A Starting Point

Every year going into the off-season, I usually informally rate the MLB starting pitchers, as either a #1, #2, #3, #4, #5-A, #5-B, or "emerging prospect" starter. Naturally, the list changes from year-to-year. Since there are 30 MLB clubs, I list 30 #1 starters, 30 #2 starters, 30 #3 starters, etc. Some clubs have more than one "ace #1 starter," while others don't have any. It's just my subjective opinion--and I'm sure you have your's, and normally I just keep the list in my head, using it as a reference when posting something here about pitchers the Cubs might be pursuing as free-agents or in a trade. But with the Winter Meetings set to commence at Lake Buena Vista, FL (near Disney World) on Monday, with MLB GMs likely to begin congregating at the hotel bar Sunday evening, and with Jim Hendry hoping to acquire two (or possibly three) starting pitchers while he's there, I thought I would post my list, just to provide a starting point for discussions about pitchers Hendry might be considering. * throws left GROUP #1 STARTERS (ACE) : Bronson Arroyo, CIN Josh Beckett, BOS Jeremy Bonderman, DET A.J. Burnett, TOR Chris Carpenter, STL Roger Clemens, FA Jose Contreras, CHW Freddy Garcia, CHW * Tom Glavine, NYM Roy Halladay, TOR Aaron Harang, CIN Dan Haren, OAK John Lackey, LAA Derek Lowe, LAD Kevin Millwood, TEX Mike Mussina, NYY Brett Myers, PHI Roy Oswalt, HOU Jake Peavy, SD * Kenny Rogers, DET * C.C. Sabathia, CLE * Johan Santana, MIN Curt Schilling, BOS Jason Schmidt, FA John Smoltz, ATL Justin Verlander, DET Brandon Webb, AZ Chris Young, SD Carlos Zambrano, CUBS * Barry Zito, FA ============================== GROUP #2 VETERAN STARTERS (SOLID): * Eric Bedard, BAL Kris Benson, BAL * Mark Buehrle, CHW * Chris Capuano, MIL Aaron Cook, COL Adam Eaton, PHI Kelvim Escobar, LAA Jon Garland, CHW Rich Harden, OAK Orlando Hernandez, NYM Tim Hudson, ATL Jason Jennings, COL * Cliff Lee, CLE * Ted Lilly, FA Greg Maddux, FA Matt Morris, SF * Jamie Moyer, PHI Vicente Padilla, FA John Patterson, WAS Brad Penny, LAD * Andy Pettitte, FA * Nate Robertson, DET Ben Sheets, MIL Jeff Suppan, FA Javier Vazquez, CHW Tim Wakefield, BOS * Jarrod Washburn, SEA Jeff Weaver, FA Jake Westbrook, CLE * Dontrelle Willis, FLA ============================================= GROUP #3: STILL-DEVELOPING (ON-THE-RISE/POTENTIAL #1 ACE OR #2) : Chad Billingsley, LAD Joe Blanton OAK Boof Bonser, MIN Dave Bush, MIL Daniel Cabrera, BAL Matt Cain, SF Juan Cruz, AZ * Zach Duke, PIT * Jeff Francis, COL * Tom Gorzelanny, PIT * Cole Hamels, PHI Clay Hensley, SD Felix Hernandez, SEA * Rich Hill, CUBS * Chuck James, ATL Josh Johnson, FLA * Scott Kazmir, TB * Noah Lowry, SF * Paul Maholm, PIT John Maine, NYM Ricky Nolasco, FLA * Scott Olsen, FLA Anthony Reyes, STL Anibal Sanchez, FLA Ervin Santana, LAA * Joe Saunders, LAA Ian Snell, PIT * Jeremy Sowers, CLE Chien-Ming Wang, NYY Jered Weaver, LAA ========================================== GROUP #4 VETERAN STARTERS (ROTATION FILLER): Tony Armas, Jr, FA Miguel Batista, FA Paul Byrd, CLE * Doug Davis, AZ Josh Fogg, COL * Casey Fossum, TB * Mark Hendrickson, LAD Livan Hernandez, AZ Byung-Hyun Kim, COL Jon Lieber, PHI Esteban Loaiza, OAK Kyle Lohse, CIN Rodrigo Lopez, BAL Jason Marquis, FA Gil Meche, FA * Eric Milton, CIN Tomo Ohka, FA Ramon Ortiz, FA * Odalis Perez, KC Tim Redding, WAS * Mark Redman, FA Jae-Weong Seo, TB Carlos Silva, MIN John Thomson, FA Brett Tomko, LAD Steve Trachsel, FA Claudio Vargas, MIL Woody Williams, HOU Jamey Wright, FA Jaret Wright, BAL ========================================= #5-A STARTERS (HIGH-RISK ñ INJURED, REHABBING, OR WASHED-UP): Pedro Astacio, FA Brandon Backe, HOU Shawn Chacon, PIT * Bruce Chen, FA Matt Clement, BOS Bartolo Colon, LAA Scott Elarton, KC Runelvys Hernandez, KC Jason Johnson, FA * Randy Johnson, NYY * Francisco Liriano, MIN * Mike Maroth, DET Pedro Martinez, NYM Wade Miller, CUBS Sergio Mitre, FLA Brian Moehler, FA * Mark Mulder, FA Russ Ortiz, FA Chan Ho Park, FA Carl Pavano, NYY Joel Pineiro, SEA Sidney Ponson, FA Mark Prior, CUBS * Horacio Ramirez, ATL Victor Santos, PIT Josh Towers, TOR * David Wells, FA Kip Wells, STL Jerome Williams, OAK * Randy Wolf, LAD ======================================= #5-B STARTERS (HAVE MLB EXPERIENCE AS STARTERS): Scott Baker, MIN Taylor Buchholz, HOU Gustavo Chacin, TOR * Brandon Claussen, CIN Tim Corcoran, TB Kyle Davies, ATL * Jorge de la Rosa, KC Gavin Floyd, PHI Enrique Gonzalez, AZ Angel Guzman, CUBS Brad Hennessey, SF Luke Hudson, KC Casey Janssen, TOR * John Koronka, TEX Kameron Loe, TEX * Adam Loewen, BAL Shaun Marcum, TOR * Sean Marshall, CUBS Juan Mateo, CUBS Seth McClung, TB Dustin McGowan, TOR Zach Miner, DET * Mike OíConnor, WAS * Oliver Perez, NYM Elizardo Ramirez, CIN * John Rheinecker, TEX * Wandy Rodriguez, HOU Jamie Shields, TB Robinson Tejeda, TEX Mike Thompson, SD =================================== ROTATION STARTERS MOST-LIKELY TO EMERGE SOMETIME IN ë07 (HAVE LIMITED OR NO MLB EXPERIENCE): Matt Albers, HOU Cha-Seung Baek, SEA Homer Bailey, CIN * Eude Brito, PHI Francisco Cruceta, SEA * John Danks, TEX Matt Garza, MIN Edgar Gonzalez, AZ * Gio Gonzalez, PHI Jeremy Guthrie, CLE Charlie Haeger, CHW Jason Hammel, TB Ben Hendrickson, MIL Jason Hirsh, HOU Philip Hughes, NYY Philip Humber, NYM Ubaldo Jimenez, COL Adam Miller, CLE Jeff Niemann, TB Mike Pelfrey, NYM Hayden Penn, BAL Darrell Rasner, NYY Jae-Kuk Ryu, CUBS * Jonathan Sanchez, SF Humberto Sanchez, NYY Kevin Slowey, MIN Jordan Tata, DET Virgil Vasquez, DET Edinson Volquez, TEX Kyle Yates, TOR
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Comments

AZ Phil-
You're my minor league guy, what about Bo Flowers quitting?

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/...

He was released over a year ago, he was playing independent ball last I knew.

#1 of 2: By jacos (December 1, 2006 01:04 PM)
AZ Phil-
You're my minor league guy, what about Bo Flowers quitting?

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

JACOS: Bo Flowers couldn't hit a breaking ball with a two-by-four. The Cubs released Flowers during Spring Training '06, and Bo played Independent ball in the Frontier League last season. Apparently the writer was not aware of that.

And neither was I, who else came over for the Farns?

#4 of 4: By jacos (December 1, 2006 01:32 PM)
And neither was I, who else came over for the Farns?

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

JACOS: Roberto Novoa and Scott Moore.

Ok...what is the fascination with Jae-Kuk Ryu??
Other than killing an errant osprey, his greatest claim to fame was getting shellacked by Atlanta.
He looks like a decent option for a bullpen guy, but not as a starter.
He fastball doesn't look that fast, and his breaking stuff doesn't impress me much either.

DUSTY B: What do you mean by "fascination"? I don't get that comment.

Like a lot of the other pitchers with very limited or no MLB experience I put on on that list, Ryu has been developed as a starting pitcher, has nothing more to prove at AAA, and so he will quite possibly get an opportunity to be a rotation starter in MLB in 2007, if not with the Cubs, then with another club. Or he could be used as a reliever.

Many will disagree with me, but IMO the starter who may be the biggest surprise this year, if given the chance my be Sean Marshall. Before his injury last year, he looked like he had figured it out. His curve ball is much like Hill's, but I like the way he throws it at two different speeds. He also showed in the early start against the Cards that he can handle a little pressure. It appeared after the injury that he had lost his release point. I don't see him being a #1 and probably not even a #2 starter, but could be a very solid #3 starter. I know that his numbers last year did not end up being very good, but he did not start a lot at AAA and in many way was learning on the job last year.

Thanks Phil!

Jae-Kuk Ryu is South Korean. He will continue the legacy of great Korean Cub players started by Hee Seop Choi.

FYI, Baseball Think Factory site is back up on its old url. Try your old link, it should work now.

Phil as always great article - I find your posts more appealing than the fluff pieces that appear in the Tribune. Question, do you think that Jae-Kuk Ryu can step up in 2007 like Rich Hill did for the Cubs or do you think that his upside is limited to long relief?

I guess LaTroy signed with the Rockies. There are going to be some LONG HRs in the 7th or 8th inning of games at Coors.

The Cubs, Astros and Cardinals all have an ace at No. 1 and empty spots and 2 and 3 in the rotation. This may be an oversimplification, but I think whoever fills 2 and 3 the best emerges as the best team in the division.

Houston's situation is different because of Clemens and Pettitte. St. Louis has a young wild card in Reyes and health wild card in Wells. Cubs have young wild card in Hill and healt wild card in Prior and Miller.

So with that, what is a legitimate wish list next week for those 2 spots:

I think all of the tier-2 free agents are risks with a 4-year contract.

Jake Westbrook tops my wish list.

Roto says the Braves are dangling Hudson. I don't love him, but I think I'd be happier taking on his 3x32MM contract than signing a guy like Meche/Padilla for 4x40MM.

A trade with our South Siders? The Sox send either Buerhle, Garcia, or Vasquez and Podsednik to the Cubs for Murton or Jones or both, Cedeno, and a Mateo, Marmol, O'Malley, Marshall, or a prospect. Jones would be a good acquisition to play rightfield moving Dye to left, and could also DH part time when Thome plays firstbase giving Konerko a rest. A shortstop in Cedeno would also assure the Sox of that position counting on the trouble Uribe is in from the altercations this off season.

I want Podsuckit no where near Wrigley w/ his slap hits, noodle arm, atrocious defense and waxed eyebrows.

#12 of 14: By Rory (December 1, 2006 02:10 PM)
Phil as always great article - I find your posts more appealing than the fluff pieces that appear in the Tribune. Question, do you think that Jae-Kuk Ryu can step up in 2007 like Rich Hill did for the Cubs or do you think that his upside is limited to long relief?

--

RORY: I think if Ryu is not traded, he will probably be moved to the bullpen, although a lot depends on the needs of the Cubs. Same goes for Marmol and Mateo. Ryu has better pure stuff than either Mateo or Marmol, but Mateo is more consistent and Marmol throws harder.

I would say Sean Marshall and Angel Guzman (if they aren't traded) are the two Cubs pitchers most likely to have break-through years in 2007 (like Rich Hill did in 2006), although it's just as likely that they could take a step backwards and get cast aside.

Marshall right now would appear to be as good (though not as "proven") as any #4-type veteran starter out there (Batista, Meche, Marquis, Armas, Redman, et al), but if Hendry has an opportunity to acquire a #2-type starter (like Westbrook or Jennings) in a trade, then I believe Hendry will trade Marshall (or Guzman, Ryu, Marmol, or Mateo) if that's what it takes to make the deal, and then maybe sign a veteran FA #4 starter (like Batista, Meche or Marquis) to replace Marshall, preferably Batista, because the rubber-armed Batista can be moved to the bullpen if Miller pitches well enough to be in the rotation or if Prior can return to action and be an effective starter (Batista was the Blue Jays closer a recently as 2005).

Even if Hendry is able to acquire a Westbrook or a Jennings in a trade, and signs a #4-type guy (Batista, or possibly Meche or Marquis) as a "fallback option" at the back-end of the rotation (in case Miller and Prior are not able to be rotation starters), he will still need to at least try and sign a FA #1 or #2 starter to slot right behind Zambrano.

Hopefully, by this time next week, the Cubs 2007 starting rotation will look something like this:

1. Zambrano
2. FA (Schmidt, or else Padilla, or maybe Lilly)
3. TRADE (either Westbrook or Jennings) or Hill
4. Hill (or else #4-type FA like Batista--or possibly Meche or Marquis, if Hill slots at #3)
5-A. Prior (if healthy)
5-B. Miller (if effective)
5-C. Marshall, Guzman, or Ryu (whoever is not traded, and otherwise in Iowa if not needed in Chicago)
5-D. Batista (to start only if necessary, otherwise in bullpen)

The main thing is to try and sign or acquitre HEALTHY pitchers, and have mulitiple viable options at the back-end of the rotation.

I'm guessing the Braves would want something like Marshall, Guzman and a reliever or some combo of 2 young starters and a reliever. I like Hudson, his BABIP of .303 was pretty high last year, but his walk rate has been growing as well.

If it's more like one decent young pitcher not named Hill and a reliever, i'd start getting intrigued.

that Rosenthal article about Hudson says he can demand a trade if he's moved. I thought they got rid of that in the new CBA where you can demand a trade if your moved in the middle of a multi-year deal (a la Vazquez last year). Unless it's an actual provision in his contract.

"I like Hudson, his BABIP of .303 was pretty high last year"

The MLB average is .305.

#20 of 20: By Rob G. (December 1, 2006 03:14 PM)
that Rosenthal article about Hudson says he can demand a trade if he's moved. I thought they got rid of that in the new CBA where you can demand a trade if your moved in the middle of a multi-year deal (a la Vazquez last year). Unless it's an actual provision in his contract.

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

ROB G: That part of the CBA has been eliminated starting with contracts signed this off-season, but guys who signed multi-year contracts while under the previous CBA (like Hudson, Millwood, Morris, et al) can demand a trade (or become a FA on March 15th of the year following their first season with their new team) if they get traded prior to the last year of their contract.

#16 of 22: By cubsbaseball (December 1, 2006 02:54 PM)
A trade with our South Siders? The Sox send either Buerhle, Garcia, or Vasquez and Podsednik to the Cubs for Murton or Jones or both, Cedeno, and a Mateo, Marmol, O'Malley, Marshall, or a prospect. Jones would be a good acquisition to play rightfield moving Dye to left, and could also DH part time when Thome plays firstbase giving Konerko a rest. A shortstop in Cedeno would also assure the Sox of that position counting on the trouble Uribe is in from the altercations this off season.

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

CUBS BASEBALL: Just one minor correction, and that is that Ryan O'Malley has been released. Likewise Miguel Negron.

Sox just picked up option on Pudsednick.

"The Sox send either Buerhle" for those who have Parachat I just made the same sound of the woman screaming when I read this. No way, I can't wait for his dream to come true to go to the Cardinals so he can ruin them.

"Garcia"- Now Sweaty Freddie I would take, with his day record.

Whatever, so O'Malley has been released my bad, but you get what I am saying one of the Cubs young pitchers (Mateo, Marmol, Marshall, Guzman, etc.).

thanks Carlos, well it seemed high. :)

NYM reup with Glavine 1/$12 + option..pretty surprising ATL didn't bring him back. ATL may not move Hudson now as it seemed like they were trying to move him to free up $ for Glavine...wonder if that means M.Giles is staying now too.

#25 of 25: By cubsbaseball (December 1, 2006 03:34 PM)
Whatever, so O'Malley has been released my bad, but you get what I am saying one of the Cubs young pitchers (Mateo, Marmol, Marshall, Guzman, etc.).

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

CUBS BASEBALL: Yes. I wasn't trying to nitpick your comment, I was just interjecting a small correction.

As for the Cubs going after one of the Sox rotation starters in a trade, I suspect the White Sox would be inclined to trade one of their starters, possibly even to the Cubs, but would probably be more interested in getting somebody like Bob Howry or Scott Eyre back in the deal, along with maybe Marshall or Guzman. They might have an interest in Jacque Jones and Ronny Cedeno, too (for the reasons you mentioned), I don't know.

Conversely, I would think a Marshall/Ohman/Holliman package would probably net the Cubs Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, and Colorado would probably listen if Hendry offered Pie, Ohman, and either Marshall or Guzman for Jennings, although the Rockies might have to send another prospect (like SS Chris Nelson, maybe) back to the Cubs for Hendry to bite on that one.

ALLEN:
The Cubs, Astros and Cardinals all have an ace at No. 1 and empty spots and 2 and 3 in the rotation. This may be an oversimplification, but I think whoever fills 2 and 3 the best emerges as the best team in the division.

Houston's situation is different because of Clemens and Pettitte. St. Louis has a young wild card in Reyes

That's a reasonable assessment. As far as Reyes, despite his baffling world series performance, I'm not impressed. I think he's going to get lit-up in the long run.

Of course with Duncan there, who knows. You could give that guy Jeff Bagwell and he could probably make him into a pretty good pitcher.

"thanks Carlos, well it seemed high. :)"

Yep, but don't get me wrong, I love Hudson and I think he'd thrive here. Last year, though, wasn't an aberration: he sucked, plain and simple.

"The Sox send either Buerhle, Garcia, or Vasquez and Podsednik to the Cubs for Murton or Jones or both, Cedeno, and a Mateo, Marmol, O'Malley, Marshall, or a prospect"

Probably one of the worst trades in major league history. If I was Kenny Williams I would take deal and send Hendry over a case of 12 year old scotch.

Ray Durham sticking with the Giants

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/16...

Thanks, Rob. The deal is believed to be worth 14 million over two years. I wonder why Hendry didn't bite the bullet and went after him, if he was only asking for 7M a year.

Also, Glavine sticks with the Mets for 1Y@11M.

Mark Redman, Gil Meche, about the same thing in terms of results over a whole season. Exactly, Phil, whether you meant that or not.

One's gonna get $10M, the other maybe half that. And if you believe the idea that a good mix of lefties and righties makes the whole rotation better, then Redman may be even more valuable.

Don't both with the stats, I've seen them, and I'm sticking to it.

Are the Cubs the suckers who are gonna pull off the dumb end of that one? Only time will tell.

"Mark Redman, Gil Meche, about the same thing in terms of results over a whole season. Exactly, Phil, whether you meant that or not."

Actually, a healthy Redman would have the edge over Meche.

The thing that bothers me is that Meche will always have that "potential" tag -- his raw stuff is unbelievable. I don't know whether he's ever going to have the mental makeup to use it properly or not, but if he gets it together for some lucky team, I'd love for that team to be the Cubs.

Like Carlos said, Meche has waaaayyyyy better stuff than Redman and his 83 mph heater. Redman, however, is a better pitcher and knows how to mix his pitches and pitch to both sides of the plate as well as up and down in the zone. If Meche "put it all together" like one Curt Schilling did in his late twenties, he could be a phenomenal pitcher. I have a feeling that if the Cubs sign him, however, under the tutelage of Rothschild, he's going to remain a guy with a ton of "potential" who is very inconsistent.

OH SHUT THE F*** UP CARRIE!!!

"Cubs already stacked before Meetings"

http://preview.tinyurl.com/y4v5zt

If they played for the same team their numbers would be almost indecipherable at the end of the year. One's going to get paid twice the other one. Because of his stuff? Because he has a 4 or 5-game winning streak every year? That's all, really.

George Offman of WSCR just reported that Cubs offered contract or close to signing (damn static on radio) Ted Lilly.

Any one else hear?

I used to wake up in the morning
I used to feel so bad
I got so sick of having sleepless nights
I went and told my dad

He said, 'Son now here's some little something'
And stuck them on my wall
And now my nights ain't quite so lonely
In fact I, I don't feel bad at all

Pictures of Ted Lilly flash in my head
How many millions? Surely I dread

Any clarification on that Offman report?

Whether it was simply an offered contract or we are actually close to signing a deal with him?

I don't mind Lilly. He's okay.

http://www.metronews.ca/uploadedFiles/PDFs/20...

Go to page 27 of that PDF and it says he's on the verge of a 4/37.5 deal. Same guy reported Cubs were going to offer a huge package for Wells, so take it for what it's worth.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/6226820

someone must have mentioned this already, but Rosenthal talks about a Jacque for Jennings swap and then signing Lugo which would sort of coincide with Crasnick's multi-year offer for Lugo.

there was also this report last night that the Cubs, Yanks and 2 other teams were making pushes at Lilly.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/y5b93r

Rob G-

Do you doubt the reporting of the most appropriately named Mr. OFFman?

I like the jones for jennings deal.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/vjq57

cubs.com saying Cubs made an offer last night but not likely to finalize anything until the Winter Meetings next week, this all according to his agent.

Agent says Yanks, Giants, Rangers, O's and BLUE jays also interested.

well if Offman said they offered a deal, he's got muskrat and Lilly's agent backing him up. As for close to a deal, that might have been a stretch.

I would rather throw $3 mil on top of that and get Padilla myself...

Colorado wouldn't do jones for jennings straight up.

Probably have to throw Rusch in too.

;-P

"Do you doubt the reporting of the most appropriately named Mr. OFFman?"

That's FUNNY!.

What about the BRUCE-ster? Anyone here confirmation/another report from Levine?

He's da Man.

Count me in for Jock for Jennings, that would be an awesome trade for us. Signing Lugo I'm OK with; signing Lugo for CF I am most definitely NOT OK with. His bat is OK for SS, but not for CF. And he's nearly as good defensively as the awful Izturis, so why would you screw around with this Jim Hendry?

Sign Lugo and put him at SS. You can flip Izturis somewhere without too much difficulty.

PADILLA!!!!

more on Lilly if this ends up getting done...

59-58 record, 4.60 career ERA, 7.68 K/9, 0.82 G/F, 1.38 HR/9, 2.09 K/BB, 250/326/431 against

255/330/456 vs righties
235/309/659 vs lefties

never topped 200 innings, made 30+ starts 3 of the last 4 years.

scouting report..
good fastball, 12-6 curve and a change...
often loses focus

Should have added: with Jones gone, my OF preference is to put Soriano in CF, keep Murton in LF, and trade for someone like Brian Giles (said to be available) or one of Boston's now superfluous outfielders (Wily Mo Pena, please).

If we take Lugo off the market, Boston likely would have an interest in Izturis. How about Izzy and Scott Eyre for Pena, would ya?

Cubs could always still sign Floyd as their 4th OF and get him 400 ABs as the occasional platoon partner of Murton in LF, and Pena in RF. Floyd can play both corner OF slots without complaint if healthy. Don't forget Floyd is a local guy and die-hard Cubbie, like Jim Thome, Floyd would give his right arm to play for the Cubs. I think he'd happily accept whatever role Lou Pa would design for him.

O.K. - I just heard it on WSCR (6:35 CST), Mike Bloomberg reported that "a Toronto newspaper is reporting the Cubs are close to signing Ted Lilly to a four-year deal..."

Due to his annual injury battles and surgeries, if this happens, get the towels ready...bummer.

What ABOUT PADILLA?!!

sounds like that cubs.com article is accurate and York in Canada jumped the gun a little. Hopefully the BLUE jays sweep in and save us, I'm not a fan of Lilly at all.

Thats probably the paper Rob cited to in Post #43

Hot stove heatin' up!!

I'm watching a house full of 6 year olds for a sleepover. I'll be checking in.

JACOS!

You need some entertainment for sure, bro'!

Okay if they sign Lily, I would believe Marshall will be gone in a trade(hopefully not Hill).

Maybe in a package for Westbrook.

We just got done making home made pizza.

All cheese of course except my good little Chicagoan son who wanted sausage.

Even though I'm not as obsessed with "balance" in the line-up as some baseball fans, I'd just as soon NOT put Willy Mo Pena in the Cubs outfield. He has some wickedly prodigious power, but he strikes out way too often. His decent career OBP of .315 is partially the result of him being a platoon partner for most of his career. We have enough right-handed bats, and we have enough power...we need a lefty who can hit in the middle of the order and has a little bit of pop (or a lot, if such a hitter should become available) who can also swipe some bags. Kenny Lofton lacks power, but he always has a great OBP, hits for a high average, and hits for contact. He'd provide a veteran presence, a winning attitude, and he'd be back at a ballpark where he fit in quite nicely. He'd make an ideal CF/#2 hitter. If Pie doesn't get traded and looks ready during '07, Lofton could move to the bench and provide a good LH pinch-hitting option, as well as spell Murton on occasion. He's also going to come for a reasonable price--at least, by this market's standards.

I'm not opposed to getting Lilly, so long as he's not counted on as our #2 starter. He's a decent pitcher with pretty good stuff who is going to get overpaid due to an inflated market that is short on SP. 4 years is a long time, but that's something that could be dealt with in 2-3 years (who knows, maybe he'll get one of those brilliant opt-out clauses, just in case he has a great couple of years).

If he's our #4 starter, I'll applaud the move. His 4.3-something ERA will go down a bit in the NL, and a 4 ERA from a 4th starter is more than acceptable, especially since Lilly's track record suggests he'll give us 170 innings or so. If Hendry and Lou tab him as our #2 starter, however, I'll have a huge problem with this move.

Like Jacos said, this would almost certainly guarantee that Marshall is going. Packaging him with another young arm (either Ryu or Guzman) and either Cotts or Ohman should be enough to get Westbrook. Taking it a step further, I believe that one of Johson, Duke, Maholm, or Olsen could be had for a package of Marshall, Guzman, and Mateo + outfield prospect.

We have a lot of young pitching to deal, and quite frankly, the Guzman's and Mateo's aren't (hopefully, knock on wood) going to be part of the Cubs' future. Why not package a few of our once "untouchable" prospects to get a legit player--especially a young one who has the ability to throw strikes?

Ryan, a career OBP of .315 is not anywhere close to "decent". It's Neifi-esque. But I agree with you, I don't want Pena. I'd be more interested in Coco Crisp, though I'm not wild over him either.

Count me in with Rob G. in that I hope we don't sign Lilly. Is he that much better than either Hill or Marshall? His injuries concern me, as does the fact that he gives up gopher balls in bunches. And seeing as how he's been highly sought after, I'm hoping that Hendry wouldn't be satisfied that he's gotten the #2 rotation guy. Lilly, when healthy, is a #3 or #4 at best.

I wouldn't mind Lilly -- I'm just afraid that signing him means we're not going after Schmidt. That's a mistake in my mind.

Mitchell is useless.
Gotta like the ironic headline-

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

Word is that the Rockies are discussing a Milledge for Jennings swap. (via purplerow.com)

Yeah, Ryan, I agree. If Lilly is a #4 that's fine. He better not be the #2 though. Still, is he that much different than Rich Hill?

I like your thoughts on dealing for Westbrook. I'd still like to hold on to Guzman, at least for one more season. If the kid ever brings his BB/9 rates down and stays healthy, he's got ace potential.

Rotoworld has the Lilly 4 year deal blurb, they don't usually post stuff like that unless it is pretty close to being final.

Just read in the Sun-times that Bo Flowers is quitting baseball to sign with the University of Illinois football team as a safety. He was a three sport star in high school and a two-way player in football. He was a four-star player coming out of high school.

nah Mike, they just gather rumors from major papers and websites, it's the same article I linked to in comment #47.

by the way, I rarely pull the "I told you so" card, but Maddux was not offered arbitration.

In a big surprise, neither was John Mabry.

Suppan's going to cost a 1st or 2nd rounder to someone, Weaver will not.

Good thing about Bo Flowers. My illini need as much help as it can get.

(six wins next year and a bowl game)

comparing lilly and hill or lilly and marshall is a hell of a leap.

lilly and hill both have curves but if lilly had hill's curve he would have started making 10m a year well before this coming season. lilly and marshall...well, they're both left handed.

btw, yes i realize the gist of a lotta the comparisons arent based solely on that and a lotta concern comes to throwing a huge chunk of loot at lilly, not who's curveball breaks harder or etc.

hell, i like lilly. i'd take him over zito for no other reason that i believe they're both 4.00 pitchers with good stuff and the savings.

zito's got that health thing, though...and a career ERA of 3.55 to lilly's 4.60.

The Cubs released Flowers during Spring Training '06, and Bo played Independent ball in the Frontier League last season. Apparently the writer was not aware of that.
Posted by: Arizona Phil

Yesterday, Steve (the writer) told me he was a little confused and made a mistake.

Jennings Derby-

Mentions Mets, Astros and Twins.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/mlb/
article/0,2777,DRMN_23924_5185641,00.html

Lilly is hurt too often to be depended on.

Whether a #2, or #4, his injury history gets me depressed. At LEAST Soriano we know will be out there on the field!

But with Lilly, I fear we'll be getting another expensive towel-thrower. One who will give up even more hr's in a small ballpark.

In looking at his stats for the last 3 yrs at ESPN, his SO to BB is good at 2-1 (but the bb total is too high).

However, at least in '06, he rarely made it past the 6th inning.

Is this the status quo for a $10MM/yr pitcher these days?

I mean I suppose if this guy would be used near the end of the rotation, it would be decent, but as a #2 - no way.

Hey Rob G., when are you going to start doing TCR fridays again?

So Durham signs for 2/$14 million? That is why I didn't like the DeRosa signing. For an extra $1 million over the length of contracts, we could of gotten Durham, which in my opinion is a huge upgrade over a career backup coming off a career year.

Andrew: For a young power-hitter still coming into his own, .315, IMO, is a decent OBP. It's not good, but it's still .50 points higher than his BA (and his OBP, aside from '05, has steadily risen every year). But I think we agree on the main point, that we wouldn't want him in our lineup, or in our outfield. Since money really shouldn't be an issue to the Cubs, and since we've been "promised" that there's more room in our payroll, the price on Lilly's contract, so long as it's around $8MM-$9MM per year doesn't really bother me. 3 years ago he'd be topping out at around $6.5MM/year or so, but this is a different market. I might be the only poster at TCR who has completely soured on Guzman. Normally I'd want to keep him around to boost his numbers and trade value at Double-A, but I just don't think he can do it. He has filthy stuff, but his control is nowhere near what it once was in the minors. More importantly to me is the fact that he looked terrified on the mound. He had almost no composure or confidence, and I remember a start he had against the Pirates at Wrigley (I believe his second start) where every time the camera stopped on him before a pitch, he was shaking. I don't know if the kid has the stomach for it anymore. If it can be turned around though, it's going to have to happen somewhere else, and there's going to be some small market teams willing to give a kid with his stuff a chance.

We have plenty of pieces that we need to trade. Ryu, Guzman, Mateo, Ohman, and either Cotts or Eyre are pieces that we simply don't need. We could also throw Novoa and Jones into the potential trade list, IMO. I think Marmol and Marshall are on the fence. Both of them could be sent down to Triple-A, where Marshall could refine his mechanics and work a little more on challenging hitters, and ditto for Marmol (although for Marmol, it better be as a reliever; HE'S NOT A STARTER AND SHOULD NOT BE USED AS ONE), but if they were a necessary piece to acquire a starter from Cleveland or Florida or even Pittsburgh, I'd do it.

E-Man: His injury history is a bit of a concern, but not quite as much of a concern if he's slated to be a #4 or #5. He still averages about 170 innings. Only getting to the 5th or 6th inning (on average) isn't great, but sadly, that's how a lot of pitchers are becoming in today's era. Gone are the days where pitchers finish their own games. Besides, how many games last year did one of our young starters only go 3-4 innings? I understand and agree that it's not ideal, but this is what the market is providing.

It's disturbing to see Sullivan calling Lilly a #2, but he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Hopefully Hendry would trade for a #2 starter.

Manny: I'd rather have Durham, also. I was silly enough to think that we just really overpaid for a utility player (although in this market, it wouldn't be overpaying by much). All signs point to him being the starting 2B next year, and occasionally moving over to a corner OF spot or corner IF spot to spell other players. I think if E-Pat really REALLY busts ass in ST, maybe he becomes a platoon partner, but I think the chances of that are slim and none.

You wouldn't rather have Durham when he inevitably breaks down, the old guy is getting fragile.

And if you're going to knock DeRosa for coming off a career year, Durham is coming off a career year, too. And did I mention he's old?

If I could have picked a 2B other than DeRosa, my choice would have been Mark Loretta.

Hey Rob G., when are you going to start doing TCR fridays again?

You mean TCR Friday Notes? I didn't think anyone cared for those, but I'll happily bring them back.

"You mean TCR Friday Notes? I didn't think anyone cared for those, but I'll happily bring them back."

Yeah, I liked those, too.

Eric the Great:
"You wouldn't rather have Durham when he inevitably breaks down, the old guy is getting fragile."

Do you mean the guy who has averaged 490+ AB's over the past 3 years? I would definitely take him and those 490 AB's or so with Theriot filing in a game a week than have DeRosa there everyday.

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