Maholm Means 5th Starter in Hawaiian

The Cubs have signed Paul Maholm to a one year deal for $4.25M with a $500K buyout on a 2013 option worth $6.25M. Pretty cheap for a guy that for his career has been about league average with a career 96 ERA+ (94, 87, 114, 94, 79, 105 counting up from 2006). His walks are a little high for a contact pitcher (3.0 BB/9) and he doesn't strike out too many (5.4 K/9) but keeps the ball in the park (0.8 HR/9 helped surely by PNC's large left field). His good years coincide with his better BABIP seasons. In 2008, he had a .290 BABIP and his best season with 206 IP, a 3.71 ERA (114 ERA+). In 2011, he had a .288 BABIP, that led to a 3.66 ERA (105 ERA+). In his bad years, the BABIP is more in the .320 area, although in all cases he's been in the reasonable BABIP ranges. A good defense will go a long way to help him having a solid season, along with a stiff breeze in my from Lake Michigan.

He did have a shoulder injury that ended his season on August 17th last year, which is presumambly all healed up. It was his only trip to the disabled list in his career.

Overall, nothing more than some pitching depth at a decent price that as a southpaw could have some trade value in July.

In other Cubs news, Kaplan reported that the Tigers and Cubs are "down the road' on trade talks for Matt Garza. It seems the Cubs would have to get Jacob Turner in that deal and at least one other good prospect for it to make sense. Kaplan is also saying that Kerry Wood may depart the Cubs afterall. Kaplan tries to shift the blame on Jedstein for not wanting to pay the going rate for 8th inning set-up men. But the Cubs in 2012 are not really a team that needs to pay a set-up man $4M or so, so it's understandable to not give in to sentimentality. I understand Kerry owes Jedstein nothing and the same goes for Jedstein, but Kerry is the one that proclaimed it's the Cubs or retirement, not it's the Cubs at market value or I'll play for another team. To me, considering his injury history, he shouldn't get more than $2.5M with incentives for games finished and if he can get more from someone else, god speed.

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Comments

Ma-halo

Oblique Rob G. reference to Angelfan wife

I like it... very reasonable price for basically a league average pitcher.

As for Kerry Wood... I rarely think that relief pitchers are ever worth their "market value." So if that is what Wood wants, let me go. I like the guy, but good teams shouldn't make decisions because a guy is fan favorite. They should make decisions based on how the player fits into their plan (and budget) for their team. Wood left once, and the world didn't end. He can leave again.

I don't know what kind of money Kerry Wood is looking for, but I think he means more to this team and the organization than just being a set-up man. It's possible that he wants too much money, but if you'll recall, when he left last time (along with DeRosa), the team was like a rudderless ship with no clubhouse leaders. True, the world didn't end, but the team was negatively impacted. It seems to me that having someone like Wood around would be especially important considering the relatively young age of the pitching staff.

I don't want to make this issue bigger than it is, but treating Wood like just another set-up man is underestimating his importance and influence.

He was back last year, what good did that do?

They want him back, they allegedly offered him more money doesn't mean they have to pay him more than he's worth.

He's a leader, not a miracle worker.

You can downplay his influence if you like. A lot of people do dismiss the concept of a "clubhouse leader." I happen to be one that thinks that a team needs a strong (usually veteran) presence in the clubhouse to keep everyone on the same page.

I thought we were looking to change the clubhouse culture?

Hardly think Wood was a problem in the clubhouse.

Sammy's boombox says hisssssssss.

By the way, that's a joke.

I think he means more to this team and the organization than just being a set-up man.

What, exactly, does he mean to the team? Wins? Money?

treating Wood like just another set-up man is underestimating his importance and influence.

He is another setup man, and an oft-injured one at that.

But yes, I am eternally grateful for his great leadership last year.

This just in, you don't just need leaders when things are well.

He is the only living Cub who played in four, count 'em, four post seasons as a Cub.

Then buy him a gold watch and send him on his way. No need to roster him for 5 million bucks on this dreck of a roster.

You would be moving down from 60 wins to atleast 57 wins.

I think they should pay Wood whatever it takes to get the payroll where it needs to be. If they have to pay him 40 million this year, then I can't think of a more deserving bullpen pitcher.

I think we should save that money and hire a couple more Ricketts to sit in the front offices and wear funny over sized Harry Caray glasses.

Maybe CUBSTER can investigate what kind of shoulder injury Maholm sustained last year.

Obviously he'll have to take a physical, but it would be interesting to find out what caused him to go down.

It is a pretty low risk deal, imo. And, what the hell - it just adds to the #5 starter collection.

We still have no one producing RBI's as of today. Is HoyStein going to give a one-year to Lyle Overbay ( or, did someone "grab him" heh)? Going hard after Cespedes?

Only three days to Cubs Convention...

Obviously he'll have to take a physical, but it would be interesting to find out what caused him to go down.

He said he was trying to nurse a sore shoulder all last season. Finally threw in the towel.

I'm assuming the towel was thrown after he completed his towel drills. I don't want any quitters on this team.

Larry Rothchild approves!

Oscar Acosta is silent on the issue.

Obviously he'll have to take a physical, but it would be interesting to find out what caused him to go down.

Looks like Maholm had shoulder trouble as early as 2006. A quick check turned up this:

Pirates | Maholm's turn skipped Thursday
Wed, 20 Sep 2006
Dejan Kovacevic, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports Pittsburgh Pirates SP Paul Maholm (shoulder) will miss his turn in the rotation Thursday, Sept. 21. Maholm has been experiencing some tenderness in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder.

Thanks Navigator

I was just checking the minor league stats. A+-AAA of our new 25 year-old OFer.

His minor league stats are pretty sparkling.

Did anyone catch him play much in-person?

from the last thread...
-----
twitters from Jordan Bernfield at the Hoyer + Maholm phone conference because of Maholm signing...

http://twitter.com/jordanbernfield

(in reverse chronologic order)

Maholm: "With Albert and Prince probably heading out, that's real good for a pitcher." (in NL Central)

Maholm says there were talks with other teams, didn't go really far. Feeling out process, but says this was where he wanted 2 play.

Maholm: "I had known for a few days, yesterday I passed the physical, kinda tough not to be able to say anything." on Twitter breaking.

Also mentioned Sveum and Bosio as factors for signing here.

Maholm: "Being in the NL, traveling through the city, seeing the passion of the fans...seemed like it would be a good fit."

Hoyer: "We both understand the history of the organization and which players mean the most to the fan base and Kerry is one of them."

Hoyer: Going to prepare Samardzija as a starter in spring training.

Hoyer: "We've added control and youth to the pitching staff over the course of the winter." Says it's good for the future and present.

Hoyer: "Talent was the overriding factor not the knowledge of the division." (Maholm)

Hoyer: "We continue to want Kerry back in Chicago, we've offered him a substantial raise and we hope it gets done."

Hoyer: "This is deal is not a precursor to anything." In reference to Garza rumors.

Hoyer: "I think we're very comfortable with the names we have. A huge priority is building depth. You can never have enough pitching."

Hoyer: It's important to have a mix, you don't want to have a homogenous pitching staff...in general, LHP more efficient than RHP."

Hoyer: Says the physical looked good and they're confident he'll be ready to go next year. Tried to pitch thru shoulder soreness LY.

"He really wanted to be a Cub and wanted to pitch in Wrigley Field, which really means a lot to us."

"We're excited to bring Paul on board. Paul's been a quality left hander in this division for the last 6 years."

Was this posted?

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/wher...

Fangraphs mention of where the best Free Agent value was last year - journeyman starters on short contracts. Interesting. Paul Maholm is explicitly named in the intro regarding this offseason.

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/cubs/post/_/i...

Levine's story with quotes about Samardzija

I think we all want Kerry Wood back, but if it wasn't Kerry Wood, would anyone support signing a set-up man for $4m with his injury and performance record that was a good dude? Just cause another team may be willing to ovepay, doesn't mean the Cubs should.

Well, if the payroll has been lowered to the numbers Dr. Aaron suggests, what's an extra million or two?

/sarcasm

regarding Maholm's shoulder, all I read is that it was a left pitching shoulder strain which is sort of vague (maybe he's got Cashner's shoulder-itis). After initially being put on the 15 day DL on August 18th, he was transferred to the 60 day DL on Sept 6th. Not sure what value that had since it was after roster expansion for milb call ups.

He was cleared medically to resume workouts on 10-24-11(per Rotoworld) just before the Pirates declined his $9.75M option for 2012 on 10-31-11.
http://www.rotoworld.com/recent/mlb/1322/paul...

here's the link to when he went on the DL...

“I’ve dealt with [shoulder pain] other years. It’s usually gone away, and I’ve done pretty well,” Maholm said. “This time, it just kept lingering and obviously, I don’t want to just keep pitching to pitch and do anything major to it.”

http://calltothepen.com/2011/08/21/paul-mahol...

and another link when he went on the 60 day DL, and mentions that this was his first trip to the DL in his career.
http://calltothepen.com/2011/09/07/paul-mahol...

reminds me of Ted Lilly's shoulder problem. Maybe he needs his knee scoped...
http://www.thecubreporter.com/2009/07/25/ted-...

Looks like Maholm had shoulder trouble as early as 2006. A quick check turned up this:

Pirates | Maholm's turn skipped Thursday
Wed, 20 Sep 2006
Dejan Kovacevic, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports Pittsburgh Pirates SP Paul Maholm (shoulder) will miss his turn in the rotation Thursday, Sept. 21. Maholm has been experiencing some tenderness in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder.

I've been out of the loop for a while Cubs-wise. Who is playing 3b this year?

Ian Stewart

I Don't Know

Who's on first.

Yes he is.

Ian Stewart. We're calling him "The Reverse Cowboy". I don't remember why.

Why?
Left Field.

What about 3rd base?

Does he collect every other Friday?

Only the non-consecutive ones.

I Don't Know

Is this someone joking?

One of Al's?

Be more specific, please.

Maholm gets some incentives as well

Maholm can earn max of $550K in incentives each year with #Cubs: $50K at 150 IP and then $100K at 160, 170, 180, 190, and 200 IP.

Twitter War!!!

Maholm guarantee is $4.75M for one year with #Cubs. Can earn max of $10.75M over two years if option is exercised. #MLB

followed by Maholm

@Ken_Rosenthal ur math isn't very good.

heh.

believe he can make $11.6 M if those numbers are true (including the incentives). W/o incentives it would still be 10.5M.

I'm noticing a pattern of short contracts.

Yep. Pretty much the complete opposite of what Theo says "the plan" is so most of these guys can count on being trading chips or worse.

What part of "the plan" requires long term contracts?

Theo and Jed use terms like "years of control" and "turning short term assets into long term assets" to describe "the plan."

He specifically mentioned Garza as someone who could either get a contract extension (or be traded for prospects) to achieve this goal.

Isn't that what they have been doing, primarily by turning older players into younger players?

They turned tyler colvin 26 and d j lamehieu 23 into ian stewart 26 and casey weathers 26...

They signed David Dejesus 32 and resigned Reed Johnson 35 to play RF.

Guys on short-term contracts would be short-term assets and they could be turned into long-term ones either by extension, trades for younger players, or something way, way worse.

Long term assets are referring to youth, control, and actually also insinuates minor league depth if you ask me. These ML short term contracts are just place holders ... Maholm and DeJesus in particular are expendable role players ... Good guys to have but mostly serviceable major leaguers - not part of the big plan ... Could be gutsy vets, under new contracts by the time the cubs are refueled and ready to compete. But not essential. Just filling the roster.

With regard to Garza, Theo and Co. have absolutely no interest in keeping him and never have. He's our biggest bargaining chip and his prime is now, and ours is 2014-15. Bad match, great player. Theo said that cause he had to say it - smart bargaining, actually the only way to bargain. Can't look desperate, but actually now is the time. Sell very high, we can't compete even with him. And he WILL help a contender (I sincerely think he'll put a contender over the top). But at what price? Hopefully a great haul for the cubs but it's a tightrope walk for sure.

But the plan was to gut and build future assets. They are definitely not wavering on that plan. Not even close.

When he talks about years of control, he's referring to farm players before they are eligible for arbitration/free agency, not expensive free-agents.

I don't see short contracts as a contradiction of his expressed plans, I was just making an observation. Perhaps he's looking for some 1-year fill-ins until more money rolls off the books? The way things are shaping up, the 2013 Cubs are going to be vastly different than the 2012 Cubs. *shrug*

Which should work out fine for them if they perform well--they'll end up going to contenders.

"these guys can count on being trading chips or worse."

Worse? Can you elaborate?

Wrigley Field concession stands will now feature Soylent Blue, a delicious hot dog made from freshly ground middle relievers.

i hope not...right now the pen is shaping up to be a little scary...the cubs can use all the middle relievers they can keep in MLB/AAA right now.

Wood's available.

This is a bit out of context. He certainly wants the OPTION of retaining or moving the potential "long term asset" if it gains greater long-term value, or, when the team is poised to win it all, gather a short-term one that will have an impact.

He was referring to the Sean Marshall deal specifically, when trading a guy (based on the new CBA) at the end of a deal can bring back something of value where the team has control for a significantly longer period.

jonmorosi Jon Morosi
Koyie Hill, popular #Cubs backup catcher from ’07-’11, has signed a minor-league deal with the rival #STLCards, source says.

Popular?

very popular

http://i.imgur.com/jxWXa.jpg

woo, 2 minutes in photoshop

12:24 in this video explains Koyie Hill popular

http://smotri.com/video/view/?id=v956107e426

Well played!

Bwahahahahahaahahahahaa!!

First the riot, the TLR and Pooholes, now this?!

Love your moves!!!

peter gammons claiming DET is much less interested than the cubs on trading garza...says turner-for-garza is very unlikely and DET is more than willing to open with turner as the #5 starter and "seeing what happens."

How did Gammons make that information somehow involve the Red Sox?

MLB Intentional Talk laughing about how everything Cubs is referred to as "Theo" even though Jed's the GM.

heh...

Comcast Sportsnet Live, Pat Mooney said Maholm's shoulder problem was a "pulled muscle" and he has been working with Dr. Andrews rehab staff. Apparently he's fine and will be starting bullpen sessions next week...and will be ready for spring training.

"It was a pulled muscle. It wasn't anything huge," Maholm said. "It was more or less the timing of when it happened was the reason why I missed the end of the season. I just wanted to make sure that it was healthy and that I didn't do anything further to my shoulder."

"I went to Dr. [James] Andrews' [physical therapy] guys once a week for seven weeks and worked with them and did some exercises and rested. I've been working out and feel good. I've been long tossing and should be starting bullpens next week, probably."

http://www.csnchicago.com/pages/v11_cubstalk_...

25 years from now Tom Ricketts will be the commissioner of baseball

/kreskin'd

CSN Mooney article on KWood's status with Hoyer quotes

“We come in with somewhat of a fresh set of eyes,” Hoyer said. “That doesn’t diminish what people have done long before we’re here. We both understand the history of the organization and we understand which players mean a lot to the fans. Kerry is one of them, so that is something we’re aware of. Fresh eyes are one thing, but that doesn’t mean you sort of ignore the rich past that the Cubs have.”

http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/cubs-talk/post...

Okay, I will duck now ... For the bashing I am about to take ... BUT hypothetically how bizarre would it be (and I say it is possible, especially if we cannot dump Garza), but with the weakened NL Central, what if we are in the race at the trade deadline - is it even possible that Thedsteinoyer find themselves in the odd spot of possibly being buyers? What a quandary that would be if Jeeohoypsteiner has the choice of trading prospects for vets, or standing pat with a chance to win. Could happen, just saying.

Given that they'd probably want to add both a #2 starting pitcher and a slugger to try to be real contenders, even if everything broke right for the Cubs and there were many career years on the roster, I doubt much would happen at the trade deadline. The biggest result would probably be that it might prevent them from selling on Marmol, Soto, and/or Byrd. But I fully expect them to keep gutting and to be a below .500 team in 2012.

Well said. Completely agree on every point.

No guts, no glory!

From Levine's chat today:

Bruce Levine (1:22 PM)
Haven't heard a word about the compensation talks but we continue to ask. No one seems to care very much at this point. It seems like business as usual for all three teams.

if you had read my posts, I stated the exact same thing three weeks ago.

My exact quote, I believe, was "They [Red Sox] don't really give a shit."

Found new favorite show

http://www.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120...

Don't know the guy representing Cubs

sounds awesome

says Ryan Balogh is a Account Executive, Corporate Partnerships

BruceMiles2112 Bruce Miles
Theo says more has happened in the media than in reality with Garza. #Cubs

claimed by NL Central team...waiting on that name to leak.

it be the Astros.

That makes sense.

claimed by Brewers though

Theo: "I think very highly of Matt Garza. I think he's a top of the rotation type guy, and I'm looking forward to him being on the mound for us this season. But we're just being transparent about the fact that hey, we're in this for the long haul, and sometimes it makes sense to weigh your options to see if you can put yourself in a better position for the long haul.

Theo: "I think it's important to be open with the fans about what you're doing, why you're doing it, what the plan is. I think if you do that, and you're true to your word, and you're not trying to hide the ball, I think they'll get in on the ground floor and come along for the ride. I just urge everyone to stay on board. When we do win, it's going to mean a lot more to everyone whose been on the ground floor and been through the ups and downs, got to know these young players, see them come through the minor league system, watch them take their lumps a little bit at the big leagues and ultimately triumph. It means so much more if you're along for the journey. The journey's really what it's all about."

some Cubs fans are near the end of their journey, try to speed things up a bit if you can :)

Yeah@
Some of us are so old the only things left on our bucket lists are a Cubs Pennant and a World Series Championship. What's this bullshit about waiting for young players to stumble and bumble their way through the Cubs system before we get a winner?? I spent half of last century doing that. Fuck that. Hurry the hell up.

"Some of us are so old," etc.

I'm an old guy and the Cubs are on my bucket list, but I have no interest in seeing Carlos Beltran or any other mid-thirties guy--or anybody with his best years behind him--put on a Cub uniform for the first time.

Maybe it's because I like speed and defense, and graying players don't usually give you that.

I feel like I spent the last half century waiting for the Cubs to assemble a good collection of young players, which they're on the verge of doing now.

No interest in seeing Beltran but love to watch Rebel Riding?

Beltran was a guy you think the Cubs should have hired this offseason. I have no interest in watching him play for the Cubs. In 2006, maybe, but he's a broken-down old geezer today. You'd like the Cubs to continue doing what they've been doing.

I'd love to watch Brett Jackson. Why do you bring up Ridling?

they were definitely on that verge in 2003....

On the verge of "assembling a good collection of young players" in 2003?

Quite the contrary.

Lofton 36
Sosa 34
Alou 36
Aram 25
A. Gonzalez 30
Grudze 33
Karros 35
Bako 31
Borowski 32

Aram was the only starter under 30, but I doubt he could play third base for Epstein-Hoyer today as a 25-year-old. Left field, maybe.

Wood was young, but he only pitched 70 innings one more time in his career. Prior was finished two years later at 25.

It was an old, brittle team.

You forgot we had a young group of top shelf prospects

Kpatt
Choi
Wood
Prior
Z
Juan Cruz
Bobby Hill
Nic Jackson

All those guys were top 100 prospects. Most of them just didn't pan out.

this is what I meant...some guys sucked, some guys got injured.

I knew what you meant.

Patterson, Cruz, Prior, Zambrano, and Wood were young in 2003, but they had too much MLB experience to be called "prospects."

Patterson 800+ ABs going into 2003
Prior 116 IP
Zambrano 115 IP
Cruz 140+IP
Wood debuted in 1998

the point being is they had a good young core they thought they were building, whether they were technically prospects or not is unimportant.

I personally wouldn't have included Nic Jackson.

But Patterson, Hill, Choi, Z, Cruz, Guzman, and Prior was the start of it(Wood was sort of part o that) and even flipping Hill and Choi into Ramirez and Lee didn't jeopardize that much. K-Pat completely fizzled though as did Cruz to an extent and then the injuries to Guzman, Prior and Wood and Sosa's boombox and so forth.

Sosa's boom box! Bam! I live for the sneaky joke! Nice delivery, Rob!!

Jackson had a good season in A+ in 2000. Then he started getting injured and went downhill. He was not a legit prospect in 2003.

Hill's 2B job went to Grudzielanek in 2003 and he was traded for Aram, who represented him in the "good collection of young players." That collection involved only two position players, CPat and Aramis. (Patterson was injured midway through the season and was replaced by Lofton.)

That's not much in the way of a youth movement, although I will grant that Wood, Prior, Cruz and Z are a good young pitching nucleus.

I'm looking forward to a new type of Cub team with lefty sluggers, lefty starting pitchers and home-grown position players.

A player like Beltran is a step backward, the sort of move that I'm glad Epstein-Hoyer have no plans to make.

"I'm looking forward to a new type of Cub team with lefty sluggers, lefty starting pitchers and home-grown position players."

rizzo, b.jackson, t.wood...and...ummm...damn.

good thing the cubs have 10s of millions to spend to buffer that out. what? no. really?

damn.

I know you don't, but they consider their new third baseman a lefty slugger, at least potentially. And you forget LaHair.

You're right, Wood is a lefty starting pitcher, but so is Maholm. It's highly unusual for the Cubs to have more than one lefty starter. Lilly and Rich Hill overlapped for one season, but then that ended. This is Epstein and Hoyer's first season. At least they're trying.

Not everything will work, but in the past the Cubs have not even tried to have the right approach (like having a 3B who was a solid defender).

i'll give you lahair before ian stewart...that's how much i believe in the guy. i'm a little sick of taking shit for it (you're not giving me shit) and i'm ready for him to show what he has. if we're all lucky everyone will be giving me hell about it in july/aug/sept.

i liked the maholm deal, btw. a 1-year deal without an option for a 2nd i wouldn't have liked as much.

hell, i like all the trades so far...all...even the stewart one cuz i don't mind what was given up.

that said, it takes more than that for the future because there isn't in-house solutions...and i think too many people are counting on all these 2012 gambles being 2013 parts...and those that are willing to wait til 2014+ aren't even in my realm even if they exist.

I think one of the problems is that the JedStein is sort of almost gambling on ALL their buy lows to go high. I'm sure they are smarter than that and they know it won't happen, and I do happen to like the idea of stocking up on all kinds of average starting pitchers rather than making a splash on one guy who might blow his arm out in week 3.

But the thing is, it doesn't need to all pan out perfectly. Try LaHair, who really looks like a good hitter to me, and you've got Rizzo chomping at his feet. Try Ian Stewart, and maybe if LaHair or Rizzo pan out you can get away with a decent fielding third baseman who might pop out 20-30 and be okay when he's not blasting home runs.

I could go on, but my point is that they seem to be collecting what, on paper, look like a bunch of average ballplayers. Maybe at best. But their hands were tied behind their asses by Hendry, and minor arguments about letting go of guys like LaMahieu aside, it's kind of hard for me to disagree with their approach.

That said, I have not committed to buying my annual spring training trip yet, and I honestly don't think I will. If they do well, maybe I'll plan a nice trip to my favorite city instead in the summer.

yeah i figured they know that only a certain % of their buy low gambles will pan out. that's why they are making so many of them. we have a chinese saying which loosely translated means, "it's ok to buy cheap as long as you buy a whole lot of them"

Does that work with Hookers too?

Very true and very funny! Agreed btw . . . That's what I think they are doing for sure.

In other news, Cubs sign Oscar Gamble.

Some of you make it sound like the cubs had a choice of being awesome with veterans, or rebuilding. Like McTheojedoyersteinleod could just pick an awesome team out of thin air but chose to rebuild . . . Seriously how do you hurry at getting awesome when you completely utterly suck? Overpay for the back end of Pujols' career? Trade who for amazing veterans? Bring up which of our world class prospects? True success can't be sped up. Especially when we really really really suck and have sucked. Amen.

Why couldn't they have? You could have in theory gotten:

Fielder
Kubel
Kuroda
Headley

And kept payroll right where it was last year.

Then instead of going into 2012 staring down 100+ losses. We could be going into 2012 with a 85-ish win team and a chance to make the season watchable.

No reason to have to lose 100 games in this market to "retool" or "rebuild". Boston wouldn't do it. NY wouldn't do it. Anaheim wouldn't do it.

Would we give up draft future picks for those dudes? Keep meaning to ask that ...

Our 1st rounder was protected, and we had comp picks already coming from Aramis and Pena. So we'd lose a 2nd rounder for Fielder and a 3rd rounder for Kuroda.

a 85-ish win team and a chance to make the season watchable.

Sigh... I don't think that you don't get it. Those of us who are willing to be more patient aren't really interested in an 85 win team, as an 85 win team a) probably doesn't make the playoffs and b) even if they do probably won't be very good in the playoffs.

I don't want 2012 to be "watchable." I want the Cubs to win a World Series. And this franchise needs a helluva' lot of work in order to get there. And in turn I am willing to wait out a couple of bad years in order to get this team into position to be successfully on a consistent basis.

I have to say, also, that the Cubs will remain "watchable" for me even as they rebuild. The thing that made 2011 so unwatchable wasn't all the losses--it was that the team was going in a negative direction. I'm fine if don't post a significantly better record in 2012 than they did in 2011--as long as they are moving toward being a much better overall team. It'll definitely be interesting for me to see what Castro, Stewart, T. Wood, Volstad, Jackson, and Rizzo do on the field in 2012, to see how they improve. I'll also be interested to see if guys like LaHair, DeJesus, Maholm, Corpas, and Sonnanstine build their value at all.

I'm also somewhat of a minor league stat watcher, though, so watching the growth of the whole franchise is interesting to me. If your only reason to watch is to see a winning team--and I'll admit that is a good enough reason to watch--then 2012 probably won't be much more fun than 2011 was. Maybe those fans can follow the Yankees for a year or two and then rejoin us when the Cubs are (ideally) entering the prime of the dynasty we're all hoping for.

^ Yes

All us nutbag cubs fans have been bitching for a huge change and when we get it we all play armchair gm. Which is fine I guess but at least try to enjoy the "journey" - although I can't believe he said that. But its fine. Anyway good comment.

Really? That team would have very little chance of winning 85 games. It would be just as likely to win 70. This is what the Cubs have been doing for years, trying the quick fix, but it only works if everyone stays healthy and guys have career years. I mean, seriously, the team had 71 wins last year, and you go to 85 by:

Replacing Fukudome with Kubel? They are basically the same player. His WAR was 3.4 in 2009, but 0.5 and 1.3 the last two years. He has absolutely no speed at all (10 career SB), and hits .270. We've had a ton of .270 hitting outfielders with 20-HR pop and no other skills.

Kuroda?? Why would we want a pitcher with a career record under .500 with an ERA already in the mid 3.00s entering his age 37 season? Best case scenario he goes 10-12 or something out of the 5th spot, worst case he regresses even more or gets injured and we end up with a lot of Casey Coleman.

Headley? Presuming of course the Cubs could get him, just because you want him, his best season, last year, he had an OPS of .773, less than either Stewarts 2009 or 2010 seasons. Sure Headly could improve and hit .300, or he could regress and hit .260 like he did the 3 years prior. And he has no power. And definitely a downgrade from Ramirez.

So basically we upgrade from Pena to Fielder. Great. What if Fielder struggles in a new environment for a month or so, or if he gets injured like Nomar did? Even if he has another great year, you are depending on Dempster and Garza having good years, Zambrano regaining his sanity, Wells staying healthy and being a good starter, Kuroda staying healthy and being a serviceable starter, a career year from Headley, no regression from Barney or Castro, Soriano staying healthy or you get a month or two of Baker/Campana in left, Soto having one of his good years, Kubel having a good year like he did a few years ago, Marmol not imploding in the pen, a few middle-relievers to step up, and everyone to stay healthy since the minors or bench have no depth, AND even if all of this works out, the team is an 85-win team, which might still miss the playoffs.

You keep pointing out that the Red Sox and Angels never rebuild. Yes, they did. They just don't have to anymore because they have young, home-grown stars coming up consistently. When you have that, you can spend on a few key free agents each year, like you want to do now, to be competitive every season. But we don't have shit right now. So to get that point we have to rebuild the system.

Probably should take into consideration Headley's splits?
Career Home: .229/.319/.336
Career Away: .303/.364/.441
So is it a stretch to think that he'd improve his numbers not having to play 81 games a season in Petco Park?
We just didn't have to give up much to get Stewart is all.

Is it a stretch to think that Fielder would have a typical season at age 27?
You can what if to death, but the fact remains this team stinks in 2012.

I understand Petco is a pitchers park, but in my imagination, I usually think that the hits the Headley would get in another park would be Homeruns that would land in the Petco outfield. What other types of hits turn into outs at Petco?

Didn't realize he was a switch hitter. Thought he was a lefty.

I can't recall either team rebuilding; and checking their records season-by-season, there's no significant downturn for either team in a long, long time.

With that said, I get your point. I'm not happy about this season's team; and I honestly don't think were have a chance in hell for 85 games, but I hope I'm wrong.

Dr Aaron b -
Do you have season tix?

I take an annual train trip up and do a 3 game series usually in July. I also spend time watching and following the team obviously. It's much more fun to do when they win.

I'm not trashing Theo or Hoyer. I'm glad both guys are here.

I just know that we going to need to spend at the MLB level at some point. It seems easier to get a few pieces now than having to shop for everything in one offseason.

I also worry that the payroll budget overall is going to stay closer to 100 as opposed to north of 130.

I was seeing because I believe they have season tix holders have q&a with gm's and you have some valid points and I would like to hear them answered.

I'm not sure how that payroll balances out. You also have to take into account Headley's trade cost--the Padres have reportedly asked for a ton.

Just glancing at WAR from last year, swapping in the players you're suggesting would give the Cubs around 5 more wins. We'd also have a weaker system and new long term financial commitments. Yay?

I think we all agree that Dr Aaron's plan is horseshit - No offense Dr Aaron.

I understood the argument for Fielder, but despite Buster Olney sucking at the teat of Boras, the Rizzo trade does mean the Cubs will not sign him.

Hopefully not ALL of us agree?

No offense taken though.

I was hoping you'd get a laugh out of that

"You could have in theory gotten . . . Kubel"

I think it's useful to try to figure out what makes Epstein and Hoyer tick, rather than what they should be doing. I don't think I'm smarter than they are, I'm just trying to follow along. (I didn't think I was smarter than Hendry, and how many people around here can say that?)

Kubel may not fit in with the new "Cub way." Here's why I say that:

Kubel is considered a below-average defender and has never posted a positive Ultimate Zone Rating in any of his seven major-league seasons. He appeared in 58 games in the outfield in 2011 and 37 as a designated hitter.

It's not always about money. I look for other explanations, and then I don't have to posit Ricketts in the shadows pulling strings.

Maybe DeJesus fits better than Kubel would have? I'd be fine if they think he was better.

I figured a combination package of what we spent on Rizzo and Stewart could have gotten Headley. He really seems like a good long term option at 3rd base. His defensive metrics and on base skills are Excellent. Plus I'm sure his power would improve with a move out of Petco.

Kuroda has always been a pitcher I've liked. He's been durable and would slot nicely into the 3 slot on any NL staff.

Fielder kind of speaks for himself.

I thought a rotation

Garza
Z
Dempster
Kuroda
Travis Wood/Randy Wells/Trey McNutt

Should have been MILES ahead of how last years staff performed.

DeJesus
Castro
Headley
Fielder
Soto
Soriano
Byrd
Barney

Seems like a decent little NL lineup.

Nobody there would be blocking anyone of note in the NL system. We could have worked on rebuilding the minor league system while being relatively decent at the MLB level.

BenBadler Ben Badler
Bonuses for Cuban Cubs: OF Yasiel Balaguert got $400,000, RHP Carlos Martinez $250,000.

Az Phil predicted Bianchi was the most likely to go about a week ago...

I guess this might have been the fate of Marwin Gonzalez or Ryan Flaherty if they had been kept on the 40 man...and it would have felt like Casey McGehee revisited if Flaherty went to the Brewers. I don't feel quite so invested in Bianchi.

The upside is that we MIGHT get Flaherty or Gonzalez back. We would have 100% lost them if we put them on the 40 man roster.

Very true.

I'm still hoping that both Flaherty and Gonzalez get their first exposure to the majors and end up returned to Iowa slightly more seasoned.

I think this is more likely for Flaherty than Gonzalez, though.

I don't get how Cubs would have 100% lost them.

If you expose them to the waiver process (like Bianchi) then you lose them without recourse.

I don't think it's a guarantee that they would have been the ones though, although certainly possibly.

They may have just not offered arbitration to Baker or DeWitt in the first place or waived a pitcher instead.

It would've made to much sense to non-tender DeWitt.

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 1:43pm — CubsterNew
Re: Maholm Means 5th Starter in Hawaiian

Az Phil predicted Bianchi was the most likely to go about a week ago...

I guess this might have been the fate of Marwin Gonzalez or Ryan Flaherty if they had been kept on the 40 man...and it would have felt like Casey McGehee revisited if Flaherty went to the Brewers. I don't feel quite so invested in Bianchi.

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

CUBSTER: A minor league player eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft who is added to a 40-man roster after August 15th is called a "Draft-Excluded Player," and if a Draft-Excluded Player is not outrighted prior to the Rule 5 Draft, the player cannot be outrighted until 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day. So Gonzalez and Flaherty could not have met the same fate as Bianchi until 20 days prior to Opening Day. They could have been traded, but could not be placed on Outright Waivers for the purpose of being outrighted to the minors if not claimed.

Jeff Beliveau, Steve Clevenger, Junior Lake, Bryan LaHair, Matt Szczur, and Josh Vitters are the Draft-Excluded Players presently on the Cubs 40-man roster, so unless somebody gets traded, Marcos Mateo (who is out of minor league options) is probably the next-most-likely player on the 40-man roster to get outrighted.

If the Cubs sign Kerry Wood...who's next, Marcos Mateo?

my vote is Lendy Castillo, otherwise Mateo or Cabrera

Campana?

maybe, I don't mind him as a 5th outfielder. Someone has to spell Soriano late in games and it is nice to have a guy that can steal a base pretty easily for late in the game.

Heyman continues his fallacy that The Riot is a good hitter:

JonHeymanCBS Jon Heyman
#reds and #rays are in on ryan theriot, a versatile infielder with a excellent bat. #astros also have some interest

"excellent bat"
He means that literally, it has racing stripes and Pujols autographed it.

My second outright giggle reading this thread in 10min. And I'm not drunk or anything. Thanks jacos!

I'm wondering what he means by "versatile". He can suck at more than one position?

What side of the Cards vrs Cubs equation does THAT put The Riot on?

That kid sold me an ice cream cone at DQ this summer.

So does Dusty get fired if Reds don't go to playoffs this year?

I hope not. The longer he is in the division the better.

the 2012 cubs really need a $3m 8th inning guy to push this team past the pirates. awesome.

"we're punting, but here's that old guy you like...you cubs fans like some of your old guys...caps tipping, standing ovations and all that. buy a jersey, please."

It counts as a charitable contribution for Ricketts - stopping certain Cubs fans from committing suicide and quelling riotous activity on the Interwebs.

Besides, if Wood has a good 2012 and the Cubs are ready to compete in 2013, it'll be easier to bring him back. Not that it would have been *hard*, but it doesn't hurt to show him that Hendry wasn't the only reason he's in La Familia.

If I were a Yankees fan, I would want Jeter to retire a Yankee, but not at the price they paid.

As a Cubs fan, if it's $3M to keep the best Cub since Ryno in the uni, not a problem. As 10 billion TCR posts since Nov. 4-ish have pointed out, this is a major-market team.

Last thought: The guy can still pitch.

Sammy Sosa disagrees with your Best since Ryno declaration.

By "best Cub," I actually meant "the guy who best represents the Cubs." I see now that I was unclear - retraction.

Yeah but that's exactly what people have been calling for here. Sign some old dudes so we can win a few more games and make the season more watchable. Signing Kerry Wood to appease the fans is in many respects a cheaper way to do the same thing. I don't agree with either but there we go.

Hopefully this is the last sentimental move Jedstein does.

as long as it's a reasonable deal, I don't care much, after getting rid of Cashner, there wasn't really anyone to be a set-up man.

$3M would be a bit excessive imo, $2.5 sounds right.

Remind me again why we should give a shit whether the Ricketts save a few million dollars or not? They've already got payroll down by 20-odd million from last year, and it's going much lower next year. Plus, Team Theo may yet trade or dump guys like Soriano, Byrd, Dempster, Marmol and of course, Garza--saving millions more in payroll.

The fans want Woody here, so pay him and be done with it. 3, 2.5, 4, who the hell cares, especially if it's a 1-year deal?

myself, i hope if they feel the need to spend money they'll spend it on something the cubs need if they're paying a premium price for it. a 7/8th inning guy at a top price for a 7/8th inning guy shouldn't be much of a priority for this team, imo...even if it's "only" 3m. i could live with 2/5m...hell, i could live with 2/6 more than 1/3. unless there's some future plans to add a #2 starter, keep garza, and add another quality bat it's "meh" 2012 spending.

I don't care one shit if Ricketts saves a dollar. I care that the Cubs try to minimize doing stupid things.

And paying Wood in excess of $4M this year would be stupid.

I think Wood falls under the category of entertainment dollars. I think every real resource possible is going towards rebuilding as fast as possible. Wood is a potential draw, throw a bone to impatient Cubs fans, and maybe win an extra game or two while giving a quick nod to Cubs of yore. It makes sense to overpay him. The team is a little better in the short term ... This year is a lottery as to whether the Cubs strike lightening in a bottle and stay near .500 until the AS Break, before winning maybe 77 games - or crash and burn and draw 1.7 million fans. Wood and a couple others are there to try and make the team somewhat entertaining while the real work is done. I think theo and Ricketts know they gotta put as many professionals on the field as possible and cash is cheap and wood is not really blocking anyone from developmental or eval innings. Plus if they move Marmol he's a fun closer for the interim.

Castro will have his chat with the cops sometime next week

http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/745...

Also Bulls fans: Lucas has taken TWENTY FIVE shots as of 4:22 remaining in the 4th. Wtf!!

Sign some old dudes...
---
If the Kerry Wood negotiations break down they can always sign Bobby Howry for slightly less.

Ugh. That made me feel sick.

I liked Bobby Howry but, at the end, watching him pitch made me cringe.

I realize this is obvious to most folks, but recent comments by some at TCR about the Cubs failure to advance to a consistently-competitive level, and/or questioning Team Theo's need to tear the whole thing down and start over again, the blame can be laid at one single source: the utter and abject failure of this organization to successfully draft 1st round talent in the June amateur draft. Pick any top ballclub today and ALL of them have achieved several 1st round winners that have provided long-term value to the organization. Why do the Cubs consistently suck so bad at this task?

Since Kerry Wood is in the news of late, lets start there:

1995 - Kerry Wood (#4 overall)
1996 - Todd Noel (#17 overall)
1997 - Jon Garland (#10 overall)
1998 - Corey Patterson (#3 overall)
1999 - Ben Christensen (#26 overall)
2000 - Lou Montanez (#3 overall)
2001 - Mark Prior (#2 overall)
2002 - Bobby Brownlie (#21 overall)
2002 - Luke Hagerty, Chadd Blasko, Matt Clanton (supplementals)
2003 - Ryan Harvey (#6 overall)
2004 - none
2005 - Mark Pawelek (#20 overall)
2006 - Tyler Colvin (#13 overall)
2007 - Josh Vitters (#3 overall)
2007 - Josh Donaldson (supplemental)

Seriously? Only two of those players have a career WAR over 20, and one of them accumulated all his time with other teams (Garland)--the other is Wood. Just pathetic. And these aren't late-round maybes for the most part either. There are a whopping SEVEN top-10 overall picks in that list. Other than the Pirates, name me any other team that has been this bad at making top-10 picks. Guh.

there's nothing in drafting anyone that keeps them from using a major amount of freed up loot next year, even if they keep garza. there could be a case made for buying-in on some talent this offseason, even.

i think almost everyone is resigned to an experimental 2012 at this point...barring weirdness.

i know some of us are only willing to put up with that for 1 season at most from a team with this much money, in this kind of market, with this much national appeal beyond local boundaries.

they've stockpiled a chunk of 3-5 starters...neat, needed them...a competing duo for 1st base that should serve both 2012 and 2013 even if 1 guy fails (and hopefully both won't)...a new "average/boring/adequate" corner OF who can play CF in a pinch that's around 2-3 years...

they can have 2012, imo...but they can't have 2013. that's just me, though. some people are willing to give them 2014+ from stuff i've read. they've torn down a lot and built with a chunk of mlb-ready-now/soon guys. i like this approach, but i don't want to see it repeated more than once in back-to-back seasons. this isn't SD.

No, no, no! They can't have 12, 13, or 14. I don't pay 4 men to do what ONE guy does well in Cinn., St. Louis, and Jankees almost every stinking year with mostly less payroll! I may not HAVE 3 freaking years left. Oh, no...my Granpappy gone, my Dad gone and I have been close gone for 3 years already. THE STOOPIDITY BETTER STOP NOW! NOT 1 MORE Lou Brock trade. No mas musica y quitters walking out on teammates! If they losers they g-o-n-e gone. I have seen college of coaches, I seen lights, LIGHTS in my stadium, and worse of all I seen the Miracle Mets!!...NO motto but win it all THIS YEAR. I want that eatamiss catuli sign to be fullfilled and taken down. Damn, this team been on my bucket list way too many years already. If there is ONE thing this team needs to change, it's that ZERO seasons are throwaways. Here we go, Tommy boy!!!
(Just ask an Astros fan how the felt about 11's 'throwaway' season. Ask them will tolerate 2nd one then maybe a third...heck, we got guns inTexas, you might get bucked in the rear...)

Three throwaway seasons...oh hell no...

PS...They start losing, it's paper bags on the head time, and WE the fans ain't showing up for away games....FULL SPEED AHEAD!!!

It's The Ernie- Starlin- Berg plan to win NOW!

Clear enough?

I keep hearing throw away 2012, which is good enough shorthand. I don't think they could be worse than last year, but I won't argue with the terminology.

If they are as bad as last year I can't seem them passing up a bunch of draft picks by signing a whole bunch of type A (not sure if that term is still relevant w/new CBA) guys.
This is what makes me happy to keep Garza. Slot him in as your ace for 2-5 years while the farm produces other pitchers.
As for next offseason, they'll seem to need a #1/2 type depending on how you view Garza. With the positional guys who knows right now.

Detroit columnist discusses Dombrowski-Epstein and not trading for Garza

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120110/O...

from mlbtr...WEEI Boston interview with Theo:

Epstein says the Red Sox should obtain compensation for his departure, but he cited Andy MacPhail's move to the Cubs in 1994 and cautioned that historical precedent suggests the Red Sox shouldn't obtain much from Chicago.

http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/this-just-i...

the audio should eventually be on the Dennis and Callahan link:

http://audio.weei.com/weei/dennis_and_callaha...

Thanks CUBSTER. Was just going to post this exact quote I just finished reading. Not quick enough for TCR!

Again, I just don't think any of the parties are getting their panties in a bunch over the compensation issue.

It will just end up being a PTBNL.

Maybe, much later.

but BA minor league FA tracker says Cubs signed C Juan Apodaca out of the Indians organization

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

the others on their list are Joe Mather, Manny Corpas, Andy Sonnastine, Justin Berg and Marco Carillo

Wow. Joe Mather Career: .228/.283/.384 268 AB's

And this is supposed to do what? Fill a slot somewhere for a while?

Juan's career numbers suggest his days as a prospect, if there were indeed any such days, are long over. In 7(!) minor-league seasons he's compiled a solid 245/325/364 slash line, throwing out only 28% of basestealers. There doesn't seem to be any room for him at AA or AAA, unless a Soto trade is in the offing.

Player/coach?

Yes.

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