Can We Make It Three?

Two straight gems by our starting staff has been a refreshing departure and Sean Marshall has about two to three more starts this year to leave some sort of impression going into the off-season. Hopefully it's a good one. While Marshall's final numbers at the end of the year probably won't be much to talk about, I think he's shown the ability to get major leaguers out and even flat out dominate at times. I'd say not to bad for a guy with about ten starts in AA before this season. And since consistency is generally the one thing lacking of rookie players, it's one of the things you hope he'll find in the very near future. And it's not like I'm advocating that the team guarantee him a spot this off-season and ignore the opportunity to acquire more talented players, but as the adage seems to go, you can't have enough good pitching. As for the Phils, once again the Cubs get an opportunity to either play spoiler or springboard. So far it's the role of spoiler as they take an early 3-run lead on an Aramis dinger. Go Cubs! GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-ONE IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (61-89 (Draft) 3rd - 3.5 GB) AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (77-72 (WC) 2nd - 1 GB) Citizens Bank Park, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Partly Cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind out to CF @ 3 mph TV: CLTV Radio: WGN, XM 184
Jon Lieber, RHP 8-9, 4.87 ERA, 153.1 IP 91 K, 24 BB, 24 HR 290/320/469 againstSean Marshall, LHP 5-9, 5.34 ERA, 116.1 IP 71 K, 54 BB, 18 HR 268/354/437 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B *Jacque Jones, RF #Angel Pagan, LF Henry Blanco, C *Scott Moore, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS *Sean Marshall, P #Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, CF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B Jeff Conine, RF Pat Burrell, LF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Jon Lieber, P

Cubs vs. Lieber: Aramis Ramirez: 9-27, 333/333/407, 6 K, 0 BB Juan Pierre: 7-22, 318/318/364, 2 K, 0 BB John Mabry: 3-17, 176/222/235, 6 K, 1 BB Jacque Jones: 5-16, 313 /313 /500, 1 HR, 6 K, 0 BB Henry Blanco: 5-14, 357/400 /429, 4 K, 1 BB Phillies vs. Marshall: No Phillies have ever faced Marshall
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Comments

6 runs in the 4th after being staked to a 8-0 lead...probably not the type of end of year impression Marshall wants to leave.

Anyway, Ramirez is sure raising his value by the day after his pathetic start to the season. How convienant. It's amazing what dollar signs dangling in front of you will do to improve your game.

ARAM is making himself good money down the stretch, no doubt!! Hendry better be ready to pony up at least Lee numbers.

So if Aram had started off red-hot and the Cubs were in the pennant race, and then he tanked in September, what would you guys be saying?

Probably something along the lines of 'Aramis folds when the pressure's on".

Howry's pitching in the 8th, that means we'll see Dumpster in the 9th...

it is kind of disgusting to see guys like Ramirez and Pierre performing so well in meaningless games because it's their contract year...

The Real Neal...yes, if he tanked in September when the Cubs were in a pennant race, after starting off well, he'd probably be criticized. I don't see the problem with that.

I'm very gratified to see Theriot playing so well. He's probably shouldn't be our starting 2B man next year, but he'd be a pretty decent utility man or a 25th man, ala Ryan Freel (without the outfield ability). The guy's a gamer, and I'd love to see him have a spot in next year's team.

I hope ARam has a spot in next year's team too, but I guess we'll see on that point.

The problem is that if he doesn't tank in April and he doesn't tank in September, he's Albert Pujols. But he isn't Pujols, and your life will be a lot happier if you accept that. It's extremely rare for players to not go through hot and cold streaks during any given season - the "it is kind of disgusting to see guys like Ramirez and Pierre performing so well in meaningless games because it's their contract year..." comments are so inane it leaves me almost speechless. Do people actually think that Ramirez and Pierre were intentionally getting out early in the season, or that they forgot they could be free agents? What goal could it possible serve for them to hit .240 through May?

Andrew:
"He's probably shouldn't be our starting 2B man next year, but he'd be a pretty decent utility man or a 25th man,"

What do you think they will do with Cedeno then, assuming we get a 2B for outside the organization and Theriot is the backup? Trade him? Who the hell would want him? We might be stuck with him in the minors or use him as a throw in for a bigger deal. If not, having Izturis starting SS, Theriot starting 2B and Cedeno as backup to both might be the worst hitting group in MLB looking at those 3 positions as a whole.

I don't see the problem with that.

The problem, Blockhead, is that nobody can be amazing 100% of the time. I agree that Ramirez had a frustrating start to the season but he's been pretty awesome since the start of summer and esp. since the break.

Let's not kid ourselves and think that, without Lee or Prior or any other decent pitching outside of Z and an occasionally good start from Maddux or a rookie, that we'd actually be in the hunt now. This talk about "well, Ramirez sucked when we needed him most" is just bullshit. The whole team sucked. It still does, but he's at least shown that's he's a damn good player on a bad team.

I haven't seen as many games this year as the last few but the number of times I've seen him slack off or not run out a flyball, etc., have been far fewer than in recent years. The guy seems to be getting it and that's great to see, whether he's with the Cubs next year or not. That there are still Cub fans that wouldn't like to see that happen is just ridiculous.

If not, having Izturis starting SS, Theriot starting 2B and Cedeno as backup to both might be the worst hitting group in MLB looking at those 3 positions as a whole.

I agree, but 2 points. First, I didn't advocate to have Theriot start if you read my comments correctly. I'd personally be shocked to see Cedeno as anything more than a backup next year. I like the guy but he just can't hit.

Second, while I won't argue that about the poorness of that 3-some offense-wise, that would be because of Izturis and Cedeno, as Theriot isn't much of an offensive drag. He doesn't have much power (okay, any) but he looks very capable of hitting .310 or so with another 50 or 60 points of OBP.

Andrew:
"First, I didn't advocate to have Theriot start if you read my comments correctly"

If you read my comments correctly, you would I see I never said you did. My first part of my post was directly talking about the situation you present and asking what you would do with Cedeno, then I talk hypothetically if Hendry sticks with Theriot at 2B and Cedeno at backup, how bad offensively they would be.

"while I won't argue that about the poorness of that 3-some offense-wise, that would be because of Izturis and Cedeno, as Theriot isn't much of an offensive drag."

Yeah, that is true, but they might combine for like 15 HR's total. And if Hendry resigns Pierre and counting the P, those 5 spots (including backup 2B/SS) will give us like 25 HR's all year. That is not good.

If you read my comments correctly, you would I see I never said you did.

Touche. I thought you were using Hendry's hypothetical as my hypothetical and ... ah well, nevermind. My bad.

Yeah, that is true, but they might combine for like 15 HR's total.

I for one am not for bringing back Pierre, unless it's at a one year deal. Even then, his year has been up and down enough that I'd not be heartbroken if he left.

If we can get some mashers *cough* Soriano, Caballo* we might make out alright with that loss in power.

Is it poetic justice that first Frank Thomas this weekend and now Mags Ordonez have basically put the final nails in the coffin on the White Sox season?

At least we can stop making Ozzie's bust for Cooperstown to be inducted as a manager.

Andrew:
"Touche. I thought you were using Hendry's hypothetical as my hypothetical and ... ah well, nevermind. My bad."

It is all good man!!

"If we can get some mashers *cough* Soriano, Caballo* we might make out alright with that loss in power."

I know EXACTLY what your saying...

"Yeah, that is true, but they might combine for like 15 HR's total. And if Hendry resigns Pierre and counting the P, those 5 spots (including backup 2B/SS) will give us like 25 HR's all year. That is not good."
---

Luckily the winner is decided based on 9 inning games of baseball and not a HR derby.

D-Lee - 35
A-Ram - 35
Murton - 20
Jacque - 25
Barrett - 15-20
(Zambrano - 5)

The Cubs are right in the middle of the pack in HR's this year and that's without D-Lee for the majority of the season and Barrett missing many games.

HR's will not be this team's problem next year.
Once again, it will be lack of baserunners.

The Cubs are last in OBP and have managed to score 2 more runs than the Pirates for next to last in runs scored.

Pierre having a good (full) season and Neifi Baker being gone will help that a good deal.
Let Murton play full time and if Theriot can carry a .350+ OBP in full time duty hitting #2, there will be more runners on base when the middle of the order comes to the plate.

If this September has been a "spring training" if you will like Manny has stated many times, then Theriot has flat out won the 2b job IMO. I can live with the production of Theriot and Izzy up the middle if we can get a slugger like Soriano or Lee to play left. I would then trade for a SP. Spend the $$ on Aram and LF we should have enough ammo to get a innings eating Sp and still get a FA like Padiila or Eaton type for insurance? At least Theriot will give us OBP at the top where it really counts. I see the Freel comparisons and also Eckstein, players who add a little something to your club.

BJS:
"The Cubs are right in the middle of the pack in HR's this year and that's without D-Lee for the majority of the season and Barrett missing many games. HR's will not be this team's problem next year. Once again, it will be lack of baserunners."

Good points. Along with HR's, the SLG of the team is middle of the pack (18th for both to be exact)

But I wasn't implying that the team needed to focus on only improving HR's. Clearly OBP needs to be addressed with the roster as a whole. I hope Hendry can finally get the players who will correct that year-after-year ongoing problem.

Dallas Green:
"If this September has been a "spring training" if you will like Manny has stated many times, then Theriot has flat out won the 2b job IMO."

If looking at in house options at this point, I agree. Of course, we will have the real Spring Training to take a look at these players again. But there are a few FA and/or trade options that should be looked at also.

"Do people actually think that Ramirez and Pierre were intentionally getting out early in the season..."

Yes, that's exactly what everyone's saying.

My problem with Ramirez, pure and simple, is his work ethic. Did he intentionally get out...no, that's ridiculous. Do I think he didn't do enough to prepare himself day in and day out for the season...yes.

That's an argument of attitude and perception then Blockhead -- not a disagreement that can be quantitatively analyzed. You think Ramirez didn't try hard enough and I think he was just slumping. Fine, it's your prerogative not to like him. But you can't use that personal assessment of a player's attitude as an argument for why he is not good, or not worth liking, or not worth having on the team, etc.

Nomar hits a two run homer to beat the Padres. LA hit four solo homers consecutively in the ninth to tie the game. Padres took a one run lead again in the tenth. Lofton walked and Nomar followed with the game winner. Amazing game.

Andrew...first of all, I never said Ramirez wasn't good, never said he wasn't worth liking, and never said he wasn't worth having him on the team. In fact I very much want him on the Cubs for at least the next few years.

I said that his ethic is what I had a problem with, and I do think he was part of the problem with the way this team fell apart in May and June...He was by no means the only problem, not even close...but I don't think he showed that he was worthy of being considered a team leader, and I think it's reasonable to think that the fear of lsoing market value lead to him working harder later in the year, when the pressure was off.

I guess the end result is, I like Ramirez...I just hope he grows up and becomes a team leader and MVP candidate that we all think he is capable of becoming.

But, as for a quantitive analysis...oh yes, I absolutely think you can quantify his role in the Cubs collapse this season by his horrid start.

Lineups are a funny thing. Adding one good hitter will usually increase the productivity of the entire lineup. What happens when you don't have holes in the lineup (like Mabry) is the tough at bats wear down the pitcher.

That is why the Cub walk total has made them an ineffective lineup. They don't wear down the pitcher and typically have at least 2-3 easy outs in the lineup-Nefi, Cedeno, Mabry, Pitcher...

I'd say we hang on to Theriot. If he fails next year, we still have Eric Patterson. We'll probably go after Craig Counsell as a utility option for short and second, so I say we pencil Theriot in as #1 on the depth chart.

The position we need to upgrade is rightfield. Jones is Joe Average offensively and below average defensively. He's not a number 5 hitter, he's a #6 hitter. I fully expect him to be traded.

REALNEAL-

What's inane is your assertion that albert pujols is the only player in MLB capable of hitting over .200 in both April AND September of the same season.

I stand by my comments because it IS disgusting to see a couple of veteran players swinging for the fences and stealing useless bases in September, when apparently neither of them could perform when they were needed earlier in the year...when they were on a level playing field and not competing against players who have given up or belong in AA ball. If they weren't in a contract year, they probably wouldn't even be starting everyday.

If they weren't in a contract year, they probably wouldn't even be starting everyday.

Talk about inane comments.....

Jones is Joe Average offensively and below average defensively. He's not a number 5 hitter, he's a #6 hitter.

I made the same point before the season began. Jones was used as a #6 hitter most of the time in Minnesota for a reason. He performs best in that slot. (His OPS batting 6th is 60 points higher vs 5th over the last three years for example)

Dusty ignored that of course. Jones has batted 5th most of the time this year and the OPS gap vs batting 6th has widened to 80 points as a result.
Which certainly shows that, at least in the case of Jones, lineup matters.

CARMENFANZONE: "Jones is Joe Average offensively and below average defensively."

Yeah, he's a Joe Average who is tied with Juan Encarnacion for the LEAD among right fielders in batting - nearly identical stats - JJones is even a little higher with OBP. Doofus.

According to the latest fielding statistics, he is far from the worst defensively, either. Although, I do not condone a guy bouncing the ball in from the outfield!

Stick to your trumpet and you'll be doing just fine, Carmen. That way you won't hurt yourself or anyone else.

It also shows that Dusty is an idiot.

did people miss that whole dlee missing 3/4 of the year thing?

who's supposed to bat 5th...cedeno?

is his production vs. righties just to be thrown out the window solely cuz his full-season averages say something else?

guy's having his best season in 4 years and somehow dusty is screwing that up even though its jones who's swinging the bat and jones who's earning the numbers.

...all this crap based on some people looking at splits going "oh gosh, look what he does in the #6 slot!"

yeah, and hawkins is a better setup man than closer for reasons unknown or unexplained or "just cuz i looked at some stats"...nevermind the fact he's been a horrid pitcher in ANY role since he left the cubs...and nevermind he's gonna throw the exact same stuff innin 1 or inning 11.

My problem with Ramirez, pure and simple, is his work ethic. Did he intentionally get out...no, that's ridiculous. Do I think he didn't do enough to prepare himself day in and day out for the season...yes.

Go find a picture of Ramirez from 09/05 and compare that to Ramirez 04/06--he looks significantly different. The guy started to break down a little bit physically in September of last year, and he responded by busting his ass in the offseason to drop weight and improve his conditioning. Notice the lack of quad and hammy injuries? The fact that he isn't constantly being gunned down at 2nd on what should be routine doubles?

Yeah, he still doesn't run out all of his groundouts and popouts, and sometimes he goes into his homerun jog prematurely. But I don't think it's fair to say he has a bad work ethic.

Good point on JJ Crunch..

Although I'm a little leery of having a guy in RF next year who:
1)Had his best year in 4 seasons at age 31
2)Can't throw the ball to save his life, and has some interesting baserunning adventures.
3)Has a 3.5/1 K/BB ratio...(lol)

Also, his "best year" is pretty average, at best.

He was the best of what we had this year, which pretty much says everything.

mikeC - I think yo'ure confused again...why don't you take a look at the other last-place teams and tell me how many of their regulars are playing everyday in september.

pierre and ramirez are, and I can't think of a good reason why other than to please their agents.

If they weren't in a contract year, they probably wouldn't even be starting everyday.

Wow...I am sitting in a coffee shop laughing out loud. Do you really think that Ramirez and Pierre would not be starting everyday?

And do you really think that they are playing any differently because they are in a "contract year." Pierre is playing like he always has (outside of the first couple of months of this season) as is Ramirez. Pierre always gets a lot of hits and a lot of stolen bases. Ramirez always has hot and cold streaks. Neither of them walk enough. Their final stats for the season are about what you should expect for both both of them.

why don't you take a look at the other last-place teams and tell me how many of their regulars are playing everyday in september.

Just poking through the game logs, it looks like Bay and Sanchez are playing just about every day for the Pirates. Ditto Crawford for the Devil Rays and DeJesus for the Royals. What's your point?

"If this September has been a "spring training" if you will like Manny has stated many times, then Theriot has flat out won the 2b job IMO."

While I like the optimism, I don't think this should be the attitude of a $100 million team. Last year, Ronny Cedeno had a pretty nice 50 games before big league pitchers knew how to throw to him, and based on that he was given the starting job this year. We all know how that worked out.

Unproven youngsters (and yes, 50 games is still unproven) should not be handed starting jobs unless they're absolutely phenomenal (Pujols, Cabrera). Bring in a veteran like Durham or Loretta, and if Theriot can take the starting job from one of those guys, great. If not, at least we still have a veteran at 2B, and a decent utility infielder on the bench for next to nothing. It's not the greatest option, but it's better than staking your season on a rookie who managed to hit well for a handful of games in September.

To sum up my previous post in one sentence:
It's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

pierre and ramirez are, and I can't think of a good reason why other than to please their agents.

This is just plain ignorant. Teams do not bench their "stars" just because they are not in the penant race.

Lets take a quick look at some of the teams that are out of the playoffs, and I will point out some of their players that are still playing everyday:
Atlanta: A. Jones, Francoeur, Renteria, Giles
Pittsburgh: J. Bay, Sanchez, Castillo
Washington: N. Johson, Soriano, Zimmerman,
Kansas City: Grudz, E. Brown,
Baltimore: Tejada, Mora, B Roberts, R. Hern·ndez
Cleveland: V Martinez, Hafner, Sizemore, Peralta

See what I mean? Teams don't bench good players simply because they are out of the playoff race. And Ramirez is a very good player, and Pierre at least a good player.

You living in a fantasy world if you think that Ramirez or Pierre would be benched on other teams or if they were not in a contract year.

did people miss that whole dlee missing 3/4 of the year thing?who's supposed to bat 5th...cedeno?

er, somebody other than Jones batted 5th most of the time this year crunch.

Jones -5th- 215 AB's
elsewhere in the lineup 290 AB's

The point isn't that Jones stinks batting fifth (although you could make that case), the point is he is MUCH BETTER batting SIXTH and always has been.

If the whole point of this Aram topic is to get rid of him that's not to smart.

Good third basemen for the Cubs are second in rarity only to champsionships.

#25 of 40: By carmenfanzone (September 19, 2006 07:25 AM)
Lineups are a funny thing. Adding one good hitter will usually increase the productivity of the entire lineup. What happens when you don't have holes in the lineup (like Mabry) is the tough at bats wear down the pitcher.

That is why the Cub walk total has made them an ineffective lineup. They don't wear down the pitcher and typically have at least 2-3 easy outs in the lineup-Nefi, Cedeno, Mabry, Pitcher...

I'd say we hang on to Theriot. If he fails next year, we still have Eric Patterson. We'll probably go after Craig Counsell as a utility option for short and second, so I say we pencil Theriot in as #1 on the depth chart.

-

CARMEN F: I agree. Craig Counsell and the D'backs have already agreed to part company after this season. Counsell can play 2B-SS-3B and be a lefty bat off the bench. Besides, Counsell is a Notre Dame guy, and Hendry has a special relationship with the Fighting Irish.

I believe Ryan Theriot has shown enough so far to justify starting him at 2B in 2007. As I have said many times, Theriot is another David Eckstein or Ryan Freel. He is a royal pain to the opposition. On the negative side, he plays with his brain turned off. He is an insect, all nervous system and skeleton. But he also plays without fear, he isn't afraid to hit with two strikes, can hit foul balls almost at will, and he hustles his ass off. Besides, there just isn't a FA 2B who would be that much better than Theriot at this point, especially if Ray Durham wants $12m for two years. And if Theriot were to tank as a starter, Counsell and Theriot could exchange places, and Counsell could play 2B until Eric Patterson is ready, and Theriot could be the utility middle infielder.

If he is used as a starter, Theriot could hit 2nd in 2007 if Hendry re-signs Pierre, or 1st (with maybe Murton batting 2nd) if Pierre walks away. And then Patterson can try and win the 2B job in '08, and if he does, The Riot can be moved to SS (his natural position) if the Cubs opt to buy-out Izturis (and save $5.5m in 2008 payroll) after next season.

As for Ronny Cedeno, I wouldn't give up on him just yet. I know he has really struggled this season and has gone backwards, and it is sometimes painful to watch him flail away at pitches.

I have watched Cedeno play out here in the Instructional League, AFL, and Spring Training, and I know one thing for sure. He is a hard worker. And the last time he struggled (2002-03), he worked hard to improve his deficiencies and made himself into a top prospect. He is very coachable, but he needs to work with coaches who know what they're doing and how best to help him get out of his funks both at the plate and in the field. There is no such animal on the current Cubs coaching staff. Hendry needs to emphasize instruction and practice AT ALL LEVELS.

If Theriot and Izturis start at 2B-SS in 2007 and if Counsell (or somebody like Counsell) is the middle infield utility, then I would like to see Cedeno go back to Iowa in 2007 (he has one minor league option left) and spend an entire season at AAA and see if he can maybe overcome his deficiencies. He's only 23. Get him some decent coaching (a hitting instructor and an infield coach who actually have a clue), work with him before every game, and if he still can't get past his present difficulties, well then at least the Cubs tried. At the very least, he will probably end up as an itinerant MLB utility middle infielder. But at least give him a chance to turn it around in 2007, preferrably at AAA.

AZ PHIL:

I was very excited about Cedeno before the season started.

As we all have seen, he can make truly spectacular fielding plays that Neifi, J.Hairston, Walker, et. al. only dreamed of.

However, the amount of bonehead plays, coupled with his crappy hitting has made me sour on him.

The last "straw" for me was when he "pulled out" at second base against the Mets on a steal. He was afraid of getting hurt on a slide!

He has shown he's not a starter and does not belong in the majors right now. Maybe this experience in 2006 will help him develop.

I agree that a full year in the minors at a young age could help him WITH THE RIGHT COACHING.

"On the negative side, he plays with his brain turned off."

Or he's just being a rookie. Let him play out this month (bynum please go away)and spring training with an actual thinking and teaching major league staff and you could have a solid major leaguer

Ryan Theriot is a cockroach. You will need an exterminator to get rid of him.

And I mean that as a compliment, if it's possible to compliment somebody by calling him a cockroach.

I'm sure his mother would be pleased, Phil.

;-)

mikeC - I think yo'ure confused again...why don't you take a look at the other last-place teams and tell me how many of their regulars are playing everyday in september.

pierre and ramirez are, and I can't think of a good reason why other than to please their agents.

You dont even know what your talking about and you say I am confused?

Jason Bay isn't playing for a contract, he plays everyday.

Freddy Sanchez, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Jorge Cantu, Luis Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, and tons of other players, most of which arent in a contract year.

I don't know where you get this idea that teams stars and regulars are suddenly shut down in September just to play rookies. It doesn't happen. It's never happened and it never will happen. Whether the player is in a contract year or not.

So please spare me your snide comments when you dont even have the slightest clue what your talking about.

Oh yeah missed Dave's comments. Much better than mine. Refer to post #39 "C" or whatever you call yourself.

Or he's just being a rookie. Let him play out this month (bynum please go away)and spring training with an actual thinking and teaching major league staff and you could have a solid major leaguer

I am of the belief that our coaches and staff are incompetent. But on the other side can't I give credit to them for Rich Hill, Murton and maybe Theriot? Thats a difficult question to answer. How much is it coaching and how much is it the player figuring it out on his own? I think its real hard to credit coaches with success or failure on individual players.

I tend to look more at the over-all group of players. If the players change but they keep making the same dumb mistakes that is coaching problem to me personally.

If the over-all pitching staff sucks, is that the pitching coaches fault? Or is it because he doesn't have the talent? So I tend to look at the health of our starters. But even that is a fine line, because we just might have a collection of genetic injury prone guys.

I would like new coaches, new trainers, new work out routines and just basically an entire new philosophy of coaching around the Cubs next year. It can't hurt.

1. Re Carmenfanzone: Jacques Jones, why, with 12 million dollars remaining on his contract do you think he is tradeable? If he is traded, who will play right? Same with Ramirez, if he walks, who will play third (we already have enough problems at SS, 2B, CF and the bleeding chest wound of the last 3 seasons, the bench).

2. Re Cubs Management: From interviews I read over the last few years given by Jim Hendry, Gary Hughes, and Andy McPhail, they don't think much of on-base percentage as a skill. Like Dusty, they don't like the base clogging style. They like speed, contact hitting, and they say defense (although this year's club would belie that). According to Baseball Prospectus 2006 year book Theriot is a very good defensive 2b and a tolerable average SS. But I don't think the organization has given up on Cedeno (three years younger then Theriot who will turn 27 in December). I would prefer Theriot because he will always have a much higher OBP (50 points or more) then Cedeno, but again, that is not something that Cubs management seems to value.

3. Re Murton: Whenever I bring Matt Murton and the need to get another LF who would add a third star (say Soriano) to the team people people write in like I just called their mother a bad name. First, I have always said Murton is a good player, but he simply won't have enough power to play LF on a team where the CF will be Pierre, the SS Izturis (when not on DL), and the 2B will be Cedeno/Theriot. If you could somehow wave a magic wand and bring in either Alec Rodriguez or Miguel Tejeda to play SS, then Murton would be my choice as the LF and lead-off hitter. Where Murton is likely to improve is in BA and OBP in coming years, but he will be very lucky to get to 20 home runs and a .475 slugging percentage. Along with his 12 home runs, his 19 doubles and 3 triples indicate that he has just enough power to keep pitchers honest, but that he will never be a top level slugger. (In other words he is good, but he will never be great).

4. If, miracle of miracles,(say the Cubs marketing director could get on the phone and say we need to do someting to sell these tickets after raising our prices another 15%! Go out and, sign a big name!) and the Cubs go after one of the big FA prizes, I hope it is Soriano. Even though they are the same age, I just think Soriano will age better then Lee because of his speed. Hopefully, Soriano and his agent figure it out that he will make more money if he does not insist on going back to second (where he is terrible) and stays in the outfield. Given his assist rate this year, it might even be possible for him to play right field, allowing a Murton/Jones platoon in left.

5. I think the Cubs would be better off next year with Pie in center and letting Pierre go, spending the money on getting a 2b and pitching.

6. If the Cubs do go after starting pitching in the FA market, I hope they are smart about it. It is very easy to end up with an albatross contract (Carl Pavano, Darren Dreifort, etc.) if you don't look at more than the pitcher's most recent season. That is why Zito and Schmidt are so attractive given their track record of success and endurance. But with so many clubs in the hunt for those guys (Boston, Yankees, Mets, California, Baltimore perhaps, etc.) Cubs budget won't allow them to go after them if they also go after Soriano and Lee.

Finally maybe we should have a thread about the biggest mistakes of made by Cubs management (manager, GM, etc.)since the Bartman game. Was it signing LaTroy Hawkins? Was it not signing Vlad Guerrero? Was it the big "we can't do anything until we trade Sammy" freeze up after 2004?

"it is kind of disgusting to see guys like Ramirez and Pierre performing so well in meaningless games because it's their contract year..."

The thing I really love about these kind of comments is....what're they supposed to do with the team out of it? Give up? Not try to do well? Not try to win a game with a steal? Not try to drive in runs? But since the games are meaningless, why bother? Oh, I see, it's "selfish" to drive in 7 runs when the game means nothing (even though, of course, it does to the Phillis).

It's a ridiculous argument about Ramirez and Pierre right now.

How much is it coaching and how much is it the player figuring it out on his own? I think its real hard to credit coaches with success or failure on individual players.

This is a good point.

We often hear the attacks on the Cubs coaching staff for the poor young pitching (walks!!) and players like Cedeno lacking fundamentals. But then we see the improvement from players like Barrett, Lee, A-Ram, even Jones, Theriot, Murton, or Hill and the coaches don't get any credit.

Did all of those players simply improve on their own (which is possible). We often place too much responsibility on the coaching staff for a poor play and not enough for good play.

Don't get me wrong...there are plenty of other reasons to dislike the current coaching staff. I don't think that the performance (or lack therof) of individual players is necessarily one of them.

Barry Rozner's Daily Herald article today includes an interesting proposition for the Cubs. Starting Murton (LF) and Theriot (2B) next year, letting Pierre go, and trading for Andruw Jones to play CF. This would satisfy our need for another power bat while allowing us to keep a proven OBP guy like Murton to bat 2nd in the lineup. He thinks we could pull it off if we agreed to take on Tim Hudson's contract and send some prospects. Doesn't this mean we would have about a million right-handed bats in the lineup?

Another unrelated question: Which minor league pitchers have earned a spot on the rotation next year, and what will our rotation look like? At this point you can't go into the season counting on guys like Prior and Wade Miller.

Zambrano
Hill
Mateo
Free Agent/trade?
Free Agent/trade?

CWTP:
"Dusty ignored that of course. Jones has batted 5th most of the time this year and the OPS gap vs batting 6th has widened to 80 points as a result."

Of course to be realistic you should take into account the facts that Lee and Barrett missed almost a whole season between them, and they would of batted in front of JJ many times this year, making JJ bat 6th if everyone was healthy. And in the AL, you have the DH, so that almost guarentees one spot in front of JJ in the lineup, whereas in the NL you have the pitcher which gaurentees one spot behind JJ.

if anyone can honestly explain why jones hits better in the #6 slot over the #5 slot, i'd take this all more seriously.

its not like jones does thing differently when he's swinging there...its not like there's much of a difference in men on base in front of you in the #5 or #6 slot...its not like jones is gonna get some really nice stuff in the #6 slot cuz they #7 hitter strikes fear in a team...

all people breathe, baseball players are people, baseball players breathe, all people are baseball players. the logic isnt always simply cause/effect just cuz you can make an assumption based on a true link.

Cubbiefan-
Unless Prior is hurt AGAIN on Opening Day or traded, he will be in the rotation.

IMO, right now it should be:

Z
FA/Trade
FA/Trade
Prior
Hill

Does anyone think Kerry Wood may debut as a Cubs closer next year or has Bobby Howry earned that spot? If the Dumpster is closing games for us, I'll be worried.

Cubbiefan: Another unrelated question: Which minor league pitchers have earned a spot on the rotation next year, and what will our rotation look like? At this point you can't go into the season counting on guys like Prior and Wade Miller.

I agree, in fact just having Mark Prior on the DL will mean a false sense of security (the mentality of: mediocre pitching is ok to start with, because he'll be back in the middle of the year). That's why I advocate parting ways with him. I think it was Rob who said last night in parachat that the Cubs have a lot invested in him, and while that's true, you have to cut your losses. He'll probably rehab somewhere else and end up winning 3 Cy Youngs, but oh well.

I'm glad you mentioned Mateo, because I think he's not received the attention of the other pitchers. He suprises me everytime he pitches because his pitches are so milquetoast, but yet he locates it so well it doesn't matter. Not only that, but he seems to have figured out that if you miss your location, to miss out of the zone. He's definitely a finess pitcher and I like him and his milquetoast pitches even more than Marshall or Gooz.

Hill decided he's a big league pitcher and Zambrano is the ace. I'd find some new faces for the rest of the rotation.

I propose:

Z, FA/Trade, FA/Trade, Hill, FA/Trade
Marshall & Mateo for injury callups.

From the Trib:

With catching at a premium these days, the Cubs may be hard-pressed to re-sign Henry Blanco as a backup to Michael Barrett.

Yeah, we'll be beating teams off with a stick. Time to pony up 5/15 for Blanco, Hendry.

Not that I have much problem brining him back at all, I think he's a fine compliment to Barrett.

Cards and Cubs only play 16 times next year btw according to the St. Louis Dispatch, compared to 19 this year. Did the Cubs already release their schedule?

Latin WInter League participants (incomplete list)
---

Dominican:
Felix Pie

Venezuelan
Jonathan Mota
Ronny Cedeno
Chris Walker
Isaac Pavlik
Thomas Atlee

Mexico
Casey McGehee
Les Walrond

there's a good chance more will be added

more dusty regarding ramirez:

"It's a great finish, he's finishing strong," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "And, boy, it came right on time for us."

um, hmmm, not really sure being 20 games back was the right time to turn it up, I'm thinking may or june would have been the right time.

Big John Stud-
You might want to look at this for your reading pleasure:
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/a...

From Cubs.com (written by Rich Hill himself):
"I've had some success the past two months, and it stems from the improvements I made in Triple-A Iowa during June and July. I struggled mightily in May with the Cubs, and when I returned to the Minors, I just worked on attacking the hitters...The key is being able to throw my fastball where I want it. That's the most important pitch. Being able to throw a fastball, then everything will work off that."

Seems like a lot of what I was telling you, but of which you said I had no point. Hmm....

The more and more I hear and see this kid I like him. The fact that he didn't go down to the minors and mope around. He worked on his problems and made himself an actual MLB pitcher. I hope he can keep it going as he would be a very nice and cheap starter for next year's rotation.

start the rumor mill:
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5977638

The Cubs view Soriano as an option in center.

not the biggest Soriano fan, but what an upgrade, especially if he can handle it defensively which he seems to be able to have done in LF so far.

Teams possibly interested in Soriano according to Rosenthal:
Cubs
Orioles
Giants
WSox
RSox
Angels
Cardinals
Astros
Dodgers

He also mentions Luis Gonzalez and the Cubs as a possibility along with the Astros, Tigers, Padres or Giants.

#60 of 60: By Rob G. (September 19, 2006 12:11 PM)
Cards and Cubs only play 16 times next year btw according to the St. Louis Dispatch, compared to 19 this year. Did the Cubs already release their schedule?

---

ROB G: As required by the CBA, MLB had to release the proposed 2007 schedule to the MLBPA no later than July 1st. The MLBPA has until October 15th to examine the schedule and make objections based on scheduling rules covered in the CBA, and if there are no objections or once any objections are addressed and corrected, the schedule becomes "official."

So the tentative schedule is known to the MLB office and to the MLBPA, and it even already may have been officially accepted by the MLBPA. The schedule will not be released to the clubs until sometime in December.

Soriano in CF...NICE. From everything I read, he has handled LF more than fine, so I don't think CF would be a problem for him. But Luis Gonzalez? Maybe for a 1-year deal, but nothing more.

But that would be a typical Cubs signing, can't get Soriano, Lee or resign Pierre, but we will take a 39 year old CF for a couple years. Please Hendry stay away from Luis and Sarge Jr.

"Does anyone think Kerry Wood may debut as a Cubs closer next year "

Wood will be lucky to be able to tie his shoes next year.

Steve Rosenbloom was just ripping into Aram callign him a "dog" and not "carrying" the team when Dlee went down.

This is why some talk radio is retarded. With all the holes and non perfomance by players on this team this year to single him out is just wrong.

The Braves, White Sox, and Padres have already released "prelim" schedules, fyi.

well it got released to somebody if the St. Louis Dispatch already has their hands on it.

http://tinyurl.com/jw9o3

it is a preliminary schedule fwiw:

Cards @ Cubs April 20-22
Cards vs Cubs April 27-29
Cards vs Cubs July 23-25
Cards @ Cubs Aug 17-20
Cards vs Cubs Sept 14-16

AL West is our interleague opponent although I think they're mixing it up a bit next year cause the Cards play the Tigers too along with A's and Angeles and of course the Royals.

I don't think Gonzalez would be considered for CF. Since he's absolutely no better than Murton it would make just about zero sense to bring him in.

Jacos:
"This is why some talk radio is retarded."

I agree, IMO, most sports talk and blogs are all just people blowing off steam with mostly negative stuff. I mean I was listening to ESPN Radio here in Chicago yesterday and 75% of the calls were blasting Grossman. I mean the guy has looked great this year, but that isn't good enough. There were even some calls for Griese to start.

#64 of 65: By Rob G. (September 19, 2006 12:20 PM)
start the rumor mill:
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5977638

The Cubs view Soriano as an option in center.

not the biggest Soriano fan, but what an upgrade, especially if he can handle it defensively which he seems to be able to have done in LF so far.

ROB G: Thom Brennaman mentioned in a D'backs broadcast last month that Nats manager Frank Robinson told him that Alfonso Soriano is the happiest and most positive player he has known in MLB since Ernie Banks, that he is very popular with his teammates, that he has worked hard to become a good defensive outfielder (he leads all of MLB with 21 OF assists, but he is also tied for the MLB lead with 11 OF errors), and that he now loves playing the outfield so much that he doesn't want to go back to 2B.

The "Carrying a team" concept makes no sense in baseball.

-When the Bulls needed to score, they passed the ball to MJ more.
- When the Bears wanted to control the clock, they handed the ball to Walter more often.

In baseball, you cannot get more at bats or get more balls hit to you when your team needs a boost. Trying harder at the plate when your team needs you usually results in "pressing", and expanding your strike zone. I do the A-Ram was guilty of this in April/May -- but, he has always been a hot/cold hitter, as many power hitters are. His annual numbers are very consistent, and very, very good.

The Cubs need him at 3B if they are to have any chance next year or in 2008, IMO.

Not sure if Theriot is Murton (hit .300 at AA,AAA, short Cubs season, and now) or Cedeno (great AAA year LY, hit .300 with Cubs, then whoops!). But, I do like the fact that he doesn't strike out much, draws some walks, fouls off tough pitches and is 10/11 in SB.

Sorian in center-

Wow, if he didn't like catching fly balls in left what will he thing of center? Isn't center the toughest outfield position?

If Dodgers and Red Sox get in the bidding, no way Cubs have a chance or more likely allow themselves to bid for a chance.

"Batting sixth leftfielder Gary Sheffield!!!"

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

What do you have against Sarge Jr., Manny?

In any case, put me in the "Soriano in CF" camp.

Sarge Jr. sucks and he's having a career year in one of the best hitting environments in baseball?

according to MLB Trade rumors, some NY papers are reporting that neither the Mets or Yanks are all that interested in Zito.

The Cubs view Soriano as an option in center.

I'm glad I'm not alone.

I've proposed this idea on more than one occation here on TCR, and from everything I've read about his OFing, he would be an ideal fit to replace Pierre. His bat would allow the Cubs to keep using Murton in Left, try Theroit full time at 2nd, and still have a decent offense. That would also leave money left over to sign a decent #2 Starter.

Thoughts from a wannabe GM:

*Theriot is the starting SS in my view.

*Get Craig Counsell to come play 2B.

*Kick out-machine and all-around suckmeister Cesar Izturis to the curb.

*Wave goodbye to Pierre and sign Soriano to play CF.

*Make no bid for Ramirez and let Scott Moore play 3B

*Use all the extra money to sign a stud starter, if there are any, and Vernon Wells (to play RF).

*Platoon Jones and Murton in LF

*Trade Howry and Eyre for young position prospects at the 2007 trade deadline.

*Eat the contracts of Dump and Rusch.

*Buy Kerry Wood a plane ticket to Bolivia.

*Sue Mark Prior for breach of contract.

*Make an offer to Daisuke.

*Prepare my warchest to go after Santana in 2009.

Oh. Forgot one thing.

*Trade Felix Pie to the highest bidder.

Sarge Jr:

Home .322/.398/.515, 10HR, 33 RBI
Away: .311/.358/.498, 8 HR 44 RBI

Not a huge difference....OBP dips on the road....

wait, you'd sign Soriano and trade for Vernon Wells but you'd play Wells in RF instead of CF?

let's go with Moore over Ramirez, good teams get rid of superstarts to make room for marginal prospects. okay....

re: Sarge Jr:

CAREER YEAR, CAREER YEAR, CAREER YEAR

at age 32 on top of it. He's a good 4th OF, nothing more.

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

Gammons returning to ESPN on Wednesday, not full-time, whenever he feels up to it.

OK fine, stick Soriano in right. With all the extra offense, would it really matter?

If going with Moore over a lazy Ramirez frees up salary enough to go after Daisuke and Santana, consider me satisfied.

Yeah, Freddie Sanchez has really sucked filling in for Ramirez. I bet the Pirates wish that it were them paying Aram $11 mil to jog down to first instead of us.

I didn't realize Sarge Jr. was so old. Consider me convinced.

Horatio:
"What do you have against Sarge Jr., Manny?"

Besides this year being NOTHING like any of his other 7 seasons, I have nothing against him.

Have you seen his numbers before this year?

In 7 seasons his career numbers are:
.249/.327/.397/.724

This year his numbers are:
.317/.377/.506/.883

Also, take into account he is 32 years old. This year has career year written all over it.

"re: Sarge Jr"

But think of the all knowledge he learned from Sarge Sr....... oh never mind.

A couple years ago I might have agreed that Santana would test the free agent waters since the Twins were about to be contracted. Not anymore. They're getting a new stadium, and I fully expect them to offer Johan a major extension before he even has the chance to hit free agency.

Even if he does go to free agency, the odds of the Cubs getting him over every other team in the league are not good.

you think Trib is going to pony up $20 mil just so they can offer a contract to Daisuke? That doesn't even include what they'll have to pay him.

Johan will get traded before he hits the FA market anyway since they're getting rid of draft compensation. If the Twins get their ballpark I can see him staying there to be honest.

Freddy Sanchez vs Ramirez comparision...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

another fella having a career year

Rob-
I was only pointing out the splits.
It's a nice year he's having, but at 32, its an aberration, not a breakthrough.

Good think Horatio isn't GM!

:) Kidding, of course, but come on, play Moore instead of Ramirez?

If I'm GM, I may just keep the same position players, Murt, Pierre, Jones, Ramirez, Izturis, Theriot, Lee, Barret, and completely revamp the starting rotation.

Even if he does go to free agency, the odds of the Cubs getting him over every other team in the league are not good.

Agreed. So let's not even try. Jim Hendry shouldn't waste his time. Perhaps Shawn Chacon is available.

Rob G.:
"Johan will get traded before he hits the FA market anyway since they're getting rid of draft compensation."

Do you really think the no draft compensation for FA's will make teams trade their players that much more? Maybe for mediocre or crappy players (Nevin, Walker, etc.), but for top players like Johan, if they have any interest in signing him, they will use that exclsuive time to try and make a deal. If they don't want to resign him, then they would of traded him anyway. I don't think teams will be unloading top players, just because they won't get a draft pick for him. What do you think?

Avg HR RBI
.293 35 110

Yes lets replace this "dog" with an inexperienced hacky player. Because at 28 we know a hitter goes into a major decline from 29-32.
He is the reason why Zambrano did not win a game in April, he's the reason why Juan Pierre was non existant from April to June, he's the reason why Neifi Perez played, he's the reason why Dlee broke his wrist, he's the reason why Wood and Prior were counted on to make 50 starts this season. He's the reason why we long for the days of Steve Buschele, Kevin Orie, and Mark Belhorn.

Unbelievable.

"#80 of 94: By Horatio (September 19, 2006 01:09 PM)"

The team you propose would be the stinkiest pile of turd EVER. You don't really have a grasp of baseball outside of your Playstation do you?

Lazy ARam? HAHAHAHAHAHAAH. Who cares? Show me some evidence that his perceived laziness has any effect on this team and we can begin to try to understand. But Scott Moore over ARam? You are laughable. Vernon Wells? Theriot over Izturis? Absolute GARBAGE!

you're ready to kick aram to the curb for a AA strikeout machine cuz aram is "lazy"?

he's so lazy his defense is top tier compared to what it was...oh nevermind...i forgot, to you baseball is a game of DHs.

c'mon man...scott moore?

Chad,

The fact that you think Vernon Wells would be a bad acquisition pretty much tells me that I can safely ignore everything you say.

Rob G.:
"Freddy Sanchez vs Ramirez comparision...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

another fella having a career year"

To be fair, Sanchez is in only his 2nd full season and is only 28. A big difference than the Sarge Jr. situation.

This might very well be his career year, but I think it is still a little early to know for sure.

Since JJones is having a career year is there a team out there intrested in trading for him?

Also I havent seen a whole lot of Scott Moore but can he play any other position like LF or RF?

I don't think teams will be unloading top players, just because they won't get a draft pick for him. What do you think?

I do believe the resulting loss of draft pick compensation is going to change the way teams do business and will really open up the trade market. Low budget teams like the A's and Twins who know they can't resign a player and now won't be able to get draft picks for losing them are going to have to trade these guys cause they just can't afford to let them go for nothing. On top of that I feel that a lot more deals will be done over the winter compared to the trade deadline because teams won't be willing to give up as much for a 2-month rental that they won't even get draft picks for.

Of course the team trading said player will have to balance the desire to win that year versus their long-term future and it's something to be evaluated on a case by case basis. But I for one think it's a mortal lock that Vernon Wells will get traded. He's already expressed that he has no interest in staying in Toronto. Marcus Giles is another possibility. The Braves are in desperate need of some starting pitching. But as always, we'll see.

I don't really know what will happen with Johan of course, he's still got a few years on his deal I believe. But if it's pretty obvious that he wants to test the waters, then the Twins will definitely trade him rather than getting absolutely nothing for them, they just can't afford to take that kind of loss.

But I think the elimination of draft pick compensation is really going to open up the trade market, particularly in the winter. On the other hand, I think the deadline trade period is going to really suffer.

Rory:
"Since JJones is having a career year is there a team out there intrested in trading for him?"

Career Year? What are you talking about? In 2002, JJ had more HR, more RBI, more runs, better AVG, better OBP and better SLG.

c'mon man...scott moore?

It may not turn out to be the best move, but remember guys, the Cubs are last in ALL OF MLB in runs scored. I want to blow this thing up from top to bottom. Maybe I'm just a little higher on Scott Moore than you guys. Maybe I'm just high period. The only reason for doing it would be for the money. I'm thinking that avoiding paying Aram upwards of $13 mil and spending that money on Daisuke or Santana or Schmidt might not be the worst idea. If you could afford both then great, but I can just hear Hendry now saying that they couldn't match the Yankees offer for Santana.

you just cant cherry pick a guy and give a pep talk that has nothing to do with him.

he's not a very good 3rd baseman and someone with that many Ks in AA you can safely assume has some bat issues.

the only reason he's not playign somewhere other than 3rd is the same reason BJ Upton wasnt moved from SS though he is absolutely brutal there...there's no reason to...he's not blocking anyway.

not to say moore is as bad as upton, but moore is considered average at best and you'll find more that would hesitate before giving you that "average".

I wasn't trying to compare Sancez to Sarge Jr or their career paths. But he's not hitting 340 next year and he still has nothing more than doubles power. He'll be lucky to hit 300/330/450 next year which isn't very special for a 3b. Of course he should be playing 2b for them which he has done at times.

But come on Sancehz vs Ramirez?, seriously

Moore has played 1b, SS, LF and 3B as far as I know in the minors. And he brought his gloves with him too :)

Of course he doesn't play any of those positions well, but whatever. He'll be a good guy to have in AAA next year if Ramirez or Lee go down. At least he has some pop.

Rob G.:
"But I for one think it's a mortal lock that Vernon Wells will get traded. He's already expressed that he has no interest in staying in Toronto. Marcus Giles is another possibility. The Braves are in desperate need of some starting pitching."

But are those guys getting traded becuase of the lack of draft compensation or would they of been traded anyways.

"But I think the elimination of draft pick compensation is really going to open up the trade market, particularly in the winter. On the other hand, I think the deadline trade period is going to really suffer."

WE will see, and it will be very interesting over the next few years to see how things go. I just don't think that late 1st round or supplemental pick is going to change the minds of most GM's thinking they need to dump this guy or they won't get that pick. I think they were either going to trade him or not. Like with Beane trading Hudson and Mulder.

Manny:
"To be fair, Sanchez is in only his 2nd full season and is only 28. A big difference than the Sarge Jr. situation.

This might very well be his career year, but I think it is still a little early to know for sure."

Exactly.

man, I blew the spelling on Sanchez twice there. Impressive, most impressive.

Sanchez and Aram are the same age?

Doesn't even have youth on him.

I think with draft pick compensation, GM"s had the luxury of waiting for the deal they wanted to trade a guy. I think it will become more of a highest bidder mentality now where they won't have the luxury of not dealing these guys and still getting something.

Here's the difference between Sanchez and Ramirez:

$11.000 mil

$00.342 mil

For the low low price of $10.6 mil, you can have 50 more points of OPS!!! Something tells me that money could be allocated a tad better.

" But I for one think it's a mortal lock that Vernon Wells will get traded."

I thought the Jays were okaying more money so he can get extension.

Also I think Manny said he's from Dallas and talked about playing for the Rangers.

Like I said I would only make that deal with an agreed extension with Wells in place.

from what I read, Wells has no interest in staying in Toronto. Maybe a ridiculous contract will change his mind. I'm sure Texas will enter the fray if/when he goes on the market.

And Wells has no say on where he gets traded, just whether he'd sign an extension. Let's say we get him in a deal, Cubs have a good year as does he, he enjoys the city, etc, etc. He could be more than willing to sign at a later time.

Someone with his talent, I'd take a shot and make it very clear we want to keep him long-term. It also depends on what we have to give up of course.

But how could an African-American player succeed in such a racist town!?!?!?!?!?

;p

Johan will get traded before he hits the FA market anyway since they're getting rid of draft compensation.

Why does this matter? If he gets traded right before free agency, why wouldn't the team he got traded to have to bid for him just like everyone else?

For the low low price of $10.6 mil, you can have 50 more points of OPS!!! Something tells me that money could be allocated a tad better.

wow, just wow.

Ramirez the last 3 years:
951
926
912

Sancez the last 2 years:
736
850

and you think Sanchez is going to hit 340 ever again? Cause all his worth this year is tied into his batting average. He barely walks and doesn't hit the ball over the fence, meaning he's pretty much got all his value tied into his BABIP average, which fluctuates like the tide. (paging Juan Pierre)

He may be "productive" the next few years, especially if he stays at 2b where he belongs, but I don't know how anyone could possibly think that having Sanchez isn't a huge downgrade to Ramirez at 3b.

rory: Since JJones is having a career year is there a team out there intrested in trading for him?

How the heck is Jones having a career year? I hate it how batting average (which means absolutely zilch) is the only measure people use for ball players. Gee, Swisher is only hitting in the 240's? Sending him to triple-A, dog, he sucks.

Jones was brought in to hit his 24-25 home runs. He's set to almost hit 30, but that's not a career year. Not being able to hit lefties, not being able to throw the ball, none of this was news or suprising to the Cubs organization. Let's just say he's killed all the worms at Minnesota, now he's going to rid Wrigley of any worms.

I wasn't sure about him at first, I saw him as a slacker not running balls down in ST and during his first 17-18 ABs this year I was really getting worried. He's since turned his season around big time and he appears to be a good worker and usually goes after them in RF.

Why does this matter? If he gets traded right before free agency, why wouldn't the team he got traded to have to bid for him just like everyone else?

just pointing out that a team would have to give up a lot in terms of players as well as $$$, potentially.

mikec, tom, dick, harry, etc...

I never said that ramirez or pierre are selfish, I only said that it disgusted me to watch both of them chase career RBI/hits records in useless games against sept call ups. especially since they are getting all these at-bats at the expense of their potential replacements, who should be getting evaluated right now. they aren't, and apparently TCR thinks that is a fantastic thing. I'm not surprised.

almost all of the regular players mentioned as getting a lot of at-bats right now (jason bay, jorge cantu, etc.) are young players on young teams who need all the experience they can get. doesn't refute my point at all, because neither ramirez nor pierre nor the cubs fit that role. they are known quantities who are not going to improve with additional playing time.

there is a very good chance that the cubs will need to replace both pierre and ramirez next season, and yet they are each getting 5 at-bats every day, while scott moore scraps for playing time at first base and felix pie hits off of a tee in bermuda.

if you think it's only a coincidence that dusty is making money for these guys when it doesn't benefit the team at all, then you need to ask who the fool really is.

Rob G.:
"and Wells has no say on where he gets traded, just whether he'd sign an extension."

But that extension thing might very well make the difference of it a team is going to trade for him or at the very least how much they will get.

"Let's say we get him in a deal, Cubs have a good year as does he, he enjoys the city, etc, etc. He could be more than willing to sign at a later time."

I hope Hendry learns from the Pierre trade that getting one year rentals is not the answer (assuming Hendry does not resign Pierre). The Cubs can't trade for Wells, and give up what they are going to demand, without getting an extention.

Rosenbloom is a bitter, negative hack who went from being the Trib's lead columnist to being put in charge of "Out Loud" interviews and poker columns. I can't listen to anything he says without being annoyed.

yeah, keep passing on good players and hope the Marlins trade Miguel Cabrera instead. You keep incorrectly stating that Hendry won't spend to get top players, but we should pass up on one of the best CF's in the game cause we might not be guaranteed to sign him to an extension. Meh....

If the Cubs really plan to punt next year, okay, but I don't think that's the case, nor should it be. You take a chance when players of Wells capabilities and talents are available. Signing him to an immediate extension would be great, but having him here for next year is a good start towards that. And what if he reverts back to his 2004 or 2005 year? But we signed him to a ludicrous deal based solely on his age and 2006 season?

I don't think he will, don't get me wrong, but i don't see why we HAVE to sign him to an extension right away. You want good players you have to give up good players and take the risks. Since I can't recall any player that Hendry let go that went on to crazy success somewhere else, you have to trust that if Wells is good next year he'd stay with the team.

on another note, Ramirez said his contract status is completely up to his agent, fwiw.

Rob G.-
Please read what I wrote very carefully: "The Cubs can't trade for Wells, and give up what they are going to demand, without getting an extention."

The key part is not giving up what they are going to demand if we don't get an extenstion. I have no problem trading for him, but if we don't get an extenstion we better get a discount. I feel for the Pierre trade we gave top dollar and didn't get an extenstion. I would just rather not keep doing that.

And as for any players that henry did not resign going on to crazy success, no, nobody has gone on to crazy success, but Grudz, Alou and Nomar have all gone on to very productive years. But looking back the players that ususally leave the Cubs are not very good as the Cubs haven't been a very good team in a few years and don't have many good players in the first place.

"#100 of 124: By Horatio (September 19, 2006 01:32 PM)
Chad,

The fact that you think Vernon Wells would be a bad acquisition pretty much tells me that I can safely ignore everything you say."

I think you misunderstand my feelings on Vernon Wells. I would love to get him here in Chicago. But not at the expense of losing ARam. And how do you expect to get Wells? Free agency? Trade? Free agency route will cost as much or more than ARam. So you want to let our most productive hitter over the past 4 years walk. One of the top players at his position. At 3rd base, which has been the bane of the Chicago Cubs since Ron Santo, walk away. All for a center fielder all the while, trading Felix Pie away.

That makes tons of sense.

let's offer up Mike Fontentot and Ryan O'Malley and then see Wells go to the Astros or Cards next year instead. But at least we didn't OVERSPEND!!!

chastize Hendry for not getting top free agents and then chastize him for paying too much in trades. It's a wonderful world you live in...

Rob G.:
"chastize Hendry for not getting top free agents and then chastize him for paying too much in trades. It's a wonderful world you live in..."

HA HA

Obviously there is a huge differnce in signing a FA, who you know you will have for years, instead of trading for a top talent that can walk the very next year. I hope even you can see the difference.

Let me add, if Hendry were able to trade for Wells and get a 3-4 year extenstion, I wouldn't really care what he gave up (of course nothing crazy).

TCR: home of the strawman burnin' committee!

I agree with CarmenFanzone and Rory about trading Jones. This may not be Jones's absolute best year, but the point is he reversed the downward trajectory of the last couple of years and he now looks like he's solidly in his prime. He's more attractive than he was a year ago.

What don't I like about him? Well, I like his steady production; but when he faces a good setup man or closer in the eighth or ninth, someone with good tight breaking stuff, he's overmatched. Most of the other hitters in the lineup--Pierre, Theriot, Lee, Ramirez, Barrett, Murton--can battle a good pitcher. Jones can't.

VA Phil:
"but when he faces a good setup man or closer in the eighth or ninth, someone with good tight breaking stuff, he's overmatched."

Are you sure? Are you just basing that on a couple times you saw him? Because, here are JJ's numbers this year in a "close and late" situation:

.316/.350/.579/.929, 5 HR, 14 RBI in 76 AB's.

All those averages are considerably higher than his overall numbers.

"Seems like a lot of what I was telling you, but of which you said I had no point. Hmm...."
-

Dear manny,
You had no point [BLEH, BLEH, BLEH *EDITED*]. Did you even read anything beyond the first sentence?

In the article, Hill specifically mentions his lack of confidence in his pitches during his last callup.

1) go look at Hill's AAA stats
2) tell me if it looks like he's had any problem attacking the hitters or getting guys out

Of course he's gonna say he went and "made adjustments". He can't say this:
I just needed the opportunity to show what I can do if I'm given the ball every 5 days. It's hard to settle in when you get pulled after a couple of bad games.

He was thrown under the bus by his own manager for speaking up after the Sox incident, and then sent back to AAA. No doubt he'll be a good little soldier this time and say the right things.

Rob,

I didn't mean to suggest that Sanchez is the equivalent player to Ramirez. Just that letting a high priced guy go sometimes doesn't end up stinging you all that much.

BJS:
"You had no point and [BLEH, BLEH, BLEH *EDITED*]."

HA HA Thanks for the personal attack.

"Did you even read anything beyond the first sentence?"

Well, considering I psoted an excerpt of 5 sentences, the answer would be yes.

"In the article, Hill specifically mentions his lack of confidence in his pitches during his last callup."

Yes he did, he said: "I didn't have success early on, so my confidence was low".

"tell me if it looks like he's had any problem attacking the hitters or getting guys out"

Obviously there is a big differnce between AAA hitters and MLB hitters. Ask Choi, Dubois, etc.

"Of course he's gonna say he went and "made adjustments". He can't say this:
I just needed the opportunity to show what I can do if I'm given the ball every 5 days. It's hard to settle in when you get pulled after a couple of bad games."

So you say he is lying in his article? Ok, if you say so, as long as it fits your argumnet. The guy flat out said he worked on his fastball in the minors this last time down. You can believe him or not, that is your choice.

TCR at its finest - no one can have an opinion without being attacked. Priceless!

J. Pierre cf
R. Theriot 2b
A. Ramirez 3b
M. Murton lf
J. Jones rf
H. Blanco 1b
R. Cedeno ss
G. Soto c

"Obviously there is a big differnce between AAA hitters and MLB hitters. Ask Choi, Dubois, etc."
-

Exactly, and that's where you don't get it.

Dubois, just like Hill has nothing left to prove in AAA and can only get improve in the big leagues by actually playing in the big leagues.

I didn't say Hill was lying. He's saying the right things, the things he supposed to say. The same way Murton knew it was in his best interest to say Dusty gave him confidence by benching him.

Ask Walker, Hairston and Williamson what happens when you step out of line under this regime.

"what happens when you step out of line under this regime"
----
Well, you are not supposed to 'step out of line' under any regime! Can you go out and bad mouth the company you work for or your boss in public and expect to survive in your work place?

I don't think there is any problem if the players are diplomatic in their post game interviews or if the manager doesn't publicly chastise the players. We all know that they are not speaking under oath. It is very common for players to 'speak the right lines' especially when they are rookies.

-Cubby 78...

"It is very common for players to 'speak the right lines' especially when they are rookies."
-

That's what I was getting at.
Murton knew it from the start and Hill learned it the hard way.

BJS-
Hill can dominate those AA/AAA hitters because those hitters aren't polished professional MLB hitters. There is a big difference pitching to AA/AAA players like Choi and Dubois (who are top AAA players), let alone much worse AA/AAA players, then having to pitch to Puljos, Howard, etc. That is why he had little problem dominating them in AAA but got beat up in the bigs. He could overmatch them without great stuff.

I wish it was as easy as just sticking with a guy to make him good, then maybe Cedeno wouldn't be the worst middle IFer in baseball this year.

But as for me, I will go with what comes out of his mouth rather than try and guess what hidden alternative motive he might have to fit my argument.

I think the part that is lost in there, is Hill basically saying the coaches at the major league level are horse****, and he had to go down to the minors to work on things that our brilliant coaches in Chicago couldn't figure out. Rothchild needs to be gone just as fast as Dusty.

Vince-
That is what you got out of that? I am not a fan of Rothschild at all, but I didn't get that at all. Maybe Rothschild told him what he needed to work on before he went down and Hill did that. We really don't know either way, as Hill nor Rothschild has said anything from what I have read. But honestly, I think it would be unfair to critisize Rothschild in this case, especially since he has gotten better.

"I've had some success the past two months, and it stems from the improvements I made in Triple-A Iowa during June and July"

"This time around, I'm more in tune mechanically"

Why couldn't Rothchild help him with this?? What exactly does this guy get paid to do?

Because according to Crunch, they don't send players down to triple A to work on things, they sit them on the bench for 3 weeks without pitching in games to help them figure out things.

And again Manny. Of course he isn't going to come out and call out his coaches.

rory: TCR at its finest - no one can have an opinion without being attacked. Priceless!

Sorry, manny made me all crazy, I got a little drunk, said some things I don't mean. Let's make up.

Ok, just kidding, but my point was Jones was in the lineup for his 20+ HRs, all batting averages aside. Even if he hit 28 HR with a .240 average, he still met any reasonable expectations.

knock it off with personal attacks, thanks.

Vince:
"And again Manny. Of course he isn't going to come out and call out his coaches."

That very well be true, but what might also be true is that Rothschild told him what to work on and he did it in AAA. Again I am no fan of Rothschild, but this is a very good possiblitlity. And if the AAA coach did such a great job helping him, why wouldn't he even mention his name or say antyhing in regards to him helping. Give him a little love...

"Hill can dominate those AA/AAA hitters because those hitters aren't polished professional MLB hitters. There is a big difference pitching to AA/AAA players like Choi and Dubois (who are top AAA players), let alone much worse AA/AAA players, then having to pitch to Puljos, Howard, etc. That is why he had little problem dominating them in AAA but got beat up in the bigs. He could overmatch them without great stuff."
-

Yep, and AAA is a hell of a place to work on pitching to big league hitters. Hill had nothing left to prove in AAA. He simply needed to get an extended look with the Cubs.

"Because according to Crunch, they don't send players down to triple A to work on things, they sit them on the bench for 3 weeks without pitching in games to help them figure out things."

no, the point i was making was just cuz someone's up and not playing a lot doesnt mean theyre just taking up space in some cases. in a lotta those cases theyre being coached. this isnt very uncommon nor limited to the cubs.

If its not uncommon, who are these other teams that will bring up a player mid-season and plan on not using them for 3 weeks at a time.

Yeah, I see it all the time during Sept. call-ups, but I have never seen any other team do it on a regular basis mid-season.

almost all of the regular players mentioned as getting a lot of at-bats right now (jason bay, jorge cantu, etc.) are young players on young teams who need all the experience they can get.

Hmmm...lets take a look again:
Atlanta: A. Jones, Francoeur, Renteria, Giles
Pittsburgh: J. Bay, Sanchez, Castillo
Washington: N. Johson, Soriano, Zimmerman,
Kansas City: Grudz, E. Brown,
Baltimore: Tejada, Mora, B Roberts, R. Hern·ndez
Cleveland: V Martinez, Hafner, Sizemore, Peralta

Those that would be considered veterans:
A Jones, Giles, Renteria, Grudz, N Johnson, Soriano, Tejada, Mora, Roberts, Hernandez, even Bay or Hafner are exaclty young players trying to learn the game.

You are simply wrong. Pierre and Ramirez would not be benched by any team or if their contract status was different.

Please, show me players with a similar status of Pierre or Ramirez that have been benched this year so that young players can play. We have given you numerous examples that prove your point wrong. And you continue to spout an assertion with nothing to back it up.

there is a very good chance that the cubs will need to replace both pierre and ramirez next season, and yet they are each getting 5 at-bats every day, while scott moore scraps for playing time at first base and felix pie hits off of a tee in bermuda.

First of all, how do you know there is a "very good chance?" Something tells me that the Cubs management has a better idea about the chances of those two coming back than you do.

Second, do you follow the Cubs system? Moore is a marginal prospect. Will he ever be a decent major league player? Maybe...but it is highly unlikely that he will ever come close to the production of Ramirez. And Pie will probably be a very good major league baseball player, but he is not quite there. There is no reason to bring Pie up right now, because it looks pretty clear that he is not ready to be an every day player in the bigs.

One more thing...I know that the Cubs are still at least very interested in keeping both Pierre and Ramirez. If you bench them, you lose every chance you get at resigning them. You don't cause unnecessary tensions with players that you would like to keep.

Is there any examples of a proven veteran who is healthy and productive sitting in order to give a young player time? Does that even happen at all?

1st of all, in one of Rosenthals' articles he states that "there may be no comp picks" for next yr because this might be a part of the players agreement with the owners. Secondly, Toronto isnt a racist town, far from it, you may stick that ugly moniker to other cities or to the Toronto franchise as Keith Law stated "that Toronto only has one african american on their club"!

it's pretty much a done deal on the comp draft picks. The 2 sides agreed to it before the last CBA but couldn't agree on the terminology in time to finish up the contract. they should have plenty of time to get it done this time.

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