Izturis Disabled, Coats Up

Cesar Izturis was placed on the DL today after straining his hamstring last night, and Buck Coats' contract was purchased to replace him. Oh, if only the Cubs had a guy like Neifi Perez on their roster, who could step in and take over for Izturis. I'll let Arizona Phil talk about Coats in a bit more depth, but my impression of him is that he's a guy who hits like a middle infielder but can't field like one. Today's tale of the tape:
   Moyer vs. O'Malley
GS 510 1
W 211 1
K 1966 2
IP 3299.2 8
Moyer makes his first start for the Phillies and first start at Wrigley Field since October 2, 1988, his last start as a Cub before he was traded, along with Rafael Palmeiro and Drew Hall, to the Texas Rangers for Mitch Williams, Paul Kilgus, Steve Wilson, Curt Wilkerson, Luis Benitez and Pablo Delgado. After bouncing around for the first half of his career (six teams in the first decade), he ended up in Seattle at age 32 and pitched for them for the last decade. When Moyer left the Cubs, Ryan O'Malley was 8 years old. GAME ONE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (62-62 (Div) 2nd- 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 3rd - 2.5 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-71 (Div) 5th - 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 11.5 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Clear, 84 degrees, Wind out to C @ 5 mph TV: CSN, DirecTV 743 Radio: WGN, XM 187
Ryan O'Malley, LHP 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP 2 K, 6 BB, 0 HR 172/314/172 againstJamie Moyer, LHP 6-12, 4.39 ERA, 160 IP 82 K, 44 BB, 25 HR 285/331/484 against

#Shane Victorino, CF #Danny Sandoval, 2B #Jimmy Rollins, SS *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF Mike Lieberthal, C *Dave Dellucci, LF #Abraham Nunez, 3B Jamie Moyer, P *Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Phil Nevin, 1B *Jacque Jones, RF Matt Murton, RF Henry Blanco, C Ronny Cedeno, SS Ryan O'Malley, P

Phillies vs. O'Malley: No Phillies has ever faced Cubs vs. Moyer: Phil Nevin: 7-24, 292/370/458, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K Jacque Jones: 5-16, 313/389/375, 1 BB, 2 K
Michael Barrett's arm must be pretty banged up, as we're being treated to our third straight day of Blancomania. Or maybe he's in the lineup as part of Dusty's "Give a Guy With A Sub-.300 OBP A Regular Job Campaign" now that Neifi is gone. The Phils are dealing with some injuries, too -- I got a chance to watch last night's game, the first Cubs game I've seen in weeks ever since I switched from DirecTV to Comcast and lost the Extra Innings package, and witnessed the collision between Aaron Rowand and Chase Utley that put Rowand on the DL with a broken ankle and Utley on the bench tonight. Rowand is lucky he doesn't have a concussion and/or a broken neck or shoulder, given how awkwardly he landed on his head after the collision. Go Cubs!
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Comments

wow...bucky boy.

giving him a look a week early.

somewhere brandon sing is in a AA clubhouse crying wondering if he's gonna strike out 3 or 4 times tonite.

$20 bucks says Bynum gets the starts over Theriot.

I guess Dusty hasn't gotten the memo but Theriot plays a pretty mean shorstop from what I hear. If Cedeno is really being considered for 2b next year, he needs to stay there and work on his defense.

I think Theriot has a pretty good chance of making the line up today (not willing to put $20 on it though), since they're facing a lefty.

Any word on whether Barrett will be back? I can't take too much more of Blanco.

i dunno if phil is preparing something or etc etc...but yeah, coats isnt a sharp middle infielder (neither is bynum, really).

he's a slap hitting swiss army tool...OF/IF...give him a place to play and he'll go try to get it done.

decent enough arm for corner OF work...on the hitting tip he's pure line drive.

interesting to see what he can do with big league pitching...he's not one to walk, but he's not a "singles" type hitter (though his number look like it). he's got a linedrive stroke that's good for solid singles and/or doubles...not a 90ft. dribbler and run like hell type.

the only thing I know about Coats is that he's god-awful at short, unless he's miraculously turned himself around this year, but he was bj upton bad before this year from the scouting reports I read and little I've seen of him.

I like to think of Coats as our very own Ryan Freel.

you mean minus the talent or voices in his head

Chicago placed infielder Cesar Izturis on the 15-day disabled list with a STRAINED RIGHT HAMSTRING.

Okay, does this qualify as a chronic injury yet?

This problem hamstring has cropped up since at least June of 2003 when it hobbled Izz for weeks. Last June it put him on the DL, and now again this August.

We can't count on him at SS. Back to the drawing board Hendry.

I absolutely love Cesar Izturis. He is the best defensive shortstop I can ever recall the Cubs having in over 30 years of following this team. I also subscribe to the theory that he will be sufficient enough hitter. Not great, but not Neifi-like bad either. Reminds me a ton of a young Omar Vizquel.

Buck Coats? Precisely the type of player that is the norm in Triple A ball these days. Not much to get excited about. He's here because the Cubs traded away middle infielders, Izturis is hurt and the Cubs are 7 million games out of 1st place. I hope he takes pictures during what will be his brief stint in the majors.

Meant to post this in this thread:

I have 2 bleacher tickets for tomorrow night's 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.

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...

I can hear the TCR posters now typing away: "Why the hell isn't Buck Coates in the lineup?" :)

Oh yeah, speaking of lineups, take a look over at Detroit's lineup tonight. Neifi batting leadoff. FIRE LEYLAND!!! :)

So Izzy is already on the DL? WOO, another injury prone player, and this one is a career

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

Yet our choir boy takes a swipe at everyone on TCR in the next post...

I can hear the TCR posters now typing away: "Why the hell isn't Buck Coates in the lineup?" :)

Oh yeah, speaking of lineups, take a look over at Detroit's lineup tonight. Neifi batting leadoff. FIRE LEYLAND!!! :)

Interesting double standard our troll has.

Thanks for your input Mr. Bully...

adam dunn?

Maybe Neifi will take some pitches batting lead-off.

Neifi saw 2 pitches and got a single. LEYLAND is a GENIUS!!!

I don't understand the Cedeno at SS thing. If Izzy is going to be our SS next year (UGH) and they thinking Cedeno is going to be the 2B next year (assuming they can't upgrade...UGH), then why is he playing SS? Can't Theriot play SS?

The only thing I can think of is that Hendry has seen enough of Cedeno overall and that he finally realizes he is Neifi Jr. and will be only a bacup IF. I guess we can only hope...

DET up 1-0, Neifi scores...NEIFI = SPARKPLUG

EXTEND LEYLAND!!!

The only thing I can think of is that Hendry has seen enough of Cedeno overall and that he finally realizes he is Neifi Jr. and will be only a bacup IF. I guess we can only hope...

Really, that's the only thing you can think of on why Cedeno is playing SS today, is that the Hendry had a say on today's lineup card?

with an 07 outlook cedeno should be playing 2nd, but it seems baker's going the 'play to win' route.

predictable, but yeah, if cedeno truely is gonna be a part of the possible full-time 2nd crew in 07 he needs to play there now.

it'd help if his future DP combo was there with him, but cedeno's play at SS (arm aside) isnt really much of a question, while his 2nd is.

Its official the idiots really are running the Toronto Blue Jays!!! They've got a manger who wants to fight everyone and got beat up by 180 pitcher. They've got a very stupid GM who cant keep his mouth shut and has everyone of the players pissed off on the club. He likes to blame everyone but himself whent things go wrong up there. He wants to fire the minor league pitching coach, he wants fire the major league pitching coach, and he wants to fire Ernie Whitt the bench coach because the CEO hire himed and says he doesnt work. He's got Vernon Wells who wants to leave upset and his 1st hire, some moneyball rat named Keith Law he's now calling him an idiot, well who hired Keithy I ask. Just when you think its bad here, they were supposed to be good and just might be playing 500 when its all said and done. Imagine that idiot Gm and Dombrowski were hired at the same time in 2001/2002 and I think we know who's the far superior gm, especially with Dombrowski taking a 40+ win club back then!!!

I don't have any problem with playing the 'Best Lineup' against the WC contenders, even though there are a ton of them. Not to mention if we lose this game it will go on Dusty's PERMANENT RECORD.

neifi was 7-25 vs Buehrle 280/280/520 going into the game

Slamdog, Is there no Blue Jays blog where you can vent?

*Oh, if only the Cubs had a guy like Neifi Perez on their roster, who could step in and take over for Izturis.*

Enter Buck "Neifi" Coats, who apparently can play every position except catcher! Huzzah!

I bet Dusty finds this out and starts the kid every game from here on out.

Rob G.:
"Really, that's the only thing you can think of on why Cedeno is playing SS today, is that the Hendry had a say on today's lineup card?"

In my opinion, Baker shouldn't be playing him there at SS, but Hendry has made it clear that he was going to control more of the youngsters playing time and stuff. And I can't imagine part of that not being Hendry and Baker talking today when Izzy went on the DL about what to do with SS.

If they did talk and Baker went against Hendry's wishes, the Baker is 100% wrong, not just for going against Hendry, but also for Cedeno at SS. But I would be shocked if hendry didn't sign off on Cedeno playing SS.

Hurry up and get Rusch out of there. He needs this "good outing" to build on so we can trade him...

I hope Baker and Hendry have soured on Cedeno, I know I have.

Not much mentioned about Epat on this site lately. His promotion and selection to the fall league make me think he is under considereation for Cubs 07.

Oh well... So much for trading Rusch. Can we put him back on the DL now?

About Buck Coats...

Coats does pretty much what Freddie Bynum does. Coats was orginaly a SS, but he made a lot of errors there over the years. But because of his athleticism, he can play just about any position (though none of them particularly well), and he has good speed and is a good base-runner. He has a long loping stride that reminds me of a gazelle. He also sort of reminds me of Don Kessinger that way. He is not a HR hitter, but is generally otherwise an OK hitter and can put a charge into the ball. It would be a lot better if he was switch-hitter, though.

The main thing to remember is that Coats was going to be a six-year minor league FA after this season anyway, and adding Coats to the big club will give him a chance to prove whether he has a future as Freddie Bynum's replacement as the supsub play-anywhere guy. (Bynum being out of options makes it almost impossible to move him back-and-forth between Chicago & Des Moines, which Hendry could do with Coats over the next three years should he play well enough to replace Bynum).

"Slamdog, Is there no Blue Jays blog where you can vent?"
There is, but it's en Francais.

Thanks for your input Mr. Bully...

Manny, instead of always calling others names, maybe you could occasionally explain the justified observations that MikeC and others make about you. Or just keep skirting the issue, if you like.

IM Slacker:
"Oh well... So much for trading Rusch. Can we put him back on the DL now?"

Ha Ha...I was thinking the same thing. I can't really understand why this guy is still with the Cubs. If Hendry can't trade him, just cut him. We can't have him using one of the 25-man roster spots next year. And this fake DL thing can only go on so far.

Re: The Future

BA is singing the praises of Sean Gallagher, who is 11-3, 2.37 combined in the minors this year. It's nice to see a top prosepct actually dominate at different minor league levels.

Also, nice night at Iowa.

Marshall pitches 6 shoutout innings, EPat 3-4 with a SB.

sean "the new nolasco" gallagher...the guy who's the most interesting (except for perhaps maybe guzman and hill) guy in the system, but still has the "something to prove" tag attached to him to keep him from being a #1 prospect.

Gallagher's also pretty young, I think.

Not watching the game, just following online -- was Theriot really just thrown out trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs and Ramirez at the plate?

If so.......Wow.

In my opinion, Baker shouldn't be playing him there at SS, but Hendry has made it clear that he was going to control more of the youngsters playing time and stuff. And I can't imagine part of that not being Hendry and Baker talking today when Izzy went on the DL about what to do with SS.

So once again, Dusty isn't even responsible for the lineup anymore?

Since some people actually trust this ass-clown of a manager, and say they still have confidence in him, can someone please please please tell me what on earth Dusty is even responsible for at this point?

And for the record, it either takes one exceptionally warped mind, or one hell of a spin job to conclude that Hendry is now signing off on the day to day lineup decisions because he said that Dusty would be allowed to finish out his term as manager, but as a condition of that Dusty would have to at least let the franchise look at some young players despite Dusty's previous track record.

But again, that would involve the idea that Dusty Baker has even one shread of individual responsibilty for his job performance as manager, and some people simply can't accept that premise for whatever reason.

Shawn Green to Mets:

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

"The Diamondbacks sent the 33-year-old Green and slightly more than $6.3 million to the Mets for Triple-A pitcher Evan MacLane, a 23-year-old left-hander."

What is up with Cubs pitchers getting hurt!? O'Malley goes down now. Is there something wrong with the pitcher's mound that is causing these injuries? There's way too many Cubbies going down to injury that can't be coincidental.

Why yes, Theriot was thrown out trying to steal third with two outs and Ramirez up. Would have had the base stolen too if the damn cather hadn't thrown down to third and the damn third baseman hadn't caught it and tagged him out. Damn.

billybucks
"Not watching the game, just following online -- was Theriot really just thrown out trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs and Ramirez at the plate?"

Uh, yep.

Theriot sums up many of our minor league players - AAAA forever.

THERIOT IS BAD. He's supposed to be the "running specialist". He can't even do that!

Thierot, Bynum, Cedeno, Fontenot, Dopeywreck, Coats...

THEY aren't worth a bag of balls as Rob likes to say.

I can't see how these players could be of ANY value in a prospective trade.

Just a Reminder - for those of you who (wrongly) were vehemently promoting re-signing Burnitz and not going after JJones - this is the latest comparison. You know who you are. Other than Encarnacion, JJones has performed better than any of the truly available FA Ofers..

JJones
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BA OBP SLG
422 52 119 25 0 21 63 6 .282 .318 .491

JBurnitz
292 34 67 12 0 16 46 1 .229 .289 .435

BillyBucks:
"Not watching the game, just following online -- was Theriot really just thrown out trying to steal 3rd with 2 outs and Ramirez at the plate?"

It appears Theriot went on his own.

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/gamecenter/reca...

"Ryan Theriot had a two-out double in the seventh, but was caught stealing third to end the inning. He went on his own, much to Baker's chagrin. "That shocked us all," Baker said. "That wasn't a good play. That was a bad play, especially with the three-four-five (hitters) coming up there."

Just some thoughts on the offseason.....

I don't understand how so many think were going to end up with either Schmidt or Zito. Schmidt has designs on pitching in his hometown of Seattle, and will command "ace" money. Zito will be the object of an obscene bidding war. He is a very nice pitcher, however he will be paid to be someones "ace" . The Cubs probably will sign Zambrano to a big deal in the winter. They also will have to give Aramis a bump or an extension, along with D-Lee and another bat that Hendry has said he will pursue, I just don't see the "ace" money being spent on a #2. Looking back at the last 3 good Cubs teams (01,03,04) we really didn't have two aces. It was mostly one ace Lieber 01, Prior 03, and Zambrano 04, that carried the staffs and the rest of the staff being good to solid from 2-5. I expect Hendry will back up Zambrano again as the ace with couple of guys who can throw 200 innings and get you double digit victories like Clement did for us in the past, or think Jake Westbrook who the Cubs have reported intrest in.
I see a scenario where the Cubs trade Murton and a young pitcher for a solid #2. Then take Wood and Maddux's money and give it to a bat.

"Is there something wrong with the pitcher's mound that is causing these injuries? There's way too many Cubbies going down to injury that can't be coincidental."

Could be. You may not know this but the infield in Wrigley Field is severely crowned. Runners that are new to the place often fall down rounding first because that area is so steep and when making the turn toward second they wind up with one foot higher than the other. Trips them up.

E-man, those numbers you put up for JJ and Burnitz just show that the two are roughly comparable offensively. We're talking middle of the order guys whose job it is to hit 4-baggers and drive in runs.

JB has fewer at bats so adjusting for that, Burnitz played himself out of a starting role by hitting home runs at a rate of 23/422 AB's and driving runs at a rate of 66/422 AB's...slightly better than Jones' production. They score runs at about the same rate as well, 52/422 vs 49/422 for Burnitz.

JB's suckitude is just more obvious because his batting average is so low.

But really, JB and JJ are the same guy except that JB can throw the ball without spiking it into the ground.

God, our medical staff is really incompetent...

Cubs team physician Stephen Gryzlo told Rowand late Monday the injury appeared no more serious than a sprained ankle. The fracture was discovered Tuesday, and now he'll have to wait for the bone to heal, a difficult proposition for the antsy Rowand.

Let's talk about Murton. I'm impressed with how he's played lately. He's made adjustments after his slump which tells me he's smart hitter. I'm much less inclined to deal him away.

Going into the season we needed a #1 and a #5 hitter. I felt that Jones was a 6, not a 5 and his production proves that. Michael Barrett, however, has produced like a 3 hitter. Thus making Ramirez a 5 if we have Lee at 4. If Barrett's year isn't some sort of fluke, I'd say we keep the outfield as is, and put our focus on second base. Keep Izturis and Cedeno as his backup. Get a second baseman that could hit 2nd.

Maybe Rob knows who might be available. Marcus Giles?

Aside from upgrading the manager and coaches, we all know the key to turning things around is starting pitching. Schmidt has to be a priority.

I'm going to attempt to answer the question: Is there a worse pitcher than Glendon Rusch currently in baseball?

Among pitchers who have at least 50

Glendon Rusch's ERA is 7.80, second highest in all of baseball, behind only Josh Towers (demoted to minor leagues earlier this year). Average in baseball is 4.37 (AL & NL)

Strikeouts per 9 innings, Rusch actually ranks 51/258. He is striking out 8.09/9 IP, MLB average is 6.47/9 IP.

Walks per 9 innings, Rusch ranks 38th out of 258 with 4.19 walks per 9 innings. MLB average is 3.04 BB/9 IP.

Hits per 9 innings, Rusch ranks 17th out of 258 with a 11.41. MLB average is 9.27 H/9 IP.

Here's a fun one, Rusch ranks #1 in home runs given up per 9 innings with a whopping 3.03. MLB average is 1.10. Josh Towers is a distant 2.65 for #2.

Ranks 9th in WHIP.
Ranks 1st in SLG.

I don't know what's more amazing, the fact that Rusch is so sucktastic or the fact that he's getting paid nearly $3 million dollars to give up 3 home runs/game.

So the answer to the question, is there a worse pitcher in baseball right now? The answer is maybe Josh Towers, but he was demoted to the minors in June so no, there is no suckier pitcher than Glendon Rusch.

cubswinthepennant

No, they are not the same guy. Jones is better, as of today, for the 2006 season.

"Adjusting" for AB's is BS. How can you predict the future with a wash-up such as Burn itz?

I was comparing them for THIS YEAR based on their actual production to date, NOW.

carmenfanzone: Let's talk about Murton. I'm impressed with how he's played lately. He's made adjustments after his slump which tells me he's smart hitter. I'm much less inclined to deal him away.

The power is there, but he just keeps pounding it into the ground. Maybe he could adjust to more of an uppercut swing... if not he belongs someplace like Minnesota.

Just for kicks, lets say we could get Marcus Giles and we sign Jason Schmidt. And assume we sign Pierre and Ramirez:

Pierre
Giles
Barrett
Lee
Ramirez
Jones
Murton
Izturis

Schmidt
Zambrano
Hill
Marshall
Mateo/Miller/Prior/Guzman

We'd probably have to deal Guzman to get Giles. I didn't research his contract situation (lazy journalism).

Nice lineup. I still say trade Murton and find a new home for Izturis. Someone must have a hefty OF contract they don't want to pay. Someone with pop.

One of the many things I'm sick of is accepting mediocrity lower in the order and on the bench. This is a +$100 million dollar team for god's sake.

It is truly a disgrace that the pricetag on the mess Hendry has put together is over $100. Aren't we glad we didn't go out and get Beltran?

I meant $100 mil

Top 5 NL Team Defenses, by Defensive Efficiency

Team DEF_EFF
San Diego Padres .716
New York Mets .710
Chicago Cubs .709
San Francisco Giants .709
St. Louis Cardinals .708

This table is from Baseball Prospectus. Looks like we really shored up a glaring need by grabbing Izturis. Man, now that our D is tightened up, maybe we'll start winning some games. Oh wait, you mean this stat is for the entire season, and not just since St. Cesar came on board? You mean the Cubs D has been pretty good this whole time?? Well there must be a misprint in the standings or something. Maybe they accidentally flipped the Wins and Losses totals? Defense wins championships, didn't you know?

Good thing the Cubs got rid of Todd Walker. *Sigh*

How can this team piss me off so much... yet I watch day after day like some sort of compulsive masochist.

Hard to play defense against walks and home runs.
I know the Cubs pitching leads in walks and I'm sure their up there in hr''s given up.
Where do I find that info?

I had a dream last night where the Cubs signed a bunch of stop gap players, came in second for signing top fa's and considered DLee coming back as an addition to the team. And then Cub manager Bob Brenly expected Kerry Wood to be the opening day pitcher.

~Shudder~

Jacos, the Cubs are second in the NL in HR's allowed with 167.

Starting the year Glendon Rusch & Jerome Williams were the number 3 & 4 pitchers. Go figure... Cubs pitching has sucked... really??

Not good when your lineup is pretending like the team is built around it's pitching and a guy who broke his wrist.

I forgot to call him by the correct name:

MLB-leading Glendon Rusch

agree or disagree: the marlins have more talent than the cubs.

I say "yes".

Thanks IM.

Hopefully the Cubs brass are looking at starting pitching as the biggest need this offseason.

Like I said they need at least two quality starting pitchers. Guys who will take the ball every turn and keep the game in reach. (read as not Glendon Rusch and Jerome Williams)

"I had a dream last night where the Cubs signed a bunch of stop gap players, came in second for signing top fa's and considered DLee coming back as an addition to the team. And then Cub manager Bob Brenly expected Kerry Wood to be the opening day pitcher."

Honestly, I'd say there's probably a 90% chance of that exact scenario happening. Maybe minus the Kerry Wood part.

C-

Are you Bob Nightengale or a WSCR fan?

C the Fish can't be more talented than the Cubs, because there isn't enough veteran leadership on the team. This is of course partically offset by the large amount of time their young players spent in AAA before being called up.

Building a team without veteran leadership or calling up a player before he has spent a good amount of time in AAAA is like asking a player to move from short to second without a second baseman's glove. You are just asking for trouble.

Nice, Robr... that made me giggle.

The oft injured Cliff Floyd says he may call it quits at the end of the year, his injury riddled career falls in Jim Hendry category.

Hmmm, the list goes on:
Lee, Marshall, Prior, Wood, Izturis, Eyre, Marmol, Miller and next will be Barrett, O'Malley, and Miller again. I think I am forgetting someone.

In the dictionary, when you look up "masochist," one of the definitions for the term is "A Cub fan."

I really don't want to get into the role of defending Dusty, as I do think he should be fired, primarily for three reasons: allowing the team to lose focus in August and September of 2004, with the Steve Stone incident just being one of many; inserting Nefi and Corey at the top of the line-up in front of Derek Lee in May and June of 2005, thereby insuring that Lee led the league in solo homeruns; and finally, his decision, after Lee got hurt this year, to move Walker to 1st and replacing Lee with Nefi in the line-up.

But Dusty is not an idiot, he does a lot things of the most important things you want a major league manager to do; chiefly, getting a bunch of millioaires motivated to pay hard for six months and 162 games. This talent is evidenced by how many veterans have had their best seasons playing for Dusty (over the last four yearson see Michael Barret, Aramis Ramirez, Derek Lee, Jaques Jones, Grudz, Alou, (the one counter-example being Sammy Sosa).

His greatest weakness, which he shares with Joe Tore, and, as Jim Leyland is now demonstrating, Jim Leylas is like them he came of age in the sixties and early seventies. They all have the Maury Wills/Bud Harrelson/Tim Weis archtype of contact htting, slick fielding, middle infielder leading off stuck in their heads. Speed and the hope of stealing a run is theory. And it made sense in an era when Bob Gibson and Fergie Jenkins would hook up and the game would end up 1-0. Does not make to much sense when MLB average ERA is 4.67.

I could also go into his handling of the young starters and his inability to assemble bullpens, but both problems, as a 2004 Baseball Prospectus article on the Cubs pointed out are probably more Hendry's responsibility then Dusty's.

Certainly the major failure of this year's team was Hendry's decision not to go after Kenny Rogers or Millwood, but to rely on the ghosts of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood; Hendry's decision not to acquire some offense oriented bench players (say Julio Franco), with so much offense coming from just three players (Lee, Barrett, and Ramirez) thereby leaving the offense very vulnerable to an injury to any of these three. And of course Hendry and Gary Hughes are responsbible for the complete lack of position prospects with any star potential in the upper levels of the minor league system, or aquiring such relatively free talent as Johnny Rodriquez as a back-ups the last two seasons. Even the Yankees, with their notoriously bad farm system were able to produce Melky Cabrera and John Phillips when Sheffield and Matsui went down (I know, the main reason the Yankees survived until the Abreu trade was having Damon, Jeter, Rodriguez, and Giambi in the line-up, still what they did bring up was certainly better than anything the Cubs had in their minors in the form of ready help.)

So, though it may be a cathartic release for some of you when Dusty is fired (if he is fired as I still think Hendry finds Dusty very compatible), don't expect the replacement to improve this team as currently assembled by Hendry, Gary Hughes, and McPhail. It will still have lots of low OBP contact hitters at top of the lineup; it will like the jack-of-all trades, master of none contact hitters for its bench with their equally low OBP and Slugging averages; it will struggle with assembling a bullpen (a Cub Tradition, going back 40 years,); and the rotation and the offense will built around Prayer Hope! Pray that Mark Prior will return to his 2003 form and not get hurt and Hope that Derrek Lee will return to his 2005 career form and Barrett and Jaques Jones repeat career years.

Why you may ask? Because its the consevative, stay the course, thing to do.

And that is why I am a masochist.

Excellent point Ryno. All the wo is me talk from Dusty about having to start so many rookies overlooks the fact that they were counting on those two boobs. Last off season Hendry said they were going to get a vetern starter and they didn't. I can just hear them saying that getting Lee and Prior back next year is like trading for or signing two stars. That is the kind of thinking that got us where we are.

Sobering thought...

It was reported that the Cubs are postponing construction of the new parking garage. This project has a modest pricetag of $30 million or so, and will be yet another money maker for the Cubs. But the Tribune Company says it can't afford to do things right now. What?!? I know the Tribune Company is having its financial struggles, but a $30 million investment is a spit in the bucket for them.

Could this be a precursor to the Cubs being forced to shave payroll during the winter? Could we be looking at a payroll in the $70 million range next season?

CubFanFormerlyInGermany:

All that said, and I agree with 95% of it, the opening day lineup looked pretty good.

In fact I'd go so far as to say I wouldn't mind the Cubs running the same opening day lineup out next year as long as Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Glendon Rusch, Jerome Williams, and Roberto Novoa are all gone and replaced by some won't-blow-you-away-but-will-get-the-job-done journeyman pitchers.

JB's suckitude is just more obvious because his batting average is so low.

More like JB's suckitude is just more obvious because his batting average, his on base perentage, and his slugging percentage are so low.

But if you can get beyond those things, and you only want to look at their home run and runs scored rates, yeah, I suppose you could say Burnitz and Jones are performing at about the same level.

Could this be a precursor to the Cubs being forced to shave payroll during the winter? Could we be looking at a payroll in the $70 million range next season?

Yes, it most certainly means that the cubs will only spend 70 million on payroll.

Isn't jumping to unfounded conclusions fun!

Last off season Hendry said they were going to get a vetern starter and they didn't.

He did? When was this?

There were lots of discussion about whether they should go get another starter (with Jeff Weaver being one of the most popular names on here) but I don't remember ever hearing Hendry or anyone with the Cubs say that was the plan.

I will not be surprised to see the Cub payroll shaved. The "excuse" Andy McFailure and the Tribune Company can make is that the team is in a semi-rebuilding mode and already has decent talent that just needs to get healthy (e.g., Derrek Lee, Mark Prior). Right now, these are the moves I expect the Cubs to make during the offseason.

1. Re-sign Juan Pierre to a three year deal, probably for $8 million or so per season.

2. Re-sign Carlos Zambrano to the big deal he so richly deserves.

3. Sign a Jeff Suppan or Ted Lilly type for the starting rotation, probably to a three year deal in the range of $7-8 million per season.

4. Re-sign Wade Miller.

5. Sign 2nd baseman Ray Durham to a 2 year deal with an option in the range of $7-8 million per season.

6. Sign OF/1st Cliff Floyd to a 2 year deal in the range of $5 million per season. Floyd provides a needed left-handed run producing bat and grabs time in complement to Matt Murton and Jacque Jones.

7. Wave goodbye to John Mabry and Henry Blanco.

They did get a veteran starter-

Wade Miller.

He was suppose to pitch by June. But if notice the Cubs never said June "2006".

I will not be surprised to see the Cub payroll shaved.

The Cubs already have more than 70 million committed to next years payroll.

Making the moves you've described would put the Cubs payroll very close, if not higher, than it is right now.

Will Carroll must torment us in his UTK:

The Cubs are also talking about an opinion they received about Mark Priorís shoulder. Two words have them wondering about Prior next season: Kerry Wood. A source tells me that the Cubs were told that Priorís shoulder injury in 2006 is virtually identical to the one that Wood had at the end of 2005, we all know how that story ends.

Krishna-

You see when that kind of info gets out early we don't get the suprise from Jim Hendry when he tells us that Prior will have an extended ST and should be ready by May.

Jacos:
"Hopefully the Cubs brass are looking at starting pitching as the biggest need this offseason."

I agree 100%. This is the MOST important thing this offseason for Hendry to deal with. More important that getting Cedeno out of a starting position, more important than getting a big bat to take over LF, more important than deciding what to do with the manager, more important that being the first GM in line at the buffet at the GM Winter Meetings.

We can't go into next year expecting the youngsters/Prior taking more than 2 spots in the stating rotation.

Z
?
?
Prior
Hill/Guzman/Ryu/Marsahll/whicheveryoungster

CubfanGermany:
"allowing the team to lose focus in August and September of 2004"

I think you meant the last week in September and October of 2004. Cubs went 16-12 in August and 15-6 before the Victor Diaz HR. I wouldn't call that losing focus.

Our manager speaketh....

'Ronny is a natural shortstop,'' Baker said. ''Anybody else is just a part-time shortstop.''

Brilliant. Says Bynum and Theriot will split 2b duties.

But I'm sure Hendry's just pulling the strings in the background on this one.

The sad part is we really don't have a real starting SS or 2B on the team right now (including DL). They are all really just defensive replacements.

But if Hendry's plan is to use Cedeno as the starting 2B right now next year, he has to be playing there right now everyday. And I seriously can't see Dusty and Hendry not talking about playing Cedeno at SS when Izzy went on the DL. Just as I am sure they discussed moving Cedeno to 2B.

Playing Cedeno at SS is a bad decision by Baker and Hendry.

With starting pitching being our biggest need, Hendry can really have a good offseason with two obvious moves.

1. Sign Schmidt to a 3 year deal with a 4th option year that vests with either IP or GS. I don't care how much.

2. Walk over to Kenny Williams place on the south side, and trade for Javier Vazquez or Freddy Garcia. Start the talks with Bob Howry and Juan Mateo...it shouldn't be that hard with the weak bullpen market this offseason.

That gives us this rotation:

SP Zambrano
SP Schmidt
SP Vazquez/Garcia
SP Prior/Marshall/Guzman/Marmol/Hill
SP Prior/Marshall/Guzman/Marmol/Hill

My money would be on Prior and Marshall earning those last two starting spots.

And a bullpen like this:

CL Dempster
RP Eyre
RP Weurtz
RP Wood??
RP Marmol (would be great in the pen)
RP Ohman
RP Rusch (Hendry wont DFA him, so lets pray for a trade)

That is a solid staff AND bullpen. After that is assembled, we can worry about the situations in LF, CF, and 2B. I, for one, would love to pass on $8mm Juan Pierre and look at $3mm Dave Roberts for 400-450 AB's with someone like Pagan filling in against the lefties. That saves $5mm and there is no real dropoff in offensive, defensive, or baserunning. I like Murton in LF...I think his numbers will be around .290/.375/.475 over a full season with 10-13 HRs and a good amount of doubles. That sounds like a great #2 hitter to me. We can get away with the lack of production in LF because we have offfensive studs at C, 1B, and 3B...and Rami and Barrett provide numbers that other teams do not get at those positions.

Lineup would look like this:

*Roberts CF
Murton LF
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
*Jones LF
Barrett C
#Izturis SS
Cedeno 2B

With just a couple of moves (Schmidt, CWS Trade, and Roberts) this team looks pretty good...on paper.

oh I can seriously see them not talking at all right now....

Plus Theriot is more than capable at playing SS.

This blurb is pretty painful...

Aramis Ramirez's fourth-inning walk was his 39th of the year, giving him the team lead over Todd Walker, who was traded to San Diego three weeks ago.

Rob G.:
"oh I can seriously see them not talking at all right now...."

Then that is a POOR job by Hendry. He said he was going to be more involved and this is a pretty big thing to not talk to Baker about. If Hendry's goal this last half of season was to look toward 2007, why wouldn't he want Cedeno to be playing 2B? He should put the dougnut down and speak up. But I think he is in on this decision, making both Baker and Hendry in the wrong.

Yeah putting Cedeno back at SS seems logical at first glance. But if the organization wants Ronny to be the 2nd baseman, he should be at 2nd base.

Either that or the Cubs plan on replacing him. If so, it doesn't matter.

from Will Carroll:

The Cubs are also talking about an opinion they received about Mark Priorís shoulder. Two words have them wondering about Prior next season: Kerry Wood. A source tells me that the Cubs were told that Priorís shoulder injury in 2006 is virtually identical to the one that Wood had at the end of 2005, we all know how that story ends.

Schmidt and Zito it is....

okay more like Eaton and Lily

also....
Marcus Giles wonít return to the Braves lineup until the weekend. The Braves are expected to deal him in the offseason

(drooling)

He said he was going to be more involved

He did? He said somewhere that he was going to start taking control over playing time. and lineups.

MIKEC-
That is exactly what I have been saying. Maybe hendry plans on replacing him and having Cedeno just be a backup utility 2B/SS IF in 2007. Or he is planning on using him as part of a trade, so yeah either way then it wouldn't matter.

I hope this is the case, as Cedeno has had one of the worst seasons in MLB.

Let's hope your leadoff guy can get to second base quickly, Junior, before Murton hits that ground-ball.

Manny, is there anything that Baker is every solely responsible for, in your mind?

Rob G.:
"He did? He said somewhere that he was going to start taking control over playing time. and lineups."

From Cubs.com
Hendry said: "...there are certain days I may try to make some decisions for next year that I need him to be on board with, and he didn't have a problem with that."

No, he is not making out the lineup everyday or telling Baker who to play each and everyday, but I am sure he has told Baker what different players he wants to see get some playing time at certain times and this should be one of those times.

I don't think Hendry ever said he was going to be "more involved" in the day-to-day on field decisions. He said that it was going to be necessary to give some young players (specifically Hill, as I recall) a chance to show what they can do at the major league level so he knows what he has to work with for 2007.

Vorare:
"Manny, is there anything that Baker is every solely responsible for, in your mind?"

I am pretty sure Dusty makes out the lineup on his own.

"*Roberts CF
Murton LF
Lee 1B
Ramirez 3B
*Jones LF
Barrett C
#Izturis SS
Cedeno 2B"

ANEMIC AT BEST

I am pretty sure Dusty makes out the lineup on his own.

Says the person who is blaming Hendry for Cededno being in the lineup at SS instead of 2b.

I am sure he has told Baker what different players he wants to see get some playing time at certain times and this should be one of those times.

So by your own admission, then, Dusty is too stupid to see that if Cedeno is in the long term plans for 2nd base, then it should be Theroit playing SS.

But you're making this Hendry's fault, because he's not doing Dusty's job for him, and telling him exactly who should play when and where (aka making out the lineup).

Yeah, what exactly is Dusty Baker individually responsible for again?

Bleedin Blue:
"Says the person who is blaming Hendry for Cededno being in the lineup at SS instead of 2b."

The batting order...

And the funny thing about that, Manny, is that you like to rant here on a regular basis about how irrelevant batting order really is.

So basically, Dusty can do no wrong.

Bleeding Blue:
"So by your own admission, then, Dusty is too stupid to see that if Cedeno is in the long term plans for 2nd base, then it should be Theroit playing SS."

I admitted that? WOW, don't recall saying that. Let me scroll up and see....nope didn't say that. Nice try Blue...Have a good day.

The Cubs have an outstanding shortstop. And his name is Cesar Izturis. If Izturis can manage to hit .260 and get his OBP north of .300, he is worth his weight in gold. The problem that some of you have with Izturis because you see his name in a lineup that also includes light-hitting (and useless in my estimation) Ronny Cedeno and punch and Judy hitter Juan Pierre. Upgrade at 2nd base and eliminate Augie Cedeno during the offseason and problem is cured.

Given the need for a quality #2 hitter and another left-handed bat combined with the hoped for arrival of Eric Patterson in a couple years, going after Ray Durham surely makes loads of sense to Jim Hendry. Or at least it should.

Vorare:
"And the funny thing about that, Manny, is that you like to rant here on a regular basis about how irrelevant batting order really is."

Bill James is on record saying the same thing.

"So basically, Dusty can do no wrong."

You said that, not me.

Okay, Manny. What can Dusty do wrong?

Ronny Cedeno is poor man's Neifi Perez. There, I said it. The sooner Augie Cedeno is out of the picture, the better. Jim Hendry is blowing smoke up our keesters when he insists Cedeno can be a quality major league ballplayer. He is dreadful undisciplined hitter with a questionable and erractic glove.

Mike63-
I agree with you that if the Cubs offense filled/upgraded some other positions, then Izzy wouldn't be bad. But at this point, that is not the case. Hopefully Hendry can upgrade 2-3 offensive positions next year.

Well, you're sitting here telling us that Cedeno needs to be playing 2nd base.

And you're also telling us its Hendry's fault because he's not forcing Dusty Baker to play him at 2nd base.

So, Dusty Baker is too stupid to do what you think is clearly the best course of action, but its Hendry's fault for allowing it.

No you didn't use those exact words, but what part of that is different from what your point is?

The Cubs already have more than 70 million committed to next years payroll. - Bleeding Blue

According to paul sullivan that number is 55 million.

Of the players who remain Cubs property in 2007, the team is committed to only $55 million: Lee ($13 million), Ramirez ($11.5 million), Ryan Dempster ($5.3 million), Jacque Jones ($5 million), Bob Howry ($4.5 million), Michael Barrett ($4.3 million), Cesar Izturis ($4.15 million), Scott Eyre ($4 million) and Glendon Rusch ($3.25 million).

Cedeno is a poor man's Neifi Perez.

The problem is that Neifi Perez is a poor man's Cesar Izturis.

Ronny Cedeno is poor man's Neifi Perez...

The Cubs like to cover both ends, as Cesar Izturis is the conspicuous consumer's Neifi Perez.

STOP with the White Sox trades. The White Sox will not deal with us, and we are NOT going to get Schmidt or Zito!

Manny,

Actually you're wrong. Bill James is on record saying that even though a number of studies have concluded that batting average is unimportant, he "doesn't really buy it".

Sure enough, contrastingly, many studies have also concluded that batting order IS important.

"Cedeno is a poor man's Neifi Perez.

The problem is that Neifi Perez is a poor man's Cesar Izturis."

Nope. The Cubs landed the best defensive shortstop in all of baseball in my estimation. His bat will be good enough and I predict he will rapidly become Cub fan favorite in 2007. I hated to see Greg Maddux go, but the Cubs received a young Omar Vizquel in return. And in my book it doesn't get much better than that, unless of course you have plan to acquire Derrek Jeter or Michael Young for a bag of magic beans.

Izturis is an exceptionally gifted shortstop. The best the Cubs have ever had at the position. Give him some time to acclimate to Chicago and overcome a major injury that kept him out for nearly one full season.

The Cubs have an outstanding shortstop. And his name is Cesar Izturis. If Izturis can manage to hit .260 and get his OBP north of .300, he is worth his weight in gold.

Mike63,

There's just no other way to say this: you are dead wrong.

Vorare:
"Okay, Manny. What can Dusty do wrong?"

He can do wrong just as much as every other manager in MLB can do wrong. I am not going to get into specifics, but he has done some things wrong in the past and I am sure he will do some wrong in the future, just like every manager. There are things I don't agree with that he does. Dusty is not perfect and I don't think anyone has said so.

sorry manny, i meant batting "order" not "average"

Horatio-
On July 11, 2006, Mitterwald watched "The Winning Formula" on the Science Channel and said Bill James stated: "Lineup construction, while hotly debated, has no siginificant impact on a team's runs scored unless it's just outrageously bad."

I was going by that very recent report.

What a shock, Manny once again blames Hendry for the lineup/playing time decisions, and then once again refuses to say what exactly Dusty Baker is individually responsible for.

No one has said that Dusty Baker is perfect, but some people on here clearly just don't think that he can be held individually accountable for anything.

Give [Cesar] some time to acclimate to Chicago and overcome a major injury that kept him out for nearly one full season.

Let's not and say we did.

Neifi/Izturis in #2 spot IS "outrageously bad.

"Adjusting" for AB's is BS."

I see E-man, averages (adjustments for AB's) are BS. So why did you include BA, OBA and Slugging in your post?

izturis comes in and plays stellar D with a stellar arm and hits .260/.320 with 25+ doubles and a handful of homers.

big f'n deal...go look at the other options.

the cubs reality is 07 upgrade will not come from SS even if izturis doesnt exist.

of course there's the * of paying 8m+ to lugo to play a hacky SS or pay a near-40 year old vizquel 4-5+m.

there's no real issue at SS, imo...the alternatives weighed vs. the reality of the market doesnt really bring any lost oportunities to the forefront.

Manny:

The fact that you refuse to point out the specific things Dusty does wrong, combined with your recent habit of blaming just about everything on Hendry, doesn't help your reputation for trolling.

Horatio:
"Neifi/Izturis in #2 spot IS "outrageously bad."

What? No, bad is batting the P 1st, DLee 8th, etc. That is "outrageously bad". And just a note, the soon to be named AL Manager of the Year batted Neifi Perez leadoff last night.

my bad...viz isnt a FA...ass end of his 3yr/12m contact in 07.

There are 2 things that matter in an offense:

1) getting on base/not getting out
2) driving those baserunners in with extra base hits.

If those 2 things are 10's in the 1-10 scale of importance, everything else, and I mean everything, rates a 1 or less. That includes, "getting guys over," "bunting," "speed," and all the other claptrap that people seem to love to gush over.

Winning teams have ALWAYS followed this formula, it's just that only recently have we truly come to see exactly what that formula is.

The trouble with Dusty isn't that he's stupid or doesn't know baseball, it's that he's willfully ignorant of everything that's happened in baseball study over the last 10 years. And that, in an age when so many teams are incorporating winning strategies into their organizations, is a recipe for losing. It's also why Dusty is a bad manager.

Vorare:
"The fact that you refuse to point out the specific things Dusty does wrong, combined with your recent habit of blaming just about everything on Hendry, doesn't help your reputation for trolling."

I am sorry you feel that way. But me saying Dusty does things wrong, and he is partly responsible for the team not making the playoffs the past 3 years should be more than enough. But along the way I have stated different instances where I thought Dusty has screwed up. You can go look them up...

And it was a dreadful decision. Leyland, just like Dusty, is one of these old school dudes who can't seem to wrap their head around the fact that leading off Neifi demonstrably HURTS your teams chance to win.

Hendry also indicated that he'll be thrilled to pick up Izturis' $5.45m team option for 2008.

Manny, I'll jump on, Neifi's single-for-4 night definitely keyed the Tigers to victory.

By the way, Manager/Coach of the Year is the most meaningless award in sports.

Horatio:
"There are 2 things that matter in an offense:
1) getting on base/not getting out
2) driving those baserunners in with extra base hits.
If those 2 things are 10's in the 1-10 scale of importance, everything else, and I mean everything, rates a 1 or less. That includes, "getting guys over," "bunting," "speed," and all the other claptrap that people seem to love to gush over.
Winning teams have ALWAYS followed this formula, it's just that only recently have we truly come to see exactly what that formula is."

So how is Detroit a winning team? They have a .331 OBP (20th in MLB).

I agree, Crunch, that any improvement won't be at SS regardless of the presence of Izturis. The problem is that we could get the same replacement level dogshit for the league minimum, instead of paying 5.5 mil for it. Every dollar we pay to a scrub like Cesar is a dollar unable to be offered to a 1st rate FA.

So how is Detroit a winning team? They have a .331 OBP (20th in MLB).

I don't know, maybe the fact that their Team ERA of 3.61 is a half a run per game less than anyone else in the American League has something to do with it?

Who really gives a rip about debating the pros vs. cons of Dusty Baker. He is as good as gone in a few weeks. Jim Hendry and Dusty will come to an amicable parting of the ways. Then Hendry will hire Fredi Gonzalez as new manager, regardless if whether Joe Girardi is available or not.

Lets start talking about the Fredi Gonzalez era and forget Dusty.

Manny, I was talking about offense alone. Detroit has a passable offense, as they are 11th in all of MLB in OPS and 10th in MLB in runs. It is their pitching, however, that puts them into the stratosphere. They lead MLB in fewest runs allowed by 60 RUNS. So they have ungodly pitching and decent offense and their record reflects as much. What the heck is your point?

you cant just find an izturis anywhere.

the cubs got a guy hyped and performing near his level...but he's not as nearly polished...cedeno.

there's a misconception that great fielding middle IF'rs who cant hit are just littered all over the minors and you can pick them up, pay them 360K and use/toss them.

be nice if that was the case, but a lotta these types can barely hit the weight of their 5'10" frames in the bigs.

royce clayton, neifi, etc. havent stuck around a long time cuz of their high-ob% and slugging bats, but the fact they can make somewhat occasional quality contact while playing middle IF well is keeping them employed.

no, ojeda/theriot/cedeno just arent on the same level as ceasar even if ceasar isnt gonna win any MVP trophys any time soon.

Pitching is king. The Chicago White Sox proved this in 2005, and the Detroit Tigers are proving it in 2006. Jim Hendry thought he had the same formula going of winning via strong pitching with Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Greg Maddux, Carlos Zambrano and a much upgraded bullpen. But alas the bottom fell out. Mark Prior turned into fragile pussy with arm ailments not even the best doctors can diagnosis (hint...the problem is in his head). Kerry Wood is the enigma of enigmas, and now his arm is all but toast. Aramis Ramirez turned into a lazy dog. Jacque Jones is awful. Ronny Cedeno is beyond awful.

But the point is, Hendry thought he could win on the backs of his pitching staff.

If we were paying Izturis more like $1 mil, I might agree with you, Crunch. But I just don't think that the drop-off in ability from Cesar to random replacement is worth $5 mil. That money could be used to upgrade elsewhere so that the net result is positive.

jones is awful? i'll take his 30 double, 25hr pace for 5m. wish he was in LF, but he's better than the other cubs RF options...

Mike63,

I find myself in complete agreement with your assessment of Mark Prior: biggest pussy in MLB.

guess you missed the part where it's being floated that Prior might have the same shoulder issue as Wood did last year.

I'm sure Prior's just a closet hypochondriac.....

Crunch,

Problem with Jones is he gets out to much. He's got a lot of pop, but not enough to make up for the fact he gets out in 68% of his PA's. He's not bad, he's just not very good. He's a starting LF on a third place team.

Twins won a few division titles with Jones in RF

68%...64%...another 20+ times or so on base for the #6-9 hitters...*shrug*

be nice to get those 20 walks/singles/whatever, but we are talking abuot a guy making 5m bucks hitting for power.

How about the Cubs sign this John Ferry kid from Lemont. He has a plus fastball and a devastating slurve.

He threw 6 shutout innings last night giving up only 1 hit and 12 Ks. The best part is, he's only 13 so his elbow has at least another 8 or 9 years left.

While the Cubs stink out loud, let's all root for the Great Lakes region in the Little League World Series!

He's a starting LF on a third place team.

You mean the same Jones who was the starting Right Fielder on a team that won its division 3 years in a row?

By the way, speaking of Dusty's inability to manage, he had said at the start of the year that "he'd never seen J. Jones hit against lefties" so he couldn't just "assume" that he would struggle against them. Stupid, yes, but fair enough, I suppose. So, in the spirit of "finding out for oneself," I wonder if Dusty's noticed Jones's .581 OPS against lefties this year.

But this really was Hendry's fault, for overpaying for a platoon guy who was guaranteed to be asked to do something he was incapable of giving.

i wish hendry would give 5m to more guys who can hit 30 doubles and 25m...that's my kind of overpaying.

68%, 64%, hey what's 40 points of OBP? .320? .360? Who cares!

Horatio-
You stated "Winning teams have ALWAYS followed this formula,". You didn't say a good offensive team has to have those 2 points. Now you changed it and that is cool. But my point has been all along that teams win on PITCHING PITCHING PITCHING.

By the way, Lemont's coach went totally Howard Dean in his post-game speech to his winning players.

It went a little something like this:
"We're winning for Chicago! We're winning for Mayor Daley...the President...Hey! We never disrespect the game of baseball by turning our caps sideways! Hey! You guys! Hey! YEEEEEEEEEEEARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGH!"

Miking up Little League coaches was probably the best idea ESPN ever had.

RF FA market...j.jones, encarcenon, r.sanders, and burnitz.

all got 5-7m deals.

jones/encar 3yr, sanders 2yr, burn 1yr.

im satisfied with the guy hendry picked and it seems as if he's performign well as a cub so far. balls thrown into the ground (ha) aside, his plate performace vs. his pay scale is pretty nice.

If Prior tries to pitch again this season he will be going under the knife. My hunch.

Our we really throwing Cedeno under the bus after one season in which he's now learning a new position, shared time with Neifi, moved up and down the batting order, and was in the presence of Dusty Baker(knowing this is his do or die year) and the rest of his sleeping college of coaches?

Jones was on a winning team for a few years? Big deal. Jeff Blauser won a WS with the Braves. Shit, Timo Perez won a WS last year with the White Sox. It certainly wasn't because of him. Who knows, maybe without Jones, the Twins would've had a little more success in the playoffs. The point is that J. Jones is not a championship caliber player. That is, teams looking to win a championship should not seek up guys with Jones' skill level.

cedeno threw his own self under the bus.

he's got as many errors as extra base hits. nice.

and he's here for his glove to begin with.

"we are NOT going to get Schmidt or Zito!"

We might.

"#121 of 155: By Horatio (August 23, 2006 12:43 PM)
Mike63,
There's just no other way to say this: you are dead wrong."

Way to back that one up Horatio. No, Horatio he's 100% RIGHT. He is better than any shortstop that I have ever seen on this team.

"#127 of 155: By Horatio (August 23, 2006 12:49 PM)
Give [Cesar] some time to acclimate to Chicago and overcome a major injury that kept him out for nearly one full season.

Let's not and say we did"

Wow what a mature and insightful argument. Did you think of that one at recess? BTW, I'll trade you my pudding cup for your apple. Deal? Tic Tac Toe no take backs.

Manny,

You may have a point. I should have said "good offenses always follow this formula." That said, it is possible to have a great team with great pitching and just good hitting. Too bad the Cubs possess neither.

I don't have a problem with Hendry signing Jones. The thing that bugs me is he's playing out of position, and clearly Bobby Abreu was available for basically nothing. I would be perfectly happy with Jones in left field, with Abreu in right acquired for some middling prospects.

horatio...why do you have a problem with a guy who hits 25 homers, 30 doubles, and makes 5m bucks to do it?

its not like he's hitting .240 and K'ing 150+ times while doing it.

in may/june when NO ONE was hitting but barrett and jones, he was one of the few bright spots...when not being picked off base (ha).

when did Cedeno share playing time with Neifi this year?

Chad,

I refuse to argue with people who claim Izturis is a good player. They are just proving themselves to be fools when they say that. Call it childish if you want, but I'm not going to debate with idiocy.

"and clearly Bobby Abreu was available for basically nothing."

22-23m worth of nothing for 2months + 1yr. of abreu.

Jacos:
"Our we really throwing Cedeno under the bus after one season in which he's now learning a new position, shared time with Neifi, moved up and down the batting order, and was in the presence of Dusty Baker(knowing this is his do or die year) and the rest of his sleeping college of coaches?"

Shared time with Neifi? Cedeno has started 110 of the 125 games this year. Moved up and down the lineup? He has gotten 75% of his Ab's in the 6-7-8 holes. So how much time should be stick Cedeno out there to constantly make errors and be one of the worst batters in MLB. 2-3 more years?

Good players don't come cheap. If even the fans are going to balk at how much it costs to get guys with .400+ OBPs then I guess we'll always be stuck with a revolving door of guys like Jones, Burnitz, Holly, et al.

He's expensive, but he could also be making our team much better right now instead of playing for the f*cking Yankees.

Again, Crunch, I don't think Jones is bad, I just don't think he's very good. My problem is that he's not really a starter. He is above average against righties and Neifi Perez against lefties. So we then have to pay for the platoon partner. Why not just pay all that money to ONE GUY who can produce all the time? Frees up a roster spot too.

The point is that J. Jones is not a championship caliber player. That is, teams looking to win a championship should not seek up guys with Jones' skill level.

First of all, you're the one who said Jones is someone who belongs on a 3rd place team. The fact is that teams have gone to the playoffs more than once with Jones as their starting RF.

Second, I guess you forgot that the Cardinals were also bidding for Jones and had to settle for Encarnacion when the Cubs signed him.

I so by your definition, I guess you think that the Cards aren't looking to win a championship either?

Jones isn't a guy you build a team around, but he's a perfectly average piece that certainly won't stop you from winning a championship.

Hey it's my opinion.

I was wrong on the Neifi account.

I guess the Cubs should just jettison another young player.

But keep your fingers crossed on Mark Prior, Izturis and Kerry Wood.

well the cubs cant have 8 10-13m players in every position. the yanks are 1 team...1 220m team.

you got dlee...you got aram...and they got 1/4th of the payroll as it stands.

you're not gonna have 8 .350 ob%+ guys...when you get a .320/30double/25hr guy for 5m i dont see how that's even a bad deal.

and about abreu...of course he'd make almost any team better, but he's owed 22-23m for 8 months of regular season play.

Izturis rookie year age 22:
.232/.253/.303
1 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB, 7CS

Cedeno rookie year, age 23:
.248/.273/.335, 5HR, 31 RBI, 8 SB/7CS

Izturis better field .995 to make a difference...
his career #'s are .259/.295/.337 in 2400 ABs's.

.260 avg, .320 OBP? He's touched .320 1 time (.330), and hit 29 points above his career average to do it.

I'm an unabashed Cedeno fan, but even I can see that Izturis is better defensively;however, let's not name him to the All-World team yet. Mike63...

Jones isn't a guy you build a team around, but he's a perfectly average piece that certainly won't stop you from winning a championship.

A fair enough statement.

So the question is this: when does Hendry figure he's going to get the guy we build around? All of his FA signings have been guys who "won't stop you from winning." How about we get some players who actually proactively help you to win?

I agree with Manny. Cedeno is not a Major Leaguer.

"when does Hendry figure he's going to get the guy we build around?"

well there's these kids he's looking at who might get tied up to contracts...

these d.lee and aram guys seem to be pretty good.

Jacos:
"I guess the Cubs should just jettison another young player."

If he is no good, like DuBois, Patterson, Bobby Hill, Choi, etc., yeah get rid of them. People can't keep gfalling in love with these minor league prospects all the time. We are not the Royals. We can't stick with them for 2-3 years even if they are playing badly, hoping they will turn things around.

So Crunch, you're of the opinion that getting DLee back is going to make the Cubs a-ok and they will climb from last in MLB in runs scored to the top 10?

If you are, boy oh boy.

If you are not, then we need someone else.

By the way, what kids are you talking about?

So the question is this: when does Hendry figure he's going to get the guy we build around?

Well, first there's the fact that he already got DLee and ARam as the guys to build the offense around, he just didn't do it by using Free Agency.

Second, you can only buy what on the shelf, and last offseason was pretty dreadful. The corner outfielders on the market last offseason included no impact players, and Jones was arguably the best of a very average bunch. That's why the Cubs and Cards went after him.

This offseason is different, there are a few impact outfielders available, and Hendry needs to make sure one of them winds up a Cub.

Good young players like Pujols, David Wright, Grady Sizemore are good right away. Players who suck like Cedeno has sucked usually keep right on sucking.

no.

you asked when hendry's gonna sign an impact core.

well...if dlee/aram dont qualify i have no idea where to continue.

pujols and arod make you happier? i dunno how hendry would manage it.

"and about abreu...of course he'd make almost any team better, but he's owed 22-23m for 8 months of regular season play."

I don't know what Bobby Abreu's salary is for next year, but he's only making $13.6m this year. I also don't think JJ is a bad deal, I just wish he were in left field.

"well the cubs cant have 8 10-13m players in every position. the yanks are 1 team...1 220m team."

No, they can't have an entire roster of guys making that much money, but I think you can get away with paying a lot for a guy like Abreu, who will dramatically improve your team. If you replace Maddux, Neifi, and Glendon with guys making at or close to the MLB minimum, you can pay for Abreu. So, you replace Maddux's 4-spot in the rotation with one of the young pitchers, replace Neifi's utility infield position with Cedeno, and replace Glendon's bloated bullpen position with one of the other young pitchers.

The point is, if you don't overpay for mediocrity you can afford premium players.

I don't believe Dusty Baker ever thought moving Ronny Cedeno to second base in the midst of the season was a good idea. Cedeno to 2B has always been Hendry's plan ...except he forgot to actually complete the Furcal deal.

DB has repeatedly said that the major leagues is not the place to learn a new position and based on RC's inept transition to 2B I doubt he's changed that opinion.

Izturis' injury just gave Dusty an excuse to move Cedeno back to shortstop where at least he's adequate defensively even if he can't hit a lick right now.

Bleeding Blue,

You have hit on a very important point. Knowing that the FA market last year was light, why would Hendry tie up dollars with the scrubs available when he had to know the 2007 class would be so much better?

abreu makes 15m next year...2m buyout or 16m option...yanks pick up 4.4m owed this year.

that is a lot of money for a guy who's power is on a severe decline.

If you replace Maddux, Neifi, and Glendon with guys making at or close to the MLB minimum, you can pay for Abreu. So, you replace Maddux's 4-spot in the rotation with one of the young pitchers, replace Neifi's utility infield position with Cedeno, and replace Glendon's bloated bullpen position with one of the other young pitchers.

The point is, if you don't overpay for mediocrity you can afford premium players.

My point exactly, Doug. I couldn't have said it better myself. The reason J Jones is a bad signing is not because Jones is a bad player, it's that having to pay him prevents you from getting a better player.

i still dont get how 5m for jones is a bad deal or even an average deal...seems like a good deal.

One year at $5 mil might not have been that bad. But i think he was signed to a 3 year deal.

I think $5m for Jones is a good deal. I just think he's playing out of position. Platoon him in left with Murton and there's a $5.33 million leftfield that works out pretty well.

But, baseball isn't about making good deals. It's about winning. Abreu at $15 million isn't a very good deal, but you're going to win more ballgames. Buying a BMW 740 isn't a good deal either, but it sure looks great parked in your driveway. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and overpay for guys who will make a serious impact on your team.

Hendry's problem is he's gun shy when it comes to true impact players, but he loves overpaying for guys who could be replaced adequately by league minimum players.

Horatio, If you asked Hendry, I think the answer would be that he was trying to win in 2006.

Personally, Last Fall, I was saying that the Cubs should look at 2006 as a rebuilding year, front load some contracts to people like DLee and Zambrano, and use the year to develope some of the young players.

However, I will also say, that very few people on TCR agreed with my idea.

if this club is gonna give 15m to someone, i'd rather it be someone who's more of a sure thing than abreu...and its not just 15...its the 4.5m baggage of this season and his buyout...if money wasnt an issue philly wouldnt be dealing him and if they were there would have been a lot more suitors.

much like furcal, no one denies he's a good player, but that's a lotta money for what he brings.

But my point has been all along that teams win on PITCHING PITCHING PITCHING.
---

They usually do. But an offense that shows PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE and takes walks can get into bullpens and WIN WIN WIN against good pitching.

$15 million is a lot of money, but my original point was that he was available for nothing more than his price tag and a couple crappy prospects (actually I don't know if they were crappy, but they came from the Yankees' farm system).

There aren't very many players available each year who could have as large an impact on a team (especially the Cubs, given their current lineup, RF situation, and batting approach) as Bobby Abreu. Regardless of the price, when those players become available, you need to grab them.

Good thing the Yankees gave up virtually no one to get him.

yeah, they only gave up 22m.

i dont understand how 5m for jones is a bad thing, but a guy who hits for less power but can take more walks is worth 15-22m.

evidently 40-50 more times on base is worth the extra 10m bucks. who knew walks were so valuable...no wonder the cubs stay away from guys who can =p

40 to 50 more times on base is HUGE. In fact, it would be tough to overestimate the impact of something like that. Remember, 40 to 50 extra times on base is also 40 to 50 non-outs being made where one more guy gets to bat in that inning.

15% of the payroll vs. 5% is huge, too.

And I'm not sure who's a more sure thing than Abreu. The dude will give you everything you need. And, oh yeah, he hits righties as well as lefties.

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