Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lou Leaving, Hendry Holding, Bradley Beating

A few days ago, we learned that Lou Piniella would be surrendering his grip on the Cubs' helm. Shortly thereafter, Tom Ricketts made vague sounds and gestures of commitment toward Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Loyal Cubs Stats-ers know that Lou and I have had our differences. Namely, Lou seems deeply entrenched in the "old ways," the classical theories of management which emphasize batting average, ignore on-base percentage (not to mention wOBA), and overly-value near-intangibles such as clutch, grit, and facial hair.

However, Lou is: a leader of men, respected by almost any and every one who has played under him; an honored veteran of the game; a generally wise and apparently congenial individual (though apparently not mathematically or statistically inclined). I will, in these respects, be sad to see him go. I will also be sad if, in the wake of Lou's exodus, someone from the fabric of Dusty Baker, Bob Brenly, or Charlie Manual takes his seat. These managers make Sweet Lou look like Tom Tango.

There have been -- to say the least -- grumbles throughout the Cubdom (or, Cubdumb? I don't know which is more appropriate...). Many feel that if Jim Hendry stays through the winter -- or stays another day -- then the franchise is lost and Wrigleyville will finally be swallowed into the black hole of its own ominous cloaca. However likely the latter event is, I am really torn about a potential departure of Hendry. On one hand, he may have single-handedly destroyed one of his best pitcher because he does not seem to understand HR/FB rates, BABIP, or LOB%. On the other hand, his regime (namely Tim Wilken) is responsible for two separate renaissances of our minor league system. Moreover, even his some of his most disastrous free agent signings have been -- at least in some way -- defensible. The brain-trust at Another Cubs Blog has tackled this issue with greater depth and precision. Their findings may be summarized: It's complicated.

Yeah, he's not a stat-head like myself and those at ACB, but he is neither incompetent nor without a history of success. We can't evaluate Jim Hendry, as we are wont to do, based on this season alone. The year of our continued suffering 2010 is not a fair judge of Hendry, but neither is 2007 or 2008. I think he's somewhere in between.

In other news, the fine folks at Two Teams, One Cup recently broke the story that the ever-recalcitrant, ever-mercurial Milton Bradley was recently involved in an on-field altercation. This time, it seems he brought a posse with him:
Milton Bradley assaulted one of his teammates on the field last night.


No word yet if a suspension is coming.

2 comments:

  1. Lou has mentioned before that OBP is his favorite stat for what it's worth. I think he's much more stat-oriented than many believe. He's terrible at managing bullpens and always has been, but his teams get on base. It's interesting to note that of all the teams he's managed, the Rays and Cubs have been the only ones had trouble getting on base. There were years with the M's that they didn't reach base much, but most of the time they were in the top 3 or 4 in the AL.

    I've come to accept that the Cubs knew something about Zambrano that we didn't. He's gotten rocked all season long and really, if you go back to the end of the 2007 season, he hasn't been very good. What irritates me still is that they didn't just trade him in the offseason. Maybe they tried and nobody would take him though. I don't know, but it seems if they made an effort we'd have heard about it.

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  2. Good points about Lou. I've not heard that perspective of him before. I really hope we don't pursue a Joe Girardi-type, but instead snag someone from Joe Maddon's fold.

    I'm still not sold that Z is broken. I think he's just past his peak. Pitchers age inconsistently, and if we look at his xFIP and fastball speed while considering his LOB%, I think we see a guy who peaked early and has plateaued early (at around an xFIP of 4.20).

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