A League of Her Own

Chicago Cubs Thursday Headlines: Back to the Grind

Chicago Cubs fans celebrate in the bleachers after their team beat the Milwaukee Brewers during their opening day MLB baseball game at Wrigley Field in Chicago April 12, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)



As we enter the second half of the season, many questions continue to surround this team. But the only important one is, when does the fire sale start? Or, will the Cubs show just enough life that we'll have to suffer through this same team through August and September, too? The players are all ready for the big turnaround, starting with Geovany Soto.

"We got all the guys," said catcher Geovany Soto, who has been on-base at a .407 clip this year but who inexplicably has found himself on the bench at various times. "We've got all the ingredients here. We've got a great lineup here. We got pitching. We've got bullpen. It's just a matter of putting it together. We still got a whole second half left, and see what happens."
I'm pleased that the team hasn't given up publicly, but even the most crazily optimistic among us believes this team will do much of anything in the second half. What are the odds that we'll see some interesting trades?

More important, though, is that few Cubs have done anything on the field that would entice another general manager to take players off GM Jim Hendry's hands.

Lilly is arguably the Cubs' most valuable trading chip, and he is coming off a couple of rough outings.

The Cubs would love to move right fielder Kosuke Fukudome to create a full-time spot for Tyler Colvin and plan ahead to next year, when outfield prospect Brett Jackson might push for big-league playing time. But Fukudome has no-trade protection and one-plus years left on his four-year, $48 million contract, which may force Hendry (or a possible new GM) to come up with a creative trade package in the off-season.

Theriot's on-base percentage is just .317. It's possible the Cubs could move outfielder-first baseman Xavier Nady or pitcher Carlos Silva, who didn't look interested in pitching before getting kicked out of Sunday night's start at Dodger Stadium.

That doesn't sound too hopeful.


So is there anything other than trades to anticipate in the second half? Maybe the supreme drama of the return of Big Z.

No one knows anything about when Zambrano will be back from anger management therapy, and worse, no one seems to care. It's likely to be on the road to avoid a media spectacle.
Whatever apology Zambrano comes up with, the players are likely to accept it, at least publicly. But general manager Jim Hendry's assessment of Zambrano's blowup as a "tired act" lingers, and most will be waiting for a sequel.

Or the continued progression of the Cubs' rookies:

Colvin, Castro and Cashner all were the recipients of great hype, and all have shown flashes of living up to it.

But Colvin is hitting .234 with a .290 on-base percentage since June 1, Castro already has 12 fielding errors and a handful of mental errors and Cashner needs to complement his 100 mph fastball with an effective changeup.

Good start, but they all can do better.

Or what looks to be Lou's last hurrah:

It's not official that Piniella won't return in 2011, but he sure sounds like a man who is ready to spend some quality time with his family and take up the Steinbrenner family on their expected offer of being a team consultant for the Yankees.

Piniella's legacy in Chicago? He took them to the playoffs twice in two of the most exciting seasons in Cubs' history, but the Cubs never won a postseason game. He helped create an atmosphere where winning was expected, then was criticized as dispassionate when they underachieved in '09 and 2010.

The only certainty is Piniella's tenure will be remembered for years to come.

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52 Comments

summerguy said:

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So... baseball is still going? I thought when the Cubs sucked its a do over til next season? Oh well.

gravedigger said:

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I have totally tuned out this team this year (how's that for alliteration).

Seriously, Soto has a .407 OBP? Cool, didn't know that. Theriots is .317? How come nobody has shot him yet?

If you asked me to give a ballpark guess as to just about any stat for any player on this team, I couldn't do it.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Well . . . crap.

gravedigger said:

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Yeah, seriously.

So, do they HAVE to play out the rest of the season? I seriously wouldn't feel any further contempt the team than I do now for calling it quits.

At least partially because I couldn't possibly have any more contempt for them than I currently do...

FrankS said:

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Post of the day!

Doc said:

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Really, that statement is a representation of the whole season.

FrankS said:

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I think I'm with the majority of fans that just don't care anymore. The 2010 version of the Cubs just isn't worth watching. And trying to figure out why Lou and Jim do the things that they do would only lead massive headaches and/or self-inflicted alcohol poisoning. And what really aggravates matters is that the team from the south side of town has been the hottest team in baseball for the last 5 weeks and it seemed to start with their first series with the Cubs. It's just been ugly.

plamorte said:

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Have tickets for tonight's game and is it wrong I'm kind of hoping for a rain out? It's hot, muggy and then chance of a downpour on top of it? I'll take the make up date, really.

Doc said:

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Where are you sitting tonight, Pat?

plamorte said:

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good question, i wont know until i pick up the tickets from will call, window 12 I'm told if that helps

Doc said:

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Ah...so you probably won't be in the bleachers tonight. Too bad.

summerguy said:

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Same here plamorte.

I too hope for a rainout... although Jamie Moyer is one of my favorite pitchers... its lose lose.

summerguy said:

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Same here plamorte.

I too hope for a rainout... although Jamie Moyer is one of my favorite pitchers... its lose lose.

berselius said:

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From MLBTR last night

"Some of Derrek Lee's friends tell Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that they believe the first baseman would waive his no-trade clause for the right deal. The Angels would prefer to pursue someone who isn't under contract next year, so they could be a fit for Lee."

It's the most obvious match for him. I'm surprised they didn't have more urgency to pick up a 1b after that awful freak Kendry Morales injury.

JulieDiCaro said:

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"some of Derrek Lee's friends"----riiiiiiiight.

God, I hate players that won't go on the record with anything. Speak your mind, man!

Doc said:

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Well...with all defense to Lee, I'm not sure he actually knows how to speak.

AndCounting said:

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I love how Sullivan speaks for most of the players, saying that they are likely to publicly accept his forthcoming apology yet secretly harbor expectations of a repeat performance. How does he know this? I know beat reporters are generally privy to off-the-record conversations, but it appears Sully has a telepathic read on most of the players in the Cubs clubhouse. We're so lucky to have a psychic delivering us news!

FrankS said:

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I would guess that Sully is doing a lot of projecting. But to be honest, I believe many people would not be surprised if
Z had another tirade/tantrum. It's difficult for the leopard to change his spots.

AndCounting said:

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I wouldn't be surprised, either. But I have it on good authority that most players will be waiting for it to happen. ;)

Doc said:

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If I was in that clubhouse, I'd seriously be egging Z on. But that's because I'm an asshole.

FrankS said:

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Doc, isn't that the kind of thing that all guys do? If we aren't picking at our own scabs, then we pick on those of our friends and co-workers.

I had a pretty bad bicycle accident while attempting to jump a ramp several years ago. Of course, my nickname became Evel Knievel.
And I got reminded of my lack of x-games skills on a fairly regular basis. And it was only the men that did it, not women.

So maybe in reality all men are assholes?

Edelweiss said:

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At least men do it to your face.

AndCounting said:

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That's a good point. I actually really enjoy a good Z meltdown. In that sense, I can't wait to see another one. I can only hope next time he'll be mic'd up.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Me too. Z meltdowns have been the only thing worth watching the last two years. Remember when he ejected the umpire?

Heeeeeeeee.

sloan peterson said:

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I guess what I said in my email rant was right, that Lou is conducting his retirement/farewell tour, and the Cubs are content to be the Washington Generals to the rest of the league's Globetrotters...

Doc said:

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well...if that was true, the games would still be entertaining...I don't think they will be.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Here's what's going to happen, and everyone get ready to write it down:

This team is going to come out of the box red hot for the next week to ten days. They'll get withing 5 games of the NL Central lead, and Hendry will decide, "hey, we're finally playing well! Let's win this thing!"

The Cubs will get as close as 4.5, but as soon as the trade deadline passes, they'll completely tank and finish 10 games back. Meanwhile, we will have kept all our "tradeable" players.

And . . . scene.

gravedigger said:

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Agree, but just to take this a bit further, they'll actually tease all the way up to the REAL trade deadline, the waiver deadline. That's when they'll tank and it will suck so, so much.

JulieDiCaro said:

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And next season, we'll be stuck with Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, and Xavier Nady in our IF.

Doc said:

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And Josh Vitters. (he's a bust in waiting, I believe.)

gravedigger said:

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Is he a Cubs hitting prospect?

Yeah, then that just goes without saying.

gravedigger said:

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sonofabitch

Edelweiss said:

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The Cubs have already turned down 2 offers for Fontenot, and the Phillies are still hoping to get him. Lou intends to hide him during this series. Theriot says he wants to be traded to a team that will make him the starting shortstop.

AndCounting said:

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The only (slightly) positive in that scenario is that pretty much everyone the Cubs want to trade is guaranteed to clear waivers. No deadline can contain the suckiness.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Post of the day.

Dmband said:

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I have zero confidence in this team getting hot for any stretch, particularly with 4 right out of the gate against philly in philly.

berselius said:

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The series vs Philly is at Wrigley. They played in Philly back in May

Doc said:

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And they miraculously earned a split for that 2 game series in May. Could we expect a split this weekend?

Doc said:

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shit...if that game is in Philly tonight, then I better get my ass going to get to the game before the first pitch.

(They play at Wrigley this weekend.)

:)

plamorte said:

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From my twitter:
Realizing Bieber's increasing popularity & starving for attention, #Cubs SS Ryan Theriot changes hair http://twitpic.com/25k0t6

sloan peterson said:

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So wrong yet sooo right.....

Edelweiss said:

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He needs to lose the facial hair. It looks like a dirty face.

cadarnell said:

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I think the central's pretty weak and we have more of a chance to win it than most people are giving us ... it could really be a lot worse than it is ... yes I am pretty much sober while typing this ....

JulieDiCaro said:

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then you need to start drinking.

cadarnell said:

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I feel like it's my god given right to be stupidly optimistic towards the cubs and I know it's my leagal right to drink ... so it all works it's self out.... year after year after year after ........

FrankS said:

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Oh my God, are you Al in disguise?

Edelweiss said:

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Gravedigger thinks I am Carrie Muskat.

Dmband said:

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My bad B. Four is @ Wrigley, I stand corrected. In that case, we will win one of the four.

Doc- LOL, you better get to the airport man...

JulieDiCaro said:

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After the game thread tonight, I'm off to spend the weekend in Wisconsin. Try not to miss me too much. If someone breaks down, please take comfort in each other.

sloan peterson said:

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"I like Wisconsin"-Lenny from "That Thing You Do!"

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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Eat some cheese curds for me!

plamorte said:

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Not as good as Human Centipede, but worthy: http://blastr.com/2010/07/sharktopu.php

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