January, Chicago's Hottest Month of the Year

I love baseball newsy days in January. I love roster moves. You can see that I don't even mind listening to a baseball guru or two.

Fox's Baseball analyst, Ken Rosenthal was on WGN Radio's "Sports Central" show hosted by David Kaplan tonight. For those not able to listen, here's a summary of his take on all things recently swirling in Cubsville. He takes on Milton Bradley vs Lou Piniella (a dangerous mix). Could these two ever be as lovable as Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson in the 2003 film, Anger Management? Somehow, I just can't see LouPa getting Bradley to sing, "I Feel Pretty".

Plus a bit more on the shrinking odds to acquire some guy named Jake.

On to the details, after the jump...

The Week That Was....

The rest of the world might have been on holidays the last few weeks, but general managar Jim Hendry was busy shuffling the deck chairs on the Cubbie Titanic. Things happened at a rather fast and furious pace last week, so let's revisit with a more in-depth look. What you may have missed while in your drunken egg nog stupor...

Cubs Sign Gathright

Granted, this was before the holiday break, but it's not like I can let a Cubs move go without commenting. Gathright, as we all know by now, can jump over a car and he can also jump over a pitcher if needed. He'll also take a swing at Julian Taveraz which certainly warrants a +1 if this was Deadspin. We also know that Gathright grades at 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale for speed, one of those five tools that Corey Patterson supposedly possessed. A shame that scouting scale hasn't been revamped to include a sixth tool for "baseball IQ" or "can't layoff a breaking pitch".

Back to Gathright, we know he's fast, we know he can jump a car or player, but what he can't do is play baseball very well.  He's a track star wearing a baseball uniform. The speed is fun and all when you're getting a .365 BABIP like he did in 2007, but when lady luck isn't on his side, he's a .265 hitter with a slugging percentage below his on-base percentage. When Ryan Theriot says you hit like a girl, you've got problems.

And as for his 80-grade speed, you'd think a guy so damn fast could steal at better than a 75% clip. While passable by the laws of baseball sabermetrics, when your only real benefit on the field is your wheels, he should be much closer to the 80% or higher range like Dave or Brian Roberts. Of course, speed also is beneficial in the field, but Gathright rates as below average by BP's fielding metric over his career

I still contend that on a one year, $800K deal, he was brought in as no more than a backup plan and motivation for Felix Pie this spring training. I don't think that contract will keep the Cubs from cutting him if Pie can put together a nice spring training. If he does stick, we just hope Piniella uses him appropriately, which would be not much at all.

Fleita Afoot

The weekly radio baseball gabfest known as "Talking Baseball" (ESPN AM 1000, Chicago) hosted by Bruce Levine (and frequently Chet Coppock, in the role of sidekick) is a nice source of Cub information. Of course you have to wade through lengthy questions that often take minutes to unfold. Interviews with management are usually cloaked in generalizations, clichés and unrequited hope.

This saturday's show featured an interview with Cubs Vice President of Player Personnel, Oneri Fleita, as well as some discussion on the management's thinking behind the recent Mark DeRosa for prospects trade.

Fleita was not going to short change us on clichés like  "You've got to play the games" and  "Everybody starts in first place." Still it was good to hear about prospects in the news like Josh Vitters and the 3 newest pitching prospects acquired from Cleveland.

Bruce Levine updated and opined about the state of the Cubs roster changes including keeping the roster flexible as well as the progress on acquiring a sense of left handedness with attitude (feisty Milton Bradley, scrappy Aaron Miles and the even scrappier Mike Fontenot).

He also has an opinion about Jake da Ace, aka he-who-must-not-be-named.

The incredibly wordy play by play after the jump...

One More Look at Hawks/Wings

TCR reader Jacos survived the cold and wind and a close encounter with Ronnie Woo-Woo to return with some nice shots from the Blackhawks/Red Wings game (including a shocking image of Red Wing players having to pass through a cloud of poison gas on their way to the rink--an allowable "home ice advantage" under NHL rules). Enjoy.

 

 

McDonough Looks for Another Marketing Hit

The last hockey player had barely stepped off the temporary ice rink at Wrigley Field Thursday afternoon following the 2009 NHL Winter Classic before Blackhawks team president John McDonough was in front of the reporters' microphones with another big idea.

In a reversal of sorts of the Blackhawks/Red Wings game at Wrigley Field, McDonough is proposing that the Cubs and Cardinals move their July 11th game from Wrigley to the United Center.

A Cub Fans Guide to Blackhawks Hockey

A funny thing happened on the way to the NHL Winter Classic:

The Blackhawks got good. Very good.

As a result, the spectacle that John McDonough begged his league to bring to Wrigley to help him reanimate a recently dead franchise has turned into something else:

A signficant matchup between the Detroit Red Wings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Blackhawks, the Wings' closest divisional pursuers, one of the league's youngest, highest scoring, and most dynamic clubs.

In case you have been too busy following the Cubs' off-season exploits to pay attention to the Blackhawks--or, more likely, if you have never paid attention to the Hawks--here is a Cubs baseball/Blackhawks hockey translator just for you.

Hendry on XM Radio

Jim Hendry was on XM radio with Rob Dibble and his co-host...Stern something or other. The completely uninteresting highlights:

  • trading DeRosa was the toughest trade he ever made 
  • too right-handed
  • Fontenot and Miles at second base
  • No talks at all with Baltimore for "the player" (Brian Roberts)
  • couple of deals expected over the next few weeks, in 7-10 days they expect to add a left-handed hitting outfielder
  • seems content with the bullpen, Lou and Rothschild will figure out the closer between Gregg and Marmol in spring training
  • not going to the hockey game, currently visitng his brother in Louisiana
  • Soriano's just streaky, not worried about his playoff performance or wilting under the pressure
  • Sale completed within next month he hears
  • Payroll is set until new owner is named, had to move money to add money
  • humorous bit about not caring what the Yankees spend and he's spent plenty on his part and if he didn't, he probably would have been fired by now.

No mention of the Jason Marquis trade, but you have to assume it's one of those deals expected over the next few weeks.

On another note, this Stern fella sounds like a bigger idiot than Rob Dibble, which I didn't think was possible. He keeps harping about Brian Roberts and just called Mike Fontenot a "punch and judy" hitter.

Dr. Hecht's simulcast after the jump...

Cubs Trade Mark DeRosa

Bruce Levine of ESPN1000 is reporting that the Cubs have traded Mark DeRosa and the $5.5M on his contract for 2009 to the Cleveland Indians for three minor-leaguers, RHP Jeff Stevens, LHP John Gaub and RHP Chris Archer.

You have to think a trade, let's say for a certain pitcher from San Diego whom I dare not speak his name, is possibly forthcoming.

I'll try and get some info on the prospects in a bit.


UPDATE #1: Link from espn.com, although I think they have a typo on John "Caub".


UPDATE #2: I poked around a bit and none of the three prospects showed up on Baseball America's recent top 10 Indians' prospect list or John Sickels Top 20. In other words, this deal only makes sense if they're all headed to another city, let's call it San Diego, to give them the quantity of pitchers and players that they wanted in that trade for that certain pitcher, whom we'll refer to as J.P.

Scouting reports and biographies that I could piece together on the prospects after the jump....

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