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7/20/10: Lou Makes It Official - Cubs manager Lou Piniella has made it official that his 23rd managerial season will be his last. Piniella will finish the 2010 season as skipper of the Cubs and intends to continue to work as a consultant for a major league team, but currently at 1,826 career wins, Lou's bid for the 2,000 win milestone is guaranteed to fall short. He is nevertheless an obvious Hall of Fame manager, with being the first Cubs manager since Leo Durocher (1970-72) to lead the franchise to three straight winning seasons and and the first since Frank Chance (1907-08) to lead the Cubs to consecutive playoff appearances as the latest in a long line of accolades.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has confirmed that Jim Hendry will be the Cubs' general manager heading into the 2011 season and that Hendry will be leading the search for Lou's replacement. Hendry would only reveal that Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, who has been managing in the minor leagues for the past four seasons, was a candidate, and that the Cubs would explore both internal and external options for the position, plus that previous MLB managerial experience was not a prerequisite. The speculation at Baseball Evolution, however, is that Ryno is the obvious frontrunner for this vacancy.

6/13/10: Lilly Outlasts Floyd in No-No battle - Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd each took no-hitters into the seventh inning of Sunday night's Cubs/Sox game. Floyd lost his no-hit bid and the shutout in the bottom of the seventh, while Lilly's no-hitter was broken up by pinch-hitter (and ex-Cub) Juan Pierre in the ninth. There have already been three (or four, if you count Armando Galarraga) no-hitters this year; the record for no-hitters in a season came in 1991, when seven pitchers accomplished the feat.

There was no word from the Commissioner's office on whether a Lilly no-hitter would have counted against the White Sox, who are batting just .247 as a team.




Carlos Zambrano
April 21, 2010 – Fun Stat of the Day Carlos Zambrano’s early season combination of strikeouts and hits allowed is both unique and historic. Zambrano’s strikeouts per nine innings and hits allowed per nine innings are both currently over 12.0. How rare is that?

Only three major league baseball players have ever finished a season with over 12 strikeouts per nine innings – Kerry Wood, Pedro Martinez, and Randy Johnson, who did it six times – and only 33 pitchers with a minimum of 150 innings pitched have ever finished a season with over 12.0 hits allowed per nine innings. And the two lists don’t come anywhere near overlapping : the worst H/9IP amongst Wood, Pedro, and Randy was 7.3, and the best K/9IP on the other list was 5.32.

Of course, this makes sense – guys who strikeout lots of batters don’t give up lots of hits, and vice versa. What doesn’t make sense is how Zambrano has managed to be so proficient at both categories.

UPDATE: What also doesn't make sense is that Lou Piniella has moved Zambrano to the bullpen with the imminent return of Ted Lilly. Piniella maintains that the change was made to strengthen the bullpen, not based on Z's iffy early-season results. Regardless of the motivation, the Cubs now have their best pitcher - who is making $18 million this year - working in middle relief.

6/1/09: Contract Extensions Revisited - Derrek Lee and David Ortiz each signed contract extensions worth $13 M per season on the same Monday in April over three years ago. Here's what we wrote about it at the time:

"It looks pretty even right now. Ask us in four years which team got the best deal here."

Well, it's been just under four years and it still looks pretty even, although it hasn't turned out as well for either the Cubs or the Red Sox as we would have figured. In Chicago, Lee only had one good season since the extension, and currently blocks the path of superior hitters Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir with his no-trade clause through 2010. Ortiz had two monster seasons since his extension, but he is currently even more of a burden than Lee, batting .185 with just one homer in 178 at-bats. Ortiz does not have the no-trade clause that Lee's contract contains, but on whom could Boston possibly dump his massive contract?

We'll give the edge to Papi and the Red Sox, since they wouldn't have even advanced to the World Series in 2007 without the aid of the Cookie Monster. But it might be difficult to convince frustrated Red Sox fans of that conclusion right now.   --KG

May 5, 2009: Jake Fox is a minor leaguer in the Chicago Cubs system. He currently has an OPS of 1411, which includes a 941slugging percentage. He’s hitting .400, and has 12 homeruns in 22 games. So, he’s gonna get called up to the big show soon, right? Not so fast. Seems the Cubs are having a little trouble making room for the ol’ boy up in Chicago. You see, the Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a 3 year, $30 million contract this off-season. So, even though he has only six hits in 17 games and an OPS of .571, Bradley is here to stay. Bang up job, guys. --ABC   

1/5/09: Incentives, Please - The Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a 3-year, $30 million deal. Had he earned that kind of money the past three seasons - seasons in which he was at the prime ages of 28, 29, and 30 - Bradley would have received approximately $106,000 per game played, or $102,000 per hit, or $612,000 per home run. He is not only unlikely to do as well in the next three years because of his advanced age and extensive injury history, but also because he will not be able to rest his weary bones as a DH. I guess the Cubs figured that as long as he's black, he's OK. --KG   

1/5/09: Incentives, Please - The Cubs signed Milton Bradley to a 3-year, $30 million deal. Had he earned that kind of money the past three seasons - seasons in which he was at the prime ages of 28, 29, and 30 - Bradley would have received approximately $106,000 per game played, or $102,000 per hit, or $612,000 per home run. He is not only unlikely to do as well in the next three years because of his advanced age and extensive injury history, but also because he will not be able to rest his weary bones as a DH. I guess the Cubs figured that as long as he's black, he's OK. --KG   

12/16/08: 31, 31, >3, <1 - With Greg Maddux having officially announced the end of his baseball career, the Cubs now have two #31 jerseys that deserve to be retired.  Both Mad Dog and Ferguson Jenkins donned #31 in Cubbie blue, and both are among the most successful pitchers to ever play at Wrigley Field.  Coincidentally, these two are also the only pitchers to retire with more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 1,000 walks (Fergie - 3,192/997, Maddux - 3,371/999). --KG   



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