After this season, one of the Cubs’ top starting pitchers, Rich Harden becomes a free agent. Harden is one of many pitchers who show an ability to dominate when healthy, but due to injury concerns, cannot go 6, 7 innings consistently. Harden was superb in 2008 for the Cubs, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, and a 0.97 WHIP in 12 starts after being acquired at the trade deadline, however, injury concerns caused him to throw only 71 innings for Chicago, not quite 6 innings per start.
Harden has had an up-and-down 2009, complete with HR struggles, and back issues. Through 19 starts this year, Harden is 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA, and a 1.35 WHIP. His high ERA and WHIP are products of a high BABIP, and a regression from a low BABIP in 2008. Despite his struggles, Harden has shown almost identical strikeout and walk rates in 2008 and 2009.
With all the injuries the Cubs have had this year, and the fact that Harden has dominated in his combined full season with the Cubs, it is necessary that the Cubs re-sign Harden as he hits free agency. However, with Harden’s injury history, the Cubs, or any team for that matter, should commit to a deal longer than two-years. The optimal deal would be a 2-year $12-16 million contract, but who knows what Harden will demand, or receive with all his potential. The Cubs do not have a player who could step in take over Harden’s rotation spot, which is why they must re-sign him this offseason.
- Alex Rios and the Blue Jays
Temperental bust, awarded a 7-year/$70 million, heavily backloaded contract, based on one good year. Rios has shown that his ceiling is only a 20/20 player. He’ll lose part of that speed over time, for sure. If the Blue Jays hang onto him, which seemed to be their only choice because of his contract, they would eventually be paying 12.5 million dollars for a solely above-average, hitter and an average fielder. But now the unthinkable has happened. A MLB team, likely the White Sox, has claimed Rios on waivers. The Blue Jays now have ’till 1:30 ET tomorrow to trade Rios to the claiming team, or let him go to the claiming team for nothing. This is a golden opportunity for the Jays to shed payroll, they should just let Rios go. Why any team would want Rios is just puzzling. Once again, a golden opportunity to let Rios walk away.
- Who Says The Cubs Offense Is Dormant
The Chicago Cubs are back. Well, not completely. But a offense that had been scoring about two runs a game coming back in the final two innings from huge deficits to win 6-5, and 8-7, certainly shows life. Yesterday against the Indians, Cubs starter Rich Harden struggled through five innings, giving up 7 runs. The Cubs offense managed to chip away a pair of runs of Cleveland ace Cliff Lee, who went seven innings. But in the eight inning, the Cubs came back, scoring four runs off relievers Joe Smith, Rafael Perez, and Matt Herges. The innings’ key hit came when injury replacement number eight hitter Andres Blanco, hitting just .220, drove a two-out, two-run base hit, going into the 9th, the Cubs were down 7-6, but that quickly changed when Derrek Lee blasted a one-out solo homerun, his second of the game to tie the score. Kevin Gregg kept the game tied in the top of the tenth, then Ryan Theriot drove a bad-hop single that scored Alfonso Soriano for the teams second straight walk-off win.
- Tom Glavine won’t play again in ’09, may retire
Tom Glavine will not retire. He is too big-headed to realize so quickly that no team wants him any more. Glavine must realize that this not the 90’s any more.
He has been injured, he has pitched ineffectively, he is 42. He is done, he had a great career, I wish him success in any future endeavors, but just retire already!!!!!!!
Milton Bradley doesn’t. In the eighth inning of yesterday’s game, he caught a deep fly ball near the warning track, and tossed the ball into the stands, assuming that he had caught the third out. Now there was minimal impact on the play, Nick Punto had already scored via the sacrifice fly. But runner Brendan Harris was able to move up to third because of the gaff, and if Alfonso Soriano had missed Justin Morneau’s fly ball, then well…. uh….. uh…. uh…. aha! The Cubs would have lost 8-4, instead of 7-4. Now, Milton
how can we teach you to count to three? Three is the fourth number when you’re discussing outs in baseball. The numbers for outs go 0, 1, 2, 3. Or perhaps you prefer zero, one, two, three.
Let’s revisit that inning yesterday, when Nick Punto singled, there were 0 outs, when Luis Ayala bunted, and Punto advanced to second, there was 1 out, when Brendan Harris singled, and Punto moved up to third, there was still 1 out, when Joe Mauer hit a fly ball to you, and you caught it, there were 2 outs, and when Justin Morneau flew out to Alfonso Soriano, then there were 3 outs, and the inning was over.
A quote from Uncle Milton:
“The other fly ball [in the eighth], I turned my back to shade the sun some,” he said. “I caught it. I exhaled, and I was still seeing purple and green spots because I was looking into the sun. I sensed that something wasn’t right. My heart was in the right place, I tried to give a souvenir. It was messed up.”
At least it’s not screaming at umpires, or storming the broadcast booth, some of Bradley’s earlier exploits.
This Day In Baseball History
1905-Giants’ hurler Christy Mathewson pitches his second career no-hitter defeating the Cubs, 1-0.
1913-In the top of the ninth inning with no outs at New York’s Polo Grounds, Christy Mathewson strands a runner on third base to record his 300th career victory as the Giants edge the Cubs, 3-2. During his 17-year major league career, ‘Big Six’ will compile a 373-188 record.
1924-After Bob Meusel get hit with a pitch in his back in the top of the ninth, the Yankee outfielder hurls his bat at Tiger pitcher Bert Cole, and charges the mound. The resulting melee, including players, fans and police, lasts for nearly 30 minutes and when ump Billy Evans is unable to clear the field, he forfeits the game to New York, 10-6.
1948-With the crowd of 49,641 singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Babe, the Yankees celebrate the silver anniversary of Yankee Stadium by holding ‘Babe Ruth Day’. With members of the 1923 team (the first team to play in the stadium) looking on, the dying superstar’s uniform number 3 is retired and sent to Cooperstown.
1957-Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams becomes the first American Leaguer to have two three-homer games in one season. The ‘Splendid Splinter’ drives in five runs helping Boston to defeat the Indians, 9-3.
1957-At Comiskey Park, an ugly brawl, precipitated by an Art Ditmar pitch behind Larry Doby’s head, breaks out when the White Sox infielder takes exception to being the target of the bean ball and punches the Yankee hurler. Billy Martin, Walt Dropo, Bill Skowron and Enos Slaughter all actively participate in the melee.
1973-The Dodgers infield which will be together 8 1/2 years, setting a major league record for longevity, play together the first time. First baseman Steve Garvey, second baseman Davey Lopes, third baseman Ron Cey and shortstop Bill Russell are in the line up in the 16-3 defeat to the Phillies.
1994-At the age of 34, Cub second baseman Ryne Sandberg suddenly retires walking away from $16 million.
1998-The first triple play ever completed at Dodger Stadium is turned by Darren Dreifort, Eric Young, Jose Vizcaino and Bobby Bonilla.
1999-With his Astros ahead 4-1 in the 8th inning, the game is suspended when Houston manager Larry Dierker can’t speak, falls and begins shaking violently due to a gran mal seizure.
2003-On his fourth attempt, Roger Clemens becomes the 21st pitcher and the first since 1990 to record 300 career wins as the 40-year-old righty goes 6 2/3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 inter-league victory over the Cardinals. In the second inning when Edgar Renteria swings through full-count fastball, the ‘Rocket’ also joins Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136) as just the third hurler to record 4000 career strikeouts.
It’s still early in the season, but when your offense can’t score, when your marquee player is injured, and when this happens you’re sunk…
- Indians demote Fausto Carmona to Rookie League to “Work on his mechanics and mental approach”
What has happened to the 2007 version of Fausto Carmona? As a quick reminder, that year, Carmona went 19-8, with a 3.06 ERA, and pitched 215 innings, more than he’d ever pitched in a single season. Carmona’s performance came with an abnormally low BABIP. What could be so bad in his mechanics to justify sending him down to Rookie league. Sending a player to Rookie League to work on something, not rehabilitation, but i.e. mechanics, does not motivate a player, to try harder, it makes him feel insulted, and work less. Back to the main question, what was his mechanical problem?
- Grady Sizemore’s injury
Elbow inflammation+possible hamstring injury = bad. Now he may have surgery and miss six weeks . I’ts time for Cleveland to sell players like Mark Derosa, and Cliff Lee.
This Day In Baseball History
1920-The Cardinals play their last game at Robison Field (renamed Cardinal Field in 1917), their home field since 1893, beating the Cubs, 5-2. One of new owner Sam Breadon’s first decisions is to agree to a ten-year lease for $20,000 annually allowing his team to move six blocks to share Sportman’s Park with the Browns, and then using the money from selling the aging ballpark to finance Branch Rickey’s idea of establishing a farm system by investing in a club afflilation with a minor league team in Houston, Texas.
1925-White Sox Eddie Collins, at the age of 38, becomes the sixth major leaguer to collect 3000 hits when he doubles off Washington’s Walter Johnson.
1934-Myril Hoag becomes first Yankee in franchise history to collect six hits in one game, a major league record of six singles. The 26-year old outfielder’s 6-for-6 performance helps the Bronx Bombers rout Boston at Fenway Park, 15-3.
1939-Bert and George Bebble and Carl Stotz form the Little League organization in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The three youth teams in the league have uniforms thanks to a $35 donation.
1940-Warren Spahn, who will become the winningest left-hander in baseball history with 363 victories, signs a contract with the Boston Bees (Braves). Due to a clash with manager Casey Stengel and his enlistment in the U.S. Army, the 19-year old southpaw will have to wait six years before he gets his first major league win.
1941-The New York Giants become the first team to wear protective headgear as they don plastic helmets in a game against the Pirates.
1957-After an 86-minute delay, the first fog out in major league history occurs at Ebbets Field when the umpires call off the Dodgers’ game against the Cubs due to poor visibility.
1958-Osvaldo ‘Ossie’ Virgil becomes the first black player to appear in a Tigers’ uniform. The versatile Dominican will eventually play every position but pitcher during his nine major league career.
1965-Tom Tresh hits three consecutive home runs as the Yankees blast the White Sox, 12-0.
1976-After a storm drops seven inches of rain causing floods in Houston, twenty fans canoe to the Astrodome to get rain checks for the canceled game at the enclosed stadium.
1986-Before the game against the Braves, Padres’ skipper Steve Boros tries to give ump Charlie Williams a videotape of a disputed play from the previous night and is ejected prior to the first pitch of the game.
1992-Eddie Murray drives in two runs against the Pirates to surpass Mickey Mantle (1,509) as the all-time switch-hitter RBI leader.
2002-The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission agrees to drop its lawsuit against the Twins and Major League Baseball. The deal settles a lawsuit blocking baseball’s contraction plan and removes the Twins from consideration for elimination for the 2003 season.
2006-When Eric Gagne, who will earn his first save in over a year, throws his first pitch to his receiver Russell Martin, the pair become the first All-French-Canadian battery in major league history. The pitcher and catcher both attended Polyvalente Edouard Montpetit High School, one of the few schools in Montreal which had a baseball program.
2007-At Petco Park, Trevor Hoffman becomes the first reliever to save 500 games. It takes the all-time saves leader 10 ninth inning pitches, including an 87 mph fastball thrown past Russell Martin for the final out, to reach the milestone in the Padres 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.
One no two no three big things happened in baseball yesterday…
- The Pirates Trade Nate McLouth to the Braves
I will start off by saying that I am of the opinion that Nate McLouth is overrated. He creates runs with his power bat, (which I am skeptical of), and his base running intuitiveness, but gives up runs with his poor defense. However, he is still an excellent partial fix to the Braves’ outfield problems. Atlanta was able to give up some good, but expendable prospects, to get McLouth. The Pirates were able to get three players:
- Pirates Promote Andrew McCutchen
Well, the Pirates did promote Andrew McCutchen, to replace McLouth. What else were they supposed to do.
- Sammy Sosa Retires
Sammy Sosa you helped save baseball in 1998. PED’s or not, you belong in the Hall Of Fame.
- White Sox Promote Gordon Beckham
Welcome to the first player from the 2008 draft to reach the majors. Beckham’s here to stay, mark my word.
Why are the Cubs tanking again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Padres, is on pace for 67 Homeruns
- Padres 7 Cubs 2
This weekend the Padres, the Padres!!!!! swept the Cubs, this should not happen. What is wrong with the Cubs? Their offense was supposed to be improved after adding Milton Bradley, but every hitter except a much improved Kosuke Fukudome is slumping, some hitters, especially Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, and Bradley, never even started hitting. The Cubs’ bullpen is a mess, it looked good on paper, and I will admit that I supported the Kevin Gregg acquisition this offseason, but the fact of the matter is, Gregg is not a closer, he throws too many strikes right over the plate, and the rest of the bullpen can’t throw strikes. The starting rotation has been good, but they haven’t been getting run support, and it would be nice if the starters weren’t taking turns going to the DL. The Cubs need to right the ship now.
1935– At Forbes Field, Babe Ruth as a member of the Boston Braves, hits three homers and a single. The ‘Sultan of Swat’s’ seventh inning solo shot of Gary Bush, which travels over 600 feet and clears the roof, will be the Bambino’s 714th and final home run.
1937- Future Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane’s career ends after being beaned with an 3-1 inside fastball thrown by Yankee hurler Bump Hadley. Near death at first, the Tiger catcher/manager will spend six weeks in the hospital and will return to the team only as its skipper.
1951– Willie Mays makes his major league debut.
1981– Carl Yastrzemski, playing in his 3,000th game, all in a Red Sox uniform, scores the deciding run in an 8-7 victory over Cleveland. The future Hall of Famer will finish his 23-year career in the majors appearing in a total of 3,308 contests for Boston.
1982– In the third inning of Chicago’s 2-1 loss to Padres, Cubs’ right-hander Fergie Jenkins whiffs shortstop Gary Templeton to record his 3,000th career strikeout. The Canadian-born hurler becomes the seventh pitcher in major league history to reach the milestone.
2005– In a game against the Orioles, the Mariners battery consist of a pair of 42-year olds as Jamie Moyer throws to backstop Pat Borders. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the first time in major league history that two players 42 years or older have been the starting pitcher and catcher for a team.
2008-Former major league pitcher Geremi Gonzalez
is killed by lightning standing on a dock in western Venezuela. The 33-year-old pitcher, who was signed by the Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1991, also hurled for the Devil Rays, the Red Sox, the Mets and the Brewers before being released by Milwaukee in 2006.
This Day In Baseball History-www.nationalpastime.com