TCR Friday Notes

As the Hot Stove Heats Up, so do the length of my articles. Bear with me! Rusched Signing Glendon Rusch for 2 more years, huh? At the moment I donít get this signing at all. Especially when the prime reason given by Hendry seems to be just for the sake of pitching depth.
"I'm just not going to get caught shortî
$2.75 million dollar insurance policy for next year is a bit hefty when you have so many other holes to fill. Particularly costly when you consider we have at least 4 other candidates to fill that spot in the rotation that come cheaper and could/should and most likely would be nearly as effective. Wouldnít you rather throw an extra $6 million at B.J. Ryan the next 2 years or use that cash to buyout Dusty Baker? Okay, maybe that last one is just me. Not to mention wasting a 40 man roster spot on a 5th/6th pitcher leads to the sort of buffoonery that leaves quality minor league players unprotected come Rule V draft time. Hendry may have a plan though to use a number of those pitching prospects as trade chips, so it wonít be until March before I reach a firm conclusion on this deal. And just so weíre all clear, Rusch was signed by Hendry to be a starter, not a swingman or LOOGY.
"His effectiveness was better this year as a starter," Hendry said. "Obviously, you don't promise anybody ... that they are penciled in the rotation. But I assured him that he could come back as a starting candidate and that I didn't have any interest any longer in putting him in the bullpen."
Now whether Baker understands that or not, weíll see. His contract also includes some incentives for games started which may be as much a benefit to him as itís a message to Baker. As Mike C. so delicately put it in the comments earlier this week, Dusty is very aware of players contracts and their incentives and does his best to help the players achieve said incentives. While I wonít proclaim, as Mike C. did, that heís more interested in that then putting the best team out there, I will certainly agree that itís something Dusty is conscious of when making decisions. So maybe that incentive clause is as much for Baker as it is for Rusch. AFL/Winter League Updates - Jon Koronka left the AFL for personal reasons. The Cubs have the right to replace him with somebody else if they choose, but it might be a bit late in the season for that. - Buck Coats was removed from the Taxi Squad and is now eligible to play everyday. As a member of the Taxi Squad, he could only play on Wednesdays and Sundays. - Stats so far:
Matt Murton .321/.375/.506 1 HR, 13/13 BB/K, 10 2bís in 81 ABís
Brandon Sing .288/.367/.558 3 HR, 7/16 BB/K in 52 ABís
Eric Patterson .273/.319/.364 0 HR, 5/11 BB/K in 66 ABís; 4/7 in SBís
Buck Coats     .304/.360/.348 0 HR, 2/2 BB/K in 23 ABís
David Aardsma 0-0 10.80 ERA, 7/15 BB/K, 2 HR in 15.0 IP
Angel Guzman  1-2 3.86 ERA, 10/22 BB/K, 2 HR in 25.2 IP
Jon Koronka     1-0 0.00 ERA, 5/11 BB/K, 0 HR in 13.0 IP; 3 Saves
Felix Pieís #ís in the DWL: 11/49 .224/.273/.367 1 HR, 2/10 BB/K Adam Greenbergís in the VWL: 18/63 .286/.338/.444 2 HR, 4/17 BB/K Furcal update Well thanks to Furcalís agent Paul Kinzer, everyone knows exactly what is going on in the Furcal negotiations. Thanks, Paul. If youíve missed it so far, 3 teams have so far been in contact with Furcal, the Cubs, Mets and Braves. The Mets want him to play second and Furcal is willing. If everyone is willing to cough up the same amount of cash, heíll likely stay in Atlanta, but John Schuerholz will have to do some serious money moving to make that a reality as it looks like Jimmy Rollinsís recent 5 year, $40 mil deal is the starting off point for any talks with Furcal. Furcal wouldnít mind playing for the Cubs either, as apparently heís close to Aramis and Neifi and of course knows Maddux from past days. Apparently he flunked history though as his agent claims,
"Whatever team he goes to, he wants to be able to go to a World Series, and he feels the Cubs are going to be competitive in trying to get there. I'd say there is very serious interest from Rafael."
Bless him for his hubris if he believes he's the guy to finally take us over the hump, but if playing World Series games is your goal, history at least tells us, that you should steer clear of the Cubs. If the Cubs really want Furcal, they should jump in with their best offer (at least 4 yrs/$36 mil w/ a 5th year option). The Braves, I doubt, can match it, although I shouldnít underestimate John Schuerholz. I think the Mets would like to wait until they know if they'll get in on the Wagner sweepstakes, figure out their catcher situation and the likelihood of getting out of some of Kaz Matsui's contract. Given that may take some time to develop, the Cubs could force the Mets hand by ponying up a huge offer on day one. This is of course, exactly the opposite of what Hendry normally does, which is wait until the market drops and tries to get guys on the cheap. The Sun-Times has an interesting piece on Furcalís past discretions, his attempts to overcome his alcohol problems and that the Cubs need to be prepared for any potential relapses. Of course they should have been better prepared for Nomarís injury this year, cause if Vegas were laying odds on ìlong-term injury to Nomar Garciaparraî or ìdrinking problem benches Furcalî, Iíd bet the odds are remarkably close. Other FA tidbits - A.J. Burnett was wined and dined by the Blue Jays, which included taking him to a Toronto Raptors game with Roy Halladay. Donít know if that was such a good idea. Your attempt to attract one of the top free agents is to take him to watch one of the worse run franchises in sports? If the Cubs are interested in Burnett, wooing him shouldn't be much of a problem. - So far itís been the Mariners, Cardinals and Indians that have pursued Brian Giles with the Padres taking their 3 yr/$21 mil deal off the table and taking a wait and see approach. - Former Oís manager, Lee Mazzilli said heíd do whatever it takes to convince the Yanks to sign B.J. Ryan. Bidding war vs Yanks = Find another player - Speaking of another bullpen guy, the Mets are the only team so far to have shown interest in Octavio Dotel. Rumor has it that he could be ready by as soon as spring training after his TJ surgery and considering the signings of Dempster and Williamson the last few years, I can see Hendry taking another waiver on Dotel. - [Cough]Journalism[Cough] I picked this up through Ivy Chat, but if you werenít convinced yet that Jay Mariotti is a buffoon whose opinion changes more often than I do my underwear, then read Eric Zornís Trib blog. It dissects each Mariotti column over the last year on the White Sox and shows him to be the uber-flip-flopper that weíve all suspected over the years.
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Comments

Furcal may not need to stop drinking. He should just sell his car and move to a city with good public transportation. Rating mass transit that would put New York first, Chicago second and Atlanta off the list! Ah, but the Red Line is a lot nicer than the 7 Train in Queens. I'm telling you, if this guy wants to keep drinking, he's ours.

Last year the Cubs had 21 games started by Mitre, Dempster, Hill, Koronka and Leicester. They went 8-13 in those games. That gang pitched 113 innings in those starts with an RA of 6.45. Rusch's RA as a starter was 4.73 in 110 innings. Rusch as a 5th starter for $3 million isn't what's going to keep the Cubs from winning next year.

I hate to nitpick a fine roundup, but Mazzilli was manager, not GM.

Hard to keep track of all the GM's in Baltimore :). thanks for the catch...

As for Rusch, I don't doubt that he'll be a fine 5th starter, in that he'll give us league average performance and probably step on the mound every 5th day. That's great, no problems. But first, with Bker managing and his insistence of lefties in the pen, there's a real risk that he ends up back there AGAIN. Second, while I don't doubt the quality of Rusch, I doubt the cost. If Rusch makes 30+ starts next year, will it keep us from winning, nope? But will that 2.5 million been better spent on a shutdown bullpen arm or a power hitting OF. Right now, I think the signing was excessive, considering all of the other holes in the team.

But since I'm not privy to Hendy's plans or the budget he's working with, I'll wait until he's done making off-season moves before I truly form an opinion on the signing.

When I read of the Rusch signing, my first thought was "trade bait" - that Hendry figures somebody will be looking for a 4th/5th starter next June or July, and he might get somebody worth 2.75 mil. OTOH, he may just be rewarding Rusch for being there when the Cubs needed him.

BillT:

If you can get a shutdown reliever or a power-hitting OF for $2.5 million, more power to you. In reality, the Cubs attempt to add such players won't be hamstrung by this contract. Maddux' contract on the other hand...

TY for the link. But, Eddie Munster is NOT a contrairian. He's a windsock -- he blows whichever way the wind is blowing. A contrairian goes AGAINST the wind. Jay doesn't do that. Ever.

Oh, and if you want to see where Mr. Comar got his idea about Dusty and the incentives, try here:
http://ivychat.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_ivycha...

"A.J. Burnett was wined and dined by the Blue Jays"

btw...for those holding out hope the cubs will sign burnett or another top tier pitcher...

all other club interests/needs aside and the competition it causes...the b.jays are increasing their payroll appx. 30m to get into the 80-85m payroll range.

Apparently he flunked history

Does this surprise you? Furcal can't even remember when he was born.

I don't see how the Cubs go back to being a World Series contender again. Let's see your rotation:
1) Zambrano
2) Prior
3) Wood
4) Maddux
5) Rusch

Now that should be better than average if healthy - after all the only below average pitcher there is Rusch (see his career numbers). Your #4 will be average - which should theoretically be your #3 starter - since that's the exact midpoint of the rotation.

Of course that's IF they are all healthy and IF they are all effective. There is the raw talent there for 3 aces - but we haven't seen that yet.

So your dominating starting pitching takes you to multiple championships (remember they are all young) window appears to have closed.

Look at the lineup - ugh.

Bullpen...double-ugh.

Sadly I think they'll be worse than last year. There's a lot of IF's for them to be good. I really really want to be the Braves or Yankees - where the worst case scenario is the Wild Card - but that's just not happening. Worse yet is I can't pin this on specific things Hendry did wrong.

And the White Sox won the world series...now I'm depressed...why do I come to this website again?

Sadly I think they'll be worse than last year.

I am curious why you think that they would be worse. What are they losing? Burnitz? 1 healthy month of Nomar?

I really do not see how they could be worse in terms of talent. They will essentially have the same rotation as last year. They will stay the same at first, better at second (with a healthy Walker all year), they almost have to be better by default at SS, same at 3b, same at C. The outfield cannot be worse than last year, and the bullpen should at least be as good as year.

So how are they going to be worse?

ROB G wrote:

As Mike C. so delicately put it in the comments earlier this week, Dusty is very aware of players contracts and their incentives and does his best to help the players achieve said incentives. While I wonít proclaim, as Mike C. did, that heís more interested in that then putting the best team out there, I will certainly agree that itís something Dusty is conscious of when making decisions. So maybe that incentive clause is as much for Baker as it is for Rusch.

ROB G: I don't agree with that. Glendon Rusch had a $2 mil base salary in 2005 with $1.2 mil in incentive bonuses tied to GAMES STARTED, yet that did not preclude Dusty from moving Rusch back to the bullpen and leaving Jerome Williams in the rotation when Mark Prior and Kerry Wood returned from the DL in June.

If Dusty was so concerned with getting Rusch his $1.2 mil in performance bonuses, why did he move Rusch to the bullpen? Jerome Williams could have been moved to the bullpen or (like Rich Hill) optioned back to Iowa instead.

The reason Neifi reached his performance bonuses (tied to ABs) was only because Nomar got hurt and missed most of the season, and when he did return, he played 3B.

I don't think Dusty playing Holly over Dubois (or over Murton) had ANYTHING to do with trying to get a veteran some extra money. Dusty just feels more comfortable playing veteran players, and the way he deals with rookies is like how some people at a ceramics factory might deal with the new guy at work. They don't trust him to hold the merchandise. He might drop it. It's a misguided fear, but Dusty's like that. He just doesn't trust rookies.

I don't think Dusty necessarily sees Murton or Cedeno as rookies anymore, so he will probably be more than willing to entrust them with the "merchandise" and give them a chance to win a starting job in Spring Training and play every day. YOUNG PLAYERS aren't his hangup. It's ROOKIES he don't like.

snarky bunch this Friday, aren't we?

Chuck
---
You're RIGHT! Poor word choice on my part. Thanks.

AZ Phil
----
As I said, I don't think it's the ultimate deciding factor, but I think he takes into account especially if it's within reach.

BillT:
If you can get a shutdown reliever or a power-hitting OF for $2.5 million, more power to you. In reality, the Cubs attempt to add such players won't be hamstrung by this contract. Maddux' contract on the other hand...

That must have been directed towards me, since that's what I wrote in the next comment. For just $2.5 million this year, your highly unlikely to find a kick-ass corner OF or shutdown bullpen arm, BUT for $2.5 million MORE than you may have in the budget, you may? For example, do the Cubs sign Jacque Jones for $6 mil a year or Brian Giles for $8.5 mil? Now I'm just making up those #'s as Giles will likely cost in the $9-$11 mil range and I don't know what Jones is expecting, but that was my point. It could be the difference between average player versus very good player and to commit that $$$ money just for pitching depth seems a bit silly, at least at this point.

We'll have to see how the rest of the off-season shakes out before we really know if this is a good move or not.

Burnett is not going to Toronto. Who the hell goes to Canada when they can get a job in the U.S.? They can wine and dine him all they want. They can even talk French to him if they think it will help, but the sad fact is that the Cubs have a better shot of winning than the Blue Jays do because of the Yankees and Red Sox. Don't bother bringing up how old the Yankees are or Theo resigning...$200 million solves a lot of those problems. The only thing I took out of his statement was that he covered his ass at the end by saying the Blue Jays want to win also. He spent a couple sentences saying "oh, it's great here, BUT I want to win and that's important to me and blah blah blah blah blah...and oh yeah, they want to win here, too."

Ain't gonna happen. Pirates will dish out $75 million to sign him before he goes to Toronto.

I really do not see how they could be worse in terms of talent. They will essentially have the same rotation as last year. They will stay the same at first, better at second (with a healthy Walker all year), they almost have to be better by default at SS, same at 3b, same at C. The outfield cannot be worse than last year, and the bullpen should at least be as good as year. So how are they going to be worse?

They're not likely to stay the same at first; unless Lee really is Albert Pujols, they'll lose at least two wins or so right off the bat. If they sign Furcal and trade Walker, allowing Cedeno or a random Cedenoish player to play second, that'll probably be (offensively) a push from 2004 MI production. If they're able to get a full season out of Aramis, they may be able to balance out Lee, but that still leaves the infield neutral.

Presumably the bench and outfield can't be any worse (although I have no confidence in the bench being significantly better, seeing how the Cubs probably don't realize it's a problem).

The amount of offensive improvement depends on what happens with the outfield. For example, swapping Jacque Jones for Jeromy Burnitz would essentially be neutral, so it won't necessarily get much better, but you're right: it can't be much worse, and those are also my thoughts on the bullpen and rotation.

Sorry for rambling. In sum, I think they'll be a little better, and while Payton above is probably a little too pessimistic in the "worse than 2005", I think his assessment of the number of "if"s involved is fairly accurate, especially if the Cubs want to, say, win 90 games for the first time in the Hendry/Baker era.

I don't think the Cubs can get worse than last year (and I'm the biggest pessimist on this board). The Cubs finished below STL, HOU and MIL and ahead of Cincinatti and Pittsburgh. I seriously doubt the Cubs will finish below Cincinatti and Pittsburgh so as far as finishing order in the division they will NOT be worse than this year.

However they have a TON of room for improvement.

My biggest concern is with the "solid" players we have.

3B--Aramis Ramirez...we gambled with a lengthy contract on him and he scares me as a Ken Griffey type with the injuries but lacks the Ken Griffey type numbers when healthy. Aramis is not a "smart" player--he's shown moments of idioticity in the field, on the bases and at bat at I'm not real comfortable with Ramirez especially in a stretch run or playoff appearance--IMO he has "CHOKE" written all over him

P-Kerry Wood...enough said

P-Mark Prior...another player with trips to the DL every season he's pitched...and yet some of them freaky (line drive off elbow...collision on the basepath)...but still he's shown an inability to play a full season without difficulties

C-Michael Barrett....I've kept up with many posters on here who post the difference in ERA when Barrett catches and when he doesn't...the stats are scary. He doesn't bring any additional offense to offset that stat and the "papers" (believe em or not..they are the papers after all) usually indicate his teammates don't like pitching to him (and maybe the higher ERA has merit for that sentiment).

The bench....enough said

The bullpen is one area I am not as concerned with. The bullpen is only as good as the offense who can get you a lead or one who demands the pitching staff throw career numbers each and every game. If the offense can get a good lead the bullpen will be just fine..if the offense demands the pitching staff to throw career numbers each game the bullpen, like the rest of the team, is in trouble.

Coaching staff...not impressive.

The good news is they have a TON of room for improvement and possibly more money to throw away trying to get better. History will say they will finish 2nd in any Free agent contest with any particular desired player and they will fill holes with someone elses crap. But here's hoping they do it right and random luck is their friend this season.

I can give two shits what Hendry wants or what incentives he has or teh fact he wasn't good out of the bullpen. If he is one of the best 5 starters, then he should be in the rotation. If not, he needs to be in the bullpen or trade him.

I too don't like the signing. I am not a fan of Rusch. We already have two #5 starters. One making $9 million in Greg Maddux and one that is making the minimum in Jerome Williams.

Are you for real about Aramis? They guy has been a freakin rock for us. He has hit over 30 homers in both full seasons he has played with us and would have have over a 100 rbis if not for his late season injury. AND they rested him down the stretch cause there was no reason to play him while he was dinged. Same with Wood. Once we gave up hope, he went and got cut on. You're crazy to question Ramirez. And choke? Sure his batting average wasn't great in the 03 play offs but in 12 games he hit 4 homers and had 10 RBIS. Thats pretty freaking good.

Well, "The Rock", you're obviously so very sage with your baseball acumen, since you KNOW Toronto has no chance at competing.

Um, by the way, would you care to check out how many World Series championships the stupid Canadian franchise has managed to win in the last 15 years? Compared to, oh I don't know, the Red Sox against whom the Jays obviously can't compete. And of course compared to the Cubs.

I like Ramirez. I remember the days of Gaetti, Law, Etc. -shudder- Nice to have some production from the 3rd base position.

The only thing I question sometimes is, is he lazy or is he really hurt? His injuries would suggest he is really hurt sometimes. But it also seems like Baker is just letting him get away with being lazy by using his small injuries as an excuse for him not running out plays. I really hate it when guys hit a fly ball or a grounder and just give up 2 feet out of the batters box and start walking to the dugout, only to watch the fielder bobble the ball or drop it.

-shrug- Hard to root against a guy with 30 HR and 100 RBI from that position.

The offense does not inspire confidence but pitching is what we need. Unfortunately, aside from Zambrano, I have little faith that any starter will come through from April till October. The Sox scored 120 less runs in '05 than '04 and even with the DH scored less than 40 more runs than the Cubs in '05 and they're the World Series champs. But their team ERA dropped a run and a third per game. The fastest way to win is with pitching and defense. I don't see it happening unless all-of-a-sudden Prior goes super nova and Angel Guzman rises from the ashes and gives the Cubs good starts in the second half.

And the bullpen? Who knows? Who thought Cotts and Politte would turn in years like they did. I'm not hopeful but I'm torn. Hey, I did find big cans of Bass Ale at the liquor store. I take my first sip and everything seems better. Ahhhh. Cubs? What Cubs?

"We already have two #5 starters. One making $9 million in Greg Maddux and one that is making the minimum in Jerome Williams."

Wrong, manny...

Williams had a 3.91 ERA with the Cubs.
If you take away the only 2 bad starts he had (out of 17), Williams' ERA was 3.09
He would be at least a #3 starter with many teams and a #2 with some.
I don't understand the thinking that Williams isn't a good pitcher. He's a middle of the rotation guy with potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher as he hits his prime in the next couple of years.
If your #4 and #5 starters are Greg Maddux and Jerome Williams, you're in damn good shape.

Sometimes I really enjoy reading peoples comments on this website....other times I realize the majority of you are a bunch of idiots.

So it appears that Hendry's top targets are Burnett and Furcal. To sign both of them will be 25 mil (15 for Burnett and 10 for Furcal.) it has been estimated that Hendry has 35 million to spend so that leaves including the Dempster and Rusch deals and trading Walker with 4.5 Mil for:

CF&RF
Bullpen
Bench

So with that Money here is what I think Hendry is thinking:

CF: Pie (320,000)
RF: trade for Kearns or Monroe (2.5 Mil)
Pen: Add Loogy (1 Mil)
Bench: (800,000 left to spend)
lets assume after making 2 big signings the trib will give him an extra mil for the bench. Based on this here is the 2006 Cubs that Hendry probably sees:

Line-up
Furcal
Murton
Dlee
Aram
Barrett
Kearns/Monroe
Pie
Cedeno

Rotation
Z
Prior
Burnett
Wood
Maddux

Pen
Dempster
Williamson
Sauerbeck/Hammond
Novoa
Wuertz
Ohman
Rusch

Bench:
Blanco
JHJ
4 ??? with 1.8 Million for:
4th of ( Holly 650,000)
Back-up SS (Pokey Reese 500,000)
2 Minor leaguers ( Fontenot and Greenberg 640,000)

What do you guys think because this will looks like the team if Hendry is serious about Burnett? Personally I would rather get a Dunn, Giles, Matsui, Soriano for 12 mil and have the extra 3 million for the pen and bench.

Big John Stud-
I do like Williams and think he has some very good potential. But he is NOT a #3 starter right now on any real major league team rotation, in my opinion. But I would much rather him as the #5 starter than Rusch, especially when considering the finances. And yes having Maddux as the #5 starter, which he should be, is very good, but when you are paying him like a #2, that is not that good. And that is what I am talking about.

And oh yeah, you can keep the, oh if you take a couple starts out, he would be an even better pitcher. That goes for EVERY pitcher and hitter. The fact remains he did have those starts and may in the future too.

I hope Williams beats out Rusch. At least Hendry and Baker are smart enough to have the spot up for grabs going into ST and now assign a 5th starter now. There are others (Mitre, Leicester, Guzman, Koronka, etc.) that will get looks too. Maybe we catch lightening in a bottle.

Manny,

Jwill could be the no.3 starter or better for the follwing teams:

Drays
Orioles
Blue Jays
Royals
Tigers
Twins
Rangers
Mariners
Nats
Phillies
Brewers
Pirates
Reds
Rockies
Padres
Giants
D'backs

Chifan-
Yes he "COULD", but he also "COULD" start 10 games and be sent back down to the minors. We don't know much yet how he will do if given the oppurtunity to be in the starting rotation. But to say he is a #3 starter on a major league team RIGHT NOW, is pushing it. He was 6-10 last year with a an ERA over 4.00. Those are not #3 numbers. But i agree he "COULD" be a #3 starter soon, but I think it is unrealistic to think he will be next year.

Bench: (800,000 left to spend).

I'd spend a bit more although a Brandon Sing would work for me too. The question is would Dusty play a rookie who's role was to come off the bench (in contrast to leaving on the bench a rookie whose role is to start)...doubtful, so here's my alternative thought, somewhat more expensive:

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Oakland Athletics parted ways with first baseman Scott Hatteberg on Tuesday, declining his $2.8 million option for the 2006 season. The A's must pay Hatteberg, primarily a designated hitter last season, a $250,000 buyout.

The A's didn't pick up the option on Scott Hatteberg. Any opinions as to whether he's look like a nice lefty bat off the bench. My guess is his salary for 2006 will be more than cut in half. II realize he's got the Moneyball fame baggage, but it's not a bad thing to have a veteran player who knows when to take a pitch when coming off the bench.

Cubster,

I was basing the 800 k to spend on the bench based on them having 35 mil to spend in the off-season and then spending 25 of it Burnett and Furcal and anthor 5 with Re-uping Dempster and Rusch minus Walker's contract who will be traded when we sign Furcal. The point I was trying to say is spending 15 mil on a pitcher is not good. I think Burnett wants 5/60, but Hendry not liking 5yr deals would give him the 60 over 4 if he is as serious about signing him as I have heard he is.

Well, "Eric the Terrible", things have changed since the early 90s or did you not know that? Anyway, indeed they have.

You aren't going to beat the Red Sox AND Yankees in the AL East. It's not going to happen. You can quote history all you want just like those Canadians can wine, dine and speak French to AJ Burnett, but they aren't going to beat the Yankees and Red Sox. They are going to head into every single season with less talent than both of those teams and the odds of everything going their way is slim and none.

If your only argument is "history" then, well, whatever.

Besides, it still doesn't answer the question why anybody would move to Canada if they didn't have to. Live in Toronto? You gotta be kidding me. Pay higher taxes? Maybe if he's liberal, I guess. I'm sorry, but the whole idea of AJ Burnett taking a job in Canada is just funny.

I'm predicting the Cubs will trade jerome williams. i'd say for a centerfielder or for a more expensive veteran starter... pie is not ready.

possible options:

williams and todd walker to minnesota for brad radke.

williams to tb for carl crawford.

burnett will not be pursued by the cubs...

i'm betting "very likely" on the furcal sweepstakes.

i think the cubs will strongly pursue brian giles.

this is a lineup i could see:

furcal
crawford
lee
ramirez
giles
murton
barrett
cedeno

A remarkable number of the teams on that list have something in common. Williams *could* be the #3 starter on a bunch of teams that don't harbor any delusions about making the playoffs, but our ambitions for 2006 aren't that low, are they?

Also, since we now have no fewer than six starting pitchers, why is A.J. Burnett still in the conversation? (Let's leave aside the fact that a pitcher whose 2005 VORP was in the company of such dominating starters as Doug Davis and Tim Wakefield probably isn't worth any amount of money that starts with a $1.) Are the Cubs going to solve their bullpen problems by not having a bullpen and carrying 8 starters, each of whom pitches five innings every four days, and Ryan Dempster for when we need to protect a 6-3 lead in the ninth?

Ron Galt:
"Williams *could* be the #3 starter on a bunch of teams that don't harbor any delusions about making the playoffs,"

Great Point. Kinda like KC can have Sisco on their roster all year, but any team thinking they could contend wouldn't of had him there.

Williams could be a #3 starter, but expecting him to be so this year, is just not sensical.

"I do like Williams and think he has some very good potential. But he is NOT a #3 starter right now on any real major league team rotation, in my opinion. But I would much rather him as the #5 starter than Rusch, especially when considering the finances. And yes having Maddux as the #5 starter, which he should be, is very good, but when you are paying him like a #2, that is not that good. And that is what I am talking about.

And oh yeah, you can keep the, oh if you take a couple starts out, he would be an even better pitcher. That goes for EVERY pitcher and hitter. The fact remains he did have those starts and may in the future too."
--

You're ignoring the facts in favor of your opinion... again.
His numbers in 2005 with the Cubs were that of at least a solid #3 pitcher for most MLB ballclubs. That's a fact.
Yes, you can look objectively at what kind of pitcher he is by taking out 2 of his 17 starts.
Every pitcher has bad outings and gets shelled on occasion. As long as it only happens occasionally... what they typically do is what really matters. The fact that he only had 2 bad games out of 17 is a sign of consistency and shows that in 15 of those starts he pitched like a solid #3 starter and gave the Cubs every chance to win.

--
"The fact remains he did have those starts and may in the future too."
--
The fact also remains that those are not the norm for Williams and it only happened twice in 17 starts.
You're damn right he'll have more in his career.
Do you expect that he'll someday come to the point where he doesn't have bad outings?

Zambrano had a few bad outings in 2005... does that take away from the fact that he was an ace most of the time?
Of course not, he just had bad games.

furcal
crawford
lee
ramirez
giles
murton
barrett
cedeno

I can live with this.

Rock - What did Canada ever do to you?

History aside, the Blue Jays are in a position to challenge the Yanks and Red Sox. In 2005 they finished just a game under .500, despite losing their ace pitcher for the 2nd half of the year.

Sure, they face an uphill battle in the AL East, but that hasn't stopped free agents from going to Baltimore (which isn't nearly as nice of a city as the english-speaking toronto). The Blue Jays are planning to expand their payroll and that's all that matters.

Oh, and If Manny Ramirez leaves Boston there's a pretty good chance he'll end up in Toronto. Its one of the few city's he's reportedly willing to be traded to that would have the resources to make a deal.

Honestly, let's have a little faith. We have 4 stud pitchers if they all stay healthy. The Cubs have failed to keep the Opening Day roster mostly together for the whole season the last 2 years. If Prior's healthy, he has the tools to be a top 5 pitcher. Wood may not be the same guy who won ROY, but he can still win 12+ w/ a full season. Maddux is Maddux, even if he didn't win 15 last year. Zambrano's the x-factor. He could be a 20 game winner with the
right support. Throw in a 5th starter (Williams, Rusch, etc.) and that's a solid rotation.

On offense, D Lee isn't Pujols, but he's not Mike Lamb either. Aramis is our #3 hitter next year and Lee will provide a solid punch in the linup, if not quite All-Star stats. Put in that mix a good leadoff hitter (finally) and a CF who isn't Corey Patterson, and the Cubs will be at about the same place they were before the season, which is confidently looking forward to a playoff birth. Just stay healthy!

I don't get it. If every pitcher who makes X amount of starts is prone to have a couple bad ones, then how can you fairly evaluate a pitcher against his peers if you remove his bad starts, but not everyone else's? A 3.09 ERA might not be anything particularly speical if all pitchers had their shellings filtered out.

There is a lot of selective stat analyzing that goes on. Psychologists call it denial.

Sort of like my gambling... I would be even for the year, if it weren't for that one really bad week...

from rotoworld.com
---
The Royals will make a run free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reports.
--
GM Allard Baird has the money to sign one or two prime free agents, but there's little chance he'll land one. None of the top players are going to pick Kansas City if the money is comparable elsewhere. In the highly unlikely event that Furcal actually does end up with the Royals, the team would shop Angel Berroa and move him to second if there are no takers. Nov. 5 - 3:16 am et
---

That would be awesome if we lose out to the Royals.

Burnett has been contacted by 21 different teams and his next trip is to Seattle.

the royals? are you kidding me? sounds like his agent realizes that an offer to play 2b is not enough demand for his client.

lets take a look at the pitching staff:

prior
zambrano
traded for #3--radke?
wood
maddux

rusch
guzman
dempster
ohman
williamson
wuertz
novoa

we all want a stud added to the pen. who do the cubs trade to make room? novoa seems to have a higher upside than wuertz. another option is moving wood to closer, dempster to setup and rusch to the rotation.

based on my quick evaluation, i'd say roberto novoa has a fair amount of market value-especially to a moneyball team. question is, do you risk trading him and then seeing him turn into a stud on another team? or do you trade wuertz? i can't see williamson not being around after the contract they gave him...

Carmen,

Though it would be great to see, I don't think there's any chance the Rays trade Crawford. I try to come up with ways to pry him away too, but think about it- he's the biggest name on the team as well as they're most exciting player. New management would just get hammered (and rightfully so) if they traded him.

Huff could be had for probably Mitre- but his numbers have been getting worse over the last couple years. I think the Rays will trade an outfielder - they've got what 6 of them (Crawford, Baldelli, Upton, Gathright, Gomes, Huff) but they'd be retarded to trade Gomes and the others wouldn't be big upgrades for the Cubs, though Baldelli is the toolsy type that Hendry likes to draft, and there was talk of a Gathright for Sosa deal last year.

I keep looking for a corner outfielder to lust after in trade- with Hill, Sing and the pack of 4A pitchers as bait, but I can't really find a good match. I like Ibanez, but there's no real talk in Seattle of trading him.

I don't know who Baseballreference comes up with thier comparables- but check out the comparables by age for Baldelli- will make your eyes pop out! Wonder if a Hill or Sing + Mitre could land him, and what his prospects for continuing improvement in plate discipline and power are.

OK, I don't know how to spell 'their'.

"I don't get it. If every pitcher who makes X amount of starts is prone to have a couple bad ones, then how can you fairly evaluate a pitcher against his peers if you remove his bad starts, but not everyone else's? A 3.09 ERA might not be anything particularly speical if all pitchers had their shellings filtered out."

17 starts, 2 bad outings.
Double that and you have a full season of starts.
34 starts and 4-5 bad outings.
I'll take a #3-#4 pitcher who posts a 3.10 ERA in 29-30 starts and 10.00 ERA in the 4-5 bad starts anyday.

You don't filter out every bad start to evaluate a pitcher if he has them regularly. The point is, that those bad games are the exception... what you normally get from Williams is significantly better than #5 starter quality.

Again, you don't judge Zambrano on his bad outings, because you know what he brings to the table most of the time.

It is funny how fall Huff has fallen over teh past 18 months. Teams would of given up a bundle for him before last year, but now, everyone is very cautious he was a steroid enhanced stat boy.

Like I said over a year ago, TB would be stupid not to trade him and now they are stuck with him becuase he is cheap. And even if they want to trade him, they won't get the value they once could. He is going to have to have a HUGE first half to up his value for the trading deadline. Just another reason why TB is a horrible organization.

TB has a new controlling owner and a new front office. Think you should give them more than 2 weeks to deem them a horrible organization. They've got some talent on that team- and some gaping holes- most notably the rotation and 3rd base- but they were whiping the floor with the AL East the last 60 games of the year.

Suddenly Huff isn't worth anything after 1 rough season? Again this is what Cubs fans do. Thinking they can get Huff for the garbage that is Mitre.

And every down season is because of steroids? Ummm I think players had down seasons way before steroids were around.

That is just a poor man's excuse to explain everything. So if Lee returns to hitting .270 next year is that becuase he is off the steroids? Come on now, sh*t happens. It is baseball.

The Cubs better not be going into 2006 thinking Lee will repeat what he did in 2005. That will be a catastrophic mistake. The 2005 Lee kept us near .500. If we had the usual .270 hitting Lee in 2005 we might of been 10-15 games under .500.

Plan your offense around what your players averages will be. Do not plan your offense around players career seasons.

Mike C,

'Suddenly Huff isn't worth anything after 1 rough season? '

It's difficult to answer your question, because it has a false fact in it.

Huff has had two consecutive down seasons. It now appears more likely that his 2004 season may be his norm, than his 2002 and 2003 seasons. Which player would you rather have under contact?

Player A: 2 year contract for $11.5 million with an average OPS of .888 the previous two years

Player B: 1 year contract for $6.75 million with an average OPS of .801

Another comparison: Jaque Jones, who can be had as a free agent put up a WARP1 of 7.7 the last two seasons, Huff had a WARP1 of 8.0. How much do you think Jones is going to make in the FA market? I am guessing about $5 to $6 a year if he can get a bidding war for his services going.

So would TB be willing to trade a player in his walk year for a player they'd have under control for 3 to 4 years, who's shown the ability to shut out rivals like The Jays and the Marlins? I think they'd consider it.

The Cubs need to get Furcal, Burnett/Millwood, Brian Giles, CF, and a Bullpen... Duh!!!

I think the best choice for CF would be to trade for Pierre. A 1-2 punch of Speed would be like Pods and Iguchi with the Whitesox. Ramirez should bat 3rd next year because i think Lee is a one year wonder.

Furcal
Pierre?
Ramirez
Lee
Giles
Walker
Barret
Murton

(if there is no Pierre, Walker should bat 2nd assuming he is still with the Club)

As far as the pitching staff goes:

It is not accurate to remove the bad starts from williams last year to argue he was an adequate "3" starter. That ignores the bad starts and doesn't portray his value last year. However, it is fair to say that in majority of his starts williams pitched very well and thus you would like to see him as the fifth starter next year. Personally, that is what i feel. I think he has enough history to know that he will be a decent fifth starter, and enough potential to hope he will be a good starter regardless of what number you want to give him.

2nd, Burnett is overrated. If people are worried about how Rasch's 2.5 million could have been better spent, imagine wasting 8 million on someone who wishes they were Kerry Wood. That would be an horrible decision in my book.

3rd, did i miss something about Radke? Why would the Twins trade him? That makes no sense. Their staff will be very good next year. Radke is the face of that franchise. They want him to retire a Twin. They have plenty of pitching prospects. They will not trade him to anyone, espicially the Cubs.

Right now the Cubs starters could look like:
1. Prior
2. Z
3. Wood (Rusch when Wood gets hurt)
4. Greg
5. Williams

I think that is very solid. Any improvements made would cost a lot and only offer slight improvement. and with the OF we have now, the starters are not the problem.

Re the "dropped starts" thing, I still don't think that the 3.09 ERA is a helpful statistic until we get rid of the bad starts of all starters who make 5 bad starts out of 35 (which, it should also be mentioned, is not the same as making 2 in 17). Until we do that, we don't really know what's good, bad, and average, as the context is completely different.

I should say that I don't have any problems with Williams in the role envisioned, but we'll have to wait for the offseason to play out, as he might not even remain a Cub.

Rock,

English is the language of Ontario, French the language of Quebec. Toronto is in Ontario. They've got this whole country up there with Provinces and everything. And a way lower infant mortality rate. And a way lower crime rate. And a higher rate of upward mobility from the lower class to the middle class and middle class to the upper class. And except for every man, woman and child in the country having health insurance, those taxes are such a drag.

Furcal going to the Royals? That is the biggest joke I have heard in a long time. Look, I don't know if Furcal is worth $9 million a year. Actually, I am pretty sure he is not. But the guy is not going to go to the Royals even if they give him lots of extra cash. I am assuming that Furcal is aware of what happened to AROD when he tried that approach. AROD languished in anonymity for years in Texas. Furcal is going to get plenty enough money from a contender. He will not be going to Kansas City.

Williams ERA
When he's on, he has better numbers. When he's off, he has bad numbers. ERA encompasses on and off because it is an average. While ERA does not show how great a pitcher is when he's on and how horrible when they're not, it does summarily communicate an average.

By isolating the bad and good starts, one can only find what Williams will do when off or on respectively.

Having done this, the next step would be to calculate the probability of a bad start or a good start.

The expected ERA for a given game would be the sum (Bad ERA * p + Good ERA * (1-p)). Conincidentally, this is exactly what ERA is.

So the only thing gained by taking out bad starts is to see how hopeless any attempt to win a bad start would be. A bad day for Clemens would be much easier to still win than a bad game for Williams or Mitre or Koronka.

Run support and all else aside, ERA would be an indicator of W/L record - but obviously none of that can be controlled. So ERA is an okay measurement all by itself, without GoodERA and BadERA.

I think Williams is a great #5 starter. (Although I'd like for him to improve his conditioning some more. He labors through innings 4-6, but Prior's been having a hard time getting past the 6th lately.)

Real Neal:
"TB has a new controlling owner and a new front office. Think you should give them more than 2 weeks to deem them a horrible organization."

Firstly, I was talking about since their conception. Not the past two weeks. How could I be bashing the current ownership, who just came into power a couple weeks ago, when I was talking about TB not trading Huff before last year?

TB has been in MLB for 8 years. They have a record of 518-775 (.401). They have never had a .500 season and their high win total is 70. To me that is a horrible organization.

They are the perfect example of why baseball should have contraction of some kind.

MikeC:
"And every down season is because of steroids?"

No, but with the rampant use the past decade or so in baseball, one has to keep open a very cautious eye.

Also, I personally never said he was on steroids (and came off) and that is why his numbers were down. But I did say that "Teams would of given up a bundle for him before last year, but now, everyone is very cautious he was a steroid enhanced stat boy."

So if Lee returns to hitting .270 next year is that becuase he is off the steroids?"

No, since he was tested this past year, so one would think he was not on steroids in 2005. Huff happened to have a big fall off the first year steroid testing began. Coincidence? Maybe. But teams should be vary weary of it.

Jumbo,

Jwill is asmatic that explains he is laboring through the middle innings.

Real Neal,

I looked up Ballidelli stats on BR and I would take the second coming of Yaz. his carrer averages 285/326/425 is better than anything else they would put in CF next year.

Tarzian Wallis,

While the rock was too hard on Toronto. For those who do not live in Canada the taxes would be excessive and even if he did I am sure he would come to hate the $6 gas and not being able to find a doctor because there are none because they do not make money because of their SOCIALIST system. In Canada and England it takes about a year to see a spealist doctor because of the bueracratic logjam and when you get to see them they are not as good as the doctors here because all the smart people see that they do not make money and go into professions where they can. I would take our system of healthcare anyday over theres.

Tarzan Willis-
You forgot to mention the weak Canadian dollar. Right now the Canadian dollar is at like $.85 on the dollar of the American dollar. So Manny Ramirez is supposed to make $19 million next year, but if he goes up to Canada he would really only make $16.15 million.

So Manny would have to take a paycut and go to a team that is almost guarenteed to finish 3rd at best in the same division he just played in. So he would have to go to NYY and BOST for about 20 games and get BOOED!!

Not gonna happen.

Good point Chifan about the higher tax rate, Manny would make even less there on top of the crappy exchange rate. He would lose almost $.25 on the dollar playing for a Canadian team.

Tarzan Willis,

That's all good and stuff, but isn't it appropriate to talk about the difference in average per person salary? Well, it is, but your liberal propaganda wouldn't sell as well if you included such things, would it? Plus, saying it wouldn't have supported your thesis that "America is awful and socialism rules" theory.

Of that $16.15 million that Manny would then get just based upon the dollar difference, he would pay bout 150% more in taxes. If he brings home, oh, let's say half right now in the god awful place that is America he's bringing home close to $10 million, but up there in that socialist haven called Canada he'd be bringing home, oh, around $5 million.

But at least he'll have "health coverage".

I don't care what you thing about Canada or the US for that matter. AJ Burnett is not going to Canada. Forget about it. He'll wind up in Tampa Bay before he goes to Toronto. It's not happening.

I should say...he won't end up there unless the Blue Jays dish out a 5-7 year deal worth $15-17 million per year. That would get him there and even then, he could find some deal in the US that would end up being the same deal for $10-12 million.

It's Canada. It's like Siberia with buildings and stuff. And health coverage.

What amazes me is the correlation Cub fan make about being a big draw like the Cubs equally a top-tier team.

I'll agree that the Cubs will outdraw many teams in the majors and they most certainly will outdue most teams in television ratings/marketing etc....but the correlation ends there. It doesn't make the Cubs a top-tier performing teams.

Players may want to come to Chicago for the (1) Money (2) television exposure and (3) fan love and marketing opportunities. They don't chose the Cubs for World Series opportunities--they know that isn't what this organization is all about.

We have some real boneheads on this club who don't think really well during a game...(yes Aramis, Corey and Michael B I'm talking to you) and that is one thing you didn't see on the two World Series teams. What I saw were very intelligent players...players who knew the game, played the game and didn't fall asleep during the game....the Cubs need to clear out the boneheads and get smart players to play the game

It won't happen though.

"They don't chose the Cubs for World Series opportunities--they know that isn't what this organization is all about."

that's like saying no one signs with anyone but 3-4 clubs in MLB for any other reason but the money.

most years even the most "mildly negative" would put the cubs as a top 1/3rd ranking team.

some people will never give the cubs a passing ranking by nature. some will always give them one. blah blah blah...

its not like there's 500+ players out there signing contracts who dont care about that ring or think that signing with the Cubs means there is no shot.

"I think the best choice for CF would be to trade for Pierre. A 1-2 punch of Speed would be like Pods and Iguchi with the Whitesox. Ramirez should bat 3rd next year because i think Lee is a one year wonder."

What do we trade for Pierre?

Furcal
Pierre?
Ramirez
Lee
Giles
Walker
Barret
Murton

I like it, but I think we lose Walker.

We trade CPat and Rich Hill/JWill for Pierre...

there were rumors about a trade a week and a half ago about it.

Manny,

I do believe the Jays have to pay their players in US dollars and actually the exchange rate bewteen our dollar and theirs from a historical standpoint is pretty good for them at .85 US dollars to 1 Candian dollar. I think that is the best it has been since for them since they canged how currencies were evalvated in 1974 when the went from a fix rate of an oz of gold=1 US dollar to a floating currency.

Right now the Canadian dollar is at like $.85 on the dollar of the American dollar. So Manny Ramirez is supposed to make $19 million next year, but if he goes up to Canada he would really only make $16.15 million.

That may be the single most idiotic thing I've ever read on this board.

Do you really think that if a player has a contract worth $19 million U.S. dollar, and he's traded to Canada, he'll suddenly be paid $19 Million Canadian Dollars?

Of course not, he'll either be paid in U.S. Funds or he'll be given the Canadian equivilant, which would be about 23 Million Canadian Dollars.

As far as the Tax thing goes, A players income could theortically be taxed less in Canada because while the U.S. government relys almost solely on income taxes, Canada has a greater mix of income and sales taxes.

And what its worth the Canadian Dollar is stronger against the U.S. than its been in years, so the Blue Jays will likely have even more money to work with than they've had recently.

Come on people, its Canada not Kurdmenistan, maybe you could pretend for just a few seconds there is life outside of these United States?

its Canada not Kurdmenistan

this is starting to sound like the intro to the south park movie

c'mon people lets all sing:

BLAME CANADA

wwBBd?

Manny,

'Just another reason why TB is a horrible organization.'
'How could I be bashing the current ownership, who just came into power a couple weeks ago, when I was talking about TB not trading Huff before last year?'

I am sorry. When you say 'is' that implies now. If you had said TB 'has been', that would imply historically.

I agree, they have been poorly managed, but Hunsicker is a pretty good baseball man, he should be able to put a decent product on the field. I think it's too quick to write off Tampa Bay as a baseball town. They should be given a competitive team for 2-3 consecutive years before you can really gauge the fans. I'm too lazy to look it up, but I wouldn't be suprised if the Cubs had an 8 year stretch with .401 winning% and poor attendance.

Real Neal:
"When you say 'is' that implies now. If you had said TB 'has been', that would imply historically."

They are a horrible organization, RIGHT NOW and over the course of their existance. Until they prove otherwise, they will continue to be in my opinion.

"I'm too lazy to look it up, but I wouldn't be suprised if the Cubs had an 8 year stretch with .401 winning% and poor attendance."

I would of bet a lot of money the Cubs would of been brought into this as a comparison. But we are talking about TB, not the Cubs. And also, where did I ever say the Cubs are even a good organization? As for winning, they are a HORRIBLE organization, maybe the worse ever in any sport. But their saving grace is they are very profitable and have been for many, many years.

As for my wishing thinking that the Cubs could Radke-he's just exactly what they need: a veteran starter that doesn't rely on strikeouts to get outs. He's consistent and has post season experience. As for why the Twins would trade him, they're a Moneyball team that desperately needs a second baseman and offense. Right now they're looking up at the Sox and Cleveland, so I'm thinking they'll make some changes. I think Radke's making about 9M a year, so in Minnesota he's very highly paid. They may not move him but a deal for Williams and Walker would free up payroll and fill two spots for them. We also benefit from Cleveland re-signing Belliard. Hairston could be the 2b we trade just as easily...

As for the D-rays trading Crawford,why not? They need to re-tool and they desperately need pitching. They have younger, cheaper outfield options. He's exactly who they should trade. I believe Crawford makes about 3.5 M per year-high by TB's standards but low compared to others of his caliber.

As for Huff, I think all young strong power hitters are suspects in the new era and his sudden drop off has to make teams leary. Chuck LaMar really screwed up by not trading Huff last year during the year. He would have received max value, especially with last years mid season market. I'd sign Giles to a 3yr deal before I'd trade for Huff. Huff is just too risky.

On another note, I'd say Mitre's value has diminished significantly. He's looking more and more like the new David Kelton-a AAAA player.

Last but not least: Rich Hill. What do we do with him? A one pitch pitcher means Loogy. He either pitches in AAA and trys to develop another pitch or we deal him now and get more for him than loogy value.

Carmenfanzone:
"As for Huff, I think all young strong power hitters are suspects in the new era and his sudden drop off has to make teams leary. Chuck LaMar really screwed up by not trading Huff last year during the year. He would have received max value, especially with last years mid season market. I'd sign Giles to a 3yr deal before I'd trade for Huff. Huff is just too risky."

My thoughts exactly!! Teams must be leary. it is not saying he did take steroids before, but it makes you think, or least should. If not, as a GM you are doing your organization a disservice. I also agree with you about making a mistake about not trading him. Some on TCR thought they should never of traded him, but I think looking back it was clearly a mistake. His value has dropped off and unless he has a big first half, there won't be much demnad for him. Good thing they kept him because he was cheap.

typo...
above post should of read...
"Some on TCR thought they should never trade him,"

I've heard reports of Garciaparra in LF if we resign him. I really like Garciaparra. If he's healthy, he can still play.

I'd love to see Radke as a Cub, but there's no way the Twins are going to trade him.

He's their veteran #2 starter on a team built around pitching, and while 9 million is a good chunk of their payroll, its also a hometown discount that was less than what Radke could have gotten elsewhere in free agency last year.

Radke is also planning to retire after this season and as a 5/10 guy would veto any trade even if a deal could be reached.

I see so many people saying that, yeah, put Nomar out in left. What's next, sticking Barrett at second base? How many shortstops have been moved out to the outfield? I suspect not many and probably with good reason. I just do not see a stick-Nomar-in-left experiment working. Baserunners would most likely have a hay day taking extra bases off Nomar, with his side-arm throw. And if the answer is, well, he can learn how to throw in a new way at age 32 or 33 or whatever he is now, well, good luck. The Nomar experiment in the infield was a good try. But it failed and so I believe it is time to say bye-bye to Nomar.

ARM,

'How many shortstops have been moved out to the outfield? I suspect not many and probably with good reason.'

Robin Yount, Reggie Sanders, Ron Gant (2nd Basemen) off the top of my head. There is a good reason it doesn't happen all the time, and that is most shorstops don't hit well enough to justify playing in the outfield- it's not that they can't do it. As for throwing, a strong arm is a strong arm. Dunston took his out to the outfield with no problem. Left field is generally considered the 2nd easiest position to play.

Okay, Real Neal, I stand corrected to some degree, at least with Yount and Dunston. Both those guys had pretty strong, conventionale arms, at least in terms of their throwing motion. Nomar on the other hand will never be accused of rating very high when it comes to throwing fundamentals.

I will take your word for it that Sanders played short at one time but he certainly was never an established shortstop and must have been at SS for what, five minutes? I hope I am wrong about Nomar in left, believe me. Aside from the concerns that I still have about Nomar being able to function in left, I still think Nomar is very fragile and that he will have another serious injury again next year and every year until the guy retires. Sure, he held it together for the last six weeks or so of the season but I just do not see Nomar being able to play 150 games without breaking down again. And when that happens, it hurts our team because the replacement in left undoubtedly will be a player who will play at a lower caliber than if we went out and signed a real left fielder.

Reggie Sanders NEVER played SS in the majors.

Robin Yount played a ton of SS before moving to the OF.

Ron Gant played 142 games at 2B and 75 games at 3B before moving to OF.

But one player that came to mind who did play some SS before moving to OF was Gary Sheffield. He played 94 games at SS and over 300 games at 3B before moving out to OF.

But basically it is extremely RARE for a SS to move to OF. The best thing for Nomar would be to go to the AL and be a DH and play SS 1-2 times a week.

If he can play OF is not the biggest question to me, but can Nomar stay healthy. I love his bat when he is healthy and would love to keep him, but with so many injury risks already on the Cubs, i would like to have less injury prone players and that means bye Nomar.

Nomar is not coming back to the Cubs in any capacity. It's been reported by Bruce Levine and a couple other reporters that Hendry has told Nomar's agent that the Cubs are not interested in bringing him back. Hendry wants Murton in LF every day...that's why he traded Hollandsworth..so Baker couldn't keep running him out there day after day. There's a reason the Cubs sent Murton to AFL...to get some much needed ABs given that he sat most of the season because of Baker's ignorance.

And TB is not going to move Crawford. The new GM loves Crawford's game and wants to move him to CF. That's why they're looking to move Baldelli as soon as he proves he's recovered from injury...probably won't happen until spring training or even at the trading deadline when D.Young may be ready. They want Gomes in RF, Crawford in CF, and then await Delmon Young's arrival mid-season in LF. They would move Huff long before Crawford..he makes almost twice as much money and is nowhere near the talent as Crawford.

I don't know where the Radke garbage is coming from...they could get Millwood for similar or probably less money and Todd Walker doesn't fit into the pitching & defense strategem that the Twins employ...that's why they traded him years ago...they'd run Rivas or Cuddyer out at 2B before they let Walker play there everyday. The twins want Soriano big time.

Nomar is not coming back to the Cubs in any capacity. It's been reported by Bruce Levine and a couple other reporters that Hendry has told Nomar's agent that the Cubs are not interested in bringing him back. Hendry wants Murton in LF every day...that's why he traded Hollandsworth..so Baker couldn't keep running him out there day after day. There's a reason the Cubs sent Murton to AFL...to get some much needed ABs given that he sat most of the season because of Baker's ignorance.

And TB is not going to move Crawford. The new GM loves Crawford's game and wants to move him to CF. That's why they're looking to move Baldelli as soon as he proves he's recovered from injury...probably won't happen until spring training or even at the trading deadline when D.Young may be ready. They want Gomes in RF, Crawford in CF, and then await Delmon Young's arrival mid-season in LF. They would move Huff long before Crawford..he makes almost twice as much money and is nowhere near the talent as Crawford.

I don't know where the Radke garbage is coming from...they could get Millwood for similar or probably less money and Todd Walker doesn't fit into the pitching & defense strategem that the Twins employ...that's why they traded him years ago...they'd run Rivas or Cuddyer out at 2B before they let Walker play there everyday. The twins want Soriano big time.

Bogey - No disrespect intended, but if the Twins like D so much, why Soriano? Is he a much better fielder than Walker? I'm assuming the Twins wouldn't try to stick Soriano in the OF.

They want Gomes in RF, Crawford in CF, and then await Delmon Young's arrival mid-season in LF.

Isn't Delmon Young more if a first baseman/DH?

So Bogey's implying we can go after Baldelli. CF for now and RF if Pie ever arrives. I'd take some risk that his injury makes Rocco imperfect in the short run.

The Rock,
The average income per person for a country is meaningless. If two guys who make fifteen thousand a year are in a bar and Bill Gates walks in, the average annual income for a customer in that bar becomes tens of millions of dollars per year.

delmon's a RF with a good arm...whereas bj upton is a SS who's glove and arm would make him a perfect DH.

1. Who's Bruce Levine, and why hasn't the Trib or the Sun Times reporterd that the Cubs don't want Nomar back?

2. I never said that Reggie Sanders played SS in the big leagues- I just said he made the switch. As to why he didn't play SS in the Majors, try this address: http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/L/barr...

Back to Nomar- I like him and I want him to be a Cub in 2006. If he plays left field in 2006 he can back up Aram and Cedeno or Furcal, which gives us less reason to have Neifi and Macias around. I understand it's a big caveat, but if he's healthy, he's going to put up better numbers than the four-headed beast did in left last year. Obviously you don't give him a big guaranteed contract and if he does get hurt you just take the money you save on his incentive bonuses and pick up a Geokins, Huff or Ibanez.

On a totally different topic, Dusty's hatred of rookie players- Dusty was first called up in 1968, and it wasn't until 1972 that he became a full-time player. That may be part of the reason he behaves the way he does. I wish someone would explain to him about arbitration an free agency, though.

I deleted post #65, and if you continue insulting users like that eric the great, you'll force us to ban you.

Yes, TBONE, that's correct, but 1 out of 3 people don't have Gates' money. Heck, 1 out of 1 billion don't have his money. When such a tiny percent of people are so rich in this country, it does affect the average salary, but not nearly as much as you are implying in that totally absurd theoretical situation. Without looking anything up, I believe the US average income per person in 2000 was $27K per year. The next was England at around $14K per year. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the average American makes a lot more money than the average ________.

While many players don't live in the city in which they play, they almost always own homes, condos etc. in the city they play in. They spend a little more than half their time in that city over the course of 6 months.

And yes, you are going to pay higher taxes in Canada than you would here. This upset several of the Montreal Expos players over the years and upset them even more when they began playing in Puerto Rico where they paid an even higher tax.

Perhaps Burnett wants to pay more in taxes, but he'll get no national attention up in Toronto. He may as well go play in Japan. Canada is the place where bastards like Delgado should be playing. He represented that country well.

As i've said several times, AJ Burnett will not be playing for the Blue Jays next season. It's just not going to happen. You can dream all you want about Canada and whatever else it is that you want to, but AJ Burnett is not going to be playing for the Blue Jays.

REal Neal:
"I never said that Reggie Sanders played SS in the big leagues- I just said he made the switch."

Well at some point 90% of the players in baseball probally played SS before the majors as in Little League, usually the best player on the team played SS and pitched. So you are correct for almost every player. Good Job!!

no one knows who will play for who and a lot will have to do with who pays the most money for most player/agents.

if taxes were really an issue people would line up to play for the rangers/astros.

b.jays got appx 30-40m to spend and they'll get whoever they want to throw the most money at. sure, some wouldnt want to play there, but burnett didnt travel 2000 miles just for a free dinner.

Well I didn't expect people to pay much attention to my little rant - but what the heck, here's why my gut tells me we'll be worse next year:

1) This team is built around pitching. First and foremost. Remember in 2003 when the Cubs set a record for most people struck out in an extra-inning game? Eric Young (I think) said, "Don't you guys have anybody who doesn't throw 95 in there?"

In 2003 the Cubs got a Cy Young season (a full one) from Mark Prior. They got an underrated season (another full one) from Kerry Wood. Carlos Z. was on the rise. Clement had probably his best year. Estes... well sucked. Cubs finish 3rd in team ERA.

Enter 2004. The cubs are built around stud pitching - and then replace Shawn Estes with Greg Maddux. Z gets better, becomes an ace, but Prior is hurt, Wood is hurt. Clement breaks down at the end of the season. The pitching just wasn't quite as dominant as the previous year. Some people pointed to workloads - and they may have a point. Cubs finish 3rd in team ERA.

2005 - Clement is gone. Wood is hurt again. Prior is hurt and giving up homers. He doesn't look like an Ace, more like a #2. Z is sometimes erratic. Maddux is another year older. Team finishes 9th in team ERA. Bullpen is in shambles.

Why I think pitching will be worse:
Prior doesn't look like the Franchise anymore. Rusch will pitch a full season - ask Milwaukee what that means. Maddux will be a year older. I think the only people you can expect to get better are Zambarano (age), and maybe Wood (health). It's possible Maddux has one more year left, Rusch won't be the second coming of Shawn Estes, Wood will be healthy and dominant, and that Prior is himself again. For this team to compete ALL those things have to happen - built on pitching. I also don't think Dempster is as good as advertised. Perhaps the bullpen will come through better, but I don't have a reason to expect it.

The point is simple really, the Cubs are built around dominant starting pitching. They do not have it, and there is no good reason to expect it next year.

2) Lineup
Lee will regress. Look at the splits over at cubtown.baseballtoaster.com. His BA will hover close to .300. Great numbers but this year was his career year. I still think Neifi will end up a starter, remember Dusty seems to think he's an all star. If Cedeno plays second then you lose Walker offense. If you have a lineup of Murton, Patterson, whoever in right, Ramirez, Perez, Cedeno, Lee and Barret you've got problems.

I think defensively they've gotten worse and will continue to do so - look at the White Sox and what they did with defense to show how important that can be.

Bottom line is I don't see improvement. I see a bad manager, and I see about 75 wins. Window closed.

I hope I'm wrong.

Peytonrules:
"Bottom line is I don't see improvement."

Is Opening Day in the next couple days?

I agree with a lot of what you said, but we are less than 2 weeks after the WS. What improvement would you expect this quickly? As much as I have questioned Hendry's moves, or lack thereof, overall the past couple years, I think he needs to be given the entire offseason to see what he does. Not just 2 weeks.

Rock,

I am going to use short words and lines for you.

Reggie Sanders played SS in the minors.

Shorstops usually aren't good hitters.

Left fielders usually are good hitters.

Good hitters can play left field.

Nomar is a good hitter.

why pay a LF'r nomar money to put up weak LF #s when you can pay matt murton 360K?

garciappara might be a great hitting SS...but he's an average/slightly-above hitting LF'r compared to his possible peers out there in LF. scarey thing is garciappara isn't looking cheap anymore. LA's gonna be a major player in the garciappara hunt...the mets could step in. fun stuff.

Bruce Levine is a reporter for ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago..he's easily the most respected baseball reporter in Chicago mainly because he's generally very positive and cordial with players. He's basically the Peter Gammons of Chicago without all the rumors that get filtered through him by GMs looking to leak info... He does a baseball show with the White Sox's play by play man John Rooney every Sunday morning before the games start during baseball season. he's about the only reporter here that Nomar gives interviews for on a regular basis and apparently Nomar's agent is an acquaintence of his. Anyway, Levine has said that Nomar won't be back at least 5 times over the last 2 weeks. Don't you think we'd have heard that Hendry wanted Nomar back by now?..especially considering all the other names Hendry is interested in is public knowledge...Furcal, Burnett, J.Pierre, Ryan etc.

As for Soriano.. the Twins tried to trade for him at the deadline last season so it's no surprise that they'd still have interest in him. The Rangers asked for the Twins top 2 pitching prospects in Francisco Liriano and S.Baker and Terry Ryan balked. With the White Sox and Indians surpassing the Twinkies he's going to have to do something though I doubt they'll trade Liriano seeing that he's penciled in to being their 5th starter this season already. I personally think they want to move him to the OF, probably CF especially if they trade T.Hunter to the Yanks which has been rumored...plus he could always DH.

...Hendry's moves, or lack thereof, overall the past couple years, I think he needs to be given the entire offseason to see what he does.

Right, first we gives him the whole off-season to see what he does,

Then we fires him.

CWTP:
"Right, first we gives him the whole off-season to see what he does,

Then we fires him."

If the Cubs don't make the playoffs....YES!!!!!

Hopefully Hendry and Baker DO NOT get extenstions this year and McPhail makes them earn them.

'why pay a LF'r nomar money to put up weak LF #s when you can pay matt murton 360K?'

I don't know if Murton is fast enough to play both left and right field, simultaneously. I would rather have Nomar in left, than Burnitz, J. Jones or Encarcion in right.

if taxes were really an issue people would line up to play for the rangers/astros.

Tampba Bay, Florida and Seattle as well and it is a factor in players' decisions. The Mets had to pony up more $$$ last year for Beltran to even out the tax difference.

Real Neal,

Not sure why you directed your post (#97) at me because I hadn't said anything to you. I think you intended to direct that at someone else. At least I hope so because I wasn't even involved in that discussion.

Whoops sorry, Rock, meant to agree with you about Toronto having to pay more for players- it was Manny that the post was really for.

I am not sure who exactly people are expecting to play right and left field but here's the list of rumored to be available corner outfielders compared to Nomar and Murton

August through Oct #'s and season ZR

Player - - - OPS* - ZR
M.Ramirez --1.046 - 0.729
R.White ----1.008 - 0.913 - 41 PA's- Mostly DH
Nomar -0.876 - - ?
B.Giles ----0.870 - 0.889
B.Abreu ----0.853 - 0.852
M.Murton ---0.821 - 0.859
A.Dunn 0.820 - 0.859
H.Mattsui --0.805 - 0.821
P.Wilson----0.767 - 0.792
A.Huff-0.721 - 0.854
C.Everrett--0.701 - 0.842 - Mostly DH
J.Damon0.670 - 0.874 - as CF
J.Encarnacion.632 - 0.884
J.Gathright-0.620 - 0.750
J.Jones0.608 - 0.866

* had to estimate the OBP

Whoops sorry, Rock, meant to agree with you about Toronto having to pay more for players- it was Manny that the post was really for.

I am not sure who exactly people are expecting to play right and left field but here's the list of rumored to be available corner outfielders compared to Nomar and Murton

August through Oct #'s and season ZR

Player - - - OPS* - ZR
M.Ramirez --1.046 - 0.729
R.White ----1.008 - 0.913 - 41 PA's- Mostly DH
Nomar -0.876 - - ?
B.Giles ----0.870 - 0.889
B.Abreu ----0.853 - 0.852
M.Murton ---0.821 - 0.859
A.Dunn 0.820 - 0.859
H.Mattsui --0.805 - 0.821
P.Wilson----0.767 - 0.792
A.Huff-0.721 - 0.854
C.Everrett--0.701 - 0.842 - Mostly DH
J.Damon0.670 - 0.874 - as CF
J.Encarnacion.632 - 0.884
J.Gathright-0.620 - 0.750
J.Jones0.608 - 0.866

* had to estimate the OBP

Without looking anything up, I believe the US average income per person in 2000 was $27K per year. The next was England at around $14K per year. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the average American makes a lot more money than the average ________.

Please look this up. The average American doesn't make a lot more money than the average ____. In fact, the U.S. isn't even at the top of the list.

It's ideas like these that make all americans look like pompous, ignorant fools.

Those Average income stats are misleading because the ones that top them are small Middle East countries that gush out Oil and 95% of that wealth goes to the royal family and 5% goes to the other 95%. In the stat that adjusts for that the Scandivian countries come out ahead and the US is somewhere in the 15-20 range.

"I don't know if Murton is fast enough to play both left and right field, simultaneously."

well, he's not skilled enough or have the arm strength for RF, so i'd say no.

yeah murton may have played some RF in the minors, but all it did was enforce his inability to play there.

he's not all buck-coats-at-SS bad, but he's just not the most confident fielder and though his arm is somewhat accurate, his arm stregnth just isnt there.

if he was just a bench guy he'd be good enough, probally.

Well, yeah, of course. It's always us Americans who are the idiots. The rest of the world are nice, peaceful people just trying to get along. The big bad bully...United Fascist States of America...just screws things up. I blame America!

By the way, that .5 million population in Luxembourg has the highest GDP/PPP of all nations followed by a whopping 4.5 million nation of Norway with the U.S. just behind them.

So, yeah...i'm just a pompous, ignorant fool for leaving out 2 tiny little nations.

But, in fact, the U.S. is indeed at the top of the list unlike what you said. I'm sure you were rooting for Cuba or North Korea to crack the top 5, but no such luck.

No, America is a great nation, it just has a bunch of loud, stupid people who make the rest of us look bad.

Moving right along,

We all remember when Dusty Baker was supposed to be a guy who would attract top free agents to the Cubs.

And it's well known that the Cubs have some major holes to fill this winter.

So, I'd be interested to know what some of you think of this from MLB.com...

The Houston Chronicle reported that GM Tim Purpura has been "inundated" with calls from agents of free agents who want to play for the Astros. No specific names were given.

{sigh}

What's happened to TCR?

"I understand a fury in your words,
But not the words."

According to the Houston Chronicle, the Astros would really like to land Furcal but don't think they can compete with the money the Cubs are supposedly ready to throw at him.

Where do stories like this come from, Furcal's agent?

Fair enough manny - I just don't see how we're going to get better pitching without some serious luck, and this team - even with some roster moves - is built on great pitching. Cub brass are fooling themselves if they think they have that right now, and if they want to change philosphies to a thunderous lineup they have to change a LOT of positions.

I will say I like one thing - the roster finally seems to be getting younger. Hopefully they won't ruin that by looking for more retreads.

I will be sick if we lose on some of the free agents to Houston. Face it... We .. Are .. The .. Cubs. Dusty Baker and Jim Hendrey were supposed to bring a winning tradition to the Cubs. Right now we're sitting on a losing season, in a division with 2 winners and possibly one on the rise (Brew Crew), and with more holes on the team than in the New Orleans Levies. (Sorry).

Anyway, I agree with Manny (For more than once but it is still rare!) that we should give Hendry a chance to field a good team this offseason and also give Baker a chance to make the team win and keep winning by early July. If Hendrey puts out a piece of Shit and/ or Dusty cannot win BOTH should be shown the door. I think Baker should have been fired in 2004 with the circus that was the Cubs when they should have been topping off a wildcard push BUT we didn't so I say in the interest of continuity......Let's see what they can do.

I also hold the right to say Dusty sucks balls if come April Neifi is starting and Murton is sitting on the bench.....

Perhaps Burnett wants to pay more in taxes, but he'll get no national attention up in Toronto. He may as well go play in Japan.

Yeah, which is why as recently as 2003, the Blue Jays had 2 players in the top 8 in the MVP voting, and a Cy Young winner who would have been unanimous save some hometown voting for Esteban Loaiza. It's a shame nobody pays attention to what players accomplish up there.

"No, America is a great nation, it just has a bunch of loud, stupid people who make the rest of us look bad."

And this is unique to the United States? There aren't stupid people in, say, Saudi Arabia? Israel? England? France (come on...is there even a French person who isn't a total idiot?)?

I just assume people who say what you did are the "stupid people who make the rest of us look bad." That's my take on it. Your take is that only in America are there idiots. You're funny.

"Yeah, which is why as recently as 2003, the Blue Jays had 2 players in the top 8 in the MVP voting, and a Cy Young winner who would have been unanimous save some hometown voting for Esteban Loaiza. It's a shame nobody pays attention to what players accomplish up there."

As I said...no national attention. Whether it's fair or not, 99% of the people don't give a rat's ass who even plays in Toronto.

When healthy Halladay is the best righty in the game with Johan being the best lefty...unfortunately for the Jays Ted Lilly took a step backward and the young pitching help they thought was on the way in David Bush and Dustin MacGowan hasn't really panned out. Nice mix of young positional players but they need a Carlos Delgado type (oops!) in the middle of that lineup to protect V.Wells...having guys like S.Hillenbrand & Corey Koskie in the 4 hole isn't going to help surpass the Yanks or Sox.

I definately think Furcal's agent is attempting to go Scott Boras and get teams to bid against themselves. It's also now being widely reported that the Mets want Furcal to play 2B alongside Reyes. I can't believe for one second that Furcal wants to move positions when he can get the same type of $ from the Cubs or even another team who has an equally inept losing tradition. I know agents are drooling at the overspending that will likely take place due to a soft free agent market but they need to realize that there are going to be some pretty good veteran players that will be available in trade as well.

Manny
Soriano (they need pitching & he's a FA after '06
Huff (see above)
Thome (gotta make room for R.Howard)
L.Overbay (Prince Fielder is ready)
Dunn/Griffey/Kearns/W.Pena (one of them has to go right?...they need starting pitching help)
J.Pierre (Jeremy Hermida is ready to take over with a lot more power)
C.Delgado (could happen..looks like they won't get their new stadium deal and there will be no market for M.Lowell)
Javy Vasquez (least likely to move, but he still wants to be on the east coast).

well here's a change of pace...

Hey, we got a major mention on the tonight's new episode of the Simpsons annual Treehouse of Horror. Looks like the Cubs are gonna win the World Series!

Opening sequence:

Kodos and Kang (the multi-limbed green aliens) are watching an extremely boring World Series game on their Space Ship's big screen while orbiting earth.

Vin Scully is doing play by play with the highlight being a cloud shaped like a giraffe that floated by during the rain delay, then the batter callis time out again so Scully looks in the stands where the players wives he notes they are talking on cell phones probably complaining about the good life.

Kang: This is the most boring game in all the universe

Kodos: and with all the steroids they take, the players look like freaks

Scully: and next week on Fox catch the new OC spin-off Pomona, it's even hotter away from the beach

Kang: The boredom is excruciating, fire the Accele-Ray

To remedy the slow pace of the game, they turn on the "Accele-Ray", which speeds up the game (back to Vin Scully's play by play, describing "Rodriguez pops it to right field as some sort of Accele-ray bathes the stadium in an eerie green glow, who woulda thunk it")...but the game is still not fast enough.

Kang: "It's still boring. Faster"
Kodos: "The fabric of the Universe itself might shatter"

and Kang says: "GOOD, ONLY THEN COULD THE CUBS FINALLY WIN."

So at the risk of shattering the fabric of the universe he turns the Accele-ray up to maximum output...

ballplayers begin moving at whirlwind speeds before the stadium and then the city is sucked up into the vortex...followed by the Earth and planets, stars, galaxy's...the Universe.

Screen goes completely white-out.

Kodos: "Smooth move space-lax, you've destroyed the totality of existence"

Kang: "It'll be fine, I'll just leave a note"

Treehouse of Horror XVI

Oooh! I want to get in on the America vs. Canada debate!

A legitimate question to ask when considering average per-person income is: What is the cost of living? In India, for example, you can make about $5,000 a year and live quite comfortably. Do those types of statistics account for that?

Rock, it's also interesting to me that you make a move fairly typical of most people who take your position in these types of debates--that of turning the debate into an all-or-nothing, with-us-or-against-us type of conversation. It's ridiculous to me that people have to begin a sentence with a phrase like "I do, in fact, love my country..." That's not what's up for debate. The question is: do other countries do things that we could stand to learn from? Are there areas where they're doing better? Can we improve on what they're doing and make ourselves better in the process?

There's a strain to the dialogue in this country that presents a total unwillingness on our part to accept the fact that as a country we could be doing much, much better.

On a baseball note, I'm really curious: does anyone know how to calculate a player's individual win shares? I see this statistic quoted a lot, but I don't have the slightest idea what it means. Even better, how do you calculate VORP?

I'm looking for the The Cub Reporter. Anyone seen it? There's lots of interesting Chicago Cub type stuff going on and nobody's talking about it.

For example, the Cubs have told the Rangers that they want to trade for Kevin Mench (.264 25 73). Mench just happens to be a left fielder----does this mean Murton is on the way out?

Mench is thought to be available because he's eligible for salary arbitration this winter and is going to cost the Rangers $2 million dollars next year. But the Rangers claim they aren't peddling him, just listening to offers at the GM meeting.

Ah, but Mench can also play the starboard field and has the arm to do it right.

So maybe we're looking at the replacement for Jeromy Burnitz.

We could see Murton in Left, a new center fielder, and Kevin Mench in right next year.

i'd imagine a lot of teams are talking about mench...he can play either corner and hit for power relatively cheaply. at worst he plays like reggie sanders if he can avoid injury.

i cant imagine what it'd take to get him, really. he's still got an upside if he can find 2 healthy years in a row to play in.

i cant imagine theyre in any hurry to trade mench either...he's only gonna get more valuable when giles goes to whoever snags him and the secondary market of sanders/burnitz/etc. settle themselves in the 4-5+m range

CWTP,

Where is that Mench rumor from? The last I heard TEX was wanting to add a corner OF not subtract one. Of course they need pitching so I could see a Jwill for Mench trade. He is OBP for his carrer is about 60 points above his carrer BA so he has decent plate discipline. He sounds like he would be solid in the field. He is 28 so it is the age range that Hendry likes to trade for. I am for it.

Win Shares:

http://www.baseballgraphs.com/details.html#sh...

Although Rob G., thinks you should read the entire book. Which can be bought off of Amazon.

The formula for VORP, I think may be proprietary- I've never seen it baseballprospectus defines it as 'Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense. '

They also do a WARP = Wins Over Replacement player with includes defense- but their defensive measures are pretty crude.

Marshall,

GDP/PPP does indeed take cost of living into it. It's not perfect by any means, but it's probably the most accurate measure we're going to find.

As for the "with us or against us" crap, well, you see, you have 2 different groups of people. You have a group that constantly blames America and bashes America and then concluding their thoughts with, "but I love America." Then you have the other group that points out what makes America great and concludes, "but we have things we need to improve upon." Generally speaking, people fit into one of those 2 categories anymore. Usually, the Left is on the Blame America bandwagon for reasons i'll never understand and the Right is all rah-rah about America.

It's pretty hard to take the first group of people seriously when all they do is attack the place they say they love. Do you sit around bashing your wife and children for 35 minutes each day and then say "but I really do love you"? See? That's why it's hard to take people like that seriously.

chifan3887

I got the news about the Cubs going after Mench from this story:

GM meetings will be all business
Dallas Morning News (subscription), TX - 13 hours ago
... be the youngest GM in the game and one of the least connected, but as he tackles a slew of Rangers issues ranging from potential trades (Kevin Mench's name is ...

Anyone think we will have a new CF(Pierre) by the end of the week?

The rumors that the Rangers might part with Mench for some pitching are now corroborated in two different stories.

The question is, who are the Cubs willing to trade for him?

Frankly I'd trade Patterson, Novoa and Mitre.

whew Kevin Mench, another guy to plug in the lineup with an OBP below .350 AND he couldn't even get his OPS over 800 last year despite playing in Texas. We should be falling over ourselves for him. At least he doesn't strike out a lot which is par for course when it comes to most Hendry acquisitions. At least tell me he plays some defense in the corners? Other than the cost, I dont' see how he's any different than Burnitz.

As for the "with us or against us" crap, well, you see, you have 2 different groups of people. You have a group that constantly blames America and bashes America and then concluding their thoughts with, "but I love America." Then you have the other group that points out what makes America great and concludes, "but we have things we need to improve upon." Generally speaking, people fit into one of those 2 categories anymore. Usually, the Left is on the Blame America bandwagon for reasons i'll never understand and the Right is all rah-rah about America.

Well, you see, you have two groups of people. One group that makes silly generalizations and the other that doesn't.

It's pretty hard to take the first group of people seriously when all they do is attack the place they say they love.

Rock, you're arguement basically comes down to "you can't love America if you don't believe it's Number 1" even when the facts show its not Number 1 in certain areas like GDP/PPP which you brought up. (sorry just because you don't consider Norway a country doesn't mean it doesn't exist)

That's like saying you can't love the Cubs unless you believe the Cubs are the 2005 World Champions, because all the teams who did better than them shouldn't really count.

See, you can love something and still look at it objectively. Maybe you'd understand if you ever drove your pick-up across the county line.

This is a summary of what Baseball America had to say about Kevin Mench in March 2002 when he was the Rangers' #9 prospect:

1. COMPARED TO PETE INCAVIGLIA WITH BETTER OUTFIELD SKILLS.

2. DEAD-PULL HITTER WITH EXCEPTIONAL POWER.

3. SLIGHTLY ABOVE-AVERAGE SPEED BUT BODY-BUILDING IN 2001 MAY HAVE CAUSED HIS HAMSTRING PROBLEMS AND PUT HIM IN DANGER OF BECOMING TOO STIFF ACROSS THE SHOULDERS.

4. HIS ARM LIMITS HIM TO PLAYING LEFT-FIELD.

5. HIS FUTURE IN TEXAS IS PROBABLY AS A DH.

DEAD-PULL HITTER WITH EXCEPTIONAL POWER.

So where's the power? Cause other than 2004, it's been seriously lacking in his game in an extremely friendly hitters park. And doesn't sound like he's much of a defender. As I said, whew!!!

Other than SOME power, the only other redeemable part of his game that I could tell from his #'s is that he takes a lot of pitches and works the count. It doesn't seem to translate into a whole lot of walks, but I'm guessing if he ever realizes his power (and at age 27 I doubt it's coming) I assume pitchers would work around him more delicately.

And when the Pirates and Royals are the 2 other teams that have been calling about him (according to the Dallas newspaper article), shouldn't that be a sign that we should be running far away from Mench. I know both team have such an excellent track record at judging talent and all... :)

Sounds like a hell of a bench guy, but just a mediocre starter. No more mediocrity!!! (Your new Cubs 2006 slogan)

I see this statistic quoted a lot, but I don't have the slightest idea what it means. Even better, how do you calculate VORP?

Hey Marshall, regarding your question on VORP here are a couple of places to start:

Definition: Value Over Replacement Player. The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances. VORP scores do not consider the quality of a player's defense.

A little more context (scroll down a bit on this mailbag from Baseball Prospectus:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

BP is also working on a "BP basics" book due out at some point next year. I expect this to be one of the best things they've ever done and am anxious to refresh my knowledge of their groundbreaking research.

As a bonus, this book solves the riddle of what I'm going to get "The Rock" for Christmas ;-)

Win Shares:

http://www.baseballgraphs.com/details.html#sh...

Although Rob G., thinks you should read the entire book. Which can be bought off of Amazon
----
That's certainly a fair description of the system and probably more than most people care to know. It's a good way to get your foot in the door, it just doesn't explain why James made a lot of the choices he made, (of course neither does the book at times). As far as I can tell, it doesn't actually publish the actual formula(s) either for each position.

There's no doubt it's a complicated system and it's best used for evaluating players who played over different time periods. But it's also one of the best, if not best statistic for taking into account a player's offensive AND defensive contributions into account.

Here's a defense of Win Shares as a viable stat for deciding the MVP race from hardball times

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/win...

"Rock, you're arguement basically comes down to "you can't love America if you don't believe it's Number 1" even when the facts show its not Number 1 in certain areas like GDP/PPP which you brought up. (sorry just because you don't consider Norway a country doesn't mean it doesn't exist"

That not at all what my argument came down to. No major country in this world is ahead of the U.S. in GDP/PPP. I wasn't not counting Lux. and Norway as countries, but pointing out that their population is the size of some cities in the United States, where I am more than positive if you calculated the GDP/PPP of those select cities comparable in population they would be higher. Norway is a country that employs just over 2.5 million people. Call me silly, but their GDP/PPP is not what i'm going to compare a country the size of 280 million to. It surely does help your argument that America sucks, so feel free to do so.

As far as looking at it objectively? You're telling me that you do just that? That's quite possibly the funniest thing i've heard in a long time. Through this absurd conversation you have yet to say one good thing about the country you supposedly love so much. You have said several bad things about, like saying there are too many stupid people here that make the rest of us look bad. You've generalized that anybody who disagrees with you (typical liberal trash talk by the way) must be driving a pick-up truck and probably lives in Mississippi somewhere, which is interesting because the guy posting before you said there are 2 groups...one that generalizes and one that doesn't. According to this genius, you and I are in the same group, except that I was forthcoming with my generalizations.

So, once again, it's very hard to take someone like you serious. In the end, i'm thankful for people like you because if it weren't for you and those like you, the Conservatives wouldn't have control of this country like they do.

So, thanks. Keep up the good work.

Rock, When looking at numbers that are PER CAPITA, the size of the country doesn't matter. So bitch all you want that Norway shouldn't count, it doesn't make your premise that the average Americans make more money than people in any other country true.

You have said several bad things about, like saying there are too many stupid people here that make the rest of us look bad.

Really, You again appear to have a problem seeing the difference between facts and insults. Saying that Americans don't make the most money per captia in the world isn't an insult, its a factual statment.

Just like its a factual statment that America is a great nation that has a lot of loudmouths like yourself who are too busy making fun of other nations and people they disagree with to notice that their own country has flaws.

And I haven't generalized anyone who disagrees with me as a redneck, I've generalized you as one because of your obsurd positions like "Canada is Siberia with Health Care" or that I was "rooting for North Korea" when pointing out that your statements were wrong.

Speaking of generalizing, you've called me a liberal on several occations because I've simply pointed out how your statments were wrong. You might be interested in knowing that I voted for Bush in the last election, not that you'd let the facts get in the way.

Sorry, Rock, unlike you, I belive you can love something and still understand that it has flaws, which is really something anyone who is a Cub fan learns pretty quickly.

You gotta be kidding me. Of course population size matters when it comes to per capita income. As I said, you can take many areas in this country, say, Manhattan, that's going to have a higher per capita income.

There's no way you voted for Bush, my friend. If you did, and you have the beliefs that you do, then you aren't the brightest man around.

I called you a liberal because everything you believe is ideologically liberal. You've proved me wrong nowhere. No nation in this world that comes even close to the US in size has a higher per capita income. NONE.

And Canada is like Siberia with health care. Maybe you like the place. That's your opinion. My opinion of the place is that it's filled with a bunch of moronic fools and I tell my aunt and uncle who have lived there for 50 years that every time I see them or every time I visit them. As for the health care, well, they travel 240 miles to see doctors in Seattle so it's not all that good, is it? But, you being a conservative (that's funny) already knew that. It was just the liberal in you that forgot to point that little fact out.

If you like it so much, go live there. And when you move back, tell me exactly what you think of that hell hole.

That's it, you've had your fun. I'm closing the comments on this post. We're done with the Canada/US debate. Go find a more appropriate website to continue the discussion.

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