On The Outside Looking In

Jim Hendry has seemingly made it something of an off-season priority that his Cubs avoid going into 2006 with Todd Walker manning second base. Hendry picked up the $2.5m team option that they hold on Walker for this upcoming season, but he seems not just open to trading Walker, but rather intent upon it, so much so that he's recently been guilty of talking about the keystone position as vacant, as though Walker had already departed the organisation. He hasn't yet, but he's reportedly been openly shopped around the league, with the Cubs not particularly happy with his ability to "catch the ball". The Cubs aren't exactly off-base with such an assessment of Walker's defence: the truth is that it's never been particularly good. His range is unremarkable, his glove isn't particularly golden, and his troubles turning the double play do cost the team runs. As a result, no one is particularly happy with his ability to "catch the ball". On the whole, he's slightly below par when it comes to playing defence, and second base is one of the more important defensive positions. That is problematic. Second base though is also a position where offence is notoriously hard to come by: over the last two years, major league second sackers have hit a meagre .272/.329/.413. Todd Walker, on the other hand, has hit .290/.354/.471 since he joined the Cubs, though Carlos Lee and unnecessary platooning have limited him to just 239 games. That kind of offensive production has made Walker one of the best offensive players at his position, with only Jeff Kent, Chase Utley and Marcus Giles really outperforming him with the bat. What Walker has given away in the field then, he's made up for and then some in the batter's box, establishing himself as comfortably above average. His salary in the last year of his contract, $2.5m in 2006, is comfortably below average, and as such he represents the kind of superb value that teams should be striving for, not striving to give away. None of that is to say that the Cubs should completely disregard the idea of trading him. Walker will turn 33 in May next year, and if his offence slips, as is entirely possible, with his defence not getting any better, he will be a significantly less valuable player. Indeed, his value may never be higher than it is right now, what with the numbers he's put up over the last two years, and, as such, especially at his salary, he makes an attractive trading chip. He's also just one year away from free agency, and the Cubs probably want more of a return than draft pick compensation. Finally, in Jerry Hairston, the Cubs have a decent enough alternative with which to replace him. All the same, none of that justifies the approach that the Cubs so far seemed to have pursued, one of making it entirely clear that he's not wanted around come next April, not least because the Cubs appear more inclined to give the second base job to Neifi Perez (with Cedeno at short) than to Hairston. The $5m contract Neifi's still celebrating says that much. The Cubs are not in a position right now where they can afford to give away much offence, and that's the biggest reason why a Todd Walker trade doesn't make the sense it otherwise might. Presently the most likely lineup scenario for next year sees Murton and Pierre accompanied in the outfield by a reasonable but unspectacular bat in right field, acquired either via free agency or the Walker trade, plus Cedeno and Neifi/Hairston up the middle, the pitcher batting ninth, and not much on the bench capable of stepping in and playing every day. That, as far as I'm concerned, is a completely unacceptable scenario. I'm all for giving the youngsters the chance, but one of the reasons why you put up with whatever they put up is the fact that they're earning just a little over $300k apiece, giving you the opportunity to re-invest the money you'd otherwise have spent filling the positions on impact players elsewhere on the roster. If the Cubs aren't doing that, because they've not had the foresight to avoid a situation where there are no impact players left for them to actually spend their money on, and are instead surrounding the kids with mediocre at best veterans, they're not going to score many runs even in best case scenarios. And we'll be back where we were at last year, entirely dependent upon the health and supreme effectiveness of our pitching staff. How did that work out for us in 2005 again?



The trade went down a while ago now, but one of my favourite pitchers, Jermaine Van Buren, now gets paid by the Boston Red Sox, and here's my take... Van Buren has pretty impressive stuff. He works off a good fastball that sits comfortably in the 91-93mph range, and compliments that with an assortment of breaking stuff: an above average slider, a decent curveball, a changeup. He likes to throw all his pitches, he's a real fighter out there on the mound, and, of course, he has his funky delivery, which means he's extremely fun to watch. It's a delivery that's very herky-jerky drop-and-drive. Because there are so many idiosyncratic movements to it, he finds it very difficult to repeat. Some of the time he's absolutely fine, and though his delivery still looks eccentric, it's thoroughly balanced throughout, and he ends up facing the plate, ready to field the ball. Some of the time though he completely loses his balance mid-delivery and he ends up in a quite ridiculous position, facing left field. Because he tries to keep watching the ball, for obvious reasons, a lot of the rotation in his body and hips in such instances comes very late, and is extremely violent and uncontrolled. His right leg falls completely across his body, and it drags the rest of him around with it, away from the mound. Naturally, in such a position, he'd be completely unable to field the ball. But most of the time Van Buren's delivery falls somewhere between those two extremes, unbalanced but different most times, yet not quite as exaggerated in terms of the position in which he ends up and how ridiculous he looks in the process of getting there. The real problem that Van Buren's poor mechanics cause him is not so much that he sometimes can't field his position, because that's not that important. The real problem, besides his delivery maybe making him more susceptible to injury, though he's a big strong guy, is that most of the time he isn't capable of putting the ball exactly where he wants, and so he's liable to walk a few more hitters than he should. But that's something that you just have to put up with, because attempts to remodel and restrain his delivery (made by the Rockies, for instance) have compromised the rest of his natural game, which certainly has a lot to recommend it. Not least his numbers over the last two years -- a 1.98 ERA in 123 innings (67 hits allowed, 8 home runs, 147 strikeouts), mostly at AA and AAA. Baseball America named him the Triple-A relief pitcher of the year for 2005. Although I think that Van Buren could fashion for himself a pretty decent career as a major league middle reliever, and although he's got three option years left and will be cheap for quite a while yet, and as such should be very handy as the last man in a bullpen, I'm not that disappointed to see him leave the Cubs. We don't have room in our bullpen to accomodate him after the Howry and Eyre signings, and he'd have only seen the time in the major leagues that he deserves in case of injury. As such, he was a perfect trading chip - potentially useful to some one else, but not a great fit for the Cubs, especially because we already have more than enough relievers with good stuff but problems with their control. I am though very disappointed that Jim Hendry parted with him for nothing more than a PTBNL in a deal that he forced upon himself with yet more shoddy management of his 40-man roster. Van Buren could have been used in a package deal to land us something of worth. Instead he was shipped out in a hurry, probably not netting much of a return, just because Hendry, needing to clear roster room, thought him expendable. He was, but less so than a number of guys Hendry's hung onto (Mitre and Wellemeyer in particular, both out of options, plus one of Soto and Reyes, since we have four catchers on the forty), and he was more valuable than some of the other guys that Hendry's hung onto (Koronka and Macias in particular), and if Hendry hadn't made a number of entirely needless additions to the 40-man roster (Dopirak and Moore in particular), there wouldn't have been a roster crunch in the first place. Of course, the entire deal depends on the PTBNL, who still hasn't been named. But my suspicion is that the Red Sox went a little bit of the way to avenging the loss of Matt Murton with this nice piece of opportunitism. Best of luck with the Red Sox, Jermaine.
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Comments

Nice post certainly prefer this than the "Today in Cub History" mainly because Cub history is gloomy but then again so is out future with an occasional ray of sunshine called optimism.

I am curious though how we ever let go of Grudz who I prefer to Walker, and certainly more than Hairston (who is suitable only as a bench player?

Also it would have been thought to include some of the minor league 2nd baseman and their potential of coming north this spring.

John, your right on point with Walker in my opinion. The Cubs desire to deal him is amazing to me, especially with all of the other question marks this team has in their lineup. Walker seems to be one of the most reliable offensive players we have, all at a cheap price. To me, Walker is not a problem, and I hope the only way he leaves is in a package for a nice RF'er, and not simply to get Neifi a daily job.

As for Van Buren, like you said, it is all going to come down to the PTBNL. Bad mechanics or not, the guy put up good #'s last year, and to give him away for little is senseless. Hopefully it will work itself out, but then again, its the Cubs.

Good post J Hill, I forgot about Walker. Here's a guy who will put up good offensive numbers, left handed and a gamer. Outside of the Lee slide that messed up his knee I believe he is relatively healthy ball player.
The only thing he has going against him is that if Hendry forces Dusty's hand to play Cedeno somewhere, Neifi will take the other keystone position. Sad but true.
Pierre leading off with Walker batting second, you can do a lot worse. Like Cpat leading off and Neifi batting second.
Cubs need to get a rfer and two more starters and then they will be competitive, then with a bunch of breaks they could get into the playoffs.

John Hill,

You guys wear me out. Unacceptable?

You all want to run the Cubs like a business?
Fine.

Exponential growth businesses get that way by operating differently than the mainstream. Opposite that, it's luck.They sometimes make strategic decisions exactly the opposite of everyone else; intelligently, but unconventionally.

Conventional wisdom in baseball says buy the latest fad.......or Free agent...and you'll get better. Unconventional wisdom says you build from within.

COnventional teamsYankees, Red Sox, Angels, now the White Sox, and the Marlins (working out well for them don't you think....is it really worth two Wolrd Series to not have a fan base?)

Unconventional teams recently...can only think of two.....Braves and the Twins.....arguably the most fun teams to watch in the past two years in all of baseball. Why? Because they play players within their system FOR THE MOST PART!!!

Face it folks. Only one team wins the World Series every year, and the stars have to align just right, chickens have to sacrificed, bats rubbed with whale bones, and incense burned in lockers. Just ask Cerrano.

Every other team is the entertainment biz, and has the right to make as much money as they can. Hendry, play your young guys. If the yahoos in this blog are right and Baker won't do it, fire his ass. But you can't keep changing your long term strategy every year and going mainstream like everyone else.

THAT'S different, it's unconventional and it's the right way to build your business.

McPhail and Hendry, I don't particularly like my job......email me....I'll come work for you as an advisor!!!!!
Joey

I believe the Cubs opted for Walker over Grudzielanek, correctly in my opinion, because Walker was (and is) a month short of three years younger and a considerably better hitter, left-handed too. Certainly Grudzielanek came cheaper in 2005 as it turned out, and played (and plays) better defence, but that the best he's done in successive cracks at free agency is a one-year $1m deal with the Cardinals and a deal of some sort with the Royals isn't a particularly glowing endorsement from major league baseball.

As for Hairston, I think he's a roughly league average everyday second baseman, a pretty poor outfielder and a very fine bench player. I really don't see too much of a difference between him and Grudzielanek such that there's such a difference in your views of the two.

As for the minor leaguers, Eric Patterson, if he ever makes it, won't be along for a while yet. Mike Fontenot doesn't project as anything more than a bench player, Richard Lewis will probably never even make the major leagues, and neither are even on the 40-man roster any more anyway, both successfully passed through waivers of late. There's little else of note at the second base position.

Offense and defense are not spelled with a "c" unless you are holding up a giant "O" or "D" with a picket fence next to it.

I agree about Walker. Love that guy for the money and I don't understand wanting to get rid of him...

As for RF, I hope we can come up with something. I love the defense we would have if Patterson was there with Pierre in center and Murton in left, but we'll struggle to get enough runs. Patient teams with not a lot of offense and good defense win games, but not teams with a lot of Ks. In a perfect world, the Cubs could find someone like Green, Griffey, or Dunn to bat between Lee and ARam. I just don't know how that will happen. If it did though, I would love what we could have 1-5 in the lineup in terms of lefties and righties that can protect each other (see Pujols/Edmonds for an example of the importance here).

Also, I think what the Cubs lack the most in their offense right now is high OBP guys at the top of the order. I don't think anyone would suggest we don't have the power in the middle of the lineup (especially if we add that decent hitting RF) to drive in a ton of runs if only we had some table setters before them (and after to keep the inning going). Since Todd gets on base at a good clip, I don't see much up side in trading him unless we get a guy who has a similar OBP and plays stellar defense, but as your post suggests, this is unlikely due to the dearth of talent at this position. I guess then the only way I see a trade as beneficial for this year is if we can use him to land an impact player at another position to make up for the lack of offense at second.

Great stuff John. I think you're going to be a great GM for a sports franchise some day. I think TCR should pool some money together and buy some two-bit minor league team and appoint John as the GM to get him some real world experience. Now we just need to find someone who can land us some sponsors so we can pay the players.

Grinch, it's the way they're spelt where I come from.

Grinch- think globally. When all I started to read the article I didn't see who wrote it and when I saw the "c" and thought JHill must of wrote it and I was right.

J Hill- Richard Lewis is also recovering from his kidney transplant-see "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

I will be the conspiracy theorist and suggest that Dusty and Todd don't don't see eye to eye and one has to go. Nothing on his field play makes you think that he has to be moved.

Barring injuries (and figuring Wood will start the season at Extended Spring Training), I suspect the Cubs on Opening Day 2006 will look like this:

STARTING LINEUP:
1. Juan Pierre, CF
2. Neifi Perez, SS
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
5. Aubrey Huff or Raul Ibanez, RF (I believe one of these two will be acquired for something like J. Williams, Walker, and R. Hill)
6. Michael Barrett, C
7. Matt Murton, LF
8. Ronny Cedeno, 2B
NOTE: When Blanco catches, Murton and Cedeno each move up one slot

BENCH:
1. Danny Bautista, 4th OF (I predict Cubs will sign him to minor league contract & invite to ST)
2. Henry Blanco, C
3. Jerry Hairston, 2B-OF (could still be traded, like maybe to Colorado for Ray King?)
4. John Mabry, 1B-OF
5. Jose Macias, IF-OF (I predict he will be non-roster invitee to ST & will make 25-man roster)

STARTING ROTATION:
1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Mark Prior
3. Greg Maddux
4. Glendon Rusch
5. J. Jennings, K. Wells, J. Fogg, or M. Redman (one of these four will be acquired for C. Patterson and either Wellemeyer or Novoa)
NOTE: Kerry Wood will start season on DL

BULLPEN:
Ryan Dempster (closer)
Bob Howry (8th inning set-up)
Scott Eyre (8th inning set-up)
Scott Williamson (8th inning set-up)
Michael Wuertz (6th-7th)
Will Ohman (6th-7th)
Novoa or Wellemeyer (whichever one doesn't get traded)

I am not ADVOCATING this roster or this lineup, it's just what I believe will happen.

Also..

LIKELY STARTING LINEUP AT IOWA:
1. Adam Greenberg, RF-CF
2. Mike Fontenot, 2B
3. Brandon Sing, LF
4. Felix Pie, CF-RF (will be moved to RF when Cubs sign Pierre to contract extension)
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
7. Soto/Reyes, C
8. Ryan Theriot, SS

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION AT IOWA (alphabetical):
Angel Guzman
John Koronka
Carmen Pignatiello
Jae-kuk Ryu
Raul Valdez

LIKKLY BULLPEN AT IOWA (alphabetical):
David Aardsma
Cliff Bartosh
Bobby Brownlie
Phil Norton
Russ Rohlicek
Andy Shipman
O'Malley, Szuminski, Blasko, Baez, or Gwaltney

Or at least that's how I remember the hallucination.

Hey, why not move Walker to RF? Can we re-sign Grudzie?

Ah, I see. Bit of a crank this morning. Sorry about that. Cherrio!

AZ Phil,

I don't think Huff or Ibanez will net those three players. Maybe Williams and a prospect.

1. Juan Pierre
2. Neifi Perez

= Double Play Machine

Ugh.

AZ -

why not put cedeno at short and hariston at 2nd?

pierre CF
hariston / walker 2B
lee 1B
ramirez 3B
barrett C
murton LF
patterson / other RF for walker RF
cedeno SS
pitcher

that is my guess for 2006

Grudzie just signed with KC

Jacos--"I will be the conspiracy theorist and suggest that Dusty and Todd don't don't see eye to eye and one has to go."

What do you suggest it is that they might not see eye-to-eye on that's so significant that the situation has become untenable? And hazard a guess as to which one I think should go if this is the case!

Spot on essays, John -- I've been just as frustrated with the Van Buren and Walker situations for the very same reasons, yet have not been able to state them as articulately.

JOHN T: I was posting what I believe Dusty will do, and I believe he will play Neifi at SS and hit him 2nd in the batting order, and that he will play Cedeno at 2B and hit him 8th (7th if Blanco is catching).

It's not what I would do, but I believe it's what Dusty will do.

If Walker gets traded (and I believe that is HIGHLY likely), I am one of the few posters here who would have no problem playing Neifi at SS (because I believe he is one of the best defensive SS in baseball)--BUT (and this is big but), ONLY as long as he hits 7th or 8th in the batting order. And then I would hit either Cedeno or Murton (whichever one of the two has the higher OBP) #2. But I know (and you must know this, too) that Dusty won't do that. Dusty will hit Neifi in the #2 slot, and will put Murton and Cedeno at the bottom of the order. It's inevitable. Like death and taxes, Neifi will hit 2nd.

Would Murton be a bad choice to bat #2 in the line-up? Good eye to take pitches which will give Juan a chance for the stolen base, and gets his bat on the ball more often than not. He might need a little more major league seasoning, though. But I think he could handle it.

Sorry OKIECUBSFAN, I've never seen your handle on here before. I'll pick a different one.

JHill-
Walker-
good hitter
average defense
lefty bat with pop
Aggressive and smart
His "replacements" Neifi and Hariston-
Neifi better glove, Hariston better speed. That's it and the overall play of Walker should make it a non arguement.Otherwise no logical MLB manager would start those two unless Walker is injured.

Why do you think they are trying to push him out the door?

This is BS. I know everyone has a different opinion on it, but I happen to think offense makes a winning team. Defense is nice, and pitching is really nice to have, but I'd gladly sacrafice some defense for a contact hitter like Walker.

Joey,

Can you put aside your comedically ridiculous ego for a second, step off your faux lectern and describe what you mean by conventional and uncoventional?

For one the Cubs are a ridiculously inept team at winning and most posters here are speculating about winning and not making money. Obviously the Cubs have figured out a way to make money. However to say they are unconventional and visionary is barbaric in logic.

For one your comparisons (Twins and Braves) actually GO TO THE PLAYOFFS pretty often, have won World Series in the last 97 years, and most likely make less money than the Cubs.

Secondly, if the Cubs were just a money making bunch of geniuses they wouldn't spend 100 million. What most the 'yahoos' here (who in comparison to your haughty intellect are geniuses in my estimation) are trying to poit out is that the Cubs are mis-managing their value per dollar and the talent they do have (thanks to Dusty Baker and to some degree Hendry in my opinion).

Anyway keep up the arrogance it is really pretty fun to laugh at you.

Someone on this site suggested todd was a bit of a religious zealot, and that was causing clubhouse problems...

Trans--70000? that's awesome

Joey--I've seen 2 posts from you, both very articulate and points of view I agree with. I think you'll be a valuable addition to the "lineup" here (I'm a born and raised Dubuquer, btw--Go Hawkeyes)

How much credibility are any of you giving to the tejada situation? Is he really gonna get moved, or no?

Az Phil--I may end up eating my words, but I think even DB will start cedeno at his natural position, at least in the beginning of the year, giving him just enough rope to hang himself with, putting neifi at 2B till about April 15 before it looks like you have it. Then he's got an excuse to platoon cedeno with JHJ. One question--why in anyone's name would JH trade JHJ for Ray King? Hasn't he helped the 'pen enough already?

I used to bag on Walker to my father--mostly because I still expect to see Sandberg type plays.

With that, it is safe to say people on this blog like numbers, so here we go:

Walker w/ man on 3rd,

SJ--you make good points, but to side with joey on his, I think the point was the cubs could learn a thing or two from min/atl, especially about promoting from within--or did I misread?

Maybe Walker wasn't thrilled with Dusty's willingness to sit him in favor of Neifi all too frequently?

Tony, do you honestly think that Min/Atlanta would openly promote the fact that they don't want Walker thus deluding his trade value? How is this in contrast to promoting from within? Walker is already under contract and is cheap. He is not a free agent? Joey's logic falls apart at the seams (the Cubs don't sign premier free agents or promote from within and where has it gotten them. Further more their imbecile manager is the last guy to play young players up from the farm. that is unconventional and dumb) and then he (Joey) closes his two posts by first announcing he is the George Steinbrenner of this list "the most hated man in baseball" (when I am reallly the only dude who gives a crap) and then on his most recentpost offers himself to the Cubs as a basbeall mind after calling us all "yahoos". Quite a baseball mind ol' Joey!

*I am curious though how we ever let go of Grudz*

Because he was hurt half the time. Because he only ever hit singles. Because he never drove in runs.

Honestly, I wish I could find the cave where cult who longs for the likes of Grudzie, Lofton, Karros, Nomar, Julio Zuleta and Roosevelt Brown meet and fill the entry full of boulders.

The rationale for trading Walker can be found in Jonh's excellent piece:

"His salary in the last year of his contract, $2.5m in 2006, is comfortably below average, and as such he represents the kind of superb value that teams should be striving for"

The Cubs want to trade Walker because he is a desireable player to have, given the small contract size. Also, keep in mind that the Cubs have been chasing SS's all off-season. If they succeed in acquiring one, they could have Cedeno and Perez manning 2nd. That would leave Hairston to play a utility role off the bench (or be traded).

A question for ppl here: what do we think of AZPhil's lineup? I'm not questioning the accuracy of his prediction, but i'm putting out feelers for what we think of it... I'd like to see us acquire a quality middle IF to keep us from starting both Perez and Cedeno, but other than that 'tis not so bad.

Let me be a little more explicit: the Cubs are looking to trade Walker because they're hoping his desirability can bring us back a quality corner OF.

Yeah I think maybe Walker knows what any average IQ human being sees which is that Dusty is a loser, a poor stratagist, and a borderline personality undiagnosed -- and most pointedly that he will play crap players ahead of Walker too often. And he probably made it known to the Cubs and Cubs' front office that there is an elephant in the living room. So he goes bye bye in Hendry fashion which is to tell everybody his poker hand and then try and bluff . . .

#27 of 30: By Tony (December 16, 2005 09:19 AM)
Az Phil-- One question--why in anyone's name would JH trade JHJ for Ray King? Hasn't he helped the 'pen enough already?

--

They wouldn't make a deal for Ray King as things stand right now, but IF the Cubs trade a reliever (like Roberto Novoa and/or Todd Wellemeyer, for instance) in a deal for a RF or as part of a trade involving Corey Patterson, then Hendry might want to add another veteran arm to the bullpen.

As for why JHJ for Ray King, they will be making about the same money in 2006, both will be FAs after next season, and the Rockies need a lead-off hitter who can play 2B. If the Cubs include a younger LOOGY (like Koronka or Rohlicek) with Hairston, JHJ for King COULD be part of a larger deal involving Corey Patterson & Todd Wellemeyer for Jason Jennings (for example).

I don't think Hairston will be a happy camper being an "extra man" for the Cubs (or with anybody else) in 2006. He will be a FA after next season, and I'm sure he wants to put up some numbers in 2006 that will enhance his value as a FA this time next year. The last thing Dusty would want is for Hairston to pout about not getting playing time, and spouting off to the media about how he should be starting at 2B instead of Ronny Cedeno.

If the Cubs were to trade Walker, and play Cedeno at SS, and keep Neifi on the bench as the back-up middle infielder, playing JHJ at 2B and hitting 2nd behind Pierre wouldn't be the worst thing. I just don't think that's what Dusty has in mind for Hairston in 2006.

Just a couple of comments; (1)I see on all the online web sports pages the never ending story of Roger Clemens, he should retire stay out of the game. From watching him pitch during the 2005 season, he still has it, he can still pitch, but he is only human, he can be hit, he can give up runs. When he does run into trouble all of the sudden something is wrong with him, and he leaves the game, just like in the playoffs.
(2)I predicted and still do that Dusty and Jim Hendry is determined to have N.Perez in the lineup everyday, watch my word. Todd Walker will probably not be traded. Whoever Hendry has offered Walker to, and a bargain contract at that, will not happen, Hendry has thrown out trade proposals and now waits, and waits. If I was him I would be bugging the hell out of those teams and or re-constructing what trade proposals he has made or looking elsewhere. How about this trade proposal, Jim Hendry for Kenny Williams of course the Cubs would have to throw in some other names. Williams is deserving of Baseball Exec of the year for 2005 and a projected 2006.

#6 Grinch

John Hill obviously writes in the King's English.

J.Hill, you probably want to include Soriano in the top hitting 2B out there considering he's either #1 or #2 at that position and all. If Hendry is content with Neifi/Cedeno as the starters up the middle I will become a Red Sox fan(my family is from Boston). I was fine with Cedeno at 2B when we were destined to get Furcal, but now there's no way you can have those two slap hitters in the same lineup everyday. If there is no one else brought in like a Lugo for a year then I'd rather see Cedeno stay at SS with Walker at 2B....hell Cedeno/Hairston works better for me than Neifi/Cedeno. No way Neifi can be in the #2 hole. It's got to be Walker or Hairston if there are no other moves.l At least Hairston and Walker will put up at least a .350 ob%.

how timely discussing Walker/Grudz...Four new Royals.

I havent seen how much Grudz signed for but Bake-O (as Mad dog calls him) signed for $700,000. Nice money for the 25th man on the 30th team. Grudz looked better in blue than red anyway and his wife looks good in any color.

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Free-agent infielders Doug Mientkiewicz and Mark Grudzielanek agreed Friday to one-year contracts with the Kansas City Royals, who also gave a two-year deal to pitcher Scott Elarton and finalized their agreement with backup catcher Paul Bako.

With the Mariners signing Carl Everett as a FA yesterday, it might make Raul Ibanez more available than he was a couple of days ago. If any team in baseball could use a Todd Walker at 2B and a couple of pitchers to upgrade their rotation and bullpen (like maybe Jerome Williams and Rich Hill or Roberto Novoa), it's Seattle.

Raul Ibanez makes $4.25m in 2006, and will be a free-agent after next season. Aubrey Huff makes $6.75m in 2006, and will also be a FA after next season. Of the two, Ibanez is both the better hitter, AND he is the better value. The $2.5m saved in acquiring Ibanez over Huff could be spent on upgrading the bench. (Wes Helms, for instance).

The only things Huff has over Ibanez are that he is four years younger (Huff is 29, Ibanez is 33), and he can play 3B in case anything happens to Aramis Ramirez. Huff also MIGHT be an option for 3B in 2007 if Ramirez exercises his player option and becomes a FA.

One other "plus" about Ibanez, though, is that he was a catcher in the minor leagues and has caught some in the major leagues as well, and so he would be a legitimate #3 ("emergency") catcher.

If you think Ramirez is bad as a 3rd baseman Huff makes him look like a gold glover. In fact Huff doesn't play any position well.

AZ Phil-
"playing JHJ at 2B and hitting 2nd behind Pierre wouldn't be the worst thing"
If this team was playing in KC or Pittsburgh I would agree with you, but since this is a major market team that has urgency to win now, that will not cut it. Walker and Piere would not be the worst thing, the best thing would have been Pierre and Furcal.
Maybe if we turn out more for games next year the Cubs might reward us by spending some money.
Sigh.

#42 of 42: By MikeC (December 16, 2005 10:12 AM)
If you think Ramirez is bad as a 3rd baseman Huff makes him look like a gold glover. In fact Huff doesn't play any position well.

----

Which is why Raul Ibanez is the best option for the Cubs in RF in 2006... IF he is now available, and IF the Mariners would have an interest in what the Cubs have to offer (probably Todd Walker and a couple of young pitchers).

We'll see. Hopefully Hendry will try to accomodate the M's.

I don't know about you, but I would be happy (and relieved) to see Raul Ibanez's name in the #5 spot in the Cubs batting order on Opening Day 2006.

Bogey, over the last two years Soriano has hit .274/.316/.498 while playing in a real hitter's park. I don't think that stacks up relative to Walker's .290/.354/.471 with the Cubs.

#43 of 44: By jacos (December 16, 2005 10:17 AM)
AZ Phil-
"playing JHJ at 2B and hitting 2nd behind Pierre wouldn't be the worst thing"
If this team was playing in KC or Pittsburgh I would agree with you, but since this is a major market team that has urgency to win now, that will not cut it. Walker and Piere would not be the worst thing, the best thing would have been Pierre and Furcal.
Maybe if we turn out more for games next year the Cubs might reward us by spending some money.
Sigh.

----

JACOS: What I was trying to say is that given the choice between the two options, I would rather have Pierre-Hairston hitting 1-2 than Pierre-Neifi hitting 1-2, although I strongly suspect it will be Pierre-Neifi 1-2. That's what I meant by "hitting Hairston 2nd behind Pierre wouldn't be the worst thing." Pierre-Neifi 1-2 would be the "worst thing." (I'm considering only realistic possibilities here, folks... so no "Macias-Blanco would be worse than Pierre-Neifi" kind of stuff, OK?).

Az Phil-
I was airing out frustration at this team, no offense meant towards you.
I would want Pierre-Walker if he's still around, but this team is being put together like it has in the past, which is hoping the talent in the division will come down to the Cubs level.

Taking a step back for a moment -- and at the risk of sounding melodramatic -- the discussions that we are having lately on TCR make me sad. Not because of the merits or substance of the discussions, because I believe that this is (usually) one of the best places to find reasoned Cubs discussions. No, it makes me sad because of what the Cubs have become.

After the exhilirating 2003 run, the brutal playoff finish was bittersweet. Bitter because of collapsing after being up 3-1 on the Marlins, but sweet because of what the future promised. Wood was at the top of his game; Prior was a sure-fire 300 game winner; Zambrano was a budding superstar too; Ramirez had locked down 3B; Patterson looked like a .300 hitter and a potential Gold Glover; the farm system was stocked; Sosa was a solid anchor; Alou was The Man; Hendry was a genius with money to burn. We were poised for a four year run where it looked like we had a very good chance to win 1-2 titles -- the division projected to be very average, and we would set the world on fire with our pitching. With a couple of sharp moves, we would be at The Top.

Sports Illustrated confirmed (cursed?) this by predicting we would win it all in 2004.

And then it happened: an inexplicable, gradual, painful, complicated decline. Missed opportunities, delayed decisions. Injuries, too. Personality clashes. It's not even clear why it happened, but it happened.

It is really depressing. 2004-2007 projected to be a run of glory for the Cubs, but here we are discussing things like whether Neifi should play 2B or SS; whether Murton should start and bat 2nd; whether Todd Walker is The Answer at 2B; whether Patterson will be traded or patrol right field with his .220 average; whether Wood will ever be a legit pitcher again. Don't get me wrong, guys -- these are the important questions of the day and worthy of discussion. But these are not the types of questions that a legitimate contender asks itself.

We are starting over, again. The promise of 2003 is a distant memory.

Great posts today everyone....
J-Damn, I'm sure that you're not lumping Grudzelaniek, Karros, and Lofton in with Julio Zuleta and Roosevelt Brown, right?

I'd still like to see the pictures that Neifi has of Dustbag and Hendry....they can't be good...

#48

Welcome to the Cub fans world.

MikeC- This has been discussed a million times i know, but, Ramirez when healthy(which I don't believe he was last year) makes himself look like a gold glover. He is a very good defensive third baseman. And have you ever tried to move side to side quickly with a "tweaked" groin? It sucks. So don't give me any of that "he tried to backhand every ball coming to his right side" bull.

Super J ,

Now you're getting it. Part of every post is this man's weak attempt at humor, and part is to point the futility of any of us attempting to conveince that we know anything about this business of baseball.

Not really arrogance here......just true frustration that baseball knowledge is going the way of the beancounter/the layer/and the insrance man in business. I was a beancounter, so I can say it with all honesty!!!!

Alwwys willing to admit errors of my thinking.....and I think it's safe to say statistics GENERALLY don't convince me as easily they do some of you.

Tony,

Thanks man. You get it. Wahlert kicked our ass in 1980 to get to the state tourney. Still a little sore about that.

Joey

433 and Barry Foote:

I don't know if you'll agree with this but I firmly believe that the Cub fans have supplanted the Red Sox fans as the most bitter. Its actually not as bad as it seems. We used to be Pollyanna optimists about everything but after having our hearts ripped out too many times, we've become embittered. We now expect victory though it probably will never come. This is how the Red Sox fans used to be. Now they are becoming like the Yankee fans and believe that the Sox should win every year or they suck.

Chad,

No way. If you;re basing it on this blog, don;t. Many others are less analytical and far less forceful than this one. Some STRONG personalities on this baby.

I have a buddy that lives in Boston.....have a little email group we call The Klatch. We have effectively named him Boston Marlin becuase of the strife John Henry and the Administration have caused.....and thei purchase of FA's, and susequent dumping of them....ala The Florida Marlins.

Be patient....you'll get it after you read through some of these postings. Some very smart people on here, but they can't help it they're wrong most of the time.

Joey

Joey, I don't understand your post. I was speaking to the tone of the people's posts here not the intellect. I find Cub fans way more bitter than ever these days and it was the same bitterness I saw of jaded Red Sox fans. Can you clarify your comments for me?

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

A bit on how ungreat Juan PIerre is as a leadoff hitter and a perfect summation of the Cubs off-season so far...

"The Cubs look to be in the unfortunate position of waiting around for the Astros and Cardinals to get worse, while simultaneously hoping that the Brewers donít improve, as they roll perilously closer to celebrating the dubious milestone of 100 years without a World Series triumph."

Chad,

I'll try. I don't see bitterness in all Cubs related blogs, and certianly not this one. I do see it in a lot of Red Sox fans, like you do or have in the past.

The tone of this blog for many folks here comes on real strong. That strength in trying to drive a point home has to have emotion in it.

That's way different than Red Sox Nation/aka Red Hose/aka Red Ho's/aka Red Whores (at least to my little Klatch). Those people are nasty and hurtful.....and turn on players and managers in a flash cuz of their East Coast spotlight. I hear all the time from my buddy that they have to find players who withstand the SPOTLIGHT OF RED SOX NATION.

We're not like that, and we don't turn on the Cubs that fast. Sure we get frustrated.....look at how we've treated Corey Patterson.......but the guy has been revered as well as booed, and had been given a chance....and that chance lasted what, 4 years, through serious injury and a major slump. His crash froM the top to the bottom has been excruciAting to watch...and it makes OUR emotions even stronger.

With that said about CPAT?......Joey wants him back.....most on here don;t....and we may conduct a duel in the frozen cornfields of Iowa to find a winner......but that doesn;t make us bitter. It makes us people with conviction, unlike Boston Marlin fans who argue and get bitter every day or they can't in good conscience drink that swill they call Guinness...nasty shit!!!

One man's opinion.

Joey out

What rules govern how a player can use incentive bonuses... for example, what would prevent Dusty from saying to Neifi, "I'll give you enough innings so you get the incentive bonus if you are willing to split it with me."

I'm not making accusations, I'm just genuinely curious about how it works.

The attitude of a majority of Cub fans has definitely changed since 2003. The casual fan is still going to games but there is a larger contingent that will boo for stupid mistakes and uninspired play.
This I believe caught Dusty off guard, who I believe thought he would come here and win some games and be satisfied with on division win and allow him to get home to put Darren to bed.
To us fans keep these guys feet to the fire, settle for nothing less but the best. No fan should have to go through this bs for the last 30 years, which is how long I have been a fan, let alone those older than myself.
Give me a sign any sign that they are serious about winning.

Fair enough Joey. Then let me amend my statement...

I feel that the bitterness of the Red Sox has subsided. They are mollified by their world series victory and have become less bitter for it. 86 some odd years of pain has been relieved. They of course are still Boston-ites who IMO are some of the angriest people I have even met.

Furthermore, I feel that while maybe the Cub fans are not AS bitter as the Red Sox fans were, we have taken over as the most bitter. You see at this point we have enough heartache to qualify. You see, I feel for every Buckner or Dent story the Sox fans have we have scars equally as deep. Oh, were there baby, we are there.

#58 of 59: By ryno

Just pay the taxes, dude.

Jacos, how can you say that the Cubs are not serious about winning? I have said it before and I'll say it again, you may not like the moves of Jim Hendry and Andy McFail but they have always had their eyes on the prize. The tribune company has given them 100 million dollars a year to spend. That is plenty. The one thing you cannot say is that they are not trying to win. Please refer to the Cubs from 1946 to 1968. Those were teams that were trying not to win. Form 1972 - 1984. Those were teams trying not to win. From 1987 - 1994 Trying not to win. This team took a turn in 1994 IMO. that was the year they drafted Kerry Wood. Not that he turned out like we thought we would. It was a sign that we were willing to take very sought after prospect and pay the money. Same with Corey Patterson and Mark Prior.

Chad,

Real quick. I'm not smart enough to monopolize this board....just ask Superjimmer. Plus, the boss could fire me if I could keep this up. Anybody hiring? I'll stay off the internet...I promise.

I disagree. Your Red Ho casual fan has been mollified, but your die hard...like us on this board....are as bitter as ever. I watched them turn on Manny, Millar, Damon, Foulke, Clement too fast. For example, CPAT would have been crucified in Boston. All we did was boo him a bit and all of sudden we're not "nice little good boy Cub fans."

Sorry.....we're nothing like them.

Joey

Re #41, Arizona Phil,

AZ Phil, on what basis are you stating that Ibanez is a better hitter than Huff? Let's set aside age and salary for a moment.

For the last three years, here is Huff:

2003 .311/.367/.478 ISO .243
2004 .297/.360/.493 ISO .196
2005 .261/.321/.428 ISO .166

Ibanez:

2003 .295/.345/.454 ISO: .159
2004 .304/.353/.472 ISO: .146
2005 .280/.355/.436 ISO: .156

It depends on what you are looking for out of the position. Here we are looking for a #6 or #7 hitter where power might matter more than average or OBP. So the isolated slugging percentage (ISO) seems to be the highly relevant. In that, Huff has a clear edge -- even in his worst year, his ISO was higher than Ibanez's best.

I don't think one can emphatically state that Ibanez is a better hitter than Huff. He certainly would be a better value -- although Huff's age ability to play 3B once a week easily overcomes the few million dollars difference, IMHO.

And not to beat my favorite dead horse of the week, but Reggie Sanders's ISO the last three years is .257 -- better than both Huff and Ibanez. And we don't have to trade anybody to get Sanders.

Regarding the embittered Cubs fans...

Raised expectations coupled with no payoff and fan-unfriendly executive decisions have led us to this embittered state.

Dusty Baker represented the most significant managerial hiring in the history of the Cubs. He had built a decade-long winning tradition, was fresh off winning a National League pennant, and they paid him a boat load of money. The Cubs of old just didn't make moves like this.

The on-field play of 2003 and the youth of the pitching staff gave us visions of World Series titles to come.

The Maddux signing, in my mind, really threw Cubs Nation into a tizzy. Not only were we getting our Hall-of-Famer back, he was going to be our NUMBER FIVE starter. A short while later 2.4 million tickets were grabbed up on the first day they were available.

When the on-field play of 2004 stalled, the Cubs pulled off one of the biggest trades in their history and added Nomar. Big name, big move. Again, the Cubs simply didn't make moves like this.

As we sit today, we still haven't been to a Series. All these happenings raised our expectations through the roof, and we have nothing to show for it.

While this has been going on management has set up an in-house ticket scalping scam, fired a beloved announcer who was a connection for millions of Cubs fans who were raised on WGN, and began the ESPN-Zoning of the most cherished park in U.S sports.

At least, this is why I am bitter.

Actually, my thoughts are that every day, our feelings change. Some days, a few of us are bitter, some are optimistic, and some (433 today) are depressed. I go through it also. I know some of you have seen me near tears when it hits me that my never saw them win a World Series. Some days I think this team is ultimately a pile of crap, while other days I think we can contend with one or two more players. Then there are days where I wish I wasn't a Cubs fan at all because I've felt like I've had ex-girlfriends that made me happier, or I'm bitter because we see the both Sox teams win, and can't figure out why ownership won't do everything in their power to relieve us of our misery. Our feelings change more often than the weather--that's being a Cubs fan.

Mood today: We can contend with 3 moves (RF, SP, solid bench player).

What is the word on Sanders? I believe I heard that the Cards had bowed out. Who's in the hunt for him adn what is he asking for?

I'm sure more bitter. This might be the first season since I moved here that I don't bother getting any tickets. I'll still follow them (I've tried to stop from time to time, and I always fail), but barring something wonderful happening with the remainder of the offseason, I can't get excited about showing up this summer.

As for the fan base as a whole... I think we're in kind of a lousy situation where it's the worst of both worlds. There's the caricature of the fan who shows up to sit drunkenly in the sun, and then there's the boo-bird fan who is frustrated, disappointed, and happy to let underperforming players hear it.

It almost feels like booing has become part of that superficial fan experience, like girlwatching, throwing back homerun balls, singing the 7th inning stretch with whatever celebrity they've dredged up.

"How was the game?"

"It was great! We booed Corey and bought a stuffed animal!"

"Who won?"

"Oh... Not sure."

Maybe this is more of a fear than observed behavior, but I start to get an uneasy feeling about the crowd at Wrigley.

Boy do I sympathize with the embittered and or depressed cub fans. As I have said all too often -- the whole thing fell in 2004 when Dusty let the personalities run the asylum while shoving Hawkins down our throats. Baker consistently proved he was a crap manager and we were still in contention (when we should have buried the Astros in early September). But what happens the last week of the season with a 1.5 game WC lead? Baker decides to take on the broadcast booth while letting Hawkins blow a few more games leading to a last week slide where we lost 6 games in a row to end the season (not counting the last game of the year where we won after being eliminated mathematically).

What does Hendry do? Rewards Baker by blaming all of the players on the team and basically running Steve Stone out of town for calling it like he saw it.

Off season spent trying to dump scapegoat number one Sammy Sosa while leaving the team in a shitpile including no closer, no left fielder and Burnitz in RF (who admittedly did okay).

Hendry should have categorically called out or fired Baker at the end of 2004. Instead he threw the baby out and KEPT the skunky bathwater (Dusty).

It is all on Hendry now. Dusty is a known commodity (insane, incapable, bitter, blaming, craptastic). We cannot win with Dusty.

Actually the one theory that I will buy if Hendry said it to my face is that he is giving Dusty one more season to hang himself and helping the process by keeping poor players on the field -- but we all know that is not true. And that really Dusty is going to blame Hendry on his way out the door. "I had no talent those last two years."

Well guess what Dusty. You had all the talent in the world in 2004 even in the light of the injuries and you acted like a moron and managed like you had never seen a baseball game and had maybe read a strategy book and forgotten to take notes.

Anyway I am not bitter.

Chad-
I did not say anything about them not trying, I believe they are not trying hard enough. From having a fruitless farm system, only having a $ 100 million payroll, inept management from the Trib down to the field manager this all stinks. And it is the same scratched record, "look the two teams that finished 20 games ahead lost good players,so we don't have to get as many good players." Cmon they gave Neifi a two year contract so he could start every day, that's trying?
Maybe the cold and snow has made me moody.

Re #67, Milky,

Apparently the Dodgers offered Sanders a contract this week. ESPN says the Blue Jays and Royals also are interested (though I think the Royals have bowed out, they announced several signings today.)

From the Cubs's standpoint, I think they would prefer a left-hand hitter. And according to the Kansas City Star, he apparently is seeking a 3-year deal, which is clearly a stretch for a 38-year old with injury history. I think his value would be about $5 million per year.

I just don't know why we seem absent and seem to not be looking at Sanders. Great clubhouse guy, and if the guy was seriously looking at the Royals, he clearly has adjusted his contract expectations!

"A question for ppl here: what do we think of AZPhil's lineup? I'm not questioning the accuracy of his prediction, but i'm putting out feelers for what we think of it... I'd like to see us acquire a quality middle IF to keep us from starting both Perez and Cedeno, but other than that 'tis not so bad."

I'm scared shitless because I also think it's likely that Neifi will be hitting in the 2 hole. I'll be surprised if Dusty sees it any other way. A more patient hitter like Murton or even Cedeno should be the obvious choices, but Dusty will stick his guy there. Like AZ Phil, I can deal with Neifi as the SS because of his defense, as long as he's hitting 8th... only 8th, nowhere else.

from the folks who claimed that Furcal was signing a $100mil deal with the Cubs and trading for Soriano, comes this tidbit..

http://diamondbacks.scout.com/2/478484.html

Yes, yes it would.† Green starts for one simple reason, because he's making about $7 million more than the other two combined.† Now, just so everyone understands, Green is going to be dealt, probably to the Chicago Cubs, in the next couple of days.† But today, right now, Green is your starting right fielder.

Maybe this is the other trade that Hendry had in the works that's supposedly a "longshot"

Chad,

You opened a can of worms baby. And I MAY stand corrected, at least on this blog.

See SuperJimmy...told ya my ego wasn't THAT big.

I'm not bitter as much as I am amazed. I do think there is a huge political struggle between McPhail, Hendry and Baker. Separately, I also think Hendry and Baker are good baseball execs.

Together, some wierd witch's cauldron mixes together. Then they APPEAR to the half-educated, like most of us, that they aren't even working for the same team...does anybody ever even see them together? I don't live in Chi town.

We have enough talent to win with no more trades....right now.....we had enough talent to win in 2004, but not enough maturity/leadership to beat the Cardinals even if Nomar, Wood, Prior, Walker and Ramirez are healthy.

I preach all the time about forgetting MOST statistics and the past, and take a risk projecting ahead. Well, getting on the "One More Chance "bandwagon.....the NL Central looks to be weaker than anytime this century. If Hendry/Baker can't at least make it to the NLCS....heads need to roll.....and I can't think it's just the players causing it.

Chad...that's not bitter and not Boston Marlin like......if I wrote the checks for the Trib....those boys have one year, injuries be damned....no excuses...Wood doesn't get a pass...CPAT doesn't get a pass.....Murton doesn't get a pass...Cedeno doesn't get a pass.

It's time to be big boys and produce, and this dumb old Iowa boy just happens to believe they will!

Joey

i see hairston starting over neifi if t.walker leaves...it looks that way anyway.

hairston is getting a lot of heat as a starter, not a supersub for 06. hendry is not dealing him and there's chatter he's the guy.

DC Tom, Raul Ibanez has put up a .290/.354/.452 line over the last two years while hitting in an extreme pitcher's park in something of a pitcher's division, Ballpark in Arlington aside. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that the guy could hit .300/.360/.500 with the Cubs. Personally I think the Cubs need more than that out of right field with the way that the rest of the lineup is shaking out, but those would be very solid numbers all the same.

John Hill,

Can't CPAT hit those kinds of numbers if he's out of the top 5 in the batting order?

Rhetorical qu...of course he can.

Save your money Jim.

Joey

rangers sign d.jiminez to a minor league deal.

damn.

that's a hell of a steal...attitude or not.

DC TOM: My one and only concern about Huff versus Ibanez (leaving out the $2.5m difference in 2006 salary, although that is important) is that Ibanez seems to be more consistent over that three year period you listed than Huff, and that's only because Huff had what I would term an "off year" (although still OK) in 2005.

It seems possible that Huff could be on a downward turn (for whatever reason), and that puts a little more doubt into my mind than I have about Ibanez, who seems to stay fairly consistent year-to-year.

Of course, Huff is four years younger (another thing in Huff's favor), but 33 versus 29 isn't that big of a deal to me, especially when you're taiking about a corner OF who will probably only stick around Wrigleyville for one season.

That said, please understand my preferrng Ibanez to Huff does not mean I would be unhappy if Hendry were to acquire Huff. Actually, I would most prefer Bobby Abreu if there was a way to work that out (probably a complicated three-way with Oakland that might cost the Cubs Matt Murton), but otherwise I would next prefer Ibanez, and then Huff, and then fourth down the list is Jay Gibbons. I think a left-handed bat amidst D-Lee and A-Ram is best, as long as the lefty can at least "hold his own" versus LHP (and all four of the hitters I just mentioned can do that).

I discount somebody like Brad Wilkerson (for instance), because Dusty would quickly identify Wilky as a "passive" hitter (like he did with Mark Bellhorn), and would hit him 6th or 7th in the order where his high number of walks would have the least value. Dusty doesn't know what to do with "patient" hitters like Bellhorn, Wilkerson, or Adam Dunn.

After Abreu, Ibanez, Huff, and Gibbons, there is then a significant drop-off to the next tier, and I hope it doesn't get to that point, mainly because then Jeromy Burnitz starts to look good. If it does get down to the next tier, however, I would not be upset if Hendry signed Reggie Sanders. My main concern with Reggie is his age. Corner OFs have longer "shelf life" than most position players do, but 38 is starting to get a bit long-in-the-tooth, even for a corner outfielder. But I would prefer Reggie Sanders over the younger options (Juan Encarnacion, Preston Wilson or Jacque Jones, for instance), mainly because I do not want to block Felix Pie in both CF (where I expect the Cubs to sign Pierre to a multi-year deal) AND RF, where Encarnacion, Wilson, and Jones are going to want AT LEAST two years plus maybe a third year club option with a buy-out.

I'm willing to give Jim Hendry the benefit of the doubt, that if he doesn't get Abreu, Ibanez, Huff, or Gibbons, that it wasn't because he didn't try. You can't force another GM to make a trade if he doesn't want to do it, or sometimes there isn't a "match," or sometimes you can't always get what you want. But Hendry has to at least TRY and make an offer that would make the other GM think twice before saying "No!".

John Hill, I don't disagree regarding Ibanez. But I also think that Huff could put up those same numbers, and given that he is younger and has achieved those levels in the past, I think he would be more likely than Ibanez to do so. (Tampa is a slight pitcher's park and simply an altogether depressing place to play, no wonder his numbers have slipped.) Huff's ability to play 3B is a big deal and means less of an offensive downgrade on the days A-Ram sits (which are plentiful enough that they should go into our planning).

And I totally agree that we should be able to do better in RF!

AZ Phil, I understand your points. There is a value to Ibanez's remarkable consistency, especially if you are essentially looking at one year. (Huff's decline last year was mystifying, and having seen a few games at the dark, dank Trop, I can kinda understand why every player that has been at Tampa has declined the longer they stayed there!)

Your point on Wilkerson is interesting. Frankly, Texas should keep him, as he is a flyball hitter and could bash 35 HRs in Arlington. Your "passive" point reminds me of the criticism of Wilkerson that Jim Bowden had made several times this season -- that he "strikes out too much". So trade him for Soriano, Jim! Problem solved!

Can't CPAT hit those kinds of numbers if he's out of the top 5 in the batting order?

haha.. You really think that Korey will put up a line of .300/.360/.500?

I would be overjoyed if Korey could have a .360 OBP - I would also probably be dreaming.

Patterson has only had 3 months in last the three years where his OBP was .345 or higher. His career line is .252/.293/.414.

Please tell us how Korey is magically going to his 48 points higher than his career average, 67 points higher than his career OBP, and 86 points higher than his career slugging.

There is no way that Korey hits that line this year for the Cubs.

#73 of 79: By Rob G. (December 16, 2005 12:27 PM)
from the folks who claimed that Furcal was signing a $100mil deal with the Cubs and trading for Soriano, comes this tidbit..

http://diamondbacks.scout.com/2/478484.html

Yes, yes it would. Green starts for one simple reason, because he's making about $7 million more than the other two combined. Now, just so everyone understands, Green is going to be dealt, probably to the Chicago Cubs, in the next couple of days. But today, right now, Green is your starting right fielder.

Maybe this is the other trade that Hendry had in the works that's supposedly a "longshot"

---

ROB G: It's a "long-shot," all right.

The big problem with the Cubs acquiring Shawn Green isn't that the D'backs wouldn't want to trade him (they would LOVE to trade him!), but it's that he has a limited "no trade" where he can only be traded to the Padres, Angels, or Giants.

In fact, the ONLY reasons he waived his iron-clad "no trade" to come to Arizona from the Dodgers last year are because his wife is from Phoenix, and D'backs CEO Jeffrey Moorad used to be his agent.

I suppose it's POSSIBLE that if the Cubs were to guarantee the club portion of Green's 2008 mutual option and/or give him a contract extension, that he might at least CONSIDER coming to Chicago.

But it seems far, far more likely that if Green does indeed get traded in the next few days or weeks, that it will be to one of the clubs that are actually on his list of teams to which he will accept a trade (Giants, Padres, or Angels).

FYI, Green will make $8m in 2006, $9.5m in 2007, and $10m (mutual option) in 2008.

Please tell us how Korey is magically going to his 48 points higher than his career average, 67 points higher than his career OBP, and 86 points higher than his career slugging.

Career year. But then again he might of already had his career year.

#45...uh yeah but he also hit 37 or 38 HRs with a lot more RBI's last season. Those help too.

"I used to bag on Walker to my father--mostly because I still expect to see Sandberg type plays.

With that, it is safe to say people on this blog like numbers, so here we go:

Walker w/ man on 3rd, Men on, 2 out .335/.409/.553

In the 2 years with the Cubs, he has committed 15 errors, 1 less than the 16 he committed in just the 2003 season.

He comes cheap, is perfect for the 2 slot, so why let him go?"

Agreed. Why set your path to shed numbers like that?
Because Dusty saw Mississippi Burning, and thinks that the Southern White boy can't handle the sun like the brothers, and has cut a deal with Neifi for a large percentage of his incentive bonus.

Seriously what is up with that??? Why not have a discriminating hitter with excellent on base numbers hassle pitchers thinking about Pierre on first? He is one of the few fundamentally sound players on the team. Perhaps winning the CWS with LSU was his fatal flaw in Dusty's eyes? Perhaps he, like Steve Stone, questioned the management logic in a decision to say, send Jeromy Burnitz to run out of an inning?

Go ahead, trade Walker, I'm sure he'd be happy to play for a contender. Since our 2006 season is already over, let's think ahead to 2007...

Post your top 3 replacements for Manager in 07:
1. Bobby Valentine
2. Lou Piniella
3. Larry Bowa

Post your top 3 2B prospects:
1. Mike Fontenot
2. ?
3. ?

WWW.DUSTYSUCKS.COM,

First numbers on here that make any sense to me. Everybody wants more runs......and are willing to trade Walker to get them.

How the hell does that get you MORE?

For me, start Cedeno at SS, Walker at 2nd, super sub is Hairston whether he likes it or not, and Nefi to back up either one.

THEN AND ONLY THEN, if you want to spend some real jack on some established offense out of RF, go get it and dump CPAT.

I'm still not convinced CPAT can't hit the numbers Big Lebowski (Wait that was a movie) threw out. Mark my words....trade him to a stable manager, and the guy will hit those numbers.

Joey out

Larry Bowa as manager? Good Lord, I'd rather have him back at shortstop. My wife's family is from back in Philadelphia where Bowa is reviled by everyone from the players to the fans to the grounds crew. I don't even think Bowa likes himself.

Where's Jim Riggleman when you need him?

I second that TBone, NO Larry Bowa. Also no Bobby Valentine, forutnately he already has a job.

Larry Bowa as manager? Good Lord, I'd rather have him back at shortstop.

Don't give Dusty any ideas.

The word from Boston is that Jeremy West, AA 1B, will be the PTBNL for Van Buren. 7th round pick out of the 2003 draft and just turned 24 last month. As recent as 2004 he was one of the Sox up and coming prospect hitters, but he took a slight down turn this season for the Portland Sea Dogs.

In 127 games, he was 126 for 472 with 48 runs, 32 doubles, 3 triples, 10 hrs, 50 rbi, 41 bb, 76 k, .267/.340/.411/.751.

He's the type of hitter the Red Sox look for and the Cubs don't. Someone who avoids bad pitches and works counts to get a good pitch to drill. He has great confidence to go along with his great plate discipline. He's a line drive guy wit scattered power. He'll hit balls out to right and center, not just to left. He's out of the same mold as Matt Murton.

Played in the 2004 All-star game with Brandon Sing and Matt Murton. Both of whom he has a friendship with and admires their approach at the plate.

Scary:

Cub life?
Dec 16 - The Cubs are not opposed to offering free agent Jacque Jones a three-year contract, despite recent published suggestions to the contrary, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports. According to sources who have spoken with the Cubs, their list of desirable, left-handed-hitting outfield bats has shrunk so dramatically, they now appear willing to add a third year to their offer if that's what it takes to sign Jones.
The Cubs also are now re-thinking Aubrey Huff, whose defensive questions had previously placed him lower on their shopping list. They have struck out in attempts to deal for Brad Wilkerson, Seattle's Raul Ibanez and Baltimore's Jay Gibbons.

i see hairston starting over neifi if t.walker leaves...it looks that way anyway.

based on what?

When Walker was injured last season, Dusty clearly prefered having Neifi in the line-up at 2nd - leading to JHJ's much talked out complaint that he is "a 2nd baseman not a utility guy."

Without looking it up, I don't think JHJ played a single game in the infield during the entire 2nd half of last season.

From RotoWorld

The Mariners are close to signing Jarrod Washburn to a four-year deal worth $36 million-$38 million, CBS Sportsline.com reports.
An awful lot of money. A healthy Washburn might be worth it, but this is someone who has averaged 163 1/3 innings the last two years. This would take the Mariners out of the hunt for Kevin Millwood. They still might be interested in acquiring Matt Clement or Bronson Arroyo from Boston. Gil Meche is likely to be non-tendered, and Joel Pineiro could be moved for offense. Dec. 16

j.hairston at 2nd if t.walker leaves based on rumblings from not only the front office and dusty, but neifi himself. its not huge noise, but hairston is not on the table in trade talks while walker has been.

honestly, i doubt walker will be moved at this point while i think j.williams is good as gone.

losing out on furcal changed things a bit in cubs-land.

it'll sort itself out this spring depending on who's around...talk is cheap this time of year.

Cubsnerd:
" I think you're going to be a great GM for a sports franchise some day.

Before we annoint John Hill a GM of a baseball team, maybe he should actually see a game in person first. :)

Jacos:
"but this team is being put together like it has in the past, which is hoping the talent in the division will come down to the Cubs level."

Good point...

The Cubs have made very few changes with this team and considering they are takins steps backwards ina few spots (RF, SS and starting pitching), Pierre and a couple relievers are no where close to enough help. Hendry has the money to spend and teh talent to trade and he hasn't done it. It looks so far like another long year.

Rob G:
"The Cubs look to be in the unfortunate position of waiting around for the Astros and Cardinals to get worse, while simultaneously hoping that the Brewers donít improve, as they roll perilously closer to celebrating the dubious milestone of 100 years without a World Series triumph."

Thanks for that quote....CONGRATS HENDRY!!! Things continue to get worse every year since 2003. UGH!

Siperjimmer:
"It is all on Hendry now."

NICE, if only everyone truly felt that way maybe there would be some serious pressure on him or he would finally be gone with another non playoff season.

pierre and a couple of relievers are a step up.

for reality's sake...you cant even count nomar as a cubs for last year...you had neifi. in CF you had pattterson 1/2 the time. in the pen you had crap, crap, and dumpster.

the kids in the pen are grown up a bit. burnitz's replacement will most likely be at minimum on par with his performance.

the pen additions were huge, imo. im not a big eyre fan, but he cant hurt. im a big howry fan.

Retro Shine-
"Don't give Dusty any ideas."

Hendry would have to sign him first, but with his past of signing crappy SS over the past couple years, you never know.

This is way out in the left field but maybe the Cubs could solve the RF problem in house. Namely Brandon Sing. The Cubs currently have him at 3b, but he has played 1b and OF in the past. The problem is the Cubs don't really know where he is best suited defensively but I would guess he isn't pretty in the OF. Just thinking outside the box, it is probably extremly dumb, ridicule away.

Anyways, I am really happy to see Cedeno hitting .362 in Winter Ball but is that indictive of what to expect? Because Jose Macias is hitting .375.

I also hope to see what Raul Valdes can do in spring training next year. This guy has the ability to make the big league roster but is really on the outside looking in due to the numbers situation in the bullpen.

Crunch-
Yes Pierre and the two releivers are a step up in their spots, but there are clear downgrades in others (SS, RF and starting pitching). Of course i am assuming right now Cpat is starting in RF as that is what our GM said.

And how can you say we can't count Nomar. He was one of the supposed big signings we made last offseason and it really hurt us when he went down as he was penciled in as a top of the order guy and our starting SS.

But i agree with you that adding bullpen guys were key as the bullpen was horrid last year. But I just don't see much overall improvement, especially when you consider Lee has to have a worse year and the starting pitching outside of Prior and Z are HUGE question makrs.

Thanks for that quote....CONGRATS HENDRY!!! Things continue to get worse every year since 2003. UGH!

Manny, are you going to spend the entire offseason trying to rewrite history?

Thanks for that quote....CONGRATS HENDRY!!! Things continue to get worse every year since 2003. UGH!

Well actually the team was better in 2004 than 2003, on paper and on the field.

MikeC:
"This is way out in the left field but maybe the Cubs could solve the RF problem in house. Namely Brandon Sing. Just thinking outside the box, it is probably extremly dumb, ridicule away."

If the other options are CPAT or Jones for 3 years in RF, I like your idea. Why not? This year is looking more and more like a rebuilding year anyways. hendry has $20 million still left to spend and not many good players to spend it on. The only problem with having Sing start is having 3 rookies of the starting 8 players on Opening Day. that puts a lot of pressure on them. We all know they will go through slumps (hopefully not at teh same time) and if they don't pan out, right now we really don't have anyone who can step in and thrive very well.

Mike (and AZ Phil), give me you quick take on Sing and what kind of player you think he can be in the near future. Thanks!!

j.hairston at 2nd if t.walker leaves based on rumblings from not only the front office and dusty, but neifi himself.

Are those rumblings from any specific places? I haven't heard anything of the sorts, particularly where JHJ is concerned. The only things I've heard from Neifi are about being a backup if Furcal had been signed or if Dusty decides to play Cedeno. Nothing about being a backup if Todd Walker leaves.

Rob G,:
Well actually the team was better in 2004 than 2003, on paper and on the field."

I din't mean wins, i meant results.

2003 - the team won the division and made it to the NLCS.
2004 - the team won more games but did not make teh playoffs.
2005 - the team was under .500

Looks like going backwards to me.

2004 - the team won more games but did not make teh playoffs.

Ironically, at this time last year Manny was saying more wins by the 2004 team was evidence that Dusty is a great manager.

Of course i am assuming right now Cpat is starting in RF as that is what our GM said.

More like Hendry answering if Korey was a posibility in RF, nothing more.

----
http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/sportsstory...

Starting in right field for your 2006 Chicago Cub[s] Ö Corey Patterson? Probably not, but with the Cubs scrambling to sign or trade for a left-handed hitter to play right field, general manager Jim Hendry went on record Wednesday as not ruling out the beleaguered Patterson.

"Sure," Hendry said.

----
http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

"Asked if Corey Patterson could play right field, Hendry replied, "Sure." If he plans to make that statement next month at the Cubs' annual fan convention, he would be advised to hire several armed guards to ensure his protection.

In truth, Hendry also is involved in trade discussions about Patterson after acquiring center fielder Juan Pierre from the Florida Marlins. So he simply was acknowledging that Patterson remains on the roster, not predicting that he will get the job in right field."
---
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

After Pierre's introductory news conference Wednesday at Wrigley Field, general manager Jim Hendry disclosed he would offer Patterson arbitration next week and might give him the right-field job in 2006.

Well Rob G., as of right now he is our starting RF, unless Hendry can do something to get someone better. And as the article earlier in the thread stated, Hendry's options are drying up quickly.

Bleeding Blue:
"Ironically, at this time last year Manny was saying more wins by the 2004 team was evidence that Dusty is a great manager."

Ironically, last year at this time BLEEDING BLUE was stating that not making the playoffs showed the team to be wrose, but now, by me saying they were worse in 2004 because they did not make the playoffs is rewriting history. HA HA!!! So you just change your opinion in the wind to go against mine...NICE!!

Well Rob G., as of right now he is our starting RF,

According to who? Hairston, Murton, Mabry or Pie could just be as well. My $$$ would be on Mabry if they forced them to play next week.

I din't mean wins, i meant results.
So if the Cubs won the NL Central in 2004 with a 100+ wins, but lost in the NLDS, that would still constitute as going backwards?
Okay....

When did I ever say that the Cubs were worse in 2004?

I've said countless times that the 2004 Cubs team was the most talented Cubs team of my lifetime. That's changing my opinion?? Dusty's failure to get that team to the playoffs was an insult to anyone who everyone who follows the Cubs.

I'm also glad to see you ignored everything I wrote yesterday about blaming Hendry for getting talent and Dusty for performace of that talent.

So I guess you'll keep trying to rewrite the past to blame Hendry for the Cubs inability to perform up to their talent level.

Rob G.:
"My $$$ would be on Mabry if they forced them to play next week."

My $$ would of on Patterson. If Hendry is willing to offer him arbitration and not trade him, he will be starting. I just don't see him coming of fthe bench.

"So if the Cubs won the NL Central in 2004 with a 100+ wins, but lost in the NLDS, that would still constitute as going backwards?"

No, that would not constitute going backwards as they made the playoffs, but as I have said many times I think the playoffs are a bit of a crap shoot.

But what team would you consider better? A team with 98 wins and misses the playoffs or a team that won 87 games as a wild card, but won the World Series. Okay...

I think looking down the bench, CP is our best available player for right field. And that's me talking. i think Dusty would feel the same way. While I think he sucks I think the other options suck worse.

Bleeding Blue:
"When did I ever say that the Cubs were worse in 2004?"

If not you maybe many others have stated just becuase the team won more games in 2004 does not mean they were better as they did not make teh playoffs and that is the key factor. if you did not say that i apologize, but I think you get pissed when people point out 2004 had more wins thus justifing teh season some.

"Manny was saying more wins by the 2004 team was evidence that Dusty is a great manager."

And I never said winning more games in 2004 made Dusty Baker a great manager. Talk about rewriting history.

And I never said winning more games in 2004 made Dusty Baker a great manager. Talk about rewriting history

What you said was Dusty Baker is a great manager, and we should be celebrating because he had led the Cubs to back to back winning seasons.

Just because your position was paraphrased doesn't mean it was misquoted.

But what team would you consider better?
That's easy, the 98 win team, Duh!!! The 87 win team was probably just luckier. Of course I'd rather live through the 87 win team that won the World Series, but I'm not sure I'd consider them better than the 98 win team. That is of course assuming all things were equal. If the 87 win team was belittled with injuries, while the 98 win team was a picture of good health, than they may be closer than their records indicate. With the unbalanced schedule, the divison they play in would make a difference too if we were comparing different franchises.

No, that would not constitute going backwards as they made the playoffs,
But the results would have been worse than 2003, which by your logic would mean the team is worse and "going backwards"

My $$ would of on Patterson. If Hendry is willing to offer him arbitration and not trade him, he will be starting. I just don't see him coming of fthe bench.

But the original point made by you in #104 was that Hendry said Korey was the starting RF at this point, which he did not. All he did was answer whether Korey could play RF, which he gave a less than definitive answer of "Sure".

From #109

Rob G,:
Well actually the team was better in 2004 than 2003, on paper and on the field."

Manny:
I din't mean wins, i meant results.
__________________

If the 2004 team was better on paper, but it got fewer results, how is that Hendry's fault?

If Hendry somehow got the 2006 Cubs roster to be identical to the roster of the 2005 NL All-Star team, would it be Hendry's fault if they failed to make the playoffs?

2 weeks ago it was reported that "if the season started today, Jerry Hairston would be the starting RF." Keep in mind that Hairston replaced the pathetic Patterson on not just one occasion, but on two occasions.

Also, since I haven't been around in awhile I thought i'd own up and start eating crow as I said there was no way that Burnett would sign with the Blue Jays.

I was going to get on here to read a bit about the Cubs, but instead I get Manny Trillo making his weekly appearance....

Why! Bleeding Blue! Surely, you are not suggesting that it was (gasp) Dusty's fault that the team has underachieved? Surely you jest?!?!

2 weeks ago it was reported that "if the season started today, Jerry Hairston would be the starting RF."

Recall the context or the source by any chance, just curious. I recall reading some rumblings here about it, but not the actual article.

Thnx...

I thought i'd own up and start eating crow as I said there was no way that Burnett would sign with the Blue Jays.

Refreshing.... VIVA LA CANADA!!!! Blue Jays did what they had to do, overpay to get someone to play up there. Blue Jays were only 1 game behind the Yanks and 2 games behind the Red Sox based on run differential last year (horrible 16-31 one-run record). If they can land one more bat via trade, I can seem them making some serious noise next year in the East.

Bleeding Blue:
"What you said was Dusty Baker is a great manager, and we should be celebrating because he had led the Cubs to back to back winning seasons.

Just because your position was paraphrased doesn't mean it was misquoted."

If it was misparaphrased, which many including yourself do on this blog, yes it is misquoting, which is what happened again here. Firstly, I don't ever recall saying Baker was a "GREAT" manager. I do recall saying I think he was the best manager the Cubs have had in decades and a VERY good manager.

Secondly, what I did say was that considering the massive amount of injuries it is at least nice to see the team did get more wins, which is another example of my vast optimism I have for the Cubs and always trying to look for silver linings. Looking back at the amount of games missed, the season was decent and could of been much worse. But not as good as the healthy team on paper before the season for the 2004 Cubs.

"http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

A bit on how ungreat Juan PIerre is as a leadoff hitter and a perfect summation of the Cubs off-season so far..."

Judging Pierre's value based on 1 year? Of course they don't even bother to mention that the only guy on that list who is as disruptive (or even in the same category) of a presence on the bases is Podsednik. Why don't they list the stat that shows he strikes out less than any leadoff hitter?

I personally don't think Murton is ready for the big leagues. I say to leave him on the bench, which the Cubs could use some of, and so out and sign Preston Wilson to a one-year deal. This may seem stupid, but the Cubs are Wilson's #1 pick to play for, and with that in mind may demand less than other clubs. Besides, the Cubs are lacking power as of right now. As for the RF, Huff or Ibanez are the only two legit players to fill that empty spot. And, to bulk up the starting pitching, Millwood. He'd be a perfect #3 starter, and the Cubs have so much $$$ to spend. Like they always say, pitching wins championships.

Rob G.:
"That's easy, the 98 win team"

So in 2003 when the Marlins won the WS, they won 91 games, but in the EXACT same division the Braves won 101. But the Marlins won the WS. But my your thinking the Braves were the better team. Interesting...

But in my opinion the best team every year is the team that wins the WS. I guess you don't agree...

"But the results would have been worse than 2003, which by your logic would mean the team is worse and "going backwards""

Like I have said the playoffs are pretty much a crap shoot and are based mostly on matchups. The difference from winning a round in the playoffs or losing is very small. But over the course of 62 games the difference in making the playoffs or not, no matter how many games is HUGE.

"But the original point made by you in #104 was that Hendry said Korey was the starting RF at this point, which he did not."

I took it as he basically is setting up the realistic possibility that he can play there and start there, but no he did not say he will be starting. But as of right now he is most likely the starting RF.

Bleeding Blue:
"If the 2004 team was better on paper, but it got fewer results, how is that Hendry's fault?"

Not making the playoffs in 2004 was more becuase of the massive injuries than anything else.

"If Hendry somehow got the 2006 Cubs roster to be identical to the roster of the 2005 NL All-Star team, would it be Hendry's fault if they failed to make the playoffs?"

Not if injuries desimated the team.

But there is something to be said about signing injury prone players. And there is something to say about the best talent on paper does not always win. There are many other intangibles that go into it. And part of the GM's job is to get that good mix of talent and the players who play good as a team. Look at the White Sox last year.

So in 2003 when the Marlins won the WS, they won 91 games, but in the EXACT same division the Braves won 101. But the Marlins won the WS. But my your thinking the Braves were the better team. Interesting...

But in my opinion the best team every year is the team that wins the WS

The difference from winning a round in the playoffs or losing is very small.

Like I have said the playoffs are pretty much a crap shoot and are based mostly on matchups.

Let's see...

Best team is the team that wins the WS

Playoffs are a crap shoot

I'm lost...

"Of course they don't even bother to mention that the only guy on that list who is as disruptive (or even in the same category) of a presence on the bases is Podsednik. Why don't they list the stat that shows he strikes out less than any leadoff hitter?"

Good points John... it has become obvious that people like Juan Pierre just don't "fit in" to hardcore stat junkies definition of a leadoff hitter.

Low strike outs? Big deal...

Presence on the basepaths? Unquantifiable...

Old-age attributes such as those just don't mean as much as they used to to many baseball fans.

Has the game changed? No, not as much as some believe. What has changed though is the ability of every fan to use the "stat of the month" to tell themselves they can evaluate talent better than the pro's.

An attributes impact such as contact, speed, etc. are hard to quantify on stats alone and therefore are discounted as almost inconsequential to todays game.

To me its a joke, to others its almost a religion. Just a difference in opinion I guess.

Rob G.:
"I'm lost..."

The team that wins the WS is the best team. They are the WORLD CHAMPS...PERIOD.

But the playoffs are pretty much a crap shoot and mostly based on MATCHUPS.

But that doesn't mean the team that wins it all isn't the best team, as they did win it all.

I don't think it is a hard concept to understand.

What's up with all this baseball talk?

http://www.cubsnet.com/node/822

"HBO Sports Seeking Help From Cubs Fans For Documentary"

Anyone seen this yet? Many of you guys seem more than qualified to participate.

re: that baseballprospectus crap

pierre has a bad 05 and he's junk. okay, whatever.

im not a big pierre fan, but he's one of the fastest guys in the league and destroys the pitching game for a lot of pitchers when he's on base.

he hits singles, he steals, but above all else he effects the batter(s) behind him and what they see 250+ times a year.

yeah, the article wasnt THAT hard on him, but the point they were making of pierre is kinda short sighted given the 4 years before that and the fact he's 28.

"Interestingly enough, Jeromy Burnitz and Matt Lawton were both Cubs last year and have since been discarded. While the Cubs were smart to decline the $7 million club option on Burnitz, they are not likely to do much better on the free agent market"

now that i can agree with...at worst it seems theyre gonna get a similar player. at best it doesnt seem like too much more upside than that.

the article also has neifi as a starter...which is a joke. if they'd get their heads outta the stats they'd know baker's been pushing cedeno and its his job to lose outta spring (unless he ends up at 2nd...which is doubtful given how natural of a SS he is).

"Yes Pierre and the two releivers are a step up in their spots, but there are clear downgrades in others (SS, RF and starting pitching). Of course i am assuming right now Cpat is starting in RF as that is what our GM said.

And how can you say we can't count Nomar. He was one of the supposed big signings we made last offseason and it really hurt us when he went down as he was penciled in as a top of the order guy and our starting SS. "

well, considering the SS last year except for a month or so neifi, its either the same or improved slightly depending on how you feel about cedeno and his role.

RF cant get any worse, but probally wont be too much better given the market.

SP...wood missed over 2/3rd of the season...prior missed a month+...unless someone goes down 2/3rd of a season i dont see how the SP got worse. espeically when the SP are the same guys the team ended the year with.

and on top of that pierre takes over patterson's full time role, mabry replaces macias, eyre/howry deepen the bullpen roles left by remlinger/borowski and the rest of the kids in the pen ohman/wuertz/novoa got another year behind them. williamson is also up to full stregnth...

i see no steps backward or even stalling.

if aram can keep his groin in 1 piece and wood can make it back by the mid/end of april, the team's main dangers seem to be mellowed.

Manny: While you raise some good points, winning the World Series does NOT automatically make you the best team in baseball in a given year. All you need do is look at 2005. The Cardinals, as much as I hate to admit it, were the best team in all of baseball. The White Sox (and I love to admit this, I must confess) were NOT the best team in baseball. They, however, won the WS (and in a dominant fashion), which therefore makes them the rightful champions. Being a champion, however, does not make one the best.

You said yourself that the playoffs were a "crapshoot"...Some teams match up well against some teams, and poorly against others. The Sox were able to defeat the weak-pitching Red Sox, a beaten-up Angels team, and an offense-free Astros team. However, had the White Sox faced...I dunno...the A's in the first round of the play-offs, I can guarantee you that the South Siders would be sans a World Series trophy.

Again, having said that, they are the reigning world champions.

To say that the '03 Cubs were better than the '04 Cubs is an odd argument, also. An injured '04 team won more games, and, were it not for some mystically evil force (some people blame the goat, I blame Dusty's continued use of LaTroy Hawkins in save situations), would have at least made it to the play-offs, where they would have had a dominant Zambrano, a battle-tested Maddux, and a resurgent Prior...I'll take my chances with that rotation in a short series (as long as no freak injury would force one of them out of the game to allow the opposing team to feast on a crap-tacular bullpen...).

Again, no way to change time or prove that the '04 team would have gone further, but, as Rob G said, the '04 Cubs were better on paper, and, when healthy, on the field.

Crunch-
Usually I am right there with you as an eternal optimist, but as of right now I can't justify it.

1B will most likely be a downgrade as I can't imagine ANYONE will expect the same numbers from Lee. Dempster is not going to go the entire season and blow only 2 saves. Having maddux, Rusch and Williams for the whole year as our 3-4-5 is not good (maddux is only going to keep getting worse). Wood and Prior have to be major injury concerns. Then throw in 2 rookies which we have no clue what we are going to get from them.

I don't see any improvement overall to the team. At best it can be said they stayed the same, which would be a sub.500 team with a $100 million payroll.

Of course I understand your take as I am usually in your shoes tring to make the best out of every situation, but this year I just can't see it.

"(some people blame the goat, I blame Dusty's continued use of LaTroy Hawkins in save situations)"

c'mon...hawkins 4 losses added to the 27-29 losses the pen gave up, but the guy pitched 19 innings.

garciappara and k.wood missing 3/4 of the season...the failure of patterson/hollandsworth/dubois (and later lawton)...the above mentioned near league-bottom pen...and the absentee bench with the usual shorter injuries (wood/t.walker) had a lot to do with 04's woes.

"the usual shorter injuries (wood/t.walker) had a lot to do with 04's woes."

make that (prior/t.walker)...aram had his groin stuff, too...sigh.

The Joe-
If they want to do a pity the Cub fans piece like they did the Red Sox fans in 2003, they can stick up their ass.
Unlike Boston fans I believe real Cub fans don't enjoy and project our misery to the world.

Crunch:

Are you sure you're thinking of '04? Because you're describing the '05 season...

"Of course I understand your take as I am usually in your shoes tring to make the best out of every situation, but this year I just can't see it."

no, seriously...i see no steps backward.

no, i dont expect another season like that from lee, but i dont see him losing 10 homers and 20-30ob% points as much of an issue.

i know signing eyre/howry isnt sexy, but damn...seriously...this team needed that.

eyre's arm is made of rubber and last year+ he started showing an ability to work more than just vs. the lefties. howry's a professional pitcher, period...and neither guy is pushing 40. i see this help as a huge upgrade. i also expect wuertz/ohman to be a bit tighter, especially since ohman should be able to pursue his more effective "loogy" (i hate that word) role mostly full-time.

these arent just me telling myself its good just cuz i wanna feel good. barring injury and counting on wood missing a 1/2-1month at most out of the starting rotation, i dont see much of a reason to hate any of the moves made except giving neifi 2 years.

im not a dumpster fan, either...but im not really worried about that with howry there.

yeah, i mean 05..thanks. heh

sorry about that..enjoy the 05 rehash. haha

That is why it is of paramount concern to obtain someone like Kevin Millwood. However, I do not think that we will get him or anyone to fill the 3/4 spot in the rotation! It should be as important as getting a RF. If Kid-K goes down or is not ready to pitch, there obviously needs to be someone who will fill that hole. Many problems could be solved if we had a rotation of Zambrano, Prior, Wood, Millwood, Maddux (that is a damn good rotation)

At this point I would just flip Guzman for Gathright and be done with it. Get rid of Guzman before he injures himself again and stick Gathright in RF. No one seems interested in the dollars or years for a Preston Wilson or Jaque Jones so this is better than nothing.

Yeah I am bored and I like Gathright, flame away.

hell, you could get huff for a.guzman, probally.

or mench...

guzman/r.hill/cedeno all have some serious value as far as near-mlb-ready guys.

hell, doporak has more value than b.sing outta sheer projectability though it seems like it shouldnt be like that. weird how value works somethings.

Ryan:
"Being a champion, however, does not make one the best."

It makes them the best, just maybe not the best on paper, but on paper is crap unless you do it on the field and the White Sox did in convincing fashion all year.

"However, had the White Sox faced...I dunno...the A's in the first round of the play-offs, I can guarantee you that the South Siders would be sans a World Series trophy."

But the A's were not a good enough team to get into the playoffs, so how can it even be said they were a better team than the White Sox this year? Yes, maybe they had the White Sox number last year in their yearly regular season series, but that is far from saying they were better.

"as Rob G said, the '04 Cubs were better on paper, and, when healthy, on the field."

Too bad we will never know as they were devastated with injuries almost the entire season.

But thanks for a thoughful and nonconfrontational response to my post.

KarlH - We don't need to have this awesome rotation #1-#5. A team can win 100 games with 2 top of the line starters at the front of the rotation and 3 average starters in the rest of the rotation.

Millwood doesn't do you any good if you can't score any runs. So why waste the money? Were fine with Prior, Z, and whoever else after that. Just get some damn offense for this team. You need to field a well balanced team that can pitch and that can hit. Everyone seems more interested in filling out the Cubs fantasy rotation than putting out a complete team.

But there is something to be said about signing injury prone players.

There's also something to be said about how those players become injury prone in the first place.

The biggest 2 injuries of 2004 were the losses of Prior and Wood. In 2003, many people warned that Dusty was abusing Prior and Wood, in 2004 and into 2005 both players missed significant time. We'll never know exactly how much the "abuse" of 2003 led to the injury problems in later years, but its one hell of a coincidence.

And there is something to say about the best talent on paper does not always win. There are many other intangibles that go into it.

Certainly. Some teams come together and decide they want to win more than anything else. Other teams implode and blame their failures on the fans, broacasters, etc.

But who is responsible for making the best talent on paper be the best team on the field?

Or in other words, if that's not the managers job, then why bother hiring one? Just let the players coach themselves and save a couple million a year.

Crunch:
"i know signing eyre/howry isnt sexy, but damn...seriously...this team needed that."

I agree the bullpen needed to be addressed. We were the two top guys saying that all last year. I just hope these guys are the answer as we spent a lot of money on them.

But overall I just don't see enough, if any improvement overall to get this team above .500 right now.

MikeC: I like Gathright, too...if we didn't already trade for Pierre. Our outfield is not going to boast much pop as is (maybe God will help one of Pierre's doubles turn into an inside-the-park-homer, but that doens't happen often), and I think we'd be lucky to get 20 round-trippers from Murton (I do love his approach at the plate, though...he's an ideal #2 hitter if we trade Walker), so acquiring Gathright may not be the best move. I love Arizona Phil's proposed trade to land Bobby Abreu, but I'd be more than happy if we could get Ibanez or (I know everyone'll hate this) Mench...now, here me out....

Mench has a good arm and solid glove. He also manages to avoid striking out every other at-bat *cough* Korey *cough*, so putting him in a platoon along with Patterson in right field (assuming we can't move Patterson) could make for a solid outfield.

The biggest 2 injuries of 2004 were the losses of Prior and Wood. In 2003, many people warned that Dusty was abusing Prior and Wood, in 2004 and into 2005 both players missed significant time. We'll never know exactly how much the "abuse" of 2003 led to the injury problems in later years, but its one hell of a coincidence.

Ohh, I was one of the people warning it could be a possibility. Z was never a concern to being over-worked but I think in 2005 he was towards the top in pitcher abuse like Wood and Prior in previous years. Not saying Zambrano might come up injured next year, but we are the Chicago Cubs.....

prior's overuse injuries are about as much of a myth as dusty the arm killer.

dusty's sent 1 arm to surgery...rob nen...the guy who throws 60-70 innings a year.

i guess you can add wood to it, though its not new territory for him...might as well add chad fox's 10 or so innings =p

seriously, this whole magic arm abuse thing...the 80s were not that long ago...genetics have not changed that quickly.

not even 15-20 years ago you'd have 250+ip years from guys where they threw 120+ pitches pretty regularly. this was pretty common right up into the mid90s when a starter who could stay in 1 piece for 200 innings consistantly could get paid like a high-end slugger was getting paid years earlier.

Too bad we will never know as they were devastated with injuries almost the entire season.

That's a great excuse, except the Cubs actually played better when they were dealing with injuries. Most everyone was back healthy in August and September, and that's when the team imploded.

And in another attempt to stop the rewriting of history, I encourage everyone to go back and read some of TCR threads from August and Sept. 2004.

Many people like myself were pointing out the near daily implosions of a mostly healthy team, while fiddlers called us "negative Dusty Haters" as the team burned.

Bleeding Blue:
"The biggest 2 injuries of 2004 were the losses of Prior and Wood. In 2003, many people warned that Dusty was abusing Prior and Wood, in 2004 and into 2005 both players missed significant time."

What about Zambrano? But everything still gets spun back to Dusty...hmm???? Agenda??

"Some teams come together and decide they want to win more than anything else. Other teams implode and blame their failures on the fans, broacasters, etc."

And some teams are just flat out projected wrong. On paper they look great, but just don't gel or other factors make it where they just are not as good as people think they are. And some of it might be the manager not getting everything out of the team. There are many possibilities.

"...if that's not the managers job, then why bother hiring one? Just let the players coach themselves and save a couple million a year."

Some people agree with that. That is why there have been player/managers in the past.

Manny:

No problemo on the non-confrontational front...had enough confrontations with my girlfriend/new roommate in the past few days to last me through next year...

I have to stand by my point, however. Not only were the Sox not the best on paper, they were not the best on the field, either. They are the world champions, and deservedly so, but I think you can add them to a list of teams who have won the World Series but weren't necessarily the best team in baseball in that given year. For example: Were the '03 Marlins the best team in all of baseball, or were they a very good young team that got hot at the right time?

Manny,

For all your bitching about Maddux-Williams-Rusch as the 3-5 starters can you name be 5 better back of the rotations in the NL? Also it is not like Wood is going to be out all year. He will most likely miss April and then he slides in the 3 spot. Anyways how can you critcize Hendry for not making any moves? He filled the two biggest gaps on the team in the pen and the leadoff hole. Sorry if he is not Dumbass Ken Williams and trading 30% of his top ten prospects list, a GG caliber CF, and one of the most clutch pitchers for a guy who might be done in Thome and an overhyped glorified 4th starter in Vazquez.

Some people agree with that. That is why there have been player/managers in the past.

but even a player-manager is a manager.

Again, if its not the job of the manager to get the most out of his team, then why have one at all?

If Dusty's not responsible for anything, it sure seems like that $4 million could be better used elsewhere.

Bleeding Blue:
"That's a great excuse, except the Cubs actually played better when they were dealing with injuries. Most everyone was back healthy in August and September, and that's when the team imploded."

HA HA HA

Talk about revisionist history...

Did you even follow the Cubs in 2004??

Cubs record by month in 2004:
April: 13-9
May: 14-14
June: 15-12
July: 14-13
August: 16-12
Sept/Oct: 17-13
Overall: 89-73

So, you said "in August and September, and that's when the team imploded.", but they actually went 33-25 in that time (8 games over .500 and they finished 16 games over .500 for the entire season).

They played their best ball in the last two months even counting losing 7 of the last 9 games.

And you say I am trying to rewrite history...BUNCH of HYPOCRISY!!!!

But overall I just don't see enough, if any improvement overall to get this team above .500 right now.

This also assumes that the 2005 Cubs didn't have the talent to finish above .500 and that the 79 wins they finished with was the best record they were capable of.

Seriously, the Brewers were a good young .500 team, but the Cubs despite their flaws were more far talented than the Brewers.

Manny, in fact, not only did you project a 90 win team last year, but early in the season you made a point of laughing at people like Cubfan who said they thought the Cubs were only a .500 team.

Since I've done my best to stop the rewriting of 2004, I figured I'd move on to stop the rewriting of 2005.

Manny,

I think Bleeding Blue was refering to that stretch of games vs. NYM, CIN, and ATL where they blew the Wild Card.

Ryan:
"No problemo on the non-confrontational front...had enough confrontations with my girlfriend/new roommate in the past few days to last me through next year..."

Look forward to have more conversations with ya, don't hesitate to respond to my posts with agreement or disagreement. Oh yeah...Wait till you get a wife...:)

"Were the '03 Marlins the best team in all of baseball, or were they a very good young team that got hot at the right time?"

Good point, they were just the hot team at the right time, but then by your thinking, we shouldn't even have a postseason and just award the championship to the team with the best record.

So, you said "in August and September, and that's when the team imploded.", but they actually went 33-25 in that time (8 games over .500 and they finished 16 games over .500 for the entire season).

In July the Cubs were leading the wild card race. Despite getting healthy and getting Nomar, they gave up that lead in August and September to teams that wanted to win and knew winning just 57 pecent of their games wasn't going to cut it down the stretch run.

Again, go back and read the comments from that time to see just how many of those 25 games were games they should have won.

I followed the Cubs in 2004, I just didn't do it with my eyes closed chanting "in dusty we trust"

Chifan:
"Sorry if he is not Dumbass Ken Williams"

That DUMBASS won a World Series though.

Past observations of medium-tier hitters moving from AL to NL have not been favorable during their first season. Therefore, I would opt against Jones or even Ibanez for RF and prefer Green (hitting between Lee and Ramirez). Of course, I'd actually prefer Abreu but that appears unlikely. Get a lefthanded bat there and a guy who doesn't have to change leagues (I'm not referring to the best of the best, who don't care what league they're hitting in). I don't think Green would cost us much personnel-wise. Keep Walker and hit him second. Keep Patterson and let him see if he can outplay Murton for LF-some healthy competition for both. Grab Jeff DaVanon off the scrap heap for the bench. Finally, spend some $ and corral Milwood, who I believe may be dominant in an '06 return to the NL.

Bleeding Blue:
"Again, if its not the job of the manager to get the most out of his team, then why have one at all?"

Someone has to actually fill out and sign the lineup card, right? :)

Yeah, what Ryan said....

No doubt the WS champion is "recognized" as the best team of the year and rightfully so, but which team I'd rather have to build off of or pick to win if they played the season over again and I'd take the team with more wins(actually the team with the better run differential).

Someone has to actually fill out and sign the lineup card, right? :)

Yeah, but you can just let the players rotate, or draw straws or even better give that job to the rookie. Slow-pitch softball teams do it all the time...

Bleeding Blue:
"Manny, in fact, not only did you project a 90 win team last year, but early in the season you made a point of laughing at people like Cubfan who said they thought the Cubs were only a .500 team."

Yes I did and I was 100% wrong. Cubfan was right. Like I have said many times over the past few days, the eternal optimist in me would not let me see the light. The addition by subtraction theory and hoping the teams above us would come back to us was Hendry's real hope for the playoffs last year and it was unrealistic. He was selling that crap and I bought it. Smartly others like MIKEC and Cubfan did not.

Chifan:
"I think Bleeding Blue was refering to that stretch of games vs. NYM, CIN, and ATL where they blew the Wild Card."

Then he shouldn't of said: "Most everyone was back healthy in August and September, and that's when the team imploded." He should of just said they imploded the last week of the season.

Bleeding Blue:
"Despite getting healthy and getting Nomar, they gave up that lead in August and September"

Nomar was not healthy though. He played like half the games with the Cubs.

They might of given up the lead but they DID NOT, like you said: "play better when they were dealing with injuries. Most everyone was back healthy in August and September, and that's when the team imploded."

That is revisionist history...

Manny, you are correct in #174, I was refering to the last two months of the season when they had the lead in the wild card race, had a healthy team, controlled their own destany and blew it.

as you said earlier in this thread, if you don't make the playoffs your record, even if it is 8 games over .500, doesn't matter

And seriously, you think the brewers (who were without Sheets for a good chunk of the year) were more talented than the 2005 cubs??

"That DUMBASS won a World Series though."

Manny,

He has had a history of making bad deals in the past and is contuing that trend now. You said your yourself the playoffs are a crapshoot. Imagine if the ump gets that AJ or Dye calls right they probably dont win the world series. Hendry is the better GM. The Cubs have not "lost" a trade trade since he has been GM as for Kenny you have Todd Ritchie and Billy Koch. yes last year KW got way lucky with that Podsednik trade look at his 04 numbers! and FA moves like AJ, Iguchi, and Hermanson.

Bleeding Blue:
"as you said earlier in this thread, if you don't make the playoffs your record, even if it is 8 games over .500, doesn't matter"

That is correct, but you were not talking about the playoffs you were talking about them playing better ball earlier in the seasdon and worse in August and Sept, which I showed was absolutely incorrect. Sorry....

They might of given up the lead but they DID NOT, like you said: "play better when they were dealing with injuries. Most everyone was back healthy in August and September, and that's when the team imploded

They were the wild card leading team up until August. They controlled their own destiny and could have easily made the playoffs. Instead, they imploded, and watched other teams pass them by.

and yes, they did play better baseball when they were dealing with injuries. The injury riddled team won 8 more games than they lost, the healthy team won 8 more games than it lost. If the injury replacement team did just as well as the healthy team, you've got to assume that the injury replacements were playing better baseball to overcome the difference in talent.

Chifan-
I agree, he has had a history of bad trades. He takes huge risks and unfortunately last year they paid off.

But you would rather have "the better GM who has not lost a trade" or the GM who's team won a World Series Title?

The White Sox were the best last year, I HATE it as much as you, but its FACT.

"We don't need to have this awesome rotation #1-#5"

Hmm, the Sox did. There is this stinging memory of maybe Buehrle, Garland, Garcia, Contreras! If you have that kind of rotation and a RF then you are set!

I am not saying that we should stop pursuing a RF, we need one to hit between or behind DLee and Aram

by the way, I will be so pissed if Nomar signs with either the astros or the Yankees!

And if anyone thinks what I'm saying is revisionist history, again, please go back and read the threads from August and Sept 2004.

People like me were being called Negative and Dusty Haters for pointing out how mistake after mistake were costing the Cubs wins and eventually cost them the playoffs.

while the sox 1-5 were good, and especially given the exhibition ozzie put on in the postseason not giving them work...that pen...was...a...godsend.

almost every arm they put in there owned almost any batter they faced.

...and almost all of them are coming back next year.

yeah, their pen didnt lose their team 27-29 games. immagine that.

There's no question that the 2004 Cubs under-achieved... big time, dude.
They really should've walked right over the Reds and Mets in the final week and a half of the season.

Bleeding Blue:
"If the injury replacement team did just as well as the healthy team, you've got to assume that the injury replacements were playing better baseball to overcome the difference in talent."

"injury replacement team" - (April - July) = 56-48 (.538)
"healthy team" - (August - October) = 32-23 (.582)

So a .538 winning percentage (equal to 87 wins) is "just as well" as a .582 winning percentage (equal to 94 wins). WOW!!!

Give it up man and just admit you didn't think they had as good of a record in Aug/Spet as you thought.

Another case of your revisionist history.....

Great now we have imposters.....

I could live with this opening day lineup: Pierre, Walker, Lee, Shawn Green, Ramirez, Patterson/Murton LF platoon, Barrett, Cedeno. Rotation of Zambrano, Prior, Kevin Milwood,(Wood at #4 upon his return), Maddux, Williams/Rusch. Guzman and Hill developing with steady innings at Triple-A (understood one of Williams, Hill or Guzman may be moved in the Green deal, though I'd like to keep all 3). Dempster, Howry, Eyre, Williamson, Ohman, Novoa in pen. Mabry, Jeff DaVanon, Perez, Hairston, Blanco off the bench. That crew should be able to do some damage in a NL Central that appears to be for the taking.

Speaking of imposters, I thought months ago, John Hill said there were going to be big changes to prevent people from stealing aliases on TCR. Is that still in the works, or is it going to be another year of imposters trying to trash the board?

"healthy team" - (August - October) = 32-23 (.582)

"in August and September, and that's when the team imploded.", but they actually went 33-25 in that time

You accuse me of trying to revise history when you revise your numbers in the same thread! Was the healthy team 33-25 or was it 32-23?

Anyway you look at it .562 or .582 over a two month stretch is a difference of one or two games, hardly a major change. The team that won 54% of its games on the backs of Sergio Mitre, Ramon Martinez, and Ray Ordonez had to play significantly better baseball than the team that won 57% of its games with Prior, Wood, Nomar and Super Neifi.

Of course all of this simply obscures the fact that the Cubs controled their own destiny in July, got healthy for the most part, and still imploded as they watched other teams pass them by.

Change the numbers all you want, there's only one person trying to revise history here, and going back into TCR's archives makes it very clear who is doing the revisions.

And before you accuse me of changing my tune, Manny, you're the one who originally said the team was 8 games over .500 with a healthy team and 8 games over .500 before August. I used those numbers until you decided to switch to percentages.

Bleeding Blue:
"Was the healthy team 33-25 or was it 32-23?"

32-23 was without Oct included. I included Oct at forst, but when I did the Wp I did not. They went 1-2 in OCt.

As for the rest...SPIN SPIN SPIN

And Manny, since I'm checking out for the night, you never answered this question.

Do you really think the 2005 Brewers - minus Sheets for much of the year - were a more talented team than the Cubs?

and If so, are you interested in buying a bridge? Dusty Baker built it, I promise...

Bleeding Blue:
"Do you really think the 2005 Brewers - minus Sheets for much of the year - were a more talented team than the Cubs?"

On paper, no. But on paper means nothing. There are hundreds of examples where teams were better on papaer and a weaker on papaer team beat them. There are tons of factors that could go into that.

As for the rest...SPIN SPIN SPIN

known to the rest of the world as correcting your false statements.

Unless of course you really think a team with Sergio Mitre, Ramon Martinez, and Ray O has nearly the exact same talent level as one with Prior, Wood, Nomar, and Super-Neifi.

The first has to play much better baseball to have a nearly identical record as the second team.

The revisionist history is clear, just go back and read what was actually happening at the time.

Yours truly,
a negative dusty hater - or at least that's what you called me while you fiddled "in dusty we trust" during the implosion of August/Sept 2004.

There are hundreds of examples where teams were better on papaer and a weaker on papaer team beat them. There are tons of factors that could go into that.

what kind of factors could you be talking about? Perhaps poor managing?

And since the heart of this is your complaints about Hendry, isn't the GM's job to get the better team on paper?

Isn't it the managers job to make the better team on paper actually perform like the better team?

Hey Adolpho, I'm with you. I love that deal

Bleeding Blue:
"The revisionist history is clear, just go back and read what was actually happening at the time."

I did, i looked at the records and they were winning at a better clip in Aug/Spet than earlier in the year. You said they weren't. You were wrong and trying to revise history. The exact same thing you continue to accuse me of. Ironic, huh??

And actually it is In Dusty We Trusty (you never put on the last y). You can't even get that right...:)

Bleeding Blue:
"what kind of factors could you be talking about? Perhaps poor managing?"

That is defeinately one possibility, no question.

But injuries and being overrated from the start are among factors that can easily lead to a team who is better on paper to not win.

Again, look at the 2005 Chicago White Sox vs. the at least ten teams who were better than them on paper before teh season started.

Manny,

I'll take A GM who is solid and does not make terriable trades or FA signings but has not won a WS over a guy who takes gambles and often fails but got lucky one year and wins it all. My reasoning is GM number one is going to get you to the playoffs more often and give you better chance of winning a WS. A good GM knows that anything can happen in a season and to prepare for a 5 year stretch for competing with a certain nueclus than going out and making splashy moves to win 1 year. Williams might be the toast of the town now but come June if Thome's shoulder issues hold him back to being a Scott Hatteberg type hitter and Vazquez gives up homers at an Eric Milton type pace people will be on KW for the stupidpity for all supporting now.

But if Hendry hasn't made any bad trades and is the better GM, why has he not won a WS or even made the playoffs the last two years? He has had a MUCH bigger payroll and a MUCH better farm system when he took over as GM.

And you can say Dusty is the problem, but then the obvious response to that is, "Who hired and continues to support Dusty?".

Speaking of imposters, I thought months ago, John Hill said there were going to be big changes to prevent people from stealing aliases on TCR.

Deleted the imposter post...

Ruz is the man to talk to about the upgrade, as far as we knew it was happening over the last All-Star Break. For whatever reasons, it did not, Ruz or Evan would know more.

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