Friday Rebuttal (June 4, 2010) - or, how cumulative numbers build false hopes
Alternate subtitle: be careful to read an entire article thoroughly before you start eviscerating one of your cohorts
After reading the first four or five paragraphs of Sayers40's update, my eyes glazed over in utter disbelief. I thought he was making a case that the Cubs are better than they seem. I took HS Physics as well as three semesters in college. I know about concave and convex mirrors and how they are implemented to create the ubiquitous "objects are closer than they appear" mirror on the passenger side of our cars. But there ain't any mirror known to man that can show the Cubs are better than 24-29.
I thought Sayers40 was defying the laws of Physics. Newton, Galileo and Bernoulli were about to rise from the dead, and start kicking asses around here. Pythagoreous or whatever his name is could tell you himself that several of our wins this year have been blowouts, which statistically speaking are "outliers" that, if left in the sample, skew your data and nullify several of the tenuous leads that our young, stinky bullpen blew.
Then, his Anglicized use of "rumours" caught my eye, and I re-read, simply to find more limey-canucky spelling errors. (We spell 'merican here, podner). What I then saw calmed me down considerable. The Cubs, with all the bent algebra you want to employ, are simply not a playoff team, not as constructed.
They SHOULD be. There are enough former all-stars and enough big-money playahs here to dominate the stinky-cheese Central. However, several of them have simply quit producing, and only a miracle will turn this around. Lee has never been this bad. Ramirez has never been this bad. Fukudome has never played in Chicago as well as he did in Japan. Soriano is, befitting a man his age, a fraction of the player he was in his prime. Dempster had one really great year. Lilly has run into some terrible luck this year, true, but honestly, although he's been very very good with us the past three years, has never been truly GREAT. He is barely a member of the 8-digit club (at 10 million even, he is the 8th highest paid Cub), and I dare say, that to count on Lilly to be the Man is simply wrong.
The man who should be the Man, one Carlos Zambrano, is simply pissing his talent away, and the recent managerial moves are a dire warning that they are utterly desperate in trying to find out how to utilize him best.
I have never said to flush the whole thing away, just the guys in Section 3 who aren't worth a damn, and nobody is going to miss anyway.
There will be no fire sale on the North Side in 2010. We don't have the ability to do so. The good cheap guys ain't going anywhere (our choice) and neither are the expensive guys and the marginal guys (the league's choice). At most, there will be a handful of moves involving spare parts for other contenders.
There ain't enough room for X Nady on this here team, and he is obviously chafing at his role. He has proven that he can still play, at least first base for someone down the stretch. I think he will part ways with us. Lilly will most certainly attract interest in July. I will be sorry to see him go - he is a tremendous 3-4 starter, but I'm sure that the Cubs will not be signing ANY 8-digit pitchers this off-season.
Gorzellany is left-handed and cheap, and it may make sense to some to keep him around, especially considering the loss of the lefty starter Lilly. That is a Hendry call, because Sloth (not ME, Gorzellany) isn't that great at this moment, but he is still young enough to perhaps have an upside. I don't see it, myself, (but then again, I thought Marmol was toast 2 years ago). They don't pay me to judge talent; those that are, need to decide on him soon. I could envision someone having interest in him, based more on circumstantial evidence.
Up until very recently, I thought there might be a trade market for Fukudome. He is a nice right fielder, a greatly unappreciated skill. Everyone looks primarily at his offensive performance (starts strong, then tanks after May) and secondarily at his defensive numbers last year while in CF (bad). There is no market for Fukudome, which sucks, because that's the best chance Tyler Colvin has of actually getting a chance to play. Which has to happen, everyone on Earth seems to know this, except Lou and Jim.
I guess what I am rambling about, once again and hopefully finally, that what you see, a .430 team who bulks up their cumulative numbers in occassional blowout wins, but loses more often than not due to poor offense and late runs given up, is what you get. Unless a Disney-grade miracle occurs, Doc Brown from "Back to the Future" flies in with a halo and blesses Carlos Silva, who goes 16-0 while nursing a bad cough?
Unless a miracle happens, we're finishing 20 games out of the division, and waiting for more kids to trickle in from the farms.