Open Thread: Fire Dusty

For all the Fire Dusty-ers
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Sportscenter had something on time to fire baker.

I'm faxing over a copy of this to Dusty...

http://www.speakeasy.org/%7Ebucky/elia_tirade...
[inserted link, heavy profanity, try and keep this PG-13]

I would like to see him fired but McPhail and Hendry are most deserving of being fired. The problem is that Dusty will be the first to go and McPhail and Hendry will remain. If that happens, and I suspect it will, then things get even grimmer on the north side. Because I think the players all realize that it is the Cubs' front office that is the real problem. With those clowns still in charge, how can the players have any optimism at all?

Hey, like, chill out, Lee.

Arm {4 of 5} is right on.....unfortunately

On a totally different note, if one of President Bush's goals is to increase his approval rating with the American public, it's probably not the best idea to preempt the season finales of "Prison Break" and "Grey's Anatomy" (I don't watch that, but it's popular...) for a Presidential Address on immigration.

Anyway, fire Dusty, and hire my namesake, Doug Dascenzo, as manager. He's currently the manager of the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League.

Firing Dusty won't fix things. This team is not built to win. But ultimately, I don't want him around next year, certainly not with his salary...so might as well shake things up now...I can't imagine Baker has much to gain by riding the current year out....might as well see if it serves as a kick in the ass.

In the scheme of things, I still like Hendry...but boy oh boy did he fail miserably over the last two off seasons.

Fire Dusty...

On an unrelated note, Robinson Cano is batting fifth for the Yankees. That is a pretty pathetic bottom half of a lineup for 200 million dollars.\

And anyone else miss Nomar?

Trust me you don't want me. I'm a perennial tease, just like Wood. I'll give you moments of brilliance followed by disappointment. Come to think of it, I should still be on the Cubs!

Come to think of it, I should still be on the Cubs!

You would be a huge improvement over every person in our lineup....

Doug,

Dont forget 24.

Blockhead,

If everyone on the 40-man roster was healthy this is the best team in the division. In the NL Barrett,Dlee, Ram, Walker are in the top 5 in terms of offensive production at there positions in terms of offensive production.Heck if Hendry would have traded JHJ/Novoa to the Mets for Diaz a Jones/Diaz plattoon in RF in terms of offensive production would have been top tier in the NL. Their BP is one of the best in the NL. The rotation when competly healthy is the most talented in the NL. Even with the injuries this team is not that bad to blown out of games on a every other game basis. Something needs to change starting with Baker. Hendry is a little better than average and they could do alot worse than him, but if they could get:

Dan Evans
Gerry Hunsicker
Dayton Moore
Dave Wilder

than go for it.

As long as Bush has been brought up why not do what his administration does? Don't fire anyone no matter how big a fuck-up. And if you do let someone go, give 'em a medal first. That's what needs to be done in this case. Name Baker the best manager ever then kick his sorry ass out the door. Heck of a job, Dusty.

I've wanted Baker fired since 2003. He criminally mismanaged Mark Prior in that series. He left him in too long in the 2nd game blowout, which led to him running out of gas in the crucial 6th game. He should've been fired for that alone, but he's made plenty of other mistakes besides. Of course, he's not to blame for the inept front office decisions, or for the injuries.

Where's the Fire-Lee crowd? He's just sitting around while the Cubs are struggling. What a slacker.

I must agree with Chifan here. This roster is by far the best Hendry has assembled. While it's not perfect (no roster ever is) and we all wish he would have taken advantage of Guerrero or Tejada when they were available you can't snap your fingers and get every player you want. Now I can't defend the extension given to Jones but for all we know that was part of the deal to lure him here. For a one-season solution he was one of the best options Hendry had...if only Hendry had the balls to platoon him or force Dustiny to.

When I weigh those statements against what Hendry has done well it's not even close. I don't think he's been had on a single trade in his tenure. One could argue the Pierre deal was not good but Hendry was desperate and Pierre's lifetime stats are FAR north of where he's been this season. Let's take solace in the fact that's he's not been extended and likely won't be.

In a general sense the sabermetrician in me has longed for more OBP and doesn't care if we get a guy for his speed, but who's problem is this? I don't hear Hendry come out in the media and say "we love this guy because he can play 5 positions and is a threat on the base paths". Dustiny is the one who covets this type of player and the one who has shunned all of Hendry's pickups that play baseball with the tenats of run scoring in mind. Dustiny has also gone on record proclaiming the benefits of hacking at the plate and NEVER speaks of patience. This is clearly the wrong approach as has been shown several times over in recent history.

The major flaws of Dustiny have been covered on this and so many other webpages I won't spend the time rehashing. What I will say is this: what is it exactly that Dustiny does that's worth keeping around? Hendry has done a multitude of things right while his manager has not followed through on execution of the plan. In fact, he's done a terrific job of ruining it. And yes, I lay major blame for Prior and Wood at Dustiny's doorstep.

To sum, Hendry has been rostering players that can get the Cubs to the playoffs but for 3+ years these players have been misused, abused, or not used at all. This is Dustiny's fault and I've wanted him fired for it...for 3 years.

Perhaps the biggest gripe I have with Hendry is his lack of desire or ability to control Dustiny. He either lacks the power or organizational backing to hold Dustiny accountable for his actions and that must stop immediately. We can never judge this team fairly until they're used properly with a deep bench and pool of reserves to prop up the big league squad when injuries strike.

Dustiny has lost control of this year's team and we need a new direction, NOW!!!!

Nineteen of the Royals' first 40 games have been against the Indians and White Sox. Says manager Buddy Bell: "Believe me, we're eager to see how much we suck against the rest of the league, too."

The Cubs will get that chance very soon also.

I still believe that while Hendry has had more mistakes than successes since the Nomar deal, he is an above average GM, and certainly better than the average man that McPhail would likely pick. Keep him.

However, I KNOW that dusty is the type of manager that costs a team more wins than most managers do. Double switching, "woe is me, but i can't be held responsible" attitude, neifi usage, walks clog the basepaths, lineup construction, players manager even when his team is playing dumb, etc.

i was inspired to this by the beginning of Buster Olney's blog entry (any insider can provide the rest). I believe that Olney feels that Hendry thinks Dusty is his guy, and that once the Cubs break out of this he will re-sign him. I'm not sure I believe that (if he thinks he is his guy, why not re-sign Baker now and it will be clear that you're building for the future).

--
The time has come for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry to make a decision on Dusty Baker.
Here's the thing: If Baker is the guy Hendry really wants to manage the team in 2007 and 2008, it shouldn't matter whether the timing of an offer and announcement fits neatly into a win streak. If Baker is the guy Hendry wants, he should give him the contract and end the speculation about Baker's future, and thus keep him from dangling in the wind of public speculation. If Hendry does this, he'll immediately take pressure off Baker and take the flak himself for the decision to keep him -- and that's better for the manager and the team.

If Hendry is not sure he wants Baker back, he should fire him right now. He's had 3Ω years to evaluate Baker, and that's plenty of time to formulate an opinion. And if he fires Dusty now, that'll leave plenty of time for Hendry to hire somebody who might find a way to get the team on the right track and back into contention.

"If Hendry is not sure he wants Baker back, he should fire him right now. He's had 3Ω years to evaluate Baker, and that's plenty of time to formulate an opinion."

We have had 4 years to evaluate Hendry and to see the crap he sticks on this roster. Insterad let's give the guy a raise and an extenstion!! WOO!!! go Cubs!!!

I can't believe Hendry's B.S., I was always a defendant of his until now, he is nothing but an excuse making ass lately. I din't know Prior was hurt, I thought Rusch and Williams were good. WTF???? That alone is grounds for your firing buddy!!!
We should show Hendry who is boss around here. We may have to live with Hendry for a while longer but not the rest of his crap. The list of people we (fans) have run out of town is long. We need to make Baker next

Baylor
Rojas
Hawkins
Patterson
Sosa
Hundley
W. Kim
Alfonseca
Farnsworth
Fassero
etc..............

Nice to see that there are a variety of opinions here. Dusty's double-switching and abuse of pitchers might be his most damning moves...oh, I forgot Neifi batting second. Actually, if Baker had removed Prior earlier and the pen had los tfans would be calling fo his head for that. Hendry has made more good than bad moves but he did fail to add enough offensive depth this year. He said on WGN radio tonight that the reasoning for not adding a starter was that Rusch and Williams had good finishes last year. I can't argue too much there. It is disappointing that the young players in our system don't seem to be ready except for Marshall, and he should be in AAA if you follow normal progression. He also said that they had no indication that there was something wrong with Prior...believe it or not. It was a good interview and he never once blamed anyone else for the mess. The players all have histories of performing well...Walker, Ramirez, Pierre. Pressure to perform, he thinks, is the major problem now. Which might mean that the players he has are not pressure players like Jeter etc. The biggest thing I look back on that I think should get Dusty fired was his handling of the fiasco with Stoney. Clearly that is an indication that he is unable to police his team. Mercker and the other clowns were way out of line then and the manager should have done something. He didn't and it has been down hill from there. And I feel we lost the best analyst in the game. Now the losses are too painful to watch and listen to.

Manny,

The 03, 04, and 06 teams were/are solid teams on paper. In 05 Hendry was the victim of the Sosa saga that his boss's put him in by releasing that video and refusing to pay a dime of that contract in a trade till the mess at the Cubs convention. The odds are if Hendry were fired his replacement would be worse its Mcphail were talking about he will hire Ed Wade or Steve Philips not one of the 4 guys I mentioned in post 12.

This is all avoidable for the Tribune in my opinion though. That is the sad thing. They finally spend money and this is what we get. The Cardinals year in and out out-class us and spend less money! Look at their roster is it really that much better than ours? I would like to see what Jocketty and La Russa/ Duncan would do with this exact same situation.

I'd like to counter Philips comments on the ESPN video clip.

Philips is making the assumption that if Lee, Prior, and Wood were all healthy it would be a different story. I really disagree. Philips, you are not taking into account too many variables. First of all Aram is playing so badly you really have to ask what the hell is wrong. This is a guy who should be hitting .300 with 30hrs and 100rbis. Murton and Cedeno have proven that they can play. Pierre is "supposed" to be a 280-300 hitter. Walker is solid. Barrett is solid offensively. Jones should at least be somewhat matching Burnitz from last year. The only real hole with Lee out is that you have to put Neifi or Hairston in. Both of whom suck. Philips gives absolutely no credit to this roster and too much credit to Lee, Prior, and Wood.

A manager is supposed to be able to motivate his players and his coaches. A manager and his staff are supposed to be able to help players through struggles and direct them to the path where they previously were. A manager and his staff are also supposed to get players to pitch to their talent level. They are supposed to direct them to the best path of preparing for a game and following a game plan. They are supposed to make sure that you damn well don't make 3 errors in one inning. The only thing something like that tells me is that the players want to be anywhere but on the ballpark. A manager is not supposed to hurt the team by moronic double switches nor is he supposed to hurt the team by putting players like Perez batting second. And while many would argue that shuffling a lineup isn't bad, I really think its a terrible method of managing. Players and people for that matter like consistency. They like comfort. They don't want to show up wondering if they are playing today, where am I playing, what part of the batting order am I playing.... It is why players and people look for security. It is why they ask for things like no trade clauses. Change makes people edgy. When you do it every freaking day, you will never let people find a groove let alone get their minds on baseball.

Finally, this team has failed so miserably on its talent. I don't remember exactly but didn't we used to have one of the best farm systems in baseball? What the fuck happened to it? Guzman, suck. Mitre, suck. Hill, suck. and on and on and on. I'll leave out the gaffs by Hendry since this is for the Fire Baker folks. (cough, 3 pitchers for Pierre, cough)

For all of us who begged to see the youngsters play, we have gotten our wish. And Baker and his goon squad of shitty coaches have led them to a losing streak matching that awful 14 losses in a row to start the season a few years back.

So, there ya go. Fire Baker, yes. You'd better clearout the rest of his squad too though as they have proven they are horrible. Sadly, we would still be left with Hendry and McFail unless Cubs ownership cleans house.

Oh, btw, please forget about Nomar. Very very few of you on here wanted him back. I said at the end of last year that he would probably make a great 3rd or 1st basemen. Somewhere where he didn't have to move a whole lot. And with Lee and ARam, you just don't have room. He belonged there or in the AL where the DH can be his friend. He simply didn't have a place on this team. (until now) I for one am very happy for him. I'm very sorry it didn't work out but thats the way some things go.

Unfortunately, you can clean house and you are stuck with a pool of what options?

Walt,

Look at Jwill's career numbers and they are simlar to Prior's. Anyways there wasnt a FA pitcher last season that could have been helpful this year. Morris and Weaver have bad numbers, Burnett has been on the DL twice, Millwood piching like a 2nd starter that being paid like an ace and his his track record of staying healthy aint great, and Washburn=Rusch. You can cry for Hendry's outster but dont bitch when the new GM is Steve Philips or ED wade.

I can almost guarantee that LaRussa would turn them into winners.

sorry, but another thought.

Look at the Yankees. There are times when even their star studded roster plays like shit. Yet somehow, they come out of it. I really think it has almost everything to do with Torre and his staff. I don't think their is a player in baseball that doesn't need guidance. That doesn't need to be taken aside and shown what they are doing wrong and how to fix it. It just doesn't seem to me that our manager and his staff have any clue as to directing a ball club. It doesn't hurt either that you have an owner that has no fear of canning your ass and replacing you in a heart beat.

I'll throw my neck out there too by suggesting all the previous success of Baker had everything to do with weak divisions and nothing to do with how good of a people person he is.

Walt, I hope that is what it sounded like I was trying to get across. I believe it is not the Tribune's job to put out a good baseball team. Spend like they have the last 4 years and we should have a good team. I gurantee Jocketty and La Russa could manage to win under the Trib.

La Russa wouldn't be a pussy and feel sorry for himslef like Baker and by the way this team has taken on his pussy personality.

ptth...people here would have their heads explode if dusty gave yadier molida 100+ ab's...he fell in love with skip shoemaker for a couple weeks earlier this year, too.

at least stl has pujols, rolen, and eck hitting like they know how to hit...eck a bit overachieving, but that's what he's done his whole life anyway.

and by "here" i mean in the 'fire dusty' thread...

disclaimer: i don't really believe human heads are capable of explosive combustion.

Crunch, that's just it though, I see La Russa getting more out of his players.

Molina wouldn't bother me much. We won with Damian Miller. I just don't think Prior and Wood would have the same issues under La Russa/Duncan either.

Dusty shouldn't be absolved of their absence. He is partly to blame no??

thats the thing Crunch. Rolens, Pujols, and Eck hitting like they know how. When you have 3 guys like that its a managers job to get the most out of them. And somehow LaRussa does. Not every team is going to be the Yankees. Every team is going to have their Perez's. Its just not bad when they hit at the bottom of the order.

Yet what can we do with ARam? Something is just not right with him. Either he is hurt or he has a hole in his swing that nobody is fixing. We are simply not getting what we should be out of him. Same goes for so many others. It really seems to me that the energy of the guys that were playing well has been sucked out. Murton, Cedeno, all falling out of what they were good at doing. They did good for a bit but now it just appears that something is dragging them down. I can only blame the coaches for it.

But, I do agree Crunch. ptth is right.

i dont buy into the notion that t.walker, aram, and pierre need to be told how to hit at this stage in their careers...they've been pretty consistant for some time in their approach over extended periods.

if there's a hole in the swing its someone's job to point it out...if their mechaincs are wrong, they look like theyre hiding pain, etc etc...

i havent heard much grumbling about anyone's plate approach or doing anything out the ordinary with the vets.

adding new skills like expanding your strikezone or learning to curb and exploited weakness is something that can be worked on, but the only real noticable issue there i can recall with anyone is aram's april where he was swinging late on a lotta stuff.

on the rumor front and one that actually makes sense unlike Bobby Abreau...

Yanks may be interested in Soriano, claims the Mets & Cards would be interested in him at 2b possibly. Nationals would want multiple top prospects in exchange...

"I've never quit anything in my life, and I'm not going to quit this,"[Dusty]

No one expects that Dusty, that would be admitting that you did somethinng wrong. Hell would likely freeze over before that happened. We're more than happy if you just get canned, I can wait until Friday (see earlier thread).

"This is killing Juanóhe thinks it's his fault." [Dusty]

Well it sort of has been, actually. We could be paying Korey half the salary for this level of suckiness and at least we'd get a homerun or two. No, I don't want Korey back or any of that kind of nonsense, but how many times did we say all say that if anything Pierre couldn't be worse than Korey last year?

Obviously, there were quality first basemen available during the winter but we didn't have a need for one at that time. [Hendry]
Obviously we were in need of some offense and actual bats off the bench. Who knows what actually could have been obtained, but if you can obtain good players at a good price, you get them even if it doesn't seem like you have a role for them.

Nomar comes to mind and yes I said many times over the off-season we should have resigned him after we lost out on Furcal or at the very least offered him arbitration. It was a no-lose situation for the Cubs. If they offered him arbitration and basically said, we don't really have a position for you right now, we think Ronny's the future and we want to give him a shot. We'd like you to learn some new positions during spring training, etc, etc. Nomar now has 2 choices. Either take the offer where he'd likely make more $$$ (although I'm sure the Cubs would have negotiated a deal before they hit arbitration) OR turn down the offer for a guarnanteed job and the Cubs get a draft pick. Not one good reason to have not offered Nomar arbitration in my opinion.

[Asked to Hendry] Again, you don't think a managerial change is going to help right now?.....[Hendry]: No.

here's the link to the hendry interview
http://tinyurl.com/lzur6

Hendry thinks we are the Astro's that came back. What a clueless idiot. He keeps leaving out the fact they fired their manager.

I am sorry but Hendry is a fool if he thinks we have just as much talent as they did and we can do it also.

The 2004 Astro's had Berkman, Kent, a still functioning Bagwell and Biggio, a 3rd base platoon that out performed anything Aramis Ramirez has ever done....oh and they traded for Carlos Beltran.

On the pitching side they were led by Oswalt, Clemens, and an unhittable Brad Lidge with Octavio Dotel setting him up. They also had Pettitte and Miller but they suffered through injuries. But last I check no 2 players on this team are going to win 20 and 18 games to match what Oswalt and Clemens did.

Ok so Lamb and Ensberg basically equal our Ramirez. Walker basically equals a Biggio. But where is our Jeff Kent? Where is our Lance Berkman? Where is our Carlos Beltran going to come from? Other than that we are EXACTLY like the 2004 Astro's........

.....in Bizarro world. Where Hendry is apparently setting up his own reality.

you got a couple of your facts confused, but yeah the Astros had way more talent. The Beltran trade (although it truly didn't payoff until the playoffs) is the real kicker. I suppose if you consider the potential impact that Wood, Prior and Lee could make, you could make a case....a very small one.

But Ramirez of 2004, 2005 is certainly better than the Lamb/Ensberg platoon (especially if you want to consider park effects)

And Dotel was traded int the Beltran deal, he began the season as a closer before relenting to Lidge after a number of blown saves and then eventually got traded.

"If everyone on the 40-man roster was healthy this is the best team in the division"

"I must agree with Chifan here. This roster is by far the best Hendry has assembled"

I'm befuddled by these comments....to put it midly, I disagree

We all knew going into this season that there remained some serious holes and serious questionmarks.

2 of our starting pitchers had been injured for much of the previous two seasons (one of whom hasn't shown any greatness the last two years (wood), a third was an aging vet coming off of a very mediocre year, and a 4th was going to be either a rookie or an inconsistent 5th starter that we weren't sure should have been resigned, along with one workhorse, top notch, sure thing (Zambrano).

In the field, we were rock solid at 3rd and first, had a minor questionmark at 2nd in terms of defense and unproven "rookies" at Left and shortstop. In center, we had high hopes but were concerned about a poor offensive season last year and a relatively weak arm...and in right, the entire city of Chicago was scratiching their heads over the three year deal after a very poor year and didn't see much difference with who he was replacing.

The bullpen we all expected was a major upgrade...but we were all concerned about the bench as well.

With Wood, Prior, and Lee healthy this isn't close to the best team in the national league...not even close. people were predicting this team in the low 80's in wins before Lee's injury and before the extent of Wood and Prior's injuries were known...

Now, all of a sudden, we have the best roster in the league? I'm scratching my head.

dunno what thread to throw this in, but tommorow r.nolasco makes his first start for FLA vs. ATL.

for those that are interested...

sorry, not best in division, not league..I miss quoted.

tommorow as in 'wednesday'

The Tribune Company CEO has been unwilling to hold McPhail and the entire Cubs Management accountable for the team's performance. Here are some interesting comments on the Cubs' situation (from another blog)...

{...Don't count on Dusty leaving...

Although I wish he never came here and that he would leave this instant, don't count on Dusty being fired or just let go...Hendry is an old school Scout who is idiotically loyal to his pals. I think it's still 90/10 in favor of Dusty getting a reasonable contract offer from his buddy. Hendry is probably waiting until they win 2 in a row so that he can claim that he sees progress?

Or maybe he is waiting for the game when guys get all the signs right, don't get doubled off on easy fly balls, don't call the announcer booth to complain during the games, don't complain that fans boo them too much, take a few walks during a game and don't issue any...

If the Cubs get slaughtered by the Sox and play like .350 ball in May, then I'd say Dusty still has a 50/50 chance of reasonable contract extension. To me this is the underlying problem with Hendry and why the Cubs should have cleaned house totally, axed McPhail, Hendry and Baker, is that he puts these ridiculous loyalties over winning. A huge conflict of interest from a fan's perspective as everyone gets rich, the team makes gobs of cash and nowhere do we have any kind of plan for playing winning baseball.

The old school scout types are a very prejudice bunch and they'll cut off their nose to just prove that no one can tell them how to do anything, especially people who have never played the game...The Cubs have embraced this closed minded approach for building a team and it leaves them with zero flexibility when the wheels start falling off....

Anyway, the only way I see Dusty not coming back is if he is contacted by another club and has a lock on another job in media market with far less scrutiny...It will be Dusty's choice as I think Hendry is already committed to making him an offer....}

hendry and baker arent "buddies"...they dont have much of a history at all. they havent created too much of one yet, either.

I don't see Dusty leaving anytime soon (at least not before the All Star Break)...Jim Hendry was on WGN AM 720 on the Sports Central show last night and confidently stated that Baker is staying on as Manager. Also, Steve Stone on WSCR AM 670 reaffirmed his belief that Baker will be extended if he wants to be. Finally, one of the most reliable indicators if a Cubs Manager is on his way out is what Ron Santo says about him -- and so far there has been no indication that Santo's feelings towards Baker have lessened any.

Jim Hendry should consider how he ended up paying almost $6 Million dollars for Juan Pierre this year...Pierre's performance was starting to slip last year and he clearly is not the player he was when he helped the Marlins go all the way to the World Series. Pierre is now hitting about .225, and his on-base percentage of .270 is the lowest in the majors among leadoff hitters.

Anyone going to the game tonight? I'll be there in Left in 104.

Jim Hendry's comments on WGN radio Monday evening and his interview with Dave Van Dyke in the Tribune reinforce one thing, and that is that Dusty's job status is secure. As stated a million times, Dusty, in my view, is not the major problem. Rather the major problem is the roster constructed by Jim Hendry, lousy assessment of players (Rusch, Neifi, Jones, Pierre), a strategy for winning that continues to change with the wind, and a minor league system that continues to hugely disappoint. I give Hendry credit for being man enough not stick by Dusty. Hendry made this mess. Hendry can clean up this mess.

And please, those of you who think Todd Walker and Michael Barrett are major assets to the Cubs have your head up your keesters. Baseball is more than simply a sexy batting average, especially at two critical defensive positions like 2nd base and catcher. Walker and Barrett are liabilities. This team would be way better off if we had a defensively minded 2nd baseman who could hit (Ronny Cedeno, with Rafael Furcal at SS) and still had Damian Miller behind the plate working with this pitching staff.

Trans,

I am sure you can think of something intelligent to post rather than this fire...somebody open thread. If you can't there seems to be a number of others that post with some terrific ideas which you can borrow. Yes, I know the Cubs suck but, at this point but firing anyone is not going to make a bit of diffrence with this team.

What other major change did the 2004 Astros make early in the season?

Fired the manager.

Yeah, Hendry kinda opened a can of worms with his statements about the 04 Astros. Wonder if that was an underhanded motivational comment towards Dusty.

Can him.

Hendry says there was no need for a good back-up first baseman, yet the Cards picked up Spezio, to back up Pujols. He sure would have looked good on this team, as a backup to ARam as well. Also, Hendry said last night that trying to trade for an outfielder last July was very tough, so he felt "lucky" to get Lawton. Funny, the Giants had little trouble getting Winn for players the Cubs could have easily matched.

at this point it really has nothing to do with dusty...at this point the team simply NEEDS A CHANGE. the easiest way to accomplish this is by getting a new manager, preferably one with a different attitude/approach to make things seem "different" in the clubhouse.

"Look at Jwill's career numbers and they are simlar to Prior's."
Um...Chifan3887, are you taking heavy drugs??

JWill: 23 wins-22 losses, 3.92 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, 238K-142BB.

Prior:41wins-23losses, 3.24 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 719K-195BB.

How are these similar?
Millwood, while overpaid, has made 30+ starts 6 of his 8 full seasons in the bigs. I'd take that right now....6 of 9 quality starts this year? I'd take that too. I'd take a guy in the rotation at 14-8, 13-10 over JWill/Rusch at 3-10, 5-7, or whatever right now.

Korey against major leauge pitching last night-

3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .262

Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker have always been strongly aligned. Rarely, if ever, has there been a rift between these two. Hendry's comments on WGN Radio and the Dave Van Dyke interview in the Tribune reinforce that Hendry remains solidly in Dusty's corner. Hendry is not going to fire Dusty. At the close of the season, the two of them will huddle to talk about the future. There probably is 50-50 chance that Dusty signs an extension at that time. I have always thought Dusty doesn't like Chicago and wants nothing more than to return back to the West Coast. Maybe Hendry and Dusty come to an amicable parting of the ways once the season closes.

But all this talk about "fire Dusty" needs to stop. One, Dusty isn't the biggest problem. Two, regardless of your opinion of Dusty, he isn't going anywhere for the forseeable future. Time to harp on something else ladies and gentlemen. No more beating the dead horse.

Dusty is not the biggest problem. He also is not the solution. It's not like he's been a great manager for 3 years, and now, due to injuries, he is having issues. He has consistently been a poor in-game manager, he seems to pull his lineups out of a hat, he is the only person in Cubdom who thinks that Neifi should be starting, and he can't seem to realize that Jacque Jones has a better chance of curing cancer than of hitting a LHP.
Is he the entire problem? No, but he isn't the solution either.

maybe we can bring don baylor back. I long for the days of 8 to 10 sac bunts per game. On second thought, never mind. Maybe we should try hiring a "brilliant tactician" or a "solid strategist" instead of a sideshow act this time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Firing Dusty will not solve all of the Cubs problems, but the Cubs can not begin to solve their problems until Dusty is fired.

"Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker have always been strongly aligned. Rarely, if ever, has there been a rift between these two. Hendry's comments on WGN Radio and the Dave Van Dyke interview in the Tribune reinforce that Hendry remains solidly in Dusty's corner."

Talk is cheap. What do you think Hendry is going to say, that he's considering making a change and firing someone? Your empty conjecture is tiresome, and the unfounded conviction behind it is obnoxious.

Chris...I might suggest you get some help to control your rage...and find additional meds that help with delusion. If you want to find hidden meaning in the commentary of Jim Hendry (either the WGN radio interview or the interview with Dave Van Dyke of the Tribune), then by all means go ahead. Talk about "unfounded," to use your word. All I know is Hendry and Dusty remain strongly aligned, per the specific words uttered out of Hendry's mouth. And that the manager isn't the biggest problem with this ballclub. And that the manager isn't going anywhere involuntarily.

Talk is cheap? Yes Chris it is. Action speaks louder than words. Sorry, I've got to side with Mike on this one because there has been zero "action" by Hendry to get rid of Dusty. His "talk" has aligned completely with his "action."

Ever hear of a coach or manager getting "the vote of confidence"?

See what happens to said coach or manager after that?

To finish my thought it is rarely good for the future of the coach/manager when the gm or owner has to speak up for them.

Mike you keep saying that Dusty isn't biggest problems with the ballclub and we should stop saying that Dusty should be fired.

I've asked before and I'll ask again: If Dusty Baker deserves to keep his job, what has he done to make the Cubs a better team?

If you can't answer that, then how can you defend any action that allows him to keep his job?

I haven't said Dusty deserves to keep his job. Frankly, I don't care if he does or doesn't keep his job because I am convinced it makes a hill of beans difference who manages this current roster. A new manager isn't going to make Jacque Jones or Juan Pierre good. A new manager isn't going to solve the revolving nightmare at 2nd base. A new manager isn't going to sprinkle holy water on Michael Barrett and make him Johnny Bench or Tony Pena behind the plate. A new manager isn't going to make Neifi Perez into the next Miguel Tejada. A new manager isn't going to transform the enigmatic pile o' crap Kerry Wood into a consistent winnner. A new manager isn't going to get china doll Mark Prior to heal any quicker and get his head adjusted.

A new manager will be little more than a temporary sugar buzz for a team that is fundamentally broken. Dusty does a sufficient job managing BASED ON WHAT HE HAS TO WORK WITH. Again, if you believe firing Dusty makes this pile o' crap roster into the 27 Yankees, then stay true to your dreams. I've played, coached and followed baseball for too long to fall for that delusion. Thankfully so has Jim Hendry.

I can't think of a single instance where Hendry and Baker haven't been on the same page during their 3 year plus marriage. If one of you guys can, then by all means please point it out. If Hendry says Dusty's job is secure, then I believe him. Some of you keep hounding Mike for proof, but you are the ones that need to show proof of a conspiracy theory.

Amen Mike - Finally someone has stated the obvious - hopefully the focus will shift away from Dusty and everyone will realize that the problem is the pleyers - or dare I say lack of!

This is the best roster Hendry has assembled? I think 2004 was better.

Mike,

Give my an example since the play in the Philly game where Barrett's D cost them a game? Yes he is not Johnny Bench there, but I have to say he has not been a liability. Very few C can be good at both in fact in MLB right now I would say only Mccann, AJ, Mauer, Victor Martinez are good at both ends of the game. Also Jones is pretty good V. RHP if he had a solid platoon mate like Victor Diaz we would have a very productive RF sitution.

You don't care if Dusty keeps his job or not: so you find it acceptable that he could keep his job.

If that is the case, then how does he make the Cubs a better team?

This idea that Dusty does the best with what he has to work with is just flat out bull. Its an argument that only works if you only want to look at 2006.

No Dusty isn't going to turn this team into the 27 Yanks, but Dusty has managed to convince people that you need to have the talent of the 27 Yanks before you can be expected to win. Even teams with great talent have holes, but with Dusty at the helm any minor problem is just another excuse for failure.

Not to mention, look at the 4 million dollar idiot's track record. If Dusty does a sufficient job based on what he has to work with. How did he fail to make the playoffs in 2004 when he had easily one of the best rosters in the NL to work with? How could he not even coax a 500 record out of a good but not great 05 team. How did he only manage 88 wins out of the 03 roster and then get outplayed by a much less talented Marlins team in the 03 playoffs.

Christ, look at the talent Dusty has had to work with under the Cubs, and then look at Cubs teams like in 1998 and 2001, teams that really didn't have nearly the talent, yet still won as many games as any Cubs team under Baker.

Again, Baker isn't the only problem, but the Cubs can't begin to fix their problems until Dusty is gone.

Again, Dusty's "managerial skills" have been in quetion last year, and 2004. It's not a new thing folks.

btw, hendry made the EXACT same 04 astros comment last year about this time.

and people said the same thing.....wait...they fired their manager!

and we all know how that worked out

Along with Baker and Hendry being on the same page comes the fact they're probably on the same page about the roster. I seriously doubt Hendry made any roster moves without the approval of Baker.

I am sure he gave Baker players that fit Baker's view on how to play, like speed guys leading off.

I believe Baker IS just as much to blame for the roster as Hendry. Baker wanted a speed guy at lead off, and Hendry got him the best one possible. We needed a RF, a Hendry got the best one possible. We needed a bullpen, and Hendry got the best one possible.

Nothing I've seen tells me that Hendry is getting players Baker doesn't want, and therefore I will have to assume this team meets with Baker's expectations talent wise.

The simple fact is we have players on this team playing far below their talent level and we really have no players playing above their talent level. That is the mark of poor coaching, from the head coach down. If the fault lies in some of the lesser coaches, it is the head coach's job to change up the guys below him.

Aside from the ungodly show Neifi put on at the beginning of last year, I'd be hard pressed to find examples of Cub's players truly playing at a higher level for a consistent period (I wouldn't really count Lee).

The mark of a World Series team is not just the stars playing well, but the role players playing well, the bench players playing well, the players we trade for to fill in for injured players playing well. That is all coaching, much more then the ability to construct a lineup (though that is somewhat important) or the ability to switch out at the right time. Motivation and dragging every ounce of talent out of every player.

That is not a skill I see with Baker, and it is a skill I see with teams like the Cardinals and the Sox. As someone that despises both teams, I am tired of seeing rivals get things right and the Cubs get things wrong. Perhaps in firing Baker we might get an even worse coach, but you sometimes have to take chances like that.

Without injuries and with Baker we might be a consistently decent team, but I see no indications we will ever be a World Series team, and that is truly the only thing that matters to me as a fan right now (well no, I would never want a player like Bonds on this team, even if we would help us win). I believe we have to take the chance of getting a worse coach by also taking the chance of getting one that can light a spark under a dead team.

call Davey Johnson

*eck a bit overachieving, but that's what he's done his whole life anyway.*

How is it possible for someone to "overachieve" throughout their "whole life"

"Hey, buddy, the cosmic wheel of fate here says you're supposed to have a lifetime .235 average--quit overachieving".

Dusty really has to go. Any change will be better. What happened when the Cubs lost D Lee is what we all had feared, Dusty decided he had to start "managing." Somehow everything goes to hell when he does that. This is the team he said he wanted. He wanted some speed guys so *HE* could manufacture runs with small ball sacrifice hitting and even though I think he's the most overrated GM in baseball, Hendry got 'em the players to do it. As a result the Cubs are one of the better base stealing and triples producing teams and fourth in sacrifice hits.

Small ball is us.

BFD!@

Because now the Cubs are dead last in:

Runs
Hits
RBI's
2B's
HR's
Total Bases
Extra Base Hits
Batting Average
Slugging
OBP
OPS
Walks
and being hit by a pitch

They do lead the league in ground out/fly out average though and are second in grounding into double plays.

So over the winter the Cubs have been transformed from a high BA, high slugging team that had a hard time scoring more than an average amount of runs to one that can't score jack. And all for only $94 million.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=cnnsi-s...

That is a Tom Verducci article on Randy Johnson. If you scroll to the bottom, there's a two-paragraph defense of Dusty with speculation that he might want to go to Seattle next year.

From Jayson Stark at ESPN.com-
Here something we can all agree to dislike.

"I just go home and sleep," Bonds said Monday, before going 1-for-3 against the Astros, with a walk, a strikeout, a pop-up and a bad-hop double to right. "Normally, I go home and work out and train and everything else. Now I'm just exhausted all the time.

"I'm tired," Bonds said, wearily. "I'm always tired. It's never been like this before. I sleep all the time, all day."

Gee I wonder why your so tired Barry?

Verducci lets Baker completely off the hook for the acquisitions of Pierre and Jones.

That's just not credible. Does anyone besides Verducci really think Hendry picked them up over Baker's dead body?

The '03 Marlins were less talented?

Clear advantages for the Marlins: D-Lee at 1B (Karros/Simon), Castillo at 2B (Grudz), Pudge at C (Miller).

Pretty even with Pierre/Lofton in CF. Lowell/A-Ram, even that year. Edge to Sosa in RF. Edge to Alou in LF (though Cabrera was in LF at the time, if memory serves, and proved he was already very good).

I seem to recall the Marlins' bench being better, though I have nothing to back that up. SP, probably the Cubs, but the Marlins' bullpen seemed better.

Not a clear edge either way, but it is a stretch to say they were less-talented. I personally think the Cubs overachieved with the roster they had at the beginning of the year and were bolstered by the deal with Pittsburgh.

I agree that 03 was an overachievement. However the teams of 2004 and 2005 were huge underachievers.

Sorry Mike, I don't have any "rage". I just think it's hilarious that someone can claim to "know" where hendry stands based on what he heard in a freaking radio interview.

Unless "Mike" is actually Andy McPhail, he doesn't know jack about what Hendry is going to do or what he thinks of Baker. Unless, of course, you're stupid enough to believe everything you read...in which case I'd recommend you stop going to cubs.com for all your Cubs news.

Some can continue to call for Dusty's heads as their solution to what ails the Cubs. They might as well demand that the Cubs trade John Mabry for Vlad Guerrero in the same breath. Neither is going to happen. It just gnaws at some of you that Jim Hendry (the real culprit in this crime) has zero intention of removing Dusty. Keep screaming and moaning everytime Dusty gives playing time to Neifi, Blanco, Bynum, Jones, Mabry and all the other pieces o' crap on the roster. Dusty is there to manage the players provided. I'm pretty sure if you manage to swing the aforementioned deal for Vlad, he won't grumble too much. Or if you can somehow land Marcus Giles for Neifi to play 2nd base. Or acquire Andruw Jones to play center.

Etc., etc., etc.

End o' subject

Chris wrote...

Unless "Mike" is actually Andy McPhail, he doesn't know jack about what Hendry is going to do or what he thinks of Baker.

Mike responded...

So you would like the audience to believe that Jim Hendry is a bold faced liar. Everything he said on WGN radio plus Dave Van Dyke of the Tribune was made up.

As Bernie mentioned previously, there has been very little discord in the Hendry-Dusty partnership since 2003. The two men have been aligned on virtually everything.

But you keep on insisting that Hendry is a liar and there is conspiracy going on at Clark and Addison.

"with speculation that he might want to go to Seattle next year."

If that happens a King Felix TJS fund needs to be set up cause we know he will a paient of James Andrews in 2 years if that happens. Give how much there protecting kid I doubt they'll let Baker anywhere near him. As for all this analysis of what Hendry is thinking based on 1 radio interview is nuts. If Hendry would have went on and said "yeah, I am thinking about canning dusty." The speculation would reach an unbearable level. He said what he had to say regardless of what he thinks. For all we know Hendry, Hughes, Flenti, and Stockstill could be having talks about who the Interim Manager should be.

Mike...why do you insist that Jones is a piece of crap.

He has flat out crushed RHP this season. Of course, he can't hit LHP, but we all knew that would happen.

And he has been on of the only hitters who has actually hit the ball over the last two weeks.

Mike, again, since you think Hendry is the real culprit and you wouldn't mind if Dusty kept his job.

What has Dusty ever done to improve the Cubs performance?

Second, and this is a new one, have you simply forgotten 2004? and why do you give Dusty a free pass for the severe underperformance of that extremely talented team (created by Jim Hendry).

what chifan said....only steinbrenner gets away with telling his people they're on the hot seat, everybody else in baseball gets the dreaded public vote of confidence. I do think that Hendry will NOW likely wait until the Wood, Prior and Lee are back, maybe the All-Star break. That's assuming they can at least resemble a major league team starting soon. If they keep getting trounced every game and losing 7-8 at a time, he's going to have do something sooner than he wishes.

"So you would like the audience to believe that Jim Hendry is a bold faced liar. Everything he said on WGN radio plus Dave Van Dyke of the Tribune was made up."

they're not in church, Mike. Hendry and McPhail and Baker and even Todd Walker are like any other public figure -- they're choosing their words very carefully, because they know they have an audience. they'd be complete fools to tell an interviewer or reporter what they really think or what their future plans are. to do so would put them at a complete disadvantage from a business standpoint.

and by All-Star break, I mean assess the situation, not necessarily Baker's gone by mid-July.

Bleeding Gums....

One reason why the Cubs tanked in 2004 was the enigmatic performance of The Great Kerry Wood. Another was the injury saga of Mark Prior. Still another was a wretched bullpen situation. Oh, and perhaps the selfish carnival act and free fall put on by Sam-me Steroid had something to do with that collapse too.

Would you like me to keep going?

Fire this bozo.

2004: Cubs definitely underachieved.

2005: No way. That team was not equipped to make a serious run with that crappy bullpen and Dubois/Holly in LF. Weak bench, too, all you Macias-hatas will agree.

At least you finally got around to answering one question, Mike. It's filled with excuses that could have been written by Dusty Baker, and ignore the well document facts (go back and read the comments of this website from in August and September 04), but at least it is an answer.

Of course, you are still refusing to explain how Dusty has done anything to make the Cubs a better team. Again, it should be a very easy question since you wouldn't mind if Dusty kept his job.

But I guess name calling is easier than trying to justify a position that really can't be justified.

I think the most frustrating thing about this stretch is there is real no answer for this latest suckiness. This is a much better team than the way they've been playing.

Pierre, Walker, Rammy are batting a collective .239 They're not going to bat .239 all year, so it makes sense that they're going to rebound.

Also, losing an MVP candidate when you stock guys like Bynum & Hairston on the bench, that doesn't help either.

The problem is about the time a few of these "players" start coming around, the schedule will get brutal. Just look at June & July. I'm afraid the worst is yet to come.

From Rob Neyer's chat on ESPN today:

Joel (Chicago): Rob, Jim Hendry said that he couldn't find a better hitter than Todd Walker at first to replace Derrek Lee, but isn't the problem that Neifi Perez (who's making $2.5 million this and next year, by the way) has replaced Lee in the lineup? Surely someone better can be found to play second.

Rob Neyer: Joel, you're missing a key piece of information . . . Dusty Baker has serious man-love for Neifi Perez. It's his single biggest identifiable weakness as a manager. And it's a big one.

I can't believe someone in the media is finally calling Dustbag ot on this bullshit!!!

Finally....

Personal view is that our season is already over barring Kerry Wood pitching like Cy Young (he invariably will disapppoint...again) and Mark Prior doing the same very, very soon. Even then the lineup has many shortcomings. Wrist injuries and a tricky thing. They take time and patience to heal correctly. Wrists are an integral part of the baseball swing. To expect Derrek Lee to contribute much of anything this season is unfair to Derrek. It would seem Jim Hendry has few options for improving this ballclub via trade. He's not going to trade Felix Pie. So what's he going to do? I say he rides this ugly season out and regroups next winter.

Personal view is that our season is already over barring Kerry Wood pitching like Cy Young (he invariably will disapppoint...again) and Mark Prior doing the same very, very soon. Even then the lineup has many shortcomings. Wrist injuries and a tricky thing. They take time and patience to heal correctly. Wrists are an integral part of the baseball swing. To expect Derrek Lee to contribute much of anything this season is unfair to Derrek. It would seem Jim Hendry has few options for improving this ballclub via trade. He's not going to trade Felix Pie. So what's he going to do? I say he rides this ugly season out and regroups next winter.

Yes, we probably overachieved a bit in 2003. But are we entitled to a team that overachieves at least once every 30 years? It seems like other teams overachieve much more often than we do. Is that all down to the players? Or does the manager have some impact? I have to believe the latter is true. So that means that Dusty did some good things in 2003. But my main point here is that I am tired of the Cubs underachieving. I don't think we are in a hole, as an organization, as deep as the New York Knicks. But we are not too terribly far off.

Can we ever really count on Prior again? Why is it taking months and months for him to get on the mound when the results of the MRI were negative or not particularly problematic anyway? He now is supposed to be in Chicago in mid-June, which probably means sometime in July. I just do not get it. Jones is an albatross around our collective necks. The guy cannot hit lefties and cannot throw the ball. Also, he does not know how to "work" the fans. Yes, he is being booed but if he were a bit smarter I think he could have nipped that in the bud, you know, he looked like he was looking for a fight with the fans. Pierre? Well, at least we are only stuck with him for a year. Thank God that the talk earlier this year that we were trying to sign him to an extension did not pan out.

ARAM? The guy is soft. Not the type of guy who steps up in adversity. If he is playing with a couple of other stars, he is fine. Otherwise, if he is forced into the spotlight, he cannot handle it.

Way to go Neyer!

I think walker would be hitting better if he were still playing 2B...his poor performance seemed to coincide with the switch to 1B.

Prior-"He now is supposed to be in Chicago in mid-June"

This is news to me. He has been penciled in as "should be ready" to pitch by June 3rd for a week now. He will have missed 1/3 of the season and nobody knows -- or is telling -- why.

In side news Brian Schnieder could be traded. God I would love to have him as our catcher. Considered probably one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

I love his caught stealing %. While it isn't great this year he has a career .422%. That is compared to Barrett's .239%.

What is frighting about the pace of guys running against Barrett is that if he plays 120 games like he usually does he is due to have 144 SB's against him and only 32 of them caught stealing. He has already had 36 SB's against him in 27 games.

We laugh at Piazza and being able to run on him all day. He has 31 SB's against in 26 games. Barrett is just as bad. Teams can run all day against him as well.

This team needs a real catcher and Barrett needs to be deep sixed to the AL where he can DH part time.

Bring back Vance Law!

Or something.

brian "on the DL" schneider may be the best defender in the game, but he's making barrett's loot with a fraction of his bat production.

he's owed 4-5m the next 3 years, too.

Observations:

Michael Barrett can't throw runners out, can't block the plate and, most importantly, isn't good working with pitchers ala a Damian Miller. Yet some of you worship the guy because he can hit .280. Lovely.

Todd Walker can't play 2nd base. At least Dusty has the option of hiding his glove over at 1st base right now.

Mark Prior is not expected back to the big league club before June 15th. It is still uncertain when he will begin throwing in minor league games. And yet we keep being told that his medical reports all came back positive. This nonsense has been going on for three seasons with Prior. Absolutely ridiculous. It almost sounds like a guy who doesn't want to be a major league baseball player and would be happier being a real estate or mowing lawns. Prior does come from a wealthy family. Maybe its a case of motivation.

Yes, because if there's one thing this team has an overabundance of at the moment, it's offense. Trade Barrett!

yeah, let's punt some more offense right now. Good plan!!!

Perhaps some of you should learn the nuances of winning baseball. Offense is supremely important, but there are other equally vital components to the game. Like playing good defense. Catcher is the most important defensive position on the diamond next to shortstop. Barrett sucks behind the plate and sucks working with Cub pitchers. Mike Piazza has always sucked behind the plate, but at least he was solid workings in combination with his booming Hall of Fame bat. Barrett is a liability on this ballclub. And a big one. Some of you need to stop reading the statistics on the back of bubble gum cards and spend some time learning the game of baseball.

I meant to say Mike Piazza has been historically solid in working with pitchers in Los Angeles and New York.

mike...people understand what D up the middle is all about and not everyone is lulled into a ba/ob% into the end-all for a catcher. that said, barrett and piazza are only really comparable in the sb/cs department. i'll take barrett behind the plate any day...he's a hell of a better blocker and target.

Is catching an important defensive position? Absolutely.

Is Barrett a great defense catcher? Absoluetly not.

But its interesting that you say stathead don't know baseball: here's the thing about defense, Since there are no good stats to show how a person improves or declines defensively, people tend to think that defensive performance doesn't change over time.

Michael Barrett has improved his defense significantly since his days in Montreal. Most people looking only at how he catches now would call him average defensively. In fact, he was praised for his defense during the WBC, and even became the Rocket's personal catcher. No there aren't any good stats to show it, but people who know baseball know that Michael Barrett isn't the same catcher he was 2 years ago.

To use the stupid argument people use about leadoff men. Some catchers who have won World Series:

Jason Varitek - Horrible D
A. J. Pierzynski - Horrible D
Javier Lopez -Horrible D

Jason Varitek is widely viewed as the best catcher at working with pitchers in all of baseball. A.J. Pierzynski did a wonderful job in working with Brad Radke, Johan Santana and Kyle Lohse in Minnesota. His work with the White Sox has been nothing short of exceptional. Javy Lopez is an aging, broken down catcher. During his heyday in Atlanta he was a gold-glove caliber defensive catcher. Also, he played a complimentary hand in the performance of Tommy Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery, and Kevin Millwood (Greg Maddux employed his personal catcher Eddie Perez and Paul Bako).

Barrett blows behind the plate. I'd love to see him get a crack at 2nd base. He used to be a 3rd baseman and seems atheltic enough. Craig Biggio came up as a catcher and made himself a Hall of Fame 2nd baseman. Why not give Barrett a crack at 2nd? 2006 is a lost season. Who really cares of Henry Blanco and Geovany Soto have to catch for the rest of the season until we can acquire a real catcher. Barrett might be a revelation at 2nd.

Steve Stone on the Score last night said that before every game the catcher, pitcher, and pitching coach go over the hitters and how to pitch to them.

So you have to indict all of them when talking about mishandling the pitchers.

If you honestly think that you must have a superior defensive catcher to have any shot at winning, how the hell do all these other teams get by without said great catcher? Even if I buy the argument's about Varitek, A.J. being great with pitching staffs (which i don't, what I buy is there great with staffs that make their starts), they suck in every other aspect. So what is it? Do they just have to supposedly be great at working with (healthy) pitching staffs or do they need to be the total package?

I hate all of this Damian Miller was a catching god garbage that keeps getting posted. If you guys will remember back to 2003. Miller was BENCHED IN THE PLAYOFFS IN FAVOR OF PAUL FREAKIN BAKO. Yes you just read that. It was not a typo. If Millers defense was so indespensable, I highly doubt that would have happened. Also, the 2004 team actually won one more game than the 2003 team with Barrett behind the plate. Its not like the pitching staff magically turned into the rockies staff as soon as they realized that they were throwing to Michael Barrett.

Cubswinthepennant # 108 : You are probably correct about Prior's supposed return date. I may have gotten Prior mixed up with Miller. But do you really think that Prior will be back by early June? I hope so but frankly I am not optimistic. I see that Carrie M. at Cubs.com is saying that the reason it is taking Prior so long to return is that the Cubs want to be 100% certain that he will not reinjure himself or suffer any setbacks and so they are going very slowly. Sorry, but there is no formula for guarenteeing this. There is a lack of info so it is hard to say but I think that, if anything, the Cubs have been much, much too cautious in getting Prior into a real game this year. I think there is something to be said for being too cautious and that this can be just as damaging as rushing a guy a bit. I mean, I wonder where Prior's head is. When he inevitably feels the normal arm strain that any pitcher is gonna feel, will Prior get scared and let it effect him mentally on the mound?

http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

Many of you have read it, re-read it if you wish. As the last paragraphs says, if we can improve I have no problem parting with Barrett, but just improving defensively while completely punting offensive is not a solution.

Can Wood's Return Spark Lifeless Cubs?

http://www.ktvu.com/mlb/9226129/detail.html

Yo Rob:

"To use the stupid argument people use about leadoff men."

Next time, be a man and say this:

To use the stupid argument CHAD uses about leadoff men...

Sheesh.

Mark Prior doesn't strike me as a guy that wants to be a major league ballplayer. He comes from a wealthy family in Southern California. Maybe he'd rather apply his degree in business from USC versus pitching. The doctors haven't found anything wrong, yet Prior will probably wind up missing half the 2006 season. In 2003 and 2004 he was on the shelf for significant periods of time too. The Cubs should have taken the bait when Philly dangled Bobby Abreu.

Did you know that Ryan Dempster and wife are expecting their first child any minute?

I wonder if that had anything to do with RD's less than awesome last outing?

mark prior was the highest touted college pitcher since jim abbott and has been training to be a professional ballplayer since age 15.

at an age where most kids are daydreaming about what his first car might be when he gets his license he was meeting his first nutricion and conditioning coaches.

that said, he never experienced his first injury ever until just a few years ago. he may not be mentally prepared to deal with his body telling him he can't do something he's always done, but he's not a clueless tallent with no idea how to tap its potential.

If Prior were playing for Ozzie and Cooper on the Southside of Chicago, he would be held to higher standards...If he didn't deliver after a reasonable period of time, Kenny Williams would trade him. The White Sox do not hold onto many unproductive players - they don't have the patience...As a club they have a sense of urgency to constantly improve the team's performance. Hendry, Dusty and Rothchild have not created the same kind of culture and it's held the Cubs back. McFail doesn't realize this (or doesn't want to address this). I'm convinced the Cubs may not become a serious contender until they have new ownership.

i cant believe people wanna get rid of prior with 2 years eligable left of club control.

if he didnt run into giles or take a comebacker off his elbow people probally wouldnt even be bitching. his downtime would have been severely reduced and his work load would be shown.

he's not out there throwing 80 pitches then losing 3-4mph off his fastball or been the victim of a major surgery.

the last time he came back from his non-freak-related injury he went 3-0 with a 1.00-ish era his first partial month back.

A.J. had a bad reputation for poor defensive skills behind the plate which is why Minnesota traded him. (They got Francisco Lorriano and Joe Nathon for him in a trade). But he could hit.

It depends what a team is willing to live with in a catcher or not.

I just bring up Schnieder because I think this team needs to start to being rebuilt through defense. We are already walking too many players, why should we give teams a free pass to second base 100-140 times during the season, as well, because our catcher can't throw out anyone? If we could cut that number in half that is a start to making us better.

I don't know why a team wins more with one catcher or not. But for Boston I think it has more to do with Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez off-setting any defensive liabilities Varitek has.

For the Whitesox the defense of Rowand, Crede, Uribe (is he any good on defense? I don't know anything about him), Iguchi, and Dye (Dye isn't as good as he once was, but he can hold his own) probably off-sets anything that A.J. does negative on his end. This year the Sox added more offense.

The Cubs don't compare to either team. We don't have great defensive around the diamond and no offense either. So we are pretty much screwed either way. I just would rather limit the amount of runs given away to opposing teams through better defense at the catcher position.

Bringing Schnieder aboard isn't going to magically make us a division contendor. But its a start to reshaping this team into a better defensively sound team.

Lets not forget the Angels, Florida, and D'backs won with very good defensive catchers. But neither of the teams mentioned won solely because of who their catcher was.

It is an arguement of beliefs. I believe in defense comes first, then offense. Others believe offense first, defense second.

Who knows who is correct. Teams have won with both styles, but one thing is for certain, neither team relied heavily on the offense of a catcher or his defense. A team needs talent at other positions as well.

Crunch, but at some point the straw breaks the camel's back. This latest injury strikes me as kind of mind-boggling. No real objective evidence of any injury and yet he has been as good as inactive in February, March, April and now most of May. Something just seems very wrong with this picture. Sure, he pitched well at some point last year when he returned from an injury. That would have been fine if he had pitched in February or March or even April of this year. But history is telling us that, even when this guy returns, something happens - sometimes, granted, not his fault but sometimes just mysterious - - that puts him right back on the disabled list. If I was a betting man, I would bet that we won't see Prior pitching in Chicago until mid-June at the earliest and that we will hear those magic words "shut down" before September 1st.

barrett is not a good thrower...i find him to be a good target and glove guy...he'll never be as good of a target as sandy alomar jr. and he'll never be as good of a glove as mike mathney, but he's average at worst at both of those.

i'd say he's better than average at blocking, myself...especially considering how f'n wild the cubs pitching has been for years. for all the K's they pile up, they put a good number outside the zone and miss spots...166bb for the team this year so far (ow).

his arm has been attrocious this year, though his accuracy has been pretty decent. he's been damn slow getting out of the crouch. yes, sometimes the pitcher is giving away that SB, but he's been noticably slow getting in possition to throw this year and its not like he's got much room to fail in that department as it is.

It really doesn't matter whether Mark Prior has been out with the bubonic plague, his arm fell off, or its all in his head. The POINT is that Prior will miss 1/2 OF THE 2006 SEASON! In 2004 and 2005 he missed significant chunks of time. At some point you start to care less that he looks like the next Tom Seaver on the mound when he pitches, because he never friggin pitches!

The other poster is right. The White Sox or any other good team wouldn't have put up with this B.S. for so long. Prior has battled problems with his mechanics for three years! At this stage, I'm willing to trade him for a new Gatorade cooler and a box of sunflower seeds to be named later. At least those things will provide value to my team.

arm...the guy is out there rebabing...taking buses...sitting in 90-100 degree arizona heat...surrounded by 18-20 year olds and getting around taking the bus and rental car.

he's still gotta work. he's gotta go to doctors...he's gotta sit in the training room...he's gotta longtoss and shortoss in between rehab appearances. he's gotta be evaluated after any work even if he's not gonna throw a single ball that day.

its pure speculation, but i don't really think he's giving up being with his peers and working every 5th day to put up with that. the guy has 2 years of club control and his pay next year will directly be effected by what he does this year. missing time for the hell of it isnt a great way to accomplish it.

no one in the org. has raised concern about his work ethic. the best anyone can come up with is questioning his offseason work habbits.

very very very very rarely will a team ever stick their noses in any player's offseason work habits, but prior might need to try something next this winter.

Some random thoughts...

Mark Prior is nuts, or at minimum, has psychological issues that causes anxiety or insecurities when pitching.

Aramis Ramirez isn't ever going to be a team leader and step in and take over....still lazy...

Dusty Baker seems to be a clone of Don Baylor....honestly they both are lifeless and offer little inspiration for their players to go kick butt.

Kelton and DuBois sure were the real deal....along with Mitre, Wellemeyer, Guzman, Cruz, Patterson, Prior.....

When your foundation for the future are players such as the above and you never make a splash in the free agent market then you are forced to overpay for Neifi Perez type players...make them starters...and spend 100 million dollars a year for the Pittsburgh Pirates (or their caliber).

Cub Fans would be well served if a meteorite devastated Wrigley Field...or at least an Earthquake destroying making the site totally useless for rebuilding.

Stone and Carey are employed elsewhere because the Cubs could foresee the future and couldn't handle the truth being spoken by Tribune Company employees.

Dusty Baker will be rendered a contract extension during the next two game winning streak...

The Cubs will continue talking like they are buyers as they slip further and further closer and then fall below the Pirates....while the next best 15 teams to the Cubs admit they are out of it and sell off players and rebuild.

Cubs will never be in a rebuilding state...they prefer to keep navigating the Titanic.

"Stone and Carey are employed elsewhere because the Cubs could foresee the future and couldn't handle the truth being spoken by Tribune Company employees."

this isnt a diss or an insult..seriously.

but did you ever hear harry caray? that stuff stone did was nothing compared to harry... steve stone is not an innocent baby and there's a good reason you never heard a lotta stone-in-the-clubhouse "this player told me this" type stuff outta him in the booth.

hell, stone the player wasnt even popular with his teammates. he was in quiche and wine player in the steak and cocaine era.

Someone mentioned Nomar earlier in the thread and I find it humoruous that Hendry seems to sign/keep injury prone players, but in the instances of Nomar and Alou, he let them go and those two actually have performed very good after his Cub career.

Alou 2005: .321/.400/.518, 19 HR and 63 RBI
Alou 2006: .378/.436/.671, 7 HR and 25 RBI
Nomar 2006: .354/.426/.671, 5 HR and 23 RBI

I agreed with letting Nomar go, but not Alou.

Re: Mark Prior

I'd love to know of another employer outside of the Chicago Cubs who would let one of their key employees miss one half of the working season for unidentifiable and vague purpose while they are paying that employee full generous salary. And to do this after the employee missed significant chunks of working time the previous two years because of questionable conditioning and offseason preparation.

Heck, I'd love to know of any other major league baseball team outside of the Chciagi Cubs who would tolerate this never ending soap opera.

Cubs lineup:

Pierre
Murton
Walker
ARam
Mabry
Barrett
JJ
Cedeno
Z

Crunch, yes, I assume that Prior is doing something down there in Arizona. And common sense tells me that a pitcher would want to be pitching with the club if he could. I am just saying that there seems to be more to it than, well, the guy is injured and rehabbing. I am not saying he is nuts or a head case but something seems wrong, beyond just a guy who is rehabbing. Why has he been shut down from pitching off the mound to any real extent from February to May if there is no objective evidence of any injury?

the cubs are not sitting around scratching their heads going "oh gee, mark...we have no idea what's wrong...go throw in arizona for a few weeks."

they know...just cuz dave miley hasn't told us yet doesn't mean they don't know.

they're calling it a right subscapularis strain right now, btw.

Imagine if you were a Cub fan who was just awakening from a coma that you've been in since February. After recovering from vapor lock by reading the National League Central standings in the newspaper, he'd turn around to his wife and ask, "so what happened to Mark Prior that he hasn't pitched this season?" His wife being a fellow diehard would respond, "nobody has the foggiest dear...nobody found anything wrong with his arm...all we know for certain is that contracted a nasty bout of the flu for two weeks in late December." And that point, the gentleman would go back into his coma and say to hell with being a Cub fan.

Gerald, well, I am beginning to suspect that, when the guy wakes up from his next coma, there still will be no real change in Mark's status.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....

There are two Mark Priors--

The Pre-Bartman era Mark Prior
The Post-Bartman era Mark Prior

There is no doubt in my mind that something happened to Mark Prior in that game and he's never been right since.

Hell maybe he just thinks it isn't worth it all. He was an unknown stud college player who was the star of USC baseball....America doesn't even know the best college baseball player...they know thousands of college basketball and football players names...but not baseball...he was a nobody...

Then he became the talk of the town...an overnight success. He was a stud on America's grand stage in October...at none other than Wrigley Field....just a few outs away from a historic trip to the World Series...then Bartman...then the Gonzales error...then more hits given up by Prior....

then a mysterious injury over the winter...wet towel tosses from flat ground....never getting back on track..mystery pain....mystery MRI's....never stepping back on the grand stage again....

Maybe he prefers life out of the spotlight...maybe he would rather sell insurance than pitch baseballs...because I get a feeling right now he's just going through the motions not sure what he should do. He knows who butters his bread so he'll do what he has to to keep getting butter...Hell a relatively uneventful short career has him set financially for life in all honesty. He may be perfectly content to walk away from it all. Seems to me that is his attitude.

find it humoruous that Hendry seems to sign/keep injury prone players, but in the instances of Nomar and Alou, he let them go and those two actually have performed very good after his Cub career.

Performed well, yes, but you can hardly say they've lost their injury prone status.

Nomar started the season on the DL, and Alou is currently out for the month with an ankle injury.

alou's ankle injury is pretty bad...shame...he really discovered his oldschool fastball killing stroke when he went to SF. probally helps the manager is alou's longest and best coach. he owned playing at home there. hopefully, he can make a comeback that will let him play a couple more seasons if that's his plan.

Bleeing Blue:
"Performed well, yes, but you can hardly say they've lost their injury prone status. Nomar started the season on the DL, and Alou is currently out for the month with an ankle injury."

But at least when they play, they are very good. And actually Alou hasn't been injured that much over the past 4-5 years or so. A few of the games he has missed were days off given to him due to his age.

I would still rather have them that most on our team now or last year.

If we are talking strictly 2006, I'll take 39 year old Moises Alou over anybody else we've got in the outfield. That includes Matt Murton. Alou can flat out rake and is a professional hitter. The Cubs sorely, sorely lack that skill set in 2006.

If we are talking strictly 2006, I'll take 39 year old Moises Alou over anybody else we've got in the outfield. That includes Matt Murton. Alou can flat out rake and is a professional hitter. The Cubs sorely, sorely lack that skill set in 2006.

I wish Hendry would have kept Nomar, or at least offered him arbitration. That would have made a hell of a lot more sense than resigning Neifi.

Alou's a decent enough player, who is doing better now that he has a manger who at least has some control over him (and I'm refering to more than just batting stats).

crunch:
"alou's ankle injury is pretty bad...shame..."

Actually SF said today that he has improved greatly and they now expect him to be back about teh time he is eligible to come off DL.

And yes, as I said at teh end of 2004 and I say now, i would LOVED to have ALOU.

Bleeding Blue:
"Alou's a decent enough player, who is doing better now that he has a manger who at least has some control over him (and I'm refering to more than just batting stats)."

I know you try and find anyway or anyhow to take a shot at Dusty no matter the topic (SPIN SPIN SPIN), but his new manager is his father. I would assume he would have more control over him than ANY other maanger, but for teh record Alou DID NOT want to leave the Cubs, that was Hendry's decision.

Cubfan you're pre/post Bartman analysis is plain stupid. Take a look at his AWESOME pre-broken arm stats from last year. The guy was back i for only a glimpse until that ball caromed off his arm.

I know Alou didn't want to leave the Cubs, and considering Alou's behavoir with the Cubs I can understand the decision.

I agree that Alou playing for his father has helped him immensely. I don't think we would see the same results if he was still with the Cubs.

Bleeding Blue:
"considering Alou's behavoir with the Cubs I can understand the decision."

And he with his supposed "behavoir" I, and I think most fans, would still love to have him on the Cubs, as at least he performs well and has some offense unlike most of our players.

"I agree that Alou playing for his father has helped him immensely. I don't think we would see the same results if he was still with the Cubs."

I don't think there would be much of a difference at all. But I am pretty sure we would see those same results with any other manager (except his dad), no matter the team nor the manager. He is just a very good offensive pplayer and a very professional hitter.

To use the stupid argument CHAD uses about leadoff men...

I honestly don't recall it being any one person doing that and I usually try and not call out individual people unless I'm addressing a specific point they made.

From Post #145:

"the cubs are not sitting around scratching their heads going "oh gee, mark...we have no idea what's wrong...go throw in arizona for a few weeks."

they know...just cuz dave miley hasn't told us yet doesn't mean they don't know."
-

I knew things had gotten bad but I had no idea that we are now relying on an inter-division rival's ex-manager to give us injury news on our star players !!

hahahaha

i meant bruce miles...that's a hell of a brainfart.

Haha, I was guessing Mike Kiley, but either way, I knew what ya meant.

Just thought I'd have a little fun... up until tonight, thats been tough when reading up on the Cubbies.

I'm a douchebag.

End o' Subject.

Fire Dusty this is one of the most obvious moves ever. How is it that we bring in people like Juan Pierre and Dusty Manges them up. Corey Patterson also died under Dusty and now look how hes doing.

I mean Messes

Please, please, please, please fire this idiot. How many times can a manager excuse poor play and not have people realize that the lack of effort and discipline exhibited by the Cubs comes from Dusty. Get rid of him, it's way past time.

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