Projected Cubs Free-Agents through 2009

There was some surprise expressed yesterday on another thread that Mark Prior won't be a free-agent until after 2008, so here is the list of projected Cubs free-agents through 2009 that I posted a while back: FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2006 SEASON: Henry Blanco Jerry Hairston, Jr Derrek Lee John Mabry Greg Maddux (ìno tradeî through 2006 season) Juan Pierre Aramis Ramirez (player option for 2007) Todd Walker Scott Williamson Kerry Wood (club option to pay $13m salary in 2007 or $3m buy-out - also ìno tradeî through 2006 season) FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2007: Michael Barrett Scott Eyre (player option for 2008) Corey Patterson Neifi Perez Glendon Rusch Carlos Zambrano Kerry Wood (if Cubs decline buy-out after 2006) FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2008: Ryan Dempster Scott Eyre (if player option is not exercised after 2007) Bob Howry Jacque Jones Will Ohman Mark Prior Aramis Ramirez (mutual option for 2009, or vesting option for 2009 if 270 GAMES PLAYED 2007-08) FREE-AGENT AFTER 2009: Jerome Williams
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Comments

After seeing this, I seriously hope we don't trade Jerome Williams. He could be a solid #3 starter for 4 more years before we have to worry about him cashing in on the open market. His performance should outperform his salary for the next 4 years.

Interesting. I'm not sure how this affects my thinking on Prior for Tejada.

AZ Phil, if Tejada were traded to the Cubs, would that count as his one chance to demand a trade during the middle of a multi-year contract? Or could he then demand another trade?

Drew,

I agree Jwill will be an effective player for us and should not be traded unless it is for an impact player.

Andrew,

Tejada could still demand a trade after a trade happens.

AZ Phil,

Did you get a chance to see Angel Guzman pitch in the AFL. If you did what was the velocity on his FB was it where he was at before the injury or has he indeed like Tbone's sources think he has lost something?

Andrew,
I could be wrong, but I don't think Tejada's demand is the same as, for example, Vazquez'. The Orioles don't have to trade Tejada, the Diamondbacks had to trade Vazquez because he was traded to them in the middle of a contract. Tejada could demand another trade if he were traded i believe.

AZ Phil,

Shouldn't Jacque Jones also be listed under "FREE-AGNET AFTER 2008?" I assume you made this list in a thread posted before his signing.

#5 of 5: By shawndgoldman (December 28, 2005 07:21 AM)
AZ Phil,

Shouldn't Jacque Jones also be listed under "FREE-AGNET AFTER 2008?" I assume you made this list in a thread posted before his signing.

SHAWN: Yes!

I just re-posted the list I posted here a few weeks ago. I'll fix that.

Thanks, bud.

#2 of 6: By Andrew (December 28, 2005 06:53 AM)
Interesting. I'm not sure how this affects my thinking on Prior for Tejada.

AZ Phil, if Tejada were traded to the Cubs, would that count as his one chance to demand a trade during the middle of a multi-year contract? Or could he then demand another trade?

ANDREW: If the Orioles do trade Miguel Tejada, it won't be in response to Tejada "demanding" a trade. He does not have that right. What Tejada is doing right now is merely "requesting" a trade.

Here are the circumstances under which a player can legally and officially DEMAND a trade:

1. Must have a minimum of five years of MLB service time.

2. Was traded by one club to another after signing a multi-year contract with the first club.

3. There are at least two years left on the contract.

4. The player must file the trade demand during the "Free-Agency Filing Period" (first 15 days after the end of the World Series).

5. Club has until March 15th to trade a player who has legally and officially demanded a trade.

6. The player can rescind the trade demand anytime prior to March 15th (as long as it's before he gets traded).

7. Player can designate up to six clubs to which he will not accept a trade.

8. If the player does not rescind the trade demand and the club fails to trade the player by March 15th, the player AUTOMATICALLY becomes a free-agent, the player's contract is voided and he gives up all salaries still outstanding from the contract, and the club does not receive any compensation when and if the player signs a contract with a new club.

9. Any player who gets traded after filing a trade demand under the circumstances listed above cannot file for free-agency for three years, and cannot file another trade demand (should new circumstances qualify him to do so) for three years, either.

EXAMPLE: Free-Agent Javier Vazquez signed a four-year contrct with the Yankees after the 2003 season, and was subsequently traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks (for Randy Johnson) after the 2004 season. After the 2005 season, Vazquez filed a Trade Demand (which was his right) during the Free-Agency Filing Period, and the D'backs had until March 15th to either trade him or allow him to become a free-agent.

Recently, the D'backs traded Vazquez to the White Sox for three players.

Because he was traded after the 2005 season, Vizcaino cannot be a free-agent until after the 2008 season, even though his contract expires after the 2007 season. So after the conclusion of the 2007 World Series, the White Sox will have exactly five days to decide if they wish to offer Vizcaino salary arbitration (strictly a club option, which Vizcaino cannot refuse) for 2008.

If the White Sox choose to not offer Vizcaino salary arbitration at that time (after the 2007 season), Vizcaino is considered "non-tendered," immediately becomes a free-agent, and the White Sox would receive no compensation should Vizcaino sign with another club.

If the Cubs were to acquire Miguel Tejada in a trade this off-season, he would have one opportunity to demand a trade, and that would be during the "Free-Agency Filing Period" during the 15 days immediately following the 2006 World Series. If Tejada were to demand a trade at that time, the Cubs would have until March 15, 2007, to trade him, and Tejada would get to name no more than six clubs to whichb he would refuse a trade.

If the Cubs fail to trade him by March 15, 2007, Tejada would immediately become a free-agent, and he would lose the $38m in salaries left on his contract.

If Tejada demands a trade after the 2006 season and the Cubs DO trade him prior to March 15th, then Tejada can be a free-agent after the 2009 season, which is when his contract expires, anyway.

#3 of 7: By chifan3887 (December 28, 2005 07:14 AM)
AZ Phil,

Did you get a chance to see Angel Guzman pitch in the AFL. If you did what was the velocity on his FB was it where he was at before the injury or has he indeed like Tbone's sources think he has lost something?

---

CHIFAN: Yes I did.

When I saw Guzman pitch in in the AFL in October, I sat directly behind home plate each time and I got a good look at him.

A scout with a radar gun who was also sitting behind home plate told me that Guzman's four-seam fastball topped out at 97MPH and his two-seamer topped out at 93MPH (the same in two different outings), and both his curve and change were sharp (the times I saw him, anyway).

Watching Guzman pitch, he showed absolutely no ill effects from his "strained forearm" or previous shoulder problems, his motion was fluid, and the only negative I noted was that he started to tire in his 4th and 5th innings of work (around pitch #50) , and lost the "bite" on his breaking ball and control of his four-seamer (which was probably because he hadn't pitched much in 2005).

My opinion is that the Cubs were very cautious with Guzman in 2005, and maybe even sort of babied him. I doubt that will happen again in 2006. I expect him to start the 2006 season at Iowa, and will be "first call" if the Cubs need another starter.

He still has the stuff (four "plus" pitches) to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, and it would surprise me if he is not in a major league starting rotation in 2007, if not sooner.

"The Orioles don't have to trade Tejada, the Diamondbacks had to trade Vazquez because he was traded to them in the middle of a contract. Tejada could demand another trade if he were traded i believe."

Ah yes, that's right. Thanks Jeff.

Very helpful, Phil. Thanks.

This adds even more to think about in the Prior-Tejada deal.

Drew--GREAT point about JWill in #1, I hadn't even considered that. But, Az Phil, that's just because the Cubs have the "rights" to him, correct? If he does really well, they have to offer him arbitration or non-tender him?

And, as always, Az Phil, you are the best at doing the awesome research (or just having the knowledge) the rest of us don't, or don't have time for. A BIG thank you.

#11 of 11: By Tony (December 28, 2005 08:02 AM)
Drew--GREAT point about JWill in #1, I hadn't even considered that. But, Az Phil, that's just because the Cubs have the "rights" to him, correct? If he does really well, they have to offer him arbitration or non-tender him?

-

TONY: J. Williams will be eligible for arbitration after 2006, 2007, and 2008. He is still an "auto-renewal" as of right now. He was VERY close to qualifying as a "super two" this year, but I believe he missed by just a very few days.

As I recall, the MLB "super twos" eligible for arbitration will come from a list that includes Grant Balfour (Minnesota) Erik Bedard (Baltimore), Coco Crisp (Cleveland), Michael Cuddyer (Minnesota), Jason Davis (Cleveland), Jody Gerut (Pittsburgh), and Reed Johnson (Toronto).

Bedard is an absolute "lock" to be a "supe two" because he has 2+171 MLB service time, but I'm not sure how many of the others I listed qualify, and in what order. I don't think the MLB office has made the announcement yet.

ON ARAMIS: I thought he was signed to a four year deal as of 2005. That would mean free-agent eligible after 2008 season. Does anyone think the Cubs would consider Jeff Weaver to add to the unstable bullpen? Also, is Preston Wilson an option as an additional OF platoon guy? Inquiring minds want to know...

AZ Phil,

Thanks for the eye witness account of Guzman. I know he walked more people than he did before his injury but that could just be attributed to rust.

I have no doubt that my friend is right when he says there are many who say Guzman is done. You just never know if they're parroting what a guy in the front office heard from a scout a year before or what. My friend didn't know the origninal source of the Guzman is through rumor which always made me dubious about its validity. My next email will be to my friend with your account of Guzman's stuff pasted in.

#10: "This adds even more to think about in the Prior-Tejada deal."

Yes, absolutely. It would be incredibly Hendry-esque to trade Prior for Tejada and then have Tejada demand a trade - thus reducing his value and making a time-intensive pressure packed 2007 offseason.

By the way Manny the fact that Hendry is deteriorating as a GM has nothing to do with how incredibly crappy and insane Baker is. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In my eyes Hendry is a far better GM than Baker is a manager. And I think Hendry is kinda bad now. Baker? probably the worst manager I have seen in my 35 years watching the cubs. Probably? Easily! And I have seen some BAD managers in cubbie blue.

#13 of 13: By The E-Man (December 28, 2005 08:29 AM)
ON ARAMIS: I thought he was signed to a four year deal as of 2005. That would mean free-agent eligible after 2008 season. Does anyone think the Cubs would consider Jeff Weaver to add to the unstable bullpen? Also, is Preston Wilson an option as an additional OF platoon guy? Inquiring minds want to know...

--

E MAN: Aramis Ramirez signed a $42m (guaranteed) four-year contract in April 2005 with a player option after 2006 and a possible 5th year worth an additional $11m (mutual option) in 2009 which becomes a vesting option if he plays 270 games in the years 2007 & 2008.

On ARAMIS II: Thanks - however, the list places him as free agent after 2006 ("player option for 2007).

I saw Angel Guzman pitch in the AFL as well, only once though, but I agree with AZ Phil. My impression was that his velocity is what I recalled from seeing him in ST 2003 but that it didn't have the "whip"-type effect as before, a little less side-to-side movement. This could be an indication of him "taking it easy" or it could be a slight mechanical change, which would not be unusual. He did not throw many breaking pitches but the ones I saw went for strikes. He was still very impressive, one of the best pitchers I saw in the AFL (OK, I think Jared Weaver was the best...the Angels system is loaded).

As for "super twos", I think Balfour qualified and that is principally a reason why Minnesota non-tendered. Balfour is one of those guys who could pop up on some roster in two years, drop a sub-3 ERA in relif and everyone will ask, "Where did he come from, and why am I paying $X million for (Howry/Veres/Remlinger/Hawkins...insert your favorite free agent RP signee here)?"

I think Hendry intentionally kept JWill down in AAA with at least the partial intent of keeping him from being a "super two".

E MAN: It's kind of confusing. I have Aramis Ramirez listed at two places on the list (after 2006 with a player option, and after 2008 with a mutual option or vesting option), depending on whether he exercises his player option afte 2006.

I could have listed him as a potential FA "after 2009," too (if the mutual option is exercised, or if the vesting option kicks-in), but I thought listing him twice was plenty!

How then does it possibly make sense to trade Prior? Wouldn't we all rather see him walk after 2008 if theres a good chance Tejada could be gone in 2007? Can someone explain why Hendry even considers this? Our pitching would be so weakened if we lose Prior who still has 3 years here, I could understand him going after a guy younger than Tejada who would be guaranteed to stick around through 2007.

"if theres a good chance Tejada could be gone in 2007?"

I don't think that we can assume that yet. Yes, the possibility is there. But per AZ Phil's list of conditions for demanding a trade, that possibility exists for acquiring many players via trade. It needs to be taken into consideration, but I don't think we can assume that Tejada would definitely opt out. This isn't like Vazquez, who was traded against his wishes. Tejada has asked for a trade, and behind closed doors, is apparently sticking to that request.

P.S. Let's remember too that Tejada is guaranteed big bucks for the next several years. If he did come to the Cubs and if he did demand a deal, the Cubs could just let him walk (stupid, I know) and he would forfeit all of that money.

Say what you want about the FA market, his value would take a hit, and it seems unlikely a player would give up as much money as he is owed.

Andrew, Why would you speculate he would make less money than Furcal (WHo is making more this yearthan Tejada?) if he went trade demand in 2006/2007 offseason? There is no way his value takes a hit . . .

What I meant to say is that Furcal makes more than Tejada . . . he owuld likely make more money if he kept up his numbers.

I could be overstating that, SuperJimmer, but to me, many would start to view him as a Manny-type player. Very good, but very moody.

I still think he'd get at least Furcal money, no doubt. I don't think he'd earn as much as he would without all this trade talk mess thus hurting his value.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/b...

BoSox have offered Manny and Clement for Tejada, but the O's don't want to trade Tejada within the division

O's prefer Z over Prior and don't want to part with Bedard and says the teams" haven't come close" and says the Cubs are believed to be the "most aggressive suitors."

And there was a potential 3 team deal with the A's and the O's getting Zito and Prior but that was dismissed when Zito's agent (Arm Tellem) said Zito would not sign a long term deal with the O's.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/cubs.asp?id...

[Re Prior/Korey/Hill for Tejada/Bedard
"Despite a report on WMVP 1000-AM that the trade was on the table awaiting a decision, a Cubs source told the Daily Herald on Tuesday that no such offer has been made."

Is is safe now to ignore everthing Levine ever spits out on the air?

How about Z, Hill, and Dopirak/Sing for Tejada, Bedard/Cabrera, and Penn?

On Tejada, et. al.
Fellow Cub Obsessives: Should we all stop all obsessing on this trade that probably won't happen and move on to a Plan B or C? How can the team become better with what is realistically available before spring training (before other clubs pick up the stragglers)? J Weaver? EByrnes? PWilson? It seems to me that one mid-rotation pitcher plus a compliment to JJones that can hit lefties should give the team a shot to hit 90 wins. Any thoughts on the above?

The Cubs should deal Prior for Tejada. Tejada would put that need of power in the Cubs lineup. And then if I were the Cubs, I would sign Jeff Weaver, and somehow make a trade to the Red Sox for Matt Clement(trade Eric Bedard, who the Cubs would get in the Tejada deal, and a prospect to the Sox). So, the rotation would look like this:

1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Kerry Wood(if healthy)
3. Matt Clement
4. Jeff Weaver
5. Greg Maddux

Re #28, Andrew,

No way do I trade Z, Andrew. IMHO it is only conceivable to trade Prior because of (1) his injury history, and (2) his re-signability factor.

If the price for Miggy has gone up because of Boston's offer, then I would much rather us focus on trading for Zito. Hill/Murton/Weurtz/Rusch for Zito and Payton would be a major upgrade for our rotation, we could then piddle around with Payton or Preston Wilson or perform a mid-season trade for a corner OF. This plays to our strengths -- starting pitching better than the rest of the division and Hendry's ability to make good mid-season trades.

E-man,

Hendry has said he would like to get another starter. I bet we continue asking after Zito, regardless of the Tejada deal. Jeff Weaver? I hadn't thought about him, but I'm not sure that I want to.

Andrew:
"There was some surprise expressed yesterday on another thread that Mark Prior wonít be a free-agent until after 2008"

There you go, you believe me now??? Thanks!!

Even MORE reason why this trade SHOULD NOT happen. Unfortunately it is in the hands for Angelos and not our GM to stop it.

"There you go, you believe me now??? Thanks!!"

Only because you agree with AZ Phil! You're welcome!

"Unfortunately it is in the hands for Angelos and not our GM to stop it."

Well, according to the Daily Herald, it isn't on Angelos' desk, at least not yet. "Thanks!!"

Unfortunately it is in the hands for Angelos and not our GM to stop it.

What does that mean?

Sipperjimmer:
" I think Hendry is kinda bad now. "

Good to hear, not say that half as much as you say Baker is worse and we have a very fair and good start. :)

"Good to hear, not say that half as much as you say Baker is worse and we have a very fair and good start. :)"

Manny, what in the hell did you just say?

ANDREW, et. al.: Jeff Weaver I think gives greater upside as of 12/28/05, than does having Jerome Williams in the starting rotation. While his track record is spotty, particularly with the Yankees, he is experienced and has some nasty stuff. Re ZITO, Billy Beane is not going to take Corey Patterson and an I-Pass card for him. The Cubs I believe just don't have the correct ammo that the A's would be interested in, in my opinion. I'd be very, very surprised if the Cubs were to acquire either Tejada or Zito in any trades before the season.

Andrew:
"Say what you want about the FA market, his value would take a hit, and it seems unlikely a player would give up as much money as he is owed."

WHAT??? If Furcal just signed for $13 million per year, you don't think Tejada would sign for over $15 million??? He would definately, no doubt, get a raise if he was able to go to Free Agency right now. A decent size one too!!!

Weaver has a career 4.44 ERA and it's been over 4 the last 2 years despite pitching in the ultra-pitcher friendly NL West. He's crap. Especially for whatever he's going to end up costing...

Rob: True enough in some respects. Certainly he is better than Mitre! That's what's left now, unfortunately. Isn't Larry Rothschild supposed to be a miracle worker? What other pitcher OTHER than Zito is availble and actually obtainable in MLB that could help this team. After all, Rusch was 1-12 with the Brewers...Josh Fogg?? Help me here.

"Good to hear, not say that half as much as you say Baker is worse and we have a very fair and good start. :)"

Change the "not" to "now".....Sorry!

Don't trade Prior, go in with Z, Prior, Maddux, Rusch, (Hill, Guzman, Williams if he's still around) until Wood is ready

And Wood will pitch the whole season without going to the DL, once they let him start.

"As I recall, the MLB "super twos" eligible for arbitration will come from a list..."

Jody Gerut qualified for arbitration. He was signed to a one year/$0.875 contract the other day. Erik Bedard...arb eligible. Coco Crisp?..yes. Michael Cuddyer?...yes again. Reed Johnson was arb eligible and signed a $1.425 contract. (What a nice player he is. Trains very hard in the off-season.)

Jason Davis? ...don't think so...but don't quote me.

"And Wood will pitch the whole season without going to the DL, once they let him start."

I hope you had your eyes closed and were trying to do some kind of Jedi mind thing when you said that, because that is a very bold statement. I like it, but it's bold.

Ol' Bruce is at it again, saying the White Sox have re-signed Garland for 3 years, $29m.

WSCR is reporting it to, and they say its furcal money. Damit Garland is probably going to BAL with Uribe for Tejada and Loewen.

I like it, but it's bold.

Not really, Matt Morris had the same surgery and has had similar arm problems as Wood has had in his career and he survived last season. I'm not saying anything beyond 2006, but it's a pretty fair guess that Wood will survive 2006 without much incident and be something reasonably close to his 2003 self.

Garland was a free agent, right? If so, they are not going to trade him unless that was part of the deal but that still makes no sense. If Garland was a free agent, the O's could have just signed him outright.

Chad-
Garland was arb-eligible, not a FA. 3 years $29 million. Lots to pay for a career .500 pitcher who had only a great 1/2 year. But hey, the CHW payroll is now past or at least equal to the Cubs. Give them credit for actually spending the money.

Garland had one year left before being a free agent, he was arb-eligible.

I kinda agree with Rob G. on Wood. The surgery was just done last year to Morris, like Rob said, AND more importantly, this is his contract year. How many times do you see guys have great years the last year of their deal when they know they will be entering in to FA. Hopefully teh Cubs can get the benefit of Wood's contract year and get a nice year out of him finally.

what manny said :)

I've lost track...what are the 2 teams payrolls now?

Chad,

Garland was in his last year of Arbitration. One of their pitchers needs to get traded and the two deals that make the most sense are the one I mentioned in the in post 47 and a Mccarthy for Crawford swap knowing how Ozzie wants a no.2 hitter so he can drop Iguchi to the 6 hole.

Garland would become a free agent next year.

Rob-
I posted the otehr day the breakdown for teh Cubs and it was at $95 million. On teh radio they are saying the CHW are in teh high 90's low 100's. I am not sure of their exact contract details. But they did add a bunch this year (Konerko, Thome, Garland, etc)

Rob G.-
Here is what I posted the other day about the Cubs payroll. I am not really familiar with the details of some of the White Sox contracts. I was just going by what they said on the radio.

Kinda bored, sere is the contract/budget breakdown thus far as things stand:

SET CONTRACTS:
Michael Barrett - $4.13M ($4.0M base + $130K prorated signing bonus)
Henry Blanco - $1.5M
Ryan Dempster - $5M
Scott Eyre - $3.7M ($2.7M base + $1.0M signing bonus)
Bobby Howry - $4.0M ($2.5M base + $1.5M signing bonus)
Jacque Jones - $4.33M ($3.0M base + $1.33M prorated signing bonus)
Derrek Lee - $8.67M ($8.0M base + $670K prorated signing bonus)
John Mabry - $1.075M
Greg Maddux - $9.0M
Neifi Perez - $2.5M
Aramis Ramirez - $10.5M
Glendon Rusch - $2.75M
Todd Walker - $2.5M
Scott Williamson - $2.0M
Kerry Wood - $12.0M ($11.0M base + $1.0M prorated signing bonus)
TOTAL (15) - $73.655M

AUTO RENEWAL (LEAGUE MINIMUM):
Ronny Cedeno - $350K
Matt Murton - $350K
Will Ohman - $350K
Jerome Williams - $350K
Michael Weurtz - $350K
TOTAL (5) - $1.75M

ARBITRATION:
Jerry Hairston - $2.0M
Corey Patterson - $2.8M
Juan Pierre - $5.0M
Mark Prior - $5.0M
Carlos Zambrano - $5.0M
TOTAL (5) - $19.8M

TOTAL PAYROLL (25) - $95.205

***These figures do not count any possible incentive bonuses & does not count the $500K buyout of Jeromy Burnitz contract***

Also, the ARBITRATION numbers are just my quick estimates. I did no research to justify them. If you think I am way off base, please don't go crazy and just let me know. Thanks!!

so let's get this straight, now with similar payrolls (yet to be finalized)

the WS Champ WSox have added Thome, Vazquez, Mackowiak and resigned Konerko

the below .500 Cubs have added Pierre, Eyre, Howry, Jones, Mabry

I just threw up in my mouth...

Z probably gets at least $8 mil in arbitration, Pierre I would guess gets $6 to $7 mil, the rest seem close enough.

can someone explain just HOW mark prior is under club control in 08?

Rob G.:
"I just threw up in my mouth..."

HA HA

Crunch:
"can someone explain just HOW mark prior is under club control in 08?"

Like I explained yesterday, Priro had 2+131 days of service time through 2004 season. So through 2005 he had 3+131, through 2006 he will have 4+131, through 2007 he will have 5+131 (short of the 6 years needed to be a free agent. So he will be under Cubs control through 2008.

I'm sure someone can give a better description than this but..

2002 - Less then 1 year service time
2003 - 1
2004 - 1
2005 - 1
2006 - 1
2007 - 1
2008 - 1
=====
6+ years of service time

You have to reach 6 full years before you become a FA and he's currently at 3+

#60 of 60: By crunch (December 28, 2005 11:09 AM)
can someone explain just HOW mark prior is under club control in 08?

-

CRUNCH: Prior won't have six years of MLB service time until after the 2008 season. He is presently at 3+131.

i was under the impression that any % over the amount of service time is rounded up to count toward accumilated service time as long as they're on the 25-man.

thanks everyone.

A friend just called and siad he heard on WMVP that the Sox have signed Garland to a three year contract that tops out at 12 million the third year.

maybe you were thinking of this...

"If a player spends 20 days or less of the season on optional assignment, the player is given service time for the entire season. This is to prevent various shenanigans if calling up a player at the end of April to buy an extra year of rights."

Rob G -- I seem to recall that one of the supposed secret reasons the Cubs had for waiting until May (i.e after 20 days) to call up Prior in that first year was for exactly those "shenanigans" (i.e. to steal an extra year). Anyone else remember that?

Hey Chad --

Re-posting from the prior (pun intended) thread, how about a friendly TCR wager:

If you can find me even a single GM who thinks that Prior is currently the "absolute best pitcher in all of the MLB" (as you put it), I will change my TCR moniker to "433IsADope" for a day.

If you can't find one by Sunday, you have to go with "CHADIsADope" for a day.

Deal?

433,

Yes. And I think they did the same thing with Wood.

anything is possible for the conspiracy theorists, but the guy hadn't pitched an inning of minor league ball yet, they weren't going to put him straight in the majors. His first start was May 22nd...

I seen just now that the White Sox have inked Jon Garland to another contract avoiding arbitration. Another outstanding move by Kenny Williams, now what is up next under his sleeve. Williams has 6 starters and 6 very good starters, what is wrong with trading Garland back to the Cubs or one of their other starters for Patterson and a minor leaguer or a PTBNL.

Wood's first start was April 12, 1998, the conspiracy theory doesn't hold...

"...what is wrong with trading Garland back to the Cubs or one of their other starters for Patterson and a minor leaguer or a PTBNL."

Because Patterson wouldn't get you a starting pitcher off an American Legion team.

"what is wrong with trading Garland back to the Cubs or one of their other starters for Patterson and a minor leaguer or a PTBNL."

You're joking, right?

what is wrong with trading Garland back to the Cubs or one of their other starters for Patterson and a minor leaguer or a PTBNL

Sure, then we can trade Neifi and an A-baller for Tejada. :)

The Garland deal is supposedly:

2006 - $7M
2007 - $10M
2008 - $12M

For a total of 3 years - $29M.

Now, that is a great deal if he pitches klike he did in the first half od 2005. But if he pitches like he has the rest of the season or the rest of his career, then it will be a bad deal. But if McCarthy does well this year, they can always use him as trade bait around the trading deadline.

Rob G.

I stand (or actually sit on my ever widening ass) corrected.

I'm not sure I'd call it a conspiracy theory. Who knows if that had anything to do with the call-up timing -- there are a lot of factors that go into those kinds of decisions.

Having said that, something tells me that if the rule were 40 days rather than 20 days, Cubs management would have found some compelling reasons to keep him in the minors until June...

The Garland resigning wasn't a radio scoop. It has been up on chicago.whitesox.mlb.com all morning.

Stop picking on Jerry. His trade scenario makes about as much sense as any of yours do.

I was kiddin' anyway, whatever, it's good businesss by the Cubs. Get as much out of them as you can for as long as you can. Doesn't hurt anybody but Prior's bottom line which is doing just fine.

Uh. Trading a sub- .220 hitting outfielder for an 18 game winner is a little unrealistic. Even with a prospect or PTBNL. So Jerry's offer is a little dreamy. But I don't think Williams and Hendry would deal for Garland anyway, Williams is a little too close to home for Hendry - knows he is on the seat.

garland worth 10m a year? yow..the market really is weird. no...i dont like him at all...not any more than a person could like aaron sele or similar anyway. at least you know he'll show up for work and throw 200ip.

#68 of 73: By 433 (December 28, 2005 11:24 AM)
Rob G -- I seem to recall that one of the supposed secret reasons the Cubs had for waiting until May (i.e after 20 days) to call up Prior in that first year was for exactly those "shenanigans" (i.e. to steal an extra year). Anyone else remember that?

---

433: I don't believe the 20-day optional assignment rule (anti-shenanigans) was in the previous CBA. It was unique to the 2002 agreement. So when the Cubs optioned Prior to Iowa out of Spring Training in 2002, there was no rule like that. Players got credit for as much service time as they actually spent in the majors, and clubs were charged an "option year" on a player even if the player spent only one day in the minors that year.

The reason both sides agreed to the new 20-day optional assignment rule was because the owners did not want to lose an option year if a player was sent down for a short period of time (less than 20 days), and in return for the club getting that "option year" back, the player gets credit for a full year of MLB service time.

The Cubs did not lose an option year on Matt Murton when they optioned him to Iowa for 11 days in August (19th through the 29th), and Murton received MLB service time credit for the entire 11 days he spent at Iowa. If the Cubs had left Murton at Iowa until September 7th, however, the Cubs would have lost an option year, and Murton would not have received any MLB service time credit for his time at Iowa.

The 20-day rule still won't preclude a club from sending a player to the minors to "buy" another year of control, though. It just has to be a stay of 20 days or more for it to count.

Jon Garland is not un-touchable for one and two giving the White Six three players in the deal and the three players would be from a pool good players, good prospects with Patterson being one of the players in the pool. You all need to look a little harder at Garlands stats. To me, even though he won 18 games last year, I would consider the White Sox #5 starter, behind Contreras, Garcia, Buehrle, Vazquez. Brandon McCarthy is ready to pitch every 5th day, and Neal Cotts can be a very effective starter.

Phil -- interesting. I am certainly no expert on these kinds of things, but I do recall this being discussed over the airwaves back in 2002. Could be wrong, though.

Jerry - I think the Sox consider themsleves to have a surplus of Outfielders . . . I can't see them being interested in Patterson/Pie . . . and plus Hendry likes to fleece or be fleeced. If he did it with Williams it would be a mess. But mostlythe Sox don't need what we have.

Now from the Cubs perspective I would consider Garland to be too expensive and risky/erratic.

probably mentioned somewhere else but Burnitz is signing with the O's, they must love our Right fielders. He'll be playing left apparently and here's the kicker......$12 mil for 2 years.

Agree with superjimmer that Garland would be risky, but risky long term. He is not overpowering, and will give up the gopher ball.
And you are again right that Hendry and Williams would not be able to get anything done as Williams wouldn't want to wait on Hendry and his powerless gestures.

yeah, allegedly the O's are gonna play gibbons in RF, though he has a weaker arm compared to burnitz...go figure.

guess that means walter "hey, you gonna eat that?" young gets to play 1st. dude makes david ortiz look like a health nut.

#30,

I have been a proponent of acquiring Weaver ever since the off-season the season ended. I think he would be a great 3 starter, albeit, he can be inconsistent, he wouldn't cost entirely too much and can't believe he hasn't been talked about more. On second thought, he might not sell for so cheap after the contracts Milwood et al signed for.

WSox aren't going to be interested in prospects right now, there in it to try and win it again this year. Garland or McCarthy goes to land an everday player and a pretty decent one too, most likely.

Not a big fan of Garland at all, but his perceived value is quite high right now.

guess that means walter "hey, you gonna eat that?" young gets to play 1st. dude makes david ortiz look like a health nut.

Isn't Javy the 1st basemen by default at the moment? Conine could also serve that role. Young was built to be a DH.

Holy Christ, that Walter Young is 6'5' 322lbs. Can we trade Kpat for him. And then flip him to the Bears for a PTBNL?

#87 of 90: By 433 (December 28, 2005 11:52 AM)
Phil -- interesting. I am certainly no expert on these kinds of things, but I do recall this being discussed over the airwaves back in 2002. Could be wrong, though.

433: No, actually I wasn't trying to infer that you were wrong. I think it IS likely (VERY likely, in fact) that the Cubs DID option Kerry Wood to Iowa in 1998 and Mark Prior to Iowa in 2002 mainly to buy another year of control toward free-agency.

All I was saying was that the 20-day rule didn't have anyting to do with why the Cubs optioned Wood and Prior to Iowa, and that the 20-day rule really doesn't prevent "shenaniganss," anyway.

Clubs just have to make sure that the player on optional assignment stays in the minors for at least 20 days now. If the rule had been in effect in 1998, the Cubs would have had to make sure to leave Woody down at Iowa for a couple more starts longer than they actually did, and they probably would have done just that (if necessary) to "buy" that extra year of control.

Prior was down at Iowa for about six weeks in 2002 before he was recalled, so it wouldn't have mattered if the 20-day rule had been in effect in March-April-May 2002. He spent about 40-50 days at Iowa in 2002 before the Cubs recalled him.

Chicago Cubs
2006
Category: Starting Pitching
Carlos Zambrano, workhorse, if not injured could win 20 games.
Mark Prior, oft injured, is always a question, will the real Mark Prior please stand up.
Kerry Wood, unlike oft injured Mark Prior, Wood is always injured, and is a huge question.
Greg Maddux, is growing older and older, but his experience in the dugout and clubhouse is worth his contract.
Jerome Williams, young un-proven, won 6 games last year and was rocked at times. A good pitching coach could help not only him but the rest of the staff.
Glendon Rusch, lefthander, we all wonder what his role will really be in í06, never the less, just an average pitcher.
Angel Guzman and Rich Hill, digging down deep into some young arms if any of the above fail.

Relief Pitching
Scott Eyre, thought it would be a good idea to start off with the Cubs best, the #1 and #2 Cubs relief pitchers, good luck Scott.
Bob Howry, good live arms with both Eyre and Howry, lets hope we can keep them in the roles of setup men, because I question Dempster.
Ryan Dempster, the closer, had a good year last year, and hope he keeps on shutting the door, and has more than 32 saves in í06.
Will Ohman, a pretty good lefthander, needs to stay focused and healthy.
Todd Wellemeyer, Todd can be effective at times.
Michael Wuertz, Wuertz is like Wellemeyer, both will probably pitch a lot of innings in í06.
Scott Williamson, came back from surgery and didnít throw bad at the end of 2005, I think he will pitch well in 2006.

Catchers
Michael Barrett, steady with the bat and some power, defensively just average, doesnít call a good game with the pitchers.
Henry Blanco, a flip-flop of Barrett.

Infielders
1B- Derrek Lee, what can I say about this guy other than he was robbed of a most deserving MVP last year, hope he can keep it up.

2B- Todd Walker, looks like Todd will be the second baseman, good bat, less than average defensively without much range.

SS- Ronnie Cedeno, I really want to see this kid play everyday, but I have this terrible feeling Dusty will have Neifi Perez in there.

3B- Aramis Ramirez, Our third sacker for a long-long time, and a good one.

Outfielders
LF- Matt Murton, I really liked what I seen from him when the Cubs called him up , I wish him well, he should be outstanding.
CF-Juan Pierre, what the Cubs needed for years, speed at the top, with a better than .275 BA, I look for him to steal 50+.
RF- Jacque Jones, Just a slight upgrade from Jeromy Burnitz, Burnitz worked hard for the Cubs last year, hope that Jones does too.

Batting Order and Projection
Juan Pierre-CF .283 BA, 62 stolen bases
Todd Walker-2B .277 BA, 12 home runs
Derrek Lee-1B .288 BA, 31 HRís, 112 RBIís, 12 stolen bases
Aramis Ramirez-3B .265 BA, 34 HRís, 119 RBIís
Jacque Jones-RF .259 BA, 26 HRís, 89 RBIís (hardly a #5 hitter)
Matt Murton-LF .270 BA, 16 HRís, 67 RBIís
Michael Barrett-C .275 BA, 15 HRís, 65 RBIís
Ronnie Cedeno-SS .260 BA, 4 HRís, 39 RBIís, 10 stolen bases

Summary
With this being Jim Hendry and Dusty Bakerís last contractual year will the Cubs contend for more than half of the season before letting them go. Maybe Andy McPhail needs a change of scenery also. There is way to many questions in the Cubs starting rotation for me to consider them contending for the entire season. Unless Hendry can pull off a trade to upgrade the Cubs starting rotation, and Derrek Lee continues to produce and the rest of the offense contributes.
I look (as the roster stands as of 12/28/2005) for the Cubs to finish in 5th place behind Houston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
Goodbye Jim, Dusty and company.

Ah, OK got it. I am on vacation so I my reading comprehension skills are lacking...

yeah seriously, what can the Cubs do to help the Bears win now? Let's concentrate on the plausible!!! :)

"I have been a proponent of acquiring Weaver ever since the off-season the season ended. I think he would be a great 3 starter..."
-

He's far from a great #3 starter.
He's a fine #5 starter, especially with the Cubs who have 3-4 pitchers who are better.
Don't waste the money.

I love Da' Bears and thrilled to death of the season they have had. Maybe they will get past the first playoff game but I don't like their chances of a Super Bowl appearance.

Jerry -- the nice thing about having that bye is that if they get past that first game, they are suddenly one win away from the Super Bowl...

pre-Rex Grossman I'd agree with you, but I see us and the Seahawks as pretty evenly matched at this point. Even if we do make the Super Bowl, we'll get trounced by whichever AFC team makes it.

Didn't Prior sign a major league contact after he`was`drafted, therefore 2002 counts as a full year of service in the big leagues--02, 03, 04, 05 means he's a free agent in two more years---this might be why its him rather than Z in the trade talks

433, here's what I posted in the other thread:

Gee 433, lemme get my MLB GM contact sheet out and give them a call, I'll get back to you on that.

I can't exactly get copies of Baseball Tonight that I have seen or interiview on ESPN. That's crazy. Or random articles with random quotes. I know what I saw. The fact remains is that sometimes we know better than these GMs anyhow. I'm just reporting what I've seen and heard.

Where the hell did all this Garland stuff talk come from?

So I heard that the Cubs just traded Prior for Tejada, is this true?

a better question would be why do cubs fans even want garland around.

hell, j.williams is practically a better pitcher and he's slotted as a 5/6 pitcher for the cubs as it stands.

The major league contract that Prior signed doesn't get him anymore years of service time. All it did was give him guaranteed money the first few years of his contract and force the team to put him on the 40 man roster.

Stephen Drew just signed a 5 year deal with the D'backs, but there's no rush to bring him up.

btw...yeah, that's a 1/2-assed joke about garland/williams...but still, i dont think garland is anything other than ordinary and i doubt he'd fit ahead of the cubs prior/z/maddux/wood setup.

"He's far from a great #3 starter.
He's a fine #5 starter, especially with the Cubs who have 3-4 pitchers who are better.
Don't waste the money."

I'd put him on the mound before Maddux.

"I'd put him on the mound before Maddux."

MrCubslover, you talking about Weaver or Garland?

Bob,

Service time is the amount of time you spend on the 25 not 40 man roster so his service time starts when he got called up from Iowa.

Rob,

I think were the only NFC team with a snowball's chance in hell of beating an AFC team because were the only ones who could probably contain one of those team's offense to 21 (problem is I dont think we could match that) all the other teams the AFC will march right down the field on.

Chad, I'm too tired to pick a fight, but it was you that said something to the effect that most/many GM's currently consider Prior the best pitcher in all of MLB. I'm just asking for a single recent example of a GM saying anything even resembling that.

My point is that PriorMania has gripped us all over the last three years (myself included), and it's clouding the judgment of many of my TCR brethren in analyzing this trade. Don't get me wrong -- Prior is a hell of a pitcher with a lot of potential. He's just no longer "Mark Prior."

"MrCubslover, you talking about Weaver or Garland?"

No, Weaver over Maddux, though Weaver>Garland isn't far off. I just don't think much of Garland, never really have.

Weaver sort of reminds me of Clement with that sinker.

prior IS that good, though. definately a top RH pitcher...

he'd make most anyone's top10 i'd imagine.

no one who's opinion pays the bills really believes prior is an injury concern and unlike beckett, his throwing doesnt cause wear on his body.

the HR's he gave up last year are semi-alarming, but mostly cuz we didnt really expect that. he didnt really do that awful of a job in that dept, but it definately wasnt something you associate with him.

He's just no longer "Mark Prior."

He's still 25 years old, with 3 years of club control left and filthy stuff. There's only a few players in the world you trade him for and none of them should be a 30 year old SS with a multi-million dollar contract.

Weaver sort of reminds me of Clement with that sinker.
Just with worse numbers and a ten cent head.

I think were the only NFC team with a snowball's chance in hell of beating an AFC team
Snowball's chance maybe, but the only thing that is going to stop the Colts is this unfortunate Dungy mess or the Patriots. And I don't see us beating either of those teams.

"I'd put him on the mound before Maddux."

I wouldn't and even if you would, there's still no way in hell that Weaver is a great #3 starter.

funny thing is weaver's gonna get 10+m a year for 3+ years...he's got the offers, but supposedly he's trying to get 5 years. this garland deal wont help other club's bargaining much. a guy who isnt even average with the exception of 1/2 season outta his career just sealed a 3/29...amazing.

Crunch -- I agree with you (as usual). Prior is one of the best in the game -- a top 10 or 15 pitcher, maybe top 5 depending on your criteria. He's just not that once-in-a-generation savior we thought he might be a couple of years ago. Hell, he may go on to win three Cy Youngs, but we can no longer say that's very likely.

Most of us remember the day he was drafted and the promise that brought. And we remember his first few starts, and how we got goose bumps and our minds raced, thinking of the possibilities. And then his 2003 dominance and his role in the playoff run. Those were all great things.

But, sad to say, those days are behind us. You can no longer project him as "Mark Prior" without a bunch of qualifiers that begin with "if he just..."

Weaver's only asset is he's an innings-eater. The Cubs, by my count, have 4 of those at the moment. (Z, Maddux, Rusch, Williams). We really need a 5th? I think we can go into the season with one injury question mark in the rotation. And that's even skeptical thinking in my opinion. Wood I think we'll be fine once he gets the green light and Prior isn't anymore an injury risk then getting hit by lightining ( but I understand why others may think otherwise).

yeah, prior's no longer the clemen-style golden boy savior...i hear ya.

prior had the most heat of any college pitcher since abbott...btw, abbott also was THAT good...it just wasnt some 1-hand gimick...he owned college hitters and had a decent pro career.

i compare him to beckett a lot even though he came outta highschool, beckett had prior's "savior" role before prior hit the baseball media blitz in his last year at USC.

at least baseball came to its senses when jared weaver had one of the best college baseball seasons ever for a pitcher and realized his stuff just isnt that good, though his numbers are.

I agree. I think this will be Wood's year, not quite '98-esque, but a solid, dominating starter.

And naming Weaver as a #3 starter may be a bit of wishful thinking, but what's the problem with him. I listed him #3 b/c come on, nobody who watches Cubs baseball last season can tell me they were happy with Maddux, more like frusturated. And who knows what you're gonna get from Rusch/Williams. Certainly not locks.

"no one who's opinion pays the bills really believes prior is an injury concern and unlike beckett, his throwing doesnt cause wear on his body."

Huh? Care to back this up Crunch? You cannot justthrow comments like this out without some sources. Prior's freak injuries did have an effect on his achilles/elbow. So who do you know in the biz that can backup your statement? Something we can read? Anything?

Maddux is better than Weaver, hands down, beyond every intangible you can speak of, their ERA+ from br.com (100 is average and it's adjusted for the league and park)

Maddux:
2003: 105
2004: 114
2005: 101

Weaver:
2003: 73
2004: 103
2005: 96

Williams will be ten times cheaper and give you about the same production, Rusch just about the same and one of those 2 won't be starting next year I'm guessing.

while I don't believe most execs believe prior is the injury concern that the bulk of TCR readers seem to believe he is, the O's seem to be wary of Prior cause of his injury past, so crunch's statement may be a bit of a generalization.

Rob, what are those numbers you compared Maddux to Weaver. Maybe I'm biased because I saw Maddux pitch, it seems like every start, and he just frusturated the hell out of me.

rob, that's based on a media report from "unnamed source"

and besides...the O's are about to sign j.burnitz to a 2 year deal to put him in LF and have a weaker arm in the incumbent at RF...allegedly.

That's his ERA+ from BR.com,

the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average and

There ERA's were similar but Weaver pitched in the ultra-pitcher friendly NL West the last 2 years. Maddux has more good starts then bad. He just needs to consult a farmer's almanac and try to pitch only when the wind's blowing in.

honestly...my take on this prior/tejada thing is 'who cares'

either way BOTH teams get some nice players. neither team needs either player for 05. its not like this is a neccesity trade.

while the cubs could use another bat with 30 homers in it, they just dont need it that badly...but if it happens the cubs got the pitching depth to cover it and enough future money to cover any losses of tallent within the organization. meh...

thanks Rob.

and for the comic relief..."He just needs to consult a farmer's almanac and try to pitch only when the wind's blowing in."

lol

sketchy I agree crunch, I'm mostly on your side on this to be honest, doubt too many teams would shy away from Prior cause of any injury concerns, the O's are probably just posturing to try and get something more out of the deal (if there is even a deal).

Interesting note...

Garland got a NTC for 2006 ONLY in his deal. So any theories of the CHW sign and trading him are out the window.

I sitll think they paid too much for a .500 pitcher. But they have the rings and Hendry has the doughnuts, so who am I to argue...

Rob G.-
I agree there might not be a formal deal on the table (can't trust any media), but there are clearly discussions and Hendry is using Prior and the main bait. If not, Hendry should of come out by now saying Prior is not availible.

honestly, while prior is a great pickup for any team, i dont see how the O's can afford to lose 30+homers/30+doubles. cubs fans talk about how the cubs need another big bat to compliment the 2 30+HR guys we already got...hell, that IS their 30+HR bat.

"while the cubs could use another bat with 30 homers in it, they just dont need it that badly."

Actually the Cubs do need it. The Cubs have ranked 9th, 7th, and 9th in runs scored (in the NL) the last three years.

journalism majors correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you can't go to print without at least a verified source. Hence why I always trust something in the paper over the radio. There's degrees to this, certain writers and their "sources" seemed to be more trustworthy over others. I trust Bruce Miles every day of the week and twice on Sundays over just about anybody else cause he almost always delivers level-headed commentary without propagating ridoculous rumors.

Prior probably was discussed and as one commenter suggested, I'm guessing it was more in the vein of, what does Prior get us?

CWTP:
"Actually the Cubs do need it (another 30 HR bat). The Cubs have ranked 9th, 7th, and 9th in runs scored (in the NL) the last three years."

You should be saying they need more runs, not HR's. As the Cubs have been more than good enough hitting HR's the past 3 years. They have been 8th, 1st, and 2nd the past 3 years in HR in the NL.

Rob G.:
"Prior probably was discussed and as one commenter suggested, I'm guessing it was more in the vein of, what does Prior get us?"

If that is all really happened, Hendry has done a terrible job of PR, basically leaving Prior hanging. I believe there is much more to it than just asking. Where there is smoke, there is fire. I believe Hendry has offered the deal and been turned down thus far. Now BOST comes in with a better deal for BALT.

In teh end I think it is just too hard to make a big deal like this (I hope at least). And the Cubs will bail out and pull their offer.

~keeping fingers crossed~

"Actually the Cubs do need it. The Cubs have ranked 9th, 7th, and 9th in runs scored (in the NL) the last three years. "

well...they also ranked near the tops in homers in those years, one of those years an all-time record i believe (not sure).

whether the cubs need another big bat at the expense of a big pitcher is a debate that will never solve itself.

exactly manny, get more people on base for those home runs. Although next year, as the team currently stands, we'll probably slip back into the middle of the pack in home runs.

We've got 2 30+ HR guys: Ramirez, Lee
One 20 HR guy: Jones
Teens: Barrett, Murton, Walker
Less then 10: Cedeno, Pierre, Hairston, Neifi

That's still some decent pop...Too much uncertainty with Murton, Cedeno, Pierre though

Can someone compare Maddux's and Prior's numbers through the same amount of starts in their careers?

Luis

without a denial its very doubtful that the o's/cubs trade rumors are anything but true.

that given...hendry isnt shopping prior. he's got him involved in talks with 1 team about 1 player in particular...both near the top tier for players of their levels.

its not like hendry is trying to get rid of prior as of now.

not to pick over murton's numbers...15 or 20 or 25 HRs...it wouldnt be too suprising to see him hit in the 20s, anyway. he can go to both fields with power, though its mostly line-drive power.

still, he's just as likely to hit 15 than he is to hit 25 at this point...espeically depending on how he adapts to the inside pitch in 06.

I believe Hendry has offered the deal and been turned down thus far.

Well 2 sources now (the Trib and Daily Herald) say no offers have been made, just a "variety of options" being discussed.

I'm not doubting Prior is being dangled, but I don't think Hendry has gotten the players back for him that he wants.

btw..murton made a great late showing to hit the inside pitch...something that thrilled me to see outta him.

Luis:
"Can someone compare Maddux's and Prior's numbers through the same amount of starts in their careers?"

Prior (2002-05):
97 starts
41-23
613.1 IP
3.24 ERA

Maddux (1986-89):
104 starts
45-38
674 IP
3.85 ERA

Thanks for that info mannytrillo!

I have another curiosity if anyone has some kind of interactive baseball software available... how about which pitchers have had an ERA (or whatever Prior's adjusted ERA for parks is) of 3.24 or lower in their first 97 starts of their careers... I don't know, maybe in the past 20 years? Would depenend if there are many who have done it or not, I have no idea.

Luis

You know what's funny? It's that people overrate their own team. We all know this and acknowledge this. But that's only one half of it. Fans EITHER overrate OR underate their own team and rarely can see it objectively. Right now you all think you are being objective with Mark Prior, but your not. You are all underrating him. Now you may accuse me of overrating Prior. And maybe I am. But I will tell you one thing. Prior is a once in a decade pitcher. We had one in the 80's with Maddux and we foolishly let him get away. We had one in the 90's with Wood but unfortunate health issuses turned him into one of the greatest "what could have beens" in history. Now we have one in the 2000s and you guys want to sell him for 30 pieces of silver (please read as home runs). Fine. But there are few pitchers I'd take over him. In fact, considering age and talent. I would take him number 1.

Go ahead. Throw out Roy Oswalt. I don't find him all that impressive. Dontrelle Willis? I will bet anybody that Prior will have more career wins and and a lower ERA than Willis. Carpenter? One good year.

But go ahead, underrate away.

The only 2 pitchers that would make me think about trading Prior are Johan Santana and Felix Rodriguez. Santana I'd probably do in a heartbeat, Rodriguez I'd think about it.

Im going to assume you mean Seattle's Felix Hernandez not Felix Rodriguez. If so, you make an interesting point.

haha, yeah Seattle's King Felix, not the useless reliever

Well Chad, when you start with such astute observations as "Roy Oswalt. I don't find him all that impressive.", where can we go from there? It's not like anyone here is going to change your mind. Let's all just mark it down, Chad likes Prior best.

For the record, in 5 seasons Oswalt has a 3.07 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and .252 BA against. In 4 seasons Prior has a 3.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and .233 BA against.

Rob,

To answer your journalism question the writter does have to tell the editors who the source is during the editing process. Whether the Editor will verify it depends on the size or belivability of the story. I am sure during Watergate Ben Bradlee (WA post editor) had a conversition with Felt (deep throat) to determine if he felt confortable printing the info. I have no clue about how radio works about I am sure a reporter like Levine is his own boss. In May or June this season Levine reported that the Sux and Guillen were negoating a contract extension and the next day all of the papers denied it but a week and a half later the Sux annouced they re-upped Guillen for anthor couple of years. It could be possible both Levine and the papers are right in their reporting and that Hendry is using the radio to get some public opinion on it and the papers to deny it to Prior, if the deal most likely does not happen, if he gets upset about it. It will be interesting to see what Kap has to say about this tonight.

I want to add to post 156 that Al over at BCB is now saying his sources are confirming what Levine is saying.

For the record, in 5 seasons Oswalt has a 3.07 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and .252 BA against. In 4 seasons Prior has a 3.24 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and .233 BA against.

and a far worse park to pitch in, but he also has a steady declining K/9 rate which makes me think Prior will outperform him in the future (and Prior's 3 years younger)

thanks for the journalism answer, "sources" can be a vague thing I realize, hence why I rely on certain folks more than others. Levine seems like he's hit and miss, more miss then hit and his timeframe on deals is way off. I trust Bruce Miles, and believe it or not, Ken Rosenthal seems to be nailing them this off-season.

Well, Ranch have you ever bothered to WATCH Roy Oswalt pitch? I have and I don't find him that impressive. I don't feel his stuff is unhittable. I wouldn't be that intimidated or feel over-matched against him. But go ahead, you seem the type of guy that only sees the stat page anyway.

Oswalt doesn't overmatch hitters, he throws them way off-balance, mid 90's fastball with a low 70's big break curve, spot on control and a decent change and slider. Great pitcher, but it's only his ability to stay healthy (so far) that makes him look better than Prior.

oswalt was/is underrated and overlooked for the same reason he was drafted late though he was putting up unlreal #s...his height.

you'll find almost any guy over 6'4" with a mid90s+ fastball gets almost instant prospect status. baseball doesnt like the short-man...unless he's a light hitting middle infielder/CF'r.

brian giles never got his due til late in his career for a similar season.

"You should be saying they need more runs, not HR's"

Since when is a homerun not a run scored?

Chad: You don't find Oswalt's stuff that impressive? Well, a lot of professional hitters do find his stuff that impressive. He has a very good 2-seam fastball, a very good 4-seam fastball, incredible command...oh yeah, and he has one helluva slow curveball. There is a huge disparity in velocity between his fastball (low-to-mid-90's, with movement) and his slow curve (anywhere from the mid 60's to low 70's), to boot. While I would rather have Prior than Oswalt, he is one of the premiere pitchers in the National League, he stays healthy, and he brings it and doesn't get rattled in big games.

It sounds like Prior for Tejada is not going to happen. (Scroll down.)

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

SM,

That is GREAT news, hopefully I won't wake up tomorrow to hear anything different. And hopefully there won't be anymore Prior rummors for 20 or so years... after, I'll reevaluate my position... :P

Luis

I'm with Luis. Let's get back to a projected Cubs roster/rotation which includes Mark Prior. Also, I'd like to believe it will include Todd Walker. I've also gained some encouragement from some of the posts about Jerome Williams and Angel Guzman. So my annual pre-season Cubs optimism/delusion appears to be setting in. I can definitely see winning the NL Central with this roster as it is, with the league for the taking. Further refinements would be welcomed, of course, specifically a decent bat off the bench from the remaining pool of second-tier outfielders.

adolfophillipsjones,

Nice mention about Todd Walker... I still can't figure out why they would want to have another second baseman; his defense is not that bad and offensively he brings many things that are crucial to the Cubs lineup. And on top of that he seems to be a great clubhouse guy and he loves playing in Chicago.

I'm perfectly fine with developing Murton and CedeÒo... if you don't have a balance of low salary young players your payroll is simply going to get out of hand in a hurry. And those two guys seem to have bright futures indeed. The most frustrating thing about the 2005 season was not the losing, but losing and not seeing these guys get playing time in favor of veterans who were playing absolutely atrociously in terms of offense. Developing players means that you will not have an optimum team every year, but it also means that if you develop the right players, you will have a window where your team can be truly special and not just very good.

One final thing... I think having an identity is very important. Being really good at one area is better in my book that being above average in several. If the Cubs are building a strong pitching identity they should try to add and not substract talent. I see a lot of criticism of Hendry for trading Dontrelle, and to tell the truth I don't think that was that bad of a move considering how difficult it is to predict that he would have developed as he did and as early. The move that I questioned from day one was letting Matt Clement go. He was someone that wanted to stay badly and that was not all that expensive. That is one move I still can't figure out... in my mind, he is a special talent, and if nothing else, a very very good 3rd starter (that the Cubs could surely use now)

Luis

whether this prior/tejada thing went down or not i always pretty much considered it a sideshow.

either way a cy young calibre pitcher is replaced by a mvp balibre player and their replacements are mid-range tallent.

basically the clubs were reversing issues they dont really need to stregnthen that badly in the first place.

now maybe hendry can put some effort into solving the 'trade patterson' issue and figure out if he can live with t.walker being on this team or not.

Crunch: Good point about swapping deficiencies. And for my money, I'd rather NOT have pitching as a weakness.

RE Developing Murton: I would love for that to happen, but everyone's favorite rumor site is reporting that he will be platooned with Jones in left so that the Cubs can get Preston Wilson. Hopefully this site is wrong...again, because that really would not be good for the Cubs. Sadly, though, I can see Hendry doing it to make up for not getting Tejada.

It also looks like Byrnes is going to the desert...If/when this becomes official, that'll leave Wade Miller as the only guy available (who was non-tendered) that I'd have interest in. His mechanics are God-awful, but as a one-year guy (or even half-year guy, to give Guzman or Hill a little more time to develop), I think he'd be worth it.

I agree with Luis on having pitching be the identity of the ballclub and also with Ryan on feeling it was a mistake to let Clement get away when he wanted to stay. He drove me nuts at times, but so do Prior when he nibbles too much and builds his pitch count to where he's gone after 5-6 innings and Wood when he just loses it all of a sudden. He has talent, did some good work for the Cubs and would have been a very good #3 or 4. I also would like to see them get Miller cheap and we still need a couple guys who would scare the opposition off the bench.

Over and over again i read these rumors, Prior/Tejada, Patterson, Furcal, Wilson, Soriano, Huff, Lugo, and now Weaver. I know it is just us faithful Cub fans praying for a team that will someday bring a championship to the north side of Chicago. The only way while Jim Hendry is the Cubs GM will the Cubs win it all, is a miracle, an aggressive GM like Kenny Williams will be the suiter for those coveted rings. I give him credit when credit is due, the acquisition of Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez are the the only key mainstays from our beloved GM.

Really, look around the Cub field,1B-Derrek Lee (credit to Jim Hendry here),2B-Todd Walker (middle of the pack second baseman or less, not since Sandberg), SS-Ronnie Cedeno (?????could it be or Niefi, whatever not solid not since, hmmmm Dunston), 3B-Aramis Ramirez (the last credit given to Hendry here), LF-Matt Murton (hope and pray not solid since Alou), CF-Juan Pierre (might be a cudo for Hendry which could bring him up to 3 credit/cudo's, before not solid since, I don't know). RF-Jacque Jones (nothing impressive average all around, not solid since since Sosa). C-Michael Barrett (less than average defensively not solid since Randy Hundley)Starting Pitching-This injury riddled staff is at the top when healthy, questions and way to many questions, not solid since Jenkins, Hands, Pappas, Holtzman days).
So you see position by position the Cubs are lacking and have for some time and Jim Hendry is lacking on his fortune to retain his position as GM past 2006.

I can't believe the Cub faithful actually think the Cubs (as the roster stands now) has a chance to win the division and possibly beyond, LOL! I will stop laughing for a minute, it is possible, anything is possible. I will be shocked if Wood starts more than 15 games, and Prior wins 15 games. Lee,Ramirez, and Pierre are the Cubs only consistant offensive weapons. Good thing Hendry helped out the bullpen with Eyre and Howry, they will earn their salaries by pitching almost everyday.

Trade Rumor:

Dusty Baker for Grady Little

Luis,
About Todd Walker..
You want a secondbasemen who can turn the double play. Walker is below average at turning the trick. Teams that only get one out ususally don't play in October regardless of how good the second basemen is in the club house or high his batting average is. The 2B better be able to turn all of the potential double plays if the Cubs are to have a chance in 2006.

kewlazguy,

Are there any reliable defensive stats that can help our discussion on Walker? I am pretty much going by my perception of seeing him play the past two years... and never got the impression that he was a liability out there, not all-star defense but certainly solid. And a second baseman which bats left-handed, makes consistent contact and can have an OPS of .830 are not so easy to come by. Hell, if the Cubs really wanted and upgrade at second they should have gone after Luis Castillo. To give up Walker's offense and left-handed bat would be a terrible idea in my book. And btw, remember the Braves offensive/defensive platoon at short all those years in the 90's? And that was an even more critical position and they made it work beautifully.

Luis

Luis-
You can go to ESPN.com and go to MLB stats. Pick NL Player Fielding stats. It shows Walker to be pretty low defensively, in all categories including DP's, Errors, fielding percentage, zone rating and range factor.

mannytrillo,

I looked at the page but I can't seem to find a way to get the league averages for each defensive category so I can figure out if he is below average or what. As far as the DP category, I think in it's pure form is not a very telling stat since it is heavily dependant on the pitching staff of each club. Looking at the numbers at a glance I saw the Walker is actually above average fielding wise but it's one of the worst in terms of range. Zone rating seemed to be average. But like I said, it would be easier if I could find the league averages for these stats, it seems that at ESPN and CNNSI they only have it by player.

Luis

Chad, the numbers I posted would tend to agree with you regarding Oswalt being hittable. Nevertheless, those hitters don't score very much. Maybe his athleticism doesn't impress you, but his results should.

Adolfophillipsjones: Not sure when I posted that it was a mistake to let Clement get away. Don't get me wrong, I like Matty, but for the amount of money he would have commanded, and for the fact that he is a good first-half pitcher, but not as effective later in the year, I don't disagree with Hendry for letting him go. Especially not since we were banking on more innings from Wood and Prior...

Jerry: Sensing a LOT of South Side love and North Side hate for a Cubs fan...anywho, the Cubs team as is CAN win the division. I'm not sure that they will, but when you are looking at the main two rivals having very poor off-seasons thus far, and you look at the Cubs addressing their main needs (lead-off and bullpen), the Cubs have improved, while the Cardinals and Astros seem to have gotten worse. Then, throw in factors such as injuries (maybe Berkman plays another flag football game), and career years last year (don't think Carpenter is gonna win the Cy Young again...he'll be good, but not that good), and the Cubs do have a very reasonable shot at the division. That just ain't enough to whet my appetite as a Cubs fan.

Ryan, my bad-that was Luis who I had read recommended keeping Clement. Still wish Cubs would have. Anyway, I'd be a lot more concerned about our chance to win our division in '06 if the Cards and Astros had done more this off-season. As it is, I agree that we could get it done unless the Cards make a couple heists before spring training. Jerry, I enjoyed you're reminiscing about the Jenkins-Hands-Holtzman-Pappas rotation. Those guys flat took the ball and gave it there all for all nine many times.

Look how long he would be that good two years more.tejada would bring another dimencion.pierre would bat.300, ramirez and lee would see better pitches.

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