Addition by Subtraction; The Sequel

After the Cubs disappointed in 2004, the offseason motto was addition by subtraction as the Cubs let Moises Alou and Matt Clement leave and desperately tried to move clubhouse cancer Sammy Sosa.

As we recall, the Cubs just got worse in 2005 and now baseball's worst organizational strategy is about to be revisited.

...Instead, the Cubs' biggest splash leading up to the 2009 season was signing switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley to a three-year, $30 million contract in January.

On Monday, when baseball executives gather in Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings, there will be much less neon. The Cubs' goals have changed, too. Now, it's addition by subtraction, as Hendry tries to
move Bradley.

They usually don't let you make sequels after the first movie fails, but that's not stopping the Cubs.

"Last year, we had about 10 changes here," Piniella said. "If we have half that, that's a nice number. Some changes [last year] were out of necessity. I see us being selective in what we do."

The necessity was created because Lou threw a temper tantrum about a left-handed power bat and then his enabler Jim Hendry had to make a bunch of unnecessary and superfluous moves to fit Bradley's contract into the budget. Now that their problem child has acted up and made them look bad, the Cubs are doing what any rich, narcissistic parent would do...pay to send them away so he's someone else's problem rather than actually dealing with it and trying to make it work.

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2010 is going to suck.

Again, since this is the first time MB has had issues, it must be the Cubs' fault.
They shouldn't have signed him in the first place.

However, that being said Lou Pinella sure seemed to be on autopilot most of last season.

The team is not poised to improve this off season, since improving would mean a substantial increase in payroll and the Rickett's have been up-front about not increasing the payroll. That said, I wouldn't mind a rebuilding year if it's done right. Either way is alright with me: spend some money or rebuild... but whatever you do, don't do nothing!!

Do you hear me, front office?

It's a bad time to rebuild, with the economy and the number of no trade players the Cubs have. They're pretty much stuck headed into 2010 with a few roster changes that Pinhead mentioned. Unfortunately, Bradley and Hardin are not likely to be replaced with upgrades. Johnson may be. We're looking at a lot of hoping that Soriano, Soto and Fountainout return to their 2008 form, and that the pitching stays healthy.

It is scary to say, but I think that the Cubs turnaround is largely placed on the shoulders of Soriano. Soto will obviously need to be better and based on Fangraphs analysis, he will be, but Soriano coming off of surgery will need to bounce back showing no ill effects and that his numbers are not deteriorating with age. Need a healthy year from everyone obviously, but the line up can be stretched out if Soriano finds his stroke again.

I am starting to think the Cubs may be coming around to a reconciliation with Bradley as we move further away from the end of the regular season. You see the Hendry quote and the Wells quote and Lee's comments, and though you could say that they are more about trying to rebuild trade value for Bradley, it could be that as the memories of the clubhouse tensions fade cooler heads are starting to prevail.

The main "problem" with bringing back Bradley from a baseball perspective is the outfield defense. Marlon Byrd, however, isn't going to be a significant upgrade there - and he is also going to again load the bottom half of our lineup with right handed hitters.

Coco Crisp would be a defensive upgrade, and if you buy into his walking tendencies last year a pretty nice leadoff hitter. I would guess that he could be had for less than Byrd, based on his option not being picked up at "Byrd" type money.

How in the hell did the Cubs not have some sort of "Behavior Clause" in that Bradley contract?

You outbid everyone else by an extra year and probably 14-16 million dollars. You wouldn't try to build any safeguard into a deal with a guy with Milton's history?

I don't think that would fly with Union or Bradley's agent.

What define's behavior?

Being a douche would probably cover a third of the league.

Can we add a "behavior clause" into the TCR terms of service?

actual article from Joel Sherman
http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/hardball/up_bur...

thinks Cubs need to eat at least half of Bradley's 2011 salary...

then speculates about flipping Burrell to Mets for Castillo when Mets lose out on Holliday and Bay...

$7M in 2010, $6.5M vesting option for 2011 if he pitches 50 innings

Its actually...

"The deal is worth $7MM and includes a $6.5MM option for 2011 that vests if Wagner finishes 50 games."

Thanks...

Your welcome.

thinking out loud, such a deal could fit nicely into Tampa Bay's plans, particularly if they decide to trade Carl Crawford, which would relieve the payroll of $10 million for 2010.
---
Carl Crawford would make me likee this one.

Hmmm...Burrell and Crawford for Bradley (to even up the $$), add in one of Marshall or Gorz, 1 of Berg/Stevens, and 1-2 A/AA Pitching prospects. Then flip Burrell for something else that is contract neutral wrt Burrel (Castillo?)l.

Not going to get it done. The Rays want Bradley and $10 million for Burrell, so your trade is:

Crawford
$10 million

For Marshall,Stevens and Carpenter.

Would you make that deal?

Cubs starting pitching, their real strength in last several years, will be thin in 2010.

I don't trust the Lilly time line.

2010 will suck.

"Crawford
$10 million

For Marshall,Stevens and Carpenter.

Would you make that deal?"

I wouldn't, but why wouldn't the Cubs show interest in throwing in a couple of good prospects (Vitters, Cashner?)+ Marshall (or whoever) for Crawford? They want Granderson, but not Crawford? I know Crawford plays leftfield, but you would think with his speed he would be fine in center (definitely better than Byrd or K-Fuk, IMHO), plus he brings a leadoff bat that can hit lefties & righties.

I'm sure they'd want Crawford too, but he's a FA next year compared to Granderson being signed for a few years. Crawford's owed more $$ for 2010 as well and would probably cost as much if not a tad more in prospects.

Granderson's a better hitter too and both suck versus lefties.

Crawford lifetime vs. LHP: .272, .316 OBP, .381 SLG

Granderson lifetime vs. LHP: .210, .270 OBP, .344 SLG

One sucks a little less, at least.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/12/rosenth...

Cubs had interest in Betancourt, not so much now that he was offered arbitration...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/10463090/W...

nice to get them interested in Bradley

I was thinking the same thing. McCann, Bradley and Jones back-back-back in the lineup would give a lot of opposing managers fits.

The problem is that they're going to want to trade Lowe for him (if they'll take Bradley) and Lowe is owed a lot of money. He had a high BABIP last year, but his K rate dropped over 1K/9. I'd guess he'd probably have around a 4 ERA next year playing in front of the Cubs infield defense.

If the Braves were to even the salary for the next two years, I'd probably do the trade. It would come back to bite us in the butt in 2012 though.

At least in theory, this may not be too far fetched. Atlanta owes Derek Lowe $45 million over the next three years. The Cubs owe Bradley $21 million over the next two years. That's a difference of $24 million.

Of course, the Cubs are likely going to have to pay another team a good chuck of change to take on Bradley. The rumor was that they would have to eat $16 million for Texas to consider a trade.

So if you subtract whatever the Cubs will have to pay to get rid of Bradley from the difference between Bradley's and Lowe's contracts, it becomes much more workable.

Oh yeah, and Atlanta would have to agree to a Bradley for Lowe trade.

So you're saying that the Cubs should take Lowe's contract and send money to the Braves? I could see them doing that with Vasquez, but not Lowe.

No, that's not my suggestion. I'm suggesting that the money in a even swap of Bradley for Lowe wouldn't seem so bad (for Lowe) if you factor in the money the Cubs will almost certainly have to pay someone else to take Bradley.

That was an awkward way of saying it, but I hope you get it. If not, let me know and I'll try again.

The Dirty Projectors. Good band.

I wouldn't mind giving up a young arm to get Conor Jackson.

Thats my random thought of the day.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/10357594

Mariners interest in Harden (we've reached the point of repeating rumors)
Phillies, Cards, Giants and Yanks among teams after DeRosa

http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2009/12/...

since it's Rogers I assume none if it is true

MLB sources indicate that the Tigers are asking for multiple major-league-ready players to move Granderson or right-hander Edwin Jackson. The Cubs, according to team sources, would love to fill their center-field vacancy with Granderson, but aren't willing to part with top prospect Starlin Castro, a 19-year-old shortstop.

Jake Fox and Mike Fountainout are MLB ready... They can have Stevens too, I am feeling generous.

Seriously, though, they need a SS, a CF, a 2B and a catcher, right? Depending on how strictly you apply the term "MLB ready" we have all those things, except a catcher.

I assume Scott Sizemore ready as in the guy was going to have a very legitimate shot to win the job this spring and be a regular contributor.

Also think they have Sizemore for 2b, unless they want a back-up plan

Wellington Castillo
Tyler Colvin
Darwin Barney
Mitch Atkins

for

Granderson

add three bottles of whiskey to get Dambrowski drunk enough to accept it...

lacks anything that could help them this year or an impact prospect that would make anyone think they got a good deal.

That's 4 MLB ready prospects for a Granderson salary dump. Not sure what better offer that fills those Tigers needs would be out there?

that's 4 2-3 star/C prospects that aren't planned to compete for any jobs with the Cubs this spring. Atkins and Colvin I guess have a small shot...

if they really like Colvin then maybe...I know Dambrowski is in love with radar gun readings like Hendry, so I think you need Jackson, Cashner or Dolis in there

Barney or Lee, Jackson or Cashner, one of Castillo, Colvin, Flaherty seems a little more reasonable to me if I were the Tigers. They certainly have no reason to be desperate to move him this season, they can do this all again next year when he actually gets expensive.

If they want to move him now would be the time.

They aren't getting value for him once he becomes overpaid next offseason.

they have Ordonez, Robertson and Willis coming off their books next year, they can be patient for something worthwhile.

he's never been worth less than $14M by Fangraphs rudimentary value system and he's set to make $5.5, $8.25M and $10M with a $13M club option.

He's gonna be cheap relative to his contributions and Tigers can certainly afford to be patient dealing him.

Now that's what I was talking about in the other thread yesterday! If only we had a GM who could pull that off even if you substituted Marshall for Atkins. That's fair value for a platoon CF who will lose 100+ plate appearances to LHP.

well he probably won't lose 100 PA's, because he probably won't get put on a strict platoon. He should be of course.

Tigers don't have to move him for fair value though.

Understood. And Hendry doesn't have to give up 2-3 blue chip prospects for a guy who will suck 20% of his ABs against LHP. Pass, no thanks Tigers.

Agreed George.

Offensively Granderson has been Jack Jones-esque the past 2 seasons.

Of course, if Granderson even reverted back to 2008, playing solid CF defense, I'd certainly take .280/.365/.494.

The point is moot I think...I don't think the Cubs would get him, so eh...

if Jones was a good CFer, he would have been a good player...

Granderson's faster, more power, walks more and plays good defense in center

I liked Jones in center and so does BP and UZR, though I think that probably because he just saved Soriano from having to make his fair share of plays.

it's a half season worth, that's like thinking Jeff Baker is good at hitting after his August

I would guess Jones would be a lot like Fukudome if he played a few full seasons out there, he could handle it, but you'd want someone better.

but that's all kind of moot point, because he didn't play much CF in his career and everyone thinks of him as one of the whiny losers that tried to follow Sosa in RF. Had he and presumably played as well as he did in that half season the entire time, he would have been a more valuable player during his career.

"it's a half season worth, that's like thinking Jeff Baker is good at hitting after his August"

I don't think it's much like that at all. Having a high BABIP can be explained by randomness of a ball coming off a bat. That's totally different from catching a lot of fly balls.

Catching fly balls over a few months or a year could be explained by the randomness of a ball coming off a bat, some might just come right at you or you were better positioned at a luckier rate...

general rule of thumb is a season worth of defensive stats is worth about 2 months of PA's...

on a somewhat related note, a pretty good explanation of why all the advanced defensive metrics(although the article focuses on UZR) are problematic if use them in isolation, mgl makes an appearance in the comments to essentially say he's right.

advanced defensive metrics...cold fusion...AIDS vaccine...

Ah, crunch! So you agree that they are all wonderful innovations that are being suppressed by a nefarious cabal of conspirators! I knew you were with us!

*shakes fist at obama and the free masons*

I'm not sure I follow. Don't the 'advanced metrics' all just basically say "if a ball is hit here, on this trajectory you catch it"? Obviously there's some sample size things - like if there's only one line drive hit to a zone in and you happen to catch it, perhaps for one of the reasons you mention, that's going to look good.

Have you got a link for your rule of thumb? It's not very intuitive, it's the exact opposite.

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