To the Cubs: be a dog. We don’t need no meows. We need more dogs.

  • The Cubs will once again eclipse the 3 million ticket mark this season (though how many of those 3 million sold actually showed up? 2.5 million? 2 million?), but they’re still planning to drop bleacher ticket prices next year. As I’ve said: this is an owner who gets it, and who does not appear to be all about making money (or at least appreciates the proverb of “penny wise, pound foolish”).
  • Andrew Cashner made his return last night, throwing a scoreless, hitless inning, striking out one. He hit 99 mph on the gun, and felt good. Whew.
  • Bryan LaHair capitalized on the few initial chances he was given to start, and now Mike Quade says he’s got little choice but to keep giving him starts where he can. The new GM is going to have a very difficult decision at first base next year, which will largely be dictated by what happens on the rest of the field. If the team isn’t going to go after Fielder/Pujols, do they give Carlos Pena another $10 million to do what he does, or do they take a chance on LaHair, who will cost 1/20 of that? I still strongly doubt LaHair can duplicate Pena’s production at the plate or in the field over a full 162-game schedule, but given the cost disparity, it will be, like I said, a tough decision.
  • Relatedly, it does have to be brutally difficult to manage all these players this month. As much deserved crap as Mike Quade gets, it does have to be hard to accommodate veterans who expect to play, youngsters who need a chance to prove themselves, and utility types who might be a part of the team’s future. “I don’t know if I get a kick out of [creating all of these lineups], because to be honest, it is the most time-consuming and biggest part of my day,” he said. “Especially this time of year, with the added kids … trying to get a look at [DJ] LeMahieu, and trying to get Bryan [LaHair] involved and keeping [Tyler] Colvin involved. And also keeping guys who have been here all year and playing hard involved. I wish there were 11 guys on the field.”
  • To button up the Chuck LaMar business, it sounds like he left the organization over a dispute about the amateur budget. LaMar was reportedly upset that he was given just $5 million to work with for draft bonuses this year.
  • If you needed an investigative report to tell you that the food at concessions at places like Wrigley Field isn’t always prepared and handled in the most pristine manner, I submit that you’ve never been to a ballgame. I’m not saying it’s ok, but, like, there’s a certain amount of acceptable risk you take when you order that bison dog.
  • 9/11 first responders and their families can go to Sunday’s Cubs/Mets game for free. There should be some impressive ceremonies all around the sports world that day – I suspect it will be sad and reflective day, but also one to feel proud to be an American.
  • MichiganGoat

    I can’t imagine a GM, not named Hendry, can look at Pena’s numbers and justify 10M. There are plenty of players (including LaHair) that can bat .220 and .150 w/ RISP, he’s just not worth what he will ask for. If one passes on Fielder/Pujols then Pena can’t be plan B, Pena is more like plan E,F,G.

    • CubFan Paul

      agreed MG

    • Brett

      To be clear up front: I’m *NOT* advocating resigning Pena, let alone for $10 million.

      But… you’re not giving him nearly enough credit. He’s got an .823 OPS and a 123 OPS+ on the year (which means he’s been 23% better than the average MLB hitter this year – that’s significant), and he’s played Gold Glove defense. I’m not sure how much that guy is worth a year older, but saying that he “bats .220 and .150 w/RISP” is not even a third of the story.

      • MichiganGoat

        Agreed replacing his power and defense would be difficult if we do not get Pujols/Fielder, but the Cubs need a “heart of the order” player that is reliable when it matters, and Pena is not demonstrating he can do that and he will only be older next year. If he’d sign for 5M I’d see the value, but I can’t imagine Boras doing that.

        • Brett

          I really do wonder how much he’ll get. $10 million seems high, $5 million seems low. Maybe two years and $13 or $14 million?

        • hansman1982

          Fangraphs has Pena’s WAR this year at 2.3 and B-R is 2.0

          Average the two and round down to 2.1 – assuming that 1 WAR costs around $4.5 million on the FA market we are right at what we paid for him and thats not even taking into account the premium we had to pay for the 1 year contract

          With that said I would rather give LaHair a full-year shot over Pena.

      • awesome

        Brett, is he taking us to the WS in 2012/13? is he a part we really need? i’d like to see the Cubs use the money on some good pitching.

    • HotRuta

      I’d rather see Derrek Lee come back instead of Pena … at least you’d be able to do some platooning with LaHair, and have a legitimate 1B guy if LaHair flames out …

  • CubFan Paul

    “As I’ve said: this is an owner who gets it, and who does not appear to be all about making money”

    Its ALWAYS about the money

    Secondly, the report is a drop in bleacher prices ..whoooooo! I bet you a dollar the prices in the seating bowl get RAISED ..Again

    • Brett

      A necessary corollary to the saying that “you can’t please all the people all of the time” is apparently “you can’t please Paul any of the time.” :)

    • SweetJamesJones

      Bleacher prices going down means that this is good for the first ever 2012 Meet and Greet. Just sayin.’

      • Toosh

        I’m in! Let’s make it a hot month.

        • SweetJamesJones

          Toosh, its gotta be opening day brother!

          • Toosh

            I hear ya. I used to cut school every year and go to Opening Day with a friend from my neighborhood. Back when you could buy tickets on the day of the game. Now when I go, I like hot weather. Make it July or August.

            • SweetJamesJones

              Well more than likely Ill be there opening day. I live in Tennessee so I only have so many chances to go with work being a hinder. Hopefully we can get something together so everyone can meet each other.

  • philoe beddoe

    I hope this makes people realize that Cashner should be a reliever…..

    I am starting to think Geo Soto’s hitting was a fluke

    Does anyone have a good idea of how bad LaHair is in the OF?….he probably could play left better than Alfonso

    • Brett

      It doesn’t make me realize that. He certainly might be best as a reliever, but if the choice is 60 innings of 2.50 ERA (a *great* reliever) or 185 innings of 3.25 ERA (a very good starter), I’ll take the starter every time. I think it would be a mistake to not find out – for certain – whether Cashner can be that latter guy. Let’s not forget: he was a DOMINANT starter in the minors.

      • philoe beddoe

        OK Brett…after another one of your verbal beat downs(okay that may be extreme)….looking at his minor league career, you are right as usual that there is some merit in Cashner as a starter….24 starts in 2009, 18 in 2010 with very solid numbers….but he has only thrown 182 innings total in the minors going into this year and after the injury this year after one start, I wonder if he can physically be a starter….I guess what frustrates me is that if we actually had other prospects in the system….he would stay as a reliever and not risk it

        • MichiganGoat

          Ha, Brett is a little grumpy today… Must have lost his Lady Gaga collection :)

          • SweetJamesJones

            Its okay because “he was born this wayyyyyyyy.” Shoot me.

            • Brett

              I was indeed born this way, and I’m also on the edge of glory.

        • Brett

          That wasn’t a verbal beat down, pb.

          It was written.

          (I kid, I kid.)


    Casher’s major league sample size is too small to make any conclusions; start him next year and see if it works

  • Toosh

    Also, while lowering bleacher prices, the Cubs are thinking about increasing the amount of season tickets they offer. If they lower bleacher prices and sell more season tickets, guess what? More revenue.

    • philoe beddoe

      another quality AB for LaHair…he has done something everytime he has had a chance….

      of course he could tear it up in September and then blow next spring…we see that happen all the time…that’s why I think the September call-up thing is a bit over-rated….

      • Cheryl

        He may be for real. If he is, he is going to make the 2012 team.

  • Caleb

    Wait… You’re not sure if lahair can duplicate pena’s “production?”. If he hits one homer in April or may, I call that an upgrade.

    • Cheryl

      He may be an upgrade. Don’t know yet about his fielding. Nor do we know if his hitting will carry over. From the small sample so far (and he’s under pressure to produce and show he belongs) I think he will keep hitting. Pena is very good at defense. But if the next three weeks continue like this with LaHair why go with Pena?

    • Brett

      I’m going to assume that’s largely tongue in cheek. Otherwise, it ignores other months, other stats, other performance, and other players named Fox, Dubois, and Hoffpauir.

    • hardtop

      Technically, Pena hit One in April.

      He launched one in a make-up game.  The numbers for that game are scored in the month  the original game was scheduled to take place.  i love goofy shit like this in baseball.

      But Im totally with you Caleb.   I doubtful La Hair can replicate Carlos’ defense, but I’m confident he can meet or exceed Pena’s production at the plate.  Why am I confident?  I have no idea: His minor league numbers, his 25-ish AB’s… they all mean doo doo when it comes to being a big league starting first baseman.  We will just have to see.

      I also like bringing D lee back and platooning (assuming lee will sign a kerry-woods-hometown-discount type of thing).  If Lee can keep his old back/neck/whatevah healthy by sitting the bench 1/2 the time, I think he could still be productive and play a relatively mean 1st base.

      does this make us a contender in 2012? nope! but i don’t care if you get a prince-albert, we’re still not a contender.  only difference is we are a broke non-contender with less money to spend on pitching (and has to sit down to pee)

  • Caleb

    Hypothetically, which would you choose?

    A) A great defensive player with experience, power, and a mentoring ability for younger players. At season’s end he will have better overall numbers than player B, but will back-load most of that by doing poorly the first half of the season, and turning it on in the second half. Costs around 10 million.

    B) An average defensive player who is younger than player A, good power but less than A, and average to slightly above average numbers at seasons end. He will hit pretty consistently throughout the season. Costs around 1 million.

    This is obviously not a “real” choice (who knows what either player will *actually* do next season), but given the needs and the priorities of the Cubs, in this hypothetical choice who would you pick?

    This isn’t supposed to be an “duh, pick B!” type of point- I think there’s good arguments for either choice. But to dismiss the choice altogether? At the least it merits serious consideration.

    Step one? Keep playing Lahair and see what he can do. I *know* what Pena can/will do, and can reasonably predict his abilities next year. Not so with Lahair (though I would say he’s more predictable than you would- see Kyle’s “who’s on first” post). Seems to me a prudent man would gather more information before committing for/against Lahair, which is on Q’s plate for the moment. And one area we agree on concerning the Q is that his record in this respect is far from perfect.

    And I don’t know where you got your jersey that has “Hoffpauir” crossed out and “LaHair” written in crayon below, but you should take it back and get a refund.

    Or trade it for a “Pujols” Cubs jersey and send it to me- I’ll wear it to Busch stadium every day for a week.