A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Wednesday Headlines: Dredging the Bottom for A CFer.

Rays-Rangers
Is Jim Hendry in his office longingly staring at this photo?



By now, we should all be familiar with yesterday's internet reports that the Cubs have stepped up their pursuit of Marlon Byrd because of the Mike Cameron signing. And we're all worried that this means another bad signing, overpaying a player coming off a career year to make us all suffer. Bruce Miles is here to make us feel better about Jim Hendry's latest free agent crush.

One factor not to forget is the Rudy Jaramillo factor. Jaramillo is the Cubs' new hitting coach, and Byrd enjoyed two good years under Rudy with the Rangers. Would you call 2009 or 2008 a career year for Byrd? Let's look at the numbers:

2009: .283/.329/.479 for an OPS of .808. His OPS-plus was 106, and he had 20 homers and 89 RBI.

2008: .298/.380/.462 for an OPS of .842. Byrd's OPS-plus in '08 was 121, and he had 10 homers and 53 RBI. J

His BABIP went from .330 in 2008 to .308 this year, suggesting normal correction. His ISO went up from .164 in '08 to .196 this year, reflecting the greater difference between slugging percentage and batting average. Byrd had 98 strikeouts and 32 walks this year, compared with 62 strikeouts and 46 walks in 2008. The wOBA this year was .345; it was .380 in 2008. Byrd's VORP (Baseball Prospectus) of 27.7 ranked him 81st in baseball, just behind Rangers teammate Ian Kinsler, who was 67th, at 33.5. Byrd's WAR (fangraphs.com) was 2.4.

The evidence here suggests that 2009 wasn't an aberration. But then we have to take into account the fact that he's now 32. Don't forget this is the guy who replaced Doug Glanville in center field for the Phillies. I'm ok with the right two year deal here, but I'm more ok with sticking to Fukudome in center and Bradley in right until they can manage a deal that won't end up with the Cubs bent over.

What if Byrd gets snatched up? To whom do the Cubs then turn their affections? It's likely to someone cheaper, but also worse at baseball:

Contrary to rumors, general manager Jim Hendry still will be able to sign a free-agent center fielder even if he has yet to shed Bradley's contract. He just has to be more creative. Marlon Byrd remains the Cubs' top available option, and Coco Crisp has emerged as a possibility now that the White Sox have acquired Juan Pierre.

Crisp isn't high on the Cubs' list right now, but if they don't get Byrd he may be the most affordable option.


In the Spring Training saga, Mesa isn't letting the Cubs go without a fight. Watch out, Naples, you might end up with a bloody lip.

As Mesa continues efforts to keep the Chicago Cubs, the city is prepared to spend up to $750,000 for new batting cages at the team's spring training complex at Fitch Park.

The City Council is set to consider the cage issue Thursday, after delaying a planned vote Monday after Councilman Dave Richins objected to how quickly the city was trying to get a deal done for the cages.

City Manager Chris Brady said the city considered the cages part of ongoing discussions with the Cubs to modernize spring training facilities.


Surely a ragtag band of Cubs fans (such as us) could throw together a construction company and undercut a $750,000 bid to build batting cages. We should think about this - maybe go in at $725,000 and keep the change? Who's in?

Julie Wakes Up: First, I'd like to say that being face-to-face with a giant photo of Bud Selig's head is no way to wake up in the morning. Secondly, I'd like to say that MLB has created their own version of the NFL's competition committee, which will make recommendations regarding all on-field matters. Whatever that means.

But Crazy Uncle Phil speculates this could lead to the end of the DH:

To be fair, it's premature to ask such a potentially provocative question. But thanks to Commissioner Bud Selig's decision to turn recommendations for on-field matters over to a newly created version of the NFL's Competition Committee, the DH rule could face its first real threat since the American League accepted it permanently for the 1976 season, after a three-year experiment that began as a way to create run scoring and increase attendance.

Nothing in baseball during the modern era has sparked stronger feelings than the DH rule. The AL has used it for 37 seasons, but the National League never has considered it strongly.

Selig's 14-member committee to consider all on-field issues, which was announced on Tuesday, will not have formal authority. It includes four current managers, four current or former general managers and four ownership representatives, along with MLB official Frank Robinson and journalist/baseball fan George Will.

Selig said he will "be guided by what this committee comes up with" on matters including "scheduling, postseason format, umpiring, pace of play and instant replay." The commissioner did not mention the DH rule, but Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and longtime Braves executive John Schuerholz, who joined Selig on a conference call, both listed it as the one thing they potentially would change if they could.

Schuerholz did not say he would be in favor of eliminating the rule.

I'm torn about eliminating the DH. On the one hand, I think it's ridiculous that any player on a baseball team should get out of batting, and I'm sick of the way AL pitchers get treated like china dolls. You're a baseball player--don't be so fragile!

 On the other, without the DH, I never would have been as amused as I was watching Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and  Pedro Martinez try to hit a baseball.

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45 Comments

Sting 10 said:

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....but I'm more ok with sticking to Fukudome in center and Bradley in right until they can manage a deal that won't end up with the Cubs bent over.

Can't agree with this statement more. As I have stated previously, Bradley's career #'s are better than anyone being mentioned to replace him. Perhaps Coach J can get him back into the swing (pun intended) of things again. If he wants out the Northside, let him earn it by playing his way out by putting up the offensive numbers that would have potential suitors come calling us with an offer.

gravedigger said:

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Since Julie has overtaken the role of The Angry Guy on this site, I don't know how I fit in anymore. I can't even be The Gay Guy since Carl has that covered much better than me. And I can't be The Insane Guy, because our sudden influx has pretty well taken care of that.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Don't worry, I'm too bi-polar about this team to stay in this role for long. They'll resign Reed Johnson and I'll be happy again.

Remember. . . YOU ARE LOVED.

AndCounting said:

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I was just looking at Byrd's numbers last night and thinking that he really is coming off two career years, regardless of which one was better. But I had no clue he had spent so much time in the minors. If not for convenient injuries to other players he may never have earned an everyday gig. Up to that point, his career year was his rookie year. It's almost like getting a grown-up Felix Pie.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Then I think we should just get the other Felix Pie.

gravedigger said:

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I like pie.

flyball said:

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um, didn't Frank Robinson fall asleep while in the dugout? more than once? and he's making decisions?

the DH is ridiculous though and should go away

JulieDiCaro said:

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I can't find the remote for my tv. This makes me angry.

canopygrl said:

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Was supposed to post this yesterday (but I got drunk).... As I too have been blog quiet during this off season, I fly out tonight. I should have my "tubes of information" flowing into my room by mid January. Maybe there will be better Cubs news by then. But have no fear, I have secured a mighty Cubs Garden Gnome to protect me in the desert! Happy Holidays to all and talk with you again soon.

flyball said:

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be safe! and keep posting when you can

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ditto what flyball said. Be safe and check in when you can!

JulieDiCaro said:

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I love how the Chicago Now news feed says the Sox "nabbed" Juan Pierre, as if there was a huge clamor for him and they were the lucky ones who got him.

gravedigger said:

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I was thinking the exact same thing.

gravedigger said:

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Ay papi! Me gusta. Me gusta mucho.

gravedigger said:

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(thats the only foreign way i know to respond)

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hey--I forgot all about Tyler Colvin. Let's keep Milty and use Tyler in CF! Try to trade Fukudome.

gravedigger said:

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If you continue saying thins like that you're going to be responsible for coming down to my work and cleaning up the bits of brain and skull in my cubicle.

JulieDiCaro said:

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What?

It's not like Fukudome is all that great, Colvin seems to be better defensively, and it would be a huge salary dump.

gravedigger said:

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My fault, I thought you said trade milty and play colvin.

gravedigger said:

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I still want to task you for cleaning up my brain matter when my head does inevitably explode.

Dmband said:

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I just read the posts from yesterday from the people that didnt understand your somewhat tounge-in-cheek list of why the offseason sucks...thats hilarious. I fear you may have lost some credibility with people with a complete lack of understanding of the concept of sarcasm. Nice work.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Let's be real honest, those people and I had no chance, anyway.

gravedigger said:

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All that really matters is I love you.

Are you single?

LostinFla said:

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Marlon Byrd… Eh…

The Cubs seem to have backed themselves into a corner regarding whom they might acquire who could make a difference next season (addition by subtraction will only take you so far), but Marlon Byrd? Really?

A 32 yr old player (33 next year) who last year played in more than 130 games for the first time since 2003? Another player from Texas (where was Bradley from again?) who will be coming back to the NL where he has a lifetime .263 BA (.701 OPS) versus the .295 BA (.820 OPS) in the AL? The new hitting coach is that good? Wow.

I will say this, Marlon Byrd helped some of my fantasy teams this past season, so I’m inclined to like him, and he can’t be as bad as Bradley. Or Blauser. Or Bump Wills. A lot of the Cubs’ past ‘B-player’ signings (no pun intended) have been busts so picking up Byrd should be ok. Oh, wait. Crap.

gravedigger said:

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Haha, Blauser.

But, really? Byrd has a .701 OPS in the NL?

Why the fuck are we still talking about him?

Doc said:

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he's much better now.

That hurt. I was laughing too hard.

AndCounting said:

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gdf, please stop posting. Your username offends me and is preventing me from enjoying this otherwise delightful newspaper site.

Actually, I wondered if I had missed it all this time. Still, no more posts. Offensive.

And if this newspaper site erases another one of my posts because "registration is required" I'm gonna have to use some foul language.

gravedigger said:

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Man, Julie's gonna kill me.

AndCounting said:

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Somehow in my offended state I can't stop laughing at the fact that you replied to all three iterations of that triple post.

gravedigger said:

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Trust me, I also crack myself up.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Okay enough.

gravedigger said:

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Enough what? I was agreeing with the guy. I knew Byrd wasn't good, but I didn't realize he was /that bad/.

JulieDiCaro said:

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enough with your name change, you dork.

gravedigger said:

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Haha beat you to it ;)

JulieDiCaro said:

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I agree, but he's not better than Bradley.

flyball said:

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we desperately need something to happen with the team, preferably something good that we can all rave about for a couple of days

gravedigger said:

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Magic 8 ball: "My Sources Say No"

FantaficallyLBC said:

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Standing in a pond/
Hendry's fly awaits a fish/
Nary a ripple

JulieDiCaro said:

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that was abstract and eerily beautiful.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Okay kids, I'm off to get ready for the Chicago Now Xmas party. Catch you cats on the flip-flop.

gravedigger said:

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Did it suck?

clyder1 said:

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Hendry & his hype machine are working overtime this year.
We were going to get rid of Bradley, Granderson was on our radar, needed a leadoff man, a secondbaseman, our starting pitching was going to be better as well as our bullpen.
HENDRY (the worst GM in sports) COULDN'T DEAL HIS BRADLEY MISTAKE, HE'S STILL STUCK WITH HIS HIGHLY OVERPAID OUTFIELDERS SORRYANO & FUKUDOME, NOW HE'S LOOKING AT BYRD FOR CF, NO LEADOFF HITTER, NO SECONDBASEMAN, OUR SP IS NOT AS GOOD AS LAST YEAR AND NEITHER IS OUR BULLPEN!
Have you wondered why with so many good workers unemployed that Hendry, the inept, still has a job?
2010 is going to be a long long year.

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