One Week to Go

The free agent period gates open up next week, hundreds of ballplayers and their agents on one side, thirty GM's waving contracts on the other. Let's hope one of them isn't Aramis Ramirez. Here's a rundown of the names bandied about in some rumors and trades that I've read in the mass media. 2B - Mark Derosa CF - Alfonso Soriano, Gary Matthews Jr., Vernon Wells 3B - Nomar Garciaparra LF - Carlos Lee, Gary Sheffield P - Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Schmidt, Ted Lilly, Miguel Batista, Hiroki Kuroda, Kei Igawa, Aaron Heilman And of course all the incumbents like Ramirez, Wood and Pierre. Jimbo likes to hold his cards close though and organizational meetings begin Tuesday, so I imagine the beat writers will be kind enough to feed us rumor vultures with a few more bits over the next week. A few new ones from today... - More Marcus Giles trade talks although this one has him in a move to the Padres to play with his brother and move to 3b. - Some of the teams that dropped out of the Matsuzaka race may have done so because Boras told them Matsuzaka wasn't interested in playing for them, specifically the Dodgers (I like the guy already) and Mariners (didn't want to play under Ichiro's shadow). - Kind of a throw away at boston.com in there that the Cubs are on the block for $1 billion dollars. The Nomar to the Cubs mention is in there as well. The $1 billion does make sense, I believe the Cubs are valued around $600 million or so and I'm guessing Tribco would like even a little more to cover the problems with their other businesses. So start saving those pennies. And go Bears!!
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Comments

One... billion... dollars!!!!

Maybe Doctor Evil will buy the Cubs!

Doctor Evil could then bring back the Evil Stoney.

I don't believe the part that Matsuzaka doesn't want to play in Ichiro's shadow.

He has been interested in signing with Seattle because of Ichiro, and Kenji Johjima. He would like to be around fellow Japanese players if he can.

2 things are happening.....

Teams are saying they are dropping out in order to make other teams think the bidding will not be as high thus giving them a chance.

And it could be because of a little blurb in a Japanese newspaper where Matsuzaka says he wants to go to the Yankees.

"Teams are saying they are dropping out in order to make other teams think the bidding will not be as high thus giving them a chance."

I don't know about that. When has a team ever openly lied about pursuing a free agent? It could be true, or it could be that teams don't want to spend $70 to $80 million on a guy who may have been overpitched at a young age and hasn't ever retired a batter in a ML Game. Kenny Williams isn't the only GM that avoids Boras.

sorry if this was already mentioned but did anyone see the news that sammy wants to play in 07? what about 1 mil contract to platoon with jj in rf and to hit 600 as a cub? any thoughts?

mats isnt gonna get paid huge no matter who "wins" the right to pay him.

yeah, he'll get paid WAY more than the average "rookie", but he's not gonna get that 6th year FA money.

to him its literally gonna be about where he wants to play and shortening the list vocally if he can.

escaping ichiro's shadow to play in the shadow of one of japan's best recent native HR hitters doesn't really jive with his whole explaination about not wanting to play behind ichiro because of media overshadowing (ichiro does have a LOT more media appeal, though...especially with the youth and ladies).

yo NCFAN,

It was discussed in yesterday's thread. Some people (yours truly) are excited by that idea but others, not so much.

i wanna see sosa work out something other than his mouth before even thinking about it.

he looked like crap his last go around and now he's had a year off.

is he ruben sierra or is he mo vaughn?

either way i dunno if hendry would even consider it after all the crap/headcase b/s caused before his eventual exit.

mark grace's problems with hendry were handled in a classy manner; sosa's were public and messy with a ton of lies involved by sosa's denials and blame shifting. he wasnt very happy when hendry released the "parking lot tapes" in the face of his crap.

"mats isnt gonna get paid huge no matter who "wins" the right to pay him."

10 million a year is the number I've seen bandied about. That comes to $70 or $80 for a five year deal with the winning bid.

ichiro got a 3yr/14m contract..matsui got a 3yr/21m contact.

hell of a step to get 10m a year.

well Hendry seems to laugh everytime it's brought up about Sosa, so don't hold your breath.

Matsuzaka not wanting to play under Ichiro's shadow seems sincere to me. Ichiro's a hero over there.

Freakin' Bears...

matsuzaka's younger and japanese players have established themselves a lot better in the majors now.

Not to mention those deals were a few years back.

$10 mil a year I would say is the max. 4-5 years at $8-10 range.

Pitchers who have command of 5 different pitches and are as polished as Matsuzaka is don't come along every day.

Most pitchers only master 2-3 in their lifetime, he already has 5 and working on another 2. His slider fastball combination alone would make him one of the toughest pitchers in baseball to go up against.

But I can't explain it as well as this blurb about what Matsuzaka can do and why he changed things up...

At one time, several years ago, he regularly hit 96-97 on the radar gun and even recorded a 100 mph pitch in the Sydney Olympics. His arm began to experience some fatigue and a serious case of ìdead armî sidelined him in 2002 for half the season. Since returning from that scare, Matsuzaka has learned to really pitch. He is mentally tough, and has a ridiculous arsenal to throw at batters. If anything, scouts say he has too many pitches and should stick to his best 4.

Those pitches include a 92-93 mph fastball that he can pop at 96 when he has to. The pitch has excellent location, thanks to the reduced velocity that he employs these days, and hitters need to foul off anything on the black. His marquee pitch is an 82-83 mph slider that bites like Mike Tyson at an ear convention. If youíve seen any of the You Tube video of his WBC performance, or were lucky enough to see it live, youíll remember the pitch from the championship contest versus Cuba. A few of his sliders started down the middle and almost knee-capped some of the Cubans. They flailed away at the slider like everyone else. With those two pitches alone, Matsuzaka can have a long Major League career. The fastball is made more effective at 92 with the vicious slider that batters have to protect against. It doesnít end there though. Matsuzaka has a very nice change, and an occasionally freakish forkball. The splitter has recently been added to his repertoire as has a two-seam fastball. His delivery has a pause at the start, and a very explosive but easy follow through. Itís not a Nomo type gimmick, but rather a more orthodox delivery with a hitch to keep batters off balance.

The Japanese Leagues are tougher than any minor league system. Recent Japanese All-stars have destroyed all the myths that Japanese players can't handle the American game.

Nomo can strike out weak Japanese hitters but he can't strikeout MLB hitters.

Ichiro has never faced MLB pitching, he can hit off Japanese pitchers but he can't hit off MLB pitching.

Hideki Matsui, Japanese players can't hit for power and be an RBI threat. They just are not strong enough.

Kenji Johjima, a Japanese catcher that can hit? He can't be strong enough to catch and be a good hitter in MLB.

Yet we still got people who think the Japanese leagues are inferior. Their best can play with our best.

Some of the older ones have come with mixed results like Tadahito Iguchi, Saito, Otsuka, Kaz Matsui, Sasaki, Hasegawa, and Mr. Zero. But for the most part they all translate well over to the American game.

He is gonna get paid, because he is worth it. And the team that gets him will get an Ace quality starter.

In all honesty, I think it'll be money. Matsuzaka might have turned down the Dodgers, or they might have turned him down. Who knows? The Dodgers are going to spend this offseason, but it'll probably be on hitting.

As for the Mariners... I can see Matsuzaka not wanting to play in Ichiro's shadow, and its also possible that he just doesnt think he can perform at the level of Ichiro. Lets not forget that Ichiro won the MVP his first year in the league. Crazy expectations to go to the Mariners.

I honestly believe that the Cubs have a good shot at getting him, but it all depends on the Ramirez situation. If the Cubs fail to resign Ramirez they'll blow a lot on a big name slugger (Soriano? Lee?) and forget pitching. If they resign Ramirez I think they'll focus on pitching and make a real run at this guy.

Id make a prediction, but it all depends on Aramis

"Mats"?!

Is this your new nickname for him, CRUNCH?

This will join other "classics" such as "Teflon Jim", and "Doughnuts Rusch".

i dont use a guy's full name much...hell, i cant be bothered to use my shift key.

i just call guys shortened names as long as the meaning can be easily picked up.

im still trying to not call izturis "iz" cuz people think im sometimes talking about a cards closer.

I know things are very slow concerning the Cubs right now, but I am surprised there is so much talk about Matsuzaka. The chances the Cubs sign him have to be very low in my opinion. And with Hendry not knowing what the story is with ARam, he doesn't really know how much money he has to spend.

since aram/hendry/agent seem to be the only guys who actually know anything about the aram situation, he probably has a good handle on where things are. more-so than any of us...

if it depended on aram there wouldnt be any bidding...or that rumor of 10m that stone supposedly stated might hold weight.

i'd like to know what the real working payroll is, still.

fwiw(prolly not a whole lot), at the last 2 Cubs Conventions, in one of the Meet The Management seminars they have, Hendry wouldn't even mention Sosa by name, instead referring to him as "Our ex-rightfielder", so Im not holding my breath on any kissing and making up anytime soon.

That's pretty mature.

Hey NCFAN,

Sosa's .221 avg and 15 homeruns would be great! Not to mention his stellar defense. Maybe we could also bring back Neifi, have Hank White bat Lead off, and have LaTroy Hawkins close for us.

If the cubs fire Jim Hendry, you should send them your resume

The only good that would come from the Cubs losing Ramirez would be they would be forced to spend big on Mat, Soriano, etc...

Keep in mind this won't necessarily make them better, just that their public image will be so negative that they'll have to save face.

As for #19, how could that happen at the last 2 Cubs Conventions? Sosa didn't get dealt until after the one in 2005 I thought?

D'oh! Youre 100% right Rob, it was just this past one.......thats what I get for trying to leave a comment during a horrendously depressing football game, my bad.

so im sitting here at work on a monday, and im not the happiest camper there could be.

bears losing to miami i can take, but losing more key starters to injury i cant.

the bulls losing our home opener by a bucket to sacto...infuriating.

and then theres the cubs.

about to be led by "sweet-lou". unsure about aramis. in need of pitching again (i think i read about picking up another post surgery arm? splendid!) the NLCS just took place between the two teams which i have the MOST hatred for and...just, just imagine the worst friggin season, and then understand that it came to be reality. i mean in that respect then 07 can only get better, but screw that.

i wont even end this rant with a remark about oh, going and putting my face in front of a crash-test barrier, because i know its what you all want me to do anyway.

sit berrian and urlacher until december just in case!
win vs the bucks tomorrow AT ALL COSTS!
and bench JJ already cuz im sick of watching him get fanned on 4 pitches by japanese number 3 pitchers and worse!!!

Carmen:
"The only good that would come from the Cubs losing Ramirez would be they would be forced to spend big on Mat, Soriano, etc...

Keep in mind this won't necessarily make them better, just that their public image will be so negative that they'll have to save face."

I heard something similar when the White Sox won the WS in 2005. Didn't look like Hendry was forced to get better in that offseason. In fact, I think the offseason before 2006 was his WORSE offseason.

I have said it a few times, but I can't see a realistic way the offseason can play out good for the Cubs if ARam is not resigned.

Crunch:
"about the aram situation, he (Hendry) probably has a good handle on where things are."

Do you really think so? I don't think he has a solid idea of what ARam is going to do.

I'd like to buy the Cubs and make them the Yankees of the National League in terms of spending. Any objections?

Mark-
No, as long as you don't do anymore stupid TV shows.

MARK CUBAN: But "Bubble" was nice. I approve if you stay focused on good independent scripts.

this in from san diego today:

"Case in point: If signing Baker means the Padres move to the head of the line for his free-agent protoge, third baseman Aramis Ramirez, that's a card no other candidate can play. Ramirez hit 38 home runs last season for the Cubs ñ the most by any player at his position ñ and he drove in 119 runs."

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/sullivan...

oh man, that would suck. Thanks for piling onto to my crap day Henry. :(

mannytrillo:
Do you really think so? I don't think he has a solid idea of what ARam is going to do.

I think if Ramirez and Hendry were going to negotiate an extension, I don't think he would have filed for FA. I think it's time to face the music, Ramirez probably won't be back.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see how it makes sense that he's already filed.

MikeC:
[Matsuzaka] is gonna get paid, because he is worth it. And the team that gets him will get an Ace quality starter.

I predicted a couple weeks ago he'd get about $8 mil/year. That's too much for him, but that's just how the FA game works. $10 mil would be silly.

If had to come up with a fair salary for him, I'd say he's worth about $6.5-7 mil/year.

I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see how it makes sense that he's already filed.

He's filed because he wants to see what he can get on the open market. While it means that the Cubs are going to have to be the high bidder to retain his services, I don't see any justification for reaching the conclusion filing for Free Agency means he's certain to leave.

Think of it this way, if ARam wanted to excersize his option, which he clearly did, he essentially had to file for free agency.

I haven't seen discussion of this angle here, but do you think Aramis may be reluctant to stay with Piniella as the manager? I know he's said he would like to remain a Cub, etc., but that could just as easily be a bidding tactic.

No.

Here's who Aramis will be reluctant to play for:

The team that doesn't pay him the money & years that he wants.

Sheff's option was exercised fwiw...

http://tinyurl.com/y89qw4

Sullivan talks, confirms the Hendry hates Sosa talk.

I for one am intrested in this Japanese 3b people speak of. Anyone know what he projects to be as a major leaguer? Wouldn't it be nice to sign this guy and have him make about 6-7 mil and not "dog it" and spend the other 11 mil on pitching? Otherwise I almost feel like gambling on Nomar at 3b and concentrate on trading for Vernon Wells and going hard after pitching. Thoughts????? Wells would then have to get extended to Beltran money but I would do that for him, maybe we have an inside track with Wilken's ties to Toronto, or does it?

Why not skip Aramis and get Daisuke, Igawa and Iwamura? The Three Samurai, it'd be a marketing bonanza for McDonough.

Bring back Nomar? Everyone loves Nomar.

Trade Zambrano for A-Rod and Barrett + Marshall for Wells.

That's a team! I put Nomar in LF (least stress position on the field for him), move Murton to RF (he can handle it, Murton is not that bad of an OF), and your team is:

LF-Nomar, CF-Wells, RF-Murton, 3B-Iwamura, SS-A-Rod, 2B-Theriot/Izturis, 1B-Lee, C-Blanco

SP: Daisuke, Igawa, Hill, Miller, Prior or young guy.

Good team.

"maybe we have an inside track with Wilken's ties to Toronto"

No. Why would Toronto offer us a discounted deal because their former scouting director works for the Cubs? If their current director had worked for the Cubs that may help us, because he would be more familiar (higher on) some Cubs prospects.

"I for one am intrested in this Japanese 3b people speak of. Anyone know what he projects to be as a major leaguer?"

About the 2006 version of Chad Tracy, would be my guess, but really good with the glove. It's sterotypical, but in general Japanese players won't get accused of dogging it, and they don't watch home runs at home plate (or long singles off the wall).

One time Mike Schmidt was out at 2nd after watching his flyball to center bounce off the Wrigley ivy, so it's not like Sosa and Ramirez patented that trick.

Neal, I wasn't implying a discounted deal at all.
I just was saying if there was a good realtionship maybe the Cubs would have a 1st crack at him? I think a package involving Pie, Barett and maybe Jaque or Murton would be names involved.

Eric,
I love the idea of the three Japanese players..but wan't no part of trading Zambrano for really anyone.

I think some folks are talking about moving Iwamura(sp?) to 2b fwiw.

Assuming Matsuzaka didn't sleep with Iwamura's wife or vice-versa, couldn't hurt to have a buddy in the clubhouse or at least one that speaks the same language. (You'll be friends damnit!!!)

Why not skip Aramis and get Daisuke, Igawa and Iwamura? $13 million + winning posting bid

Bring back Nomar? Everyone loves Nomar.
$8 Million

Trade Zambrano for A-Rod and Barrett + Marshall for Wells.
$12 Million

SP: Daisuke, Igawa, Hill, Miller, Prior or young guy.
$ 1 million for Miller

$2 million for a high grade backup catcher

$36 million payroll jump and you've never seen your #1 and #2 starters pitch a MLB game.

How about just bring in one of the Japanese pitchers and Akinori Iwamura to play 2nd or 3rd, keep Zambrano, Barret and Marshall and sign Soriano for Center?

Soriano
Akinori/Theriot
Lee
Ramirez/Gaciaparra/Akinori
Jones
Barrett
Murton
Izturis/Theriot
Zambrano/Igawa/Hill/Miller/Marshall/Prior/Guzman

Dallas Green,

If the Jays decide to trade Wells, they are going to get the best offer they can from the other 27 teams, they're not going to talk to just one and say 'Sounds great, let's do it!' How would they know they're getting the best offer then?

FWIW, things I've read about Iwamura say he can play any of 3B, SS and 2B, but 3B is his natural position. I'll reiterate that for the money the Cubs are going to pay Aramis, you could have BOTH Iwamura and Nomar, and that would make the Cubs a better team overall. We have so many holes, I'll take two players over one.

Cubs can EASILY afford Matsuzaka if Hendry just makes an aggressive enough bid. Which he won't. But Daisuke would sure help solve some problems for us.

There was talk of another Japanese pitcher the Cubs were supposedly interested in, Kuroda, haven't heard much of late on that front. Did he not get posted by his team?

I think he has nine years of service meaning he does not have to be "posted"?

Kuroda is a free agent so there's no posting involved, but I'm not sure he's even interested in coming to the US.

By and large, we should avoid all Japanese players. They aren't "fiery" enough, and they won't match well with our "fiery" new manager.

Plus, the Japanese leagues are the equivalent only to Class AA ball in the U.S. I remember Joe Morgan saying something like that on the air once. And Joe Morgan knows everything.

I think you'd be hard pressed to explain trading away Zambrano at this point guys.

Sounds like Costanza when he figured out how to get Bonds and Griffey for the Yankess....

WSCR reports that Washington will get Rangers job today.

Topinka apparently not courting the Cub fan vote:

During a campaign stop in Bloomington, Topinka said: ìMaybe he (Blagojevich) ought to run for manager of the Cubs. Theyíre a bunch of losers too.î

Did she really say that?

Where is that from?

She did say that!!!

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/c...

Nothing like alienating more people when you are already down in the polls.

Idiot.

The length of Dusty's tenure should make it clear that Cubs Manager is not a publically elected position.

considering the current candidates, i might write in dusty baker's name for my gubenetorial vote on tuesday.

Too bad Daley isn't running. If you're going to be corrupt, at least be corrupt and competent.

So much for Kuroda. He's apparently agreed to re-sign with the Hiroshima Carp, so he won't be joining any MLB club next season.

Sadly that was not the only Cub reference in the election
In an article on the Governer's race in Oregeon the head of the local Democratic party said in reference to the idea that
the Republicans had a good shot this year something like
" and every year the Chicago Cubs think they are going to
win the World Series" The cultural impact of the Cubs spills into
politics

JUAN PIERRE was shopping himself to the Florida Marlins in Sunday's Miami Herald. Barry Jackson published a quote from JP saying that although the Marlins haven't contacted him "it would be nice" if they did.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/1...

you have to love Sheff, he's essentially created a limited no-trade clause when none existed.

http://tinyurl.com/y48f2z

basically his agent has submitted a list of teams to Cashman that apparently Sheff won't go homicidal if they trade him there

both Chicago teams, Pads and Detroit are rumored

Rob G. or anyone-
Do you know of any sites that go in depth about SF Giants minor leagues? Players, affiliates, etc. Thanks!!

http://sfgiants.scout.com/

you need a scout.com subscription for most of it though

not to many sites out there dedicated to one teams minor league system though

the usual suspects for a broader minor league picture

milb.com
baseballamerica.com
minorleagueball.com

I'm sure you know about most of those though...

RE: KURODA

I have checked with my "sources" (just like the MLB Trade Rumor fraud does), and so far, he is only bending in the direction of re-signing with his old club.

There is no signed deal as of this minute.

http://tinyurl.com/v5oh3

Muskat actually writes something negative about the Cubs...sort of.

in her weekly mailbag mentions that no team that ever finished last in their league has gone on to win the World Series the next year.

The Twins are the only team to finish last in their division and win it all in 1991.

I thought Giant's minor leagues was an oxymoron. Of course BP seems to have missed pretty badly on Matt Cain.

Mets making a push for Loretta btw...

and that is all the news in the rumor mill.

Rob G,

That will just make it all the more sweet!

jessica:
Sadly that was not the only Cub reference in the election.

Yes, a brief history of the Cub's in politics:

1976 - George Bush busted for drunk driving after yet another tough Cub's year.

1997 - Bill Clinton claims not to have had sex with the Cubs.

1999 - Al Gore claims to have invented the Cubs.

2001 - Ohio senator James Trafficant agrees to help Dusty Baker with his tax forms.

2002 - At the Wellstone memorial, several senators and congressmen seen chanting, "The Cub's will win!" Ventura, a rabid Cardinals fan leaves.

2005 - Bush leaks tape of Sammy Sosa leaving Wrigley Field before the start of the final game.

I doubt the Marlins are interested in signing Pierre. I mean, the whole reason they traded Pierre was because they wanted to get something of value for him because they knew that they did not want to spend the big money it would take to re-sign him after this year. However, with Pierre going to another team now, what, we gave the Marlins Nolasco and have nothing to show for it, right?

"However, with Pierre going to another team now, what, we gave the Marlins Nolasco and have nothing to show for it, right?"

We have our terrific 2006 finish to show for it.

A couple of corrections: The Marlins weren't worried about losing Pierre, they traded him because the Cubs offered a lot of pitching for him, not because they didn't think they could handle his salary, or were particularly afraid of losing him to free agency. The Cubs will get a 2nd round pick, I guess, for him. Nolasco was, as I recall, a 3rd round pick.

Cubs could get a 1st or 2nd pick for Pierre depending on who signs him, no sandwich pick though. That's if they offer arbitration, which seems like a no-brainer. Pierre isn't going to accept it anyway.

Nolasco was a 4th round pick in 2001 out of HS.

I should add the Cubs could get a lower pick if the team that signs Pierre signs other free agents who are ranked higher in the Elias system, thus pushing the Cubs pick down.

rotoworld quoting a Latin newspaper that Alex Cora reupped for 2 years with the RSox..

One of these days we'll get real baseball news...

Do you think the Marlins would have any interest in Pierre or are they glad to be rid of him?

Also, I just read ARAM's comments that appeared in the Sun Times the last couple of days. Don't you think the headlines are a bit misleading? The headlines say something to the effect that the Cubs still are ARAM's "first choice." Do we seriously think that means anything at all in this day and age? Doesn't that just mean that he has not received any offers yet and so the Cubs are still his first choice? I assume that, as soon as he receives other offers, the Cubs will no longer be his "first choice."

Note that in the same article in which the Cubs are said to be his "first choice," ARAM is quoted as saying he would be more than happy to sign for a team in the American League. Hard to say for sure but I am beginning to think that this is a guy who cannot wait to get out of Chicago.

Crunch, how about "Chicken Caesar".

this is how I see the Aramis/Hendry negotiations so far:

Kinzer: We want 5/$15 a year
Hendry: Tough call, that's a lot of money, but we really like Aramis and think he's going to be a real superstar in this league. You've got a deal.
Kinzer: Great, let me check if Aramis wants anything else in there..

(Kinzer calls Katz never bothers to talk to Aramis)
Kinzer: We'd like a no-trade clause until his 10/5 rights kick-in in 3 years
Hendry: Well we plan to be a winning ballclub over the next few seasons, so I don't see why I'd ever want to trade him. Sure
Kinzer: Let me just make sure it's kosher with everyone

(Next day)
Kinzer: You know we talked to Angels and they said they'd give us a 6th guaranteed year
Hendry: fine, anything else?

(Next day)
Kinzer: We want incentives for All-Star appearances and MVP votes
Hendry: okay, what else?

(Next day)
Kinzer: Talked to the Dodgers and although they didn't specifically say anything (wink, wink), I got a sense that $16 mil a year for 6 years would fly with them.
Hendry: Whatever, it's yours

(Next day)
Kinzer: Aramis wants a puppy
Hendry: okay

(next day)
Kinzer: Aramis would like a hooker waiting for him after every road game in his hotel room. He prefers red-heads.
Hendry: sure

(next day)
Kinzer: On Fridays Aramis wants Italian catered to the clubhouse
Hendry: uh-huh.

and on and on and on...

similar to the last deal he got hehe...

they finalized it and aram's agent as well as mcphail poked away at the contract with additions/subtractions til they got the deal he eventually signed.

farnsworth could donate a puppy...get that deal done.

...and ron santo knows where to get a good plate of spaghetti.

I say we draw the line when ARam asks for a boombox to play music in the clubhouse before games.

Ivan DeJesus named "special assistant" to Lou Piniella...whatever that entails.

Jon Leicester latches on with the Orioles on a minor league contract.

Jon Leicester signed a minor league deal with the O's btw

Bogey:
"Ivan DeJesus named "special assistant" to Lou Piniella...whatever that entails."

That means Manny Trillo can't be far behind...WOO!!!

anyone with Insider access care to confirm that Gammons is saying that Ramirez is looking for a Beltran deal now?

supposedly so is Carlos Lee along with Soriano of course(hahahahaha)

the laugh up there was directed towards Carlos Lee

Yeah I want a Beltran deal too. And a puppy. I also want Bud Selig's job and season tickets. Plus I'll take 100,000 shares of Google stock backdated to the IPO.

I'll just take that redhead on the road trips and I'll be happy.

It's always fun to come here and read all the delusional posts about how 'maybe' Sammy can return and hit 60hr's if the planets align correctly, or how Eric Patterson, someone who can't hit AAA pitching and cannot field his position should be inserted as the Cubs leadoff man in CF next year.

What amazes me most is that it's not one or two people who carry these ridiculous posts on forever, it's just about everyone on the site.

Sammy is done. Nobody will offer him more than what the Nats did last year, 500k or so, Non-Roster Invite. That's it, at best. He's more likely not even going to get an invite, and judging by his expectations and reaction last year, he won't accept something like that.

Patterson will never be anything, judging by his poor play. So he has had a solid couple of dozen at bats in Arizona, so what? Does that suddenly trump a thousand minor league at bats?

I totally forgot about this but Depodesta is a special assistant in San Diego, who reports to Sandy Alderson.

This is Towers last year on his deal btw with a 2008 club option.

Thought I'd mention that for no real good reason.

Why did Beane not hire Ron Washington an let him go to Texas?

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

In the article both sides said all teh right things, but it would seem Washington would be the perfect guy to hire. The players loved him and he knew the system that Beane wanted.

Could it be possible that Washington saw what happened to Macha and didn't want the job? I just find it a bit weird.

I'm thoroughly confused about the Eric Patterson comments....

324/403/471 in the AFL right now
358/395/493 in AAA 17 game stint last year
263/330/408 in AAA last year
333/405/535 in Peoria in 2005
200/324/267 in AA in 2005 in 9 games

combined 2005/2006 numbers not including AFL 299/368/466 in 970 AB's.

Weird comment....

I don't think he's a savior or anything but t

"What amazes me most is that it's not one or two people who carry these ridiculous posts on forever, it's just about everyone on the site."

you should check out some of those other blogs...i got more than a few in mind, but i dont need the owners of them coming and screaming at me about things like 'getting of my high horse' or etc.

hehe...

this one is a bit more conservative on the wild-ass speculation and turning it into "fact" based solely on how the person FEELS about a situation rather than the facts of the situation.

there's also more grounding voices around on TCR when things do go off into "space" than other blogs that support, egg on, and give a voice to the people who are kinda too alarmist with limited information.

*cough*....IMO....

maybe dude meant Pie rather than Patterson...i think...

Read Rosenthal's latest on Washington Manny...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6143588

Most of the Athletics blog seem to think Geren is the favorite anyway. Hillman is getting some publicity there too.

Pie's in venezula or dominican summer league or soemthing, though.

ignore that last line in comment #93 btw, meant to erase it.

Rob G,

I don't see anything in Gammons' blog today about Ramirez' contract demand. He's basically just plugging The Bill James Handbook. He does include A-Ram in a list of players who have a declining OPS over the last three years (.951, .926, .913).

Rob G.-
Thanks for the Rosenthal link. Makes much more sense now. Also, thanks for the ideas on the books (via email). They should help out a lot.

thanks, I read it over at Northside Baseball, wanted to make sure. Sad part out of those 3, he'd deserve it the most, at least the 7 years when you consider his age.

Oh well, maybe I read it wrong.

How funny is this? Stockstill is signing all his old players in Baltimore.

Sing and Montanez sign with the O's along with the earlier Leicester news.

JVB signed with the Nats

we should porobably be looking at toronto's minor league list to see who the cubs will sign...

Hey, this is off topic, but everybody should go and vote for Carlos Zambrano a million times for the "This Year in Baseball Award"....

"everybody should go and vote for Carlos Zambrano a million times"

well, this IS a chicago oriented blog.

"#90 of 104: By jackson (November 6, 2006 05:57 PM)
It's always fun to come here and read all the delusional posts about how 'maybe' Sammy can return and hit 60hr's if the planets align correctly,"

Really who said this? No one. There are a couple of people here, like me, who think that Sosa can be a productive player in baseball again. 60 home runs? Maybe over 3 seasons. No on here has said that they think Sosa can retain all-star form.

So before you rip the people here, have some basis.

Oh and where did you get that Eric Patterson idea from? You probably mean Pie and if you did, get your facts straight before you come here to rip anybody.

if he did mean Pie, not exactly sure how he can't hit AAA pitching either

283/341/451 in 2006 isn't crap, not for a 21 yr old in that league.

294/353/459 in 1945 minor league AB's for his career.

pie can also field, too...its confusing all around.

screw this, i'm gonna be a drays fan.

the japanese 3b iwamura was posted today, teams have until Friday to post their bids.

Speculation is $5 mil on the posting fee and $5 mil p/ year
Padres, Indians, Phils and Rsox supposedly in the hunt.

Which brings me to this thought:

Sure winning the central with 83 wins is a fluke but it can be done. So I ask this question, with the talent we already have (or lack thereof) and the available players out there coupled with available resources, can the Cubs put together a team that can compete for the post season?

I say yes.

Thoughts?

can the Cubs put together a team that can compete for the post season?

Well, I think with Sammy's 60 home runs and E-Pat leading off, the Cubs are a cinch to win the division in 2007.

"Why did Beane not hire Ron Washington an let him go to Texas?"...Manny Trillo
----The theory I've heard from people like Buck Martinez is that coaches play the role of buddy or friend with the players and its very difficult for them to transition to "the boss" within the same organization. That is why most teams bring in outsiders...

http://tinyurl.com/yxnfkl

A's are moving to Fremont, CA apparently, north of San Jose, south of Oakland.

http://tinyurl.com/yxa3cm

Right-handed pitcher Jason Schmidt -- one of the top free-agent arms on the market this winter -- has narrowed his choices to returning to San Francisco or joining the Mariners next season, according to the Houston Chronicle.

why the Houston Chronicle would report that I don't know, nor do I know why you'd limit your teams so early in the process.

here's the actual line from the Chronicle they're citing:
Don't mention Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt. Scott Boras is believed to be asking $100 million for Zito. Schmidt seems to have narrowed his choices to San Francisco and Seattle before the bidding has begun.

So Hendry supposedly has all this money to spend, but I want to know what people think about how many BIG TIME FA's he will actually sign.

The list includes 6 players: Aramis Ramirez, Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

I think he signs one of them, ARam, and that will be his one trophy this offseason.

Chad-
I don't think it is realistic that the Cubs win the division next year, but if everything falls right and the other teams don't improve, we could at least be competitive. That is my opinion...

First we'll see if he actually has all this money to spend. Second, how often do teams sign more than one of the prize FA's?

I don't care how they come about sign, trade or blackmail, but a power bat in CF, an ace pitcher, and resigning Aramis are required.

A 2b, an innings-eater with an ERA in the high 3, low 4 range and a couple of other warm bodies who can throw strikes on top of that.

That doesn't even take into account who he might end up trading.

Manny,

You are not answering my question, though. I am saying that if it takes 83 games (not likely but possible) can we build a team that could win 83 games or come close?

"I don't care how they come about sign, trade or blackmail, but 1) a power bat in CF, 2) an ace pitcher, and 3) resigning Aramis are required.

4) a 2b, 5) an innings-eater with an ERA in the high 3, low 4 range and 6) a couple of other warm bodies who can throw strikes on top of that."
--

Fear not, all of these will be solved.

1) Jacque... when Geoff Jenkins takes over RF
2) Vincente Padilla
3) David Bell
4) Mark DeRosa
5) Miguel Batista
6) Mateo & Guzman

Impact players

it would be funny, if it weren't true. :(

It's really sad how little hope I have for the Cubs this season.

"I don't think it is realistic that the Cubs win the division next year"

seeing as the team hasnt even been formed yet that's a hell of an assumption.

what you basing this on besides your personal hatred of hendry, which btw, you lay the same brand of hell on you complained about people laying on dusty.

how about 2008 or 2010? hell, what about 2084?

Chad:
"I am saying that if it takes 83 games (not likely but possible) can we build a team that could win 83 games or come close?"

Can we? Yes. Is it realistic? No.

Crunch:
"seeing as the team hasnt even been formed yet that's a hell of an assumption."

Why not say the same about what Rob said: "It's really sad how little hope I have for the Cubs this season." That is pretty much how I feel.

I just don't think it is "realisitic" (KEY WORD) as there are way too many holes/questions marks to realistically think this team can overcome them in one offseason, especially when I have no confidence in the man making the decisions. I don't know why it is so hard for you to understand that is how I, and many others, feel.

"I don't know why it is so hard for you to understand that is how I, and many others, feel."

cuz you have no idea what the team is...what it will look like...and how it will operate.

the unknowns...the things you jumped down other people's throats about when you were dealing with people criticising dusty. the things you "AH-HA!" about when things later cleared up and you found out were not really dusty.

that's what im pointing at right now...the fact there's an unknown but you wanna play the "woe is everything" doubt card without even knowing what you're dealing with. when you got a history of calling it out then you feed it on another issue its confusing.

you'll cut dusty every break in the world, but you got no confidence in a team that dont even exist and can't be evaluated cuz you're not willing to give the man putting the team together any slack but negative slack.

C - Barrett
1B - Lee
2B - DeRosa
SS - Theriot
3B - Aramis
LF - Murton
CF - Lofton/Pie/Roberts
RF - Jacque/RH platoon-mate

Z
Hill
Padilla
Lilly
Mateo/Miller/Prior

current bullpen
---

I think that team could certainly win 83 games next year. I highly doubt 83 wins will get the job done again.

Right now, its not realistic to have anyone other than Izturis at SS.

Crunch:
"cuz you have no idea what the team is...what it will look like...and how it will operate."

No I don't, but I think there are too many holes/question marks for Hendry to fix to be truly realistically competitive next year. I can't have that opinion? Guess not...

And why don't you give Rob G. a speech for his saying basically the same thing I did?

yeah, you can have the opinion...that's chill.

i just dont understand the logic, especially when i compare it to your defense of dusty.

i understand you dont trust hendry, and others dont, but the level you dont trust him is pretty high to the point its interesting.

its made more confusing by your defenses of dusty while not bending an inch on hendry.

im just trying to cut through the thought process of why dust gets so much slack when he's doing things in real-time, but hendry's open-conclusion actions are getting so much hell from you.

just like dusty didnt do everything bad, hendry didnt do everything bad...hendry doesnt have a track record of flailing his arms or panic or destructive trades...and for every "bad" you can bring up about hendry there's a "good" waiting right behind it. so what you believe about hendry can be justified either way.

its just the hell and 100% lack of any slack you give the guy, even going as far as saying you dont feel the cubs will have a competitive team when you dont even know what kinda team you're dealing with...

and about rob...if rob was an endless dusty-defender and then pulled this view on hendry...well, i'd probally have something to say to him, but im talking to you.

i understand you dont like/trust hendry, but you're tossing a team to the loss pile you dont cant even identify yet.

Dusty and Hendry are two different people in two completely different job positions. A GM's decisions impact the team, IMO, much more than the managers. Hell, he hires the damn manager. And the GM only makes 15-20 real player personel decisions each year, so he can't mess up more than a few or the those mess ups will more than likely lead to a bad season. A few bad moves troughout teh season by a manager is nothing. He makes thousands of moves a year.

You don't take the manager's position all too seriously, and I am in your same boat. I would take a good GM over a good manager every day, but I don't think we have a good GM right now and that is why I don't have confidence in him improving the team enough to realistically compete for the division.

But yes, we can all make a more educated opinion come Spring Training when we see what the actual team looks like to see how good we think they will be. But again, at this point, I just see too many holes/question marks to be filled/answered to give me tons of hope for next year.

Chad:
can the Cubs put together a team that can compete for the post season?

Hendry has no margin for error this off-season, but yes, it is possible.

I'm skeptical it will get done, though, because of the huge gaping holes in the roster and lack of trade bait. What I would do if I were running the team and what I'd really like to see the Cubs focus on is building a team around a pitching rotation.

Second priority would be finding defensive-type position players. I'm not really worried about finding a bunch of sluggers, I'd rather see a pitching-defense type team with hitters who will at least put up a good at-bat. If they all hit 270/320/420 and put up good at bats PA, I'd be happy.

There are a lot of holes in the roster, but honestly after what happened this last year, maybe that's not a terrible thing...

Looks like Baker had his interview today with the Padres.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=m...

At least one Padres beat writer has him the odds on favorite to get the job.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20061...

It would be very interesting to see if Baker and Sandy Alderson can mesh.

The Nationals gave Michael Restovich to major league contract? WOW!!

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=m...

Looks like Bonderman might be on the block. Wish the Cubs had something to trade. Bynum? Soto? lol

Lee 13
Ramirez 15
Jones 5.33
Barrett 4.8
Izturis 3.1
Blanco 1.5
Murton .5
Cedeno .4
Bynum .4
Pagan .5
Theriot .37
$45.3 Million

Zambrano 9
Prior 3.5
Rusch 3.25
Miller 2
Hill .36
Marshall .37
$18.48 Million

Dempster 5
Wood 2
Howry 4
Eyre 3.5
Ohman 1
Wuertz .5
Novoa .6
$16.6 Million

Total $80.38 for 23 players. That leaves room in a $100 million dollar payroll for Soriano to play center and a $4-5 million innings eater. A $115 million payroll leaves room for one of the big three pitchers.

If he trades Howry to bring in Garcia, Buehrle or Vasquez then you get a #2 starter for 'only' $4 -$5 million.

So, no I don't think it's all gloom and doom yet.

CRUNCH: "hendry doesnt have a track record of flailing his arms or panic or destructive trades"

Hendry sucked for two straight seasons. YEah - he "done good" before that.

And if they do not sign Juan Pierre, yes this would qualify as a "destructive trade" giving up THREE pitchers - one who is a starter at least for a rental player.

What MANNY expresses, and I agree with as do plenty other here - is UNTIL PROVEN otherwise (and I hope he does) I have lost my faith in him doing his job well in acquiring and signing talent.

And since 83 wins is truly an abberation, don't count on back-to-back mediocre seasons to win a division like this.

It is unlikely based on history.

And if they do not sign Juan Pierre, yes this would qualify as a "destructive trade" giving up THREE pitchers - one who is a starter at least for a rental player.

I'm not going to say that the Pierre trade was a great deal, but "destructive??" Come on!

I just find it so comical that the same people who bitch endlessly that the Cubs farm system is crap and Hendry has nothing to trade, are generally the same people who say trading 3 pitchers from that same farm system, none of whom where at the top of the depth chart, was "overpaying," "paying top dollar," and "destructive."

Nolasco's a decent pitcher who has a promising future, but he was ranked lower than several of the pitchers who saw time with the Cubs last year. Yes, he did have a nice start to the season, but he also faded down the stretch and was moved to the bullpen by september.

Pinto is a very average prospect who might end up being a useful bullpen piece, but he's hardly a top prospect.

Mitre's another guy who could end up doing something someday, but he was out of options and the Cubs were going to lose him anyway.

Debate over weather or not trading for Pierre was a good idea in the first place is fine, I don't have a problem debating how much value there is in a "speedy leadoff guy" like Pierre, but this hindsight babble that the trade was the fleecing of the century is just flat out garbage.

And if they do not sign Juan Pierre,

Sorry, I forgot to mention, what the hell does signing a free agent have to do with determining how good a trade was a year ago?

If the Cubs decide they want to upgrade CF this year, it was a horrible trade, but if they decide to stay with the status quo, then the trade was just bad? How does that make sense? What if they resign Pierre for 2 years, but then 2 years from now Pierre signs with a different team? Would that make last years trade any better or worse?

People made the same statements about not resigning Matt Clement 2 years ago, and it was just as silly then as it is now. When you make a trade for a veteran player, you are trading for him for the remainder of his contract. Unless you've got a situation like DLee in 04 - where signing an extension is part of the trade - Signing a player, or not signing him at some future point is irrelevant to the "value" of a trade in the past.

Kaplan on WGN said Aram signs with cubs by saturday...

I hope so, but I bet it is just a bunch of crap...

BLEEDING BLUE:
"trading 3 pitchers from that same farm system, none of whom where at the top of the depth chart, was "overpaying," "paying top dollar," and "destructive.""

I just find it comical that you find it comical that one of the supposed strengths of this GM was/is his evaluation of talent.

trading a player when the team is starved for starting pitching, a - the player who was "not on the top of the depth chart" in his eyes, turns out to be a keeper by MLB pitcheing standards and then to not lock up the Cub's side of the value of that trade is a "double fault" to use a tennis analogy.

couple that with my "Stiffs List" that I've published here numerous times this GM has saddled the tem with , yeah - you're right. It IS comical!!

HAHAHAHA !!!

a - the player who was "not on the top of the depth chart" in his eyes, turns out to be a keeper by MLB pitcheing standards and then to not lock up the Cub's side of the value of that trade is a "double fault" to use a tennis analogy.

If you're calling Nolasco a keeper by MLB pitching standards, then I guess you'd have to say the same thing about Hill or Marshall or Guzman or Mateo. Yes, Nolasco had a hot start, but he also had a horrible end to the season. If he's not on the Marlins, he wouldn't be a lock to make the majors next year, and if he was on the Cubs (a "pitching starved organization") he certainly wouldn't be a lock to be pitching over any of the other candidates I just mentioned.

And as far as not locking Pierre up, again, its just faulty logic to say that a players contract status in the future makes a trade any better or worse. If the Cubs decide to get a power bat for Center Field instead of resigning Pierre it will not make something that happened last year any better or worse.

Crunch, I have to agree with Manny on this one. I've been following the Cubs since the 1950s, good times and bad - a lot more bad than good, as we all know. Trust me, nobody here wants the Cubs to win more than I do.

And I sincerely hope, as do we all, that Hendry can pull a rabbit out of his hat.

It is true that the division is weak; St. Louis and Houston are fading. But they've been fading for years and somehow they keep winning, while Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and, yes, Pittsburgh have been gradually improving. The Cubs have a lot of holes to fill - at the very least, a centerfielder and three starting pitchers. Possibly a third baseman. And that's assuming that Lee and Barrett come back completely healthy, which is by no means a given.

There is cause for hope. The bullpen is good, and from what AZ Phil has been saying, they have a couple of prospects who will make it stronger. Barrett really looked like he was coming into his own before his injury, and Lee is the consummate professional. ARam, if he stays, strikes me as the sort of guy who reflects the situation he's in rather than changing it - a follower, rather than a leader - but for that reason I think he'll do well with Pinella leading him. Murton and Theriot are promising young players; both are skilled and intelligent. Zambrano is stud who, I think, will respond well to Pinella, and Hill is another kid who has the potential to be very good.

So, it really could break either way. If everyone comes back healthy; if the young players continue to progress; if Hendry manages to pick up a power bat for center and a couple of solid starters; if Pinella can get his team to play more fundamentally sound, disciplined baseball; if Pinella can change the mood of the team, so that it no longer expects to lose - well, 2007 could be a lot of fun. But that's a lot of ifs; and if any of those ifs doesn't come through, then the best we can hope for is a mediocre year, and perhaps another very bad one.

At least, that's how I see it.

Hey, and don't forget to vote early, vote often!

I just find it comical that you find it comical that one of the supposed strengths of this GM was/is his evaluation of talent.

And for the record, where did I say that the strength of Hendry was/is his evaluation of talent?

Good Bye

Minor league 2B (yet only 24 years old) Luis Montanez signed with the Baltimore Orioles. His contract guarantees an invite to spring training.

After tearing up AA (.369 .438 .489 .927) LM was promoted to Iowa and told to drive in runs and hit the ball out of the park. Not much of a power hitter, he did his best but at the cost of dropping his BA 140 points. Seven years in our system and he's gone.

I sure hope Felix Pie isn't the next Luis Montanez.

Oops, re: Luis Montanez, that should read OF not 2B.

Phillies gave Macha permission to interview to be Washington's bench coach. LOL

"then I guess you'd have to say the same thing about Hill or Marshall or Guzman"

No YOU'D have to guess the same thing.

Guzman is a BUST. Only a prospect - still after several attempts at flirting with the Bigs. Hill is a keeper. Marshall promising, but still more erratic and less starts than Nolasco.

I can't speculate like you enjoy doing on what Nolasco would do on another team. I am just presenting the facts - on Hendry's recent tenure - Nolasco went 11-11 for a team that won what? 75 games? And how many Cubs starters were even IN 22 games more than 3 innings? And - let's throw in Sergio Mitre, too!

Yeah, I just love these reports that ARAM will definitely sign by Saturday or by whenever. How the heck does anyone know today that ARAM definitely is gonna sign on Saturday? If it were so definite, I have to think it would happen before four days from now. Unless and until ARAM announces that he has decided to stay with the Cubs, I am not gonna believe any of this talk.

When Hendry acquired Pierre last December 7, it appeared that he had a surplus of starting pitching, as the prognosis for Wood and Miller was quite good and Prior was supposed to be healthy.

We can only evaluate a trade based upon the facts as they existed at that time. Did Hendry overpay for Pierre? Of course he did, because he desperately needed a proven leadoff hitter and Pierre was the only one available.

Sometimes a GM has to overpay a litle to get what he really needs, and Hendry dealt from what appeared to be his only surplus, young pitching.

I wouldn't be shocked if Ramirez went the Konerko route and really spent a few weeks on the market before re-signing or signing elsewhere. It's a good market for him this offseason and he may want to go fishing for a truly obscene contract.

Yes. I agree. But the facts also included relying on starting pitching that had injured arms who were injured or in "rehab" at the time of said trade.

I'm giving Hendry this offseason to show me something outside the McFail shadow.

The ironic thing is the Cubs don't make big splashes and then wait for the rest of the divison to fall back to them. And that happpened this year, but they managed to fall back ever further.

So lets see this team needs-
2-3 Starters
One more power bat, (two if aram leaves)
CF
Bench

Otherwise as Dave Wannstedt said "the pieces are in place."

"Pinto is a very average prospect who might end up being a useful bullpen piece, but he's hardly a top prospect."

Pinto had to repeat AA, sure Manny, but he was very good there, and was 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA at AAA Albuqurque with 96K/47BB in 95.1 innings.
He pitched fairly well in a relief role with the Marlins, but did struggle with his control, and had 34K's in 28.2 innings.
I'd still like to have him in the Cubs system.

"I sure hope Felix Pie isn't the next Luis Montanez."
CWTP- How does Felix Pie compare to Luis Montanez? They seem to be different players.

Montanez: 7 seasons in the minors, 2892 AB's
.273/.341/.405 78SB/44CS, 49 HR 361 RBI's

Pie: 5 seasons in the minors, 1945 AB's.
.294/.353/.459 98 SB/57 CS, 42 HR, 214 RBI's.

Let's also compare first year at AAA with K-orey Patterson:
Patterson: .253/.308/.387, 367 AB's, 19 SB/8 CS, 7HR, 32 RBI's, 22 2B, 3 3B

Pie: .283/.341/.451, 559 AB's, 15 HR, 57 RBI's, 17 SB/11 CS, 33 2B, 8 3B.

I'd like to see Felix Pie in 2007 rather than Juan Pierre. I'd rather see Vernon Wells than either of them.

You nailed my sentiments, JACOS.

Listen - I hope Hendry kicks asses and takes no prisoners.

But as I keep streesing, his last two years track record does not give me great optimism.

Seamhead:
"Sometimes a GM has to overpay a litle to get what he really needs, and Hendry dealt from what appeared to be his only surplus, young pitching."

Yes, that appeared to be true, but firstly, Hendry was wrong about the surplus of pitching. Our starting pitching staff was HORRIBLE and we started like 13 different starters. But secondly, I have no problem for a GM to overpay for top talent. Like rumors say the Cubs might go after Wells in TOR. That is great, but don't trade another huge package to get a guy you have no guarentee won't leave after a one year, and become basically a rental. If an extenstion isn't allowed to be worked on as part of the trading process, Hendry should not be offering a smaller package than if an extenstion was allowed to be worked on.

It is a bad habit to get into of starting to trade away your farm systems top players in huge chunks at a time for one year rentals. It will deplete an already weak farm system very fast.

Dusty Baylor:
"Pinto had to repeat AA, sure Manny, but he was very good there, and was 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA at AAA Albuqurque with 96K/47BB in 95.1 innings.
He pitched fairly well in a relief role with the Marlins, but did struggle with his control, and had 34K's in 28.2 innings.
I'd still like to have him in the Cubs system."

That was Bleeding Blue who said the quote you were responding to, not me.

Hendry relied on the doctors to tell him when he could reasonably anticipate the return of Wood and Miller (and later on Prior), and he got burned. Knowing the investment he had placed in those three pitchers, it was pretty easy to take a calculated risk and assume that at least one or two would come back on schedule. The odds that all three would be effectively lost for the entire season was really slim. However, in a season where everything went wrong, those odds came back to haunt him.

Manny,

Not only was Hendry wrong about pitching depth but you and I and myriad other posters who begged for more pitching here were right. The GM of the Cubs should know more than me when it comes to baseball in every single case.

But SEAM - he "counted" on the same thing two years in a row!

If you hit the ball in the water twice on the same hole - you play it safe the next time.

This is ONE of the problems I have with the guy.

My season ticket money helps support the team in part - and yeah I gave him a Mulligan for the first fucked-up-decision year; but NOT the second.

TBone:
"Not only was Hendry wrong about pitching depth but you and I and myriad other posters who begged for more pitching here were right. The GM of the Cubs should know more than me when it comes to baseball in every single case."

Yes, many of us did and sadly we are saying the same thing this year. But to give Hendry credit, he did go out and fix the bullpen.

Another outstanding offensive performance by Eric Patterson yesterday for the Mesa Solar Sox, and he also made a fine leaping catch of a liner headed for RF and handled a couple or three other routine chances without incident.

E-Pat had three hits (an opposite-field liner to LF, a ground single to CF, and a double smoked into the LF-CF gap), and he scored the tying run with a steal of 3rd base with an overthrow by the catcher. Patterson is a real distraction for the AFL's pitchers whenever he gets on base.

There are some very good protypical lead-off hitters in the AFL (like Brett "The Human Walking Machine" Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mitch Maier, and Fernando Perez), but E-Pat is the best one of all, because he can bunt or drive the ball for a hit, he works the count and isn't afraid to talk a walk, he can steal bases, AND he has the hitting ability to drive the ball into the gaps and knock-in runners who get on base in front of him.

Also, Clay Rapada had another excellent outing in yesterday's game, puttin' the side-arm mojo funk on the Scorpions. Nobody gets a good swing against him. The hits he has given up are bloops or bleeders. I would say Rapada is not just the best lefty reliever out here, I believe he is the best reliever, period.

Comparing the Clement trade and the Pierre trade is apples and oranges. In the Clement trade we didn't even trade one top 15 prospect (Willis was only in low A ball) and got back a starter and closer. Also, we got Clement for 3 years. In the Pierre trade we traded 3 Top 15 prospects for one guy who had only one year left on his deal.

#152 of 160: By Dusty Baylor (November 7, 2006 11:05 AM)
"Pinto is a very average prospect who might end up being a useful bullpen piece, but he's hardly a top prospect."

Pinto had to repeat AA, sure Manny, but he was very good there, and was 8-2 with a 3.40 ERA at AAA Albuqurque with 96K/47BB in 95.1 innings.
He pitched fairly well in a relief role with the Marlins, but did struggle with his control, and had 34K's in 28.2 innings.
I'd still like to have him in the Cubs system.

---

DUSTY B: The problem with Renyel Pinto is that he is now out of minor league options, and still has problems with command that make him an unreliable MLB pitcher. If the Cubs had not traded him, I think he would have a had a poor chance of making the Cubs bullpen coming out of Spring Training next year, and so he probably would have been traded anyway.

And Sergio Mitre was out of options last Spring Training, and probably would have been traded prior to the start of the 2006 season, as happened with Todd Wellemeyer. So if Mitre had to be included to make the Pierre trade happen, no great loss.

The only part of the Pierre trade that hurt was losing Ricky Nolasco, but even if the Cubs fail to re-sign Pierre to a multi-year contract, they can offer him arbitration and get a lower-half first round or upper-half second round pick in next year's Rule 4 Draft (June Draft). Of course there is no guarantee that the player they select as compensation for losing Pierre (presuming Pierre does not re-sign with the Cubs) will ultimately make up for the loss of Nolasco, but they have a good chance of acquiring a guy with well above-average potential. There are always a lot of very good high school and college pitchers and position players available each year in the Top 50 of the June Draft.

And although it wasn't know at the time of the trade, Mitre ended up missing most of the 2006 season with shoulder tendinitis, and when he did pitch, he got hit pretty hard (5.71 ERA, .275 OBA, and 7 HR allowed in just 41 IP).

E-Man: I hear you on the misplaced reliance on injured pitchers. But don't forget that not only did those three crash and burn on Hendry this year, but the "veteran safety net" of Jerome Williams and Rusch also completely bombed. Those guys were admittedly not HOF's, but both had been effective at the MLB level and should have been at least competent. That makes 5 pitchers, nearly 50% of his staff, that Hendry lost due to injuries or ineffectiveness. Pretty hard to plan ahead for that, or recover from it when it happens.

Dusty Baylor:How does Felix Pie compare to Luis Montanez? They seem to be different players.

WHAT THEY HAVE IN COMMON (Besides Being Outfielders)

I will grant you they are different players.

But both have been Cubs #1 prospects, Montanez was the Cubs' first round (3rd overall) draft pick in 2000 at age 17 and Pie was signed out of the DR at age 17 in 2002.

In his first year Montanez was the Arizona Fall League All-Star SS, the AFL MVP and the Rookie League All-Star SS. In his first year Pie was an Arizona Fall League All-Star OF.

Not satisfied with this early brilliance the Cubs have tinkered with both of them. Montanez languished for seven years in our system and next year will be Pie's sixth year.

Montanez was moved from SS to 2B/DH to the outfield. His batting role was changed as well.
Pie became a Dusty/Hendry project when they decided he needed to learn how to be the Cubs' future leadoff man and learn it all at Iowa at AAA level.

Given the shear ineptitude of the Cubs minor league system in transforming position players you have to wonder why they try. If Pie doesn't make it to the big club this year, next year would be his seventh in the minors. Another Montanez in that respect and perhaps on his way to somewhere else.

I'm not one of the people who thinks Pie (like Montanez)has been learning anything at all in the Cubs minor league system. Who cares if he has some trouble at the plate, he's an outstanding defensive outfielder NOW and if it were up to me, he would have been doing just that last year in Chicago as a late inning OF replacement.

Comparing the Clement trade and the Pierre trade is apples and oranges.

I was never comparing the Clement trade to the Pierre trade in terms of talent or value.

What I'm saying is that in both cases you don't judge the value of a trade based on a decision to keep or let go a player when his contract eventually expires.

The Clement-Willis (et al) trade did not become a worse deal for the Cubs when they allowed Clement and Alfonseca to leave the team. Just as the Pierre trade will not be a better deal if the Cubs resign him or a worse deal if they go after someone else.

That's the only comparison I was making.

SEAM: It is hard to plan for that except for Rusch. His carrer numbers are pathetic. Yet HEndry opened his checkbook for the guy and signed him to too long of a deal simply b/c he is a lefty!

HE is a BATTING PRACTICE pitcher!

BAD HENDRY! BAD!

Jerome - o.k. - we were all pulling for him and he, like Cedeno, got worse.

But RUSCH? NO!

C'mon now, I hate me some Hendry more than most, but the Pierre trade was not ill-advised. There was a chance you could be getting the 3-time 360+ OBP Pierre from his earlier days, in exchange for three middling prospects. I liked Nolasco, but Pierre > Nolasco one year ago.

Mitre was nothing, and Pinto has NEVER shown the ability to consistently throw strikes. Cubs had a guy just like Pinto a couple years ago and moved him out too (Felix Sanchez); like Pinto, he completely flamed out and is a nobody now.

And one year ago, Nolasco was BELOW Marshall, Guzman and Marmol on most people's depth charts, I saw at least one list with Ryu rated higher as well. Can't fault Hendry on that trade.

I am just presenting the facts - on Hendry's recent tenure - Nolasco went 11-11 for a team that won what? 75 games? And how many Cubs starters were even IN 22 games more than 3 innings? And - let's throw in Sergio Mitre, too!

Yes, he went 11-11, but he also had an ERA over 6 in August and September and was kicked out of the Marlins rotation for a while because of his poor performance. Not to mention, if Nolasco had been pitching for the Cubs, I have my doubts that he would have had the same success.

Mitre and Pinto were never going to be anything with the Cubs, if for no other reason than their option clocks were running out.

So the trade basically came down to Pierre for Nolasco and 2 throw in pitchers.

I do think the Marlins probably got the better end of the deal, but the Cubs needed a center fielders, Dusty and Hendry wanted a speedy lead off guy and Pierre fit that bill perfectly for a team that was (foolishly) trying to win in 2006. In exchange, they gave up one pitcher who - even after a nice rookie season - still looks very similar to a handful of guys the Cubs still have.

So again, Did Hendry pay a little too much? Probably. But calling it "Destructive" or even "Top Dollar" is just over the top.

KarlH:
Kaplan on WGN said Aram signs with cubs by saturday...

Wow, I wonder if Aramis knows.

I hope so, but I bet it is just a bunch of crap...

...yeah, sounds like a guess to me.

#164 of 166: By cubswinthepennant (November 7, 2006 12:01 PM)
I'm not one of the people who thinks Pie (like Montanez)has been learning anything at all in the Cubs minor league system. Who cares if he has some trouble at the plate, he's an outstanding defensive outfielder NOW and if it were up to me, he would have been doing just that last year in Chicago as a late inning OF replacement.

--

CWtP: I'm beginning to come around to the idea of bringing Felix Pie up to the big club in 2007 and letting him break-in gradually, the way the Braves, Giants, and Dodgers used to do it with their young position players in the 1960's.

I would not be against using Pie as a 4th OF, but not as a back-up 4th OF (like Angel Pagan), but as a "4th man OF" (to use a basketball analogy). Pie could occasionally enter a game on a double-switch and play RF in the late innings when the Cubs are ahead, with Jones moving to LF (replacing Murton). Or if the Cubs were to acquire somebody like Ryan Freel (for example) to play CF and hit lead-off, Pie could start occasionally in CF against certain RHPs, and Freel could play LF or 2B. Pie could also start some games in RF, with J. Jones moving to LF.

I would actually do the same thing with Eric Patterson, playing him at 2B, LF, and CF (mainly OF), but hitting him in the lead-off spot when he does start. To that end, I was kind of disappointed that Bob Dernier was not added to Piniella's coaching staff as 1st base coach and baserunning & outfield instructor. Dernier has done wonders with Felix Pie's base-stealing, and I believe having Dernier with the big club would have made keeping Pie and Patterson (with E-Pat learning the finer points of OF play OTJ by working with Dernier before games) a better bet. Because Eric Patterson is just about an MLB-ready offensive player (#1 or #2 hitter) right now.

One "old school" thing that Dusty Baker did not do, was that he seemed oblivious to playing the "hot hand." I don't know for sure, but I would think Piniella would probably be more-likely to go with a hot hand and ride him while he's hot. Having the flexibility to move guys around to different defensive positions would help accomplish that, as well as keeping Cubs players "fresh" for Summer day games at Wrigley Field. Not a platoon-type situation, but rather more of a lineup rotation that depends on who's hot, who's fresh, who's pitching for the opposition (RHP or LHP), and who's pitching for the Cubs ("fly ball" pitcher or "ground ball" pitcher).

I absolutely want the Cubs to re-sign Aramis Ramirez, but I would not go any further with the offense in a trade or FA than acquiring somebody like a Ryan Freel (a lead-off hitter who can play several different positions). I would then mix & match in LF-CF-RF-2B-SS with Jones, Freel, Matt Murton, Ryan Theriot, Eric Patterson, Felix Pie, Cesar Izturis, and Ronny Cedeno, depending on who's hot and who's healthy. And I would then allocate most of the rest of the available 2006 payroll to starting pitching, either via FA and/or trade, or by signing a ready-made Japanese rotation starter or two.

"Not to mention, if Nolasco had been pitching for the Cubs, I have my doubts that he would have had the same success."

again - more speculation on your part which you keep relying upon for your shoddy argument.

You referred to his poor August and September. Well he also had a 3.72 era i April, 4.04 in May, and 2.62 in June. And - he threw a one-hitter against the Phillies on 7/28 whom the CUBS lost almost all of the games to in the season series, I think.

So, Mr. Speculation, maybe you "would think" that he could have won that game aganst the Phillies while pitching for the Cubs?

"But both have been Cubs #1 prospects, Montanez was the Cubs' first round (3rd overall) draft pick in 2000 at age 17 and Pie was signed out of the DR at age 17 in 2002."

Wrong. Montanez was never the Cubs top prospect. In fact, he only ranked in BP's top 100 prospect list one time.

Phillies gave Macha permission to interview to be Washington's bench coach. LOL

I think you meant Art Howe..

You're right Rob, too much paper-writing and procrastinating.

---

"The New York Yankees are interested in the possibility of signing two of their former pitchers and current free agents Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified team source."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15594331/

Burrell owed $27 mil in the next two years and Philly will eat a chunk of it to move him? That's three times better than Carlos Lee. Since we're not getting Soriano I would love to see Burrell end up here. After all, the Cubs are all about OBP now, right?

E-Man,

" His carrer numbers are pathetic. Yet HEndry opened his checkbook for the guy and signed him to too long of a deal simply b/c he is a lefty"

As a starter from 2004-2005 these are Rusch's numbers:

11-9 35 GS, 209 innings 3.92 ERA .82 HR's per 9 innings, 2.4 BB's, 6.4 K's and a 1.31 WHIP.

Now, ask any GM in baseball what he would pay for that if he were guaranteed to get it. It wouldn't be $2.5 million, it would be more like $6 to $7 million.

For comparison, look at these numbers of another left handed starter over the same period:
25-24 69 GS, 4.16 ERA 1.10 HR's/9, 3.5 BB's, 6.8K's and a 1.29 WHIP. You may have heard of this has been, he's Barry Zito and he made $8.5 million in '06.

REAL (Newly Civilized) NEAL: He had A good year. I am not denying it.

But I stated, "Career" numbers. He led the team in homers allowed despite small innings pitched.

And - he couldn't run to first to cover the damn base on numerous occasions due to his obesity.

Oh - and, a 60/94 record in 11 season with an era of 5.

He certainly rode his one good year of a 6-2 record and good era with the Cubs to his payday.

And it didn't look like too bad of a deal for the Cubs until he showed up to Spring Training looking like Marlon Brando. I still laugh when I remember that picture of him on The Heckler where they made him look 350 pounds.

Rusch was even more valuable because, in addition ot being left-handed, he had shown an abiity to both start and relieve.

Yes, his career numbers were ugly, but he 2004-2005 numbers were good, and a lot of lefties don't hit their stride until later in theri careers, lending even more credence to the value of the 2004-2005 numbers.

It was another good risk with a bad result. That's baseball.

Good points E-Man,

Except that I said 'As a starter from 2004-2005 these are Rusch's numbers'

2004 to 2005 is over two seasons. Are you rejecting the possibility that a pitcher can improve? Also it wasn't until after signing the contract that Rusch decided to work on his career as a sumo wrestler, he looked fine at the end of 2005.

Should I look up Washburn's numbers for 2004-2005 before he signed his 4 year $37.5 million deal?

more speculation on your part which you keep relying upon for your shoddy argument.

Of course it is speculation! We're talking about a young pitcher with 1 season under his belt, and not a single pitch throw at the time of the trade. Unless you can say with absolute certainty what Nolasco will do in the future based on his one season in MLB, it has to be speculation.

Are you seriously going to argue that because Nolasco's numbers in his first year were somewhat better than any of the other young pitchers that the Cubs used that he will have the better career or even a better 2007? Do I have to come out with the list of pitchers who've struggled their first year and gone on to have very successful careers.

Nolasco's overall numbers in his rookie year are far better than Greg Maddux's numbers his first full season. Does that mean that Nolasco is a lock to have a hall of fame career?

You referred to his poor August and September. Well he also had a 3.72 era i April, 4.04 in May, and 2.62 in June.

If I've got any young player who starts off the season very well and then falls apart at the end, generally means that he either didn't have the stamina to perform for a full year or the rest of the league figured him out. I don't know which it is for him, but because of that, I don't think many teams would consider him a lock for their 2007 rotation.

Think of it this way, would you be as high on Rich Hill or Matt Murton's future if you swapped their May and June numbers with their August and September numbers? I know I wouldn't.

So, Mr. Speculation, maybe you "would think" that he could have won that game aganst the Phillies while pitching for the Cubs?

Maybe, maybe not. I will say that I have zero confidence in the Cubs coaching staff to deal with young pitchers. The fact that Nolasco got to work with a different pitching coach in his rookie year and had more success than several other pitchers who were ranked higher than him tells me that better coaching could have quite easily resulted in some better performances.

btw:

comparision of ERA+: (the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average and

Jarrod Washburn: 19-16 180K/91BB, 327.1 IP, 3.86 ERA in 54 starts
Glendon Rusch:15-10 201 K/86 BB,275 IP, 4.03 ERA in 35 starts, 78 G.

Of course, Washburn also went 18-6 in 2002, so at least he had one great year to bank on. Rusch's best year prior was 11-11 in 2000.
The question is moot...the risk backfired when Rusch flat oout stunk in 2006.

Best of wishes to him for a speedy recovery, but so long, and good luck...

Of course, Mateo, Marmol, and Guzman were also shuttled from the bullpen, to the rotation in Iowa, back to the Cubs rotation, and then to Iowa' bullpen...etc, etc...

#182 of 185: By Rob G. (November 7, 2006 02:09 PM)
The organizational meetings start today, are they in Arizona?

----

ROB G: Yes. The Cubs declined my offer to hold the meetings in my backyard, but they will be held here in Mesa, probably at the Denny's at Main & Dobson.

Here's Washburn's ERA+ numbers since 2001:

2001: 126
2002: 138
2003: 96
2004: 99
2005: 131
2006: 93

Rusch

2001: 89
2002: 85
2003: 68
2004: 131
2005: 94
2006: 62

Not that I really think anyone is really comparing the two, but there's no baseball news out there. Guess I better finish up my article at lunch that I was writing.

Rob G,

I was looking at that, and I guess there's a problem with how baseballreference uniformly applies their park effects to come up with the +ERA's.

But anyway, Bleeding Blue forgot Hill when he said Nolasco's numbers are better than any young Cub's pitcher and they're not significantly better than Marshall's.

Nolasco's starts
9 @ Florida
2 @ Atlanta, Wash, Philly
1 @ Colorado, San Diego, Baltimore, NYM, AZ and STL.

If you coun't Stl as a hitter's park, he made 4 starts in hitter's parks and got hammered in 2 of them. He also was starting again in September, he only missed 2 or 3 turns.

His ERA was at a low of 3.06 on June 15th, and rose to 4.82 by season's end.

"We don't have the money that some of these other teams do," Rangers owner Tom Hicks said on Tuesday, "but we're going to put in a bid. It will be an interesting process."

talking about Matsuzaka of course. Obviously trying to throw teams off.

The Rumor guy says he heard something about $21 mil from his Tribco sources. (we all know how you feel about him and you know who you are.) We'll just fill-in the 20 posts in our minds about how he doesn't know what he's talking about...

Sports Radio in Houston is reporting the Astros are close to a 3 yr deal with Huff and a 4th yr option.

I sure hope Kaplan is right about Ramirez

BLEEDING:" I have zero confidence in the Cubs coaching staff to deal with young pitchers."

I know what you mean here.

And, I zero confidence in Jim Hendry getting the talent this off-season to put the team into the playoffs.

But I keep saying, I hope HOPE (that is what it is to be a Cub fan) that he proves me wrong!

hey, I like Nolasco as much as the next guy, but we have half a dozen "Nolasco's" in our system. I'd rather we trade him over Pie or Murton that's for sure.

that Gotham baseball guy that seems to be trying to scoop rumors is talking about Bonderman for A-rod swap. Also said Reds offered the Tigers Dunn, Larue and Phillips for Bonderman and got shot down.

Another story out there is that Dunn's trade value is falling like a rock. Can't remember where I read it though.

I think there may be a problem with the baseballreference hall of fame indicators.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/p/pierrju01...

According to the Black Ink standard, Pierre is 2/3rds of the way to being an average HOFer. Maybe they out to consider taking out such important categories as Games, At Bats, Singles, at bats per K and the best of them all, Outs! out of their tabulations. Well he has more than 18 black inks, maybe they aren't counting games and outs.

another rumor out there is the Angels are looking at Carlos Lee as a DH/1B. Most players aren't too thrilled to move into the DH role, so we'll see if that hurts them.

Looking at BP's defensive stats and Lee is becoming quite the trainwreck out there over the last few years.

I hope lee goes to the american league. That guy is a wrecking machine at Wrigley.

(i should have said "stays", but whatever)

That's funny I would have thought a 6'2" 250 lb left fielder would cover ground like a gazelle. Imagine how good he is going to be in 3 years!

funny thing is Carlos can swipe a bag pretty well...

19 SB last year, only caugh twice. Would have been good for 2nd on the Cubs.

Double digits most of his career as well. Guess he knows how to read the situation and pitchers.

For the 07-08 money, Burrell > CLee; unless of course Burrell is still in Philly, because he is then full-price. But if Philly eats even $3M a year, Burrell will be a better buy.

What I heard about Lee has him calling Oswalt and Berkman, asking questions about the Stros. =(

ryan klesko proved to the world that intelligent basestealing can beat pure speed.

bobby "somehow i get a rep for playing rookies when i usually only play them when its all i got left" cox wouldnt let him him run in ATL (or be an everyday player in LF/1st).

he got to SD and showed it off nicely til his injuries and wear/tear started to kick in around 02/03.

its the combo of both (beltran/abreu) that can really make things happen.

Since this is the time of the year for speculation, here is another tidbit: ESPN News is reporting that both Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite of the Astros have interest in heading back to the American League, either both to the Yankees or Andy to the Yanks and Roger to the Red Sox.

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