Fri Sep 23 03:29pm EDT
As the regular season winds down, 22 teams are facing an offseason filled with golf rounds and hot-stove strategery.
But we're not going to let them get off that easy. No sir. No way. In an attempt to bring some closure between franchise and follower, we're giving a blogger from each team the opportunity to detain their squads for the equivalent of a Saturday morning detention stay.
All right smart guys. Take your seats.
I said TAKE YOUR SEATS!
You know, if you played with this kind of energy during the games it might not have taken you 22 weeks to catch the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hey, why is there a Greek Orthodox Priest here? Crane, did you bring the priest? Stop denying it, I thought I saw you riding with a guy in a dress when Todd Ricketts dropped you off in that rickshaw. You can have a seat, too. You want to be involved in the baseball stuff all the time, you can sit here with the rest of the losers. What? I don't know, it's probably gum. Just sit there. Well take your ascot off and put it over the seat.
Ryan Dempster(notes), knock it off. What are you doing with that phone? Are you FaceTiming Kevin Millar(notes) again? If you don't quit that I'll open up that seltzer bottle you're hiding in your pants and throw that phone right in it. Knock it off. If you're going to talk, use the annoying voice God gave you, not the worst Will Ferrell-doing-Harry Caray impression in the world. The media thinks you're one of the team leaders. No wonder this team is terrible.
OK, is anybody missing? Where is Aramis Ramirez(notes)? Has anybody seen ... oh, there he is. He's just kind of sleeping in the row there. That doesn't seem safe. I'd ask you to move him to his left, because we all know he can't go that way on his own.
Has anybody seen Carlos Zambrano(notes)? What do you mean he's excused? You can't get excused from detention. I'm going to mark that down in my book. If anything, he's doubling his detention with this stunt. If he thinks he can just walk out, I'm going to make him wish he still only had one more year left in this suckfest.
The punishable offenses: Look, you all know that you're in here for general incompetence, but some of you, the elite corps of bad baseball, earned your spots regardless of the overall awfulness of this team.
Andrew Cashner(notes) — Are you here? There you are. I see you and Randy Wells(notes) both went on the disabled list the same day ... in early April. I felt sorry for you, and for Mike Quade. It's tough to lose 40 percent of your starting rotation six days into the season. I'd have felt more sorry for you if you hadn't been seen driving around drinking Natty Lights in Wells' '97 F-150 pickup on game days. Here's a tip, if you skip, don't drive right past the ballpark ... 14 times a game.
Marlon Byrd(notes) — This can't be right. You broke your face? It's what it says right here. How do you break an entire face? Alfredo Aceves(notes)? Is that one of the four tenors? That doesn't even sound like a real player. I'm putting that down as a maybe.
Alfonso Soriano(notes) — You stole two bases this year. Two. Didn't you hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases just five years ago? How do you go from 40 to 2? But hey, at least you turned it up when it counted, your second half was one for the ages. You hit .215 with a .707 OPS. Only three more years and $54 million left. That deal looks better all the time. Keep up the good work. You broke OPS plus. I'm serious. Anybody who saw you play knows you have nothing left ... at least nothing left that you care to actually use. And yet, you have an OPS plus of 103. Yes, you are three better than an "average" left fielder. Congratulations. The ghost of Jack Valenti just recalled every copy of "Moneyball" from every theater. You just debunked sabermetrics. No, you can't leave to call Jason Whitlock. Why do you ask?
Tyler Colvin(notes) — Wait. Wait. Alfonso sit down. I think Tyler just redeemed OPS plus as a stat. Is this right? Come up here and stop rubbing your chest, it's creepy. No, there's nothing sticking out of it. That was last year. Your OPS plus is 42. Forty-two! Juan Pierre's(notes) is 83. If you were twice as good as you are now, you'd still be as useless as Juan Pierre. Juan makes outs for a living. The good news is, you've now played in 217 big league games, that's enough to qualify for the MLB dental plan. Do everyone a favor. Use it.
Partners in crime: Hey Darwin Barney(notes). Here's a tip. You are 5-foot-2, and when you hunch over to bat your strike zone is about the size of the chances Quade here has of coming back next year. So how about you walk once in a while, eh? You've walked 20 times this season. The guy who lines up in the field to your left ... you know, Carlos Pena ... he walked 21 times in May. There's a reason you can hit .280 and be useless. You only get on 31 percent of the time. Second base is an easy spot to fill. I suggest the Cubs do just that next year. In case you haven't noticed, there's another little guy on this team. He only has one skill — he can run ludicrously fast — but can't actually play baseball. Your on-base average is .003 higher than his. You've been warned.
I just got handed a note. Are Rodrigo Lopez(notes) and Ramon Ortiz(notes) here? Your Medicare cards just came in the mail. Congrats. The fact you both spent several months on this team really reflects well on the state of the Cubs farm system.
Dempster, stop trying to get Koyie to pull the hankerchief out of your pocket. Just stop it. You know he's going to do it. Stop! How do you have a lapel on a baseball jersey anyway? While were here, how about we review your performance. I'm not sure how Zambrano gets an unending stream of crap thrown at him, while you don't pitch any better and people act like you're Roy Halladay(notes) around here. You're just as overpaid as Zambrano is, but you never get any crap. It's not like you ruined the 2008 season by walking seven guys in game one of the playoffs or anything. You should be very proud of extending your streak of allowing more hits than the season before to four, and the fact that your strikeout-to-walk ratio continues to get worse every year. But you just keep kissing up to the media and maybe nobody will notice. On the bright side you didn't break anything trying to get to the handshake line after a game this year. So there's that.
Geovany Soto(notes). The good news is we finally got a handle on you this year. We wondered if you were the promising young player you showed in 2008 or the below-average hump you were in 2009. Enjoy your hump.
I have a theory about you, Mike Quade. I really do. I've given it a lot of thought. My feeling is that you're a very nice man who deserved a shot at being a manager after doing such good work in the minors and as a coach. I'm glad you got that shot. I'm also glad that it's over and you'll never get another one. Because ... and here's my theory ... you made odd in-game moves (mostly involving leaving Dempster in to try to get of jams that he's never shown the ability to get out of) because the part of your brain that was supposed to be managing, was busy trying to remember all of the weird nicknames you constantly referred to your players by. You know, your players, 'Los, Barn, Cassie, Rammy, Sori, Byrdie (really original), Squinty, Geo, Hilly, Garz, Z, Demp, Cash, Wellie, Marm, Marsh, Woody, Reed (come on, you had nothing for him?) and on and on and on and on. You'll be missed. I'm sure. By who, I have no idea, but you'll be missed.
Something to build on: Cassie ... dammit Quade, you've got me doing it now! Starlin Castro(notes). I almost excused you from this today. Almost. You son, are good at baseball. You were born to hit. You were also born to turn routine grounders into balls that rattle around the first base dugout, but you can work on that. You're going to get 200 hits and you're only 21. Are you sure you're a Cub? Were you supposed to go to Yankees camp and got lost, maybe? Never mind that. The reason I can't let you out is because that one Sunday night you let your mind wander for three full innings and you committed the worst sin any player ... nay, any human can make. You made Bobby Valentine's observations correct. I can't forgive that of anyone. This is a guy so insufferable that he's convinced he invented the wrap sandwich. As if nobody, in the history of the world had ever wrapped meat in a tortilla and eaten it until Bobby Valentine did in the 1980s.
Where are Sean Marshall(notes) and Kerry Wood(notes)? Kerry's in the nurse's office? Well of course he is. Marshall? You can go. And ... as much as this pains me to admit, you can take Jeff Samardzija(notes) with you. You are excused for competence. Though don't get used to it, Jeff. Don't get used to it.
Is Aramis awake yet? No? Well, we'll just ship him to Anaheim, it's where he's going to end up next year anyway.
What's that? Pena, is that you? I thought you let them trade you to the Yankees when you got claimed in August? Yeah, why would you want to play for the Yankees when you can have your fall completely free by staying in Chicago? You deserve it here. And yes, I checked, and you did lead the league in checked swings on pitches that were called strikes anyway ... you did that for the 12th straight season. Nice job.
What's that Dempster? No, Matt Garza's(notes) not here. I thought of a better punishment for him. How does a guy go 9-10 with a 3.35 ERA, more innings pitched than hits allowed and a good strikeout-to-walk ratio? Well, he pitches for you losers who never scored when he was pitching ... but, he also allowed 17 unearned runs. SEVENTEEN! And he can't blame them all on Castro like the rest of you guys can. Garza's fielding percentage was .781. Seven-eighty-one! He made seven errors in 32 chances. In his first five seasons he made six errors total. So he's on the field taking ground balls until I get tired.
Shape up or ship out: This really goes to all of you. It started with the guy who overpaid all of you and gave no-trade clauses to most of you. Jim Hendry's a good guy, but he was not a good general manager and it took him a long time to finally convince whoever it was at the time who was making the call, that was true.
I'd love to tell you which ones of you were going to be gone next season. If it were up to me, it'd be pretty much all of you. But the offseason still has to play out. The Cubs have to let Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman publicly turn them down and have the Rays refuse to let them talk to Andrew Friedman before they bring Ed Lynch back as a last resort.
We're pretty sure Zambrano will get paid to either not play or play somewhere else. Aramis is gone. Pena should be, but who knows? A smart organization would just release Soriano and figure that if you have to pay him $54 million for three years it's better to do it without him killing you in the field and at the plate at the same time. But nobody ever said the Cubs were smart. We know Quade's gone and every coach except Rudy Jaramillo is, too.
But why would you want to get rid of Rudy? Check out this offense. The Cubs rank third in hits in the NL, fourth in doubles, fifth in triples, and yet, only eighth in runs. What? Oh yeah, that's because you losers rank FIFTEENTH (of 16) in walks. The only thing keeping you out of the cellar is Pena ... and the Houston Astros. That's probably why they won't let you go, Carlos.
The end of every season is a sad time. The season is fun ... well it's supposed to be ... and when it's over you're not sure what the next one will bring.
Unless you're a Cubs fan.
And then you know exactly what it'll bring.
And come August the fans will be so beaten down again that the only thing left to complain about are the tourists doing the wave at the games.
See you here again next year.
Read more of Big League Stew's Detention Lecture series here.