All Signs Point to…

''John (McDonough) is going to work with Jim Hendry and the rest of the organization to prepare for 2007. John will be the point person for decision-making with the Cubs." - Trib President Dennis FitzSimons at Andy MacPhail presser last Sunday ''It's important [candidates] understand what a privilege it is to be the manager of the Chicago Cubs. It's a unique culture -- the lights are brighter, the stage is bigger. Whether you're playing the Milwaukee Brewers on a night in April or the Los Angeles Dodgers in July, you're always playing in front of a full house. You need someone who recognizes it's a privilege and respects the logo and the fans and everything about it. It's a unique mystique, and the payoff should be the winning part.'' -- John McDonough telling the Sun-Times yesterday what he expects to see in the new Cubs manager ''They have to bring in someone who is pretty assertive. And someone has to take control of the clubhouse and just try to change the attitude of the whole organization.'' -- Joe Girardi on the type of manager needed by the Cubs, expressed as he left the Cubs as a FA November 2002 OK. So after John McDonough hears Jim Hendry's opinion and decides to hire Joe Girardi instead, what's next? Aramis Ramirez is going to get a big pay day whether he remains with the Cubs or goes elsewhere, and so who the new Cubs manager will be could have a major influence on whether Ramirez decides to sign a renegotiated extension with the Cubs, or looks elsewhere. In fact, I don't think any player currently on the Cubs 40-man roster would be more concerned about who the new manager will be than A-Ram. I somehow can't see Aramis Ramirez and Joe Girardi getting along too well. Ramirez's style of play and what seems to make him most-comfortable is a laid-back approach to the game, without a lot of scrutiny or criticism about lack of hustle. Ramirez is what he is, and either you accept him that eway or you don't. Dusty Baker could accept Aramis that way, and that's no doubt why Ramirez liked playing for Dusty. But I believe Girardi will not tolerate Ramirez's occasional loss of concentration or lack of hustle, seeing that type of behavior as a dangerous influence that could spread to others (especially younger players) on the team. So I suspect that when Girardi is named manager, Aramis Ramirez will decide to leave and get his money someplace else. I also expect Juan Pierre to leave, although I don't think Girardi will be the reason. I just think Pierre will want to play someplace where he knows the manager and can be absolutely sure that he will be utilized the way he feels he should be utilized. And that would be the White Sox, where Pierre will see Ozzie Guillen (a Marlins coach when Pierre played there, and an unabashed fan of Pierre's) as "his kind of manager." So then what's gonna happen? Well, Hendry will have about $20M in 2007 payroll that he was probably planning and hoping to spend on re-siging Ramirez and Pierre that he will be able to re-direct elsewhere. Some possible scenarios: 1. CF (replacing Pierre): Hendry might take the money appropriated for Ramirez and either sign WAS LF Alfonso Soriano (to play CF) or try and make a trade with the Blue Jays for Vernon Wells (who will be a FA after next season), making sure to sign Wells to a multi-year big bucks extension before or at least immediately after the deal is consumated. The other alternative would be to direct the A-Ram money toward an overwhelming offer for a premier FA starting pitcher (like Jason Schmidt) and eventually go with Felix Pie in CF, making sure to acquire a short-term solution for CF (and lead-off) who can be turned into a super-sub bench guy once Pie is deemed Ready for Prime-Time. That short-term guy could be somebody like Ryan Freel (CIN), because we know the Reds will trade just about any position player for pitching (heck, they traded their starting RF and their starting SS to WAS for two relief pitchers this past season!), and the Cubs do have a lot of pitching depth that can be used in a trade. 2. 3B (replacing Ramirez): Hendry can take the money he appropriated for Pierre (probably around $7-8M for 2007) and either sign a FA 3B like Pedro Feliz (SF), or else attempt to acquire a 3B like Mike Lowell (BOS) or Bill Hall (MIL) via trade. Lowell will make $9M in 2007 and then will be a FA, and Hall will be eligible for salary-arbitration for the first-time this off-seaaon. Again, the Cubs have a lot of pitching depth (Bob Howry, Mark Prior, Ryan Dempster, Angel Guzman, Sean Marshall, Juan Mateo, Carlos Marmol, David Aardsma, Michael Wuertz, Will Ohman, Roberto Novoa, Jae-kuk Ryu, Sean Gallagher, Donald Veal, et al) plus a AA All-Star 3B (Scott Moore) they can package in a deal for somebody like a Mike Lowell or a Bill Hall.
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Comments

I just can't see a realistic offseason where the Cubs NOT resigning ARam turns out good. He has to be resigned.

If he doesn't think he will get along with strict Girardi and he's in for a shock with Scioscia.

I sense the ARam situation to be something of a referendum on the new manager. People will want the new manager to maintain a "new sheriff in town" type attitude and make an example of him.

blah, didn't someone post something about how Girardi got on Cabrera earlier this year and now the two were best of friends or something.

here it is from Mike C, something he found over at desipio from an interview given by matt herges

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.

didn't just about every player love the guy?

I'd be more worried about Piniella getting signed and Ramirez walking.

any plan that involves signing Pedro Feliz is giving up on next year. Hell, it's giving up on the next 3 years. Horrible hitter, just horrible.

And I guarantee the Brewers wouldn't trade Bill Hall to us...

if mc donough's opinion/selection trumps jim hendry's, jim hendry might also want to file for free agency. if they do not sing from the same hymnal on the very first song they have as a duet, hendry becomes what baker was: lame duck walking.
which, frankly, he should be, seeing as how he did not move either aram or pierre prior to the july 31 deadline.

ya know...not running out a popup doesnt make a guy a lazy pile of crap...especially a guy who's groin causes him to miss time yearly.

in aram i see a guy who's defence has come leaps and bounds over the past 3+ years and who's bat has become more stable.

the guy is obviously working. he doesnt show up for spring camp 20lbs. overweight or bring 5 rookies with him out to the clubs to keep them up til 5am while he throws money around...

#6 of 6: By crunch (October 6, 2006 02:16 PM)
ya know...not running out a popup doesnt make a guy a lazy pile of crap...especially a guy who's groin causes him to miss time yearly.

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CRUNCH: I certainly agree with you, but I have doubts whether Joe Girardi would see it that way, or at least I can see Aramis Ramirez worrying that Girardi and he will constantly be at loggerheads over A-Ram's preferred style of play.

#5 of 7: By dc60124 (October 6, 2006 02:12 PM)
if mc donough's opinion/selection trumps jim hendry's, jim hendry might also want to file for free agency.

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DC60124: Which is what I believe will happen. In fact, that may be part of FitzSimon's strategy, to make Hendry so frustrated that he is willing to accept an offer to be a GM or Player Development director someplace else before the end of his Cubs deal.

#1 of 8: By mannytrillo (October 6, 2006 02:00 PM)
I just can't see a realistic offseason where the Cubs NOT resigning ARam turns out good. He has to be resigned.

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MANNY T: And I would think Hendry feels the same way, but that doesn't mean Ramirez won't decide to go elsewhere if he thinks he might be happier playing for another manager. Sure it's short-sighted, but if he's going to get big bucks no matter which he chooses--stay with the Cubs, or sign with another team, and if he knows Girardi will be the Cubs manager for the next few years, he may well decide to avoid any possible conflict and go someplace where at least the current manager is the type who would be more inclined to accept and tolerate his preferred style of play.

honestly, i dont think aram is so stuck in his ways that a little "hustle"...even if its just for the fans to get off his ass...would bug him.

remember when he was being raked in the media a few months ago...without bitching...without making a deal about it...he started running hard to 1st.

no one got called out in the media, no one threatened to make heads roll...it just got done.

i just think aram gets a bad rap.

just like some people like to see a guy with a shakey groin bust ass over a 60ft. grounder to a middle IF, i HATE what Z is doing with the bat. i do not know why people love his extremely dangerous swing so much.

Z is a pitcher...4-5 extra homers a year isnt worth watching him miss hard on 4-5+ swings a game when he's already got a back that's off/on bothering him.

i dont think its cute, gutsy, or worthy of praise...i think its a pretty iffy thing for the ace to be up there doing to his body.

ROB G: While I can agree with some of your assertions, I still believe that the $$ money thing is STILL 90+% of the decision process for ballplayers.

Remember: There was NO manager in place when Furcal signed his deal this off-season.

hell I think money is 98% of the decision process for FA's.

hopefully Girardi doesn't insist on his Yankee clubhouse rules, because beyond that I don't see why he'd have an issue with him.

anyway Piniella is the screamer of this group, Giradi just gives the tough love much like Baker did. Baker just had the courtesy to do it completely behind closed doors. Actually if Girardi is as smart as they say, maybe he did some of that stuff out in the open (the olsen incident for example) in order to set an example to a young team that this shit won't be tolerated.

Crunch:
"i dont think its cute, gutsy, or worthy of praise..."

Nor is breaking a bat over his knee...:)

E-MAN: If you are referring what I wrote, my point is that since Aramis Ramirez is PROBABLY going to get what he wants (a multi-year mega-bucks contract for "Derrek Lee money") no matter where he goes (stays with the Cubs or signs with another team), other factors (like the manager)can become more important than they would be to another player in his position.

Rafael Furcal actually got quite a unique deal with the Dodgers that no other club was willing to match (or apparently even come close to), a deal that will pay him a huge annual salary and still allow him to be a FA again after only three years (while he is still in his prime) when he will be only be 31 years old.

Obviously, if the Cubs offer Ramirez way beyond what any other team is willing to pay, or if some other team or teams offer way beyond what the Cubs are willing to pay, then you would be correct, the manager won't matter.

And I actually prefer Ramirez to NOT hustle, because when he runs hard, he pulls a quad or a hammy and misses a month. I really don't care if he jogs around the bases, as long as he plays a solid defensive 3B, and hits 30+ HR and knocks in 100+ RBI.

I am confident that not only would Girardi see why Aram isn't always busting it down the first base line but so do all the other players on the team so it's not something that would end up 'contagious'.

The upside of him running out fly balls is what 5-10 hits on the year? That vs. him missing 15-30 games with leg issues? It's ridiculous to think that is even slightly worth it. He was having leg issues the last week of the season so don't look for this to change.

I will take a full year of Aramis jogging to first every play over The Riot/Pierre legging out 10 extra infield hits every time.

You want Z on that wall, you need Z on that wall!!

But he needs to cut down on the freakin' walks, pronto!

"ya know...not running out a popup doesnt make a guy a lazy pile of crap...especially a guy who's groin causes him to miss time yearly."

Did you watch Aram the first half of this season, or his previous seasons in Chicago? It's a lot more than not running out a popup. How about barely running to first on a sure thing double, or showing no life in the field with no range, or how about lackadasically moving a few feet back for a pop up that ends up bouncing off your head?

Aram didn't start to hustle until after the All-Star break, when he could smell free agency. There's no reason to believe he won't go back to being lazy after getting a four or five year deal.

Maybe a fiery manager will wake him up and get the most out of him, but maybe it will only make matters worse. Aram will likely find out soon.

the infield grounders never bugged me, maybe once or twice a year, he'd get on because of a miscue. Pujols doesn't bust it on every grounder either.

On the other hand, absolutely no excuse to stare at his home runs, NONE!!! Especially when said home run hits the wall and you have to bust it to make it to second. At least run normally, don't stare.

that's all I ask...

In fact, that may be part of FitzSimon's strategy, to make Hendry so frustrated that he is willing to accept an offer to be a GM or Player Development director someplace else before the end of his Cubs deal.


#8 phil-
please excuse my density. how do the cubs benefit by having senior management leave in place a general manager they do not want, making personnel decisions the senior management would make differently? won't it take twice as long to un-do decisions made by hendry and then re-make them either themselves or hand over to the new g.m.? isn't this a lose-lose-lose for management/hendry/fan base?
thanks for shedding some light here.

Not sure I agree Phil. Everyone seems to think Girardi is a hardass because of the way he pulled aside Scott Olsen, but from all reports, that was a very large (if public) exception to his normal managerial rule. He's been described by LeBatard and others as pretty laid-back, even-keel manager, not one to get too amped over good things or too down over bad ones. He likes consistent production and guys who aren't overly showy on the field. Ramirez is a masher, but he doesn't really have the intense personality of one -- he exudes more of the sleeping giant persona.

I don't think there's any reasonably accurate way of predicting what ARam will or won't do if Girardi is hired or of how they would get along in 2007 if they are together. I respect your insights into the club, esp. the minor leagues, but sometimes I wonder where your major league predictions are coming from...

Didn't Aram play under Lloyd McClendon?
He seemed fiery.

Does anyone have ESPN insider?

Onley is talking that the Yanks might have to move A-rod.

of course Olney is, cause what else would ESPN have to talk about other than a made-up A-rod saga?

it seems to me mcdonough and hendry are better buddies than Macphail and Hendry.

after my inital euphoria over gettind rid of mcphail, I'm over that. If the payroll is going to stay the same and all there going to do is try and make better decisions (but keep one of the same guys making those decisions), I expect nothing new out of Cubland this year...

I hope I'm wrong....

The ability of Cubs fans to exagerate the shortcomings and use hyperbole for the skills of their players has no bounds.

But anyway. Beltre would probably be another target if the Cubs were to lose Ramirez. The Mariners undoubtedly want to free up cash to sign that Japanese pitcher. He probably won't hit like Aram-Ram, even in Wrigley, but he'd make an extra 15 outs a year with his glove and do it for probably 8 million, depending on what we offer.

Rob G.:
"If the payroll is going to stay the same and all there going to do is try and make better decisions (but keep one of the same guys making those decisions), I expect nothing new out of Cubland this year...I hope I'm wrong."

I echo those sentiments.

I have ESPN Insider, but Olney's insights usually aren't very insightful. I read the article and the same applies here. Considering that ARod has struck out in half his ABs in the playoffs, it's obvious he has to start producing or he's in danger of getting shipped out.

#19 of 21: By dc60124 (October 6, 2006 03:09 PM)
#8 phil-
please excuse my density. how do the cubs benefit by having senior management leave in place a general manager they do not want, making personnel decisions the senior management would make differently? won't it take twice as long to un-do decisions made by hendry and then re-make them either themselves or hand over to the new g.m.? isn't this a lose-lose-lose for management/hendry/fan base?
thanks for shedding some light here.

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DC60124: You're not dense. I'm not saying it's a GOOD idea to operate that way, just that it could be FitzSimon's plan. Not that it has to make sense to you or me or my dog Skip.

In other words, the Cubs upper management people might believe that MacPhail was too hands-off in his dealings with Hendry, and that the new President needs to be more involved in the decision-making process. It's not that all of Hendry's decisions would be overruled, just the ones McDonough doesn't like. If everything has to be run past McDonough (making them all potentially overruled), I doubt that Hendry will like working under that type of arrangement, and so it would only be a matter of time before he chooses to resign and go elsewhere. And FitzSimons might prefer that Hendry is the one who chooses to leave, since he has a contract that runs through 2008.

Hendry has a nice house in Park Ridge, some kids, has been in Chicago for years. He's going nowhere until they fire his ass.

My only hope is when he works with the new manager on about 90% of the roster, this manager is a bit brighter.

Your our only hope (new manager).

But I really do hope that if Mcdonough really thinks the Cubs should compete next year for the World Series, that he has to find a way to open up the pocketbooks next year. You don't go from last to first without some drastic moves. Yeah, a lot of our team was on the DL next year and maybe we'll just get lucky, but that's no freakin' plan to win.

Meh...

This will be interesting to watch. It looks like it will be the McDonough choice (Girardi) vs. the Hendry choice (Piniella). Could this be the first power struggle? Will McDonough allow the baseball people to make the decision? Will Hendry follow the wishes of his Boss? Is McDonough only temporary? Tune in for another episode of Days of our Cubs.

Rob G.:
"My only hope is when he works with the new manager on about 90% of the roster, this manager is a bit brighter."

So we need the new manager to basically do Hendry's job, since he can't do it properly? Sounds like a good organization to me...

Ugh....

Man I hope AZ Phil's idea is right about them trying to run Hendry out of town. I just don't see it.

#20 of 26: By Andrew (October 6, 2006 03:09 PM)
Not sure I agree Phil. Everyone seems to think Girardi is a hardass because of the way he pulled aside Scott Olsen, but from all reports, that was a very large (if public) exception to his normal managerial rule. He's been described by LeBatard and others as pretty laid-back, even-keel manager, not one to get too amped over good things or too down over bad ones. He likes consistent production and guys who aren't overly showy on the field. Ramirez is a masher, but he doesn't really have the intense personality of one -- he exudes more of the sleeping giant persona.

I don't think there's any reasonably accurate way of predicting what ARam will or won't do if Girardi is hired or of how they would get along in 2007 if they are together. I respect your insights into the club, esp. the minor leagues, but sometimes I wonder where your major league predictions are coming from...

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ANDREW: Of course there is no way of accurately predicting what A-Ram will do. I never claimed to know what Aramis Ramirez is thinking or what he will do. In fact, I didn't posit what he WILL do, I was offering some scenarios that might occur based on the premise that Aramis Ramirez will get a big pay day no matter where he goes, and that therefore who the new Cubs manager will be COULD be a deciding factor in what he decides to do.

If you are correct and Ramirez doesn't care one way or the other whether Joe Girardi is the Cubs new manager, then think about this... what if Aramis Ramirez decides to leave for some other reason? The main point of the article is what might happen if Ramirez leaves, although the particular premise I presented in the article was that Ramirez may choose to leave just because he is unsure of how he will get along with Girardi. But he might leave for some other reason, and if he does, and if Juan Pierre also does not return, Hendry will have to find a way to replace Ramirez at 3B and in the middle-of-the-order, and Pierre in CF.

what if Aramis Ramirez decides to leave for some other reason?

I think he would leave for one of two reasons: 1) he gets more money elsewhere or 2) he's tired of the culture of losing around the Cubs and wants to go win somewhere else.

If Ramirez does leave, then the Cubs need to publicly state they are going to embark on a two or three year rebuilding campaign, because there is absolutely NO way that they will have any flicker of a hope of winning in '07 without him.

Thanks, Andrew.

The choice I believe is in Pinella's hands. So the Cubs may want him buy he may not want anything to do with the Cubs.

I believe he goes to Texas, they have a better core and its the AL so he can nap for half the game and no one will notice.

OAK getting tready to bring the brooms out. Up 1-0 on a Chavez HR.

Go A's!!!!!

#27 of 30: By Rob G. (October 6, 2006 03:29 PM)
Hendry has a nice house in Park Ridge, some kids, has been in Chicago for years. He's going nowhere until they fire his ass.

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ROB G: I realize that giving up a house in Park Ridge might make the idea of a Hendry resignation beyond reason, but if he is unhappy and has an opportunity to go elsewhere, as wonderful as Park Ridge might be (and it is a truly unique and amazing place to live), he might sell his house (if he can find a buyer who is willing to pay his asking price) and move himself and his family to another state, where his kids could attend school (if they have schools in the new place).

I think if Piniella is the man, it will great news for Cubs fans, no matter what you think about him. This is because he will not come here unless there is a commitment from the organization to win now. They will have to commit to him that they will spend the money and make the decisions to contend right now, not in a couple of years.

haha AZ phil, point taken.

but GM jobs aren't as readily available as manager gigs and Hendry's isn't going to have a lot of luck finding one until he gets some more success here. And if he finds success here one again, it's doubtful he'd leave. I think the Cubs is pretty much his dream job, and he's invested enough years in the organization that he plans to see this through until they take away his cellphone.

As i said, seems like him and mcdonough are friendlier than him and macphail were anyway.

OAK up 4-0. Milton Bradley just hit a 2-run HR over Park Place AND Boardwalk to dead center, yes it was crushed.

way to end your career Brad, kind of a shame, poor guy's pitching on guts alone by this point.

Sweet revenge for the A's from 2002 when Radke put the smack down on them.

where's the urgency and conflict of girardi vs. pinella coming from anyway? espeically when it comes to applying it to some internal cubs hiring conflict.

neither guy has even had an interview yet.

oh what, you want facts crunch? why are you on this board again?

:)

im just here for the free salad bar.

Torii Hunter, in turn, flat crushes a homer to deep left. A's up 4-1.

did anyone catch Torii Hunter yelling, "Show me the money!" after he hit that?

okay, me neither, but that would have ruled.

#41 of 43: By crunch (October 6, 2006 04:26 PM)
im just here for the free salad bar.

i hear the spinach is good...

i hear the spinach is good...

E. Coli free since '03

Maybe the Cubs eating spinach has been their problem since 2003.

Oh wait never mind, there is no way Hendry nor Rusch has ever eaten spinach unless it was on a sugar and fat loaded donught.

I don't agree with the sentiment that the Cubs can't compete unless they re-sign ARam. He's valuable, but not irreplaceable. In all likelihood, the Cubs won't be able to replace ARam completely with another third baseman, but they can replace his offensive production at another position (probably in the outfield).

In another thread a few days ago, we talked about the possibilty of signing/trading for Soriano, Vernon Wells, and Pedro Feliz if ARam doesn't re-sign. I personally like that option better than resigning ARam, Pierre and signing another bat. Of course adding Soriano, Wells, and Feliz is a big IF. The "either or" scenario I've listed above isn't a "real world" scenario, but I think it does show that the Cubs can build a team that can contend in 2007 without ARam.

those twins got moxie, shame bradley had to squash it....

was the play close at home? how good a throw?

I think it does show that the Cubs can build a team that can contend in 2007 without ARam.

I suppose that's true. But it hasn't been the practice of the Cubs in the past to sign a bunch of big-name free agents that will be hotly contested in the offseason. Besides, who exactly are we going to trade to get Vernon Wells? Even if the Cubs don't want to keep around Ramirez, they should keep him and try to use him as a big trade chip.

Rob G.:
"was the play close at home? how good a throw?"

great throw, but even better slide, it looked like Kendell missed Hunter on a perfect slide. But he was called out.

losing Aramis and replacing with Soriano or Carlos Lee or Wells is just a lateral move, (not even counting that Soriano would cost more) when you're in last place you need to UPGRADE not just interchange the parts. We need to ADD Soriano or Wells or Lee or pick your 25-30 HR bat, not just move some folks around.

And Pedro Feliz sucks, he really does, please stop talking about him. For my sanity, please. I can't bear the the thought of him being on this team next year unless he's our power bat off the bench. He's a good guy on your bench, nice pop, good glove, plays some positions, but he's a free-swinging out machine ready to take a Korey-like tumble one year and it's not that far off a fall for him.

I think you guys miss the disturbing part of the John McD quote.

"Itís important [candidates] understand what a privilege it is to be the manager of the Chicago Cubs."

It is the same line of thinking they use in going after free agents.

I don't like that line of thinking. Nothing is a privilege in this sport. You are either the best man for the job or your aren't. It insinuates you should just be content with being on the roster, and not making waves.

That philosophy might work on rookies but high profile free agents look down in disgust at that approach. Which is probably another in a long line of reasons why free agents don't sign with the Cubs. In the end it is simply a "privilege" to play for this franchise, who gives a crap about winning. Who wants to sign up for that?

Don't know about the house in Park Ridger but Hendry's'
wife left him 2 years ago and took the kids back with her
to Nebraska. I imagine they visit in the summer but probably
not the easiest arrangement. On the other hand unless he
wants to go back to college ball I don't think there are
a lot of MLB jobs in Nebraska

well that would be a real shame then for the twins.

I'm now rooting for them today if they got screwed by a bad call.

#36 of 47: By Rob G. (October 6, 2006 03:55 PM)
haha AZ phil, point taken.

but GM jobs aren't as readily available as manager gigs and Hendry's isn't going to have a lot of luck finding one until he gets some more success here. And if he finds success here one again, it's doubtful he'd leave. I think the Cubs is pretty much his dream job, and he's invested enough years in the organization that he plans to see this through until they take away his cellphone.

As i said, seems like him and mcdonough are friendlier than him and macphail were anyway.

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ROB G: I have a sinking feeling that John McDonough is going to be another Don Grenesko, who was a know-nothing from the Trib's Accounting Department who replaced the "irresponsible & free-spending" Dallas Green as club President in 1987. Like McDonough, Grenesko claimed to be a big Cub fan and said he wanted to learn the baseball side of the operation, but then ultimately hired Jim Frey to run the organization into the ground.

I agree that Hendry and McDonough are friends and apparently attend Notre Dame football games together and all that, but Hendry was MacPhail's protege, and MacPhail was the best Team President a GM could want... a (mostly) hands-off guy who--for better or for worse--let his GM follow his own plan, as misguided as that plan might be... ED LYNCH: "Hey, Andy, I just traded Jon Garland for Matt Karchner"... ANDY MACPHAIL: "You did WHAT????"

So other than getting an occasional veto for an unusual type of contract demand (Rafael Furcal) or needing approval to spend beyond the agreed budget limit (Greg Maddux), MacPhail just gave Hendry his budget and basically let Hendry spend it as he saw fit. which is the best way for a GM to operate.

Andy MacPhail hated being acting GM during the period between the Lynch and Hendry years, and said so on several occasions. He wanted to be Team President and deal with "league matters" and "neighborhood political issues," not with who the utility middle infielder should be.

I think what will be different now, is that McDonough wants Hendry to "keep him apprised" of what he is doing. Possibly everything he is doing. As in suffocating. As in VERY short-leash. Why would McDonough want to be "kept apprised" if it wasn't that he intends to wield a veto club over Hendry's decisions, perhaps even relatively minor ones?

I believe it will only be a matter of time (perhaps just a few months) before Hendry gets sick of his (soon to be former) good-buddy John's meddling, and no longer views the Cubs GM gig as a "dream job," and all of a sudden decides maybe that head coaching job at Miami-Dade JC ain't so bad after-all. And then the Cubs won't have to pay the rest of Hendry's contract, which otherwise runs through 2008.

Rob G -- You're correct that adding Soriano or Wells would be a lateral move, but I'm not suggesting that the Cubs should stop there. If he stays, the cubs will need to add more bats. If he leaves, they'll have to replace him and add more bats. Either way, it can be done.

As for Feliz, I'm just using him as an example because we were talking about him the other day. I would prefer Bill Hall from Milwaukee, but I agree with you that I don't think the Brewers will part with him. On the other hand, there is talk in Milwaukee that Hall will have to move to the outfield next year in order for him to start. There's not currently room for him in the infield.

The "he" I'm talking about in post #56 is ARam. I hope that was obvious.

Why the hell would Piniella want to manage the Cubs?
He was on the Score around mid-season - getting grilled about managing again and what he thought of managing here.
He said he doesn't want to manage again unless the team is ready to win now. After what's happened the past 2 seasons, I can't imagine him wanting the job, even if it's his only offer. And it won't be.

I guess Hendry can probably overcome that by offering him $4 million.

a 100m team is rarely non-competitive over the longhaul.

money does matter. some yanks fans like to go on about how it doesnt guarentee anything, but you can get a star player for 10-15m and when you can add 6-10 more guys in that range than your closest competition, that's something.

100m to spend on 25 guys with the "20m player" era over (for now)...wins arent guarenteed, but rarely will a 100m team get stuck or drowned. mets anyone?

that "privileged" comment from Mcdonough irritated me as well Mike C. Keep thinking that the biggest flop franchise in the history of baseball is a privilege. How well has that worked out guys?

Morons...

it's a privilege to work for the yanks and they'll pay you through the nose for the honor on top of it.

And the A's finish off the Twins, 8-2 in the 8th, error by morneau opened the floodgates. Stupid kids.

Of course an IBB to Thomas with 2 outs and nobody on isn't such a hot idea either.

Some weird managing moves so far....

SWEEP! SWEEP! SWEEP!

Oak wins 8-3 and takes the series 3-0.

Now they sit at home for over 4 days until they play Game 1 of ALCS Tuesday.

I wonder if they will have like a 4 inning simulated game on Sunday to stay fresh.

Wow, Billy Beane finally catches his river card (poker euphemism). After all its all just luck.

Why do I have visions of Chad curled up in a corner weeping?

lol, what timing I have

As soon as I read McDonough's comment about what a privilege it is to manage the Cubs, I flashed immediately on Mike C's post in the last thread about Hendry apparently getting offended rather than matching the Dodgers offer to Furcal. A disturbing level of pomposity.

But then a whole new marketing campaign popped into my head:

"It's important for drivers to know what a privilege it is to drive a Yugo"

i hope i'm not the only one still waiting for a logically argued case as to why letting go of Ramirez is a no-brainer.

lots of cutting off your nose to spite your face ARam haters on this board....

The ability of Cubs fans to exagerate the shortcomings and use hyperbole for the skills of their players has no bounds.

Agreed Neal, the only thing worse than "those" Cubs fans are the types of Cubs fans who try in vein, yet butcher 50 cent words and mis-spell simple others like "exagerate". "hyperbole", how long have you been sitting on that one?

ya know...not running out a popup doesnt make a guy a lazy pile of crap...especially a guy who's groin causes him to miss time yearly.

yeah actually it does Crunch. For everything that I hated Sosa for, mainly the stupid ass Sammy hop, at least he hustled. If I were a Dominican born player I'd be trying my hardest to seperate myself from their stereotype of self-indulgent personal stat obsessed dogs. Aramis may not quite be Manny Ramirez lazy but he's on that next level. doesn't mean I want him gone next year because there is no one to take his place, but if there was a Rolen, Chavez type out there in free agency I'd be pounding my keyboard for his demise.

Jack, they ain't. So get used to it.

After Girardi's time with the Yanks, you'd think he'd know how to deal with veterans like Ramirez. I thought it was interesting, I read (forget where I read it) that Torre said Girardi is welcome back to the Yanks as bench coach. He can't be all that bad.

Either way I think the Cubs need Ramirez. I know Soriano has better numbers this year or whatever, but Ramirez is just plain a better hitter.

Oddly enough I think both Ramirez & Pierre will test the FA market and resign with the Cubs.

Derek Smart of Cub Town gives the Cub's '06 autopsy. Click Here

STUD: I remember the interview that you speak of with Lou on WSCR.

Indeed, he inferred that IF he did manage again (I also remember him saying he has it pretty good right now) he'd want to take a team that was already pretty far along.

However, the Tigers had 96 losses just a season ago. Sooo...

If only we had management that I was excited about.

Buck O' Neill has died:(

http:??sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2615960

JoeC,

In your clever little spelling shot at me you have three independent 'thoughts' but only one period. Maybe you should master the concept of a sentence before you criticize other's spelling, fucktard?

Oh yeah, the correct phrase is "fifty dollar words", and I don't think the phrase applies to things you learn about in 5th grade Engrish class.

I might be reading too much into nothing, but my instincts tell me Hendry isn't too happy already. Though it might have been an act to show remorse for Andy and Dustbag leaving. I will watch his attitude closely over the next month. As far as Aramis goes...who the fuck does he think he is, making judgements on who the manager will be? if he doesn't like playing for a guy like Girardi or Loupa bye,bye don't let the door hit you in your lazy ass, and take Dusty's little bitch Pierre with you.

If Hendry is unable/doesn't want to resign ARam and/or Pierre, the question becomes why the hell didn't he trade them at the deadline?

Of course, we are all getting ahead of ourselves a bit as the 1st round of the playoffs are not even over yet, even though our season has been over for 5 months.

Hendry probably isn't happy, he loved Dusty almost as much as Manny.
Maybe you should write him some words of encouragement, Manny... tell him about how life goes on without Dusty and that Dusty is like a bird that can't be caged. Only YOU can relate those things to Mr. Hendry... call him, you two can get through this thing together.

pierre's starting cost to obtain in trade is a #30-40ish overall pick draft tallent. there's also a chance he'd earn the cubs a #16-30 draft pick in addition.

when they end compensation like they supposedly plan on doing in the next collective bargaining agreement, guys that didnt get traded this year like pierre/soriano/etc. will pretty much be sure-things to get traded unless the GM really is making a legit move to internalize the player.

I went to the series finale of Cubs vs. Reds in Cinci this year and on the way out of Great American BallPark I bumped into Bob Brenly who was in a hurry to catch his ride. I asked him this question:

"What are the chances of you being on the field next year as a manager?"

His reply...

"I wouldn't go near a team as messed up as that one."

He could have been referring to the Cubs or simply a general statement about managing... period.

His World Series ring was huge and he's pretty tall (over 6'3" at least).

I got a picture of my kids with him.

Does anyone think Girardi will end up managing the Yankees next year if they lose to Detroit? And that Steinbrenner will pry away Dontrelle Willis to join him?

Then who do they Cubs hire, Pinella?

NO,

I think if Torre is not the manager of the 07 Yanks then Pinella will be. As for the D-train I dont think he will be traded unless the Marlins could get atleast 2 of the top 20 prospects in all of MLB for him, which NYY does have in Hughes and Tabata.

torre and his 6.5m a year...amazing.

no wonder he sells his players out to the press and lets the guy writing his checks, a damn shipbuilder, berate his team he's managing without even defending them.

it does take a special kind of guy to manage a team of hired guns.

the paul o'neils are gone...the don mattingly people love was the don mattingly that couldnt stand "the boss" though he took his checks, too.

cant blame them, but its hard to feel sorry for anyone who signs themselves up to put up with the crap in exchange for an overpaid contract or a chance to be a part of a money machine that buys its way into competitiveness by a 2:1 margin compared to the nearest competitor.

yeah, money cant buy championships, but 10-15m will buy you a superstar on your team and spending enough over your nearest competition to get 5-6 more of these guys than your competition is a pretty real effect.

its made the upper management kinda pissy the past few years. for silently spending more and more to declaring wins are expected/manditory because of the money. its the money that's becoming more important than the players.

arod and his 24 errors at 3rd somehow become this huge unbelievable thing...though 1/2 the league has a 3rd baseman not even on his level. arod and his .430 ob% with RISP and .500 ob% (with 25 rbi) with bases loaded somehow become irrelevant and he's deemed "not clutch".

arod's become dehumanized there even though on ANY other team he would be an important top-tier cog that would be far from useless. how about mr. roids (giambi) calling arod out for his lack of "clutch"...maybe arod can call in a prescription from giambi's doctor for something to shoot up into his gut to obtain that skill.

yeah, the "pride" of the yankees...

It is funny how many people (not just ESPN) were talking about how the NYY lineup might be one of the best/deepest ever, but yet they get shut out in a first round game and on the brink of getting booted in 4 games. Go Torre!!!! Go Yanks!!! UGH!!!

No shocker here, but Thome and Garciaparra were voted Comeback Players of the Year.

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

In contract news:

- MIL picked up Francisco Cordero's $5.4 million option for 2007. He will be MIL's closer next year.

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

- OAK has upped their offer to Frank Thomas to two years. But Frank still doesn't sound too happy: "They've offered two years, but we're still a long way away." No shcoker here either as I don't think Frank is ever been happy with his contract sitauation. But I do find it kind of weird that they are negotiating while the team is in the playoffs. But I guess it is better than the GM dragging his feet.

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

I would love to be a fly in the NYY clubhouse today. Torre has benched Giambi and dropped ARod to 8th in the lineup.

Something I haven't seen talked about on TCR (or in the sports sections) is the way highly paid, highly mobile MLB professionals rate different cities, and where Chicago comes in in the rankings. We don't talk about how hard it is for a Chicago team to lure someone away from New York and LA, for example, when those teams decide they need a free-agent shortstop (Furcal) or center fielder (Beltran) at the same moment we do. Furcal was headed for the Cubs until LA entered the bidding. After that, it seemed (to me) that the Cubs didn't have a chance. At least I understood immediately what Hendry meant when, asked whether the Cubs had ever raised the offer for Furcal, he said, "No, nor were we asked to."

So when Nick Saban passed up the Bears to go to Miami, that was an indication that Miami is moving ahead of us, too, although the baseball situation in south Florida is always a bit dicey.

It's not always about money. The market for a player is the market, and when more than one team shows a willingness to get to that number, other factors are decisive. Many players have wives, too, who have an opinion about where they want to raise kids. Many people like warm weather.

Rather than ignore this situation or whine about the unfairness or it, we should consider that we hold a similar advantage over every team in the NL Central. Three cornerstones of the Cardinals--Rolen, Edmonds and LaRussa--would probably rather have been in Chicago if Chicago had been wide enough awake to pursue them.

"NO" (#81) asked whether the Yankees might not fire Torre and go after Girardi next week, and for the first I had the thought that the Cubs might lose Girardi. I do agree with McDonough that the Cubs have a certain mystique. I think the Cubs and the Yankees are our two national teams with fans everywhere, the Yankees because they're the Yankees and the Cubs because they're on TV in the afternoon when kids come home from school. And Girardi is a local boy. But it would be a close contest if the two teams go after the guy.

Tyler Colvin had three hits and two RBI and five Cubs pitchers (Kitt Kopach, Jake Renshaw, Mark Pawelek, Miguel Cuevas, and Oscar Bernard) combined on a four-hitter, as the Cubs Arizona Instructional League team shutout the A's today at Fitch Park Field #3.

Colvin drove in Matt Camp with an RBI single between first & second in the 1st and Jake Muyco with an RBI double off the center-field hitting background in the 8th.

Shortstop Nathan Samson made a Derek Jeter-like defensive play in the 7th, sliding into the hole to stop the ball and then following the great stop with a perfect throw to first to retire the A's batter.

Va Phil,

Furcal going to LAD had to do with $$$ and Saban coaching the Dolphins had to do with Miami giving Saban control over the roster. Anyways after last week I'm glad to have Lovie and not saban.

O-E-O MAGGLIO!!!!!!!

1-0 DET on a Mags solo blast in the 2nd.

Some FOX exec will be jumping if the LCS' look like this:

DET vs. OAK
LAD vs. SD

YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD!!!!!! YES!!!

3-0 DET. Monroe 2-run HR.

C'Mon MANNY! Spare us with the "HAWK-isms"!

"Furcal going to LAD had to do with $$$"

I don't know how you know that, ChiFan3887. Are you privy to conversations between Furcal and his wife? These are not paintings being sold at auction. Hendry talks to the agent and gets a feel for what the player is thinking. If the Cubs had come up with $13.5/yr or whatever they needed to top what was on the table, all that might have accomplished was to raise the market for leadoff men--a market they still would have been in after the Dodgers met the offer and Furcal went there anyway.

This argument between Hendry and MacPhail over how much to bid for Furcal is purely imaginary.

Sweaty Joe was on WGN today sharing his thoughts about Girardi. He felt that everything being written was an attack and part of the ownership's agenda to get rid of Joe despite the fact that they performed beyond expectations.
Says Joe is a great communicator, knows how to get the most out of his players, and he spoke in awe about his exhaustive preparation and study of scouting reports.

Hey Arizona Phil? Could you give us some insight and how you see the kids from instructional are doing overall and some of the things to watch for the years coming from our kids?

WHO is the CLOSER for 2007?

Will DUMPster be given another chance?

OR - is HOWRY the guy now? It seemed to me that as the season wore on, his effectiveness waned. Perhaps due to the high amount of innings he pitched?

manager will probally pick his preference.

wouldnt be suprised to see dumpster or howry close...either/or.

howry might not close cuz of how versitile he is. some managers dont wanna use a guy who can pitch as much as he can getting into a role where he's used exclusively in 1 role. very few managers play without roles these days for their pen.

howry, wuertz, aardvark, eyre, dumpster, ohman...i dig it.

Are you really enamored with Ohman?

He seems REALLY streaky!

He'll go for several appearances when he gives up homers and gets shelled for a half an inning - and then do well and seem to pull it together for an appearance or two.

I'm pretty confident Hendry will go to Arb with that guy.

Ohman did his job versus lefties, they left him out to get shelled a few games that artificially inflated his ERA I thought. He has a wicked slurve, slider or whatever the hell he calls it. Considering he's cheap, no reason to lose him unless someone wants to give us Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez for him or something. :)

I think Ohman's "streakiness" was due to his misuse. He should be used as a lefty specialist, but he actually had more ABs v. righties in '06.

Ryno:
"I think Ohman's "streakiness" was due to his misuse. He should be used as a lefty specialist, but he actually had more ABs v. righties in '06."

Yes, Ohman should be used primarily vs. LH's, but considering the Cubs starting pitchers were the 2nd worst in MLB in innings pitched, the bullpen had to be stretched more times that I am sure the coaching staff wanted. Dusty didn't have the luxery very often of letting Ohman just go against one batter. He needed him to eat some innings too.

Also, interesting was Ohman's home/away splits:
Home: 7.14 ERA with a .252 BAA
Away: 1.73 ERA with a .169 BAA

#96 of 100: By SlamDog (October 7, 2006 05:22 PM)
Hey Arizona Phil? Could you give us some insight and how you see the kids from instructional are doing overall and some of the things to watch for the years coming from our kids?

-

SLAM DOG: The Cubs team in the Arizona Instructional League brings together some of the better prospects from Rookie (AZL Mesa), Short-Season "A" (Boise), "A" (Peoria), and Advanced "A" (Daytona) on the same team.

I have posted some of this on previous threads already, but here are the guys who have impressed me the most so far:

1. TYLER COLVIN - I had read somewhere that Colvin did not have the arm to play anywhere other than LF, but he has played all three OF positions (mainly CF) in the Instructional League, and he definitely has the speed, athleticism, and enough of an arm to play CF. He has been compared to a young Shawn Green (one of Tim Wilken's better picks while scouting director in Toronto), and I believe he is the real deal. He is a good hitter (mainly a pull hitter) with plus-power and plus-speed, and he has the extra "it" thing that winners have that can't be quantified or put into numbers. You just have to see it to understand it. He may not have the arm of Ryan Harvey or Felix Pie (who have the two best OF arms in system), but he throws well enough to play CF. Otherwise, he's certainly at the very least a four-tool player, with an average arm (but good enough to play CF) his only possible demerit.

2. JOSE CEDA - The RHP the Cubs got from SD in the Todd Walker trade, Ceda is the hardest thrower I have seen down here this year (including the Arizona Rookie League). His breaking ball needs work, but once he matures (he's only 19), he could maybe be another Joel Zumaya.

3. MIGUEL CUEVAS - A 2006 36th round draft pick out of Pierce JC (which also produced Barry Zito) in Woodland Hills, CA, Cuevas is a 6'9 RHP who looks like he could play Power Forward for the Bulls or Right Tackle for the Bears. But as a baseball pitcher, he is very impressive. He kind of reminds me of a young Lee Smith, but unlike Big Lee, Cuevas will show emotion when he gets a big "K."

Cuevas has an easy throwing motion and although he does not throw as hard as Ceda, his four-seam fastball has "pop" and he gets hitters to swing & miss a lot against him. He also throws a change and a Sean Marshall-type curve for strikes. He mixes his pitches up really well and keeps hitters off-balance.

"BOB" posted on a previous thread that Cuevas was brought to Woodland Hills by Gus Dominguez (the guy who is the agent for a lot of the Cuban defectors), and although Cuevas is not from Cuba and he is not a "defector" (he is Dominican), he is one of Dominguez's guys. He was rated a Top Ten round draft prospect by Baseball America at one point, but slipped into the 30's and the Cubs grabbed him. With a quality polished arm like he has, I find it hard to understand how it was he was not selected by somebody in an earlier round.

4. MARK PAWELEK - It's nice to see Pawelek throw where his mechanics aren't all messed up lke they were last Spring. He's throwing three pitches for strikes now, and his fastball appears to be a plus-pitch. Hopefully he can build on his performance at Boise and in the Instructional League and carry it on to Peoria next April.

5. JAKE RENSHAW - The Cubs 2006 10th round pick out of Ventura JC, Renshaw has looked masterful down here, mixing his fastball, breaking ball, and straight-change to consistently fool opposing hitters. Like Cuevas and Pawelek, he looks like a guy who has the repertoire to be a rotation starter.

On the negative side, RHPs Grant Johnson and Jesse Estrada (two of the more "advanced" pitchers) have really struggled with their command. OF Yusuf Carter has been a big disappointment, and looks totally lost at the plate. RF Ryan Harvey's quality swings are few and far between. None of the catchers have been hitting, and although guys like Kyle Reynolds (3B) and Nathan Samson (SS) have made some outstanding defensive plays in the field, they aren't very good hitters.

LF D. J. Lewis hits the ball hard, but he has a below average arm and below-average speed (especially for an outfielder), and will have to elevate his swing and become more of a power hitter if he is to progress. 2B Matt Camp is a Ryan Theriot/Sam Fuld-type hustlin' lead-off hitter, but I don't know if he has the defensive skills to play 2B (he played CF at Boise, but has been moved back to 2B--which he played some in college--in the Instructional League).

Felix Pie was down here for a while and was used several times each game as a designated pinch-runner while he was here, and he was able to steal 2nd base with regularity (he has been working with Bob Dernier on his base-stealing, and went 11 for 13 in SB attempts the last two months at Iowa). He has defintely shown a lot of improvement as a base-stealer, and he is not the same deer-in-headlights baserunner I remember from past years. Unlike another young outfield prospect from a few years ago, Felix Pie is coachable. My only question is whether I want Pie to learn how to be a lead-off hitter, which is what the Cubs are obviously trying very hard to make him.

One other thing I have noticed is that the guys who were together at Boise (SS-A) this Summer have a different group personality than the other guys. I'm not saying Ryan Harvey, Yusuf Carter, Dylan Johnston, Drew Rundle, Mark Reed, et al look like outsiders, but the Boise guys (Camp, Colvin, Lansford, Canzler, Clevenger, et al) operate like a unit. They just seem more confident at the plate and on the bases and appear to play harder and to enjoy it more.

The Arizona Fall League starts play this week, so I should be getting a "new look" at Eric Patterson, Scott Moore, Jake Fox, Lincoln Holdzkom, Clay Rapada, and Carmen Pignatiello, and a "first look" at Adam Harben (acquired from MIN as the PTBNL in the Phil Nevin deal).

well at least 2 of those games Ohman got shelled at that I can recall were at Wrigley, maybe he's a drinker though and not ready for the day games?

j/k

I wonder how much he thinks he's worth this year? I know he has quite the high opinion of himself.

ROB G: That's funny you mention it abt. the night games! I remember this as wel!. I know one of the games I remember him not being able to get anyone out was against the Tigers. But that would hold true for the entire staff.

AZ PHIL: Dude - you are amazing! It is a treat that you allow the rest of us to have a "window" to our team's development in Arizona through your very detailed reports. I had been truly curious about Jose Ceda, and you gave me the only update I've seen since the trade. Also, I'll be waiting with baded breath for what you have to say about Adam Harbem.

Keep us posted, and many thanks!

HOW 'bout that $13million-dollar man: FURCAL?!

1 for 8 in the NLDS! Izturis could have done that!!

Really - I'm glad Hendry didn't stumble into that kind of money locked-in.

Trachsel stll sucks! He sucked for the Cubs other than an odd season and still is bad. But, then again, so is Jeff Weaver - he's still pitching too.

I hate the Mets and probably hate the Dodgers more this year.

Thank you Arizona Phil!! Interesting comment about the Boise players!

Cuevas stock fell in the draft probably had something to do with having to obtain a visa---he had a visa to attend school, but needed a different type of visa to work in U.S.---it took him quite awhile to get visa after draft, as evident by when he reported to Mesa---teams only have so many visa to use, so many teams probably had none to use and had to pass on him

Well maybe the Cubs had better inside dope than the other clubs, maybe other clubs thought Cuevas was older than he claimed and ran away from him and give the Cubs credit again!

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