Friday, March 30, 2007

Official Predictions for the 2007 Season

Yo, RFS here.

I think it's time the public got an unbiased (East-coast...ahem) and strictly analytical perspective on what can be expected after the first pitch hits the mitt Sunday night (thats right, first prediction: the first pitch of the 2007 Major League Baseball season will be caught by a St. Louis Cardinal -- I know it's sad).

Anyways, sit back, take some notes (yes, that means you Peter Gammons), and allow me to take the role of the hypothetical weatherman and give you my expected forecast for the upcoming MLB season.

Projected Team Finishes:

NL Central:

1st) Chicago Cubs
2nd though 6th) everyone else

NL East, NL West, and the entire American League:

It's doesn't matter.

The Playoffs:

World Series Champs: Chicago Cubs

How they get there is inconsequential, just tedious details really.

Individual Awards:

NL MVP: Derek Lee (with Aramis a close second)

NL Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano (he promised me)

NL Rookie of the Year: Felix Pie

NL Batting Champion: Lee

Mark Prior Wins: 15 (trust me on this one)

Kerry Wood Pitches: 15 (for the record, I hope I'm wrong)

Barrett Punches Thrown: 2 (one more for A.J. and one for the guy that decides to suspend him)

Lou Pinella Ejections: 7 (I'd like to see this number get to double digits, but he took last year off so he's rusty)

Wins by the White Sox: 62 (you heard it here first, they're losing 100. Mark us down for 6 of those)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And Now...The Starting Line Up...For Your...CHICAGO CUBS!!!

You know, I like Wayne Messmer, I really do. Heck everyone does. The guy is just loaded with class, and every time he sings the national anthem it makes me love my country so much more than when anyone else does it. He even survived being shot in the throat, and still has a better voice than just about everyone else in the world. But seeing as the Cubs have completed a miraculous 98 year stretch without a World Series title, I think they could use a little something extra to push them over the edge. Something like having Ray Clay as the public address announcer.

Think about it. In 1990 the Bulls had never won an NBA Title before. Then they decide to bring in Ray Clay to announce the starting lineup, and they win 6 in the next 8 years. Coincidence? I think not. The Cubs need to do something as drastic as this to turn their season around. Or I guess they could just spend $297 million in the offseason. Yeah, that could work too.

And with that, here is the Opening Day lineup for the Cubs this year.

Alfonso Soriano, CF
  • Salary: $17 million (includes $8 million signing bonus)
  • Key Stat: See above
  • Comments: Fonzy is a phenomenal player, there's no doubt about that. And I was very impressed that the Cubs managed to reel him in, as I'm sure most Cubs fan were. But what is Lou doing with him? Well we need a centerfielder, and Soriano's never played there before, so let's just put him there instead of putting him back at second base where be belongs and bringing up the kid that everyone has been praising for the last three years to play center. And in the meantime let's put him at the head of the lineup even though his on-base percentage is unimpressive at best and he's the best power hitter we have. The only consolation I have from this train of thought is that he does put up his best numbers when he's batting leadoff.

Matt Murton, LF

  • 2006 Salary: $380,000
  • Key Stat: .303 Career Batting Average
  • Comments: This kid is the best value for the money the Cubs have. And he's more consistent than the ailing Cliff Floyd. And he has brilliant red hair. What more do you want?

Derrek Lee, 1B
  • Salary: $13 million
  • Key Stat: His entire 2005 season
  • Comments: Derek Lee is the total package. In 2005 he was dangerously close to winning the triple crown until late in the season, and he kept pace with Albert Pujols for most of the year. Not only that, but he wins gold gloves consistently. If he hadn't been injured last year, well the Cubs still would have sucked, but we would have at least beaten the Pirates.

Aramis Ramirez, 3B

  • Salary: $9 million (includes $1 million of his $5 million signing bonus)
  • Key Stat: 38 Hr, 119 RBI in 2006
  • Comments: Aramis is a lot like Lee, except that he doesn't get on base as much and when he does, well, he doesn't like to move to the next base in a hurry. The guy is a slacker, which I can understand. Supposedly Lou is on his back about hustling on the basepaths, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Jacque Jones, RF
  • Salary: $4 million
  • Key Stat: Whined to the press about 12 times last year
  • Comments: Despite an extremely weak start to the season last year, Jacque actually did a decent job of finishing off the year (.285 BA, 27 HR). But in that month or so when he was basically the worst player in baseball, Jacque famously complained that the fans were booing him. I'm sorry, what did you expect us to do when your batting average was at .188 through 20 games, shower you with daisies and kittens? I respect the man for dealing with it and turning his season around but come on, what kind of fans did you have in Minnesota if you weren't expecting us to be disappointed with your start?

Michael Barrett, C
  • Salary: $4.4 million
  • Key Stat: 1 punch to the face of a White Sox player
  • Comments: Michael Barrett is a stud. He's one of the best hitting catchers in baseball, and if he has a problem with you he's not gonna cry about it (looking at you, Jacque), he's just gonna sock you one in the jaw. I respect that in a man. And he may not call the best game as a catcher, but that's why we resigned Henry Blanco.

Mark DeRosa, 2B
  • Salary: $4.33 million
  • Key Stat: .263 Career Batting Average before last season
  • Comments: My first reaction to hearing that the Cubs had signed the "talented" Mark DeRosa as a second baseman was..."who?". The guy had a pretty good contract year in 2006 with the Rangers but that's exactly what it was, a contract year. Now that he's tied down until 2009, I won't be surprised if he plays poorly enough to warrant replacing him with Ryan Theriot (Batting .371 in ST and only making $380,000 this year).

Cesar Izturis, SS
  • Salary: $4.15 million
  • Key Stat: 54 Games Played last year
  • Comments: The late season acquisition the Cubs received for Greg Maddux, Cesar was supposed to solve our shortstop problem, namely that we had Ronny Cedeno playing the position. He may not have the best hitting stats, in fact he has pretty terrible hitting stats, but he's won a Gold Glove before so we assume he can play the position well. We only assume this because shortly after joining the team he was injured, as is customary for the job (Nomar anyone?).

Carlos Zambrano, P
  • Salary: $12.4 million
  • Key Stat: 12.16 AB/HR in 2006
  • Comments: Carlos is a dominating pitcher, but that is for another post. He is also a great power hitter, as he demonstrated last year with 6 home runs, which is twice as many as Juan Pierre had, even though Juan played in every single game last season. His AB/HR ration last year was better than the career ratio for everyone who has ever played the sport other than Mark McGwire and the Babe.
Come back sometime in the next couple of days and we'll have the pitching preview, where I will basically tear down everyone who isn't named Zambrano or Hill.

2007 Team Sexiness: A comparitive analysis

Winning aside, what is really important in the game of baseball?

Being sexy.

And historically, no matter whether we're winning or losing (or just flat out sucking), the Cubs have always led the league in looking great doing it.

Just look at what we've brought to the plate (...ahem) over the years:

Now that is a mustache. Great work Billy, way to represent.

However, after the transactions by the front office this last off-season, at least this Cubs fan is feeling like management has begun to lose touch with the foundations of sex appeal and overall manliness that this team has built its reputation on.

Let's recap some of the new faces that are breaking camp this weekend:

Jason Marquis. Ex-Cardinal. Figures.

Juan Mateo.

Ted Lilly. Honestly, does that look like a face worth $10 mil a year?

Ceasar Izturis.

Neal Cotts. Used to be on the White Sox. Really figures.

Alfonso Soriano.

I'll admit it, Fonzy is young and isn't bad looking. Out of all of the new guys, he by far has the most potential. I'm just saying, for all the money we're paying him to miff flies in center, he'd better live up to it.

There is one blatant conclusion that we can draw from all of this: Jim Hendry is not gay.

In fact, he might be quite the opposite, maybe to the extreme. How can anyone forget who he gave up last season.

Thats right. Todd Walker. Far and away the sexiest man in baseball.

And what did we get for him?


Jose Ceda. Now pitching in the farm system for Idaho (we have a team in Idaho?)

Jose was too scared to even take a team photo, well aware that he can't live up to his side of the deal.

Shame on you, Jim.

But for all the poor decisions he made over the off season, Hendry made it all better by re-signing perhaps the best-looking of the players from last season's squad:

Thank God we have at least two more years of basking in the glorification of pure man that is Henry Blanco (with an option for 2009).


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This is a sad excuse for a first post

In a couple of days, this is going to be the greatest Chicago Cubs blog on the entire internet. Ok well maybe not the greatest, but it'll be up there. And maybe no one will come here but that's because either A.) They are stupid, or B.) We haven't told anyone about it yet. Probably the second one. For now we're still setting things up, so if by some freak accident you ended up here, come back in a couple of days. By opening day this place will be jumping.