Friday, July 31, 2009

Peavy A Good Trade For Sox, No Matter When He Pitches

I am still in shock that this deal went down. I thought no meant no, apparently I was wrong. Something changed his mind (perfect game, injury, the Padres sucking), and I am so thrilled his mind changed. Now to address all of the concerns over his injury.

First of all, he is injured. He will not be pitching real soon. Sometime in August maybe. Sometime in September, probably. But he was a 50/50 about being shut down this year by the Padres. So we actually have no clue when he will be ready to go in a Sox uniform. What I do know is that I don't care if he pitches this year or not. It doesn't even matter. The Sox traded 4 minor leaguers (Richard was here, but still a minor leaguer) to get one of the best pitchers in baseball. They did not hinder their chances to win this year in anyway. Even if Peavy doesn't pitch.

If he does pitch the Sox are the best team in the American League. Buehrle, Peavy, Danks, Floyd, are you kidding me. Couple that with the lineup the Sox put behind those guys. This team is deadly. I personally expect to see him back in action in late August to early September. At the point the Sox have a great chance to not only make a run at the division, but if they get it, they are going to be incredibly tough to beat in the playoffs.

So now we look towards the next few weeks. The major league team lost 1 player. Of course the guy who was going to start tonight (Carrasco is now), but he was battling for that 5th starter spot, which we have at least 3 guys who can take that spot til Peavy is ready. This is awesome, I'll have a lot more tomorrow.

Tonight is for gambling in STL. Thank you for the birthday gift Kenny. I really appreciate it.

White Sox Acquire Peavy Again, This Time For Real

It appears that Jake Peavy is officially a part of the White Sox organization. Poreda, Richard, Adam Russell, and Dexter Carter were the pieces involved. This is an awesome move for the Sox if it is indeed true, which I'm 99% sure it is.

The Sox did not give up 1 critical piece from the current major league team, and they have gotten a former Cy Young. We are not sure about the health of Peavy, but he had to have passed a physical to get the trade approved, so he must be either OK or really close. Even if he is out for an extended period of time, he is signed through 2013. This is a great move healthy or not. But I thought you had to be healthy to be moved at the deadline. We will have to see.

This instantly makes the Sox the favorites to win the Central. Even with the Washburn and Cabrera deals, the Sox got a better player today than both of them. I'm not sure what changed Peavy's mind, but all signs point to this deal officially being done. WOW.

Sox Now Officially Stand Pat At Deadline

For the first time in recent history Kenny Williams does not make a move when his team is in the thick of the pennant race. The Sox have decided to stand pat with the current roster while division rivals Detroit and Minnesota made moves to improve.

Yesterday I was fine with the Sox not planning on making any moves, but now that the Twins and Tigers upgraded it feels like the lost today. I know we already got Kotsay, Pena, and Castro, but I still think we may be a little short. We could use another arm in the bullpen, we could use another starter, and we probably could have used another bat. None of these things happened.

Now we just have to hope that this message is received loud and clear to the current guys. Kenny and the rest of the front office have said that they are happy with the team they have and they trust they can win the division with these guys. The fans are not really sending the same message. It is up to the ballclub themselves to prove one side or the other right. Everyone is hoping we make the postseason, but I'm with the rest of the fan base, I just don't think we have it. I really hope they prove me wrong. Let's start doing it right now fellas.

EDIT - Wait a minute here. It looks like the Sox have indeed acquired Peavy. This is crazy. I'll keep you posted.

Still Nothing Swirling For Sox

With under an hour left til the deadline the Sox are notably absent from all of the commotion of the trade deadline.

I would like to see the Sox in on Heath Bell. Maybe take a shot at Garland and/or Harang. Alex Rios could still help the Sox. And how about someone like a Marco Scutaro to sure up the defense? I just wish something was brewing, but it just doesn't look like it's going to happen.

Twins Get Cabrera, Tigers Washburn, Sox...Nothing Yet

We are less than 3 hours from the deadline, and the Sox are seemingly losing ground in the division as every second passes. With both the Tigers and Twins making moves to vastly improve their big league teams, the Sox standing pat is just as bad as making a mistake.

The problem is that I can't even find anything in the works. There is nothing happening on Halladay or Haren, Sherrill is gone, Fields is still here, and no one else is even being linked to the Sox.

I had no problem with any of the deals Kenny made earlier this month, but as the Tigers and Twinks get better, the Sox are not doing anything. I don't want to freak out too much because there is still time, but if everything stands pat as of right now, we are in a heap of trouble.

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Cubs win and so do the Sox. Cubs take back first place, and its a great morning to wake up in Chicago!

Cubs take 3 of 4. Tribune. MLB. AP. Herald

Cubs make a trade. Tribune. MLB. AP. Herald. ST. Grabow audio. Still looking around

Hopefully the winning ways continue on the road. Florida preview. Fuld up

No comment about this

Sox win. Tribune. MLB. AP. Herald

Don't expect anymore trades from the Sox. No DL for Ramirez

Ozzie wants the whole list released

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sweet Home Chicago, Sox Walk Off Vs. Yanks

Welcome back to the South Side, Sox. After a week of awful baseball played in Detroit and somewhere else (I refuse to talk about that wretched place until our final series there), the Sox return home and play a great game. I know they blew the lead, twice, but this was a well pitched game and we got some clutch hits when we needed them most.

I'll start with talking about the bullpen situation. First of all, I think Jenks would have entered this game, had he been in the ballpark. He was not (kidney stones, according to Mark Gonzales). I don't know where he is, but I will post something about that when I know. On to Matthew. Thornton should not be looked down upon in this game. He came in in the eighth, struck out Texieria, came back in the ninth, struck out ARod and Matsui, gave up a fluke long ball, and then struck out Cano. If ever a "closer" deserves a win after blowing a save this was it. good for Matt.

I don't have much to say about Gavin other than that he was awesome. Great great stuff out of him tonight. Too bad he didn't get the win for this, but good start and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Finally we deserved this win. As I posted on the Twitter page, a day after Casilla who is hitting .171 got 2 go ahead RBI in a game, the Sox walk off at the hands of Dewayne Wise who is hitting .191. I still don't think anything short of sweeping them up in the place that I will not talk about is proper payback for what we have gone through, it was nice to see something that unlikely go our way tonight.

As Justin said earlier, TCB will be going on vacation this weekend. We are heading down to STL to celebrate my 21st birthday. I will be around at least until the deadline and I will be posting during that, but don't expect much on the blog past that because I doubt we even see the games at all this weekend. We will be updating the Twitter when something needs to be said, so keep an eye on that. Wish us luck at the tables.

Random Number of Random Thoughts

1. Mark Buehrle again
This time Buehrle fell short on his perfect game bid, but he managed to set the record for most consecutive batters retired in the process. He broke teammate Bobby Jenks record of 41, and finished at 45. Quite the accomplishment, and it was a shame that he took the loss in that game. As good as the Rays lineup is, I think going perfect against the Twins would have been much harder (duh its never EASY to throw a perfect game) because getting Joe Mauer out three times in one game isn't very easy. Not to mention Carlos Gomez would surely be bunting in the late innings for a base hit.
The question that comes for me out of this is which streak is better? Buehrle's 45 is certainly impressive, but I think Jenks getting 41 is more impressive (again put it in perspective). Jenks was pitching in the ninth inning where the pressure is turned up and he faces a number of different guys and the always dangerous pinch hitter. 

2. The Cubs outfield
The most maligned group of players in baseball reside in the Cubs outfield. Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome, and Milton Bradley make a combined $48 million this season and believe me we all know it. This month though you can't really ask them to do much more than they already are. 
Alfonso Soriano .333/.386/.568/.954 5 HR 16 RBI
Kosuke Fukudome .296/.376/.506/..883 2 HR 8 RBI
Milton Bradley .274/.459/.387/.846 2 HR 8 RBI
Certainly you want more power from Milton if he is going to be the five hitter, but overall there can't be much complaining about how they've played this month. Soriano is back to playing like a MVP candidate, Fukudome has settled into the leadoff role ten times better than I thought he would, and Milton's OBP is sick. 

3. The ideal Cubs lineup
It seems like Lou has settled into the Dome, Riot,Lee,Rami,Milt,Sori,2B,Hill,P lineup for now, and since it has been working there really isn't a reason to change it around. Still allow me to nitpick for just a moment. As I posted above Milton Bradley has a .459 OBP this month, watch the guy bat and he clearly knows the strike zone and clearly knows the value of a walk (to a fault sometimes). Ideally he would hit second after Fukudome that way his walks can be driven in by the big boys. That also moves Theriot down to seventh or eighth, making the entire lineup stronger. 
Of course this plan counts on Geovany Soto and his return. If Soto is back in shape and ready to play baseball he can bat fifth and drive in runs. Put the second baseman after Soriano and watch all those runs that score. 

4. Bullpen coming together
ESPN said the Cubs bullpen was their main strength in the division race last night, and while that isn't really true at all, they do have a good bullpen working right now. Kevin Gregg has been really solid since May. He still has issues in non-save situations, but as the race heats up he will be used in those situations less and less. Carlos Marmol has solved his control issues enough where they aren't getting him in trouble anymore. Angel Guzman has become a fine seventh inning guy, and Sean Marshall has stranded 90% of the runners he's inherited. Those four made a solid core, and the addition of John Grabow should set in place a great group.
With Grabow able to take lefties, Marshall will be free to pitch more than one batter at a time. This gives the team two seventh inning guys, who can also move to the eighth when Marmol or Gregg need the night off. The month of September will iron out the final two slots for the hypothetical playoff roster, though you can't expect they would pitch much in October.

5. The Cliff Lee trade
The Phillies knew if they wanted to repeat as champions they needed to get a front line starting pitcher to go with Cole Hamels. The Cubs have Z, Harden,Lilly, Dumpster etc. St. Louis has Carpenter and Wainwright. The Giants have Lincecum and Cain. 
They really wanted to get Roy Halladay, but when the asking price became too high, they went after AL CY Young winner Cliff Lee. Lee came a bit cheaper and brings the same ability to the table. He isn't quite as good as Halladay, but there isn't a huge gap. The Phillies are the heavy favorites to repeat as far as I'm concerned. Barring a major injury they have the lineup to get the runs and the pitchers to repeat.

6. Is Bobby Jenks still the closer?
The joy of writing this as I watch a game can be seen right here. Matt Thornton is in to pitch the ninth of a one run game. Jenks is/was? the closer. This will be an interesting development to follow. 
As I type this he blows the save. Stay tuned.

7. TCB vacation
I can't promise a ton of content Friday and Saturday because all three of us are going to be gambling/on vacation. To celebrate everyone's favorite White Sox writer turning 21 we will be turning St. Louis upside down. Sunday night we will be back up and running at 100%. Obviously if anything major happens we have you covered, and as always keep our twitter on top of your mind because the trade deadline is at 3pm tomorrow. 

Cubs Make a Deal With The Pirates

Today the Cubs made their trading deadline splash by sending Kevin Hart, Jose Ascaino, and minor league third baseman Josh Harrison to the Pirates in exchange for LHPs John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.

Essentially we sent two of our mediocre right handed pitchers to the Pirates for two lefties. Hart actually pitched and got the win today for the Cubs, but he is nothing more than a "live arm" who really isn't that much of a loss in the big picture. Ascaino is a talented guy who probably has a decent future has a relief pitcher, but the Cubs have a number of those guys (Guzman, Marmol, Stevens) who are more talented. Losing Harrison really isn't that big a deal either, if he develops for them and becomes a solid player that's fine, but he wasn't helping the Cubs win this year.

Grabow comes in an is the LOOGY right away. He has solid numbers this season against righties and lefties, a his BABIP against left handed hitting is so high that he is due for some major good luck the rest of the season. He's also a type-A free agent at the end of the season meaning that if the Cubs offer him arbitration they can get two first round picks when another team signs him.

I have a feeling the trade will be judged in the future by how Tom Gorzelanny pitches for the Cubs. He has a solid 2007 season with a 14-10 record and a 3.88 ERA, but fell off last year. If he figures out how to pitch again (probably a 50-50 chance) then the Cubs will be big winners here. If not then Grabow better strikeout Carlos Pena in the World Series (obviously a joke) otherwise the Pirates won't really regret this deal.

Overall solid trade. Cubs dump nobody of significance and gain a LOOGY and a guy who may or may not be able to recapture his 2007 ability.

Keep tuned into our twitter and the site in case any other news breaks.

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Cubs dominate Houston behind Randy Wells' awesome start. Sox continue to struggle in the TerrorDome and fall to third place after getting swept.

Randy Wells. Tribune. MLB. AP. Herald.

Reed Mantle breaks his foot. This is driving me nuts. The get one back lose two more pattern continues.

Micah Hoffpauir is slumping. Mitch Atkins debuts. Gregg (aka new blankie) getting some time off.

Jake Fox plays a number of positions. Players like the team. Soriano wasn't taunting (duh). Odd hit by Fukudome.

ESPNChicago Friedell Blog. Levine trade updates. Middle of the order is hitting.

Sox get swept. Tribune. MLB. AP.

Buehrle says record is setting in. Ozzie is mad at Colon. It's Buehrle Day!

Alexei is hurt. Fields wants to get traded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sox Injury Update

Quentin is still hobbled, but should be alright. Ramirez's injury does not appear to be too serious. He will have X-Rays on Thursday and Ozzie has already said he will not play in tomorrow night's game.

Ozzie made a comment about Carlos saying that he looks like a "drunk old man" and that he is still experiencing a lot of pain. Mark Kotsay is going to make life a lot easier with these injuries. He is likely to get another start somewhere tomorrow with Alexei out, and I bet Quentin gets a day off soon if not tomorrow as well.

We are now, just under 40 hours from the deadline. I really hope big Kenny has something in the works because after today the Sox are hobbled experiencing problems at SS, LF, and 5th starter. Kotsay can offset some of it, but not everything. Go get me Dan Haren.

What A Terrible Night... And Week For That Matter

Yet again some crazy stuff goes down and the Sox lose their 14th of 16 in the Unhappiest Place on Earth.

The 9 hitter, who came into the game hitting .171 strokes an RBI double to give them the lead in the 2nd and then a bloop single to give them another lead in the 6th. Carlos Quentin hits his first homerun since coming off the DL only to get hurt doing so. Jessie Crane who's ERA is well over 7 comes in and throws 2 inning ending double plays including one that may put Alexei Ramirez out for an extended period of time. And last buy certainly not least, a man who has been a member of the White Sox for just over 24 hours lines out to end the game on a ball that could not have been hit any harder, welcome to the TwinkieDome as a White Sox Mark Kotsay.

It's just gotten to a point that it's not even fathomable anymore. Much like Mark Buehrle going 45 straight hitters without giving up a hit, you just can't believe it is happening. A team that consistently has more talent on the field, and usually a better record when they enter the stadium gets torched night in a night out in games that are almost always decided by one, two, or three runs. 2 wins in the last 16 games there. TWO. It's unbelievable. But it's true. And it's not going to get any better.

I wrote before this series that the Sox had the best chance they have had in a while to go up there and win. The matchups were good, the injury situation was good, the makeup of the teams was good, and the Sox lose 3 games in a row. Absolutely ridiculous.

The Sox walked into the TwinkieDome in 2nd place. Trailing the Tigers by 2 games leading the Twins by 2 games. They leave with only one thing on their mind. Only 3 more games EVER in this god forsaken, devil's creation the Twins call home.

Now Fields Is Demanding A Trade

Ok people, this must stop. Just because you get demoted does not mean you allowed to whine and moan to be traded.

After Fields was demoted today he told Joe Cowley of the Sun Times that he has asked to be traded. I don't understand where guys who have never played a whole season at the big league level can ask to be traded. Most veterans aren't even allowed to ask to be traded, let alone young guys who can't seem to hit over .200 to save their lives.

I really hope Kenny puts the hammer down on all this madness. He needs to get in some guys faces and tell them to stop asking to be traded and go become a better ball player. If you get beat out by Dewane Wise or 22 year old Gordon Beckham, it doesn't mean you are entitled to be moved. What it should mean is that you aren't good enough yet and you need to work on your game.

The sad part is that Kenny almost can't trade him now because it would set a terrible precedent. I would have loved to have seen Fields go, but now we are probably stuck with him. Sometimes players baffle me with what they think their rights are.

Late Pitching Change and Funky Lineup for Sox

The new pitching matchup for tonight's game in Minnesota is Jose Contreras against Brian Duensing. Both Colon and Liriano were late scratches from this game. If anything this would skew the odds in the Sox favor, but I still think they are always a long shot to win in the Dome.

As for the lineup, it reads as follows. Podsednik, Beckham, Dye, Konerko, Ramirez, Kotsay, Quentin, Nix, Castro.

Beckham in the 2 hole I think is a really good move. That's the spot that he's made for. He has good power, but he's also a great opposite field hitter and a solid bunter. He is also really good at hit and runs. That moves Alexei down to 5th, which I think is a little too high for him based on his career power numbers but the way the lineup fills in behind him it seems to fit. Kotsay gets his first start at a member of the Sox. He's a solid hitter and a really versitile guy, so I think he will make a positive impact here. Nix and Castro in for spot starts as this is a travel day.

Just like seemingly every time we play up in Minnesota, pre-game there is no reason why the Sox shouldn't win this game. But if I was a gambling man, I'd continue putting my money on the Twinks until the Sox prove otherwise.

Randy Wells Dominates Houston

One day after Ryan Dempster made me smash my head against a wall, Randy Wells pitched like a pro. Throwing strikes, getting grounders, and shutting down a pretty good lineup. Pretty much to opposite of what we saw last night. Wells eight innings of shutout baseball also saved the tired Cubs bullpen from having to work too much. The day had a great ending with Mitch Atkins making his MLB debut and finishing off the shutout.

Pitching wasn't the biggest story of the day though. That honor would go to a suddenly white hot offense. It didn't take long to get started either, the bottom of the first saw a Derrek Lee sac fly, Aramis Ramirez RBI single, Alfonso Soriano 3-run homer, and a Koyie Hill RBI single to finish it off. 

The party could have ended there, but it didn't. Aramis hit a solo homer, so did Andres Blanco. Derrek Lee added a RBI double, Milton Bradley a RBI single, and Jake Fox got 2 RBI (one on a sac fly, one on a single). That all added up to a 12-0 win for the Cubs and a happy night for all of us.

Now back to Randy Wells. I have been a major critic of Wells because he spent his last months worth of starts at the zoo. The numbers didn't end up so bad, but he was concentrating too hard on star players and ignoring others (Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Harang). Wells didn't do that today, and he lowered his ERA to 2.84 after his best start of the season. This also put Wells back in the rookie of the year race. Wells, JA Happ of Philly, and Colby Rasmus of St. Louis will battle the rest of the season for the honor of top rookie.

Always nice to have a game like this. The series is on the line tomorrow, with Kevin Hart going against Russ Ortiz. The Astros bullpen will still be in trouble, so the Cubs will hopefully get to them early and often. 

Tonight the Dodgers take Clayton Kershaw to the mound against Joel Pinero and the Cardinals. A Cardinals loss puts the Cubs back in first place, which would be nice but isn't really important since it is July.  Go Dodgers tonight. 

Cubs Single Season All-Decade Team: Pitchers

The Cubs haven't always had the best hitting teams, but they have always been pretty good at pitching, 2006 being the obvious exception overall. Still the Cubs have had a dominant strikeout staff every season, and have led the league in strikeouts for the last eight years. Without further delay, here are the best 5 starting seasons, and a 7 man bullpen.

1. Mark Prior 2003 18-6 2.43 ERA 3 CG 1 SHO 57 ER 245 K 1.103 WHIP 178 ERA+

What Prior did that season still ranks as one of the greatest pitcher seasons I have ever seen. Too bad for Prior he picked Eric Gagne's top steroid season to do it. Jason Schmidt was awesome that year too. Still Prior finished third in the Cy Young voting and made so many of us think he would do that every year until he was 40. As is the theme with many players of this decade- Prior never really was healthy again and never repeated his 2003 magic. Still we can look back at that season at remember how dominating he was.

2. Carlos Zambrano 2004 16-8 2.75 ERA 1 CG 1 SHO 64 ER 188 K 1.216 WHIP 160 ERA+

This won't be Z's only appearance on this list, but it is his best overall season as a Cub. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting, and I knew then the Cubs had themselves a damn good pitcher. Had you said then that of Kerry Wood, Prior, and Z that Z would ultimately have the best career I would have thought you were crazy, but as we all know Z has turned himself into one of the stars of the game while Prior is still hurt and Kerry is closing games in Cleveland. Z is also a great example of what happens when a team develops its own starting pitcher, something the Cubs haven't done since.

3. Ryan Dempster 2008 17-6 2.96 ERA 1 CG 68 ER 187 K 1.210 WHIP 151 ERA+

Nobody defined the 2008 Cubs better than Dempster. He wasn't even going to make the team out of spring training, only to become one of the best pitchers in baseball during the season. He was able to combine great preseason conditioning with a nifty glove wave and baffled hitters all season. Then came his playoff meltdown (something I will never ever forgive him for) and it all went away. Still Dempster was great in the regular season and good for him getting a long term deal that rewarded him for such a great comeback from arm problems.

4. Rich Harden 2008 5-1 1.77 ERA 14 ER 89 K .0972 WHIP 252 ERA+

This begins the hard decisions. Basically Big Z could finish out this list with his 2003 and 2006 seasons. Trust me I will debate these final two selections for some time, and I encourage all of you to do so in the comment section. On to Rich- Harden was the big trade in July 2008 for Jim Hendry. He came with much fanfare and was hailed by many as the missing ace for the Cubs who would put the rotation over the top. Of course that didn't happen, but Harden was still great in the regular season. Sure he can't throw more than six innings, but those were always fun innings to watch. Lots of strikeouts and awesome change-ups. Harden brought Prior 2003 like fun to the mound for a few months.

5. Jon Lieber 2001 20-6 3.80 ERA 5 CG 1 SHO 98 ER 1.149 WHIP 109 ERA+

I had to resist putting Z on the list again, but Greg pointed out that the only 20 win season of the decade deserves mention. I agree, plus Big Z has plenty of love coming in this series. Lieber was the only 20 win pitcher of the month, and was quite the horse with five complete games. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting and him being on the mound was one of the fun things that year. Him and Kerry Wood formed quite the duo that year, and Lieber certainly carved himself a place in Cub trivia for a very long time.

Honorable Mention: Z 2003 (13-11 3.11) 2005 (14-6 3.26) 2006 (16-7 3.41) 2007 (18-13 3.95)

Keep in mind I am more than willing to fill this list with seven closer seasons, but there have been some good setup men. There will be a few random names on here, but that is the beauty of a bullpen. Random guys have random good seasons. This will illustrate that point.

Todd Van Poppel 2001 4-1 2.52 ERA 75 IP 90K 1.347 WHIP 164 ERA+

It doesn't get more random than this, and I honestly can't tell you one thing about Van Poppel or his vaunted 2000 season. Still ERA+ is very indicative of good pitching, and I weighed it very highly in my rankings so Van Poppel gets a mention. Van Poppel did have a long career starting in 1991 and ending in 2004. Six teams, and his only two real good years came with the Cubs. He also got two hits at the plate in 2001 completing his dream season.

Joe Borowski 2003 2-2 2.63 ERA 68.1 IP 33 SV 1.054 WHIP 164 ERA+

I can speak about Borowski's 2003 season with a bit more knowledge. He was the closer for a team that made a great playoff run, and he did his job well. 33 saves is nothing special, but he was able to do that job and actually did it without causing too many heart attacks at Wrigley. Borowski struggled with injuries for a while after 2003, but nobody can diminish his role on the key team of the decade.

Kent Mercker 2004 3-1 2.55 ERA 53 IP 1.245 WHIP 173 ERA+

While Mercker was certainly a whining piece of crap in 2004, he was also a very good pitcher. He filled his role and did his job for the most part. Certainly for most of the season he wasn't the issue. Of course he played a major role in the Steve Stone/Dusty/Hendry/Cubs war so that goes against him.

Ryan Dempster 2005 5-3 3.13 ERA 93 IP 33 SV 1.435 WHIP 89 K 141 ERA+

In May 2005 the Cubs needed a closer, Dempster moved into that role after being a starter. Turns out Dempster was the right man for the job. He got 33 saves, and was one of the few bright spots on the 2005 Cubs team. A typical 2005 game would involve Derrek Lee bailing out the offense with a big homer and then Dempster ending the game by giving us all a heart attack. Still at least he got the job done.

Bob Howry 2006 4-5 3.17 ERA 76.2 IP 5 SV 1.135 WHIP 71K 146 ERA+

Lost in his awful 2008 season is the fact that Howry was actually really good his first two years with the Cubs. He shined out of the bullpen in 2006 despite being on the worst team in recent memory. Howry was signed in the offseason and immediately became the best relief pitcher on the Cubs.

Carlos Marmol 2007 5-1 1.43 ERA 69.1 IP 1 SV 96K 1.096 WHIP 326 ERA+

Everything I said about Prior and Harden times 1,000 for Marmol's 2007 season. He came up in 2007 and went from innings eater to go to seventh inning guy quickly. I've never seen such a good slider in my life, with the possible exception of K-Rod. Marmol shut down the opposition giving up 41 hits and just 11 runs in his 69 innings. Simply put, the best stuff I've seen from a pitcher the entire decade. So much fun to watch.

Kerry Wood 2008 5-4 3.26 ERA 66.1 IP 34 SV 84K 1.085 WHIP 137 ERA+

Kerry had to get some part on this team, after all he kind of the definition of a Cub. Kerry had a very good 2008 season and was possibly the best closer the Cubs had all decade. He had a number of memorable saves including a huge curveball strike 3 against Prince Fielder late in the season. It was probably Kerry's swan song as a Cub, and it was a fun ride.

Ryan Dempster and Some Site Notes

Last night we were all witnesses to Ryan Dempster's return from the DL. It went about as bad as it could, and drove me up the wall. I can give a guy a break for not having good stuff, but it wasn't just that. Dempster is always going to have control issues, that's just how he is. Its the stupid choices on the mound- the throwing into centerfield, the giving up hits to relief pitchers, things like that. Dempster is owed $44 million the next three seasons. I can only hope that Hendry learns his lesson about giving big contracts to pitchers after an outlier season.

Onto the site. You'll notice that there is no need for the .blogspot in the URL now. works just fine now. You can also email each of us now anytime you want. Mine is From now on each article we write will include our email at the end, feel free to feedback that way.

I've been working on learning everything I can about how major league baseball free agency works, and how options with minor league players work. Those complicated things that everybody knows about but not everybody understands. After a few nights of research, I can say I have a pretty solid grasp about the whole thing. I say this because I've also created a table that tracks the Cubs payroll and roster. I'll put that link up tonight so that everybody can download the table if they want.

Remember to keep it here the closer we get to the trade deadline. Nobody had the Brian Anderson trade/reaction faster than we did yesterday. As soon as anything happens we will not only tweet it, but also react to it on the site.

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Not a good night in Chicago, especially not after about 9:15 PM. Cubs fall to the Astros thanks to a Dumpster on the mound. Mark Buehrle sets the record for most consecutive batters gotten out in a row (45) but then implodes and the Sox fall as well in their house of horrors. 

Ryan Dumpster shouldn't have been starting. Tribune. MLB. AP.

Ted says he's coming back quickly. I say make sure you're healthy unlike the Dumpster that joins you in the rotation.

Hendry says leave Milton alone

Cardinals, Brewers, and Sox fans scream YOU TELL EM LATROY! I say just up and pitch. 

Twins take down Sox. Tribune. MLB. AP.

Thome to sit for a couple of games. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Think I'm An Idiot, The Sox Just Confirmed Why Again

Game after game after game, I feel like this is the one. The game we finally come through. The game we finally play cleanly and beat the Twins in their own home.

Every game I sit down and watch the game with the attitude of, we probably aren't going to win this game, but I don't see why we can't. I start to make up excuses in my mind of why this game will be different.

Buehrle's pitching, Baker stinks, the Twins lineup is weak, they are coming off a road trip, we have more speed than them, there's no reason why we can't, this thing has to end at some point.

And then as the game goes on, I usually get sucked in a little more. Most of the time (with the exception of Buehrle's last time out in Minnesota) the Sox are in the game, and many times leading going deep in the ballgame. I continue to make up more things in my head about why this is the one we will get.

Only 9 more outs, Linebrink, Dotel, then Jenks we've done it a million times, Buehrle can go 3 more innings, we will get to their bullpen, Mauer and Morneau aren't up again for a while.

All during this time out loud, on Twitter, on this blog, I make comments about how they will lose the game. but that's only because when I'm right I can say I told you so, and when I'm wrong, who cares, we won. But of course I'm never wrong when it comes to predicting us to lose to the Twins.

So I realized tonight that I must be an idiot. I must be stupid to sit here every single time and truly believe things will change. Truly believe this one is different. Truly believe that all of that is in the past. I have to be dumb, because if I'm not, why do I fall into the same trap every night. I'm like the challenged dog who doesn't realize the semantics behind an invisible fence. I know I have this collar on, I know I get shocked when I go over there, but hell there's a bone over there I want, no problem, I won't get shocked this time.

But just like that dog, I get shocked every time. I sit and shake my head and say how can this keep happening. How can I be so stupid to fall for this again. How in the world did we just lose that game. And yet I never learn.

And the sad part is, even after writing this post, I'm still going to do the exact same thing tomorrow. Colon vs. 4-10 Liriano, absolutely we will win. There's no way we can't.

You dumb, dumb boy.

Buehrle Almost Did It Again, Records Record In Process

Mark Buehlre is now the MLB record holder in consecutive hitters retired with a streak of 45. That passed Bobby Jens and someone else (who cares) with 41. What an incredible streak for Mark Buehrle. I'll have more after the game ends. Hopefully they win. My money is on they won't. It is the TwinkieDome afterall.

Sox Acquire Mark Kotsay

At first I thought to myself, what in the world are we going to do with Mark Kotsay. I then saw that it was a 1 for 1 deal for Brian Anderson. Suddenly I understood it. Get Anderson out of here, bring in a guy who is somewhat of an upgrade to Wise, I guess this is alright.

Of course it's not the blockbuster we were all hoping for, but it's nice to see something get done. Any time you get a change of scenery there's a chance a player can shine. See for example Geoff Blum in 2005. Not the biggest move, not the best move, but he came up with a huge HR in a World Series game. Of course I don't expect Kotsay to do that, though it would be nice, but I could see him having a little more of an impact than Wise was.

Hopefully this is not the end of the deals for Kenny, but at least now we can say we did something. Though it is only a very slight upgrade, I think there's no debate that the Sox did get a little better today. And to do it for only the expense of Brian Anderson, I think it's a nice deal. Now we just hope it was something to ease our minds before Kenny lands the big fish.

Anderson dealt to Red Sox

As being reported by WSCR The Score and the Boston Globe, the White Sox have sent Brian Anderson to the Red Sox for outfielder (primarily center fielder) Mark Kotsay and cash.

In 74 AB's this year Kotsay is batting .257 with one home run and five RBI's and was designated for assignment after the Red Sox acquired Adam LaRoche on July 25. Kotsay, however, has been productive throughout his 12 year career as he owns a .281 career average during stops in Florida, San Diego, Oakland, and Atlanta.

This is a Cub guy writing this post so I won't get into analyzing what this means. It is going to be interesting to see what this means for the Sox outfield. Does Dewayne Wise get a season-long pass for his unbelievable, historic catch? How do you feel White Sox fans, would you want Kotsay replacing him on a non-sentimental-strictly on-field level?

I just don't see what a 33 year old Kotsay (who was injured earlier this season) brings that a 27 year old Brian Anderson couldn't, but I suppose Kotsay does have a track record going for him. Ken will have more on this later I'm sure.

Link to Boston Globe story.

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Cubs win on a walk off grand slam by Alfonso Soriano. Sox fall again in their house of horrors on an awful strike three call to end the game. Give JFoss37 all the credit for this one. He called walk off granny in the ninth inning by Soriano. I can honestly say my mood hasn't changed that fast in a while. 

Alfonso Soriano. Tribune. MLB. AP

College Football could be coming to Wrigley

Ted gives himself surgery and deems it successful. 

Sox fall to Twins. Tribune. MLB. AP

The Sox have an issue in the dugout

Clayton Richard's future still being discussed. 

Remember to keep the twitter and website ready for any and all trade talk. We will have it here ASAP. 

The man, the myth: Carlos Zambrano

0-5 stinks. 1-6 can stink too, but not when that 1 is a walk-off grand slam. Alfonso Soriano sent a booming shot to dead center, and the Cubs walked off the field victorious, remaining in first place for at least another day.

I know it seems odd to accept Wandy Rodriguez as a top flight starter, but in terms of this season, I have totally succumbed. The guy has some filthy stuff, and he largely stifled a Cub offense that had been producing lately. Granted he did give up some hits (6), but had a good enough outing that his ERA fell .07 points to 2.65. Maybe I'm making too big a deal about this guy, but I just feel so great that the Cubs were able to open a pretty big series with a win against the opposition's best pitcher.

Despite the 4 walks, Z pitched really well tonight as well. The Carlos Lee home run is forgiveable, it was inevitable and every time Lee hits a solo shot against the Cubs we should all consider ourselves thankful. I mean you are talking about possibly the biggest Cub killer ever (I don't doubt Joey Votto will get there in due time though).

None the less, Z lived up the his billing as the staff "ace," and kept the Cubs in a tight game, matching a good pitcher toe to toe. The past few years he hasn't done this, and it has led to Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster being referred to as the stoppers or workhorses of the staff at different times. For this team to succeed and build on their momentum, Z must live up to the contract and the titles, especially with an ailing Lilly and regressing/ailing Dempster. A night like this breeds confidence (despite the no decision) and with an emotional pitcher like Z, there is no telling where that could lead.

This leads me to a discussion on my personal feelings on Carlos Zambrano. I started out really liking him in his early days, especially 2004-2006, when he was excelling under the radar as Wood and Prior faltered in the spotlight. However, I never fully trusted him to go out and be in the same category as an Oswalt or a Carpenter. I never felt like he was as automatic as those guys have been in their careers, and frankly I was right.

During a bad outing in 2007 when he pointed to his head and "called out" the fans at Wrigley I really took a turn on him. Overrated tended to be the label I stuck to him internally, and that pretty much lasted up until this year. However, I've realized this lately: when it comes to characters and players you'll always remember, Z is exactly that for our generation. Post-Sammy, who will you remember the most? Clearly Woody is up there, but no one has been the face of the Cubs more than Carlos Zambrano since Sammy left town.

Z will go down as a great Cub starting pitcher, and one of the greatest of the last half-century. He has been (mostly) durable, and that alone stands out due to the fact that fragile starting pitching characterized a lot of anguish among Cub fans in this decade. He has been good, borderline great with a 3.48 ERA, 1267 K's, 103 wins, and a no hitter.

Most all though: you can always tell that he cares. The World Series and Cy Young predictions are a bit sophomoric, but they give us as fans outward proof that this guy actually loves being here and competing for the Chicago Cubs. I'm sure a guy who shows minimal emotion such as Jason Marquis cares just as much as Z, but as a fan it is such a good feeling to get a glimpse of a player's true emotion like we do with Z on a regular basis.

I've come along way from confusing with Ruben Quevedo back in the early part of this decade. Like him, love him, hate him, you can't deny that Z has provided us Cub fans with excitement. Whether it be his ever-changing hairstyles this year, bouts with then-Cardinal and future friend Jim Edmonds, or whatever else, Carlos Zambrano has given Cub fans uniqueness. I've finally embraced him, and I might just go out and get his jersey shirt tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What A Typical TwinkieDome Game

Nothing new in Minnesota tonight. Sox outplay the Twins without a doubt and the Sox do not win the game. We hand them 2 runs in the first, and then get burnt on one bad pitch in the 6th. Of course one hitter after a garbage seeing eye single up the middle.

This is starting to get incredibly frustrating. Time and time and time again the Sox invent new ways to lose games in Minnesota. I thought this was the trip. I thought we could over come all of the crap from the past and find a way to band together and play a great series. But no, instead we drop the first of three, still can't figure out how to hit in the DamnDome, and instead of banding together, AJ and Alexei almost threw blows in the dugout.

I'm not going to make too much of of the that fight because honestly I don't think it's anything we need to be worrying about. But something we do need to worry about is how to stop losing. This team is so much better than they are playing right now. They have now their 5th consecutive good start only to win 1 of those 5 games. Somehow the Sox are still just 2 games out of first, and still sit in 2nd place over the Twins. but I doubt it's going to last very long.

Obviosuly tomorrow is a game they Sox should win pretty easily. However my prediction is that Buehrle is good (not perfect) again and we still find a new way to lose a game. Whether it's bad base running, more errors, or figuring out a way to let the bullpen blow the game, the Sox will find a way to lose. We now just have 5 more games in that god forsaken hell hole. I'm not sure how much more of my rants this blog can take because of that wretched building. And let it be known that the day the new TwinkieHome opens up, I will be the happiest man on the planet. (Of course that is until the Sox are scheduled to open it and we get swept.)

If Ever A Chance For Sox Success in Dome, This Is It

With the way the two teams come in, the pitching matchup, and the ballclubs' makeups as a whole, this is really the best chance I have seen in a long while for the Sox to be successful up in that hell hole they call the MetroDome.

The Sox will run, Danks, Buehrle, and Colon out to the bump while the Twinks counter with Perkins, Baker, and Liriano. In all three matchups the Sox have the edge. Not only in pure raw stats coming in to the game, but also the way the pitchers have been doing coming in. Buehrle on the perfect game, Danks coming off the extra days rest to heal the finger, and Colon off his good start in Detroit. If you could line the pitchers up the way you would want the three against them, I think how it falls is how I'd do it for the Sox, and for the Twins, if I could line them up to give the Sox the advantage it would be exactly how it will play out. As far as starting pitching, there's no excuse why the Sox don't have the edge there.

As far as the teams' streaks coming in, both teams played poorly at the beginning and middle of their previous series and finished strong with big wins before heading out. The difference is that the Sox are coming from Detroit, while the Twins are coming from Los Angeles. This somewhat neutralizes the dome. When the Twins play long stretches at home they get acquainted with the batters eye (and fielders eye for that matter) quicker each game as their stretch moves along. when they come straight off a road trip, they must readjust just like the visitors do. Obviously the Twins should adjust quicker because it's their home park, but there's no doubt there's a little advantage for the Sox there. (Well more of less of a disadvantage that there could be).

And lastly the overall make up of the teams is much more similar this year than it has been. The Sox come in with speed at the top and speed at the bottom with the boppers in the middle. The Twins who normally have a little bit more speed than the Sox have kind of lost that edge a little. The middle of their lineup is Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel, Crede, Young. They never used to have 5 guys in a row that were power hitters. Therefore the ballpark does not play in their favor as much as it used to.

Of course all these things being said, we have to go into this series expecting to get swept. The thing about streaks in sports is that you cannot bet against them until they are clearly broken. Therefore until the Sox go up there and hand their Twins their rear ends to them like they have done to us for the last 5 years, I'm not going to say we will for sure have a good series up there. But if there's ever been a chance, I think this is it.

Crap, Wandy is good...

As many followers of the NL Central already know, the Houston Astros best pitcher isn't Roy Oswalt, at least not so far this season. Wandy Rodriguez has been absolutely unreal in 2009, and it is pretty sad that he wasn't a member of the NL All-Star squad. He comes in with the 5th best ERA in the NL at 2.72 and has walked fewer and struck out more than Matt Cain (12-2, 2.27). Random comparison but it shows that this guy belongs at the top of the list of elite NL starters in 2009.

This matchup is a redux of June 10th in Houston when Z threw 8 innings of one run ball, but was matched toe to toe by Rodriguez and the Cubs ended up losing on a walk off single by Geoff Blum. In 13 innings this season the Cubs have scored 2 runs off of him, one on a Geo Soto home run and the other on a D-Lee RBI single.

However, one thing the Cubs do have going for them tonight against Wandy is that he has been historically pretty bad at Wrigley. In 24 innings pitched at Wrigley, Rodriguez has a 8.25 ERA and has given up 36 hits. As Justin wrote earlier, this is a big chance for the Cubs to build on what the Mets did to Houston the past two days and keep cooling them down.

Photo courtesy

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Sorry for the lack of links yesterday, I was really tired and lazy. Nothing good outside of Milton Bradley rumors anyway. Onto today.

The Cubs took first place from St. Louis today with a sweep from the falling Reds. The Sox were able to salvage one win from the Tigers and sit two games back from the division lead.

Sweep. Tribune. MLB. AP

More info on Derrek Lee's strange neck injury

MLB mailbag

Houston series preview

Koyie Hill likes all his playing time. Not sure I agree. 

Soriano even streakier in 2009. 

ESPN Chicago Blogs. Levine and Friedell

Sox get a win. Tribune. MLB. AP

Quentin is a bit worried about the turf.

Jon Danks is ready to redeem himself.

Sox middle of the order hits a speed bump

Big week for both teams. Lets hope for no losses on either side. 

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Your First Place Chicago Cubs

It sure is good to be back where we belong, the top of the NL Central. Sure they will probably blow it and be back in second after tomorrow (this is the Cubs after all) but for one night we get to enjoy being in first. 

Rich Harden solved his day game problems (for one day) and pitched about as well as you could ask. Joey Votto's standard homer aside (he has now hit 28% of his career homers against the Cubs) Harden didn't allow a single baserunner, and was able to go six brilliant innings with eight strikeouts and only 90 pitches. 

The Cubs offense took care of business as well. The wind did them no favors- Jake Fox had three warning track flyballs, one of which was a double robbed at the wall and another that would have been a homer in the basket had it been 10 inches farther right. Alfonso Soriano hit what might have been a homer on some days, but instead it found its way off the ivy to plate Milton Bradley to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. Bradley had one of the best slides I've seen all season, making himself safe despite having the ball beat him to the plate.

Aramis Ramirez stayed hot as well with a double in the seventh, he too was a victim of the wind having a deep flyball miss the basket by about four feet early in the game. Ryan Theriot and Koyie Hill joined in the fun as well collecting two hits each including Hill's first career triple. 

Lou got a little nutty with his bullpen today, Sean Marshall came in for Harden first, and was able to get the first two guys out in the seventh. Then Lou decided to bring Angel Guzman in to face Brandon Phillips. One pitch later the inning was over and Guzman came back in the eighth (how nice that Marmol got a day off, though it was a bit strange) and loaded the bases before getting a flyout-throw out at home double play to end the threat. While the runner was safe, its about damn time a call goes out way.

After adding more runs in the ninth, Jeff Samardzija was supposed to come in and get the last three outs, but as is his usual thing Shark allowed two hits before getting an out. He did get Votto and Phillips to make outs before Lou once again decided it was time to use another arm. Kevin Gregg (Lou's new blankie, good for Marmol's arm/future but not good for Gregg this season) came in for the one out save and nailed it down.

Can't complain about a sweep, especially not one where every player played well. From Kevin Hart, Randy Wells (one stupid batter aside), and Rich Harden all having good starts to Soriano, Aramis, and Milton all being productive at the plate. The bullpen was solid (Aaron Heilman aside) and for three days there is nothing to be upset about in the land of the Cubs.

Tomorrow starts a big series though. Houston is on their standard second half run, and the Cubs need to use this four game series to remind Houston that they aren't this good. Lance Berkman is out for the series, which means Carlos Lee can be pitched around more. Z, Dumpster, Wells, and Hart will go in the series that could help set the order of the division going into the final two months of the season. Hopefully the Cubs can take 3 of 4. 

Stay tuned to TCB both here on the site and on twitter as the trade deadline comes and goes. I can promise that every Cubs rumor I see will be passed along as quickly as I can type it on twitter, and reaction to any trade will be made on the site very quickly. 

Cubs in 1st? Lets hope

When the sun goes down this evening the Cubs could finally find themselves in first place. Who cares if the Cubs have gotten fat off of the Nats and struggling Reds and the Cardinals have faltered lately against the second-half Astros and (if they lose today) Phillies. The fact remains that the Cubs, despite the injuries and underachievements, are in late July and have the potential to be in first. You can't ask for much more than that.

Todd Wellemeyer against Joe Blanton would seem to favor the Phillies today, but with those two offenses going against eachother who knows, it should be fun to watch. Thankfully the Astros lost to the Mets last night, and send Brian Moehler (7-5, 4.92 ERA, 56 SO) against Livan Hernandez (6-5, 4.93 ERA, 56 SO) in a matchup of guys with, as you can see, virtually the same stats. Scoreboard watching this intently this early may be a bit crazy, but hey, I'm a baseball fan and I'm squeezing every last ounce of fun out of this season.

Cubs notes - I really hope Rich Harden puts the "he can't pitch in day games" mantra to rest today. I acknowledge what the numbers say, but pitching is pitching and the simple fact remains that if he can't pitch in day games he definitely shouldn't be a member of the Chicago Cubs.

- Is Kevin Gregg in danger of being overworked? He has pitched in 6/9 games since the break. Clearly you'll take a win anyway you can get it, but it sure would be nice if there is a sizable lead (in the Cubs favor) and Justin Berg and the Shark could get some work today.

- As many of you have probably seen, Len tweeted this morning that D-Lee will not play today. An article on espnchicago last night noted that he was playing catch with his daughter after the game yesterday. Thus I am not too worried about his neck. He could probably use a day off anyway to stay strong, and hopefully Jake Fox can get some AB's today.

Finally for those who haven't seen it, here is another gem from Milton Bradley via the Chicago Tribune regarding the trade rumors:
After Saturday's game, Bradley was asked about the rumor.

"I don't pay attention to rumors," he said. "I'm always rumored. I'm one of them guys that are multi-talented, can do a lot of things. I'm not surprised. It's just a rumor."

The Sox Need To Win Tonight

Probably the understatement of the year, but I really think it does need to be said. This is without a doubt the biggest game of the year for the Sox so far. The positives and the negatives as to what will come based on the outcome of this game are astounding.

If the Sox win, they will escape this disastrous four game set only losing 2 games in the standings. They will walk out of Detroit with a win, and head up to Minnesota without feeling absolutely terrible. If they win, and play well, then they can feel like they are right back to where they were before they came in here. So they lost two games, but it could have been 4. Not good, but certainly not horrible, and more importantly they leave without a giant bruise on their heads. Just a little one that 2 days from now could be totally gone.

If the Sox lose, they will be 4 games back in the standings. They will feel absolutely awful about themselves and their chances to win the division. And will most likely set themselves up for a gigantic egg to be laid in Minnesota this week. All of the work that was done to get back even with the Tigers the last few weeks will be fully wasted, and the Sox will have to do their best work to not fall to 5 or 6 back with the pending trip to Minnesota.

This series reminds re a lot of the Twins series at the end of last year. The Sox went up to Minnesota and got smacked around for 3 consecutive games. Going from leading the division by 2 games to trailing by 1. But in the last game of the season they were able to rebound and offset all the damage that was done before. Obviously this is not quite to that extent, but one win is all we need. Just win tonight and this whole trip goes down as a minor speed bump. Fail tonight, and all of a sudden you may have dug a hole too big to get out of. I know 4 games is not insurmountable in the next 2 months, but it's a heck of a lot worse than 2 games.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Latest on the Sox Trade Front

As we all know the Sox have a very active general manager when it comes trade deadline time. This time around is a little different than most though. The Sox are clearly in the middle of the race, and have a good chance of winning the division even if they stand pat. But they are also in the middle of a pretty large rebuilding project. Therefore, you don't want to trade away all of your future to win this year, but at the same time, much of your future is already here, so why not just take a shot and try to win now.

That being said, we really have no clue what Kenny Williams is up to (nothing new) so here's a little rundown of what I've been seeing, and what I'd like to see go down.

Roy Halladay - The Sox have constantly come up in rumors surrounding Halladay, but never have they actually been linked to a proposal (on either side, because apparently the Jays are making proposals now). There have been numerous articles written about how the Sox should get him, and many about how they shouldn't. I'm kind of on the fence. Of course I want Roy Halladay on the Sox, who doesn't. but I'm not willing to cash in any player on the major league starting roster. Fields, Poreda, Richard, Carrasco, they can go. But when you start talking about Beckham, Alexei, Getz, Danks, forget about it. I'd give the farm for this guy right now if we could keep the big league team together, but once you start clipping wings of the current team, you walk a tight rope as to how much the new guy will actually help. All that being said, the Sox are not going to get Roy Halladay. He's either going to go to the Phillies in a deal that includes J.A. Happ or he'll remain in Toronto. My bet's on the latter.

George Sherrill - This is the latest name I have seen linked to the Sox. While there is not much written in Sherril to the Sox, I think this one makes a lot of sense. With Jenks struggling and Thornton, Linebrink, and Dotel all becoming a little shaky, the Sox could really use another shutdown guy in the pen. I have no clue what the cost would be on Sherrill, but I think a few prospects would be worth it for the Sox.

Dan Haren - The Sox and D-Backs have been trade partners a few times in the past, including once earlier this year for Tony Pena. Obviously Haren would be a huge upgrade to the Sox rotation, but I'm not sure they have what it takes to get him from Arizona. The package that was set up for Peavy suddenly seems weak now that we are getting closer to the deadline. However with Anderson and Fields now in the trade mixer for Kenny, I think they could get something done. This is the most likely blockbuster that involves the Sox if there is going to be one that happens.

Ben Sheets - This one isnt really a trade rumor, it's more of a signing rumor. Sheets is still injured but according to Buster Olney he is getting healthy quickly. This one is a long shot because of money and health reasons, but a healthy Sheets in the middle of the Sox rotation would be out of this world. Of course healthy and Sheets have never been written in the same sentence before that last one.

Those are just 4 names I think are actually possibilities. The thing about Kenny Williams is that you never have any clue what kind of deal he could pull out. Whether it's having something set up for Peavy, or trading for Ken Griffey Jr., it's hard to tell what's on his mind on any give day. One thing I do know though is he is not afraid to be active. I think they do need to make a move if they want to take a shot at winning it all, but if all things remain the same in Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota, there's no doubt the Sox could emerge on top of that trio.

If there are any people I missed, or anyone you think we should discuss, please comment below and we will talk about it.

Morning Cubs and Sox Links

Despite getting bad news from nearly every angle, the Cubs managed to get a nice win over the Reds. The Sox weren't able to build on the perfect game (told you it wasn't a future indicator) and were victims of the rare doubleheader sweep. 

I'm going to make some changes starting today. No more Sun-times or Daily Herald recaps. They just use the AP too much for it to make a difference. I'll still post their other stories. 

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Tribune. MLB. AP.

To keep things fair for the rest of baseball Ted Lilly will go on the DL

Hendry continues to insist that he and Lou are on the same page. 

Shockingly those concerts at Wrigley left the place a mess

Tribune mailbag with Paul Sullivan. This one is pretty lacking of sarcasm for once. 

Koyie Hill is working his ass off. I'll give him credit for working his ass off (unlike other Cubs catchers) and showing up everyday. Still he is supposed to be a backup, and his play reflects that. 

Tough day for the Sox. Tribune. MLB. AP. 

Clayton Richard will be the starter on Sunday. 

Mostly everything else Sox related is the perfect game coverage.