Today the Cubs start playing four games in three days against the Giants. Since one is a makeup from May, does it count as a four-game series, or a three-game series and a makeup?

  • Marlon Byrd had his first rehab game yesterday for the Iowa Cubs after being hit by a pitch in the face back on May 21. How did the game go? Byrd was hit by another pitch. Natch. No worries, though, as it sounds like it was a non-event. In fact, Byrd says he needed it to happen, and he actually turned into the pitch, which hit him below the left shoulder. He played 10 innings, had a steal and scored a couple runs. Byrd says he expects his rehab to last five to seven games.
  • The other Iowa rehabber, Darwin Barney, is expected to return to the Cubs tomorrow.
  • Mike Quade says the Cubs’ injury problems are the worst he’s seen in his career. It’s been bad, to be sure, but the Cubs may have had worse in recent memory (2004 and 2006 come to mind).
  • If the Cubs trade Carlos Pena – which appears increasingly likely – Bryan LaHair is a candidate to fill in at first for the rest of the year. The 28-year-old AAA Iowa first baseman currently sports a .355 average and a 1.106 OPS. Unfortunately, he’s never shown the ability to make it in the show.
  • Carrie Muskat actually asks whether the Cubs are buyers or sellers. Come on, now.
  • The Cubs let Bobby Scales head to Japan for the rest of the year to make some money. He’ll play for the Nippon Ham Fighters (yup, seriously), where he’ll join former AAAA type Micah Hoffpauir.
  • The Dodgers’ spin on their bankruptcy filing here.
  • Is the trade deadline too early?
  • Ian Afterbirth

    I’d actually be bummed to lose Pena.

  • ry

    if we lose pena we will average 2 runs a game.

    • Ace

      I hate to be so frank, but I’m not sure how much that matters the rest of this season.

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    It seems to me that maybe the Cubs should consider keeping Pena around unless they are absolutely convinced that they will sign either Puljos or Fielder this offseason, which Im not totally confident that they are. I understand the idea of trying to trade him, but I sure would hate to see a revolving door of guys at first base who aren’t ML caliber and don’t have the power in their bat and the ability to scoop poor throws out of the dirt all day for the rest of this season and all of next season.

    • Ace

      I’ll agree with this: if the Cubs are *certain* they won’t be going after Fielder (or Pujols), and they’re willing to risk that Pena accepts an offer of arbitration (thus putting them on the hook for $10 to 11 million for Pena in 2012), then I agree that they should not trade him. Lotta ifs, though.

    • hardtop

      im with chuck brown on this one. im a strongly against the aquisition of fielder or pujols so i say keep him around, kind of as a band-aid, until we can sign either a good young free agent for a reasonable price or someone shows they are ready to be a big league stud..

      • Scarey

        “good young free agent for a reasonable price”

        I’m not sure what your definition of reasonable price is, but Fielder is a young free agent. Why wouldn’t you want him?

        • MichiganGoat

          Agreed, there are few good, young FA most quality free agents are 27+ due to option/arbitration years and Fielder is as young and as good as the come. The concern most of us have is 1-health-how long can a man his size (regardless of the muscle vs fat issue) continue to play the field before his knees, back, body break down and 2- the length and price of the contract he’d sign with us. We don’t need another albatross on this team, but he will require close to 200M to sign. The question is: Is he worth it? If can do what he’s done for 5 more years I’d say yes, but that’s a big IF- insert BIG joke here.

          • TWC

            It’s so big, that when it sits around Wrigley, it sits AROUND Wrigley!

            Something like that?

            Anyway, I think that signing Fielder for 5-6 years for $15-20m per is smart money. I do wonder at his durability, but if the (*ahem*) management is (*cough cough*) smart, they’ll manage his playing time early in his Cubs career. The guy’s only missed ~13 games over the last 5 or 6 years, since he became a full-time. Now sure, 1B is the least active spot in the dirt, but that’d nearly get him a perfect attendance award. If the Cubs spread his off-days well (days next to off-days and the like), and commit to giving him 10-14 days off a season, I’d expect that would work out well. He’s not shown any indication that he’s on a fading trajectory.

            • hardtop

              TWC, I am not a fan of fielder in a cubs uniform (for one thing, how many stripes would it take to cover him) but for the figures you are mentioning, i would be okay with signing him. unfortunately, the rumors are he’s looking for like 25/yr. over 5 or 23+/yr. over 7. the fact that he turned down 20/yr. over 5 with the brewers would reinforce that speculation. Those are really big numbers for a really big dude. over that period of time we’d all be looking at his contract and performance as being the next lopsided equation handcuffing the cubs… the soriano of tomorrow.

              • TWC

                I’d go up to $25m/5 years. ‘Course, I’m not writing the checks.

                I’d really rather the Cubs had been able to pull off the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, but whatevs… it didn’t work out. If you compare their stats, they are *exactly* the same (Prince walks a bit more and — this is difficult to comprehend — steals more bases). Prince is, however, 2 years younger. And 50 lbs heavier. See? There’s more to love!

                • hardtop

                  i had this long reply typed up, but its beating a dead horse, or a fat vegetarian, in this case.

                  age offsett by obesity, offense equal, defense very unequal: gonzo > prince. im just saying he should make less.

                  More to love is right! He’s 300 if he’s a pound. And what makes that sad figure even saderer is he’s 5′-10″ in cleats!

  • hardtop

    not a reasonable price. he turned down 5 years for 100 mil. that means he wants more than 20 mil a year. I’m sure he’ll get it from someone, but he absolutley is not worth it. he’s not even worth the deal that the brewers offered him. im sure, 7 years down the road, when they (brewers fron office) looks back, and they arent saddled with an often injured or hurting obese defensive liability at first base who hits .250 with 20ish bombs, they’ll be glad they didnt give him what his agent wanted. i’ve outlined the argument a couple times, there is a conversation on the message board i think, but the bottom line is adrian gonazalez being the most recent 1st base power hitter to sign is the bench mark for any deal with fielder. A-gon makes 22 mil a year over 7, and boston isnt afraid to spend. compare offense and defense and long term projection of numbers and defensive adequacy, and fielder isnt even close to gonzalez. really not even fair to compare the two, but the dollar figure means he asked for it… prince just isnt in the ballpark. i actually dont think hes the right guy going forward anyway, but his asking price will be so absurd that it should take him out of consideration regardless. in case you think gonzalez was just the bargaio basemnet signing of a lifetime, go back a couple years and compare prince to teixeira and the deal the spend happy yankees gave him…

  • Scarey

    I guess I’m confused on who would be a good candidate for 1st base if it isn’t Fielder. Superstar first baseman don’t exactly fall out of the sky.

    • Ace

      Yeah. And if Fielder did fall out of the sky, the dinosaurs would go extinct again.

      • http://BleacherNation Bric

        That’s classic. If Fielder signs with the Cubs we could call him Ele (Extinction level Event).
        Seriously, though, as soon as he finds out there’s a team in Japan called the Ham Fighters it’s sayonara to him. He looks like he could put down at least 30 lbs of bacon before batting practice. Not to mention all the pork chops, hocks, entrails, etc.

    • hardtop

      haha ace…. “again”
      i feel you, maybe you’re right on and Im’ the one whos confused… we are all entitled to our opinions, and there are some good ones at bleachernation, most reasonable discussions onthe net save for a few “mavericks”.
      in my opinion, a good candidate, At That Price Figure, would be a very good defensive first baseman. some dont put too much stock in gold gloves, but I’d say for 25 mil a year, you should have a couple under your belt and plan on earning some more.
      Fielder is at first much like adam dunn was at first, to keep his bat in the lineup (though dunn had some height and reach on prince, you cant teach tall). a good candidate would also not be obese. i know, i know, he’s pretty athletic “for his size” but, for that kind of cash, I dont think there should be qualifiers in quotes in your resume. long term health issues are almost certain, and when you are signing someone to a seven year deal, long term should be considered.
      we also dont need to go out and get the best available first baseman this year. we didnt go out and get dunn last year, and we’re all pretty glad at this point that hendry let that ship sail (hendry certainly didn’t know dunn would be slump like this, he just got lucky). i think we could re-sign pena for a year, he’s servicable, and can hold down the ship until we find a long term replacement (i’ve also heard he is a great teamate and leader). the first baseman also doesnt necessarily need to be a superstar. true, we have got production from that position in the past, and a lot of ballclubs do have or want superstars at that corner, but if you have bats elsewhere in the lineup, a first basemans defense is the difference between a lot of wins and a lot of loses. if i thought signing fielder would get us a series win in the next few years, i would do it, even for a wacky figure like 25 mil…. but he’s just not that kind of player and we have way too many holes for him to carry us. my opinion is, take the money and address many of the other holes.

  • EQ

    So the Giants are 10 games over .500 and in 1st place with possibly the worst hitting team in baseball.. they have virtually no power and hit around .030 pts. less than the Cubs.. Why should we sink several hundred million into an overweight 1B ?

    Let’s sink 50 mill. into pitching.. we whiffed on Halladay when he was available, didn’t flinch when Cliff Lee was available, etc. why don’t we start building a top pitching staff and win that way.. ??? If the Giants can suck at hitting and still be 10 games over, that should tell us something.

    Not sure who all will be available at years end, but lets focus more on the pitching than everything else.

    • hardtop


  • jim

    I think the Cubs should not go after Fielder or Pujols. Talk with Pena informally on salary for 2012 over allstar break. This guy has the right attitude needed & if he can get rid of that strike out count it would be like striking gold. If not, go with LaHair & who ever else is producing in the minor league system. Last year we had very little chance of evaluating talent when Quade decided to play vets over rookies to get a job with a falsified winning record. “Q” started in 5th & finished 5th so what was the excitement all about. 2011 should have been about a youth movement & filling in the blanks in 2012. Ryno was the right man for the job but the poor leadership we have in Hendry, Bush, & Kenney saw otherwise. They found the puppet they could control. Quade wants to be one of the fellas with all of his dreamed up nicknames & that why the vets politicked for him. The rookies didn’t have much say so on the matter or playing time.

    Another mistake might be the trading of Fukodome. He is our best defensive outfielder, can throw runners out at 2b & home plate, has one of the highest on base pct. on the team, plus comes to the ball park with a business like approach & never complains. Offer him a 50% discount (actual value) to stay on board because he obviously likes Chicago when he bought a home. Bring him in too with Pena along with his interpeter & agent. But as usual, look who is in charge, a guy who would sell talent down the river to save his job.

    The only injuries that hurt the Cubs was cashner & wells early in the starting rotation. There is enough talent to fill in from the system. Just look at the Garza trade. We lost Fuld, great defensive outfielder with speed, Guyer who will be coming up to the show when Upton is traded; Hak Ju Lee who was hitting over .400 in A ball & is now being moved up to AA & will eventually be the soon-to-be starting ss; & Archer who just might be in the starting rotation for the Rays in 2012.

    How many more mistakes are going to be made before our owner figures it out. I think the fans have all the right answers but no one listens. It’s “bring your $$$$$ to Wrigley & shhhhh (be quiet-be nice).

    Enough said

  • Ian Afterbirth

    Keep Pena, don’t sign Pujols or Fielder and put the money somewhere else.

  • Deez

    No MLB FA is ever worth more than a 5yr contract w/ a team option on the 6yr. Time has proven they will underperform 3 yrs of that contract.

    The Soriano Contract show us the way.

    • Joe

      Yeah I think the cubs are done with any 8 year deals…

    • Jeff

      Albert Pujols,A-Rod and Barry Bonds all come to mind as guys that signed 5+ year deals and performed up to the deal, so your generalization isn’t all encompassing. There are exceptions, not sure Fielder is one, but I think he’s durable enough to play out a 6 year deal.

  • TSB

    Spend a lot of money on Fielder or Pujols, and they’ll just pitch around them. Spread the money around, and build a winning TEAM.

    • Ace

      Cardinals have made out like bandits building teams around a couple superstars and a bunch of filler. Cubs have been trying to do the “team” thing for a while. Probably time to pony up for a couple TRUE superstars.

      • MichiganGoat

        A large part of that is because they have quality, cohesive management and executives running that team. I hope Ricketts is taking notes. So here’s an idea offer Billy Beane the VP of Operations job, discuss among yourselves.

      • hardtop

        I think the key word there is “couple”. cards recent recipe for sucess is a couple superstar pitchers, pujols, a teaspoon of holiday, sprinkled with the flavor of the season outfielder. if we blow our proverbial load on fielder or pujols, we’re not going to get it done… we need more than one piece.

        • Matt

          Not arguing with your point, but keep in mind that the only player that was a “superstar” when signing with the Cardinals was Holiday. Pujols came through the system, and none of their “superstar” pitchers were superstars when they signed there.

  • oso

    How to build a team according to oso:
    1. Develop fundamentally sound players
    2. Draft pitching
    3. When ready purchase last pieces such as a starting pitcher and a corner slugger
    4. Exploit arbitration rules in order to gain early round dradt picks while saving on payrole

    How to build a team according to jim hendry:
    1. Develop free swingers
    2. Trade talented prospects for mediocre players in order to meet immediate needs
    3. Sign elderly free agents to expensive long term contracts
    4. Favor low ceiling, high floor type prospects in the early rounds of the draft