The Dilemma With Dusty

I know, the last thing anyone really wants to read is another freakin' piece bashing Dusty Baker. Do not fear, that's not what this is about. This one is all on Sir Hendry. Back in July, Hendry stated that Dusty would stick through the season and Hendry would "try to move expediently and make a decision as to what direction to go" once the season ended. Well that's all well and good and I do hope that the only thing he's deciding at this point is whether to fire Baker on the Monday morning following our last game versus the Rockies or do it right after the game to save Baker a trip back out to the office to clean out his collection of war books and designer toothpicks. My concern and where I believe Hendry may have taken a misstep is not taking care of this mess a whole lot sooner. What worries me is that the Cubs have a couple of guys on the team who will be vying for new deals this off-season, most notably Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre. When it comes to wooing free agents, itís my opinion that 98% of the decision-making is based on the money offered, with the other 2% a mixture of locale, amenities, manager, cronies and other such intangibles. But when trying to retain your own guys, I think the intangible percentage can play a bit of a higher factor especially if you want to sign those players for a few bucks less than they may get on the open market, which, of course, is certainly a wise business decision. While the image of the modern ballplayers is one with dollar signs in their eyes and no sense of loyalty to their current teams, more a collection of mercenaries for hire rather than a group of soldiers fighting for a common ideal, I do believe that it's not quite that grim of a picture. I think most players would prefer to stay where they're at rather than go through the process of uprooting themselves and their family, having to worry about fitting into a new team, and all the other headaches of finding a new place to play. Granted, millions of dollars tend to soothe those headaches a lot easier, but I still think it's part of the decision-making process, albeit a small one. It's also my feeling that the longer the player has played in one place, the more they want to stay. And as you start taking things away that are familiar to that player, that's a few less reasons holding them here.. And this is where I think Hendry may have messed up. Now Pierre already stated once that he doesn't want to come back if Baker is gone although he changed his tune recently. Plus he hasn't even been here a year, so I doubt he's going to be doing the Cubs any favors to stay. Ramirez is a bit of a different story. He's been here now since the middle of 2003 and has enjoyed the same successes and failures that Baker has as manager. Ramirez has at times come out in support of Baker as well. If Baker does get shown the door, do we lose some advantage in trying to retain either of these two players, particularly Ramirez? Is it one less thing holding these players to the Cubs? If Baker does go, would it have been better to make the move back in June or July so that the players could acclimate themselves to the new manager? Of course that assumes we'd have hired his replacement immediately rather than going with the more likely scenario of an interim manager. But even if the Cubs had gone that route, would it have been a good pre-emptive strike to let the players know that changes are definitely coming for next season, to get comfortable in a new working environment. Yes, more questions than answers, but I'm failing to see the advantage to keeping Baker through the season, IF he was inevitably going to be shown the door anyway. This could be much ado about nothing. Ramirez might not give a damn about Baker, he might be determined to test the free agent waters no matter what or he might hate Baker secretly and is only coming back if Baker goes. But since our last poll was such a rousing success, I thought I'd pose the question. If keeping Dusty Baker means keeping Aramis Ramirez, do you bring Baker back? I understand it's a bit of a loaded question and there are circumstances and situations unknown to most of us that could sway the vote either way. But for purposes of this poll, let's assume Ramirez enjoys playing for Baker and as long as the Cubs offer is comparable to others he may receive from other teams, one of the ultimate factors for him staying is the presence or absence of Dusty Baker in the manager's role. So how say you, loyal readers?
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Comments

wow...

that's a loaded one and a half...for anyone voting aram off the cubs their backup plan should be interesting.

i dont want *ANY* "brand-name" manager here, myself, though...im kinda sick of hearing about them (baylor/baker) insted of the 25+ other guys with gloves and bats. i dont want dusty, pinella, frank robinson, etc...not even davey johnson.

Yes, the players are a way bigger part of this game than the manager. Personally, I think he's an imbecile, but if Pierre and Ramirez want him... fine.

Dusty must go. He has instituted a culture among the team that is not conducive to winning. He came in with the "Why not us?" attitude but after the 2003 season he was reduced to being a victim. It may be possible for him to change his tune and the overall tone of the team, but I think it makes more sense to bring in someone new who can change the culture of the team from the very beginning.

As much as I like ARam, it's not worth it to me to keep Baker in order to keep him. But of course, if ARam walks, the team will need a back up plan. I like AZ Phil's idea of signing Pedro Feliz and using the money saved on Alfonso Soriano. Phil's plan also called for a trade to acquire Vernon Wells. I like that plan much better than keeping both Dusty and ARam.

Talent wins, gentlemen. Baseball manager is probably the most over-rated head coach in sports, as baseball is largely an individual game with a bit of teamwork thrown in.

Was Ozzie a genius last year and a fool this one? Was Dusty brilliant in 2003 and stupid in 2006 (OK, don't answer that)? Do the Yankees always make the playoffs because of Torre's great managing?

Corey and LaTroy flamed out; A-Ram and DLee blossomed. If we blame Dusty for the former, we should credit him for the latter.

As much as I am not a fan of how Dusty manages, if it means that the Cubs are more likely to keep A-Ram and sign CZ to a long-term deal, then keep Dusty.

By the way -- great quotes from Keryy Wood in today's paper, about having a sense of "obligation" to Chicago. Bring him back in the pen -- if nothing else, it would be exciting when he comes in.

First, I don't think Dusty wants to stay. But if he did, I think Hendry would grant him an extension. One of the reasons Hendry gave for hiring Dusty is that he would attract players. Dusty made a comment that if he did come back, he would not be happy about having both Hill and Gallagher in the rotation. I could make a wise crack about Dusty not liking young players,, but I don't think Dusty feels that way because Hill and Gallagher are young, but because he evaluates them as best suited to be number 4 or 5 starters on a contending team. And he may be right there.

However, the irony of this situation is that it is likely Ramirez and perhaps Pierre will leave regardless. Ramirez and his agent have won their bet and he will be one of the hot items on this year's free agent market, with Boston, both Southern California teams, and perhaps the Giants hot to sign him, say for around $15 million a year for five years. Pierre is going to get pursued by the White Sox and couple of other teams, but fact is Hendry is enamored with him and all that "speed," so any other team will have to beat a Cubs offer that will probably be between $25 to $30 million dollars for three years.

After watching Martinez get lit up last night, I don't see how Zito or Schmidt won't wind up in New York as both New York teams will have their checkbooks out this off-season looking for starting pitching.

Paul Sullivan in today's Trib threw out that their end of season management meetings that Cubs will discuss whether the should "move" Mark Prior, for which, with his current value, they may receive three magic beans in return. Many on TCR are also sour on Prior, but it seems to me that Cubs management is being driven more by emotion and frustration then rational calculation. Prior still has the potential to be a devastating pitcher; its just that you can't make him the corner stone of your rotation. But Cubs management needs new scapegoats for their failures every year (since all their decisions and judgements are brilliant and infallible), to go along with the always reliable bad karma, and this year the scapegoats are injuries, Prior being a headcase, and the racist fans. In 2005 it was injuries, Corey Patterson, and fans not supporting the team in enough. In 2004, it was Sammy's, Stoney's and Skip's fault. And of course, in 2003, Bartman takes the hit for the team. Instead of compounding this year's mistake of building a rotation around 3 starters with injury histories (Wood, Prior, and Miller), bring Prior in and pencil him as the No. 5 starter (and I do mean pencil). But then, the Cubs management is a compound of foolishiness, hope, and arrogance so I expect the worse.

One final comment. Jaques Jones took a lot criticism from folks on TCR before he ever swung a bat for the Cubs, me included, so I will have to say that in othewise dismal season, he produced all you could expect from a mid-level free agent signing and had a great year at the plate. Yes, his throwing arm is pretty bad and his base running carried on the tradition of Mo Alou and J. Burnitz, and he probably should sit against most left handers. But against right haned pitching he is money in the bank. He, along with Murton and Pierre, who all have their faults, at least raised the Cubs outfield up to average from the excreable level it was last year. Unfortunately, this year it was the infield (outside of Ramirez) turn to stink as, in part due to D. Lee's injury, the Cubs gave 800 abs to arguably the two worse players in major league baseball this season, Ronny Cedeno and Nefi Perez and the starting rotation imploded even more then it had in 2005. Oy vay!

Why do so many people think the V. Wells is available? The Blue Jays invested pretty heavily last off-season, so it seems like they will spend to win. I don't know if the Jays have a replacement ready, or if Wells is unhappy?

Get rid of Dusty. If that is enough for ARAM and Pierre to leave, too, fine, whatever. I guess I disagree with the sentiment that the manager makes little difference to a team's outcome. Sure, the players are the ones who are on the field. But I think Dusty's style has not been well-suited to this team. It will all work out in the end - that seems to be Dusty's attitude. Well, I think these guys needed a manager who made them practice more during the season, ie, fielding practice. I just will never forget Dusty giving the guys the entire day off in Minneapolis on a Thursday in June and then how poorly so many of the players adapted to playing in the dome, where they got swept and played badly to boot. Maybe they should have had a mandatory practice that day?? You think?? I read the quotes by Scott Eyre, that he came here because Dusty's reputation is that he does not make guys run or work that hard. Sorry, but that is not the type of player I want on my team. Somewhere on the list that player's have re: where they want to play is a place where the manager has the stuff to win a world series. How many guys on this team seriously think that about Dusty? Oh, sure, they will sing all their platitudes about Dusty to the media but how many of them do you think seriously believe that Dusty has what it takes to win (barring being on a team with four or five all stars)?

On JJ and JP:

I was one of the few supporting JJones this year. I am glad the majority of you are reasonable enough to recognize that he was overall a player of value to this team. And, as I've pointed out the similarity of the deal/player value with that of Encarnacion's signing by the Cards.

If you didn't catch this last night after the game, Dan Pleisac was on Comcast for their last wrap of the season.

It was his strong opinion that Juan Pierre should be signed to a deal on the North Side in order for them to make it to the Playoffs. He stated, "...he'll go get anything hit in Center Field..."and his 200 hits still is impressive.

HE also remarked on the fact that the bullpen is good now, but will be very good when they don't have to pitch 4-5 innings every game!

In his "I Predict" rotation for next year, he had Prior/Miller as a number 5! Stated the obvious that the team have to either move to the future with him - or cut bait.

Also he had a couple interesting Aramis comments proposing what we know: Does the team punt on Ramirez, spend the money in other ways - combined with youth - and build towards '08 - OR - do they resign (runnin' with the devil) him and sink or swim with the new manager and piece together a team with a "win now" plan?

ROB: I want to thank you for maintaining this blog all season. It is a bit of work to start all of these threads and to come up with some headline gems as you have.

It is great to have a place to come for Cub group therapy.

I think it's usually a questionable call to let contracts ride until the very end. Both parties lose their leverage as the expiration approaches and often the result is not pretty. Plus, lame ducks of any stripe are rarely effective leaders. Contract deadlines are put there to motivate a decision, such as a renewal or termination, but they really aren't designed to actually be reached. Bad example here, but it's sort of like a corn futures contract, no one really wants to take delivery of all those bushels of corn; the delivery date exists merely to provide the impetus for the option to buy or sell. Pretty much every single futures investor would rather take a loss than end up with 100,000 bushels of corn on their doorstep. I like the recent Phil Rogers article. He's right. The time to do something with Dusty was last year, but there was too much drama surrounding Hendry's contract situation. For that, the blame can be laid squarely on the distracted Andy McPhail, who, I believe, spends far more time thinking about squeezing the last dollar out of the Bud Light bleachers, than he does the welfare of the team. Dusty needs to go, that's for sure. Any manager who actually considers walks to clog up the bases does not deserve to be making decisions affecting the fate of a MLB ballclub. But this has been a team effort. The Cubs are a failure from top to bottom.

Well Rob G. fear not Hendry does have one loyal employee- Kerry Wood.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

He's throwing from 60 feet now!!!
Only 6 inches more to go.

Ugh.

Another American job outsourced-

WSCR said that Phil Rogers was reporting in the Trib that the Cubs were interested in Nippon Ham Fighther manager Tom Hillman to replace Dusty.

Forget Dusty. Heís a dead man walking. He may not know when his meeting is with Hendry, but Iím pretty sure itís Monday morning around nine. And he should pack as much as possible in advance.

You trade one Neifi and Dusty creates two more, Cedeno and Mabry, guys you canít get out of the lineup no matter what they do. Last night Mabry struck out twice with a man on third and less than two outs, when it was 0-0 in the fifth and again when it was 2-2 in the ninth.

Veterans appreciate Dusty because heís a nice guy and he gives them at bats. (The guy who appreciates Dusty the most is Burnitz, who should have given Dusty a bigger percentage of his two-year contract with the Pirates than he gave his agent.) I wonder how much Theriot and Moore appreciate him. In order for Theriot to get a chance to do what heís doing now under Dusty, the following things had to happen: Neifi had to be traded. Walker had to be traded. Izturis had to be injured, otherwise Cedeno would be playing second. Even then, Theriot had to share second with Bynum until Bynum made those three errors. And Theriotís done everything right, every day. But itís not about what you do, itís about the pecking order.

In spite of the fact that Hendry wanted to see Moore play, either as trade bait or to strengthen his negotiating position with Ramirez, Moore is only getting starts because Mabry and now Ramirez have been injured.

The veterans also like to win, so I'm sure they have mixed feelings, whatever they tell the newspapers.

IMHO, Pierre and Ramirez are just being good soldiers by backing Dusty. If the Cubs want them back and the money's right, something tells me they'll steer their way clear to return.

I've never been a full-on Dusty Supporter, except for '03 -- sharp-eyed readers will note that I've never really praised him, despite being "accused" as doing so. But he's got to go. It's just time. He can't honestly be blamed for a lot of what went on, but there are just times when you have to make a change. This is one of them.

*Addendum

Forgot to add that, yes, he can also be blamed for a lot of what went on. Just not all of it.

I copied thes stats from today's Baseball Propsectus open to the Public home page at http://www.baseballprospectus.com with their rating of the top five NL 3rd baseman. Under the fair use doctrine there is no legal objection to posting this copy just in case anyone is wondering. Notice who is not on the list. And I would rate Ryan Zimmerman and Scott Rolen in front of Ramirez. Should we let him go and try to get Cabrera in a couple of years?

STAT OF THE DAY

Top 5 2006 NL Third Basemen, by VORP

Player Team EqA VORP
Miguel Cabrera FLO .331 75.4
Garrett Atkins COL .306 55.2
David Wright NYN .305 52.6
Chipper Jones ATL .324 51.1
Freddy Sanchez PIT .290 44.9

Re Wade Miller: I think that the uncertain future of Mark Prior makes it impossible for Miller to return in 2007.

With Z as our #1 starter, and Hill's inexperience making him no higher than #4, Hendry has to add solid, proven starters at #2 and #3. Prior has the ability fill one of those roles, but no one (probably even Prior) knows if he will be able to pitch at all.

So Hendry can't count on Prior, but at the same time he must prepare for the possibility that Prior can indeed help this team in '07. The only way he can do that is to pencil a kid (Marshall/Mateo/an improved Guzman) in at #5 who can pitch if Prior can't pitch, or can be sent to the minors if Prior can. Unfortunately, Miller doesn't provide that kind of roster flexibility, and he hasn't come back far enough to guarantee a #3 slot in the rotation.

So I am betting that Miller and the Cubs part ways, that some team signs him for $2 million next year, and he ends up being a solid starter.

VA Phil-

You forgot the great Tony Womack experience, when Theriot got 1 ab in 4 weeks.

"This could be much ado about nothing."

Yes, I mean Furcal chose no manager over Dusty to go to the Dodgers.

That and the extra $$$$.

Which is what it comes down to, "follow the money." I still believe that Aram and Hendry have an agreement otherwise he would of traded him at the deadline.

Wow, another top 5 season from Chipper.

Question: is Chipper Jones a HOFer? I think so.

Which is what it comes down to, "follow the money." I still believe that Aram and Hendry have an agreement otherwise he would of traded him at the deadline.

I'd love to believe that about Hendry, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

You guys. Who cares about Ramirez and Pierre?

They choked the season away in May and June when we needed them the most. They like Dusty, because he totally caters to them and doesnt yell or scream. F DAT.

If you can get Girardi, you freakin do it. The Sox got Ozzie and they built a team around what he wanted. And they won the WS.

Girardi could be the manager of the cubs for 10-15 years. He's from here and everyone in the business knows he can manage. Proven by his stellar performance in Florida with a 15m payroll.

Pierre is so overrated. If and its a big if, if he could hit .320 he could be a valuable leadoff hitter. the fact that he doesnt take walks or see a lot of pitches makes him very one dimension as a leadoff hitter. Can only help you if he gets hits. Not that easy. He doesnt have a good arm and wrigley field doesnt have big alleys for doubles and triples. Also Pie is close, so if you bring back pierre, then you have to trade Pie. Could smoke us down the road.

Aram is good, but i'd let him walk and spend the money elsewhere. I would not lock him up for another 5 years or whatever.

The cubs need to make a big run at Tejada. They have no great options at SS. Izturis stinks. Starting Pitching should also be the big focus. Freddy Garcia could probably be had. Westbrook is a very good ground ball pitcher.

Lofton and Pie could split CF next year. Lofton cant play everyday anyways.

Pie, Theriot, Murton, Hill, eventually Moore and Patterson all could be parts of this roster with Dlee and Barret as leaders with Zambrano.

If you add a Tejada and 2 Front line starters, you might have something.

while i do nominally agree with the general concept that baseball manager is terribly overrated as a position, this team cannot go with dusty anymore.

until dusty is gone, we will continue to get neifi batting second for well over a season's worth of games while murton hits seventh, corey hitting leadoff during a pennant race when he can't find first base to save his life, a persecution complex where no one is held accountable for what they do and there's always someone outside of the clubhouse to blame, "days off" for "veteran" position players while starters rarely pitch less than 110, sunday lineups that include macias, etc.

i like ramirez a lot, but to me the way you answer a question like this is "which way would help the cubs win the world series the soonest?". to me, getting rid of dusty's way of thinking is worth having a worse shot at getting ramirez. I don't really think that hendry thinks the same way as dusty (probably too optimistic) so i'd like to see what he does without him, and when he's got two years to fight for his job.

I'm just waiting for a manager that would hit kevin youkilis leadoff (power and on-base) instead of juan pierre (neither). that would be my litmus test. while i don't expect that sort of forward thinking from hendry, i certainly think we couldn't get further from that by dumping dusty.

i'll settle for hitting murton second instead of izturis....which next year's manager better do, or he'll hear it from us starting on april 1.

Horatio-
He should be fired on the spot if Aram walks, he should of have been fired earlier for counting on Wood and Prior.

"The cubs need to make a big run at Tejada"
So Aram walks and the option is to hopefully deal for Tejada(who was persued last winter by Cubs)to play short. Who's your third baseman?

It's interesting to note that Hendryball's approach is exactly that taken by many teams, Marlins and Tigers being the prime examples, who start young lineups (peppered with a few impact vets) who grow into themselves and eventually become good. Seeing how the Cubs never go down this road, it might be fun just to try it for a couple, three years and see how it turns out. Seems to work for other teams.

What's bad about the Cubs is they don't take the Marlins' approach of youth and they ALSO don't take the Mets' approach of signing top FAs. Instead, the Cubs occupy the no man's land of Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones. I think we all now realize where that path leads.

My experience has been that I almost always would much prefer to keep my current boss than take a chance on an unknown new boss. Even if I think my current boss is a long way from perfect, at least he is a known quantity. And even if I have a boss I don't like, if somebody asks me "on the record:" if I would like a different boss, I would naturally tell them that I am happy with the current one.

I suspect what Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre would want to know is:

1. Regardless of who the new manager might be, is Jim Hendry going to try and build a contending team for 2007, or will he be in a "rebuilding" mode next season?
If the answer is "rebuilding," or even if Hendry just hesitates in his response, then Pierre and Ramirez are gone in 60 seconds. My belief is that Hendry fully intends to try and build a contending team in 2007, and will express that clearly to both Ramirez and Pierre.

2. Who is going to be the new manager, and how is the new manager going to be different from the previous one (Dusty)?
If the new manager is a hyper-disciplinarian boot camp drill sergeant, that might be bad news for Aramis Ramirez. If the new manager believes stolen base attempts should be used judiciously, that would be bad news for Pierre.

3. Will I be able to excel under a new manager?
For instance, Juan Pierre would probably most want to know "Does the new manager like to run?". And Aramis Ramirez would probably want to know "Is the new manager going to MF in public me if I don't hustle to first base on a ground out, or if I stand and watch a home run?".

Hiring a Latin manager (like Fredi Gonzalez or Joey Cora) might make a difference to Ramirez, because he might feel that a Latin manager might understand players from Puerto Rico, the Dominican, and Venezuela better than a lot of native U. S. managers do (and I suspect Dusty is NOT considered one of the "Ugly Americans" by Latin players, which is why Aramis probably likes him OK).

So if he really wants one or both of them to return in 2007 (and probably beyond), the main thing Hendry needs to do is make it clear to Ramirez and Pierre that he fully intends to put together a contending team for 2007, and then he needs to hire a new manager ASAP, so that Ramirez can figure out for himself if the new manager will be a good or bad "personality" fit for him. Same goes for Pierre, but with Pierre (as I said), he just needs to know if the new manager "likes to run."

But the MAIN thing is the $$$$. It is indeed mostly ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

I really doubt that ARAM or JP are really going to make their decision based on what the Cubs do with Dusty. I bet that they were trying to back up a guy that they really do like while everyone else was tearing him down. I am not a fan of Dusty, but the fan base turned on him in a big way and I believe that some of his players were going to his defense. Dusty has a reputation as a player's manager and that is probably what you saw.

That being said, if you allow the players to dictate who the manager is then aren't you allowing the inmates to run the assylum so to speak? IF the only way that ARAM will stay is to bring Dusty back, then i don't think he has the character that you want on your ballclub. We had one "bigger than the game" type of superstar before with Sammy. We have all heard the stories about what the clubhouse was like with him around. We don't need that type of player.

On the field I don't want to see ARAM leave, but he can't decide who the manager is.

Lumping Aram and JP together is a little misguided. Without Aram, the Cubs would have another(!!) major offensive hole to fill. Without JP, the Cubs would be he exact same team. Honestly, I'm more worried about Hendry not re-signing Hank White. He's one of the best back-up C's in baseball and it'd be a shame to let him go.

Right on, Horatio.

That is exactly right, by the way the Cubs passed 3 million in attendance last night.

Hopefully the Cubs can get Gary Sheffield.

Ugh.

If the Cubs fail to resign Pierre and Ram, what signal does that send to any potential FA's? As much as players like the money, once they get the money, they want to win.

And as hard as it is going to be to entice a good FA here after this train-wreck of a season, it will be darn near impossible if Pierre and Ram walk.

If they walk, the Cubs will have to adopt a "go young" philosophy. And if they do, the media and fans will scream that the Cubs are being cheap and cheating the 3 million fans who pay top dollar to attend games.

Hendry is stuck. he has to resign both Pierre and Ram, even if he overpays to do it. And the agents for both players know it.

I don't know about Sheff. He's a bit too old and injury prone (that's all the Cubs need, eh?) for my taste.

Apropos to AZ Phil's comment, if Hendry really thinks he can build for 2007, then you know for a fact he's more concerned with "looking like" he wants to win than he is with "actually wanting" to win. 2008 is the soonest that the Cubs can realistically be "competitive" (to use a Hendryism). Rebuild, man!! Rebuild!!

fans will scream that the Cubs are being cheap and cheating the 3 million fans who pay top dollar to attend games.

I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say that the satisfaction level they derive from the Cubs product is based on how much money the players make. Cubs fans want to see Cub wins. That's all. If the Cubs come out next year and start winning, then no one will care if they traded every last person on the team the winter before. If Hendry goes young and they stink? Well, fans will have an identical reaction to this year's team that stinks. Plus, any real fan will appreciate even the attempt to rebuild. The non-fans will still get drunk at Murphy's and come anyway. No one bases their decision to come to Wrigley on whether or not our 720 OPS centerfielder is making $6 million or $300,000.

Just to clarify:

No one says "I paid $55 for this ticket, so Hendry better have spread that around."

Instead they say, "I paid $55 for this ticket, so
I better see some good baseball."

If the team delivers good baseball, it doesn't matter who the delivery man is or how much he's making.

Belated response to Seamhead. You are absolutely correct. They need to get a 2 and 3 starter. Miller, if resigned and Prior cannot be counted on for 1-5. If they really want to contentd next year and make all of the necessary moves, that is what they have to do. If they get a 2 and 3 and Prior and/or Miller are relatively injury free, all the better. They will than have trade bait. If they don't get a 2 and 3, it will be another gamble on pitchers with history of injuries. My guess is that they may get on decent starter, possibly a 3 or 4 and roll the dice. Hendry will be gambling his future if he does what am predicting he will do, and not what I am recommending, and he will lose his job.

And as hard as it is going to be to entice a good FA here after this train-wreck of a season, it will be darn near impossible if Pierre and Ram walk.

You've got it backwards, if Pierre and Ramirez both resign, it will almost impossible to sign any good FA because the Cubs will have no money left in the budget - or at least not enough to get a top tier player.

I agree that lumping Pierre and Ramirez into the same discussion here doesn't make a lot of sense.

ARam is one of the cornerstones of the team, and while I fully expect him to return, if he were to leave, it would force a major change in how the Cubs approach the offseason.

Pierre is a one tool player, at a position where there are many FAs available this offseason. If Pierre isn't resigned, Hendry can have his pick of a handful of guys who would provide anywhere from a significant upgrade to similar production.

I don't want Sheffield, but with the history of this organization he will be the one FA they go after and regrettably get.

HORATIO: "For that, the blame can be laid squarely on the distracted Andy McPhail, who, I believe, spends far more time thinking about squeezing the last dollar out of the Bud Light bleachers, than he does the welfare of the team."

LOL!! :->

And how true. How true...

i don't agree with the assessment that the cubs cannot be competitive in 2007

are you living in the same NL central (and NL in general, for that matter) as i am?!?

this league sucks. everyone on this team except for Z and Barrett and ARam pretty much underachieved, and even those guys were all hurt during the year.

add one big hitter and one inning eater starter, save money by letting pierre leave (and get a draft pick), and voila, a competitive team in the NL.

Horatio:
"I don't know about Sheff. He's a bit too old and injury prone (that's all the Cubs need, eh?) for my taste."

What exactly makes Sheff injury prone? He has played in at least 130 games for the last 10 years before the wrist injury this year.

As far as Ramirez and Dusty goes, while I'm sure that ARam loves playing for Dusty, I just don't see the situation where that becomes the breaking point for him leaving.

Even if it is important to him, I'm sure its nothing that can't be solved with a little bit of cash from the $4 million that Hendry will save by firing Dusty's ass.

GL:
"this league sucks. everyone on this team except for Z and Barrett and ARam pretty much underachieved, and even those guys were all hurt during the year."

Z is going to make 33 starts this year and ARam has played in 154 games already this year with 3 more to go. How have they been hurt?

"i don't agree with the assessment that the cubs cannot be competitive in 2007"

I agree with you to a point. The NL is very weak and especially the NL Central and if any team can really make a few big moves they can go from worst to first even. But Hendry does not have much financial flexability, especially if he resigns Pierre. So I just can't see where he will make major improvements, but instead make a few tweaks, which I don't think will be good enough even in this shitty NL.

Re Kerry Wood articles. Each of the three Chicago daily newspapers carried the story on Wood's rehab and desire to remain with the club.

However, of all of the quotes used, only the Sun Times had this one:

"...the bottom line is that we found the problem...it's nice to have an answer and to know what you can do to address it and attack the situation and I think we have a good start on that".

To me, that is the most endouraging thing I have heard on Wood in months, and by far the most newsworthy quote from the whole WGN interview.

If they have indeed found the reason for the fatigue and weakness in his shoulder, and can address it through rehab, the odds of Wood being a contributor next year may have actually cracked 50-50.

Or not.

Bleeding Blue:
"$4 million that Hendry will save by firing Dusty's ass."

Actually Baker won't be fired, I know semantics, blah blah blah, but just trying to be factual.

A semantics lesson from someone who says he'd rather have Mark Prior than any other player in Baseball, and then bitches about being misquoted when someone accuses him of labeling Mark Prior untouchable?

I think I'll pass on that one.

"No one says "I paid $55 for this ticket, so Hendry better have spread that around.""

While playing good baseball would certainly make the fans happy, this practice of raising ticket prices every year is getting to the point of absurdity. They now have additional revenue sources coming in (more seats, adboard, sponsored bleachers, rooftop revenues), and have not raised the payroll in about 4 years, so if ticket prices go up again, I call bullshit.

a competitive team in the NL.

I don't want the Cubs to be "a competitive team in the NL." The tallest midget in 3rd grade, whatever.

I want them to WIN THE GODDAMN WORLD FLIPPIN SERIES.

By the way, they seem to have pinpointed the problem with Mark Prior as well. Turns out the man is a legit eunuch. They checked, and it is true that there are no testes present in his scrotum. Simply put, the man hasn't got any balls.

Doug,

I'll call bullshit if they claim they couldn't afford a top FA, but if they see more baseball value in going young (as in, they think they'll win more games over the long term by going young) then I don't think anyone will have a problem with it. Provided it works, of course.

"I copied thes stats from today's Baseball Propsectus open to the Public home page at http://www.baseballprospectus.com with their rating of the top five NL 3rd baseman."

top 5 NL DH's that happen to have their manager stick them at 3rd that list should read.

stat organizations that pimp unwarrented crap like that this...they know better. they know these players have to actually field their possition. they dont care. they love THEIR stats they cultivate and pimp...their love of the war of minds of stat heads is killing their credibility...if not in research, then in presentation of their results.

baseball prospectus is living in a world of travis hafners...a place where a guy's bat is the only judge of tallent. its getting really old, honestly.

#1 Miguel Cabrera *WISHES* he was a shred of the defensive showing aram has brought...all the hard work aram has done doesnt even show up in their "best 3rd" list...its best 3rd, not best DH who happens to have a manager stick him at 3rd

atkins...sanchez? gimmie a break...seriously.

the conditioning of the general public to just accept their numbers is getting a bit tiring, especially when people who dont know how to use them in conjunction with what the rest of their game brings to the game, itself.

Travis Hafner Prospectus...the DH Times...meh...

Yeah to the money-money-money-MONEY argument. "I'd love to play for Dusty" doesn't mean much more to me than "I'd love a clubhouse with poledancers" as far as what the ballplayer is willing to shell out of pocket to get it.

I never saw any statistics on here about "hometown discounts" ie. examples of 'higher offers being turned down to stay on with the club' but I'd be willing to bet that most of them were in situations in which the home town, at the time of the "discount" had established a recent history of SUCCESS, not SUCK-EXCESS, and/or the players were already in their 30s with the end of their own careers in sight. One more chance at the WS...etc.

So I think we could kiss goodbye any notion that ARam isn't out to take the first offer which is roughly, say, maybe $20 higher than what he's offered by Chic-ARGH-o. Get him, or don't, based on the money; I feel the manager argument is irrelevant to me, and probably to him.

the last great "hometown discount" i can think of that didnt just involve a few hundred K or a million or so was griff jr's contract with CIN which was VERY VERY generous on the player's part given the market at the time. he came cheap (for the era) and he deffered a LOT of money for decades.

then the CIN audience forgot about that 2 years later after a few "down" years and turned him into non-respectable crap.

go figure...

b.giles took 1m less this offseason (3m total) to not go hit 15 homers and get some walks in toronto.

I have to say I really wouldn't be too upset if Dusty, for some reason, gets resigned. His tendencies don't infuriate me as much as probably everyone else. I really don't see any new manager making a huge difference. A latin manager would be my preference, especially if the Cubs seriously land Tejada and keep AR. Clines and Sarge need to go bye-bye;they're ineffective.
I concur with a lot of what Rogers said in his article about MacPhail and Hendry. I can't see these clowns landing Zito or Schmidt,when every freakin' team Yankees, Bosox, Cardinals, etc., is lining up for that trade. I think we should go after ANY of these guys reguardless of this. I just can't see AMcP or JH pulling it off. I would try to land Lackey. Sheffield is getting old and is a huge whiner. If you think Dusty has a persecution complex, you ain't heard Sheffield carry on.
Thanks for keeping this cool blog going. I enjoy everyone's input. GO CUBS/BEARS!

Anyone see the guys behind homeplate in the 8th and 9th inning holding the "Hendry Sucks" sign right above the catchers head on TV? It's about time. I've had enough giving Hendry and MacPhail the benefit of the doubt. They have woefully sucked the last two years and this offseason is looking even worse. It doesn't matter who your manager will be next year if Hendry continues his performance from the last two years.

Other teams are locking up their players already, the doughboy has just started preliminary talks with the agents for Pierre and Ramirez. With the season over in June, why haven't extensions already been worked out for Zambrano, Ramirez and possibly Pierre? What else did they have to do? Don't they have enough other things to fix? When Pierre and Ramirez bolt, and every passing day this becomes more likely, your going to hear the word youth movement, and I'm not interested in watching that. Here's your potential lineup for next year:

OF - Murton, Jock Strap, pagan and Pie
IF - Lee, Theriot, Isturiz, Moore (maybe Barrett at 2B or 3B - don't laugh, just the kind of thing this organization will do).
C- Barrett if not playing IF or blanoco/soto.

Welcome to whatever lemming takes this job, you will also lose 95 games. Note to Joe Girardi - Marlins have/had much better prospects than the Cubs, may want to think real hard about taking this job.

You can fire Baker and hire Girardi, Torre, Pinella, however. It won't matter when your GM and President are the two idiots that currently run the Cubs. Everyone pray for the breakup of the Tribune so a real owner can fix this mess. It may be our only hope.

*WSCR said that Phil Rogers was reporting in the Trib that the Cubs were interested in Nippon Ham Fighther manager Tom Hillman to replace Dusty.*

Only if the Fighters throw in their MVG (Most Valuable Gai-jin)...JOSE F. MACIAS.

*Sheffield is getting old and is a huge whiner. If you think Dusty has a persecution complex, you ain't heard Sheffield carry on.*

No shit, Sheff will get one beer spilled on him in RF and promptly declare the entire City of Chicago to be full of racists. Then he will boot balls and strike out intentionally until traded to San Diego.

*Lofton and Pie could split CF next year. Lofton cant play everyday anyways.*

Yeah! Let's fix a problem with another problem! Brilliant!

There's gotta be a medical/psychological term for people with Kenny Lofton fixation. Besides "stupid", I mean. Something technical.

damn...its not feb. 07...the team has, even on conservative guesses, 20-ish million to spend, 30m if your aram leaving works out.

no reason to believe hendry's gonna sit on it cuz well...he's not the owner.

Dray:
"Anyone see the guys behind homeplate in the 8th and 9th inning holding the "Hendry Sucks" sign right above the catchers head on TV? It's about time. I've had enough giving Hendry and MacPhail the benefit of the doubt."

Can I get an AMEN from the bobbleheads?

"The NL is very weak and especially the NL Central and if any team can really make a few big moves they can go from worst to first even"

Won't the Astros have a crap load of money to spend this off season?

I think Konerko stayed with the Sox instead of signing with the Angels for less.

Is anyone willing to trade Z to get Tejada?Because that's what it will probably take.

Horatio-YES!!
But I do see the Cubs going the cheap way (ie youth movement)this year to see if they can pull in 3 million fans without FA improvement.s

"Won't the Astros have a crap load of money to spend this off season?"

and a crapload of holes to fill...

wonder what the WSOX are gonna do...they clear up next to nothing next year, but they do have their core bats in place.

"I don't know where we'd be without Henry," Baker said. "Some guys keep getting better as a hitter. A few years ago, that was why Henry wasn't playing every day. He always has been a catch-and-throw guy, but his confidence is better."

I like Hank as a backup catcher, I really do and I have no problems if the Cubs resign him, but that's just delusional. We're in LAST FREAKING PLACE IN THE NL. You know where we'd be without Hank, still in LAST FREAKING PLACE IN THE NL.

http://tinyurl.com/nnkev

there's also talk of bringing in Graffanino next year as a utlity guy. I find him to be a superior option to Craig Counsell.

"no reason to believe hendry's gonna sit on it cuz well...he's not the owner"

But I bet he has the owner's voice in his ear.

if the owners give the president which gives the GM a payroll..he's not gonna not spend it.

him and mcphail havent gotten 30m worth of payroll increases the past 5 years outta nowhere.

I'm a little surprised by the results I must admit. I wonder if Aramis was a bit more popular of a player if the vote would be any different. I suppose folks are so infuriated by Baker that he needs to go no matter what...

If you care about how I voted, I'm one of the few that said "Yes". I'm can't stand Baker, but 3B options next year are horrible and power-hitting 3B who don't strike out all that much who are 28 are pretty rare.

I don't necessarily thing there faiths are tied together, but I thought it was an interesting question to pose on what people feel is more important, the player or the coach.

the voting on this poll seems to fall in line with the last poll...voting with the heart, not the mind.

it happens, but the sheer #s suprised me last time...can't say it really suprises me this time, though.

I'd still rather see Z hit over Neifi in most situations....

hahaha...

I thought it was an interesting question to pose on what people feel is more important, the player or the coach.

I don't think its quite that simple.

I don't think the Cubs will ever win with Dusty, he's had the players to do it and failed. One of the biggest reasons the Cubs have done so poorly under Baker is because of this "its not our fault" attitude, where players aren't expected to work for their sucess, and will be defended if they don't hustle.

One of the big reasons why Ramirez isn't as well liked as well as someone with his numbers would suggest is because he is seen as a player who doesn't hustle. I don't think that reputation is entirely fair, because he clearly has worked and gotten better both offensive and defensively as a Cub, but if playing for a manager who will make excuses for him is the most important element for him resigning, then regretablly, I would rather spend the money elsewhere and sacrifice some numbers for that elusive and hard to quantify "chemistry".

Rob G.:
"I'm a little surprised by the results I must admit."

Have you read this board the past 2 years?

Rob G.:
"I'd still rather see Z hit over Neifi in most situations...."

HA HA...

Sadly many other Cubs fans think the same way.

It's true that the options to replace ARam with a power hitter equal to or great than him is very limited (maybe non-existent), but I don't think it is necessary to add the big bat at 3B. Get a good glove man at 3B and add a big bat to the OF. Soriano, V. Wells, or even Sheffield would fill the bill. BTW, I'm not necessarily advocating these moves. Just pointing out that it's not necessary to replace ARam with someone just as good.

This might be the ultimate instance of heart over head, but there are certain guys on the Cubs who I believe suck so much that I'm not entertained in the slightest by their play. I'm talking about Perez, Izturis, Mabry, Pierre - you know, my usual suspects. For that fact alone I'd rather have Z up there. Just cause I like the guy and I want to see him bat. And cause he's got more pop.

But Sweet Lou, I think most people think the offense needs to improve, but by getting rid of ARAM and addign one of teh players you listed would make it a wash, not improving. Keeping ARAM and adding ne of those players might make it an improvement. Losing ARAM will be a HUGE step backwards for this already bad offense. Hendry would need to take two HUGE steps forward to actually improve this offense.

Put me into the "yes" camp on that question as well. Dusty hurts this team, but he doesn't hurt it as much as Pedro Feliz or Joe Randa would. Besides, after you lock Ramirez up for 5 years, you could always fire Dusty the next offseason anyway.

would people really be upset to see murton take over LF full-time at this point and putting the money elsewhere?

jacos: Is anyone willing to trade Z to get Tejada?Because that's what it will probably take.

No. If the Cubs do nothing to their offense, even if they downgrade their offense, I want to see a solid 5-man rotation that doesn't include any combination of the following:

Prior, Wood, Miller, Marshall, Mateo, Ryu, Guzman, O'Malley, Marmol.

Even if it means blowing a boatload of money on Schmidt. I think even a bad offense has a chance to win with Z, Schmidt, and Hill starting back to back (see last night's game).

NO: WSCR said that Phil Rogers was reporting in the Trib that the Cubs were interested in Nippon Ham Fighther manager Tom Hillman to replace Dusty"

I recall reading this early this morning, but vaguely remembering that this was Phil's suggestion - as he is the "Fundamental King".

Not anyone from the Cubs.

Bleeding Blue: One of the big reasons why Ramirez isn't as well liked as well as someone with his numbers would suggest is because he is seen as a player who doesn't hustle.

I've heard this before and it's utter BS. On routine ground balls I don't want to see our HR hitter, who has a history of leg problems, running all of them out. I've seen Ramirez, at least twice that I can remember, run out infield hits.

First, the Wood story is very encouraging. I have no problem bringing him back and it's great to hear about a player who isn't all about the money and he feels he needs to earn it.

If Rusch's deal does get paid by insurance, that pretty much covers Wood's buyout which would make resigning him that much less of an issue.

in other news....

The breweres fired all their coaches except Mike Maddux and of course Ned Yost

Frank Robinson seems to be as good as gone. First speculation is that Tony Pena will take over. Seems like a place Dusty would be considered.

"I've heard this before and it's utter BS. On routine ground balls I don't want to see our HR hitter, who has a history of leg problems, running all of them out. I've seen Ramirez, at least twice that I can remember, run out infield hits."

I couldn't agree more Ryno, but the general baseball public value "hustle" more than almost anything else.

It doesn't matter what the Cubs do as long as Andy McFail is running things. Whatever decisions they make, they're always wrong. Bring in Nomar, he gets hurt. Let him go, and he becomes a team leader. Bring in Grady Little to help scout, let him go and manage a team to the playoffs (it looks like).

Regarding Ramirez, it just doesn't matter. The Cubs will have at least the 4th worst record in baseball this year, maybe the second worst, with Aram.

The Cubs need to completely clean house, from McFail all the way down.

You guys can spend hours on this board trying to pick apart possibilities, but to me it's a waste of time unless you start at the top, where the failures of the past 12 years or so have all started from.

Manny -- I agree. I'm only pointing out that if you put someone cheaper at 3B, you could spend that money on a couple of power hitting outfielders. The argument has been made that the Cubs can't afford to lose ARam because there's no third basemen available that are as good as him. You either have to re-sign ARam or spend the money you save to replace him and find a power hitter elsewhere. If he walks, the Cubs will not be able to replace him with someone just as good at 3B.

I still can't believe people want to get rid of Aram.

The biggest problem on this team is starting pitching. The Cubs should spend the majority of their time on this in the offseason in securing(Z), trading and signing pitching.

The rest should be for a starter infielder or outfielder and the bench.IMO.

RYNO: "I've heard this before and it's utter BS. On routine ground balls I don't want to see our HR hitter, who has a history of leg problems, running all of them out. I've seen Ramirez, at least twice that I can remember, run out infield hits."

couldn't disagree more.

He is what - 28 or so?!

Stands around looking at a double - or what could have been a triple?

For how many Millions of dollars???

Sorry Ryno - the real RYNO wouldn't go for that.

Nor would the top echelon teams with managers who like hustle.

Play such as Ramirez - who plays well for 4 months of a 6-month job, is completely ego-centric. We have discovered this season - for whatever reason - he cannot be "The Man" either and to be counted on when the team needs you.

If they can compensate for him TRULY in other areas of the team with equal or better talent, I'm fine with putting the money to use in other ways. Just no more billboards.

"but the general baseball public value "hustle" more than almost anything else"

If hustle was best value a player could have Neifi Perez would be a HOFer.

"If hustle was best value a player could have Neifi Perez would be a HOFer."

Your right, hustle is a bad way to value players.

Crunch:
"would people really be upset to see murton take over LF full-time at this point and putting the money elsewhere?"

Not at all if Hendry spends the money properly for pitching and/or Soriano/Wells in CF.

The E-Man: Play such as Ramirez - who plays well for 4 months of a 6-month job, is completely ego-centric. We have discovered this season - for whatever reason - he cannot be "The Man" either and to be counted on when the team needs you.

First of all, you have no idea what his personality is like, so calling him ego-centric is just silly. And who do you want hitting home runs? Soriano? Are you sure?

Soriano (June): .207/.302/.396
Soriano (September): .210/.300/.352

Crunch - would people really be upset to see murton take over LF full-time at this point and putting the money elsewhere?

He think he has earned the right to be our LFer next year.

Atlanta could be dealing Andruw Jones this winter...

Scott's (Boras) going to come out and ask for what my value is, see what the market is, and we'll go from there," Jones said. "We'll see if [the Braves] want to accept it, and then it's up to me if I want to go lower or higher. When the season's over, that's when we will talk.

3 really good outfielders might be on the market this winter for trade.

Crawford - likely traded
Jones - 50/50 Atlanta trades him
Wells - Probably not going anywhere, but things can change fast, you never know.

And about Soriano... are the other teams playing a big left-field shift on him yet? They should.

>

With that attitude, there's no reason to talk about that, either, because we have no control over any of it.

Sweet Lou:
"I'm only pointing out that if you put someone cheaper at 3B, you could spend that money on a couple of power hitting outfielders."

I agree with you then. If Aram walks and they fill in 3B with someone like Feliz, then they will need to add 2 big bats (and most likely OF's).

Me likey Andrew Jones!!!!

man, Soriano has only had 2 years with RBI total's north of 100? Man, I though this guy was an RBI machine. :)

i'm just messin' with you Chad....

>

I absolutely KNEW someone would post about this. Everything isn't meant to be taken so literally. Yes, with or without Blanco, the Cubs stink. But he's a veteran guy shephering young pitcher and providing at least a bit of stability as a backup. The "where we'd be without him" line has nothing to do with where they'd be in the standings. It seems to be a way of just admiring what Blanco has done to step in, but then again, I'm not a mindreader like most of you when it comes to manager/player quotes.

okay fine, I'll rephrase.

Our young pitchers have done nothing to improve other than Rich Hill who started his turnaround under the watchful eye of Michael Barrett.

there is some report in the Trib about the young pitchers not listening to Blanco...name names, damnit.

Seriously. Name the names. These guys aren't government officials, they're pitchers. Guys who get paid 6 figures to throw a ball. Print their damn names and show everyone who's too big a deal to listen to advice from a veteran catcher.

Andruw Jones would be nice.

no one's mentioning the interesting twist in "matos-patterson-gate" that was in that article..

"Milwaukee free-agent infielder Tony Graffanino may be on the Cubs' radar as a utilityman next year. Graffanino nearly became a Cub last spring in a three-way deal that would have sent Todd Walker to Baltimore and Luis Matos to Kansas City. . . ."

"matos-walker-gate" rather =p

I did glance over that, whoops. There were some inklings of Graffanino to the Cubs earlier, didn't realize that was part of it.

Graff and Walker aren't very different players in my opinion. Graff plays more positions and better. Walk's got a bit more pop. They both do a good job of getting on-base. One of those guys that makes a good bench player and isn't going to kill you if he starts.

ROB: Well, that and 60 points better in BA for TWalk - that's all.

With a tight budget and lots of (expensive) holes to fill, I've got to wonder if Cliff Floyd isn't on Hendry's list of "cost-effective" FA's.

If the Soriano bidding gets stupid, Hendry could shift his sights on a pwer hitter to Floyd for around $3 million, and platooning him in LF with Murton or giving Lee a day off against tough righties.

I know Floyd's injury history, but if he only played part-time and only faced righties, he might stay healthy and put up some good numbers. I hate to take AB's away from Murton, but unless Hendry finds a way to add power from CF or 2B, it's got to come from LF.

I think Murton will eventually hit 20-25 HR's, but it likely won't happen in 2007, and Hendry needs some power NOW.

I think Murton will eventually hit 20-25 HR's, but it likely won't happen in 2007, and Hendry needs some power NOW.Why not? Murton has nine homeruns in 61 games since the all-star break. That would lead me to believe that there is a very decent chance that he would hit 20+ homeruns next year, don't you?

In this week's Sports Illustrated-

Our team stinks but we sure are pretty.

MLB players poll makes Chicago number one (22%) for having the most attractive fans.

The Cubs acctually were 16%.

Hooray.

"I think Murton will eventually hit 20-25 HR's, but it likely won't happen in 2007, and Hendry needs some power NOW."
--
Crunch will jump your ass for this. Power isn't only about the long-ball... Murton has been showing nice doubles power in the 2nd half.
And I believe Murton will absolutely hit 20+ HR's in 2007.

Dusty has had 3 bad years in a row. He needs to go.

Hendry has had 2 bad years in a row. If he has one more bad one next year, I'll be all for his firing.

After last season, Hendry did address the two most glaring holes in the team--middle relief, and leadoff hitter. He counted on quick returns to health by Wood and Prior in particular. And left the team one big bat short.

I assume he sees that the biggest shortcoming of this year's team was having to use 15 different starting pitchers. Use enough starting pitchers and you'll find some really sucky ones. If he follows last year's form (fix the biggest holes first), he'll go and get a #2 and a #3 starter. Those two and the Cubs are back in business in a weak division and league. Adding a big bat wouldn't hurt.

Figuring on two of Hill, Marshall, Miller, Prior, Guzman, Mateo, etc, etc, and etc as #4 and #5 is OK. Figuring on either more of that group to produce, or to slot up higher to #2 or #3 is 2006 all over again.

*breaks out the nerf bat*

Yep. His post All Star numbers project to 27-28 HR and 40 2B if applied over 600 at bats. Not too shabby for ~$370K.

Looks like the humidor broke in Colorado today. 20 runs and counting through 5 innings.

Well, that and 60 points better in BA for TWalk - that's all.

Who and what are you talking about?

16-10 top 6th..damn

Re Murton: Although I always hear the Cubs lamenting the fact that they are seriously "out-homered", in deference to Crunch and others, I will expand my definition of "power" beyon home runs to "slugging percentage."

Murton, like most young players, has a bad case of the "inconsistents." In 136 AB's in 2005, he had a robust SLG of .515, which everyone enthusiastically extrapolated out over a full season for 2006.

One problem. Murton's SLG for the first half of 2006 was a paltry .379. He has now rebounded in the second half for a .544, but which is the real Murton?

Based on that inconsistency, I simply cannot see Hendry taking the chance that the 2007 Murton will produce the SLG that this team needs on a consistent basis out of LF.

I do see Hendry hedging that risk by adding a more proven power hitter like Floyd, especially if he can be added at a low cost.

Cliff Floyd has 11 homers this year, there's nothing proven about him other than he has all kinds of trouble staying healthy.

If Murton is replaced it's gonna be by a big-time power-hitting LF by the name of Lee or Soriano and I find it unlikely.

Hendry loves pitching, he's said it a number of times and he's plunked a ton of money into it over the last 4 years.

(estimates)
Wood - $13 mil
Maddux - $10 mil
Prior/Z - $4 - $8 mil
Clement - $ 6 mil

You've got Wood and Maddux off the books next year, although Z will take up one of those slots. On the other hand, Hill takes the cheap, young starter slot. I can't guarantee he'll land a big-time pitcher, but I'll guarantee he's going to go after some.

With PITT's loss today the Cubs are now tied for last place. Almost totally out of the cellar...WOO!!!

Oh yeah, Oswalt's ERA is now under 3.00. His numbers are pretty damn good: 14-8, 2.98 ERA, 166K and only 38 BB. Hendry should use Oswalt's contract as a rough estimate to how much Z should get. Oswalt's numbers are better overall so it should be a bit less.

I voted NO in the poll, same reasoning as SOMEGUY in #25. I like ARAM, but it's not his job to decide who is manager.

Sure JP and ARAM want Dusty back. Has there been a poll to see who doesn't want him back? What if DLee and Z aren't crazy about Dusty? Anyway, it's a slippery slope. Players don't get to pick the manager.

Didn't DLee say something around the time of his contract extenstion taht he wanted Dusty to stay around? I thought I remember someone posting a whole bunch of Lee quotes on here and that being one of them.

D-Lee and Z are under contract for next year, how does that apply to the question?

I suppose I could see incorporating Z as he could leave in a year and may get upset or not sign an extension, but Lee is signed, sealed and delivered. Unless Hendry told him that Baker is staying, i don't see how it's pertinent. And of course we'll never know if he did say that.

But yeah, Lee said he enjoys playing for Baker.

ROB: "Who and what are you talking about?"

Sorry - My bad - TG is batting .282 - NOT .228!

A bit of my dyslexia flaring!

You are right that TWalk and TG are quite similar.

mannytrillo: Didn't DLee say something around the time of his contract extenstion taht he wanted Dusty to stay around? I thought I remember someone posting a whole bunch of Lee quotes on here and that being one of them.

Yes, Lee went on for an absurd amount of time about how much he liked playing for Dusty.

No worries E-man, I thought I missed something.

500 (yes - five HUNDRED) see Bucs play 'Stros:

"There were fewer than 500 in the stands after a rain delay pushed the starting time from 12:35 p.m. Eastern to 4:01 p.m. -- believed to be one of the longest delays to start a game in Pirates history."

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/a...

sounds like Hargrove will be back in Seattle, so that will be one less job option for Dusty if he goes.

Potential openings at the moment:
Philly (I think it's either Pinella or Manuel stays though)
Washington
Florida
Chicago
San Fran

"Florida"

If the baseball gods have a sense of humor Dusty ends up with Marlins.

After last season, Hendry did address the two most glaring holes in the team--middle relief, and leadoff hitter.

First of all, getting Pierre didn't address anything.

Second, teams don't need "lead-off" hitters, they need "good" hitters.

I will never understand the obsession with the "lead off man." For the last twenty years, teams have been trying desperately to duplicate the Rickey Henderson experience by putting guys not even a tenth of what Rickey was in the 1 spot. Just give it up! There will never be another Rickey. He was one of a kind. Just put a good hitter batting first and you'll be fine.

having pierre on 2nd/3rd 90-100+ times a year is bad...we get it.

i mean...you realize even if you discount his c/s he's on 2nd/3rd as a result of over 1/2 his hits?

and the fact he can actually run when on these bases open up scoring oportunities...and the fact he can actually get on base in the first place...and blah...

and the fact he can actually get on base in the first place...and blah...

Wha...?

His OBP is below league average.

"Second, teams don't need "lead-off" hitters, they need "good" hitters."

Of course no one in baseball would agree with you.

His OBP is below league average.

What is your definition of League Average OBP?

Pierre's career .350 is above league average, and his current season mark of .330 is pretty much dead on for the league average.

I don't want to get long winded or redundant of other comments here. The fact is this organization needs leadership. From Mc Fail on down they are a total failure. As much as I also believe Ramirez (and Lee) should corner this infield for many years to come, and would be two of the "untouchables" on the trading block,you cannot give this kind of power to any player. Ala Sammy Sosa. Does anyone really believe the Cubs were a better team without Sammy? Of course not. Do I agree Sammy was a jerk to bail on his teammates and having a large (steroid size) head and a lot of arrogance. If a strong leader / manager were in place, he would have put Sam in his place. The clubhouse was and continues to be out of control because Dusty is weak. It is easy to look like a hero, be manager of the year and be a players manager when you have a great team with good chemistry. A lot tougher when you have to build a foundation. In that regard the Trib has the wrong people from the top down. Leadership is key. It has nothing to do with what a player or two believe. Dusty, Hendry and McFail have failed along with their whole conditioning and coaching staff. They all must go! In any other business they would have been fired based on performance a long time ago....

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