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Browsing posts from November, 2009

Kevin Gregg Type-A F.A.

By bullpenbrian - November 16, 2009 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Kevin Gregg has been classified a Type A free agent.

Basically, that means if another team signs him the Cubs get a first-round compensation pick.

Are you kidding me, what a steal!

Think about this, a first-round pick for a guy with a losing record, seven blown seven saves and a 4.72 ERA. Eh?

Of course, considering Gregg was suppose to saves games for a team destined for the postseason, it’s not all that funny, but interesting nonetheless!

Rich Harden, on the other hand, is classified a Type B free agent.

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Sammy Sosa Bullpen Brian Bleach Skin

By bullpenbrian - November 13, 2009 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

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Chicago Cubs blogger Bullpen Brian says he’s surprised at the attention he’s received this week over a photo taken of him during baseball’s GM meetings at the O’Hare Hilton.

The recent photos revealed Brian’s skin color, particularly the face, much paler than his normal caramel tone. His physical resemblance to that of a Silverback Gorilla didn’t go unnoticed, either.

Speculation first arose from Cubs Nation that Brian completed several cycles of performance enhancing drugs this past summer, thus explaining his abnormally large muscle mass.

Additionally, his affection for bananas and walking on all fours has also fueled the debate.

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Billy Wagner As Cubs Closer?

By bullpenbrian - November 12, 2009 - 3:04 pm Leave a comment.

Cliff Corcoran’s article from Sports Illustrated addresses the needs of all 30 teams this offseason.

For the Cubs he’s listed one outfielder and one rotation spot as the primary need. His list of potential candidates includes: Jermaine Dye, Rick Ankiel and John Lackey.

Without question, there’s a need at center field and the rotation, but I respectfully disagree with Corcoran’s assessment that this is a top priority above bullpen help.

The Cubs must improve its pen’ first. Continuing to rely on has-beens like Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman to carry the heavy-load is disastrous.

Not to mention, the assumption that Carlos Marmol will be a lights-out closer is premature. Obviously, Marmol is a terrific set-up guy, perhaps the best in all of baseball, but his tendency to put men on base makes him anything but automatic in save situations.

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O’Hare Hilton Update

By bullpenbrian - November 11, 2009 - 1:16 pm Leave a comment.

Just heard baseball reporter Bruce Levine say on ESPN 1000 that Jim Hendry is working hard on laying the foundation for a Bradley trade.

With the GM meeting having wrapped up at Noon Wednesday and no word of a Bradley deal (at least not yet, anyway) it seems most likely a Milton deal gets done in about three weeks at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

As expected, Levine went on to say that Hendry’s first priority in such a deal is money first (the Cubs still owe Milton $21 milion) and the caliber of player in return second.

Lastly, they’re whispers the Cubs are interested in adding Marlon Byrd to play centerfield with Fukudome moving back to right field. Byrd is coming off the best year of his career at the plate and is an above average outfielder as well.

The common link throughout many of the reports is Bryd’s  interest in continuing to work with Rudy Jaramillo, his former hitting instructor with the Rangers.

Let’s see if anything further develops this afternoon. More to come Thursday.

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GM Meetings At O’Hare Hilton

By bullpenbrian - November 10, 2009 - 12:32 am Leave a comment.

Jim Hendry can trade Milton Bradley from his own backyard.

The GM meetings last until Wednesday at the O’Hare Hilton, and the sooner Hendry deals Bradley the better.

Despite the new ownership of Tom Ricketts, the Cubs’ payroll is expected to increase just slightly from last year’s.

That means with at least six players arbitration eligible, the Cubs have barely enough wiggle room to get everyone resigned and think about adding one mid-level free-agent, too.

Lord knows I’m not crying about the Cubs’ payroll. It’s plenty high. Too high, in fact, not to be in the postseason.

But the timing of a Bradley trade isn’t about the team chemistry stuff. Instead, this time it’s soley about the money…specifically the $21 million still owed to him by the Cubs.

In all honesty, I couldn’t care less what player(s) the Cubs get in return. All I’m interested in is how much money the Cubs can get out from under Bradley’s contract.

In turn, whatever that number comes out to be it’s best served going towards some bullpen help.

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Reed & Harden Cubs Free Agents

By bullpenbrian - November 9, 2009 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

More than 120 players have jumped into baseball’s free-agent money pool, two of which are Cubs: Reed Johnson and Rich Harden.

Without hesitation, I’d bring Reed back in a second. Good clubhouse guy, versatile throughout the lineup and truly enjoys playing for the Cubs organization.

Harden, on the other hand, is way too big an injury risk. You can’t even think about anything long term. Besides, two decent and relatively healthy years out of him is more than lucky, so just wave goodbye to Richie Rich.

Meanwhile, if I’m Jim Hendry here’s my early free-agent wish list:

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Cubs’ Ace Has Shoulder Surgery

By bullpenbrian - November 6, 2009 - 1:35 am Leave a comment.

I’ve said numerous times Ted Lilly is the true ace of the Cubs’ rotation.

Of course, I’m always repeating myself because Cubs fans and the media barely recognize Lilly as an ace.

Don’t ask me why, either? I think the whole conversation is plain as day.

Break it down how you like, but there’s not an equal on this staff to Lilly.  His overall numbers, wins and big-game production since signing with the Cubs three years ago is unmatched.

Lilly is the ace, even if by the slightest of margins. Better than Zambrano, better than Dempster, better than whomever.

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Not The Yankees Again

By bullpenbrian - November 5, 2009 - 1:01 am 1 comment.

Would you believe it’s already been eight years since Luis Gonzalez’s RBI single off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth lifted Arizona to a 3-2 win in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

I certainly remember the moment well. Gonzo jumping up & down with boundless joy, the D-Backs celebrating its first ever championship, and the wild scenes of jubilation coming from my college dorm room.

To hell with the Yankees and their seemingly go-billion dollar payroll, I thought. Long live the Snakes!

And with that thought in mind I drank most of the night away. I was feeling good about baseball and tickled pink those damn Yankees were at last first place losers.

Not exactly the same feeling this year. At least not with the Yankees back on top and me watching the series’ finale while eating a Stonyfield Raspberry yogurt.

What baseball fan wouldn’t want to feel that excitement from the ’01 series again, and to share another go-round with the all-night celebratory beverages with friends (except for New Yorkers, of course). But next time how about it’s the Cubs winning the World Series.

For certain, it can happen, but  in the mean time I’ll settle for the alternative: anybody except those damn Yankees!

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Tom Ricketts’ Talk Is Cheap

By bullpenbrian - November 4, 2009 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Indeed, Tom Ricketts’ talk is cheap.

The man’s promised Cubs fans the world, as in world championship, king of the hill, top-dog.

And why not make such promises? Isn’t this, after all, what new owners are supposed to do, give lavish speeches of glories yet to come?

I mean seriously, what new owner has every stood in front of the home town audience and proclaimed we’re not here to win, but to merely competewinning is not the only thing of importance here, so is the budget…championships you say? Aha championships, shampionships, people.

It’s nothing against Ricketts, I think the guy’s going to be a solid owner, but I couldn’t care less about his declaration to the media about a new day for Cubs baseball.

Spare me the talk, Tom. I’ve heard it all before. If it’s all about winning, which make no mistake it is, then put a winner on the field.

And when the Cubs finally win its first championship in one hundred and however many years it is, I’ll hang on your every word.

Until then, however, how about a new RBI man and a nice set-up reliever?

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Utley On Pace To Set HR Record

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2009 - 12:49 am 1 comment.

Cliff Lee is deserving of all the love.

It’s pretty clear the Phillies get swept this series without him.

But don’t overlook the performance of Chase Utley, either. Yes,  the guy who’s just happened to tie Reggie Jackson’s 32-year-old record of five home runs in a world series.

Jackson led the ’77 Yankees to glory with home runs in Games 4, 5 & 6 against the Dodgers.

His three blasts at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 became the series’ lasting memory. He also earned the series’ MVP honors, too.

Utley’s blasts haven’t been as memorable, but no less important than Mr. October’s.

Two coming in Philly’s Game 1 win against CC Sabathia, one in Game 4 and two more in Game 5.

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