Must Win?

GAME 124 IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (60-63) @ COLORADO ROCKIES (46-77) COORS FIELD, 2:05 pm CDT, TV: WGN, KTVD
Jeff Francis, LHP
11-9, 5.80 ERA
104/55 K/BB, 19 HR in 141.0 IP
Greg Maddux, RHP
10-9, 4.40 ERA
101/28 K/BB, 21 HR in 163.2 IP
LF Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B Luis Gonzalez
2B #Neifi Perez CF * Cory Sullivan
1B Derrek Lee 1B *Todd Helton
3B Aramis Ramirez LF Matt Holliday
SS Nomar Garciaparra 3B Garrett Atkins
RF *Jeromy Burnitz RF Dustan Mohr
C Michael Barrett C #J.D. Closser
CF *Corey Patterson SS *Omar Quintanilla
P Greg Maddux P *Jeff Francis
Playoffs or not, we can take a series from the Rockies, right? The quest for 15 wins continues for Maddux, he needs 5 wins in 7-8 more starts. Go Maddux!!!
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Comments

To make sure the dead horse is beaten for the 800,000th time, it sure would be nice to have Murton in there against the southpaw instead of watching Patterson flail away. But hey, we need to have to have 12 pitchers, the redundancy, versatility and underwhelming hitting ability of jose macias, and the "hitting" ability of lefty hollandsworth.

Neifi!

Other fun facts, vs LHP:

Neifi: 290/317/490 (surprisingly effective)
Walker: 368/403/647

Guess who's starting at 2b?

Why have Murton up and starting when you can have a gamer like Kpat holding down the 8th spot in the order? Per today's trib, here's Kpat's take on his 1-pitch at-bat in the 7th inning yesterday:

"I just pretty much grounded out," Patterson said. "You usually go back to the at-bat before, almost the same pitch, and I lined it to third base. That's just how it goes, and so be it. It's just a game, you know?"
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

Sure is Kpat - why not take your un-deserving keister back to Iowa and have Murton take your spot on the roster? It's just a game after all?

Lets hope for an injury to Burny, Cpat, or Neifi so we can recall Murton. Nothing major hopefully maybe just a sprained ankle or a broken finger something that is minor but results in a DL stint so we can have Murton back. Who went 1 for 4 aganist Adam Wainright, who is a guy who will be a solid MLB pitcher, (and guess what Crunch he is a righty) while playing RF.

murton = championships.

dubois = more championships.

seriously, youre telling me about murton chifan but how about telling me something that matters.

2 weeks down isnt gonna sink the kid especially when he's got holes in his game to begin with.

murton isnt automatic and his game isnt complete.

tex fans didnt bitch about adrian gonzalez this much and philly fans didnt bitch about ryan howard this much...and they have legit beef.

its murton. and its 2 weeks...big deal.

I guess I missed the claim that Murton would lead us to a championship this year.

CP's "so be it, it's just a game" quote is stunning, even for him. Given all the time and energy and resources that this team has devoted to helping him, it shows a shocking lack of tact and perspective at the very least.

If I'm Gene Clines, Baker, Matthews, Hendry or countless others who have made it a personal priority to put this kid in a position to succeed, and I read this crap, I am done with him.

Crunch the Dubois situation is completely irrelevant. The fact is that Murton would be a good asset in a game like today against a lefty instead of letting corey continue to flail away. It's been quite obvious that the time in Iowa did not help Corey, and now that Hairston is back, why not send Patterson back down?

I agree that going down for 2 weeks isn't going to hurt Murton, but on the flipside it's not going to help him much either. And most importantly, for a team that is on the verge of elimination from the playoffs, keeping Murton on the farm hurts the teams ability to win

billy...see all the murton chat up top...in the posts below?

this is a guy who has barely hit his weight since he got hot in his first 1/2 of ab's then has done a lotta nothing...a lot of his hits are infield dribblers and smacks up the middle.

this is not murton's game...and his game vs. righties is horrid right now.

people wanna cut a player just to have murton around to face lefties for 10-15 ab's over the next 2 weeks insted of waiting 2 weeks and having your cake and eatting it, too.

if murton was 100% ready that'd be a different issue, but right now you got a hitter who cant pull who's being exploited inside by righties because of it.

its just not a big deal...he's not worth that much to the 05 cubs right now. but you'd think from some posts he's the cog that the cubs need more than anything.

people need to look beyond the #s and see how someone gets those #s...that's all.

murton's infield hits and inability to pull should be way more of a concern than cutting a player just to keep a guy around for 10-15ab's...esp. if its just for 2 weeks.

Want a Macias replacement anyone?

I hear Mark Bellhorn is available cheaply.

Crunch,

I didn't say Murton will lead us to championships all I said is we would be a better team if he was on the roster and one of Baker's boys Burny, Lawton, Holly, Neifi, and Macias wasn't.

bellhorn cant play 3rd...its why he was shifted to begin with.

he cant play 2nd very well either...yes, worse than macias in both.

sad, but true.

i'd rather have bellhorn's bat if he could use his glove...and that's sad, too. hehe

if you think murton is better than burn and lawton...i really dont know what to say.

think you should look at murton's game a bit more, maybe.

yeah, it'd be nice to have a left-handed bat specialist around, but well...its 2 weeks...not really that big of a deal for the guy.

Bellhorn plays at least as good a 2b as Macias, he gets on base at the same clip, and when he hits the ball he actually hits it with some authority. Boston fans were pleased with Bellhorn's defense

Macias range factor 2B: 5.03
Bellhorn 4.87 (5.07 this year)

Macias 3B: 2.79
Bellhorn: 2.54

I can't imagine Bellhorn's bat isn't enough to make up for that.

I'm not sure what this cubs team is worse at - getting a runner from 2b to 3b with no outs, or scoring a runner from 3b w/less than 2 outs.

"Bellhorn plays at least as good a 2b as Macias, he gets on base at the same clip"

Macias OBP: .310 (.302 career)
Bellhorn: .328 (.350 career, .378 last year)

I'd say there's a good chance Bellhorn does better than that this year and next. I'd love to have him around as a bench player.

The Cubs seem to get behind early on in SO MANY games...Then we have SO MANY opportuntities to score but we can't bring the players home...This team is very frustrating.

Bill completely agree with you, would much rather have Belly than Macias. Was just looking at this years numbers. Actually would rather have just about anyone over macias.

Alright...Neifi gets the leadoff double - we need to find a way to bring hime home with the 3-4-5 hitter coming up.

Unbelievable...

The Cubs are embarassing right now...The way we are playing today we would be getting blown away by The Cardinals, The Braves, The Astros, and the Phillies...The defense is not sharp and the Cubs just CAN NOT seem to get TIMELY HITTING...Dusty will you WAKE THIS TEAM UP...?

Ron Santo just said Rich Hill went 7 innings to get a win in his last game - only had one walk and 11 strike outs...Ron says if Rich Hill can be that dominating in AAA then it shouldn't be that hard to adjust to the big leagues.

Hariston leads off with a double and Neifi hits a home run AT THE RIGHT TIME...Lets build on this...;-)

I've never doubted you Neifi.

rich hill is still a 2-pitch guy no matter how well he does vs. stl's AAA'rs...

john gall and bo hart and crew...

im a fan, as a lotta people are, of seeing hill in the pen next year...at least until he gets that 3rd pitch.

If I were Dusty I would use Rich Hill out of Bullpen over Wellemeyer any day of the week.

right on, crunch. The pen won't look so bad next year with Demp, Wood, Williamson, Hill, Ohman, Weurtz, Meat-Tray/Welly

I know Wood wants to start again, but we can dream, right?

hill/novoa/ohman/wuertz/van buren...promising 06 crew to have around if nothing else.

unlike 05, hopefully there will be a dependable crew to help sort through the kids so there isnt a pen situation like this year.

amazing how everyone failed...its just illogical for the most part for everyone to fail except for 2-3 months of dumpster.

go f'n figure...

Nomar just had a VERY TIMELY base hit...The Cubs are finally building some momentum...It's 3-3 now...;-)

A 2 Run Homer from Burnitz...!! Where has this offense been...? Lets let this new trend be our friend...Way to go Cubs.

Why is Neifi playing 2B today and not Walker??

Oh I see....

Scott:
"Dusty will you WAKE THIS TEAM UP...?"

Guess he did, huh??? I think you give him to much power/control over hitters. But if you were blaming him for the early innings, you must give him praise for teh runs then, right?

"Why is Neifi playing 2B today and not Walker??

Oh I see...."

I can't figure out what this means???

billT, manny only looks at results, not process. that's that means. if neifi did well, it must have been the right decision. that's how manny thinks.

My point being, for one game it is not a big deal, just like today shows. But if he was starting neifi over Walker everyday or 2 out of 3 days, then I can understand the complaints.

Why can't maddux keep the ball DOWN????? He just gave up a 5-3 lead.

Holliday goes yard 5-5 now. I'm telling you be prepared for 8 gm losing streak number 3. Now that I say that Atkins homers to make 6-5 Rockies.

I can't believe that Maddux gave up 3 runs in the last inning...Now our offense needs to get busy again...The Cubs got 5 runs in the 5th so there's no reason we can't get a few more...this could be a high scoring game.

Patterson showing that you can't hide a bad hitter in the lineup. How many has he left on base this series. At some point Hendry needs to cut his losses this eyar and send him down for good or Baker needs to take his starting spot away and put hiarston out there.

people wanna cut a player just to have murton around to face lefties for 10-15 ab's over the next 2 weeks insted of waiting 2 weeks and having your cake and eatting it, too.

if murton was 100% ready that'd be a different issue, but right now you got a hitter who cant pull who's being exploited inside by righties because of it.

I don't agree at all that RHPs are exploiting Murton (or that you can tell that on so few ABs), but this misses the point:

For the next 10 games (at least), the Cubs are trying to make a dramatic push to get back in the WC race. For that push, who would you rather have sitting on your bench --

a. A guy who has MURDERED LHP, far better than anyone else on the bench and better than most of the starters; or

b. A no-hit utility guy who is outplayed in everything he does by Hairston, Perez, and others.

When it gets to the end of games and the opposition has a LHP on the mound, I'd rather see Murton come to the plate than Macias. That's something that can actually win games NOW, while the Cubs believe they are making a playoff push.

Case in point -- Last night:

Had Lee gotten a hit in the 9th, they would have had the tying runs on base with 2 outs against the LH closer Francis.

The on-deck hitter was Macias. Would you have wanted him in that situation, or Murton?

"I don't agree at all that RHPs are exploiting Murton"

then you must have not seen a single a/b murton's had vs. a righty.

and for all the glory you place on murton vs. lefties he hasnt been doing much vs. righties or lefties compared to his first 20 ab's...

he's not a savior...he's a prospect. a good one.

With the rest of today's results (PHI, HOU, WSH, and FLA wins), this has become a definite must win!

Piedra must be back on the juice.

Ok people the season is officially over. Stop trying to find ways this team can do this or that and still make the playoffs. This team is shit and i wrote the blog myself a few days back before the series even started saying they would lose 2 of 3 to colorado. St Lou and Houston were rivalry games, so you knew they would play with emotion. This goes to prove that Dusty can't get them to play everyday with any heart and most of these players need to go take there heartless asses elsewhere. See ya next year!

yeah, the season probally is over.

but...its not up to us...its up to the people sinking 10s of millions into the field product.

the cubs have some serious waiver decisions to make over the next 9 days before the post-season roster cutoff comes upon mlb. guys like lawton/burn could go...

Title of thread "Must Win?"

If the Cubs had won this game all the cheerleaders thinking this team was the hottest of all the wild card contenders would be saying "ABSOLUTELY"....

But now that they've lost they will say "No it isn't a must win"...there's still 6 weeks left in the season--plenty of time left....

Reality says the Must win games were 4 or 5 of the losses in the big losing streaks this year. Losing this game means nothing...the season was over in Philadelphia and New York this year...

cubfan...as of the time you typed that the game isnt even over.

Great point Cubfan. 2 8 game losing streaks and 1 7 game. Thats 23 games under .500 in just 3 losing streaks. 20 games over .500 in all other games. Go 11-12 in those 23 instead of 0-23 and they lead wild card by 6. Never seen anything like this in my years. A team with so much talent that can lose 8 straight just as fast as it can win 8 of 9. Which usually happens following one of the losing streaks. Dusty must go. Not all his fault, but apparentley he can't motivate this team. Dusty isn't a teacher thats why he likes veterans so he don't have to teach and can just let them do what they want, when they want and he thinks they know there mistakes cause they are veterans and he don't have to say anything to them. That tells me that Dusty has really no managerial skills, other than to get a verteran team and pretty much let it coach and police itself. Hell any of us could do that.

At least they didn't give up. Nice try at a comeback in the 9th.

Losing 2 of 3 @ COL??? UGH........

Colorados last 6 runs came on 2 out homers. Give me a freakin break. We suck azzzzz!!

That's all folks! Season's over!

The Cubs don't have what it takes (starting pitching, fundamentals) to put together a winning streak more than 3 wins, they needed to win every series remaining from here on out to have a long-shot chance to get to the WC.

How fitting that Todd "Big Mouth" Walker strikes out to end the Cubs' hopes.

cubfan...as of the time you typed that the game isnt even over.

When will you learn to listen to me crunch?

The season "technically" isn't over yet either...but it is....

Go ahead and rip me for projecting the Cubs don't make the playoffs before they are "mathematically" eliminated...you know as well as I do that they aren't making the playoffs and I am not willing to bet 2 dollars they even break .500 for the year.

Good news is we still hold a 3 game lead over the Reds.....but the bad news is Pittsburgh is finally in our rear-view mirror.

Two things became quit obivious today. First is that this is the last week of Dusty being manager. If there lucky they will go 1-5 on this home stand. Mike Quade will be brought up from AAA to manage the rest of the season. Hopefully they go after Terry Pendleton to manage the team in the offseason. Second is that Williamson will not be brought back for 06. Murton was 1 for 3 today with a walk. At AAA he is 2 for 7 with a walk and two stikeouts.

Chifan...

Don't get your hopes up. Dusty isn't going anyway...

Although he should be shown the door just like Mazzilli was fired in Baltimore....the Cubs, Jim Hendry, Andrew MacPhail and the Tribune Company are too pig headed to do it.

That or they are in fear of the race card being played if they fire him...

"If the Cubs had won this game"

"But now that they've lost"

i did listen.

or rather, read.

am i getting different text than you?

you posted a end-of-game summary 1 out and 5 minutes before the game actually ended.

your timestamp on the message tells it, too.

dont call me a fool when the evidence is in my face.

i think as walker K'd i heard Hawk Harrelson in the background...

THEY GONE!

besides...its no big deal...just dont call me out and tell me im wrong when its this obvious.

i can handle differing of opinions, i can handle being wrong, i can own up...but to try to shift that off as me being offbase and not reading what you wrote...now that is wrong.

hell dude, by the time i typed my reply to your post the game was STILL on with a guy on 3rd...

crunch,

Yes I did post it before the game ended...BUT just like this season...that game WAS over (the Cubs did end up losing just as I assumed).

This season is over (and YES I'm posting this 38 or 39 games early for the record so no one is confused by it)....The Cubs playoff chances were over in New York or Philadelphia...around that time and yet people try to concoct all sorts of miraculous ways the Cubs will pull this one out even though it is impossible. As you can see with 6 teams ahead of us and with so many of those teams playing each other in all but 4 of the remaining days of games...it is impossible to overcome each one of them.

And the fact the Cubs are in a position where they need to virtually win out the season (like what is the best winning streak ever by a VERY GREAT Cubs team anyway?)....just to be close at the end....leads me to make realistic statements that this season is over...and yes again for the record....I'm making this statement the third week in August.

Dusty didn't have Hairston "Hit and Run" today...Dusty doesn't like to play small ball...Yet, what Dusty is doing is clearly NOT WORKING...There is not excuse for losing a series to Colorado (a team about 30 games under .500)...Anyone think Matt Murton would have helped bring some runs home today...? Why are we holding Wellemeyer out in the Bullpen...?

tcr crap aside...and cubs stuff forward...the next 9 days should be interesting...will they just chalk it up or will they move burn/lawton/neifi/etc?

if anything of any value is to come to the team, it pretty much has to be done before the sept. postseason cutoff.

I'd like to see Hendry and MacPhail grow some balls for once in their life and can Dusty Baker OR go public and tell Dusty Baker he is free to negotiate a new contract with another team if he so desires.

If they don't do that then next year will be a lame duck year for Dusty.

I'm not so concerned with continuity in the manager's job as much as I'm concerned with it on the roster. With Baker, no team looks the same year after year...oh we will have a few familiar faces but just like 2003...who is left on this club besides Ramirez (who joined extremely late), Wood, Prior and Zambrano?

There is NO REASON to keep Lawton (he makes $7 Million/year and can't seem to hit well at all)...I think the Cubs can and will keep Neifi (who actually is a good utility player)...Neifi is very versatile and my hunch is that the Cubs will keep him...Burnitz seems to go on streaks (not sure what the Cubs will do with him)...I feel that one reason Patterson was elevated is that the Cubs want to market him...They hope he'll have a good September and then try to move him...And it is possible the Cubs would be better off without Patterson...Hendry needs to make some BIG MOVES in the off-season...That is very clear.

neifi probally needs to stick around if not just for garciappara's sake...and the fact he's a team leader of the infield.

burn/lawton have pretty much run their course as far as anyone can tell...they've filled their roles and like karros, they've filled it well enough for what they were asked and expected.

hopefully if they do decide to move, they wont get blocked for the sake of blocking...these newschool GMs love to block.

FWIW, Colorado is almost a .500 baseball team at Coors Field. They are truly terrible away from home, but aren't as easy a win at home as their overall W-L record would indicate. That said, Cubs realistically needed to sweep a series like this to have any shot.

I wonder when they will shut Woody down?

It's interesting, there appear to be 2 schools of thought in the Chicago media...

1. Lock Dusty up for a few more years and have continuity at the top for the first time in decades.

2. Fire his ass yesterday.

I am a fan of continuity but have seen enough to think Dusty's time with the Cubs is done. So I'm in the 2nd camp at the moment. But I still feel the filling the gaping holes in talent on the roster is far more important than whether Dusty is back or not.

"I still feel the filling the gaping holes in talent on the roster is far more important than whether Dusty is back or not."

amen.

love or hate dusty, there's WAY bigger problems than the lineup jockey.

dusty's contributions are barely a blip compared to what this pen, bench, and injuries have done.

go ahead and crunch the numbers...you will be a very sad cub fan.

seriously, as hard as it is...go look.

Has anyone seen thus website...?

http://www.firedustybaker.com/nucleus/

From the WGN Cubs Blog...

{...I'm looking at this differently than all you guys. It's not all about Patterson doing bad at the plate or Burnitz's slump. It's about the fundamental baseball which we are not accomplishing lately. We need a fast lead-off hitter to get on, possibly steal a bag, have the number two batter get him over and then give the 3 and 4 spots hitter's some RBI opprotunities. Not to mention the weak bull-pen. Maddux and Zambrano are our best pitchers and they only have 10 wins, with God only knows how many no decisions of possible wins given up. I'm all for the long-ball, but we need to manufacture more runs in different ways and keep the opposition to less runs than us.

Posted by Alan J. at August 21, 2005 04:53 PM...}

http://wgntv.trb.com/sports/custom/weblog/wgn...

Dusty should have hit for Patterson in the 7th...I like Bellhorn as a backup.

Former cub update:
Joe Borowski since signing with the TB Devilrays
16 Games
17 1/3 IP
6 Hits
0 Runs
4 Walks
7 K's

Wow!!!!!

Crunch & Manny,

I think Dusty needs to go. I have been saying this for almost 2 years now. He lacks the leadership & teaching skills a young team needs. I think there are many people that agree with me on this. I do NOT believe that simply firing Dusty will take care of all this teams problems. We have numerous holes in pitching, hitting, defence, training, player development etc. I think after letting Dusty screw with this team this season even forces accountablilty to be landed on Hendrey as well. Look at this lineup. Look at this bench. Look at this coach. The only thing that is worth a damn is the payroll. We have some SERIOUS holes to fill and I think we need to start with Dusty (and Hendry).

yeah..some people think dusty is an issue, some dont.

i could personally care less if Corky from "Life Goes On" is managing the team until we get the player issues taken care of.

to say he lacks leadership i think is a joke, cuz his players know their roles and support their "leader"...

i think if we wanna start fixing this team, dusty is a pretty minor problem in the scheme of this team.

this bullpen has lost this team a ton of games...this team has carried 4-6 .300 ob% guys all year...

i think people underestimate how bad this pen has been. there's only been 1 guy worth a damn there and he's only really had 2 effective months.

dusty isnt really screwing with the team cuz there's nothing to screw with...you got a buncha crap backing up short-sighted gambles that didnt work out on hendry's end.

this pen is sporting a 4.50 era and a 1.50 whip...

along with 23 losses....25 saves...23 losses.

now THAT is an issue...and its not how dusty is using them, its just what's there.

and as far as the bats go...this team has carried 1/3rd-1/2 of their bats with .300ob% all season at any given point.

that, also..is an issue..an avoidable one when going into this year we KNEW there were 3 no-hit-all-glove guys on the bench. it really stung with garciappara went down, walker missed 100-150ab's, cpat sucked, dubois/holly didnt click, and when anyone needed rest.

haha...franc (atl) just got his first walk...

intentional of course.

only took him 140ab's to get one...way to go meat.

"you got a buncha crap backing up short-sighted gambles that didnt work out on hendry's end."

Which says an awful lot to me considering that crap is the most expensive team in Cubs history.

Way to go, Jim.

I will give Baker that this was the worst Cubs team he has had. However this team had the 4th most talent on paper in the NL behind the FLA ATL and STL. Hendry added a lead-off man in Hairston that Baker did not use. He found a suitable replacement in Burny for Sosa. Hendry's vision of this pitching staff was Rusch as the 5th starter, Dempster as the closer, and Hawkins as the 8th inning guy. How many games did this team waste because of Hawkins blown saves? How many did they waste on Dempster starts instead of Rusch getting them? If Baker would have used Hairston as the lead-off guy, Dempster to close, and Rusch in the 5th starter this team would be in contention for the division.

BRIAN GILES IS THE ANSWER

BRIAN GILES IS THE ANSWER

BRIAN GILES IS THE ANSWER

he's a free agent at the end of the season. turns 35 in january. career 411 OBP, can play all three outfield positions and has tons of power as well

the only reason he's been overlooked the last few years is bc he plays in Petco. his road numbers this year are mindboggling:

459 OBP, 570 SL, 332 Avg, 54 walks, 8 HRs in 63 games.

the cubs need on base guys. we've seen that. they're 18th in the MLB in on base. this is why they're inconsistent

Brian Giles provides this answer. i would bat him 2nd in front of lee and ramirez since his power seems to have gone away in the last few years, and his onbase is otherworldly.

i don't know what he'll get signed for in this offseason, but this is a situation where hendry's fear of longer term contracts should not matter since i don't think anyone will sign him to 5 or more years, since he's already 35 by opening day.

if he gets signed to a deal of 7 mill per or less and it's not with the cubs, i'll light myself on fire.

if they get dunn instead via trade, that would be cool too. same idea, except you wouldn't have to give up big time prospects.

I think Hendry had a terrible year this year....but he was awesome the last 2 years...so I give him a bye. This next off season will be a real tet as he has tons of money to work with and a bunch of options to go with it.

i blame hendry for this bench...cuz this is something he should have learned in 04, honestly.

but as for the pen...who could have guessed 2 months of dempster and a few weeks of wood would be all the positive we have have had to show outta all those arms so far.

we dont have a single veteran from the season we started with still down there still...unless you wanna count rusch's time...unreal luck there.

that said, i still think hendry/mcphail is one of the strongest GM/pres combos around. and both have a world of pull between them when it comes to a legacy of respect all around baseball.

hendry did go out and sign a veteran reliever in 03 and 04. It backfired both times, Remmy and Hawkins

well, hendry better not do that again!

=p

still...to have all those arm fail is some rotten luck.

Green Latern I like your thinking Giles is what this team needs, however he wants to stay in SD and it will take alot of money to lure him out. What Hendry does with the OF will be interesting. I believe Murton will be given one corner OF spot. Pie's injury will most likely prevent him from taking the reigns at CF. Do you want to give Cpat anthor year which is unlikely. Internally that leaves us with Hairston. I think one of Hairston and Walker will be traded and the other will be the starting 2b. I could see him going after Preston Wilson. If its a 1/5 type deal I could live with it. He is a proven run producer and wouldn't be a bad no.5 hitter. Maybe he convinces Nomar to come back and play CF. What I would be interested in doing is a Dusty for Drew trade if LA wants him bad enough. We would most likely have to give up a player or two to make it happen. Then you get a rent-a-player in RF like Reggie Sanders. Yes, I know Drew has injury problems but he was healthy in 04 and that broken wrist he suffered this year I think is unfair to catagorize as him being injury prone. I mean most people would break their wrist after getting hit by a MLB fastball. in 07 under this plan Drew would go to RF and Pie would play CF.

yeah, the sad thing about san diego is when people get a taste of it they dont want to leave.

its heaven on earth if you can afford it.

esp. for the odd amount of people into golf now...seriously, golf...wtf is up with golf? =p

There's no way this team, as constructed, could have been managed to a 90 plus win season as a playoff contender. It doesn't matter who was at the helm.
Sure, Dusty didn't always put together the best lineup, but it still wouldn't have mattered more than maybe...maybe.. a couple of wins.

This team is so poorly constructed. Marginal to below average on defense, too many low OBP guys, unreliable bullpen , too many shakey starts in the rotation, throw in the injuries and the complete collapse by Corey and forget it. No way
they were going anywhere.

The Cubs need to tighten the infield defense by getting rid of Walker and Nomar and signing a SS with enough range to also cover some Ramierez ground. They need a 2nd base that can turn the DP and turn some of those outfield grounders into outs.
They need to start the season with a closer ( Dempster is fine) and a set rotation.
The entire OF needs a rework. Murton either gets a corner or is a roving backup.
Corey is not a MLB caliber player at this time so he should not be counted on for CF. Burnitz and his Ks and wild swings>>>gone. Lawton>>>gone.
We need to sign OBP, some speed and good defense.
The defense will protect the starting rotation which is the strong point of the team.

Dusty is blamed for much more than his share and I've been guilty of this as well.
But think about this team for a second.

DPs not turned, poor judgement, poor base running, errant throws, passed balls, constant failure to get runners in from 3rd, move runners or hit in the clutch. Mental errors over and over.
Failure to take the BB, work the count or wait for the right pitch to hit. So much impatience at the plate.
Then we have pitchers flaming out after 5-6 innings and a bullpen walking every other guy and throwing a fat one 0-2. Yada Yada.

Is all of this Dusty's fault? I don't think so.
The coaches' fault? Nope. Sure, a few things can rest at their feet. Mainly holding players accountable for this grotesque play.
But the fact is, these players are professionals making millions, not rookies, and should know how to play the game. But if they refuse to keep their head in the game and execute fundamentals they don't deserve to be playing and Dusty should have sat their butts. That I blame him for.

But bottom line, the pitching sucked, wrong mix of players and key injuries.
Bottom, bottom line, they're just not good enough.

Re Post 52 by Cubbynation: medoicre to bad teams go on long losing streaks, that's why they end up with at or sub.500 records. Baseball is not football, its not a matter of emotion and charging up the adrenal glands. It's a game of fierce, but relaxed concentration in the moment of play, which is very hard to sustain. All teams go hot and cold. But for the good teams the hot streaks last longer and the cold streaks are shorter. The Cubs go on these bad streaks because their offense is always mediocre and if Maddux, Zambrano, and Prior pitch bad games in the row, they have no safety net in the 4th and 5th starter spot or with a great offense to pick them up. The Cubs offense is mediocre because they are starting guys like Nefi, Lawton, Patterson, and Burnitz who playing (with the exception of Patterson) about at the levels they have established for themselves the last few years, which unfortunately ain't good enough. The Cubs have allowed more runs then they have scored, hence they have a losing record.

If the Cubs make more mental mistakes then most teams, that it is because management (and I believe Dusty has a lot of input on players Hendry gets, especially bench players) has collected a group of players that make more mental mistakes then average. Patterson is a walking mental mistake. It is also a group where Dusty's us a'gin them tactics of building team unity backfired in that they would get distracted from the point of winning games with side battles such as against Stone and Caray last year and with the fans this year. (Because of the talent fall off this year, this is more of an irritation then a factor in not making the playoffs. In 2004 those one or two games made all the difference. When you are seven games out and falling fast, it's pretty irrelevant.)

This team is then is where it is at on merit and talent. It is near the the top at talent at the corner infield positions and catcher, and two starter positions. But offensively the outfield is the worst in the NL, and defensively it is pretty bad anytime Lawton starts. I go along with much of what Green Lantern, CHIFAN, and Alex have said. Besides the outfield positions we have a SS to find as Garcippara cannot be relied on due to his fragility. SS now appears to have replaced 3rd base as the position which we are always trying fill.

Unless we trade for another 2b, baseman I would keep Walker. He has always been a sub-par defensive, good offense, 2b baseman. But Hairston's defense is not much better and his offense is worse. We already have four positions we have to upgrade (LF, CF, RF, and SS). Then you add a starter to the shopping list and this is a mediocre free agent crop at best, so I just don't like trying the Yankee solution to solve all these problems. We just don't have the budget that the Yankees have to bet and end up getting stuck with a lot of deadwood contracts. And its one thing the Cubs have shown, that with the exception of Sosa, they will not replace a player who is getting paid a lot of money with another player until that contract expires or is nearly expired. See Mo Alou, Remlinger, and Alec Gonzalez, etc.

Bad and good risks in the free agent market.

1. Bad risks - postion players over 30 getting 5 year contracts. Phil Rodgers wanted the Cubs to spend big bucks on Jim Thone in the winter 2002-03. It might have helped in 2003, but where would we be now. If Brian Giles is willing to sign a 2 year contract for around 10 million a year, great, sign him. If he wants 40 million for five years, I would have to say to him: good luck. Rafael Furcal at SS, problems and all, is still only 28 and still in his prime. He is probably worth 50 to 60 million over five years. If Nomar is willing to come back as the LF or RF, I would bring him back on a 2 year contract. If the Cubs spend big bucks on Furcal and a starter, and pick up another big contract via trade, I don't think they can afford Damon in CF who will get a 5 year 60 million dollar contract from someone (Yankees) and he will be 33 next year. So that leaves us Hairston as our caretaker CF with the hope that Pie develops into a star that Dusty can't keep out of the line-up. I really do not want to see Patterson, the offensive black hole, in the line-up any more, nor in a Cubs uniform.

2. Starting pitchers who have had only one good year. From Wayne Garland through Mike Hampton to Carl Pavano, the history of free agency is littered with foolish GMs (or owners) spending big bucks on one year wonders. Kevin Millwood may be overpriced this winter, but he has shown that he has had more good years then bad and that he stays healthier then most pitchers. A. J. Burnett I am a little more leary of.

3. Relief pitchers in general. Rarely are they worth the price given how up and down their performance is from year to year and how few innings they actually pitch.

The Cubs will also have to do a massive bench upgrade. All this with a farm system that appears a lot more empty of talent then was thought a year ago. So that does leave trades and free agency as probably the route the team will have to take to have a chance to win a championship in either 2006 or 2007 after which both Prior and Zambrano may leave as free agents and the Cubs rejoin Pittsburgh and Colorado as door mats in the NL.

I expect Dusty to come back (that contract thing the Trib has). If so, rookie position players are useless to him as role players. Either they are stars are they sit. So Murton, Cedeno, and Brandon Sing, etc., are only useful for what they can bring in trade as far as 2006 is concern. We will see if Dusty and Hendry are insane if they bring back the same bench they had this year (Nefi, Macias, Hollingsworth, and Hairston(or their like)) - the one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

You know what I dont get? Why in the hell would Nomar ever go to the OF? And why do people keep suggesting it as a possibility? It is not gonna happen, so stop thinking about it.

This is much like the rumors with Jeff Kent a few years ago. "If he doesn't play 3rd base for the Cubs then we don't want him."

Nomar and Kent both know they will always find a job at SS and 2nd base and get payed a fairly good salary. A move to the OF and they are not worth nearly as much. This is much the reason Alfonso Soriano refuses to move to the OF. He can get paid mega bucks at 2nd base, but in the OF he is just another mediocre talent and wont get paid nearly as much.

nomar wouldnt go to the outfield...his agent would have him off any team that wanted him to go there faster than an abused child at an unlicensed daycare.

...mostly for the reasons you gave.

this isnt the 60s anymore...i mean, we live in an era where a young blood like a.soriano can tell the YANKEES (not to mention texas) that he just will not play CF for them and guys like g.sheffield can say any team that might wanna trade for him he WILL 1/2 ass it on the field for them.

like it or not, baseball has to play to these egos and the only way to avoid them is...well...to avoid them.

if you want a bonds/sheff/soriano/etc. you gotta deal with the minor-to-major baggage that comes with them.

"its just manny being manny" is a cute saying around baseball recently...30 years ago what manny was/is doing would not be acceptable...

and no, no one can change this...you take it or leave it, someone's gonna take the baggage and the players know it.

btw...i dont really thing any of those players (besides bonds) are jerks.

besides...with nomar's gimpy crotch and his arm, he'd pretty much only be suited for LF.

"So Murton, Cedeno, and Brandon Sing, etc., are only useful for what they can bring in trade as far as 2006 is concern."

murton should be 06 ready once he learns to address his hitting issues...something which shouldnt be too difficult for a guy with his eye.

and at worst cedeno should be the backup SS...neifi will probally find a decent starting job for someone. SS is pretty thin and a guy who can not strike out 150 times while playing great D isnt exactly easy to come by...especially when you can spell at 2nd with defense just as solid. if neifi is back with the club the cubs either got a lucky bench player or something's gone really wrong in the garciappara area.

and sing's playing 1st/RF recently...read into that whatever you want to.

if youre really really adventurous with your predictions...luis montanez is also playing RF.

there seems to be some "feeling out" of who might be the next in-house RF'r for the cubs.

reguardless, both sing and mont. are most likely 07 candidates at best for seeing decent time.

I am not saying Murton, Sing, and Cedeno are useless, just useless if Dusty is managing the team next year. Dusty believes rookies need to sit and learn remember. And Dusty will be back per the Andy McPhail interview (reported in the Tribune and Daily Herald, although a little more critically in the Herald, naturally).

Nomar only received a one year offer from the Cubs this year and he has not been healthy for years. The diving he has to do at shortsop, and his diminished defensive skills at that position, means that he will have to find "a greater fool" for anything other than a one year contract if he insists on playing short. Of the teams contending this year, and likely to contend next year, which of them would consider Nomar an upgrade? (The Washington Nationals perhaps, but they are still on the hook for paying Christian Guzman 4 million a year for another 3 years - ouch!!) Hence, I hope, that he and his agent would think about moving to the outfield as a good career move at this time. All it is is a hope and an idea to talk about since the hot stove league has started early as I don't think this team is going to get to .500 this season. To bad we are not in the NL West.

I fully expect Baker and Hendry will be back and probably offered contract extensions. I can live with Hendry but I think Hendry needs to be the guy in charge and would be best suited with a manager he felt he had some control over.

Unless Hendry wants to get Baker....the absolute best player by a mile, Baker won't have all those 1st place seasons he had in SF. And if Hendry wants to get him the absolute best player by a mile...why would he pay Baker over 4 mil a year? ANY of the Cubs worst historic managers would have had success with the SF teams Baker managed.

I expect to see a new face in LF, RF, SS, 2B and bullpen positions next season. I think they will stick with Hairston leading off and playing CF (not that I like this...but just think they will go that route). Of course the new face at SS may very well be Neifi Perez...and there you can see this team sliding down hill very fast...in the same similar direction it took this year.

Cubfan:
"ANY of the Cubs worst historic managers would have had success with the SF teams Baker managed."

:)

Something interesting about the Mcphail interview he bascally said he likes Hendry and Hendry likes Baker. That leaves the question Does he like Baker? I would guess he does but that was a odd way to word it. I think 75 is the magic number for Baker being back. I can't see him coming back if they go 74-88 or worse. The only reason they traded Sosa was because of the public pressure to do so. They would not eat his contract until after the Cub Convention and everyone booed anything Sosa. The same pressure to trade Sosa will be put on to fire Baker if they play like a laughing stock the rest of the way. Cubfan if Neifi is the starting SS next year I give up on this team because he has proved he isn't a starting player. He his a good utilty guy and should be re-uped in that role.

"ANY of the Cubs worst historic managers would have had success with the SF teams Baker managed."

That's why the Dustbag is overrated. He was able to sit and wait for one of the Balco Bombers to bail him out on a daily basis.
"Wait for the big inning, dude... Barry will unclog these bases"

Jose Macias could get a rare start Monday, based on his .364 average (4-for-11) against Hudson, with a double, a triple and three RBIs augmenting his case.
from Cubs.com

Well here's Dusty's chance to show what a complete idiot he is. We can't start Murton or Cedeno or any young kid because of "limited sample size" but Carrie Muskrat is already priming us for the bad news that Maciass might start tonight because somewhere, some year he had one big game against Hudson. So apparently Maciass "owns" him. Yeah, right. Just one more excuse for Dustbuster to get his boyfriend in the game. Maybe Neifi will start too just so that he won't think that Dusty is playing favorites with Maciass.

He's not his boyfriend, Macias is Dusty's weed connection.

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