Soriano angry will Piniella

Cubs left fielder (if you can even call him that with the nightly circus routine he usually puts on out there) Alfonso Soriano is hopping mad with manager Lou Piniella after the skipper sat him for the third time in eight in eight games Wednesday night.

“That’s why I’m mad,” Soriano said. “If he had told me yesterday, then I wouldn’t come today ready to play.”

Piniella typically gives Soriano a heads-up when he will get a day off but declined to do so this time.

“That’s a surprise to me today,” Soriano said. “I think he could have said to me last night, ‘OK, take a day off,’ especially because [Thursday] is an off day. I’d be like, ‘OK, I’ll take the two [days].’ But I like to know before I come here.”

Soriano, hitting .182 over his last 40 games, said his knee pain isn’t enough to prevent him from playing.

“I can play,” he said. “If I can play, it’s not bothering me. It bothers me if I’m not playing though.”

Asked if he would talk to Piniella about his complaint, Soriano simply replied: “No.”

Considering he’s hitting a buck eighty two over his last 40 games and is a liability defensively, Soriano doesn’t have much of a compliant here. And I found it laughable when he suggested that he wouldn’t come ready to play if he knew he was going to sit.

Hey Alfonso, the Cubs (over)pay you millions of dollars every year. How about showing up ready to play everyday, regardless of whether or not you’re in the starting lineup? Is that too much to ask?

Piniella is really working with a couple of clowns on this team. He must go home every night and punch a fresh hole through the wall of his garage.

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Ten infuriating MLB players to watch

Whether it’s that reliever that always seems to blow tight games in late innings, that batter that leaves runners on the bases, or that starter that walks seven batters an inning, every team has at least one player that as a fan, you’d rather set your eyelids on fire than watch trot onto the field for just one more inning.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 infuriating, punch-a-hole-through-your-wall MLB players to watch. Granted, this list is by no means all-inclusive (and I implore you the reader to list the guys that drive you nuts in the comments section). But these are the 10 that seem to make my blood boil on a consistent basis, whether they’re playing for my favorite team or not.

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Has Lou Piniella lost his fire?

…that’s what some Cubs fans believe, although Sweet Lou says he’s just more in control now.

“I still have fire,” he said Thursday morning in an interview with the Tribune, hours before the Cubs’ 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers. “It’s more under control. The amazing thing is when I was younger and I showed it more, then I’d be criticized at times, ‘This guy is showing too much [fire].’

“I understand this business. I’ve been in it a long time, and the bottom line is you have to win. It doesn’t matter if you have fire, no fire, passion, no passion, stupidity, smartness … all of these things don’t even come into the equation. What comes into the equation — for the fans, for the organization, for the people watching — is you either win or you lose. It’s a simple thing.

“I’m doing the best I can. That’s all I can do. Last year we won 97 games and I was the manager of the year in the National League. And all of a sudden this year, I don’t have any fire? That’s why we’re not winning?

“I don’t buy that at all.”

Everyone do themselves a favor and re-read that second quote by Piniella – the one about winning and losing, because he hits the nail on the head. Fans want to see their teams win – period. If the team is losing, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors aren’t doing enough. If the team is winning, then the manager, general manager and hot dog vendors are the best manager, general manager and hot dog vendors this world has ever seen.

Fans who watch their teams on a nightly basis aren’t stupid – they know what’s going on and they have a good grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of their team. But in general, most fans are irrational and they lose site of the bigger picture when their team starts to lose.

Piniella hasn’t lost his fire – the Cubs simply can’t hit right now. Lou kicking dirt on an umpire isn’t going to make Aramis Ramirez healthy again and it’s not going to help Alfonso Soriano cut down on the strikeouts or Derrek Lee not hit into any double plays. If a team needs a fire lit under their ass, then Piniella is the one manager you’d pick to do that. But there’s not much he can do right now with the suckhole that the Cubs’ offense is currently in.

Cubs eyeing Pedro Martinez?

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs sent a scout to watch Pedro Martinez work out in the Dominican Republic and are considering signing the veteran right-hander to add to their rotation. Apparently the Rays are another team that has shown interest in Martinez.

Unless Martinez can hit with runners in scoring position, I don’t see how he could have an immediate impact for the Cubs. Starting pitching isn’t the problem right now for Chicago – offense is. And while adding another arm to a rotation that features the oft-injured Rich Harden isn’t a bad idea, I’m a little surprised the Cubs aren’t popping up in more trade rumors involving bats.

Right now the Cubs are either in denial about their offensive woes or they’re just being extremely patient. Aramis Ramirez (shoulder) should come off the DL soon, which will certainly help, but if the club is simply holding out for players like Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto to catch fire, then they could be waiting awhile. (It would be nice if Milton Bradley resembled a baseball player once in awhile, too.)

There are worse ideas than the Cubs adding a healthy Martinez to their starting rotation. But I wonder if this is just the club’s way of trying to appease the fans after failing to trade for Jake Peavy and not an attempt to turn things around. Because if the Cubs were really trying to address needs, then they’d be concentrating on adding bats right now – not arms.

2009 MLB Preview: #4 Chicago Cubs

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Offseason Movement: The Cubs were seemingly hosed by the Indians in a trade that sent ultra-utility player Mark DeRosa to Cleveland in exchange for minor league pitching prospects Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub, none of which were viewed as top 10 prospects in the Tribe’s organization. But maybe one of those youngsters will emerge as a quality arm down the road and DeRosa’s contract does expire at the end of the season so at least the Cubs got something for him. Chicago also added volatile outfielder Milton Bradley, reliever Kevin Gregg and pitcher Aaron Heilman, who will move to the bullpen after losing out to Sean Marshall this spring for the Cubs’ fifth spot in the rotation.

Top Prospect: Josh Vitters, 3B
This club is loaded with quality prospects, including reliever Jeff Samardzija, shortstop Ryan Flaherty and outfielder Tyler Colvin. But Vitters appears to be the best of group, with his excellent plate approach, outstanding hand-eye coordination and natural swing. Thus far in Single-A, Vitters is hitting .357 and slugging .529 in 70 at bats. At only 19, he still has a ways to go before he’ll make his big league debut, but Vitters appears to have quite a future ahead of him.

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