Monday, December 29, 2003

Isiah Thomas - Village Idiot 

I meant to write this last week but here's a rare non-baseball take:

Isiah Thomas, when he was introduced as President of the Knicks had this little gem come out of his mouth:

"If I've been blessed with anything other than basketball, it's probably that insecurity of having to prove it," Thomas said. "... Magic, Michael, Bird, I'm the only guy walking on the face of the earth who's beat them more than they beat me.

"And you guys here want to call them the best?"

And another version of that same quote from apparent Isiah relative Lacy J. Banks' column in today's Sun Times:

''I beat Bird when we played,'' Thomas said at his news conference. ''And I want to beat him now. It's not personal. I want to beat everybody. There was Magic [Earvin Johnson], Michael [Jordan] and Larry and I think I'm the only guy walking on the face of the earth that can say that I beat them more than they beat me.''

Well, that's interesting.

MVP Awards:



Michael - 6
Magic - 5
Larry - 3
Isiah - 2

PPG/RPG/APG (Career):

Michael - 30.1/6.2/5.3
Larry - 24.3/10.0/6.3
Magic - 19.5/7.2/11.2
Isiah - 19.2/3.6/9.3

Isiah's Head to Head Record (Regular Season):

vs. Bulls - 29-25
vs. Celtics - 10-13
vs. Lakers - 21-34

Isiah's Head to Head Record (Playoffs)

vs. Bulls - 8-9 (won 2 series, lost 1)
vs. Celtics - 13-11 (won 3 series, lost 2)
vs. Lakers - 7-4 (won 1 series, lost 1)

Number of years played vs. Championships:

Michael - 13/6 (non Wizards years)
Magic - 12/5 (not including 32 games in 95/96)
Larry - 13/3
Isiah - 13/2

Number of Organizations driven into the ground:

Isiah - 2 (the CBA, Toronto Raptors)

Number of classless, cowardly acts after getting swept in the playoffs:

Isiah - 1 (1991)

Consecutive First Round Exits as Coach with the best talent in the Conference:

Isiah - 3 (2000-03)

Good luck in New York, Isiah. Please, please make yourself coach so we can all get a good laugh again!

Buy Isiah's Book! Is it a good thing that your book came out a little over a year ago and used copies are available for 82 cents?

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

A Statement Never Before Uttered 

"I passed up starting jobs to put myself in the position I'm in,"

"[The Cubs] pretty much have their team set. The reason I did it is because I want to play for a team that has a chance to win the World Series. Only a handful of teams can say that. The Cubs are one of them."

-Todd Walker, December 23, 2003.

Cubs sign Todd Walker 

This is a bit of a surprise. After re-signing Grudz, you sort of figured that was it for any further second base moves, whether it be by trade (Vidro) or by signing someone else. But, the Cubs today signed Todd Walker to a one year, $1.75 million deal. Walker can't play defense as well as Grudz, but sure can hit a lot better.

I saw it mentioned that Walker could back up Alou when he goes on the DL next year. Well, he better go outside where ever he lives and start taking fly balls because he's never played an inning in the outfield. Even though he doesn't have much in the way of speed, I think he will be the Cubs primary leadoff hitter (at least against righties) because of his ability to get on base and his lack of strikeouts (the hardest guy to strike out last year in the AL). I like his bat a lot more than Grudz (and it's left-handed!!!) and I am much more confident that he'll continue to perform like he has since '98 versus Grudz repeating his 2003 season.

3-year averages against RHP:

Walker .303/.363/.457
Grudz .279/.318/.373

3-year averages against LHP:

Walker .259/.296/.382
Grudz .302/.361/.453

That's a pretty good platoon for a leadoff hitter!

The infield depth chart is rather interesting:

1B: Lee, Martinez, Hollandsworth, Barrett
2B: Walker, Grudz, Martinez, Macias
SS: Gonzalez, Martinez, Grudz, Walker, Macias, Barrett
3B: Ramirez, Martinez, Walker, Grudz, Barrett, Macias

There is a pretty good amount of versatility there. This deal puts a hopeful end to any substantial or unsubstantial Jose Macias playing time. Jose, we'll call you in September.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Adios Waterbat!!! 

The Cubs signed Michael Barrett to a one year, $1.55 million contract today. Doing so allowed them to then trade Damian Miller to the A's as the PTBNL. The Cubs will pay 800K of the 3 million Waterbat would have been owed in 2004. Looks like that's it for hoping Pudge will be coming to Wrigley.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the 7-8-9 hitters in the Cubs lineup:


Here's hoping they can catch lightning in a bottle with the younger Barrett, and Gonzo can stop striking out 130 times, or this lineup will fall off a similar cliff to last year.

And hey, I think Mark Redman or Damian Moss would make a fine 5th starter.

Update: Redman re-signed for 3 years with the A's.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Cubs re-sign a couple, trade for one  

Ramon Martinez & the Cubs agreed to a one year, 900K deal. 100K more than last year. Not a bad idea.

Paul Bako & the Cubs agreed to a one year, 865K deal. Got himself a 115K raise for .229/.311/.330! A very bad idea.

El Pulpo signed with the Braves. Good luck Atlanta!

The Cubs traded 25 year old AA pitcher Wilton Chavez to the Expos for infielder/outfielder Jose Macias. He will hopefully remain in AAA for the season. He was however, then signed to a 1 year, 750K contract. Think of Macias as a replacement for Augie Ojeda, but taller.

Karim Garcia was non-tendered by the Yankees. I would have liked to see the Cubs take a chance on him, but it's too late now.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Cubs sign Mercker and Hollandsworth and thankfully not Singleton 

The Cubs got their LOOGY signing Kent Mercker to a one year deal today. I didn't see any financial terms released, but he made 550K last year. Mercker had a 1.95 ERA in 67 games last year for the Reds and Braves. Last season was an extreme turnaround from the last few years, so let's hope he can keep it up in the 50 or so innings he'll throw in 2004.

So now, those guaranteed a spot in the bullpen are...


and an assortment of Wellemeyer, Cruz (if he's not starting), Mitre, Beltran, Webb, Chiasson, Ohman and Sanchez and whatever vets they sign to minor league deals to battle it out for the remaining couple of spots.

The Cubs also signed '96 ROY Todd Hollandsworth to a one year deal. Hollandsworth batted .254 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 93 games last season. This should complete the outfield picture with the starting 3 of Alou, Patterson and Sosa with Crusty Vets With Playoff Experience Goodwin and Hollandsworth to back them up.

Jamey Wright, Bill Selby and Gary Glover were all signed to minor league deals and invited to spring training. Wright could compete to be the 5th starter with Juan Cruz or a bullpen spot, while Glover will hopefully be a lefty in AAA and Selby just can't hit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Waterbat to be the PTBNL? 

If the Cubs are able sign future #8 hitter Michael Barrett to a contract, and to an amount much less than the 2.6 million he made last year to hit .208/.280/.398, current #8 hitter Waterbat will then be the PTBNL in this deal. If the Cubs are unable to sign Barrett, they will non-tender him, and they will then give the A's some minor leaguer well off the top 40 prospect list (although it will probably someone with a reasonably good OBP or K/BB ratio). If Barrett does sign, barring another trade or the signing of Javy or Pudge, we can all look forward to future rallies being killed by Gonzo, the killer B's of Barrett/Bako and pitcher (unless it's Prior) in the 7, 8 & 9 slots. Otherwise, it's another year of feeble foul pop-ups over the first place dugout and 6-4-3 double plays from Waterbat.

I did enjoy the comments of this possible deal on Desipio.com:

There are a few reasons why Barrett's better than Miller.

- He's younger.

- He's got a much better complexion.

- He is not a Green Bay Packers' fan.

- He's not a scab, so when you fire up your favorite baseball video game this spring you won't have to "create" the Cubs' catcher, he's licensed and everything!

- Defensively, Miller proved to be good at one thing, smothering pitches in the dirt--occasionally. Look, I know it has to be tough on the body to catch pelotas hurled at great speeds by, well let's face it, just about everybody the Cubs employ to hurl pelotas. After six months of that you're just a big bruise. But Miller's catching and his hitting took a nose dive during the season. The Expos pitchers supposedly much preferred Barrett to the Expos other catcher Brian Schneider, and he threw out roughly the same percentage of base stealers in 2003 that Miller did.

- Plus, he's had three solid and two terrible offensive seasons. If, as I'm going to do, you can write off the bad years to a) having a bum hip and b) being moved to third base in another brilliant move by Felipe Alou, he's not a bad pick up.

Name change 

Through popular demand, the name of this site has been changed back to "Eat at Joe's". Thanks to all the readers that sent in the angry letters!

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Cubs get Barrett 

The Cubs acquired catcher Michael Barrett from the A's for a PTBNL. Barrett was just acquired by the A's last week from the Expos for another PTBNL. I guess this isn't the worst thing I've ever seen because he can play both corner positions (albeit not well). But here's the thing: he's also right handed, also can't hit, also doesn't take a walk and isn't even as good defensively as Waterbat. His lefty/righty splits show no advantage one way or the other (.244/.298/.386 vs. LH the last 3 years & .246/.304/.393 vs. RH the last 3 years). Yippie.

And for the love of god, stay away from Chris Singleton. Get Todd Hollandsworth or Orlando Palmiero.

The first young guy (and not the last) Dustyball gave up on, Mark Bellhorn was traded to the Red Sox for yes, a PTBNL. Bellhorn, of course, got in Dusty's doghouse last season after his first 0-4 last year and never got out. He still got on base at a .350 clip last year, but dammit, he just took too many pitches! I'm sure the Sox, Theo Epstein and Bill James have no idea what they're doing.

It's rumored that Adam Dunn was offered to the Dodgers for top prospect Edwin Jackson. Now, I don't know why the Dodgers didn't jump all over this, if this is true, but if the Reds want to give Dunn away, why don't the Cubs offer them one of their top minor league hitting prospects that will never get a chance to play or one of their 20 minor league arms? I know, I know, they probably wouldn't want to trade the guy within their division, but hey, who knows?

The Cubs also would like to land one of the following: Ricardo Rincon (too late, he resigned with the A's), Gabe White (not bad), Ron Villone (I'd prefer not), Kent Mercker (good year last year but first since '99), or the crappy Glendon Rusch (stay away).

Monday, December 15, 2003

Rule 5 draft 

In today's Rule 5 draft the Cubs lost Jason Szuminski to the Royals who then traded him to the Padres for Rich Thompson. Szuminski did go from A to AAA in 2003 and ended up in the Arizona Fall League. His stats:

Southern League » West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 05/17 to 08/25

7 4 2 2.26 29 59.2 51 19 15 19 45 1

Florida State League » Daytona Cubs 04/04 to 05/14

2 1 0 3.65 13 24.2 29 12 10 9 23 0

Pacific Coast League » Iowa Cubs 07/23 to 08/28

0 0 0 3.55 3 12.2 11 5 5 1 5 0

The Cubs Rule 5 selections from the AP: In other moves, the Cubs announced they had acquired left-handed pitchers John Foster and Jordan Gerk in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft.

Foster, 25, split time between Triple-A Indianapolis and Milwaukee in 2003. In 23 major league games, he was 2-0 with a 4.71 ERA. Foster was 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA in 27 minor league games.

Foster was originally drafted by Atlanta in 1999 and made his major league debut in 2002. In 188 career minor league appearances, he is 24-15 with 19 saves and a 2.95 ERA.

Gerk, selected out of Detroit's organization, pitched in 55 games for Class A Western Michigan in 2003. The 24-year-old was 2-5 with two saves and a 3.07 ERA.

Also, the PTBNL in the Choi/Lee deal is....

AA pitcher Mike Nannini:

Southern League » West Tenn Diamond Jaxx 04/03 to 09/01

10 9 0 3.62 31 154.0 155 70 62 47 158 12

And it looks like negotiations with Scott Sauerbeck fell through (he wanted a contract extension if he was traded) so it looks like he'll be non-tendered by the Red Sox in a week.

The Cubs are believed to be interested in Jeromy Burnitz as a 4th outfielder who hasn't had a good year since 2001 and whose stat lines have an eerie similarity to Todd Hundley.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Cubs sign Grudz and Goodwin and say goodbye to 9 others 

The Cubs resigned Mark Grudzielanek to a one year, $2.75 million contract with a club option for 2005. I guess this is better than signing Fernando Vina for 2 or more years. Let's hope Mark can have the same type of season he had in 2003 and not something like his other seasons in recent history.

Proven Vet Tom Goodwin was also resigned to a one year, $650,000 contract. He'll be one of the backup outfielders, but I'm sure will get many chances to slap at the first pitch of an at-bat from the leadoff spot.

Unfortunately, keeping Goodwin meant the Cubs did part ways with Kenny Lofton, declining to offer him arbitration.

The Cubs also declined to offer arbitration to these eight: Shawn Estes (awww), El Pulpo, Eric Karros, Mark Guthrie, Troy O'Leary, Dave Veres, Tony Womack and Doug Glanville. All are thankfully now ex-Cubs and hopefully will resign with other teams in the NL Central.

Steve Kline resigned with the Cards for one year and $1.7 million. See you on April 30th, you bastard.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Scott Sauerbeck to the Cubs? 

Bostondirtdogs.com is reporting that lefty Scott Sauerbeck is going to be dealt to the Cubs. I haven't seen this posted anywhere official yet, but we'll see if this is true. Sauerbeck is 32, and I think he would be a decent 2nd lefty out of the pen. He's real tough on lefties but also gives up a lot of walks (43 in 57 IP in 2003). He made 1.55 million last year and he's eligible for arbitration.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Maddux to Cubs? 

Here's a story from today's Daily Herald with some actual quotes from Greg Maddux about the Cubs.

I don't think so. Let's sign a catcher or trade for a second baseman.

Cubs Sign Hawkins! 

No, not Andy, Latroy! The Cubs got him for 3 years and 11 million. He has been really dominant the last 2 years, so let's hope he'll keep it up. So long, El Pulpo!

Nice job Jim Hendry! Now just leave Fernando Vina alone!

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