Reader dcf (he of the Ron Santo for the Hall pieces from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years
The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.
With Derrek Lee's departure to the South and front running Braves, the Cubs lost one of their finest players over the last 30 years. But just how fine was he?
I think we can agree that since 1980 (arbitrary cutoff by me, live with it) that Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are your top two Cubs depending on how much you want to dock Sosa for his alleged indiscretions. That leaves a quartet of Cubs vying for spots 3-7 among position players: Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.
Let's go to the HTML table:
Yeeechhh! That was nasty.
Wednesday night at Wrigley, the Cubs spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead, squandered opportunities to get the game close or even, then did get the game close, failed to get it closer, and lost.
Here's a professional summary of the 8-5 defeat, which was interrupted by an 18-minute power outage in the fourth inning.
Some quick thoughts...
— Tom Gorzelanny struggled with his command from the outset and all in all, pitched just poorly enough to provide some public relations cover to Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella in the next few days, when, I'm thinking, they will officially yank the lefty from the rotation in favor of Carlos Zambrano.
The Cubs beat the Dodgers, 3-0, on Tuesday night as Ryan Dempster outdueled Clayton Kershaw. Derrek Lee had a single, double, and two-run homer, and drove in all three Cub runs.
It was Dempster's first victory since April 23rd, Lee's first three-RBI game since April 16th, and his first three-hit game since the fourth game of the season way, way, way back on April 9th.
Derrek Lee crushed a two-run double, Aramis Ramirez and Tyler Colvin had two hits a piece (and Colvin also stole a base and scored two runs), and Ryan Dempster threw five innings of shutout ball before tiring in the 6th, as the Cubs and Royals played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League action at Surprise Stadium this afternoon.
Pablo Sandoval cranked a grand slam HR into the visitor's (upper) bullpen beyond the RF fence to cap a five-run third, and Jonathan Sanchez threw three shutout innings, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League action under partly cloudy skies at cool & breezy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.
Joe Inglett clubbed a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the 9th, as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame an early 3-0 deficit and defeated the Cubs 5-3 in Cactus League action at cold and rainy Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.
The start of the game was delayed almost an hour as a noon-time downpour flooded HoHoKam Park. But the rain did stop, and the dark clouds gradually broke apart, even allowing the sun to shine through by mid-game.
Tyler Colvin went 3-3 with two doubles and a solo HR, Derrek Lee and Marlon Byrd singled and homered, Sam Fuld blasted a two-run home run, Brad Snyder ripped a 450+ foot solo HR, Kosuke Fukudome doubled and singled, Starlin Castro tripled, and five Cubs pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter, as the Cubs drubbed the Oakland A's 9-3 in front of 7,496 fans at the 2010 Cubs Cactus League Opener at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & breezy Mesa this afternoon.
From the Daily Herald:
"I don't think that was our problem last year," Lee said of bad chemistry. "I just think we didn't play good baseball, and the injuries mounted up on us."
Woah, Woah, Woah! Slow down there, Derrek! I realized you were one of the last team members to make it to Arizona so you might have missed the welcome packet, but please take a look at it, particularly page three on "Talking to the Media" and the subsection on "Discussing 2009":