Reality Check

Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a "big bat" like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just can't see that happening. Jim Hendry does not like to give big bucks FA contracts to players from other teams, possibly because he believes it makes it more difficult to sign & retain his own guys (like Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano, for instance) So I doubt that Jim Hendry will sign one of the two premier FA pitchers (Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito), and I also doubt that Hendry will acquire an Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Vernon Wells, or Andruw Jones. Whether or not you agree with The Hendry Plan, I believe this is what Jim Hendry is going to try and do after this season. He may not succeed, but this is what I think he will TRY to do. And I am NOT advocating any of this... First of all, I believe Hendry will sign Fredi Gonzalez to a two year deal (with a third year option) to manage the Cubs in '07. This will "marry" Hendry & Gonzalez through 2008. If Hendry goes down, he goes down with a pal (Hendry & Gonzalez helped to develop the Marlins farm system together in 1992-93). And Gonzalez will get Bob Melvin/Ken Macha money ($800K per year). The coaching staff will probably include current Cubs minor league instructors like Von Joshua (hitting instructor), Bob Dernier (OF, base-running & 1st base coach), and Alan Dunn (pitching coach), as well as Mike Quade (3rd base coach). I believe Larry Rothschild (who was a Hendry Hire with a Marlins connection) will remain, but as the (yes, that's right) bench coach (well, Rothschild was an MLB manager--if you want to call it that--at Tampa Bay). Figuring that Hendry will have somewhere around $100m available for payroll in 2007 (could be a little bit more, could be a little bit less), this is how I believe Hendry will spend it. IMMEDIATELY AFTER END OF 2007 SEASON (IF NOT EARLIER): I think Hendry really does want to re-sign Juan Pierre, but would also want to be able to easily trade him whenever Felix Pie is ripe. So I expect Hendry to offer Pierre $24m over three years, but "front-loaded" rather than "back-loaded" (to make it easier to trade him), and structured something like this: 2007 - $10m (complete "no trade" through '07 season, while Pie plays one more season at AAA)) 2008 - $8m (limited "no trade" - Pierre can refuse 10 teams) 2009 - $6m Conversely, I expect Hendry will offer Aramis Ramirez a "back-loaded" five-year $70m "escalator" deal with a player option just before the deal's highest salaried years and a full "no trade": 2007 - $11m 2008 - $13m 2009 - $14m (player option for 2010) 2010 - $16m (club option for 2011 with $4m buy-out if vesting based on games played is not met) 2011 - $16m NOTE: 2010 vesting option based on 400 games played (combined) in 2007-09. I believe Hendry will make a similar offer (backloaded deal) to Carlos Zambrano probably during Spring Training 2007, although I doubt that Z will get more than $11m in 2007 whether he signs a one-year contract or multi-year deal. FREE-AGENTS: As for FAs, I believe Hendry will attempt to sign RHP Miguel Batista (Diamondbacks) to a two-year deal (probably for about $12m, or $6m per season). This one seems really obvious. Because whenever possible, Hendry likes to cover his bets with flexible options, and Batista could initially work as a #4-5 starter in 2007 (he has made all of his starts this season with the D'backs, and usually pitches into the 7th inning), but if one of the younger pitchers (such as Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, Angel Guzman, Sean Gallagher, or Donald Veal) pitch well enough to claim a permanent slot in the rotation sometime in '07 or '08, the "rubber-armed" Batista could easily be transferred to the bullpen (he was the Blue Jays closer as recently as 2005). So if Hendry re-signs Pierre (front-loaded deal with $10m salary in 2007) and Ramirez (back-loaded deal with $11m salary in 2007), and signs Batista ($6m in '07), that will leave about $10m in 2007 payroll. Next, I expect Hendry will sign a veteran FA middle infielder who could either be the starting 2B or (if Theriot continues to play like he has, or if Eric Patterson continues to develop and is ready sometime in 2007 or 2008) the utility middle-infielder for a couple of seasons. That could well be Notre Dame alum and ex-Marlin & D'back Craig Counsell (for a Neifi-like two years $4.5m, or $2.25m per season). Also, I expect Hendry will spend about $1.25m on a veteran lefty-hitting corner IF-OF bat-off-the-bench to replace John Mabry, possibly somebody like Geoff Blum. It's POSSIBLE that Henry Blanco could be re-signed for one more season for about $1.5m, although I kind of doubt that. I suspect Geovany Soto will be the Cubs back-up catcher in 2007. So that will leave about $6m. I expect Hendry will buy-out the balance of Kerry Wood's contract for $3m, and then attempt to re-sign Woody for a base salary of about $1m, plus incentives (maybe $100K per appearance, figuring that KW will be used out of the bullpen). So if Wood makes 40 appearances, he would get $5m, if he makes 50 appearances, he gets $6m (etc). I expect Hendry will offer Wade Miller basically the same deal he had this year--$1m base plus incentives based on games started. That means Hendry will have about $4m left to spend, and I believe he will use that to cover the salary differential in a trade for a rotation starter. Like maybe Bob Howry and a pitching prospect (somebody like Guzman or Mateo) to the White Sox for either Javier Vazquez (Yankees and D'backs pick-up half of Vazquez's 2007 $12.5m salary, so he would really cost the Cubs about $6m) or Freddy Garcia (if it's Garcia, Sox would either have to take back Glendon Rusch and his $3.25m 2007 salary, or else pick-up $3m of Garcia's $10m '07 salary). Or maybe Glendon Rusch or Ryan Dempster (to offset-salaries) plus two young auto-renewal pitchers (perhaps Guzman or Mateo or maybe Marshall, plus David Aardsma) for a "reliable" rotation starter like Jason Jennings ($6.5m in '07 and FA after 2007), Jake Westbrook ($6.1m in '07 and a FA after 2007), or Kris Benson ($7.5m each in 2007 & 2008, or $500K buy-out for 2008). Resulting in the following: PROJECTED 2007 STARTING LINEUP: 1. Pierre, CF 2. Theriot, 2B 3. Lee, 1B 4. Ramirez, 3B 5. Barrett, C 6. Jones, RF 7. Murton, LF 8. Izturis, SS BENCH: Blum, IF-OF Counsell, INF Pagan, OF Soto, C TBD STARTING ROTATION: 1. Zambrano 2. TBD (Garcia, Vazquez, Jennings, Westbrook, or Benson) 3. Prior (or Miller) 4. Batista (or Miller) 5. Hill BULLPEN: Wood - closer(?) Eyre Howry (or could get traded) Dempster (or could get traded) Wuertz Ohman Aardsma (or could get traded) Novoa (if Howry, Dempster, or Aardsma gets traded) Other candidates for bullpen: Jae-kuk Ryu, Juan Mateo, Angel Guzman, Lincoln Holdzkom, Clay Rapada, and Federico Baez. Also, Batista could be moved to the bullpen if Prior and Miller both claim starting spots in ST. Again, I am not advocating any of this, but like it or not, this is what I believe Hendry will do. There will be no Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito in the 2007 Cubs starting rotation, or Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Adam Dunn, Vernon Wells, or Andruw Jones in the Cubs 2007 Opening Day lineup.
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Comments

If that is our team next year why even watch the games. That is a terrible team and not much different then this years team. I'm sorry but I feel Cubs have to add a big bat. Either Soriano or Lee.

Yay! Another next-to-last or last place finish in 2007.

Good job Phil, and sadly I agree that this will likely be Hendry's approach.

yeah this lineup sucks

you can't seriously go in with offensive holes at SS, 2B and CF.

i would be fine with this lineup EXCEPT for the big change of someone needed who can play 2B and bat second....ray durham, marcus giles, even mark loretta.

they're not top level free agents who will cost a ton, 2Bs will be cheap this offseason bc there are quite a few. go get one and keep theriot on the bench

i'd also like a manager who will hit murton higher than freakin' 7th, like 2nd or 5th against lefties....

he has a 910 OPS since the all star break....that's the same level that carlos delgado has had for the year....solid.

I had a chuckle at the front loaded contract. You know what the first thing out of his Agent's mouth will be? "So we are worth $10 million the first year and you expect my client to take a reduction of salary the next 2 years? What job has ever done that?"

Hi welcome aboard, during your first 90 day trial work period your pay rate will be 9.25 an hour. After the 90 day period your salary will drop to 8.25. After 6 months on the job, 7.25.

Why is everyone so determined to keep Theriot on the bench? The guy can play, for Christ's sake.

Great Article, intelligent, well thought out, and probably correct.

Also depressing as all hell. You suck.

#5 of 5: By MikeC (September 21, 2006 11:16 AM)
I had a chuckle at the front loaded contract. You know what the first thing out of his Agent's mouth will be? "So we are worth $10 million the first year and you expect my client to take a reduction of salary the next 2 years? What job has ever done that?"

Hi welcome aboard, during your first 90 day trial work period your pay rate will be 9.25 an hour. After the 90 day period your salary will drop to 8.25. After 6 months on the job, 7.25

MIKE C: OK. Fine. If Pierre's agent goes into hysterical convulsions, then Hendry could present the three-year $24m deal this way:

A $6m signing bonus with $4m to be paid immediately and $2m to be paid after the 2007 season, and a $6m per season salary 2007-09.

The point is, I believe Hendry will attempt to make Pierre as "tradeable" as possible, so that he can move him whenever Pie is deemed ready. He will probably do this by paying Pierre more in the first year of the deal (whether it be by salary or up-front signing bonus, it doesn't matter), with a much lower salary in 2008-09.

Juan Pierre has got to stop hitting lead-off. He has over 12% of the Cubs PAs (easily the most of anyone) this year and has made outs in 67% of them. Theriot bats 1st, Murton 2nd and Pierre 7th.

God, if Hendry gives $10 million to that pud Pierre... I can already see Christina Karl's write up on BP entitled: "Only the Cubs."

Oh this is too good to pass up and shows why "C" is just a very stupid person.

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

Dave already replied to this non-sense answer. It was actually "C" who didn't read. See very stupid man.

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.

Jason Bay is 28. Freddy Sanchez is 28. Miguel Tejada is 30. Carl Crawford is 25. Travis Hafner is 29.

Juan Pierre is 29. Aramis Ramirez is 28.

So again class.....Jason Bay is young, and Ramirez isn't. Both are age 28.

*shudders at the sheer stupidity of "C"*

Be afraid, be very afraid of that logic.

If our entire organizational philosophy is to "PREPARE YE THE WAY OF PIE," then why not just sign Soriano to a "tradable" contract??? After all, who wouldn't want to make sure it's possible to be traded away from the Cubs? Plus, the time value of money being what it is, you really shouldn't have any problem getting someone to agree to a gross amount, and then front-loading the money.

i dont see how pierre can stay unless he "only" wants 1 or 2 years.

jones is around 2 more years...murton is making a case for LF...pie is about to start his 2nd full season of AAA.

i dont see pierre taking a 1-2 year deal, myself...he knows what his tools are and how much security would protect his interest.

btw phil...i really dont like your article.

hey, who cares, etc etc...ya know...no biggie.

i just disagree with so much of it.

For that matter, why not just have Pie play for the league minimum, and spend the 10 million for Vernon Wells in RF?

Giving $10 mil to Pierre for his .712 OPS is beyond lunacy.

why not just use a cheat code and get pujols?

we're degrading here to the point where we're putting GMs into negociations for things that arent even on the table yet.

almost anything any of us can propose makes sense or could happen right now cuz of how wide open everything is...

hey, mora's unhappy in baltimore...let's get him, let aram go away, used the saved money to invest in negociation rights to sign a veteran japanese pitcher with no MLB experience! or maybe just spend it all on jelly beans. mmmm jelly beans.

not trying to piss on anyone's speculation parade...its just a wide open market for speculation til things settle and focuses leak to the media, though.

too bad we dont have some baseball that matters to talk about.

#14 of 14: By Horatio (September 21, 2006 11:43 AM)
For that matter, why not just have Pie play for the league minimum, and spend the 10 million for Vernon Wells in RF?

Giving $10 mil to Pierre for his .712 OPS is beyond lunacy.

---

HORATIO: I understand that. The theme of this article is what I believe Jim Hendry will do after this season. Whether it's lunacy or brilliance, it doesn't matter. It's what I believe he WILL do, not what I believe he SHOULD do.

Laying aside your own personal values and opinions, and knowing what you know about Hendry's behavior as GM over the past four years or so, what do you think he is likely to do?

#13 of 16: By crunch (September 21, 2006 11:42 AM)
btw phil...i really dont like your article.

hey, who cares, etc etc...ya know...no biggie.

i just disagree with so much of it.

CRUNCH: That's OK.

But I would ask you the same thing I asked Horatio...

Laying aside your own personal values and opinions, and knowing what you know about Hendry's behavior as GM over the past four years or so, what do you think he is likely to do? If you don't want to get as specific as I got, then be general in your answer.

fair enough...

you write a lotta great stuff and im not saying the time you put into this is worthless, or unworthy of comment, cuz well...its gonna start a lotta conversation and that's what it was designed to do.

i just dont find it as easy to pigeonhole hendry's moves until he tips his hat or starts the dominos falling.

about what i think he'll do...i think it more depends on what the players he's negociating with will want.

i think aram will be back and he'll get his years+loot...i think he'll "splash" on schmidt and if that fails go after a name in trade...i have NO idea what will become of CF/2nd, not even a slight clue.

and while i think murton will probally stay in LF, i'm not sold on him being safe or non-tradable this offseason.

hendry not only has his loot, but an excess of pitching in a market that is pitching hungry and relief starved.

Crunch,

Daisuke will pitch in MLB someday and he will be very very good.

Once again, the Yankees go out and get whoever they want. Is it too much to ask that the Cubs do the same? I'm through making excuses for this team. Hell yes get Pujols. Get Vernon Wells. Get Soriano. Get all f-ing three. That's exactly how we should be thinking. Demand that Hendry get them and run him out of town on a rail if he doesn't. The Cubs are not a 2nd tier market and I'm sick of having to settle for 2nd tier talent. Do you think Steinbrenner puts up with crap like "we can't get him" ?? If a GM says that to him they're out of a job. Hell, look at Boston. Their payroll is only about 25 mill more than ours and other than D-Lee we don't have a single guy who could crack their starting line-up.

Horatio: Juan Pierre has got to stop hitting lead-off. He has over 12% of the Cubs PAs (easily the most of anyone) this year and has made outs in 67% of them. Theriot bats 1st, Murton 2nd and Pierre 7th.

Where do you get those numbers? How does that stack up against other leadoff hitters? I believe Jimmy Rollins (who I consider the perfect leadoff guy) has almost the same out ratio. Obvious difference being that Rollins hits for occasional power.

Batting leadoff is a tough job. I think it'd be funny to bat Theriot leadoff. Everyone would be saying, "gee, he was doing a good job with the bat, I wonder what happened."

Just my opinion.

AZ Phil,

I realize that you are being realistic. I'm just reacting emotionally to the probable truth of your assertions. I know you're not advocating any of this.

"Once again, the Yankees go out and get whoever they want. Is it too much to ask that the Cubs do the same?"

if you think a team that spends 220m is a team worthy of praise...there's a 220m team out there to root for.

im a near lifelong cubs fan, but you can bet i would walk away from the team as a fan if they did something that embarrasing.

162 games...games...competition...that's what i wanna see. i wanna see competition. i don't wanna see a buncha hired guns buying championships.

no one can buy a short series, but you spend that much you are buying yourself outta competition.

asides from the 'luck of the marlins' where almost all their rookies click type thing, you're dealing with teams in the 70/80/90m range.

every 10-15m a team adds is essentially another allstar. when you up your payroll to add or accomodate 7-10 more of those players than your closer competition, things just arent as competitive.

yeah, the yanks are a 220m team with well less than that in tallent for value, but they will not get it "wrong" forever and will start spending that money in the right places.

That's probably the closest to being correct on what's going to happen this offseason, IMO.

The only thing is the Sox are dealing from strength and could get more than Howry and/or Rusch for either Vazquez and/or Garcia.

If Lee and Rockem Sockem Barrett can play a full year next year, and Murton progresses they should do better than this year. Which of course is not sayin much and the magic work "IF" still hangs around the Cubs collar and as old as the ivey on the outfield walls.

Maybe an increase in budget?~ shrugs~

I still think he's going to ship alot of the youngsters out (not named Pie) to get some vets.

I don't understand people wanting or even agreeing to trade Howry. He is one of, if not the, best releiver we have. Even if the Cubs resign Wood for teh bullpen, he is no guarentee to even pitch, dempster has crashed and burned. If we trade away Howry, that leaves 2 big holes (main setup and closer). Hendry finally went out and got two good relief guys, why trade one of them away. We supposedly have great young arms and many other teams would love to have them. Well, trade them for that starter. If CHW say no, so be it. Why get a #3/4 starter to help our starting staff only to trrade away basically our best releiver to weaken our relief corps.

AZ Phil,

I have to point out that Hendry has stated he needs to aquire a bat to compliment Lee and Ramirez, so your line-up doesn't jive based on Hendry's comments. I believe Bautista and a Kip Wells type is on the money. I feel Pierre will leave as a FA (Dodgers?)I DONT see the Sox and Cubs getting together on a deal. I DONT see Howry being traded, it would have to be a blockbuster.

"Juan Pierre has got to stop hitting lead-off. He has over 12% of the Cubs PAs (easily the most of anyone) this year and has made outs in 67% of them. Theriot bats 1st, Murton 2nd and Pierre 7th."

Does that mean he didn't make an out 33% of the time. Or an OBP or .330? What would you be happy with? .340? .350? .360? Leadoff hitters in baseball don't do much better than that. + .360 OBP is dominated by sluggers. So .030 difference over the course of say 600 ABs is 18 less outs per season which is about, what? One ever 9 games? BFD!

If you don't think Pierre should hit leadoff then you don't know much about baseball.

24 of 25: By mannytrillo (September 21, 2006 12:24 PM)
I don't understand people wanting or even agreeing to trade Howry. He is one of, if not the, best releiver we have. Even if the Cubs resign Wood for teh bullpen, he is no guarentee to even pitch, dempster has crashed and burned. If we trade away Howry, that leaves 2 big holes (main setup and closer).

-

MANNY T: I would absolutely agree with you ref Bob Howry. But I believe Hendry would probably have to include Howry in a deal for one of the White Sox starters, if that's the direction Hendry goes.

Now, for somebody like Colorado's Jason Jennings (FA after 2007), Cleveland's Jake Westbrook (FA after 2007), or Baltimore's Kris Benson (club option for 2008), that's where a package of a couple or three young pitchers would be more-likely to get it done.

Whether any of the White Sox starters believed to be available or any of the other three pitchers I mentioned would be worth acquiring is a completely different issue not addressed in this article

And based upon how he has pitched in August and September, I believe Rich Hill will be virtually "untouchable" in trade discussions. Again, whether he should be untouchable is not the issue here, just that I believe he will be.

mikec- you're so vain, you probably think this post is about you.

as for the your brilliant "logic" to compare two player's ages "duh, they are both 28 how can they not be the same?!?", I'll ask you take a look at their MLB experience. I didn't bother to specifically mention that this is why bay has less experience than ramirez because I knew most readers would have the intelligence to understand...but for you I must make an exception:

aramis ramirez: in his 8th year
jason bay: in his 3rd year

run along and foam your mouth on something else, now...I'm sure there is a new dusty baker quote you can misunderstand and throw yourself against the padded walls about.

I am glad Baker understands how other teams beat us...

"This club can score runs," Baker said of the Phillies. "When you walk them, you help them and hurt yourself. [Brett] Myers threw a great game against us, but at the same time, what hurt us were walks and homers. Whenever we lose, it's a big factor. It's the same two words, walks and homers."

He understands it, but just ignores it when he applies it to his own team.

Wow, between Dusty and "C" I think I have ran into too much stupidity for one day. I need to lay down.

C...the funny thing is the players that you compared to Pierre and Ramirez were nowhere near comparable.

You listed a group of players who have either played poorly or are at the tail end of their careers (or both). Pierre and Ramirez are neither of those. Sure..they both had poor starts, but they both have been very good since the all-star break.

I find it truly humerous that you truly believe that Pierre or Ramirez would be benched in any other situation.

You said no such thing "C". You knew exactly what you were saying. Let me refresh your faulty memorey...

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,

Does anyone see "MLB Experience" after those words? Anyone? Didn't think so. Nice squirm tactic but it doesn't fly.

Dave-

As I said, I didn't find a parallel between Ramirez/Pierre and the players you listed either. None of those guys are impending FA on a dead last team who gains nothing from them getting 5 at-bats every day. The Cubs, and Ramirez and Pierre, are.

I'd love to see them get a day off so that someone else can try their hand at 3B and CF. Why is that idea so noxious to you?

I'm sick of seeing them out there trying for 200 hits or 125 RBI when they (in my mind) are not likely to be Cubs next year. The fact that Hendry "seems to" want them back is hardly compelling to me. Why would they want to return to such a bad team and play for a manager-to-be-named-later when they can hop onto the White Sox or Angels instead?

mikec- it's not a squirm tactic, dolt. if you can't understand the correlation between a young player who needs experience and a player in his 3rd pro season...whatever. I'm arguing with an idiot, so I deserve it.

Chad,

A lead-off man with an OBP of about .360 is very easy to find. His name is Matt Murton. Perhaps Theriot and his .400+ OBP can do lead-off. That'd work. .330 OBP for the guy that you purposely give most of your team's PAs to is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Hitting lead-off isn't some special talent. It's not like they make you hit with a square bat. Pierre is a crappy choice for 1st in the batting order.

C

If you want to be taken seriously, you don't compare ARam and Pierre to the likes of Geoff Jenkins, Joe Randa, Aaron Boone, Jeromy Burnitz, or Craig Counsell.

The fact that you can't see the difference between playing 2 players - who are both under age 30, both putting up respectable numbers, who the organization wants to keep - and benching old players who played themselves out of jobs and have almost no chance of returning to their current team next year, speaks more than volumes.

Crunch,

What I want the Cubs to do is very simple: I want them to win. I do not care how. I want them to win. Just so me and my father don't have to die without ever having seen it. I'm done with the excuses. The Cubs should get some better players and win more goddamn games.

If this was already discussed in another thread, then I apologize. I watched the interview with Dusty on Comcast last night and it seemed like he knows he is on the way out. He said that he didn't know what was going to happen, but the tone of his voice and the attitude of his answers seemed to say that he was not going to be back next year. I also thought it was interesting that the anchors of the show made every effort to defend him and the job he has done this year.

As for AZPHIL's article, I disagree that Hendry wont go after big name free agents. He made a very solid offer to Furcal and was out bid. Personally, I agree with his decision to not out bid the Dodgers. But Hendry has brought several big names to this team. Lee, ARAM, Nomar in particular. What difference does it make if you get the "big" names through trade or FA. Going into this season the biggest holes were the bullpen, leadoff, and SS. Hendry addressed 2 out of the 3. I am not saying that the cubs will get Schmidt or Zito. But I am not willing to say that we wont get them either.

You said it, and were called out on it repeatedly. You only now just changed your story.

Anyways I will entertain you on one final act of stupidity..

Give us a list of all the players who have performed with the track records of Pierre and Ramirez before the age of 30. Who then transitioned to another team the next year and the old team benched them (prior to them leaving for free agency) in order to play some one else.

Show us all the examples of this. If it is a common thing in MLB. I will concede your point. If it isn't you admit your stupid for suggesting it. Deal? or No Deal?

My big question mark for 2007 is the ownership of the Cubs. NPR has a story about the the internecine battle going on between the Chandler Family and the Tribune. There have been more rumblings that indicate that the team will be up for sale in November (after elections and the stock market adjusts accordingly). I can only hope it happens. Fitzsimmons, McPhail and Hendry aren't capable of constructing a winner. Our scouting system is unsound. Until the there are fundamental changes across the board, the beat will go on.
If Hendry & Co., are here next year, I say sign at least two starters (Schmidt yes, Zito too $$), make a splash if you have to. Get a slugger, loss Dumpster & Rusch. We haven't had a solid pitching staff since 2003 and even then the bullpun was shaky.

I wonder if C thinks it's shocking that the National's haven't benched Soriano.

He actually fits all the same criteria, unlike the elderly wash-outs he listed. Impending FA on a last place team, who almost certainly will not be back with Washington next year.

Yet for some reason, he's still playing every day. I wonder why that is.

Did anyone else read Dusty's comments about the "outstanding" job Jones has done in right field this year? I guess seeing those balls roll past him on the way to the wall and those spiked throws was just an illusion.

Most amazing stat of the entire year is that Jones has any assists at all from the outfield. Someone slower than Blanco must have been on base.

I thought Brenly was quite cogent last night in the 2nd inning talking about Walrond's control problems. Brenly said that it wasn't too late for Walrond to make a slight adjustment to get his fastball over. The rest of the point was made when Rothschild sat on his own hands the whole inning. Hey Larry, how about a little coaching? Meanwhile, Walrond is throwing fastball after fastball in the dirt...

Miguel Batista, I like. Like Phil said, he's durable and versatile.

The worst news in the article is Juan Pierre. Even if he was making $1M, he's still only one minor leg injury away from being untradeable. Anything more than one year on that guy is too much for me. He can't throw, and he can't really hit either without the benefit of his speed. His SB% is lame too. And to top it off, there's a CF glut available for acquisition this offseason.

As unrealistic as it might seem I'd like to see the payroll bump to $105-108M next year. This team needs to show a better willingness to actually pay money to plug their holes. As I've pointed out before, Cubs have the worst revenue-reinvestment rate in North American pro sports (I know, a lot of the "public" numbers for privately held teams are cooked.) Phil's predictive model (nicely done, btw, Phil) is realistic, but if they realistically want to conquer adversity and compete, they need one more marquee player on the roster.

I'm on the anti-Maryland campaign now: Sell the fucking Baltimore Sun and trade for Miguel Tejada. And I still see how unrealistic it is, but a quick strike on Schmidt around Day 2 of free agency in the neighborhood of 2/38-2/40 would be very refreshing. I think he's the guy that makes the Cubs legit in a heartbeat.

There is no way the Cubs will win with that line-up. It is the exact same starting line-up as we had at times in late August-early September of this year. The pitching staff that you project *may* turn out to be better than this year's corp (if Prior and Miller are healthy), but the offense remains totally inadequate. There is just no way this team can make the playoffs with both Murton and Jones in the everyday line-up. Jones has turned out to be a down-grade from Burnitz in terms of production. Murton has hit for a nice average. But this outfield just does not drive in enough runs to be a playoff contender.

If this is next year's starting line-up. look for first-day ticket sales to be a lot less than what they have been the last few years. There is simply nothing at all to get excited about. I think we would be projected to take fourth or fifth place with this line-up. It would save me some dough as I definitely would not be interested purchasing the over-priced Wrigley Field tickets to see this team. This team just plain stinks.

Interesting piece, but I do disagree with a lot of it.

First, I don't think Hendry is as unwilling to go after top free agents from other teams as you make him out to be. Look at Furcal: Hendry may ultimately have been outbid by the Dodgers ridiculous offer, but he was ready to pony up serious money and serious years. He was also beating out all of the competition for Furcal until the Dodgers jumped in. He's also aggressively pursued top setup men in Hawkins, Howry, and Eyre.

Second, I wouldn't put quality players like Vernon Wells out of reach. Hendry likes to make deals for underrated and increasingly expensive players at smaller market teams--Ramirez, Barrett, Lee. I think he also showed with the Pierre deal that he's willing to trade valuable prospects to get a player he (or his manager) really wants.

Third, I think you're underestimating the pressure that'll be on Hendry. It won't be "business as usual" this offseason. Of course, that may not be a good thing.

My guess as to his offseason moves?

I think he'll he'll renegotiate with Ramirez and offer Z a big deal. I think he'll make an effort to resign Pierre but fail due to money, years, and Baker. I think he'll plug one of the major holes via free agency--probably Soriano for CF/LF or Schmidt for SP. Whichever he can't upgrade by free agency he'll do by trade--maybe a Vernon Wells type or a Westbrook. I think another rotation spot will be given to a mediocre free agent pitcher--Eaton, Davis, etc. Your bench guesses are probably about right.

I'm sick of seeing them out there trying for 200 hits or 125 RBI when they (in my mind) are not likely to be Cubs next year. The fact that Hendry "seems to" want them back is hardly compelling to me.

Let me ask you a simple question. Do you think the Cubs are at least interested in bring back Pierre or Ramirez?

If so, do you think it would be wise to bench a player who you are interested in bringing back?

whatever. I'm arguing with an idiot, so I deserve it.

Hmmm...and you are the same person that said I didn't read what you wrote, when I had already responded to it long before that.

I agree with Vorare - trying to analyze how Hendry is going to handle an off-season coming off 70 wins by looking at what he did in years coming off 90 wins is a flawed thought process.

I think the Cubs front office will want to make a splash to drive ticket sales- Soriano will be the main target, with Schmidt as a back-up. I think Soriano is going to wind up getting a 5 year 75 million deal with a 6th year at $17 or a $3 million buyout. I could see Hendry doing that, because he probably views Soriano as very similar to Carlos Beltran.

"Pierre is a crappy choice for 1st in the batting order."

You know that no one involved in baseball would agree with this statement. As proof, I will offer that Cub or not a Cub, Juan Pierre will bat leadoff for the remainder of his career (or second if he finds himself in a Furcal/Lofton situation)

You can't undo 100 years of baseball philosophy just cause you read a book.

pierre and his .330 ob%...

...and his ending up on 2nd base on his own skill 80-90+ times a year...with speed to go home with ease on even an average hit ball to the OF.

its not his .330ob% that earned him that leadoff spot...its what he does, and does well, when he is on the base for the guys behind him.

You can't undo 100 years of baseball philosophy just cause you read a book.

And you can't do something simply because it has been done for a hundre years.

It works both ways...

No way Dave. It does not work both ways. Any standard stays the standard until proved false. Pluto didn't get its planetary status taken away cause one nut job wrote a book on it.

Hmmm...and how would you prove it false?

Boston has seemed to score a lot of runs with a slower, but higher OBP, leadoff hitter, right? Does that prove it wrong?

I am not sure that there is a way to prove it wrong outside of using statistical models, which you simply don't believe in.

"I could see Hendry doing that, because he probably views Soriano as very similar to Carlos Beltran"

Beltran- Who he didn't get!!

I hope as hell he does get Soriano and the 90 plus loss season puts their ass in gear.

But remember he had to go ask for more money to get Furcal. That's the key, Andy McFail pulls alot of strings around there, IMO.

And I remember the story of McFail shaking about the contract offer to Hampton as a free agent way back when they sucked ass then too. (Luckily he didn't take it) It's just not in this organizations nature to go after impact FA's.

Dave,

Boston has scored a lot of runs because of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.......RISP%.

Juan Pierre would get in the Hall of Fame if he batted lead off in front of those guys

Boston has scored a lot of runs because of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.......RISP%.

Really? So it had nothing to do with having runners in scoring position first?

ob% statistical models treat a guy like mark loretta or bengie molina as if they can run like juan pierre...cuz well, they usually dont take in account what they do with the base they earn once they're on it.

an ob% or OPS statistical model dont tell you pierre's eventually gonna end up on 2nd 80-90+ times a year...it treats his contribution to the offense as something done only with a bat and is over once he drops that bat.

not to mention how it effects others behind that hitter when he is on base.

if youre comparing coco/damon/etc. to pierre...well hell, they're not singles hitters who solely depending on their speed.

a team has to work with what it has available...burying a guy like pierre in the #7/8 slot would just...well, it'd put him on base at a .330 clip and he'll get his steals and the junk behind him will probally get a stat jump benefitting from the pitching they see...but...well...he's not gonna do them much good unless you put guys who can produce in the #8/9/1 slot....

not as easy as looking at a spreadsheet and pretending numbers are earned and applied in a vacuum.

Look...at batting average with RISP means little if they don't have opportunities. Look at Matt Murton - he is hitting .309 this year with runners in scoring position, yet only has 60 RBI.

For comparison, Manny is hitting .323, and Ortiz is hitting .281.

So are you telling me that if Murton was in Boston's lineup where Ortiz hits, he would have even more RBI than Big Papi?

not as easy as looking at a spreadsheet and pretending numbers are earned and applied in a vacuum.

I don't disagree with you...

Don't get me wrong..I don't dislike Pierre. And I don't even dislike him in the leadoff spot. But I would rather have a guy with an obp of .360+ than .330 in the leadoff spot. And I believe that it would lead to more runs.

How can one person argue that speed is the key and the other argue than OBP is more important than AVG. I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive. And assuming you can only have one or the other, I still fail to see how one is INHERENTLY better than the other. It's a case by case, day by day, situation by situation thing.

This is still one of the best (if not the premeire) Cubs sites on the Web, but it does get a little silly here a lot of the time.

Out.

im not a pierre fan myself...

stated more than a few times a longterm deal inked on a guy who's a leg injury away from being totally ineffective (since his game style relies on his legs in the field, plate, and on bases) would be kinda "ugg."

im not gonna call him useless or just call leadoff hitting nothing but walks/hits like some people with stats oriented ways of looking at the game tend to sometimes do.

We got a crappy bench, a pitching rotation of 2, Cedeno and the big concern is Pierre, who most baseball-types consider one of the best leadoff hitters in the game? Wow.

Pierre is one of the best parts of the team and I don't really care about his stats.

ARM-

Jones has turned out to be a down-grade from Burnitz in terms of production. Murton has hit for a nice average. But this outfield just does not drive in enough runs to be a playoff contender.

Burnitz in 2005:
605 AB's
.258/.322/.435 24HR 87 RBI, 84 R 57BB/109K

Jones:
510 AB's
.284/.333/.496 26 HR, 76 RBI 33BB/113K

Hmmmm...less productive?

Pierre's SB numbers do not impact his value that much. Why? Because his CS numbers are too high. He runs us out of innings just as often as he runs us into them, so the end benefit is a wash. If you think about it, a CS can negate a big inning, but a SB really can't create one. A SB helps THAT particular baserunner score, but it doesn't really affect the likelyhood of 4 and 5 guys hitting the ball in an inning. So really, when you steal, the reward is it will be easier to score exactly one run, the risk is that you deprive yourself the opportunity of putting a crooked number on the board.

Actually, JP is a WAY better baserunner (1st to 3rd, scoring on singles, not getting thrown out, that sort of thing) than he is a basestealer. The only trouble is, he just makes too many outs as a hitter for these skill to be very useful. JP's not a bad player, but it's just that there are so many other players who are better than he is. It's not that he has no measurable skill, he does, just that it is by no stretch worth $24 mill over 3 years. Bottom line, we need to upgrade in CF. If we must stick with Pierre, I suppose we must, but it would be a absolute disgrace to pay him the kind of money AZ Phil talked about.

I gotta agree with most of what Arizona Phil says on the original post.

I think Freddy Garcia (Last year of contract), Jack Westbrook (1 Year till FA) will be targets this offseason.

I think Pierre will either be resigned or offered arbitration and then let go. He's not 8 million a year. Overrated!! Could end up a White Sox.

I think Cliff Floyd may be signed, as he's from Chicago, knows Hendry from his highschool days (hendry recruited him to creighton, before he went pro). Floyd and Murton will split time. Murton may end playing most of the time as Floyd is always hurt.

I think 2B makes sense with a Counsel/Theriot platoon.

I think Miller will be brought back too for a 1 or 2m deal. Ditto for Wood.

Pierre
2B-Counsel/Theriot
DLee
Aram
FLoyd/Murton
Barret
Jones
Izturis

Rotation:

Z
Garcia
Westbrook
Miller
Hill
Prior (DL)

Its not a horrible team, but its not that scary either. I rather see:

2B-Giles/Adam Kennedy
Murton
DLee
Aram
Jones
Barret
Pie
Izturis

Zambrano
Garcia
Zito
Westbrook
Hill
Prior.

How can one person argue that speed is the key and the other argue than OBP is more important than AVG. I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive.

Woh...if you are referring to me, I never said that speed was not important nor did I say that OBP was more important than average.

I think that in a leadoff spot, the ideal candidate would have a high obp with speed. That is often not possible. I am saying that I would rather have a high obp with decent speed (ala Matt Murton) than a low OBP with very good speed (ala Pierre).

I think that all three (average, OBP, speed) have their roles when used properly. Chad thinks that only fast people should lead off because that is how it was always done.

I mean...downgrade?

It's not Murton's fault no one's on base...

PHIL:

The Cubs just announced a two year deal with the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League. Isn't the Cubs' AA affiliate West Tennessee? Did they end their relationship with the Jaxx?

Article is here, by the way.

the big concern is Pierre, who most baseball-types consider one of the best leadoff hitters in the game?

Hmmm...not so sure that this is true. Do you have any actual sources from "most baseball-types" that say Pierre is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game?

Crunch,

Obviously I would rather have the ideal Rickey Henderson lead-off type, who had huge OBP and hellacious speed.

BUT...

There's just no way you'll find me prioritizing speed over the ability to get to first base. Speed is the icing on the cake, not the cake.

Unnamed sources say Juan Pierre is the best lead-off man since Willie Wilson.

Ever since graduated from lead-off school, where you learn about the special challenges of being the first to scruff up the chalk lines in the batter's box, he's been ticketed for greatness. No one can "lead off" quite like Pierre, as I've heard so many baseball "types" say over the years. And as an added bonus, they say he can hit a little bit too. Man, JP sure can do it all.

horatio...you are still sticking to those same tired as hell excuses for why pierre sucks in your eyes without even taking in account anything anyone has said to counter it.

i get it.

having a guy on 2nd who's fast 80-90 times a year somehow means nothing to you...got it.

i mean, everyone does it.

taking 15-20 singles away from pierre is far more damaging then having him on 2nd 80-90 times a year.

makes sense.

i mean, yeah, bengie molina is definately comparable of a hitter..they have similar OPS and everything...im sure molina could do exactly the same with his performance as pierre.

ive run outta things to say about this.

taking 15-20 singles away from pierre is far more damaging then having him on 2nd 80-90 times a year.

Hate to break it to you, Crunch, but yes it is.

Wait, not "far more damaging," just equal in weight.

I took a quick look at lineups around the league last night. Here are lead-off hitters from last nights' lineups that I would take over Pierre:

Ryan Freel
Brian Roberts
Alfonso Soriano (but he shouldn't be a leadoff hitter)
Luis Castillo
Jimmy Rollins (very similar to Pierre)
Derek Jeter (who didn't start last night, so I am cheating)
Johnny Damon (who also didn't start last night)
Jose Reyes
Ichiro
Sarge Jr (based on this year only...)
Grady Sizemore
Jason Kendall
Furcal

I don't think I am really going out on a limb with many of those players...obviously Sarge Jr, maybe Sizemore. I think all of them have higher obp, almost all of them have very good to great speed.

So the boost that JP's speed gives you over a comparable OBP player is worth what??

How many extra runs per year? Either a skill helps runs cross the plate or it doesn't. If you're saying that it does, how many?

Hell yes get Pujols. Get Vernon Wells. Get Soriano. Get all f-ing three. That's exactly how we should be thinking. Demand that Hendry get them and run him out of town on a rail if he doesn't. The Cubs are not a 2nd tier market and I'm sick of having to settle for 2nd tier talent. Do you think Steinbrenner puts up with crap like "we can't get him" ??

I love it when people think Hendry's a billionaire unwilling to cough up his own cash to improve the team and the compare HENDRY to Steinbrenner. Post of the day....

I don't think anyone knew that Hendry was going to trade Choi for Lee or get Ramirez or trade Miller for Barrett or sign Greg Maddux or the dozen other moves he's made the last few years. Looking at a free agent list and speculating who the Cubs will target is fun and to some degree of certainty you can make some valid assumptions. But the dynamics of a trade are almost impossible to judge. You can't just look at their PS2 rating and see a match. It's a lot of phone calls, a lot of feelers on who someone wants, what they're willing to give up, who they like in your system, what their scouts think, your scouts think, etc, etc, etc. There are just so many factors that come down to making a trade and information that most of us are not privy to, that I find it to be a fool's quest. But hey, it's fun to speculate.

It's a lot of phone calls, a lot of feelers on who someone wants, what they're willing to give up, who they like in your system, what their scouts think, your scouts think, etc, etc, etc.

Boy oh boy, what a lot of hard work that Hendry does. I bet he's at the office till real late every night. It's a wonder every team doesn't finish 30 games under .500.

Will you guys stop it with the PS2 crap? Please? I don't even own a goddamn video game system.

The Cubs just announced a two year deal with the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League. Isn't the Cubs' AA affiliate West Tennessee? Did they end their relationship with the Jaxx?

Oh yeah, it's been a nightmare down there. The city (I think Jackson) just couldn't handle a minor league team, attendance was horrid, last in the Southern League. The local paper stopped covering the team.

The Smokies had the 4th best attendance in the Southern League so that was probably the big draw for the Cubs.

you dont realize what having a guy who can run on base does for the shots that GREAT hitters ahead of him (sans a dusty #2 hitter pick) can open up oportunities...THE SAME OPORTUNITIES STAT HEADS USE TO GUAGE THEIR WORTH (wow, huh?)

If you're saying that basestealers (which JP ain't) improve a batter's OPS just by being on base, you're right.

BUT...

The effect is nowhere near what you'd get if you just fired Pierre and stuck Vernon Wells in CF.

Jason Kendall over Pierre?

Um...wha?

Kendall:
.293/.365/.342 72R, 22 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR

Pierre:
.288/.328/.384
80R, 30 2B, 12 3B, 3 HR, 53SB...

Right.....pass that bottle..

"Will you guys stop it with the PS2 crap?"

the real question you should ask is "why do people keep saying this to me?"

your presentation of your misguided opinions that you state in some cases as fact is something that happens with a lotta people all the time on boards.

the thing is when you're presented with views that contridict yours it turns into a battle, not a discussion.

a philosophy is one thing, a misguided philosophy is another.

----

and to sum up part 2 of your post

"If you're saying that basestealers (which JP ain't) improve a batter's OPS just by being on base, you're right."

you think 75% means something and you stick to that cuz you read it.

you didn't research it.

you know nothing about it.

you don't know why it matters.

your faith to it is alarming and misguided...

i wonder what you think about "120"...the magic number for pitchers.

your boy Daisuke threw 250 pitches in one game in highschool...know what he did the next night...came out and pitched a shutout.

you have numbers and theories and NO IDEA how to apply them to real world situations in some of your views.

I love it when people think Hendry's a billionaire unwilling to cough up his own cash to improve the team and the compare HENDRY to Steinbrenner. Post of the day....

RobG,

I was comparing Hendry to Cashman. If Cashman whined excuse after excuse like Hendry does (hell, if his team finished in 3rd place), do you think Steinbrenner would put up with it? Answer: no.

I'm disappointed that you assume me to so much an idiot as to think that Hendry some magnate running the team out of his own pocket. Please tell me you were only joking and did not actually think that's what I meant.

I actually have read quite a lot about the 75% number. It's very interesting and there is a fair bit of mathematics behind it.

The reason I stick to these things is because with each passing year, it is becoming more clear that they are correct.

if anyone missed it from the previous post, Arte over in Anaheim is promising major changes. I expect them to make big pushes for either Soriano or Lee and if Ramirez were to become available. Possibly even go after Zito and trade Ervin Santana. McPherson, and possibly Kotchman and Figgins I could see becoming available as well.

"why do people keep saying this to me?"

Because it's an simple and easy way to dismiss everything I say without having to come up with a cogent argument.

Why would the difference between a .330 OBP and a .360 OBP be any less significant than the difference between a .330 BA and a .360 BA?

Also, it is simply not true to say that with no power and base-stealing skills have hit leadoff for 100 years or more. Luke Appling hit leadoff most of his career. Many teams during the 30s, 40s and 50s had leadoff guys that did not steal a lot of bases. Look up the statistics of Dave Bancroft, Eddie Yost, Eddie Stanky, Gene Woodling or Red Schoendienst for example, if you like. Hank Bauer frequently batted leadoff for the Yankees in the 50s. Pete Rose batted leadoff for the Reds, when Joe Morgan was far more of a stolen base threat. Don Buford was a terrific leadoff hitter for the Orioles from 1969-71, when the Orioles averaged 106 wins a year, despite not stealing more than 19 beases in any year. More recently, Brian Downing often hit leadoff for the Angels.

It seems to be an open discussion about whether the primary characteristic of an ideal leadoff hitter should be speed or OBP. The best leadoff hitters have both. I think it should be OBP. Others disagree. The debate is not helped, however, by saying that teams have always wanted speed at the top, because that just isn't the case.

Crunch,

And it's not as if I'm over here touting a theory while you're over there with the answer key in your hand. What you think is a theory too. And you stick to it just as fiercely as I do to mine. It just so happens that every statistical study done in the last 15 years backs up what I'm saying. You seem to rely on your own assumptions.

Jason Kendall over Pierre?

Okay...I may have missed one out of my list of 13? But I would not say that Pierre is significantly better than Kendall. better? yes, but not overly so.

I like Pierre's speed, but Kendall has a significantly better OBP.

But yea...I would take Pierre over Kendall. Again, I just took a quick look.

#1) When does Hendry make excuses? I think you have him confused with the guy sitting in the dugout chomping on a toothpick.

#2) Your not the first to chastize Hendry for not acquiring all the available talent in the world and raising the payroll to whatever it needs to be to win. If that's what people want to bitch about, then start with McPhail and you probably want to move on up from there. Hendry's working off the budget they give him, he doesn't get to decide they need Pujols, Wells and Soriano no matter what. You want to bitch about the way he allocates money, go for it, I'm with you. Bitching about not spending enough has almost nothing to do with Hendry.

no horatio..you're just presenting your views without any consideration to a counter.

not just mine and not just this conversation.

its kinda feeling like an "against the world" type thing.

you engage people in conversation and give no consession and very little consideration to what it said.

you sidestep the heart of criticism and jump to minor points and go off about them.

and you tend to end every defense with your own reason of why you're right without much tangle proof or even an arguement of persuasion.

Kendall may be one of the few players with less pop than Pierre..

if anyone missed it from the previous post, Arte over in Anaheim is promising major changes

I kinda' miss following Los Angeles baseball now that I am here in Chicago.

Plus...in LA, I could still support the Cubs without supporting their terrible management and losing ways.

But yea...I expect significant changes with the Angels...we could get Figgins to play center, but I say he is overrated.

RobG,

I think Hendry has talked about Wood and Prior and Lee's injuries (in Prior's case: "injuries") more than enough times to qualify as excuse-making for the Cubs terribleness.

I'm with you on McPhail. BTW, can you think of a more baffling first move for Andy than his hire of rookie GM Ed Lynch?!?! I remember thinking at the time that there is virtually no way to justify coming in to a new situation, buttressed by your so-called "winning experience" and as a first act hire a total noob who turns out to be in way over his head. Insanity!!

We've already established that what Pierre gets with his stolen bases and speed he gives up with his poor arm. Make him go away, please.

Horatio:

The major flaw in the 75% basestealing number you keep throwing out is that it treats all baserunners the same. As Crunch keeps trying to point out to you, this isn't the case. The value of having Pierre on 2nd base is much greater than having Bengie Molina on 2nd base. Pierre may well need to steal at just a 50% rate for it to be worthwhile whereas a Molina might need to steal at a 95% rate. It's basically cost-benefit analysis.

you engage people in conversation and give no consession and very little consideration to what it said.

If what you say is pure conjecture, I'm afraid I'm not going to give it much consideration. Just cause someone "believes" that JP jittering over at 1B raises the batter's average by 100 points, doesn't make it so. I'd be glad to look at any kind of evidence you had, but most of the time none is given. I'm sorry, but anecdotes and assumptions just aren't very convincing.

On Pierre:

I agree w/CHAD - Horatio you don't know much about baseball if you do not recognize there is value in what Pierre brings.

He comes up in EVERY rumored article about acquiring leadoff men. Is this fantasy, man? Are the GM's of these clubs idiots? They are not spending "your" money, so you don't have to worry about it.

If your The Riot (who I like as a bench guy) can post Pierre numbers - 200 hits, .300 average and can catch the freakin' ball for even three straight years in the Majors, THEN I'll give you your guy's props as a true leadoff-type.

Since 2003 the Cubs have not had a bona fide leadoff-hitter and Pierre is a good one. Not the best, perhaps, but CERTAINLY not the suck-ass you portray him to be.

You probably were backing the Cubs to re-sign Burnitz (like many wrong TCR posters) so you could save "your" money and get someone shittier than JJones.

I am still breathlessly awaiting all of "C's" examples of established hitters who were benched before the age of 30, just cuz they might not be around next year.

For a guy who likes to talk a bunch of smack on this subject you sure are silent now. Oh well, maybe you already moved on to the new thread RobG. hasn't created yet.

Keep in mind that Hendry only has two years to make this team into a winner and save his career. So (unlike 2006) I don't see him taking any chances on young or injury-plagued players failing him.

However, I do hope that Hendry takes a chance on Wade Miller. I witnessed his performance Tuesday night in Philly, and walked away very impressed. Even without his best velocity, he changed speeds beautifully and really showed that he knows how to pitch. He is about 85-90% back, and given 4 more months of rehab to regain that last bit of velocity, we've got a solid #3 starter on our hands for a very low cost.

#52 of 99: By dave (September 21, 2006 02:12 PM)
Hmmm...and how would you prove it false?

If large groups of people involved in baseball came out and all got behind a concept then I could accept it. But Sabremetrics is still the realm of nerds who don't play baseball.

Joey: Boston has scored a lot of runs because of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.......RISP%.

Dave: Really? So it had nothing to do with having runners in scoring position first?
--

Of course not, those guys are RBI machines. They have magic dust in their bats that makes baserunners appear when they hit the ball.

sabrmetrics has a place, but not all stats are created equal.

some prove things definately, some point to indicators that need further investigation (ob% is nice, but how are they earning it...that in turn could change a scouting report which could lower their ob% if they dont adapt), and some stats are just f'n useless.

some stats point to trends, but some people mistakenly solely contribute that stat as an indicator when its just a product of something.

some stats blind people to the effect that what others do will effect their stats, beyond what the other team is trying to do to them.

Sabremetrics/stats are just a tool, not unlike scouting. Both can teach you a lot about the game and the quality of a player, and both can lead you astray. Slavish devotion to either one alone is pretty foolish.

yeah, what vorare said.

Why would Hendry offer a "front-loaded" contract to anyone?

It wouldn't make the player any more tradeable in later years - Hendry could just throw in the cash at the time of the trade.

All that "front-loading" would do would be to maximize the financial impact on the Cubs. Time value of money, AZ Phil!

OPS, like all stats, obviously doesn't tell the entire story. It just tells the story better than most stats. And there's a real simple way to factor in the speed/stolen base/caught stealing factors into OPS by adjusting steals and caught stealing to OPS. A single and stolen base is generally just as valuable as a double. 1060 west examined Pierre's adjusted OPS compaed to other CFs using these metrics a couple of weeks ago.

You probably were backing the Cubs to re-sign Burnitz (like many wrong TCR posters) so you could save "your" money and get someone shittier than JJones.

Nope, I hated Burnitz.

Were there really "many TCR posters" calling for the Cubs to re-sign Burnitz? I don't remember this...

I'm signing off for now guys, but I leave you with this which is sure to make Chad's and E-Man's heads explode:

There is no such thing as a "leadoff man."

#90 of 110: By rory (September 21, 2006 03:11 PM)
AZPhil is there any chance that the Cubs go after Greg Maddux - the third time-is-the-charm!

---
RORY: I don't think it's so much that the Cubs would not want Maddux back as it is he is happier in L. A.

A beach house at Dana Point, few day games so golf every day, nice pitchers park.

I can't see Mad Dog ever leaving the Dodgers.

"Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a ìbig batî like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just canít see that happening."
---

I said the exact same thing in parachat a couple days ago. I hope Hendry proves us wrong and strikes fast on Soriano or Schmidt. I doubt it.

But, if Aramis leaves for a better offer or just decides he's had enough of Cubdom, I can see Hendry throwing down whatever it takes to get Soriano. Hendry's hand will be forced and he'll have to replace A-Ram's production somewhere.

#109 of 114: By Dillon1998 (September 21, 2006 03:50 PM)
Why would Hendry offer a "front-loaded" contract to anyone?

It wouldn't make the player any more tradeable in later years - Hendry could just throw in the cash at the time of the trade.

All that "front-loading" would do would be to maximize the financial impact on the Cubs. Time value of money, AZ Phil!

DILLON 1998: I understand what you're saying, but I have a theory that I have expresed here at TCR before, and you may disagree with it, but here it is again:

Hendry gets a certain payroll budget every year, just like he gets a player delevopment budget and a budget to sign high school, college, and international players.

I don't know this for sure, but based on how money was spent in this past June draft (no 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round picks, so first round money went to a 5th round pick, 2nd round money to an 11th round pick, and 4th round money to a 13th round pick) and on free-agents like Glendon Rusch, Neifi, et al, last off-season, it appears (to me) that Hendry knows or has reason to believe that if he doesn't spend his budget every year, he won't get that amount (or more) again the next year.

In other words, he can't "bank" the money and save it til next year. It's like it's burning a hole in his pocket, and he feels that he must spend it to make sure he'll get the same amount (or more) next time. (Strangely enough, that's exactly how it works at my job!).

Anyway, the reason I see Pierre getting a front-loaded contract with a big pay-out "up front" in 2007 instead of a "straight" $8m per year each year 2007-09 with the Cubs paying part of Pierre's salary if he gets traded in 2008 or 2009, is because if he signs Ramirez and Zambrano to escalator contracts, and with Michael Barrett due to be a FA after next season, I don't think Hendry will have the extra money available in future years that he will have this coming season. In other words, he KNOWS he will have the money to pay Pierre more this coming season, but isn't sure he will have that same $$$$ in future years, because it will be allocated to Ramirez, Zambrano, Barrett, et al.

So that's why I believe Pierre will likely get more money up front in 2007 (either by virtue of a hefty front-end signing bonus, or less salary in each successive year 2007-09), instead of the other way around.

Dusty: The comparision you post between Jones' numbers this year and Burnitz's numbers last year confirm my comment, albeit not by much. I said that Jones has been a downgrade in terms of production. I meant production in the sense of RBIs. And lo and behold, Burnitz had about ten more RBIs and ten more runs scored last year than Jones has had this year. Yeah, I know, Jones might get another homer and a couple of more RBIs but he still won't match Burnitz. Also, yes, Burnitz had more at bats so that evens things out and warrants an * to my comments. Beyond that, you may disagree, but I think we lost a lot in terms of defense with Jones. Not that Burnitz was a gold glover. But at least Burnitz could throw the ball from straight away right field "all the way" to second base without the ball bouncing five or six times.

Burnitz had Lee batting a couple slots ahead of him for a while season with his .400+ OPS. I'd wager he had a few more RBI opportunities than Jones.

#115 of 116: By big john stud (September 21, 2006 04:12 PM)
"Look, I would love to see the Cubs sign a premier starting pitcher like Jason Schmidt, or a ìbig batî like Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee. I really would. But I just canít see that happening."
---

I said the exact same thing in parachat a couple days ago. I hope Hendry proves us wrong and strikes fast on Soriano or Schmidt. I doubt it.

But, if Aramis leaves for a better offer or just decides he's had enough of Cubdom, I can see Hendry throwing down whatever it takes to get Soriano. Hendry's hand will be forced and he'll have to replace A-Ram's production somewhere.

---

BIG JOHN: I agree with you 100%. If Aramis Ramirez cannot be re-signed by the end of the free-agent filing period (the first 15 days after conclusion of the World Series, when a player's original team retains exclusive negotiating rights), then Hendry will change his tactics completely.

Ramirez's bat will absolutely have to be replaced, and I believe Hendry will go hot & heavy after Alfonso Soriano. However, since Soriano almost certainly can't play 3B (I would imagine the Cubs would want him to play CF), Hendry will also have to replace Ramirez at 3B. This will probably result in Hendry targeting a FA 3B like Pedro Feliz (SF), or perhaps a FA 2B like Ray Durham (SF), with Scott Moore playing 3B. And so then Soriano and Feliz (or Durham) would (combined) get in 2007 about what Hendry had planned to pay Ramirez and Pierre.

So a Plan "B" would be:

If Hendry can't sign Ramirez by the end of the FA filing period, he won't sign Pierre, either. Instead, he will target Soriano and Feliz or Durham, and offer Soriano a big-bucks back-loaded escalator contract. And if Feliz is signed to play 3B, he would probably initially be the #1 3B, but could eventually be used in a platoon with Scott Moore. If it's Durham, Scott Moore could be the 3B right away, although a cheap stop-gap (like ace PH-3B-1B Wes Helms) could be signed until Moore is ready, or to platoon with Moore once he is deemed ready.

I meant production in the sense of RBIs. And lo and behold, Burnitz had about ten more RBIs and ten more runs scored last year than Jones has had this year.

With a week to go, Jones has less 9 RBI than Burnitz did last season.

Jones also has 25 extra points of batting average, 10 more OBP points, and 60 more points of Slugging.

Of course, Burnitz got to bat behind the best hitter in the National League all of last season.

Jones has been hitting behind the likes of Todd Walker, Michael Barrett, Phil Nevin, and John Mabry all year.

Perhaps that's the reason for the difference?

Or maybe Burnitz really just just a better "Run Producer," despite being a significantly worse hitter.

Burnitz had Lee batting a couple slots ahead of him for a while season with his .400+ OPS. I'd wager he had a few more RBI opportunities than Jones.

You think?

Jones has been up to the plate with 334 runners on this year(2nd most opportunites on the team), driving in 14.97% of them.

Burntiz got up to plate last year with 447 runners on base (leading the team), driving in 14.09% of them.

hey Phil,

Check your math on the contract you are giving ARAM. Is sure don't add up to the 75m you state.

#79 of 120: By Rob G. (September 21, 2006 02:48 PM)
I don't think anyone knew that Hendry was going to trade Choi for Lee or get Ramirez or trade Miller for Barrett or sign Greg Maddux or the dozen other moves he's made the last few years. Looking at a free agent list and speculating who the Cubs will target is fun and to some degree of certainty you can make some valid assumptions. But the dynamics of a trade are almost impossible to judge. You can't just look at their PS2 rating and see a match. It's a lot of phone calls, a lot of feelers on who someone wants, what they're willing to give up, who they like in your system, what their scouts think, your scouts think, etc, etc, etc. There are just so many factors that come down to making a trade and information that most of us are not privy to, that I find it to be a fool's quest. But hey, it's fun to speculate.

----

"Provocative speculation is the CPR of TCR. It's our life-blood, if you will. I mean, if you can't speculate at TCR, where the frick can you speculate?" -- Arizona Phil speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for TCR Towers last month.

#122 of 123: By eric cartman (September 21, 2006 04:52 PM)
hey Phil,

Check your math on the contract you are giving ARAM. Is sure don't add up to the 75m you state.

----

ERIC C: Thanks. I fixed it.

BTW, could you do my taxes next year?

Now for some fun, the Chad-index: (just kidding)

Cubs leaders in bringing people home or OBI% (Others Batted In Percentage) or the amount of runners brought in not including yourself.

(300 PA's is my cutoff)

Arams 18.81%
Walker 16.34%
Murton 16.21%
Jones 14.97%
Barrett 14.18%
Juan Pierre 11.77%
Cedeno 9.6%

Aramis is 12th in the NL this year behind:

Miguel Cabrera (22.02%)
Lance Berkman
Carlos Beltran
Albert Pujols
Bobby Abreu (bit surprising)
Freddy Sancez
Brian McCann
David Wright
Jose Reyes
Carlos Lee
Nomar Garciaparra

Your bottom 5
Alfredo Amezaga (6.9%)
Eckstein
Ryan Freel
Jack Wilson
Ronny Cedeno

Pierre is 16th worst in the league

"Of course not, those guys are RBI machines. They have magic dust in their bats that makes baserunners appear when they hit the ball."

Sure. On a low OBP team Manny Ramirez is just an ordinary player. He would never post 100 RBIs. No way. OBP is the only reason Manny posts such good numbers.

"No way. OBP is the only reason Manny posts such good numbers."

His SLG helps too.

No way RobR. OBP is the only stat that matters. Don't you read these posts?

If Manny Ramirez was the #3 hitter for the 2005 Chicago Cubs, he may very well have come up short of 100 RBI.

If Derrek Lee was the #3 hitter for the 2005 Red Sox, he may very well have had 150+ RBI.

End o' subject, bitches

more fun if your in the mood for a clutch argument:

Eckstein is 2nd to last this year in bringing others home (out of 125 with 300 PA's), he was 25th best last year out of 144 with 300 PA's.

and haha AZ Phil. :)

"No way RobR. OBP is the only stat that matters. Don't you read these posts?"

Of course not making an out is the most important thing a hitter can do, but I thought that we had discussed the there is no one perfect stat argument a couple of weeks ago.

What was said at the end of post #28 and then followed immediately by post #29 was classic!!!!

You could have fooled me Rob. I read these posts everyday and I'm quite sure its OPB uber allis. Don't disagree, you'll get labeled a free thinker.

I think I'm the only one not thrilled about the idea of Soriano coming to the Cubs. Anyone else out there?

who the hell is 'daisuke'? remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question...i'm new around here...

Or you might get labeled an idiot....

Chad,

You're labeled a free-thinker, just like the guy who came up with the idea of spontaneous generation, or my elementery school science teacher who told us the reason that Earth doesn't run out of water is because water expands when it freezes.

AZ PHIL: I would be HIGHLY suprised, if the Cubs loose ARAM, that they allow Scott Moore to play a full season at 3rd base after what the team went through THIS YEAR with Cedeno.

He has done nothing in my opinion to warrant starting over a rental free agent like Mike Lowell or Betemit, or Pedro Feliz, as you say.

Also - for those who think otherwise, Kerry Wood would be a crappy closer unless he can find a way NOT to walk 2-3 people an inning. We've seen that movie with the Dump.

The offense needs to be upgraded, and if Hendry can't resign ARA

sorry, got cut off, weird...

The offense needs to be upgraded, and if Hendry can't resign ARAM, he would nee to sign Soriano just to get the Cubs back to 2006 levels, let alnose add another big bat to actually improve the offense.

If Hendry doe not reup ARAm, it would be his biggest blunder, which is saying alot and the WORST possible contract thing that could happen to the CUBS.

I don't suppose anyone would think it reasonable to, if the Cubs can't keep Ramirez around, to blow all the money on lights-out pitching?

Could ...

Pierre, Theriot, Lee, Jones, Murton, Barrett, Feliz, Cedeno (Ok, kidding, Izturis)

Generate enough offense to give Z, Hill, Schimidt a bunch of wins?

Scott Moore's game is nothing like Cedeno's though. The dude does occasionally walk. Personally I think he's ready. Even though he'd be a downgrade over Aram, I think Moore/Soriano would perform better than Aram/Pierre.

Chad,

Wilfully ignoring solid statistical evidence in favor of stuff like "momentum," "chemistry," "clutch hitting" isn't called free thinking, it's called NOT thinking.

RYNO:

I just said almost the SAME thing yesterday!

MANNY: Step back a second and breathe - IF the money saved could garner a player that could achieve 80-90 RBI, and played ALL SEASON instead of doing shit for the first two months of the season year in/year out AND as RYNO and others (myself included) suggest obtain TOP-SHELF pitching to go with it - I'd be O.K. with it.

"Wilfully ignoring solid statistical evidence"

"Solid statistical evidence" does not exist in baseball. You cannot in any way shape or form apply scientific statistical analysis to baseball. No situation is ever the same and conditions can never be controlled.

Baseball statistics will never tell you what is going to happen.

#141 of 141: By Ryno (September 21, 2006 06:19 PM)
I don't suppose anyone would think it reasonable to, if the Cubs can't keep Ramirez around, to blow all the money on lights-out pitching?

Could ...

Pierre, Theriot, Lee, Jones, Murton, Barrett, Feliz, Cedeno (Ok, kidding, Izturis)

Generate enough offense to give Z, Hill, Schimidt a bunch of wins?

RYNO: That's an interesting and very reasonable question.

I believe giving up the fewest runs in the league makes you an automatic contender. I grew up in Chicago in the 1960's when the White Sox were perennial contenders with THE best pitching (five-deep starting rotation AND a bullpen of unhittable knuckleballers) and an offense capable of manufacturing a run or two here and there. It can be done.

But for the Cubs to have THE best pitching in 2007, it would take more than just adding a premier FA starting pitcher (Jason Schmidt). Because for the Cubs to have THE best pitching staff in the N. L. in 2007 (and with a lineup where Feliz replaces Ramirez, they better be THE best!), besides Zambrano and Schmidt pitching next year like they have this year, they would need to have Mark Prior return to 2003 form, and for Rich Hill to pitch all of next year like he has the last month or so of this season. And the #5 starter slot could not be a black hole. And Ryan Dempster (or whoever closes) would have to have a 85%+ save conversion rate, and middle relief can't falter. All of which could certainly happen, but it isn't a given. A lot of things would have to go just right. There can't be another plague of bizarro-type injuries, either.

I suspect adding a couple of healthy pitchers to the starting rotation via free-agency or trade (albeit probably not Jason Schmidt) and re-signing Ramirez and Pierre while counting on a return to health for D-Lee and Michael Barrett is what we will see from Hendry.

I think we need to decide if we're scraping the 03 team and starting over, or if we're going to "patch" our way to the promise land.

Brenly has expressed his opinion that the org needs to develop their own and quit using free agency. I think whoever becomes manager will have a major say on which direction we take. Let's face it, a new manager will want time to turn things around. Hendry has one year left on his contract. Which way do they go?

We could have traded Ramirez at the break for a bunch of prospects, fired Dusty and went to a real youth movement. Since we didn't do that, AZ Phil's predictions make sense. My problem is we always give mid level guys decent contracts. If we don't go youth, one ace starter would be thing to spend our money on. Otherwise, we're just hoping that the "healthy" lineup will produce and the rotation of Z, Hill, Prior, Miller and whomever will get it done.

re: 145

"'Solid statistical evidence' does not exist in baseball."

You obviously don't mean this. Aren't wins a statistic? Losses? Pennants? World Series titles? Hits? Runs? Home runs? I can think Barry Bonds is a better hitter than Ronny Cedeno, or that the 1927 Yankees were better than the 1962 Mets, but how do I explain that to another person without using statistics?

Dying Cub Fan,

I'm talking about statistical analysis as a predictor of things to come.

While past performance does not guarantee future results, based on past statistics, I am confident that, barring injury, Albert Pujols will hit more home runs next year than Ryan Theriot and that Alex Rodriguez will have more rbi than Juan Pierre. There are no guarantees in life, as Mike Ditka used to say, but I think people use statistical analysis all the time in baseball to predict future results. The issue seems to be, for you, more a question of what analysis should be used rather than not using it at all.

Chad:"Baseball statistics will never tell you what is going to happen." I beg, err, choose to differ. You can make an argument that past statistics mean nothing, but they CAN give you an indication of what will happen in the future. You will have a Pujols jumping from double A to superstardom , and Sammy Sosa going from 60 HRs to being booted out of town. But they are the exception, not the rule. You can look at the New England Patriots for the rule, same stuff, diff players, same results. Past predicting the future. Of course nothing is absolute but you have to use something to base it on.

scooterÆ

BTW The Riot for 2b!! '07

Interesting analysis, Phil. One thing that perhaps you haven't considered is that the current awful, awful season might shift how Hendry does business (or at least considers doing business) next year.

Unlike the past three years, the 2006 Cubs were not built as competitors but as a fill-in, stop-gap type team. Surely Hendry realized that within the first six weeks of the season. I, along with others (including you, I believe), had higher hopes and fully expected them to do much, much better than they've done, even making the postseason.

My point is that this team should be and could be a 100-loss team and maybe Hendry's realizing that his past approaches just aren't going to cut it. If it's true that he's never been denied any money that he's asked for, then he needs to ask for about another $20 m in payroll next year and truly make this team a competitor. There are some damn good pieces already in place and with a complete overhaul this team could, in theory, compete for the playoffs next season. But it's going to take some big bucks and some ballsy moves to get it done, and I'm waiting anxiously to see if Hendry has it. If not, and if this team is not significantly improved by spring training, I'll be joining Manny Trillo in calling for Hendry's head.

Andrew: then he needs to ask for about another $20 m in payroll next year and truly make this team a competitor

I've said it before. Put yourself in the shoes of the Trib; Seeing teams like Florida winning with $14 mil, wouldn't you cut the payroll? Doesn't it seem like a terrible waste of money from a purely business perspective? Obviously we know it takes some money to be serious contenders but a guy in a business suit might not see it that way.

Scooter:
"they (stats) CAN give you an indication of what will happen in the future."

If you wrote it this way I would agree 100%: "they can give you a POSSIBLE indication of what MAY happen in the future."

How can stats explain the 2006 version of Gary Matthews Jr.?

#153 of 153: By Ryno (September 21, 2006 08:44 PM)
I've said it before. Put yourself in the shoes of the Trib; Seeing teams like Florida winning with $14 mil, wouldn't you cut the payroll? Doesn't it seem like a terrible waste of money from a purely business perspective? Obviously we know it takes some money to be serious contenders but a guy in a business suit might not see it that way.

-

I tend to agree with Ryno here. If it's not around $100m, I think it's far more likely that Jim Hendry's payroll budget in 2007 will be set at $90m or less rather than $110m or more.

I also suspect that Hendry and the rest of the Cubs/Trib "brain-trust" attribute much of this Season from Hell to the catastrophic injuries suffered by D-Lee, Prior, and Wood (and others, too), and that by avoiding serious injuries and generally staying healthy in 2007 together with adding a couple of "healthy" starting pitchers who make all of their starts and routinely pitch into the 7th inning will in-and-of itself automatically make the Cubs "competitive" next year. And we know that Hendry sees his mission as making the Cubs "competitive." Not the best team in the league. Being "competitive" is good enough.

Having Jim Hendry as the Cubs GM is better than having Larry Himes or Ed Lynch in the position, but, oh, how I miss Dallas Green!

great job Phil

u called it last year too!

I've said it before. Put yourself in the shoes of the Trib; Seeing teams like Florida winning with $14 mil, wouldn't you cut the payroll? Doesn't it seem like a terrible waste of money from a purely business perspective? Obviously we know it takes some money to be serious contenders but a guy in a business suit might not see it that way.

Although not a businessman, I disagree. Teams like the Marlins are succeeding despite a small payroll not because of it. They're winning because they've got a great confidence-builder of a manager and some talented personnel that they're molding into a solid team. The Marlins, in any event, are the exception not the rule. Most teams with the lowest payroll in MLB are very, very bad and whatever the Trib's motives, I doubt they're planning to have the worst team in MLB in '07 to attract bigger crowds.

I tend to agree with Ryno here. If it's not around $100m, I think it's far more likely that Jim Hendry's payroll budget in 2007 will be set at $90m or less rather than $110m or more.

But AZ Phil, what's your reasoning for this? Maybe I'm dumb, but why exactly is that a good business plan if the idea is to quickly turn around a souring business project. Obviously, if it's determined that the team is beyond any hope of competing for a couple years, the smart approach would be to blow it up, cut payroll, and build from the bottom up. But the rhetoric from Hendry and the rest don't seem to point this way; rather it seems as if they think they can turn it around. Numbers at Wrigley have supposedly dropped off quite a bit this year (I can't say from experience -- that's what I've read), so surely the Cubs brass have to be concerned about the loss of income.

In my mind, if you think you can build a winning team, you put more money into it and thus hopefully turn it around and bring back the fans. You don't take even more money away, and thus show your fanbase you have no intention of improving a horrible team.

I also suspect that Hendry and the rest of the Cubs/Trib "brain-trust" attribute much of this Season from Hell to the catastrophic injuries suffered by D-Lee, Prior, and Wood

But this was the excuse last year, and oh yeah, the year befor that, and I believe the year before that as well. Surely some of it is due to that, but don't tell me that Hendry hasn't noticed how terribly the rest of this team has been, outside of ARam and Z. Marmol, Guzman, Ryu, Cedeno, Dempster, Ohman, Novoa, Rusch, Hairston...these guys have all been truly horrible this year. Murton, Marshall and Hill have also had extended periods of suckiness. I can't believe that Hendry has chalked up this horrible season purely to injuries. He's bound to have noticed how many of the Cubs' prized possessions have failed miserably. Not to mention the truly amazingly bad display of coaching and management from all sides that the Cubs have exhibited this year.

And we know that Hendry sees his mission as making the Cubs "competitive." Not the best team in the league. Being "competitive" is good enough.

But clearly they're not! Clearly, building them to be competitive is nothing more than building a perennial loser. Maybe, if Hendry and the rest of the Trib actually tried to build a WS champ for once, they would in reality build a team that would, at long last, be competitive.

AZ Phil,

The pitching on those White Sox teams of the mid 60s were great. They won over 90 three or four years in a row and only hit just below or just above 100 homers each of those years. I remember the offense was so bad that pitcher Gary Peters was sometimes used as a pinch hitter. He was a good hitting pitcher but it was more a comment on how sad the bench was.

You also say the bullpen was full of unhittable knockleballers? Who besides Wilhelm threw a knockler? Did Fisher? I'm too tired to go over to baseball reference and start scanning Sox rosters from the 60s. Anyone come immediately to mind?

As for the Marlins making a run at the Wild Card for under $20 million... I would hope even the idiots at the Trib would realize that unlike the Chicago National League Ballclub, the Marlins have actual young players with low salaries who are ready to play and succeed in the bigs. Of course, I could be wrong about people at the Trib being smart enough to see that.

What was said at the end of post #28 and then followed immediately by post #29 was classic!!!!

I did that just for my boy "C" who suddenly has nothing to say on the subject I challenged him on.

I guess he doesn't want to show his face around here anymore. I wouldn't either after claiming what he was claiming.

I am sure he will pop his head up in another thread and pretend like this sorry little episode never happened.

This is kind of scarey...

"Did you know? Through 153 games, Cubs starting pitchers have gone seven-plus innings 36 times, or 23.5 percent; eight innings in 11 games, and nine innings only once. Those are all-time lows for non-strike shortened seasons, according to Hartig.

Even more disheartening: Cubs starting pitchers have been unable to finish the fifth inning in 80 starts after 153 games."

Wow, that is some serious suck. Over 50% of the time our starters fail to finish the 5th.

Hmmm I might be swayed by the "we need pitching" crowd on that one. That is just unacceptable.

Though there are some bright spots emerging or showing flashes out of that dredge.

That's crazy, MikeC.

Still, when you enter a season with Glendon Rusch as your #2 starter, your asking for trouble. This was the year the Cubs weren't supposed to depend on Mark Prior or Kerry Wood, but the dirty secret is, when you have Glendon Rusch, Sean Marshall, & Jerome Williams in your starting rotation, you really are depending on a quick and successful rehab from Prior & Wood.

I used to be into the offense-driven type teams, but these days I'm understanding why they say 80% of baseball is pitching.

PS -- On Glendon Rusch, I really hate to kick a guy while he's down, and believe me I hope for a speedy recovery and return to his career. I'm simply saying he's not a #2 starter.

ANDREW: You might be giving the Tribune too much credit for business acumen, but even if the suits know what they're doing with spreadsheets and can accurately count beans, I really don't think they are good stewards for an MLB club.

I'm pretty sure you and many of the regulars here could operate the Cubs as well as (or no worse than) Larry Himes, Ed Lynch, Jim Hendry, et al, if you were given a list of the other 29 GMs cell phone numbers, a copy of the CBA, and a class in the Major Baseball Rule Book (the one that deals with options, outright assignments, etc).

My opinion of the Tribune Company suits is that they don't understand how best to operate a baseball team in order to make it a winner. Jim Hendry's main job is too make the Cubs "competitive," just atttractive enough to sell hope, Wrigley Field, and about three million tickets each season, but not necessarily more than that (although I'm sure the Trib would have no objection to the Cubs playing in the post-season or even the WS, but that isn't necessary in order to have a "successful season").

And when the club is not competitive (like the last two seasons), it's attributed to injuries to key players. Which actually is a plausible excuse. But there is no real accountability for failure, just more excuses.

Unless you are the Yankees, I believe the best way to build a successful MLB club is to ebb & flow like the Marlins have done over their history, starting at square one, developing the team as a group, adding pieces as the team becomes a contender, and then after pushing it over the top, go back to square one again. Like the Cosmic Egg.

That's actually what happened with the Cubs in the 1960's, the 1961-66 core that developed into the contending Durocher Cubs of 1967-72. But that would require spending more on the big club during the "winning periods," and a lot less on the big club and more on player development during the rebuilding periods. And that means "banking" payroll budgets for when they are needed, and then acting boldly and decisively as the club develops into a contender.

But the Trib doesn't think like that (oddly, Phil Wrigley DID take the "ebb & flow" approach, but he had other shortcomings, especially when it came to hiring the right people to operate the organization during the lean times). I doubt that the Trib would allow a Cub team president or GM to operate that way. The Trib suits want the Cubs to be "competitive," with a constant budget year-to-year to insure that. But when you strive for something less than excellence (that is, striving to just "be competitive"), you sometimes reach levels of comfortable mediocrity instead, and it isn't clear that you're there until later.

Taking the ebb & flow approach also means that fans have to believe in the philosophy and are willing to "go with the flow" (so to speak). The fans have to have a reason to trust that the guys running the team have some sort of plan and the ability to execute it.

Because you can B. S. all of the fans some of the time, and some of the fans all of the time, but you can't B. S. ALL of the fans ALL of the time.

I guess my main gripe is an unwillingness by the Trib to concede a season or two in order to bank payroll and develop players as a group that lead to excellence later. Of course, the GM has to be really sharp and focused on "excellence" even when the team is in transition (losing), and I don't believe Hendry thinks like that. Dallas Green did, though. So did Leo Durocher. And other than those two, I can't really think of any other Cub bosses who were like that in my lifetime.

By the way...

At the beginning of the year I very distinctly remember someone saying "The Marlins' wins per dollar spent will shock everyone" or something to that effect. Please reveal yourself.

You win a Wilkie button.

#158 of 162: By tbone (September 21, 2006 09:58 PM)
AZ Phil,

The pitching on those White Sox teams of the mid 60s were great. They won over 90 three or four years in a row and only hit just below or just above 100 homers each of those years. I remember the offense was so bad that pitcher Gary Peters was sometimes used as a pinch hitter. He was a good hitting pitcher but it was more a comment on how sad the bench was.

You also say the bullpen was full of unhittable knockleballers? Who besides Wilhelm threw a knockler? Did Fisher? I'm too tired to go over to baseball reference and start scanning Sox rosters from the 60s. Anyone come immediately to mind?

---

T-BONE: Yes. First Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher, and then Wilhelm and Wilbur Wood (before he was turned into a starting pitcher).

There was a lengthy article in today's Wall Street Journal regarding the Tribune, the Chandler partnerships and shareholder unrest. There is a lot in play there, with the Board under pressure to consider a number of alternatives, including selling assets. I hope that these issues do not further tie Hendry's hands. It may well be that Tribune executives will be focused on issues other than the Cubs for a while.

Still, when you enter a season with Glendon Rusch as your #2 starter, your asking for trouble.

First of all, Was there ever a point when Rusch was higher on the depth chart than Maddux? If not, he was never a #2 starter.

People also tend to forget that both Williams and Rusch performed reasonably well during their previous seasons with the Cubs, but that's another topic.

This was the year the Cubs weren't supposed to depend on Mark Prior or Kerry Wood,

I also don't think it's at all accurate to say 2006 was going to be the year that the Cubs stopped relying on Prior and Wood. Remember, before spring training there were no reports of injuries with Prior (just a history that many people called mostly fluke injuries), and there was virtual rage by many fans because rumors existed that Prior could be moved for Tejada. Wood was also being counted on. Remember, when he first had his surgery he was supposed to be ready for opening day - which of course kept getting moved back.

At the beginning of the year I very distinctly remember someone saying "The Marlins' wins per dollar spent will shock everyone" or something to that effect. Please reveal yourself.

I did say I expected the Marlins to do a lot better than people expected. However, I was thinking in terms of competing for 4th place in their division, not 4th in the Wildcard Race.

Actually, per dollar, it was almost inevitable the Marlins would be near the top - just like the DRays have had that honor in previous years. Even if they only won 40 games, their pitiful payroll would would work out to be 2.5 wins per million, compared to The A's and Twins who will be around 1.5 wins per million.

The one prediction I made that looks like it may come true: I said 85 wins could very easily take the NL Central this year - and right now the Cards are only 2 over .500.

MikeC:
"Even more disheartening: Cubs starting pitchers have been unable to finish the fifth inning in 80 starts after 153 games."

But I can see it now, if Howry or Eyre get hurt next year it will because Dusty overused them this year. FIRE DUSTY!!

Bleeding Blue:
"First of all, Was there ever a point when Rusch was higher on the depth chart than Maddux? If not, he was never a #2 starter."

I am sure Ryno was referring to the fact that Rusch started the 2nd game of the season. I think Baker just wanted Maddux to pitch against the Cardinals instead of Cincy and it was the home opener. But a case can be made he was the 3rd. STILL HORRIBLE!!!

in case anyone thought John Smotlz was going to be available, the Braves exercised his option today for next year. Only $8 mil too which seems like a sweet deal.

For those of you who just can't wrap their head around the old forecasting the future bit, consider this: Statistical analysis is utilized to predict (not foretell like Merlin or the Emperor from Star Wars, just predict like the weather) future results not just in baseball, but in EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY ON EARTH. So, you know, there's a chance it might be, like, useful.

"Solid statistical evidence" does not exist in baseball. You cannot in any way shape or form apply scientific statistical analysis to baseball. No situation is ever the same and conditions can never be controlled.

Whatever, Chad.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-bond...

Man, they're sending the Bonds reporters to jail for up to 18 months for not releasing the name of who leaked them the grand jury testimony. What a croc!!!!!

VIVA LA FREE SPEECH!!!

Well releasing Grand Jury testimony is a Federal crime.

Reporters think these rules don't apply to them and they are above the law.

Hey they have to obey the laws just as me and you would. They aren't special. They are getting what they deserve.

Horatio,

Stock analysts and weathermen don't face ninty mile an hour sliders. All while 40,000 screaming fans boo and heckle you. Weather fronts aren't worried if their wife will find out that they are cheating on them or if their brother's arrest for a weapons charge is going to get dropped.

GET IT?

So not the right place, but re: 174.
The free press is absolutely critical and has been critical througought this generation in unconvering massive fraud and corruption, from everything from local governments to major corruporations to the President of the United states. The Press MUST be protected, they must be able to do their jobs of investigative reporting, and there must be an outlet for whistleblowers to go to someone anonymously and be protected. This new trend of locking up reporters is nothing more than an attempt to shut down the whole idea of investigative reporting. It is meant to strike fear in reporters and blur the line as to what can be reported and what can't....but ultimately, this is all designed to shut up whistleblowers. Whistleblowers know they are no longer protected, they can no longer be anonymous...and the consequences of that is downright frightening. The free press, the ability for the press to investigate and follow information from the bottom up and the ability for sources to remain anonymous in the press is an absolutely essential check and balance system that has been part of this country for our entire life time...and losing that puts us all in jeopardy.

This honestly scares me far more then the wiretaps and library logs and other stuff that gets more press in terms of restricting personal rights...I think this has a profoundly long term effect on how our government and large corporations operate, as they know they will be able to get away wiyth things they have never been able to get away with in the past.

Also, while I feel the Bush administration has opened the door for this in their hard nose crack down of the press...I think this goes far beyond party and far beyond this administration. I think it goes to the entire government and corporate culture and the dominating control they have over media. While I'd like to think Democrats would have more respect for the importance of the press and investigative journalism...I have come to the conclusion that these tactics will continue long past this AG ands this administration no matter who is in the Whitehouse.

The press must be able to report on information they recieve without the fear of prosecution...that is the essence of the idea of free speech. The press did not leak the grand jury testimony...the press is reporting the information they were given...the source leaked the testimony. And if the prosecutors aren't able to solve a case and figure out the source of the leak on their own, then it shows a real problem with the prosecution.

This really has me far more angry then the stupid partisan stuff I argue on a daily basis...the consequences of what is going on in this regards is huge and we are already feeling the effects. Many local newspapers have already dropped their government investigative reporting columns nad columnists because they are too frightened the paper is at risk. Scary, scary stuff.

Eventually, when Democrats recapture the whitehouse and have the same policy for their appointed prosecutors...I fully believe that partisans like Mike C will start viewing it from a very different angle, and there will be a massive bi-partisan revolt against this suppression of media and whistleblowers.

Dude, Woodward and Bernstein should have been shot for treason.

"Well releasing Grand Jury testimony is a Federal crime."

Mike, I'm pretty sure I corrected you on this months ago. The reporters are not going to jail for releasing grand jury testimony. It's absolutely critical to understand that in understanding the full scope of what is going on here.

What I'm curious about is where the outrage was by the right who attacks the journalism industry now when there were dozens of leaks on the Clinton/Lewinsky case. I certainly don't remember any journalists being locke up for witholding sources there, and I don't think Republicans were too worried about those journalists getting special protection then.

Anyway, I suppose I should make a topical comment since I hijacked this thread...my apologies.

It may be false hope, but I really would have to think Hendry knows "The Hendry Way" hasn't been working...and therefore will step well outside the box in a list ditch attempt to fix the problems facing the Cubs. I feel as if what AZ Phil suggest is the exact same type of thinking that Hendry has used the last 2 years that have been unqualified failures. I really have to think he knows he is going to have to stir the pot a bit and not just try to fill some gaps here and there. A 67 win team needs a hell of a lot more then some gaps filled.

But...I said the exact same thing at this time last year...that Hendry wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Boy was I wrong.

that was fantastic Block and exactly how I feel, gracias

Chad,

I thought you were just a stupid baseball fan, but it turns out you're a stupid facist baseball fan. How nice.

Is anyone else sick of reading the comments between chad and horatio? any chance of moving to a more forum style format so we can set people to ignore?

Blockhead25 -- I agree with your assessment of the direction Hendry is going to go. Like you, I said this same thing last year, but I think the situation has changed a bit. Hendry isn't going to fix the Cubs problems by tweaking things. The team needs to make a lot of changes and Hendry is going to have to "think outside the box" (to use a horribly overused cliche) if he is going to build a contender in 2007.

I also have to say that I think Az Phil is spot on with his assessment of Hendry, assuming Hendry continues to do what he has always done. I just don't think he can afford to do it again in 2007. Of course, maybe that is my heart talking instead of my head. As a life long Cubs fan, I always think next year is going to be the year.

You guys must be really steamed about the Plame investigation then, eh?

Did the Trib suits get really smart in 2003/2004, then really stupid in 2005/2006?

In 2003, they nearly won the pennant, then they added Derrek Lee, Greg Maddux and Nomar to that team and gave up nothing.

Those damn suits.

Journalists need to follow the laws exactly the way any normal person follows the laws. There is not one set of standards for them and another set of standards for the rest of us. Grand Jury testimony is kept private for a reason. Violate it and the Federal Government will come after you.

Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that the prosecutor, grand jurors, and the grand jury stenographer are prohibited from disclosing what happened before the grand jury, unless ordered to do so in a judicial proceeding. Secrecy was originally designed to protect the grand jurors from improper pressures. The modern justifications are to prevent the escape of people whose indictment may be contemplated, to ensure that the grand jury is free to deliberate without outside pressure, to prevent subornation of perjury or witness tampering prior to a subsequent trial, to encourage people with information about a crime to speak freely, and to protect the innocent accused from disclosure of the fact that he or she was under investigation.

That is a serious crime. And just because it was Barry Bonds, doesn't make it cool. He is a citizen like the rest of us. Should he not be allowed the same protections of the Federal Court system? Or is it just because he is Barry Bonds we throw out laws that are supposed to protect him?

I don't like Bonds at all, you know that from the discussions in the past on him. But the way this info came about was through leaked Grand Jury Testimony which Bonds has legal protection against.

The laws still apply to Bonds. Just cuz he is an asshole doesn't mean we strip him of those rights.

Joe C and everybody,

I apologize for making the forums a less pleasant space to visit. No more arguing at length with Chad or anyone else.

MikeC,

I absolutely agree. "The Press" is anyone who has a press, which, in these days of Internet and blogs, is practically everyone who wants one. There isn't a special segment of the population called "the press" who obey a different set of laws. The freedom of the press set forth in the Constitution is really just freedom of speech. The freedom of the press means that you can mass distribute any sort of idea (within some obvious constraints) you want. What it does not mean is that if you're lucky enough to have a column at the NY Times or Sun Times or SF Chronicle (as opposed to DailyKos, Red State, or other online news/discussion sites) you get to violate existing laws. There is nothing like a patient/doctor or attorney/client privilege in the world of journalism.

But a case can be made he was the 3rd. STILL HORRIBLE!!!

Come on, Manny, can you at least pretend to be intelletcually honest?

You can't sit here and bitch that it was HORRIBLE that Rusch was considered the #3 starter, when you were the most vocal person Damning Hendry last offseason for even allowing a rumor to circulate that Prior might be traded for Tejada. Obviously, even you were counting on Prior to be a part of the rotation this year, so don't try to bend reality to fit your spin.

The Cubs were counting on Prior and Wood, however foolish that was in retrospect. Rusch was supposed to be battling with Williams - and eventually Miller - for the 5th spot in the rotation, while providing some insurance if Wood's return was delayed. But you can't just look back at how things played out and say that was the plan from the very beginning.

To clarify, journalists may want to protect their sources for the sake of being able to utilize them again in the future, but there is no legal protection for them. Sources should realize that they are disclosing information with the risk that they will be revealed if ordered by a court. I realize some people fear for the future of investigative journalism, but the prospect of a tiered legal system in which I am compelled to reveal what I know while others are not compelled to do so frightens me.

"According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Girardi will be out as Marlins manager after just one season."

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

Bleeding Blue: People also tend to forget that both Williams and Rusch performed reasonably well during their previous seasons with the Cubs, but that's another topic.

I happened to not have very high expectations of those two. And I'm being nice saying it that way...

Ryno, March 24, 2006 10:33 AM: ...I happen to think offense is much more important than defense anyways...Especially when starter 3-5 is Williams, Rusch...

Also, said this little bit about Rich Hill...

Ryno, January 23, 2006 01:13 PM: Once [Hill] learns control, he'll ring up MLB strikeouts like he has minor league strikeouts. He's just a kid yet (only a year older than Z), and he'll learn control. The Cubs were wise to hang onto him.

Don't mean to toot my own horn, but hey hey hey...

There is nothing like a patient/doctor or attorney/client privilege in the world of journalism.

Actually, in most states there are Journalist Privilage/Reporter Shield laws that prevent this sort of thing from happening.

However, there is no such Federal Law, which is why this sort of thing is fairly common in Federal Cases. The courts have consistantly ruled that Journalists have no right to protect their sources in federal cases. Until congress changes the law, this will keep happening.

However, this has nothing to do with Republican and Democrats. You're just hearing more about it now, because some journalists have fought - and been willing to go to jail - in a few high profile cases.

And if they had added Vlad Guerrero, we would have been in the post-season in 2004 and probably 2005.

The biggest hole going into this season was starting pitching, a hole Hendry should have seen and addressed and not gambled on the "durability (not) twins."

Dear Chad, I guess the second law of thermodynamics needs to be dropped from physics since it is a "mere" statistical law. There is no "certainity" that every ordered state will progress to a more disordered state, just statistically "probable."

Regarding momentum, on Monday night the Dodgers staged one of the most incredible comebacks in baseball history. Astounding (and very improbable). They then promptly lost 3 straight to the Pirates. So much form momentum.

Given the problems in the Tribune Company, the good news is that it does increase the possibility that the team may be sold as the company concentrates on core print and internet businesses and the broadcasting part of the company is spun-off (as the Cubs are primarily of interest in to the Trib in providing below-market rate programing for its cable and broadcast channels). The bad news is if they keep the Cubs, they may tell McPhail and Hendry to deeply cut player payroll, front office payroll, and farm system investment, as they are doing at all there other divisions.

I happened to not have very high expectations of those two. And I'm being nice saying it that way...

There have always been people who have thought that Rusch's previous seasons in Chicago were flashes in the pan. But he had put up decent numbers in the past, and the plan was really that he would be fighting for the 5th rotation spot while providing some depth for injuries.

Williams is an odd case. By late March, yes, people saw plenty of reasons to be conserned, but I've never been able to figure out how he fell so far so fast. He put up good numbers for the Cubs last year, and he'd shown some sucess during his years with the Giants too. Based on his age and his past performance, I don't think it was unreasonable at all last offseason to expect that he would contribute to the rotation.

Again, in retrospect, it was a foolish plan. But the fact is that the Cubs were counting on Prior and Wood, which is why a lot of people who should have been at the bottom of the rotation ended up in places they had no business being.

BLOCKHEAD25: But...I said the exact same thing at this time last year...that Hendry wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Boy was I wrong.

I was pretty well shocked too. In fact, I sent him a letter suggesting that he not count on injured pitchers and please get some bullpen help.

Like I would ever get an answer! He did one of the two, though. But without starting pitching - we see what happened.

I would have enjoyed seeing Eric Beddard on the North Side for a few years.

In all fairness, the big-money free agent pitchers I don't think have done THAT well this year. Ponson (well, not big$$)? Lowe? Meche is ok.

ALL of his eggs got SMASHED. Wade - instead of May - we see in Sept.!

Hendry did NOT learn from his mistakes and I'll be happy to see him gone after the next two years.

There's a lot of revisionist history regarding the rotation. Prior's injury in '05 was the freak elbow break, and he appeared to have recovered from that by the end of the season. Wood looked great out of the pen before shutting down for minor surgery, which left at least a glimmer of hope that he would be healthy for '06. Williams finished the season great and Rusch looked solid as a starter all year.

I don't think it was that unreasonable for Hendry to count on Z, Prior, Maddux as a solid 1-3 combo, and then assume that out of Wood, Rusch, Williams, Hill, and the added Wade Miller, you'd get a decent 4-5 combo.

After reading this massive post and realizing that 50% of it is Chad and Horatio ripping each other over the same argument that they did yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and the day before that...I have realized something.

Chad = Joan Behar
Horatio = Star Jones

I think we all get the point of the arguments, and can you just agree to disagree on your differing point-of-views regarding statisical analysis and it value.

Just thought someone needed to say it

The Tribune Company announced yesterday that it had voted to establish a special committee to explore alternatives for creating shareholder value, as had been demanded by significant shareholders in the past. After a five hour board meeting yesterday, Tribune CEO Dennis FitzSimons said "Everything's on the table." This move is widely considered to "[clear] the way for a range of outcomes, including the sale of individual properties, the breakup of the company, or taking it private," as set forth in the below NY Times article. It will be interesting to see what impact this exploratory process will have on the Cubs.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-06...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/business/me...

A major development. Does anyone have Mark Cuban's telephone number?

"Tribune to Consider Selling Some Media Assets By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE The Tribune Company said it had taken steps that could lead to the sale of any or all of its 11 newspapers and 25 television stations."

"http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/business/me...

I don't know why people assume a sale would benefit the club. We're just as likely--hell, more likely--to get a new owner who realizes that the Cubs will generate a lot of income regardless of their win/loss record and will slash payroll and the development budget accordingly.

I know it has been mentioned and probably talked to death by now, but it would appear that Giradi will be available after the season is over. But the point I want to bring up is the one that the Marlins are starting to make. How much of a difference does a manager make? As much as people on this site, and it would seem through out Chicago, hate Dusty, would it have mattered who was managing this team this year? They are making an argument to make it seem ok to fire a manager who has done a very good job. That still leaves the question open though.

"I don't know why people assume a sale would benefit the club. We're just as likely--hell, more likely--to get a new owner who realizes that the Cubs will generate a lot of income regardless of their win/loss record and will slash payroll and the development budget accordingly."

The Trib is so bad that I'm willing to roll the dice. The choice you give is simple. You want to see a crappy team that gets paid 50 million or one that gets paid 100 million? Personally, I just don't want to see crappy teams anymore and I'm ready to hope the next owner can't be worse and will probably be better.

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