Should the Cubs Be in on John Smoltz?

A small blurb in the Boston Herald about the Red Sox going after John Smoltz made me wonder if Smoltz should be the Cubs top target. Oh sure, a 27-year old Jake Peavy not coming off arm surgery sure sounds swell, and the Sun-Times is stoking those fires again.

''Hopefully, we'll still add another pitcher before Opening Day.''  (Jim Hendry)

But the numerous roadblocks to that destination still make it highly unlikely that the Cubs will ever land on planet Peavy. If Hendry is intent on adding another pitcher, and I assume starting pitcher, I sure hope he's looking into John Smoltz over the normal grab bag that has produced Wade Miller, Jon Lieber and Glendon Rusch the last few years. But then of course, considering Smoltz just came off arthroscopic shoulder surgery to fix his labrum, sounds like Smoltz might fit the pattern.

Smoltz has been rehabbing since his surgery in July and reports are that he's throwing well and expects to be back in May. Considering the generous days off in April that allow for skipping the fifth starter and the fact that Rich Harden should have his season-ending injury by that point, sounds like the timing couldn't be anymore perfect. Despite pitching through a good deal of pain, Smoltz did put up a 2.56 ERA in his six games in 2008. Even if he's not 100% when he gets back, I think it's safe to assume he'll grin and bear it and can still be quite effective. Most importantly for the Cubs, he's still the proud owner of a 15-4 record in the playoffs with a 2.65 ERA.

If the Cubs aren't going after John Smoltz and this Peavy thing ends up just being another offseason foreplay, are there any other cost-efficient names on the market? As with Smoltz, I'll make a few assumptions that a pitcher is only coming if new ownership approves and the Cubs are probably not interested in a long-term contract. Peavy, rightfully so, is worth the exception. A look through the ESPN Free Agent tracker comes up with a few interesting names.

Curt Schilling - not sure if he's even planning to pitch this year

Pedro Martinez - awfully quiet on his front

Mark Prior - just seeing if you're paying attention

Orlando Hernandez - no idea what's up with him, but a 2.55 postseason ERA

Andy Petitte - turned down $10M from the Yanks, doubtful

There still some bigger names out there, but they should all get multi-year deals such as Lowe, Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf and Jon Garland. For a fifth starter though, and if the Cubs can fit it into their budget with a new owner being announced in the next week or so, I think I'd put their money on John Smoltz.

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Comments

pedro :/

i miss old pedro...he was/is a really fun guy. seems his days are winding down prematurely.

that said i dunno how they add more pitching without 1- needlessly sending someone back to AAA 2- making more trades

just going off what Hendry said about hoping to add an arm...

he seems to do this every year now, some vet thrown in there to compete for a spot and everyone wondering where it will all fit.

I'd sign Sheets to a one year deal with an option

...don't we have unsed towels to rehab him?

alas Linen's N Things has filed for bankruptcy and if they emerge, will this give them an idea how to rename themselves? (Sheets N Towels?)

interesting piece from Gammons

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extra...

What happened this winter is that, as the internet has expanded to become the media power, the flow of information is quickly controlled by agents. A lot of general managers and those of us in the business kid about a couple of sites referred to as ScottBoras.com, and Scott will float things out there and throw it out there and people will report it, you know, 'The Brewers are jumping in on Derek Lowe.' They're not jumping in on Derek Lowe. I mean, please. 'The Red Sox are really hot for Derek Lowe at $16 [million] . . . ' No, they're not. But Scott floats this stuff out, and he's able to get people to report it.

some other good stuff...I wonder how many players wish they just accepted arbitration now.

It would be nice to have someone with Smoltz's credentials. However, we have Harden already and we need someone who is either going to be a potential playoff help or someone who we can count on so we don't have to panick if Harden and #5 starter goes down.

Martinez- old
Prior- broken - funny though
Sheets - would be nice but is another Harden
Smoltz - would be a great mentor and when healthy could lead the world series push..just don't see the connection to chicago...

I have a hunch that the next pitcher is going to be via trade...with Pie and Cedeno out of options and no real use on our team after gathright and miles...they have to be packaged...I'm interested to see what happens to Rich Hill..not worth a used can of chew! It seems like it may be possible when the new owner (too bad it wasn't Cuban) Peavy deal will be announced.

if they wanted someone to that would just be reliable, they would have kept Marquis. My guess is they're going to take a shot at someone with huge upside if the new owners approves the money, with the idea they can cover with Marshall, Gaudin, Hart, Samardzija and so forth.

My thoughts on Pitching for 2009 for what it's worth...

Now that Marquis is traded along with his salary and cubs have acquired pitchers from Cleveland and Rockies...and with no options remaining for the players mentioned above...I think there is plenty to acqure Peavy from Padres. I think that move is the best move....That rotation is the best in NL if healthy. That is a big IF however. I would keep Marshall as a 6th starter because he will be needed.

If this does not work, I think Ben Sheets is the second option.

Outfield looks much better with Bradley in RF and Fukodome in CF. Looking forward to spring training.

they're going to take a shot at someone with huge upside
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If you don't mean Peavy, then maybe Roy Halliday can be pried loose if the BlueJays suck in April/May. I think he's got 2 yrs left on his current contract.

I'm partial to getting Sheets though, as he'll assure me more ortho articles...but hey, Bradley works for me on that front too.

Halladay sure would be nice, I'd think I'd prefer him over Peavy, but Blue Jays didn't spend anything this offseason, they can certainly afford him.

What about Ian Snell and a low level prospect from Pittsburgh.

Cedeno would have a starting spot as soon as Jack Wilson is moved, and Felix instantly becomes 4th OFer.

Snell has been pretty good up until last year. Decent Whip and Srikeout rates to back it up.

He's cheap, under club control for a couple more season's. And he can fit into the bullpen role if needed.

Yeah, but he sucks.

The Dodgers and Brewers have both offered free-agent closer Trevor Hoffman a one-year deal with an option for 2010...
Hoffman hasn't decided yet where he wants to play. Both deals are higher than the $4 million (offered by the Padres earlier).

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090106&c...

Johnson would have fit perfectly here, but if Peavy really is unattainable, then I like either Sheets or Smoltz in this role. Sheets will probably get more here, but he's probably more readily signable right now compared to Smoltz, who may drag this out and still prefer ATL or BOS in the end. Maybe Jim can find a way to lure Sheets quickly.

Maybe they can wait out Garland, he would be good.

good at what?

Good # 5 starter, throws sinker(I think)

Eats inning, and never look over the AL to NL switch for a pitcher's favor.

(see Ted Lilly-whom I believe you did not like the signing)

;-)

if we wanted Jason Marquis, we would have kept him though...

seem the same to me....

AL East to the NL  i can see the difference, AL in general, not so much...

Maybe we can just give back Matt Karchner for Garland?

Sun Times is reporting Hendry is going to start on the Peavy deal again at the Winter Meetings.

2009 Winter Meetings? might be a bit too late...

also, thanks for reading the article :)

Argh. I didn't mean the winter meetings.

SI just put up the link too from the Sun Times. I know it's not anything new, or surprising.

Garland vs Marquis, contrast and compare over the range of a few stats the last 5 yrs.

last 5 yrs IP: Garland 196-221; Marquis 167-207 (the 167 was last yr as they skipped him in order to limit his sucking into Aug-Sept.
last 5 yrs ERA: Garland 3.50-4.90; Marquis 3.71-6.02 (the 6.02 was the season LaRussa left him in for cannon fodder forcing his exit from StL)
last 5 yrs WHIP: 1.172-1.505, 1.505 last yr; Marquis 1.329-1.449

although Garland had back to back 18 win years he more often had 10-14 wins in 5 of the last 7 seasons, which is strangely similar to Marquis.

oh, and the Angels ignored him in the playoffs too

methinks the were twins that were mislabeled in the nursery.

our luck Hendry will re-sign Matt Karchner as the person he's looking for to add more pitching.

Noooooooo! That is harsh!

Garland IS Marquis. Total numbers aside, the one thing both those guys did on a consistent basis is sail along until somewhere in the 4th, 5th or 6th inning, when the wheels fell off.

Livan?

Livan Hernandez is still out there.

I know he sucked ass last year, but as a #5 with a nice sinker...

Also, I still think Jason Jennings will be getting a minor league deal - and Smoltzy, and most of the other rag-armed guys have 10 years on him.

Bobby Brownlie?

Bobby Brownlie never had a MLB career. Jennings was Rookie of the Year 4 yrs. ago. A little bit of a difference. I mean even if we are talking "scrap heap" here. Just what kind of "Dr." are you, again?

Good lord E-man. I'm a Dr. of comedy.

And I find it funny that we have went from visions of Peavy, to visions of Wade Miller in 2 weeks.

I said it 2 weeks ago, and I still say.

Peavy = Brian Roberts

HAHA!

Wade Miller?! OY!

I had conveniently forgotten about him!

I sam him I think in his last awful start, Easter 2007, in Miller Park. Yuch.

You're probably right about Peavy - but one cannot be a Cub fan without permanent - and blinding - hope.

I thought it was clear to try and bring in a pitcher better than Marquis, Marshall, Gaudin and so forth...

what's with all the lateral ideas and worse ideas?

Good point.

It would appear that either/or both Marshall and Smardj should be able to equal the innings (and wins/era) that Marquis gave. Right?

if we wanted someone to just eat innings, we should have re-signed Glendon Rusch

can Rick Reuschel still pitch?

btw...
I have a picture of Big Daddy Reuschel on my office wall in a Giants uniform during spring training in Scottsdale, winding up for a pitch, with his belly hanging out below his shirt. Now that's "eating innings" IMHO.
The actual caption says, "Rounding into Shape"
...I believe he wore a size 50 jersey

Can you post that?

I would love to see it.

Since I seem not to be the only person here who still likes Felix Pie, let me float this roster question.

Start with the playoff roster (which included Pie) and assume no more trades/acquisitions.

If you say Bradley replaces DeRosa, Miles replaces Cedeno, Gathright replaces Edmonds, Hoffpauir replaces Ward, and someone replaces Blanco . . .

. . . why can't Pie stick around?

I know it's one outfielder too many and one infielder too few, but the alternative may be selling very low on Pie. And when the Fukudome experiment ends--I think they'll try to trade him next winter with two years left, assuming he has raised his game to a level that is marketable--they'll need a centerfielder.

the playoff roster had 11 pitchers, the team almost always goes with 12 pitchers during the season. I'm personally fine with 11 myself, but it's become pretty standard operating procedure around the league to carry 12.

Starters: Soto, Lee, Fontenot, Theriot, Ramirez, Soriano, Fukudome, Bradley

Bench: Johnson, Backup C, Hoffpauir, Miles, one of Gathright, Pie, Cedeno

Starters: Z, Harden, Dempster, Lilly, Marshall (or other starter)

Relievers: Gregg, Marmol, Vizcaino, Gaudin, Wuertz, Cotts,  Guzman

obviously the bullpen is particularly subject to change, but if they started today, I'd expect that with Gathright being the "one of" and Pie, Cedeno and Rich Hill traded or released (they'll certainly get something for Pie).

 

Samardzija more likely than Guzman, no?

oh wait...Guzman has no options left, yes?

Always a question.

P.S. - check out our depth chart

http://thecubreporter.com/cubsdepthchart

AZ Phil cleaned it up a bit and notice all the relievers that are out of options. I fully expect some trades to be coming with those guys.

The problem, I think, is that Edmonds was a productive starter, but he's being replaced (in your model) with a less than productive (hopefully) bench guy. Two good hitters (Edmonds, DeRosa) are replaced with one (Bradley).

Personally, I see Bradley as a replacement for Edmonds (with Fontenot as DeRosa's replacement) and Gathright as Pie's replacement.

But...I don't think that this should have much to do with Pie's future, other than the fact that Pie is probably replaced on the roster by Gathright. If he's traded, it probably won't be for a starting bat.

Right now, Pie doesn't really have a spot on the roster in which to build of his value, unless defensive sub whill help that. I'd rather use his value (if there is any) for something useful to the present club. If he has no value, I'd rather he provides competition for Gathright (or even Fukudome) in ST.

Edmonds hit .241 in the second half, not much better than his .235 overall, including his SD at bats. (He did hit ten home runs in 116 at bats in the second half, so his SLG stayed up there.)

I don't see Gathright as Pie's most direct competition. Gathright has a specific role--rabbit--something they need and he's good at. The outfielder who's pushing Pie off the team is Fukudome. Because of all the money they owe him, he's now the centerfield "prospect," the guy they're hoping can learn to hit major league pitching. That used to be Pie's job. It's hard to carry two guys like that. But under the circumstances, maybe they can carry Pie for one season while Fukudome makes himself tradeable.

Fukudome is not a sure thing on this team. Piniella likes power and speed, two qualities that one can at least imagine Pie possessing. With Marquis gone and Cedeno on the way out, Fukudome is likely to be Lou's least favorite player.

Too many outfielders, but it occurred to me that Soriano is an emergency second baseman.

fun piece on when a college basketball lead is safe from James as well.

http://www.slate.com/id/2185975/

I'd rather he provides competition for Gathright (or even Fukudome) in ST.
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Fuld can do that.

Otherwise I agree that it would be nice to convert Pie into something of value ("I'd rather use his value (if there is any) for something useful to the present club.")

I agree. Mainly, I'm just agreeing that I don't want to dump Pie for nothing...just because there's not room. But, unless he tears it up in ST, I don't see him raising his value during the season.

Adding Halladay to the Cubs starting rotation would be great, but I can't see Toronto doing it.

Peavy too would be a tremendous addition and I've got to believe is more likely than Halladay. I think this one could happen.

John Smoltz would be a risk, but I like the idea nonetheless. Considering that Marshall will be around as a spot starter, I wouldn't be overly concerned about Smotz' potential health problems.

Ben Sheets scares me, but I think the guy has something to prove. If the price was right on a one year deal, it might be worth the risk.

Curt Schilling? If he could bring to the Cubs what he brought to the Red Sox in 2004, then yes. But I don't think he can bring it any more.

Pedro Martinez had a nice career, but I'm afraid it's over.

Derek Lowe, Randy Wolf, and Oliver Perez will cost too much and too many years.

I want to see Mark Prior do well, but how many times are the Cubs going to bang their head against that wall? Maybe the wall will come tumbling down this time, but probably not.

Andy Pettite at $10 million plus? Nah...

Marshall = most value as the "swingman" and this is sposedly where Lou wants him
Smardj = they don't trust him in the rotation yet for a team that's a "contender"

And the biggest thing you're forgetting Rob, we didn't trade Marquis because we didn't want him, we needed to take his $$ back to give to Bradley.

Assuming another faulty trib deadline (who'da thunk it?), there won't be a new owner to approve more money anytime soon. So we end up talking about Livan (and isn't Lieber still out there? --please no). And I read somewhere (forgive the lack of link) that even after the "winner" is announced it'll take awhile to finalize (days/weeks/months--I dunno).

If the sale really does go through, we're back to a much more optimistic conversation.

I assure you I didn't forget anything...I'm perfectly aware, as I stated, that if they're going to sign anyone it would be with the approval of a new owner and an increase in the budget. If you look at the payroll sidebar, they're already at $140M which is the supposed cut-off.

if they the name a new owner within a week or so, it doesn't need to be approved for them to give the okay on a payroll increase.

We're best off trying for Derek Lowe IMO

Smoltz as the prime target? No. Worth kicking the tires? Maybe. One big reason a lot of these guys are still not signed is that they will cost 1st or 2nd round picks. Teams have to decide if taking a flyer on Smoltz, who could give you 4 good months at the most next year, is worth a high pick. I suspect the Cubs think not, so far anyway.
I read on ESPN last month that Prior most likely will not go to a camp this spring, that he is still busted up and might be finished.
Jon Leiber is all but officially retired.
I have concerns about Zambrano's health as well as Harden's. The Cubs would do well to target a top notch starter and I can think of no better option than Peavy. Potential new ownership (Moorad) is going to complicate and possibly put the kibosh on that. Fishing for Hernandez/Pettitte/Sheets is not the way to go, although they may end up having to do so.

smoltz is a type b free agent, he would cost the cubs nothing...

Thanks, I stand corrected. The Braves would get a pick, the Cubs would not lose one.

For all concerns about Sheets, he started 31 games last season, and threw 198 innings. He threw 141 the year before in 24 starts. I'd rather take a chance on Sheets if the price is decent than a lot of guys out there.

That's true, and he had to be shut down in September and October because of it. He pitched exactly 4 innings after September 11 last year. They ran C.C. into the ground trying to get to the playoffs because Sheets was on the shelf.

I don't think a elite-caliber baseball team can depend on two high injury risk type guys in the rotation. Just can't do it. One is certainly doable, particularly at that talent level. Can't live with two.

Okay, I'll just go ahead and say the obvious:

John Smoltz is getting "up there" and will have to "decline" eventually. This would be a risky move.

I agree Ryno.

Ugh....I'd still I guuess plug Marshall in there and see what he can do.

He's pitched pretty well the last 2 seasons. See if he can do it.

I like the idea of giving Marshall a shot, but then you've got Neal Cotts as the sole bullpen lefty. Not sure that's ideal.

I'm also not sure that Marshall plus Fontenot/Miles plus Bradley is greater than the production of DeRosa plus Edmonds plus Marquis.

The budget being what it appears to be.
Would we be better off with:

A) signing Milton and going dumpster diving for pitching

Or

B) trading for peavy/ signing lowe and trading for a Hermida/willingham/swisher type bat?

of course A, another pitcher  is a luxury item....

what were they? 2nd or 3rd  in starters' ERA w/o Harden for a whole year and possibly improving by losing Marquis. Of course they won't have Harden for a whole year this season either...

I could see the Mariners wanting to dump Erik Bedard and his $7,000,000 salary and I could also see them being interested in Pie and Cedeno...

If Varitek re-signs with Boston, they may be willing to trade Kottares for Cedeno...

Overall, if we don't go after Peavy, I'd say we give the ball to Marshall.

I know opinions of cedeno are low. But I myself would feel better if we had Anyone in the system who could play SS. I don't think it's forgone that Theriot is a better option than Ronny Cedeno going forward.

Is anyone willing to trust Miles or Blanco with the SS job?

Andres Blanco leads the Venezuela Winter League in errors with 19. Cedeno is 4th with 11 errors.

Going forward, something like five of the top twelve Cubs prospects are shortstops, and that list didn't include Darwin Barney, whom Fleita recently praised.

BP says the Cubs top 13 prospects are:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Josh Vitters, 3B
Four-Star Prospects
2. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
4. Hak-Ju Lee, SS
5. Andrew Cashner, RHP
6. Tyler Colvin, OF
7. Dae-Eun Rhee, LHP
8. Ryan Flaherty, SS
Two-Star Prospects
9. Welington Castillo, C
10. Donald Veal, LHP
11. Micah Hoffpauir, 1B
Just Missed: Matt Cedra, INF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF

I see one SS and one guy who's going to have to switch positions... Who are the other three?

It was a Sickels top twenty. Here's a link to it. There were only four shortstops, not five, in the top twelve. The other two were Starlin Castro and Junior Lake.

Smoltz will sign with the Red Sox.

Moot point. Smoltz is close to signing with the Red Sox.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extra...

$5.5M with incentives that can take it to $10M...sounds like a sweet deal for the Rsox...

Baldelli about to sign with them as well.

I don't think $5.5 million is a very good deal for a pitcher coming off labrum surgery, who you know is not 100%.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs...

Peavy deal on hold b/c of both teams changing owners. A trade has to happen there is no way that Hendry would just let Cedeno, Pie, Hill (maybe too late to get anything) go without any compensation.

Having Marshall to develop as the fifth starter would be good enough if we didnt' get peavy!

Don't underestimate the power of the agent. Axelrod is still tossing quotes out there about Peavy wanted only to play for the Cubs if he is traded, and not wanting to play on a losing team. As long as he continues to play the press, the trade door will remain open.

to decide on Thursday, Rosenthal says Brewers are the front-runners...

http://actasports.com/sows.php

Stat of the week...Top ten reasons to like what the Cubs are doing this winter

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The final three reasons to like what the Cubs are doing this winter: Mike Fontenot, Mike Fontenot and Mike Fontenot.

#3—Since Mike Fontenot (age 29) will replace DeRosa (age 34) the Cubs will be younger by five years.

#2—Mike Fontenot’s plus/minus at second base last year was +11, DeRosa’s was -8. The Cubs defense at 2B will improve.

#1—Fontenot’s projected OPS next year is .809. DeRosa’s projected OPS is.783. Fontenot is actually the better hitter!

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"Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week®, www.statoftheweek.com."

Great point, I am not sure why more people haven't pitcked up on this. I think given 400 PAs Fontenot is going to do a pretty good job and they don't lose anything in defense. Miles can spot him against lefties.

The last one isn't really a great point. In a platoon role, Fontenaught is better than DeRosa in a full-time role. If they both played full time, you'd probably project DeRosa to be the better hitter.

"#2—Mike Fontenot’s plus/minus at second base last year was +11, DeRosa’s was -8. The Cubs defense at 2B will improve."

the D may improve, but that stat comparison is f'n retarded as "proof."

Towers on Hoffman: 'We just don't have the money' (from the San Diego Union-Tribune)

“I think if Trevor would have accepted our offer, it would have been hard for us to exercise the option on Giles,” Towers said.

Towers said during the winter meetings that keeping both Peavy and Hoffman was unlikely.

Even now, with Hoffman seemingly out the door, the Padres remain open to trading Peavy, whose salary would chew up nearly 30 percent of the 2009 payroll, as long as it makes baseball sense. Towers has said a much-discussed proposal from the Cubs “would fill several holes” on the roster.

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http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jan/07...

and Bruce Miles in his blog, weighs in on things...

he expects Bradley will get Marquis' uniform number, hence we'll see #21 back in RF

and this on Ben Sheets:

Sheets might be the most interesting name out there that nobody's mentioned, but I don't see it happening with the Cubs.

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1203

Fontenot is projected to hit .809, DeRosa .783 OPS

Ok. Reality check. Projections are great, but has Fontenot even been a starter in the majors? Has he had more the 300 AB's in a season?
2007: .278/.336/.402 234 AB's
2008: .305/.395/.514 243 AB's

I think Fontenot could be a real solid player, but until you prove you can do it at the major league level, projections don't mean squat. If Fonty approaches DeRosa's 2007 numbers, .293/.371/.420, that would be a pretty good season for him.

If you include his minor league stats, even at age 29 it's not hard to think Fontenot is going to do just as well coming up 400 times next year. He's gotten better each season, thus the good projections. I think you could make a similar case for Hoffpauir at about 250 appearances, he should put up some pretty good numbers.

So using that idea, Felix Pie should hit .299/.355/.470 this season.

Of course, Fontenot will get to face a lot more quality pitching getting to start the majority of games at 2B this year.
It is a lot more likely that he will produce less slugging, more in the .420/450 range than the .514 of last season.

I like Fontenot, he probably could have been given a shot before this, but let's temper our expectations just a bit.

If the Fontenaught slugs .420 to .450 he'll need an OBP of .389 to .359 to meet his projection. That doesn't seem crazy (again in a platoon role).

What does seem unlikely is that Miles will be able to out-hit DeRosa against lefties.

Ok..I know Fontenot has played better in 2 seasons of part time duty than Pie has.

Buster Olney on ESPN.com says Hoffman has agreed to a one year deal with the Brewers.

also being reported on a Milwaukee Sentinel blog...no details on terms, might even include a 2nd option year.

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/37268769.html

So, this seems so obvious that the fact no one has really brought it up makes me feel like it must be stupid for some reason I don't know, but why is Gaudin so far down in the 5th starter conversation? Seems to me that he should be right behind Marshall on depth chart. In 2007, at age 24, the guy pitched 199.1 innings with an ERA of 4.42, and that's in the all-impressive AL. I would think he'd come up in the 5th starter conversation long before Angel Guzman at this point. The Cubs should definitely stretch Gaudin out in Spring Training, if only because he's the first guy off the bench when a starting pitcher gets hurt.

I would expect that at the beginning of ST, Gaudin, Marshall, Smardizjia and Atkins are in the group of guys getting ready to be starters.

And hopefully Rich Hill.

You must be joking.

Rich Hill is going to be spending a whole lot of time in AZ in 2009...if he isn't released.

Wasn't Gaudin hurt last year? Combine that with the fact that he wasn't all the good anyway, and he ought to be left out of the 5th starter conversation.

hendry mentioned a couple weeks ago samninja will be used as a starter in ST.

that said...for most players that means they work 2-3 innings rather than 1 for a bulk of ST.

be interesting to see if he's going 5+ innings come late march if they're still stretching him out at that point.

I just checked this out as I am scrambling for something to do at my client's, and I thought this was interesting (at least to me):

The Brew went 44 saves in 70 svo's last year. This included Gagne, Turnblow, and Torres

The Cubs had the exact number of saves, with three less chances - so 44 of 67. Woody had the majority of the opportunity and saves - with Marmol getting 9.

If this pattern is similar, with the Cubs relying on 65 to 72 svo's - are Marmol and Gregg going to be able to do the job?

And, up north, other than Hoff and Riske, who will the Brew field? Will Hoff be able to continue in his "Ironman" role ala Mariano Rivera?

Save opportunities happen as soon as you pull the starter with a less then four run lead (if no one is on base), but they're not really opportunities for your closer because they happen in the 6th inning.

If you are talking about closer opportunities, then it's probably around 45 to 50 and I think that won't be hard for Gregg to handle by himself.

Hoffman deal at $6M, plus $1.5M in incentives, plus an option...but no announcement until he passes a physical

per the Milw Sentinel

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/37271094.html

Good point on Miles Neal

I suppose its not hard to consider Fontenot meeting that projection.
How many second basemen had an OPS over .800 last season?
Pedroia
Utley
Roberts
Uggla
Kinsler
DeRosa
Hudson
Durham

That's a pretty nice group of players. I hope Fontenot can join that group.

last year was +11, DeRosa’s was -8
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Ever since the winter classic at Wrigley, DeWan is using the NHL plus/minus system. He also thinks Fonty will get more ice time this season.

The Bradley deal -- Hendry's biggest splash of the offseason -- is set to be announced today at Wrigley Field, after a morning physical in Chicago.

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per Chris DeLuca, Sun-Times

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/deluca/1367413,CST-...

The Bradley deal -- Hendry's biggest splash of the offseason -- is set to be announced today at Wrigley Field, after a morning physical in Chicago.

btw, Bradley did wear #21 in Texas...odd how that number's karma has 6 degrees of separation links. Sosa wears #21 as a Cub, Sosa hits his #600 off of Marquis who succeeded Sosa with that uniform number and now the Bradley connection.

Cubster - do you have the time to get in on the exam for us?

He replaces Crisp?

It seems like the Red Sox are just trying to spend money now.

Wasn't Gaudin hurt last year?
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Gaudin had some freak fall that caused a deep muscle bruise to his low back in August, I think he landed on some sharp edged object. They expected it to resolve in a shorter time than it did and he was awful after he did return in September. Before that injury he was pretty good albeit a bit inconsistent and used exclusively as a 6th-7th inning reliever, never a starter.

Those type of muscle injuries (as long as it wasn't a disc problem and apparently it wasn't) take months to fully resolve regarding return to full athletic function. I expect Gaudin to be back to his more useful self when things restart in Spring...so I'd expect them to "stretch" him out in a starter role to compete for the 5th starter role unless a bigger name gets brought in on a trade.
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saw this older info from Paul Sullivan on Gaudin just before they agreed on his current contract:

More from Paul Sullivan - Chicago Tribune

Gaudin, who had a 6.26 ERA after arriving with Rich Harden from Oakland, is arbitration-eligible. It wouldn't be surprising at all if the Cubs non-tendered him. Gaudin hurt his back in September in a mysterious off-the-field incident and was left off the postseason roster.

To broaden out the discussion, if anybody else wants to:

My view is that Hendry, in each offseason, has worked to correct whatever the biggest flaw was in the proceeding years' team. In 2005, no leadoff hitter, hence he acquires Juan Pierre for 2006. In 2006 still no leadoff hitter, plus 15 starting pitchers used, so in 2007 he got Soriano, plus Lilly and Marquis, who (based on history) were durable.

Biggest flaw in 2008 team (at least in Hendry's eyes) was the team was built for the marathon of the regular season rather than the sprint of the playoffs. He's traded away some of the long-haul depth of the team (DeRosa and Marquis) to get better for the short-haul of the playoffs (better L/R balance in the form of Bradley and Miles). I think this loss of long-haul depth is the "house of cards" concern that Dr. aaron B has referred to, which I worry about, just not as much.

The obvious way this comes back to bite is if the Cubs don't make the playoffs in the first place, but I think Hendry has made the calculation that the Cubs can win 5-7 fewer regular season games and still make the playoffs this year. Also that he'll be in just as deep a shit pile if the Cubs win 97 and lose their first playoff series again this year as if they don't make the playoffs at all. I think he doesn't care if Bradley only starts 100 games during the regular season, as long as he can start the 11 to 19 that the Cubs may play in October.

This all relates to "Should the Cubs be in on John Smoltz" type questions as follows...if reports are to be believed that Lou want Samardzija and Marshall in the pen, what the Cubs need is a dependable 5th starter, to eat innings and to be mediocre, and then to not be included on the postseason roster. They had that guy in Marquis, only he made too much money. They need a good 5th starter, but at 5th starter money.

So no, (Hendry thinks) the Cubs don't need any low-percentage/high-upside choices.

Hendry will pursue Peavy if he can get him, if not, I think he's going to go cheap, established, and solid.

I'd rather the Cubs continue to pursue Peavy, a 1st or 2nd starter, because I know Harden will miss games and I fear Zambrano will as well (having gotten hurt last year and not throwing as hard as in the past, with the arm dropping down). Good point on Bradley, but I hope he realizes he needs better backup in the OF. The best plan for this would be to keep Pie, who played all three positions last year.

proceeding should be preceding, eh?

If only there was a preview comment button.

there is :)

you can also edit your comments for a brief period once they're posted...

I thought you could edit them until someone replied to them.

(shrug)....

might very well be the case, I have different rights so I can edit and delete them anytime.

that would make sense though with how it's structured...

Who of the pitchers out there is cheap, established, and solid?

Well, Jason Mar...Oh.

Umm, Livan Hernandez? Braden Looper?

Once we start talking Livan/Looper type guys. You almost have to wonder if they are better bets than Marshall or Gaudin?

And if by some miracle, Rich Hill can return to form. He is better/cheaper than anyone on the market we could get.

If we don't get Peavy/Halliday, or trade for someone under club control. I say the prudent thing to do is sort through it in Spring Training and go from there.

Just Missed: Matt Cedra, INF; Jay Jackson, RHP; Logan Watkins, INF
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Looks like one of these are "movin' on up"

since Veal is now a Pirate

I'm hoping it's Jay Jackson who's arrow is north pointin' (also they might consider one of the former Tribe pitching prospects)

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