Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Blogs

Ced Landrum/Micah Hoffpauir = Cub's man love

This post is not to continue the Hoffpauir debate, but to draw attention to a greater debate. The greatest flash in the pans in Cub's history. My vote goes to Ced Landrum. In 1991 he stole 27 bases in 86 at bats. Did not make a major league roster in in 1992 and ended his career in 1993 after a cup of coffee with the Met's. Let's see if anyone can beat that.

The previously promised post 'em if you've got 'em thread

Or: What's in YOUR bookmark page?
As promised late last week, I've decided to open a thread to invite those of you with blogs to share them here.  A few conditions:

  • No pr0n
  • Nothing that goes to a website offering paid services of some kind
  • White Sox suck

Basically if you have a blog, post it.   If you've got a fantasy league team you want us to know about, share.  Similarly, if you know of a Cubs blog that gets far less traffic than it deserves, I have no objections to you posting about it here. 

So, have at it!

Another Fantasy Baseball League

  • I have a league that is set to draft later today, but if we don't get more teams the draft will be moved back one week.  Anyway, you can join by going to baseball.fantasysports.yahoo.com, clicking "Join A League", and then "Join Custom".
  • The league ID is 4307, the password is mlb09
  • It is a PLUS league, which grants you full access to a boatload of live in-depth stats and the league winner gets a trophy/t-shirt.

Should be fun, we may even make it a keeper league if there is enough interest. Thanks!

fantasy baseball

I have already joined 2 leagues via MSN/Fox Fantasy. Since there seems to be some intrest and the leagues are not full I will pass on this information. I think (I have not tried to add additional teams before) that all you have to do is -

Go to MSN Sports MLB and there will be a link to get to the fantasy baseball sign up.

use option C

pick options rotisserie, daily, live draft

If you are interrested to joining me in the leagues I am in you will need to choose

draft date 3/28 at 11am et - 6 slots open

or

draft date 3/29 at 8 am et - 8 slots open

Kurt, I know you are not big on links etc. being on this blog, so if I crossed a line let me know.

Maestri in the news

Quick Links: Cubs Top Prospects #20 Alex Maestri
Hardball - Keep an Eye on Maestri

Alex Maestri is in the news, and while I normally wouldn't give too much consideration to something written by Phil Rogers (who I am convinced will say stupid things rather than say nothing at all), I thought I'd mention it here too.

Maestri was our #20 Prospect back in December.  I'm more convinced that he's rated that highly by us - and 29th overall in the Cubs organization by Baseball America - not because he's a bullet headed toward the big leagues, but instead because the Cubs farm system is extremely thin right now.

Anyway, Maestri pitched again for Italy against Venezuela recently, where he did extremely well, sitting down big leaguers like Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Jose Guillen, Cesar Izturis, and Endy Chavez between issuing a couple of walks.  Chances remain against him that Maestri will ever pitch completely enough to reach Chicago, especially since the Cubs appear intent on using him in relief this year (and we all know how hard it is for relievers to make the Major Leagues), but Rogers speculates that one great season might get Alex Maestri on Jim Hendry's promotional short list.  Maybe it's improbable, but it's not impossible. 

What Jersey would you want?

OK, this is a sort of poll, only I don't want to restrict options, so I'll just tally it by hand after a few months.

If you could have one, and only one, top-level professional jersey (this includes MLB, the Negro Leagues, and the Japanese leagues), from any player who
ever played, who would it be? 

Personally, I can't decide between Greg Maddux, Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, Sadaharu Oh, and Josh Gibson.  Although I'm extremely Caucasian, so that kind of rules out Gibson (a Negro Leagues player).

Nothing else to do but wait (a random slightly OT post)

So, I'm in the midst of apartment and (possibly) roommate shopping. Trying to go from the NW 'burbs to Chicago. Somewhere preferably on the Metra UPN line (if you got tips, I'm all ears). I responded to a roommate wanted listing on Craigslist that sounded good and fit my needs. In the course of emailing back and forth with the individual, I mentioned that my summer routine often revolves around "when is the game?"


As a follow up, she asks me where I typically watch the game: at home or go "to the stadium".


HA.


I sat and laughed at that for a good minute. Stadium. No, no, no my dear. As far as I'm concerned, it's "the yard", "the park", or just "Wrigley". Stadium? That's for monstrosities like "Yankee Stadium" or football venues. I don't know yet if she's non-native, or just not into baseball, but it did make me laugh.


In the event I do wind up having her as a roommate, a crash course in Cub-ucation will be taking place.

Orlando Hudson

Well, I do like the idea of stealing O-Dog to play 2B this late in free agency.  Nothing personal against Mike Fontenot, but their offensive production is close to a wash while Hudson's glove is in on a much higher level.  In any case, there are probably people within the organization that are on both sides of this, but its certainly been considered.  One article mentions as much, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe from 2/8/2009:

"Orlando Hudson, 2B, free agent: It's amazing that a player of this caliber remains unsigned, but lining up are the Cubs, White Sox, and Dodgers. A few Cubs organizational people really want Hudson, but the impending transfer of ownership from the Chicago Tribune to Tom Ricketts may hinder GM Jim Hendry's ability to do anything until it's complete."

I'm not trying to say that everyting the guy says is fact, but I would have to assume that he consulted various sources before he published it in an article in the Boston Globe.  What he's suggesting isn't all that wild either.  Fontenot is a nice 2B, but if the team can add an All-Star & GoldGlover at half-price and work him into the current payroll then the idea is probably worth exploring.  Nothing says that Fontenot couldn't still be a valuable utility player and bat off of the bench as well as insurance to guard against various injuries.  If the team can add Hudson for near the same cost as what they would have paid DeRosa if they kept him, then I would say that is one hell of a steal.  They sign Hudson the team gets; a replacement for DeRo at relatively the same cost, 3 pitching prospects from the Indians, and Mike Fontenot is still on the roster as well --> What exactly does the team have to lose?

The Great Shark Debate

Perhaps the biggest wild card you can find anywhere on the entire Cubs' team roster going into 2009 is Jeff Smardzija.  Some feel he should start in AAA as a starter and be called up later to be used when/as needed.  Still some hold the belief that he should begin the season in MLB as a strong foundation in the set-up bridge that gets the ball to Carlos Marmol.  Its a tough decision for any organization to face.  Samardzija certainly can provide a valuable arm in the bullpen immediately, but many feel his long-term career path will take shape as a starter.  So its quite a toss-up.  Does the team leave him in AAA at the detriment of the bullpen and valuable outs late in games?  Or do you work with what's currently in the bullpen and let Samardzija develop as a starter in AAA?

Samardzija just turned 24 years old, and he's a big kid at 6'5" 220 lbs.  He possesses an above average fastball at this point, which he featured at 94.7mph on average, in nearly 70% of the pitches he threw in relief on the big league team in 08.  He also has a few secondary pitches that need to be further developed, but its a clear possibility that both his slider and split-finger pitches could soon be plus pitches.  Also his 56.5% first pitch strike rate is good with room for improvement in the future as well.  The strikeouts will always be there for this kid, but if he can cut down on the walks he will be tough in any role.

As a a reliever -MLB-   27.7IP, 25K, 15BB, 1W, 1S, 2.28ERA

As a starter in the minors his numbers were a little less than stellar until he arrived in AAA in 2008.  For the most part his ERA was in the high four's for the brunt of his innings in A and AA from 06-08. There is little argument that he was able to turn things around from the time he arrived in AAA going (4-1) which then launched him into the Cubs' bullpen in late July.  There is little doubt that Samardzija's arm can be utilitzed by the cubs major league team in the very near future, however, its still unclear what level the Shark lands at or what role he can play in the teams' success in 2009.

Lou's future

There is a blog in Bleeding Cubbies Blue talking about Lou's future. According to them via WSCR via an un-named Cub's blog with a source, Lou has talked to Hendry about retiring at the end of the season. The reasons given were he wanted to get away from the club house politics and the pressure from the media. I have a question about his future with the Cub's. If he is looking to leave at the end of 2009 for the reasons given would he consider going to AAA for the last year of his contract (he is signed thru 2010).

I bring this up because we all complain about the Cub's farm system and the fact that they don't develop position players. In Lou's time here he has developed at least Theroit and Fontenot into good/decent players. If I remember correctly they were not considered top propects. I would also give Lou partial credit for Soto's development based on the number of failures we have had in the past with propects at the major league level.

For Lou it could mean semi-retirement. At 3A ball he would face less pressure from the media and fans, fewer ego's, and a shorter season. Travel may-be an issue, but I am sure something could be worked out. He could focus more on developing players and less on winning now. Could he have done something with Pie if could of let him play everyday doing what Lou wanted. He could get Hendry to cut or trade the deadwood and bring up 2A players to develop. An added extra could be that he could identify players the Cub's should target in trades. 

Just offering a different approach to solving an age old problem with the Cub's farm system.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award