Cubs Round Up More of the Usual Suspects

In addition to signing Jeff Samardzija to a major league contract last week and INF Tomas Perez to a minor league contract (with an NRI to ST) the week before, and while waiting for Cliff Floyd to decide what he wants to do, the Cubs have signed several additional FAs to minor league contracts recently: RHP Cory Bailey will turn 36 next week, but that didn't stop him from playing winter ball in Venezuela, where he was one of the top pitchers in the VWL (2.24 ERA and 4/45 BB/K in 68.1 IP). Bailey returned to the U. S. last year after pitching in Japan (Yomiuri Giants), but he had quite a bit of MLB experience (172 games off-and-on as a middle reliever 1993-2002 with BOS, STL, SF, and KC) before that. Jason Hart is a 29-year right-handed hitting "4-A" type power-hitting first-baseman who has played in AAA with Oak, TEX, and MIN for most of the last six or seven seasons. He has good power but strikes out a lot. Earlier in his career he had some outstanding HR years in the A's organization. He might get a chance to platoon with Micah Hoffpauir at Iowa. A career AAA back-up catcher, 34-year Mike Mahoney played for Cubs GM Jim Hendry at Creighton, and has previously spent tme in the Cubs organization, serving as the back-up catcher at Iowa for four seasons (2000-03). He also had brief stints in the big leagues with the Cubs in 2000 and 2002, and with the Cardinals in 2005. As a native of Des Moines, Mahoney's dream job would probably be a coaching gig with the Iowa Cubs. Meanwhile, with considerable AAA experience and strong defensive catching skills, Mahoney is a good candidate to get one of the late NRIs to ST, to help catch some of the 30-some pitchers who will be reporting to Fitch Park next month. After playing college ball at Toledo, OF Tony Miller was drafted by the Rockies in 2001 and spent most of his professional career in the COL organization, not getting above AA until last season (when he hit 143/239/159 at Colorado Springs, before getting traded to TOR and being shipped back to AA). Now 26, Miller is a patient hitter with consistently high BB and K totals and plus-speed, but he has yet to prove that he has the offensive skills required to be a productive hitter at the AAA level. A right-handed batter, he will probably be given an opportunity to win the back-up OF job at Iowa, but will more-than-likely end up as the "4th OF" at AA Tennessee. After starring at Desert Vista HS in Phoenix in the late 90's, Corey Myers was the #1 draft pick (4th overall) of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999, but turned into Arizona's version of Luis Montanez. Myers struggled in the low minors as a SS-3B over his first three seasons in the D'backs organization, but he subsequently learned to catch (his older brother Casey is a catcher in the A's organization) and has developed into a decent AAA C-3B-1B utility guy. Like Mahoney, the 26-year old Myers might get a late NRI to ST as an extra catcher. IF-OF Derek Wathan is 30 years old, and was a college teammate of Cubs RHP Rocky Cherry at Oklahoma. He is also the son of ex-KC Royals (1970's) C-1B-OF John "Duke" Wathan, and the younger brother of long-time AAA journeyman catcher Dusty Wathan. Although he is not a catcher, Derek does have his dad's athleticism and versatility, and can play any IF or OF position. He has good speed and is a pretty good hitter, and had some decent years in AAA with FLA in 2002-04 before becoming a six-year MLFA after the 2005 season. If nothing else, Wathan has an excellent chance to claim the back-up SS-2B job at Iowa for 2007, and Wathan's presence will likely expedite Mike Fontenot's departure from the Cubs organization. Neither of the other two players recently signed by the Cubs to minor league contracts (28-year old catcher Kevin Ciarrachi and 23-year old LHP Edgar Omana) have played above "A" ball, although Ciarrachi did spend the past five seasons playing in independent leagues around the Midwest. You know Ciarrachi must REALLY love baseball to spend that much time playing indy baseball for basically peanuts.
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Comments

By my reckoning, there is one big league job to be won by someone in Arizona--RH or switch-hitting reserve infielder, with some 3B coverage particularly critical. I don't think Cedeno gets the job because the Cubs will want him playing every day in Iowa. Theriot can't play third, and I don't think Izzy can either (though I'm not positive about that). That leaves DeRosa as the only guy that can sub for Ramirez, I think Hendry will want some more insurance than that.

Phil, who can win that job? Please don't say Tomas Perez.

Oh yeah, I remember Mahoney well. The only major league homerun he's ever hit was against us, in 2005.

Thanks for the write-up, Phil.

"Phil, who can win that job? Please don’t say Tomas Perez."

Let's hope Casey McGeehee wins it.

Alex Ochoa signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox last week and is slated for RF with Pawtucket

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats...

I remember Jason Hart. I'm pretty sure he was the central cog in the A's/Rangers trade that sent fellow former top prospect bust Carlos Pena to the A's. I think BA once dubbed him the next Jeff Bagwell. oops. I believe he was with the Twins org last season.

ERIC & CARLOS: If the Cubs sign Floyd and do not trade Jones, then I believe the bench will be:

Blanco, C
Floyd, 1B-LF
Pagan, RF-CF-LF
Theriot, IF-OF(?)
Ward, 1B-LF

If Theriot proves in ST that he can actually play CF, then Pagan could be in trouble, and that's the only way (other than an injury) that I can see T. Perez, Coats, McGehee, or Kinkade (or POSSIBLY Derek Wathan--IF he even gets NRI to ST) get a shot at the last spot on the bench. Otherwise, it's Pagan.

BOGEY: Thank you. I will correct that.

The idiots at mlb.com have the Cubs signing Ochoa for some reason, but I see now they also have the Red Sox signing him the day before (too).

So unless Ochoa's contract got voided the day after the Red Sox signed him and the Cubs swooped in and signed him (even though they don't have any place to play him), he does indeed appear to be going to ST with the Red Sox. Apparently. I think.

Is it really that difficult, mlb.com?

As I posted before Oneri Fleita said that McGehee will be going back to C this year.

Jeff Samardzija is about to be on ESPN Radio's Dan Patrick show if you're interested.

yeah, from what I read though, I think Mcgehee is just trying to be more versatile. I don't think the plan is to make him a catcher exclusively.

not much substance.

Samardzija: Being drafted by the Cubs played a large role but likely would've chosen baseball over football no matter who drafted him.

DP: "how would Harry Caray pronounce your name" "It would depend on what inning it was". "He'd likely come closer in the first few innings...he'd probably have to give me a nickname".

I believe they have to go with another middle infielder. I don't think any team can have one back-up for 2b, ss and 3b. My guess is Pagan is out as they will try Theriot in CF. One problem is Ward and Floyd are almost copies of each other. That would seem to indicate they are still trying to trade Jones. Not much righty punch off the bench. I would dump Pagan and get a righty that can back up at the 3 if positions and hit enough to be a decent pinch hitter. I don't know who that would be, DeRosa would be great if he wasn't already a starter.

This piece of shit website is NEVER operational. WTF? It's like somebody wanted to upgrade to a Cadillac and left the showroom with a 1979 Dodge Polaris instead. Can you get your money back whoever it is that moderates this piece of shit site?

I'm connecting to the site okay today, but the formatting is blown. I'm getting the Google where the posts should be and the posts and right side bar are pushed way down.

Jason Hart put up some pretty decent #'s as an 18yr old pitcher, let's throw him in the bullpen!

weirdness, works fine on my safari and firefox on a mac at the moment...

but, my PC it's got the google ads in an odd spot. I'll pass it along.

and thanks for that most wonderful piece of constructive criticism "Silent Towel", I mean "IT Department". That should really get us moving forward now. Do I need to apologize again or can we all accept that everyone is trying to fix this as soon as possible.

Thanks though vorare for telling me the specific problem your having, those help a lot.

Re: The Bench

The Cubs are likely to go with 12 pitchers, meaning a 5 man bench. Angel Pagan will be the odd man out as the Cubs definitely need to add another infielder if they are intent in keeping Ryan Theriot around.

* Blanco
* Ward (who can't play the outfield and is a horrible 1st baseman)
* Floyd/Murton
* Theriot
* An infielder who can play shortstop and 3rd base

"I’m connecting to the site okay today, but the formatting is blown. I’m getting the Google where the posts should be and the posts and right side bar are pushed way down."

Same here.

Vorare:
"I’m connecting to the site okay today,"

The site was down for me most of the morning. It was timing out again.

(IE 7 + patches)

IMO - firefox blows away IE6-7 and/or NETSCAPE - my opinion

http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/the_batt...

Nice breakdown, with video, of Samardzija's mechanics.

I just recently started using firefox and beyond just faster to navigate, it's worth it just for the Adblock plugin and this most wonderful page of search plugins you can install:

http://www.metsgeek.com/firefox-baseball-sear...

there's also a Minor League Splits plugin not found on that page
http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html?name=...

Interesting that some baseball people think Samardzija is destined for bullpen duty. Hopefully he can develop another pitch and become a viable major league starting pitcher someday.

I reloaded the page on my PC and the google ads seem to be in the right place...let me know if any problems persist.

Yep, looks good.

Manny:

Are you trying to connect directly to mvn.com/mlb-cubs or are you going through one of the redirects (thecubreporter.com or all-baseball.com/cubreporter)? My experience lately has been that those redirects are iffy at best even when the site is up and running just fine.

only 1 guy that i know of thinks samninja's a reliever...a guy who's written a string of numbers-influenced and non-real-world-influenced articles.

wow...a guy fresh out of college without a developed mlb-ready offspeed pitch...that NEVER happens. what a shock to see one exist!

dude is damn close to becoming the hack most yanks fans already think he is (cuz of his history of rsox love and yanks hate articles).

guy just wrote a book that has nothing to do with the title of the book and is full of disjointed personal slams on players.

I also endorse firefox. Made the switch maybe 3 years ago, just love it.

Vorare-
I just looked now and I was using a redirect. Still shouldn't have been a problem, but I changed it, hopefully that helps. Thanks!!

Ryan Theriot in theory has a chance at being like Ryan Freel or a Chone Figgins type player. The ability to be our #1 INF and OF back up. It allows your bench to be more flexible and not carry as many no hit middle infielders. You might take a chance instead on a guy who is a little limited in his defense but can smack a HR while pinch hitting. That is ofcourse provided if Theriot can continue to hit like he did.

I will take Floyd as a bench guy who becomes our DH in interleague games. I don't want Floyd sniffing starter status. He just went through Achilles surgery, one of the harder injuries to get over in sports. He isn't going to be close to a 100% come spring training. But then again when has Cliff Floyd ever been 100% healthy? He gets injured while sleeping it seems like.

Re: Ryan Theriot

There is little evidence to suggest that he can be a suitable defensive backup at shortstop or 3rd base. And his major league sample size of at bats is limited. So lets not get carried away and label hiim the next Ryan Freel. More than likely he is the next Willie Harris.

If Theriot makes this ballclub, then you can bet the ranch the Cubs carry another infielder type for the bench. Somebody to play shortstop and 3rd base. Who that might be I have zero clue.

The Reds got Kirk Saarloos from the A's for minor league reliever David Shafer.

I assume Saarloos will be in line for a spot at the end of the rotation.

Bellhorn signed with the Reds on a minor league deal as well....

There is little evidence to suggest that he can be a suitable defensive backup at shortstop or 3rd base.

There's plenty of minor league evidence though. He didn't get promoted through the system because of his bat which was absent until 2005. I know Cedeno bit us in the ass last year, but the reports are that Theriot is a very good glove man. If they're willing to try him in the outfield, I would guess that his arm is more than strong enough to handle 3b.

and let me add that in most instances they'll just move Derosa to 3b and put Theriot at second. Izturis can play 3b too...

Realistically, we're debating who we want to start maybe 15 to 20 games at 3B. If Ramirez is missing more than that, it's because he's had a serious injury, in which case Hendry is going to learn his lesson from last year with Lee, and trade ASAP for a stop-gap who would be better than what we could offer from in-house.

And at 15 to 20 games, either DeRosa or Theriot would suffice just fine.

ARIZONA PHIL,

re:"After playing college ball at Toledo, outfielder Tony Miller has spent most of his professional career in the COL organization, never getting above AA."

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you are mistaken. Tony Miller is a little guy with tremendous power for someone who stands only 5'9". I believe he was officially promoted to AAA in 2005 but didn't play at that level officially.... something go wrong in ST? But last year he was on AAA Colorado Springs before being traded by the Rockies to Toronto.

Silent Towel you should learn to pick up on "key" words like "in theory" and "if."

I don't know how you can suggest I was getting carried away about anything. Maybe you were thinking about yourself and your latest comment in which you clearly got carried away with your response.

there has to be a willing trade partner first, who exactly was available in April for the Cubs to get? Phil Nevin became available for JHJ after he stunk up the joint in May. That same trade was not available in April, no way.

If Ramirez hits the DL, you probably move Derosa to 3b and play Theriot at 2b or call-up E-Pat. You could also just call up Scott Moore to play 3b and leave Derosa be, Moore could be called up to play 1b as well although Floyd or Ward could possibly handle it too.

"There is little evidence to suggest that he can be a suitable defensive backup at shortstop or 3rd base."

theriot is/was a SS...a good one, too.

The latest angst about NEIFI in Tigerland.

From the Monroe News:

"Neifi Perez is the ballplayer Detroit Tiger fans love to hate.It's nothing against Perez personally. It's just that so many of us wonder what this guy is doing in the big leagues."

(nothing new here, just more angst. Full Article)
http://www.monroenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic...

"theriot is/was a SS…a good one, too."

Frankly, he's my 2B until Derosa proves he's better. Then he's my SS until Izzy proves he's better.

Neifi Perez is the ballplayer Detroit Tiger fans love to hate.

Fire Leyland!!!! :)

Also Freel and Figgins came from SS/2nd base back grounds. Why is that? It is usually because 2nd and SS are the most athletic players on the team and make a better transition to the OF than other positions.

Figgins never played the OF until he got to the majors, while Freel had some experience down in the minors. There is a reason why Piniella says Theriot might be in the mix for CF, he has the defensive skills to make the transition. While Theriot's surprising display of power and high BA may be somewhat of a fluke there is one thing that isn't. It was the way he was taking walks and not striking out. He knows his strike zone very well.

Theriot is still a nobody with things to prove, but he isn't being counted on to be the starter, or the main offensive cog. But he will be around to push some of the older vets like DeRosa to perform. If DeRosa is stinking up the joint and Theriot is doing what he did last year, Theriot could replace him at 2nd base.

I personally believe some healthy competition at some questionable positions can help raise players level of play. Thats why I believe some bench positions should be reserved not for the super star prospect (besides you don't want them on the bench anyways) but for those solid young players who usually go un-noticed but are hungry to prove themselves. I think Ryan Theriot is clearly in that category, his hustle alone is contagious.

cwtp...that monroe news article is awesome. How do we get buy without a regular dose of Neifi bashing? Jose Macia$ where have you gone?

some favorite quotes:

The Tigers acquired him in late August. Those of us who watched immediately began to wonder why. He was slow afoot and in the field. He had no power. He did not hit for average. Yet manager Jim Leyland, for some strange reason, preferred Neifi over Omar Infante when he needed a backup infielder. (Neifi has blackmail pictures of Leyland too?)

I love this part...
As Neifi became a running joke in Detroit, his manager kept defending him. Now Leyland seems to have come to his senses. In an interview on WDFN last week, the manager said, "at this point, it was a terrible trade," and "our scouts might have screwed up," and "I'll take the blame" and "we'll see if he makes the team (in spring training)."

So it sounds like Neifi is a goner? Not so fast. The Tigers are obligated to pay him $2.5 million next year whether he makes the team or not (insert....ROFL, we found someone fiscally dumber than Jim Hendry).

Hardballtimes.com gives Neifi THE WORST Runs Created Above Average ranking of all active players, an astounding 329 runs below the average for his 12-year career. His RCAA ranking is the third worst IN MAJOR LEAGUE HISTORY.

Erstad signed a 1 year deal with the White Sox today.

thank you, Kenny W.

the media time warp of this past week has been interesting.

first jones is good as gone...now everyone wants to pretend like it doesnt exist (and some say it never did even though they wrote about it themselves...).

all rumor aside, no one who saw jones' ESPN interview would have even a slight doubt that not only did he want out, but he has told someone. he had his reasons without committing to the issue, but he definitely had his reasons and it didnt take long for him to state them.

that said...him playing it all cool and level headed has put him in a position where exactly what is happening now can happen without much outcry of "okay, what happened?"

eventually someone will corner jones and ask him what's up with this...maybe he'll give more of an answer than "well, i dont know where that rumor came from...blah blah blah..."

Re: Ryan Theriot

Until proven otherwise, Theriot falls into the category of a Brendan Harris or Chadd Meyers type in my book. Theriot was a marginal prospect until he started to hit reasonably well at Triple A. And we all know that Triple A is populated mostly by aging journeyman and AAAA types. Lets see what Theriot can do in spring training before we go annointing him anything. I'd like to see him pan out, but will not be surprised if he is back at Iowa for good by July 1st.

And no, he does not have major league capable skills at shortstop. Certainly not to the degree where you would consider him an everyday option or a late inning replacement type. People are WAY overrating his defense.

"Interesting that some baseball people think Samardzija is destined for bullpen duty. Hopefully he can develop another pitch and become a viable major league starting pitcher someday."

Samardzija throws 3 pitches for strikes as it is right now so it's NOT a matter of developing another pitch. Scouts are looking at durability and stamina. He certainly has the tools and makeup to be a dominant closer but as Hendry and Wilken have said, he projects as a #1-2 type starter right now. He'll have to fail in Woodian terms to be moved to the bully this early in his career.

This is my take on the roster

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

Bench...Ward (PH), Blanco (Cat), Murton/Floyd (LF, 1st), Theriot or Cedeno (IF), another middle infielder type

Rotation...Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Miller

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

Triple A...Marshall, Guzman, Mateo, Marmol, Pie, Pagan

Extended DL (with recurring vaginitis problem)...Prior

To be clear, Theriot starting hitting in AA in 2005 when he scrapped switch-hitting.

As for his D, is that your personal observation or based off something you read or heard?

Re: Smardzija

Right now I'd have to say he is the best pitching prospect in the Cub system, even better than Donald Veal, Sean Gallagher and Mark Pawlenty. Jim Hendry continues to do a remarkably awful job in the player development department. Hopefully Smardzija becomes the real deal. The talent certainly seems to be there. But then again, I also remember a couple football fellas by the name of Josh Booty, Drew Henson and Joe Borchard. Lets hope its a different story for a pitcher.

Re: Theriot's defense

Mostly my opinion based on what I have seen of his career. He doesn't have a shortstop arm nor shortstop range. And least to sufficient enough degree to be considered an option to play the position in the bigs.

I doubt seriously the Cubs view him a primary backup to Cesar Izturis at the vital position of shortstop. This is why Ronny Cedeno may make this ballclub. Either that or Jim Hendry swings a late deal to acquire a Neifi type who has the defensive chops to provide depth at shortstop. And third.

"And no, he does not have major league capable skills at shortstop."

i have no idea what you are basing this on.

it sure isnt the fact that he was a SS...has played SS most of his life and his play at SS far outweighs his play at any other position.

its his natural position.

as a quirky aside...that's been mentioned here before...

theriot was fontenot's teammate playing SS/2nd respectively at LSU.

theriot has spent a lot more time with a SS glove on than a 2nd base, 3rd base, OF, or other glove on him...and its not cuz he's a powerhitter who didnt have a place to play, its because he's a good SS.

todd linden (SF) played LF for LSU, too.

It might have been his natural position during tours of duty in the minors, but he isn't shortstop material at the big league level. I'm not trying to needlessly stir the pot. If the Cubs had any belief in his shortstop ability then he would have seen reasonable playing time at the position late last season when Izturis was on the shelf. Watch what happens in spring training. I'd be very surprised if he sees more than token playing time at short. In terms of the bigs, he is 2nd base material. For his sake, I hope he also learns to play the outfield to increase his ability to make the ballclub and be of value.

i have no idea how a natural SS becomes not mlb-ready, especially when he handles SS better than 2nd.

his footwork is very natural at SS...for a reason. this isnt bj upton.

theriot is only playing because of his glove. his bat without his glove probably wouldnt even get him drafted and he would have been gone a long time ago.

We shall have to respectfully disagree regarding the defensive virtues of Ryan Theriot at shortstop. I contend he doesn't have the tools to play SS at the major league level. To me, his major league ceiling will be as a Willie Harris clone. In other words a pesky hitter with good foot speed who you can plug at 2nd base and (maybe) the outfield on occasion.

I see him as a Ryan Freel clone FWIW.

i dont care what kind of excuses or ret-cons there may be, as long as JJ stays in right field.

my first reaction to izturis hitting 2nd was to swap his order spot with murton, but then i remembered his penchant for hitting on the ground. i suppose its best having izzy there to move a runner along or avoid GIDP in front of lee. if izzy can take walks then hey, even better.

Crunch:
"(Theriot) has played SS most of his life and his play at SS far outweighs his play at any other position...its his natural position."

Theriot played more 2B in the minors than he did SS. And while Fielding Percentage is not that great of a stat. His percentage is much better on the whole as a 2B vs SS. I think 2B is a much better position for him in the bigs.

Random observation:

at the MLB website, when you go to the St. Louis Roster Depth Chart page, and look at who the fourth person is on the Cardinal depth chart for Right Field, you find......

......

....

Rick Ankiel.

theriot had no shot at the majors during his development if he was just a SS. his arm, footwork, and glove are all competent there. his bat has been nothing more than an interesting no-power moderate SB threat.

i dont think he ever projected as a starter, but neither did a lot of other "late bloomers" that didnt hit for power but still had the tools and learning skills to adapt and contribute...freel, frank cat, etc. (guys that got called up only to linger on the bench until their late 20s blah blah blah).

btw...yeah, "had no shot" is harsh...improbable is more realistic.

"Right now I’d have to say he is the best pitching prospect ..."

With only two effective pitches, I have to disagree.

D.Veal is the real deal.

More on Ryan Freel -

For you guys who want to compare Theriot to Freel, in 5 seasons Freel has an OBP of .367. HE can steal bases at a better than 75% success rate.

He has played 5 positions for the Reds the last several years, and has decent fielding stats - and excellent ones in CF. He has also averaged 46 SB's during the above period.

I certainly can see how he might remind people of Freel, but I just don't think he has equal talent yet at the MLB level.

AZ PHIL has described Thierot in the past as a "gnat", or "pest", to opposing teams. That's as far as I see him to this point.

He'll get on, can steal a base here or there, has a noodle arm, and adequete fielder. But I've seen him butcher several...

|And while Fielding Percentage is not that great of a stat. His percentage is much better on the whole as a 2B vs SS.|

FP has to be league adjusted and position adjusted. 2nd basemen make fewer errors than Shorstops, and in the lower minors there are more errors than in AAA because of factors such as condition of field, skill of your teammates and development of your own skills.

I don't think Theriot has the tools to be a flashy fielder. But he has better tools than Eckstein and probably comparable ones to Bordick, and few complained about either of their play at short.

Unless I'm drunk, I believe I saw our own Ronny Cedeno featured on SportsCenter tonight as he got involved in starting a bench clearing brawl in the Venezuelan World Series. Ronny evidently didn't like it when Jeremy Gonzalez threw behind him on a 3-0 count, and gave him a few harsh words before heading to first. Gonzalez then stalked toward him, more yapping, and then Ronny had to avoid a flying foot-first cleat stab attempt (seriously) from Gonzalez. Ronny then threw a Carmelo-ish right cross -- not sure if it connected -- and then bedlam ensued. I enjoyed it; it was fun.

I didn't expect to think about Ronny Cedeno today at all really, but there you have it.

Didn't Theriot earn a chance with the team last year? I don't mean the stats, either, anyone can go on a hot streak for that sample size. The thing that sold me on Theriot is during his at-bats he would regularly work the count and had a great eye. I saw regularly take 2 strikes, and come back from an 0-2 count and either walk or hit. He simply just looked like he knew what he was doing. That means more to me than any stat.

Defense? Hard to say, I saw him bungle a few, but he didn't butcher the position.

(By the way, how can Venezuela call their championship the "World" Series, when it's only Venezuelan teams who play in it? I mean, how presumptuous! And they didn't even win the WBC anyway. What inflated egos they must have!)

(In other news, we won the Miss Universe pageant again. Earth is on an historic run in that thing.)

(In other news, we won the Miss Universe pageant again. Earth is on an historic run in that thing.)

Very, very good. :->

Silent Towel --

Please give the orthopedically ignorant "vaginitis" comments on Prior a rest. You haven't demonstrated any evidence of understanding or insight about the medical issues that relate to Mark Prior. You just sound like an ill-informed, judgmental smarty pants who is pissed off that Prior hasn't delivered.

You've clearly let us all know how you feel about Mark Prior. Time and time again. Please take the next year off on this topic unless you can demonstrate that you've actually learned something about the medical issues.

This doesn't reflect my general opinion about your other TCR posts. I actually enjoy your discussions on other topics here.

433:
Yes, that was him. And yes, that was Jeremi. And yes, you might be drunk.

Re: Mark Prior

I read that he has gotten his golf handicap down to a 6. I guess he really did learn something from Maddux.........offseason conditioning.

I hear the Cubs are close on signing Cliff Floyd.....for the 100th time.

Is Daryle Ward's contract guaranteed? As stated above, it is kind of a waste to have both him and Floyd. It's like having Neifi and Fast Freddie Bynum on the same team, but different. bah

Theriot played more 2B in the minors than he did SS.

This is what I have for Theriot in the minors combining Baseball Cube and Minor League Splits info:

189 + 49 = 238 at SS

203 + 25 = 228 at 2b

Baseball Cube doesn't seem to include his 2006 fielding stats in Iowa for some reason.

So, where did you get that info from Manny?

"Pen…Dumpster, Howry, Wood, Wuertz, Eyre, Cotts, Ohman"

Am I the only person that hears alarm bells when I read that? I don't disagree with your opinion on what will happen, but I think it's a bad idea.

Three lefties? I find that to be a bit much. I guess Cotts is the long guy in that group.....

“Pen…Dumpster, Howry, Wood, Wuertz, Eyre, Cotts, Ohman”

Am I the only person that hears alarm bells when I read that? I don’t disagree with your opinion on what will happen, but I think it’s a bad idea.

Cotts is the long guy for now, but what happens when Prior, Miller, and/or one of the AAA guys makes the rotation? A trade needs to be made.

#70: (In other news, we won the Miss Universe pageant again. Earth is on an historic run in that thing.)

That's what the government wants you to believe, man.

Hey, Silent Towel............how long have you been employed as a major league scout? Do you know how Theriot's arm, range, footwork, release rate on the 20-80 scale? Do you even know what the 20-80 scale is? Have you ever coached youth, high school baseball? I have and what you look for are pitchers who have velocity and command, shortstops, and hitters (usually outfielders). Guess who gets drafted most ever June........all the above. Theriot came out of LSU as a defensive whiz at SS. Newsflash, the bases at Divn 1 are 90 feet also......same throw, same pivot, same release as A, AA, AAA, and MLB. Without benefit to last years team scouting reports, I'm going to go out on a limb and predict the Cubs management would have no great fear to recall Cedeno (yes, he'll be watching Theriot on the Cubs from Iowa this year) if Izturis goes down for any extended time to play SS ahead of Theriot.

The most hilarious comment I have heard about Pie and Theriot: "Let's see what he can do in spring training. Then we'll know if he's ready"

Spring training games are a joke -- pitchers are getting their stuff together, there is a new pitcher virtually every at-bat, etc. Remember when Nomar hit .450 in ST, then .100 in April?

Some people actually think spring training performance is more reflective of a player's ability and readiness than a full year at AAA? Weird.

Any more news on the Floyd front?

Or are we just going to wait 3 weeks and then see another round of stories that the Cubs and Floyd are "closing in" on a deal?

Although he mainly has played 2B in the Cubs organization, I have seen Ryan Theriot occasionally play SS over the past six years or so (mainly in Spring Training at the Minor League Camp), and he is perfectly capable of playing shortstop. A 100% healthy Cesar Izturis circa 2004 would certainly be the superior defender, but The Riot can do an adequate job at 2B, SS, or 3B.

The main reason Theriot has played mostly 2B in the minors is because up until last year, he was considered just an "organizational player," and "organizational players" are put at the level and at the position where they are needed.

Ryan Theriot and Buck Coats were teammates for four seasons (2002-05) in the Cubs system, and the Cubs (at the time) thought that Coats had a higher ceiling than Theriot, So because the Cubs wanted Coats to play SS every day, Theriot had to play 2B. He was moved to where he was needed, while another (Coats) was considered a better prospect with a higher ceiling, so the other guy got the PT at SS.

Last year, the Cubs decided Coats was not going to be an everyday SS, so they sent him to Iowa and "based" him in RF, but moved him all over the place to try and develop him as an MLB utility player. This allowed Theriot (who turned his career around in 2005 after he  stopped switch-hitting ) to be moved back to SS at Iowa (although he also played some 2B, 3B, and OF),

I would say Theriot's best position is 2B, but he can play SS and 3B well enough to be a back-up at those position, even at the Major League level. If anything happens to Izturis where he will miss a couple of weeks or more (like a DL stint), I would expect the Cubs to recall Cedeno from AAA and play him at SS until Izturis returns to action. But Theriot should be the utility infielder (2B-SS-3B-PR)-- and probably could play OF occasionally, too--as well as PH when the pinch-hitter is leading off an inning. .

Newport/Racine — January 24, 2007 @ 2:15 am
“Pen…Dumpster, Howry, Wood, Wuertz, Eyre, Cotts, Ohman”

Am I the only person that hears alarm bells when I read that? I don’t disagree with your opinion on what will happen, but I think it’s a bad idea.

Cotts is the long guy for now, but what happens when Prior, Miller, and/or one of the AAA guys makes the rotation? A trade needs to be made.

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

NEWPORT/RACINE: A trade does not need to be made.

Cotts, Ohman, and Wuertz (and Prior and Hill, as well as Novoa, Marmol, Guzman, Marshall, Mateo, et al) all have minor league options left and do not have enough service time (at least five years of MLB service time) to refuse an optional assignment to the minor leagues.

Some of the pitchers with options available would have to clear Major League Waivers to be optioned (players who have spent parts of three seasons on an MLB regular season roster have to clear Major League Waivers before they can be optioned), but getting a player through Major League Waivers during the first two waiver periods (the ones prior to the trading deadline) is always just a formality, because the waivers are revocable.

So if everybody on the staff is healthy, the only pitchers who can't be optioned to the minors without their permission are:

Dempster
Eyre
Howry
Lilly
Marquis
Miller
Rusch
Wood
Zambrano

Unless they are optioned to the minors out of Spring Training, Prior gets the right of refusal (to be optioned to the minors) after he accrues another 41 days of MLB service time (sometime in May) and Ohman gets the right of refusal after he accrues another 132 days of MLB service time (sometime in August).

CUBS MINOR LEAGUE OPTION STATUS:

* Can only be optioned to minors after first clearing Major League Waivers

ONE MINOR LEAGUE OPTION LEFT:
Ronny Cedeno
Angel Guzman (see NOTE)
Rich Hill
* Roberto Novoa
* Will Ohman
Geovany Soto
* Michael Wuertz
NOTE: Because of time spent on the DL in 2004 and 2005, Angel Guzman gets a 4th option year in 2007. A player receives a 4th option year if he has not played five “full seasons” (a “full season” being a minimum of 60 days on a major league or a minor league active roster from the start of a season, or a minimum of 90 days total on an active minor league or major league roster in a given season) by the time his first three minor league options have been exhausted

TWO MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
* Neal Cotts
Brian Dopirak
Carlos Marmol
Angel Pagan
Felix Pie
* Mark Prior
Jae-Kuk Ryu
Ryan Theriot

THREE MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Rocky Cherry
Buck Coats
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Matt Murton
Clay Rapada

FOUR MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS LEFT:
Jeff Samardzija
NOTE: As things stand right now, Samardzija will get four minor league options, as long as he has not completed five "full seasons" in the minors or majors by the time he has exhausted his first three options (see Guzman note).

Rob G.:
"So, where did you get that info from Manny?"

Baseball Cube

Re: Mark Prior

Re: Mark Prior

If some want to continue to defend Prior, then by all means go ahead. But I will not apologize for being fed up with a pitcher who will report to spring training less than 100% for the 4th consecutive spring. The best collection of medical experts and trainers haven't been able to diagnosis half of Prior's "ailments" over the past few seasons. That's because they are examining the wrong part of his body. It's his bloody head that is the problem.

Prior is a fragile pussy who apparently doesn't much care whether he earns his salary or not. He's dead to me. If some of you are foolish enough to believe that he will be a positive contributor in 2007, then by all means continue with your fantasy.

Barring injury or grossly awful spring training performance, it's safe to say the Cub pitching staff will shape up as follows.

Starters...Zambrano, Lilly, Marquis, Hill, Miller

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

Iowa...Marshall, Guzman, Ryu, Marmol, Mateo, Novoa

In terms of the rotation, Miller is the biggest question mark. All indications are that he is healthy and ready to contribute. If that ends up false, then Cotts is likely first in line to be 5th starter. In terms of the 7 man pen, Wuertz is the one guy who will have to earn his slot. But I expect him to do so. Marmol would seem to be Plan B.

Arizona Phil: With the addition of Samardzija to the 40 man roster it now stands at 41 if my math is correct. I assume perhaps Rusch will be 60-day DLed making room for him, but if the Cubs do sign Floyd as is widely expected, who gets bumped off?

My guess would be Angel Pagan.

BillyBucks:

Spring training games are a joke — pitchers are getting their stuff together, there is a new pitcher virtually every at-bat, etc. Remember when Nomar hit .450 in ST, then .100 in April?

Ramirez went through the same thing in '06. He crushed the ball in ST and in April & May he had all kinds of trouble hitting.

Baseball Cube for whatever reason does not have his fielding stats for Theriot for 2006 in Iowa or for 2004 in Daytona, I can get his 2006 numbers (at least games played at each position) from minorleague splits.com, but I don't know where to get 2004 numbers.

Can we just say he split time at the 2 positions?

WISCGRAD — January 24, 2007 @ 10:59 am
Arizona Phil: With the addition of Samardzija to the 40 man roster it now stands at 41 if my math is correct. I assume perhaps Rusch will be 60-day DLed making room for him, but if the Cubs do sign Floyd as is widely expected, who gets bumped off?

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

WISCGRAD: No roster move has been announced yet, either because Samardzija's contract is still officially "pending" (i. e. hasn't been filed with the MLB office yet) or because the Cubs designated somebody for assignment (giving them ten days to either trade, release, or assign the player outright to the minors) without announcing the move to the media.

As for who that player is, I would think it's Buck Coats.

Glendon Rusch has not and cannot be placed on the 60-day DL (yet) because the 60-day DL cannot be used between November 20th and March 1st.

As for who the Cubs will drop from the 40-man roster if and when they sign Cliff Floyd, they could initially sign Floyd to a minor league contract with the promise that they will add him to the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day (or even as soon as March 1st, presuming Glendon Rusch is placed on the 60-day DL at first opportunity). They did the same thing with Scott Wiliamson in 2005 and with Wade Miller last year.

If Floyd insists on signing a major league contract, then the player next most-likely to get dropped from the 40 (after Buck Coats) is probably Brian Dopirak.

Even though he was a 2nd Round draft pick and got a million dollar bonus, and even though he has been rated annually among the Top Ten Cubs prospects (although almost certainly not this off-season), Dopirak will run out of minor league options two years before Derrek Lee's contract expires. So unless D-Lee gets struck & killed by a runaway garbage truck sometime in the next couple of years, B-Dope really has zero future in the Cubs organization. And that's even if he's healthy and mashing the ball, because Dopirak can barely play 1B, much less the outfield (he's probably more of a DH than anything).

I'm not saying the Cubs would place Doripak on outright waivers where they could possibly lose him for the $20,000 waiver price, but the Cubs could trade him somewhere (like maybe to his near-hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays?) and maybe get a more-useful prospect (preferably a shortstop or a catcher, or at least a pitcher) back in the deal. And then the D-Rays could option Dopirak to the minors for a couple of years, hoping he gets his groove back. And if he does, he could be the D-Rays 1B of the future, or at least maybe a platoon DH.

Or if the Cubs want to hang onto Dopirak for a while longer, they could just release Glendon Rusch, since they are going to have to pay him $3.25M whether he spends the year on the 60-day DL (presuming he doesn't get healthy enough to be reactivated sometime later in the year) or whether he gets an outright release. And if he does get released, there is always the possibility (albeit not terribly likely) that some GM will sign Rusch for the MLB minimum of $380K (with the Cubs paying the balance of Rusch's $3.25M salary), but at least if that happens, the Cubs would save $380K, which is better than nothing.

"Any more news on the Floyd front?

Or are we just going to wait 3 weeks and then see another round of stories that the Cubs and Floyd are “closing in” on a deal?"

Levine thinks the deal will be announced later this afternoon....1 yr + option, but as long as this "story" has been dragged out who knows. As other posters have mentioned, the Floyd signing is going to propel cutting loose someone else on the 40 man.

"My guess would be Angel Pagan."

Have you heard that Pagan's fast?

I would be shocked into catatonia if the Cubs DFA Angel Pagan to make room for either Samardzija or Floyd.

Rob G.:
"Can we just say he split time at the 2 positions?"

I think that is fair, but his play at SS DOES NOT far outweighs his play at any other position.

Any chance Theriot develops into Walt Weiss? Man, I loved The Walt.

As slow as the negotations with Floyd seem to be going for a signing that has been "close" for several weeks, it is nothing compared to the situations involving J.D. Drew and Barry Bonds. Actual deals were verbally agreed to in their cases more than a month ago and yet neither one has actually signed a contract yet. They are both, technically speaking, still free agents. And their agents and the clubs have been saying for weeks and weeks that the official deals are "close" and could occur "this week." I think it is possible that at least one of these guys may not actually sign with the clubs with whom there is a verbal agreement. I think the Giants would absolutely love it if Bonds is unwilling to agree to some of the terms that the Giants want included.

silent towel...you speak with a lot of authority with little to back it up. do you know things that the rest of us don't?

Carrie Mustache's latest misleading article is titled "Soriano in center rounds out Cubs' outfield". The depth chart now lists Soriano and Pie in CF.

Nothing new is stated in the article, she just wanted to make it sound more official.

Speaking of Soriano is CF. Didn't he say that he wanted to go to one position, then stay there permanently? If he does play there, who is going to be shifted when Pie is ready?

Pie would play right - he has a great arm and has played been playing right "recently." It wouldn't be a problem.

dave — January 24, 2007 @ 2:16 pm
Pie would play right - he has a great arm and has played been playing right “recently.” It wouldn’t be a problem.

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

Dave's right. Pie can indeed play RF. He certainly has the arm for the position, and because he is a better outfield defender than Soriano, the Cubs would benefit from playing Soriano in CF and Pie in RF because RF at Wrigley Field is probably THE most difficult RF in all of baseball, what with the wind, the afternoon sun, and the bullpen mound in foul territory. I don't especially want to see Soriano tear an ACL tripping over the bullpen mound in either RF or LF, and a natural outfielder like Pie is less likely to have an accident like that than would a converted middle-infielder liike Soriano.

My only concerns with anybody in CF is whether the player has the speed necessary to cover ground in the larger ball parks, and whether the player can avoid misplaying fly balls and line drives into triples or inside-the-park HRs.

If a defender can't judge fly balls or line drives, then the best place to play him is LF, because even misplayed fly balls and line drives can usually be held to a two-base error. But in CF and RF, a misplayed fly or liner can easily turn into a three-base hit or error or (even worse) a four-bagger.

Soriano is (at least at this point in his career) certainly more than fast enough to cover CF. My only question is about his "ball hawking" skills, but having a problem in that area would be just as big a concern in RF as in CF.

So I say if Soriano isn't going to play LF (where he would do the least damage IF he has trouble catching fly balls and playing line drives), then just put him in CF and leave him there. Meanwhile, send Pie to Iowa and have him play RF, and then whenever he's ready, bring him up and play him in RF, and either trade Jones immediately, or platoon Jones & Murton in LF until Jones can be traded.

While right field is the future for Pie, while he's still young and fast, I think he's speed in the outfield should be utilized until he slows a step or two. Not unlike young Sammy or young Dawson.

Levine reporting the Floyd deal is done...1 yr + mutual option. No $ figures exchanged.

Just finished reading Maraniss' book on Clemente. Looking at Clemente's skills and body type and the fact that he played at an incredibly high level well into his late 30's makes me excited about the Soriano signing.

Maybe there is some genius behind this eight year contract.

clemente is an apt comparison...not because of line-by-line batting stats and how every aspect of hitting match, but because they are/were both "wirey" types with an explosively fast swing.

the only thing i worry about with soriano is his current batting approach where he hugs the front of the batter's box in order to catch mistakes and late breaking stuff before it breaks. his tallent and rare skill allow him to do this now (and his conditioning should allow him to do it beyond his age group peers) but if he loses that...well, his other skills at the plate wont compensate with the skill set he has now.

$3 mill on the Floyd contract.

Meh, I'm lukewarm on the Floyd deal. I like the mutual option, though.

"lukewarm ABOUT the Floyd deal."

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