Baseball Diamond News

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Wil Ohman called up.

The Cubs have placed Chad Fox on the 15-day DL today and recalled lefty Wil Ohman. Going into spring training I was pretty high on Wil Ohman and it looked like he pressed too much trying to impress the Cubs and did pretty poorly. Since going to the minors Wil has stymied hitters to a .138 batting average while only walking 2 and getting 12 k's in 8.2 innings. I think he will be more valuable in the pen right now than Jon Leicester or Mike Remlinger are at the current moment. The major problem this presents is now we have 4 lefties out of pen Rusch, Bartosh, Remlinger, Ohman which unless you are Tony Larussa, 4 lefties in pen is too many.

More injuries..

The Cubs this season are having their share of injuries early on. First it was Wood and Prior during camps and the first week of the season. Then Nomar tears his groin. Two days ago Wood has to leave the game after 5 innings (all I have read says just stiffness), but when it comes to injuries with their starting pitchers I have come not to believe them anymore. Then after that we get to watch Chad Fox last night blow out his arm (maybe). I was at a sports bar last night with my wife and friend Tracy watching the game and right after Chad threw that pitch you could just see the arm go limp. I feel bad for Chad as he has had 2 major surgeries on that arm and though I am positive he is finished this year, I hope he can make a comeback in future if he desires.
I want to say a few things about Nomar and his recent decision. When I read the headline he was going to have surgery I thought well his season is over, but a wise move to reduce any problems there for the future. Then I read further and saw they are not reattaching the tendon, but just cleaning out area and taking away scar tissue. I know Nomar is in contract year and yes I would love to have him on the team for the playoff run, but I think taking the course he has that he still won't be ready to help them by end of year and he is doing more harm to the Cubs than good. Why do I say that? Well if the Cubs think that he has a shot of being back for the September and October, they will stay put with Nefi at SS (who I must admit is doing a fabulous job) and not go out and trade for the SS they need. The Cubs need to get a new player ASAP so they can send down Ronny Cedeno and not impede on his development.

Patterson did not start yesterday with flu like symptoms, so if he was not well enough to start, why did Dusty put him in the game to pinch-hit? Aren't you trying to rest this guy so he gets better? I know a PH appearance might not take a ton of energy, but if Dusty was wise enough to know he was sick, he should be wise enough not to play Patterson unless it was a dire situation (which it wasn't).

Why was Chad Fox pitching?

In a 7 run lead in the 9th inning why do you put in Chad Fox? Isn't he supposed to be the new closer? I understand the game was closer in the beginning of the 8th inning, but when Dusty started to see the runs come in, isn't it time to put in the fodder that is Jon Liecester? Jon has been brutal all year, he could have used this to try and find a small groove and get some control back, but that would make way too much sense. If Dusty is afraid to put Jon in with a lead that big then maybe, just maybe Jon should be down in the minors pitching and honing his skills.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Prospect Update I: Matt Murton

I decided that it was time to add a new column to this website. Maybe it will bring in more readers. I am going to write once a week on a Cub Prospect and how they are doing.

This week I am starting off with Matt Murton and the reason I am starting with him is because he came of in the Nomar deal and since Nomar was hurt this week I thought we should look at the other piece of the deal.
At this current moment Matt Murton is on fire in West Tennessee hitting .490/.554/.735, 4 sb's. Now I know this is only over 12 games and it is a small sample size, but Murton was a 1st round pick only 2 years ago and this is his 1st time in Double-A, so these are very encouraging signs. He is walking once every 7 at-bats while striking out once every 8 at-bats. He also hasn't committed any errors, but I do not have in-depth data on minor league defense (if you know where to get some please send me an email). Murton was not in Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects for the Cubs as he just missed out at #11, but they did have him listed as their best prospect to: hit for average and best strike-zone plate discipline. The major weakness in Murton's batting people have said was his lacking ability to hit for power. So far this season Murton has 24 hits and 7 are for extra bases (4 2b, 1 3b, 2 hr). This might now be an overwhelming amount of power, but I would say it would be acceptable if Murton can maintain a batting average over .300 and an OBP of .380.


Well by now everyone that reads this knows what happened to Nomar Garciaparra the other night. All I can say is ouch. I was watching the game and had actually stepped out of the room to answer the door (ordered some Thai). I heard Len Kasper say," and that is a double play and Nomar is not getting up." So I quickly paid the guy at the door and ran back to my TV (I don't know what life was like before DVR anymore) and rewound what I had missed. I instantly grimaced when I saw that. I have had some injuries in my life, I just had tendon replacement surgery on my hand, but that pain can't be half as bad as tearing the tendon off the bone in your groin area. I know they said he has 2 options, but I think for his future that surgery is the best option and if the Cubs can make it to playoffs, then maybe Nomar can be back in time to help them(disclaimer: I don't know if surgery or non-surgery would make it a faster return for him).

Now what are the Cubs going to do? Nefi Perez is going to step in at SS and Jerry Hairston Jr. finally gets his chance to start at 2b, but do you really expect to contend with middle IF like that? The Cubs did call up Ronny Cedeno (who has been doing very well in Triple-A this season), but I don't expect him to get many bats nor do I expect him to on the big league club long. The Cubs need to go out and find a team that has an extra SS because even though Nefi is doing well now; historically speaking he won't keep this up. He is a well below-average career batter and there are no indications that show this ability to hit will stay. I haven't examined MLB teams close enough to figure out who might be available, but I am going to do that over next day or so and write more on who I think the Cubs should go after.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Congrats Bulls

I just want to say congratulations to the Chicago Bulls and them making the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Bulls have had a rough season and have proven they can win with al their injuries this season: Antonio Davis, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and Eddy Curry all out at least 5 games at some point this season. I have a feeling they will advance to the 2nd round of the playoffs only to be destroyed by the Heat, especially without Eddy Curry. Hopefully this will help the current team build for the future.

GO BULLS. I'll be there Sunday rooting for you!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

$27.01 (A great day at the park)

Last night I was online surfing the web when I decided to go to the Cubs website and see if there was a seat for today's double-header. To my surprise there was a good seat and after all the fees for $17.01 in section 237 row 14 seat 11. What a great purchase it was. I was 1 seat away from it being obstructed view so I excited about that. I am extremely glad I brought my blanket as it was cold as can be out there today and at least that helped me stay semi-warm. I also drank a lot of hot chocolate at the game to try and keep warm, but after 5 ($2.00 a piece) of them, I thought they might start making me miss the game, so I stopped drinking them. So for the day my total expenditure was $27.01 and I got to see 2 games and drink lots of hot chocolate. That is a bargain for me.

The first game was almost over after the first inning. Kerry Wood came out flat today and didn't have the ability to keep the ball in the park. The offense didn't do much either only scoring 2 runs in the 4th when there was an opportunity to add a few more. I do have to credit Adam Hyzdu for a great catch in the bottom of the 7th and then doubling up Lee (who made a horrible base running mistake).

The 2nd game looked bleak when the opening lineups where announced, Blanco was in instead of Barrett, Perez was in instead of Garciaparra, and Macias was in for Ramirez, though it was nice to see Dubois and Hairston Jr. in there. I was certain the Cubs offense would sputter much like it did in the first game. I was proven wrong from the start as the Cubs scored 4 runs in the first and 3 in the 2nd to start with a 7-0 and never looked back. Prior looked sharp in his first game back by giving up only 4 hits in 6 innings and throwing 68% of his pitches for strikes. I was also impressed that Dusty stuck to a good pitch count (92 total) for Prior and did not think about sending him out there for the 7th inning. The bullpen looked awful in game 2 as they were behind most every batter they faced and walked way too many guys especially when at the time they were up 8 runs.
I have to say something about Nefi Perez today since I wrote a column about him starting the other day. I don’t think Nefi Perez is very good, but I must say today he showed me up as he went 6-9. I hope he keeps it up, but as my buddy Rusty said today, “It takes most people 20-30 games to see Nefi get 6 hits."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Why did we get Hairston in the Sosa trade if we are not going to play him after we have had an injury? Nefi Perez is a not a really good bench player let alone starter. So what does Dusty Baker do the game after Todd Walker sprained his leg? He starts Nefi Perez. What does Dusty see in this guy? He prefers him to pinch hit off bench in most situations and now after an injury to Mr. Walker he prefers to start Perez over Hairston. I am grateful that he didn't feel obliged to start Macias, but that doesn't explain his rationale. Hairston said he was a little disappointed, but I would be willing to bet that is the understatement of year. I hope when we see tomorrow's lineup card it has Hairston starting at 2b and he continues to start until Walker is ready to start again.
Just add this to the list of reasons of why Dusty has to go......

Monday, April 11, 2005

Home-Opener, why wasn't Aramis guarding line?

Well I was going to write last week, but got swamped with life stuff. I went to the home opener for the 18th time in 20 years and then right after drove to Ohio for a fantasy baseball draft.
So let me complain about the home opener. I know people are probably harping on Latroy Hawkins, but I don't think he is fully to blame for the loss. Yes I know he is the one that threw the ball and gave up the hits, but why with a man on 1st, isn't Aramis guarding the line? I know the batter was lefty, but who cares if Overbay gets the ball in the hole, the worst that happens is 1b with the runner on 1st going to 3rd. Had Aramis been guarding the line, I am not saying he would have gotten Overbay out at 1st, but since the ball was hit so weakly he would have at least knocked it down.
Then after coming in the 10th inning Leicester was just awful, he threw 53 pitches with only 24 strikes. We should have lost in the 10th, if it weren't for bad baserunning on the Brewers that led to the pop-out DP to Lee to end the inning. The next inning had Junior Spivey not grounded into a double play, the Cubs would have been in trouble there also as Leicester ended up walking 3 men that inning. So what does Dusty do? He brings him in again to start the 12th inning and after getting the first batter out he proceeded in giving up 2 singles. Then and only then he decided to take out Leicester for Wellemeyer. Why wouldn't Dusty bring in Wellemeyer to start the inning? Why wouldn't Dick Pole tell him that is what he should be doing? I have always felt that Dusty Baker wasn't the smartest manager, but now I am wondering about the guys he has around him and their brain power.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Ramirez signs 4 year deal

Just before the Cubs started their 1st game of the year, they inked Aramis Ramirez to a 4 year deal estimated at about 42 million dollars with a 5th option year for another 11 million dollars. The contract also gives Ramirez an out after 2 years if he wants it, but from what it sounded like from Hendry (when he was talking in booth in 2nd inning of game) it is if he elevates his game to a higher level they will renegotiate the last couple years of contract.
Overall I think this is a good deal for both sides. Ramirez is the first good 3b we have had since Bill Madlock (sorry Ron Cey) and Ramirez is very young and hopefully will only get better. This now locks down 3/5 th's of IF (including catcher) for at least the next 3 years whom all pretty young and hopefully their peak years will be soon.

7 Cub Minor Leaguers fail drug program

Today it was announced that 38 minor league players violated "Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program." Of the 38 players 7 were in the Cubs minor league system, with 2 of the 7 guys having been released since the testing. From the article it sounds like these were only the teams that have minor league camps in Arizona. The two players that violated the program and have since been cut are Kevin Reinking and Jesus Medrano. The other guys that violated the program in the system are: Carlos Vasquez, Matthew Craig, Robinson Chirinos, David Cash and Oscar Bernard. Of all the players that violated the policy Matthew Craig is the only player I have heard of and he needs to reduce his strikeouts before he can emerge from a mid-range prospect.

Friday, April 01, 2005

John Parrish update

The other day I mentioned that I thought the Cubs should look into John Parrish for the lefty they needed before the traded for Bartosh. Well according to the Daily Herald the Cubs have some interest in acquiring him. While I think Bartosh has a little more natural potential, Parrish might be a good acquisition for the Cubs as long as he is cheap. I don't know what the Cubs would do with three lefties in pen, but if Prior goes on the DL the Cubs might be able to buy themselves a week or so to pick between the two.

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