AFL Rosters

The Cubs announced which players they'll be sending to the Arizona Fall League this year and the lucky seven are: (Drumroll Please) Carmen Pignatiello - LHP Lincoln Holdzkom - RHP Grant Johnson - RHP Clay Rapada - LHP Jake Fox - C Scott Moore - 3B Eric Patterson - 2B It appears the trend for the Cubs lately in regards to the AFL is to reward position players who have had a good season and then mix up the pitchers between relievers and those who missed time due to injury. This year Johnson and Holdzkom fall into that last category much like Angel Guzman last year. This will be Patterson's second consectutive trip to the AFL. I'm also guessing one of the players will be deemed a "taxi squad player" since I believe you can only send six regular roster players to the AFL. Taxi Squad players can only play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Cubs will also be sending AA manager and former major league Pat Listach to manage the Mesa Solar Sox who are comprised of players from the Astros, Dodgers, Twins and Mets as well as the Cubs.
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The lucky ones will be sent to Hawaii this winter.

Jake Fox started at RF last night for the Diamond Jaxx (possible trend?) -- also impressive debut for Chris Robinson at Daytona, 3-5 with a double and 3 RBI.

Boise Hawks took 11 walks last night -- you know an irate Jim Hendry will be calling the manager this morning threatening to can him if this "non-agressive" style of play continues.

I'm ignorant on the whole AFL, would Pie benefit in playing in the AFL this year?

Or is he beyond that?

Would the Venezuelan/Caribean league be more beneficial?

Jacos, Arizona Phil wrote a pretty thorough article about the AFL a couple of weeks ago.

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

Several observations...

The best thing for Felix Pie and the Cubs is for him to play 2007 in Des Moines. Pie is an undisciplined hitter in the mold of so many other Cub players and "prospects." Let him keep working in Iowa. Hopefully he is solidly in a position to become an everyday player for the Cubs in 2008.

Ronny Cedeno is dreadful. There is not one single redeeming quality to his game. Everybody keeps talking about his defensive prowess, but I haven't seen it. Jim Hendry needs to sign Ray Durham to a contract this winter. Eric Patterson needs at least another season in the minors.

1. Pierre - CF
2. Durham - 2nd
3. Lee - 1st
4. Ramirez - 3rd
5. Jones - RF
6. Murton - LF
7. Barrett - Cat
8. Izturis - SS

Not great, but not awful. Focus offseason dollars on upgrading the pitching. Barry Zito isn't coming to Chicago, but perhaps we can lure Jason Schmidt.

Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but an interesting article on the proposed parking garage in the Sun-Times.

http://www.chicagosuntimes.com/output/cubs/cs...

"They're looking to find some partnering opportunities with other companies in the city, possibly some naming rights. I would assume they might try to bring in somebody who wants their name on Wrigley Field."

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Friendly Confines of Taco Bell Field.

Pie could play in the AFL, but the team is limited to one foreign born player. There's a good chance Pie will go play in the Dominican Winter League anyway as he's done the last couple of years. He also plays for Licey which are one the most popular Dominican League teams.

"Pie will go play in the Dominican Winter League"

I'm guessing he will not learn alot of patience at the plate down there.

Carmen Pignatiello (recently promoted from AA to Iowa) was eligible to be a six-year minor league FA after this season, so the Cubs giving him one of their slots in the AFL must mean he has agreed to a 2007 minor league contract and will almost certainly get an NRI to Spring Training. (Free-agents are not eligible to play in the AFL). Hendry did the same thing last year with Brandon Sing to entice him to re-sign with the Cubs instead of exercising his option to be a FA. And if Pignatiello pitches great in the AFL, he could still be added to the 40-man roster.

Clay Rapada and Lincoln Holdzkom are a couple of the pitchers who are "on the bubble" as far as spots on the 40-man roster are concerned, so what happens with them will depend a lot on how they perform in the AFL. A couple of years ago, Russ Rohlicek was the best lefty reliever in the AFL, and it got him a spot on the 40-man roster (the AFL season ends about a week prior to the date when the 40-man rosters are frozen in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft), although he was subsequently dropped from the 40 a year later and then got released from Iowa this past Spring Training.

If a pitcher or a player performs well in the AFL but is not placed on his club's 40-man roster, there is still hope. There is always the Rule 5 Draft. In fact, that's exactly how '06 N. L. ROY candidate Dan Uggla caught the Marlins attention last year, by playing very well in the AFL.

As Rob G mentioned, one of the three position players assigned to the AFL by the Cubs (either Scott Moore, Eric Patterson, or Jake Fox) will have to be placed on the Taxi Squad and will be eligible to play only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (There are no AFL games on Sundays).

Both Eric Patterson (last year) and Jake Fox (in 2004) have played previously in the AFL. Fox is an almost sure-bet lock to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster after this season, but E-Pat will not need to be added to the 40-man roster until after next season (so don't expect a September '06 call-up for him).

No word yet on which Cubs players will be going to the Hawaii Winter Baseball League, or to the Latin winter leagues in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, or the Dominican Republic.

Why not, Jacos?

I'm looking at the perception of the free swinging Caribean players. "You don't walk off the island."

Maybe not patience was not right thought, I hopes he learns the strike zone.

Pie is playing pretty well this year, a bit streaky to be sure, but his overall #'s are pretty good.

.280/.336/.437, 12 HR,29 2B, 7 3B 54RBI, 14 SB but 10 CS, which needs to improve.

He needs to cut down on his strikouts, but it's not like he's hitting .220 this year.

#2 of 10: By Eric S (August 22, 2006 08:43 AM)
Jake Fox started at RF last night for the Diamond Jaxx (possible trend?) -- also impressive debut for Chris Robinson at Daytona, 3-5 with a double and 3 RBI.

-

ERIC S: It wasn't necessary to do this when Jake Fox was at Daytona because the FSL uses the DH, but to keep his bat in the lineup at AA West Tenn on days when he's not catching, manager Pat Listach has been playing Jake Fox in LF or RF. Many managers do this, playing a good-hitting offensive catcher at another position (usually 1B, 3B, LF, or RF) on days when they are not catching.

For instance, Sparky Anderson would play Johnny Bench at 3B or 1B when Bench wasn't catching, just like Yogi Berra would play LF, Elston Howard would play 1B, Joe Torre would play 1B or 3B, Gus Triandos and Sherm Lollar would play 1B, etc, on days when they weren't catching. They might not win a Gold Glove at their "secondary" position, but at least the team doesn't lose a big bat. (Implementing the DH in 1972 took that worry away from A. L. managers).

It's up to the manager (N. L. managers only nowadays) to find a second or third position for a good-hitting catcher to play in order to keep his bat in the lineup when he's not catching, and good managers do this in Spring Training.

AFL for CEDENO, too?

I must say my patience for Cedeno is wearing thin after seeing his 20 errors in 115 games, and his woeful hitting.

He is currently LAST in all of baseball in FP!!

Incidently, $13MM Man Furcal is only a few positions above him in FP, but somehow his .285 BA and .360 OBP makes up for this mediocre fielding.

I'm leaning on admitting I was wrong on what I was hoping for - Ronny Cedeno developing into a solid MLB infielder. I just would have liked to seen freakin' PROGRESS! It ain't there, man!

LEt's get Soriano, Giles, Lugo, Miggy or players of this caliber and re-load.

#12 of 13: By Dusty Baylor (August 22, 2006 10:43 AM)
Pie is playing pretty well this year, a bit streaky to be sure, but his overall #'s are pretty good.

.280/.336/.437, 12 HR,29 2B, 7 3B 54RBI, 14 SB but 10 CS, which needs to improve.

He needs to cut down on his strikouts, but it's not like he's hitting .220 this year.

DUSTY B: Base-stealing was one of Felix Pie's weaknesses coming into this season, but after working with Bob Dernier for a few weeks, Pie has had quite a reversal of fortune. In his last 50 games, Pie has 10 SB with only two CS, which is a tremendous improvement for him.

And Von Joshua has apparently helped Pie with his hitting, too.

Felix Pie in his last 50 games:

68-212 (.321)
.363 OBP
.486 SLG
.849 OPS
38 RUNS SCORED
5 HR
17 RBI
16 2B
2 3B
14 BB
37 K (one in every six PA)
10 SB (2 CS)
5 OF ASSISTS (15 OF ASSISTS for the year - leads Cubs organization)
1 E

Like I always say, you have to give young players a chance to improve their deficiencies. Young players can change their mastering of skill-sets dramatically in just a matter of weeks or months. You have to look at what they have done lately.

I agree Az Phil.

Its just that I feel that PIe gets a bit of a bum rap sometimes. It looks like he's having a solid season at Iowa.

The difference between teachers and cronies:

TEACHERS:
Bob Dernier
Bobby Dickerson
Alan Dunn
Von Joshua
Richie Zisk

CRONIES:
Gene Clines
Wendell Kim
Juan Lopez
Gary Matthews, Sr
Dick Pole

AZ Phil-
What did these "teachers" do to Cedeno, Marmol, Mateo, Guzman, etc. Cedeno can't field or hit and the pitchers can't throw strikes.

The Cub outfield situation is problematic. I would be absolutely shocked if Juan Pierre isn't signed to a new deal by the Cubs, probably in the neighborhood of $8-9 million per season. Meanwhile Jacque Jones is under contract for two more years and Matt Murton shows a degree of promise. But the Cubs absolutely MUST address their offensive shortcomings. HOW do they do that short of finding the next Ryne Sandberg to play 2nd base?

My thinking is that Hendry will sign Cliff Floyd under the theory that he is a desperately needed left-handed hitting run producer who may accept a reduced role with his hometown Cubs. Otherwise signing Ray Durham makes sense.

#18 of 19: By mannytrillo (August 22, 2006 11:39 AM)
AZ Phil-
What did these "teachers" do to Cedeno, Marmol, Mateo, Guzman, etc. Cedeno can't field or hit and the pitchers can't throw strikes.

----

MANNY T: Those pitchers you mentioned threw strikes in the minors and Cedeno was a good hitter in the minors, but now with only Dusty and his cronies to "help" them, the kids are on their own and are quite obviously having difficulty making adjustments.

If the Cubs are going to go with young pitchers and young position players, Dusty and his Merry Men are the wrong men for the job.

If Cliff Floyd and/or Ray Durham are the answers to this year's problems I'm going to stab myself in the kidneys.

AZ Phil:
"Those pitchers you mentioned threw strikes in the minors and Cedeno was a good hitter in the minors, but now with only Dusty and his cronies to "help" them, the kids are on their own and are quite obviously having difficulty making adjustments."

Or these "prospects" just aren't as good as you and others think. You know, the whole AAAA type player that Cubs fans are all too much used to seeing.

"If the Cubs are going to go with young pitchers and young position players, Dusty and his Merry Men are the wrong men for the job."

And I agree 100% with that. If the Cubs are going to go with the young players, basically saying they are rebuilding and not really trying to win right now, there is no need to pay anyone $4 million to rebuild.

But with the minor league system getting worse each year lately, at some point we need to question really how good of a judge of talent Jim Hendry is.

"But with the minor league system getting worse each year lately, at some point we need to question really how good of a judge of talent Jim Hendry is."

Um, by what measure is the minor league system getting worse lately? BA's rankings? How are the Yankees, White Sox and Cardinals doing there? Also, Jim Hendry's job is not to judge talent. It is to analyze the information avaialable (from scouting and other sources) to him and make the best decisions for the team.

I'd take Ray Durham, he can hit and wont' be overly expensive.

His defense has slipped and he finds the DL far too often but we have a plethora of backups at that position, Cedeno, Theriot, Fontentot and E-Pat.

Here's something you wouldn't have guessed:
Top 5 NL Teams in Defensive Efficiency (Turning a batted ball in play into an out basically)

1. Padres .716
2. Mets .709
3. Cubs .709
4. Giants .709
5. Cardinals .701

Cubs have also allowed the least amount of runners to reach first base as a direct result of a fielding error or ROE as BP calls it...35 total. They have 70 errors as a team (I'm not sure where that ranks them).

Manny:

Marshall, Marmol, Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, Hill. You want to point me to another organization that has that many MLB ready options in their system?

I'm Sich and Tired and Ready for Some Balance by Todd Jones
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=imsicka...

Ironically, he's not recommending balance at all. (Fire the copy editor!) He's recommending a year-by-year switch-off between the balanced and unbalanced schedules, to keep things interesting for the fans. I think it's an interesting idea, but would that ever go in baseball? The tortoise of sports-fan-friendly species?

according to the interview Hendry did over at BCB he has nothing to do with the draft (have to admit I'm a bit surprised). Claims Wilken makes all the decisions and all he did was help out a bit on some of the contracts particularly Samrd?????

I don't know if it's always been that way since he became GM though.

You guys are talking about Durham as like a 1 year fill-in type, right?

He is going to be 35 at the end of the year, after all...

MannyT, you're forgetting how destructive Dusty Baker's approach to teaching can be. He throws Clines, Matthews, himself and anyone else hanging around -- like Ron Santo-- at rookies going through a rough spot. That's what he did to Matt Murton.

Murton got dumped from his role as starter, not because his batting average slumped to .270 (see Angel Pagan, Freddie Bynum) but because he told them all their advice was contradictory and he decided to go back to what always worked for him.
As a result, Ron Santo dissed him, saying he was ignoring good advice (from him) and was only 4th outfielder material and Dusty Baker criticized him as suddenly unteachable (the Corey Patterson treatment).

But Murton was right. He got his stroke back over a lot of dead overpaid bodies. He's even driving in runs and winning games. And he's sitting on the bench half the time now.

Dusty is that shallow.

#22 of 22: By mannytrillo (August 22, 2006 12:01 PM)
AZ Phil:
"Those pitchers you mentioned threw strikes in the minors and Cedeno was a good hitter in the minors, but now with only Dusty and his cronies to "help" them, the kids are on their own and are quite obviously having difficulty making adjustments."

Or these "prospects" just aren't as good as you and others think. You know, the whole AAAA type player that Cubs fans are all too much used to seeing.

-

MANNY T: Maybe. Maybe not. We don't know that yet.

I think Dusty would do just fine managing the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Mets, or Dodgers, any team with a lot of high-priced egos. There is a skill in managing that type of team.

Dusty was EXCELLENT managing Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds in San Francisco. He is the kind of guy who can handle the high-priced self-centered athlete of today, and not just anybody can do that. And having "cronies" around can help support a manager who is in that type of situation, while "teachers" just get in the way. I mean, what are you going to "teach" A-Rod, Derek Jeter, and Randy Johnson?

A big problem with the Cubs right now is that there are a number of young pitchers and position players who are infiltrating up to the major leagues. These young Cubs pitchers and players require teaching at the MLB level, and Dusty does not emphasize that, and his coaching staff isn't built to do that. Right now, the Cubs need coaches who teach at the MLB level.

Even if Hendry signs two or three premier free-agents, it is likely that there will be a number of still-young and relatively inexperienced pitchers and position players on the Cubs regular season roster over the next year or so, and Dusty is just not the right TYPE of manager for that job, and a coaching staff of cronies definitely does not have the capability of giving a young pitcher or player on that team any useful instruction as it becomes necessary.

I should add that Angel Pagan is not starting in left field because he's a better fielder than Murton... as anyone who has watched him butcher LF can attest.

His baseball card for next year should feature that line drive off the wall where he actually ducked to avoid getting hit in the head.

Broken ankle for Aaron Rowand. He's lucky he didn't get killed.

"Murton got dumped from his role as starter, not because his batting average slumped to .270 (see Angel Pagan, Freddie Bynum) but because he told them all their advice was contradictory and he decided to go back to what always worked for him.
As a result, Ron Santo dissed him, saying he was ignoring good advice (from him) and was only 4th outfielder material and Dusty Baker criticized him as suddenly unteachable (the Corey Patterson treatment)."

Can someone point me to articles that mention these allegations? I never saw anything about Dusty saying Murton was unteachable or that Murton said he threw out advice and went back to what worked for him. Most of you here read more scraps of material than I do, so please, fill me in.

Tito:

I believe the stuff about Murton being "unteachable" was from Manny's post describing his conversation with Santo in a hotel bar.

#27 of 32: By Rob G. (August 22, 2006 12:15 PM)
according to the interview Hendry did over at BCB he has nothing to do with the draft (have to admit I'm a bit surprised). Claims Wilken makes all the decisions and all he did was help out a bit on some of the contracts particularly Samrd?????

I don't know if it's always been that way since he became GM though.

---

ROB G: Hendry really seems to be quite the hands-off delegator, doesn't he? Tim Wilken, Oneri Fleita, and Dusty Baker all seem to have significant control over their areas of responsibility. In terms of management style, Hendry seems to function more as a facilitator ("What can I do to help you do your job better?") than as a director ("Here's what I want you to do and here's how I want you to do it...").

I'm sort of thinking the way you are Doug (well, maybe I'm not going to stab myself in the kidney's). Thing is, I'd like to see the Cubbies look for someone who can take their time at the plate and see some pitches.

I wonder what it would take to snag Swisher with him batting .252 this year. I really like him, he has good patience at the plate, a lot of pop, and keeps the ball off the ground. He'd be worth a Rich Hill or two.

The .252 probably doesn't bother Oakland all that much, either, with him OBP & SLG still well above MLB average. I also like Cuddyer.

Felix has done well under a spotlight at AAA this year, especially in the second half when he needed to raise his game. Forget the comparisons to Corey Patterson. Patterson was promoted after hitting .253 at Iowa. .280 is not great but decent.

If the Pie is ready, take it out of the oven! We can live without Jones or Pierre. Pie has an arm, for one thing.

Rob:

I think Moneyball may color our perspective of how involved a typical GM is in drafting. I get the impression that it's generally left to the scouting staff, perhaps with the GM only stepping in on money issues (who they can/can't afford to draft).

"The best thing for Felix Pie and the Cubs is for him to play 2007 in Des Moines. Pie is an undisciplined hitter in the mold of so many other Cub players and "prospects." Let him keep working in Iowa. Hopefully he is solidly in a position to become an everyday player for the Cubs in 2008."

The best thing for Pie would have been to have him repeat at West Tenn this season then reward him with a AAA Iowa callup. He's proven he is often overmatched even though his stats are respectible for his age and undisciplined approach.

.282/.339/.439 29 db, 6 tr, 12 HR, 39 BB, 112 K, 14 SB, 10 CS in 490 AB...and 3 errors.

His plate discipline has been just as poor (16 BB's and 53 K's in 240 AB last year, same ratio in 490 AB this year)..so no progress, and his power and OBP have declined, and his SB% is no better (14/24 attempts this year compared to 13 of 22 attempts last year).

VIRGINIA PHIL: Hey, what's happenin' brother? You know, we got a "California Phil" here, too.

"Cliff Floyd and/or Ray Durham "
When did this team become the KC Royals? I know you will show me the splits on these but this just seems like Todd Hollandsworth/Jeromy Burnitz/ Todd Walker again.

Is it what's realistic with the Cubs management?
Probably.
Is it right?
Probably not.

one, two years for Durham, I'd take it, he's got 19 HR's this year in 376 AB's and a is an absolute guarantte to get on-base at a 350 cliip. Sounds like a perfect #2 hitter to me. As you said, he's 35, very unlikely to get more than a 2 or 3 year deal and should be very tradeable. And since he finds the DL a lot, I wouldn't be afraid of him blocking E-Pat, assuming we have a new manager who doesn't have a problem putting rookies in as fillers.

Of course if Marcus Giles is available in a trade this off-season, he'd be my #1 target, throw all the young pitching at them that we need to.

What did these "teachers" do to Cedeno, Marmol, Mateo

Mateo seems to be doing just fine. He gave us one of the best 2006 highlights when he hit Moonface Clemens.

"I think Moneyball may color our perspective of how involved a typical GM is in drafting"

Wilkens was in the booth after the draft and I specifically heard him announce Colvin as "my pick". I thought that was odd. But if Hendry is not involved I guess not. Does Hendry consult Wilkens when he trades any of the prospects?

No really, let's have Rothchild teach them...ugh.

He's done a masterful job with our staff...

Giles would be worth unloading some prospects for, but with the Betemit trade and A-Jones in his final year, I bet the Braves lock Giles up long term. I'd also gladly take a chance on Luis Castillo for a 2-3 year deal.

Lot's of Phils here all of a sudden.

I'm liking these Swisher/Durham ideas. Wonder what the odds are....1 percent?

"No really, let's have Rothchild teach them"

Yes with Marmol now on the DL, I think Larry needs to change his method of "teaching" by hitting Cub pitchers with a bamboo stick when they are bad.

I think Moneyball may color our perspective of how involved a typical GM is in drafting.

Probably true, although I'd venture a guess that small-market teams and their GM's take a greater interest in the draft than some of the big-market teams. Epstein seems to care about the draft though or at the very least put people in charge who share the Moneyball ethos.

On what planet is Ray Durham comparable to Walker, Burnitz and Holly? 2 of those 3 guys were signed as bench players initially and Burny was a last-minute option when we traded Sosa. Do you think Durham is a bench players or is going to last until Feb in the FA market?

I don't really care for Floyd, he doesn't hit much better than Durham and he plays LF and I'd venture a guess he'll hit worse than Murton next year. But Durham's a very good hitting second basemen, who will bring much-needed OBP to the team and likely be put at the top of the order. And he'd be 8 million times better than Cedeno that's for sure. Other than the injury risk and exactly how much his defense has fallen of, I would like to see him as a Cubbie next year. This is of course assuming everyone in baseball agrees that Soriano is done as a 2b.

swisher's not going anywhere

durham is a FA

Castillo has an incentive option which kicks in if he reaches 500 PA's or so, he's at 508 right now. So forget him.

Other 2B options are:
Ronnie Belliard
Soriano if anyone still thinks he's a 2B
Mark DeRosa
Julio Lugo who will probably stay at SS
Loretta
Adm Kennedy (good glove, good baserunner, hits righties pretty well)

or my other fave picks

Jerry Hairston Jr.
Todd Walker
Mark Bellhorn

:)

Bogey,

"The best thing for Pie would have been to have him repeat at West Tenn this season then reward him with a AAA Iowa callup. He's proven he is often overmatched even though his stats are respectible for his age and undisciplined approach.

.282/.339/.439 29 db, 6 tr, 12 HR, 39 BB, 112 K, 14 SB, 10 CS in 490 AB...and 3 errors.

His plate discipline has been just as poor (16 BB's and 53 K's in 240 AB last year, same ratio in 490 AB this year)..so no progress, and his power and OBP have declined, and his SB% is no better (14/24 attempts this year compared to 13 of 22 attempts last year)."

I am not going to re-emphazise what AZ Phil has already pointed out about Pie's recent performance, since you're obviously disgarding that.

Do you realize that AAA is higher than AA and that it is more difficult to succeed there? Maybe you're under the impression that All-Star calibre players spring fully developed onto the major leagues like Cabbage Patch babies, but the reality is that it happens extremely rarley. For every Albert Pujol and Fred Lynn there are 10 Ryne Sandbergs and Miguel Tejadas.

Also, when talking about K's and BB's you should use PAs not ABs. He has improved his walk rate, 1 BB per 15 AB's in '05 and one per 12.5 this year using the numbers you posted, btw.

#44 of 50: By jacos (August 22, 2006 12:43 PM)
"I think Moneyball may color our perspective of how involved a typical GM is in drafting"

Wilkens was in the booth after the draft and I specifically heard him announce Colvin as "my pick". I thought that was odd. But if Hendry is not involved I guess not. Does Hendry consult Wilkens when he trades any of the prospects?

--

JACOS: Once a player is drafted, he gets handed-off to Oneri Fleita (Director of Player Development). I doubt that Wilken has much if any input into where a player is assigned within the Cubs organization, and even less into whether the player should or should not be traded.

The Cubs farm system exists as a slave to the major league team and to the GM, and although it might hurt Fleita to see a favorite prospect get traded, his job is to see that his young pitchers and young position players get to the point where they are MLB-ready as soon as possible, and whether they remain with the Cubs or are used in a trade doesn't (or shouldn't) matter to anyone except the GM.

Carlos Lee hired Boras as his agent.

Boras now represents Lee, Zito, Soriano, and Daisuke Matsuzuka for this off-season.

Get out your check books.

Ray Durham's numbers look pretty good, but I just can't stomach another one of these free agent signings that would have looked a lot better 5 years ago. The Cubs do that all the time. They pick up a relatively big name to get the fans a little excited, but they fail to realize that the guy's numbers will likely take a fairly dramatic nose dive. Especially without Barry Bonds hitting behind him.

That said, it's not like there's a ton of great FA 2Bmen out there, but my god can we please try to find someone who might help stabilize the roster rather than turn it over every year?

That said, it's not like there's a ton of great FA 2Bmen out there, but my god can we please try to find someone who might help stabilize the roster rather than turn it over every year?

If there was someone available like Marcus Giles sure, but otherwise you have to fill it with stop-gaps and Durham's a pretty decent stop-gap. If Chase Utley suddenly becomes available or Rickie Weeks or Howie Kendrick, that's great, but they're not and Eric Patterson is one of the better 2B prospects in the game.

Go for the best available talent and right now I don't know of anyone better than Durham at 2b because I don't think Soriano will play 2b again. But maybe someone will be available in a trade.

Josh Willingham will be at the end of his 3rd year in the big leagues, does that mean he's arbitration-elgible?

Rickie Weeks would be great, Rob.

I don't think it's 3 years service time though, looks like he's just finished his first year actually.

and with a $15 million payroll the Marlins can afford everyone one of their players for next year. Although it wouldn't shock me if Cabrera or Willis are traded for half a team's minors.

I'm all for Murton hitting the crap out of the ball the next 2 months and being the centerpiece of a Cabrera deal. :)

MIKEC: "Boras is their agent...Get out your checkbook."

Don't worry Mike - The Cubs are going to get a quantity discount for signing Lee, Zito, and Soriano.

Hendry and Boras have a great relationship.

From the preview for today's game:

"Moyer began his Cubs career in 1986, and this will be his first game at Wrigley Field since Oct. 2, 1988. Moyer won that game, an 8-4 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was backed by home runs from Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson. The Cubs starting lineup that day was Rafael Palmeiro, Sandberg, Mark Grace, Dawson, Vance Law, Darren Jackson, Damon Berryhill and Shawon Dunston."

That brings back some memories of Dunston-Sandberg-Grace double plays, and the Hawk limping around the bases after knocking one out.

ROB G: I agree with you. Ray Durham sounds like a very good choice for 2B and the #2 spot in the order. Given his age and injury history, a two-year deal for about $12m ($6m per year) would be appropriate.

Durham would be a bridge to Eric Patterson, who should spend next season at AAA. If E-Pat develops faster than that, the Cubs can always trade Durham (anytime after June 15th), even if they have to eat part of his contract.

And if Patterson gets hurt or stalls, the Cubs would still be covered through 2008. And as you said, the Cubs have other temp options (Theriot, Cedeno, Fontenot, and Patterson) for when Durham suffers his annual pulled hammy.

Boras now represents Lee, Zito, Soriano, and Daisuke Matsuzuka for this off-season.

Well in somewhat good news that means the Wsox won't go after any of those guys as Williams has sworn off dealing with Boras. Hendry has a decent relationship with the guy actually but all those players will be put up in a bidding war which Hendry doesn't like to get involved in. I'm not really against that as you almost always overpay in FA. I'm all for overpaying for a 28 year old FA, not a 30 year old FA though. Zito and his innings-munching would be very much appreciated. I still think Hendry goes harder after Schmidt or Eaton.

I don't believe anybody is suggesting that Ray Durham is great answer at 2nd base. Yes he is 35 years old and yes he is injury plagued. But he represents humongous improvement over Augie Cedeno and would provide the Cubs a quality #2 hitter behind Juan Pierre. Plus Durham will probably be accepting of a two year deal, or a two year deal with an option. Unless somebody has clever plan for acquiring Chase Utley for minimal, Durham represents a quality fit with the Cubs. Investment in Durham is marginal risk.

Re: Barry Zito

I firmly believe there is snow ball chance in hell that he signs with the Cubs. He's a California guy who has also stated his fondness for the Big Apple. The Yanks, Mets and Dodgers are going to get into a severe bidding ware for his services.

Re: Carlos Lee

I don't want him at the pricetag he will command. Plus, if the Cubs are going to acquire a big run producer then it needs to be a left-handed bat with Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez already in the lineup. I far prefer the strategy of a smaller risk investment in Cliff Floyd to go along with Matt Murton and Jacque Jones.

Re: Jason Schmidt

If I am the dull-witted Jim Hendry, then Jason Schmidt is my primary offseason target. Schmidt is going to command a ton of money, but at least we should stand a decent chance in the bidding war. Unlike Zito.

"I am not going to re-emphazise what AZ Phil has already pointed out about Pie's recent performance, since you're obviously disgarding that."

Yeah, I tend to go with season long output rather than one small sample size of a hot streak...I'm weird like that.

"Do you realize that AAA is higher than AA and that it is more difficult to succeed there? Maybe you're under the impression that All-Star calibre players spring fully developed onto the major leagues like Cabbage Patch babies, but the reality is that it happens extremely rarley. For every Albert Pujol and Fred Lynn there are 10 Ryne Sandbergs and Miguel Tejadas."

Thanks for clearing up whether AA is higher than AAA. As for whether AA is more difficult than AAA that's debatable. There is no doubt that the starters at AA have better pure stuff than the Jeremy Gonzalez's of the world who hang on at AAA or any of the other 30 somethings who can't hang up the cleats, mixed in with the AAAA Rich Hill types of the world, but the pressure at AAA is much greater and the rest of your point isn't relevant to this discussion...really, the majority of young players tend to struggle upon bring brought up to the bigs?...never would have guessed. The question is whether Pie is being rushed and like C.Patterson was, he is.

Zito: Flyball pitcher prone to the home run ball, throws a lot of pitches, sometimes questionable control. He sounds like a Cub, but I sure hope Hendry doesn't waste the big bucks on him.

Schmidt: Fireballer with injury problems, also sounds like a Cub. He's looked okay this season, and his age/injury problems should keep him to a 2-3 year deal. That makes him my favorite option of the three.

Lee: Overweight bat-only outfielders don't tend to age well. Signing him to a five year deal would be a disaster in the long run. I hope Hendry passes, but I have a feeling he'll see this as the most realistic "splashy" move he can make.

"I think Moneyball may color our perspective of how involved a typical GM is in drafting. I get the impression that it's generally left to the scouting staff, perhaps with the GM only stepping in on money issues (who they can/can't afford to draft)."

Well, that's exactly what Jim Hendry told Al Yellon and Joe Hamrahi yesterday. Hendry said his only involvement in the draft was with the signing process. He was proud that he was able to sign some players the Cubs drafted who were available only because they were thought to be unsignable.

Check it out:

http://tinyurl.com/hrmpo

#57 of 67: By Ryno (August 22, 2006 01:14 PM)
Josh Willingham will be at the end of his 3rd year in the big leagues, does that mean he's arbitration-elgible?

RYNO: Josh Willingham will be at 1+123 MLB service time (give or take a day) after this season, so if he remains on the Marlins major league regular season roster for the entire season next year and the year-after, he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2008 season.

Triple A ball has deteriorated over the years to the point where it is mostly hangout for aging journeyman and 33 year old outfielders. Talents like Felix Pie are more the exception versus the rule at Triple A. Double A is usually the make or break league for a quality prospect.

Outside of A-Rod and possibly AJones are there any other highly paid good ball players who look like they are wearing out their welcome or will be part of a salary dump?

I think this will be Hendry's best route this offseason.

Jamie Moyer last pitcher here in 1988?
Wow- Reagen was still president.

Schmidt: going home to Seattle...Moyer gone, Meche probably gone and no one ready in the minors...they need two starters.

I hope Hendry doesn't try to go with a quick fix next season with one of these overpriced FA's. There will be a deep class of FA's in 2008 with V.Wells, Nathan, M.Young, M.Giles plus countless others and with this pathetic rotation, it's a wait until '08 situation.

There are no longer many teams in "salary purge" mode anymore thanks to smarter payroll management, the influx of greater non-ticket revenues into baseball and the revenue sharing agreement built into the last contract between MLB and the players union. The days of being able to acquire Aramis Ramirez for a bag of magic beans are gone.

Jim Hendry is going to be hamstrung this offseason. The Cub minor league system isn't bearing much fruit, the Cubs don't have much of value to trade (unless they intend to shop Zambrano or Lee, which of course they will never do) and the free agent market is thin. Barry Zito isn't coming to Chicago and neither is Alfonso Soriano. That leaves Hendry to go after Jason Schmidt and classic Cub aging vets (e.g., Cliff Floyd, Ray Durham).

I have to agree Bogey, though I'm not so ready to give up on Schmidt.

Rob's early FA odds:

Zito
Mets 2:1
RSox 2.5:1
Yanks 3:1
Dodgers: 5:1
Giants: 25:1
Cubs 25:1

Matsuzuka
Yanks 1:2
Mariners 5:1
RSox 10:1
Dodgers 25:1
Cubs 10,000:1

Schmidt:
Mariners 2:1
Cubs 3:1
Yanks 3:1
Rsox 4:1

Soriano:
Angels 5:1
Dodgers 7:1
Orioles 12:1
Cubs 100:1

Lee
Angels 6:1
Cubs 8:1
Mets 8:1
Rangers: 10:1

Well the cynic in me would put all of them at 10,000:1 but I think Hendry will sign at least one pretty big name FA, either a pitcher or power bat and then another second-tier FA.

I'm all for Schmidt and Durham as our FA signings, along with Ramirez if you count him as one. Then of course CF will be interesting. Cubs will try and sign Pierre, otherwise it's open season in trades or reclamation projects.

What I could see/hope:

Z
FA pitcher or big trade
Prior
Marshall/Guzman/Hill/Mateo/Ryu/Marmol/Miller fighting for the other 2 spots

Pierre/Lofton
Durham
Lee
Ramirez
Jones
Barrett
Murton
Izturis

that seems realistic, certainly not ideal, but realistic. Hendry will have a lot trade options as well.

Re: Coaching

It's a mixed bag -- D-Lee, Aramis and Barrett have clearly become better players since coming to the Cubs (DLee & Barrett offensively, A-Ram defensively). JJ is having a better offensive year than recently, although his throwing is downright hilarious. Last night's spike was a beauty.

Clearly, Corey didn't succeed here. Murton went through a normal adjustment period for a young player and seems to be back on track. Last year, he hit .300 at AA, AAA, the Cubs and the Fall league. He has proved he can, and will, hit.

So, I think it's unfair to say Cubs coaching/atmosphere kills player development. As with any organization, some guys do well and some guys don't -- I believe Big Papi was once released.

One big Dusty plus -- he always stays positive about his players in public. When Pierre and A-Ram were struggling early, Dusty always said they would hit and never got on them.

I still think the Dusty minuses outweigh the plusses, but you can see why players like playing for him.

Gawd, with the Cedeno hatred. It's a very rare SS that doesn't make 20+ errors in his first season. I don't have a replay of them all, but I imagine if you had Derrek Lee playing first and not Todd Walker(?) and Phil Nevin, Cedeno would have two or three less.
Tejada
Ripken
Smith
Arod
Jeter
Yount
Perez
Vizquel
Everett

They all struggled with errors their first year.

Really, this 'OMG! a rookie made an error at 2nd base 15 games into learning the position!' is really out of control. Quit freaking out, it's like listening to a pack of 13 year old girls arguing about which Back-Street-Boy has the worst hairstyle.

Yes he has made errors, just like almost every single major league SS that comes up. Yes he has struggled with the bat, but he has shown occasionally the pop that may make him into a 15 HR type. Not to mention he has excellent - Orlando Hudson like - range at 2nd and brings his shorstop's arm.

15 points if you can name another Cub who was blocked at Short and moved to 2nd base and made an alright career for himself.

Calm down.

Fireballer with injury problems, also sounds like a Cub.

Yeah, he's has some shoulder issues, but he's made 29 starts or more since 2002. That's pretty good. And where is a 3.03 ERA just okay?

ERA since 2002:
3.45
2.34
3.20
4.40
3.03

And yeah, Schmidt grew up in Washington I guess, but he already said he wouldn't have any problem playing in NY. I'm sure he'll go where the $$$ is, most everyone does. Mariners will probably try and blow their wad on Matsuzuka. If Hendry really wants the guy, he needs to act quickly while other teams are bidding for Matsuzuka.

And with the current lay of the land, if I'm a free agent pitcher with a choice, I'd pick the NL in a hearbeat.

"if Patterson gets hurt or stalls"

Eric Patterson has already stalled. Since May, his hitting at AA West Tenn. declined in every category each month.

May - .308 .839
Jun - .283 .754
Jul - .239 .706
Aug - .220 .633

you can check the splits yourself
http://tinyurl.com/ebzua

So, of course he gets promoted to AAA.

I get the feeling that far too many decisions within the Cubs system are desperate rather than strategic. Rather than move E Patt up they should send Cedeno down to learn second base and get his stroke back. Theriot and Bynum can plug the holes at second and shortstop the rest of the year. They are afterall competing for the role of New Neifi. Better to do it now then next spring.

I think EPat got promoted cause Theriot is up with the big club and Fontentot is hurt and Iowa is in a playoff chase.

Jim Hendry might target Jason Schmidt, but Schmidt lives in Phoenix, and I believe the D'backs are his most-likely destination in '07. Kerry Wood could well end up in Phoenix next year, too.

The snakes need another top-of-the-rotation guy to go along with Brandon Webb, and they say they are going to put all of their available money this coming off-season into upgrading their pitching (starters & relievers). They will have a ton of money available, too, because Luis Gonzalez and Craig Counsell will be FAs after this season, and a trade (salary dump) of Shawn Green to the Mets is supposedly imminent. Orlando Hudson is likely to be available in a trade this coming off-season, too, with Alberto Callaspo the probable starting 2B in '07.

I'd put money on both Matsuzuka and Schmidt both going to Seattle and the Angels should be the favorite for Soriano replacing the broken down G.Anderson in LF...though I'd bet Scioscia would prefer C.Lee and stick him at DH. Zito better consider taking a few mill less to stay on the left coast. He won't be able to deal with the NY or BOS media.

"I think Hendry will sign at least one pretty big name FA, either a pitcher or power bat"

Hendry said yesterday that he's going after a power hitter to help Aram and Dlee (which implies that Aram will stay here) AND at least one impact starting pitcher.

The only place to stick a big bat is 2B, perhaps SS (especially if Izz is another chronic injury magnet), or one outfield position.

Schmidt's on record with more than one medium for wanting to play at home in SEA...when you factor in the huge ballpark and if the M's sign Matsuzuka that's a pretty formidable rotation in a very winnable division.

I'd put money on both Matsuzuka and Schmidt both going to Seattle

that would be some impressive spending by the Mariners since they're still paying way too much for Sexson and Beltre. Maybe one, but no way both.

And I can't imagine a world where the Yanks get outbid for Matsuzuka.

Bogey,

"The question is whether Pie is being rushed and like C.Patterson was, he is. "

I hope you don't mind if we present some, oh. what is that word I am looking for, oh yeah, facts.

Patterson came to the majors after 444 AA at-bats.
Pie, who is not in the major leagues, has had 240 AA at-bats and 504 AAA at-bats.

Help me out here, 444 high minors AB's is less than 744, isn't it?

There are two considerations for calling up Pie.
Will he be better than what we have?
Will calling him up hinder his development?

"Yeah, I tend to go with season long output rather than one small sample size of a hot streak...I'm weird like that. "

Have you ever heard of the phrase 'making the adjustment'? What do you think that means? What do you think the benefits and goals of 'making the adjustment' is? So if Pie had hit really well through the all-star break and had hit .215 since, you'd favor calling him up?

Doesn't Hendry have a man crush on Soriano?

If Hudson is availabe go after him.

I believe Zito will stay out West, too. He will not survive in NY or Boston.

Zito hired Boras, he's going to the highest bidder.

Same for Soriano

Same now for Carlos Lee

Same for Matsuzuka

don't matter who the manager is, where you play, the media, it's how much money and perks you're going to offer.

"And I can't imagine a world where the Yanks get outbid for Matsuzuka."

unless that world is Ichiro's.

The M's were reportedly working on a deal with the Pads for Beltre so if they eat some of his salary that could still get done...even so it's not like SEA is hurting for money. They will be losing Moyer and Meche's contracts which are around $10-11m so that's one of those two right there. They don't have much $ invested outside of the big 3 of Ichiro, Sexson and Beltre.

You know the more that I think about it, the more I come to believe the Cubs are not going to be spending a whole lot of money this off-season. Then comes this piece in the Sun-Times...

http://suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-wrig2...

The Cubs are apparently short on cash.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said the Cubs have told him they're "looking for some additional financial resources" to build a five-story, triangular building expected to house a parking garage, upscale restaurants, retail stores and rooftop garden above ground and batting cages, pitching mounds and workout facilities for Cubs players below.

$30 million huh? Isn't that around how much the Cubs will have free this off-season?

The Cubs are under a bit of deadline to get this project up and rolling. When the Cubs start throwing around "additional financial resources" it is a pretty clear they are talking about using potential payroll savings to get this project rolling.

The Cubs really have no choice but to build something.

Oh yeah and the scarey part...

"They're looking to find some partnering opportunities with other companies in the city, possibly some naming rights. I would assume they might try to bring in somebody who wants their name on Wrigley Field."

Home Depot Wrigley Field!

"I think EPat got promoted cause Theriot is up with the big club and Fontentot is hurt and Iowa is in a playoff chase."

West Tennessee is in a playoff chase as well and they are only 3 games out, Iowa is four.

Bynum was playing 2B for Iowa. No need to bring him up so quickly. He was hitting in the neighborhood of .200 .

That said, EPatt is off to a good start in AAA. Maybe it's what he needed.

They may be looking for partners for naming rights, but they aren't going to rename Wrigley. Just like the Sox won't rename Fenway.

Why does everyone keep saying so authoritatively that Soriano will no be a Cub next season? Hendry has long been known to have a man crush, as jacos put it, on Soriano, and he seems to fit the bill of what we're looking for in LF.

I'd like the see Hendry sign:

Soriano $70m/5yr
Schmidt $40m/4yr
Durham $12m/2yr
Lofton $4m/1yr

While leaving EPat and Pie in Iowa for another year. If either warrant a callup, you bench/trade Durham and/or Lofton, though I think that would be a bit hasty.

Bynum only got called up cause they traded Neifi, but yeah forgot about the Jaxx being in the playoff race.

the trib takes in billions of revenue a year...the pursestrings on the cubs are far from their worries.

parking decks do nothing for the cubs but convience.

the land is worth money, but its not gonna do much or turn a profit for many years....besides, they dont NEED to deck to put fans in seats...its just a nice perk with future "wins" via land worth and the trickle of paid parking.

the neighborhood sure will want it with the extra 2000 people converging into the area, though.

CWTP & Rob G,

"West Tennessee is in a playoff chase as well and they are only 3 games out, Iowa is four." "Bynum only got called up cause they traded Neifi, but yeah forgot about the Jaxx being in the playoff race."

Only possible flaw I can see with this logic is if West Tennessee had already clinched a spot in the playoffs by winning the first half.

btw it was the Astros who claimed Soriano off waivers.

I forgot to include them in some of my odds, they're a good a bet as any to land Lee/Schmidt/Soriano.

"Have you ever heard of the phrase 'making the adjustment'?" uh yeah, D.Lee has made the adjustment to turning on the inside pitch...sort of like Sandberg. I'm going to need a little more convincing that Pie has turned the corner other than a two week hot streak...call me a cynic. I'm still waiting for the facts Neal...more AB's mean nothing when it comes to bringing up a prospect..call me crazy but i thought it was more of a matter of consistently performing at a high level rather than a quantitative amount of PAs. There's a reason a guy like Alex Gordon and his .320/.424/.585 line would be playing in KC right now...either that or the normally inept Royals brass are waiting to see if he maintains this performance over more than a two week span. They're funny like that too. Oh yeah, Gordon is a year older than Pie too yet he's still at AA. Weird. What was Conor Jackson doing at AAA for a year with his .350+ ba and OPS over .1000. Get him to the bigs man!

speaking of Iowa Cubs, they face top Ranger prospect John Danks today.

Jaxx didn't win the first half, but if Chattanooga wins the 2nd half (only 3 back along with Jaxx), then the Jaxx could make the playoffs by having the best overall record as a wild card I believe.
They finished a game behind chattanooga in the first half and look like a good bet to finish with the 2nd best overall record in that division IF chattanooga ends up winning it.

In fact they do need to Crunch. The parking structure was a requirement to get the Cubs OF expansion project done.

Tunney said neither the City Council nor community residents would have approved the long-stalled bleacher expansion without a guarantee that land currently used to provide surface parking for 200 cars would be turned into a 400-space garage for year-round use by residents and businesses.

The triangular building was included in the "plan development" that paved the way for the bleacher expansion. It requires the Cubs to provide at least 179 new parking spaces -- one space for every 10 new bleacher seats -- before the start of the 2008 season. If the garage shrinks below that number or is eliminated entirely, the Cubs must provide enough surface parking to replace those spaces.

The Cubs have to build something. And they need to get it sorted out quickly.

I still love Chad.

GOTTCHA.

That sheeite is funny there, I don't care who you are.

Joey Phil

they need to, but its not a priority i'd imagine.

its not gonna return them money for a while.

they still got a year to try to squeeze tax credits or free money outta the city, which is probally what theyre posturing to do.

the cubs/trib already got what they wanted. they're the big boys on the block and they've won their current concessions. they cant be taken back now and the city/neighborhood is at the cubs/trib will to pull their end of the bargain.

Also in the garage article, the building was to provide above ground hitting cages and pitching mounds overall better player facilities.

Not to be picky, but you can see where the Cubs priorities lie with how they are not moving forward on this project.

Bogey,

"more AB's mean nothing when it comes to bringing up a prospect..call me crazy but i thought it was more of a matter of consistently performing at a high level rather than a quantitative amount of PAs."

You were the one who said they were rushing Pie 'just like they did Patterson', when it is obvious that they aren't, since Pie has played almost an entire season in AAA and Patterson didn't. What did you want Pie to hit in AA before he was ready for AAA, .350?

"There's a reason a guy like Alex Gordon and his .320/.424/.585 line would be playing in KC right now...either that or the normally inept Royals brass are waiting to see if he maintains this performance over more than a two week span."

You were right there are two possible reasons. Only you were wrong about what they are. The fist one is Arbitration clock. The second is Mark Teahan.

The comparison to Gordon is an extremely poor one. Doesn't he play in the Texas league? Didn't he go to College? How many professional at-bats does he have? What exactly is he working on at AA, his footwork at third? It would be difficult to find a worse player to compare Pie to. How long were Andruw Jones and Vlad Guerrero in the minors?

wrigley/trib vs. neighborhood has been a hell of struggle the past 20 years. a book could be written just on the aldermen vs. tribune battles.

until very recently wrigley/trib was the neighborhood's straight up bitch. the neighborhood is the mafia to the trib's desires...the club asks, they may or may not get what they want. the power they hold is unlike any other club in any other area i can think of. its also one of the last stadiums that's in a true residential neighborhood, though.

night games, parking, lighting, weekend start times...etc.

cubs got more night games and most importantly to them, they got the okay on their renovations. the renovations are done...there's nothing the neighborhood can take from them in that respect.

they'll get their parking deck, but on the scale of cubs-related construction projects, that one's proballly listed around "bathroom renovation". heheh...those wrigley restrooms have been rough for years.

Glendon put all your food back in your refrigerator.

Tom Glavine will be fine
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

Getting into my car at lunch today, I heard Murphy on the Score briefly mention a deal of Pierre to the Phils for a pair of prospects, to replace Rowand. He was going into a commercial, and I turned on some music, so I didn't hear anything else regarding it.

Has anyone else heard anything about this, or is this Murphy just attempting to be topical?

That still doesn't work Neal, like I said in the original post, Pie shouldn't have even been in AAA at the beginning of the year, he should have repeated AA so it's not exactly "obvious" to me when a player still shows no discipline and hasn't even progressed enough to warrant a promotion from the previous level. And granted Teahen has picked it up since the break, but he stunk it up in the first half, and they're "better option" at that point was a career AAAer in E.German. Arbitration played little if any part of it, Gordon simply isn't ready...it's not a Delmon Young situation. And the comparison was dead on between Gordon and Pie for this dicussion...they're both the #1 rated prospects in their respective systems and are at similar ages and levels within said systems...the mediums by which they arrived there means little on positional prospects as opposed to pitchers. Pujols went to JC so what does that have to do with anything. And actually yes, Gordon is working on his footwork at 3B..he spoke about it on mlb radio just the other day...he's not going to be confused with Ryan Zimmerman. We'll just have to agree to disagree but don't be surprised in 2 years when you're piling on Pie on this board like everyone did to C.Patt last season.

Has anyone considered the idea of signing Soriano to play Center?

I haven't watched enough Nats games to get a good opinion, but everything I've heard about Soriano is that he's actually turned into a pretty decent outfielder. If that's the case, I don't know why he couldn't be transitioned from left to center.

That would allow the Cubs to let Pierre go, freeing up another 8 or so million to spend on starting pitching.

Bogey,

This is the summation of your arguement. Pie strikes out a lot and doesnt' walk much, therefore he shouldn't be promoted. All other factors, baserunning, defense, situational hitting, should be ignored. If you have a .900 OPS in AA you should repeat it until you strike out less than (I am not sure what your magic number is) 120 times, regardless of your offensive skill set.

And I know again, you don't want to be hit with the facts, but I never piled on Corey Patterson. I never spelled his name with a 'K', and didn't think we should trade 3 pitching prospects to replace him with an inferior player. You'll also note that I didn't recommend calling up Pie. I just pointed out, quite accurately, and with facts, that he hasn't been rushed to the same degree as Patterson was.

The fact that you're trying to compare the development curve between a kid who was signed at the age of 16 and one who went to college for three years is really laughable.

You would have kept Pujols in the minors for two more years, pretty foolish to bring his name up in the discussion, I'd say. Delmon Young has attitude issues, it's not his bat that's keeping him out of the majors.

Jones, Guerrero, Pie
Signed as youths from foreign countries
Play outfield
Play an excellent outfield
Display power and speed
Were their Organization's #1 prospects

Can't believe I had to type that out. And I know that those guys showed better K/BB rates than Pie, don't bother to look it up.

delmon young's attitude isnt really that bad.

TB's 32472389237895623895 OFs is keeping him outta the bigs more than that...and the GM hates to start the clock on kids til he has to.

i still cant believe they traded for more OF'rs this trade deadline without giving any away.

btw, k/bb rate is probally the most important minor league stat you can find. for instance, i could care less what s.moore is doing in AA until he can put his bat on the ball better. those things generally dont solve themselves in the majors.

The Real Neal:
"Um, by what measure is the minor league system getting worse lately? BA's rankings?"

Yes, according to BA, they have gone from 1-3-7-10-15 from 2002-2005.

"How are the Yankees, White Sox and Cardinals doing there?"

I can care lees about other organizations, but since they put winning teams on the field every year now, they might not be good examples to compare to the Cubs.

Vorare:
"Marshall, Marmol, Guzman, Mateo, Ryu, Hill. You want to point me to another organization that has that many MLB ready options in their system?"

Are they really MLB ready? Have you seen their combined stats this year in MLB?

guzman, marshall, and hill would fit into the back end of a lotta team's rotations.

shame they wouldnt fit in the top end, but those guys (esp. guzman/hill) got very little else to do in the minors with their game.

Crunch,

Trasher of Theriot.

'btw, k/bb rate is probally the most important minor league stat you can find'

I'll go ahead and take HR/PA if I get one stat for a hitter.

neal...you can't though.

we're talking about development leagues, not a video game.

if a guy cant hit minor league pitching, and is 1- not swinging at strikes 2- swinging through stuff...he's not gonna project well.

very few people who cant hit minor league pitching well go on to master the majors.

if you like HR/PA then you're just gonna scout 2-3 people per minor league team, anyway. most are lucky to have more than that in their slugging dept.

Manny,

""How are the Yankees, White Sox and Cardinals doing there?"

I can care lees about other organizations, but since they put winning teams on the field every year now, they might not be good examples to compare to the Cubs."

Well, if the Cubs operated in a vacuum, that would be a good way to look at it. But they have to compete with these other clubs for finite resources (aka players).

Crunch,

"neal...you can't though."

I can't what? Find plenty of valuable players who didn't have great strikeout to walk rates in the minors? I'd bet I can.

"very few people who cant hit minor league pitching well go on to master the majors."

You forgot the 'News Flash' for that statement, but Pie hit .300 in AA and is at .280 and climbing in AAA, is that not 'hitting well'?

"if you like HR/PA then you're just gonna scout 2-3 people per minor league team, anyway. most are lucky to have more than that in their slugging dept."

Well, yeah. How many people on your average Minor League team become everday ML starters? Maybe 2-3, probably less. I didn't say I would only look at one stat, I said if could only look at one stat, it would be HR/PA. You said yours is BB/KB. I'll take mine.

you are totally in love with stats, but you tend to read them to how you see fit. you can throw out k/bb totals and embrace hr/pa and batting average.

i really hate to imagine what HOF year you were predicting dubois to be inducted in.

HOW A PERSON GETS THOSE #S IS WAAAAAAAAAAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE NUMBER ITSELF.

one of the most clear-cut #s for a minor league hitter is k/bb...it is undisputable proof of whether a guy HAS A CLUE WHAT A STRIKE IS AND/OR IF THEY CAN CONSISTANTLY LAY A BAT ON THE BALL.

this task does not get any easier as they progress to the bigs...a place where if you dont have a good breaking pitch (or more) you dont survive long.

minors are loaded down with 25-30HR AAA'rs who wont see much major league time, and it isnt cuz of their pa/hr totals.

Hey, Crunch's shift key works after all! Who'd a thunk it?

"minors are loaded down with 25-30HR AAA'rs who wont see much major league time, and it isnt cuz of their pa/hr totals."

minors are loaded down with 1:1 K/BB ratios who wont see much major league time, and it is cuz of their pa/hr totals.

It works both ways.

You're totally in love with what your eyes tell you, but you're drafting Earl Cunningham and 'stats' are drafting Frank Thomas. You've pegged Neifi as a 10 HR hitter, because he hit a grand slam to win a game against the Cardinals but stats show him to be a 3-4 HR hitter. You're giving the gold glove to Izturis because he makes diving stops, but stats is giving it to Everett because he catches the ball on his feet, and actually makes an out.

Nice Strawman though. Where did I ever say to throw out K/BB's? Isn't that one of the reasons I prefer Theriot to Neifi? Isn't your imagined HR/PA one of the reasons you like Neifi?

neal...

you're defending a scouting tool that no one uses or cares about too much.

no...NO...minor league stats show power. not even guys who hit doubles and triples. power is something you have or you dont. power is measured not only in terms of 30-50, but also 10-20, cuz the minors are also loaded with guys who probally couldnt hit 10 homers in the majors if they had a full year to do it.

you seem to think this game is linear and people can just move predictably based on the stats you choose to look at. it couldnt be further from the truth.

its not a strawman...im trying to tell you why something is a good indicator of progression, but you choose to, once again, have a pissing match insted of learning something.

also, you need to quit changing truths to make your arguements work...like that crap you just said about neifi tying me into it. ive neither said that nor alluded to it, but im sure you can dig up something to 1/2 ass allude to it then blame me for making you think that way.

im not even gonna get into you comparing vlad/etc. to pie as if theyre even comparable. this isnt a video game, here.

I would point out that "Wrigley Field" was the original in corporate naming rights, although in this case the sponsor owned the Club. As I chew on my Doublemint gum I will comtemplate how what was once crass and commercial because venerable and traditional as "time goes by."

I don't see Soriano going back to the Yankees next year (Matsui, Damon, and Abreu appear to be their outfield, with Sheffield perhaps coming back). So who else will pursue Soriano? Right now I would say, in order: Washington, Mets, Philadelphia, Detroit, perhaps theWhite Sox (if they can move Podsednik), perhaps Texas (if Carlos Lee does not resign), perhaps Houston (major payroll issues still with Bagweell's and Biggio's contracts hanging around their necks). And perhaps the Cubs. But I expect that Soriano, after the huge year he has put up will want 100 million dollar contract. I don't think the Cubs will want to ante up to that pot.

Pie has spent four full years in the minors. For a fast-track player, .280 is enough to graduate from triple-A. He hasn't skipped any levels, there's no question of his being rushed. (He may not make it, but it won't be because he was rushed.) If he really has electric skills, we need them.

The three outfielders we have right now are okay but Pie makes one of them expendable. I'm just wondering if Hendry isn't thinking that Eric Patterson might solve the second-base problem and also replace Pierre's stolen bases. Patterson is a college kid and is expected to progress a little faster.

Crunch,

"no...NO...minor league stats show power."

That is without a doubt the dumbest thing you have ever said, and you have said a lot of them.

Man, you must have really been shocked by Ryan Howard. I mean, who had a clue he'd have 40 HR power when he got to the bigs. Oh, wait, I did, because he hit 40 HR's in the minors!

"neifi can hit for doubles power with the occasional homer.": you said, that. I cannot even be argued that someone else said it for you, because everyone else can spell 'Neifi'. I realize that you like to talk in generalities, so that you can't get pegged down on saying anything concrete, but it is concrete that one home run every 115 bats is not 'occasional homer' that is 'blue moon' homer.

"its not a strawman...im trying to tell you why something is a good indicator of progression, but you choose to, once again, have a pissing match insted of learning something."

Except that I already know it is a good method of gauging progression, and nowhere did I indicate otherwise. Jesus, man, get a frigging clue.

You're not going to 'teach' me anything. You would have to know something to be able to do that. Keep your observations to observations like 'Jones does a good job going into the corner to get fly balls' that's all you're good for. Your imagined player evaluation expertise is exaclty that.

neal...you dont NEED A STAT to show power. you dont...period.

you DO need a stat to show if a guy can make contact in a game-style situation. more importantly, you need to know what/what-kind of contact they make.

and i know im not teaching you anything...someone has to be willing to learn and/or accept something to learn something.

"Your imagined player evaluation expertise is exaclty that."

yeah, my track record is horrible.

yours is stellar, btw.

just cuz you dont like what i say doesnt make it wrong and/or debatable unless you got some real info about a guy.

you got a boxscore, congrats.

I have 2 bleacher tickets for tomorrow nights games if anyone wants them, email me back at my link.

And no I won't go Manny, I'm not a scalper, I just scalp tickets, Trillo on you.

Face value.

Crunch,

Wake me up when you can move away from the your rubber-glue method of debate.

"neal...you dont NEED A STAT to show power. you dont...period."

What you are actually trying to say is "a player's power doesn't always manifest itself in their minor league stats". Once again, you have won your Strawman argument, because I never said that it did. But guess what, guys who hit 40 HR's in the minors, have major league power. Can they develop the strike zone control to turn that power into major league HR's? Maybe, maybe not. Is BB/K ratio a good way to determine if that power comes to fruition? Sure. But sometimes you are Adrian Beltre and sometimes you're Sammy Sosa and sometimes your Kevin Maas.

Just because you dont like what I say doesn't make it wrong and/or debatable unless you've got some real info about a guy.

You got one Sports Center highlight, congrats.

What you are actually trying to say is "a player's power doesn't always manifest itself in their minor league stats"

---

see, you jump to conclusions about what i say, assume its fact, and go off on a tangent from there.

no...im saying you can watch a guy in BP and know if he has power and how much. ryan howard's power was no suprise. neither was mark mcgwire's...both had power before they even signed a pro contract.

you dont put a guy out there and 3 years later discover he has power (unless a player is turned into a power hitter via HIS skills that enable him to do so..sandburg).

and about your 'sportscenter' comment...hey, i GO to games, ive seen most of these guys, i have friends who have seen them and they talk to me, and i have lots of other people i talk to occasionally who evaluate these people for a living.

Vince:
"And no I won't go Manny, I'm not a scalper, I just scalp tickets, Trillo on you."

Sorry you feel the need to take a swipe at me, I hope it makes you feel better. Poor Cubs fans...

"see, you jump to conclusions about what i say, assume its fact, and go off on a tangent from there."

Man, you already did that twice to me, in just this post. You're really getting detached from reality

"no...im saying you can watch a guy in BP and know if he has power and how much"

Which of course gave rise to the phrase 'Batting Practice Power'. It's generally not a good thing though. I can hit homers in batting practice - send me a contract. Be forewarned, I can't hit a curveball for shite, they scare the heck out of me.

jesus christ...batting practice power.

go ahead and just throw out the fact that the main point is howard/mcgwire/etc. already had known power before they were signed...you know...the thing that pertained to what you said.

thanks for fixating on turning into being about batting practice power. ITS NOT ABOUT THAT. i dont know if you're purposely just ignoring counterpoints and fixating on the fringe stuff for kicks or just to try to "win" somethign at this point.

you're impossible...seriously...this is going no where, its just gonna keep changing and changing and changing...

Crunch,

"go ahead and just throw out the fact that the main point is howard/mcgwire/etc. already had known power before they were signed...you know...the thing that pertained to what you said."

It's hard to determine what your main point is. It's hard to communicate with someone via text when that person writes at the level of a 4th grader. Maybe if you could learn to form a proper paragraph, we wouldn't have that problem.

Sorry. Sorry you didn't know that McGwire had NCAA single season record for Home Runs when he was in college. See a trend there? If they hit home runs in college, they're likely to hit home runs in the minors and majors. It's not rocket science.

This is what you said, in the order you said it:

no...NO...minor league stats show power.
neal...you dont NEED A STAT to show power. you dont...period.
no...im saying you can watch a guy in BP and know if he has power and how much.
thanks for fixating on turning into being about batting practice power. ITS NOT ABOUT THAT

If you have any friends who are sober, have him explain to you how you're contradicting yourself. I like the kicker though,

'this is going no where, its just gonna keep changing and changing and changing...'

I agree that it is going to keep changing, because you're not lucid enough to be consistent from one post to the next.

See if there is any inconsistentcies here:
I'll go ahead and take HR/PA if I get one stat for a hitter.
Oh, wait, I did, because he hit 40 HR's in the minors!

Notice how I did that. Made an ascertion and stuck with it throughout?

okay dude. far out. party on. woo. go cubs.

Crunch:
k/bb rate is probally the most important minor league stat you can find. for instance, i could care less what s.moore is doing in AA until he can put his bat on the ball better.

Are you seriously saying that K/BB measures a player's ability to make contact?

"Are you seriously saying that K/BB measures a player's ability to make contact?"

no, but it tells a lot about how the guy being thrown to sees the ball and his approach to hitting.

aside from the freaks like adam dunn, you can better project a player's ability to handle more complex pitchers.

if a guy is putting up great minor league #s but has a huge amount of Ks...unless he's gonna hit 30-40+ homers, this is a guy you gotta think about whether he's worth a slot in your system...especially as these types of players get older.

its not a stand-alone stat, but when you compare the other stuff with an understanding of how well the guy sees the ball, it paints a more complete picture for the grey-area prospects/kids (which is most of them).

This argument about which stats are more valuable to predict MLB success just made all old-school judges of talent smile. We're needed afterall!

"Made an ascertion"

If you're gonna call someone out for writing like a 4th grader, you might want to open a dictionary first.

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