Tuesday Morning Odds and Ends, Left-Handed Second Basemen Are The New Market Inefficiency
I want you to imagine it - it's the day before opening day, 2008. I – mystically, I guess, from the future - tell you that, halfway through the season:
- Alfonso Soriano is on the DL for a second time, this time with a fracture in the hand.
- Carlos Zambrano is on the DL too, with shoulder problems.
- Oh, and Daryle Ward is on the DL as well.
- Rich Hill comes down with Steve Blass Disease, and is finally shipped to Mesa to try and find himself again as a pitcher.
- Ted Lilly tacks on almost a whole run to his ERA.
- The Cubs abandon the Pie experiment, and replace him after they pick up Jim Edmonds, released by the Padres for hitting .178.
- The Cubs have been horrible on the road, going 16-20.
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals come from nowhere and put up a 44-33 record, second-best in the NL.
How would you react?
I’m not trying to harsh anyone’s mellow here or anything. But I just want everyone to reflect on the fact that the Cubs haven’t coasted to get to this point, despite what other fanbases may say. I think this is a stronger team than a lot of people give them credit for.
Carlos Marmol is getting a mechanical tune-up. Please tell me this doesn't involve an oil change.
Meanwhile, Reed Johnson looks primed to join the team’s expanding disabled list when Marshall is officially called up to take Zambrano’s start tomorrow. Johnson claims to be feeling better, although the final decision is up to the team’s medical staff. That would save Murton, Hoffpauir and Patterson from a return to Iowa until at least Friday, when one of them is expected to be sent down to make room for Daryle Ward. I can only hope that the plan is not to carry around two backup first basemen who both hit left handed.
Meanwhile, Patterson seems to be providing the sort of top-of-the-order presence Lou has been searching for. And I’ll just pass this on without comment:
Theriot is hitting .310 with 28 multiple-hit games. But he's also third in the league in ground balls hit and has grounded into nine double plays despite having decent speed. Piniella prefers speed at the top of his lineup, and obviously Patterson trumps Theriot, who leads the team in steals with 13 but has been thrown out eight times.
It’s probably a bit early to coronate Patterson, and it’s hard to see him displacing Mark DeRosa from second base, his natural position. Phil Rodgers sees him as trade bait. And speaking of trade bait:
Micah Hoffpauir's left-handed bat is a valuable asset with Daryle Ward out, but, like Ward, the rookie is not good enough defensively to play left or right field on a regular basis. Hoffpauir looked tentative on a few balls that landed in front of him on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field, and he didn't start over the weekend against the Sox.
… Since Derrek Lee is set at first, Hoffpauir's main value may be as trade bait to an American League team looking for a first baseman/DH. If the Cubs make a move for Oakland's Rich Harden, Hoffpauir might be included in the package.
I consider that… unlikely.
Speaking of trades, more news is coming out about the Brian Roberts Hostage Crisis. Purportedly Hendry offered Veal, Cedeno and Gallagher. Thankfully nothing came of it – can you figure where the Cubs would be right now without Gallagher?