Since You Gotta Go, You Better Go Now

GAME 32 RANT
GIANTS 6 CUBS 1
Recap | Box Score | Play-by-play | Game Chart | Photos
W: Jason Schmidt (3-2) L: Rich Hill (0-2)
Eighth verse, same as the first. You know, I've been calling for Dusty Baker to be fired for so long now that I can't get particularly exercised about joining the growing chorus right now. It's like this $^#&@ piece of property I'm trying to sell in California -- we found a buyer last September, but have had to deal with the San Diego County bureaucracy and a ludicrously incompetent buyer's agent for so long that when (if?) we finally do close, I'm not going to feel any joy or happiness, or really even relief. All I'm going to feel is a sense that this Thing that has been hanging over me is gone, and there will be a void that will, eventually I'm sure, go away and we'll just start to get on with our lives without wondering every day if this is actually going to happen or if we're just going to keep slogging along, waist-deep in stress, for the rest of our lives. That's how it is with me and the Cubs at the moment. I'm not going to go back through the TCR archives and find all the times I and others wrote about getting rid of Dusty, but they are there. There are many reasons why I thought it was the right thing to do over the last few seasons, and all of those reasons still apply. In fact, they apply now more than ever. It doesn't specifically have anything to do with the team losing eight games in a row, or only scoring 11 runs over the last 13 games, or hitting below .100 with runners in scoring position. Like I said the other day, Dusty didn't do any of those things, the players did. But the player who did it are Dusty's players. Yes, yes, I know, Jim Hendry is the GM of the team. People in the comments have been calling for him to be fired, too, and I don't have a problem with that. A case can certainly be made that his moves, especially the ones made this winter, are a big reason why this team is as bad as it is. But, the moves he made before that (acquiring Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, for instance) are a big reason why the team isn't even worse. (And as an aside, can we stop with the "trade Aramis" talk, please? I understand the desire, as misguided as it is, to blow up the team and start fresh, but when you do that you have to have some building blocks left, and Ramirez is one of them. Calling for him to be traded is over-reaction, pure and simple.) But back to Hendry, and Dusty. We're veering into speculation here, but I believe that the first two years of Dusty's tenure as manager were a battle over the direction of the team. Again, I'm not going to rehash all the posts that TCR writers, past and present, have made on this subject. I'll simply point out that there have been multiple occasions where Hendry has acquired, or called up, players and Dusty has basically just not played them. Eventually, instead of trying to find the best players available, Hendry had to adopt a strategy of trying to find the best players available that fit into Dusty's system. One only need to look at the difference in manager's attitude and playing time with respect to Todd Walker and Neifi Perez to see what I'm talking about, but the Cubs rosters of the last few seasons are littered with other examples (Jose Macias, Ramon Martinez, Tom Goodwin, Lenny Harris, and Tony Womack, to name only five.) Now, after three years, Dusty has succeeded in putting together a team that has exactly the type of players he wants, both on the field (speed guys and free swingers) and off (strong work ethic guys who are good in the clubhouse). And that's the problem. Derrek Lee is pretty much the only guy on this team who doesn't fit Dusty's profile, and look what he did or the offense last year. He had a Positional Marginal Lineup Value (PMLV) of 66.2, best in the National League, and was responsible for roughly six wins on his own, which means that the Cubs with a replacement-level first baseman last year go 73-89 instead of 79-83. Think about that -- with Jeff Conine or Shea Hillenbrand or Lyle Overbay at first base instead of Lee, last year's Cubs are the Reds. That's all theoretical, of course, but this year's struggles aren't. Todd Walker has ably replaced Lee's bat (as much as can be expected) this season, but that leaves a hole at second, which is putting a struggling Jerry Hairston and a performing-as-expected Neifi Perez in the lineup. Add to that the fact that Jacque Jones is underperforming as compared to Jeromy Burnitz last year (using MLVr), and Juan Pierre is actually putting up the same numbers so far this year as Corey Freaking Patterson did last year, and it's not hard to see why the team is struggling. Obviously, the loss of Lee isn't the sole reason why this team can't score runs. They are, to re-steal a phrase I stole last year from Jim Baker, in a funk so deep George Clinton with a miner's helmet couldn't get them out (thanks, Glenn). But the salient point is this: because of the team that Dusty has pushed to put together, it will be more difficult to "snap out" of this phase than it would be with a differently-constructed team. I need an editor. I'm pushing 800 words to get across an idea that could be expressed in seventy-seven, and I'm about to bury my lede, but here it is: the Cubs' current struggles are directly related to the team that Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker have put together. The problem is not that the Cubs' front office doesn't have a plan; it's that they do have a plan, and it's a bad one. They've had over three years to contruct the team according to their wishes, and we're seeing the results now. It's time for a new plan, and for that to happen the team needs new planners.
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Comments

its gonna be damn near impossible for the team to keep dusty around unless hendry wants to become the most unpopular GM since...well, i'm gonna leave that at that cuz i don't wanna visit the early 90s cubsdom.

he's 4m bucks...he'll probally be making 3-4+m from someone when/if he leaves here. he's a whiping boy no matter what's going down on the field...there is no polishing what's there. its too tarnished...too damaged.

people wanted way too much outta him. the press called him a savior and some fans actually bought into the notion that a guy who doesn't even play can force wins through a few shrewed calls a game reguardless of what combo of players throw 100-150 pitches and get 40+ab's a game.

his entire cubs legacy has been tainted by injury and questionable injury replacements that were played...he's had to live past "rookies dont play" and "dusty ruins arms" rumors that are non existant to fringe at best that followed him over here. some people still think choi, hill, and brendon harris got a raw deal even though each has moved through a slew of teams who came to similar conclusions about their use and worth.

he just has too much fan-based baggage to continue on in chicago. he may make it to the end of the year...he may be replaced by mike quade...hell, brenley might move out of the booth again and back into the dugout.

whatever the outcome...its not looking like dusty 07 will be much of anyone's concern at this point.

Nicely articulated Ruz. I guess that my contention that the Cubs have no identity isn't so much that they lack identity as much as that identity is a poor one. For those who claim that Dusty's firing would merely be making Dusty the fall guy, as per usual in most baseball circles, you are mistaken. Dusty isn't the fall guy. He would fired for a lack of successful planning/execution of his vision that he has constructed for 3+ years. Believe me, if Dusty gets fired, he won't be the only one gone after this year. Many of his players would be gone too (ie, Neifi, Jones, Mabry, not to mention the several that have been let go during Dusty's tenure- a sign of a roster struggle that Hendry and Baker would appear to have had over the last few seasons).

i don't really know where the elevation to dusty as a god-like creature who has pull over the GM and the minor league ranks comes from. i've heard a lot of things tieing dust these roles the past few years...days...etc.

he's a manager...one mostly well respected by the people that play for him cuz he's a good communicator who can adapt to talk to people in a way they can understand. some people need to be ordered around, some need to be handled with a velvet glove...etc etc.

you give him something to work with and he works it...just like any manager not controlled by billy beane.

whether you think he works it great or works it like crap is a personal view, but dusty is just a manager.

he is not out there telling hendry to hand neifi and rusch 2 year deals or telling hendry to get rid of sisco or etc etc...

hendry is not telling dusty how to run his team any more than dusty is telling hendry how/who to sign. there might be a little q/a and some 'what you think' going on both ends, but dusty/hendry is not 1 entity and hendry is not at dusty's command.

todd walker knows all about that...

mr. sulivan at ye olde trib captured a lotta quotes and a snapshot of the clubhouse via quotes in today's trib...

---

"Hey, man, that's what happens," Baker said. "All I'll say is if I ain't doing a good enough job when it's going bad, then you have to give me props when things are going good too. Know what I'm saying?

"Am I doing a good enough job? Well, sometimes your best just ain't good enough."

---

"We're not down," pitcher Carlos Zambrano said. "Our manager spoke to us and said 'I don't want to see anybody with their heads down. Keep you head up.'

"You can see it. Everybody here is acting normal, like we're in first place. We're going to keep fighting. We're in the top [five] in defense, and that's good. Our hitting will come around."

---

more quotes from dust, lee, and commentary by sulivan in the article...

also from ye olde trib...also from a separate sullivan blurb...

mr. prior threw 25 (only 25?) pitches off the bullpen mound yesterday...depending on how he recovers next up for him is a simulated game later in the week.

also, mr. guzman's friday start @wrigley is still a go and his job is safe for now.

As much as most of us would like to see Dusty blow in the wind it's just not going to happen. Dusty is kind of like a round of golf. You play 18 holes shoot 95 but you remember the 1 good chip shot on 16 that saved a bogey. Dusty is going to hang on past this losing streak and the season will resume with the cubs playing .500 ball. Come August with D Lee fully recovered, Prior and Woods looking for win 10"ish" or so and ARam sitting at 30 homes, the Cubs will win 15 of 20 to put themselves 8 games back of whoever. Died hards start thinking they are going to pull out the division when they are 5 games back on Labor day. Come 9/15"ish", Prior and/or Wood get shut down, ARam hurts his hammy and they lose 8 of the last 12 and finish 9 games back.

Hendry looks over the season and notices the potential for 2007 and how the Cubs were competitive down the stretch. At this point he realizes that the fan support is 50/50 for Dusty so he signs him to a 3 year deal with hopes that the August run will continue next April.

This losing streak, the mismanagement of the pitching staff, and the poor fundamental play will be forgotten. Hendry and some fans will remember those 20 games in August"ish" that brought life to the north side.

This losing streak, the mismanagement of the pitching staff, and the poor fundamental play will be forgotten.

That's such a cynical attitude! I wish it were untrue, but I fear you're right.

Anyway, rest assured the TCR authors (and some readers) won't forget

We're Cubs fans, if we forget someone will be more than happy to remind us.

I am not sure what worries me more about Jim Hendry and Cub's management. On the one hand we have the idea that they are caving to their manager and giving Dusty bad players like Neifi, Jacque Jones, Macias, Bynum, etc just so that Dusty is happy and will play them. On the other hand there is the possibility that Jim Hendry and his management staff actually like these guys too and really think they make the team better. Both ideas are equally worrisome because either management is not doing what's best for the team just to make Dusty happy which would be insanity or management is getting the type of players they think are best for the team and they are horribly wrong.

I think for the most part we tell ourselves we believe the first scenario that Hendry got these guys to appease Dusty because we are too frightened to think that the GM of our team might actually think that players like Neifi, Jaqcue, and Bynum have positive value.

BLOCKBUSTER THIS: Angel Guzman, Rich Hill, Matt Murton,Todd Walker and Dusty Baker to Florida for Dontrell Willis, Miquel Cabrera, and Joe Girardi. Play Cabrera at firstbase until D.Lee returns, bring up Felix Pie, we will have a much better manager and Willis back.

AZRad, you forgot another event that will eventually go down the memory hole, but that we will all have to suffer through nonetheless: a series of thorough and graphically cruel pastings by the other team in town, starting later this month.

My dread of the "Crosstown Classic" this year is such that I would actually prefer that the Cubs franchise simply be folded rather than play those games. Based on the Cubs' and Sox' play over the last two weeks, those are going to be some ugly, ugly, ugly games.

Cubsbaseball:

1. Go to ESPN.com
2. Go to the MLB page
3. Look up Miguel Cabrera on the player pages
4. Report back to TCR with Miguel Cabrera's salary

Let's see if you can figure out the puzzle of why Miguel Cabrera will not be traded, no matter what crazy combination is hatched up.

Christian:

You know the feelings of most of your long-time posters. You have captured them well. I disagree about Ramirez, because I think we are seeing the real Aramis now, the one everyone worried about when he was with Pittsburgh, but other than that, I think you have articulated the problems. This is a B-A-D team, one of the worst I have watched in my fifty-three years of following this team. Left unchanged, this team could equal or exceed some of those other fiascoes of years past. Those teams always had one or two stars, and one or two decent to quality pitchers, but the rest of the cast was pitiful. And people are just living in a dream if they think that suddenly they are going to wake up and start hitting and everything is going to be fine.

Well said Ryno. This teams biggest problem is in it's construction. ARam is playing the way he did in Pitts. when they went real bad. He only seems to play at a high level when the team does. Until management realizes that OBP and GREAT defense in the key positions (CF, C, SS etc.) is the key to a solid team, they'll never win. This has to be a team priority. Check St.L. or the White Sox. Even their bench players, (Luna, Taguchi, Gall, Ozuna, Cintron, Widger) are solid fundamentally.

Ryno,

I sort of don't want to dignify the latest ridiculous "let's give some other team a bunch of dross and potential and they'll give us all-stars" trade suggestion, but I will point out that while Cabrera is making only $472K this year, he is eligible for arbitration after the season.

I think anyone who says Dusty will not be fired is talking prematurely. You assume that the Cubs occasionally will win a game. This group is so terrible that they could easily challenge the ineptness of the Detroit Tigers from several years ago that won just, what, 60 or so games? These guys are quite capable of going on a run in which they lose 18 of 20. Do you seriously think that Dusty will continue as manager if this team continues to play like it is? If they somehow scratch out at a pace of between .450 and .500, I agree, Dusty won't be fired. But I think they are quite capable of playing close to .400 ball. No way Dusty makes it to the end of the year if that happens.

You know, speaking of the Tigers, look at the way they have re-built that team. And it seems like is was just yesterday that they were the laughingstock of baseball. It is not all down to Leyland, of course, but he sure helps the cause. I have said it before and I will say it again - our team needs a manager that will chew guys out more than Dusty does. Does Dusty ever chew a guy out? Frankly, I doubt it. Yes, he is "just" the manager but managers can make a difference. This team is not as bad as they are playing. They are not playoff contenders but they are not as bad as they are playing. I just don't buy it that, well, Dusty is just the manager and what happens on the field is not even the slightest reflection of Dusty's brilliance. Sorry, I do not buy it.

You can put anyone as the GM or Manager, as long as the Tribune owns the team and McPhail is the president - this is what you are going to get. The problem starts at the very top. We all need to hope and pray for Tribune revenue to continue to tumble so they are forced to sell the team to raise revenue. Until then, enjoy mediocrity and your once a decade playoff appearance.

Another excellent well thought out article. You hit on exactly the point some people have been missing: While the Cubs current losing streak isn't solely Dusty Baker's fault, he deserves to be fired based on his entire worthless term as Cubs manager.

However, I think I agree with Sam's point of disagreement with Aramis. I would have no problem trading him - as long as the Cubs can get someone to replace him at 3rd.

I don't know... earlier this year, they looked real good. It's like they're in a team-wide slump. The encouraging thing, if it can be called encouraging, is that Pierre is also slumping. This tells me that the current slump is not for a lack of effort. Most of the lineup is hitting well below their career number, and if the laws of averages holds true, they will bust out of it.

Dusty does some crazy crap and really ticks me off sometimes (e.g. starting Bynum instead of Murton), but I'm not ready to jump on the fire Dusty bandwagon.

Clines... I'm all for firing Clines. Year in & year out these guys have had terrible plate discipline. Bring in that guy who has been working with Pie.

And by the way, if a head has to roll (and it's getting to the point where one might, if for no other reason, for asthetics) I think it will probably be Cline.

"as long as the Cubs can get someone to replace him at 3rd."

I think that was said when they traded Santo.

Great posts and blog and I enjoy reading them this year. I have been pessimistic about this team since last August. At that time McPhail's interview revealed so much about the mind set of the team. The Clanton story is also enlightening in what it reveals about the lack of due diligence and accountability in the Cubs scouting and minor league system. That the Cubs used high draft choices on Clanton and Christensen after the stunts they pulled in college was incompetent (and not finding out that they were feeling pain while pitching in addition to the obvious character flaws in these individuals). But the Tribune values other fomrs of competence over baseball competence, much like Phil Wrigley did when he owned the team. Until the bottomline is hurt there will be no motivation for change and the Cubs under McPhail have been a cash cow for Tribune Inc., even as their newspaper business model dissolves before their eyes. McPhail has fought the political headwinds to expand night baseball and to expand the park. I think that is what his bosses appreciate most, and being a contending team they associate with blowing money like the Yankees, so they are perfectly happy with a "pretending team."

I am pessimistic not only for this season but really for as long as the Tribune continues to own the Cubs. Dusty is far from a perfect manager, but I expect he will go on and win at his next job (Arizona?) where the management is more progressive, not locked into an 1970s model of baseball success, and less obsessed with hiring guys they are comfortable with as scouts, coaches, and minor league managers.

This is much like that moment in The Insider at the end when Lowell Bergman tells Mike Wallace he is leaving...

"What do I tell the next source when the next tough story comes along, huh? 'Hang in with us, you'll be ok maybe'? What got broken here doesn't go back together. "

I think that was said when they traded Santo.

Maybe it was, but they actually did have a guy to replace Santo. Bill Madlock had an excellent 3 seasons for the Cubs. The problems started when they got rid of him.

Needless to say this is a very well written and thought out articulation of what I have been feeling for three years (and in ruz's timeline it is just manifesting now as the Dusty roster is finally a completion of his vision and JUST PLAIN HORRIBLE). I am happy that someone less emotional than myself and more skilled at writing exists to get important information to our fanbase. We'll see how it plays out.

What people may not understand is that people like me who lose their shit over Dusty are really pining for victory more than anyone. I KNOW in my heart he is doing a bad job and have been watching it for years -- yet speculation goes on he may be re-signed. Do we really want to win? Really? Are we watching the games? Seeing his lineup? His Roster? Are we listening to the man talk and watching his strategy, and listening to his comments about strategy? Really?

Dusty's quotes today in the papers are typical: doesn't own any responsibility, whines about the press not giving him his due, and refers to last year like he was a whipping boy . . . God he is a punk. Why don't you do your job and shutup Dusty. If you haven't figured it out yet. You do a good job in Chicago and we have more love than anyone. Hell do a 1/2 way good job and be honest and you'll get the love . . . but you shouldn't be concerned about LOVE and CREDIT Dusty. For 4 million a year you should be a frickin rocket scientist of baseball. Shut up get smart, get motivated and win.

No way with this guy.

Yeah but who were we playing at the begining of the year? Hardly anyone good.

Yeah a poo pooed on some peoples parades by saying, "dont get too excicted yet, we havent really faced anyone good to really judge what kind of team we are."

May rolls around, the pitching gets a little bit better and the Cubs roll over and die. And guess what? It only gets worse over the next 2 and half months in terms of the level of talent we have to go up against day in and day out.

This is the easy part of the schedule and we are getting our asses handed to us on a silver platter. More importantly even when fully healthy this team had a problem winning 2 games straight. It was usually win 1, lose 1, win 1, lose 1.

The Cubs are getting pretty close to the point of no return.

Anyone else have a problem with the 2nd part of the lineup last night? Joes ahead of Murton, and Neifi F. Perez at 2B???

What is this frigging guy doing in the lineup???
Dusty has been playing with his home lobotomy kit again, I guess??

>The Clanton story is also enlightening in what it reveals about the lack of due diligence and accountability in the Cubs scouting and minor league system.

Or, it could be that the Cubs' 2002 draft was simply ill-fated. These were their first eight picks (in a year when they had lots of early selections):

Brownlie
Hagerty
Blasko
Clanton
Dopirak
Justin Jones
Petrick
Craig

Every one of their first eight picks has spent significant time on the DL before or during their time in the organization. The pitchers on the list have been especially hard hit with injuries. (Dopirak went on the DL for the first time at the start of this season, and Craig has had some DL and steroid issues.)

The first injury-free player in that draft was their ninth selection--Rich Hill.

Even with the Cubs' luck you'd be hard-pressed to find a team's draft year this decimated by injuries.

I wonder if that is the reason why this organization has gone out of its way to avoid owning draft picks since. This year for instance we pick in the 1st round and then again in the 5th. At least we wont have to worry about injuries to impact youngsters, because chances are. None of them will be comming into the org.

I'm an infrequent poster, and I can't absolutely refute the contention that Dusty is responsible for all of the personnel moves with inside information, but it is unlikely. Also, before the losing streak, the Cubs were playing better fundamentally than they had the last few years, including more hit-and-runs, etc. The poor fundamental play the last few games may well be that the players are pressing too much, although I agree that making sure the outfielders hit cut-off men might be a nice reminder to give them occasionally.

But the bottom line is that no manager could win with this talent, and that has to be blamed on Hendry. The ridiculous signing of Jones, counting too much on Pierre, utterly failing to get someone - anybody - with a decent bat that can play first and avoid having to play Perez or Hairston everyday, not recognizing that Prior has no heart, repeatedly counting on Wood, telegraphing that he was dumping Patterson and Burnitz and therefore was desperate for outfielders in the off-season, etc.

Sure, Baker plays Perez too much, but who else is he going to play at second? Hairston stinks, and Theriot is not a major league starting infielder. Also, Baker has stuck with Murton and Cedeno through their inevitable rookie inconsistentcies. If Hendry really just does whatever Baker says and he reflexively gets guys like Bynum when Baker asks, Hendry shouldn't be GM anyway. If they fire Baker now, they'll be stuck with an interim guy for the rest of the season, and that hasn't worked too well in the past (i.e. Essian, Kimm).

personally I wouldnt mind seeing Brenly in the dugout. He has been watching this team on a daily basis for 2 years now. He seems to be dumbfounded by some of the strategic moves that are made. He has taken a team to a WS title on the backs of 2 pitchers and a patchwork lineup just 4 years ago. At the very least, I suspect that Brenly would construct a productive everyday lineup.

Every one of their first eight picks has spent significant time on the DL before or during their time in the organization. The pitchers on the list have been especially hard hit with injuries.

Exhibit A for TINSTAAP. Anyways, Brownlie was hurt before the draft and Justin Jones is currently pitching quite well in AA. The simple fact is that pitchers get hurt. The Cubs are no different here. The rest of the league experiences the same problems with their pitching prospects. Well, Dopirak was a freak thing, so hard to say anything about that.

most folks feel like this is one of the worst baseball drafts in recent years. So while it' s hard to believe the Cubs would be so wise as to burn through draft picks realizing how little they're worth this year, it's fathomable that they were actually thinking ahead. They do keep their top 15 pick, so it's not all bad.

I actually like Dusty Baker but it's far past time for him to go. I just can't stand the atmosphere that he creates on this team. With that said, I'd be mighty surprised if he is the first one to be fired, if indeed any are. I think we'll see Rothschild or Clines given the axe and Dusty will get another month or two to prove that he can't manage.

Rumors on Deadspin have the Mets setting sights on Livan Henandez.
Any chance at Cubs making a deal for a bat, maybe Soriano?

Theriot may not be a starting 2B, true. But we KNOW that Neifi isn't.

If Theriot hit .265 with a few stolen bases, he'd be a heck of a lot better than Neifi!, and again, let's seen the young guy, who may add a spark insteads of the veteran stop gap, who is neither stopping, nor gapping.

The ridiculous signing of Jones,

I agree with this to an extent, but there were not exactly a lot of options.

counting too much on Pierre,

what? how do you figure? Almost everyone was excited to get pierre in the cubs lineup in the leadoff spot. and the trade made perfect sense. And I still like the trade. I am not sure how he was counting on too much...

utterly failing to get someone - anybody - with a decent bat that can play first

There really isn't anyone available. And Hendry did go get Mabry as a backup 1b, who probably should be playing there everyday while Walker plays second.

not recognizing that Prior has no heart,

This is complete BS.

repeatedly counting on Wood,

I kind of agree on this one.

telegraphing that he was dumping Patterson and Burnitz and therefore was desperate for outfielders in the off-season, etc.

I have no idea what you are referring to on this one - it doesn't make much sense. We had to decide on Burnitz early because of his option. And everyone was excited to see Korey go. It was obvious that the Cubs had holes in the outfield last year. The desperation had nothing to do with Hendry's "telegraphing."

I am not a huge Hendry fan, but I do think he has done more good than bad. Look at the last few years - the Nomar/Murton trade was a complete steal. The A-Ram trade was a complete steal. He very much made the right decisions with Eyre and Howry. I he took a risk with Williamson and it has somewhat paid off.

Most of the reason that the Cubs are struggling this year is because of Lee's injury and players underperforming. That is not Hendry's fault. Even with Jones, who we all knew could not hit lefties, is still underperforming against them when compared to his career line. Who would have expected A-Ram to be hitting .220? Who expected Lee to break a wrist on a fluke play?

Again, I don't like all of Hendry's moves. But I see more blame with the players' performance than with the off-season moves. And I also think that Dusty is not showing an ability to motivate his players. And a change there would probably have the most potential to create change.

Dude, we don't know what rookies can do, we know exactly the kind of suck that Neifi can produce though. It's all about predicitability, we can't afford to be pleasantly surprised by a rookie's performance.

As a former Cubs employee, I have to laugh at all the plans to fix the Cubs with a new manager or a new general manager. The only fix for the Cubs is at the top. All decisions are made or approved by McPhail. He was a one-hit wonder with the Twins and is still living on his one glory year.

The worst sin the Cubs commit is no longer being fun to watch. As an older fan, even when the Cubs were terrible back in the 50s, 60s and 70s they were a joy to sit in the stands and relax. If you want a fun team again bring back Zimmer. Just kidding Zim.

I miss Zimmer...

well it's really 2 glory years with the twins, isn't it?

speaking of deadspin; if your comfortable with your sexuality, there's an amusing post about an old SI picture involving some ex-Cub shortstops. The look on Rey Ordonez's face is priceless....

Re Rob on the draft,

I doubt that. Last year's draft was relatively deep, especially in the supplemental areas, but it did not stop Jim Hendry from not trying to acquire picks via Clement. I believe he was a Type B pitcher that year as well, maybe an A. Even this year it's looking like the only good sign of the draft is the middle areas. Regardless, with the absolute lack of depth in the Cubs system for position players, they need the picks. Jim Hendry doesn't realize that. Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, Paul Depodesta and JP Riccardi realize this...oh well.

The guys I've always seen the Cubs linked with this year are a 3B, Wes Hodges who well....eh overdraft. And Brandon Morrow who is seen as a potential closer down the road.

"All decisions are made or approved by McPhail."

You need to elaborate. To what degree is McPhail micro-managing the Cubs? To what degree is Hendry just a figurehead GM? Is Dusty in or out of the decision loop when it comes to personnel? Is Hendry dissembling when he says that McPhail has never denied him the money needed to go out and get FA's he thinks will help the team?

And Rob, you can now find split stats for minor leaguers.

http://www.brewcrewball.com/special/milb+splits

The Cubs spent a total of $2 million on Clanton before cutting him loose. They dropped a $2.5 million bonus on the recently demoted to AA where he is stinking it up Brownlie. etcetera

I suspect the Cubs are a bit shy of the draft because they have blown so much money signing duds during the Hendry years.

But relatively speaking, the Cubs have done a pretty good job at drafting the last decade or so. The MLB draft is unpredictable at best, which is well why accumalating early picks is probably a good idea. Kind of like getting 2 lotto tickets instead of 1.

I'm still waiting for Zimmer to kick Pedro's ass.

Its a bit too simple to blame Dusty - I guess when you lose 10 in a row and can't score runs the manager really cant be held accountable. Does anyone really believe that any manager would be succesful with the 2006 Cubs?

To me the Cubs screwed themsleves two seasons ago when they got rid of Sosa and did not keep Alou and they did not have any plan to provide a true clean up hitter. Someone may say that DLee is the guy but prior to last year Lee was considered more of an underachiever. The Cubs need a big bat in the lineup thats the only solution at this point.

bash Hendry away, but the farm system at one point in his tenure was rated #1, we're actually producing prospects that are either contributing to the Cubs or coveted by other teams and can be used in trades for the first time since the Dallas Green era. Yeah, they focus way too much on pitchers, but the drafting and signing has been quite solid by the Cubs since Hendry came aboard as Scouting Director.

thanks for the minor league splits tip, ienpw. I've been looking for that for a long time.

In response to Dave: There were others available to play right field - not just free agents, but trades. Even if Jones was somehow necessary, 3 years was ludicrous.

Pierre was obtained as the lead-off fix for the line-up, and he just isn't capable of playing that role, given his OBP. He's a mediocre lead-off man, and, outside of base stealing, not much better than alternatives like Walker. I and other Cubs fans I know thought that at the time and still think that.

There has to be something wrong with Prior, either mentally or some physical problem that they are not disclosing. How can it possibly take him this long to get back? It's a joke - he gets sick so he's not ready for spring training (hey, how about working out more when you're healthy), then gets hurt (probably as a result), and he gets at least a two-week setback from food poisoning? Unless there's something seriously wrong with his arm, he is not sufficiently motivated. I wouldn't be surprised if he's out of baseball within 4 years.

I agree that the telegraphing point is a bit of a reach, but Hendry is resting on a couple of fleecing of teams in the past, and it's not like other teams haven't fleeced one of the victims, the Pirates, the last few years. He had a chance to build on 2003 and maintain some semblance of consistent winning and is getting close to blowing it. And the last few years have shown that the farm system was and is completely overrated.

My point is only that the problems relating to Hendry are bigger and more long-term than anything that can be blamed on Baker, and a May firing of Baker would accomplish little.

Well if the drafting is better in the last 10-12 years shouldn't we have more to show for it on the field? You know like consistently winning, a world series title, something?

Even when we sucked at drafting we still only competed every 5 years. What has changed? Just looks like the deck chairs have been re-arranged on the Titanic.

I have been worried for years that the continued over-emphasis on drafting pitching leaves other areas sorely lacking. Like for example how we have virtually no OF talent in the minors and need to use converted middle infielders to shore up those positions. It is like ordering air fresheners for a bathroom to make it smell clean but ignoring the fact you need to buy some cleaning products to actually clean it. Other wise your just masking the odor.

That is what the Cubs drafting has been doing for years. Covering one area, ignore the others, and use middle infielders to mask the fact you have a shitty unbalanced farm system.

Unless the Cubs are picking top 3 they don't have a very good track record of pushing out talent.

When a team goes past flat-line death into the cold void of rigor mortis, the manager gets canned. It might not be fair, but that's baseball.

Hendry, Baker, Cline, Matthews, Rothchild. Hopefully before the homestand opens Friday but in the next four weeks at the latest.

I think I'm going to take a fan's sabbatical for the rest of the year and just concentrate on my coursework and domination in my fantasy league.

I don't personally have any bright ideas about a replacement GM or manager, but I'd like to see a list of names being considered. I'm very open to taking a chance on an unproven if that person seems to possess the intangible personal characteristics of a smart, determined winner.

what AZ Phil said more eloquently than I did in the previous post's comments.

our minor league system has produced under Hendry (this is off the top of my head):
Wood
Prior
Zambrano
Aramis Ramirez
Derrek Lee
Matt Murton
Nomar Garciaparra
Matt Clement
Corey (he did have a season and a half of usefulness)
Ronny Cedeno
Sean Marshall
Juan Pierre

trades count in my opinion when evaluating the farm system. You'd like to see some more guys actually produce for our team cause their cheap for 5-6 years, but that's as much on Dusty as Hendry imho.

Comparing the Cubs organization to the smell of a disgusting bathroom, is probably the great analogy I have ever heard.

There were others available to play right field - not just free agents, but trades.

Like who? Brian Giles? He never wanted to be in Chicago. Who else was available?

Pierre was obtained as the lead-off fix for the line-up, and he just isn't capable of playing that role, given his OBP.

Funny...he has done a pretty good job in that role over the last fiver years. He believe he had 3 straigth 200 hit seasons.

Unless there's something seriously wrong with his arm, he is not sufficiently motivated.

I simply don't buy that. Sure, he may be (but we really don't know) less willing to pitch through pain than others, but I have a really hard time believing that he is not motivated. And you have little evidence to support your assertion as such.

He had a chance to build on 2003 and maintain some semblance of consistent winning and is getting close to blowing it. And the last few years have shown that the farm system was and is completely overrated.

I think he is getting close to blowing it, but any team that last their best three players off of a playoff team would have trouble competing. The Cubs have essentially lost Sosa, Wood and Prior since then, who were their best the players. And it is not Hendry's fault that Wood and Prior have been injured.

Again...there are things that I wish Hendry would have done differently. But I don't think that all the blame lies with him.

Ehhh maybe so RobG. But any farm system can produce talent if your willing to take on salary.

I am talking specifically talent we have drafted, and brought up through the system, that has helped our team personally. Those guys are few and far between.

Mike C, I randomly picked a few teams and will list their first picks of each draft from 1995-99, I'll give the benefit of the doubt that some 2000 draft picks are still prospects:

* means they had no 1st rounder and it was a 2nd.

Braves: Adam Hutchinson, A.J. Zapp, Troy Comeron, Matt Besile*, Matt Butler
Orioles: Alvie Shephard, Brian Falkenborg*, Jayson Werth, Rick Elder, Mike Paradis
Marlins: Jamie Jones, Mark Kotsay, Aaron Atkins, Chip Ambress, Josh Beckett
Twins: Mark Redman, Travis Lee, Michael Cuddyer, Ryan Mills, BJ Garbe
Rangers: Jonathan Johnson, RA Dickey, Jason Ramano, Carlos Pena, Colby Lewis
Pirates: Kris Benson, Chad Hermanson, JJ Davis, Clint Johnston, Bobby Bradley
Royals: Juan LeBron, Dee Brown, Dan Reichart, Jeff Austin, Kyle Snyder

I randomly picked these, many teams haven't done better. The only team off the top of my head that did well were the A's with Mulder, Zito and Chavez - though Beane was against drafting Chavez. The Cubs drafted Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, Ben Christenson, Jon Garland and Todd Noel.

3 of the 5 were 'hits'. That's pretty good.

Rob...and that list doesn't include people like Willis, Koronka, etc. that our system has produced.

>Unless the Cubs are picking top 3 they don't have a very good track record of pushing out talent.

This is generally true of every team, not just the Cubs.

When the Cubs draft and produce pitchers (as they have) in their farm system, people moan that we don't produce enough position players.

If the Cubs were to draft and produce position players, people would complain that we don't produce enough pitchers, since "you've got to have pitching."

Ideally, you'd like to have your farm system producing both, but that's a tall order. We're lucky we've been strong in at least one of those areas: young arms.

You use what you've got in your farm system (pitchers or position players) to help fill in what you don't have at the major league level.

Hendry has said this before, and I agree with him: pitching prospects are always more attractive to other teams. And the Cubs have done a decent job of filling needs on the major league roster by dealing young arms.

RESPONDING TO A POST FROM A THREAD A COUPLE BACK:

#112 of 153: By patpiper (May 9, 2006 05:42 PM)
Phil says " I could envision Pie getting recalled to play RF every day, with Jacque Jones moving to LF and platooning with Matt Murton until the Cubs can trade Jones."
On what level does that make sense? Pie is an unproven, raw, K machine that has Corey Patterson skills at his point. Why replace Murton with Pie?
Murton has been among the 2-3 most dependable hitters on the roster since last September. So now you want to sit him (against righties I presume) for a .260 hitting minor leaguer? Based on what? Press clippings, and what people think they see? How many players do you have to rush through the system before you realize it doesn't work? Let them earn it as Cedeno did, as Murton did.
As bad as Jones has been, do you really think Pie will be better this year? Will 5 months of being overmatched really help his confidence. Will you be ready to platoon him next year, as you are Murton this year, for Ryan Harvey or the next can't miss kid?
I'm as anxious to see Pie make it as the next guy, but this logic escapes me. Especially at the expense of the best young hitter we've had in a long long time.

--

P PIPER: Please take the time to re-read my post to which you refer.

Here it is:

#67 of 153: By Arizona Phil (May 9, 2006 01:31 PM)
ANDREW: If things don't turn around fast, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Larry Rothschild get canned and be replaced by Dick Pole, with Sonny Jackson taking over as bench coach. And Von Joshua could get the batting coach gig, although I don't know what Dusty thinks of him. Joshua has done a great job with Felix Pie, though.

If Joshua were to become the Cubs batting coach, I could envision Pie getting recalled to play RF every day, with Jacque Jones moving to LF and platooning with Matt Murton until the Cubs can trade Jones. I'll betcha Jacque Jones realizes he made a BIG mistake signing with the Cubs, and can't wait to get out of Chicago. And vice-versa.

OK?

Did you read what I said?

I did NOT say the Cubs SHOULD recall Felix Pie, move Jacque Jones to LF, and platoon Jones with Murton until Jones can be traded. I said I can envision it happening.

As you might remember (or maybe you don't), last July (2005) the Cubs planned to bring up both Matt Murton AND Felix Pie from AA at the same time (when Corey Patterson got demoted to Iowa), but because Pie suffered what turned out to be a season-ending ankle injury a few days earlier, Adam Greenberg got the call instead of the Pie Man.

So if the Cubs were willing to bring up Pie last season with only half a year of AA experience, why would it be unreasonable to suggest that they might be inclined to do it again this year?

Again, I did NOT say that Pie SHOULD be brought up to play RF, or that Jones SHOULD be moved to LF and platoon with Murton until Jones can be traded. All I said was that I can envision it happening at some point in the near future IF things don't get turned around in a hurry.

To everybody clamoring for Von Joshua to replace Gene Clines as hitting coach, remember:

Joshua was hitting coach for the White Sox, 1998-2001, and was let go in '01 for pretty much the same reasons people want to see Clines go in '06.

I know everyone wants Pie up to the Cubs and playing everyday but he is just not ready. I have driven over to Des Moines and caught six Iowa Cub games this spring. Pie is not disciplined at the plate enough to play major league baseball yet. He shows flashes of being a good outfielder but seems to lack confidence. Right now he shows much less discipline than CPat. He needs the AAA experience to possibly be ready next year.

Ehhh maybe so RobG. But any farm system can produce talent if your willing to take on salary.

Well last time I checked that's how big market teams should act. You shouldn't trade away every prospect, but when opportunity knocks (see Choi for Lee) you jump on it.

Don't get me wrong, our method of developing prospects (particularly position prospects) is horrific, especially at the major league level. We have no plan (like the A's who require a minumum number of minor league AB's before you sniff the majors) , we jerk them around (the list is endless), we force feed them into inappropriate roles (see Patterson, Korey) they're put to a higher standard by Baker than mediocre, established vets (where do you begin?), sometimes they get lucky, sometimes they fail.

Yep, Von Joshua had a lifetime OBP of .306 and very little power-- I'm not sure what he brings to the table that Gene Clines doesn't--- which is nothing.

We might as well make Neifi Perez hitting coach.

Pujols homered again today, and the game's only in like the 4th. Anyone else think he's going to beat out Bonds' record?

Hendry's best moves have been trading for guys other teams can't afford, ie DLee and Ramirez. He tried it again with Pierre but that deal hasn't looked so good, especially with Nolasco pitching well.

I'm not sure if I can name another trade Hendry made that was that beneficial to the team. Some looked good at the time (Nomar), but they didn't help the team. It seems that Hendry's reputation is as a good trader who can fleece certain GM's in trades, but that's not true, his best deals were simply being in a position to take on salary. That doesn't require skill.

You could make a very strong argument that Hendry doesn't evaluate young talent very well, after all most of the prospects he kept have flamed out, and he has traded away Dontrelle Willis, Ricky Nolasco, etc. You could also argue that it was under Hendry as farm director and later GM that the Cubs drafted Choi, Harris, Hill, Christianson, Brownlie, etc., all of which who did nothing in the majors, if they even reached the majors. So he misjudges talent, period. Jacque Jones is the latest example of that.

When he made the Pierre trade I thought it was alright to deal Nolasco and the Cuban lefty because they would sign Pierre to a long term deal. Instead Hendry signed Jones to a long term deal, virtually guaranteeing from day 1 that Pierre would be a one season rental. Now it looks like Pierre might be a half season rental, because if they keep playing like this and he starts to show any signs of life, Pierre will be traded for some marginal prospect.

Hendry's best move was actually a catch-22. It was signing Baker. As horrible as Baker is at managing, his reputation of being a real manager and the success of 2003 changed the atmosphere at Wrigley, hopefully forever. Fans expect more from this team now, even if the ownership and management refuses to acknowledge it.

Where is all the rumors about Dusty getting fired coming from? I have said it before, and will say it again I am not a Dusty fan, but I doubt that he is going to get fired during the year. Has someone heard or read something the would indicate that he may be fired sooner than later?

To paraphrase what someone said in the parachat last night...

"Contraction Stars With The Cubs"

Has someone heard or read something the would indicate that he may be fired sooner than later.

No, other than the whole 8-game losing streak. Last year there were rumors that if the Cubs' two 7-game losing streaks reached 9 or 10 games, then Dusty was gone. That's usually what happens with losing streaks.

would love to see hitting and pitching coaches canned and see the effect.

I'd like to inject SOMETHING POSITIVE into the morass of negativity.

With Barrett gone for much of this spring the Cubs brought some of their young catchers into camp to pick up the slack. As a result I got to see Jake Fox play and he really impressed me. He had six hits in 15 AB's and five of them were for extra bases! Just looked great.

He's with high A Daytona now and tearing it up. 10 HR, 26 RBI, .348 .419 .670 in 115 AB's.

Something positive: I'm going to go see the Peoria Future Marlins play South Bend this weekend.

Mojo, is it possible that Dusty is not fully responsible for the slide BUT YET he is a bad fit as manager and we can do better. And why not make a change now? You know?

#66 of 71: By cubswinthepennant (May 10, 2006 01:16 PM)
Yep, Von Joshua had a lifetime OBP of .306 and very little power-- I'm not sure what he brings to the table that Gene Clines doesn't--- which is nothing.

We might as well make Neifi Perez hitting coach.

--

CWtP: A lot of noted hitting gurus over the years (Charlie Lau, Walt Hriniak, Jeff Pentland, Rudy Jaramillo) weren't good hitters themselves. That said, I only mentioned Von Joshua as a possible replacement for Gene Clines as Cubs hitting coach simply because he has been credited (rightly or wrongly) with helping Murton, Coats, Theriot, Pie, Soto, McGehee, et al improve as hitters, and because he is already in the Cubs organization (he was promoted to AAA Iowa from AA West Tenn after last season), not because he would necessarily be an improvement.

And my reason for mentioning Dick Pole as a possible replacement for Larry Rothschild as pitching coach and Sonny Jackson as a possible replacement for Dick Pole as bench coach was equally stupid-obvious on my part, as I figured that since Dick Pole was one of Dusty Baker's pitching coaches in SF, and since Sonny Jackson already serves as Dusty's de facto assistant manager, that they would be logical choices. Again, I didn't say they would be GOOD choices, just logical ones.

Sometimes before a manager gets fired, the hitting coach and the pitching coach get replaced. And then if that doesn't make a difference, then the manager gets to sleep with the fishies.

hitting coaches are pretty meaningless in the majors unless your going with a youth movement. They're far more effective in the minors.

Ted Williams was a hitting coach, and he couldn't understand why none of his hitters couldn't hit atleast .340 like he did.

it's pretty rare for any superstar athlete to succeed in a coaching capacity. It's very difficult for them to cope with players unable to grasp ideas or make plays that came so naturally to them.

I've also been impressed with Nic Jackson's comeback.

I couldn't agree with Rob G. more. #77 0f 78. The least listened to coach on a major league team is the hitting coach. Every player by the time they reach the majors thinks he knows everything about hitting. A hitting coach on the low minors has much more impact and influence than on the big club. Major league coaches as a whole are vastly over rated. Few major league players are interested in listening to a coach with less than glamerous stats himself.

Steinbrenner is mad at ARod again. He certainly would look good at SS for the Cubs.

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

Az Phil,

I'm just needling about the Gene Clines/Von Joshua types that wind up as hitting coaches. Maybe they're good at teaching hitting, but where's the evidence? If they knew how to hit line drives why did they slap hit their entire careers?

I believe players would do better finding someone who's similar in build and a good hitter and try to emulate them.

And in Gene Clines' case, I get the feeling all he did was buy Dusty's CD ROM, "You Can Teach Hitting."

http://www.dustybaker.com/

pitching draft philosophy...always tradable. need a bat? chances are the people you wanna deal with are looking arms.

adding to the cubs woes is a common problem amongst clubs all around...draft some infielders...by the time they work their way up their glove/arm/injury/etc. force their move to the OF where unless they become top bats...they become AAA-bench fodder.

i love the drafting of r.harvey, btw...he's so many years away but the guy, out of highschool, already had a RF's arm/glove...now he just needs to find some discipline to go with his power. he's still many years away and quite a young kid.

For all of those who believe ESPN only cares about the Yanks and Red Sox, the poll on ESPN.com gives some credence.

Question: Would you want Barry Bonds to sign with your favorite team as a DH in 2007?

Option 1: Yes
Option 2: No

Apparently ESPN has never heard of the National League.

$20 virtual bucks says Harvey's a bust....

#73 of 76: By cubswinthepennant (May 10, 2006 01:27 PM)
I'd like to inject SOMETHING POSITIVE into the morass of negativity.

With Barrett gone for much of this spring the Cubs brought some of their young catchers into camp to pick up the slack. As a result I got to see Jake Fox play and he really impressed me. He had six hits in 15 AB's and five of them were for extra bases! Just looked great.

He's with high A Daytona now and tearing it up. 10 HR, 26 RBI, .348 .419 .670 in 115 AB's.

--

As CWTP mentions, Jake Fox (Rich Hill's catcher at the University of Michigan) is doing VERY well at Daytona. He currently leads the FSL in AVG, HR, SLG, and OPS, is tied for 2nd in RUNS, is 4th in OBP, and is tied for 5th in RBI.

Defensively, Fox still has some work to do, although he is improving. One other thing about Fox that needs to be noted is that he is repeating Daytona (like 3B Scott Moore did last year), and when a player spends two years at the same level, you have to take the performance somewhat with a grain of salt. Still, Fox isn't just having a good year--he's having a GREAT year.

Besides remedial work on his defense, the main reason Fox is still at Daytona (A+) instead of at West Tenn (AA) is so that Geovany Soto (cousin of ex-Cub utility IF Ramon Martnez), Jose Reyes, and Fox can all get "first-string" playing time, which means each has to be on a different team. Since Soto already had one year of AAA under his belt coming to the 2006 season and is the most advanced, he got the starting slot at Iowa, and since Reyes had a year of AA under his belt and is already a plus defender, he got the starting gig at West Tenn, which meant Fox pretty much HAD to either go back to Daytona where he could play most every day, or go to AA and catch part-time (alternating with Reyes). However, the situation has changed, and Fox needs to move up to AA ASAP, so (sorry to say), Jose Reyes be damned (no offense, Jose).

If things remain as they now stand (that is, with Fox remaining at Daytona for the entire 2006 season), by next season I would expect Soto (a Jose Molina clone) to be the Cubs back-up catcher, with the switch-hitting and cat-like quick defensive whiz Reyes the #1 at AAA Iowa, and Fox the primary catcher at AA West Tenn. Of the three, Fox is the one with the highest ceiling, because of his bat.

Here are the 2006 numbers for Soto, Reyes, and Fox:

GEOVANY SOTO (AAA Iowa)
Age: 23
From: Puerto Rico

BATTING:
21-72 (.292)
.381 OBP
.361 SLG
.742 OPS
0 HR
8 RBI
4 2B
11 BB
14 K

DEFENSE:
10-43 (23%) CS
5 ERRORS
0 PASSED BALLS

-

JOSE REYES (AA West Tenn)
Age 23
From: Domincan Republic

BATTING:
14-63 (.222)
.269 OBP
.270 SLG
.539 OPS
0 HR
7 RBI
3 2B
4 BB
11 K

DEFENSE:
7-18 (39%) CS
0 ERRORS
0 PASSED BALLS

--

JAKE FOX (A+ Daytona)
Age: 23
From: University of Michigan

BATTING:
40-115 (.348)
10 HR
26 RBI
7 2B
14 BB
22 K
.419 OBP
.670 SLG
1.089 OPS

DEFENSE:
10-38 (26%) CS
3 ERRORS
4 PASSED BALLS

AZ Phil: "I didn't say they would be GOOD choices, just logical ones."

OK, I'll bite: Who would be good ones? Leaving out Jim Leyland, et al., who clearly aren't going anywhere, who of the young coaches who are not yet established would you like to see with the Cubs?

I'd be pretty amazed if the Cubs went into a season with a rookie as their backup catcher, not unless he logs some time this year in the majors due to injury.

OK, I'll bite: Who would be good ones? Leaving out Jim Leyland, et al., who clearly aren't going anywhere, who of the young coaches who are not yet established would you like to see with the Cubs?
-

mike brumley

Andrew, there is no DH in the National League. The speculation is that Bonds will want to DH to finish his career.

See why they asked that question?

Chad...that was not his point.

Half of the favorite teams in MLB don't have a DH. Yet the question simply asked "would you want him on your favorite team as the DH?" It is obvious why they asked the question, but the assumption of your favorite team having a DH is the problem.

Asking if you would like your favorite AL team to sign Barry Bonds as a DH is redundant.

Its like saying, which NL pitcher would you most like to see bat in the 9th inning.

If you understand anything about baseball, you can see what they are asking.

if it doesnt happen between mass. and ny ESPN could generally care less as a general rule.

you get lakers news (and the courtside hollywood stars)...the occasional bonds hype (and any ab that even 1/2 way matters by him)...if alan iverson wants to kill some people you'll hear about that, too...if rickey smokes some weed in asia they'll have a camera at the airport when he returns...

i guess they like congressmen and roids, too...but that's died out a bit since they picked up the "bonds reality show"

See why they asked that question?

Chad, Dave got it right. I don't have a problem with the question -- I have a problem with the answers. The arrogance implicit in the question could be easily alleviated by a third option.

"Would you want Barry Bonds to DH for your favorite team next year?"

-Yes
-No
-My favorite team doesn't have a DH.

I don't see it as a slight. The full implied question is:

Assuming Bonds may be headed someday to a DH role, would you want him to play that position on a team you root for? *

* Assuming, that is, that you root for an American League team. If not, either consider the question for your favorite AL club, or withhold your vote on the grounds that the question is not applicable to you.

Assuming, that is, that you root for an American League team. If not, either consider the question for your favorite AL club, or withhold your vote on the grounds that the question is not applicable to you.

Fair enough. I always imagined these polls as intending to be applicable to everyone. Not the case in this scenario.

I still think that if that was an assumption then they could have just as easily added a third option of "My favorite team is in the National League" as assume that we're supposed to understand their assumptions implicit in their poll questions.

My choices (in order) to replace Dusty

1. Lou Pinella
2. Buck Showalter (sp?)
3. Joe Giradi
4. Bob Brenly
5. a young firey manager that very few of us have ever heard of (except for AZPhil lol) who has had success in the minor leagues and can now be given their shot at the big leauge level

I do agree with the comments about how far this team has fallen talent wise since 2003, at least in terms of hitting. In the playoffs that year, we had an outfield of Alou-Lofton-Sosa, two guys who drove in 100 runs or close to 100 runs, and a lead-off guy who actually could get on base occasionally. ARAM, surrounded by talent, played up to his ability. Karros was backed up by Randall Simon at first. The biggest difference between this club and the 2003 club has to be that our outfield now is way, way less productive than the outfield we had in 2003, and our bench is weaker, too. Now, sure, I am not saying that I wish we had that outfield still today (though I think they would still be more productive than our current outfielders). I am just saying that Hendry has let the talent in the outfield drop dramatically at the same time that he has let the quality of our bench drop, if not dramatically, it still has dropped. Given that and the injuries to Wood and Prior, and some of Dusty's bone-headed moves, it is little surprise that we are below .500 and heading farther south.

#88 of 89: By Brown Line (May 10, 2006 02:32 PM)
AZ Phil: "I didn't say they would be GOOD choices, just logical ones."

OK, I'll bite: Who would be good ones? Leaving out Jim Leyland, et al., who clearly aren't going anywhere, who of the young coaches who are not yet established would you like to see with the Cubs?
-

BROWN LINE: I don't know who would make a good coach for the Cubs. I really can't say, because it depends on the manager, and how the manager uses his coaching staff.

I believe most coaches at the major league level are there primarily to serve as supervisors, not as teachers. The manager will delegate an area of his team to each of his coaches, and then the coach supervising that area reports back to the manager when necesary.

And there are good coaches, and bad coaches.

A "bad" coach is one who gets the manager drunk, steals his money playing gin rummy, messes around with the star player's wife, that sort of thing.

A REALLY bad coach is one who tries to tinker with a star pitcher's mechanics, causing him to sustain a shoulder injury that keeps him from starting the season on time. Or one who tries to teach a player how to bunt and play "small ball" when the player has no aptitude for that sort of thing.

A "good coach" is one who knows the best restaurants in every town, is willing to lose at gin rummy, and (if possible) sing a song or two on the bus on the way to the airport. But the main thing a "good" coach needs to remember is that he is not there to teach, he is there to serve as a drinking buddy and/or flunky for manager, or as a spy for the GM or owner.

The pitching coach needs to know how much he doesn't know, and mainly keep track of making sure that starting pitchers get their throwing in between starts. Unless he really knows what he is doing, he should avoid trying to "teach" anything, especially pitching mechanics. Just let the pitcher throw the way he threw that got him to the big leagues in the first place, and if he gets hurt, he gets hurt.

The bullpen coach needs to be able to tell jokes, and make up trivia games for the guys in the bullpen to keep them from falling asleep, and then be ready to take off his cap in a timely and professional manner so that the manager knows when the relief pitcher is ready. Telephone skills are a plus, and so is being hispanic, because some teams use the bullpen coach slot for their Latino affirmative action hire.

The third base coach needs to keep track of how many outs there are and who is due up next, and needs to know the speed limits of his baserunners and the arm strength and accuracy of the outfielders AND the infielders (relay men). Whether to send a runner home or hold him at 3rd depends ENTIRELY on how many outs there are, who is due up next, and the arm strength and accuracy of the outfielders and infielders (2B & SS). And so if the 3rd base coach doesn't know those things, he is BAD third base coach.

The first base coach needs to be good at giving high-fives, fanny pats, and a neck massage. Being gay would probably be a plus. He also needs to hold a batter-turned-baserunner's gear until the bat boy can come over and pick it up. And the 1st-base coach needs to shout "balk" at certain key moments in the game when an opposing pitcher has an especially good move to 1st base. He also should hold a stop-watch, but it doesn't have to work.

A good hitting instructor needs to be able to "talk hitting" with the guys who need that type of boost to keep going. He also needs to be able to notice changes in a hitter's stride and mechanics that adversely affect results, and be able to communicate this information in a way the hitter can understand and accept, and not communicate the information if the result of providing same would be to mess the hitter up even worse.

A good bench coach needs to keep track of stat splits and remind the manager not to pull another stupid double-switch every time he changes pitchers and give the team whatever edge he can by providing strategy tips to the manager. However, if the bench coach is a moron, or if he isn't a moron, but it's just that the manager is a moron, but he doesn't know he is, so he won't listen to his bench coach, it would be better to just not spend the money on one, and hire a left-handed throwing batting practice pitcher instead.

The bottom line is, MLB coaches are essentially useless pieces of shit.

Young players learn far more from standing around the batting cage watching and talking hitting with the guys who do it well than they ever will from a coach, and young pitchers learn more from talking with the older pitchers who know what they're doing and get it done than from somebody who holds the title of "coach."

There is not one coaching spot on a team that couldn't be as well or better served by using a player not in the lineup that day or even just some lay person. (Back-up catcher or Andy Frain usher as "bullpen coach," veteran starting pitcher not pitching that day or a local orthopedic surgeon as "pitching coach," utility player or clubhouse man (Yosh) as "1B coach," back-up middle-infielder or knowledgeable season-ticket holder as 3rd base coach, #1 PH or the guy who runs the neighborhood batting cage & arcade as "hitting instructor," and some math geek from the local college as "bench coach."

It's very difficult for good hitters to turn into hitting coaches. The reasoning is they've already succeeded at hitting and think that there is only one right way to do it. Problem is different guys have different approaches. Good hitting coaches are willing to make exceptions to get results whereas guys who were good hitters see what they did as the only way.

"The bottom line is, MLB coaches are essentially useless pieces of shit."

pretty much...pregame they're the recess teachers...there to make sure people are actually doing what theyre supposed to be doing and not hiding in the clubhouse watching TV or calling their bookie.

during the game they all got their little tasks to take care of the "small stuff" so the manager doesnt have to worry about it.

most players/kids will learn more from their competitive peers over a coach for the most part. encarcenon/pujols...maddux/marshall...etc etc...

the most impact coaches have is identifying obvious physical changes in what led them to success in the past and getting them back to that comfort level. for that they need a basis of what has worked in the past for them. rotating coaches at whim can screw with this unless you got a really receptive guy being brought in.

all in all, though...they're babysitters.

Yes to all of the above. Meaning fire away - can Baker, all the coaches, hell can the announcers too and MOST importantly, PLEASE trade away Neifi Perez. In the end, maybe the Cubs will turn it around next week as a result. If they do, it will just be coincidence, not because of anything the new manager/coaches bring to the table. But, it will strip away the irrational focus and ire of most posters on this board...at least until the CUbs go into another slump, the new miracle manager makes a dumb baseball decision, bats player x 5th instead of 6th, gives a starter a rest and plays a backup for a day and the Cubs lose, or the Cubs sign another utility player who isn't a good hitter (like almost all utility players) and all of the above happen...over and over again (and they will). But in that in-between time of weeks or months, I have hopes that this will once again turn into the great forum for crisp and refreshing Cubs baseball discussion that it used to be. I'd take it!

Interesting news on Jake Fox -- right now, he's basically the only position player in the minors who is performing -- and he's 3 levels away. Pie has reverted to his lousy winter ball stats, E-Pat is hitting under .270 at AA ball, Harvey is hitting under .200 in A ball. No offensive help on the horizon. As I am desperate for any positive news -- please tell me Mark Pawlek (sp?) isn't tossing towels in Mesa. Do other teams have their pitchers throw househeld items? Do Mets pitchers throw sponges, or waffle irons, or something?

#98 of 101: By some guy (May 10, 2006 03:19 PM)
My choices (in order) to replace Dusty

1. Lou Pinella
2. Buck Showalter (sp?)
3. Joe Giradi
4. Bob Brenly
5. a young firey manager that very few of us have ever heard of (except for AZPhil lol) who has had success in the minor leagues and can now be given their shot at the big leauge level

Wally Backman?

...crisp and refreshing...

TCR--with Lymon!

MLB Coaches are mostly cronies of the manager.

The trouble is that Dusty isn't the primary problem. Rather the primary problem is the dreadful nature of the Cub roster. Jim Hendry is the guy failing on all cylinders. He has zero strategic plan for this franchise. His player acquisition strategy has changed with the wind each year and the minor league system continues to be a complete joke when it comes to development of position players. A new manager isn't going to fix this mess. It is fundamentally broken.

#80 of 106: By Q (May 10, 2006 01:55 PM)
I've also been impressed with Nic Jackson's comeback.

Q: Indeed!

Me too, Q!

Through the first five-plus weeks of the season, Nic Jackson is my early-line pick for the Cubs organizational Comeback Player of the Year.

Listed among Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects in 2002 and 2003 and also listed as one of BA's Top Ten Cubs Prospects 2002-03, Jackson suffered a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder a couple of years ago and missed most of the 2004 season and all of last season, while undergoing at least two major shoulder operations.

Finally able to play baseball again, Jackson was assigned to Class A Daytona (FSL) to start the 2006 season, where he was used mainly as a DH early in the schedule while trying to work his shoulder into playing shape. However, after being promoted to AA West Tenn a couple of weeks ago, Jackson has taken over the DiamondJaxx starting LF job and is hitting a cool .409 (18-44) with 5 2B.

Nic Jackson's 2006 numbers (combined Daytona & West Tenn):

30 GAMES
37-133 (.304)
.392 OBP
.504 SLG
.896 OPS
2 HR
8 RBI
8 2B
9 SB (3 CS)
12 BB
24 K

Jackson will be a six-year minor league FA after this season, so the Cubs don't have a lot of time to decide if he has a future with the Cubs or not. If it is determined by Cubs brass that he does have a future in the organization, then the Cubs will need to add him back to their 40-man roster (he was dropped after the 2004 season) within ten days after the conclusion of the regular season.

His shoulder injury may preclude him from ever being the five-tool outfield prospect he was early in his career, but if Jackson can stay healthy and continue his hot hitting, he should get a chance to play in the big leagues one of these days, if not with the Cubs, then with somebody.

Firing Dusty Baker accomplishes very little. All it does is give long-suffering Cub fans a temporary jolt of hope, kind of like a shot of morphine to a dying soldier on the battlefield. A new manager isn't going to transform this roster. Juan Pierre is a shadow of his former pre-2005 self. Jacque Jones is older and modestly better version of Corey Patterson (it should have been huge warning sign that the Cubs engaged in a bidding war with the vaunted Royals for his services - nobody else wanted him). Aramis Ramirez is a quality run producer that dogs it more and more on the field. Michael Barrett is an absolutely awful catcher. Freddie Bynum makes Jose Macias seem like Jose Cardenal. Neifi Perez was paid $6 million by Hendry to bat .180 and play good defense. Henry Blanco couldn't hit if you put a 16 inch softball on a batting tee. John Mabry is washed up. Glendon Rusch proceeded to get fat and revert to prior dreadful form after being granted his first multi-year contract. Kerry Wood is an enigma good for 7 to 9 wins per season when healthy. Mark Prior is more fragile than Grandma's crystal.

And people want to say that Dusty is the problem?!?! Please. Bringing in a new manager will result in an adrenaline rush for two weeks before this team reverts back to 90 loss form. Meanwhile Jim Hendry can order up another cocktail and get drunk.

Firing Dusty Baker accomplishes very little. All it does is give long-suffering Cub fans a temporary jolt of hope, kind of like a shot of morphine to a dying soldier on the battlefield. A new manager isn't going to transform this roster. Juan Pierre is a shadow of his former pre-2005 self. Jacque Jones is older and modestly better version of Corey Patterson (it should have been huge warning sign that the Cubs engaged in a bidding war with the vaunted Royals for his services - nobody else wanted him). Aramis Ramirez is a quality run producer that dogs it more and more on the field. Michael Barrett is an absolutely awful catcher. Freddie Bynum makes Jose Macias seem like Jose Cardenal. Neifi Perez was paid $6 million by Hendry to bat .180 and play good defense. Henry Blanco couldn't hit if you put a 16 inch softball on a batting tee. John Mabry is washed up. Glendon Rusch proceeded to get fat and revert to prior dreadful form after being granted his first multi-year contract. Kerry Wood is an enigma good for 7 to 9 wins per season when healthy. Mark Prior is more fragile than Grandma's crystal.

And people want to say that Dusty is the problem?!?! Please. Bringing in a new manager will result in an adrenaline rush for two weeks before this team reverts back to 90 loss form. Meanwhile Jim Hendry can order up another cocktail and get drunk.

Beating a dead horse alert:

Regarding that question,

1. if your favorite team is not in the AL, they don't want you to answer.

2. Actually they do want you to answer. They are saying, "HEY YOU! Sportsfan! Would you like Barry Bonds on your team? Oh you don't like an AL team, OK, what if you did? Can you pretend you do for the sake of this GODDAMNED question?"

Get it?

So damned literal. Use your imagination for a second. Oh and last I checked there is a national league team in New York too.

Nic Jackson is alternative spelling for David Kelton. In other words, don't get all geeked up regarding his "resurgence." Not unless your charter member of the Roosevelt Brown Fan Club.

If I'm Jim Hendry, I get on the phone with Omar Minaya of the NY Mets and propose the following trade:

Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez for David Wright and Lastings Milledge.

Wright is a superstar in the making and could be the face of hope for the Cub franchise. Milledge is a top shelf prospect who many think will ultimately have a very good major league career. The Cubs aren't going anywhere in 2006, while the Mets have legitimate aspirations of the World Series. They have screaming need for starting pitching help. Mark Prior, Kerry Wood (groan), Sean Marshall, Greg Maddux (he still has another year in him) can fill out the rotation. Angel Guzman still has upside. Sean Gallagher and Mark Pawlenty are talented with lots of upside.

It's time to build this thing the right way. Blow it up and start over I say.

Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez for David Wright and Lastings Milledge.

So we are going to give up two superstars for one superstar and a prospect?

Good idea...

Uh, Zambrano is our only pitcher. Probably the one guy NOT to get rid of.

Aramis Ramirez is less superstar and more dog. I trade Carlos Zambrano because 2006 is a LOST SEASON and the previous 98 year formula HASN'T FRIGGIN WORKED! David Wright is a superstar in the making that would be bigger than Paul Konerko is with the White Sox in terms of fan adoration. Lastings Milledge is a top shelf prospect. Big run producer, good plate discipline. I build my future rotation around The Great Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Sean Marshall (who I really like). I also have future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux around for at least one more year. Quality pitching prospects Sean Gallagher and Mark Pawlenty are in the pipeline. Angel Guzman and Rich Hill are still around to serve as filler. Plus, the Cubs have deep pockets and can go out and sign a prime time pitcher if it comes to that.

If not the NY Met deal, the the following with Anaheim.

Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez for Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver.

Zambrano is what, 25 years old? 24? Sure he's not been the ace we've needed this year (his last start excepted), but you DON'T trade *him.*

Same reasoning for Ramirez- he's 27, right? Many years of far more than adequate productivity ahead for him, too.

The fact that these two guys have had a far-less-than-stellar beginning to the year, when the team could least afford it (i.e., no Wood, Prior, Lee), does not mean you trade them ASAP.

I'm fine with changes given the last week and half, but I would think long and hard before considering any deal involving either one of these two.

Mike...sorry, but the Cubs should never give A-Ram and Z for Wright and a top prospect. That would simply be foolish.

Sure, A-Ram is struggling this year. BUt there is no question that he is one of the top hitters in the NL. Same goes for Z. Even in his struggles, he is one of the best pitchers in the NL.

And Konerko is not that good.

mets really dont need to pay 20m next year for the both of them vs. 700K-1m for wright/milledge.

Mike...by the way. 3b and a top prospect are not what what we need. We need a RF who can hit the ball. We need a leadoff hitter who can get on base (which pierre will eventually do). We need a bench player who can play first and the outfield that actually has power. Well, we already have Mabry, but Dusty obviously doesn't likeplaying him much. Because, hey, we like Bynum! :)

I build my future rotation around The Great Kerry Wood

Please pass the crack pipe! Trade ARam & Z? Do you prefer crack or Meth? Z eats up innings and is still considered one of the best young pitchers in baseball even with his lame start. It would make more sense to trade FA to be Wood for Milledge.

*Pujols homered again today, and the game's only in like the 4th. Anyone else think he's going to beat out Bonds' record?*

Sure. And when it is found out that Pujols in on some sort of juice, we go through the same crap again in 2015 after he retires due to degenerative joints and is dragged in front of Congress and forgets how to speak English.

Dave and company...you assume that the Cubs are a player tweak or two away from being a great baseball team. I don't. This team doesn't need band-aids, rather it needs major surgery. The strategic direction of this franchise is a mess. The current roster is an even bigger mess. I trade "tradeable commodities" to begin fundamental reconstruction. I'm no longer interested in tweaks and the same old, same old. If I was in charge, the following would be the start of long-term master plan.

1. Try to move Juan Pierre, Todd Walker, Jerry Hairston, John Mabry, Henry Blanco and Scott Williamson prior to the trade deadline. Failing to do that, let all of them walk in the offseason.

2. Try to move Aramis Ramirez and Michael Barrett prior to the trade deadline to the highest bidder. Ramirez is a disinterested dog that I have zero interest in building for the long-term around. Barrett is a dreadful catcher that is achilles heel for the Cub pitching staff. If I can't move them prior to July 31st, the I try again during the offseason.

3. Say goodbye to enigmatic Kerry Wood in the offseason. He can't be relied upon and is only good for 8-10 wins per season when healthy. An amicable divorce is in order for the good of both parties.

4. Re-sign Greg Maddux

5. Move Jacque Jones for another team's bad contract/cancer, ala the Todd Hundley for Eric Karros/Mark Grudzielanek deal.

6. Plop Felix Pie in center and see what he can do.

7. Acquire a 2nd baseman who can bat leadoff (very difficult to do, hence why this team absolutely should have signed Rafael Furcal when it had a chance).

8. Fire Omar Fleita. Blow up the minor league system and start over...new organizational philosphy on hitting, fielding, pitching, baserunning and the fundamentlas...new coaches and instructors and scouts.

9. BE PATIENT.

speaking of #9 on that list...its may.

A few of those I agree with you on, but I will address some of the others:

Barrett is a dreadful catcher that is achilles heel for the Cub pitching staff. If I can't move them prior to July 31st, the I try again during the offseason

Funny...because pitching is not our problem right now. Offense is. So why would we get rid of one of best offensive options, and the best hitting catcher in the NL?

Again...good idea.

Re-sign Greg Maddux

I thought you wanted to rebuild. You don't rebuild with a veteran past his time who costs more money than he is worth. Don't get me wrong - I love Maddux, but probably not for what he will get paid next year.

Plop Felix Pie in center and see what he can do.

Right...because we really need to rush a prospect who isn't ready. That worked well with Korey...

Acquire a 2nd baseman who can bat leadoff

Why? Why a second baseman? That does not make any sense. If you are that specific with you needs, you will never be able to fill them.

very difficult to do, hence why this team absolutely should have signed Rafael Furcal when it had a chance)

Ummm..Furcal doesn't play 2B. And you do know that Jones (.244/.289/.444) is hitting better than Furcal (.219/.324/.273), right?

Can we trade Ronnie Woo Woo for something? How about for a left handed BP pitcher?

Funny...because pitching is not our problem right now. Offense is. So why would we get rid of one of best offensive options, and the best hitting catcher in the NL?

Funny because pitching has been a problem during our little stretch of misery just as much as our hitting.

As for the Wright, Milledge for Z and Ramirez..........not very realistic because Wright and Milledge make a fraction of what Z and Ramirez make. They have enough talent to win now and besides this off-season they have the choice of Mulder, Zito, Pettitte, and Jason Schmidt.

Further more the one prospect the Mets refuse to even consider trading is Milledge.

If the Cubs were to do a fire sale Z would bring the most in a trade, but it would also be dumb for the Cubs to trade him. Ramirez's contract and status near free agency would make his value very small. What we get him for, Bobby Hill and Jose Hernandez? Thats about what to expect in return if he is dealt.

Wood is the enigma. If he shows he can pitch good when he returns then he becomes a viable option for teams looking for pitching down the stretch. But his current salary and impending free agency knock down his value.

Other than that we don't have much to trade and get value back in return. Most of our trades would be salary dumps and getting back marginal to lousy talent. Unless we are flipping big money for big money like for example Ramirez for Abreu.

Someone out here said Paul Konerko is not very good...LOL...The Cubs don't have a player that is performing like he is right now...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile...

AVG .331 | HR 7 | RBI 25 | OBP .411 | SLG .570

Konerko is not the only one on the White Sox team to come through with lots of clutch hits and RBIs...Thome, Crede and Dye have been delivering too...they ALL have averages well over .300 right now. The Cubs need some serious and reliable hitters like these guys and we just don't have them this year...Thanks a lot Jim Hendry. Only one Chicago baseball team will be a real contender again in 2006 and I think we know which team that is.

Scott..then go cheer for them.

And I agree that Konerko is having a great year, but this is by far the best year that he he has had. And I believe that the White Sox overpaid for an overvalued and overrated first basemen.

R. Cedeno ss
J. Pierre cf
T. Walker 2b
A. Ramirez 3b
J. Mabry 1b
M. Murton lf
J. Jones rf
H. Blanco c

i know pierre is in a slump, but you gotta be f'n kidding me.

I don't hate this lineup. I think that pierre is struggling enough to change some thigns up. Cedeno has been one of the only players getting on base. It is worth a try.

I also love to see Mabry at 1b and Walker at 2b.

yeah, im not bitching hard...but i wouldnt move pierre from the #1 slot with healthy legs EVER...

well unless this was a DH game and he could bat 9th

yea...i probably wouldn't move him either, but I think it is worth a try in order to make something happen.

Uh, what?

the upside would be pierre being called on to bunt cedeno over if on base...dustbag loves to bat with the #2 hitter and pierre does fit the bill for a dust #2 hitter being that he's a contact guy. if called on to bunt he has a better than average chance of ending up on 1st and advancing the runner at the same time.

loves to bunt with the #2 hitter, that is....

Cedeno as lead-off man is worth a try...Changes are required until the Cubs can start to snap out of this terrible slump. Lets hope Big Z has one of his best nights out as starting pitcher. We'll also need a better effort from the Bullpen. And finally, we need more timely hits from the Cubs. The Giants aren't the best team out there and we should be able to take at least 1 of the 3 games in this series.

We need a complete game 1-0 shutout WIN.

Jacos: Uh, what?

Jacos...what are you referring to?

Cubs are lifeboat without oars thanks to GM Hendry

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...

>

Mike:
"The trouble is that Dusty isn't the primary problem. Rather the primary problem is the dreadful nature of the Cub roster. Jim Hendry is the guy failing on all cylinders. He has zero strategic plan for this franchise. His player acquisition strategy has changed with the wind each year and the minor league system continues to be a complete joke when it comes to development of position players. A new manager isn't going to fix this mess. It is fundamentally broken."

AMEN....GREAT PST!!!

It is all nice and sexy to say FIRE BAKER, but that won't solve the problem, just satisfy the blood thirsty. If Cubs fans REALLY want to improve the franchise they would go higher after Hendry/McPhail. Thsi same problem will exist when the new manager comes in and the talent level falls short AGAIN.

I find it absolutely AMAZING that people were/are not in an uprorar over resigning Hednry. There were MANY poor offseason moves, but that just might be teh biggest. Just shows why the Cubs are the Cubs (LOSERS).

Are we all glad that the White Sox won the WS last year. Remember when a good portion of you said we should be rooting for the White Sox to win the WS so that it would put pressure on Hendry to go out and get a winner. I called BULLSHIT then and I do know. Instead we have our in town rival win the WS and the next year our GM lays the biggest egg yet in his tenure. Oh yeah, after he laid that egg, I am sure that fat fuck ate it.

Dusty has laid eggs for over 3 years. I know you think he has a cool, neat-o name, but Dusty's time has expired.

Manny...what moves would you have done differently?

I am sick of Hendry bashers complaing about his off-season moves, yet they don't provide alternatives.

With Baker's many errors, we all see the obvious alternatives.

Dave:
"Manny...what moves would you have done differently? I am sick of Hendry bashers complaing about his off-season moves, yet they don't provide alternatives."

Well, I am tired of people asking that question. How about anything but what he did do. What he has done HAS NOT WORKED. I am not privy to realistic trade options or FA possibilities. But I do know what Hendry has done has not worked OVER and OVER and OVER again. And with a new manager, the same shit will happen.

But for the record, I would of signed Alou after 2004 for 2 years. Said it then and say it now. Then we wouldn't have JJ in RF.

Manny...what moves would you have done differently?
----

How about not bringing in a bunch of guys over the past 3+ years who have .320 or less obp? Hendry loves the guys who make little contact but have some power. Dusty also loves guys who refuse to work the count. That's a lethal mix.

Hendry supposedly didn't go after Brian Giles because he wanted to sign or trade for a RF with a 1yr deal. Giles wanted 3 years. So Jimmy eats donuts all winter, then panics and decides to sign Jacque Jones, not to one year but to 3. So now, if Pierre somehow returns to form, Hendry will claim there is no way he can re-sign him because Pie will be close. His hands are tied with RF because he gave a crappy RF a crappy deal. So not only did Hendry screw up RF, he screwed up the leadoff position for the next few years too. Letting Pierre go might not look too bad now, but if/when he ever comes around to the player he has been for 6+ years, they will regret the Jones deal more and more. Those are exactly the kind of boneheaded moves Hendry makes.

dave-not stealing manny's thunder (as though anybody could, hehe), but i posted this in a thread last evening; perhaps it is one set of answers/opinions to the question you asked in # 145.
@@@@@@@@@@@@
sorry i am late to the party. crunch, the opposite side of the coin you mention above is that some clubs are less active in november and december and january than their fans would like/have a right to.

your opinion on furcal is well known on these pages; i believe that hendry/mcphail/tribune letting him get away was penny wise and pound foolish. he filled 2 needs (ss and leadoff) with one paycheck, even if it was top dollar/above market.

craig wilson could have been had for less than 2 truckloads of money during the winter; with the pirates obtaining casey and signing burnitz wilson was pretty well out of a job. (good thing the sox got mackowiak, or willson would have been even more absent). wilson would look darn good as a 1b relief for lee, and a platoon partner for jones. hendry passed.

addressing what was known to be shaky starting pitching health with a re-signing of rusch and a signing of a recuperating miller was doing things on the cheap. the cubs clearly did not have a player to give up in exchange for javy vazquez; could they have assembled 3 or 4 players and enticed arizona? we'll never know. passing completely on byrd, millwood, rogers, and burnett were troubling in that it did not matter who or how much, hendry was going to keep his hands in his pockets.

the 2 bullpen signings were needed, and well done; only time will tell if the contracts were too lengthy. but they were necessary. and i hope they aren't completely gassed by father's day due to the calamity called the starting rotation.

hendry is now in a situation where he needs to be doubly creative to compensate for the quiet winter he spent. or didn't spend, if you prefer. and because his club is in dire shape, the price tags will be marked up, and not down.

maybe some fans will give up because it is a losing streak, maybe they won't. but it would have been a breath of fresh air if hendry had made a bigger splash during the winter; i feel he is now reaping what he planted.

thanks for reading.

@@@@@@@@@@@@

i was all for no more baker at the end of 2004. at the end of 2005 it made no difference. now in 2006, he needs to go just so a new chapter can be written. and it may be more of the same; we still need to find out.

and i am on record elsewhere (as though it meant a damn thing) that the hendry extension this past april was very, very premature.

Well, I am tired of people asking that question. How about anything but what he did do.

Great answer Manny. Oh wait, it doesn't tell us anything...

But I do know what Hendry has done has not worked OVER and OVER and OVER again.

Really? The Nomar/Murton trade worked out pretty well. The Lee trade was okay. The Barrett trade was decent. The Todd Walker deal was not bad. The Maddux deal was decent. The A-Ram deal really sucked though. Do you want me to go on?

Then we wouldn't have JJ in RF.

Not so sure...we probably would not have Murton in Left, and Alou would still be there. But I agree with you that I also would have signed Alou, and I said it then.

Giles wanted 3 years.

Giles never evern thougth about Chicago. He turned down more money to stay in SD. He was never an option.

i believe that hendry/mcphail/tribune letting [furcal] get away was penny wise and pound foolish.

Why? Cedeno has been better than Furcal, and the Cubs would have been stuck with a bad contract for several years. Hendry made the right decision by not overpaying.

craig wilson could have been had for less than 2 truckloads of money during the winter;

How do you know? And don't you think other teams would have grabbed him if this was the case? I don't think that Wilson was as available as everyone thinks.

re: starting pitching

this is the one area that I somewhat agree with you on. I would not have signed Rusch. But I was fairly confident with our starting pitching going into the season, as were most of the rest of the poeple around here.

I just have a hard time seeing what I would have done differently with the same amount of money. I didn't like the Jones signing, especailly for three years. I didn't like the Rusch signing. But other than that, I was content (though not overwelmed) with what Hendry did.

Dave:
"But other than that, I was content (though not overwelmed) with what Hendry did."

And then you must be content with what you are seeing on the field then and ANOTEHR losing season.

No manny...that is not what I said, and you know it, so don't put words in my mouth.

manny...love dusty, and appear to be content with the job that he has done this year. therefore you must be content with what you are seeing on the field...

Dave i have said before that Dusty HAS to be partly responcible for teh results on the field. In fact i have said that MANY times. so don't put words in my mouth. Keep thinking Hendry is doing an OK job and the Cubs will continue to put up losing seasons, with Dusty or not.

so don't put words in my mouth.

I was proving a point Manny.

Keep thinking Hendry is doing an OK job and the Cubs will continue to put up losing seasons, with Dusty or not.

Keep thinking that Dusty is doing an OK job and the Cubs will continue to put of losing seasons...

I think that both are to blame. It just drives me crazy that you attack Hendry, yet have no clue about what you would have done differently other signing Alou.

Dave:
"I think that both are to blame."

Very good...I agree...I just believe Hendry is more to blame.

"It just drives me crazy that you attack Hendry, yet have no clue about what you would have done differently other signing Alou."

Why?? I am not privy to any inside dealings, so how can I possibly know what is/was realistic (If I say Giles, you will say unrealistic, if I propose some trade I am sure you will say the same thing). Just like you will NEVER see me propose any trades as, it is a waste of time and 99% of teh time unrealistic as we don't know too many factors. Also, everything I would mention would be shot down by any Hendry supporter as there is always some reason the Doughnutman couldn't make that happen. No matter what it is. The FACT is that hendry has not put together a good team the past few years, especially consdering his payroll. And he will continue to struggle doing so no matter the manager.

Why?? I am not privy to any inside dealings, so how can I possibly know what is/was realistic

Come on...that is such a cop out answer. You at least have an idea of what free agents were available. you have an idea of what they got paid and what the Cubs payroll is. You have some idea of what players were available for trade. You can at least give some insight into what you may have done differently.

And I do think that Giles was never an option. Giles wanted to stay in SD, even for less money. There is little reason to think that he would have come to Chicago even for more money.

Dave:
"Come on...that is such a cop out answer."

It might be so, but I don't feel I need to give an answer other than what Hendry has done hasn't worked. He could of sured up pitching (signed Millwood or Weaver, of course those ideas will be shot down which is why it is a waste of time), but instead we are relying on pitchers who are not even close to being ready to start games.

So since Hendry pretty much hasn't done anything you wouldn't, no matter the results he should stay GM, just since you agree with most of what he does? Even if he continues to lose every year??

Hindsight

mench would have looked nice in RF.

signed Millwood or Weaver, of course those ideas will be shot down which is why it is a waste of time)

I don't think it can be shot down that quickly. I am not a huge fan of either, and I am not sure the price tag would have been worth it for either of them, but looking back they would be helpful to our starting rotation.

So since Hendry pretty much hasn't done anything you wouldn't

WTF? When did I say this?

Dave (post #149):
"I just have a hard time seeing what I would have done differently with the same amount of money."

To me that means Hendry and you are pretty much on the same page.

I have already said I didn't like the Rusch deal. I have already said I didn't like Jones for three years.

I just don't see what Hendry could have done much differently this off season. And obviously you don't either, or you would propose some ideas.

Dave-
But he has not been GM just this offseason. It is a cummlative effect ever since after 2003 where he has not made the moves needed to put team over the top. Time will show you I guess.

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