A League of Her Own

Saturday Cubs Headlines & Live Game Thread

As if facing the prospect of getting swept by the lowly Dodgers wasn't enough, it looks like we're going to end up with these two idiots calling our game today:

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Tweedle Dee And Tweedle Dum

In case you want to keep your tv on mute during the game, I'll give you a quick run down of what you'll be missing from the braintrust in the broadcast booth:

Joe Buck: blah blah blah backhanded compliment aimed at the Cubs blah blah blah St. Louis Rules blah blah blah Cubs suck blah blah blah I hate the Cubs.

Tim McCarver: blah blah blah completely obvious observation blah blah blah something unintelligible blah blah blah non-sequitur blah blah blah Jim Palmer story.

Luckily (?) for us, FOX Sports has a vertible conrucopia of Cubs talk for us today. First up, Ken Rosenthal tells us to look to the future:

Believe it or not, there is hope for the Cubs.

Not this season -- don't be ridiculous. But the Cubs, who visit the Dodgers this weekend (MLB on FOX, Saturday, 4:10 p.m. ET), actually will be in position to rebound quickly.

Money is coming off the payroll. Young players are on the rise. Too many bad contracts remain, and the Cubs do not figure to gain much flexibility if they assume large chunks of salary to move players such as right-hander Carlos Zambrano and outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. But let's not forget the big picture.
 

The Cubs' $146.6 million payroll not only is the third highest in the majors, but the highest in the NL Central by more than $50 million. No other team enjoys such a financial advantage over its division rivals, and the Central is largely mediocre. There simply is no excuse for the Cubs to remain down for long.

Of course, there is no excuse for this season's debacle either, which is why Lou Piniella almost certainly will not return as manager and why Jim Hendry could be out as GM.

Brilliant analysis, Ken. I heard the same thing from my 7-year old this morning. Also, Jim Hendry will see you your "the Cubs suck this season" and raise you a "I promise we'll win next season."

But general manager Jim Hendry said he doesn't expect the Cubs will be in a rebuilding mode in 2011.

"Anything we do I will try to set ourselves up for the future," Hendry said. "We're not ever going to go into a season thinking we're not going to contend. In our mindset, we should've been in the thick of contention now.

"(But) we're starting to get better young players come up. A lot more of those guys are going to be coming the next two or three years. But it's not like 'Oh, we're going to be young a couple years and can't win.' "

I sure as hell hope that the guys coming up are as good as you think they are (I can't help but remember how you deemed both Patterson and Pie "untouchable" in a couple different off-seasons), because God knows we're not going to have the money to pay any free agents for a long, long time.

Speaking of not having money, Derrek Lee is trying to do the right thing. Sometimes, I wish he wasn't so nice.

LOS ANGELES -- The Cubs are about to end a disappointing first half, and then will have to endure the inevitable sell-off that goes along with being an underachieving team with a heavy payroll.

"I've been on 100-loss teams," Derrek Lee said Friday. "Baseball is not always easy."

The Cubs aren't on pace to lose 100 games, but they certainly don't look like they can come close to being .500 at this pace. They're 38-49 after a 9-7 loss to the Dodgers on Friday, after Ted Lilly was pounded in his second straight ineffective outing.

Is Lee content with staying with a Cubs team that doesn't figure to contend in the second half?

"Yeah," he said. "I signed a contract here for five years. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'll honor the contract."

Other times, I remember he was on the 2003 Marlins and think it's karma that he stay here and suffer along with the rest of us.

Meanwhile, the Rangers have their eye on the X-Man. That was a stupid deal anyway. Take my bench player, please:

Now that Justin Smoak is on his way to Seattle, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that the Rangers are looking at Chicago's Xavier NadyChris Davis has already been called up from Triple-A to take over first base for Texas, though Davis was sent down in April due to his unimpressive .556 OPS in 53 plate appearances that necessitated Smoak's call-up earlier this season.

Nady, meanwhile, has a line of .233/.305/.361 line in 151 PA for the Cubs as he tries to recover from major elbow surgery last year.  Nady is the last man on the depth chart in a crowded Cubs outfield, and has about $1.6MM still owed to him from the one-year deal he signed with Chicago last January.  Nady can earn $2.05MM more due to games-played incentives, which the Rangers would also have to take into consideration should they have a more prominent role in mind for the veteran.

Finally today, Bruce Miles has the low down on Tom Ricketts' comments in Iowa.

"The first half of the year has been disappointing for every fan, the Ricketts family included," Tom told Randy. "The off-season moves were very strong: Marlon Byrd is our all-star. Getting him was a good decision, but I don't think anyone could really have predicted the difficulty we've had this year. I've talked to thousands of fans many right here in Des Moines. There's nothing I can tell them that they don't know. We're watching closely how things are going on the field."

Asked if the Cubs would be buyers or sellers by July 31, Ricketts told the Register: "That's in (GM Jim Hendry's) court."

Randy reports that Ricketts would not directly address the future of Iowa manager and Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. "He's wonderful for the organization," Ricketts said. "A Hall of Famer helping our kids develop for the future -- that's terrific."

A few thoughts:

  1. Tom, you may want to bring a bunch of Cubs bloggers into your front office, because most of us COULD and DID foresee the difficulties this team is facing. In fact, we saw this train wreck coming from a mile away. It seems the only ones who didn't anticipate this team being saddled with a whole host of problems were the people in your organization.
  2. Why would you leave the guy who got us into this mess in charge of getting us out? YOU'RE HIS BOSS. You make the decisions. Tell him to sell! Do you remember at all the "Rich Harden Incident?" You know, the one where Hendry didn't trade Harden (despite rumors of many offers) because he still thought we "had a chance to get back into it" well into August? The one where we didn't have a chance? And Harden wound up walking? And we got nothing for him? THAT"S the guy you're leaving in charge?

Game time: 3:10 pm CT

Channel: FOX

Pitchers: Tom Gorzelanny v. John Ely

Lineup:

Theiot 2B
Colvin RF
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
Byrd CF
Soriano LF
Castro SS
Soto C
Gorzelanny P

I swear to God, Lou is trying to drive me away by batting Theriot leadoff all the time.

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26 Comments

berselius said:

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Hear, hear, Julie. Most of us knew this team was not contending without a good measure of luck.

AndCounting said:

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Still, no one predicted that Lee and Ramirez would be the weak links in this chain, and that's exactly what's happened. The Cubs got that luck drizzled all over them in the way Carlos Silva, Marlon Byrd, Soriano, Soto, and Colvin have produced. Lee and Ramirez, though, were surprises.

I do give everyone who predicted Zambrano's public lynching a lot of credit, though.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Disagree. Mant of us doubted Ramirez was fully healthy and wanted to trade Lee in the off-season because of his increasing streakiness as he gets older. I've maintained for almost two years now that Lee doesn't hit when it matters. Did I predict it? No, but if you'd told me Lee and Ramirez would be problems, I wouldn't have been surprised.

Rock Mamola said:

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The way Aramis has struggled this season was not predictable. A .250 avg is predictable, but now below .200.

Lee seems to have always struggled in the first half every season as a Cub, but then finds a way to turn it into a decent year at the finish.

JulieDiCaro said:

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he finds a way to turn it around once everyone else starts hitting. he's never EVER the one to put everyone on his back when the team is struggling. it's like he's dependent on everyone else to do well so he can just blend into the background.

Rock Mamola said:

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The bigger problem is there is no one on this Cubs team that seems to want to put it on their back.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I wouldn't put them on my back, either. I'd get a restraining order against this team.

gravedigger said:

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Post of the day

JulieDiCaro said:

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and now DLee is 2-2 today. he's always hated me.

AndCounting said:

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I don't think Aramis's downfall has been health this year, though (as opposed to last). No one said Ramirez would just suddenly begin to suck. And his sudden productivity is just as unexpected, but a lot more consistent with the hitter he has been throughout his career.

I also don't buy the Lee doesn't hit when it matters argument. Besides, before the team's playoff chances collapsed, he probably would have shot down almost any trade--and you can't blame that on Hendry, because Lee's became a 10-5 guy after the '08 season, giving him full-on NTC privileges anyway.

I guess my point is, you can't just pick and choose predictions we made that kinda sorta proved true without also looking at the other ones that didn't go so well (Silva will suck, Byrd won't be worth the money, Bradley will play better).

I agree with Ricketts.

Rock Mamola said:

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What's with Jamey Carroll's intro MX? That Eminem track is everywhere....and it's not even close to being HOTT!!!

Rock Mamola said:

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Love how McCarver explains how important it is to hit the cut off man....yet if Kemp hit the cut off man, run scores anyway.

Then explains Soto's HR came off a first pitch.

What a boob!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Woooooooo! Soto with a 2-run shot! 3-0 Cubs!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Santo on Theriot's latest TOOTBLAN: "What is WRONG with this man?!?!?"

Hahahahahahaha.

gravedigger said:

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Did he really say that? Awesome./

Edelweiss said:

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Theriot is upset because no team has inquired about him. He wants to go to a contender, and be the one the team is built around. Dream on.....In the meantime, no less than 6 teams are trying to get his smaller, less expensive team-mate because they are looking for temporary fixes in the infield. Ryno's nose is out of joint.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Lou tossed for rightly arguing a terrible, TERRIBLE call.

sloan peterson said:

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It seems as if the umps wanted to let the dodgers back in the game-the 2 runs were caused by the bad call, and Sorianos error.

gravedigger said:

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Julie, somehow you and I have come to the understanding over the last couple of years that we disagree a lot. However, lately, I'm realizing that it was never really true, or that we're starting to agree more. Pretty much everything you've posted, I've been thinking "that's exactly what I've wanted to convey, but have been too drunk to do so."

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hee hee heee.

Too bad you didn't hear me call into the postgame show with George Offman.

gravedigger said:

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Oh man. Are there audio or transcript somewhere?

gravedigger said:

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I think part of this has come from the fact that I am enamored by the stat guys over at mad dog's site.

However.

As much as I admire that, I can't, myself, do it. And that makes me feel cheap. So I fall back on whatever sounds right, which is what you're saying. So rock on.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Best. Endorsement. Ever.

JulieDiCaro said:

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eh--it wasn't that inflammatory. i just went off about Zambrano again. George said he wasn't sure Z could set foot in the Cubs lockerroom again, and I pointed out all the players that have come out and said they have no problem with him.

Edelweiss said:

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Of course they like him. He is one of the guys in the Dickball video. (Of course, he wasn't strong enough to hit the Nerf ball, but did a good job on the ping-pong ball.)

Edelweiss said:

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If my first husband had said that, we might still be together. Why are all the sweet, thoughtful guys always gay?

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