Today’s game marks the last meaningful game of the year for the Cubs, who head out to finish the season with the Padres after this one. The Cardinals remain two games back of the Braves with four to play. If the Cubs can beat the Cardinals today, they could all but kill the Cardinals’ playoff hopes.
- Alfonso Soriano is not too happy about how he’s been treated with respect to his spot in the order this year. “I’m not a guy that fights with people,” Soriano told ESPNChicago.com. “The way they treat me this year, I don’t like it. The way they have me hit in the No. 7, 5 and 6 spots, I have trouble concentrating on the job hitting in those different spots. But [Mike] Quade is the manager and does his best to try to make the team better.” To the substance of his claim, I don’t have much to say – Soriano should have been hitting 7th from the start of the season. You can’t have a guy who can’t keep his OBP over .300 batting in the middle of the lineup. But, as to the message behind his comments, it’s just another crack in the ever-crumbling foundation of the Mike Quade regime. He is losing (or has lost) the support of the very players who chose him last year.
- Cubs.com also had a feature on Soriano yesterday, presumably generated from the same round of interviews, but didn’t mention Soriano’s unhappiness. It simply discusses his “infectious energy,” and used quotes solely from Mike Quade. If this is the matter of the Cubs trying to guide the discussion about a guy they’re going to try and trade in a couple months (i.e., Soriano isn’t a malcontent, he’s an “energetic” guy whom his teammates love), then kudos to them – it’s the first time they’re doing it right. When it was obvious that Sammy Sosa, Milton Bradley, and Carlos Silva had to be moved, the Cubs seemed to affirmatively work to blast them in the media. Not a great trading strategy in my book. Obviously you can’t “talk” your way into upping a guy’s stats or lowering his contract, but you can certainly diffuse any sources of possible tension before they arise, especially with a guy like Soriano, who is generally not viewed as a clubhouse troublemaker.
- Aramis Ramirez reiterates his position that he wants to go to a playoff-caliber team this Winter. I reiterate my position that he could have gone to a number of playoff-caliber teams this Summer.
- Keeping the lights on: if you’re looking for sporting or concert event tickets this Fall, check out LavaTickets.
- Mike Quade on Carlos Marmol’s struggles this year: “We need to get it straightened out. All we need to do is get him back to where he was the last few years. And he will.” Powerful stuff.
- Rodrigo Lopez wants to return to the Cubs next year, but, despite his 4.42 ERA (which is better than most the rotation regulars, sadly), it’s hard to see the Cubs bringing him back on more than a minor league deal.
- Phil Rogers says Albert Pujols wants $27.5 million per year in his next deal so he can match Alex Rodriguez. He could definitely get that amount if he was willing to take a five-year deal.