A League of Her Own

Cubs Tuesday Headlines: Yes, the Cubs played last night


Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (38) points to a pop-up off the bat of San Diego Padres third baseman Oscar Salazar in the seventh inning during their MLB National League baseball game in San Diego, California September 27, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)


The Cubs did indeed play last night, and they even won. The story last night was pitching, and Carlos Zambrano continued his inhuman run to the end of the year.

Zambrano improved to 10-6 and is now 7-0 with a 1.07 ERA since Aug. 14, the second-best ERA in baseball over that span, trailing only behind the Mariners Felix Hernandez (1.06).

The game was scoreless into the seventh when Alfonso Soriano doubled with one out off Padres starter Tom Stauffer. Blake DeWitt followed with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Manager Mike Quade record is now 20-11, the second-best record in baseball since he took over the team on Aug. 23, behind the Phillies' 24-10 mark.

What inspired Big Z to pitch so well last night? It could've been his mother, who got to see him pitch for the first time.

"I knew she was there and she inspired me," Zambrano said. "I've been pitching here for nine years without my mom and today was special. It was good to see her in the stands and good to get the win."
Did he hear her at all during the game?

"She's totally the opposite of my dad," Zambrano said. "My dad can be in the stands and you'll know it. My mom is quiet and she's more calm. If I had a son, I'd be in the stands clapping and doing all kinds of things for him."


But Gordon Wittenmyer has something more interesting than the game in his column today. Adrian Gonzalez is in the middle of a playoff race in San Diego, but can't escape questions about his free agency after next season. He chatted a bit about Chicago.

''There's definitely a lot of positives about Chicago that if they made an offer, I would be interested in it,'' said Gonzalez, 28, whose ability to hit for power to all fields is one reason he has a career .693 slugging percentage at Wrigley Field (85 plate appearances).

''Chicago's a great town, and they have great fans, and I like the fact that it's a small ballpark. I know the wind can play against you, but it can play for you, too. There's definitely some positives. And my wife loves Chicago, for the shopping.''


So he'll be 29 heading into free agency, with two or three years left at his peak. I'll predict he'll get eight years and a full NTC from the Cubs. And finally, a heart warming story from Japan. And no, it has nothing to do with Fukudome.


Former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton, once referred to as "the adorable redhead" by Piniella, is closing in on Ichiro Suzuki's all-time single season record for hits in the Japanese League. Murton, 28, has 203 hits with nine games remaining, seven shy of tying Suzuki's 210 hits. He's hitting .352 while playing for the Hanshin Tigers after stints with the Cubs, A's and Rockies.


Matt Murton is better than Ichiro! We should've held on to him.


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29 Comments

Cubs Psychologist said:

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So, do we go after Dunn or Gonzalez? Both of them kill in Wrigley, but Gonzalez has a better glove. Should be interesting.

Doc said:

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It's looking more and more likely that unless the Cubs can unload either Fukudome or Zambrano along with most of salary associated with either of those players, they will not have the money available to sign either Gonzalez or Dunn. Luckily for the Cubs, both players have performed very well over the last month or so and may actually help that cause a bit.

HackWilson09 said:

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Carlos Zambrano has been torn apart like some victim in a Hellraiser movie this year.

Then he comes back, and with a smile on his face, goes 7-0 with a 1.07 era in his last 9 games.

I want Big Z to stay in Chicago for the rest of his contract. Not the "ace", not the opening day starter. But I want him around. He's pitching calm and he's pitching smart.

Unload Fukudome? The only way in hell you're going to do that is buy also giving the other team about ten million dollars. But if you believe Hendry can pull off something like that, I have some old vintage Macintosh computers I'd like to sell you. They are antiques!

Doc said:

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Well...then we all need to stop hoping for Adam Dunn in 2011.

Rich Beckman said:

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My money says the Cubs go with Nady at first next year. Dunn and Gonzalez and all the other first basemen end up somewhere else.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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They either stick with Nady or decide to give Hufflepuff a shot. Don't think either option is the best fit.

Doc said:

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Hufflepuff is an interesting issue now...

He is out of options, so if the Cubs don't want him on the team, then they will have to DFA him. My feelings about Huffy have changed substantially after the 1st half of 2009 when he was given an opportunity to play almost every day and pretty much flopped on his face. He's old too. My guess is that they Cubs will attempt to re-sign Nady. If that fails, Huffy will get another chance.

Unless the Cubs can unload Fukudome.

HackWilson09 said:

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I see no future in Hoffpuair.

Well, if Dunn is supposedly the only FA option right now, and the other big names have to be obtained in trade and then re-signed expensively anyway... Here's an idea that has been mentioned nowhere:

Sign Victor Martinez and put him at first base.

He's a free agent, and he wants 4 years. His catching days seem over, but has anyone seen him play first? Can't be worse than Dunn. His offensive numbers are very good. Similar to Adrian Gonzalez, but with fewer home runs. Good contact hitter, switch-hits, and will cost probably less than half of what Adrian will in years and money.

Doc said:

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It's not a matter of having a future with Hoffpauir...

It's a matter of holding down the fort until payroll is under control in another year or so. If payroll is going to be reduced next year, then it is going to be a real tall order for the Cubs a) to add a significant bat and b) compete for a playoff spot. Keeping Hoffpauir would be a short term solution until 2011. The first base market will be significantly crappier than this year, but the Cubs might have no choice with a $130 million payroll (remember, they are already paying out almost $100 million to 8 players that are under contract for 2011).

HackWilson09 said:

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Adam Dunn is an oaf with a glove of granite and the footwork of three-toed sloth. He strikes out over 150 times a year and barely eclipses 100 rbis every year despite his 40 home runs. Essentially, as a hitter, you have a guy who hits about like Sammy Sosa did in 2004, but with a tad more patience. And oh, yeah. He's old now too, and he will only decline with every season he plays on his 4-year contract.

He hits left-handed, he is patient, and he hits 450-foot home runs with regularity. BFD.

The Cubs are probably not likely to contend next year, as they continue to grow and develop young players while watching the likes of Ramirez and Soriano eat up payroll while fizzling out to the pathetic ends of their careers.

In two years? There is hope. There is a huge crop of first baseman, and Adrian Gonzalez is the crown jewel. A .300 hitter with great power who rarely strikesout, and oh yeah, he has a gold glove and everybody loves him.

So... Do you know who the Cubs are? Do you know what they will do?

The wrong thing, of course. They always do.

Start shopping for your Adam Dunn jerseys, all you idiots of Wrigleyville.

Sorry, I can't hide the way I feel.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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No need to hide those feelings, Hack. Let it fly!!

sloan peterson said:

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Too bad Hack's so shy....

Teebob2000 said:

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Mr. Happy-Talk, spreading sunshine wherever he goes...

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Since people have been entertaining the idea of Ozzie to the Northside, how come no one has entertained the notion of possibly joining the Prince Fielder sweepstakes? Just a thought to stir up conversation. Speak on it!!

sloan peterson said:

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NO,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no!!!!!!!!!

HackWilson09 said:

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Absolutely on both counts.

For manager, we need a loudmouth who has berated everything that is sacred to the Cubs and their fans. Let's be thinking "obnoxious" when we choose our next manager.

And as far as Fielder goes, yeah, I've been thinking that most of the players jerseys are too small. We need to be getting fatter. Fat guys age really well, but for the occasional life-threatening heart problems.

I'm looking forward to buying Carlos Silva a giant porterhouse covered with bacon after this season is over.

sloan peterson said:

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I shall tell a cautionary tale about another large slugger whom I shall call Mo Vaughn, & a baseball team I shall call the Angels. Mo Vaughn was a free agent,with very good hitting percentages. The Angels were under their previous management,and felt that all that stood between them and the division was the need of a slugger. The Angels sign Mo; he shows up heavier than previous. The very first game he plays as an Angel, he falls chasing a foul pitch,injures himself,and is never the slugger again, at least with the Angels. The Angels put up with him and eventlly get rid of Vaughn. The moral of the story is: be careful of large sluggers coming into the free agent market......

Doc said:

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A couple things about Fielder....

First, I believe the Brewers are going to be asking for way more than the Cubs would ever want to trade.

Second, and I believe this is the thought by a lot of teams, Prince may have peeked already. The reason I say that is that players of his physique tend to have a rather short life expectancy in the Major Leagues. Even "plump" players who have lasted a long time tend to have their middle and latter years spent in mediocrity.

Third, he's going to want a huge contract for a relatively long span. Because of the reasons I posted above, I think that would be rather risky.


So, Prince? No.

berselius said:

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Fielder's top 10 PECOTA Comps:

Johnny Mize (HOF)
Mark McGwire (should be HOF)
Harmon Killebrew (HOF)
Mark Teixiera
Jim Thome (borderline HOF)
Fred McGriff (borderline HOF)
Eddie Murray (HOF)
Mo Vaughn
Eddie Matthews (HOF)
Orlando Cepeda (HOF)

Many of those guys weren't known for their slenderness, especially Killebrew.

His weight makes people overlook that he is a damn good hitter and is still only 26. Even if you look at the 2 most pessimistic comps that people throw around for him (Vaughn and his father, Cecil Fielder), both of them put up great numbers into their early 30s. I'd rather go with the history here. We shouldn't compare Fielder to all fat baseball players, we should compare him to all fat baseball players who can hit the shit out of the baseball and post 400+ OBPs. The same goes for Dunn.

secdelahc said:

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Now that Beaker (Murton) is rocking the Japanese league, the Cubs are going to go out and sign him for $34.7 billion. And I'll be able to bust out that jersey again.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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True!!Could we swap him for Soriano?

Doc said:

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He's 8 hits away from breaking Ichiro's Japanese league record for hits in a season.

Fukudome couldn't do that...so why did we sign him?

sloan peterson said:

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Because Ichiro was with Seattle, and Fukudome looked good?

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Good question...We were hoping he would be the next Ichiro. More like, the next Hee Sop Choi!

Doc said:

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I think most people would be surprised to know that many of Fukudome's stats this season are better than both Marlon Byrd and Tyler Colvin.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Yes, I am surprised. However, he picked this crappy season to be somewhat consistent instead of the two prior in which he was garbaage!!

Cubs Psychologist said:

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Hopefully, those stats will entice somewhat to take a chance on Fuk!!

Doc said:

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It's possible...I figure the Cubs will have to pick up some of that contract...if they had to pay out only $6 million to Fukudome next season, I would consider that a victory. He doesn't expect to plan into the Cubs future plans (post 2011), so dumping him now as part of the rebuilding project would be logical.

secdelahc said:

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Is it game time yet? Because if it is, then I'll be out of class.

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