The Hendry/Piniella Plan (Apparently)

With the MLB Winter Meetings set for next week in Nashville, the Hot Stove League should start to heat-up. So here is a summary of what appears to be the "Hendry/Piniella Cubs Plan for 2008" (or whatever they call it internally) that was apparently devised at the Cubs Organizational Meeting in Mesa last month (and I am NOT necessarily advocating any of this stuff): OBJECTIVE #1. Acquire a left-handed hitting power-hitting RF (preferably an everyday player rather than a guy who needs to be platooned) who can hit 4th or 5th in the batting order. Although this is likely the Cubs #1 priority, it probably will be the last thing Hendry will address. OPTIONS A. JAPANESE FA NOTE: Would not require posting fee, or players or draft pick, but would probably command a three or four year deal. Kosuke Fukudome B. TRADE NOTE: If acquired in a trade, the idea would probably be to have one of these guys play RF for at least two years, maybe longer. Carl Crawford (TB) - Would probably cost the Cubs Rich Hill and a second MLB-ready pitching prospect like Sean Gallagher. Crawford gets $23.5M through 2010 with club options and buy-outs in 2009-10, but he signed his contract under the old CBA so he could demand a trade post-2008. Luke Scott (HOU) - Still auto-renewal and won't be eligible for salary arbitration until after 2008 (likely will be a "Super Two" post-08) and won't be a FA until after 2012 season, but with C. Lee-Bourn-Pence now the likely Astros everyday outfielders in 2008, Scott should be available for a young MLB-ready starting pitcher (like Sean Gallagher, Kevin Hart, or Sean Marshall) plus an auto-renewal (pre-arbitration) MLB-ready middle-infielder who can hit #2 (behind Bourn) in the Astros batting order (like Ryan Theriot). Scott has no problem hitting LHP. Lest you think Luke Scott can't be had, remember, ED F. WADE is the Astros new GM. Aubrey Huff (BAL) - Gets $8M per season 2008-09 and hasn't played any RF since 2006, but would be almost an exact salary exchange with Jason Marquis ($16.25M over 2008-09), and in addition the O's would probably want a young CF (like Sam Fuld or Eric Patterson) who can hit #2 in batting order, plus maybe a third lesser prospect. Although Huff would not require a platoon-mate in RF, he probably would require a defensive replacement in the late innings. Ryan Church (WAS) - Likely will be first-time arbitration-eligible this off-season (as a "Super Two"), Church supposedly was a Hendry target at the 7/31/07 trading deadline, and probably could be had for a young MLB-ready starting pitcher (like Virginian Sean Marshall) and a young MLB-ready SS (like Ronny Cedeno, who BTW is having a strong season at the plate in the Venezuelan Winter League) and/or a young CF (like Fuld or E-Pat). Although Church is a good hitter, there would certainly be a question about whether Church has the slugging chops needed to hit in the middle of the Cubs batting order. C. JOURNEYMAN FA NOTE: This would definitely be a "worst-case scenario," a likely one-year $5M-ish short-term fix. Neither player would require draft pick compensation, but each would probably require a right-handed hitter (like Matt Murton) as a platoon partner in RF in '08. Geoff Jenkins Shawn Green D. THE WILD CARD Jody Gerut - The 30-year old ex-Cub (and Elmhurst native) is absolutely destroying the VWL (hitting 390/488/567 while leading the league in OPS, rakin’ against RHP and LHP alike). If you pro-rate his VWL numbers out over a full 160-game season, you get 16 HR, 88 RBI, 136 RUNS, 28 doubles, 12 triples, 100 BB, and 80 K. Gerut missed the last two seasons after undergoing knee surgery, but he seems to be 100% now. He’ll get a FA deal with somebody looking for a left-handed hitting RF with some pop. He was playing on one leg when he was with the Cubs (briefly) in 2005. He could be the Josh Hamilton of 2008. If the Cubs can't sign Fukudome, or acquire Crawford, Scott, Huff, or Church via trade, and the choices left are Geoff Jenkins and Shawn Green, maybe Jody Gerut just might be a better option. The Cubs have already signed four minor league FA (Andres Torres, Andres Blanco, Mike Smith, and Cory Bailey) out of the VWL just in the last month, and traded for another (Omar Infante), and with Ronny Cedeno and Henry Blanco also active there, don't be shocked if they sign Gerut, too. ===================================== OBJECTIVE #2. Acquire a speedy left-handed hitting (or switch-hitting) middle infielder who can make spot starts at 2B and SS and/or be used in late-inning double-switches. OPTIONS: A. FA Kaz Matsui - Is the only FA who fits the obective, and he would probably command about $12M over three years, but at least he would not cost Cubs a player or draft-pick. The Cubs would almost certainly pursue him anyway, but a side-part of this signing would be the hope that Matsui could influence high school buddy Fukudome to sign with Cubs. B. TRADE OR NON-TENDERED FA Felipe Lopez (WAS) - Eligible for salary arbitration (made $3.9M in 2007), Lopez could get non-tendered by WAS on 12/12 or could maybe be part of a Ryan Church deal before that (especially if Ronny Cedeno is included). ================================= OBJECTIVE #3. Re-sign Kerry Wood (and this has been accomplished), move Ryan Dempster to the starting rotation, attempt to trade Jason Marquis, Scott Eyre, and/or Will Ohman, and replace Dempster in the bullpen with K. Wood and probably one more FA reliever, or maybe even two (a RHP and a LHP) if Ohman and/or Eyre can be moved. OPTIONS: A. RE-SIGN OWN FA Kerry Wood - Just when it looked like he might not be coming back (he reportedly could have possibly commanded more money and/or years elsewhere), KW opted to remain with the Cubs, signing a one-year deal today for a reported $4.2M plus another $3.45M in incentives. B. SIGN A VETERAN FA RELIEVER (listed alphabetically) * throws left THE DIRTY DOZEN (listed alphabetically) * Jeremy Affeldt Shawn Chacon Octavio Dotel Eric Gagne LaTroy Hawkins Jorge Julio * Trever Miller Troy Percival * Arthur Rhodes David Riske Rudy Seanez Luis Vizcaino NOTE: Pending 12/12 non-tenders, these actually really are the (ahem) best available veteran FA relievers out there as of today. I didn't even list "reclamation projects" like Jose Mesa, Aaron Sele, and Mike Timlin, but knowing how Jim Hendry operates, they are possiblities, too. =============================== OBJECTIVE #4: Trade Jacque Jones for some useful part and try to save as much 2007 payroll salary as possible in the process. This was accomplished when Jones was dealt to DET for IF-OF Omar Infante, a right-handed hitter with some (albeit not a whole lot of) speed who can play 2B, SS, 3B, LF, and (most importantly) CF. ================================== OBJECTIVE #5: Non-tender Mark Prior on 12/12, and then (tactfully and respectfully) offer him a take-it-or-leave-it 2008 contract with a low base salary (probably around $1M-$1.5M) with incentives (probably around $3M-$4M), with a club option (with buy-out) for 2009. ================================= OBJECTIVE #6: Try and trade arbitration-eligible players Craig Monroe and Neal Cotts for something/anything, and if they aren't traded by 12/12, just non-tender them. NOTE: This has been half-accomplished, as Monroe was traded to MIN for a PTBNL. ================================== OBJECTIVE #7: Offer salary arbitration to Michael Wuertz, but of course try and sign him without having to go to a hearing.
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Comments

Whoa, I had almost forgotten that Neal Cotts even existed.

Why do some of these "options" look like a choice between taking poison and jumping off a bridge?

AZ Phil -

Any idea when we can expect a Matsui or Fukudome signing?

I am in the minority in thinking that Matsui will bring much needed balance and speed to the lineup so I am fine giving him a deal. Fukudome is the key - not having to give up prospects, young MLB ready pieces or draft picks for the best FA available that fits what you need would seem to tell Hendry to give a little more money to Fukudome to make it happen!

AZ Phil:

Of the options in Objection # 1-- which do you like best?

AZ Phil - any thoughts about trading for Ryan Freel? I read where Cincy would be looking to demp/trade him goven his salary and the boatload of young cheap talent that Cincy claims to have.

Would this trade be possible?

Soriano to BoSox for Drew and Crisp.

I know Drew does not have as good of an average as Soriano but he is better at getting on base.

I would not mind seeing Drew and Murton on the corners, as I believe that we need to have more OBP types who see more pitches.

Plus this frees up dollars for other needs.

Soriano to BoSox for Drew and Crisp.

hehehe. no, it isn't possible.

Romero — November 26, 2007 @ 2:21 pm
AZ Phil:

Of the options in Objection # 1– which do you like best?

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

ROMERO: Personally, I would like to see Hendry sign Kosuke Fukudome because it wouldn't cost the Cubs any players (especially young pitchers), but if the Cubs can't entice him to come to Chicago, then I would prefer Luke Scott (if he's available and if Ed Wade is willing to trade him within the division).

The presumed price for Carl Crawford (the Rich Hill part) is just too steep for me, Ryan Church might not be equipped to hit 5th in the order, and Aubrey Huff might not be able to play RF (but if he can, then he would certainly be OK, especially if the Orioles take back Jason Marquis as part of the deal).

I really, REALLY do not want to see the Cubs sign Geoff Jenkins or Shawn Green, but it's a possibility. After all, Hendry signed Cliff Floyd last off-season, so I wouldn't put it past him.

Last week ESPN reported that we should start seeing some Japanese players signing this week.

Rory — November 26, 2007 @ 2:27 pm
AZ Phil - any thoughts about trading for Ryan Freel? I read where Cincy would be looking to demp/trade him goven his salary and the boatload of young cheap talent that Cincy claims to have.

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

RORY: As you probably know, I'm a big Ryan Freel, fan, but I can't see the Cubs making a deal for Freel after having just acquired Omar Infante, since Freel and Infante would basically serve the same purpose (IF-OF-RHPH).

I can't help being reminded of the South Park election episode with the options of

A) A Giant Douche
B) A Turd Sandwich

Re: Aubrey Huff

Sure could be available. He's the talk of Baltimore this month after saying Baltimore was "a horseshit city" on a radio show two weeks ago.

WNST's site quotes him in this context: The question to him was, "You're in Baltimore now, is that a good baseball town?" Huff's response -- "Yeah, it is. It's an older organization and the fans have a lot of pride in the team -- but...what...a horseshit city."

JF — November 26, 2007 @ 2:16 pm
AZ Phil -

Any idea when we can expect a Matsui or Fukudome signing?

I am in the minority in thinking that Matsui will bring much needed balance and speed to the lineup so I am fine giving him a deal. Fukudome is the key - not having to give up prospects, young MLB ready pieces or draft picks for the best FA available that fits what you need would seem to tell Hendry to give a little more money to Fukudome to make it happen!

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

JF: It could drag on past the Winter Meetings and into mid-to-late December, but hopefully it will all be settled (one way or the other) soon, Hendry has to know if he needs to go in a different direction ASAP, before some of the other possible alternatves become unavailable.

If you want a RFer with some pop go ask Tampa Bay about Johnny Gomes. He will play a poor RF but he has insane power. He fell off some peoples radar because of a shoulder injury.

The last 3 years he has averaged about 20 HR, 55 RBI in 350 AB's a year. Factor that over a full season and your getting somewhere. He will also strike out close to 200 times as well and maybe hit .250, lol.

At the very least he is a very handy player to have around that can just decimate LHP, which we kinda need with all the soft tossing lefties in our divison. Plus he is only 27, now would be a good time to get him, right in his supposed peak years.

Him and Jorge Cantu's value were basically nil and Cantu got sent to Cincy for very little. Gomes can be had for just as a small price.

Arizona Phil: What objections would you have to a 1-year, 5 million deal for Shawn Green?

(Imagine if they brought back Hawkins and/or Alfonseca.)

Where does the payroll currently stand after the Jones deal and the Wood signing?

2008 Hall of Fame ballot is out:

• Brady Anderson
• Harold Baines
• Rod Beck
• Bert Blyleven
• Dave Concepcion
• Andre Dawson
• Shawon Dunston
• Chuck Finley
• Travis Fryman
• Rich Gossage
• Tommy John
• David Justice
• Chuck Knoblauch
• Don Mattingly
• Mark McGwire
• Jack Morris
• Dale Murphy
• Robb Nen
• Dave Parker
• Tim Raines
• Jim Rice
• Jose Rijo
• Lee Smith
• Todd Stottlemyre
• Alan Trammell

Danville Joe — November 26, 2007 @ 3:10 pm
Arizona Phil: What objections would you have to a 1-year, 5 million deal for Shawn Green?

(Imagine if they brought back Hawkins and/or Alfonseca.)

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

DANVILLE JOE: I believe that Shawn Green and Geoff Jenkins are on the downside of their careers. But as I said, I wouldn't be too surprised if the Cubs end up signing one of them. And if it happens, it would probably happen in January, after other alternate plans have fallen-through.

As for why the Cubs would want a left-handed hitting RF who would not require a platoon, there is a theory among some baseball people (and I remember hearing Piniella talk about this once) that ideally you want a R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L alternating lineup, but not just because it causes problems for a manager late in a game as far as burning up his bullpen, but also because if a LHP starter sees nothing but right-handed hitters or a RHP starter sees nothing but left-handed hitters, it allows the pitcher get into a groove with where he puts his foot on the rubber, his arm slot, release point, etc, that is not the case when he sees hitters who hit from the other side of the plate.

So even though a right-handed hitter (like Matt Murton. for instance) might be able to put up similar numbers versus RHPs as a left-handed hitting RF, the left-handed hitter is preferred just because the left-handed hitter gives the pitcher a different "look." And then also there is the matter of L-R alternating hitters making the opposing manager burn up his bullpen in the late innings. Or at least that's the theory. Maybe it's valid (or somewhat valid), or maybe it's total junk. But Piniella thinks like that.

And of course Kaz Matsui is desired by Uncle Lou because he's fast, and because he can hit left-handed and play middle-infield (either as a spot-starter, or in a late-inning flip-flop double-switch of the batting order). Again, whether it really matters that much isn't as important as understanding that it does matter to Piniella.

BTW. if he Cubs do sign Matsui to give Piniella his speedy left-handed hitting middle-infielder, that means Mike Fontenot will almost certainly get traded someplace where he can play 2B, and Theriot and Cedeno will battle Matsui for the starting SS job in Spring Training, with (barring an injury to DeRosa, Infante, or Matsui) only one of two (Theriot or Cedeno) surviving to Opening Day. Cedeno is out of minor league options, so if he loses the job, he'll almost certainly get traded. If Cedeno beats out Theriot, then The Riot could get optioned to Iowa (he does have options left), or he could get traded.

That's why if the Cubs sign Matsui, either Cedeno or Theriot (but not both) will probably be available to be used in a trade for a RF, if it becomes necessary to go that route (like if the Cubs can't sign Fukedome).

Same goes for Matt Murton. If the Cubs acquire an everyday left-handed hitting RF (like Fukudome, Scott, or Huff) who does not require a right-handed hitting platoon mate, Matt Murton (and Angel Pagan, too) could very well get traded.

I agree that Green is on the downside of his career. But I believe a one-year deal for this older player who still appears to be productive would be good. He's still a good OBP guy.

Thanks for the info. You're amazing.

Definite HOFs if I had a vote:

Raines
Gossage
Trammell
Blyleven
Concepcion

I might/could be persuaded to vote for:
Dawson
John
McGwire
Smith

Guys who should at least still be on the ballot:
Lou Whitaker
Dave Stieb
Jose Cruz

Murton will not make it to spring training---he will be traded

Little Nate Lewis — November 26, 2007 @ 3:18 pm
Where does the payroll currently stand after the Jones deal and the Wood signing?

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

LITTLE NATE: As you probably know, I do not include "prorated signing bonuses" in my payroll totals, because most signing bonuses (and there occasionally are exceptions) are paid in a lump sum when the player signs his contract (which is why it's called a "SIGNING" bonus).

However, per the CBA, ALL signing bonuses are calculated as "prorated signing bonuses" (that is, they are spread-out evenly over the length of the player's contract, even when they aren't actually paid that way) by MLB and the MLBPA to determine "official" club payroll for luxury tax and revenue sharing purposes.

So while the Cubs ACTUAL (real) 2008 payroll right now is $95.625M, the payroll when calculated by prorating the $18.25M in signing bonuses paid last year to Ramirez, Soriano, Zambrano, and Blanco (which were paid in lump sums) and adding that sum to the 2008 payroll is $98.875M, plus whatever the arbitration-eligible guys get (Wuertz should get about $1M in his first year of arbitration, Infante should get about $1.8M, and Cotts and Prior will likely be non-tendered), plus the $390K MLB minimum (or $62.5K minimum minor league split if they are optioned to the minors) each of the 20 auto-renewal player will get in '08.

PROJECTED 2008 PAYROLL (as of 11/26/07)

SIGNED FOR 2008 (15):
Henry Blanco - $2.8M
Ryan Dempster - $5.5M + $800K in performance bonuses
Mark DeRosa - $3.75M
Scott Eyre - $3.8M + $300K in performance bonuses (limited NO TRADE)
Bob Howry - $4M
Derrek Lee - $13M (NO TRADE)
Ted Lilly - $7M
Jason Marquis - $6.375M
Will Ohman - $1.6M + $250K in performance bonuses
Aramis Ramirez - $14M (NO TRADE)
Jeff Samardzija - $850K or $600K minor league split (NO TRADE)
Alfonso Soriano - $13M (NO TRADE)
Daryle Ward – 1.2M
Kerry Wood - $4.2M + $3.45M in performance bonuses (has automatic Article XX NO TRADE thru 6/15/08, then 10/5 NO TRADE kicks-in)
Carlos Zambrano - $15M (NO TRADE)
TOTAL - $95.625M (plus $4.8M in potential performance bonuses)

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE AFTER 2007 (4)
Neal Cotts (likely non-tender)
Omar Infante
Mark Prior (likely non-tender)
Michael Wuertz

AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) FOR 2008 (20)
Ronny Cedeno
Mike Fontenot
Jake Fox
Sam Fuld
Sean Gallagher
Angel Guzman
Adam Harben
Kevin Hart
Rich Hill
Carlos Marmol
Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
Matt Murton
Angel Pagan
Eric Patterson
Billy Petrick
Felix Pie
Carmen Pignatiello
Geovany Soto
Ryan Theriot

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

% has "no trade" rights

POTENTIAL FREE-AGENTS AFTER 2008:
Henry Blanco (vesting option or else club option with buy-out for 2009)
Ryan Dempster
% Scott Eyre (has limted "no trade")
Bob Howry
Will Ohman
Mark Prior (eligible for salary arbitration after 2007)
Daryle Ward
% Kerry Wood

SIGNED BEYOND 2008:
Mark DeRosa ($5.5M in 2009, then FA)
Jason Marquis ($9.875M in 2009, then FA)
% Derrek Lee ($13M in 2009 and 2010, then FA)
Ted Lilly ($12M in 2009 and 2010, then FA)
% Aramis Ramirez ($15.65M in 2009 and $15.75M in 2010, $14.6M 2011 player option, and $16M 2012 mutual option with $2M buy-out)
% Jeff Samardzija (thru 2011 + mutual options for 2012 & 2013)...
2009: $1.3M (no minor league split)
2010: $2.5M (no minor league split)
2011: $2.8M (no minor league split)
2012: $3M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary arbitration)
2013: $3.5M (mutual option - player can opt out only if he is eligible for salary-arbitration)
% Carlos Zambrano ($17.75M in 2009, $17.875 in 2010 and 2011, and $18M in 2012, plus $19.25M 2013 vesting-player option)
% Alfonso Soriano ($13M in 2008, $16M in 2009, and $18M 2010 through 2014, then FA)

PROJECTED ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY-ARBITRATION POST-2008:
Ronny Cedeno
Neal Cotts
Rich Hill (projected 2+149 after 2008 - likely “Super Two”)
Omar Infante
Sean Marshall (projected 2+132 after 2008 – could be a “Super Two”)
Matt Murton
Angel Pagan (projected 2+143 after 2008 – likely “Super Two”)
Michael Wuertz
NOTE: Post-2008 salary arbitration eligibility projections are based on player spending entire 2008 season on 25-man roster and/or MLB 15-day or 60-day DL.

assuming wood is gonna play all year...which is why they signed him, i imagine...

this is easly a 6.5-7m+ contract...even more if he closes...for a 60-75 inning guy.

meh. i'd feel better if he knew what the strike zone is...double that money over 3 seasons and you can have a stable fastball/cutter guy in riske for 3 years.

And with Kerry Wood re-signing, the Cubs 40-man roster presently sits at 39, with one slot open.

If more than one slot is needed for FAs, Neal Cotts and Mark Prior will likely be non-tendered on 12/12.

If two slots are needed for FAs before 12/12, Cotts will probably get released early, and if additional roster slots beyond that are needed after the 12/12 non-tenders, one of the auto-renewal guys has to go (and Juan Mateo is probably at the top--or maybe I should say bottom--of that list).

BTW, for those of you who may be wondering, Angel Guzman (who will likely miss the 2008 season while recovering from elbow surgery) cannot be placed back on the 60-day DL until March.

*Definite HOFs if I had a vote:

Raines
Gossage
Trammell
Blyleven
Concepcion

I might/could be persuaded to vote for:
Dawson
John
McGwire
Smith
*

You would enshrine Davey Concepcion instead of Andre Dawson??? Gossage instead of Lee Smith? Mark McGwire period?

You'd have your credentials revoked.

AZ Phil, I am a bit surprised the Cubs would non-tender Prior. If I understand the Arb process, they could offer him up to a 20% discount from this year, or around $2.8 mil. That seems like a small investment for what is basically a "injury project". Hendry took gambles like that in the past in the $2 mil range, on projects that worked (Dempster), sorta worked (Williamson), and didn't work (Wade Miller). Doesn't Prior have enough upside at this point to give it a shot?

Or, is he really that close to being done with baseball?

Great Post!

AZ Phil, also thanks for the Angel Guzman update, I was wondering what his status was. That's really too bad, he went from Uber-Prospect to prospect on one injury, but last year he was showing enough that maybe he could at least help us out of the bullpen for a few years. I guess not even that is in the cards. He might be done with baseball, that's alot of arm injuries.

Is it me, or does it seem like Cubs prospects have more than their share of arm injuries (not just Wood/Prior?)

I am thinking of Petrick, Hagerty, Guzman, Justin Jones after he went to the Twins, Pawelek, seems like we can't get a young arm through our system without a catastrophic injury.

AZ Phil: Any idea what value the organization is placing upon Donnie Veal? He had a rough go last year and it seems that his rep has suffered as a result. Does he have any value as a trading chip?

I'm not sure I'd trade Donnie Veal just yet. It's still a little early in his development for that.

Yes he had a bad year. Yes he struggles to throw strikes. But, let him continue to pitch and maybe it'll come around.

according to Muskrat love....

Who did the Cubs acquire from the Pirates in the Cesar Izturis trade?
-- Stephen S., Blacksburg, Va.

Nobody. The deal, which was made July 19, has not been completed yet

of course, knowing her, she didn't bother to ask and cash was sent over awhile ago as AZ Phil speculated.

dawson08 — November 26, 2007 @ 5:35 pm
AZ Phil: Any idea what value the organization is placing upon Donnie Veal? He had a rough go last year and it seems that his rep has suffered as a result. Does he have any value as a trading chip?

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

DAWSON: Donald Veal's future will very likely be out of the bullpen. As I've mentioned before, he just throws too many pitches to be anything more than a five-inning pitcher as a rotation starter.

Now, as a reliever, he could be a really good LOOGY or maybe even an 8th inning lefty set-up guy, where he can just wail away without worrying about pitch counts. Also, throwing more often in games might help keep his fragile mechanics in better order.

Veal has a lot of talent, but he's also still very raw. And while he has trade value, it's probably not as much as he had a year or two ago. If I'm the Cubs, I would be far more inclined to keep Veal and develop him as a reliever. He has big league stuff, he just doesn't have big league command.

Jeff Pico — November 26, 2007 @ 5:19 pm
AZ Phil, I am a bit surprised the Cubs would non-tender Prior. If I understand the Arb process, they could offer him up to a 20% discount from this year, or around $2.8 mil. That seems like a small investment for what is basically a “injury project”. Hendry took gambles like that in the past in the $2 mil range, on projects that worked (Dempster), sorta worked (Williamson), and didn’t work (Wade Miller). Doesn’t Prior have enough upside at this point to give it a shot?

Or, is he really that close to being done with baseball?

Great Post!

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

JEFF: Mark Prior could eventually return to his 2003 form, but it probably won't be in 2008.

The issue with Mark Prior isn't that the Cubs don't want to keep him or that they couldn't afford to pay him $2.8M in '08 (although that's only if he were to get the maximum-allowable 20% cut), but that if it goes all the way to an arbitration hearing, he might not get cut that much..In fact, because he has been injured, the arb panel might give him what he wants (probably around what he got last year, somewhere around $3.6M) rather than what the Cubs offer, and no way do the Cubs want to pay him that much in guaranteed $$$, especially if he isn't 100% at the start of the 2008 season.

I believe it is far more likely that the Cubs will non-tender Prior on 12/12, and then offer him a 2008 contract with a low base salary (probably somewhere around $1M) with several million more in incentives tied to games started and time not spent on the DL, plus a club option for 2009.

But I believe Prior could get that kind of offer from any one of a number of MLB clubs, probably several a lot closer to his home in San Diego. So I believe Prior will take the opportunity of the non-tender to sign elsewhere. Most probably with his hometown San Diego Padres

Remember... Mark Prior is NOT Kerry Wood.

KW bleeds Cubbie Blue, and is an Eternal Cub.

Prior does not and is not.

So it looks like ARod will get his average of $30+ million per year and $300+ million overall contract. Smart move by him to opt out. It was obvious someone was going to pay him, and it was good to see the NYY brass to have to swallow their pride and bring him back.

One factor that needs to be given stronger consideration here is defense. I'm convinced that Lou will make it a priority and that would certainly kill any chance of Aubry Huff starting in right. I totally agree with Phil that the price for Crawford is way too high and Luke Scott seems much more realistic.

I do think it couldn't hurt to get in the Johan Santana sweepstakes. Why not deal Rich Hill, Felix Pie and Fontentot to the Twins for Santana? Can you imagine Santana, Zambrano, Lilly?

As for Infante, his speed will be useful not for stealing bases but for scoring from second on a single in the 8th or 9th inning. Sometimes speed just doesn't equate to stolen bases...

I haven't seen Teahen play the outfield from KC but he is a converted 3rd baseman (strong arm) and does hit lefthanded. Doesn't have much power and they may be reluctant to trade him given his salary. That said, I would think a guy like Dempster might be attractive to KC. He's a vet and at $5M, is a cheap starter.

I don't ever remember the Cubs having formal objectives like this, interesting...

Wood is a bad investment. And any acquisition from here on out needs to be a lefty hitter. Other than that... Go get it done.

Soriano would be a better option in right than anyone else mentioned, then play Murton in left. Why does no one want to let him have a shot? His OBP and OPS are pretty good and very cheep. Could be better in the outfield, but he hasn't been to bad ther either. There does not seem to be any better options this year. Kaz Mat. does nothing for me either what did he do before last year. Lets see E. Pat., Fuld, Cedeno, Pie, Murton, Theriot, and Fotinot all fight for spots.

As far as pitching goes IF you can get Willis cheep, Do it! If you can get Santana, give them whatever they want!

soriano in RF...meh...i want it, other outside observers want it...

ive heard his throwing style favors LF, but i still dont see how that advantage trumps his arm strength.

Why not deal Rich Hill, Felix Pie and Fontentot to the Twins for Santana?

that's a joke right?

Aubrey Huff is a turd and a lazy ass. Horrible defender with disappearing hitting ability.

I don't understand why nobody ever brings up the last year's rule #5 draft? Why did Henry draft Josh Hamiliton and then hand him over to Cincy for a relatively small amount of cash? He is the athletic left handed good glove and the left handed bat we need.

the hamilton thing's been hashed over a ton.

cin was the one that wanted him...they have a willie mo pena-like history of using their 25th spot on guys like him.

Because Josh Hamilton was awesome in Cincy. If he came to the Cub's he would have sucked.

...sorry. Meh!

clarification...cin most likely had an agreement to use the cubs draft spot so the cubs could collect him for them.

cubs had a high pick and they probably weren't planning to use it on a rule-5 guy...esp. one who hadnt played organized ball in years.

Paul Lynch — November 26, 2007 @ 9:25 pm
I don’t understand why nobody ever brings up the last year’s rule #5 draft? Why did Henry draft Josh Hamiliton and then hand him over to Cincy for a relatively small amount of cash? He is the athletic left handed good glove and the left handed bat we need.

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

PAUL: The Cubs drafted Josh Hamilton only because Reds GM Wayne Krivsky asked Jim Hendry to do it, and the Cubs were paid for their trouble. (The Cubs had the 3rd overall pick in the '07 Rule 5 Draft, an open spot on their 40-man roster, and no interest in drafting any players for themselves, while the Reds had the 15th overall pick, and CIN didn't want to take a chance that Josh Hamilton might get selected by another club before they had a chance to draft him).

Reds manager Jerry Narron (who was fired at mid-season, BTW) and his brother Johnny had known Hamilton for many years. Johnny Narron's son was a childhood friend of Hamilton's and Johnny had coached Josh in high school. So after the Reds acquired Hamilton from the Cubs, they hired Johnny Narron to be Josh Hamilton's "Big Brother," and Johnny's #1 job was to stick close to Josh and make sure he stayed away from drugs and other bad influences.

It worked.

But it's doubtful that the Cubs or any other MLB club besides the Reds could have or would have attempted to do that.

Although he was rated the #1 prospect in baseball 2000-02, Hamilton didn't play baseball at all for three seasons (2003-05). He was an admitted crack addict and alcoholic. He suffered from depression and contemplated suicide. He went unclaimed off waivers when the Devil Rays outrighted him to the minors in November 2005. He did log a short stint (15 games) in short-season "A" ball in '06 while attempting a comeback (and hit 260/327/360 with no HR in 55 PA), but by this time last year he was considered by most baseball people to be a high-maintenance failed prospect with a very cloudy future and MAJOR character flaws. Coming nto the 2007 season, Hamilton had played a total of only 23 games in AA (and hit .180) in his whole life, and that was way back in 2002.

It just so happened that the Narron brothers were at the right place at the right time for Josh Hamilton, and the rebuilding Reds were just lousy enough in 2007 to be able to give Hamilton what was probably going to be his last chance in pro ball.

Josh Hamilton's 2007 season with the Reds was kind of like Roy Hobbs in The Natural.

i saw hamilton in highschool...he was a literal monster amongst kids. not exageraging...not kidding.

yeah, its not south florida or texas here, but this kid looked like a minor leaguer already and he looked like no one else on the teams he was playing against.

he's also got a 90+ fastball hiding in that body.

btw...he's not like 7' or whatever...or built like a linebacker...

hard to describe, but, though the guy is like 6'4-6'5" he's just massive...big/long arms/legs...huge hands/feet...he wasnt a tall/skinny guy. he had this build of a natural athlete...a guy you look at and say 'yeah, he plays sports.'

hard to really say what i mean without sounding weirdly homoerotic even if that dont have anything to do with it...hehe...

its cliche and means nothing, but he had "the look"

Cubs are hoping to sign Prior to a two-year incentive-laden deal.

If they can't agree to a deal, Sullivan says the plan is to trade or non-tender him.

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

My HOF ballot for this year:

Blyleven
Gossage

That's it.

It's supposed to be the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good Players. I believe there's already too many 'Very Good' players in the HOF as it is.

z/lilly/dumpster/hill/marquis...gallagher-hart-prior*-???

wood (cl)...marmol/howry/wuertz/eyre/ohman/hart-cotts-mateo-petrick-piggy-???

...interesting so far. i really like the pen, personally...even if not much has changed.

Another great article, AZ Phil. I hope the results of their plan are:

#1 - Sign Fukudome unless a Crawford trade doesn't require Marmol or Hill.

#2 - I have no problem with Kaz Matsui (obviously in the minority here on this) and a 2B/SS rotation of him, DeRosa, and Theriot works for me.

#3 - Wood obviously done, but would like to see what Dempster, Ohman, and Marshall could fetch in the way of a LOOGY to go with Eyre.

#4 - Glad to see JJ go, but question how much of an upgrade Infante is over Cedeno.

#5 - Prior: could care less what happens to him

#6 - Cotts: 'See ya!'

#7 - Wuertz: you could do a lot worse in the middle relief department.

Overall, I would like to see if any combination of Dempster, Ohman, Cedeno, Murton, E. Pat, Marshall, and Fontenot could pry Church away from the Nats.

No Rob, I wasn't kidding about Hill, Pie and Godenot for Santana. It looks every bit as good as their other offers (via rumor mill) and I think he would be the ACE we need.

Twins would NEVER do that deal.

"its cliche and means nothing, but he had “the look”"

Anyone else start humming Roxette after reading that? No? Oh, ok, nevermind.

well, i am NOW...jerk.

hehe.

oh sorry, I read Fontenot and had to laugh...

Hill and Pie are give-ins I think, but I think the Cubs would have to give up a little more than Fontenot...okay a lot more.

Hill, Pie, (one or two of) Murton, Colvin, E-Pat, etc....

sounds a little more reasonable.

Hill, Pie, Murton is probably as good a package as the Twins will get. It's a steep price to give up 3 players and have to come up with an extension.

Brocail to the Astros...

Everytime I hear Santana's name I just keep thinking of Frank Viola. Viola didn't totally fall apart after he left the Twins but he was never really that good again. Gutting the next 4 years of the team (Pie, Hill, Colvin) for Santana really makes me nervous.

In case nobody else noticed, Santana wasn't that good last year. Besides his ERA, every single one of his periphials was down from the previous season. It could be that hitters are starting to figure him out, which a switch the NL would probably stop for a year or two, or it could be that there's a 'book' on him, which the NL hitters would be privy to. It could also be that he just had a down year, but as a GM I would make damned sure it wasn't the 2nd option, and the first would scare me off of signing him to a 7 year extension.

Oh on Scott, if you look at his batting chart on First Inning it's pretty obvious that moving him out of Minute Maid will help his power numbers. It may take less than Marshall and Hart to get him, as it seems the Astros are down on him for whatever reason (27 year old rookie?). Maybe Gallagher and a prospectish A baller like Lansford.

If it's Hill, Pie and Colvin for Santana, I do that in a hot shit second. If I recall about Viola, he went to a pretty bad team after left the Twinkies. As far as Santana's year this year, certainly not as good as his previous couple. He just reminds me alot of Zambrano, only he's better. I can just picture Z and Santana anchoring our staff for five or six years, totally blowing hitters away if we ever reach the playoffs. All right, time to go dream while I'm asleep!

re #43

I don't care if that kid never made it out of the minor leagues!!!! What a stupid Good Ol Boy piece of shit that move was. You do not help teams in your division especially for NOTHING!!!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

either a. hamilton does nothing and the Cubs gain nothing (the money was nothing)

or b. hamilton hits a home run off Bobby Howry to lose a crucial game down the stretch that could have cost the Cubs the divison. Then never hits another homer ever

or c. hamilton becomes a star and kills us for 15 years

lose lose lose for the Cubs.

re 56: Frank Viola was never the best pitcher in the league. and even after a cursory look at his numbers, Viola had two great years with the Twins after a few good ones. Santana has been great for the four years he has been a regular starter.

Chad Viola won a Cy young and got votes in other years. Not sure how you determine 'best pitcher in the league' but he was probably the second best after Clemens for a stretch.

either a. hamilton does nothing and the Cubs gain nothing (the money was nothing).

The money may be enough to pay for two scouts for a year, maybe even a scout who would have determined Hamilton could play at the ML's in '07. Compared to the ML payroll it was probably a very small amount, but what happened if everyone had passed on Hamiliton and the Reds drafted him anyway, which was a possibility you didn't mention? The Cubs in that case lose $80K for no reason. GM's have to deal with eachother all the time, over more issues than just one Rule V draft. I suppose you guys all went crazy over the Ramirez, Lofton trade as well?

According to WGN morning news Cubs looking to give Prior a two year deal.

Including Rich Hill in a deal for Johan Santana is a counterproductive use of resources. Santana, as of now, is a better pitcher than Hill, and that would only be aided by a switch to the NL. But a lot of the improvement to the rotation realized by Santana’s acquisition is lost in Hill’s departure. At worst, Rich Hill is a league-average pitcher, and he continues to be an inexpensive component on this roster, which a team like the Cubs requires to be competitive. Santana is much more costly in 2008 and will be even moreso in 2009 and beyond. This guy is going to redefine pitchers’ contracts.

Bearing all those factors, I could still understand why some people would want to do the deal. But when players with relatively high potential such as Pie, Murton or others need to be included as well, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

And then, even if it did mesh, when was the last time a Cubs GM won any kind of derby for a Top 20 player – sign or trade?

Hypothetical: Who would you rather spend $13.25 million on for next year’s rotation – Santana or Hill, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia?

#63:

Alfonso Soriano

Regarding Hamilton, hindsight is 20/20. At the time the Cubs were probably thinking they were actually hurting a division rival not helping them. Having the Reds waste a major league roster spot on someone who had played 15 minor league games in 3 years AND getting paid for helping them do it probably sounded like a good idea!

#64:

Top 20 in MLB, not fantasy baseball.

If we get Fukodome, I'm going to call him Mad Max-beyond the Fukodome!

The Santana issue is just this-do we have the other pieces to win now and will a top 10 pitcher get us over the top? Let's say we make the playoffs again. Wouldn't you feel much better with Santana, Z and Lilly? Lou has a three year deal, I'm sure he's willing to roll the dice. One championship out of the next three years would make me happier than a few years of "contending"...It's probably a moot point, the Yanks want him bad and when that bear gets hungry, it eats.

George Altman:
"It’s supposed to be the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Very Good Players. I believe there’s already too many ‘Very Good’ players in the HOF as it is."

AMEN. Could not have said it better.

But my HOF ballot this year would be:
Mark McGwire
Lee Smith

But I would look very hard at Bert Blyeven & Goose Goosage.

Rob G.:
"Hill, Pie, Murton is probably as good a package as the Twins will get. It’s a steep price to give up 3 players and have to come up with an extension."

If we could get an extension signed, I would do that deal in a minute. A no-brainer for the Cubs.

Wrigley's:
"But when players with relatively high potential such as Pie, Murton or others need to be included as well, it just doesn’t make sense to me."

See Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Corey Patterson, Hee Sop Choi, Bobby Hill, etc. Potential does not always equal results. Santana gets the results, the other guys may get the results, but also very possibly will fail. Get the proven Cy Young guy, and try to win a damn championship.

Besides his ERA, every single one of his periphials was down from the previous season.

Not really.

His k/9 actually went up.

He "struggled" in two areas last year - his walks increased and his home runs increased. His HR/9 significantly increased (.92 to 1.36), as did his BB/9 (1.81 to 2.14).

His WHIP went up slightly, but nothing of any significance, and can be explained by the increase in walks.

This might be 3/44 but, Yanks and Twins are talking Santana trade.
\
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-yank...

Johan is and will always be ten times the pitcher Frank Viola was, the kid's going to the HOF unless an injury hits.

Angels, Dodgers, Mets and Yanks could all come up with a package of players better than us, question is how much are you willing to give up on top of a long term deal. Normally when a team hands out huge deals they don't have to cough up prospects on top of it. And I just don't know if Trib is giving out anymore $20MMish deals before they hand over the keys.

From MLBTR

UPDATE: Here is the official Journal-Sentinel article. New material - Melvin admitted to an interest in David Riske, and may have an offer out to him. Thanks to Al's Ramblings for the tip.

Tom Haudricourt recently spoke to Brewers GM Doug Melvin about his pursuit for a closer candidate. Melvin recently had Kerry Wood pass over his two-year, $6MM offer for a one-year deal with the Cubs.

This too from MLBTR

According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks made an offer to free agent Hiroki Kuroda ten days ago. Piecoro suggests Kuroda could receive $10MM annually for three or four years. A recent Japanese report indicated it might take four years, $45MM. The Phillies also have an offer out to Kuroda. Jim McLennan of AZ Snakepit has some additional info on the Japanese starter.

The Mariners are in the lead for Kuroda; they sent a contingent to Japan to speak with him. Interest is huge - we've got the Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies, Tigers, Royals, Mets in the mix as well. The Cubs might be out now that they've officially moved Ryan Dempster to the rotation. The Phillies are going hard after Randy Wolf, but that might not prevent them from pursuing Kuroda.

Hendry quoted in Sun Times as saying that the Cubs are not actively seeking more pitching.

Also, Tribune reports that Cotts and Piggy will challenge Ohman for second lefty spot in the pen behind Eyre. This may merely be a smokescreen to puff up Cotts' value for trade before DFA, but maybe the current premium on pitching will convince the Cubs to give Cotts one more chance..

I like Crawford over Fukudome but then I'm not the biggest of going with Kaz over Theriot/Fotenot.

"...they sent a contingent to Japan to speak with him."

Well, I believe Jim Hendry phoned him from Nobu in LA, behind a big plate of tempura.

Zito is and will always be ten times the pitcher Frank Viola was, the kid’s going to the HOF unless an injury hits.

Good to know you know the future. Let's meet in Vegas next ST so you can tell me which teams to bet on.

"Not really.

His k/9 actually went up. "

Sorry, I should have clarified. K/9 is a stat I don't like. K/PA is better and unless I did my math wrong his went down.

"The Cubs might be out now that they’ve officially moved Ryan Dempster to the rotation."

"Hendry quoted in Sun Times as saying that the Cubs are not actively seeking more pitching."

Go Cubs!!!

well not sure what Viola and Johan had to do with each other in the first place and I definitely have no idea what Barry Zito has to do with this.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3...

Mark Prior on the trade block....

free Neyer article on how some of Boras clients have done...

http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/insider/column...

While I think that it is worth finding out what the Cubs could get in a trade for Prior, I don't think that now is the best time to trade him, unless they are sure that they won't be able to re-sign him and are planning on non-tendering him. The two year deal they are talking about makes the most sense of all of this to me. They've waited this long. I know they have wasted a lot of money on him, but to carry through 80% of the way without waiting to see what comes out on the other end is just silly to me.

This might be well-known, but is there an estimate on when the keys are actually getting handed over? For some reason I thought it would've happened by now.

I want Santana on the Cubs because I want to watch him and root for him for the rest of his career. On the Twins, I felt okay seeking out his games and silently cheering him on, but I can't do it if he's a Yankee.

Johann has only been a full-time starter for 4 years, annointing him the hall of fame is a bit a of stretch. He will be 29 in March. If he averages 15 wins a year until he is 35 that's still not even 200 for his career. History is full of a ton of pitcher who put together solid 4-5 year stretches and then slowly tailed off. Viola, since we brought him up, is a case in point. He had seasons with 18, 18, 16, 17, and 24 wins before turning in 13 wins in back to bakc seasons, rebounding with a another 20 win season at 30, and then finishing with 13, 13, 11, 1, 0, 1 before retiring.

"well not sure what Viola and Johan had to do with each other in the first place"

Left Handed
Change Up Specialist
Twin
Traded because team didn't want to pay him big FA money

Name two pitchers who fit that bill.

Zito was just another example of a guy who seemed really good and bound for the HoF but turned quite mediocre and not bound for the HoF, without any injury.

Ryan dumpster to the rotation is crazy! if we dont add 1 more starter and a good rf "fukedome or crawford" it could get ugly jenkins,green just wont cut it! and y do cubs fans think fontenot,murton,cedeno are awesome trading chips?

I rarely post. I am the ultimate lurker.
But I am going to puke a little bit here but I agree wholeheartedly with Manny about the Santana deal. I trade Hill, Murton and Pie in a second!

if we dont add 1 more starter and a good rf “fukedome or crawford” it could get ugly

Yea... I would hate to have to go into 2008 with essentially the same pitching staff that was the 2nd best in the league last year. That was pretty ugly, eh?

and y do cubs fans think fontenot,murton,cedeno are awesome trading chips?

Who said that they were awesome trading chips?

But in reality, there are probably a lot of teams who would be interested in a guy like Murton (800+ OPS) or Cedeno (very good "toolsy" guy). As for Fontenot? Yea - not too many teams would be that excited about the guy, I would think.

go santo:
"if we dont add 1 more starter and a good rf “fukedome or crawford” it could get ugly"

I don't think it will get ugly, but I would not be happy as it would be difficult to see how the team would be upgraded anywhere without landing Crawford or a good starting pitcher. Hendry already missed out on two top SS's that were available. Going into next year with basically the same team is not the answer in my opinion. The team only won 85 games in a horrible division.

Trade proposal of the day... from a different Cubs blog:


I think the Cubs should trade for ARod.
... Offer the Yankees Wood, Marshall, Cedeno, Patterson,Pawelek, Johnson, Fuld,Orie, Gallagher, Veal and Holliman and I bet they couldn't refuse.

Dave good point lol in reguards to murton fontenot and cedeno ive been in several cubs chat rooms n fans seem to believe u can start a package with any one of these guys n yeah murtons solid n im actually high on cedeno! and i didnt realize how good the rotation was good point dave i just couldnt handle all the crazy trade proposals anymore and i like our top 3 im just worried bout the backend of the rotation! and i do agree hill shouldnt be untouchable

fine, make me do all the work...

Johan:
Age 23: 149 ERA+, 11.38 K/9, 2.80 K/BB, .58 HR/9
Age 24: 148, 9.61, 3.60, .97
Age 25: 182, 10.46, 4.91, .95
Age 26: 155, 9.25, 5.29, .85
Age 27: 161, 9.44, 5.21, .92
Age 28: 130, 9.66, 4.52, 1.35

Viola:
Age 24: 131, 5.2, 2.04, .97
Age 25: 106, 4.84, 1.98, .93
Age 26: 95, 6.99, 2.30, 1.35
Age 27: 159, 7.04, 2.94, 1.03
Age 28: 153, 6.82, 3.57, .70
Age 29: 106, 7.28, 2.85, .75
Age 30: 141, 6.56, 3.03, .54
Age 31: 92, 5.13, 2.44, .92
Age 32: 123, 4.57, 1.36, .49
Age 33: 148, 4.46, 1.26, .588

Zito
Age 22: 172, 7.58, 1.73, .58
Age 23: 125. 8.61, 2.56, .75
Age 24: 158, 7.14, 2.33, .94
Age 25: 134, 5.67, 1.66, .73
Age 26: 101, 6.89, 2.01, 1.18
Age 27: 113, 6.74, 1.92, 1.02
Age 28: 116, 6.15, 1.53, 1.09
Age 29: 98. 6.00, 1.58, 1.09

yeah, I don't see the comparision...

Johan's now had 6 straight amazingly good to out of this world seasons and has the strikeout rates and control to indicate that he'll keep it up. The Zito/Viola mentions are just superficial comparisions.

This might be well-known, but is there an estimate on when the keys are actually getting handed over? For some reason I thought it would’ve happened by now.

if you're talking about the Trib sale, last word was that nothing would be decided until mid-2008.

well as I mentioned, Hill, Pie and Murton is just a guess on my part and there are teams that could do better. Will they do better is the question and of course, what do the Twinkies think of those players? So many factors that go into a trade. Cubs and their fans may think Gallagher/Colvin is comparabale to the package the Braves got for Renteria, but the Braves might have liked those players more.

They might have been 2nd best but lets face it... do you expect the same next year from Lilly? Look at Marquis second half compared to his first, scary! And Demp/Marshall/whoever doesn't scare anyone!

While I believe we are pretty much done on the pitching front the rotation doesn't inspire much confidance beyond Z.

On another note here is an interesting proposal...

Marquis for Huff..

Garbage for Garbage I know but it could be worth it... Huff can play RF and is owed 16M over the next 2 years; about the same as Marquis. Balt wants to move him and quite frankly I would rather have a .280 Huff then a 6+ ERA Marquis.

This is of course if we can't sign the Jap RF or trade for Crawford or JD Drew first.

Dave u found the mother load lol thats the kinda garbage ive been talkin about and manny i couldnt agree more! i mean cleveland could use a guy like murton and rumor has it jhonnie pheralta could be had. but another thing is not to create holes withthe potential trades!

Dan Kane:

"This is of course if we can’t sign the Jap RF"

Seriously dude...don't be a fuck.

Dave I looked at that comment and wanted to tear that person a new one, but I felt bad. That person is obviously mentally, er, um, challenged.

Seriously dude…don’t be a fuck.

Thanks The Joe. You said it better than I could have.

No problem, I'm known for my eloquence:)

Rob G,

Read post #88. Internalize.

Read post #95.

"Johan’s now had 6 straight amazingly good to out of this world seasons"

If you think a 130 +ERA is amazingly good, you must be bummed we missed out on Meche last year (128 +ERA).

What Santana did in '05 or '04 has a little bit more weight than what he did in little league, but I am more concerned with what he is going to do in 2008 to 2014.

The three teams he pitched most against in 2007 were the White Sox 4 starts, 3.41 ERA, Detroit 6 starts 3.65 ERA and Cleveland 6 starts 4.38 ERA. It's almost like the more a team sees a changeup specialist, the better they do against him...

It’s almost like the more a team sees a changeup specialist, the better they do against him…

When you have three plus pitches, are you still considered a changeup specialist?

The guy can throw three pitches effectively anywhere in the strike zone. He is almost Maddux -like in his ability to change speeds and has great command.

There is no question that he is one of, if not the, best changeups in the game. But he is more than a changeup specialist.

"Left Handed
Change Up Specialist
Twin
Traded because team didn’t want to pay him big FA money"

These things have nothing to do with each other.

I wished we'd have gotten Meche last year...

lefties that wore the same uniform and shared similar pitches...

Great comparision Neal, real freaking brilliant work there.

And changeup specialist Trevor Hoffman pretty much dominated the teams he saw most in his career, the Giants and the Dodgers. And while a reliever is different, you would figure that a team could figure him out after a couple of seasons. They didn't.

Ronny Cedeno continues to hit well in the Venezulan Winter League (325/420/411, 3rd in the VWL in doubles, 17/19 BB/K, and 4 SB - 0 CS, hitting 326 vs LHP and 325 vs RHP).

Other Cubs of note in the VWL:

SS Andres Blanco (275/302/333)

C Henry Blanco (186/321/271 in 23 games and 81 PA)

SS Omar Infante (263/339/336, 3rd in SB)

CF Andres Torres (316/363/561, leads VWL in doubles and triples, 2nd in SB)

RHP Mike Smith (4-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 38 IP, 31 H, and 7/30 BB/K, 1 HR)

RHP Cory Bailey (2-4, 3.41 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 41 IP, 43 H, 11/31 BB/K, 0 HR)

The switch-hitting Torres (ex-DET) was recently signed as a minor league FA by the Cubs. He and Infante (recently acquired from DET for Jacque Jones) were both Tigers BA Top 10 Prospects back in 2001-2003 and both played for Cubs bench coach Alan Trammell when Trammell was the Tigers manager. If he can keep it up, Torres could actually legitimately battle for the Cubs "4th OF" job in ST, especially if Pie begins the 2008 season at AAA and Fuld is starting in CF

Only 23 years old, A. Blanco (ex-KC) was also recently signed as a minor league FA by the Cubs. He was once compared (defensively) to a young Omar Vizquel by Baseball America back when he was a Royals Top Ten Prospect. He was outighted off the Royals 40-man roster after the '07 season. He certainly will get an NRI to ST and will probably be the #1 SS at Iowa in '08.

Mike Smith was one of Tim Wilken's draft picks in TOR, but never was able to escape AAA. He's 30 and will likely get an NRI to ST, and then he'll probably end up in the stating rotation at Iowa.

The 36-year old rubber-armed bulldog Bailey has 172 games MLB experience with BOS, ST, SF, and KC 1995-2002 (3.96 ERA and 1.57 WHIP), plus a couple of seasons in Japan (2003-04) with the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and a year in Taiwan (2005) playing in the CPBL. He had a nice year at AAA Iowa in 2007 (2.86 ERA and 1.27 WHIP), and recently re-signed with the Cubs. He almost certainly will get an NRI to ST and if he has a strong ST, Piniella might even give him some consideration for the 12th slot on the staff.

And then there are a couple of Cubs prospects of note really struggling in the Dominican Winter League:

CF Felix Pie - 208/274/299, 1 HR, 4 2B and 7/17 BB/K in 84 PA, 5 SB (3 CS)

RHP Jose Ceda - 6 IP, 7 H, 8 R (6 ER),6 BB, 8 K, 9.00 ERA, 2.17 WHIP (closer at Peoria in 2007)

Joel Santo - 1-0, 6.28 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 14 IP, 14 H, 13 R (10 ER), 7/11 BB/K (rotation starter at Daytona in 2007)

Juan Mateo - 1.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K (is working out of bullpen)

AZ Phil:

1) What about an option of trying to get Miguel Tejada?

2) I'm with you on Luke Scott. I think someone is going to steal him Houston and he's going to become a very good every day player. I just don't think Houston will trade him to a division team.

3) Didn't Mark Prior have his free-agent eligibility pushed back one year for not gaining major-league service time last year? If so, why do the Cubs feel the need to have him sign a contract that controls 2009?

4) Also with you that another arm for the bullpen is important.

ALLEN — November 27, 2007 @ 1:45 pm
AZ Phil:

1) What about an option of trying to get Miguel Tejada?

2) I’m with you on Luke Scott. I think someone is going to steal him Houston and he’s going to become a very good every day player. I just don’t think Houston will trade him to a division team.

3) Didn’t Mark Prior have his free-agent eligibility pushed back one year for not gaining major-league service time last year? If so, why do the Cubs feel the need to have him sign a contract that controls 2009?

4) Also with you that another arm for the bullpen is important.

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

ALLEN: I haven't read anything to indicate the Cubs are interested in Miguel Tejada (or any other SS). We did speculate about Tejada here at TCR a little bit last week, but that's all there was to that.

Mark Prior was optioned to Iowa by the Cubs out of Spring Training, but the option was voided by MLB after it was determined that Prior had a pre-existing shoulder problem that required surgery. Thus, Prior spent the 2007 season on the Cubs 60-day DL, and ended up getting credit for a full season of MLB Service Time.

So Prior will enter the 2008 season with 5+131 MLB ST and can be a FA after the season. That is unless he gets non-tendered on 12/12, in which case he will be a FA in just two weeks.

*Everytime I hear Santana’s name I just keep thinking of Frank Viola. Viola didn’t totally fall apart after he left the Twins but he was never really that good again.*

Right on cue, there's always somebody to slap down the idea of acquiring an honest-to-God talented superstar in the same vein as "A-Rod can never play short again and costs too much" or "Miguel Cabrera is too fat".

So by all means, Cub ownership, do not pursue even the thought of trading a slew of the latest of a long string of run-of-the-mill prospects who probably will never pan out. The fans might revolt.

*Josh Hamilton’s 2007 season with the Reds was kind of like Roy Hobbs in The Natural.*

Yet more apologist nonsense and the same type of thinking that will welcome 12 million dollars and three years worth of KNOWN mediocrity [Kaz Matsui] instead of taking a shot at potential greatness for peanuts.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/basebal...

Twins asking for Clay Bucholz or Jon Lester and Ellsbury from Red Sox

mentions the NY Teams, Mariners and the LA teams as potential suitors but I'm sure more will emerge by the Winter Meetings.

Lester and Ellsbury would be a great deal for BOST.

hey — November 27, 2007 @ 2:49 pm
*Josh Hamilton’s 2007 season with the Reds was kind of like Roy Hobbs in The Natural.*

Yet more apologist nonsense and the same type of thinking that will welcome 12 million dollars and three years worth of KNOWN mediocrity [Kaz Matsui] instead of taking a shot at potential greatness for peanuts.

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

"HEY" or "BLARGH" or "MIKE" or whatever name you're using today:

I don't apologize for anyone or anybody.

"HEY/BLARGH/MIKE" is the same moron who (while using the name "mike") posted the following piece of absolute retarded garbage a few weeks ago here:

mike — November 6, 2007 @ 10:01 am
E-Man: The Cubs’ OBP did improve. But it still didn’t rank among the upper half of NL teams. MLB.com writers are shills. C Muskat is arguably the shilliest of the shills. Here’s a stat that’s more revealing, if you’re ready to really lose your breakfast. Since 1945, the Cubs have ranked among the upper half of NL teams in OBP just once (’84). Once!!!! That’s our boys!!!

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

The Real Neal — November 6, 2007 @ 11:29 am
1945, the Cubs have ranked among the upper half of NL teams in OBP just once (’84).”

I didn’t look at all of the years, but in ‘69 they were 5th of 12. In ‘85 they were 4th of 12. So I am going to go ahead and say you’re making things up or mis-informed. That ‘85 team had a really good offense.

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

Arizona Phil — November 6, 2007 @ 11:46 am

mike — November 6, 2007 @ 10:01 am
Since 1945, the Cubs have ranked among the upper half of NL teams in OBP just once (’84). Once!!!! That’s our boys!!!

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

MIKE: Really?

Since 1945, the Cubs have finished in the upper half of the National league in OBP in the following seasons:

1946
1964
1966
1967
1969
1970
1971
1972
1974
1975
1977
1978
1979
1984
1985
1988
1989
1993
1998
2001

What the hell was that? I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out who was saying what and when.

...but I could figure out that Phil is angry. That was crystal clear.

Ok, I read through it a third time. I figured it out. Nevermind.

AZ Phil - You offer great information here! My question is regarding Chone Figgins. The Angels signed Torii Hunter and seem on the verge of trading for Miguel Cabrera. This would seem to be cutting into the positions that Chone plays. He would look great on the Cubs in CF or RF, is a switch hitter, with high OBP and great speed. Any chance that the Cubs could try to trade for him or become a third team in the Miguel Cabrera trade in order to land Figgins?

Well if Kendrick gets moved in a deal for Cabrera, Figgins will play 2b. If they don't land a 3b, then Figgins will play there. They seem to always find a spot for him so I doubt he'll get moved.

Jim C. — November 27, 2007 @ 3:52 pm
AZ Phil - You offer great information here! My question is regarding Chone Figgins. The Angels signed Torii Hunter and seem on the verge of trading for Miguel Cabrera. This would seem to be cutting into the positions that Chone plays. He would look great on the Cubs in CF or RF, is a switch hitter, with high OBP and great speed. Any chance that the Cubs could try to trade for him or become a third team in the Miguel Cabrera trade in order to land Figgins?

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

JIM C: Yes, that sounds very plausible. Hendry has been quoted recently as saying that he is looking to add another lefty bat with speed who can play OF (apparently independent of the Kaz Matsui plan), and a versatile switch-hitter like Chone Figgins would certainly fit that description to a "T."

I would think Figgins would likely be just exactly the type of versatile player Piniella apparently wants on his bench. But I guess we'll have to wait and see how the Miggy to the Angels thing plays out. It could be a very interesting MLB Winter Meeting next week in Nashville. But as ROB G said, it all depends on whether the Angels would be willing to move Figgins and what they would want for him.

Through Age 28 - Santana's Most Similar Players

Hudson, Oswalt, Candelaria, Juan Pizarro, Welch, Mussina, Appier, Jack McDowell, Millwood, Sid Fernandez.

His ERA+ is on par with Oswalt, Hudson, and Appier. His K/9 inning is the highest on the list, but his walk rate is about in the middle of the pack and he has the MOST HR of anyone here at this time in their career. This is also counting his first 2+ years in the bullpen which helped is rates.

I'm not trying to say his isn't great or say that he is Viola reincarnated. Just pointing out that a 4-year starter, no matter how great the ERA+ etc, does not make a Hall of Famer. It's easy to say "if he keeps up this rate for 10+ years and never falls of pace or gets injured he'll be a HOF" but how likely is that?

Look at Pedro. I think he will be in the hall, but as amazing as he was (even more so than Santana, try seasons of 219, 243, 291, 202, 210 for ERA+) he stalled big-time at age 34.

well I thought it was obvious that I was projecting his HOF status, but considering his age and peripherals, I would be pretty confident he'd be more than useful for most of that 7 year extension.

those BR similar stats aren't very useful imo, basically find players that started around the same age and played about the same number of games. The BP comparable players is usually more helpful but I don't have access to it.

Articles all over the place about baseball organizations worried about Santanna not being as effective as he has been in the past...

Anyone know where to go to find the winter rosters of the Cub teams at Iowa and Tennessee? They had to be frozen for the Rule 5 Draft also.

[...] The Hendry/Piniella Plan (Apparently)Baseball - I guess not even that is in the cards. He might be done with baseball, that’s alot of arm injuries. Is it me, or does it seem like Cubs prospects have more than their share of arm injuries (not just Wood/Prior?) I am thinking of Petrick, Hagerty [...]

Since last summer, I have thought Chone Figgins would be a good fit for the Cubs. He's a switch hitting lead off guy with base stealing ability. He can play CF, SS, 3B, 2B. I thought he could replace Pie last year. If Pie proves himself this year, Figgins should have good value at trade deadline, assuming Theriot, Cedeno, Infante, Fontenot, Matzui, (am I forgetting anyone?) can get r done at SS.

Don't we lose a "decent, reliable" arm in the bullpen w/ Dempster moving to the rotation? I at least felt he had a better chance of success than failure.

And what would Griffey cost?

Am I the only Cub person who is interestted in Aaron Rowland? If I am,WHY??? This man not only provides the numbers we desperately need but the ONE THING WE HAVE NO HAD FOR MANY, MANY YEARS: the rah-rah, go win one for the GIPPER player so apparently lacking!!!!! Please tell me what I'm missing.******

He's way too expensive for a player who was over his head last year at a position we're not dying to fill and would cost us our first round draft pick.

And I'm pretty sure he'd kill himself on the bricks...

I feel the cubs will get matsui and fukudome.then the cubs should trade for santana.hill covin and marshall
and throw in fontinol too thats because i cant spell it
or if the cubs cant get fukudome maybe trade for griffey

Earl, you are not the only Cub fan interested in Rowand. I cannot figure out the infatuation with having a balanced lefty/righty line-up. Rowand is an on-base machine, .370+ last year, and that is the stat that the Cubs brass seems to covet the most. I don't see any teams changing there pitching rotation just to face a righty heavy team. I understand that he wants a five-year deal, but isn't it worth it to go a year longer for a proven commodity. That's referencing the four-year deal that Fukudome will ask for.

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