TCR Friday Notes

Well at least I haven't woken up to the headlines of "Jose Macias signed to lifetime contract by Cubs" yet. Give it time. Don't forget to check out the Free Agent Frenzy contest we're piggy-backing off of MLB.com. It's the post right below this one. A fun little game to see where you think some of this year's free-agent class will land. AFL The season is essentially over, with only the championship game left to play on Saturday. The Solar Sox are not in it, so here are the final Cubs stats:
Matt Murton   .337/.396/.511, 7/12 BB/K, 1 HR, 11 2B
Eric Patterson .301/.344/.373, 6/17 BB/K, 5/8 SB's
Buck Coats    .256/.286/.282, 2/6 BB/K
Brandon Sing .246/.338/.464 10/24 BB/K, 3 HR
Angel Guzman  1-2, 3.82 ERA, 12/28 BB/K, 2 HR in 30.2 IP
David Aardsma 0-0 9.64 ERA, 10/18 BB/K, 2 HR in 18.2 IP
- Guzman finished the season strong, putting up a 8.21 K/9 anda respectable K/BB ratio (2.33). Any ERA under 4.00 in the AFL has to be considered pretty good with the friendly hitting conditions. Oh, if you could just stay healthy Guzman, the joy you could bring to Wrigleyville. - Eric Patterson ended the AFL on a high note. After muddling about for the first few weeks, he ended up with an average above .300 and a respactable .344 OBP. Geoff Young of Ducksnorts took in some AFL games earlier this week and had a bit to say about Corey's younger brother. - Brandon Sing on the other hand crashed and burned. After starting out smoking hot, it looks like the pitchers adjusted to him a bit. He may have just worn down after probably playing more games than he ever has in a season OR the better pitchers who can actually throw breaking balls for strikes finally began eating him up. Time will tell... Winter Leagues - Adam Greenberg has a new journal entry up on MILB.com. Some interesting stuff including the fact that he's "bunting at least once per game". His #'s so far: .262/.322/.410 6/23 BB/K, 2 HR in 83 AB's Felix Pie in the DWL: 13/56 .232/.274/.357 , 2/10 BB/K, 2 HR Free Agents Oh where to begin.... - I think Furcal and his agent are desperate at this point. There have been a few stories out there of the Mets and Braves already making contigency plans and I can't imagine he'll surprise us all and end up in Kansas City. So out comes the insanity that the Yanks may be interested in him playing center[immediately denied by Cashman) and I'm sure before it's over the Red Sox will get their name dragged through the mud. His agent, Paul Kinzer said it would be a few weeks before a decision would be made, by that point we should hear that Furcal is willing to pitch, catch, manage, sweep up the stadium and mow the field if it will get him a better deal. Good news for Hendry as it doesn't look like the competition is all that steep yet. Word is that he wants a 5 year deal but the Braves apparently were only willing to shell out a 3 year deal at the moment. Hendry shouldn't overplay his hand though and wait too long. You certainly don't want to outbid yourself, but on the other hand, don't insult the guy if you really want him. - I can easily think of 4 to 5 other players, who similarly can be jettisoned after 2006 to make room for Felix Pie that I'd rather have play center over Juan Pierre for the Cubs next year. But if the rumors persist and become reality, he's still a better option than Korey. Obviously that's not saying much. The fact that the rumor also includes Felix Pie at the moment, tells me there isn't much there. Don't worry Pie fans, (and who doesn't like pie) Hendry is one too(I'm guessing player and the dessert) and he's not going anywhere unless the other end of the trade is someone resembling the stature of Manny Ramirez or the Adam Dunn's of the world. - I read something about the Mets throwing over $10 million a year at Wagner for 3+ years. I was never all that interested in Wagner, particularly when B.J. Ryan was available at the same time and seems to have a better future ahead. The Mets though are going to set the bar pretty high for closers this off-season if that figure is true and signing Ryan will easily take no less than 3/$24 mil (and probably more). The small flame of hope that Ryan would be wearing Cubbie blue is just about extinguished. - At least the Cubs have been in contact with Brian Giles's agent. That's promising in a, at least the Cubs realize he's good, sort of way. - Speaking of players I'd probably trade Felix Pie for, there are some rumors of Bobby Abreu possibly being available in a trade, the latest being Vernon Wells for Abreu, straight up. When I first heard of Abreu possibly being shopped around, I thought, wow, right field solved, go use your Jedi powers of persuasion Hendry and make this happen. Then I remembered this is the Cubs and players as good as Abreu just don't fall into our laps. He'll probably end up a Cardinal. Go get us some ballplayers, Jimbo.
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Comments

Jose Macias is a ballplayer!

I wonder if Jim Hendry reads this blog.

Andrew, I don't know about Hendry reading these blogs (maybe), but I do know that Len Kasper surfs now and then...not that that would make any difference to how the Cubs conduct "bidness", but you never know...

Brandon Sing needed to have a good month in the AFL for Hendry to even consider adding him to the 40-man roster, and he just didn't do it. It makes it less likely that another club will select Sing in the Rule 5 Draft, although I still believe someone will take a chance on him.

Minor league rosters are "frozen" (players on minor league rosters cannot be added to the 40-man roster or traded) starting at the end of business on November 19th (a week from tomorrow) and extending up through the end of the Rule 5 Draft on December 8th, so the Cubs need to decide sometime in the next week which players to protect on the 40-man roster.

The Cubs roster currently stands at 37. As I posted on another thread in a much longer post, I believe the Cubs will outright Russ Rohlicek, Richard Lewis, and Ryan Theriot to AAA, and will add five players to the 40-man roster.

Felix Pie and Ricky Nolasco are locks (that's two), and the other three will PROBABLY be Bobby Brownlie, Jae-kuk Ryu, and either Carlos Marmol or Sean Marshall.

So Marshall or Marmol, Brandon Sing, Casey McGehee, Andy Shipman, Juan Mateo, Brian Dopirak, and Scott Moore are the best bets to go in the Rule 5 Draft, although somebody like Chadd Blasko could get picked, even though he hasn't pitched in over a year.

If Dopirak or Moore are lost in the draft, it is VERY unlikely that either would be able to stay in the major leagues for a full season, because neither of them can pinch run or be used as a late-inning defensive replacement. It would be like when the Blue Jays picked Jason Dubois in the Rule 5 Draft after he played at Daytona in 2002. He was just too inexperienced a hitter to survive as a major leaguer for a full season at that stage of his career. Same would be true for Dopirak or Moore, as neither of them have played above Class "A."

I alrready mentioned Sing as a likely Rule 5 selection, but an even better choice for a have-not club would be Casey McGehee. He has a nice line-drive stroke, and would make a decent 3B-1B-C utility guy.

Andy Shipman is the tupe of AA closer teams like the Brewers and Tigers like to mine in the Rule 5 Draft, so he could be selected.

Juan Mateo improved a lot as the 2005 season wore on, but he hasn't pitched above "A" ball and is still very much an unknown quantity.

Luis Montanez finally made it to AA in mid-season 2005, but he still doesn't hit with enough power to be a corner outfielder (although I believe he might eventually surface in the big leagues in a few years as a utility guy).

Chris Walker is very fast and might be attractive to some team looking for an injection of speed, except Walker is a very impatient hitter and just won't take a...

Dwaine Bacon is fast and he WILL take a walk, but he is also one lousy hitter. For all his speed, he is a below-average defender with a left-fielder's arm.

BTW, was Kerry Wood ever a rule 5 draft pick then returned. I some how KNOW that I saw him on a baseball card wearing a Tampa Bay Devil Ray jersey. Can some one help me out on this?

How about signing Braden Looper?
Any thoughts? Anyone?

How about signing Braden Looper?
Any thoughts? Anyone?

Chad,

No, Kerry Wood was not ever a rule 5 draft pick. Don't eat whatever it is you ate before bed to give you the fevered dream of Wood in a DRays uniform.

Sorry for the double post...

How about signing Braden Looper?
Any thoughts? Anyone?

TBone, I have no doubt you are correct about Wood not being a Rule 5, but I know for damn sure I saw that freaking card. Maybe it was some sort of rookie ball jersey but it was the Devil Rays.

I give up...

And I'd just like to make a comment on something that pops up a lot and was again mentioned on an earlier thread. The Cubs did have a third baseman after Ron Santo, immediately after Ron Santo in fact, and his name was Bill Madlock. It's not his fault he was traded. Wrigley was never too thrilled with outspoken black guys who wanted to get payed what they were worth so he announced he was worried Madlock's nagging ankle injury would shorten his career and off went Madlock and his two batting titles to SF for Bobby Murcer.

Murcer became famous as a Cub for flying out to the warning track. If the wind was blowing out he'd dink it and the ball would land harmlessly in the right fielder's mitt on the track. If the wind was blowing in Murcer would crush it and the ball would land harmlessly in the right fielder's mitt.

Steve Ontiveros came over with Murcer from the Giants and played third. THAT began the endless parade of has-beens and never-weres who manned the hot corner for the Cubs over the next quarter century.

When discussing the Cubs' inability to find a third baseman, it should be "since Madlock" not "since Santo".

I have that card at my house somewhere. No, Kerry Wood was never with any organization other than the Cubs. Remember, Kerry was a rookie when the Rays played their inaugural season. Actually, at the time Woody was in the Cubs system the AA franchise was the Orlando Rays. That's where it came from.

Thank you IENPW. I now have my explanation.

TBone, it may not have been Madlock's fault he got traded, but he only played third for three years. I'd hardly call that "locking it down."

Besides, if you go from "since Madlock" instead of "since Santo," you miss out on the chance to reminisce about Carmen Fanzone, Rob Sperring, and Matt Alexander.

AZPhil, I have the Cubs' 40-man at 38, not 37. Do I have somebody on it that shouldn't be there?

P (21): Aardsma, Dempster, Guzman, Hill, Koronka, Leicester, Maddux, Mitre, Novoa, Ohman, Pinto, Prior, Rohlicek, Rusch, van Buren, Wellemeyer, Williams, Williamson, Wood, Wuertz, Zambrano

C (3): Barrett, Blanco, Soto

IF (9): Cedeno, Fontenot, Lee, Lewis, McClain, Perez, Ramirez, Theriot, Walker

OF (5): Greenberg, Hairston, Macias, Murton, Patterson

I know I'm not AZPhil, but I think McClain got dropped from the cubs system altogether.

McClain isn't listed on the 40-man at mlb.com's Cubs page, but I pay attention to this kind of thing and haven't heard anything about him declaring free agency or being outrighted. I'm not sure what his status is as a player since he did have a short major league stint with Tampa Bay in '98 before he played in Japan.

also, what happened with Ben Grieve? i'm assuming he'd be considered a FA but i don't see his name in the list:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/freeag...

Love Chicago, love the Cubs, love this site...

Does anybody know of any Bears blogs worth reading? Hurry up while they are still hot!

Nitz14, I have been looking for a good one for years. I have yet to find any. Please share if you do find one.

Did anyone hear the news that Javier Vazquez demanded a trade and immediately wonder if we could unload Kerry Wood and another player or so on them and end up with Vazquez an OF (like Carlos Quentin, maybe?)?

A little OT, but for a good cause:

Children's Memorial Hospital is auctioning off a toilet seat signed by a number of 2005 Cubs, including TCR favorite Dusty Baker. How apt that that team should choose that item to autograph. Current bidding is at $600; bidding closes at 11 PM today (Friday). As I said, it's for a terrific cause. Here's the link:

http://www.events.org/CMH01A/auctionitem.aspx...

nitz14 - Desipio.com is primarily a Cubs website, but there's occasional Bears commentary worth reading. (And I'm not even a Bears fan)

Hmmm, a guy named Brown Line, discussing toilet seats. Hmmmm.

Yes, Javy Vasquez has definately requested a trade...just as he did last year when AZ acquired him. I don't think he's a good fit for Wrigley as he's a fly ball pitcher with spotty control at times...not to mention that $12m per contract. Plus Quentin is going to have every opportunity to win a starting job in spring training so much so that Chad Tracy is reportedly on the block.

#17 of 27: By Christian (November 11, 2005 01:35 PM)
AZPhil, I have the Cubs' 40-man at 38, not 37. Do I have somebody on it that shouldn't be there?

-

Scott McClain was placed on outright waivers last month, and when he was not claimed, he declined the outright assignment (it's the second time he was outrighted, so he had the option to become a free-agent).

Those looking for a Bears blog can go to:
http://www.windycitygridiron.com/

That is off the same group of blogs that Al Yellon's bleedcubbieblue.com is on - you can also find www.blogabull.com, a blog on the Chicago Bulls, there.

AZ Phil, is that a rule that if a player is outrighted twice in his career, he can become a free agent? does it have to be with the same club, or was McClain outrighted by Tampa Bay at some point?

Bears Blog: Windy City Gridiron

bears.mostvaluablenetwork.com

Although he refuses to post because since his rant, the Bears have gone on a winning streak. But when he does, it's good stuff.

It's reported that Blue Jays and Phillies are talking Abreu to Wells, as the Phillies have resigned themselves to not being able to trade Thome.

So, if Abreu's on the market, wouldn't he be a serviceable pickup? I can hardly begin to speculate what Philly would want (Z?).

Any thoughts? Is it at least 1 percent possible?

IF, and that is the major question. IF Abreu is moved he is not going to be dealt for a package of crap. Which means if the Cubs want to get in on that the only piece that Philly would probably be interested in is Aramis Ramirez.

We don't have anything else that we could offer up, or want to offer up, to interest Philly. Wood is probably too expensive and Lee is of no use to them. Beyond that all we have is Mark Prior (no), Zambrano (no), and Maddux. But Maddux is also too expensive.

They are going to want a person who can step in right away and produce if they are trading a guy of the caliber of Abreu. Which is why they are exploring Vernon Wells.

I've started a bears blog at chibearsblog.blogspot.com, but it's not updated as often as I'd like...

Also in another thread someone mentioned Rocco Baldelli signing a 6-year deal to stay with the Devil Rays and calling Tampa Bay stupid for it.

As anyone had a chance to look at the contract details? It is a very nice contract for both sides. In fact if Baldelli was to turn into a superstar he will probably be slightly under paid.

His deal guarantees him $2 million next year, $750,000 in 2007 and $2.25 million 2008, but if he has 600 plate appearances next year his 2007 salary goes up to $2.5 million and his 2008 salary increases to $4.5 million.

Tampa Bay has a $6 million option for 2009 with a $4 million buyout. If the Devil Rays exercise that, they get an $8 million option for 2010 and a $9 million option for 2011 that must be exercised together. Those options carry a $2 million buyout.

Baldelli negotiated the contract himself. He took into account his knee injury and put in an incentive for him if he is healthy to make 600 plate appearances.

If he plays out his entire contract the most he will make in 1 season is 9 million dollars. Not bad for 24-year old player who had two fairly good initial 2 seasons in MLB before his injury.

Absolutely I would trade Ramiez for Abreu if that were on the table. We can get former batting champ Bill Mueller!

I figure they would want Z though, and I also would be inclined to say no thanks.

it was me and it was before I saw the details. Foolishness on my part and my apologies. I thought it was a straight up 6/33 at the time. The deal is a good one for both sides.

my bad for not researching the details...flame me at will.

Aramis for Abreu would be AWESOME. Then sign Nomar for 3rd.

wow, I actually kind of like that idea ncfan!!! still lends itself to the same fragility issues of signing nomar to short, since neifi is the backup 3b at the moment with macias. Could make a trade for Burroughs...lots of possibilities actually.

doubtful, but intriguing.

I would only consider moving Ramirez in a deal that included Blaylock or Eric Chavez. Corner Outfielders are much easier to sign. I say take a flyer on this Sosa guy from Baltimore. Maybe give him a shot with a minor league deal. Seriously, Abreu is dogged by the same no hustle\lack of desire rep as Aramis and he makes $15M for the next 2 yrs instead of the $10M that Rammy does.

blalock, huh? he sure looked good in 2003, didn't he? Been crashing and burning since. Last year was particularly abysmal.

Close to 2000 major league at-bats, half of his games in the friendliest hitters park not named Coors and he's put up these #'s for his career:

.274/.338/.471

Worse he put up a paltry
.263/.318/.431 last year

he'd be cheaper, but I'm thinking he might not be all that we thought he was going to be. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery. He'll only be 25 next year.

What?

Aram for Abreu? You cant be serious...
I wouldn't give Aram for anyone short of Alex Rodruigez or Vlad. No way!

Aramis puts up better offensive numbers anyway!

Ramirez: !G-123!; H-140; HR-31; RBI-92; SO-60;.302
Abreu: G-162; H-168; HR-31; RBI-102; SO-134; .286

You have to look at the games that Abreu played compared to Aram.

What?

Aram for Abreu? You cant be serious...
I wouldn't give Aram for anyone short of Alex Rodruigez or Vlad. No way!

Aramis puts up better offensive numbers anyway!

Ramirez: !G-123!; H-140; HR-31; RBI-92; SO-60;.302
Abreu: G-162; H-168; HR-24*; RBI-102; SO-134; .286

You have to look at the games that Abreu played compared to Aram.

Karl, not that I'm necessarily advocating trading for Aramis, because I like him and want us to keep him, but here's a 5-year look at his and Abreu's VORPs:

Year / Abreu VORP / Aramis VORP:
2005 / 56.8 / 48.8
2004 / 83.8 / 59.6
2003 / 53.3 / 37.4
2002 / 70.4 / 3.8
2001 / 64.9 / 57.0
Avg / 65.84 / 41.32

even if you take out Aramis' bunk 2002, he's still never quite been at the offensive level of Abreu. If a trade is possible between the two I think that Hendry would have to consider it, but I doubt it's even a possibility.

Players I'd Like to See in a Cubs Uniform

1) Rafael Furcal, SS
2) Adam Dunn, LF
3) Juan Pierre, CF
4) BJ Ryan, CL
5) Austin Kearns, RF
6) Luis Castillo, 2B
7) Billy Wagner, CL
8) Orlando Huson, 2B
9) Aubry Huff, RF/LF
1) Bobby Abreu, RF
Getting just 3 of these guys would be a resounding success.

(um, take out that "for" in the first sentence... oops)

well there's a point in looking at the # of games that abreu plays, he's been a pillar of durability so far, can't say the same for ramirez.

career #'s for abreu: .303/.411/.512 .923 OPS 241/319 SB's (75.5%)

career #'s for ramirez: .277/.329/.481 .810 OPS

if you want to argue with just the last 2 years of ramirez, then it'd obviously be pretty close and of ramirez is younger and cheaper.

Intriguing trade, not sure i'd pull it off though.

er, take out the "for" in the first sentence of my last post... oops.

OK, so trade a-ram to Philly for Abreu, sign Nomar to third base, sign Furcall then trade K-Pat and Pitchers to Fla for Pierre and that is good stuff! That is fantasy stuff! And if we can top it off with a trade for Sean Burroughs, all the more happy.

1.Furcall
2,Pierre
3. D-Lee
4. Abreu
5. Nomar
6. Burroughs
7. Murton
8. Barret

You guys might want to read this:

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

Furcal's agent says he wants 50 Mil over 5 or 6 years. He will also play 2b or cf. Furcal's agent is an idiot. Cashman already said he isn't going to throw around that kind of money for an expirement. Personally all I think Furcal is looking for is $$$. My guess is he will land now in KC for a 6/50 deal. If we get Pierre and from what Levine was saying tonight it could happen by the end of the weekend I think we should stay away from Furcal. Cedeno or Neifi could handle SS and we keep Walker who is the best no.2 hitter in the NL. This line-up would be excellent:

Pierre
Walk
Dlee
Aram
Kearns
Barrett
Murton
Neifi/Cedeno

ChiFan

Ouch, Wherever he goes, they dont expect to sign until early dec, according to Kinzer (furcals agent). Even he probably doesnt think hell get $50M, just bluster, but I do believe him about the timetable. A quick signing would have been ideal, allowing us to quickly move on to other issues. I think we saw the opposite of that last year when virtually nothing got taken care of because the Sammy Situation wasnt resolved until Feb.

Now, the timetable is based on the last day a team can sign its own free agent (dec 7 i beleive). In other words hell give the Braves a chance to match whatever the pot is up to.

I think your lineup is both realistic and attractive. Do you have Kearns in there b/c you think he is a more realistic aquisition compared to Dunn, or do you simply prefer him?

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about the MVP races. Allen St. John is the author -- he typically has a disciplined, WSJ kind of approach. This article points to "BOP" -- total bases / plate appearances -- to show that ARod should win over Ortiz in the AL.

More importantly, he uses it to argue that DLee should win over Pujols -- Lee's BOP was .699, vs. Pujols's's .660.

Hisargument that Lee should be the MVP is interesting: although Pujols was the leader of the superior team, if Lee and Pujols had switched teams, the BOP's tell us that the gap between the two teams would have been even wider.

Da Krone,

I think Kearns is a more realistic option. To get Dunn it would require trading Pie something I would do in a heartbeat but Hendry will never do it. Also I think you could a straight up Jwill for Kearns trade. According to Levine FLA seems intent on getting pitching from us. My guess is they want something like Cpat, Hill and one of the AA arms my guess being Pinto. If that were to be the trade and I would do it because Cpat is garbage, Hill as he is now is either an innings eating 5th starter or top loogy. Pinto has been shaky in the past though I think he will at least be an average MLB starter. So in essance its basically Pinto for Pierre. If we do that we can't stack up pitching prosecpts and doing the Jwill for Kearns deal will accomplish that.

Why wouldn't Hendry trade a prospect like Pie as part of a deal for a proven everyday player? Even if Pie does turn out to be a superstar, surely Cubs fans would understand that such a trade is a calculated gamble based on existing circumstances. Really, why would Hendry hesitate? I mean, would Cubs fans really be so spiteful as to track traded prospects and criticize Hendry after the fact for trading somebody who turns out to be great? Come on Jim, what are you worried about -- Cubs fans are fair!

(Sorry for the sarcasm, it's late and I'm tired)

Why wouldn't Hendry trade a prospect like Pie as part of a deal for a proven everyday player? Even if Pie does turn out to be a superstar, surely Cubs fans would understand that such a trade is a calculated gamble based on existing circumstances. Really, why would Hendry hesitate? I mean, would Cubs fans really be so spiteful as to track traded prospects and criticize Hendry after the fact for trading somebody who turns out to be great? Come on Jim, what are you worried about -- Cubs fans are fair!

(Sorry for the sarcasm, it's late and I'm tired)

I wouldn't trade Abreu for Aram. No freaking way. You have to be nuts.

I heard that Ichiro might be looking for a trade. Any possibility of getting him in Chicago?

I heard that Ichiro might be looking for a trade. Any possibility of getting him in Chicago?

I heard that Ichiro might be looking for a trade. Any possibility of getting him in Chicago?

...sorry.

The Trib has already started their reporting on why the Cubs won't get Furcal... Neifi anyone??

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

#30 of 62: By nate (November 11, 2005 04:01 PM)
AZ Phil, is that a rule that if a player is outrighted twice in his career, he can become a free agent? does it have to be with the same club, or was McClain outrighted by Tampa Bay at some point?

----

NATE: Yes, it is a rule that if a player is outrighted to the minor leagues twice in his career, that he can declare himself a free-agent after the second one (and after any additional ones). The outright assignments can be from the same team, or from different teams. In the case of Scott McClain, he was outrighted the first time by Tampa Bay after the 1998 seson.

BTW, did you know that Scott McClain has hit 358 home runs in his 16-year career (U. S. minor leagues and Japan)? If he can play another five years in AAA or Japan (he's only 33), he COULD get to 500 HRs!

The Trib has already started their reporting on why the Cubs won't get Furcal... Neifi anyone??

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

I hope that is not true. If there's ever a time, and ever a player the Cubs deeply need to contend this year, it is Rafael Furcal. I was excited about this upcoming season because I was confident we were getting Furcal, but this unpleasant news puts a thwart in those plans.

To have any relevance this season, I believe the Cubs *must* make Furcal their #1 priority. On the other hand, if they prematurely decide they won't contend, give Cedeno his chance.

"The Trib has already started their reporting on why the Cubs won't get Furcal... Neifi anyone??"

The Dude,

Go read my post 51. Hendry could build a pretty good offense with Neifi in it. Furcal is not worth the money he wants. If we can get Pierre then we should just tell Furcal and Kinzer to shove it.

"hope that is not true. If there's ever a time, and ever a player the Cubs deeply need to contend this year, it is Rafael Furcal."

Mr. Cubs Lover,

What is the differnce bewteen Furcal and Pierre? There both 28. Here are there stats at BR:

Pierre 305/355/375 with avg just 40 K's a year with stealing at a 51/69 rate on on average, a 74% sucess rate. also in an average year he gets 9 triples.

Furcal 284/348/409 with an avg of 94 k's a year. His steal numbers are 37/48 a 77 sucess rate. he gets 8 triples.

Also Pierre has more hits than Furcal. Is one guy worth 5 million more than the other. I would rather have Pierre and the xtra 4-5 million to spend than have Furcal's druken greedy a**.

Chifan,

If we get pierre why not sign Nomar to play SS for another 1 year deal?

Pierre
Murton
Aram
FA RF
DLee
Nomar
Barrett
Cedeno

Not too bad here. Still lack on defense though.

What is the differnce bewteen Furcal and Pierre? There both 28. Here are there stats at BR:

Pierre 305/355/375 with avg just 40 K's a year with stealing at a 51/69 rate on on average, a 74% sucess rate. also in an average year he gets 9 triples.

Furcal 284/348/409 with an avg of 94 k's a year. His steal numbers are 37/48 a 77 sucess rate. he gets 8 triples.

Also Pierre has more hits than Furcal. Is one guy worth 5 million more than the other. I would rather have Pierre and the xtra 4-5 million to spend than have Furcal's druken greedy a**.
//////////////////////////////////////////////////

After looking at Pierre's numbers from this past season, I have a bit of a different opinion. I was thinking he did a whole lot worse than his past production. His OBP was significantly lower than Furcal's in '05, but he has the SB. And thats what we need at the top of the order. So I'd be down with it. And if we have to give up Pie, I'd be down with that as well.

"Still lack on defense though"

NCfan,

That is the reason I would let Cedeno or Neifi play SS.

I agree. If we do not upgrade to Furcal at SS, then Cedeno should be penciled in over Nomar. The kid looks ready. If not, Perez will be the backup.

Another thing about Pierre: He really played well in the 2nd half of the season--and his numbers showed. Pre All star: 266/314/353 versus Post 287/340/355. I also like his day #s at 324/374/410. One thing that concerns me is his numbers versus the rest of the Central are ick.

Somebody said in another thread they didnt think Glendon Rusch was eligible to trade b/c we just extendend his contract. But I think that may be why Hendry resigned him, he realized hed have some value. Just a year ago the Reds signed Eric F. Milton to a 3Y/$25M contract!

Rusch wants to start. He wants to play in Chicago. He let Hendry know that, but he knows its a business. He probably said he didnt want to be in the bull pen behind Jerome Williams anymore, now that theyve seen what the youngster can do. Hendry assured him that hed be signing Rusch to be the 5th of six starters. But he didnt ask for a no trade clause.

Hendry is very good at early often and sincere negotiating with both players and other GMs. Like with Walker a few years ago. He took less to come here and prove himself as a platoon player. Then, when both their contracts were up, Walk said, I want to sign here, but not in a platoon situation. It may not have had anything to do with it, but when Walker went down last year, management was quietly opposed to letting JHJ get too entrenched there.

But that play he got hurt on just encapsulates Walkers career as a Cub. He worked hard is Spring traingin to improve his defense. He hung in there with determination on that play against Carlos Lee. I saw it live and it looked wrong. Anybody else would have bailed out, hopped, something, not planted on that foot to get a strong throw off. He wants to be here, he wants to play good D, but thats just not his bag, his bag is raking. What about switching him to LF? Any thoughts?

#57: Chad, obviously no one would trade Abreu for ARam heads-up. But if Hendry wanted, the Cubs could do it, because...

1) ARam is cheaper;
2) Philly needs to move either Burrell, Thome or Abreu to make room for Howard (fact), and the first two are a lot harder to trade;
3) the Cubs have top-level prospects to meet the "talent" difference .... ARam is probably a top-40 player in MLB, while Abreu is more like a top-10 or top-15 at worst.

I forgot to add... Phillies need a 3B like Madonna needs a hit.

Furcal's agent is doing what he should do, trying to get the most $$$ he can. Of course he's demanding the most insane #'s out there (remeber Beltran last year wanted $20 mil at first), then reality will set in and he'll accept the best deal out there. It's all part of the negotiations, just be patient.

yeah...what rob said...

furcal's agent has told every media outlet he can get a phone # for that everybody on earth is looking at furcal...that every negociation is up for the public to digest...

you just dont have good faith discussions involving this much money out in the public before he's even elligable to rightfully have these discussions without looking like you're posturing for the loot.

furcal is out to get paid...SS/2nd/CF...sure he'll play them...hell, he'd come out dressed as the bratwurst in MIL at the sausage race daily if you pay him enough.

someone will give him that 8.5-9m a year...maybe even 10...

No one would trade Ramirez for Abreu straight up? I would in a heart beat. It is Bobby Abreu for christ sake.

Ramirez isn't even remotely as valuable on the field or at the plate as Abreu.

We meant no one would trade Abreu heads-up. And the Cubs have enough that we don't have to.

There are two other things about ARAM that might warrant trading him during this off season if the price is right, well, perhaps three things:

1) The guy is very injury prone. And when he is able to play, he plays hurt a lot and can hardly run.

2) We really only have ARAM locked up for one more season. He can opt out after next season. And my guess is that he will opt out if we stink the way we did this past season.

3) ARAM certainly took a step backwards with his defensive skills this past season. That might have been due, in part, to # 1 above.

There are two other things about ARAM that might warrant trading him during this off season if the price is right, well, perhaps three things:

1) The guy is very injury prone. And when he is able to play, he plays hurt a lot and can hardly run.

2) We really only have ARAM locked up for one more season. He can opt out after next season. And my guess is that he will opt out if we stink the way we did this past season.

3) ARAM certainly took a step backwards with his defensive skills this past season. That might have been due, in part, to # 1 above.

#71 of 77: By Da Krone (November 12, 2005 09:49 AM)
Somebody said in another thread they didnt think Glendon Rusch was eligible to trade b/c we just extendend his contract. But I think that may be why Hendry resigned him, he realized hed have some value. Just a year ago the Reds signed Eric F. Milton to a 3Y/$25M contract!

----

DA KRONE: Free agents who are signed to a major league contract by a new club or their former club have an automatic "no trade" until June 15th of the following year, although the player can waive the "no trade" privilege if he wishes (that's per the CBA).

In the caes of Glendon Rusch, he never actually filed for free-agency, so the "no trade" that applies to free-agents does not apply to him. I guess he could have exercised his player option and filed for free-agency and then in the next minute signed the new deal with Cubs (thereby gaining "no trade" rights until next June), but apparently he didn't feel that was necessary.

Even though he signed his new deal without first filing for free-agency, it still seems very, very unlikely that Rusch would get traded before the following season even begins. Obviously, Rusch wants to pitch for the Cubs, or else he would have exercised the "player option" in his contract and tested the free-agent waters.

I can't prove it, but I believe Rusch could have
gotten more money (or at least the same money with a guarantee to be a starter) if he had filed for free-agency and signed with another club. I think Glendon gave the Cubs the ol' "hometown discount."

Aramis probably already had his career year. He's lazy....he's injury prone and I question he has the drive to compete.

I'd trade Ramirez too...when his value is adequate. Wait a couple seasons and we may be unable to move him.

I know many are in love with Ramirez at this site....but he is not the Cubs answer and likely is part of the problem...time will tell.

The best thing about Amaris Ramirez's contract is that he has a vesting option for 2009 that's based on a minimum of 270 games played in 2007-08, and if he misses a lot of games next year, his "player option" to be a free-agent after 2006 won't be worth much, either. So Ramirez has a lot of motivation to get in shape and stay healthy. Apparently Jim Hendry was hip to the situation.

As far as a five-year deal being a potential stumbling block for the Cubs vis-a-vis Rafael Furcal, well, Aramis Ramirez got a five-year deal last April that included a player option to opt-out after two years (with $33.5 mil still left on the table) and the fifth year vesting based on games played in the previous two seasons.

Since Ramirez and Furcal have the same agent, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that Hendry will offer Furcal a similar-type deal, that is, five years with a player option to leave after two years (a benefit to the player) and a vesting option for the fifth year based on games played (a benefit to the club).

As to the actual salary, I would think something consistent with what Edgar Renteria got from Boston a year ago ($9 mil per year for three years with a $3 mil club buy-out for the fourth year, or $9.75 mil per year for four years, with a $1 mil bonus if traded) would be "market value." So $45 mil for five years, escalating $8-8-9-10-10 mil (2006-10), with a player option to leave after two years (before the contract escalates), a vesting option for the fifth year based on games played in the third and fourth years, and incentive bonuses each season for Gold Glove ($500,000), All-Star Game ($500,000), and a top three finish in the MVP ($1 mil) would get it done.

There is always a lot of public posturing by agents during free-agent negotiations, and I'm sure Jim Hendry knows all about that. He seems to be fairly "street-wise," and the agents (even Scott Boras) seem to like doing business with him.

I should say the last post was by Arizona Phil, not Aramis Ramirez. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Like RobG said, you guys have to be patient. So far only the Cubs and Braves have shown true interest in Furcal and I'd be shocked if the Braves offer him more than $8 mil a year when they also need a LF, possibly a 1B and basically an entire new bullpen including closer. If Furcal does wind up returning to the Braves we have to go with Cedeno at SS. Nomar can't handle the position anymore and if Walker is going to be the everyday 2B then we need a solid defender at SS to help Walker out.

Also Pie won't be in any J.Pierre deal. The Marlins already have a young stud CF ready to take over in Jeremy Hermida. I think they'd like to pick up a veteran CF as a safety like a Dave Roberts type...I guess K.Patt could fill that role, but I don't think FLA is interested in Korey...but it will definately take 1 or 2 young pitchers to get that deal done. I just hope it doesn't include Nolasco, Sean Gallagher, Pawelek or Guzman. Hopefully the Marlins will take Mitre and if necessary Rich Hill. Remember they're losing Burnett so all they really have is Willis and Beckett as starters right now unless you include Vargas. Burnett and Leiter are gone and I'd imagine I.Valdez isn't coming back either. So they're going to need close to ML ready starters which Mitre and Hill can at least compete for the jobs if they're not bringing in any FA starters.

I wouldn't be crushed if Aramis moved on either...but not this year. The only decent FA 3B available are Bill Mueller and Joe Randa, and unless Mueller would take a 1 year deal that's not going to happen because I think MINN will sign Mueller to a 2-3 yr deal...and I don't want Randa...only Mike Lowell would probably be available in trade and I don't think anyone has any interest seeing Lowell on the northside next season. Plus Abreu looks eerily similar to Sosa and it will bring back way too many bad memories.

Plus Abreu looks eerily similar to Sosa and it will bring back way too many bad memories.

Say what?!?!?

Bogey, you had a lot of nice points. But unless your last sentence was a joke, you completely invalidated all of them by including it.

You guys are nuts. I am so glad you don't run this team. Aram is four years younger and just getting to his peak. Career year Cubfan? Really? Which season? 01? 04? 05? Abreu is just going to decline. AND corner outfielders are easily replaceable. 3rd basemen are not. VIVA ARAMIS!!!

Chad,

I love your enthusiasm. However if we could get Abreu for Aram I say do it and then sign nomar to play 3rd. Throw in Furcal and Pierre and we are hot hot hot. I think you might be getting too attached to our players. And I think everyone in here (including myself) does it. It's what being a fan is all about. (I was depressed when grace left). If Aram stays I will pull for him and our Cubs as much as all of us. But if we can use him to improve the team via a trade I say shoot for it.

NO I am not too attached to our players. Aram is out BEST!!!!!!! One fucking career year for Derek Lee and every one thinks he's God. He's not. He's a very good player. But Aram is our BEST PLAYER!!!!!!! BY FAR!!!!!

Andrew, I meant Abreu and Sosa in physical appearance. They have very similar looking faces aside from the fact that Abreu has lighter skin. If you look at a photo of Sosa pre-steroids they also had very similar builds/height.

You mean best hitter? I might buy that if Lee's year was just a fluke. But best player? No way. Bad defensively, can't run, lacks hustle, no apparent leadership. Even his hitting pisses me off sometimes - how many times have you seen him swing so hard he almost falls down?

"Aram is our BEST PLAYER!!!!!!! BY FAR!!!!!"

Our best player is Zambrano. I mean he hit .300 and was our best pitcher. I dont think Lee or Ram could manage to have an ERA below 5.

If Am-Ram is our best player we might as well fold the franchise up.

Corner OFers who can hit 20-30 HR's, score and knock in 100 runs a year, walk over a 100 times, hit .300, have an OBP over .400, and steal 30-40 bases are not found growing on trees.

He is a unique talent. Players like Ramirez are a hell of alot more common than Abreu.

Just a few more things to ponder...

3 year averages
Abreu - RISP - .329 BA, .450 OBP
Ramirez - RISP - .299 BA, .380 OBP

Abreu - RISP/2 outs - .328 BA, .487 OBP
Ramirez - RISP/2outs - .242 BA, .347 OBP

Abreu - Close and Late - .288 BA, .431 OBP
Ramirez - Close and Late - .265 BA, .330 OBP

Abreu - First and Third - .306 BA, .394 OBP
Ramirez - First and Third - .220 BA, .250 OBP

2 of the stats point out something dramatic. Something we have seen Ramirez do alot. He will just rear back and put everything behind a swing. It looks pretty but it doesn't connect often. The First and Third, and the RISP/2 outs.

This team has a major problem getting runners in from 3rd and scoring runs with 2 outs. Ramirez steps to the plate in those situations and his eyes get all big and he just swings as hard as he can because he believes he needs to hit a HR. Abreu doesn't give a damn about the HR. He would rather get a single or take a walk to keep the inning going. And that is all you need most of the time. You don't need to swing for the fences every time. Abreu understands this simple fact which makes him a step above 99.9% of the players in baseball.

The simple fact is Abreu is a far far superior player than Ramirez can ever hope to be. Ramirez is no slouch but Abreu has him beat in everything hands down.

Mike C,

Then who is our best player? Chifan has a great point about Z. He may be our best player. Not for his joke about the hitting. But you Z only plays in 35 games a season. Aram is our best player and if you think that means that we should fold the franchise, well then fold away. Casue he's our best player. And your lame post #94 is just that . 20 - 30 hrs and 100 rbis from a corner outfielder is replaceable. The other stats you provide are junk.

Let's see. AramRam has established a new plateu the last two years, yet, Mike C uses three year averages. Why is that?

Mike C= poster child for 'You can use statistics to prove anything you want'?

2004-2005
Man on 3rd > 2 out
Player BA SLG
Ramirez .356 .600
Abreu .344 .547

Where are your park factorts, Mike C? Hate to break the news to you, but 24 HR's playing half your games in Philadelphia...that ain't too good.

(Side note- the reason I didn't included OBP is that I didn't have the situational sac fly stats)

Oh, another thing

Mike C said 'Corner OFers who can hit 20-30 HR's, score and knock in 100 runs a year, walk over a 100 times, hit .300, have an OBP over .400, and steal 30-40 bases are not found growing on trees.'

Not only are they not found on trees, they're not even found in right field for the Phillies.

I'd give you Abreu's 2005 Batting Average, but just for kicks, I think you can look it up for yourself.

I am going to now list for you all of the 3rd basement who hit .300+ for each of the last two years. Pay close attention.

Aramis Ramirez
.
.
.

A little bit more for the total stat freaks- Marginal Lineup Value (per game- how much runs does this guy give me over average?)

The MLVr for
2005
Ramirez =.286
Abreu = .216
2004
Ramirez = .316
Abreu = .349

2 year average
Ramirez= .301
Abreu= .2825

Stats from ESPN and BP.

Furcal's agent backpedals a bit on the starting price tag.

"All I said was that we were looking for five years, and possibly six," he said. "I never said $50 million. I just talked to [Cubs GM] Jim Hendry [Friday] night, and he is not scared off. They are very much still in the hunt."

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

The Cubs still arent going to offer 6 years. Maybe four with a vesting option for a fifth. But Hendry not faxing any kind of offer must have stunned him into backpedaling. Sheurholtz and Hendry are playing poker.

Interesting! Is that article from previous about the Cubs not being interested strategy on Hendry's part? Get Furcal to lower his asking price by saying demand isn't that high?

Seems smart to me.

What the Cubs need to win the World Series:

1. A catcher not named Barrett--pitcher's ERAs are significantly higher when he catches--this is unacceptable

2. A third baseman not named Aramis--he's lazy, poor defensively and not a very smart ballplayer-all recipes for losing teams.

3. A pitcher named Prior and Wood to stay off the DL for ALL of 2006....ALL of it...not missing starts here and there also are mandatory.

4. An OF that can field the ball, throw out runners with better than 25% results AND that can get on base offensively and produce runs

5. A pitching staff that can produce at least 3 15 game winners on it's starting staff.

6. A management staff without their heads up their @ss during the game and when filling out the lineup card.

See numbers 1-6 as why they finished another 20 games out of first...and 3 games out of third place again in 2006.

You have to remember this is a big market team that operates like a boneheaded small market club (except they throw away good money that others don't have the luxury to throw around)....

See NYM's operation manual on spending money for a .500 or worse ballclub and that's what you have in the Cubs.

They have no idea how to win....when told how to win they dismiss it...when shown how to win they discount it....their organization at all levels are a real joke.

Mike C said 'Corner OFers who can hit 20-30 HR's, score and knock in 100 runs a year, walk over a 100 times, hit .300, have an OBP over .400, and steal 30-40 bases are not found growing on trees.'

Not only are they not found on trees, they're not even found in right field for the Phillies.

I'd give you Abreu's 2005 Batting Average, but just for kicks, I think you can look it up for yourself.

Are you seriously this stupid? So out of 8 points I made on Abreu you go with the .286 BA he had in 2005? Ok I will play along. I assume since you didn't challenge the other 7 that they are all correct? How does that disprove that Abreu isn't a unique talent in the OF? It seems you did nothing more than to help me prove Abreu is better than Ramirez.

However, unlike you I don't look at 1 season and 1 stat in that season for a player. I like to look at 3 year averages or more on players. You tell me to look up a stat but you failed to recognize that Abreu is a career .303 hitter. Which makes him a .300 hitting OF. This isn't rocket science. In fact that stat was listed right below his 2005 season. It isn't hard to miss unless your blinded by your opinion and only want to see what you want to see.

To go along with a career .303 BA, he has a career .411 OBP. Most of his career he has average 20-30 HR's. And anyone who watched the HR derby knows Abreu can jack HR's when he wants to. He just doesn't pattern his game around the long ball. Last 5 years he has average 100 RBI a year. Last 7 years he has been a steady 100 run scored player. For the last 8 years he has walk around a 100 times. And for the last 6-7 years he has average 30-40 stolen bases.

So the statement of Abreu being a .300 hitting, .400 OBP, 100 walk, 100 run, 100 RBI, 20-30 HR, 30-40 SB OFer, is true. The next question is how many other players in MLB can have those kind of averages over a 5 year span? Hell how many current MLB players can even do that in 1 season?

So Real Neal name all the players in MLB that can average what Abreu did for the last 5 years and then name all the players that did it just for 1 season. Only then will it open your eyes to how great Abreu is. Don't forget they need to atleast maintain those averages AND steal those amount of bases. Don't forget about the stolen bases. That is what makes, like I said, Abreu a unique player in MLB.

I haven't researched this point. So I am guessing no-one with the 5 year averages. Maybe 5 people who did it for 1 season in the last 5 years.

Just for you Real Neal and those who knock Abreu for not hitting HR's.

Part of the puzzle of Bobby Abreu is that he is such a talented hitter that he's hard to categorize. He can hit for power and probably could hit 40 homers if he was willing to sacrifice his batting average. He has said repeatedly, though, that his goal is to win a batting title. He's patient, walking 127 times in 2004 and boasting a .412 lifetime on-base percentage. He has a good knowledge of the strike zone with no obvious weaknesses. He hits fastballs and breaking balls equally well and doesn't give in against lefthanders.

Like it or not, but this team needs players to recognize hitting for average is more important than hitting the HR. Especially on those days when the wind is blowing in. Which is often.

And just to show I like Ramirez as well...

Better discipline at the plate and a more relaxed approach made Ramirez a much more dangerous hitter last year. He is an aggressive hitter but not a wild swinger: he drew a career-high 49 walks in 2004, while reducing his strikeouts from 99 to 62, a very low total for a home-run hitter. He hits the ball to all fields, but generates his best power to left and left-center.

That is very unique about Ramirez and I love that part. But it isn't nearly enough to challenge Abreu in everything else he can do.

Chad, no way, sorry, ARAM is not our best player, let alone, as you claim, our best player "by far." ARAM does not have good work habits, he is injury prone, and half the time he is able to play he seems gimpy. Add to that his less than average defensive skills. Sure, he can hit the long ball. But his liabilities give up too many runs and reduce the meaning of his offensive numbers. We need some more athletic players at second base, short, and third. Bye bye ARAM.

Mike C,

I never said that Ramirez is a better player than Abreu- I just said that you were manipulating your stat selection, to prove your point.

The truth is that on a per game basis, AramRam was a better offensive player than Abreu last year. In the years prior Abreu was better, but all these 3-year average, 5 -year average stuff is nonsense.

Case in point. What do you think will be a better predictor for Greg Maddux in '06, his 5 year average or last season?

Another thing you're doing that is annoying is saying '.300 hitting, .400 OBP, 100 walk' Can you give me a player who EVER hit .300 and walked 100 times, yet didn't have a .400 OBP? Runs and RBI's to a great degree are based on your lineup context.

Abreu's batting average over the last 5 years rounds up to .297. But I don't really care about years 2001-2005, what I am interested in is years 2006-2010. If you put Abreu into the Cubs' lineup he loses how many SB's a year? According to ESPN Wrigley suppressed BA last year, how much do you want Abreu if he's a .260 hitter?

I will assume that the Phillies would trade Abreu for ARam, because of the Phils need for a 3rd baseman.

Nomar clearly would re-sign to play 3rd.

I will assume for a minute that Hendry is now leaning toward doing the rational thing and signing Giles to play RF. (Cubs have an obvious need for lefthanded, good OBP, good clubhouse-guy veteran).

So the issue becomes: would you rather have Giles & ARam, or Abreu & Garciaparra?

Tough call. Both duos project similar numbers.

I'll go with Giles & ARam because they're a little less expensive, Nomar's more fragile than ARam, and Furcal is supposedly buds with ARam.

Trade's off.

The reason you don't trade ARam off and start Nomar at third (in the process of getting Abreu): When Nomar goes down in May, you'll have Neifi! Perez in the lineup every day....

The value of keeping ARam, and getting a good corner OFer elsewhere is higher than Abreu and Neifi!.

The Cubs need to strengthen the defense up the middle (2B and SS), and get the pitching repaired. our bullpen sucks. Our offense was not nearly as bad as the bullpen. In case you all didnt notice, we scored more runs than the Astros, and we know what happened to the Astros.

There are two issues Hendry should recognize and correct:

1) Barrett is not a good game calling catcher. This needs dramatic repair, or replacement.

2) The Cubs road record was better than most teams, like Atlanta for instance. They had a winning road record. In fact, Arizona, Philly, and StLouis were the only other NL road winning record teams.

Hendry NEEDS to build this team to win at wrigley. He needs to identify players who can pitch and hit to wrigley's strengths. Groundball pitchers (true in general) need to be the priority in the bullpen to complement our hard throwing starters. We need hitters with OBP and with less emphasis on SLG. We have sluggers, and you could say we have more than enough slugging in the lineup. We cant freaking get on base, and at Wrigley, that kills us.

"It's reported that Blue Jays and Phillies are talking Abreu to Wells, as the Phillies have resigned themselves to not being able to trade Thome."

wow..that's what's started aram vs. abreu.

seriously though...thome will be gone and he'll be playing for someone.

hell...if the wsox dont get konerko...ya know...

yeah, the phillies will have to eat some loot, but its not like thome is a clubhouse cancer with 2-3 years of poor performance on him.

thome got surgery early enough for it to matter...he still has his plate patience.

*shrug*

on a side note...should be real interesting to see where sosa lands. he could end up being a really cheap option for someone...or an overpaid gamble that turned out to be a bust.

Crunch, Sosa is very intriguing. If Sosa can pull it all back together and produce for a year, he could be a huge return on an investment that right now is valued extremely low.

He has a reputation as a clubhouse cancer, he's been sullied by the Cubs front office, so his reputation also smacks of bad player-front office relations, and he's just been plain bad the last two years.

If you can sign him for $2-4 mil for a year, heavily incentive laiden, you could see a big return if he can come back to form (doubtful).

The reason you don't trade ARam off and start Nomar at third (in the process of getting Abreu): When Nomar goes down in May, you'll have Neifi! Perez in the lineup every day....

Of course, Neifi will already be in the lineup everyday at 2nd, so it will actually mean that Cedeno would be getting the extra playing time.

But really, do you think Nomar's that much more of a health risk than Aramis "half speed to prevent injuries" Ramirez?

As far as the ARam for Abreau deal, I'll say this much, it would be a pretty fair deal for both sides. Considering the availability of Nomar vs what else is available on the FA Outfield market, I kind of like it.

But either way, the idea is quite a bit more plausable than the Dunn, Kerns, and Freel for Mitre, Hill, and Rusch type ideas that get thrown around but have no chance of happening.

The reason you don't trade Aramis for Abreu: Supply and Demand. Too few 3b's vs. plenty of corner of's. Nomar is not a 3b option in my opinion. Also, Madlock was a stud. I've been mad about that trade since 1977. Madlock won 4 batting titles. How many other guys in the history of baseball have done that? I think Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby are the others but I haven't looked it up...By the way, I do like Abreu-alot. Prior to last season, I suggested a Wood for Abreu swap.

As we look to make trades, remember the golden rule: trade from strength. Don't make trades that create more holes on your team.

Did anyone see Gammons' article on the Insider? He said that Bill James' projector has .800+ ops predictions for Pie, Cedeno and Murton.

Bleeding Blue:

Oh, I agree its very plausible, and on some levels it makes real sense for both teams.

But I have to feel iffy about it, and I feel like Hendry wants one more season from ARam to see if he can ever be back to full-strength.

I also think the alternative (Nomar, Cedeno/Furcal, Neifi/Whoever, Lee) infield is so much weaker than when its anchored by the corner 1-2 combo of Lee and ARam.

If ARam is "half speed to prevent injuries" for all of 2006, I'd anticipate the Cubs trading him away before 2007 as the free agent market will be improved next year.

Carmenfanzone:

What is the .800+ OPS for those three based on? Can you quote the article for those of us who are inside-challenged?

800+ ops for cedeno? *cough* ummm yeah. we'll find out. heh..

Here were the numbers Gammons gave in that article:

Pie 21 HR, 874 OPS
Cedeno .310 BA 800 OPS
Murton .318 859 OPS

Those are according to Bill James 2006 predictions. Here are Cendeno's and Murton's OPS for 2005:

Cedeno 731 OPS with a 300 BA if he had had the same differntial bewtten his avg and obp next year that he did this year his obp for 2006 if james is right about his 2006 ba for cedeno would be .366 meaning he would have to slug 434 or 45 points higher than he did this year.

Murton 906 OPS so james is low on his prediction next year. If Murton can pull the ball next year more He could easily be a guy who makes a run at a 1.000 OPS.

Pie if he did hit 21 HR's, and I do think he hit 14 at AA last year playing just half the season in a pitcher's league, he would have probably a slg around .550 so a 876 OPS would not be that difficult to get.

'Murton 906 OPS so james is low on his prediction next year. If Murton can pull the ball next year more He could easily be a guy who makes a run at a 1.000 OPS.'

Huh?

You know that that = .400 OBP and .600 slugging right? I think Murton's a nice hitter, but the chances of him doing that next year I think would be about 1000:1

Let me put that into context for you:'If Murton can pull the ball next year more He could easily be a guy who out-hits Manny Ramirez.'

I noticed you used capitalized the pronoun in that sentence, have you got a 'Matt Murton is God' website going?

Look, if you want to bitch about who's the better player and say Derek Lee is our best player (non pitcher) fine. I listen to your arguement. But to dismiss Aramis from the conversation is IGNORANT. I will bet ANYBODY that Aramis (granted at least 140 games) will have more homers, RBIs and a higher batting average than DLee. I will also bet that DLee will not hit 35 homers next year.

If you want to trade Aramis, then you don't know much about baseball. An ELITE slugger at 3rd base is something this organization has been looking for for over 25 years.

Completely off-topic, but does anyone know of a good English-language site that follows Japanese baseball?

Chad, put down the caffine for a second.

I don't think anyone is dismissing ARam as possibly being the best position player, but when you take DLee's offensive AND defensive contributions, he's got a pretty strong case even if ARam out hits him.

As far as "not knowing much about baseball" if you would consider trading ARam, I'd say its pretty foolish to take ANY options off the table when you've got team that finished in 4th place.

Particularly when the option you want to take off the table has a significant injury history, a contract that lets him walk after this season, and you've got another top notch hitter in Nomar as the player you're looking at to replace him if you were to trade for an elite outfielder.

Real Neal,

He had a .386 OBP and .521 SLG last year. So he only needs to add 14 points to his OBP which should be easy. The hard part will be adding 79 points to his SLG. I am not saying it will happen all I was saying is it could.

Chad,

You are right Aram is our best hitter. I mean he had an identical season this year for the most part there were both in the top 10 of NL triple crown stats all year. Only differnce Dlee could have been having a "Maris Year" while Ram has been doing this since he got here.

Trading Aram for Abreu and keeping Nomar to play third is just crazy. If Nomar is going to be healthy, then lets sign him to play SHORTSTOP!!!! Let's forget Furcal and sign Giles. Or make a trade for a Dunn or Kearns. All this with out having to lose our BEST hitter.

If you put Abreu into the Cubs' lineup he loses how many SB's a year? According to ESPN Wrigley suppressed BA last year, how much do you want Abreu if he's a .260 hitter?

This is the biggest line of bullshit ever. Sure didn't suppress Derrek Lee or Ramirez's BA. But yet it is going to mess with Abreu? A much better hitter than both of them? Ohh yeah that makes worlds of sense.

If Barrett is such a terrible "game-caller," why not have Dusty or Larry(or someone else, maybe Maddux when he isn't pitching) call the pitches for him? I'm pretty sure LaRussa tells Molina what is going to be thrown and other managers(I believe) also call the pitches. Would this not work for our team? Just a thought...

In a move that comes as a surprise to no one, the Baltimore Orioles announced Saturday that first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and outfielder Sammy Sosa will not return to the team next season.

"At this point, we are heading in a different direction," club executive vice president Mike Flanagan told the Baltimore Sun.

Wow what a shock! This paves the way for Sosa to become a cheap publicity stunt in KC or COL next season.

Former bench coach for the Angels Joe Madden will be the new TB manager.

For those that are already questioning Furcal not coming to the northside need to remember that rarely does a star player sign via FA before mid-December...if one does it's normally a player resigning with their original team. I think we all realize that Hendry is trying to complete the Pierre trade first to take away some leverage that Furcal's agent will use...leadoff hitter w/speed.

Sometimes I'm not sure if Barrett's the one that's the terrible gamecaller or if the pitchers are just afraid to throw their breaking pitches in the dirt because they don't think he can stop them. This could partially explain why the Cubs' pitchers seem to insist on throwing fastball strikes on 0-2 counts instead of trying to get the hitter to chase a pitch out of the zone.

Mike C,

Write this down- memorize it.

Abreu has more patience than Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

Abreu is not a better hitter than Aramis Ramirez, and may not be a better hitter than D-Lee.

Let me site a source, that you may find credible.

Mike C, 'Part of the puzzle of Bobby Abreu is that he is such a talented hitter that he's hard to categorize. He can hit for power and probably could hit 40 homers if he was willing to sacrifice his batting average. He has said repeatedly, though, that his goal is to win a batting title.'

Now what kind of planet do you live on, where you say that a guy who might be able to win a batting title if he sacrifices power is a better hitter than someone who did win a batting title, while hitting 46 home runs?

I guess because D-Lee won a batting title by accident, he's not as good a hitter as the guy who hit .50 points lower while hitting half as many home runs? By that logic, Corey Patterson is a better hitter than Abreu- he hit half as many home runs and batted .70 pts lower.

Here's a stat for you- a list of NL players who K'd more than Abreu- but hit fewer home runs:

Brad Wilkerson

A list of players who K'd less frequently than Abreu and hit more home runs:

Jones
Lee
Pujols
Endberg
Griffey
Floyd
Cabrera
Lee
Ramirez
Clark
Kent
Utley
Tracy
Wright
Lane
Biggio

Burnitz K'd 25 times less than Abreu and hit the same # of HR's.

Abreu has NEVER had a slugging % as high as Ramirez has had each of the last two seaons. I don't know how you define 'hitter', but the vast majority of people, myself included, define it as hitting for average and hitting for power. Aramis does both those things better than Abreu. He's 4 years younger and due to make $6.5 million less than Abreu over the next two years.

THANK YOU REAL NEAL!!!!!!!! At least some one understands baseball around here.

according to the trib murton/pie/hill are off the table in any trade talks.

that should kill a few rumors...for now...

Thats a real shame. I'm sure there is a HUGE market for light hitting left fielders. Boy I can't wait for him to patrol left field for the Cubs. By the way, just to clarify, I think that Matt Murton is WORTHLESS.

The Phillies could quite easily be looking at the fact that Abreu's going to be 32 by the time next season starts, that he hit just .260/.376/.411 after the All-Star Break this year (with a mere 6 HR and 10 SB in 15 attempts), that he has $31.2m/2yrs left on his contract, and that it's better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late. To be entirely honest, while I'd trust Abreu's track record enough to trade for him, I can't say that the Phillies' position on this, which seems to be that they're very open to the possibility of moving him, is entirely crazy. Perhaps they've learnt something from the fact that it was only a year ago that Thome too was an invaluable asset with a sensational track record that would have fetched a fortune had he been placed on the market. But Thome was 34, he'd hit just .253/.384/.484 in the second half of 2004, he had $66.66m/4yrs left on his deal, warning signs were there. Perhaps the Phillies are wary of Abreu's value collapsing in the same way. Overly wary? Again, perhaps. As the Cubs, I'd take the chances. The Phillies though maybe feel they donít have the same payroll to gamble.

By the way, just to clarify, I think that Matt Murton is WORTHLESS.

From the same person who says anyone who considers trading for Abreau doesn't know anything about baseball....

according to the trib murton/pie/hill are off the table in any trade talks.

I said it before, in reference to the totally speculative Abreau/ARam idea, but why on earth would the GM of a 4th place 100 million dollar team take ANY options off the table?

What makes even less sense is how much Hendry has been able to get for other prospects in the past. He didn't have any problems pulling the trigger on deals sending Bobby Hill or Choi or Beltran away, and I'd say all of those deals worked out pretty well.

Although, it is interesting that Ronny "perhaps you were to busy being in awe of Neifi to notice me" Cedeno was NOT among those listed as being "off the table."

I'm open to any more right now to make the team better. There is no player untouchable with the exception of Prior (couldn't get fair value for him if you tried) and Zambrano (you don't trade guys like this).

It is a crappy year for FAs, which we knew it would be as we looked ahead last year. The problem is we didn't get a FA last year when we had a strong crop. Now we are going to have a hard time getting more than one, if that, at any reasonable price. So, does Hendry/McPhail/Trib overpay (compared to production) for a guy just because that is market value (supply vs demand) or do we sit on the sidelines and get outbid for every FA who might help us, only looking to get value. Hendry's history is the latter. He's a guy who likes a bargain, and hates to pay top dollar for a top tier player. He has had a great deal of success with Aramis doing this, but has not had a great deal of success in other similar efforts (Nomar, Burnitz, Holly, etc.)

If we get outbid on Furcal, and we let Nomar walk, and Giles goes as expected to the Cards, and we don't get Matsui, Abreu, etc., and we end up with Cedeno and Neifi next year in the MI, and no other significant changes, then there will be no reason to expect anything different next year than we saw last year.

Current Depth Chart
Barrett/Blanco
Lee
Walker/Neifi
Cedeno/Neifi
Aramis/Macias
Murton
CP/JHJ
Macias

Prior
Z
Maddux
Williams
Rusch
Wood*

Dumpster
Wuertz
Ohman
Novoa
Wellemeyer

Hendry has a lot of work to do...The team, as configured right now, wouldn't win 70 games. I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing how the offseason shakes out. I'd like to go into 2006 with more optimism than I had going into 2005, but in order to do that we need at least an IF, and OF and 2 RPs.

"Dumpster
Wuertz
Ohman
Novoa
Wellemeyer"

I think Scott Williamson will play a much bigger role in the bullpen this year than, say, Todd Wellemeyer.

I wouldn't trade Aramis Ramirez for an outfielder, but what I would do is get a better back-up third-baseman than Jose Macias. A-Ram just seems to be the kind of guy who can't play more than a month or two without tweaking a quad or a hamstring or wrenching his back. Durability is definitely not his strong suit.

Ax I've posted before, I believe Hendry has given A-Ram a contract that is both generous and full of motivation to stay healthy (Scott Rolen money, player option for free-agency after 2006, vesting option for 2009 based on games played in 2007-08), but it could be that Ramirez just has a "bad body." If so, it will only get worse as he gets older, such that he might have to move to the A. L. & DH by the time turns 30.

Ideally, the Cubs would have someone at AAA who can be recalled periodically to replace A-Ram at 3B when necessary, but the only guy in the Cubs organization who comes close to fitting that profile is Casey McGehee, and he has not played above AA yet. Scott Moore is another one, but he hasn't played above Class "A."

So Hendry needs to acquire (sign or trade for) a major leaguer who is capable of playing 3B for an extended period (up to a month, if necessary), and who can also give D-Lee an occasional day off at 1B. So much the better if he can play OF, too. Obviously, such a player wouldn't replace A-Ram's or D-Lee's run production, but at least he should be able to contribute something positive offensively.

Possible candidates to fill the role of back-up 3B-1B and pinch-hitter would be:

Sean Burroughs (SD)
Jeff Cirillo (FA ex-MIL)
Luis A. Gonzalez (COL)
Wes Helms (FA ex-MIL)
Eric Hinske (TOR)
Rob Mackowiak (PIT)
Lance Niekro (SF)

My top choice for the job would be Rob Mackowiak, because he could even play CF (if necessary), too. If unable to acquire Mackowiak, then I like Wes Helms, Eric Hinske, and Luis A. Gonzalez (in that order). Of the four, Helms is a free-agent, so that would be the easiest acquisition (presuming Helms is interested in being a back-up player with the Cubs). But I still prefer Mackowiak because he is a left-handed hitter and because of his athleticism and versatility.

I'm sure no one is truly off the table but for all practical purposes, I'd guess that Pie is pretty close to that.

Cedeno definitely should be on the table because he has never projected to be more than an average shortstop. I know a lot of folks are very high on him and he's a valuable commodity in that he is young and cheap for several years and his defense is major league ready and he can probably hold his own offensively (albeit probably below average for a full season) next year. But his ceiling is simply not that high. I think he would out-produce Neifi at the plate next year but that's not saying much and I don't think he would do it by a wide margin.

Murton should definitely be on the table and any discussion of him sporting a .900 OPS (let alone a ridiculous 1000 OPS) is dependent upon usage. If he is not platooning at all, a .900 OPS is significantly out of his reach. Recall that last year he mashed lefties but had a far more pedestrian performance against righties .261/.807. Dusty did indeed help Murton's numbers by only using him against lefties for a significant period of time. If he is a full-time starter next year, 3/4 of his at-bats would be against righties. And, really, who knows how he'll perform - all of his stats from last year are based on a very small sample size. I like Murton but he's by no means a lock to be an average, let alone significantly above-average, left fielder next year (although I think he will be).

From what I've seen of Pie's minor league stats and especially his BB/K numbers, I'd be very surprised if he could post a .750 OPS with a full season in the majors next year (and most of that would be slugging). Not a good option...for next year.

RE: #133 of 138: By Bleeding Blue

NO! I said trading Abreu for Aram is STUPID. And that anyone who thinks that you should make this deal, doesn't know a thing about baseball. If we traded Abreu for, say, Jose Macias, that would be a great deal. Let me be even more clear. Abreu is a very good player and would be great in right field for us. HOWEVER, not at the cost of ARam. There are very few people in the whole MLB that I would trade Aram for. And Abreu ain't one of em!

"I think Scott Williamson will play a much bigger role in the bullpen this year than, say, Todd Wellemeyer."

He pitched 14 innings last year.

He pitched 28 innings in 2004

Until I see he is totally healthy and able to go 75+ innings, I'm not sure I want to bank 2006 on him being a cornerstone for the pen. And frankly, even adding him into the mix, even if I had full confidence in his ability to go 75+ innings, still doesn't diminish our needs for 2 more relievers.

You can argue Scott Williamson all you want - but he's gravy, not a sure thing. Nobody knows what to expect a guy who is just back from that surgery. To me he is a cross between Dumpster and Chad Fox. He had a history of injuries like Fox, but has potential to be much better.

He better not be our most experienced set-up guy in that bullpen.

Sorry Chad, but believe it or not, most teams aren't going to trade one of the Top 10 offensive players in the NL for a backup minor league caliber player. If you want to make a trade for a top tier talent, you generally have to give up top tier talent in return.

If you really think that a team of ARam/Nomar/Giles would be better than a team of Nomar/Furcal/Abreu, you can certainly make your case, but to say that anyone who disagrees with you doesn't know anything about baseball is well, stupid.

X, Scott Williamson was one of the better relievers in the majors before his Tommy John - much better than Dempster was as a starter. And Chad Fox was coming off of his 2nd TJ surgery. Also, Wuertz proved himself to be a competent 7th inning guy in '05.

Wuertz / Williamson / Dempster as 7th/8th/9th guys with Ohman as LOOGY and at least two other capable relievers (probably Novoa and maybe Van Buren - NOT Leicester or Wellemeyer) the bullpen really isn't in that bad shape.

Sorry Blue, you didn't seem to understand my point. I do not think that the Philles would accept Jose Macias in a trade for Bobby Abreu.

What I am saying is that if you think trading Bobby Abreu for Aramis Ramirez, straight up, then you don't know a think about baseball.

"X, Scott Williamson was one of the better relievers in the majors before his Tommy John - much better than Dempster was as a starter. And Chad Fox was coming off of his 2nd TJ surgery. Also, Wuertz proved himself to be a competent 7th inning guy in '05."

better? I guess that depends on how you define that word, huh? He has a career 3.08 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. For a starter, those would be great numbers, for a reliever, they'd be serviceable. They'd be even decent. But I wouldn't call that a #1 setup guy. Look at the pens of the final 4 teams. Sox had 2 guys with ERAs under 2.00. Stros had 3 guys under 2.66. STL had 3 guys under 2.20 and Anaheim had 3 guys under 3.00. We aren't close to that point yet in terms of guys we can count on.

"Wuertz / Williamson / Dempster as 7th/8th/9th guys with Ohman as LOOGY and at least two other capable relievers (probably Novoa and maybe Van Buren - NOT Leicester or Wellemeyer) the bullpen really isn't in that bad shape."

That's not amongst the top 10 bullpens in baseball. And given our starters general lack of inning eating capability, that's a bad sign.

Weurtz had a 4+ ERA out of the pen. Novoa was closer to 4.5. Williamson was at 5.65. You can't seriously tell me you'd be comfortable with a bullpen anchored by these guys. And Dumpster's BB/IP ratio is horrendously scary. Let me put it this way - if the bullpen is as you suggest above, I'd be sure we will be sitting at home in October. No amount of runs scored will make up for such bad suspect relief pitching.

"Weurtz had a 4+ ERA out of the pen. Novoa was closer to 4.5. Williamson was at 5.65. You can't seriously tell me you'd be comfortable with a bullpen anchored by these guys."

X, ERA is not the only relevant relief pitching stat... don't tell me you value players by batting average only too!

ERA is a much more useless stat for a reliever than it is for a starter, considering that a certain number of "earned runs" happen once the reliever's been pulled, and conversely the reliever isn't charged for runs for baserunners he inherited.

Wuertz's WXRL, which basically measures how well a reliever did in run prevention (taking into account bequeathed and inherited runners) was 36th out of 285 NL relievers (and the best on the Cubs). Williamson's WXRL was in the top percentiles in 2000, 2002, 2003...

Also, go back and check out Williamson's strikeout and hit rates from the years before his TJ. Much more telling than his 5.65 ERA in limited appearances this year, coming back from TJ

sheesh... ever hear of context?

and yes, Dempster walks batters more often than we all would like. He also keeps the ball in the park, and was pretty adept at getting himself out of hairy situations this year.

"sheesh... ever hear of context?"

In no context is a bullpen where the closer is Dempster and the second most experienced pitcher is Scott Williamson off of surgery even remotely close to competitive.

Put it this way - if this is the bullpen we come out of camp with, and this team has played over .555 ball (pace for 90 wins) by the break, I'll take you to a game in the second half. If this team played under .555 ball, you never direct at me a condescending statement like, "tell me you value players by batting average only too!" or "sheesh... ever hear of context?"

I so love the irony - of the "you don't know anything about baseball" line being perpetrated most often by those that, well, don't - that I feel obliged to point it out, confession or otherwise.

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