.

thisyearcub said:

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I mean, don't get me wrong, I get the joke. And yes, it's confined to probably less than 15 morons out of 41,000.

I just didn't think that was the best way to kick off the "racism" podcast.

Any word from Jack on why he was missing? Is he getting hyped up for the big SOX/CUBS game on Thursday. Who will suck more?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Yep. I got an email from Jack this morning. Of course, we still love him.

millertime said:

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Hooray we solved racism! Time to take that one off the list!

Next Podcast: CIA torture and Aaron Miles: When is water boarding appropriate?

We could even have someone at the stadium reporting on whether or not fans are water-boarding anyone.

Doc said:

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It's fairly simple...water boarding is appropriate if you are a position player batting under .200 and can't field your position.

Doc said:

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The Sox traded Jim Thome yesterday (and Jose Contreras)...singling, what I believe is the resignation of the 2009 season. They are six games out in their division right now...with only the Twins between them and the Tigers.

The Cubs have made no moves whatsoever. They are six games out in the wild card with 4 teams ahead of them.

Why do the Sox have the guts to actually give up on the season and start building toward 2010 right now and the Cubs don't? And the Sox should be fearful that by conceding the season, their attendance figures might suffer (which would not happen to the same extent on the north side).

Jim Hendry should have tried to do something. He had 12 players the claimed on waivers (and who knows how many that actually cleared waivers). Yet, he said he never seriously considered trading any of them? Not all twelve (or however many) of those players are going to be here next year...so why not try to deal a couple of them.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I'd be interested in knowing how far any of the discussions got. I'd rather believe that the Cubs were asking too much of the Twins for Harden than they didn't talk to the Twins at all. It's not like Hendry's going to come out and say, "We really wanted to unload Harden, but we wanted more value in return."

And I'm guessing that someone in the Giants' organization accidentally claimed Heilman instead of Harden. Maybe an intern or something.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I still think it was a joke. Some GM got drunk and was like "(SNORT!) I just claimed Aaron Heilman. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

The next morning: "Shit. I claimed Aaron Heilman????"

gravedigger said:

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Sounds like a typical Thursday night for me. Good thing I don't work for anyone important.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hendry has ALWAYS had a hard time letting go. Of anything. Seasons, players, players on other teams he has man-crushes on.

flyball said:

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another WGN game tonight? are the Cubs trying to make me be productive or something?

Doc said:

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All these games on WGN...when the Cubs are playing crappy teams and are pretty much out of the playoff race. You gotta love it.

flyball said:

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seriously, now they give me all these televised games

I am shockingly productive during games, but I'm going to run out of things to do

gravedigger said:

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Believe it or not, I really don't have much to say today.

Doc said:

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I'm not sure many of us will have much to say for the rest of this season. It's going to be a boring September.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I wish we had some young prospects we've been waiting to see. That would be exciting.

flyball said:

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I feel they should bring up a bunch of kids for 1 game, just to let them play, it might not be good, but it could be fun

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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The problem is, it can't be anyone good, because we don't want their MLB service time clocks starting too early. Maybe Michael Brenly?

gravedigger said:

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I was trying to post essentially the same thoughts but the blog ate my comments. Again.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I saw it, went in and deleted your comment and reposted it as mine so that I'd look smarter.

gravedigger said:

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I'm pretty sure that just makes you look dumber. Or drunker.

Doc said:

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All of our minor leaguers are like 28 years old. ugh.

millertime said:

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You should happy when we blow it next year then. Next year we'll be able to call up Cashner and Vitters.

wrigleyexpansion said:

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I said it last year and will say it again after this season - get Abreu

JulieDiCaro said:

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Did he sign a one-year deal? I knew at the time, but I can't remember now.

millertime said:

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Abreu is a possibility. He signed a one year contract for 5 mil. Which is actually what we are paying Bradley this year. Possible upside in offensive production, at least as far as this year goes. Downside would be Abreu plays unbelievably horrible defense (he has the range of a broken lawn-mower), is 35, and hasn't done that much better than Bradley this season anyways (.822 OPS compared to Bradley's .812). Take into account that Bradley has had to recover from a horrible slump, odds are good that Bradley will outperform Abreu next season. The money to unload Bradley and then sign Abreu wouldn't even make this feasible from a payroll perspective. We'd be spending more money for a player that will most likely perform worse. Seems kinda risky to me.

Doc said:

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small correction there... Bradley is being paid $7 million this season.

Personally...I'd put K-Fuk back in right field next year, and try to find a new center fielder who could bat leadoff. (Then trade Theriot, who might actually have some trade value right now, believe it or not.)

Doc said:

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And to add to that...if we get Abreu, that means Bradley will have been traded, and the Cubs likely would be paying, I conservatively estimate, 1/3 of the $10 million he'd be making next year. So add to that the amount you'd pay a poor fielding and not great hitting Abreu...I'd be a little sick to my stomach.

gravedigger said:

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I'd rather have Bradley.

Well, I'd rather have him regardless. But even more so in that case.

gravedigger said:

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It should be legal to kill the person who created Lotus Notes. I'm going to go draft some legislation.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I know about 100 people who would agree with this sentiment.

millertime said:

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If those 100 people are Senators, you just might have something here.

flyball said:

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that would be a feat right now

millertime said:

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It could the big issue that finally brings this country together.

gravedigger said:

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This is my new life's cause.

Doc said:

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Wow...I didn't know Lotus Notes was still around.

gravedigger said:

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One of the constituent correspondence used by some members of Congress is built on Lotus Notes and I *hate* it. I used to use one made by Lockheed Martin and it was ten thousand times better.

millertime said:

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I also enjoyed the Podcast, or at least the first 20 minutes of it before I got wrapped up in an episode of Arrested Development.

My one thing I'll say is that I don't buy into the whole Milton Bradley should never complain about anything because he's rich and there are more important things going on. To me this goes along with people accusing him of playing the race card. Strangely enough, money doesn't buy happiness. Rich people have their own set of problems, namely, money doesn't make them better people or fix their issues. It's easy to say "I'd play ball for $5 mil a year and not complain ever!" but that's because we really have no idea what it's like to be in the national spotlight 24-7. Rich people complaining they can't afford grocieries, thats something to be laughed at. Rich people complaining that they are being called racist names and feel publicly hated? Different issue.

gravedigger said:

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Agree, agree, agree.

millertime said:

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Dood if we agree all the time what will there be to talk about?

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