Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Who would I rather see in the pen?

I anxiously await everyone's theories on the Fixing of the Bullpen.  I myself do not have any fancy plans.  Sure, the pen currently boasts some truly deplorable stats, but much of this can be explained by the couple of bad outings turned in by each and every one of its participants.  We all agree that, currently, Guzman, Gregg and Marmol are our "good" guys, and Guzman and Gregg started verrrrry slowly and Marmol had a few miserable outings after his injury.  Therefore, their ERAs are, respectively, 3.63, 3.86, and 3.94.  And these are our "good" guys who have had a couple of bad outings that have skewed their stats - and thus, the pen's as a whole.

My personal theory is to replace Neal Cotts and David Patton with virtually anybody.  Here is a partial list of who I would rather see in those two slots, RIGHT NOW, in the pen:

  • Jose Ass-can-ino
  • Kevin Hart
  • Jeff Stevens
  • Luis Vizcaino
  • Sean Marshall (provided we can get Jake Peavy first)
  • the Marquis du Suck
  • LaTroy Hawkins
  • Matt Herges
  • Cla (invisible y) Meredith
  • Octavio (0.00 ERA) Dotel
  • Frank (also 0.00 ERA) Francisco
  • Damaso (14 ERA) Marte
  • Radhames (67 ERA) Liz
  • Jim Morris
  • Dennis Quaid aka Jim Morris
  • Tim Robbins aka Nuke LaLoosh
  • Kevin Costner aka Billy Chapel
  • Chad Fox and his shattered elbow
  • Dave Dravecky, his Christian faith, and his missing upper limbs
  • Jim Abbott and his neat-o glove trick
  • sMel Rojas
  • Dave Smith
  • Rod Beck
  • Donnie Moore
  • Bird Fidrych
  • Hoyt Wilhelm

In other words, neither man has been effective whatsoever this year, and are not trusted by Sweet Lou.  So we have a five-man pen.  The release of Cotts shouldn't come back to bite us, and I am pretty confident at this point that the Giants will not want Patton back, so if the organization believes he shows promise, we ought to be able to demote him to Tennessee or Iowa without much difficulty.

Anyone with the least bit of relieving experience would be an improvement at this point, alive, dead, crippled, or even imaginary.  It is time to pull the plug.


I don't know why or have any real evidence to back my feelings... but for some reason I feel that Jose Ascanio will be another Marmol-like figure in our bullpen. He has some nasty breaking stuff and I just have a feeling he will do well for us.

Of course, I'm pretty sure I said this last year when he didn't do so well. But I gotta believe in somethin. Nice post Rob, made me laugh.

Re: Cotts

So, the thing that I hold out hope for with Neal Cotts, is that his numbers are just ridiculously out of whack.

His BB/9 is an astonishing 10.8. With the exception of a cup of coffee in '03, he hasn't come close this rate of walks before. There's just no way he could throw that many walks consistently over a year.

Secondly, his groundball rate is 74%! That's like 10% more grounders on average than Brandon Webb gets. Only 2 Line Drives have even been hit off Neal this year. Then, his Batting Average of Balls In Play (BABIP) is .367. That number is pretty shocking when you consider year over year BABIP is going to hover around .300, regardless of the pitcher.

So Neal seems to be giving up scads of grounders that are finding holes and walking guys at an unsustainably high rate. It seems to me that if he can get his walks under control, the rest will fall into place for Neal.

I'm hopeful at least.

Patton on the other hand, I just hope that's a lesson the Cubs have learned. Contenders should never take a rule 5 pick... ever. However, I don't get why you think the Rockies wouldn't want him back. I bet they'd take him back in a heartbeat, making the decision to release and then pay Gaudin to pitch for someone else look even worse.

It seems like EVERY guy in

It seems like EVERY guy in the pen is giving up too much walks. Either erratic control is contagious or Larry Rothschild has them doing something that's not working.

Thanks for the laugh.

I'm really hoping Samardzija gets his game under control. He's got filthy stuff, provided he can hit the strike zone...but we don't need more guys missing the strikezone right now. Who else do we have down on the farm that may be of immediate service? Ascanio did have his moments last year...

Bring back Jon Lieber! Of the 2001 variety!

Also, I'm probably one of the only Cubs fans to admit it, but I miss LaTroy Hawkins. He was an incredible setup man until Dusty's dugout dice promoted him to closing out games, at which he always failed. His ERA between the 8th and 9th innings had to have been at least a full 3 points greater in the 9th.

Cubs Pen

Bottom line, until we acquire another lefty for the pen, we are stuck with Cotts. Personally, I would like to see someone with a little fire in the belly. I listened to an interview with Neal yesterday and he seems to have no personality. Marshall has done well in the starting rotation, I don't want to move him to the pen. We have solid starting rotation. Patton looked good in the spring, but has failed to impress since. I say, take our chances and demote him for more seasoning. The Shark needs to command a few more pitches before he is ready to step up. Other than Guzman, Marmol and Gregg, no one currently in the pen is getting the job done. I'm not totally opposed to bring Glendon Rusch back. He was just placed on waivers by the Rockies. Going into the season, the pen was our weakest area. If the current guys aren't getting the job done, a drastic change is needed.

Who would I rather see in the pen?

I would DFA Cotts, and bring up Mathes to pitch from the left side. Then once Zambrano came back, I would move Wells into the bullpen and do what must be done with Patton. So the bullpen would be:

Angel Guzman
Aaron Heilmann
Jose Ascanio
Randy Wells
J.R. Mathes (2 walks in 32 innings pitched at AAA)
Carlos Marmol
Kevin Gregg


Neal Cotts has increased my blood pressure since we aquired him for Aardsma. I would imagine you would have a hard time trying to trade a supposed "left handed" specialist for a guy who specializes in walking batters. He should be DFA'd. He is currently earning over $1M and I never thought I would say this, but it makes me want to re-think the Michael Sqwirtz deal. This bullpen is in a serious need of pitchers that can do what they are supposed to be doing from the moment they took on the profession.....throw strikes. David Patton, actually acquired in a trade from the Reds, was doing that, but the experiment obviously has not worked. He does not have what most of our minor league pitchers are missing....a secondary pitch that he can throw consisntly or just a legitimate major league secondary pitch that he can throw for strikes or even get opposing batters to chase. His curve ball can be knee buckling, but he does not have the same confidence as a Marmol or even a Bronson Arroyo have in secondary or offspeed breaking piches. He has an opportunity to learn to pitch, I do think that we should try to retain him, but he is not developing himself or helping the team by being with the big club. If an option is not possible and he has to be returned so be it. Marshall, while he has been fairly consistant in that starting role, needs to be placed in the bullpen. We need a lefty that can be brought in that can throw strikes. Hendry will need to re-evaluate the rotation and determine if Wells may be a guy who can eat some innings until a veteran becomes available in July.


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