tick, tick, tick…

With the Cardinals having won the 2006 World Series, MLB players with at least six years of MLB service time who are not signed to a contract for 2007 can begin to file for free-agency starting at 12:01 AM (EDT), Saturday, October 28th. Players may file by telephone, FAX, e-mail, snail mail, telegram, Candygram, however they choose to do it. Cubs players eligible to file are: Henry Blanco John Mabry Wade Miller Juan Pierre Aramis Ramirez (player option for 2007-08) Kerry Wood (club option with buy-out for 2007) NOTE: Aramis Ramirez has a player option for 2007. If he does NOT choose to be a free-agent after this season, and if his contract is NOT renegotiated, then the orginal contract remains in force as written, and there is either a mutual option for 2009, or a player option (only) for 2009 if he plays 270 games (combined) in 2007-08. During the 15-day Free-Agency Filing Period, the player's former club retains exclusive negotiating rights with the player. However, the other 29 MLB clubs are permitted to contact the player and express interest during the 15-day period, and although the other clubs cannot discuss money with the player or actually offer a contract, they can discuss length of contract, "no trade" provisions, how the player will be used, the benefits of playing for the club, the local housing market, schools, cultural and recreational activities, restaurants, etc. Beginning on Sunday November 12th at 12:01 AM (EST), all 30 MLB clubs will be permitted to offer a contract to any free-agent who has not re-signed with his former club. Any player who signs a contract with a club (either his former club or a new club) after the conclusion of the 15-day filing period receives an automatic "no trade" through June 15th of the following season. A player can waive this right, but even if he does, his club can only trade the player for cash or a player contract with a value not in excess of $50,000. A player who re-signs with his old club prior to end of the 15-day filing period does not receive the automatic "no trade."
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Comments

wow, is that what happy fans look like?

Yawn.

Damn you, Harry Carey for turning me into a Cub fan! I can't even enjoy this world series victory with my whole friggin' cardinal fan-filled family. I'm getting phone calls from them just to rib me. I am not happy.

At least we took the season series over the world champs. I can't believe they won. Gaaaah.

I think at this point it's a foregone conclusion that Aram Ram is going to go through the free agency process.

I wouldn't mind having Wood and Blanco back. Maybe Miller at a low base salary. I am really hoping someone snatches up Pierre and Hendry finds a good solution for center.

Wooooooooooooooooooooooo! CARDINALS WIN. Suck on that Zambrano. Look at Jim Edmonds who you threw at for no reason. He's class and clutch. You are a thug and so are most Cubs fans. Suck on it bitches.

I am damn certain I heard boos during the game today. Man Cardinal fans are great, they boo their own team when they are winning the world series.

Does anyone else find it ironic that a Cardinals fan is coming into a CUBS forum, talking smack, saying "suck on it bitches," and is still managing to lecture us about class? Funny, 'cuz I thought class would be attempting to win with grace and not turning around to mock other people...

Joe:

Shouldn't you be off trimming your mullet or washing your Camaro in preparation for your World Series celebrations?

All I kept thinking about the during the broadcast as they show the crowd-

-There was maybe two attractive women in the whole stadium

-And this had to biggest collection of dbags and hilljacks Western Civilization has ever seen.

I wonder how many of these fans had to sell their mobile homes for tickets.

Sad news-
Joe Niekro passes away
//sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2641235

I have a different take on the Cardinals winning. It's just another slap in the face for Cub fans. It really was our time in 2003. The Baseball Gods have added to the torture since then. That's the only way I can explain the Red Sox ending their supposed curse, followed by Chicago finally getting a World Series Champion albeit on the wrong side of town, and now, our bitter rivals get to rub it in our faces for another year. I hate waiting until next year, especially when this year, last year, the year before that, and the year before that were so painful. Sometimes I have to ask myself, "What did I do to deserve this?" "Why do I put myself through this year after year?" But I am a TRUE fan and not just a front-runner like the Cardinal fans that bring their smack talk to this site AFTER winning. I guess we all have to suck it up (or suck on it) again and WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR. Let's get the HOT STOVE started!!! Because I can't wait til next year!

So - let me get this right: Jim Hendry and Andy Mac Fail give one of two best players on a struggling team HIS option to turn down the rest of his contracted money???

Excuse my language, but, what the fuck?!

Who does this? Is this a Cub creation??

It would seem as if the remaining years are not really a "contract" anymore in that the player is not bound by the terms for the remaining years. It gives ALL the leverage to the player. Could you see Reinsdorf doing this for the Sox or Bulls???

WHAT IDIOTS!

damn cardinal fans, morans.

http://tinyurl.com/d7tw8

So - let me get this right: Jim Hendry and Andy Mac Fail give one of two best players on a struggling team HIS option to turn down the rest of his contracted money???

The Cubs weren't struggling when the contract was signed. I guess you would have been happier with a 2 year contract after the '04 season? It ends up the same way.

'Who does this? Is this a Cub creation??'

It is a Paul Deposta creation, same deal JD Drew was offered. Of course, Drew was a free agent at the time. It shifts all of the risk to the team, but it's pretty rare that everday players have career ending injuries.

aram 2yr/18m

what a horror. it would have been way better to pay 24-26m for those 2 years, f'sure.

in the case of a player option opt-out, its what aram and his agent wanted. hendry could have paid more and secured him if he wanted to at the time, but now the team gets out from under it and the "harm" is paying aram 2-4m less per year than he should have earned.

well actually he got a $5,000 raise over his arbitration salary in '05 if you count the bonus money, but yeah the Cubs probably saved a million or 2 this year.

Bud:
At least we took the season series over the world champs. I can't believe they won. Gaaaah.

Not only that, the Cubs held Pujols to:
206/286/324, 14/68, 2 HR

On the other hand, Preston Wilson owned the Cubs:
323/364/500, 20/62, 1 HR

...go figure.

I feel the same way, Big Herm. It has been tough to watch the teams that you would least like to see win the World Series.

Groan!

"aram 2yr/18m

what a horror. it would have been way better to pay 24-26m for those 2 years, f'sure."

Huh? What happened?

Oh, nevermind. Just got it.

Joe C:

Thank you for that great pic - I had forgotten that guy had a Cards' t-shirt on. Real class, for sure.

I take a little comfort knowing that the Cardinals' strategy this Series was to be the opposing team as the Tigers lost it. Tigers = choketastic!

Now that Cubs fans have suffered another gross indignity, the "end" of the Keith Hernandez "curse" drawing a more pronounced circle around the North Side's inept management than the previous two busted slumps combined, we deserve direct answers from Jim Hendry concerning the topic of why he flushed a season in which he fielded a better head-to-head team than the World Series champions.

Specifically:

1.) Admit once and for all that you were dishonest and evasive regarding the health of Mark Prior. Just do it. And then tell me why you didn't trade for a veteran, innings-eating pitcher before you broke camp.

2.) Was Derrek Lee's diagnosis the day after his injury not conclusive enough to warrant an immediate trade for a capable first basemen? You know, like the one you made several weeks later, after the team had taken your cue and phoned the season in, for Phil Nevin?

3.) At the All-Star break, it was clear Dusty Baker's heart was no longer in his job. Lou Piniella, the man you replaced him with shortly after the season ended, was available and reportedly interested. Why did you allow the listless Baker to sour the mood and performance of a young team while the division leaders were compromised and sinking and catchable?

4.) At the trade deadline, it was clear that Kerry Wood wasn't coming back, and Mark Prior wasn't himself. Why did you allow the season to get to that point without acquiring AT LEAST ONE healthy starting pitcher, NO MATTER THE CAREER ERA, saving a multitude of AA pitchers from one confidence-shattering beating after another? Do you not realize the value of mental stability in a pitcher's career? Ever hear of Rick Ankiel, or uh, Mark Prior? Could you not have found a way to get a guy like Jeff Weaver to Chicago to take the load off those poor kids?

I just want answers. If the questions above had been addressed logically during the season, I find very little reason to doubt the Cubs could have made a run at 84 wins. And as we saw, anything can happen in the playoffs, like pitchers forgetting how to throw to the bases.

Cubs fans are the most loyal and widespread fans in the country. The one team that can dispute that claim, the Yankees, is in the postseason every year, taking a shot at the craps table while we sit in our rooms and watch Spank-tra-vision. The Cubs should be standing next to them in a permanent spot, with a hottie good luck charm clinging to the prowling bear logo. We are sick and tired of hearing it from annoying friends and family members because our team can't find a way to fire incompetent people when they display incompetence. Yes, we are glad we can freely escape the taunts of White Sox and Cardinals fans simply by driving away from their respective metro areas, and we gratefully take solace in the fact their World Championships have been non-greeted by mass America with a collective yawn. That will make our nation-wide celebration that much sweeter. But I want to be alive when it happens. And I want answers. Now.

Well, Hendry is now quickly running out of time with ARam. The WS is over (no more supposed gag rule) and he has had many many weeks to get a deal done. And now it has dragged on long enough where other teams can "talk" to ARam. At this point Hendry has almost no choice but to sign him, as long as ARam is not asking for an obscene amount and/or years. So come on Hendry, let's get this done and move on.

It was just reported on ESPN radio, Bonds and Nomar have filed...

E-Man:
"It was just reported on ESPN radio, Bonds and Nomar have filed..."

Yeah so did Frank Thomas. Here is a partial list on ESPN.

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

59 players of the about 200 eligible FA's filed today. No reports of any Cubs yet.

Whew - that means Mabry is still safe...

Thanks MANNY

I am waiting for Hendry to blow the ARam deal.

according to baseball america the Red Sox have signed Casey Kopitzke and Carmen Pignatiello

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/n...

not trying to stir up controversy but what makes everyone think hendrey/pinella even want aram? yeah he's good but he's fragile and gives off a lazy vibe. if both were gaurenteed healthy I'd take nomar in a heartbeat. is there a cheaper alternative to aram so we could spend more money on what we really need... starting pitching. also, I we were to trade zambrano to get arod we would be fools.

NCFan:
"not trying to stir up controversy but what makes everyone think hendrey/pinella even want aram?"

Considering our offense was one of the worst in baseball, getting rid of a guy who basically bats .300, hits 35 HR, and drives in over 100 runs a year is pretty stupid.

And if Hendry did not want ARam, he had every oppurtunity to trade him before the trading deadline.

Hendry deserves your angst.

BUT

If I was ARam, there wouldn't be enough money in the whole Tribune company to bring me back. You know that the associated offices of Moreno and Stoneman will happily match any offer Hendry makes, and maybe then some.

Why would anyone with half a brain be back?

If ARam leaves it's not Hendry's fault because he didn't lock him up fast enough.

It's Hendry's fault because the organization is a place where no one with the proper competitive spirit should want to be long-term.

BT,
I think that the Baseball America listing of MLB signings is a typo. There is no listing for the Cubs and I believe taht I've read elsewhere that about 4 of those guys attributed to the Red Sox have actually been signed by the Cubs including Piggy. I also read that Kopitzke is retiring and going to be a roving coach withthe Cubs.

Rob,

In Jim Hendry's absence let me try and answer some questions for you.

1. We have never been dishonest about the health of any of our players. We report the significant injuries as they are diagnosed. I honestly believed in March of this year that Prior would be available to us in May, and that much of his history with injuries could be attributed to bad luck.

When we broke camp we had a rotation of Zambrano, Maddux, Williams, Rusch and Marshall. All of whom pitched well in 2005. Additionally we had the expectation that Wood, Prior, and Miller would be joining the team in the next two months, and Rich Hill and Guzman in AAA, both of whom pitched well enough in Spring Training to warrant at shot at that 5th starter spot. Starting pitching costs dearly, especially at the start of the season. And you have to call up and use your minor leaguers when a spot becomes available, or they lose their motivation and their faith in the Cubs organization. It is important that when you evaluate a decision making process, you use the data available at the time. Did you document anywhere your thoughts that we should trade for a veteran starter and who we should give up?

2. It is very difficult to make trades that early in the season. Teams, including us, are still in the process of determining they have and what they need. Admittedly, once Baker tried to replace Lee with Neifi, I should have acted more decisively, but if you were to check the facts, the team played decently for the first week or so after the injury.

3. Dusty Baker is a professional, determined manager. In the conversations that we had around the all-star break it was clear to me that Dusty's heart was in the job, and that his priorities were still aligned with the organization's. Lou Pinella was not interested in being an interim manager, so I had to wait until the off-season so I could perform a thorough hiring process when more candidates would be available, and have more time to interview. Once again, you're using future sight in evaluating decisions.

4.) At the trading deadline we were in 12th place of the 14 teams in the NL. Trading away the future in hopes that we could move past 8 teams, many of whom were making trades of their own just wouldn't be very smart. Do you honestly believe that retaining Maddux, Walker and adding Jeff Weaver would have put us into the playoffs? As for saving the young pitchers from 'confidence shattering beatings', I have to disagree. Often a pitcher can dominate in the minors pitching a certain way, and think that they can take that same method to the majors and be successful. It can take being knocked around a bit for them to understand that success in the Majors is mostly based on the mental aspects of the game. And again, playing in the Majors is the goal of every player. No one says or even thinks 'Oh no, I am not ready, let me stay in Jackson for the rest of the season' when I decide to call them up. No one's confidence has been crushed, and now they know there are things that they need to work on to be successful in the Majors, and what those things are. It's extremely rare for a pitcher to come to the major leagues and not get knocked around, no matter how 'ready' or talented they are.

Some numbers for your referrence.
5.61
4.40
4.32

Those are the ERA's of Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson respectively in their first full years in the bigs.

from the "oh, that's interesting...who gives a f*&k?" files...

j.jones added to the USA barnstorming team going to play exhibitions in japan.

guess whatever he's rehabbing still has no effect on his bat. hope its minor, or at least he's got another 2 years of somewhat decent arm left in him. his arm isnt really horrible...that accuracy and overthrowing (or underthrowing for the crap into the ground) has always been suspect. his main knock back in MIN was how much he missed high throwing to the cutoff man sending it plodding into the infield.

bagwell had something similar for like 3-4 years then his arm deteriorated into a guy who couldnt even throw to 2nd without it looking like a rainbow. amazing he could still swing a bat when his arm finally reached that state.

Jacque Jones told the Tribune at the beginning of October he had a torn labrum and chips in his elbow all season and that he needed to rest this offseason. He even couldn't guarantee he wouldn't need surgery...
http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

yet the Cubs (Jim Hendry) are allowing him to go play in Japan for a month with the MLB all stars.

This is just more proof that the entire organization is a fucking disaster, run by idiots, regardless of whomever that is.

woah there, Jones was put on a strengthening program and was told surgery was unnecessary. it came out the same time the last Prior news came out.

As painful as it was to watch the Cubs this season, Hendry was right in not making trades to replace Lee, Prior, etc. Coming into the season, nearly everything had to go right for the Cubs to contend, including a healthy (200+ innings) season from Prior and Wood, Cedeno to play at a high level, and Dempster to close games. When Lee went down after already having lost Wood and Prior, it made absolutely no sense to trade assets for replacements (e.g., "an immediate trade for a capable first baseman") for what would have been a struggle to finish fourth. Does anyone really think that if only the Cubs had brought in Nevin earlier the Cubs would've won the division? Just who would the Cubs have given up in a May trade to bring in some help? I'm sure they could've traded Murton and Hill for some other Nevin-type player, but to what end? Personally, I've had a bellyful of "veteran help" like Nevin, Mabry, Neifi, Hollandsworth, Pierre, Jones, et alia. You want to further mortgage the future to bring in more of this?

The Cubs outlook for 2007 is the same as it is nearly every year: If everybody gets and stays healthy and plays as well as they can the Cubs can win their division. That plan hasn't worked too well, but it's all they got.
The only alternative is to blow it up, turn the roster over and start over. In an unpractical world, this would be the logical approach. But in the practical world, a projected 100-loss team for two years won't sell ads on WGN or season ticket packages. So, they'll stick with the same approach: they'll sign a veteran or two "innings-eater", overpay for Ramirez and/or Pierre, and hope the fan base continues to think "we can do it in 2007".

Danville Joe:
"The only alternative is to blow it up, turn the roster over and start over."

Or how about FIRE HENDRY and try and get a GM in here who can build a consistant winner with a payroll that is more than enough to win year in and year out. Instead of letting everyone go around him and giving him a two year extension. I think that would be good for starters and a realistic option before blowing up this team that has a 4-5 really good parts.

This is a blurb from Paul Sullivan's article today in the Trib:

Japanese free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, in whom the Cubs are interested, is expected to be a primary off-season target of the Indians too.

Now that at least one other team is interested, the chances of us landing this guy has dropped dramatically. Not that it is a HUGE deal as this guy isn't great or anything.

manny, i'm asking honestly, what makes you think this guy isn't great? He led the Central League in ERA (and i believe it was under 2.00!) and had a K/BB ratio of about 6:1. That sounds like a guy who could be a nice #3 starter and maybe a #2.

secondly, did anyone really think a player with the above numbers was going to fall into the cubs laps without competition? the cubs are supposedly going to up the payroll significantly, and this will probably be a relatively cheap way (compared to MLB free agent starters) to add a pitcher that they desperately need. yes another team being involved complicates things, but considering it's the indians, it could be worse.

other teams will be involved, but the cubs combo of need for a pitcher and money to spend puts them in good shape.

MANNY: "...Now that at least one other team is interested, the chances of us landing this guy has dropped dramatically. Not that it is a HUGE deal as this guy isn't great or anything."

I was looking at the FA pitchers. It is grim and slim pickings, man!

As I stated yesterday, Kuroda WAS named to the Japenese WBC team or 29, which is really a big honor there. I guess he dropped out, but still, the perception is that he's well-thought of.

But WHO KNOWS?! I've never seen him pitch!

All I know is we will be fighting/competing for any and all FA pitchers this year.

I STILL can't get over Mr. Mediocrity (Weaver) pitching well in the post-season. Fucking Cardinals!

Err...that's "Japenese WBC team OF 29"

GL:
"manny, i'm asking honestly, what makes you think this guy isn't great?"

I think Rob G. broke down his stats over the past few years in a previous thread and when looking at them as a whole and not just looking at last year, it showed he isn't great at all. Might be a #3 at best, more realistically a #4. Also his age (31) and wear and tear (he had an insane amount of CG's) are worries to me. To me a #3/4 pitcher is not "great".

"the cubs are supposedly going to up the payroll significantly,"

While I am sure we all hope this to be true, I am in the camp of I will believe it when i see it.

E-Man:
"I was looking at the FA pitchers. It is grim and slim pickings, man!"

They are for sure. You got Zito, Schmidt and the stud Japanaese pitcher as the only top tier FA starting pitchers. The only realistic shot the Cubs have is Schmidt. If they can't land him, they need to go out and trade for one. Hendry has put himself in a very bad situation where if he wants to win, he is going to have to really pay for it (ARam, starting Pitcher, Big bat, etc.)

For the Cubs to be truly competitive next year, I believe at minimum Hendry needs to: 1) resign ARam, 2) get top tier SP, 3) get inning eater #3/4 starter and 4) get a big bat upgrade (Soriano, etc.).

#28 of 44: By BT (October 28, 2006 10:32 PM)
according to baseball america the Red Sox have signed Casey Kopitzke and Carmen Pignatiello

---

BT: Baseball America made a mistake.

Gary Cates, Albenis Machado, Casey Kopitzke, and Carmen Pignatiello did not sign with the Red Sox, they re-signed with the Cubs. (Several other Cubs minor leaguers eligible to be FAs on October 15th--Baez, Bicondoa, Hoorelbeke, Pavlik, Vasquez, and Walrond--did not file for free-agency and presumably will also sign 2007 minor league contracts, if they haven't already).

As for Casey Kopitzke, he will probably get an NRI to ST as one of the extra catchers (where he wlll also be available to mentor Jake Fox), and then will be a roving minor league catching instructor once the regular season starts. If it turns out the the Cubs need a back-up catcher at AA or AAA sometime next season, Kopitzke is young enough and in good enough shape that could still be activated if needed. The Cubs did the same thing with Elvin Tappe back in the 1960's.

Man, St. Louis is having their parade today at 3:00. Wasting no time. Congrats to them.

An 83-win team wins the WS. And who says the playoffs aren't a crapshoot?

#44 of 45: By mannytrillo (October 29, 2006 09:21 AM)
E-Man:
"I was looking at the FA pitchers. It is grim and slim pickings, man!"

They are for sure. You got Zito, Schmidt and the stud Japanaese pitcher as the only top tier FA starting pitchers. The only realistic shot the Cubs have is Schmidt. If they can't land him, they need to go out and trade for one. Hendry has put himself in a very bad situation where if he wants to win, he is going to have to really pay for it (ARam, starting Pitcher, Big bat, etc.)

----

MANNY T: Knowing Jim Hendry's aversion and/or inability to signing big bucks FAs from other teams, I would say trading for a starting pitcher on the cusp of free-agency (after 2007 or 2008) is a LOT more likely than signing Schmidt, Zito, or Matsuzaka.

Jake Westbrook (CLE), Jason Jennings (COL), and Freddy Garcia (CHW) will be FAs after next season and could well be available (Westbrook and Jennings for a package of two or three young pitchers, and Garcia for maybe Bob Howry and one pitching prospect), and Kris Benson (BAL) and C. C. Sabathia (CLE) will be FAs after 2008.

There also might be pitchers with small market/low revenue clubs who are entering into or who are already in their salary arbitration years who might possibly be available this off-season (like Dontrelle Willis, for instance).

Also, pitchers with lengthy big bucks contracts like Tim Hudson (ATL) and Kevin Millwood (TEX) could be available.

If the White Sox choose to retain Garcia, Javier Vazquez (CHW) could be available in a deal. Under the old CBA, Vazquez could not be a FA after the 2007 season even though his contract only runs through '07 because he exercised his right to demand a trade after the 2005 season (he was traded to AZ from NYY while in the middle of a multi-year contract) and thus could not be a FA for three seasons (he would be eligible for salary arbitration after 2007, however), but it's possible that all things related to that section (trade demand) in the CBA might get struck out of the new one, and if so, it's possible that Vazquez might get to be a FA after 2007.

Maybe the interim tag on John Mcdonough really is just interim:

"Presidential candidates
Hot talk at the World Series is that the Cubs and the Tribune Co. are looking at Detroit's Dave Dombrowski or Boston's Larry Lucchino to be president/CEO. Not so fast on Lucchino. "Nothing whatsoever to it," said Lucchino. "I like it right where I am, and this is where I want to be." Still, you could see the attraction, given the similarities between the Red Sox and Cubs and the ballpark. But as one baseball official said of the Cubs, "It's more of a baseball problem than an upper-management problem. They have made poor decisions with their major league team and their player development."

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/article...

Schmidt has a home in Az and wouldn't mind playing there or Seattle. He is pretty much a lock to stay on the West coast.

I don't see him signing with any team east of the Mississippi.

As for Kuroda I found this blurb..

There has been no attention paid at all in the Seattle press to Kuroda. Kuroda could very well end up in San Diego if they are willing to pay him $5 million a year or more and it appears they might well decide to do so if Detroit doesn't. Hanshin is probably going to offer him something int he $3-4 million range.

Also found a rare scouting report on Kuroda, it improves my thinking of him, but I still think he won't survive for long in the American game.

Dr. D: Now you're talking. This is Hiroshima's starter, not Seibu's closer. Will be only 32 next season. Would be a very interesting candidate for farther down in the rotation. 1997-2005 stats and 2006 stats. He was #2 in the Central League in ERA, ahead of Uehara. You'll note that Kuroda isn't especially a strikeout pitcher, but runs phenomenally low BB totals, in Tewksbury-, Radke-, Silva style.

My first question about Kuroda would be the HR issue ó he "throws hard" with a fork, but his MLE strikeout rate is 6 or less?

If he makes a lot of 'mistakes' in MLB terms, I'd love to see a value deal as a #4-5 starter. If he doesn't, he could be a real find.
....
Kuroda is my #1 value pick for the offseason. A good #3 starter coming at #5 prices.

Good low to mid 90s fastball with late life (late release) with good command and deception between his fastball and offspeed offerings. He has a very solid slider and forkball, as well as a show-me shuuto pitch.

The shuuto (which is basically a backwards slider) is a pitch heíll throw every now and then to keep lefties off his fastball (so theyíll hit the ball off the end of the bat). He mixes his pitches well, and will often pitch to contact.

My one complaint is that he pitches too high in the zone with his forkball. This is normally to get weak contact from NPB hitters (since they canít read between pitches due to an identical delivery), but in the MLB the high forkball is a gopher pitch (like Mark Loweís slider/change it doesnít break nearly as much when its up in the zone). No worries though, he has the command to pitch low in the zone, and WILL in America.

He is NOT a guy whose skills wonít translate to the MLB due to relatively low K rates like Watanabe (warned everybody about him preseason).

Kuroda is the Japanese Roy Halladay. He pitches to contact and will follow the scouting report to keep his pitch count low and eat innings. He wonít have to worry about going 9 innings in the MLB.

The only good thing about Kuroda is he is a Japanese free agent. No posting fee required and he can go anywhere he wants.

It just scares me to see his strength is pitching to contact. He needs a good defense behind him and the Cubs don't have that at all.

Mike C,

The Cubs, depending on who winds up in center and 2nd, will be between above average and top of the majors at catching the ball. Throwing the ball is another issue though.

Well guys ...its gettin clear Hendry hasnt changed iin his ability to sign anyone in FA market since he cant sign ARAM.. so how is your confidence fading in signing anyone of importance on the FA market going

I don't know, I think 5 years for $100 million may be a little too much for Aram Ram.

Finally saw the full list of the 59 players who filed for FA yesterday. There were no Cubs who filed, but Todd Walker didn't waste any time making himself availible. I wouldn't mind bringing him back for the right price. Obvious by the lack of teams wanting to trade for him last year, we could get him extremely cheap and he said he loved Chicago, but now that Hendry traded him, he might not want to come back. But he would have to accept a backup/LH bat off the bench role, if he didn't win the job. Shouldn't give him a guarenteed starting job.

I think Walker realizes time isn't on his side. He's going to look for the most $$ he can get, which will probably be a starter somewhere.

Real Neal:
"I think Walker realizes time isn't on his side. He's going to look for the most $$ he can get, which will probably be a starter somewhere."

That very well may be true, but nobody wanted him last offseason when Hendry clearly had him on the block and he had only one year left on his deal at $2.5 million. Also, SD only had to give up one very low level prospect for him at the trading deadline AND got $350,000 from the Cubs to pay for some of Walker's remaining salary. So, I don't know how much he think he will get in free agency this year, even for a starting job if anyone wants him for one, but it won't be too much.

Coupling Walker with The Riot would be a good play-it-safe, play-it-rsmart 2B strategy, but would Todd really want to come back after the way he was treated here? Possibly with Dusty gone, but I can't say it's a good chance. He's gotta still be kicking himself for coming here for the platoon/bench role in the first place. And after Grudz left, the way he was treated ... yeesh.

Maybe he follows his last skipper to SF for a 2-year, $4M deal.

Neal,

Thanks for filling the mighty shoes of Jim Hendry. Hopefully the experience won't haunt you beyond the Halloween season.

You raise a few good points, and correctly surmise I used a great deal of foresight in creating my questions. You are correct that Hill and Marshall had performed well enough to assume roles with the big club. I maintain my stance that Hendry had stronger doubts about Prior than those he expressed to the fans and media, but I guess the validity of that opinion rests upon how strongly one trusts Will Carroll's sources and other whispers from the Cub rumor mill. In regards to whom we could have given up in Spring Training, why not Rusch and Williams? You said they both pitched well in '05. Did any talent evaluators in the organization foresee the struggles they would encounter? If not, we need to fire some people. If so, could we have duped another team and gotten a middle-tier veteran in a package deal for both, a la Mike Sirotka for David Wells a few years back? Shrewd and even a bit dastardly, but we're trying to end 97 years of futility here.

As for whether the Cubs could have gone places with Weaver, Walker and Maddux, I present the Cardinals playoff rotation alongside what the Cubs' would have looked like under such a scenario:

World Campion Cards: Carpenter, Weaver, Suppan, Reyes

What-if Cubs: Zambrano, Weaver, Maddux, Hill

You tell me which is stronger. And Weaver would have cost us nothing. It only would have sent a message to the players that the team was not giving up. And it would have prevented the Cardinals from winning the World Series. I'm using foresight again, I know, but keeping the Redbirds from getting a much-needed arm would have been a nice consolation prize in a crappy season. Instead, loyal Cub fans have to face the embarassment of another rival winning it all.

Of course, it is no certainty that the Cubs could have won 83 games even with the above rotation. There were plenty of other shortcomings. I firmly believe, though, that our general manager should have pursued low-risk ways to improve the team rather than phoning it in, especially considering the Cardinals' vulnerability. If Marmol, Mateo, and Guzman become the next Maddux, Clemens, and Johnson, I will happily eat my crow. But until then, I want my general manager to pursue every angle that does not require him to divest the team of its most valuable young talent. I want him to be eternally optimistic with a savvy take-no-prisoners core, and I want the thought of the White Sox or Cardinals celebrating another title before we get one to make him physically ill. Maybe that's too much to ask.

"Also, SD only had to give up one very low level prospect for him at the trading deadline"

ceda is not a low level prospect.

at worst, if he was draft eligable, he'd be a 2nd/3rd round pick.

18 year olds who throw mid-90s+ are not abundant.

he's a low ranking prospect in SD's system according to last season's team ranking charts cuz...well...he was 16/17 years old in their system and very low in the professional system.

this kid isnt a throwaway, nor is he a non-item. no, he's not a top10 prospect, but its only because of his lack of control of secondary pitches.

you still got a baby who can throw 95+mph with 4 years to learn something to compliment it. that is as good a tool as any for a starting point.

you still got a baby who can throw 95+mph with 4 years to learn something to compliment it. that is as good a tool as any for a starting point.

Yaaaaaaaah, a baby!!!!!!

Sorry, Dairy Queen commercial flashback. Carry On.

CRUNCH: "you still got a baby who can throw 95+mph with 4 years to learn something to compliment it. that is as good a tool as any for a starting point."

Ceda is being "scouted" by our very own AZ PHIL, I think. I hope he gives us an update sometime soon.

Crunch:
"ceda is not a low level prospect."

Ceda was at SD's Rookie Ball affiliate (Peoria Padres) when he got traded to the Cubs. It can't get any lower of a level than that. I was not talking about his skill, just the fact that we traded Walker for a rookie ball (low level) pitcher.

Waiting...and waiting...and waiting...y a w n......

The worst part of being an obsessive Cub fan and TCR participant, is the lack of any action is killing me softly!

There are not even any credible "serious" rumors to get excited about. For a team with myriad holes to fill, its a tough thing.

We don't even know if one of the teams best offensive players will be back with the club! WTF?!

I was at the Bear game today, but I still NEED my Cubs!

Fire Hendry!

Damn Manny, still can't believe your peddling the sad tired old arguement of because Walker wasn't traded last off-season nobody wanted him tag line.

Every time you peddle that line of crap you never stop and realize if the Cubs did trade Walker, who was going to be the guy taking over 2nd base fulltime? Neifi Perez? He wasn't traded because he was the best 2nd baseman on the roster and the only thing keeping us from 162 games of Neifi.

The Cubs are a little bit dumb, but they are smart enough to understand....Walker > than Neifi. They were not going to give Walker away for peanuts just for the hell of it.

Oh hell, why do I even try. This has been explained to you dozens of times in the past and you ignore it each time.

"at worst, if he was draft eligable, he'd be a 2nd/3rd round pick."

Exactly. I don't know why people are so down on Ceda. It was a good trade.

Carlos:
"I don't know why people are so down on Ceda.

I don't recall anyone on TCR being down on Ceda. He is young and has a live arm. Still way too early to know anything for certain.

"It was a good trade."

It was a good trade for Hendry at the time. He had very little leverage and very little interest, but we got SD to take on a majority of the remaining Walker's salary and picked up a young rookie ball pitcher with a live arm. I don't think anyone could of expected Hendry to get more than he did.

wood filed for FA today, btw...

I am damn certain I heard boos during the game today. Man Cardinal fans are great, they boo their own team when they are winning the world series.

They weren't booing, they were saying "Boo-urns"

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Thanks for the heads up Crunch...

Looks like 24 more players filed today for free agency (89 total now). About 200 are eligible to file.

On top of Wood, Alfonso Soriano and Jason Schmidt also filed.

I hope Hendry is on the horn with both of them tonight giving them his sales non dollar amount sales pitch.

Joe Borowski and Sarge Jr. also filed.

Wood would (or wood "wood"), be a good PU for a team that has plenty of play money and doesn't have to worry about the investment paying off right away. It is a roll of the dice w/that guy.

The Cubs have rolled "snake-eyes" the last three years.

I hope Hendry is on the horn with both of them tonight giving them his sales non dollar amount sales pitch.

The non dollar sales pitch is fine, it's when Hendry starts low balling them with the 'wrigley field is special, take a 20% pay cut to lose with us' that they flee.

if wood comes aboard that leaves a pretty loaded pen.

wood/howry/eyre/dumpster/wuertz/ohman/aardsma/novoa...

all of them have their merits aside from novoa and those sick of dumpster closing.

well, maybe anyway.

novoa might be the trash in the pen outta that group, but he's young/cheap and this offseason's relief market is headlined by justin speier and very little else behind him with any track record. novoa might actually gain worth on the market for no other reason than he's a guy with a mid90s fastball, a slider, and wont cost but around 380K.

i just hope the team manages to hold onto wuertz/ohman and dont even think of trading howry/eyre. yeah, i like aardvark and i really dont know what to think about wood returning since i dont even have the slightest clue what he's gonna be like. if wood returns, i just hope its cheap.

"if wood comes aboard that leaves a pretty loaded pen..."

Yeah, but you summed up the possibility that its anyone's guess if he'll be able to get anyone out, or will be able to pitch at all...

So, it would be a pure dice-roll signing, just like Demp, Williamson, Miller.

Maybe they could work a pay-per-out deal?

I think Wood is going to come very cheap, like $1 million + $40,000 per appearance, if he goes back to the Cubs. If he goes to another team, probably throw another .5 to 1 million on top of that base salary.

Rob,

No Hendry could not have trade Rusch for anyone, because he was signed as a free agent you can't trade him until June or something. As I recall the Jays got further compensation for Wells because Sirotka was injured. The Cardinals traded for Weaver, he wasn't released, so the Cubs would have to outbid them (on prospect or taking on salary). As a GM it's important to be rational. Constantly trying to win, even when the chips are stacked against you, makes you do things like trade Scott Kazmir (6.5 WARP) for Victor Zambrano (0) or Hanley Ramirez (6.9) and Anibal Sanchez (4.3) ($500K in salary) for Josh Beckett (5.0) and Mike Lowell (6.3) and $13.3 million in salary. You have to choose your shots, and 18 games back, behind 8 other teams is not a good time to take your shot, regardless of who won the WS last year and who is leading the division this year.

on Piniella...
"He's got some different ideas of how to put a bench together," Hendry said. "So it's a cooperative effort. In no way, shape or form has Lou ever been the type that's like, 'Hey, you've got to get me this guy or that guy.' That's not the way he operates, and I've heard that from all the clubs [he has managed]."

What? You mean Neifi and Macias don't make a good bench?

Anybody know where to see the whole list of F/A?

Wow. The Bears look really good this year. Sure the 49ers are easy to swallow, but there are a lot of ways to be a playoff calibur team. It seems we can win in every way imaginable. The Jim Miller led team of 2001, this ain't.

Let's hope Grossman is ready for the limelight through the playoffs and doesn't collapse like he did against the Cardinals.

This Old Cub:
"Anybody know where to see the whole list of F/A?"

Here is a team-by-team breakdown of the 83 players who have filed for free agency thus far:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.js...

So far 3 Cubs have filed: Henry Blanco, Juan Pierre and Kerry Wood.

Soriano would be an interesting and dangerous acquisition for any team. He seems to want to hit leadoff, but his career OBP is .325, and we need something better.

He drew 67 walks last year after never drawing more than 38 in a season previously.

He went 41-for-58 in stolen bases (that's bad) after going 30-for-32 the previous season in Texas (that's tremendous). Was he stealing bases willy-nilly at the end of the season in order to be 40-40? Now that's he done it, will he be more judicious when he runs?

He had 41 stolen bases but only two triples? That's bizarre. I thought RFK would be a great triples park. But he had a ton of doubles. Does this mean he was lazy and didn't want to stretch any doubles into triples?

Didn't he get thrown out twice at home plate in a three-inning span against the Cubs at RFK?

Would acquiring a 160-strikeout guy reflect a sea change in Hendry's philosophy?

I think Cubs fans would be warm to Soriano initially. But I don't think they would go gaga over him like they did with Andre Dawson, who was a similar-type player.

Plus, I can't imagine Soriano won't think long and hard about playing center field.

Foxsports.com Rumors...
Cubs manager Lou Piniella not only wants a stronger rotation and lineup, he also requested a bench full of players who can step in and play on an everyday basis if needed. One valuable utility player on the free-agent market is Texas' Mark DeRosa, who played six positions last season. He hit .296 with 40 doubles, 13 home runs and a .357 on-base percentage.
Full Story

That sounds encouraging, but I think it's just some reporter spouting off, because I think DeRosa has openly expressed that he wants to be a starter.

If the Cubs go the trade route, outfielders such as Toronto's Vernon Wells and the Yankees' Gary Sheffield are likely to surface. Wells, one of the top two or three center fielders in the game, is entering his final year with the Blue Jays and hopes to sign an extension.
Full Story

Sheffield? Really? Is he 40 yet? *sigh*

this old cub:
Anybody know where to see the whole list of F/A?

I've found mlb4u.com is a pretty good resource. Doesn't list some things, but it's decent.

Rob G.:
on Piniella...
"He's got some different ideas of how to put a bench together," Hendry said. "So it's a cooperative effort. In no way, shape or form has Lou ever been the type that's like, 'Hey, you've got to get me this guy or that guy.' That's not the way he operates, and I've heard that from all the clubs [he has managed]."

What? You mean Neifi and Macias don't make a good bench?

Neither you or Hendry said it, but the implication is that Dusty DID ask Hendry to go get the crap that sat on the bench the last 3 years. Dusty have a new job yet? The it's a tough job market...

Does anyone else find it ironic that a Cardinals fan is coming into a CUBS forum, talking smack, saying "suck on it bitches," and is still managing to lecture us about class? Funny, 'cuz I thought class would be attempting to win with grace and not turning around to mock other people...

To say nothing of a fan of the team that plays in the nation's most crime-ridden city calling other people "thugs."

I didn't realize the Cardinals had move to Gary.

http://tinyurl.com/y3kt7k

(scroll to bottom)
I missed this from a few days ago but Rogers says Gary Gaetti is in the hitting coach mix as well.

Ryno:
"Neither you or Hendry said it, but the implication is that Dusty DID ask Hendry to go get the crap that sat on the bench the last 3 years."

Thus, "Teflon" Jim....

I didn't realize the Cardinals had move to Gary.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/sns-...

#74 of 86: By The Real Neal (October 30, 2006 12:45 AM)
I think Wood is going to come very cheap, like $1 million + $40,000 per appearance, if he goes back to the Cubs. If he goes to another team, probably throw another .5 to 1 million on top of that base salary.

Rob,

No Hendry could not have trade Rusch for anyone, because he was signed as a free agent you can't trade him until June or something.

-

NEAL: Glendon Rusch did not have the automatic "no trade" through June 15th because he was re-signed by the Cubs prior to end of the 2005 free-agency filing period. Same thing for Neifi Perez and Ryan Dempster.

A player only gets the automatic "no trade" if he files for free-agency and then signs (either with a new team or with his old team) AFTER the end of the 15-day free-agency filing period.

The only Cubs who had the automatic "no trade" through June 15th this past season were Scott Eyre, Bob Howry, Jacque Jones, and John Mabry.

HEY FOLKS TAKE A REALITY PILL
HENDRY wont sign any Big Name FA's and we are gonna lose ARAM to boot...
He doesnt know how to negotiate or he woulda signed aram already and we would have BIG name FA's here already(from Previous season FA'S).
So DREAM AND DREAM with your wish lists but expect NOTHING but alot of mediocre NElfi's and all that money spent on garbage.

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