It’s a Bona Fide Winning Streak

Well we didn't get the pitching gem I was hoping for but we did get seven RBI's out of Aramis and the offensive explosion continues. And winning is always nice, even if it'll cost us a slot or two in the draft. Today it's the ageless Moyer against "Scruffy" Miller. Scruffy was pretty solid in his last outing versus the Dodgers, giving up a mere hit in his five innings of work in a game eventually won by the Cubs thanks to another three-run dinger by Aramis Ramirez. Scruffy topped out at 90 mph from what I saw, although he seemed to have trouble locating at that speed. Most of the time he was in the high 80's with his fastball and I thought his curve and change worked nicely. This spoiler role is kind of fun, so Go Cubs! One more win by the Cubs and they will avoid 100 losses this year. Little victories. GAME ONE HUNDRED-FIFTY-TWO IN-GAME DISCUSSION THREAD [PARACHAT] CHICAGO CUBS (62-89 (Draft) 3rd - 4.5 GB) AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (77-73 (WC) 2nd - 1.5 GB) Citizens Bank Park, 6:05 pm CDT Weather: Cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind from L to R @ 8 mph TV: WCIU Radio: WGN, XM 184
Jamie Moyer, LHP (NL Only) 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 33.1 IP 17 K, 3 BB, 4 HR 271/321/470 againstWade Miller, RHP 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 8 IP 6 K, 8 BB, 3 HR 214/389/536 against

*Juan Pierre, CF Ryan Theriot, 2B Aramis Ramirez, 3B Matt Murton, LF *Jacque Jones, RF Henry Blanco, 1B Ronny Cedeno, SS Geovany Soto, C Wade Miller, P #Jimmy Rollins, SS #Shane Victorino, CF *Chase Utley, 2B *Ryan Howard, 1B *David Dellucci, RF Pat Burrell, LF Chris Coste, C #Abraham Nunez, 3B *Jamie Moyer, P

Cubs vs. Moyer: Jacque Jones: 6-18, 333/400/389, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 2BPhillies vs. Miller: Jose Hernandez: 6-23, 251/320/435, 1 HR David Dellucci: 6-15, 400/471/667
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Comments

Wade Miller. I think he is going to be a steal for next season if he is as healthy as he looks tonight. He has gotten ragged on by everyone for not being able to pitch in "June", but that was never an issue for me. Im just glad he is healthy now and pitching this year. I hope he stays around for next season. We can use him. Im pretty optimistic for the future of the pitching staff. One good free agent SP and we should be good to go. Of course, they have to stay healthy, but isnt that always the catch?

Updating 2007 Sked:

I posted 11 games previously. Here's another six:

Fr 5/18 vs. CHW
Sa 5/19 vs. CHW
Su 5/20 vs. CHW

Fr 6/22 @ CHW
Sa 6/23 @ CHW
Su 6/24 @ CHW

Also, the Cubs do not have ANY games against LAA, who also released their schedule today.

The interleague schedule looks oddly split - the White Sox play Cin, Hou and Pit as well as Phi and Fla. Between that and all the repeaters, I'm not too thrilled with what I've seen of the 07 sked so far.

"He has gotten ragged on by everyone for not being able to pitch in "June""

No, that was Hendry getting ragged on. I still cannot believe Jabba actually had everyone believing his bs that the Cubs rotation this June would be Z, Prior, Woods, Maddux, and Miller.

But it's nice to see Miller may be able to restart his career. He's had a couple promising outings in a row. Let's give him another shot next year.

Former shortstop of the future Mr. Cedeno booted an easy one tonight that led directly to two unearneed runs. On the positive side Murton hit his ninth HR of the second half and no one suffered a freak injury. (that we know of)

Murton 2-4 with a HR, Theriot with another SB (11/12 now, I think).

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

Is Baker being sarcastic? Right on time? Not that ARam hasn't been a complete stud here lately, I think back when Lee went down would have been more on time. At this point who cares? I only check the Cubs game out to get a glimpse of Hill, Theriot, Murton, and Cedeno...

Sorry, the post before this was a quote of Baker from Ramirez's 7 RBI game on Monday night. The link is here:

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

I think he meant right on time to help me parlay another year out of this berk franchise.

MURTON MURTON MURTON

950 OPS since the allstar break (basically when he started playing everyday)

NEEDS to be here next year (unless he's trade bait for somebody HUGE) and bat 2nd, no matter who the manager is.

sorry, 910 OPS. point remains

That Murton stuff maybe why rumors have the Cubs liking Soriano as a CF. That could make some sense.

Soriano-Cf
Murton-Lf
Lee-1b
Ramirez-3b
Barrett-c
Jones-rf
Theriot-2b
Izturis-ss

That I could take

except soriano wouldn't bat leadoff because we'd have a new manager who has a clue, right?

Not very comfortable with theriot at 2b unless we'd sign counsell as our super-utility backup but he's pretty likely to getting a starting gig somewhere.

That outfield?

"And another triple to the wall..."

Soriano in CF would be interesting but he's gotten good reports about his LF play and most of the stats I've seen back that up. He's definitely got the arm and the speed. Jones gets to balls, just can't throw. I've never had much of a problem with Murton in LF. He looks better than Alou, Dubois or Holly that's for sure. He just doesn't have much arm strenght unfortunately.

If Hendry was really thinking, he'd load up with groundball pitchers, cause the infield defense looks really good with that lineup proposed in #12.

Rob G.:
"except soriano wouldn't bat leadoff because we'd have a new manager who has a clue, right?"

Of course, Soriano did bat lead off for Joe Torre in NY and Frank Robinson in Washington this year.

With the players in #12 I can't imagine who else besides Soriano would hit leadoff. Maybe the Riot if he could project his stats across a whole season, but that's a lot to ask of such an inexperienced guy.

Of course, Soriano did bat lead off for Joe Torre in NY and Frank Robinson in Washington this year.

and that makes it the right thing to do? In the AL, the leadoff guy will have a lot more opportunities with guys on-base, so it wouldn't bother me as much. In the NL, it's big old waste of his 40 homers.

Of course Soriano has a career 340 OBP batting leadoff so if could keep that up, I'd survive although it's still a waste of his power.

Yeah I'd probably go Riot, Murton, Lee, Ramirez, Jones, Soriano, Barrett, Izturis if it was me. Flip Jones and Barrett versus lefties or drop Jones altogether on those days with that personnel. Soriano's probably going to drop down a bit next year anyway. although I'm pretty impressed he doubled his walk rate this year.

I wonder what he'll get 5/70?

Rob G.:
"and that makes it the right thing to do?"

I don't know, I was just showing at least 2 other managers have batted him leadoff. You made the comment that basically if Dusty was not here we would have a manager with a clue and not bat Soriano leadoff, but there is no guarentee of that as Torre and Robinson show.

Soriano-Cf
"Murton-Lf
Lee-1b
Ramirez-3b
Barrett-c
Jones-rf
Theriot-2b
Izturis-ss"

WORD!

Huh, aweful idea

MannyTrillo re Jones's clutch hitting:

Your stats are always interesting. Please define what you mean by close and late. If the Cubs are up a run in the eighth inning, I guess that's close and late, but it's not a clutch situation. Same with a tie game. It's when the Cubs are behind a run or two and the other team is using one of its two best relievers. It's not an unusual situation, especially for the Cubs this year.

If you have statistics for Jones in real clutch situations, please share them. Otherwise I'll continue to believe my lying eyes.

Soriano likes batting lead-off. It is apparently part of his self-conception of himself as a player. Why he bats there, and not third or second, has to do with the people management skills which we fans don't give much attention to but which constitute probably 90 percent of a manager's job. Living in DC this year I have observed Frank Robinson management of Soriano. Frank does not get a lot points for his people management skills (see SI's players rating of managers). But he was smart enough that knowing he had already ticked Soriano off by moving him from second to left (and doing him thereby the greatest favor of his career), letting him bat where he wanted made the guy a happier player. Soriano has been a very popular player with the fans and with his teammates this year, contrary to the reputation he had in Texas. This is probably his career year, but nobody thought he would get nearly 50 home runs in RFK. And Soriano definitely does not look bulked out in case anybody was wondering.

Adding Soriano and a healthy DLee to the lineup next year would make a big difference. I'd prefer to see Soriano in RF and Vernon Wells in CF, but I'm greedy. If Hendry can do that, plus add a couple of starting pitchers (Schmidt and Padilla?) I'd be happy.

BTW, adding a couple of big bats like Soriano and Wells is going to be the only way the 2007 Cubs will be able to afford the luxury of having a week hitting (but excellent fielding) middle infield (i.e. Izturis & Theriot).

A good pitching staff would help, too, Sweet Lou.

If Theriot continues to hit, even at...say....280/.350/..380, plays good defense and steals 20-25 bases, I'd take that, even without the power.

Basically you are building the 2006 White Sox with all that power and no starting pitching.

It will be a vast improvement from the 2006 Cubs but if the Cubs don't get two quality starters all the hitting in the world won't get them to a WS.

Random thought: The Cubs and Phils would make interesting trading partners. The rumors are that they would consider dumping Rowand and putting Victorino in CF. And Burrell needs a change of scenery badly.

Supposedly, Burrell is a bad chemistry guy, and his late and close stats this year are awful. But goodness knows the Cubs could use his power and OBP. And Rowand would be about a wash with Pierre when you factor in the defense and power.

I'm not good with mock trades, but something like Rowand and Burrell (and a whole lot of cash) for Murton and two starting pitchers (not named Zambrano or Prior).

Of course, Hendry probably hates players like Burrell, so this is a moot point. Hendry probably only notices his so-so batting average and his 120+ Ks.

VA Phil:
"Please define what you mean by close and late."

Firstly, it is not my term, it is a category on ESPN.com MLB stats, and they don't give a exact defintion, but when looking around on the internet it is defined as a PA in the "seventh inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck."

"If the Cubs are up a run in the eighth inning, I guess that's close and late, but it's not a clutch situation."

Oh, you never used the term "clutch situation" in your first post. You said "when he faces a good setup man or closer in the eighth or ninth...he's overmatched."

"If you have statistics for Jones in real clutch situations, please share them. Otherwise I'll continue to believe my lying eyes."

I don't think there is a stat out there just giving his stats when facing the other team's top setup man and closer. Close and late is one of the pretty readily accpeted "clutch stats", but if that is not good enough, then yes you will have to "continue to believe [your] lying eyes."

Jacos:
"It will be a vast improvement from the 2006 Cubs but if the Cubs don't get two quality starters all the hitting in the world won't get them to a WS."

I agree. And this is where Hendry is going to run into his biggest problem this offseason. He is going to have roughly $20-$25 million to spend this offseason (assuming ARAM gets resigned and he roughly has an Opening Day payroll of $100 million) If he adds Soriano, that money is down to almost $5 million, not enough to get a real quality starting pitcher, let alone the two he really needs.

He is basically going to have to pick which part of his team is he going to throw into the hands of the youngsters, hitting or pitching. Either he will improve the offense and then leave Prior, Hill, Marshall, etc. to fill in the other roles of the starting staff or he will go get a couple solid starting pitchers and then let Murton, Pie, Theriot, Cedeno fill in the holes on offense. Of course, maybe a cheaper aged veteran will fill in a role here and there, but you get the point.

I wonder what he'll get 5/70?

Bruuuuuuce Miles said last night 5/75. But he is a 40/40 guy who is learning to play solid defense in the outfield. 5/75 is not unreasonable for a guy with offensive production.

Not very comfortable with theriot at 2b unless we'd sign counsell as our super-utility backup but he's pretty likely to getting a starting gig somewhere.

I don't have a huge problem with it...we need to save money somewhere. That is the most logical way to do it, and then add at two starting pitchers and Kerry Wood to the bullpen.

"If he adds Soriano, that money is down to almost $5 million"

i feel like ive said the phrase "backloaded contract" at least 1000 times since the offseason talk began.

you really think hendry's gonna be handing out straight contracts?

if hendry signs ANYONE with a big name the chances of them not getting a backloaded contract is pretty thin, even if they're only making 3-4m a year.

wood/maddux just finished making 20m combined and they werent making it on straight contracts...almost the entire pen is tiered...hell, almost every starter is, too.

the race between painting like hendry like an idiot and keeping things in reality gotta be maintained if you wanna keep it anywhere near serious.

yeah, we saved $$$ at SS this year to owith Ronny Cedeno who had decent first callup with the team and that didn't go so well. I'm certainly higher on Theriot than Cedeno, but it's a pretty risky jesture in my opinion. Theriot's no uber-prospect that teams should be clearing a starting spot for, that's for sure. If the chips fall that way and he just flat out earns the job with his play (which isn't going to happen in the 125 some Ab's he'll finish with), great, but I wouldn't pass up a more solid option there.

Of course it depends on what Hendry's definition of a more solid option is...

And it isn't just Soriano (or other free agents) that can be backloaded; there's a pretty good chance Hendry will do the same thing when he renegotiates with Ramirez and when he pursues a long term deal with Zambrano. There are a lot of ways for Hendry to stretch that $25 million.

Yea Rob...I don't necessarily disagree with you. Theriot still needs to show us more, but I like what he brings to the table. He is a very different kind of player than Cedeno. He is much less flashy. I don't think we see the prolonged slumps that we see with Cedeno, as patience is the one thing that really doesn't slump (and yes...speed does slump, if you can't get on base you can't use your speed).

Don't get me wrong...I would like to see someone like Counsell, but like you, I think he will be guaranteed a starting job (and starting money) next year.

Maybe we could bring Todd Walker back... :)

jacos: [Soriano & Wells] will be a vast improvement from the 2006 Cubs but if the Cubs don't get two quality starters all the hitting in the world won't get them to a WS.

This bears repeating.

mannytrillo: Either he will improve the offense and then leave Prior, Hill, Marshall, etc. to fill in the other roles of the starting staff or he will go get a couple solid starting pitchers and then let Murton, Pie, Theriot, Cedeno fill in the holes on offense.

Here's to hoping he doesn't take the route of mediocrity and improve each only slightly enough not to make a difference.

Crunch:
"you really think hendry's gonna be handing out straight contracts? if hendry signs ANYONE with a big name the chances of them not getting a backloaded contract is pretty thin, even if they're only making 3-4m a year."

I don't know, nor do you (he did give Lee and Howry straight contracts), but even if he does a tiered contract of $13, $14, $15, $16, $17 million (assuming 5yrs/$75 million, then they will have $7 million to spend. Is that better?

The shortstop of our dreams is getting more flack in the Bronx-

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

When a roid rage pud like Giambi is calling you out that's got to be uncomfortable.

Vorare:
"And it isn't just Soriano (or other free agents) that can be backloaded; there's a pretty good chance Hendry will do the same thing when he renegotiates with Ramirez and when he pursues a long term deal with Zambrano."

Very true... But I don't see it being a very backloaded deal. I don't see Z or ARAM taking a paycut in the first year, with a baloon payment type backloaded contract 4 years from now. I can see it being tired like the example I gave above.

But I also agree hendry is going to have to be creative with the deals as there isn't that much money availible considering the amount of holes.

The shortstop of our dreams is getting more flack in the Bronx-

Blah...that is just a new article about an old issue. A-Rod is playing better baseball since then, and it hasn't been an issue.

A-Rod isn't going anywhere...

Couple of things:

1) Under no circumstance do I want to see Pat Burrell in a cubs uniform next year. The guy is awful.

2) Soriano is a LEADOFF hitter. There is a reason he bats #1 for pretty much every team he has played for (except Texas who tried to get him to bat anywhere from #2 to #5)

His numbers (past 3 years) in batting order:
#1 - 792 AB's - .289/.335/.532
#3 - 528 AB's - .277/.321/.475
#5 - 544 AB's - .270/.313/.513

Those are the only spots where he had >100 AB's, and it is clear that, for some odd reason that nobody can probably explain, Soriano is best suited AS A LEADOFF HITTER. Plain and simple.

3) Trade Murton?

Murton - 418 AB's - .299/.363/.447 = ~$500,000 in 2007
Jones - 508 AB's - .283/.330/.496 = $5,333,333 in 2007

Murton HAS VALUE TO THIS TEAM -- we need to balance big name free agent signings with CHEAP, PRODUCTIVE players. Murton is the perfect example of how to keep our payroll manageable!

4) Ryan Theriot is the balls

Does this worry anybody else? Shouldn't Hendry have a little clue as to what is going on with Ramirez? It says the Cubs would like to know his plans. I would of hoped they would of known a little bit about them before teh trading deadline, so we could of traded him if he wasn't interested.

From the Trib:
General manager Jim Hendry said he plans to address Aramis Ramirez's situation before the season ends. Ramirez can opt out of his contract in November. "I'm going to try to address it as soon as possible," Hendry said. "He's the one who has to decide the time frame." Ramirez doesn't have to exercise the clause until 15 days after the World Series, but the Cubs would like to know his plans beforehand so they can prepare accordingly.

Soriano is best suited AS A LEADOFF HITTER. Plain and simple.

No...not that plain or simply. First, even if he hits better in 1 hole does not mean that he best helps his team in that position. You simply cannot have a leadof hitter with an OBP of .335. You also want to be able to use your run producers, which Soriano clearly is, in order to produce runs. Soriano in the leadoff spot if a waste of power, especially in the National League. He would see very little opportunities to drive in runners.

And looking closely at those numbers, in the 1 hole you have a guy with an OPS of 880, in the 5 hole you have an OPS of 840. I would rather have the 840 with his power in the 5 hole than the 1 hole.

Under no circumstance do I want to see Pat Burrell in a cubs uniform next year. The guy is awful.

Burrell is aweful? These are not exactly terrible numbers: .252/.377/.484. Those #'s would place him above everyone on the Cubs except for Barrett and A-Ram. Yea...pretty aweful...

Junior: Under no circumstance do I want to see Pat Burrell in a cubs uniform next year. The guy is awful.

That is an interesting opinion. I happen to have a different opinion on him. He is extremely patient at the plate (one of the most patient in baseball, in fact) and will take lots of walks, and generate a high OBP. Plus he's a 24-30 HR guy.

Of course, if one were to look at only batting average as a benchmark for the value of a ball player, I could understand why you might think he is "awful".

mannytrillo: Does this worry anybody else? Shouldn't Hendry have a little clue as to what is going on with Ramirez?

Yeah, sort of. On the other hand, I think they generally don't like to talk contracts during the year. Of course, if I'm Rammy, why the hell do I stay? Honestly.

you really think hendry has no clue what's going on with aram? damn man...and you jump on people for assuming things about dusty without fully expressing it.

to even assume hendry's in the dark about 1- what not trading him 2- him keeping him 3- what it brings in the future...well, that's just either ignorant or selective hearing.

this is all in aram's court, but you cant just imagine its a hands-off "what's going on guys, im lost, im just a GM" thing cuz its convienent...you've given more slack to dusty for less.

DId anyone actually watch the game last night? How was Miller's velocity?

If Rammy actually does like Chicago there is the possibility that he will exercise his option to test the market and if the Cubs are offering him something close, he may stay.

He might exercise his option just to drive his value up, too. Either way, it wouldn't make sense for him to not exercise his FA option.

Murton now has 20 home runs in 558 ML at bats, so if one of his early goals was to become a 20-homer-a-year guy, he's doing okay.

Crunch:
"you really think hendry has no clue what's going on with aram?"

Just going by what was said in the paper man. I, nor you, have any clue what hendry knows, but I don't understand why they would print this: "the Cubs would like to know his plans beforehand so they can prepare accordingly."

That is why I said it worried me, I would think Hendry would of at least have an idea as to what ARAM was going to do. He very well might, but that sentence worried me.

Ryno:
"it wouldn't make sense for him to not exercise his FA option."

Yeah, his latest surge all but guarenteed that or at least the fact that Hendry will have to redo his deal before he officially exercises it.

Dave : "Burrell is aweful? These are not exactly terrible numbers: .252/.377/.484."

Gotta look at the big picture here:

Burrell since 2003
'03 - 522 ABs - .209/.309/.404 - 21HR 64RBI 142K
'04 - 448 ABs - .257/.365/.455 - 24HR 84RBI 130K
'05 - 562 ABs - .281/.389/.504 - 32HR 117RBI 160K
'06 - 432 ABs - .252/.377/.484 - 25HR 88RBI 123K

Also, there is a reason that he is not playing everyday in Philly. His defense is bad in the OF, verified by the fact that he was being shopped as a DH to AL teams back at the trading deadline.

I wont even get into the fact that he K's 140-160 times over a full season. That is only acceptable if he his hitting with a lot more power (>45 HR's) like Ryan Howard this year.

Even if Philly pays 1/2 of his contract, his remaining contract would look like this:

2007 - $6,500,000
2008 - $7,000,000

That is an unattractive player any way you look at it. He is overpriced given his current production, which is pretty much Jacque Jones plus about .040 of OBP while making more than $1MM more!

This team needs to realize with players like Zambrano, Lee, and ARam (hopefully) making around $13 million each and godwilling other big free agent signings, the Cubs need to keep players like Murton around who are EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE players for their miniscule salaries.

And I will repeat my earlier note:

4) Ryan Theriot is the balls

its in a newspaper.

GMs and agents, unless they play for other teams and are legally not allowed to communicate, do not do these things in the paper.

a GM/agent might shift the ball around in the papers...its in blah's court...well, we heard from blah but we'd like to hear more from blah...blah blah blah

this is newspaper crap...it means nothing. its not new or unique, but i'd find it a hell of a stretch to believe hendry is just sitting around waiting on a phone call or not in contact with aram's agent.

aram's agent may be dragging his feet, but well...his agent said he wasnt even gonna discuss it til sept and given his current streak the past few months he's probally looking some final #s or a peak before they even get into serious talks.

this isnt a 1-yr thing...aram's next contract will probally land him somewhere for many years for a lotta money.

Manny:

There are many ways of structuring a contract to save money up front other than just a gradual increase. There are prorated signing bonuses, deferred compensation, heavy weighting on the last year or two, etc. Hendry has been creative with contracts in the past, so I don't see any reason why he'd suddenly go for a vanilla flat salary for a Soriano type.

Doesn't Burrell have a major health issue, too? A degenerative hip condition or something like that?

Vorare:
"There are many ways of structuring a contract to save money up front other than just a gradual increase."

Very true, and like I said, he is going to have to get very creative if he wants to fill the holes with the money availible. But the player also has to agree with the contract too, it is not only up to Hendry. Look at Lee's flat contract as an example.

Murton now has 20 home runs in 558 ML at bats, so if one of his early goals was to become a 20-homer-a-year guy, he's doing okay.

Nice observation Virgina Phil. Overall in this AB's he has done this...

.305 BA, .369 OBP, .835 OPS, 81 runs, 22 2b, 4 3b, 20 HR, 74 RBI, 57 BB, 79 SO.

That is just out flipping standing for a guy in first 600 AB's in the majors. Tell me again why we need him replaced and he is part of the problem? Teams would give their left nut for that kind of production for less than a million.

Cubs fans want to toss his ass out on the street and platoon him with a worse player in Jones.

And Jones costs $5.33 MILLION

I like the lineup in #12. But how about getting Lofton for CF, Leaving Pie the position to inherit? This would leave money available for my choice on the FA market...Zito. Counsell is a super choise for backup IF as well. Todays comments seem well thought out. You guys are hired!

Question: would you hire Wood for the Bullpin? I like the Idea of the tandem start with Wood. It has never been done as far as I know. But starting Wood for 2 innings in April/May ...3 for June/July and so on might produce a dominate Post season Starter. Maybe I am being too Optimistic. But I want to see Wood back.

Starters
Z-Man
Zito
Wood/Prior
Hill
The usual suspects

And if you need further proof Baker is an idiot, talking about the Cubs offensive explosion the last 2 games (well before they lost 4-1 last night)...

What's caused the explosion?

"No. 1, we're getting our leadoff man on early," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "We're getting our second man on early. Aramis [Ramirez] hits a three-run homer. That's what has happened the last two games to give us the lead. Then hitting is contagious. Sometimes, there is no explanation. Sometimes, it's just swinging well as a team.

Ohhhh so thats how you create better offense, by actually having a competent #2 hitter. Well, fuck someone ask Dusty why Neifi and the rest of the dredge have occupied that spot during most of his 4 years?

It's like he knows who should bat #2 but most of the time he just ignores his own common sense. I think thats called mental retardation. I guess it's a good thing this illness is clearing up 3.9 years into his contract. Cool.

MikeC:
"Tell me again why we need him replaced and he is part of the problem?"

We don't need him replaced and he isn't part of the problem.

But as dicussed here many times LF appears to be the one real place in FA where the Cubs can really upgrade. Now if Hendry can vastly improve CF or 2B or SS (via trade with Wells as example or signing Soraino for CF), then Murton would be more than fine in LF, IMO. But as you have stated many times we need to upgrade this offense and 1B, 3B (hopefully), C, RF and SS are not going anywhere, so that leaves LF, CF, and 2B and there just aren't that many options out there for those positions unless a trade happens.

I would believe Aram and Hendry may have some sort of agreement that the contract will be negotiated at a number of dollars otherwise he should have been traded at the deadline.

Why would he stay here? Not alot of pressure on him, if he goes somewhere for big contract (Dodgers) he may become Adrian Beltre. This is the perfect situation for him.

Dave-

Miller was topping off at 88mph. His curve was awesome.

I cannot see Barry Zito being successful in Wrigley Field. He will be dealing with a smaller ballpark, very different weather for the first 2 months, and as a flyball pitcher I am worried that he will struggle. He is a really weird guy as well, and if he doesn't like Chicago it will be a messy relationship.

The other concern in getting Zito is that it leaves another SP slot exposed/unfilled but comitting all the FA $$ to one pitcher when we NEED TWO. Why not take the $14+ million Zito will command and put it towards 2 pitchers.

I think an obvious alternative to Zito is simply to pick up the phone and call Kenny Williams. Start the trade discussion with Bob Howry and prospects for Javier Vazquez. Vazquez was very good in the NL and he shows flashes of absolute brilliance.

Vazquez is owed $12.5, but I am pretty sure that Arizona is on the hook for $2.5 and the Yankees owe $3. That mean Vazquez is owed $7 million. Take out Howry's $4 million, and that only adds a NET OF $3 MILLION.

Then take the remaining $10 million of the money you would pay Zito and find another starter (trade or sign).

#1 Zambrano
#2 Vazquez
#3 FA/Trade
#4 Hill
#5 Prior/Marshall/Miller/Surprise

"there just aren't that many options out there for those positions unless a trade happens'

That's where Hendry will make his hay. Moving some of the young pitching and packaging some minor league players to get some establish players. I know its pie(no pun) in the sky, but that's how he got Lee, Barrett and Aram.

BTW...Izturis tweaked his hammy again, and is out at least until next week, says the Trib..

"Shortstop Cesar Izturis stayed in Chicago for treatment on his tight right hamstring. Trainer Mark O'Neal said the Cubs don't expect this to be a recurring problem next year. "

Really reassuring...He'll look great at shortstop for the 90-100 games he'll be healthy....

I like Murton a lot. I think he will have a nice career, barring injury or something else crazy happening. I don't think the Cubs should get rid of him. I think he is a better player than Jones, and I would not be that excited about putting him in a platoon with Jones and giving Murton the at-bats only against lefties with other at-bats given on an occasional basis (even though Jones should be platooned with somebody if he is to remain on the team (why people continue to bat him against lefties is a mystery)).

However, given the choice between starting Murton and Soriano next year, I don't see how you don't start Soriano. I realize that that may be a false choice, but that is how the Cubs may look at it if they are determined to keep Pierre and Jones and they actually get Soriano (an if of enormous proportions). It's not necessarily what I would do, but I fear that Hendry values Pierre and Jones more than he values Murton.

i still dont get where teh murton/jones platoon thing comes from...

murton isnt gonna play RF, the team isnt set to pick up a new RF'r (as if any worth a damn are available), and playing murton for the 150 or so lefty ABs jones would face would be a waste of murton.

Manny,
As you may know, I'm a big Murton fan and the talk of a Murton trade is worrisome.

Now, I'm not trying to call you out or anything, just friendly discussion here...
friendly...

If the Dodgers with their 140 HRs and .429 slugging are in first place, then why do the cubs, with 157 HRs and .423 slugging need more HRs out of left field to compete?

Seems to me the problem(s) lie elsewhere?

it couldn't be pitching....could it?

Lee and Ramirez were salary dumps, lets not confuse the situation. Thats where Hendry works the best when he bottom feeds off teams that cant or do not want to pay certain players anymore.

When there are no teams willing to give away players you get what Hendry has done the last 2 years. Nothing. You get "addition by subtraction" and overpaying for questionable role players and bullpen arms. Because he isn't creative enough to find what he needs and he has money to spend he just blows it willy nilly.

junior-

lol

I think that is what's known as hitting the nail on the head.

Then what was Michael Barrett? I believe we got the Silver Slugger Catcher for Damien Miller...and it was not a salary dump.

But that aside, Hendry does seem to feast on small market teams not being able to pay their budding stars -- which is something he should do far more often!

Champ:
"Seems to me the problem(s) lie elsewhere?"

I can't agree with you more. There are some on TCR that want to focus on inproving hitting first and foremost, then there are some of us who would like to see Hendry focus mainly on pitching. I think that is where the biggest problem lies.

Of course the hitting needs to be addressed as the Cubs are 2nd to last in runs scored, but I think championship teams are built on pitching.

Junior & Champ-
HA HA...I didn't read those last posts of yours before I posted mine. I think we are all on the same page.

Ramirez wasn't really a salary dump. They just traded him cause they didn't want to pay him when he became a free agent.

The Dodgers are 4th in runs scored in the NL, 1st in OBP, and 5th in Runs Allowed. They also play in a very pitcher friendly environment.

The 3 best tems in runs allowed this year are the Padres, Mets & Astros if you're wondering.

In the AL, it's the Tigers, Twinkies and A's in the top 3.

MikeC:
"Because he isn't creative enough to find what he needs and he has money to spend he just blows it willy nilly."

AGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

"Willy Nilly" was the TCR secret word of the day!!!

Sorry, childhood flashback, but anyway, I thought "willy nilly" is a funny phrase.

Back to regular programming....

Junior:
"Then what was Michael Barrett? I believe we got the Silver Slugger Catcher for Damien Miller...and it was not a salary dump."

That was called Hendry BITCH-SLAPPING Billy Beane.

Barrett for Miller
Nomar and Murton for Gonzo & trash
Aardsma and Williams for Hawkins
etc.

This team has not been competitive in pursuing quality free agents, but they also have not a 95 plus loss season in awhile. So hopefully there are teams with disgruntled players(Arod) or not returning to their team in 2008(Vernon Wells) and a deal can be made.

I'm just very pessimestic with how this organization is being run, that's why I feel Sheffield will be signed for "below market" and that's about it. Anything else above that I will be suprised and happy.

Junior

Accourding to the Sun Times and Trib. it's Garcia that will be traded from the Sox not Vazquez. You are right about Zito not being a groundball hitter. However, he's not an extreme flyball pitcher either (219 GO 252 AO). His 200 plus innings avery year are what most impresses me. My second option and a possible trade target this off season...J Jennings (Rockies).

P.S. Also I think the Cardinals are going in the Zito bidding war and I hate the Cards almost as much as I love the Cubs.

said groundball hitter ...oops ...meant groundball pitcher

Freddy Garcia is fine with me. He absolutely dominates the NL during inter-league, and the NL to AL switch seems to help pitchers a good amount

Freddy Garcia is fine with me. He absolutely dominates the NL during inter-league, and the NL to AL switch seems to help pitchers a good amount.

I would still prefer Vazquez as he is cheaper, and I think the upside of Vazquez in the NL Central is enormous!

As for the Zito=Workhorse comment, Vazquez also puts up innings.

Well thats one thing I think all Cub fans agree on we need another workhorse.

By the way what do you think of the Tandem Start?

I know it's a little out there, but if you get a second year option on Wood....?

Rob G.:
"The 3 best tems in runs allowed this year are the Padres, Mets & Astros if you're wondering."

Yeah, it is no surprise that the 4 teams that would make the playoffs now in the NL are in the top 5 of runs allowed.

Tandem Start was originally posted on #59

I also say whoopsa daisy, gosh, golly, gee and what you talking bout Willis?

Who is Tandem Start? Is he a lefty?

"Who is Tandem Start?"

I think he misspelled Tanyon Sturtze.

Let's get *Realistic*, guys. You have to identify players that no one else will pay more for than Hendry. The wisdom of this crowd of one:

Aramis Ramirez
Juan Pierre
Gary Sheffield
Ray Durham
Jamie Moyer
Kerry Wood

There's Hendry's free agent signings.

I think Felipe Alou might be available too...

Forgot Blanco, but that's only $2.5 million anyways. :p

Definition of Tandem: A group of two or more arranged one behind the other or used or acting in conjunction.

I really didn't make this up.

Anyhow, if you read #59 and tell me what you think I would appreciate it.

Tandem Start would ruin the bullpen right at the start of the season. You'd be asking the bullpen to pitch 6 or 7 innings every 5th day, besides whatever is needed the other 4 days. Then condiser that your 4 and 5 starters, Hill and a Usual Suspect, will also not be giving 7+ innings. The bullpen is cashed by July.

Not to mention that Wood already concedes that he is no longer starter material.

Re: #59

Wood's 2007 stat line:
1 G, 1 GS, 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 3 K

Wood's 2007 stat line in the bullpen:
1 G, 0 GS, 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K

Choose your choice.

I don't have a very high opinion of tandem starts. I think it's what people do when they don't have someone good enough to go the distance. I also have the opinion that Mark Prior and Kerry Wood have been a drain on the team long enough.

I think if you are actually counting on Kerry Wood to contribute anything to the 2007 Cubs, you are living a dream. If we sign him for cheap + incentives...great. If he can actually pitch effectively...even better. But I am counting on Kerry Wood to contribute 1 IP for the 2007 Cubs.

Junior: If we sign him for cheap + incentives...great.

Blah. IMO they should be building a ball team, not a rehab clinic.

That should read: But am I counting on Kerry Wood to contribute 1 IP for the 2007 Cubs? No.

By "cheap + incentives" I mean a $330,000 base salary (or whatever the league min. is) and $1.5 million in incentives that aren't bs things like days spent on the 25 man roster. They should be PERFORMANCE incentives.

If he is too proud of his illustrious career to sign a minimum base deal -- a simple goodbye and good luck shall do.

Ok, I guess that's agreeable. On the open market, though, he'd be lucky to get a minor league deal.

I don't mind seeing around ~$1m base salary guaranteed to Wood plus several million more based on performance. It's a whopping 1% of our payroll, and the payoff could be huge--especially if Dempster repeats his '06 struggles.

The Royals' schedule is out today.

Getting madder and madder over here at MLB's "balanced" schedule.

In interleague, they have their rivalry series vs. the Cards (both on weekdays ironically), plus they host the Phillies and Marlins, and travel to the Brewers and Rockies.

So the Beermakers get to play the KC Corkys two years in a row and we don't get them at all.

I thought the new company (I forget the guy's name, some prof who also schedules ACC football and basketball) did a good job for 2006, but what's out for 2007 (Angels, Braves, Royals, White Sox and Padres-home-only) looks like a dog biscuit. Tons of repeaters, tons of one-half-onlys, and completely unbalanced.

I'm ready to rise to the occasion and take a crack at the 2008 playbook. :-)

WPZ

Let's give KC Dempster, Izturis, and Rusch for a Coke and a smile. I think we might send some cash their way too.

But first we have to get them really drunk.

WPZ, i don't care who we played this season, this team was not going to win jack.

Point?

Point is, that it doesn't matter who we play next season, if we don't improve this team, we still won't win.

That had less to do with the Cubs and more to do with MLB's continuing scheduling ineptitude.

There shouldn't be such a thing as an "unbalanced schedule" in a game with 30 total teams, where only 18-21 play one another in a given season, in a 162-game season, with multiple-game series. Strength of schedule should be within percentage points. A lot of that has to do with rivalry games, which aren't going anywhere. The rest has to do with controllable factors. But MLB's opinion about this and everything else is that if they didn't bother to control something in the past, they shouldn't bother in the future. Makes me wish I was an NFL fan instead. Look, that league has just as balanced of a schedule as MLB, and they're working on a 32/13/16 formula compared to 30/18-21/162. That's actually almost impossible. Sheer luck says it should balance better.

It's frustrating when I know I can do something better than it's being done but I can't get Katy Feeney or anyone else at MLB to respond to my calls/e-mails and let me prove it.

the unbalanced schedule is fine; it's the interleague nonsense that mucks it up.

Can the Cubs play the Reds and Cardinals only next year?

"Ok, I guess that's agreeable. On the open market, though, he'd be lucky to get a minor league deal."

The 'Open Market' must be a lot tougher than your local crack market.

From Braves.com:
Wickman signs a 1-year extension.

One less closer/top reliever on the market. I hope Howry can become a reliable closer if/when Dempster spits the bit, if he hasn't already.

the FA market for the cubs and relief should have nothing to do with each other.

the more teams locking up relievers that may become FA's means more trading power for the cubs excess arms should it come to building via trade.

howry and eyre are looking damn good compared to this market...nice having a wuertz, ohman, aardvark, dumpster, etc. in the fold before even having to think about "the kids".

The Real Neal: The 'Open Market' must be a lot tougher than your local crack market.

If, by that, you mean "I disagree with your opinion", then go ahead and say that and don't be a dick.

Jerk-to-Human translation:
The Real Neal: I disagree, I think Wood would get more than a minor league contract

Really? Thank you for the respectful discussion. Wood has 85 2/3 innings in the past two years. If I owned a ball club, I don't think I'd bother with him at all, let alone a minor league contract. You have a different opinion.

Walron v. Myers this might be painful to watch.

Rumors are always fun... this from the CBS Sports Rumor Mill, cbssports.com:

Wade Miller has been out most of the season rehabbing his shoulder but his progress has been good. The Daily Herald speculates that if Miller continues on this path, he could help next year if they can agree on terms.

LAUNCH ARAMIS?!

Manny: "Does this worry anybody else? Shouldn't Hendry have a little clue as to what is going on with Ramirez?"

TCR Readers:

How many of you would, if the saved money would be guaranteed to go to outstanding pitching and a decent rental 3rd baseman (Lowell, etc.), just part ways with the 4-Month player Ramirez?

It would have to be a REAL good pitching rotation, then *maybe* I could get on board. Problem is I really think Ramirez is going to be a FA either way.

Crunch:
"nice having a wuertz, ohman, aardvark, dumpster, etc. in the fold before even having to think about "the kids"."

Nice to have Dempster? What is exactly nice to have? His 1-8 record? His .264 BAA? His 1.53 WHIP? His 4.84 ERA? Or his 8 blown saves in only 32 tries?

Yes, I agree with you, I don't think the Cubs will be in the market for relief help, nor should they be, but that doesn't mean there isn't problems there. I hope they hold onto Eyre and Howry unless they spring us a top-tier player. Hendry did a good job adding those 2 players last offseason.

its just dumpster...ive made my views on his pay and length of contract knows, but you might wanna look at the FA market this coming year if you're not happy about the rest.

dumpster dont give up the longball...its pretty much his only plus.

i threw him in the mix cuz quite literally he's a sure thing in the pen if he's still on the roster come april.

Speaking of closers, over at Fire Brand, rumor has it that the Red Sox may try to convert Matt Clement into their Closer next season.

Mark my words: Scott Moore is a keeper.

of course he's a keeper...he's not a very good 3rd baseman, but there's no reason to not keep him there cuz he's not blocking anyone.

that said, his future seems to be 1st/3rd and from the looks of it 1st/3rd for the cubs is probally gonna be locked up for many years.

On the Cards/Royals - I think they play each other 6 times every year, like the Cubs/Sox. It's a ridiculous annual advantage for the Cardinals.

Having spent some time in NY in the early/mid 1980's --- Murton reminds me on Don Mattingly.

Patient, great eye, limited power that will grow over time -- I think letting him go would be a huge mistake -- he could be a perennial .300 with 25 HR guy.

He's one of the few Cubs youngsters who has consistently performed at every level.

So -- sign Pierre, and, when Pie is ready, deal Jacque to an AL team in need of a Lefty DH.

crunch: that said, his future seems to be 1st/3rd and from the looks of it 1st/3rd for the cubs is probally gonna be locked up for many years.

I don't think so crunch. I think Ramirez is going FA and going to the highest bidder.

RYNO: "I don't think so crunch. I think Ramirez is going FA and going to the highest bidder."

I'm OK with this as long as its not a team in the Central. Its my guess as well that he's playing for himself and usually does. He has to be tired of perennially losing here. I certainly am.

How come the CENTRAL got the 6th team anyway?

Is Pittsburgh reall "Central"?! They should be in the East! Its hard enough!

Can you believe the drama that continues to unfold in NY over Alex Rodriguez? Jason Giambi says he was pushing (criticizing) ARod to help him, but if he's trying to help him, why did he go public with their conversations? I think it is somewhat hypocritical of Giambi to make an issue of ARod's performance after what he (Giambi) put the team through during his grand jury testimony about steroid use and his subsequent "illnes."

I also think it is kind of crappy of Joe Torre to talk publicly about private conversations he had with ARod. I usually like Torre (I think I'm in the minority here on TCR), but if a manager is going to talk privately to one of his players, then the conversation should remain private.

On SportsCenter tonight, Joe Morgan made the point that as the captain of the team, Derek Jeter came out and defended Giambi while he was going through his tough time. However, Jeter hasn't come to ARod's aid. In fact, Jeter has said that he doesn't think it is his place to defend ARod. Morgan surmissed that maybe ARod doesn't have the support of his teammates. On this point, Morgan was somewhat critical of the Yankees (especially Jeter) for leaving ARod out on his own without any support.

Personally, I don't see what all of the criticism is about. ARod won an MVP with the Yankees and he is having another good year again this year. A lot has been made about ARod not coming through in the clutch, but I'm not sure how much of that is true and how much is perception. I can't think of another player in my lifetime the caliber of ARod who has been as criticized as much for having the type of season he is having this year.

We can only hope that ARod and the Yankees decide to part company and the Cubs can take advantage of the situation. He would be a welcome addition to a very weak hitting middle infield.

Well, I'm glad to see Jamie pitch so well, even if it is against the Cubs. He's such an awesome guy all the way around and deserves his success. It will be a sad day for me personally when he retires.

Murton = Donny Baseball? The day Murton drives in 100 I'll eat a Yankees hat. Mattingly was also a multiple gold glove winner.

I always felt that Mark Grace was the most comparable Cub to Murton, they'll both shorten their strokes when they need to, good but not great power, exceptional eye. i think murton has a bit more power than grace and I can see murton coming in with 20-25 homers and anywhere between 80-100 RBI's depending on where he's hitting in the lineup.

Considering we already have him and he'll probably be relatively cheap for the next 5 years, I'd rather try and upgrade CF or RF next year, with of course center being more likely.

http://tinyurl.com/mhtf4

Arte's promising major changes in Anaheim. I suppose we can speculate what that means, but I'm guessing they're going to go after at least 2 big bats with Soriano being the front-runner. And if Ramirez becomes available I'm sure they'll go after him big time.

I also think they'll make Santana, McPherson, and possibly Figgins available.

Chad--

I understand your "promise" to eat a Yankees hat is merely a rhetorical flourish and not to be understood as a sober declaration of intent. Also (for you legal types) it is not an enforceable promise, as there is no consideration (i.e., no related corresponding promise by another person). So we can't take him to court on this one. Chad can rest easy without sweating the odds of significant future indegestion.

Good thing, too, because it doesn't take much for a player of moderate talent to put together at least one stellar career year. Even Jim Hickman (remember him?) had a season in the sun (115 RBI in 1970 -- next highest total in 13 years was 64!), and that in a time of comparatively reduced offense in baseball.

No More Diamond Jaxx for us

http://tinyurl.com/ouetm

Hello Smokies!

Too bad, that was a cool name. Maybe Smokie the Bear will be the mascot.

since Ramirez and Pierre are unlikely to return, it'd be great if we could see someone else try their positions out instead of watching them chase personal milestones.

since Ramirez and Pierre are unlikely to return

Before the sky falls, would you care to say how you came to the conclusion that it is unlikely that either player will come back?

since Ramirez and Pierre are unlikely to return, it'd be great if we could see someone else try their positions out instead of watching them chase personal milestones.

c...we have already covered this in another thread, have we not? Pierre and Ramirez are not going to benched, nor should they be benched. And they would not be benched anywhere else, as we have shown in the other thread. And if Pie and Moore take Pierre and Ramirez's places next year, the Cubs are screwed...

And there is a very good chance that A-Ram is back next year, and a decent chance that Pierre will be back. I am not sure where you have come to the conclusion that neither of them are likely to be back. I would guess, based off of everything that has been said, that there is a better than 50-50 chance that they are both back.

Ryno,

How could a rational human being come to the conclusion that Wood is going to be 'lucky to get a minor league contract'?

Have you ever heard of Jason Simontacchi? He got a minor league contract after having pitched 15 innings over two years, and he wasn't as good as Wood when he was healthy.

Wood's situation is at the worst, equal to Miller's during last off-season.

Don't kick your dog, but when you say something exceedingly stupid, I am going to call you out on it, whether it's your opinion or not.

Just as a note, Pierre has logged 708 PAs so far this year. In those appearances he has made about 476 outs. Murton has made 298 outs in 468 PAs. Seeing as both players were available for this entire year, merely switching their roles in the batting order would have resulted in 8 fewer outs for the season. Obviously, someone else would have made those outs eventually, but the Cubs would have added to their number of PAs per out. This means that 8 innings were ended one batter too quickly just because Baker feels like Juan Pierre needs to lead off.

Don Mattingly's Career #'s

.307 .358 .471

Murton's

.305 .369 .466

Maybe you can blend that hat with a little yogurt or some frozen juice to make it palatable.

Can we move the left field fence in 50 feet so Murton can have Mattingly's power?

dave: we have already covered this in another thread, have we not? Pierre and Ramirez are not going to benched, nor should they be benched.

And there is a very good chance that A-Ram is back next year, and a decent chance that Pierre will be back.

I think you're right, dave. Neither one will be benched when you're paying them millions of dollars to do the job, that just doesn't make sense.

But, about Pierre & Ramirez, I can see Pierre returning, but put yourself in Ramirez's shoes. Why would you go back? I've been trying to find an answer to that, and I can't find one. And the Cubs better find one hell of a bat to fill his spot, otherwise next year, even if the Cubs have lights out pitching, they'll be losing a lot of 2-1 games.

Can we move the left field fence in 50 feet so Murton can have Mattingly's power?

You mean those 5 points of slugging? In his rookie year, Mattingly hit 23 homeruns in 603 at bats, or 26.2 at-bats per homerun.

Murton has hit 20 in his first 562, or 28.1 at-bats per homerun. There is a difference, but not a signficant one.

And of course, the RBI issue. If Murton hit fifth all year, and played everyday, he would have had something very close to 100 RBI.

But, about Pierre & Ramirez, I can see Pierre returning, but put yourself in Ramirez's shoes. Why would you go back? I've been trying to find an answer to that, and I can't find one.

I fully expect A-Ram to be back next year, but with a new contract. He supposedly likes playing in Chicago, and Hendry will give him his money.

dave: I fully expect A-Ram to be back next year, but with a new contract. He supposedly likes playing in Chicago, and Hendry will give him his money.

If Hendry is the highest bidder, I would agree that Ramirez will be back. I know he's said he likes Chicago, but I think that's what the players are supposed to say.

Totally different question:

While watching Dontrelle's performance last night, the question occurred to me: Has any pithcer ever hit for the cycle?

Anybody know? I realize no one but me cares, but does anybody know?

Aram leaving-

Like I said this is the ideal situation for Aram. The fanbase love him. If he couldn't handle the pressure of Pittsburgh where the hell does he go?

Grace and Murton-
Murton has a bigger frame than the young Mark Grace. And bigger than Sandbergs too. So I can see him getting those man muscles and having some great pop. He's only 24.
Just stay off the Mark Grace diet of Pall Malls, Old Style and fat women and he could be great all around hitter with some pop.

Switching jobs sucks, and it sucks even worse when you have to uproot your whole life and move to a different city that you've been settled in for a few years.

Those are a couple good reasons I can think of that Aramis will sign an extension before exercising his option. Hendry will offer him a "fair" contract, and Aramis will take it to avoid the hassles of switching teams/moving.

When you're making $13-$15 million a year, what's another million? I'd rather stay in a cool city with fans who actually give a shit than test the waters elsewhere.

I understand what you're saying and you could be 100% right (I hope you're right), but I think most times with professional ball players they are more business than they are sentiment.

Samclyatt-

Looks like no pitcher did it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitting_for_the_...

Dave - I did cover it, but you never replied. I guess you didn't read it.

The players used as "proof" were guys like Jason Bay and Jorge Cantu...young players on young teams. Neither Ramirez nor Pierre are young players, and the Cubs are not a young team yet. They're not providing any Chipper Jones-esque counseling out there...they're just getting a lot of at-bats at the expense of younger players who may well be needed to replace them next year.

I don't think either Ramirez or Pierre want to return, especially for a new manager.

They are piling on the counting stats here in september and it certainly benefits their free agent negotiations, but it really doesn't benefit the Cubs at all. What would benefit the Cubs is getting a good look at guys like Scott Moore and Felix Pie and whoever else may have to replace these guys next year...but I guess you and Dusty agree that it's more important to watch the vets work on their bubble gum card stats.

Dave - I did cover it, but you never replied. I guess you didn't read it.

No...I guess you never read it. I will re-post what I posted on the other thread:

c: 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.
Posted by: dave at September 20, 2006 09:52 AM

I guess you and Dusty agree that it's more important to watch the vets work on their bubble gum card stats.

You are new around here, aren't you? I am no fan of Dusty, and I cannot wait until he is no longer the manager. But this situation has nothing to do with Dusty. The exact same thing would be happening on any team in the majors.

Come on...give one example of a good veteran player who has been benched this month in favor of a marginal prospect, or even any prospect at all?

don't think either Ramirez or Pierre want to return, especially for a new manager.

Again, you're basing this on what evidence?

Some facts:

Hendry has yet to lose a single in house free agent he wanted to keep.
One of those players Hendry was able to resign was ARam.
ARam has said he likes playing in Chicago.

So from all of that how are you getting it is unlikely he will return to the Cubs?

While I hope Hendry doesn't resign Pierre, all signs also point towards Pierre coming back with the Cubs.

Based on a total lack of even trade rumors, Hendry made no apparent effort to trade Pierre before the deadline.
Hendry also made the decision not to give Pie a Sept. callup.
Considering Hendry gave up some decent prospect to get Pierre, it would appear that he likes him.
And again, Hendry has yet to lose a single in house player he wanted to keep (and has also shown a history of overpaying to keep second tier players like Pierre).

So again, how can anyone conclude that both ARam and Pierre will LIKELY be playing elsewhere next year?

Bleeding Blue:
"Hendry has yet to lose a single in house player he wanted to keep (and has also shown a history of overpaying to keep second tier players like Pierre)."

What other 2nd tier (roughly $8 million) players has Hendry overpaid for to keep on his team? He has overpaid for bottom tier players like Rusch, neifi, etc. But they were roughly $3 million players.

If you want to have any shot at signing free agents and draft picks, you have to work with their agents. Do you realize how badly you'd piss off an agent if you benched his All Star calibre player, who is performing at the top of his game, in his contract year?

I can see now that when I said "benched" it was a poor choice of words. I am not expecting ramirez or pierre to never start a game again...what I meant was that I'd like to see their playing time shared with other players; maybe they get subbed in the 6th or 7th inning or get a day off 2-3x a week.

whether or not scott moore is any good is irrelevant...the point is that we KNOW he'll be back next year, and sadly he would be the best choice at 3B if ramirez leaves. ditto pie and pierre.

I'm not sure why everyone is convinced ramirez and pierre will return...because a year ago ramirez said he "likes it here"? please. neither guy has looked particularly happy here, and regardless of what you think of dusty baker, the players seem to like him. pierre and ramirez in particular may not want to be part of a rebuilding process with a new manager when they could go sign with the angels, white sox, or any other contending team with an established manager.

I don't think that the cubs and either ramirez or pierre are good comparisons to guys like miguel tejada or any of the other half-dozen vets you listed...most of those guys aren't elgible to leave, and most of them get subbed late in the game or get a day off once in awhile anyway.

but since you insist on playing the name game, here are some examples of vets who, unlike ramirez and pierre, no longer start every single game and play all 9 innings:

jeff kent
geoff jenkins
pat burrell
joe randa
steve finley
aaron boone
craig counsell
jay gibbons
jeromy burnitz
kevin mench/brady clark
jose molina
todd walker

*Switching jobs sucks, and it sucks even worse when you have to uproot your whole life and move to a different city that you've been settled in for a few years.*

We're talking about multi-millionaires here, not gardeners. The kids go to private schools. They live in penthouses or mansions. I doubt they're going to base their decisions on where the nearest Whole Foods is or if there's easy access to mass transit.

*When you're making $13-$15 million a year, what's another million? I'd rather stay in a cool city with fans who actually give a shit than test the waters elsewhere.*

I'd rather have another million and play in a place that has a chance to win (see: Furcal, Rafael). You can visit a whole bunch of "cool cities" in your off-time with the extra million in your pocket.

I would consider Dempster to have been a 2nd tier closer after last season (remember, as recently as May, there was debate on TCR if he should be consider a top tier closer). While Rusch has been horrible this year, Rusch's numbers over the previous 2 years weren't really that far off of those of other 2nd tier starters.

I should also say, Hendry has also been very willing to pay at the top end of market value to get the second tier free agents that he wants too. Like Jones and Howry and Eyre (top middle relivers, but 2nd tier relievers overall).

Jacos:

Thanks for the tip. I didn't even know where to start looking for that.

Go Marlins!

Come on C,

Almost every single one of those players you mentioned either played themselves out of a job, or have almost no chance of returning to their current team next year.

As has been explained many times now, all indications are that Hendry wants to bring back both ARam and Pierre. So those comparisons aren't even close to the same.

"If Murton hit fifth all year, and played everyday, he would have had something very close to 100 RBI."

Not by driving in 5 runs in May/June combined. And come on, he was playing regularly, if not every single innning of every game.

Not to harp on this, seriously, but people seem to forget that in like the first 78 games he played in, Murton hit something like .218 with RISP. In no way am I trying to take away from what he's done since, but let's not make him into an RBI machine.

but since you insist on playing the name game, here are some examples of vets who, unlike ramirez and pierre, no longer start every single game and play all 9 innings:

Are you serious about those names? Not one of those players have had anywhere near the production that Pierre or Ramirez have had, especially in the second half of the season. Do you have any players who have actually had successful seasons? Or even any players who in the prime of the career, and not the tale end?

but people seem to forget that in like the first 78 games he played in, Murton hit something like .218 with RISP

What? You are saying that Murton is not an "RBI machine" based off of his first 78 games in the major leagues? Good sample size...

Sure...in 2005 he hit .188 with runners in scoring position. This year he is hitting .309, with an OBP of .388.

A rookie's first 1/2 of a season does not really tell you too much...

Sorry...that OBP this year, with RISP, should be .395.

"A rookie's first 1/2 of a season does not really tell you too much..."

Yet the second half does 100 percent of the time? It's an equally small sample size, and there's no guarantee of future success just because he's doing well now.

My point is the assertion that we would be nearing 100 RBI if blah blah blah Dusty sucks blah blah blah. Murton was dreadful in May/June...repeat: 5 RBI in that time period. I just find it (a) faulty logic that because he's doing so well NOW that he would've done something he clearly wasn't capable of earlier and (b) interesting that because Murton is so well-liked here, he gets a free pass for sucking when other guys get slammed.

And to reiterate something I posted weeks ago, I LIKE Murton. I drafted him on my fantasy team with the hopes he would be hitting the way he is now. I'm encouraged by his possibilities. But 1 RBI in a month from your LF -- and 5 over two months -- is unacceptable.

You want to point to how many ABs he had, fine. There are players in the league who had that many ABs or fewer and were far more productive. He was still -- at worst -- the semi-regular LF and mostly the regular LF during those two months.

LMy point is the assertion that we would be nearing 100 RBI if blah blah blah Dusty sucks blah blah blah

I never said anything about Dusty.

I simply said that if he had been a different place in the lineup, and had more at-bats, he would be close to 100.

Murton currently has 60 rbi in 422 at-bats. In an average full-time season a player will get around 600 at-bats, right?

Taking his 60 RBI in 422 at-bats, you can estimate that in a full season, playing everyday, he would have around 87 RBI. Add to the fact that he was not always in prime RBI places in the lineup, and the fact that the Cubs OBP was so low that there were not as many opportunities, it is reasonable to see where Murton could get very close to 100 RBI.

Now...if you want to make this about Dusty, go ahead. I simply made a point that the at-bats and place in a lineup will affect one's number of RBI.

Yet the second half does 100 percent of the time? It's an equally small sample size, and there's no guarantee of future success just because he's doing well now.

yes and no. I agree that there are sample size issues. but I would say that one improving during their first 1.25 years in the bigs is impressive. Most of the time players run into the problem of pitchers adjusting to them. Murton has done the opposite - he has been able to make the adjustments that he has needed to make.

I just find it (a) faulty logic that because he's doing so well NOW that he would've done something he clearly wasn't capable of earlier and

Again, I think the ability to make adjustments and improve as you are in the league is very impressive, and more telling than his early struggles when he was first called up.

(b) interesting that because Murton is so well-liked here, he gets a free pass for sucking when other guys get slammed.

Sucking? Murton has far from sucked this year. Did I hope he would be better? Sure...but when adjusted to a full season he projects something like this: .300/.370/.460 with 18-20 homeruns and 85+ RBI. that is not a bad first full year, is it?

(b) interesting that because Murton is so well-liked here, he gets a free pass for sucking when other guys get slammed.

ONE MORE TIME: He sucked in May/June with his 5 RBI. That's what I was talking about. Pierre, Ramirez, et al, aren't getting the free pass Murton did for sucking during that time period.

"I never said anything about Dusty.

I simply said that if he had been a different place in the lineup, and had more at-bats, he would be close to 100."

Who makes the lineup? (It's not Hendry, despite what Manny says, just kidding Manny.) That's not a critcism of Dusty? My mistake. I also wasn't referring to just you. Plenty of people on this board have critcized Dusty for "benching" Murton.

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