Rumor Roundup

Sorry about the writer's block lately, I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough. In the meantime, some rumors to keep you going. - Bruce Miles throws out some numbers on the Aramis deal. He's careful to use the term may to describe the figures, but here they are anyway. Ramirez may be asking for 6 years/$15 million per year while Hendry may be offering 5/$14 mil per year at the moment. If there's any truth to those figures, then get the freakin' deal done Hendry. - Miles also says the Cubs aren't so hot on Sheffield as other papers seem to believe. - The Trib has the Cubs potentially going after Aaron Heilman as a 5th starter/bullpen guy. - Daisuke Matsuzaka is about to be posted. I think teams have 4 days to get their bids in and then 30 days to negotiate a deal. I could be wrong about that. - Maddux and the Dodgers are talking new deal. Maddux wants 2 years, the Dodgers are offering one. - Alfonso Soriano is asking for 7/$119 mil for his new deal. The Phils may start talks at 5/$80 mil. - Supposedly the Mets and Glavine are close on a 2/$25 deal.

Comments

Heilman is a Logansport, IN, native (about a two-hour drive from Wrigley) and a Notre Dame guy, and Hendry's relationship with (ex-) ND coach Paul Mainieri is well known. So this makes a lot of sense. Heilman wants to start, though I'd bet he'd get 35 saves if he got put in that role.

If ARam has a reputation for being lazy, then I'm curious to see what the reaction will be toward Soriano. If a guy has 41 stolen bases and only two triples, then we can conclude two things: 1) He was piling up stolen bases strictly to be a 40-40 guy. 2) He has poor baserunning instincts. I don't believe Cubs fans will open up to Soriano the way they did with Nomar, for example.

or C) he never hits the ball the opposite way.... and your answer is C.

if those numbers are being printed, then surely there is some truth to them. lets hope that a deal is done quickly and we can move on to other things.

I always hate committing to a guy for more than three or four years, but you have to make an exception in ARam's case. We literally don't have other options, unless you'd like to see a Scott Moore/Rich Aurilia platoon next year. The ideal situation is to sign ARam for 5 years at $16M, a player option for a 6th year at $15M, and a club option for a 7th year at $14M with a buyout of $3 or 4M. That's probably more than he's worth right now, but it won't be in a year or two when the market's driven even higher. Let's do this deal and then post for Matsuzaka.

i have to agree with the previous post - the Cubs just need to pony up the money and get ARAM. I honestly do not care what he wants per season because there is no one to replace him at third nor in teh batting order and he is young enough to give him a LT deal. If we do not get ARAM does anyone think we will have a shot at Soriano - or would he be any cheaper. Also as much as I like Carlos Lee he has no position with the Cubs unless you get rid of Matt Murton.

Unlike the Braves, Dodgers, or Cards, we simply do not have enough "irons in the fire" who are impact-ready to replace players when they get a. either too expensive, or we can use in significat trades to fill needs; or b. too old/declining skills. It is a sad state for position players in the Cubs minor league system in general. As AZ PHIL has so estutely pointed out, we do NOT even have a real bona fide catching prospect that will be solid/impactful.

<i>Rob G. (Bruce Miles):</i> <i>Ramirez may be asking for 6 years/$15 million per year while Hendry may be offering 5/$14 mil per year at the moment.</i> 6/90 is easy. My guess is that it's more like 6/$100. Either way, there's not much to think about... just sign the man.

you think Aramis is asking for Beltran money or very close to it? Then I wouldn't blame hendry for not signing him for that. $16 mil a year is as far as I would take it and that's a bit steep. 5/80 with a 6th year vesting option I would hope would be enough. I have a hard time believing anyone would guarantee Aramis that 6th year and if they would, then Hendry just has to suck it up.

While I realize contracts aren't subject to this kind of thinking, I can't imagine A-Ram getting more than Lee. Things change, but...I can see him getting the same, but more? That's just not right.

Meaning on a yearly basis, that is.

Yeah, I said yesterday that Ramirez's contract will look like a Beltran contract. I understand your point, but I disagree. How old is he now, 28-29? A slugger, good defense, position we need... if anyone get's Beltran-like money, it should be Ramirez.

<i>Tito:</i> <i>While I realize contracts aren't subject to this kind of thinking, I can't imagine A-Ram getting more than Lee. Things change, but...I can see him getting the same, but more? That's just not right.</i> I think Lee took a discount... why? I don't know. Nice guy? Thrives at Wrigley? Enjoyed playing for Dusty? Likes Chicago? Could be any combination of those things.

Keep in mind that $16 million would, I believe, make him the highest paid third baseman outside of A-Rod. Is Aramis the 2nd best third baseman in the MLB?

Beltran plays a premier defensive position and about the same offensive output and was a little younger when he signed his deal. And no one thinks of Ramirez in the same ways they think of Beltran. No way he should approach Beltran money. Although he should get more than Soriano.

&gt;&gt;&gt;Is Aramis the 2nd best third baseman in the MLB? Yes.

Lee signed a deal comparable to what was offered last year for guys like Konerko, etc. There seems to be more money out there this offseason and Ramirez is set to cash-in. I wouldn't call Lee's deal a discount at all.

It reall depends on how you go about ranking them. When you consider age and what not, I'd probably rank Ramirez 3rd in the NL. Miguel Cabrera easily takes the top spot and David Wright is still going to get better. Rolen and Jones are a bit long in the tooth that injuries are going to hurt them. Then you have guys like Zimmerman and Atkins where we're not quite sure how good they are. So from year to year, he could easily rank from the top 3b in the NL to as low as 7th depending on who does what in any given season. You look at the AL and it's basically A-rod and a bunch of crap in my opinion. Chavez is good but just can't stay healthy enough. There's some young guys who could be huge like Gordon and Marte but who knows. The thing about Ramirez that I like other than his obvious improvements with the glove is that his peripherals indicate a guy who's just going to get better with the bat. Guys who can maintain a K:BB rate close to 1:1 and have some power generally age pretty well. He's ready to put together a D-Lee 2005 if he can stay consistent for a full season.

*&gt;&gt;&gt;Is Aramis the 2nd best third baseman in the MLB? Yes. * Moot point anyway, because any comparable talent is not currently available. Further, Hendry put himself in this position by giving Ramirez the contract that gave him the opportunity to cash out and start over.

Rob G: <i>"Lee signed a deal comparable to what was offered last year for guys like Konerko, etc. I wouldn't call Lee's deal a discount at all." Lee was not a FA and no leverage. And Lee is a better all around player than Konerko. By signing a contract of only $1 million more, in my opinion, he gave the Cubs a couple million discount. In part to protect an injury like what did happen this year and he also probably really likes playing in Chicago.</i>

Lee may be better defensively and have a some speed, but he isn't the better hitter of the two. 1b man are not paid for what they do in the field they are paid to hit....period. Konerko has hit better, for a longer period of time, with much more productive seasons than Lee has ever put up.

I know I'm going to get hammered, but guys, there is no way in the world that I would do this deal that you are encouraging. Personally, I'd rather pay a combination of Gary Scott and Kevin Orie and Willie Greene before I'd give Ramirez the length of contract and the amount of contract that you are encouraging. But I understand he is a good player to many, and a great player to some. But this length and this amount to this player? Sorry. My daddy didn't raise anybody that stupid. I know I'll get a difference in opinion from most of you on that last point, but still, paying that much money, and locking this guy up for that long a period of time, is like tying a set of barbells around your neck and trying to swim across Lake Michigan. There has to be an alternative in the trade market. You are advocating an overpayment in money. I'd propose either trading a surplus of pitchers to somebody to get a young guy, or do like Arizona Phil has suggested, live with a fill-in like Wes helms, and get your homer production from the outfield and, hopefully, a resurgence of Lee. If not, make a trade in mid-year next year. Multi-player, multi-team trades can still happen. Let Hendry and Uncle Lou work on this next week. Stop and think, guys. Almost a hundred million dollars to a guy who has helped you finish last and almost last in the past two years???? That is enough money to help rebuild some of those towns on the Gulf Coast for crying out loud.

Thank you Sammyclatt, Not that I agree with you but it wouldn't suprise me at all if Aram Ram becomes yet another poster child for Big Payday Bad Production. With no impending free agency, what if Aram Ram decides every little quad twinge requires a week's rest? What if he goes back to his indeferrent thirdbase play? What if he suffers a real injury? I think the Cubs are most likely screwed without him, but I thought the Cubs were screwed headed into '03 as well. If you guys go back two weeks you were all saying 'give him $14 million a year' now you're saying 'give him $16 million a year' once he starts talking to the Dodgers and Angels who knows how high you'll get? (pun intended)

Overall Lee's career stats are better than Konerko's (Konerko has 300+ more AB's). Lee: .276/.363/.500/.863 Konerko: .283/.353/.496/.849 And that does not take into Lee's vastly superior defense and baserunning. And Lee's last 3 years (2003-2005) before both signing their new deals last offseason were clearly better than Konerko's last 3 years before signing his deal. Lee: .303/.385/.568/.953 Konerko: .291/.372/.540/.912 I personally don't think there is much question who is the better overall player. And after looking at the numbers, Lee is the better all around hitter too.

"Is Aramis the 2nd best third baseman in the MLB?" Irrelevant. How much you make and how good you are have nothing to do with each other. Aramis got lucky and he is the guy that everyone is going to go after. The market dictates his price. Sam, Sam, Sam. 1st, your comment about the Gulf Coast? I don't get it. What doest that have to do with anything? Nothing. Next, how about pointing out some players you think the Cubs should target instead. You do realize that our offense was pathetic last year, right? Then you want to take away the best player from last year. Sure, you say, Derrek Lee's production will make up for it. Well I got news for you, Aramis is a better hitter than Derrek Lee. He always has been and always will be.

Oh yeah, if you go by WARP1 Aramis in 2006 isn't any better than the much maligned Adrian Beltre and comes in behind Mike Lowell who the Marlins were begging people to take. And please quit referring to his defense as anything other than 'adequate' or 'passable'.

I think the biggest thing you have to ask yourself when you're going into long term, big money deals is "What is the maket value of the player and will that value hold steady". In other words: Will you be able to move this contract? My answer is YES. If you wanted to move Ramirez after you signed him-health being the only obstacle-you could. He's developed a consistent track record of success and he's in his prime. The bad contracts are to guys that were one year wonders, consistent health problems, late in their careers, etc... You have to sign Ramirez and move on...

Vorare: <i>Keep in mind that $16 million would, I believe, make him the highest paid third baseman outside of A-Rod. Is Aramis the 2nd best third baseman in the MLB?</i> That's irrelevant, considering we don't have other options. He's not the 2nd best but he's top 5, and remember that as the market goes up each year, the ratio of highest paid players to best players at any position is always going to be in flux. When Cabrera becomes eligible for a full-fledged contract, he'll make more than Ramirez, as he rightly should. Looking at money per year as a static figure is misleading. SamClyatt: <i>There has to be an alternative in the trade market.</i> There might be alternatives, but none will be anywhere near as good (or, if you prefer, productive) as Ramirez. <i> I'd propose either trading a surplus of pitchers to somebody to get a young guy, or do like Arizona Phil has suggested, live with a fill-in like Wes helms, and get your homer production from the outfield and, hopefully, a resurgence of Lee.</i> What surplus? If you haven't been paying attention, we need all the good pitching we can get. And we sure as hell can't trade bad pitching for any kind of decent 3Bman. The Cubs were the third worst team in baseball last year. We need a resurgence from Lee, more power in the outfield, AND Ramirez to have a chance at being successful. <i>If not, make a trade in mid-year next year. Multi-player, multi-team trades can still happen. Let Hendry and Uncle Lou work on this next week.</i> Not acceptable. This is only ever a good idea if there are no good options in the offseason. Teams consistently and continually give up more than they should for less of a return in in-season trades. Your back is against the wall -- you have to make a deal, even if it's a bad one. Hendry's ability to make sweet multi-team deals is overrated. <i>Stop and think, guys. Almost a hundred million dollars to a guy who has helped you finish last and almost last in the past two years???? That is enough money to help rebuild some of those towns on the Gulf Coast for crying out loud.</i> That's completely fallacious. Derrek Lee and Carlos Zambrano also helped us "finish last and almost last in the past two years," but are you advocating their removal? No, there's a clear difference between guys that are part of the problem and guys that are part of the solution. Hey, if you haven't noticed, this is Major League Baseball, not a yard sale. We can't get by with what we've got if we think the price is too high. There are good and bad players out there, and despite an admittedly ridiculous hike in salaries the past few years, the good ones deserve their money. Despite the weak attempts to prove otherwise, Aramis Ramirez is a good player. We've all heard the talk about the Cubs are going to get serious about winning now and raising the payroll, but we're content with letting Ramirez walk for nothing and instead get Wes freakin' Helms? It isn't time to nickel and dime the players we need -- it's time to win a freakin' World Series.

To answer the question about how good ARam is at 3rd, ask yourself this: who would you take instead of him RIGHT NOW? Wright may become a better 3rd baseman, or he could tank next year. Rolen is over the hill. The only on that i MIGHT take would be Cabera. The other way to look at that question is to ask which team would not take him if they had a chance? I don't think that there is a team that would pass on him, including the Yanks. That being said, yes he is the no. 1 or 2 third baseman in MLB right now. In 3 or 4 years the answer may not be the same, but right now he is.

"Well I got news for you, Aramis is a better hitter than Derrek Lee. He always has been and always will be." Unless you use the planet Earth time continuum, in which Lee was a better hitter than Ramirez in 2003, 2005 and before his injury in 2006.

The Mets, Tigers, Yankees and Red Sox all paid above-market value for many of their stars -- if you want to compete, you have to overpay, because, if you don't, someone else will. I'm tired of having a market value team that can't compete. The Cubs didn't finish last because of A-Ram, just like the Bears didn't stink in 2004 because of Urlacher. Keep good players and spend the $$ needed to do so.

"To answer the question about how good ARam is at 3rd, ask yourself this: who would you take instead of him RIGHT NOW?" Beltre Wright Cabrerra Rodriguez Zimmerman Crede if I could get a guarantee his back would stay healthy. In two years (aka 1/3rd of the way through this giant contract you want to give him) add Encarnacion and maybe Marte or .... there was someone else drafted at the same time as Zimmerman, wasn't there? Oh yeah the Royals' kid.

Beltre? HA HA No offense but that list lost lots of credability when you led off with Beltre. Beltre had one fluke year. Take a look at the past 3 years or so and you will see Bletre isn't the player ARam is. And you would take Zimmerman over the proven commodity that ARam is? Good Grief Charlie Brown....

Beltre??

<i>In two years (aka 1/3rd of the way through this giant contract you want to give him) add Encarnacion and maybe Marte or .... there was someone else drafted at the same time as Zimmerman, wasn't there? Oh yeah the Royals' kid.</i> Beltre? Crede? Really? Regardless, you've proved our point. How many of those guys are actually available in any way whatsoever. Oh yeah, NONE.

Beltre must run out those popups really hard.

<i>The Real Neal:</i> <i>Beltre, Wright, Cabrerra, Rodriguez, Zimmerman, Crede</i> No... no... Yeah... no... NO... and no. Yeah, that's right, I'll take Aramis over Arod.

Anyway, I asked the question about ranking Ramirez because I think that's exactly what Hendry/Kinzer should be talking about. I'm pretty sure the highest paid third basemen, aside from A-Rod, make something in the $12-13 million range. The market may dictate that Ramirez gets a bump from that, but talking about 6 or more years at $16+ million is crazy--it's dramatically out of line with other "top" 3B salaries. Personally, I'm hoping for around five years at $14-15 million per year, perhaps with a vesting option for the sixth year.

I say lets go get Edwin Encarnacion.

I might take Crede over Ramirez. Crede is an outstanding defender at 3rd base. The only question with him is, is he coming into his own offensively or was this season a fluke? If it isn't a fluke he jumps ahead of Ramirez. But right now I still put Ramirez as the better of the two. Crede is no slouch anymore though.

<i>but talking about 6 or more years at $16+ million is crazy--it's dramatically out of line with other "top" 3B salaries.</i> <i>Personally, I'm hoping for around five years at $14-15 million per year, perhaps with a vesting option for the sixth year.</i> So 6 years at $16M is "crazy" but 5 years at $15M is what you're "personally hoping for"?!?

Chad, Chad, Chad: I do not accept and do not agree that Ramirez is a better hitter than Lee. I'm sure you will continue to disagree. That's fine with me. I just don't think he is. And the comment about the Gulf Coast was simply an attempt to suggest the staggering amount of money that is being proposed to be placed in Ramirez' and his agent's checkbook. That is a lot of jack. It is not like anybody on this blog has ever used throwaway lines before. Give me a break. And of course I realize our offense was pathetic. It was as pathetic as almost any of the 53 Cub teams I have watched over the course of my Cub fandom life. Maybe one or two worse, but not many. I don't think you have to replace Ramirez with an equal, but the key is, as Andrew points out, to make up the difference with a couple of other acquisitions. I am hoping that Uncle Lou will help find a couple of them, because Hendry sure hasn't done that with regularity over the past few years. Andrew: I couldn't agree with your premise any more. We do need better players. And yes I do know that this is major league baseball, and not a yard sale. Arizona Phil has recommended Wes Helms as a stop-gap until we either get a third baseman in a trade or in the draft. I'm fine with that. Maybe DeRosa, as another alternative. You cannot just do it all at one time like you do a fantasy line-up. You just cannot go out there and get a new team all at once. Some deals are contingent on other deals. And if I had to choose a third baseman, I'd choose Rodriquez, Zimmerman, Crede, or anybody not named Aramis Ramirez. As MikeC has reminded everyone several times, "if you have been reading TCR with any regularity at all," you would know that I have consistently recommended starting over from scratch. This team reeks, and Ramirez is not going to help improve its level of play. He is good at what he does, but I just beleive he is about as good as he is going to get, and I would rather let somebody else pay him all that money to do what he does. I know I'm going to get hammered again, but I would trade Zambrano, Lee, Yosh K., Prior's wife and new daughter, Rich Hill, Jeff S (the Notre Dame guy), Tyler Colvin---anybody. I think we do have a surplus of pitching. I never said it was all good pitching, but there is a surplus of arms there. Some teams need quantity more than quality. We also have a surplus of mediocre infielders, too. I remember many trades of three or four or five guys for one or two. I do not believe this team is capable of turning it around like Detroit did. Rick Morrisey captured my thoughts several weeks ago when he urged people to get real about their assessments of this team. Before we think we are going to be able to handle St. Louis next year, we better remember that Milwaukee and the Pirates are better, too. I don't think Aramis Ramirez is capable of leading this team to higher ground, except in the payroll charts. And, I would not be willing to pay him for that privilege.

WARP1 Adrian Beltre 5.8 David Wright 8.6 Crede 6.5 Zimmerman 6.5 Ramirez 5.8 Hey, it turns out there's more to being a ballplayer than posting rotissere stats! Whodda thunk it? It's embarrassing as a Cubs fan that you guys don't understand that Wright is a superior player to Aramis, btw. As to how many of those guys are available, who knows? Who that Aramis Ramirez was available when the world's worst GM traded for him.

"The Mets, Tigers, Yankees and Red Sox all paid above-market value for many of their stars -- if you want to compete, you have to overpay, because, if you don't, someone else will." So did the Mariners, how's that going for them?

<b>So 6 years at $16M is "crazy" but 5 years at $15M is what you're "personally hoping for"?!?</b> Andrew: I said "6 or more years at $16m+", suggesting more than $16 million and possibly more than six years. Several people have suggested that Kinzer may be looking for Beltran type money, which is more than $17 million for seven years. Adding a sixth (or seventh) guaranteed year is huge. How many players signing 5+ year deals are worth the salaries they're getting at the end of the contract? Ramirez would be 34 in the 6th season and given his history of groin and leg injuries, there's a very good chance he won't be worth $12 million that year much less $16+ million.

Do you suggest that Aramis couldnt produce 8.6 worp with the lineup David Wright has around him? Aramis was uber-productive surrounded by a AAA lineup last season.

I kind of get stuck in the part of whether a player is worth the money sometimes. Sometimes I don't care, just sign him, other times I want to watch what we spend on someone. Carlos Beltran, blank check, sign him at all costs. Aramis Ramirez? I don't know if I want to put 15 million a year or so in for him. But as 2008 quickly approaches I am becoming less interested in how much we sign a player for. The team needs major talent injections and quickly. I am certainly not looking forward to a full year of every newspaper and sports journalist with an opinion writing about our 100 year gap between championships. It has always been my opinion to never achieve that milestone, because once it is attained you can never get rid of it. You might as well incorporate "100" and "loser" into the "C" symbol for the Cubs for the rest of their existence is that happens. It might not sound like much if we stopped the drought at 99 or 100, but believe me people will make a much bigger deal out of reaching 100 years of futility than 99.

Vorare: <i>I'd choose Rodriquez, Zimmerman, Crede, or anybody not named Aramis Ramirez.</i> This, I think, is the crux of the anti-ARam argument. There's a lot of folks that just plain don't like him, and althought they admit his production will be hard to replace, they'd rather be rid of him. Personally, I couldn't disagree more, but that at least is a straightforward, honest sentiment. It's certainly much easier to understand than is the one that tries to argue that Beltre or Crede or whomever else could be available (i.e. not Cabrera, or Wright, or ARod, etc.) is better than ARam. Vorare: <i>I said "6 or more years at $16m+", suggesting more than $16 million and possibly more than six years. Several people have suggested that Kinzer may be looking for Beltran type money, which is more than $17 million for seven years.</i> If it's that big of a difference, my apologies. From the rumors, I've been reading however, I think you're confusing Soriano's apparent demands with Ramirez's. It's Soriano and his agent that have reportedly wanted a deal like Beltran's. All reports I've heard so far about ARam's demands are six years at $15M per or seven years at $14M per. Obviously, if there's a way to cut that to only 5 guaranteed years, that'd be best, but that's quite a bit different than Beltran money.

Sam, the point about adding the lost offense in other areas is well taken. The one point of Beaneball that I agree with is aggregate production. But where are we going to upgrade? Carlos Lee is not an option unless we dump Murton. I don't see that happening, for better or worse. Soriano? Are we really going to give him 110 million? Why? Why not just resign Aram for 90? Right field? Jones hit 27 homers. replacing him with a guy who will hit 35 only adds 8 in replacement. We don't have many options. But again about the whole gulf coast thing, you interject this as some sort of perspective but I still don't understand why? All these guys are overpaid when you consider the fact that they play a game for a living. But the reason that they get 100 million dollars is US, the fans. Its not the agents or the teams, it you and me. In that perspective, they are all over paid. Real Neal: Beltre <b>Take him. Aramis out homers him, out slugs him, out RBIs him and has a better OBP, every year except 1. Nice try but BULLSHIT! There is no way anyone but you takes Beltre over ARam</b> Wright <b>Not yet. Two good years? Still hasn't cracked 30 homers yet. May turn out to be the best of his generation but right now is at best tied with ARam for total production</b> Cabrerra<b>Sure. Cabrerra is one of the best players in all of the game. Currently, not available to the Cubs.</b> Rodriguez<b>Not a third baseman</b> Zimmerman<b>Not even close</b> Crede if I could get a guarantee his back would stay healthy.<b>Not even close</b>

too much effort to go through each post and clarify, so I'll just sort of gloss over some stuff here... Lee and Konerko are similar and if your smart enough to look at numbers that include defense and league and park factors, you'll see Lee is the better player. BUT, your going to find a hard time finding GM's who don't think Konerko and Lee are basically the same player. Konerko's been putting up 100 RBI season pretty consistently with more homers and that tends to be the stuff that dictates value. It's why Soriano will get more money than Ramirez this off-season even though he's nowhere near as good. And it's why Konerko and Lee were going to get about the same money LAST off-season. As for paying Ramirez, he's essentially a FA now and he'll get more than what he deserves. It's the nature of the beast. You either pay him or go pay Aubrey Huff more than he deserves. It seems irrelevant to me whether he gets $14 or $16 mil. And that whole thing about him leading us to the bottom of the division is also irrelevant. Should we stay away from Vernon Wells, Carl Crawford, Jason Schmidt, Soriano as well cause they haven't made the playoffs anytime recently? I don't think so.... Yes I hope the Cubs don't have to bury themselves with Ramirez's deal, but he's the best player on the market and I'm far more interested in getting the best players than Tribco's profit line. The Cubs could be creative with the deal as well to fit in other contracts in terms of when the money is allocated.

Whoops that first quote attributed to Vorare is actually SamClyatt. My bad.

Levine noted today that Hendry hasn't even contacted NYY on Sheffield. G.Mota was popped for steroids...50 game suspension...and he's a FA...oops

<i>Yes I hope the Cubs don't have to bury themselves with Ramirez's deal, but he's the best player on the market and I'm far more interested in getting the best players than Tribco's profit line. The Cubs could be creative with the deal as well to fit in other contracts in terms of when the money is allocated.</i> Exactly right. These opinions that we should let Ramirez walk are either 1) attempts to justify conscious (or not) dislike for Ramirez himself, and not his ability or 2) attempts to make sure the Cubs always get fair market value for the contracts they offer. Considering Ramirez is a damn good player despite his perceived attitude (whatever that is) and considering the Cubs haven't won a WS in 98 years, both arguments are ridiculous.

I really do not see the relevance of asking whether there are better 3rd basemen out there than Ramirez - the question should be are there better third basemen than Ramirez available. The answer is clearly NO! So unless someone wants to discuss how guys who are available e.g. Wes Helms or Mark DeRosa are better than ARAM any comparison with guys like Crede, Cabrera, Arod doesn't make a bit of difference.

Andrew: I know Kinzer said something to the effect of wanting six or more years and "a lot of money," so I guess that's open to interpretation. And I've heard the Beltran contract claim about both Soriano and Ramirez. I guess in the end the biggest deal to me is the guaranteed sixth year. I just doubt he'll be worth it at that point, and I'd hate to see potentially 10-15% of our payroll locked up on a guy whose groin or quads keep him on the bench for most of the season. <i>That said</i>, if it came down to a choice between offering Soriano and Aramis similar six year contracts, I'd go Aramis all the way.

Crede's probably available, but he ain't going to come cheap. Guillen the other day said there looking for more pitching, obviously something we don't have a lot to offer unless someone has the time for some young guys to develop, which is not the position the Wsox are in.

"You either pay him or go pay Aubrey Huff more than he deserves." Well if our freaking GM was wise, instead of saving a couple Mil by giving the PLAYER the option to get out of the "contract" in the short term, he would have INSISTED on coming up with MORE cash on the front end and making the option the Cubs. But NOOOOOOOOO!! Until and if he exonerates himself, Hendry has let the game and the business of it pass him by.

Ramirez's "injuries" are of the nagging variety and it's a good idea to be cautious. But he really hasn't missed a whole lot of time. In 2005 and 2006 he sat when the season was over and I think it's reasonable to believe he'd have played through them if we were in a playoff chase.

<i>I guess in the end the biggest deal to me is the guaranteed sixth year. I just doubt he'll be worth it at that point, and I'd hate to see potentially 10-15% of our payroll locked up on a guy whose groin or quads keep him on the bench for most of the season.</i> Fair enough. To me though, you don't sacrifice such a vital part of your offense because of one guaranteed year. I agree with a previous poster that Ramirez's contract, especially in a few years, will be eminently moveable, so if the Cubs eventually come to the conclusion they should go in a different direction, they'll have that option. What should not happen, however, is letting a player of Ramirez's ability and marketability walk for nothing.

This post is because Eli18 (post #16) is an idiot. Here are a list of 3rd baseman I'd rather have than pay 16 million for lazy ARAM: Joe Crede David Wright Miguel Cabrera A Rod (16 million is what the yankees owe him) Scott Rolen - even with his shoulder problems The only reason Aram's deal isn't signed is because there is a hustle clause in his contract. Ramirez is trying to get that taken out but Lou will not approve of the contract without the clause. Didn't Murton come up as a corner infielder? Why not use that 16 million to address keeping JP, signing a new corner outfielder, and maybe some pitching? what a novel idea...pitching? last time I checked, home runs and lazing fielding won't win you anything

what's with the "idiot" comment dave? tone it down... murton was drafted as an OF out of Georgia Tech by the Red Sox, I don't ever recall him being an infielder at any point.

Dave's getting Murton confused with Miguel Cabrera and that year he played LF for the Marlins after coming up as a 3B. It's a common mistake. I can't say much, though. I sometimes confuse David Eckstein with Brett Farva. Sure, they play different sports, but they're both just so dang gritty.

&gt;&gt;Eli18 (post #16) is an idiot. Dave - coming from a guy who mistakes exactly one solid season (during which he still demonstrably underperformed Ramirez) from Crede, I'll take that as a complement.

DAVE: Face it - even though I'm not his biggest fan anymore b/c when the team needed him the most he didn't show, he IS the 2nd best NL 3rd baseman. Wright has only been on it for 1.5 years, Rolen I agree is terrific in the clutch and a TERRIFIC fielder, but his nagging injuries will end his career a little prematurely I should think.

The NY Papers have said for a week that the Mets are hoping to package Heilman and perhaps Lastings Milledge for an impact player, either hitter or pitcher. I don't see the Cubs having any of those to trade, so the Heilman rumor seems not very likely.

Will people please stop talking about ARod as a third baseman. If he left the yanks he would go back to short. And Dave, from 07 and beyond ARam will outplay Scott Rolen in every year.

when argueing about the "best" 3rd or etc. its important to factor in their D, esp if its a position not LF/1st/DH. miggy might hit better, but he can murder some 3rd. barrett might be a great hitting catcher, SABR puts him at the top for the 2nd year in a row in the NL, but we all know there's more to barrett's game than hitting balls, having his balls hit by balls, and hitting other catchers in the face after not catching a ball.

Dave13, what if Texas's payoffs to the yanks on the A-Rod deal dries up if he's traded again, as has been rumored? You wanna pay him $30M/yr on the back end of that deal? Rolen and Wright aren't available. Cabrera probably isn't and would get the same asshole/lazy/"brown" tag that Aramis has with fans here. Crede had a fluke year, you're crazy if you think he's gonna keep up that production.

well at least for me, I was factoring in there D. Cabrera can murder all the D he wants at 3b, he's so far superior with the bat that it don't matter much. Same goes for all the guys I mentioned. I certainly took into account their D. I don't get the SABR barrett comment to be honest... I suppose it's some back-handed slap to say folks only look at OPS or something.

and with Cabrera, it's not like Ramirez wasn't murdering 3b until last year. Like Cabrera can't possibly improve. And I'm with Real Neal on Ramirez's D, he's gone from atrocious to average at best.

the SABR comment is their own ratings, 2yr aggregates...forget the toss-away name of the "ranking". just came out a few days ago. pujols got a perfect score. blame SABR if you got an issue with their ranking, not me.

R U talking about the Elias player rankings? There's nothing SABR about that at all.....

Rolen looked awful in the field against the Cubs this season, the only thing that was missing was him yelling °Ole! as he let the ball go past him. One thing to remember about ARam is that all this talk about how he didn't step up when they needed him needs to be put into perspective. Isn't it possible that he simply had a very bad first couple of months that coincided with DLee being out, and not that he can't carry a team? I seem to recall him being on fire in the 2003 playoffs and was a money player when it counted, but now everyone suddenly says he's a bumb who puts up numbers when it doesn't matter. Who would people prefer, Bill Meuller and his 45 rbi's? That's the kind of unproductive replacement Hendry will be forced to go after if he doesn't bite the bullet and pay ARam. Sure there is risk signing any player to a long term deal, they could get hurt or if they are lazy players they could loaf through the next several years with their guaranteed payday, but there isn't much of a choice, and those risks come with every player.

Rolen may be one of the best defensive 3b of all-time. His mishaps with the Cubs, although quite enjoyable to watch, are pretty rare.

<i>Rolen may be one of the best defensive 3b of all-time.</i> Very true, but his defense last year, esp. in the later part of the season and in the postseason, took a sharp turn for the worst. He's clearly lost something.

although thanks for the heads up on the Elias mention if that is what you are talking about. Pierre is going to be a Type B free agent btw, Ramirez Type A, Blanco Type C

#67 of 73: By crunch barrett might be a great hitting catcher, SABR puts him at the top for the 2nd year in a row in the NL, but we all know there's more to barrett's game than hitting balls, having his balls hit by balls, and hitting other catchers in the face after not catching a ball. ---- Crunchie and I have a couple spats on TCR, but gotta give credit where it's due. THAT is the big email...at least the big paragraph.... of the day. Well done, Crunch. Joey

I already forgot, are type B free agents bringing compensation to their old teams under the new CBA?

<a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20061101&amp;content_id=1729060&amp;vkey=pr_mlb&amp;fext=.jsp&amp;c_id=mlb" rel="nofollow">Guillermo Mota suspended for 50 games due to drug policy violation.</a>

Oops, just saw Bogey already posted it. The relief market this offseason just got even thinner.

new CBA rules on draft pick compensation don't go into effect until next offseason, so yeah.

I don't disagree with what Crunch is saying, but his SABR comment seems inaccurate.

yes, it is inaccurate...meant to say Elias...my bad.

well the Elias rankings are for the FA compensation and I don't think anyone who would respectfully consider themselves a sabermetrician would associate with it...

"Will people please stop talking about ARod as a third baseman. If he left the yanks he would go back to short." Not necessarily Chad. In the unlikely event that A-rod is dealt his #1 destination would probably be the Angels in some form of a Figgins/pitcher deal and they already have a gold glove calibur SS in O.Cabrera with a $9m contract and Dallas MacPherson might have to be in that Yankee deal so A-rod would likely play 3B for one more season and then slide to SS when Cabrera's contract expires next season. Same thing could happen in the even more unlikely event he's traded to say the Dodgers or Giants.

"well the Elias rankings are for the FA compensation and I don't think anyone who would respectfully consider themselves a sabermetrician would associate with it..." yup...got agencies mixed up. the SABR community, especially the observers rather than data makers, tend to fall in love with stats that paint players as DH's, though. baseballprospectus, for all the good they do...doesnt help the issue much pushing (to the point of advertisement) some of their stats to be definitive measures of player worth based solely on what they do at the plate.

BP for all their good work, also loves to push the stuff they invented to sell their subscription and books. Funny thing is they have many fine stats that at least attempt to at defense or defense and offense, but for whatever reason they like to pump VORP over everything.

I can't believe we are even having a discussion about resigning ARam. The Cubs offesnse last year was PUTRID and very possibly the best hitter on our team is on the verge of leaving, and some don't want to resign him? UGH.... Hendry screwed the contract up, ARam and his agent took advantage of Hendry and do so every day gaining more and more leverage. Hendry put your tail between your legs admit you got outdone by ARam's agent and resign ARam. There is no other realistic option if the Cubs want to win net year. SIGN HIM!!

why does anyone think aram is on the verge of leaving? why? seriously... what indication? what's going on? this whole thing is playing out pretty much as expected i think. this is so textbook its barely worth following. hell, no one is every leveraging the press against one or another. this is as smooth as it gets! its when either/both sides start leaking info to the press to battle it out in the public interest for pressure that things get ugly. so far hendry, aram, and aram's agent have all given pretty much nothing but positives and silence...that's a good sign. and no, im not counting rumor stuff that cant seem to find a source. what is scaring people about THIS negotiation aside from personal fears that have nothing much to do with what's playing out? what info am i missing or not picking up on?

*assuming a "safe" 105m payroll (a safe mid-point between the 95-115 some are assuming)... if aram leaves that's what...40m to spend? aka, they got very little reason NOT to spend it unless they really really really dont trust that groin or his legs. fans like him...until he showed up we sat through 30+ years of "omg the cubs cant find a 3rd baseman here's the 389272857 that failed before him" legacy...he has improved his D a ton, hasnt become a vocal or personality or media distraction, and isnt a primadona.

Some of the guys here wouldn't know a good thing if he played third base for the Cubs.

Crunch: <i>"why does anyone think aram is on the verge of leaving?" You have asked that question a few times, maybe you should direct it at someone in particular who is suggesting he is on the verge of leaving.</i>

Well, Crunch, I think the thing is that we are Cub fans and something very often seems to go wrong. Not always. But very often. And the positives and statements, well, do they really mean anything at all? What would one expect ARAM's agent to be saying? What would one expect the Cubs to be saying? Of course, ARAM's agent is gonna say that ARAM wants to stay with the Cubs even if he really is pretty lukewarm about the Cubs. Why? Because he wants the Cubs to feel they have a shot so the price gets driven up. And the Cubs saying what they are saying, well, I do believe they want ARAM. But the question is does ARAM REALLY want the Cubs? I just don't think we really know that at this point. And maybe ARAM does really want the Cubs. But if another team comes along that makes a ridiculous offer, ARAM is ready to take that deal. I for one am not convinced that all Jimmy Hendry has to do is match the highest offer and that the tie will go to the Cubs. What makes us think that a tie would not go to a team that is a proven winner? So, yeah, I think you are right to the extent that there is no reason to lose sleep at this point. But I think it also is pretty reasonable for Cubs' fans to have this feeling that signing ARAM is definitely not in the bag.

According to that one rumor site.... <i>I am hearing from emailers that George Ofman of WSCR The Score out of Chicago is reporting that Cubs sources indicate the team is close to a deal with Aramis Ramirez. Word is that it is for five years and a little over $14MM per year.<i> If that's the case, I'll be singing "Happy Happy Happy, Joy Joy Joy". </i></i>

yeah, someone mentioned that in the above thread Newport...

yeah, not so much. Above quote was posted at that rumor site at 2:30pm. Yet nothing is posted on this thread about the Cubs and Ramirez being close to a deal. And whoever said they would rather have ARam than David Wright....WHY?

It was me and its because David Wright has only been in the league for two years. Let's be clear. I said that in the coming years David Wright may turn into the next Mike Schmidt but until then, I'll wait and see. Wright still hasn't cracked 30 hrs and while I'm impressed with his RBIs according to this website, its a team dependent stat. ARam would have had many more rbis if he didn't sit out the end of the last two years. And don't forget, he would have played if they were in it, it wasn't worth risking further injury.

no dude, I'm talking about the comments in the post titled "Free Agent Rankings" that's above this one on the site.

"You have asked that question a few times, maybe you should direct it at someone in particular who is suggesting he is on the verge of leaving." well its not just you...its a lot of people. other blogs have even reported the filing of aram as some big indication that aram is on his way out. its become part of the speculative culture this offseason...until its taken care of, anyway. i just don't see any trademark "bad" indicators so far.

Crunch: <i>"well its not just you.." Not just me, what? I have not stated he is on the verge of leaving. I think you are mistaken.</i>

okay you didnt say it. my bad. i guess i lumped you in cuz you've jumped on a lotta aram rumors in order to do that "hendry thing" you like to do. and in order for the hendry thing to work it has to be painted negatively. i have my stats-only player rating thing, you got your hendry thing...other people have their "things"...it causes confusion sometime.

Crunch: <i>"okay you didnt say it. my bad." Cool. Yeah, I do have a "Hendry thing". It has something to do with him being a bad GM. If he did a better job with the more than enough payroll he has had, I, wouldn't have to keep commenting on how poor of a job he has done. And if if if if if if if if if he doesn't resign ARam it would be his biggest gaffe, and a "fireable offense" as some posters on here like to use the phrase (even though he shouldn't of been reupped this offseason).</i>

<i> Not just me, what? I have not stated he is on the verge of leaving. I think you are mistaken. </i> Manny, If you don't think he's on the verge of leaving, then why do you insist on posting the same 'Hendry's screwed up.. UGH... SIGN HIM... 288 hours left... blah... blah... blah' every single day? If you don't think he's leaving, then you must have some confidence that Hendry will actually get the deal done, right? And if he eventually gets the deal done, then what's the big f'in deal?

CRUNCH: "why? seriously... what indication? what's going on? this whole thing is playing out pretty much as expected i think." As ARM alluded to, many of us (I am making a general observation) are not now confident in Jim Hendry's abilities anymore. 3 years of fucked-up, boneheaded personnel decisions that we all know and (don't) love set a precedent that if the possibility exists for something to go wrong, Hendry will make it happen. That's "WHY", CRUNCH.

"I am hearing from emailers that George Ofman of WSCR The Score out of Chicago is reporting that Cubs sources indicate the team is close to a deal with Aramis Ramirez. Word is that it is for five years and a little over $14MM per year." This is SO FUNNY! George Ofman last year was publicly humiliated when he on the air reported as fact a signing that never happened and was a rumor from his "sources". He had to then go on the air again and apologize to hosts and listeners! Couple this with the fraud at the "rumor site" and ya got a helluva pair goin on. Now, if Bruce Levine comes out on the air and states this publicly, I'd give it more credibility. (he always out "scoops" the above reporter on breaking stuff, btw) He is really well-respected by players and management over a 30-year career and USUALLY he is on-target with breaking news. If you've followed him for a while, you know what I'm talking about.

E-Man: <i>"As ARM alluded to, many of us (I am making a general observation) are not now confident in Jim Hendry's abilities anymore. <i>3 years of fucked-up, boneheaded personnel decisions that we all know and (don't) love set a precedent that if the possibility exists for something to go wrong, Hendry will make it happen." Can I get an AMEN from the bobbleheads? And to add to E-Man's very accurate description, the only reason I think Hendry resigns ARam, is because he has no choice. There really is no realistic offseason scenerio where I can see it being succesful without bringing ARam back. Hendry hopefully realizes that and that his back is against the wall, and job on the line (FINALLY!!) and he might actually have to pay top dollar for a player.</i></i>

<i> the only reason I think Hendry resigns ARam, is because he has no choice. </i> And the only reason Hendry traded for ARam and then resigned him in 2005 was...?

why does a personal opinion of hendry have anything to do with what the negociations are showing? there's tells in the media from leaks that pretty much guides negociations...we've seen it...lots. you can dehumanize a GM to the most stupid of levels, but until you got to bullets to fire in your gun at the issue at hand you got nothing. you got "faith" he may not get it done and that's it. some situations are given, like his reluctance to hand out 3 year deals or never going to arbitraion...but he handed dlee a deal over 3 years and just cuz he's never gone to arb doesnt mean he never will. im looking for some ammo for the sway, that's all. if anyone wants to guage 'dont trust' then that's that...just wondering if there was anything else than a personal opinion of ability.

"ARam would have had many more rbis if he didn't sit out the end of the last two years." -- I don't remember Aramis sitting out the end of this year. He sat out for the first couple of months, if that's what you mean. A-Ram's offensive production is as good or maybe a bit better than Wright's, but Wright is a better defender. Cabrera is a far superior player to Aramis.

3 years of bad decisions? What did I miss in 2004? Beyond Miggy, was there some reasonable deal to be made that we missed out on? And even with Miggy, do we even know there was room in the payroll for him? Sure 2005 was bad, 2006 was a disaster for Hendry, but I'd love to hear about 2004. And if your explanation starts with trading Sosa, you need a lesson in reality.

Uh, Does anyone wonder if there is a difference playing half your games in Shea or Safeco as compaired to Wrigly? Not only does Wright play half his games in Safeco, he also plays about 18 more in Pro Player or whatever the hell the Miami stadium is called this year and the Redskin's ballpark. Please, please please, think!

err Shea

ROB G: "3 years of bad decisions? What did I miss in 2004? Beyond Miggy, was there some reasonable deal to be made that we missed out on? And even with Miggy, do we even know there was room in the payroll for him?" Not just "deals" Rob, it was the "broken eggs in the basket" and lack of assertiveness that has been constantly in play under his "guidance: Wood, Prior, Rusch, Dempster (now signed to big money and he can't find the plate), Neifi, Neifi, Neifi, Macias, Womack, Grissom, DuBois, Gerut, Williamson, Mabry, waiting on CPat too long, blowing Furcal, etc., etc. He MISSED, when they were FA's and signable on Soriano, ARam, Weaver, Rodgers, and perhaps could have gotten a better young talent for Greg Maddux than Izturis. Oh - he should have FIRED Dusty at the END OF LAST YEAR or at half-time, this year I am sure he has done a couple decent things over during the last three years, but based on all of the negatives above, not too many.

A-Ram's offensive production is as good or maybe a bit better than Wright's, but Wright is a better defender. <b>But again, Wright has only been in the league two years. Pitchers MAY figure him out. OR, he may go on to hit 600 homers. I'm saying that the jury is still out. ARam has hit 30+ in 4 or his first 6 full years and missing one more by hitting 27.</b> Cabrera is a far superior player to Aramis. <b>I have never argued against this and have said that Cabrera is one of the top three players in all of baseball.</b>

Somewhere I read that ARAM was in line for the Gold Glove at 3rd. I think if ARAM wins the NL Gold Glove, that's as bad as when Cal Ripken won with the most errors in the league. ARAM's fielding percentage is respectable enough at .965. I did a little research through my Bill James Handbook and found a stat called the range factor. ARAM was the worst regular 3rd baseman in all of Major League Baseball. This is not new this year! He's had the worst range of all regular 3rd basemen for the past 3 consecutive years. It's not close folks! His lack of hustle at the plate is compounded by a lack of range in the field. He's like the slowest kid in the elementary school and he jogs all the races! Why pay this guy 15mil per year to watch balls roll into Left Field. Sure he hits Home Runs in the late innings near the end of the season when our beloved Cubbies are so far out of it that it doesn't matter. I just wish there were some GOOD defensive 3rd Baggers available.

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  • JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates (I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
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  • solid smack to him...right through his legs. he wasn't even in motion, totally stationary. no bad bounce, either. it was hit very hard, but also squarely wiffed...not even any glove contact. it happens...not a good time for it to happen with 2 outs, though. that was the inning ender, easy.
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