Why I Like the Jones Signing

OK, I've come all the way around on the Jones signing and am in favor of it. There are a few caveats, but overall I think it will improve the team. The question I kept asking myself was, "does this make the Cubs better than they were last year?" And the answer, it seems to me, is yes. Signing Jones does two things: it replaces Jeromy Burnitz in the outfield, and it prevents Corey Patterson from starting. Let's start with Burnitz. Looking at their stats, I think it's fair to say that Jones is likely to put up better numbers in '06 than Burnitz would have. Jones and Burnitz had identical OPS last year, and Jacque is five years younger than Jeromy. Plus, he's a better defender, with great outfield coverage. Putting him next to Pierre (hopefully in left field, where his arm prblems will be minimized) will help the rotation, most of whom (Wood, Prior, Williams and Rusch) are fly-ball pitchers. Plus, he'll make $2M less than Burnitz would have. The money involved in this deal is really pretty small, and that makes me more inclined to look at the signing as an acceptable risk. The money TribCo is giving Jones is not going to preclude Hendry from going out and trading for a player with a big salary -- he still has budget maneuverability, and there are still three months of the off-season left. On to Corey. More than once, I've seen Jones referred to as "Corey Patterson, but older." This is not a fair comparison. Jones has it all over Patterson offensively: Patterson, career (589 G): 252/293/414, 70 HR, 111 BB, 552 K Jones, career (976 G): 279/327/455, 132 HR, 231 BB, 737 K Breaking that down into rate stats, the differences become even more clear: Patterson: 21.0 PA/BB, 4/2 PA/K, 33.4 PA/HR Jones: 16.4 PA/BB, 5.1 PA/K, 28.7 PA/HR Jones walks and hits homers more often, and strikes out less often, than Patterson. He'll be about $2.5M more expensive than Corey, but that will be more than made up for by not having Patterson's historically bad bat in the lineup on a daily basis. Jones is better than either of the in-house options. There may have been (and may still be) some available-by-trade options that would have been better, but all of them would have involved giving up prospects. Being able to sign Jones, no world-beater but certainly a solid player, without losing any minor leaguers is a nice plus. OK. On to the caveats. The main knock on Jones is that he can't hit lefties, and that certainly appears to be the case: Jones v. LHP, 2005: 201/247/370 Jones v. LHP, 2002-04: 238/295/363 So the Cubs need to have a righty who can play right field against left-handed pitching. They already have a decent candidate on the roster in Jerry Hairston, but if they're looking to go get someone, there are any number of attractive fourth-outfielder lefty-masher types out there. Trans mentioned a number of them the other day, and from his list I like: * Jeff DaVanon, a switch-hitter with better numbers from the right side * Craig Monroe, who has good power against lefties and is arb-eligible for the Tigers * Dustan Mohr, who had an OPS nearly 300 points higher against lefties last year Let me suggest another name that came over the non-tender wire that you may not be familiar with: Ryan Spilborghs. Spilborghs is a 26-year-old outfielder who has been in the Colorado system. Last year, in a season split between AA and AAA, he did this: AA Tulsa: 341/435/525 AAA Colorado Springs: 339/405/551 Now those numbers need to be adjusted down a bit, especially the Colorado Springs line, but the fact is that this guy can hit. I'd say he's definitely worth a flier, especially when you consider he'd come cheap and he's coming into the age where many players peak offensively. Unfortunately, Spilborghs re-signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies between when I wrote this and when I posted it, but the Cubs are reportedly in discussions with Colorado centering around Todd Wellemeyer and asking for a guy like Spilborghs as a throw in ought to be doable. There is, of course, a big potential stumbling block to the idea of platooning Jones, and that is Dusty Baker. As Arizona Phil suggested, Jones might be the ideal Dusty guy: high energy, "good in the clubhouse," aggressive at the plate, over 30. It's entirely possible that Jones will be pencilled into the lineup every day, even when someone like Mark Mulder or Dontrelle Willis is on the mound. If so, then all this is for naught, but I hold out a modicum of blind faith that Dusty will do the right thing. Why, I don't know, but I do know that boundless reserves of blind faith are a prerequisite for being a Cubs fan. The second issue I have with Jones is his arm. It isn't good. In fact, it may be downright bad, and it's certainly not good enough for him to play right field on a daily basis. The Cubs can (and should) move him to left, but that leaves Matt Murton in right, and his arm is nothing to write home about either. What the Cubs are going to end up with is an outfield full of guys who can go get it, but who have trouble hitting the cut-off man, which is a bummer. The final problem, and the main thing I dislike about the deal, is that it's for three years. We have to assume a long-term contract is in the works for Juan Pierre, and that means that two of the three outfield spots are going to be locked up through at least 2007, and probably longer. The biggest loser in this scenario is Felix Pie, who finds himself blocked pretty thoroughly. That assumes Matt Murton proves himself deserving of the third spot; if he doesn't, then that's where Pie goes, but I don't want to have to be reduced to hoping one prospect fails so that another could get a shot. Even with these negatives, though, Jones is a net positive for the Cubs. I know I'm swimming against the current here -- one of the baseball people whose opinion I value the most came out solidly against this deal, and it's running pretty solidly anti- at BTF (hey! Look! It's our old pal Scott Lange) -- but after a close look at things I believe signing Jones was, on the balance, a good thing to do. [UPDATE 10:45]: A number f people have pointed out, here and elsewhere, that the problem with Jones' arm isn't that it's weak, but rather that it can be wildly inaccurate. Thanks for the corrections.
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Comments

Good job with the post and I couldn't agree with you more on all accounts. Very well thought out read.

How come Baker is always bringing in a reliever to take advantage of the platoon situation, but we can't count on him to do the same with Jones on the other side of the ball?

Eric Byrnes was non-tendered by the O's.
Didn't do too well last year in any environment, but 2002-4 splits vs. LHP .298/.361/.524

Looks like a good platoon mate/4th OF as long as Dusty doesn't decide he's in left for Murton too much.

Nice piece Ruz.

Lefty said:

"How come Baker is always bringing in a reliever to take advantage of the platoon situation, but we can't count on him to do the same with Jones on the other side of the ball?"

I think Dusty is practically blind to 'the other side of the ball'. It's the same thing as when Baker is very unhappy whenever his relievers walk people, yet he doesn't want his own players to walk.

"I think Dusty is practically blind to 'the other side of the ball'. It's the same thing as when Baker is very unhappy whenever his relievers walk people, yet he doesn't want his own players to walk."

Yet the organization is in love with guys who throw hard and strike out a lot of batters but also in love with batters who strike out a lot.

"Lefty" Bill James wrote a while back how having a deeper bench and less pitchers would allow the coaches to take advantage of the platoon advantage for hitters with greater frequency and success - but no coaches seem to think of it that way.

I really really REALLY don't like signing Pierre to a long term contract. He's likely to face a steep decilne, and if you sign him you might as well trade Pie now. Maybe that's Hendry's plan - screw the farm system retread veterans is the way to go.

Great post, one of the more level headed things I've read. I agree that the Cubs are better with Jones than the status quo; however, is that good enough? In regards to Pie, I think it is not a bad thing to let him gain experience in the minors. Players get hurt or don't pan out so he will get his chance in the next couple of years. He comes with the same hype and potential as K-Pat, let's try something different than rushing him to the majors and learning on the job. Two rookie everyday starters will be more than enough for Baker.

Are Murton and Cedeno eligible for ROY in 2006?

Matt, I guess my feeling is that asking "is it good enough" is unproductive. It is what it is. The Cubs signed Jones, and we need to look at if doing so made the Cubs better, rather than what else might have been done that might have made them even better.

Jacos, I know Murton is not eligible (too many ABs) and I'm pretty sure Cedeno spent too much time on the roster last year and is also ineligible.

The Hardball Times has an interesting article on Jacque Jones today:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/dai...

It points out, among other things, that Jones is an extreme ground ball hitter. That might be fine and dandy in the Metrodome, where ground balls might squeak through the artificial infield faster (resulting in more hits), but on Wrigley's historically high infield grass, it's a death sentence.

But back to the Metrodome a second, didn't they switch to the fancier fake grass from traditional astroturf a year (or two) ago? This might partially explain why Jones batting average has dropped so much the last two years.

As for your piece, you have some interesting points, Christian, but I still don't like the length of the deal. They signed a stopgap for three years. By the way, Baseball Analysts agreed with you that this deal is not the end of the world.

Christian, I am using the question "is it good enough" in regards to determining if signing Jones was a good decision. If Jones helps make the Cubs good enough to become playoff contenders, than I like the decision. If not, then Hendry did not think big enough. I do agree with you that it is what it is and I hope that it works out. BTW, www.hardballtimes.com has some great stats/graphs on Jones.

Mike J,

Interesting and very astute observation about JJ, his eroding average and infield grass. Could be, though, that since it takes infielders an extra tick to get TO the ball at Wrigley, it might offset that drop in BA and OBP from previous years...maybe even bring it up. I guess it all depends on JJ's speed, which from what I read is well above average.

I'm stretching for as much good as I can get.

Joey

"The Cubs signed Jones, and we need to look at if doing so made the Cubs better, rather than what else might have been done that might have made them even better."

Actually shouldn't we consider if the signing makes that Cubs more likely to win a World Series or less likely, not merely if it makes them better. Maybe it is splitting hairs, but to me this is a different question.

The Metrodome did install field-turf two years ago, so that's an interesting theory about his BA, and very bad news if its true and he's playing at Wrigley.

Anyone read Phil Rogers' pap about trading Z for Tejada? This guy should be running the shoe rental counter at the Diversey Rock'n' Bowl..

"Think an offer of Carlos Zambrano, Pie and Perez would get the Baltimore Orioles' attention?

I do. The Cubs ought to be willing to give up Zambrano to get Tejada, especially if they still can add a free-agent starter (Kevin Millwood, Jeff Weaver or Brett Tomko would do)."

Could any of those 3 replace Zambrano? Realistically?

"Actually shouldn't we consider if the signing makes that Cubs more likely to win a World Series or less likely, not merely if it makes them better. Maybe it is splitting hairs, but to me this is a different question."

Not following you. If the Cubs are better, then they'll clearly be more likely to win a World Series. Now, if you're asking, "Sure, the Cubs are better, but are they better than other options that would have made them WS contenders?" then you have a fair point. But that would just go back to Christian's initial argument -- look at the deal as a plus or minus for next year.

Actually shouldn't we consider if the signing makes that Cubs more likely to win a World Series or less likely, not merely if it makes them better.

If a move makes the team better doesn't it automatically make it more likely for them to win a world series, where in theory at least, the best team wins.

Unless we're going to get into making it more likely to win a short series, then I see your point, but that's much more pitching-dependant.

Not Tomko, as he got 2 years, $8m + from the Dodgers. And as Millwood will probably get $11-12m a year, with Tejada's contract, I don't see how we can afford him. And no, Weaver will not replace Zambrano in terms of production.

Re: Phil Rogers...The day he writes an intelligent article is the day Neifi Perez wins a Silver Slugger...moron...

off the subject, but does anybody have any info on this...

http://baseballprospectus.com/article.php?art...

So, what's going on? The Cubs are owned by the Tribune Corporation, which happens also to own WGN. The Tribune Corporation transfers revenue away from the Cubs and correspondingly lowers the costs of WGN. According to Broadcasting & Cable, the industry's authoritative source, the Cubs' local media earnings were $59 million. [In 2001; by 2003 this figure was $63 million. -ND] If the Cubs had reported this figure instead of $23.6 million, then their reported $1.8 million loss would have become a $33.6 million profit in 2001!

Jones 2002 stats:

Home .270 / .303 / .418
Away .329 / .377 / .600

not sure if installing the new turf was the only reason for his decline...

Have been looking for online confirmation here, but Bruce Levine is on the radio reporting a Prior-for-Tejada deal is nearing completion. I have no idea who/what else are involved. Apparently the Os balked at our offer of Prior for Tejada + Bedard, according to Ken Rosenthal

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5189112

re #23
Slugger there was a mention on rotoworld.com

#9 of 10: By jacos (December 22, 2005 08:22 AM)
Are Murton and Cedeno eligible for ROY in 2006?

----

JACOS:

Both Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno will qualify for the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year Award.

To qualify as a "rookie," it's 130 or fewer career MLB plate appearances or 50 or fewer career MLB innings pitched - OR - 45 or fewer days accumulated on an active MLB roster (DL time doesn't count) between Opening Day and September 1st (only).

Although he exceeded the number of PA allowed to still be a rookie, Murton still qualifies as a rookie by virtue of spending only 44 days on the Cubs active roster between Opening Day and September 1st. So he qualifies as a "rookie" by ONE FRIGGIN' DAY! (Ya think maybe the Cubs knew that when the sent Murton to Iowa on August 19th?).

Although he exceeded the number of days allowed on an active roster betwen Opening Day and September 1st, Cedeno had only 89 PA (41 less than the number of PA allowed), so he is still a "rookie," too.

Trading Prior would be the worst move this team made since trading Lou Brock. Zito better be on his way if this trade goes through.

this is a toughy---prior for miggy

my inclination is no...a strong no. 1-2 is our one solid portion of the team right now. our middle infield is in disarray, and don't even mention our outfield. being strong up the middle is understandably big--but with all of the uncertainly regarding hill and especially guzman, this deal would be putting momentous pressure upon jerome and glendon. that scares me.

as bold and tide turning as tejada could be, i don't think it could help as much as losing prior would hurt. we're talking a 5 year age difference ---where do people stand on this? i've seen a much more divided response regarding the Abreu/Prior debate than i anticipated.

"boundless reserves of blind faith are a prerequisite for being a Cubs fan".

Great line and absolutely true.

I go back to what I've been saying for the past few days: who else were they going to get to play RF? None of the other options are really any better. And most of the "options", i.e. Green, Mench, aren't really options anyways because they aren't going anywhere.

About the Tejeda rumors flying around today. If Hendry has the stones to trade Prior for Tejeda (and throw in a few other players on each side), then I say go for it. I've come around on trading Prior. I want to win now and Tejeda gives us a better chance to do that than Prior does because we all know he is going to be on the DL. The trick is we need to fill his spot in the rotation. I don't think Bedard does it, I don't think signing Millwood does it either because there is concern around the league that he is ready to break down. So who would it be?

Don't trade Z though.

prior for miggy

I am for it. I know people will have an emotional reaction to letting prior go and I understand that but I just dont feel to sure that he will ever be that consistently great pitcher that we all want.

"Plus, he'll make $2M less than Burnitz would have."

Not true. Jones will make $1M more than Burnitz would have this season if the Cubs had picked up Burnie's option.

Jones' contract is $16M for 3 years, but the base salaries are $4M per with a $4M signing bonus. So Jones is getting $8M for 2006.

For what it's worth, I've been listening to Baltimore radio today, not a peep yet on anything involving Tejada. The baseball talk of the day has been the death of Elrod Hendricks, the longest-serving coach in Orioles history. 45 years in baseball, began coaching in 1978. Hendricks coached Jim Palmer, Dennis and Tippy martinez.

He was a friend, teammate and coach of Mike Flanagan, the current O's Executive VP (the real GM and Jim Duquette's boss), so I would be really surprised for the team to make a big trade in the next couple days.

Phil, I think you have it wrong on the ROY stuff. It's my understanding that exceeding either the AB or the service time requirement makes you no longer eligible.

Form an article on mlb.com written by Steven Goldman:

"It was not until 1957 that clear guidelines were established. To be considered a rookie, a player could not have had more than 75 Major League at-bats, pitched more than 45 innings, or been on a Major League roster between May 15 and September 1 of any previous season. This basic formula was tinkered with until 1971, when the final definition of 130 at-bats, 50 innings, or 45 days on a roster were adopted."

Any one of those things made a player not eligible.

Chensteve:
"It's the same thing as when Baker is very unhappy whenever his relievers walk people, yet he doesn't want his own players to walk."

But yet his players walk more under him as manager than when managed by otehr guys. Hmm??

#24 Thanks RATM

#26 Jacos:
Trading Prior is not easy, but Tejada is an MVP shortstop. Prior is capable but still valued on potential. He can strike guys out, but at what cost? Think 0-2 bases-loaded fastballs to Adam Everett.

Sorry, that was kinda harsh, but if you can get an MVP SS for a guy that IMO doesn't appear to be trying very hard to do anything besides improve his personal stats. A tough-luck injury set him back in '05, but it's not like he hasn't broken down before.

So if he walks away via free agency, it nets us a sandwich pick IF he manages to stay healthy. Why not deal him for an MVP that fills a defenseive and offensive hole?

In addition, Tejada is only owed 4-yrs, $48 mil. What was Furcal going to cost us? Not to mention saving the club from Dusty's desire to get Neifi 400 ABs at SS.

That my two cents.

I'm gonna be sick....

Hendry is signing his pink slip by trading Prior away.

A rotation of Zambrano, Maddux, Rusch, Williams, and ??....Zito, Millwood, etc will bring us a 1, a 2-3or4's, and 2-5's...weeeeee

I thought their plan was to build around a strong pitching core? What happened to that plan? If he dished out 1-2 extra million, Furcal would be a Cub, batting 2nd in the order, moving runners and stealing bases, not have to give up any minor leaguers for his signing, not have to give up supposed blue chippers like Prior, Pie, Murton-etc..., and still have 2-ace pitchers.

Not only is Hendry going down the unemployment line, but he's going down in flames.

If this trade goes thru expect an 80-82 season...with all of Cubdom bitcchin about the starters in July.

Zambrano - 17 wins
Zitoish trade/signing - 14
Maddux - 11/12
Rusch/Williams - 7/8/9

I don't think Wood will be healthy all season and won't start until July.

weak.

Arizona Phil,

I discussed the Murton/Cedeno-ROTY situation with the sports editor of the Daily Southtown back in September.

As a result of this conversation he contacted the Cubs and was told that neither Murton nor Cedeno qualify.

Murton has 46 days of service, not 44.

Do you have other information?

"If a move makes the team better doesn't it automatically make it more likely for them to win a world series, where in theory at least, the best team wins."

I guess I need to make myself clearer. IMO, it is possible for a team to be made better, but for their chances of winning a world series to remain realistically zero.

For example, the Yankees could give Mariano Rivera the Royals, and while this would make the Royals better they would still have little chance of winning the World Series.

The addition of Jones to the Cubs has that kind of feel to me. Sure it might make them better, but who cares since if this is the team for 2006 they have little chance of winning it all. Hopefully Hendry has something more up his sleeve.

What I don't get is why trade Prior, then sign Millwood to a $55M deal? According to ESPN Insider, that is now his asking price?

I can't see him signing Millwood for that. I can't understand why he would do this. As much as I am not happy with this current lineup, I'll take it with Z, Prior, Rusch, Williams, Maddux, and Wood in the wings. I agree with TA that this does NOT make us a better team.

Doesn't Hendry know you need 2 strong pitchers (ie. Clemens, Oswalt) to succeed? This smells like desperation to me.

"Murton has 46 days of service, not 44."

Yes, I think that's right. I remember us all getting in a huff about why, if you're going to send Murton down to Iowa, why not do it BEFORE he becomes ineligible for the 2006 ROY consideration. Apparently, the Cubs weren't watching it all that closely.

"Doesn't Hendry know you need 2 strong pitchers (ie. Clemens, Oswalt) to succeed? This smells like desperation to me."

Just so we're clear, from what I've read, this deal won't go down unless the Cubs get a pitcher from the O's in return. Preferably Bedard, though I bet it would end up being Daniel Cabrera or Hayden Penn. The Orioles also want a top prospect from the Cubs, like Pie. Apparently, both teams feel like their valued player is worth the other's valued player plus some.

Of course, if Hendry can secure a deal for Zito or someone else, then I'd feel a lot better about trading Prior. What do the Brewers want for Ben Sheets? ;)

You're exactly right, this does Not make us a better team, just one that will average .5 to 1 more run a game in offense, and one that will give up .5 to 1.5 More a Game...

Giving up Prior for Tejada is a non-move....maybe worse.

For Sheets they would want our rooftop revenue for the next 50 years!

Do It!

"and one that will give up .5 to 1.5 More a Game..."

I believe that would be give up .5 to 1.5 more EVERY 5 GAMES. I'm mixed on a Prior deal, but let's remember, he only pitches (at best) every five days. Tejada would play 140+ games a year. So, by your calculation, that would be 2.5 to 5 runs that Tejada produced for every run that Prior saved us.

"Do It!"

Damn straight.

This would be a horrible trade. The nucleus of a contending team is strong starting pitching. Didn't the two world series teams of last year prove that once again. The Cubs team as presently constituted (before any additional trade), will only contend if Z, Wood and Prior each have 30 or more starts. Eliminate Prior, even if it is for Tejada, whom I love, and they have no chance of making the palyoffs.

AZ Phil:
"Both Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno will qualify for the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year Award."

The requirements for ROY are:
1- Do not exceed 130 MLB at-bats or 50.0 innings pitched.
AND
2- Do not spend more than 45 days on active 25-man roster from Opening Day to August 31.

Sorry man, but you are wrong here again. BOTH factors have to be meet for him to still qualify for ROY and both Cedeno and Murton did NOT meet both requirements. Both will not be eligible for ROY.

Cedeno only had 80 AB's, but was on the active roster for a total of 102 days (April 21-May 17 & June 28-Sept 10). But only 92 days counted, as Sept callup time does not count.

Murton was on the active roster for a total 76 days (July 8-Aug 19 & Aug 30-Oct 1). But onyl 45 days counted, as Sept callup time does not count. But Murton had a 140 AB's, so he was 10AB's over being allowed to be in the ROY contest next year.

Hope this helps clarify.

Regarding Jones' "weak arm" -- it was my impression that the complaint about Jones' throwing arm was that it was strong but inaccurate, making him prone to air-mail throws to 3rd into the stands and/or miss the cutoff man. That was the gist of one of the cautionary posts about him before he was signed. I recall someone who claimed to have talked to a Minnesota fan who said something to that effect - "sign him if you like seeing throws to third go sailing into the stands" or something similar. Ergo, not a weak arm but bad aim. Anybody else recall this and/or know anything else about this?

No way Jacque Jones signed with us to be a platoon partner, but if we were going that route, Eric Byrnes, Craig Wilson or Kevin Mench would suffice. Sadly we're not that smart.

Prior for Tejada better be a sick joke. Of course, when I heard the Cubs were talking to Jacque Jones, I thought it was a sick joke. And getting Bedard in the deal wouldn't make it any better. He's 2 years older than Prior, not that great and has already had TJ surgery once in his career (2 years ago), by all means, let's get another suspect arm.

I read about Bedard on the Insider. I was a big fan of his throught the All-Star break. I'd like to know if his decline was because of the organization's problems in the 2nd half, or he truly ran out of gas.

Penn won't help us now. Cabrera has tremendous upside, from what I've heard. My concern is back problems, which is never good for a pitcher. I still don't think this is a move worth making.

#32 of 36: By Christian (December 22, 2005 09:31 AM)
Phil, I think you have it wrong on the ROY stuff. It's my understanding that exceeding either the AB or the service time requirement makes you no longer eligible.

Form an article on mlb.com written by Steven Goldman:

"It was not until 1957 that clear guidelines were established. To be considered a rookie, a player could not have had more than 75 Major League at-bats, pitched more than 45 innings, or been on a Major League roster between May 15 and September 1 of any previous season. This basic formula was tinkered with until 1971, when the final definition of 130 at-bats, 50 innings, or 45 days on a roster were adopted."

Any one of those things made a player not eligible.

RUZ: It's actually written in reverse from the way Goldman describes it. The BBWAA uses inclusion rather than exclusion when describing the qualifications for ROY.

The BBWAA does not EXCLUDE a player from being "rookie" as the result of the player EITHER having 130 PA or 50 IP (career) OR spending 45 days on an active roster between Opening Day and September 1st.

Instead, the BBWAA INCLUDES a player as a "rookie" who has EITHER not exceeded 130 PA or 50 IP (aggregate) in his career OR has not spent at least 45 days on an active roster (in his career) between Opening Day and September 1st.

So in other words, to NOT qualify as a rookie, a player must have spent at least 45 days (aggregate) on an active roster between Opening Day and September 1st - AND - accumulated either 130 PA or 50 IP in his carrer.

The qualifications for ROY were written this way (inclusive rather exclusive, with the word "or" separating the two elements of the qualification) partly to not punish a Rule 5 pick who gets stashed on a major league roster for a full season but rarely plays, and partly to not punish a player on minor league option who gets called up after September 1st two or three years in a row and accumulates more than 130 ABs or 50 IP over this two or three year period, but all in the month of September.

Does anyone else see a pattern of the old Cub days with no pitching and some popular position players? It appears Hendry has abandoned his "Altanta Braves blueprint" on winning.

lol...what I meant was the team era at the end of the year will .5 to 1.5 higher than last years 4.19 missing Prior and his 3.67 and replacing it with another 5-type starter like Rusch/Williams who are 4.52/3.91 respectively.

"Giving up Prior for Tejada is a non-move....maybe worse."

It is worse, just base on age difference alone. What is every team looking for? Starting Pitching! Why does Washburn and Milwood demand and receive outrageous contracts? Starting pitchers.
All Hendry had to do was look at the Sox box scores last year to see what won the world series for them. Pitching.

Pray to the soul of Ken Holtman that they do not make this trade. I will buy Jacques Jones jerseys for my entire family, if they do not make this trade. Leave the one glimmer of hope in all of this organiztion(Z and Prior)-- alone!!!!

AZ PHil-
This is from SI.com from 2003:
"Right now, though, there are no limits on age or previous experience outside of the major leagues. All a player has to do to qualify as a rookie is to have fewer than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues and fewer than 45 days on a major league roster."

Here is the link:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2003/writers...

Give it up Phil, sorry man! Check out Lew Ford in 2004, he was ineligible to be ROY because he was on the active roster for too long in 2003, despite only 73 at-bats.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/nnq...

It's one or the other....

I don't see Jones being any better than Burnitz. I think they are pretty similar players. Jones has been declining for 2 straight years....Burnitz had a decline last season over the previous year--but seldom got a day off either.

I think the signing was a wash with a potential LOSS over last season. Stuck with the guy now for 3 years--that was a desperation signing. The Cubs proved again they are players...but only marginal players. They will not make the impact trade/signing to make this club a world series team. What will it take to win? Well the Club sits 4th in the division. STL HOU and MIL all were better clubs last season. To overcome all 3 teams (assuming PIT and CIN don't improve enough to catch us..which isn't a guarantee) you really need to IMPROVE the club...not replace players. I see no improvement. Jones is a player with declining numbers...so the Cubs offer him a 3 year contract. Pierre, Cedeno, Perez,---don't see a number 5 or 6 hitter there...but one of them most likely will be needed to bat 6th in the order if LEE/Ramirez/Jones bat 3-4-5 in no particular order...

This is a WEAK team...

Starting pitching...

Zambrano will be asked to throw an immense amount of pitches and innings...will he show signs of strain?

Prior--which Prior will show up? The one with incredible control or the guy who is missing the corner by 2 inches consistently...the one who doesn't know what is wrong with him...just something doesn't feel right?

Wood--no explanation needed

Maddux--will he be able to finese his way through on 59-65 MPH pitching without having HR after HR being launched against him?

Williams/Rusch--do either of these guys have 10 wins in them? do etiher have a +.500 record?

We fool ourselves every year. Cubfan tells it like it is--that this is a .500 ballclub at best...they consistently play to my expectations and then readers insist it was "other" reasons why the record ended up being what I figured. FOOL yourselves again if you think this club is better than last season. We have a leadoff hitter.....yippe!! That should do the trick and take us all the way to the WS....

I think not.

I read about Bedard on the Insider. I was a big fan of his throught the All-Star break. I'd like to know if his decline was because of the organization's problems in the 2nd half, or he truly ran out of gas.

Probably a little bit of both, plus he was never quite the same once he came back off the DL (knee problems I believe). Other then being left-handed, he's nothing special and really doesn't offer a lot of hope of staying healthy. I'd prefer Hayden Penn, but that isn't going to help us a ton this year, nor are the O's all that keen to trade him I would guess.

Hey, what am I, chopped liver? It was I that mentioned the platoon partners, harrumph.

No one disagrees that Jones is better than Corey Patterson. The Questions are:

1. Is he so much better as to warrant the money we're paying him?

2. Is he so much more likely to remain better as to warrant that money?

3. Will Hendry provide him a platoon partner, and will Dusty avail himself to that partner?

4. Is there much hope that Jones will out-perform his contract?

To me the answers are: No, Undecided, No and No.

If Hendry's absolutely certain that we couldn't land a True Impact Player, then I have no problem with him paying premium, market prices on a pair of middle-relievers and a light-hitting corner outfielder. But to me, Hendry's been like a Christmas shopper whose spending all his coin on top-of-the-line Christmas cards, when cheap ones would do just fine, and now has nothing left in his wallet to buy decent presents.

How's that for a facile-but-germane analogy?!?!

All Hendry had to do was look at the Sox box scores last year to see what won the world series for them. Pitching.

This logic is flawed. So great pitching wins WS...

Okay I buy that and agree

You say Mark Prior is a great pitcher..Zambrano too....

so why then did this fantastic starting rotation manage to finish below St. Louis in the standings...

Oh and Houston too...

Oh and Milwaukee too....

Oh and wasn't that far ahead of Cincinatti and Pittsburgh....

MAYBE?? just maybe?? These pitchers aren't all they are cracked up to be??

Wow, someone referred to themselves in the third person, I thought only Rickey Henderson was allowed to do that. :)

Prior was less than dominating this past season. He was good, but not #1 good. Id do the Tejada trade. Lots more dealing to come from the Cubbies, I think.

#56 of 57: By Rob G. (December 22, 2005 10:30 AM)
Give it up Phil, sorry man! Check out Lew Ford in 2004, he was ineligible to be ROY because he was on the active roster for too long in 2003, despite only 73 at-bats.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/nnq...

It's one or the other

----

ROB G: I will give it up and won't continue the discussion further (no big deal), but suffice to say, I disagree with the SI and Hardball Times info.

The best I can do right now is to provide a couple of other articles that disagree with the SI and Hardball info, but we all have to believe what we believe to be true, and then we just should agree to disagree.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MLB_Rookie_of_th...

and

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1...

(paragraph 12 on the last one).

It's sad that given all the payroll we have, given how many prospects we supposedly have, given our depth of young arms, that we are talking about having to trade away an all-star SP (Prior OR Zambrano) in order to get a legitimate starting SS.

Unless this move is done strictly for the purpose of acknowledgement that we can not resign him to a long term extension, then this deal validates the gravity of the failure to sign Furcal, even if it meant paying him a few million more than they felt he was worth. Those few million may well cost us Mark Prior a year or two sooner than he was going to (possibly) leave anyhow.

On a side note, doesn't Tejada have an out clause in his contracat if he IS traded? I thought I recalled hearing that somewhere. If that's the case, that's something else we need to address before this is plausible.

Transmission says to leave Cubfan alone about the 3rd person. Transmission says we should have a talk-like-Ricky day, because Ricky knows how to talk.

AZ Phil:
"we all have to believe what we believe to be true, and then we just should agree to disagree."

Well, we will find out the real answer in due time...

rickey henderson has to do what's right for rickey henderson for all the rickey henderson fans to enjoy the rickey hendersonesque way of rickey hendersonitude on the rickey henderson method of baseballology.

"We fool ourselves every year. Cubfan tells it like it is--that this is a .500 ballclub at best"

so where does that leave houston/stl/etc...are they .300 clubs? cuz compared to what the cubs got...they blow ass.

Gosh you guys seem like a bunch of whiny ponies. I dont believe in any curse but if there is one then I guess the cubbies are cursed by their fans. Do you all know what you really want? It seems like you all agree on one thing that we need to improve this team. Hendry goes ahead and signs eyre and howry and all hell breaks loose. Everyone starts complaining that we shelled out more than we should do and blah blah totally ignoring the market rates this offseason. We didn't land furcal because Hendry didn't want to offer an astronomical amount to beat LAD's offer and suddenly every one starts whining that we should have added 1-2 million more to the furcal's budget. Can you be any less hypocritical?
After Pierre's signing a moderator over here mentioned that Pierre brings A, B, C, D & E to the club but damn he doesn't have power, arm etc. Jeez can you be any less overcritical? I guess you will be more happy in your fantasy world playing with baseball cards and simulated games than in real life. You CAN'T get everything? Period. Imagine how worse it would be if we still had to stick with patterson in the center?

I think some of you fail to realize that it takes two sides to do any business. So stop blaming Hendry for all the fairy tale trades that didn't happen this offseason. MLB is not unipolar like it is increasingly becoming on planet earth. Everyone is competitive and are looking to improve their teams. Its not like all the GM's have unanimously decided that cubs should get all the best players but some how Jim Hendry is blocking all those proposals.

Whats wrong with Prior for Tejada??? Its not like you guys are all married to Prior and are suddenly getting all emotional. I dont know about you guys but I want to see the cubs win a World Series every year. To hell with planning for 3-4 years down the line. Its not family planning for godsake. I am paying big bucks to see them play so they better play to win NOW!. I dont think we Baltimore is so stupid to give us Tejada straight up for Corey or Neifi right. We have to give up a star player for them to give up a star player. Our offense was pathetic last season and still looks extremely bleak. I dont care if prior is going to be an all-star pitcher one day but more than that I will be more happy the day cubs win a WS. Also If we give up prior for Tejada and as Phil pointed out if we get Tejada then I am all up for it.

Please lets just hope that we win a WS in 2006. Also it seems that most of you think JJ is sticking with us for all the three years even if he sucks for the first two. Well wake up thats what trades are for!!..

-CL

X:
It's sad that given all the payroll we have, given how many prospects we supposedly have, given our depth of young arms, that we are talking about having to trade away an all-star SP (Prior OR Zambrano) in order to get a legitimate starting SS."

Very true....especially when there was a very good SS out on the FA market this year and we wouldn't have had to give up ANYONE for him. We overpay and/or give too many incentives/years/bonues to mid tier guys but won't overpay for the top tier guys.

I DO NOT like giving up Prior for Tejada. PITCHING is what wins in the long haul and I would NEVER trade a top of the line pitcvher for a top of the line SS. Unless it is the pitchers last year of a deal or he has injuries that will stop him from being top of the line.

"How's that for a facile-but-germane analogy?!?!"

I'd say Hendry went to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Bellagio in Vegas, and he filled up on bread and pasta. He missed the shrimp. He missed the crab legs. He missed the beef wellington. He missed the Lobster. He missed the sushi. He missed the Kobe beef. He missed the tenderloin... He is fat on spaghetti and bread, something he didn't need to go to the Vegas buffet to get. He could have probably made something reasonably close to that in his own damn kitchen.

Correction ....
and as Phil pointed out if we get either Zito or another good SP then I am all up for it.

Cubfan-
That's two pitchers and Prior was out due to a freak accident for a month.
So subtracting starting pitching makes a team better? Maybe just maybe it was the bullpen who blew games lead by Latroy and maybe just maybe it was having Neifi and Corey bat one two in the line up for most of the season while the best hitter the Cubs have seen since 98 Sosa batted with no one on base. Or not having a leftfielder for 2005. Or maybe just maybe when Nomar's groin flew off his body in April to miss 3/4 of the season.

To blame Prior and Z for the Cubs woes is asinine.

"so where does that leave houston/stl/etc...are they .300 clubs? cuz compared to what the cubs got...they blow ass."

Are you serious Crunch? You think we are 32 wins better than Saint Louis and Houston? Can't be...gotta be saying something else, right?

I wouldn't know what to think if Hendry swapped Prior for Tejada. For the first time in his career he will make a true ballsy move. And yet I will still blast Hendry for it.

I will trade anyone outside of Prior and Z for Tejada. But I would not trade Prior or Z for Tejada.

#64 of 64: By X (December 22, 2005 10:46 AM)
On a side note, doesn't Tejada have an out clause in his contracat if he IS traded? I thought I recalled hearing that somewhere. If that's the case, that's something else we need to address before this is plausible.

---

X: As with any player who gets traded in the middle of a multi-year contract, Tejada can demand a trade if he does so in writing within 15 days after the conclusion of the World Series, so if the Cubs were to acquire Tejada, he could not demand a trade until after the 2006 season.

That's a risk a club takes whenever they acquirc a player in the middle of a multi-year contract signed with another club.

Oh by the way-
"Jimmy likes Elaine, Jimmy thinks Elaine is cute"

So we could possibly just be renting Tejada for the year and be giving up a top of the line pitcher? NOW WAY THIS TRADE SHOULD BE DONE!!

"Are you serious Crunch? You think we are 32 wins better than Saint Louis and Houston? Can't be...gotta be saying something else, right?"

hey, im not calling this club a .500 club based on flawed thinking.

unless someone thinks cedeno/murton is total trash or they wanna assume injuries for no other reason that pesimist thinking without merit...there is no reason to think this club isnt competitive AND no reason to think this club is not a top NL Central team. none. even in the land of opinion, to say this team is not competitive is short sighted and lacks an evaluation of tallent on the team, itself.

hell...look at the team itself. this team isnt junk, not close to it...and compared to the competition, its a clear winner.

take your dusty hate, hendry hate, whatever...toss it out the window.

now...

go make some lineups.

then...

compare them.

then...

look at the starting plus pen.

then...

smile a bit. take some laxatives...something.

then get angry again and bitch about dusty or hendry or some other people that will never pick up a baseball or bat to play the game.

whatever =p

now i expect some people are gonna draw up the pesimist lineup where neifi gets to start and bats 2nd and people dont expect wood back til 2018 and murton gets replaced by jose macias for 500ab's and etc etc etc...again, whatever...

Re #58 of 66, Rob G.

"Probably a little bit of both, plus he [Bedard] was never quite the same once he came back off the DL (knee problems I believe). Other then being left-handed, he's nothing special and really doesn't offer a lot of hope of staying healthy. I'd prefer Hayden Penn, but that isn't going to help us a ton this year, nor are the O's all that keen to trade him I would guess."

I agree, RobG, which is why I am thinking that it is only conceivable to trade Prior if we have something in the works for Zito.

The O's won't part with Penn but probably would part with John Maine or Adam Loewen. Loewen is 21 and has been in A ball three years and labrum problems. But any young lefty with a strikeout-per-inning and low HR rates deserves a looksee.

Maine is closer to a finished product and more interesting to me. He had a cups of coffee in 2005 and did not impress the brass in 8 starts. But he is same age as Rich Hill, and while he does not have Hill's gaudy minor league K-rate, his HR and BB rate are lower and still struck out a batter per inning in the minors.

Phil, that's not ANY player...that has to be written into a contract. Players get traded all the time and don't have that right. Javier Vazquez asked for it because he was signing with the Yanks and wanted to be a Yankee. It was limited no-trade protection, in a different format. This is not something that is standard.

I think Tejada has unstandard language that makes him a FA the year after he gets traded - but I am not sure. Does anyone know for sure?

Another team other than Oakland we could hypothetically call for a SP is the White Sox. They certainly have some to spare. Buehrle is untouchable, Garcia and McCathy are probably too costly, so kick the tires on Garland, Contreras and Vasquez, especially the first two (1 year left on contracts). Their bullpen is depleted behind Jenks, Cotts, Politte and Hermanson, maybe they want a Wellemeyer or Wuertz or Novoa, or even Eyre, who they were said to covet earlier in the offseason (although he could block it). The trick is not to trade Guzman or Hill for Garland or else we're back where we started next year.

Also, for the record, I think Jon Garland is overrated, just not Glendon Rusch overrated.

"and compared to the competition, its a clear winner."

A clear winner over STL when it hasn't come done it in the past two years, and really has not made any significant improvement except Pierre over Patterson?

You should go to Vegas if you are so confident. I can't imagine the over for # of wins wouldn't be a great bet for you.

X: I should have said any Article XX free-agent who signs a multi-year contract has the right to demand a trade if traded in the midst of a multi-year contract (with six clubs named as "no go"), but he can (at the time he signs the contract) waive the right if he so chooses, but nobody actually does that. Also, if a player who has the right to demand a trade does so, he can change his mind any time before March 15th.

Tejada and Vazquez both were Article XX FAs when they signed their FA contracts (Tejada with the Orioles and Vazquez with the Yankees), so they have the right to demand a trade (one time only, for instance Vazquez is now stuck in Chicago) if they get traded in the middle of the contract.

On the other hand, Mark Prior signed a multi-year contract with the Cubs in 2001, but he would NOT have had the right to demand a trade if the Cubs had traded him to another club in 2003 or 2004 and he did not want to stay with the new club.

"A clear winner over STL when it hasn't come done it in the past two years, and really has not made any significant improvement except Pierre over Patterson?"

did you miss the near 30 loss bullpen in 05?

sorry it wasnt sexily filled with wagner with a setup of bj ryan and tom gordon. maybe that would have gotten some attention.

i just think you're not seeing the forest for the trees. maybe paying 13m for furcal or damon would have gotten your attention...those 10 extra homers they hit would surely outweigh pierre and the 1/2 salary he'll get over those power-hitter-paid studs.

i see a team with a complete pen, 6 starters, a full lineup WITH proper backup...2 30+hr guys and 4 15-20+hr guys...and ob% to boot.

you see a pile of crap that hasnt changed for some reason. why you see this i have no idea.

yes, the bullpen IS that big of a deal. yes, the bullpen DID hurt that much last year.

missing aram/garciappara/wood/t.walker/prior for measurable length of time without proper backups hurt, too. sorry this is lost on some, but to ignore its impact is to be complacent with what passed for starters last year.

I agree, RobG, which is why I am thinking that it is only conceivable to trade Prior if we have something in the works for Zito.

Zito isn't all that thrilling either, but would be an improvement over Bedard as he's a good bet to stay healthy. But for those unaware, Zito is OVERRATED!!!

Take him out of the friendly AL West stadiums that he gets to pitch in about 60% of his games and you get a guy who gives up a lot of home runs, walks more than you care for and really doesn't strike out a lot of batters. And if you like win/loss records (god knows why), it isn't all that great either. Take away his 23-5 year in 2002 and he's 63-48 for his career and been hovering around .500 the last 3 years. Granted getting Tejada and Zito for Prior and prospects is an interesting deal, but I'm hardly in love with Barry Zito.

I think I was wrong on Tejada's opt out situation...

http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/b...

"The deal does not contain a no-trade clause. "

I have missed something. Is all this talk of Zito just our conversation, or is there truly a rumor floating? I have heard nothing of it.

Woah, this post got a link at baseball-primer! Evidently sticking up for the Jones signing is quite a newsworthy event!

"Although he exceeded the number of PA allowed to still be a rookie, Murton still qualifies as a rookie by virtue of spending only 44 days on the Cubs active roster between Opening Day and September 1st."

YEESH! You just pulled this out of your ass. The Cub front office says Murton has 46 days of service time.

But then, what the hell do they know? Arizona Phil is infallible.

#87 of 88: By Brian (Vegas) (December 22, 2005 11:33 AM)
I have missed something. Is all this talk of Zito just our conversation, or is there truly a rumor floating? I have heard nothing of it.

--

BRIAN: It is NOT a rumor, and neither is it based on any "inside" info. It's just pure "educated speculation" based on what the Cubs would need to make a deal for Abreu or Tejada (that is, a front-line starting pitcher), and the belief that the Cubs are in a good position to put the type of package together that could net Barry Zito from Oakland, a package comparable to the ones that Billy Beane acceepted in return for Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder last year. That's all it is.

"you see a pile of crap"

No - You said that - not me. I just don't see a team close to the Cardinals.

"sorry it wasnt sexily filled"

Nope - not the case. The problem isn't the "sex" of the filling, it is the competence. It was filled with guys who are not proven to be capable of doing what they did in 2005 over the course of time. It's that he signed risky guys to multi-year guaranteed deals. It isn't the "sex" of the guys he signed, it's the SKILL.

"would have gotten your attention"

Still wrong - it is not about "getting my attention". Are you being a jerkoff just for fun? It's about improving the team. I liked the Pierre move. I didn't like Damon. But Furcal STILL would have helped this team.

"those 10 extra homers"

Wrong again...so the only thing Furcal adds is "10 extra homers? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?"

"the bullpen DID hurt that much last year"

Agreed - but I don't think they fixed it all that much. Howry and Eyre? If we got them in 2003 or 2004, there's no way you could possibly be happy about them. We bought high, off their best years.

"missing aram/garciappara/wood/t.walker/prior for measurable length of time without proper backups hurt, too."

OK, we still don't have a "proper backup" for Aramis. We don't even have a STARTER at SS, much less a "proper backup". Our backups for Walker are the same as last year. Our backup for Prior is the same as last year. Our backup for Wood is the same as our backup for Prior and the same as last year. Who's the great new backups we now have? Patterson? Heck - I'm not sold on him as a backup either. Mabry? I don't see how you can tell me the backups are that much better this year than last.

Crunch, I wish I was as optimistic as you. I see the same guys as last year, with only a real assured improvement in CF. You see a team that is strong enough to move to being a contender - which requires it be 20 games better than last. Time will tell. If I were as sure as you, I'd go to Vegas and bet the over. Right now you would make huge money (if you were right)

Ruz,

This thread has wandered away from your post, but getting back to it, for someone who was going to tell us why you like the Jones signing, your piece today is mostly caveats. The entire plus side seems to be that he's probably better than anyone we already have to play RF (Hairston, Mabry, Patterson, Pie) and he's cheap---cheaper than Burnitz, although it appears you're wrong about that.

But then you correctly point out that he should be platooned against lefties, has an arm that is so weak (or maybe inaccurate) he shouldn't play on a daily basis and, in fact, really belongs in left field where the Cubs have already penciled in Murton(1), Hairston(2), Mabry(3) on the depth chart. Not only that, his three year deal coupled with Hendry's intention to extend Pierre looks like it blocks Pie's career.

So how is Jones a Right Field Solution?

I just don't see him as an upgrade over Jeromy Burnitz except in the unquantifiable but important area of high energy and enthusiasm.

Burnitz actually had a great year at Wrigley Field last year. Although you'd never know it from most of the comments here last summer, he hit 17 home runs and drove in 56 runs at home. And he impressed me defensively, adjusting quickly to the odd caroms in the right field corner and making straight, strong throws that didn't tail or run from the cutoff man.

His troubles came mostly on the road, and mostly because he was tired. Everybody knew it, he talked to the media about it, so did Dusty, but Baker played him to the tune of a team-leading 160 games and 605 at bats because he said he had no acceptable replacement for him if they were going to make a run for the wildcard.

Burnitz's two post all-star slumps were almost entirely due to fatigue. As of July 21 he was having a damn good season overall, batting .285/.351/.843 while complaining about needing some rest. He was gassed alright, going 8/60 before Dusty came to his senses and sat him down for a day. The slump reached 9/96 But rest on August 7 and 11 seemed to be all he needed and he finished off the month of August with a 23 hit, 4 homerun, 14 RBI in 63 AB run.

As late as September 17th, JB numbers were still an acceptable .266/331/.783 before going into another fatigue-induced 5/40 tailspin.

Jeromy Burnitz deserved better and the Cubs would have done better if he had been rested on a regular basis.

Isn't it ironic that in your estimation the much younger and more "athletic" Jacque Jones really needs to be moved over to LF and sit about 25% of the time while the old geezer Burnitz was the Cubs ironman in RF last year?

Cubswin - Why was Burnitz so tired? Serious Q...

Is this a conditioning issue?

okay, so you think howry/eyre wont help and 6 starters arent good enough and i guess you're assuming more mass injuries to key parts.

and about the proper backups...yeah, mabry over macias is nice. patterson/j.hairston are there, too as of now. dubois/hollandsworth/macias/neifi/blanco/j.hairston was the core last year.

if you actually think this pen is crap or useless, i can see your doom report. i think its a huge help.

and if you think damon or furcal are worth 13m over a suitable replacement, tejada much be worth 20m. c'mon...this team is NOT that bad unless you think the rookies are crap and howry/eyre are worthless and you assume injury.

there are blatently obvious upgrades all over the team. how you feel about these upgrades are up to you, though.

I think CUBSWINTHEPENNANT just won "best post of the month" award.

#89 of 90: By cubswinthepennant (December 22, 2005 11:36 AM)
"Although he exceeded the number of PA allowed to still be a rookie, Murton still qualifies as a rookie by virtue of spending only 44 days on the Cubs active roster between Opening Day and September 1st."

YEESH! You just pulled this out of your ass. The Cub front office says Murton has 46 days of service time.

But then, what the hell do they know? Arizona Phil is infallible.

--

CWtP: I never said I was infallible.

A couple of hours ago, JACOS asked a question about whether Murton or Cedeno qualified as rookies in 2006.

I did a quick count of the days Murton was on the active roster last year prior to September 1st, and I came up with 44, because I counted starting on July 7th, and then stopped on August 19th (when he was sent out to Iowa).

After reading your post, I went back and checked and saw that he was recalled on August 30th (not September 1st or later), so that adds two more days, for a total of 46. So the Cubs are correct, and I was wrong. I didn't see the recall of August 30th when I checked the first time.

So Murton will NOT be a rookie in 2006.

Thank you for double-checking, and have a wonderful day.

Re #84: Good points, Crunch. I think the up-&-down bullpen & the starting pitcher injuries caused alot of the problems that led to the near-30 blown leads by the pen. Addition of Eyre and Howry & subtraction of Hawkins should mean a large improvement (knock on a tree - never on wood -- injury prone, you know). Good work from Eyre and Howry + good # of innings from 6 starting pitchers could make also improve the performance of the other 'pen pitchers -- not overwork them beyond the range of their effectiveness and/ or be able to spot them where they have the best match ups. Some of our pen pitchers had good stretches last year but had to be used more often than was optimal. Could make a big difference. I recall that the '84 Cubs' bullpen seemed incredibly effective through the 11th spot, in part because the starters ate up so many innings that the pen pitchers could be limited to their optimum amount of innings pitched and their best match ups.

BTW, I'm still want to know about Jones' arm strength -- is it a weak arm or strong but bad aim? Nothing can make a weak arm stronger but sometimes one's mechanics can be corrected to improve a scatter-shot but stronger arm. I'm thinking about the vast improvement in A-Ram's fielding (& throwing) due to correcting his mechanics. Perhaps this is a possibility with Jones' throwing. Anybody know the scoop on J. Jones' throwing arm?

"okay, so you think howry/eyre wont help and 6 starters arent good enough and i guess you're assuming more mass injuries to key parts."

I'm saying you can't assume they will or won't. They are questions. None are sure things. I'm saying we don't have 6 starters. I can't name 6 guys who are proven MLB starters who are healthy. You can't count Wood, Guzman or Hill. I don't even know how good of a starter Rusch really is. We have 2 studs, Maddux and a load of questions.

"if you actually think this pen is crap or useless"

Why don't you stop putting words in my mouth? I never said they are either crap or useless. I said they are not sure things. I said they are risks. I said we have not guaranteed any improvement by signing players that are definitely better than what we had.

"and if you think damon"

I just said I didn't support Damon at all. Can you please not go putting words in my mouth if you want to have an intelligent discussion?

"unless you think the rookies are crap "

No - they are rookies. Not crap. That means that they will surely have ups and downs. That means that you can't project high end numbers to guys in their first year in the game. YOU are the only one calling them crap. Nobody else.

"howry/eyre are worthless "

Only that you need to get 2005 numbers to have value... If you get their history, they are no better than what they replaced. If you get last year, they are. Where's the surety there? Where's the 20 game improvement?

"and you assume injury."

So you assume 100% health? Well - that's a bad assumption right off the bat given Wood's situation. All we can do is go off of history, right? The past few years this team has had a history of injuries. Disregard Prior getting hit by a batted ball for a sec. Disregard even him running into Giles. We still had injuries to multiple starters. And many of those guys are still key pieces to this team. I am not assuming anything that the trends don't indicate. Why are you assuming the trend is going to be reversed? (hockey stick theory?)

"there are blatently obvious upgrades all over the team."

OBVIOUSLY

btw, love the analogies in #59 and #70 by Trans and X...

Thanks Rob. I was hoping someone would enjoy that. I did.

95 posts and not one mention of the Matt Lawton "I took steroids after I joined the Yankees because of the pressure of the penant race" admission today.

What a way for Lawton to disrespect the Cubs. Our Wild Card race was not important enough?

I want to know why Dusty Baker does not run a tight enough ship that would have pressured Lawton to take a veternary steriod earlier, while he was on our roster, dammit.

"Our Wild Card race was not important enough? "

When we were in 5th or 6th place in the Wild Card chase?

"I want to know why Dusty Baker does not run a tight enough ship that would have pressured Lawton to take a veternary steriod earlier, while he was on our roster, dammit."

LMFAO! That's rich. Nice work Tom! That's the problem with Dusty - he doesn't motivate our guys to cheat hard enough! I think we need to look into the Oakland As and SF Giants motivational techniques. They seem to have mastered cheating in the Bay Area.

"That's the problem with Dusty - he doesn't motivate our guys to cheat hard enough!"
He did early on--see Sosa, May 2003.

X

if youre not saying that, i dont see how you can predict doom for this team or support the .500 team claim i was speaking on that began this.

is it you think d.lee and aram wont hit 30+ homers?

you tell me.

i see no reason to believe this is...

1- not an improved club
2- a .500 team
3- worthy of high amounts of doubt

if you think it is, there has to be reasons. you said the only upgrade you see is pierre over patterson...i see a lot more.

"A clear winner over STL when it hasn't come done it in the past two years, and really has not made any significant improvement except Pierre over Patterson?"

i cannot believe that is the only positive you saw added to this team or you can dismiss the other additions and assume injury. i also dont understand what starting pitching crew, esp. in the NL Central, stands up to the cubs crew.

Yeah we have a bullpen centered around a closer who does his best impression of how to give Cubs fans a heart attack. If he fails next season then the additions of Eyre and Howry are meaningless. I don't have much confidence in Dempster to keep walking that tight rope.

Our big offensive upgrades are Juan Pierre and Jaque Jones. While I like Pierre, we didn't exactly improve much. Our offense was pathetic last year, so we upgraded to piss poor. Hey we improved but we still suck. I guess that is progress right?

I really like Cedeno and Murton's hitting styles but I also don't think they are going to be the savior's everyone expects.

If I want to go best case scenerio then I guess I could be content with the team the way it is. But out of Dempster, Cedeno, Murton, and Ramirez's legs, one or more of that group is going to get injured or be a spectacular failure. There is no margin of error for anything on this team. One piece fails and you start to get chaos again on this roster.

from rotoworld.com

The Diamondbacks are in serious discussions with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles and an unidentified National League club regarding Troy Glaus, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

I'm sure it's not the Cubs, but I'm a big fan of Glaus. Great power, good eye, K's a lot, typical slugger. His defense is average at best, but compared to Aramis, he's a GG'er. I'd much prefer to dangle Aramis Ramirez in a trade (considering he can opt out after this year) then Prior or Z. Whether it's the O's, Phillies or whatever....

"He did early on--see Sosa, May 2003."

For that matter, compare Sosa with the Cubs to Sosa with Texas or the White Sox. Clearly someone taught Sammy how to cheat. (He came up on a team that had Raffy Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez. I'm guessing those guys taught him a thing or two.

#101 - great point, DC TOM. LOL.

seemingly anyone not hitting .300 with 30-40 homers isnt worthy of an addition to the cubs from a lot of what ive read.

i think howry is being GROSSLY underrated as an addition and eyre as a remlinger replacement, too.

pierre vs. patterson spells itself out, but a lotta people wanna lump what pierre bring to the table with guys like dave roberts, kenny lofton, and other guys of the same ilk that are about a decade older and slower than the person in question. leadoff guys arent cut from the same cloth and there's unique +/- to guys who have similar numbers, but different ways of going about it. most of the doom-sayers are also stuck on his 05 numbers and could care less about the 200-hit seasons he put up before then...to some people, he is and forever will be a .320 ob% guy who's speed will not impact the game at all.

while a lotta people were busy bitching about dusty rather than the players it doesnt suprise me too much non-marquee additions dont make some feel good about the team.

the bullpen WAS that bad...so bad almost anything helps, but the cubs didnt get just anything, they got 2 quality arms...got rid of the trash arms...and put the dumpster in there to hold it down. im not a dumpster fan, but howry's there and that's fine by me.

burn vs. j.jones may be a wash, but i dont think anyone expected anything BUT a jones-type player to begin with.

as far as injuries go...unless you're talking about wood missing a month, there is NO reason to assume injury or lack of injury. its moot, stupid, and baseless. wood and aram are the only "hobbled" players as of now anyway and theyre not in dire straights.

Prior for Miggy huh? I do this if:

We can sign Millwood AND we trade for Zito.

Z
Zito
Millwood
Maddux
Williams

Not bad at all.....

to add to the cards woes...r.sanders is close to going where KC couldnt go with j.jones offering a 2yr/10-11m deal.

i'd like to see the same doom mentality applied to both hou and stl's rosters. that'd be a field day for some of the posters.

about this prior thing...

if the cubs suddenly take on 10-11m in payroll for tejada, its doubtful they're gonna throw 11m at millwood and/or someone else...esp. with Z and pierre still on the arbitration hook.

well, unless the team gets a 115-120m payroll to work with.

c'mon Jeromy, you can't fool us, even with that pseudonymn CUBSWINTHEPENNANT name. You really think we'd pay you 7m? Good to see you follow TCR.

If you haven't done it already, check out David Appelman's piece at The Hardball Times on Jacque Jones. He points out that Jones is an extreme ground-ball hitter, and that when he DOES manage to hit fly-balls, he hits them out of the park at a frequency similar to Pujols or Teixeira or Ortiz.

Is it possible to teach someone to be more of a fly-ball hitter? If so, I may have to correct myself, and say that there IS some hope for Jones out-performing his contract.

I really hate that when you put a link in the message board reader, and then click on that link, the page appears inside the reader.

Here's the http, if you want to cut-and-paste into a different browser.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/dai...

Jacos-
"He did early on--see Sosa, May 2003."

Actually it was in June of 2003.

I agree about Pierre Crunch. You just can't dismiss him as garbage when he has posted three 200 hit seasons before the age of 27. His game isn't going to be challenged on whether the wind is blowing out or in either. Then once he gets on base he forces pitchers to throw with the slide step and use the fastball more to give the catcher a chance to throw him out.

Pierre is your prototypical disrupter at the top of the order. He causes chaos. My favorite part of Pierre's game is he simply is a pain in the ass to strike out.

Now if only I could get Mark Loretta at 2nd base....

I was just reading over at Desipio and Carlos Zambrano's agent is Scott Boras? No way in hell do the Cubs lock him up before he hits free agency.

The Cubs might have to seriously consider trading him during his last season with the team. We will never outbid other teams for him and might as well get something back in return.

That is a very bad omen.

Rondell White signs with MINN:
"The Minnesota Twins agreed Thursday to a contract with Rondell White that guarantees the designated hitter $3.25 million for one year and could be worth up to $8.5 million over two seasons if he plays regularly. White hit .313 with 12 homers and 53 RBI in 97 games for the Tigers last season, but the outfielder missed most of the year with shoulder ailments."

Nice fuck up by AP: It says he played in 97 games last year but "missed most of the year". Man did these writers even go to college??

Here is the link:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

118 - Correct me if I'm wrong (and I'm sure someone will)... but I recall that Hendry has a surprisingly good working relationship with Boras. Especially around draft-time, you hear stories of how Hendry doesn't shy away from drafting players who have retained Boras. Prior, for instance.

I'm not too worried about Boras's impact, so long as Hendry is around.

119 - I never thought of college education as a full-proof antidote for making sloppy mistakes... It happens to the bast if us, right? Besides, that's what editers are four.

I was just reading over at Desipio and Carlos Zambrano's agent is Scott Boras? No way in hell do the Cubs lock him up before he hits free agency.

I partially agree with this statement, Boras practically demands that his clients test the FA waters. The Cubs could lock him up before FA, but we'll have to meet whatever outrageous demands Boras throws out there and he'll set the bar high. I believe for Teixeira right now, he's asking for either a 3 year deal (buyout just his arb years) or a 10 year deal, nothing in between.

And to that I say, give Z what he wants. He's worth it and he'll be worth it in the future.

Boras with prospects and Boras with All-Star free agents are two different things.

Boras still gets his prospects signed to some large deals. And he almost always gets his established players very large deals. His job is to get the most value for the players that are his clients and he does a very good job about doing that.

The only way the Cubs prevent Carlos from being a free agent is offering a deal too good to pass up. Upwards are 13+ Million a year. Because Boras is going to tell his client that in a bidding war he will get atleast that for Zambrano from some other team.

If the Cubs come in with a 4 year 40 million dollar deal, Zambrano walks.

Ruz-
Going back to the original topic of this thread I have a few comments about your thoughts.

You said:
"Let's start with Burnitz. Looking at their stats, I think it's fair to say that Jones is likely to put up better numbers in '06 than Burnitz would have. Jones and Burnitz had identical OPS last year, and Jacque is five years younger than Jeromy."

Burnitz: .258 avg, 24 HR, 87 RBI, 57 BB, .322 OBP, .435 SLG and .757 OPS
Jones: .249 avg, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 51 BB, .319 OBP, .438 SLG and .757 OPS

The only stat in which Jones really beat Burnitz was SB (by 13 vs. 5). Jones is a better defender though.

Clearly not that big of a difference.

You said:
"Plus, he'll make $2M less than Burnitz would have."

Actually, Burnitz was going to make $7M this year, but since we did not pick that option up we had to pay a $500,000 buyout and Jones is making $5.33M, so the REAL dollars difference is $1.17M. And of course that is not counting that Burnitz would of been gone after this year, where instead we are on the hook for Jones for 3 years total.

I do agree that Jones is a better option that CPat in RF. But in the short term (2006) for the Cubs this is clearly a wash at best and long term (2007-08) this is a loss of the Cubs.

Well, we could just pitch Zambrano 500 innings this year, ride him to the World Series, and then let some other team pay 15 million a year for his carcass...

"if youre not saying that, i dont see how you can predict doom for this team "

Who predicted Doom Crunch? I just said this team wasn't championship calibre and that it was not nearly as good as the Cards. Weren't you the one who said that if we were a .500 team then the Cards are a .300 team? I don't understand your point.

"If the Cubs come in with a 4 year 40 million dollar deal, Zambrano walks. "

He doesn't walk - he RUNS.

My guess is that Zambrano gets 5/75 when he is a FA.

I want to know why Dusty Baker does not run a tight enough ship that would have pressured Lawton to take a veternary steriod earlier, while he was on our roster, dammit.

Since he's a horse's patoot, I'd would have expected Dusty to be strong proponent of this.

Is it possible to teach someone to be more of a fly-ball hitter?

Perhaps they could give JJ the Clockwork Orange eyelid-holder treatment and have him watch 24 hours of Matt Stairs batting practice tapes.

119-

97 games means that Rondell missed 65 games with shoulder ailments? I guess it depends on what you mean by "most" but that doesn't seem to me to be a terribly sloppy error. While I guess the literal definition of "most" is "more than half," it's a pretty vague term that might mean different things to different people. Like "a couple"--to me that could mean anywhere from 2 to 5, for others it's always 2. I don't know.

Sounds like a brilliant idea...acquire a 30 year old and try and make him change his swing. I have a better idea - let's stop drafting, signing, developing and trading for guys with horriffic flaws in their hitting approach?

#117 of 128: By MikeC (December 22, 2005 01:10 PM)
"His game isn't going to be challenged on whether the wind is blowing out or in either. Then once he gets on base he forces pitchers to throw with the slide step and use the fastball more to give the catcher a chance to throw him out.
Pierre is your prototypical disrupter at the top of the order. He causes chaos. My favorite part of Pierre's game is he simply is a pain in the ass to strike out."

I agree MikeC. but the problem with that is there are no hard stats to back us up. It's one of those faith things that I believe in where as others here...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5189112

Just found this. didnt see a link posted yet. SOrry if its a repeat

Trans (#120) - I'm pretty sure you're right. You don't have to look further than last summer's ametuer draft to find an example of Hendry being okay with going after a Boras client. We got Pawelek with our first round pick, as other teams shied away from him apparently in fear another Boras high school talent not signing with his team until right before the next draft. Then, Hendry went out and made him the first signee from the entire draft.

If the Red Sox get Glaus this opens up that 3-way trade Rosenthal was talking about. I could see:

Cubs
Tejada
Arroyo

Orioles
Manram
Cedeno
Dopiriak
Guzman

Red Sox:
Prior
CP
Hill*

* Hill then would be flipped to TB with a BOS prospect for Lugo.

I feel sick...

MArshall:
"I guess it depends on what you mean by "most" but that doesn't seem to me to be a terribly sloppy error."

MOST, according to dictionary.com, means: "The greatest part or number".

The statement read: "but the outfielder missed most of the year with shoulder ailments." Most of the year is more than half, which would mean 82 games or more. It is just poor editing and writing.

Now if the statement read: "but the outfielder spent most of his time on the disabled list because of shoulder ailments", then I would agree with you.

Again, just poor writing and editing.

Can't we all just get along?? Trading Prior or Zambrano for Tejada should not happen. I'd love to have Tejada at SS, and then we could lose a lot of games 9-7 or 13-11..great....I'd have nightmares about a rotation of:
Zambrano
Maddux
Bedard
Rusch
Hill
I think that we are a better team than last year, as is. If everyone stays relatively healthy, this is a team than improved its bullpen, and the top of the order, which were both sore spots last year.
I don't think that Cedeno or Murton are ready to be "saviors" by any means, but I could certainly evision, realistically, the following:
Murton: .285 BA, .360/.450/.810..22 Hr and 85 RBI
Cedeno: .270 BA .340/.380/.720 10 HR and 60 RBI
Are these MVP type numbers? No. Are they an upgrade over last year? Absolutely!!!
A rotation of Zambrano, Prior, Maddux, JWilliams, and Rusch...or maybe Kevin Millwood even, will be an upgrade as well...If Wood comes back healthy..bonus....if not, oh well...
Good starting pitching will win the division.
We can have that, if we don't panic.

Mike J, Matt W, and Trans,

That's a GREAT piece on Jones in the Hardball Times! I can't believe how many HR's he hits on fly balls. The sliver lining to his high ground ball rate might be a few more IF singles at Wrigley as opposed to the ultrafast rubber they play on in Minnesota. It won't make a ton of difference in his average, but it might bring it closer to his career level.

I can't wait for Dusty to see his speed and tell him to keep hitting the ball on the ground, to make things happen. I mean, a guy with his kinda speed needs to be batting leadoff, dude...

Thank god for Juan Pierre, otherwise i'm pretty sure Jones would be our leadoff hitter at this moment in time.

That's a high price to pay for Tejada and Arroyo. I'm not saying I'd rule it out - but Prior, Patterson, Hill, Guzman, Dopriak and Cedeno for Tejada and Arroyo... That's steep.

# 109 Crunch,

Perfect and thank you for a bing a voice of reason.

X- Love ya man....but you're stirring the pot. Do I have to get drunk and go to jail yet again to help you relax?

Crunch.......love the term BOTTOM LINE....Bottom line is leadoff and middle relief killed us last year...and before Dempster closer hurt us....we improved in all three areas, and even IF Jones is a wash compared to Burnitz...the Cubs are still 10-12 games better this year WITH NO OTHER IMPROVEMENT.

Now, factor in some LasVegas odds AND NONE OF YOUR HISTORICAL BEANCOUNTER STAISTICS that Prior gets a full year finally, Aramis gets a full year, and god help me Wood gets 90% of a year.....why heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...we might even be 20 games better.

Would any of you take that?

J. "The Greek" Joey

"I can't believe how many HR's he hits on fly balls. "

I know what you mean - but the wording is funny. Cuz I'd be more surprised if he hit a lot of HRs on ground balls. :-)

# 78 response

CRUNCH;

YOU....are my new hero. Watch out though...X will call you a clown and a drunk.

Geez, you get drunk with Ponson once, and Rafy Furcal twice, and you can;t ever live it down.

You're the voice of reason Crunch....keep it up.

Joey

Joey, you go out and get me healthy Wood (mine is droopy), a new groin for my Ram (hopefully his own), and a invisible shield to protect Prior from the unforseeable, and then make sure 2005 Eyre and 2005 Howry came, not pre-2005 guys. Make sure Pierre forgets 2005 and hits like he did in 2004. Get Cedeno and Murton to forget that they are rookies, make sure Derek Lee hits in the second half (.287/.380/581) like he did in the first half (.378/.452/.733), keep the goats, the black cats, and the #13 away from Wrigley and then I'll not only believe we are 20 games better than last year, but I'll go find that guy in prison who hurt you and get even.

In the meantime, I'm looking at 3 year averages of our guys and I am not impressed. If Hendry is done here, he's got himself a team that is geared up to play .500 baseball.

(My personal opinion - a 90% healthy Kerry Wood plays on the same team as the Toothfairy and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Wood pitches - Claus catches, while the bunny and the fairy play their own special games.)

# 91 response,

X.....you're smoking some herb apparently. You quote.."We still don't have a proper backup for Aramis..."...as a legit complaint??????????????

Some points:
1. THAT would be a good spend of money paying for a proper backup of Aramis....NOT.
2. Can you say John Mabry?
3. Can you also say Nefi Perez...whether hes' played there or not..he COULD do it.
4. Can you say Jerry Hairston? See comment # 3.

For god's sake, if we're down to complaing about not having a proper backup for Aramis then we really are...oh whatever.....that's just ridiculous and proof to me that, no matter how much I love you that I, drunkard that I am, am not the clown.

Jose "Joey" Macias

The last few comments have been a CLASSIC. If a fairy and a bunny have a child together would you call their child a funny bunny?

ive been yelled at others for my opinions..ive yelled at others for theirs...ive said incorrect stuff, been corrected, and returned the favor when appropriate.

when it comes down to it, we're all fans...we all just value different things about the team's strengths and weaknesses.

seriously, though...i honestly see very little wrong with this team. if i had to point to a weakness in it as it stands, it would be the media-stirred question of who exactly gets to play 2nd.

walker is slated via some media outlets as they've gleened from baker/hendry...some are convinced that t.walker is good as gone. as far as i can tell things changed with walker's situation when furcal fell out of the picture.

The only stat in which Jones really beat Burnitz was SB (by 13 vs. 5). Jones is a better defender though.

I think the stat you're missing is the age, where even though Burnitz and Jones performed almost identically last year, Jones being 5 years younger is far more likely to improve or stay flat, where Burnitz is likely to fall off.

I'd agree ultimately, its a wash this year. Long term, its a bad only if Jones can't be traded. I'd expect him to be swapped for a mid level prospect either next year or the year after.

# 143 response:

X you clown!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some guy nameed Sandy Koufax made the Hall of Fame with wins/ERA/Strike Outs, took his team to the pennant and series, and generally was considered the best pitcher certainly of his era, if not of all time.

All this AFTER he spent time away due to an elbow problem for a couple years....not in total...but off and on.

Wood is not Sandy Koufax........yet.....but he's worth 18 wins if he does come back...and something nobody else has brought up recently.

What if: 1. Dempster sucks for some reason, and
2. Wood's arm does not allow him to be an effective starter.

Then......we have a Hall of Fame closer ready and waiting in the wings with Kerry Wood.

Are you willing to risk that by dumping Wood and our future for Tejada? Great...we have Tejada and no Wood (droopy or not.....take a shot of Jose Cuervo and you won't need a blue pill...and we win no more games.

Worst case secanrio with Kerry Wood is he's a perfect backupo for Dempster..and Dempster goes back to being the set up man he was supposed to be in the first place.

Piss on Tejada...we don't need him. We can win with what we've got.

One man's opinion and NO STATISTICS!!!!

NOW I got wood, baby!!!!!

Joey

Joey,

Rothschild said the Cubs are going to go into the season not expecting Wood to be healthy. If he does, it's a bonus, but not to be counted on.

I suggest we all do the same.

Oh, and most AP Writers are just out of college kids who can't get a job in a real newsroom (for good reason)

"Oh, and most AP Writers are just out of college kids who can't get a job in a real newsroom (for good reason)"

hehe...

btw, recommended reading for cubs fans..."warsaw to wrigley" by joe reaves.

Most importantly how are the Cubs going to get Neifi his 400 plus abs?

#149 Bulls Blogger response.

I don't disagree, which is my reasoning to HOPE that we get him for 90% of the season, which is 16-17 games in.

And my last irrational drunken mess of a comment was that IF he does not come back, my god was it not exciting watching KERRY FREAKING WOOD close out games like a more polished Goose Gossage? WOW.........

Merry Christmas everyone....thanks for letting me be me.....thansk for this forum.

X.....A special Merry Christmas to you my friend. We seem to be the lighting rods for each other's anger flashes. Know that, for me, it's all about loving my Cubbies, and ATTEMPTING to be humourous. If I ever jab too hard, my apologies.

MErry Xmas all,

Joey out

I will be VERY pissed if a Prior-Tejada trade happens. Prior is only 25; his best years have yet to come. Tejada is 3 years older and his numbers will begin to decline soon! I say we take any offer like this off the table! If we are going to trade Prior, why not call up Brian Cashman and talk about trading him for AROD (sarcasm). No, this deal would be horrible for us!

NO, the Cubs' nucleus is comprised of Z and Prior (our two aces) and Lee and Aram (our super sluggers). By doing this, the Cubs' rotation has Z, and that's it! Prior is one of our home-grown fireballers, he is one of our two Cy Young quality pitchers!

HELL NO, OR HENDRY GOES!!!

Prior is only 25; his best years have yet to come. Tejada is 3 years older and his numbers will begin to decline soon!

Hate to nitpick and do agree with your point, but Tejada will be 30 in May...and yes, his decline has begun.

I know everyone is saying "Jones in RF", but what seems to me to be more likely (even though Hendry isn't saying it) is that the Cubs continue to trade for a RF and use Jones & Murton to platoon in LF.

Maybe i'm on crack, but that would make a lot more sense.

bleeding blue-not sure where you've gotten your information on AP writers, but I would have to disagree with you. AP writers--especially in a big city--are some of the oldest, most grizzled graybeard reporters around.

on a cubs note, let's not trade prior for tejada.

a jones/murton or jones/anyone-of-value platoon just dont work.

you're talking about 120-150ab's there.

there's more than 1 AP type...there's the grizzled elder who's attitude doesnt work with mainstream press cuz he/she likes to travel and dont wanna be married to 1 area for too long. most of your elder AP exclusive writers are just this type.

a lot of the rest are kids trying to find somewhere to settle or lower-tallented types that are willing to take the unwanted assignment.

a lot are just freelancers, too.

bleeding blue-not sure where you've gotten your information on AP writers, but I would have to disagree with you. AP writers--especially in a big city--are some of the oldest, most grizzled graybeard reporters around.

Most of the people you're talking about are major newspaper writers whose stories are picked up by the AP. The AP does very little of its own reporting, it mostly compiles stories from other organization.

The people I'm talking about are the ones who write wire copy for stories like "Twins Sign White."

And I get my information from working in the industry for many years.

Bleeding Blue:
"I think the stat you're missing is the age...I'd agree ultimately, its a wash this year. Long term, its a bad only if Jones can't be traded. I'd expect him to be swapped for a mid level prospect either next year or the year after."

Fair enough...

"Oh, and most AP Writers are just out of college kids who can't get a job in a real newsroom (for good reason)"

I see that now...I agraduated with a journalism degree from Penn State and it embarasses me sometimes when i see stupid mistakes like that and it make be glad I never went into that field in the real world.

Stones! Stones for sale! Great for casting! Be the first to cast a stone!

Trans:
"Stones! Stones for sale! Great for casting! Be the first to cast a stone!"

Steve Stone for sale?? I will give you a penny and no higher.

I'd like to cast Keith Richards as Kerry Wood. At least he would be indestructible then.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/252988...

Sorry if this is a repeat, but Korey for Gil Meche anyone?

Pentland's the new hitting coach over there apparently. Meche sucks, but we're not going to get much for him. Still think we could talk the Pirates into Craig Wilson for Korey/marginal prospect.

To blame Prior and Z for the Cubs woes is asinine.

I didn't blame Prior or Z for the Cubs woes...

You said that great starting pitching wins championships and I AGREE...but Prior and Z were part of a rotation that lost more games than they won.

So obviously great starting pitching can't overcome a piss poor offense....OR the Cubs starting pitching staff simply isn't as good as many lead you to believe.

I happen to think it's a combination of both offense sucking and the pitching not being anywhere near as good as it's reputation.

The Astros had a pretty pathetic offense as well. You could make a point that the pitching staff carried the team and I wouldn't disagree with you at all...

But I'd say Clemens, Oswalt, Pettitt et.al..were superior to the Cubs....and the point is to get better than them and you do NOT do it by making very marginal (either direction up or down) moves during an off-season following a sub par year.

Now you want to see what pretty decent pitching with a pretty decent offense gives you?? You have a team running away with the division in JUNE....and had as many injuries as the Cubbies and DIDN'T ever use the old "We just can't get past these injuries"...SANDERS, WALKER, ROLEN, IZZY....etc...ALL down for a considerable amount of time and they were able to run away with the division without making it exciting at all. The Cubs are NOWHERE near that.

Z and Prior may be stud pitchers...but obviously there are more flaws on this team preventing them from succeeding. The bullpen can't hold a tie or one run lead everytime. The bullpen gets blamed. I seldom hear, "Why didn't the offense give the bullpen a lead they could realistically work with?". The offense is this teams number 1, 2 and 3 problem. Prior and Z could pitch 80 perfect games a year and yet if the team doesn't score for them....we are going to lose the games.

Jones is a desperation move. Ruz is being optimistic in calling it an upgrade all the while not being very realistic.

Oh and someone mentioned coaching Jones to hit more fly balls. With this coaching staff? Hell they couldn't get Patterson's swing corrected! Go messing with the guys swing and he'll be striking out even more...and that is exactly what I expect out of Jones on a Cubs coached team...more strikeouts than as a Twin.

jones isnt much a despiration move considering it was pretty much expected.

the RF FA market and trade market is nearly bare.

there was b.giles who turned down 3/33 to stay at home for 3/30...there's wilkerson, and took a.soriano to get. and besides that, no one else was being actively shopped. the team that was supposedly the best bet for the cubs to get a RF from, the rangers, are the ones that picked up wilkerson.

and yes, the rangers got more than just wilkerson, but that's not the point of what im trying to say up there.

yeah, it sucks the cubs didnt get furcal and pay him like a slugger, but at least pierre happened. that's not enough for some, but its not trash.

because the top expectations for filling a role are not met doesnt mean plan-B is bargain basement despiration.

...and yeah, there was the WTF mike cameron trade to SD for nady, but more than 1 GM is on the record laughing at the mets on that deal and wishing they could have been the first to make an offer on cameron for so little.

I also work in the industry, and Bleeding Blue is right on about the AP writers. Mostly stories farmed from the top 150 papers and a few specialty writers to cover government, lifestyles, etc.

A guy from my paper, a 22-year-old out of college for 7 months, with 1 1/2 months experience on top of a few internships, just caught the Blue Jays job at MLB.com. Lucky son of a bitch... At least I can say three things in his defense: 1) he does know baseball pretty well, and I'm sure he's get even better; 2) despite being from South Holland, he's a die-hard Cubs fan; and 3) he'll be a good writer in about 2-3 years.

According to rotoworld Lawton has signed with the Mariners. You win a WS with either a kick-ass offense (Red Sox) or a Kick-ass rotation (White Sox) with or without Prior we will not have the latter, but with Tejada we would have the former. Prior has all the signs of being the next Wood or Harkey if you can get a MVP type player for him you can.

Chifan, what year did Mike Harkey win 18 games post an 2.43 ERA, come in third in Cy Young voting and finish second in strike outs?

The Tejada for Prior trade is plain stupid. The Cubs could have had Tejada just 2 years ago for only a draft pick and now they want to give up possibly a hall of fame pitcher in the making?.I like Tejada very much but you have to put Prior and Zambrano as off-limits to any trade....

lawton for $400,000 and we signed Mabry for $1 mil.

Okay....

Ed Gonzalez:
"The Cubs could have had Tejada just 2 years ago for only a draft pick and now they want to give up possibly a hall of fame pitcher in the making?"

And the Cubs could of had Furcal, who is not as good as Tejada, but a major upgrade for the team anyways for nothing more than some $$$ and not have to give up a top line pitcher and more.

nolasco's the 4th/5th pitcher in the club's minor league depth depending on how you feel about hill, guzman, pawelek, and s.marshall.

Wow...lots of harsh words regarding Jones. While it's obviously not the *best* solution, it is definitely more than adequate. While a lot of posters here are grumbling about getting Jones, what other option did/does Hendry have that will satisfy everyone? Let's look at this logically, shall we?

Of potential free agent RFers, we had Giles...sorry to break it to everyone, but unless we GROSSLY overpaid, we had no shot of getting him. While he is an ideal person to have, and while an escape from Petco may help him boost his power numbers, he's not an ideal #5 hitter...he is, however, an ideal #2 hitter (which we have two options already--Murton and Walker (if he doesn't get traded)). After he re-signed with the Padres, we were left with a list that includes Jones, Sanders, Encarnacion, Lawton, and other players that aren't exactly top-tier talent in MLB.

Of that list, is there anyone that you would rather have than Jones? He has the best combination of defense, speed, athleticism, and power on that list, IMO. Plus, he is a lefty, which Hendry (and most of us) wanted.

Some of you may be saying "well, Ryan, we know that this free agent market isn't/wasn't filled with great outfielders...we wanted a trade!"...to that, I'll simply ask this: What outfielder do you want to get via trade? I know my list included names such as Abreu, Dunn, Ibanez, Wilkerson, and, to a lesser degree, guys like Mench and Kearns. But I'll ask another simple question: Who are you willing to give up? Hendry tried to get us a good RFer via trade (also tried to get Huff, who may be/may have been a great hitter, but is God-awful in the field), but the asking price was too steep. Judging by how many people balked at Hendry for giving up 3 prospects for a pretty damn solid lead-off hitter (our most glaring need), who would everyone realistically like to acquire without overpaying?

The fact of the matter is that every GM in baseball knows what we need, and wanted to stand in line to screw us over by demanding guys like Pie, Hill, Prior, and Zambrano. No matter who we got, assuming that they were of good quality (or at least a better answer than the free agent alternatives), we were gonna have to overpay. DEARLY. So there's realistically no move that Hendry could have made that would make everyone happy. Yes, he's surrendering another draft pick to get a man who's batting average has been less than impressive the last two seasons, and who strikes out a lot, but he's getting someone who addresses our basic need for a corner outfielder with the afore-mentioned assets. I'm not going to pretend that he's my first choice; I'm not even going to pretend that he's my 20th choice, but he's the best thing available right now.

Chicken Little keeps on yelling that the sky is falling before he even stepped outside. Translation: Let's not consider this off-season a failure until the season starts (or ends, but I don't expect anyone to hold judgment that long); something tells me that AZ Phil is on to something, and that Hendry's getting ready to reach into the cookie pot and make a big splash.

while murton probally would be a good #2 hitter, jones will probally bat there. im neither a dusty fan nor hater, but that's typical dusty to put a guy who will swing and has above average speed in the #2 slot. murton isnt slow, but he's not as fast as jones.

best we can probally hope for is murton bats #2 vs. lefties and jones sits in his #5/6 slot.

of course baker could lose his f'n mind and put him 4th vs. righties fulltime believing he has burnitz power..hehe..but i'd bet on #2..seems his style

cookie pot==cookie jar

Hey Manny Trillo..Why Not? Prior is only 25 years old, his best years are still ahead of him, With a little offensive help this guy is capable of 20 plus wins a season...

"lawton for $400,000 and we signed Mabry for $1 mil.Okay...."

Rob,

Lawton can only play LF anymore and Marby can play all the corners and even Lawton said he had to take HORSE steriods because he was not good enough to be a MLB playoff roster.

"Chifan, what year did Mike Harkey win 18 games post an 2.43 ERA, come in third in Cy Young voting and finish second in strike outs?"

Chad,

One year does not a great carrer make. Prior could be an ace and cy young winner but Tejada IS a MVP type of player. I am not advocating trading Prior for the hell of it but I would for certain list of players including:

Arod
Jeter
Ortiz*
Beckett
Tejada
Halladay
Buerhle
Santana
Texiera*
Abreu
Utley
Howard*
Wright
Carberra
Willis
Oswalt
Pujols
Carpenter
Bay
Peavy

* With D-lee on the team I would not trade those guys for Prior now but if he did leave I would trade for them.

rest assured, if you were a GM, you could have anyone on that list with the possible exception of texiera for prior.

and arod...and ______ (fill in the blank, no need for 200 replies)

DeJesus:
"Hey Manny Trillo..Why Not? Prior is only 25 years old, his best years are still ahead of him, With a little offensive help this guy is capable of 20 plus wins a season..."

I have no clue to what statement of mine you are talking about. I don't think the Cubs should trade Prior, as they had their chance to get a top flight SS (albeit not as good as Tejada), for nothing more than $$$ adn turned that down.

MannyTrillo: Yes, we could have had Furcal, but only if we had been willing to grossly overpay him. Not only would that potentially, hell, probably end up being a bad move for the Cubs, it would definitely be a bad move for all of MLB.

The disturbing trend the past few off-seasons has been one mediocre player being overpaid, and therefore skewing the amount of money that every other comparable free agent (either in terms of position or production) makes. While Furcal is far from mediocre, he's not the end-all be-all in MLB, or of lead-off men, or of shortstops. So, hypothetically, if things with Furcal didn't work out (either if he was unhappy in Chicago, or if he got another DUI, or if his production did not live up to expectations and became detrimental to the team, etc., etc., etc.), not only would we have lost money on him, but we would then have to go out and either: A)settle for a sub-stellar replacement or B)overpay for another talented player. In my other scenario, even if Furcal is everything the Cubs wanted and more, he'd still be taking up about 13% of the Cubs payroll for the next few seasons...not good when you have a lot of holes to fill.

Ryan-
My whole point is that trading Prior for a top SS is stupid when we could of had a top SS, not as good as Tejada, but still a top SS for nothing.

Would you rather have Furcal and Prior or Tejada??

2 guys who hit 10-20 homers and ob% of around .350-.370 a year just got 13m a year multi-year.

im still amazed.

"Lawton can only play LF anymore and Marby can play all the corners and even Lawton said he had to take HORSE steriods because he was not good enough to be a MLB playoff roster."

Somehow I think Lawton could handle 3 of those corner positions without much problem for the inning or two or occasional start that a 4th OF would be called upon. Plus at least he brings something with the bat. Mabry brings very little, other than being a vet and can play 3b if needed. And if Mabry is playing any reasonable amount of time at 3b next year, the season is over.

As for the steroid thing, here's what he said:

"It was such a stupid thing, but I was desperate," Lawton told Sports Weekly. "Maybe it was the pressure of playing in New York, I don't know. I never had the urge to take any of that stuff before, but I was talking to some guys, and they guaranteed it would get the pain out."

"I don't want people to think that everything I did, the good years I had, were steroid-related," Lawton told Sports Weekly. "I learned a lot about myself last year, and I'll be better for it."

I love Prior, I think he could be a hall of fame pitcher...but when I think about what will bring us to the top in the next couple years, I would give up Prior for Tejada straight up. In the long term, it may hurt...but honestly, I'm sick of being patient...I would give up a top line starter who pitches once every 5 games for a top offesnive shortstop to compliment Lee and Ramirez.

Of course, there is a good reason why I'm not being paid as a GM.

Manny: I'd rather have Prior AND Tejada:) But since that ain't gonna happen, I'd rather have Prior and Cedeno, seeing as how Furcal just isn't worth those bucks (I know that's not a straight answer, so to answer your hypothetical of "this OR that" (with no middle ground), I'd take Prior and Furcal)

Adam: I want to see the Cubs win now, also. But I just don't see how trading away Prior helps us win now.

Ryan-
Thanks for you take, I do understand what you mean. And I totally agree with this part of what you said: "I want to see the Cubs win now, also. But I just don't see how trading away Prior helps us win now."

"That's a high price to pay for Tejada and Arroyo. I'm not saying I'd rule it out - but Prior, Patterson, Hill, Guzman, Dopriak and Cedeno for Tejada and Arroyo... That's steep."

Too steep. This proposal sucks for the Cubs as much or more than the scenario laid out by Phil yesterday. Tejada is built like a linebacker and looks like one of the "juiciest" guys in MLB. He will decline in a year or two, Prior will near his Maddux-like peak in a year or two.
Bad, bad idea.

Hey I came here for some nice WWII discussion. Why all this baseball talk?

It's true we could have had Tejada 2 years ago...BUT the Cubs idea of signing a free agent is not signing him to a 4 or 5 year contract....but rather let the Mets/Orioles/Blue Jays etc. sign him to a long contract then the Cubs sit back and watch how said player progresses under the big contract....when the Cubs have a hole to fill they then go running to the club who signed said player with a package of prospects and possibly a player low on the depth charts already at the MLB level..they try to get the player for the remaining 2 years on the contract and possibly offer a couple more years on a contract extension...

So though we could have had Tejada 2 years ago (I was a STRONG advocate of it)...the Cubs are the Cubs and no way will go long term with most players.

I'm sorry, but this is literally the funniest thing I have read in days (from #161)

"I agraduated with a journalism degree from Penn State and it embarasses me sometimes when i see stupid mistakes like that and it make be glad I never went into that field in the real world."

#194 - yup.

The one (and only) thing I've learned is that if you don't know a better writer/lover/thinker/golfer/partier/comic/dresser/ fill-n-the-blank than yourself, then you aren't hanging out with the right people.

Chifan's list of guys he'd trade for Prior:

Arod
Jeter
Ortiz*
Beckett
Tejada
Halladay
Buerhle
Santana
Texiera*
Abreu
Utley
Howard*
Wright
Carberra
Willis
Oswalt
Pujols
Carpenter
Bay
Peavy

I hope some day I play against you in Fantasy Baseball, cause I would fleece you. Your list is RETARDED. Josh Beckett? Josh Beckett isn't half the pitcher Prior is. What about Beckett's career makes him better than Prior? Just a stupid list.

Trans & 433-
What do you guys mean?

I'm talking about Steve Stone-casting, again. I have never been particularly fond of that sport... Every time I try to play I feel a bit guilty about it. ~shrug~

Trans-
Can you be a little less criptic and flat out come out and say what you don't like....Thanks!!

Did you throw Steve Stone to see much you could trust him? Ok absurdist at best.

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