Monday, November 27, 2006

So Good It Needed Its Own Post

From Baseball Reference's BR Bullpen page on Mark Prior:

Was a background dancer in the Mariah Carey video "Glitter"

Either this can't possibly be true, or things are starting to make sense.

Considering the fact that there is no video or song by the name of Glitter by Mariah Carey, I'd have to assume this is the work of a maligned Cubs fan, possibly A-Train.

IMDB.com tells us that, as far as film experience goes, Mark Prior has starred only in the 2003 MLB All-Star Game, as a pitcher for the National League, though he made an appearance in the ESPN SportsCentury profile of Sammy Sosa, playing the role of starting pitcher. Oddly, it also tells us that Mark Prior "has a half-sister named Gada Qafisheh."

Thanks, internet!

ESPN's Opening Day Analysis Has Gotten To Aramis Ramirez

Here is Aramis Ramirez, on last season:

"Last year, if I had a good April and May, I would have hit 100 home runs."

I love the first week of the season, when the baseball world is convinced that Tuffy Rhodes will hit 486 homers, that Mark Prior won't miss his first start, and that the Cubs will score 15 runs every game.

In other news, Cliff Floyd wants to come home to be a Chicago Cub. And why not? Hendry has paid worse guys to not play (Floyd adopted his sister's children after she died of cancer last year), and if a guy is going to be injured--he will--he ought to be close to home.

The one where I am actually nice

Okay, I don't have much to say about today's Bear game. Rex played like shit, as he is wont to do when the defense is more challenging than electric football. The defense was awesome, but even if defense does win championships, offense, oh...scores points? Maybe?

However, I do want to say one thing. I don't like the Pats (and if your stepmom ever said "We beat one of those stupid Midwest teams!", you'd feel the same way), but I want to pay tribute to one of the best guys in the NFL. If today was Junior Seau's last game in the NFL, he'll go out as a champion, an absolute pro on the field, and one of the rare stars who's a better man off the field than he is on it. Thanks for the memories, Junior...see you in Canton.

While we're talking football, feel free to go here to see the official team song of my fantasy football team, #12 With A Bullet. (I did not name the team. However, I did not make the decision after Week 1 to pick up Marques Colston [after whom our team is named], so I can't really complain.)

More baseball talk after something new happens, or maybe later this week when I sober up (tomorrow is the seventh day of an eight-day work week, so we'll see).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

An Article Resembling a Lobster Tail...but without its shell.

Title of Buster Olney's Blog Entry Today: Is the NL Making a Comeback?

Only two free agents have changed leagues so far this offseason, both leaving Detroit for the NL Central (Carlos Lee to Houston, Mark DeRosa to the Cubs.)

The post is about building up competitive advantage by spending money, but if the AL were significantly more talented in a market in which there is a finite amount of talent, the NL would need to lure some free agents away from the American League.

Best AL free agents (*-signed):

Carlos Lee*
Gary Matthews Jr.*
Frank Thomas*
Mike Mussina*
Barry Zito
Gilgamesh
Trot Nixon
Jay Payton
Shannon Stewart
Rondell White
Adam Eaton
Ted Lilly

Now, for the NL:

Aramis Ramirez*
Alfonso Soriano*
Aubrey Huff
Jason Schmidt
Orlando Hernandez*
Moises Alou*
Jim Edmonds*
Nomar Garciaparra*
Juan Pierre*
J.D. Drew
Woody Williams*
Jeff Bagwell
Ronnie Belliard
Barry Bonds
Roger Clemens
Andy Pettitte
Cliff Floyd
Tom Glavine
Luis Gonzalez
Julio Lugo
Kenny Lofton
Greg Maddux
Mark Mulder
Mike Piazza

Okay. It is clear which league has more holes to fill this year. The vacuum left on the average 2007 National League team due to free agency is forcing them to consider signing big free agents. The Cubs spent on Ramirez because they needed to, and on Soriano because they were 30 games under last year. But the Dodgers, for example, are losing big names this year (Maddux, Lugo, Drew, Garciaparra before they signed him, Lofton) and have no choice but to spend, not because they are trying to compete with the American League, but because they won't be able to compete at all with holes in their lineup.

To be fair, Buster does mention that the talent hasn't switched leagues. But the title really ought to reflect...I don't know, the theme and tone of your article; for example, Keith Law's article on Juan Pierre receiving a $45 million contract from the Dodgers, entitled "Huh?"

Friday, November 24, 2006

Aramis Ramirez Is Happy.

But he's still slow and a gimp, I'd assume.

ESPN wrote an article on Ramirez's excitement regarding the signing of Alfonso Soriano. First of all, I really hate the recent trend in newsmedia to keep names off of articles. If some intern wrote the story, put his name on it. ESPN interns, I'd assume, get the short end of the stick for all of the research and leg-work required of borderline-professional journalists. They deserve some credit. Especially when they spend time off of work at Boston Market getting Harold Reynolds fired. I can't believe that every one of those "Report: T.O. Sees Shadow, Comes Out; Long, Gay Winter Ahead" articles is committee written. And if Rob Neyer is writing them, they're probably about how the National League and Albert Pujols suck, and we at THS will find a way to make fun of it.

But more importantly, here is the fourth paragraph of the article:

Ramirez's contract contains a full no-trade clause for the first four years and a limited one for 2011. He can opt out after the 2010 season, and the deal contains a mutual option for 2012.

He can opt out? Again?

Maybe Hendry was so wrapped up in re-signing Aramis that he forgot why he had to re-sign him in the first place. But it's more likely that Hendry doesn't expect to be around after this season and just gave A-Ram whatever his agent wanted.

I guarantee you when the Cubs suck in three years and they have a choice between letting Ramirez go, eating Soriano's salary, or designating Jason Marquis for assignment, the Cubs will have Neifi playing third.

(I think I speak for all of us here at THS when I say that we will not live to see the day that Jason Marquis wears a Cubs uniform.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Apparently those hits from TribCo weren't just a coincidence...

From world-renowned Cubs source Todd Hundley Sucks, November 15, 2006:

Is it too late to sign Julio Lugo? With the FA class having only two solid middle infielders (Lugo and Ray Durham), and the Cubs needing two middle infielders (and, apparently, to spend $300M)...is that a perfect fit or what? My head hurts just thinking about it.

From Internetwide Leader In Sports Can't Stop The Bleeding, today:

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that after the Cubs shelled out over $200 million for 3 players (none of whom, uh, pitch), they’re preparing to swoop for IF Julio Lugo.
Lugo, 31, was a favorite of new Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s with the Devil Rays. His athleticism intrigues the Cubs, who could field an electrifying lineup if they added Lugo to a mix that will include Soriano, first baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez — and eventually Felix Pie.


Ken Rosenthal is easily the most accurate source for information that's ever been voice-acted by THS favorite William Fichtner, so I'm actually getting my hopes up a bit. Even at my projected salary range (2y/$12M up to 3y/$20M), this would be the final piece in the Cub lineup puzzle, mainly by virtue of eliminating the final weak spot. (Anyone who doesn't agree, keep in mind that the Cubs once acquired Grudzielanek and Karros in a deal where they were the only two players received, yet not even the best part of the deal.)

And while we're on the subject, is it too late for TribCo to buy a certain blogger a nice late-model sports car? With the fact that I had to do bodywork tonight using my bare hands and a pair of pliers, and the Cubs needing their braintrust to be able to pay for internet access...is that a perfect fit or what? My head hurts just thinking about it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I am at my wrongest when I overestimate the public

Cubs sign Soriano. Top free agent on the market, superb hitter in the prime of his career, recent addition to the list of the top defensive outfielders...and people hate the deal.

I'm sorry, but not even in Darren Daulton-land is this anything even resembling a less-than-spectactular deal. Let's address the criticisms of the deal.

1) It's too much money.

Yeah, it's the fifth-largest deal in MLB history, behind A-Rod, Jeter, Manny, and Helton. That being said...is there one of those guys you take before Soriano? Stats-wise, Jeter and Helton pale, Manny can hang on the offensive end but is an absolute liability on defense, and A-Rod...well, Wrigley is about two blocks too far west for him. You get what you pay for (superb THS coverage excepted, of course), and sometimes, you can get the best value by spending the most.

2) The contract is too long.

Okay, it expires when Soriano's 39...but it's an EIGHT-YEAR CONTRACT. When's the last time you saw a contract this long carried to term? I posed this question to loyal reader Lauren, and all she could reply with was an oblique reference to my ex-girlfriend. If he DOES stick around that long (oh, look, another oblique reference), he'll have restructured his deal...because THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS.

3) He's not worth the money.

Show me one proven star player who's signed for less, compared to the top salaries in baseball, yet achieved at this level before the signing. Next.

4) A folksy, down-home maxim from your favorite Southern-fried storyteller.

"Some people ain't happy, less'n they ain't happy." I know people have an urge to bitch, but this? Unless 'Fonso becomes a member of Mark Prior's Our Sisters Of Minor Injuries Girl Scout Troop #421, this is a brilliant signing in all regards.

Now, our shitheap of a 3-5 in the pitching rotation...that's something else entirely. But, you must remember...we live in a world where a team can supposedly win the World Series with #2 and #3 starters named Jeff Weaver and Suppan. I'd take Hill over Suppan any day, and any of the young guns (save for Mike O'Malley and Hae Fuk-Ryu) over Weaver. Could this be the year?

Probably not. But I have a feeling it's gonna be a hell of a ride.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

!!!

The Cubs have signed Alfonso Soriano to an EIGHT year, $136M contract. This leaves us with the following:

Alfonso Soriano, CF
Michael Barrett, C
Derrek Lee, 1B
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jacque Jones, RF
Matt Murton, LF
Mark DeRosa, 2B
someone vomitously bad, SS
Carlos Zambrano, P

This is not a bad lineup, and it doesn't stack up badly against...well, anyone. Move DeRosa to SS and start Patterson/Theriot at 2B? Maybe. Move Soriano to 2B and re-sign Pierre? Maybe. I can't even say that I'd be unhappy if we got a pitcher (not Zito, DEFINITELY not Jason Marquis...actually, not really anyone that's available, but more on that later) and called it good. We don't need to be the Yankees. We don't need to have a lineup completely composed of All-Stars. Let's just put a good team on the field and win some fuckin' games.

Saturday Night Dead

First things first - football pool:

Colts -1.5
Bengals +3.5 (best bet)
Panthers/Rams over 44.5
Broncos -2.5
Giants +3.5

Tiebreaker: 47 total points on MNF.

Second things second: The stats seem to back him up, but I'm going to disagree with Pandrew here...if Morgan Ensberg is in fact better than Aubrey Huff, it's marginally if at all. (Dear sabermetricians: I don't want to hear any explanation involving the fact that Ensberg walks all the time. The fucking guy hit .235.) Also, two years ago, Ensberg went through one of the most inexplicable slumps in history when he didn't hit his first homer until July. We have Ramirez, so whatever. Have fun with that shit, Astros.

Third things third: If Alex Cora is worth over two million a year, I'm not entirely sure that the DeRosa signing looks so bad. Alex fucking Cora? The guy won't get 250 ABs next year. The only thing of significance he's ever done is hit the eighteenth pitch of an at-bat for a homer off of Prior, which these days is no great feat - provided they'll let you go up to ball fourteen.

I might liveblog the Bear game tomorrow. It's the local FOX game here, so I can watch it at home, and I don't work until two hours after it ends...so, we shall see. I probably won't, though.

Coming soon to THS:

- A contest of some sort!
- Maybe new writers, if there is anyone up to our standards out there!
- Possibly a Spring Training event!
- Definitely a bunch of empty promises!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This Bothers Me

Hey Sportswriters!

The Astros are not going to get rid of Morgan Ensberg to put Aubrey Huff at third because Huff is not better than Ensberg. That is all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cubs Trade Aardsma

With this move, the Cubs have now, in effect, equalized the trade that sent Latroy Hawkins to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for SP Jerome Williams (who the Athletics picked up for free) and minor-league RP David Aardsma. The Cubs sent Aardsma to the White Sox for reliever Neal Cotts yesterday in a move that makes almost no sense.

Cotts had a terrible year in 2006. His K rate dropped by nearly 1.5 per nine, his hit rate was 5 higher than 2005 at 10.67 (.283 BAA). And even though his walk rate dropped, it dropped to 4.00!

The problem here is that pitchers don't just stop walking guys all of a sudden, unless we're talking reconstructive surgery. In the minors Cotts had a walk rate of nearly five. This is exactly the type of pitcher that David Aardsma is, which really leaves me at a loss for words because this is one of those Esteban Loaiza for Orlando Hernandez trades that may or may not work out but really shouldn't happen. Are both teams really convinced that the change of scenery will help? I don't know.

In reality I'm more pissed that Oakland got Jerome Williams for free. I don't care how high his WHIP was at Iowa (1.69, what the hell?), he starts before Juan Mateo, Ryan Phillipe and nearly every other rookie starter the Cubs sent out last year (excluding Hill, Marshall, and, as a concession to the A-Train, Carlos Marmol), because he is still very young and has shown that he can compete on a major league level. It was a lost season. You let Sean Marshall put up a 5.59 ERA in 24 starts.

When Jerome Williams makes Oakland's rotation coming out of spring training, I will take action, something like in 2002-3 when the Cubs still had Six-Shooter Alfonseca closing games and A-Train and I decided that we ought to stand outside of Wrigley during every home game with "Trade/Release/Kill Alfonseca" signs. We would have done it, too, if Borowski didn't have that ridiculous season.

I might still do it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Point of (falling from) contention

ESPN's Keith Law, despite being a sabermetrician, put together an excellent list of the top 40 free agents this offseason. (Insider, deal with it.) #1 was Ramirez, followed by Matsuzaka (wrong), Soriano, and Schmidt. Carlos Lee was 7th, Barry Zito was FIFTEENTH (between Frank Thomas and Barry Bonds, which is right where he belongs), and the 26-40 group includes such luminaries as Mike Stanton, Vicente Padilla, Jeff Weaver, and Rich Aurilia. Who are some people that weren't on the list?

- Mark DeRosa
- Henry Blanco
- Kerry Wood

Is it too late to sign Julio Lugo? With the FA class having only two solid middle infielders (Lugo and Ray Durham), and the Cubs needing two middle infielders (and, apparently, to spend $300M)...is that a perfect fit or what? My head hurts just thinking about it.

The Cubs Will Spend $300 Million Next Year

And they will do it by making deals like this:

The Chicago Cubs and backup catcher Henry Blanco agreed to a $5.25 million, two-year contract Wednesday with an option for 2009.

That's $2.37 million a year for Henry Blanco. With an option. Career numbers:

.225/.290/.367, 49 HR, 225 RBI in 666 games, 1955 AB.

Apparently Michael Barrett's injury and subsequent inability to father children were the result of a deal White struck with The Devil.

I like Blanco. I think he's an excellent...defensive substitution and can deal with him going 0.9 for 4 every game with his trademark 0.33723 walks per game (that's one every three weeks!). But Z Machine is good enough to deal with Barrett now, and Rich Hill can speak English. Come to think of it, Michael Barrett can speak Spanish. And while this doesn't change the fact that Blanco is a defensive upgrade over Barrett, how does that justify a salary almost twice as high as he's ever been paid? Barrett only makes $4.33 million. Blanco will not put up anything close to what Barrett will. This is insane.

Kerry Wood--and I know he should be playing for free, but bear with me--will only be making $1.75 million next year.

By the way, Barrett's in Hawaii. Yay!

If Hendry doesn't get Lee, Soriano, or Zito, expect the Cubs to overpay for the following (overpayment defined as a deal of >0 years at $>0 million, and in most cases any deal at all):

Steve Finley (He's still got a little woof in him, and look at all those triples!)
Shawn Estes (He's a lefty, we can't go wrong!)
Latroy Hawkins (We have Wood and Dempster ahead of him; he'll never have to close!)
Dan Kolb (If we sign him, Milwaukee won't get him.)
Vicente Padilla (Any player with a nickname is worth a shot.)

Pray to evolution I am wrong.

PENNANT FEVER - CATCH IT!!!

However, if you're going to try and catch it in your hat, the Cub variety might not be the best idea.

Mark DeRosa started out as a relative unknown, then got a new role and had a breakout season, but hasn't been heard from since. Wait, that's Portia De Rossi...but really, what's the difference? DeRosa's number seven comparable player of all time is Ramon Martinez...and that's not somebody you sign to a multiyear, $3m+ per deal. He's already 31, has a career OPS+ of 90, and THIS is the up-the-middle improvement that's going to keep Eric Patterson in the minors until we can legally fuck girls that were born in the month that Kurt Cobain died? Not to go all angry black man on you (email I JUST THIS SECOND received: "Catch MLB.com's interview with Ludacris". Honestly.), but Mark DeRosa is exactly who we thought he is. (Luckily, we will not be signing A-Rod to "crown" his ass.)

Does anyone think that this is a team that can win 90 games? The only positive about signing DeRosa is that he's so unworthy of the #2 hole that Sweet Lou will be forced to bat Barrett there, which is where he's belonged all along. The Cubs have three offensive players who could be considered "stars", with the outfielders fitting in "average to above average". DeRosa and whichever asshole we put at short are best used in the context of a PowerPoint presentation on "Why Carlos Zambrano should bat seventh". Outside of Zambrano, the starting pitching ranges from "shaky" to "really shaky", with Angel Guzman filling Wood's spot as "highly touted pitcher who appears to have a functioning vagina".

There is hope, though. I mean, if the Tigers can go from 119 losses to winning the World Series in three years (I will not argue that this happened), there is no reason that the Cubs can't win in '07 or '08. I mean, the last time the Cubs played an '08 season, they won the World Series. NOT ALL THAT BAD I MUST SAY.

Also, I'm really glad that the Bears won, and won well. However...I'm still going to place a wager on the Giants to win the NFC. I've seen all I needed to see. (If you will be so kind, ignore my football pool picks as well.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cubs: Not Looking To Contend.

At least, that's what I have to assume, based on their signing Mark DeRosa to a three year, $13 million deal. But don't worry, Chicago is full of machine politicians, and, as the Cubs' corporate offices are no different, Hendry and McDonough will find a way to sell this one to you.

1) Nothing indicates that he'll even come close to matching his .296/.357/.456, 13 HR, 73 RBI performance in 2006.

2) He's a career benchwarmer who remains in the majors based only on his ability to play like six positions. By comparison, the only former Cub to whom Baseball Reference compares him is journey/utilityman Ramon Martinez. This is important because the two have identical BA/OBP/Power splits if you exclude DeRosa's 2006 season. Mark DeRosa will be earning about the same amount of money next year that Ramon Martinez has made in his career. Twice as much as DeRosa has made in his career (their salaries would be similar if the Cubs hadn't overpaid Martinez for two years).

3) Eric Patterson is only a half season away from the majors. In limited time at Iowa last year, he hit .358/.395/.493. The kid's upside is tremendous: he has speed, hits for extra bases with a little power, and OBPs 70 points above his career BA. And you're paying Mark DeRosa to get in his way. Jim Hendry, bad move.

4) Also DeRosa put up those numbers in Texas after doing nothing in Atlanta for years, and while Wrigley generally favors hitters, DeRosa's performance is far more likely an anomaly that will regress to the norm well before the end of this disaster of a signing. He won't even give the Cubs Grudzielanek's empty .314/.366/.416 that earned him 27th in the 2003 MVP voting (seriously).

This move does say a few things though: that the Cubs have less than no faith in Ronny Cedeno, and that they (correctly) see Ryan Theriot's offensive explosion last year as a weird, freak of nature sort of situation, probably aided by steroids and aliens.

Please trade Izturis, Cedeno, and DeRosa for some minor leaguers. Please.

Monday, November 13, 2006

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The Cubs have re-signed Aramis.

That is all.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

LALALALA NOT LISTENING

It's hard to ignore all of this Aramis Ramirez free agency talk. He wants a six-year contract, it seems...good! Give it to him! There are only four better courses of action for the Cubs than giving him a six-year deal, and they are as follows, in reverse order of excellence:

1) Seven-year contract
2) Eight-year contract
3) Nine-year contract
4) Ten or more-year contract.

THIS IS OUR BEST PLAYER. THIS IS THE BEST OFFENSIVE THIRD BASEMAN THE CUBS HAVE EVER HAD.

(Fun story: To prove the gravitas of the above statement, I will provide this story from my first day at work:

Boss: "We can't give you number 5 in the system, even though it's next. We're retiring that. It's going on [name redacted]'s Hall of Fame plaque. You can be 6."
Me: "I don't want to be 6. 6 sucks."
Boss: "Well, what number do you want?"
Me: "I'll be 10. For Ron Santo!"

True story.)

HOW HAVE THE CUBS NOT RESIGNED ARAMIS YET? It's awful. If they don't sign him, I have a feeling that I am going to walk around in a haze, describing his exploits of the night before (on the field, you fuckos), even if they happen to be completely fictional. So when you hear that insane guy talking about how Ramirez went 3-4 to lead the Cubs to a win, EVEN IF THEY LOST AND HE PLAYS FOR THE ANGELS...that's probably me. Denial is what's hot for spring.

On to football: The Giants? My early pick to win the NFC and possibly the Super Bowl, and they're going up against a Bears team who apparently entrusted their scheduling to the Rutgers athletic director. (No, I'm not bitter that I had a couple hundred on Louisville. Not at all.) The Bears can handle it, though...they still lead Western Michigan by three games, and have games remaining against divisional rivals Ball State and UL-Monroe. Prediction: Giants 24, Bears 13.

And since I'm apparently ripping off the Sports Guy's style, I will present you with my football pool picks of the week. (All lines taken from the pool's official line, namely the parlay card we put out.)

Chiefs -1.5 (The Dolphins aren't very good)
49ers +6.5 (Neither are the Lions)
Rams +3.5 (Marc Bulger is on my fantasy team, "Seneca Wallace" sounds like a new model of Pontiac)
Cardinals +7.5 (I asked a regular customer who he liked because I couldn't come up with a fifth pick)
Bucs +9.5 (I might be functionally retarded)

Tiebreaker (MNF total points): 31.

I'm not a big underdog player in general, but they just seemed appetizing this week. "I WILL NOW LIGHT MYSELF ON FIRE."

Readers: Who from Vegas is reading this? I know I've given this site out to a few people, but I'm not sure who is stopping by. Also, even if you're not from Vegas, feel free to comment. THS is an open forum, at least until some douchebags ruin it by being unfunny and the diametric opposite of insightful.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Also sucking: Barry Zito

"Jeremy Brown isn't Zito," says one of the scouts. But he is. A lot of people in the room have forgotten that the scouting department hadn't wanted to take Barry Zito because Barry Zito threw an 88-mph fastball. They preferred a flamethrower named Ben Sheets. "Billy made us take Zito," Bogie later confesses.

Moneyball, Michael Lewis.

Billy Beane made the A's take Barry Zito over Ben Sheets. For the A's, it worked out nicely. For anyone else...I have my doubts.

Oakland's home park factor for HRs: 0.852 (with 1 being average, and lower numbers favoring pitchers.

Wrigley's park factor for HRs: 1.212.

So, roughly...for every 5 homers hit in Oakland, 7 will be hit in Wrigley.

Barry Zito not only led the American League in walks (with 99), but he also did so with a deplorable groundball/flyball ratio of 0.89 - the second-best of his career. He allowed 27 home runs in 221 IP, which translates to 38 in Wrigley. (By comparison, Pope Carlos allowed 20 HR in 214 IP, and 21 the prior year in 223 IP.) Zito allows a worse batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage than Carlos - and that's with a pitchers' park on his side, as opposed to Carlos working in a hitters' park for half of his starts. Are we even seriously thinking about signing this guy? When taking park factors into account, Zito hasn't been a #1 starter since 2002. Yet we're supposed to believe that Zito is the answer to our pitching problems?

I'm going to make this very, very simple - some might say that Rich Hill is the poor man's Zito. I say that Zito is the poor man's Rich Hill, and I'm willing to back that up.

We can save a shit-ton of money by not signing Zito and using our superior version of the lefty curveballer, so why not just stand pat? As for backing it up - I am willing to make this wager with any sexy female Cub fan/THS reader. I will bet that Rich Hill has a better park-adjusted ERA next year than Barry Zito - I'll take Rich, you take Barry. Winner gets to be on top.

Get back to me on this.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The offseason is a time of anger

On the subject of Aramis Ramirez:

1) HOW DO YOU LET THIS GUY NOT PICK UP HIS OPTION??? Promise him whatever it takes to sign him, Tribune company. Part-ownership of the Cubby Bear? Sold. Change Grace St. to Ramirez Way? Done and done. A "personal services" contract with THS favorite Sarah Poontong? Make it happen.

The fact is, he's our best player, and you don't give up a guy like that. Forget commitment to winning, a failure to sign Ramirez may as well be labeled "Commitment To Rebuilding."

Also, as long as we're talking about all things A-Ram which we find offensive, let's go to this article from ESPN's Sean McAdam:

A look at this winter's class of available free agents illustrates the point, like a vanity mirror revealing every blemish and flaw. Among everyday position players, only two -- Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee -- can be viewed as true All-Stars in their prime, with a third, Aramis Ramirez, a step below.

Carlos Lee? Carlos fucking LEE?? On what planet not occupied by Darren Daulton is Carlos Lee in any way better than #16? Let's go to the tale of the tape:

Last three years:
Ramirez 425 G, 1604 AB, .304/.361/.569, 264 R, 100 2B, 5 3B, 105 HR, 314 RBI, 152 BB+HBP, 2/6 SB.
Lee 476 G, 1833 AB, .290/.348/.516, 290 R, 115 2B, 1 3B, 100 HR, 329 RBI, 180 BB+HBP, 43/54 SB.

On the whole, they look comparable, maybe with a slight edge to Ramirez. However, factor in the fact that Lee has had 8 plate appearances for every 7 of A-Ram's...and it just becomes a blowout. Adjusting for playing time, Ramirez passes Lee in runs and RBI, and forces a virtual deadlock in 2B and BB+HBP. The ONLY conceivable advantage Lee has is stolen bases...but that's more than negated by the fact that Ramirez plays a premium position (and passably so, at that)! Not only that, but if we ARE really trying to become contenders, Lee famously falls off later in the season, while Ramirez gets better as the season goes on. I haven't been this offended by judgment in a sports article since David Duke was listed among the candidates to replace Don Baylor.

Baseball-Reference.com's Most Similar Players listing is the final stroke. Ramirez's top comps at age 28: Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Eric Chavez. Lee's? George Bell, Kent Hrbek, Raul Mondesi. A nice player, no doubt...but up to Aramis' level? No way.

On to football - Rex Grossman has recently begun throwing off of his back foot. You know who else did that? Cade McNown. McNown was at least partially successful due to Marcus Robinson being the perfect kind of receiver for him...get downfield, be big and strong and jump well, and catch some of the bombs. Grossman's not that type of QB...he has a tendency to let his normally crisp throws sail on him when he doesn't step into them, and thusly completes an abnormally high percentage of his passes to opposing safeties. (On a blogging-related note, has anyone noticed that Pandrew's efficiency is almost exactly proportional to Rex's? It's one of those inexplicable things, I guess.)

I'm going to see Borat tonight. If you don't plan on seeing this movie, change your plans. Then, it's off to another six-day work week (I just finished seven), so who knows when the next update will be? I'll tell you this, though...moves had best be made. Moves not including Barry Zito.