Orioles Order Pie to Go, Leave Two Pitchers Behind

In what may be a precursor to an eventual trade for San Diego Padres ace RHP Jake Peavy, the Cubs have traded OF Felix Pie to the Baltimore Orioles for LHP Garrett Olson and minor league RHP Hank Williamson. Olson was thought to be one of the pitchers Padres GM Kevin Towers wanted back in a Peavy deal.

The 25-year old Olson was a Supplemental 1st round pick (48th overall) of the Orioles in the 2005 Rule 4 Draft out of Cal Poly (he was selected with the compensation pick Baltimore got for failing to sign their 2004 #1 draft pick, RHP Wade Townsend), and was rushed to the big leagues by the Orioles after being named their Minor League Player of the Year in 2006, logging MLB time in both 2007 and 2008. A scouting report from his senior year in college showed him having three quality pitches, including a fastball that sits at 88-90 MPH but has touched 93, a 12-6 "hammer" curve (his "out" pitch), and a decent change-up. He has performed very well at AAA over the past two seasons (he was a AAA IL All-Star at Norfolk in 2007), although he has been hit hard to the tune of a 6.87 ERA and 1.82 WHIP with 21 HR allowed in 165+ IP in 33 starts so far at the big league level. Olson was a college teammate of Cubs prospects RHRP Rocky Roquet and 3B-turned-RHP Josh Lansford, and he supposedly wants to be an FBI agent if his baseball career doesn't pan out.

While Olson may very well ultimately end up moving on to San Diego in a trade for Jake Peavy (or to the FBI Training Academy in Quantico), in the meantime he will at least give the Cubs some additional starting pitching depth (or "inventory," as the GMs like to call it) at AAA in 2009. Although he has used up two minor league options through the 2008 season, at this point Olson (like Jeff Samardzija) still has two options left because he has completed only three "full seasons" in pro ball, and the earliest he can complete five full seasons will be at the end of the 2010 season. If Olson remains in the big leagues each of the next two seasons, he will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after the 2010 season.   

Williamson is a 6'5 225 23-year old right-handed reliever who was drafted by the Orioles in the 14th round of the 2007 draft out of San Jacinto JC - North, after spending his freshman season redshirting at Rice. He was throwing a fastball in the low 90's in college, and he has put up some solid strikeout totals with good control (22/110 BB/K and only four HR in 90 IP) with a 1.13 WHIP working out of the pen over two minor league seasons, mostly in short-season "A" ball. He will likely be in the bullpen at either Peoria or Daytona in 2009.

The left-handed hitting Pie will turn 24 next month, but he is already out of minor league options. His fate seemed to be sealed when the Cubs signed OF Joey Gathright to fill the role Pie probably would have been given had he remained with the Cubs in 2009.

Pie has been one of the Cubs top prospects for several years now. He was signed as a 16-year old "bonus baby" out of the Dominican Republic in July 2001, and was named the Arizona League Co-MVP and the #1 prospect in the AZL by Baseball America in his first pro season (2002). He was also rated the Cubs #1 prospect post-2005 and post-2006 by BA. He has won minor league Gold Glove awards. and his "outfield arm" was rated one of the top five in the Cubs organization.

While Pie has done well at each level in the minors (hitting 299/355/470 in 632 minor league games), he has struggled to hit at the Major League level (just 223/284/331 in 130 games over parts of two seasons). And he has had some "maturity" issues over the past couple of years, too. As usual, Pie spent the off-season playing winter ball with Licey in the Dominican Winter League, where he hit 304/328/409 in 30 games. 

Getting a chance to get more-regular playing time with the Orioles should help Pie become all he can be. That wasn't going to happen if he had remained with the Cubs. Felix will be reunited with a number of former Cubs minor league players, coaches, and executives in Baltimore, and he may even end up patroling the outfield at Camden Yards with former Cubs #1 draft pick Luis Montanez, a teammate of Pie's at Daytona (in 2004), at West Tenn (in 2005), and at Iowa (in 2006).   

With Felix Pie having been traded, SS Ronny Cedeno and LHP Rich Hill are probably the next to get moved. (Like Pie, both Cedeno and Hill are out of minor league options).



it can't be a coincidence that we are gathering the pieces Towers wants

In what may be precursor to an eventual trade for ake Peavy
I believe the correct spelling is: ache Peavy

I think I am going to steal that one. Jache Peavy has a certain punniness I cannot deny.

from the previous thread:

the Baltimore Sun link


Williamson went 0-1 with 42 strikeouts and a 3.72 ERA in 29 1/3 innings with Single-A Aberdeen and Delmarva in 2008.

(42K's in 29 IP, sounds promising)

more stats on Williamson:


another tall pitcher: 6'5", 225. Righty.

but I wonder why only 29 innings?

you need to fix your links

There will be 85 comments regarding Peavy, and how this trade was meant for him, in this post.

I'm more concerned about Harden than acquiring Peavy, more than anything. Maybe because I think he's an awesome pitcher, but I really hope he's ready to play come April.

The key is that Harden should be the 5th starter not the 4th. He'll probably be able to meet his yearly ability of starting 15-20 games and go 5 good innings at a time. The problem with acquiring Peavy is that we'd probably have to give them Marshall, who'd be nice to have around when Harden's on the shelf.

They are going to need Peavy because of Harden.

Harden will be lucky to make 15 starts this year.

Here are Olson's minor league stats...


4 seasons: 384 IP, 2.95 ERA, 380K, 1.16 WHIP

If the Cubs were intent on dumping Pie, this is an OK return on a guy whose trade value had dropped significantly. Olson as the 2nd lefty in the pen (and potential starter) makes sense. Does he have options left? Being able to send him to the minors to get innings would make even more sense. I don't know much about the other pitcher, but with that many Ks per inning and at 6'5" and 225 pounds, I suspect Hendry picked up a potential power pitcher--you can never have too many.

Edit: Then again, Williamson was 22 year old pitching in low A and A ball as a reliever. Less encouraging.

i agree, whether it results in peavy or not, this trade makes the team better

I'm gonna disagree with your agreeing with me.

I'm not certain that this trade makes the team better than if they gave Pie a chance and waited for his bat to come around, but I think it was clear that they weren't gonna do that. Hendry painted himself into a corner with Pie (and Hill and Cedeno now) but as far as returns on a corner you've painted yourself into, this isn't too bad. That's what I was trying to say.

I wonder if Arizona Phil recalls seeing Williamson in the Az instructional league? This must be like asking if Phil remembers seeing a needle in a haystack.

At least it implies that he was healthy enough to list for the instructs.

I found this link from baseball america that he was one of the Oriole pitchers they sent.

American League Instructional League Rosters

Posted Sep. 25, 2008 1:49 pm by J.J. Cooper
Filed under: Winter Ball
Here are the instructional league rosters for the American League teams.


Pitchers: Colin Allen, Jose Barajas, Jesse Beal, Pedro Beato, Robert Bundy, Brandon Cooney, Oliver Drake, Pat Egan, Vito Frabizio, Humberto Hodge, Travis Keating, Brian Matusz, Justin Moore, Nathan Moreau, Eduardo Nunez, Julio Nunez, Ryan O’Shea, Zach Petersime, Williams Princivil, Raul Rivero, Daurin Tavarez, Samuel Tavares, **Hank Williamson**, Richard Zagone

Thumbs down.

a baseball organization can't have enough Hanks

from Feb, 2007

Olson has an average fastball for a left-hander at 89-92 MPH, though it touched a notch higher than that late in the season. It has a ton of life and he does a good job of keeping it low in the zone. Opponents at both levels had trouble lifting it for extra base hits. Olson also has the best control of any starter prospect in the system.

Olson also has a big breaking power curveball that still probably rates as his best pitch, despite the improvement of his other pitches over the past year. Fellow lefties are rendered helpless against it. Olson also took a step forward in 2006 attacking right-handers and it all starts with his changeup. Once his weakest offering, it now rates as a solid third pitch and shows even more room for improvement. It has natural life that mimics a splitter.

So, he's basically Rich Hill's clone?

Sounds more like Ted Lilly.

Yeah. He doesn't have the K or BB rate to have Hill's minor league numbers.

I have to say, Olson sure has a nice minor league pedigree, albeit a bit walk happy. The majors have been a disaster so far, but if he has any options left, which I assume he does, he'll be more useful for next season in case of pitching injury than Pie.

Congrats to Joey Gathright - he just made the Opening Day roster.

Also to add to what Rob just posted above me, Olson's curveball is just straight filth. I'd call it just short of a double plus pitch. A lot of others I read don't rate it that high, but I think it's just a devastating out pitch. Really, really nice. Fastball is nice and heavy. I don't like his change as much as that scouting report from Rob does, though. Pretty plain to me. But, as it says, it's improving.

The one thing that irks me in the mlb.com article is the way Hendry rationalizes giving up on Pie. He says that Pie won't get enough ABs on the Cubs to be able to shorten his swing as he needs to.

Why won't he? Because Hendry can't imagine Pie taking any playing time away from Joey Gathright....

Here's hoping the real reason for giving up in Pie is that it is going to lead to Peavy.

So do I, but the deal's probably never been less in Hendry's hands than it is now. He can't take on contract without new ownership approving it (not to mention being selected first). He can't guarantee that Kevin Towers won't raise what he wants for Peavy now that payroll is less of an issue. And he can't guarantee that the Padres' ownership situation won't affect (or, worse, disallow) a Peavy deal. With all that, I think Sandy Alderson's correct in saying Peavy's likely to be with the Pads on opening day.

I think that Gathright's job is not going to get enough starts for Pie. The Cubs probably think, at the minimum, he'd need the heavy half of a platoon to get going with the bat in the majors.

Of course, Baltimore already has a CF and a crowded outfield, so they probably didn't do Pie any favors.

if Pie shows something, I would guess he'd start at LF, move Scott to DH for the most part and Huff would play 1B.

Their pitchers sure are going to be happy with Pie, Jones, Markakis outfield, plus adding Izturis at short. 

Holy outfield defense, Orioles. How strong a defender is Jones in CF? Cause Pie is definitely a plus in CF.

Yeah, that's the thing. If you're going to play Pie, he's a better defender than Jones in center, or Markakis in right, so it would make more sense to move one of them to left... however, you've got egos involved. If Pie's going to start, though, their best alignment would probably be Jones, Pie, Markakis left to right.

Ironically, Pie moving to the Orioles may cost marginal Luis Montanez his career just when it looked like he was gonna make it.

Another Cubs bust...

Another good job by Hendry selling low...

Now do people see why many of us called Pie "Korey 2.0". He was a replica of him. What a shame...

And not good news on Harden, but he is the definition of injury prone, so it shouldn't come to a surprise. I just hope we don't look back 5 years from now and say 2008 was our last real chance. This offseason has not gone very well thus far, IMO.

I think Manny should get a writer's position and his own posts. He's got such an individual tone to his writing that it seems appropriate for it to be separate from the rest of the comments.

I don't know. He's only around once every 4 months or so, and his "individual tone" gets old after, you know, 5 years.

I'm sure Rob loves this idea.

Yeah, I can't wait to read 'Why Hendry Should be Fired, Part VII'.

I hear Fire Joe Morgan has an opening...

Olson was #6 on Sickels Top 20 before the 2008 season, B- grade
last time Pie was on his list was 2007 as a B+, #1 in 2007

Olson was a B prospect in 2006 and 2007 on Sickles list. The other arm and 2 option years makes this a good haul IMHO.

Submitted by Cubster on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 2:52pm.

I wonder if Arizona Phil recalls seeing Williamson in the Az instructional league? This must be like asking if Phil remembers seeing a needle in a haystack.


CUBSTER: The Orioles Instructs team is in Florida.

The Cubs scout Texas JC ball pretty heavily, so they probably had a pretty good "book" on Hank Williamson even before he turned pro.

In fact, the year the Orioles drafted Williamson (2007), the Cubs drafted two of Williamson's teammate at San Jacinto JC (RHPs Jordan Rogers and Garrett Clyde), although the Cubs did not sign either of them (Rogers transferred to Rice, and Clyde transferred to Texas). 

And of course Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick Andrew Cashner also began his college career at a Texas JC (Angelina) before transferring to TCU.  


Cubster: This must be like asking if Phil remembers seeing a needle in a haystack.

AZ Phil: The Orioles Instructs team is in Florida.


So it's more like asking if he remembers seeing a needle in a haystack several states over?

Submitted by Rob G. on Sun, 01/18/2009 - 3:09pm.

I have to say, Olson sure has a nice minor league pedigree, albeit a bit walk happy. The majors have been a disaster so far, but if he has any options left, which I assume he does, he'll be more useful for next season in case of pitching injury than Pie.


ROB G: Garrett Olson has used up two minor league options so far, but (like Jeff Samardzija) he still has two left because he is eligible for a 4th minor league option, as long as he uses it prior to completing five "full seasons," which can't happen any earlier than the end of the 2010 season.

Agree with most others: judging this trade on its own merits, it's a wash. Pie just hasn't shown signs of developing the plate discipline he needs to play everyday in the big leagues. Unless you're injured, if you can't do better than a 325 OBP and 400 SLG in winter ball, you will NEVER be an impact player in the majors. Period. Maybe he's a nice 4th OF at some point with that strong defense, but I'm not too distressed over losing that. And he never learned to steal bases with all that speed!

Because Olson has two options, I think Hendry did OK here even if a Peavy trade doesn't happen. The A reliever kid is nothing, JC college relievers that are in A ball two years after being drafted never make the majors.

Hendry needs to do the Peavy trade at this point or the offseason is a failure. The Cubs are a bit worse team in mid-January 2009 than they were in September 2008. Peavy would redress that imbalance.

Just say no to Gabor Paul Bako II. Please.

Two bits of 'fact' in here, both of which are wrong.

I can find you all star players with a .725 OPS in Winter leagues, as well as major leaguers who were in A ball 2 years after playing in JC... are you beign sarcastic and I am just missing it?


>>I can find you all star players with a .725 OPS in Winter leagues<<

Two years in a row? Christ, the Licey manager wouldn't even start Pie on a regular basis.

>>...major leaguers who were in A ball 2 years after playing in JC<<

There's always an exception to the rule of course, but seriously, you can find more than a couple? I'm talking major leaguers that make genuine contributions, not cup-of-coffee guys.

IMO this is a 'trade for value,' not a bad move for Hendry. Pie has no options left, whereas Garrett has one left. Both are highly-touted draft picks who put up stellar minor league numbers but haven't done it at the major league level. And Pie had next to no chance of surviving Spring Training - Garrett could make it as either a fifth starter/swingman or lefty specialist out of the pen.

Like the author I agree that Olson has trade value - a San Diego deal with other minor leaguers makes intuitive sense for both organizations. Plenty of time left between now and Opening Day for deals, IMO Hendry has a few cards left up his sleeve.

No I think that is a doughnut up his sleeve, now that he traded away his last pie.

San Diego writer Tom Krasovic waxes and wanes on the remaining possibilities of a Peavy Trade based on the Cubs getting Olson:


and Bruce Miles post-convention notes:


Well i still dont' understand what the difference between Gathright and Pie was...we might as well as kept Pie and took our chances...because his upside is more than Gathright...oh well...hopefully these prospects are for something...otherwise it seems like we're collecting a whole lot of crap (Vizciano, olsen, indians prospects) or that isnt' going to help us this year...our best chance to win is now!

I heard the Padres wanted pitchers in the deal for Peavy are these it? It really seems like there is something brewing here!

I'm in the minority on this opinion, but Pie isn't near the player Gathright is. And Gathright isn't much.

Pie COULD be good (could being the key word here), if he would ditch that absurd swing. It's downright ugly, but he seems to have no intentions of shortening it up... aka: trading power for contact.

I agree don't like Pie much either...Gathright doesn't have much contact or power or upside...Pie at least brought potential upside at his younger age...would have just let him play...but if this brings Peavy it's all worth it!

Gathright knows he is a 5th OF, whereas from reports about Pie's attiude last year I dont think he knows he is a 5th OF. Even if there is no Peavy trade, its a good deal for us, as Olsen would likely make for a good Loogy candidate with his curve.

When McFail was asked what he likes about Pie...

(hoping the response was: "I look at this as complementary to the Rocky Cherry trade")


Choose any five say of Olson, Stevens, Hart, Wuertz, Hill, Atkins, Guzman, Vizcaino, Ascanio or even Gaudin; add in Ronny Cedeno; now why wouldn't the Padres go for that? No star player likely in that mix, true--but the Pads are basically starting over from scratch, and there would likely be 3 or 4 immediate major leaguers in that group for them to work with.

At a bare minimum, Wuertz would make a nice setup man for Bell and Meredith, Olson and/or Hart would almost certainly move immediately into their rotation, and Cedeno could start at SS or 2B. Throw in the upside of a reliever like Ascanio or Stevens, and Rich Hill as a freebie bonus, there is no way the Padres will get more value than that for Peavy.

Cubs get to keep both Vitters and Marshall.

I'm pretty sure we'd have to give up Vitters, on principle if nothing else. The Padres would want at least one blue chip prospect -- and other than perhaps Castillo, he's the only one we got -- for Peavy and rightfully so. Whether they can use him or not is not as immediately important as showing the fanbase the return.

Other than that, I think you might be right about the framework for a deal. I'd surely love to give up four or five of those pitchers and somehow keep Marshall. Not sure if that's all that likely either though.

The whole discussion, though, is really moot until the Cubs' and the Padres' ownership situations are resolved.

You are joking, right? You could give them all those players and they wouldn't take them for Peavy. hpalyers are the Cubs leftovers...come on.

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Wrong macro, crunch. Little guy with the finger was the correct protocol.

BTW, reading that Padres blog, it appears they do indeed like Olson and Hart, so that's something to go on. They still like Vitters, which is a bit of a problem, but Hendry would have to move him if it got the deal done. With Harden turning into another Wood and Prior situation, I think Peavy has to be a near-necessity, no?

And please say no to Kris Benson. Ugh.


Prospects are suspects until they perform at the major league level. The window to a World Series is about 2 years max for this team. And now that Harden is hurt (and there is no doubt that what he has is an injury to the pitching shoulder), not dealing for a proven starter would be foolish. I say trade Vitters and anyone else outside the core 15-20 players on this team and get Peavy.
Besides, all Hendry has to show for DeRosa and Pie are 4 minor leaguers, three of whom are likely at least 2-3 years away from contributing (if then), and a guy who has gotten battered at the big league level. If that's his final answer, if these trades are not set up for something else, something bigger, then Hendry got the short end of the stick.

I agree, largely, although Stevens could pitch in the major right now. Olson has experience although as you say it's obviously not been good thus far. Gaub and Archer are a bit farther away but it's not like they're scrap heap guys.

I'm happy about this trade. I don't see Pie fitting in anywhere on this team. He's out of options, whereas Olson is not. If we can get Peavy, great, but this way, we don't have to rely on Marshall as a starter. It seems like Lou likes the idea of keeping him as a swingman...so he can replace one of our eventually injured pitchers. Anyway, now we've got two young pitchers who can fit into that 5th starter/reliever role. If they end up signing someone like Wolf, they'll have a number of guys waiting in the wings for protection.

BUT, I imagine Hendry will be reopening Peavy talks soon.


deals with Wuertz and Gregg seem close, some other good tidbits as well

The Cubs' transport truck leaves for Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 4.
plus some Soriano quotes from the convention in this Wittenmyer/Sun-Times article:


''If we can win one game in the playoffs, we'll be OK,'' Soriano said. ''That's the key. We win one game, and we'll be fine.''

#31 soon for Maddux and Jenkins.

Sosa's #21, probably not...


Sosa > Jenkins > Maddux the Cub

Front office once again placing image above actual on-field results.

Bradley = 21

Players switch numbers all the time. The decision should've been made before Marquis joined the team, much less Bradley.

XM and Roto reporting Kevin Gregg has avoided arbitration and will sign a 1 year, $4.2M contract

Anyone remember if that's more or less than he was projected to get?

roto also saying Sheets and Mets are talking...

if he signs a 1 yr deal even if it has an option, I wish we'd be in on that

Soriano's "one win" strategy is a good one. Then the Cubs can play four games instead of three.


Baltimore Sun article with more quotes from Pie and McFail on Pie's role (platooning with Ryan Freel in LF, backup for Adam Jones in CF)

"I had the opportunity to play every day in the minors, and everybody knew me in the minors," Pie said. "In the big leagues, it was a little different. It was up and down and up and down, and I didn't get a chance to show people that I can play every day and I can be a superstar. Now, I can show everybody what they are getting from me."

also Olson was slated to be the Orioles #3 starter (after Guthrie and Koji Uehara), so their rotation is "in flux" (translation, it's f*****)

here's confirmation on Kevin Gregg's deal, by the Tribune/Sullivan


I don't like this talk of if we don't get Peavy this offseason is a bust. I haven't looked into this in great depth but what are Peavy's stats and abilities away from Petco? I think I remember hearing on tv or espn.com that his era away from Petco is a healthy 4.00+ Looking it up, ya his home/away split is really bad. Compare it to other pitchers like Zambrano and Dempster. Everyone has a higher away era, but damn! Peavy's split is alarming. That to me is kinda upsetting. And then there is the talk from some of you that we would be getting an injury waiting to happen. (of course what pitcher isn't one)

If Petco is really the only place he does really well at, then I say no thanks. Especially if we have to sell the farm for it. Sure I love fantasizing about our potential starting staff..But I fantasized a lot about Wood/Prior/Zambrano and we all know how that turned out. And we are already getting the stories now on Harden. I for one am happy with what we have. Make the best of what we got and see what happens.

"But I fantasized a lot about Wood/Prior/Zambrano"

Here's one of my favorites from the 2003 season: Wood and Prior are sitting on their hotel bed in their skivvies, painting their toenails and talking about their personal favorite kisses, when Zambrano barges into the room and starts a pillow fight. Floating feathers and soft focus ensue.

Fantasies that involve Harden and Peavy could only be better. Those boys are dreamy.

Not enough kudos have been given to Charlie for this post.

[Golf clap]


I don't believe that most have opined it "was a bust" w/o Peavy.

There are some Pie backers here - and he's shown 3.5 or the "five tools" McFail believes he has. Time will tell.

However, he had some very impressive AA and AAA stats (with no injury history), and I hope that if we keep him he can step it up in the MLB.

For Hendry, he stated at the convention that the Cubs needed to "re-stock" the arms, and I would agree with that. Sean Gallagher was our only bona fide prospect that had the arrow pointing up in the Big Show, and he was traded for Prior II.

Presented for your consideration:

In 2007 Peavy was 10-1 on the road with a 2.57 ERA
9-5, 2.51 at Petco.

That's sort of like expecting Milton Bradley to play 140 games. You've got something he did one season, and then you've got the 3.80 road ERA over 600 innings, in what's probably been baseball's worst division.

Is that kind of like your current signature, also presented for our consideration? (Okay, "upside" is different than "expected results.")

But, I kind of agree. Peavy's numbers are likely to regress if he's moved out of Petco and into Wrigley.

"However, he had some very impressive AA and AAA stats (with no injury history), and I hope that if we keep him he can step it up in the MLB."

Meaning Garrett Olson.

However, I guess the same can apply to Pie for the O's.

I usually try to stay positive on the Cubs, but with the team as currently constructed, the potential downside is much larger than the upside (shades of 2006 when they had something like 96 different starting pitchers).

- If Zambrano's late season injuries pop up in 2009, we're fucked.

- If Harden doesn't make more than 12-15 starts, we're fucked.

- If Dempster doesn't pitch like a Cy Young candidate again, we're fucked.

- If Marmol's arm falls off after being overworked last year, we're fucked.

- If Bradley can't play more than 120 games, we're fucked.

- If Fonterella turns back into a pumpkin, we're fucked.

This team has made lateral-to-slight-downgrade moves across the board (with the exception of the walking wounded Bradley who could be awesome if he stays healthy). If all the moves are lateral, then that assumes everyone else has to repeat their 2008 performances. I'd love to believe Dempster can repeat his performance from 2008, but that's not a foregone conclusion. Losing DeRosa means that when Aramis goes down for his usual 20 games or so, we'll be replacing him with the human brown-out known as Aaron Miles. Gregg is definitely a downgrade from Wood, and Marmol has to be considered a risk after so many relief innings last year. If we get the June/July Marmol instead of the April/May Marmol, that's BAD news.

I know every position can't have a superstar, and we need good role players, but DeRosa and Marquis were good role players. They added versatility and stability. Who brings those elements to 2009? Someone talk me off the ledge here. I don't want to pin our 2009 hopes on the phantom of Jake Peavy. Where's the silver lining to this offseason?

"If Fonterella turns back into a pumpkin, we're fucked."

It's kind of unfair to imply that Fontenot was a player without much value, or a "pumpkin," before the 2008 season. He was a first round draft pick and has put up pretty good numbers in the minors while steadily improving. Unless you think that slugging between .400-.450 instead of .500+ would be turning back into a pumpkin, I think the statement lacks perspective on Fontenot.

Nitpicking, I guess. Mostly I guess I just think you're exaggerating a bit. Yes, if we lose Zambrano for most of the season, we'll have a rough year. Yes, if Dempster has a 4.5 ERA, we'll have a rough time. And yes, we'll be losing some roster strength if Harden and Bradley can't manage to stay healthy enough to contribute. But I don't think that in this division any ONE of those things "fucks" us. All of them, definitely, but not just one of them.

A serious Aramis Ramirez or Geovany Soto injury would probably be the toughest to recover from. We don't have any really legitimate options at C or 3rd besides those two. I guess you could take a big risk and move Soriano to 3rd and play Hoffpauir in LF if A-Ram went down for a few months, but Catcher would be pretty much unresolvable--no one wants to see Bako or Hill as the starter and Castillo doesn't appear close to ready.

But we do have some starting pitching options that would help us to recover from a short term loss of Harden or Zambrano, and we've got enough relievers to still be in the picture if Marmol got hurt, although we would absolutely be a weaker team.

The NL Central is not that good, so I wouldn't write off the whole season based on a single injury. I don't see the Cardinals putting up Cinderella numbers like the first 4 1/2 months of '08, the Reds have improved but not enough and the other three teams have gone backwards. I think the Cubs have the depth to survive injury with the possible exception of starting pitcher (and there they can go buy a guy to throw some innings) and catcher (where, unless they keep Castillo and he starts hitting hard in AAA, they are truly screwed). An injury at 3B will hurt but I think they can cobble together a couple guys to get them through 3 or 4 weeks.

Marquis gave them 30 starts but really, how many were "quality"? Half? How often has he sailed along until about the 4th, 5th or 6th and then the wheels fell off?

This team on paper is weaker than last year, just on sheer numbers, so here's where Lou comes in. He's got to put the pieces together and I think this is his most challenging Cub season yet. He's shown a knack for separating the wheat from the chaff, even if his GM disagrees. He's put players in positions to succeed since he got here and has won more often than not. The guy has back to back NL Central titles, the first time a Cub manager has done that since.......ever! They've won 185 games in two years. If they have two or more key injuries they are in trouble......like any other MLB team. Otherwise, I say make plans to watch them in October.

Last year both the projected CF (Pie) and RF (k-fuk) flopped. Howry and Eyre were ineffective. Soriano played less than 120 games. Zambrano was inconsistant/injured. Derek Lee didn't return to his 2005 form. Cubs still won the division.

Those are some good points. Unfortunately, two of the three biggest reasons the Cubs still won are gone (DeRosa and Edmonds, Dempster being the other one).

If the Cubs are going to duplicate last year's success, some unexpected guys are going to have to step up. Who's it going to be this year? Fontenot? Maybe. Miles & Gathright? I kind of doubt it.

I agree with you about the importance of DeRosa, Edmonds and Dempster last year. Some players on this years team that reasonably could improve on their previous years performance: Soriano could play 150 games, K-Fuk could be productive for entire season, Derek Lee could regain some power and quit hitting into double plays. Somebody in the bullpen, Cotts/Weurtz could step up. Plus Cubs have a full season of Smarjdzceklzfh. Unlikely but possible: Zambrano could have a Cy Young worthy season. Lottery odds: Rich Hill has a Cliff Lee like turnaround.

Based on what? Kosuke got worse EVERY month last season. Opposing pitching figured him out quickly. He had an OBP of .306 in July...when the excuse that he was tired doesn't hold water. So what's going to happen to reverse that decline?

He's going to be 32 in April and it's an unusual Japanese ballplayer that does better his second year. Not that it can't happen but it will be quite an accomplishment for him if he can even match last year's totals.

I'm not so sure about all of that, unless you mean that some of those things occur towards late September and into the playoffs. I firmly believe this team is going to coast to the division. Even if Sheets resigns with Milwaukee, they still won't be there because of the back end of their rotation and bullpen. This team, even with injuries, is probably 8 or 9 games ahead of everybody else in the division they way it's currently constructed.

We could do with Z for a while and put Marshall in there. We could go with Harden for a while and put a guy like Olson or Guzzy or Atkins or Wells in there if we had to. Maybe Demp's ERA goes up half a run or so. Maybe even a full run. That wouldn't cripple us.

If Marmol is the closer, I don't think he'll be overworked. If Gregg wins the closer job, then I become concerned that he's going to work another two or three of those 17 or 18 inning months. I still firmly believe he can handle an 80 inning workload, Lou just can't pitch him 3 in a row and 4 out of 5.

This team is going to win the Central unless Jocketty signs every available free agent. If they get to the end of September and have Z and Harden, Bradley, and some semblance of production from the middle infield, they're going to have just a good of a chance as any other year. Playoffs are a freaking crapshoot. You just have to get hot the last week of September and stay hot for a month. Maybe the Cubs do. Maybe they don't (see 2007 and 8).

Without Z for a while..and put Marshall in there. Without Harden for a while... put a guy like Olson etc...

We've been over my typing skills before. No need to rehash my epic fail.

I saw Williamson pitch in the minors last year (Aberdeen). Dominant stuff at times, though it seemed to me that he was just overpowering the hitter with his fastball, which has a bit of sink to it, so it tends to stay in the park. Note that to date, he has had a significant age advantage over his opponents, so it's still too early to tell whether he merits even prospect status.

I actually kinda like the Olson pick-up for Pie, regardless as to whether a Peavy trade is in the works. He simply was (inexcusably) rushed into the rotation last year by the Orioles and simply was not ready. At worst, a much-cheaper and younger version of Jason Marquis. I would deem Olson's chances of major league success at about the same level as Pie's. And in that situation, you always take the lefty pitcher over the speedy centerfielder.

Although I personally think that what Hendry is doing is gathering enough of the pieces of the Peavy deal so he can make a trade sometime during Spring Training, when the new ownership comes in. Given the way Peavy ended last year, it wouldn't hurt to see him pitch in spring a couple of times as well.

Presented for your consideration...
Now that's the definition of being in The "Zone"

It's more like "The Twilight Zone" meets the Oscars race.

Gregg gets $4.2 million contract
avoids arb


Calling Cubster!

lest we forget, KG had surgery on his knee during the offseason

Thanks for the news; I hadn't read that anywhere else.

Ken Kadokura (japan, 35, pitcher) minor league deal w/ invite.

Sushi chef for Kosuke. Taguchi knows where the good Asian massage parlors are in Phoenix. All part of the fluffer plan to get Fukudome to resemble a big league hitter at $13MM per.

this is a different (and slightly younger and a righty reliever) Ken than the TCR article from 1/11/09 (Ken Takahashi, age 39).

from Baseball America:

Signed: RHP Ken Kadokura, LHP Matt Smith, 3B Erick Almonte, SS Joseph Colon, OF So Taguchi

The Cubs certainly won’t be lacking in Japanese veteran presence in spring training. Taguchi, 39, has emerged as something of a household name (in ways that Tsuyoshi Shinjo never did in this country) for his presence on three World Series teams, with the ‘06 Cardinals and ‘08 Phillies emerging as winners. . . . Kadokura, a 35-year-old reliever who was released by the Yomiuri Giants, logged just 12 2/3 innings in the Central League in 2008, posting a 3.55 ERA and a 16-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.


est we forget, KG had surgery on his knee during the offseason
to quote Dave Wannestadt: He has a knee, he'll be fine.

from roto: Kadokura, 35, flirted with the majors back in 2006...

...add him to the Harden, Peavy, Fukudome fantasy?

Whatever fantasy you have that involves the three of them is none of our business, frankly.





Puerto Rico


45 Man rosters that will be pared down to 28 before tournament

So, 3/5 of our starting rotation, or leadoff hitter, our cleanup hitter, our third baseman, our starting catcher, and our starting center fielder could potentially all be missing from camp?

Worse, Harden, Zambrano, and Lilly could rush their preparation in order to take part in the tournament?

I like the tournament, but it also seems like a risky enterprise for MLB clubs.

I still want to see Theriot and Fontenot on team France, though.

Like I said they will trim rosters down, so I doubt most guys(especially Harden) will be playing.

My guess

Fuku and Soto

If Harden is talking about being ready to throw by the start of spring training, he's not pitching in the WBC.

I don't like the tournament, simply because someone is going to get hurt, or worn out. I was hoping no Cubs would accept invites. It's an exhibition, these aren't even really "teams", just collections of players, and if one of em sustains a serious or nagging injury, it's a waste.

You mean like spring training?

You're over-reacting

Well. Goodbye and good luck Felix Pie.
He flopped last year all right. He did get 4 starts in a row to start the season 3 for 16..and then the yo-yo treatment started...3 sits in a row, getting mop-up time...2 at bats..sit..sit...0/4 start, 5 in a row defensive replacent..a 2/5 start, and it continues.

He has not shown that he can hit major league pitching. Of course, when you get such an inconsistent allotment of playing time, who the hell knows.

I hope he goes to Baltimore and has a nice long career...while the Cubs continue to search for a CF.

He isn't Corey Patterson. At least Corey got 1500 at bats to prove himself unworthy..

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  • it's been a while since joe's over-managed a game...it's gotta feel good for him to be back in the saddle making people's scorecards look like their pens blew up.

    crunch 30 min 57 sec ago view
  • Fuck a bench spot on the playoff roster, Coghlan is competing to bat cleanup.

    John Beasley 2 hours 46 min ago view
  • barely any...especially for an evening game. place looks 1/2 full at best to start the game.

    crunch 3 hours 9 min ago view
  • Listening on the radio. Are there any fans in the stands at all?

    Brick 3 hours 18 min ago view
  • "An MRI taken Monday on the right side of Jorge Soler showed no major damage."

    crunch 4 hours 19 min ago view
  • rare air though if he can keep it under 2. Sounds like Maddon already made up his mind though and Hendricks seems like the sort that would want to earn it. Guessing he gets a quick hook if he's still under 2 after 5 innings.

    Fwiw, he can give up 1 ER in 5 innings (or more) and still be under 2. If he gives up 2 ER, he would need throw 9 IP to keep it under 2. 1 ER in 4 IP would give him an ERA of exactly 2.

    In terms of WAR, it's still Scherzer by a lot (6.4), then Cueto (5.6), Lester (5.5), Kershaw (5.5), Roark (5.4), and then Hendricks (5.1)

    Rob G. 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • Boring lineup tonight in terms of guys trying to reach milestones -- no KB (40 HR), Addy (100 RBI) or JHey (can he keep it going?), and Lackey isn't really going for anything, plus the team has already reached 100 wins. I get the "rest" thing, although they will have 4 days off after Sunday, but....bleh.

    billybucks 6 hours 17 min ago view
  • Agree -- I think you want to keep him on a regular schedule.

    billybucks 6 hours 36 min ago view
  • Ramos torn ACL

    jacos 7 hours 4 min ago view
  • Sure, its not about his record.

    jacos 7 hours 6 min ago view
  • Do you start him Sunday or not?

    @jonmorosi Pitchers w/ sub-2.00 ERA in year of 185+ IP this century: Pedro ’00, Clemens ’05, Kershaw ’13/’14, Arrieta ’15, Greinke ’15, Hendricks ’16.

    Rob G. 8 hours 27 min ago view
  • Yeah -- that would be rough for him. But, Monty is getting people out, he's a lefty and he has experience working out of the bullpen. Hammel? None of the above.

    billybucks 9 hours 22 min ago view
  • even if he's not starting, abandoning hammel would be a bit of a 'screw you.' i think it might be -monty +hammel, but it's speculation.

    either way, someone's gonna be disappointed.

    crunch 10 hours 23 min ago view
  • Joe said he is leaning towards 11 pitchers and 14 position players.

    - 4 starters, Chapman, Rondon, Strop, CJ, Wood, Grimm, Monty. No dice for Cahill or Smith.
    - 3 catchers, Rizz, Zo, Addy, KB, Javy, Heyward, Fowler, Soler, Coghlan, TLS and then Sczcur over Almora?

    billybucks 10 hours 34 min ago view
  • Cubs 3B Jason Vosler made two really bad throws on consecutive AB in the 8th. Fortunately the game was no longer in doubt at the time  

    The first one was a one-hop lob that allowed the batter to reach base on an infield single, and the second was air-mailed so far over the first-baseman's head that it went over the fence and landed in Field #4.

    Arizona Phil 11 hours 9 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Despite the HR, Donnie Dewees is really more of a slash hitter (the HR was an opposite-field line-drive) who can accumulate lots of doubles & triples. He's also a good bunter and can get on base that way, too. Although he was thrown out trying to steal in the game, he's actually a good base-stealer and baserunner.

    Defensively he has plus-range and tracks fly balls OK, so he can play CF, but he has a rag arm that requires the middle infielders to go out further into CF to make relays.

    Arizona Phil 11 hours 10 min ago view