Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Aaron Heilman is a lot of things. He's a flexible pitcher, he's coming to the Cubs, and he's had success in the past. What he is NOT, however, is any sort of steal for the Cubs. Rather, the Cubs actually seem to have gotten fleeced on this last trade, sending Cedeno and recently acquired Garrett Olsen to the Mets for Heilman.
Let's break it down into the main components:
#1. Cedeno. With Aaron Miles on the team, they already have a Cedeno clone. Miles can play all the infield positions, and can probably hit better than .269. However, since the Cubs are actually looking at only Theriot, Fontenot, or Miles in the reserve infield, they have very little depth in comparison to last year where they had 5 reserve infielders who could all play. Rest is a good thing, you know.
#2. Olsen. Olsen actually looks to have a lot of potential. He's young, has good stuff in the minors, and really just needed a change of scenery to break through. I don't think New York is the place to do it, but you never know. He definately has more upside than...
#3. Heilman. This guy is 30, coming off of a terrible season, and is apparently a whiny bitch. He wanted to start, so he's going to the Cubs...a club that is even MORE stacked with starters? There's a great idea. Heilman has topped 100 IP only once in his career (to contrast, Zambrano tops 100 IP once a week). Expect Heilman to work out of the bullpen and be a poor man's Scott Eyre (the bad kind).
Way to get fleeced, North Siders.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
In Chicago, we have all sorts of hype. There's hype for the Bears rookies, hype for baseball season, and even hype for the playoffs. Frankly, I think we need a color-coding system. Something that lets fans know just how big a deal something is. I propose the first Sports Hype Alert system. Breakdown is as follows:
Green - Nothing to see here, move along.
Sounds promising in theory, but years of harsh reality have shown us that it's just not going to happen. For some of us (non-Cubs), we immediately equate a Cubs post-season appearance to a Green rating, but for others, it gets a different color. More common appearances are "Bears Draft a QB" and "Really Expensive and Talented Free Agent is Available (But obviously not coming to town)."
Blue - This could pan out in theory.
A little better than Green, because we (stupidly) allow ourselves to believe that there is a possibility (albeit slim) of something happening. The Blue alert generally comes after a team makes an unusual signing (Swisher to the Sox, Aaron Miles to the Cubs...etc) that is obviously less than ideal. Even so, we believe that there's a chance, if ever so slight, that this could work out. Of course, when the move is a little more advantageous, we move to Yellow.
Yellow - Things are somewhat promising.
This is the usual chunk of Chicago misery. This is the "Derrick Rose can lead the Bulls out of the gutter" fantasy. Is Rose good? No doubt. Are the Bulls good? Not a chance. Still, we hold out hope that Rose can somehow make Deng, Noch and crew play to their potential. And we believe it every year. Other notable entries for the Yellow label: "Soriano can be a leadoff hitter", and "The Bears defense should rebound this year." They're possible, sure, but after a few years of non-results, reality sets in.
Orange - There's a pretty good chance here...could this really work?
Somewhere along the line, some good news and hope manage to creep into Chicago sports. Most recently, the "Can Orton be the Bears QB" issue spawned a slew of believers and non-believers. When in the Orange area, some of these things come true...in some form. Orton did lead the Bears as their QB, but his production wasn't Warner-esque. Is that enough, or do we demand more? The Orange rating provides that little bit of room. Other entries: "Can the Cubs actually do something in the postseason (Cubs fans only)," "Can Danks and Floyd be #2 and #3 starters," "Can the Cubs get Peavy," and "Are the Blackhawks legit?"
Red - Holy shit! Really!? Holy Shit!
Although rare, there are times where things really do seem to swing in our favor. During the White Sox post-season run last season, we (Sox fans, anyways) entered the Red rating. Not only was the hype crazy with the whole Alexei homerun against the Twins in the extra game, but the Blackout was crazy. Granted, the Sox lost in the postseason, but at some point after game 2, the rating dropped from Red to Yellow when we realized just how good the Rays were. Likewise, when the Bulls got the 1st pick and subsequently Derrick Rose? Red. Other (brief) entries: "Cubs acquire Rich Harden," "Carlos Quentin is amazing," and "Matt Forte is ridiculous."
Let's try and keep to this system, eh? At least that way, I can look at news, see the color, and know if I need to give a shit. Here are some basic examples:
"Cubs Sign Milton Bradley" - Orange
"Sox get bevy of prospects for Swisher" - Green
"Bulls have fully healthy starting five" - Blue
"Bears plan to draft a 'Playmaker'" - Yellow
And so on and so forth. Get with the program, people!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I love how the White Sox are slowly phasing out their dependency on slow, slugging first basemen. Then, they go and fill their minor leagues with them. Now, they acquire more of them. Today's addition to the pile is Seth Loman, an ex-Angels (minor league) first baseman.
Interestingly, Loman seems to have a bit of a "gap" in his production. Most notably, 2006, where he hit .206 before magically rebounding in 2007 to hit .323. In 2008, he hit .350, slugging .709. Oh, and did I mention that his homerun totals went from 4 (2006) to 9 (2007) and then to 19 (2008)? Seems somewhat odd for a rapidly growing individual...
Well, 'roids or not, he was selected as a Top Independant League Prospect by Baseball America after being released by the Angels, and we like getting ex-Angels players (thanks for Bobby Jenks!) as of late. Here's hoping he pans out and got good all by himself instead of having some "artificial help."
Monday, January 26, 2009
You know, for all the Cubbie faithful fretting about destroying the farm system to get Jake Peavy, no one seems to realize Ben Sheets is available. Not only is he available as a Free Agent (read: only money), but he also would come much cheaper than he should - a great risk/reward pickup for any owner. Currently, the only team that seems to be talking to Sheets is the Texas Rangers, and even the Rangers are looking for a lowball deal. Incentive-based, sure, but cheap is cheap.
In comparing the stats of Peavy and Sheets, Peavy is marginally better in terms of overall performance, and has a much healthier past. Assuming that the Cubs will grind whichever pitcher they get into the dirt (because, hey, that's what the Cubs do), Sheets seems the more cost-effective choice.
Sheets, over the past five seasons, has an ERA of 3.24 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5-to-1. Absolutely filthy. At the same time, the past five years have six trips to the DL. At the beginning of September, Sheets had a 13-7 record with a 2.82 ERA. Then, unfortunately (but expected), Sheets got hurt. He got shelled after trying to come back too soon, and ballooned his ERA to 3.09 on the season (still nothing to complain about!). To contrast, Peavy (who stayed healthy) went 10-11 with an 2.85 ERA.
Comparing their best "realized potential" in starting by taking their two best years (note: a little tipped in Sheets' favor, but the injuries don't give a huge sample size), it's pretty similar in terms of what both of them can do:
Sheets' best year: 2004. 12-14 with a 2.70 ERA, 264 K's and 0.983 (!) WHIP .
Peavy's best year: 2007 (arguable). 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA, 240 K's, and 1.061 WHIP.
For Tom Ricketts, a good show of faith is to go out and land Sheets. He'll come cheap, bolster an already overly-stacked rotation (Zambrano, Sheets, Harden, Dempster, Lily?!), and if things don't work out, at least he didn't cost that much. Oh, and you can always get Peavy anyways, just for the hell of it.
...I hate the Cubs so much.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Courtesy of loyal Dong reader Raimster, we get this gem: Brad Maynard and Adrian Peterson (the Chicago one, not the amazing one) helped load pizzas as part of the Pizza4Patriots initiative to get a shitload of pizzas to Iraq by July 4th.
“When I got the call, I didn’t hesitate,” Maynard said. “For everything they’re doing over there for us, it pales in comparison. This is the least I could do for them.”
Let's think about what he actually did here: Pizza4Patriots made the pizzas. DHL delivered them. The punter put them on the back of a truck.
Man, he must really love this country.
A few words from Raimster himself:
In other news, I found this gem - a Brad Maynard blog? I have no idea, but it apparently didn't last that long. Here's hoping Brad (or whoever the hell that is) picks up his blogging post soon.
Friday, January 23, 2009
To buy the Cubs, it takes $900 million. NINE-HUNDRED-MILLION DOLLARS. Good lord that's a lotta money! When you think about it, that's a pretty excessive investment for a team that's best known for losing. It's a waste of money in the extreme.
Here's some more useful things you can buy for $900 million:
Half of the New Yankee Stadium
3 brand new renovated Soldier Fields
4,283 naturally retarded ostriches
90 million copies of The Last Dragon
Repair Bulgaria's trade defecit - twice!
32 more years of Alex Rodriguez (at the current rate, no less!)
180 more years of Devin Hester
225 "I'm sorry for totally raping that girl" rings.
More than enough money to have Polka wiped off the face of the earth
36 billion game credits for that 6-player X-Men Arcade game
Some non-Rose talent for the Bulls
14 different operations for Mickey Rourke's face
Man, someone get that family an investment agent, stat!
BREAKING: Ricketts family is picked as the winning bidder for the Cubs.
I was really hoping that the asshole business mogul that hadn't seen a baseball game since the negro leagues would win out, but it looks like the Cubs are getting the pick of the litter. Really, if I were a Cubs fan, I couldn't be happier with the results here.
First of all, Tom Ricketts (the one with the winning bid) is actually a Cubs fan, not just some asshole who wanted to make a buck. He grew up in Wrigleyville, watched the Cubs on TV, and probably had lots of sex with men in Boystown. He's all Chicago.
Second, the stadium comes with the Cubs. All the "amenities" are secured, such as the field falling apart, suing Under Armor over ads, and the trough to piss in. Hot chicks are a lock for Summer, and Ronnie Woo Woo will still know where to go to be annoying.
Finally, Ricketts is an owner who will let management do what's best for the team, and not meddle inbetween because they play favorites or have a certain style when doling out money (see: Jerry Reinsdorf, Mark Cuban, Steinbrenners). He seems very down to earth with his wealth, and will likely shell out for whatever Piniella thinks he needs to win.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
According to Ron Turner, the Bears offense needs a playmaker. According to the rest of the world, the Bears offense needs less of Ron Turner. Since Ron Turner apparently has more say about the offense than we do (...damn), we need to listen to his suggestions to get a big "Playmaker Receiver."
What could a big-name receiver possibly do here? We can't even utilize the talent we already have, and the Bears have never been a big gunslinging team like the Packers, Cowboys, or any team Kurt Warner has played on. We already have a deep threat in Hester, but we just can't utilize him. Is it because he's too slow to get open? Please.
The real issue, and I hate to say it, lies with Kyle "Neckbeard" Orton. When it comes to passing 15 yards or less, Orton is ideal for our offense. He plays smart, his short passes are accurate, he doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and he's generally fast enough in his decisions to make our offensive line look better than they really are.
The problem, really, is when Orton has to throw more than 15 yards. Unlike Grossman, Orton doesn't throw the wounded duck passes nearly as often (resulting in the fabled Retarded Ostrich), but he can't really air it out like Grossman could either. The deep ball is not served in Ortonia - his long balls are underthrown, wobbly, and generally off-target. As a result, the Bears don't (successfully) take many downfield chances.
If Turner wants a bigger receiving threat, he needs to start with the QB. If there's no deep pass to stretch the field, it means that the only consistent passing options Orton has are short dump-offs to Forte and quick outs to Olsen. As a matter of fact, I think I just described 70% of Kyle's completed passes in 2008.
The only available receiver I can think of that can turn any shitty pass into gold is Anquan "Team Player" Boldin. If, for some reason, the Bears decide to throw the rest of their cap room at Boldin, far be it from me to complain.
Otherwise, certain names come to mind as possible replacements (Matt "Brady Lite" Cassell, Byron Leftwich, Kurt Warner), but then you run into trouble with protecting the QB - does anyone remember how much Chris Chandler got railed when he was here? Spending more money/players on someone who may not be able to adjust to a shitty gameplan (see: Cassell) could be disastrous.
Please, Bears, play it safe. Draft a WR in the first round to make yourselves happy, and then spend the rest of the picks on O-Line and defensive players (at least you can draft those well). Hell, draft a QB late to pretend that you're going to groom him to compete with Caleb Hanie - I don't care. Hopefully, 2009 will bring more hope than this year did.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
As far as I can tell, Frank Thomas is probably going to be forced to hang up the cleats this season - just shy of 2,500 hits. No one seems to want him after last year's ineffectiveness between Toronto and Oakland. Thomas still wants to play, ever vigilant. His ability to actually MOVE has been severely limited (let us not forget his boot-based excitement in the 2005 season), but the man can probably still hit the ball. Frank is also one of the only players to publicly advocate steroid testing and basically say "I want all those bastards who made me look normal to pay. I was and am 1,000 times better than everyone else - they needed to cheat just to stay the course with me."
At the same time, it also looks like the Sox aren't really making a gung-ho push to win the division. We got a "stop gap" pitcher in Colon, but really, we made no major acquisitions to help us during this season. Viciedo, Flowers, and the rest of the gang will contribute in the coming years, but they're not going to make our 2009 squad. If anything, this year is going to be a bridge where the old get out, and the young get in.
...so why not sign Thomas for a last hurrah?
Sure, Frank probably is still bitter at Reinsdorf and the rest of Sox management, but he always said that he loved the city and the fans (not to mention that desperation does a lot to change people's minds). There's no reason Thomas couldn't come back on a cheap salary as a pinch hitter. It's really a win-win for both sides: Frank gets to give a final farewell to the game, as well as rack up some additional stats in garbage time. Fans will come to see Big Frank for a last hurrah, and Sox management can help patch up their rocky relationship with some friendliness for the man in his time of need. A happy Frank is productive at the plate and in the clubhouse - not something to be overlooked.
Hell, there's even the possibility that Frank can PLAY, meaning that he might be USEFUL (I hadn't really considered this as an option). Go on Kenny - put out the olive branch and bring us back our hometown hero. It would certainly go well with your trend of acquiring washed up free agents...cough...cough...
So here's an interesting blurb from his mayorness himself, Richard Daley:
"We should have a second NFL team in Chicago. If San Francisco has two, New York has two, Florida has three teams … and when you take Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, they have three teams there in that region, we could easily support a second pro football team."
Really? Does anyone else think that's a crock of shit?
Look at it this way:
#1. Where the hell would they play? With the Bears' official "home" being Soldier Field, where would this new Chicago team play? In the event that both teams would have a "home" game, it might get a little messy in scheduling. Likewise, having any other team call Soldier Field a home other than the Bears is a bit of a punch in the stomach to Bears faithful.
#2. Fan base. This city loves the Bears EVEN MORE THAN THE CUBS. And dear lord does Chicago love the Cubs. I just don't think that a new team would get the support it would need to survive. Any name given would be bastardized (e.g., "Chicago Intellectuals" becomes "Chicago Homosexuals" ...etc), and with our current bevy of sports teams, I just don't know if there's enough room in our hearts to cheer for ANOTHER team. Oh, and most importantly, the reason that the Sox/Cubs thing works is because of the rivalry. I get the feeling that the new Chicago team would be treated like "The Baby Bears" or some other "Golly we wish we could be as good as the Bears but we'll give it our best shot" sort of crap. You can't have venomous rivalry for a team like that.
#3. Previous failures. You know, this isn't the first case of a new Chicago football team. The Blitz (USFL) and Enforcers (XFL) once toyed with making us give a damn, but with no success. Hell, the Chicago Rush (AFL) won the whole damn thing in 2001 and no one gives a shit about them. Will putting a team in the "Official NFL Family" really make us pay more attention?
#4. Agony. For the sake of Chicago, I don't think we can handle having another bad football team. When ONLY the Bears are terrible in the Winter, it gives us that brief "Ah, what a relief" when we only have one disappointing team instead of the two we usually have in October (the Bulls can't be disappointing - we expect nothing. Plus, the Hawks are actually good, so they cancel it out). Now imagine two bad football teams here. I just don't think I could handle the misery!
Throw in a couple of intangibles (like how we're still trying to get that Olympic bid with a fucked up transit system and nowhere to play the damn games), and this is starting to look like a lot more trouble than it's worth. Instead of a whole new team, can't we just get a few winning ones? Spend all the money that would have gone to the new Chicago team on Julius Peppers and some O-Line help. The city thanks you.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
And with that, Bobby Jenks just got himself a well deserved raise. After providing the only stability in the bullpen for the past four years (Matt Thornton is a close second), Jenks gets the payday he's had coming since 2005 with a $5.6 million deal for one year. Unfortunately, Jenks' time in Chicago looks to be about finished.
$5.6 million for one year is hardly cheap, but when you figure that the odds of Bobby getting dealt at the trade deadline are really high, it's not surprising he didn't get a long term deal. The only way Bobby sticks around is if the Sox really perform well this year, in which case we acquire a washed up player (I hear Roberto Alomar is available...again...) and then figure out to do with Bobby after the season.
Here's hoping Jenks sticks around - or if he can't, we at least get a legit OF or SP prospect.
There's a commonly understood fact about baseball, and that is that the Oakland A's know when to hold em and when to fold em. This ability is magnified by 1,000 when dealing with pitchers, and also enables them to extract prospects from nothingness. Case in point: Rich Harden's torn rotator cuff.
Let's look at the facts: Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Dan Haren, and Rich Harden were all once considered aces in any pitching staff. As Oakland moved pitchers, there was an interesting trend. Let's follow down the line here, shall we?
Mark Mulder: After the 2004 season, Mulder goes to St. Louis for Dan Haren, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero. He has one good year in 2005, and then in 2006 had what appeared to be minor rotator cuff problems. Mulder took a quick trip to the DL, and has since pitched a combined 104 innings in three years with his BEST ERA being 7.14. The Cardinals recently announced that they're buying out his contract.
Barry Zito: Zito was an absolute machine for the A's through 2006, when there were concerns that his curveball was losing its bite. Billy Beane probably should have traded Zito at the deadline (there were rumors that the A's would have gotten Lastings Milledge), but whatever. Zito signs with the Giants for a then-record $126-million contract...and sucks. His first season going from the AL to NL (normally a way to make a pitcher BETTER), Zito's ERA shot up from 3.83 to 4.53. In 2008, it ballooned to 5.15. The Giants probably wish they could get this one back.
Tim Hudson: If there's a way to reverse the Oakland curse, Hudson serves to be the example of the antidote. After five dominating years in Oakland, Hudson was sent to the Braves for Charles Thomas, Dan Meyer, and Juan Cruz. Hudson had a great first year, and then started the slide with a 4.86 ERA in 2006. Somehow, some way, the Braves recognized and fixed the problem, and Hudson rebounded in 2007. Unfortunately, as with the A's, if the pitcher just doesn't "lose his stuff", he gets hurt. Case in point, Hudson got Tommy John Surgery towards the end of last season, missed the rest of 2008, and will likely miss most of 2009.
Dan Haren: A much shorter story on this one, but Haren - who was acquired for Mulder back in the day - was sent to the Diamondbacks for Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Greg Smith, Dana Eveland, and Chris Carter. Rest assured, at least one of those guys will turn out to be something useful. As for Haren, he pitched well last season, his first season with the new team. Then, strangely, towards the end of the season, Haren seemed to be fatigued...or even - gasp - HURT. Jury is still out on this one, but expect a dip in the stats this season.
Finally, that brings us full circle to Harden. Thus far, 3/4 ain't bad for Billy Beane, especially when they crash and burn like Mulder. Tell me if this sounds familiar - Harden pitches well for the Cubs in his first year with a new team. Then, at the start of year two, has a rotator cuff injury. Couple this with the Cubs' propensity to destroy pitchers by grinding them into dust. Glimpse into the future: Harden's recovery is rushed, Mark Prior part deux.
Oh, and Sean Gallagher becomes an All-Star pitcher who is then traded just a year before he craps out...yadda yadda yadda and the cycle goes on.
Moral of the story? Stay the hell away from the A's.
Monday, January 19, 2009
So here's a move that I didn't expect. The Cubs just sent Felix Pie, their ex-CF of the future, to the Orioles for two lottery tickets. It makes sense for the Cubs to say, "OK, Pie sucks let's get rid of him," but it's entirely another to trade him without getting an immediate return. Pie is - contrary to the image above - the only other fielding CF not named Reed Johnson. If anyone thinks that Fukudome can cover ground in CF, you are sorely mistaken. Not the best idea in terms of the depth, but trading him to the Orioles - where he might have been useful in one of 3,000 proposed Brian Roberts packages - is also unusual.
In return, the Cubs get Olsen (young AAA/ML with future potential) and Williamson (class A reliever). Neither are really going to get the job done this year. Unless Olsen is really some sort of raw talent that needs just needs a nice trip to the North Side (his career stats say he's a Homer Bailey type - amazing in the minors, but can't make the transition). Even if Olsen pans out this year, he's not going to be starting. Sean Marshall has been waiting for that 5th starter spot for a small eternity (and likely will outperform Olsen in ST), so it seems that the Cubs are making a "future" move. Expect Olsen to "compete" for a job, but not to win it. Maybe one more season in the minors (barring a rotation injury) before getting a full-fledged call up.
Williamson is really more of a toss-in than anything else. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of information about him or his ability, other than that he had a ~3.00 ERA in A ball. For Cubs fans everywhere, you've gotta hope that Reed Johnson stays healthy and that this one doesn't come back to bite in the ass.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Just when you think that the Cubs faithful have put '08 behind them (like the last 99 times), they go out and pull something like this:
In 18 starts he'd posted a 10-3 record and 2.84 ERA, but after the break there was a noticeble difference in the mercurial hurler. In his final 12 starts he went on to put up a 4-3 record, which isn't horrible or anything, but an ERA of 5.80 wasn't exactly anything to be proud of. Not to mention his WHIP was 1.23 before the break, and 1.41 after.
It led a lot of folks to wonder if there was something wrong with Carlos...well, it seems that Cubs fans can stop worrying because we may have found the culprit. Apparently Carlos has been having as tough a time seeing his fastball as opposing hitters do because according to MLB.com, Big Z is planning to undergo LASIK eye surgery before the start of spring training.You've got to be kidding me.
Since when does Lasik fix years of abuse by the pitching staff, sending the self-proclaimed workhorse out for 120+ pitches per outing? Will it magically repair his shoulder fatigue and other ailments? I don't recall Zambrano's location being off as much as him having shoulder problems. Oh, and last I checked, Zambrano didn't lose his playoff start by himself - his defense botched enough plays to make him want to tear his eyeballs out himself.
Carlos also went on to say that glasses and contact lenses aren't an option because he doesn't like wearing glasses, and can't stand putting the contacts into his eyes.
Oh boo hoo, Carlos. Is this the same guy who likes to scream and yell and intimidate on the mound? Last I checked, Lindsey Fucking Lohan could wear contacts without a problem.
If we're getting Lasik for one Cubbie, why not for the rest of the infield as well? They seem to develop some blurred vision come October.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Do you hear that noise? It's like a tiny little murmur coming from the midwest...what could it be?
Give us a salary cap! We're tired of being outbid by the fucking Yankees!
What? It's like there's a fly in the room or something...I swear I heard something.
Hey asshole, enough with this bullshit East Coast outbidding everyone! Baseball should be affordable by every team!
Say! That sounds like a complaint coming from 50% OF MLB. That seems like a fair statement to listen to, don't you think?
With mid to low-market teams like the Brewers and Royals fuming that every interesting free agent is going to take the money, it's time for another push for a salary cap. And hey, this time it might work.
Word on the street seems to be that this latest Yankees spree has pissed off all of the more reasonable payrolls, and why wouldn't it? Half a billion dollars gone in three weeks is pretty impressive. Here's the spooky part from the article:
New York’s luxury tax payment—$26,862,702—was just $141,000 shy of the Florida Marlins’ entire 2008 payroll, which came to $27,003,450.
Not all that surprising. The collective bargaining agreement ends in 2011 after the season, meaning that unless the economy is magically revitalized, we may be looking at a legitimate push for a salary cap.
About. Fucking. Time.
If there was ever a problem with baseball, this is it - drafting players in a high round means nothing when they take a long time to develop. By the time a player is ready for the bigs, the team that owns him has MAYBE 2-3 years to enjoy it before his contract is up. By then, regardless of what the team can spend, you'll bet that the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers or Angels will double whatever your team can offer the player.
Why should some teams be able to spend more than others? Small market teams like the Royals shouldn't have to be fucked year in and year out because someone else can afford to pay more.
AL and NL central, consider this your time to shine.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
When Kenny gets his man, Kenny gets his man. Sometimes he gets his man multiple times - hell, why not? And Kenny's latest post-post-post-prime acquisition?
Bartolo Colon, back from the dead. Or the fat. Or maybe both! I don't know what we're paying him, but it looks like it's going to be a one-year deal. Then again, we sort-of-maybe-almost-could-be signed him last year also, so I'm going to wait until I see details before calling this one 100% confirmed.
Even so, with Black Bart joining the rotation (he's going to lose his spot to Jeff Marquez? Please), we actually have a pseudo-respectable pitching corps. Barring any additional Kenny-gasms before the season starts, we're looking at:
That's really not that bad, especially when Richard will likely put together a very solid season. When Colon gets his usual injury, it would give Poreda a chance to step in, or hell, maybe Marquez. If Contreras comes back as a useful pitcher (ETA All Star Break), that's just icing on the cake.
Now if only we could get that whole "get on base and score runs" thing worked out...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I just love this story. I can't make it much funnier than it is, but here goes nothing:
Knick centerwas slapped with a shocking sexual-harassment suit yesterday by his former driver, who claims the 6-foot-11 hoopster tried to solicit gay sex from him.
Stunning court papers charge that Curry, a married father of several kids, repeatedly approached chauffeur David Kuchinsky "in the nude," saying, "Look at me, Dave, look" and, "Come and touch it, Dave."
Curry, 26, also made Kuchinsky perform "humiliating tasks outside the scope of his employment, such as cleaning up and removing dirty towels [into which Curry had ejaculated] so that his wife would not see them," the Manhattan federal court suit says.
Kuchinsky, 36, who is straight and Jewish, also alleges racism, saying Curry hurled slurs at him, including "f- - - ing Jew," "cracker," "white slave," "white devil" and "grandmaster of the KKK."Ho-ly shit. I can't even think of ways to make that more outlandish! Maybe Curry inhaled a goldfish through his asshole and threatened to shoot it at the driver? There's really not a whole lot much more that Curry can be accused of doing here. Kuchinsky wants $98,000 plus compensatory damages (about 5 million), which all things considered, is a pretty good wage to be a spooge collector.
"Instead of paying him, they discriminated against him," said Kuchinsky's lawyer, Matthew Blit. "Imagine going into your boss' office . . . and he stands up and drops his pants and he asks you [to] take care of him."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Whatever it takes, I don't want to have to address the traveshamockery that is the Chicago Bulls. Losing is something we've done for the past few years, so it doesn't come as a total shock, but when you've got some serious cash invested in Luol Deng and a young sparkplug in Derrick Rose, you expect to see SOMETHING that isn't a shitshow.
I mean, we lost to the Oklahoma City Ass-Cancers, and immediately followed that performance with a loss against the Trailblazers. Oh, and no excuses for the Portland game, because we had our top lineup going. Deng played. Hinrich played. Rose played. Just...WTF. I don't even know what to say anymore.
Is it baseball season yet? How about now?
The guy in that picture dropping an atom bomb on Tadahito Iguchi is none other than Chone Figgins of the Anaheim Angels. If the name sounds familiar, that's because he's popped up at least three times in trade rumors with the Sox this offseason. Rather than keep brushing off rumor after rumor, it's probably about time to start figuring that Figgins is coming to join the team.
Let's face it - he fills every offensive need we have right now. He's a capable centerfielder (or anywhere else) with speed, lead-off capability, and smarts. Oh, and he likes to hustle and play hard. If that doesn't sound like a potential Sox player, I don't know what does. Moving on down the list then, the question is "How are the Sox going to get him?"
Option A: The Sox send Jim Thome to the Angels. This is probably the best deal for both sides, as the Angels are in need of a legit DH while the Sox look to get faster. The Angels likely eat some of Thome's contract here (or the Sox get some prospects) to even this one up a bit, but it allows the team to move Fields or Konerko to DH and get some more youth in the infield.
Option B: The Sox send Paul Konerko to the Angels. Less likely, but similar. Paulie has the same DH potential, but can actually play 1B without a serious injury risk. On the flip side, Paulie's offensive production has been in a serious slide as of late. Konerko is also forever in Jerry Reinsdorf's good graces for the whole 2005 WS ball thing, so I can't imagine Jerry wanting to see him go.
Option C: The Sox send Jermaine Dye to the Angels for Figgins and other considerations. I wouldn't have thought that the Angels, complete with all 32 outfielders, would be looking for another one. Still, this rumor has started to gain steam as of late, and makes sense when put in perspective. The Angels get Dye (who, aside from a slight slump at the end of last season, has been one of the best RFs available), and have the option to move him, Guerrero, or even Matthews Jr to 1B. For the Sox, they move their most moveable player, and likely get some more youth in return (Dye's value is probably higher than Thome or Konerko's).
If we do something, let's hope we do it soon. I'm starting to like this idea of taking infielders from the Angels.
Monday, January 12, 2009
So...let me get this straight: Lovie has "friends." People he likes, and people he gives jobs to. Say, for example, Bob Babich. Since taking over our once-terrifying defense, Babich has found a way to make us one-dimensional and rather lackluster. To rectify the problem, Lovie fired everyone OTHER than Babich this offseason.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
This is old news to some of you, but for those of you that haven't been on top of your game, I bring you the most important news. Ever.
Samuel L Jackson will be playing Sho-Nuff in the NZA remake of Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon. For most of you, this news means nothing. To most of you, I say fuck you. The Last Dragon is quite possibly one of the best movies ever. EVER. Not only does it feature some of the best blacksploitation (Ed's note: No comment from spellcheck on that one...) comedy ever, but it has a guy named "Bruce Leroy." How do you go wrong with that?!
Now, let's be honest - for the few people that not only read this blog (making them a minority already) but also know/care about The Last Dragon (microscopic minority), you already knew this. In fact, you knew this a while ago, tried to tell your friends/significant other, and had them give you a quizzical "Do you mean that Bruce Lee movie?" look before walking away. You had no outlet to talk. None. Here at the Dong, we understand.
I'm so stoked, that I can't stop myself from imagining the possibilities. I mean, just look at these!
Just to clarify for the hundreds of rumor-starved media outlets - Lovie Smith is under contract for a few more seasons, and is not going anywhere. The only way that the Bears get a new head coach by next season is if the Bears have an utterly abysmal season - and that's still not going to be assessed until 2010.
That said, it looks like the Bears are ideal suitors for the homeless folk that call themselves the Marinelli. It's seriously like giving a hobo a dollar - as soon as you've shown you'll help more, the others will flock to you to pick your flesh from bone. In this case, offering a warm meal and a bed to Rod Marinelli produces these vultures:
"If I had an opportunity to work for Lovie Smith, I would cherish it," said Barry, who was fired as Detroit's defensive coordinator when Marinelli was dismissed as the Lions head coach.
"Change? Mister? Change?"
Dude - Lovie didn't offer you a job, but now he's going to feel guilty about only helping one of you. At first, he'll do what he can to help (like freeing up some coaching spots with the removal of some defensive coaches). However, once all the Phil, Dave, and Shaniqua Marinelli start coming out of the woodwork, Lovie's going to start taking a different way home from the train.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Kenny Williams is to patience like oil is to water. The man just cannot stand pat with his team until he thinks he's made some "big splash" before the season. Previous "big splashes" have been names like Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Carl Everett, Uribe, and Carl Everett (again). So, with the offseason slowly (and painfully) winding down, here are our top contenders for Kenny's attention:
#1. Brian Roberts. The default #1 option here. Recent rumors have the Sox doing Gavin Floyd for Roberts, but I think that the odds of that happening are slim to nil. The Orioles are known to try and extort as much as possible, the Sox already have a bunch of young infielders to bring up instead of blowing cash on a one-year Roberts rental, and trading Floyd gives the Sox 2 and 1/2 starters (Clayton Richard the #3 starter? Uh oh). This one just shouldn't happen under any circumstances, and yet, here it is at number one.
#2. Freddy Garcia. Literally has nothing left in the tank, but is definately in the hearts of KW and crew. Aside from being related to Ozzie, Garcia put in a good showing against the Sox at the end of the season, throwing nothing but fumes. Even though his fastball is slower than Mark Buerhle's, Garcia is a "pitcher" instead of a "hurler." With the rotation as ravaged as it is, I wouldn't be surprised if Kenny took a flier on him.
#3. Kenny Lofton. Somehow keeps on trucking, even after all these years. If there were ever a contender for the Julio Franco award for being old and effective, Lofton is it. In the past three years, Lofton has stolen 20 bases a year and hit about .300 - something that the Sox could definately sink their teeth into. He plays Center Field, would probably make a nice name in a headline, and would definately help tutor young up-and-coming players like Jerry Owens. Big upside pick here, and he's already been on the Sox once...
#4. Carl Pavano. And it would be a long-term contract, too. Here you've got a talented (albeit injury-prone!) pitcher coming off of a disappointing...everything. He's looking to get his value back up without the big city pressure, and might take a friendly paycut to get some quality time with Don Cooper, too. Kenny loves these high risk/reward guys. If it works out, you're looking at the #3 starter for the next couple of years. If it doesn't, at least he can't be worse than Todd Ritchie...right?
#5. Bobby Abreu. Fits the hole Jermaine Dye would leave - but Dye would need to be traded first. If Dye were already off the team, I would bump this up to #2, but until he gets traded for Homer Bailey (or anyone else), Dye is still on the squad - and Abreu is still available.
#6. Jon Garland. Why not? Garland had his best season under Guillen and crew, and is definately looking to get back into the magic of his 2005 season. There's a bit of a rumor that Gullen had Garland in his doghouse, but has recently been quoted as saying "Jon [expletive] would be [expletive] welcomed back onto the team - we'd [expletive] love to [expletive] have him." Garland probably won't come especially cheap, but a three-year contract with lots of future controlling options sounds about right.
#7. Pedro Martinez. This is one of those "KW has had his eye on this guy" moves like getting Griffey last year. Pedro is past his prime, and is probably going to want at least a 3-4 year contract. The Sox will probably want to do something incentive-laden for the guy who just came back from rehab, but it's not really a great fit. Still, it's a marquee name and another risk/reward scenario.
#8. Julio Franco. I wish I were kidding. Julio wants to play even after he's cremated - who are we to try and stop him? One quick final tour of duty for the league minimum could help boost ticket sales with the 80's fans, and might even give a little morale boost to the young'ns.
The Cubs, looking for another consistent arm for the bullpen, parted with one of their 39 starting pitchers, Jason Marquis, to acquire Luis Vizcaino. Expect to see Jeff Samrdzija make a push for the rotation.
Again, the Cubs keep making headlines, siphoning players from the 2005 championship team. Unlike acquiring Neal Cotts (which was hilarious for both teams), this ex-Sox champ will likely be useful to the team. On, the surface, it looks bad because both his ERA and WHIP have gone up dramatically from '06, going from 3.58 to 5.28 last season. Then again, look at where he played - pitching in the pressure-free environment of New York has been known to ruin careers and psyches (2007), and Colorado is a launchpad for homeruns (2008).
I would say with a team as offensively potent as the Cubs and the protection he will likely get as a middle-reliever, a sharp drop in ERA (especially pitching in the weak NL Central) is likely.
Projected 2009: 70 IP, 4.18 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
In a move that surprises no one (not even the Parker Brothers), the Cubs acquired Milton Bradley. It seems almost like trading DeRosa was a move to free up salary for this sort of event...what a twist! Here's some things to look forward to with Bradley joining the team.
#1. Fan service. Milton Bradley is the sort of guy you don't fuck with. Needless to say, the Cub Bleacher Bums will give Bradley all sorts of creative heckling. "Did you know you have the same name as that board game dude?" Baseball through the face. Just like that. MB (no one is intimidated by the name "Milton." Apologies to all self-proclaimed badasses named Milton) does not take shit from you. Expect at least one instance where booing from Wrigley - yes, they boo - will cause MB to kill someone, or at least attempt to give them an enema with his water bottle. I'm looking forward to it.
#2. The clusterfuck outfield. Where's the fun in having all of your positions filled with a starter? Bradley is supposedly penciled in to play RF...meaning that Fukudome is being paid to ride pine or platoon with Bradley and Reed Johnson, who appears to be the frontrunner for CF at this point. If there's anyone that needs to trade some excess baggage instead of signing players, it's the Cubs. Fontenot and Cedeno by themselves could probably net a legit CF. Oh well.
Tangent: What the fuck is Soriano still doing in the outfield!? Yes, he has a cannon arm - big deal. His bunny hops evoke memories of a certain name I'd like to forget, and it's not really his natural spot. With DeRosa gone, why hasn't there been any talk of moving Soriano back to the infield? Moving Soriano frees up LF for Bradley, keeping Fukudome in RF (he's likely going to rebound this year - especially for what he's getting paid). The infield is then Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, and the winner of the Theriot/Cedeno/Miles/Fontenot shootout with the rest becoming backups/utility players/traded. Oh, did I mention that the infield is a clusterfuck too? Forgot about that.
#3. The inevitable injury. MB is a fragile and delicate flower. The guy played at DH last year, and STILL managed to get hurt. Earlier attempts to get him into the outfield were met with shortened seasons. With that whole "no DH" thing going down in the NL, it seems unlikely that Bradley is going to survive long. While there's no mistaking that MB can hit from both sides of the plate, it doesn't do much good if he's wearing a cast. Oh, and when he goes down, see item #1 at the top of this list.
The Cubs need to make a run at a legit CF like Coco Crisp (side note - what percentage of people in baseball have retarded parents? Just wondering). Oh, and for those of you that missed it earlier, insert lame Parker Brothers joke here.
Bring on MLB 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
"I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger."
Kurt Warner is one crazy-ass motherfucker.