Lou Pinella Gets Tossed

The Cubs skid is over, with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth. OK, so the game is still going, the Cubs are still tied, but essentially, it's over. Lou gets tossed on a close play and won't leave the field until he's yelled at nearly every ump? Hmmmm...we're just short of dirt-kicking and the play being on the third base side.

I am about 75% sure this was a pre-meditated move. Not that you can force a close play, but I have a inkling that this play was meant to fire up his team, the crowd, everyone. Hell, I'm fired up right now. Let's hope it has the same magic it did last year.

On a side note, Rob Drake looks like the kind of ump who tosses a lot of people. I can't find a picture with his hair grown out, which adds to his cockiness in my opinion. According to this forum, Drake had 35 ejections up through June. Add Ozzie's ejection last week, Sinatro and Lou today, that would be 38 for Drake. That includes a '05 ejection of Todd Hollandsworth.

A Trip Around the Minors...

In this week's edition, Felix Pie has a big night, Josh Vitters hasn't played in a week, and could Hoffpauir have 245 RBI's?


Felix Pie-Pie has hit .412 since the All Star break, although to be fair, most of the damage was done last night. But what a night it was. He went 4 for 5 with 2 singles, a double, and a triple. He had a walk, an RBI, and a stolen base. And he scored 3 times. He has only struck out 3 times in his last 31 AB's.

Jeff ND-Samardzija's last outing was 5 days ago, and his stuff was the best he's thrown all year. He went 6 innings, giving up only 2 hits, a walk, and striking out 9 for the second straight game. The single run he allowed was set up by a single, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and a groundout. He threw 86 pitches, 53 of them for strikes.

Kevin Hart-Hart came in last night's game after being demoted from Chicago and made his first relief appearance for Iowa. He went 2 innings, yielding only a hit and a walk. He allowed both inherited runners to score, but there was some good and some bad in the outing. He walked the first batter he faced, loading the bases. But after giving up a hit, he forced a double play, and got out of the inning having only surrendered the two runs that were already on base when he entered.

Bonus-Micah Hoffpauir was sent back to Iowa along with Kevin Hart, and just like Hart, he played last night. All he did was go 2 for 5 with a walk, a double, and a grand slam. His 4 RBI's last night gave him 56 on the year at Iowa in 37 games. Not that he would be able to keep up such a pace, but if he could, he would have 245 RBI's over the course of a 162 game season.


Tyler Colvin-Colvin has 8 hits in 8 games coming since the All Star Break, getting a hit in all but one game, while only getting one hit in all but one game. All 8 hits have been singles. Over that stretch, he only hit .250, but has managed to raise his overall average up to .239 and add 4 RBI's to his total. He struck out 5 times, bringing his total for the year to 80 in 101 games.

Welington Castillo-The Cubs Future's Game representative must've picked up some good tips at the game, as he started the second half on a 6 game hitting streak that ended yesterday. He's hitting .345 in the second half with a pair of doubles. But last night was a rough one for him; 5 AB's, 4 K's, 3 of them backward K's, while as the team's DH.

Jose Ceda-Ceda has pitched twice in the last week plus, allowing 1 run over 4 innings, but saving both games. As the Smokies closer, he has a 1.47 ERA and a .188 batting average against. He has yet to allow a HR and batters are hitting .136 with RISP against him.

Donnie Veal-Donnie Veal had another hard luck loss last Saturday. He 6 innings of baseball, giving up 5 hits and a walk. He allowed 4 runs, but only two of them were earned. A run scored in the fifth on a passed ball by Welington Castillo and a run scored in the sixth on a error by Jake Fox, playing 1st.

Bonus-Doug Deeds continues to tear up Southern League pitching. Since the break, Deeds is hitting .529. Half of his 18 hits have gone for extra bases; 8 doubles and a HR. His OPS is a staggering 1.408.


Tony Thomas-Thomas has only played in 4 games in the last week, thanks to 2 rainouts. In his 4 games, he collected 3 hits, one in each of three games, over 16 at bats. He has added 2 RBI's and 2 runs to his totals. On the year, Thomas is hitting .267 and has struck out 88 times in 89 games. He leads the team with 144 total bases.

Rich Hill-Hill is still listed on the Iowa roster, so technically his starts at Daytona are rehab starts. Hill started last Friday and the results weren't positive. 4 and 1/3 innings pitched, 5 earned runs, 6 hits, 3 walks. He managed to strike out 6. He threw again yesterday with mixed results. He managed to only give up 1 hit and 1 earned run, while striking out 7. But his control problems continued...he walked 5. During his rehab, he has walked 13 batters in 18 and 2/3.

Bonus-Marco Carillo (NDFA, 2005) moved from Jody Davis bullpen into the starting rotation when the calendar turned from April to May. He also turned his ERA around. As a reliever, Carillo had a 4.11. Since he became a starter, he has a 2.89 ERA. He leads the D-Cubs in innings pitched by over 20. His WHIP is 1.02, 0.97 as a starter.


No Top 10 Prospects

Bonus-Jordan Latham (29th round, 2006) has a 1.93 ERA as a reliever this year, including a 1.35 ERA over the last month. He has thrown 60 and 2/3 innings over 31 games, striking out 59. He hasn't allowed a HR since May. More news in next week's MLM, but Latham will soon be the youngest member of the Daytona Cubs.


Josh Vitters-Vitters hasn't played in a game since last Friday, but the reason remains a mystery. He is hitting .344 at Boise.

Bonus-Jon Muller (NDFA, 2007), the closer for the Hawks, has 8 saves and 2 wins in 14 games this season. He has an ERA of 1.50 for the season. He has only allowed one earned run during the month of July. In a game on July 1st, he faced 6 batters and struck them all out.

Steve Bartman - the $25,000 Man

In a press release issued yesterday, Sportsbuy.com offered one of Chicago Cubs most hated fans $25,000 for one autograph. Sportsbuy.com announced yesterday that a briefcase filled with 250 $100 bills is being offered to Steve Bartman on "Redemption-Reward Thursday" at the annual sports collectibles convention.

Since the infamous catch/non-catch Bartman has been in hiding and rightfully so. I know plenty of guys that would like to give him a piece of their minds. However, Sportsbuy.com has assured Bartman that they "have personal security to provide to [him]..." The photograph that The National organizers want Bartman to sign is, of course, the infamous image from Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins.

Suprisingly if the Bart-Man accepts the offer he will be a top the list for paid autographs...right above:
- the Babe: $10k
- Jordan: $2,500
- Mantle: $1,000
- Arthur: $250
- Jumbo: $225
- Lionel: $150
My take on this: Great publicity stunt for Sportsbuy.com. Not only did the Towel Drills staff get an email about this but I heard about this pay-day for the Bart-Man on the news this morning. If Sportsbuy.com can't increase sales after this...They should really notify me. I can consult them to higher profits.
AS I WAS WRITING THIS: Bartman turned down the $25k for autograph. Bartman friend Frank Murtha says that Bartman won't accept an offer of $25,000.
Really I just wanted a reason to post this:

Chicago Cub Bidders Down to 5; Cuban Makes the Cut

Less than a week ago the Cubs announced that it had accepted 10 bids to purchase the Chicago Cubs from Sam Zell and the Wrigley Co. It even had 20 bids to purchase Wrigley Field separate from the team. Today, the Cubs are saying only 5 of those bidders remain. And all 5 of the remaining bids are reported to be over $1 Billion dollars.

Among the original 1o bidders was presumed front-runner and Bud Selig cohort John Canning, Jr., chairman of the Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC. Today, Canning is not even in the running. Per the Sun-Times this morning, the Cubs have rejected Canning's group's offer. Assumed MLB nightmare Mark Cuban, however, is still in the running.

This, to me at least, is a very interesting development in this deal. What's up? Did Canning think he had this purhcase, sorry, in the Can and low-balled his offer? Does Canning think he has some sort of wink wink, nod nod agreement with Selig and MLB that would allow him to skate through this process? Are Zell and the Cubs calling a Canning bluff with his low-ball offer?

Also, is Mark Cuban really a legit potential purchaser of the club? Or is Cuban and his celebrity being used as a pawn against Canning and/or other potential purchasers to drive up the price?

The 5 remaining bidders will get access to what the Cubs are calling "the data room" where they get more info on the club and are able to revise their bids accordingly. (Sounds a lot more like the champagne room to me.) Those revised bids are expected in September.

Interesting development here. Don't think for a second that Towel Drills won't be here following this one for you through completion of the sale.

Minor League Movers

News on Alfonso Soriano and a few others, but not much movement within the organization with four 1st place teams and a 2nd place team.

Former MLBer Jim Brower elected free agency last week, using an opt-out provision in his contract. Brower, who had pitched in 17 games for the I-Cubs and had a 4.26 ERA, elected to sign with Houston's AAA team. In response, the Cubs called up Greg Reinhard for his third stint with Iowa. Reinhard has been equally effective between Tennessee and Iowa, having a 3.45 ERA at Iowa and a 3.72 ERA at Tennessee. The Cubs also promoted Micah Hoffpauir, leaving behind his .442 BA over the last 10 games to sit on the Cubs bench. The I-Cubs have not reported a corresponding move. But, of course, the big news is that the I-Cubs added Alfonso Soriano to their roster on a rehab stint. Sori went 1 for 3 with a strikeout last night.


Tennessee made two moves, both last Wednesday. First, they activated Dumas Garcia. Garcia's return will help the Smokies, as he has a 2.05 ERA and .125 batters against average in 22 innings of relief. The Smokies also received Grant Johnson from Daytona. Johnson, the Cubs first pick from 2004 (which came in the 2nd round), had been demoted to Daytona following his struggles at Tennessee, but fared no better as primarily a starter for the D-Cubs. On the year, Johnson has a combined 6.52 ERA and has given up 47 hits in just over 38 innings of work.


As reported in last week's ATAtM, Rich Hill was sent to Daytona as part of his rehab. That is the only transaction Daytona has made in the last week.


No Moves

Boise released Michael Bunton, a 23rd round pick from last year. In 8 games, Bunton had given up 16 earned runs. In his place, they called up Luke Sommer from Mesa. Sommer, a 30th round pick from last year, spent the offseason switching from outfield to pitching, and had only yielded one earned over 8 and a 1/3 at Mesa.

Why did we trade for this guy? He can't win a game...

Rich Harden has had two tries to get a win for the Chicago Cubs. Both times, he's failed. Last night, he lost an important game against a division leader while the two second place teams beat each other up. Is he ever going to help the Cubs?

Alright, enough being a smartass. Rich Harden's numbers have been ridiculous for the Cubs. While some of these numbers were mentioned during the broadcast last night, I thought I would give a summary of what his numbers have been with two games completed.

  • 12 and 1/3 innings pitched
  • 6 hits, 5 walks (good for a WHIP of 0.89)
  • One earned run (0.73 ERA)
  • 20 strikeouts (1.6 batters/inning)
  • .140 opponent's BA.

Draft Pick Signing Update

Last year, Cub fans were sweating until almost the deadline hour to see if the Cubs could sign top pick Josh Vitters. This year, the Cubs appear to have almost everything wrapped up, despite 25 days left before the signing deadline for draft picks. Let's take a look at where the Cubs stand...
  • The Cubs have signed a total of 29 of their 50 draft picks.
  • The top 10 picks and 20 of the top 21 have signed.
  • The lowest signed pick is Bob Brenly's son, Michael (36th round).
  • The lone unsigned prospect from the first 20 rounds is 10th rounder Alex Wilson, a right-handed pitcher. Some scouts say Wilson has a 1st-2nd round arm, but he underwent Tommy John surgery last July and didn't pitch this spring for Texas A&M. All indications are that he is expected to return to school to help his draft stock for next year.
  • The Boise Hawks currently have 15 draft picks on their roster, including supplemental 1st round pick Ryan Flaherty.
  • Ryne Sandberg's Peoria Chiefs have four 2008 draft picks; 7th rounder Luis Flores, 9th rounder Jay Jackson, 12th rounder Jake Optiz, and 25th rounder Rebel Ridling.

Top Draft Pick Performances to Date:

  • Josh Harrison (6th round)-hitting .356 for Boise with a .455 OBP and 11 stolen bases.
  • Jay Jackson (9th round)-2.38 ERA, 1-0 record, 16 K's in 11 and 1/3 innings since being promoted to Peoria.
  • Dan McDaniel (14th round)-No earned runs in 9 and 1/3 innings pitched, WHIP of 0.86, 16 K's at Boise.
  • Ryan Keedy (16th round)-hitting .304 for Boise with a .419 OBP. 18 RBI's in 32 games.
  • Jericho Jones (20th round)-hitting .448 with 4 HR's and 17 RBI's in 15 games for the Arizona Cubs. His OPS is 1.293.
  • Rebel Ridling (25th round)-hitting .333 between Boise and Peoria, with 6 HR's and 32 RBI's in 30 games.
  • Sean Hoorelbeke (33rd round)-hitting .390 with 17 RBI's and 17 runs in 17 games for the Arizona Cubs.