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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ex-Cub Updates

While galavanting around my one of my favorite blogs, which you should really go to, as Tim Dierkes does a great job updating on just about every trade/FA signing/release/waiver wire pickup and what have you, I noticed a couple updates about two former Cubs I've always liked- Jon Lieber and Matt Murton.
The news about Jon Lieber is that he is retiring after a 14 year major league career. During that time Lieber went 131-124 with a 4.27 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP, 1,553 K's and just 422 walks in 2,198 innings in 401 career games (327 starts). Lieber was the ace of the Cubs from 1999-2002 (which really says more about the lack of quality starting pitching than it does about Lieber's abilities) and had his best season in 2001 at 20-6 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.149 WHIP in 232.1 IP. Lieber was a workhorse in his years with the Cubs and pitched over 200 innings his first three seasons before an injury ended his 2002 season at 141.0 IP. After spending a few years with the Yankees and Phillies, Lieber came back to the Cubs last year, narrowly lost a spring training battle with Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster for a rotation spot, and then pitched in 26 games for the team, where he was fairly effective in long relief and had just one horrible start against the Reds before an injury in July effectively ended his season and his career. Fairwell, Jon, I'll always remember you as one of the few Cubs starters in my lifetime who Rarely walked people.

The next ex-Cub mention of note is this article by FanGraphs entitled Free Matt Murton, a condition I wholeheartedly endorse, as, up until his trade from the Cubs to the A's last summer (which I mistakenly believed would lead to more playing time for Matt), I had a wonderfully well done MS Paint picture (below) of that adorable redhead trapped behind bars that was captioned "Free Matt Murton" on the right side of the website.

I'm not one of those Cub fans who believed Matt Murton would be a superstar at the major league level (or Bob Brenly, who apparently thought Murton and Chad Tracy would comepete for a batting title someday...we'll just ignore everything wrong with that). I can't, however, understand how a guy with a .362 career OBP who is well capable of putting up an .800 OPS can't even stick as a fourth outfielder when there are players out there like Darin Erstad who pull down that job despite literally having been useless as a major leaguer since the year 2000. Someday I really hope Matt gets his chance to contribute to a major league team again.

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