What to Do with Corey?

As everybody around here probably knows, Corey Patterson is among five Cubs (Carlos Zambrano, Jerry Hairston, Jr, Juan Pierre, and Will Ohman are the others) who must be offered salary arbitration by next Tuesday, or they can become free-agents. I'm sure Jim Hendry will tender the offer of arbitration to Zambrano, Pierre, and Ohman, and PROBABLY to Hairston, but I'm beginning to wonder if Patterson might not get non-tendered. Here's why: I believe there are any number of clubs in MLB who would love to take a chance on Corey Patterson, but the stumbling block is what he might get in salary arbitration. Most teams (I believe) would feel comfortable offering Patterson a one-year contract (or maybe even a two-year deal, taking him to free-agency) with a low base salary (maybe $1m per season) plus incentive bonuses that could bring the value up to maybe $2.5m (maximum) per year. But there HAS to be a low base salary in case he can't claim a starting job and is used as a 4th or 5th OF (pinch-runner/late-inning defense). If Patterson goes to arbitration, however (whether it be with the Cubs or with a new team that acquires him in a trade), the arbitrator will choose between two salary figures, one submitted by the club, and one by the player, and the arbitrator has to choose one or the other, not "split the difference." Which figure to choose is based on how the player in question compares STATISTICALLY to other players at that position. Granted, Patterson's BA was terrible last year, but his HR and SB totals were pretty good. Arbitration figures are "straight" salary--no incentive bonuses, no club option for a second year--so who would want to make a trade for Patterson, not knowing what some screwy arbitrator might do? The Cubs can't low-ball him ($1.5m), or he could win the hearing with a $3m or maybe even a $4.m figure, and then the Cubs would REALLY be stuck with him!. If the Cubs offer $2.5m (let's say), and win, and then want to use him in a trade, it's possible no other team will want him at that price, and then the Cubs might have to pick up up half or even more than half of his salary if they do find another club who might be interested. So the Cubs are in a tough spot. The best bet for the Cubs would be to trade Corey Patterson and probably a second player (like Todd Wellemeyer, who is out of minor league options) to the Colorado Rockies for someone making more money than what Patterson and Wellemeyer will make (combined) in 2006 (even if C-Pat gets $2.5m or $3m in arbitration). And that "someone" could be former N. L. Rookie of the Year RHP Jason Jennings, who will be making $4.4m in 2006 and $5.5m (or $100,000 buy-out with salary arbitration instead) in 2007, before being eligible for free-agency after the 2007 season (same time Corey Patterson wil be a FA) If he wants to resurrect his career, there would be no better place for Corey Patterson to do it than with the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field (low expectations, minimal media scrutiny, forgiving fans), and it has been reported for months that the Rockies (for some unknown reason) are "hot" after Wellemeyer. Jennings has decent road splits, always has pitched well at Wrigley Field, and as a bonus, is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball (and like Zambrano, could be used as a PH on days he's not pitching). And having Jennings around to replace Kerry Wood in the starting rotation until Woody is ready would lessen the loss of Jerome Williams should he be used in a trade for a RF. Or if the Cubs have other plans for J. Williams, Jennings could be "flipped" for a RF. The bottom line is, if the Cubs don't think they can work out such a deal, it's just possible Corey Patterson might get non-tendered next Tuesday. Not a "lock" or anything, but certainly a reasonable possibility. Stay tuned. [ruz:] I was going to comment in the comments, but I decided to add my two cents here because, well, I can. I'm surprised to see so many people saying "there's no way Patterson will be non-tendered," because my first thought is that there's no way he will be. In the comments, Chad suggested that "they will go to arbitration and [Patterson] will get very little money." As Rob G. pointed out, the Cubs never go to arbitration. This is apparently a point of pride for Hendry et al. Even if they did go to arbitration, though, the lowest salary the Cubs could offer Patterson is $2.24M - a player can't take more than a 20% pay cut in arbitration and he made $2.8M last year. One thing the Cubs might try to do is that the Brewers are trying to work out with Danny Kolb: non-tender him, making him a free agent, and then re-sign him for less money. Of course, that would allow Patterson to sign with anyone who showed interest in him. It would also suggest that the Cubs are interested in having Patterson on the roster. Why would they be? He chose not to go to winter ball despite the Cubs' strong, strong suggestion that he go. The Cubs traded for Juan Pierre and have Felix Pie (theoretically) a year away. What role could Patterson play on the 2006 Cubs? I don't think anyone wants him to be the starting right fielder, and I certainly don't want to pay him $2M+ to be a 4th outfielder or "work on his game" in Iowa. Patterson's tenure as a Cub should be over. If that means non-tendering him and getting nothing in return for him, so be it.
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Comments

if jack jones is worth 5 mil, than corey is worth 2.5. Career stats are almost identical and If hendry is serious about jones, we need to demand corey instead. 1 year of Corey Patterson is > Than 3 years of Jack jones

I like your trade idea, although I'm not sure Colorado is going to be interested. Anyway, I do think a trade is imminent, and Patterson and Wellemeyer are very high on the list of guys who will be shown the door.

One thing we can be sure of is that the Cubs aren't going to arbitration with Patterson.

Ok..not that I want Jacque Jones..but he is a much better player than Corey...compare:
Jones:
132 HRs, 476 RBIs, peripherals of .327/.455/.782

Patterson:
70 HRs, 231 RBIs..peripherals of .293/.414/.707..

This isnt even close, really....do your homework people.

Keep him for the bench. Sorry, Corey.

Also jone career BA is .279 to .252 for Corey..

So Dusty, you really just explained that the difference between Corey and Jones is about one single every 37 at bats.

I guess I'm not seeing the incentive for a GM to spend tradeable talent for two guys who will likely be available for free. Why swap the cow when you can get the magic beans for free?

A few weeks back Jacque Jones was put on the backburner, now he's looking like the best bet. It looks like Hendry is on plan Q. The only way this cubs team is going to do anything is with a full season of aramis, if jp gets his avg back up to the .320 range, if Lee has a comparable season to last year, if Wood and Prior stay healthy all year, and Dempster, Howry, and Eyre have repeat years. That is one helluva lot of ifs, and it appears to me that we'll see some faux-contention through july (similar to last year) and ultimately an 81-81 record, give or take 3 games. Yay mediocrity. I have to suffer through that with my college football team and the cubs. It's to the point that drays fans have more hope, at least they can point to a boatload of young talent.

Why not just keep Corey for the year and put him in right? He has great speed and defense, and then put him batting 6 or 7 and let him hack away down there. His batting numbers should improve if we let him do what he is comforatable with and stop forcing him into leadoff or the 2 hole. Keep him this year until Pie can come up.

Hey Beau, if the Cubs do that, they'd probably move Pierre to RF and leave Corey in CF, right? Not a bad idea, tho... considering the FA market.

Why are we talking about Jacque Jones? He will not be on this team! He wants a 3 year deal and Hendry is looking at a 1 year or 2 years guy at the most. The RF on opening day will be Jay Gibbons. He is lefty, has some pop, and is only a 1 year commitment everything that Hendry is looking for.

Ryno, exactly. Why give a guy like Jones 3 years, or trade for Bradley who has a club house rep like Sammy (without the 60 HR a year)and totally give up on a guy that could end up being really good. I don't think CPat will ever fully live up to his potential here, but we have him for one more year, lets use him.

Um..IENPW....Jones' stats are better across the board, and also has played 6 full seasons..where Corey keeps getting demoted or hurt.
I'm not saying that Jones is the answer, I'm saying that calling the two comparable is incorrect.
Would you rather have a guy who hits .280 or .250?
A guy who plays 130-150 games a year, or one who can't stay in the lineup?

It's interesting how you can create a trade rumor by simply posting an idea on the blog ... I suppose that's your perogative, it is your blog (and generally speaking, a good one). But let's not get carried away with this as everyone did with the potential Tejada trade (another one that everyone can save their breath on; he's not going to be traded).

I'm venting here, but this whole offseason makes me upset. Why trade three pitching prospects for a one-year rental on Juan Pierre, he of the mid .700 OPS? Not only is Pierre just one year away from free agency, but he plays the same position as our number one prospect (and moving either Pierre or Pie dilutes their value considerably).

Why not just sign Kenny Lofton to a one year contract? Why give up Pinto, Nolasco, and Mitre? Is there any more valuable commodity in today's game than young, cheap pitching? After all, how much are middle relievers and number 3 starters getting this winter? And why has Jim Hendry made me so made that I can't stop asking rhetorical questions?

Anyway, since I hate when people complain about something without offering a solid plan, here's what I would have done: signed Brian Giles to a 3 year contract to play RF (for less than we offered Furcal), and trade for Milton Bradley (which would have been cheaper than the trade for Pierre). Then our lineup would have looked like this:

2B Walker
RF Giles
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
CF Bradley
LF Murton
C Barrett
SS Cedeno

I also would NOT have signed Eyre AND Howry to 3 year contracts; instead, I would have signed Howry and used some of our good, young pitchers to fill out the pen. I would have also given Washburn a 2 year contract to add SP depth:

Starters:
RHP: Zambrano
RHP: Prior
RHP: Wood
RHP: Jerome Williams (or Angel Guzman by mid-season)
RHP: Maddux

Swing:
LHP: Washburn
LHP: Rusch

Pen:
RHP: Dempster
RHP: Howry
RHP: Van Buren
RHP: Wellemeyer
LHP: Ohman
RHP: Wuertz / Novoa / Williamson

Anyways, this post is too long already.

Maybe Damon & Pierre could cover CF-RF somehow. Seems like the Cubbies saved a boatload of money so far this year, why not spend?

CPat and Jones might not be an even comparison, but Corey is younger and has been forced into lineup spots that he couldn't handle. That's why say put him further down in the lineup and and let him just swing away. His numbers could improve and we could have a fairly reasonalbe solution

Boras is still pushing for a Furcal like deal for Damon, and he wants 7 years, not for somebody that old

RC, explain these, por favor:

"signed Brian Giles to a 3 year contract to play RF"

How? He turned down more money to return to San Diego, where he clearly wanted to play.

"trade for Milton Bradley"

Apparently, we're trying to do that. Who would you have given up for Bradley? Mitre, Nolasco, Pinto?

"used some of our good, young pitchers to fill out the pen"

Like whom? Anyone that we have who is good and young is either A) too young and thus not good B)good but injury-prone or C) neither good nor young.

"I would have also given Washburn a 2 year contract to add SP depth"

Wha? How exactly would you have convinced a Boras client to sign for 2 freakin' years? As a swing man nonetheless. By paying him $25m a year? Because that's what it would take for them to even consider it.

RC, I like fantasy baseball as much as the next guy, but get serious.

or trade for Bradley who has a club house rep like Sammy

What??? Bradley makes Sosa look like a saint. They are not even remotely close.

When did Sammy throw a beer bottle at a fan and then call his teammate a racist?

I'm saying that calling the two comparable is incorrect.

Jacque Jones the last two seasons (approx .252/.317/.433) is no better than Corey was in 2004. In fact he was worse. I am not saying Corey will perform like he did in 2003, but a return to his 2004 numbers is quite likely. Jacque Jones has been pretty bad the last two seasons, and he will be 31 next season. Korey will be 26. Obviously, if anyone is going to improve considerably it is Patterson, not Jones. They are comparable.

and also has played 6 full seasons.

The hell does that mean? Jacque Jones is also on the wrong side of the 27-28 spike for players. It's clear his career has reached its pinnacle. Corey's 2005 is probably an aberration.

Jacque Jones the last two seasons (approx .252/.317/.433) is no better than Corey was in 2004. In fact he was worse. I am not saying Corey will perform like he did in 2003, but a return to his 2004 numbers is quite likely.

I'd say it's a very difficult thing to project Patterson for 2006, but all of this ignores a couple of important things:

1) Patterson's days as a Cub are pretty much over, because he is going to be booed into oblivion if he takes the field in a Cub uniform.

2) With the acquisition of Pierre, Patterson has a huge WalMart smiley face tattooed on his butt.

Now, I don't really see any reason why 1) has to be true, but Hendry is a risk-averse GM. He's going to get a ton of flak if he gives Corey Patterson a starter's job in 2006 and things don't go well, and there's a very good chance things won't go well. And if Patterson were to have a job, it would almost have to be in CF, and that job is taken.

Patterson is outta here, and if Hendry can get decent return for him, more power to him.

Hey Beau, if the Cubs do that, they'd probably move Pierre to RF and leave Corey in CF, right? Not a bad idea, tho... considering the FA market.

There is absolutely no way that Juan Pierre should be in RF. If you have Corey and Pierre in the OF, Corey plays right, as he has the far superior arm.

Jacque Jones the last two seasons (approx .252/.317/.433) is no better than Corey was in 2004.

Sweet...lets pick the one year that Corey was better than Jones. Good idea.

this is a bit off topic but Az Phil has listed previously some of the FA players who would be good for the cub bench. I noticed that today one of them, Robert Fick (yes, the same one of the Eric Karros 2003 playoff incident) was signed by DC.

Az Phil's favorite is also gone include Sweeney (SF)

...so the only one left from Phil's list is Wes Helms who is basically a backup at 3B, but a nice PH. Unfortunately, I think Cubs brass looks at him as too similar to Mabry.

given our lack of OF depth, my guess is the extra bench spot will now come from a backup OF. Who we get is anyones guess...my pick is Kenny Lofton (as long as he's told he is no longer a starter or at best a lefty platoon role). He may not like it but fills alot of roles (expecially for Dusty's dreaded urge to double switch on Murton). Basically he'd be the 2006 version of what Tom Goodwin was in 2003. If we keep Corey he's have to fill that role--but would be a horrible idea to use as a pinch hitter, strike one- foul ball-swing and a miss...that just doesn't work in the 8th inning.

So lets have at it (discuss)

I've pulled hard for Corey in the past, but I just can't sign on to the idea of handing him a starting job again next season, regardless of his spot in the batting order. Corey's 2005 season was not "disappointing", it was "why the hell are you getting 483 major league plate appearances? Why are you getting ANY?". Corey's 2004 season was "disappointing", especially given what he did in his half-season in 2003. It's just not a winning strategy to pencil in a near-automatic out in the 6/7/8 hole when there is available RF talent that can actually hit that deserves to be in the 2/5/6 spot, and fill out the bottom of the order with non-worthless hitters (Barret/Murton/Cedeno). Teams that spend the kind of money that the Cubs do and actually win don't do it with swiss-cheese lineups.

I'm not saying that the chance of Corey turning it around is zero, I'm saying it's just not high enough to be worth it anymore.

Of course, we're gonna see Neifi get 400+ PA in the 2-hole anyway so all of my arguments are pointless.

"Anyway, since I hate when people complain about something without offering a solid plan, here's what I would have done: signed Brian Giles to a 3 year contract to play RF (for less than we offered Furcal..."

---

No you wouldn't, not unless you have Jedi mind powers.

If the Cubs sign Jones they will have NO right-handed power hitters on the bench, combined with a very iffy OF.

This was a problem last season, and I'm sure Hendry is going to acquire someone for that role. I would hope that he has sense enough to pick up a platoon partner for Jones if he does sign him.

he has sense enough to pick up a platoon partner for Jones if he does sign him.

seems like ol' Reggie Sanders would be the match for JJ.

Lets see, Jones and Sanders both will want starting full time jobs.

Yeah, naturally they both will accept a platoon! With 1 of them seeing 80% of the playing time against RHP and the other 20% because of the lack of LH starters in baseball.

Is Ryan Harvey about ready?

The cubs don't have a hole in rf imho. Jimbo just feels the club would be better off with a left handed bat with some pop which i agree and since the other positions are pretty much set (if you count murton in LF and i do), RF is the logical choice for upgrade.

I can only hope Jimbo doesn't pull the trigger on a silly trade just to do one. Reason being is with the team as it is now, we should be able to play some good ball and stay somewhere above the 500 mark. Maybe not far above but definitely above ( say 5 or 6 games or so). All these guys we have in excess ( walker, jhj, c.pat, j.williams, r.hill), all should play now. In rf platoon jhj and corey, hopefully cedeno is starting 2B or SS so if he struggles you got walker to step in. *I'd prefer DP combo of walker and cedeno over neifi and anyone.*

Anyway with that said Jimbo will still have an opportunity to improve this club around the trade deadline. If the team is in the thick of the race for a playoff spot, Jimbo will know exactly what he needs the most and some other good players will be on the market who could better fit the club needs. Even though I think the team will be able to compete as is for the time being you could say they would be out of it by then if they don't make a move now. Even so (knock on wood) jimbo could still be a major player around the trade deadline and pull some good acquisitions out of his backside.
The point i'm trying to make is jimbo should use his surplus of players to his advantage and buy more time to assess the team and players available market. I'm certain a better player would become available in due time that would amount to much more value then a parker brother or jacque custow. PATIENTS is needed now, although thats easy for me to say cause my job isn't on the line!!!!

If my name was Andy McPhail, I would tell the Cubs to sit tight. No moves. Let's not sign for or trade anybody at all. Why? Because we're desperate and we're going to get ripped off. Be it by another GM or two. Be it by a free agent and his business agent. It will happen. Just the mere fact of the Cubs being involved in most transactions at this point raises the blood lust. So do nothing.

We have maybe, maybe nots at nearly every spot on the club. But if and likely when 17 to 20 of the guys on the 40-man roster click in April and May, then most of your questions are answered. Chances are most of the guys will have a good or average year. If they don't, there's nothing that can be done at this point to save 2006 anyways.

I want to win the World Series this year, and none of the options currently being considered short of fantasy baseball trades are going to get it done.

So if you do nothing now, you're sitting on a pile of money later, when someone else needs to dump salary and would kill their cousin for your prospects.

The media will hang you out to dry. But you're the Cubs, so there's little to no effect to ticket demand. And you weather the storm, probably are about 30-40 in early June and then go get what you know for sure you need to win with every weapon you have.

This never happens, because in real life Hendry gets fired early in spring training and the new GM gives Dusty a big far extension.

Does anyone else think that what's going on here is multiple GMs playing chicken? That is, that Hendry is making a show of interest in Jones mostly to convince the Dodgers that he's moved on from Bradley, in the hopes that the Dodgers are planning to DFA Bradley next week, and will either deeply discount him over the weekend, or let him go. Meanwhile, I've got to assume that anyone interested in Patterson (Colorado? Arizona?) is playing the same game, and hoping to get him for a PTBNL on Monday. This would leave Jones as a Plan...Q was it?...if the Cubs blink first in both situations.

Fat

and the new GM gives Dusty a big far extension.

Just HOW FAR is the question...Japan would be my hope.

"Is Ryan Harvey about ready?"
-

To be Jason Dubois v. 2.0? Yes.

how can you compare jones #s to corey. Jones has played 4 more seasons... of course he will have more career rbi. the point is that throwing out last season, corey and jones have almost identical stats. However corey is 5 years younger, much faster, a better defender, and has considerably more upside when you factor this up. Im not saying Korey is the answer, im saying 1 more year of Korey is better than 3 years of Jack Jones.

I like the Jacques Jones idea, provided you can find somone to platoon against left handers.

For his career he's batting .294/.341/.488 versus right-handers and .227/277.339 against left-handers.

Last year his split was .268/348/.446 vs. .201/.247/.370

He's always been able to hit right handers and I think he'll still do that

I don't think there's any way Patterson is non-tendered. The Cubs could trade him today if they wanted to but the issue is finding the best return. Jim would see just letting Corey walk away as a big failure and he's not a fan of the non-tender. Hendry has been shooting for Patterson-for-Mench, Patterson-for-Bradley, etc. He's now hit the next tier down. He'll eventually trade Patterson but if it comes to it, he'll get what he can get. Patterson won't be non-tendered.

boy it sure would have been nice to pencil nomar into that right field spot.

Jacque Jones won't sign with somebody to be a platoon partner, but him and Craig Wilson/Kevin Mench platoon would satisfy me.

I still think the Pirates would jump at Korey/marginal prospect (Fontentot maybe) for Craig Wilson. Hendry probably doesn't want to trade him within the division though.

Patterson will not get non-tendered. NO WAY. They will go to arbitration and he will get very little money.

i would live with patterson/wilson deal. I want to see production out of right field, not a lefty bat for the sake of a lefty bat

its barely mid-december and the team is complete minus a RF'r. not bad.

hendry can sit on his ass and tunnel vision his way through this issue. figure it out in jan/feb if needed.

there's issues like patterson/t.walker/etc. and the 6 starting pitchers that could change the face of the team, but as it stands, RF is the only hole on the team.

unfortunately that RF slot needs to be filled by a power hitter and hendry would prefer a lefty. the market, trade or FA, just isnt ripe enough to provide that easily. still, its nice knowing there's a single-focus for the club while being able to explore other routes when available for other possition players.

no one can string hendry up but himself cuz he's got 2 and 1/2 months to figure out RF.

I personally worry about Panick mode Hendry. every year prior to this one he has gotten good return on all his trades, I just dont see it this year. I think that everyone knows he is under the gun.

"boy it sure would have been nice to pencil nomar into that right field spot"

Aaronb...it would be funny to watch him sling cut off throws to Cedeno side arm...or try to nab Pujols heading home in the bottom of the 9th

Funniest and Truest Posts:

FUNNIEST (#26 responding to #14):

(#14)"I would have signed Brian Giles to a 3 year contract to play RF (for less than we offered Furcal..."

(#26): By big john stud: No you wouldn't, not unless you have Jedi mind powers.

TRUEST:
Kovac (#25): Of course, we're gonna see Neifi get 400+ PA in the 2-hole anyway so all of my arguments are pointless.

________________________________________________

Superjimmer: essentially Hendry is shopping hard for a team that is fundementally flawed at its foundation since the man in charge of pulling the strings Dusty "I Hate this job and suck at it to boot and Yes it's your fault Jay Mariotti" Baker, will intrinsically and quite naturally gravitate towards the 3 crucial moves per ballgame (including the lineup card) that will most likely sabotage the team's ability to win.

The cubs are really mastering the 'buy high--sell low' philosophy. Give expensive contracts to those coming off of career seasons (Dempster, Eyre, Howry), and get rid of those that you don't want around or that are coming off of poor seasons, like Corey now and Sosa last year.

They have made it apparent to everyone in the world that they are not interested in keeping Corey around for next year, similar with with Sosa last year, Nomar (might have at least gotten a draft pick) and Walker this year. If everybody in the world knows that you don't want someone, why on earth would they give you an equitable return on that player?

This type of public knee-jerk reaction doesn't make any sense to me. If Hendry is indeed ready to make a trade with someone, he should carry a better poker face.

At this point, I think that Cubs should keep Corey for next year as a 3rd or hopefully 4th outfielder. This is why:
1) It would be almost impossible for him not to improve his trade value in the next year over what it is right now. With the way he has been discussed, he has minimal value now.
2) He also could have a break-out season and begin to realize his potential.
3) He would be infinitely better than any other in-house outfield replacements should an injury happen sometime next year. He could also be valuable off the bench.

I can live with a poor throwing rightfielder, if said outfielder can get on base 36% of the time. Who cares if he might not be able to hypothetically throw pujols out at the plate in a game.

They will go to arbitration and he will get very little money.

The Cubs don't do arbitration!!!

I highly doubt they'll non-tender Corey. They'll agree on a deal, maybe try to convince him on a lower base salary with lots of incentives.

This type of public knee-jerk reaction doesn't make any sense to me. If Hendry is indeed ready to make a trade with someone, he should carry a better poker face.

At this point, I think that Cubs should keep Corey for next year as a 3rd or hopefully 4th outfielder. This is why:
1) It would be almost impossible for him not to improve his trade value in the next year over what it is right now. With the way he has been discussed, he has minimal value now.
2) He also could have a break-out season and begin to realize his potential.
3) He would be infinitely better than any other in-house outfield replacements should an injury happen sometime next year. He could also be valuable off the bench.

i agree 100%

The real issue here is whether or not Tim Tebow is going to play football for Alabama or Florida....Roll Tide!!

You can have Tim Tebow. The Hogs are gonna roll with Mitch Mustain.

"the point is that throwing out last season, corey and jones have almost identical stats. However corey is 5 years younger, much faster, a better defender, and has considerably more upside when you factor this up. Im not saying Korey is the answer, im saying 1 more year of Korey is better than 3 years of Jack Jones."

You know? This is true. Jacque for 3yrs is not a good answer in RF. Especially considering that either way one of these two should be a 4th option in the OF.

I love how much Wilson gets on base, but is he a true OF? He has played more than a third of his games at 1B. Does he have a good arm?

I thought Mustain de-committed??

At this point who cares if wilson is a good defensive right fielder. Our offense is in the bottom 3rd of the league if the season started today. We need to generate some offense from the corner outfiled spots. Would Craig wilson be a shortstop option NO. Would he be a servicable 450at right field solution, absolutely

Two things: can we just offer C-Pat a 2 year deal, maybe 2yr 3 mil +incentives? That gets him through arbitration, and if he's any good still gives us a year to deal him.

Ryan Harvey, Jason DuBois II? DuBois was 24 by the time he got to AA, Harvey's 21, and a much, much, better athlete and defender. He'll still need 2-3 more years in the minors though; it's not like he's a sure thing, or even on the depth chart for next year, especially after last years dissapointment. Pie is a much better prospect.

mustain did de-commit, he will be a golden domer next year. He will follow Brady Quinn's 06 heisman year with 2 or 3 heisman runs of his own.

I don't like seeing teams chug around the bases while we struggle to get the ball in to the plate.

How come Wilson hasn't played a full season yet? injury or not starting?

One thing about every one of the cubs hitting prospects is a maddening lack of plate discipline/strike zone judgement. You see alot more toolsy prospects flame out than you do solid patient hitting prospects. Patterson/Pie/Harvey/Dopirak are all in that same boat as hitters

Yes, Mustain did de-commit but I bet he signs with Arkansas anyway.

Notre Dame is fine with me though as they are my 2nd favorite team. Just not Tennessee, please God....

If you don't mind, can we say Craig Wilson or C. Wilson instead of Wilson. I keep freaking out thinking you are talking about Preston Wilson.

Wilson has been injury prone. But he is a heck of a hitter. If we were able to win in 03 and 04 with sosa in right, we should be able to do it with craig wilson out there. At least Craig wilson will hit the cut of man. Sammy hasnt hit a cutoff man since he played in Tulsa in 88

C. wilson

BTW, Ausmus re-signs with Houston for 2 years, $7.5m. Hot damn, Barrett looks mighty cheap right now.

Bring back Sammy Salsa in RF!!

Re: Craig Wilson's defense:

Here's his scouting report:
His best spot is first, where he makes up for a lack of range with surehandedness and improving footwork. He is adequate in right, particularly in cozy PNC Park, and catches the balls he reaches. His arm is a tick below average.

His Rate2 stat (BP.com's defensive stats), has him at 103 in his career at right (246 G) , 100 at left (47 G), 94 at 1B (184 G) where 100 is considered average. Take it for what it's worth, which isn't much.

Wilson as the short side of a platoon, big bat off the bench sounds interesting to me. As an everday player, not so much.

But not even on the Cubs radar I bet, they're too busy wasting time on Kevin Mench and Jacque Jones, or whatever craptastic hitter they're thinking about today.

Phil:

"The Cubs can't low-ball him ($1.5m), or he could win the hearing with a $3m or maybe even a $4.m figure, and then the Cubs would REALLY be stuck with him!."

The Cubs can't low-ball him, period. In arbitration, Korey can't get more than a 20% pay cut, i.e. $2.24 million for 2006. Anyone who trades form him cannot offer any less than that.

Who knows how much it matters, but C. Wilson has a rag arm. That would make three in one outfield. Plus, he K's a ton. I can't imagine why he doesn't get a 100 percent diet of low, outside breaking balls. It's as easy to predict a K as it is with Patterson.

Can we end the discussion of Patterson playing RF? That's not going to happen.

In their continuing effort to collect as many shortstops as possible.

The New York Post says the Yankees have made an offer to Nomar, with the intent of having him play 1st.

C. wilson may strike out alot, but unlike jones and patterson he will take a walk if he isnt given a pitch to hit

Call me a loon, but I think the Cubs should go into the season with the mindset of having Corey on the roster in '06, as a contingency plan (4th outfielder)

sorry, got cut-off. As has been mentioned, Corey should hit in 5th or 6th slot, and hit the way he has always hit, not as some alleged "prototypcial lead-off hitter". I'm not saying the Cubs should give opportunities away like kittens, but I think under these cirumstances, Corey just might flourish, thereby raising his value, so we can unload him. Just a thought.

You can forget trading Patterson for Wilson. The Pirates are shedding people who K, they will have no interest in Corey.

Source: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05345/620678.stm

Bradley to the A's according to Rosenthal.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5164460

I don't understand why we would let Corey go, for nothing. Right now we don't have a RF! And it is not clear we will land anyone better than what we had last year. Why not let Corey compete for the RF job with whoever we are able to get. He's got more upside than many of the names tossed around.

Yeah, Oakland gave up a top prospect in that deal too according to Rosenthal. If I had to guess The A's sent Dan Meyer to LA in the deal. Thank God he is not coming here or maybe not if Hendry's no.2 choice was Jones. Bleeding Blue did any of the people you met in Dallas give out hints to his no.2 target for RF was?

Dodgers just traded Bradley to Oakland. Hendry needs to be fired immediately for not agressively pursuing 1) Furcal 2) Bradley and 3) Kenny Lofton.

He's 0 for 3, and has given up a few pitching prospects for a guy who'll be a free agent next year.

oh boy, i'm losing it

Good riddance to Bradley. That guy was a disaster waiting to happen. But, still the right field question...

Where did Lofton go? I haven't had internet the past week or so

Sorry, at the time I was told Hendry was going hard after Pierre and Bradley. I didn't hear any names beyond that on the depth chart.

K,

Bradley and Lofton suck! One is the biggest hot head on the planet and one is a 39 year old platoon guy. You have a point on Furcal but they offered him a fair market value contract. On Tejada this is an issue but not with those 3 guys. Honestly lets say he gets Jones for RF. Murton-Jones is a better corner OF tandem than J-Rod-Bigbie if anyone has not noticed were a better team right now than STL or Hou. If the season started today here is what I think the NLC projected Standings would look like:

1. MIL 92-70
2. CHC 84-78
3. STL 80-82
4. Hou 73-89
5. CIN 65-97
6. PIT 58-104

What about a Kpatt/ mike restovich RF platoon. Both have been big time power prospects who have had limited success thus far. One of them should be able to break out and do something. right?

Yea, Lofton really sucked in '03...

or matt B-12 lawton, he is still out there without a team

RC posted:

" Why trade three pitching prospects for a one-year rental on Juan Pierre, he of the mid .700 OPS? Not only is Pierre just one year away from free agency, but he plays the same position as our number one prospect"

RC, I would be willing to bet lots of money that Juan Pierre will be given an extension before the all star break, Pie or no Pie. Giving up three pitching prospects (none of whom had success in the majors yet) for an established and effective lead off hitter (the type of hitter we have been begging Hendry to get for years) is not a bad trade. Stop whining.

Oh, by the way, keeping Patterson is a horrible idea. Don't any of you remember the past 2 years. God, he might have been the worst hitting outfielder in baseball. Seroiusly, people..

The discussion about whether to tender/non-tender C-Pat has only focused upon the Cubs's intentions and desires -- not Corey's interests.

Does Corey want to force the Cubs to choose between non-tender and arbitration? He can if he wants to. Is it in his interest? Financially for 2006, certainly, but such a contract may make him untradeable for the season. If he is thinking about his long-term future, he should want to have a contract that the Cubs can trade. He should be begging them to trade him to Colorado or Arizona or even (gulp) Tampa Bay, where he can revive his career. (OK, the Tampa Bay reference is a joke.)

Problem is, I worry that the bridge might be burned here and that Corey may not understand that avoiding arbitration improves his situation. He may believe the Cubs will non-tender and this will free him to sign anywhere else. He will end up with less money that way than a sign-and-trade situation.

As for RF, I am not upset about "losing" Bradley and would like to end up with Reggie Sanders. Sanders used to have a radical L/R split but he seems to have solved that in recent years -- and the good way, by boosting his production against righties. Won't be expensive or long-term, 20-30 HR and strong isolated power, adequate OBP for a 6 or 7 hitter.

his 04 #s are better than jack jones' 04/05 #s. We arent saying that corey is good. Just saying that he is a SMARTER option than 3 years of Jack Jones Mucking up the lineup card. Dusty Baker probably bats him cleanup because he is a rightfielder. You know how Dusty logic goes.

How about Brad Wilkerson? Is there any reason to think Texas might make him available? Other than they have a glut of OF's after the Soriano deal and no pitching whatsoever? He had a down year last year, batting .248 and SLG only .405 but is OBP was .351 (career .365) and plays acceptable, maybe even -good- defense. He's not too old (28)or pricey ($3.05 mil). Oh, and he possesses that all-important ability to swing his bat left-handed.

Among Cub regulars (200+ AB) last year, that .351 OBP would have bested all but Lee, Ramirez, and Walker.

One would just have to hope that Dusty would believe he'd be fast enough not to clog up the basepaths with all his BB's and be, urm, soulful enough to handle the heat in all those day games.

we dont need no white players here in chicago. We play day games and crackers cant handle the heat. Thats why we got to get rid of todd walker. Neifi, man that dude can handle the heat.

"Yea, Lofton really sucked in '03"

The year the season begins is in 2006. Yes he was great for us in 2003 but he is now 39 and only has the legs to be a platoon guy. Does not it struck anyone that no body anywhere else in MLB is talking about this guy as a CF solution for them. LAANA, ARI, BOS, LAD, and SD all have or could have a gap in CF but you do not hear Lofton considered as a replacement there. Not to mention his ability of being an ass took him way off the Yanks or Sux radar. If Hendry wants to get him as a 4th OF thats great because at this point he is a 4th OF.

chifan - your predictions are sure interesting.

Do you really think the Cardinals are going to finish under .500?

And do you really think that the Brewers will win the division?

How are we a better team than the Cardinals or the Astros right now? The Cardinals have only lost role players, and will replace them will equally mediocre role playes (plus Scott Rolen healthy).

The Astros have lost Clemons - which is big, but still not necessarily lowering them to what the Cubs were last year.

What have the Cubs done? Add Pierre - a good, not far from great player who did not look good for much of last year, and two middle relief pitchers.

Right now we have either Cedeno/Neifi at short, and Corey in right.

Sorry, but I have a hard time believing the Cubs current roster is better than the Astros or Cardinals, and I also have a hard time seeing the Brewers roster being better than any of the three (Chi, Stl, Hou).

Regardless of who plays shortstop or RF, our year depends on the starting rotation. Period. Look at what the Southsiders did last year. If Prior and Wood are healthy and pitch well and we don't trade J Williams for some scrub to throw in RF, we can succeed without picking up a huge bat......I think. By the way, this does not mean I think Prior and Wood will do those things....just an observation.

If Patterson returns he should not return as a starter. He needs to earn his playing time back not have it handed to him. His period of prospect development is over. He either needs to radically change his approach to the game of baseball or be nothing more than a pinch runner and late inning defensive replacement for the rest of his career.

chi fan 3887,

have you seen lofton's numbers? do you remember 2003? do you realize we could have had him for $4M vs Pierre's $6M and the three prospects we dished out for him? do you realize Lofton helps bide time till Pie or CPatt pull it together.

Also, Milton is a much better player than his numbers suggest. his head is worth a 10 game per years suspension, but the guy gets on base a ton, has good slugging percentage power, and hits from both sides of the plate with limited K's, (*which is a far cry from reggie sanders, encarnacion, jacque, or cPatt.)

i'm assuming hendry tried to deal one headache (CPatt) for another (Milton). if not, that's just dumn.

At this point, i'd take a shot with CPatt in Right, and try and Platoon a right handed stick with him - but we definitely need a strong arm, as Murton and Pierre couldn't throw out their mothers on a scoring play.

Onto another hodgepodged lineup, compliments of Jim Hendry.....

Fire Hendry.com

BIG Lowitzki,

Those projections are based off going a whole season with the roster teams have today. Yes the Brewers have the best talent in the division today. I am Sure STL will fill their needs by opening day so I figure they will be in the 85-90 range by then. Hou needs a big time bat at LF or 1b to be competive and find a 2 SP's to replace Clemens and their revloving door in the 5th spot to match their SP production of last year. All the Cubs need is one more bat who could be a 5th hitter or higher (3 or 4) to be competive. Look at a depth chart of us and St. Louis. Neifi is better than Miles and even if we sign Jones he is a better RF than Bigbie and so is Cpat.

yes, i'm pissed:

Furcal for $13M and Lofton for $3-$4M, with Bradley at $4M per year, would have cost us what?

that would have cost us zero prospects in trade values, and $20M per year in contracts under 3 years.

think of the lineup:
Furcal, Lofton, D. Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, Walker, Barrett, Murton. (Speed, Power, OBP guys, with very few K's, and tons of speed up the middle and in the outfield).

What Now? Hendry has a mixed bag - again!

yes, i'm pissed:

Furcal for $13M and Lofton for $3-$4M, with Bradley at $4M per year, would have cost us what?

that would have cost us zero prospects in trade values, and $20M per year in contracts under 3 years.

think of the lineup:
Furcal, Lofton, D. Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, Walker, Barrett, Murton. (Speed, Power, OBP guys, with very few K's, and tons of speed up the middle and in the outfield).

What Now? Hendry has a mixed bag - again!

As for RF, I am not upset about "losing" Bradley and would like to end up with Reggie Sanders.

I'm with you DC Tom. If Hendry dumped all the questionable character/whiny players a year ago (Farnsy, Mercker, Sosa, etc.) and then brought in Bradley he'd just open the door for intense criticism. I'm glad they've passed on that move.

The only problem I see is that Sanders is looking for a 2 year contract and he's 38yrs which means he needs some resting ala a platoon or at least frequently used backup. If (big IF) Pie is ready and succeeds sooner than mid 2007, having Sanders as the pinch hitter, double switch option Dusty will use for Murton is OK as well. Sanders arm is still good and better than any of the RF names being bandied about. As to his splits, having a lefty like Lofton as the backup would be how I'd like it, certainly over Jacques Jones as a regular. Lofton would be a nice change of pace for the #2 spot in the lineup. Reggie would be a 5-6 hitter in the current lineup.

I could live with Aubrey Huff or Brad Wilkerson if we go for a non platoon situation. Huff's defense isn't so good and Wilkerson strikes out too much (but still has a .365 career OBP). Kevin Mench...pass. But both Texas and Tampa GM's seem to be asking too much for their talent (although I still don't understand the Soriano trade, in not getting any pitching)

Hendry has a mixed bag - again!

Looks like an empty bag from here.

If Hendry dumped all the questionable character/whiny players a year ago

He forgot to dump the whiny manager, though.

Ausmus re-ups with the Astros...2 years at $3.75M/yr; Good money for a 36 yr old catcher.

Where's Tony Eusebio when you need him?

K,

Lofton is a 100 game a year player now. Yes in those 100 games he will put up OK numbers. The problem then is the 62 games your playing with the same team as last year only with a better bullpen. We would probably go 28-34 in those games and if you assume 95 wins the division we would have to go 67-33 in the games with Lofton to win the division. In Pierre we get a guy who plays at least 155 every year and provides solid #'s in the leadoff spot.

the A's gave up a decent prospect to get Bradley - we werent going to get him for free.

for all the whining about how much this team that's not even complete sucks i'd like to know just how much stl/hou sucks holding up under the same microscope.

RF = the 3rd/4th power hitter and its not filled yet.

there's 30-ish more homers coming outta that possition no matter what.

opening day isnt tommorow.

Chi fan,
I hear you. Lofton would be outstanding, as a cheap option and 2 batter, right behind Furcal. but no need to dwell on that.

we coudl have spelled lofton, especially if we are forced to keep Hairston (weak).

I'm disappointed Hendry has a half ass option at SS, 2nd (defensive up the middle is crucial, especially with a strong SP staff like our own), and has bad arms in Left and Centerfield. And now, we don't have an option in Right.

Needless to say, Barrett is no Pudge Rodgriguez / Molina.

Hendry hasn't focused on D - whcih Lofton, Bradley, and Furcal would have brought.

Fire Hendry.com

Former Tribune editor James Squires called Tribune Company brass philistines, only dumber: "You cannot imagine how intellectually inferior three of the last four chairmen of Tribune Company were."

I can imagine it. I dream of a Mark Cuban type coming forward and giving the Trib an offer they can't refuse. Because only an individual with an ego and his name on the product will go above whatever financial line in the sand he or she has drawn if they see it will make a difference.

The Tribune Company is beneath contempt. Even now they are cutting jobs at all of the papers they own, severely hampering those institutions' ability to cover news and, most importantly, serve as a public watchdog. This company just doesn't give a fuck about journalism, baseball, quality television etc. They make money. And with the big tax bill due Uncle Sam, they aren't even doing that well.

"This company just doesn't give a fuck about journalism, baseball, quality television etc."

Disagree. Allowing a 100+ million dollar payroll means that they are resigned to allowing the Cubs to do what they need in order to win.

You can blame Hendry or McFAIL but the Trib gives them the money they need.

I do believe that it requires about 85 million to field a world series team. It's how you spend the money and who you acquire. You need a nice balance of great players yet to reach free agency--and players who will break the bank because they are worth it. The question is NEVER "Did the Cubs spend enough to win?"...the question is "Why did the Cubs spend more than the world series champion?"

Hendry will go out with a 100 million dollar joke....and be competing once again with Cincinatti, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh for 4th, 5th and 6th place.

this rumor is on the Marlins web site...

MIAMI -- In the market to land a speedy center fielder to replace Juan Pierre, the Marlins have had discussions with the Devil Rays about acquiring burner Joey Gathright.
According to a Major League source, the Marlins are considering parting with left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen for Gathright.

...here is a memorable 2005 game, DLee homers off of Scott Olsen and this is the game Adam Greenberg was beaned. Olsen actually pitched well and left the game winning 2-1 before Mota gave up 3 in the 7th and DeLosSantos 3 more in the 9th.

http://cbs.sportsline.com/mlb/gamecenter/reca...

"You can blame Hendry or McFAIL but the Trib gives them the money they need." - Chad

Obviously teams can win at that amount or less - see the '05 WSox. What I mean is that an individual owner would look at a situation differently than a corporation. Maybe last year a human being would have realized that Hendry was screwed by Sosa's money and that for a year the $100 million dollar line would have to be exceeded. But a corporate bean counter would never make that decision. An individual with his or her name on the product would see someone like Miguel Tejada come available in the winter of '03 and think "Let's see, we've got a chance at maybe the top SS in baseball. Chance like this doesn't come along much. Not since Ernie Banks for this team - so, about once every half century. So do we get him and dump AGonz, maybe eating some of his salary for this season, or do we keep true to our $100 million?"

I do blame Hendry and McPhai for a lot of thisl. But being one small part of a massive media conglomerate removes the human element and restricts a move or two each year that could change Cub history.

And as far as the Tribune Company being bad for journalism, I can only assume you agree since I know no one who thinks anything but that.

I was only speaking to how they ran their baseball team.

How about Angel Guzman for Mark Kotsay?

where is AZ phil amongts all this?

little bit similar to sports is it not? lots of hustle and brilliance leading up to a contract, gets the deal, then goes bermuda triangle!

as of right now,

juan pierre (CF)
todd walker (2B)
derek lee (1B)
aramis ramirez (3B)
?????????????? (RF)
matt murton (LF)
michael barrett (C)
ronnie cedeno (SS)

Nice try Carmen but no.

My bet is that they non-tender him, and I've felt this way since August. Still, one of ruz's comments piqued my interest:

"One thing the Cubs might try to do is that the Brewers are trying to work out with Danny Kolb: non-tender him, making him a free agent, and then re-sign him for less money."

Question for Arizona Phil (or whomever): If they non-tender him and make him a FA, doesn't Corey fall in the same category as guys like Nomar or Burnitz, with whom they cannot negotiate until May 1?

I think one has to go a pretty long way to blame the Cubs' current and future troubles on budget woes. There's absolutely no reason why the focus should be on how much money they have, as they've been among payroll leaders for quite awhile if memory serves and are certainly comfortably above the means and medians.

It's a lot easier to change recent Cubs history--of mediocre stopgaps, of "name" players over value, of scrappy fan favorites, of players that suck, of death by a thousand $4mm cuts--from the offices of Wrigley than it is from the offices of the Tribune Tower. As long as the Cubs are making money, the Tribune is right to be concerned with other matters. The Tribune's job isn't to produce a winner, it's to make money. They do that fairly well.

It's the job of some other people to make the Cubs a perennially good baseball team, and the Tribune certainly doesn't stand in their way with regards to the purse strings. These people have access to funds most of their peers would die for (although, judging by one famous example and the others that will come by the end of the decade, others GMs don't seem to be troubled by lack of funds). How well do these richly-funded people do their job?

Perhaps some faceless corporate entity isn't really the source of our troubles?

Here's the difference between the Cubs needs right now and the Cardinal's needs. Right now the Cards need more and they don't have much to trade(Wainright, Travis Hansen, and Marquis if they get another SP), while they need a 2B, and a LF or RF(assuming So Taguchi and John Rodriguez platoon all year...I believe So can play right, but John Rodriguez is better for LF, I think...)and some bullpen help(Can Mateo stay on their 25-man all year?). But as far as their 2B and Corner outfield hole, they need a 6 or 7 hitter.
Eckstein
Taguchi/J-Rod
Pujols
Rolen
Edmonds
OF
2B
Molina

Molina, like Barrett could probably be moved up to seven or even six spot. So they need to fill two spots very low in the order...as of right now, our right fielder has to be a #5 hitter...a little more difficult to come by. Granted we could trade Walker(our #2 hitter in my scenario), JWill, and the gang which could mess things up...but while I agree that the cards are going to be worse, I'm not sure we are better than them right now, no matter how badly I wish we were.

Yes, the Cubs could non-tender Korey and try to resign him to a lower deal but he'd be open to the free market and free to shop for a better deal in terms of $$$ and/or playing time.

so milton bradley isn't a possibility anymore...

jesus. they're going to bring in jones aren't they?

the horror. the horror.

This was the same talk going on last year. It is dumb to build a team around the idea of needing 2 teams, who have gone to the World Series in the last 2 years, to get worse so we can have a chance to win the division and go to the playoffs.

The Cubs as an organization must build a team that can beat those 2 teams even if they are running perfectly smooth. More importantly the Cubs need to add some fail safes to the team. Seems like the rotation and the bullpen has some fail safe's but the offense is still extremly weak. If Lee or Ramirez miss significant time we are screwed. We need an impact bat as the fail safe in case someone on offense gets injured. More imporantly you need that bat because of Cedeno and Murton.

I like Cedeno and Murton, want to see them play, but I am not counting on spectacular numbers from them. Judging by the responses from this site Murton's name never comes up as a concern. He could very well flop in 2006. Cedeno still needs to prove he is Neifi Perez only with some hitting ability. But to count on them to be key pieces of this offense is not smart. If they don't pan out, your big bat you got eases that pain. If Cedeno and/or Murton have decents seasons then you start to have a damn good offense from top to bottom.

Best case scenerio you get the bat, Cedeno and Murton turn out to be pretty good. Your way to winning the division easily.

Worst case scenerio Lee or Ramirez get injured and maybe Murton or Cedeno doesn't work out the way we invisioned. But you still are a good enough team to squeek out the division.

cubs are in a weirdly comfortable situation. all they need is a RF'r.

but they will most likely not get one off the FA market which means the comfort for fans of walker at 2nd or the 5/6th starter being j.williams could easily change. hell, not even cedeno is safe to assume he's not tradable. and still no one knows what's up with patterson.

so while the team needs only a RF, the other roles could change at 2nd/SS/SP and bench OF depending on future moves needed to lock up the RF issue.

or of course in the laziest/etc. way possible...the team could just sign j.jones/r.sanders/j.encarcenon/etc. and just keep what they got. doubt it, but its an option.

the 2 big bats are already there...all that's left is the other power role bat from RF to emerge. gonna be hard to judge the team til that's filled and the aftermath of what it took to get there shows itself.

Stupid things said:

Patterson is a much better fielder than Jones. (Jones is the best RF in baseball).

Guy who spelled 'dumb' with an 'n'.

Sign Lofton to play CF (without specifying who was going to play the other 60 to 100 games in CF).

Oh, and anyone who wants Milton Bradley- you're embarrassing to me, can you go be A's fans now? Maybe if you'd been accused of being a racist for reading a truck magazine or being an Uncle Tom for getting a job in journalism or been beatin by an abusive boyfriend, you'd have a different opinion of Bradley.

K:
"Fire Hendry.com"

If you need a writer to help with the site, please contact me. If the Cubs have another non playoff season, the only good thing is Hendry shoul dbe BYE BYE.

Jones is the not the best right fielder in baseball. He was a left fielder until the Twins got Shannon Stewart at which point the Twins essentially played with two left fielders.

Here's a really stupid question: If we can't get a RFer we like, why not give Todd Walker a try out there? Put Cedeno at SS, Neifi at 2B, Walker in RF. Not as great of a bat as I'd like in RF, obviously, but it's better than trading a warm body for Jacques Jones, it makes better use of our multiplicity of middle infielders and frees up more space for Cedeno.

#123: "cubs are in a weirdly comfortable situation. all they need is a RF'r."

Crunch you are either on happy pills or on the Cubs' payroll. Which is it?? The Cubs need a shortstop most likely, definitely a RF, probably a LF in case Murton falters, possibly a 2b if they deal Walker, and arguably a SP or two (yes yes I know you think the Cubs have 7 starters or some such bullshit when in all likelihood they have 3 reliable starters max if Maddux pitches well). Weirdly comfortable my ass -- Hendry and Baker are on the hotseat and the team is nothing but question marks except Zambrano and Lee. Wake up. Or admit you are on the payroll.

cubs dont need a SS and probally will not get one.

and murton is the LF'r...they need a possible bench guy if patterson dont stick around...mabry covers all 3 OF possitions and hariston is around, too.

i think i the cubs have 7 starters? yeah...they actually have more than that. go look what every other team has. go ahead. go. do it. draw up depth comparison charts so you can see what the cubs have around vs. the competition. go see what team's starting crew looks like zambrano/prior/maddux/j.williams/rusch/wood and got r.hill/etc. kicking around, too.

you think im on the payroll cuz all i see missing is a RF'r? okay, whatever...

i still stand by what i said and see total logic in it.

besides...what SS is the cubs gonna get?

julio lugo would be a huge step backwards anywhere but at the bat and his bat just isnt good enough to put up with him murdering SS.

its just looking a lot like cedeno right now. the team's put a lot into him and yes, i believe dusty will start him, but that's another 200 post discussion who's only merit is we'll know for sure on opening day.

if the team gets a chance to upgrade SS for cheap in a reasonable trade will hendry trade? yeah..he's gone to a team looking 1 thing and ended up walking away with something totally different or doing some give/take elsewhere on the club to facilitate a trade. so if it does change it wouldnt suprise me.

im not a huge cedeno fan at all...i dont really think too much of him besides a ceasar izturis meets neifi perez type player. but i dont see him as a liability.

The White Sox are close to acquiring Javier Vazquez from the Diamondbacks for Chris Young, Orlando Hernandez and a second pitcher, according to CBS SportsLine. Dec. 14 - 12:40 am et

I don't think the second pitcher will be Jon Garland, but me thinks Garland will be flipped to someone else now. Not that we needed another starter, but K. Williams continues to be aggresive in the way that I think we'd all like Hendry to be...zeroing in on a player and making it happen. Vasquez's HRs allowed ratio should continue to climb on the southside. Chris Young is a very good prospect, but that's what people said about the W.Sox dealing Jeremy Reed, M.Olivo and Matt Morse for F.Garcia...and since then Reed hasn't been able to hit ML pitching, Morse tested positive for the juice and Olivo has been traded to two more teams.

I would rather have KW as GM of the Cubs than asswipe Hendry. Can we swap GMs??

Vazquez is a horse and is much better than El Duque. He's just two years removed from a monster season when still with Montreal. Another big pickup for the Sox.

Let's see: KW brings in Jim Thome, Javier Vazquez and re-signs Paul Konerko to a World Series champion. Jim Hendry trades three pitchers for Juan Pierre, re-signs Neifi Flipping Perez (San Francisco released me!!) and Glendon (Milwaukee released me!!) Rusch--for $6MM per year. And signed lefty specialist ADD boy Scott Eyre, and one-year removed from TJS Bob Howry for another $6MM. Oh, and brought back Scott Williamson and Ryan Dempster, also both with recent TJS.

Gee, who's the better GM?? I hate being a Cub fan.

Oh, and anyone who wants Milton Bradley- you're embarrassing to me, can you go be A's fans now? ...

Already there, mainly because they're the type of team that tries to win the World Series and not the Lady Byng Trophy.

TCR posting has a terrible tendency to go nuclear with the childishness...

Anyone who wants Vazquez, please go look at his stats. Even if he is "a horse," I would like a horse that doesn't do this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile...

Any pitcher with a career 4.28 ERA, I would suggest is not worth major consideration. If by "monster season" Eric The Great, you mean 13-12 with a 3.24 ERA, you need to reconcile your definition of monster. Look at this guy's track record. What are you comparing him to? A Tee-ball pitcher?

1999: 20
2000: 24
2001: 24
2002: 28
2003: 28
2004: 33
2005: 35

Do you see a trend? 'Cause I sure do. Guess what it is.
...
...
...
Give up? It's Vazquez's HRs allowed.

Happy landings in the Cell, Javy.

deJesusFreak--"If they non-tender him and make him a FA, doesn't Corey fall in the same category as guys like Nomar or Burnitz, with whom they cannot negotiate until May 1?"

No. If the Cubs non-tender Corey, all thirty teams are entirely free to negotiate with him as and when they please.

I wouldn't write off Jeremy Reed yet, bogey.

Marlins would be crazy to trade Olsen for Gathright.

The Cubs have to be careful they don't force themselves into having to bring in pitchers from elsewhere for 2007 when Maddux leaves. Pitchers from elsewhere cost way too much.

crunch--"and murton is the LF'r...they need a possible bench guy if patterson dont stick around...mabry covers all 3 OF possitions and hariston is around, too."

If Murton doesn't pan out, and the Cubs don't land a big bat for right field, that's going to be really pretty.

Joe C--"the A's gave up a decent prospect to get Bradley"

They sold high on a prospect that can hit for average and is plenty patient at the plate, but that lacks the power to really play a major league corner and doesn't have the defence to play centre, and as such at this stage projects as a marginal starter or a good bench player. The prospect will be 24 before next season is a month old, and he'll be getting his first real taste of baseball above Double-A besides the Arizona Fall League. All in all, I doubt that Andre Ethier is more valuable as a prospect than Renyel Pinto.

In return the A's not only got a six-tool talent that's established himself as a .280/.360/.450-type hitter (in pitcher's parks no less) with great defence all across the outfield, a salary that's likely to be entirely reasonable until he hits free agency in two years' time, some possible injury concerns and definite anger management problems in Milton Bradley, but the Dodgers also threw in Antonio Perez, who should at least be a decent backup middle infielder at the major league level, if not better.

Before anyone praises this Vazquez trade remember that Chris Young is their best OF prospect. Would you really want to trade Felix Pie for Vazquez? My guess is this makes Contreas or Garland avalible. Maybe we could get Garland back. Also that Thome trade was stupid for them. Lets trade the anchor of our defense and 2nd and 4th best pitching prospect for a guy who might be done and best of all the team wanted to get out of his contract because they had a young stud and the guy had a no-trade clause and out of the 3 teams he would have wanted to go to yours is the only that wanted him. I'll take Hendry over Williams anyday.

#69 of 140: By Chuck (December 13, 2005 12:50 PM)
Phil:

"The Cubs can't low-ball him ($1.5m), or he could win the hearing with a $3m or maybe even a $4.m figure, and then the Cubs would REALLY be stuck with him!."

The Cubs can't low-ball him, period. In arbitration, Korey can't get more than a 20% pay cut, i.e. $2.24 million for 2006. Anyone who trades form him cannot offer any less than that.

----

CHUCK: Yes, you are correct.

Where I made my mistake was that I thought Corey and the Cubs had actually gone to arbitration last year, and that his $2.8m salary was as a result of an "award" by an arbitrator.

Per the CBA, there is no maximum salary cut for a player eligible for arbitration (where the matter is actually submitted to an arbitrator) IF the player received a 50%+ salary increase the previous year as the result of an arbitration hearing.

So where the Cubs made their mistake last year was NOT going all the way to an arbitration hearing with those players who were CERTAIN to get a 50%+ salary increase (and players in their fitst year of arbitration almost always get at least a 50%+ increase, because they are going from a "pre-arbitration" salary of less than $500,000 to a salary of at least $750,000).

It is bad strategy to NOT go all the way to an arbitration hearing with any player who would be expected to get a 50%+ salary increase (win or lose) just to avoid the potential "acrimony" of a hearing,because if the club settles "out of court" (as happened with all five of the Cub players who were eligible last year), the club is bound by the 20% maximum pay cut the following season.

If the player in question is NOT certain to get a 50%+ pay raise in an arbitration hearing win or lose (as was the case last year with Kyle Farnsworth, Michael Barrett, and Aramis Ramirez), that's when it is better to settle "out of court" and avoid acrimony by maybe "splitting the difference."

This yeat, the Cubs should go to an arbitration hearing with Will Ohman, because he is the only one of the five Cubs eligible for arbitration who is CERTAIN to get at least a 50% salary increase, win or lose. It would be better to setlle out of court with the others.

It is just plain stupid for a club (like the Cubs, for instance) to to NOT take advantage of the opportunity to cut a player's salary more than 20% the next season (see Corey Patterson) if to do that, all the club has to do is actually go "all the way" to an arbitration hearing rather than settling "out of court," AS LONG AS the player is CERTAIN to receive a pay raise in excess of 50% (win or lose) from an arbitrator, as was the case last year with Patterson and Zambrano.

The reason the Cubs MIGHT decide to non-tender Patterson is because if they go to arbitration, and Patterson were to win (and who knows what an arbitrator might do?), the Cubs might get stuck with a player making $3m (let's say), who nobody (including the Cubs) would want for that salary. It might be better to just non-tender Corey, and take that $3m and use it to help pay for a starting RF (like Raul Ibanez, Aubrey Huff, or Jay Gibbons) the Cubs might be able to acquire in a trade.

Obviously, if the Cubs can find a taker for C-Pat (and I speculated that could be somebody like the Colorado Rockies), so much the better. But that might not be an option.

#14 of 141: By RC (December 13, 2005 09:44 AM)
It's interesting how you can create a trade rumor by simply posting an idea on the blog ... I suppose that's your perogative, it is your blog (and generally speaking, a good one). But let's not get carried away with this as everyone did with the potential Tejada trade (another one that everyone can save their breath on; he's not going to be traded).

----

RC: I absolutely, positively did NOT "create a trade rumor."

All I said was that if they don't non-tender Corey Patterson, the only chance the Cubs might have to salvage something out of the situation would be to trade C-Pat someplace where the other club has a player who is making more money (guaranteed) than what Patterson and whatever other player might be included make combined.

I only used the Colorado Rockies and Jason Jennings as an example of where Patterson MIGHT be able to resurrect his career, and what type of player the Cubs MIGHT be able to get back in such a trade. At no time did I say "I heard a rumor that the Cubs are targeting Jason Jennings..."

I agree a lot with what MikeC said (#122). Many on here seem to be head-over-heels with Matt Murton. Sure, he had a solid season for the short stint he was up, but that by no means justifies declaring him as our new LF. Not to say he doesn't deserve a chance, but there always must be a contingency plan, especially regarding young players such as Murton.

This organization seems to always be very conservative, but our window of opportunity is closing imho. I know they're young, but we're only gonna be able to hold onto Z and Prior for so long before they demand more (contracts are up) and here's hoping to a resurgent year for Woody. But, this offseason is a lot like last off-season. There are a lot of holes to fill. We filled a very vital one in CF, and hopefully, the bullpen, but there is still a huge question mark in the middle infield and 3B is no guarantee if Aramis doesn't learn to play through a little pain.

I don't know much on the status of Nomar, been really busy lately, but did hear about the Yankees interest in acquiring him to play 1B, but I took that with a grain of salt, because what premier player hasn't been courted by the Yankees? Again, not saying Nomar's our answer at SS or RF, but the crop is thinning from an already small pool of FAs. A quality starter, possibly 2 certainly would not hurt. I wouldn't put too much money on Woody and Prior making it through a full season unschathed.

Jones is the not the best right fielder in baseball. He was a left fielder until the Twins got Shannon Stewart at which point the Twins essentially played with two left fielders.

Jones is not the best right fielder in baseball, but he's not a left fielder either.

He's a very good defensive center fielder who was moved to the corners because of Torii Hunter.

Again, not saying Nomar's our answer at SS or RF, but the crop is thinning from an already small pool of FAs.

Nomar wasn't offered arbitration, he can't be a Cub until May 1st.

BB,

I'm aware of that, just looking at all of our options and implied what could of been if we had offered. Thanks for clarifying that for me.

An example of a "non-tender" from last year that I should have mentioned in connection with the Cubs' current situation with Corey Patterson would be David Eckstein.

The Angels signed FA SS Orlando Cabrera about a year ago, on December 20, 2004 (the day that players needed to be tendered contracts or arbitration), at which point David Eckstein immediately lost his starting SS job. So why did the Angels non-tender Eckstein, instead of going to arbitration with him and then trading him someplace for a LOOGY or a back-up INF or at least a middling prospect?

The answer is that if the Angels had gone to arbitration with Eckstein, and Eckstein had won (he "beat" the Angels in arbitration in 2004, and the numbers the arbitrator would have been considering for his 2005 contract would have been Eckstein's numbers from when he was a starting SS in 2004, not in anticipation of what role he would play in 2005), the Angels might have ended up paying Eckstein "starting SS money" (possibly as much as $4m) to be a utility middle-infielder, with no guarantee that they would be able to trade him with that salary, because it wasn't necessarily obvious as of December 20th that Eckstein would be able to get a starting SS gig someplace else that late in the off-season.

Which is EXACTLY where the Cubs are at right now with Corey Patterson.

That's why I believe the Cubs might feel they HAVE TO non-tender Patterson. The ONLY alternative to a non-tender that I can see would be to figure Patterson will get around $2.5m to $3m in arbitration, and that any team who might see him as worth a look would have to get AT LEAST half of that $3m (that is, about $1.5m) back in the deal, by trading a player with a guaranteed contract who is making around $4.5 - $5m in 2006, where the player traded to the Cubs can be replaced by the second player the Cubs would be sending to the other club.

Ergo, Todd Wellemeyer (auto-renewal) would replace Jason Jennings in the Rockies starting rotation, and Corey Patterson (even if he gets $3m) would be making about $1.5m less than Jennings, which means the Rockies payroll would be reduced by $1.5m, or to put it another way, the Rockies would essentially be paying Patterson $1.5m in 2006, with no payroll burden for 2007 if things don't work out.

A Jerry Hairston, Jr for Ray King (recently acquired by the Rockies from St. Louis) exchange (both will be making the same money in 2006, and both will be free-agents after next season) could also be part of the same deal (the Rockies need a lead-off hitter/2B, and the Cubs could use another veteran arm in the pen), with the Cubs sending a AAA LOOGY (like Russ Rohlicek or Cliff Bartosh) to Colorado to replace King in the Rockies 2006 bullpen.

Has there been any rumor of the Cubs being interested in Jennings? I notice you mention him often, but I don't recall having heard anything involving him in a Cubs trade.

#140

"Before anyone praises this Vazquez trade remember that Chris Young is their best OF prospect"

Actually Jerry Owens and Ryan Sweeney are rated higher on most boards than Young which is why he was expendible...plus you throw in Brian Anderson who will likely be starting this year so parting with Young isn't a major blow. Besides, there are some, like Bruce Levine, who think this whole deal is to try to pry Tejada from the O's. Levine has said possibly Vasquez or Garland, Juan Uribe and another player for Tejada.

off-subject, when do tickets for the upcoming season typically go on sale?

#148 of 149: By big john stud (December 14, 2005 09:30 AM)
Has there been any rumor of the Cubs being interested in Jennings? I notice you mention him often, but I don't recall having heard anything involving him in a Cubs trade.

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BIG JOHN STUD: No mention of Jason Jennings anywhere, and I'm not trying to start any false rumors. It just makes sense.

However, there HAVE been media reports of the Rockies being interested in Todd Wellemeyer going all the way back to last July when the Cubs were supposedly asking the Rockies about Preston Wilson.

The thing is, Jason Jennings would seem to be the best bet for the type of player the Cubs could probably get back in a deal for Corey Patterson, and (most importantly) would fit the profile of the type of contract the Cubs would have to take back in a deal for C-Pat.

Jennings will get $4.4m in 2006, and $5.5m in 2007 (or a $100,000 buy-out, which would take him to arbitration after 2006 instead). Both Jennings and Patterson will be free-agents after 2007, and Wellemeyer could take Jennings' slot in the Rockies starting rotation.

Jennings' overall numbers don't look too good, but his road splits aren't bad, and that's all that really matters when you look at Rockies players, anyway. Plus, he is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball (an underrated aptitude, IMHO), and he has always pitched (and hit!) very well at Wrigley Field.

Acquiring Jennings would make it a lot easier to include Jerome Williams as part of a deal for a RF (like maybe Raul Ibanez, Aubrey Huff, or Jay Gibbons--all of whom are left-handed hitting middle-of-the-order run producers who can--unlike Jacques Jones, for instance-- at least "hold their own" against LHPs, and who should be available in a deal because each of them will be free-agents after next season),

As for Corey Patterson, Coors Field would seem like the ideal place for C=Pat to try and get his act back together (or at least to the extent that's possible), what with the cavernous CF that would give C-Pat a chance to use his speed running down fly balls, and the light air that inflates batting averages and HR totals.

Even if Corey were to strike out 200+ times with the worst home-road splits in the history of Major League Baseball, he still should have a very good chance to be a 30/30 man playing for the Colorado Rockies.

If a deal such as the one I just outlined is not made by the Cubs (and there are other places where Corey could go in a similar-type trade, like maybe to Pittsburgh along with a Top 10 prospect in exchange for Kip Wells, or straight-up for Josh Fogg), I believe there is a good chance that Corey Patterson will be non-tendered next Tuesday.

We seem to be only talking about trades, and I want to see Patterson traded too. But am I the only one who is wondering why Juan Encarnacion's name has not, to my knowledge, even be mentioned as the Cubs search for a right fielder continues? Hello? First, take a look at the guy's stats. I'd take him over Bradley (have fun in Oakland, Milt!) or Huff, or anyone else we're talking about. Secondly, Encarnacion is a free agent, which means we would still have Corey as trade bait for another starting pitcher, and I can't imagine Florida re-signing him with their firesale. Third, he is a former teammate of D-Lee and Juan Pierre so why would he not want to join us? Why don't we just stock our roster with players from the 2003 Marlins? If you can't beat them, go out and sign them. Anyone with me here?

I live in the midwest so I've got to see plenty of Twins games. Jones is a good defensive outfielder but he'd be much better in left than right. His arm isn't the greatest.

Your right Bleeding Blue, he probably would be better in center but he would also be better in left than right. The Twins chose to put Dustan Mohr in right for nearly two years rather than Jones.

CTC,

I think that is a good enough fall-back, but I for one would like to take full advantage of the time we have before pitchers and catchers report to bring in a legitimate top-line rightfielder. And if that doesn't pan out, I could live with running Encarnacion out there. However we'll need another outfielder for sure because he spends his share of time on the Wood-List.

Pertaining to Encanarcion, a guy who I have never been too big on, a .349 obp slugging is nothing spectacular, and an average slug percentage is nothing to do back-flips over, but the position the Cubs have put themselves into due largely to their relucatance, they don't have much of a choice. Encanarcion would certainly fit into the handful of players the Cubs should be after for RF.

I'm not sure who the answer is at pitcher. I know Jennings is getting a lot of mention, but will a Rockie cast-away be able to get the job done?

Encarn. would be fine. If he was what we targeted, we could have gotten him a long time ago. But we don't target players and go out and get them. We go out and get the guys when they become available. I wish we drove some of our signings and got the #1 guys we targeted, rather than sign/acquire whomever is the next best guy available.

'a whole ot of ifs'
this says it all
do middle releivers like eyre and howry ever have two good years in a row?
some kind of cpat deal for jennings would be good. but they missed the boat on the stealth deal the cards pulled off: aaron miles and larry bigbie.
one move, or lack of move can set a team floundering for a couple of years: the cubs had a chance to plunk down the dough for miguel tejada. but why should they have siged a great shortsop, who drives in runs, proven in the playoffs and in the clutch, who brought enthusiasm and leadership as his extra baggage? after all, they had Alex Gonzalez.
and i have to keep saying this over and over: michael barrett is absolutely the wrong catcher for this team.

Without getting into a debate about proving a negative with a negative, can someone please enlighten me as to who plays better RF than Jones?

Will Milton be traded again? or who of the A's 4 outfielders will be traded? they have Jay Payton (all OF positions), Mark Kotsay (CF or RF), Milton Bradley (All OF spots), and Nick Swisher (RF).

Some would say Swisher, the well respected rookie, can play 1b. But Johnson plays there, and mashes.

Also, the a's have hatteburg, and may bring in the Lil' Hurt as DH's.

SO, the way i see it, Billy Beane's got an outfielder to trade:

So, the list for RF's includes: Jaque Jones, Jay Gibbons, Encarnacion, Reggie Sanders, Huff (who would be a terrible OF option - no arm), Corey Patterson, who at this point seems as good as any of these guys (at least the upside is there) or one of the A's 4 outfielders.

On a sidenote, I also wouldn't mind seeing the cubs make a play for Juan Rivera of the Angels. he's got a very strong arm and has upside. He can play left and right. After all, Murton is no lock in Left Field.

i may be missing a few candidates, but that's what the initial list is.

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