Roster Cogburn

As the 2006 season comes to a merciful end, you can look forward to Jim Hendry making a few roster moves in the next few weeks and months in an attempt to improve the Cubs for 2007. Besides trying to re-sign some of his own free-agents (almost certainly Aramis Ramirez, and probably Juan Pierre, Kerry Wood, Wade Miller, and Henry Blanco), the Cubs GM will also likely try and acquire a starting pitcher or two, maybe a power-hitting outfielder, and maybe a veteran middle infielder, via free-agency or trade. But there are also other roster moves that will be made, the type that are made "under the radar" by all MLB clubs every year at this time. And since we want you to be prepared, here's what you might expect to see happen in the coming weeks and months... At present, the Cubs 40-man roster is full, with one additional player (Kerry Wood) on the 60-day DL (which does not count against the 40-man roster). Sometime during the first week after the end of the regular saeason, I expect the Cubs will place IF-OF Buck Coats, C Jose Reyes, and LHP Les Walrond on waivers for the purpose of assigning them outright to the minors. If they clear waivers (and I believe it's very likely that they will), all three would have the option to be a Six-Year Minor League Free-Agent (6Y MLFA) and will have until October 15th to decide. It's entirely possible that if they clear waivers, any or all all three could agree to 2007 minor league contracts with the Cubs, probably for the split contract minimum (about $55,000) and a Non-Roster Invitation (NRI) to Spring Training. Not counting Coats, Reyes, and Walrond, there are 19 players presently assigned to Cubs minor league clubs who have the option to be a 6Y MLFA if not added to the 40-man roster by October 15th: Hugo Castellanos, RHP Gary Cates, IF-OF Wilton Chavez, RHP Jeff Deardorff, OF-1B Brandon Emanuel, RHP Cristian Gonzalez, RHP Nic Jackson, OF Casey Kopitzke, C Albenis Machado, INF Luis Montanez, OF Augie Ojeda, INF Carlos Perez, LHP Carmen Pignatiello, LHP Michael Restovich, OF Brandon Sing, 1B Jon-Mark Sprowl, C-1B Mac Suzuki, RHP Carlos Vasquez, LHP Aron Weston, OF While it is very unlikely that the Cubs will add any of these players to the 40-man roster prior to October 15th, it is quite possible that a couple or three of these players could be re-signed to 2007 minor league contracts and maybe get an NRI to Spring Training. For example, Carmen Pignatiello is one of the players eligible to be a 6Y MLFA after this season, but the fact that he has been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) as a "Cubs" player means that he must have already agreed to a 2007 Cubs minor league contract (probably with an NRI to Spring Training, as happened with Brandon Sing last year), because free-agents are not permitted to play in the AFL. If he pitches well in the AFL, Pignatiello could still be added to the 40-man roster on or before November 20th (when the major league and minor league reserve lists are filed with MLB in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft). I would expect John Mabry to be released soon after the end of the regular season, possibly at the same time Coats, Reyes, and Walrond are dropped from the 40-man roster. It's not unusual for teams to release a player who can be a Type XX MLB free-agent sooner rather than later when the club has no plans for the player in the following season and where the club is sure that it will not offer arbitration to the player. Same goes for veteran reliever Kerry Ligtenberg, who spent the entire 2006 season in AAA. Kerry Wood is signed for 2007 ($13.5m), but the Cubs have a "club option" to buy out his contract for $3m, and it is a virtual absolute certainty that Hendry will exercise this option. However, it is also very possible that after buying him out, Hendry will offer Woody a 2007 contract with a low base salary plus incentives based on appearances (presuming Wood will work out of the bullpen in '07). Whether Wood would accept such a deal is unknown. Normally, players on the 60-day DL do not have to be reactivated until November 20th, but because they will be buying him out (thus making him a Type XX FA), the Cubs will need to reactivate Kerry Wood from the 60-day DL sometime prior to the Free-Agent Filing Period (the first 15 days after the close of the World Series). Wood could be reactivated when Coats, Reyes, and Walrond (and probably Mabry) are likely to be dropped from the 40, but the Cubs could also wait until the end of the World Series to make the move. (Just so it is before the Free-Agency Filing Period). Jim Hendry is usually pretty aggressive in his attempt to re-sign Cubs players who are eligible to be Type XX FAs if Hendry wants the player back the following season. Last year, Hendry re-signed Ryan Dempster right at the end of the regular season (Oct 1), and Glendon Rusch (Oct 31) and Neifi Perez (Nov 8) prior to the end of the Free-Agent Filing Period (during which time MLB clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their owns FAs). If Hendry cannot re-sign one of his own free-agents by the end of the Free-Agent Filing Period, it becomes a lot less likely that Hendry will continue to pursue that player. Besides Ligtenberg and Mabry, Henry Blanco, Wade Miller, and Juan Pierre (plus Kerry Wood--once he is bought out, and Aramis Ramirez--if he exercises his player option to be a FA) can also be Type XX FAs after this season, and if Hendry is going to re-sign any of them, he is most-likely to do so sometime prior to the end of the Free-Agent Filing Period. It is very possible that Hendry might want to sign Blanco and Miller to 2007 minor league contracts (but for "Major League" money) to keep spots on the 40-man roster open for prospects he might want to protect from the Rule 5 Draft, with the explicit understanding that Blanco and Miller will be added to the 40-man roster during Spring Training or sometime prior to Opening Day 2007, as soon as spots become available. While it seems likely that Hendry would be happy to have both Blanco and Miller return in 2007, it is not clear whether Blanco and/or Miller would accept the terms likely to be offered by Hendry. As for Pierre, it is becoming more and more likely that he wants to test the free-agent market and will not re-sign with the Cubs prior to the end of the Free-Agent Filing Period. And the way the Cubs are playing Felix Pie in the Arizona Instructional League these days (designated pinch-runner several times each game, where he attempts to steal a base each time--and he has been successful every time I've seen him try so far, BTW, or PH leading off an inning and trying to bunt for a hit), it looks like the Cubs--for better or for worse--fully intend to make the Pie Man into the best lead-off hitter he can possibly be, and if Hendry was fairly sure that Pierre would be coming back for three years, that probably would not be the case. Last but certainly not least, Aramis Ramirez is signed through 2009, but has a player option to be a free-agent after this season. Given that his current contract is below "market value" ($33.5m owed througn 2009, with 2009 a "mutual option"--or a "player option" that vests if A-Ram plays 270 games in 2007-08), it is VERY likely that Ramirez will want more years and more guaranteed money. The starting point will probably be "Derrek Lee Money," meaning at least $65m (maybe more) over five years 2007-11, possibly with a "player option" after two or three years. If there is a "player option" in a new Ramirez contract, Hendry needs to "back-load" the deal with annual salary escalators so that Ramirez will be giving up the highest-salaried years if he exercises the option. If it gets to the point where Hendry believes he cannot re-sign Ramirez, he may instead go hot & heavy after a FA OF like Alfonso Soriano or maybe try and make a trade for somebody like Blue Jays CF Vernon Wells (who will be a FA after 2007, but who is only making $5.6m in '07) to replace Ramirez's bat in the lineup (and also replace Pierre in CF), and then possibly sign a free-agent 3B like Pedro Feliz or maybe Nomar Garciaparra (who could be moved back to SS sometime in 2007 if Izturis falters), or execute a trade for a veteran 3B like Milwaukee's Bill Hall (eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after this season) or Boston's Mike Lowell (who will be making $9m in 2007 before becoming a FA after next season). The next item of business Hendry will have to address is to decide which prospects eligible to be selected in the December Rule 5 Draft will be added to the Cubs Major League Reserve List (AKA 40-man roster). The major league and minor league reserve lists (AAA clubs have a 38-man reserve list, AA clubs a 37-man reserve list, and each Class "A" club a 35-man reserve list) must be filed with the MLB office no later than the close of business on November 20th. How many players Hendry can add to the 40-man roster will depend on how many players leave via free-agency and how many other players are dropped from the 40-man roster prior to November 20th. If I had to guess, I would say Hendry will add six players eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft to the Cubs 40-man roster (thus excluding the six from the 2006 Rule 5 Draft) on or before November 20th. Whether Hendry will choose the right ones is always the $50,000 question. (The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 7th, at the MLB Winter Meetings). In addition to any 6Y MLFA who are signed or re-signed by the Cubs in October and November, the following 60 Cubs minor league players will be eligble for the 2006 Rule 5 Draft Draft in December if not added to the 40-man roster by November 20th: Thomas Atlee, RHP Federico Baez, RHP Justin Berg, RHP Oscar Bernard, RHP Ryan Bicondoa, RHP Todd Blackford, RHP Chadd Blasko, RHP Jerry Blevins, LHP Bobby Brownlie, RHP Edward Campusano, LHP Jose Caridad, RHP Rocky Cherry, RHP Robinson Chirinos, 2B Matt Ciaramella, OF Matt Craig, 1B-3B Darin Downs, LHP Mike Fontenot, 2B Jake Fox, C Alfredo Francisco, RHP Alberto Garcia, 1B-OF Lee Gwaltney, RHP Luke Hagerty, LHP Ryan Harvey, OF Lincoln Holdzkom, RHP Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke, 1B Jonathan Hunton, RHP Fabian Jimenez-Angulo, LHP Scott Koerber, LHP Tim Layden, LHP Richard Lewis, 2B Dary Maria, RHP J. R. Mathes, LHP Zach McCormack, LHP Casey McGehee, 3B Adalberto Mendez, RHP Ryan Norwood, 1B Isaac Pavlik, LHP Leonel Perez, RHP Billy Petrick, RHP Jose Pina, RHP Elvin Puello, 3B Robert Ransom, RHP Clay Rapada, LHP Tony Richie, C Alan Rick, C Carlos Rojas, SS Issmael Salas, INF Joel Santo, RHP Paul Schappert, LHP Chris Shaver, LHP Andy Shipman, RHP Jemel Spearman, 3B-2B Nate Spears, 2B Jesus Valdez, OF Chris Walker, OF Randy Wells, RHP Jake Whitesides, INF Olin Wick, C Jesus Yepez, LHP Of this group, the players most-likely to receive strong consideration to be added to the Cubs 40-man roster by November 20th are (alphabetically): Federico Baez, RHP Rocky Cherry, RHP Jake Fox, C Ryan Harvey, OF Micah Hoffpauir, 1B Lincoln Holdzkom, RHP Clay Rapada, LHP Chris Shaver, LHP Randy Wells, RHP And you can add to this list of candidates LHP Carmen Pignatiello (presuming he is re-signed to a 2007 minor league contract sometime before October 15th). Fox (a power-hitting catcher who was Rich Hill's college battery-mate at the University of Michigan) and Harvey (the Cubs #1 draft pick in 2003) are virtual "locks" to be added to the 40, but the others are probably "on the bubble." Holdzkom (acquired from the Marlins in the Todd Wellemeyer deal) and Rapada (a side-arming LOOGY who is murder on left-handed hitters) will be pitching out of the Mesa Solar Sox bullpen in the coming weeks, and how each perform in the AFL will go a long way toward deciding whether either will be added to the 40. (Same goes for Pignatiello). Baez, a one-time third-baseman in the Orioles organization who was converted into a pitcher by the Cubs, pitched for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic last March, and then pitched very well at West Tenn in 2006. He had a brief mid-season promotion to Iowa, but struggled a bit there. His best feature is a "rubber-arm" that allows him to swing back & forth between the bullpen and starting rotation. Cherry (finger) and Shaver (bone chip in elbow) are recovering from season-ending (Cherry) or post-season (Shaver) surgery, and may be left off the 40-man roster just for that reason. However, Cherry (like Holdzkom, a TJ-surgery survivor) was clocked in the mid-to-upper 90's at Iowa prior to his injury (the same type of injury sustained by Sean Marshall a couple of years ago) and was a good possibility to get a slot in the AFL before he got hurt, and Shaver is one of the Cubs better pitching prospects and was another good possibility for a slot in the AFL before deciding to have surgery. Like Carlos Marmol, Wells is a a converted catcher who pitched very well as a starting pitcher at AA before struggling at a higher level (in the case of Wells, that was AAA) after a mid-season promotion. Wells has shown tremendous progress as a pitcher over the past couple of seasons (he even got an NRI to 2006 Spring Training) and he may have a future as an MLB middle reliever, but that may not be a enough of a reason to put him on the 40-man roster at this time. Hoffpauir showed signs that he could maybe evolve into a Ross Gload/Mark Sweeney-type "lefty bat off the bench," and he probably would have gotten a September call-up and would be playing 1B for the Cubs right now, except he suffered a season-ending oblique injury in August. He has big league power, but adding him to the 40 would probably only happen if most all of the pitchers listed above are discounted. It is very possible that OF Miguel Negron will be dropped from the 40-man roster on or before November 20th to help make room for one of the pitchers Hendry will want to protect from selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Negron is a one-time Blue Jays #1 draft pick (another one of Tim Wilken's boys) who Hendry claimed off waivers in May, and although he did hit a lot better at AA West Tenn than he did in AA with the Jays, and although he is an outstanding defensive outfielder with a plus-arm, he doesn't have any power and his future is probably only as a "4th OF." If more spots on the 40-man roster are needed, it's not unthinkable that 1B Brian Dopirak (stupidly added to the 40-man roster after last season) could be dropped ftrom the 40 (or get traded) prior to November 20th. Dopirak missed most of the 2006 season with a broken foot, but even if he had had a healthy season, he will be out of minor league options two years before Derrek Lee's contract expires, and since Dopirak's only other position is DH (which is probably his best position, BTW), barring a career-ending injury to D-Lee, B-Dope has no future in the Cubs organization. It is also possible (though a lot less likely--at this point, anyway) that Glendon Rusch could either retire (having suffered a pulmonary embolism, it may be recommended that he not fly in airplanes) or get released. No question Hendry could certainly use Rusch's roster spot for a young pitching prospect. but it's unknown whether Hendry would have the cojones to release Rusch while he is still recovering from a life-threatening illness and while he is contemplating retirement. Unless they are included in a trade, LHP Ryan O'Malley (who as an emergency starter pitched eight shoutout innings at Houston in August before sustaining an elbow injury in his next start) and RHP Adam Harben (acquired earlier this month from MIN as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin deal) will both likely remain on the 40-man roster throughout the off-season, at least until the end of Spring Training '07. Besides deciding which prospects to add to the 40-man roster by November 20th, Hendry will have until December 7th to decide whether to offer arbitration to Cubs players who have filed for Type XX free-agency. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires on December 19th, and there is talk that in the new CBA, draft pick compensation for losing Type XX free-agents will be eliminated. However, I would think the elimination of draft pick compensation (if it occurs) would be deferred until after the 2007 season, because teams have been operating this season with the understanding that draft pick compensation will still be in place after this season, and knowing there will be draft pick compensation has no doubt affected decisions about whether to trade a player or keep him and risk losing him to free-agency. So even if there is a change regarding draft pick compensation for Type XX free-agents in the new CBA, I would suspect that draft pick compensation will still be in place at least until after the 2007 season, and if so, I would think it likely that the only Cubs FAs to whom Hendry will offer arbitration are Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre (that is, unless Hendry has not re-signed Ramirez or Pierre by December, but has no money left because he has allocated all remaining available 2007 payroll to other players he has acquired via trade or free-agency in the meantime!). And finally, December 20th is the date by which contracts have to be tendered to all players under club control who are not already signed to a contract for the next season. If any such player (either "arbitration-eligible" or "auto-renewal") is not tendered a contract by that date, he becomes a "non-tendered" free-agent and can sign with any club without the former club receiving any compensation. So December 20th is the date by which Jim Hendry will have to decide whether he is willing to go to salary arbitration (if necessary) with unsigned players who qualify for arbitration. Unless one or more additional ones are acquired via trade sometime between the end of the regular season and December 20th, as of right now the only three players presently on the Cubs 40-man roster who will be eligible for salary arbitration after this season are Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior, and Will Ohman. Hendry will definitely go to arbitration (if necessary) with Zambrano (actually Hendry would no doubt prefer to get a multi-year deal in place with "Z" before the start of the 2007 season, but as happened with Ramirez in 2004 and D-Lee a year ago, he will probably settle for a one-year contract until a multi-year deal can be worked out later), will likely go to arbitration with Prior (unless Prior is diagnosed with a major shoulder or elbow injury sometime between now and December, in which case he could very possibly be non-tendered), and will probably go to arbitration with Ohman. APPENDIX: POTENTIAL MLB TYPE XX FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2006 SEASON: Henry Blanco Kerry Ligtenberg (on AAA IOWA roster) John Mabry Wade Miller Juan Pierre Aramis Ramirez (player option for 2007-08) Kerry Wood (club option with buy-out for 2007) NOTE: Aramis Ramirez has a player option for 2007. If he does NOT choose to be a free-agent after this season, and if his contract is NOT renegotiated, then the orginal contract remains in force as written, and there is either a mutual option for 2009, or a player option (only) for 2009 if he plays 270 games (combined) in 2007-08 SIGNED BEYOND 2006: Michael Barrett (thru 2007) Glendon Rusch (thru 2007) Scott Eyre (thru 2007 & player option for 2008 - limited ìno tradeî thru 2008) Cesar Izturis (thru 2007 & club option with buy-out for 2008) Ryan Dempster (thru 2008) Bob Howry (thru 2008) Jacque Jones (thru 2008) Derrek Lee (thru 2010 ñ ìno tradeî thru 2010) ---------------------------------------------- OTHERS UNDER CLUB CONTROL (PROJECTED POST-06 MLB SERVICE TIME IN PARENTHESIS) NOTE: Although the MLB season is 182 days, 172 days constitutes one full year of MLB service time WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR ARBITRATION AFTER 2006: Carlos Zambrano (5+42 - FA after 2007) Will Ohman (4+40 - FA after 2008) Mark Prior (4+131 - FA after 2008) AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) FOR 2007: David Aardsma (0+168) Freddie Bynum (1+35) Ronny Cedeno (1+108) Buck Coats (0+35) Brian Dopirak (0) Angel Guzman (0+95) Adam Harben (0) Rich Hill (0+87) Sean Marshall (1+0) Carlos Marmol (0+121) Juan Mateo (0+62) Scott Moore (0+28) Matt Murton (1+87) Miguel Negron (0) Roberto Novoa (1+169) Ryan OíMalley (0+47) Angel Pagan (1+0) Felix Pie (0) Jose Reyes (0+27) Jae-kuk Ryu (0+38) Geovany Soto (0+60) Ryan Theriot (0+112) Les Walrond (0+53) Michael Wuertz (2+4) ------------------------------------ MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS NO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Freddie Bynum Les Walrond ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT: David Aardsma (see NOTE 1) Ronny Cedeno Angel Guzman (see NOTE 2) Rich Hill Miguel Negron Roberto Novoa Will Ohman Geovany Soto Michael Wuertz NOTE 1: David Aardsma will get an additional (4th) option year in 2007 because players get a 4th option year IF they have not played five seasons in the major leagues or minor leagues by the time they have used up their three minor league options. NOTE 2: Because of time spent on the DL in 2004 and 2005, Angel Guzman will likely get a 4th option year in 2007, because he will probably not have played five ìfull seasonsî (minimum 60 days on major league or minor league active roster in each of five separate seasons) by the time he has used up his three options. (CANNOT BE CONFIRMED AT THIS TIME). TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Brian Dopirak Adam Harben Carlos Marmol Angel Pagan Felix Pie Mark Prior Jose Reyes Jae-Kuk Ryu Ryan Theriot THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT: Buck Coats Sean Marshall Juan Mateo Matt Murton Ryan OíMalley
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Comments

didnt kopitzke retire

Roster,

Excellent summary of the Cubs future moves.
I have one question that perhaps you answered, but I didn't understand.

The Cubs are in line to finish with the worst or second worse record and thus in line to receive the number 1 or 2 draft pick. Does signing "A" list or top rated agents this winter negate their high draft pick?

If that is true, how is this equitable to a team
in last place losing their number 1 pick that is one of the highest picks in the draft, versus a first place team losing it's number one pick when that pick is actually the 28th selection in the draft. If this is the case, it penalizes a last place team more than a first place team if both sign top free agents and the last place team has greater need. Any insight would be appreciated.

Paul

Freddie Bynum has NO options left?

The top 15 picks in the draft aren't eligible for compensation. We'd lose our second round pick in that case.

also the new cba rumoredly is doing away with compensation picks all together.

#2 of 2: By Paul (September 28, 2006 06:32 PM)
Roster,

Excellent summary of the Cubs future moves.
I have one question that perhaps you answered, but I didn't understand.

The Cubs are in line to finish with the worst or second worse record and thus in line to receive the number 1 or 2 draft pick. Does signing "A" list or top rated agents this winter negate their high draft pick?

If that is true, how is this equitable to a team
in last place losing their number 1 pick that is one of the highest picks in the draft, versus a first place team losing it's number one pick when that pick is actually the 28th selection in the draft. If this is the case, it penalizes a last place team more than a first place team if both sign top free agents and the last place team has greater need. Any insight would be appreciated.

-

PAUL: No. Teams selecting in the top half of the 1st round of the Rule 4 Draft (June Draft) cannot lose their 1st round pick as the result of signing a Type XX FA. The same thing happened this past year, when the Cubs lost their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks in the 2006 June Draft as compensation for signing Bob Howry, Scott Eyre, and Jacque Jones last off-season, but kept their 1st round pick (which they used to select OF Tyler Colvin--who BTW was named Baseball America's #1 rated prospect in the Northwest League yesterday).

#1 of 2: By Krish (September 28, 2006 06:28 PM)
didnt kopitzke retire

-

KRISH: Yes, but he is still eligible to file for free-agency as a six-year minor league FA (in case he decides to un-retire). It remains his option, up until October 15th.

#3 of 6: By The E-Man (September 28, 2006 06:33 PM)
Freddie Bynum has NO options left?

--

E-MAN: Correct. That's why the A's traded him at the end of Spring Training, because he did not make their Opening Day 25-man roster, and they wanted to get something for him rather than just lose him for $20,000 (the MLB waiver price).

#4 of 7: By Krish (September 28, 2006 06:35 PM)
The top 15 picks in the draft aren't eligible for compensation. We'd lose our second round pick in that case.

also the new cba rumoredly is doing away with compensation picks all together.

KRISH: It has been fairly widely reported that in the new CBA (the old one expires on December 19th), Rule 4 draft pick compensation for signing Type XX FAs will be eliminated.

However, I would be very surprised if this takes effect this coming off-season, #1 because the CBA may not be signed, sealed & delevered until sometime in the middle of the free-agency period (heck, there COULD Be a lock-out next Spring!), and #2 because teams have been operating this season with the understanding that there is draft pick compensation for losing Type XX FAs, and that no doubt had some effect on some teams as to whether they would trade a soon-to-be FA prior to July 31st or hold onto him and then get draft picks (case in point, Barry Zito of the A's).

isnt w.miller still under 07 club rights control?

No...

it was a one year deal and part of the deal was he had to be put on the 40-man which should give him his service time.

ah...thnx.

"that's pretty big talk for a one-eyed fat man."

The Brewers are leading the Cardinals 6-0 in the 3rd inning. What a huge meltdown by the Cardinals.

Off days suck.

By the way, it's cojones, not cajones. Cajones means drawers. Cojones means... well, you know.

Make that 8-0, the Brewers leading the Cards in the 3rd.

NYY getting no hit by BALT's Cabrera, even though NYY did score a run. Going into the 9th...

The Brewers are leading the Cardinals 6-0 in the 3rd inning. What a huge meltdown by the Cardinals.

And I am loving every minute of it. People talk about taking pleasure in the White Sox not making the playoffs. To me, the attitude that real Cub fans have about the Sox is roughly equivalent to our feelings about daily life in Bucharest. That is, they never even cross our minds. I feel like half the people who say they hate the Sox are out-of-towners who've chosen the Cubs, or at the least first generation Cub fans and figure that it's the natural thing to hate the South Side team when it really isn't.

But to hate the Cardinals...nothing is more befitting a Cub fan. The loathing I feel for the St. Louis National League Ballclub is a burning passion of comtempt. I despise the Cards so much that it actually spills over into the a general hatred of the greater St. Louis metro area and all its inhabitants. I hate Budweiser. My dog will never eat Purina. My corn will never be genetically engineered by Monsanto. I can truly say that I hate the Cardinals and everything they stand for. There is nothing that enrages me more than going to Wrigley for a Cubs-Cards game and hearing those rubes from Missouri cheer when their team scores.

An epic collapse by the Cards (especially with a World Series sweep fresh in their minds) would almost redeem this season for me. What's that sound, St. Louis? It's your window closing. God I love it when the Cards lose.

Horatio:
"To me, the attitude that real Cub fans have about the Sox is roughly equivalent to our feelings about daily life in Bucharest. That is, they never even cross our minds."

So, I am not a real Cubs fan Horatio? Is that what you are saying?

AZ Phil,

I'll admit that I have an unnatural love for Mike Fontenot. I guess I just don't get why he gets so little consideration. He's producing fairly well at Iowa. He's got a good eye, takes walks, works counts. Not a lot of power, but generally a tough out. Is this a philosophical thing where the Cubs just feel that guys like him won't help the major league club? Do they really insist upon every prospect be molded into a hack-at-everything lunatic before they are called up?

Not really, Manny, just that I believe your hatred is a little misplaced. I'm sure you love the Cubs just as much as anybody.

Pedro Martinez has a torn calf muscle and will miss the entire post season. That's got to be a huge blow to the Mets chances. They will still be one of the better offensive teams, but their pitching is really going to suffer.

Cabrera's no-hitter is broken up after 8 1/3 innings.

That sucks for the Mets. But even with Pedro their pitching was suspect. Glavine has been inconsistent lately. After that, Trachsel??

Horatio:
"Not really, Manny, just that I believe your hatred is a little misplaced. I'm sure you love the Cubs just as much as anybody."

Ok, then in the future I would refrain from saying basically "real Cub fans" don't have the White Sox cross their mind. Thanks!!

Horatio -- The report said Glavine and Orlando Hernandez would start the first two games of the NLDS.

2007 Tentative schedule announced on cubs.com

Why are we playing a 4 game series in Atlanta for at least the third, if not the 4th year in a row? That just seems odd to me.

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/schedu...

Well, Manny, I've been to Wrigley an awful lot from before I could walk until right now on the doorstep of 30. And I can say that I have seen a lot of New York Sucks and St. Louis Sucks t-shirts. I have never in my entire life seen a White Sox Suck t-shirt. Who knows? Maybe this burgeoning White Sox hatred is just a product of interleague play. When the Sox were just a random AL team that the Cubs never played, I can assure you that no one paid any mind to them.

Horatio, I agree with you in general that Sox fans have always been far more infatuated with Cubs failure then the Cubs fans care about Sox failure. I do think Manny is in a minority of Cubs fans with how much he hates the Sox.

But, I too went to a lot of games growing up well before interleague play...and I remember seing plenty of "Sox Sucks" type t-shirts at wrigley. Manny is certainly nowhere near alone. In general though, Cubs fans are far more interested in the Cardinals then the Sox...as it should be. Meanwhile this is the first season, I think I can honestly say that White Sox fans cared less about the Cubs then Cubs fans cared about the Sox.

Anyway, I really have a profound hatred for the Astros...and have one of those competitive admiration things for the Cardinals. Aside from a couple dust ups, I find little reason to not at least appreciate what the Cards have. It's more of a friendly rivalry in my mind.

"I'll admit that I have an unnatural love for Mike Fontenot. I guess I just don't get why he gets so little consideration."

of course you have no idea...its only been explained to you a few times.

that would require you to actually take in account things other than what fits your profile for an expected outcome.

I used to really hate the Mets, too, mainly because of my dad and what they put him through in 1969. But I've sort of cooled on that one just because I find it hard to hate Carlos Delgado, David Wright, Carlos Beltran and the rest of them. Quite a likeable team, actually.

Other than "he can't field" which I suppose is a good enough reason if it's actually true, I haven't heard much of anything. He's doing fairly well offensively at Iowa with an 825 OPS. This is a fact. So what's keeping him off the Cubs?

i didnt say he couldnt field.

this pissing contest could go on for 20 more posts while you try to be right about something.

i explained why he's not up, where they tried playing him, his limitations, and the type of hitter he is. go fetch. its not far behind you.

if you dont like it, i got a scout you can scream at if you haul your butt down to NC sometime.

then you can make a trip to iowa to scream at some friends there...then you can scream at me, too.

then we can all go out for ice cream.

btw...scouting and his tools/use isnt the end-all be-all of baseball, but if you wanna know WHY HE'S NOT HERE...that's why.

the kicker is the main reason he's not here is his inability to play 3rd...which would make him more suitable off the bench.

blame mike fontenot for not giving mike fontenot's due.

its not like he's a nobody or his career is over, but he's gotta show a bit more fluid motion at 2nd cuz he's pigeonholed as a 2nd-only type right now...little power would help, too.

HORATIO: "But to hate the Cardinals...nothing is more befitting a Cub fan... (FUNNY LINE!)
BLOCKHEADZ: On the Astros...

I had a girlfriend in St. Louis when they played the Royals. She truly, was gorgeous. A model, smart, baseball fan - but she LOVED the Cards - I'd fly back and forth on cheapie flights to see her from Midway. Anyway, we watched the World Series game against the Royals when Andujar went berzerk from a bad call. Inside I was, like, doing cartwheels. She had tears rolling down her face - actually as this particular night wore on, I think I kept rubbing her nose in it - was actually thrilled that the Cards were not going to win. I felt bad for her, but wanted so bad to see them lose, and was hoping that the Cubs could have had another shot after the 1984 disaster. The Royals won the Series that year

That was my last weekend with her.

And, Jim Frey went on to Cubs lore later on in 1989.

I hate the Cards. All of them "Red People" that come here in droves.

I am jealous to be sure, of the perrenial winners that somehow the fucking river town manages to field every year.

I don't really HATE the Sox per se, and even managed to root for them in the Series - let's say I respect them - but I as well wish that we had a dyed-in-the-wool owner and a GM that knows enough not to count on injured pitchers two years in a row.

I'm not trying to be right. I'm just continuing to wait for the first thing that even smacks of why he shouldn't be given a chance. Please don't say "I've seen him." Tell me what you saw. Please don't tell me that he "couldn't make the club." I know that. I'm asking why he can't. If he can play 2B adequately, then what's the issue? An 825 OPS at AAA while playing a decent 2B doesn't exactly guarantee success at MLB, but it's nothing to sneeze at.

If he's a second only kinda guy, how about this for an idea? PLAY HIM ONLY AT SECOND! Why MUST he be a bench player? Why couldn't he be given a chance to start at 2B? Chase Utley "only" plays second. Guess we should send him down then.

Why can't Fontenot be given a CHANCE (just a chance) at second base? This is not a rhetorical question. I am really asking this. If he is not to be given a chance at 2B with the Cubs, then it must be because he's not good enough at hitting, fielding or baserunning. I think we can rule out hitting being the problem, I'm not sure that baserunning alone has kept anyone out of the bigs (unless it's just shockingly awful), so it must be his fielding. But if you say it isn't that, then what has he done to deserve the silent treatment from the Cubs?

btw...scouting and his tools/use isnt the end-all be-all of baseball, but if you wanna know WHY HE'S NOT HERE...that's why.

For example, Crunch, I have no idea what this sentence means. Absolutely none. What can't he do? Is it his hitting? Can he not throw to first? What? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I have no clue what it is your are saying.

I feel you, E-Man. I feel you.

"Tell me what you saw. Please don't tell me that he "couldn't make the club." I know that. I'm asking why he can't."

i have.

in numerous ways.

including above.

do i gotta do it in french or something?

Hey I like Paul Sullivan's suggestion of Trey Hillman...

A brief scouting report on his style suggests Hillman might be welcomed as a savior by those who lament the Cubs' lack of fundamentals and the end of daily infield practice in the big leagues.

"Stickler for details," the report said. "Lots of repetition."

And that was his reputation before he spent four years in Japan.

The Japanese attitude about teamwork and preparation is closer to big-league baseball in the Branch Rickey era than the current one. Given the relative success at last March's World Baseball Classic, when Japan stunned both North and Latin America, it might be time to see if there is something we can learn from the Japanese.

American players who play for Japanese teams often are shocked by the long, highly structured, daily workouts, even during the season. Teams sometimes stay after games for more batting practice. Bobby Valentine, who managed the Chiba Lotte Marines to a title last year, has said the Japanese do "the ABCs like Dodgertown in the '50s."

The Japanese work ethic amazes Americans exposed to it for the first time.

"It's that old thingómore of anything is better," Valentine said. "You name it. If you do it more, you will do it better. That's not right, of course, but it is what Japanese believe."

I think Valentine is a little whack with his last comment about that not being right. It is absolutely true if you do it more you do it better. Practice makes perfect.

The Japanese approach to baseball is the way the game should be played. Whether a manager can bring that same work ethic and style over to the American game is the question. I kind of doubt it would be popular in the states what with players being pampered and wanting to do what they want when they want.

But with the Cubs being an absolute train wreck and young players all over the roster now would be a good time to bring in manager like that to start instilling that work ethic while they are young.

You're the best AZ Phil. Muskrat and her uninformed readers should hang their heads in shame.

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

Oh there is some other cool stuff in the article like Derrek Lee might embrace it because his father was a long time player and scout in Japan.

And Derrek Lee has been openly critical of the teams mental lapses on the field, and general lack of heart.

i have.

in numerous ways.

including above.

do i gotta do it in french or something?

Seriously, can someone else translate for me? Crunch is insisting that he has told me why Fontenot is not worthy of a shot at 2B with the Cubs, but I for the life of me cannot detect where, what, or when that was. I am not trying to be purposely obtuse. I am just completely flummoxed. Please someone break it down for me.

Only 12 interleague games next year for the Cubs? Some NL teams have 18.

Maybe that's a good thing.

Nine days ago the Cards led the Astros by 8 1/2 games. Cards just lost again. Their lead is down to 1/2 game.

St.Louis is looking like Mudville.

Ok - I'll give it a shot...

Crunch has mentioned that Fontenot lacks power. But he's currently slugging .450 at Iowa so I'm not sure that's entirely true. He's no Sandberg, but who is?

His K/BB ratio is fantastic at 1.36 so it's not his approach or his batting eye.

We've got some talk about his "limitations" but no word on what those actually are.

The fact that he can't play 3rd has come up, but I'm not sure how that hurts a starting second baseman.

Crunch mentioned that the "type of hitter he is" hurts him but I'm not sure what he's looking for out of his 2B. Not everyone is Joe Morgan. I'd settle for Mark Loretta.

Did I miss anything? Did he knock up McPhail's daughter or something?

Anyone know why the Cardinals are set to finish with 161 games played? I looked at their schedule; they had three rainouts (2 @ SF, 1 @ PHI) but they made them all up.

???

i mentioned everything you asked for but you've just ignored them. both in this post and in another post not too far down the line.

i told you why he's not here...what his problem is at 2nd...what he's hitting and what he's not hitting and how he hits it. ive also told you about his inability to adapt to 3rd and how it impacted his career so far.

if you missed it...well...too bad, something tells me you'll live to not read it another day. cheer up.

btw hort...dont read too far back or you might find posts about how i like him and how much i hated his failed experiment at 3rd was. that'll blow your mind.

yes, he's been "on the radar" for longer than just 1-2 seasons now.

there's 1 SF game STL hasnt made up yet.

SF would prefer not to play it and rumor has it if they have to (selig wouldnt just let SF forfeit if it was needed) bonds is alleged not to want to play in the game. but we'll find out if it takes it.

MikeC:
"I think Valentine is a little whack with his last comment about that not being right. It is absolutely true if you do it more you do it better. Practice makes perfect."

No it doesn't. Perfect practice makes perfect. Guys out there screwing around or practicing improperly does not make you improve. Doing things properly will make you better, not practicing improperly.

CRUNCH - Yeah - as I understand it, IF at the end of the regular season, the Cards and 'Stros are tied, the "make-up" game between the Giants and Cards will be played the day after the reg. season ends (Cards hold the edge betw. they and the 'Stros).

After this game - if they are STILL tied - there will be a one-game shootout between the two.

this whole hou/stl thing is beyond crazy...i cant remember the last time STL's lead was legitamately threatened this season...much less going from 8.5 to .5 games up on the 2nd place team.

been fun to watch...sd/la, too.

pitt had to lose 7 in a row in order to find the cubs in last place heh...

has pitt had the best record in mlb in the 2nd 1/2?

someone told me they did earlier tonite...dunno where to find easy breaks on that info, though.

quick scan of month w/l on a callendar grid doesnt look like that drunken "trivia" doesnt hold much weight...nevermind.

E-Man, I met my future wife in 1970; we were both freshmen in college. She was from New York, born in Washington Heights and raised on Long Island. After 1969, I was not inclined to take any of that "Miracle Mets" crap from any New Yorker. But thank God, she was not a sports fan and could care less who won the World Series; otherwise, we never would have gotten together. She still doesn't care about sports, and we're still happily married. Funny how these things work out.

Houston-SF was rained out 4/11 and 4/12, the first two of a three-game set. They played a doubleheader on 4/13 to make up one, then a one-game series on May 8 for the other.

Still not seeing it.

Wow, a bunch of back and forth posts about giving Mike Fontenot a chance? Hendry do something. Something big, it's gotten ridiculous.

...Anyways, you know it's a good AZ Phil post when it has an "Appendix" :)

I know nobody asked me, but the bickering on Fontenot is giving me agita.

Crunch, you have said that "fontenot isnt up based on anything he's done at the bat...he's not up mainly cuz of a late season injury and cuz he's not versitile." However, you've also said that "fontenot's main problem is he's a fastball hitter who cant play anything but 2nd (and isnt a very fluid 2nd baseman)...he's a linedrive/gap hitter." But then again: "his main problem isnt his walks or his linedrive hitting, its he can pretty much only play 2nd and that's not even solid."

Speaking only for myself here, I have never seen Fontenot play and I am curious about him. I understand that he is apparently not Albert Pujols, but beyond that I can't tell from your descriptions if he is a sharp-hitting catalyst with a good eye (e.g. Theriot, Murton post-ASB) or an ineffectual singles hitter (e.g. Murton in May/June). I can't tell if he really, really can't hit a curveball (e.g. Russell Branyan) or if he's just better at hitting fastballs.

I also get that you're not necessarily in agreement with the whole "versatility" thing, that you're saying the Cubs haven't promoted him because they perceive him to be limited in some way. That said, though, I don't know what you mean by saying that his 2B defense is not "fluid." Does he have problems turning the double play? Does he bobble a lot of easy grounders?

You also said: "you also cant ignore things that players bring (or dont bring) just cuz YOU have some stats you hold as golden." Fair enough, but you don't have to be a mystic to evaluate a player, either. I'm not at all saying Fontenot should be a starter, a bench guy, or even a spring training invitee. But based on what I've read, I don't know what would be wrong with bringing him to the big leagues at some point to try him out, if only to compare and contrast him with Theriot (who may have a letdown next year, who knows).

the organiztion's main issue with fontenot is his 1-station playing ability. you can bet you would have seen a lot more of him if it wasnt for the fact he didnt stick at 3rd...and it sure wasnt for a lack of trying. in the minors, in spring, and in the bigs...

his 2nd is clumbsy...he can catch, but the "motions" of fielding arent fluid...that's not helping...

the big issue with his bat is what he's hitting vs. what he's not hitting...fastballs, good...everything else, meh.

he used to not be able to hit them period...he's got a good eye cuz he QUIT swinging at so many breaking pitches and waits for the fastball.

this can pump your numbers but is not a quality trait when you're looking to project a guy.

these are things he does and if i can see it, a scout can see it, and others can...you can bet both the organization and others can, too.

hell epat is .5-1 season away anyway...he at least projects as an everyday starter even if his fielding isnt fully realized yet.

Fuckup's haiku:

Now I understand
Sorry that I am so dense
I don't make four mil

WPZ said:
"Houston-SF was rained out 4/11 and 4/12, the first two of a three-game set. They played a doubleheader on 4/13 to make up one, then a one-game series on May 8 for the other."

umm...what does Houston have to do with the Cardinals missing game?

the Cardinals have a game to make up, not the Astros. Astros have 3 games left...Cards have 4.

Cardinals SF game on 9/18 was rained out.
That is the game that needs to be made up.

Carlos:
Off days suck.

Just wait until the off-season. Ugh. To occupy you for now, though, here are some yummy rumors I've heard. These are just rumors, remember, and unfortunately, I can't reveal my source:

* McPhail is going to officially change the spelling of his last name. Everyone thinks it's spelled McFail nowdays anyways.

* Hendry will be traded to Kansas City for Angel Berroa and PTBNL.

* Dusty is under intense scrutiny by the MLB because he is believed to be taking "performance enhancing" alcholic beverages before games. The theory MLB came up with is if he his too drunk and incapacitated, he can't do his usual screwups, thus enhancing his in-game performance.

Of course "intense scrutiny" by the MLB is a little bit like how I watch "Grey's Anatomy". I might or might not be in the room and if I am in the room, I might occasionally look up at the screen. I probably don't know what's going on, nor do I care... well, you get the idea.

"No it doesn't. Perfect practice makes perfect. Guys out there screwing around or practicing improperly does not make you improve. Doing things properly will make you better, not practicing improperly."
---

What the fuck is this? Could you not find some spelling mistakes to correct?

What in the hell is improper practice?

wearing your pants on backwards...
throwing the ball with your weak arm...
gripping the barrell-end when you swing the bat...

You mock Manny but I'm not sure you even know what the hell he's talking about.

What's the planetary status of Pluto, Chad?

HAH!

the cardinals.

Horatio, good question about Fontenot. I was watching what he was doing in Iowa and thought he might be called up before September.

Try this for an explanation: the Cubs have never had long-term plans for Pierre (which is why he's a free agent) and are trying to find a guy who can replace his stolen bases and maybe lead off, so Theriot and E. Patterson go to the head of the class.

Ideally you would get your stolen bases from a middle infielder so you can reserve your outfield for guys with some pop. A shortstop can make a living with his glove and bat eighth. That's the kind of shortstop we have right now, so the second baseman has to hit first or second and steal bases.

Virgina,

I suppose that's fair enough. Fontenot is clearly no basestealer. I sort of forgot about E-Pat, too. If Eric is the 2B of the future, than less reason to get excited about Fontenot. Still, it frustrates me that Cedeno, someone who has shown himself to be totally unable to hit and who continues to make boneheaded errors, gets an extended look at 2B while MF plays decently at AAA and gets no consideration. It literally seems like the better you are at getting on base/avoiding getting out, the less chance you have of catching on with the Cubs. If the Cubs have no long term plans for him, maybe at least give him some MLB time to showcase and then trade for value?

I like speed as much as anyone, and I'd rate Theriot higher than Fontenot because of it, but I think speed tends to cloud the Cubs judgment sometimes. I mean, the fact that Bynum and Cedeno (basically because they "look" like speedy baseball guys) have gotten so many PAs this season is really incomprehensible.

URBS: That's really interesting how life worked out for you! I'm sure it has crossed your mind as you say - what if she LOVED the Mets? Wore a Koosman jersey around? Had a poster up? Around 1970...!

We are such a fabric of how our upbringing develops, eh?

While my dad wasn't a Cubs fanatic, he did take me to my first game which set me on this road to addiction/obsession.

Perfect practice makes perfect. Guys out there screwing around or practicing improperly does not make you improve.

Dusty doesn't make the Cubs practice, so now his apologists are attacking the whole concept of practice. That's just rich.

The Cardinals are folding faster than Superman on laundry day.

ESPN said they have a make up game with the Giants if it is needed.

Someone wake up Felipe and let him know.

The schedule shows the Padres coming to Wrigley twice -two game in April and 3 in June.

I would imagine they switch it around somehow and the Cubs would travel to Oakland or the Angels will be coming to Wrigley.

I wish they would drop 3 against the Sox so they could go to Oakland, would be a nice trip to go see them play. I know they play SF, but I like the A's and I'm rooting for them to win it all this year.

NL is now up for grabs-

Pedro is out for the playoffs.

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

#20 of 77: By Horatio (September 28, 2006 08:54 PM)
AZ Phil,

I'll admit that I have an unnatural love for Mike Fontenot. I guess I just don't get why he gets so little consideration. He's producing fairly well at Iowa. He's got a good eye, takes walks, works counts. Not a lot of power, but generally a tough out. Is this a philosophical thing where the Cubs just feel that guys like him won't help the major league club? Do they really insist upon every prospect be molded into a hack-at-everything lunatic before they are called up?

---

HORATIO: I can understand why you like Mike Fontenot.

He was a star college second-baseman at 2000 NCAA CWS champion LSU (Theriot hit 1st, Fontenot hit 2nd, Brad Hawpe hit 3rd), and was a #1 draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2001. The O's added him to their 40-man roster at the end of the 2004 season, so they apparently were concerned that he might get selected in that year's Rule 5 Draft. He was rated as the Orioles #6 prospect by Baseball America in 2002, #9 in 2003, and #7 in 2004. The Cubs apparently liked him enough to have him included in the package they got back for Sammy Sosa. So Fontenot is NOT garbage.

The big rap on Fontenot is that he is a sort of "good hit/no field" 2B. He is clumsy around second-base (he's like a dancer who keeps stepping on his partner's feet), and has difficulty turning the DP and making consistently good throws when he goes to his right. He is the type of below-average infielder with a good bat who normally would be moved to LF (as happened with Frank Catalanotto).

Still, if he hadn't been hurt, it's possible Mike Fontenot might have gotten a September call-up and would be alternating at 2B with Ryan Theriot right now. But the big problem with Fontenot is that he plays one position (2B), but (unlike former LSU DP partner Theriot) he doesn't have the speed/range/arm/athleticism/versatility to play other infield positions, which essentially negates him as a bench guy.

Back in the 1960's, when MLB clubs had ten-man pitching staffs and seven extra men on the bench, a Mike Fontenot could have been kept around as a platoon or back-up 2B and PH. But with only five spots available on the bench these days, Fontenot either has to be the everyday 2B or he can't be on the roster. MLB Back-up middle-infielders have to be able to play AT LEAST two positions (like 2B-SS or 2B-3B).

So the question about Fontenot is not whether he can hit, but rather if he can play enough defense to make him an everyday 2B or LF (he is a good hitter, but is he good enough to play LF?), and apparently because of his defensive shortcomings, the Cubs doubt that he can. But just because the Cubs have doubts, that doesn't mean that another MLB club might not have a higher opinion of him, and will give him a chance to play 2B (or maybe LF) every day at the big league level at some point in the future.

Remember, Fontenot was placed on waivers last November when the Cubs outrighted him to AAA, and any other MLB club could have had him for $20,000, with two minor league options available. And no other club made a claim. So there are apparently doubts about Fontenot's ability to be an everyday 2B throughout MLB.

If Fontenot does make it in the bigs, I believe it will be as a Frank Catalanotto-type LF and #2 hitter.

What the fuck is this? Could you not find some spelling mistakes to correct?

What in the hell is improper practice?

wearing your pants on backwards...
throwing the ball with your weak arm...
gripping the barrell-end when you swing the bat...

What is this? Just an excuse to try to attack Manny?

Come on...you really don't understand what "improper practice" is?

Manny is correct here...perfect practice makes perfect, but not all practice makes perfect. For example, if a pitcher practices poor mechanics, they will continue to use poor mechanics. If an infielder takes 1,000 groundballs a day, yet refuses to get in front of a ball, the practice is not necessarily gonig to be hepful.

What Manny means is that one must be very carfeul in how they practice. It makes perfect sense to anyone who has actually practiced in order to get better at something...

Thanks for the breakdown, AZ Phil. I guess the sucker just can't field. I'd still like to see him get a shot to start for the Cubs. I mean, if Cedeno can get a shot to start...Fontenot would literally have to make 35 errors at 2B for the total package to be a downgrade over Ronny.

But if he got hurt, then obviously he's not here.

Still, even if Mike makes it look ugly out there, if he's making all the plays he needs to make, I say give him a chance. David Eckstein doesn't look particularly graceful out there, but he's proven that he can get it done at the highest level.

Even so, E-Pat is probably the better option for the future.

Regarding Fontenot----I live near DesMoines, and this year got to see about 10 games that Fontenot has played in.

I'm not a scout...not a stat guy.....not a Moneyballer.......just a guy who played some amatuer ball 20 years ago.

My take---Fontenot simply looks like a guy who has maxed out his ability. He LOOKS like a guy who is performing as well as he ever will. IN other words, that tag of "potential" is gone. He's as good as he will be...period.

Theriot, on the other hand, looked and still does look like he can improve.......like he has the athletic ability, and desire to make himself better. He just SEEMS like he has more in in his ability than does Fontenot.......like there is more "potential" in there.

It's tough to explain in a brief writing...but if you saw them play 8-10 games apiece...I think you'd see the same thing.

Joey

What Joey just said is how scouts go about evaluating players. They actually watch them play, and then use their experience and knowledge to make judgments. The best scouts are right a lot more often than they are wrong.

AZPHIL:"...but (unlike former LSU DP partner Theriot) he doesn't have the speed/range/arm/athleticism/versatility to play other infield positions, which essentially negates him as a bench guy."

Maybe I missed something, but isn't this ESSENTIALLY the same idea that CRUNCH was trying to get across about ten times?

As he is even "negated as a bench guy", and there is no place for him on the MLB roster - for a while -
its why he's "Fonte-NOT"

and there is no place for him on the MLB roster

Maybe if we had Robbie Alomar or Jeff Kent or Chase Utley or even Luis Castillo or Dan Uggla on our team I'd agree, but we were starting Ronny Cedeno at 2B. That's really all I'm saying. That Ronny Cedeno is blocking ANYONE from a shot at playing is kind of unbelievable to me.

The idea that any player in the minors plays only one position really doesn't bother me too much because I think that we should look to our farm team to produce starter, not bench guys. We really shouldn't concern ourselves with how someone projects as a bench guy. So if Fontenot isn't good enough to start, which seems to be the case, it's really irrelevant if he can't play 3rd, because I'd be uninterested in his services off the bench. I'd much rather have a veteran like Craig Counsell in that role.

Baseball America has announced it Top 20 prospects from the Midwest League, and the only Cubs player in the MWL Top 20 is LHP Donald Veal (at #9).

BA's Jim Callis mentions that although Veal is now considered the Cubs #1 pitching prospect, Veal's lack of a consistent breaking ball (he throws both a hard one and a slow one, and uses a different motion for each pitch) as the reason why he was not rated higher than he was. Both his 91-94 fast ball and straight-change are rated as plus-pitches, however.

While it's not unusual for a young lefty to have problems with command, he does need to find a way to get more consistent with his breaking pitch, maybe by throwing just one of the two and junking the other one.

BTW, although he was not originally on the roster of the Cubs team in the Arizona Instructional League, 2004 #1 pick RHP Grant Johnson is pitching in the Instructional League. As some of you may remember, Johnson was one of the pitchers assigned to the Arizona Fall League's Mesa Solar Sox (who will begin play next week), but it looks like Johnson might have been assigned to the AIL to free up a spot on the Solar Sox roster for RHP Adam Harben (originally assigned to the Solar Sox by the Twins prior to getting traded to the Cubs as the PTBNL in Phil Nevin deal, but then left in limbo after the trade).

HORATIO:

I liked Craig Counsell several years ago - even when he was with the Brew.

Do you think he has much left in the tank?

Since you like offensive #'s - how's he been the last two-three years?

On ADAM HARBEN:

2004 Quad City 9-7 3.09 26 26 0 0 0 142.2 114 60 49 5 5 68 171 6 - ---

IS this RIGHT?

171 K's and 68 BB in 142 Innings?

Pretty interesting if it is.

#87 of 87: By The E-Man (September 29, 2006 12:48 PM)
On ADAM HARBEN:

2004 Quad City 9-7 3.09 26 26 0 0 0 142.2 114 60 49 5 5 68 171 6 - ---

IS this RIGHT?

171 K's and 68 BB in 142 Innings?

Pretty interesting if it is.

---

E-MAN: Yes, that's correct.

Harben was rated by BA as one of the Twins Top 10 prospects coming into the 2006 season, but struggled some at AA.

Hopefully, he can get back to pitching like he did in 2004-05. If he can, he is a definite big league prospect.

I agree with Horatio's comments reguarding the White Sox. I didn't grow up hating them; I just didn't care about them at all. Th AL sucked big time back then. Whenever I hear or see Sox fans slamming the Cubs I am baffled why they care about us so much. I guess they still think they the ugly stepchild and get little media attention. Whatever. The St. Louis Cardinals to me are the Ned Flanders of baseball: they're just so goddamned perfect and their fans are soooooooo nice, oh and knowledgable too. At least that what ESPN says everytime they're covering one of their games. Gag me pullease. I admit to being jealous. I would like to have a competent scouting system. Players being held accountable for their actions/nonactions. Their manager, however, is a total a-hole.

I think Harben just missed the top 10 actually

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features...

Sout.com had him at #11 on their list to start the season but dropped him in their mid-season list.

Counsell looks done, his #'s since 2001:
since 2001:
275/359/362
282/328/304
234/328/304
241/330/315
256/350/375
257/326/341

Graffanino is a better option in my opinion

Rob G.,

No doubt TG is a better option. I was really just throwing a name out there. My main point was that I am uninterested in projecting bench careers for the players in our farm system. IMHO, they should be given a chance as starters or given up on altogether. We can acquire our bench from elsewhere. If Graffanino looks like a good option, I'm all for it.

The St. Louis Cardinals to me are the Ned Flanders of baseball

Yes! Sweeney! Exactly!

Oooooooohh I hate those "knowledgable" bastards with every fiber of my being.

LOL!!!

TG: Can't we as a group at least TRY for better than Tony Graffanino?

Actually, as I've expressed, I would like to see TheRiot as a Super Sub for one year but if it was a choice between TG and Theirot, I'd just a soon go with the almost-rookie if there was no other viable option.

I've seen enough Cub players that have made remarkable errors to last a lifetime.

Graff's got baggage like Gonzo and Leon Durham - the "ball through the legs" syndrome.

Enough with the, "just above mediocre" player in my opinion.

NED FLANDERS:

This is pretty funny (well, to Simpsons fans, who also hate the Redbirds) but ya'll might want to take a quick look at the wikipedia page on Ned.

If you relate it back to your feelings on the Cards, you may feel some synergies.

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

Dave:
"What Manny means is that one must be very carfeul in how they practice. It makes perfect sense to anyone who has actually practiced in order to get better at something..."

Thanks, unfortunately some posters on here are out for vendettas and don't care what people post, just attack them anyways. FUN FUN.

Enough with the, "just above mediocre" player in my opinion.

I whole-heartedly agree. Except inexpensive bench players are rarely that far above mediocre. I don't mind when such guys as TG or Counsell or Dellucci comprise our bench. It's when the mediocrity (Izturis, Cedeno, Bynum) infects the starting lineup that I share your frustration.

It really wouldn't be a day at TCR without Manny making an assinine statement, and then bitching about how he's ben misquoted, or he's the victim of a personal attack, and how people have a vendetta and are out get poor little innocent ol Manny.

Hooray for TCR!

Itzturis:

Would be terrific IF, batting 8th always, he was surrounded by a consistently offensive juggernaut of a lineup.

HE truly is a gifted fielder.

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