Cubs Potential Offseason Targets: Mike Cameron

I'll go through a few more lower level free agents this week and pick it up to some possible bigger names next week. As we know, there's talk that if the Cubs can move Milton Bradley, they'd put Kosuke Fukudome back to right field and try and improve the outfield defense with a more true center fielder. And that's where Mike Cameron comes in...

1995 22 CHW 28 44 38 4 7 2 0 1 2 0 0 3 15 .184 .244 .316 .560 47
1996 23 CHW 11 12 11 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 .091 .167 .091 .258 -31
1997 24 CHW 116 446 379 63 98 18 3 14 55 23 2 55 105 .259 .356 .433 .789 109
1998 25 CHW 141 443 396 53 83 16 5 8 43 27 11 37 101 .210 .285 .336 .621 63
1999 26 CIN 146 636 542 93 139 34 9 21 66 38 12 80 145 .256 .357 .469 .825 105
2000 27 SEA 155 643 543 96 145 28 4 19 78 24 7 78 133 .267 .365 .438 .803 107
2001 28 SEA 150 633 540 99 144 30 5 25 110 34 5 69 155 .267 .353 .480 .832 123
2002 29 SEA 158 640 545 84 130 26 5 25 80 31 8 79 176 .239 .340 .442 .782 109
2003 30 SEA 147 612 534 74 135 31 5 18 76 17 7 70 137 .253 .344 .431 .774 108
2004 31 NYM 140 562 493 76 114 30 1 30 76 22 6 57 143 .231 .319 .479 .798 104
2005 32 NYM 76 343 308 47 84 23 2 12 39 13 1 29 85 .273 .342 .477 .819 114
2006 33 SDP 141 634 552 88 148 34 9 22 83 25 9 71 142 .268 .355 .482 .837 121
2007 34 SDP 151 651 571 88 138 33 6 21 78 18 5 67 160 .242 .328 .431 .759 103
2008 35 MIL 120 508 444 69 108 25 2 25 70 17 5 54 142 .243 .331 .477 .809 110
2009 36 MIL 149 628 544 78 136 32 3 24 70 7 3 75 156 .250 .342 .452 .795 108
15 Seasons 1829 7435 6440 1013 1610 362 59 265 926 296 82 825 1798 .250 .340 .448 .788 106
SEA (4 yrs) 610 2528 2162 353 554 115 19 87 344 106 27 296 601 .256 .350 .448 .798 112
CHW (4 yrs) 296 945 824 121 189 36 8 23 100 50 14 96 224 .229 .315 .376 .691 82
NYM (2 yrs) 216 905 801 123 198 53 3 42 115 35 7 86 228 .247 .328 .478 .806 108
SDP (2 yrs) 292 1285 1123 176 286 67 15 43 161 43 14 138 302 .255 .341 .456 .797 112
MIL (2 yrs) 269 1136 988 147 244 57 5 49 140 24 8 129 298 .247 .337 .464 .801 109
CIN (1 yr) 146 636 542 93 139 34 9 21 66 38 12 80 145 .256 .357 .469 .825 105
AL (8 yrs) 906 3473 2986 474 743 151 27 110 444 156 41 392 825 .249 .341 .428 .769 104
NL (7 yrs) 923 3962 3454 539 867 211 32 155 482 140 41 433 973 .251 .340 .465 .805 109
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/31/2009.


The offensive numbers are pretty generic, but combined with his defense, he's definitely a plus for any team (anywhere from 2 to 4 Wins Above Replacement according to Fangraphs). UZR has him well above replacement level defensively the last couple of years and for his career and BP agrees with a career 106 Rate2 number. The Fan's Scouting Report makes it the triple crown of defensive road marks along with 3 career Gold Gloves to make me feel confident that he still can patrol center field with the best of them.

Now you know with Cameron's ability to hit 20 HR's or more, Lou is gonna want to use him in the middle of the order to drive in runs, so let's see how he does in that area. I like to look deeper than just the standard RBI counting stat and see what kind of opportunties Cameron has had and thankfully BP neatly keeps track of this. Cameron's OBI% (Other Batters Driven In) since 2006:

10.7% - 2009, 16.5% in 2008, 14.7% in 2007, 15.8% in 2006

Well 2009 was pretty ugly there for Cameron  - Milton Bradley ugly - but he seems to be around the league average(which is about 15%) or better for the most part which I honestly expected to be a little worse with all his K's. It's not something you can put a guarantee on, but let's say he shows a tendency to get the job done.

Still at age 37, I don't think the Cubs should really enterain much more than a 1-yr offer here and hope you get a Bobby Abreu-special that falls in your lap in March for $5-$7M. Considering Cameron's sensitive (as he should be) to some of the bleacher taunting, I don't see this being a match for the Cubs or Cameron.


I disagree. Given that there will be just a scant few million available for free agents; given that the team seems insistent on acquiring hitting opposed to pitching, and that hitting just be able to play 2B or CF; given his strong defense; given his power threat; with a contract likely not to exceed $8M and perhaps less than that due to his age and a lot of OFs on the market, I'm not sure I like any hitting free agent as a better fit for this team.

The biggest downside - Cameron in the middle of the Cubs lineup is like the single longest stretch that an opposing manager could use a ROOGY.

fine, $ would be going beyond a 1-yr deal that would give me reason to pause and him and Soriano back-to-back in the lineup would probably set the record for men left on base.

I was simply presuming his deal would be one year. Obviously anything longer than that is insane.

Do not pay Mike Cameron $8 million in his age 37 year as his defense declines. We'd be better off re-signing Johnson and spending the extra money on Grabow and or the like. I'd rather offer arbitration to free agents who can bring back draft picks than sign Cameron. Pick up a center fielder in the spring if necessary.

What is the statitical and scouting consensus on Kosuke as a CF? Does he absolutely need to be replaced, or is this a "nice to have?"

My casual observations from last year is that I thought he was solid but unspectacular. Didn't make many highlights, plus or minus. He seemed to play a good CF to me.

His offensive production looks better as a CF, than a RF, where you expect more power.

solid sure, BP says he was quite good, UZR thinks he's wasn't....

imo he doesn't quite have the range you want out of a center fielder, especially if he has to cover for less rangy LF and RF. Keeping him in CF wouldn't bother me the least, just depends what happens in RF.

"His offensive production looks better as a CF."

Except for stolen bases, which is probably the main reason the Cubs don't like him in center.

The top three base stealers in the NL play center--Bourn (61), Morgan (42) and Kemp (34). Fifth you have Pierre (30), who played center before he joined the same team as Kemp. Sixth is Dexter Fowler (27). Eleven and twelve are Taveras (25) and Victorino (25). In fifteenth place is McCutcheon with 22. McLouth had 19 SBs with 6 CS's.

Beltran missed half the season but he is certainly a base stealer.

Chris Young (11) used to steal bases. With an OBP of .311 in 2009, he didn't have many opportunities.

Center fielders who don't run much/well:

Cameron (7), Fukudome (6), Ross (5), Rasmus (3).

Fukudome is probably the worst because he had 10 caught-stealings. This would all be less noticeable in right field. Of course, he has other defects that are more glaring in right.

Recall him misreading a few hit over his head, but hit in front of him, he plays those pretty well, maybe even above average. I would tend to agree with you that Fuku's CF defense is passable.

Considering Cameron's over-achievement in '09 (especially earlier in the year), I figure he'll probably be overpaid in 2010. Good enough reason to avoid him, but I do like his defensive game and wouldn't be heart-broken if the Cubs got him. When did we last have a center fielder who could belt 15+ homers? I'd be uneasy with $8 mil per, though.

When did we last have a center fielder who could belt 15+ homers?

2008, Jim Edmonds.

is he available?

he wandered into the STL booth last in tow.

he was VERY nice letting joe buck and crew keep him for 1 and 1/2 innings while his wife and kids milled about.

long story short...he is VERY retired and happy about it. he did recieve offers last year and some were nice, but ultimately he's happy being away from it all according to that impromptu interview.

Plus the fact that average center field play is about 4 years past him...

Please no to Cameron. The Cubs need to get younger, faster and more athletic. My suggestion is to try to trade for someone with a bigger upside like Granderson or Upton. If we had Granderson, then I wouldn't mind having Cameron since Granderson doesn't hit lefties very well.

A Granderson/Cameron platoon? Sounds nice. Maybe we could see if Evan Longoria is available, too.

Just checked this on B-R, but his batting stats against the Cub's Central main rivals are just not very good career-wise. Blech. At 37, this seems like a guy who could be on the bench for a team like the Yankees, Phillies, etc. Not a "starter" on a team that has Championship goals. Originally, I was thinking "Well, he always killed us..." But the stats say otherwise: .235 .322 .450 .772

Also, his "clutch" stats also are not very good as well.

It seems that RJ could do as well, and add in Fuld as the last guy on the team.

It just is the Aaron Miles contract that makes me want to puke.

seems like they may consider if Cubs pay most of his contract..

Club officials aren't expecting it to happen but it's something club officials are definitely talking about as they try to figure out a way to repair an offense that scored 115 less runs in 2009 than in 2008.

A month ago, it seemed impossible that the Rangers would bring back Bradley. Now there seems some hemming and hawing.

The Rangers know that the Cubs are eager to unload Bradley, who has two years and $20 million left on his contract. They know there is a possibility the Cubs could pick up a sizable portion of that contract, a must if the Rangers are going to get involved.

AZ Phil: I assume the Cubs would ask for a decent prospect if they eat most of the money here. Any idea who would be a possible trading chip for Texas?

Netfali Feliz, Derrek Holland & Elvis Andrus...all 3 or no deal. 

<....dial tone...>

sorry about that Jon Daniels, I just figured I'd take a shot considering you once traded Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young away for Adam Eaton...

can I get Rangers 2009 program, Nolan Ryan autographed baseball and some middle infielder that looks good in a uniform but can't control the strike zone? 

oh shi...

Rangers have no money spend.
Probably will be shedding contracts.

If we get enough signed baseballs, we can sell them for cash, which can be used to sign another player, which is like making a trade.

I've been using it a lot lately and was curious how legit it was...the statheads seem to back it.

here are 2 articles way over my head but they seem to conclude that it's as reliable as many offensive metrics we accept.

wonder if anyone ran one on Rate2?

more than 50 chances in both years = r^2 of .15
more than 100 chances in both years = r^2 of .19
more than 150 chances in both years = r^2 of .24
more than 200 chances in both years = r^2 of .28


I've only taken a few semesters of stats, but those r^2 values seem absolutely dismal to me

The point that the rating becomes more consistent as attempts increase is a valid one, but I'd still argue that this article makes more of a case against UZR rather than for it

i know shit about stats classes but from reading those articles and staying at a Holiday Inn once, I think the point was that they aren't any weaker than a lot of well-accepted offensive metrics. 

The one thing about a lot of these stats which people I think forget is that they aren't measuring true talent, rather performance. I think it's certainly possible to have a bad year defensively or one that looks bad defensively by the numbers like having a bad year offensively.

"The one thing about a lot of these stats which people I think forget is that they aren't measuring true talent, rather performance."

that's something a lot of people from "both" sides of looking at stats forget.

the "ryan theriot isn't a singles hitting little shit" points people where lambasting me with still weirds me out. you didn't need a single stat to project what he was most-likely to do based on what he did. plain as day no matter how many early slugging hits he ran into. singles...right field, heavy...that was (and for the most part still is) his game.

granted, most players aren't as easy to pigeonhole based on their performance OR stats, but theriot was a pretty easy one looking at how he plays the game.

"...seems like they may consider if Cubs pay most of his contract.."

If that is correct - and who knows - the Cubs will not be paying "most" of Bradley's contract. It just ain't gonna happen. There will be better offers.

Cameron, Bradley--how about some fresh air?

Castro 2 for 4 today with a run and two ribbies, Vitters a triple in 4 ABs, Gaub a 1-2-3 inning with 2 K's.

Castro hitting .423, Vitters .326.

Didn't Beckham tear up AFL last year?

Just sayin.

your past AFL MVP's...

 2007 was Sam Fuld, 2008 was Tommy Hanson 

Past Arizona Fall League Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award Recipients

2006 - Chip Cannon (TOR), 1B, Phoenix Desert Dogs
2005 - Eric Duncan (NYY), 3B, Grand Canyon Rafters
2004 - Chris Shelton (DET), DH, Grand Canyon Rafters
2003 - Jason Dubois (CHC), OF, Mesa Solar Sox

2002 - Ken Harvey (KC), 1B, Scottsdale Scorpions 

but a lot of great talent does go through there, but a month's worth of numbers in an very friendly offensive environment aren't the reason to get excited... 

When I see a list of prospect busts--I guess that would be everyone on this AFL MVP list except Hanson and possibly Harvey and Fuld--I look for players in the 1B-DH rut. There's always high unemployment in the majors (but not in the minors) for one-way players. Cannon, Shelton and Dubois are in this category. Cannon, Shelton, Dubois and Harvey were 24 in the AFL. Fuld was 25.

Duncan was 20 when he was in the AFL, and has played mostly third base, so he looks like somebody who might actually have been an ML prospect. But it appears he doesn't project as an ML third baseman: last year in AAA he played some third but mostly the typical combination of 1B-DH-LF.

Casto is 19 and a shortstop, and he projects as a shortstop.

The Cubs have done their fans a disservice by not teaching them the difference between a real prospect and a 1B-DH-LF slugging prospect like Dubois and Dopirak.

The Cubs have done their fans a disservice by not teaching them the
difference between a real prospect and a 1B-DH-LF slugging prospect
like Dubois and Dopirak.

Ronny Cedeno, Felix Pie and Corey Patterson would like to know wtf you're talking about?

That last line was supposed to be a slightly oblique way of saying, you (Rob) don't have to pull out this lineup of AFL MVPs who flopped every time I or someone else mentions a Cub prospect in the AFL. It's just a list of 1B-DH-LF types who never had a chance, but the purpose of keeping it polished and dusted is so that nobody can ever suggest that the Cubs might fill some of their glaring personnel needs from within the system.

Cedeno, Pie and Patterson are entirely consistent with the point I'm making about two-way players having a real shot. Cedeno is a major leaguer and Pie is headed that way. Patterson had over 1000 games in the big leagues and over 3700 PAs. Dubois had 86 games and 227 PAs. (And he'll never get another, whereas with Patterson, you never know.) Dopirak may not get a cup of coffee, even though he can flat-out hit.

Wtf I'm talking about is that the Cubs have changed. They mostly draft two-way players now, so that even a Marquez Smith--whom Neal cited a few days ago as a top-fielding 3B--will have a better shot over the long haul than a Dopirak.

So you can put aside your prospect-flop lists. It's a new ballgame.

It's just a list of 1B-DH-LF types who never had a chance,

says who?

but the
purpose of keeping it polished and dusted is so that nobody can ever
suggest that the Cubs might fill some of their glaring personnel needs
from within the system.

the purpose is to show that a month's worth of stats doesn't mean much, especially in the offensivelly-friendly AFL. Most everyone that was already in the AFL was a prospect before they got there, the fact that they have a good or bad month isn't going to change much in terms of their long-term future.

Wtf I'm talking about is that the Cubs have changed. They mostly
draft two-way players now, so that even a Marquez Smith--whom Neal
cited a few days ago as a top-fielding 3B--will have a better shot over
the long haul than a Dopirak.

actually under Stockstill/McPhail they were mostly drafting pitchers, they also have the most pitchers in the majors than any other organization (they may not anymore, but it was that way for a time). They also drafted plenty of athletes and two-way players and a few corner guys....most of those weren't actually considered major prospects except Dopirak and Choi (who wan't actually drafted).

So you can put aside your prospect-flop lists. It's a new ballgame.

if you say so...


I casually mentioned that Castro got two more hits on Monday afternoon, and the TCR knives came out. It was fairly predictable.

This is getting to be an old thread, so it's probably safe for me to mention that Castro got two more hits on Tuesday, a triple and a home run.

I applaud Castro's new found power. :)

And, Sammy Fuld was AFL MVP, right?

24 hits, 2 doubles, 0 triples, 0 HR.

Bryan Petersen (who?) and Andrew Lambo (who?) are gunning for that top spot in hitting with a bit more power to boot.

how about Grant Desme (legit) with 10HR already (damn).

i believe Desme was AZ Phil's no-brainer MVP to this point...

in other AFL news, championship game and Rising Stars game will be televised on MLB Network, a few Cubs should be in the Rising Stars game... 

"24 hits, 2 doubles, 0 triples, 0 HR."

I think Castro reads TCR, crunch. He hit a triple and a home run this afternoon (Tuesday).

One-day delivery.

awesome. i got nothing against the kid, but i don't want to see him waste 2-3 seasons in the bigs hitting like ryan theriot with more Ks only to have him come of age during arbitration. i'm in the "no need to rush" camp. two sides are talking about a two-year deal for anywhere between a total of $6.5 million and $7.5 million. Grabow's people would like a vesting option for a third year added to the contract.Also, certain incentives will be built into the package that will include games finished.Levine lists Harden and Gregg as other Cubs' free agents, think he forgot Reed.

Can't they find similar mediocrity on the FA market for half the price?

which isn't a very good name for it, because they just poll 10 different guys and not all of them use the Fielding Bible stats of course...although it appears the final result mirrors their numbers...

the guys you'd expect...Molina, Pujols, Hill, Wilson, Zimmerman, Crawford, Guiterrez, and Ichiro...

that Cubs would like to move Fukudome back to RF and find a new CFer...

the list is all kinds of exciting among FA's...

Mike Cameron is all of a sudden very appealing.

Rick Ankiel, Reed Johnson, and prayer.

Or, Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston Jr., and facepalm.

[I'm actually not kidding about the first one. Ankiel is intriguing at least, and maybe he would come cheap.]

and maybe he would come cheap.]

and hopefully with 'roids prescriptions. 

Re: Grabow. This is typical of Hendry...overpaying for mediocrity and bidding against himself.

Yea, 2 year/7.5 mil is the top end of what he'd get as a FA, imo.

old mother hubbard dept.: jake fox played 45 games @ iowa in 2009 & still led the team in hr's & rbi's [17 & 53]...

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  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 4 hours 45 min ago view
  • Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales

    Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says

    crunch 7 hours 22 min ago view
  • Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.

    I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.

    The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.

    I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.

    The E-Man 7 hours 42 min ago view
  • I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.

    With that said in reverse order:
    3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.

    2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.

    blockhead25 8 hours 25 min ago view
  • 1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
    2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
    3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.

    Charlie 10 hours 8 min ago view
  • Who's asking?

    jacos 10 hours 10 min ago view
  • #TeamEntropy

    CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.

    Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.

    Rob G. 10 hours 19 min ago view
  • I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.

    johann 11 hours 6 min ago view
  • any opponent preference for NLDS?

    Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.

    Rob G. 11 hours 27 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • Can't teach height and thinness

    jacos 18 hours 27 min ago view
  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should something like it.

    crunch 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Game is officially called...also officially a tie.

    Stats count, no make-up date of course.


    Rob G. 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

    billybucks 1 day 5 hours ago view