Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Mike's Musings - 4-9-2010

Lets get this party started!  The Cubs won a game!  Win 2 more, and as Lou Brown said, “It’ll be called a winning streak.  It has happened before.”  I generally try to be positive, but there’s a lot of things that concern me after 27 innings of the 2010 season.  Here are a couple of the ones that stick out.

*Bullpen – First and foremost in my mind.  Grabow’s predictably being a pain in the a.  I was not a fan of the Cubs resigning him, what with his walk rate going from 3.26 BB/9 in 2007, to 4.38 in 2008, to 4.98 in 2009, as was wonderfully mentioned at this site yesterday.  This esclating number, friends, is called a bad trend.  Instead of waiting out a market where there were more relievers than guaranteed jobs available, the Cubs decided to strike early and give Grabow 7.5M guaranteed over 2 years.  We’re paying him $4.8M next year guys.  Yes, I said WE, since WE buy the tickets that are now the highest priced on average in Major League Baseball.  But I digress.  Grabow’s going to give me ulcers all year.  And though he got the job done last night, I have a feeling we’re gonna be on a Randy Myers-like ride with Carlos Marmol this year.  He’s gonna drive you crazy with his high-wire act.  Be ready for it.  As I said in the pre-season roundtable, I don’t think he gets 30 saves, because I believe he’ll pitch himself out of the role.  Who’s going to be closing at the end of the year?  It won’t be Suckmardzija, but maybe….

*Andrew Cashner – Easily my favorite Cubs prospect, Cashner made his debut for AA Tennessee last night.  He struck out the first 7 hitters he faced last night, and had 10 through the first 4 innings.  Think about that for a second.  10K’s, 4 innings.  Wow.  Cashner ran into trouble in the 5th, walking a couple and allowing a 3-run homer, but I’m not concerned about that.  Why?  Because Andrew Cashner is a reliever.  The Cubs continue to trot him out there as a starter, because hey, starters are typically worth more than relievers.  I just wish they’d end this experiment with Cash starting games.  Put him in the pen pronto, send him to Iowa, watch the magnificent results, and let’s get him to Chicago as soon as possible.  There’s no way he’s not amongst our 7 best relievers right now.  This situation reminds me some of Daniel Bard of the Red Sox.  Both were first round pick out of a prestigious college program (Bard – 1st round out of UNC in ’06, Cashner – 1st round out of TCU in ’08).  Bard struggled mightily with his control in the minors, was moved to a relief duties, and his career took off.  Now he’s throwing 98 MPH for the Sox in the 8th inning.  Cashner’s velocity in college was in the 96-98 MPH range when he was in a relief role, there’s no reason to believe it couldn’t get back there.  Please put him back there.  Our pen could use the help.

Let’s try not to get to upset about the offense yet.   Granted, the Cubs haven’t scored many runs outside of the long ball, but it’s only 3 games.  Also, let’s try not to annoint Tyler Colvin as the 2nd coming.  Yes, that HR he hit last night was awesome.  But pace yourselves Cubs fans.  I’m as big of a Colvin fan as anyone, but it’s only 3 games in.  Finally, who was that sexy beast that predicted 25 homers for Marlon Byrd in the “biggest surprise” question during the preseason roundtable?  Only 23 away.  Cincy’s up next – we’ve played well there of late.  Let’s get 2 of 3 there and come home for what should be a gorgeous Opening Day Monday against the Brew Crew.

-MW<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Wait just a second. You're

Wait just a second. You're telling us not to anoint Colvin as the 2nd coming but do exactly that with Cashner. So what if he struck out 10 of 12. They were AA hitters. If he really is that good, he's a young, Kerry Wood-like MLB pitcher throwing at a bunch of AA mooks. Big deal.

And if he really is that big a deal (and he might be), the idiot Cubs management will trade him away as a starter for that big bat in the middle of the line-up we keep missing year after year. And that'll be a bust, too (probably be the bastard child of Milton Bradley and Sammy Sosa). But at least Cash will go on to win 12 consecutive Cy Youngs in the AL.


Not telling you to annoint Cashner the 2nd coming of anything. I'm just telling you that he could help the major league bullpen soon. What he did last year during the minor league season, during the AFL, and during some of his spring outings lead me to believe he could be a very, very good reliever.

Colvin on the other hand, doesn't have much of a track record of success outside of this spring. He still has an enormous problem with plate discipline (check out his career walk rates), and that will be exposed eventually. I still think he can be a good player, but i'd be surprised if he becomes someone who's an everyday OF on a team contending for a championship... and that's coming from a guy who's liked him as a player for a while.

Thanks for the comment.


I'd like to nominate Slay Beau for the ECFOY (Embittered Cubs Fan Of The Year) award! I'm not crazy about management either, but wow dude. Draw a little encouragement from the fact that Hendry didn't toss aside Castro, Jackson, Cashner or Vitters in this offseason. Maybe he's learning from his mistakes. I hope.....

Oh, wow! Gosh! I never

Oh, wow! Gosh! I never expected this. I'm just...I'm just so humbled just to be nominated. I did it, baby! I did it!!!

I'd like to accept this on behalf of embittered Cubs fans the world over. I couldn't of done this without the love and support of my daughter, who has suffered along with me for the last 12 years, and who still talked to me the next morning after I shook her awake after the 2007 playoff debacle. I'd also like to thank the douchebag Phillies fan who stole a ball thrown to my then 10 year old daughter by Carlos Marmol literally out of her hands and then apologized by saying "gosh, I just wanted a ball for my son." I may be embittered, but at least I'm not a douche-canoe.

Of course I can't forget Eddie, who nominated me. You're the best, man! Next beer at Wrigley's on me.

On a more serious note, if you can't laugh, you gotta cry. I have high hopes for Cash and Castro, and honest to god I think we have a pretty good team this year. But I have given up on Hendry. He's not learning from his mistakes; he's just trying to build up Cashner's value so that we can get a tier III slugger instead of a tier IV hasbeen.

Bitter? Gods, yes. But I'm loving every minute of it.

Alright, Mike, fair enough

But you can't deny you suggested he might be at least the 7th coming (of relief pitching).

You did come off as incredibly excited by him. And his numbers are thrilling. But let's see how he does against some hitters, first. Randy Wells he ain't. Yet. And I use him only because he's on everybody's radar right now. But he's on his way to becoming even better.

Your critique of Colvin is fair. I hate watching guys with any pop at all but no plate discipline. But we can hope for the numbers and gamesmanship of the Hawk at least, right?

I'm just tired of watching young, highly touted pitchers coming up for us and then get Dusty Bakered or bum-shouldered or otherwise screwed over by the goat-riding gods of baseball. So I look at Cash with nothing short of misgivings. No, that's not quite right. But the bullpen has sucked for so long that I wonder if the organization is even capable of identifying good relief.

I'm with ya on that. Let's

I'm with ya on that. Let's hope the days of our young pitchers getting ridden into the ground by overzealous management are over.

I often wax poetic on what could have been with Prior if not for that freak collision with that schmuck Marcus Giles and his subsequent 125+ pitch outings.


Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award