Baseball America’s Year End Review

Baseball America has gotten around to summing up the past season in the minors. For each league, they ranked the top 20 prospects in terms of major league longevity and impact. Here's a recap of all things Cubs I could find for your reading enjoyment in these dark days. Arizona League (AZL Cubs RL): #1 Mark Pawelek Chat Wrap with Allan Simpson No discussion on any Cubs players but there's a note that Pawelek was the only first rounder in the entire league. Northwest League (Boise Hawks SS A): #2 Donald Veal #20 Mark Reed Chat Wrap with Will Kimmey † Q:†Russ from NY asks: Fastest to the Majors: [Shane] Lindsay (Rockies) or [Donald]Veal? Will Kimmey: I'll take Lindsay. He's a bit more consistent already, he dominated more and the Rockies have a greater need for starters than do the Cubs organizationally. But I'd take Veal as a major leaguer simply because Coors keeps chewing up and spitting out arms like nobody's business. My point here is don't add Lindsay to the roster of your super-deep fantasy league, if that's part of the rationale behind this question. -- Q:†Navin from Los Angeles asks: Were there any other Hawks close to making the list, such as Darin Downs or Jesus Yepez? Will Kimmey: Downs, a lefthander with an upper-80s fastball and solid curveball, came the closest in his second year in the league. That combination tends to lend to more chances for southpaws than other arms. -- Q:†evan from Cincinnati (OH) asks: I was a bit suprised to see Mark Reed playing caboose in a league where coming up with 20 prospects must have been a bit of a stretch. How comparable is his bat to older brother Jeremy's and do you think Mark can stick behind the plate? Is his ranking based more on performance (decidedly mediocre) or on a perceived lack of tools? Will Kimmey: Maybe that's a track record ranking. He's a solid defender and a lefthanded hitter, two traits that will get most catchers a long look. Reed did struggle at the plate during his second summer as a pro and has to learn to go the other way more. That his brother Jeremy always hit, props him up some but also gives reason to believe that he will eventually hit enough. -- Q:†Bryan from Boise,ID asks: If Mark Pawelek had qualified for the list would he have been the top prospect in the NWL? Will Kimmey: Probably, but he pitched just three more innings in this league than did Mark Prior, who would have rated ahead of him. -- Q:†Bryan from Chicago asks: Does David Gregg have much of a big league future or is he an all speed, can't hit type of guy -- AKA Dwaine Bacon? Moderator: Gregg was one of the few hitters who bunted for hits in the SEC, a college league all about the long ball. Gregg's defense in center and great speed are nice assets, but in the current state of baseball, you better hit to play. His early offensive success suprised me some, but he ultimately regressed to about his appropriate average. Midwest League (Peoria Chiefs Lo-A) #7 Ryan Harvey #15 Sean Gallagher #16 Eric Patterson Chat Wrap with Jim Callis: Q:†Jon from Lexington, KY asks: Where does Grant Johnson factor into the prospect rankings in the Midwest League? I know his stats aren't exactly eye popping, but where does he rank with the rest of the Cubs pitching prospects? A:†Jim Callis: He was in the discussion. Johnson took a while to get back on the mound because of shoulder and hamstring issues, and he looked rusty most of the times. His plus fastball-slider combination was rarely on display. He'd be at the top of the second tier of Cubs pitching prospects. -- Q:†Joe from Newport News, VA asks: Should the Cubs have started Eric Patterson at Daytona this season? Since they started him at Peoria, should they have promoted him in-season? If so, when? Jim Callis: I'm all for letting a guy get off to a good start and Patterson didn't play last summer, so I could see assigning him to the MWL to start his pro career. But he proved he could dominate the league by midseason, and should have moved on at that point. Some managers thought he could have handled Double-A. -- Q:†Al from Port Chester, NY asks: It seems that although Ryan Harvey was given a very respectable #7 overall ranking in the league, it sounds as though you aren't too optimistic about his chances to hit at higher levels. If you had to make a predicition, would you say he: A) never reaches the Majors B) will reach the Majors but won't be an impact player C) will be an impact player in the Majors? Thanks for taking my question! Jim Callis: Harvey was a tough guy to rank. He has the tools to become the best player in the league, but every scout I talked to brought up a different flaw in his swing or approach. I'll take B. I think he'll reach the majors and be a regular, but can't bank on him being a star. -- Q:†Keith from Nebraska asks: Who would you rather have at this point, Ryan Harvey or Chris Lubanski[Royals]? Jim Callis: Ryan Harvey. He has more upside and I don't think he's significantly more risky than Lubanski, who went right ahead of him in the 2003 draft. -- †Q:†Greg Tabeek from Florida asks: Just need to ask a question about why you guys continue to bash Sean Gallagher. Your paper goes out of its way to harp on this kid. Yes you guys did have him mentioned a couple of times on the Hot Prospect sheet but only cause he was pitching lights out. Lets get the facts straight 19yr old 12th rd was supposed to start season in extended but due to injuries gets shot a Low A. Pitches lights out 1st half and starts MWL All-star game. Gets selected for midseason and Post Season All-star teams. Led MWL in wins and was top ten in every other stat. Promoted to Daytona Beach and pitches lights out. For this kid to do what he did in his 1st season as a 19yr old, nobody expected this. As for projectibility thats a bunch of crap. I saw a pitcher listed in your Top 20 MWL Prospects who you guys are infatuated with who had a not so good season and continued when promoted and had to skip starts. Seans heart and determination to succeed are all that he needs. Oh by the way Oneri Flieta(cubs player director) called sean yesterday to congratulate him on being selected Cubs Minor league Pitcher of the Year. Jim Callis: No one is bashing Gallagher, Greg. He had a very good year, especially considering his age and draft status. But we're not ranking who achieved or overachieved the most. We're ranking who the best long-term major leaguers will be. Making the Top 20 in a 14-team league at age 19, wow, I'd look at that as a pretty nice compliment. The reason Gallagher didn't rank higher is that scouts aren't convinced his stuff is any better than average. His fastball is fringe average, and while some guys liked his curveball, others said it was an average and loopy pitch that overmatched MWL hitters because he could locate it. -- Florida State League (Daytona Cubs Hi A): #15 Scott Moore #18 Brian Dopirak Chat Wrap with J.J. Cooper: Q:†Erick D. from Statesboro asks: Where was Chris Walker in the rankings. He had really good numbers this year( 285 avg 6 hr 57 rbi 97 runs and 60 sb)not bad for a converted switch hitter. Walker was a midseason and post-season all-star and seems to get better year after year. JJ Cooper: Managers liked Walker, but as a 25-year-old in high Class A he needs to dominate the league like he did to keep moving up. If he was 20, he would have been in the middle of the consideration for the top 20, but you have to allow for the fact that he was two to four years older than most of the guys on the top 20. That doesn't mean that Walker doens't have a shot at the majors, and he actually seems to fit the profile as a guy who could be a fourth outfielder, but he'll have to prove it at every level because of his age. -- Q:†Outshined_One from northsidebaseball.com asks: Thanks for the chat JJ! Next season, will the Cubs move Dopirak up to AA or keep him in Daytona? JJ Cooper: My guess is that it will depend somewhat on spring training, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him start out in FSL, with the potential to move up quickly if he shows his 2005 struggles are behind him. -- Q:†R. Allen from Little Rock, AR asks: I didn't notice any backstops on the list. Would Jake Fox make it in the top 5 Catchers out of the FSL? And is he the Cubs best prospect at the position? JJ Cooper: No catcher really came close to making the list, although the ones who got the most mentions were Danillo Sanchez, Miguel Perez, Robinzon Diaz and Lou Palmisano. As a backstop, Perez was major league ready according to several managers , but his bat is a big question. If I had to rank them, I'd take Palmisano first, as he has the best combo of defense with hitting ability. -- Q:†ryan from indianola Iowa asks: As a former Cubs system minor league third base prospect I am very curious about Scott Moore! Why didn't he get a higher ranking? What are his faults and do you think a position-switch to right field would help? JJ Cooper: Guys in the league don't think he should move off of third, as most guys think he can handle the position. Moore wore down as the season went along, but he showed a strong arm and decent range to handle the hot corner. A year ago, Moore seemed to be ready to lose his prospect status, so a 15 ranking is actually the sign of a very strong bounce back season. There are some concerns anytime a guy repeats a league, but in Moore's case, managers and scouts were impressed with his approach, his strong arm and his developing power. -- Q:†Brian Dopirak's Clone from Chicago asks: Hi, is my time up? Am I falling into the "what happened" prospects? Please, shed some light! JJ Cooper: Dopirak definitely can say he's now learned that baseball is a humbling game. He still has the power potential to be an impact big leaguer, but he needs to show he can make adjustments when pitchers figure things out. As you move up through the minors, the same approach that worked at lower levels won't always work. In Dopirak's case, pitchers found that he would chase the outside pitch off the zone. It's a correctable fault, but one that Dopirak struggled to fix this season. -- Q:†Rick Smith from Port St. Lucie, FL asks: How is Dopirak on the list? He hit .235 this season? Not to mention that he lacks tools, he plays first base, lacks athleticism, and his swing is simply drop and drive. A guy from our team hits just under .300 leads the league in homeruns, and plays four positions, yet he isn't a prospect? How does that work? JJ Cooper: I assume you're comparing [Andy]Wilson [Mets] to Dopirak. While Wilson shows plus power, Dopirak has better raw power with plus bat speed. And he's a 21-year-old, not 24. One bad year does not erase Dopirak's potential to be a 40 home run guy, which is why he makes the list. Southern League (West Tenn. Diamond Jaxx AA): #8 Felix Pie #12 Matt Murton #15 Rich Hill #17 Ricky Nolasco #18 Renyel Pinto Chat Wrap with Aaron Fitt: Q:†Bob from Arkansas asks: Looking at the Top 10 from 5 years ago, there are some #1 starters, solid major leaguers, an undecided (Rauch), and a disappointment (Patterson). Five years from now, who from this top 10 list is most likely not to reach their potentional? Aaron Fitt: Interesting question. I'm going with Pie - his tools are certainly there, but he remains rather raw. I'm just not convinced it's all going to come together for him. He's got a chance to be special, but will he work hard enough to make that happen? -- Q:†Navin from Los Angeles asks: It's a list like this that makes you appreciate how loaded the SL really is. How far from making the top 20 were West Tennessee RHP Carlos Marmol and 1BOF Brandon Sing? Aaron Fitt: Neither was really close, only because of the amazing quality of this league. Sing might have made the top 40, if we went that far... He's a pure power hitter who can really crush the ball, but his swing is too long -- Q:†Chris from Chicago asks: Higher ceiling: Ricky Nolasco or Renyel Pinto? Who gets to the majors first? Aaron Fitt: Pinto probably has a higher ceiling, being a lefthander with slightly better pure stuff. But Nolasco looks like the better bet to reach his ceiling (a No. 3 starter, in my mind), and should be an impact big leaguer first. -- Q:†J.P. from IL asks: I honestly don't understand your attitude towards Nolasco. He put up phenominal numbers this year, yet was mysteriously missing for nearly all of your weekly Hot Sheets and gets ranked at #17 here. You had nothing negative to say about him in your own scouting report, so what gives?! Aaron Fitt: Being ranked No. 17 in this talent-crammed league is hardly a slap in the face - it's quite an impressive accomplishment, especially for a guy repeating the league. I am a believer in Ricky Nolasco - he'll be an impact big leaguer. But probably not an all-star, like many of the players in front of him on this list could be. -- Q:†Tim from Chicago asks: I'm having a hard time buying into the Felix Pie mystique. He strikes out at a higher rate than Corey Patterson, and he gets caught stealing 40% of the time. Tell me why he's not going to be another position player who becomes a huge disappointment for the Cubs. Aaron Fitt: That very well could happen - I don't fully buy into the Pie mystique, either. But he has so much natural talent and such a high upside that you cannot ignore him on a list of top prospects. And he is a very exciting, high-energy player. He could figure it out - don't forget that even though he's been on the prospect landscape a few years, he's still just 20 years old. -- Q:†Dan from Mass. asks: Is Matt Murton going to be the starting Left Fielder for the Cubs next season? Aaron Fitt: I think he should be. The Cubs need to give this guy a chance to hold down that job, because he's about ready for it. Pacific Coast League (Iowa AAA): #14 Rich Hill #16 Ronny Cedeno Chat Wrap with Jim Callis: Q:†Steve from Des Moines asks: Hi Jim! How close was Jermaine Van Buren to making this list? Were there any other Iowa Cubs worth mentioning? Thanks for your time! Jim Callis: In general, it's tough for a guy who projects as setup man to make a Top 20, especially in a 16-team league. But people did think Van Buren had a chance to be a good setup man in the majors, thanks to his slider and low-90s fastball. He also throws a curveball and changeup and is fearless. Rich Hill and Ronny Cedeno made the Top 20, and the I-Cubs didn't have anyone else who was very close. -- Q:†James from Guthrie OK asks: Hi How much more does Ben Johnson, Ronny Cedeno, Josh Barfield, and Jeff Mathis have to prove before their big league teams give them an everyday chance? Correct me if I am wrong but I think Johnson is now in San Diego's line up for the post season. Jim Callis: Johnson didn't start San Diego's opener, so I don't think he has everyday status yet. Let's go through these guys . . . Johnson may get the opportunity in 2006. He just needs the Padres to create an opening in the outfield, but they have some corner outfielders who had down seasons or could play first base, so that could happen. Cedeno really should start for the Cubs next year, though who knows what Dusty Baker will do there. I'd play him at shortstop over Neifi Perez, and there's also talk he could wind up at second. Barfield is blocked by Mark Loretta but finished strong and is ready for a big league chance, so it will be interesting where they try to fit him. Maybe one of those two goes to third base. Mathis is blocked by the Molina brothers for now. -- Q:†Phil McHugh from Frederick, MD asks: Do you see Rich Hill or Ronny Cedeno having much of an impact in the major leagues? It seems to me Cedeno didn't do much of anything until this year, and I wonder if he can be even a solid starter, let alone an all-star. Hill does have a great curve, but I don't see him ever having an ERA under 4.50 at the major league level. Am I wrong? I hope so. Jim Callis: I think they both have the chance to be regulars, Hill as a starter and Cedeno as an everyday guy in the lineup. Cedeno was rushed too quickly by the Cubs and it led to two awful years with the bat, but he finally starter to recover in 2004. He might not be an all-star, but he can hit for average with some pop and play very good defense. Hill always had great stuff and very little command or control. The light switched on for him this year (at least it did in the minors), and if he can maintain his newfound control he could be pretty good. -- Q:†Steve from Des Moines asks: Do you see Bobby Brownlie still having any type of major league career, and if so in what capacity? Jim Callis: It's looking more and more like Brownlie might have to be a big league reliever. His curveball is good but not as great as it was in college, and his fastball is down in the 88-89 mph range now. His stuff just isn't what it was at Rutgers. -- Q:†John from Des Moines asks: What about Matt Murton? Would he have made the cut had he qualified? Jim Callis: Murton had only nine games at Iowa. But assuming he performed like he did in Double-A and the majors, he would have fit in the 10-12 range. -- Q: Jay from Madison asks: Who would you rather have for next year. Felix or Prior. Who do you think will have the better career? Jim Callis: Oh man . . . give me Prior for 2006 but give me King Felix for his career. But like any big league club, I'd be happy with either one of them. Also check out all the 2005 Cubs minor league player stats on one page at BA, including GB/FB ratio numbers for pitchers. Now if they would only get to publishing the ever-elusive lefty/righty splits.
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Rob, this is great - thanks for spending the time to summarize the Cub-related parts of BA's analysis

A fine summary. Thank you kindly for putting this together.

I like the quote 'That combination tends to lend to more chances for southpaws than other arms.' Like there's a big selection of different arms to throw with.

When one of those major momentum changes occurs it's interesting to be watching when the exact moment occurs.

Astros one pitch away from their first World Series appearance...lockdown closer Brad Lidge, Eckstein hangs tough for a seeing eye single between 3rd-SS, Edmonds works a walk...then Lidge hangs a slider to the toughest out in the majors. Pujols monster shot to left. Houston fans collectively inhale (that weird sucking sound).

Been there done that. Bartman, Alex Gonzalez. What just hit cha?

2 more games in St. Louis but a shift in the MO has just occurred.

I was really pulling for the Astros there. I feel for their fans. That was about as close to a sure-fire win as a team can get. They had three separate chances to get a hitter out and go to the Series, and almost anything besides what Pujols actually did would have given them a fourth chance with Sanders.

I do not want to see the Sox win. That loss really helped them out.

God can you imagine Manny Ramirez as a Angel? Him and Vlad in the OF? Scarey. I wouldn't put it past the Angels owner, he has the cash, the prospects, and the desire to go out and get the best.

Ohhh and the Yankees have recieved permission to talk to Leo Mazzone about being their pitching coach. I will be really shocked if Mazzone left Atlanta. But you got to hand it to the Yankees, what does it hurt to ask? If any organization desperatly needs Mazzone it is the Cubs.

Organization's not satisfied with "just making the playoffs." Go figure.

With the win last night, it pretty well clinches it for the Birds. They will beat the White Sox because they will not have to change their rotation at all. Carpenter & Mulder (who owned the Sox w/the A's) will still open the Series. Birds in 6 or 7. Remember, you heard it here first!

Momentum means a lot in these series but a well pitched game by Oswalt tomorrow and the Astros win. If Kerry Wood pitched in game 7 like he had against Atlanta, the Cubs win 6-2 or whtever the score might have been. Good pitching wins period. Whether your team has won ten in a row or lost ten in a row. Sure, the Cards may win, but with Oswalt and Clemens going it's foolish to think it's already over.

"it's foolish to think it's already over."

VERY foolish - when they are down 3-2 right now and playing without some of their key pieces.

All Mazzone has to do is talk to Zimmer and Stottelmeyer to see what it is to coach for the Yanks. Plus he would have to shave off his mustache.

Can anyone see a situation of the Cubs contending next year without a major overhaul in the out field (Damon,etc) so Burny is the third best outfielder on the team, and adding two top starters(Beckett, etc) so we can end the Kerry Wood injury soap opera?

Jacos:
"Can anyone see a situation of the Cubs contending next year without a major overhaul in the out field (Damon,etc) so Burny is the third best outfielder on the team, and adding two top starters(Beckett, etc) so we can end the Kerry Wood injury soap opera?"

I really can't. I mean obviously there are many holes on this team that need serious improvements. Hopefully Hendry can finally find players who are smart, healthy, good defensively and good fundamentally.

But who would of really thought he White Sox would of make the run they did this year. It all comes down to pitching. We need to keep our starters healthy and find some relievers who can consistantly get outs.

Dusty just needs to rub twice as much Holy Water on the team next year and everything will be fine.

All Mazzone has to do is talk to Zimmer and Stottelmeyer to see what it is to coach for the Yanks. Plus he would have to shave off his mustache.----JACOS

I don't think he would have to shave his mustache for the Yankees...mustaches are allowed, its just the beard/goatee that is not...if my understanding is correct.

Yeah, Mattingly wears a mustache.

The bigger issue is, why would Mazzone agree to take a job where he's under the scrutiny of George Steinbrenner, who continually put pressure on Mel Stottlemyre to defer to Billy Connors?

He can keep his mustache, but he is not allowed to rock back and forth like Rain Man waiting for People's Court to come on tv.

Can anyone see a situation of the Cubs contending next year without a major overhaul in the out field (Damon,etc) so Burny is the third best outfielder on the team, and adding two top starters(Beckett, etc) so we can end the Kerry Wood injury soap opera?

Possibly. If Murton turns out okay, battling with Burnitz for the honor of not-quite-below-average corner outfielder, if Zambrano and Prior both have great, full seasons, if they plug in decent OBP sources at SS/2B and bat solid OBP guys 1-2, if they have better luck and judgment in the bullpen, if Lee and Ramirez are healthy, then it doesn't seem like a huge stretch for them to win 90+ games. They should make some changes because the status quo didn't get it done the last two years, the Cards are great, and the Brewers are coming, but I can see where they might not think they need to.

Cubs need to get stronger up the middle defensivlely. All the playoff teams seem to have that one common thread about them.

ex-cub felix "useless" heredia busted for roids.

"and adding two top starters(Beckett, etc) so we can end the Kerry Wood injury soap opera?"

HA! You want to add a player who is not as good as Kerry Wood, who is the junior version of Wood and gets injured just as often? You have to be joking, right?

"Guess who's back? Back again. Shady's back, tell a friend..."

Wow Ed Lynch knows how to trade. Garland is pitching in the world series and now this.

"New York Mets reliever Felix Heredia was suspended for the first 10 days of next season for violating baseball's steroids policy."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

I actually knew the Sox were doing something right this offseason when they also got Luis Vizcaino for Carlos Lee. I realized that Williams saw two problem spots from the season before and fixed them with one trade. Unlike Hendry who didn't go out and get a leadoff hitter until the one the team was going nowhere with in '03, Korey, went down to injury. With an actual leadoff man getting on 40% of the time the Cubs caught fire. But then, the next year, it was like '03 had never happened and the Cubs were once again without a leadoff man. I'm not saying they shouldn't have played Korey. I just think that if they were, they should have filled the leadoff hole at another position. So, in reality, there has been a leadoff man under the Hendry regime for exactly half of one season. Does he not see it as a problem? Maybe that's why he went and got Hairston, who knows. If it is, someone should have told Baker. And if Baker was told and continued using the other clowns at the top of the order he should have been fired. Not that Hairston's any great shakes.

The amount of money Hendry has to work with can be a bit of a curse if not used wisely. As we've seen with big contracts to Remlinger and Hawkins. Few teams have payed so much for middle relief and gotten so little in return.

As for Vizcaino, he had a very productive season for the Sox. I think six or seven of the twenty-nine runs he gave up were in one outing against the Indians the first week of the season. He took one for the team and got pounded but from then on was pretty much everything they'd hoped for. There's guys like him out there. It just seems like the Cubs are always bringing in the Matt Karchners and Dave Veres of the world.

Wasn't Vizcaino like 5th in line in the bullpen by the end of the season behind Cotts, Polite, Hermanson, and Jenks (maybe even Marte)? I could be wrong...

And if you're going to applaud Williams for picking up Vizcaino and giving him a pass for one bad outing.
(7.43 ERA in April, 5.23 ERA in May),
then you should be complaining about the Cubs letting go of Farnsworth.

His ERA by month in 2004:
April: 5.40
May: 2.25
June: 3.60
July: 1.93
August: 19.29
Sept/Oct: 2.08

So they got Heredia, you suppose his putrid Cub crone Karchner will be next?

I just realized that at that point they had put together a nice bullpen unlike Hendry who had collected three Tommy John cases and hoped others like Wertz would come through. And maybe some of them will in '05. As for Farns, I could have seen keeping him and also seen dumping him. The only thing I've said about him here is that he stays up too late. And if Vizcaino was as deep as number five out of the pen (they do have two lefties so that changes things a bit) it shows what a great job Williams did building a deep pen.
I would like to see Hendry identify problem areas and fix them. I wish I got the feeling that that's what he does but I don't.I wonder what he does consider probelm areas?. Why does one catcher's ERA differ by more than a run with the other catcher's? Who's going to play in the outfield? Can ARam devote himself to an offseason conditioning program? Has it been brought up? Can a GM assemble a new bench, bullpen and outfield in one offseason?

LF-Murton
CF-Milton Bradley (traded for T. Walker) or Kenny Lofton (FA)
RF-Brian Giles (FA)
3B-Aramis Ramirez
SS-Alex Rodriguez (traded for Jerome Williams, Rich Hill and Felix Pie)
2B-Ronny Cedeno
1B-Derrek Lee
C-Michael Barrett/Henry Blanco
SP-Zambrano, Prior, Kevin Millwood (FA), Wood, Maddux
RP-Dempster, Wuertz, Novoa, Scott Linebrink (FA), Scott Eyre (FA), Rafael Betancourt (traded for Jerry Hairston Jr. and Jermaine Van Buren)

Eric The Great,

If that were the roster Opening Day I would not feel like a complete jackass for having my season tickets. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it won't be and I will.

Eric the Great,

No way we would get Arod for Jwill, Pie, and Hill. If in the .000000001 % chance Arod gets traded it will be for Ram, Pie, Jwill, and one of the AA pitchers.

Now that Felix Heredia's tested positive for steroids, does anyone think that it might open up info on the Dominican players anabolic steroid connections?

Is Sammy losing sleep on this one? People point their finger at Sammy but there is no Balco connection, so where is the stuff coming from?

Should I be nervous?

If Joe G. stays on the Yankee bench, does it mean we have to hope the first half of 2006 will be ugly and Joe G. will be here after the all star break?

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-marlin...

A native of Peoria, Ill., who resides in Lake Forest outside Chicago, Girardi is torn between the Marlins and holding out for the Cubs post, the source said. If and when the Cubs decide to replace Dusty Baker, Girardi is all but assured to top the short list of candidates.

"He would really like to go to the Cubs," the source said. "That's his biggest decision, stay and wait a year for the Cubs or take [the Marlins] and not look back."

"LF-Murton
CF-Milton Bradley (traded for T. Walker) or Kenny Lofton (FA)
RF-Brian Giles (FA)
3B-Aramis Ramirez
SS-Alex Rodriguez (traded for Jerome Williams, Rich Hill and Felix Pie)
2B-Ronny Cedeno
1B-Derrek Lee
C-Michael Barrett/Henry Blanco
SP-Zambrano, Prior, Kevin Millwood (FA), Wood, Maddux
RP-Dempster, Wuertz, Novoa, Scott Linebrink (FA), Scott Eyre (FA), Rafael Betancourt (traded for Jerry Hairston Jr. and Jermaine Van Buren)"

Puff - Puff - Pass

Acquire Bradley, Giles, A-Rod, Milwood, Linebrink, Eyre and Betancourt all in the same offseason? Sure...

A) I don't want Bradley
B) Giles will get big money over a long term deal - two things Hendry doesn't like to do
C) A-Rod is not on the market
D) Milwood isn't coming to the Cubs - we have too many more pressing needs than another starter
E) I don't see any way we sign 3 top FAs for the bullpen in the same year.

Other than that - you are right on.

Last year Hendry stayed pat by hoping the competition would come down rather than stay up. Hopefully he will not see the last (possibly) two world series winners, who have gone the longest without a World Series win R-Sox(1918) W-Sox(1917), and think hey it's Cubs turn in 2006.

That all-star roster is a bit insane. If Girardi turns down the Marlins job, I'm gonna hope for the worst during the first half and maybe we'll get a new manager. Dusty could probably lead the Cubs into 2nd place with that powerhouse lineup though.

I've noticed a lot of people seem down on Wuertz for some reason. But aside from a walk rate that's a little too high this season (4.76 BB/9), his other peripherals are average to better-than-average: 7.14 H/9, 0.71 HR/9, 10.59 K/9, 3.81 ERA. If I have the time I'm going to revisit my situational analysis of him, I think he's one of the brighter spots of the 2005 bullpen.

After hearing Milo Hamilton's calls on the Burke and Pujols homeruns, I started thinking, was he that bad on the WGN broadcasts in late 70's/early 80's? I wasn't even a teenager, but I don't remember him being that bad. It's not like he hasn't called a historic home run before.

"After hearing Milo Hamilton's calls on the Burke and Pujols homeruns, I started thinking, was he that bad on the WGN broadcasts in late 70's/early 80's?"

Why yes, he was. My friends and I used to immitate him. He was hilariously bad. But alas, he was bad enough that I don't even remember most of what we used to laugh at about him. It wasn't memorable or entertaining like Brickhouse or Harry. I do remember that when a Cub would strike someone out with a fastball - something that didn't happen a lot at the time - Milo would say, "He just went Powder River on him, brother!"

Now of course, he's a bitter old guy who still can't believe he was passed up for Harry. I heard him interviewed this year and he was also bitching about Carlos Beltran leaving the Astros for the Mets. Milo did a baby voice (beyond creepy by the way) and said, "I'm Carlos Beltran and I deserve 20 million a year!" He's just not a happy guy.

Girardi is taking the Marlins job and word had it from ESPN Radio that Cubs upper management weren't ever considering Girardi as a future manager of the Cubs....At least that is one good move they did.

I can still see the Cubbies making a run at A-ROd(call me a dreamer). But the way I have things read is Bradley going to the Yanks, Nomar to the Dodgers, Damon to the Angels, Neffi to the Yanks. That being said we could get A-Rod for K-Pat, A-Ram and a pitcher(maybe K-Wood or Brownlee or Mitre). That being "rumor" let's say it happens, the Cubs could make a deal with the Angels for Chone Figgins to play CF and lead-off, sign B. Giles and acquire M. Giles(again a dreamer), sign Millwood. This is what we would/could have:

1. Figgins CF
2. M.Giles 2nd
3. D. Lee 1st
4. A-rod 3rd
5. B. Giles RF
6. Cedeno SS
7. Murton LF
8. Barrett C
Rotation:
Zambrano
Prior
Millwood
Rusch
Maddux

The bench? That is up to Hendry, and you. :-)

And there is also talk that Zito could be available, though I am sure Beene would steal all our jewels and be another D-train story in the making.

JMHO

scooter

Also read that Mets-BoSox deal could be Man-Ram for Beltran. Wow would you do that? Mets: Don't know. BoSox: You bet. What you think?

scooter

I think you're crazy. That would be somewhat Dusty-proof, but I can't imagine you wasted time thinking of that scenario. That's as likely to happen as an alien invasion.

"being said we could get A-Rod for K-Pat, A-Ram and a pitcher(maybe K-Wood or Brownlee or Mitre)."

Puff - Puff - Pass

That all-star roster is a bit insane. If Girardi turns down the Marlins job, I'm gonna hope for the worst during the first half and maybe we'll get a new manager. ---BIG JOHN STUD

Wow, your hate for dusty has gone so far, you would rather the cubs lose with him to validate your opinions on him rather than have the cubs win with him and have to think you could've been wrong. Wow

"Wow, your hate for dusty has gone so far, you would rather the cubs lose with him to validate your opinions on him rather than have the cubs win with him and have to think you could've been wrong. Wow"

I won't speak on behalf of Big John - but I'd much rather see the Cubs win the make the playoffs if that is an option. However, I don't believe that next year's team will be good enough to win 92 games with Dusty at the helm. So the question is would a 90 win, second/third place season help us long term? If that's enough to earn Dusty an extension, keep the same clowns on the coaching staff, and keep us heading the same course - then no. Do I want the Cubs to lose? No... But I want Baker gone. From day 1, and still going, I don't believe that Dusty Baker has what it takes to be a World Series Championship Manager.

Take a look at how Scoscia (sp?) handled the Josh Paul play and compare that to how Baker handled Bartman. Baker blamed Bartman ("Wow - that guy must be a Marlin's fan") while Scoscia blamed his players ("We didn't play at a high engou level"). Look at the best managers - they hold players accountable for their actions, and thus players tend to play better. Look at Baker - he blames anyone and everyone he can.

In the regular season, this may mean nothing more than 5 games...it may mean 10 games TOPS. But even with as terrible as this season was for us, we were only 10 games out of the Wild Card.

It's not that I hate Dusty. It is that I don't feel he is a good leader or a good baseball strategic or tactical manager. If you don't get the most out of your players, you make bad lineups and you don't manage a pitching staff or a bench well, you are destined to face struggles.

yeah, but scoscia's team still got whipped. I don't argue that he's better with the press than baker is, though...they grew up in different eras.

"yeah, but scoscia's team still got whipped."

Scoscia's team earned my respect for playing hard and for not making excuses. Baker's teams (and the team that I root for) has earned my contempt for their lack of professionalism.

I want to root for Cub players as individuals as much as I root for the team - but Alou, Merker, Dusty, Patterson, etc. make it hard. I'm a fan of the team, but I dislike a lot of the current and recent past players.

You DO speak on my behalf, X...
That's precisely what I mean about Dusty.
There's no better example of Baker's lame attitude than watching Scosia taking the high road and saying "we didn't play well enough" as opposed to Dusty finding any excuse to divert attention from the fact that the Cubs don't play well enough to win.
Instead of being proactive during the Bartman incident and being a calming presence, Dusty complains after the game about fan interference. What good does that do now? The game's over... way to "manage" the situation.
I've also have a hard time getting behind the Cubs the past couple of years. They've been a generally unlikable team and Dusty is one of the main culprits.

"Wow, your hate for dusty has gone so far, you would rather the cubs lose with him to validate your opinions on him rather than have the cubs win with him and have to think you could've been wrong. Wow"

Wow, that's just horseshit and it should be apparent what I meant. I don't need my opinions validated... Dusty has already done that. I want the Cubs to win as much as anyone else here. The point of my post was that the Cubs WON'T WIN with Dusty... not next year or any other year, so I'd rather they stink enough to get Dusty fired and get it over with. Baker has proved his incompetence enough that if the Cubs did stack a team with talent and won the WS (ain't happening), it would be in spite of Baker's mismanagement, not because of it.

Thank you Big John, that is what I have been looking at. Dusty-proof the line-up/roster. They win not because of him but in spite of him. They will not be contenders "because" of Dusty. But they can be contenders despite him, and that is just sad in Hendry's part.

JMHO

scooter

"I've also have a hard time getting behind the Cubs the past couple of years. They've been a generally unlikable team and Dusty is one of the main culprits."

I'm a big fan of the team...I just don't like a lot of the current players. I'm not going to go goo-goo over fundamentally poor players with crappy personalities just because they wear blue. Frankly, I have an easier time liking some of the guys on the South Side like Konerko, AJ, Rowand, Podsednik, than I do liking some of our guys.

I'm a Cubs fan - but there are a lot of things about this current team that I don't like.

I love the team, just dislike/hate some of their employees...

Neifi - Dusty's true love
Macias - Dusty's weed connection
Barrett - mildly retarded
Nomar - gimpy and a threat to the Cubs hiring a real SS
Corey - lost cause & mule's ass

Mostly it's just Dusty's unlikable ass. I'd really like Neifi if he would've been used in the proper capacity.

100% Agreed Big John. (who by the way was one of my favorite Wrestlers in an era of many great wrestlers. Studd, Bundy, Flair, Patera, etc.. managed by Heenan...ah the glory days!!!!

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