Who Do You Want for 2008?

After our twenty-one game turnaround in 2003 from 2002, Hendry and Co. didn't rest on their success and spent the offseason of 2004 and the season building one of the best Cubs team ever assembled on "paper". Taking out the bitter ending, the team ended up winning more games and having a better run differential than the 2003 team despite significantly more injuries to key players. A quick reminder course on what happened after 2003: C - Subtracted Damian Miller, added Michael Barrett (say what you will but we had a better team ERA in 2004, gave up less runs as a team and Barrett was definitely an offensive upgrade that year) 1B - Subtracted Eric Karros, Hee-Seop Choi and Randall Simon; Added Derrek Lee INF - Added Todd Walker and Jose Macias to the bench SS - Added Nomar Garciaparra mid-season (Should have added Miguel Tejada during the off-season) OF - Subtracted Kenny Lofton; Added Todd Hollandsworth to the bench SP - Subtracted Shawn Estes; Added Greg Maddux to the 2nd best starting staff in the league RP - Subtracted Juan Cruz, Mark Guthrie, Antonio Alfonseca & Dave Veres; Added LaTroy Hawkins, Kent Mercker, Ryan Dempster and Glendon Rusch There are a few peons I'm probably missing but that should be all the significant moves. In 2007, the Cubs improved nineteen wins from the disaster of 2006 and once again find themselves atop the NL Central but still short of their World Series goal. The precedent though has been set that Hendry will unlikely sit idly by and be happy with a division title and McDonough has already hinted that the Cubs will continue to push on for the trophy. The question though is who and what positions should the Cubs target and where can the team improve within and where should they look for outside help? Let's take a quick look at the current 2008 team if the Cubs brought in nobody: C - Geovany Soto, Henry Blanco 1B - Derrek Lee 2B - Mark DeRosa, Mike Fontenot SS - Ryan Theriot, Ronny Cedeno 3B - Aramis Ramirez LF - Alfonso Soriano CF - Felix Pie, Jacque Jones RF - Matt Murton SP - Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill, Jason Marquis, Sean Marshall RP - Carlos Marmol, Ryan Dempster, Bob Howry, Mike Wuertz, Will Ohman, Scott Eyre, Kevin Hart Only a few assumptions need to be made and those are that Cliff Floyd's and Steve Trachsel's options aren't picked up (despite what Ken Rosenthal said) and that Scott Eyre exercises his. I'm under the assumption that Jason Kendall will head to free agency and Craig Monroe will not be offered arbitration (which may change if Jacque is traded). There's also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and seeing if Daryle Ward's mutual option will be exercised (the Cubs will certainly exercise their portion of it). My guess is that Ward is back and Wood takes Hart's spot and there's your "do-nothing and stand pat" 25-man roster. ------ But now is not the time to rest on one's achievements and hopefully Hendry will carpe diem. But the big question will be who and at what positions? C - The Cubs will certainly give Geovany Soto every opportunity to be the starter in 2008 with Blanco being the back-up. The question is what to do if Soto struggles or gets injured? Blanco certainly shouldn't be playing everyday so I'm guessing sometime right before spring training, a rush of Koyie Hill-clones, if not Koyie Hill himself will be littering our spring training complex. 1B - Status quo; Let's hope Lee finds his power stroke for the full season. 2B - Status quo; DeRosa will start there and we've got Theriot, Cedeno, Fontenot and even E-Pat as options. SS - While an upgrade would be fantastic I imagine Theriot/Cedeno will fight it out during spring training. The free agent market is Neifiesque at this position unless Arod convinces someone he can still play the position. Trade candidates are always sketchy although Miguel Tejada and Edgar Renteria would be interesting. Unfortunately no one but Tejeda thinks he can still play SS. 3B - Status quo; Obviously upgrading to Arod would be something and then trading Aramis to an L.A. team for either Jered Weaver/Brandon Wood package or Chad Billingsley/Matt Kemp one. It would be something if I won the lottery as well. OF - I'm going to lump these together because the Cubs have a bevy of options here. An outfield of Soriano, Pie, Murton is fine by me and I think I'd even be fine with Soriano, Jones and Murton with Pie ready to jump in but the Cubs really could use just one more power bat in that lineup. Where will that come from is the big question and at what position? Centerfield free agents include Aaron Rowand, Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones but the Cubs seem pretty committed to Felix Pie. Now any of those guys or Pie could probably move to a corner spot without much problem and handle it defensively but I also don't think any of them are the one that will put us over the top so to speak. If we move to the corner spots there are two potential names out there that I think would provide exactly what I believe the Cubs should be looking for to solidify their offense in Barry Bonds and Adam Dunn (if his option isn't picked up the Reds). Both though cause significant problems defensively and of course the clubhouse baggage that Bonds carries with him. There's also that smallest ray of glimmering hope that Arod would consider playing the outfield with the potential option to shift back to third base if and when Aramis leaves. RP - If Dempster doesn't move to the rotation and doesn't get traded, there's really not much room to do anything here. If Kerry leaves that might open up a spot and Hendry could get bold and chase Mariano Rivera, Eric Gagne or Joe Nathan (if the Twins get dumb and don't exercise his option) but I do doubt much will be changed with the pen. If anything Dempster gets moved, Marmol, Howry and Wood (who I'll be surprised if he's not a Cub in 2008) fight for the closer role and the pen is filled out with Eyre, Wuertz, Ohman and battle for the final spot amongst our minor leaguers or the losers in a potential 5th starter battle. SP - Well unless a trade is made, 4 of the 5 spots are taken and there's more than enough depth to cover the fifth spot in Sean Marshall, Kevin Hart, Mark Holliman, Sean Gallagher and potentially Mark Prior or Ryan Dempster. And just like in 2003, I think this is where Hendry should really try and push the envelope. Our starting staff was a nice story and all but I there are a number of potential problems looming. - The chance that our top four or five stay healthy for the whole season like this year seems remote. - For all the love of Z, he's topped 100 walks two years in a row and has a growing ERA in those two years, not the makings of the guy you want leading your staff. Maybe he'll flip it around, maybe he'll end up being Livan Hernandez. - Ted Lilly is due for a little regression to the mean as he enjoyed the most innings he's ever pitched and his second highest ERA+ number ever. - I do think Hill will continue to progress but unless that change and cutter go from amusing distraction to at least average if not a plus pitch, he'll have a hard time being the dominating ace we'd like. - Jason Marquis is well, Jason Marquis. You get your innings out of him and he gives you a shot to win about half your games. But once again the free agent market is pretty bare (and we wonder why the Cubs spent their cash last offseason). The southpaws consist of Tom Glavine and Andy Petitte, neither of which seem like their even worth discussing. The right-handers include the duct-taped arms of Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia and then one actual interesting name who seems like the perfect fit for this ballclub. Curt Schilling. Now before I entertain the notion too much, I doubt he's leaving the Red Sox. Epstein seems like he's still a big fan but if he were, well hear me out. He may be on the wrong side of 30, he'll actually be on the wrong side of 40 (turns 41 this November) and the chances that he'll make thirty starts are pretty slim (only once in the last three years and four times in the last seven). Without seeing him too much and charting his fastballs, I'll just go out and assume he's lost a few miles off it but he's still hitting low 90's as far as I know and from what I have seen, the splitter is still working and he's still hitting his locations with the precision of a trained sniper. Unfortunately he's also probably the biggest blowhard in baseball but there is a solid chance that if I call him out on an article he'll respond on TCR, so I do have some ulterior motives. But beyond the numbers and the actual 20-25 games he'd actually start, I think there are a few added bonuses. It seems like he'd take a ton of pressure off Zambrano to be the leader of the team and the staff. It seemed clear that Zambrano wasn't quite ready for that role this year and something that Schilling seems to thrive upon. He'd also push Jason Marquis to the fifth starter/guy we could skip once in awhile/trade bait role that he's really most suited to wear. And of course Schilling's playoff record is one of the more miraculous things in sports (8-2 in 16 starts, 1.93 ERA, 108 K's, 23 BB's and 4 CG's in 116 IP) that you'll probably ever witness. Quick sidenote: My apologies to all Red Sox fans as I'm sure I just doomed the rest of your 2007 playoffs. If the Cubs are willing to open the budget just a little more this offseason, it should be going into the pockets of Curt Schilling I say. ------------ Hendry though does have one more avenue open to improve the team and that would be the trade market and it's probably the way he'll make any additions. It's a fools errand to try and predict trades, there's just no way in knowing who's available, what other teams want, how they value the Cubs players and how the Cubs value the potential trade target. But I can guess on some of the Cubs that might be available in talks this offseason. 1) Ryan Dempster - He's owed $5.5 million and has closer mystique sprinkled all over him. The Cubs have the arms to fill his spot and with the rather bare starter's market he could also prove useful in that way. 2) Sean Marshall - He had a heckuva start to the year, is one of them lefties that are all the rage and at age 25 and a bunch of years of service time left has all sorts of value even as no more than a mid-rotation starter. 3) Jacque Jones - A rather affordable $5 million is owed to him and he certainly showed he can play centerfield. He could be the booby prize for the teams that lose out on Jones, Rowand and Hunter. 4) Matt Murton - I like the kid and continually am impressed with his approach at the plate and the power he flashes, albeit not nearly often enough. You just can't teach that kind of power to right field but you can teach him to pull the ball more often. As for trade targets, well that's just a bit too speculative. If anything you want to look for players who will be free agents after the 2008 season as teams might want to try and get something in return for a player they're likely to lose to free agency. I'll throw some names out but they won't mean much. I already mentioned Tejada and Renteria at short, both seem like they could be available. In the outfield, Pat Burrell I could see being available and Manny Ramirez, Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford both have team options for the 2009 season. Vlad could be a free agent after 2008 but I don't see any scenario where he gets traded by the Angels or for that matter leaves. The Dodges are all full of stupid these days and either Derek Lowe or Brad Penny might be available. Johan Santana will get mentioned a lot this offseason and throughout the year. If we could just add him and Arod, I like our chances. The picture will get clearer by mid-November on who's available and who the Cubs may be interested in acquiring. I recommend searching for another top tier pitcher and one more power bat to help us keep pace in the Central. And if that power bat happened to be a shortstop somehow even better as I'd very much like to see Pie, Soto and Murton continue to grow with team. We shall learn soon enough what Hendry and Co. plans are for the 2008 Cubs. And the question I pose to all our wonderful readers, is who and where should the Cubs try and improve upon?
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Comments

Well done, Rob.

Re-sign Wood.
Do Lard's option, but not Traschel.
Inquire about Pettitte/Schilling.
Get help in the outfield - either an ideal table-setter (Lofton) or a LH power bat (Jose Guillen).

I think this team is probably pretty close.

Well, Rob, in my opinion, you didn't paint the best picture there. Basically what I got out of your post was there isn't going to be much different to the roster unless Hendry makes a trade. And that is just not good, as this team clearly has to make some improvements (SS, CF/RF, SP) if they want to move to the next level. Hopefully Hendry isn't afraid to trade some "top prospects" and go get a difference maker whoever that may be.

I think 'peon' is spelled with an E. I realize I am not 'wonderful reader' but here's my take anyway.

For catcher I think that Blanco es finito, and we'll bring in a pretty solid backup, preferably a left handed hitting one. There don't seem to be any left handed hitting catchers on the free agent list, though, so that may be a challenge. Jason LaRue's bat has fallen off a cliff the last couple years, but maybe if he can still be fixed, he would be the type of guy who could be brough in.

Lee has a no trade clause and Hendry likes him, so he's not going anywhere. Plus, he's probably the leader of the position players. I hope Ward comes back as well, he did everything that was asked of him, besides staying healthy. If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll as #1 PH and backup for Lee.

I agree with the consensus that DeRosa hasn't done anything to lose his job, but if he is also the #1 backup for our right fielder and third basemen. We have the pontential of Cedeno/Theriot/Fontenot having to replace Aramis's bat in the lineup, which I am not too crazy about. Not quite as bad as Neifi replacing Lee, but you get the idea. Unfortunately there's no one too great on the FA market, either. Maybe if AZ wins without Hudson, they will consider letting him go (in a trade of course) and he can be our #2 hitter and second basemen, and move DeRosa into a 5 start a week super sub.

Shortstop, I would sniff around A-Rod and see whether he thinks he could still play, which would involve dropping some of that lower body weight he's put on the last couple of years. The big joke to me was that Arod was a better shortstop than Jeter. I could never figure out why it was assumed that he would move to 3rd. Money aside the Cubs have a lot of things to offer Arod.

1. Big Market - but not crazy New York media
2. A ballpark tailored to his HR hitting strength, the power alleys
3. Pinhead
4. Shorstop
5. Opportunity to be the Cursebreaker (Schilling would love this too)
6. Possible super station tie with WGN broadcasts

7 year deal, the first 4 at $28 and the next three at $32. That should put him right around the all time HR mark depending on what Bonds does next year, if Arod stays relatively healthy. He could move to first after Lee's contract expires in '10 (or move to 3rd and push AramRam to first for a year or two).

If that doesn't work out (and I think that the Yankees will probably wind up extending him). I would see whether Marshall could be used as bait to get Tejada or Renteria. I would imagine the Braves covet him, and a quick trade would let them free up some cash to spend on Andru. Tejada statistically was a pretty good shorstop in 05 and 06, and it may be that '07 was more due to being hurt and too much losing, and that a change of pace may rejuvinate his legs. He would obviously cost more than Marshall. Maybe Pie and Marshall if the Cubs want a 'Go for Broke' mentallity in 2008, but I don't think Hendry is going to be giving up on Pie yet. Not that I don't like Marshall, but I like Lilly and Hill better for next year, and three left handers pitching in Wrigley is just too much.

Third Base AramRam

Left Field. Soriano is so good out there, I would find it hard to argue that he should be moved. Systemically I think Murton in left and Soriano in right may be slightly better, but not enough so to make Soriano worry about it over the off season/ST. I thought he was doing a pretty solid job in center, but tiredness and injury wise, as well as the presence of Jones and Pie makes it a moot point.

Center: Let Pie compete against himself in ST for the job. We know what Jones can do, and we know what he can't do (throw, hit lefties). If we want to move Jones, we have to replace him with a right handed hitting centerfielder. Now would be the time to grab Rocco Baldelli with the D-Rays fretting about the $4 buyout in his contract. Marquis for Baldelli would make some sense for both teams.

Right Field: If Arod and Tejada fall through (or never start), Abreu would be a nice fit in the lineup between Soriano and Lee. Essentially he would be replacing Floyd, and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics than PA's. Obviously he would have a higher base salary than Floyd did. Actually Tejada's contract is so reasonable that it shouldn't preclude getting Abreu.

In the rotation it's pretty obvious the three playoff starters aren't going anywhere. I agree that Schilling would be an ideal guy to head the rotation, and I think that the Curse of the Billygoat would call to his Ego. There's a reason he changed his game company from Green Monster Game to 38 Studios, after all. At his age, I would think that he will settle for a 1 year deal with a mutual vesting option for a 2nd year. I think he wants to run off and make video games sooner rather than later, though.

Trachsel should be gone. Marshall and Marquis can both wind up as trade bait, as I mentioned above. I doubt both of them would go, however. Some other guys that can be brought in as the 5th starter are Kip Wells, Weaver, Jennings or Byrd. I think that Hendry may be comfortable with only five experienced starters with Dempster, Gallagher, Hart and maybe Veal waiting in the wings.

The bullpen, is going to be pretty much the same. Maybe Roquet replaces Oh-Man, and I think Wood will be the closer by the end of the year with Marmol as his set-up and Howry pushed down to the 6th and 7th.

Ramirez HAS to go. I watched his body language at the end of the season and it indicated to me that he was done being a Chicago Cub, regardless of the lip-service he has given. ARod is who belongs at 3B but only if his hitting will continue to improve, he, too, seems to have hit a slump in the hitting department and I truly don't know if this continues to make him as valuable as he believes he is.

Just my $0.02.

Apart from Soto and Ward, the Cubs had two RBI in three games in the NLDS, both via ground balls to shortstop (one of which was a hit).

So why can't we talk about trading some of the guys who didn't produce?

I would trade Lee and DeRosa, not because they're bad but because their numbers make them look better than they are. We might actually be able to get something for them.

(Hendry tries very hard to make all his veterans untradeable by lavishing dollars and years on them, and I don't want to get into Lee's and DeRosa's contracts. At least they're more tradeable than Soriano and Ramirez. Maybe we can't trade anybody, in which case we can certainly fire Hendry.)

DeRosa is a nice player--good glove, great arm, good opposite-field singles and doubles hitter--but he doesn't have the power you want batting fifth or sixth or the speed that you need from your second baseman. Eric Patterson has more power and much more speed. Then there's Fontenot and even Soriano. And the Cubs may have more minor-league talent at second than anywhere else.

For whatever reason, Lee has turned himself into a right-field singles and doubles hitter, somewhat like DeRosa, with a bit more power. 22 HRs is not bad for a first baseman, and the BA and OBP are quite good, but 82 RBI from the 3-hole in 567 at bats--that's not good, is it? Lee has only cracked 100 RBI once in his career. Are we sure this isn't the real Derrek Lee? It might be a good time to trade him, while he still retains some of the superstar aura that he acquired in '05.

Obviously, he's great scooping balls out of the dirt, although not so great on grounders, and I think he's lost a lot of speed and quickness.

To replace him, the Cubs have attractive short-term (Ward), medium-term (Donaldson) and long-term (Vitters) options.

Real Neal... I agree with most of what you said.

would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics than PA’s.

I remember hearing that you you could not have performance incentives in a contract. You could only have incentives around playing time - starts, games finished, games played, etc. I may be wrong on this, but I don't believe you can have incentives based on things like number of home runs, wins, etc.

ARod is who belongs at 3B but only if his hitting will continue to improve, he, too, seems to have hit a slump in the hitting department and I truly don’t know if this continues to make him as valuable as he believes he is.

ARod has slumped in the hitting department? He just had one offensive season of his career. You can't really expect a 32 year old player who is already one of the top 2-3 hitters in baseball to improve much.

Igby: Do you mean Aramis or Rodrigo?

Cuz Aramis always looks like that.

So why can’t we talk about trading some of the guys who didn’t produce?

Because 3 games do not make bad players.

At least they’re more tradeable than Soriano and Ramirez.

What are you talking about? A-Ram's contract is VERY "tradeable." There would be several teams interested in taking A-Ram's contract.

I would trade Lee and DeRosa, not because they’re bad but because their numbers make them look better than they are. We might actually be able to get something for them.

If you are going to trade players like this, you need to be able to replace them. Ward is not going to be able to replace Lee.

Further... you attack Lee for his lack of power, but it really did start to come back in the second half. His at-bats/home run in the second half was higher than his career numbers, at least the last time I looked at the numbers (about a month ago). You act like there was no reason Lee may have lost his power. He did have a major wrist injury. Wrist injuries often take significant time to recover fully from. Pitchers also adjusted to Lee and hammered him outside in the first half until he was able to adjust. But he did adjust. And in the second half his power went up.

Then there’s Fontenot and even Soriano.

I really wish people would stop pretending that Soriano is a 2b. There is a big reason Soriano doesn't play 2nd anymore. He was AWFUL. If you think Soriano is bad in LF, you would be hoping the Cubs would replace Soriano with Chuck Knoblauch at 2nd.

dave,

You're probably right about that, which is a pity becaue I think that Abreu doesn't have any problem showing up, he may just have a problem giving a damn. But, the last article I read said that the Yankees are likely to pick up his option, Gary Sheffield style. I don't think I would pay him $16 million, and I definetly know that I wouldn't trade some players for the privilege of doing so.

VA Phil,

As always, thanks for the laugh. I really liked the 'we have too many bad contracts, lets fix that by trading away the good contracts' argument.

Patterson can't play 2nd. Soriano cannot play 2nd. The Fontenaught cannot hit for power nor steal basis, so by your own argument there's no room for him. Please write those three things down and stick them on the fridge.

Oh yeah, Hendry isn't going anywhere, so quit worrying about that as well.

The Real neal:
"For catcher I think that Blanco es finito"

Do you think Hendry will trade him? It is going to be tough to do so as he is owed $2.8 milllion next year and $3.0 million club option in 2009 (or a $300K buyout). That is a shit load for a backup catcher who is going to be 26 and was hurt all last year. I personally can't see Hendry being able to unload him and he will just be a very highly paid backup catcher for us next year.

I read somewhere that Boras was going to try to cut a billion dollar deal for A-Rod. Presumably that would mean he would want a piece of ownership. So on one hand, you've got Boras reaching for the sky and pricing A-Rod out of everyone's reach, and on the other, you have a big market team, the lure of shaking a legendary curse and the adulation that would come with that, and a team that is in an ownership transition. Should be an interesting winter.

3 games do not make bad players.

I think one swing can make a bad player. But seriously, I'm not a big DeRosa fan, as you may have guessed. I just don't like guys who fall toward first base when they swing. Grudzielanek used to go "diving" like that, and it drove me nuts. The first rule of hitting is to be balanced.

Soriano used to make twenty-plus errors at second. In a full season in left for the Nats, he made eleven. This year he missed a lot of games and only made six errors, but I'm sure there were ten balls he missed that a good left fielder would have caught.

But you're right, his real position is Left Out. The Cubs have better options at second, I just didn't mention the names of the minors guys, and I forgot to throw in Theriot and Cedeno.

Neal, I never said anything as funny as Marquis for Baldelli. Nobody would take on Marquis and his contract as is, let alone in exchange for a double-A batboy. If we ever trade Marquis, it will be one of those Hendry deals where we pay 80-90% of his salary and get a low-minors prospect in return, like the Jones deal with Florida.

I highly doubt that Hendry will survive a change of ownership but if he does, the Cubs will have a good start toward their second hundred years.

Soriano used to make twenty-plus errors at second. In a full season in left for the Nats, he made eleven. This year he missed a lot of games and only made six errors, but I’m sure there were ten balls he missed that a good left fielder would have caught.

I don't disagree that Soriano isn't a good left fielder. But he is a MUCH worse 2b.

Nobody would take on Marquis and his contract as is

Well... being that Marquis would have been the best starting pitcher on your beloved Florida Marlins, I am not so sure about that.

And I would still like to know how you think that Ward is a viable full-time replacement for Lee and how A-Ram's contract is not "tradeable."

VA Phil,

Are you even a Cubs fan? They have been in their second hundred years for a while now, or do you mean their 2nd 100 without a title? If Hendry is so bad (and you of course contradict this argument by pimping the guys from Hendry's farm system), why would getting rid of him be a good start at continuing the curse?

Also, have you looked at Baldelli's contract?

From Cubs.com (Our favorite Carrie Muscrat):
"Floyd also has an option for '08, which kicks in because he started 108 games."

Really? He did? For what team? In reality, he started 78 games this year (60-RF, 15-LF and 3 DH) and played in 108 games. There is a big difference! Oh brother...

It appears Hendry might not be the GM for a whole lot longer
"The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday broadcaster and former major league pitcher Steve Stone could become the Cubs' next general manager. That's a distinct possibility if Chicago financier Lou Weisbach becomes the new owner.

Stone and Cubs Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams are aligned with the Weisbach group, one of at least four known to be interested in buying the team. Weisbach, the founder of Ha-Lo Industries and a close friend of Stone's, is working with wealthy cable magnate Jim Anixter and others trying to raise money for the bid. Rich Melman, from the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, is a possible partner."

Please, no Steve Stone...PLEASE!!!

Soriano is probably the leagues best left fielder, when healthy. Yes, there are some balls that he doesn't catch that other guys may have, ones hit over his head. He however makes up for that by catching 15 extra balls that land in front of almost any other left fielder. Then you add in his 20 assists...

Murt in RF could be this generation's version of Keith Moreland. He'll bat around .280, hit roughly 20HR and give you average defense - time to give the kid a real chance out there.

As for Hendry, this article today may interest some here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-mitc...

Unlike Phil Rodgers, Mitchell is a good reporter and has always had decent sources, so this may be valid speculation. Imagine Stoney replacing Hendry - the irony is inescapable. But does anyone here think Stone has the chops to be a decent GM? Granted, the guy is smart and doesn't mince words in judging player's performances, but does he have the business skills to run a ballclub and minor - league system?

The best you can do is build a team that's good enough to get into the post-season. After that, the hottest team wins. So the question should be..,. how can you get your team hot at the right right time?

Even back before divisions and LCS and LDS, back when the two pennant winners advanced directly to the WS, the obviously best team did not always win. The 1954 Cleveland Indians won 112 games during the regular season, and yet lost four straight to the NY Giants. The 1960 Yankees were clearly better than the Pirates, and yet the Pirates won. Same goes for the 1964 Yankees getting beat four straight by Cardinals, and the 1966 Dodgers getting swept by the Orioles.

The 1984 and 1989 Cubs teams had the best regular-season record in the N. L. and under the pre-1969 system would have advanced directly to the World Series, but had to get through the NLCS first and got tripped-up.

So I would say all you can ask of a GM is to build a team that is "playoff" worthy, and that's the best you can expect. The rest depends on your team getting hot at the right time. How you do that, I don't know.

And now that a club has to get through bot the LDS and LCS just to get into the World Series, the chances of getting snuffed before you can get into the World Series is even more problematic.

I would be satisfied with a Cubs team that is good enough to win the N. L. Central or Wild Card four out of every five years for a decade, and then I'll take my chances with the post-season, figuring that getting into the WS will happen eventually.

Whoops, Bo beat me to it.

Well Neal... this is where I have issues with flawed defensive metrics.

I do think that Soriano is a better defensive left fielder than VA Phil gives him credit for, but I also am not sure that Soriano really catches 15 more balls than an other leftfielder.

His assists are very nice - there is no question that he has a very strong accurate arm with a very quick release. But he has serious problems reading balls off the bat and going back on balls.

But I still would say, based both on stats and watching many games, that he is above average as a LF. But I also don't think that is saying very much.

Solid post in #3 Real Neal except that Marquis for Baldelli idea.

The Real Neal-
Didi you catch my post (#11) about Blanco? What do you think Hendry will do?

Should have wrote Blanco is going to be 36 (not 26) years old in my post #11.

I agree that you can't just look at the stats, but when you just watch games on TV, you can't judge by that either, because you have to watch the whole play to judge how difficult a given catch was. Even when at a game, it can be difficult, because you're watching the batter and by the time you swing your eyes out to the outfield the player may have take 2-3 steps or none at all. Wrigley has a small outfield which is an advantage, but it has hard walls, which is a disadvantage.

Soriano's Ranks among ML LF's
ZR .881 5th
FP .978 12th
RF 2.22 4th
Assists 19 1st (by 6 in 20 fewer games than Bay)
UZR +16 1st
RZR .872 (whatever that is, hardball times) 6th
FRAA 16 1st

Note he finished first in the three 'counting' ones, which are down because of his missed time. He was also doing better in the other ones until his second injury, when Jacque started grabbing everything for him.

Sorry Manny,

I think Blanco is going to not play anymore. So probably have to swallow that contract, being that it's unlikely to be insured.

If you think about the Baldelli trade, I think you'll realize it makes a lot of sense. Marquis is a league average veteran pitcher, something the D-Rays would have use for. Baldelli has no outfield spot, has had 501 at bats over the last three years, hit worse than Pie last year and is owed $6.65 million next year. Unless you're saying it's crazy for the Cubs, in which case, you may have a point, but if Pie flops and Baldelli has a healthy year, he could be worth the money and tradeable again. But you would have to have Marquis's replacement on the line before you swing that deal.

I agree that you can’t just look at the stats, but when you just watch games on TV, you can’t judge by that either, because you have to watch the whole play to judge how difficult a given catch was.

Agreed.

I know that Soriano shows very well in the defensive metrics. I just don't fully buy into they way that the defensive metrics are done.

I don't think that Soriano is a negative defensively. But I am not sure that he is a plus either - at worst he is neutral, which I am more than content with in LF. I just don't think he is as good as the defensive stats make him out to be.

I actually don't think that Real Neal's Marquis/Baldelli trade is that unrealistic. Marquis would have been a solid #3 in Tampa Bay's rotation this year. And his contract isn't nearly that albatross people make it out to be.

I also think that Tampa would (or at least should) be quite willing to trade Baldelli. Like Neal said - they don't really have a place for him, and he hasn't been healthy.

I also think that Baldelli would be a reasonable risk for the Cubs to take, especially if they could swap salaries, giving away Marquis. I still think that Baldelli can be an effective major league hitter if he can stay healthy. Just a year ago Baldelli put up an 871 OPS (though only in 364 at-bats).

The one thing I don't really like about Baldelli is that he is right handed. While I think righty/lefty issues are overrated, I do think it becomes an issue if your every day players are ALL right handed.

But yea - I would be interested in the Cubs grabbing Baldelli.

"Johan Santana will get mentioned a lot this offseason and throughout the year. If we could just add him and Arod, I like our chances."

Rob, was that tongue-in-cheek, or were you being serious? A team with ARod and Santana and 23 Little Leaguers would have a chance at the postseason. But what are the odds we get either of them? 1 - 500,000?

Obviously you have to replace Marquis with another starter who bats left handed... is Gooden still available?

I meant to mention, as well, nice article Rob G. Let's hope Hendry gets to put the pedal to the floor again this off-season. Maybe management has a kids in a candy shop view of profitability until the new owner takes over?

In an inteview on WGN-TV during a game in August, Hendry said the Cubs will probably not be active in the free-agent maket, but could well be active in the trade market, This fits with the Cubs ownership being in flux.

So I would think Hendry will be able to trade a contract or contracts for players who have contracts of near-equal value, but that's about it. No A-Rod. No Abreu. No high-priced FA.

If Hendry does nothing, I would project the Cubs Opening Day roster like this:

STARTING PITCHERS:
Carlos Zambrano
Ted Lilly
Rich Hill
Jason Marquis
Sean Marshall, Kevin Hart, or Sean Gallagher

BULLPEN:
Ryan Dempster
Bob Howry
Carlos Marmol
Scott Eyre (player option)
Michael Wuertz (eligible for arbitration)
Will Ohman
TBD (Kerry Wood, Kevin Hart, Billy Petrick, or Rocky Roquet)

CATCHERS:
Geovany Soto
Henry Blanco

STARTING INFIELDERS:
Derrek Lee
Mark DeRosa
Ryan Theriot
Aramis Ramirez

STARTING OUTFIELDERS:
Alfonso Soriano
Felix Pie
Jacque Jones/Matt Murton platoon (or Murton/Pie platoon, with Jones going back-and-forth between RF-CF)

BENCH:
Daryle Ward, 1B-LHPH (mutual option)
Ryan Cedeno, INF
Henry Blanco, C
TBD (either Fontenot, Pagan, Fuld, or Fox)

Of this group, I would say the most-likely to be traded are:

1. Ryan Dempster
2. Jacque Jones
3. Sean Marshall

Also, with Eric Patterson having been moved to the outfield, he is now a misfit in the Cubs organization, and so he will likely be traded.

I would think Hendry's #1 target would be a veteran left-handed hitting RF, as long as the other team takes back a contract of a similar amount.

To me, the most-obvious target would be Ken Griffey, Jr (CIN). He is making $12.5M in 2008 with a $12.5M club option for 2009 (or a $4M buy-out).

Junior has a limited "no trade"where the Cubs would be one of the teams to which he won't go, but that list was prepared back in 2000, long before Lou Piniella became Cubs manager and back when the Cubs were losing. So if the Cubs guarantee Griffey's 2009 club option, I would think he will probably agree to the deal in a heartbeat, especially to have an opoortunity to be reunited with Piniella .

As for the economics of the deal, although Griffey makes $12.5M in 2008 and the same in 2009, $6.5 each season is deferred (at 4% interest) as severance to the years 2010-2024, and so Griffey's actual salary for 2008 and 2009 is $6M each season.

At present the Reds are on the hook with Griffey for at least $16.5M in the years 2008-09 (of which $6.5M is deferred), so the Cubs would probably have to split the difference with the Reds, agreeing to pay half of the 2008-09 severance (about $250K per year for 15 years, 2010-2024), and then send back a contract with a value of about $5M for 2008 (so that adding Griffey would be offset by subtracting a contract of a similar amount from the payroll).

Therefore, I would think the most-likely deal would be Ryan Dempster (he is making $5.5M in 2008), a young starting pitcher (Marshall, Hart, or Gallagher), and a young position player (Eric Patterson), for Ken Griffey, Jr. An expanded version of this deal could be adding Jacque Jones ($5M in 2008) for Ryan Freel.($3M in 2008 and $4M in 2009), with Freel platooning with Pie in CF.

BTW, I am NOT advocating this deal. I am just trying to project what Hendry might want to do to acquire a veteran left-handed hitting RF and proven middle-of-the-order run producer via trade who can hit between Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez.

And if Jacque Jones is not traded during the offf-season, then Jones would play CF in 2008 and Pie would go back to Iowa for another year until the Jones contact expires. Matt Murton would be kept around as a RHPH and back-up corner OF.

John Schuerholtz expected to step down today.

Wow...

why would getting rid of him be a good start at continuing the curse?

What I said was that "if he does [survive], the Cubs will have a good start toward their second hundred years."

It's just a simple point. I'll be glad to tone it down a little. Hendry gives these fat contracts and everybody says, So what, it's the Trib's money. But there's a problem, because then half the roster is taken up with people you might be tired of or disappointed in and want to get rid of but you can't, because while Hendry may have lots of money, the other GM doesn't.

AZ Phil,

The reason that Hendry wouldn't go after free agents wouldn't be because they're a taboo, it would be for payroll concerns, so picking up money in the Griffey deal would be very similar to signing a free agent. The Reds aren't going to be throwing in any money for another team to take their #1 attraction.

I doubt the Reds will trade Griffey already faced with losing Dunn. Brandon Phillips isn't that good. Dunn's got some sort of no trade deal until June or something if his contract is picked up, as I recall. I would be shocked if that deal isn't picked up. The fans would probably revolt worse than the Pirates did last year.

I would think that the Angels would get in on any Griffey deal in the works. A Votto, Phillips, Wood, Encarnacion infield would be a lot of fun for the Reds fans.

I also think that Murton would go in any Griffey deal.

There's also Fukudome, but I think he's going to flop, so I hope we stay away.

What we really need is a left handed power hitting shorstop!

[Soriano] however makes up for that by catching 15 extra balls that land in front of almost any other left fielder.

I really should get my eyes checked.

VA Phil,

Here's the point of contention: "half the roster is taken up with people you might be tired of or disappointed in and want to get rid of but you can’t"

No trade clauses aside the Cubs have 1 unmoveable contract, Soriano's, maybe two counting Blanco's, because of injury. Just becaue the team didn't win the world series, most people don't get tired or disapointed with the entire roster.

It's plenty OK to have a player around for more than 3 years. I am wondering if you followed the Cardinals would you be demanding that they move Pujols so they can play Duncan at first and make room for Ankiel in the outfield.

Or another example...

Jeter was awful in the playoffs this year. According to you, teams should trade players that "don't perform."

Would you be pressing the Yankees to trade Jeter? Or Wang?

Dave, if I made the claim that Ramirez is untradeable, I'd rather just withdraw it, since I like everything about Ramirez--including his hustle and his attitude, which I think are fine--and would not trade him anyway.

I think it's remarkable how good a fielder he has turned himself into. That took work.

He stunk in the playoffs, but he did go 4 for 5 in that third game against FLA. And Lee hit a homer in that series. The big difference between them is that Lee is almost three years older. Ramirez' next three years should be pretty good.

I like all of your options for the Cubs and Jim Hendry. The biggest problem is that Hendry's hands will probably be tied becaue of the sale of the Cubs. The way I understand now, is that it will not get done before the start of the 2008 season or beyond.

BO VANDY: "Weisbach, the founder of Ha-Lo Industries..."

This guy is bad news. His company - after going public in the height of the .dot BOMB era - went completely bankrupt - taking some of my money along with all the other share holders.

I hope he does NOT get in!

What a prick.

Lets hope Schuerholtz is the new GM/President. I could see that Canning and Co. already have in the fold. I could see MLB baseball setting this all up, cause if the cubs are good, its a big revenue generator for the whole league.

Living in Reds Country, a few observations....

1) Phil - For ticket sale reasons, the Reds will not be trading Griffey prior to him hitting homerun #600, no matter if Griffey wants out of Cincy or not. If he would have hit #600 last year, and was currently sitting at #602 right now, I could see your logic. But since he is at #593, I don't see any way Griffey is available until mid-season 2008.

2) Neal - I think you would be surprised about Reds fans attitude towards Dunn. To say that Reds fans would "revolt" if his option is not picked up is far from the truth. Most Reds fans appear to be happy going with Hopper in LF and putting Dunn's money towards pitching. This isn't so much a reflection of their faith in Hopper's skills as it is a reflection of their growing frustration with Dunn.

What is up with so many of you wanting to bring in "Wheezers"?

Don't we have enough old vets already on this club?

IS our farm talent that bad?

Griffey? Dunn? Schilling? For whom?

After watching the team suck again against "younger teams" in both 2003 & 2007 - I am beginning to wonder about the sense of bringing in some highly-overpaid vets to not do the job in crunch time.

Soriano is a HUGE disappointment to me so far.

This isn’t so much a reflection of their faith in Hopper’s skills as it is a reflection of their growing frustration with Dunn.

Seriously... how can Reds fans be frustrated with this line: .264/.386/.554 OPS+: 132

His career OPS is exactly 900. He hits for power, he gets on base. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but I can handle that when you reach base as often as he does and you hit as many homeruns as he does.

Adam Dunn >>>>>> Norris Hopper

E-Man,

Was that a joke? You would rather have Marquis or Marshall in the rotation next year than Schilling?

Jones or Murton in Right over Griffey or Dunn?

Soriano had an EQA of .292 last year to raise his career average to .288. An OPS+ of 123 to raise his career average to 116. Just what were you expecting?

Umm.... Norris Hopper has a career minor league OPS of 687. Decent speed - averaging 19 sb's a season.

Reds fans have faith in that?

Dave, I agree completely. I think Dunn is much better than they give him credit for.

I think a lot of it has to do with the hype associated with him when he was coming up through the system. They thought they were locked into a perennial all-star, and while he has become quite the slugger, he has not become the great all-around player they were expecting.

I can certainly take the K's, questionable D and lack of sacrifice flies if you give me his power, OBP and consistency. For some reason, most Reds fans I know are ready to move on though, including, most notably, the Brenneman's. When you get on Marty's bad side, it usually doesn't take long for a major section of the Reds fan base to turn against you also.

Griffey? Dunn? Schilling? For whom?

Schilling is a free agent. Dunn could be.

And Dunn hasn't even turned 28 yet.

Don't get me wrong - I am not interested in bringing in aging veterans when you have your prospects who can perform just as well.

But what minor leaguers could outperform a healthy Schilling?

And what Cubs' minor leaguers could hit 40+ home runs like Dunn or Griffey?

LNL I was speaking towards them losing both Dunn and Griffey. I know that they're down on Dunn, but without Griffey I think their attitudes would change. At that point he becomes a necessary evil. Also I thought Hopper was their center fielder?

No Jockety, no Scheurholz.. Hendry is shooting up that list of Best GM's in the game!

dave — October 11, 2007 @ 10:43 am

Umm…. Norris Hopper has a career minor league OPS of 687. Decent speed - averaging 19 sb’s a season.

Reds fans have faith in that?
------------------------------------

Yes, most Reds fans I know think an OF of Hopper/Hamilton/Griffey plus improved pitching would be a better move than an OF of Dunn/Hamilton/Griffey and the same staff.

Their thinking is that if you take Dunn and Milton's contract $$ and put that money towards pitching they can become a much more competitive team.

No one I know is saying Hopper >>>>> Dunn, as you suggest in post #48.

Even the most hardcore Dunn-bashers would admit that Dunn is superior to Hopper, but, in their mind, Hopper + pitching is superior to Dunn.

The Real Neal — October 11, 2007 @ 10:46 am

LNL I was speaking towards them losing both Dunn and Griffey. I know that they’re down on Dunn, but without Griffey I think their attitudes would change. At that point he becomes a necessary evil. Also I thought Hopper was their center fielder?
--------------

My fault on the Dunn reference Neal. I misunderstood you.

As for CF, the hope is clearly that Hamilton will be their 2008 CF with Freel going back to the utility role.

The Real Neal:
"Brandon Phillips isn’t that good."

A case can be made he is the 2nd best 2B in baseball right now behind Utley. He is good and will likely only get better.

So Jocketty, Ryan and Schuerholz are now all availible (drool)....

Damn the Cubs slow ownership changeover!!!!!!!

That's fine Manny, but unless the opposing teams let him bat 3rd 4th and 5th, the point remains that he isn't good enough.

Gotta agree with Manny..... I think it is a little disingenuous to suggest Phillips isn't very good.

You can chalk Phillips up as one of the few mistakes of this latest Indians rebuilding effort.

Please let me know when the Cubs don't pick up Trachsel's option (reported by Fox yesterday), so I can come out from under my bed covers.

I agree with Real Neal's thinking but agree with AZ Phil that the trade route is more likely given the ownership being in flux.

Umm…. Norris Hopper has a career minor league OPS of 687. Decent speed - averaging 19 sb’s a season. Reds fans have faith in that?

It would be much better if he had a career 692 minors OPS.

It will be interesting to see what these 3 big GM's will do and how quick they will jump into another job. Very possibly the NYY and CHC jobs can be open at some point next year, with both being VERY attractive big jobs.

"And what Cubs’ minor leaguers could hit 40+ home runs like Dunn or Griffey?"

At the rate Jr. gets injured, maybe Ty Colvin could.

Griffey is a walking Rehab Center.

It would be much better if he had a career 692 minors OPS.

Well... I don't have much faith in Ryan Theriot either.

But I also don't see people being excited to lose someone like Adam Dunn because Ryan Theriot can play.

I said numerous times over the year that the most likely route for the Cubs to improve this offseason is through trades and there's only one reasonable free agent even worth chasing and that's Curt Schilling imo.

If the Cubs were going to get in on Griffey I think they would have done it in July or August.

And yeah Baldelli's an injury disaster and all and Marquis isn't as bad as people around here think but the problem with the trade is that there isn't a GM in baseball who would even consider trading someone with Baldelli's tools and talent and let's face it "name" for Jason Marquis.

XM Radio had Rosenthal on and they said Schuerholz is likely to just move up to team president or some other title within the organization.

So Jocketty, Ryan and Schuerholz are now all availible (drool)….

Manny, apparently you ignored me when I mentioned yesterday that Ryan has made it very clear that he has no interest in being a GM next year. He's still working with the Twins, but stepped down from the GM post because he was burned out.

I'm curious to hear what Schuerholz reason for leaving is, that's a FA to go after...

REAL NEAL: "Just what were you expecting?"

I was certainly expecting too much.

My problem - not Soriano's.

Were you one of the people who wanted Schmidt signed to a Cub deal last year? I don't remember.

My basic point is - if Schilling was obtainable for a one-year deal - fine.

What highly-sought after FA pitcher can you recall that signed a one-year deal where it worked out for the club? How did Roger Clemmens work out this year?

I doubt Ryan or Schuerholz will be moving at all, both stepped down due to being burned out and wanting to move on. Jocketty though will probably get a gig by next year.

"Brandon Phillips is not that good.."

dave — October 11, 2007 @ 11:14 am

But I also don’t see people being excited to lose someone like Adam Dunn because Ryan Theriot can play.
---------------------

Dave, I am not sure you are following the thinking here.

No one is suggesting Hopper is better than Dunn.

They are suggesting Hopper plus pitching is better than Dunn.

Maybe you already understand this, but your statements throughout the last few posts certainly don't suggest it.

At the rate Jr. gets injured, maybe Ty Colvin could.

This year Ken Griffey had more home runs than the Cubs total production from CF and RF combined. Actually... his HR totals in each of the last 3 years would have been more than the Cubs total CF/RF output this year.

He has put up 35, 27, and 30 home runs, respectively, in the last three seasons. So even with his injuries, he has still been very productive.

Good stuff, not that any of you guys care, but let me give you the thoughts on your team from a Brewers fan perspective. I think your lineup would be best served by moving Soriano down to the 5th spot on a regular basis. Put any combo of Pie, Theriot, DeRosa or whoever at 1 and 2 then you have Lee, Ramirez, and Soriano. That would by far be the best 3, 4, 5 hitters probably in all of baseball.

I heard rumors of Zambrano having dead arm and that was the root of his troubles after signing the contract. What are your thoughts on that? I think when his mind is right he's the best pitcher possibly in all of baseball. However, I do think you'll need another top of the rotation arm as I just don't see Hill, Lilly, and Marquis equally their success of this year.

No matter what though, you guys will absolutely be right there for the division next season and have a helluva team.

We're bagging on Soriano's D now?

He plays the wall pretty badly, but for a guy in only his 2nd year out there he more than makes up for it with speed and that incredible arm. Not to mention he had a gimpy leg for most of the season.

"What highly-sought after FA pitcher can you recall that signed a one-year deal where it worked out for the club? How did Roger Clemmens work out this year?"

Yes, I was in favor of Schmidt, but I hadn't given him a physical.

Let's see, high profile pitcher world series experience who signed a one year deal and it worked out well.... Isn't that Roger Clemens three times with the Astros?

What I meant by that..was..huh?
2005: .276/.324/.427, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 25/27 SB's..16 E
2006: .288/.331/.485, 30HR, 94 RBI, 32/40 SB, 8 E

Yeah..that wouldn't fit in on the Cubs...

Maybe you already understand this, but your statements throughout the last few posts certainly don’t suggest it.

No... I understand what you mean. But I don't agree with the logic.

And I would be really curious to see what pitchers Reds fans are talking about. Freeing themselves of Dunn's money is one step, but there needs to be decent pitching available in order to make the complete transition, and I don't see it. You would need a significant pitching upgrade in order to make up the loss of offense of going from Dunn to Hopper. And I don't think that such a significant pitching addition(s) is available.

My guess is Schilling would be more like a 2 yr deal with a third year option - anywhere between $10 - $15 million with lots of incentives.

"Yes, I was in favor of Schmidt, but I hadn’t given him a physical."

3/44

Rob G.:
"Marquis isn’t as bad as people around here think"

After the first 6 weeks this year (7 starts), Marquis reverted back to what he was last year. That is pretty damn bad.

From May 14th on, Marquis pitched in 27 games and was:
7-8, 144 IP, 5.56 ERA, .280 BAA, 1.63 WHIP

And I would be really curious to see what pitchers Reds fans are talking about. Freeing themselves of Dunn’s money is one step, but there needs to be decent pitching available in order to make the complete transition, and I don’t see it. You would need a significant pitching upgrade in order to make up the loss of offense of going from Dunn to Hopper. And I don’t think that such a significant pitching addition(s) is available.
----------------

I agree completely Dave. I think it would be a pretty bad move letting Dunn go just to throw Dunn (and Milton's) contract money on a few shitty pitchers.

Don't tell that to Marty and a large portion of the Reds fan base though.... they certainly won't agree.

I don't see Soriano's D getting much better being healthy. If his bat comes around more I can live with his D.

What about Prior? ~ducks~

Need on more outfielder and have JJ play the other one and Soto is up next year. I will take this team.

Jesse,

If you know of a good leadoff man available, let us know. Theriot isn't terrible in that role with DeRosa batting 2nd but I'm not sold on the Cubs settling on Theriot for a starter's role next year.

The problem with moving Soriano 5th is all the stranded runners. He's shown no ability to adapt the situation, constantly swinging for the fences even when a basehit is all that is needed. Yeah, you'll get a few more 2 and 3-run homers but it'll be offset by the swing and misses that result in nothing. As long as his legs are back I'm still fine with him in the leadoff spot.

Yeah Z usually goes through one dead arm period a year, but his problems are greater than that. Other than being an emotional basket case, he just has little control of his pitches and over his 6 years in the majors teams have figured out that all the movement on those pitches usually make them end up out of the zone. Some of it's mechanical issues and maybe he'll reverse his trend over the last 2 years, but I just don't like what I've seen in him in 2006 and 2007. At least not in terms of "ace" material.

After the first 6 weeks this year (7 starts), Marquis reverted back to what he was last year. That is pretty damn bad.

From May 14th on, Marquis pitched in 27 games and was:
7-8, 144 IP, 5.56 ERA, .280 BAA, 1.63 WHIP

Thanks Manny, but I thought the Cubs were only an 85 win team this year even though since June they had one of the best records in the league?

So try and stay consistent pal....

Marquis is a league average pitcher who'll eat up innings and give you shot to win a game about 50% of the time. There is plenty of value in that. Or we can go back to relying on Wood and Prior to not pitch for us if you'd like.

Rob,

Wow, I'm quite shocked to hear non-positive things about Big Z. From the outside looking in, I thought all Cubs fans had a big love affair with the guy. He's still the only starter on that staff that I fear facing when the Cubs/Crew play.

Point taken about Soriano. What are peoples' thoughts about Corey Patterson?

Also, I've now heard Francisco Cordero's name come up in talks with the Cubs. That would cripple the Brewers in multiple ways. Would you want to spend big money on a closer or go with someone in house like a Carlos Marmol? I think Marmol is absolutely sick as a reliever and would make a great closer.

After the first 6 weeks this year (7 starts), Marquis reverted back to what he was last year. That is pretty damn bad.

Well... he also had an excellent run from 8/10 - 9/16 where he had these numbers:

8 games, 4-1, 3.24 ERA, .228 BAA, 1.18 WHIP.

He has his bad moments - there is no question about that. But he also has his good moments.

He was great in April and May. He was quite bad in June and July. He was decent in August. And bad in September. But even in September, he was excellent in his first 4 starts of the month, and then had 3 bad outings in a row, one of which was meaningless.

I have no problem with Marquis being a #4/5 on this team. And I think that other teams would be willing to take a chance on him also, though while I don't find his contract to be as bad as others, I still find it unlikely that he would be traded.

Don't get me wrong Jesse, I like Z and I'm glad we signed him but he just seemed to thrive better when he was our quiet ace and everyone was looking at Prior and Wood while he was actually getting it done. There's no doubt he has some of the filthiest stuff in the league and can be practically unhittable for months at a time.

As for Corey Patterson, I just assume that's a bad joke and we have his younger, more talented version just waiting to get his shot in Felix Pie.

Cordero would be interesting, I should have included him in the list of possible closers we could add, but that's just not a route I think the Cubs should spend money on. They should just resign Kerry and either let Dempster, Wood, Howry and Marmol fight for the closer role or trade Dempster and let the last 3 battle it out.

From the outside looking in, I thought all Cubs fans had a big love affair with the guy.

Nope... not around here at least.

I like Z, and still think that he is the Cubs ace and will be for years to come.

BUT... he has been maddeningly inconsistent, which has caused quite a bit of frustration in these parts.

Point taken about Soriano. What are peoples’ thoughts about Corey Patterson?

Loads of talent, can't put it together to be a consistently successful player. Hasn't shown an ability to adjust to pitchers. Supposedly is "uncoachable." I was a big fan for a long time, much longer than others around here, but even I grew quite frustrated.

Rob G.:
"Marquis is a league average pitcher who’ll eat up innings and give you shot to win a game about 50% of the time. There is plenty of value in that."

Hey "pal", I hope you are right about Marquis being a league average pitcher next year, but it doesn't look good to me. The last 3/4 of the season looked awful, much like last year. Supposedly Rothschild fixed something this offseason, but that lasted 7 starts. Me thinks Marquis will be out of the rotation by the ASG next year, if not earlier.

Jesse:
"What are peoples’ thoughts about Corey Patterson?"

Do you mean his long lost brother Felix Pie? We hope he can turn out better than our last 2 can't miss prospects. But this past year showed he is still a ways away from being a legit MLB hitter.

except that other 8 start stretch that Dave pointed out....

The last 3/4 of the season looked awful, much like last year

No.. .it really didn't look awful. He had bad stretches, and good stretches. Some of those bad stretched were awful. But some of those good stretches were actually pretty good.

With that said, I don't think that Marquis is a god pitcher. But I do think, like Rob said, that he is a league average pitcher and a solid #4/5 for the Cubs, but would be be higher than that on different teams.

I wouldn't mind the Cubs getting Lofton. He's a cheap LF bat, fills the need for a real leadoff hitter (high OBP, good SB/CS ration), and doesn't appear to be slowing down too much (career: .299/.372/.423, 2007: .296/.367/.414).

My only doubts would be his defense. I didn't watch too many Indians/Rangers games this year, so I'm not sure how he looks in CF.

Do you mean his long lost brother Felix Pie?

Corey Patterson had an ops of 695 in AAA.

Felix Pie has an ops of 973 this year, 792 last year.

Pie also has a reputation of being coachable and a hard worker. Patterson? Not so much.

I think you guys obsess too much on Marquis' Jeckyl and Hyde routine. I know I value wins more than you guys do but you don't look at it the right way.

He gave the Cubs 12 wins. Good enough. If every starter on the Cubs won 12 games, that would be 60 wins (based on only 5 with any other spot starters added to the 5th starters stats) That's pretty good. For reference the Phillies and the DBag's starters accounted for 62 and 57 win respectively. (the Cubs had 63).

Got my money today, thanks Rob.

What I want:

1) Soriano, Pie, Jacque in OF; an offensive upgrade in the middle infield to go along with DeRosa-or-Theriot.
-or-
2) DeRosa and Theriot in the middle IF; an offensive upgrade in the OF to go along with Soriano and Jacque-or-Pie.

Don't know if that'd work logistically, but that's what I WANT, at least.

Oh yeah, and I'd like that OF upgrade to be Ichiro.

Rob, was that tongue-in-cheek, or were you being serious? A team with ARod and Santana and 23 Little Leaguers would have a chance at the postseason. But what are the odds we get either of them? 1 - 500,000?

Yeah, just kidding around. We won't be getting either of them I'm sure.

- Arod would of course just be money and if a new owner was in place well I'd like our chances. With Trib, I don't see it.

- I doubt Johan's getting traded, but if they really do offer him up there are a lot of teams with better prospects closer to contributing to the majors(if they haven't already) than we could offer.

A guess would be that the Twins would at least want 2 ready to pitch tomorrow in the bigs starters and probably one ready to play in the majors hitter at the very least. Mets could offer Milledge, Humber and Pelfrey. Angels could offer Wood, Santana and Adenhart and there's plenty more possibilites out there. Dodgers could offer Billingsley, Kemp and Kershaw (not so major league ready).

Who could the Cubs offer? Hill, Pie, Marshall or Gallagher? Maybe even Murton in there? Seems like the Twins could do better.

I think you guys obsess too much on Marquis’ Jeckyl and Hyde routine.

By guys you mean Manny?

I doubt Johan’s getting traded

That's not what his mom told me...

I think the Twins would take Hill and Pie and a minor leaguer for Santanna. Could be wrong, but the Jennings trade from last year is going to hurt his value.

I also think Schilling is in one year contract territory, but I could be wrong there as well, we shall see.

http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/news/article.js...

As I mentioned, Schuerholz is going into a cushy team president role for the Braves. Half the hours, more pay with the same great skybox seats.

"I think the Twins would take Hill and Pie and a minor leaguer for Santanna."

If we had a guarantee that he would sign long term then go right ahead.

Santana
Z
Lilly
Schilling
Chad

World Series

You bring in Johann in first, worry about the extension later. Like new ownership would even think about letting Johann walk. You have a whole year to make a deal and you get 2 draft picks if he walks, which he wouldn't.

The only reason to be gunshy is because of the Juan Pierre deal but the Cubs let him go cause he sucks and they cut their losses. They already got a pretty decent catching prospect out of it and well Nolasco, Pinto and Mitre sure a whole lot of nothing so far.

OK Rob. I see your thinking. Let's do it.

Rumor mill fun from Rotoworld:

Wsox, Giants, Rangers and Yanks likely pursuers of Torii Hunter.

ha, Dave Martinez named DRays bench coach; Cindy Sandberg approves.

Cubs 2008 schedule out, it is the O's at home June 24-26th. Yeah us...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/schedule/tentativ...

of course who knows how it'll play out but the last 2 weeks could be brutal...

3 vs the Brewers, 3 vs Cards, 4 @ Mets, 3 @ Brewers.

of course who knows how it’ll play out but the last 2 weeks could be brutal…

I will take a brutal last two weeks when they get to play baltimore, tampa, toronto, and the wsox instead of boston and the yanks.

oddest quirk I found was 2 games at Colorado in April and 4 at home versus them at the end of May. And 2 at home vs Mets in April and the 4 on the road I mentioned in Sept.

So we start and finish with the Brewers?

I'm not a huge fan of those final 4 series:

Milwaukee at home (3)
St. Louis at home (3)
Mets on the road (4)
Brewers on the road (3)

and another 4 game break for the ASG again which is nice...

and we play 7 versus the Phillies, weirdness.

Neal, your early comments about Jason LaRue scared me. That's a 70s-style Cubs move. That guy clearly SUCKS. Whatever happed to Koyie Hill? Shouldn't he be given another shot? Also, whoever suggested Jose Guillen should retract that . He has some talent, but is a complete pyscho. He's just about burned his bridges. It would be a contest between him and Milton Bradley as to who is the first one to attack a wiseass in the bleachers.
It would be nice if the Cubs could get the Angels to trade for some pitching, but they're pretty unreasonable, precisely because they have an arsenal of young pitchers.
I'm not so sure Stoney would be a good GM. We all know he's convinced he would be great but reality is different. I'm sure his time with Steve Phillips helped (immediate gagging here).
What the club really needs is a killer instinct that's been lacking for ohhhhhh.....99 years.

I would give up anyone in the farm system for Santana (including Hill, even though he's not in the farm system anymore). Since the Twins are losing Hunter, they might be more inclined to take Pie.

I don't know much else about their needs, but Hill, Pie, and Gallagher probably gets it done, no?

Open at home on March 31st???

Wow, make sure you bundle up...

That LAD series early June looks like a good road trip.

Maybe not LaRue, but someone who wouldn't be a complete disaster if Soto doesn't pan out, but understands that he's the backup. You must have missed Koyie Hill last year if you think he's better than LaRue, or really anyone at all.

I put up a post on the 2008 schedule if you wish to discuss.

E-man---I second the Lou Weisbach comments. Not that it matters to anyone that, well, matters, in the decision, but I know Weisbach as well.

The guy is dirty........being a prick doesn't preclude someone from being successful, but, this guy has ties to places that MLB does NOT want their owners tied.

Bad karma there, kiddos!!!!! If we think we felt desparation the past 98 years, wait until Lou bleeds the cash out of the Cubs!!!!! THEN we'll feel futility.

Joey

Matt Murton is ok? Good lord. Muton is one of the worst outfielders and dumbest baserunners in the game, on average misses 3 cutoff men a game. Both Murton and Pie should be on the quickest boat out of town.

Omar Minaya said it best, Prospects get you fired. IF people are that high on Pie, let them have him. Get a solid number three pitcher for him. If you add him to the lineup you put another guy in who has no clue what a strike zone is and will strike out over 150 times. We've all seen enough of that. Pie is Corey Patterson junior.

Arod will opt out, pay him the money, platoon Theriot and Fontenot at second, move DeRossa to right and call the Twins and offer them Pie, Hill and any two minor leagures other than Hart for Santana.

Play to win now, not in two or three years.

Must have been all those Mets rookies who let choked away that lead in the NL East. Good call Omar!

If I didn't make it clear in the post I would like that power bat to somehow be a shortstop so that Murton would get the full-time gig I think he deserves BUT that's pretty unlikely and if the Cubs go that route they'll have to get a corner outfielder which should be a little more available and would once again cost Murton the full-time job.

Anyone else notice that at the end of the year we ended up with pretty much the same outfield we started with, just in different positions?

schu's going out on top...good for him.

he's got his legacy of the 90s and his 00s legacy of "well, there ends that streak of winning, oh wait they won anyway, neat".

let someone else push a pencil. the scouts are still there...the braves will be okay. their southern-US scouting is off the hook cuz they are one of the few organizations that realizes baseball is played in the south in places other than florida and texas.

Good point, but the original setup was probably the best one. It's all Soriano's leg's fault.

I don't disagree, Bill Hall struggled in April defensively then looked to be quite a plus out there, I imagine Soriano would have done the same.

But his bat seemed to turn around when he got moved, probably just coincidence but now they'll never go back.

I'm printing up, "LOU, BAT HIM 5TH" T-Shirts for the Convention.

to add to the bullpen/5th starter mix, Billy Petrick story on Scout.com.

basically a tired arm shut him down for the year but no damage supposedly found. He'll start throwing in December again.

At least another log to throw on the bullpen fire if needed.

If money were no option I'd go get another centerfielder. Saying you're set with Pie is like when Thome wanted to come here in '03 and the Cubs said they were set with Choi.

Risky to go with guys who haven't proven they can hit in the majors. Sort of like pulling a pitcher to rest him for a game that may never take place. With this team's checkered past it's better to go with a sure thing. If they do go with Pie, they'd better keep JJ around for insurance.

Whose Wheaties did Felix Pie piss in?

Christ...he was miserable at the plate this season..absolutely. But after 177 AB's, pull the plug on a 22 year old OF with very good speed, and by all accounts exceptional defensive skills in CF?

C'mon guys....let's at least give him a full season's worth of AB's before sending him to the scrap heap.

Igby has the most retarded comment ive seen in a very long time on this thing. His body language? Did you just start watching the cubs when they did well this season because his body language has been the same for the most part since 2003 when we got him. Oh and players go in slumps, yes Aram had a slump at a very bad time, what did you expect him to do, jump up and down in joy when he struck out.

I basically think the Cubs will keep either Monroe or JJ around just in case they want to send Pie back down. I just don't know if JJ will care for that much.

We do have some minor league depth in Fuld and E-Pat as well. I just don't see spending money on Torii, Jones or Rowand as being worth it.

"Brandon Phillips isn’t that good"

did you think before you wrote that? Yes he is playing in a hitters park but saying someone who hit 30 homeruns, hit in the high 280's and has a very good glove not that good is a bit dumb

BTW... Brandon Phillips has an OPS+ of 101 (100 is average).

So yea - that isn't that good.

That OPS+ is from this year, btw.

BTW... Mark DeRosa had an OPS+ of 102 this year.

When they first sent Soriano to the outfield, he noticed the warning track, and he said to himself, "I know what this is. When I feel this under my toes, I'll stop and play the carom and make a strong throw to second or third. I'll get a lot of assists, and they don't charge you with errors on balls you don't try to catch."

He likes to bat first because he'd rather not be up with men on base. Why? Because his uninhibited hitting style leads to a high percentage of ugly at-bats. People resent it when you do that with men on base.

One solution is to bat him leadoff but you could also hit him seventh. Seriously, he would do a lot of damage by himself at or near the bottom of the order.

You need to get Soriano to the plate as much as possible. He bats 1st.

/story

You need to get Soriano to the plate as much as possible. He bats 1st.

Why is that Chad?

How about just get the best players we can and then see where Soriano will bat?

Just hope Hendry doesn't do something stupid like Juan Pierre and get a prototypical leadoff hitter who's really not that good.

Funny, I thought Soriano's problems with the wall are that has no idea where it usually is and gets himself caught too far or jumps prematurely or unnecessarily.

Why? Cause that is where he will do the most damage. Not to mention what a huge plus he is late in games. When we pinch hit for the pitcher, he's up next. That is huge. AND if he isn't going to hit well lower in the order, give him as many chances to hit homers as you can. Anyone notice the Snakes leadoff hitter, btw? It's NOT just about OBP.

Anyone notice the Snakes leadoff hitter, btw? It’s NOT just about OBP.

I am so sick of this ridiculous argument.

Just because the Snakes do something, and they won, does not mean that it is good or right. And just because they beat the Cubs does not mean that the Cubs should model their team after the Snakes.

The Diamondbacks did not have a good offense this year. They were 26th in runs scored out of 30 mlb teams (14th of 16 NL teams). So why would the Cubs want an offense like that?

dave:
"So yea - that isn’t that good."

Yeah, if you only go by that made up stat. Good thing OPS+ is only one very small stat to the thousands of ways to determine of a player is good or not.

dave:
"BTW… Mark DeRosa had an OPS+ of 102 this year."

HA HA HA

Enough said about that stat...:)

manny... do you even know what OPS+ is?

dave:
"manny… do you even know what OPS+ is?"

Yes I do. It is basically a park and league adjusted OPS.

And I don't care what that number says, and this instance shows it's clearly flawed. DeRosa did not have a better offensive season that Phillips. No way, no how!!!

Well... DeRosa also has a similar RC/27, a similar EQA, a and similar (though lower) OPS.

Don't get me wrong - I think Brandon Phillips is a decent/good player. But not a great player.

And he is probably better than DeRosa. But I would say that DeRosa is probably underrated and Phillips is overrated.

Yeah I agree Phillips is not a great player, but he is one of the top 2B in the NL for sure and DeRosa is not.

So, I'm pretty confident we'll see JJ in centerfield next year. I don't see any reason to not let him play, he certainly earned it in the second half, not to mention that he had a pretty good 06. Pie had multiple chances this year to earn that spot, and proved quite well that he can't hit major league pitching. And I don't know about you all, but I am slightly impatient, and don't have time to wait for him to figure it out. As for the rest of the outfield, I think Soriano should be in right, because of his arm, and Murton in left. Certainly, if we can find some power to put in left field, that would be great as well, but I think MM has it in their somewhere...Also, if Barry Bonds plays for the Cubs next year, I will have to stop being a Cubs fan. I certainly would love to win a world series, but I would love to do it without a cheater on the squad. In other news, lets also not forget about DeRosa's versatility...he played a great right field for us when we needed him to...are there any second basemen out and about that we could pick up? Or, what if ARod takes over at short, shift Theriot to second, and DeRosa moves to the outfield? Just some ideas....

Excuse me if I repeat, but the D-backs are boring me to tears and my TBS has been stuck on a photo of Juan Cruz's back for the last 15 minutes...is it just my tv?

THere are trades to be made. I'd prefer not to give away too much pitching if we can. However, we can certainly trade away some salary--this all assumes that we can actually spend something and think that the recent go ahead on rehabbing the field is a good sign, will make my scenario at least in the realm of a more realistic dream.

Re-sign Wood.
Feel free to trade Marquis if you can. You have enough arms to fill that spot and could Dempster be worse...wait...yes, he could. Choose, what is 5.5 mil vs. 7?

I like the idea of giving Prior another year. I just keep thinking of Chris Carpenter (pre-2007), him getting that screwed up selfish head of his together and kicking a-- somewhere, but that 3 mil could come in elswhere...but you toss him in with all the other guys.

Anyway, I would love to see Aaron Rowand signed. First and foremost, he plays incredibly hard. You would never see him admire a homerun, play golf instead of baseball during a baseball game, run out every ball hit, smash into every wall--and the guy wins and is a leader.

And, it is not just to spit in the eye of the Sox. He loves this town. The problem? Pie love and Money.

You could play him in center and IF pie is ever ready, and I'm not sure he will be (could be a Ronny type, tears up AAA and can't hit MLB pitching)...move Rowand to right and keep Murton. Or use Pie off the bench, trade Murton and let JJ play out his contract. Or trade JJ use his money for Rowand, use Murton off the bench, etc.

I just love the idea of a guy who is a leader, a true baseball guy, 27 homeruns, who hits beautifully at wrigley, can hit anywhere in the order, fields like a rockstar...could you imagine Pie in CF and Rowand in RF?

Never will happen--ignore my other stuff. I'll take Rowand over Cuban anyday. And all the Arod people? Get real.

A couple of notes:

Those of you pumping up Stoney for GM? Let's take a look at something. First, the source is Fred Mitchell. His column is this bizarre mix of light fare and sports gossip. That column seems like a gold watch they gave him rather have him retire a few years back. USually, his stuff is more like "Ernie Banks will sing the 7th inning stretch tomorrow, and he looks great."

Anyway, Stoney said on WSCR that he didn't want to be a GM about 6 months ago, but that might not hold true anymore. He seemed more interested in owning/president position.

Earlier Neal took a lot of heat for the JAson LaRUe comment. Steve Stone is the single best color commentator in all sports, to my mind, however, in 2004 during the collapse he also predicted a huge career for LaRue and talked how incredible he was and lucky the Reds were to have him (of course, at that time, my 93 year old grandmother could look good behind the plate). The point? He is not a genius talent evaluator either.

John Scheurholtz resigned today. Hendry goes, maybe we lure John out of retirement.

THe deal with Stone is that he has no front office experience that I know of. These days, it is true, you have all these young guns (I went to college with Josh Byrnes and Thad Levine, asst. GM at Texas), but they have at least worked their way up. Moneyball or crusty old baseball guy (the Roland Hemond type), it doesn't matter. It is experience in talent evalutation, etc. Hendry is at his best with Randy Bush, Tim Wilken (who Stone adores), Gary Hughes, etc.

This isn't basketball where a guy like Paxson can just walk in the door and be GM (and damned good). IT is more like football--Matt Millen anyone?

I love Stone, wish for him to come back everyday--Love ya Bob and ROnnie--in someway, but not as GM.

It would be a disaster. No substitute for experience.

Ken Harrelson anyone? You can manage without experience, but I don't think you can be a GM.

Brandon Phillips sucks? since when does a .288 BA, 30 HR, 94 RBI and 107 runs scored from your second baseman suck?

Uhhhhh you might want to stick to the stats that people have used for over a century to determine who is better than who and not the fancy new ones that people create to drive home a narrow minded point.

Mark Derosa's .293 BA, 10 HR, 72 RBI and 64 runs scored is a joke in comparision. Christ Phillips hit 20 more HR, drive in 20+ more RBI and score 40+ more runs. I dont give a crap what RC/27 says or ball park difference.

Brandon Phillips put up the numbers that DeRosa never did. Phillips provided "REAL" offense. Not projected or shoulda woulda coulda offense. But actual runs on the bound that counted in games. Sorr but your smoking crack if you think DeRosa had a better year than Brandon Phillips.

"“Brandon Phillips isn’t that good”"

BRANDON PHILLIPS ISN"T SO GOOD THAT HAVING HIM IN THE LINEUP MAKES UP FOR HAVING VOTTO AS YOUR #4 AND ENCARNACION AS YOUR #5 HITTERS.

I think the real question here is how someone like the Real Neal gets to call other people morons.

Brandon Phillips sucks?

Who said Brandon Phillips sucked?

Keep making things up MikeC...

The Real Neal — October 12, 2007 @ 12:54 am

““Brandon Phillips isn’t that good””

BRANDON PHILLIPS ISN”T SO GOOD THAT HAVING HIM IN THE LINEUP MAKES UP FOR HAVING VOTTO AS YOUR #4 AND ENCARNACION AS YOUR #5 HITTERS.

--------------------

What the fuck do Votto and Encarnacion have to do with the issue of Brandon Phillips talent? We are discussing Brandon Phillips, not the Reds lineup.

Reading comprehension, reading comprehension.

And suggesting DeRosa is comparable to Phillips is a joke (posts 132-134). MikeC was dead on in #150.

Trade Jack Jones and Steve Trachsel to ATL for Edgar Renteria. Pick up Ward's option. Leave any additional money left over in the Kitty in the event that a midseason upgrade is needed. If upgrade is not needed. Spend the extra cash in the draft and Latin market.

Aaron B for Cubs GM 2009

--Uhhhhh you might want to stick to the stats that people have used for over a century to determine who is better than who and not the fancy new ones that people create to drive home a narrow minded point.--

Sigh...

Perhaps you would also like to drive the cars and fly in the planes that people were using a century ago? Who needs progress after all?

Look, there's nothing wrong with OPS+. It's a fine stat, but it's a rate stat and it's not the end all and be all for a player's contributions. And it doesn't tell the story of how much better Brandon Phillips' year was than Mark Derosa's.

Consider B-Pro's WARP2:

Phillips: 10.0
DeRosa: 5.6

That means that Phillips' contributions gave the Phillies ten more wins than a replacement-level player could have provided. That's pretty damn good. A-Rod, for example, had a WARP2 of 13.7.

I don't think its out of the realm of possibility that we would trade DLee. Especially if we get an owner that wants to make a splash. For example, we could trade Lee to the Dodgers for Kemp or Eitheir. They could put Loney in left and Either or Kemp in right. We could then sign A-rod to play first. Naturally, we'd expect the Dodgers to add a pitcher to the deal.

Another option to consider is Joe Maurer. Not for Lee but for a package of young players, including Pie. I've heard on XM that Minnesota is coming to the realization that Maurer needs to move from behind the plate. He's too tall and the toll of catching is affecting his hitting-especially the power numbers. He could be a rightfield option for us.

Yes, these are "out of the box" ideas, but I think we all agree that rightfield, closer and one more starter are the needs.

You guys really make me scared, some times. I wonder how you can function in society. Let's re-read again what I said:

"I doubt the Reds will trade Griffey already faced with losing Dunn. Brandon Phillips isn’t that good."

Seriously, give the left ear a tug. Anyone with average 10th grade reading skills should be able to realize that sentence is saying that Brandon Phillips cannot supply all the power for the Reds' lineup. Really, pitiful. Even Chad and Dave who love to nitpick everything I say, could figure it out. What's your excuse?

Carmen I like the out of the box thinking but I don't think Lee is going anywhere, since he's the close thing we have to team leader (and he's got a NTC). If Mauer can play right, why would the Twins not just move him to right? It would take a butload of talent to get Mauer, something like Hill, Marmol, Pie, Soto, Veal. I'd love to have him but the price would be just too high.

Little Nate Lewis,

"What the fuck do Votto and Encarnacion have to do with the issue of Brandon Phillips talent? We are discussing Brandon Phillips, not the Reds lineup."

I was discussing the Reds lineup. You were taking one sentence out of context and trying to argue with that. You don't understand what context means, but now I am just repeating myself.

yeah, chill with the namecalling children, not in the mood to babysit. I'll just delete the entire comment if it pops up again or close this thread.

I am wiling to trade Pie for the first time, not because I now doubt his ability to succeed, but because I fear that he wants to model his game after that of his mentor, Soriano.

Pie has the skill set to become a well-balanced offensive and defensive player, if he is willing to hard hard to develop those skills. I fear that the Soriano signing has sent the message to a plaayer like Pie that he can become rich and successful by merely advancing one aspect of his game, and that he needn't work on the others.

Once a young player falls into that mindset, you either accept him or move him, and I fear that Pie is so impressionable and in awe of Soriano that he has adopted that mindset.

Just one man's perception.

Marshall & Murton for David DeJesus.

Awesome.

Why on Earth does anyone want to trade Lee or Ramirez? The whole idea is that we have two great corner players and anchors for our lineup locked up for years at pretty good rates compared to the market. Ramirez may be surly or whatever, but he has done nothing but produce, so who cares? Lee had a "down" year this year in which he still had a 900+ OPS, and is a great defensive player and leader, for those who love the good old "intangibles." We are not improving on that for the 13-15m a year we are paying now.

The problem remains that we continue to have black holes at other positions. DeRosa was a good start toward remedying that at 2B, and maybe Soto can finally solve the longstanding catcher problem. What we need is one more really good bat either in the OF or at SS. A-Rod would be amazing, if money isn't an object, but I bet it is with the ownership situation. Otherwise, slim pickings at that position, as Tejada looks done and most of the other options are younger and not going anywhere. In the OF, Andruw Jones is kind of intriguing, depending on how much his awful year last year knocked down his asking price. He is still only 30. I'd also take Adam Dunn in a minute, bad defense, strikeouts and all. Otherwise, some kind of a package involving some of Pie, Murton, Marshall, Theriot, Fontenot, etc, for a good established bat like Burrell or Willingham would be great too.

I think we can stand pat on pitching if we improve the offense, especially in this thin market. There is already decent depth in place, and we can always make a deal during the season if we need one more arm, and the asking price will probably be better then. Schilling is an intriguing idea, but I wouldn't want him for more than 1 year or 10-12m, and I bet either he stays in Boston or someone is stupid enough to give him an idiotic Randy Johnson / Yankees type of contract. Probably the Yankees.

Pat Burrell!

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - Hendry and Co. didn t rest on their success and spent the offseason of 2004 and the season building one of the best Cubs 1) Phil - For ticket sale reasons, the Reds will not be trading Griffey prior to him hitting homerun #600, no matter if [...]

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - There’s also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics [...]

Very, very late to the party, but great work, Rob.

I think the talk of Griffey, etc.. isn't what the team really needs. How about Carl Crawford? A terrific number 2 hitter with speed and some power? Plus, he's young. The Rays want pitching and the Cubs have young pitching. I think this is more the type of player to look for.

thats awesome... great idea if he's on the trading block which is probably slim to none

Perhaps you would also like to drive the cars and fly in the planes that people were using a century ago? Who needs progress after all?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with OPS+. It’s a fine stat, but it’s a rate stat and it’s not the end all and be all for a player’s contributions. And it doesn’t tell the story of how much better Brandon Phillips’ year was than Mark Derosa’s.

RBI, Runs, BA, ERA told who were the better players a 100 years ago just like it tells you who the better players are today.

Sorry none of those new stats are ever gonna convince me DeRosa had a better year than Phillips like a certain poster was trying to convince everyone with.

Luis Castillo might be an interesting pick up, if his cost doesn't go ridiculously high. At $12 million over two years he could play second and bat second (or leadoff) and we could let Theriot, DeRosa and Cedeno compete for time at SS and on the bench. Castillo improves the defense at 2B and has a career OBP over .360, which might go even higher playing in the NL Central. He adds speed at the top of the lineup, which I'm not sure Soriano will anymore unless he can get completely over the leg injuries, and he's a switch hitter adding a bat from the left side in the 2-hole. The two year contract means extra time for Patterson to get ready, if he stays a second baseman anyway. Also, this isn't a huge contract, so it leaves room to add salary in the pitching department if possible. If it takes more than $15 million to get him, though, I think I'd pass, or if he requires more than two years.

Rob,

Do you see the Cubs pursuing Fukimoto? he seems to be the perfect fit at Wrigley, a left handed power hitter, strong defense, and athletic (can run).

Also, what do you see Eric Patterson's future next year with the cubs? his pofile is a nice mix, as we definitely could use some speed and a left handed bat in the 2 hole.

Lastly, what do you think the cubs will do with Monroe? he actually is a better fit than Jacque, as he allows the cubs to bring up Pie as a platoon player.

i like the thoughts of this lineup:

Sori
EPatt
Lee
Fuki
Ramirez
Soto
Theriot / Cedeno
Pie

..while mixing in DeRosa anywhere and everywhere.

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - There’s also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics [...]

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - There’s also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics [...]

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - There’s also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics [...]

[...] Who Do You Want for 2008?Baseball - There’s also decisions that need to be made on trying to resign Kerry Wood, and If he finds a better job elsewhere mabye Tony the former Tiger can take his roll and would come in on a incentive laden contract, based more around Chadball statistics [...]

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