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Lou Has Leverage

By bullpenbrian - June 17, 2009 - 1:42 am Leave a comment.

White Soxcubs

Changing the lineup is long overdue.

It’s the third week of June and the Cubs are sitting sub .500 (30-31) with a .244 team batting average.

At this point, Lou has all the leverage to make whatever moves he wants–veteran pride aside.

Whether it’s dropping Soriano in the order, flip-flopping cleanup hitters or simply sitting players, you have to do better than 10 runs scored in the last six games.


Scheduling Stupidity

By bullpenbrian - April 6, 2009 - 12:10 am 1 comment.

Opening Day on Chicago’s South Sides is already PPD. Remarkable. I’ve talked about it before…there’s an inch of snow on the ground here. Why are the Sox scheduled to begin the season at home???

This doesn’t make sense, and it never will. I’m not asking baseball to control the weather, but for heaven’s sake, at least acknowledge that it’s still winter in places like Chicago.

Would Sox fans be upset if the team always opened on the road? Doubt it. Just ask those who’ve lost a day on the job and dropped money on a game they won’t have the luxury of attending. If the Sox open on the road and then face unplayable winter weather 7-10 days later you can’t fault MLB, but this is ridiculous, AGAIN!


Carlos Zambrano speaks to my post from Friday. We know Wrigley Field is a terrific place for baseball, but the player amenities stink.

Of course Z is jealous of the Yankees’ new digs. Doesn’t mean Wrigley needs to be replaced, but a major renovation project is a must – and soon.

And if you don’t think the Cubs lose out of free agents because of the park, you’re nuts. Lots of day games and cramped space is fun for fans, not the players.

Anyway, thank goodness the Cubs open in Houston instead of a snow covered Wrigley. Where was this weather during the Winter Classic?


Andy Pettitte as a Cub

By bullpenbrian - January 16, 2009 - 1:12 am Leave a comment.

With the Jake Peavy deal in the rear view mirror, at least for the time being, the Cubs should go after F.A. Andy Pettitte.

Despite the fact Pettitte has hinted at retirement the past several seasons if not resigned by the Yankees, I still think an opportunity to win a championship with Chicago could lure the 37-year-old lefty back to the NL Central.

Although it seems Pettitte is often thought of as injury-prone and washed-up, it’s quite the contrary.

Beginning with the 2005 season, Andy has pitched 200+ innings, made no less than 33 starts per season and registered no less than 14 wins per year.

Not to mention, he’s been money during post season having recorded (14) wins in a whopping 35 post season starts.

Granted the Yanks kept Pettitte from retirement with back-to-back $16 million deals, it’s reasonable to think Andy would be willing to sign with Chicago for closer to what he made with the Astros: ’04 – $5.5 million, ’05 – $8.5 million.

Plus, the addition of Pettitte would allow Sean Marshall to stay in the pen as a needed left-handed specialist and he would offer the rotation security for the more unpredictable Rich Harden.


Colon won 15 games with the Sox in 2003

On the South Side, it’s an interesting decision by GM Kenny Williams to welcome back Bartolo Colon.

Since winning 21 games with the Angels in 2005, Colon’s only specialty has been fighting through nagging injuries, which, has limited the 36-year-old to a meek 34 starts combined during the past three seasons and his record in that same time frame is a sub .500 (11-15).

And while I’m always in favor of adding power arms, if for no other reason than post season play, Colon’s career mark during October is a paltry (1-3) with a 4.15 ERA in eight starts.

Sure, Colon will play with a non-guaranteed contract, but the early predictions that Colon will be the team’s fourth starter are well, just that, too early to tell.

Worse, recent history says he’ll be far from it.


Griffey Heading to Tampa?

By bullpenbrian - November 5, 2008 - 2:09 am Leave a comment.

For selfish reasons I hate to see Griffey’s $16 million option declined by the White Sox.

And unless Griffey accepts a deal with Chicago that would pay him slightly above the league minimum, I’ve seen the last of my favorite ball player as a regular on Comcast Sports broadcasts.

Of course, I’m not surprised by the move, Sox’s GM Kenny Williams is far to savvy to keep a player who’s closer to the finish line than we might think.

So, my hope now is for Junior to return to Seattle, where he belongs, and where he’ll be appreciated by the hometown fans.

That being said, it’s no secret that Griffey is a father first and a ballplayer second.

And while playing for Seattle appears to be the happy ending fans want for Junior’s career, it also means he’ll once again be thousands of miles away from his family home in Orlando.

Thus, Seattle just doesn’t seem like a move Griffey is willing to make.

The way I see it, Junior ends up with Tampa Bay in 2009.

The Rays can utilize Griffey two fold: first, by Tampa declining its option on the left-handed hitting Cliff Floyd, Junior not only replaces Floyd’s veteran leadership role, he also moves into the vacated DH spot in the lineup.

Most importantly, however, Griffey appears to have a much greater chance at a World Series ring with Tampa than he would playing for the Mariners.

A two for one deal will be hard for the Rays and Griff to pass up.


Griffey Owes Reds Nothing

By bullpenbrian - August 1, 2008 - 1:22 am Leave a comment.

Ken Griffey Jr. owes the Cincinnati Reds nothing.

Since returning home in 2000, Griffey has respectfully served as the face of Reds baseball despite seven consecutive losing seasons and a plethora of home-town criticism.

As the game’s greatest player, Griffey bolted Seattle for lil’ ol’ Cincinnati, thumbing down millions of more dollars to play elsewhere for the chance to don the same jersey his father once wore.

And, despite one serious injury after another in Cincinnati, he always returned to the team’s lineup, earning his money the hard way, rehabbing for a perennial loser and serving as the team’s lightning rod for its terrible play.

Plus, considering the seriousness of his many leg injuries, no one would have questioned Griffey had he retired years ago.

Still, Junior humbly took the field time and time again for a frugal organization that never held up its end of the bargain to return championship baseball to Cincinnati.

Reds managers came and went, its pitching staff always subpar and the unveiling of Great American Ballpark was over shadowed by one of baseball’s largest fire sales ever in July, 2003.

And even as Junior neared the historic 600 career home run mark the organization did little to promote such a historic baseball event. Shameful.

Yet, all the while Junior stayed true to himself and to the team he wanted to end his Hall of Fame career with.

However, the relationship between the Reds organizations, its fans and Griffey has unfortunately grown beyond repair.

This became obvious to me when Junior, sitting on 599 career home runs, opted to play the final game of a four-game series in Miami with the Reds returning home a day later to begin a nine-game homestand.

Griffey later stated he’s increasingly felt more fan appreciation playing on the road than in Cincinnati; so be it if the home crowd wouldn’t witness history.

Thus, dealing Griffey to the White Sox is the right move for both parties: Jr. now has a legitimate chance to win a ring with Chicago this year or by signing with a contender next season, and the Reds finally bandage a decade long wound.

Unfortunately, though fittingly, Junior leaves Cincy without a proper farewell celebration.

The culmination of Junior’s work in Cincinnati should have been celebrated one last time in front of the home crowd.

And, as one of the game’s few home run hitters still believed to be untarnished in an era known for PEDs, it would have be nice for Reds fans – for or against Griffey’s departure – to show respect for a player who represented his family, team and city in an honorable fashion.

Of course, that possibility is over, and with it, so is the Junior era in Cincinnati.

  • Notes: Junior has hits safely in all 11 games since the All Star break.
  • He departs tied for the Reds leads in doubles this season (20).
  • For his career, Junior has homered against 389 different pitchers including 12 this year.
  • He is the 18th player in MLB history to reach 5,000 total bases.
  • Griffey also ranks sixth in career home runs (608), and 16th in RBIs (1,752).

Bullpen Legend Ron Santo

By bullpenbrian - May 24, 2008 - 1:17 am 1 comment.


Although Ron Santo is currently best recognized for his emotional color commentary on the Chicago Cubs WGN radio broadcasts, his 14 years spent as the team’s third baseman made him one of the best in the business.

The Seattle native rushed onto the scene at Wrigley Field finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year Award voting at just 20-years-old.

His following year began a string of 11 consecutive seasons playing no less than 154 games, including a stretch of five straight Gold Glove Awards from 1964-1968.

Santo also became baseball’s first third baseman to collect more than 300 home runs (342) and five Gold Gloves, a feat later matched by Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.

What’s also noteworthy of Santo’s baseball career is his introduction of the batting helmet’s ear flap. During the 1966 season Santo suffered a broken cheekbone after being hit by a pitch.

He later returned wearing a protective ear flap on his batting helmet, thus the ear flap became a staple on all batting helmets thereafter.

Perhaps Santo’s best season came during 1969 when the right-handed batter posted a .289 avg., 29 HRs and 123 RBIs.

However, the Cubs suffered a late season collapse against the New York Mets and failed to make the post-season, a black mark that haunts Santo to this day.

It’s a crime the nine time All Star is not in baseball’s Hall of Fame when considering his career numbers: .277 avg., 1,138-R, 342-HRs, 1,331 RBIs and the 5-Gold Gloves.

The Hall’s Veteran Committee denied Santo induction by a mere eight votes in 2005, he later fell five votes short in the 2007 voting. Santo’s next chance for the Hall of Fame is during 2009.

See Santo’s career statistics at baseball-reference.com.

Read more articles like this at the Baseball Legends blog.


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