Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Reading is Fun-damental
2006-02-27 07:35
by Derek Smart

The Cubs signed Brian Boehringer to a minor league contract over the weekend in an attempt to add some insurance and minor league depth in the event it becomes necessary to switch out bullpen parts later in the year due to injuries or poor performance. At least, that's what he'd be used for on a team not run by Johnny B.

"He took a year off last year for some personal things with his family," Baker said. "He said his arm is good. The guy knows how to pitch and can throw darn near every day. He will never complain and was a pleasure to have on my team.

"He is looking for an opportunity, and that's what we are giving him. He's the only player I ever had who checks books out of the library in my office. This guy can read a book in about 15 minutes."

WANTED:  "Major League" reliever.  When asked if arm is in good shape, should answer "Yes."  Must enjoy reading, particularly speed reading.  Quietness and resignation to personal mediocrity a plus.

The bullpen currently shakes out with either three or four men being sure bets depending on who you believe, the agreed upon gentlemen of leisure being Dempster, Eyre, and Howry, with the supposed fourth being Scott Williamson (who I'd have to believe is a pretty sure thing). That leaves three spots (and, yes, there's no doubt in my mind that Dusty will go with a 12-man staff) for some combination of Todd Wellemeyer, Michael Wuertz, Will Ohman, Roberto Novoa, and now, Boehringer.

I'd think that Wuertz and Ohman, while not certainties, are the nearest to such a thing in that group, Wuertz because he's really been rather good most of the time, and Ohman because he also had a decent year last season, plus, I can't believe the club would break camp without a second lefty - not because it's actually necessary, but because I think they believe it is. That leaves a battle between Wellemeyer (out of options and a walk machine of late), Novoa (sometimes good, sometimes maddeningly inconsistent), and Boehringer (see above).

I think the club looked at the likelihood that Wellemeyer wouldn't make the club, leaving them compelled to deal him, and Novoa wouldn't be able to earn Dusty's trust while being better served by a more consistent workload in Iowa, and figured they'd best bring someone aboard who could be that worst pitcher on the team, safely transforming mere potential blowouts into full-fledged laughers in an inning or less.

Enter Mr. Boehringer, who with his personal history and love of literature should make the Wrigley Field bullpen a font of enlightened thought and intelligent discourse. Let us all welcome this new addition, The Librarian, and hope that he's much, much better than we have any right to expect.

2006-02-27 08:16:49
1.   ABC
I don't understand why you waste your time talking this much about a guy who signed to a minor league deal. He'll play a small part in the Cubs bullpen if he even makes it, which I believe is about as likely as you or I making the Cubs bullpen. There's no room for him except as an insurance plan and he's not that bad of a pitcher to be used in that situation.

Opening Day pitchers:


and Wood might be one of those 12 kicking Novoa to the curb.

Come to think of it, I just wasted a bunch of time replying to something that deserved no time in the first place.

2006-02-27 09:42:18
2.   Derek Smart

I'm sorry you feel that way. Obviously, my intent was not to waste your time, but rather to have a little fun with a minor roster move. To the extent that I didn't succeed in that goal for you, I'm very sorry, as much of the reason I do this is to entertain.

Again, my apologies that the post was not worth your while, and I hope if you do me the honor of returning to Cub Town, that you won't find it so again.

2006-02-27 10:18:04
3.   ABC
Most of what you discuss here is very good. I guess I just fail to understand why so much of "Cub Nation" gets their panties in a bunch over little moves like this one. My comment toward you was likely undeserved. I think I had read in multiple places about how bad this signing was and it's not that I think it's a good signing, it's that it's a minor league deal. Teams sign all kinds of guys to these types of deal this type of year. As Cubs fans, I think we have much more to worry about than a little signing like this. Just my opinion.

Ignoring the reasons for which he was apparently signed and why dusty is so enamored with him, can you honestly say this is a bad deal? He's been a ML pitcher who has performed adequately before who could provide some insurance. If this had been our main bullpen adquisition then I would be upset, but this is a guy, in reality, has very little chance of sticking with the ML Cubs for any period of time. If we're to believe that Wood will be healthy by, say, beginning of May and that Miller is shortly behind him, then there is barely room for Jerome Williams, let alone, Brian Boehringer.

2006-02-27 10:38:45
4.   Derek Smart
Really, it's not a big deal in and of itself, as you're right, once Wood and Miller join the club (assuming they do, and hopefully, with no one else hitting the DL), suddenly things are very crowded, and who knows where everyone winds up.

Indeed, if he is used as insurance, spending most of the year in Iowa waiting for an opportunity should someone get hurt or falter, then it's a perfectly reasonable deal.

However, with all the little chummy quotes from Dusty I do get concerned about him making the club for Opening Day, even though I think it should be Novoa's job to lose. Granted, I don't think they'll hand him anything - he'll have to get guys out in Catcus League play to have a shot - but I've become so used to this club turning decent ideas into bad ones by making unfortunate decisions at critical junctures, that I'm admittedly a little gunshy of moves like this.

2006-02-27 10:59:14
5.   ABC
Me personally, I don't mind the deal. I'm not a fan of Rich Hill and anything that keeps him out of the Cubs bullpen, John Koronka included, i'm in favor of.

I think Ohman and Wuertz have jobs with the Cubs. I don't see them losing them. Also, I think Dusty likes Novoa. He went to him quite often in the 8th inning last season and seemed to have a lot of faith in the guy.

Mostly, even if Boehringer made the club, he's not going to see action in important games. Between Williamson, Eyre, Howry and Dempster along with Ohman and Wuertz our bullpen should be pretty darn solid...on paper anyway. So, even if he makes the team, in order for him to get an inning of important work he'd have to show he's worth of it and he'll have to earn it.

Also, i don't think Jim Hendry will go to Boehringer before Novoa. Maybe I'm wrong here, but I tend to think our bullpen is settled.

I'm more worried about Glendon Rusch getting starts that should be Jerome Williams. That's my biggest concern heading into the 2006 season. Williams was our best pitcher down the stretch and, in my opinion, earned the 5th starters job regardless of what Rusch does in Spring Training. It seems silly to me to ignore the tremendous upside that Williams has over Rusch, but i'm afraid that's just what they'll do.

2006-02-27 11:44:20
6.   The Boar
I don't hate this deal, but I really don't see why it's necessary. I applauded loudly at the Miller signing, but was similarly puzzled by the Simontacchi deal. Let me count the number of pitchers that have thus far been mentioned as possibly making the Opening Day roster:


I understand that Jim Hendry decided his pitching pool was a bit thin last year, but isn't this a bit ridiculous? Considering I'm not even mentioning guys like Ryu, Koronka, and Bartosh, I just don't understand where all these pitchers are going to go.

2006-02-27 13:04:47
7.   rynox
I don't understand why you waste your time talking this much about a guy who signed to a minor league deal.

As a Cub fanatic (and I'm going to take the liberty of calling most of Cub Town's readers fanatics) I enjoy hearing about even the small moves and mulling over its implications, even if minor.

Also, let's not pretend that all of fanatics only care what happens in Chitown. I know personally I am interested in whats going on in Des Moines & Jackson as well.

2006-02-27 13:52:33
8.   ABC
I'm very interested in what happens in those places as well as Daytona, Peoria, and Boise.

Let me put it this way: Perhaps the tone of this post is a little unnecessary. It is, after all, a minor league deal. We did, after all, upgrade our bullpen significantly. And as I said, it's not necessarily this piece that got to me so much as it seems that too many Cubs fans get their panties in a bunch over the smallest detail.

2006-02-27 16:05:44
9.   hoyas
Personally, I thought the post was humorous.
2006-02-27 18:25:39
10.   The Real Neal
Something that doesn't seem to be registering with a lot of folks is the number of upper level pitchers the Cubs' system lost during the offseason.

We traded three of Iowa's starters for Pierre, traded Lester for a PYTBN and that guy who's arm is going to fly into the visitors' dugout one day to Boston. Plus Wellmeyer has probably got a 70% chance to be traded or picked up on waivers. We signed Simontacci but he's not going to pitch- the Cubs need some pitchers for Iowa.

No matter which 7 or so relievers start the season with the ML team - 2 of them are going to spend time on the DL and 1 more of them is going to go to Iowa for being bad - maybe you all are comfortable with Brownlie and Koronka coming up to replace them, but I don't mind a few more options. Is 'Bo' going to be Boom-Boom Hernandez circa 1984? No, but he it's not out of the realm of possiblity that he puts up a league-average 7th man performance.

PS Derek, comment on my Hackery post.

2006-02-28 20:57:52
11.   Marc Normandin
Personally, I enjoy reading about the little guys more than the well known ones.
2006-02-28 22:48:38
12.   Tom C

Funny as hell. Not to pounce on ABC, after all everyone has opinions, but you go on writing funny blurbs! Especially when they cement Dusty's reputation as a moron.....

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