First, a site note: I’m headed to New York this morning for the Blogs with Balls conference (i.e., large online sports media conference at which they are, among other things, presenting the Best Team-Specific Site award that I’ve been bugging you about (hopefully we win, and I’ll let you know as soon as I do – trying to keep my expectations low)) where I hope to pick up some more tips on how to best navigate this here new job of mine, and how to improve the BN experience for all of you. So, while I’ve got a few things in the can for today, posting may be reduced this weekend. Also, the Enhanced Box Scores may be delayed. For those interested, I’ll try to put together a Meta post about my experience some time next week. OK, on to the Bullets…

  • Carlos Pena is unsure whether he’ll return to Chicago next season, and, in light of Aramis Ramirez’s declaration that he wants to be a free agent, is a little unsure whether he wants to. “Yes, it’s true I have become emotionally attached to this city and the Cubs,” Pena said. “That’s the way I am. I’ve always put my heart and soul into the teams I play for. Some places are easier than others to do that. I think looking at the thing objectively maybe, maybe [Ramirez will affect my decision]. But the kid in me says what everyone else does has no impact on what my decision will be. I have a tendency to follow the kid in me rather than the analytical part.”
  • Phil Rogers says the Cubs should consider a cheap, one-year fill-in at third base for 2012 in the hopes that one of DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty or Josh Vitters is ready to take over by 2013.
  • Mike Quade’s confidence that he’ll be back in 2012 comes not from his contract, which runs through next season, but from the fact that he likes managing, and “think[s he’s] good at doing it.” There goes another rubber tree plant.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions, the most frustrating of which is the last. Why isn’t Bryan LaHair seeing any starts at first base? Because Mike Quade is trying to get Carlos Pena to 30 homers. Swell.
  • Paul Sullivan recounts the weird moments of the 2011 Chicago Cubs’ season.
  • Fluff on the awesomeness of Starlin Castro.
  • Internet Random

    Mike Quade is trying to get Carlos Pena to 30 homers.

    Have I mentioned that I hate Mike Quade?

    • Fishin Phil

      I wish they hadn’t done away with tar & feathering.

      • hansman1982

        Its never too late to bring it back…

    • baaaahb

      I don’t hate Q-ball. Yes, he frustrates me, but he’s in over his head so I give him a bit of license with his bone-head decisions. He’s just not cut out to be a manager of an MLB team and I think the majority of us fans saw that when he came in. Now if it were someone like Bobby Valentine who has “experience” but is also a douche, then I’d say, “I hate this guy and want to kick him in the groin”.

      Quade ain’t Valentine.



  • Internet Random

    Also, good luck and safe travels.

    • Fishin Phil

      Yes, what IR said!

    • Brett

      Thanks – I hope to not be completely disconnected today/tomorrow/Sunday, but we’ll see.

  • Toosh

    Bush and Ricketts should have let the Yankees have him when they had the chance.

  • Hogie

    I got the feeling with this mailbag that Muskat is even getting really sick of Quade.

  • CubFan Paul

    did you figure out what to wear to the BWB event? ..go retro & wear a plaid suit or something from the ’70s/GoodWill ..or borrow something from Dempster

    • Brett

      Decided to go with a plain, button-down dress shirt and slacks. Figure that’s nice enough, but not “too” nice. I’m usually a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, so we’ll see how it flies.

      • TWC

        You could borrow a tie-dye from me, if you’d like. I always win awards wearing those.

  • Stuart Williams

    Pena would be fine to keep, but only at the right price. Ramirez had to go. Defense will be better.

    I have a question, why are we not focused on pitching and defense?

    • CubFan Paul

      The ‘right price’ for Pena better be veteran platoon player money ( $2-$4million) since Berkman got $12million for his services and stat line: .300/.411/.552/.963
      Pena’s: .229/.356/.471/.826 his 30 meaningless homeruns aren’t worth his salary or the $5million attached to next year’s payroll

      • Bails17

        I think Berkman is what you meant…and he got less than 12 mill.  I think he got 8.

        • MichiganGoat

          Correct, the Cubs paid more for Pena than the Cardinals did for Berkman

          • Hogie

            To be fair, in the offseason there were very few people who thought that St. Louis made the better of the two deals.

            • Toosh

              I was one of the “few”. Once Hendry decided to sign a FA 1B, Berkman was the obvious choice. He knew the pitchers in the division and the league. Any competent GM would have expected Berkman to have a better season than Pena.

      • CubFan Paul

        sorry, i meant for 2012 ..Berkman got an extension/deal for 2012 at $12million, & he’s an everyday switch hitting 1st baseman with better overall stats in every category ..Jeff Baker should of been starting at 1st base this year against Lefties, but Quade… (i have nothing nice to say)

        • Bails17

          LOL…Agree on all fronts!  I really like Pena as a teammate and have not pulled for a guy to have a big year like him in a long time!  Sadly…not happening!!!


        • Brett

          They’re paying him $12 million for 2012!? When the deal was announced, the money wasn’t disclosed, so I hadn’t yet heard the amount.

  • Bails17

    In the “fluff” article about Castro he says he would like to hit second.  That really makes me want to sign Reyes this off season!  Castro is more suited for 2nd anyway.

    • Brett

      Eventually, Castro will be sliding down (and, with a dominant leadoff guy, he could be a tremendous number 2 hitter), but he’s getting on base so well right now…

  • auggie1955

    There’s another 10m that can be spent on Fielder.    That’s OK with me.

  • truffleman2340

    i hope that pena takes his talent & his .180 batting average with runners in scoring position any place but back to the cubs.

    • Andrew

      Definitely.  I can’t help but think that LaHair could hit over .230 with at least 20 homers if given the opportunity to start.  I don’t know what his salary is, but I assume it’s somewhere near the Major League minimum.

      So, why not make a fun at Fielder, and if you miss out give the job to LaHair.  30 homeruns are nice (and LaHair very well may be able to hit 30, though I think 20 would be a more reasonable expectation), but the .229 batting average Pena has with it is awful.  If we set the expectations for LaHair’s rookie season at “better-than-Pena-numbers” I do not think we’d be disappointed.

      Let’s pick up a vet somewhere (3B, 1B, or corner outfield) and otherwise give the kids a chance.

  • die hard

    no more free agents until we flush out the remaining contracts of the ones we have….next year should be a transition between winding down past and planning for future….start rebuilding next year and continue process 2013…..For instance, platoon Soriano and Colvin so Colvin gets most at bats…..same as to Byrd and Campana…..give right field to winner of competition in spring training between 2 new kids….bye bye to Johnson…..platoon Baker and LaHair at first…bye bye to Pena…..put 2nd and 3rd up for grabs…bye bye Ramirez….would open up catcher competition… to pitching staff, eat Zambranos contract and release him…..make sure that 2 or 3 kids not on staff now make team so can learn on the job as part of rebuilding…

    • CubFan Paul

      Die Hard the Cubs attendence and Revenue can’t handle a “rebuilding” year in 2012. The ballpark is losing an average of 75,000 paid seats a season since Ricketts bought the team ..and that doesn’t include the no-shows of the actual paid seats (Brett estimated yesterday a third of the 3,017,966 paid didn’t show, which sounds & looks about right)

      Basically Ricketts & Team have to do “something” this offseason to boost fan morale, revenue, & most importantly ballpark attendance because if the trend of paid tickets going down continues, next season’s attendance will be under 3 million (2,942,966)

      rebuilding won’t sell tickets no matter how its spun to the “fans”

      • Toosh

        Put the emphasis on building a World Series winning organization rather than on ticket sales and the seats will fill.

      • baaaahb

        Toosh is right. If the Cubs attempt to build a winning organization, the true fans will come and will pay money to see their beloved team play in one of the last real ballparks left. As far as the “fans” are concerned, if they’re the same sorts of folks that populated the stands during the ’09 playoffs…fuck ’em, they can jump on some other team’s bandwagon. I hear Boston is still hiring.

  • CUB5

    I like the idea of waiting to see who in the farm system can replace Ramirez at 3rd in another year. Why not? That’s what a farm system is for. I’m tired of us picking up 33 year olds who are on the downside of their careers for 2-3 year contracts and not really developing anyone. As for Pena – I hope he hits 30 so he has something to remember the Cubs by. I don’t want him back next year. Again, too much money for a 33 year old who’s on the downside of his career.

  • Indy Die Hard

    Ricketts can start by hiring Ryne Sandberg…then I will return to Wrigley.

  • pfk

    Brett, it is unacceptable that you will not be doing much posting over the weekend. I paid big money to join this site and I either want a full refund or postings.

  • die hard

    I pine for the go go White Sox of 1959 which is a good model in that the wind blows out only 25% of the time and hardly ever before June 1…..forget power…give me hustle, defense, and small ball which will decrease pitchers WHIP by .50….give me more walks and stolen bases/hit runs and the other team will go nuts by the 7th inning…..

    • Bleed Cubbie BLue

      I agree, being honest if the weather wasn’t so screwe up in the early months of the seasn… pena would at least have 40 homers.  but die hard i totally agree with you… we need more STARlin’s and more campana’s. that’ll drivem crazy 😀

  • Bleed Cubbie BLue

    I’m hoping the cubs can take 2 of 3 from St. louis, I live in atlanta and the braves are my 2nd favorite team ( number 1 is muhh cubbies) and the braves are playing like shit. For our Cubbies dismall screwed up year, this would really be something nice to do this year……. go for a sweep or at least take 2 of 3. oh and whoever has BOLASHIT HOLLIDAY! that bastard deserves to be hit after that slide on castro a few months ago. and atleast castro will get his 200 hit vs. them, but that doesn’t matter because no one will reconize it because he’s on the cubs. congrats Starlin. and GO CUBBIES!

  • Zbo

    Best of luck, Brett. BN is a great blog (pretty much the only one I read anymore, now that I have a newborn and not enough time to sort through the content of the others). I hope you win!

    • Brett

      Thanks, man.

  • Chris

    Go get ’em Ace! Bring home the gold, you will get a solid gold trophy when you win right?

    • Brett

      Thanks all. I’m safely in NYC, where it is raining like unholy hell. Good thing I planned to walk everywhere.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Why don’t we trade for Juan Francisco ?

    • MichiganGoat

      The Reds have no intention of trading him and we don’t have the prospects to trade for him.  He is the Reds third baseman as soon as Rolen is done (which is like now).

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    As you guys know Aramis is my favorite player … However I love my beloved cubbies.. If Aramis dosent want to be here then we should get help at 3rd base! Our minor leaguers arnt ready! Ace what available free agent third baseman besides Ramirez if he decides that he’s not staying.. Edwin encarnacion?

    • Cedlandrum

      At this point you might as well find out if Flaherty and LeMahieu are ready at 3rd. Another season in the minors isn’t going to make a huge difference for Flaherty especially. LeMahieu is younger, but at this point I would rather see if he could swim with the big boys.

  • RY

    let pena freakin walk, how quickly he forgets that the cubs were one of maybe 2 teams that even wanted his sorry ass. hoping i am wrong, but i see us getting blown out all three games, pitching matchups suck for us. carp is pitching better than anyone in the league right now and dempster is not, tonight was really our only legitimate shot for a win, lopez and coleman will get lit up like xmas trees.

  • Wilbur

    “Mike Quade’s confidence that he’ll be back in 2012 comes not from his contract, which runs through next season, but from the fact that he likes managing, and “think[s he’s] good at doing it.” There goes another rubber tree plant.”

    I do enjoy your sense of humor …

    • Brett

      Thanks, Wilbur. I saw your name, and I must confess I thought I was coming in for another correction… :)

  • Cheryl

    Instead of making a run at Fielder, make a run at the best pitching the cubs can get. Marmol is shot. Get what you can for him. Start LaHair and see where he goes as an everyday player and sub occasinally with Baker. The cubs may have a slim chance of making the wildcard next year if they play some of the rookies and concentrate on pitching. Good luck Brett!