The I [for Invisible] Cub

Maybe Jim Hendry just came to Des Moines to escape the heat of the Chicago media. Maybe he dropped in to chat behind closed doors with the trim and ambitious Ryne Sandberg, though if/when Chicago comes calling Ryno back, the call probably won't come in the person of Hendry. In any case, big Jim's reason for being here almost certainly isn't to get a closer look at Sam Fuld, the scrappy leadoff hitter and center fielder. Hendry's mind is made up about Fuld, I imagine, which is tough luck for Sam.

He'd run into, if not through, a brick wall for the chance to stick in the big leagues. The problem is he's about the same height as Hack Wilson [listed at 5' 10" which means Eddie Gaedel wasn't a dwarf after all] without the pipes and the power.

Two nights ago he ended consecutive innings by throwing a tagging runner out at the plate and making a circus catch. Both times he trotted in to standing ovations.

Last night he went 4-4. Did you see that, Jim?

Plus he's smart. The guy holds an economics degree from Stanford. Maybe he could help the front office out with some payroll reduction strategies and cost-benefit analyses.

I want there to be a spot for players like Fuld. He plays at full tilt, like a winner. He's Fukudome without the bloated contract and personal hitting coach in many respects, except that he would have been hustling on the bobbled grounder that Kosuke trotted out yesterday.

Any team can use what Fuld supplies. Especially the one that flew over Des Moines on its way from Seattle to Chicago last night.

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Comments

He's Fukudome without the bloated contract and personal hitting coach

No... Fukudome is a better hitter than Fuld, and I would argue that it isn't even close.

There is nothing about Fuld's minor league career that says he would even be a mediocre hitter. Defense is good, but an outfielder that can ONLY play defense isn't very useful.

Sam Fuld's minor league numbes:

2006 (A) 302/379/416 PA 391
2007 (AA) 290/372/388 PA 392
2007 (AAA) 292/414/479 PA 58
2007 (Cubs) 000/333/000 PA 9
2008 (AA) 271/366/381 PA 397
2008 (AAA) 222/310/317 PA 78
2009 (AAA) 284/358/415 PA 370
2009 (Cubs) 299/409/412 PA 115

I agree with you DBL.

but outfielders that can ONLY hit are? he's a good baserunner & would be a serviceable 4th OF who'd win a game now & then w/ his glove...*&%$#@ stats; what about 'intangibles'?

5th outfielder you mean.

I am all for trading Fukudome or Nady and bringing him up - or trading Lee and letting Nady play first until Hoffpauir finds whatever he lost.

The other problem with Fuld, besides his hitting is that he has troulbe staying healthy. So when you wrote "Any team can use what Fuld supplies." The first thing that came to mind was "DL Time?".

A healthy Nady is a good back-up OF and 1B, pinch hitter, and DH in IL play for a competitive NL team. But if the Cubs are out of it, there is no need to keep him on the roster. You can find someone new to fit that role any off-season. Save the money and play someone young to find out what they can do.

I'd be happy to see Fuld get a half season as the 5th OF. He plays great defense, draws walks, can lay down a bunt, can pinch run and steal bases - if he shows he can hit .270 with sporadic at-bats in that role, then keep him.

To me, Derrek Lee just looks old this year. He is slower running than I have ever seen him. His defense has slipped a lot. And his bat just seems slower. Of course, this happens all the time that a guy this age has a bad season, then changes his off-season program and comes back revived the next year and puts up nice numbers. So it is certainly possible that Lee has a couple of good years left in him still, but it's not worth the risk for a major market team like the Cubs, and so if I were GM I would have already decided that I am not re-signing him and be trying to trade him now to save some money.

And I'd agree that Fukudome should be shipped out as well. He is overpaid for what he is, and he blocks Colvin. We need to see what he can do for an extended period. The Cubs always do this. A guy will do well in 250 ABs and they anoint him the starter next year and then the league adjusts and the guy tanks and there is a huge hole in the lineup and roster. I can see the same thing happening here. Colvin needs to start in RF everyday for the next 3 months so we can find out what he can do.

As much as I am a fan of Theriot, I would not be particularly upset to see him go at this point either. My main contention all along is that Theriot is an average shorstop who gets on-base and can steal and he was making $500K. On a roster where money is tight, you need a few cheap guys who can put up average to above average numbers. I still think he did that well the last couple of years. But now Castro fills that role and has the potential to be much better. And Theriot's numbers have dropped, his pay went up 5-fold this year, and now he is at 2B. The Cubs could still do a lot worse at 2B (I don't want an overpriced Mark Bellhorn type guy there), so I won't be upset if he is the 2B next year with Castro at short, but if the Cubs can get something for him then go for it. But again I would like to see the at-bats go to someone younger, not Fontenot or Baker.

Baker also needs to be traded. I don't see any real value in a guy who is a career .267 and can't play defense well at 2B or 3B, of all positions.

If Hendry can get anyone to take Grabow, he needs to be out the door.

And a starter should be moved so Gorzelanny can take the 5 spot in the rotation. (I'd prefer Zambrano, but that is not going to happen.) It is silly for him to have pitched THREE innings since May 26!! A) He needs to start, and B) either he is taking up a bench spot or a bullpen spot of someone who would be used more. It makes no sense. I think he'd be an adequate ML 5th starter. He's lefthanded, Ks more than a batter an inning, and has shown success in starting.

Anyway, that's just me. Their 8 games out and have shown no real sign of coming out of it. I gut the team - Lee, Nady, Baker, Fontenot, Theriot, Tracy, Fukudome, Zambrano or Lilly, Grabow, Howry can all go.

Are you talking about trading Theriot, because I would contend that no team would take Theriot. It's another case of the Cubs and lowered standards. Most teams wouldn't play him anywhere but 2B and only in a backup role.

I think if you were to just release him, he'd be playing SS for the Cardinals a week later.

He's a "2nd division starter", to use the term bandied about by prospect evaluators.

If your stars are being stars, you can make the playoffs with 2nd division starters though. Unfortunately the Cubs starts pretty much suck this year.

LOL. Don't you think Rockies fans said the EXACT same thing about Jeff Baker last year right before the Cubs traded for him?

It's funny that during this part of the season everyone talks about 4-5 guys - like Oswalt - who teams want and will likely be traded. Normally, half of those guys don't move. Meanwhile, 50 other players are traded that no one thinks anyone will want.

Last year we had a handful of Lee, Rolen, Martinez, Peavy trades.

But most of the guys who were traded were guys like: Ramon Castro, Ryan Langerhans, Scott Hairston, Eric Hinske, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jack Hannahan, Felipe Lopez, Cla Meredith, Adam LaRoche, Julio Lugo, Rafael Betancourt, Ryan Garko, Mark Kotsay, Brian Anderson, Jack Wilson, John Grabow, Jerry Hairston, Joe Beimel, Jarrod Washburn, Nick Johnson, Casey Kotchman, Claudio Vargas, Greg Zaun, etc.

I mean the Red Sox even purchased Joey Gathright from the Orioles in late August so he could get 16 at-bats in September.

Throw Aramis on that list.

If you're still wanting to contend this year, though. Lee, Grabow, one of the starters and Theriot seem like they're immediately replaceable.

I don't disagree with anything you wrote, Wisc, but I'm just going to point this out as I see it all the time:

Baker also needs to be traded. I don't see any real value in a guy...

One of those, 'this guy is useless, let's trade him' sentiments we have without regard to the fact no one would want to take him.

Again, not a critique. I share the sentiment. I just think Hendry (or the next GM) has a whale of a task getting rid of the low-value players the Cubs have collected.

Never underestimate Baltimore's desire to own ex-Cubs.

fuky hits more homers but they are both basically slap hitting lefties with good gloves,good instincts & little more...if the season didn't start in april fuky's numbers would be somewhat fuldish...i'm just talking relative value w/o resorting to all the jamesian stat acronyms - to me fuld passes the old-school eyeball test...

hoffpauir lost his mojo - he's 30 & it ain't gonna happen; he still drives in runs though...4th, 5th, whatever & yeah, he does get hurt cuz he plays w/ abandon...who was the old brooklyn dodger OF w/ a penchant for wallbanging?

Not sure on your Dodger.

I know why Fuld gets hurt, but since he has to play with that abandon to have really any justification for being on an MLB roster - you have to be prepared for him going on the 60 day DL at any time. I really like Adducci's bat, so having him as the 6th outfielder is OK with me.

What exactly do you like about Adduci's bat? He hits for less power than Fuld (it's true now and throughout their careers), walks less, and strikes out more... And plays inferior defense on top of that.

how can someone hit for less power than fuld? mindblowing.

His ability to hit line drives from foul pole to foul pole.

Give him four more years at AAA then compare the numbers.

Fuld has yet to play a full year in AAA - just saying

Ok - send Adduci to Daytona and then compare his number's to Fuld's.

should be just about ready to then...truth probably is he picked a bad time to have a crap spring, while colvin was hitting @ a little league clip...he may have had a bench spot to lose in arizona & he lost it alright...

HArvey Wallbanger?

joke...lol Pete Reiser..

Are you thinking of Pete Reiser?

yeah, reiser...didn't he win the batting title or something as a rookie before literally knocking himself out of the game?

That's him. I believe they put in warning tracks because of him, but I could be wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Reiser

"Reiser gave great effort on every play in the field, and was therefore very injury-prone. He fractured his skull running into an outfield wall on one occasion (but still made the throw back to the infield), was temporarily paralyzed on another, and was taken off the field on a stretcher 11 times. Pete was once given his last rites in the ballpark."

As an FYI he is my wife's great uncle.

duly impressed! that IS a GREAT uncle...

Sadly there are no baseball fans in the family. Go figure.

(Ok a couple are Sox fans, but they don't count)

good thing you married in...

Here's a bit more detailed bio on him:

http://www.thebaseballpage.com/players/reisep...

This does in fact attribute the introduction of warning tracks and padded walls to him.

Also says he stole home SEVEN times in one year.

The reply link under a comment is your friend.

Maybe he's nostalgic for the days when TCR didn't have threads with replies that showed up underneath the original comment.

I like Fuld, but not on the ML roster. (Of course, I like him better than some of the people on the roster.)

The Cubs' future-centerfielder-designate is at high-A, soon to be double-A, but there are two players already performing well at AA I like better than Fuld--Campana and Guyer. Fuld should steal bases, at least, but he never really does--why not? He has 7 SB (4 CS) in half a season. Campana, hitting .331, has 23 SBs (66 last year), although the defenses are trying hard to discourage him (12 CS). We'll see if Campana can adapt. Guyer has 12 SBs in 13 tries. Guyer is a reckless outfielder like Fuld, but he has pop. Half of his hits are extra bases.

Then there is Ty Wright, who has 85 hits and 51 runs batted in. Wright plays left, though since Wilken drafted him, I'm not so sure he's limited to left.

Fuld has a lot of competition, fore and aft.

He never really does? Fuld was 23 for 28 in stolen bases last year at AAA in just 328 at-bats.

what he said..

aft = potential; fore = good money after bad...

reiser - carried off the field 11 times on a stretcher! once fractured his skull running into a concrete wall! fuld is reiser reincarnate [w/ notable exception of the perennial .300+ BA]the cubs should be gutted but they're unguttable w/ all the albatross contracts...the o's said to be looking for a young ss in exchange for ty [derosa] wigginton; would they take barney+ ??

i am simply suggesting that right now fuld has unquantifiable value as a bench/role player on a team that is overpaid, complacent & under-performing...he stole more bases last year @ a high rate of success; not sure why the downturn this year in that dept.

fuld has unquantifiable value

Well, I don't really know what unquantifiable is.

Fuld, frankly, is a bad offensive player. And his stolen base numbers don't make him much better. Over his minor league career he has stolen bases at a 72% clip. Different people use different numbers, but the break even point is typically 75%.

While, from the little I have seen (and what I have read/heard), he plays very good defense, it simply does not make up for his HUGE shortcomings at the plate.

hmmm...'HUGE' - that's kind of ambiguous, i.e., unquantifiable...i choose to believe that the way he goes about the game has HUGE value on a team like the cubs have degraded into...we shall just have to disagree...final footnote on fuld's defensive acrobatics the other night to end back-to-back innings: in neither case did he lead off the bottom half!

HUGE' - that's kind of ambiguous, i.e., unquantifiable...i

Actually, no, his offensive shortcomings are VERY quantifiable.

He has a mediocre SB%. He has zero power. He has a decent, but far from great, OBP. Basically, he's Ryan Theriot (if that), but plays a position where is defense is less valuable.

What are his HUGE shortcomings at the plate? He hits for average and gets on base better than just about anyone on any team he's ever played on. His plate discipline has been the best in the entire Cubs system for several consecutive years. He hit .299 in the big leagues last year (albeit in only 120 or so PAs). Frankly, I think he's a good leadoff hitter. Not going to hit many homeruns, but that doesn't make him a bad offensive player. I'd love to hear AZ Phil's thoughts on Fuld's future (which clearly isn't very promising with the Cubs).

He hits for average

First, batting average is somewhat overrated. Second, his career minor league BA is .285. Decent, but barely good.

gets on base better than just about anyone on any team he's ever played on

This year he is 4th in OBP on his team (I used arbitrary cutoff #'s in most cases)

2009: 4th
2008: 4th and 14th (only 76 pa's)
2007: 5th (only 63 pa's), 4th
2006: 3rd
2005: 4th

I would hardly call that "better than just about anyone on any team he's ever played on." And when you bring nothing else to the table, a good but not great OBP is simply not that helpful.

Submitted by ddp33 on Fri, 06/25/2010 - 12:32pm.
What are his HUGE shortcomings at the plate? He hits for average and gets on base better than just about anyone on any team he's ever played on. His plate discipline has been the best in the entire Cubs system for several consecutive years. He hit .299 in the big leagues last year (albeit in only 120 or so PAs). Frankly, I think he's a good leadoff hitter. Not going to hit many homeruns, but that doesn't make him a bad offensive player. I'd love to hear AZ Phil's thoughts on Fuld's future (which clearly isn't very promising with the Cubs).

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

DDP: Sam Fuld will be 29 years old and out of minor league options next Spring Training, and so his days are numbered as a member of the Cubs organization. He will be replaced on the organizational depth chart by James Adduci and Tony Campana, as both should be at Iowa in 2011.

Fuld was drafted not once but twice by John Stockstill when Stockstill ran the Cubs Scouting Dept, and so I think Fuld will get traded during the off-season and will find a home in Baltimore. He also could end up in Oakland, or possibly even in Boston (Peter Gammons is a big-time admirer of Fuld).

BTW, Micah Hoffpauir will also be out of options next ST, and so he will probably get traded during the off season, too. Hoff will be replaced on the organizational depth chart by Matt Spencer, who should be the 1B at Iowa next season.

The break even point on stealing bases depends on the offensive environment. I've never seen anyone suggest it's 75%, though. Typically the number thrown around is 66%.

It's so context sensitive, however, that any flat % is inherently incorrect.

*EDIT - well I could be wrong. A lot of people think 75% is the break even point. That's from a study that is not context sensitive, however.

It's so context sensitive, however, that any flat % is inherently incorrect.

I agree with. My point is that he is dangerously close to the any cutoff, or under it, and his hardly a great base stealer.

Agreed.

I think if this team was chocked with All Stars currently producing at every outfield position, a case could be made that Fuld could be a spot starter or defensive replacement. However, considering that the team sucks now with RISP, has little power demonstrated in 2010, and is 8 games out of 1st place - it is like drinking decaf. Why bother?

who was Reiser's first major league manager, reflected many years later that in terms of talent, skill, and potential, there was only one other player comparable to Reiser - Willie Mays. Durocher also said that "he had more power than Willie — left-handed and right-handed both."[3]

DFA'd.

WSux lineup Lineup #WhiteSox vs. Cubs: Pierre7, Vizquel5, Rios8, PK3, Q9, Kotsaydh, AJ2, Ram6, Beckham4. Peavy pitching.

Cubs lineup: Fukudome RF, Colvin LF, Byrd CF, Lee 1B, Ramirez 3B, Soriano DH, Fontenot SS, Soto C, Theriot 2B

another fonte SS trip...interesting.

Lou must have been napping yesterday.

If we lose to a team batting Pierre and Vizquel 1-2 with Kotsay as the DH, the 2010 Cubs should probably be put down.

btw, the guy fuld gunned down @ the plate was none other than alex [#2 overall pick] gordon who now patrols LF for omaha & is hitting about .330 in the pcl...

Arguments over Sam Fuld. Brilliant. I give less than a shit about adding another outfielder this year. Bring him up, leave him, whatever.

fart.

In summation, yes.

Well played.

Bring BAck Casey McGhee!!!

Fuld vs Pie, McFail/Stockstill will really have to sweat that decision out.

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