An Ess-say on Pee-ay (Felix Pie that is)

Reader "Virginia Phil" recently brought up an interesting comparision of some recent "5-tool" prospects in the comments last week on our "Prospect List-mania" article. He's expanded a bit on his original effort and we hope you enjoy....
"If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all." --Hamlet
Is Felix Pie ready? Here are Felix Pie's minor-league stats and those of three other fairly recent toolsy centerfield prospects, Carlos Beltran, Vernon Wells and Carl Crawford. (Actually, Crawford plays left in a crowded young outfield at TB.) Beltran:
Year/Age League G AB H 2B 3B HR SB SO AVG/OBP/SLG
1995(18) GCL(Rk) 52 180 50 9 0 0 5 30 .278/.332/.328
1996(19) Spokane (A-) 59 215 58 8 3 7 10 65 .270/.359/.433
1997(20) Wilmington (A+) 120 419 96 15 4 11 17 96 .229/.311/.363
1998(21) Wilmington (A+) 52 192 53 14 0 5 11 39 276/.364/.427
  Wichita (AA) 47 182 64 13 3 14 7 30 352/.427/.687
2000(23) GCL (Rk) 1 4 2 1 0 1 0 0 .500/.600/1.500
  Wilmington (A+) 3 13 4 0 1 2 0 5 308/.308/.923
  Omaha (AAA) 5 18 6 1 0 2 1 3 .333/.455/.722
Totals 6 Seasons 353 1274 341 65 11 42 53 282 .268/.347/.436
Wells:
Year/Age League G AB H 2B 3B HR SB SO AVG/OBP/SLG
1997(18) St. Cath (A-) 66 264 81 20 1 10 8 44 .307/.377/.504
1998(19) Hagerstown (A) 134 509 145 35 2 11 13 84 .285/.348/.426
1999(20) Dunedin ( A+) 70 265 91 16 2 11 13 34 .343/.403/.543
  Knoxville (AA) 26 106 36 6 2 3 6 15 .340/.400/.519
  Syracuse (AAA) 33 129 40 8 1 4 5 22 .310/.357/.481
2000(21) Syracuse (AAA) 127 493 120 31 7 16 23 88 .243/.313/.432
2001(22) Syracuse (AAA) 107 413 116 27 4 12 15 68 .281/.333/.453
Totals 5 Seasons 563 2179 629 143 19 67 83 355 .289/.350/.464
Crawford:
Year/Age League G AB H 2B 3B HR SB SO AVG/OBP/SLG
1999(18) Princeton (Rk) 60 260 83 14 4 0 17 47 ..319/.350/.404
2000(19) Charlst-sc (A) 135 564 170 21 11 6 55 102 .301/.342/.410
2001(20) Orlando (AA) 132 537 147 24 3 4 36 90 .274/.323/.352
2002(21) Durham (AAA) 85 353 105 17 9 7 26 69 .297/.335/.456
Totals 4 Seasons 412 1714 505 76 27 17 134 308 .295/.336/.400
Pie:
Year/Age League G AB H 2B 3B HR SB SO AVG/OBP/SLG
2002(17) Az Cubs (Rk) 55 218 70 16 13 4 17 47 .321/.385/.569
  Boise (A-) 2 8 1 1 0 0 0 1 .125/.222/.250
2003(18) Lansing (A) 124 505 144 22 9 4 19 98 .285/.346/.388
2004(19) Daytona (A+) 106 415 125 17 10 8 32 113 .301/.364/.448
2005(20) W. Tenn (AA) 59 240 73 17 5 11 13 53 .304/.349/.554
2006(21) Iowa (AAA) 141 559 158 33 8 15 17 126 .283/.341/.451
Totals 5 Seasons 487 1945 571 106 45 42 98 438 .294/.353/.459
[source: thebaseballcube.com] Some observations: Only Wells played in more minor-league games than Pie. Wells was made to repeat triple-A after hitting sub-.250 the first time. Beltran's six seasons are misleading. He actually spent four in the minors. He was rookie of the year at KC in 1999, and then he had a brief rehab assignment in 2000. Beltran basically skipped triple-A. Crawford spent less than a season there. In this group, Pie is at the top in OBP and near the top in average and slugging. He had a good season in triple-A, relatively, and was second in the PCL in hits. He does strike out a lot. He also drives the ball: his 33 doubles and 56 extra-base hits at Iowa are tops in this group. Beltran put up splashy numbers in half a season in AA, as did Wells in a season split between single and double A. Prospect rankings: Beltran entered 1999, his first year in the majors, ranked 9 (BP), 14 (BA) and 11 (Sickels) among prospects. In 2001, when Wells was expected to make the jump to the majors, he was ranked 5 (BP), 4 (BA) and 4 (Sickels). Sickels, by the way, had C-Pat #1. Crawford displayed no power before 2002 when he hit seven home runs at Durham (AAA) before making the jump to Tampa Bay in midseason. Up to that point he had been a blip on the prospect charts: 40 (BP), 48 (Rotoworld). Before his AAA season in 2006, Pie was ranked 21 by MLB.com. This year, he is ranked 34 by BP (Nate Silver) and 42 by BA (Jim Callis). Here is a recent Q&A with Nate Silver (BP) concerning Pie: JFT (Rancho Cucamonga): PECOTA seems to think Felix Pie is ready and maybe even a ROY candidate. The Cubs seem to think he needs another year in Iowa. Is there a reason why PECOTA is so high on Pie? Don't all the strikeouts in the minors bother it? Nate Silver: Honestly, I think the Cubs were spooked by what happened with Corey Patterson, and that's what's motivating the decision to keep Pie down on the farm. But Pie is quite a bit ahead of where Patterson was. CoPat hit .253/.308/.387 in about 350 PAs as a 22-year-old in Iowa. Pie hit .283/.341/.451 in 623 PAs as a 21-year-old in Iowa. Big difference there. . . . To address the other part of the question, sure, Pie's plate discipline is a little bit of a concern. But the combination of power, speed, and being young for one's levels is as time-tested a formula for star potential as it gets. My conclusions: None of the four players above tore up the league at every level. Their numbers are decent, but that's all. It's interesting that the best prospects don't have the best numbers. What elevates them as prospects? There are better hitters than these guys every year at every level, but those players may not have a future because they lack a position, whereas if you can cover center and you have an arm, there are three positions you can play well. It's instructive to bring someone like Jason Dubois into the discussion. Dubois is a hitter with no position, nowhere to play. His numbers at Iowa were 316/389/630, with 31 homers and 99 RBI. This would be outstanding for a five-tool player, but if you only have two tools and you're in a slump, you don't have any tools. Dubois' major-league career pretty much ended with his first slump. So if you scratch your head and ask what the deal is with these so-called five-tool guys who don't seem to hit too well, the answer is that you can learn how to hit but you can't learn to play center field. And center is very important: ask a pitcher. It's great to have a guy out there who can catch and throw and also hit with power, like Jim Edmonds or Andruw Jones, but while Jones hit 25 homers at age 18 in A ball, Edmonds never hit ten in a season in the minors. But he could always catch. The first time Edmonds broke double digits in home runs was at age 25 with the Angels, when he hit 33. Now he has 350. Beltran, Wells, Crawford or Pie never hit twenty in a single year in the minors. Today Wells hits about thirty homers a year at age 27, while Beltran, 29, is good for forty. Is Felix Pie ready, then? Probably not, if ready means doing much more than flashing his offensive potential. But great athletes learn to hit, largely because their defense buys them the time that Jason Dubois won't have. Meanwhile Pie can anchor center field, which is something, not nothing. Cub fans in particular might have a problem with this patient approach because it didn't work with Corey Patterson. We waited and waited and he never got better. The problem with Corey Patterson, I would argue, was not so much his slow progress as a hitter but the fact that his defense couldn't carry him, get him over the rough spots, ease the pressure. Bottom line, he was not a great fielder, and it's a little mysterious why, since he could run and he could throw. But the catching part sometimes eluded him. Midway through his tenure with the Cubs, I started asking myself, if he's a great fielder, how come he never makes great plays? My teenage son used to put together homemade highlight reels, and once he asked me to sit down to watch a collection of Patterson web-gems. I said, okay, but look closely and you'll see that in every catch his left elbow is bent. And it was true, both when he dove and when he leaped. There was something tentative about it. The sort of thing that Juan Pierre did ten times last year, where you lay flat out in a dive, parallel to the ground, arm and glove fully extended--Patterson didn't do that. He lacked the physical commitment, or courage, that defines an athlete. Patterson was the image of an athlete. He may have been born to play a great athlete in a movie. But he wasn't one. Several scouts out there with egg on their faces should be implementing a new Patterson Rule: don't say a guy has five tools until you've seen him do something special in the field. Patterson is partly a victim of bad scouting (he said, with great hindsight). It may be six, seven years before we know what kind of hitter Pie is going to become, especially in terms of power numbers. But it will only take about a month to tell if he's the real deal as an athlete. If he is, then the comparisons with Patterson should stop right there.
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Comments

Thanks for the piece.

The one missed catch I remember from C-Pat came in a Cubs-Sox game I was at in '04.

Wuertz (or Ohman) comes in, in the 8th to protect a one-run lead, two outs, Konerko batting.

A sinking liner gets hit to center, Korey gets the jump, makes the dive, and the ball hits the top of his glove and bounds away.

Cubs lose.

THAT, my friends, is why I read TCR. Once in awhile the brilliance simply blinds.

The observation about CPAT catching fly balls with a bent left elbow is dead on........though I missed it when he was playing for the Cubs. Having played D-1 ball, and having played the OF when I wasn't pitching, catching that fly ball with bent arm is tentative....weak....no confidence....SLOWS the transition of the ball from the glove to the throwing hand (which is one of the reasons Barry Bonds has been considered a decent fielding-throwing outfielder).

Nicely done, Masked Guest Writer.

Joey from Iowa

Re: Felix Pie

Paint me negative if you want, but I do not understand the marvelous fascination with Pie. The holes in his swing and the constant change in his batting approach is going to make big league pitchers salivate with delight. Right now, if I was predicting, I'd say Pie is destined to be a poor man's Juan Encarnacion in the big leagues. A guy who winds up playing for 6 or 7 ballclubs and alternatively dazzles and frustrates. The similarities to Corey Patterson are frightening. Pie may have a much better attitude and work ethic, but the results???

I'd like to be wrong on this one. The best thing for Pie (and the Cubs) is for him to spend the FULL YEAR at Des Moines.

The thing I liked about Corey that I don't see from a lot of outfielders at Wrigley was his courgae when he was barreling down on the bricks. The speed and the arm were there, but he was never a prototypical "Web Gems"-type guy. I always figured it was because Wrigley wasn't built for HR-robbing highlights like Arlington or Turner or Busch, but I like Phil's theory. Wish I would've watched him closer when I had the chance.

Didn't Soriano go on record saying he didn't care where he played, as long as he got his spot and didn't move? Does that mean Pie will have to move when he gets here? Seems silly, he's probably a much better center-fielder than Alfonso, but just ask anyone who should've won a Gold Glove how stuff like that works.

Lets say that Pie dazzles in the Spring. I can see the Cubs having Soriano in LF, Pie in CF, and Jones in RF. People don't talk a ton about Murton who I love. Murton needs 550 ABs in LF this year. He is a SOLID hitter.

Re: Corey Patterson

In his last two seasons with the Cubs, Patterson played a ridiculously deep center field. Particularly for someone with his athleticism and speed. Balls repeatedly dropped in for hits in front of him. As I understand things, Sam Perlozzo in Baltimore demanded that Patterson improve his defensive positioning. The results were he was a solid centerfielder for the Orioles in 2006.

So the question is " To Pie or not Pie"?

How's his mental make up?

I believe alot of Corey's problems were mental, being moved in the lineup, one coach telling to hit for power another telling him to bunt for singles.

WIll Pie be able to deal with bad coaching?

Soriano is going to play everyday. Personally, I think center field will be his best position. Right field at Wrigley is very tough, particularly with the afternoon sun and the small and quirky foul territory.

Murton and Floyd are likely to split time in left. Murton should somehow get 400 at bats with Floyd picking up 300 or so (because he'll also see time in right and at 1st base).

Jones is a good ballplayer, period. He can't throw, but he still is the best right fielder the Cubs have had since Andre Dawson. And he will give you 25 plus HRs and 80 plus ribbies from the left side. DeRosa or Pagan should play against lefties, but we shall see the strategy employed by Sweet Lou.

" I’d say Pie is destined to be a poor man’s Juan Encarnacion in the big leagues."

___________

I will paint you negative, thank you very much. I wouldn't expect anything different from you.

The kid just turned 22 years old. Yes, he has 5 years in the system under his belt, but you can't really hold what he did at 17 and 18 against him.

The power is starting to show up in the past couple of years. His first few years in the system the power wasn't there at all. Last year he hit almost as many home runs as he did he first three years combined.

After a couple years in the bigs, I can easily see the kid being a .290 kind of hitter with 30 2B, 10 3B, 20 HR and a decent OBP. The only thing I'm worried about are his RBI numbers. Those aren't particularly high, which makes me a little nervous. However, if he does put up those kinda numbers and plays great defense at the same time, he'll be the everyday CF with no problem.

However, I do agree that some more time in the minors might be necessary. I'm not sure he could handle big league pitching right now. If AAA pitchers struck him out 126 times in 2006, imagine what he'd do against Carpenter, Oswalt, and Peavy.

Although, a good spring could quickly change my opinion on that. I'd be willing to jump on that bandwagon if he was putting up Floyd-like numbers. A defense of Soriano-Pie-Jones makes me much happier than Floyd/Murton-Soriano-Jones. I'm too lazy to look at the defensive stat crap, but Floyd-Soriano-Jones makes me wants to gouge my eyes out with a plastic spork.

As long as he has the speed to play CF (and I believe he does), I'd rather have Alfonso Soriano in CF and either Jacque Jones or Felix Pie in RF in 2007, until Soriano gets another year of experience judging fly balls and line drives under his belt.

With the afternoon sun, the wind, and the bullpen mound in foul territory, RF in Wrigley is one of the most--if not THE most--difficult RFs in MLB, and having an experienced and/or bonafide MLB outfielder playing RF--even if it's Jacque Jones, is better than throwing Soriano "cold" into RF at Wrigley and hoping for the best, even if Soriano's arm is superior to Jones'.

After Soriano plays CF at Wrigley Field for a year and gains another year of experience as an outfielder, and learns how to judge fly balls and line drives better, and after he learns some of the nuances of the ballpark, then NEXT year would be when I would consider moving Soriano to RF. That might coincide with Felix Pie's arrival in Chicago, but even if Pie gets his call to The Show sometime in 2007, I would still keep Soriano in CF and play Pie in RF for the balance of the season. Pie certainly has the arm to play RF, and so he could even stay there permanently, but he also has Gold Glove defensive skills, and all things being equal, long-term I'd rather have my GG OF in CF rather than in RF.

Also, if the Cubs send Felix Pie to the minors for at least 20 days in 2007, they buy another year of Pie. (If he spends at least 20 days on option to the minors in 07, Pie can’t be a FA until after the 2013 season… however, if he spends 19 days or less on option to the minors in 07--like if he breaks camp with the big club and stays in the big leagues--he’s a FA after the 2012 season). So even if Pie hits .700 in ST, I would still expect him to spend at least the month of April at Iowa. It actually probably wouldn’t hurt him to spend the entire 2007 season at AAA, but he might be MLB-ready well before that.

I would hope to see an OF of Murton-Pie-Soriano by 2008, with Tyler Colvin maybe eventually platooning with Murton (like maybe in 2009).

Felix Pie in his final 64 games at AAA Iowa in 2006 (after he worked with Bob Dernier on his base-stealing):

86-267 (.322)
.372 OBP
.509 SLG
.881 OPS
47 RUNS SCORED
8 HR
20 RBI
20 2B
3 3B
21 BB
48 K (one in every 6.0 PA)
13 SB (and 3 CS)
8 OF ASSISTS (18 OF ASSISTS for the year - led Cubs organization)
2 E

Those numbers prorated over 162 games:

Same BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS
118 RUNS SCORED
20 HR
50 RBI
50 2B
7 3B
53 BB
120 K
33 SB (7 CS)
20 OF ASSISTS
5 E

I also hope that Eric Patterson can somehow develop into a passable defensive second-baseman, because the Cubs have no room for E-Pat in the OF, even though I believe that's where he belongs. While Felix Pie is NOT a "top-of-the-order"-type guy, Eric Patterson is. So IF E-Pat can develop into an adequate defensive 2B (and that admittedly is a big IF), this could be the Cubs lineup come 2009:

STARTING LINEUP:
Soriano, RF
E. Patterson, 2B
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Pie, CF
Barrett (or Wieters?), C
Murton/Colvin, LF
Cedeno, SS

BENCH:
Colvin/Murton, OF
DeRosa, IF-OF
Fox or Soto, C
Moore, 3B-1B-LF-RF
Theriot, INF

STARTING ROTATION:
Zambrano
Lilly
Hill
Guzman
Marquis, Marshall, Gallagher, Mateo, or Samardzija

BULLPEN:
Wuertz
Veal
Marmol
Rapada
Novoa
Cherry
Cotts

Re: Felix Pie

He is neither a top of the order guy or a heart of the order guy, much like Corey Patterson. Right now, Pie looks to be a # 7 type hitter. How anybody can predict a .290 hitter in the making is beyond me. The plate discipline isn't there, nor is the consistent and mechanically sound batting approach. Right now, Pie projects to be a .260 type hitter with loads of strikeouts.

Can he get better? Sure he can. Is the athletic talent there? Sure it is. But I'll stick to my opinion that Felix Pie will prove to be simply a Juan Encarnacion type at the big league level.

Re: Eric Patterson

To me, 2007 is make or break season for Patterson. Either his game advances a notch, or he falls into a baseball no-man's land populated by the likes of Richard Lewis, Mike Fontenot, Chadd Meyers, Brendan Harris, et al. And Patterson either makes it as a 2nd baseman, or he doesn't make it. He is the one prospect that bears most watching in 2007.

"Painting him negative"

(-)SILENT TOWEL

Levine on Z: arbitration hearing likely to come on 2/20-21 and Z won't be in camp until Thurs. Cubs will be siting the Carpenter/Oswalt figures in arbitration, while Z & agent will be saying Z has won more games than Zito over the last 3 years. If the Cubs don't sign him this spring, Z will consider the Cubs during next off-season....(mighty big of him)...and there's still 35 days of exclusive negociating rights after the regular season. After Z and his agent started to throw Zito dollars and contract demands out there, Hendry/Cubs seemed apprehensive on giving Z that long of a deal and they worry about Z getting lazy and out of shape, not to mention the high innings & pitch counts logged on his arm. Levine expects Z's agent to issue a public explanation of Z's diatribe either today or tomorrow.

Like AZ Phil has pointed out, Levine doesn't think RF would be a good fit for Soriano at this point, also called RF in Wrigley the toughest OF in baseball...wants to see Soriano in CF but noted that Hendry continues to chase Ryan Church.

I'd imagine that might be a late spring training type of move when the Nats get their ugly OF situation mapped out. Right now it looks like Church or Snelling in LF, Logan/A.Escobar in CF and Kearns in RF.

AZ PHIL: Could I ask you to weigh-in on the trade of JK RYU?

From what I have seen of him in-person, it seems to me to be no great loss and there are better youngsters in front of him.

#15: You'll be wanting the very rational and sane discussion in the comments of "Cubs Deal Ryu To Devil Rays." I believe Phil is in there.

O.K. Thank you.

#16 No - AZ PHIL is not in there.

while Z & agent will be saying Z has won more games than Zito over the last 3 years.

Uh, I hope Z's agent is smarter than that, my understanding of the process is he can only be compared to other players with 5 years service time and their deals. So yeah, compare away with Zito, but you need to compare to his contract and numbers going into last year, what he signed as a FA means nothing....

thnx for the info though...

The E-Man — February 14, 2007 @ 11:42 am
AZ PHIL: Could I ask you to weigh-in on the trade of JK RYU?

From what I have seen of him in-person, it seems to me to be no great loss and there are better youngsters in front of him.

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

E-MAN: While Jae-kuk Ryu is indeed somewhat buried in the Cubs organization (the Iowa pitching staff should be loaded this season), I still would have held onto him and optioned him to AAA out of ST (he has two options left), maybe using him in a deal for a veteran later in the year should the Cubs be (hopefully) in contention.

It's really nice that Hendry wants to give Ryu a break by trading him to an organization where he might actually get a chance to pitch in the big leagues in 2007, but I would have dropped IF-OF Buck Coats instead. I didn't see the urgency in moving Ryu at this time (he's only 23).

That said, I suspect Tim Wilken had some major behind-the-scenes input in the deal (he quite possibly might have even strongly recommended it), since he drafted both Reinhard and Lopez when he was working (briefly) for the D-Rays in-between his Toronto gig and his current job with the Cubs. The Cubs minor league staff at Peoria also got a pretty good look at Reinhard last year, since he was pitching in the MWL where Peoria is located, so at least the Cubs should know what they're getting .

It may just have been a matter of the D-Rays knowing the Cubs had to make a roster move and them asking about the availability of Ryu, and the Cubs asking for and getting back a couple of guys Wilken knows well and who might become useful to the Cubs (perhaps to be used in a future trade or trades) a few years down the line. And If one or both were to develop into actual MLB prospects (and Lopez in particular would appear to have some upside as a RF), neither are close to being candidates for the already over-crowded 40-man roster. Reinhard wouldn't have to be added to the 40 until after the 2008 season, and Lopez not until after the 2009 season.

Still, I would have kept Ryu, mainly for the purpose of possibly using him as a trading chip in a stretch-drive deal later this year or maybe even sometime next year (he won't be out of minor league options until ST 2009).

Thanks AZ PHIL.The additional depth of focus is terrific. So, we'll see how it all pans out within the next couple years...

WGN news just showed the Cub pitchers showing up at Mesa parking lot.

Smarjzda hair is down to his shoulders

Eyre showed up in shorts and flip flops and looks like he is in Glendon Rusch like shape.

I thought I'd seen it all yesterday in the Ryu thread, but apparently somebody dropped a kilo on TCR and everybody's smokin'.

Corey Patterson isn't a great outfielder and never unbends his arm to make a catch?

It took fifteen seconds to Google up a pic of CP taking away a home run.....Do you see a bent arm here?

CP at work

and this one last year looks like a great catch to me

And see this guy.
It's Morgan Ensberg reacting to the umpire calling him out on Corey Patterson's diving catch.

And be sure to watch Corey Pattterson's sensational Double Play

So, where's the bent arm?

silent towel,

So you are saying that you think that Felix Pie will be the next Juan Encarnacion, right? You didn't make that very clear so I'm just clarifying. Maybe you can post that one more time just in case someone else didn't get it either.

Re: Carlos Zambrano

Am I missing something here? Z is going to get a lot of money in 2007, regardless whether the Cubs and he settle before the hearing. And it is a 99.9% guarantee that the Cubs will, eventually, sign Z to an enormous long-term contract.

The high school baseball coach masquerading as a big league GM gets ridiculous credit for signing Aramis Ramirez to decent terms. But what's going to be the story when the Cubs wind up shelling out $125 million plus for Z? Shouldn't Hendry be chastised for not signing Z sooner, for instance around the time Roy Oswalt inked his multi-year deal with the Astros for what now looks like very fair terms?!?! Just wondering.

#19. Not my words, that's what his agent told Levine so maybe he's not smarter than that or his ennui was taken out of context and/or mixed up with what his demands were on a longterm contract.

So you are saying that you think that Felix Pie will be the next Juan Encarnacion, right? You didn’t make that very clear so I’m just clarifying. Maybe you can post that one more time just in case someone else didn’t get it either.

and let us know what you think about Hendry, I get a sense you think he's a high school coach masquerading as a GM, but it's not really clear where you lie on that one...

silent towel said: Right now, Pie projects to be a .260 type hitter with loads of strikeouts.

Even with pessimism, you can't dismiss Pie so easily. Assuming Pie is a very good center fielder, then with a .260 lifetime average he's Rick Monday--only with more speed, since Monday didn't steal 100 bases in his career in spite of being a leadoff hitter. Monday struck out 143 times in his second year with Oakland at age 22.

Monday is probably the best Cub center fielder going back to the late fifties, which is as far back as I go. Anyone remember Andy Pafko?

Chad, do you think it would help? Because I'm game if you think I need to clarify my lukewarm assessment of Felix Pie.

Better still, how about some of those making ridiculous speculation regarding Pie's ceiling (e.g., comparison to Carlos Beltran) clarify THEIR position. Because I for the life of me don't understand all these wondrous projections for Mr. Pie, especially in light of his ever-changing and highly exploitable hitting approach. You would THINK that fans of a team fresh off the Corey Patterson Experience would have more enlightened and realistic forecast for young Mr. Pie. But no. They fall into the same trap Cub fans have fallen into for years, mainly to ridiculously (I think that is my word for the day since I've used in 413 times today and it is only 12:50 PM) overrate Cub prospects.

When somebody can explain to me WHY they think Pie "will hit .290," "be Vernon Wellish or Carlos Beltranish," etc., then I'll stick to my well grounded assessment.

Thanks for playing. Please pick up your party gift from Vanna on the way out.

Rob:

Under the recently expired CBA (and I'm assuming this hasn't changed with the new CBA) the arbitration panel is only required to give "particular attention" to comparably experienced players. The Player is permitted to "argue the equal relevance of salaries of Players without regard to service" and the panel can take that into consideration if it deems appropriate.

I still think Z will lose if it goes to arbitration, though. His demand is just unreasonably high given his situation.

thnx vorare, I need to keep up. :)

oh yeah, they turned off smileys

Re: The high school baseball coach masquerading as a big league GM.

Geez Rob. I'm sorry if I took potshot at your favorite GM on the planet, or uncle, or whatever the odd fondness relationship is about.

Near as I can tell, some Cub fans granted Hendry lifetime immunity from criticism because he was able to acquire Derrek Lee from Florida in a move that was 1,000% salary dump driven, was able to do same regarding Aramis Ramirez and -- most importantly -- managed to dump Todd Friggin Hundley on the Dodgers in a move that was a complete 100% salary wash and motivated by the fact that Mark Grudzielanek was in Jim Tracy's doghouse and Eric Karros was a overpaid faded star who no longer had a role on the ballclub.

take your potshots, I could care less, but maybe come up with some new potshots? just a suggestion....

"And it is a 99.9% guarantee that the Cubs will, eventually, sign Z to an enormous long-term contract."

where do you get this stuff?

you seem to come to a conclusion based on your opinion, which is fine, but you have the need to constantly present it as fact and move on without giving substance to the statement.

there is no sure thing or close to sure thing when you're talking about a team with the payroll commitments in 08-10 that the cubs have and the talk of adding a player has a multi-year 18m+ pricetag on him. just that one statement i just made, which is a real concern, has to be greater than 0.01%.

The observation about CPAT catching fly balls with a bent left elbow is dead on…

More like braindead.

Jones is a good ballplayer, period. He can’t throw, but he still is the best right fielder the Cubs have had since Andre Dawson.

Uh...name "Sosa" ring any bells?

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

Hendry's response to Z:

"I'm not concerned about that at all. In fact, I think when he gets here, he'll probably clear that up," Hendry said of Carlos Zambrano's contract talk, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ''That wouldn't make much sense to take that stance. I think what he probably meant -- well, I'll let him speak for himself -- but what his agent has represented to me is that if we don't have something done by Opening Day, we'll table it for another time. That's the Carlos that I know, but I'll let him speak for himself. But [the ultimatum] would certainly be totally different than what I have been told."

TOWEL: #38 "Hardball Times" Thread

The E-Man:
"Again, as you Hendry bashers have pointed out, why didn’t he deal with this issue BEFORE all others?! Why not take a pre-emptive strike like the ‘Stros did?"

Yeah, this was already hashed out.

Let it freakin' go already.

Go buy yourself a team, or work your way up in an org., then make some moves yourself.

You and your vaginitis.

Uh…name “Sosa” ring any bells?

Who? Don't you know retro-shiite that if Sosa didn't take all those drugs (allegedly) he would have hit only 10 homers a year with 50 RBI's and would have been out of baseball by 1999...

despite the numbers and eye witnesses...i have a gut feeling sosa sucked. therefore, he sucks.

any criticism or arguements supporting sosa not sucking will be ignored. everyone who thinks sosa didnt suck needs to get their facts straight.

Crunch:
"there is no sure thing or close to sure thing when you’re talking about a team with the payroll commitments in 08-10 that the cubs have and the talk of adding a player has a multi-year 18m+ pricetag on him."

While I agree it is not 99.99% guaranteed Z gets resigned, I think Hendry has no choice as to giving in to what Z wants. This is exactly like the ARam situation. Hendry had no choice but in resigning him and had no leverage. Z is going the same route, but he is younger and better so he will be able to take more advantage of the situation. Of course all of this is barring any injury by Z this year. All that being said, I fully expect Hendry to reup Z at some point, if not he better find an Ace somehwere fast or that should be the last straw on his employment with the Cubs.

I'm pretty sure he meant best defensive RF.

#31 weak mea culpa btw

Re: Carlos Zambrano

If Crunch or others honestly believe there is even a smidgeon of chance that the Cubs either trade Z or allow him to walk via free agency, then so be it. Jim Hendry and John McDonough have their collective nuts on the line. Either they get this trainwreck turned around and win in a hurry, or they are gone. Z couldn't possibly be in a more advantageous situation from himself. Not even if he was pitching for the Yankees. He IS going to get paid, and it is Hendry and his magical check writing pen who will be doing the paying.

Silent Towel:
"Shouldn’t Hendry be chastised for not signing Z sooner, for instance around the time Roy Oswalt inked his multi-year deal with the Astros for what now looks like very fair terms?!?!"

I think it is fair to go after Hendry for this. Also keep in mind Carpenter was reupped too before his contract was over. Like I just said, if Z is not with the Cubs in 2008, he better land another ace or start packing.

towlie,

I wasn't challenging our opinion. I had no stake in that argument. I was merely pointing out that you keep repeating yourself.

BUT, I just read a very thoughtful, insightful and well researched article on the main page by V.Phil and it made me think. Then I read your posts, where you offer not statistical analysis and it makes me think that MAYBE V. Phil is on to something.

hate to say it...but everyone's probably thought it at least once...

hendry does have the option to let Z walk. unfortunately that would require faith that...

1- at least one of prior/hill/marquis/lilly will develop as a front-line starter (no need to break down why its impossible for player A or player C or etc...guys like j.schmidt and c.carpenter took a while to become top-line aces and yes a few of those names are longshots)

2- hendry's ready to "go soriano" and just up-front deliver the deal Z wants real damn quick when its time to negociate (i dont care what Z/agent says about it being dead once ST ends...money and years is what he wants from anyone)

3- hendry's ready to trade a chunk of top level tallent to pick up a solid starter (and it would require a lot...look what j.jennings cost houston)

Re: Right Field

Sammy Sosa was too often a butcher in right field. He air mailed at least a dozen baseballs into the stands every year. He rarely hit the cut-off man. And he too often didn't get a good jump on balls hit to right center. His marginal defensive skills deteriorated even further when he got puffy on the juice.

Say what you want about Jacque Jones, but he is a solid outfielder if you ignore his rag arm. He's got the best range in right since the early days of Andre Dawson in a Cub uniform (87, 88).

#31 weak mea culpa btw

okay....you do realize that my comment #19 was discussing what Levine said, I wasn't questioning your opinion on any of this...

"retro-shiite — February 14, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

Jones is a good ballplayer, period. He can’t throw, but he still is the best right fielder the Cubs have had since Andre Dawson.

Uh…name “Sosa” ring any bells?"

I was going to post a response to that myself but I think he was talking about defense only and while I feel Sammy was a very decent fielder, I think the argument could be made that Jones is better.

I’m pretty sure he meant best defensive RF.

fair enough, probably shouldn't have brought up offensive statistics if he was just discussing defense though.

i dont recall sosa airmailing stuff into the stands too much. granted i only saw about 40-60 games a year on TV during most of the cubs/sosa era in the 90s, but i do remember him having a hell of an arm.

i do remember him trying to be superman and throwing over/past/ignoring the cutoff man a lot, though. he's no ichiro...

for fun...

BP's Rate2 defensive stat:

Dawson ('87 to '92 where 100 is average)
101, 100, 105, 92, 99, 107

Sosa ('93 to '2004)
112, 101, 99, 106, 100, 99, 96, 92, 102, 96, 97, 103

Burnitz (2005)
107

Jones (2006)
101

Jones as a RF in Minnesota (2004-2005)
104, 111

Manny-

What will the Cubs payroll be if they give Z $ 18 million ?

TOWEL: I will agree that athletically, JJones has the skills to play RF really well. His throws truly are bad.

It is so surprising. If he had that aspect together, runners would think twice about stretching singles...

Looking back, this has to be credited (grudgingly) to Hendry. In todays crazy market, he is a "deal".

If you recall, there were quite a few here who were urging the signing of Jeremy "Popeye" Burnitz. You know who you are, fellas...

I am hoping JJ can learn how to throw again, or that his wing healed from injury.

"So yeah, compare away with Zito, but {YOU} need to compare to his contract and numbers going into last year, what he signed as a FA means nothing…."

it was a little unclear. I suppose I may take things too literally, but when someone writes "you need to...." that means you specifically, not he/she or a specific name which one would expect it to be. No worries, not a big deal. The whole argument is meaningless. Z's going to get a record 5th year arb. eligible figure regardless.

my apologies then, I can honestly tell you that "you" was directed towards Z's entourage, not you Bogey, I realize you were just telling us what Levine said on the radio...

Jacos:
"What will the Cubs payroll be if they give Z $ 18 million ?"

My salary spreadsheet is at home, but it would have to be close to $130 million.

Silent Towel (#33):
"Near as I can tell, some Cub fans granted Hendry lifetime immunity from criticism because he was able to acquire Derrek Lee from Florida in a move that was 1,000% salary dump driven, was able to do same regarding Aramis Ramirez and — most importantly — managed to dump Todd Friggin Hundley on the Dodgers in a move that was a complete 100% salary wash and motivated by the fact that Mark Grudzielanek was in Jim Tracy’s doghouse and Eric Karros was a overpaid faded star who no longer had a role on the ballclub."

What relevance does any of that have to do with anything? Every other ballclub in the league had the exact same opportunities that Hendry did, but he was the one who capitalized in those situations.

Every trade/signing ever made was due to needs on both sides of the equation. Whether those needs are a salary dump, getting rid of a headcase, or trying to acquire a better fit for your organization, it's all the same. Hendry made those deals, and they have worked out in the Cubs' favor.

Why does it matter at all if the Marlins needed to dump salary? Of all the GMs in MLB, Hendry got D-Lee for next to nothing. Of all the GMs in MLB, Hendry got Aramis for next to nothing. Go spread your negativity elsewhere.

"$ 130 million "

That's where they should be at with the revenue they get from attendance and all other things Cub.

Sign him already.

Doug G.:
"Of all the GMs in MLB, Hendry got D-Lee for next to nothing. Of all the GMs in MLB, Hendry got Aramis for next to nothing."

Of all the GMs in NL, Hendry got the most losses for only $94+ million payroll...:)

Manny:
"Of all the GMs in NL, Hendry got the most losses for only $94+ million payroll…:)"

True, although the 2005 Mets were pretty close with 71 wins.

I'm not a hardcore Hendry supporter or anything, I just find it completely absurd when people bash him and try to argue that he only made good moves because other teams were desperate? So the f*** what?

Last time I checked, the Cubs were the laughingstock of baseball three consecutive seasons. Jim Hendry has done extremely poorly given the generous financial resources at his disposal. And outside of his famous salary dump acquisitions (Lee, Ramirez) and a good deal that netted Nomar, he hasn't made a single bloody inspired trade or one where the Cubs clearly came out on top. Like I said, any idiot can cut big checks when the farm system fails and trades fail.

I shudder to think what Hendry would do if forced to operate under the financial limitations they have in places like Oakland, Milwaukee, Minnesota, etc.

That's a good point Silent Towel. If you disregard all of the good things that Hendry has done, then he hasn't done anything good. Thanks for clearing that up.

JIM HENDRY KICKED MY DOG!!!!

Then its decided. Jim Hendry was robbed of the MLB Executive of the Year Award in 2004, 05, 06. Oh..the humanity!

Towel:
"I shudder to think what Hendry would do if forced to operate under the financial limitations they have in places like Oakland, Milwaukee, Minnesota, etc."

It's not so black-and-white. MacPhail did great with financial restraints in Minnesota, then came to Chicago and didn't do well with more money. In fact, he did so poorly that he had to hand over the GM reigns to Hendry.

Saying they have been laughingstocks for the past 3 seasons is not true either. In 2004 they won 89 games, 1 more than they did in '03 when they made it to the NLCS. 2005 and 2006 were poor seasons, but even in 05 they won 79 games which would have almost had them in the playoffs this past year.

Looking at Hendry's moves objectively, he's done a pretty good job. So much is based on injuries and luck anyway.

If you want to bash Hendry and seemingly everything else about the Cubs, fine. That's your perogative. If you like to be able to say, "I told you so," then go right ahead and continue being patently negative. In the end, if you're wrong everyone's happy, but if you're right you get to claim that knew it all along. Not a bad position to be in, I guess, but when you take the same negative position about everything, it just really hurts your credibility.

You read between the lines excellently. That is clearly the conclusion that everyone was reaching.

yeah, we were a real mess in 2004....

"If you disregard all of the good things that Hendry has done, then he hasn’t done anything good"

HAHAHAHAHA!

http://www.baseballmusings.com/archives/01924...

you got a baseball musings mention by the way "Virginia Phil"

I'm 43 years old and have been a diehard since 1977. I go to a dozen or so games at Wrigley each year and have been to spring training a handful of times the past decade. If you want to question my loyalty to this wayward of wayward franchises, then by all means go ahead.

2007 marks 99 years and counting since this franchise won a World Series. I look at the Cubs and see a minor league system that hasn't produced a bonadide everyday positional talent since the days of the Dallas Green regime (Mark Grace in 1988, one year after Green got fed up with Tribune ownership and quit).

Jim Hendry sucks, period. If you guys like his trades and like his farm system and like his three year denial about Prior and Wood and like his doling out ridiculous money to the likes of Jason Marquis, then so be it. All I can say is that $100 million plus of payroll flexibility should result in much better results. Why is it that Terry Ryan can do so much better with so much less? Why is it that Kenny Williams sticks his neck out and never stands pat and wins, but the Cubs don't?

Tolerance of Hendry is a bitch.

Actually, I disagree with you with regards to Corey. I think he is a great athlete and is probably a better athlete then 90 percent of the other baseball players. What he is not, is a great baseball player. Though these other players might be lesser athletes, they better understand how to hit a baseball, the strategy of the game, and how to approach certain situations. Corey never did. You could see sometimes that he would come to the plate determined to bunt irregardless of how the defense or the pitcher approached the situation. He wasn't applying strategy, he was simply doing what he thought he was supposed to be going without understanding why.

Another current Chicago player that fits this mold is Tyrus Thomas of the Bulls. GREAT athlete, mediocre basketball player. Personally, I don't think he will ever understand the game well enough to amount to anything more then a role player. Contrast Thomas with Hinrich who is not a great athlete, but understands how to the play the game. Because of this, he is better basketball player then Thomas and will always be so.

So, for me the question at this point with Pie isn't whether or not he is a good athlete, but whether or not he is a good baseball player?

Nice post Potter, but there is no question that Felix Pie is a great baseball player. He's a leader and an example. He turns teams into winners wherever he plays.

No wonder the Cubs haven't brought him up;

Ligtenberg to the Reds on a minor-league deal.

They sure are stockpiling a large group of shitty, old middle-relievers down in Cincy.

This is what you do if you are Cincinnati and have a poor farm system (excl. Homer Bailey) to go along with a small payroll. Wayne Krivsky has his work cut out. Still, they may be a decent ballclub in 07 given the current state of the NL Central.

Of all the GMs in NL, Hendry got the most losses for only $94+ million payroll…:)

Naw, man, he got the most losses because of only the $4 mil that went to Dusty Baker....

Levine spoke to Wood today: (paraphrasing...)worked hard on strengthening the muscles around the slight tear in his shoulder...(think Pete Martinez in 2004, though he put on more weight whereas Wood dropped 30 lbs)...of course it didn't end well for Pete. Otherwise it was the usual blather...feels great, ready to go, will accept whatever role Piniella wants etc.

indications are that Hendry/Cubs will not go to a 7 year deal for Z...says Hendry will look to try to get Z to go to a 5 year deal for around $80m.

Personally I can't imagine Z will take a deal like that. Assuming Z gets around $17m per year, which would you rather have...Z + Guzman/ Marshall or Lilly & Marquis ($17 combined)?

also get ready for some more eyesores in the OF. Under Armor will have logos on the LF & RF doors.

ugg...logos on the OF...

SF has a really nice looking park...except for the stupid cartoon cars trying to pimp for product placement behind barry "ESPN" bonds.

what about that giant Coke bottle in LF?

Are you talking about Murton? I think Lee is more Coke-bottlish.

I don't understand all the negativity on Pie, he's just a kid, give him time. Cubs don't need him in Wrigley in 2007, let him polish his game and see if he's the real deal in Iowa. I think he might be.

I'm more concerned about our shitty SS and the likelihood that Lou hits the bastard 2nd a-la Dusty. Maybe we'll luck out, Theriot will pick up where he left off, and the Cubs will realize that gee, Theriot can play SS? Other than glovework, there is no universe where Theriot would be any worse that Izturis, and very high likelihood he'd be much better. OBP and SBs alone tell us that much.

no I'm talking about the giant Coke bottle/glove ad in SF.

Oh. Then nevermind.

"Bogey — February 14, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

what about that giant Coke bottle in LF?"

WHAT? This is Wrigley Field, DAMMIT!!! Let's do a giant can of Old Style.

They said something on the Score tonight during the news update about Armor All buying the rights to advertise on the left and right outfield doors this season. I'm not going to be naive and think they have no right to put up more ads, or won't put up more ads, but I hope they at least try and make it look old fashioned so it fits in well.

Old Style is terrible and it's brewed in Milwaukee anyway. Four Horseman Ale man!

Re: Cesar Izturis

Izturis is an exceptional defensive shortstop. If he bats eight and chips in reasonably decently with the bat (i.e., .260 BA) then he will be worth his weight in gold. If healthy, I'll place bet right now that he wins the 2007 NL Gold Glove at SS.

Re: More signage

It is an abomination to plaster signs on the outfield doors. But this is the way of professional sports. The poor dumb bastards that run MLB apparently watched a NASCAR race and got inspired. I love Wrigley to death, but will be the first to admit it's charm is fading by the minute. It begs the question, why not simply build a new Wrigley with state of the art features (like bathrooms from the 21st century) and stop this charade. Seriously. Cubs could build "Wrigley II" for $600 million and everybody would be better off.

|…(think Pete Martinez in 2004, though he put on more weight whereas Wood dropped 30 lbs)…of course it didn’t end well for Pete. Otherwise |

And here I am thinking Martinez got a world series ring after 2004, then a huge contract with the Mess. Thanks for clearing that up. Martinez has had shoulder issues for a long long time, to be less sarcastic.

Unoftunatley Minsnomered Towel, which three years did was Hendry in denial about Wood and Prior? Maybe he should have released them both after 2003? I am sure Terry Ryan and Billy Beane would
have.

Just out of curiosity, did you even read the blogical before making your post. How could anyone who claims to be reasonable read this:

But Pie is quite a bit ahead of where Patterson was. CoPat hit .253/.308/.387 in about 350 PAs as a 22-year-old in Iowa. Pie hit .283/.341/.451 in 623 PAs as a 21-year-old in Iowa. Big difference there. . . .

And conclude this:
similarities to Corey Patterson are frightening. Pie may have a much better attitude and work ethic, but the results???

A year younger, Pie had an OPS, .097 higher than Patterson. That's like saying Ray Durham is the same hitter as Miguel Cabrera.

"Bogey — February 14, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

Old Style is terrible and it’s brewed in Milwaukee anyway. Four Horseman Ale man!"

I don't care where Old Style is brewed. It's not Miller and it's not Busch. Also, there is nothing more Wrigley than Old Style.

I don't have the figures in front of me, but was Monday really a better centerfielder than Dernier's stint with the Cubs? I could've sweared that his OBP was better than Monday's, and his defense seemed to be on the same par. Also stole bases quite a bit more effectively as well, of course.

Not to mention in incomparable Jerome Walton.

Neal to be sarcastic it generally helps to have some intelligence hidden within...that's when it's actually funny. Thanks for bringing your usual nothing to the discussion.

wow, we're in mid-season form already.....

oh and Pete was vital to that ring wasn't he. I seem to recall D.Lowe and Schilling bringing home the title while Pete was getting shelled in middle relief. Thanks again for your impeccable insights.

Re: Bobby Dernier

Never has one man milked so much out of ONE-HALF season of quality play in the majors than Bobby Dernier. I was there in 1984 and saw Dernier up front for countless games at Wrigley. He had an exceptional first half, then National League pitchers figured him out and it was downhill from there. It's hilarious the amount of reverence granted this guy based on his major league playing career.

Kewwwwllll..........1st day of Spring Training and people are already getting skewered on here.

True or false, Prior reported to spring training significantly less than healthy in 2004, 2005, 2006.

True or false, suspicion still remains over the true physical and mental health status of Prior.

True or false, Jim Hendry buried his head in the sand regarding the true health status of Wood and Prior leading up to the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

True or false, little was done by Hendry, Dusty and Rothschild to identify the mechanical root causes of Wood's and Prior's problems leading up to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons.

true, true, false, false

that was easy...when's the next quiz?

oh and Pete was vital to that ring wasn’t he.

Well...being that Pedro was 16-9 with a 3.91 ERA in 2004, yea, I think he was pretty important.

Not only that, but against St Louis he has one start where he went 7 innings and giving up ZERO runs. So while he didn't pitch perfectly in the playoffs (a 4.00 ERA), he was quite vital to them getting to the playoffs and winning a world series.

So maybe you should check your facts a little bit instead of giving ignorant insight.

UMT,

A. False. What was his injury at the start of 2005 spring training?
B. True. True or false, Prior is being counted on as a starter on the 2007 Cubs?
C. False - See A
D. False - Not all pitching injuries are because of mechanical flaws. How did Prior get hurt in 2003 and 2005?

That D statement just re-emphasises your inability to objectively look at things. None of Priors injuries have ever been attributed to mechanical flaws, unless you count not getting into proper fielding position as a mechanical flaw. But in your revisionist history mentallity, all injured Cubs pitchers were directly the result of mis-management by the Hendry regime, even though Wood`s problems by far pre-date any of that trio even being part of the organization. The true reality of the situation is pitchers get hurt. Terry Ryan and Billy Beane both missed the playoffs this year because... their pitchers got hurt. I guess if you were an A's or Twins fans, you would be calling Beane an overrated AAA washout and Ryan coattails rider.

Bogey, maybe if you ease off the Four Horsemen, you can remembe who wins the WS from year to year.

Terry Ryan and Billy Beane both missed the playoffs this year because

uh what?

I assume you meant 2005....

err, failed in the playoffs I meant.

What was his injury at the start of 2005 spring training?

Prior did have some minor issue going into 2005, he didn't start his first game until April 13th because of a late start in spring training (from what I remember).

err, failed in the playoffs I meant.

that works too....

2005 Prior was lights out. Until the ball the broke his arm. He was on a Cy Young crusade before that.

Prior didn't have an injury issue starting 2006 if we want to get technical. He was just out of shape due to his bird flu, or whatever. But I really don't remember him being hurt to start spring training in 2005, and am too lazy to look it up.

hey i read an article on the the National League and the Cubs.. they predicted that the Cubs would finish 8th in the National league and 3rd in the Central Division behind the Cardinals and the Astros.. does everyone think this or are we just underrated because we're the Cubs

Z is asking for zito money. He doesnt seem to want the fair extension that carpenter got from the cards. If I were Hendry and those were z's demands, then there is absolutely no point in signing him right now. You might as well sign him in the next offseason. What if he gets hurt this year with 126 million dollar contract..... Either way he is getting paid and its a shame caz I love z.

Joe,

I think people have trouble not putting the defending champions at the top of the division, but the truth is that the Cardinals were one of the worst 3 or so WS winners ever, and they got worse during the off season. The Astros improved their offense, but their starting pitching in all likelyhood is going to worse as well. Anyone who is picking teams besides the Brewers ahead of the Cubs just isn't too smart.

Hendry is in a tough spot on Z. It is stupid to give out 7 year contracts, and when Z loses arbitration it is probably going to screw with his head so much that he won't be as good this year. Of course that would lower his contract demands a bit, I guess.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/worldclassic200...

dated March 15, 2006, so technically not the START of spring training although there were those Will Carroll rumblings well before that...

http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/baseball...
Dated March 16. 2005

talks about Prior's elbow woes going into camp and just getting onto the mound...

Yeah, really, what is the advantage of signing Z to a long term deal now? The only advantage I can see is if we really cannot live without the guy and don't want to risk that Z will hold fast to the line that he won't re-sign with the Cubs for 2008 and beyond unless he signs that deal before the 2007 regular season.

Otherwise, surely there is no advantage to signing him to a long term deal now. I mean, let's say he wins 20 this year. Is he really going to get even BIGGER money then than seven years and $126 million?

On the other hand, maybe he gets injured this year and his price comes down.

The other thing that his agent might be thinking, or might be concerned about, is what happens, as unlikely as it seems, if Lilly and Marquis both win 15 games and Prior actually pitches a complete season and does about the same? And let's say Miller does pretty well, too. Yes, I would be shocked if all this were to happen. But if it did, then maybe the Cubs have more leverage with Z.

As things stand now, with all the question marks, it would seem that the constellation can never align as perfectly as it is aligned at this moment for Z if he were to sign a deal right now, at least if Z really, really wants to stay with the Cubs. And even if he doesn't care about staying with the Cubs, the possibility of an injury this coming season again might make the agent think that, financially, this is the best moment for Z to sign a long term deal.

Bogey, maybe if you ease off the Four Horsemen, you can remembe who wins the WS from year to year.

what? I'm pretty sure the Red Sox won in 2004...no idea what you're talking about...follow with me, 2004 Red Sox, 2005 White Sox, 2006 STL

"So while he didn’t pitch perfectly in the playoffs (a 4.00 ERA), he was quite vital to them getting to the playoffs and winning a world series."

Yeah Dave I'm ignorant, tighten up the reading skills, Pete was pretty good, that wasn't the argument, nice try on selective stating too. 9 ER and 9 BB in 13 IP are a bit different though....being relegated to middle relief in a 0-3 hole to your main rival is quite a difference. Yes, nice game 3 of the W/S start against a slumping Cards offense in a 2-0 series advantage to bring his combined playoff ERA way down. An average LCS (3.86) is fine. that wasn't the point. Would the Red Sox have gotten to the playoffs without Pedro..maybe, they won the wild card with 8 games to spare. I'd imagine the Red Sox could find someone to win 9 games as a 5th starter over the course of the year with that offense. I'm confused how that can be defined as "fact" though....I think Red Sox fans would rank in order, D.Lowe, Foulke, Schilling as more vital to the Red Sox that playoff run than Pedro. and to think the post was in regard to Kerry Wood and Pedro Martinez having similar shoulder injuries. Never ceases to amaze what meaningless pap people with superiority complexes will argue about.

Pedro started Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS and pitched one inning in Game 7 in a must win game. How the hell is that relegated to middle relief?

Was Josh Beckett relegated to middle relief in the 2003 NLCS in Game 7?

Never ceases to amaze what meaningless pap people with superiority complexes will argue about.

WTF? How is the one who attacked The Real Neal for the content of his comment? And you are saying others have a "superiority complex?"

What can Zambrano bring in trade in July? Would it be better to rape a farm system for him or sign him for six or seven years? I'd like to see him in Cubbie blue for as long as possible but if we could bring a few young good players for him, it's an intriguing idea. Maybe deal him to the Yanks for Cano, Hughes, and/or Wang. To the Marlins for Cabrera and Johnson (probably asking too much). Just a few thoughts and something to think about.

the only way Z gets dealt this year is if we're sucking and I mean 2006 sucking, not middling around .500 (which we should at least be able to do).

But his trade value isn't what most people think, he gets moved, he's testing the FA waters and that means teams aren't going to cough up their top prospects in all likelihood. Teams just aren't that willing to do it anymore for a partial-season rental.

On Bob Denier-
"when National League pitchers figured him out and it was downhill from there"

Wasn't he in the NL all of his career?

hey i read an article on the the National League and the Cubs.. they predicted that the Cubs would finish 8th in the National league and 3rd in the Central Division behind the Cardinals and the Astros.. does everyone think this or are we just underrated because we’re the Cubs

I don't think anyone knows where to put the Cubs. They could win 95 games, they could lose 95 games. Who knows.

Wasn’t he in the NL all of his career?

he was, but ST is right otherwise, his career is highly unremarkable beyond 1984 and his 2nd half of that season was pretty bad. He stole bases at a good rate, played an okay CF for the most part, pretty much sucked otherwise.

prior SUCKS. my prior jersey lies in a crumpled heap in the back of my walk-in closet, where it will stay, because i cant be bothered to even throw it in the garbage which is where it AND he belong! and wood can busy himself by washing cott's balls and cleaning dempsters cleats. i dont know which of those two parasites has the bigger fork in his back.
(steadfastly clinging to this feeble attempt at reverse psychology on self)

Again Dave tighten up the reading skills, Neal's crack came first as is his MO..you of all people should know that. And yeah I was wrong, I thought Pedro only started 1 game in the DS and came in on relief the next. For some reason I thought Pedro's 6 IN 4 ER 5BB outting was game 4 and then got bumped for game seven allowing Lowe to go on short rest. You got me there. Regardless it's still 9 ER with 9 BB in 13IP and a mediocre LCS showing over one good start in the WS.

Whew!!!!!

I was worried with Dusty and Neifi gone, this place would shut down.......shoulda known better

crunch?

prior is still a kid.

we can go around saying carpenter sucks and jason schmidt suck and randy johnson sucks if we're tossing out guys who dont "figure it out but were supposed to be hot" by age 26.

hell, when prior is here he's far from trash (well, last year was just ugly)...its just a matter of keeping him here.

im not saying he'll be fine as soon as he shows up. this whole "loose arm" thing effected his control and without his control, well...

TCR - dusty - neifi - macias = 99.9% doomed

looks like the 00.1% wins out.

"Maybe deal him to the Yanks for Cano, Hughes, and/or Wang."

There's no way the Yanks would do that. We'd have to include EPat or something, and probably another prospect as well since Z is close to free agency.

Z would bring a return in a trade but I don't think it would be a huge name like Hughes or Cabrera, simply because he's so close to free agency.

so close to FA and his last season is gonna cost an easy 11-13m even if there's no intention to keep him past a year.

there's a market for him in trade, but i dunno who'd be willing to give up anything high-end as far as overall known high-end prospects.

How much for the Prior jersey? What size?

"Was Josh Beckett relegated to middle relief in the 2003 NLCS in Game 7?"

That was mean, Rob. Real mean. Did you really need to go there to prove a point? ouch

Cubby, wanna sell that Prior jersey to me? What size is it?

Did you guys catch this AP story, re Wrigley?:

"Doors in right field and left field will sport the logo for Under Armour, a sports apparel manufacturer. The outfield signs represent a change for the storied ballpark."

"#79 Bogey — February 14, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

also get ready for some more eyesores in the OF. Under Armor will have logos on the LF & RF doors."

FYI, FWIW

no, the damned prior jersey isn't for sale, dammit.
first of all its a batting practice jersey specially ordered with prior's name on it (a gift from a frat brother) and second of all its my way of trying to reverse-jinx him into NOT having a disastrous year somehow though my skewed logic, which for some reason i don't apply to the team as a whole...

anyway, if it backfires (if that word is applicable in this context) and he does end up getting more money for nothing, then i just may consider. its an XXX Large.

Prior sucks! He's done! Worth only 10 cents on the dollar! WASHED UP I TELL YOU!

You feelin' alright there Cubby? Anyway, XXXL is a tad large for me anyway. But if anyone has an XL jersey they want to sell, let me know.

So unless March 14th is the start of spring training, Prior wasn't known to be injured starting 2005 or 2006. I know there is the conspiracy theory that Hendry and the Cubs organization knew that he would be injured and hid the information. No one has actually given a plausible explanation for why they would do that, though.

Bogey,

Quit your whining. You said something stupid and I pointed it out. I didn't besmirch your intelligence or call you any names. If Kerry Wood goes 31-17 over the next two years (Martinez's '04 and '05and wins a world series, I don't think anyone is going to describe that as 'ending badly'. Martinez's shoulder problems date bck to 2000, they didn't start in 2004.

So now the Outfield Doors are fair game for a corporate sponsor? I guess if an Ad board behind home and selling the name of the bleachers if fair game, it should just be expected.

So, how long until a company gets the rights to shave its name in the Ivy?

A shave
That's real
No cuts to heal
A soothing
Velvet after-feel

Burma-Shave

http://www.fiftiesweb.com/burma3.htm

Pie will get a shock his first stint in the MLB. His swing is really long, so he'll be vulnerable to the slider and any late-breaking pitch in general. His first stint he'll bat .180/.220/.180 and be optioned to AAA Iowa where he'll work on "shortening" his swing. Then he'll come back a little bit better. I believe it's a process, like with Rich Hill.

I don't even understand what they need all that ivy for. A little Weed-B-Gone and they will have an additional 4396 square feet of advertising space. And then they can change their name to the Chicago Ironbirds, just imagine all of the new jerseys they'd sell.

re Patterson's great catches (#23):

I've looked at all of Patterson's defensive highlights for 2005 and 2006. (They're available at cubs.com and orioles.com. Click on Multimedia and then select Top Plays Archive.)

His best defensive plays are those where he runs straight at the wall in center or right center and makes an over-the-shoulder catch before hitting the wall. There's the one that CWTP calls CP AT WORK, which was April 19, 2005, CHC@CIN, "Patterson robs a homer." There's another one, as good, on May 9, 2006, DET@BAL, "Patterson's amazing catch."

He hit the wall again on August 29, 2006, BAL@TEX, and got shaken up making a nice catch.

So whatever his problem is, it isn't lack of courage, and I shouldn't have referred to it that way.

It's more a matter of indecisiveness on balls that he has to come in for, or over and in for. He tends to leave his feet for balls that he should catch off his shoetops. These plays are promininent among his webgems, for the simple reason that every time you leave your feet they call it a diving catch and put it in the highlights archive. So ironically his webgems are a good place to study his flaws.

Here are three examples:

May 29, 2005, COL@CHC, Patterson's diving catch: Patterson sprints to the right and in. Instead of catching the ball in full stride, he lunges. The lunge seems to throw off his hand-to-eye, because the ball hits the heel of his glove and ends up in a snow-cone position at the top of the webbing. Hitting the ground is another means of jarring the ball loose.

June 1, 2005, CHC@LA, Patterson's diving catch: This is very similar to May 29th. A little deeper ball, but same lunge, same bent arm. You can see in the close-up replay that the ball hits the heel of his glove again and almost ricochets up and out of the webbing. If the ball had squirted out, you wouldn't have seen it, because these are web-gems, not web-duds.

August 11, 2005, STL@CHC, Patterson's slick catch: He sprints straight in, a little to his right, dives, and makes a nice backhand catch. He seems to have hurt his wrist or his thumb during the catch. I would say the reason he hurt himself is that he was too close to the ball to dive. He wasn't reaching very far forward--again, the bent elbow--and so his chest hit the ground directly on top of his hand or his wrist.

He continues to make unnecessary diving and sliding catches in 2006 with Baltimore. Examples are May 26 and June 22. "Patterson's sliding catch" on June 22 is especially awkward and should be in a bloopers reel but makes the highlight reel because the ball ends up in his glove.

I did see two excellent diving catches, the one cited by CWTP--June 28, 2005, MIL@CHC, "Patterson's sensational DP"--and an even better one last year in medium-deep right-center against the White Sox--July 29, 2006, CWS@BAL, "Patterson's dive starts DP."

In the two years, I would describe four catches as out of the ordinary: the three wall-bangers and the double-play dive against the White Sox.

Hitting the ground is another means of jarring the ball loose.

It would still have been a completion, since the ground can't cause a fumble.

er...

Sorry, I get lost during these sports transitional periods.

News flash:

CP is not Andru Jones. Nor, as we have established, is Pie CP. Mathematically FP >

"So, how long until a company gets the rights to shave its name in the Ivy"

The Ivy is protected by the city of Chicago under an historical monument law.

If they wanted to do anything, I know you were joking, they would have to ask Daley. Oh the irony.

If they can make more money and turn into payroll for the players I'm for it.

Tear up the grass and put the new synthetic turf and put the Empire Carpet logo on it.

All together now...
5-8-8 2-300.....

Prior does suck. When he came up in 2002 he was legitimately compared to Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer. An athletic physical specimen, great arm, alleged impeccable mechanics and intelligence. Then the fairy tale ended abruptly in 2004. And a disturbing trend developed where the medical people weren't able to diagnosis a lot of what was apparently ailing Prior. To make matters worse, Prior let his millionaire Daddy do most his talking for him and sequestered himself far, far away down in Arizona and Southern California (home of the Prior family estate). All the while he didn't blink an eye when cashing those seven figure paychecks written out by the Chicago Tribune. Fast forward to 2006 to when Prior was actually in Chicago and pitching. His mechanics were all over the place, his pitches were Les Walrond like, and his velocity in the toilet.

So pardon certain of us Cub fans if we severely question Mr. Mark Prior.

[...] There’s another team out there with a young centerfielder making noise in the minors, just like our own Jacoby Ellsbury. The team? The Chicago Cubs. The player? Felix Pie. Is Pie ready, and if so, what can he do? [...]

"His mechanics were all over the place, his pitches were Les Walrond like, and his velocity in the toilet."

wade miller?

"It’s hilarious the amount of reverence granted this guy based on his major league playing career."

I stand corrected concerning Dernier vs. Monday - no contest, obviously. As for Prior, I'm not sure if it's a question of his refusal to pitch with any discomfort whatsoever, or if his mechanics are indeed way out of synch. Does Rothschild believe in the process where they compare arm angles and foot positioning from his 2004 breakout year vs. his recent efforts? I have no idea what the guy does to help get his staff prepared and how he helps them improve their performance.

I also think the Cubs need to give the kid at least one more shot - they have too much of a history of giving up too soon on some of their best players (thinking of Nolan Ryan's early career here).

"Does Rothschild believe in the process where they compare arm angles and foot positioning from his 2004 breakout year vs. his recent efforts?"

when any coach worth a damn wants to make an adjustment they hit the video room first. they see what he did when he was grooving and what he's doing now (and what adjustments he made from point A to point B). we saw that with matt murton last season specifically when he was being tweaked in-progress a LOT throughout the season. more than should happen, a coach or video jockey (some clubs have an exclusive video guy who either looks over video himself and produces packages for appropriate people) will point out a problem before the player even realizes they're changing their motion adjusting to cover discomfort.

roths is a pretty big video guy, too...or at least has others go over the video to point it out to him. for as much as he likes to work out with people in-person he's no stranger to the tools of diagnosis.

and about giving prior another shot...how can you not in this market with what his pay is vs. his upside. hell, even kip wells is getting 4m bucks and his upside stops well short of prior.

"I also think the Cubs need to give the kid at least one more shot - they have too much of a history of giving up too soon on some of their best players (thinking of Nolan Ryan’s early career here). "

Nolan Ryan was Cub pro

spect?

burt hooton?

I didn't mean to imply that Ryan had any kind of a relationship with the Cubs - just another pitcher who looked like he had too many mechanical problems (wildness, etc) at the early part of his career, only to figure it out after he left the Mets.

Guess I should've used the Lou Brock, Joe Carter or Palmiero examples instead.

Yeah, Hooten's another good example. You can see the inherent potential in Ricky Nolasco as well -what a waste of a trade that was.

Dontrell Willis.

I don't blame the Cubs for letting go of Willis - I don't remember many scouts accurately predicting his future potential, and even Florida admitted that they had no idea the kid would turn out this well.

But I do blame the Cubs for Bill Madlock, Ken Holtzman, etc. Those kinds of guys were already good by the time they traded them - the list is endless.

Lou Brock
The Cubs offered Schmidt 3/44
The overhyped highschool PE teacher gave Mr. Vaginitis a $4 million contract.

'the list is endless'.

Which team that has been around for 100 years can't you say that about? Seriously, is there one?

to be fair to the whole "highschool coach" thing...yeah, hendry didnt start out in the baseball business going "yeah, i wanna be an executive!"

dude wanted to be a broadcaster, supposedly...but he ended up teaching and being an assistant HS coach at a nice florida program.

that said, no one can take away from him what he did with creighton's college program and he was duely noticed for it in the early 90s as a coach of the year

that, along with how his recruiting went, got him a job in the bigs hired by a guy who's almost a carbon copy of himself...minus the rings...dave dombrowski (both have a hardon for toolsy guys and fastball pitchers who can bring it).

he may have stumbled into his career path, but he's not spent the last 25 years stumbling around.

"early 90s as a coach of the year"

well, BA named him coach of the year...dunno about any other recognitions, but that one carries weight.

I think BA is still the reigning authority on college baseball.

Sure, you can say for many teams that the list of missed prospects is endless, but how many teams in professional sports history have gone for almost 100 years without one championship? Their mistakes will always be magnified because of their past history.

I’m pretty sure he meant best defensive RF.

My point stands. Jones has decent range, but there's no way a man with an arm as comically bad as his is a better defensive RF than Sosa was in his prime. Sosa was actually a CF when he came to the Cubs, and until at least the late 90s was a more than adequate rightfielder with fine range and a good throwing arm. He wasn't Andre Dawson defensively, but few are.

fair enough, probably shouldn’t have brought up offensive statistics if he was just discussing defense though.

Right. The comment "He's the best right fielder the Cubs have had since Andre Dawson" was immediately preceded by "Jones is a good ballplayer, period," which suggested to me that he was talking about the whole package.

Theo Epstein was a cheerleader for the Padres.

Look it up.

'have gone for almost 100 years without one championship? Their mistakes will always be magnified because of their past history.'

The Washington Generals?

Cardinals fans bitch about Carlton, Mets fans bitch about Ryan, Phillies fans bitch about Sandberg and Franco. It's not particular to the Cubs, or teams that haven't won in a century. People just like to bitch.

[...] an-ess-say-on-pee-ay-felix-pie [...]

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