Goatriders of the Apocalypse

The continuing story of Neal Cotts

By now you know that, no matter what happens this season, OCD Hendry is going to go out and grab four lefty relievers this coming winter.  That's always been his M.O. -- he doesn't fill a roster spot, he fills it three times. 

But unfortunately our GM failed to pursue a lefty reliever this winter.  He didn't get one, he got none.  Consequently, the Cubs are between a rock and a hammer*.  Either keep Cotts on the team and watch him slowly kill Lou Piniella or cut him and have no lefty relievers on the roster.  Thing is, Option #2 actually looks real good right now.

(*I'm not the hammer.**)
(**The hammer is my penis.***)
(***-Dr. Horrible quote)

Consider the facts.  Cotts has made 12 appearances in 2009, for which he's thrown a mere 6 innings.  In those 12 appearances, he has only once faced the minimum possible.  That was on April 25th against St. Louis in which Cotts faced Cory Rasmus, aka the Dumbest Hitter Evar, who flew out to center field on the first pitch Cotts threw.  (How you swing at anything thrown by Cotts - especially a first pitch - is just baffling to me.)  Realizing that he'd struck the equivilent of baseball gold, Lou Piniella did the wise thing and immediately pulled Cotts before the start of the next inning.  After all, to have left Neal in there to face another hitter would've been a serious tempting of fate.

At this point in time, lefty hitters are batting a sleek .308 against Cotts.  So much for the LOOGY factor.  Meanwhile, among all active relievers, the following are actually effective:

Dave Patton - 3 for 15 against (.200 AVG) but 6 BB
Angel Guzman - 5 for 23 against (.217 AVG, .280 OBP)
Carlos Marmol - 3 for 13 against (.231 AVG) but 7 BB

In fact let's stop it there and focus on Guzman.  23 at bats is a very small sample size, but it's a good trend.  Among all Cub relievers, Guz is hands-down the best against lefties.  So shouldn't he be the defacto LOOGY with the additional capability of staying in to face the next guy in the lineup after that?

Having a right handed reliever who can effectively get out left handed hitters is a huge advantage in a baseball game.  Managers like Dusty Baker who are locked into the 70's will send lefty hitter after lefty hitter against pitchers like Angel Guzman because "lefties hit righties better, dude." 

Therefore, I would like to advocate for the release of Neal Cotts, the secret reassignment of Angel Guzman into the Cotts role against lefties, and the promotion of another player - maybe the Incredible Mr. Fox - onto the roster.  And then we can destroy the hammer once and for all!*

(*...wait, destroy the "hammer?"  Whoa, bad idea!  BAD IDEA!**)
(**Penis jokes at GROTA.  It was only a matter of time... but at least they're tasteful***)
(***the jokes, I mean, not ... well, nevermind)

Angel Guzman

I'm a noted Angel Guzman apologist... however, I think it warrants mentioning Angel has been just as effective against righties as he is against lefties.

Since the last time I posted on Angel, his flyball ratio has climbed back to career norms, but he's still giving up only 13.5% line drives. Pretty much nothing against him is getting hit that hard.

I continue to contend that next year, Marmol and Guzman will make a pretty strong final 2 innings of the game. Or, add in Heilman and mix and match the 3 of them over the 7th, 8th and 9th.

I like the thinking here

I really like this post due to the fact that it doesn't automatically assume that ALL lefties are better against left handed hitters. I think sometimes we can fall into a trap of having a left-hander just for the sake of saying we have a left-hander. This is a bad mind set in that, as Kurt pointed out, certain righties can do the job just as well - if not better.

I've seen a few posts clamor for the addition of lefty Jason Waddell on the roster to fill the LOOGY spot (By the way, can we please call him Rube and hope that he'll chase fire trucks in between innings, please??). While I like Waddell and he sports a 3.12 ERA at Iowa, lefties are hitting .417 off of him and he has an ERA of just a touch under 7.00 against them.

So - good thinking, Kurt! We should go with someone who gets left handers OUT regardless of what side they throw from! And, more kudos to you - with this plan, you finally have sold me on the idea that there IS a viable option to go with six relievers and have the extra position player. Good work, sir. Good work!

Go Cubs!

Leave the dick jokes to me, big shooter

Plus, I've been telling one and all for four months, and in fact other Riders have been stressing the fact, that Cotts is NOT a LOOGY, that the reliever with the best career stats against lefties is Mr. Kevin Gregg. So based on merit alone, Gregg is our LOOGY. Except that he's also our closer. So back to work, Hendry.

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