Winter Meetings 2009 Day Four

8:27 AM

Cubs select RHP Mike Parisi from the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the Rule 5 draft.

Looks like all the major league teams passed on Round 2 and no Cubs were taken in the major league phase.

The rumor news should be pretty light today as teams head back home.

- Wittenmyer wrote last night - apparently before the Lowell/Ramirez trade that isn't quite official went down - about Boston's possible interest. He then goes through the usual suspects.

The Tampa Bay Rays are still there for a deal that would include moving heavy-salaried Pat Burrell and the Cubs sending cash. The Los Angeles Angels have had exploratory discussions but would need a lot of cash in the deal or for the Cubs to find a way to rid the Angels of their $23.5 million commitment to Gary Matthews Jr. And the New York Mets, according to a team official, might be willing to step back into the fray as part of a three- or four-team deal that could send Luis Castillo ($12 million next two years) to the Cubs.

Wittenmyer then goes through all the teams that have zero interest including the Twins (Bradley called the organization racist back when he was in high school), A's and Indians (not looking for a reunion), plus some mystery GM of a team that had to assure one of his players that Bradley wasn't going to be joining the club.

So that's going well...

- Rosenthal tweets once again, that the talks between Rays and Bradley are at an impasse.

- Tim Brown joins Rosenthal in saying Rangers are probably out as potential trade partner for Bradley.

- Rule 5 draft is today, Cubs are always good for losing a player or two. For a brief and poorly organized history, visit Wiklifield (I will clean that up sometime in the near future, unless someone cares to do it).


The jury is still out on Veal, but the Cubs have been relatively good in the Hendry era at not losing future major-league players, though Wells certainly could have gone the other way in Toronto. I remember thinking how idiotic it was to leave Sisco unprotected ... one shouldn't project too much onto prospects, I suppose.

The Milton saga has taken on a life of its own. It is becoming exhausting. I think Hendry really hurt his position here. Eventually Bradley will be moved, but not on the Cubs terms. Ricketts may have to okay Hendry to add a little more payroll. I am wondering if the Cubs can convince a team to swallow more of Milton's contract if they throw in another player to sweeten the deal. I do not have any suggestions and Hendry probably does not want to compound his mistake, so the chances are probably unlikeley.

I think Hendry really hurt his position here.

Ya think so? You mean the Milton Bradley contract didn't work out as expected?

He means, I guess, by pubically suspending Bradley rather than just quietly benching him.

"Ya think so? You mean the Milton Bradley contract didn't work out as expected?"

Ryno, specifically the last few days. I was refering to openly talking about Bradley being moved, not willing to eat money, approximately how much they are willing to eat, Crane Kenny opening his mouth yesterday, and the fact that he was suspended at the end of the year. He tried and failed to create a market for this guy. I am not saying a deal would have been made that would work out favorably for the Cubs, but all the hoopla the last few days did nothing positive toward making a deal. Hence the reason I said, "Hendry really hurt his position here".

m.bradley probably had to be suspended at the point he was suspended. fighting von j. isn't a quick trip to being loved by anyone in upper management.

sure, Z has done a LOT of the stuff m.bradley has done, but there's a major difference between the 2 guys...getting into bradley's head is a team sport for fans and it works.

what's not being brought up a lot is how some teams don't want bradley not because of lockerroom chemistry, but because their own fans would/could turn bradley into...well, we've seen it. bradley shows up at wrigley, hits like a man on a mission at home, and gets crap thrown at him like it's part of the price of admission. this is NOT new to the cubs (it's happened to him on other teams) and bradley falls for it EVERY season.

without the handholding, babying, and constant reassurance bradley is at the fan's mercy.

manny being manny might fly in boston because his ego will let him shrug off any fan would eat milton bradley alive.

It still seems like Bradley could be flipped for a guy like Derek Lowe.

That is the direction that Hendry really needs to go.

Chances are that the Braves aren't willing to do that as of today. However if the Braves can't move Lowe by Feb, then I'd bet they would listen.

Hendry needs to sign Aubrey Huff now. Then worry about trading Bradley later.

Did he actually fight Joshua? I thought it was just a shouting match.

it was another "had to be restrained" least as far as i know.

George Costanza would emphasize that Hendry has "no hand".

So the Cubs need to move Milton Bradley to even be players in the Mike Cameron sweepstakes. Obviously not a lot of spare cash floating around this winter.

But what about next year? Here's a few impact guys who are scheduled to be free agents next offseason:
Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Joe Mauer
Carl Crawford
Josh Beckett
Victor Martinez
Derek Jeter
Brandon Webb

Plus, these guys' teams have options:
Albert Pujols ($16M team option, no way he gets loose, obviously)
Lance Berkman (at $15M, depends how bad Houston is in 2010)
Jose Reyes
Jimmy Rollins (option is only $8M so I'm sure the Phils will pick it up unless he's hooked on smack or something else)
Aramis Ramirez (it's his player option for $14.6M)

The Cubs have their own free agents, namely Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly. But even with those two coming off the books, can this team really afford to be in on any of these guys? Also, with how this team's offense is likely to look in 2010, unless Derrek regresses badly, will the team really be able to afford to let him walk, even if it's to get in on a younger guy like Crawford or Mauer?

I don't really have a point, I just wonder if Hendry will be in last-minute dump mode on guys like Dempster and Fukudome trying to clear payroll to re-sign Lee and Ramirez and if the best free agent corps in some time will slip past him.

I doubt half those guys make it to free agency, but if Mauer does, I sure hope the Ricketts are smart enough to grab him.

As long as he plays first base.

Well my idea would be to let him catch for a few years then move him to first base after we get rid of Ramirez or Soriano.

Is this guy coming back from an injury? How the hell do you drop from MLB to Rookie ball in one offseason?

Headline from a subscription-only story at

Mike Parisi fared well in the AFL while three other (Cardinals) pitching prospects struggled on the mound.

Maybe one of you AFL followers have more info on this guy?

I don't believe in the AFL I guess I am agnostic towards the fall baseball gods.

low 90s fastball, cruddy sinker that doesn't sink...showed up to AFL sporting a new cutter everyone is surprised he has control over.

lazy copy and paste of his AFL league stats.

SUR AFL 3 2 4.44 7 6 0 0 0 26.1 26 14 13 1 6 15 2.05 .257

Still not striking out a lot, but a 2:1 GO/FO ratio - wonder if that is the result of the cutter, or his crappy sinker.

"He had Tommy John surgery in August of '08." according to

First it was Ibanez and now it's Granderson. Lou seems annoyed that, for whatever reasons, Hendry isn't getting him the players he really wanted.


INDIANAPOLIS - Lou Piniella, who has gotten used to losing out on free agents to the Yankees, is lamenting the fact his Chicago Cubs did not have either the chips or the financial resources to acquire Curtis Granderson, but predicts the All-Star center fielder will improve his on-base percentage now that he's no longer surrounded by all the free swingers in the Detroit Tigers lineup.

"Our primary need is an outfielder who can hit fifth, and Granderson was our No. 1 choice," Piniella said Wednesday. "There was just no way we could get him, and once again the Yankees swooped in and got their man....

Read more:

Lou has the strangest ideas about team construction.

Primary need is a lefty hitting Outfielder who can hit 5th?

If I am not mistaken, wasn't the primary need last offseason too? How did that go? Oh yeah, we still have that primary need and it has become a primary burden.

Shut up and deal with it.

Lou is really turning into the king excuse maker.

I almost wonder if it is because he thinks he can bully Hendry and Crane Kenney around?

He is bullying them around, isn't he?

For the privilege of keeping Lou around, we've so far donated $1 million to the A's and we're expected to donate another $5 million to another team.

Yeah...Lou's won 1784 games as manager, and back to back division titles in 2007-2008.

We donated that to the A's because Aaron Miles stinks, and shoudn't have been signed, let alone to a 2 year deal. Paying $1 million is better than paying $2.7 million for that sack of worthless.

We're expected to donate $5 million to another team because Milton Bradley was mistakenly expected to play well, and live up to a mistake of a 3 year contract.

So the idea is that when the team plays well it's Lou's good managing, but when they don't play well it's Hendry's fault?


Lou was certainly asleep at the switch last season at times it seemed. But was it his managing that caused:
Soriano's injuries
Soto's injury
Ramirez' injury
Bradley's poor performance
Gregg's poor performance

I was pointing out that, while last season was an off season, that "putting up" with not like putting up with Bruce Kimm or Jim Essian.

The job of a manager is to get the best out of the players.

Lee and Wells, maybe Marshall and Ramirez when he was healthy. So out of 30 something guys, Lou did his job with four of them.

He did things that were puzzling in the way he handled Bradley. Miles hasn't been known to be discountent, but he "had to go". Lou didn't like Pie, but he wanted speed so we swapped in Gathright.

Despite what Lou says to the press - Jim discussed all of these moves with Lou prior to making them. He said to Lou "Do you think you can handle Bradley" and Lou sais "Yes." But when Bradley turned into a disaster, where is Lou manning up and saying "wow, that guy is too much for me to handle"? What does Lou say? "I wanted Granderson and Ibanez."

I am not sure what his problem is, but he utterly failed at the most important part of his job in 2009.

You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit TRN.

The Cubs could have had Bobby Cox, Billy Martin, or Leo Durocher managing this team, and they still would have struggled.

Bradley should have been an upgrade, but failed miserably. Where has he gone that he has not had issues? Texas? They are welcome to him...but they didn't want to sign him long term after 2008.

I'd point to Piniella's handling of the Ramirez injury, failing to move Soriano down in the lineup sooner, or his handling of the bullpen as major issues from last season, ahead of massaging poor Milton's ego.

Soto was hurt, got out of shape at the WBC
Lee had a good season
Fontenot stunk, not ready/able to be the full time 2B
Theriot was respectable, but still lacking range at SS
Ramirez was hurt, played well when there
Soriano shouldn't have been playing on his injured knee. It should not be his responsibility alone...he hurt the team too often last season.
Fukudome was better than 2008, but still faded sown the stretch
Bradley? We've covered him...extensively.

Big Lou made him a head case?
Lilly had a solid season
Dempster was better than I thought he'd be, just not 2008 good
Wells was a pleasant surprise
Harden gave up a lot more flyballs than usual it seemed. Lou's fault?
Kevin Gregg is an average at best closer. He was again in 2008.
Marmol need to find the strike zone.

And so on. Lou was certainly not at his best last season, but there aren't many miracle workers managing these days.

My point is that Lou sucked, Bradley sucked, Miles sucked (along with others). Why does Lou not take any repsonsibility for it? Besides throwing his players under the bus, he's now doing the same to his GM, building excuses for 2010 two months before spring training.

They both need to go, but at least when Hendry screws up he acts like a man about it.

barrett, eyre, wuertz, etc...

Rich Hill, Jason Marquis, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson

is this about lou? i thought we were talking about something else here.

I was talking about guys Lou ran out of town.

ah, you lost me on r.hill and e.pat.

Lou didn't have Rich Hill banished?

Eric Patterson didn't get demoted all the way to AA for a clubhouse infraction?

oh, i dunno...i just didn't have those names register with me connecting to lou. i dunno much about their relationships.

Lou needs to realize he can't pigeon-hole players and demand really specific things like that. Saying, "our primary need is an outfielder who can hit fifth" is ridiculous. It's like saying your first baseman absolutely has to hit for power. Well, if you can trade for a guy like A-Rod to play SS then suddenly you don't need a first baseman with power.

How about focusing on acquiring really good players regardless of where you think they can hit in the order, rather than these stupid notions like, we need a left-handed centerfielder who can hit between 20-30 HRs, and is a Scorpio.

/pollyanna Maybe this is all gamesmanship on Lou's part, like make everybody think the Cubs really wanted Grandy and now they won't get anybody but ha HA, it's a head fake and the Cubs are gonna swoop in and trade for... /pollyanna

...oh, I can't do it.

"The Boston Red Sox have reached a preliminary agreement to trade third baseman Mike Lowell to the Texas Rangers for catcher Max Ramirez, sources told ESPN."


'However, on Thursday morning, Rangers GM John Daniels said the deal is not yet done.

"Reports of the deal were somewhat overstated," Daniels said.'

Meetings over, Sullivan says Hendry came up empty.

I debunked all those Yahoos on Monday night.

I knew that Bradley was not going to get traded, and it is sad that no GM wants to take a financial risk on on a player whose antics were made even more public via one of baseball's most viewed teams.

Excuse my language, but what the fuck was Jim Hendry thinking when he signed Milton Bradley? If he does not get shown the door after this year, then I just think this Ricketts Group is going to be the same as all the others.

I would think it would piss me off as a new owner to no end realizing that my main personnel guy is going to stick me with a $20MM hit right after I just bought the team.

The worst part was that EVERYONE knew this was a real possibility last offseason when Milton was signed.

No excuse for it. Especially when there were so many other options on the market.

We overbid both years and money for him. No other credible suitors were even bidding for Milton. We could have likely gotten him on a 1 year deal.

The Rays offered him two years, so Hendry went to three to get him.

And how did that work out?

To be determined.

Didn't the Rays sign Burrell before the Cubs signed Bradley?

I think the revisionist TB offer is a CYA by Hendry

Not sure on the timing, but you may recall that Bradley was off the market for at least a week before the signing was made.

Burrell signed 1-5-2009

Bradley signed the next day

So that confirms that Hendry bid against himself.

Dunn and Abreu both signed on 2-11

Not necessarily. If the Rays got word that Bradley was going to go to Chicago or was leaning that way, then they might have pulled the trigger on Burrell before Bradley actually signed.

But I agree with your main point. Even if there was a little competition, Hendry was basically bidding against himself. Man I wish we'd gone with Abreu.

Cubs had a deal with Bradley long before the day they signed him. They didn't make it official until they could move some contracts though (Marquis & DeRosa).

Deal shouldn't have mattered once TB went in another direction. There were several options still on the market at that point.

Hendry screwed up and bid against himself. So way to spin it otherwise.

That's just not how it works.

Seriously, you want the GM to agree in principle to a deal, then renig on the deal later because a team competing with the Cubs for Bradley filled their spot after Bradley was off the market?

1. Bradley wouldn't have signed with the Cubs
2. No agent would deal with Hendry after that.


How do negotiations normally go?

If the Cubs agreed on a deal with Bradley and were just waiting for the documents to be signed, they can't back out if Tampa signs another player once they find out that Bradley is off the market.

There would be plenty of ways the Cubs could get out of a deal like that. (failed physical?)

Hendry plain sucks as a GM. Not sure of any way that can be said otherwise. Bradley is just another glaring example.

Ah, yes. Fraud. Every good GM's negotiating strategy. Stupid Hendry and his stupid basic business ethics.

So we are just assuming that there was some secret written contract between the Cubs and Bradley?

There would be plenty of ways the Cubs could get out of a deal like that. (failed physical?)

Sorry, Dr. aaron. Not only is it a breach of contract to do so but such behavior would truly be douchebaggery of a degree that would surpass the Himes/Stanton Cook treatment of Greg Maddux when they pulled an offer off the table and refused to allow Maddux to accept it 1 day later, thus leading to Maddux leaving the Cubs as a Free Agent. Himes/Cook was douchey (and stupid) but legal. I really don't want that level of jerkiness being associated with a team that I cheer for again.

So the consensus is that the Cubs had a signed deal with Milton Bradley. Only they had to clear payroll to sign him?

So to recap the Bradley signing from last offseason.....

The Cubs secured the services of Milton Bradley,at a discount no less. After a fierce bidding war between several unnamed MLB teams. As an act of Bradley's goodwill he didn't demand a 4th year player option or a No-Trade clause.

Even if there was not a signed contract, if the Cubs and Bradley had agreed on the terms verbally and thus Bradley stopped talking with any other potential suitors, changing the terms or pulling out of the deal after Burell signed with TB would be a pretty asshole move. I don't know what legal repercussions it would have, but I don't Hendry would want to give the team the reputation of screwing over players in that way. If you want to wait and see what other people get, you don't tell Bradley that you've agreed on the contract and are just waiting to free up money. Whether Hendry ever said that, I don't know, but that seems to be the hypothetical we're discussing.

You can look in the archives here at TCR...

December 30th.

But if you really want to know what happened. Ibanez was the 2nd choice for the Cubs and the first for the Phils, who had a spot open in left. The Phils signed him before the Cubs did, but that didn't matter to Hendry because...Bradley was the first choice of the Rays and the Cubs and received very similiar offers from both. His agent got that turned into a 3-year offer (with the injury clauses) from the Cubs and he signed. The Rays then went with their 2nd guy - Burrell and the Nats said 'OK, we'll take Dunn for $20 and 10 years, thanks guys." And finally Abreu got a job from the Angels when he and Garrett Anderson were the only "names" left to fill left field spots, and the Angels didn't want Anderson back.

So it could have been worse, we could have had Burrel or Anderson, but it would have been better, at least offensively if we got one of the three other guys. Hendry wasn't the only GM who preferred someone over Abreu.

I think the recap is Cubs wanted a left-handed right fielder that could bat in the middle of the order, that meant Bradley, Abreu, Ibanez or Dunn (was there anyone else?). They decided, rightfully in my opinion, that Bradley is the only one that can actually play right field. They made an offer that was better than the 2 yr offer that the Rays made, on par with what Ibanez received and then made it official once they moved DeRosa and Marquis.

Then Bradley slugged 50 pts below his career averages and was an insufferable douche while Lou and Hendry acted surprised by his behavior.

Well summarized! Don't forget to mention that around the same time, we had Hendry acquiring who he thought were the right trading chips to get a Jake Peavy deal done. To me, it felt like JH had spent so much time and energy working to get Jake Peavy that he didn't spend enough time on the OF need for last season. The big mistake was giving Milton Bradley a 3-year contract. Once Tampa Bay stepped up with a 2-year offer, given Milton's history of 1 year with a team and out the door, we needed to step away and look at other options. Hindsight is always 20/20 though.

Hendry has made a mess of this, no doubt, but I'm not ready to run him out of town for it. We won 83 games last season with our top 4 starters all spending significant time on the DL, huge underperformances by Soriano, Soto and Fontenot, and a major injury to Aramis, arguably our best clutch hitter. Assuming we don't have the same degree of bad luck again this season, we should no doubt improve on 83 wins. Hendry knows he fucked up with Bradley and Miles, and he is working hard to correct these mistakes. I applaud him for not jumping at the crap offers (Carlos Silva??) I'm sure he received at the meeting. Let's see how it all plays out, shall we?

Recent comments

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  • Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.

  • CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.   

  • Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.

    Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
    Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.

  • I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.

    I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.


  • It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.

  • Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.

  • My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.

  • In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.

    One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.

    I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.

  • Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.

    What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?

  • A-Team

  • Ha

  • I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.

    there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.

  • I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.

  • Cubs are taking advantage of bad D by their opponents -- did it a few times in PIT and the Nats botched 2-out rundown leads to 3 Cub runs in the 8th. Which were nice to have.

    I hope Kyle had fun at the dance party -- he was terrific.

  • i hope he's getting more consideration for the 2-slot vs lefties, too.