All I Want For Christmas Is A Right Fielder

Today we have a guest column from long-time TCR reader and occasional guest poster RJ Johnson. It's a look at the Cubs' off-season moves so far, something that I think a few people around here have been interested in talking about. Like Trans said, let's try to keep the discussion focused on the article at hand and use the TICH comments for everything else. Enjoy! ========== It's December after the Winter Meetings when all good fans' thoughts turn to, "What did our GM do this time?" Let's see what Santa Hendry has left for us under the tree along with some speculation as to what else might be opened up before the spring thaw. After months of caterwauling about the lack of a competent leadoff hitter, Trader Jim has unwrapped Juan Pierre as the Cubs new center-fielder. Yes, he gave up three pitching prospects and the thought that any one of them might turn out to be the second coming of Dontrelle Willis gives one pause. But I like the trade for what it gives the Cubs now in much the same way that I like the Derrek Lee trade. Maybe one of the pitchers will pan out, but we get several years of Pierre now. Yes, Pierre is coming off of his worst season since his rookie year, but his numbers are an improvement over Patterson's and, unlike Corey, he seems coachable. More importantly, the Cubs offense now features Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Michael Barrett, and Pierre as above-par everyday contributors all of whom are still in their career primes. For a quick refresher, let's look at the Cubs at the end of 2002, the year Hendry took over in mid-season:
Pos Player     Age	OPS  

C Girardi 37 566
1B McGriff 38 858
3B Mueller 31 757
CF Patterson 22 676

versus their replacements as of the close of 2005:
Pos Player     Age      OPS

C Barrett 28 824
1B D. Lee 29 1080
3B Ramirez 27 926
CF Pierre 27 680

Granted Pierre isn't much of an upgrade over Patterson, but if he returns to his 03-04 form he gives the Cubs an OPS in center of 757. Much has been made of Pierre's soft toss arm as allowing more runners to advance and I'll grant that, but his range factor in center is the same as Patterson's (league-adjusted per 9 innings) and Andruw Jones's for 2005. I have to see him as a net gain over 2004. At the other end of the spectrum, the Cubs replaced Jose Macias with John Mabry. While Mabry's 702 OPS is not going to make him a starting 1B, 3B or corner outfielder at age 34, he is certainly an improvement over the chronically anemic Macias, who in 190 plate apperances at age 33 last year staggered to a nearly sub-Mendozan 590 OPS. Mabry gives the Cubs both a solid left-handed bat for pinch hitting and a competent back-up for Ramirez, Lee, and Murton so that all of them can get rest this season. Tending to his own, Hendry re-signed Todd Walker (very good) and Neifi Perez (good, if Neifi only plays backup and defensive replacement), while letting go of Jeromy Burnitz's contract (good business decision). My thinking had been that the Cubs would try to re-sign Burnitz to a 2-year deal at a better price, but Hendry was determined to get a better right fielder. One other thing about tending to your own: kudos for recognizing that Matt Murton should be the starting left fielder and that Ronnie Cedeno gets to be at shortstop. Both kids played smart and hard during their 2005 call ups and earned the opportunity to start. On the pitching front, Hendry continues to add veteran middle relievers. Neither Bobby Howry nor Scott Eyre were overused in 2005 --Howry threw 73.0 innings in 79 appearances; Eyre 68 1/3 over 86 games-- and both had remarkable control in '05: Eyre averaged barely more than one baserunner per inning while Howry allowed .89 walks plus hits per inning. This is an improvement over the strikeouts uber alles philosophy that led them to signing high-K/poor-control guys the past couple of years. Again, Hendry was smart in keeping his own guys under contract. I was surprised at how easy the re-signing of Ryan Dempster was, but I'm guessing he gave the Cubs a discount for them being willing to sign him when he was in the midst of his arm problems. Picking up the option on Scott Williamson seems odd to me, given that Roberto Novoa seems to fit the same role, but maybe Novoa is slated for more time at AAA this year to refine his control. The real surprise among the pitcher re-signs, though, was Glendon Rusch's 2-year deal. Rusch had made it clear that he was interested in an opportunity to be a regular starter in 2006. Given that as of 10/31 when he signed the Cubs had a starting rotation of Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Greg Maddux and Kerry Wood (depending on his shoulder surgery), along with minor leaguers Jon Koronka, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman, and Sergio Mitre (again, at the time), I was not understanding where Rusch was going to find his innings. Did he and Hendry think Wood wouldn't be ready for 2006 or that Kerry was slated for bullpen duty? Then new Phillies GM Pat Gillick announced that right fielder Bobby Abreu could be had and many things come to make sense. While Abreu is 31 years old, he has a solid track record of providing power and on base production --his career OPS is 923 with a slight dip in 2005 to 879-- and is a very healthy player, appearing in over 151 games in each of his past 8 seasons. A Cub lineup with him in the middle would be formidable indeed. The question is: can the two teams find a trade that both makes sense and doesn't get either GM lynched? Clearly, the Phillies want a top of the rotation starter. Just as clearly, the Cubs don't want to part with either Prior or Zambrano. Or do they? I'm of the opinion that all things being equal, an everyday position player for a starting pitcher is an uneven trade in favor of the team getting the position player. Clearly, the Cubs lose on age --both Prior and Zambrano are under 25-- but the question remains: who would I rather let go of in such a swap, Prior or Zambrano? Zambrano has been the healthier of the two, but that means his arm has been piling up innings. Prior's health has not been pitching-related, but he's yet to put together a full, uninjured season since 2003 and even then he sat out a few starts. Bothersome, but it does mean his arm hasn't been put under as much strain. Either way, if the Phillies want to do Abreu for either Prior or Zambrano straight up, I'd pull the trigger. I'd just do it a little quicker if I was giving up Zambrano rather than Prior. Ideally, the Cubs could do a several-for-one trade. I would be happy to package Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, and either Angel Guzman or Rich Hill for Abreu. Now, would Gillick take that trade? Dunno, but likely not (although I have a hunch that something like that has been proposed). Current rumors are swirling around the Cubs signing Jacque Jones of the Twins to which I say, "Look! It's the younger version of Jeromy Burnitz." I'd be unwilling to do more than a 2-year deal as I don't want him in the way of Felix Pie. All in all, a very nice holiday hot stove season for the Cubs. I'm looking forward to 2006 already.
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Comments

Is it wrong to want a Jewish right fielder for Christmas? Cause, I still don't think it's possible but I would love to have Shawn Green out there.

Merry Chrismukah!

"Either way, if the Phillies want to do Abreu for either Prior or Zambrano straight up, I'd pull the trigger. I'd just do it a little quicker if I was giving up Zambrano rather than Prior."

Wow. 24 year old, best pitcher in the NL for a time Z for 31 year old Robert A? Excuse me while I go find some nails, a hammer, and some empty space on my forehead.

"I would be happy to package Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, and either Angel Guzman or Rich Hill for Abreu"

Yes. Scraps for an all-star. Hey! Let's do Patterson for A Rod, straight up!

All in all your comments make sense, what I do not agree with is trading Zambrano or Prior for Abreu. I sort of think that Patterson will find that the heavy weight that was on his back to produce in centerfield and be the leadoff hitter that the Cubs were wishing for is over and he (if Dusty lets him)can be more relaxed and play the way he knows how. Platooned with a righhanded hitting outfielder would be great in my books.
I don't mind the Cubs giving Murton and Cedeno every chance to emerge as upcoming stars, but with Baker as manager and how he likes the vets, I have this strong feeling that Niefi Perez will see more at bats and games played than Cedeno, and I hope its not the same case for Murton/Mabry. What Jim Hendry should be worried about and trying to land by a trade or free agency is one or two more starting pitchers.

Just make sure when you open your Christmas present and in the box is JACQUE JONES you read the instructions which read:

PLATOON PLAYER. DO NOT HIT AGAINST LEFTY PITCHERS.

(then look deeper in the box and make sure his righty platoon partner isn't included with the packing...like Mench or Encarnacion)

and hope the sender didn't leave the price tag on the platooners...cause it's way too expensive of a gift (if you can call it a gift)

Sucks to have to spend this kind of money on two veterans to platoon at a corner OF spot. It's just poor planning.

No way, having J.Jones, K.Mench, and Encarnacion on the Cubs roster, don't want any of them, one or all. I must start something, how about, Corey Patterson and Sammy Sosa platooning rightfield.:)

It's been mentioned before, but Kerry Wood has a no-trade clause.

yeah. someone with IN could give us a little more on the cubs make offer to Jones. I hear this and I shrug my shoulders.

My other 2 random thoughts for today are..LOL at the Soriano story. I for one would like him to stick to his position. Its one thing when the team you've been playing for forever asks you to switch (ala Chipper Jones). But to get traded and be expected to switch positions? I think thats a crock of shit. Especially when he has stated over and over that he wants to play 2B and only 2B.

Secondly, I for one don't want Abreu. He reminds me a lot of a doped up slugging OF we all remember so well. For some reason, the whole steroid thing has really put in my mind that every time I see a player who looks abnormally large, my mind jumps to doping. I wish I didn't feel that way. In some ways, I feel that the whole issue was blown way out of proportion. But at the same time I can't help but have doubts or place judgements on anyone. How sad. Needless to say, I've judged him without really meaning to. I wouldn't be suprised to see his numbers drop in the next couple years. And because of all that, I just have ill feelings to wanting him on my team.

JoshB

How about Wood for Green?

I talked to imaginary rabbit, and he said he couldn't see anything that would hold that trade up.

I'll be the first to admit that moving Wood is dependent upon the sparkle in the buyer's eye. The thing is that I've seen enough trades to realize that there will always be GM's who get het up over a particular player and let their common sense go south.

The question is finding that sparkle.

As to Z or Prior for Abreu, look at how the Cubs are constructed. Hendry is building an offense that will keep the team in the mix for several years (for a historical example of this sort of construction look at John Holland in the late 60s and early 70s). That philosophy makes it easier to sustain an offensive core than a pitching core.

Additionally, either we believe that Dusty is overusing his pitchers and they are about to blow up or their arms are indestructible. I'd rather we err on the side of the former, not the latter.

Well, Abreu's numbers are likely to start to decline a bit, but not because of steriods. He's 31 and will start his natural decline sometime in the near future.

The Soriano thing is funny, but what is making me laugh even more is that no one is calling out Bowden for his terrible moves in Washington. Castilla? Guzman? Trading for a player who has value as a power hitting 2nd baseman and ignoring the fact he'll be lucky to hit 20 home runs in that ballpark?

I don't really have any problem with a team asking a player to switch positions. He's being paid by that team and in theory, if your boss thinks your talents help the organization in a different job, shouldn't you at least try it? What I have a problem with is Bowden trading for him and then wanting to move him to a position where he'll be average at best in terms of offensive production for the position. $10 million for an average left fielder? Brilliant!

hmm. I take back some of my comment. His numbers don't really scream juicer. It's still sad that I think that way. What a shame baseball screwed up so badly. I hate to feel something like that on my favorite sport. I prolly need to force myself to tell myself to shutup and stop thinking it.

Anyway, I would never trade Prior or Z for him in any case. I'd prolly let Wood and Patterson go for him. I really think Prior has just been insanely unlucky with the freakish injury. And Z, well, I try not to think about his arm falling off and instead jump up and down with excitement every time I see him pitch. He's setup to be the #1 pitcher in baseball and I would stop being a cubs fan to see him be #1 in anything but a Cubs jersey. (think Maddux)

RF Jacque Jones, Twins
Dec. 20 -- Cubs GM Jim Hendry is waiting to hear from Jones' agent. Jones, who could fill the vacant right field spot, was believed to be seeking a three-year deal. The Cubs aren't expected to go that long, not with highly regarded prospect Felix Pie in the wings. Their offer to Jones is believed to be no more than a two-year proposal and not as lucrative as the three-year, $15 million deal the Kansas City Royals reportedly have offered. The St. Louis Cardinals also might be in the bidding, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
This guy is no upgrade, no different than Burnie, no different than Patterson. Please Jim Hendry do not pay this guy a bunch of $$$$$ put the $$$$$ in taking out an insurance policy for a starting pitcher or two.

Who else thinks it is funny/ironic that some of us (myself included) are actually rooting for Patterson playing right instead of Jones?

Of course, I would like someone else. I just shake my head thinking I wanted to dump Patterson so bad in September, and now I almost wish he'd get the nod if it meant not signing Jones.

I blame Hendry for making me root for a lifetime .250/.290/.400 hitter.

If you guys dont like Hendry see what Daniels has done with Texas:

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

With Sledge and Gonzales gone it means Mench is probably off the market. But Daniels has actually DOWNGRADED their pitching staff. Padilla and Eaton are downgrades from Rogers and Young.

Brian I would rather have Patterson than Jones. And I am the BIGGEST CP hater at this board.

I like Jones if he came here as a 7 hitter, but we need a 5 hitter therefore Hendry should focus on Preston Wilson who is a RBI machine.

The Royals have offered 3 years and $15 million for Jacque Jones? Better get familiar with that waterfall, Mr. Jones. I don't think Hendry would match that, no way will he value Jacque Jones higher than Howry and Eyre (3 years for $12MM and $11MM, respectively). At those dollars, I would prefer Corey or whatever OF Corey nets in a trade.

I see that Wade Miller will be non-tendered and available. This sounds like a Jim Hendry reclamation project waiting to happen, just like he did with Dempster, Williamson, Alan Benes, etc...

"Padilla and Eaton are downgrades from Rogers and Young."

Did I miss something? isn't Chris Young still part of Texas' '06 rotation?

ChiFan:

WORD! Bring me Wilson.

Chifan3887,

I am with you on the Rangers/Padres change. If I were the Rangers, I don't do Young for Eaton straight-up, let alone give up Adrian Gonzalez!

How quick do you think it took the Padres to say yes to the Rangers' offer to send a young, inexpensive, flyball, and premeire strikeout pitcher in Chris Young to Petco?

(Aside from the obvious upgrade for Young, I also hate it when two teams make Pareto suboptimal trades from a fantasy baseball perspective. Eaton had HR trouble in Petco, can you imagine him in Arlington? And Adrian Gonzalez and Sledge will be worthless in Petco.)

Oops... nevermind, just read about the trade.

Chifan, agreed - Eaton & Padilla a HUGE downgrade from Rogers & Young.

Please don't pay much for a Jones, Mench, or Gibbons. I can't stand it.

My thoughts are you don't trade a premium pitcher for a slugger, particularly one that is 31 and will undoubtedly start to decline. There is a reason they are willing to get rid of Abreu, right? Besides, who is going to pitch every fifth day if you get rid of Z or Prior? We know we can't count on Wood. Who's comfortable with this pitching staff next year?

Prior
Maddux
Rusch
Williams
Hill/Wood

Adding Abreu won't make up for the fact that the starting pitching can't keep anyone from scoring.

The starters weren't the problem last year really. Yes, they could have kept the ball in the park more often but with a half decent offense/bullpen they would have won more games. So Hendry went out and added one of the better leadoff guys in the game. A guy who even in a down year was still a significant upgrade over what the Cubs trotted out there everyday. So we can expect more scoring chances next year for sure.

Hendry also improved the bullpen, although this is still a big if because it is historically difficult to assess how a reliever is going to do from year to year (everyone remember Remlinger?).

At this point in the offseason, the Cubs need to just get the best RF possible - Jones, Wilson, Huff (my choice) - and hope that Pierre helps to score more runs and Eyre/Howry help to prevent runs. Because barring a blockbuster trade there isn't anyone available that is going to make that much differnce either way.

This team has improved since last season, even with the minimal moves they made. How much? I say 8-10 games. Is that enough to make them a player in the division or wild card? Maybe.

You guys have to be kidding with Preston Wilson. The last thing we need is an old washed up ballplayer who is injured every year. The last thing we need is someone who we can count on to have more strikeouts than games played. Jones isn't a great option either but at least you know what you are getting out of him.

Call me crazy *pauses*...but I'd be pretty enthusiastic about giving Wade Miller a shot...even though he's getting up there in years...what is he, 35?

Wade Miller is only 29. He could probably be had for $2MM per year.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/millewa04...

"Hendry should focus on Preston Wilson who is a RBI machine"

Preston Wilson = Older, slower, more injury prone version of Corey Patterson, but whose stats are boosted from playing a few years from the Rockies. OK that may be an exaggeration, but i'd still only want Wilson here as part of a platoon, not as an everyday player.

Miller fits the Hendry type
-Recovering from major arm surgery

Williamson
Dempster

A couple of items that have an indirect affect on the Cubs:

After losing out on Kenny Lofton, the D'backs will sign Jeff DaVanon tomorrow, so they no longer have any interest in Corey Patterson (presuming they ever really even had any interest in C-Pat).

The Diamondbacks are also reportedly in hot pursuit of Alex Gonzalez (ex-Marlins) to play SS for about a year (MAYBE two) until Stephen Drew is ready. Some of you may remember Gonzalez had been mentioned as a Plan "B" or Plan "C" at one point if the Cubs were unable to sign Furcal, but apparently the Cubs were not really interested.

Nice article, but one minor quibble, we only have 1 year of Pierre - he is a free agent after this season.

I also disagree with the Neifi signing as "good" no matter how he plays. 2.5 million and two guaranteed years is too much him, if he starts or spot starts. He's a replacement level player.

"He's a replacement level player."

AT BEST.

Jacos and Borowski4life, I would be all for taking taking a shot on Wade Miller. Miller has to know about the Cubs's solid track record on this front -- most importantly, the Cubs have shown that they can be fair to veteran players like this. Remember we had Rod Beck under contract in 2003 and we released him so he could pitch for the Padres. And we gave Darren Oliver a shot to retire with dignity. And shoot, Chad Fox was almost our closer last year!

If we structure the deal with a ton of performance incentives, it could be worth it. Miller's shoulder may indeed be shot, but shoot, even with a bum shoulder he threw 91 innings to Kerry Wood's 66 last year. If it works out, there's your No. 4 starter in 2007.

Speaking of Wood, the sports radio in DC is all excited about the Vidro/Church for Wood rumor. The sports media around here are so in the tank for Bowden because they fear that criticism will cause MLB to move the team. So it is quite possible that Bowden has that "sparkle in the eye" for Wood that RJ was talking about!

Jacques Jones, no. Career K/BB ratio of 3.7/1 with only a decent OPS for a corner outfielder. Good defense, but we really need to score more runs, and defense is a little less necessary for a team that has led the league in Ks by their pitching staff the past several years. Aubrey Huff is the lefty Hendry wants with a much higher OPS than Jones--much, much higher than C-Pat. But I suspect if Hendry wanted him badly, he'd have him by now and wouldn't have offered Jones the contract. Patterson only has upside if he can learn to lay off the high heat and cut his Ks way down. He has a pathetic 5/1 K/BB ratio lifetime. I'd bat him 6th, leave him there, teach him to do that one thing better at the plate, and give him one more year to prove himself. Maybe he'll learn a thing or two about professional discipline from Pierre. Either way, Pie can step in late in the season or in '07.

Zito can be had with the right package that wouldn't have to involve Z or Prior. Hill and Williams might do it. If we had to throw Guzman into the deal, I'd do it for a rotation of

Zambrano
Prior
Zito
Wood
Maddux

What happened to Huff? His contract expires at the end of next year. There is no way the Devil Rays are going to resign him. The only logical choice would be to trade him and continue to develop your younger players. The D Rays are not even close to being world series bound. Mark my words... Huff is going somewhere. It better be the Cubs.

I actually wanted Jaque Jones on this team way before the end of the season. But ofcourse I was planning on Giles also.

I like Jaque Jones as a player, I think he will make a welcome addition to this team if it goes down. I actually think he can hit better if he becomes a Cub.

I am not going to back any of that up, just a personal opinion. Jones will work his ass off just like Juan Pierre and sometimes that can go a long way from taking this team from a bunch of spoiled brats, to a tough scrappy team that will not fold at the slightest sign of pressure.

I want the talent, but I also want never say die attitude this team is missing.

I'm with you, Matt. Huff would be my first choice to play right. He has an .820 career OPS and good K/BB ratio. HUGE improvement over the streaky Burnitz and shrinking Sosa.

Yeah...sounds good doesn't it Uncle Charlie?

Until Prior and Wood both throw under 125 innings.. then what? Like...no really.. then what? Rusch and.....Koronka? Marshall's not ready... I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with any of those guys down there if we shipped Hill and Guzman.

I agree that Huff will be dealt but I don't agree it will necessarily be before the season. Since he did have a down 2005, the D-Rays (who don't have to move his salary right now) could decide to keep him to let his value go up again and then deal him before the August deadline. I agree though. I still think a deal for Lugo and Huff could and should be worked out.

huff's a pretty cruddy RF'r.

at worst j.jones is no worse than burnitz. its not a huge deal who fills the RF role as long as they can field/throw and have some pop. the team is already loaded with power and ob% up top with 2 sluggers in the 3/4 slot...the 5/6 hitter doesnt matter that much when you gotta go through d.lee/aram to get to him.

i'd rather have s.green, but as long as the incoming RF can field and has pop im not worried, myself.

i'm a little more concerned about the 2nd base situation and whether c.pat is gonna be overpaid bench starter-insurance or trade bait. i'd like those 2 issues to settle themselves at some point.

the 25-HR, decent fielding guy with pop in RF seems to be almost a given, but where t.walker's 15-ish homers and 30+doubles are gonna go concern me a bit.

Ugh, Uncle Charlie. I get tired of those kind of fantasy offers. Jerome Williams and Hill for Zito?

Do people even consider the other organization before they come up with some of these ridiculous idea's? Do you not realize Oakland is in the business of trying to win? Oakland will only trade Zito if they can get MLB ready talent in return. That doesn't mean prospects, that doesn't mean players who have shown very little in the majors. That means quality, near sure fire talent, that can either hit or pitch in the majors for a full season and have done it atleast once before.

Besides Oakland isn't looking for pitching in return. They are got some pretty good prospects down in the minors. They are looking to upgrade the offense.

Prior's injuries have been freakish and, for the most part, had nothing to do with his pitching. I'm not any more worried about his health in '06 than anyone else's. Wood is certainly another story, but if it came to Rusch in place of Wood--with those other guys around him--I'd take that.

Oh, like Dan Haren and Kiko Calero for Mulder? Or Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer for Tim Hudson? If any of those guys were so great, why would the A's have to overpay for that one-year-wonder Loaiza? Oh yeah, Billy Beane really needs a top-of-the-rotation guy for Zito. No. What he needs--and usually wants--are cheaper, younger stud prospects he can ride for awhile before they sign somewhere else. They're also known to take great fielding prospects for established pitching, and if they wanted Pie for Zito, I'd have to thnk about that.

Kiko Calero
58 games, 55.2 innings pitched, 52Ks, 1.13 whip, 3.23 ERA

Danny Haren
33 starts, 116Ks, 1.22 WHIP, 3.73 ERA.

Haren was actually better than Mulder. So, what was your point again?

Meyer was hurt, but still is viewed as a good prospect.

"Prior's injuries have been freakish and, for the most part, had nothing to do with his pitching."

Were it true, that would be great. But he has had arm, elbow, achillies and groin issues that were unrelated to either Marcus Giles or the line drive. Pitching puts significant stress on the arms and legs. It's not a surprise when a stud pitcher gets hurt.

"If we structure the deal with a ton of performance incentives"

Then we will only get him if no other team is willing to gaurantee him the money. That would mean that, in all odds, he is not going to be worth having. Great...so we get a guy not worth having for cheap.

I'm so tired of reclamation projects. For onces can we target a player and be the highest bidder for him? Oh wait, I forgot, we did that. That's how we got Neifi.

The Cubs do not need a five hitter, they need a left handed hitting four hitter. Think Pujols/Edmonds/Rolen or Ramirez/Ortiz/Millar. (Boston also uses Ortiz/Ramirez/Varitek) The idea is to break up Lee and Aramis and force opposing managers to go to their pen more often. Late in a game, managers must go to the pen three times to get through the heart of the line-up or else the Cubs get a match-up in their favor. They completely missed the boat on Giles and now Jones is the only free agent available. Jones is not a real upgrade and (I cannot believe I'm saying this either) you might as well start Corey. I like the idea of Green or Huff, but I don't know how realistic these options are

X,

Last year Boston was able to sign Wade Miller for $1.5 million with $3 million in incentives. Boston cut that deal pretty fast last year -- after Miller was non-tendered and before Christmas. Given the fact that second surgery was needed in September, I guess that a similar deal would get Miller again, but the team would need to move fast.

Preston Wilson, are you people CRAZY!! He's the quintessential Dusty player- swings from his heels in all situations, K's too much, walks too little, average OBP, really streaky offensively, not fundamentally sound defensively and quickly moving past his prime.

I'm just shocked and amazed when I see people rank Prior ahead of Carlos Zambrano. Big Z is Big Z. If you could have any pitcher in the bigs for the next five years, who would you take? C. Zambrano for me.

"I am not going to back any of that up, just a personal opinion. Jones will work his ass off just like Juan Pierre and sometimes that can go a long way from taking this team from a bunch of spoiled brats, to a tough scrappy team that will not fold at the slightest sign of pressure."

I'm with you, Mike... This is also why I like Jones and think he's a better option than Wilson or Encarnacion. He's always struck me as a fiery competitor who plays hard every day and has the confidence that Corey will never have. I really can't believe that a broke-dick like Patterson is being compared to Jones.

well Ruz you got him...Jacque Jones at 3/$16m according to Bruce Levine who was just on ESPN1000. Didn't want Mench before, but it's now imperitive that Hendry get either Mench or a Kearns/Craig Wilson type to go along with him.

Hey Jacqeszes Jones can be as fiery and competitive as he wants. Its doesn't change the fact that he has never put up numbers like Preston Wilson. And before anybody throws the Coors Card at me please see his stats from the rest of his career, where he as done very well.

Jacque Jones is a great role player but we needed a 5 hitter. So unless Tejada is our SS this is not a good move. Especially at that money. With Jones here for 3 years and Pierre getting a multi-year deal lets hope Hendry has a deal in place to send Pie to the 402 area code.

Rosenthal reports the signing as well...

Sometimes I really really hate it when AZ Phil is right.

(he's been predicting the Jones signing for months)

Fire Hendry. We're screwed.

"Haren was actually better than Mulder. So, what was your point again?"

Haren's career W-L is 20-22
Jerome William's is 23-22
You said it was crazy to consider Williams part of a trade to the A's. Obviously not.

Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer? Juan: 0-3 with a 7.44 ERA last season for the A's. Dan: yet to hit the bigs for the A's.
Tim Hudson was 14-9 for the Braves with 192 innings pitched.
Boy, the A's sure know how to get value for their stud pitchers. You're right, the Cubs have NO shot of trading for Zito. Billy Beanne is just too clever.

Unless Hendry got Huff it didn't matter who he got, be it Wilson, Jones, Mench, etc... None of them would have that much of an impact but he needed to get someone. So having said that I didn't care who they got but what makes me mad is the 3 years. Basically, that was Hendry saying "I can't get anyone else and I need someone".

Well, unless Jacque gets a platoon partener I think RF will be a bust this year. Well, there is a little bit of hope, maybe.

Pierre
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Jones?
Barrett
Murton
Cedeno (most likely Neifi, after all he did have that one good month)

"Well, unless Jacque gets a platoon partener"

Well - I totally agree that Jones should NEVER bat against lefties. But I have no idea why you pay a guy 16mm over 3 years to PLATOON. I'm sorry. I don't get it.

To me, this is the worst deal the Cubs have EVER signed a player to. I'm disgusted.

I think the Jones signing was fine. The guy has great range in the field and a strong arm that is admittedly not the most accurate at times. The range he and Pierre bring to that side of the OF will be among the very best in baseball. Offensively the guy isn't a world beater but he's adequate. Very solid base runner who will steal a few bases. Has good pop and can really smack a fastball. He'll strike out quite a bit but not nearly as much as Patterson (shocker). He's no world beater, but he's adequate. He can play everyday and may end up being a great platoon player as he hits righties a lot better than lefties. Given what is left in the market this is a decent signing. Still feel the team is one player away. Great clubhouse guy BTW. A fan favorite in MN - for good reason. As for Pie - if he can play they'll have room for him.

Tom - I just don't know if Wade Miller is going to be the difference maker. I don't think Wade Miller 2006 will live up to the potential that Wade Miller 2001/2002 showed.

For a 100 mm payroll with a top tier farm system we deserve more.

how bout that tejada trade for prior? secondly how stupid would u have to be to give kerry wood a no-trade clause? and who else feels that the cubs will actually do good this year with healthy players?

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