Rookies Everywhere!

GAME 42 PREVIEW HOUSTON ASTROS (15-28) at CHICAGO CUBS (19-22) Wrigley Field, 7.05pm CT, TV: CSN, Fox Sports SW
SP *Glendon Rusch SP *Wandy Rodriguez
CF Willy Taveras 2B Jerry Hairston
LF *Todd Self SS #Neifi Perez
2B Craig Biggio 1B Derrek Lee
1B #Lance Berkman 3B Aramis Ramirez
3B Morgan Ensberg RF *Jeromy Burnitz
RF Jason Lane LF Jason Dubois
SS Adam Everett CF *Corey Patterson
C Brad Ausmus C Michael Barrett
Pitcher's spot Pitcher's spot
They're like buses - you wait ages for one, and then two come along at once. Rookie opposition starters that is. Yesterday the Cubs got Brandon McCarthy, but they didn't manage to actually get to him. In fact, McCarthy was very impressive, striking out the first ever major league batter he faced (Hairston) and pitching a very solid five and a third innings before Guillen very cautiously lifted him. Today the Cubs get Wandy (yes, Wandy) Rodriguez, who starts in place of Andy Pettitte, and hopefully they'll at least give one of these two rookies a major league welcome to make them wish they'd never been promoted. Rodriguez doesn't have the same prospect calibre of McCarthy though, nowhere near - he's a 21, no, 25, er 26 year-old soft-tossing lefty out of Venezuela with a fastball, changeup, curveball arsenal that he throws for strikes, and at best he projects as the lefty out of the 'pen that makes up the numbers. He's going on just three days of rest and will be looking to end a five-game Houston losing streak. [Update] According to Bruce Levine at least, the Cubs are about to pull off a big trade, but that's all he's saying! Talk about keeping us on tenterhooks! Anyway, speculate away amongst yourselves. All I have to say is that I hope that Corey Patterson, whose name seems to be getting bandied around quite a bit, isn't involved. This is no time to give up on him. STARTING PITCHERS MONDAY
*Wandy RodriguezW/L IPERAHRBBKNotes
Last startL6.03.00119at Tucson (hitter's park)
20054-246.13.69716488 starts, all AAA
Career vs CubsMajor league debut today, on 3 days' rest too
VS
*Glendon RuschW/LIPERAHRBBKNotes
Last gameND 6.03.00067at Pirates
20052-131.02.90019233 starts
Career vs Astros4-587.03.8311356314 starts
TUESDAY
Roger ClemensW/L IPERAHRBBKNotes
Last startL6.03.00023vs Dbax
20053-263.01.29218639 starts
Career vs Cubs2-339.13.89312316 starts
VS
Sergio MitreW/LIPERAHRBBKNotes
Last gameW 6.00.00028vs Fresno (beat Matt Cain)
20053-445.04.60514378 starts
Career vs AstrosNever faced Astros before
WEDNESDAY
Brandon BackeW/L IPERAHRBBKNotes
Last startL7.06.43133at Rangers
20053-357.25.15616409 starts
Career vs Cubs1-117.05.8238163 starts
VS
Greg MadduxW/LIPERAHRBBKNotes
Last gameL 7.03.86101vs WSox
20052-254.24.12811349 starts
Career vs Astros25-9313.02.53187017942 starts
It's pretty staggering that Clemens can have a 1.29 ERA and his record only read 3-2. I just guess he doesn't know how to win games, always pitches just bad enough to lose. BULLPENS
ASTROSPitches Thrown
RestReliever5/225/215/205/195/18
0*John Franco11-1213-
1Mike Burns-38-2717
1Brad Lidge-6---
1Chad Harville-44--11
1Russ Springer-35---
2Dan Wheeler--1223-
3Chad Qualls---1112

CUBSPitches Thrown
RestReliever5/225/215/205/195/18
1LaTroy Hawkins-17--7
1*Cliff Bartosh-5--1
1Mike Wuertz-22--7
1*Will Ohman-5---
1Todd Wellemeyer-12---
2*Mike Remlinger-17---
2Joe Borowski-14---
4Ryan Dempster----13
Back to the eight-man pen it is. HITTERS (LAST 7 DAYS)
HitterAB+BBAVGOBPSLGNotes
Derrek Lee18353429765Lee? Hot? Never!
Jerry Hairston21381409524New ball magnet
Craig Biggio22318348545Old ball magnet
*Corey Patterson202633003167 K, ew!
Jason Dubois14154214386HR Sunday
Aramis Ramirez18133278133One day he'll hit
Just about every Astro besides Biggio
TRACK RECORDS (min. 15 AB + BB) AGAINST STARTERS
HitterPitcherAB+BBAVGOBPSLGNotes
Aramis RamirezRoger Clemens15538600769HR, 2 BB, just 1 K
Derrek LeeRoger Clemens184124447065 2B, just 2 K
#Lance BerkmanGreg Maddux154004008672 HR
*Jeromy BurnitzRoger Clemens223814097622 HR
Morgan Ensberg*Glendon Rusch194214216322 2B, 3B
Brad AusmusGreg Maddux393714364004 BB, just 3 K
*Ben GrieveRoger Clemens693003914672 HR, 9 BB, 18 K
Craig BiggioGreg Maddux1162943473671 HR
#Lance Berkman*Glendon Rusch28217357391HR, 5 BB, 3 K
#Jose Vizcaino*Glendon Rusch223003643002 BB, 2 K
Jerry HairstonRoger Clemens272503572923 BB
#Jose MaciasRoger Clemens16200294400HR!
Craig Biggio*Glendon Rusch412433332973B, 4 BB, 2 K
Brad Ausmus*Glendon Rusch24208240375HR
*Corey PattersonRoger Clemens191672111671 BB, 5 K
Michael BarrettRoger Clemens151331331332 H
#Jose VizcainoGreg Maddux301031291033 H, 1 BB, 7 K
AGAINST RELIEVERS
HitterPitcherAB+BBAVGOBPSLGNotes
#Lance BerkmanRyan Dempster333755458754 HR, 9 BB, 4 K !!!
Craig Biggio*Mike Remlinger15231333538HR
Craig BiggioRyan Dempster332333034672 HR
#Jose Vizcaino*Mike Remlinger153083753082 BB, 3 K
Brad AusmusRyan Dempster232612613913 2B, 0 BB, 6 K
Brad AusmusLaTroy Hawkins17188222188
LAST AND LEAST, THE NEIFI-O-METER!
Old Neifi--------------------------------------------------------------Babe Ruth
PAABH2B3BHRTBBBKHBPSFSHAVGOBPSLG
21719861101691918217308343460
* denotes left-hander, # denotes switch-hitter throughout
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Comments

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
Neifi Perez, SS
Derrek Lee, 1B
Jeromy Burnitz, RF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Jason Dubois, LF
Corey Patterson, CF
Michael Barrett, C
Glendon Rusch, P

Willy Taveras, CF
Todd Self, LF
Craig Biggio, 2B
Lance Berkman, 1B
Morgan Ensberg, 3B
Jason Lane, RF
Adam Everett, SS
Brad Ausmus, C
Wandy Rodriguez, P

That's only half my undying gratitude, crunch!

Oops, all good, you got the lot. Gracias Crunchy!

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/scoreboard

-check out the "preview" section of the game...usually has the lineups early

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/scoreboard

-when lineups are ready, "boxscore" link becomes active

...these 2 sites tend to battle for the early lineup report, sportsline usually gets it first.

The Astros are what, 2-19 on the road? God, the Cubs had better sweep....

Just heard 2 interesting pieces of news from the usually reliable Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000:

(1) The Cubs and Orioles are negotiating for a player to be added to the Sosa deal in light of Crouthers' retirement. The player will reportedly be of a caliber comparable to what Crouthers was expected to be. Apparently the Cubs and Orioles have been negotiating this for a month.

(2) The Cubs are in "serious discussions" with another NL team for a trade involving Patterson for a "proven hitter." Levine promised to name names tomorrow.

IENPW-
With Clemens going tomorrow vs. Mitre, I think winning 2 of 3 would be acceptable.

433-
Thanks for the info...

Patterson for a proven hitter in the NL, well that limits things a lot. It would HAVE to be a CF, so who could it be??? Andruw Jones????

If the Cubs trade Patterson, don't get real value in return and then promote Pie in his place, man, I'm going to be so pissed off.

How about Patterson and 2 top minor leaguers for Wagner and Lofton from Philly???

Why would anyone trade a proven hitter for Patterson?

How about no f'ing way, Manny? We chose Patterson over Lofton a year and a half ago for good reason. The biggest one being Lofton is about 621 years old and now past it. Billy Wagner meanwhile is under contract through just the end of the year, and extending him is going to cost a lot of money that's simply not worth it given his age and injury history.

Okay, I think we need a new thread for trade talk.

How about Patterson and 2 top minor leaguers for Wagner and Lofton from Philly???

That sounds like a trade that would lock up 2nd place this year and 4th place for the next 10.

JH:
"How about no f'ing way, Manny?"

Tell me how you really think about it, wow!!! Did someone spit in your tea today or take a bite out of you crumpet?? relax man, just throwing ome ideas out there. sheesh...

For what it's worth, Levine sounded very coy and very certain that the Patterson trade discussions were serious. It sounded like something was about to happen. He offered no details though, so who the hell knows; he rarely exaggerates though.

The skies are threatening around Wrigley by the way. How do you do a not-rain dance?

Manny, I wasn't getting at you. I just hate the idea of that trade. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Jh...cool
i thought you were jumping down my throat. I am just throwing out ideas to spark conversation. It is very interesting as who it could be. a little exciting...

Why is it that when talk of the Cubs turns to trading for or signing players I get a strange sense of impending doom and would generally prefer nothing happened at all?

Everyone who wants a closer--including the national sportswriters who think the Cubs would very easily trade Wood or Zambrano for Gagne have to be smoking crack.

Remember when the Cubs use to have closers who dominated?? Who set records for saves? Sutter, Smith, etc....problem was we used them too often in non-save situations just to get them work--why? Because we were never in enough games in the 8th or 9th inning because the game was lost already. The closer should be the LAST piece of the puzzle. If you can't consistently score runs to give you a lead a closer does you so little to win. Your closer ends up sitting or pitching just to get work instead of saving winning ballgames.

So, did Levine actually say it was a lefty bat being traded for? Because in the 6:15 update I heard, he did not specify.

I heard he also called back in and said Corey was not on the trading block.

Tenterhooks?

What's really scaring me is that there's also rumors that the Rockies may be moving Preston Wilson.

i am not certain patterson was specifically mentioned as the object of the trade. the only caveat i heard was that it was an "n.l." club. so the craving for huff and baez (sp?) may go un-fulfilled.

at this time, anyhow.

I was about to say the same thing, Harry.

Other possibility I suppose could be Mike Cameron. According to Rumor Central, Mike Cameron IS being shopped around.

Or maybe Matt Lawton (who frankly, to me, is the best of these 3)?

I don't know, I just hope it's neither of the first 2. Lawton maybe, he has an ability to lead off (.369 career OBP), with 15-20 homer pop. Plus, he's in a contract year and the Pirates are probably willing to deal.

8 strong innings from Rusch. Think Baker will go to Wellemeyer or try for another CG?

Re posts #24 and #26

What would likely RPs be if the deals are over Preston Wilson, Mike Cameron, or Matt Lawton?

Wilson -- BH Kim? Please, God, no. The Rockies bullpen is already depleted and does not have much to offer.

Mike Cameron -- Roberto Hernandez? That wouldn't be so bad. I think he is a useful arm to have this year, will not be a permanent fixture or contract drag. Mets would not mind taking on Hawkins's salary (but if LaTroy is paranoid now, just wait till he is on the back page of Newsday!)

Matt Lawton -- Jose Mesa, probably.

I'd value Cameron/Hernandez slightly higher than Lawton/Mesa, but not much. While I have seen the reports of the Mets wanting to trade Cameron, I don't know why they would do it. Victor Diaz was nothing special the second two weeks he played this season while Cameron's hurt.

I certainly hope that Remlinger or Hawkins will be part of any deal, if only to shed salary that can be re-invested next season.

God if it is any of the ones mentioned, I'd be ticked.

Here's to hoping it's for Abreu and Wagner (which it's not). It could be for Danny Graves and Griffey???? Maybe???

Just a thought, Burnitz could play CF or even (hopefully not) Pie. Perhaps it doesn't have to be a CF in return, though it would make sense for it to be an outfielder. It seems that it will probably be with the Phillies. Pat Burrell and Billy Wagner? Placido Polanco and Billy Wagner?

I think there's a pretty good chance its gonna end up being a trade with the Reds for Graves and someone else. The Reds just released him for making obscene gestures at fans during a game...maybe Hendry will pull off another A-Ram/Lofton-type trade..............

I think there's a pretty good chance its gonna end up being a trade with the Reds for Graves and someone else. The Reds just released him for making obscene gestures at fans during a game...maybe Hendry will pull off another A-Ram/Lofton-type trade..............

You're all just regurgitating message board b.s., and 75% of you haven't even heard what was reported in the first place. Don't bother unless you have.

You're all just regurgitating message board b.s....Don't bother unless you have.

You're obviously new here. Welcome to all-baseball.com!

BTW-we're getting Alfonseca back!! Hooray!

in unrelated news, Pie hit his 10th HR of the year.

mmmm...unrelated pie...

Some post-game thoughts:

A. The Astros have shown this year that they have an even more pathetic offense than the Cubs do

B. I firmly believe that Glendon Rusch has proven himself to be a solid #4 starter and should stay in the rotation for the rest of the year.

1 Prior
2 Zambrano
3 Wood (when healthy)
4 Rusch
5 Maddux

C. Dempster definitely has the mental makeup (but not necessarily the command) to close tight games. For now I think he will be a serviceable closer. Borowski and Hawkins getting back to "normal" should at least give us a decent bullpen once again.

D. A healthy and productive Todd Walker will be a HUGE boost to our offense. Man is this team in desperate need for run producers.

E. I have to send out some love to Jeromy Burnitz. I did not like his signing, but so far he has outproduced both Sammy Sosa and Aramis Ramirez (PECOTA is looking correct with their ARam decline prediction).

Pignatiello at AA last night - 9IP, 3H, 11K, No Decision. Great outing spoiled by a ND. He'd fit right in with the big club.

From the Trib:

"Manager Dusty Baker admitted the Cubs would have interest in Danny Graves, who was designated for assignment Monday by the Cincinnati Reds after allowing five runs Sunday to Cleveland and then making an obscene gesture to a fan after he was roundly booed."

This is more evidence that Dusty cannot run a bullpen. For some reason, he seems to think that there are a finite number of closers in the universe, and that a horrible one is superior to a created one.

If Hendry doesn't back Dusty away from this, we really have no hope.

I have no problem with picking up Graves if he is dirt cheap. He of course wouldn't be our closer, but he would be a fine addition to a bullpen, as a situational righty or 7th inning guy.

from the Sun-Times

"The Cubs have told Ryan Dempster that he will close games for the rest of the season. But Graves could be another option for the eighth and ninth innings, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild might be able to help him regain his form."

Larry Rothschild might be able to help him regain his form."

You might want to speak with Kerry Wood about how Rothschild has made him a better pitcher...you know..with his form and all.

This ought to be a warning red flag for Mr. Graves...although his career is self-admittedly in the tank and possibly ruined....the Cubs likely will seek him over developing a good closer.

Like I said...another Enrique Wilson type pickup...someone else's trash who was cut.

Personally, I think Graves is finished, though I wouldn't be opposed to signing him to a minor league deal to see if he can recover anything in Iowa. I *would* be opposed to trading actual talent for him.

That Griffey/Graves proposal is unimaginably horrible if it involves giving up Patterson. So're any of the rest of those proposals, really--Preston Wilson? Gack.

Don't forget that San Diego is looking for a defensive cf to cover the massive area at Petco. I'd would take Giles for sure but a typical Cubs move would land Klesko...now with Loretta hurt, how about Hairston and Cpat for Giles and ???

Sorry if this has been mentioned, but have the Cubs scheduled a press conference for today or is it just Bruce Levine saying he will have more details on the matter sometime today? Has Levine said when today he will divulge these details?

Over at GROTA they are speculating that we could still be getting Huff - but would have to part with Brain Dopirak in the process which I really don't like. This team isn't going to win this year - dealing like they will and winning 85 games at the expense of their top prospect is plain stupid.

"dealing like they will and winning 85 games at the expense of their top prospect is plain stupid." - Eric

On most of these deals I agree. But if you can get a .300 hitting OF in his 20s with power for an A ball first baseman not named Gehrig, I would not call that stupid. If God drops everything else Dopirak will be Huff in five or six years. Of course, you'd have to sign Huff.

Apologies to Mike C.

Graves could not be signed for a minor-deal without his consent after he clears waivers and is cut by the Reds. I believe that in doing so, he would have to forfeit the $4 M or so in termination pay the Reds would owe him. The CBA is far from clear on this point, there may be a pattern of practice that I am missing.

Signing Graves is contrary to all they have done this offseason to shed "attitude" problems. Graves has been a vocal thorn at Cincinnati for years. I don't see it happening.

I agree with JH that trading CPat now is premature. We need the upgrade in left field, flipping Corey for the other CFs mentioned does not add enough runs (if any) to matter.

Huff's ability to play 3B is an important factor, IMHO. ARam has to sit once a week, on those days now when Walker comes back, we will see Wilson. With Huff, you can put DuBois or Holly in the lineup those days. That roster flexibility is important when you have an oft-injured lineup and weak bench.

In an unrelated note, Brendan Harris hit his first HR last night for the Nats, a two-run pinch-hit shot .

I heard the report B. Levine gave last night and it frankly scared the sh*t out of me. He definitely mentioned C-Pat as the main figure in trade talks. And, Bruce - who I usually trust about as far as I can throw him - didn't sound coy; he sounded as if he heard something he wasn't supposed to and was going to spend the rest of his waking hours uncovering the truth.

Why does this organization continue to develop young players, get them to the majors then give up on them because they aren't HOF material at age 25? C-Pat has the ability to be an excellent, All-Star caliber player for 10-15 more years. What he needs is direction and coaching - something Dusty and his staff seem hellbent against giving. I've heard Dusty say many times to just let the "natural talent" play. C-Pat has proven he has the talent to be in MLB. Now he needs someone to help him develop that talent into results.

I don't want to hear that C-Pat is uncoachable. No one is uncoachable - it just takes the right motivation and the right person to bring it out. Why should we let this prize go for something most definitely older and closer to free agency? C-Pat should be a building block along with A-Ram, D-Lee, Z & Prior, not trade bait.

I'm in the "Don't Trade Corey" camp. At this point I don't see anyone available (inside or outside the organization) whom I would rather have in CF than Patterson.

"Why does this organization continue to develop young players, get them to the majors then give up on them because they aren't HOF material at age 25?" - Stanleykobeblue

Who? Choi? Because that's how the Cubs got Lee, one of your building blocks. Bobby Hill? Because that's how they got Ramirez, another of your building blocks. What player from the Cub system made it to the majors, was traded, and has done better than what they were traded for? Are you going back to Joe Carter? Billy Hatcher?

I'm not alarmed by how much the Cubs give away. I'm alarmed by how few of their position players make it to the majors and how few are worth keeping.

And don't forget Patterson's defensive value. If he is half the defensive CFer indicated by his UZR last season, he's worth more than a win per year defensively alone. Combine that with plus offense, and he's a valuable player. If he can maintain an OPS over .800, quite valuable, and that seems well within the realm of possiblity.

if we keep waiting for players to develop - the players who have already developed will end up leaving us in free agency. I am sure C Pat will be a great player one day but I am willing to let him go if we can get an incredible outfielder

Theo Epstein has been dying to get his paws on Patterson - Perhaps he's offering Manny to us and eat some of Manny's salary.

Manny and Johnny Damon? Wood and CPat and a few young arms?

Danny Graves is making $6.25 mil this season (with about $4.6 mil left after the first 1/4 season), and he will get that whether he gets traded or claimed off waivers, or is released. He also gets an additioal $500,000 if he gets traded, and he has a limited "no trade" clause (four teams to be designated annually). There also is a "mutual option" with no buy-out for 2006.

1. If the 10-day DFA period expires without Graves being claimed off waivers or traded, then Graves get released. If he decides to retire and/or sit out the rest of the 2005 season, then the Reds are liable for the rest of Graves' 2005 salary. But if he were to sign (as a free-agent) with another team, then the Reds would have to pay the balance of Graves' salary for 2005 minus the MLB minimum ($52,500 per month) which would be paid by Graves' new team.

2. If Graves gets claimed off waivers, then Graves' new team is responsible for the balance of Graves 2005 salary. The Reds are off the hook. (And that AIN'T gonna happen!).

3. If Graves clears waivers but then gets traded before the 10-day DFA period expires, then the new team can negotiate with the Reds over what players will be sent to the Reds for Graves and/or what percentage of Danny Graves' remaining 2005 salary each will pay.

At this point, I suspect Graves will get traded before the 10-day DFA period expires, and the Reds will pay perhaps half of Graves remsining 2005 salary (that is, half of about $4.5 mil) and maybe get a low-level prospect as part of the deal. But the bottom line is, the Reds will trade Graves to whatever team agrees to pick up the highest percentage of what remains of Graves 2005 salary.

It's also possible that D'Angelo Jimenez (the Reds starting 2B in 2003 & 2004 who was also DFA'd by the Reds a couple of days ago) might be part of any deal involving Graves, although it seems likely that (with the injury to Mark Loretta) Jimenez will be acquired by the Padres no matter what happens to Graves.

Personally, I don't want the Cubs to acquire Danny Graves unless he gets released and then agrees to sign a contract for the MLB minimum. That way, if he continues to struggle after joining the Cubs, he can be released without the Cubs losing a significant financal investment.

If the Cubs do acquire Graves in a trade (before he gets released), then I would want the Reds to take back Mike Remlinger and/or LaTroy Hawkins as part of the deal.

If the Cubs do acquire Graves in a trade (before he gets released), then I would want the Reds to take back Mike Remlinger and/or LaTroy Hawkins as part of the deal.

I still think both LaTroy and Mike are better pitchers at this both, and both are still more useful. LaTroy is at the bottom of his trade value, and it's up to Dusty to get him back to the pitcher he was the first half of last year (I think it's possible, and we all know it's not gonna happen if he were closing again).

I don't want to give up anything at all for Graves, not even a low level prospect. The only way Graves should be on the Cubs is if what retro-shiite says in #42. If the Cubs want him, he should prove himself in Iowa.

I agree Graves should probably be pitching AGAINST the Cubs (within our own division preferably) because this guy is at the rock bottom of his career and people have been lighting him up (and his ERA) for a few seasons now. I want Graves to be trades but to a competitor and not to the Cubs.

I like Patterson too, but it's silly to say we shouldn't trade him at all. Every guy has a price; it's only a bad deal if we wouldn't get better value in return. If the Mets were offering Pedro and Beltran for CP (salaries aside), it would be a good deal. CP for Griffey, on the other hand, would be a bad deal. There are a million deals in between, some of them good for the Cubs and some bad.

I have faith in Hendry's ability to get fair value in big deals (although I admit that some of that faith has eroded lately). I don't mind Patterson (or any other player, for that matter)being traded as long as the team is better off after the trade than before it.

Think of your most prized material possession -- one with little or no sentimental value (your car, house, shoes, whatever). You might say that you wouldn't sell it, but actually, you would for the right price. It's the same with Patterson, or even Prior for that matter. The price may not be achievable, but the point is that the price exists.

As I've posted recently here in another thread, I believe Corey Patterson is on "borrowed time" with the Cubs and will be traded just as soon as Felix Pie is ready, maybe even sooner if the Cubs can acquire a "bridge" (I had suggested Marlon Byrd as an example) to take them to Pie. For instance, Jeromy Burnitz started more games in CF than he did in RF last year in spacious Coors Field, and played more games in CF in 2005 than any other Colorado Rockie. So Burnitz COULD play CF if the Cubs were to trade Patterson and not get a CF back. But the bottom line is, C-Pat won't be a Cub after 2007 anyway (when he is a free-agent). Felix Pie--NOT Corey Patterson--is the Cubs CF of the future (and that'll be perhaps as early as 2006).

If the Cubs are supposed to get an outfielder AND a reliever (presumably a closer) back in a deal for C-Pat, then that sounds more like Washington (Brad Wilkerson and Chad Cordero for C-Pat and Wellemeyer or Wuertz, plus Marlon Byrd for Jason Dubois) than Cincinnati, although trading C-Pat to the Reds for Austin Kearns & Danny Graves would be a possibility, except Graves appears to be washed-up, and Jason Dubois can do anything Austin Kearns can do at this point.

Remember, the Cubs are better equipped than most teams to prepare a CARE package and "sweeten" any deal with a non-contender by including pitchers like Todd Wellemeyer, Jon Leicester, Will Ohman, Sergio Mitre, or Angel Guzmamn (all of whom will be out of options next Spring Training), and the Cubs could even include another prospect (like Nolasco, Brownlie, Ryu, or Marshall) in such a deal if necessary.

Lets not forget that Vince Coleman has dubbed Pie as the "Michael Jordan of Baseball".

433--
"I like Patterson too, but it's silly to say we shouldn't trade him at all."

At this point, if the Cubs trade Corey, it counts as selling low (because I still believe he'll break out). Of course trades exist whereby the Cubs would be able to get good value for Corey, if someone paid as though they were as confident as I am that he'll break out, but I don't see that as being particularly likely. Neither would I see that as "giving up on him", and it's that that I'm really opposed to, not trading him.

AZ Phil, excellent posts, once again. A couple questions, as you know the transaction rules better than I:

1. If another club does pick up Graves on waivers, it is my understanding of XIX(A)(2)(c) of the CBA that Graves does not have to accept that assignment and elect free agency. But if he does so, he would "forfeit" his termination pay from the Reds. Correct? (that provision was the source of my misunderstanding in poat #47).

2. Where does the 10-day period come from? In the Uniform Player Contract, I see a 2 business day waiver period, five (presumably calendary) days for Graves to accept any assignment, and in XIX of the CBA I see 4-day (in-season) notice period (notice of intent to place him on waivers for purpose of his release) that the team must give Graves, followed by 3-days for Graves to make an election of free agency.

3. Regarding termination pay, Article IX(F) provides that the amount the Reds owe Graves could be reduced if Graves rejects a "reasonable Major League Contract offer[]" by the amount of that offer. Do you know if this has ever occurred? (E.g., what if Graves says, "I'm Danny Graves, I'm not signing for the minimum." If this happens, he could sit out the season, still collect over $4 million from the Reds and only have that reduced by $52,500 per month.) Of course, if Danny Graves still wants to have a career, he'd take the minimum.

John Hill --

I think we are on the same page -- the disagreement would be over the value we assign to Patterson. If you think he is undervalued on the trade market now, then you should rightly fear a trade that involves him because the chances are great that we wouldn't get what you perceive to be fair value. I happen to think that the CP we see now is a pretty good player, but is is as good as this guy is going to get; I don't believe that at his age (and with his professed stubborn approach to hitting) he can learn not to chase bad balls and swing for the fences.

So, I wouldn't mind seeing him traded to a team with a GM and coaches with a superiority complex who (like a woman drawn to "bad boys" or the incarcerated) believes "I can change him." A team fitting that profile might overpay for him.

I suppose that what I just said boils down to this: if you think he is good, you should be afraid of a trade; if you think he is not so good, you should welcome a trade. Much like the rest of my day, I had started out with what felt like a complex thought but instead was really somewhere around the 5th grade level...

If the Cubs are supposed to get an outfielder AND a reliever (presumably a closer) back in a deal for C-Pat, then that sounds more like Washington (Brad Wilkerson and Chad Cordero for C-Pat and Wellemeyer or Wuertz, plus Marlon Byrd for Jason Dubois) than Cincinnati, although trading C-Pat to the Reds for Austin Kearns & Danny Graves would be a possibility, except Graves appears to be washed-up, and Jason Dubois can do anything Austin Kearns can do at this point.

I'm wondering about Kearns too. I think it would almost amount to a challenge trade. Kearns has been struggling this year, and has had some injury problems in the past. I like him, and think he can be better. I could go for that trade (unfortunately it would include Graves). I don't see the Washington working; IIRC, they wanted Sosa, but wanted the Cubs to pay the entire salary AND add prospects (good ones) to get Wilkerson back. And I'm not sure why they'd trade Cordero unless they were getting a lot in return.

If Kearns were the target, I'd see him taking over RF with Burnitz sliding over to CF. I think 2006 might be too soon for Pie-this is really the first year he's had this much success. I think Patterson was rushed, and I don't want that to happen again.

Re #59 and Wilkerson/Cordero idea,

Wilky has been injured the last few days with an "ulnar nerve irritation" in his forearm, they're not expecting him to play for about a week. And the Nats feel now that they don't necessarily need a CF, having just traded for Marlon Byrd (a good trade, too, ditching Endy Chavez to the Phils for Byrd). If the Nats move Wilkerson, I believe it would be for starting pitching. Wilkerson won't get overly expensive until 2007, so unless the Cubs overwhelm Bowden, I think he is better served by waiting it out. But it has been over a week since Bowden's last trade, and Wilkerson is their most-marketable commodity.

has anyone heard anything from bruce levine today or anything on the sportscenter updates?

TOM WROTE:

1. If another club does pick up Graves on waivers, it is my understanding of XIX(A)(2)(c) of the CBA that Graves does not have to accept that assignment and elect free agency. But if he does so, he would "forfeit" his termination pay from the Reds. Correct? (that provision was the source of my misunderstanding in poat #47).

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TOM: That's correct. If Graves refuses to accept a move to another club via waivers or trade (as long as it's not one of the four clubs to whom he has a "no trade" refusal option), he is a 100% free-agent and the Reds and the team that claims or acquires him owe him nothing. If he was Eric Gagnem, that would be a good move, because he could make a lot more money as a free-agent. But there is no way Danny Graves would be able to get a $6 mil+ deal on the open market right now. To get the remaining salary due him from his 2005 contract, he needs to go wherever he's wanted.

TOM WROTE: Where does the 10-day period come from? In the Uniform Player Contract, I see a 2 business day waiver period, five (presumably calendary) days for Graves to accept any assignment, and in XIX of the CBA I see 4-day (in-season) notice period (notice of intent to place him on waivers for purpose of his release) that the team must give Graves, followed by 3-days for Graves to make an election of free agency.

TOM: Good questioo. I don't know where that "so-and-so has ten days to trade, release, or send Player X outright to the minors" comes from.

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TOM WROTE: 3. Regarding termination pay, Article IX(F) provides that the amount the Reds owe Graves could be reduced if Graves rejects a "reasonable Major League Contract offer[]" by the amount of that offer. Do you know if this has ever occurred? (E.g., what if Graves says, "I'm Danny Graves, I'm not signing for the minimum." If this happens, he could sit out the season, still collect over $4 million from the Reds and only have that reduced by $52,500 per month.) Of course, if Danny Graves still wants to have a career, he'd take the minimum.

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TOM: There is no reason for any team to offer Graves (if he is released) more than the MLB minimum unless it would take Graves' salary over $6.25 mil, which isn't going to happen. Once he is released by the Reds (if he isn't traded or claimed off waivers), Graves would be able to pick where he wants to play, but it's not going to get him more money than what he is already getting this year. Being a free-agent might get him a 2006 contract, though, but that wouldn't affect the Reds liability in 2005.

Any player who clears waivers without being claimed and who isn't worth enough that even one team is willing to offer cash or players to get him in a trade probably isn't going to get a really top drawer contract once he is a free-agent anyway.

Thanks for the response, Arizona Phil! I have to think that the 10-day period relates to some summation of these 4-day and 3-day intervals that are scattered throughout the CBA and UPC (although sometimes they seem contradictatory to me). While the team has to give a veteran player advance notice that they are putting him on waivers, they are under no obligation to us when they intend to do so!

Let's say that I have mixed emotions about Corey possibly getting traded. I definitley wouldn't want to see him traded for a lesser player like Cliff Floyd. Corey is a player with a lot of "potential", and that's exactly what it is. Felix Pie has a much better arm & glove and is the future of this organization in CF. But as far as Corey goes, he has consistently shown that he cannot hit the high fastball but yet he continues to swing away at them; he has lead off man speed but to this point of the season he only has 4 stolen bases?!?!?! Anytime your 6ft5 first baseman is leading your team in SB's that's a problem. By the way, Corey's career OBP.303. Corey's lack of discipline at the plate kills the Cubs in the worst kind of way, he's never getting on, stealing bases, which is a detriment to a team that has problems manufacturing runs.

Upside is not a reason to keep somebody around when you have far superior guys waiting in the wings(Pie). This cub needs help now, a proven bat along the lines of Andrew Jones and a closer the likes of Billy Wagner would greatly help this team out. Even entertaining thoughts of picking up Danny Graves is an insult, he's not a dominating closer which is what we need.

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