2006 End of the Year Roundtable (Writer’s Edition)

With the year coming to a merciful close, the TCR writers gathered together thanks to the wonders of technology and discussed the past and present. Luckily, cameras were there to catch the event. ---- Dusty, Dusty, Dusty, sum up his tenure in 2 sentences or less. AZ Phil: Dusty Baker is a good people manager, but is lacking in game management skills. He would probably do OK managing a veteran A. L. team (where double-switches are not required) with a lot of big egos like the Yankees or Red Sox or maybe the White Sox, and I suspect one of the main reasons Hendry hired Dusty was because Dusty had somehow managed to lead Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent into the World Series in 2002 and Jimbo thought Dusty would be the best choice to manage a team featuring a superstar prima donna like Sammy Sosa, but with Sammy now just a distant memory, an "ego manager" like Dusty Baker is no longer needed. Rob G. Dusty was more myth than manager. His deficiencies far outweighed his benefits. Transmission: He came. He saw. He complained. (Wait, thatís three sentences, let me try again.) In spite of who he replaced, and in spite of the successes of 2003 and 2004, Dusty failed to leave the Cubs in a better state than how he found them. I donít think I could have imagined such a failure. Ruz: I think his tenure could best be summed up in a haiku: High hopes for winning Quickly changed to excuses And too much Neifi What do you want out of the next Cubs manger in terms of personality and qualities. Is there an individual you have in mind? Ruz: I want a manager who doesn't bunt too much, who understands the value of a walk, and who doesn't prize experience and familiarity over talent. Basically, I think I want Earl Weaver. Rob G. I want a manager who doesnít hides behind excuses, whoís more worried about the team than his own ass, who doesnít treat a major league baseball team like a varsity high school squad, and who understands at the least the very basics of in-game management. Bruce Bochy would be interesting albeit unlikely. Most anyone else I donít know much about beyond their reputations and Iím not falling for that again. AZ Phil: A chicken shit Napoleon with a lot of lame rules isn't necessary, but I do want Hendry to hire a manager who demands excellence in his players' performance, who requires players to take pre-game batting & infield practice so that the team will be properly prepared for each game, who has strong game management skills such that the Cubs can get every little edge they can get every game, and who willingly accepts reponsibility for his own mistakes, shortcomings, and failures, and (most importantly) does something to correct them or make sure they don't happen again. Who? Well, without being present at the interviews, I couldn't say for sure. But Bobby Cox says Fredi Gonzalez will make an excellent manager, so maybe Fredi Gonzalez. Transmission: Dusty Baker lost all credibility ñ in his assessment of his teamís strengths and weaknesses, in his ability to discipline his players, to cope with the media or fans, to identify winning baseball strategies. There just came to be a point where I could not take seriously anything he said, based upon his personal history. I want someone who in his demeanor and personality, his tactical knowledge and disciplinary skills, demonstrates that it is worth my while to listen to him. Iíd like to see Ron Washington in Oakland get a shot. Freddi Gonzalez, of course. Absolutely no retread managers not named Showalter or Valentine. Those two would both be ìname brandî and unlikely to get pushed around by the politicking in the front office and the clubhouse. At what point did you give up your playoff aspirations for the 2006 Cubs? Transmission: If I recall my April prediction correctly, I gave up before the season started. This just wasnít a good team. Ruz: At the beginning of the season I predicted they'd finish two games behind the Cards (missed it by that much) so apparently sometime before Opening Day. Rob G. Probably when Derrek Lee went down, certainly when Kerry Wood went back on the shelf. AZ Phil: Sometime in May, after it became obvious that the team could not withstand the loss of Derrek Lee, and once it became clear that Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were not going to be able to join the starting rotation anytime soon. The deal for Phil Nevin (or somebody like him) should have been made immediately after it was known that D-Lee would miss at least two months. Hendry dropped the ball, in my opinion. There were far too many things that went wrong with the club to address in this space, was there anything that went right? Transmission: I got to see a game in person for the first time in six years. Murton, Theriot and Hill, of course. Jones wasnít the complete disaster I feared. Pierreís second half almost justified his presence. Aramisís second half suggested he has the capacity to carry a team, if he wanted to. We learned that when Barrett embarrasses himself and his team, it inspires him to become an elite hitter. AZ Phil: Not really. I would call 2006 "The Season from Hell." The number and types of injuries this year far exceeds what I believe is reasonably probable. It reminded me a lot of the 1985 season, when the entire Cubs starting rotation was on the DL at one point Ruz: Matt Murton looks like a solid major leaguer, Rich Hill looks like he gets it, Jacque Jones had a decent year, and the Cubs were bad enough that Dusty Baker isn't coming back. Rob G. It ended the Dusty Baker era, Iíd call the season a rousing success. Andy MacPhail resigning is pretty good too. Hill, Murton, Theriot and Marshall (in that order) got opportunities to show they could very well be part of the next good Cubs team or at the least, very tasty trade bait capable of reeling in a big fish. Can the Cubs compete next year without signing Aramis Ramirez? AZ Phil: Yes. It would not be easy to replace A-Ram's bat in the lineup and at 3B, but there are ALWAYS other options (like maybe sign Soriano & Feliz, or trade for V. Wells & Lowell, etc). I definitely want Hendry to do everything he can to re-sign Ramirez, however. Transmission: Realistically, no. It would require replacing his bat with Soriano, and everything else going as right in 2007 as went wrong in 2006. Rob G. Stranger things have happened, but Iíll go with bloody unlikely. Unless Hendry has a miracle trade in him for a third basemen next year, the options are pretty horrid in the free agent market. Ramirez is on the verge of becoming one of the elite hitters in the game. Ruz: I don't think they can compete *with* signing him, but they still have to. A healthy Ramirez/Lee duo, supplemented by another 20-homer guy (look, I'm not asking for the world) is the bare minimum for us to hope the offense can score enough runs to keep the team competitive. The Cubs seem to have more questions marks than the Riddlerís costume; prioritize the Cubs off-season moves in a handy clip and save card for Hendry. Rob G. 1. Resign Aramis Ramirez 2. Sign Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito or Daisuke Matsuzaka 3. Sign or Trade for another reliable, no worse than league average starter 4. Find some power at either CF or 2B, assuming everyone else stays the same. 5. Take a class in learning how to build a major league bench AZ Phil: A. Re-sign Ramirez B. Re-sign Zambrano long-term past 2007 C. Via FA or trade, acquire two reliable starting pitchers who make all of their starts and who can consistently keep their team in the game and pitch into the 7th inning. D. Add two or three proven quality vets to the bench, preferrably ace PH 3B-1B Wes Helms, a versatile lefty hitting PH-3B-1B-LF-RF like Geoff Blum, and maybe Craig Counsell as the utility middle-infielder (or he could start at SS or 2B if necessary). Guys who can get on base or get key hits off the bench late in the game. Ruz 1. Hire a manager quickly so free agents know what they can expect if they sign with the Cubs. 2. Re-sign Ramirez. 3. Sign a decent starting pitcher. 4. Figure out what you want to have happen in the middle infield and then make it happen. Transmission: 1. Begin overhaul of minor league instructional techniques. 2. Begin overhaul of major league strength and conditioning, flexibility, and off-season training programs 3. Add walks to the offense, remove them from the pitching staff. Be as radical as need be in re-creating the roster to do so. 4. Related, do not fall into the trap of dismissing this year as the result of fluke injuries. This year was the product of a systemic failure to develop, promote, and acquire the players and skills necessary for a winning ball-club. You have $13-15 million burning a hole in your budget next year and one roster spot available. Give us the 3 free agents you target with that money. Ruz I'm really bad at this. Alfonso Soriano is a sexy pick right now, but he'll probably demand more than $13-$15M. Jermaine Dye's never going to match his 2006 numbers again. Torii Hunter is the kind of over-30 free swinger that I could see Jim Hendry throwing a 3 or 4 year deal at. I think it might be best to grab two mid-range starting pitchers for that money.** Let's say Miguel Batista and Jeff Suppan. Put them in the rotation behind Zambrano and Hill, find a cheap fifth starter, and try to get back to .500. AZ Phil: A. Jason Schmidt B. Alfonso Soriano C. Barry Zito (however, if Schmidt or Soriano cannot be signed, I would actually prefer the money to be spent on two healthy & reliable rotation starters instead of just on Zito). Transmission: Soriano. Anything left over (or more likely, the full amount, when we fail to land Soriano) should be used to fish for a cheap Frank Catalanotto, one of the three innings-eating left-handers Ted Lilly, Randy Wolf or Barry Zito, and from the right side, one of Jason Schmidt, Tony Armas or Tomo Ohka. God, what a bad off-season for free agency. Rob G. 1. Jason Schmidt 2. Barry Zito 3. Alfonso Soriano (to play CF) What are 3 things the Cubs should avoid doing this off-season at all costs? (asked before Dusty was relieved of duties) AZ Phil: A. Do NOT retain Dusty Baker as manager; B. Do NOT play Larry Himes hard-ass with Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano; C. Do NOT count on Mark Prior as a rotation starter for next season, but give him a chance to get back on the track. Rob G. 1. Go after one year wonders (Gary Matthews Jr., Pedro Feliz, etc) 2. Trade Rich Hill for anything less than a superstar hitter with years of club control left. 3. Sell any of their future for an immediate 2007 fix. Trading prospects is fine if the bounty is a player that will be around for at least 3 years. But risking it all for 2007 wouldnít be wise. Ruz Putting all their eggs in one basket on the free agent market, counting on anything productive out of Mark Prior next year, and thinking they can make a run at the playoffs. Transmission: Entering a land-war in Asia Naming a city after the head of your society or organization Showing mercy on the children who are rightful heirs to the throne. Regarding the Cubs, they are going to be tempted by the same things that have temped the Cubs for as long as I can remember: 1. overpaying on mediocre free-agent pitching. This off-season looks like it might lead to contracts not seen since the Chan Ho Park, Denny Neagle and Darren Dreifort era around the turn of the millennium. 2. overpaying for name-brand, washed-up, over-rated managers 3. messing with Wrigley Field in order simultaneously to squeeze more revenue out of the park itself while also raising ticket prices. Lightning Round: Give us your thoughts on these players and how important they are to next yearís team? Juan Pierre AZ Phil:I would not necessarily have a problem with Hendry re-signing Juan Pierre, but I would prefer Alfonso Soriano or possibly Vernon Wells (if Hendry can acquire him without trading both Matt Murton and Felix Pie), because I like sluggers who can drive the ball. Transmission: gone Rob G.: Not worth what heíll be asking. We should be able to do better. Ruz: The alternatives (Soriano for too much money, Felix Pie before he's ready) might be worse. Aramis Ramirez AZ Phil: Jim Hendry needs to sign Aramis Ramirez to a contract extension. Transmission: essential Rob G.: Vertical blue pin-stripes are very slimming. Ruz: Gotta keep him Kerry Wood AZ Phil: I hope Woody would be willing to accept a 2007 contract with a low base and incentives (maybe $1m guaranteed and $100,000 for each appearance), and that if he is offered and does accept a deal like that, that he will be healthy enough to be a "John Smoltz"-type closer for the Cubs next season. If he isn't consistent enough to be a closer, I wouldn't mind a Kerry Wood pitching in middle relief, either. Transmission: who? Rob G.: ìComing in to lock down his 50th consecutive save for your Chicago Cubs, Kerry Woodî Ruz: Don't even think about it Matt Murton AZ Phil: I believe Matt Murton is on the verge of becoming an outstanding MLB player, and I hope he returns in 2007. The MLB player to whom I would now compare him is Michael Cuddyer. If it is necessary to include Murton in a trade for a proven star like Miguel Cabrera, I certainly would, but otherwise Murt would be my starting LF in 2007. Transmission: worth a shot, weíre not contending next year, anyway. Rob G.: Heís only going to get better. It would be pretty foolish to give up on him unless he brings a superstar with years of club control like Miguel Cabrera. Ruz: Get him 500 AB Rich Hill AZ Phil: Like with Barry Zito, home runs will always be a bug-a-boo for a fly ball pitcher like Rich Hill, but I am happy to see Hill finally trust his stuff and throw strikes. As far as I'm concerned, he has earned a spot in the 2007 starting rotation. Trading him would be stupid, because then there would be another hole in the rotation. Transmission: Zambrano/Hill is a delicious thought. Dark-horse All Star candidate. Rob G.: Virtually untouchable at this point. (within reason) Ruz: The next big Cubs pitching hope -- a #4 in '07, a #2 in '08 Felix Pie AZ Phil: I believe Felix Pie will be an outstanding MLB player in the near future. He can be a Gold Glove-quality CF with a plus-arm, he is coachable, and he has worked hard with Von Joshua to improve his plate discipline and with Bob Dernier to improve his base-stealing. I believe he is very close to the big leagues right now. However, I can't see Pie as a lead-off hitter. To me, he is more of a middle-of-the-order run producer. Transmission: Do Not Open Until 2008 Rob G.: Not Corey Patterson and Not Quite Ready. Should be the first callup if any OFíers go down next year though. Ruz: Not yet, if ever Ryan Theriot AZ Phil: The Riot is an example of a player who became a good hitter by giving up switch-hitting. Once he learned to hit right-handed against RHPs, he became a consistent .300 hitter. Barring injury, he should be the Cubs starting 2B on Opening Day in 2007, and stay there until such time as Eric Patterson is (hopefully) ready to take the job sometime in '07 or '08. When and if E-Pat is ready, I would move Theriot to SS. I believe Theriot is another David Eckstein or Ryan Freel, and I like that type of player. He drives the opposition nutso. He is a good top-of-the-order type hitter, can go deep into the count, and can hit either 1st or 2nd. Transmission: Let him leadoff, hit second if we keep Pierre Rob G.: Damn heís fun to watch. If an All-star caliber second basemen with some pop is available (Durham or Marcus Giles), I wouldnít pass them up. Othwise Iím comfortable with giving him a shot at the job in spring training. Ruz: give him the 2B job and find out if this year was a fluke or a benchmark Mark Prior AZ Phil: If Mark Prior is healthy in 2007, he could easily return to his 2003 form. I just don't know whether he will be healthy or not, so I would want a viable Plan "B" for his spot in the rotation. But I wouldn't give up on him just yet. Transmission: who? Rob G.: Act like he doesnít exist. Ruz: Plan for the season without him. That way anything he gives the team will be a bonus. Can the Cubs be contenders next year without expanding the budget to $150 million and what will it take to do so? Ruz Of course they can. There is no juggernaut in the NL Central, and any team who puts together a smart plan and follows it should be able to win the division. Can you spot the critical word in the last sentence? Transmission: I donít see enough on the market or enough in our system of trade value to be able to turn this runaway freight train of a Titanic towering inferno quagmire around in one off-season. This is going to take time to clean up. AZ Phil: Sure. Absolutely. And not just because the N. L. Central is probably the weakest division in baseball, either. It would not require much more than re-signing Aramis Ramirez to a contract extension, hiring a different manager, putting together a healthy and reliable group of rotation starters, and the return of Derrek Lee as the everyday 1B, to make the team an instant contender. Rob G. Why not us? Why not now? Hmm, that sounds familiar. Itís bloody unlikely unless some of our young pitchers really step up next year (Iím looking at you Angel Guzman and Sean Marshall) and Hendry nails every move he makes next year. Spending lots of money would help the cause tremendously.
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Comments

A few observations in no particular order:
1. Eliminate "Guest Conductors" for 7th inning stretch. Either give the job full-time to Santo or eliminate it. No more NASCAR drivers, movie actors or Little League teams.
2. Get rid of the Flat Earthers in the Cub organization who value speed and intangibles over OBP. They call them "intangibles" because they aren't tangible. I like clogging our bases with walks. We've seen what the opposition can do with a boat load of walks. No more middle infielders hitting high in the order because they "handle the bat". Getting rid of Dusty was a good first move. You can't blame Durocher for leading off Kessinger for 8 years, because then very few people in baseball knew any better; you CAN blame a manager nowadays for hitting Neifi/Cedeno?Izturis high in the order.
3. Recognize that EVERYTHING has to go right for the Cubs to contend in 2007. It could happen, just isn't very likely. Expectations should be very low.
4. No more bringing in veterans to plug holes. Neifi, Nevin, Mabry, Burnitz and yes, Jones and Pierre simply keep you on the same treadmill.

Great job guys. I do believe the biggest improvement for the Cubs in 2007 is not the removal of Dusty but the "resignation" of MacPhail. it will be interesting to see if Hendry is a real general manager or just a figment of his own imagination.

O...M...G... did Ruz just say Jeff Suppan? :) No seriously, he'd be a fine #4 starter. Biggest advantage: he stays healthy.

Exactly. Signing Barry Zito would be nice, but I think finding two #3-#4 starters might be more realistic.

Two words: Vernon Wells

Thanks Guys.

Always enjoyable.

Actually, I would like to be hired as the 7th Inning Stretch Supervisor.

I'd concentrate on "where are they now?" folks like Eddie Haskel, the former lead singer for the Knack, Lisa Benet, Johnny Rotten, Bootsy Collins -

But - I was curious, with Roger Clemens getting $20MM for THIS season in Houston, is it realistic to assume that the club will be spending what they have in recent years?

Is Willy Tavares a candidate to replace Juan Pierre?

the E-Man: Is Willy Tavares a candidate to replace Juan Pierre?

Great idea on the 7th inning stretch thing...that would be amusing.

On Taveras, can he hit yet? He does everything else really well, but he's always been sort of hacky. I don't see how Willy is much of an improvement over the Corey Patterson days.

In fact, in light of Juan Pierre's criticism here at TCR, I think us Cub fans have completely forgotten the lessons learned in the Corey Patterson era.

Couple of random thoughts-

Rob- I think you hit it on the head with spending alot of money.
Here's the scenerio if the Cubs just do cosmetic signings and trades, they can hope to be at best a .500 team. The worst case scenerio would to be about 10 games better than 2006, which means 15-20 games below .500.

Now if they open up the bank to get Zito and/or Schmidt, Soriano and make a couple of big trades then they are putting themselves into contention.

On paper.

Which is very important to sell the image of this team, because the majority of their tix are sold in February. If a mediocre off season happens, I truly believe the Cubs will be hard pressed to get to 3 million next year.

I was also thinking, don't you think other teams are interested in Brenly? I had him pegged for the Cubs, but it could be that another team (Texas, DC) contacted him already.

I'm willing to bet Brenly will manage again before Baker.

Great article guys, here's to hoping for a great hot stove in 2006.

1) Dusty screwed up more things than he's usually given credit for, including Ryan Dempster, which I'll be glad to explain if anyone is curious about my reasoning. In any case, the Cubs are already much improved from the day before yesterday.

2) Maybe I just like guys named Phil, but AZ's words about Pie were music to my ears. Pie should never be used in a sentence with Corey Patterson (unless it's a sentence like this one). Otherwise the Patterson thing goes from being a bad experience to a curse. Early in his career, Patterson gave the impression of being a great athlete. But look at him now, not a great athlete at all, too passive and timid to be great, just a guy who can run and throw. That's his problem, not whether he was rushed.

Great discussion, guys.

1. Jacos questioned whether Brenly was receiving interest from other teams. The AP mentioned the Giants. I do not think he being considered by the Nationals. The talk here has been about Lou Pinella and Dusty, with the possibility of Davey Johnson stepping in (he currently has a consulting job with the team). I think there will be pressure here to hire a minority candidate but I kinda think it will be Pinella. That said, the silence in DC on this is deafening...not one word in the Washington Post today on the Nats. Zip.

2. By what date does A-Ram have to exercise his option? Right after the Series? December?

One more suggestion for 2007: get rid of the solid blue batting practice jerseys.

Nice coverage - another question I thought that all of you should have addresed is the other cadre of young pitchers that came up in 2006 and what to do with them in 2007. e.g. Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, Carlos Marmol, Les Walrond, Angel Guzman etc. I realize simply by adding two to three new starters that question might seem academic - i.e. return to sender but maybe each one could be analyzed in your roundatable.

The key, it seems to me, is to hire a manager. It has to be the right guy, and it has to be soon. The guy that Hendry picks will tell us a lot about how he plans to go about rebuilding the team.

I'm buckling on my helmet now, in order to ask: Apart from the guys discussed here, is there anyone in the organization who might rate a consideration - say, Chris Speier, or Iowa manager Mike Quade? Or are they too tainted with Dustyness to be worth considering?

Razor Shines, who manages the White Sox AAA franchise, has also been mentioned. His record is quite good, he has a reputation for developing young talent, and the Bears have done pretty well with an oddly named coach.

BTW, I like the blue jerseys. Just my opinion.

The media here in Phoenix is reporting that D'backs play-be-play man (and ex-Cubs broadcaster) Thom Brennaman is in the process of negotiating a deal to broadcast Cincinnati Reds games with his dad (Marty) starting next season, and that D'backs color analyst Mark Grace (who is good buddies with new Cubs Prez John McDonough) is hoping to join the Cubs broadcast team in 2007. Maybe McDonough envisions a three-man booth (Kasper, Grace, and either Brenly or Stone), like ESPN does on some of their baseball broadcasts? I don't know.

BTW, Grace has developed into a fairly enjoyable color guy (or occasionally "off-color" when he leaves his mike open!). He tries to hide it, but you can tell Gracie still loves his Cubs.

"Grace has developed into a fairly enjoyable color guy "

If you thought Stoney was egotistical and a camera/mic hog, you have seen nothing yet.

I'm thinking they are going to do something with Santo.

Good stuff, guys -- although everyone seems to overlook Wuertz when they talk about good things from 2006. The guy was very good after his recall from Iowa, and (I think) his ERA for the year was under 3.00.

I think the Cubs have had a decent approach, just with the wrong guys. Unless you have a lineup like the Yankees, it's fairly clear that pitching wins championships. Hendry knows that, but unfortunately he tried to do it with Wood and Prior. But you have to admit, in November 2003, the prospect of a 1-4 of Prior, Wood, Zambrano, Clement looked pretty sick.

I say we leave the lineup essentially unchanged. If Pierre wants more than $6m/yr, let him go. Put every last penny into quality, healthy pitching. Pony up whatever it takes to get Zito or Schmidt, and then another 1 or 2 quality middle of the rotation starters.

I believe the offense will take care of itself. There's no reason to think that Murton's power won't develop into ~25 HRs/30 2Bs with a full season of ABs. Barrett will likely hit 18-20 HRs. A healthy Lee and Ramirez should combine for 75-80 HRs, and Jones should be between 25-30. Bring up Pie to replace Pierre, hit him 7th and take whatever you can get out of him. He may have a slightly lower OBP than Pierre, but his SLG will certainly be higher. I can't see any reason why Pie wouldn't have at least the same OPS as Pierre would, and for 1/20th the cost.

My realistic lineup for 2007:

1. Theriot 2B
2. Murton LF
3. Lee 1B
4. Ramirez 3B
5. Jones RF
6. Barrett C
7. Pie CF
8. Izturis SS
9. Pitcher

Rotation:
1. Zambrano
2. Schmidt/Zito
3. Hill
4. Batista
5. Suppan/Prior/Marshall

Bullpen:
Wood
Eyre
Howry
Dempster
Aardsma
Wuertz
Ohman

With that rotation/bullpen, even with a suspect offense, the Cubs should be around .500 next year with an even better shot in '08. And if they're still contending in July, make a splash and trade for a shortstop who can mash.

"You can't blame Durocher for leading off Kessinger for 8 years, because then very few people in baseball knew any better...." - Danville Joe

Just because OBP hadn't been elevated to its current level in baseball fans' consciousness doesn't mean people didn't know you should get guys on base before your power hitters come up. I think that's maybe why Durocher's rivals from Pittsburgh batted Alou first and why the Cards batted Brock first and why the Mets put Agee there while he was going good. Hell, Kessinger had one year of OBP over .340. Alou and Brock averaged over .340 for their careers. Maybe not as gaudy as Rickey Henderson's OBP, but certainly better than what Durocher put out there.

And it took the oh so less than brilliant Whitey Lockman to start batting Rick Monday and his high OBP leadoff the year after Leo left.

Good observation bucks, Wuertz dominated in the first half of either '05 or '04 (I can't remember) with his wicked slider. It was like he lost that for a while, but now he has it back and also added a changeup. He's become an excellent "bail-me-out-of-a-jamb" pitcher.

#13 of 15: By rory (October 3, 2006 09:57 AM)
Nice coverage - another question I thought that all of you should have addresed is the other cadre of young pitchers that came up in 2006 and what to do with them in 2007. e.g. Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, Carlos Marmol, Les Walrond, Angel Guzman etc. I realize simply by adding two to three new starters that question might seem academic - i.e. return to sender but maybe each one could be analyzed in your roundatable.

RORY: I expect Hendry will try and do another three-fer like he did last year when he made the deal for Juan Pierre, this time offering a package of three young pitchers in exchange for a healthy reliable rotation starter, like maybe Jake Westbrook (CLE) or Jason Jennings (COL). Both pitchers will be making between about $6m+ next season, and both will be FAs after next season, so (like Pierre last off-season) they should both be available.

Remember, it seems likely that draft choice compensation for losing free-agents will be eliminated in the new CBA (the old CBA expires on December 19th), and if that indeed happens, MLB clubs will be more inclined to trade potential free-agents than has been the case in years previous because clubs aren't going to get anything for their free-agents if they don't trade them.

I think one question mark was missed - what to do w/ Ronny Cedeno? Bench?

"I think one question mark was missed - what to do w/ Ronny Cedeno? Bench?"

How good is he at carrying cases of Old Style up and down stairs all afternoon?

As to the new manager, here's one out of left field, although I must say it doesn't seem weird to me:

I remember Hendry saying earlier in the year that Greg Maddox was "the smartest guy in the league." If Hendry really thought that, wouldn't it be natural and logical for him to offer the managerial reins to Maddox?

But the natural and logical thing doesn't always happen, otherwise Mike Singletary would be coaching the Bears.

Girardi might be the second smartest guy.

#22 of 23: By riverboat gambler (October 3, 2006 10:20 AM)
I think one question mark was missed - what to do w/ Ronny Cedeno? Bench?

---

RIVERBOAT GAMBLER: Ronny Cedeno is only 23 years old, and I think he would be best served playing SS every day at Iowa in 2007 (he has one minor league option left). I know he's a hard worker (I've seen it), and he has had setbacks in his career before, only to overcome them through hard work and get better.

Cedeno is still young, and is the type of coachable player who can improve. He should benefit from more intense (and more probably more competent) instruction at the AAA level. He would be available at Iowa throughout 2007, in case anything happens to Izturis. Then if Eric Patterson develops into the Cubs everyday 2B by 2008, Cedeno can battle Theriot for the SS job after the Cubs (as I would expect) buy-out Izturis after the '07 season. At the very least, Cedeno should evolve into a serviceable back-up MLB middle-infielder, probably developing more power and more consistency as he matures.

Girardi might be the second smartest guy.

How do you figure? He has shown little so far to show that he is the "second smartest guy" in the league.

And I definitely do not want to see Giradi calling for a bunt with runners on First and Second and no outs...

"If Hendry really thought that, wouldn't it be natural and logical for him to offer the managerial reins to Maddux"

And be the second best pithcer on team!!

Enjoyable read, thank you. I didn't see Carlos Lee's name mentioned once on this page. I take it nobody likes him as an off season acquisition?

And I definitely do not want to see Giradi calling for a bunt with runners on First and Second and no outs...

in the first inning...

Why invest in Carlos Lee at $15 million a year when you got Matt Murton for 330k?

I know it's a small sample size but he matched the production of Lee in the 2nd half this season and Murton is getting better.

Murton's 25-28 seasons at MLB minimum seem a lot more attractive than an expensive Lee who is only a marginal upgrade. I say take that money and give it directly to the Seibu Lions.

#22 of 23: By riverboat gambler (October 3, 2006 10:20 AM)
I think one question mark was missed - what to do w/ Ronny Cedeno? Bench?

---

I see Cedeno as not much more than trade-bait. I would like to see the Cubs sign Craig Counsell and a Wes Helms, who should provide sufficient back-up at all infield positions. Cedeno would get the SS job at AAA Iowa, but that is only by default. Shortstop is perhaps the thinest position in the organization. Carlos Rojas is going nowhere fast (.204/.264/.227 at WTN this year), the only SS worthy of even a footnote is Ryan Lilly (.319/.368/.421 in 22 games at Peoria).

Hopefully Cedeno could be used as a Bobby Hill-type sweetener in a trade this offseason. To a team that does not pay attention to sabermetrics and RCAA numbers (which showed him to be the second-worst offensive player in the entire major leagues this year, at -45, or 4.5 losses).

I agree. Cedeno needs to be placed in Iowa and compete for the SS job there. He's only 23 so maybe even two years down there wouldn't be out of the question if no one threatens to take his job. He had decent numbers in his year down there (2005) and he had his chance in the show. He needs to simply regroup and watch film, hit the cages, make whatever adjustments he needs to make.

Here's one pulled out of my ass!!!

Why not Pete Rose for manager????

Okay, there's that little thing of being "BANNED FROM BASEBALL FOR LIFE"........but here's betting (bad choice of words) that the Trib could pay off MLB to the tune of $20 million to get him reinstated...then offer Rose an incentive laden one year contract at about...oh, let's say $100,000 base pay per year.

You'd NEVER find a more motivated guy to lead a ball blub.

I know.......don't hate me cuz I'm stupid. I'm just thinkin'.

Joey

Anyone think Murton could play Right?

I'm just thinkin then we could dump Jones, Pick up Lee and/or Soriano....hey while we're dreamin, just sayin.

Anyone think Murton could play Right?

I believe he played right in the minors. His arm his terrible, but no worse than Jones' arm.

While we're talking about Cedeno I should point out that in the final month of the season his defense was fantastic.

Looks like Fredi is "expected" to be named Marlins Mgr. @ 2 pm press conference.
http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/a...

I see no reason to get rid of Jones; we just need to use him correctly. His range in right is good, he kills right-handed pitching and his salary is not too bad.

Get him a platoon mate and we can address the bigger problems elsewhere on the diamond.

I think RobR is right. Getting a platoon-mate for Jones would be OK for the time being. Everytime JJ was in the starting lineup against a lefty, it was a missed opportunity. A Jones platoon is not perfect, but a competent manager (a.k.a. not Dusty) perhaps can extract max value by playing matchups. We have MUCH bigger holes to fill than RF.

Sure, Pete Rose as manager, heh. The contract should stake him to a standing bet for Cubs to win every game, and with the "over".

Keep taking those mushrooms, folks. Wheeeee

Dave---It was a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but AZ's words about Pie were music to my ears. Pie should never be used in a sentence with Corey Patterson (unless it's a sentence like this one).

well at least in this roundtable it was me who responded with Not Corey Patterson and Not Quite Ready. But I'm sure AZ phil has said something similar in the past.

In terms of the fan's viewpoint, Felix is being unfairly compared to the last toolsy outfielder who was a bust. But other than their K rate, there is very little else that is similar about them. But skepticism and the Cubs go hand-in-hand.....

I think one question mark was missed - what to do w/ Ronny Cedeno? Bench?

Missed or ignored? Who knows what the Cubs will do but for anyone who watched the games, theriot was a far superior player. Even when Cedeno was hitting .300, most of his hits seemed lucky, lots of flairs and bloops that fell in. Theriot's hit the ball hard, has shown patience, runs the bases fairly well and looked more confident defensively.

Cedeno still has options so having or in the minors to refine his game seems like the best move and he'd be a decent replacement if/when Izturis or theriot or new 2b goes down. But for a guy with no power and who doesn't take walks, he just strikes out far too much for me to expect anything of him.

From the Trib...

Baker said he hoped to manage again. He could also wind up as a baseball analyst for ESPN, which is said to have contacted him.

Here's hoping for a Baker/Morgan tandem :)

also says Hendry hopes to hire someone by the end of the month and his 2 yr deal won't be a problem as his bosses already said he could hand out a 3 yr deal.

http://tinyurl.com/oz63s

speculation that the 5 Hendry wil target are:

Girardi, Pinella, Brenly, Manny Acta(Mets 3b coach) and Fredi Gonzalez (who sounds like he already has a job)

The more I think about it, the more I think the Cubs should literally put all their eggs in the Daisuke Matsuzaka basket. He's young, he's good, and he'd be under contract for years. There's just no pitcher like that who's currently available. Schmidt is too old, Zito has too many ???. I guess you could say the same of DM, but I find it hard to believe that someone could dominate to the extent he has only to come to the USA and totally suck. Add Daisuke to a 1-2 of Z and Hill, add a guy like Randy Wolf, and we might just have ourselves a rotation.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/cubs.asp?id...

Cubs offseason priorities according to Hendry and others in organization

- middle of the lineup slugger, mentions Carlos Lee

- depth to starting rotation, one to two new pitchers either by FA or trade

- Resign Aramis

If the Marlins indeed Gonzalez this afternoon, it will be their final swipe (and very public) at Girardi, who has been discarded like a piece of bad meat.

If Marlins GM Beinfest is truly a good friend of Hendry, it will be interesting to see how Hendry navigates this delicate process.

Encouraging words in today's Trib about the possibility of Theriot starting and leading off next year.

Disturbing (depending on your perspective) blurb in the same article about Wood purportedly telling close friends he will likely be pitching elsewhere in 2007.

some bits from rotoworld...

O's plan to go hard after Soriano

WSox want to go after Carl Crawford

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

Hendry sounding a little more confident about keeping Ramirez

fwiw, Gammo said today that Girardi DEFINITELY wasn't canned for calling out Loria but rather his stubborness with Beinfest and his staff..."my way or the highway situation" and he thinks that will hurt him in his chances with the TribCo.

Steve Stone is doing the Twins/A's game on the radio side. am 1000 in Chicagoland or am 1590 South Bend/No Indiana.

Regarding Daisuke Matsuzaka:

I seem to recall Frank Costanza berating George Steinbrenner with, "HOW COULD YOU SPEND $13 MILLION ON HIDEKI IRABU?!?!?"

I also recall Kaz Matsui being a "sure thing" (I even lobbied for the Cubs to get him back in '03 I think). Hell, even Hee Seop Choi was supposed to be a superstar.

Pacific Rim players are hard to predict, and unfortunately teams like the Yankees, Mets, and Mariners always seem to drive up their price beyond what's reasonable.

"- middle of the lineup slugger, mentions Carlos Lee"

ya know..unless they wanna shift j.jones to CF, which is possible btw...i really dont wanna see murton delegated to someone else's team.

murt in RF doesn't seem likely..the FA market doesnt have much in the way of RF'rs...trade market, too...at least the "slugger" type you can count on.

i hope they get the key SP they want...i keep having ted lilly visions reguardless of whether they snag zito/schmidt or not.

"WSox want to go after Carl Crawford"

with what money?

i seriously think they clear up like 5m off their payroll...they gotta get some kinda bump to get anyone of any close impact.

I assume the Wsox would like to trade one of their starters, but the Drays would probably want McCarthy which is the guy the Wsox are trying to make room for...

they'll save a bit of money trading or non-tendering Podsednik if they got Crawford too...

anyway, just a rumor...

"with what money?"

Don't worry the fans will still be coming out to Comiskey Cell in 2007.

~giggle~

This was an excellent post guys. Thanks.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/story.asp?i...

hendry talking about how macphail was a good balance and how Macphail "needed him to slow me down a little bit at the time".

Although Hendry spins it as a positive, it leads some credence to my belief that Macphail was holding Hendry back from making some bigger moves. Whether it's for the better, we'll find out.

I think in another article hendry said him and mcdonough are very similar in their aggressive nature.

"needed him to slow me down a little bit at the time".
Are you sure he wasn't talking about drinking?

Pods is only making $1.9m this season and should only get a modest bump in arbitration next season...$2.5 at the most so that's not going to free up $ for Crawford and even though Williams will likely move either Buehrle, Garcia or Vasquez that's not what the DRays are looking for. They want a 20 year old Kazmir type. I doubt TB would even want a McCarthy/J.Fields deal since Evan Longoria is already shooting through their system.

With all due respect to F. Costanza, Irabu was never as good as Matsuzaka.

Obviously it's a risk. What isn't?

I agree with Ryno about Cedeno, that he has a good defensive upside. I actually believe Cedeno is going to be in the majors in five years, but not with the Cubs, and maybe not with his next team either. He missed his moment with the Cubs. There's nothing you can do about it. He wasn't ready to be a hitter, or even to show improvement as a hitter. He's a slow learner.

But someone else noticed his glove, and when the names start getting tossed around this winter, he'll be traded. Time doesn't stand still. That's the thing with Pie: he's been in the minors four seasons, he's an A-list prospect, and the Cubs have to figure out what they're going to do with him, and do it. Otherwise he'll be gone. (I happen to trust Hendry to do the right thing.)

I dont know Rob....there was another article that said MacPhail turned over almost all of the day to day operations to Hendry over the last couple years and he was basically out of the loop.

It could all just be a coincidence but over the last couple years Hendry has acted as a deer in the head lights regarding what to do with the team.

If that report is true, which will be impossible to know, then it exposes Hendry as a fraud and incompetent.

Like I said, we will know this off-season if all the talk from these 2 is for real, or business as usual.

crawford is due $4 mil next year, $5.25 in 2008, that's not a lot of money needed to be freed up and one of the reasons he'll get quite a lot in a trade.

if he'd play cf, I'd certainly entertain Donald Veal or Gallagher (begrudgingly) and one of Marshall, Ryu, Mateo or Marmol. Although I'm guessing they'd like Rich Hill or Guzman. I'd probably trade Guzman straight up for him too, but he'd have to play CF. As a LF, I just don't find him that valuable and not much better than Murton.

I dont know Rob....there was another article that said MacPhail turned over almost all of the day to day operations to Hendry over the last couple years and he was basically out of the loop.

that comment about getting slowed down was prefaced with something like when he first got there, so you could very well be right.

When your the worst team in the league, change can only help. I'm hopeful, that's all. But I could very much see everything staying the same.

didnt know craw was under contract...wow...he's gonna "earn" a lot in trade.

TB needs to shed OF'rs badly, though...definately gonna be looking pitching.

i fear it'll cost a wuertz/guzman/hill almost as a sure thing...still, once the market starts moving what's there/left vs. what's needed could change my fears.

I agree that Crawford would have to play CF. He's young enough at 25 to make it feasible to trade top prospects for him.

first got there meant becoming the GM, not when he first was hired by the Cubs as a scouting director or whatever it was.

ZIto's throwing a no-no through 4 so far btw, 2-0 A's

Horatio:
"A Jones platoon is not perfect, but a competent manager (a.k.a. not Dusty) perhaps can extract max value by playing matchups."

Do you consider Gardenhire a competent manager? Becuase for the last few years he played JJ everyday even vs. LHP. While I agree he should be platooned, I just don't see ANY maanger doing it. JJ was signed to be an everyday RF and that is what he will be.

crawford also has an $8.25 option in 2009 or 250K buyout and and a $10 mil option in 2010 with a $1.25 mil buyout and escalators that could raise his 2010 option to $11.5 mil.

I'm assuming it's a club option, not a player option

pagan's the only other guy on the team with a RF'rs arm besides bynum (who plays a bad glove in RF).

nevin put in a game or 2 there...not bad, but too slow to put out there too much.

The Rays completely botched Crawford's contract. He's currently their most expensive player at $4 m and they backload that deal. That's just dumb. Since no one else is making any $ there outside of Baldelli at slightly less than Crawford they need to restructure that deal and front load it giving them flexibility when Kazmir and D.Young go to arbitration and more importantly they could've made Crawford even more tradable now without him earning $8-10m in 2 years when he may not be worth that amount if his speed evaporates. This of course would be the same organization who still thinks Bj Upton will be a solid defensive SS instead of moving him to CF like the DBacks have already done with his brother.

"Zito ????"

What's the question?

102 63 106.3 1.25 .232 3.55

Hard to see how they could have butchered a deal for a 25 year old outfielder who keeps getting better...

Frontloaded deals make little sense for young players. It gives them nothing to play for when there option comes up.

Yeah or they could have afforded to keep him through he duration of his deal, push his $4 and $5 years to '08, '09 when Kazmir and the other young players will cash in, instead of dealing him before he hits his prime. One or the other.

TB has to shed OF'rs reguardless...they got way too much of a backlog.

..and honestly, yeah, upton SHOULD be in LF next year if they seriously want to use him.

he has never been a good SS and the 3rd base experiment is just as much of a failure. yes, he really is that bad with arm and glove. they hired ozzie smith to work with him for almost a month and he still couldnt translate education to practical application. time to end that experiment.

if he ends up getting dealt this year it's not cause they can't afford him now or in 2008. It's because they have lots of OF's and need to deal from a position of strength to fill their weaknesses (pitching). Crawford is their most attractive trading chip. If he was making $9 mil now, he wouldn't be nearly as attractive in a trade.

What are you talking about Bogey in regards to Crawford? No team front loads contracts like you suggest.

You know the first thing coming out of an agents mouth if that happens? Ohhh so we are worth 8-10 million right now huh? Ok we want a deal starting at that and going up from there now.

I don't know if your the same person who said this kind of stuff before but you are the 2nd person to come up with this un-realistic, and as far as I know, never happening strategy in signing players in MLB.

Gonzalez @ Marlins is apparently now official...
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-marl...

now that's moving expediently....

go ex-Cub factor...

Rondell White homers, 2-1 A's in the 7th

Rob G.: now that's moving expediently...

If I didn't know better, I'd think Gonzalez was lined up for the job ahead of time.

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

I'm not exactly sure what spurned this on, but Ricciardi is saying he won't sign Wells to Beltran money.

Wells is due $5.6 next year, I guess he signed a deal wrapping up his arbitration years.

Ricciardi made it sound like they'll keep him even if they can't sign him to an extension.

Rob G.
now that's moving expediently....

Maybe it helped the hiring process that he'd already interviewed there last year...

If that is the case and the CBA does take away draft pick compensation, Wells very well could be the first example to see if the loss of that compensation will effect how the GM deals.

I persoanlly think Wells is a pipe dream, but I do hope Hendry at least makes the call ASAP to find out if he is availible and if not can move on right away and focus on other more legit targets.

word was he was the guy Beinfest wanted all along but Loria vetoed him last year and said take Girardi.

man I hope the Cubs don't hire Pinella....

this Twins/A's game sure sounds exciting, wish I could watch.
into the 9th they go...

With Dusty Baylor (Baker) gone, now it is time to hire a manager the Cubs have needed forever, someone who loves the organization, Joe Girardi, who was dismissed today by the Marlins. And the next move will be to replace Jim Hendry with Steve Ston.

Sorry Stoney that I cut your name short, Joe Girardi as the new Cubs field boss, and Steve Stone the new GM, oh yes!

well since the BJays are moving into a high revenue team, even talking about having a $100 million payroll next year, then they really wouldn't be a good example at all.

Frank Thomas really wants to win a WS it seems.... 2 hr's now

Yeah EricW-
Loria overruled the GM to get Giarardi.

Life's sweet ironies.

The BIG HURT!!!!!!!!!!!

2 HR's today, A's up 3-1 in the 9th.

I wonder what Kenny williams is thinking right now.

well I guess technically Frank already has a WS ring, but you all know what I meant...

So Rob, you are saying that only small market team GM's will care about losing the FA compensation draft picks?

"I wonder what Kenny williams is thinking right now."

Probably something like, "Wow, my team won a World Series. Maybe Billy Beane will know this feeling some day."

The fact remains is that the Sox have 'scoreboard' for a very long time and no matter what Frank Thomas says or does, the Sox have a ring and the banner.

I'm sure they'll all care, but I would guess it would have a greater impact on mid-revenue to smaller market teams, yes.

Whatever I said about Wells last week was based on my impression that the BJays were still very cost conscious which seems to be going out the door and the fact that Wells said he had no interest in staying in Toronto. Both those factors seemed to have changed over the last week.

Can someone explain the FA compensation change in plain english? Do we know if it is being eliminated for sure, or is it just speculation at this point? Thanks!

Speculation

has anyone run the ex-Cub factor numbers yet?

anyway Twins lose 3-2, White flies out to end the game with Nevin on deck.

A's win 3-2.

Zito outduels Santana.

Frank puts "BIG HURT" on MINN.

A's lead series 1-0.

Chad:
"The fact remains is that the Sox have 'scoreboard' for a very long time and no matter what Frank Thomas says or does, the Sox have a ring and the banner."

And so does Thomas. He got a ring last year too. But please don't tell me that Williams isn't cringing a bit today.

I've read at least 2 articles saying they agreed to eliminate draft pick compensation prior to the last CBA agreement but could not come to an agreement on the terminology before the deal needed to be signed. Some have already said that teams have been notified that it will be done away with (speculation), and others have said it's pretty much a done deal.

The players want it because it opens up the market even more, just one less thing hanging over a player's head when looking for a deal.

The only parties that would probably be against it are the lower to mid-revenue teams, but it's something they'll have to give up in order to get higher revenue sharing. At least that's how I understand it....

We shall see....

has anyone run the ex-Cub factor numbers yet?

Yes...me!

http://www.all-baseball.com/ref/excub.html

didn't you use to put those up on the front page of all-baseball.com?

A's with none making me even more confident about my WS pick :)

El Duque with a calf injury, might be scratched for tonight and possibly left off the roster entirely.

Mets are falling apart...

BUT...GIRARDI sold his home here!

Well, it was on the market, anyway.

Maybe he could buy it back?

Any TCR posters Realtors?

I guess that rules out Girardi, since he sold his house. I guess he could always commute from Lake Geneva, but wow, what a drive.

Then there's Peoria, but I think that's even further...

IS there a train from Peoria?

ROB: Re the Mets...

Nah - they're not falling apart. They'll just have to outscore everyone.

Which, looking at their lineup, is certainly wuite possible.

Arizona Phil to replace MacPhail!!

DC to replace Baker!!

MannyTrillo to be the new pitching coach!!

Chad to be the new batting coach!!!!

Big John Stud to become new first base coach!!!

BleedingBlue to take over in the broadcast booth!!!

TCR to replace cubs.com as official website of the Chicago National League Ballclub!!!

Transmission to become vp of communications!!!!

Maybe... and this is a little out there, but maybe Girardi could buy another house in Chicago if he were hired to manage the Cubs. Mull that over.

Girardi lives in Lake Geneva? Im curious because my parents live in Williams Bay which is about 5 miles away. And stalking Ex-Cubs catchers is the balls.

SamClyatt:
"MannyTrillo to be the new pitching coach!!"

No FUCKING towel drills!!!

Manny:

YOU'RE HIRED!!

RYNO: hmmmmm...

Hadn't thought of that. What was I thinking?

Well, I'm sure in this market, he could probably find something he could afford.

BleedingBlue to take over in the broadcast booth!!!

Sweet! Another reason to have that 3rd "lunch beer" before day games!

Just got here in time to read what the other TCR persons have on their minds, and the posters. Great stuff as usual, guys. VP of communications, I like it.....

I have my house on the market right now, he can move in here ASAP. It is a nice 3 bedroom/2.5 bath townhouse with finished basement and brand new pool table. Only 25 minutes to Wrigley...

"Two words: Vernon Wells"

Two words: not available

Really, Vernon would be fantastic in CF, but the Jays just spent a ton of money last year and it appears that they intend to keep spending. I think you'd have to give up an unreasonable package to get him.
I have no idea what the baseball scene is like in Toronto, but it's a huge city. Ownership seems commited to winning and that's the best thing to get asses in the seats. If Toronto were in the US, it would be the 4th largest city, so they obviously have the market.

Okay, I've been back & forth on Girardi. On one hand, this guy took a bunch of kids (almost 30 rookies) to the final week on contention.

I've also heard he has made some truly bonehead moves--including sending Johnson back out after a rain delay and wanting to play some guys out of position at the beginning of the year.

The thing is, how much was mud slinging on the part of Marlins management (I do think think the Johnson injury is Girardi's fault)? Anybody have guesses/opinions?

DFA: Girardi lives in Lake Geneva? Im curious because my parents live in Williams Bay which is about 5 miles away. And stalking Ex-Cubs catchers is the balls.

No, I'm just giving him options since he just sold his Chicago house, and apparently he can't just go buy a different house in Chicago. E-man and myself being silly.

Can somebody please explain all of the man love being given to Steve Stone? What has he done, other than piss off a lot of players, that would make him a good GM or Exec? He was a decent color man on TV. I just don't understand why a guy who left the organization TWICE becuase he was throwing a tatrum is treated like he is a god. Personally I say thank god he is gone.

"Two words: Vernon Wells"

Two words: not available

*********************************************
Report today is that Toronto will not offer him Beltran money--not to say the Cubs will. However, if the Cubs truly want him, they can outbid Toronto.

Can somebody please explain all of the man love being given to Steve Stone? What has he done, other than piss off a lot of players, that would make him a good GM or Exec? He was a decent color man on TV. I just don't understand why a guy who left the organization TWICE becuase he was throwing a tatrum is treated like he is a god. Personally I say thank god he is gone.
---
I thought he left the first time due to illness? Am I wrong?

While I think Stone is condescending to his viewers, he seems to know his baseball. I've always thought he'd make a good manager based on his insight he provides during a game. I've never seen or heard anything that makes me think he'd be a great GM though.

Also, for all the Wells love and Pierre hate regarding their defensive skills...

Last week, on a flyball to deep CF, Neifi Perez took second base safely on Vernon Wells.
Wells wasn't napping... he tried, he just couldn't throw Neifi out. The ball even bounced once before getting to second base.
His arm looked very unimpressive.

"Report today is that Toronto will not offer him Beltran money--not to say the Cubs will. However, if the Cubs truly want him, they can outbid Toronto."
--
They can't outbid Toronto this winter. In 12-13 months they might get the chance to outbid them.

On XM radio this morning, some guy said Girardi basically questioned every move that Beinfest made since the day Girardi was hired. Beyond losing control of your clubhouse, that's the quickest way to get yourself axed and makes me very hesitant on him. Last thing you need is a toxic relationship between your GM and manager.

Not that a friendly one is the key to success and when your manager/GM make poor decisions together like Baker/Hendry that's certainly not good either.

Anyway, lots of red flags on Giradi in my opinion. If he comes, great, I'll assume Hendry is content that those issues will no longer be a problem. But Baker had a shiny record and was a disaster, just cause Girardi's team overachieved this year shouldn't be the only reason we hire him. It's a good thing sure, but there's other factors to consider.

by Bp.com stats, Wells actually rates at about an average CF'er as does Pierre. Pierre was helped by Wrigley I think, it's a much smaller OF than Florida and his arm was less of an issue than Florida where he was rated considerably below average most of those years.

Most his scouting reports says he's a very good defender with a good arm though and he's won some Gold Gloves.

Vegas Brian:
"Report today is that Toronto will not offer him Beltran money--not to say the Cubs will. However, if the Cubs truly want him, they can outbid Toronto."

They can outbid him after the 2007 season as he signed thru next year. So if they want him this year, which is what most people are talking about, they would have to trade for him and as BJS says, it will take a BIG package.

#122 of 129: By Someguy (October 3, 2006 03:44 PM)
Can somebody please explain all of the man love being given to Steve Stone? What has he done, other than piss off a lot of players, that would make him a good GM or Exec? He was a decent color man on TV. I just don't understand why a guy who left the organization TWICE becuase he was throwing a tatrum is treated like he is a god. Personally I say thank god he is gone.
--

SOMEGUY: Piss off players? Decent color guy? Are you 13 years old or did you become a Cub Fan in 2004? Look Steve is not a decent "color guy" he is the best in baseball - he tells it like it is...and he has enough knowledge to explain the game as well as describe what the manager is going to do next. Maybe you are too young to remember but the first time he left was due to health reasons the second time he left was because he was not wanted - which is a nice thing to say considering the CUBS showed him no love and no support.

Personally your comments are way off!

#51 of 129: By Bogey (October 3, 2006 12:45 PM)
Steve Stone is doing the Twins/A's game on the radio side. am 1000 in Chicagoland or am 1590 South Bend/No Indiana.

-

BOGEY: I saw your buddy Grant Johnson pitch again today in the Instructional League. He's still having problems with his command.

As you may know, Johnson is pitching in the Arizona Instructional League instead of in the Arizona Fall League because his slot in the AFL was transferred to Adam Harben, the RHP the Cubs got from MIN as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin deal.

Harben had been assigned to the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL by the Twins before he got traded, so in order for him to play in the AFL, it had to be as a "Cub," and so the Cubs gave Harben Johnson's slot, and sent Grant J. to the AIL instead.

Rory:
"Maybe you are too young to remember but the first time he left was due to health reasons"

While health reasons was teh reason he gave why he left, there are many people who think that was not teh only reason, maybe that was where SOMEGUY was going with that. Here is even a blurb from the Sun Times making a similar claim about Stone's abrupt leaving in 2000:

"After the 2000 season, Stone dropped a bomb on Cubs fans and Caray, saying he was walking away. There were some health concerns, but Stone also was doing some consulting work around the majors. This was his first effort to secure the front-office job everyone knew he craved."

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4...

"the second time he (Stone) left was because he was not wanted - which is a nice thing to say considering the CUBS showed him no love and no support."

Stone was offered a contract extension after the 2004 season. He turned it down.

#32 of 131: By DC Tom (October 3, 2006 11:02 AM)
Cedeno would get the SS job at AAA Iowa, but that is only by default. Shortstop is perhaps the thinest position in the organization. Carlos Rojas is going nowhere fast (.204/.264/.227 at WTN this year), the only SS worthy of even a footnote is Ryan Lilly (.319/.368/.421 in 22 games at Peoria).

--

DC TOM: Shortstop is definitely the thinnest position up & down the Cubs organization, but I would disagree about which SS is worthy of a footnote (Lilly is just a minor league utility infielder).

Besides Ryan Theriot (who could be moved back to SS if & when Eric Patterson is ready sometime in the next year or two), one youngster who does have some upside is Dylan Johnston. Although he is VERY raw and has a long, long way to go, Johnston is THE best shortstop prospect in the organization. No question. A left-handed hitter with plus-power (especially for a middle infielder) and above-average speed, Johnston is the only other SS (other than Theriot and Cedeno) I can see as a possible MLB prospect. And like I said, he has a long, long way to go. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he repeats Peoria in 2007 (he missed much of the '06 season with a broken leg, but he's running just fine now).

Everyone should read this, the best commentary on Dusty I've read:

Better days ahead for Cubs

Barry Rozner
Posted Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The list of items on which I disagreed with Andy MacPhail was long, punctuated with the signing over and over again of Sammy Sosa to long-term contracts.
----

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/rozner.asp?...

(Please do not post full articles from other site's. It's copyright infringement.)

#110 of 134: By samclyatt (October 3, 2006 03:18 PM)

DC to replace Baker!!


sam-
i appreciate your support, but as my son is an ex-marine @ 245 lbs, he would be much too large to perch on my lap during those brutal post-game press beatings.

slightly off-topic, i think scott skiles is the exact type of manager the cubs need: young, demanding, tough but fair, possibly even a failure in his previous managerial jobs. (good judgement being the child of experience, and experience being the child of poor judgement). is there anybody floating around inside (or on the edges of) baseball who would be a scott skiles version 2.0?

I wish Lovie Smith coached the Cubs too. One thing that I've noticed from watching the Bears is how well coached they are. Even at the end of the Seahawks game when there was a touchback every Bear ran out the play. The Seahawks return man was standing around with every Bear running toward him even though the play was dead. They give 100% on every play which is unfortunately not something you can say about the Cubs. Hopefully the next Cub manager gets the Cub players to play like the bears.

Manny, hmmm lets see you are the worlds biggest Dusty Baker apologist. I guess that has nothing to do with any bias you have with respect to Steve Stone. Anyway revisiting the sad 2004 season alone is depressing enough I do not need to be reminded that Stone is no longer the Cub announcer.

Rory-
I guess you turning this into calling me "the worlds biggest Dusty Baker apologist" and away from the real topic of Steve Stone shows you have no logical rebuttal to the responses I gave. Sorry...

Hey Arizona Phil? Could you please give us a review of the Arizona Instructional league Cubs at thee end of the season from Mesa?

Manny - I did not see the need for a rebuttal I stand by what I said and I don't see how your "cutting and pasting" refutes anything I said.

You have a Dusty bias, its clear to anyone who reads your comments. Are you denying it?? Since Dusty had as much to do with Steve's departure as anyone else it seems obvious that your dislike of Steve Stone is clearly a result of being a Dusty loyalist. I just thought you could connect the dots.

Did Stone walk away for health reasons in 2000 - Yes he did -- and your innuendo that it could have been for other reasons as well doesn't change that fact.

Did Stone walk away from the Cubs in 2004 due to the the lack of support from the Cubs front office and the debacle by the Cubs manager to reign the hostility toward the Cubs announcer -- yes he did. So I am not sure what there is to "provide a logical rebuttal"?

Rory:
"Since Dusty had as much to do with Steve's departure as anyone else it seems obvious that your dislike of Steve Stone is clearly a result of being a Dusty loyalist."

You obvioulsy have not been around here for very long as I have always disliked Stone and have posted it for a long time. So the situation with Dusty and him in 2004 did nothing to change my opinion. Next time my suggestion is you should be more informed what you are talking about before accusing people of things.

Manny - I find your circular logic humorous I am not sure if its because you don't comprehend very well or you simply go into a defense mode and become antagonistic because so many of others attack your posts.

Regarding the Cubs, they are going to be tempted by the same things that have temped the Cubs for as long as I can remember:
1. overpaying on mediocre free-agent pitching. This off-season looks like it might lead to contracts not seen since the Chan Ho Park, Denny Neagle and Darren Dreifort era around the turn of the millennium.
2. overpaying for name-brand, washed-up, over-rated managers

*****3. messing with Wrigley Field in order simultaneously to squeeze more revenue out of the park itself while also raising ticket prices.****
I am sorry...but the last one I vehemently disagree with. It's the Cubs right to use the ballpark for whatever financial gain they want. I get so tired of these so called "fans" who want the Cubs to field a winner then get upset if they "de-beautify" Wrigley. Boo-hoo. Screw you hypocrites. No offense intended.

Lou P. has the job if he wants it. Uncle Larry called to let him know the other night. Stoney for President. At the very least I'm hoping that he will be back in the booth. Favorite quote from him (paraphrase would be better) "Don't tell me how rough the water is boys, bring the ship in".

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