Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thanks, Lou!

You always kind of figured that Lou Piniella was too smart to actually take the job as Cub manager. With the kind of organizational enema that was needed here after the 2006 season, Lou could easily have gone all Sargent Hulka and said, "I'm too old for this shit!" and remained with Fox doing color commentary.

But the lure of actually winning with the Cubs, and the open wallet the Trib was going to have needing to fill empty seats ahead of a sale, Lou took the job.

Oh, and $16 million helped, too.

Lou started shoving sodium phosphate up the Cubs sphincter right after Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett came to blows. Barrett was always a Hendry favorite. Only 20 days after the fight, Barrett was gone. And Lou was in control.

The result? Back-to-back division championships. It all fell apart when Jim Hendry's minor leagues were unable to generate fresh talent to fill in gaps, gaps that no longer could be filled via free agent spending.

The team spiraled down and now is so bad, Lou no longer cares to watch it anymore:

"When I previously announced my intentions to retire at the end of the season, a primary reason for my decision was that it would allow me to spend more valuable time with my family," said Piniella. "That time has unfortunately gotten here sooner than I could have ever expected. As many know, the several weeks since that announcement was made have been very difficult on a family level, requiring two leaves of absence from the club. While I fully intended to manage this club the rest of the season, a family situation at home now requires my full attention."


"My family and I respect Lou's decision to retire from the game he loves and thank him for his years of dedicated service." (said Tom Ricketts)
So, Lou is retiring now. That suggests he's giving up the last $1 million of his salary.

If you asked Lou, "Would you watch this shitty team for six weeks if we gave you a million dollars?" we know how he answered.

That makes him smarter than the 40,000 dopes who will be out at the game today.

Thanks, Lou. You gave us 3 wonderful seasons (we won't discuss the fourth). Go take care of your family. You were good and did the best you could here.

Since that wasn't enough, God knows possibly could be.

Friday, August 20, 2010

So Long, Johnny

Two Yards Under

Johnny Bailey 1967-2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Just Wondering...

"We have a history of having a bad year and fixing it rather quickly and rebounding." - Jim Hendry

Aren't you supposed to have NO bad years?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dismantling Continues

The Cubs lost their third in a row at home, losing 5-1 to the Padres. Tom Rickett's $850 million investment just lost their 71st game, but he just saved a bundle on his first baseman.

Derrek Lee is about to be an ex-Cub. This will save the Cubs about $3.4 million this year and will end the tenure of a player who was about as loved as player in recent Cubs history. This love was despite his never winning a playoff game in Wrigley Field.

Well, at least as a Cub.

This page was quite excited when Derrek Lee first arrived in exchange for Hee Soep Choi.

This page is also excited to see him go. Not only wasn't he as good anymore as he was a few years ago, but his defense of certain ex-Cub players (LaTroy Hawkins comes to mind) always rankled.

Regardless, Derrek Lee is an ex-Cub. For the Cubs to ever win a World Series, this is a positive step forward.

Let the speculation begin on who plays there next year. The guess here is Tyler Colvin. He's young, cheap, and left handed. How the Cubs use Colvin over the last 6 weeks of the season bears watching.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Rebuilding Internally

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry spoke to the media before today's game. He laid out the plan for 2011:

"I'm here to tell you it's not some kind of a major rebuilding job," Jim said. "When you start seeing the improvement in the young people that we have and the type of young arms that we have and the arms that we have coming, you make three or four solid moves in the off-season and your young guys keep developing, then you're right back to being a contending team, and that's the way we're going to go about it."
Only Jim Hendry would have the chutzpah to tell us that major renovations to over 10% of the roster isn't major rebuilding. Then again, you really can't fault Hendry for not suggesting that the Cubs are going to stink in 2011. That's not a great season ticket holder retention strategy.

But the key part of Hendry's talk was in the second sentence: "the young people that we have."

It's been pretty obvious since before 2010 started that a youth movement was coming, and not simply because Hendry thinks he has some young players ready. The youth movement is coming because the young players are cheap. They'll play even if they aren't ready because the Cubs have some serious debt service to pay off.

Ted Lilly is gone and Derrek Lee is leaving because the Cubs need to cover private placements more than they need the mound and first base covered.

When Hendry says that three or four moves are all this team needs, he means ON TOP of the young players he plans to promote of give more playing time. He wants us to count only players acquired from outside the organization are the only solid moves.

When you consider all the changes this roster will see over the next 7 months, it's going to be hard to call it anything but a rebuild.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Right Story, Wrong Team

Has anyone been following the story of the sale Texas Rangers? It's strangely similar to the Cubs from a year ago. Like the Cubs, the team for sale and he team was placed in bankruptcy. Unlike the Cubs, the courts have stayed involved and all hell is on the verge of breaking loose.

Maury Brown over at Fangraphs sums up the situation:

The group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan is, of course, going to be there, but beyond that, official bidders have until 8pm CT on Tues. night to file for the Weds. auction that begins at 9am CT and will be overseen by the Honorable Russell F. Nelms. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has filed documents with the court in attempts to gain access to the club purchase, and Houston businessman Jim Crane has been involved with mediation sessions with William Snyder, the chief restructuring officer in the case. Dallas businessman Jeff Beck is a possibility, as well. What is unknown at the time of publication is whether Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will be preapproved by MLB for bidding on the club, as well. If so, there could be as many as 5 groups anteing up for the purchase of the club.
What happens when the auction is over? Well, MLB owners still have to approve of the new owner, right? Yes. What happens if the new owner is unacceptable to 75% of current MLB owners?

If the league does not approve the winner of the auction, one could surmise that the club would become “wards of the state”, with MLB taking over the operations of the club until the smoke had cleared in the courts. The last time this occurred was with the then Montreal Expos in Nov. of 2001. The Lenders would most assuredly challenge MLB’s league constitution saying that the bankruptcy process to pay back lenders supersedes that of the league.
What happens if the judge doesn't pick the highest bidder? Again, any creditors who would be left with outstanding debts post sale could sue and ask the court to take the higher bid to generate more cash and cover more of the creditor's debts.

This could have happened to the Cubs last year. Instead, we may get to see this in Texas instead.

Too bad.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Take Me Out To The Movies...

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