The Best of TCR: The Hendry Chronicles

Everthing Arizona Phil writes in the comment section is worthy of a Best of TCR article. But this Best of TCR writeup is to show that I can find a post when news is particularly thin (beyond those gimme's from our TCR guru in the desert). Thanksgiving weekend is usually a desert of baseball news unto itself. Thus to brighten our tumbleweed desolate weekend, my long time friend, The E-Man steps up with a summary of Bruce Levine's ESPN AM-1000 saturday morning "Talking Baseball" weekly radio show. Enjoy (except for the part where he says that my season tickets will be more expensive). Take it away E-Man:

Just heard Hendry on WMVP this AM with Bruce Levine.

Jimbo came on the show...

- no slam dunk with Marmol as closer. He is not "set to close", but it is Lou's decision. They (Marmol/Gregg) may share duties. One may close more in the beginning of the year than the other.

- It did not appear that Hendry was giving any cards away re signing Woody. Reiterated that he wanted to give Wood a shot at a "nice 2 or 3-year deal".

- Thinks the world of K. Towers. They are still discussing things.

- The Cubs braintrust has had "every possible combination of LH hitting FA's and and SH's on a big board for the last two months..." they are going to do something it appears.

- B. Levine's money is on them "rolling the dice" (exact quote) on Milton Bradley. To put Ibanez in the OF with Soriano and Johnson/Pie/Dome, would just make it a shittier OF defensively. Just doesn't think they'll do it.

- Cubs are truly the "leading" trading partner in the Peavy sweepstakes. JH is awaiting the owner to be named in order to get a go-ahead (or decline, if its the Canning group) on taking on $60MM contract of the former cy Young winner.

- Levine's "two cents" is that IF the Brew can't sign Sheets or CC, or another big time pitcher, he thinks that the Reds - with a healthy Harang, could be the Cubs top competition in 2009. They have perhaps the best LH hitting "in baseball."

- He also believes he has heard that ticket prices may go UP for Terrace and Club Boxes (hear THAT Cubster), but the rest of the park will remain the same.

From the Windy City, I'm "The E-Man"


also found this Peter Gammons post Thanksgiving Q &A with his two cents on the status of Jake Peavy:

The Braves, Cubs and seemingly everyone else claims they're not in on Jake Peavy. What's going on?

The Padres absolutely believe Cubs GM Jim Hendry can make this a three-way trade to get the Padres the pitching they need in addition to third base prospect Josh Vitters. The Braves were not going to have to surrender any of their five-best prospects, but have hesitated over Single-A level pitching. Peavy is a Cy Young winner, in case anyone's forgotten.

Looks like Sickel just posted his top twenty Cub prospects.

Four shortstops in the top twelve, and that doesn't include Barney.

I found the Sickel item while looking for news about Josh Kroeger, still wondering if he's still a Cub (since he has 37 RBI in 32 winter-league games). Sickel seems to think he is.

he's a FA...he turns 27 mid-next season btw.

Get Peavy---it all starts with pitching, and it REALLY starts with starting pitching---Hendry just signed a 4-year deal, Z is signed for 4 more years, as is Dempster---Peavy has 4 yrs left on his deal---there's your big 3 for the next four years---fill in around those guys---your minor league system is to bring guys up when needed and to trade guys when needed----GET PEAVY

Baltimore Sun story about Pie-to-Orioles as part of a Peavy deal.

Slightly more than a rumor, since MacPhail actually cited today (Saturday):

MacPhail said today that a deal is not imminent, but did acknowledge that Pie is the kind of player the Orioles are pursuing to broaden the club's position depth.

intriguing...I figure by March 2010 they'll have figured it out.

I'll take the first stab.

O's: Felix Pie, Khalil Greene, and probably one more piece from the Cubs that Stockstill/McPhail still like from their days here

Padres: Garrett Olsen, Vitters, Marshall, Cedeno or Theriot

Cubs: Peavy

bah, I should think these things through...

O's would likely have to give up a little more than Garrett Olson just to get Pie and Greene, don't ask me who...

maybe Huff or Luke Scott could go to the Cubs..

If Hendry is giving up Vitters, Pie, Marshall, Cedeno etc in any 3-way deal he better be getting more than Peavy. That's way more than the Mets gave up for Johan. If Peavy were signed to a Haren like contract that would be different. I can't see Hendry making a run at Huff as I don't see how his defense could be any better than Ibanez's in RF. I guess Luke Scott would be a better option but he can't hit lefties so he'd need a platoon partner. I suppose Johnson could do if Fukudome is going to play everyday, but a Luke Scott/Reed Johnson platoon for RF doesn't exactly bowl me over.

Luke Scott
vs lefties

vs righties

Pie doesn't make much sense to me for the Orioles. They already have a center fielder (Jones) and a right fielder for that matter. Pie's value is as a center fielder.

Don't the Marlins still need a CF? Surely they have an arm that the Padres would like.

Don't the Cubs still need a centerfielder? Maybe they can add a fourth team to the trade and get Pie back.

Speaking of centerfield, Sam Fuld is quietly putting up nice numbers (321/435/557) for Rich Hill's team (Aragua) in Venezuela. He mostly hits leadoff and has 22 walks to 9 strikeouts. Potentially of interest to Piniella is that Fuld has 4 home runs in 106 at bats--Fukudome was only good for 10 in 501 ABs.

An unsigned article in the Trib today says that Rich Hill "appears on the verge of a release from Aragua." Actually, Hill came out of the bullpen the other night and threw an uneventful inning-and-a-third. No runs, one hit, one walk. The Cubs could use another lefty arm in the pen and can't send Hill to the minors again, so this is his only chance with Cubs. The problem, of course, with Hill in relief is that he doesn't hold runners.

Buddy Bailey is the Aragua manager and he'll likely stay with Hill as long as possible.

Fukudome and Johnson are the Cubs CF'r at this point.

Steve Gilbert of now re-reporting the Baltimore Sun story.

I expect Pie to have a lot of success. I don't trust the Cubs organization to develop his hitting skills, however.

Pie, Marshall, Cedeno / Theriot, and Vitters for Peavy? If we acquire another outfielder, it would appear that Pie has no place to go since Lou won't play him, and I think he is out of options, so he can't be sent back to Iowa. So trading him would become a must. Unless you send Hoffpair back to Iowa and keep Pie instead, but that wouldn't make much sense roster-wise.

Cedeno could produce as well as Theriot at the plate with better defense if given a chance. He won't hit .300 but he has a bit more power. Losing Vitters and Marshall would hurt....but to get a Cy Young winning starter for 4 years....I could live with that.

maybe Huff or Luke Scott could go to the Cubs..
expanding or just evening out the deal?

...and then there is the dreaded concept of McFail trying to get Brian Roberts past Peter Angelos.

(preparing to break out the Cubnut diagrams again)

...of course George Sherrill would be an upgrade over Neal Cotts as another avenue to consider.

Captain Wrongway Phil Rogers of the Tribune has his sunday notes including stuff on Rich Hill, The Riot and DLee

...and another blog discussing saturday's Bruce Levine/Talking Baseball show:

"The Indians' two main targets among free-agent infielders were second baseman Orlando Hudson and shortstop Rafael Furcal. Late last week they determined that physical questions about Hudson (left wrist) and Furcal (back) weren't worth the risk of multiyear commitments. "

Wood is on the list of the guys they're looking at for closer.

Rosenthal has more on the Peavy drama, including some rehashing of what was mentioned on the radio show, but he adds 'The Rockies, Reds and Giants have shown varying degrees of interest in Marquis, according to a major-league source.''s-hands

"varying degrees of interest"


oh please be the Reds

I wouldn't have thought of the Giants as a destination for Marquis unless they're thinking of dealing Sanchez or Cain for a hitter. Wouldn't mind seeing a Marquis for Randy Winn trade.

marquis in cincy what would that home era look like

probably not much, he's a sinkerball pitcher with a very respectable 1.18 HR/9, which includes that 2006 outlier of 1.62.

Wrigley and Cincy's park factors are about the same over the last 3 years, at least on

I just want the Cubs offense to get to face him, as my impression (and I have little to back this up), but he didn't seem to do well against actual good offenses.

I could easily be proven wrong on that one.

Marquis had:

5.40 ERA vs Mets
3.60 ERA vs Philly
8.44 ERA vs STL
9.00 ERA vs Marlins

Those were the top four 2008 non-Cubs offenses in the NL. Total of five starts (2 versus STL).

slow day here...

There's some links on MLBTraderumors about Hendry still being interested in Peavy and who's going to get offered arbitration.

Tomorrow should pick up once it's clear who's going to get offered. Is tonight the deadline for all arb eligible players, or just the FA's?

just FA's...

swamped at work myself until Wednesday, can't imagine I'll get anything up until then unfortunately.

Quck summary of the MLBtraderumor stuff.

Hampton signs a one-year deal with the Astros.

Renteria not offered arbitration. Ibanez was. Some doubt on Abreu, like Wood, because there's fear he may accept.

hopefully that'll keep Ibanez off the Cubs...

Who DO we want playing RF?

I'm personally just hoping that the Cubs stand pat in the outfield and that Pie has a miraculous season.

is "not Ibanez" a viable answer?

I think this left-handed bat stuff is kind of B.S. imo, they're just replacing Edmonds, so I don't see how this is really adding more lefty bats to the order, seems like a lateral move to me unless they also replace Theriot with Furcal or Hudson(moving DeRosa to SS).

just sign Manny or Dunn, put them in LF, move Soriano to RF and actually have a bat in the order teams are afraid to pitch to...(moreso with Manny than Dunn).

if I'm limited to FA left-handed hitters, I go:

Dunn (move Soriano to RF), Bradley, Abreu (flip a coin between Bradley and Abreu in my opinion, one's a better hitter, one will stay healthy). Bradley plus the replacement is probably going to be worth about the same over 162 games as just Abreu. If Bradley actually comes that much cheaper, than he's probably the smarter play.

I can't think of any trade targets that are worth wasting any time on until Nick Markakis becomes available. :)


I'd accept "not Ibanez," I just had the feeling that most readers do feel the team needs another lefty bat.

I'd rather not have Hudson, either, while we're at it, unless he's coming cheap for some reason. I'd take Furcal, but only if it means that Soriano is not batting either 1 or 2 in the lineup anymore.

I would like to avoid Dunn, but mostly because I just don't understand why the guy can't do more with his "tools" and thus dislike him. Also I don't really want to see the Cubs spending tons of money on Abreu or Bradley, but if we're taking money out of the picture, I wouldn't mind having either in the lineup.

Markakis would be great. I'd take Hermida for now, but it seems the Marlins aren't giving him away cheaply enough, or Hendry would've acquired him already.

At the risk of doing a Virginia Phil imitation, I really am OK with going with Pie in center and platooning Johnson and Pie or Johnson and Fukudome, hoping that Pie finally turns his tools into results and re-signing Kroeger so we've got him in case Fukudome (or Hoffpauir) becomes completely useless. I wouldn't really mind Fontenot getting more ABs, either. The guy has earned some playing time.

If they don't sign Furcal or another expensive free agent, I want Wood back.

Rant over.

and there is no way that Raul Ibanez is worth our first round draft pick....even if we do get one for Wood which isn't guaranteed (even if arbitration is offered).

Muskat states the obvious in a Peavy non-rumor rumor story today, basically re-states that the Cubs would need to shed a salary as part of any Peavy trade:

I don't care what anyone says, but $15M per year for Peavy is a bargain. It's ludicrous if salary (e.g., no one wants to pay Marquis) gets in the way of a deal.

The story also repeats the Garrett Olson/Pie/Orioles involvement.

While a slow news day, it is a significant one in's the day bids for the team are due and the day we officially say goodbye to Howry.

speaking of...

Chicago real estate investor Hersch Klaff; the Ricketts family, founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and a group led by Marc Utay, a New York private equity investor, delivered their proposals by the Thanksgiving deadline, according to sources involved in the negotiations.

no word if Jim Crane or Cuban have or will submit bids...

I don't see any reason that Marquis would have to be involved in the Peavy trade.

If the Payroll is $140 million, and Marquis and Peavy make it $149 million, then it's not ludicrous, it's just the facts. There's a point of diminishing return on adding payroll and increasing revenue, and based on last season it would be hard to argue that the Cubs aren't already near it, if not over it.

arbitration to Sheets, Sabathia and Shouse

Gagne is draft pick compensation free though, time to jump on that bandwagon.

to Petitte or Abreu....

Neal, that is an excellent point about the payroll. If the Cubs are $10 million within their final budget after raises for arbitration, what do you suggest they try and do?

I heard on a radio report that they have been given a two year window to win...not sure what that means but the implication was that the payroll would have to go down at some point. It seems like eventually they are going to have to find out if some of their young guys can establish themselves as players...Pie, Cedeno, Hoffpauir, Weurtz, etc. who am I missing?

On one hand, our system is so lacking in upper end quality it would be tough to see Vitters go, especially if we want to stop paying near top dollar for so many positions. However, think of the boat load you could have received for Patterson or Pie when they were up and comers in the system, before their flaws became obvious.

I'm not in the trade for Peavy camp. I think if you do trade for him, you make Harden part of the deal to balance the cash a little, and more importantly to mitigate the risk.

Bruce Levine, as of my ride home at 6:00, Kerry Wood will not be offered arb by the Cubs.

Just report what I hear...



not the best move they've ever made...

Stupid cheap short-sighted motherfuckers.

How do you really feel?

Recent comments

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  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 9 hours 3 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 12 hours 1 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 12 hours 13 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 12 hours 22 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 12 hours 27 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 12 hours 46 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 13 hours 22 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 13 hours 40 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 13 hours 41 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 13 hours 59 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 14 hours 7 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 15 hours 2 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 15 hours 20 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 15 hours 24 min ago view
  • First time I saw Herrera was yesterday. He took like 100 pitches, fouled off a ton off Lester.

    Very nice young player and perfect leadoff guy.

    The E-Man 16 hours 34 min ago view
  • Obviously not Phil. But he mentioned this on Wednesday.

    "Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2."

    In the comments here:

    QuietMan 17 hours 13 min ago view