December 09, 2006

Winter Meetings end, Cubs sign Marquis

Props to Jim Hendry for finshing the Lilly deal while in the hospital. The Cubs also signed LH bench guy Daryle Ward, who seems to fit what we need. I do not think the Cubs will trade Jones at this point, it seems like they can only get pennies for him.

The big signing today however is the Cubs' signing of Jason Marquis.

Again, I'm not super-wild about this signing. In the plus column, he has a pretty good sinker, is an innings eater, can pinch hit, and did pretty well in the past few years (the second half of last season notwithstanding). On the other hand, he was AWFUL after the all-star break last year. Also, he's worked under both Leo Mazzone and Dave Duncan, widely regarded as being the best pitching coaches in the league, and even they weren't really able to turn him around. Anyway, this is what I see our rotation shaping up to be:


In terms of healthy-ness, if everyone was 100% and turns into their old selves. I would rank the three question marks in the order Prior, Miller, Marquis...but we need everyone to be totally healthy. I think Prior is more likely to turn things around than Miller, but Miller seems more likely to stay healthy. Once again...Prior is the wild card in our rotation.

Thus Roster/Lineup (12/9)

RF Soriano
SS Izturis (ugh)
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
CF Jones
LF Murton
C Barrett
2B DeRosa

B Blanco
B Theriot
B Ward
B Pagan
B Some FA bat (Floyd?)

1 Zambrano
2 Lilly
3 Marquis
4 Hill
5 Miller/Prior/Rookie

B Dempster
B Howry
B Wood
B Wuertz
B Eyre
B Cotts
B Ohman

December 04, 2006

Lilly signs with Cubs (?), more rumors

Jayson Stark is reporting that the Cubs will sign Ted Lilly. I'm not super wild about this deal...I'm not sure what I think about Lilly. He's a flyball pitcher, which would suggest he is a bad choice for wrigley given our lousy outfield defense and small park. He did manage to keep a decent ERA while pitching in the brutal AL east. However, he was pitching at the Skydome (or whatever it is called now), and that place is such a barn. If I were to rank the (remaining) free agent pitchers, I would put him near the end


All of them have issues...Schmidt and Zito are the only real proven innings horses here. Schmidt is getting older though, and I've never trusted Zito somehow he never seems as good as his numbers. Meche is a perpetual upside guy, but who knows if he'll ever meet the projections people have been giving him - why hasn't he broken out yet? Padilla is a sullen loner and is rumored to have alcoholism issues.

In other news, the Cubs offered Jones (+ one prospect probably) for Jason Jennings. This is the kind of pitcher I want - a groundball machine. I hope we get him.

Hendry also came out to say that he is not trading Matt Murton, which is great news. As was pointed out, he's the best hitting prospect to come out of our system in a long time.

December 03, 2006

Currently reading, Cubs rumblings

I just started reading Cubs Nation: 162 Games, 162 Stories, 1 addiction . I have a feeling this book will be pretty engrossing and somewhat depressing. It chronicles the season of the 2004 cubs, with one article/story for each game of the season. The motivation for the book was, of course, the painful 2003 playoffs and the subsequent improvements the Cubs made in the following offseason. Peter Gammons actually predicted the cubs to win the world series in 2004, and vegas was giving great odds on them too. Then everything just fell apart down the stretch - Prior was hurt, Sosa went from team icon to being run out of town, various members of the team feuded with the broadcast guys, and the Cubs blew a big lead down the stretch to miss the playoffs.

Speaking of offseason improvements, I still think things are looking good for the Cubs. The latest rumors are that we are the front-runners for Schmidt and Lilly, and that we're looking to sign Lofton as astopgap until Pie is ready to make the leap. I think this is great news - lofton is a great fit for many reasons, and he's one of Jennie's favorite players too! I'm not so sure about Lilly. He managed a so-so ERA in the tough AL east, but he was pitching in a pitcher's park and is very much a flyball pitcher - so coming to a hitter's park with sketchy OF defense might not be a good match. I still kind of feel it to be unlikely that the Cubs sign both of the pitchers, but if they did, this would be what we were looking at (with stat predictions). It's pretty awesome, the only issue is that Murton should get more playing time.

LFSoriano .295/.330/.510/112/38/97/32
CF Lofton.270/.355/.420/90/1/56/36
RF Jones/Murton(combined) .290/.345/.495/82/28/96/15
C Barrett.290/.340/.505/76/20/78/1
2B DeRosa.275/.338/.430/78/75/2
SS Izturis.255/.305/.340/60/1/48/5

B Blanco
B Murton/Jones
B Pagan
B Theriot
B Some FA Bench player


December 02, 2006

Damn you, Kwong

I went over to Brian's house today to play with his new Wii. It was pretty damn cool. We played a few of the Wii sports games, and then he showed me the new Zelda game. It looked pretty cool, and it got me all in the mood for older Zelda games.

I have kind of a strange relationship with Zelda games these days. I must have played Link to the Past half a hundred times...though I never managed to enter the triple zero club in that game. I loved Link's Awakening on the game boy too, though from what I read later I was one of the few who did. So as you could guess, when Ocarina of Time came out for the N64 I was beside myself with excitement. Sadly, while the game was a pretty solid game, I was really disappointed in it because I expected it to be the second coming of the game that I played obsessively as a kid. The story was kind of clumsy (I was older and more used to great stories), I hated the 3d environment gameplay, and it just wasn't well LttP! I didn't even finish the game, I just got tired of it.

2 or 3 years later I came back to it and played through it again, and realized that it was actually a pretty good game. I had a good time once it didn't have to live up to my gargantuan reputation. By then, however, FF had earned my total loyalty so I got a PS2 to stick with that franchise. Thus I barely ever saw any of the gamecube games, including the apparently fantastic wind waker. Seeing the new game really brought it all back though. I got home and immdiately downloaded a N64 emulator so I could fire up some Ocarina of Time.