2006 End of the Year Roundtable (Other Bloggers Edition)

Let's finish up our look back at the 2006 season with roundtable responses from Derek Smart of Cub Town, Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and Chuck Gitles of Ivy Chat. Not surprisingly, there are some significant differences among the three of them when it comes to what the Cubs need to do this off-season. But, there are some pretty solid agreements as well. -------------------- 1. Dusty, Dusty, Dusty, is there any reasonable scenario that you can see him staying? And if he does go, sum up his tenure in 2 sentences or less. Derek: Define reasonable? If we're leaving aliens, rips in the space/time continuum, sordid photos of Andy MacPhail with a jar of mayonaise and their ilk out of the discussion, then I can't envision an extension of Dusty's reign. In summation, his strengths were supposed to outweigh his weaknesses, but those trumpeted positive attributes turned out to be so only in the relative sense. Evaluate his qualities as a manager in a vaccum, and they're all weaknesses, each exponentially more crippling than advertised. Chuck: If the operative word is ìreasonable,î then, no. I see no scenario that has Dusty Baker staying in Chicago past the time his plane departs for California next week. His tenure. Sentence 1: From the moment you said, ìWhy not us?î through the time you shouted down Tony LaRussa in that five game series in September 2003, you made me proud to have you as the Cubs manager. Sentence 2: From the time after Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS when you sat Darren Baker on your lap to shield yourself from hard questions (like, ìWhy didnít you use Matt Clement instead of Dave Freaking Veres?î) through game 162 of the 2006 season, Iíve never been more embarrassed by a Cub manager in my life. Al: I don't think there was a scenario under which he could have stayed once the All-Star break hit; there were just too many negatives. The summary, I can do in two PHRASES: A beginning of hope, and an ending of bitterness. 2. Assuming Dusty joins the unemployment line, what do you want out of the next Cubs manger in terms of personality and qualities. Is there an individual you have in mind? Derek: Sentience would be nice. A modicum of cognizance, perhaps? How about this: the ability to differentiate between good players and bad players. That'd be a switch. The sad thing is, I don't really have anyone in mind. I've heard all the same names bandied about that the rest of us have, but no one in particular strikes my fancy, and my confidence level in Hendry is such that I assume that whomever he chooses, for whatever reason, will end up being the worst possible man for the job. Al: I wanted Fredi Gonzalez, but he was taken by the Marlins before anyone else could interview him, which shows you how good a candidate he is. I think he will succeed there, since he has a very talented team. Joe Girardi, the "popular" choice, has baggage, and is viewed as a "my-way-or-the-highway" type of guy. Some would argue the Cubs NEED this sort of thing, and they may, although next year's roster is likely going to be comprised very differently from this year's. Girardi's no-facial-hair edict got silly when he made Andre Dawson -- who works in the Marlins' front office, for heaven's sake, not even on the field -- shave. Obviously, he got this from the Yankees and Joe Torre's rules. But the Yankees don't win because they are clean-shaven; they win because they have talent. This isn't the Marines, it's a baseball team. Now, can Girardi adapt to a different situation? He's smart enough to, without question. He would also be a very POPULAR choice, very similar to what the White Sox did when they hired Ozzie Guillen. Girardi has one more year of managerial experience than Guillen had when he was hired, otherwise their experience levels are similar. I am not sure at this time who my #1 pick is, since my former #1 pick, Gonzalez, is no longer available. I can tell you who I do NOT want -- another recycled fifty- or sixty-something, PARTICULARLY not Lou Piniella. Chuck: Logic and honesty are the two qualities the next Cub manager needs to have. 3. At what point did you give up your playoff aspirations for the 2006 Cubs? Al: Well, I imagine most respondents here will say "last December". I thought once they got off to a good start they might have had a chance. The loss of Derrek Lee was devastating, and the failure to replace him adequately doomed this club by mid-May. It's unfortunate, because as we saw, playing .500 ball kept you in the NL wild-card race this year till the final weekend. Chuck: Well, there was December 3, 2005 when Rafael Furcal signed with the Dodgers. Then there was the signing of Jacque Jones on December 20, 2005. There was the not-injured-but-heís-just-not-practicing of Mark Prior in February and March of 2006. There was the Kerry Wood and Wade Miller and the illogic that they would be ready in May only to have them ready for never. There was the lack of a trade for weeks after Derrek Lee broke his wrist. But, if you want to pick a day when you could tell the actual, on the field team was dead, that was May 4, 2006. The Cubs blew their game that day against the Diamondbacks with a performance more lifeless than Judy Baar Topinka. The embalmer showed up the next day at Wrigley and it was over and out for 2006. Derek: Sometime in May. Early May. I don't like to latch onto an event like the breaking of Derrek Lee's wrist as a point of demarkation. Besides, even though it's safe to say the club's chances were next to nothing after that night, I like to see what can be made of what remains before I toss it in. That said, it was abundantly clear after a week or two without him that the team didn't have it - that anything it looked like it had in April was an illusion anyway - so that's about the time I gave up. 4. There were far too many things that went wrong with the club to address in this space, was there anything that went right? Derek: The emergence of Rich Hill as a legitimate member of the rotation was the happiest accident of the season. Chuck: Ryan OíMalley. Thatís about it. Beyond that, for a portion of the year, Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry provided the kind of bullpen that the Cubs envisioned when the season started. But from Juan Pierre being a quality leadoff man to Ronny Cedenoís struggles to Phil Nevin orchestrating his own trade to Greg Maddux exploding in the dugout to seeing the minor leagues exposed as being devoid of real pitching prospects, itís hard to think of a single thing that went right. Well, perhaps the lack of fan interest the last month of the season was one thing that went right. Al: Carlos Zambrano had another fine year, establishing himself as one of the top pitchers in baseball; Matt Murton proved he can play and excel at the major league level; Rich Hill proved ME wrong by overcoming his failures and performing at a #1 starter level after his recall from Iowa. That's not a very long list. But it was a very bad team. 5. Can the Cubs compete next year without signing Aramis Ramirez? Al: Sure, if they will allocate those dollars to replacing his power bat. I am of two minds about Ramirez. His production is outstanding. That said, the qualifier to that is "when he wants to produce". At times, he appears lackadaisical on the field, and I hope that attitude doesn't rub off on others. He strikes me as a second-banana player, not a guy who can carry a team. So when there's a Derrek Lee there every day, he's a good sidekick. Chuck: Absolutely. All they need is a replacement, a new second baseman, a new closer, and two or three starting pitchers. Derek: Leaving the question of whether they can even compete with Ramirez aside, clearly, if they intend to do anything beyond languish in the bowels of the NL Central in 2007, they have to make Ramirez an offer that will keep him around. There are simply too many offensive holes to fill as it is to let someone as productive, if streaky, as he is wander away, particularly considering the lack of viable alternatives. 6. 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. Chuck: Acquire two veteran starting pitches. Acquire a new second baseman. Acquire a new right fielder. Acquire a new center fielder. Acquire a new closer. Acquire better bench players. Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln? Derek: My Offseason To-Do List By Jim Hendry 4) "Forget" to renew Dusty Baker's contract 3) "Forget" to renew Larry Rothchild's contract 2) "Forget" to come into work anymore 1) Remember to look up "passive-aggressive" Al: Three words: pitching, pitching, pitching. This club needs two top-quality starters to add to Z and Hill. Do that and you've solved most of the other problems. They could use another power bat, too, particularly if they insist on keeping Neifi Jr. (Izturis) at shortstop. 7. 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. Chuck: Thatís not enough money. This team needs to get two or three players at that price point to contend next year. If Iím only getting one person, Iíd have to go get Barry Zito. This team is devoid of reliable pitching. At least Zito is reliable. Derek: 1) Alfonso Soriano - I must be going insane. Six months ago, the idea that Soriano should be a target of any sort would have made me choke on a bullseye, but there's a lot in his performance this year that should make the Cubs sit up and take notice. Of course, if you've got an issue with strikeouts he's probably not for you, but the tradeoff he appears to have made - hitting for more power and drawing significantly more walks - is well worth it in my book. I'd likely take the defensive hit and let him play second. After all, Cesar! is an infield unto himself, isn't he? 2) Barry Zito - I realize the Cubs have ton of young arms and next to no offense, but there's very little in the way of market-available bats that doesn't make me cringe at the possibilities for horror and consternation 2 or 3 years down the road (I'm looking at you, Carlos Lee), so if the Cubs can't put more runs on the board, they may was well try to keep more off. Zito definitely falls into the overrated bin, but that said, he's the best choice for this slot in my book because of his combination of relative youth, and proven durability. 2006 was his sixth consecutive season of at least 34 starts and at least 213 innings pitched, all of which saw him being at least slightly above league average. It's not production that will be worth what he gets, but for a team like the Cubs, with all the issues they've had keeping pitchers on the hill, a guy who takes the ball every day and gives his team a shot might be worth overpaying for. 3) TBA - I just don't see anyone else in the class who has the combination of impact and long-term value that I'd want out of a big-ticket free agent. Carlos Lee is tremendously overrated, and is having the best year of his career to boot. As a rule, I think 31 year-old, slow, OBP-challenged left-fielders who have trouble being effective defenders at arguably the easiest position on the diamond aren't good risks. His power is his only real positive, and it's not nearly positive enough to justify the kind of money he's likely to get paid, particularly since I can see it disappearing completely in the middle of the 5 year deal he's likely to command. The only other guy for this slot is Jason Schmidt, who when he's healthy is a better pitcher than Zito. Too bad he tends to miss 3-6 starts a year, which coupled with his impending 34th birthday, make him a huge risk. Still, I might rather risk 3 years of Schmidt than 5 years of C-Lee, so if forced to go after one or the other, I probably go for the big hurler. Al: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Get the idea I want Matsuzaka? He was the MVP of the World Baseball Classic. Scouts there who saw him said he could be a #1 starter for ANY big league team. He is 26 years old, and he is a "rock star". He'd be a marketing bonanza as well as a top-quality starting pitcher, and this team needs to make bold, splashy moves that ALSO benefit the team on the field. Put a HUGE bid in for the posting fee, and get him. 8. What are 3 things the Cubs should avoid doing this off-season at all costs? Derek: 1) Not letting Dusty Baker go 2) Not firing Jim Hendry 3) Not firing Andy MacPhail Chuck: 1) Allow Jim Hendry to pick a new manager without having his contract extended beyond 2008. 2) Sign Carlos Lee to an at or above-market value contract. 3) Panicking and making another stupid signing like Jacque Jones. Donít ask me what that move might be, but, if it happens, everyone will know it when they see it. Al: Hiring Lou Piniella Not retaining Kerry Wood (he should be re-signed and eventually, trained to be the closer) Being close-minded about new ways of approaching the roster 9. Lightning Round: Give us your thoughts on these players and how important they should be in next year's team? a. Juan Pierre Derek: Gack. That said, a one year deal with an option for year two wouldn't be such a bad idea. There's no center field solution on the market that I'd consider long term, and someone's got to fill the spot until Pie's ready to go. Pierre's as a good (or bad) a choice for that as anyone, and at least he stays on the field. Al: Pierre had a decent year, but he's still not the answer, unless there's another power bat added (Alfonso Soriano, 2B?) at another position. Chuck: Should have been traded mid-season. Love his attitude, his heart, and his reading skills (see Comcast Cableís On Demand area). Hate that he no longer gets on base enough. He was acquired two years too late. Probably should not be back in 2007. b. Aramis Ramirez Chuck: Et tu Sammy? Thereís a reason the White Sox got rid of Carlos Lee. Look how they did without him. Ramirez is a money player. That means he plays for his money. Derek: A must have for any semblance of competitiveness. Al: Keep him. See answer above. c. Kerry Wood Chuck: As important as a backup fungo bat. Al: Your 2007 set-up man, your 2008 closer. Derek: I'd love to see that incentive-laden deal everyone speculates about to put him at the back end of the pen. Potentially, he could be a dominating closer, but he simply can't be counted on, so if he does come back, contingencies must be in place. d. Matt Murton Chuck: Despite deep Ivy Chat love for Matt and his kids, Matt should be candidate number one to be traded for prime pitching or outfield help. The guy can hit. He canít field. Heís cheap. Could you use him as Carl Crawford bait? Al: He's my left-fielder unless Soriano is signed. In that case, Murton could have very large trade value. Derek: I want him starting all year. Period. He has the power potential to be on a corner, he just needs someone to teach him how to hit more balls in the air to convert that potential into production. e. Rich Hill Derek: I've not been a fan of Hill in the past, but his recent work has turned me around. He's pretty clearly the second-best starter on next year's squad, which is an odd combination of well-earned accolades and damning with faint praise. Al: The Cubs' #2 starter. A guy who I didn't think "got it", who now "gets it". Could even become a team leader. Chuck: Heís going to be 27 years old. His trade value is probably lower than his value as a cheap #4 starter. Pencil him in and let him throw those Frisbees. f. Felix Pie Al: He stays at Iowa in 2007 unless two more power bats are obtained; in that case he could start in CF and bat seventh. Derek: Desperately needs another year in AAA. Chuck: Prime trade bait. Once again, as is the Jim Hendry theme, a year too late. g. Ryan Theriot Derek:: His minor league record says he's a no-power, bench guy, and I see no reason to alter that assessment based on a hundred-odd overperforming at bats with the big club. Yet, he still might be a better option at second than Ronnie Cedeno. Chuck: Iíd rather see him than Ronny Cedeno again. Al: Has earned the chance to be the everyday 2B in 2007, especially if Soriano or another power bat is obtained to play another position h. Mark Prior Derek: [Sigh] Al: You cannot count on Prior at all. Any appearance he makes in 2007 and beyond should be considered a bonus. Chuck: Send him to Arlington Park. When he snaps his fetlock in Spring 2007, he can be humanely destroyed. 10. Can the Cubs be contenders next year without expanding the budget to $150 million and what will it take to do so? Al: Yes, I believe they can. $120 million might do it -- they should clear nearly $30 million next year off this year's numbers with the subtraction of the deals of Wood, Greg Maddux, Todd Walker, Neifi Perez, and the likely coverage of Glendon Rusch's contract by insurance. Add $30 million MORE to that, and two or three key free agents can be signed, or trades for players making in that range could be made. Chuck: Yes. They only need to expand the budget to $125 million. What does this team need to contend next year? Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Alfonso Soriano, Antonio Otsuka, no Jacque Jones, Ryan Dempster in a setup role. They also need some cohones from Jim Hendry and money from the Trib. Given the history of the first and the financial status of the latter, I expect neither. Derek: Sure. Expand it to $149.9M.
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Comments

Chuck:
"Allow Jim Hendry to pick a new manager without having his contract extended beyond 2008."

Please tell me you are not advocating giving Hendry a longer contract, but instead avocating not allowing Hendry to pick a manager.

What about Ray Durham at 2B? I know he is old but his numbers are not bad.

Z-
I like the idea of Ray Durham at 2B for a year. If they are really confident in E-Pat being ready they can sign him for one year, if they are not too confident sign him for a year and a team option. Also, you got Theriot to think about. He should be in the the running for the spot come ST too. I think it depends a lot on how much moeny they spend in other places. If they are tapped out, then it very well could be Izzy at SS, Theriot at 2B and Cedeno backing both of them up. Not pretty, but hopefully the money went to improve other parts.

Who's this Antonio Otsuka? The adopted brother of Akinori, perhaps?

Manny, I thought you were happy with Hendry's track record at picking managers. :-)

I get your point, but if Hendry doesn't pick the next manager, who does?

Ranch:
"I get your point, but if Hendry doesn't pick the next manager, who does?"

Hendry has to pick the maanger, he is the GM. I don't advocate anyone else picking the manager unless we get a new GM, then he would do it. You can't have the new interim Prez do it or why have a GM. I just thought it was weird what Chuck said. I am not sure he was advocating signing Hendry for longer or not allowing him to pick manager, and that is why I asked him.

Damon hits a 3-run HR. And gets a curtan call from teh Bronx faithful. Oh, Red Sox fans must be puking up their lunch...

Ryan Theriot has done nothing but perform since getting more playing time. I don't understand the skepticism. I'd take Soriano at second, of course, but second shouldn't be considered a "must fill" in my opinion. I think we have our man.

I think some people like to feel smart by acting like they're unimpressed with Theriot and insisting that he's a "bench guy."

I'm advocating organizational stability.

I'm advocating either a commitment to Hendry long term or getting rid of him now. Allowing Hendry to pick the new manager with the axe about to fall on him is as smart as having Mark Hatley hire Dick Jauron, then firing Hatley to replace him with Jerry Angelo.

Hendry needs a two-year extension or an immediate dimissal.

I'd vote for the dismissal.

Cole:
"Ryan Theriot has done nothing but perform since getting more playing time. I don't understand the skepticism."

Go look at Cedeno's numbers from 2005 when he was given a month or so to play. He played well and everyone handed him the SS job and look what happened. That is why some of us are skeptical, but if other positions are improved, I would not have a problem giving him a shot to win 2B spot next ST.

"I think some people like to feel smart by acting like they're unimpressed with Theriot and insisting that he's a 'bench guy.'"

I'm going to assume that's a shot at me, since I'm the one who said "bench guy." That and my name is Smart.

Here's the thing: I never said I was unimpressed, just that I don't think he's a starter, and the reason for that is the following:

.271/.355/.337

That's Theriot's line in over 2000 minor league at bats.

In his defense, he's been better the last couple of years at higher levels, hitting .304/.365/.391 in 448 turns at AA in 2005, and hitting .304/.367/.379 in 280 AAA at bats previous to his recall this year. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect something similar at the big league level, but the .328/.412/.522 he put up during his time in Chicago is a mirage. He simply doesn't have that kind of power, and I think expecting anything other than, say, .290/.350/.370 is wishcasting. And, I might add, not much different than Jerry Hairston (albeit without the accompanying noggin vacancy).

I like Theriot. He's got great energy and speed, is a decent defender, and has solid on-base skills, but I think his package is more appropos of a super-sub type than anything else.

Thanks for explaining you stance Chuck, I can't say I agree with anything mentioning "Jim Hendry extension". But I do agree with the "immediate dimissal" part.

IMO, either you think he is doing or gonna do a good job thus you keep him/extend him, not make the decision based on having "organizational stability". By the end of 2008, Hendry would of been given 6+ years and 2 hired managers, to me that would be committing "long term".

How about Soriano in CF and Theriot at 2B. If it turns out that Theriot is the second coming of Ronny Cedeno (looks great for 100 ABs and then fades back to reality), give a June/early July call up for Pie and move Soriano to 2B (assuming Pie continues his good progress in AAA).

It might not be ideal, but at least it would be hedging our bets against giving yet another relatively unproven youngster the starting job and having the plan backfire.

well I don't know how much they handed Cedeno the job, they went after Furcal pretty hardcore and at least made inquiries about Tejada.

That being said, 120+ AB's, no matter how exciting is not enough to get a true picture on a player. The league hasn't adjusted to him yet, we'll have to see how he adjusts.

Murton was able to do it, Cedeno was not. I like Theriot's skills, seems like a good baserunner most of the time, can field, looks like he knows what he's doing out there and has no problem taking a pitch or hitting with 2 strikes on him. But we shouldn't hold the job for him thinking he'll do what he did last year over 600 AB's because that's bloody unlikely. If nothing reasonable comes about this off-season in terms of a true impact 2b that will be around for a few years, sign someone like Graffanino or (gasp) Todd Walker and see what happens in spring training and over the course of the year. If he keeps it up, fantastic, but be sure there's a solid Plan B and Plan C and there names aren't synonmous with low-hit, all glove middle infielders. I believe the Spanish term is Neifi!.

Chuck makes a good point regarding organizational stability. And I can see the point that maybe Hendry's dismissal now would be better for the organization. Except for the part about who would hire a new GM? If the Cubs forced MacPhail out, either their timing is incredibly bad, or they have made a philosophical commitment to Hendry.

Go Tigers, go Tigers, go Tigers. Sure I picked the Yanks, but the Evil Empire must crumble. 4-3 on a Granderson three-bagger in the 7th.

either their timing is incredibly bad

I'll go with this one.

I hear you, RobG. I love being wrong about the Yanks.

Theriot's walk and contact rates look pretty good which bode well for continued success. I don't think he's Robbie Alomar or anything, but for a team with so many holes, I'll live with a cheap Theriot anyday of the week if it means we can go harder after Daisuke or Schmidt or Soriano or Crawford or Wells.

"Theriot's walk and contact rates look pretty good which bode well for continued success"

if you'd take a look at where the contact is you might find a cause for pause.

he's a groundball pitcher who works the right side a LOT.

an odd byproduct of that is with a man on 1st he gets more of RF to split and has so far taken advantage of that.

he's got a nice swing and nice selection, but its worth looking at where he's earning his numbers as much as the numbers, themselves.

"he's a groundball pitcher who works the right side a LOT."

pitcher/hitter...whatever...he can do it all =p

Rob G.:
"well I don't know how much they handed Cedeno the job, they went after Furcal pretty hardcore and at least made inquiries about Tejada."

Very ture...

But I was talking about going into ST it was handed to him. I should of clarified that a bit better.

The major difference between Theriot and Cedeno is that Theriot knows the strike zone and knows how to take a walk.

Better eye=Better hitter

ROB G: "That being said, 120+ AB's, no matter how exciting is not enough to get a true picture on a player. The league hasn't adjusted to him yet, we'll have to see how he adjusts."

Don't tell that to HORATIO!

I agree that I'd like to see him as a "super-sub" type and see what happens for one more year if a big time FA is signed.

BTW - What was our ex-Bench Coach supposed to have done, other than eat? Isn't he supposed to "advise" the manager?

I was wondering what the comparison there might be between DPole and Girardi's experience sitting next to a manager?

Any light from you folks?

DET wins 4-3, series tied 1-1.

WOO, down with the EVIL EMPIRE!!!

If anyone needs more reason to believe pitching wins, the teams that made the playoffs this year rode the coat tails of their pitching staff to get where they are. Of the 8 teams in the playoffs, 6 of them finished in the top 8 of team ERA in MLB. The teams rankings this year were: 1,2,3,6,7,8,12,16.

I hope Hendry sees this and really gets his pitching staff up to snuff in the near future.

A-rod brought the suck today-
0-4
3k
3 lob

ouch.

no, Hendry's obviously been trying to win with hitting, that's why we keep getting guys like Abreau, A-rod, Beltran ,etc.

Hendry's poured a ton of $$$ into the pitching staff, our 5th starter in 2004 made $8 million-ish.

I would venture a solid guess that there are few teams who spent more on their staff the last 3 years than the Cubs. (I would guess the Rsox, Mets and Yanks would probably compete though)

For the love of all Padres fans, stop pitching to Albert Pujols, Bochy!!!

Rob G-

Take it easy on Size 9 head, he maybe the next skipper.

Al: I wanted Fredi Gonzalez, but he was taken by the Marlins before anyone else could interview him, which shows you how good a candidate he is. I think he will succeed there, since he has a very talented team.

So what's the deal? The Cubs and fish were both clammoring for Fredi Gonzalez, but the fish won out? Fredi Gonzalez- the one that slipped away?

To be honest, other than seeing him coach 3B during Cub games I've never heard of him.

mostly cuz florida waited all of 10 seconds to hire him.

they interviewed him last year and even got special permission from both atl and mlb to begin negociations almost immediately after the season ended this year.

even in a market with a thin tallent pool of pencil pushers (which this year there isnt) that was an unusually quick turnaround between old and new.

I don't know if the Cubs were clamoring for him, Marlins wanted him last year, he got his start in that organziation and since he's from Cuba (and I'm just guessing here), he very well may have personal or family ties to the area.

Kind of the way we have the upper-hand on Girardi if we want him.

But when you got Big Joke Bob available, I don't know how you pass him up.

A-rod brought the suck today-

Funny...why mention A-Rod, but not Sheffield (0-4, 2k's, 3 lob), Giambi (0-3, 2k's), or Cano (0-4, 6 lob)?

I am so sick of people bashing A-Rod. The guy is easily one of the top 3 or 4 hitters in baseball, and I would love to build a team around him. In his "poor" year this year, he still hit .290/.392/.523 with 35 hr and 121 rbi.

So jacos, why bash A-Rod without bashing the other three yankees who sucked today also?

Phil Rogers is in favor of organizational stability too. He called for Dusty's extension for the sake of stability.
Hendry hasn't developed or followed through with any kind of organizational philosophy yet and I doubt a long term commitment would change that.
Unless his philosophy is "wait on Prior & Wood to get healthy"... then he's doing a real nice job.

I can't say I agree with anything mentioning "Jim Hendry extension".

Totally agree. But it would be worse to have a Bears like scenario where you lose three years sorting everything out.

If you let Hendry make the call on the manager, you cannot fire Hendry in, say, June. If McDonough decides Hendry's smart enough to hire the manager, then McDonough has defacto decided that he's smart enough to stay for three more years.

Either that, or McDonough's as big an idiot as Mike McCaskey.

But it would be worse to have a Bears like scenario where you lose three years sorting everything out.

Then again, I may take three years of sorting it out if it leads to a team anywhere like what the Bears have been able to put together! :)

Theriot gave up switch hitting at some point and maybe it relates to when his average started to improve. I don't know.

You can book Girardi being named manager. When McDonough was saying that the new manager should appreciate the Cub tradition, etc. he was all but saying Girardi is his man. Only a Michael McKaskey type screw up will prevent this from happening.

crunch: [Theriot]'s a groundball [hitter] who works the right side a LOT.

What about Murton?

Theriot GO/AO 1.96
Murton GO/AO 1.97

Murton looks like he has adjusted and is uppercutting the ball slightly, so in September he actually lowered his GO/AO, which at one point I checked it, it was well over 2.00.

I really like Theriot, though, and it's more than avg and obp, it's his plate discipline. He worked counts better than anyone on the team during the second half of the season.

I think they both need to start as many games as possible next year.

Dave-
Sorry I just happen to be in the car when he k'd the third time and heard all the boos. I just checked him out on the box score.

Yes those other guys sucked today too.

Also I'm hoping Arod sucks this whole series and the Yanks have to trade him.

I would be happy to cheer for him in Cubbie Blue.

"Michael McKaskey type screw up will prevent this from happening"

Like holding a press conferernce to announce the hiring of Joe Girardi and not having him signed because they didn;t come to terms? And then not signed at all?

That was classic McCaskey.

jacos...understand. I am more annoyed with the general criticism of A-Rod, mainly coming from Yankees fans. It is just plain ignorant, which is actually pretty odd for Yankees fans, who tend to be quite knowledgable.

I would love to have a 3-4-5 or D-Lee, A-Rod, and A-Ram. Maybe A-Rod will suck enough that we could send them Cedeno for A-Rod! :)

(p.s. the cedeno for A-Rod thing was a joke)

Rob G.:
"Hendry's poured a ton of $$$ into the pitching staff, our 5th starter in 2004 made $8 million-ish. I would venture a solid guess that there are few teams who spent more on their staff the last 3 years than the Cubs."

And that makes it even sadder that it isn't up to snuff, but I never mentioned anything about money.

Chuck:
"If you let Hendry make the call on the manager, you cannot fire Hendry in, say, June. If McDonough decides Hendry's smart enough to hire the manager, then McDonough has defacto decided that he's smart enough to stay for three more years."

I agree, but that is why I say have Hendry offer the new manager a 2 year deal with a team option for the 3rd, so then the manager and GM's contracts run concurrently. There have been more than a few new managers recently that have been given those type deals (Ozzie Gullien included). If Pinnela or Girardi want more years, tell them to take a hike.

Theriot gave up switch hitting at some point and maybe it relates to when his average started to improve. I don't know.

That's exactly when his average improved, and it's been outstanding at every level since.

"Theriot hit .308 for West Tenn with 28 doubles and 54 RBI in 120 games. Formerly a switch-hitter, he benefitted this year from swinging strictly right-handed."

http://tinyurl.com/krpup

And then he went up to AAA and did the same and then the Cubs called him up and he did even better. Theriot is the real thing. I told you so in March. Wherever he goes the team plays better.

And, he's been a leadoff man his entire career til now. We don't have to look for one if Pierre walks.

How many times do we have to go over this??

And that makes it even sadder that it isn't up to snuff, but I never mentioned anything about money.

No, you said I hope Hendry sees this and really gets his pitching staff up to snuff in the near future. as if he hasn't been concerned about pitching the last few years or something. We all know what the problem has been, foreseeable or not, but when you have a lot of money already poured into one area of the team, it makes it that much more difficult to allocate anymore resources.

Of course you need pitching, but you can't have AAAA'r manning the rest of the positions either. You need to score something, ask the 2003 Dodgers.

Theriot 2005 minors: 362 ob%.
2006 minors: 367ob%.
2006 cubs: 412ob%

leadoff baby

Describing the Cub's season with stats:

A. Pujols v. CHC - .206/.286/.324 68 AB
P. Wilson v. CHC - .323/.364/.500 62 AB

Yup, that about sums up '06.

"What about Murton?"..."Murton looks like he has adjusted and is uppercutting the ball slightly, so in September he actually lowered his GO/AO"

murton now..murton since july..not the same murton that started the year.

he's not the murton who was hitting weak crap off the end of his bat swinging at anything he can lay his bat on, especially the low/away stuff he was fond of earlier in the year.

he's got power to all fields and is very skilled at contacting the outside stuff. problem is he was getting almost nothing but that early and he wasnt doing much with it. he didnt get the inside and he wasnt making quality contact.

he's got the full plate back and is seeing more variety of location and putting some lift back into his swing.

Not sure why a lot of people are screaming for Zito. His K's are down, BB's up, BA against is up (over last 3 years) and he's slowly evolving into a 4+ERA pitcher (3.83, 3.86 last 2 years). Why do we want to throw 10's of millions at him?

I'm with you, Tom. I don't think Zito is all he's cracked up to be, that is, for the price we have to pay. If I'm GM of the Cubs, I've got a one track mind right now: sign Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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

Those close to Ramirez and Pierre have said both are interested in seeing who replaces Baker.

Sources said Pierre and Blanco are more likely to go through the free-agency process.

sounds like we'll have to wait until we have a new manager to hear about Aramis.

"Theriot 2005 minors: 362 ob%.
2006 minors: 367ob%.
2006 cubs: 412ob%

leadoff baby"

Hey if its all about OBP for leadoff hitters lets have Derrek Lee leadoff.

You guys can't see any other stats.

Derek Lee in the leadoff spot would have been a pretty good idea in 2005 since Korey/Neifi/Hairston weren't getting on-base anyway.

At least Lee would have gotten more Ab's.

Leadoff is all about OBP

Say Theriot sports a .365 OBP next year?
Where do you propose he be in the batting order?

"He simply doesn't have that kind of power, and I think expecting anything other than, say, .290/.350/.370 is wishcasting. And, I might add, not much different than Jerry Hairston (albeit without the accompanying noggin vacancy)."
--

If only Hairston would've actually been even close to that productive as a Cub.
He wasn't. He was terrible.

Rob G.:
"sounds like we'll have to wait until we have a new manager to hear about Aramis."

Looks like things aren't as close to being doen with ARam as they seemed the other day. Didn't Hendry or ARam say things were close? This is not a good development if true.

Also, what date does ARam have until to declare for FA?

Chad,

The first thing you do when you construct a lineup is put the power guys 4-5-6. Derrek Lee is a "power guy" so that's where he hits. Yes his OBP is huge but the great thing about extra base hits is that they score baserunners, so you sort of want them on when your power guys step to the plate.

Now, in a perfect world (and in the Bronx these days), the lineup will have power guys up and down the order. In other words, 8 Derrek Lee's and a pitcher. But since there are so few DLee's and since what few they are so expensive, mostly teams are forced to get by with players who are not power guys.

OK, so if the rest of your lineup doesn't hit for as much power, at the least you want them to be able to get on base (aka avoid getting out), because that's where you want them when the power guys hit doubles and HRs.

So the next thing you do when constructing the lineup after you've placed the power guys in the middle, is to place the getting-on-base-guys-who-unfortunately-are-not-power-guys in the 1-2-3 slots in the order so as to give your PGs the best chance of batting with a man on base.

So after you've put your PG's 4-5-6 and your GOBGWUANPGs 1-2-3, the next thing you do is take the two guys-who-can't-do-it-quite-as-well-as-the-other-six-guys in descending order of ability 7-8 and then put your pitcher last. You might be tempted to bat the pitcher 8th like Tony LaRussa did once, but you never know if the reliver you're forced to put in has 4 career PAs.

So, to answer your question about leading off Derrek Lee, of course I want Derrek Lee leading off, provided of course that Derrek Lee gets to hit behind him. While this may be impossible for the Cubs to accomplish, this exact situation is pretty close the current Yankees lineup where everyone 1 thru 9 can get on base and mash the ball. And, wouldn't you know it, they lead the Majors in runs scored. Must be some sort of coincidence.

Horatio:
"I don't think Zito is all he's cracked up to be, that is, for the price we have to pay. If I'm GM of the Cubs, I've got a one track mind right now: sign Daisuke Matsuzaka."

If the NYY and/or BOST and/or NYM get involved with Daisuke, then his price will be up ther with Zito after calculating in the extra talk-to fee.

"Leadoff is all about OBP"

Totally false.

If so then why are leadoff hitters NEVER EVEN CLOSE (rare exceptions, I'm sure) to the league lead in OBP?

Why doesn't Bonds lead off? Why doesn't ManRam leadoff?

I assume the same date as every other free agent which is what? 10 or 15 days after the Series ends?

well if the only thing that needs to be hashed out is who the manager is, then I'd say they're pretty close. Not that that is where they're at.

I will say I'm not much of a fan of the way Hendry's has handled this one so far in terms of Ramirez's deal. All the reason to have shit-canned Baker long ago and get Ramirez use to a new guy.

more importantly, Henry Blanco is going to check out free agency? What are we going to do?????

Horatio, all I'm telling you is that there is more to leading off than just getting on base. OBP minus any other stats or information about a player is worthless. The problem here is that they eyes tell us that a guy like Juan Pierre will score more even if he's on base less? Why? Cause his speed will get him to second and third with steals and tagging up more than a slow footed player. Even if the player has a higher OBP. Who do you want standing on first when a double is hit to the gap, Juan Pierre or Kevin Youkilis.

Chad:
The problem here is that they eyes tell us that a guy like Juan Pierre will score more even if he's on base less? Why? Cause his speed will get him to second and third with steals and tagging up more than a slow footed player. Even if the player has a higher OBP. Who do you want standing on first when a double is hit to the gap, Juan Pierre or Kevin Youkilis.

Kevin Youkilis .381 OBP 100 Runs
Juan Pierre .330 OBP 87 Runs

Last I checked, 100 > 87.

I'll take Kevin Youkilis, because there's a better chance of him standing on first (or second) when a double is hit to the gap than Juan Pierre.

#58 of 63: By mannytrillo (October 5, 2006 07:58 PM)
Also, what date does ARam have until to declare for FA?

-

MANNY T: Players who are eligible to be Type XX MLB free-agents can file for free-agency anytime during the 15 days immediately after the conclusion of the World Series. It is also during this 15-day Free-Agency Filing Period where clubs retain exclusive negotiation rights with their own free-agents, although interested clubs may contact players who have filed for free-agency during this 15-day period to express interest in the player, talk about length of contract, talk about where the player will play or hit in the lineup, discuss whether a pitcher will be used as a starter or reliever, as a closer, set-up man, or middle-relief set-up, and further, promote the ballpark, the city, the local restaurants, the local night-life... they can talk about ANYTHING EXCEPT MONEY.

So most players who file for free-agency know right away who is interested and how interested they are. The only thing they (probabaly) don't know (for sure) is how much money they might be offered from interested clubs should they not re-sign with their original club before the end of the Free-Agency Filing Period.

"Totally false.

If so then why are leadoff hitters NEVER EVEN CLOSE (rare exceptions, I'm sure) to the league lead in OBP?"
----

You missed the point... it flew right over your head.
Leadoff IS INDEED all about OBP.
You put your best low-SLG/high-OBP guy at the top. If he has some speed, great... if not, who gives a damn. He'll still get knocked in.

Even though there are superior OBP guys like Pujols & D-Lee, those players are used in the middle of the order because their most effective skill is driving the ball.

I hope someday you understand all of this.
Now go practice your ABC's.

"Kevin Youkilis .381 OBP 100 Runs
Juan Pierre .330 OBP 87 Runs

Last I checked, 100 > 87.

I'll take Kevin Youkilis, because there's a better chance of him standing on first (or second) when a double is hit to the gap than Juan Pierre."

Cue "Boston has a better lineup"....

BJS:
"Now go practice your ABC's."

Actually today's thread was brought to you by the letter F. A, B and C was earlier this week and Chad passed those threads. Go Chad!!!

Maybe Chad should learn the letters O-B-P

A,B and C is a logical start though.

LNL:
"Maybe Chad should learn the letters O-B-P"

I think he figured it out...

Overrated Baseball Perception = OBP

the curse of ex-Cubbies, Nomar went out with a quad injury and his replacement Betemit just homered.

4-1 mets in the top of the 8th...

I really can't believe I went against the ex-Cub factor and picked the Padres.

Rob G.:
"I really can't believe I went against the ex-Cub factor and picked the Padres."

Is Williamson on the playoff roster?

Just passing along 2nd hand info from a Desipio poster regarding Girardi...

Matt Herges, Marlins reliever, was on Boers and Bernstein today, being quizzed about what kind of manager Girardi was. According to Herges, everything bad that's been said about Girardi was a lie, he's the kind of man Matt aspires to be, he has integrity, he is neither too tough, nor too nice, he's like a dad, he uses tough love, Matt can't imagine that anyone wouldn't respond to Joe's style, Scott Olsen, the pitcher Girardi grabbed by the jersey during a Cubs game, would do anything for him, Joe's the best manager he ever played for, Ramirez and other slothful non-rookies would hustle for him because Cabrera used to dog it until Joe arrived (and was moved to tears by his departure), etc. And, this coronation was while Herges was ostensibly pulling his punches, as he didn't want to imply anything negative about the Marlins' organization.

I have to admit my interest in Girardi has gone down a little with all the crap flying about what went down in Florida. But I think 100% of it has come spoon fed from the Marlins organization.

When the new owners and such took over the Marlins they got rid of alot of people and replaced them with their people. Alot of them were long time people working within the organization and that ruffled a few feathers. It just seems they want nothing but "yes" men. And if you don't tow the company line, your ass is out on the street. They say Fredi Gonzalez doesn't take any crap, but what happens when he butts heads with the people running the Marlins? Are they going to fire him to?

Girardi sounds like a guy who doesn't play favorites. He is even handed in his judgements and handling of players and isn't afraid to get in their face if they get out of line. In return the team respects him more because of it.

I am back to the line of thinking Girardi is a no brainer hire for this organization. I wonder now how the Cubs will screw it up.

matt "replacement player" herges getting any respect from girardi at all is amazing in itself.

i bet steve sax would spit in his beer. god help MLB if steve sax ever becomes a player association negociator.

C: Very well put. If anyone can screw it up, Cubs can. Let's hope the Baseball Gods bring us the "right guy".

On another note, which one of you said the Mets were "falling apart" 'cause they lost Pedro, etc.?

JACOS? HORATIO? BLEED? ROB G? Fess Up!!!

I stated, "Nah. They'll just outhit 'em."

Its lookin' like they got pitching anyway without Pedro. Also - the cash spent for Wagner has been put to good use, so far. What a difference between DUMPSTER and Billy Wagner! Oh! A Fastball?!

Just saw T-Walk highlights tonight as he played 2b today. Had kinda a rough day in the field.

At least he's in it!

"What a difference between DUMPSTER and Billy Wagner! Oh! A Fastball?!"

And a slider, and a presence on the mound, and 16 saves, and 27 Ks, and about 2.50 Earned Runs per 9 innings...

but hey! demps a hoot around the clubhouse and a practical jokester! what more could one want in a closer?

"I think he figured it out...

Overrated Baseball Perception = OBP"

MANNY:
Hahaha. Good one, gotta admit it.

I could swear we would be atleast 20 games under .500 if Dempster could actually finish games anymore.

I know it doesn't seem like much, but jesus 10 games?

(Warning: Not scientific, don't do a point by point break down of it. Just saying it seems or feels that he sucked the life out of that many wins.)

I said the Mets were falling apart, but I also picked them to win. I also expected every game to be 10-8.

Don't know who is on the Pads final roster, but they had 4 potentials and 2 definitely made it. Cards have 0. I know the cutoff is supposed to be 3 and all. Pads were a better road team all year with a lot better offense on the road. Bad for them though is they got the extra day off in that series so Carpenter can go Game 4.

Who would have thunk that the Yanks-Tigers series may be the only interesting one so far....

Chad: Hey if its all about OBP for leadoff hitters lets have Derrek Lee leadoff. You guys can't see any other stats.

Let's not get extreme, it's not all about OBP. Personally I think a lineup should be constructed around your power guys. For example, if you have a guy that can hit 20 home runs, he has more value batting 5-6, doesn't matter what his OBP is. You put the OBP and SB guys at the front of the order. I think that's the common, accepted way of constructing lineups.

MikeC: I have to admit my interest in Girardi has gone down a little with all the crap flying about what went down in Florida. But I think 100% of it has come spoon fed from the Marlins organization.

I'm getting that same impression. The thing I don't understand is, isn't it in the Marlin's interest for Girardi to get hired by someone else? If he just sits at home next year they have to pay him his contract, right? If I'm the Marlin's I'd talk nice about him hoping some other club would sign him.

Either way these jokers that run the Marlin's sound like real dicks.

I really don't see why Girardi hasn't already been hired! Hendry needs to re-work ARam's contract asap, and the abscence of a manager is not going to help. The cubs need to have all of their pieces in place (Girardi, Aram) BEFORE the WS ends so they can concentrate on signing FAs. However, knowing Hendry, the Cubs are going to wait until November, by which time Girardi will have been hired by someone else and Aram will become a FA. (we will be stuck with Buck Showalter and Scott Moore)

HENDRY NEEDS TO ACT NOW!!!

Girardi said he wanted to take a few days off with his family anyway and I'm guessing Hendry would at least like an interview to make sure the Marlins are full of it.

Patience young jedi....

I'd be pretty surprised if it's anybody other than Girardi or Piniella at this early stage. We'll see what other names pop into the fray though.

I guess Showalter weaseled his way into an interview in 2002 with the Cubs but they weren't so impressed and don't have much interest now. I think that was in the Daily Herald article I linked to in another post.

I was just thinking maybe Hendry is waiting on the Padres making Bochy available. However, I highly doubt the Padres would let him go even if they are swept. It's hard to justify after making the playoffs. It might be the Cubs feel Girardi will give them the proper time to interview him Pinella, and Brenly. We'll see. I have to say though that I haven't really loved Hendry's attitiude lately. He seems kind of put-off since the whole Mc Donnugh thing happened. Maybe he feels some pressure which is really good. I hope he is on a short leash, beacause as much as I liked what he did in 03/04 I haven't liked since, plus he is a big pussy when it comes to the press. Don't fuck this up Jim, I thnik John Mac will fire you like that next year.
Manny is right on one thing this is all on Jimbo now, let's see what we have this off-season no more wondering if Andy is holding him back (Furcal) or if Dusty pushed for someone (J.Jones).

Hendry has 5 crucial things to do this off season:

1 Hire a manager
2 Resign Ramirez
3 Get a #2 starter
4 Get a #3 starter
5 Get a big bat

And, the way I figure it, he can f#$@! up one of those 5, as long as he nails the other 4. Get the players, and he can choose the worst of the current suspects for manager (Girardi, Brenley, or Pinella). If he screws up more than one of the 5 (or worse, doesn't try or doesn't think he needs to), then 2007 will be another wasted, pitiful year. And then he should be fired.

Oh, and the Cubs will make the World Series before ANY team Dusty Baker manages gets there.

Jackstraw, you should add a 6th, he needs to extend Z.

unless something sly gets done in trade for CF'r (excluding weird-but-possible stuff like j.jones going back to CF or the cubs letting murton play RF even though he has no business there), i dunno where the "big bat" would come from.

...unless hendry/crew consider ray durham a big bat. =p

myself...i can live with murton in LF and theriot/cedeno playing 2nd+backupIF.

the trade possibilities are as limitless as the rumors. a.jones/r.baldelli/c.crawford/v.wells/p.burrell...

the power FA market is pretty much soriano/lee/hunter (yeah, hunter isnt in the same class as the other 2 with the stick, but he'd at least count as a power bat).

i dont even wanna think about aram leaving...that pretty much has to get done. i dont wanna start hearing "cubs to trade for mora/a.beltre" rumors.

he's gonna get paaaaaaaaaaaid. heh.

So Crunch, can you live with fielding this offense (no particular order):
Murton
Pierre/Lofton/similar player
JJ
ARam
Izzy
Theriot
Lee
Barrett

Not knowing what the pitching staff looks like? I think it is missing one better bat somewhere to be a good offense.

"Kevin Youkilis .381 OBP 100 Runs
Juan Pierre .330 OBP 87 Runs

Last I checked, 100 > 87.

I'll take Kevin Youkilis, because there's a better chance of him standing on"

OH SHIT. CAUGHT IN A SABRE-LOOP!!!!

OBP is good at top of line up but runs are not team dependent. So which is it? You want to look at OBP or runs? I'll look at runs. Juan Pierre scored less runs cause he was on a garbage team. If Juan Pierre batted first for the Red Sox, I'll bet that he would have scored more than 100 runs.

OH WAIT! Before you all jump down my throat, I have full admitted that runs are team dependent. I however maintain that run producers will produce runs where ever they go. They will produce better on better teams. - Just to be clear.

And I would take Juan Pierre batting first over Youkilis. If Juan Pierre was on the Red Sox, he would have batted first.

except juan pierre probably woudn't be on the rsox.

of course coco crisp was supposed to be their leadoff man, but he was injured or sucked and their manager has the brain to realize that Crisp is not required by state or international laws to bat leadoff just cause he's the fastest guy on the team.

Well he did bat him there almost 250 times. And the Red Sox didn't make the playoffs...FIRE BOSOX manager!!!

"Pierre/Lofton/similar player"

well it doesnt have to be lofton/pierre...it could be a slew of other guys.

but if push came to shove, yeah...i'd rather have a schmidt/zito over any bat upgrade...i hope they can get both done.

im not real excited about ray durham or lugo or loretta vs. just keeping theriot/cedeno...murton im not really worried about even if he's "only" a 20-25hr type because of the other aspects of his hitting game.

dlee/aram/jones/barrett/murton isnt a bad core of hitters with pop. keeping them healthy, free of family tragedy, and unsuspended would be nice.

I also wrote the Mets obit.

The Dodgers blew that first game, and the series is not over yet.

According WGN, Washington has contacted Dusty.

#82

Not only dicks but might have hosed themselves. They really like Girardi's pitching coach Kranitz, but he sounds like he'd follow Peoria Joe here if Hendry makes the hire. Oops.

I used to watch Joe Girardi play at Northwestern. I remember him so well cause he was constantly talking throughout the game on every defensive play. Took complete control of the field and was 100% mentally involved in every aspect of the defense. I was very young at the time, but I remember thinking that he would be a good manager. He may end up doing things that make my blood boil like bunt in the first inning with a guy on 2nd, but at least his head will be in the game.

I suspect some of Joe Girardi's problems with the Marlins stemmed from having a GM who did not want him as manager (Larry Beinfest supposedly wanted to hire Fredi Gonzalez a year ago, but was overruled by owner Jeffrey Loria who wanted Girardi). With the Cubs, Girardi will probably have a far better relationship with his GM than was the case in Florida (couldn't be much worse). Of course that doesn't do much to keep Girardi from bunting too much.

One positive thing about Joe Girardi as Cubs manager is that his coaching staff would probably not be the crony/flunky-type staff you see with older and more experienced managers. If Girardi is named Cubs manager and wants Perry Hill as his bench coach, Rick Kranitz as his pitching coach, and Mike Harkey as his bullpen coach, then the Cubs coaching staff could be more of a "teaching staff," with maybe Von Joshua (hitting instructor), Bob Dernier (1st base coach/outfield & base-running instructor), and either Mike Quade or Pat Listach (3rd base coach & infield instructor), with the other managing at Iowa. Joshua & Dernier have done wonders with Felix Pie, and I would like to have both of those guys with the Cubs when Pie hits the big leagues.

I hope Alan Dunn returns as the pitching coach at Iowa. Dunn is the guy Rich Hill credits with turning his career around and keeping him focused when he was sent back to Iowa after failing in a couple of previous stints with the Cubs, and it's good to have a guy like that at AAA to receive pitchers who fail at the big league level and get sent back to AAA.

As I've posted here at TCR many times, the idea of a "College of Coaches" (1961-65) was flawed because of the "Athletic Director" and "Rotating Head Coach," NOT because it brought the best-available instructors to the major league level. Phil Wrigley was right when he said that instruction, teaching, and daily practice reps should not stop at AAA. It should continue at the major league level.

"Juan Pierre scored less runs cause he was on a garbage team. If Juan Pierre batted first for the Red Sox, I'll bet that he would have scored more than 100 runs."

Why do so many people believe this canard?

The average run production by the leadoff man was 109 runs this year. Juan Pierre produced 87. JP always scores less runs than average. If you go by production instead of largely irrelevant old-time stats like total hits, batting average, and stolen bases, he's bar-none the worst leadoff man in major league baseball. JP played 162 games and batted first in every one. He did all our leadoff hitting. Result? The Cubs/Pierre LAST, 30th, in Runs Scored out of the #1 spot. And LAST, 30th, in RBI's from the leadoff man.

You can't blame this on the rest of the Cubs. If you do then how do explain RYAN THERIOT scoring 34 Runs in only 134 widely spaced AB's???!!! That's twice the run production of Pierre.

For some reason I can't fathom, it seems to be an article of faith here that Pierre is the quintessential prototype leadoff man. That may have been true when Dusty Baker was playing. It may be true in the Midwest. But times have changed and the fact is major league baseball teams that score a lot of runs do so with leadoff men with power. This year there were 9 teams whose leadoff men hit 20 to 41 home runs. Coincidentally those teams were in the top ten in scoring runs out of their leadoff spot.

Pierre hit three. Dead last. He doesn't drive himself in and he doesn't drive anyone else in either. It's not 1966 anymore. Pierre is an anachronism and a costly one at that. We need a new CF.

"RYAN THERIOT scoring 34 Runs in only 134 widely spaced AB's???!!! "

Aram got hot?

What should Hendry give up to trade for Vernon Wells?

Suggestions anyone?
I go with Pie, and any 2 young pitchers to get the deal done, although I'd love to keep Hill around.

Jackstraw, you are 100% correct. Hopefully Hendry has the same short list. These are the major items, improving the bench I would put at #6. I did a similar list last winter and Hendry only improved the bullpen and somewhat lead-off hitter. He didn't add another experienced starter or two or a big bat and they paid dearly.

#99 CWTP -- I have a weakness for guys that hustle, work hard, and get the most out of their ability. That's why I like Pierre. However, I have come to the same conclusion as you. Twenty years ago, Pierre may have been the prototypical leadoff hitter, but not anymore. These days, he is more of a #8 hitter. And considering the Cubs have a couple of other weak hitters in their future, (Izturis and Theriot/Cedeno), I don't think they can afford to fill up CF with a weak hitter as well.

#101 Dusty Baylor -- I think you are on the right track. There seems to be a lot of love for Felix Pie, but I would rather have a proven entity in CF rather than an unproven guy with lots of potential. Pie may be more valuable to the Cubs as trade bait than he is as the future center fielder. Add a couple of pitching prospects to the mix not named Rich Hill and Toronto may bite.

One positive thing about Joe Girardi as Cubs manager is that his coaching staff would probably not be the crony/flunky-type staff you see with older and more experienced managers.

AZ Phil,

This is dead on. I was thinking this exact same thing a few days ago. Girardi is less likely to have an "entourage" and more likely to hire good coaches than Baker ever was (or Pinella for that matter).

"Twenty years ago, Pierre may have been the prototypical leadoff hitter, but not anymore"

Are you saying the Cubs are behind in the times?

It's nocturnal game spectators like you driving your horseless carriages to Wrigley without even having the proper dress of tie and hat when rooting for the Chicago National nine, that make me long for the days of High Pockets Kelly and Frank "Homerun " Baker.

Whipper-snapper!

Thanks Lou...
I'm torn on the trading Pie issue. It kinda depends on the direction the Cubs want to take in the off-season. If they are looking to make a splash, and try to bounce back to respectablilty, or even contention in the Central division, then Wells seems to be the best choice for CF...with a FA starting pitcher added of course..at least one.

If they are going to build, then keep Pie, and start exploring other leadoff options for next year from within, or from trading players for young talent.

I'd still like to see Theriot leading off, with Murton hitting second next year.

"This year there were 9 teams whose leadoff men hit 20 to 41 home runs. Coincidentally those teams were in the top ten in scoring runs out of their leadoff spot."

So if you have a player who hits 3 home runs, and a player who hits 21 home runs, all other factors the same, it is better to have the one who hits 21 home runs?

You're double accruing when you talk about Home Runs in the context of RBI's and Runs Scored. You need to go by runs produced, or subtract the homers from one of your stats your bitching about.

If you were to do that, Pierre moves up to a tie for last in the league- but he had a better OPS than 4 other teams. The Cubs were 12 in OPS from the 9 slot (but lead the league in HR's, which would hinder Pierre's RBI opportunities further) and the 8th slot was dead last in OBP.

I'll give you that Pierre didn't score as many runs as a leadoff hitter should (even one followed by Neifi Perez in the lineup), but his lack of RBI's is more from a lack of opportunities than a lack of power. According to BP he drove in 12.5% of the runners on base in front of him. Better than Scott Hattenburg, Corey Patterson, Mark Loretta, Aaron Rowand and Steve Finley to just name a few. He did almost as well as Adam Dunn (12.7%)

#101 of 108: By Dusty Baylor (October 6, 2006 10:52 AM)
What should Hendry give up to trade for Vernon Wells?

Suggestions anyone?
I go with Pie, and any 2 young pitchers to get the deal done, although I'd love to keep Hill around.

----

DUSTY B: The Blue Jays need at least one starting pitcher to slot behind Roy Halladay and A. J. Burnett, a replacement for Vernon Wells in CF, and a middle infielder (preferrably a SS, although it could be a 2B if Aaron Hill is moved back to SS).

So if I'm the Jays and the Cubs want Vernon Wells, I would HAVE TO HAVE Felix Pie and Rich Hill (no negotiation), and then I'd ask for either Ryan Theriot or Eric Patterson, although I would settle for Ronny Cedeno or even Cesar Izturis (because it would be best to keep A. Hill at 2B) if the Cubs insist on sending some salary back (anyway, the third player would be negotiable).

Hendry would then probably counter with Pie, Cedeno or Izturis (Jays choice), and any two pitchers in the organization not named Zambrano or Hill (names on the table would thus include Bob Howry, Mark Prior, Ryan Dempster, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Juan Mateo, David Aardsma, Michael Wuertz, Will Ohman, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, Mark Pawelek, and Jae-kuk Ryu ).

Would the the Jays accept the counter-offer? I don't know. I kind of doubt it. It would depend on whether the Jay think they can re-sign Wells to an extension past 2007, and if not, whether it would be better to trade Wells now, or wait until the trading deadline next Summer, and also what other offers they get from the other MLB clubs. Because it is very likely that there will be no draft choice compensation for losing free-agents in the next CBA (the current one expires on December 19th). .

Re: trading Pie -

I am of the opinion that farm systems exist to supply a team with starters, OR, alternatively, supply a team with players that they can trade for starters.

If we can turn Pie and a few pitchers into a 27yo Vernon Wells or a 24yo(!!!) Carl Crawford, then I'll be pretty happy with what our farm system has "produced."

I don't know how the Jays feel about any of the Cubs, probably not too high if Riccardi is a DIPS/OPS fanatic, but in general player currency I think that Pie, Guzman and Gallagher would get Wells in a Cubs uniform really quick.

TRN-"This year there were 9 teams whose leadoff men hit 20 to 41 home runs. Coincidentally those teams were in the top ten in scoring runs out of their leadoff spot."

So if you have a player who hits 3 home runs, and a player who hits 21 home runs, all other factors the same, it is better to have the one who hits 21 home runs?
-
You just hit on the problem with statistics; Cause and effect....

OBP...Home Runs by team....Home Runs by lead off hitters...yada fricking yada.

One stat matters----wins. You gotta score more tha other team, either by more offense or more pitching/defense.

Most of your stats are meaningless unless you got some guys with the balls and heart to sacrifice themselves and go through some pain to compete.

Like AZ Phil mentioned, and I have mentioned many times over on here, you have to be very careful about trading away your top talent, thus paying top dollar for a guy in his last year of his deal. We all see now with Pierre. We paid top dollar for him and it very well might be a one year rental. If you trade that much for a player you better be damn sure you want him long term and sign him long term, especially when you are giving up 2-3 top 10 prospects.

Of course Manny....I should have included that in my post. that's a great point, one I should have said explicitly.

I am in no way in favor of trading for Wells without signing him to a 3-4 year extension.

Dusty-
No problem man, it was not just you not saying it.

But if we don't resign Pierre, that might go down as the WORST move of Hendry's last offseason, and that is saying a lot.

Since we're talking about trading for CF, what would it take to get Andrew Jones, assuming he'd accept a trade to Chicago (I believe he's a 10/5 guy now)?

Personally, I'd take Jones over Wells or Crawford any day.

What would the Braves have to get for A. Jones?

I agree Manny. Wow, twice in one day we agree..LOL.

Yep...not a very good move on Hendry's part. Nolasco, while he struggled in his rookie year, would have looked pretty good in a Cuns uniform this year..I'd take 11-11 from our 4/5 starter.

I think Donut Jim may be in over his head, but I'm curious as to what direction the cubs will take this off-season.

Well..if Andruw jones is available, I'd take him too..I'd be happy with Wells or Jones, as long as we had them for 3-4 years.

Well, trading for Wells and signing him goes without mention.

Manny's point about re-signing Pierre however makes no sense. The players you gave up for Pierre are already sunk costs. If Nolasco and Mitre go into the Hall of Fame together in 2023, doing anything other than offering arbitration to Pierre for 2007 would still be stupid.

Phil Rogers reveals a character trait I have long believed in Hendry, and the Cubs organization in general...

Yes, new Dodgers GM Ned Colletti offered Furcal almost as much ($39 million) on a three-year deal as most teamsóthe Cubs includedóthought he was worth for four, maybe even five, years. Instead of matching that aggressiveness, Hendry became offended.

It is the common philosophy of not only Hendry but of MacPhail. That it is a privelage to play for this proud franchise, money shouldn't matter. The fact is money talks, and players go to the highest bidder 90+% of the time.

This franchise has held firm to the 1 and out offer style. They make the 1 offer, if the player refuses and demands more money, then the GM of the Cubs gets offended and retracts, or ends negotiations. The Cubs almost never get in a bidding war and if they do, they usually back out quickly. And that is what Hendry did.

We have gone over whether Furcal is worth 13 million or not until we are blue in the face. But the Cubs wasted some stupid money on Neifi, Rusch, Dempster which could have been used to invest in one of the best SS's in the game. Instead we invested in a head case closer, a fat washed up pitcher, and one of the worst hitting middle infielders in baseball. I guess its the long standing philosophy of the Cubs that quantity is better than quality.

And whether we got Pierre or not in addition to Furcal we would likely spend much less on Furcal, than the money used to retain Pierre, Izturis, Dempster, and Rusch for 2007. Not to mention the extra 2.5 million freed up from the Neifi deal to Detroit. So was Furcal over-paid? Maybe so, but the money that could have gone to him went to players that did nothing to help this franchise in 2006 (Dempster, Rusch, and Neifi's contracts). That is how much Furcal got paid for 2006....about 9 million.

Tanita, obviously, is a Yankees fan.

The Real Neal:
"Well, trading for Wells and signing him goes without mention."

The same could of been said with Pierre then last offseason too, but it didn't happen. When giving up that kind of bounty, you need to get some production out of that player. If hendry thinks he can't get that kind of production out of the player he should of never traded for him.

"The players you gave up for Pierre are already sunk costs. If Nolasco and Mitre go into the Hall of Fame together in 2023, doing anything other than offering arbitration to Pierre for 2007 would still be stupid."

Well, then you are saying the Pierre trade is horrible now? I can agree with that.

And by production I also mean years of service.

Tanita, go away. We're Cubs fans, we obviously have no interest in orgasms.

I suppose "toilet bowl pissing cam" is a pretty accurate metaphor for the last season, though.

Hey!!

Tanita is my sister's name!!!!

Manny,

"Well, then you are saying the Pierre trade is horrible now? I can agree with that."

I have the exact same opinion on the Pierre trade now as I did when it was made. Actually, maybe a little lower opinion because I didn't realize how truly awful Pierre is at throwing the baseball. In every other aspect he was just as advertised. I am not commenting on whether the trade was good or not, it's about as relevant to the future as going to the 1982 draft and arguing about who the Cubs should have taken with their first pick.

My point being, and I thought that I was pretty obvious, that what you gave up for Pierre should have no (read: zero, zilch, nada) bearing on what you do with him this off season. If you give him a 10 year contract, you are not going to get those players back. If you let him go via free agency, ideally, you will get some players back, but none of them will be named Nolasco.

You're logic 'Well the Cubs gave up a lot for him, therefore they should resign him' makes absolutely no sense. That's paramount to saying, 'I paid $1,000,000 for a house that was on a sink-hole. Now that it 20 feet underground I will pay $2 million to raise it back to ground level, so that I can have my $1,000,000 house. I don't want to waste that million bucks I spent buying it.'

Real Neal:
"You're logic 'Well the Cubs gave up a lot for him, therefore they should resign him' makes absolutely no sense."

Yes it does, thus that is why I never said that, nor is that my logic.

When determining what players to give up in a trade you need to judge how long you want the guy. If you are renting the player for 1 year his value to your organization is lower than if you get him and sign him to a 4 year deal. And if you trade for a player in July his value is even less.

If Hendry doesn't think Pierre is the answer from here forward, he should move on, but realize he gave up way too much. And hoefully he won't do the same thing again in the future with this organization. And that is why it is relevent to judge and look back at the trade to hopefully learn from the mistakes.

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/story/2006/10/...

someone heard Gammons on the radio this morning saying the Cubs interest in Girardi is just cursory and Hendry likes Piniella more.

It's Gammons though, that guy will tell you what the copy machine repair man told him.

Manny,

Talk to your other personality, because it posted. "But if we don't resign Pierre, that might go down as the WORST move of Hendry's last offseason, and that is saying a lot."

Your quite obviously implying that re-signing Pierre will make the trade better. Pay very close attention. I've said it twice, but maybe a third time will be the charm. Re-signing Pierre has no bearing on the trade. The trade is done, no future event can have any bearing on it at all, unless Hendry is given some 'takebacks' with the Marlins that I am not aware of.

Neal and Manny it appears to me that the two of you are talking about different things.

Neal you are trying to determine if the Cubs should resign Pierre, while Manny you are trying to determine how much blame to give Hendry for trading for Pierre in the first play.

play = place

Well, one minor disclaimer. The Cubs do have exclusive negotiating rights with Pierre for whatever, 4 weeks. I just don't attach any value to those rights as I think Pierre will be a negative net-value player for the remainder of his career.

If they were to re-sign him during the exclusive period and he were to become Kenny Lofton circa 1994 (I think that was his big year), then the trade could look better.

RobR,

Manny is saying that future actions can have a bearing on the past. I disagree. The trade should only be evaluated by the information available at the time, not a year later with a greater store of information, and certainly future actions shouldn't be taken into regard.

RobR:
"Neal and Manny it appears to me that the two of you are talking about different things. Neal you are trying to determine if the Cubs should resign Pierre, while Manny you are trying to determine how much blame to give Hendry for trading for Pierre in the first play."

Close, I am blaming Hendry for giving up such a big bounty for a guy who might only be in a Cubs uniform for one year. Like Real Neal has said, Pierre has performed about as expected, so Hendry knew what kind of player he was getting, andhe got it. It really has nothing to do with Pierre as a player really. I am pointing this out only becuase of the talk about trading for Wells in his last year of a contract.

"Manny is saying that future actions can have a bearing on the past. I disagree. The trade should only be evaluated by the information available at the time, not a year later with a greater store of information, and certainly future actions shouldn't be taken into regard."

Decisions today can have an impact on how we perceive the past (see your prior post).

"If they were to re-sign him during the exclusive period and he were to become Kenny Lofton circa 1994 (I think that was his big year), then the trade could look better."

But you are right we should not allow our desire to make the past look better cause us to make a second mistake today.

Real Neal-
IMO, I feel if Hendry resigns Pierre it at least justiifies why he gave up so much for him in trade. It would show me that Hendry traded for Pierre thinking long term thus that is why he gave up so much. If Hendry doesn't bring him back and/or has no true intentions of bring him back, then why did he give up so much?

If you feel differently, that is cool, we are all entitled to our opinions.

If Hendry doesn't bring him back and/or has no true intentions of bring him back, then why did he give up so much?

Because he had a manager clamoring for a proven leadoff hitter?

a little refresher course on that pierre trade...

Mitre was out of options, it was either trade him or lose him as there's little chance he would have stuck with the team. I actually like Mitre, think he'll be a good back of the roation guy if he can stay healthy, which he wasn't. But might as well get something for him

Pinto has great stuff that he can't control. Last thing this team needs. He's a HUGE project still in the works. Maybe, just maybe he'll be a good LOOGY one day.

Nolasco was the prize for the Marlins but you have to give up something to get something. Rich Hill has a higher ceiling anyway. The whole point of the Cubs drafting strategy over the last few years has been to obtain pitchers either to help the team itself or be used in trades as they're a very sought after commodity.

While I thought it was excessive too because I don't care much for Juan Pierre, it was a fair trade at the time. Nolasco isn't going to be bringing home Cy Young awards anyway.

Vorare:
"Because he had a manager clamoring for a proven leadoff hitter?"

Oh yeah, I forgot, Dusty is to be blamed for the players Hendry brought in, and MacPhail is to be blamed for the players Hendry didn't bring in, got it.

No, Manny; Hendry is culpable too for letting a lame duck manager influence the roster. But I think you're being disingenous when you blame the offseason moves all on Hendry. Dusty complained after last season that he needed a proven leadoff hitter and an improved pen; Hendry got him both of those things. If you don't like the price he paid, you should be angry with Hendry AND Dusty.

Rob G.:
"While I thought it was excessive too because I don't care much for Juan Pierre, it was a fair trade at the time."

Looking back at the thread of the Pierre signing on December 7, 2005, it appears it was about split, maybe a little more against the trade. Interesting....

pierre is "worth" a #16-30 draft pick AND/OR a #31-40ish draft pick.

nolasco can be replaced on a prospect level, but the cost will be more (signing bonus/contract of new draft pick, high).

pierre walking is not a coup or a mistake...its a calculated risk.

you can bet that pierre would have been shifted...and a.soriano...if the right price vs. the replacement value in the upcoming draft was met.

the big loss in the whole thing...money and trading in nolasco for prospects that will be initally as worthy as nolasco, but years away from being a secure of a prospect as nolasco.

#139 of 143: By Rob G. (October 6, 2006 01:58 PM)
a little refresher course on that pierre trade...

Mitre was out of options, it was either trade him or lose him as there's little chance he would have stuck with the team. I actually like Mitre, think he'll be a good back of the roation guy if he can stay healthy, which he wasn't. But might as well get something for him

Pinto has great stuff that he can't control. Last thing this team needs. He's a HUGE project still in the works. Maybe, just maybe he'll be a good LOOGY one day.

---

ROB G: And like Sergio Mitre, Todd Wellemeyer, and Jon Leicester a year ago, Renyel Pinto is now out of options, too, and if he had remained with the Cubs, it is very unlikely that there would have been a place for him on the Cubs 12-man pitching staff in 2007.

The only one of the three pitchers sent to the Marlins that hurts is Ricky Nolasco. Although they may end up helping the Marlins, the other two were eminently expendable.

The reality is the Tribune Company has financial problems. Hendry is more likely to face a budget cut than a significant budget increase. I suspect the Cubs will delay hiring a replacement for Andy McPhail as part of the budget cutting strategy.

The free agent market is thin and the Cubs have lots of holes to fill on the roster. The Cubs will not be able to spend enough to field a contending team in 2007 and should focus on developing a younger team for 2008.

Hendy should remember the miserable performances of Pierre and Ramirez during the first half of the 2006 season and should avoid a 2007 repeat by not retaining their services. Focus on 2008 rather than 2007. By 2008, conceivably Felix Pie and Scott Moore could be the centerfielder and third baseman.

The Cubs already have a pitcher named Mark Prior who has questionable health for the 2007 season. They should not compound this problem by re-signing Kerry Wood. One pitcher with questionable health is plenty.

The Cubs need to try to develop younger players in 2007. They need to put Ryan Theriot and Matt Murton on the field and hope they develop. They may need to give some of their young pitchers second and third chances until they succeed like Rich Hill.

The Cubs should focus on acquiring a left-handed hitting right field prospect since their farm system will not develop one by 2008. They should add at least one ìinning-eaterî starting pitcher to protect the young arms in the bullpen from overuse.

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