The NL Central Goes Shopping

The editors at mlb.com obviously sent all of the team correspondents a mass email ordering them to write Winter Meeting shopping list stories...pronto! Well, their loss of editorial independence is your gain. Here, based on those stories and reports from a few of the hometown papers, is a summary of what the Cubs’ NL Central brothers might be looking for during next week’s meetings in Nashville: Brewers NL Central teams posted four of the five worst bullpen ERAs in the National League last season, with Milwaukee (4.15/12th in NL), Houston (4.62/14th), Pittsburgh (4.77/15th) and Cincy (5.10/16th) positively embarrassing the Cubs (3.76/3rd) and Cardinals (4.00/9th). No surprise then that so many of the division’s teams are hoping to address bullpen issues. The Brewers actually lost their best reliever, closer Francisco Cordero, who signed last week with the Reds, plus set-up man Scott Linebrink, who signed with the White Sox. (You think Kenny Williams will ask him to play centerfield?) GM Doug Melvin says he doesn’t anticipate trading for an established closer given the typical asking price, but he’s also understandably wary of the three remaining, free-agent closers—Gagne, Percival, and Dotel—given their colorful injury histories. Sounds to me like Doug Melvin has a problem. Cardinals The Cards are counting on Mark Mulder to be part of their Opening Day roster; not so with Chris Carpenter, whose road back from injury will be longer. As a result, new GM John Mozeliak is looking for at least one quality starter, and the Saint Louies are “willing to deal younger pitching for expensive veteran arms.” The team has also expressed interest in, but not yet offered contracts to, free agent starters Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse. If free agent shortstop and lead-off man David Eckstein walks, the Cards’ replacement candidates would include Miguel Tejada, Jack Wilson, and free agent Cesar Izturis. On behalf of Cub fans everywhere, I strongly recommend that the Cards go for Izturis. Reds Though Johnnie B. Baker seduced Cordero into joining the Reds, the team still needs to punch up the league’s worst relief corps. They’re also on the lookout for a veteran starter to complement a rotation that currently includes Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo, and young Homer Bailey. Astros They need a whole big bunch. The recent trade of Brad Lidge has created a vacancy for a closer, plus they’ll be looking for a couple of starters and a second baseman to replace retired legend Craig Biggio. General Manager Ed Wade’s shopping list has been said to include, among others, Tad Iguchi, not-yet-a-Cub Kaz Matsui, and once-a-Cub Jon Lieber. Pirates As laughingstock franchises go, the Pirates have decent outfield depth (Jason Bay, Nyjer Morgan, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, et al), which they might be able to parlay into some much-needed pitching help, particularly the right-handed relief pitching type. On a closing side note, I just noticed that new Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington looks a lot like New Jersey Nets Coach Lawrence Frank. Also, like the 13-year-old who delivers my newspaper. (You'll find Carrie Muskat’s thoughts on the Cubs' plans for the Winter Meetings right here. I didn’t bother to summarize them since the people who frequent this page have so many more interesting, insightful things to say than Carrie does.)
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Comments

damn right that muskat seems to write only what is from the press releases. she tries to act like she knows all of the players so well, but she won't be critical

Man is Carrie producing her actual garbage. She seems to think Fontenot has trade value. As AZ Phil has pointed out many times every MLB team could have had him many times for the last few years. I doubt a 1 month Crash Davis moment is going to change many minds. Yeah a small market GM with big 2b gap, might be interested but not for anyone who could help the 08 cubs. Since she is a "beat reporter" she could have gotten some better info than anyone who has watched a week's worth of games last season would know about this team.

I know this much: For several years all we drafted was pitchers. The Cubs were later critcized for this, part of the reason for Tim Wilken and the new direction. The problem with our system, however, is that all this young pitching never got a chance to develop at the major league level. Hendry blocked those opportunities by signing Remlinger, Veres, Hawkins, etc...Now that we seem to be opening more spots in the bullpen, we're creating a "development system" for our young pitchers. This should result in our pitchers actually having major league trade value as opposed to prospect value.

So, in conclusion, given the demand for bullpen help all throughout baseball, do you test the waters with Michael Wurtz? I say you do. He's good, he's cheap and he takes the ball 3 times a week. I'd hate to lose him but the spot could be used to develop a young pitcher, all the while filling a hole we need-outfield.

I would add Howry to that as well. With Petrick and Roquet waiting in the wings, Weurtz is replaceable and Weurtz, I believe could replace Howry as our backup plan for Wood/Marmol breaking down/coming down to earth.

Muskett doesn't actually say that The Fontenaught is trade bait, she says that he's part of the organizational depth (which I guess he is), so it could also be implying that his presence allows DeRosa or Theriot to be dealt. I don't think that's likely, though. The Fontenaught sort of reminds me of Vina, though. Maybe the Cards want him. We'll take Reyes off their hands, and teach him how to wear a cap.

Totally not related but BP is doing their top 50 prospects (which seems to be more like #21 to #50), but here's the link:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/news/...

Vitters and Colvin make an appearance, and their methodology means that some of the 'experts' put Colvin (#44) in the top 30 overall.

sorry not BP, MILB.com.

Question for AZ Phil or anyone else who closely follows the minors:

Anybody eligible for the Rule 5 draft who might be able to handle an MLB platoon in RF with Matt Murton? Unfortunately, with a LH hitter, we're talking about the majority of the PAs.

At this point I feel like the Cubs are searching for the least-worst RF option. Cliff Floyd?

If we get shot down on our rightfield options-Fukodome, etc...and we look at the best available outfielder that can hit in the middle of the lineup-Andrew Jones, Aaron Rowand, etc..is it possible that our best rightfield option becomes Colvin?

From ESPN, Crasnick:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove07/colu...

Re Prior -

"The Cubs would like to sign Prior to a one-year deal for roughly the $3.575 million that he earned last season, then add a club option for 2009. But Prior is hesitant to lock himself in at a low base salary when he might have a chance to make a killing on the open market next winter.
Prior's situation is complicated by several years of baggage and an undercurrent of tension. The Cubs think they've invested enough time in his rehab that Prior should show some loyalty to the organization. Meanwhile, Prior's camp points out that he did accept a minor pay cut last year rather than push the Cubs to salary arbitration."

Column is on the "top" pitchers available this year. Funny - does not mention Marquis. Hmmm.

The guy over at mlbtraderumors says that Prior's not a FA until after '09 anyway, but I guess if he comes back and pitches 180 innings with a 3.40 ERA in '08 (not saying he's going to do it, calm down), then would be looking pretty good for his final year of arbitration - like $9 million good. That's probably what the Cubs want to avoid. They're taking all the risk on a one year $3.5 deal.

I think Arizona Phil said it best...... Prior is no Kerry Wood.

I'd be surprised if he takes a contract from the Cubs with a club option.

Geoff Jenkins has Cubs written all over him. I would not be happy with him, but I think he will be the "big bat left handed hitter". I would rather see Murton full time in RF.

As for Wuertz, every Cubs fan should know from observation that if the game is on the line he gives it up. No game on the line he pads his stats. Conclusion is that he cannot handle the pressure. He and Ohman are the lefty-righty version of the same guy, with Wuertz being somewhat better.

E-Man:
"Column is on the “top” pitchers available this year. Funny - does not mention Marquis. Hmmm."

I posted that link yesterday. And if you read the entire article it does mention Marquis. Scroll down to #9 "Salary Dumps".

"I posted that link yesterday. And if you read the entire article it does mention Marquis. Scroll down to #9 “Salary Dumps”."

Sorry. I missed the post. I'll scroll down to 9, and read more thoroughly. Thanks! I wouldn't have assumed he'd be considered a salary dump -

carmenfanzone says:

November 29th, 2007 at 7:46 am

If we get shot down on our rightfield options-Fukodome, etc…and we look at the best available outfielder that can hit in the middle of the lineup-Andrew Jones, Aaron Rowand, etc..is it possible that our best rightfield option becomes Colvin?
.....................................................................................

Colvin hasn't shown any power yet. Not enough for RF anyway. And his plate discipline makes Felix Pie look like Mark Grace. He MIGHT be an early "sell high" candidate. At least if Jim Hendry ever decided to use that sort of strategy.

The guy over at mlbtraderumors says that Prior’s not a FA until after ‘09 anyway

Yea... but he is wrong.

AZ Phil has already covered this - Prior was on the MLB 60-day DL all season, meaning that 2007 counted as a year of service time.

As for Wuertz, every Cubs fan should know from observation that if the game is on the line he gives it up. No game on the line he pads his stats. Conclusion is that he cannot handle the pressure.

You do know that Wuertz was quite good at not allowing inherited runners to score, right?

As for Wuertz, every Cubs fan should know from observation that if the game is on the line he gives it up.

Wuertz has 34 holds and saves and 4 blown saves for his career. Weurtz's three year stats - Close and late:

.208 average, .315 OBP, .288 slugging.

Man that's really giving it up.

For comparision:
Ohman .262 .368 . 407
Dempster .231 .331 .324
Howry .239 .276 .354
Marmol .200 .353 .276
Wood .243 .349 .459 (maybe not all as a reliever).
M Rivera .222 .280 .314
K Rod .188 .281 .309

Weurtz was also the closer when he was in Iowa in '04 and '06. I don't have the blown saves and holds, but he had 29 saves and 128 K's in 89.1 innings. Guess we should non-tender him.

The Real Neal — November 29, 2007 @ 8:17 am
The guy over at mlbtraderumors says that Prior’s not a FA until after ‘09 anyway, but I guess if he comes back and pitches 180 innings with a 3.40 ERA in ‘08 (not saying he’s going to do it, calm down), then would be looking pretty good for his final year of arbitration - like $9 million good. That’s probably what the Cubs want to avoid. They’re taking all the risk on a one year $3.5 deal.

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

REAL NEAL: The guy over at mlbtraderumors doesn't know what he's talking about.

As I have posted here at TCR several times over the past eight months (and again as recently as two days ago), the Cubs optioned Mark Prior to AAA Iowa during Spring Training after he claimed his shoulder felt "fine," but the minor league option was later voided by MLB after Prior claimed he had a pre-existing shoulder injury that required surgery.

So Prior spent the 2007 season year on the Cubs 60-day DL, and got credit for a full year of MLB service time. As a result, he enters 2008 with 5+131 MLB ST, and absolutely positively WILL be a FA after the 2008 season (unless he gets non-tendered on 12/12, in which case he will be a FA in less than two weeks).

A couple other points about a Colvin platoon is that Murton hasn't shown he needs one (he's actually shown the opposite) and Colvin hit lefties well until he arrived in AA this year and part of that was some bad BABIP luck.

Thanks AZ Phil.

That gives more credence to the Cubs efforts, then. I would say he gets traded for a PTBN.

re: Wuertz

Wuertz was often the pitcher Lou went to when he had to yank a starter or his closer Dempster early. He appeared in 11 games in September and allowed zero runs in ten of them. The Cubs won the other one.

REAL NEAL: The guy over at mlbtraderumors doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Though, to be fair, the guy corrected himself a day or two ago saying that Prior would be a free agent next off-season.

Though Johnnie B. Baker seduced Cordero into joining the Reds

And yet some would have us believe that Dusty just managed the players Hendry handed him.

Neal, I agree. With the suck-ass names that have been bandied about. I wish they would just play Murton. Delmon Young just got traded for Matt Garza and everyone is praising the Twins for the haul. Yet Young's numbers last year are exactly what Murton put up when he see's close to full season action. Let the dude play and see if he can improve. Stop the perverse prediliction with garbage like Lefthandedness,japaneesseness(?),proven vet-ness, and any other ness that Lou and Hendry are stuck on this year.

Stats can be used many different ways. All I know is what my eyes tell me. Anyone that thinks Wuertz is a good relief pitcher just doesn't watch the games. If his stats are so good, why isn't he listed as a closer candidate or even a 7th or 8th inning guy?

By the way, his career ba is .225, not .208. It should also be pointed out that his 4 career blown saves should be compared to his one career save. That is my point, he chokes when the game is one the line. Don't bother quoting holds, I don't know if there is a blown hold category, but these are not true pressure situations. Bottom line, Wuertz is an average to below-average bullpen guy who can only be used in the 5th or 6th innings in games we have a chance to still win, and in later innings only if the game is essentially over or the other bullpen guys are not available due to overuse. That kind of guy is not worth much.

FWIW Murton put up WAY better #s than Young since both got to the bigs

Young
http://www.baseball-reference.com/y/youngde03...

Murton
http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/murtoma01...

Get your eyes checked?

The entire month of September was a "pressure situation" TJ

Wuertz was superb in Sept.

yeesh

Michael Wuertz had one of the best inherited runners standed % in MLB last year. For whatever reason, he sucks when he starts an inning, but pitches great when he comes into a game with runners on base. Which means he isn't a set-up or closer candidate (because those guys usually come into a game at the start of an inning), but he makes an excellent 6th-7th inning guy in a situation where his predecessor gets into a jam.

Anyone that thinks Wuertz is a good relief pitcher just doesn’t watch the games.

Another nominee for the TCR Comments HOF...

If anyone has ventured to ESPN.com lately, they do a featured comment of the day and they're usually the most ridiculous things in the world. I'm thinking I might have to start something similar...

Saying he's one out of 5 in save chances is just cherry picking, TJ. Come on.

Wuertz gets a blown save if he gives up a lead in the 6th inning. Yet, if he holds the lead, he gets no such save.

That's just not being fair to him.

I think the Twins are being praised because Delmon Young is like 22 years old and was considered the top prospect in baseball for most of the time in the minors.

Personally I think it's a pretty even trade but I do agree that him and Murton would probably have similar hitting lines over the next year or two. But obviously Young has the incredible upside that the Twins are banking on...

I guess the overwhelming belief is that Wuertz is a great relief pitcher. Now we don't have to worry about the closer's job, just give it to Wuertz. There is certainly pressure involved in trying to get into the play-offs, but it doesn't equal the pressure to win individual games with the games on the line. He may have had a very good September, but let me ask those of you that love him (and that seems to be the majority) what your initial feeling is when he comes into a game that is on the line. Do you feel our chances of winning have improved or decreased by his appearance?

By the way, his career ba is .225, not .208. It should also be pointed out that his 4 career blown saves should be compared to his one career save.

HAHAHA.

Right - because he has more blown saves than saves, he isn't any good? You do know that you have to get save opportunities to get a save, right?

That is my point, he chokes when the game is one the line

If he choked when the game was on the line, he would probably have more blown saves and more losses, don't you think?

By the way, his career ba is .225, not .208.

Go back and read what Real Neal said again. Real Neal quoted his "close and late" numbers over the last three years, not his career numbers. Close and Late - do you know what that is? They are they situations that you say Wuertz "chokes" in.

That kind of guy is not worth much.

Ha... if you say so. If the Cubs wanted to trade Wuertz, there would be probably be about 20 teams (or more) that would be interested.

Furthermore, if you're second in the league in not allowing inherited runners to score, there's a role for you in the bullpen. In any bullpen. If you aren't good at starting an inning, that role is still there for you.

If he isn't being used in a way that best suits his strengths, that's not necessarily his fault.

I guess the overwhelming belief is that Wuertz is a great relief pitcher.

I am sorry... but you can you point out one person who said Wuertz was "great." Maybe I missed it.

let me ask those of you that love him (and that seems to be the majority)

Once again... can you point out one person who sayd that they "love" Wuertz?

what your initial feeling is when he comes into a game that is on the line. Do you feel our chances of winning have improved or decreased by his appearance?

I tend to feel pretty confident when Wuertz enters the game, especially with runners on.

By the way... Carlos Marmol had one save and one blown save this past season.

He must suck.

He would have had more saves if he had been better in "pressure" situations.

I think the Twins are being praised because Delmon Young is like 22 years old and was considered the top prospect in baseball for most of the time in the minors.

Personally I think it’s a pretty even trade but I do agree that him and Murton would probably have similar hitting lines over the next year or two. But obviously Young has the incredible upside that the Twins are banking on…
.......................................................................................

I think people get overly enamored with "tools". Personally I could care less how athletic someone is. I want to see production. If Jim Hendry was an astute GM he would take advantage of this and trade some of his "tools" guys for production guys while their value was still high.

Wrigley's Believe It Or Not — November 29, 2007 @ 7:40 am
Question for AZ Phil or anyone else who closely follows the minors:

Anybody eligible for the Rule 5 draft who might be able to handle an MLB platoon in RF with Matt Murton? Unfortunately, with a LH hitter, we’re talking about the majority of the PAs.

At this point I feel like the Cubs are searching for the least-worst RF option. Cliff Floyd?

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

WRIG: No, but ex-Cub Jody Gerut (who missed the last two seasons after undergoing knee surgery for a patella tendon problem) is healthy again and is absolutely destroying the Venezuelan Winter League (VWL), hitting 390/488/567. If you prorate Gerut's VWL numbers out over 160 games, it's 16 HR, 88 RBI, 136 RUNS, 28 doubles, 12 triples, 100 BB, and 80 K.

Lest you think the VWL is some bullshit minor league, it's rated by scouts as the strongest of the Latin winter leagues, and is considered to be equivalent to AAA (there are a number of MLB players on VWL rosters).

When he was with the Cubs (briefly) in 2005, Gerut was playing on one leg and was essentially limited to PH duties, but now that he is 100%, he could be a candidate to platoon with Murton, or maybe even play every day (Gerut's VWL LHP/RHP splits are about equal).

The Cubs scout the VWL very heavily, and they signed most of the best minor league FAs playing in the VWL (Andres Torres, Andres Blanco, Mike Smith, and Cory Bailey) earlier this month, and Omar Infante, Ronny Cedeno, and Henry Blanco are down there, too. So don't be too surprised if the Cubs sign Gerut as a Plan "C" in case Plan "A" (sign Fukudome) or Plan "B" (acquire Crawford, Scott, Huff, et al via trade) fall through.

I would certainly take a now-healthy Jody Gerut over a declining FA RF like Geoff Jenkins or Shawn Green. Gerut was the Indians starting RF before suffering a near career-ending knee injury the last month of the 2004 season. He could be the Roy Hobbs/Josh Hamilton of 2008.

Aaron Gleeman is pretty down of the Young trade.

http://www.aarongleeman.com/

Wow, Phil. Jody Gerut... Really? I am often stunned by the amount you know about the minors, but this one really blew me away. I remember thinking he was a nice kid when he was with the Cubs. If you say so, I will jump on the "sign Jody" bandwagon...

CWTP:
"And yet some would have us believe that Dusty just managed the players Hendry handed him."

And yet some would have us believe that Dusty was the only one that wanted the crappy middle IF's. :)

Dusty infected Hendry with his crappy middle infield fetish. They both suck. That doesnt mean Dusty sucks any less just because Hendry sucks to.

actually, dusty wanted the shitty middle infielders (like Tony Womack). Hendry likes the crappy ones. it's a subtle point.

I guess the overwhelming belief is that Wuertz is a great relief pitcher. Now we don’t have to worry about the closer’s job, just give it to Wuertz.

And a new leader for strawman argument of the year...

eli18:
"actually, dusty wanted the shitty middle infielders (like Tony Womack). Hendry likes the crappy ones. it’s a subtle point."

That was seriously pretty funny!!! Good one!!

Theme song of a famous strawman: "If I Only Had a Brain". How appropriate!

Dr. aaronb — November 29, 2007 @ 10:16 am
Dusty infected Hendry with his crappy middle infield fetish. They both suck. That doesnt mean Dusty sucks any less just because Hendry sucks to.

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

DR AARON B: Jim Hendry is the type of GM who gets his manager the players the manager wants. What Hendry is doing right now is based on The Plan that was devised at the Cubs organizational meetings in Mesa earlier this month. Piniella places his order. Hendry attempts to fill it. Hendry did the same thing last year, and he did the same thing when Dusty Baker was the Cubs manager.

I fully believe the idea of signing Kaz Matsui has to do with Piniella requesting a speedy left-handed hitting middle-infielder who can make spot starts at 2B and SS and who can be used in late-inning double-switches. Piniella has zero use for Mike Fontenot. Based on the acquisition of Omar Infante and the desire to sign Matsui, it appears Piniella has a similar negative opinon of Ronny Cedeno.

And the idea that the Cubs need a left-handed power-hitting RF who can hit in the middle of the order was also a Piniella thing. Hendry probably doesn't disagree with it, but if Piniella didn't want it, Hendry isn't going to get it.

Uncle Lou comes from a similar background as Dusty Baker (Old School 1970's MLB outfielder who later became a hitting instructor), I believe Piniella and Baker pretty much share the same philosophy vis-a-vis roster construction. That is, a balanced lineup (L-R-L-R-L-R-L-R, if possible) that gives the starting pitcher a different "look" with each AB and makes the opposing manager burn relief pitchers in the late innings, and two or three speedy versatile players on the bench.

The thing is. Only Lou and Dusty burn through a bullpen like that. Most other managers seem to be thinking more along the lines of full game strategy.

AZ Phil:
"Jim Hendry is the type of GM who gets his manager the players the manager wants. What Hendry is doing right now is based on The Plan that was devised at the Cubs organizational meetings in Mesa earlier this month. Piniella places his order. Hendry attempts to fill it."

But Hendry is the guy who hires the manager, right? He was the one that we would think asked the manager in the interview process, what kind of players do you like. Either Dusty and Lou lied to Hendry about liking shitty middle IF's or Hendry agreed with them. Hendry is the GM and is involved, and in fact the leader, of the organizational meetings that were held and should have just as much input as the manager. He controls the organizational philosophy as to what direction the team is going to go in overall. Then he should hire his subordinates accordingly to follow that plan. To even slightly imply that Hendry is not at fault at all for some of the crappy players he signs is the reason why his nickname is Teflon Jim.

"Uncle Lou comes from a similar background as Dusty Baker (Old School 1970’s MLB outfielder who later became a hitting instructor), I believe Piniella and Baker pretty much the same philosophy vis-a-vis roster construction."

I can't agree more. But I think we are in the minority on that.

MANNY T: I don't disagree that Hendry is accountable and shares the blame for whatever negative things are caused by the manager's decisions, because he chooses the manager.

But what I was trying to say is that Hendry is a facilitator-type GM rather than a "strong-man"-type GM who tells the manager "Here's our team. Deal with it." Hendry defers to his manager in the area of the TYPES of players the manager wants on his roster. The actual players are acquired by Hendry, but they are based on how Piniella (or Baker) uses players and how the manager wants his roster (including bench and bullpen) constructed.

Piniella also shares Baker's preference for veterans over rookies, not only in the starting rotation and starting lineup, but also on the bench and in the bullpen. With Piniella and Baker, a rookie better hit the ground running, or he's sent back from whence he came. Leo Durocher was like that, too.

When Hendry hired Piniella, he selected the candidate who was most-similar to the previous manager (Dusty Baker). To this day, I doubt that Hendry regrets (even for one minute) that he hired Dusty Baker.

I wonder if Andy McFail regrets that he hired Hendry?

Dr. aaronb — November 29, 2007 @ 10:59 am
I wonder if Andy McFail regrets that he hired Hendry?

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

DR AARON B: That's actually a very good question.

I suspect he does not, although I haven't seen any comments from him to that effect.

Dr. aaronb:
"I wonder if Andy McFail regrets that he hired Hendry?"

No way!! They are buddies. Why do you think he gave Hendry an inexcusable extension on the way out the door?

Does the Young deal pretty much scotch any deal that would involve Carl Crawford to the Cubs? While at least the deal shows the Devil Rays will make a deal, this takes one of the surplus of outfielders away from Tampa Bay, and gives them a quality young pitcher. (Better than what the Cubs could give them).

twincities.com reporting Red Sox leading the way with Johann - for Crisp, Lester and 2 prospects - Lowry and MAsterton

If BOST can get Johann without giving up wither Ellsbury or Bucholtz, it would be all but a steal by them, IMO.

What's kind of unusual about the Cubs situation in 2006 is that usually when a club performs below expectations, the manager is the first fall guy, then the GM goes next (usually about a year or two later), and then the Team President get the axe.

But with the Cubs, Baker and MacPhail got dumped, but the man-in-the-middle (Hendry) stayed. Ordinarliy that would be because the GM got promoted to Team President (as happened with Dallas Green in 1985), but Hendry is not (in any way, shape, or form) a candidate to be Team President, and yet he stayed while the President and Manager got sacked. If the Tribune had wanted to "clean house," all three (MacPhail, Hendry, and Baker) would have been replaced.

And Hendry wasn't retained just because he signed an extension, either, because when Ed Lynch got removed as GM, he remained in the organization in a scouting position. The Cubs could have done that with Hendry if they didn't want him as GM.

That said, as soon as the Cubs have a new owner, I believe it's fairly safe to presume that Jim Hendry will be G-O-N-E.

If TJ thinks Wuertz is that crappy, then watch what he will command as a FA in a couple of years or what comes back to the Cubs in a trade for him. It will be a helluva lot more than Cedeno, Fontenot, Ohman and Murton would fetch.

It wasn't only because of the extension, but also because the guy who replaced McPhail was another one of Jim's buddies. Also, the team is on the verge of being sold, so the they did not want to rock the front office boat, thus they kept Hendry and hired from within.

I don't wanted to keep arguing against overwhelming opposition, but I went and checked September only when Wuertz was "suberb". He appeared in 13 games and in only 5 of those games was the score closer than 3 runs when he came in. In 2 of those games the score was tied while he was pitching and he gave up the lead run. In 1 game the Cubs were down by 2 runs in the 9th and he wild pitched in another run. In the other two games the Cubs were down by 3 runs and in one he faced one batter and waked him and in the other he reitred the side. In all the other games the difference between the 2 teams was 4 runs or more. Those were the games in which he excelled. This is exactly my point. If I had the time to review the entire year the results would most likely be the same. I picked his best month and the results proved me correct. HE CANNOT PITCH IN CLOSE GAMES WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE.

He's been the GM for five full seasons, and during that time he's delivered three winning seasons, two division titles, and what should have been a wild card title. He's handled an enormous payroll well (no Hampton/Vaughn style albatross deals), he's made several good trades, he's retained star players at reasonable prices, and he's maintained good relationships with agents and other GMs.

The guy has his warts and he's made his share of dubious moves, but it's not exactly a mystery why he hasn't been shown the door.

moethacker — November 29, 2007 @ 11:07 am
Does the Young deal pretty much scotch any deal that would involve Carl Crawford to the Cubs? While at least the deal shows the Devil Rays will make a deal, this takes one of the surplus of outfielders away from Tampa Bay, and gives them a quality young pitcher. (Better than what the Cubs could give them).

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

MOE T: It would seem a lot less likely now that the Rays will trade Crawford, although if the Cubs were to offer Rich Hill and/or Carlos Marmol, Sean Gallagher, and Matt Murton, the Rays would probably go for it. It's just that Carl Crawford isn't worth that much. He's a good player, but I wouldn't raid the pitching inventory to get him.

Which is why signing Kosuke Fukudome is the best option for RF, not because Ko-Skay is necessarily a superior player, but because it wouldn't cost the Cubs a posting fee or any players (especially young pitchers) or draft picks.

HE CANNOT PITCH IN CLOSE GAMES WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE.

Once again... Wuertz, close and late, over the last three seasons, has given up this line:

.208/.315/.288

Yup... he sucks. I wish the Cubs had more pitchers who were as bad as Wuertz in close and late situations.

Referring to stats over and over doesn't mean anything. Even though they hit .208, Wuertz may have given up the big hit and then shut them down after that. I'm pointing to actual games, not overall stats.

He appeared in 13 games in September.

nope, eleven. Maybe you're adding in October.

He did appear in two games in October allowing no runs and no hits in 1.2 innings including the game where he replaced Rich Hill in the 4th inning with runners on and nobody out.

No pressure there.

I generally prefer to look back at random games over the last few years and make snap judgements about this guy or that guy. All this "stats" nonsense is for dorks who live in their parents basement and read moneyball. I wouldnt trade a half empty can of Simoniz and a used infield rake for your "Stats"

vorare — November 29, 2007 @ 11:30 am
He’s been the GM for five full seasons, and during that time he’s delivered three winning seasons, two division titles, and what should have been a wild card title. He’s handled an enormous payroll well (no Hampton/Vaughn style albatross deals), he’s made several good trades, he’s retained star players at reasonable prices, and he’s maintained good relationships with agents and other GMs.

The guy has his warts and he’s made his share of dubious moves, but it’s not exactly a mystery why he hasn’t been shown the door.

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

VORARE: What you say about Jim Hendry having a positive relationship with agents is true (just about the exact opposite of back when Larry Himes was GM). I doubt that any MLB GM gets along better with Scott Boras than Hendry, and Hendry seems to keep on unusually good terms with the agents of all potential Cubs FA.

Thanks to whoever cleaned up the end of the last thread...Very good editorial decision!!

Numbers lie, dave. Duh.

That guy is the smartest baseball fan ever. You are not. You lose.

I don't think the Wuertz debate is as one sided as everyone is trying to make it.

Certainly, he is a guy with an A+ slider. The key is if he can throw it for strikes, then everyone has a hard time hitting him. You may recall several times when he has been used to match up with Pujols at critical times. However, if he can't locate the slider, guys lay off and just hit his fastball hard, or he walks too many batters.

He is a one pitch strikeout specialist and that is probably the reason the way the Cubs use him right now helps him to be so effective.

agents, GM's, players.. I think there have been more than enough reports about how Hendry is easy to work with..and yes, I think it's important.

I've heard some folks talk about how Hendry only deals with a few teams and GM's but if I could find that comment from AZ Phil about all of Hendry's transactions during his tenure, you'll see that he's dealt with almost every team in baseball including the NL central teams (although I can't think of any deals with the Cardinals).

off the top of my head, uncomplete list obviously:
Brewers (Andy Pratt trade)
Pirates (Ramirez, Lawton)
Reds (Josh Hamilton)
Astros (hmmm, Tom Gordon?)
Braves (Juan Cruz)
Marlins (Juan Pierre, Derrek Lee)
Nationals/Expos: (Nomar 3-way deal)
Giants: (Hawkins)
Padres: (Barrett)
A's: (Barrett, Kendall)
White Sox: (Cotts)
Twins: (Nevin, Monroe, Nomar 3-way)
Tigers: (Monroe, Neifi)
Indians: (Bartosh)
Yankees: (Lawton)
Red Sox: (Remlinger)
Rays: (Jae-kuk Ryu)
Orioles: (Moore, Corey, etc)

so I can't think of any Royals, Angels, Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Cardinals or Phillies deals

I can't access fangraphs or BP right now...

You could just look up WPA or WXRL and pretty much settle this.

I think Wuertz is generally a positive in the WPA numbers although certainly not the best Cub (I think that went to Marmol).

I stand corrected. He only pitched in 11 games in September. My mistake. The rest of my analysis is the same except it was 6 games in which the score was 4 runs or greater and not 8.

hmm, I missed 3 teams...

Dbacks - can't recall a trade
Mariners - can't recall a trade
Rangers - can't recall a trade

oh fuck...Rockies about to finalize a deal with Trax and possibly Mark Redman.

Way to build on that success.

I read earlier that O'Dowd felt Kaz was close to signing with another team as well.

and from the Dodgers, the Twins want 3 or 4 of:
Kemp, Billingsley, Kershaw, LaRoche, Broxton or Ethier

Damn.

Re: Wuertz

Here is one way to look at it. His 2007 numbers:
2007 overall: .712 OPS Against
Tie Game: .922 OPS Against
Within 1 Run: .820 OPS Against
Within 2 Runs: .732 OPS Against
Within 3 Runs: .745 OPS Against
Within 4 Runs: .662 OPS Against
Margin > 4 Runs: .890 OPS Against

So basically last year he got hit pretty good in tie games, within 1 run and when teh margin was more than 4 runs. He was really good when he was in and within 2-4 runs.

check out the design of the new Rays park..

http://deadspin.com/sports/tampa-bay-devil-ra...

WPA, Relievers (top 5 Cubs):

Marmol: 2.80
Howry: 1.71
Dempster: .97
Hart: .30
Wuertz: .08

Hendry with Rangers: sold Alan Benes, traded Jason Fransz for Doug Glanville, sold Santiago Perez, sold Cody Ransom, sold Jon Leceister, three way trade with A's for Freddie Bynum giving up John Koronka

Gary Matthews Jr to Rangers?

with Diamondbacks: tradd Derrin Ebert for Chris Donnels, bought Steve Randolph, traded David Noyce and Gary Johnson for Damian Miller.

With Mariners: traded Travis Ezi for Mark Johnson,

yeah, nothing special but just above average....

No, Gary Mathews Jr. was selected off waivers by the Pirates from the Cubs, then purchases by the Mets, then traded to the Orioles, then selected off Waivers from the Padres, then selected again by Atlanta, released, then signed with Rangers - then free agent and signed with the Angels

so I can’t think of any Royals, Angels, Mets, Rockies, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Cardinals or Phillies deals
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Royals: traded Damian Jackson, Giovanni Carrara, and Gary Glover for Gookie Dawkins

Angels: None

Mets: bought Angel Pagan

Rockies: traded Mark Bellhorn for Jose Hernandez, traded Emanuel Ramires for Tony Womack

Blue Jays: No

Dodgers: Maddux for Isturis, Hundley and Hermanson for Karros and Grudzielanek

Cardinals: traded Jeff Fassero for Jason Karnuth and Jared Blasdell

Phillies: No

So Angels, Blue Jays, and Philles are the only three teams so far Hendry hasn't dealt with.

oh yeah Bynum/Koronka....

The Badger is on his game today.

yeah, nothing special but just above average….

Exactly. Not "great." Not "we love him." Not "closer."

Just a bit above average, meaning solid, decent, and/or valuable.

how could I forget the Dodger deals? duh...

well I was doing it off the top of my head, I was too lazy to look up AZ Phil's comment or BR.com...

but I do appreciate the info..

mlb.com saying Mike "See You In Early May" Cameron is on the Cubs' radar.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20071...

Other TEX deal: Nevin for Hairston. No kidding, I was standing at a urinal in the Ballpark at Arlington when the radio guys announced that trade. For some reason, even at the moment I felt that was bound to be symbolic...

mlb.com saying that every middling mid $ free agent is currently on cubs radar.

Wasnt Hendry the GM (or atleast the defact GM during McPhail's stint as GM) for the Agon for Herdida deal? If waiver claims count he got Miguel Negron from them. So that only leaves LA3 and PHI as teams he hasnt dealt with that makes sense. Stoneman and Hendry are guys that believe the convential wisdom of selling high, Wade and Hendry seem to like the same kinds of players Vet Middle relievers and crappy MI's. Also Gillick has only traded with three GM's KW, Wade, and Krivisky.

It's believed the Padres are targeting outfielder Geoff Jenkins

Praise the Lord. Go! Friars Go!

chifan:
"Stoneman and Hendry are guys that believe the convential wisdom of selling high,"

What?

Yeah not trying to sound smart or something, just trying to fill the gaps. I actually copied the Cubs transactions from BR for Hendry's reign into an Excel sheet. So that was not from memory. I think perhaps only Arizona Phil would remember the great Gookie Dawkins trade off the top of this head!

I imagine if the Cubs do dip in the CF market, it would be for Cameron or Jones since I believe both are Type B free agents and I doubt the Cubs will sign any Type A free agents and lose their first round pick.

latest Red Sox/Twins rumor...

According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox have made it clear to the Twins that they'd be willing to part with one -- but not two -- from a group of Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury in a Johan Santana trade.

This is a quote from above but i edited it. Please note the bold type where the edit was made:

:No, Gary Mathews Jr. was selected off waivers by the Pirates from the Cubs, then purchases by the Mets, then traded to the Orioles, then selected off Waivers from the Padres, then selected again by Atlanta, released, then signed with Rangers did a lot of steroids/hgh- then free agent and signed for way too much money for a crappy player with one good year with the Angels

go Chad, you topped your Freddy Krueger joke from yesterday, which isn't saying much.

[/busting balls]

DICK!

and my Freddy Krueger joke was great.

The Matsui thing should be resolved by the weekend, as you can bet the Cubs and Astros want a final decision before the teams travel to Nashville on Sunday.

If the money is equal, Matusi may well find the Astros' scenario preferable to the Cubs. In Houston, he would be the primary 2B, with Chris Burke probably limited to spot starts against tough lefties.

Here, Matsui wouldn't know on a day-to-day basis if he is going to play 2B or SS, and if he would start, be part of a double-switch, or play at all. That lack of certainty would likely play a huge factor is deciding which offer to accept.

Also, it must make Matusi slightly uncomfortable knowing that some of his value to the Cubs lies in his perceived ability to attract another FA here. The Astros have a packed OF and could care less about using him to recruit another FA.

So maybe all of the hand-wringing about Matsui has been in vain. We should know before Monday.

"Marmol: 2.80
Howry: 1.71
Dempster: .97
Hart: .30
Wuertz: .08"

Umm... WPA is a function of leverage situations and pitching well. There's only so many high leverage situations to go around. Flip Weurtz with Dempster's or Howry's opportunities and he would have a higher WPA.

It's not control of his slider that comes and goes, it's the break on it that seems to take the occasional night off. Since he's a one pitch pitcher that leaves him in a pretty bad spot. But if we had to go a half a season him with him as the closer, I don't think it would be a season breaker. Maybe we can bring back Koyie Hill to add 3 MPH to his fastball...

Umm… WPA is a function of leverage situations and pitching well. There’s only so many high leverage situations to go around. Flip Weurtz with Dempster’s or Howry’s opportunities and he would have a higher WPA.

True, but then they wouldn't be bringing up Marmol if Wuertz was doing the job already. Wuertz was way up there I recall after he struck out the side with the bases loaded that one game (a few other good outings in there of course). He kind of tailored off as the season went on as Marmol stepped it up.

I like Wuertz, filthy slider when it's on and generally locates his pitches. But we have 3 pitchers with better stuff than him imo.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?c...

if you want to know why Crawford's not going anywhere...

Next item: Before we hear one more Carl Crawford trade rumor this winter, everyone needs to understand something -- the Rays want more back for Crawford than the Marlins want for Cabrera. Which means they don't really want to trade him. And they definitely wouldn't do it for these two guys.

BP weighs in on the Rays- Twins trade. It's nice not to have to type 'D-Rays' anymore.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

Have to agree that Howry and Marmol were safer options than Wuertz last year. He's going to need a third pitch or get more consistent with that slider, if he really wants to be a long term setup or closer.

I would bet that the Red Sox would be more than willing to take him off our hands in a Drew deal... Wonder who they would replace Drew with, though.

Geez do we need to hear that constant whine about Jim Hendry from that Dusty Baker apologist over and over. Give it a break!

re 109: So this team values Crawford much higher than Delmon Young. I just don't get it. There is a reason that they will never finish above .500.

The Rays have a pretty good shot at contending by 2009.

Crawford
Upton
Longoria
Pena
Gomes
Baldelli
Iwamura
Catcher
Bartlett

Price
Kazmir
Shields
Garza
McGee

That's a 90+ win team with a reasonable bullpen.

Delmon Young hasnt even approached Matt Murton level production yet. And many of you are wanting to trade him for a used Rubby Perez CD. Not willing to listen to Delmon Young offers is akin to the cubs not listening to Felix Pie offers. He MAY be good one day. But today he ISNT good.

That’s a 90+ win team with a reasonable bullpen.

Even that group is better for them this year. They've still got Reyes. They picked up Wheeler last year. And if they get Percival, that would help, too.

Delmon Young had 93 RBIs. I would say that Matt Murton hasn't approached Young's production yet. Oh wait, you will say team dependancy and then you will notice that the Devil Ray's team OBP was .003 (that's 3 tenths of a percent difference) higher.

And that was Young's first full season. I will bet you that Young out hits Murton in every way next year. Murton is nothing special, Young is going to be a star. And by going to be I will point you to the Prince Fielder model of first full to second full years. While I don't expect Young to hit 50 homers, I do expect 35 and 120 rbis.

Oh and the reason why Murton doesn't get as many at bats, is that he doesn't deserve them. He's not a very good baseball player.

Delmon Young hasnt even approached Matt Murton level production yet.

Well... to be fair, Young is four years younger than Murton, and already coming close to Murton's production.

Don't get me wrong - I am one of the bigger Murton fans around here, but I would say that Young is a significantly higher upside, and isn't far behind Murton right now.

Murton's production at 23 wasnt greater than Young's? Murton has Out Avg,Slugged,OBP'ed young each year. If I were starting a track and field team. I would absolutely take Young over Murton. If I am starting a baseball team FOR 2008. I take Murton every time.

you know for 2008, they'll probably be similar but I can't imagine anyone in baseball wouldn't take Young over Murton over the next 5 years.

Really, how many #1 overall BA prospects just completely fizzled and it wasn't due to injury?

Murton’s production at 23 wasnt greater than Young’s?

Ummm... Young hasn't even turned 23 yet. He won't turn 23 until next September.

And Murton only played 50 games in the bigs at age 23, not getting called up until late in the summer.

Young will have already played two full seasons by the time he turns 23.

I'm not saying that I would take Young over Murton. I am alluding more to the fact that some people would rather have a team full of guys who look good in a uniform over guys who can actually play. Despite all the accolades and hype. Delmon Young hasnt shown he can be even a league average corner OFer. If Hype was reality then Corey Patterson would still be dominating with his amazing physicality in Center.

FWIW (almost zero), I have a baseball GM/Manager simulation game called 'Baseball Mogul.' In that game, Matt Murton ended up a Hall of Famer.

Doesn't mean anything, I just thought it was kind of funny. And Baseball Mogul is a highly addictive waste of time.

"If I am starting a baseball team FOR 2008. I take Murton every time."

Delmon Young will out hit Matt Murton in 2008. I will bet you anything.

" I am alluding more to the fact that some people would rather have a team full of guys who look good in a uniform over guys who can actually play.:"

Listen Billy Beane, Matt Murton is NEITHER and Young is BOTH!

"Delmon Young hasnt shown he can be even a league average corner OFer."

If Young hasn't than neither has Murton.

CHADBALL!!! we missed it so....

Cameron as anything more than a bench guy/platoon split for Pie is such a horrendous idea, I don't even know where to start.

$1M - OK, maybe. Otherwise, boo Hendry.

WTF is going on this offseason anyways?

All i'm saying is that the kid drove in 93 last year. Matt Murton will never drive in 93 until he bats second or 5th for the Red Sox (and yes RBIs will go up on better teams, I have said that time and time again)

Young batted 5th almost the entire seson and did put up a very nice 349/373/497 line with RISP

He also played 162 games.

And Carlos Pena and his 411 OBP batted in the 3/4 slot most of the year in front of him on top of this.

Young also scored only 65 runs cause he isn't on base that much. It goes both ways.

Why the hell am I arguing? Young's a great talent but a 724 OPS isn't good even with 93 RBI's.

Well Rob, I would argue that there were 46 times where Carlos Pena cleared the bases and Young came up with the bases empty because of the homer that preceded him. I would also argue that the bottom of the lineup couldn't drive him. It wasn't his low OBP alone that kept him from scoring runs. On a better team he'll score more and you will see his OBP and BA go up.

Why the hell am I arguing? Young’s a great talent but a 724 OPS isn’t good even with 93 RBI’s.
.....................................................................

Exactly, Young has yet to become even a League average corner OFer. He is no more a right now stud ballplayer than Felix Pie is. Just becaue someone was hyped up doesnt mean they are good. (Corey Patterson exhibit A) Matt Murton has outproduced Young up to this point. It is fact! Young MAY outproduce him in the future. That remains to be seen.

well Pena didn't exclusively bat in front of Young but whatever.

Young had a nice line with RISP, way off his normal line and that usually doesn't stick.

And really, Young's BA and OBP are going to go up on a better team?

CHADBALL!!!

724 ops

The only cub regular who failed to post a higher ops was Ryan Theriot. And I am including Michael Barrett. He may look like a good ballplayer in his baseball card,Chad. However reality is that he isnt there YET.

"And really, Young’s BA and OBP are going to go up on a better team?"

No. His runs scored will go up. His BA and OBP will go up cause he will get better. Please see Prince Fielder as an example.

Wrigley:
"WTF is going on this offseason anyways?"

Unfortunately for Cubs fans, nothing.

Manny,

I meant to put a dont bewtten that and believe.

chifan,
ok, cool that makes more sense...:)

OOTP>Baseball Mogul.

Just sayin'

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