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mark grace cubsTwo housekeeping bits: the Facebook page, you should “like” it. The podcast, you should listen to it. That is all.

  • At Cubs Convention time, at least in the last few years, a couple of big names from the Cubs’ past tend to come up when people ask why certain players aren’t there: Sammy Sosa and Ryne Sandberg. Each is relatively explainable – Sosa has had a strained relationship with the organization and the fans for years now, and Sandberg left the organization in frustration after being passed over for a managerial job a couple years ago – but it does make the story of the Convention feel a little incomplete. One name you don’t hear as much about, but which is almost as clearly associated with the Chicago Cubs’ recent history, is Mark Grace. The long-time Cubs first baseman hasn’t really been back in the fold since he was allowed to leave the organization in his later playing days (when the Cubs opened up a spot for Hee-Seop Choi) for the Diamondbacks. Well, he probably won’t be back in the fold for a little while yet, now having been sentenced to four months in jail (with work release) for his second DUI in 15 months. I don’t have much sympathy for him, but I do hope he never does it again. As for his future with the Cubs, who knows. It’ll be a while, though.
  • Marc Normandin looks at the Cubs’ deal with Scott Hairston, and compares him to a similar outfielder who received a much healthier deal this offseason: Cody Ross. Hairston compares quite favorably, despite getting just two years and $5 million (plus $1 million in incentives), while Ross got three years and $26 million. While I can think of reasons you’d prefer Ross to Hairston, given their contracts, it’s pretty easy to say the Cubs got the better deal. By a mile.
  • Jason Martinez at Baseball Prospectus writes about the prospects who could have an impact at the big league level in the NL Central this year, and the four names that come up for the Cubs are Brett Jackson, Junior Lake, Tony Zych, and Arodys Vizcaino. Each is considered a second half possibility, depending on how the Cubs’ season is going – and depending on what trades they’ve made. I’ll share Martinez’s specific bit on Lake: “It wouldn’t be a surprise if Lake never puts it all together and never earns a regular starting job in the majors, but his set of tools is too intriguing to at least not find out. The 22 year-old, who has played primarily shortstop in the minors along with some time at second and third base, even played some left field in the Dominican Winter League. His ultimate role could be as a super-utilityman who offers some right-handed power and speed off the bench.” If Lake were able to pull off the super utility thing, the Cubs would absolutely make room for him long-term. He needs to get some consistency with the bat, to go along with his presumed serviceability at several positions.
  • CSN Chicago has a piece on the Cubs’ new affiliation with Kane County, and the excitement building there for the relationship (there’s a “Meet the Cubs” event there tonight, featuring Jason McLeod, Brandon Hyde, and others).
  • One of the rooftop businesses (not an advertiser here) appears to be having some financial trouble, according to a Tribune report. If that’s blood in the water, you can bet the Cubs will be the sharks doing the circling. However their plans with respect to the other rooftop owners work out, you can still bet that they’ll be heavy bidders on any distressed rooftop properties that come on the market.
  • The Cubs have signed undrafted free agent infielder Bobby Buckner – the son of Boise Hawks hitting coach Bill Buckner. He didn’t play much his senior year at Texas A&M Corpus Christi (put up good numbers when he did), so I don’t know if it was an injury thing or an effectiveness thing. There may be some value here, but when teams sign the kids of guys in the organization, it’s often a courtesy.
  • Carrie Muskat answers questions.
  • BN’er Nate passed along a story yesterday – he met Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin, who said (1) he would have loved to play at Wrigley, after Nate told him he wished Cameron had somehow landed with the Cubs; and (2) he considers Edwin Jackson a friend, and says Cubs fans will be thrilled to have him. Excellent.
  • bails17

    Last bullet….considers Edwin Jackson “and” friend. Mayber “a” friend?

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Curious, have any of your rooftop advertisers said anything in concerns to your Obsessive Wrigley Renovation coverage?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No, which I appreciate.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Good, cool.

      • AP

        From the facts you’ve given, it’s obvious to me that the rooftop in question is having trouble because of the poor business decision not to advertise here at BN. That’s the only thing it could be.

  • Seth

    So Junior Lake == Mark DeRosa? I’d be fine with that if that’s what he turns into.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      If he was like Mark DeRosa was in his “prime”, and he was like that for a long time, sure.

    • BluBlud

      No, we don’t want Junior Lake to turn into Mark Derosa, that would be a very upsetting.

      • Seth

        Why? There’s a reason why DeRosa has been in the majors for the past 15 years. What would be very upsetting is if Lake doesn’t make it to the Bigs because he never develops and polishes those tools he has.

        • Blublud’s now Campana

          I have a bigger view of Lake being a very good every day player, so him turning into a good utility player would be upsetti g to me.

          • TonyP

            I have a bigger view of Lake also but everything I have read about him makes that a very iffy proposition. I’m hoping for another Aramis…

            • Blublud’s now Campana

              Im thinking more adrian beltre, but either way, more then Derosa.

              • TonyP

                It is very doubtful he turns in any of them…

              • Kygavin

                please tell me Beltre is a joke….

                • BluBlud

                  Nobody says he’ll be adrian beltre, just that type. Good defense at third, some power, some On base potential. Do I think he’ll hit .320 with 30+ HR’s and 100+ RBI and win a GG, no. Do I think he has the potential, and that if he maximize his raw potential, that he possibly could one day, yes. Stop looking so deep into stuff man.

                  • Kygavin

                    Beltre (and Aramis for that matter) were both top 5 prospects in all of baseball Lake isnt even top 5 in the Cubs organization. Either of those players is a stretch no matter how you want to look at it

                    • TonyP

                      I stated that I was hoping for Aramis, no way do I think/expect him to become that good. A man can have his dreams though…

                    • BluBlud

                      Dude, can you freaking read. I didn’t say he would be Beltre, just a Beltre type. I could careless about prospect rank or anything else. My statement was not a fact, it was my opinion. It’s obviosly your opinion that he won’t. Why don’t you just state that instead. A guy can be a Beltre type and play good defense at third base, with 8 HR and 20 RBI as a utility player who was never ranked higher then 20th inhis organization. Doesn’t mean he’s as good as beltre or that he can put up the same numbers over a whole season, just that he is that type of player.

                      I could say Almora is the same type of player as Trout. A CF who could hit for power, hit for average, steals some bases, and play some good defense. Now, did I ever say he was as good as Trout, or better then Trout? No. I just said he was the same type of player as trout.

                      Now, maybe I’ll simplify it for you. I think Lake can play 3rd and be the same type of player as Adrian Beltre. I think he should be able to provide solid defense, grow into some decent power, maybe a lower Average but a higher walk rate, but he may add an element Beltre lacks, stolen bases. However, I doubt he’ll be as good as Adrian Beltre.

                      Now, is that better for you?

                    • Kygavin

                      You cant compare a guy who is likely to be a utility guy to one of the best 3B’s in the league. I get you arent saying he will put up the same numbers as Beltre but then you should find a better guy to compare to who has a similar skill set to what Lake brings. Maybe a better guy would be Alberto Callaspo (with more K/less walks and more SB)

                      Plus on top of that Lake has never hit more than 12 HR so he doesnt have close to the same power, he struggled at 3B (22 errors in 164 chances in his career) and he has also never taken more than 35 walks in a year so a higher walk rate is unlikely.

                    • BluBlud

                      Bletre has a walk rate for his career of 6.7% walk vs Lake with a 6% minor league walk rate. However, last year, his first under this FO’s instrution, he had a 7.9% walk rate and there is reason to believe he can improve on that.

                      Also, with the power deal, Mike Trout hit 30 HR in 1200 minor league at-bats and hit 30 in just 560 major league at-bats and Chase Headley hit 31 HR this season in 600 at-bats after only having 36 in the previous 1800 AB, so power can always develop. With lake still growing, once thats down and learns to play with his size, which I think is part of whats slowing his development, he will grow into his power.

                      With defense, there is a reason why Castro makes so many errors, but is still considered a good defender. It’s because he gets to so many balls, and because of his throws. I’m willing to bet the main portions of his errors are throwing because of his strong arm. This will calm down once he gets use to the position.

                      I stand by my previous statement, I think Lake can be a Beltre type player at third for us.

                      But I also believe if he maximizes his abilities and raw talent, that he could one day actually put up Beltre type numbers. Probability is low, but it is possible.

                  • Big Joe

                    If have to understand. Some people like to pick.

      • TonyP

        Lake being DeRosa is better than Lake being K Orie or G Scott

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        I think people think I’m a negative Nancy because there is so much overboard optimism on Cubs prospects.

        • Mat B.

          What makes you say that Nancy I mean Norm?
          :)

        • TonyP

          agreed Norm

        • Adventurecizin’ Justin

          What is overboard optimistic? For the first time in my 30+ years as a Cubs fan, there is FINALLY a management and ownership in place that puts emphasis on player development. Just think of the possibilities. Junior Lake/Brett Jackson/Josh Vitters all have great tools and potential. Isn’t it possible that this regime can maximize more of their potential?. What if they improve just some of their weaknesses/deficiencies?

          In summary, call me overboard optimistic. I will, however, measure Theo/Jed on their abilities, or lack thereof, in getting the most out of the talent they have. I’ve never seen this emphasis before as a Cubs fan, so I will be overly optimistic until shown otherwise!

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            They’ve also given me no reason but to be optimistic with the plan they’ve laid out and seem to be following to a Tee!!

        • Kygavin

          Cubs and overoptimism? No way Never!!
          With that being said I do think that some people are WAY overboard on some of the prospects the Cubs have, but the future is a lot more promising than it was a few years ago

    • Rich H

      If he can get his bat together I think that Lake is closer to Ben Zorborist than DeRosa. He has a CANNON of an arm. BA ranks it as a 80 skill the only none pitcher in all the minors to have one. so Right Field is definitely a possibility. I love all the conversation about the kid this winter. Hopefully he has heard some of it and takes it as constructive criticism and not get too down on what he can do when reading what his problems are.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Lake won’t. Again, I know I sound like a broken MP3, but somewhat above average pitch identification was always one of DeRosa’s stronger tools. He walked about 9% of the time in miLB and he walked about 9% of the time in MLB. That always boosted his run creation quite a bit.

      It probably also contributed to DeRosa being a very good general fielder. He was not brilliant anywhere, but he could play corner OF, 2nd and 3rd. You have to be really good at some basic fielding skills to handle all of those positions, and one of the key skills is (near) instantaneous recognition of where a ball is going.

      My suspicion is that Lake simply lacks this tool, which hurts both his hitting and his fielding. And, again: DeRosa showed this as a minor leaguer, when he was younger than Lake. DeRosa never “developed” it: in fact, DeRosa seems to have sort of lost it over the last couple of seasons. (That happens: the eyes are one of the first things to go).

      Incidentally, Zobrist takes this to yet another level. He walked 10% of the time as a minor leaguer and 13% of the time as an MLBer. Again, he’s not brilliant at any one position, but he reads the ball well enough off of the bat that he can play multiple positions competently.

      • Kygavin

        I dont think defense is the problem, he seems to be at least a capable defender where ever the Cubs have tried him, but like you said i think the lack of walks is what keeps him from being a sure-fire starter. In his 4 full MiLB seasons he has averaged 27 walks and 113 K’s. Its obvious that the power and speed tools are there but the approach at the plate is what will make or break him

        • DocPeterWimsey

          One of the things that I have read many times about Lake is that he sometimes appears “confused” while fielding. People then attribute this to lack of concentration. However, it is just as likely that the real problem is that he does not read the ball off of the bat well: and that his confusion isn’t lack of attention, but contradictory brain signals about where the ball is going.

          What makes my explanation the more likely one is that it also explains what we see in his batting. (When someone is throwing somethng as hard as a baseball at you at 80+ MPH, then you are paying attention!)

          • Kygavin

            I mean there really is no way to agree with or dispute what you said since really only he knows but it definitely is plausible. I hope its something fixable because even if he never becomes a starter he could be a useful bench guy (hopefully when the Cubs are good enough to have a need for something like that)

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Unfortunately, this is probably a basic tool: you play with what you have. Now, players do seem to improve on things like flyball judgement with experience. For example, after several years, Sori has gotten to the point where he is both getting pretty quick jumps and running fairly directly to where the ball can be caught. This tells us that, after several years, he’s gotten to the point where he quickly identifies where the ball is going. Similarly, Sori finally started laying off the outside slider this year: after a couple of years of that being a free swinging strike for the pitcher, he’s finally learned to recognize it 10′ from the pitchers’ hands.

              However, Sori never drew many walks, and he came up through a system (the Yanks) that stresses “selective aggression.” Of course, no system has learned how to “teach” this: the difference is that some systems (e.g., any with Hoyer or Epstein) rate this tool highly when scouting amateur talent whereas others (e.g., Hendry’s Cubs) do not.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            Sickel’s said it best, I think, and I believe Brett posted it:

            If you see Junior Lake on the right day, he looks like one of the best players in the world. He’ll blister a long home run, or he’ll make a spectacular defensive play, or he’ll show off a tremendously good throwing arm, or he’ll steal a critical base. If you see Junior Lake on the wrong day, he’ll look like one of the most confused, helpless players in the world. He’ll swing at a breaking ball two feet off the plate, or he’ll butcher a routine little league grounder, or he’ll throw the ball 20 feet over the first baseman’s head, or he’ll run himself into a critical out. Sometimes he does the good and bad things in the same game, or the same inning.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Which is perfectly consistent with Lake being a bit weak on identifying exactly where balls are going once they leave the pitcher’s hand or the batter’s bat. My guess is that it’s stuff hit off of the end of the bat or off of the handle (i.e., the “change ups” of batted balls) and the off-speed stuff (i.e., real change ups, curves, etc., that wind up in the dirt) that throw him.

              If everybody would hit the ball solidly and throw fastballs, then Lake would probably be fine!

            • Kygavin

              I couldnt agree more with both of you. Using Sori as an example shows that there is some hope but the likelihood of that happening is low in my opinion. Even if he doesnt figure it out he could have value as a util guy just with his power and speed. That being said I wouldnt be upset if they dealt him to someone who thought he could be more (no idea if anyone thinks this)

  • ETS

    dui laws in the country are odd. It seems too me like the penalties are not nearly severe enough but the legal limit is way too low. The paranoid side of me imagines that the government would like even lower limits and more fines involved and that if they are only concerned with using DUIs as a fund raiser. If the concern was really about keeping drunks off the road then why not equip every car with censors in the stearing wheel that detect intoxication levels before you can start your car. Such technology exists, but we will never see it implemented as it would eliminate DUI funds coming in to the government.
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/new-car-technology-can-stop-drunks-from-driving/6167

    • SirCub

      That technology sounds amazing, and I can imagine how great it would be to live in a world where drunk driving is completely a thing of the past. But I imagine that this not being implemented has very little to do with the government wanting to keep revenue up with DUI fines. I’m sure it’s much more to do with the uncertainties in the technologies, and the unwillingness of people to the change. It is an interestingtopic though.

    • BluBlud

      Just read up on wOBA in the Fansgraph Glossary tab. I figure I’ll read 2 or 3 of these a day. Since Mr. Tango is now an exclusive Cub, I figured I would start with one of his creations. Next is wRAA.

      • BluBlud

        wow, this was totally not suppose to be a reply message.

      • Hansman1982

        These are two excellent offensive stats. Just know that wOBA on fangraphs is NOT calculated with SB.

      • JoeyCollins

        Slow day at work so i’m gonna follow your lead and do the same. I’ve read a lot of this before but it doesn’t hurt to refresh as we head into spring.

  • SirCub

    Shame the way things turned out for Gracie. But like you said Brett, he brought it on himself and deserves no sympathy. Drunk driving is inexcusable.

    • yield51

      I agree. Let’s be honest for a second though. I’m sure most of us on here, that are of age, have been drunk before. It is pushed on our society since it is the only legal drug that we are allowed to consume (nicotine,caffeine,etc aside). There are bars on every block of every city/town across the country. We constantly see billboards, commercials, and other advertisements glamorizing booze, with the disclaimer drink responsibly. As we know it is difficult to drink responsibly since the drinks themselves impair judgement and reasoning. Then people find it funny or cute when somebody is drunk, “Dude you were wasted last night…you couldn’t hardly stand” When a person is impaired from a different drug it is a completely different story though. Hey I think you are partying too much lay of the xxxx, or “Tom” got into some pretty bad stuff, I think we should talk with him.

      Alcoholism is a very serious problem for many people right now. There is a double standard with booze compared to other illegal drugs. Kids get caught up thinking since it is legal, it is also legal to abuse it. Then that kid comes to a realization that he/she may have a dependency problem. We’ve all heard of, or experienced someone with such a problem, but usually we don’t acknowledge the problem, or offer help until it has also become a problem with the law.

      I’m not sympathizing with what Grace did. Every time an impaired person gets behind the wheel that person is endangering innocent people. I do believe that the laws in place right now governing alcohol are in need of some serious overhauling. Bars are a major source of revenue for many cities/towns. It is legal to go to the bar and become intoxicated, yet it is illegal once you step outside. Even if you don’t drive, you are breaking public intoxication laws if you walk home.

      I really hope Grace gets the help that he obviously needs. Jail time and revoking of his license does little to help the real problem that he has.

      • TWC

        “..since it is the only legal drug that we are allowed to consume.”

        You been to Washington or Colorado lately?

        “I’m not sympathizing with what Grace did [and] I really hope Grace gets the help that he obviously needs.”

        Cheers to that.

        • yield51

          Spot on TWC. I wish they would legalize it everywhere. I would bet that Colorado, Washington, California, don’t have the volume of drinking problems that other states do. When are people going to sharpen up and realize that alcohol is a dangerous drug, and others not so much?

          • TWC

            HMB, CA: My town’s police blotter reads like this: DUI, DUI, car broken into at the beach, dumb high school kid caught w/ pot on campus, DUI, public intoxication, minor burglary, DUI, public intoxication, DUI, DUI.

            Every. Week.

            • Miggy80

              Wait your telling me that weed isn’t legal yet in Iowa? What about Chocolate? Oh and they will throw your ass in jail for driving drunk in Iowa…. I heard

              • Stinky Pete

                Yes they will. Seems like there is someone new everyday I check the county jail site.

  • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

    Are we rooting for the Cubs to get control of the rooftop buildings or not?

  • FastBall

    If I was Ricketts I would go after all those properties. run them all out of business then take them over. When one bar restraunt in the area goes bad the rest are within a year to follow. The bar/restraunt business is one of the worst investments you can make. They almost always fail. Maybe Ricketts can help them struggle a little more.

    I would move forward with the construction upgrade project and move the Cubs to the southside or to Milwaukee for 2 or 3 months of the next few seasons just to break these rooftop owners down. Do those owners have the resources to withstand a serious drought? bet not. I don’t go looking for blood in the water when doing business. But if I find it I take advantage. It’s not personal it’s business. People can say that’s immorale. Well its not. If your in business you have be tough as nails or you will lose all the time. Nice guys finish last in business. Gestures of kindness are rarely returned. If I was Ricketts I would get out of bed with my tough guy attitude on everyday until he gets what he is looking for. Otherwise he may as well just give in and lose now and save himself the trouble.

  • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

    Just for clarification, technically, Maybin didn’t say he wished he had landed with the Cubs. I told him *I* wished he had landed with the Cubs. But he did say he really liked day games and would have loved to play in Wrigley on a regular basis.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ah, my bad – that’s not how I meant to type that.

  • http://www.flawedcast.net/WTNY Nate Corbitt

    Well, on the off chance that he somehow saw this (we all know how much Matt Garza loves you), I didn’t want him possibly getting in trouble with the Padres.

  • Patti M

    I’m heading to the Kane County event tonight. Will let you know if anything interesting is said!

  • dash

    Will they still be called the Kane County Cougars?

    • Patti M

      That’s the plan for now. KC has always has a pretty strong identity out here in the burbs, so I’d be kind of surprised if they ever change. But, anything is possible!

      • Katie

        Is the mascot a bunch of spray tanned, Botoxed, lip injected 40 something women trying desperately to cling to their younger years?

        Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I heart Cougars.

        • Hansman1982

          For anyone who hasn’t let Katie, she just described herself to a T.

          • Cubbie Blues

            You mean 40 something?

          • Katie

            Gimme a Zima and a Virginia Slim, honey.

        • butlerdawgs

          I really hope they keep it as the Cougars. Anyone else remember when they would play their game at Wrigley and Bob would always say “Yea, Wrigley’s going to be full of Cougars.” I feel like he lived for saying that every time.

  • Marc N.

    Cameron Maybin should be traded to the Cubs. Guy is massively underrated.

    • Kygavin

      Doesnt help PetCo kills the power he has, but I would love to have Maybin

      • http://flawedcast.net/wtny/ Nate Corbitt

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who wanted him.

        • Kygavin

          Plus D, above average speed, chance for slightly above average power, needs to cut down the k’s a bit and take some walks but I still love the potential

  • md8232

    Are the Cubs allowed to own their minor league teams? I’d like to see each Minor league team be the Cubs and have young players in Cubs unis as they learn the Cubs Way.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Yes, they are allowed to. For instance I know that the Yankees AAA team is owned by the MLB team and is called the Yankees. But, they can’t buy what’s not for sale.

    • TWC

      They certainly are allowed to. The SF Giants own a majority stake in the San Jose Giants (their A- team), and the uniforms are nearly identical.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Drunk driving … smh

  • Nate

    I saw that Carrie, when asked about the possibility of a Garza extension, said that “The only thing that’s certain is that Garza will be a free agent after this season.” Brett, Do you think she misspoke, or was she saying that Garza is no way open to an extension this year, with any team? I would understand that, seeing as he could test free agency and make a ton of cash.

  • fromthemitten

    “The Crime Dog” Fred McGriff and Matt Stairs were sandwiched in-between Hee Seop Choi and Gracie

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      But Choi’s presence in the organization was why the Cubs let Grace walk.

      • Cedlandrum

        Yep. Choi was the future. I’m still shocked that Choi wasn’t a better Major Leaguer. Had immense power and a great eye. Maybe a was a bit too patient.

        • Miggy80

          Choi made one of the best plays I’ve seen in Iowa when he dove into the first row of seats and kind of on top of the Visitors dugout to catch a foul ball

          • Cedlandrum

            Actually looking back at Choi’s major league numbers I can’t believe he wasn’t a big leaguer longer.

            • Miggy80

              I wonder if that concussion had anything to due with his performance on ML level. Knowing what we know now about concussions.

            • fromthemitten

              his patience was good but he couldn’t make adjustments to being jammed inside. still had good on base skills surprised he didn’t wind up with Oakland

              • DocPeterWimsey

                It wasn’t an issue of being able to adjust: after his surgery, Choi simply never recovered the quick wrist-snap that you need to turn on inside pitches. He became an “arm” hitter, which is great for going to the opposite field, but which leaves you very prone to inside fastballs.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  He also had the ill-timed head thing.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    I didn’t know there was such a thing as a good time for a head injury.

                    bazinga

                  • Cedlandrum

                    Even after both of those things his numbers weren’t wash out of the league type numbers.

                    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/choihe01.shtml

                  • DocPeterWimsey

                    And Karros’ “clutch” HR that won the 2nd game of the Cubs-Yankees series (which is the game that Choi collided with Wood, and much ballyhooed as Clemens vs. Wood with Clemens going for victory 300) permanently cemented Karros as “the established veteran” in Dusty’s mind.

                    If I recall, Choi flied out fairly deep against Mariano Rivera to end the prior game, which stood out in contrast. (Of course, homering off of Juan Acevedo is a good deal easier than doing much of anything against Rivera!)

                    • Edwin

                      Why the “” around clutch?

                    • ETS

                      That wood game is one my favorite wood memories. If I remember right Laz Diaz was the 3rd base ump and blew a call on a check swing and Ron Santo went nuts. When he calmed he said something to the effect that laz is a good guy but too laid back to get calls right sometimes.

                      I laughed.

                    • Edwin

                      I’ll clarify my question. I assume you did it to make a point about clutch not being a repeatable skill, which I’ll somewhat agree with. Even if it was a repeatable skill for some players, it’s such a small impact that it’s not worth bothering about.

                      However, that doesn’t mean a late inning HR or RBI isn’t clutch.

                    • Drew7

                      Because it isn’t a repeatable skill

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      The HR had a lot less to do with Karros than it did with Acevedo: Acevedo basically gave Karros a BP fastball, which Karros got up into the wind. (If I recall correctly, it probably would not have been an HR the day before when the wind was blowing in: but it’s been 9 years!)

                      Outside of Chicago, *that* was the game: Acevedo choked away Clemens’ 300th win.

      • brickhouse

        Choi was just get promoted from high A ball when Grace left. The Cubs traded for McGriff and he took over. You never let a player walk based on a prospect not being major league ready

        • Cubbie Blues

          I blame Hendry I mean MacPhail.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m not commenting on the wisdom of the move. I’m just informing folks of the history.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Also, Choi was expected to reach MLB a year or two before he did: originally, people thought that he’d get part of a year in AAA in 2001 and then a call up to the Cubs. However, Choi lost most of a year due to a cyst in his wrist that ultimately required surgery and which really hurt his numbers. They kept him in AAA the next year, ostensibly because they felt it might take more than an off-season for the wrist to fully heal. Unfortunately, they were very correct: Choi’s bat speed was never quite the same after that, and he really lost his ability to turn on balls.

  • CEO

    Junior Lake = power relief pitcher

    • TonyP

      If he can’t get his act together maybe so.

    • Edwin

      Doubtful. Marmol was a converted catcher/outfielder, and it took him 3-4 years to make a big league impact. He was also 20 when he was converted. Lake will be 23 this season, and has never pitched before to my knowledge. If he was converted to a pitcher, it’d probably be 2 years at the earliest before he’d even be MLB ready, and that’s if he even makes the conversion.

      • Hansman1982

        It’s better to get a 28 year old reliever than a failed infielder.

        • Edwin

          It is. But it’s a lot of time, plus a 40 man roster spot to invest in a project with a ceiling of relief pitcher. If it comes to trying to convert Lake to a pitcher, I think it’d make more financial sense to just cut him and move on.

  • Spencer

    Yo Brett, I listened to 2 of your podcasts. Its been a long time since i’ve tuned in because I dont care about your or sharma’s personal lives, at all. That being said, I would appreciate it if you guys cut the podcasts length and just stick to baseball. We all have families and whatnot to worry about, which is time consuming, so why would we want to hear you guys ramble and rant on for a half hour about yours? No disrespect meant.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the feedback. The personal stuff tends to be off the cuff, and a very small fraction of the podcast (for example, the last one featured fewer than five minutes of personal banter, and an hour and 25 minutes of pure baseball. To say that we ramble for over an hour about personal stuff is an exaggeration in the extreme).

      Some folks like the personal touch, and we’re just trying to be natural, and be ourselves. It isn’t by design that we talk about that stuff – it just happens in the course of being real live people.

      [Also: if you’re going to change your posting name so frequently, you could at least not use the name of a fellow poster.]

      • Cubbie Blues

        Thanks for letting us know it wasn’t the normal Spencer. I was a bit puzzled.

      • TonyP

        I would prefer you extend the podcast as long as you want. I enjoy the podcast in its entirety.

      • cjdubbya

        I think you guys need to do a podcast solely devoted to Chicago winters and the dangers of thigh chafing as a result of said winters.

        MOAR THIGH CHAFING

        Seriously though, the “how ya doin” banter at the beginning, which lasts just a few minutes, along with the self-deprecating humor, makes it more listenable and personal to me – a couple of knowledgeable dudes talking about the Cubs. Obviously everyone’s going to have differing opinions, and you’re more than welcome to your opinion. Mine just happens to differ. To each his (or her) own.

      • TWC

        “[Also: if you’re going to change your posting name so frequently, you could at least not use the name of a fellow poster.]”

        This is funny.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I would have to disagree with you Spencer. I quite enjoy the banter. If the length is what is bothering you, break it up into smaller bites. You don’t have to listen to it all in one sitting.

    • Troy

      I happen to enjoy the podcast. The 2 or 3 minutes of personal stuff is actually refreshing. We get to know The 2 of them better. Actually feels like it would if me and a buddy were hanging out before a game.

  • Rcleven

    Matt garza ‏@Gdeuceswild

    Just finished my first bullpen of spring! Glad to be back on the bump! #gottawalktorun#gameready

    awe the progression of winter.
    Come on baseball start all ready.

  • North Side Irish

    Carrie Muskat ‏@CarrieMuskat
    Javier Baez. Michael Brenly, Casey Coleman, Nick Struck among invites to #Cubs Spring Training

    Can’t wait to see how Baez responds playing with the big boys.

  • Timmy

    I am genuinely depressed about this Mark Grace thing. Does anyone else remember the Will Clark/Mark Grace playoff explosion? One of the best memories of my early childhood, even though the Cubs lost the series. He was just electric, and if I remember correctly, Grace had the most # of hits over a 10-year period of his generation upon retirement.

    • Mr. Mac

      He and Clark were both ridiculous in that series. And, yes, Grace had the most hits in the 90’s.

  • Die hard

    Grace always unfairly compared to the one they let go-Palmeiro in terms of power until truth came out about steroids- takes toll on a guy and am sure took its toll on him

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