TCR Friday Notes

The calendar says Friday, so it must be notes day. - My apologies to everyone on the suddeness of the move to a new look and server. I knew it was in the pipeline but I really had no idea on the timeline otherwise I would have warned you all. I appreciate everyone who has come over with the move and your suggestions on the site design. I love the new look on the comments, the individual links for each comment and some of the new features like how it creates auto-links on URL's posted. I know, nothing special, but it's an improvement. So thanks to Brandon Rosage, the webmaster and all you for your ideas. Some people were asking for a rundown of site enhancements and I wish I could give you a complete list. Here's what I do know. There's an RSS feed for comments now, so you can just add that to your RSS feeder and find out when new comments are up. The aforementioned auto-URL's where if you post a link with http in the front of it, it's automatically clickable and opens in new window. There's also emoticons, whether that's good or bad is yet to be determined. If you post more than one link in a comment it automatically goes to moderation where a writer must approve it. This is done to avoid spam so it's best you break up your links over individual comments because who knows when we'll get to them. There's also a bunch of stuff behind the scenes that I won't bore you with, but they make my job easier and the other writers. We'll still be tinkering with the look over the next few weeks and absolutely have to get the rest of our archives in here as soon as possible. - Baseball Prospectus has a new article on baserunning which I found interesting (apologies if it requires a subscription). Dan Fox, who's sort of their baserunning guy, tackles the Bill James Handbook 2007 which has it's own essay on baserunning as compared to the work Fox has previously done. He basically goes through the differences between the two methodologies and compares their top 10 and bottom 10. I can't really print the full lists, but Chone Figgins seems to have been clearly the best last year and Josh Willignham, Victor Martinez, Pat Burrell and Jason Giambi being some of the worst. The only real surprises were that Bill Hall and Magglio Ordonez showed up on Fox's Top 10 worst baserunners of last year. On Bill James's lists, Mark Teahan shows up as one of the ten best, but Juan Rivera as one of the ten worst. Interesting stuff, at least to me. - I still have to calculate that playoff contest I ran, so more prizes coming. As for the free agent frenzy, I guess Ruz had some Wrigleyville Sports gift cards they were kind enough to give us for contests, so I'll probably offer that instead. - The well of Cubs news has dried up. I guess Hendry has packed up shop until after the holidays. Assuming the Floyd rumors turn out true, I imagine the rest of the off-season will consist of the Cubs Convention and then spring training. The team will test out Pie in center and then maybe look to move Jones by then assuming teams find some holes when they start playing exhibition games. And if Pie doesn't work out and Jones gets traded, they'll probably go seek a veteran center fielder from somewhere. And let's not forget Priorwatch 2007. Ho-hum. - Someone posted this link in the comments, a rather famous Internet video of a German kid yelling at his computer. Someone put a Cubs twist on it though and it's worth the four minutes of your life. Merry Christmas to all that celebrate!
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Comments

Saw the "German Cubs Fan" last night over on BCB. Hilarious! A must see.

Rob sorry about bringing up the baserunning article in the last thread...I swear the Friday Notes weren't up when I posted. :)

haha

offer on the table for schmidt...3/44.

offer on the table for schmidt…3/44.

Who?

link please

The Cubs have an offer on Schmidt?

There's been some good debate here on how much the Cubs improved this offseason. I wonder if there are any NL rosters that any of you would switch with the Cubs'. Mets? L.A.? Anyone in the Central? I'm thinking that when you look at it that way, you see more reason to be optimistic.

OH! I get it. This is Crunch's JOKE! To Himself!

HA HA! What a sense of humor that North Carolina guy has!

Ahhh I see now.....ESPN Radio, Bruce Levin reporting that about Schmidt.

Also San Fran Chronicle, and Sports Illustrated reporting it.

The wonders of google news search.

"OH! I get it. This is Crunch’s JOKE! To Himself!"

actually, adam dunn told me the joke. blame him.

The Angry German Cubs Fan is the Youtube Video of the Year! A must watch!!

*The Angry German Cubs Fan is the Youtube Video of the Year! A must watch!!*

Dude, that kraut obviously has seen me watching the Cubs on television. He stole my entire schtick.

I've been checking out the mvn sites of the other mlb teams, and it seems that they are all color coded to each team. It's only the cubs site which has this carolina panthers look. Is this a template or something that is temporary till the webmaster gets around to it?

ESPN is reporting that the Angels's Juan Rivera broke his leg in a winter league game today. Maybe that Baseball Prospectus baserunning rating knew something we didn't?

Speaking of winter ball, I remember seeing that Soriano was going to ask permission to play it this year. Does anybody know if he received approval? 'cause this type of news makes me nervous. I know I read the Mets denied Reyes's request to play.

Cubs asked Soriano not to play and he didn't seem to have a problem with it.

10man,

Can you give me links of which sites you're talking about? There are sites at mostvaluablenetwork.com that still have their own look but those actually here at mvn.com seem the same to me, but I can only find the Yanks and Red Sox, so maybe I'm missing someon.

The color coded sites are the old MVN sites. Like for example the Tampa and Baltimore MVN sites. Obviously it is going to take some time to transfer everyone over to the new style.

The Cub Reporter was really not part of MVN after they (I believe) bought all-baseball.com from Ruz.

Behind the Ivy was MVN's Cubs site. And now The Cub Reporter is officially folded into that network now. Why do you think Funk is now a writer for TCR?

To tell you the truth....The Cub Reporter is the flagship of MVN. No other baseball blog gets more comments on its site than this one. Which probably means TCR gets the vast majority of hits.

"Cardinals resigned that bastard Edmonds!"

Even the Germans know.

Bucco Blog is reporting that long rumored deal with Mike Gonzo, Melky, and Laroache is done.

http://buccoblog.mlblogs.com/my_weblog/2006/1...

The pirates with this trade have become the only other NL Central team to improve. Maybe they can win 75 this year.

Here's a new article. A fairly detailed look at Casey McGehee playing for the Tomateros de Culiacan.in the Mexican League.

Jim Seimas: McGehee shining in Mexico's winter league

Every time Casey McGehee steps into the batter's box, El Chapo de Sinaloa's ranchero music blares through the speakers. Cheerleaders — yes, at a baseball game — dance on the dugouts. It's a little fiesta.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yzhqqc

awaiting moderation??

Our troubles are over Slam'in Sammy is back looking for a job.

Chifan:

I wouldn't look too far down your nose at the Bucs. We finished below them, and they kicked our asses at the end of the season with our AAAA team.

They actually have a decent lineup including the NL batting champ and a couple promising young pitchers.

Interesting, here in the midwest many people pronounce the dairy item, "milk", as "melk". I don't know why. Sort of like "I'm gonna warsh the car."

That translation of the crazy German kid video is awesome.

Just kills me that a Cardinals fan made it.

"Why do you think Funk is now a writer for TCR?"

i blame hendry.

rangers got brandon mccarthy from the wsox for john danks and nick masset.

good trade for both, imo...im a danks fan.

rangers will get the immediate payoff, though.

I have no idea why your comment went to moderation cubswinthepennant.

I'll have to ask.

A new interview with MARK DEROSA went up on Cubs.com this morning. When the Cubs signed him, the first thing he did was buy himself a new set of golf clubs.

"Chicago was always where I wanted to play," DeRosa said.

Golf, apparently.

MORE>>> http://preview.tinyurl.com/yezq8y

O. Julious:
"I wonder if there are any NL rosters that any of you would switch with the Cubs’. Mets? L.A.?"

The Mets are a no-brainer. And I would take the Dodgers also I think. As for the NL Central, at this point I wouldn't take any other roster, because I think 3-4 teams are all mediocre. Now very possibly one team could be better than expected and pull away from the group, but at this point, STL, HOU, CHC and maybe MIL all could be competing for the NL Central crown at around .500, IMO.

so its mets/dodgers fighting for wins...everyone else fighting for .500 or below .500? vegas will be pissed.

soriano/aram/dlee, a full competent pen, Z, some role guys who can hold their own, and some 200ip guys just dont as far as it used to i guess.

murton/barrett arent exactly chumps, themselves...and j.jones or his unknown valued replacement, too.

Crunch:
"vegas will be pissed."

Why will they be pissed?

"The color coded sites are the old MVN sites. Like for example the Tampa and Baltimore MVN sites. Obviously it is going to take some time to transfer everyone over to the new style." -MikeC

Rob, Mike's right. I was just clicking on the links on the left and managed to get to the old mlb sites that haven't been transferred yet. Sigh. I still don't like the generic panthers look...

Crunch #26-

White Sox fans must be overjoyed. They will be coming out in bunches next year.

MikeC:

Thanks for the rundown on the history of TCR and MVN. I wonder how long it is until Ruz's name is quietly dropped a-la John Hill. It's pretty sad to me that he's gone so quiet. I really enjoyed reading his articles and posts. I can only guess (perhaps incorrectly) that there's a connection to the switch (and the time leading up to it) and his slow disintegration into silence.

We all miss Ruz, but life gets in the way sometimes, what are you going to do?

But there was no connection between the switch and Ruz's growing absence, at least none he's made us other writers aware of...

We all miss Ruz, but life gets in the way sometimes...

Life gets in the way sometimes? In the way of the Cubs?

To quote Aretha :

Don’t you blaspheme in here! Don’t you blaspheme in here!

white sox trade mccarthy for 3 pitching prospects....danks is supposed to be good, but had an ERA over 4 at AA and AAA last year.

so, basically, the white sox have traded garcia and mccarthy for 10 Mill and 5 pitching prospects.....ouch

do they really think that they can turn anyone with an arm into a good pitcher? what is the point of this latest deal? to me it sounds like danks has the potential to someday have the potential of mccarthy.....i would be super pissed were I a white sox fan

oh well!

I'm with you Green Lantern. White Sox fans just got a lump of coal for Christmas.

R.I.P., Ruz

Based on his track record, I'd give Kenny Williams the slack until proven otherwise.

danks is a pretty high end lefty who's really only gotta prove he can throw for stamina.

he's no sure thing, but the wsox didnt get robbed.

wsox probably gonna have to wait a year to see returns on danks while the rangers get their return now.

there's also the 19 year old kid with a very hot bat they got in the trade who's never played in america and the other servicable mid-level prospect arm they got.

my bad...the wsox gave up the 19 year old kid..wsox picked up jacob rasner as the 3rd...never heard of him.

masset is the mid-level servicable arm i was speaking on.

This trade is very unlike KW because he is bascally giving up on this season. The 07 sox will be very simlar to the 03 and 4 teams, great line up, 4 reliable starters and a blackhole in the 5th spot. The only real differnce is that pen of theirs has alot of potential. I think Det is going to runaway with that division and probably were before the trade.

getting rid of their #5 pitcher is giving up? its not like they traded away thome/dye/konkero...they still got pierz and pods, too. along with vazquez/buehrle/conteras/garland...

i mean...danks is probally one of the highest ranked left handed prospects in MLB. its not like danks is 3 years away, either, and its not like danks is a 23 year old A-baller.

I agree, this looks like a bad deal by the White Sox and Kenny Williams.I am shocked with this market they traded two starting pitchers and only got what they did. Not that I am complaining. But they are definitely going to be underdogs to make the playoffs. Poor Ozzie....

no offense, but what do you guys see in danks?

i get the feeling some people look at some minor league #s...see 4.** and quit trying to figure out what the guy does right there. do people realize he's 21? that he's got an already useable changeup? that his curve ball was nasty by design before he even was drafted? that he throws in the 90s?

did i mention he's 21...oh yeah, i did.

he's a f'n powerhouse with a much higher ceiling than mccarthy. given they got 4 guys already slotted into their rotation for 07, getting an extra year outta your youth isnt a bad thing, imo.

not to mention their 2nd tier pickup is a guy who's penwork is mlb-ready.

Crunch:
"he’s a f’n powerhouse with a much higher ceiling than mccarthy."

Some people might think so, but his minor league numbers across the board are worse than McCarthy. I don't think Ozzie really likes McCarthy much and it is my opinion that Ozzie was more the reason he is gone than Kenny Williams.

Minor league numbers:
McCarthy (24 years old next year) - 37-21, 3.39 ERA, 470.2 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 10.26 K/9.
Danks (22 years old next year) - 21-30, 4.20 ERA, 426.1 IP, 1.37 WHIP, 9.27 K/9.

I have never seen Danks pitch, but I don't know what I would see that would make me think he is any better than McCarthy after looking at those stats..

I could see Kenny Williams dropping a bomb in the next few weeks. Maybe they'll jump in the Zito sweepstakes. Or flip Danks and others for Crawford. The Sux need LF/CF bad, they have Dye and blah, blah. But F them.

Danks was just rated the #1 prospect in the Rangers system by Baseball America, McCarthy's not that special, middle of the rotation starter at best.

Rangers traded Danks? Nice move Kenny... geesh. If I remember correctly Danks throws gas.

mannytrillo:
I have never seen Danks pitch, but I don’t know what I would see that would make me think he is any better than McCarthy after looking at those stats..

Given the choice between the two, I'd take Danks.

I'd take McCarthy.

Found this website which is neat, ranking the organizations based on C+ prospects. Cubs come in #5 overall, but 2nd in a pack of mediocrity well behind the Marlins, Dodgers and D-Backs.

http://www.angelfire.com/zine/diamondfutures/...

Done up by a former scout who believes in statistical analyses. Puts Dank at a C+ prospect. Jake Fox is baseball's #1 hitting prospect as a catcher.

Rob G.:
"Danks was just rated the #1 prospect in the Rangers system by Baseball America,"

Korey was rated #1 in Cubs organization too, so we know how much rankings mean. But thus far he has not performed like a #1 ranking guy in the minors.

Robinson Chrinos #10? just wow....

anyway pretty cool sight, look like he' s James/Sickels disciple with a cool, slightly unreadable web site.

I can't seem to find anything, but does he ever give a write up on individual players or how he comes about his rankings? I just saw a brief mention in the "About" section.

if you've never seen danks i'd hold off looking at a buncha numbers to determine how great or not they are.

danks is 21, in AAA, has a devistating curve, throws gas, and didnt even throw a changeup til he was 19. never had to. when they taught it to him...within 2 years he was throwing it like he's been throwing on since he was an early teen.

that's danks. he's also a lefty.

about mental makeup...came from a baseball town (round rock)...lives baseball, father did, brother does...etc.

Don't give Detroit the division just yet, some of the Det. News writers seem to think they're going to trade away some depth (Thames, Maroth, possibly even Todd Jones) sometime this year to restock for the class of 2009-10. Depth and fatigue will be issues. In such a tough division with the Twins, Sox and Indians it's simply too early to say anything other than whoever is healthiest and most consistent will win.

so what's left for the cubs? all i got is...

1- the CF situation (jones/possible replacement/etc.)
2- the excess bullpen situation
3- steal underwear
4- ???
5- world domination

is there really an excess? there's room for everyone between Chicago and Iowa at the moment.

Hendry should only trade any "excess" in order to pick up a top tier pitcher in some kind of package. If not, then it could possibly be used in a trade at the deadline if the Cubs are in it.

yeah, there's room for everyone to stay in the system, but some of these guys are mlb ready and i dunno if everyone will stick.

assuming the health of prior (even if anyone wants to be negative about it he wouldnt get a contract if the cubs didnt think he was in the plans)...

dumpster/eyre/howry/wood/ohman/cotts/w.miller are pretty much the "sure things"

wuertz deserves to be in the bigs, imo...he's done with AAA...keep the ball down and try to locate.

novoa is...well, he's novoa...could stay up or go down, but i dunno what's left to "fix"...fastball/slider and not much left to tweak. good or not...

not gonna bring rusch into this...

and backing it all up you got guzman/ryu/marmol/mateo/marshall...

the team's gonna be in almost the exact same situation next year, too. only wood is exposed to a loss of club control.

i just see some of those arms moving, though i got no indication of them being moved...just a guess.

well it certainly wouldn't surprise me if someone got moved, I pretty much expect it, but no one has to get moved at this point, which is a nice problem. At least we won't be forced into any Koronka/Bynum deals cause someone is out of options.

I don't expect Dempster to finish the year with the Cubs next season. He will be used as trade bait to fix whatever weakness pops up during the season.

However the bullpen, in my opinion, is starting to look a lot like the old Nasty Boys that Piniella had with the Reds, except he has more of them this time.

Instead of just Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton we got Wood, Wuertz, Eyre, Howry, and Ohman.

What is interesting about the a possible Schmidt signing is it could bump Prior out of the rotation. We sign Schmidt and the rotation is set with Zambrano, Schmidt, Lilly, Marquis and Hill.

Prior might not be ready to start the season but he could end up pitching out of the bullpen so he can regain some strength and clear some cob webs. At least for a year.

dodgers already signed schmidt...i was just making a bad joke earlier about him based on a TCR post that got out of hand with a 1/2 dozen posts "breaking the news" that the cubs had an offer for schmidt on the table. sorry about that...

seriously, though...i blame adam dunn and dusty and hendry for that joke gone wrong.

Did I seriously miss the Dodgers signing Schmidt? Wow, I blame google news search for my stupidity.

Those bastards let me down.

Did I seriously miss the Dodgers signing Schmidt?
--------
did I just see someone sitting in the endzone in the Bears at Lions game with a sign that said?:

Schmidt 3:44

(crunch's cult?)

I think Crunch has started something he can't stop now.

schmidt and dunn...they're the reason for the season.

Did I seriously miss the Dodgers signing Schmidt? Wow, I blame google news search for my stupidity.

I just heard Dusty won't be back next season, can anyone else corroborate this?

Block Quote

Block quote doesn't work right?

Suppan to Brewers for 4/42

Sheets
Capuano
Bush
Suppan
Vargas

solid, just need Sheets to stay healthy. Suppan's ERA will take a hit with the considerably inferior infield defense though, especially if Hardy can't get healthy.

anybody hear about Soriano? I wonder where he'll sign? How about Aramis, this really seems to be dragging on...

:)

I heard the Cubs are talking to Philly about trading DeJesus for Bowa and some minor league third baseman.

10.5m a year for a guy who's last year he gave up less hits than IP was...well, never. sweet.

STL nation is blowing up with anger over a lack of action as the tallent dwindles.

still, looks like they might get preston wilson to agree to play bench for them. that'd be a pretty nice option. the lure of duncan not being good enough to stick and an oft-injured edmonds should be enough of an incentive for preston and the cards to get that done.

still...their pitching is just piss poor and if they plan on brining looper/wainright up from the pen to start, things arent getting much better for the already weak pen.

hell, i dont buy the looper starting thing, but wain deserves to start if he has the stamina to maintain.

In a way I think the Cards are playing it smart. Suppan and Marquis aren't worth that kind of money. Reyes and Wainwright have a very real chance of doing just as well replacing them at a fraction of the cost.

One thing we know about the Cardinals is when they spend dollars they like to spend it on sure bets and quality impact players if they can. Suppan and Marquis aren't the players to be dishing out 17+ million combined for in the way they run their team. That is money that can be spent on a difference maker for the Cardinals.

And you can't really argue on their method as it has served them well over the years.

Well before we start the love-fest for Kenny Williams, remember that he is also the genius behind David Wells and Todd Ritchie. He makes good moves and he makes bad moves.

Frankly, world series or not, I still don't think much of his work, much like with Theo Epstein.

while i think going with reyes/wain as starters is both wise and realistic i cant believe they didnt at least add some pen or some kind of pitching besides kip wells.

im also kinda suprised the yanks didnt sign any pen worth mentioning, too...and let b.don. from ana slip to boston.

The NYY did sign that lefty Japanese pitcher Igawa. He will likely be in the pen.

HELL: I disagree. A World Series title is all one needs for credibility in my book. He (Kenny) assembled that team, and everyone performed to their capabilities. Pods, Dye, Hermanson, A.J., etc.

Seeing diamonds in the rough that season were risks that paid huge dividends. Even last year, the team was unfortunate enough to have been in the best division in baseball.

IK'd love to have a guy like that as the GM for my Cubs team. He gets it much more often than not, and his gambles brought the South Side a championship. When's the last time we had that on the North Side?

Jealous? I am.

ROB G:
Suppan to Brewers for 4/42

Sheets
Capuano
Bush
Suppan
Vargas

Sheets is the Brewer's Mark Prior, right? And, can Capuano continue to pitch the way he did last year?

He was so dominant a couple years ago.

Which of the young arms will be the first replacement call up when one of the starters goes on the D.L.?

"He was so dominant a couple years ago."

Meaning Ben Sheets...

Kenny Williams and Theo Epstein won championships? The Cubs were the first dynasty in MLB, what does that get them today? Those two GM's took a WS winning team and made them worse the year following (pretty hard not to, admittedly). Epstein made them worse 2 years in a row, and now apparently, so has Williams (crunch, if John Danks has all these great pitches, how come he is no good? Is it that he can't throw them for strikes, or is he just stupid?). Sounds like a certain GM we're all more familiar with.

Just because a GM wins a world championship, doesn't mean they get a free ride. That makes as much sense as saying, Just because Mark Prior went 10-2 down the stretch in '03, it's a good move to sign Glendon Rusch to a two year deal.

The Real Neal: Whatever. You will fucking argue against anything, even the most obvious of things. Merry Christmas to the TCR resident troll. No doubt your stocking is filled with coal.

if John Danks has all these great pitches, how come he is no good? Is it that he can’t throw them for strikes, or is he just stupid?

Isn't he like 21, 22 years old?

It took Rich Hill until he was 26 to translate it to the pros.

My understanding is he just has trouble harnessing command of his fastball. If that's the case, lookout.

"crunch, if John Danks has all these great pitches, how come he is no good?"

what? how is he no good?

what's the watermark for lefties playing 2+ years over their head?

what is he doing wrong, anyway? you should see the guy pitch...his main issue right now is stamina as far as his development goes...

and about mccarthy...he's a fastball control pitcher and he is NOT roger clemens (or close to it)...

both danks and mccart are good arms...if you want "now" returns, you go with mccart...if you want a fair return put off a year, hook up danks. you cant forget the wsox also got a right handed pen arm who is ready now and danks really isnt that far behind. he should see 07 action sometime if healthy.

curve/fastball, both plus pitches when drafted...and he got himself a changeup pretty damn quickly for someone who didnt even throw one 3 years ago.

i thought danks was one of the most visible pitching prospects in the game. the past 3 years danks has been all over the radar.

"and he got himself a changeup pretty damn quickly for someone who didnt even throw one 3 years ago."

well, he started throwing it in A ball 3 seasons ago, but chances are (though i dunno) that the seeds of learning the change were planted the year before in rookie/lowA ball or the offseason.

1 more reason paul sulivan is cool...amid a really hardcore fluff piece full of warm-fuzzies and light chuckles for the holiday time (an imaginary letter to santa from lou piniella written by sullivan) he throws in this bit..

"Say, Santa, I did hear at the winter meetings that the interview room at Wrigley is kind of small and lacks proper ventilation. The Cubs writers said Dusty Baker called it the Dungeon. Maybe a new air conditioner would be a good gesture, but only if you have enough room left on your sled. Really, I mean that. I live in Tampa, so I'm fine with 100-degree heat."

hahah.

Kenny Williams has earned his share of respect, what with the whole World Series thing and all. But I don't understand how you can trade McCarthy for a guy who you hope will one day develop the potential of......McCarthy.

Williams seems to have fallen in love with his perceived brilliance and keen player evaluation. It could get ugly on the South Side.

Williams said, in not so many words, on the Score on Saturday that he felt Danks had a higher ceiling than McCarthy.

By "in not so many words", I mean when he was asked whether he felt Danks or McCarthy had a higher ceiling he said (paraphrased): "Well, I do have an answer to that. But I'm going to keep it to myself out of respect to, you know, guys that have pitched for you."

He's subtle like that.

crunch,

"what? how is he no good?

what’s the watermark for lefties playing 2+ years over their head?"

Had he qualified, he would have been tied for 9th in the Texas League in ERA and 21st in the PCL, behind young studs such as Les Walrond, Derek Lee and Ryan O'Malley. That doesn't include the Rich Hills of the league who got promoted before they qualified. He gives up a lot of fly balls and a lot of home runs. That doesn't translate well to being a left handed pitcher at whatever the Sux call their park nowadays.

It's hard to compare his stats to McCarthy because they pitched, not only in different parks, but in different leagues (and different years) but McCarthy for the most part had better AA and AAA stats at a similar age.
Carlos Zambrano had a 3.97 and 3.88 ERA in the PCL at ages 19&20. King Felix had a 2.25 ERA at age 19.

I am not saying that Danks sucks, but he hasn't turned his talent into stellar performance yet (he's also sort of short). From my perspective he just traded the next Freddy Garcia for a guy who could be the next Neal Cotts or Scott Eyre, and now he has no 5th starter. Maybe I am unreasonably high on McCarthy, having watched him dominate the Cactus league a couple of years ago, but if he is as highly coveted as many people have speculated, I would prefer my return to be a prospect with high end tools and production. Jason Hirsh got traded this offseason, for example.

E-Man,

I hope Santa gives you a bottle of 'Grow Up' for Christmas. Swearing and calling someone a 'troll' in the same post is classic. Maybe a New Year's resolution for you could be to not have a fit if someone disagrees with you.

Quotes from the MVM Sux page about the deal, just for some perspective.

'I am entirely flabbergasted.'
'Sox fans, stay away from high ledges and open windows.'

It seems even they don't quite equate every Williams move with judgments from Solomon.

"Had he qualified, he would have been tied for 9th in the Texas League in ERA and 21st in the PCL, behind young studs such as Les Walrond..."

if a+b=c...les walrond = better than danks

i dont really get this arguement...hell, by your standard there heath "gee, why didnt i get called up" phillips (who won a AAA pitching award, btw) should be the wsox #1 prospect. he's young and put up some good #s in the minors.

i don't know what else there is to say about danks that hasnt already been said in this post. i guess we just wait 2-3 years and rehash this in a 300-post celebration.

merry xmas and happy chaka kahn to everyone. and for the athiests, happy i dont gotta go to work on a monday day.

E-man:

Credibility, sure--compared to the Allard Bairds, Dave Littlefields, and Dan O'Briens of the world. But I'm not about to consider him any better than middle of the road. You can't just take one good season into account. As the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Unless it's digital.

Merry Christmas, or whatever you celebrate. :) I hope you had a nice Eve and an alcohol-induced sleeping in on Monday.

"But I don’t understand how you can trade McCarthy for a guy who you hope will one day develop the potential of……McCarthy."

My thoughts, exactly, on the Danks for McCarthy trade, regardless of how stellar Danks's stuff is.

Will Caroll is also reporting that: "There are also several trades in the works, including the long-rumored Randy Johnson to Arizona deal and one three-team deal that has three BIG names. I’m going to tease you with the last one because it’s close enough that reporting it just might jinx it."

On to eating, drinking and searching my house up and down for a non-existant PS3.

Reportedly that Unit deal would have Conner Jackson and Dustin Nippert heading a package going to the Yanks. I honestly dont think I trade Jackson straight up for him.

As for Carroll's other rumor I am calling BS on him, but if it is real then its probably Helton to the Angels, Colon to the Blue Jays, and Alex Rios going to the Rockies, but while Rios is on hell of a young player I doubt he would consist of a big name.

Rios hit 300 last yr, with 17 home runs, made the all star team and can be a true Cf so that doesnt have enough potential to be a big name? Also Allard Baird was hired by Epstein this last yr.

I wouldn't trade Conor Jackson for any 41 year old, save Clemens. Especially one who is either cronically injured or when healthy, is a shadow of his former self. Sure, he's serviceable, but I wouldn't trade Conor Jackson for serviceable. That's like trading Felix Pie straight up for Pettitte. Why would you do that?

Also, I don't believe Dan O'Dowd and the Rox would part with Helton in return for only Alex Rios. O'Dowd has said publicly that he's standing pat with Taveras in center unless something wows him. Giving up the cornerstone of his franchise (while he is aging, I know.. but still) for Alex Rios and nothing else seems rather unlike the close-to-the-vest Dan O'Dowd.

Slamdog,

I am as big of a Rios fan as there is, but I dont think most average fans whose team plays outside the AL East would know him.

Wes,

The Rockies would probably get other players, but Helton is due 6/90 and the Rockies have Ian Stewart who come 09 will be outhitting Helton, and play gold glove D at 3b with Atkins moving to 1st. They could play Ros in RF and send Hawpe to Pit to get Gorelzzny as was rumored before the winter meetings. Giving them a nice young rotation.

Question about the rotation in April. I'm planning to try to catch Zambrano on Opening Weekend in Milwaukee. Assuming there is no rainout on the Reds' opening day, Monday April 2, would Zambrano be more likely to pitch five days later (Sat 4/7) or five games later (Sun 4/8) in Milwaukee? Would the Cubs use the No. 5 guy there or give Z an extra turn early in the year? Any ideas what is SOP here?

Um, that's weird. Anyways, Milwaukee Sunday is supposed to be April 8.

team will probably go with a 4-man rotation unless everyone is healthy and miller/prior (either/or) are both healthy and performing above their expectations.

Trust me on this one, sir. I don't claim to have hard evidence (or even basic knowledge) on a lot of things. One of two things I do know is pitching mechanics. Two is the Rockies. I've got a friend or two who make a living in the front office at the corner of 20th and Blake in Denver. That trade ain't happenin.

Stewart's not ready. Helton's staying for now, even with that albatross contract. Unless there's a fill-in power hitting 1B coming along in that deal. Even if Atkins moves to first, then Jamey Carroll is playing third, and that ain't gonna work. Rios and a couple throw-ins won't get it done. The Rockies are currently in a drug-induced haze that tells them they can win the NL West right now with that roster.

That is a joke right? Randy Johnson for Conor Jackson?

I will go out on a limb but the D'backs will never do that.

More like Tony Clark would be part of the deal. Clark had a full no-trade clause for 2006, but not one for 2007.

The Yankees don't want to pay any of his salary and they are going to get a top young player in return? Yeah right.

The Real Neal:
I am not saying that Danks sucks, but he hasn’t turned his talent into stellar performance yet (he’s also sort of short).

This may sound simple, but you sound like a simple kind of guy to me, so what the hell. The fact that he has potential but hasn't turned it into big league talent is what makes him a prospect. If he turned it into stellar performance, he'd be a big leaguer.

This trade favors the White Sox big time. Danks could conceivably be the next Liriano in 3-4 years.

WPZ-
My guess would be that as long as Z is healthy, he would go on that Saturday (4/7) game in MIL. The rotation is nowhere near good enough, and there is a big drop off from Z to the others, to not take advantage of Z getting an extra start over whoever ends up being the 5th starter. Barring any rainouts or injuries (ha ha, I know) we shouldn't use a 5th starter till April 17 vs SD. And might only have to use him 2 times the entire first month...WOO!!

Ryno -- I think you are missing the point. This trade is puzzling for two reasons: (1) Danks' ceiling may be higher than McCarthy's, but so is the likelihood that he won't pan out at all; and (2) the White Sox need pitching NOW.

If the Sox were playing purely for the future and didn't need McCarthy for 2007, this could be a nice trade for them. But they do need McCarthy now, and Danks is a roll of the dice. Maybe a well-calculated roll of the dice with nice upside, but the fact remains that if Danks turns out to have the potential that McCarthy has now, Sox fans will be happy.

This is a trade that poor, noncontending teams do when building for the future, when giving up a talented player today doesn't hurt because you aren't trying to win now anyway. It's not something that teams that expect to contend right away do.

Johnson and Maddux in the same rotation would be interesting.

I would not be suprised if the Cubs put a feeler out to the Yanks.

I would not be suprised if the Cubs put a feeler out to the Yanks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think it would be worth checking out to see if Lou can convince the Big Unit to come back. I figure with a no-trade clause, Randy will choose to stay on the West close because he's close to home and he'll stay away (for the most part) of cold weather that can tighten his back.

I thought it was funny that my best friend who is a White Sox fan called the McCarthy trade a cop out for 2007.

Regarding McCarthy----Some may recall that three days ago I said, "White Sox fans just got a lump of coal for Christmas."

Sure enough. Today on the MVN White Sox Blog,

"Tuesday, December 26, 2006

LUMP OF COAL

Filed under:

* Minor Leagues/Prospects
* Transactions

— Jake Berlin @ 7:31 am

It’s been three days now since the Sox traded Brandon McCarthy to the Rangers for three pitching prospects. Typically, taking a step back to gain some perspective is a good thing. Usually, if I don’t like a deal at first, I can come back to it once my head has cleared and find its positives. Usually.

But not this time.

Whereas at first I was just shocked by this move, now I am legitimately pissed off."

It's like this all over White Suxdom. Weeping, moaning, gnashing of teeth.

"the White Sox need pitching NOW"

exactly. Unless this is a precursor to another deal G.Floyd would be their fifth starter now. This deal would've been fine if tney hadn't traded F.Garcia(for very little). As it is, the Sux have a number of FAs at season's end including 3/4 of their infield, and 2/3 of their starting OF. Buerhle, Vasquez, Dye, Crede, Iguchi, Uribe, Pods etc. They should be gearing up for one last run at a title.

For the one or two of you out there today, do you really think that the Cubs' pitching is no better this coming year than it was at the start of last season? Z is back. Won't Lilly be an upgrade on Maddux? Isn't Marquis likely to be an upgrade on whomever our # 3 pitcher was last year. (I realize it changed constantly throughout the year.) If Hill is # 4, isn't he an upgrade of sorts in that he has a year of experience? And at the # 5 slot, isn't Miller or the remote possibility of Prior an upgrade from whomever our # 5 was at the start of last season? I don't know, maybe I am just overly optimistic but aren't we definitely in better shape now than at the start of last year?

I would tend to agree with your sentiments.

It will be certainly interesting to see HOW the question marks going into the 2007 will be answered on the staff.

The annual Mark Prior mystery is an ongoing bummer, but Hendry FINALLY at least addressed this issue drawing from the sorry collection of FA pitchers.

ARM-

Let's see going into 2006 Rusch and Jerome Williams were in the rotation.

Hmmm.

Yes I agree with you. I'm a gloomy nay sayer (its part of a Cubs fan genetic code) but I do like where this team is going.

I have said all along there is no reason why the Cubs could not at least buy the NL Central crown every year.

Thx for the help on Zambrano. It makes more sense that way. I was wondering maybe what Lou did in the past, but as least under Dusty, I do recall it going that way.

True or False:

Buying 81 pairs of Cubs tickets and selling 77 pairs of Cubs tickets is worth the effort to go to four games for free.

if you gotta sell 77 to break even you're in the tampa bay or KC market.

Cubs will be hot ticket next year.
Like 2004 hot.

Arm:
"do you really think that the Cubs’ pitching is no better this coming year than it was at the start of last season?"

Let's see...

2006 vs. 2007
Z vs. Z = Same
Rusch vs. Marquis = About the same
Maddux vs. Lilly = About the same
Marshall vs. Hill = Edge Hill, based on better minor league numbers and last 10 starts of last year.
Williams vs. Miller = About the same

So in my opinion, the rotation is only slightly better at best. And if Hill doesn't keep up the pace he set at the end of last year, I would say it is about the same.

Market Economy:
"Buying 81 pairs of Cubs tickets and selling 77 pairs of Cubs tickets is worth the effort to go to four games for free."

I most likely will be selling all my tickets for double face, so no it wouldn't be worth the effort to only get to go to 4 games for free. You should be able to do much better.

"Cubs will be hot ticket next year."

I agree. Hendry finally spending money will get Cubs fans excited again, so the market should be strong before the season starts up. But after the Cubs fans actually see on the field the junk Hendry spent most of that money on, then it might scare them off, so sell early.

Manny, in my view Lilly has more upside this coming year than Maddux did last year but we'll just have to wait and see. I could turn out to be wrong. As for Rusch, the guy is horrible in my view. He is 18-18 the past three years. Marquis is 54-52 the last three years. Rusch did not pitch more than 145 innings in any of the past three years. Marquis did not pitch less than 194 innings the last three years. At a minimum, Marquis will not be the drain on the bullpen that Rusch has been and would be. So to call these two guys about even, well, I disagree.

Will Carroll's latest rumor talks about the Braves looking to dump Andruw Jones. He says six teams are involved in 'discussions centering on Atlanta'.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/...

Any chance of the Cubs picking him up? Assuming we could extend his contract?

"Maddux vs. Lilly = About the same"

There is a reason why Maddux will not pitch in the AL.

Lilly will also enjoy the 8th hitter and pitcher in the NL lineup. No Melky Cabrera batting 9th in the NL>

Manny....???

So you think Rusch will command 7 million a year next year?

And you think maddux should have received a 4 year / 40 million dollar contract?

Probably the dumbest thing you have ever said on this board.

To say this staff is not vastly greater then last years staff is just ignorant. It really makes me question your knowledge of baseball.

Also, Rusch wasnt even a starter for the majority of the year. So dont compare him to Marquis. Compare marquis to split time amongst williams, mateo, guzman, and marmol.

Which pitcher of the last five I mentioned won more games in the last three years then zito and schmidt?

Marquis

I know you like to be pessimistic and play devvils advocate but to say this staff is not far greater is really just terribly dumb on your part Manny. For the love of God... Lilly won 15 games in the AL East... Does that mean anything to you? he faced the Yankees and Red Sox for the majority of his starts. Now he has to face the pirates and reds....

Wow. That dude is passionate.

Now he has to face the pirates and reds….

Ted Lilly: "You mean I've got to face Adam Dunn?"

ARM:
"in my view Lilly has more upside this coming year than Maddux did last year but we’ll just have to wait and see."

I would agree 100% he does have more upside, but if you look at the past 3 years, it will show you that Maddux has been better, so giving Lilly the AL benefit of doubt, that is where I come up with the idea that they will be about the same. I don't expect him to do any better than what Maddux did last year 15-14, 4.20 ERA, 1.22 WHIP.

"As for Rusch, the guy is horrible in my view. He is 18-18 the past three years. Marquis is 54-52 the last three years. Rusch did not pitch more than 145 innings in any of the past three years. Marquis did not pitch less than 194 innings the last three years. At a minimum, Marquis will not be the drain on the bullpen that Rusch has been and would be."

I agree Rusch is horrible and I was one of the few who really hated the deal Hendry made when he signed him to a multi year deal. But to compare innings between the two isn't exactly fair. Rusch was never really meant to be a starter, more of a swing man. But again, if you look at their numbers the past 3 years, they are very similar. But yes, at least Marquis will "eat innings", if that is a good thing considering how horrible he was last year.

"So to call these two guys about even, well, I disagree."

An optimistic look at Lilly and Marquis can easily put them in better light than Rusch and Maddux going into last year. I am just not on that optimistic side yet. So I can easily see where you would disagree, and that is cool. Like you said we will have to see.

Matt:
"So you think Rusch will command 7 million a year next year?"

No, I think he will be retired.

"And you think maddux should have received a 4 year / 40 million dollar contract?"

No, because he will be 41 years old next year.

"To say this staff is not vastly greater then last years staff is just ignorant. It really makes me question your knowledge of baseball."

Well, using the weak and ignorant: I "question your knowledge of baseball" argument , doesn't exactly make me interested what you have to say to be honest. So, excuse me if I am not hurt if you think whatever I said was the "dumbest thing you have ever said" on TCR.

"Also, Rusch wasnt even a starter for the majority of the year. So dont compare him to Marquis."

Why? Wasn't ARM comparing the staff at the beginning of each season? Rusch was starting at the beginning of last season sadly since Hendry didn't properly prepare the team for the Wood/Prior injuries.

"I know you like to be pessimistic"

Actually I don't like to, there just hasn't been much the last 2 years to be optimistic about.

And to be honest, I don't find it too intelligent to talk about a pitchers wins as reason why they are improvements, which is exactly what you did with Lilly and Marquis. I think it is fairly common agreement amongst baseball fans that pitching wins are one of the most overrated stats out there. But hey, we will see how things play out.

Because he LOVES to bat and studying 200 new players
is a bitch even for him but don't make it sound like
this is some new thing. He turned down the money from
the Yankees in 92 and overtures from AL teams in 04.
He has NEVER wanted to pitch in the AL.
Also Maddux going from the Cubs to the Padres will probably
have more of an upside than Lilly coming from AL East to
Cubs.

2006 vs. 2007
Z vs. Z = Same
Rusch vs. Marquis = About the same
Maddux vs. Lilly = About the same
Marshall vs. Hill = Edge Hill, based on better minor league numbers and last 10 starts of last year.
Williams vs. Miller = About the same

Now do the same comparison using the pitchers the Cubs actually fielded in '06.

sorry that missed a header
That was for Jacos as to why Maddux does not pitch in the AL
Mistook website box for header.

To be clearer, a better comparison might be:

Rush/Guzman/Prior v Marquis

In 2006, those three put up an impressive 7.37 ERA and 4-20 record over 28 starts (166 IP). You really expect Marquis to be "about the same"?

someone here posted the GS vs. IP #s for the kids many threads ago. it was an average of about 2 full rotation spots worth of starts and came out to around 4.75ip per start with a HUGE ERA/WHIP...

it was quite scarey.

from Wild Thing (Dec 19th)

"Sean Marshall 24 GS, 6-9, 125.2 IP, 5.59 ERA
Carlos Marmol 13 GS, 5-6, 67.2 IP, 5.99 ERA
Angel Guzman 10 GS, 0-6, 42.2 IP, 9.28 ERA
Juan Mateo 10 GS, 1-3, 43.2 IP, 5.56 ERA
Glendon Rusch 9 GS, 3-6, 37.2 IP, 8.36 ERA

That’s 66 GS, 14-30, 315 IP, and a whopping 6.50 ERA."

Vorare:
"You really expect Marquis to be “about the same�??"

I think you are misreading or not understanding the question posed. ARM asked: "do you really think that the Cubs’ pitching is no better this coming year than it was at the start of last season?"

See, my expectations of what Rusch was going to give the Cubs in 2006 is "about the same" as to what my expectations are for Marquis in 2007. Hope that helps...

I guess so, Manny, but it's just an incredibly pointless comparison. That may have been our opening day rotation but it was hardly the rotation that had been intentionally built and we all know very well that it wasn't the rotation that pitched throughout '06.

Anyway, for those who are curious, here is a rough breakdown of our 2006 pitching performance by slot:

#1 (Zambrano)
33 GS  16-7   214 IP    3.41 ERA

#2 (Maddux/Mateo)
32 GS  10-14  180 IP    4.90 ERA

#3 (Prior/Marshall)
33 GS   7-15  169.3 IP  6.01 ERA

#4 (Wood/Hill/Marmol)
33 GS  11-15  184.3 IP  4.88 ERA

#5 (Rusch/Guzman/Miller/Walrond/Ryu/O'Malley/Williams)
31 GS   4-18  129 IP    7.96 ERA

Jessica-
"He has NEVER wanted to pitch in the AL."
I agree, I'm not diminishing what he has done but that's why Clemens went to Houston with glee and Johnson will only go to NL teams.

They are tired of getting their head beaten in their twilight years.

Clemens will go back to Yanks because they will score 8 runs a game for him. If he wanted to be close to home he could go to Rangers.

Jacos-
There isn't really that big of a difference in runs scored per game between AL and NL. At least its not like it would add a full run to a pitchers ERA or anything.

2006:
AL- 9.93 runs per game
NL- 9.53 runs per game

Come on, Manny, get your head out of your statistics and go back to game-by-game and look at who actually started for the Cubs last year. It was Zambrano, Maddux, et al until Maddux was traded and then Zambrano, Hill, et al for the last 45 games. Compare Marquis, Lilly, and Miller to Guzman, Marmol, Mateo, Marshall, Ryu, O'Malley, etc. and that's a huge upgrade in that you've got a chance to get 6 innings out those 3 about 75-80 of the time compared to last years' kiddie corps. Will it be better than the rest of the NL Central to make the playoffs in 2007? Who knows. Better than the stiffs who toed the rubber in 2006? Absolutely.

Mr. Altman:
"Better than the stiffs who toed the rubber in 2006? Absolutely."

You are correct, on paper the 2007 suspected starting rotation is better than who actually ended up toeing the rubber for the Cubs in 2006 as a whole. But honestly, could it be worse? Supposedly are starting pitching was sooooo deep, but yet it crashed and burned. We had a whole bunch of unready minor leaguers.

Mike C. re. #17 is spot on for everything in that post.

Re: ruz: No, no connection whatsoever. He's just fading away because of personal life but does not want to leave TCR. He'll be back, but instead of feeling "obligated" to post like I do on my Red Sox site and many others do, he's going to post on his own schedule. He'll be back.

I agree, I’m not diminishing what he has done but that’s why Clemens went to Houston with glee and Johnson will only go to NL teams.

No it isn't Jacos and you know it.

Clemens went to Houston because its closer to his family, he got to play ball with his son, and most of all he is a TEXAN.

Johnson would like to return to either San Diego or Arizona because he makes his off-season home in the Phx metro area. It is the single biggest reason he signed with them in the first place. To say Randy Johnson loves living in Phx is an understatement, he is a golf maniac. He would like to go home.

Those 2 don't give a rats ass which league they are in or who is in each league. They will take the ball and give you quality innings.

They are tired of getting their head beaten in their twilight years.

Another off the wall comment. That is just a WOW, I can't believe you said that statement.

Clemens will go back to Yanks because they will score 8 runs a game for him. If he wanted to be close to home he could go to Rangers.

Clemens will go to the team that can best win the World Series and meet his demands. He is likely to sit out the first few months of the season again and then make his decision of who to sign with. Hell if the Cubs are looking like the dominate team he might come calling to us.

To be an Ace you got to have some EGO, and the biggest ego trip left in baseball is winning a World Series for the Chicago Cubs and becoming a legend.

Mike, I would LOVE to see Clemens pitch for us, but you do really thing its realistic? I don't. But I would LOVE to see it.

"See, my expectations of what Rusch was going to give the Cubs in 2006 is “about the same�? as to what my expectations are for Marquis in 2007. Hope that helps…"

Manny, what your expectations were for Rusch and what the reasonable expectations for Rusch in 2006 are almost certainly two entirely different things. You more than likely overrated Rusch. Besides that, who cares what your expectations were for Rusch? We all have expectations and any one that's worth a damn is going to have some strong statistical analysis to back it up.

Beyond that, manny, I do agree with you. This rotation isn't significantly improved over the rotation the Cubs left Mesa with. It's probably somewhat improved, but not by all that much. Even worse than that, this offense isn't all that much better than the 2006 offense. We can expect Lee to be healthy and provide 3 or 4 wins on top of what he contributed last season and then we'll get somewhere between 3 and 7 for Soriano. DeRosa will probably revert to being a replacement level player while Izturis is a below replacement level player and his defense really isn't even that good to be honest.

If Jones gets traded, which probably happens, then Pie takes over in CF and that's net loss of about 2 wins compared to Pierre and perhaps even worse.

After all this money being invested into the offense, they've improved by whatever production Soriano gives the Cubs, which is probably somewhere between 3 and 7 WARP.

So it's about the same pitching staff and an offense that isn't that much improved. It's going to be a long season here on the northside. Assuming what we have right now is what we get in April, reaching .500 is going to be a very difficult chore for the team. I'd say 75 wins

I say the offense isn't that improved in part because of the career years, offensively, several Cubs players had in 2006. Michael Barrett, Henry Blanco, Aramis Ramirez, and Matt Murton all put in better seasons than any reasonable person could have anticipated. Odds are that they won't be as productive in 2007. Jacque Jones hit better than he could have been expected as well. Then there's Ryan Theriot who won't get 19 VORP over the next 350 games of his career.

Considering all of this, it could be argued that the 2007 Cubs aren't much better, if any, than the 2006 team.

murton had a career year this early in his career?

and hell, lee only really played 2 months or so outta the year...

blanco/barrett combined for normal blanco/barrett production.

j.jones had one of his best seasons...other than that i dunno anyone who had a year they couldnt repeat and a few (esp. murton) can do better.

i dont really buy into your arguement, especially with the "loss" being a singles hitting SB guy and the gains so far a 40hr/40double SB guy. theriot/derosa cant be worse than what was around last year...izturis/theriot/cedeno ditto...and dlee should put in the 2/3rd of the season he never put in.

I say the offense isn’t that improved in part because of the career years, offensively, several Cubs players had in 2006. Michael Barrett, Henry Blanco, Aramis Ramirez, and Matt Murton all put in better seasons than any reasonable person could have anticipated. Odds are that they won’t be as productive in 2007.

Barrett and Blanco are the only ones that had better seasons that would be expected. Aramis's numbers were right in stride with what he has done ever since he put on a Cubs uniform, actually seeing a slight dip in his OPS, and Murton just stayed steady with what he had done in the last part of 05.

Adding a full season of Derrek Lee and the addition of Soriano, I don't understand how you can't see an improvement in offense.

The '07 offense is definitely an upgrade over the '06 lineup. I think by mid '07 our worries will be:

1. Finding a big-league CF'er because Pie isn't able to hit the ball.
&
2. We'll be wondering how DeRosa is an upgrade over Todd Walker.

"The ‘07 offense is definitely an upgrade over the ‘06 lineup"

Yes, because of no Neifi.

Yes, with Neifi and Macias gone, things cannot help be brighter. I recall some games where they were both in the line-up at the same time, with Macias in the outfield. If I had been in the bleachers, I would have had a bag over my head. Yuck!

Jacos:
"Yes, because of no Neifi."

Neifi got 236 AB's last year. I think you are forgetting that our new starting SS also has a sub .300 career OBP.

Neifi got 236 AB’s last year. I think you are forgetting that our new starting SS also has a sub .300 career OBP.

Yeah, but unlike Neifi, he should liive up to his "as advertised" defense.

Hey it's Neifi Part 2:The Rise of Izturis.

He's better be effing Gold Glove every game, playing 150 games to make up for that cancer bat.

Yeah, but unlike Neifi, he should liive up to his “as advertised�? defense.

What are you talking about? Neifi was very good defensively. I would argue that Izturis is better defensively, but it is not like Neifi was Todd Walker out there.

What are you talking about? Neifi was very good defensively. I would argue that Izturis is better defensively, but it is not like Neifi was Todd Walker out there.

I'm no expert on defensive stats, I usually go with what my eyes tell me....but at 2B for the Cubs last year...
Walker
329.1 Innings, 4 errors, .977 FPG

Neifi
327.0 Innings, 5 errors, 973 FPG

Now, that only comes out to 38/39 games each, a small sample rate, but it's not far off for the career numbers of either.

Also, I always felt Walk got a bum rap defensively.

The sad part is Piniella might have used Neifi correctly. A guy with average speed, great range, and a great arm has value, even if he can't hit. Oh well, I'm ok with not ever knowing if Piniella would use him correctly.

Borowski:
I’m no expert on defensive stats, I usually go with what my eyes tell me….but at 2B for the Cubs last year…

When it comes to defense:

1. There is no stat that tell you how good someone is defensively.

2. Defense is an extremely important part of the game, usually more important than a good offense.

Also, I always felt Walk got a bum rap defensively.

Totally. His range was pretty bad, but when he did get to it he almost always fielded it cleanly and made good throws. I was pretty mad about the Cub's trading off Walker.

When it comes to defense:

1. There is no stat that tell you how good someone is defensively.

2. Defense is an extremely important part of the game, usually more important than a good offense.

Concur wholeheartedly on both points. I just wanted to get something to back up my contention than "Nuh-uh!"

That should read "other than" and Ryno's whole quote should be in italics...

Now, that only comes out to 38/39 games each, a small sample rate, but it’s not far off for the career numbers of either.

I actually agree with you that Walker got a bum rap. But Walker did/does have terrible range. He was very solid when he could get to a ball, but he didn't get to much.

Neifi, on the other hand, it also very solid when he gets to balls, but has much better range.

You cannot compare one's ability to play defense solely on errors. If a player gets a ball more often, they are more likely to make errors. If you look at David Pinto's Probabilistic Model of Range, you will see that Neifi had a far superior range at 2b when compared to Walker. Walker was at the bottom - the very bottom.

Don't get me wrong - I love Todd Walker and wish that he was going to be the Cubs 2b this coming year. But you cannot compare Walker's defense to Neifi's by solely looking at errors.

"Aramis’s numbers were right in stride with what he has done ever since he put on a Cubs uniform"

Ramirez's average WARP3 over the last 3 seasons prior to 2006 was 5.2. He produced a WARP3 in 2006 of 7.4, which was the best season in his career (thus, career year).

His average Equivalent Runs the 3 seasons prior to 2006 was 89. He overachieved that average by 16 in 2006.

His average Batting Runs Above Replacement from 2003-2005 was 40. He had 50 in 2006.

His FRAR from 2003-2005 was 7.6. He had a 17 FRAR in 2006.

Combined (offensively and defensively), Aramis Ramirez was 20 runs above replacement better than we could have expected and that much better than we'll likely see in 2007.

Alfonso Soriano's 3-year average WARP3 prior to 2006 was 6.9. He had a 10.2 WARP3 in 2006. He also had a 10.0 and 10.1 WARP 3 in 2002 and 2003 before falling to 5.0 and 5.7 in 2004 and 2005 so maybe he just had a couple bad seasons. Or, more likely, he just his career year during his contract season.

His 3-year average BRAR prior to 2006 was 33. He exceeded that number by 25 runs in 2006.

He exceeded his FRAR 3-year average by 5 runs in 2006. That's 30 runs over reasonable expectations and 30 runs over what we should reasonably expect in 2007. Ramirez and Soriano, combined, have exceeded expectations by 50 runs above replacement with their 2006 production.

Henry Blanco's career EQA is .224, which includes his .247 EQA in 2006. Despite much less playing time in 2006 than in 2004 when he was basically the starting catcher for the Twins, he nearly had as much WARP3 in 2006 as he did in 2004. Blanco is never going to produce that kind of offense again.

Michael Barrett's career avg/obp/slg is .268/.326/.432. In 2006, he hit .307/.368/.417 (all career highs). His career .256 EQA is only .256 because of the .295 EQA he posted in 2006. Despite less playing time for Barrett in 2006 than either 2004 or 2005 he produced more BRAR than in either of those seasons. In fact, his Batting Runs Above Average was 17 in 2006 while it was a combined 17 in 2004 and 2005. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that Barrett should begin to deteriorate rather quickly. He's never going to have another 2006 season.

Out of those 5 players we're talking about 75 runs (perhaps more) above any reasonable expectations.

So let's just say we add a healthy Lee and let's even imagine that Soriano hits exactly he did in 2006, the Cubs offense in 2007 is simply not going to be much better than that. It will be better, but by less than 50 runs (or 5 wins). The other 15 wins this team will need to reach the playoffs will apparently have to come from Lilly and Marquis. Do you really think that's going to happen?

dave:
You cannot compare one’s ability to play defense solely on errors. If a player gets a ball more often, they are more likely to make errors. If you look at David Pinto’s Probabilistic Model of Range, you will see that Neifi had a far superior range at 2b when compared to Walker. Walker was at the bottom - the very bottom.

Holy crap, Grudzi ranks higher than Orlando Hudson. Not by much, tho!

I didn't say they weren't improved offensively. I just said they weren't that much better than they were in 2006. They certainly aren't so much better that the Cubs are suddenly going to have a good offense. They won't even be league average. The 2007 Cubs offense will likely finish ranked around 9th or 10th in the league in runs scored. That's without a doubt better than 2006, but it's not that much better.

The 2007 Cubs offense will likely finish ranked around 9th or 10th in the league in runs scored.

Just curious...what does your crystal ball say which teams will score runs?

Wow...that was really poorly written. That should say something like this:

what does your crystal ball say ABOUT which teams will score MORE runs than the Cubs.

No, Clemens being a Cub is not realistic. Not impossible, just a long shot. I would have to say it would be tempting if we were looking like a contender and gave him a phone call to see what he says.

The lineup should be decent from 1-8 in the lineup. Izturis may suck with the bat but he does hit the ball much harder than Neifi and take more walks. He may end up with the same results but atleast Izturis looks like a major league baseball player and not the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Don't really like the DeRosa signing other than his flexibility. He is Todd Walker at 2nd base, only without the track record of hitting. I hope people are not expecting a .300 BA, .357 OBP DeRosa. Just pray for what he did in the 2nd half last season of .265 BA, .333 OBP and thank your stars he doesn't totally suck balls.

"So let’s just say we add a healthy Lee and let’s even imagine that Soriano hits exactly he did in 2006, the Cubs offense in 2007 is simply not going to be much better than that."

and it is still very flawed how you come up with this pile of misused stats...very misused stats.

let's go basic...lose a singles hitting SB guy, replace with 40hr/40double SB guy, add 2/3rd of a year d.lee missed...SS/2nd at worst is on par with last year.

so 60-70+ doubles and 60-70+ homers are added to last year's team and somehow that's the same?

and you're looking at career numbers for guys like barrett and calling last year a career year even though he hit the same amount of homers the past 3 years and missed like 10 doubles off his mark last year.

you got a bunch of stats there with no idea how to effectively apply them.

stats...theyre not a vacuum...you cant say someone who's 24 will perform in a vacuum until theyre 34.

m.barrett the last 3 years has been boringly predictable and it has nothing to do with the player he was in late90s/early00s.

etc. etc.

John Sickels' Top 20 prospects for the Cubs is in...

1.Felix Pie, OF, Grade B+ (tools look like they are developing)
2.Donald Veal, LHP, Grade B+ (excellent stuff, needs to reduce walks)
3.Eric Patterson, 2B, Grade B+ (looks solid to me, has improved in all phases)
4.Sean Gallagher, RHP, B (inning-eater type)
5.Mark Pawelek, LHP, B (could rise to B+ if he stays in shape)
6.Jeff Samardzija, RHP, B- (talented, but raw for a college guy and the whole football thing scares me)
7.Tyler Colvin, OF, B- (I'm not as wild about him as some people)
8.Jae Kuk Ryu, RHP, B- (looked bad in the majors but a good Triple-A season)
9.Scott Moore, 3B, C+ (utility guy with a power bat)
10.Ryan Theroit, INF, C+ (not technically a rookie, but the Cubs system is thin enough that I will probably put him in the book. Last year was a fluke but he's a decent player)
11.Juan Mateo, RHP, C+ (was rushed and it showed)
12.Adam Harben, RHP, C+ (gets lots of grounders)
13.Mitch Atkins, RHP, C+ (sleeper prospect to watch)
14.Jake Fox, C, C+ (nice power bat)
15.Chris Huesby, RHP, C (good arm but a long way away)
16.Jose Ceda, RHP, C (good arm but a long way away)
17.Ryan Harvey, OF, C (I'm getting skeptical)
18.Clay Rapada, LHP, C (good LOOGY)
19.Rocky Cherry, RHP, C (maybe a good ROOGY)
20.Chris Shaver, LHP, C (finesse pitcher who did well in Double-A)

John Sickel:
"10.Ryan Theroit, INF, C+ (not technically a rookie, but the Cubs system is thin enough that I will probably put him in the book."

Don't like to hear that...

Bye, bye Barry.

Just for the record, I really dislike John Sickels. His book looks like it was done in 20 minutes and his opinions are as subjective and biased as they get.

Plus, I won't take seriously an analyst that gets two of the prospects' names wrong (Theriot and Huseby); God knows the Cubs system is thin, but not that thin.

Arizona Phil could come up with a better list.

FWIW-

Bonds contract not signed yet, according to ESPN radio the hold up is that Bonds wants wording in the contract that will keep it guaranteed if he's indicted.

Classy guy.

Will Carroll: "I’ve seen a partial list of these names, so this could have a major impact on the game and its public perception."

Let's hope he is (as per usual) just bluffing.

I think we've ALL seen a partial list of those names, Will.

I don't think the public perception of the game could change any more that what it's changed in the last decade. If anyone's gonna look bad because of the probable leak of the names, it's gonna be the government because the exams were supposed to be anonymous and random... and now we know that a certain lab matched the samples with the players. Doesn't that constitute a violation to the player's rights?

Carlos:
"God knows the Cubs system is thin, but not that thin."

Very easily the Cubs farm system could rank in the lower third this year. It has been dropping every year lately, nothing to change that going into 2007, IMO.

Article

"Baseball players were told the results would be confidential, and each player was assigned a code number to be matched with his name."

"The Major League Baseball Players Union protested the seizure as a violation of the players' constitutional rights."

For once, I support Donald Fehr.

just dont tell matt murton, ohman, and wuertz they came from a piss poor system that is the woe of the world.

before anyone give the RSox credit for "making" murton they should look at how far this guy has developed with his game in the cubs system. yeah, he always had plate selection, but not much of an idea of what to do with it, imo.

pie/patterson/veal would be welcome as top10s in almost anyone's organization.

while colvin isnt a superstud, he projects to be a servicable boring 20hr/40double type with good D/speed who should go through the system pretty quickly. not exactly exciting stuff, but not worth ignoring.

i know for some the point is to look at the organization and try to shovel some hendry-hate any way possible, but its not a baren wasteland of hopeless potential.

I for one will be stoked when this report is made public. Please please please let Sammy's name be on there. I'm banking it will be since he likely wasn't bright enough to go with the less detectable HGH. Hope McGwire, Bagwell, I-rod, Juan Gonzalez and the other borderline HOFers from the 90's are also on there. If Clemens shows up on the list, I think we'll see the same Bonds argument arise. Yeah but he was a HOFer before the juice argument.

#182, while colvin isnt a superstud, he projects to be a servicable boring 20hr/40double type with good D/speed who should go through the system pretty quickly.

we already have that guy Crunch. His name is Jacque Jones.

Well that list could make or break it and my baseball affair I have with Sammy Sosa.

we already have that guy Crunch. His name is Jacque Jones.

Sure...but Colvin isn't major league ready, and would be A LOT cheaper than Jones.

That is the point - you cannot (unless you are the Yankees) have a team full of 30+ HR, .300/.400./.500 guys. You need to be able to fill in holes from your minor league system.

A guy who hits 20/40 HR/Doubles would be a great slot filler, and could also be a guy making anywhere from 6-9 million a year in today's market. If you can insert a player who costs you the league minimum, you are in good shape.

I guess that's cool if you like a corner OF who has to hit .300 to put up a .330 obp. I expect a little more from a mid-1st round pick.

hey, i like the colvin signing and believe he could be a starter.

yeah, he was a "suplimental 1st/2nd round" type talent chosen before he should have been in a perfect draft, but the cubs had 1 shot to get their main guy cuz of losses of later draft picks and made a pretty safe choice.

colvin's prospect worth/ceiling is less than some chosen after him, but colvin has a bit more polish on him compared to a lotta his draft year peers. he just doesnt have that breakout skillset that makes scouts drool and he's not high enough in the system to get proper prospect respect compared to what he may eventually contribute.

a good year at A and moving into AA in 07 would really raise his stock.

he's still young enough that he could be a total powerhouse years from now...its just more likely he's gonna be one of those "forgettable, but worthy"...or at worst an angel pagan multi-bench type...either way it looks like he probally wont be a 5-6 year minor league project and seeing him get his first taste of the bigs in 08 wouldnt be out of the equation.

"or at worst an angel pagan multi-bench type"

well...with more power than pagan...im just saying he's not just a LF, though he's not gonna be a GG'r anywhere in the OF.

Crunch:
"i know for some the point is to look at the organization and try to shovel some hendry-hate any way possible, but its not a baren wasteland of hopeless potential."

I guess i can call you gutless, like Rob G did to me the other day since I am sure that was directed at me, but you didn't have the "guts" to direct it to me.

But just because I say something negative about the Cubs does not mean it is a backhanded slap at Hendry. The Cubs farm system is not very good. You can continue to try and shoot sunshine up everyone elses ass, that is fine, but it won't work on me. Your only optimistic take on the Cubs, while very refreshing at times, does get old. But hey, everyone has to deal with 98 years worth of losing somehow I guess.

And yes, the top 3 prospects in almost every farm system would look good in other teams farm system. But like John Sickels said "this system (Cubs) has some quality at the top, but it thins out very quickly."

"and you’re looking at career numbers for guys like barrett and calling last year a career year even though he hit the same amount of homers the past 3 years and missed like 10 doubles off his mark last year."

Crunch, I hate to break this to you, but home runs is but only one baseball stat.

So, perhaps the Cubs have added 60-70 doubles and 60-70 home runs as you put it (not likely, but I won't quibble with you about it), it's, as I said from the beginning, NOT a significantly improved offense. You can't just expect career years to be replicated the following season. There is a reason they're called career years. Blanco, Barrett, Ramirez, and Soriano all had career years offensively. There is no debating this fact. So if you think that baseball players suddenly gain a new baseline of performance in one season, then I'm sure you think this offense is that much better than it is. Most of us know that those 4 guys aren't going to have as good a season as they did in 2006. That's how baseball works 99% of the time. All of them overachieved. Is this really that hard of a concept to grasp? You attack me because I list numerous stats to support my claim and your claim consists of replacing a singles hitting CF with a power hitter and a deep understanding of the true value of home runs. Please! Only one of us is ineffectively applying stats and it isn't me.

I understand your desire to believe this team is so much better than last year. Unfortunately you are going to be sadly mistaken. So when I come on here this time next year saying I told you so, please just remember this little conversation we had. That's all I ask.

This team has black holes at SS, 2nd base, and CF (whether it's Jones or Pie it doesn't matter). They have a below average left fielder and a black hole behind the plate 40-50 times per season as well. Sorry, but this isn't a good offensive team. Let's also not forget that the on-base percentage of our top two men isn't even going to be that much improved. We'll have Soriano and his .330 obp leading off and probably Izturis or DeRosa (what's it matter really?) and their .300 obp in the 2-hole. There isn't going to be any RBI opportunities for Lee and Ramirez. This is a bad offensive baseball team.

This team has black holes at SS, 2nd base, and CF

First of all, DeRosa is far from a black hole. Secondly, we don't know yet who is in CF, but if it is Jones, that is also not a black hole, especially if used properly (i.e. not against lefties). SS I will give you, but most teams have one or two hitters in their lineup that are below league average.

They have a below average left fielder and a black hole behind the plate 40-50 times per season as well.

So does every other team.

We’ll have Soriano and his .330 obp leading off and probably Izturis or DeRosa (what’s it matter really?) and their .300 obp in the 2-hole.

DeRosa has a .300 OBP? He has had just one season where his OBP was below .300. Every other season was at least at .316. He has always shown decent patience, and now it looks like he has learned to hit. But I will admit that he is a risk.

here isn’t going to be any RBI opportunities for Lee and Ramirez. This is a bad offensive baseball team.

We will see, won't we. Define bad - bottom 5? Before you said 9th or 10th in the league, which would be around league average. Now you are saying "bad." Which one is it?

I would wager that the Cubs will finish in the top half of the NL in runs in 2007. And so would most baseball people.

"Crunch, I hate to break this to you, but home runs is but only one baseball stat."

fine...how about...

456ab 131h 32double 16hr
424ab 117h 32double 16hr
375ab 115h 25double 16hr

that's barrett the past 3 seasons....what great variation in those numbers say "wow, what a career year! he has little chance to repeat that...after all, look at what he did in 1999."

these "career years" by blanco, murton, barrett, and aram are obtainable again...and for blanco/barrett its pretty much close to their expected production. i dont think if you ask too many people to name the guys on the cubs who had career years you'd hear any of those guys. and if you did hear a guy like aram, his decline would barely be noticable if you asked them to project it for 07.

and what soriano did for washington last year has little to do with what he brings to the team vs. 06. he is the "replacement" for a guy who is pretty much a sure thing to hit 35 less homers and 10-20 less doubles vs. stealing 10-20 more bases and getting 30-40 more singles the only difference between the 2 at the plate. their D vs. each other is a wash no matter where on the field you put them though soriano has the superior arm.

i know what stats are, but i also know what stat misuse is. they're not scientific proofs of the future, they're a guide to what they've done in the most specific stat cases. in the case of other stats they're flawed by the nature of how they're formed and have questionable value.

the most important part is using them right if you choose to use them, imo. what barrett has done the past 3 years...mix/match any of those 3 years and assign a 04/05/06 year to them...the only people who would be surprised to see him not turn in a similar year is the people who are basing his career on 1999-2003. he's a different hitter now and you cant judge him by what he isnt anymore. its a judge of possible talent in relation to reality, not a scarlet letter which he must be punished with because he earned it with past sins of suck.

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