Heavenly Cubs

So has there even been another baseball team with two Angel's on their team? Hmmm, I wonder. The Cubs march to a top five draft pick continues as they continue to help another team's quest for the playoffs. And if the Cubs fans who go to the games were any real kind of baseball fans, they'd go out and boo the hell out of Myers for taking some aggression out on his wife instead of poor fellas like Jacque Jones not even a month into a new deal. Go Angel, Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-TWENTY-SIX IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (63-62 (Div) 2nd- 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 3rd - 2.0 GB) AT CHICAGO CUBS (53-72 (Div) 5th - 13.5 GB; (Wild Card) 12th - 12.0 GB) Wrigley Field, 7:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 88 degrees, Wind Out to RF @ 12 mph TV: WGN Radio: WGN, XM 187
Angel Guzman, RHP 0-3, 6.68 ERA, 31 IP 33 K, 23 BB, 3 HR 292/412/467 againstBrett Myers, RHP 8-6, 4.40 ERA, 141 IP 130 K, 48 BB, 23 HR 271/330/459 against

#Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, RF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Pat Burrell, LF *David Dellucci, RF Mike Lieberthal, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B Brett Myers, P *Juan Pierre, CF *Freddie Bynum Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF Michael Barrett, C *John Mabry, 1B* Matt Murton, LF Ronny Cedeno, SS Angel Guzman, P

Phillies vs. Guzman: No Phillies with more than 10 Ab's Cubs vs. Myers: Juan Pierre: 13-34, 382/405/412, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 2B Aramis Ramirez: 4-12, 333/333/667, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 HR
Barrett's back in action, Bynum though is hitting second. With the good comes the bad. Wind is blowing out to right at 12 mph, get our your gloves when Howard and Utlley come up.
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Comments

It's like cock roaches. You get rid of one shitty sub .300 OBP #2 hitter and another one steps right in.

I guess the 2 game experiment with Murton in the #3 hole is over. How the hell do you judge anything by doing that?

angel guzman in suprising fashion leads the game off with a walk! what a play by ronny, but all that flash for nothing because "fast" freddy bynum couldnt find the damn bag! runners on 1st and second and no outs. not looking good!

Guzman just struck out Utley twice, with a 2-2 straight change then a 3-2 curve. That Barrett, he can't call a game for nothin'.

Haha, Barrett just got tossed for telling that fat blob of an umpire to call it both ways!

Oops, I mean he got thrown out at first. That will teach me to listen to these announcers.

Is it wrong for me to start getting encouraged about our rotation next year based on tonight's start?

Yes, Bluedog.

And I hope hendry does not get excited and think the rookies can fill the last 2-3 spots after Z/Prior.

Maybe you're right. but i've been consoling myself looking at the tigers and hoping that maybe what we're seeing this year is similar to the growing pains they had the last couple of years. Tonight demonstrates that Guzman has the stuff, he just needs the poise. that can come with time.

Nice to see Freddie Bynum was working with the Cubs' special "Roving Stupidity Instructor" while at Iowa.

"Lesson 3: Getting picked off first base by a right handed pitcher."

Hendry, get some of those kids from Lemont -- they understand how to play the game better than most Cubs.

Nice night for Guzman -- another flash of promise. It would be nice to see him string a few good outings together.

Bluedog-
Yeah, if Hendry is willing to rebuild and just stick those rookies out there the next two years, maybe in 2008 we can be the 2006 Tigers. But I just don't see a GM with only a 2 year deal AND a guy who even admits that if the Cubs don't win he should be "whacked" going with a rebuilding stance.

EPat with another 2 hits and another SB (so far) tonight in Iowa...go, kid, go.

"Nice night for Guzman -- another flash of promise. It would be nice to see him string a few good outings together."

Unfortunately, it is the rare young pitcher that can do this.

That's just the problem with our rookie rotation. We never know from night to night what each pitcher will be able to do. I'm sure they don't either.

Jared weaver and 2003 Prior really are exceptions. Ya get lucky once in a while - just NOT us in three years.

"And I hope hendry does not get excited and think the rookies can fill the last 2-3 spots after Z/Prior."

Got to love Manny. Bash the system one day, then when the system does well, say that the players need to be replaced.

The Cubs aren't the Tigers of 3 years ago, unless the '04 Tigers had a Zambrano I've forgotten about.

Hill since his latest call-up:

31 IP, 6 HR 14 BB 27 K's 4.65 ERA and a death defying 2:1 flyball to grounder ratio.

"And I hope hendry does not get excited and think the rookies can fill the last 2-3 spots after Z/Prior."

I hope Hendry doesn't get excited and think he can in good faith rely upon seeing a healthy Mark Prior for any spot in the rotation next year.

I think Hendry at a minimum needs to pick up at least two legit SP's via FA or trade. Sticking Dumpster back in the rotation ain't gonna cut it either (there's a damn good reason why he got the boot from it in the first place -- aside from LaTroy's meltdowns)

So WADE MILLER fell flat on his face tonight.
Five innings, 87 pitches/54 strikes, 2 BB's, 2 K's, 5 Runs..all earned, and 11 ..count 'em... 11 hits.

He got the win though! Bring him up!

sux to be wade...he was a nice gamble, but hell...at least chad fox managed to get a FEW innings in on his risk/reward contract =p

hopefully his career isnt done like fox's though.

imo, unless one is traded it seems hendry's pretty sold on having marshall and guzman in the rotation.

i dont think hendry has the guts to trade guzman at this point after all the investment him and this organization has put into him.

works for me...as long as the #3 pitcher between them and z/prior is worth a damn.

I was at the game tonight and while I'm sure Barrett was holding back some, his throws down to second after Guzman and the others were done warming up were really something to see. They looked like he was a father throwing fly balls to a ten-year-old. I half expected his arm to come off. Oh well, good outing by Guzman. Bynum gets picked off preceding a Jones double that would have tied it. Just solid 2006 Cub baseball.

Crunch:
"works for me...as long as the #3 pitcher between them and z/prior is worth a damn."

I can't say it works for me. A rotation of Z/Prior/inning eater/Marshall/Guzman to me is not a rotation that gets you to the playoffs.

Yes, IF Prior can return to what we all thought he was and stay healthy and IF Marshall and Guzman improve greatly, stay healthy, and can throw 200 IP without getting dead arm due to never pitching that much, it would keep us in contention, but that is too many big IFs in my opinion.

I would like to see Z/top tier SP/inning eater/Prior or Youngster/Youngster.

Pitchers duel in KC tonight...

Clev won 15-13 in 10 innings.

Guess who got the loss? Our boy Mr. Sisco.

He isn't looking too bad this year:
1-3, 7.43 ERA, 49.2 IP, 34 BB

There are whispers here in KC that Sisco's "attitude problems" are re-surfacing, too. Basically, the guy is a real smart ass and rubs pretty much everyone the wrong way. The Royals are starting to put some decent young players together, and I think it likely that Sisco will NOT be one of them come 2007. He's basically the mop-up guy right now for the team with the worst record in baseball. Not exactly impressive.

Well at least Bynum got picked off, so maybe we'll see Theriot again...

Guzman looked great. Pitching with your best stuff (well rested) and the wind blowing in. As long as he learns to trust his stuff and not nibble...

If you remember, Big Z got knocked around pretty good the first time they gave him a chance in 01. He gave up 13 earned runs in 7.7 innings. 15.26 ERA. The next year they eased him in and he went 4-8 with a 3.66 era and a promising 93 K's in 108 innings. Then in 03 he was a full member of the rotation. That tells you how long it takes for these guys to develop at the major league level.

The improvement in Murton, Hill, Mateo, Guzman, Pie and Epat have to be very promising to everyone in the organization. With the exception of Cedeno and Marmol the more playing time, the more relaxed they look and with better results.

The good news is if you sign Jason Schmidt it doesn't block anyone, it just replaces Prior. If Lee is healthy, the lineup looks pretty solid. Adding one really good starting pitcher would make a huge difference. Financially, that shouldn't be a problem at all.

Interestingly enough, Manny Trillo maybe right about Durham. If you pick up Ray to play second and Epat is lights out in AAA, you can move Super Ray to the outfield/super sub. His versatility and switch hitting could give the Cubs alot of options.

I know, I must have sprinkled some pixie dust on my cheerios this morning. I'm way too positive.

What on God's green earth is Freddie Bynum doing in a major league uniform. Jim Hendry has a factory that mass produces crappy, toolsy, puny, swing from their keester garbage. Jose Macias, Enrique Wilson, Neifi Perez, Jerry Hairston, Freddie Bynum. I swear, I'm waiting for Hendry to cajol Rey Ordonez out of retirement next.

Down in Boise we're growing some interesting spuds especially a few that can hit (15-1 win with 18 hits). If AZ Phil can give us his particular brand of update on the Boise Hawks hitters it would be much appreciated.

http://tinyurl.com/hnn6e

The Hawks have added Jose Ceda to there roster and named him as the starter for Thursdayís game. Ceda, a native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, was obtained by the Chicago Cubs from the San Diego Padres in a late July trade. The 6í 4î right-hander weighs in at 250 lbs. and can bring the fastball in the high 90ís.

you forgot buck coats.

yeah, he's only had 2 ab's but both he's been thrown a lot of breaking pitch and has NO idea what to do with them.

its pretty obvious theyre not throwing too many sinking sliders with accuracy in the PCL this year with the way buck was missing on them sosa-style. strike 3 on both his Ks have come on that pitch.

Mike63--
Holy Crap I agree with you.....it must be a special day..lol!!!

You're right though..enough toolsy, speedy no-hit. player without a position guys on the team...

Could be worse. Bynum could have dropped that routine fly ball. (sigh)

Guess I'm just not sold on Bynum yet.

And Carlos Lee is not going with Scott Boras now. Weird.

Anyways...

The news, however, could be a welcome development for the Astros, who are expected to make a strong push for Lee if he becomes a free agent. Lee, who owns a 100-acre ranch outside of Houston, is believed to be seriously interested in the Astros.

I don't mean to break any hearts, but Ryan Theriot and Buck Coats are latest version of Brendan Harris, Chadd Meyers and Gary Scott. In other words, I wouldn't get too geeked up over either's major league future.

And another dumb Baker comment to the archive. Why did Marmol get injured?

As for Carlos Marmol's biceps "fatigue," Baker attributed it to high pitch counts in the early innings.

Well, hell we better put Zambrano on the DL then with his high pitch counts in the early innings.

If I had to handicap the Carlos Lee derby, I'd say top three suitors will be Angels, Rangers and Astros (in that order).

Barry Zito? I'd say the Mets, Dodgers and Yankees (in that order).

Jason Schmidt? I'd say the Yankees, Mariners and Cardinals (in that order)

Alfonso Soriano? I'd say the Nationals, Cardinals and Angels (in that order)

Ted Lilly? I'd say the Blue Jays, Cubs and Cardinals (in that order)

Adam Eaton? I'd say the Rangers, Mets and Dodgers (in that order)

well realistically, the near-ready/ready cub kids with bats are murton, cedeno, pagan, epat, and pie.

the rest are just bench fodder and there's no guarentee any of those kids above will be anything but that either...no one's a slam dunk, though some have some very high-end tools (pie) and one is already acheiving some interesting results (murton).

cedeno could probally be a starting SS for someone, i just hope he's not a starting 2nd baseman for the cubs in 07 unless they really pour the upgrade on in other positions.

its kinda odd the team hasnt even produced a 1st base prospect outside of choi the past many years...most clubs have at least 1 OF/IF type that just isnt toolsy enough to play anything but 1st hanging around in the minors hitting 25+ homers.

they go mike "K machine" restovich, but that barely counts if at all.

Crunch-
You're dead on with the 1B thing...I kinda wanted to see Micah Hoffpauir up to see if he could take Mabry's place next year, but that's hardly the type of 1B prospect you meant..Ryan Norwood?

Ugh...

Just like Jim Hendry has fascination for speedy runts who swing from the heals and have no position on the field, he also likes to develop 1st/DH types with humongous holes in their swings. Two years ago Brian Dopirak was #1 prospect. Now look at him. Caught a case of Jason Dubois Disease. And Ryan Harvey and Brendan Sing don't appear too much different. If the Cubs played in a beer softball league it would be one thing, but of course they don't.

Somebody needs to explain to just why it is Jim Hendry has a job.

Dusty Baylor: You're dead on with the 1B thing...I kinda wanted to see Micah Hoffpauir up to see if he could take Mabry's place next year, but that's hardly the type of 1B prospect you meant..Ryan Norwood?

I think Hoffpauir would suprise everyone. When Restovich was brought up his Avg, slg, obp, k-rate, everything suffered, but Hoffpauir is the type of guy that would just keep doing what he's been doing.

He couldn't do worse than Mabry could he?

I like Mabry and all, he''s had a nice career, but he looks done.

Well, Mabry will recognize a big league breaking ball a hell of a lot quicker than Hoffpauir, I'm just saying I think the Hoff would suprise us. I'd like to see him added to the 40-man and used as a minor league call up backup plan for Lee next year. You know, in case Furcal decides to plow him over again.

BTW, the most impressive part about Guzman's game last night was his changeup. That's a very mature pitch that a lot of the young guys appear to brush off. Mixed in with a 94 MPH fastball that's about all he needs. Add the breaking ball and you can strike out guys like Chase Utley. Z & Gooz need a cool nickname for next year, like the Venuzuelan K Squad or something. Perferably something clever and spelled correctly.

Lets hope Angel Guzman can finally stay healthy and be counted on to be a starter next season. I'm not sold on Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol or Rich Hill. The Cubs desperately need for one of those three to be the real deal in 2007, along with Guzman.

I think it is time to ashcan the Wade Miller experiment. He continues to get tattooed and his velocity has been non-impressive. If Jim Hendry re-signs him and considers him a viable option in 2007, I'll puke.

i liked the miller signing at the time and still think that it was a good signing. Everyone knew that there was no guarentee that it would work, but if it did he would have been a huge addition to the starting rotation.

personally, the most impressive rookie has been Marshall. i like his poise on the mound and his stuff is good enough. There are a lot of very good pitchers in the bigs who don't have the curve that marshall has. I just wish his fastball would match his size.

Z, Prior, Marshall, Guzman is not a bad start to a rotaion, on paper at least. Add one decent starter and that should be enough to win.

"Z, Prior, Marshall, Guzman is not a bad start to a rotaion, on paper at least. Add one decent starter and that should be enough to win."

Huh? Carlos Zambrano is the only proven commodity in the quartet you noted.

Mark Prior is an injury plagued pussy who doesn't really want to be member of the Cubs (or MLB player) who is on the DL for the 8th time in three seasons. And now there is speculation (via Will Carroll) that his arm is much more screwed up then Jim Hendry and his crack medical staff have let the public know. Nobody, to include even the perpetually in denial Hendry, can count on Prior to do anything in 2007.

Angel Guzman has gobs of talent, but remains an unproven commodity and far from a "sure thing" when you factor in his ugly injury history. I like Guzman, but at this point he should only be classified a competitor for a starter role in 2007.

Rich Hill is about as big of a question mark as they come. Can the 26 year old get major league hitters out on a consistent basis given that he has only one above grade pitch (that curveball of his) and chronic problem with control? I don't know the answer to that one. But again, he should only be classified competitor for a starter role in 2007.

The Cubs have SCREAMING NEED for an upper echelon starting pitcher and another decent arm. Especially when you consider this is a big market team with $100 million of payroll flexibility and the expectation to win. This ain't the Kansas City Royals Dorothy.

I haven't seen the carroll article, but what source does he have. I know many people don't trust the cubs when it comes to medical information, but why wouldn't the cubs release that information to explain shutting prior down.

Also, i never mentioned hill in my comments. I don't think hill will be a very good major league pitcher.

We may have a large payroll, but why not try to build from with in and then spend money on one or two free agents to put you over the top. I wathced this team try to buy good teams in the past and it hasn't worked out. Look at what the braves did. they build from the minor league system and added one or two players where they were needed.

Not only that, but tell me who is the top of the rotation guy that is going to be available this off season? Schmidt? i don't think he will last another 2 or 3 seasons before his arm just falls off. Who else is out there to sign that would be a big difference maker that would be a legit option? We can all say we would like this guy or that guy, but lets stick to players we could actually get.

The thing Marshall has going for him is his ability to locate pitches very well. Supposing he doesn't magically lose that ability (which is entirely possible), he could be servicable in '07.

SomeGuy:
"I wathced this team try to buy good teams in the past and it hasn't worked out."

Cubs try and buy a team? When? They haven't signed a top-tier FA in god knows how long.

Hendry has to win now, he only has a two year dael and even he has stated that he should be "whacked" if he doesn't win in those years. A rotation of Z/Prior/inning eater/youngster/youngster is NOT a winning starting rotation.

mannytrillo: A rotation of Z/Prior/inning eater/youngster/youngster is NOT a winning starting rotation.

Oui, I agree with mannytrillo.

The Cubs need to find AT LEAST a #2 & #3 starter, if not a #1 & #2 starter. Better yet a #2,3,& 4 starter.

I'm totally cool with the Cubs getting journeyman-type pitchers who won't blow you away but will stay healthy and give the offense a chance.

...although I must say, I do like this rookie pitcher parade the Cubs have going this year (you know, since they are out of the race anyways). It's kind of like watching spring training on TV.

I had no idea I'd get to see Mateo, Ryu, and OMalley pitch this year. Chew on it, it's delicious.

Pitching is king. We all know that. A starting rotation of Carlos Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman and a Jeff Suppan type is guaranteed recipe for a sub .500 record again in 2007. And again so I am not misinterpreted, this has little to do with long-term assessment of Marshall, Hill, Guzman or any other young pitcher. Fact is none of these three youngsters falls remotely in the category of a Francisco Liriano or a Mark Prior circa 2002. They each are open question marks.

Can Cub fans stand yet another losing season in 2007 at the expense of giving three or four youngsters a shot in the rotation? I say no.

And somebody please explain to me when the Cubs have EVER gone out and bought a team. Buying aging second and third tier players via free agency isn't my definition of buying a team for crying out loud. And I will say once more, this is a team with $100 million of payroll flexibility. 3/4's of the GMs around baseball would give their left arm to have the generous payroll Jim Hendry has.

I love the double standard that so many have here. People scream because Dusty wont play young guys, but then they say we can't win with young pitchers. You can't have it both ways.

I disagree with you manny. Just because they are young doesn't mean they wont win. There are a lot of examples through out the major leagues of young pitchers perfoming very well. The real problem this team is going to have next year is the offense.

When Jim Frey was the GM (i don't remember the exact year 90 or 91) we signed 3 or 4 bigger name FA and did not have a very good season. But my point was this, unless you are the yankees, you have to sign FA to fill in around the guys you already have. If you don't have guys already in place then FA signings will only take you so far.

Derrek Lee. Picked up via trade, extended short term to a reasonable contract and then locked up long term after he proved he deserved it.

Michael Barrett. Picked up via trade, extended long term after he proved himself.

Aramis Ramirez. Picked up via trade, extended short term. Will probably be extended for another 4-5 years after this season.

All three of those players would have been top free agents if they hit the market. Hendry found a different way of getting them that avoided bidding wars and ridiculous bloated contracts. It seems like a lot of the people that whine about Hendry not signing top free agents view those deals as "not counting" because they were never free agents. Personally, I say that's bullshit. The goal is to lock top young talent up long term with this club, and Hendry has simply found a different--more efficient--way of doing that.

Here's my solution for pitching:
Take Kerry Wood's salary, Greg Maddux's salary, Neifi's salary - ~$23m savings

Trade Rusch for the worst prospect ever just to save money. Don't re-sign Mabry, and give his job to a league minimum guy. Trade Scott Eyre and give his job to another league minimum guy. Don't spend $1m on Wade Miller. ~$8m savings

That's $31 million to tack a couple mil onto Aramis's deal ($29m left), sign Z to a big extension with ~$5 mil added to his yearly deal ($24m left).

Now, throw an obscene amount at Zito or Schmidt, because there's no other way either of them are coming to Chicago. Give either of them $14m/year, and you still have $10m left for an upgrade in left, center, or short.

My numbers could be off, but the point is the same one I always state - all the little, seemingly insignificant contracts Hendry hands out to shitty players all add up. If he gave those roster spots to young, league minimum guys the Cubs would have a ton of extra money floating around.

And they need extra money because in order to get any top flight free agent, you always have to overpay. Fair market value doesn't mean anything when 29 other teams are bidding for a few players. Some crazy GM will always make an obscene offer.

1) The Cubs tried to buy a team following 1990. They got George Bell, Danny Jackson and Dave Smith. They were the consensus pick to win the NL East in 1991.

2) Mike 63, you said Prior is a "pussy" but then said that Will Carroll said that his arm might really be screwed up terribly. Which is it? Is he a pussy, or does he have serious shoulder damage?

3) The last "top-tier" free agent was probably Greg Maddux ... way back in February 2004.

4) Has anybody seen Sean Marshall's BB rate? Even Lou "Worst Broadcaster Ever" Piniella said, "He walks too many guys for a guy who doesn't throw hard."
If Scott Downs can get you Rondell White, what can Sean Marshall get you?

5) "Pitching is king. We all know that." Please do not speak for me, Mike 63. By the way, that's not true. If you think that pitching is king, please explain the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays to me (4.44 team ERA, world champions).
Personally, the price tag on most pitchers is getting outrageous. If I were a free agent, I would salivate over the deal A.J. Burnett got from Toronto.
Offense must be the priority. Unless this organization rethinks its offensive philosophy and stops acquiring hitters simply because they don't strike out much and because they are "versatile" defensively, it's going to be the same old, same old.
To me, the "beer league softball team" references are old and a way for "purists" to redirect the conversation. A beer league softball team would be much more productive than a singles-hitting, contact-hitting group, especially if they make the opposing pitcher work.
With the Cubs pitching staff among the league leaders in walks allowed, strikeouts and homers allowed, defense doesn't mean much so a beer league softball team offense would be pretty damn good.

6) Why does Freddy Bynum get raked over the coals for the same mistakes Ronny Cedeno gets ignored for?

"Cubs need to throw a lot of money at Schmidt and Zito." I agree with this statement, wholeheartedly. Prior is a pussy and I do NOT want the Cubs to waste another $4MM on his arb-eligible vagina. Screw him. I want a guy that is good (Prior isn't anymore) and can give me 30+ starts and 200+ IP (laughable for Mary).

Let someone else figure out Prior's pansy ass. I trade him with Cedeno and say, Hill for Tejada in a heartbeat.

Doug Dascenzo for GM. What do you do for bench players, though? I'm sick of this "let's-go-get-anyone-for-the-24th-and-25th-roster-spot" mentality. You end up with Neifis, Bynums, and Enrique Wilsons.

Also, remember even though FAs are expensive, when you get someone by trade, it's usually because the other team doesn't want them. One good thing, as vorare pointed out, is Hendry has a nack for picking some guys guys to trade for, but he's also had some questionable one's, too, though. (Like my double-talk? I should go into politics.)

Um...you are kidding, right?
Cedeno gets raked over the coals, and deservedly so, on a daily basis.

Pitching is 75% of winning baseball. Look at Detroit, look at the White Sox last year, look at Boston the year before (Pedro, Schilling). The Cubs have zero chance of being a playoff contending team in 2007 if the "plan" is to throw three youngsters into that rotation all at once. Sean Marshall, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman and any of these other characters may have a measure of talent, but each has major question marks surrounding them too. If some of you insist pitching really doesn't matter and are content to have a starting rotation that will resemble what they do in Kansas City or Pittsburgh, then fine. Best prepare yourself for another 90 loss season in 2007.

Count me in the camp that says Ronny Cedeno is completely worthless. If he even becomes a journeyman utility infielder at the big league level, I will be surprised. He has zero plate discipline to go along with a swiss cheese glove. He makes Neifi Perez seem like Derrek Jeter.

"What do you do for bench players, though? I'm sick of this "let's-go-get-anyone-for-the-24th-and-25th-roster-spot" mentality. You end up with Neifis, Bynums, and Enrique Wilsons."

In my ideal world, the bench would be composed of guys making the league minimum. Matt Murton would be an ideal bench player right now (well, platooning in left with Jones). He's a guy that doesn't project to be a superstar, so I'm not worried about hampering his growth too much. Ronny Cedeno gives you equal or better value than Neifi Perez, so why spend the extra money? Let him be the backup infielder, and you're saving basically $2.2m/year.

Let some of your young pitchers grow up in the bullpen, and you don't have to spend $8m on Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry. I believe that's essentially what the Red Sox are doing with Papelbon. I'm pretty sure he was a starter, but they're using him as a closer with an eye towards making him a starter again in the future.

"I haven't seen the carroll article, but what source does he have"

will give away a source? surely you jest.

i like will carroll, but he's had mixed results with his sources and has been called out for just making stuff up. he's been tripped up before on the validity of sources, but has never been no-doubt busted on applying his "factual news" to just speculation.

How on earth can anybody possibly critique the presence of Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre? They are strategic strengths of this ballclub. I swear, I feel like I'm corresponding with the payroll accountants at the Tribune Company. This OBSESSION with payroll management is bizarre. If the Cubs have one thing going for themselves its that they aren't saddled with a bad overall salary situation. I care about winning baseball games. I could really give two craploads whether Howry or Eyre or anybody else is paid "a little rich." Jim Hendry has $100 million worth of payroll latitude for crying out loud. The Cubs don't suck because they have the CONTRACT of Donuts Rusch on the book. They suck because Donuts Rusch is on the books and not some vastly superior option.

Also, using young, cheap talent in the bullpen is essentially what Billy Beane has been doing for years. Bullpen pitchers are in the bullpen for a reason - they're usually not good enough to be starters. So why spend starter money on a bullpen guy? Use a promising young arm out of the pen, and if he does well you have an incredibly valuable piece of trade bait.

Carlos Marmol probably won't ever be a dominating starter in the majors, but he might be a very good middle reliever once he gets his control a little better. Instead of using him there, the Cubs call up their minor league relievers. Well guess what? If a guy's not even good enough to be a starter in the minor leagues, why would he be good enough to pitch at all in the major leagues?

Grooming a guy in the minors to be a reliever just means you gave up on his potential to ever be a quality major league starter. Instead, take a guy who might one day be a major league starter and give him 65-80 innings a year in the majors as a reliever to get his feet wet.

I'm not critiquing Eyre or Howry. I think they've done a great job this season. But, I think they're overpaid for what they do. The fact that they're overpaid doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that now there is less money to go out and get someone who will make a bigger impact on the team.

IMO (and it's certainly debatable), middle relief help is overvalued in the major leagues. These are all guys who couldn't hack it as starters, so why are we paying them $4-$5m a year? Give those jobs to cheap, promising, young arms and use the extra savings to sign Zito, Schmidt, Soriano, Lee, or whoever else might actually account for more than 3-4 Win Shares a year.

Eric the Great: I also used to have a die-hard offense philosophy, but now days I'm not thinking that so much. I'm inclined to agree with Mike63 on pitching being "king".

Don't know if you are a stat-head, but I have a neat Excel file that charts W-L ranks (2005) as a function of pitching, defense, and offense. If you are interested in seeing it, just e-mail me (link below) and I can e-mail it to you.

This OBSESSION with payroll management is bizarre.

Jim Hendry has $100 million worth of payroll latitude for crying out loud.

Ok, so you get that the Cubs will have a payroll of about $100 million.

So, why is it so hard to understand that payroll managment is important?

If you don't manage that payroll well, you end up spending the money in the wrong places, and you don't have any budget left to go out and spend it on the areas where you really need improvements.

$100 million sound like a lot, but in reality, there are quite a few teams who are spending in the $90-100 million range, and there are a few teams that are spending far more than that. $100 million is certainly enough to compete, and compete well, but only if the payroll is managed wisely.

"3) The last "top-tier" free agent was probably Greg Maddux ... way back in February 2004."

Not even close.

Doug D:

"Also, using young, cheap talent in the bullpen is essentially what Billy Beane has been doing for years."

Someone better tell Rhodes, Rincoln, Bradford, Hammond, Foulke, Mecir and Koch to give their money back to the A's.

Mike63,

"Pitching is 75% of winning baseball."
Sure, Yogi, is defense 15% and Offense the other 50%?

Pitching is king in the playoffs.

But in the regular season you can win just about as easily with a stellar offense as you can with stellar pitching.

That said, if the Cubs are serious about wanting to compete for a championship, they need to make getting either Schmidt or Zito a top priority so they have a chance in a short series.

"Don't know if you are a stat-head, but I have a neat Excel file that charts W-L ranks (2005) as a function of pitching, defense, and offense"

Email it to me, please, but how are you sepererating defense from pitching?

I respectfully (and strongly) disagree with those who don't adhere to the belief that pitching is king. I doubt you would find a single baseball executive or scout who would agree with your proposition. In terms of middle relievers, they have become the most hotly sought after commodity during past offseasons. And lest someone diminish the importance of Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre, might I suggest you rewind to the Cub bullpen situation the past two years.

Members of the Oakland A's bullpen the last several years....Arthur Rhodes (signed to big money), Billy Koch (ditto), Ricardo Rincon, Keith Foulke, Chad Bradford.

Not exactly scrubbs or guys who couldn't hack starting duty.

Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre are necessary on this Cubs team because they only have 1 SP who can consistently make it past the 5th inning. Give the team 2 more pitchers who can eat innings, and you don't need to spend $8 million on two middle relievers.

IMO, it's a waste of money. I think much more money should be poured into healthy starting pitching and a good, consistent offense, and the bullpen should be mostly cheap pitchers (possibly with the exception of a proven closer). Anyone can feel free to debate my spending philosophy. You could have the greatest bullpen of all time at your disposal, but if your team is already losing 5-1 in the 6th inning anyway, it doesn't much matter.

Real neal, I don't know your e-mail thats why I asked Eric the Great to e-mail me a request. My e-mail is posted with my comments.

btw- Runs Scored (Offense), Earned Runs Allowed (Pitching), Unearned Runs Allowed (Defense).

J. Pierre cf
R. Theriot 2b
A. Ramirez 3b
P. Nevin 1b
M. Murton lf
M. Barrett c
A. Pagan rf
R. Cedeno ss

philly giving burrell the day off, btw.

i dunno if its a no-pinch-hitting day off or not...blah blah blah

You need balance. You just can't add Schmidt and Zito to the Cubs and then start printing playoff tickets.

The Cubs have been hell bent since 2003 to win 2-1 games instead of 5-2 or 5-3 games. That puts incredible stress on your pitching staff. Starters are forced to go longer into games, and bullpens have to walk the fine line of perfection. There is no margin for error in that style.

MikeC, you and I don't usually agree much but your post #76, I could not agree MORE. Dead on the money.

I'm glad you guys agree that the crappiest offense in the majors needs to be improved!

That wasn't what his post was about. Reading comprehension, try it out.

"The Cubs have been hell bent since 2003 to win 2-1 games instead of 5-2 or 5-3 games. "

"I'm glad you guys agree that the crappiest offense in the majors needs to be improved!"

"That wasn't what his post was about. Reading comprehension, try it out."

Chad world is back in orbit!

If you read his post it was about balance in a baseball team. The Cubs have built a team that was supposed to win with superior pitching. But only focusing on pitching leads to the scenarios that Mike was talking about.

No where in the post did Mike say anything directly about improving the Cubs hitting. What he was saying is that you just can't throw pitching at this team to make it win.

"No where in the post did Mike say anything directly about improving the Cubs hitting. What he was saying is that you just can't throw pitching at this team to make it win."

Is there some element of baseball besides scoring runs and preventing runs that I'm overlooking?

What is with you.

Lemme recap:

Your post was a snide remark that might has well had DUH written after it. You were insinuating that anybody can see that this offense needs help. But that wasn't what we were talking about.

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