Friday, February 18, 2005


The Bullpen...

The bullpen has been a source of great consternation among everyone not named Jim Hendry. The question is: is all the concern warranted, or is this just a case of fans and pundits overreacting?

The answer: um...

Anyway, the bullpen has seen some turnover. Not enough turnover, but some turnover nonetheless.

Out (not that there's anything wrong with that)
Captain Tightpants
Kent Merker

Roberto Novoa
Stephen Randolph

Here to Stay
Ryan Dempster

...And the Rest
Michael Wuertz
Todd Wellemeyer
John Leicester
Will Ohman
Sergio Mitre

The Sleepers
Angel Guzman
Jermaine Van Buren
Jessica Simpson

Holy crap, that was a lot of work. And I haven't even started the "analysis". Okay, starting with those that have left this Wrigley coil: The King of Form-Fitting Trousers and Steve Stone's Mortal Enemy. Regarding TKFFT, I'm contractually obligated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement of the Cubs Blog Army (That's the CBA of the CBA fwiw, btw) to state that Farnsy is the quintessential "million dollar arm, ten cent head". I'm thinking that if he simply had 10 dollar control plus an 8 dollar slider to go with the million dollar arm, we could ignore the 10 cent head and Capitaine Pantalon Serré would be the closer du jour (get a French-English dictionary, mon amie). As far as Merker goes, I'm just glad he goes...away. I just wish it wasn't packaged with the Sultan of Dry-Wit, Steve Stone.

For the new arrivals, I'm pretty sure Randolph was brought in to bolster the bench. Last year he managed a nifty .417 (BA) .417 (OBP) .667 (SLG) line for a 1084 ops. This would be better than any Cub regular sported last year. I imagine that he has a fairly strong arm (he is a pitcher...technically), so I would suggest he take over right field for Sammy, except that I doubt he would have any more success hitting the cutoff man than did Sammy, given evidence by the fact that Randolph walked 76 batters while striking out 62 (I just threw up a little in my mouth). I mean, kripes, I exhibit more control at a Star Wars convention (you see, I'm a big nerd...get it?). Regarding Novoa, my only comment is that I had been pronouncing his name "Nova" in my head, which made me think of a Chevy Nova, so from now one Novoa will be Roberto "Chevy" Novoa (Eat that Berman).

For those members of the 'pen that are here to stay, I have nothing much to say. Hawkins gets a pass on this website as he is one of the few Fort Wayne Wizards I remember from my High Schools days, along with Torii Hunter and Matt Lawton. So I won't say anything bad about him (*cough* choke artist *cough*). I hear rumblings that JoBo is 100% but that is only at a 95% confidence level with a sampling error of +/- 3 percent. JoBo has apparently dropped 15 lbs or so as he has exchanged daily trips to the Sizzler for Seattle Sutton (please ignore rumors that he dropped all that weight by simply removing the syringe from his buttock, we like JoBo). I would personally like JoBo to return to his roll as closer, if nothing else just to keep LaTroy and Dempster out of that role. Hey, speaking of Dempster - STOP WALKING PEOPLE. Remlinger is your typical LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY) except that he can't get lefties out. But hey, why should that affect how Dusty uses him. He's a left, dammit, and lefties pitch against lefties! Relieving is between a lefty and a lefty, and anything else is simply unnatural and just...gross. I mean, I'm not prejudiced or anything...I have friends that are lefties.

And now, the rest of the Bullpen. I have high hopes that lots of these guys can surpass most of the pitchers I have listed above. I especially like Leicester. He has a solid fastball and slider combo that was pretty effective last year with almost a strikeout per inning and pretty solid control (a 2.3:1 K:W ratio). Wellemeyer I like less, but still hold out hope for, and he struck out a whopping 11 men per 9 innings (!) but walked everyone else. The strikeouts make me happy :) but the walks make me sad :( , the combination of which makes me :|

Who else...Ohman is a lefty with a good track record in the minors (excepting time he missed due to injury...and it's always a good idea to ignore an injury history with young pitchers) and had something like 15 K/9 in the winter leagues (!!). Michael Wuertz had an up and down season last year, getting lots of grounders but also giving up plenty of taters (or tahters if you're british...or snobby). I like for Wuertz to have a quasi-breakout season...the diet coke of breakout seasons, if you will. As for Mitre, Hendry paid him some lips service this offseason (get your mind out of the gutter) but I seriously doubt that he will crack the bullpen. They seem to have it in their collective heads that Mitre is a starter not a reliever. Same goes for Guzman, who also will not crack the club because they want him to recover from his surgery last season. Look for him to pop up to the majors in the unlikely event that a Cub pitcher gets injured (must...keep...straight...face). Van Buren had success last year in the minors in the closer role, and I would like to see him break with the big club this year, but I sort of doubt it. Look for him in AAA this season.

That is all I have to say regarding the Bullpen. I would say that I have high hopes for the pen, but then I remember that Dusty is our manager, and all that goes out the window. He manages a bullpen about as well as I manage my personal finances which is to say the only reason I'm not living at the Y while praying for one of my "investments " to pan out is because my wife is very smart...I don't even know where my checkbook is.

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