Rolling Over…

...but not playing dead. I still haven't gotten all my thoughts together about the Jones signing, but I will say the more I think about it the less I hate it. I hope to be able to post a bit on that topic tomorrow, but for now the comments needed to be rolled over. Instead of re-hashing that, though, I want to bring Arizona Phil's trade musings out of the comments. I'm not usually a fan of blue-sky trade talk, but Phil had a couple of ideas that not only seemed good for the Cubs, but seem like they'd make some sense as well:
The player I think now most likely to be traded now is Matt Murton, either in a deal for Bobby Abreu or in a deal for Miguel Tejada. That's why Hendry felt he had to jump on Jacque Jones before Jones went elsewhere.I think ideally Hendry wants Dusty to play Jones in LF, where his below average arm is less of a negative factor. And Hendry would probably want to acquire a stud middle-of-the-order run producer to hit between Lee and Ramirez, with Jones hitting 6th (or at least 5th against RHP, or 6th against LHP). Hendry must knows by now what it would take to do it, and that he thinks he now has the offer it would take to get either Miguel Tejada or Bobby Abreu. It probably starts with Matt Murton, and would include other players like Jerome Williams and Ronny Cedeno (if it's a deal for Tejada) or Rich Hill (if it's a deal for Bobby Abreu). I suspect Barry Zito would be part of a deal for Abreu, and that Hendry has that part already in place. Remember, if the Cubs acquire Tejada or Abreu and pay all of the player's salary (minus Barry Zito's salary), the Orioles and Phillies would have money left over to either sign (although most of the better FAs are already gone) or make a deal for a replacement run producer. If acquiring Barry Zito is crucial to getting Abreu and possibly even as part of a deal for Tejada, the Cubs are in a good position to make Oakland a tempting offer. If you look at what Oakland took back for Tim Hudson (Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas) and Mark Mulder (Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton), trading Barry Zito to the Cubs for Matt Murton, Rich Hill, and either Michael Wuertz, Roberto Novoa, or Jerome Williams would be a very similar type deal, certainly a better package than what they got back from Atlanta for Hudson. And then the Cubs could trade Zito and Felix Pie to the Phillies to get Abreu, or Zito, Pie, and Cedeno to the Orioles to get Tejada. The Phillies and Orioles could use the $5m differential in 2006 salaries between Abreu and Zito or Tejada and Zito to acquire a replacement run producer.
To recap, Phil is suggesting: * Trade Matt Murton, Rich Hill, and one of Wuertz, Novoa or Williams to the A's for Barry Zito Then, * Trade Zito and Felix Pie to the Phillies for Bobby Abreu OR trade Zito, Pie and Ronnie Cedeno to the Orioles for Miguel Tejada I have a problem with the Orioles scenario, in that it leaves the Cubs short one outfielder, and with both Murton & Pie gone, it would seem to put Corey Patterson back in the starting lineup, which I'm not in favor of. Personally, I'd be happy with the Philly version of this trade as long as the Cubs got a prospect from the A's along with Zito. I'm not really in favor of trading four or five young guys away and not getting any young guys in return, even if Abreu was the result. I'd love to see someone like Jairo Garcia come over, but he wouldn't have a shot at making the 'pen. I wonder if the A's would part with someone like someone like second baseman Kevin Melillo or left-hander Dallas Braden?
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Matt Murton, Rich Hill, Felix Pie and one of Jerome Williams, Michael Wuertz and Roberto Novoa for Bobby Abreu?

I'll take one Jacque Jones to go, please.

I agree john. I'd much rather do the tejada deal.

I was mainly trying to read between the lines and think along with Jim Hendry. I just don't believe signing Jacque Jones to a three-year deal to play RF makes sense unless Hendry has another deal in place (that would be the "fulcrum" deal for Barry Zito that could be spun into either Tejada or Abreu) that Hendry discovered (maybe while he was at the Winter Meetings) absolutely, positively requires that Matt Murton be included. (Matt Murton is a Billy Beane "Moneyball" player if there ever was one).

Hendry's history is to trade prospects and first-year players rather than expect Dusty to play them. He has already traded Hee Seop Choi, Bobby Hill, Brendan Harris, Francis Beltran, Justin Jones, and Jason Dubois, thought nothing of losing Andy Sisco in the Rule 5 Draft, and was apparently the prime-mover behind the deal that sent Dontrelle Willis to Florida.

NEWS FLASH -- Hendry hates rookies as much as Dusty does!

Or to put it another way.

"The only good rookie is the one I just traded."

Regarding the Cubs being short one OF in the Orioles Tejada scenario, in a later posting on that same thread (after CUBSTER and DC TOM pointed out the same thing), I added Jay Payton to the Zito deal and figured he would get "flipped" by the Cubs for Jay Gibbons (if the eeal is with Baltimore for Tejada), or would be kept by the Phils as Abreu's immediate replacement (to be followed by Felix Pie in 2007) if the trade is with Philadelphia for Bobby Abreu. And then Jacque Jones would be moved to LF.

Payton is making $4m in 2006 and then will be a FA, and Gibbons is likely to get a similar salary via arbitration and will also be a FA after 2006.

My thinking with Payton being traded by the A's is that Billy Beane picked up Payton's 2006 contract option before they acquired Milton Bradley and before they would have had a chance to get Matt Murton, so if they acquire Murton, Payton and his $4m salary would be more of an albatross than anything (I don't think Billy Beane wants to pay a "4th OF" $4m).

If the A's were to get Murton in a deal for Zito, I figure the Oakland 2006 OF would be Murton-Bradley-Kotsay LF-CF-RF, with Nick Swisher at DH, and Dan Johnson at 1B. Payton would be "odd man out."

So the deal could be more like this:

Murton, Hill, and Wuertz for Zito, and then a 4th player (possibly a "Moneyball" guy like Brandon Sing) for Payton, then Zito, Payton, Cedeno and Pie to the Orioles for Tejada and Gibbons.

OR

Murton, Hill, Wuertz, and Sing to Oakland for Zito and Payton, then Zito, Payton, and Pie to Philadelphia for Abreu.

Again, I am not ADVOCATING these trades, suggesting any deal is imminent, or claiming any "inside knowledge." I am just reading between the lines, trying to follow along with what Hendry might be planning to do.

I think I understand Hendry's thinking process when it comes to player personnel. Hendry wants to win NOW (and it always has been that way with him), he doesn't care that much about long-term plans, and he uses the farm system mainly to acquire established players and pitchers via trades.

He basically runs the Cubs like a college baseball team (with rewards only for success and short term guarantees), except he never got to make trades when he was head coach at Creighton. Now he can make deals, and he's like a kid in a candy store.

Hendry is a trading machine. He will trade any prospect, at any time, for any proven established player or pitcher.

Please define "Moneyball Player" I've heard this thrown around a lot......

Get over it...Jones is a good pick-up. Hendry may still trade for a right-fielder and platoon Murton with Jones in left-field.

All the other trade ideas that include trading Murton, Cedeno, Pie, Hill, Wood and Zambrano are irrational and don't even make for good reading during the off-season.

Let's be more realistic and enjoy the idea of Murton and Jones platooning in left while Hendry continues his search for a another outfielder that he doesn't have to add unless Murton falters.

I expect that he'll probably add a right-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Jones or a left-handed hitter to platoon with Murton until he proves himself or loses his job.

GEO.
www.theLOCALfolks.com

Hendry doesn't have the fortitude to build a decent team. He will overpay for mediocre players--he will not pay fair market value for outstanding talent. He won't make the deal a Boston or NYY will make...and he won't sign players at good value who can contribute without asking them to be a major offensive contributor.

Champions know their key players and know what roles they should play. The Cubs look to Neifi Perez...and to Corey Patterson...to carry as much a load as Lee. The Cardinals didn't ask Eckstein to be a big producer in the same way as Pujols or Rolen....and Eckstein played the role brilliantly (and a different role than was asked of Renteria the year before). Winners adjust as needed...the Cubs make acquisitions for the sake of making moves and appearing proactive....

They have no clue how to win.

Meanwhile, Brian Sabean continues his attempts to make the Giants the oldest team in baseball history:

SF Giants acquired outfielder Steve Finley from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for infielder Edgardo Alfonzo.

FYI, Finley will be 41 (!) on opening day 2006.

#5 of 5: By GEO. (December 21, 2005 05:34 PM)
Get over it...Jones is a good pick-up. Hendry may still trade for a right-fielder and platoon Murton with Jones in left-field.

All the other trade ideas that include trading Murton, Cedeno, Pie, Hill, Wood and Zambrano are irrational and don't even make for good reading during the off-season.

Let's be more realistic and enjoy the idea of Murton and Jones platooning in left while Hendry continues his search for a another outfielder that he doesn't have to add unless Murton falters.

--

GEO: What makes you think Dusty Baker would platoon Jacque Jones with anybody? The idea that Dusty would platoon Jacque Jones, now THAT is unrealistic. Jones is going to play every day. Every friggin' day.

Also, it has been reported in the Chicago media that Hendry told the Orioles that the Cubs would be interested in acquiring Miguel Tejada if he is available, and it was also reported that the Cubs inquired about Bobby Abreu, but were told the Phillies wanted a front-line starting pitcher back, and the Cubs wouldn't trade Prior or Zambrano.

So who do you think the Orioles would want back from the Cubs for Tejada? You don't think Cedeno would HAVE to be part of any such trade? You don't think the O's would want Pie and a front-line pitcher, too?

Hendry won't trade Zambrano or Prior, and Wood has a "no trade," so any front-line pitcher would have to be acquired via a "three-way" involving a pitcher like Barry Zito, and Billy Beane has shown what it takes to get an A's starting pitcher when he traded Hudson and Mulder last year.. three players, including a position player, a starting pitcher, and a reliever.

So what I posted is not "irrational." It might not happen, but it's not irrational.

And the two trade scenarios are a lot more "realistic" than the idea that Dusty Baker would ever consider platooning Jacque Jones with Matt Murton.

According to rotoworld Finley has just been traded to the Giants for Alfonzo. I was hoping to get Feliz as a platoon guy for RF W/ Jones but that is not going to happen now.

I don't think those sound like Hendry deals. He's never really traded prospects/rookies at peak value, so swapping three top prospects would be really out of character.

Other considerations:

-picking up Abreu or Tejada would send the Cubs payroll well above $100 million. Hendry may have that flexibility, but I doubt it.

-Tejada and Abreu probably aren't even be available. Moving Thome solved some money and Ryan Howard problems for the Phillies, and Tejada seems to have withdrawn his trade demand.

-Losing Hill, Pie, Murton and Williams would really hurt Hendry's ability to make mid-season moves, which is really his bread and butter.

Phil - if Jones plays against lefties it should either be grounds for firing Baker for incompetence or firing Hendry for not finding an adequate platoon for Jones. I refuse to believe that Baker/Hendry is so incompetent as to let Jones start regularly against LHP.

John - I agree, I'm not interested in either of those Trades

Post # 4 - a "moneyball" type player is a player whose skill set, for whatever reason, has been undervalued by most teams and therefore can be had for a bargain. A few years ago, a typical moneyball player might have been a slow player who didn't hit for much average, but had a good OBP and some power.

Many people treat that sort of player as THE MONEYBALL TYPE, but I would disagree, and argue that a moneyball player is simply a valuable player whose value doesn't fit into whatever the moment's conventional thinking holds. For instance, it used to be a "moneyball" style of Billy Beane's to draft lots of college players, because most scouts valued high-school players more, thus leaving lots of good college players undervalued. Now, lots of teams have come back to valuing college players, and last year, Billy Beane started drafting high-school players who had been passed over due to the current fad for college players. Moneyball, to me, means little more than a well-reasoned decision to zig when everyone else is zagging.

#4 of 9: By NCFAN (December 21, 2005 05:32 PM)
Please define "Moneyball Player" I've heard this thrown around a lot......

----

A Moneyball player would USUALLY be a player who was drafted out of college, but sometimes it's somebody who has spent a few years in the minors, is "cheap" (preferably still "auto-renewal" or at least arbitration-eligible), has good plate discipline, takes a lot of pitches (even strikes), is willing to get called out on strikes if the pitch is close, might appear "too passive" to a guy like Dusty Baker, takes a lot of walks, has a high OBP in relation to his BA, and has extra-base power (preferably a lot of HRs).

A good example of how one manager is a Moneyball-type manager and another is not was in 2002-03, when Bruce Kimm hit Mark Bellhorn in the lead-off spot the last half of the '02 season and Bellhorn hit 28 HR with a .380+ OBP with a ton of "called" strikeouts, and then when Dusty Baker took over the Cubs in 2003, the first thing he did was drop Bellhorn to the #6 or #7 spot in the batting order, because to Dusty, OBP wasn't as important as being aggrssive, and Dusty believes "passive" hitters (like Bellhorn) belong in the lower part of the batting order.

I'm still unconvinced that Baltimore will be trading Tejada or Philly will trade Abreu unless they get a top tier package. I'm also unconvinced that Hendry would trade Hill, Pie and more to get one player. I'd love to see any of those deals proposed to get us Abreu or Tejada. Either one makes us singificantly better as we'd be essentially not giving up any proven major league talent to get a top 20 player.

I have a hard time thinking that in one fell swoop Jim Hendry will move Murton, Hill, Williams, Pie and Cedeno. Please prove me wrong Jim - but I have seen nothing in his history that leads me to conclude that this is realistic. It's a fair deal for both sides - don't get me wrong - it just doesn't seem like a Hendry move.

More realistically - he signs Rich Auralia and some has been pitcher with a torn rotator cuff to deals for no money this year, and a an option for next year, and says that they are guys who "fit in".

Seriously - nice proposals Phil/Ruz - I hope they come true.

Thanks Transmission! In that case I am assuming Todd Walker is a Moneyball player. And if so the million dollar question.....Why get rid of him?

#14 of 14: By NCFAN (December 21, 2005 06:13 PM)
Thanks Transmission! In that case I am assuming Todd Walker is a Moneyball player. And if so the million dollar question.....Why get rid of him?

---

NC FAN: I know you adressed this question to my good friend Trans, but the one sentence answer to your question is...

Because Dusty Baker is NOT a Moneyball manager.

Thanks AZphil! I have to disagree with dusty I think high OBP should get the most ab's in order to set things up for dlee and aram. Imagine how many more runs we would have scored had we had a .380 obp guy in the 1 or 2 slot........

Moneyball, to me, means little more than a well-reasoned decision to zig when everyone else is zagging.
---
It's a worthy read, kind of like value investing for baseball statheads. Clearly it brought to light the philosophies blended from the statistical/sabermetric side of baseball (Bill James, John DeWan) with some of the "new school" Major League General Managers (Billy Beane and Paul DePosdesta (A's), also Theo Epstein (Redsox) and JP Ricciardi (Bluejays).

Highlighted by the premise that the Oakland A's were consistently winning/competing well on a small budget, the author tried to assess how this could happen vs the big market clubs like the Yankees.

----
Moneyball. By Michael Lewis

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393057658/0...

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.
Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever. Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike.

--John Moe

So what would Dusty be considered other than terrible? The "Moneyball" approach sounds like common sense to me. Supply and demand, return on investment, cause and effect.....

i think since the nats didnt offer arbitration to hi m i think we should sign junior spivey for secong and move cedeno to ss

I was really amazed to see trade ideas WITHOUT either Corey or Todd Walker...

Everyone has Jerome Williams tossed in their trade ideas...what makes him woth anything, i think he is a fine #5 starter, but i never see him being much more than that in the future...

As far as Rich Hill, i think that if he has not developed a 3rd pitch this offseason he NEEDS to be traded, his value will never be as high as it is right now...and i think the same goes for Pie, if we can get solid MLB players that have proven track records i would have little problem moving either, or both...there is no organizations in MLB that over values their prospects and minor leaguers quite like the Cubs...oh is there any chance that we could get a few of the Twins scouts to come to Chicago with Jones???

cubs would need quite a payroll raise to take on some of these kids for starts/etc.

prior/Z/pierre are good for 6-7+m between the 3 of them. being conservative, theyre looking at throwing 25-ish million at just those 3.

Also, is there anything going on with Wade Miller?? I would love to pick him up and use him as a project for the future, when he is healthy he has great stuff...

20-ish million...dur...my bad

That's how I play Computer Strat-O-Matic. I draft the highest OBP batters and take pitchers high in K's to minimize fielding chances. I go with High obp and speed at the top (high obp is the first quality) Makes for a pretty good team.... Maybe the Cubs should try it.

cubs have 6 starters...there is very little incentive for any starter who wants to see playing time on to sign with the cubs as of now.

i really don t trust jim hendry anymore bc if he would start using his phone maybe we could win a world series but he can make up for it by idk filling in with a decent shortsop like idk maybe julio lugo

lugo's not a very good SS, honestly. he's got a leaky glove and an arm with sketchy accuracy. the scarey thing for TB is their heir to SS bj upton is quite honestly the worst SS ive ever seen in my life.

they hired ozzie smith to work for him for a couple month...they just dont wanna give up on him.

Thanks Phil, Cubfan for the useful definitions, as well.

NCfan - Yes, I would consider Todd Walker to be a moneyball style player. Good offensive force that can be had for cheap, due to his somewhat-limited defensive skills and his current unpopularity with Baker/Hendry. The Jacque Jones acquisition, on the other hand, is very much the antithesis of moneyball. We paid full-cost to get him and his very commonplace set of skills. He still may wind up being a useful player, but he's unlikely to be much more useful than what you'd expect for more than 5 million a year...

well i was playin mlb 2006 and i setup wat i think should be the 2006 cubs and i did it so the computer would play and the first time julio lugo was up he hit a triple

No need to give up on Upton at SS, just yet. He's still incredibly young and has an incredible bat. Worst thing that happens is that he becomes a Soriano-style outfielder. Best thing that happens is that he becomes a Soriano-style SS... Might as well give him the shot, it's not like Tampa Bay's going anywhere fast...

i agree, especially in TB's money situation, that they shouldnt give up on him.

but seriously, he really is that bad. he's horrible. setup, glove, and arm.

he occasionally shows he can put it together on a nice pick or a timely throw, but he really is a dice roll when the ball gets near him anywhere but on a popup.

FOR GOD SAK MAKE A GOOD MOVE HENDRY

#21 of 22: By crunch (December 21, 2005 06:25 PM)
cubs would need quite a payroll raise to take on some of these kids for starts/etc.

prior/Z/pierre are good for 6-7+m between the 3 of them. being conservative, theyre looking at throwing 25-ish million at just those 3.

-

CRUNCH: I thought the same thing, but if Hendry told the Orioles that the Cubs would be interested in acquiring Tejada (who will make $12m next season, and another $38m through 2009), and if the only hang-up in the Cubs acquiring Abreu was that the Cubs wouldn't trade Zambrano or Prior (not Abreu's $12m salary), then apparently the Cubs payroll budget must be a lot higher than previously thought (like about $110m).

Also, I doubt Prior will get $6m+ in arbitration. Zambrano got $3.8m in his first year of arbitration last year, and I can't see Prior getting more than 25% above that ($4.75m), plus another $800,000 (the last installment from his signing bonus), for a total of about $5.55m ($2m above what he would gotten without being eligible for arbitration).

I also believe Pierre will get no more than $6m (probably closer to $5m), and Zambrano should get about $6.5m.

What is Angel Guzman doing this off season? Was he in the AFL or a forgein league? Is he going to have a shot at cracking the rotation this year?

yeah, i probally inflated the prior #s wihtout thinking about it too much. 15/16m-ish sounds more reasonable for the 3.

That's how I play Computer Strat-O-Matic.

Computer Strat-O-Matic, blah!

If it ain't got a 20-sided dice, it ain't strat-o!

there is a gap in the middle infeild to fill in my mind and #2 hitter and i was lookin at julio lugo's stats nithin impessive so idk who to put there

seriously jj..while lugo's got a good SS's bat, his glove and arm add up to a guy who's due to move to LF/2nd at some point soon if he doesnt tighten up his D. its a big part of why he was expendable to houston.

how about royce clayton at ss??

What's wrong with Cedeno at SS?? Am i missing something?? He looks to have some good range and strong arm...

cubs are probally stuck with r.cedeno unless they can find a measurable upgrade.

hell, the cubs still might end up with lugo, but i'd consider that move a bad one, myself. lugo's bat is at least proven and he's got some speed.

Given the Cubs' current roster, I think that it'd take a completely healthy starting rotation and Aramis Ramirez, along with little-to-no regression to the mean by Lee, for us to hope to contend.

Given that, I think there's no reason not to see what Cedeno can do at SS on a daily basis. If the Cubs staff and 3Bman DO stay healthy, and Lee keeps it up, and we find ourselves in the midst of the race, THEN go ahead and play Neifi daily at SS, if Cedeno seems overmatched. But not until then....

Of course, if any of Ruz's trades do transpire, then we're talking a whole different matter...

well i was looking at cbssportsline.com at top free agents for ss and some suitors the cubs were alex gonzolaz from florida m but they were big suitors for royce clayton that wouldn t be bad to have royce clayton at ss but i like ronny cedeno at 2nd

cedeno's a natural SS and one of the best glove/arm guys around. myself, im more affraid of his low-power game that lends itself to speed-aided doubles at its prime. he's a low-k, low-walk guy that will put the ball in play. if he had some pop behind it, i'd be a bit more happy about him.

that said, he's a hell of a SS with glove and arm.

i got no probs with him starting and it seems as of now hendry and dusty both agree he's the man.

trades could change all that...cubs are essentially done as it stands, but there's so much off season left.

NCFAn:
"So what would Dusty be considered other than terrible? The "Moneyball" approach sounds like common sense to me. Supply and demand, return on investment, cause and effect....."

Just an FYI...Jim Hendry is the GM and hires the manager and the players the manger has to manage.

i still think royce clayton who has experince and cedeno is young so u can change position easier but i no ronny would be good at ss but i think u can t have neifi or todd at 2nd

"cubs are probally stuck with r.cedeno unless they can find a measurable upgrade."

For a split second I forgot everything I knew and thought "What? ROGER CEDENO?"

Manny,

The cause and effect would apply to Dusty the rest would apply to JH (He's terrible right now too).

Strato on the computer is much better bleeding! The stat databases are amazing! I grew up on board game strato just as my dad did, but was converted to the computer modle 5 years ago. You can set up the computer game to look more like the board game if you desire. Go Strato and go Cubs!

um, NCFAN, sorry to dork out but three questions:

1) Where can I get computer stratomatic?
2) Is it free?
3) Does it work on Mac?

Another Strato comment then I'm done.

I always pick the cubs in my current leagues but I always have to add a cubs great (ernie banks, sandberg, sosa, billy williams) to the team to make them competitive because they usually suck!

*i still think royce clayton who has experince*

Yeah, he has experience all right...experience sucking. Pass.

Nate,

1. Its not free.

2. It's the greatest simulation baseball game ever. Period.
3. It's not free. Go to strat-o-matic.com, products, computer baseball.
4. Im almost positive it works on the mac.

thanks ncfan... i'll check it out!

People are trying to read between the lines and are speculating too much. These deals are Phil Roger's-like-made-up-wishful-thinking. They have no basis in fact.

I don't think Tejada or Abreu are going anywhere, and if the Cubs made a deal to get Zito it would be ridiculous to turn around and deal him away. Top quality starting pitchers are worth more than top quality hitters, there are so few of them. If people are suggesting the Cubs deal away a bunch of prospects to land a top pitcher to then deal for a hitter, just give them Prior or Zambrano and keep the prospects. I love Abreu, like Tejada, but realistically the Cubs are reverting back to the bad early 90's teams that make horrible moves and then pump up the P.R. The worst part is the fans will keep coming out to watch a team that will likely win 74-75 games next year, barring something odd happening. I think the only good thing about signing Jones is it should help cement Dusty's departure sometime in 2006, as this team will still be sorely in need of base runners to generate runs.

The most annoying part of all of this is that Jeromy Burnitz was over-used last year and fell off in the second half, like all of Dusty's top players. Dusty doesn't understand the importance of giving guys day's off, especially older vets. So Burnie's production fell off, and instead of him driving in 95+ runs if rested once a week all season, virtually guaranteeing his return, he is replaced by a historically mediocre hitter and a 3 year contract that will come back to haunt the team.

"People are trying to read between the lines and are speculating too much."

If there's one thing I've learned on TCR, it's to take AZ Phil seriously... the man has been right more times than I can remember.

Agreed, Nate. While ultimately Phil is just guessing like anyone else, his guesses are better reasoned and more strongly rooted in fact and in legitimate historical trends than just about any of the guessers out there. There's Phil Rogers speculation, and then there's responsible speculation....

As I've said before, I personally get very little satisfaction in playing the hot stove games, but if I had to take any single hot-stover seriously, it'd be Phil.

Jacob:
"The most annoying part of all of this is that Jeromy Burnitz was over-used last year and fell off in the second half, like all of Dusty's top players. Dusty doesn't understand the importance of giving guys day's off, especially older vets."

Interesting, there are many people on TCR that complain Dusty plays his bench guys too much, but Jacob complains he doesn't play them enough. HMMM...

It works for mac?

Mannytrillo:
"Interesting, there are many people on TCR that complain Dusty plays his bench guys too much, but Jacob complains he doesn't play them enough. HMMM..."

Isn't it common sense to rest a 36 yr old outfielder once in a while? Burnitz played 160 games last season. He hit .276 before the all-star break and .237 after. His bat looked slow the entire second half, and his run production fell way off. Don't forget, Burnie isn't one of the mega-talented superstars like Bonds or ARod. Average players decline and need regular rest, yet Burnie still drove in 87 runs on a mediocre team last year. He could have driven in 95+ easily if he were rested more often. And I say that if he had driven in that many runs, Hendry would have been eager to bring him back, for he was almost the perfect fit for what Hendry wanted, a lefty power hitter on a 1 year contract with Pie hopefully ready in a year.

The most annoying part of all of this is that Jeromy Burnitz was over-used last year and fell off in the second half
----

Burnitz splits vs Lefty pitching were awful:

182 AB's .236 .268 .445 .713

and it wasn't the 2nd half, it was September that was bad:
.100 AB's 200 .277 .310 .587

but May sucked too:
106 AB's 226 .281 .340 .621

so not only was Burnitz overused (605 AB's for the year) but he should have been PLATOONED...Hairston would have been Dusty's best choice but he was too busy trying to play Macias/Neifi that he didn't start to play JHJ until they sent CPat to the minors and when JHJ got hurt and Patterson came back to suck once more...when Hairston's elbow was better he decided to use him in LF to take away AB's from Murton.

There are alot of things that are logical that Dusty doesn't understand. We're going to see that this year every time Jacque Jones bats against a lefty pitcher. There are statistics to show why some ballplayers should be in a platoon situation. Burnitz and JJones are prototypes for this logic.

Cedeno would be a really nice SS to have in an everyday role...IF the outfield was all set and productive. Murton has potential...potential to do very well or fail flat on his sophomore face....I'm willing to risk on Murton and Cedeno...BUT then we are risking on Jones...risking on 2b because it appears the Cubs are hellbent on Walker playing somewhere other than Wrigley....so they are risking a great deal. The key is the spot Jones is filling. If he doesn't come through with 90 RBI's we are no better off than this past season.

Also Lee and Ramirez are very likely to have less than 2005 type year in 06....This is a sub .500 team who has not gotten any better. We likely will increase salary once again and will have a very pathetic, anemic offense with an acute spell or two of +10 runs scored in one game during each month. The much sought out bullpen will once again be asked, "Why can't you protect a tie or one run lead every damn game?" because the offense can't get them a good lead.

I doubt Tejada is on the market. My guess is it is a "show me more love" move on Tejada and Balt. will be content on keeping him. I don't see any huge trades being made because the Cubs simply won't part with good prospects and they really don't have a lot to offer in big league experience--that is that they are willing to part with. The Jones trade likely has tied their hands. These pie in the sky trade scenarios are not going to happen. The Cubs won't be part of them.

#61 should read "The Jones signing" not trade.

Did anyone see or mention the splits on pierre in grass vs turf. Big difference....... Much better on turf. grass .273 turf .429.

Cubfan-
I agree with you, but this team has struggled with offense since Dusty came to town...we will win IF we can get great starting pitching like we had in 2003. If we can get reliable starts from Prior, Z, Wood etc. i don't see this offense being much worse than the Sox had last year or the Astro's have had the last couple seasons

I stumbled upon an article from ChicagoSports.com today that is placed suspiciously under Fred Mitchell's column. Here's the little nugget in it's entirety:

"More than one source has claimed the Cubs dangled pitcher Mark Prior in multiteam trade talks that would land them premier Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada and eventually send Prior to a team in the American League West. Hmmm Ö"

The thing that really bugs me about this article is that ChicagoSports is Chicago Tribune property, and we all know that the Trib owns the Cubs. Don't the Trib editors have the final say on anything Cub related? If so, could that mean this information should not be taken with a grain of salt?

I dislike the idea of Prior on another team, but if it meant Tejada as our shortstop for the next fours years, by all means pull the trigger. II would hope that the Cubs would be able to get another arm in return, someone like A's Dan Meyer or Danny Haren.

Here's the ChicagoSports.com link to the Prior rumor:

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

not to debunk that article, but to state something...

that's a column...and they, while under an editor's control, arent the same as a news story.

while some columns may be 100% true and etc, they arent held up to the same level of newspaper responsibility on whole...its a more author-specific thing as for where the responsibility and oversight falls.

NCAF said:

"Did anyone see or mention the splits on pierre in grass vs turf. Big difference....... Much better on turf. grass .273 turf .429."

NCAF, where did you get those stats?

Pierre career on grass: 3155 ab's, .304
career on turf: 256 ab's, .320

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/6550/spli...

NCAF, your stats are from 2005. Pierre only had 14ab's on turf in 2005.

Crunch,
If it were the Sun-Times or the Newark Star Ledger(or anyone else), then I would dismiss the article as just another trade rumor. But to see this in a Tribune owned column, I start to get interested. I am not putting any faith into this article but rather trying to put two and two together.

I understand where you are coming from and I see your point. Fred Mitchell, bless his heart, is not the same rumor starting hack that Phil Rogers is, either.

he's not gonna see a lotta turf in the NL anyway...actually, he's not gonna see any turf in the NL.

If we start the following and they have similar seasons here is what our lineup will look like
obp slg
Pierre CF .326 .354
Walker 2b .355 .474
Lee 1b .418 .662
Ramirez3b .358 .568
Jones rf .319 .438
Murton LF .386 .521
Cedeno SS .356 .375
Barrett c .345 .479

If this is the lineup and the numbers are similar (probably get a decline on lee an improvemt on jones a decline AND an improvemt on murton and cedeno 1 for each and similarities with the rest) this is not an awful lineup. I would switch Murton Walker and Jones around have Murton at 2 Walker at 5 and Jones at 6 or 7. I think if the lineup is constructed correctly we could score some runs. (We have all been bitching about obp well some of us anyways and Jones at 6 mil per year is one of the worst on the team).

WE NEED A STARTING PITCHER DAMNIT!!!!!

yeah, the turf/grass splits are meaningless now bc other than the guys who play their home games on turf fields, nobody has ABs there bc there are so few turf fields.

this cubs team as currently constructed is not good enough. at all. hendry must know this. hendry also must know that if they go 80-82 or thereabouts again that he is gone.

all this means there HAS to be another move that he has a reasonable confidence that he can pull off. tejada or abreu would be enough when added to this team. other than them, i don't know what could put this team over the top.

dammit. a long month of waiting and waiting for one of those deals but i don't have that much faith that either will happen.

go bears.

i dont really follow the whole "team is screwed" thing.

is it that people think murton is gonna go down in flames? cedeno and murton? pierre to be a total embarrasing bust? aram/dlee not hitting 35+ hrs?

when comparing last year to this year's possibilities you gotta consider the loss of a month+ of aram/t.walker, a chunk of m.prior, and 3/4 of a year of garciappara/wood...and the near-30 loss bullpen out there the cubs were working with.

adding to it all what the rest of the NL Central looks like now i dont see a lotta doom there.

Agreed Crunch. Team is not THAT bad. We do need 1 more quality starter though.

I grew up on board game strato just as my dad did, but was converted to the computer modle 5 years ago. You can set up the computer game to look more like the board game if you desire.

See, I think the computer would take half the fun out of strato.

The anticipation of knowing that there's only one spot on the 2 collumn that's a hit, and that split second it takes you to look to find out if your 2-11 is that one spot would be lost on a computer screen.

As far as setting it up like the board game, I don't use the board at all. We use stat sheets and keep score like a real game - even tallying stat totals for the end of a series/season.

I just can't imagine that watching a computer do all of that would have nearly the appeal.

And if all of that isn't geek-ed up enough for you, we actually programmed a graphing calculator to "roll" both regular and 20-sided dice so we can play in a car - while roadtripping to baseball games.

Bleeding,

Glad there is another strato fanatic in cub reporter world!

There is still nothing written in stone that Cedeno or Murton will even win a postion out of spring training.

Then you have to deal with the famous Dusty hook. Younger players if they struggle for about 2 weeks lose the job and never get it back. Veteran players like Neifi are allowed to struggle for 2-3 months at a time and never get the hook.

First Cedeno and Murton have to do well in Spring Training, then they have to come out of Spring Training on fire, then they have to avoid any long slumps. It is a nearly impossible guantlet to run that only the Pujol's and Cabrera's of the world can overcome.

Cedeno could end spring training hitting .200 just like Bobby Hill did. Instead of Grudz at 2nd it is Neifi to the rescue!

If you don't think this can't happen then you must not realize who our manager is. Choi and Hill were much more highly regarded than Cedeno and Murton ever were. If the old Dust Bag wasn't willing to give them the benefit of the doubt he sure as hell wont give Cedeno and Murton one either.

It may be a lousy thought to think of but I don't trust our manager. Never have trusted him.

I pray to god (and I am not religous) that Murton and Cedeno do well. Because you have that Grim Reaper of a manager just looking for any excuse to pull the plug on them.

Strat-O-Matic's cool 'n everything, but check out OOTP:

http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/

You can play the entire history of the sport without paying for every season's statistical databases.

I'm with ya, Mike. We've seen this before.

Hendry will make seemingly strong endorsements of Cedeno and Murton, going in to spring training.

Dusty will make a seemigly contradictory statement, something to the effect of "if they have good Springs, they certainly have a chance to make the team."

Hendry will respond with another seemingly strong endorsement and veiled criticism of dusty, to the effect of "I don't know what more Murton has to do to win a job."

Dusty will lash out at reporters for misrepresenting his position on young players, and insist that Murton/Cedeno has a fair chance of beating out Crusty Veteran X, (Mabry?/Neifi) for the starting job.

Murton/Cedeno will begin the year on the short-end of a platoon, and with the inconsistent usage will have inconsistent performances.

Murton/Cedeno get traded.

TCR board relives, for the 1000th time, whether Young Player X's failure was his own fault, Hendry's fault, Dusty's fault, or some combination therein...

And in 2007, after Hendry and Dusty get their extensions, we'll do it all again, perhaps with Pie and Eric Patterson....

MIKEC-
Your ideas are right on...Dusty doesn't like playing rookies...BAD ROOKIES. Your thoughts would hold more water if Choi, Hill, Cruz, Dubois, etc. went on to have good careers with other teams, but they all have stunck so far.

And if Murton and/or Cedeno struggle and Dusty doesn't think they are any good, he will make the change. Hendry knows that and he keeps him as the manager...WHY??

Trans:
"Hendry will make seemingly strong endorsements of Cedeno and Murton, going in to spring training."

You mean like this comment from Hendry:
"Murton and Cedeno have proven they're going to be everyday Major League players. Nothing would make me happier if they could come to camp and fulfill that obligation soon, and that would enable us to put other resources elsewhere. We're not going to hand it to them. Sometimes in this game, you can't base all your evaluations on September callups."

From the Mitchell article here is what I think the trade would be:

Cubs
Eaton
Tejada

Orioles
Arias
Hill
Patterson
Mench

Rangers
Prior
Walker
Maine

That Eaton deal makes no sense for TEX but according to a Crasnick article the Cubs were interested in him. So maybe Daniels was doing that trade in mind that Eaton could get him Prior which would be the ace they need. Also Maine makes up for the loss of Chris Young. For Bal Arias is a good SS prospect who has more upside than Cedeno but they will have to go with Chris Gomez at SS for 06. Also Mench and Cpat help fix that bad OF they have. Hill gives them a solid prospect who is better than Maine. For The Cubs Tejada gives us a legit line-up and Eaton can be a solid rotation guy. Though we would be thin on SP until Wood got healthy. As our rotation would be Z-Maddux-Jwill-Eaton-Rusch. Any thoughts.

Phil Roger's is as unimpressed as the rest of us with the Jones signing...but sure is excited about Pie

I have to chime in about how the team is perceived by at least 75% of the posters here to be "screwed".

Just because the White Sox have been making proactive moves does not make our team "suck".
The White Sox are dealing from their positions of strength, pitching and outfielders. The Cubs, too, are dealing from the strength of thier pitching, which is how we were able to outbid the Yankees for Pierre. Jim Hendry is doing just fine. Leave him alone.

We overpaid for Neifi. So what. You know what that did? It priced Grudz out of a job in STL. Just for that reason alone I will find solace in this signing. A 2 million dollar a year utility player is not so bad for a club with a 100 million dollar payroll.

Jacque Jones is a capable right fielder who can't hit lefties. Big deal. He costs 5 mill a year. It's not like he is costing the Cubs 10 million per. He is a short term replacement who is durable but probably won't be around to see 2008. Much has been made of how Jacque is incapable of hitting a left hander so I won't bore you with stats. But here I give you an interesting stat: the Cubs went 24-27 versus lefties last year, and 25-15 in 2004. First of all, lefties account for only 1/4 to 1/3 of all games played. 40-50 games a year versus lefties will not be good for Jacques stats but I see him, for the most part, having some success, and certainly a bit more than Burnitz had. If Jacque can hit .280/.330./450 I will not be disappointed. Also, did anyone catch that both Jones and Burnitz were essentially the same player last year? Both had an OPS of .757. If you want a Brian Giles type player(i.e a 10 million dollar + per year type), we have one who is similar: Matt Murton. Just give him time to show that he can hit like him. (Giles 2005 OPS was .905, Murton's for 140 ABs, .908)

Bottom line, the Cubs may improve by 10 games if the pitching staff is healthy. That would probably put us in contention for the wild-card. Our bullpen is much improved, and we now have a bona-fide leadoff hitter who can eclipse the .270-ish OBA from last years' leadoff spot.

Realistically, it all boils down to our pitching staff. If Prior, Wood, and Zambrano can make 80-90 starts for us, then we should be in great shape, regardless who is in right field.

Our team is not screwed by any stretch of the imagination. Give the Cubs another chance, TCR readers, and stop acting like the world has ended whenever Hendry goes out and signs a replacement level player.

Ha. I suggested Prior-for-Tejada about two weeks ago and was laughed/scolded off this board. Funny how things change when you come down with a case of Jacque itch.

Ron, very good post. The point about Neifi's contract pricing Grudz out of STL is a good one, anything that weakens the rest of the division is good for the Cubs chances.

ChiFan,

Looking over the starting pitching staff after the trade, I have to say it looks unimpressive. Without Prior, our rotation looks bleak. Wood is not a #2 and maybe won't ever be a starter again, and I have no doubt in my mind that Maddux is nothing but a #4 starter. Eaton on the other hand shows promise, but again slated to be a #3 starter and possibly a borderline #2 at best.

Williams is an interesting enigma. I forsee good things for him but he probably has no future with the Cubs, although I would love for Dusty to have more faith in him. If it were between Rich Hill and Williams, I would keep Williams. Something about Williams that tells me he will be a successful palyer.

As for the rest of the rotation, Rusch is servicable at best as a #5. I neither like or dislike him; he does what is asked of and something gets hit hard. No biggie there from me.

Without Prior this team looks decidedly average. If the trade for Tejada nets us a young pitching talent in return, then I can see a gain from this trade, but not without.

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for people to stop talking about trading away a once in a lifetime pitcher like Mark Prior. Last lifetime we had Greg Maddux. Please do not let us keep making the same mistakes.

Thank you,

Chad

I feel very torn about a trade that involves Prior and Tejada. On one hand, you would be getting arguably the best shortstop in the majors, definitely one of the top three, and a player of such caliber that even Derrek Lee's stellar 2005 could be overlooked. But losing Prior, well... Prior and Zambrano are two of the most exciting pitchers the majors have seen in years, and it would be a shame to lose either of them at this point, early in what could potentially be a long, historical career. It's a very tough call.

Let me go over this again, here is the list of players that I would need to get to trade Prior:

ARod
Puljos
maybe Cabrera.

That is ALL.

Chad,

What would you rather have: a highly talented pitcher who can't stay healthy and is battling control issues or a superstar shortstop who has not missed a game in 5 years?

Mark Prior did not look like a once-in-a-lifetime pitcher at all during the past two years. I would say that Jake Peavy and Dontrelle Willis have been better than Prior, and all three are comparable in age. Don't get me wrong. I love Prior's talent. I would love for him to finish his career with the Cubs, but lets have a little perspective. He is an injury risk. His control is worsening, as his walk rate and HR rate are on the rise. He is still better than 90% of the pitchers out there, but let's not call him untouchable, especially when he can net a Tejada-type player, i.e. one who plays every day and is a top 3 player at his position.

The Prior for Tejada trade must have a young pitching talent going to the Cubs for the trade to work. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I would love to see Dan Haren in a Cub uniform. Otherwise, the trade should be nixed.

The only way you trade Mark Prior is if you decide that there is absolutely no way you will be able to resign him to a long term extension. In that case, you have to at least consider it. However, you still need to get a good price for him given that he is our property for 2 more years.

I wouldn't trade him - unless Hendry is 100% sure that Prior is bolting to NY/CA/etc.

It seems to me that these are the factors to consider in a Prior trade:

1. His future injury risk

2. The degree to which his recent struggles were injury related

3. The risk that he simply will not re-sign with the Cubs at any price

4. The talent received in return.

Right now, I think that his future injury risk isn't a blinking red light, just a solid yellow. I think his recent struggles were indeed injury related, too. I have no idea what is in his mind, so I can't even guess about whether he'd consider resigning. Cabrera, Pujols and A-rod aren't going anywhere soon, and that leaves precious few potentially available players I'd accept in a trade - Tejada and Dunn could both do the trick, for me. Rushing a trade at this point would be ill-advised, I think we owe it to ourselves to see how healthy and how dominating he looks at the start of the year, get a better read on his interest in re-signing, and go from there.

9 ips 16 ks 3 hits 1 run? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

X, I agree with you 100 percent.

Trans, I covet Adam Dunn more than anyone here but I wouldn't trade him for Prior. Not to mention, either would Cinci who would have little hope in resigning him.

I would not trade Prior for Dunn. I'm not nearly as big on Dunn as a lot of others, especially for the Cubs. Too many Ks and that's the last thing we need.

Chad - Good point about Cinci's chances of signing him, it makes it a very unlikely trade, yes. To reiterate, I don't think we should be in any rush to trade Prior for Dunn. I can just imagine, rather easily, that we get to a point during the season where we're still not convinced of prior's health and contract status, and that at that point Dunn looks like an awfully good return......

but yeah, Reds aren't going to bite on that one, I guess.

Blue & other Strat-ters! I too learned all about baseball and the cubbies playing strat-o-matic with my old man. I loved having Nolan Ryan's cards 4 4-8, 5 4-8 & 6 4-8 were all strikeouts! Anyhoo, I too have the strat comp game, and while it is great for single-paying games, it pales in comparison to Sports Mogul's Baseball Mogul. Y'all need to check this out and it is ridiculously cheap ($19.95) and comes with all the seasons built in. sportsmogul.com

maybe i missed the boat on this one and someone brought it up earlier.....but does anyone else think it's funny that we now have two non-french outfielders with french names? pierre and jacque? or perhaps i am the only one with a 4 year old's humor...oui oui

i gotta start coming up with more concrete things to post...

Wes, beat the shit out of that one last night. You can check it out here:

http://www.all-baseball.com/MT/mt-comments.cg...

OOTP>Baseball Mogul>Strat-O-Matic

I like APBA.

Trans,

Nice work. You nailed it on the head. I am concerned that the Cubs will not be able to resign Prior. I see him signing with a West Coast team. He has not had the best of times here in Chicago -- remember he missed a shopping mall appearance a couple years back and the uproar that ensued?

Anyway, our only untouchable should be Zambrano. Everyone else, including Lee, should be considered expendable.

I think the Cubs have missed their opportunity to get to the World Series and should now begin anew. In a couple years, the Marlins are going to be a very good team. I admire the ownderships' audacity to breakup the entire team and start fresh. We need an attitude like that at Clark and Addison. It may be a bit premature to talk about rebuilding right now, but if we are not in the playoffs next year, we might be talking about rebuilding in December 2006.

To be fair, the incident with Prior and his public appearance in 2004 stemmed from the fact that he coincidentally had a prior 'meet & greet' event planned (no pun intended) that ended up coinciding with the night before his first start coming off of the DL. He actually made the event, but balked at having to sign his name 300 times - which is understandable as he had to pitch the next day. The venue made a big stink, and I think they ended up trying to sue him, though I never heard what happened.

Has anyone played diamond mind baseball? I really like it. If people are considering making some kind of league, I would like to take part. The thing about Diamond Mind is, A. we can share a disk or two (illegal!) and b. we can play live baseball sims over the internet. Please remember that this is a strategy only game. please email me if interested.

[email protected]

I'm not feeeling good. Just to see Prior's name in a trade rumor makes me sick. I would not trade him for just about anyone. He is going to have a great career, and he has a great make-up.
If Hendry does this, it's desperation and I'm done with the Cubs after being a demented sicko since 82. I never thought after Maddux would I ever see something so ridiculous!!!!!

Trans i'd hunt you down myself if you were GM and traded Prior for Dunn!!
Dunn is an option for our lineup BUT
to trade Prior for him.....
Adam Dunn.....

OH I MUST HAVE READ THAT WRONG!!!!
Hmmmmmm.....
...................................

HONEY LOAD UP THE SHOTGUN WE GOIN HUNTIN!!!!!

Okay Phil Rogers is officially a dumbass...

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

Zambrano AND Pie, you got to be shiting me.

Phil,

Just curious why in your scenario, you would value Abreu higher than Zito. 32 year old power hitter in decline who has always seemed to come up just a tad short of his potential vs. a 27 (?) former Cy Young who NEVER misses a start. Zito is making around 7mm (1 year left on contract) while Abreu is getting closer to 15mm (2 years left). Zito should get a bump in performance by joining the NL. Seems in a straight up deal, Zito for Abreu, the Phils would be coming up on top, especially factoring in the salary difference.

So why throw in another top prospect? Or are you just extrapolating on the Pierre trade and figure that Hendry will now always throw in an extra prospect.

For what it's worth, I actually think regardless of what was said publically that Gillick would rather have that shopping list of prospects you listed than Zito and his expiring contract. He's traditionally been a build from within type GM and being new, I don't think he feels the Philly pressure yet to win yesterday. A savvy media campaign would sell Rich Hill as "The Next Barry Zito" to quiet the media, etc.

Sorry if it's a repost.
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5189112

Cubs after Tejada, could move Prior

Ken Rosenthal / FOXSports.com

The Cubs, aggressively pursuing a blockbuster trade for Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, are willing to part with a top starting pitcher, most likely right-hander Mark Prior, sources tell FOXSports.com.

The talks are stalled, a source says, over the Cubs' insistence that the Orioles give up left-hander Erik Bedard along with Tejada if they want Prior ñ and the Cubs' refusal to include top outfield prospect Felix Pie or a top pitching prospect in return.

The Cubs and Orioles also have engaged in three-way discussions with the Red Sox in which Tejada would go to the Cubs and Ramirez to the Orioles, according to another source. The package the Sox would receive is unclear, but conceivably could include Prior, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and center fielder Corey Patterson.

Whatever the details, such a trade would appear to be a longshot, and no other deal appears close. Orioles owner Peter Angelos is a difficult negotiator who routinely procrastinates on major personnel moves. Any deal involving Ramirez would require him to waive his no-trade clause, an issue that could further complicate discussions.

If the Orioles want to move Tejada in a straight, two-team trade, the Cubs would be a more logical partner than the Red Sox, who play in the same division, or even the Angels, who play in the same league.

The Cubs are believed to be more willing to trade Prior, 25, than right-hander Carlos Zambrano, 24, who has emerged as the team's workhorse and ace. The Orioles likely would not be interested in right-hander Kerry Wood, 28, who is coming off shoulder surgery.

If the Cubs acquired Bedard, they would gain a ready replacement for Prior and keep their rotation at full strength. But the Orioles need to add pitching, not trade it, which is why they would want a top prospect from the Cubs. Cedeno, Patterson and second baseman Todd Walker are among the other Cubs who could attract the Orioles' interest.

Tejada, 29, said he wanted to be traded in an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month, stating his desire to play for a winning organization and his belief that he would benefit from a "change of scenery."

He later softened his remarks, but did not back off his position in talks with club officials. He has four years and $48 million remaining on the six-year, free-agent contract he signed with the Orioles prior to the 2004 season.

Rather than move Tejada, the Orioles could attempt to improve the team around him. They've signed free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez, 29, to a four-year, $27.5 million contract and free-agent outfielder Jeff Conine, 39, to a one-year, $1.75 million deal. They also are talking to free-agent outfielder Jeromy Burnitz, 36, and are one of several clubs pursuing free-agent right-hander Kevin Millwood, 31, who seems most likely to sign with the Rangers.

While the Cubs appear to be the team pushing hardest for Tejada, the Orioles have maintained steady dialogue about a possible deal with the Red Sox. However, they rejected the Sox's initial offer of Ramirez, and a straight trade between the clubs might only be possible if the Sox included pitching. The Orioles then would seek to trade for a shortstop or sign one as a free agent.

The Angels, meanwhile, continue to view the addition of a slugger like Tejada as their top priority. Their talks for Ramirez have not advanced, and like the Cubs, they have numerous young players who would appeal to the Orioles, starting with right-hander Ervin Santana and first baseman Casey Kotchman. The Orioles also could take back high-priced veterans like shortstop Orlando Cabrera and first baseman Darin Erstad in a trade.

The White Sox, willing to move right-hander Jon Garland or right-hander Jose Contreras, are another team believed to be interested in Tejada. Both Garland and Contreras, however, are eligible for free agency at the end of the season. Under Angelos, the Orioles have routinely balked at acquiring potential free agents without the assurance of signing them long-term.

For the record, Tejada is owed:
2006 - $10,000,000 ($2 M Signing Bonus)
2007 - $12,000,000
2008 - $13,000,000
2009 - $13,000,000
2010 - No Contract ($2 M Signing Bonus)
2011 - No Contract ($2 M Signing Bonus)

Bedard: under control for four more years

If Hendry could do something along the lines of Tejada and Bedard for Prior, Cedeno and someone like Ryu or Koronka, that would be awesome. At that point we likely have to keep Korey to platoon with Jock since we're out of Monopoly Money.

Last post on this: Hypthetical Cubbie lineup/rotation

Pierre
Walker
Tejada
DLee
Ramirez
Jones
Murton
Barrett

Zambrano
Bedard
Maddux
Williams
Rusch
Wood*

Obviously it hurts the rotation but it really solidifies the lineup. And obviously we have more depth at pitching than in the bats department. Obviously.

Thanks for posting, WPZ.

I am going to go back and curl up in the fetal position again. I pray that the Prior-for-Tejada/Bedard rumor is the creation of idle sportswriters the week before Christmas.

Bedard is not a No. 2 starter on a championship-caliber team. Injury-prone (including a Tonmmy John surgery), never posted an ERA below 4, older than Prior. Moreover, he is precisely the type of contol pitcher that Leo Mazzone will do wonders with, so it is understandable why the O's would overvalue him and ask for MORE than Prior. But Rothschild ain't Mazzone.

But let's tie this to AZ Phil's post. What if the Cubs knew a package of Murton, Hill etc. would pry Zito from Oakland, but Zito stays here and Prior goes to Bal? (A significant bump in salary for sure.)

Trading prior for Tejada, even straight up, is not a good trade....it may look so now, but it is not. Period....

I'm thinking the odds of Prior throwing for the Cubs in 2008 is closer to zero than Milli Vanilli's bank account. Trade him while you can get someone like Tejada for him ... while his value is highest. Because this time next year it's not even an option.

DC Tom, no way we get Zito and Tejada, unless you want the outfield to be Jones - Pierre - Patterson.

BTW, Reggie Sanders is likey crossing Missouri for the Royals.

WPZ, I am not advocating for the trades I speculated on in #117. But I am more trying to "think along with Hendry" and connect dots.

Hendry may be thinking that he can move Patterson for a decent corner OF, or a mid-season trade, or figuring out how to acquire Gibbons or Payton in the course of all this. I don't know, but I do think that Hendry may view Prior as more-tradeable if he had Zito.

# 86 Ron-

Several of you know I don't buy in to most of the statistics you throw in. Reason is, stats alone tell you ALMOST nothing without the next step...analysis and the big picture.

Ron, you told a story with yours. Ultimately I'm guessing the Cubs have already improved by 12-15 games this year if they do nothing else in the way of trades...BUT....is there not always a but?.......the rotation has to stay healthy. Like Ron said, if we get 80-90 starts from our top three guys...and IF Maddox can hang on for 10-12 wins for one more year....we have a good chance.

I'm taking it a step further. The Cardinals beat us by 21 gams in the standings. I'm guessing they are at least 10 games worse this year than last. No time to analyze that, but consider their age and that they were treaking hot the last two years. Take Houston out of the mix this year due to age concerns. This means to me the following...using all your beloved statistsics AND some common sense.....we have a real shot at winning the Central, not just the Wild Card, simply by doing the math.

And my bottom line.........the Cubs are pissed. If we get in........emotion, adrenaline and pitching will take us all the way. No more collapses

Am I bleeding blue (not stealing your thunder BB)?...yes I am. But for now let me live my pipe dream and be happy....at least until the All-Star break. And for X.......I just might come off the wagon and buy you all a round at Murphy's if we get in!!!!

Joey

WSCR Reports that this is more than just idle chit-chat and that this is serious discussion.

Hendry is probably realizing that he has very little chance of resigning Lee, Zambrano AND Prior. He's realizing what some of us have said for a while; that this team, as currently constituted, has a limited window of opportunity. Specifically, when Z and Prior have the change to get 5/75 or more, that's when the Trib is going to step down on it. So what can JH do? I see two choices.

1) Go for it all now. Mortgage SOME of the future, and go for it all. Win one - and then you have a lot more rope to work with. The Trib would have a much harder time letting these guys walk AFTER a WS than if they never get there. The risk to that is that if Hendry fails, he's be gone after this year and the team would be a bit hosed. But the window is open - so JH can go for it.

2) Acknowledge that you aren't going to win it all this year and that this team will need some work. Find a way to create a new window. Trading Prior for Tejada and Bedard is justifiable (although arguable) if you look at it that Prior will soon be making 15mm per (probably somewhere else) and for much less than that you can have Tejada AND Bedard. If Bedard can stay healthy, his a sub 4.00 ERA in the NL, probably a #2/#3 type guy in a rotation. Certainly he would be a guy who can win 12-15 games in the right environment, if healthy. And he is entering his 3rd year of service, so he'd be under control for four years.

My take - option 2 makes sense if you are 100% sure that there is no way you will be able to resign Prior AND if you are 100% sure that you will be able to resign Zambrano. Worst case scenario is that you trade Prior, then cheap out when push comes to shove and Carlos ends up taking big bucks to go to some division rival. (Houston?)

I'm torn. I don't want to see Prior traded. But to get back to my prior (no pun intended) point about a 3 year plan, Hendry must have a realistic 3 year plan. And 15mm for Prior, Zambrano and Lee has to be a reasonable number. Will it come in +/- a million or so - sure - but for arguements sake, let's say 15mm. You can't tie 45mm into those three and expect a balanced team unless your farm system really starts to deliver on its promises.

I'm guessing that the Cubs pass on this for now, and that if we are out of it by the trade deadline, you see Prior or Zambrano moved to the highest bidder.

I'd take a Jones-Pierre-Patterson outfield if it got us Zito AND Tejada.

Ken Rosnethal at FoxSports is reporting this:

The Cubs, aggressively pursuing a blockbuster trade for Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada, are willing to part with a top starting pitcher, most likely right-hander Mark Prior, sources tell FOXSports.com. The talks are stalled, a source says, over the Cubs' insistence that the Orioles give up left-hander Erik Bedard along with Tejada if they want Prior - and the Cubs' refusal to include top outfield prospect Felix Pie or a top pitching prospect in return.

Trading Prior for Tejada would be a humongous gamble for Hendry and I don't know if he has the stones for it. I have been against trading away Z or Prior for Tejada because you typically don't trade top flight MLB pitching for a bat. But I've come around a bit on Prior mainly because I just don't know if he is ever going to live up to expectations. If he teases us like Wood over the course of his career then do it. No way I trade Z though. I only trade Prior for Tejada if I get a MLB ready pitcher in return as well.

#112 of 116: By SPB (December 22, 2005 05:16 AM)
Phil,

Just curious why in your scenario, you would value Abreu higher than Zito. 32 year old power hitter in decline who has always seemed to come up just a tad short of his potential vs. a 27 (?) former Cy Young who NEVER misses a start. Zito is making around 7mm (1 year left on contract) while Abreu is getting closer to 15mm (2 years left). Zito should get a bump in performance by joining the NL. Seems in a straight up deal, Zito for Abreu, the Phils would be coming up on top, especially factoring in the salary difference.

So why throw in another top prospect? Or are you just extrapolating on the Pierre trade and figure that Hendry will now always throw in an extra prospect.

For what it's worth, I actually think regardless of what was said publically that Gillick would rather have that shopping list of prospects you listed than Zito and his expiring contract. He's traditionally been a build from within type GM and being new, I don't think he feels the Philly pressure yet to win yesterday. A savvy media campaign would sell Rich Hill as "The Next Barry Zito" to quiet the media, etc.

SPB: The reason I would think Abreu's value would trump Zito's enough to warrant including Pie is just that Zito will be a FA after next season, while Abreu is signed through 2008 (club option). Of course, the Phillies would also get out from under Abreu's $15m salary in 2007 and $16m (or buy-out) in 2008, but I don't think that is the main motivation for trading Abreu anymore. The Phillies aren't looking to just "dump payroll."

If the Phillies were unable to sign Zito to a contract extension past '06, and with Jay Payton very likely to leave after next season (if he were to be Abreu's 2006 replacement), all the Phils would have left to show after 2006 for trading Abreu would be Felix Pie.

Obviously, if Hendry could get Abreu just by "flipping" Zito and Payton from Oakland to Philly, so much the better. But sometimes a deal has to be "sweetened" to get the other GM to "pull the trigger," especially if one of the players involved can be a FA after one season.

I believe Zito is probably the type of pitcher the Phillies would take back in a deal for Abreu, and would even take Zito back "straight-up" for Abreu if it wasn't that Zito can be a FA after next season. If the Phillies could get Zito to agree to a contract extension before the deal, getting Pie might not be an issue.

The media reports so far regarding the Phillies looking to trade Abreu were that they offered Abreu to Toronto "striaght-up" for Vernon Wells and the Blue Jays turned it down, and then when the Cubs inquired about Abreu, the Phils supposedly wanted Zambrano.

Zito and Zambrano are basically in the same "class" of starting pitcher (#1 starter), with the main difference (besides age) being that Zito will be a FA after next season, while Zambrano won't be a FA until after 2007.

And who needs Eric Bedard?

If the Orioles were to absolutely insist on getting Prior (and Cedeno and Pie) back in any deal for Tejada, that could still work. The Cubs could always trade Prior to Baltimore, and then make the deal with Oakland for Zito and Payton (Murton, Hill, and Wuertz for Zito, and probably a "lesser" 4th player like Brandon Sing for Payton) and just keep Zito for themselves (Zito would replace Prior in the Cubs starting rotation, which might not be the worst thing), and either keep Payton to play RF (Jacque Jones would move to LF, where he belongs), or exchange Payton for a different RF (like maybe Jay Gibbons).

#102 & 110.

Thank god someone else has a sense of humor. I was very close to taking myself seriously the past 24 hours.

For those of you concerned about me, my wife bailed me out of jail in St Louis over night. Raffy Furcal, Steve Howe's boy and I drove down from Des Moines to spend a little time with Ponson......get some lowdown on the murder investigation...determine his chances of getting off completely.....anyway the wife bailed me out this morning cuz we got a little "wild and crazy" at Shannon's steak joint. Who knew beating women,puking on the floor and running from the cops in our Lamborghini's got you thrown in jail. Hell,in Iowa and the Caribbean it's acceptable if not encouraged (okay, I lied about that......in Iowa it's not cool, and I haven't laid a hand on a gilr since 5th grade when Marci Northrup kicked me in the stomach to get me away from the teetter totter....bitch deserved some chin music in gym class the next day while playing kick ball...AND I'M THE ONE THAT GOT IN TROUBLE...besides, there's only one Lamborghini in Iowa and I don;t have access to it...yet!))

Let me bottom line it. The Cardinals are in trouble tot he tune of 10-15 games worse than last year....and Hendry didn't REALLY want Raffy that much anyway...told him Rush Steet and Wrigelyville were off limts and it pisseed Raffy off. They would have never gotten along because of it.

Besides, SS is hard enough without those pesky ankle bracelet monitor things the cops use to track you by GPS. Slows down the side to side lateral speed.

We're fine as we stand boys. Trading Prior, Zambrano or Wood is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. We'd be better off trading Maddox.

Joey

PS St Louis jail is nice this time of year. Ponson is considering buying a condo next door so he can walk to work.

X, what is your "go for it this year" move, then? JH will not be able to get Abreu or Tejada without trading Z or Prior, IMHO.

A "win now" move would be the first half of AZ Phil's idea -- Murton, Hill and Weurtz for Zito. Add Rusch and ask for Payton. Leverage fact that Cardinals lost Morris and the Astos lost Clemens and try to overwhelm the division with pitching. And if Payton-Pierre-Jones is simply too piss-poor, make a mid-season trade for a corner OF about to become a free agent (there will be several).
Maybe that's what JH is thinking and maybe the Tejada/Prior stuff is a feint.

"The Cardinals are in trouble tot he tune of 10-15 games worse than last year"

*shakes head*

Seems like we hear this every year. I know people were saying it last year. Rolen comes back - and this team is actually BETTER than last year despite losing Grudz, Walker and Sanders.

Tom, my go for it this year plan would have entailed moving multiple prosepcts in more of the Pierre type deals and flat out winning a bidding war for Furcal. Pay 3/52 to Furcal (yeah, it's too much money - but that's what it would have taken) and trade prospects to get a legit corner OF.

Keep the rotation as is, add Furcal, Pierre and a legit corner OF and I think we'd have been there. I don't think we are THAT far right now - the problem is that there are no ways to get there without giving up something off the roster. I agree that trading Z/Prior to get Tejada/Abreu doesn't get you there this year. Those would be moves more to acknowledge that we are not going to win it this year, and that we won't re-sign two pitchers to 5/75+ deals. Only Hendry/McPhail can make that call.

X,

Laughing my ass off.......I drive you nuts. Sorry about that.

Walker is gone. Sanders is gone. Morris is gone. Isringhuasen's magic is gone. Ponson is in..GOOD MOVE THERE. Jim Edmonds is past his prime and..here's a news flash....for all the SportsCenter play of the day awards he gets, he muffs about 1 out of every fundamentally easy balls he gets. Rolen might be back strong, but it's doubtful he'll ever recover completely.

You think WE have it bad with our bitching? go a Cardinals board....they are beside themselves.

Joey

I would only consider trading Prior for Cabrera or Arod.
Because of his mental make up, I would trade Z before trading Prior.

X, what is your "go for it this year" move, then? JH will not be able to get Abreu or Tejada without trading Z or Prior, IMHO.

A "win now" move would be the first half of AZ Phil's idea -- Murton, Hill and Weurtz for Zito. Add Rusch and ask for Payton. Leverage fact that Cardinals lost Morris and the Astos lost Clemens and try to overwhelm the division with pitching. And if Payton-Pierre-Jones is simply too piss-poor, make a mid-season trade for a corner OF about to become a free agent (there will be several).
Maybe that's what JH is thinking and maybe the Tejada/Prior stuff is a feint.

X, what is your "go for it this year" move, then? JH will not be able to get Abreu or Tejada without trading Z or Prior, IMHO.

A "win now" move would be the first half of AZ Phil's idea -- Murton, Hill and Weurtz for Zito. Add Rusch and ask for Payton. Leverage fact that Cardinals lost Morris and the Astos lost Clemens and try to overwhelm the division with pitching. And if Payton-Pierre-Jones is simply too piss-poor, make a mid-season trade for a corner OF about to become a free agent (there will be several).
Maybe that's what JH is thinking and maybe the Tejada/Prior stuff is a feint.

Nah Joey - you don't drive me nuts. I like you. You are funny...like a clown...

Zambrano - Carpenter
Prior - Mulder
Maddux - Suppan
Rusch - Marquis
Guzman - Ponson/Wainright

Frankly, I'm not sure if the rotations aren't about even. I like Z cuz he is ours, but you have to realistically make a case that he is a push with Carpenter. Prior is awesome - but Mulder is still one of the best lefties in the game. And he took the ball an average of 30 times in his 6 year career. Maddux and Suppan - honestly, this is 2006. At best for the Cubs this is a draw. More likely Suppan is better than Maddux. Marquis and Rusch - this isn't close, and it isn't in our favor. And the 5th starters - you can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit. I'm not happy with our 5th, and they aren't happy with theirs, call it a wash.

All in all - their pitching really isn't much worse than ours, it might be as good, and a Cards fan could easily argue it is better wihtout too much a stretch.

"go a Cardinals board"

And by the way Joey, I wouldn't wish that on you - why are you being so mean to me? :-)

I have no interest in going to a Cards board. I already did 4th grade twice.

Levine is confirming the Prior trade talk. He says Hendry has offered a "young player" and a "older player" package. the "young player" package is Guzman, Hill, Cedeno, CP, and Dopiriak and the "older player" package is headed by Prior but he did not give the other names. I imagine that package includes Walker and CP.

Guzman, Hill, Patterson, Cedeno and Dopirak ... that's a basketball team ... no wonder he wants Bedard back as well. I don't like trading Guzman and Hill together, but if Bedard comes back, then yes, do it.

For the vets: Prior is a valuable commodity ... alot depends on who Bal wants as well ... but one older guy they probably don't have a huge eye for is Walker. Despite his value they have Roberts and the Lopez/Hernandez platoon eats up the DH spot most nights. All they could do is trade him.

X,

Very, very nice!!!!! The 4th grade comment is a classic, but sill very good.

I agree with you. Your side by side comparison of pitching staffs is spot on. But, if you look at the team diiferentiators from year to year, and not just pitching staffs, you have to admit the Cardinals ON PAPER and with some logic are down. My estimate is minimum of 10 games down. Conversely, even though some don't like the moves we've made already.....I firmly beleive the Cubs are 10 games better....and more IF we make another move or two....more yet if our staff stays healthy.

That puts us right in the mix. Considering the intangibles....we're younger, we have anger and emotion on our side, we're hungrier...even outweighing the fact that they have LaRussa (who I can't stand but you can't argue with the guy's results)

It's a wash on paper...Cards and Cubs neck and neck at the end.

But then I might have some herb I grow in the middle of the corn. Ponson liked it. (I'm kidding about that....really I am.)

Joey

#125:
"We're fine as we stand boys. Trading Prior, Zambrano or Wood is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. We'd be better off trading [Maddux]."

--

Zambrano is our ace and he should be rewarded with a contract extension before hecomes a free agent in 2008. Prior has not shown that he can stay healthy for a full season, and it is becoming clear that he may be the next coming of Kerry Wood. Why not entertain offers while Prior value is probably at its hightest? Because if Prior breaks down one more time, then it will hurt his value, not so much as Kerry Woods' value (bloated contract) but enough to keep us from landing someone like Tejada, who has played every game for the last 5 seasons at a superstar-caliber level.

Greg Maddux is not going anywhere. He may become bait at the trade deadline if the Cubs are out of it, but I see him finishing his career here either this year or next. Too expensive and too hittable is not a good combination.

The bottom line is, the Cubs need another "big bat" in the middle of the batting order, and Miguel Tejada (or Bobby Abreu) would certainly be that "big bat." If it costs Mark Prior to get that "big bat," that would hurt, but not as much if you can replace Prior with Barry Zito.

As for gutting the farm system to get Tejada, even if the Cubs were to trade Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Matt Murton, and Rich Hill, they would still have Mark Pawelek, Angel Guzman, Eric Patterson, Ryan Harvey, Sean Marshall, Brian Dopirak, Carlos Marmol, Donald Veal, Sean Gallagher, and Jae-kuk Ryu as their "Top 10 Prospects," with probably David Aardsma, Mike Billek, Grant Johnson, Scott Moore, and Randy Wells (alphabetical) 11-15, with the added possibility that Chadd Blasko, Matt Clanton, Billy Petrick, Rocky Cherry, and/or Carlos Vasquez could come back from their elbow or shoulder problems, and while it might not be the best group of prospects in baseball, it's not the worst, either, especially at the lower levels. And then it should only take about another year or so before the shelves at AA and AAA are re-stocked.

So, yes, if I'm Jim Hendry, I WOULD trade Mark Prior (and Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno, if necessary) if that's what it would take to get Miguel Tejada - IF - the Orioles agree to pay Tejada's $6m in remaining signing bonus money (payments of $2m in 2006, $2m in 2010, and $2m in 2011), and - IF - the Orioles agree to pay half of Tejada's 2006 salary ($5m) and - IF - I could also get Barry Zito from Oakland (for Murton, Hill, and Wuertz) to replace Mark Prior in the starting rotation, and also either Jay Payton (from the A's) or Jay Gibbons (from the Orioles) to play RF (with Jacque Jones moving to LF).

Also, remember Greg Maddux and Kerry Wood will likely be gone after next season, and that will save the Cubs $19m in payroll for 2007. So the Cubs CAN afford to take on Miguel Tejada and Barry Zito in 2006 and beyond, and still have payroll left-over to give a post-2006 contract extension to Derrek Lee.

2006?
1. Pierre, CF
2. Walker, 2B
3. Lee, 1B
4. Tejada, SS
5. Ramirez, 3B
6. Payton, RF (vs LHP)/Jones, LF (vs RHP)
7. Jones, LF (vs LHP)/Payton, RF (vs RHP)
8. Barrett/Blanco, C

WPZ,

Walker could play 1b for them. Also Levine says if the season started today the MI would be Cedeno and Hairston.

The next Kerry Wood? Are you kidding me? Since when does a collision with Marcus Giles and a freak line drive to the elbow make someone an injury risk on the same level as Kerry Wood, he of the multiple arm/shoulder surgeries and a history of back problems dating back through high school?

Prior has had one non-freak injury in his career, a calf problem that led to arm soreness. There is no way you trade a guy with his potential for anything less than an Albert Pujols.

His composite numbers over the last 4 years are decidedly better than Chris Carpenter's, the only difference is that Prior has made 11 fewer starts, or to be exact less than 3 fewer starts per year than Carpenter averages.

Zito for Murton, Hill and Weurtz... That's about the same price (more or less) as Beane got for Mulder and Hud. I guess it isn't out of the question. He may hold out for Pie instead of Murton. Is that a deal breaker for Hendry? Is it worth it for one year of Zito?

I think Beane would prefer Murton over Pie, as he would like to upgrade over Bobby Kielty and Jay Payton immediately.

Is it worth a year of Zito? I would like to know whether Zito would be open to an extension before pulling the trigger. But even if not, I think it is a gamble worth taking. Murton is a nice player but precisely the type of corner outfielder that are available every year in the free agent market. Hill is still a bit of a project and aq risk for Oakland -- remember, at this time last year he was on nobody's "top prospect" list, so we would certainly be "selling high", and I like that.

Weurtz could easily have the longest MLB career of the three and can be downright unhittable at times. A potential premeire reliever, but Hendry prefers to sign and overpay for these guys after their career years, so there is no real long-term place for him here.

I agree Tom. I'd do it. I guess I'm not 100% convinced that Pie is going to be any more the answer to this franchises needs than any other top prospect we have had over the years. A bird in the hand... Get me Zito, then we have a legit 5 man rotation with decent insurance. That goes a long way. If Zito walks at the end of the year, I'll gladly take my two draft picks and know that at least we made an effort.

Zito vs Guzman/Rusch - the difference is SIGNIFICANT. I'd be willing to give up Murton/Pie, Hill (I'm not sold on him since he still is a 2 pitch pitcher) and Wuertz.

Hey Guys,

This is Clay Dreslough, the creator of Baseball Mogul. I used to be a Cubs fan (lived less than a block from Irving Park Rd) but now I'm back in New England spending more time worrying about the Red Sox fielding an infield in 2006.

For running a league, there's a game that's better than Mogul, OOTP or Diamond. It's Basebal Mogul Online. We JUST started running Free Leagues that you can sign up for here:

http://www-1.sportsmogul.com/bb/login.pl

If you want to start a 'Cub Reporter Only' private league with a password, you'd have to pay for a Premium League. But the Free Leagues certainly give you an idea of what the game is like. I never realized it until we launched Baseball Mogul Online, but playing head to head against 29 other owners is much more compelling than the single-player version.

Best,

Clay

Phil Rogers is a babbling moron he is just as bad a Sam Smith (basketball).

Did anyone see or mention the splits on pierre in grass vs turf. Big difference....... Much better on turf. grass .273 turf .429

That's another of the factors that scares me with Jacque Jones. Generally you can add about 20 points to a batter's avg when his home field is astro or field turf because the ball is going to shoot through the infield...and the Metrodome is probably the "hottest" or fastest turf in the bigs these days. It's conceivable that along with this factor and the obvious factor of the league change that Jones can hit at least 20-30 points lower than he did last season...add to that day games where it's often difficult to see curveballs etc with the shadows and we could be seeing a .220 ba for Jacque. Hendry better be landing a solid right bat for RF. I still would like to see Eric Byrnes who was non-tendered by the O's. I don't think Kearns/Mench is an option without giving up a Rich Hill, Guzman type.

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