Cubs Close to Signing Cliff Floyd

Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune is reporting the Cubs are close to signing 1B-OF Cliff Floyd to an incentive-laden deal. Sully speculates that Floyd will be used in a "platoon" in LF with Matt Murton, which considering the number of RHP vs LHP starters in the N. L., would mean Floyd would start about 2/3 of the time. Floyd was hampered by a sore left Achilles tendon in 2006, and there has been some concern that the Achilles will continue to be a problem for him in 2007. Also, Floyd had a rather extreme case of the splits in 2006 when it came to hitting versus RHP (OK) and versus LHP (terrible).
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If they are going to use Murton as a platoon player why not trade him in a 3-way deal with Tor and some team with a surplus of good young pitching (Atlanta- Kyle Davies, Pit- Gorrezelny, FLA- Nolasco) and then deal that young pitching off with Ohman and Marshall or Guzman to the Jays for Rios who solves CF and can be moved to RF when Pie is ready.

How solid is this 'speculation'? I know there have been a lot of concerns about Murton's playing time, but how likely do you (or anyone) think it is the Murton will only start 1/3 of the time in left?

Is there a chance of Murton starting elsewhere on these days?

The Joe — December 20, 2006 @ 11:30 am
How solid is this ’speculation’? I know there have been a lot of concerns about Murton’s playing time, but how likely do you (or anyone) think it is the Murton will only start 1/3 of the time in left?
Is there a chance of Murton starting elsewhere on these days?
====================
JOE: I don't know on what information Sully is basing his speculation, but in my opinion, the proper use of Cliff Floyd in '07 would be to give D-Lee a day off if his wrist is sore, and maybe one start a week in LF against only the N. L.'s very toughest RHP starters (Oswalt, Carpenter, Schmidt, Smoltz, Peavy, et al).
And on all other days, Floyd would join Daryle Ward as a pretty decent lefty-hitting late-inning 1-2 punch off the bench, although Floyd is 0-12 as a PH over the past three seasons.

Thanks. Here's hoping.

"Sources said late Tuesday the Cubs were close to signing Floyd to an incentive-laden deal and plan to use him in a left-field platoon with Matt Murton."

Man I thought Dusty was the only guy who didn't play youngsters. Lou's batting Izturis/DeRosa 2nd and now platooning Murton. All we need if JJ to start against LHP and many TCR will have Lou fired already.

Go Cubs!!

Well, let's let him manage at least one game before we hate him. But I'm certainly getting nervous.

Unlike Jones, Pagan, Hollandsworth and Choi, who had inside-out swings, Floyd is a lefty pull hitter with power.

(I'm not a golfer so I can't characterize Burnitz's swing.)

So Floyd gives us something we've been missing for a while.

Floyd gives us something we have been missing for awhile?

We have been missing out on injury prone players who hit .240 and on the down side of their career? I must have been asleep the last 32 years.

Part of me is annoyed that the Cubs seem dead set on removing playing time from Murton but I have to admit, having a Floyd/Ward/Murton rotation in left field would give us a kick a$$ offensive combo out there plus we have a nice built in DH situation for interleague games.

Here is the offensive roster as I see it right now:

C-Barrett
C-Blanco
1B-Lee
2B-DeRosa
3B-Ramirez
SS-Izturis
Inf-Theriot
OF-Soriano
OF-Jones
OF-Ward
OF-Floyd
OF-Pagan
OF-Murton

13 hitters and all of them with rolls. Unless Jones is traded (and for what?). This is the offense (barring the inevitable injury).

What about the pitching staff. I think given that offense, the Cubs will have 12 pitchers. Here they are as I see them:

SP-Zambrano
SP-Hill
SP-Lilly
SP-Marquis
SP-Miller/Prior
RP-Wuertz
RP-Wood
RP-Dempster
RP-Howry
RP-Cotts
RP-Eyre
RP-Ohman

Looks like 88 wins to me.

I think Murt will still get about 50% of playing time. In other words, I doubt it will be a straight platoon.

Don't worry (be happy), Floyd's achilles will make him outfield usable about once or twice per week, I think Darryle Ward should be more worried about the occasional start in LF from Floyd than Murton. The only 2/3 time Floyd will spend is with Mark O'Neill and not with left field.

And if it's not his achilles, it'll be some other body part breaking down. Nice addition to the bench and if he is healthy which I doubt there is some upside to his offense, God knows it's more upside than having Macias or Hollandsworth as the 4-5th OF.

That's why they call it an Achilles heel. Blame Thetis...Achilles last words, "...we'll always have Paris."

Achilles died from a heel wound as the result of a poisoned arrow fired by Paris.

According to a myth arising later, his mother, Thetis, had dipped the infant Achilles in the river Styx, holding onto him by his heel, and he became invulnerable where the waters touched him -- that is, everywhere but the areas covered by her thumb and forefinger -- implying that only a heel wound could have been his downfall.

Hmmm wasn't Styxx (or at least Dennis DeYoung) a guest conductor for the 7th inning? Must be a forshadowing of the coming of Cliff Floyd.

One more thing...wasn't it the offseason after 2004 when it took Hendry forever to move Sosa and the Mets were considering a swap Sosa for Floyd? I wonder how close that trade actually ever was to being completed?

No, Mike, the cubs have had definitely a few of those guys over the years.

But, I guess I'm willing to give Floyd a chance. I don't really think it's gonna be a platoon, anyway.

This was in the last post too-

Laugh of the day-

I don’t know if anyone else has seen the video of the German kid destroying his computer keyboard while screaming at his screen.

Turns out he was a Cubs fan-

http://64.111.216.59/post.phtml?pk=1796

If you thought Rob G was mad about Marquis signing. Amazingly a Cardinal fan did this on his Commadore 64.

cubster — December 20, 2006 @ 12:03 pm
One more thing…wasn’t it the offseason after 2004 when it took Hendry forever to move Sosa and the Mets were considering a swap Sosa for Floyd? I wonder how close that trade actually ever was to being completed?

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

CUBSTER: Excellent summary of the Achilles myth, Cubster! Did they teach you that stuff in medical school?

As far as Sosa for Floyd is concerned, the Cubs supposedly were indeed all set to trade Sosa to the Mets in early '05, only to have Omar Minaya decline to make the deal (I think Hendry might call it "renege") at the last minute.

But it all worked out, because now the Cubs have both Cliff Floyd AND Mike Fontenot.

It's Cliff Floyd, in 2 months he'll be on the DL and Murton will be starting everyday.

And there's no way it'll be a straight platoon. Floyd just can't handle playing every day. I imagine he'll get a lot of the starts versus righties, but if six in a row end up on the schedule, Murton will get a couple of starts, same will probably go for day after night games. I imagine the percentage will be more 50/50 than the standard 70/30.

I'm not thrilled with it, and it seems like a waste of money but this isn't Hollandsworth or Pagan or some other brand of crap out there. Floyd can hit righties quite well, has power and gets on-base. It's not like Murton was going to massively outproduce Floyd versus righties, might not outproduce him at all. And our bench looks pretty good right now...

Murton/Floyd
Ward
Theriot
Blanco
Pagan/???

Oh if there is incentives for AB's in Floyds contract he will be our opening day LFer and it will be a stupid ass move.

He is not going to sign a contract based on X amount of AB's and him getting X amount of millions of dollars and then expect to ride the bench and get less than 100 AB's like a normal pinch hitter.

The incentives in his contract will decide whether Floyd is our new everyday LFer or not.

Lou will decide.

jacos, that was hillarious.

I believe Mets ownership vetoed the Sosa/Floyd trade. Minaya was the only one in that organization who actually wanted Sosa.

E-Man-
Yes we will see, but I think it is worth talking about though considering these things have been published. I will be interesting, that's for sure...

By the way, not to stir up controversy, but I just don't get why so many think Matt Murton is a disaster in left field. I watched a lot of games last year and while he's not Ichiro, I'd say he's pretty average.

Also if you look at his defensive statistics (admittedly defensive stats aren't always great) he seems to also be pretty average:

133 Games: 3 Assists, 2 DP, 3E, FP .988, RFg 1.83

League FP and lgRFg: .982 and 1.54

By comparison:

Carl Crawford: 148 games: 9 A, 0 DP, 3E, .990 FP, 2.10 RFg.
Manny Ramirez: 123 games: 7 A, 0 DP, 2E, .989 FP, 1.48 RFg
Scott Podsednik: 135 games: 4 A, 0 DP, 8E, .969 FP, 1.84 RFg
(AL League average: .986 and 1.69)
Adam Dunn: 156 games: 7 A, 1 DP, 12E!!, .960 FP, 1.83 RFg

I was trying to think of a LF other than Carl Crawford who would be considered to have excellent defense...but I honestly couldn't think of one (probably forgetting an obvious one). But to me it looks like Matt Murton is right in the middle there in Range factor, right on league average in fielding percentage (god Dunn is awful...and Podsednik too for that matter, didn't realize how much of a butcher he was) and hell, his arm can't be that bad if he turned 2 double plays. It always seemed to me that even though he didn't have a cannon, it was an average arm with accuracy, unlike Jacque "throw the ball into the ground three feet in front of me" Jones or Noodle-arm Pierre.

Hell:
"his (Murton's) arm can’t be that bad if he turned 2 double plays."

FYI, Jacque Jones also had 2 DP's last year.

FYI, Jacque Jones also had 2 DP’s last year.
--------
our OF's have one disadvantage, they don't have JJones on the basepaths for catchable flyballs.

Murton Career (2005-2006) vs. RHP
.289/.351/.436

Floyd 2004-2006 vs. RHP
.277/.369/.498

I've dealt with Floyd before and he is a great guy, but Murton has shown an ability to hit RHP well, and he's still steadily improving. He should be our #2 hitter and play nearly everyday. What's the point of having quality guys who make league-minimum salaries if you're going to underuse them while they're cheap?

In my opinion, baseball defense is in the eyes of the beholder.

Just like it's futile to try and statistically rate the performance of a symphony orchestra, a Broadway show, or a tightrope walker, there is no good way to objectively rate the defensive performance of a baseball player. You just have to watch the player play defense, and then eventually form your own opinion and conclusions.

I think Murton plays LF OK. He's adequate. He does not require a defensive replacement in the late innings when the Cubs are ahead.

Well said.
We'll just have to see how much Floyd acutally plays.

Are there still rumors that the Cubs are looking to move Jones? If so, the Floyd signing would make more sense.

Manny--touche, re: double plays. But I stand by my assertion that Murton is average in LF and that he has an okay arm. Not a cannon, but at least accurate enough to hit the cut off man, which is more than can be said for Jacque Jones, or even Moises Alou.

I wouldn't be so sure it's going to be a straight platoon. I think they will split time equally somehow and give the Cubs a pretty good bench. I am really starting to like this bench. Let's say on days Murton plays you have Floyd, Ward, Theriot, Blanco, Cedeno, etc. I like it! I still see us trading Jones, getting another CF option (making bench even stronger) and a deadline-deal seems to be very do-able with our new payroll.

Hellfrozeover: "Not a cannon, but at least accurate enough to hit the cut off man, which is more than can be said for Jacque Jones, or even Moises Alou."

I agree completely. I know this isn't exactly scientific, but we get Trib seats every now and then down the leftfield line right behind the Cubs' bullpen.

Every time I sit there I watch Murton warm up in left field. Whoever he throws to stands about 150 feet awat and holds his glove in different positions for Murton to throw at. It's uncanny how often the guy doesn't even have to move his glove to catch the ball. Maybe every major leaguer can do that, but it impressed me enough to take note.

Anyway, I'm not saying Murton is going to win any Gold Gloves, but his defense is at least average. And no, the Uncle Lou shouldn't stunt his growth by platooning him with a washed up Floyd.

Randy Bush named assistant GM to Hendry (per Offman on WSCR)

Robr — December 20, 2006 @ 12:58 pm
Are there still rumors that the Cubs are looking to move Jones? If so, the Floyd signing would make more sense.

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

ROB R: Reports in the media over the last few days keep dropping hints that Hendry wants a "stop-gap" CF for 2007 who will not stand in the way of Felix Pie whenever Pie is ready. Since Jacque Jones is signed through 2008 and is probably best-utilized in LF, JJ would not appear to fit that job description.

Also, there were media reports last month that Jacque Jones had asked Hendry to trade him if possible, and that Hendry might do so as long as he can get fair value back in the deal.

Therefore, I think it is likely that Hendry's plan would be to try and trade Jones for a "stop-gap" CF (upgrade over Angel Pagan, at least in terms of experience) who can move into either the 4th OF or supersub utility slot whenever Pie is ready.

If it is not possible to trade Jones directly for such a player, then I believe Hendry will try and get whatever he can for Jones (prospect or prospects) and then make a separate transaction for a veteran stop-gap CF--maybe somebody like Jeff DaVanon (AZ), Ryan Church (WAS), or Rob Mackowiak (CHW)--or else just go with a combination of Angel Pagan and Ryan Theriot in CF until he can find somebody else or until Pie is ready.

Randy Bush is an internal promotion from Special Assistant to the General Manager

http://tinyurl.com/yjr3g2

from Scout.com archives, 7-18-06:

Randy Bush was named Special Assistant to the General Manager in January, 2005. Essentially, he is a major league scout. He is also a former major league player. Bush spent 12 seasons with the Minnesota Twins, attending college at Univ of New Orleans prior to becoming a 2nd round pick in 1979. From 2000-05 he was the university's head baseball coach.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/547584.html

(it's probably a subscription website)

Arizona Phil:
Therefore, I think it is likely that Hendry’s plan would be to try and trade Jones for a “stop-gap�? CF (upgrade over Angel Pagan, at least in terms of experience) who can move into either the 4th OF or supersub utility slot whenever Pie is ready.

Okay, I'll say it... what's Craig Counsell doing these days?

"I wouldn’t be so sure it’s going to be a straight platoon."

hell, every indication so far, especially from hendry and pinhead, have pointed to a straight platoon not being in the picture.

this "eventual signing" has taken a looooong time even though everyone knew it was probably coming.

cubster — December 20, 2006 @ 1:35 pm
Randy Bush named assistant GM to Hendry (per Offman on WSCR)

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

A 48-year old ex-big league player, Randy Bush was one of several individuals employed as an "Assistant to the General Manager" last year.

Bush's main responsibility for the last couple of years was scouting the Cubs farm system for Hendry (sort of like an inspector general), so probably nobody knows the Cubs farm system better than Bush (maybe not even Oneri Fleita!).

miluakee signed counsell 2/6m after SD flaked on signing him. r.weeks to move to the OF, supposedly.

I believe Counsell signed with the Brewers on 11-29-06; 2 yr deal for $6M

http://preview.tinyurl.com/y86x2j

Okay, I’ll say it… what’s Craig Counsell doing these days?

I think he was Milwaukee's big FA signing of this offseason.

Counsell was the Brewers only FA signing so far. J.Estrada, C.Vargas and Aquino came via the Doug Davis trade. So much for reinvesting the $ they saved by trading Carlos Lee and D.Davis.

Weeks isn't moving to the outfield (at least not yet), Counsell is a backup for SS or 2b. There's a good chance Hardy still won't be healthy by the start of next year either.

" So much for reinvesting the $ they saved by trading Carlos Lee and D.Davis. "

According to them and White Sox not much out there that they like.

The only thing that makes me nervous about this new Cubs bench is that the same guy who's doing the signings is the same guy who heaped praise on Jody Gerut when he was acquired.

Other than sportswriter's speculations, I have not seen ANY recent evidence (post GM meetings) that Jacque Jones is going to get traded.

There is NO reason to trade him. Hendry has gotten terrific value out of him, and, based on the current market, he is even a BETTER value. The mediocre players some of you are suggesting are just absurd when you compare JJones stats and his 400+ AB's.

I say leave him there, and let him hit 20-25 HR's and not too many AB's against RH pitching.

What's the fascination with Ryan Church?

Just like it’s futile to try and statistically rate the performance of...a tightrope walker

I can think of one good standard...

MIL was after Lieber in trade but that fell through. Talks could resurface because Philly reportedly has Lieber on the block right now. I'm sure MIL wanted a larger portion of his contract picked up.

�? So much for reinvesting the $ they saved by trading Carlos Lee and D.Davis. �?

Well, those weren't really salary-clearing trades, they were trades to get value and service-time out of soon-to-be free agents. And the Brewers may yet blow a bunch of money on Suppan. Reports are they're mulling a 4/40-44 offer for him, though he's not going to do anything until Zito signs.

And they won't be moving Weeks, though Bill Hall will be somewhere in the outfield next year, and its looking like CF unless they bring someone in.

Despite over $300 million in signings, I am still convinced that the success of the 2007 Cubs still hinges on Mark Prior.

If Prior can come back as even a solid #3 starter, the rotation of Z, Lilly, Prior, Hill and Marquis makes us a solid contender (not perfect by any stretch, but solid).

However, if Prior is a no-go, the revised rotation of Z, Lilly, Marquis, Hill and Miller is decidedly weaker.

And if you take into account that a healthy Prior allows you to deal Miller at the end of ST to any one of a bevy of teams desperate for a veteran #5 starter (at the unbelieveable price of $1.5 million) , the Cubs would be able to plug any last minute needs from a position of strength.

I think Hendry has done as well as he could have done in this market, and has only sacrificed one young player (Aardsma) in the process. The starting lineup, the rotation and the bench are all greatly improved.

But Prior is still the key, and we won't have a clue as to his ability to pitch until February.

Are the Cubs going to seriously let Jones start in center?

Pretty good article on Pie by Nate Silver: click here.

No way possible that Hendry deals Miller at the end of spring traning if Prior appears healthy. I say "appears" healthy because, while getting through spring training, or even participating at all in spring training, would be a major advancement for Prior, Hendry will need a lot more proof than that that Prior is healthy before Miller is dealt. Let's face it, spring training is only somewhat more taxing than the towel drills that Prior excels at. We won't know if Prior is healthy for months into the regular season.

Beyond that, I do agree that a healthy Prior would make a great deal of difference to this team. But we would not be even that close to success if it were not for the moves the Cubs have made this off season.

As for Floyd, he has his problems but what is the alternative? Is there a better alternative? What is the harm of a one-year deal that is heavily incentive laden?

There's no harm, ARM. Some cub fans are very dramatic.

Considering the Cubs still have a question mark in CF. Will they still be looking once this Floyd deal is done? Does that mean that Soriano or Jones will be the starting centerfielder for your 2007 Cubs?

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjbtbt

Report date for pitchers and catchers is Feb 14th, first workout is the 15th. Positon players start 5 days later. Hallelujah!!!

oh that's cool, automatic url links now in the comments. Sweet!

If Pie has an .850 OPS in two years, that will play anywhere in the lineup. I am suprised Silver came up with such optimistic projections without using 2nd half data. I am also suprised he called WTE a hitters park. Either our hitters are overrated in AA or our pitchers, I wish someone can make up their mind and let us know.

I think the problem with Floyd isn't he doesn't really offer something we don't already have. Or have twice over. I don't see how he is going to be any better offensively than Jones or Ward from the left side. What are we going to do, bench Lee to get the three of them into the lineup? No thanks.

miller cant be traded at the end of ST i didnt think. doesnt he have protection of the signing he made or is that just for new club signings?

ew, and it opens in a new window. it's the little things.

is that:
"ooh" as an "cool" or "ew" as in "gross"?

I don't know why people are so paniced about the prospect of Jones in CF. He came up as a CF, played CF as recently as 2004, and would most likely have spent his career as a CF if not for this guy named Torii who keeps winning gold gloves. Jones certainly has the range and balltracking ability to play CF and his irratic arm is slightly less of an issue in CF than in RF. What's the problem?

I also have no problem with Soriano in CF, but he's said he wants to stick at one positoin, and I'm assuming they don't want him to "block" CF for Pie.

that's the first time I've ever read that Iowa is a harder place to hit than Pringles Park, the Jaxx former home. I wonder where's he getting that from?

I would say his erractic arm becomes more of an issue in CF since he'll be in on about three times as many plays. The only good news is that teams won't just grab an extra base for the hell of it like they did on Pierre. With Pierre you knew you were going to beat the throw, with Jones there's the one in a 100 chance he actually breaks out a good throw.

ooh as in cool...sorry.

Bleeding Blue,

Center fielders catch more balls than right fielders, and the throw to home is (in general) farther. The big difference is keeping runners going to 2nd, and Jones couldn't do that last year in right, I assume that he could do that in center, even Pierre could.

Murton's arm is pretty accurate, it's just about 60 feet short. I don't have the stats but I would be amazed if any of his assists were at home.

Real Neal, I for one am not suggesting that Floyd be a regular starter. I thought he would primarily be a guy off the bench. I just view him as someone who strengthens our bench. He seems like a big upgrade to guys like Macias and Bynum.

I agree that should Prior come out of ST healthy, you can't count on him staying that way until the final out of the Cub season has been recorded. If Miller could bring something in a trade it would mean that he's looked pretty good so shy wouldn't you keep him as insurance for any number of potential problems such as Marquis' gopher ball problem, Hill's first full MLB season etc. Hell, if Miller really comes back strong, he could be the second or third best starter on the team. You can't have too much starting pitching and, in the Cubs case recently, it's really hard to have any.

I do hope Prior is healthy this year. But then, I also hope for peace in the Middle East and to lose weight while drinking beer.

Jacque for CF in '07!

Make T-shirts, take it to the streets, whatever you have to do...

He's a better option than anyone else at this point and unless Pie has an offensive revelation in ST, Jacque will be the better option for 2007. Pie's superior D in CF would be nice, but the probable difference in offense just wouldn't be worth it.

Keep Jacque one more year, his crapshoot throws are fun. We can start taking odds on what he'll do for each assist chance.

Will he throw a 90MPH fastball into the grass about 20 feet away?
Will he bounce the ball off the backstop... 20 feet over Barrett's head?

New TCR Contest for each game

What will Jacque's first throw to try and nail a runner do in today's game?

A) Go 20 feet over it's intended target
B) Travel 15 feet in the air, kill some worms and then roll 150 feet to an infielder as the opposing dugout laughs
C) Is accurate but too late to get the runner
D) Is accurate and gets the runner

I vote for Jacque in Cf 2007.
And I approve this message!

I choose B 60% of the time

D) Is accurate and gets the runner

Of course this after a White Sox game at the Cell, when senior citizens are allowed to run around the bases.

Weren't Jones throws bad because he had a hurt shoulder that he got taken care of after the season? Or did he always have a bad arm?

crunch — December 20, 2006 @ 3:57 pm
miller cant be traded at the end of ST i didnt think. doesnt he have protection of the signing he made or is that just for new club signings?

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

CRUNCH: I don't know if it's this way in the new CBA, but in the old one, because Wade Miller signed prior to the end of the 15-day Free-agency Filing Period, he would NOT get the automatic "no trade" through June 15th that is accorded Type XX free-agents who sign after the conclusion of the Free-Agency Filing Period.

However, Kerry Wood, Aramis Ramirez (who I believe got a "no trade" in his contract anyway), Henry Blanco Mark DeRosa, Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Daryle Ward, Jason Marquis, and Cliff Floyd (if he signs with the Cubs) would have a "no trade" through June 15th, which they can waive, but if they do, the Cubs can only trade the player (through June 15th) for cash an/or player contracts totaling $50K or less (aggregate).

"Of course this after a White Sox game at the Cell, when senior citizens are allowed to run around the bases."

Or when we play San Francisco, when senior citizens are allowed to run around the bases.

If Prior is healthy in ST, and barring other pitching injsuries, I cannot see Miller being shifted to the pen or pitching in Des Moines.

Miller has been a starter his whole career, and his surgically-repaired shoulder may not be up to the rigors of the pen, even as a swing man. And it appears that Cotts will fill that role in the pen anyway.

And I can't imagine the Cubs attempting to send a vet like Miller to AAA if he has demonstrated that he is healthy and effective. I don't know the specific rules on this, but assuming that he hs no options left, he may also have the right to refuse the demotion and declare himself a FA.

So if Prior is healthy in ST, and assuming the other starters are healthy as well, I can't see Miller as our insurance policy for Prior's continued health.

The E-Man — December 20, 2006 @ 2:25 pm
Other than sportswriter’s speculations, I have not seen ANY recent evidence (post GM meetings) that Jacque Jones is going to get traded.

There is NO reason to trade him. Hendry has gotten terrific value out of him, and, based on the current market, he is even a BETTER value. The mediocre players some of you are suggesting are just absurd when you compare JJones stats and his 400+ AB’s.

I say leave him there, and let him hit 20-25 HR’s and not too many AB’s against RH pitching.

What’s the fascination with Ryan Church?

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

E-MAN: I hope you're right.

Please understand, I certainly am not ADVOCATING the trading of Jacque Jones. I was only saying that if what Paul Sullivan wrote is true--IF Jones has indeed requested a trade and IF Hendry decides to accomodate him, and IF the Cubs want only a "stop-gap" to play CF until whenever Felix Pie is ready (presumably sometime in '07), THEN acquiring somebody like Jeff DaVanon, Ryan Church, or Rob Maclowiak would fit the definition of a "stop-gap" CF. Otherwise, I have no fascination with Ryan Church.

If it was up to me, I would just play Jones in CF most everyday (his arm couldn't be any worse than Juan Pierre's), and I would NOT sign Cliff Floyd (there is no evidence to support the idea that Floyd can be effective hitting off the bench).

And Jones' splits against LHP in '06 weren't that bad, certainly not as bad as Cliff Floyd's.

Jones vs LHP: 234/261/416
Floyd vs LHP: 179/274/357

In fact, if you prorate Jones' PAs vs LHP to his number vs RHP, his doubles and HR totals would be almost the same. Where Jones has trouble against LHPs is that he hits for a lower batting average, never takes a walk (two BBs versus LHP in 2006), and strikes out a bit more (but not a whole lot more). But his power numbers are about the same against both LHP and RHP. So against a tough lefty starter (and there really aren't that many of those in the N. L.), Pagan or Theriot could get a spot start in CF.

So I would keep Jones, play him in CF, and whenever Pie is deemed ready, I would move Jones at that time. Or who knows what the situation might be? Maybe Murton or Soriano go down for a while with an injury.

Seamhead — December 20, 2006 @ 5:06 pm
If Prior is healthy in ST, and barring other pitching injsuries, I cannot see Miller being shifted to the pen or pitching in Des Moines.

And I can’t imagine the Cubs attempting to send a vet like Miller to AAA if he has demonstrated that he is healthy and effective. I don’t know the specific rules on this, but assuming that he hs no options left, he may also have the right to refuse the demotion and declare himself a FA.

So if Prior is healthy in ST, and assuming the other starters are healthy as well, I can’t see Miller as our insurance policy for Prior’s continued health.

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

SEAM: Wade Miller has one minor league option available, but because he has five-plus years of MLB service time, he can refuse an optional assignment. However, a couple of years ago, Ben Grieve was in a similar situation with the Cubs, and he did accept an optional assignment to the minors.

What happens if a player like Miller (or Grieve) is optioned to the minors and he refuses to accept the assignment? He does NOT become a free-agent. Rather, the Cubs just have to keep him on their 25-man roster, or they can trade him or release him.

Depending on how much they want to keep Miller as an insurance policy, it's conceivable that if Prior is (apparently) healthy, the Cubs could pay Miller a bonus to accept a minor league option to AAA. Like they might give him a contract extention through 2008, or guarantee some or all of his $3.75M in 2007 performance/incentive bonus money if he agrees to go to AAA.
.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/602398.html

Sam Fuld info, had surgery on a sports hernia in November, should be ready to go by spring training.

25 year old single A prospects. Thats hot.

Sam Fuld? Maybe if you're looking for a centerfielder for your local softball team. Good grief.

With the signing of Floyd, We now have 4 bonafied Left Fielders and NO bonafied CF or RF's.

Can you say, oponents running wild????

the old adage, Defense and pitching win championships holds true. and always has.

I like the Floyd pickup, for a 70-100 starts, and a good bat off the bench, however i'm expecting either Jacque or Murton to be on the trading block.

How do we get Baldelli or Rios to shore up the D and add some speed to our outfield?

Trade one of our 3 left handed specialists (Eyre) plus Murton / Jones, plus best prospect.

Sam Fuld is a very good player. Although he is 25, he has only two years of minor league experience (2005 at Peoria and 2006 at Daytona), he is an outstanding defensive CF, and he's a patient hitter with plus-speed. At bat, he is a left-handed version of Ryan Theriot, Ryan Freel, or David Eckstein. He is an insect. And I like insects at the top of the batting order. Obnoxious insects.

Fuld played college ball at Stanford and was a member of Team USA. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 24th Round of June Draft in 2003 (when he was 21) after his junior season in college, but the Cubs didn't offer him enough money so he went back to school. The Cubs drafted him again in June 2004 (when he was 22)--this time in the 10th Round--and this time the Cubs were able to sign him. However, Fuld had a broken hand at the time, such that he was unable to play that first year, and it delayed his pro debut until 2005 (when he was 23).  So he played at Peoria when he was 23 (pro debut), at Daytona when he was 24 (2nd season) , and he just turned 25 last month. If healthy, he will likely be the every day CF at AA Tennessee in 2007 (at age 25).  

I like Sam too, Phil, but he's a long way from the majors. By the time he's ready, the Cubs' need will have moved on. But I'll be rooting for him.

I don't want either Floyd or Jones in my lineup against LHP, and I can't afford to have two such platoon guys in my OF or on my bench. If they're serious about Floyd, they have to move Jones in trade, period.

I wish the Cubs would just put Soriano in CF, it would solve a lot of problems. The Cubs like to talk, but no way Pie is ready for the bigs in 07, 08 is a more likely debut.

So if the Cubs sign Floyd, put Soriano in CF, and move Jones, then what they need is a RH-hitting platoon partner for Floyd in RF, **NOT** make him a platoon partner of the perfectly-satisfactory Matt Murton in LF. Who could the Cubs get for this?

Craig Wilson has been mentioned. Others?

eric the great,

Floyd cannot play Right Field - he has no arm, no legs, and NO.

i agree on the Soriano front, assuming he can keep improving in the outfield. however that is not a given.

Floyd / Murton, Soriano, and at this point, i'd let Pie play -- entirely for his defensive presence.

There is no way we can survive such an outfield of Flyd / murton / soriano and jacque. Too many LF'rs! no arms!

With the signing of Floyd, We now have 4 bonafied Left Fielders and NO bonafied CF or RF’s.

Can you say, oponents running wild????

the old adage, Defense and pitching win championships holds true. and always has.

Didn't the Yanks win championships with Bernie in CF? He's been bad out there for as long as he's been out there, it's not just a recent thing. Juan Pierre, 2003? Yeah, we'd be fine with Jacque.

And just because Jacque hasn't been out there recently, doesn't mean he can't handle it.

My vote goes to Soriano though, far less chance of him tearing up a knee in center over left or right at Wrigley. He certainly has the speed to cover the ground.

ROB: What will Jacque’s first throw to try and nail a runner do in today’s game?

A) Go 20 feet over it’s intended target
B) Travel 15 feet in the air, kill some worms and then roll 150 feet to an infielder as the opposing dugout laughs
C) Is accurate but too late to get the runner
D) Is accurate and gets the runner

This is funny stuff!

But really not that funny if we think about it. I'm in agreement with quite a few of you whom are advocating (I like this word - thanks, AZ PHIL) that the best option is JJ in CF.

But, do any of you know if he indeed has been rehabbing his shoulder? Surgery? I really have liked him for the most part but gosh, his arm is just so bad generally. The combination of his base-running with bouncing the throws in to the infield - or air-mailing the balls into the stands from right is what made Cub fans boo him, in my opinion. And, of course Casper and Brenly scrutinized these things...

I didn't see him all that much 'cause Twins games aren't on the Networks too much (surprise), but was his arm this bad during his time there?

If he can just hit the cutoff man consistently, I'd be fine with that. But its another "IF"!

jones was never known for his arm accuracy...strength, yes...accuracy, no. common for him to overthrow, but the "spike into the ground" and 10-hoppers to the lip of the OF grass werent.

still, though...its looking a lot like jones will be playing RF/LF for someone else next year. i just hope its worth it if he leaves.

I think Jacque's arm was bad in Minnesota, but the turf didn't slow down his grounders. Instead of a ten hopper to second it was a two hopper. I thought I heard somewhere that Jacque was playing with bone chips in his throwing arm.

I've always wanted to see big Cliff Floyd hammering the ball to the short alleys at Wrigley for the Cubs. I have to admit that I'm hoping we didn't wait too long past his prime to see it. If he can stay reasonably healthy-he has done that a few times with big results, including just a couple years ago-it'll be fun to see and the Cubs' lineup will be very tough. Good defensive infield, outfield mediocre defensively but strong offensively. Don't rush Pie. Nobody needs to see another waste of talent like what happened with Corey. Wait till you can see he's ready, then go for it. Rotating ABs for Jones, Floyd, Murton in some manner is OK. Jones and Marshall for Rios would be OK, too, to upgrade defensively. Finally, we can, of course, always use more pitching, so how about a deal for Brad Penny that doesn't disrupt the core lineup.

Dave Kaplan on WGN tonight said the Cliff Floyd signing is NOT close-- Cubs still pouring over medicals. Also said Jim Hendry has lost 6 lbs since his hospitalization.

Why has everyone missed the announcement the Cubs trainer made on the day Lou had his press conference that Prior WOULD NOT BE READY for spring training? It was even a small article in the Tribune that day, it's just that the Cubs tried to let it slip by without much notice. I guess their plan worked since you guys keep speculating if he will be healthy. The trainer already said he wouldn't.

If the Cubs' trainer knows that Prior won't be ready for spring training JACKSON, maybe he should tell LouPa. Piniella was quoted just a couple days ago regarding Mark Prior's health:

"With the other kid (Prior), the Cubs have had disappointments. We're going to bring him into camp and give him every opportunity to pitch in our rotation. Are we counting on him? Not as much as before. And the reason is, it's been hard keeping Prior healthy. So if he comes to camp and he's healthy, it's almost like signing another top, top pitcher. That's the way we're looking at it."

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/majors/f...

The trainer also needs to tell Larry Rothschild that Prior won't be ready for spring,.....

"Rothschild said the latest on Prior is that his rehabilitation from shoulder trouble is going well -- but that's a common description for Prior this time of year.

''We can sit here in the winter and say the rehab is going good, but we know -- and he knows -- that in spring training, he has to prove himself,'' Rothschild said. ''And if he does, then we're looking at having a pretty good arm there.''

oops, here's the URL for that quote

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/deluca/167049,...

Jackson,
I can't find a link to any Tribune article that says that Prior will NOT be ready. Can you provide one? I read the trib every day and I have never seen the article you refer to.

Prior at the end of the season was told by his doctors/trainers to shut it down for 4-6 weeks in the hopes that his injury (whatever it is) can heal on its own. Surgery as they quoted "was a last resort."

Which means if this "rest" period doesn't help him get over his injury he is likely to go under the knife to correct it.

He probably just picked up a baseball a few weeks ago and they are still in the process of deciding what is normal soreness and recovery and what is injury, if any.

The news then didn't sound very encouraging. For a guy that has had as much rest as he has had over the last couple years I don't think MORE rest is going to fix whatever is wrong with him.

It could be fine all the way up until spring training until he starts throwing more often and then it flares up again. That is why the Cubs are crossing their fingers and hoping he is healthy because they got no idea what his status is at this point, and I find that troubling news.

I think he is still injured and if he is he should have gone under the knife a long time ago. Doing the rehab without surgery route rarely works out. It just delays the inevitable surgery and costs players years of productive playing time. Ask Wade Miller how he went from a damn good pitcher to a mediocre one. He spent 2+ years trying to rehab an arm that should have gone under the knife when he hurt it in 2004.

Who is this Mark Prior of whom you speak? Did the Cubs make a trade I don't know about?

*I’ve always wanted to see big Cliff Floyd hammering the ball to the short alleys at Wrigley for the Cubs. I have to admit that I’m hoping we didn’t wait too long past his prime to see it.*

Three words: Howard Johnson Redux.

Thanks, Mets front office--again.

We didn't get Hojo from the Mets did we? And how does another team's front office force you to sign a FA?

We got Howard Johnson through free agency. Also he played for the Colorado Rockies for a year between playing for the Mets and signing with the Cubs.

Yeah, I tend to agree. Rest and towel drills have been a failure. There is no reason to believe that more rest is going to help Mark. I say it is possible that we will not see Prior in a Cubs uniform at all next year. Most likely he will not be ready for spring training. We will be told that he is experiencing "discomfort" in his pitching arm but that it is not "pain." We will be told that the team is being "cautious" with Prior. Before spring training is over, there will be an announcement, most likely early on a Sunday morning, that Prior will be undergoing "season-ending" surgery. Mind you, this will be before the season ever begins for Prior. We will be told that it is hoped that Prior will be ready for sprining training in 2008 or 2009. The broken record that is Prior's career is getting very old.

Unlike a lot of Cub fans, I'm not wildly delirous about Matt Murton. He is a solidly non-spectacular ballplayer. Adding Cliff Floyd to the left field mix strengthens the offense considerably, to include providing a desperately needed left-handed stick.

If it were up to me, Alfonso Soriano would play center and the underrated Jacque Jones would stay in right. But it isn't up to me and that isn't going to be the game plan.

Howard Johnson of the three time variety of being a 30/30 guy? C

Regarding my lifetime partner Mark Prior, please rest assured that he is doing fine. Right now he is spending quality time with his newborn baby. But he assures me that we will both report to spring training on time. The plan is for him to start out by throwing my nephew, Blue Washcloth, for three weeks before graduating up to me. With any luck Mark will win the ERA championship in the Arizona Towel League in 2007. There is stiff competition coming out of Oakland in the form of Rich Harden and his Bath Towel, but Mark and I do feel that 2007 will still be a special year for us.

This is the shoulder problem Mark Prior has. It is described as a "looseness" in his shoulder joint that is arthritic in nature, and doctors like James Andrews in Birmingham and Lewis Yocum in L. A. recommended in mid-October that Prior rest his shoulder for four-to-six weeks, and then begin an off-season strengthening program. Prior is also supposed to work with Larry Rothschild on refining his mechanics. If that doesn't work, then surgery would be the "last resort."

Yeah, Phil, but isn't is pretty much a foregone conclusion that plan "A" is not going to work? I mean, given Mark's history, what would you say the chances are that he will not need surgery? It has to be less than 50%, don't you think? I mean, rest and strengthening has never worked before. Why should we expect it to work now?

The news then didn’t sound very encouraging. For a guy that has had as much rest as he has had over the last couple years I don’t think MORE rest is going to fix whatever is wrong with him.

Being on the DL doesn't necessarily mean you're "resting." Physical rehabilitation can actually be a very physically exhausting process, and since Prior was trying to get back on the mound up until the very end of 2006, I doubt he spent much time fully resting his shoulder.

Besides, I don't think the 4-6 weeks of resting this offseason is supposed to make Prior all better; it's the time after the rest when he works on building up strength in the right muscles that's supposed to get him back into pitching shape.

There's no guarantee that Floyd strengthens the offense.
Murton was better than Floyd last year and it's very likely he'll be better in 2007 as well. It's also very likely that Murton will outproduce Jacque next year.

Mark Prior's problems are equal parts physical and mental. And nobody is going to dissuade me to the contrary. Prior is dead to me. And I've got to believe that he is finally and mercifully dead to Jim Hendry too. The Cubs are not counting on Prior to do anything in 2007. That much is clear.

Re: Matt Murton. Look, I like the guy. But bottom line is there is nothing exceptional about his game. He's a marginal outfielder, restricted to one position on the field, doesn't run well, and is doubtful ever to be a prime time run producer. If Jim Hendry's mandate is to go for broke in 2007, then adding Cliff Floyd as platoon partner makes loads of sense. A healthy Floyd can rake. The guy has lots to prove, will be playing for the chance for one more big contract after 2007 and will be returning to his hometown of Chicago. I like his odds of having a quality year in left field for the Cubs.

I reralize TCR is on West Coast time but the Chicago Tribune had an intresting tidbit regarding the Cubs outfireld situation that includes JJ being traded. Again its probably more rumor than anything but I thoought I would share

"Hendry declined comment on a Tribune report that the Cubs were closing in on an agreement with free-agent outfielder Cliff Floyd. Cubs sources say the two sides have yet to close a deal, although sources close to Floyd indicate he has told friends he soon will be signing with the Cubs. The team has examined Floyd's medical records and may be waiting to deal Jacque Jones before getting Floyd under contract."

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

STEVE: "I think Jacque’s arm was bad in Minnesota, but the turf didn’t slow down his grounders. Instead of a ten hopper to second it was a two hopper. I thought I heard somewhere that Jacque was playing with bone chips in his throwing arm."

Thanks for your opinions - I was hoping for more than heresay on the matter. Maybe someone who saw him consistently in Minn. play. The "bonechips" I do believe I read something to this effect too...

I just can't recall it now, however.

A little Murton/Floyd comparison:

v RHP (2006):
Murton 352PA, .295/.359/.456
Floyd  281PA, .266/.342/.423

v LHP (2006):
Murton 156PA, .301/.385/.485
Floyd   84PA, .179/.274./.357

at Wrigley:
Murton 246PA, .330/.404/.514 (2006)
Floyd  110PA, .221/.318/.379 (Career)

2006 2nd Half:
Murton 231PA, .319/.390/.522
Floyd  134PA, .236/.291/.390

Murton doesn't run well? What the hell? Since 2005, he's tallied about the equivalent of one full season's worth of AB's and has 5 triples. He's also been successful in 7 of 10 SB attempts. He runs very good.

Not a "run producer"... who cares, he posted a .911 OPS post ASB last year.

Hey Silent Towel:
I appreciate your convictions on Murton..but did you see his second half last year? Did you see how he re-adjusted to the league after they adjusted to him? He was 5 of 7 in stolen bases, and I don't remember any gaffes on the basepaths...he gets on base, he hit for a solid average, and had some pop. He may never hit 40 HR's in a season, but I wouldn't rule out 20-25.
He's 10 years younger than Floyd, and most importantly, he is healthy!

Why trade Jacque Jones? If you discount his lousy throwing arm the guy is actually a good ballplayer. Nice run production, nice power, good outfield range, good speed, a much needed left handed bat. And Jones has the aptitude to play center field, which is a far cry better than any of the other options being bandied about for that position.
Jones has a right to be ticked off for how he was treated by some Cub fans. Lets kiss and make up. We need this guy. Unless of course your heart goes pitter patter for the idea of some veteran stiff like Steve Finley patrolling in center.

Jacque doesn't bring nice "run production" because he doesn't get on base enough. Also, he just had a career year and the odds are good that he goes back to being the .785 OPS player he generally has been.

Reaction...

Matt Murton...look, I like the guy, but he is non spectacular to below average in every phase of the game outside perhaps OBP. If Jim Hendry is going to operate under the mandate of trying to win in 2007, then adding Cliff Floyd makes sense. Look at Floyd's production in 2005. Then think about what he can add in complement to Matt Murton in left and quite possibly at 1st base if, God forbid, the health of Derrek Lee's daughter results in him missing signfiicant playing time.

Jacque Jones...what's wrong with keeping a good ballplayer signed to a good contract, especially when you some up his positive attributes. I say nothing. Jones is way better option for center field than any of the other dreadful options being considered.

One final thought on Murton...

Nobody has said (including Hendry) that adding Clff Floyd means subtracting Matt Murton.

ARM — December 21, 2006 @ 9:09 am
Yeah, Phil, but isn’t is pretty much a foregone conclusion that plan “A�? is not going to work? I mean, given Mark’s history, what would you say the chances are that he will not need surgery? It has to be less than 50%, don’t you think? I mean, rest and strengthening has never worked before. Why should we expect it to work now?

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

ARM: I have very little confidence that Mark Prior will pitch next year. I anticipate he will not be ready to pitch in Spring Training, will be left at Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park when the Cubs break camp, will spend April & May at EXST, then he'll have shoulder surgery sometime in June or July, and then he'll be non-tendered next December 12th. What happens after that? I'm guessing he'll probably sign an incentive-laden deal with SD for 2008, and will be to the Padres in '08 what Wade Miller was to the Cubs last season.

Or I could be wrong.

Roster...

Does anybody dispute the following from happening?

Lineup...Soriano (RF), DeRosa (2nd), Lee (1st), Ramirez (3rd), Floyd/Murton (LF), Barrett/Blanco (Cat), New Centerfielder, Izturis (SS)

Bench...Murton, Pagan, Ward (ugh), Blanco, Theriot, Another Middle Infielder

Rotation...Z, Lilly, Marquis (ugh), Hill, Miller

Pen...Howry, Dumpster, Wood, Eyre, Cotts, Ohlman

The Cubs have released some minor league pitchers who were either unable to return from injuries or who did not figure in their plans for 2007:

Ryan Bicondoa
Stephen Bronder
Jose Caridad
Roger Evenson
Kyle Holden
Isaac Pavlik
Robert Ransom
Jose Yepez

The Cubs have also signed 33-year old veteran MLB (222 games, mostly with LAD) C-3B-1B-LF-RF-RHPH Mike Kinkade to a minor league contract, and he will presumably get an NRI to ST.

Silent Towel - are you basing this opinion off of watching him play or off of his numbers? Either way, I completely disagree with your assessment.

His speed is average at worst -- probably a bit above average. He also seems to have some baserunning smarts (aside from the occasional rookie brainfart), which means he can get a lot out of his speed.

His defense is average and there's room for improvement. Like Ramirez, his confidence with the glove seems to be tied to his confidence at the plate. He was looking solidly above average in LF last season until his bat fell apart in June.

He's a professional hitter. Excellent plate discipline. He's shown he can drive outside pitches to the opposite field, pull inside pitches out of the park, and take a walk if he isn't seeing strikes, which doesn't leave any real holes for a pitcher to exploit. He's solid against RHP and kills LHP. He probably has 20HR+ power right now and power tends to develop as a player approaches 30.

he is non spectacular to below average in every phase of the game outside perhaps OBP.

First of all, what a shame it would be for the Cubs to have a guy who isn't below average in OBP for a change.

Second, not only is he above average for OBP he's above average for Slugging too, especially when you consider his age, experience and contract.

You give me a guy who is above average in both OBP and SLG, you've got yourself a solid hitter.

Floyd and Jones on the otherhand are both nothing but average players, who are well below average in many aspects of their game. Why one would want to say that Floyd is needed for the Cubs to win in 07, because Murton is a below average ballplayer just doesn't make any sense to me at all.

my thoughts on Mark Prior.

The diagnosis of what is/was wrong with Mark Prior is the biggest issue I have. The only dx that has been reported on for his shoulder woes is subscapular tendonitis which is a non-surgical condition that responds to rest/rehab without surgery. That muscle is the front muscle of the rotator cuff. When Tom Gordon was a Cub he tore the infraspinatus muscle (also unusual but he did recover without surgery and pitched late that season...it was the injury that led to the Clement/Alfonseca for D-Train trade). So if Prior isn't able to pitch by spring then either the docs taking care of MP haven't sorted out what's wrong with him yet or for privacy reasons haven't disclosed what is wrong. I suspect the latter and if that is the case, we may not learn what wrecked him unless there is a breach of his doctor-patient confidentiality by some one who can access that type of info. Of course in 2005 it was an achilles tendonitis that set him down, so it's been a plethora of nonsurgical problems. I still suspect we don't know what is behind all his ailments.

And I'm NOT implying Manny Alexander befriended him back then either.

Did you see this bit in Sully's article last night?

Bush will help streamline the office, dealing with some scouting reports and allowing Hendry to concentrate on other duties. His believes statistical analysis and scouting reports go hand in hand. Bush is not a believer in the so-called "Moneyball" approach that stresses raw data over a scout's-eye view of a player.

I like it. I'd rather watch how a guy plays the game for say... 2-3 games than see a career's worth of stats. There are just way too many things that the stats don't tell you.

he is non spectacular to below average in every phase of the game outside perhaps OBP.

Silent Towel...you have an odd perception of Murton.

I would say that Murton has plus speed (or can white players not run fast?), average defense, great plate discipline, good contact, solid power.

You dont put up a 910 OPS by being below average in every phase of the game other than OBP.

Look, I don't agree with Jim Hendry's strategy of going for broke in 2007 (hint...he's doing it to save his job). But right or wrong, the Cubs are operating under the delusion that they can be a playoff team in 2007. That being the case, then adding Cliff Floyd to the short-term outfield mix makes sense. Floyd is a deluxe run producer from the left side of the plate, when healthy. Which, of couse, is a big caveat. The forward progress of Matt Murton won't be compromised. Obviously, the Cubs wouldn't be pursuing Floyd if they were sold on the fact that Murton can be a quality 140 game type run producer in left field.

Silent Towel: Barring injuries, I'd say that's pretty close to the likely Cubs '07 Opening Day roster. However, nobody goes with less than 12 pitchers anymore, so Michael Wuertz would be in the bullpen, and I don't think there will be more than one back-up middle infielder, and that one will be Theriot.

I also have a different opinion of Daryle Ward than you have. Ward was hands-down THE best PH in MLB last season (Wes Helms and Geoff Blum were probably 2-3), and if he is used mainly in that role, he should improve the bench a lot. Conversely, Cliff Floyd is 0-12 as a PH the last three seasons.

Today, according to a Baltimore newspaper Cliff Floyd may be seriously listening to offers from the Orioles. Jim Hendry is holding off signing Floyd as he waits for someone to take Jacque Jones in a far trade. Hendry doesn't want to clog the 40-man active roster by signing Floyd and doesn't want to move anyone off the roster to make room for him. As the clock keeps ticking Cliff Flyd may be an Oriole before the end of this weekend (Christmas).

CUBSTER: What does the term "looseness" in the shoulder mean? What's loose, and besides surgery, how can it be "tightened"? Does the shoulder get progressively "looser" with use where it might fall off like a tire where the lug nuts are loose?

O'Neal mentioned "arthritic'" in his comments. Can Prior pitch with this "looseness" as long as he can stand the pain/discomfort, or is it like arthritis, where it will only get worse, with the pain increasing over time?

Also "Floyd is a deluxe run producer" ??? He's driven in 100 runs 1 time, and 90+ 2 times, and that's in a 13 year career....scored 100 runs once, ....he's damaged goods, who may drive in 85 runs this year, or he may tear his Achilles heel, and miss 90 games. Who knows?
He's on the downside of a nice career, and should not be starting for the Cubs.

I imagined that Murton would top off as a Sandberg type offensive player. Maybe even better he has a bigger frame than Ryno at that age.

cubsbaseball — December 21, 2006 @ 10:32 am
Today, according to a Baltimore newspaper Cliff Floyd may be seriously listening to offers from the Orioles. Jim Hendry is holding off signing Floyd as he waits for someone to take Jacque Jones in a far trade. Hendry doesn’t want to clog the 40-man active roster by signing Floyd and doesn’t want to move anyone off the roster to make room for him. As the clock keeps ticking Cliff Flyd may be an Oriole before the end of this weekend (Christmas).

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

CUBS BASEBALL: I hope that's true. I like Cliff Floyd, but at this point in his career, I think he would be better off being a platoon DH in the American League.

If the Cubs indeed want to give Murton an occasional day off against the N. L.'s best RHP starters (Carpenter, Oswalt, Smoltz, Schmidt, et al), that's fine, but I would prefer somebody else other than Floyd be the guy that gives Murton a rest. Even Angel Pagan would be OK for that purpose.

VOCAL TOWEL: "the Cubs are operating under the delusion that they can be a playoff team in 2007."

Sorry, I don't agree with this at all.

It is not delusional, with the NLC the way it is, and the improvements PLUS the addition of injured players (the 100 RBI-Man DLee) and improved defense, AND an excellent manager - why can't this team have an equal chance as either Houston or the Fardinals?

*We didn’t get Hojo from the Mets did we? And how does another team’s front office force you to sign a FA? *

I see that HoJo played for the Rocks before the Cubs, eh?

Anywho, I blame the Mets for either:
a) not signing Floyd & Johnson to lifetime contracts or
b) not thoroughly using up Floyd & Johnson and them taking them behind the barn and putting them down.

I respectfully disagree with the lofty forecasts that some of you have for Matt Murton. He's an okay ballplayer. Nothing more, nothing less. Actually, a great comparison may be Lou Piniella himself. Sweet Lou was a good complementary outfielder during his days in Kansas City and then during the glory years of the Yankees in the 70's. Good right handed hitter, but without a whole lot of pop. His best use was as a platoon partner with the plethora of left-handed hitters the Yanks had at the time.

Having Cliff Floyd in 2007 doesn't mean the Cubs have given up on Murton. Rather it means they aren't convinced he is a quality enough everyday player, at least at this stage of his career. Sorry, but I can't argue with that logic. And thing is, the Cubs NEED left handed hitting, especially if they foolishly shed Jacque Jones.

*Howard Johnson of the three time variety of being a 30/30 guy? C *

You mean 30 hits/30 walks--because that's what he got the year he played in Chicago. He hadn't hit above .240 in the previous 3 years.

He was done, like toast, just like Floyd is now. It's stupid to waste a roster spot on some washed-up retread simply because he's a "home-town kid". Buy a ticket to look at the park like everybody else, hometowner.

Daryl Ward...ugh

Ward is incapable of playing the outfield and is a brutal defensive 1st baseman. So what then is his role other than to pinch hit 75 times or so a year? Adding Ward really inhibits the flexibilty afforded Sweet Lou. And it probably means the Cubs need to go with a six man bench as opposed to five.

I don't like the move, regardless of Ward's ability to mash from the left side of the plate.

Thanks, AZ Phil and cubster for the Prior comments. With all the name-calling, there has been precious little in the way of fact in regards to Prior.

I doubt he'll pitch in 2007, and if his injury is "arthritic" in nature, that doesn't sound good for his long-term prospects either.

Apparently, because of his past relationship with Floyd and because Floyd is a Chicago-area native, Hendry is thinking about signing Floyd and only Floyd.

Meanwhile, Trot Nixon, a player with a similar skill set (and a similar injury-prone nature), hasn't been mentioned at all.

This whole Floyd situation rings of the "burning a hole in my pocket" theory of budgetary management that AZ Phil talked about last year after the Colvin/Samardzjia draft strategy.

He has a budget, and he HAS to spend that much, or he'll never see that money again.

BJS:
"Also, he (Jacque Jones) just had a career year"

2006 was NOT a career year for Jones. Go back and check out his stats in 2002 where Jones did better in almost every meaningful stat.

Manny...lol.....it may not have been a career year, but, at age 31, it may be a bit much to expect a repeat of 2006. His last 2 seasons were both decidedly worse in avg, OBP, and SLG.

You are right though..not a career year.

Bleeding Blue:
"not only is he (Murton) above average for OBP he’s above average for Slugging too"

What list are you looking at? Murton, according to ESPN.com sortable stats, was 15th in SLG among the 21 LF's who qualified last year in MLB. That is not "above average", and actually it is below average. And if you look at his OPS, he ranks 14th. Again, below average.

Now I think Murton can be a nice little player. He should be given a chance to play this year, but also let's be a little realistic. He wasn't an above average LF or anything last year. He very well might get better and turn into one, but as of yet, he is not.

dave:
"You dont put up a 910 OPS by being below average in every phase of the game other than OBP."

He didn't put that number up for 2006, just for the last 64 games he played in. I think we need to be careful thinking Murton is now a .908 OPS guy and expect that from him for 2007.

"The forward progress of Matt Murton won’t be compromised. Obviously, the Cubs wouldn’t be pursuing Floyd if they were sold on the fact that Murton can be a quality 140 game type run producer in left field. "

Why won't putting Murton on the bench against right handers comprimise his development?

At at what point in the last few years did you decide that the Cubs' braintrust is the best determinite of how good a player is going to be?

He didn’t put that number up for 2006, just for the last 64 games he played in. I think we need to be careful thinking Murton is now a .908 OPS guy and expect that from him for 2007.

Yep, it's almost as absurd is claiming his .809 OPS for the season is a good measure of his abilities...

Vorare:
"Yep, it’s almost as absurd is claiming his .809 OPS for the season is a good measure of his abilities…"

I would think the entire season of stats would be closer than a couple month stretch. I could see your complaint if someone was just using 1st half numbers, but if someone is looking at yearly numbers, you can't fault him on that.

Vorare:
"a good measure of his abilities…"

I wouldn't say any 1 season stat would be a good measure of a players abilities. It would be a good judge of how he did in that particular season though.

I would think the entire season of stats would be closer than a couple month stretch. I could see your complaint if someone was just using 1st half numbers, but if someone is looking at yearly numbers, you can’t fault him on that.

Manny, we've been through this before. It simply isn't fair to judge Murton by his 2006 season line when that line includes two incredibly bad non-representative months. Perhaps it would be fair if those two months came at the end of the season demonstrating a downward trend, but they didn't. A hole developed in his approach, he corrected it, he excelled with a 900+ OPS for the rest of the season.

Maybe you'd be more familiar with his progress if you actually used those season tickets of yours rather than scalping them.

And you guys think I am the only viscious ass on the board.

Vorare:
"A hole developed in his approach, he corrected it, he excelled with a 900+ OPS for the rest of the season."

So you think Murton is unquestionably now a .900+ OPS guy? We can just write it down as he will do that for the entire year next year? I wouldn't do that, and I think people who do are just overly optimistic. IT might happen, but to say he is a .900 OPS guy without question is going too far.

"Maybe you’d be more familiar with his progress if you actually used those season tickets of yours rather than scalping them."

HA HA...Jealous???

But i am sure I watched just as many, if not more, Cubs games than you did last year. So please don't pull out that childish weak ass crap.

I think the "name-calling" about Prior results from facts, ie, the fact that this guy is almost always sick for one reason or another. The specifics of his illness still are are not really known. But, again, it is a fact that this guy is almost always sick or claiming to be sick so the "name-calling," if that is what you want to call it, is hardly surprising or unwarranted. I mean, this guy has become richer than most of us will ever be in just the last three years while he has almost always been sick.

The Real Neal:
"And you guys think I am the only viscious ass on the board."

Oh no, you are just one of many....:)

Comment #139 by Silent Towel

Adding Ward really inhibits the flexibilty afforded Sweet Lou.

Hmm, sounds like we found out what Dusty's handle is on TCR. :)

So you think Murton is unquestionably now a .900+ OPS guy? We can just write it down as he will do that for the entire year next year? I wouldn’t do that, and I think people who do are just overly optimistic. IT might happen, but to say he is a .900 OPS guy without question is going too far.

I'll put it this way Manny (and I've probably done this before). Here's Murton's line prior to and following his horrible May/June '06 stretch.


Pre:  .309/.383/.493 (876 OPS)
Post: .329/.409/.526 (935 OPS)

Unquestionably a 900+ OPS guy? I never said that. But he's certainly much closer to a 900+ OPS guy than the 800 OPS guy you like to claim he is.

So please don’t pull out that childish weak ass crap.

Seeing you call anyone else childish is seriously funny. Thanks for the giggle.

My take on Jones:

He makes a living off of starting pitchers who think it must be a typo when the scouting report says, Don't throw this guy a low outside fastball.

But like many wrong-way hitters he has a hole in his swing that can be exploited by off-speed pitches down and in. This, not lefties, is his weakness.

The bleacher fans in right started booing him not because he started the season 0 for thirteen but because he was missing those aforementioned down-and-in pitches by a foot, and they thought they had already said goodbye to Corey Patterson.

I don't think he asked to be traded because the fans were mean to him. I think he asked to be traded because after Soriano signed, Hendry told him that he was no longer a starter, and was he okay with that?

Hendry has been wearing me out with these lefthanded hitters--Choi, Hollandsworth, Jones--whose power is to left. I guess a while ago he decided that the wind usually blows out to left. Anyway, Floyd is more normal, and I'm glad.

What list are you looking at?

Well, I'm not just cherry picking the stats and the parts of the sentances that I might want to argue with.

Murton is above average in Slugging "Especially when you consider his Age, Experience, and Contract."

I'm sure you accidently left that last part out. But a 462 Slg Pct in a player's first 600 MLB at bats is well above average.

But even if you only want to look at what he did last year, giving extra weight to his slump, and ignore how he improved over the course of the year, he's still above average.

He was the NL's 7th best LF Slugger last year among "qualified" Left Fielders, being that there are 16 teams in the NL, I'd say that's above average.

Saying he's "below average" because he was not among the tops of those who qualfied is beyond dishonest, because you are only comparing him to the very best players at the position. If you are the dumbest Nobel Prize winner, you most likely still have an above average intelect.

What? When Soriano was signed, Jones was told he no longer is a starter? I have never seen this reported. We lost Pierre and gained Soriano. How does that make Jones not a starter?

I agree with most of you on the Floyd front. If Jim Hendry has a money burning a hole in his pocket, why not spend it on a RH platoon partner for Jack Jones? Floyd to me seems like a less effective in every way Jones.

Vorare:
"Thanks for the giggle."

Thanks for the uncalled for shot...

The bleacher fans in right started booing him not because he started the season 0 for thirteen but because he was missing those aforementioned down-and-in pitches by a foot

I might buy that if the booing hadn't started the first week of the season. Cub fans wanted a major star in the outfield, and instead they got Jones. The decided were going to take their frustrations out on him before he swung at a single pitch.

Sadly, I'm already seeing the same sort of feelings expressed towards Ted Lilly, whose biggest crime so far is that he's not named Zito or Schmidt.

Vorare:
"But he’s certainly much closer to a 900+ OPS guy than the 800 OPS guy you like to claim he is."

I don't think he is a .800 OPS guy, but he was roughly that last year. I do think he will improve on that number this year. But if someone thinks just because he had a .900 OPS for the last 65 games he played, that we will duplicate that for the entire season in 2007, I think that is a bit unrealistic and overly optimistic in my opinion. I can see .850 OPS as realistic.

Does anyone else remember when floyd hit 3 homers last year to come back and beat the cubs. Pretty impressive.

If you are the tallest midget, are you still likely short?

Bleeding Blue:
"Saying he’s “below average�? because he was not among the tops of those who qualfied is beyond dishonest, because you are only comparing him to the very best players at the position. If you are the dumbest Nobel Prize winner, you most likely still have an above average intelect."

What?? Should I compare him to players in AA or the local softball league? I compared him to other MLB LF's. Sorry, but that is not being dishonest. Now if you want to just look at NL, then he did take 7th, but too bad only 9 players qualified. If you want to look an non-qualified LF's too, just a head's up, Freddie Bynum had a better SLG percentage.

Bleeding Blue-
Yeah that whole Nobel Prize argument doesn't make any sense. Yes, Murton is "above average" LF if you want to compare him to every human walking the face of the earth. Or you can use AaronB's funny analogy.

Your missing the point Manny, it is called player development not player instant gratification.

The choice is between a 34 year old broken down of a man Cliff Floyd who might be around 1 year tops, and a 25 year old hitter who has shown he can handle hitting at the major league level and might be around for the next 5 years. Murton can atleast improve, which he has already shown. Floyd looks like he is getting worse, and besides don't we hear a lot of talk on this site about how players don't age well past age 34?

One player is a band-aid, the other is a possible long term solution.

Stability and development versus the 1 year rental and the unknown beyond that.

I am tired of band-aid players like Floyd who are in the mold of Howard Johnson, Todd Hundley, and Gary Gaetti. The team finally has a young player form the minors who actually exceeded expectations and what do I read on the message boards? How we want to replace him with a guy that can't stay healthy and on the downside of his career.

If hitting .297 with a .365 OBP isn't good enough for Murton then what the hell do you guys expect out of Felix Pie? Nothing less than hitting .330 from Pie huh? He might be lucky to hit .250 with 150 strikeouts.

Floyd to me seems like a less effective in every way Jones.

Floyd's a better hitter than Jones, more power, more patience. His defense is worse though. He's a Chicago boy, fans will probably love him.

I don't think it's set in stone quite yet that Jones is gone. It doesn't seem like Hendry is going to move just to move him and the market seems dry right now. It might be something they revisit in spring training when holes start popping up on other teams and if Pie shows something in spring training.

hendry might be scared off by the whole holly/dubois thing, but really, murton isnt holly/dubois...he's got proven adaptable skills.

that said, an extra 3-5m into a guy that might take 150-200ab's from murton (only to give him 50+ of those back pinch hitting) isnt that bad of an insurance signing considering how much has been poured into the team so far.

murton will cost 360-400K in 08 just as in 07 and it seem the straight platoon isnt really being considered.

If it comes down to a choice between the Orioles and Cubs for Floyd, it would appear theat the O's provide a far better chance for regular playing time.

In addition to the DH, Floyd would be the LH complement to Kevin Millar at 1B (hardly a DLee), and to Jay Payton in LF.

That's a lot more AB's than he would likely get here, and the Orioles are unlikely to pay him significantly less than Hendry.

I'm betting that he signs with the Orioles, especially if Hendry is still watiing to deal JJ.

MikeC:
"Your missing the point Manny, it is called player development not player instant gratification. The choice is between a 34 year old broken down of a man Cliff Floyd who might be around 1 year tops, and a 25 year old hitter who has shown he can handle hitting at the major league level and might be around for the next 5 years."

I think you are missing the point. I don't think anywhere did I talk about Cliff Floyd replacing Murton. I was just talking about reasonable realistic expectations of Murton for 2007 and looking back at 2006.

And I agree, I don't like the idea of a platoon with an aging, over the hill player or with someone who is barely better than Murton from the left side of the plate. The only way I want Murton out of LF for 2007 is if they got a big bat who can or will only play LF OR is they can move him to get a top-tier starting pitcher.

What?? Should I compare him to players in AA or the local softball league? I compared him to other MLB LF’s. Sorry, but that is not being dishonest. Now if you want to just look at NL, then he did take 7th, but too bad only 9 players qualified.

Maybe you should compare him to all NL Left Fielders, not just the 9 best.

I guess since only 9 Left Fielders qualified in the NL, the other 7 teams must just have decided not to use a Left Fielder last year?

That's essentially what you are saying when you claim that Murton was "below average" because he's only 7th among the 9 who qualified. Ignoring the fact that far more than 9 players saw regular playing time in Left Field last year.

Using your logic, Adam Dunn is also "below average" because he was 6th in the NL among the 9 who you want to count.

I'm also sorry that the Nobel Prize and even the "Tallest Midget" analagy went over your head. I'll try to dumb it down for you a little bit. If you are the dumbest Physicist to win the Nobel Prize in Physics, you are still probably one of the smartest Physicists in the World. Is that specific enough for you understand? Or do you still think you'd have to compare them to every human on earth?

But Steve Stone said that Murton isn't a good player.

Here's what you can expect from Matt Murton:

Minor League Career: .309 .380 .451 .831
Major League Career: .303 .370 .462 .832

He's been consistent at all levels for five years now as a pro and his upside is undeniable.

Murton led the team in batting average and overcame an (ass)hole in his swing when Dusty Baker tried to turn him into a pull hitter. It was Baker's idea that Murton, a rookie who hits to all fields, could actually replace DLee's production if only he would turn on pitches yank them out. Baker then undermined the project by shouting about it as loud as he could to the media. Opposing managers and pitchers paid attention. This, of course, made Murt predictable and created a hole in his swing on the outside corner that didn't used to be there. Everyone seems to have forgotten that MM got out of the slump by ignoring all the BAD advice he was getting (Ron Santo was notably offended that Murt wasn't interested in his "help") and went back to hitting the ball where it was pitched.

Bleeding Blue:
"Is that specific enough for you understand? Or do you still think you’d have to compare them to every human on earth?"

Yeah that makes tons of sense...thanks for clearing that up. I can see the logical comparison now (wink wink)

Rambling thoughts...

1. Way, way, way too much focus on the wondrous virtues of Matt Murton. He is an okay ballplayer. That's it. He isn't the next Grady Sizemore or the next Mark Grace. Rather, he is a guy who will probably hit around .290, hit 15-20 home runs and drive in 75 while providing mediocre play in left field and little else. In a perfect workd, Murton is a swell guy to give 350-400 at bats to in the # 7 hole.

2. Mark Prior. The biggest malady Prior suffers from is acute case of vaginitis. Does he have problems with his shoulder/arm/achilles heel? I'm sure he did or still does. But the real problem is much bigger. Forget about him. Fixating on his return is a wasted exercise. Mercifully, Jim Hendry has finally come to realize this.

I'm glad I could help. I'd hate to have someone who posts on TCR so regularly thinking that if you don't compare a MLB player to the very best of the best that you have to compare him to the players on your company softball team. You'd think they would have taught that somewhere along the way at Penn State, but I guess a public university education just isn't what it used to be.

Rather, he is a guy who will probably hit around .290, hit 15-20 home runs and drive in 75

Yeah, because most players who hit over 300, with 20 HRs and 75 RBI in their first 600 MLB ABs ususally don't improve. Its only rational to think that Murton has hit his peak performance at age 25, and it will be all downhill from here.

Bleeding Blue, you are entitled to your opinion on Matt Murton. And I am entitled to mine. We fundamentally disagree regarding his upside. You see a very good player in the making, I see a simply OK player in the present and future. Let it go.

Murton is good young talent but I don't agree he's second coming as many of you obviously do.

I agree with Silent Towel on Prior. Something is screwed up in his head. Joe morgan was right to call him out on being a wus. I am growing sick of Prior always being hurt. As all of us are. Hendry is stuck. He almost has to keep him forever becasue of his potential. Imagine letting him go and he wins 20 games a year for 10 years in a row injusry free. That's what would happen if he was trade/released. I can't imagine him making a killing in arbitration either. I love Prior, I really do. I ahve always been a fan, when he at least tries to play that is.

Towel, I just would like to know why you think that Murton has already reached his peak after his first season's worth of plate appearance?

Do you think that most players start to decline at age 25 or is there something specific about Murton that leads you to believe that his first 600 ABs were a fluke and he will actually decline in the years ahead?

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I'd like to know what facts have caused you to reach this conclusion.

I do however think Murton will be a good one, given the chance, but as we have seen, Hendry is in it for now, and could care less about developing a player for later.

brendon harris DFA'd from the reds for those keeping track...making room for j.conine traded from the phillies.

I know how many of u feel about JJ and understandably so but does anyone else have a hint of excitement over the offence potetial if he's in CF? maybe he can't hack it defensivly but i think they'll give that a try fist and if he can't or there is an of injury then pie gets the call

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/ne...

remaining OF free agents...though its likely the excess pen and the j.jones situation may play outside the FA market.

i wouldn't mind Hendry taking a flyer on Harris. Stick him in the utility role so Cedeno can go back to Iowa to settle down. Harris isn't left handed, but he has a slick glove, and with the other boppers, who cares if he cant hit a lick. Jose Vizcaino stuck around for years not being able to swing the bat.

sorry, was under the impression that the new board auto-tinyurl'd stuff.

btw...i really really like the new(ish) tinyurl "preview"...long overdue.

yeah, that's Prior for you. Makes a couple throws in spring training, feels some pain, says fuck it, it's not worth it damnit, I'm getting my millions. I enjoy being called out on every paper, radio site and turned on by the fans, it really helps my image and potential endorsement deals....

Let's just ignore that when he did pitch last year, he sucked. Why? Well because he was hurt and shouldn't have been pitching but tried to. So by all means, let's just get him a sports psychiatrist so you can mentally deal with the pain and everything will be the better.

Bleeding Blue, I'll ignore the indirect cheapshots peppered throughout your message. Your guilty of selective intepretation of Matt Murton's narrow sample size of major league stats. On the plus side, Murton has a nice compact swing and the ability to hit to all fields. He also appears to make good adjustments at the plate. If he were a capable defensive 2nd baseman, he'd be a nice player on a roster. Sort of a Mark Loretta type. But fact is Murton plays left field, and only left field. And he's simply not that good of a left fielder. And he doesn't run particularly well. And I don't see a player who will ever be much of a run producer. I don't really care if Murton is 25 or 22 or 32. To me, he is what he is and will settle in to simply an OK ballplayer. Importantly, there is not one single glaring strength to his game (e.g., speed, arm) to compensate for his non-descriptness otherwise. Do many 25 year old players have wondrous upsides? Sure they do. But Murton? Not in my mind. Nor apparently in Jim Hendry's mind either.

Matt Murton is Lou Piniella circa 1978. Or Mark Loretta circa 2006. Or right-handed version of Todd Hollandsworth circa 1999.

no automatic tinyurl, although that would be cool. It does create an auto-link and automatically creates a new window if you hit the link though.

Bleeding Blue:
"Its only rational to think that Murton has hit his peak performance at age 25, and it will be all downhill from here."

Can you say Marcus Giles?

reg. line up as i c it
1 soriano rf
2 izturis ss
3 lee 1b
4 rami 3b
5 jj cf
6 murton lf
7 barret c
8 derossa 2b

Manny knows the haps. Giles number 2. BUT, Murton has an upside. He is still a yoot.

"So by all means, let’s just get him a sports psychiatrist so you can mentally deal with the pain and everything will be the better."

Actually, he'd be better served if we go get him a gynecologist to treat his vaginitis.

Sorry, but Prior deserves few breaks from the Cub organization and fans. It's going on four seasons in a row where Prior comes to spring training broken down, often time with ailment that the Cub medical staff can't even accurately diagnosis. Prior has stolen from the Cubs since 2004. If he really is as broken down as suggested, then he should retire from baseball and give back the checks.

I must be getting old, what the hell did any of that in #196 mean other than Murton having upside.

Funny how when WIll Ohman was injured, everyone wrote him off as a failure. Prior gets injured, and he will win the CY Young next year. How does that work?

"...I’m betting that he signs with the Orioles, especially if Hendry is still watiing to deal JJ."

Personally, I have no problem with this.

As CRUNCH would say, "The guy is just an achilles injury away from ending his career."

I would say Hendry for once is in a decent position with JJ under contract. Coming off a terrific year - great salary for 2 more years - fairly athletic - LH bat.

He does not need to be in any hurry.

And I don’t see a player who will ever be much of a run producer. I don’t really care if Murton is 25 or 22 or 32. To me, he is what he is and will settle in to simply an OK ballplayer. Importantly, there is not one single glaring strength to his game (e.g., speed, arm) to compensate for his non-descriptness otherwise. Do many 25 year old players have wondrous upsides?

So if a ballplayer isn't fast (Murton btw has above average speed), average defensively, and only plays one position, he can't excel with his bat?

It's okay to have hunches, but just admit it's a hunch. This logic is asinine.

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