6/6 Walk this way

The Cubs have tried to stress to Ryan Theriot the need to be more patient at the plate and take more walks. Lou Piniella has even joked that he’s going to take away the infielder’s car keys. But after Saturday’s game, Theriot said looking for walks is a “defensive” approach and doesn’t like it.

“It’s a defensive approach if you hit a lot of doubles and drive in a lot of runs,” Piniella said Sunday. “His job is to table set. He’s not hitting three, four, five in the lineup. His job is basically more of table setting than a table cleaning.”

Theriot’s on-base percentage has dipped each month, from .370 in April to .257 in May to .111 in June.

“You can make a lot of money with a high on-base percentage and scoring a lot of runs,” Piniella said. “That’s what teams are looking for. When they look for a player, the first thing they look at is what’s his role on the team? What’s his on-base percentage? How many runs does he score? Does he steal bases? Can he move the guy over, can he bunt? Those things make you money.”

A perfect example, Piniella said, is San Diego’s second baseman David Eckstein. His on-base percentage in April was .314, then .359 in May and .368 so far in June.

“I don’t look at it as a defensive thing,” Piniella said. “It’s putting a base runner on base. It’s making the pitcher throw more pitches. It’s giving your team on the bench an insight into the pitcher. What is he getting over? What is he not getting over? I think a walk is for your [Nos.] 1-2 hitters, [Nos.] 7-8 hitters. It turns the lineup over. It gets people on base.

“If that’s the way [Theriot] is looking at it, he’s looking at it the wrong way.”

— Carrie Muskat


Theriot can, and probably will hit, but his attitude appears to be what is pulling this team down. When Castro was called up, he got to keep a starting job, with an easier position for him to field, while Fontenot was benched through no fault of his own, yet it is Theriot who sulks, and practically tells Lou to stuff it when his lack of walks is pointed out to him. We have noticed that when Castro makes a nice play, Theriot gets a nasty look on his face. No matter what he or Lou says publically, it is apparent that Theriot resents Castro. For the morale of this team, it would be better to trade Theriot. I feel bad saying this, because last year I was a Theriot fan, but ever since he lost his arbitration, he has become a total jerk.

edelweiss, maybe you have some inside information regarding Theriot’s attitude that most of us are not privy to but didn’t Theriot seem to be having fun with himself when hi-fiving Pinella after he received an elusive walk? Also, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of “The Cubs” (whoever they may be) stressing to Theriot to take/get/buy/whatever more walks they stressed to Jim Hendry to do HIS job and actually recognize the team NEEDS a LEGITAMTE lead-off man and either draft/develope one or trade for one instead of year in and year out trading or signing outfielders that barely fill a need such as Soriano, Fukodome, Bradley and this year to some extent Byrd? Even though Byrd is a good hitter and a good fielder Hendry again missed filling the real void of a lead-off man. If Hendry did his job well Theriot’s lack of walks and on base percentage would be a moot point as he would probably be riding the bench or platooning with Fontenot at 2B. The burden is more on Hendry than Theriot or any other player asked to play a role they are not meant to play. The revolving door at the lead-off position is proof of this.

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