A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Headlines for Monday: BFFs Edition

Best Friends
Since the Cubs announced the Marlon Byrd signing, there has been discussion of Marlon's hitting, fielding, age, eye color and favorite food. There's one thing we missed. All the old standby media outlets have talked to Rudy Jaramillo, and Rudy is happy to be back together with his BFF.

"He made a lot of adjustments," Jaramillo said. "Every year, he got better. I'm real excited about him coming over there. He brings a lot of energy and leadership. He wants to win. Those are things that are going to help me out. I talked to him the other day and I told him we've got our work cut out for us."

(snip)

"You know what this will do is get my system out a little quicker and faster," Jaramillo said. "Marlon is a good teacher. I want hitters talking to one another. He provided that for us in Texas. He knew his swing and sometimes he was good at recognizing stuff that other people were doing. I wanted those guys to help each other and talk and coach each other, too."

Is Marlon Byrd the Greg Maddux of hitters? Is he so good that he's able to make everyone around him better, too? If so, why's Rudy Jaramillo getting paid so much?

Not only are Rudy and Marlon destined to be together, this is where Marlon really wanted to be.

''I'm very excited,'' said Byrd, 32, who said he spoke with Jaramillo at least every other week throughout the offseason. ''When I knew I had the opportunity to become a Cub, I was really hoping this would be my landing ground. When my agent called me and told me there was a very good opportunity of being there, I told him that's where I wanted to be.''

That might seem a curious sentiment from Bradley's close friend and former Rangers teammate, given Bradley's brief, tumultuous experience on the North Side. Bradley and Byrd also share the same agents.


Uh oh... is it déjà vu all over again? Not to fear!

But it might also speak to a big difference between the pals: that the more outgoing Byrd seems to recognize that Bradley's conflicts with various media, ballclubs, markets and fans have nothing to do with him.

Byrd, who's widely regarded as a fan-friendly, strong clubhouse presence and was named the Rangers' ''Good Guy'' by writers last season, said he hadn't talked to Bradley about Chicago since last season.


There's been some worry about how Marlon hit in away games last year, but Rudy says it's not because of the Ballpark at Arlington.


The two do have some unfinished work to do. Byrd's home vs. road numbers show that he does like home cooking. His average was practically the same -- .282 at home compared to .285 on the road -- but he hit 14 homers and 25 doubles with a .538 slugging percentage in Texas. On the road, he hit six homers, 18 doubles and had a .419 slugging percentage. Byrd said he liked being near his wife and family.

"A lot of times it is [the reason]," Jaramillo said. "They have that comfort level at home. I think if you look at a lot of clubs -- take the Rockies with [Matt] Holliday. They were saying the same thing about him. It's something we can work on."


Oh, great! It has nothing to do with the ballpark, and everything to do with the fact that a 32-year-old man can't play while away from his wife and kids. I feel much better about that.

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53 Comments

JulieDiCaro said:

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via ESPN Chicago:

"The Cubs still are seeking trades and free-agent signings. Hendry is looking to solidify his bullpen and maybe add one swing starting pitcher/long reliever.

The team has had several conversations with the agent for former White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras, and have had conversations with Colorado about outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, who would fill the role of the fourth outfielder behind Byrd, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome.

The Cubs also have talked to the Toronto Blue Jays about bullpen pitchers. Former Oak Forest High School pitcher Jason Frasor is on the Cubs' radar. Frasor was a starter at Southern Illinois for four years."

gravedigger said:

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Puke.

AndCounting said:

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I actually like Jose Contreras, especially in a spot on the pitching staff that doesn't demand much from him. We know he can pitch, even if he can't start much anymore. It's not like the Cubs would be asking him to win 10 games, bail them out in crucial situations, or develop into the ace we always hoped he would be. He would just be a decent guy to bring out of the pen or spot start. And local high school pitchers are always good for one good inning of relief per year, so I look forward to that from Frasor as well.

Umbra said:

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But Ryan "shoot me in the face if this happens" Spilborghs? Just give Reed Johnson his $3 million.

AndCounting said:

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Why would he be so awful, his defense?

Umbra said:

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His attitude.

Reed Johnson boos himself, remember? That's how hardcore he is.

Seriously, I don't think there's much difference between Spilborghs and Johnson. Spilborghs has better offensive numbers playing in Coors, slightly worse defensive numbers if you believe UZR. Reed is a little older. It comes down to who the Cubs can get cheaper.

gravedigger said:

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To be honest, if they can keep Johnson and we don't have to hear any more bitching from Julie about losing another hot guy (who isn't hot), I'd be fine with that.

Doc said:

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what the Cubs need for the bench right now is an experienced pinch hitter. I'm not sure who that would be...but a fourth outfielder right that can come in for defensive reasons is Fuld. They need a proven pinch hitter right now, and that isn't Reedz.

Doc said:

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And that isn't Spilborghs either.

MB21 said:

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Proven pinch hitters are bad at baseball. Think about the few names that come to mind. Lenny Harris! He's the most proven pinch hitter of all-time, doc.

I'd like Albert Pujols at 1st base and Derrek Lee as the proven pinch hitter. Just get me the best hitter. I couldn't care less if he's proven if he can or cannot pinch hit. There's no such thing. Good hitters hit and bad hitters suck.

Doc said:

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Well...let me just say a proven hitter to come off the bench then.

My point was that we don't defensive outfielder to fill out the roster.

Doc said:

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oops...we don't 'need a' defensive outfielder to fill out the roster.

MB21 said:

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I agree, but Reed Johnson is no defensive outfielder by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not arguing the Cubs should re-sign Johnson. I don't want them to.

Doc said:

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Johnson was the other choice for center field...not as the utility outfielder.

The truth is, I think they should be looking more for a utility infielder (or everyday 2nd baseman).

cubby23(eric) said:

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Definitely...Aramis probably won't make it through the whole season unscathed, and it would be good to not force Fontenot into starting because of the lack of depth.

Doc said:

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I guess I'm somewhat surprised they didn't let Fontenot got this year. Maybe they think he can prove more useful in a utility roll. With Baker as the backup at 3rd, if A-Ram does get hurt, Fontenot would again be the everyday player at 2nd...unless they think Andres Blanco has something to offer that we haven't seen. (or Castro is ready and they move Theriot over the 2nd)

Edelweiss said:

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Here is what my insiders tell me: As long as Mike was in the lineup, the Cubs were winning, despite his struggles at the plate. When he was benched, in August, they fell from 3 games ahead of 2nd place, to 7½ games behind 1st place. Furthermore, they were a crappy team in 2007 until he was brought up in June. They went on to win 2 division titles, and have a third winning year. Up until then, they had been a losing team since 2003. His team mates feel that Mike has brought them good luck in addition to his hitting and fielding contributions.

FrankS said:

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ACK! Then the Cubs should have never traded Jason Marquis. He has never missed the playoffs throughout his MLB career. And that's despite the fact that he is a bit of a sourpuss and a whiner.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I hate hate HATE Jose Contreras.

No.
No.

Just. . . no.

LostinFla said:

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Jose “My ERA has been below 4 only twice in 7 ML seasons and, hint, 2009 wasn’t one of those times” Contreras and Jason “2009 was my career year but please sign me anyway” Frasor. Talk about keeping expectations low, but, then again, these are the Cubs.

Ted Lilly Fan Club said:

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Ted's Birthday! We take Tedmas as the first sign of spring. A light in the cold, dark, scotch filled wilderness of baseball loss that has been this Cub's winter. Sure, Ted's gonna spend today working his shoulder by manually operating the elevators at the Hancock Builidng (lifts and stops make for excellent rehab), but that doesn't mean you Tedheads have to endure painful self betterment. Take a moment, look out at the sun, maybe skip a stone or throw a snowball in child-like glee - it's Tedmas and baseball is around the corner.

cubsforever said:

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Ditto - puke. It is supposed to be a 25 man roster - where everyone contributes and can contributes. Adding Contreras is starting to sound like Omar the Met Maker - very bias - looking to get one more year out of a guy that should hve retired 5 years ago - and creates an imbalance on the roster - which puts more pressure on the other 24 guys. Besides we already have Hi-Ho Silva - we don't need Tonto too. And why is it that somebody else's 4th outfielder is better than the 4th outfielder you already had - namely Reed Johnson. I just don't understand that. And if Jason Fasor is better than The Notre Dame star - why didn't we draft him. These all sound like it is time to fill up the roster - like last year when we brought in 7 unknown pitchers - and Aaron Miles - has beens or nobodies. Let's do nothing if this is the best we can do.

gravedigger said:

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If the Cubs are just going to acquire marginal players, can they at least get one who is nice to look at?

Doc said:

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Or have a wife who is nice to look at.

gravedigger said:

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To each his own.

gravedigger said:

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Also, you do not look as I would have guessed.

Doc said:

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Well...that is my winter fur right now. Usually during baseball season I look less hairy...and about 20 years younger.

gravedigger said:

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Well, what I was thinking is that you look younger than I'd expected.

Doc said:

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Well, that's the makeup. It covers up the wrinkles and age spots.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Dude--I didn't recognize you, either. And I KNOW you.

Doc said:

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So I need shave my beard, put on my glasses and a cubs hat and I'll look like that 15 year old computer geek that you all know and love!

cubsforever said:

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Good description - marginal players. We need players who are versatile and can fill in for 4-6 weeks if necessary WHEN somebody gets hurt - not right handed versus left-handed - we have heard that argument go both ways with Bradley now Byrd. Somebody who can play 2 or 3 positions - reasonably good defensively - can do situaional hitting - bunt - hit to the right side to advance a runner - occassional HR or extra base hit. I agree Sam Fuld can be a short term defensive OF - bunt - run - create some excitement with his enthusiasm - but not yet an everyday hitter for an extended time frame. Right now there are only 2 players off of the bench - 3 if you count Fuld - Fontenot/Baker - depending on who starts and Hill behind the plate. Lou carries 13 postion players - so we need 2 or 3 more. We don't want young untradeable stars of the future sitting on the bench - like Castro - they need to play - so there is room for one infielder and one outfielder. AS much as I like Micah who can play 1B or corner outfielder - I don't think he is the guy. I think we need someone who can play the other infield positions as well. Blanco did a nice job - but I don't want him coming up in the 8th or 9th inning needing an extra base hit - which is why guys like Johnson and Derosa were so good for the Cubs before. We need one lefty and one righty and unless Fuld is sent to the minors - only then can you keep Micah aor Blanco - so let's be reasonable. As for pitching - two many ifs - when will Lilli be ready? Will Wells repeat last year? Which Zambrano will show up? There are 4 given starters - now that Harden was let go for a very modest amount - Marshall, Grabow, Guzman and Marmol - and a whole bunch of maybes - Silva, Gorzelany, Caridad, Zamardzija - we need 2 reliables not ifs.

MB21 said:

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You only have so many roster spots. If you have 13 position players, 8 of those are your starters, 1 of them is your back-up catcher. The Cubs have a platoon at 2nd base leaving only 3 spots. You need 1 who can play CF and 1 who can play SS. Then you have a corner guy and these can typically play the infield and outfield corners. There's your roster.

Back-up SS can play any infield position. Back-up CF can play any outfield spot. That's why you target a back-up SS and CF.

The question becomes what's the difference in value between Sam Fuld and another candidate? Probably not much. If anything. Same question applies to the other back-ups. Since sample size is a big problem with back-ups (and relievers) it's never wise to spend much money at those spots on the roster. A great hitter can suck over 150 plate appearance and a terrible hitter can hit like Barry Bonds for 150 plate appearances. There's way too much variance to justify spending much or any money on back-ups.

gravedigger said:

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My security clearance investigator was a spitting image of Jim Hendry.

Faith Plus 1 said:

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My buddy just got clearance. His investigator was a dick though.

Dmband said:

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Hey Guys-

Any indication who is our second baseman this season?

I also have been way out of the loop, but who is still out there for second? Also, I saw some outrage over the Byrd signing...and yes, year three seems to be questionable...but to me, it seems like average money for an average player...

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'm guessing it's Jeff Baker with a sprinke of Mike Fontenot here and there.

I guess we just pray no one gets hurt this season.

BAH.

JulieDiCaro said:

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UGH.

Just now out of court for the day. Bleh.

Doc said:

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If you stopped committing crimes (and getting caught), you wouldn't have to be in court all the time.

JulieDiCaro said:

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How do you know?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hey!

The WGN "Hottest Cubs Fan" contest has been up for 4 hours now, and NOT ONE of you guys has nominated me!

Doc said:

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Sorry, I was too busy trying to nominate Scarlett Johansson. I don't know if she's a Cubs fan, but why take the risk that she isn't?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Someone with very poor judgment has given Alex Quigley a blog:

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/alex-quigley/2010/01/headline.html

Speaking of Alex, today's podcast is up and available for download:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/julie-and-alexs-excellent-sports-adventure

Doc said:

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Sorry I missed it today. :( Stupid meeting.

PretzelTim said:

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Ken Rosenthal has predicted Ben Sheets will sign with the Cubs........

JulieDiCaro said:

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This would make me happy. I know Sheets is Mark Prior 2.0 in terms of fragility, but I'm currently displeased with our starting rotation, especially when Lilly is out.

Umbra said:

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Sheets was asking for $12 million last time I checked.

(Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahem, ahem. Hahahahahaha!)

LostinFla said:

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Isn't Sheets missing a shoulder? The right one? And he wants $12 mil a year? The Cubs wouldn't... Nah...

Ben Sheets = 2010 version of Chad Fox. I'm sure he'll be very effective in the 1/3 inning he pitches.

Doc said:

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This is a very good point...Sheets has been out for quite a long time. Shouldn't people be worried as to whether or not he will be the pitcher he once was?

Faith Plus 1 said:

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I'm sure he's been keeping a pretty good training regiment up. 12 million dollars is out of your f'ing my mind money though.

I would honestly not be opposed at all to the Cubs signing Sheets and simply loading his contract with incentives (Innings Pitched, Pitch Count, Strikeouts, All-Star selection).

See if he's got anything.

Faith Plus 1 said:

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Edit:

Sign him to a 3mil deal with said incentives. It's a farcry from what he wants but honestly who in the fuck is going to pay Ben Sheets 12 million dollars. Ned Colletti? Probaly. But McCourt is broke so there's that.

oog of ulams said:

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Keep seeing you people comment on Perkins' FB status, and I just know some of those names are you folks, but I just don't know who's who.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Probably shouldn't post it on here, but if you email me names, I can tell you who they are.

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