Spring Training = Hope, Questions

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring Training = Hope, Questions

. Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The Cubs have an impeccable sense of timing (aside from, you know, that one thing). They always seem to congregate for spring training at about the exact time I'm considering eating a shotgun if I have to listen to any more basketball talk on the radio. Even with hockey to help, the gap between the end of football season and the beginning of baseball season is interminable. It's what you'd call your basic Dark Night of My Soul. Not to be melodramatic or anything.

But the clouds have finally parted, after literally weeks without some combination of football and/or baseball. Sweet Lou, Fonzie, and Malibu Mike are all now in the desert, avoiding scorpions and working on hitting the shit out of some Cardinals pitching. And next Friday, a WAIW contingent will join them in the Land of Damn Hot, But Really, It's a Dry Heat So It's OK. Clearly, there is baseball within the grasp of our arthritic and frostbitten Midwestern fingers. This leads to questions abounding in the mind grapes. The following is what's been bouncing along my head when I should be doing other things:

- Why did Zambrano already give up on this look?


El Relampago Mustachio

It was seriously sweet, and it always makes me sad when someone gives up on facial hair. I'm thinking that a lot of whorish women kept thinking he was there to fix the cable, and it all got to be a bit of an inconvenience.

- How much can we expect from Rich Harden in 2009?

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  W   L   G   GS  CG SHO  GF SV   IP     H    R   ER   HR  BB   SO  HBP  WP  BFP  IBB  BK  ERA *lgERA *ERA+ WHIP
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+---+-----+---+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
2003 21 OAK AL 5 4 15 13 0 0 0 0 74.7 72 38 37 5 40 67 1 6 324 1 0 4.46 4.44 100 1.500
2004 22 OAK AL 11 7 31 31 0 0 0 0 189.7 171 90 84 16 81 167 3 4 803 6 1 3.99 4.54 114 1.329
2005 23 OAK AL 10 5 22 19 2 1 0 0 128.0 93 42 36 7 43 121 2 6 514 0 0 2.53 4.36 172 1.063
2006 24 OAK AL 4 0 9 9 0 0 0 0 46.7 31 22 22 5 26 49 1 0 191 0 0 4.24 4.43 104 1.221
2007 25 OAK AL 1 2 7 4 0 0 2 0 25.7 18 7 7 3 11 27 0 0 100 1 0 2.45 4.20 171 1.130
2008 26 TOT 10 2 25 25 0 0 0 0 148.0 96 38 34 11 61 181 3 3 595 2 0 2.07 4.25 206 1.061
OAK AL 5 1 13 13 0 0 0 0 77.0 57 21 20 5 31 92 1 1 311 1 0 2.34 4.05 173 1.143
CHC NL 5 1 12 12 0 0 0 0 71.0 39 17 14 6 30 89 2 2 284 1 0 1.77 4.47 252 0.972
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+---+-----+---+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
6 Yr WL% .672 41 20 109 101 2 1 2 0 612.7 481 237 220 47 262 612 10 19 2527 10 1 3.23 4.40 136 1.213
+--------------+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+------+----+----+----+---+----+----+---+---+-----+---+---+-----+-----+----+-----+
162 Game Avg 13 6 35 32 0 0 0 0 198.3 155 76 71 15 84 198 3 6 818 3 0 3.23 4.40 136 1.213
Career High 11 7 31 31 2 1 2 0 189.7 171 90 84 16 81 181 3 6 803 6 1 2.07 4.54 206 1.061

"Borrowed" from baseball-reference.com. Gracais, chaps.

I read somewhere recently that the Cubs should consider Harden a luxury item rather than a given. Looking at his career numbers, I think that's all we can expect. It's tempting to think of the guy as a #2 candidate because of his skill, but the stamina has never been there. 15 wins in 2009 would be a breakout season, and more than 150 innings pitched would make us ecstatic. Here's hoping he stops breaking and gets 18 wins, but I think that 12 is the best bet - and I might even be reaching there.

- What will the lineup look like on Opening Day?


Glasses by Oakley, beard by Jersey Shore

If Fukudome had lived up to the promise of last Opening Day, this would be so much easier to write. I want him to be good so badly, but his numbers dropped like a rock as the sample size increased. Here's hoping for a renaissance in 2009. As is, here's what I like.

1. Ryan Theriot

He can hit for average, but not much else. As long as he doesn't try to steal (22 SB/13 CS) too much, I like him to improve on last year's .387 OBP.

2. Mike Fontenot

I have no doubt that Malibu Mike can be an every day player on the Cubs. In a more frequent role last year, he got even better. I think it was the hair. He gets on base nearly two fifths of the time, which is a trait that Cubs players used to lack. He's also got surprising pop (9 hr) for someone who could probably still sleep in a racecar bed.

3. Derrek Lee

Yes, yes, we all remember DPLee of last year. But he's due for a bounceback, and I still don't see any other role for him than in the 3-hole.

4. Aramis Ramirez

Still a monster. While Soriano, Soto, and Bradley get all the press, he continues to be a rock in the cleanup spot. His hitting and power numbers fluctuate year to year, so you never quite know what's in store for the man. Here's hoping this year is a .300/30 hr year.

5. Milton Bradley

Bradley's left-handed bat here would give the Cubs an amazing middle of the order. No promises of the man's durability, but a career .280 hitter in this position has the potential to kill opposing pitching early. Look who I've got hitting around him, for crap's sake.

6. Alfonso Soriano

Hitting behind Ramirez and Bradley, and protected by Soto, makes sense to every single fucking person who isn't Alfonso Soriano. Why, why, why, why, would we consider batting him leadoff with this roster? He publicly said that he wants to stick to a slot in the order. Here's your slot, Fonzie. Enjoy it, relish it.

7. Geovany Soto

Geovany Soto batting seventh. Can you imagine the possibilites of this lineup? The NL Rookie of the Year, the best offensive catcher the Cubs have seen since Paul Bako (ha!), the man with facial hair that just won't quit. He's batting seventh. Crap, this is a ridiculously deep team. Imagine if we still ... had ... DeRosa (choking sob ... hit play on Joy Divison record).

8. Fuku/Reed "Stache" Johnson

Once again, I remind you that Fukudome vexes me. If he could legitimately hit even .275 (you know, like we paid him a crapload to do), he's be a terror hitting lefty at 8th. As it is, I can see some weak innings that start with Fuku and end with The Riot slapping a soft liner to left field. As for Reed, I'm all for him getting as much playing time as he can handle without injuring his trucker stache. The man's occasionally got durability problems, which is why we got him for free in the first place. Did you know he hit .303 last year for us? Dynamite!

9. Zambrano

I say we figure out how to have him bat for the pitcher in every game. He's clearly already tried to adopt a fake mustache disguise, so maybe Lou and Z are already on it.

1 comments:

jenzie1231 said...

Did Zambrano really lose his stache? I was diggin' it!! If you look at my blog, I have a picture of his look alike... :)