Let’s Play Two!

While we are waiting for the details of the reported eight year $136M contract, chew on this: Thom Brennaman mentioned in a D'backs broadcast in August that Nats manager Frank Robinson told him that Alfonso Soriano is the happiest and most positive player he has known in MLB since our very own "Mr. Cub" (Ernie Banks), that he is very popular with his teammates, that he worked hard to improve his defense in what was a new position for him this past season, and that he now loves playing the outfield so much that he doesn't want to go back to 2B. I am one who believes that if you have the speed and range to cover the ground, CF is actually an easier position to play than LF or RF. Certainly Soriano still needs to improve his outfield defense (he made 11 errors last year), and there will be questions about his ability to play CF until he can prove it, but the fact is he has a strong arm (an ex-shortstop, he threw out 22 opposing baserunners last season--by far, leading all of MLB). And if he plays CF, he will get more straight-on fly balls, not the evil hooks & slices you get in a corner outfield spot. And there is no bullpen mound to trip over in CF at Wrigley, either. I may be a lot more optimistic than the average TCR poster (hey, I grew up watching the Cubs on Channel 9 and listening to Jack Brickhouse!), but speaking as a long-suffering Cub fan of 47 years, I am abso-freakin-lutely thrilled that McDonough-Hendry-Piniella & Company are at least trying to make the Cubs the best team it can be. How many of you actually thought it was possible that the Cubs would or could sign Soriano away from the Angels, especially after Angels owner Artie Moreno never even got a chance to sign Aramis Ramirez? Look, the Cubs still need to acquire a couple of reliable starting pitchers (I've got Schmidt, Westbrook, and Jennings as 1-2-3 "Most Wanted" on my board), but AZ Phil's bottom line is this: So far... EXCELLENT, BABY! Pass the Kool-Aid! And GO CUBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Comments

Yeah, I love the signing but I hate the money and years.

Are there any further reports on the 6/90 or is it really 8/136?

GO CUBS!!!

Happiest day in a long time!!

that sounds almost like gay love

Also, I'm going to have to take the realistic route and say there's no way in hell we land Schmidt

Yeah, I'm upset about the money too, 'cause now I'm not sure if I can send my kid to Yale...oh wait, it's not my money. Is it possible that this spending spree is a tactic to drive up the selling price of the tribune and/or the Cubs? I mean, the Nationals sold for $450, so the Cubs have to be worth way more than that, and more than $600 mil to be sure.

I'm drinking from the same punch-bowl as Phil. And yeah, in Wrigley, CF is the EASY position to play. No real worries there.

The fact that Soriano learned Japanese as a 20-year-old playing in the Japanese Majors speaks volumes, for me, about his personality.

The money doesn't really bother me as much as the years. Heck, I would have loved a 4 year $80 contract. That being said, the Cubs have money and disposing of a big contract at the end of a players usefullness isn't all that hard (just call Georgey in New York).

My main concern is that the Cubs are going to try to squeeze Soriano into the leadoff spot. The guy doesn't not have a good career OBP, struck out 160 times last year, and in general does not have any desire to hit to get on base.

The Cubs, and Soriano's numbers for that matter, would be far better off by slotting him in the 3, 4, or 5 hole. I don't even know what the counter arguement is here ("he has hit there most of his career" not being something that holds water with me).

Bruce Levine (ESPN1000 Chicago), who's getting a lot of credit for having broken news of the Soriano deal, said last hour on the radio that he thinks the Cubs have an outstanding shot at landing Schmidt.

Levine is not much of an interviewer--softball questions all the time--but he seems to have the right friends in the Cub front office.

If he says the Cubs have the inside track on Schmidt, I'm prepared to be deliriously optimistic.

A great day in Cubdom.

we've all waited for something like this to happen for so long----Pinella was on WGN radio and said Soriano will play a corner----how about Jones and Olhman to W.S. for a starting pitcher, then grab a CF or let Pie get the job

I'm feeling good. This is a good day.

Here's a theory. It's November 13. Hendry has a secret: he's got the Tribune approvals and permissions necessary to get Soriano, no matter the price. And Hendry knows that Soriano has to play outfield for the Cubs.

There's only one problem -- Hendry knows that deep down, Soriano still considers himself a second baseman, and may hold out hope that he'll return to 2B one day soon. So, to prevent Soriano from having any potiential dreams or hopes that he can join the Cubs with a shot at 2B, Hendry decides to go out and grab the best FA 2B on the market ASAP (DeRosa), even though it means paying him an above-market deal to make it happen quickly, in advance of the Soriano deal.

Hendry then announces very publicly (and somewhat oddly, to fans who don't know the rest of the story) that DeRosa will be the Cubs' starting second baseman. After that signing, with the infield locked down, Hendry calls Soriano's agent with a whopper number for an outfield spot....

Maybe, maybe not. But it's now very convenient that DeRosa has been announced as the 2B -- prevents the kind of drama that Washington suffered through in Spring Training 2006.

Your main concern is the Cubs squeezing Soriano into the leadoff spot? It is the place in the lineup he has enjoyed the most success in his career. Over 470 games hitting leadoff.

This isn't even a point of argument, Alfonso Soriano is our new leadoff hitter.

End O Subject.

#9 bob-
----Pinella was on WGN radio and said Soriano will play a corner----

hopefuuly, this means mike c will get his wish and hendry will send barrett plus pitching/somebody to the jays so that wells will be the opening day cf flanked by soriano and murton/jones/eventually pie.

with schmidt on the mound. (zambrano being saved for the wrigley field opening day.)

barkeeper !! kool-aid for everybody !!

I'm not so sure about Schmidt. If we could get him for 2 years with a vesting option for a 3rd year based on starts, I'd be okay with it. But he's NOT going to be worth a 4-year deal. Then again, it's a very inflated market, especially for pitching.

I'd rather see the Cubs acquire a couple of starters via trade. Lee is probably a pipedream, but I think a deal of Eyre/Cotts/Ohman+Marshall+Cedeno could help pry Westbrook away from the Tribe. The Marlins are looking for a young, cheap CF, and Taveras seems to be going nowhere. What about Pie for Olsen or Josh Johnsen?

A couple of creative moves like that, coupled with signing a guy like Marquis as insurance/long relief would leave plenty of money to obtain a stud off the bench or even possibly acquire Drew (if we could backload his contract to make the numbers work for this season).

Plenty of moves to go, but a successful offseason so far nonetheless.

I am still all for going after the ultra-cheap Carl Crawford.

I don't have any problem with Soriano hitting leadoff. I'd like to see him play CF. We know he plays an adequate LF and I assume he could do the same in RF. I also assume Jones is getting dealt. Kaplan and Waddle have mentioned more than once that Jacque is unlikely to be a Cub in 2007.
I also don't think Murton would be the butcher in RF that some claim he would. He was (at the very least) adequate in LF and got better as the year went on. His arm is decent and his accuracy is great.

"Hendry calls Soriano's agent with a whopper number for an outfield spot."

I think most of that talk of him wanting to be a second baseman was his agent talking to him in ST.

Knowing he would make huge bucks for the numbers he would put up as a second baseman.

Obivously he underestimated his hitting for this season as he hit great for a corner outfielder.

Trade for pitching and my God I will be giddy as a school girl until ST!!!

pass the kool-aid. i am effing ecstatic about this. according to keith law of espn, we have already landed 2 of the top 3 free agents. i know this is counting aramis as a free agent, well, he was, and he could've signed anywhere. but we got him. and jason schmidt may be on the way. i think that landing big money position free agent position players is generally less risky than big money free agent pitchers, so if we do not land schmidt, but perhaps a couple of lesser free agents (suppan, lilly) i think that i will be satisfied with this monster off-season.

YES!!!

and a little bit of gin in my kool-aid please

Carl Crawford would be nice, but he'll cost you a truckload in prospects. Other teams could easily top a Cubs offer.

I looked up some of Alfís 3-yr splits home/away after playing in pitcher friendly RFK.

RFK: 260/348/561/909
Away: 293/354/558/912
These numbers show that his power didnít seem to be impacted by the park.

Soriano only has 3 spots in the order with a significant# of ABís (these are 3 year splits, too):
#1: 706 ab; 289/354/574/928; .181 R/AB; .133 RBI/AB
#3: 557; 264/315/458/773; .131; .153
#5: 573; 272/317/522/839; .162; .187

Maybe someone can perform a more significant runs created statÖ

Day: 319/403/647/1050
Night: 257/326/518/844

Thatís about as good a day/night split as you could hope for from a new top-tier FA signee.

lots of people have pie in a possible trade scenario, but what about the possibility that he will play CF?
murton might be the one getting ready to clean out his locker, hm?

Fonzie
The Riot
D-Lee
A-Ram
JJ
Mike B
Felix
Ronny

I am fully drinking the same kool-aid, and I'm finding it's even better with a splash of rum...

Seriously, if you can't be happy and optimistic on a day like this, why bother being a fan? If every piece of Cubs news is a new excuse to worry or criticize, then what joy do you get out of this? It's tough enough being a Cubs fan -- you have to at least enjoy days like these. These are the good times.

And even the most critical of fans have to admit that with Lee, Ramirez and Soriano in the lineup every day, we already have at least risen above "suck" and are well on our way to "competitive." And it's only November 19.

This is the news I've been hoping to see!

This is the most impressive offseason I've seen in my Cub years, both in getting the #1 cheese and the speed with which business is being conducted.

Yep, Hendry knew he had the money to spend to improve. It's snowballing now.

I just have to point out one thing and I am actually going to do it at the expense of Juan Pierre.

For those complaining about whether Soriano should lead-off or not think about all the times Pierre came up to bat with a key run on base and at best we could hope for was a single so as to continue the inning and hope it gets to Ramirez? Now in those situations we have Soriano stepping to the plate.

How about the situations where we lay down the sac bunt in the #9 spot to bring Soriano to the plate? You don't think that sends some fear into the opposing pitcher?

God I love it, a fearsome 1-4 in the lineup. And we don't even know who the #2 hitter will be yet, lol.

Does anyone know for sure if we are giving up a first round draft pick for the soriano signing

"bout all the times Pierre came up to bat with a key run on base and at best we could hope for was a single so as to continue the inning and hope it gets to Ramirez?"

How often did that happen compared to Pierre getting on base and no one behind him to knock him?

I would prefer Soriano 3-4-5.

Now to complete the day, trade for Arod to play short, Hendry then buys the Twins and puts Santana in the rotation and Mauer behind the plate.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

ALIVE! ITS ALIVE!!!!!

~faints~

good point MIKEC,

whos gonna hit 2nd???

Mauer could bat second, although Pujols might be a better fit there. Bonds may be a little annoyed about being dropped back to 7th, though, but if ARod can bat at the bottom of the order for us, Bonds can too.

sorry, too much kool-aid, burp

433, no, I don't believe that Hendry knows "down deep" that Soriano still wants to play 2B. In fact, the article that leads off this thread states, I believe, that Soriano is very happy playing in the outfield. So I think your concern is a total non-issue.

Beyond that, I have to echo what everyone else is saying. I absolutely cannot believe this. After last off season, when the negotiations for Furcal dragged on and on and on etc etc etc, no way did I think that we would, first, sign Soriano, and second, sign him in mid-November. Amazing.

Obviously, the rumors are true. The Cubs front office has decided to up the payroll in a significant way. They know that they still need to add a # 2 pitcher and that will cost some bucks. They know that. And they STILL signed Soriano. It is clear now that Hendry did make some promises to Lou, not necessarily that we absolutely would get Soriano but at least that the Cubs were going to make serious, serious offers to guys like Soriano. I suspect Lou knew, when he signed, which specific guys Hendry intended to go after.

Well, so much for the first day ticket sales the last Friday in February being much less this coming year. If you thought it was tough the last few years, just wait until the last Friday in February of 2007. Again, all I can say is wow.

This is great news. This is the best Cubs off-season action since after the '03 season. The offseasons in between were frustrating because we could see the team deteriorate and nothing was done to reverse it.

I am excited already for spring.

"How often did that happen compared to Pierre getting on base and no one behind him to knock him?"

Pierre wasn't on base very often. 30% of the time.
If you get the best out of Soriano at leadoff, put him there.

Hobart . . . who did we sign in the off season after the 2003 season that compares with the guys we have signed or traded for this year? For me, no offseason since I started following the Cubs in the late 1970s compares with this one and we are not even done yet. In second place, I would put the off season when we signed Andre Dawson. That was awesome. But this one wins hands down.

Well, we did drop wood's 12 million dollar contrac and maddux's 10 million dollar contract, so soriano and ramirez's raises are being substituted for soriano... Ill take it

Just remember Pierre put up a .350 OBP for the last 4 months of the season, which is about what Soriano did for the year.

Both players will be roughly on base the same amount of time. The difference is the power.

Congratulations. Considering the Fonz's contract your starting rotation looks like this:

1. Zambrano
2. Prior
3. Miller
4. Hill
5. Cotts

but MAN what a 1~4 lineup!

Fonz
Mike-B
D-Lee
A-ram

Cubby

You forgot to mention rusch as a possible starter....

But seriously, be optimistic... Its nov 19th... We have mre time

This is fantastic news and just what we as Cub fans needs to expect from this team. Now let's get Zito or Schmidt and see where we go from there. I prefer Soriano hitting fifth rather than leadoff but let's not be picky. And let's see if we can find a way to do something with Murton. Either play him or trade him, don't sit him on the bench.

Step 1 (and with DeRosa, step 1A) completed. Let's keep it up.

I read that J.D. Drew is also signed! Here's what was said:

"The Cubs have reported that they have offered a 3 year 45 million dollar contract to Drew which sources close to Scott Boras says he will accept.

A side note Barry Zito contacted Jim Hendry Personally to let him know that he would enjoy pitching at Wrigley field and for the Chicago Cubs."

Sounds good to me!

I think a good lineup (If this is true)would be:

Soriano CF
Izturis SS
Lee 1B
Drew RF
Ramirez 3b
Jones LF
Barrett C
DeRossa 2b

Where the hell did you get that info? I want to see!

ACTUALLY, THIS DEAL MAKES A LOT OF SENSE FOR THE TRIB WHEN YOU KNOW ALL THE DETAILS...

THE TRIBUNE COMPANY HAS A LONG HISTORY OF ACQUIRING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND POWER THROUGH ASSASSINATION OF THE FIRST BORN SON...

IT TURNS OUT THAT SORIANO IS THE HALF BROTHER OF MICHAEL NESMITH, AND AS SUCH WOULD BE HEIR TO HIS SHARE OF THE MONKEYS CATALOG AND THEIR MOTHER'S WHITE OUT EMPIRE SHOULD ANYTHING "HAPPEN" TO MIKE, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN...

BIZZARO-ROSENTHAL SUGGESTS THAT PART OF THIS DEAL IS THAT ALFONSO SURRENDERS ALL HIS RIGHTS TO HIS FAMILIAL WEALTH....

From 2001-2005, Soriano played 30 full months in MLB. His walk totals are terrible, as everyone knows. In those 30 months, he only drew 8 or more walks 4 times.

9 BB in June 2001
10 BB in April 2003
9 BB in April 2004
8 BB in September 2005

In 2006, he walked 8 times in 3 of the 6 months, and 12, 14, 17 times in the other 3 months.

In his 2 worst offensive months in 2006, he drew 12 walks and 14 walks, for an IsoD of around .100 --- so even though he wasn't making good contact, he wasn't swinging at everything.

Hopefully this is a sign of increased discipline going forward in his career.

I want to first say congrats to all of us cub fans. we have finally had a good START to an offseason. While I'm as happy as everyone else out there, I'm not satisfied. I will be satisfied once we sign two or three pitchers that can eat some innings for us. If not we are going to end up like the '05 and '06 Yankees.

I don't think Kenny Williams will be willing to send one of his starting pitchers here unless we put together a very nice package for him. Two reasons: 1. he knows we desparately need pitching. 2. the white sox will suffer a huge blow if the cubs acquire a descent pitching staff and are able to put together a successful season...all those bandwagon white sox fans that used to spend their summers at wrigley, but then came up with the famous saying, "i'm a chicago fan," will no longer be supporting the white sox. we will end up with those "chicago fans" saying "i've always been a cubs fan." They would be giving away fan base as well as a starting pitcher...we need to look somewhere other than the southside for starting pitching.

Schmidt...no more than 3 years
Marquis...I live with a cardinals fan and he would love to see Marquis on the cubs - this makes me nervous

Oh I thought it was real info.

right. that link also says that we are about to land barry zito. rirrrght.

KOOL AID! at this point last month if you told me we would have Aram back at 3rd and Soriano in left I would have said the same thing. "rirrrght" If it's true I will be shocked, but who knows! Wouldn't it be great though?

I think the thing that makes me the happiest about all of this is that it is a done deal now that the Tribune will sell the Cubs before the end of the 2008 season.

If Soriano loves Frank Robinson as much as Robinson loves Soriano, then if I'm Hendry I offer Robinson $250k/year and use of a great condo on the Gold Coast for the next two years to be his special assistant and to be in Chicago when the team is at home.

Get another starter without trading Pie (I think Patterson is the one most likely to go along with somebody like Mateo and a reliever), then lock Zambrano up for 2007-2010.

And I never thought I'd say this, but I think if Hendry doesn't trade Pie, signing the 85-year-old Kenny Lofton to hit 2nd and play CF might not be a bad idea.

I think that website also has us trading Izturis for A-Rod and Marshall for Carpenter...

"The Cubs have reported that they have offered a 3 year 45 million dollar contract to Drew which sources close to Scott Boras says he will accept."

Your sources are full of crap.

Interesting line in the Peter Gammons article that ESPN just put up:

"They now want to sign two starting pitchers and a couple of left-handed bats."

lefty bats? for the bench or to replace an OF'er? If so it might mean Murton is destined for a trade or the bench since JJ is a lefty. I highly doubt they would go after JD Drew now, but maybe someone like Dave Roberts who could play LF or CF and lead off, freeing Soriano to hit in an RBI spot (even though he prefers lead off).

You can read the ESPN Gammons article for free at least through tonight, it's part of the free Insider preview weekend, oh boy...

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?na...

I pulled that from another Rumors site. Sorry for taking a little enthusiasm and seeing what else might be on the horizon.

Keep Marquis and his "fastball" away from Wrigley Field, unless he's pitching in the bottom of the first.

Man that free insider preview was very impressive. I'm going to sign up now.

The Gammons article also notes that this move keeps the Cubs away from Lugo now. Why were we even considering this guy? Oh yeah, because drunk driving is a no-no, but beating the snot out of your wife is OK. Riiiiiight.

Signing Lugo would have been a disaster. If we thought Pierre sucked...

If we can get Robert for a one or two year deal for about $2 mil per year go ahead and sign him.

This is our 2007 25 man roster

Alfonso Soriano 17,000,000
Aramis Ramirez 15,000,000
Derrek Lee 11,000,000
Carlos Zambrano 10,000,000
Michael Barrett 5,000,000
Mark Prior 5,000,000
Ryan Dempster 4,500,000
Jacques Jones 4,500,000
Bob Howry 4,000,000
Mark DeRosa 4,000,000
Scott Eyre 3,200,000
Cesar Izturis 3,200,000
Glendon Rusch 2,750,000
Henry Blanco 2,500,000
Kerry Wood 1,750,000
Wade Miller 1,500,000
Will Ohman 1,000,000
Michael Wuertz 355,000
Matt Murton 337,000
Ronnie Cedeno 336,000
Freddie Bynum 327,500
Angel Pagan 327,000
Sean Marshall 327,000
Neal Cotts 400,000
Rich Hill 327,000

Total 98,636,500

With a $120 million dollar payroll, that leaves us another $21 million to spend.

I dont think Hendry will addres the bench. I think he would view that as a possible mid season acquisiton. Also assuming that soriano plays center and murton in left... We can easily sign Schmidt if we wanted to. That would still leave us 11 mill if we got Schmidt at 10 mill / year.

Should be interesting...

ARM -
"Hobart . . . who did we sign in the off season after the 2003 season that compares with the guys we have signed or traded for this year?

After '03 I recall the Cubs improved themselves during the winter. Do you remember? Lee, Hawkins, Maddux. They improved (on paper) the club from '03. It wasn't that long ago. After '04 they didn't. After '05 they didn't. I'm not talking interms of hindsight (we know what happened or didn't during the season). I'm talking about during these past three winters.

Hey, the point I'm making is that they have improved so far this winter and I hope that they continue to before it's over. I don't really care to get into pissing matches with other posters over definitions of what constitutes good off-season improvements to the roster.

No pissing match. It was just a simple comment. Analyzing things is pretty much all that happens here. I think our signings this year are much better, on paper, than after '03. You don't. Fair enough. I won't analyze it further because I am not trying to annoy anyone. Suffice it to say I am happy with what has happened so far this off season.

I think this has been a great week for Cubs fans -- first Ramirez (and Wood...), now Soriano. They may or may not win, but please let us end all talk of how the Cubs never spend money to compete because they always pack Wrigley.

Just imagine, it's only been a week what else is going to happen? I'm excited.

ARM, I hear you.

I didn't mean that the '03 signings were better than this years. I just meant that this year's have been the best since '03. I just meant to say that '04 and '05 were lame off-seasons. That's all.

I agree with you. I am stoked about what has happened so far this off-season and hope that we will have more good news to come with some new starting pitching acquisitions.

Gail Fisher on CLTV said her "sources" said deal is guaranteed 6 years and "alot of incentives."

Wow, was that THE TOLAXOR from Baseballthinkfactory?

We are flattered to have such an esteemed visitor. Please sample from our wine, venison, and comely maidens.

what's a tolaxor? does it have something to do with sabermetrics? cuz i'm not really up on all that.

TOLAXOR is a longtime poster at baseball-primer/baseballthinkfactory. sort of troll, sort of resident jester, sort of crazy.

Speaking of crazy (warning, this is funny, but also PG-13ish)

http://www.skinnyvideo.co.uk/

Well ill shutup on the comments and watch from now on ...I cant believe Hendry had it in him .... revive me call 911 something... i actually am optimistic now.. ill

I'm going to choose optimism on this signing, but if it ends up that Soriano was signed to replace Murton, there better be a follow up move to significantly improve CF. Otherwise, we may have paid $16.7MM per year to add ~10 doubles and ~20 home runs.

i could honestly care less who the 2 new pitchers are as long as one is a padillia/lilly/hudson-type tallent.

i'd love to see schmidt, but unless the Chicago Redsox are up to it, i'm not really thinking its in the plans.

im kinda scared to find out tommorow how backloaded this contract is, honestly. 8 years or 6 years, those last 2 years might be damn pricey if soriano's addition took some money shuffling to make happen.

"Pierre wasn't on base very often. 30% of the time."

I love how you quote this like its true.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The cubdom of this world is become
The cubdom of our Lord Hendry
And Of his Cubs
And of His Cubs
And he shall reign for ever and ever.
King of Kings
Forever and ever! hallelujah! hallelujah!
And Lord of Lords
Forever and ever! hallelujah! hallelujah!

Catalanotto signs with Texas, 3/13.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-rang...

Catalanotto 3/13? That makes DeRosa's 3/13 sound more reasonable. These guys are all overpaid, geesh.

Yeah, I wish I were just a fringe MLB player, I'd be at the very least well off and possibly rich.

xmission
http://www.skinnyvideo.co.uk/

Wow, that was disturbing and funny all at once. It was like a train wreck, you don't want to watch, but you... just... have... to...

Matt:
This is our 2007 25 man roster...Alfonso Soriano 17,000,000

crunch:
im kinda scared to find out tommorow how backloaded this contract is, honestly. 8 years or 6 years, those last 2 years might be damn pricey if soriano's addition took some money shuffling to make happen.

Crunch is right, the contract's probably backloaded, so saying Soriano will definitely make $17 mil next year is unrealistic. As for those last years being "pricey"? Let's go inflation!

I've been kinda soaking in everyone's argument for most of the evening, but after reflecting on it, I'm excited about this deal (obviously, I know). It's a helluva lot of money and years, but I think with inflation and the way the last few offseasons have gone, this contract will be eminently tradeable in, say, 4 or 5 years. I just hope that it will be tradeable. Reports are that Soriano got a full no-trade, which could make this an albatross in year 7 or 8.

Still, it immediately makes us a better team and that's the goal. I'd love to see Jones traded for some kind of CF or pitching upgrade, as has been mentioned. I also wouldn't discount the Cubs' interest in Drew and/or Lugo, however, esp. since Piniella apparently has a man-crush on Lugo.

It'll be interesting to see what Hendry does now with pitching, but by upgrading the offense, he's given himself some options. Are the Cubs still in the bidding for Kei Igawa? If so, how much should they bid, now that the bidding has started? And who among Meche/Lilly/Padilla/Eaton is highest on the Cubs' list? Personally, I'd like to see Barrett stick around - I like the guy a lot and I think his positives outweigh his negatives. However, Hendry has to at least listen to offers for him, and if it's a decent deal, I'd say go for it.

Anybody else notice Muskrat's latest mistake? She tallies up the total dollar amount the Cubs have committed to FAs this week (not including Soriano) and then compares it to the average annual salary that Piniella had while in Tampa Bay. There's nothing factually wrong with it but it creates a false dichotomy between what the Cubs have spent thus far this offseason and what the D-Ray spent in a year. Maybe the next item on Hendry's plan to improve this team is to put Muskrat's ass on the street:

So far, the Cubs have re-signed Ramirez, pitcher Kerry Wood (one year, $1.75 million), catcher Henry Blanco (two years, $5.25 million) and pitcher Wade Miller (one year, $1.5 million). The Cubs also have signed free-agent infielder Mark DeRosa to a three-year, $13 million deal and traded for left-handed reliever Neal Cotts.

That's a total of $94.5 million -- and doesn't include Soriano's deal -- and the Cubs have issues remaining to address such as completing the rotation. The spending is a change for Piniella, whose total payroll in his first season with the Devil Rays in 2003 was $19.6 million, and reached $29.7 million in '05.

Catalanotto is one of my favorite players from last season. I had him down as a possible target if the Cubs decided to go on the cheap.

That is very reasonably offer for him. He certainly deserves it more than DeRosa. Frank has atleast shown he can hit in the majors over multiple seasons.

Frank has atleast shown he can hit in the majors over multiple seasons.

Yes, but only against rightys. His split stats are ridiculous.

Plus defensively DeRosa is way more valuable than Catalanotto, who doesn't play the middle infield. You gotta have pop from the corners of the infield and outfield these days.

Soriano is a great player BUT I think the Cubs OVERpayed for him.

In fact, Cubs owner Tribune has already received offers from MANY Private Equity firms...

The entire media company will be sold off BEFORE next season starts...I can NOT believe the Tribune Management allowed GM Jim Hendry to sign Lou Pinella (who is expensive) and to make any moves for major new contracts. The Cubs team is always going to be valuable because of the ballpark and the fact that it sells out no matter how bad the team is...The Wrigley family sold the Cubs to Tribune for around $20 Million and there are rumors that the Cubs franchise could be sold for north of $700 Million today...Yet, Tribune Management would KNOW that any new owners would want their own GM and Manager -- they would NOT want to be locked into an expensive Pinella deal and saddled with huge contracts for players like Ramirez and Soriano...The Cubs are a multi-year fixer-upper and I DO NOT think that Hendry's recent moves have made the team more valuable or attractive to potential owners.

The Cubs should have hired former player Joe Girardi to a 1 year Manager deal (with the option to renew)...they could have picked him up for less than half what they are spending on Sweet Lou Pinella -- and Girardi knows how to get A LOT out of young talent too...Tribune Management should have told the Interim President and the GM to only invest in young talent (and keep the expenses down) as they knew there was a good chance the team would be sold BEFORE the 2007 season starts.

Common sense is often not common practive for Tribune Execs or their Cubs management team.

We all want the Cubs to win and create a solid foundation for the future - I don't think this management team will do it and new owners may have a very different philosophy about how to create a real contender.

"The Cubs team is always going to be valuable because of the ballpark and the fact that it sells out no matter how bad the team is."

...is the most important part of your post, West Coast.

Yes, this offseason has damaged the value the Cubs will fetch on the open market.

Perhaps...

A) Trib hopes to retain the Cubs.
B) Trib recognizes that failure to significantly upgrade this offseason would have harmed the long-term brand of this team with even some die-hard fans
C) Trib knows that 6.5 to 8 percent CAGR they'll get on their investment is the proverbial money in the coffers they need to inject themselves with if they do decide to do a deal, and that any monetary devaluation on this upgrades in minimal compared to the overall ROI on the Cubs.
d) McDonough and Hendry convinced them that the market was about to expand, that free-agency is becoming more of a luxury rather than SOP, and that if this team was going to be .500 or better they needed to spend a lot.
e) some combo.

Emptying the bank on Soriano makes no sense to me. Emotionally, for some reason, I do think of him as a star. Realistically, though, he's only about a .280 lifetime hitter who is just an average fielder. Yes, he can hit steal bases and hit for power, but he has a tendency to chase bad pitches and go into prolonged slumps. I don't think people will buy tickets just to see him. If you're going to go on a spending spree for a franchise player, go after good young pitching.

The Cubs from a profit margin standpoint are the most profitable asset the Trib has. I doubt they will want to sell them. I think their startagy will be sell off non-Chicago assets first. The downfall of that company is when it became a national media congomerlate. Anyways because of Govt. regulations Media buyouts take a long time so I doubt the trib will formally have sold anything by the time the season starts.

the cubs spending an extra 10-15-20m, esp. after "saving" around 10m last year in midseason trades and increased revenue from stadium expansion...well, its not much.

the LA Times probally blows through the cubs budget in a month. not much problem actually running their holdings, the returns just arent coming fast enough or big enough compared to its peers.

Everything I've seen on Bloomberg says the Tribune Company will sell everything at once in an auction to private equity investors...this was in Friday's Chicago Tribune newspaper:

"A source close to Tribune said the company is focused on offers for the whole company and is concerned that putting the Cubs up for sale separately would would distract management from bigger issues."

"Pierre wasn't on base very often. 30% of the time."

I love how you quote this like its true.

Ok, to clarify. Pierre was only on base to be driven in 30% of the time because he got himself picked off base so often.
That's a fact.

"Pierre wasn't on base very often. 30% of the time."

I love how you quote this like its true.

Ok, to clarify. Pierre was only on base to be driven in 30% of the time because he got himself picked off base so often.
That's a fact."

But that is not what you said. You said this:

"Pierre wasn't on base very often. 30% of the time."

That is not true. When you start to qualify it, well that's a different story.

How about all the double plays that were avoided because he stole second? Ever think about that. So stop with you stupid made up stat that no one counts and using it like some sort of smoking gun.

possible huge contract and years aside...

hendry finally got soriano after directly addressing his interest and hinting around soriano's name for what...3-4 years now?

The context of the original statement was in response to the "no one was driving Pierre in" argument that I proved wrong a couple of weeks ago. I forgot things have to be spelled out to you like an infant.

1. Pierre often found a way to make an out even on the rare occasions he did reach base.

2. He was only on base to be driven in 30% of the time.

Smoking gun. Pierre is the best out-maker in the league.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/20/sports/base...

Two interesting thing in that Times article.

They read the signing that it's 100% the Cubs are sold off.

Soriano has full veto power over all trades.

John, find one publication that includes your inane stat and I will accept it. Until then its worthless. And again, how many double plays were avoided due to pierre's speed?

Baseball Execs commenting in Monday morning's New York Times article:

"They also questioned the size of the package the Cubs gave Soriano, saying it was far too much for a leadoff hitter. That kind of money, they suggested, should be saved for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, a run producer like Rodriguez and Manny RamÌrez."

--

A big advantage of the Cubs getting sold off is that GM Jim Hendry will be one of the first to go.

Bruce Miles says Soriano will play RF! Good choice with his arm. Jones will move to CF if not traded. Intresting? I still think Murton is traded for pitching and they move Jones to left. Pinella wants some left-handed bats to complement the big 3.

soriano in RF...CF...whatever works.

any combo of soriano/jones/murton they can plug in works for me unless there's more magic money to cover 2 SP's adequately if they decide murton sucks or jones 5m isnt worth it.

Baseball Execs commenting in Monday morning's New York Times article:

"They also questioned the size of the package the Cubs gave Soriano, saying it was far too much for a leadoff hitter. That kind of money, they suggested, should be saved for a middle-of-the-lineup hitter, a run producer like Rodriguez and Manny RamÌrez."

--

A big advantage of the Cubs getting sold off is that GM Jim Hendry will be one of the first to go.

There were a dozen GM's that wanted one, and both LA ones would have made a simlair offer if Hendry didnt beat them to the punch.

from Briefing.com...

07:55 TRB Tribune bids to get serious - Chicago Tribune (32.25 )

Chicago Tribune reports the effort to sell Tribune to the highest bidder will move into Round 2 next week, as preliminary suitors given a peek at the co's books decide whether to stay in the auction or pack their bags and go home. Tribune mgmt has spent most of November giving a grueling set of presentations to a select group of bidders who in late October made non-binding "expressions of interest" in buying the co whole. Now it is up to the bidders: a collection of private-equity firms, two Los Angeles billionaires and Gannett (GCI). One source among the bidders said the presentations did little to ease concerns about the problems that led to a lackluster set of preliminary bids three weeks ago.

RE: #94 above "Most reports had the Cubs looking at Soriano as a center fielder, but sources said Sunday that the Cubs will put Soriano in right. That means Jacque Jones (whose injured left shoulder prevented him from throwing well in 2006) will go from right to center with the Cubs, if they donít trade Jones, hoping for the best."

The article also states that Pierre is Hist. now.

WESTCOASTCUBSFAN(WHOHASLOSTTOUCH): "Yes, he can hit steal bases and hit for power, but he has a tendency to chase bad pitches and go into prolonged slumps..." And score runs, and distract the pitcher when they're facing other batters, AND has a KILLER arm when NO ONE in our outfield has one, AND was viewed as the top FA in a slim market, AND will have successful power numbers in a small ball park, and - as I have seen in-person, singlehandedly change a game...That's all.

THE BEST players as well go into prolonged slumps, but can do other things. See ARod, Jeter, Pujols, DLee, etc. for examples of this.

Although I don't think Soriano is worth the money we paid him (as described in my painfully long posts yesterday), I still like the aggressiveness Hendry is showing. Hopefully Soriano's career year is the start of a string of them. The day/night splits are especially promising. Now that it looks like Soriano's a Cub, I'll take back my criticism and hope I'm wrong. At least the Cubbies are finally willing to throw down the money to try to win.

The only thing that worries me is whether we'll have the money to re-up Big Z after all is said and done this offseason. I've heard numbers like $20M per year thrown around. Whatever money Zito and Schmidt get will probably help define that. Hopefully we'll see a nice long extension for Z before spring training is up. I suspect spending is only going to get worse next year, so we might as well do it now.

As for the Cubs being for sale, the Trib ran a story about the strong interest from local Chicago investors. Perhaps some of those investors would be more interested in a team with a real chance, because they drink some of the Cubs Kool-Aid too (perhaps one or more Chicago versions of Mark Cuban). In that case these signings might actually help the value of the team. I'm sure Tribune wouldn't have opened its pockets (or let Hendry open the Trib's pockets) if it didn't make economic sense.

I'd love to see the Cubs get Jason Jennings. Anyone who can pitch like that in Colorado has to be good.

I can't wait for spring traing start It's pitching that we still need. Zito would like to pitch for the Cubs? He gets hitters out by having them hit a lot of fly balls. That could be scary at Wrigley Field.

Buster Onley was on Mike & Mike-
Doesn't like the deal
Says that money should be reserved for a top five player, (like Giambi?)
Said Cubs are targeting....Cliff Floyd

eww.

From what I'm reading the Trib is spending all this money so they can sell the team?

I guess they want to get ratings up on tv and radio (where they were losing to the Sox in the key demographics) so they will be that more valuable. I'm sure there is some law of economics that shows this should not work, but hopefully the Trib won't find it.

SPEND!SPEND!SPEND!

I don't realistically fear that TribCo is going to poor-mouth negotiations with Z now ("Sorry, Fonz is getting paid an awful lot...") They've tipped their hand for all subsequent negotiations I think. Personally, I think we in for a wild ride and sooner than later: they may be stocking the barn with the best horses available, then trying to sell the whole farm on the strength of the stable.

Make my kool-aid the red kind, the purple stuff makes me puke.

Why bother going after Schmidt and Zito? Didn't the Cardinals just win a WS with Weaver, Suppan and Reyes in their starting rotation?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the Cubs spending some dough. (Some people on this board act as if their kids can't go to college because the Cubs increased their payroll).
I still believe that the Cubs intend to pick up a couple guys and enter spring training having Prior as the 6th starter. The Cubbies don't need to add a 20 game winner, they just need someone who can start 30 games and throw 180 innings.
Either way, I'm psyched for Soriano. Although, I do love Matt Murton and TheRiot - it's a shame that it doesn't look like those kids will get a significant shot this year.

Buster Olney's comments and his article on ESPN Insider completely trashes this signing. What he doesn't metion is that two weeks ago he was reporting that Soriano was the best free agent on the market and the free agent that was going to command the most money. I think this guy is completely hypocritical. Olney sites that the cubs will be paying Soriano too much money when he is 38 and he thinks Alou is worth 9 or 10 million at age 40?? If it costs 10 million to sign and over the hill outfielder or an injury prone designated hitter, than I think we got a great deal at 17 million for Soriano's 40/40. Olney is that guy who would have criticized the cubs for not signing the big players in the offseason.

And the worst part of the article is that he says "the cubs are no closer to winning a world series." Now I don't think we are going to win a world series with this roster right now either, but to say we are not improved...now that's just stupid!!

The reported interest in Floyd actually comes from the Sun Times article about the Soriano signing and fwiw says that the Cubs are interested in him as bench help.

I actually think Floyd would be an interesting idea. If the Cubs are hell bent on benching but not trading Murton why not take a chance on Floyd because if he fails it will more likely be because of injury than poor performance. If he gets injured Murton can then go back to playing LF and the Cubs are right back where they started from. If they can get Floyd for relatively cheap it might be worth the chance. In 2005 a healthy Floyd was worth around 7.5 wins to the Mets and would be the LH bat that the Cubs seem to want so bad. If Floyd is healthy he is probably a cheap upgrade over Murton and if he isn't Murton can play.

How much does Olney think the Cubs overpaid by? I mean really. Some of the guys who appear on "Mike and Mike" are just idiots. If the Cubs had not signed Soriano, another team would have for the same or slightly less money. Sorry Buster, the market dicates what each of us is worth financially. That is why you are not worth much financially and Soriano is worth a lot. Does Buster think that Beltran was not worth 7 years at $119 million? Isn't this essentially the same amount of money, with just an extra year for Soriano?

Floyd is an terrible idea...

The next signing must be a pitcher!!!!

Guys like Buster Olney just make me laugh. They are proven wrong over and over again, but they never stop talking. There's a saying that comes to mind: "Often in error, never in doubt."

How many of the experts last year said at the beginning of the season that the Cards and Tigers would play in the WS? In fact, most of the experts said the Cardinals had not made enough moves to strengthen their team, Edmonds was too old, their pitching staff was too thin, their bullpen was too weak, and Pujols couldn't carry them all.

I like listening to these guys, but most of them (Olney included) just like to hear themselves talk. When they start getting things consistently right, then I'll pay more attention.

Good point. Soriano was going to get his money from someone, so the market determined what he was worth. In a vacuum, I would agree with Olney, but in a competitive market, you have to pay what the market dictates.

If all Olney did was go on the radio and say what a good signing it was, it wouldn't create much interest or ratings. But by trashing the deal, he's creating controversy and establishing himself as someone who knows more than others. It's a crock, but I guess it's all part of the business of being a supposed expert.

Finally, to say that the Cubs are no closer to winning a WS than they were before signing Soriano is just ridiculous. They still may not be a WS contending team, but they are getting closer.

Jones has played a total of 15 games in CF since 2000, and is coming off an injury to his throwing arm. I can't see him as the plan for CF, but we do need the lefty bat in the middle of the lineup.

I think Floyd's lefty bat off the bench is an excellent idea, as he can replace Murton against tough righties, back up Lee at first and give us some pop as a pinch hitter.

There is no way that Floyd would sign somewhere to be a 4th outfielder.

Re: Pierre, you proved nothing, BJS.

The point all along was that despite his OBP needing to be better as a leadoff man, he was still on base plenty of times to be driven in more often.

What I'd like to know is what the Cubs' average with RISP was in relation to the other teams and their leadoff men.

"but most of them (Olney included) just like to hear themselves talk."

You mean a guy from ESPN is full of hot air?

;-)

Pretty soon you will tell me Steve Phillips is not a GM,but he holds press confernces!!

Mike Golic, amazingly, was the voice of reason on this saying Soriano got a $1 to $2 million more a year than everyone thought its not that bad.

Floyd as a bench guy I can live with. Go get Drew and Schmidt then trade for Westbrook and then I will have the champaign on ice.

Here are Floyd's three year splits: .261/.347/.466. Those are not a reserve's numbers.

Does anyone really think that Floyd is going to be a bench guy? I would love to have him on the Cubs bench, but lets be realistic. Is Floyd going to be offered bench money? And even if offered more money, would he be willing to sit on the bench? I doubt it.

Iíll have a little smile on my face knowing the Cubs picked up the two best free agent pieces off the board.

Yup - Soriano and Blanco baby!

Floyd has had a lot of trouble hitting lefties the last few years, so I guess a Floyd/Murton platoon isn't unthinkable. I'd rather just see Murton get the full 600 at bats, though.

Floyd can't present himself as an everyday player anymore, especially after another injury-plagued season. The Mets have given up on him as a FT left fielder.

I think Hendry will now spend:

$8M-Meche;
$5M-either Westbrook or Jennings in trade;
$3M-Marquis (with incentives);
$4M-Floyd; and
$5M for 2 bench players

Which completes a $125M payroll.

I would still prefer to see a "pure" CF instead of Jones, but that may have to wait until ST.

Leave Orange Guy alone in left. He's proven he can hit and make adjustments in the bigs, so why not save the money you'd spend on another left fielder and put it towards pitching?

With Soriano, the Cubs have more than enough power to go around, even if Murt only ends up hitting ~15 HRs.

Anyone else have a strange feeling that a Dontrelle trade is on the way? Hmm, maybe a bit too much sugar in my Kool-Aid.

If no Drew,you think Dave Roberts will come here, to end another WS drought, for 2/14 million?

Intersting timing on the Soriano signing. If I read AZ Phil's report correctly, today is the last day to make moves on the 40-man roster before the "freeze" period between now and the Winter Meetings.

If Soriano is added today, the 40-man is full (by my count), which means that the Cubs may attempt to pull off a multi-player deal today (Jennings or Westbrook?) in addition to the normal shuffling of players on/off the 40-man roster.

I suspect that Hendry is going to get as many deals done as quickly as he can. If the Trib is seriously being dealt, then the money he has in hand today can disappear tomorrow.

That's a factor I see in corporate land all the time. Spend the money while you have it, because what the man giveth, the man can also taketh away.

Why bother going after Schmidt and Zito? Didn't the Cardinals just win a WS with Weaver, Suppan and Reyes in their starting rotation?

But those guys also happened to pitch their best games of the entire season in the playoffs. Its one of the great things about short series, is that even if you aren't great, sometime you can win by getting how at the right time.

The better comparison I'd think, would be the Mets. They had a great offense, and were clearly the best team in the NL last year, yet they didn't make the world series largely because their pitching staff fell apart. If the Mets would have had one more big time starter, the odds of them beating the Cards would have gone up dramatically.

56 of 119: By Matt (November 19, 2006 10:22 PM)
This is our 2007 25 man roster

Alfonso Soriano 17,000,000
Aramis Ramirez 15,000,000
Derrek Lee 11,000,000
Carlos Zambrano 10,000,000
Michael Barrett 5,000,000
Mark Prior 5,000,000
Ryan Dempster 4,500,000
Jacques Jones 4,500,000
Bob Howry 4,000,000
Mark DeRosa 4,000,000
Scott Eyre 3,200,000
Cesar Izturis 3,200,000
Glendon Rusch 2,750,000
Henry Blanco 2,500,000
Kerry Wood 1,750,000
Wade Miller 1,500,000
Will Ohman 1,000,000
Michael Wuertz 355,000
Matt Murton 337,000
Ronnie Cedeno 336,000
Freddie Bynum 327,500
Angel Pagan 327,000
Sean Marshall 327,000
Neal Cotts 400,000
Rich Hill 327,000

Total 98,636,500

With a $120 million dollar payroll, that leaves us another $21 million to spend.

I dont think Hendry will addres the bench. I think he would view that as a possible mid season acquisiton. Also assuming that soriano plays center and murton in left... We can easily sign Schmidt if we wanted to. That would still leave us 11 mill if we got Schmidt at 10 mill / year.

Should be interesting...

=======================================

MATT: I sure don't have a problem with rounding off numbers (which is why I'd make a lousy accountant!), but you are using the 2006 MLB minimum salary ($327K) instead of the new one ($380K), and you have the 2006 Opening Day salaries listed for D-Lee, Jones, Dempster, Eyre, Izturis, and Rusch instead of what they will be making this season.

Including approximately $86M in '07 money guaranteed to 14 players (Soriano, Ramriez, Lee, Jones, Barrett, Dempster, Izturis, Howry, DeRosa, Eyre, Rusch, Blanco, Wood, and Miller), the guess-timated salaries the four arbitration-elgible guys (Zambrano, Prior, Ohman, and Cotts) will probably get (about $16M aggregate), and what the seven auto-renewal players needed to fill out the 25-man roster will get (about $3M aggregate), the Cubs 2007 payroll right now sits at about $105M (plus or minus $1M).

And that $105M does NOT include the $3M needed to buy-out Kerry Wood's previous contract, more than $12M in potential '07 performance bonuses for Wood, Miller, Dempster, Rusch, Eytre, and Howry, and $1M for players on the 40-man roster with "split contracts" who will be on optional assignment to the minors.

So if Hendry's 2007 payroll budget is $115M, and presuming Wood's $3M buy-out, the $12M in potential performance bonuses, and $1M in minor league split contracts do not count against Hendry's available payroll, then Hendry has $10M in '07 salaries left to spend. If the payroll budget is $120M, then he has $15M left to spend.

Signing Jason Schmidt would almost certainly use up most of that (and that's if the budget is $120M), and would leave nothing for an additional pitcher or two and a veteran bat off he bench.

There are several ways Hendry can get himself more '07 payroll, though, and that is by trading Ryan Dempster as part of a deal for a starting pitcher (which would save about $5M), or by trading or non-tendering Mark Prior (saving about $4M), or by trading Bob Howry as part of a deal for a starting pitcher (a $4M savings), trading Scott Eyre in a deal for a starting pitcher (saves $3.5M), or by trading either Will Ohman or Neal Cotts in a deal for a starting pitcher (which would save about $1M).

So without moving some salary (Dempster, Prior, Howry, Eyre, Ohman, or Cotts), it would be hard for Hendry to add two rotation starters through free-agency. As a result, Hendry will probably need to find a way to package one or two of these pitchers as part of a trade for a starting pitcher, and then (if his payroll budget is $115) he should have enough left to sign a second-tier FA starting pitcher. Just not two FA starters, and certainly NOT Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito.

Now if Hendry was given a blank check by the Trib... well, then Hendry can sign anybody without regard to the cost. But despite the contract Soriano is going to get, I suspect there is a limit, and it probably is somewhere around $115M, and that means Hendry is going to have to get creative with the $10M (or so) he still has left to spend in order to add two starting pitchers and a starter-reliever "swingman."

John, find one publication that includes your inane stat and I will accept it. Until then its worthless. And again, how many double plays were avoided due to pierre's speed?

Baseball Reference shows that Pierre made 532 outs last year. Those are outs at the plate, caught stealing, in double plays and his sacrifices. Pierre had 750 plate appearances last year. So his plate appearances resulted in an eventual out 70.9% of the time.

#122 of 125: By Seamhead (November 20, 2006 11:19 AM)
Intersting timing on the Soriano signing. If I read AZ Phil's report correctly, today is the last day to make moves on the 40-man roster before the "freeze" period between now and the Winter Meetings.

If Soriano is added today, the 40-man is full (by my count), which means that the Cubs may attempt to pull off a multi-player deal today (Jennings or Westbrook?) in addition to the normal shuffling of players on/off the 40-man roster.

=================================

SEAMHEAD: Exactly. Today would be a good day for Hendry to pull off a multi-player two-fer or three-fer deal for a starting pitcher (like Westbrook, Jennings, or one of the White Sox starters), if that is his intention. And as I wrote in a previous post (#125), Hendry probably will not be able to add two starting pitchers through free-agency. He will need to make at least one deal for a starting pitcher where his trading partner takes back at least one reliever (preferably Dempster, Howry, or Eyre, because more '07 salary would be saved, but it could be either Ohman or Cotts, too), and Hendry may have to end up possibly dumping Mark Prior as well, because Prior's immediate future is just too cloudy to warrant spending about $4M on a guy who can leave (and probably will leave) as a FA after the 2008 season when that money might be needed to pay for a healthy and reliable rotation starter for 2007.

Remember, Prior's salary cannot be cut more than 20% (meaning his absolute minimum possible salary in 2007 will be $2.92M), but because his 2006 season involved him being injured, it is very unlikely that Prior will get a cut in salary. In fact, despite his nightmare 2006 season, I believe he will likely get a slight raise, from $3.65M to about $4M.

MATT: I sure don't have a problem with rounding off numbers (which is why I'd make a lousy accountant!), but you are using the 2006 MLB minimum salary ($327K) instead of the new one ($380K), and you have the 2006 Opening Day salaries listed for D-Lee, Jones, Dempster, Eyre, Izturis, and Rusch instead of what they will be making this season.

Including approximately $86M in '07 money guaranteed to 14 players (Soriano, Ramriez, Lee, Jones, Barrett, Dempster, Izturis, Howry, DeRosa, Eyre, Rusch, Blanco, Wood, and Miller), the guess-timated salaries the four arbitration-elgible guys (Zambrano, Prior, Ohman, and Cotts) will probably get (about $16M aggregate), and what the seven auto-renewal players needed to fill out the 25-man roster will get (about $3M aggregate), the Cubs 2007 payroll right now sits at about $105M (plus or minus $1M).

And that $105M does NOT include the $3M needed to buy-out Kerry Wood's previous contract, more than $12M in potential '07 performance bonuses for Wood, Miller, Dempster, Rusch, Eytre, and Howry, and $1M for players on the 40-man roster with "split contracts" who are on optional assignment to the minors.

So if Hendry's 2007 payroll budget is $115M, and presuming Wood's $3M buy-out, the $12M in potential performance bonuses, and $1M in minor league split contracts do not count against Hendry's available payroll, then Hendry has $10M in '07 salaries left to spend. If the payroll budget is $120M, then he has $15M left to spend.

Signing Jason Schmidt would almost certainly use up most of that (and that's if the budget is $120M), and would leave nothing for an additional pitcher or two and a veteran bat off he bench.

There are several ways Hendry can get himself more '07 payroll, though, and that is by trading Ryan Dempster as part of a deal for a starting pitcher (which would save about $5M), or by trading or non-tendering Mark Prior (saving about $4M), or by trading Bob Howry as part of a deal for a starting pitcher (a $4M savings), trading Scott Eyre in a deal for a starting pitcher (saves $3.5M), or by trading either Will Ohman or Neal Cotts in a deal for a starting pitcher (which would save about $1M).

So without moving some salary (Dempster, Prior, Howry, Eyre, Ohman, or Cotts), it would be hard for Hendry to add two rotation starters through free-agency. As a result, Hendry will probably need to find a way to package one or two of these pitchers as part of a trade for a starting pitcher, and then (if his payroll budget is $115) he should have enough left to sign a second-tier FA starting pitcher. Just not two FA starters, and certainly NOT Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito.

Now if Hendry was given a blank check by the Trib... well, then Hendry can sign anybody without regard to the cost. But despite the contract Soriano is going to get, I suspect there is a limit, and it probably is somewhere around $115M, and that means Hendry is going to have to get creative with the $10M (or so) he still has left to spend in order to add two starting pitchers and a starter-reliever "swingman."

_______________________________________________

Arizona Phil

Yeah, I was estimating a bt to get an idea, but I thought I overestimated then underestimated. I thought a I gave Dlee and Big Z a raise. As for the rest of them I had no idea they would be receiving 380,000...

I think it really all depends on what they are willing to spend this year... Is it 120 million??

You have to think that Hendry is thinking that he saved 10 million last year by not signing Furcal, and with maddux contract gone, pierre gone, Wood renegotiated, and Neifi off the books I think the ZSoriano signing is pretty justified...

I know it is not this easy but, the signing is essentially maddux's contract and pierres contract. Ideally we should have at least anohter 15 million to spend after zambranos signing... That IF, we are reallg oing to increase the payroll.

Is there a more up to date listing of their projected payroll for 07?

AZ Phil -- Even though Prior has had an injury riddled career, doesn't he still have some value as a trading chip? It seems to me that teams would still view him as a guy with tremendous potential, albeit unrealized at the moment.

#129 of 129: By Sweet Lou (November 20, 2006 12:21 PM)
AZ Phil -- Even though Prior has had an injury riddled career, doesn't he still have some value as a trading chip? It seems to me that teams would still view him as a guy with tremendous potential, albeit unrealized at the moment.

======================================

SWEET LOU: I'm sure there are a number of MLB GMs who would gladly sacrifice a couple of minor league prospects and $4M in 2007 salary with the potential pay-off being a healthy Mark Prior, and I'm sure Hendry would prefer to keep Prior and hope he can get himself healthy enough pitch in 2007. But if the difference between adding one or two healthy and reliable rotation starters in 2007 is Mark Prior's salary, then I believe Hendry will regretfully move Prior.

Ideally, Hendry would probably LOVE to see Glendon Rusch retire, so that Rusch's $3.25M 2007 salary can be used to help pay the salary of a healthy and reliable rotation starter. But I doubt that he will retire. I strongly suspect Rusch will spend the 2007 season on the 60-day DL.

People on this site and at both Chicago Newspapers were not math majors. The 2006 team salaries that MLB publishes are salaries from the beginning of the year, not the end. The Cubs payroll was at $92 million, subtract Pierre and Maddux you remove around 14 or 15 million; Walker made nearly 2 Million; the difference between Woods old contract and the buyout and new contract is around 7 million. So, subtract $24 million from $92, and you started the offseason with around around $68 million in committed salaries. Aram's deal is only $4 million more than he was already making, Derosa is an additional $4 million, Blanco is around the same amount he made last year and add Soriano - your payroll is around $93 million, give or take 1 or 2 million right now. If the Cubs are looking to spend $120 to $130 which is rumored, you have a lot of money to still spend.

You can also start looking to trade the great Felix Pie for starting pitching. With Soriano around, Pie is expendable which is good. A player who strikes out 120 times in the minors will not do much better than that in the majors.

Bah, it ate my post.

DRAY:

You're ignoring the raises several players are due via arbitration and contractual agreements. By my count, the Payroll should be sitting at around $102-104MM right now excluding incentives.

#128 of 130: By Matt (November 20, 2006 12:20 PM)
Is there a more up to date listing of their projected payroll for 07?

=============================================

MATT: Not knowing exactly how the contracts of DeRosa, Ramirez, and Soriano will be structured, here is the Cubs 2007 Payroll using an average annual salary for each (DeRosa gets $5.5M in 2009, but it is unknown what he gets in 2007-08, so I'm listing DeRosa's 2007 salary as an average of what he will be owed in 2007-08).

If the contracts are back-loaded or front-loaded, then the 2007 payroll would change.

Also, I consider signing bonuses to be 100% paid up-front as part of the first-year of the contract unless stated otherwise (for instance, Jacque Jones has a signing bonus that is paid out over a three-year period).

SIGNED FOR 2007 (14):
Michael Barrett - $4.6M
Henry Blanco - $2.15M (includes $750K signing bonus)
Ryan Dempster - $5M + $2.5M in performance bonuses
Mark DeRosa - $3.75M
Scott Eyre - $3.5M + $500K in performance bonuses
Bob Howry - $4M + 500K in performance bonuses
Cesar Izturis - $4.15M
Jacque Jones ñ $5.33M (includes 1/3 prorated portion of signing bonus)
Derrek Lee - $13M
Wade Miller - $1.5M + $3.75M in performance bonuses
Aramis Ramirez - $14.6M
Glendon Rusch - $3.25M + $500K in performance bonuses
Alfonso Soriano - $17M
Kerry Wood - $1.75M + $4.25M in performance bonuses
RUNNING SUB-TOTAL - $83.25M (does not include $12M in potential perfformance bonuses)

2007 CONTRACT BUY-OUT
Kerry Wood - $3M
RUNNING SUB-TOTAL - $86.25M

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE FOR 2007 (4):
Neal Cotts ñ ($400K in 2006) ñ 2007 GUESSTIMATE - $1M
Will Ohman ñ ($610K in 2006) ñ 2007 GUESSTIMATE - $1M
Mark Prior ñ ($3.65M in 2006) ñ 2007 GUESSTIMATE - $4M
Carlos Zambrano ñ ($6.5M in 2006) - 2007 GUESSTIMATE - $11M
TOTAL ARBITRATION (GUESS-TIMATE) ñ $17M
RUNNING SUB-TOTAL - $103.25M

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) FOR 2007:

NOTE: 2006 MLB minimum is $380K

Freddie Bynum
Ronny Cedeno
Buck Coats
Brian Dopirak
Angel Guzman
Adam Harben
Rich Hill
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Scott Moore
Matt Murton
Miguel Negron
Roberto Novoa
Ryan O'Malley
Angel Pagan
Felix Pie
Jose Reyes
Jae-kuk Ryu
Geovany Soto
Ryan Theriot
Michael Wuertz
TOTAL AUTO-RENEWAL ON 25-MAN ROSTER (7) - GUESS-TIMATE - $2.75M
TOTAL MINOR LEAGUE SPLIT CONTRACT (15) ñ GUESS-TIMATE - $1M

TOTAL 2007 PROJECTED PAYROLL AS OF 11-20-06 - $107M (incluses Wood $3M 2007 contract buy-out and $1M for 2007 split contracts for players on 40-man roster who are on optional assignment to minors, but does not include $12M in potential performance bonuses).

I was briefly over at Cubtown at Baseball Toaster and they have a much more negative view of this deal. But one thing that someone brought up (exagerrated in jest) is if Soriano is in fact older than he claims to be. I would imagine that if he turns out to be a couple of years older than he claims (like say...32 instead of 30) the Cubs might be able to get the remainder of his contract voided.

Perhaps someone more knowledgeable on this subject than I could enlighten me?

Bah...I misspelled and misstated my statement in parentheses and I believe I misspelled "misspelled". I'm currently studying russian in a foreign country and have been for a couple months, so as such my english has gone to shit.

Anyway, what I meant to say was that someone exaggerated the age difference by saying that Soriano would reveal he's actually 35.

Bleh...

I don't feel like looking for the link and I could be wrong, but I thought Soriano already had a 2 yr age correction when he was with the Yanks.

DAVE: "There is no way that Floyd would sign somewhere to be a 4th outfielder."

Great point.

Except its wrong.

He (Floyd) would be one of the strong bench guys that Pinella is looking for. And, he'd finish his career probably in Chicago, his home town with a team that has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs.

His injury history recent and past, will deter most teams from targeting him as a full-time OFer.

Most reports saying that Lou wants Soriano batting leadoff. Is it too early to start complaining about our manager's lineups?

I think Cliff Floyd might sign a 2007 contract for something like $2.5M plus incentive bonuses based on ABs. And he very well might accept being a back-up LF-1B-LHPH, if that's the best he can get. And with his injury history, that might be all he CAN get. And Jim Hendry might be the one to give it to him.

Of course, if some MLB GM will pay him $5M or $6M (guaranteed money) in 2007 to be a LF, 1B, or DH, then he won't sign with the Cubs.

things that make you say hmmmm...

Bruce Miles in the Daily Herald says:

Most reports had the Cubs looking at Soriano as a center fielder, but sources said Sunday that the Cubs will put Soriano in right. That means Jacque Jones (whose injured left shoulder prevented him from throwing well in 2006) will go from right to center with the Cubs, if they donít trade Jones, hoping for the best.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/cubs.asp#

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/story.asp?i...

Bruce Miles gets the scoop again...

Most reports had the Cubs looking at Soriano as a center fielder, but sources said Sunday that the Cubs will put Soriano in right. That means Jacque Jones (whose injured left shoulder prevented him from throwing well in 2006) will go from right to center with the Cubs, if they donít trade Jones, hoping for the best.

Sorry if this has been mentioned already

I don't necessarily have a problem with Soriano batting leadoff, at least at first, because he himself has made it utterly clear in interviews and such that he wants to hit leadoff--and I don't think we need to be pissing off an investment of this size right away. Do I think he's better off in the middle of the order, absolutely. But is it really going to make a huge difference when the alternative is an unhappy $17 million/year player? I doubt it.

guess we were at the same place there Cubster....

good work Rob...can't beat TCR for covering all the issues all the time!

#136 of 139: By Rob G. (November 20, 2006 01:33 PM)
I don't feel like looking for the link and I could be wrong, but I thought Soriano already had a 2 yr age correction when he was with the Yanks.

=================================

ROB G: Looking through my old issues of Baseball America and Who's Who In Baseball, I can see that sometime between Opening Day 2005 and Opening Day 2006, Alfonso Soriano's year of birth was changed from 1978 to 1975.

thanks Phil, wow 3 yr correction.

But I do doubt that another age correction is coming....

Soriano had his age adjustment when the Yanks traded him to the Rangers. I'm not sure if they knew all along, but I'm guessing someone had to fess up or risk the trade falling through based on fraud.

#141

Mariotti, of all people, mentioned Soriano in RF today. So it can't be a scoop if Jay had it.

Rob and Phil, thanks for the info on the age correction, seems to me I should have already known something like that. But anyway, what would happen if something like that were to come up in the middle of a multi-year contract? The few age corrections I remember all seem to be players who have yet to sign those megamillion dollar multi-year deals.

Also, for what it's worth I just checked BB-Ref.com and ESPN.com and they have his year of birth as 1976

#149 of 149: By Hellfrozeover (November 20, 2006 02:06 PM)
Rob and Phil, thanks for the info on the age correction, seems to me I should have already known something like that. But anyway, what would happen if something like that were to come up in the middle of a multi-year contract? The few age corrections I remember all seem to be players who have yet to sign those megamillion dollar multi-year deals.

Also, for what it's worth I just checked BB-Ref.com and ESPN.com and they have his year of birth as 1976

=======================================

HELLFROZEOVER & ROB G:: My mistake. The age adjustment was from 1978 to 1976, not 1975. He will be 31 on January 7th. Sorry about that.

so maybe it was a 2 yr age correction and Baseball America had a misprint.

Most of the articles I've read says he'll be 31 in January of 2007, making his birth year 1976, so that's probably a mistake by BA, but there obviously was an age correction.

found the link btw...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1...

claims 1976 as well

"Re: Pierre, you proved nothing, BJS.

The point all along was that despite his OBP needing to be better as a leadoff man, he was still on base plenty of times to be driven in more often.

What I'd like to know is what the Cubs' average with RISP was in relation to the other teams and their leadoff men."
-

Yes, Tito, I did prove that wrong.
You have proven you aren't interested in the facts. Pierre was NOT on base "plenty of times to be driven in more often". I gave numbers that showed what percentage of the time Pierre, Furcal, Roberts, Youkilis and Loretta were driven in by the hitters behind them. Pierre wasn't "unlucky" at all. He was driven in at a higher % than all of them except Roberts.

I'll bet you cherry-picked your numbers to bolster your argument...just a hunch. What did the Cubs rank in average with RISP relative to the rest of baseball? Were there no leadoff men who were on base more often than Pierre but who scored less often?

ROB: Yeah, I posted it in #98

well I apologized, you take one day off to watch some football and spend time with the kids and you're way behind around here....

Question: Why not try to keep Juan Pierre as a lead off man and bat Soriano 2nd, followed by Lee and Ramirez.

Walt Carter:
Question: Why not try to keep Juan Pierre as a lead off man and bat Soriano 2nd, followed by Lee and Ramirez.
--

I think you can get similar or better numbers out of Dave Roberts for half the money and a shorter contract than Pierre. I think Roberts' obp was 30 points higher last year than Pierre and he will sign somewhere around 4 mil+ where Pierre reportedly has an 8-10 mil per offer on the table from the Giants.

If Soriano doesn't lead off he should hit 5th where he can drive in Lee and Ramirez.

I would like to see a lineup like:

Roberts
Derosa or Murton
Lee
Ramirez
Soriano
Murton or Barrett
Barrett or Derosa
Izturis

But there could be several other opportunities out there, like signing Cliff Floyd as a part time player who could hit 5th or 6th vs rhp, perhaps if Murton were traded and Jones plays CF or sticks in RF.

Soriano
Derosa
Lee
Ramirez
Floyd
Jones
Barrett
Izturis

there's a lot of thunder in that lineup.

I'll bet you cherry-picked your numbers to bolster your argument...just a hunch.

I didn't cherry pick anything. I don't have to... Pierre's mediocrity speaks for itself.

I chose Pierre, Roberts, Furcal, Youkilis and Loretta randomly. The exact numbers are in another thread somewhere around here.
Roberts was driven in most often at around 42-43%
Pierre was around 40%
Furcal was around 38-39%
Youkilis was around 35-36%
Loretta was around 33%

The evidence shows that Pierre was driven in plenty. The problem is that he was only on base to be driven in during 30% of his plate appearances. I don't know how anyone can continue to ignore this.

bullpen swap...dunno what it really means:

Kevin Gregg from Angels to Marlins for Chris Resop. I always thought Gregg was useful in the Angels pen.

must have something to do with 40 man roster spots...

Florida sent left-handers Adam Bostick and Jason Vargas to the Mets for right-handers Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens.

this will make Az Phil happy: (from ESPN transactions page)

The Cubs purchased the contract of pitcher Rick Cherry and Clayton Rapada from West Tenn of the Southern League (AA).

Seems that that krazy sidewinding lefty Rapada made the 40 man roster!

Dodger sign Juan Pierre to 5 yr 44-45 mil deal.

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

Re: Pierre and how often he scored

Here are some others, but not at random, but in the same general OBP range. On-base totals are times on base minus caught stealing. Run totals are runs minus HRs.

Figgins
On base 201 times, driven in 82, OBP: 336

Podsednik
On base 169 times, driven in 83, OBP: .330 (same as Pierre)

Rollins
On base 219 times, driven in 102, OBP: 330 (same as Pierre)

Uggla
On base 187 times, driven in 78, OBP: .339

Pierre
On base 213 times, driven in 84, OBP: .330

I'm no math wizard, but it appears that all of those players above Pierre were driven in a higher percentage of the time. All but Uggla batted leadoff (note that Loretta, one of your "random" samples, also did not bat leadoff).

All your figures proved in that some players were driven in less often than Pierre. These figures show that some were driven in more often.

And I'm thinking the players batting behind them play a big part in that.

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