Cubs Rumor Round-Up: Nady and Kennedy

We're about three weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting and Hendry still has at least two moves to make and possibly up to four if the latest from Jon Morosi is to be believed.

The top priorities remain the bullpen and fourth outfielder and according to Morosi, Xavier Nady has floated to the top of the Cubs' wish list. His agent is Scott Boras though and much like all the players the Cubs are interested in, his demands will have to lower into the Cubs price range. Otherwise, Reed Johnson, Rocco Baldelli or Johnny Gomes are the other options.

On the bullpen front, things with Kiko Calero have cooled.  No other names are mentioned.

Another starting pitcher is more a want than a need and Ben Sheets is asking too much at the moment.

Finally, the Cubs have shown some past interest in Adam Kennedy and Orlando Hudson, but like starting pitching, not a big priority. If an upgrade at second base is available at the right price, then the Cubs could make a move although I fail to see how Kennedy would be an upgrade.

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If there is any GM who could be termed "friendly" with Scott Boras, it's fellow failed minor league player Jim Hendry. They get along very well. So signing Boras client Xavier Nady would not be a problem for Hendry, as long as the Cubs believe Nady can make all the necessary throws from RF (Nady had his second career TJS last year).

Nady sounds like a good choice to me. Here's hopin'.

Nady would be fine, I suppose. He would bump Hoffpauir or Fuld off the roster, I wonder? Mostly likely bump Hoffpauir unless they'd let Kosuke play center again. Eh?

most likely Hoffpauir, but I'm sure it would likely be a competition in spring training. I would guess they'd be comfortable with Fukudome as a back-up center fielder if it came down to that.

Poor MIcah. Dan S projects a decent stick for a bench bat, but who knows about projections?

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/ora...

Submitted by Rob G. on Mon, 01/25/2010 - 3:33pm.
most likely Hoffpauir, but I'm sure it would likely be a competition in spring training. I would guess they'd be comfortable with Fukudome as a back-up center fielder if it came down to that.

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ROB G: Micah Hoffpauir would probably have trouble winning a job if the Cubs aign a right-handed hitting OF other than Rocco Baldelli or Reed Johnson, because somebody has to be the late-inning defensive replacement for Soriano in LF, and right now that's Sam Fuld's job to lose.

I think one way Hoffpauir could make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster is if Jeff Baker plays 2B everyday and Andres Blanco is the only back-up at both SS and 2B, making Mike Fontenot's slot available. But Hoffpauir would have to outhit Fontenot in Spring Training, and even then Piniella might want two back-up middle-infielders even if Hoffpauir shows the better bat.

Baker, Theriot, Blanco and Fountainout? Sounds like Pinhead already has four backup middle infielders.

What do you think the relationship between Barney/Blanco and Castro is going to be. If Castro looks great in ST is he going to get a starting gig at AAA or does Barney's presence block him, or do they both have a chance to knock off Blanco for the MLB spot?

Submitted by The Real Neal on Mon, 01/25/2010 - 5:03pm.
Baker, Theriot, Blanco and Fountainout? Sounds like Pinhead already has four backup middle infielders.

What do you think the relationship between Barney/Blanco and Castro is going to be. If Castro looks great in ST is he going to get a starting gig at AAA or does Barney's presence block him, or do they both have a chance to knock off Blanco for the MLB spot?

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REAL NEAL: I think Blanco gets the MLB back-up SS-2B gig, Barney is the starting SS at Iowa, Castro is the SS at AA, LeMahieu is the SS at Daytona, and Hak-Ju Lee and Logan Watkins remain together at Peoria.

Castro is the type of prospect who might not see one day of AAA. To me, AAA is a place for players who need additional polish in order to become major leaguers because they are a bit short on talent. The best talent goes directly from AA to the big leagues.

My question is how Piniella will manage the transition, as Theriot is replaced by Barney or Castro.

What if Theriot continues to perform as he has for the past couple of years? That's probabbly good enough for Uncle Lou, but what if Barney and/or Castro exert roster pressure from below? Would Hendry do an end run on Piniella and force Lou to play Barney or Castro by moving Theriot in a trade? Or has it already been decided by Hendry/Piniella/Fleita that when Barney or Castro are ready, Theriot gets moved to 2nd base? And if that is the case, what if Jeff Baker is playing well at 2B at that time?

I'm not sure that Lou Piniella is the guy I would want to be the Cubs manager with young middle-infielders like Barney and Castro nearly-ready, especially if they are legitimate prospects and it gets to the point they are clearly ready.

Having Barney and Castro in big league camp should (hopefully) help Piniella get a feel for what they can do.

"What do you think the relationship between Barney/Blanco and Castro is going to be."

I don't think they'll be anything more than friends. I mean, there's some sparks there, but they work together. They know better than to get involved.

Nothing new from Morosi here.

While I get the need for a good 4th OF, the desire for a short-term upgrade at 2B and maybe some SP insurance to cover Lilly, I'm not sure that I get the need for another righty RP.

For the right side of the pen, I count Marmol, Guzman, at least one (and possibly both) of Silva/Samardjzia, Rule 5 guy Parisi, Gray, and the kids (Caridad, Berg, Stevens, Patton, Atkins and Parker) competing for a total of 4-5 spots. From the left side, Grabow and at least one (maybe both) of Gorzelanny and Marshall are locks for the pen as well. Gaub is a longshot too. That's about 15 legit contenders for 6-7 pen jobs.

Dealing off some promising kids for a guy like Frasor (and his $2.65 million salary) only makes sense if there is real concern about Guzman's durability (and a guy like Calero makes no sense at all).

Guzman was pretty lucky when you look at his peripherals last year, throw in his injury history and that leaves Marmol as the only thing resembling reliable from the right side. Almost all those other guys have options left, and with injuries and performance being pretty volatile when it comes to your pen, not a bad idea to get someone else back there. Depends on the someone else of course.

Calero on a one year deal is pretty low risk imo. He's good when healthy and if he gets hurt, then all those other names get a shot.

Not to mention Cashner or Jackson could get opportunities if they're tearing up the minors.

Hendry believes that 80% of baseball is pitching, and I could see whey he would want to give a manager like Lou another experienced arm in the pen.

But the Dodgers had it right when they used middle relief to break in their promising young pitchers, and with our budget constraints, it makes even more sense for us.

What I like about Xavier Nady when compared to Jonny Gomes and Jermaine Dye is that while he has played mostly RF, Nady has the atleticism to play all three OF positions and 1B (and even some 3B in a pinch), while Gomes and Dye are strictly corner outfielders with no experience at 1B.

Also, Nady is a better hitter than Gomes (who is a strikeout machine and a terrible PH), and Nady is seven years younger than Dye (who had a really bad second-half last year and looked like he might be was washed-up).

And Nady is the kind of a guy who can play everyday for an extended period if necessary (he hits both LHP and RHP). And if he wants a two-year deal, that would be OK, because the Cubs are probably going to need to platoon Fukudome again in 2011, too, so that what Nady would bring to the Cubs in 2010 would almost certainly be needed again in 2011.

Again, my main concern with Nady is whether after having his second career TJS last year (and missing most of the season as a result) he can still make strong throws from RF, or if he has become a rag-arm DH.

Does Hendry have an aversion to weak-throwing players? We have Ryan Theriot playing SS and at various times in the pat had Juan Pierre playing CF and Jacque Jones playing RF and CF. How pitiful would Nady's arm have to be to make him a bigger liability in the outfield than Soriano, anyway?

Submitted by Charlie on Mon, 01/25/2010 - 4:25pm.
Does Hendry have an aversion to weak-throwing players? We have Ryan Theriot playing SS and at various times in the pat had Juan Pierre playing CF and Jacque Jones playing RF and CF. How pitiful would Nady's arm have to be to make him a bigger liability in the outfield than Soriano, anyway?

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CHARLIE: My main concern with Nady is whether his arm (elbow) is up to making strong throws from RF. That doesn't mean it's a concern of Hendry's. In fact, it's probably not a big deal to him. I'm just saying Nady's arm-strength should be an issue, not that it is.

Point taken.

Thanks, Phil!

We should be so lucky.

If Nady was such a good hitter he wouldn't have this much trouble finding work. For their careers, Gomes and Nady have had the same OPS+ (OPS to league average adjusted for park factors) but Gomes has played in baseball's tougher league and toughest division for most of his carreer.

I agree about the defensive flexibility, but Baker already offers a similar skill set.

The best thing would probably be as suggested above, use young guys for the bullpen, and then sign Hudson and push Baker to reserve and Fountainout to the SS/2B backup spot.

Somebody remind me just why the Rox let Baker get away? Was it simply the injury? He had a reasonable rebound in the 2nd half. Did I hear say Lou he thought Baker would be good batting 5th?

he was coming off the 60-day DL and they didn't have room on their active roster or anywhere to play him...and he sucks.

I think the last point is most important. I am just glad that Hendry doesn't repeat the mistake of anointing someone the starter at second base based on what he did in half a season. Oh, wait! Scratch that.

fwiw...

over the last 3 years, their splits

Nady in 227 AB's
vs LHP: 278/358/454 812
vs RHP: 297/340/504 844

Gomes in 296 AB's
vs LHP: 267/341/503 844
vs RHP: 223/307/456 763

for their career, Nady at 5.8% BB/9, 19.9% K/9 and a .342 wOBA, Gomes at 9.9% BB/9 and 32.2% K/9 and .344 wOBA

I'd prefer Nady myself if he can throw.

it's a decent arm when it's not falling off...which is pretty much yearly.

The thing that gets me about Nady is that he has gone from being the opening day starting right fielder for the Yankees, to being viewed as a valuable free agent being looked at for a starting gig (in Atlanta and elsewhere), and now he has fallen to being looked at as a potential platoon partner or 4th OF.

And he's the same player he was at the beginning of last year when he was the starter for the eventual World Champions. The only thing that changed was he had (a second) TJS.

I don't get the impression that teams are overly concerned with players who have TJS. It's fairly routine these days. And yet, poor Nady's stock has plummeted.

I don't get the impression that teams are overly concerned with players who have TJS. It's fairly routine these days.
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I'd agree with the above especially for position players except that this is his SECOND Tommy John surgery. The basic operation takes a tendon graft from the forearm from a small tendon called the palmaris longus.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http:/...

On a second surgery they have to take a graft from somewhere else. Other sites are available (the other arm or a tendon from the calf (plantaris) but that means he's gonna have two limbs involved to recovery. I'm not sure why his graft failed but it's pretty unusual for this to happen (expecially when it's not a pitcher). This would make me a bit leary too (Chad Fox alert!) but my guess is he'll be OK.

Nady is the best mix of hitter with some power and defensive RF for a righty bat. If his arm isn't right though and he can't throw that's a problem for RF (but not as much for LF or PH), Reed Johnson is probably the next best option. I thought about Gomes as I do like his power... but I don't like his K rate and his defense is bad.

If his defense is bad, wouldn't Kukudome replace him in the 7th anyway? (that is, after we have a 7 or 8 run lead)

"For their careers, Gomes and Nady have had the same OPS+ (OPS to league average adjusted for park factors) but Gomes has played in baseball's tougher league and toughest division for most of his carreer."

As you note, OPS+ is already adjusted. The tougher league and division have already been accounted for, so Gomes doesn't get extra points for them.

Wrong.

"OPS+: This is OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) as measured against league average with ballpark effects taken into consideration. "

OPS+ is calculated relative to the league of the player.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/bat_g...

"...6.Using these adjusted values compute what the league average player would have hit lgOBP*, lgSLG* in a park."

So a 100 OPS+ in the NL in 2009 is equal performance to a 100 OPS+ in the AL in 2009, even if the AL player had better OBP or SLG.

There's no mention in there about adjusting across leagues or about quality of competition. Read it again.

"There's no mention in there about adjusting across leagues or about quality of competition."

OPS+ is adjusted so that a league-average performance is 100. It's all there in the link I included. A 100 OPS+ performance in the NL is average performance for that league. Likewise for the AL. So a 120 OPS+ performance is 20 points of value over average, regardless of the league.

A 120 OPS+ in the NL is not worse or better than a 120 OPS+ in the AL. It is the same.

I won't address the "quality of competition" issue because it's nominal if present at all after normalizing for the league.

"Read it again."

Enough petulance.

I'm sure I don't want to be part of this argument, but:

Let's say the NL has these numbers:
6
4
7
8
2
3

Their total is 30, and their average is 5. So 5 is the league average.

Now let's say the AL has these totals:
6
4
7
8
8
3

Their total is 36, and their average is 6. So the average production of the AL is one higher. Maybe that's because they have a DH hitting instead of a pitcher. Regardless of the reason, it skews the average upward, so the average performance in the AL is a little better, which means in order to meet that average, a hitter has to perform a little better.

On the other hand, they aren't facing the same competition, so we're looking at many factors that are difficult to measure in order to determine whether there really is a more difficult or better league.

But it certainly is possible for the average hitter in one league to be more productive than the average hitter in the other league.

I'm very open to hearing some opposing arguments, however, because at this point I think I may just be confused about what you're trying to say.

OPS+ takes out the pitchers...

I haven't been able to figure out what they mean by league, although my assumption is a separate number for AL and NL, but can't find confirmation.

If you could find two players with the same OPS+ in each league, same park factors, but slightly different OPS numbers then it would indicate that league means AL and NL and not just MLB. But I'm not sure how they calculate their park factors.

to the original argument of Gomes vs. Nady's bat, Gomes is more hit and miss while Nady has been pretty consistent, another reason why I'd prefer Nady. Almost 18% of Gomes's PA's were with the Reds too which brought him up to the level of Nady.

And Gomes is a defensive hack, Nady doesn't appear to be.

Charlie:

"It certainly is possible for the average hitter in one league to be more productive than the average hitter in the other league."

In terms of raw numbers, yes. But not in terms of performance relative to their league. Imagine 2 good players. One is in a higher run-scoring environment and hits 330/400/550. But it's the same performance as a player in a (much) lower run-scoring environment hitting 300/360/490. OPS+ tries to correct for this by not presenting a raw value, but a percentage of value over the average performance for the league.

That's important for all that you've suggested: competition varies by league, parks vary by league, and run-scoring varies by league. The AL and NL are not the same animals. And while it's correct to say that a 750 OPS in the NL is not the same as a 750 OPS in the AL, it is not correct to say that a 100 OPS+ in the NL is not the same as a 100 OPS+ in the AL, as long as we keep in mind that performance mostly matters relative to the league.

Kennedy would be an upgrade over either Mike Fontenot or Jeff Baker.

harsh.

i like baker, myself. fontenot for his pricetag is a worthy backup gamble or platoon partner, imo.

baker's slap hitting is a bit more refined in 08/09. yes, he got lucky a lot in 09, but i think he's a servicable 2nd baseman with a bit of pop. i also think the same of fontenot, but i think baker has more of an idea of where he wants to try to put the ball in play at this point in his career.

how so?

His awesomeness for 2009 was .678, while Baker is a .548 and Fontenot a measly .235. Career numbers are similar for all three.

Adam Kennedy is 34 and just had a career year. He's left-handed and plays second base.

In other words, expect Hendry to give him a lifetime contract at "name his price".

So you agree with me that he's awesome.

i have a problem with the way you apply your awesome formula, personally.

shzq/(2*uiab) + whb%*djc2(version4) seems like a pretty obviously hack-ass way to go about measuring awesomeness.

i've read a few web pages on this matter and do believe you are full of bull hockey.

I was hoping that'd slide by without anyone noticing.

Mike Fontenot wouldn't make the 25-man roster in most organizations. That's just how it is.

And depending on Baker to repeat 2009 is risky. He might, he might not, but most people think 2009 was a fluke.

That's just how it is.

Oh. Now I understand.

Mike Fontenot wouldn't make the 25-man roster in most organizations.

neither does Adam Kennedy as you can tell by his joblessness or that he's been cut by 2 teams.

Heyman twits...Cubs and Chan Ho Park?

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/821842...

course Park has already turned down a $3M/1yr offer from the Phils...so I doubt the Cubs have more than that in mind.

But here's Hak-Ju Lee singing...maybe he was singing for Park.

Where's the link? I wanna see Lee singing.

I like Park, I'd live the Cubs to sign him.

I wanna see Lee singing.
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thanks to Stevens for finding this and posting it in the last thread...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0stmK3oCdg

Thanks!

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php...

interview in BP with Andrew Cashner by David Laurila...here's the intro:

Be it as a starter or out of the bullpen, Andrew Cashner looms as a big part of the Cubs’ future. A 6-foot-6 right-hander who was taken in the first round of the 2008 draft from Texas Christian, the 23-year-old Cashner has gone from college closer to professional starter, albeit with a strict pitch count. In 24 games split evenly between High-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee last year, Cashner posted a 2.60 ERA while allowing 76 hits in 100 1/3 IP. Notably, only one of them left the yard. Cashner talked about his power game, and his future, at the conclusion of the Arizona Fall League season.

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David Laurila: If you had to write a scouting report on yourself, what would it say?

Andrew Cashner: It would say that I have a good fastball and a good slider. My slider is my out pitch. And then, I’m developing a changeup. I’d say that I can throw three pitches for strikes and I’m a big competitor out there on the mound.

"David Laurila: If you had to write a scouting report on yourself, what would it say?"

too many reporters/interviewers/bloggers/etc. are too afraid to ask this question for one reason or another...more should for these low-level guys, imo. good stuff.

Jon Heyman says the Cubs are in on Chan Ho Park. I hadn't heard that one before.

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman

I seem to recall that Kennedy had crazy splits last year...

[edit] I guess it eventually evened out. He hit over .300 vs. righties, though.

From Rob's previous post...
Speaking of the NYT, they've announced a metered payment system to start in 2011 for their online content. Basically you get 10 free visits a month and then will have to pay to access anymore articles. Don't be too surprised when the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune do something similar in a few years.
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this was on Briefing.com this am...

NY Times reports with the widely anticipated introduction of a tablet computer at an event on Wednesday morning, Apple may be giving the media industry a kind of time machine — a chance to undo mistakes of the past. Almost all media companies have run aground in the Internet Age as they gave away their print and video content on the Web and watched paying customers drift away as a result. People who have seen the tablet say Apple will market it not just as a way to read news, books and other material, but also a way for companies to charge for all that content. By marrying its famously slick software and slender designs with the iTunes payment system, Apple could help create a way for media companies to alter the economics and consumer attitudes of the digital era.

Here's the NY Times article (it's free, for now):
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/technology/...

This is probably way 3/44 or whatever, but I just started thinking about tickets this year and noticed this on the Cubs website. Apparently you can spend $130 (for 4) or $250 (for 12) for an early shot at tickets instead of waiting all day in the god-forsaken queue. Is anyone doing this or is this like buying the extended warranty?

I hadn't seen that yet, so it's not 3/44 for at least one person.

Here's what worries me about it - they don't specify if the ticket pre-sale is for ALL tickets, or just the bullshit small selection like they do for the 9 game package (i.e. mostly weekday games in April).

Also, $250 is a lot of money to spend just to buy the privilege of spending an even more insane amount of money on tickets.

Good point, the website is vague about the details, but if there are no silly restrictions I'd consider paying the $130 premium for 4 tickets to a Sox-Cubs game or Cards-Cubs game. I've always just used the waiting room and by the time I get in all the high profile games are sold out.

The more simple solution is road trips.

True dat. In the last three years, I've probably seen 2 Cubs games at Wrigley and maybe 8-10 on the road. Depending on where you live and what's a drivable distance, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are usually easy tickets.

NE Indiana... Chicago, Cincy, and Detroit are all probably about the same distance for me. I'll have to go to Wrigley some time this year, though... I didn't go at all last year.

Right. Interleague in Seattle, this year!!

I did the $250 one in 2009. With that package, you can purchase up to 12 total tickets with the presale, which is before the general onsale. You get to choose any game(s) you want, and specify the seats you want for each game.

Last year, I did opening day, saturday tribe, saturday twins, 4 seats for saturday july cards, and saturday mets.

In addition to the tickets, you also get a free t-shirt (yay), access to the VIP entrance on sheffield (works well for bleachers and promotions), and an on-field event.

All in all, I'd say it was worth it.

Also, OF'er deal 'appears imminent'. Whatever the hell that means.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/columns/blog/_/pos...

Nady deal official. Tim Brown reports. Pending physical.

Link: here; one year deal.

Who's this carlos dude?

I think he does "the joe's" mom and then tweets afterward. Not sure about the details but I'm certain he's banging someone's mother

I'm on board with this given a reasonable dollar amount. Nady seems like the best combination among remaining available FAs of defense, offense and versatility.

Sheets signs with A's at 1 year/$8M...press conference in a few hours

http://danny-knobler.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/...

That stinks. I was hoping he'd end up on the Rangers.

Mets fail...

Levine's chat starts shortly and runs for about an hour for those of you with questions.

http://espn.go.com/chicago/chat/_/id/30510

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