Chicago Tribune & WGN reporting Greg Maddux is a Cub.

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As a White Sox fan and HUGE Braves fan, I find this very depressing. The club on the North Side is finally forking over $$$ to compete, while the Sox try to cheap it out and get lucky. I foresee a third place Sox finish and a 1st or 2nd place finish by the Cubs at this rate...

Baked Bean Teeth (Baked Bean Teeth), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 03:37 (twenty years ago) link

ESPN reports that Maddux will "be on hand" with the rest of the Cubs pitchers and catchers tomorrow in Arizona. 'Course, they also reported Maddux was a Yankee earlier today, so there you go.

mattbot (mattbot), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 04:24 (twenty years ago) link

The Associated Press is reporting it, too.

jaymc (jaymc), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 16:08 (twenty years ago) link

Noooooooooooooo!

bnw (bnw), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 17:15 (twenty years ago) link

best rotation in baseball if their arms don't fall off (thanks dusty!)

gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 20:00 (twenty years ago) link

best rotation in baseball if their arms don't fall off

*nervous laughter*

What's the word on Jason Schmidt this year?

mattbot (mattbot), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 20:08 (twenty years ago) link

well, he pitched fine* with his arm hurt the last 2 months of 2003 (9W-1L, 2 no decisions) with only a fastball/change up due to not being able to throw any breaking balls due to the torn tendon. You might remember even while hurt, he was the only pitcher in the playoffs to shutout 2003 World Series Champion Florida Marlins (Game 1 of the NLDS).

The surgery went well according to Stan Conte and the fact that the Giants didn't go after Maddux as strongly as they could have is probably a good sign.

*robbed of the Cy Young in my opinion.

gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 22:13 (twenty years ago) link

Potential Cubs Staff:

Prior
Wood
Maddux
Zambrano
Clement

Borowski
LaTroy Hawkins
Farnsworth
Remlinger (L)
Mercker (L)
Juan Cruz

It looks pretty good, but not many left handers.

earlnash, Thursday, 19 February 2004 01:00 (twenty years ago) link

On the left-hand issue: why do managers like to match up left handed pitchers against left handed hitters? Is it because the natural delivery of a right handed pitcher curves towards the inner part of the strike zone, making it easier for a left hander to hit?

(sorry for the dumb question and possibly incorrect terminology, but I haven't been following baseball for all that long and we don't get much coverage here in Oz)

ojitarian (ojitarian), Thursday, 19 February 2004 03:49 (twenty years ago) link

"On the left-hand issue: why do managers like to match up left handed pitchers against left handed hitters? Is it because the natural delivery of a right handed pitcher curves towards the inner part of the strike zone, making it easier for a left hander to hit?"

Yes. It is also baseball by the numbers statistically, left handed hitters hit better against right handed pitchers and usually right hitters do better against left pitchers. This is also why a good switch hitter is considered a valuable player.

All Switch Hitter Team:

c- Ted Simmonds
1b- Eddie Murray
2b- Roberto Alomar
ss- Ozzie Smith
3b- Pete Rose
lf- Chipper Jones
cf- Mickey Mantle
rf- Tim Raines


earlnash, Thursday, 19 February 2004 04:44 (twenty years ago) link

Thanks earlnash. So what percentage of NL hitters are left handed? Just wondering how that will affect the Cubs given their pitching lineup.

ojitarian (ojitarian), Thursday, 19 February 2004 07:01 (twenty years ago) link

all hitters do better against opposite hand pitchers. the diff. is that (probably because lefties don't get to face many lefties, while righties naturally hit lefties fine and face plenty of righties) lefties often do MUCH WORSE against lefties than they do against righties.
as for having a lefthander in the rotation, it's nice when you've got a park that favors lefthanded hitters (like my team, the yankees), but the key is to have good pitchers, regardless of hand. the cubs have 5 GREAT righthanders, so pitching is absolutely not a problem for them. you can see how each of their pitchers do against LHH at this site: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=6787 (do a player search and click "splits". they do fine, btw, and absolutely kill righties.)

last year the cubs RH starters faced 1347 lefties and 1727 righties, so that's 44% of opposing batters. i'd guess the actual percentage is quite a bit lower, maybe 1/3?

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 19 February 2004 21:14 (twenty years ago) link

I wouldn't be suprised if the Cubs use Zambrano as trade bait as the season develops, since the have so much starting pitching.

earlnash, Thursday, 19 February 2004 21:23 (twenty years ago) link

I wouldn't be suprised if the Cubs use Zambrano as trade bait as the season develops, since the have so much starting pitching.

It's possible, but I think they'd probably trade Juan Cruz before Zambrano. I'm not yet convinced Zambrano can replicate his success from last year, but if he can then holding on to him--even if it's just to trade him at the end of the season--means he'll appreciate on the market that much more. Cruz is a very similar pitcher to Zambrano (his off-speed stuff isn't quite there yet) and has been languishing in the Cubs pen for the last few years. The longer the Cubs hold on to him, the quicker his transition from prospect to bust will occur, at least in the minds of MLB GMs. That seemingly-credible Juan Cruz + PTBNL for Mike Lowell trade rumors were buzzing around last year gives you some idea of his value.

But I think you're definitely on to something. The Cubs have an insane amount of pitching in the minors right now, I would expect some blockbuster trade involving Cubs pitching in the next two or three years.

mattbot (mattbot), Thursday, 19 February 2004 21:46 (twenty years ago) link

Juan Cruz is definitely another one that might be used as trade bait. A couple of starts I saw him pitch last year, he would look dynamite for an inning or two, then would just absolutely lose it. Cruz pitched a bit better when they brought him back up than his record indicates, as his ERA was astronomical when they sent him back to the minors. His ERA didn't drop much as he was mostly working out of the pen and didn't get a bunch of innings. Considering how much movement he can get on his fastball, if he had the constitution, he might become a closer.

Where I think they might unload a pitcher is mid-season before the trade deadline, if the pitching is healthy and they have an obvious need in the lineup. The Cubs did pretty well last year with their trades in season and have made a couple of other interesting moves in the offseason.

Possible Cubs starters:

1b - Derek Lee
2b - Mark Gruzielanek/Todd Walker
ss - Alex Gonzalez
3b - Aramis Ramierez
lf - Moises Alou
cf - Corey Patterson
rf- Sammy Sosa
c - Damian Miller/Paul Bako/Michael Barrett

Questions:

Is Patterson recovered from his injury?
Is this the year age takes it's toll on Alou and Sosa?
Can any of these catcher hit their weight?
Have Lee and Ramierez peaked or can they improve into bonafide stars?
Does Gruzielanek and Walker have another season in them like last year, when both did well at the plate?
Can Gonzalez harness that power, lay off crappy pitches and not strike out like Rob Deer?

With Patterson and Lee in the field, the defense should be improved.

earlnash, Thursday, 19 February 2004 23:25 (twenty years ago) link

Hasn't Miller gone to Oakland?

ojitarian (ojitarian), Friday, 20 February 2004 01:07 (twenty years ago) link

Yes, the Cubs will have barrett/bako platooning at catcher.

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 20 February 2004 01:11 (twenty years ago) link

I didn't realize that Miller was gone in the trade for Barrett. I don't know much about this Barrett guy, he is younger, which is something I suppose.

The catcher position looks pretty weak.



earlnash, Friday, 20 February 2004 01:14 (twenty years ago) link

Agreed, that 7-8-9 (assuming K-Gonz is hitting in one of those spots again) part of the order looks quite weak again.

No one really knows anything about Barrett that I've talked to, but Jim Hendry seems to think he's the bee's knees. He couldn't do much worse than .233/.310/.369, I guess.

Maybe putting Bako and Maddux back in each other's arms will spur each to greater heights?!

(Oh wait, I just looked up Barrett's 2003 numbers: .208/.280/.398. Ow.)

mattbot (mattbot), Friday, 20 February 2004 14:16 (twenty years ago) link

"Maybe putting Bako and Maddux back in each other's arms will spur each to greater heights?!"

Henry Blanco = HITTING MACHINE!!!

I always wondered how that worked with Javy Lopez in Atlanta. Was it Bobby Cox just plotting a regular day off or did Maddux/Lopez just not work well together?

earlnash, Friday, 20 February 2004 15:23 (twenty years ago) link

I believe Mr. Maddux had some issues with Javy's ability to perform his catcherly duties.

David R. (popshots75`), Friday, 20 February 2004 16:22 (twenty years ago) link

one year passes...
We haven't seen the Pantheon Maddux since 1998 or so. His last truly great season was 2001.

In the late 90's, it seemed as though Maddux was the greatest pitcher any of us would ever see. Since then, his performance has slowly declined as one would expect for a pitcher in his late 30's. However, Clemens and Johnson, his contemporaries in the "Great Pitchers of the 90's" club, have remained ageless and dominant.

Will any of this affect Maddux's legacy? His profile has fallen off the table since the 90's. The success of Clemens, Unit, and even Pedro have seemingly relegated Maddux to a distant fourth in terms of popularity and prestige among many fans. Every time one of those three guys start, it's a major event. When Maddux starts, he's just another #3 starter on a club fighting for the wild card.

In 30 years, the greatness of Clemens, Pedro and Unit will be obvious to those who never saw him pitch: fireballers who blew batters away, with personalities as potent as their fastballs. What about Maddux? Will he be a "you had to see him to appreciate him" pitchers?

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 18:48 (nineteen years ago) link

Hey now - Pedro's only 34! He's a youngun!

I think that, superficially, Maddux's legacy might tarnish a bit, but folks that actually look past his career marks & his decline will see how ridiculously good he actually was. Also, Johnson & especially Clemens are freaks & outliers, and any pitcher is gonna look like spew compared to them.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 30 June 2005 18:58 (nineteen years ago) link

Since those other three have dominated more recently, it makes sense that right at this moment they'd get the headlines over Maddux. But I think history will show Maddux is right up there with them on an equal level.

Gear! (Ill Cajun Gunsmith) (Gear!), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:00 (nineteen years ago) link

He shouldn't be downgraded. Warren Spahn was 'crafty' yet he's still got a legacy, yes? Pedro and Unit's career value still rank behind Maddux's, and he still had a couple of the greatest seasons since WW2.

You could rank Clemens and Maddux about equally 4 years ago; obv not the case anymore.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Daver, Pedro is a lot younger and might not belong with the other three, but when people look back at this era, they'll probably remember Pedro ahead of Maddux (and with plenty of reason, since peak Pedro was arguably better than peak Maddux).

Also working against Maddux: his best two seasons were in 1994-5, and therefore their significance was diminished by the work stoppage. The guy was 19-2, 1.60 in a shortened season! Those numbers are unreal, but who even remembers that now?

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:05 (nineteen years ago) link

!!! (Those numbers are Dontrelle-esque!) (fnar)

The one thing that might "hurt" Maddux, in terms of his place in the game: no charisma. Pedro and Clemens are hotheaded (and headhunters), and Randy Johnson, he's tall and has a mullet. Also, throwing hard helps. Chicks dig the fastball, not the black-catching change-up low and away.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:09 (nineteen years ago) link

But Spahn's agelessness is deeply tied into his legacy -- e.g. winning 23 games at age 42, hanging around long enough to win 363 games. Being lefthanded also sets him apart from other 300 game winners.

Maddux best HoF contemporary might be Lefty Grove ... not a flashy personality, not nearly as famous/larger-than-life as many of his contemporaries, with extremely impressive numbers that aren't fully appreciated for their Pantheon-ness (?) until you look at the offense-dominated era they played in.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:14 (nineteen years ago) link

xpost, obv., and I'm not arguing that Maddux was as good as Grove, I'm just drawing a few comparisons.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:15 (nineteen years ago) link

Maybe that Sox pitcher who accused him of doctoring the ball last week is trying to help Greg out?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:17 (nineteen years ago) link

Chicks dig the fastball, not the black-catching change-up low and away.

Anytime Maddux's name is mentioned in 30 years, peeps need to bust out the "chix dig the long ball" commercial because that was some SERIOUS pantheon-type shit. I think I'd be happy if he was remembered for that above all else. You can't tell me that Clemens ever did anything that cool.

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:18 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, plunging your arm into a bucket of rice can't even dream of comparing to "chicks dig the long ball".

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:19 (nineteen years ago) link

So Glavine rides the coattails of that spot too?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:23 (nineteen years ago) link

Hell yes, however, the entire commercial might be tainted now because of Big Mac and his "testimony" in Congress (not to mention because of the homer-happy steroid era in general).

MindInRewind (Barry Bruner), Thursday, 30 June 2005 19:27 (nineteen years ago) link

Sorry - it was a BARREL of rice, not a bucket.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 30 June 2005 20:37 (nineteen years ago) link

seventeen years pass...

Came close a few weeks ago to starting a thread devoted to amazing Tony Gwynn-related stuff that is forever turning up on my FB wall. Didn't, but I can post this here: in 330 career AB against Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, they struck him out three times.

(I can't check that, so trusting its accuracy.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 24 May 2023 21:42 (one year ago) link


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