A League of Her Own

Cubs Headlines for Sunday: I Brought Donuts!

Old Age Dunking



It's Sunday, so put on your best, grab a donut and share with whomever is sitting next to you. The donut will probably be more interesting than today's headlines, which are few and far between. The first of today's boring stories comes from none other than Crazy Uncle Phil, who can always get himself worked up for the Sunday edition. Today's rant? The Cubs and Sox must lock up Derek Lee and Paul Konerko beyond 2010.

At 33 and 34 respectively, Konerko and Lee have moved beyond their actuarial peaks. They pose difficult decisions and theoretically huge risks for general managers Ken Williams and Jim Hendry, who aren't likely to give them three- or four-year deals at another $12 million or $13 million per year.

But you don't let players like these just walk away, not when there's a reasonable chance of playing high-stakes games in September and October. The White Sox and Cubs would be smart to approach Konerko and Lee with contract extensions -- one-year deals at existing levels for 2011, possibly with vesting options that could trigger a second year at the same level in '12.

This is brilliant, Phil! There's no way either team could find another replacement, as there aren't other first basemen available who could possibly hit in the postseason as well.

The White Sox have first base options in the high minors in Dayan Viciedo and left-handed-hitting Christian Marrero, who is poised for a breakout year. They also believe third baseman Brent Morel could get to the big leagues sometime in 2011, freeing up recently acquired Mark Teahen for a move to first base.

The Cubs don't have as much depth behind Lee after trading Jake Fox to the A's in a deal that seemed as much about dumping Aaron Miles as adding reliever Jeff Gray. But you better believe Hendry knows all about the free-agent possibilities at first base the next two seasons: Adam Dunn and Carlos Pena after next year; possibly Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Lance Berkman after 2011.
I dont suppose any of those guys will end up Cubs, but I think Uncle Phil effectively answered his question about  who would hit in the postseason. I'd actually love to see Mark Teahen playing first for the Sox (career .269/.331/.419, 97 OPS+). That would be spectacular.
Dave van Dyck joins the Sunday fun with a preview of Ted Lilly and Rich Harden's possible replacements. He plays it a little loose with the term veteran:

Four veterans -- Sean Marshall, Tom Gorzelanny, Jeff Samardzija and newcomer Carlos Silva -- will join several youngsters with the knowledge that one of them could stick all season. And all four look at themselves as starters.

"Absolutely," Gorzelanny said. "That's the way I have to go in. I'm not going in trying to make the bullpen, I'm going in trying to be a starter."

Said Marshall: "I'm training my body to start and pitch every five days and I can always back off and adjust. I like starting, and I like knowing when I'm going to pitch.

"But I also like the relief role when I don't know when I'm going to pitch. You have to get amped up for it. I prefer starting but know that I'm an asset in the bullpen."
Apparently Jeff Samardzija was at a kegger at Notre Dame and Carlos Silva was binging at Sizzler as neither commented on this story.

Finally, an answer to our long-asked question: what in the hell has been going on with Josh Lansford? He's becoming a pitcher!

Let's say your dad is an All-Star infielder. He wins an American League batting title. He plays in three World Series. After his playing career is over, he becomes a big league hitting coach.

The dad's two sons had to inherit some of those big league hitter genes. But both Josh Lansford, a prospect in the Cubs system, and his brother, Jared, 23, a second-round pick by Oakland in 2005, now are pitchers.

It was a little tough for Josh to break the news to his dad, Carney Lansford.

"It was more shock than anything," Josh said.

Josh had a career .257 average after three Minor League seasons with the Cubs. The switch was suggested before the 2009 season. Carney Lansford, who was on San Francisco's staff last season as the hitting coach, consulted with Giants manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti and they came to the same decision the Cubs did.

"Third base is locked up [on the Cubs] for a long time," Josh Lansford said, "and I don't want to spend my whole career in the Minor Leagues waiting for a couple years after Aramis [Ramirez] is done. I just want to get to the big leagues as fast as possible. They said, as well as [the Cubs staff], that the quickest way to the big leagues, if you're blessed with a really good arm, is on the mound."

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8 Comments

AndCounting said:

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Wow . . . Uncle Phil's meds must have some phenomenal side effects. I love how he's talking about Jermaine Dye as if the Cubs are re-signing him to an all-Chicago contract. His argument is essentially, "You just don't let players with names I recognize walk away for nothing . . . unless that name is Zambrano, in which case you should pay him tens of millions of dollars to not play for you anymore."

And referring to Gorz and F7 as veterans (when they both spent the majority of last season in the minors) shows a level of creativity you just can't achieve without chemical assistance.

AndCounting said:

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For the record, I actually am on meds, which is why I read "Derek Lee" as "Jermaine Dye."

Wow.

MillsChC said:

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I just figured you were thrown off by that horrific, disgusting photo that Carl posted.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Pro football screws me again. Thanks for nothing, Dallas Clark and the Jets D.

gravedigger said:

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I'm happy :D

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Me too! And drunk! Yippee!

FrankS said:

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But Brett Favvvvre and the Minnesota Vikings are out of the playoffs. That should be worth rejoicing!

Edelweiss said:

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Here's a little something I learned at the Cubs Convention. It isn't exactly a secret; it's out there for everyone to see, but..... Sam Fuld is listed at 5' 10", and that is probably true because men always lie UP, not Down about these things. Ryan Theriot was standing next to him, and he is about 2 inches shorter than Fuld, despite being listed at 5' 11". When Mike Fontenot stands next to Theriot, and he is at least 4 inches shorter than Theriot. The Cubs need to hire a shorter batboy.

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