Music to my Ears

From rotoworld.com and The Rocky Mountain News:
REUNION PLANS? Right-hander Pedro Astacio and infielder Neifi Perez, both former Rockies, are on the list of players the team has interest in signing this off-season. Perez would project as a super utility player, although it wouldn't be a surprise if he won the second base job
No word if they also plan on signing Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga or Ellis Burks. Let's pass the collection plate around and see if we can get Neifi a one-way ticket back to Denver.
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Oh please please please let this be true!

I read that as the Cubs will enter a bidding war and then have to play him because you can't play people to sit on the bench.

"We were lucky to have him back," Jim Baker and Dusty Hendry will say...

Speaking of supersubs... might we also interest you in a nice 2006 Macias? The only problem with it is that the last owner used it too much.

So...Pierre for KKKorey and Hill?

I do that deal in a second.

pierre's not all that...he hits singles...he steals 40-50 bases...his D is...well, its probally better than hairston.

any ankle or knee tweak renders him useless for the duration. he's got no game outside of his work ethic (beyond stellar) and his legs.

hill's still got 3-4 years of cheap attached to his name and could probally fetch a bit more than pierre.

btw...miles/barmes/l.gonz...all 3 are serviceable middle IF'rs...

hell, barmes is quite honestly a crappy SS, but they'll probally play him there anyway over miles/l.gonz.

miles is probally their best bet at 2nd.

l.gonz is any team's dream supersub with a somewhat decent bat and a good glove...cheap, too.

omar quintanilla is in the mix there somewhere, too...nothing much has come of him yet, but the club likes his projection at middle IF.

I like Perez as a utility guy, but nothing more. He plays great defense, switch hits, and does make contact, great attributes off the bench. He just doesn't walk enough or hit for enough power to play everyday. Maybe he needs to be out of Dusty's reach so he DOESN'T play everyday, but as a utility guy, he beats Ramon Martinez any day of the week.

Macias on the other hand....don't get me started

honestly...l.gonz should probally play 2nd over miles...but i dunno if colorado would want to take the versitility away from the bench. go figure...we'll all find out this april.

" he's got no game outside of his work ethic (beyond stellar) and his legs."

He's a .305/.355 career hitter with good range in CF. Isn't this exactly what we need at the top of the order? He doesn't hit for power - but who cares? He gets on base, he makes things happen. I don't see any great solutions at leadoff that are realistic past this right now. I'm not sure FLA would trade him - but if they would, I'd be more than interested.

and let me add that he hardly EVER strikes out. He puts wood on the ball more than any hitter in the game today. (16.2 ABs per K on his career is CRAZY)

Anyone think we can package corey and walker for hunter? Dunno if that helps us much though. Just a thought.

and let me add that he hardly EVER strikes out. He puts wood on the ball more than any hitter in the game today. (16.2 ABs per K on his career is CRAZY)

Neither does Neifi

Florida I'm sure would love to trade him, he's a free agent after next season and they'd prefer to get something for him, then just let him walk.

So, we would be trading a centerfielder that can no longer play for the cubs, and a guy that could be a stud pitcher, if, and only if, he develops another plus-plusplus pitch, for a guy that is a typical leadoff hitter, who will only play center for a year before being pretty much useless to us because of Pie. I am a huge fan of bringing back Nomar to short, but if Pie is realistically going to be our CF in '07, shouldn't we plug the leadoff hole for more than one year with Furcal, if possible? Just my $.02...

Tangent:
Watching the game yesterday where the sox Batter was awarded first base before the grandslam, even though the ball clearly hit his bat reminded me immediately of this game between the Astros and Cubs in 2004. Astros can't complain about the call last night after the Bush league move Berkman made last year.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=24...

I'll happily take Pierre. having a guy that can steal 40 to 50 bases completely changes the game for the Cubs...I'd compare him to what Podsednik has done for the Sox this year.

"a guy that could be a stud pitcher, if, and only if, he develops another plus-plusplus pitch"

We have lots of those in our system. A bird in the hand...

"will only play center for a year before being pretty much useless to us because of Pie."

Isn't that a bit of a reach? Pie still doesn't put the bat on the ball in the minors. Why do you think he is ready for the majors? Think Jason Dubois... Great minor league avg/slg/etc, but couldn't keep his K/AB rate under 30%... Got killed in the majors. Pie may not be the answer... In the meantime, we know Pierre would give us a chance to win.

If you want to start off 2006 by saying to "Wait until next year" when Pie and Hill have developed respective command of their strike zones, that's your perrogative. But how much longer is this particular window going to be open? This will be Maddux's last year. Wood is not trending positively. Prior and Zambrano will be in their second arbitration years. Ramirez will be one year away from being able to opt out. Lee will have 1 year left...

I don't think this franchise should be looking forward to next year (2007) already. I think we should be playing for 2006.

The description on Hill was not supposed to be as flattering as I apparently made it. It just seems as though if we get Pierre, Furcal looks less likely because we would have a leadoff, making it more likely for a possible Nomar/Walker/Cedeno middle infield(regardless of which two). A lot of people have been talking very highly of Pie(I haven't seen him, but I have doubts) and saying he will be with the club midyear(2006) and be the starter 2007. Is he the cubs savior? No, but if he is the long term plan, why give up Hill for a one year stopgap? Did Hill look unhittable this year? Of course not, but it seems a lot of teams were interested around July time. I say we do the trade for Pierre, and if he fits well into the cubs system(the hopefully new system, not the HR or K system) trade Pie in a package for some corner outfield talent(hell, operator, may I please be connected with the Cincinnati Reds?).

X- I agree about the short window. Plus, if the budget remains the same, the contracts for current players will grow, assuming they stay(Prior, Z, Lee, possibly Ramirez, Nomar), meaning less money for the rest of the team. I say we build it to win. Doing the moves Al suggested on BCB would be a good start.

Regardless of what anyone else here thinks, Pie is in Hendry's long term plans. Hendry (very much like Baker) does want the rookies to "compete" for their jobs and I have yet to see him hand over a job to a rookie. Even after Murton's year this year, he had a quote that Murton will get a chance to compete for the starting job next year. As AZ phil so eloquently put it, Hendry treats the major league team like a varsity roster and you have to earn your way on it and earn your playing time. So I fully expect, some veterans in camp to compete with Pie and Murton and possibly Cedeno for starting jobs. Now the only problem and where I personally believe Hendry and Baker differ is that Hendry is rooting for the rookies to win out on these battles and Baker is looking for reasons to not choose the rookie. (and here comes the responses on how Baker doesn't dislike rookies)

That's my take, Pie will be in camp this spring, possibly along with Patterson and maybe a Lofton, Hairston or some other option with a short-term contract.

I can't take this talk about trading Hill, I must comment.

Movement has never been a problem for him with that big curve he's got. The problem this year was always control. Once he get's uncle charlie under control, he'll be the next Bedard.

Mitre is another the Cubs have to hang on to, although his problem was just the opposite. He has good control, but he needs to make sure his sinker keeps sinking. If he can do that, he'll be the next Brandon Webb.

Those two guys are important because Guzman is still 3-4 years away (if he can even stay healthy) and lets face it, the free agent market doesn't offer much starting pitching talent.

Tampa Bay has an abundance of young outfielders and a new general manager (although I don't know if one has been hired at this time) and a despariate need for pitching. How about 2 -3 young arms for Crawford. If ever there was a time to make a pitch for him this is it. If that fails, maybe take flier on Baldelli. I believe he played center over Crawford before missing 2 years. I would prefer Crawford, but Rocco would be cheaper.

Guzman is still 3-4 years away

At that pace he could be the first non-Japan ROY to win the award after his 30th birthday.

"Movement has never been a problem for him with that big curve he's got. "

He has not problem with movement on his curve. Itis his fastball doesn't move. And past that...he has no third pitch. I can't think of too many successful starting pitchers today who just throw a below average speed fastball without movement and a curve.

I heard something on the radio about the tribune thinking about selling the Cubs. Then I saw this: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.p...

I don't live in Chicago, so someone is probably more informed than I am.

anyone who could afford to buy the Cubs at $450 to $550 million without broadcast rights (most likely), is going to just be another mega-conglomerate. Are there a couple of insanely rich Cubs fans out there? Bill Gates? Otherwise it would just be the same thing under a different name and someone even more worried about the bottom line since they'll have few other assets to lean on.

not that I'm really complaining about the Trib, we have plenty of money to afford a perenial contender.

anyone who could afford to buy the Cubs at $450 to $550 million without broadcast rights (most likely),

Maybe someone like Mark Cuban?

Hey...I can dream, right?

i would totally chip in a few bucks to buy the cubs. All we need is 1,000,000 people to chip in 400 cubs and we could do it. I would chip in more. Anyone else want in?

I'm in Chad.

(Guzman is still 3-4 years away)

Mesa 6 Peoria 5

Angel Guzman finally pitched a good game in Arizona Fall League action.

5 innings/4 hits/ 1 run (earned)/ 1 BB/ 6K's/ 1HR.

EPat: 1-4; .244
Good Old #19 (MM): 1-3, 1BB; .386
Sing: 1-4; .310

angel's supposedly in great shape...fastball is there...secondary stuff still a bit rusty, but not unexpectedly so after so much up/down time on/off.

if he stays healthy he should definately see AAA and probally some late 06 action in the bigs. hell, barring injury and depending on where mitre/hill settle out guzman could be up a bit sooner.

angel's first AFL game was pretty good, victimed by 2 infield hits and a bad defensive play, otherwise he would of left the game unscathed.

Hey, Pierre could be quite effective behind Furcal...

Imagine the fear that we will strike in those cardinals when we have Furcal and pierre on infront of DLee and ARam!!!

This is pipe dream stuff anyway, but... in that case: You might use Pierre at leadoff so Furcal's better power could be used to drive in Pierre more often. Of course Dusty wouldn't bother with such thinking and he'd just use whichever of the two he liked the most as the leadoff guy.

might as well just sign dave roberts at 1/4th the price and not trade a prospect for a 1-year rental.

i dunno why anyone would really want a guy who can only hit singles and is 1 leg injury away from total uselessness anyway.

yeah, pierre is younger, but if the club wants to shift Hill in a light pitching market they could get a lot more for him.

...and as much as some cubs fans may not like to hear it, patterson is not out of the equation for CF next year...especially if they're gonna potentially spend 2.5m on him. he's in arizona right now working though you wont see it in any boxscore any time soon.

he probally wont play winter ball, but he'll end up back in georgia working on his hitting with barrett, eric p., and a few others. it won't be intensive, but at least its better than sitting around watching NFL/NBA all winter.

Angel Guzman is NOT 3-4 years away. He has major league "stuff" right now (four pitches he can throw for strikes--a four seam fastball that he throws at 95-97 MPH, a two seamer that he throws at 91-93 MPH, a knee-bending curve, and an excellent change), and I can't see him spending more than one more year in the minors, at the most. He might even make the Cubs 25-man roster out of Spring Training, especially if Kerry Wood isn't ready at the start of the season. Guzman could also be used out of the bullpen, although it would be a bit of a waste to use him as a reliever because relievers usually throw theit two best pitches, and junk their other ones, and Guzman has four quality pitches and all the earmarks of a top-of-the-rotation starter. I would imagine he will probably begin 2006 in the starting rotation at Iowa, and then see what happens, although (as I said), he could start the season in the Cubs rotation if Kerry Wood is not good-to-go. So Guzman will be the Cubs "number 6 starter" next season, and then (hopefully) replace Greg Maddux in the rotation in 2007.

As far as Felix Pie is oncerned, I believe he is the Cubs long-term solution (no later than 2007, maybe sooner))in CF, but no way can I see him being a successful lead-off hitter. He is not patient-passive enough to hit at the top of the order. If he progresses the way I think he can, I see Pie as a #3 hitter-a Tony Oliva or an Al Oliver-type, a really good hitter who drives the ball to all fields. Yes, he does not display much patience at this time, and I don't think he will ever draw a LOT of walks (except to the extent that pitchers may eventually start to pitch around him at some point in mid-career, and he discovers the value of being more selective at the plate), but he is NOT another Corey Patterson and he is NOT another Jason Dubois.

Patterson & Dubois have completely different personality traits than Pie. Patterson and Dubois play baseball like the proverbial deer in headlights; Pie plays with no fear (same demeanor Michael Jordan had on the basketball court), and ATTACKS both on offense and on defense. He is a winner. I'd take Felix Pie over Corey Patterson every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

So if Pie is the long-term answer in CF but is not the long-term answer in terms of being a lead-off hitter, then acquiring Juan Pierre or Kenny Lofton for one season (2006) to bridge the gap to Pie still means the Cubs will have to find a long-term solution in the lead-off hitter slot, and that guy will have to play another position than CF, either LF, RF, SS, or 2B.

I see Murton as being an ideal #2 hitter (I believe he can be another Paul Molitor), and I can't see him playing any position other than LF. The Cubs need to acquire a middle-of-the order (3-4-5) run producer to play RF, preferably (but not necessarily) a left-handed hitter.

That leaves SS and 2B. I believe Ronny Cedeno should be (and will be) a quality everyday player in the big leagues for many years to come, and he could play either 2B or SS, but I don't see Cedeno as a top-of-the-order guy; MAYBE, a #2 hitter, but that isn't clear just yet. Murton would be a better #2 hitter (right now). Initially, Cedeno should hit 7-8 in the order. However, because he believes speed at the top of the order is more important than OBP, I expect Dusty Baker will hit Cedeno 2nd and Murton 6th or 7th, that is presuming Cedeno wins the starting SS or starting 2B job in Spring Training.

The only SS/lead-off hitter around who (despite what the Braves might like to think) is probably going to be available as a free-agent next month is Rafael Furcal. Furcal would be a long-term solution for the Cubs at SS and in the lead-off slot in the batting order. He is borderline "just OK" as far as lead-off OBP is concerned, but he is fast (so Dusty will like him a lot) and is a superior defensive player and a better hitter (and with more power) than you usually find with a lead-off hitting shortstop.

If Hendry signs Furcal (and I expect Hendry to exert a "full-court press" to get him signed), then Cedeno moves to 2B and I would expect Todd Walker (like Bill Buckner in 1984) to be traded sometime after Opening Day to a team of his choice (Hendry will give him that privilege, I believe), but that's only after Cedeno has claimed and secured the starting 2B job. The reason I believe Dusty will take the youngster Cedeno over the veteran Walker at 2B is simply because of defense. Cedeno is a better defender than Walker, and Baker values defense. I can envision Furcal-Cedeno or Furcal-Murton hitting 1-2 in the order in 2006, but most likely Dusty would go with Furcal-Cedeno 1-2.

If Hendry cannot sign Furcal, then I would expect Hendry will sign the aging-but-still-capable Kenny Lofton (one of Dusty's all-time favorite players) or attempt to acquire Juan Pierre (a FA after 2006) as a one-year bridge to Feli Pie in CF, hitting lead-off with Cedeno hitting 2nd. I believe Jerry Hairston Jr (like Corey Patterson) will be traded during the off-season, because I don't think Dusty feels comfortable with Hairston in CF or in the lead-off slot (Hairston is too passive to suit Dusty).

I expect the Cubs will likely want to get a utility middle-infielder (2B-SS) back for Hairston (possibly somebody like Arizona's Alex Cintron, with JHJ playing 2B for the D'backs as Craig Counsell moves back to SS replacing FA Royce Clayton), and a super-sub utility player for C-Pat (possibly Pirate Rob Mackowiak), although any deal with Pittsburgh will probably be expanded to include a durable starting pitcher like 2006 FA-to-be Kip Wells and two or three Cubs prospects. Or possibly C-Pat and a couple of "advanced" pitching prospects (like Wellemeyer and Mitre) might go to Colorado for RHP Jason Jennings and IF-OF Luis A. Gonzalez.

If the Cubs do acquire a starting pitcher like Kip Wells or Jason Jennings in a trade involving Corey Patterson, then I would expect Hendry to try and trade Jerome Williams for a RF (possibly Jay Gibbons, Geoff Jenkins, or Austin Kearns), since the FA pickings in RF are pretty slim once Brian Giles re-signs with the Padres. Why trade for Wells or Jennings and then trade Jerome Williams (instead of just keeping J. Williams)? Because Jerome Williams (still an "auto-renewal player"--unless he is declared a "Super Two" in December) won't be a free-agent until after the 2009 season, and thus would have more trade value than the more-expensive and shorter-term Kip Wells (a FA after 2006) or Jason Jennings (a FA after 2007).

If Hendry can't move Jerome Williams for a RF, then I would expect Hendry to either sign Jacques Jones or (as a last resort) re-sign Jeromy Burnitz (for less than $7 mil) after the Cubs decline their $7 mil club option on Burnitz for
2007.

Regarding Guzman. If healthy-he's ready now. they Cubs were hoping to use him like K-rod in '03, before he got hurt. I don't see the durability, however. If you can't expect 200 innings out of a starter, you have to use him in the pen. I'll predict he'll make the team and earn his way into key situations or setup.

guzman is healthy...and if the cubs didnt already have a 1-5 in place they might be talking him up a bit more. there's also a question of what will become of mitre/hill and if they'll even be around in the cubs 06 plans.

but he's coming off a lot of downtime and as a result he's still putting a bit of polish on his secondary pitches. he knows how to throw them...he's thrown them...he just needs to reclaim the polish on them. its a lot better than learning from scratch at least. he knows what he needs to do.

It's been said before but Guzman is close to major league ready. Barring injury there's no way he's in the minors for the whole of 2006.

As far as Pie goes, I am thinking ET McGee is a better comparison, than the players AZ Phil mentions. I have only seen him play in one ST game, though, just going by the stats and description.

I don't particularly like the Murton to Molitor comparisons either, just because Molitor was such a fine athlete and Murton seems to be more of a plodder. The guy he reminds me most, with that thick lower body is Keith Moreland (I know he stands on the wrong side of the plate), but I can't think of a more recent player... maybe Pudge Rodriguez.

I would expect Hendry will sign the aging-but-still-capable Kenny Lofton

Alas, nobody knows how capable he will be next year. Lofton is 38 and just had knee surgery.

Chad & NCFan-
The Cubs used to be at least partly publically owned. My GodFather owned one share of the Cubs for I think $1,000 back before the Trib owned the team. He was FORCED to sell his share at the time for a nice profit, but I would definately buy as many shares as I could afford if they opened some part of the team back up to the public.

AZ Phil:
"but he (Pie) is NOT another Corey Patterson and he is NOT another Jason Dubois."

I hope you are right, but with the overall crap that has come out of the minor leagues the past 10 years, it is tough not to expect him to be like the other busts, especially when he hasn't learned a good plate discipline yet.

I also think some of the problem with some of the diehard Cubs fans are they follow the team so closely, including the minors, that they fall in love with the kids and overvalue them and think they will be better then they really will.

I hope with Matt Murton (even though we had to trade for him), gets us to turn the corner from prospects being good rather than busts, but Choi, Cruz, Hill, Patterson, Dubois leave a bad taste in my mouth.

re: #34

guys - if az phil's projections turn out right and pie and murton are al oliver and paul molitor, we're going to be golden. not to mention cedeno as a quality starting shortstop. that being said, what would you like to see hendry do?

i'm going to be very disappointed if we sign to jacque jones to a burnitz-type deal. jones got paid (i think) 5 million dollars last year to to play left and have a 760 OPS. that's not good at any price. I'm sure murton can equal that, and for peanuts. we just paid burnitz tons to do the exact same thing (770 OPS). i can live w/ the burnitz mistake once, but if we end up paying big dollars to an aging mediocre corner outfielder twice in a row, i'm going to be very disapointed.

i like all the middle IF possibilities minus perez. cedeno has shown signs of developing into a very solid hitter the last couple of years and he's 22 and he seems to have a big time glove. i'm a walker fan, for his candor and his bat. i don't think his defense is terrible. but i like both the atlanta guys, giles better. i've heard rumblings the braves are dead set on signing furcal. i hope this is true, because i can't imagine them doing that and then spending big arbitration dollars on marucs giles, another middle infielder. i hope we wind up w/ cedeno at short and giles at second next year. i bet walker and hill would get giles, and it would be worth it if we could sign him long term.

and of course, i'd love to see bj ryan in pinstripes...

"Patterson & Dubois have completely different personality traits than Pie. "

That's great - personality doesn't make contact. Swings do.

"Patterson and Dubois play baseball like the proverbial deer in headlights; Pie plays with no fear"

So what? We talked like this about CP 3 years ago, remember?

"same demeanor Michael Jordan had"

puff - puff - pass

"I'd take Felix Pie over Corey Patterson every day of the week and twice on Sunday. "

But that's knowing what you know now. Think back 3 years ago...

I'm not saying Pie will be bad or good. I'm just saying this...Right now he strikes out far too much in the minors to be successful in the majors. Unless he can get that K/AB rate under 25% in the minors, I don't see how he's going to have any chance against Oswalt, Carpenter, Willis, etc.

"and of course, i'd love to see bj ryan in pinstripes..."

So would George Steinbrenner. Oops - wrong pinstripes.

"Unless he can get that K/AB rate under 25% in the minors"

And I mean doing that consistently...He needs to be making contact in the minors before he can succeed up here.

Any ideas who will be outrighted from the 40-man roster first? I'm guessing Leicester and Ross Rohlicek.

#42 of 44: By X (October 25, 2005 06:34 AM)
"Patterson & Dubois have completely different personality traits than Pie. "

That's great - personality doesn't make contact. Swings do.

----

X: Except personality traits DO have an impact on how a player deals with failure (ability to communicate with somebody who can help and the willingness to listen to advice), how a player handles a new challenge (self-confidence, bravado, or just "whistling in the dark"?), how badly a player wants to win (cut-throat obsessed like a Michael Jordan or a Pete Rose, or a winner's "appetite for success" that MUST be fed, or blase self-satisfied indifference, or just plain fear of failure?), and whether the player translates that desire (or lack of desire) into success (or failure) on the field. And that isn't just true in baseball, it's true in all sports, and in fact in almost everything that requires competition. That's what I meant by "personality traits." Pie is a high-energy, enthusiastic, gregarious individual and plays like a young man possessed (sort of like Ernie Banks on amphetamines), and Corey Patterson does not.

Besides the obvious personality differences, Felix Pie is a better "pure hitter" than Corey Patterson. C-Pat is your basic "dead pull hitter," in that he tries to "hook" everything with his top hand. And that's OK. But combine that with an apparent inablity to tell the difference between a ball and a strike, and it translates to fewer base hits and a relatively low OBP.

Corey was like that when I first saw him in the AFL in 1999, and my opinion then (and it hasn't changed) was that he was a "four tool" player (speed, arm, defense, and power), lacking only skills as a "pure hitter." I said that then and have continued to say so since that time. My belief was that Corey Patterson mid-career would be a so-called "30/30 man," but with a substandard OBP and BA. I believed that if he progressed as well as could be reasonably expected, that he would be a solid 5-6-7 hitter, probably the type of hitter who would hit 5th against RHPs and 7th against LHPs.

As for Felix Pie, he has a line-drive stroke and he drives the ball to all fields. He is a very good hitter, and should get better, because he isn't a "dead pull hitter." I never had that feeling with Corey Patterson. Back in 1999-2000, lots of people (even including Steve Stone) kept saying that Corey Patterson was the Cubs lead-off hitter of the future, and that drove me crazy, because I NEVER could see that.

I don't see Felix Pie ever being a lead-off or #2 hitter (no way!), either, but I CAN see Pie hitting 3rd in the order with lots of doubles and triples, a perennial .300+ BA, and probably 25+ HRs (at peak career). He may not ever be a good base stealer (but so what?), but he certainly DOES have the speed to go from first-to-third or score from second on a single to the outfield, or score from first on a double, and that's all I want from a #3 hitter anyway.

By the way, the value of the stolen base is one of the biggest myths in baseball. It really only has value in low-risk situations (hit & run where the batter swings & misses, or two outs and two strikes on the hitter, or two outs and a weak hitter unlikely to drive an extra base hit at the plate, or versus a pitcher--like Greg Maddux, for instance--who doesn't hold runners close), Otherwise, attempting to steal just isn't worth the risk of getting thrown out. It's the THREAT of the stolen base (and the distraction that presents to the pitcher and catcher) that has the most value, because it means the pitcher will probably throw more fastballs than he might otherwise want to throw, and knowing that a fastball is likely to be coming makes a big difference to a lot of major league hitters, especially to middle-of-the order run producers.

I believe "SB" (stolen base) and "CS" (caught stealing) should be reflected in stats by subtracting one from a player's on-base total (negatively affecting the player's OBP) everytime he gets thrown out trying to steal, and adding one base to his total bases (positively affecting the player's slugging percentage) whenever a player successfully steals a base.

Felix Pie had a K/AB ratio under 25% last year. So what are we talking about?

In fact, he struck out about 20% of the time (K/PA) which is similar to what Bobby Abreu and ARod do in the majors.

#45 of 46: By nate (October 25, 2005 08:38 AM)
Any ideas who will be outrighted from the 40-man roster first? I'm guessing Leicester and Ross Rohlicek.

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NATE: I'm guessing:

1. Richard Lewis
2. Scott McClain
3. Russ Rohlicek
4. Ryan Theriot

I believed at one point this season that Jon Leicester and John Koronka would be dropped from the 40-man roster aftercthe season, but I now believe the Cubs will give Leicester one more chance next Spring Training, and Koronka is pitching well out of the bullpen in the AFL, so I suspect the Cubs will want to take a look at Koronka as a possible 2nd LOOGY in Spring Training.

Of the three pitchers who will be out of options next Spring Training (Leicester, Mitre, and Wellemeyer), Leicester actually probably has the best chance to make the 25-man roster, because Mitre can't pitch out of the bullpen, and Wellemeyer's mechanics are a mess. Leicester pitched OK out of the Cubs bullpen over the second half of 2004, so he has a much better track record of success (as compared to Mitre and Wellemeyer) pitching out of the bullpen in the big leagues.

If Lewis, McClain, Rohlicek, Theriot are indeed dropped from the 40-man roster, and if (as I would expect) Nomar, Neifi, Grieve, Fox, Burnitz (I expect the Cubs will decline their option for 2006 and buy him out for $500,000), and Rusch (I expect him to exercise his "player option" and file for free-agency) file for frree-agencyand walk, that will take the Cubs roster down to 32 players.

Hendry will probably add five prospects to the 40-man roster (Felix Pie and Ricky Nolasco for sure, plus three more from among Bobby Brownlie, Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, Casey McGehee Jae-kuk Ryu, Andy Shipman, and Brandon Sing--most likely Ryu, Marmol, and Brownlie, or MAYBE Marshall, but that depends on the extent of Marshall's arm problems), leaving three slots open for free-agents.

Remember, Jim Hendry uses slots on the 40-man roster as a reward for guys who "get with the program." He has demostrated (see Andy Sisco) that he isn't concerned about leaving talented prospects off the 40-man roster, so that the risk of losing a player in the Rule 5 Draft apparently has little to do with Hendry's decision to place a player on the 40-man roster or leave him off.

Jose Macias (eligible for arbitration) will probably be non-tendered in December, so that will open up one more slot for a free-agent at that time.

Az Phil,

You saw a different Corey Patterson than I did. The CP I saw could and DID hit to all fields until this past season.

In 2005 there was a remarkable change. EVERY HIT he managed to get was to RIGHT.

Now, I'm not saying Dusty Faker made him do it but Dusty's been overheard telling Matt Murton that he needs to start pulling the ball if he wants to make it in the majors. It wouldn't surprise me if that's what KKKP was told to do as well.

How can we have an intelligent discussion if we can't agree on THE FACTS?? For the record, there's absolutely no doubt that Corey Patterson hit to all fields prior to 2005. Check out his spray charts.

He wasn't a dead pull hitter until last season.

"Now, I'm not saying Dusty Faker made him do it but Dusty's been overheard telling Matt Murton that he needs to start pulling the ball if he wants to make it in the majors."

Did Baker tell Murton to pull everything or suggest that he has the power to turn on the ball more a la Jim Frey's conversation with Ryno. I'm not sure who did the "overhearing" but I wouldn't be ready to hang Baker on this one unless I knew exactly what was said..

CWtP: C-Pat has hit with a top-handed "hook" for as long as I can remember. He may have lacked the strength to turn on all pitches in his younger days and was unable to always pull them into right-field, but his swing was a top-handed hook that is used to yank the ball whebever possible.

I do not remember ever seeing him hit with his head down on the ball and intentionally driving outside pitches to the opposite field, but if you have video evidence that he hit that way prior to this year, then I guess it's time to get myself checked out at the local Alzheimer's Clinic.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/playoffs2005/ne...

Them White Sox fans can be a class act.....
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Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen apologized after Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio's wife was slapped by a male fan in Chicago.

The incident happened Sunday night in the stands at US Cellular Field, where the White Sox beat Houston in Game 2 of the World Series.

Biggio said his wife, Patty, wasn't hurt. He said the fan slapped his wife then tried to run away -- before the player's brother-in-law ended up "putting him against the wall."

Astros manager Phil Garner said that the fan had been bothering her for a while -- pulling Patty Biggio's hair and jostling her.
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not to stereotype them or anything, [cough]William Ligue[cough]

CWTP, if you look over Patterson's hit chart at MLB.com, you will find that for 2003, 2004 and 2005 that in Wrigley his hits are all over but on the road, he pulls the ball almost exclusively.

Jose Macias (eligible for arbitration) will probably be non-tendered in December

I'll have the champaigne on ice ready to pop the cork when that happens.

So if we are rebuilding the bench from the ground up, who do we want as backup infield/outfield that might be "Dusty proof". Given the backdrop that Neifi Perez would be valuable if he were used purely as a backup and not as a starter, which minor league cubs will best fit that bench role? Fontenot/Richard Lewis? The others might come as 2nd player added in a trade. Who is on the FA market that would help the bench?

Cubs team listed on ebay.

Description-
"How can you put a price on over one hundred years of history? Located in nice neighborhood, low expectations(as of 9.30.05), professional manager and friendly players. Little touch up on cement and ballpark is a good as new!"

AZ Phil,

Why do you think Theriot will be DFA'd. Why not DFA Fontenot? Him and Theriot are basically the same player but Theriot can play SS so he has more value.

The record shows his power was to all fields. e.g. in 2003 he hit 3 homeruns to left in Wrigley, 1 to center, and 3 to right. Two of the homeruns to left went over the 368 sign and two to right did the same.

In 2004 he hit 9 doubles to left in Wrigley, one to dead center, and 9 to right. 5 of the doubles to left made it to the wall, and 1 hit to right made it to the wall. He hit five homeruns to left...all deep shots and nine to right.

However, in 2005 all his homeruns at Wrigley were hit to right field. He hit only two doubles to left and six to right. Of the six to right, four were hit down the right field line.

I may have missed one or two because I'm looking at the spray charts. But it looks for all the world like CP was trying to pull the ball every pitch last season and that would explain his low BA and high K/PA.

CWtP: Ernie Banks has said that when he was with the Kansas City Monarchs (prior to joining the Cubs in 1953), he had a level "inside-out" (opposite field) swing. Banks would take inside pitches and drive them (hit 'em hard) "inside-out" back up the middle or to the opposite field. This resulted in a high batting average and few Ks, a few home runs (not a lot), and lots of extra base hits into the gaps, but also no home runs or extra base hits pulled down the line.

Once Banks arrived in Chicago, one or both of the Cubs big boppers at the time (Hank Sauer and/or Ralph Kiner) taught Banks how to "turn on the ball" (a top-handed slightly-elevated hook-swing where you open up your body with a cork-screw hip rotation that uses your wrists to pull & drive inside pitches down the line), and that's the exact same swing Ted Williams used with great success for many years (although Teddy Ballgame could decrease the elevation on his hook-swing to improve contact in certain situations).

Jim Frey taught Ryne Sandberg this same technique in 1984, and Sandberg suddenly turned into a power hitter, something he gave no evidence of being prior to that. But Sandberg could still drive an outside pitch to the opposite field in certain situations, basically whenever he felt like it (for instance if he was executing a hit & run with Dernier or Walton), because he already knew how to hit that way. He could hit both ways.

In the case of Corey Patterson, he has had a top-handed hook-swing for as long as I've seen him. I don't recall him having any other kind of swing, although he may have increased his elevation this past season, probably because all the teams have learned to throw fastballs to him at eye-level (a pitch he can't refuse).

When Dusty Baker was talking this past season about Patterson working with Gene Clines, I presume Clines was trying to teach Patterson how to swing with his head down on the ball, where you "drive" the ball (that is, hit it hard), but back up-the-middle or to the opposite field (where it's pitched), or, if he can't do that, at least hit top-handed with his head-down and with a less-elevated swing. Unfortunately, Patterson apparently can't hit that way (he used to hit with less elevation), so not only can he not adjust his swing and "go with the pitch" (pull it if it's inside, hit it up the middle or drive it to the opposite field if it's outside), he can't even hit down on the ball when he's TRYING to do it that way, and he can't even hit down on the ball TOP-HANDED. So in the process of trying to learn a new swing, C-Pat lost his old top-handed (hook) swing, too.

The best thing that could happen to Corey Patterson would be to go to a new organization where his new team tells him to just be himself, and don't think about anything. What they would get is a .250 hitter with an OBP in the .280s, 30 HR & 30 SB, almost no walks, and upwards of 200 Ks (but much better numbers if can play half his games in Denver!).

#57 of 59: By chifan3887 (October 25, 2005 10:39 AM)
AZ Phil,

Why do you think Theriot will be DFA'd. Why not DFA Fontenot? Him and Theriot are basically the same player but Theriot can play SS so he has more value.

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CHIFAN3887: Mainly because I don't think Theriot will ever hit major league pitching. Fontenot is a better hitter and could be a decent back-up at 2B-3B, possibly even eventually an everyday MLB 2nd baseman (although probably not with the Cubs).

I also believe Theriot would likely pass through waivers without being claimed, but the Cubs would probably lose Fontenot to somebody on waivers if they tried to outright him to Iowa, and it would be better to use him in a trade rather just lose him for the waiver price.

This picture of Corey Patterson taken in 2004 definitely shows he has a "hook grip" on the bat. However it looks like he is blocking it out (not releasing his wrists).

I haven't located any earlier pix of his grip on the bat yet.

I forgot to add, that you will note that Corey Patterson's spine is in line with his lead leg instead of being vertical (e.g. Ted Williams).

It's amazing he can hit anything with that much tilt. Not to mention that his head must be moving downward.

#61 of 61: By cubswinthepennant (October 25, 2005 11:56 AM)
This picture of Corey Patterson taken in 2004 definitely shows he has a "hook grip" on the bat. However it looks like he is blocking it out (not releasing his wrists).

I haven't located any earlier pix of his grip on the bat yet.

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CWtP: Thank you very much for taking the time to research this stuff. I would be VERY interested in seeing both Corey's grip AND (more importantly) his stance in a game AB (not posed) from before his knee injury in 2003. I know he had a top-handed pull-hitters's "hook" grip as far back as I can remember (Fall 1999), but I can't understand how he could have been able to drive the ball to all fields with that grip unless he kept his hips closed and dived into the ball, which would account for his power to the opposite field, except I just don't remember him diving into outside pitches AND turning on inside pitches. He was never that good of a hitter, at least not that I reemember. And if he WAS that good, he should have been able to keep it up. Do you remember if he got hit in the head by a pitch in 2003?

I'm wondering if something happened with his stance after he came back from his knee injury that precluded him from diving into outside pitches, such that he began to pull everything?

It's hard to tell too much from the picture of Patterson since it shows him pulling in his hands to hit an inside pitch. If it's an off speed inside pitch ir could certainly explain being out on his front foot. Knowing Corey it's no doubt ball three he's hacking at. His left elbow is almost touching his waist. Hey, maybe he pulled his hands in to hit it to the right side to advance a runner from second to third! Or not.

CWTP - I'd take Corey having the balance and posture of Walt "No Neck" Williams at bat let alone Ted Williams.

"Dusty's been overheard telling Matt Murton that he needs to start pulling the ball if he wants to make it in the majors"

well..he does. murton is not a singles hitter. murton has power and he needs to tap it to both fields. you're talking about a guy who has 20+HR power who is/was getting eatten up on the inside.

if he cant hit inside pitching and just make weak contact, he'll never be a complete hitter that can realize his full potential.

a guy who can make contact middle-outside that well needs to claim that inside part of the plate so he'll see more middle-outside.

that's the stuff that drives pitchers nuts...not like vlad where he'll hit anything anywhere...but knowing there's no where to pitch murton safely and he can literally pick/choose what he wants to swing at cuz he knows he'll see a bit of everything on every part of the plate.

murton probally wont hit 40 homers, but the guy has a 20hr stroke with a ton of doubles in that bat.

Az Phil, and those interested.

Here's a pic of Corey Patterson in 2001.

His swing is completing. His right hand is coming off the bat. It looks like he does not have that hook grip in this picture. If he did, we would be able to see the heel of his left hand at this point of his swing. Instead we see the back of glove. His palm is vertical which is a neutral position rather than a hook.

Corey Patterson's stance in 2001.
Here.

Unfortunately it doesn't show the position of his feet. Still looking for that.

Crunch that sounds a lot like The Ryne Sandberg Story.

Okay, the top left card is a picture of CP in 2001.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the back of his left hand appears to be in the same plane as his forearm. This is a neutral position.

If he were using a hook grip, his left wrist would be at a 30 degree angle (or a bit less) to his arms.

"Otherwise, attempting to steal just isn't worth the risk of getting thrown out. It's the THREAT of the stolen base (and the distraction that presents to the pitcher and catcher) that has the most value, because it means the pitcher will probably throw more fastballs than he might otherwise want to throw, and knowing that a fastball is likely to be coming makes a big difference to a lot of major league hitters, especially to middle-of-the order run producers. "

You can't have one (the threat) without the other (the steals). Just being fast is no threat. Using it enough to scare people is where the value comes. Now I'll also tell you that being able to get from first to second or third with on

"Otherwise, attempting to steal just isn't worth the risk of getting thrown out. It's the THREAT of the stolen base (and the distraction that presents to the pitcher and catcher) that has the most value, because it means the pitcher will probably throw more fastballs than he might otherwise want to throw, and knowing that a fastball is likely to be coming makes a big difference to a lot of major league hitters, especially to middle-of-the order run producers. "

You can't have one (the threat) without the other (the steals). Just being fast is no threat. Using it enough to scare people is where the value comes. Now I'll also tell you that being able to get from first to second or third with out a pitch has great value - but that's for another day.

I just invented a new game. I call it the Six Degrees of Cubdom. First you take a player like say, Aramis Ramirez and trace how he became a Cub by following the trades. The further back it goes the cooler it gets. For example, Aram was traded for Jose Hernandez (yes I know Bobby Hill was in there too). Hernandez was traded to the Cubs from the Rockies for Mark Bellhorn. Bellhorn was traded to the Cubs for Adam Morrissey (some minor leaguer who never made the pros). SOOO, why all this? It shows how one no body like Morrissey can be spun into an All-Star third baseman.

Even better:

Sandberg traded for DeJesus. DeJesus for Rick Monday. Monday traded to the Cubs for Ken Holtzman.

I like this game.

Matt Murton (or Nomar, take your pick) came to the Cubs in a 4-team trade that sent Alex Gonzalez to Montreal. Gonzalez had been traded to the Cubs from Toronto in 2001 for Felix Heredia. Felix Heredia had been acquired from Florida in 1998 for Kevin Orie. Therefore, Kevin Orie was spun into Nomar and/or Murton.

On stolen bases the common sabermatic thought is that you need at least .67 success rate to be worth it, and that unless you're stealing a .75 rate you should probably leave it to Carl Crawford.

Of course most 'sabermaticians' aren't very basebeall savy. You can't extract a stolen base, as AZ Phil and 'X' intimate, from the game conditions. It's entirely possible to have one guy go 10 for 20 in stolen bases and have his attempts as valauble (in terms of increasing his team's chance to win the game) as someone who goes 18 for 20.

That's why it's nice to get players like Sandberg or Molitor who know when to steal and when not to bother.

Baker has complained a lot about lack of speed on the team, but I can steal a base off of Brad Lidge, and Baker just leaves our guys at first hoping for 2 run HR's in the 9th when we're down by a run and a double play ends the game.

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