Split Decision

As Sir Soriano gets introduced to the masses today, and we finally have the contract details laid out, itís time to put this monstrosity into itís proper perspective. Letís just say, Iím a bit torn by the whole ordeal. LEFT BRAIN It doesnít take graphs and charts or any sort of fancy analysis to figure out that the Cubs just paid far too much money for far too many years to finally get Alfonso Soriano into a Cubs uniform. If you look back at his career there are plenty of reasons to not like the signing, whether it be the Sosa-like strikeouts, the low on-base percentage and walk totals, the age, the length of contract, the money, the career year in a walk season, or the foreboding PECOTA forecast. I mean there isnít one good reason to believe that this is a smart baseball move. A matter of fact, itís the type of deal that can cripple a non-New York franchise by itís vice-like grip on the payroll. And even if you like Soriano the player and what he brings to the game (great power, good speed), you got to be a little ticked the Cubs brass didnít have this epiphany for paying top prices for top talent two years ago, when the far superior Carlos Beltran was on the market. While Hendry hasnít quite gathered all the pieces to put the final 2007 Cubs puzzle together, itís being rumored that Soriano is targeted for a corner outfield spot, which even further diminishes his value. His career numbers suggest just a slightly above average corner outfielder (at best), but if he could play a passable center field, even at his career averages heíd certainly be a huge plus at that position. You also have to wonder exactly how this will help the Cubs. The Cubs have been doing just fine in the power department the last few seasons (ranked 9th, 2nd, 1st over the last three years and would have easily moved up from 9th to about 4th last year had Derrek Lee been healthy). The obvious flaw on the offensive side of the ball has been the paltry walk totals and low OBP (16th, 11th and 11th counting backwards over the last 3 seasons), making far too many of those home runs of the solo variety. Of course what is one of Sorianoís biggest weaknesses (2006 aside), low OBP numbers. I'd say there's a bit of a flaw in the Cubs logic there. Keeping with the analytic take on all this, there are some nuggets of hope to hang onto. His numbers last year, half of which were accumulated in the cavernous RFK stadium were beyond incredible and the NL East in general (beyond homer happy Citizens Bank) is rather friendly to the pitchers of the game. Just from the three game set we played against them last year, there were at least two, maybe three warning track shots by Soriano that would have easily landed a few rows up in Wrigley, but settled rather harmlessly into the glove of a waiting Cubs outfielder. I imagine that happened quite a bit more often over the course of the season when the Cubs weren't present. Even when you throw out his increase in intentional walks last season, his walk rate increased to a level that if sustained would forgive a lot of those rally-killing Kís heís bound to accrue. If youíve got the Cubbie Kool-Aid on an IV drip, you may even be so bold as to compare him to another free-swinging corner outfielder with a penchant for the swing and the miss.
AgeSoriano AB/HRSosa AB/HRSoriano BB/PASosa BB/PA
2531.9 18.10.0470.059
26 17.817.0 0.031 0.055
2717.9 15.70.0520.092
2821.712.50.050 0.063
2917.717.80.0480.065
3014.19.70.0920.101
What do all those numbers mean? Well not a whole lot to be honest, other than Sosa was a better player even before any of those nasty chemical-enhanced allegations start getting thrown around. If thereís anything to get excited about, itís those last two years where each of their walk rates increased substantially along with a nice jump in their home run rates. Iím certainly not imagining any runs at sixty homers by Soriano, but if he can sustain his walk rate from last year, he may buck the age trends of most major leaguers and evolve into the player almost worth the fortune the Cubs will pay him over the next eight years. RIGHT BRAIN Alfonso Soriano ñ FUCK YEAH!!! I really donít give a damn about the warts on his game, or the money we paid or how he's not going to help solve our pitching woes. Soriano is a superstar, the best hitter on the open market (not including a certain 3B who ended up signing with us anyway) and we got him. This has been the type of signing weíve been begging for from Tribco for the last 20+ years and as the old saying goes, ìbetter late than neverî. The dude is going to be fun to watch over the next eight years and letís face it, one World Series title somewhere in those eight years and no one is going to give a ratís ass about what heís getting paid in any of those other seven years. So ultimately where do I stand? (I know you all wait breathlessly)Ö I think the Cubs made the right move, even if it wasnít the smartest move. While McDonough spouts off about winning the World Series, the cynic in me thinks the Cubs were more interested in acquiring a player that puts butts in the seats and keeps the Cubs on the forefront of the Chicago baseball landscape. And although I donít see anyway that in five or six years, we wonít be wondering how to pawn Soriano off to another team, right now heís the big bat the Cubs needed and more importantly the big money ticket that at least superficially demonstrates the Cubs desire to win. Heís also just damn fun to watch. The homers go far and despite their ever-growing irrelevance to the game, stolen bases are a guilty pleasure of mine. And hell, Iíd rather have the speed or at least the threat of it, then not have it. There will be more on Soriano as the offseason goes on, for heís quite the fantastic study. How does he rank among the all-time power/speed hitters of the game? How much is him batting leadoff going to hurt the teamís run production, if at all? Where the hell should he play defense? Why have his best seasons come in parks that arenít very friendly to right-handed hitters? But for now, letís enjoy the Cubs finally acting like the big market team they should have been all this time.
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Comments

FUCK YEAH is right.
CF or RF, leadoff or elsewhere, he's going to be making many a pitcher feel sorry-ano at the friendly confines, IMFO.

Drew = 4 years x 14 million per (as rumoured)
Soriano = 8 years x 17 million per

"Pound for pound" I preffered Drew and thought he fit the Cubs needs better than Soriano. Taking the contracts into consideration, I REALLY would have preffered Drew. How many times has Boston been in the playoffs the last 10, 15 years? You have to wonder why such a successful franchise targeted Drew from the beginning, while the Cubs targeted Soriano... when the Cubs needed a lefthanded bat with high OBP a lot more than did the Red Sox. Just sayin'....

Luis

JD Drew has a career tendency to miss about 40 games each season, Luis, while Soriano plays almost every game. You have to factor that in to your analysis and if you do then Drew becomes more expensive.

$14 MM for 120 games is the equivalent of

(14*4)/3 = $18.67 MM

And don't forget you need to have a starting quality RF on the bench to play the quarter of a season that Drew misses and you'll pay a premium for that raising the total annual cost of JD Drew on your roster to at least $16 or $17 MM.

Also, there's the fact that Drew is a bit of a personality case, a real loner, not a team guy. While Soriano is quite the opposite. Buzz Bissinger explores JD Drew's character quirks in his outstanding book THREE NIGHTS IN AUGUST. (highly recommended)

I'll take Soriano over Drew at this money. His addition along with Aramis' re-signing and a healthy DLee have made following the Cubs more like a carnival and less like a funeral.

Rob G.'s Left Brain:

I think what's so hard to wrap our heads around is the free agent sticker shock. They're all getting contracts much larger than what they should be getting... it's just the nature of the beast.

I agree with CWTP. The HEALTH nod certainly goes to Soriano. You can't produce if you're not in the lineup.

However, I have followed Drew's career more closely as he's been in the NL - and while on the Cards. He truly is a professional hitter and an above average fielder. For sure, if the guy didn't get injured so frequently I would have targeted J.D. before Soriano. I'm relieved he's not in the NL anymore!

I am hopeful that Soriano can accept some coaching to improve his OBP, but that is a longshot. And the solo home runs? Look for that to change with Izturis in the 8-hole and on days Z pitches!

I know some posters here occasionally pop up on Baseball Think Factory. Anyone have any idea what happened to that site? It appears as if they lost the domain. Is there a place for refugees to gather to find news?

"Look for that to change with Izturis in the 8-hole"

Um...okay....Izturis for the 8-hole!!!!
Fuck Yeah!!!
He'll be on base a little...but .295 career OBP doesn't exactly make him a good table-setter for Soriano.
Better than Cedeno, yes, but barely..

DUSTY BAYLOR: I had typed in at the end of #5 - but it didn't display upon posting...

And again - I guess that "greater than" and "less than" symbols do not display here...arrgh!

#5 post was a tongue-in-cheek post...

What I can't understand is at 8 years and 17 per, why they throw in the little extras like the hotel suite to the contract. It seems like that sort of thing is just bidding against yourself. Not to mention a whole lot more administrative brain damage that now has to occur.

Apropos of your point, Rob, that the Cubs are an OK power team but rarely have the baserunners to take full advantage, this is why I think it is so important to deep-six dead weight like Izturis. On this (and any really) team, if you're not hitting for power, you MUST be getting on base. And there is no reason to sabotage the production of our power guys XBHs by purposely playing guys who get out more than 70% of their PAs.

Scott de B.:
Is there a place for refugees to gather to find news?

There's a pretty good site called The Cub Reporter. If you google it, you should be able to find the link.

I like the signing, and I do think there is a chance that Soriano's '06 was Sosa's 98 so Soriano's '09 should be a MVP season followed by 3 or 4 years of steady decline. If that happens, I will be happy even if he hits .230 with 15 home runs in '13.

I think Drew would have been a better fit as well, but he would have forced us to hang onto Jones.

Horatio,

There is still a contigent who thinks that Izturis is capabable of being a .350 OBP guy. If that's the case and his fantastic defensive capabilities begin to turn into on-field production, then he can be a great asset. Just to be clear, I am not part of that contigent, I think he should be traded to the Dodgers with Murton for Manny Ramirez.

Horatio:
the Cubs are an OK power team but rarely have the baserunners to take full advantage, this is why I think it is so important to deep-six dead weight like Izturis.

I'd keep him simply becuase, IMO, pitching and defense are more important than offense.

OK Ryno, I'll bite. So then you'd be in favor of trading away Barrett, who is absolutely terrible (I don't think you can truly overstate how bad) in the most important defensive position on the field? Just for the record, I am in favor of this, and if you are too, then great. But I CAN'T STAND IT when people try to defend the presence of the HORRIBLE Izturis because of his above-average defense and then turn around and complain that Blanco is getting too many starts.

There is still a contigent who thinks that Izturis is capabable of being a .350 OBP guy.

To those guys I'd have to say: whatever you're smoking, get me some.

Soriano's contract will not be unmoveable. Provided he doesnt suffer a debilitating injury in the next 2 years. Look at Manny Ramirez as a prime example. He was left on WAIVERS for christ sake 2 years ago. Any team could have picked him up for a 5$ waiver fee. It wouldnt have cost anyone anything other than the assumption of his contract. Now a short 2 years later, we hear rumors of manny bringing back real talent in a trade. Baseball is flush with cash right now. This contract wont seem as far out of whack if we have another offseason like this one. In 3 years Soriano's deal will be 5/90. It might be a bargain by then if the market keeps accelerating.

I think they should just release Barrett and Ramirez and replace them with Soto and David Bell. Pitching and defense wins championships. You only need to score 1 run a game to win, and the worst offense ever scored over 2.

I am going to go out on a limb here and make a wild statement. Manny Ramirez at 35 is going to be a better hitter than Soriano at 37. Yeah, crazy, I knowm but I just have this feeling...

I'm inclined to agree with Aaron. Although I don't think Soriano will age quite as well as Manny. Soriano is a very good player, but Manny is an all-time great.

Once the speed begins to fade....you will still have a corner OF with 35-40 HR pop and a strong arm. Presumably, after a few years in the OF, he will become at least an average fielder.

Also, I like the team stabiltiy we now have. Knowing that Fonzie, A-Ram and D-Lee will be in the lineup for several years creates less uncertainty for the organization, which should be a good thing.

For fans and kids, it will be nice to be able to root for the same guys for a while, at least 2 of whom seemed to give up some $$ to stay in Chicago amnd have a real commitment to winning here (make it 3 if you count Kerry).

So, when A-Ram gets off to his usual slow start, go easy on him, folks -- he's a Chicago guy. We should have his back.

#18 of 21: By The Real Neal (November 30, 2006 10:42 AM)
I think they should just release Barrett and Ramirez and replace them with Soto and David Bell. Pitching and defense wins championships. You only need to score 1 run a game to win, and the worst offense ever scored over 2.

I agree. Lets release Murton and bring Gary Pettis in to play left. Imagine the ground he would cover out there in Left. He can run and bunt to.

#19 of 22: By The Real Neal (November 30, 2006 10:45 AM)
I am going to go out on a limb here and make a wild statement. Manny Ramirez at 35 is going to be a better hitter than Soriano at 37. Yeah, crazy, I knowm but I just have this feeling...

While that may be true. In 3 years soriano will be 33. Is Manny Ramirez at 35 making 21 million a year better than Soriano at 33 making 18? That would be the question.

Was the St. Louis signing of Adam Kennedy (3 years/$10 million) better than Mark DeRosa (3/14)? I thought Kennedy would get more than this and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the day of the signing expected it to be $15 million.

If the Cubs signed Kennedy, they would have had to platoon him with Ryan Theriot (based on Kennedy splits), with whoever was playing hitting No. 2.

I think Kennedy can handle No. 2 in the lineup but don't want to see DeRosa there. He shouldn't be above No. 6. However, I am fine with DeRosa hitting No. 5 against left-handed starters.

If there are no other changes to the lineup, DeRosa will hopefully play RF against LH with Theriot starting at 2B.

So if the Cubs would have signed Kennedy, they would have needed to acquire a RH hitter to do that (although they needed that all of last year and didn't get one); somebody like Craig Wilson, who may not be a bad signing anyway.

There's a pretty good site called The Cub Reporter. If you google it, you should be able to find the link.

Thanks, Snarky, but I'm interested in more than just Cubs news.

"While that may be true. In 3 years soriano will be 33. Is Manny Ramirez at 35 making 21 million a year better than Soriano at 33 making 18? That would be the question."

AaronB I think we have a disagreement about why Manny is now on a tradeable contract. It isn't because of some big market change, but just because he is closer to the end and has performed consistently throughout. As he has gotten closer to the end of his deal and continued producing taking on the contract becomes less risky.

So maybe it is your question, but to me you're not comparing apples and apples.

i'm still pretty upset about pujols' comments

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/9837181

not only is whining about this really annoying and comes off very arrogant,
not only is his argument stupid/annoying enough, but most importantly his
team WON LESS GAMES THAN THE PHILLIES!

unbelievable. you could see how much of a dick he became during the playoffs
where he complained about EVERY single called strike and sure seemed to
influence umps' calls, but this cements it. he thinks he's waaaay too
important.

not to mention that he ALREADY got one MVP simply based on the fact that his team made the playoffs (of course over Lee last season, when Lee was by far the best player)

If the world is fair (and God knows, as Cubs fans, we know it isn't), this year, Derrek Lee will get an MVP award that Ryan Howard actually deserves just because the Cubs make the playoffs.

Then each of the three will have one MVP award they didn't deserve, and have been screwed once.

the circle of life....shut up pujols.

#26 of 26: By The Real Neal (November 30, 2006 11:11 AM)
"While that may be true. In 3 years soriano will be 33. Is Manny Ramirez at 35 making 21 million a year better than Soriano at 33 making 18? That would be the question."

AaronB I think we have a disagreement about why Manny is now on a tradeable contract. It isn't because of some big market change, but just because he is closer to the end and has performed consistently throughout. As he has gotten closer to the end of his deal and continued producing taking on the contract becomes less risky.

So maybe it is your question, but to me you're not comparing apples and apples.

Neal, I agree and disagree with you. I stated the same point about Soriano's contract not being as burdensome in 3 years. But you cant deny that the market has changed. Manny signed his contract during the craziest winter in the sports history for contracts (2000). Since then the sox have tried anything to dump him. Now it looks like they can with a good return. In 5 years Soriano will be 35 just like Manny. He will be owed 3/54 . Manny is 35 and is owed 2/42. That is as close to a contract comp as I can see. If its not apples to apples, its at least apples to tangerines.

yeah, there was this other cornet outfielder not to long ago who still had 30-40 HR power, but lost his speed and his strike zone judgement and we ended up paying most of his salary and getting a guy who retired, and two middle infielders. I'm going to stick with Soriano will be hard to move.

Manny vs. Soriano isn't even worth comparing on any level.

as for baseball think factory, sorry about that. It was part of my Sith-like execution plan to rid the world of all other Cubs blog. (Evil Laugh)

I'm sure it's just a glitch of some sort and they'll be back in no time, it's far to fantastic a site to just disappear.

Izturis at a 350 OBP clip is beyond unrealistic, but I'd say 330 isn't. I mean safe money says he's a 300 OBP guy and an albatross around our neck. But there are reasons to believe at his age that 2004 wasn't a complete outlier. Beyond just the normal aging patterns of most players, he's been playing hurt the last two seasons. We can't really know how much this affected him. Let's see what he can do healthy.

I don't understand how you can say that Carlos Beltran is "far superior". Looking at a comparison of their Avg. Season on Baseball Reference, they seem very similar. Their home run numbers are similar with Fonsie having the edge (Soriano's 35 to Beltran's 28), their doubles, SB, Slugging, OPS, and total bases all are slightly edged toward Soriano. Where they differ is in Beltran's 26 fewer Ks and 33 more walks. Does that difference, along with Beltran being more solid defensively make Beltran "far superior"? I really don't see it, especially considering that Soriano is a .260 hitter in his career at RFK stadium.

Yes Beltran is the far superior player. By the age of 27 Beltran he had 6 100 RBI seasons. And he had yet to peak offensively.

2006 you got a real glimpse of the next evolution. His walk rate has gone up and his power has increased.

The main difference ofcourse is the Mets locked him up in a long term deal at age 27 the Cubs did the same to Soriano at age 31.

Maybe we are seeing the evolution of Soriano, his power and walk totals have risen. But after having two straight seasons of 120 strike outs he punched out 160 times last season. It is like he has learned some new tricks but not really. Still love the Soriano signing but Beltran would have been better no doubt about it.

AaronB,

"Since then the sox have tried anything to dump him. Now it looks like they can with a good return" That isn't true. The Sox could have traded Ramirez each of the last two off-seasons. Check out the Cub reporter archives if you don't believe me."

Rob G,

I think a guy who puts up a .330 OBP at age 24 can put up a .350 one before the end of his career. I don't know if Izturis can, but getting rid of the Baker regime probably won't hurt his chances.

The year after Beltran signed his huge deal he didn't hit, run, or get on base for diddly shit. In fact, he went from consecutive 40+ steals to 17, 38 HRs to 16, hit for a .266 avg, and had an OBP of .330. Everybody criticized the contract, the Mets, and most where relieved the Cubs didn't sign him for that kind of money/years. Now 1 year later after a decent season where he regained his power, but not speed, still hit below his career avg, and everyones sucking him off.

Who cares if we have a big contract with fonzie? Not me. Its not my money, as far as I'm concerned we've been getting railed by the Tribsters (sorry to the Mariotti haters)for far too long with "almost had him" deals, plus by the 6th year, 17 million will be nothing for a superstar per year.

This makes me think of guys like Tejada (13 mil per who is considered a BARGIN now, but at contract time was ludicrous), ManRam(22.5 mil per, who is 34 and if he gets traded gets 2 more guarenteed years tacked on which puts him at 37)

Stop the cryng about Fonzie's contract and be happy he's not just "another" would-be Cub signing somewhere else.

You better go check the archives Cincykid. While everyone was bagging on Beltran I kept saying he was an MVP caliber player and the Cubs were dumb for passing him up.

You see I got this thing called patience and a long memorey. I can out-last the knee jerk crowd and wait the years to finally be proven what others thought was impossible.

Everyone thought Tejada's deal was a bargain at the time. An MVP for $5 million a year less than Jeter, didn't knock anyone's socks off.

*i'm still pretty upset about pujols' comments*

I'm still pretty upset that Pujols is a cheater playing for a cheater and said cheaters won the World Series even though the cheaters had a worse record than half a dozen teams in the league.

Notice Pujols never complained when another HGH-freak beat him out for a bunch of MVPs. I guess we can assume that Howard is clean.

MikeC, my point is the contract. It just seems that most are concered about the contract when there were plenty of similar deals in the past few years. But I don't expect a drop off like Beltran had in '05. Sure he moved from the AL to the NL, as did Soriano, which may have led to his increased K's. Hind site is 20/20 my friend, and as much as i'd like to dig through the archives to find your posts, i just don't have the time. But i find it hard to believe you had the same feeling in say, August of '05 in reguards to Beltran.

anyone know what time the press conference is?

It's hard to complain about getting the best power bat in the FA market, but I'm not convinced that getting Soriano was wiser than getting JD Drew.
The upside is that the organization has decided to start giving money to top tier players instead of the McFail ideology of spreading the wealth among several mediocre players. There's no question that it's better to overpay for a great player than to bid against yourself for the replacement level services of Neifi & Rusch.
I hold out the smallest amount of hope that Soriano actually discovered some discipline at the plate last year and that his increase in BB's was a result of better pitch selection rather than a 1 year fluke. If it was his first step to becoming a more patient hitter, it could explain why he had a career year in an enormous ballpark. I guess it could be "contract year" performance, if you buy into that. If someway, somehow, Soriano develops the discipline to draw 75+ BB's, he would become a complete offensive player and would likely still have value in the last couple years of this massive contract.

Here's another thought to put the Soriano signing into perspective:

In today's ESPN.com article that talks about Pujols's comments about the MVP, there is another quote slipped in at the end that said Pujols thought the Cards were going to land Soriano:

"'I thought we were going to sign Soriano, but it wasn't possible. We also intended to trade for him during the season, but the Nationals wanted too much for him,' Pujols said."

Even if the Cubs overpaid for him, it was still worth it just to keep him away from the Cardinals. I have no idea if they were the next-highest bidder, but it sounds like the Cards really wanted him. God, imagine if we had to deal with the Cards for the next 5-6 years with Pujols AND Soriano in the lineup. No thanks.

"anyone know what time the press conference is?"

3:00 CT assuming its not snowed out.

Oh, and Jim Hendry would have gotten the Michael Richards fork-in-the-ass treatment if he was beaten out by the Cards for Soriano.

Really the best thing about the Soriano contract is that Hendry didn't have to panic and offer 7 years at $17 million to Pillsbury Lee.

I've been a sporadic poster, often reader of this site for the past few years. I often find myself agreeing with the likes of RobG, THE REAL NEAL, and Arizona Phil and I was again glad to read RobG's semi-defense of Izturis. I'm not saying it's gonna happen, but in 2004 and the start of 2005 Izturis looked like he started to develop as a contact hitter with a good eye. People were talking about how he was becoming a complete player and starting to put him in the OCab and Renteria discussions. Then he got hurt and hasn't been healthy since. I say we give him a chance and see if we've got Jekyll or Hyde on our hands...

In regards to my "Far superior" comment....

it's the patience, defense and age at which Beltran was available that make him "far superior" in my book. Despite his very, very poor 2005 season, he's now had three seasons of over 900 OPS baseball and he's one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. Soriano topped 900 for the first time last year and we're signing him for age 31 season, Mets got Beltran at his age 28 season. And the defense isn't even close between the two.

Now if Soriano can keep his walk rate up, I'll just knock it down to superior...

Really the best thing about the Soriano contract is that Hendry didn't have to panic and offer 7 years at $17 million to Pillsbury Lee.

WORD!!!!

PITCHER SIGNING TARDINESS:

I am a bit concerned with so little on the market, and the competition fierce, that Hendry do a pre-emptive strike again and pick up Padilla, Jennings, Bautista, before they are signed somewhere else (F'n Cardinals!).

I'm sure you guys read about Riccardi wining and dining Meche at the Maple Leafs game, with the Big Hurt doing recruiting, too?

We REALLY NEED pitching help - BIG TIME.

Yeah, the lack of movement on the pitching front has me scratching my head. Hendry's been aggressive with players he wants the last two years, so the only thing I can figure is that he isn't very interested in the 2nd tier free agent pitchers that are available and he thinks something better will emerge via trade.

I think I may prefer Marshall and Guzman to some of these free agents - Meche being one of them. And I am not talking about $ to performance wise, I am just talking performance wise. Throw the money at Drew and or Lugo and go with the young guys if you have to. THe offense will keep us in contention, and you can pick up a number two starter at the deadline if no-one takes a big step up. Besides Zito, Schmidt, Suppan and Maddux, all the other guys are just too big risks. I wouldn't complain if we sign Padilla, but I don't want to hear any whining when he only makes 10 starts next year.

In a totally unrelated topic, Tejada's '03 and '04 FRAA numbers don't speak too well to the accuracy of BP's fielding numbers.

I just don't think Hendry really likes any of the pitchers out there and certainly not at the current prices. And you can't blame him.

I really didn't know about Schmidt's drop in velocity, but that's sometimes a sign of a bigger shoulder injury just waiting to pop up. You can see why he doesn't want to go over 3 yrs.

Zito is reliable and good (not great), but not 7/$15-$16 a year good.

Lilly - What makes him better than Sean Marshall again?

Padilla - now I wouldn't mind him at all, but not at 4/40.

Meche - ugh, he throws 98 at times, great. He also sucks.

Suppan - I wouldn't mind him either, but at something in the 3/24 range and he's going to get more than that.

Marquis - a left-handed bench bat is great, but as a pitcher, not so good

Batista - He really sucks, please stay far away.

Maddux - not for 2/23 that he seems to want, if he drops to 1/7 or 8 maybe. Of course if he drops to that, the Pads and/or Dodgers will be waving a contract at him and he'll stay on the West Coast.

There's also Petitte and Glavine who I wouldn't mind, but Petitte is in limbo and Glavine seems to have made up his mind to either be a Met or Brave.

As mentioned, I just don't think Hendry really likes any of these guys and he's not willing to pay more than he thinks they're worth. In Soriano's case at least, we know he's always liked the guy, so he was going to go him regardless of what it ended up costing.

I read it on another message board, but apparently Miguel Negron signed with the Cardinals, I assume on a minor league deal.

For some strange reason I like Miguel Batista even though looking at his numbers makes him seem worse than I guy I want no part of, Gil Meche.

I think it is my D'backs bias creeping in.

Of course the Soriano deal will prove to be an abortion in the end. If you look at the largest contracts in MLB history(in terms of total value), how many of these would be considered to be a good deal?

A-rod - 10/$252 (Yanks paying $16m per)
Jeter - 10/$189
ManRam- 8/$160
Helton - 9/$141.5
Soriano - 8/$136
Hampton - 8/$121
Giambi - 7/$120
Griffey Jr - 9/$116.5
K.Brown - 7/$105

Beltran - 7/$119
Pujols - 7/$100
Carlos Lee - 6/$100

Too soon to tell on the latter 3, C.Lee's deal will undoubtedly be a burden by year 3 for the Astros. Beltran and Pujols are worth it right now, but the Cards will be in trouble if an HGH test is somehow implemented over the next couple years...(just my opinion) and Big Angry Al has a tendancy to get hurt(foot/oblique). The Jeter contract is a decent contract for the Yanks but it wouldn't be for any other MLB club. Giambi is well, still HGHing so that one doesn't really count. You can't fault Cincy for the Griffey deal as he didn't have the injury history when they signed him...it was an undermarket contract at the time. A-rod deal bad for the Rangers, good deal for another club at $16m per. Helton- it appears it may have been a little more than Creatine in his supplemental magic pouch. ManRam? could go either way I guess...wouldn't be a real bad deal for the Yanks or RedSox, then again he was placed on waivers 2 years ago and no one bit. So what are the odds that the Soriano deal turns out to be a good one?... 9:1?, 8:2?

Batista sucks, strikes out no one, walks a ton of guys, his only redeeming qualities are generally keeping the ball in the park and durability. At best you get a league average pitcher if he has a good year, on a bad year you get Shawn Estes.

I'd rather roll the dice with Guzman or Miller over Batista.

NL Central Division news...

The Reds probably will wind up spending close to $70 million on their 2007 payroll. The Brewers could approach that, too. And the difference between these three markets, in terms of size, stadiums and just about every intangible is exactly zero, which means there remains no visible, explainable excuse for the Pirates to spend in the range of $50 million, as they are planning.
Click Here for full story.

I will give you the explanation. The Pirates as a franchise turn a nifty profit for their owners with revenue sharing.

The Drays you may think are one the least profitable franchises in baseball. No fan base, no payroll, low income. But the Drays along with the Pirates are at the top in making a profit in baseball.

Pettite intrigues me, I'm off the Zito band wagon considering he will pitch at Wrigley .

THey need to make a trade for an innings eater that will keep them in games.

NEAL: Why don't we start with Guzman making it to the third inning in the Majors before opting for him over Meche. He is still a "project", with closer potential to "Bust" than "success".

BOGEY: If the Soriano deal helps get the team to the World Series, would you care if its a 15-year deal?!

I'm pushing the half-century mark and have been waiting WAAAYY too long, personally. I could care less WHAT it costs (they OWE me), or how many years - PROVIDED - it pays off.

When we consider not much of what has worked since 1945, I am willing to give this method a shot.

Bautista is not the greatest, but we have to consistently get the game into AT LEAST the 6th or 7th innings! Last year, the relief corps did not have this luxury. Also, the offensive firepower wasn't there to come from behind.

Ok time for whacky thought of the day.....Roger Clemens 1 year 15 million.

Chance for him to be a legend.

Perfect mentor of what it takes to be a power pitching ace over a long period of time. Z, Prior, and Wood could all greatly benefit from learning how he prepares for games and goes about getting out hitters.

Plus how stoked would Wood be to have him on the roster? I think he is the best available pitcher on the market.

Anyways....back to your regular programming.

yeah, I'd take Clemens too for whatever he wants. Unfortunately if he comes back, it's either the Astros or the Yanks, imo.

Yeah his options, at least what is publicly known, is limited to a select few teams.

I wouldn't mind a nice shock to the system to see "Cubs sign Clemens."

I am gonna file that away in my Carl Crawford "Dreams that might not happen" file.

Mike, good idea. But as its been stated....

RE: Soriano

He had a really good year last year. Better us than the Cards or Stros.

Just think of all the whining if Jocketty had picked him up (he would have found a way to do it for half the price, but so what?)

http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/01856...

Regarding baseball Think Factory....

vorare:
Yeah, the lack of movement on the pitching front has me scratching my head. Hendry's been aggressive with players he wants the last two years, so the only thing I can figure is that he isn't very interested in the 2nd tier free agent pitchers that are available and he thinks something better will emerge via trade.

I think most teams are waiting for someone to set the market price & years on the so-called 2nd tier pitchers. The only starters signed are guys like Kip Wells, Woody Williams, and Randy Wolf. Blah.

Annual Estimated for signed FA:

Mike Mussina - $12.5 Mil/year, 2yr
Randy Wolf - $8.0 Mil/year, 1yr
Woody Williams - $6.25 Mil/year, 2yr
Orlanda Hernandez - $6.0 Mil/year, 2yr
Kip Wells - $4.0 Mil/year, 1yr
Kerry Wood - $1.75 Mil/year, 1yr
Wade Miller - $1.5 Mil/year, 1yr

And for fun (avg):
Roy Oswalt - $14.6 Mil/year, 5 yr

And my *guess* on the top tier guys:
Schmidt - 4/50
Zito - 7/100

Any other guesses?

My favorite part of the press conference so far:
In describing the talent of the Cubs:

"...they have Prior and they have Kerry Wood..."

I hope he knows what he's gotten himself into.

Kerry Wood, eh? Who's he?

Just for those who need a warm and fuzzy thought as we go into December: a few nights ago XM Radio replayed the 2003 game 5 NLDS Cubs vs Braves radio broadcast with Pat Hughes and Dave Otto (Santo was doing the JDRF walkathon that game)...Damn, Kerry was good that game. I shed a tear or two when it was over. Lofton scored the first run on a Moises Alou two out hit. Tom Goodwin had a two out hit to score the 5th and last run in the 8th. Life's all been downhill since that game.

clemens should have retired 2 years ago OR decided he wants to play baseball for a *TEAM*.

the past 2 years he's just shown up for work and collected a check...wasnt even with the team on days he didnt pitch for huge chunks of the season and missed many road trips.

of course houston let him do this and they knew it the second he signed...was no suprise.

still, this is a VERY tallented man who has had 1 foot out the door for 2 years now.

If the Soriano deal helps get the team to the World Series, would you care if its a 15-year deal?!

I've heard this alot every time someone says something negative about Soriano's contract, and I just find it obnioxious.

If signing Soriano guarenteed a World Championship, I'm sure that no one would care how much he makes or how long he makes it for. But last time I checked the Cubs were far more than one big bat away from the World Series in 2006 and this signing doesn't mean the Cubs get to automatically print out playoff tickets in 2007 or 2008.

Considering the number of complaints I heard about how horrible Sosa's 5 year contract was by the time 2004 rolled around, I don't think its a stretch at all to actually examine what the effects the Soriano contract could have on the Cubs franchise 5 years from now.

"I don't think its a stretch at all to actually examine what the effects the Soriano contract could have on the Cubs franchise 5 years from now."

once Z is signed check out the 08/09/10 liability on the club tied up in dlee/soriano/aram/Z and whoever else might obtain a 08+ running contract with the club.

09/10 especially look like they could easily carry 1/2+ of the payroll in just 4 guys assuming Z's contract doesnt get spread out really long.

Mind you, I'm not saying that Soriano is a horrible contract. I do think the money will be a problem by the end of the deal, but I think his contract is a much better deal than giving Pierre or Matthews what they got or even spending it on what Drew is rumored to be getting. I don't think any of those players even have a chance of being worth what they are getting paid, while Soriano actually could earn the outragous salary he's getting.

I just don't like the "you won't care if the Cubs win" argument to justify the contract.

BLEEDING BLUE: Well, I find it "obnoxious" that 1., its not your money to spend, 2., you cannot implement a reasonable attempt to halt 66 years of losing, 3. you apparently cannot understand there are potential negative ramifications in every single deal, no matter who the player is.

Considering that the team in my lifetime has never signed a player coveted by every GM, that for once, we can say, "The Cubs really went for the top dog", it would be great to give management benefit of the doubt before one pitch has been made in the new season.

Giving managment the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean giving them total absolution.

No, its not my money, but dammit, its my team.

And No, after 66 years of losing, one top free agent signing isn't going to make me convinced that the Cubs automatically have their ticket to the world series punched. Quite frankly, to me a much bigger problem with the Cubs as a franchise is that they never stick to a plan for more than a few weeks. They've had great players before, and they've signed those players to big money contracts before -even if they weren't aquired through free agency- so what will happen next year or the year after if they don't win? Will they spend more money, or will they say, we can't "afford" to because they've got all this money tied up in Soriano? 5-6 years from now are we going to see the same thing that happend two years ago when the Cubs said they couldn't go out and Beltran because they had Sosa's contract hanging over their heads?

And of course there are negative posibilities with every deal, it doesn't mean that the negatives hold the same weight for every deal.
When you are talking about a deal that goes 8 years into the future the potential for those negatives skyrockets. I don't think that you can wash those negatives away because the contract may or may not bring a world championship to the north side.

#72, count me among your minions Blue. Soriano isn't going to put the Cubs over the top. The pitching is still terrible no matter which of the mid-tier staters Hendry overspends for. Unless Wood is healthy and doesn't walk 2 guys an inning there's no closer. Even if Rich Hill takes another step forward and we actually get something from Prior in 2007(as unlikely as it is), this is still a lineup with 2 regulars who you can count on to put up a .350 ob% in D.Lee and Murton. (yeah maybe Soriano and DeRosa break the .350 plataeu but that's not a certain). There is going to be myriad of solo HRs on the northside this season and a ton of rallies killed by the rest of the lot...hello 1999.

Anything remotely interesting out of the Soriano press conference?

Cubster,

Life hasn't been all downhill since game 5 vs.Atl. It's been all downhill since game 4 vs. Fla. You forgot five or six fun days there. As a Cub fan, you can't afford to do that.

Soriano said he thinks the Cubs have a chance to win because of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

He also is wearing jersey number 12 - so I guess we won't being seeing that one retired to honor the toothpick.

That's about the extent of news from the PC.

TBone: I haven't forgotten, but winning postseason series are what it is all about...and thinking about that next series brings back more heartache than glory. Not to mention visions A-Gon muffing the dp grounder or of ol Toothpick calling for Dave (f-ing) Veres from the bullpen, whereas McKeon called for Beckett.

So thanks for messing with that warm and fuzzy moment.

so it's back to the present for me...as our fearless President (John McD) sez: "it's time for the Cubs to win the World Series"

The press conference was pretty short.

Hendry introduced him as their new shortstop...so everyone quit speculating about him batting elsewhere.

The only impression I got from Soriano was that he really didn't know much about the Cubs

He referred to "Jim and the...manager" as if he forgot who the coach was.

His knowledge of the team included Lee, Ramirez, Prior and Wood. Of the pichters he mentioned those two (not Zambrano).

He basically mentioned how they were all on the same page, because they all wanted to win...so he chose the Cubs because they want to win. Unlike everyone else, I suppose.

He seemed pretty flustered though, so maybe he was just nervous and couldn't think clearly.

um, you meant new leadoff man, right?

Hendry introduced him as their new shortstop...
--
I just choked on a sunflower seed...

I kind of play the law of averages and probability regarding Prior and Wood. They can't stay or be injured like this forever. (I sure hope not, lol)

So if you take that into account they should be healthy and play a full season next year. Still the team should be constructed as if they never existed which seems to be what they are doing so far. So if we do get production out of Prior and Wood it is going to make us that much better.

For example, say we sign Schmidt and the rest of our rotation is Hill, Miller and Prior. If Prior returns to any resemblance of what he was you got a powerful 1-3 in the rotation handing off to Wood and company in the bullpen. If not you still can win a ton of ballgames with Z and Schmidt at the top and Wuertz, Eyre, Howry, holding down the bullpen.

Hendry introduced him as their new shortstop...
----
Cesar Izturis just set fire to San Pedro de Macoris, the town is burning (except for Sammy's palacial beach estate)...

BLEEDING BLUE: No, they signed the TWO top free agents, ARam was a free agent and surely would have commanded more than Fat Boy Slim.

I agree that there are no guarantees, but frankly they have NOT signed "great players" in the last 25 years of everyday position that I can easily recall, other than Sammy (and perhaps DLEE). Only ones that WERE great a year or two after they signed them.

See Fred McGriff, Nomar Garciapara, and...I can't think of even another example...Todd Hundley...

Shit, sorry I'm the one whose flustered and can't think clearly.

Uh, yeah. Leadoff man,

But hey, if he's SS, no Izturis, right?

For those who think signing Soriano was a bad idea, what alternative are you proposing? Bleeding Blue mentioned that he thought the Soriano signing was better than signing Pierre, Matthews, Jr, or Drew. What was the alternative?

There have been some on TCR proposing that the Cubs cut payroll in 2007 in order to have more money and possibly a better FA class for 2008. The having more money part is a bit of a moot point since the 2007 payroll has been bumped so generously. And if the 2008 FA class is better/deeper than the 2007 class, it is still going to take a lot of money and a lot of years to sign one of the FA. Let's say the Cubs targeted Vernon Wells next off-season. He's going to cost every bit as much as Soriano (probably more) and the competition for him is going to be fierce.

My point is that the market sets the contract terms (price/years) necessary to sign a FA. If a team wants to compete, they have to do what the market dictates. If not, the team can join the ranks of the Pirates, Royals, DRays, etc.

BLEEDING BLUE: No, they signed the TWO top free agents, ARam was a free agent and surely would have commanded more than Fat Boy Slim.

Fine they signed TWO top free agents, one of which simply kept the Cubs at status quo. It doesn't change the fact that Soriano doesn't guarentee the Cubs a World Championship.

If playoffs were determined soley based on who signed the most and best free agents, then what Soriano makes would be irrelevant. But last time I checked you still have to win ballgames, and Soriano and ARam alone don't guarentee a championship, so what they make, and how that will affect the future of the franchise is something I don't think can just be pushed under the rug.

frankly they have NOT signed "great players" in the last 25 years of everyday position that I can easily recall, other than Sammy (and perhaps DLEE). Only ones that WERE great a year or two after they signed them.

And just for the record, I'd say both Dawson and Sandberg were great position players signed within the past 25 years. And if you are even going to mention McGriff, then I'd say Alou deserves some consideration as a higher end FA. Not that any of that has anything to do with what I was saying in the first place.

BLEEDING BLUE: You still have not advocated any better solutions than what you are complaining about.

OF COURSE they have to play the friggin' games.

But I certainly like their chances AFTER these acquisitions than before it. Pitching will be addressed - I hope sooner rather than later.

No one is sweeping the percieved negatives under the rug here - its just I would like to give a smidgen of optimism that indeed if FINALLY some of these recent develoments bring the team to the doorstep of a pennant, I could care less of the deal was 2 years or 15!

And, since this site is ALL ABOUT speculation, after personally slamming Jim Hendry for more than 2 years, I am gonna give him a little credit this time for making a deal with the devil for the first time, that might be a really decent signing for the next several years.

I really hope it works out for all of us. That's what we ALL want, right?

In case you haven't seen this yet, there is at least one Cubs fan calling for the team to fire Lou Piniella. Here's the link:

www.fireloupiniella.net

In case you haven't seen this yet, there is at least one Cubs fan calling for the team to fire Lou Piniella. Here's the link:

www.fireloupiniella.net

#90 of 92: By Bleeding Blue (November 30, 2006 07:18 PM)

It doesn't change the fact that Soriano doesn't guarentee the Cubs a World Championship.

If playoffs were determined soley based on who signed the most and best free agents, then what Soriano makes would be irrelevant. But last time I checked you still have to win ballgames
--

The sun is setting in the West tonight also.

More groundbreaking insight.

If you don't like the Soriano signing, what is your alternative?

Are there any Lou Pinella firing websites?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15976566/

Selig likely to step down when his contract runs out in about 3 yrs...

BLEEDING BLUE: You still have not advocated any better solutions than what you are complaining about.

I'm complaining about an "ends justify the means" argument when we don't know the ends!

There is plenty to like about the Soriano deal, as I've already said, but there are legitmate concerns that come with signing a 30 year old player to one of the longest and most expensive contracts in baseball history.

I just can't agree that those concerns won't matter if the Cubs win a world series, because we don't know that signing Soriano is going to make the Cubs win a World Series.

Hendry still has a long way to go to make this team a championship team, he's taken some good steps so far, but I'm not going to praise him until he finishes the job.

If you don't like the Soriano signing, what is your alternative?

LNL, please work on your reading comprehension.

I said very clearly that I like the signing, especially when compared to the other outfielders available this year, even though there are some significant downsides to the contract.

Ultimately, I personally think the upsides probably outshine the downsides in the case. But as I've clearly said now more than once, you can't dismiss the downsides because "it won't matter if some event happens in the future," when we don't know if that event will happen.

here's a better link to more photos:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/teams/chc/photos

Considering the number of complaints I heard about how horrible Sosa's 5 year contract was by the time 2004 rolled around...

Sosa was also coming off the juice and was disintegrating rapidly because of it. He was also more interested in maintaining his lofty HR totals than hitting behind the runner and adjusting his game while his skills declined. He also appeared to be afraid of the ball after the beaning... his ass was about 2 feet out of the batters box in 2004. He couldn't even reach the outside part of the plate.

I don't think there's any reason to compare Soriano to Sammy, especially since Soriano has never been a steroid suspect.

"Anything remotely interesting out of the Soriano press conference?"
---

He didn't seem to know much about the Cubs and he did seem a bit nervous. Maybe the claustrophobic bowels of Wrigley had him a bit confused.

On Sportsnight, they gave out a brief lineup from Dan Plesac - "Plesac's Picks". It was hideous.

RF - Soriano
2B - DeRosa
1B - Lee
3B - A-Ram
CF - Jacque
C - Barrett
SS - blackhole
LF - Murton/Pagan

Hopefully Lou likes giving more AB's to his better players.

"Sosa was also coming off the juice and was disintegrating rapidly because of it."

Prove this.

"In case you haven't seen this yet, there is at least one Cubs fan calling for the team to fire Lou Piniella. Here's the link:"

yeah, and whoever made the site can get in line with the other opportunists looking to cash in on baseless hate of a guy who dont even swing a bat or throw a ball.

fire_____(fillinblank).com

bring your anger and check your credibility at the door...and be sure to click a few ads while you're there.

Yeah, how do you know Sosa EVER went off the juice?

is that lineup that plesac gave a suprise or something?

only thing that looks out of place is izturis batting 7th rather than 8th and the #2 slot could be either/or izturis/derosa (with an outside shot of murton, though not likely).

sosa's abuse looked/etc. more like HGH abuse than roid abuse anyway...and they still dont look for it.

besides, while cycling during a season may provide a boost it doesnt mean when you stop using you lose everything the supliments gave you.

sosa is/was still a monster...just older with cruddy back.

and if not juicing kills your ability when you stop someone needs to tell giambi he's not allowed to hit more than 20 homers cuz he hasnt been told yet.

ESPN's J.Crasnick is claiming the Cubs offered a multi year deal to J.Lugo although no Chicago writers or reporters have picked up on it yet so I don't know how much truth there is to it.

I don't think there's any reason to compare Soriano to Sammy, especially since Soriano has never been a steroid suspect.

I'm not saying that Soriano will have as rapid of a decline as Sosa.

What I am saying is that 8 years is a long time, especially for someone who is already 30 years old. There is a good chance that Soriano will have deteriorated into an average player at best by the waining years of the contract.

Signing Sosa was the right thing to do in 2001, just like signing Soriano was the right thing to do in 2006. But things change. Look into the TCR archives from one year ago and you'll find lots of people who thought trading for Soriano was a horrible idea. One year later, and Soriano's a golden god. We simply don't know what we'll be getting 6,7,8 years from now, and unfortuantly history isn't particularly kind.

Crunch -- You're right about that fireloupiniella.com site. It's almost a cottage industry to get a fire X web site every time a team gets a new manager.

the only positive i can even remotely think of involving giving lugo 8+m a year to be a cub is it might force soriano to the #2 slot (yeah, i know soriano came here to lead off, but he's not totally unreasonable).

other than that...puke.

unless jones really doesnt (or is incapable) of CF i still dont see the issue. he can track a ball, he's not affraid of the wall, and he can cover ground...along with being a left handed power hitter and all.

#109 is vintage crunch-damage-control

I don't think there's any reason to compare Soriano to Sammy, especially since Soriano has never been a steroid suspect.

Funny, Sosa has never even been remotely linked to any steroid abuse. Not 1 single shred of evidence. And yet BJS you know without a doubt Sosa was on roids and Soriano isn't based on nothing more than your opinion.

For all we know Soriano is a steroid abuser, because who knew Palmerio was one? You don't have to be a muscled freak to be an abuser as shown with all the pitchers getting busted.

If your going to suspect Sosa of it, you better be consistent and suspect Soriano of it as well. Both have the same amount of evidence against them.....which is zero.

Crunch it's obvious Giambi is still on hgh, we saw what he looked like when he wasn't, the rapid weight loss, breaking down body, no power, .220 batting average and a boss who attempted to run him out of town. Giambi has the type of personality who needs to be liked by everyone, if you don't think he's still using you're nuts. As for Sosa, I don't think it was hgh, it looked more like hard anabolic steroids. hgh doesn't put that much mass muscle on you. Sosa's best buddy from the Dominican got busted in Mexico with a suitcase full of them afterall, and his pal Manny Alexander also got pinched with them.

Bret Saberhagen says he will decline entry into Hall of Fame if elected:

www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/1611...

Honestly, I don't think it is anything he's going to have to put to the test.

"is pal Manny Alexander also got pinched with them."

in manny ramirez's car. hehe...

I know how most everyone felt about Soriano last year. Soriano had a career year and it appears he may have developed some significant plate discipline for the first time in his career. If he did, he'll very likely have a few similar years to 2006 and be a much better player as he ages.
My point was that Sammy's game was eroding very, very quickly because he stopped taking his PED's. Soriano is likely to have a more natural, gradual decline phase.

I don't really care anyway. It's not my money and if the Cubs intend to win now, they have to aquire quality players. Schmidt is on the wrong side of 30. If he'll come to the Cubs, I hope to hell they'll pay him what he wants, even if it is a 4 year deal.

One positive about Lugo would be that if you buy into the fact that Izturis is "injury-prone", Lugo would mean no Cedeno when Izturis ultimately goes on the DL.

Judging by the push to sign DeRosa, it seems pretty clear Lou values versatile defensive players and Lugo would fit that profile.

I'd much rather be hearing rumors about starting pitching though.

"As for Sosa, I don't think it was hgh, it looked more like hard anabolic steroids. hgh doesn't put that much mass muscle on you. Sosa's best buddy from the Dominican got busted in Mexico with a suitcase full of them afterall, and his pal Manny Alexander also got pinched with them."
---

Impossible. There's not 1 single shred of evidence. Ask MikeC. Sosa would never break the rules or do anything to get an edge.

My point was that Sammy's game was eroding very, very quickly because he stopped taking his PED's. Soriano is likely to have a more natural, gradual decline phase.

You speak like this is fact, which is the crazy part.

You are talking completely out of your ass on this subject.

well the main reason i hate lugo is how bad he is at SS and how just straight up inept he is at 2nd.

his SS skills are servicable at best (and quite honestly on the low end of everyday players) and i really cant imagine any competitive team who's spending money would want him there.

yeah, its great in an emergency to have a guy like lugo around when injuries come, but honestly, i could live with derosa/cedeno/theriot sharing those duties.

though theriot didnt get any shot at SS (i dont think he got a shot anywhere but 2nd, not sure) he is a natural SS.

just personal preference...i dont like lugo. but i dont think im exaggerating his shortcomings in the middle IF.

BJS when you make stuff up as fact to try and prove your point I am going to call you on it. And right now you are making stuff up out of thin air to prove your point. It is pathetic.

You can suspect him all you want, but when you start writing "when he came off PED" blah blah blah, you are speaking as if it is fact when you know damn well it isn't.

theriot had 2 games at SS and 1 random inning at 3rd in 06...btw.

Put your head in the sand, Mike. You aren't calling anyone out on anything. You are in the minority of baseball fans who believe Sosa was clean.

Sosa wasn't as big in 2005 as he was 2-3 years previous.

Remember all those HR derby's?
He paced around during those with his eyes about to pop out of his skull and sweat just leaking out of the pock marks on his cartoonish face.

Remember his bat exploding and cork flying out? He would never cheat or lie about leaving during a game.

playing the role of Chad today will be MikeC:)

one of the espn writers saw Sosa dining at a Miami restaurant this past summer and said Sosa was about half of his '98 size. Strange we haven't heard anymore on his "comeback":)

man im just a guy that loves reading the banter here and that feeling i get in the pit of my stomach before i log on each morning with the expectations of what deal was made etc, almost as much as i love waiting for 1st pitch during the actual season.

it feels like the team is finally serious about bringing a commissioner's trophy to the north side of chicago, and that makes me very happy almost to the point of being smug before the first game of 07 has even been played.

soriano a cub is a good thing.

*throws a brick at cubby*

quit trying to bring some positive things to this site. we're kinda busy.

wow, how rude...

btw, i heard there was an offer on the table for schmidt for 3/44m.

"well the main reason i hate lugo is how bad he is at SS and how just straight up inept he is at 2nd."
----

I haven't seen Lugo play much, but when I have I haven't been impressed with his defense either. I know you're always raggin' on it, but somehow he seems to generally have a reputation for being a very good, well above average defender. I'd be more afraid of getting the 03-04 Lugo offense than his bad defense. He really had a good 1 1/2 years in TB before going to LA, but he stunk with the Dodgers and wasn't anything special prior to 2005.

Crasnick said Lugo would be the CF.

It is the same stance I have always taken against the "Sosa used roids" crowd.

They just look at a player and say "roid abuser." A guy has an off year, "roid abuser." A guy has a career year, "roid abuser." Everything can either be explained or explained away just buy pulling out the roid card.

Lets start accusing Derrek Lee now, we got zero proof, but apparently all we need is an opinion by to have it turn into fact. I certainly love how low the standard is to accuse someone.

When I start working as a cop, I am just going to start taking people in for DUI's without doing any of the tests. It is my opinion, that should be enough fact for the courts.

Clearly I wouldn't last long on the job, but that is where my line of thinking is regarding how you accuse people of roid use. You can come up with a silly reason to accuse every single person in MLB of using performance enhancers. Why worry about it? When the proof roles down the pipe line you can bitch all you want how you were correct.

I am not gonna start turning on a player, because some idiots on a message board/and blow hards in the media believe it as fact. I will worry about it when it is proven, until then players are innocent until proven guilty. And I don't mean by a court of law. Bonds has Grand Jury Testimony haunting him and his personal trainer even though no charges of any kind have been leveled against him.

My stance hasn't changed on that subject one time in all the years of accusations. If you are going to accuse Sosa of using roids and state it as fact, I am going to post in return.

"but somehow he seems to generally have a reputation for being a very good, well above average defender"

i dunno who would say that, honestly.

im not asking you to dig up any names or anything, but i'd be amazed to see anyone even on a team fan site saying much about his D.

im pretty much of the notion that he's there cuz the OF was loaded everywhere, the heir to SS is one of the worst IF'rs ever (bj upton...omg yes, he really is THAT bad)...and he was a cheap bat for TB.

i still think they waited a year too long to trade him away, but that's the TB way.

That Julio Lugo can play a smooth SS.

Also the "roid" accusations are perfect arguments for the accusers. Only 1 possible out come can ever be proven, whether he used performance enhancers. It can be proven if he is caught with a drug test or if he confesses.

But if a player keeps saying he never used, never tested positive, people will still suspect him and accuse him. There is no way to get rid of the stigma once you start it. It is impossible to disprove a guy ISN'T taking performance enhancers.

How would any of you like being in a situation like that where you can't prove your innocence but people still believe you did a bad thing? It is a terrible situation to be in. And I don't wish any person to be caught in scenario such as that.

there ya' go... JD thinks so

actually, just drop in over at NSBB or BCB. I've seen love-fests at both places for Lugo, including for his quality glovework.

A guy has an off year, "roid abuser." A guy has a career year, "roid abuser."

There's a massive chasm of difference between one of the above situations and Sosa or Bonds' situations. Sosa and Bonds haves umpteen times more suspicious circumstances than a "career year".

speaking of roids...the colbert report tonight...

"mark mcgwire looks like he wont make the HOF." -colbert

"yes." - mike lupica

"is it because his head won't fit on the plaque?" - colbert

"one of the espn writers saw Sosa dining at a Miami restaurant this past summer and said Sosa was about half of his '98 size. Strange we haven't heard anymore on his "comeback":)"

You have incurred this penalty, I mock you by saying as I say to all people who post hearsay :

"Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious. "

You see I got this thing called patience and a long memorey. I can out-last the knee jerk crowd and wait the years to finally be proven what others thought was impossible.

---

Umm MikeC we all do!!!!!
We're CUB FANS!!!!!

MikeC, I see your point (regarding inabillity for a player to prove himself innocent), but only as far as HGH, which is difficult to test for.

As for steroids, all of this cryptic MLB testing is really hurting the players credibility . I see the "never tested positive" argument used frequently in the media. IMO, in the absence of compulsory (and public) testing, such a retort seems almost more self indicting (in a nyah nyah kind of way) than anything else.

and Chad, I understand the importance of innocent until proven guilty. The reason why there is so much discussion about Sosa and Bonds that because of the enormous void of proof, people are left to express their opinions based on circumstantial evidence. Just like JFK, Bigfoot, whatever. I dont think that its wrong to express an opinion in a blog forum.

That being said, I'm really curious to learn what your opinion of Bonds and Sosa drug use is. Not what we can prove, just what your brain tells you is probably correct.

There's a massive chasm of difference between one of the above situations and Sosa or Bonds' situations. Sosa and Bonds haves umpteen times more suspicious circumstances than a "career year"

I am talking about random talk I see on this site or other sites. Your accusations is just one piece of it.

The "roids" card is pulled out to explain everything.

I have heard it used on Ryan Howard, Brett Boone, Griffey, and so on. Howard only has his power because of roids, Griffey is always injured due to the effects of roid abuse, Brett Boone had his career season on roids.

Why stop at Sosa, Derrek Lee had a career year. "Must be roids." Isn't this a cool game, you can accuse anyone and then no one can dis-prove you!

With no apologies to Mike C or anyone, there's a big majority (a lot of them HOF voting BBWAA members)who don't need to see the duck walk or quack to know it's a duck. The HOF is for players who dominated at their position for approximately 10 years, not who hit the most HR's or got 500+ dingers. Neither McGwire or Sosa fit that criteria with or without the juice. They were essentially one-dimensional players who every beat writer with a conscience and 2 eyes could see were getting 'help' far and above the weight room. No one can take any numbers from 1990 to 2001 out of the record books including some over-inflated ERA's. OK, done deal. But you don't have to reward these guys with HOF plaques either.........and yes that includes, Mr. Personality (B. Bonds).....anyone who's ever been to AZ spring training knows to be the biggest horse's ass ever to walk a baseball field. I applaud the initial straw poll of 75% of those voters who won't vote for these walking piles of fecal matter.

all these hgh and steroid experts around here and I'm wondering how you guys didn't get book deals instead of Will Carroll.

The Sosa/Soriano comparision I made was almost exclusively before any steroid/HGH rumors could be pinned on Sosa except his age 30 season, fwiw.

Lugo shows up as about average on his defense using BP's defensive metrics, fwiw.

Most of the scouting reports I read say something along the lines of good range, but erratic with the throws and susceptible to botching the routine plays.

Boston Globe is saying Matsuzaka is asking for 6 at $12 mil a year.

"Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."

Chad gets double points for making a Ferris Bueller reference and triple points for posting an exact quote without looking it up.

this steroid talks bores me to death, but you all know Joe Schmoe pitcher was just as likely, hell probably more likely to be using as a marquee slugger?

I suppose there's a fantastic study out there though that shows hitters though gained more from the drug abuse, right?

With no apologies to Mike C or anyone, there's a big majority (a lot of them HOF voting BBWAA members)who don't need to see the duck walk or quack to know it's a duck.

The BBWAA writers just voted Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau MVP's. It's pretty clear they're collectively stupid.

Just because they miss on the MVP doesn't mean they lack the deductive reasoning to look at Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire's careers (and their craniums) and notice something isn't kosher.

Their faces and entire heads changed shape/size well after they'd reached adulthood.

"i dunno who would say that, honestly."

Omar Minaya said recently praised Lugo's defense at short. I can't remember why, now that I think about it.

Rob G,

HGH is supposed to improve vision as well, not sure how that would help a pitcher.

Woulda coulda shoulda. Can't worry about Beltran now. I'm just glad the Cubs are taking some positive steps this year. If Hendry completes his offseason mission, I'm going to have to re-subscribe to MLB Extra Innings.

That is all.

Mike C #133 et al.

Machiavelli told us that appearances create their own reality.
Accuse? State? Fact?
It appears to me and, it would seem, many others that Sosa, Bonds and McGwire took steriods.

http://tinyurl.com/ydy6nc

Well lookie here, Prior finally adds value to help the Cubs...I wonder is he's explaining the virtues of spending season after season on the DL to Jason.
-
Chicago Cubs right-handed pitcher Mark Prior, an Arizona neighbor of Jason Schmidt is trying to persuade the free-agent right-hander to sign with the Cubs.

Schmidt, a native of Washington state, has ruled out East Coast teams because of his preference to stay in the West.

LaTrashcan Hawkins signs with the Rockies at $3.5M x one year.

..."God bless the humidor," Hawkins was quoted as saying.

http://tinyurl.com/ydx9kd

Lugo is average AT BEST as a fielder, and is not a priority, IMO. He doesn't add a lot of power, or a particularly great OBP or BA, or a left-handed stick to make the lineup a little more balanced. He would, however, add about $8MM/year annually to the Cubs' payroll, though...

The Cubs need to focus on pitching, period.

Rob G.:
Boston Globe is saying Matsuzaka is asking for 6 at $12 mil a year.

$12 mil for what could very well be a #2 or #3 starter? That's a tough signing, even for the 2nd biggest market in all of baseball. Now I ain't saying he's a golddigger, but he ain't messing with... bah... nevermind.

Even if you ignore the roid rumors, do you really think that McGwire and Sosa are HOF caliber players? To me, they seem one dimensional.

#155 of 159: By cubster (December 1, 2006 07:59 AM)
http://tinyurl.com/ydy6nc

Well lookie here, Prior finally adds value to help the Cubs...I wonder is he's explaining the virtues of spending season after season on the DL to Jason.
-
Chicago Cubs right-handed pitcher Mark Prior, an Arizona neighbor of Jason Schmidt is trying to persuade the free-agent right-hander to sign with the Cubs.

Schmidt, a native of Washington state, has ruled out East Coast teams because of his preference to stay in the West.

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

CUBSTER: Actually, Mark Prior lives in San Diego. However, Kerry Wood and Jason Schmidt are almost next-door neighbors (they live about a block apart), so maybe the writer meant Woody has been recruiting Schmidt.

TheBigLead.com had this to say about McGwire getting into the Hall:

"In our jaded eyes, Mark McGwire is no Hall of Famer. Not now, not next year, and not in three years. Heís a glorified Dave Kingman. He was a one-dimensional player who wasnít a particularly good hitter (.263 career average), was a poor defensive 1st baseman, and seemed to disappear in the postseason (3 World Series appearances, .188 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI; his career postseason average was .217). Weíll stop short of saying that weíd vote in well-rounded Jose Canseco in over McGwire at the risk of being ostricized."

http://thebiglead.com/?p=1410

Sort of like calling Randy Johnson a 1 dimensional pitcher, all he did is struck people out. McGwire used to walk a lot too, so calling him one dimensional is just wrong, even though the 1 dimension is the best thing a hitter can do.

You can argue about not putting him in the HoF because of his steroid use, but for about 6 years he was the most feared hitter in the game.

I have a pretty good rule of thumb for determining who should be in the HoF, it's All-Star games. If you've been in 10, you're a Hall of Famer. That's why Byleven doesn't belong.

Being December 1st and originally told that Mitchell's report would be out in November, I found this in from an Ohio newspaper-

"Fay Vincent is among those who believe writers will turn down McGwire at least until former senator George Mitchell completes his investigation into steroid use. That report, initiated at the request of Commissioner Bud Selig, won't be done until at least January. One published report said McGwire hasn't cooperated with Mitchell's investigators."

So no report until January.

have a pretty good rule of thumb for determining who should be in the HoF, it's All-Star games. If you've been in 10, you're a Hall of Famer. That's why Byleven doesn't belong.

So, is Maddux out too (only 8 All Star games)?

Maddux turned down All-Star games. He probably would have been in 10-12 if he wanted.

Bob Feller- 8 All Stars games
Sandy Koufax- 6 All Stars games
Nolan Ryan-8 All stars games

Steve Garvey -10 All Star games

You two don't know what the phrase 'Rule of Thumb'means?

Where's the examples of guys with 11 ASG appearances and who aren't in the Hall?

I wouldn't have any problem putting Garvey in the Hall. He was... what is that word I am looking for... oh yeah, he was famous.

Obviously you don't so let me give you the wikipedia link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thumb

'A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation.'

There are a lot of things you can say about Sosa, but for a while there, he was far from one-dimensional.

'A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation.'

So, then Blyleven's back in, cool!

2 All Star games, does not a hall of famer make. And it's not like he can blame playing in small markets, being a pitcher.

Find one hall of famer who played in the All Star Game era in the Majors and only had 2 ASG's. I suggeset you start with the very worst HOFers like Reese and Mazeroski.

Byleven has fewer Bolds than freaking Juan Pierre over at baseballreference. He was a nice #2 starter for a long time, that doesn't make the grade in my or the BBWA's book.

"#162 of 172: By The Real Neal (December 1, 2006 09:54 AM)
Sort of like calling Randy Johnson a 1 dimensional pitcher, all he did is struck people out. McGwire used to walk a lot too, so calling him one dimensional is just wrong, even though the 1 dimension is the best thing a hitter can do.

You can argue about not putting him in the HoF because of his steroid use, but for about 6 years he was the most feared hitter in the game."

Nothing you said in this post was correct. Randy Johnson's ability to strike people out directly affected the amount of runs he gave up (or lack there of). Consequently allowing him to win many games. You example is completely off.

McGuire's game was totally one dimension. Either he hit a home run or he didn't. If he walked or got a single, it was going to take two to three hits to get him home. He didn't have a particularly good batting average or did he drive in runs with hitting the long ball. He wasn't a great fielder. In other words, besides hitting Andro-induced (as he has admitted) home runs, he didn't do much else.

Opening Day lineup:

1. Bobby Dernier CF
2. Ryne Sandberg 2B
3. Gary Matthews LF
4. Leon Durham 1B
5. Keith Moreland RF
6. Ron Cey 3B
7. Jody Davis C
8. Shawon Dunston SS
9. Rick Sutcliffe P

Pretty potent....oh, wait.. I'm just having a flashback... never mind. :)

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