A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines for Tuesday

Postmaster General Claims U.S. Postal Service May Run Out Of Money In '09



It's mailbag day today, but there's a piece of actual news. It's not exciting, but we'll run it first anyway. Not yet having signed the dotted line, John Grabow filed for free agency.

Left-handed reliever John Grabow became the latest Cubs player to file for free agency today, joining Rich Harden, Reed Johnson, Kevin Gregg and Chad Fox. Like Gregg, Grabow is classified as a Type A free agent, meaning the Cubs would be awarded a first-round draft pick if another team signed him.

I guess what I don't quite understand here is that John Grabow is a Type A and Rich Harden is a Type B. I'm sure there's someone who could explain it, but I'm confused.
On to mailbag fun. The first question is about the Cubs' chances of getting Granderson. Carrie reminds us of a couple things. First, Granderson, like Fukudome, appears to be a platoon player at this point.

However, Granderson is also coming off a career-low .249 season in which he struck out 141 times and posted an unimpressive on-base percentage of .327. He also struggled against left-handers, batting .183. The Cubs have used a part-time platoon with Kosuke Fukudome, who batted .164 against lefties last season.

As for all the wild speculation about sending the entire AA team to Detroit in exchange for Granderson, Carrie reminds us of one of the few important things Jim Hendry has said so far this offseason.

"We're in a situation now, as we all know, we'll be mixing and matching this winter more than just trading prospects for a high-end salary guy," Hendry told reporters at the GM meetings in Chicago.

We'll skip the Marlon Byrd and Mike Fontenot Super Two questions and get to Bill Z. from Sarasota, who sounds grumpy.

Aramis Ramirez had the shoulder problem in 2009. When he returned to action, he said he would definitely have it operated on at the end of the season. When the season ended, he changed his mind. I see him getting hurt next year and spending a lot of time on the disabled list, leaving the Cubs with the same situation they had this year -- a big hole in the lineup. What are the Cubs' and your feelings regarding this situation?
-- Bill Z., Sarasota, Fla.

When Ramirez returned, he said he was considering surgery, not that he would have it. He's dealt with a separated shoulder in the past, and recovered without needing surgery. He has an offseason program designed to strengthen his shoulder. To avoid the "big hole," Hendry has to make sure the Cubs' roster includes a better backup third baseman.


I don't mind a guy not wanting to have surgery. And I trust that Ramirez really will do what's best for himself and the team. And I think Carrie nailed it when she said the roster needs a better backup third baseman.  If Jake Fox isn't still around, let's pray it's not Fontenot and Miles again.


Next up, Sanjay from Virginia is worried about his family's travel plans this spring. He apparently reads just enough information to make himself dangerous.


Are the Cubs going to stay in Mesa this year? I've heard many rumors about Florida and other cities in Arizona. My family and I are planning to go to Spring Training, so we really want to know.
-- Sanjay H., Alexandria, Va.

You can go ahead and book a trip to Arizona this year. The spring schedule should be released soon and, yes, the Cubs will play in Mesa in 2010 and 2011. After that, who knows? The Ricketts family was expected to make a decision within the next three-to-six months as to whether the Cubs will stay in Arizona for 2012 and beyond or move to Florida.


And finally, Ryan of Sioux Falls has been making trades on the Playstation a little too long:


Trade Roy Halladay for Bradley. Fukudome to right. Tyler Colvin in center. Wishful thinking?
-- Ryan P., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Not wishful, but very unlikely. The Blue Jays won't make that deal.


I nearly forgot! The Cubs failed to go back-to-back in the NL ROY award.


Cubs pitcher Randy Wells finished sixth in the voting for the National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, announced Monday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Florida outfielder Chris Coghlan won the award, although he was not on seven of the 32 ballots cast by two writers from each league city. Philadelphia pitcher J.A. Happ was the only player named on all ballots, and he placed second, totaling 94 points. Coghlan totaled 105 points.

Former Cubs infielder Casey McGehee, who batted .301 with 16 homers and 66 RBIs for the Milwaukee Brewers, also received a first-place vote, finishing fifth in the balloting with 18 points.

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50 Comments

gravedigger said:

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I love as-we-go headlines.

gravedigger said:

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Priority #1 this offseason needs to be re-signing Chad Fox.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I eagerly await his late April call-up and inevitable 3-pitch outing before his elbow explodes again.

AndCounting said:

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The Type A, Type B tags are determined by a statistical evaluation conducted by Elias Sports Bureau. They divide players into 5 groups according to position (1B/OF/DH, 2B/3B/SS, C, Starters, and Relievers) and then rank their statistics over the past two seasons against the other players in their group (and not just free agents, all of MLB).

The top 20% in each group are labeled Type A, players in the 21-40% class are Type B, and the rest of the players have to retake their SATs.

Source: This weird site I've never heard of.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Thanks for the info. I'm the type that likes to wonder why, then not do anything to actually find out why.

AndCounting said:

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I'm far more likely to look up the answer to a question someone else asks than something I'm wondering myself. I'm a giver who lacks any self-motivation whatsoever.

thisyearcub said:

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Type A free agent means you're in the top 20 percent at your position. 21-40 percent is Type B. So apparently the powers that be believe John Grabow is a solid RP. Eyebrows were raised when Harden came in at Type B, but I guess they were taking in his injury history and the fact that at times he needed 110 pitches to get through 5 innings.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I guess it's hard to evaluate perceived talent vs. actual results. But you'd think with Harden making at least 25 starts each of the last two years, and with his stats, he'd be in the top 20%. Obviously, he's not.

AndCounting said:

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The stats they use for starters: Total games, IP, Wins, W-L%, ERA, and Strikeouts. It would be really interesting to know if the Cubs unwittingly sank him into Type B status by shutting him down at the end of the year and dropping him in the IP and Total Games rankings. That move (which makes zero sense if they don't intend to re-sign him) would turn out to be classically stupid, costing the Cubs the top draft pick of whoever does end up signing him (assuming the Cubs offer him arbitration).

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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I think they have to offer him arbitration, right? even if they end up on the hook for 8-10 million. But I thought the same thing with Kerry Wood.

AndCounting said:

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One would think. It's tough to fathom why they wouldn't, unless they really just don't want him on the team and suspect (as they did with Wood) that he would almost certainly choose to stay instead of testing free agency. If someone were to sign him before the arbitration deadline, it would be a moot point, but I don't think any team is going to jump the gun if they could make the same deal later and avoid losing draft picks.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Mailbag days make filling out the headlines so much easier.

millertime said:

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Why don't we trade Soriano for Ryan Braun, Theriot for Hanley Ramirez, Armais Ramirez for David Wright, Derrek Lee for Pujols, Soto for Joe Mauer, Miles for Chase Utley, and build a time machine and sign Babe Ruth and Willie Mays?

gravedigger said:

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Not wishful thinking, but unlikely.

gravedigger said:

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So, I was checking out the candidates for the ROY awards, and Rick Porcello? Yes, please.

flyball said:

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I'm not sure why, but that photo made me smile

of course I'm delirious and highly caffeinated, but thanks Carl

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Glad I could help. I like the idea of a mailbox graveyard.

Doc said:

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Hi kids...looks like nothing happened while I was away. Good job.

Dmband said:

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So, yet again, the Cubs are letting the player's determine whether or not they need surgery. I just dont get it....

You mean we cant have 2-3 doctors take a look and tell him..YES YOU DO...OR NO YOU DONT...

Maybe we should wait another month so he can miss April too...

AndCounting said:

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Surgeons will always recommend surgery. Don't you ever watch Scrubs?

Seriously, a player knows better than anyone what they can play through and what they can't. Surgery on Ramirez would give me no additional confidence that he would remain healthy in 2010. It's his left shoulder, and if it heals on its own, I prefer that to surgery without question.

No team and no doctor can force any player to have surgery.

millertime said:

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Unfortuneately, these players are not robots. Not every action they take is controlled by the team, simply because the team pays them. Players still retain certain rights. These rights are generally represented by the Players' Union.

Imagine if the team forced Aramis to have surgery, and the surgery goes wrong, ending Aramis's career. Aramis, who didn't want the surgery in the first place, will bring suit against the Cubs for loss of potential income. Or something. I know nothing of lawyer stuff, other than I've watched A Few Good Men a couple times, as well as that Rainmaker movie.

I see nothing wrong with the Cubs suggesting a player take a certain action, and asking the player to get several opinions from various specialists or Doctors not named Blume. But at some point the Cubs need to let these players make their own decisions.

AndCounting said:

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Out of curiosity, is it against the rules to employ a robot on a baseball team? If so, does it have to be a convincing humanoid (like the freak from Small Wonder) or could it roll around on treads a la Johnny 5?

I would pick Goldar from Space Giants.

flyball said:

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when is the last day to file free agency?

gravedigger said:

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Weird, I just came here to ask that too. Hopefully someone will pick up for our laziness and answer us so I don't have to employ Google.

flyball said:

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yay for lazy!

although right now I prefer to think of it as caffeine deficient

Doc said:

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I actually don't think there is any deadline for filing for free-agency...

All the deadlines are for the teams themselves. Players who don't qualify for filing for free agency (not enough service time and such) and do not have a contract can become free agents if the team doesn't offer them anything by some date.

The rules are long and silly...if you really want to read about it...

Go here

gravedigger said:

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look at my avitar. does that look like the face of someone who wants to read?

flyball said:

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flyball said:

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its a terrible conundrum that I need coffee, but I'm too tired to go get some

where is that Espresso Express!

gravedigger said:

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I don't drink coffee, so its funny to me to see people who aer totally addicted to it. It seems to me that I could start a coffee delivery service, charge like $25 for a cup of coffee, and do a really lucrative business. I think people would seriously pay a ton of money to have coffee brought to them.

flyball said:

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during breaks I enjoy coffee occasionally crave it, during the semester it becomes necessary to kick start the day, with less than 3 weeks left til my big project is due I require it during most waking hours

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm back and I'm not happy about it.

gravedigger said:

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Strangely, I am.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Awwwww. Even though you wrapped that in rude, snotty sarcasm, I could still feel you. :)

flyball said:

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no seriously, he missed you

gravedigger said:

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Its true.

gravedigger said:

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Does that mean you are speechless?

JulieDiCaro said:

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pretty much . . . .

JulieDiCaro said:

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Do we still have Milton Bradley?

millertime said:

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Nope. We traded him straight up for Granderson. And an army of Robots.

AndCounting said:

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Hooray!

Doc said:

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That's for the robots...right?

AndCounting said:

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That is for the robots. It's just too bad we lost Bradley to them when they alone could have generated the positive atmosphere he needed to thrive.

millertime said:

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I am losing my mind trying to explain to an old man on his blog why Milton Bradley is actually more valuable than a bag of baseballs, and that even though Bradley has severe personal problems, those problems probably don't make him worse than an inanimate object.

This is backfiring horribly. I am now convinced that Bradley is a witch doctor who used his powers of losing to infect the Cubs. I can only hope that having an OF platoon of Reed Johnson and Sam Fuld can unite this clubhouse as one, and that when their powers combine, they are Captain Planet.

Doc said:

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He is a wise old man!

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Or the Wonder Twins or Voltron.

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