Cubs Current 25-man Roster and Lineup

A whole lot of nothing going on and I haven't had much time to polish up a few articles I've been working on, so in the meantime, let's play "Guess the Cubs Opening Day Roster".

If you haven't checked out our depth chart or 40-man roster list recently, know that Arizona Phil has taken it upon himself to do the bulk of the updating, which instantly classes up the joint by about 300%. Also, you'll see that the Cubs bullpen is rather set unless the Cubs trade or cut some players before Opening Day, which is most definitely possible. Assuming the standard roster make-up of 13 position players and 12 pitchers (5 starters, 7 relievers), here's your 3:2 odds for the Cubs opening day roster.


C - Geovany Soto

1B - Derrek Lee

2B - *Mike Fontenot

3B - Aramis Ramirez

SS - Ryan Theriot

LF - Alfonso Soriano

CF - *Kosuke Fukudome

RF - #Milton Bradley


C - #Koyie Hill (or Mark Johnson)

OF - Reed Johnson

OF - *Joey Gathright

INF - #Aaron Miles

INF - Ronny Cedeno

Starting Pitching

#1 - Carlos Zambrano

#2 - Ryan Dempster

#3 - *Ted Lilly
#4 - Rich Harden
#5 - *Sean Marshall


#1 (Closer) - Carlos Marmol

#2 (Set-Up) - Kevin Gregg

#3 - Luis Vizcaino

#4 - Michael Wuertz

#5 - *Neal Cotts

#6 - Chad Gaudin

#7 - Angel Guzman

Bullpen guys #4 through #7 are all out of options, so they are either making the team or will get traded or cut if they aren't getting the job done in spring training. Considering the Cubs are in "win it now" mode, I have little doubt that they'll pull the trigger on dumping them if they're beaten in spring training competition.

That leaves David Patton (Rule 5 pick-up), Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Hart, Rich Hill (out of options) and Garrett Olson on the outside looking in. Of course, an injury in spring training could buy the Cubs some time as well from having to make a move and it's bloody likely one of the option-less pitchers gets moved to make room for a second lefty.

As for the bench, Cedeno probably gets the nod over Micah Hoffpauir at the moment. The Cubs seem to be going back to versatility for their bench over any power bats and Cedeno is out of options, unlike Hoffpauir. Hoffpauir can keep fresh in Triple A in case of an injury if that happens. Of course, Cedeno might just get traded.

Lineup vs Lefties

(what I expect Lou will do): Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, Miles, Pitcher

(what I would like Lou to do): Soriano, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Johnson, Soto, Miles, Theriot, Pitcher

Lineup vs Righties

(what I expect Lou will do): Soriano, Theriot, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Fontenot, Soto, Fukudome, Pitcher

(what I would like Lou to do): Soriano, Lee, Bradley, Ramirez, Soto, Fontenot, Theriot, Fukudome, Pitcher

As I argued in the comments earlier this week, if Theriot is hitting at the level he did in 2008 or we see the first half Fukudome (who had a .380 OBP each month of the first half), then I'm all for trying them at leadoff. Until then, I'm fine with giving one of the Cubs best hitters the most PA's on the team. It will never bother me that Soriano bats lead off until a better option clearly steps forward. There's no one on the team that's a safe bet to do it right now. I think Theriot is far more likely to be south of a .700 OPS than north of it and no one knows which Fukudome will show up in 2009. If you see another option on the Cubs roster that clearly deserves the most PA's for the team, let me know. And if that answer is Aaron Miles or Joey Gathright, expect to get punched in the mouth. Bradley would be interesting at the top of the order, but he's the only true left-handed power threat and I think you need him to break up Lee, Soto and Ramirez.

Lineups are always a fun point of contention and I'm sure you guys have plenty of your own ideas.



stong team...weak bench...still, there's a doubles-power+ guy in hoffpower waiting in the wings to fill in if needed and that's a nice luxury.

I go back and forth on this team. I do like the balance of our lineup this year and I like that our division seems to be weaker than it was a year ago. Questions remaining...Is Gregg an equal replacement for Wood? How costly will the loss of DeRosa be? Bullpen seems a little shaky...Weurtz of course is up and down, Cotts has been up and down, Guzman has been injured and unreliable.

Looking over that lineup, it's conceivable to acquire Peavy and really give up no one from the opening day roster, aside from perhaps Marshall.

I know we love our prospects and all, but that isn't even in the realm of conceivable a year ago. This deal needs to get DONE.

Vs Righties

Theriot (SS)
Fonty/Miles (2B)

if Fukudome rebounds:


Vs Lefties


Gotta get DLee out of 3rd Spot unless he rebounds as well.

2nd Half #'s

Mike Fontenot 0.435 0.975
Reed Johnson 0.394 0.886
Ryan Theriot 0.376 0.719
Mark DeRosa 0.374 0.899
A. Ramirez 0.371 0.893
Jim Edmonds† 0.369 0.955
Geovany Soto 0.355 0.827
A. Soriano 0.354 0.873
Derrek Lee 0.343 0.733
K. Fukudome 0.314 0.639

I'm not sure why anybody wants Miles to get ABs over Fontenot (or Theriot for that matter) against right-handed pitchers. Do you just not believe in Fontenot's defense at all?

Also, I think that when Fontenot and Fukudome are both playing well, their power output is pretty comparable, but Fukudome is slightly better at getting on base and, suprisingly, a little bit more capable of stealing bases. Based on that, doesn't Fukudome make slightly more sense as a #2 hitter and Fontenot slightly more sense as a #6 or #7 hitter?

Soto batting eighth? Are you expecting a dramatic sophomore slump? Until Soto has a relatively lengthy sophomore slump, he's batting at least 7th in my lineups, probably 6th or even 5th--depending how the top of the lineup is put together.

Lou has already stated he would like Bradley as the #5 hitter to offer protection for Ramirez.

Lou also changes his mind a lot...

if it does start out that way, then I expect this lineup

Soriano, Fontenot, Lee, Ramirez, Bradley, Soto, Fukudome, Theriot

fontenot, fukudome or miles could swap the 2 or 7 spots depending on who's hot or how spring training goes...

Shouldnt DLee be pushed out of the #3 spot with a .733 2nd Half OPS?

Supposedly he played hurt a lot, which I guess is noble, but maybe if he had taken some time off and got healthy (we had Hoffpauir), his power would have come back.

Given Bradley's health history, the Hoff will get his opportunity to prove himself sometime during the year. I agree with sending him to AAA and stay sharp with regular playing time.

The bench is a messy dilemma.

The right handed hitters (in order of my confidence in them are): RJohnson, AMiles, RCedeno, KHill

The left handed hitters (in order...): AMiles, JGathright, KHill (*groan*, that's ugly)

I'd love to see some power (pun intended) off the bench and all these listed from Rob's roster are singles hitters (with a once in awhile extra base hit from RJ). Seems a no brainer that Hoffpauir beats out Cedeno (forcing a Cedeno trade) unless Micah has an ugly spring and therefore he should make it to the bench. Some right handed power also would be useful(Jake Fox?) but how can they make room? Dunno.

of course Harden could start on the DL until the weather warms up and they go with 11 pitchers. Given early season days off they don't need a 5th starter for a few weeks. That makes temporary room for both Cedeno and Hoffpauir until their performance makes the roster needs more obvious.

...and then there is the trade route to reshape this problem.

For that last bench spot we need preferably a lefthanded back-up 3b type, in case Aram gets hurt. With Dero on the team we had a second MLB quality 3b to cover that and a solid MLB average 2b in Fontenot to take Dero's place. Now if Aram gets hurt, we have Aaron Miles at 3B! Talk about scary! Some who is a lefty or switch hiter who could play all 4 corners is what this team needs, we have 3 MI (Fontenot, Miles and Theriot) and 3 CF (Fukudome, Gathright and Johnson), but what we lack is any quality back-ups in the corners. Eric Hinske, Mark Teahan, and Chad Tracy need to be the names we are hearing for this spot not Juan Uribe and Rich Aurilla.

I could skip Teahan unless he's, like, free. Can Chad Tracy play acceptable outfield? Hinske, from what I remember, is a barely serviceable 3B, though I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to his career. Russell Branyan anyone? Did he sign with Mariners? I think I'd rather have Hoff stick around than spend much on any of these guys anyway.

Problem with Hoff is he doesnt play 3rd and they need someone better than Aaron Miles to back-up there because with Aram there is a good possibility he misses atleast a months worth of games with injuries.

A-Ram to 60-day DL:
D-Lee to 3rd, Hoff to 1st.
Soriano to 3rd, Hoff to LF.

Okay, both of those are stretches, but is it THAT hard to imagine?

It is kind of too bad that we don't have somebody at AAA who would be an acceptable fill-in at 3rd base.

I'm sure it will be Miles or Cedeno playing third base if that happens, or more likely the new guy they're looking for like Uribe.

there's also the inevitable spring training or early season cut, much like Reed Johnson or Edmonds...

D-Lee to 3rd

Haha. What makes you think that DLee could play 3rd? And Soriano at 3B? Both are more than a stretch...

Okay, I'll give you big stretch. Or we can be more specific--both players would be in positions that they've never or rarely played in the major leagues.

However, crappy 3rd basemen are often shifted to 1st because of their defense, and played there with little preparation. Part of the reason for this is that fielding a grounder or line drive hit to you at first is very similar to doing the same at the hot corner. D-Lee would be looking at more grounders and line drives by a bit, but my biggest worry would be whether he can throw. Then again, neither Miles nor Theriot have all that much arm. Big stretch, but do I think he could do it? He's got plenty of range, great hands, and can field the bunt. I have no clue on the arm.

Soriano played most of his games in Japan at third base and played a few games with the Yankees at third as well. I have very little idea how well he fielded over there, and clearly he's out of practice on the infield.

I realize neither of these will happen. Managers don't play their star players out of position, most of the time, and neither of these players have recently played 3rd base (as far as I know Lee never has). It just won't be done. I also realize that either one COULD be a disaster at third. But I actually think both would be possibilities and would be worth trying rather than have Aaron Miles starting for a few months. If A-Ram goes down for that long, though, I think I'd rather the Cubs trade for somebody who is comfortable over there.

Errormiss Ramirez is our third basemen. It's difficult for me to believe that Lee or Soriano would be a noticeable downgrade. Soriano would probably play the position better, given enough practice.

I just can't wait until 2010, our defense is going to be craptacular.


just cuz he dont range like rolen (used to) dont make him junk...and he's got a deadly arm. he can even pick and throw barehanded effectively off the grass.

That's sort of like comparing Lonnie Smith's bat to Ted Williams.

Rolen makes more plays, makes more double plays, and despite getting to more balls and consequently having more difficult throws, makes fewer errors.

AramRam, despite having the advantage of throwing to Lee was 14th of 19th among qualified players in FP%. And though fielding percentage doesn't tell the whole story, when you hav no range - it better be pretty damned good. Aram finished last in range factor.

I've also watched a ball bonk him on the head.

I'm sure, given enough practice those other two guys would be as good as Aramis.

In 2006 their FP were the same, in 2007 Ramirez's was better; and Rolen has to field well at this point, since he hit just .262 .349 .431 last year. For me, 5-6 errors a year and less range is worth 60 more RBI and the other added offense that A-Ram brings. League average FP for 3B is about .955. If Ramirez can do that or better, I am happy.

Yes, Aramis is slightly inferior to back injury torn up shoulder Scott Rolen.

He's a really bad third basemen, pretty much any way you cut it. He had one good season defensively, and 2008 shows me that it was a fluke, and not a changed attitude or skill set.

In short, he needs to be moved to first base. The sooner the better.

Unfortunately we have Lee there, right now. I would bet the plan is for him to move there in 2011 and then Soriano to move there one Aram's contract is up.

Soriano at least has a little experience chasing grounders and throwing. Lee playing 3B would be laughable IMHO. This isn't Cadaco Baseball or even Strat O Matic. The wear and tear on a third baseman is more severe than on a 1B. Lee has never fielded a position without the first baseman's scooper. It's a whole other dynamic and the instincts are so different that he'd be lost. Especially considering he has never played a single out at any other position than 1B in his major league career.

Besides, I think Ramirez had at least an above average year at 3B in 2008. He's a step up from most other 3B on the field.

Is Jim Edmonds definitely going to be an ex-Cub this season? Is Fukodome really a better alternative?

Yes and the second question is moot. Fukudome is under contract, whether he will be better or worse than Edmonds makes no difference.

they won't need a 5th starter until 2 full weeks into the season, a sunday night (April 19th) ESPN game at Wrigley vs the Cardinals. The next time they need a 5th starter is the following saturday in Stl (April 25th).

they'd probably still send Hoffpauir down and keep an extra bullpen arm...

If you want a back-up 3rd baseman Ty Wiggington is still a FA and he crushed LHP last year.

Not much power in that lineup. Having both Gathright and Reed Johnson is redundant, as is having both Cedeno and Miles. One of those guys has to go to make way for somebody who can hit for power and backup first base, such as Hoffpaiur.

would love to know what's up with Wigginton, was shocked they dropped him and more shocked no one wants him. I know he wants a 2 yr deal, and last year was a career year, but he's been an above average hitter that can play multiple positions. Weird...

Probably wants a starting job and no one wants to give it to him. Cardinals might want to see about that with Glaus out.

There will be a #5 on the 25-man but I bet it's Juan Uribe. I wish it was Ray Durham.

it's mostly because he's pretty much a LF/1st at this point. his 3rd really is that bad...worse than casey blake, imo, who's pretty much the standard these days for "barely average". he's the type of guy you could safely spot start at 3rd, though. he's not a disaster.

i wonder if he's looking a starting gig and how much loot he's looking to get paid for whatever role he's trying to get.

Latest on Wigginton, Phillies are looking at him apparently.

a more detailed review of torre's book is in...and

if i was a dodger i dunno if i'd want to have this guy around the clubhouse...i dunno how torre is going to live this down as an active manager...

just wow. this is not the kind of thing you do while you're still working, imo.


Whereas, uh, Bernie Bernbaum
is a horse of a different color
ethics-wise, as in
he ain't got any.

The bullpen and bench are a mess! No power at all on the bench.

It would seem obvious that Hendry will do something to shed himself of some of these no option people Hill, Cedeno, Guzman, Vizciano, Cotts.

i would love to see Hill make it to spring training and turn it all around and be back to 2007! Okay..i'm dreaming!

Seems there is no other option but to get Peavy or dump these guys for nothing.

So are you assuming the Peavy trade either takes some of the optionless players off of the Cubs hands (Cedeno, Wuertz, Hill, Guzman), or that it takes other people off of the 25-man and makes room for those optionless players?

We all think that Hoff is the solution to add power to the bench, but has anybody checked if he can pinch hit? Cliff Floyd was a good hitter with power but couldn't pinch hit to save his life, he admitted as much himself. With such a small sample size last year, he still has much to prove before he lands a job with the big club.

If we are gonna pull the trigger on Peavy at least wait and see him throw in spring training. An argument can be made that if another starter is needed you can probably get quality for a much lower price at the trade deadline, with the way the economy is going.

What we need is a Daryle Ward, or a John Mabry.

We need Lenny Harris.

Pirates trying to sign Eric Hinske..

Remember Hinske was a decent Cub minor league prospect so Hendry knows him pretty well. They traded Hinske to Oakland so they could keep promising relief closer prospect Scott Chiasson that they had gotten in the previous rule 5 draft. Chiasson shortly thereafter blew out his elbow and never recovered well enough to make it back to the majors. Chiasson had a 10 game mlb career.

Hinske's Cub career:

June 2, 1998: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 17th round of the 1998 amateur draft. Player signed June 17, 1998.

3/28/01 Retained the services of pitcher Scott Chiasson ( who was acquired December 11, 2000: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs from the Oakland Athletics in the 2000 rule 5 draft.) by trading minor-league infielder Eric Hinske to the Oakland Athletics. Received infielder Miguel Cairo, whose contract was assigned from the Athletics' Sacramento (AAA) affiliate to the Cubs' Iowa (AAA) club.

Blago just sold out sam zell in an interview.

..said sam zell called wrigley field something along the lines of a dump and how he wanted to tear it down and move the team to a new location with a "coors field"-like feel (not new city)...umm...wait, this makes no sense...for a LOT of reasons.

but well...he said it on MSNBC on rachel maddow (no, i usually don't watch this joke of a woman, but way too biased/slanted to watch an hour of it).

Blago is so full of shit. Zell never had any interest in owning the Cubs, nor is he a baseball fan. The dude is a fan of making money, pure and simple. Moving the Cubs out of Wrigley is as sure a bet as any to lose lots of money.

Also, as a non-baseball fan, why would Zell even know what Coors Field looks like? Is he from Denver or something?

Who knows what's going on in that crooked asshole's mind these days, but this seems like nothing more than trying to make himself look better by making someone else look worse. Not really a good strategy, but that's not surprising in the least.

Does this mean that the Cubs really did pick up Joey Gathright and that he is gonna make the team? I'm gonna go stick my head in the oven.

Speaking of Joey Gathright, his name popped up in that article over at The Hardball Times. Kalk's numbers showed that Gathright swung at 61.9% of the first-pitch fastballs thrown to him, and at 37.5% of the first-pitch fastballs thrown out of the zone, both of which were more than 2 standard deviations above average. Helps explain how this slap hitter manages to strike out so much. Makes me wonder whether his tendencies were similar in 2007, his one decent major league year, and in the minors, where he's managed a career .398 OBP.

But don't put your head in the oven. Gathright isn't worth it, Blue.

Just let me get this straight.

Your theory is that swinging at fastballs makes you a bad hitter?

No, but I can see where you get that from what I posted.

My hypothesis is that if you're game is getting on base but not slugging much, swinging at the first pitch at an above average rate is probably not a great idea. Make the pitcher work, give him a chance to get behind in the count. Now, if you're swing at a pitch that is right down the middle or is in your wheelhouse, that's a different story. Thus that swing at first pitch statistic is of limited use. You don't fault a guy for swinging at the first pitch and ripping it for a hit, especially an extra-base hit.

But what I think is of far more concern is Gathright's tendency to swing at first pitch fastballs that are out of the zone--at a rate more than two standard deviations above average. 0-0 is not a count in which you need to expand the zone. If anything he should be shrinking the zone in a 0-0 count. Swinging at pitches out of the zone is not particularly desireable in any count, but definitely not for the first pitch.

Geo apparently either had a great approach on the first pitch or got very lucky on first pitches in 2008. Despite seeing a lower percentage of fastballs on the first pitch than anyone else in Kalk's data group, Geo managed a batting average around .550 when he swung at those first pitch fastballs. If Gathright was getting those kind of results, then by all means, swing away (but still preferably mostly at strikes).

Is there a site that shows what pitches are thrown to each hitter? I would bet that Gathright sees about 95% fastballs. Pitchers aren't going to nibble the corners with him at the plate, just like they go right after Juanderful Pierre.

Fangraphs has that information. In his career, Gathright has seen fastballs for 71.4% of his pitches. They have all sorts of cool info over there.

Most interesting about that article is that Soto led the majors (in this study) with the lowest % of first pitch fastballs seen. He may have already developed somewhat of a reputation as a first pitch killer along with other guys on the list like Ryan Howard, Nomar, Corey Hart, Hunter Pence, etc. In fact he made the top 10 for highest average on first pitch fastballs in play at .556.

Another interesting tid-bit is that Milton Bradley swung at 92.9% of first pitch fastballs that were in the strike zone.

well this sucks, now I'm having visions of Joey Gathright jumping over O/B's oven, wondering why he's smelling gas

of course, it never seemed like he wasn't okay with it...

the article also contains another ominous/casually-tossed-around reference to miles being the regular 2nd baseman.

wish someone would come out and speak on the fonte/miles situation and their roles.

why would they do that now? they always preach competition during spring training...

plus Fontenot has options...

I think the final sentence in the article is the most telling "I want to stay in one spot and not jump around". I just hope he's not talking about his outfield play.

I'd rather him not jump in the outfield though either.

Starting Pitching

#1 - Ted Lilly!
#2 - Carlos Zambrano
#3 - Ryan Dempster
#4 - Rich Harden
#5 - Sean Marshall

/ Correct Now

¡Neifi! disapproves of your use of exclamation points..

Clearly not the most believable guy in the world, but did anyone hear Gov. F-Word's interview on Maddow last night?

When asked about the Tribune controversy:

Blagojevich: "Let me tell you the story about the Wrigley Field deal. That was MY idea. To find a way to help the Chicago Cubs stay at Wrigley Field after Sam Zell, the new owner, bought the Cubs. And he had told me in a meeting that he thought Wrigley Field should be torn down and we ought to have a Coor's Field-like place; And I was horrified as a Cub's fan and as someone who loves the people of Illinois and who knows Wrigley Field as a special place and the third biggest tourist attraction in the state. And if they can tear down Yankee Stadium and Ebbett's Field, it can happen to Wrigley Field, so what can we do to ... "

He goes on to explain some fantastical and totally unbelievable story about how he came in on a white horse and worked out complex financing details to save Wrigley Field. This guy is a piece of work.

You gotta love it, though, anytime the Cub's make the national news and it's not sports-related.

Buster Olney article on ESPN today:

Alfonso Soriano, who is about to enter Year 3 of an eight-year, $136 million contract, says he's OK with hitting in a lower spot in the Cubs' lineup, writes Dave van Dyck. The perfect spot for Soriano in a National League lineup, is probably sixth; last year, he ranked second among NL leadoff hitters with a .544 slugging percentage, but was 17th in on-base percentage.

I wonder if, as Lou Piniella considers his options, he might be inclined to think about Derrek Lee in the No. 2 spot in his lineup; this way, he can alternate left-handed and right-handed hitters in the first six spots in his batting order -- something along these lines, in games against right-handed pitchers.

2B Mike Fontenot, L (He had a .393 on-base percentage against right-handers)
1B Lee, R
RF Milton Bradley, S
3B Aramis Ramirez, R
CF Kosuke Fukudome, L
LF Alfonso Soriano, R
C Geovany Soto, R
SS Ryan Theriot, R

A potential problem with that arrangement, besides the issue of having Fukudome hitting in a major RBI spot, is that Soriano would inevitably see a lot of right-handed relievers after his first two at-bats. Another possibility:

SS Theriot
LF Soriano
RF Bradley
3B Ramirez
1B Lee
CF Fukudome
C Soto
2B Fontenot

For the readers: How would you construct the Cubs' lineup?

I wrote here a few weeks ago that I disagreed with the Bradley signing, but there's no question that the Cubs, on paper, are a whole lot more balanced, and so long as Bradley is able to stay healthy and in the lineup, he is an offensive force.

I think it would be worth a shot to have Soriano in a power position in the line up. I just don't think Fontanot is the guy he may become the guy but ideally would love for Fuku to be able play like we are paying him and become the hi OBP guy. There is no way i'd put Fuku in a RBI spot like buster is saying:

I'd think ideally hope that theriot or fontenot can perform and take hold of the leadoff spot:

1. Theriot/Fontenot
2. Lee
3. Bradley
4. Aram
5. Soriano
6. Soto
7. Fuku
8. Theriot/Fontenot

Fukudome batting 5th against any pitcher is pretty optimistic. He's saying Fukudome should come back to hit .275/.375 at least with some pop. I have little confidence that that will happen.

I like Bradley batting 3rd though. I think your best hitter should bat 3rd, and that is no longer Derrek Lee. A healhty Bradley putting up numbers like last season is made for that spot. (Lots of assumption in that statement, I'll admit.) Lee has sufficient OBA to bat 2nd, and while not as fast as he was, he's no base-clogger. The bad part of that is that we have no base stealers to lead off so we might see a return of DP Lee at the 2 hole.

That's the second time in two days that i have read about a proposed lineup, treating Soto like he's Paul Bako or something.... Put him 6th at least! Fukudome should NOT be that high in the lineup, either, until he shows whether he has figured anything out in the offseason...

I like Soriano batting 5th myself. It's the next easiest spot to run next to Lead-off. Something along the lines of




vs LHP

I agree with:


Somebody suggested sori at the 2 spot.I think that's the worst spot in the entire lineup for him. Can you imagine tie game bottom of the ninth fontey leads off with a texas leaguer and we we expect soriano to sacrifice?

Muskat has some good stuff this morning on Fontenot versus Miles, and even a teaser on Hoffpauir versus Lee.

Miles was not brought in to be the full-time second baseman. The player who could benefit the most from DeRosa's exit is Mike Fontenot. The left-handed hitting Fontenot batted .305 in 119 games last season, including a .360 average in the second half. Cubs manager Lou Piniella has said Fontenot deserves more at-bats.

"It always feels good when the guys who are running the show say, 'We want to give him more at-bats and get you in the game and have you play more,'" Fontenot said. "It says they've been watching. I've had a couple decent seasons, and they want to get me in there more, which is nice. I'm always ready for the challenge, whatever they give me."

Expect to see a lot of the "Cajun Connection" of Fontenot and Theriot, who were teammates at Louisiana State University.

"We'll let them compete," Piniella said of Fontenot and Miles, "but at the same time, when we face a tough right-hander, I can play Miles at short and Fontenot at second. We can put a [left-handed hitting] right fielder in place, we can put [Micah] Hoffpauir at first base and give Lee a breather."

and even a teaser on Hoffpauir versus Lee.

Huh? Not at all...

The article said that Hoffpauir may give Lee a breather. That is very different than "Hoffpauir versus Lee."

ESPN 1000 radio on their sports update said a Bruce Levine report indicates a trade for Seattle's Aaron Heilman is near. Apparently involving Ronnie Cedeno and another minor league pitcher

Color me underwhelmed on Heilman. He's a nice reliever, but is that really what the Cubs need, another reliever?

It is if we're shipping a bunch of 'em to San Diego, baby! Bring on PEAVY!

P.S. I like Heilman. I imagine Uribe is/will be Cedeno's replacement.

So we're thinking Cedeno plus a minor leaguer for Heilman, then a bunch of relievers to San Diego instead of the minor league pitching they wanted? Last I heard Hill, Wuertz, Cotts, Gaudin, Guzman were not rumored to be included in any Peavy deal.

That's not what I said. I said we might need (or at least could take on) another reliever if we're shipping Hart or Marshall or another reliever/starter to San Diego. We'd still have to give up better players, of course. I think both Guzman and Wuertz did come up at one point in one of the myriad trade rumors, though not for a while.

It was more of a silly hopeful comment anyway. Don't take it so seriously.

I know we haven't even started the 2009 season yet, but who's up for a little conjecture about FA signings next offseason?

How about a 2/$10m deal for DeRosa next year?

part of the Levine report says there are 3 teams interested in Rich Hill

XM's update then morphed it a bit, implying it was Cedeno and Hill for Heilman...but I don't think that is what Levine was reporting

Where does Heilman fit on the 25 man we have more glut of mediocre relief swing man pitching...does this mean that Vitters is out of the deal....Heilman, Marshall, Olsen, Haart for Peavy?

That would be a very pitching rich deal for Peavy and it would be brilliant on Hendry's part to be able to pull this off without Vitters!

I bet that Hill is involved in this deal somehow...he's done with the cubs and could be a great hedge bet for some other team.

and stoopid WSUX (WSCR), Hampton and Holmes are now quoting mlbtraderumors as a news source for both the Garland to AZ signing and the Heilman rumor...I guess this was their choice rather than quoting Levine as the source, who works up the dial.

Heilman wants to be a starter and if we get Peavy there is no room for him here as a SP. So is he going to have Petco be his home park?

Good call, that's exactly why I'm scared about Heilman, he's wanted to start forever and there was a lot of scuttlebut about it from the Mets when he was there. It's part of the reason I'm a huge Sean Marshall fan, he just shows up and does whatever Lou wants, and is at least passable pitching anywhere.

EPSN says Cedeno and Olsen.

Cedeno AND Olsen!? What the motherfuck!?

Essentially, Pie and Cedeno for Heilman. This sucks balls. Fuck. It would've be better just let Pie compete in ST.

More Levine stuff, via MLBTR:

Bako will be signed after the roster space is cleared for 750k.

Looking at Looper or Wolf if no Peavy deal.

Still looking at Uribe for PH/Backup.

Wow, exciting.

Any chance we can lock up Rocky Biddle while we're cornering the market on shit?

What the bloody blue hell??? For Aaron Effing Heilman? He was a solid reliever from 2005-2007...horrible last season.

Wow....this is just really, really now Aarin Miles backs up comes Juan Uribe...

Heilman will compete for the #5 spot. But really, did they need to trade more than just Ronny? WTF!

Olsen was traded for to be traded, my sense is that he wouldn't go to SEA unless he was being traded for a component in the Peavy deal. Beside this could be just a rumor, if true perhaps the Pads like Heilman more than Olsen or it's possible that Peavy talks are totally dead.

Insofar as Cedeno the Cubs have to make some bench room for a bat with power; we probably have one already in Hoffpaiur. At least it's worth giving Micah a chance to back up D Lee. I would like to see Randy Wolf at the tail end of our rotation if the Peavy trade doesn't materialize.

Make no mistake, I'm glad Cedeno is history, but who the hell wants Heilman? Is he going to throw a hissy-fit if he ends up in the bullpen? Is his ERA going to be 5.50 again? Seems like a longshot that he'd be useful and compliant.

Ok...bye bye who is on the bench?

Bako-if signed
Johnson/Fukudome-whoever isnt in CF
Miles/Fontenot-whoever isn't at 2B

Wow..I am thoroughly unimpressed by the shuffling of deck chairs here folks...Miles at 3B? Holy crap....churn and burn....

Heilman has expressed an interest to be a starter, but is that really a hissy fit? Maybe his desire to be a starter makes him desirable to the Padres? Or maybe he's a good fallback for Harden and/or if Marshall falters?

I'm pretty unimpressed by the guy, but he did have three strong years prior to last year. Does seem like a bit much to give up for him...but bye-bye, Ronny...

True, it's not an awe-inspiring bench but having Hoffpaiur on the bench trumps Cedeno. I like Ronny and wish him the best of luck but there simply isn't room for both he and Miles.

Now Fukudome needs to get his act together or go down to AAA to make room for somebody with a little zing in their bat. And Soriano needs to return to 30-40 homerun form, he hasn't been worth the investment thusfar.

why did we not trade cedeno and one of the pitchers who
have no options.
i would be all for wuertz and cedeno

Shit I will take Heilman over Olson and Cedeno. This is an outstanding trade.

People bitching and complaining about Heilman? Seriously? WTF is wrong with you guys?

He can battle for the 5th spot, or Harden's spot if he isn't ready. This guy has serious pitching ability and people are thinking its a crap sandwich.

Cedeno is brain dead and Pie can't hit a fucking curveball. We replaced it with a serious power arm who can start, pitch in middle relief and has good enough stuff to close out games.

Our team just got alot better with Heilman.

Serious Power Arm: Turned 30 in November, career ERA = 4.24, career K's per 9 IP = 7.9, career WHIP = 1.33.

Already in the Pen: Turned 30 in December, career ERA = 3.57, career K's per 9 IP = 9.3, career WHIP = 1.34

The second one is Michael Wuertz. I'm not really sure how are team got a lot better by adding this guy. It just gives us one more inconsistent but talented arm in the bullpen.

I hope so, BUT he pitched all last year with KNEE TENDONITIS and was arguably OVERUSED by the Mets, appearing in 78 games (7th most in the NL). So, I'm wondering how that knee is right now.

And, don't forget, Heilman ASKED TO BE TRADED because he wants out of the pen! He started asking the Mets to let him start back in 2006.

His short career with the Mariners goes like this:
Mariners | Avoid arbitration with Heilman
Tue, 20 Jan 2009 13:55:54 -0800

Larry Stone, of The Seattle Times, reports the Seattle Mariners avoided arbitration with RP Aaron Heilman Tuesday, Jan. 20, agreeing on a one-year deal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Same Day
Mariners | Could trade Heilman
Tue, 20 Jan 2009 14:19:54 -0800

Ken Rosenthal, of, reports the Seattle Mariners are likely willing to trade RP Aaron Heilman because they do not see him as a key contributor.
Next Day
Mariners | Heilman to get a chance to start
Wed, 21 Jan 2009 07:16:50 -0800

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's John Hickey reports Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said P **Aaron Heilman will get a chance to start this season**.
Cubs | Heilman acquired
Wed, 28 Jan 2009 09:46:32 -0800's Jerry Crasnick reports the Chicago Cubs acquired SP Aaron Heilman from the Seattle Mariners for IF Ronny Cedeno and SP Garrett Olson.

Apparently Zack Zduriencik meant get a chance to start with the Cubs.

I'd agree with that on Fukudome, except he's getting $12 mill a year, and who fits that description of somebody with a little zing in their bat? Please insert Palmeiro joke...

Heilman hasn't started a game in years, and got bashed when he did.

Now Miles is the primary back-up IF, and I just can't wait to see him playing 3B...

It's not a crap sandwich...but it isn't a steak sandwich either...

They will get another backup 3B, and I bet it will be Uribe. Defensively, they can do a whole lot worse.

If Heilmann comes in as a reliever, the thought of him, Wuertz and Vizcaino as being middle inning options is not thrilling. But neither were Howry, Wuertz and Eyre.


Mets | Turn down offer for Marquis
Wed, 10 Dec 2008 14:11:47 -0800

Ken Rosenthal, of, reports the New York Mets have turned down the Chicago Cubs' offer to trade them SP Jason Marquis for RP Aaron Heilman.

Would the Cubs prefer to carry both Miles and Uribe? Or just one of them and Hoffpauir?

Not sure about them, I know I'D prefer Hoff-POWER

Considering Fontenot is probably going to top out at 130 games, and Lou's love of the double switch, Miles has to say. Considering he's a decent defensive 3B and much better at that position than anyone else on the bench, Uribe would stay also. Barring any other moves, and I bet there will be a few, Hoffpauir is likely doomed to ride the Iowa/Chicago shuttle.

Just read a post over at Goatriders entitled My Encounter with William W. Wirtz.

It was really pretty good. It made me think about how I talk about people who are in public figures and how would it be to say some of those things to that person face-to-face. ~shudder~

Seems relevant, as we spend quite a bit of time talking about other people around here -- often in immoderate terms. Food for thought.

My .02, in looking previously at Heilman's stats - UNTIL last year, he had some very impressive WHIP numbers. He does have talent, and is certainly not old by any stretch. It just bothers me that if true, Hendry traded a good prospect AND Cedeno. Of course, Cedeno has to be the dumbest player I have ever watched. Those of you bitching about losing this guy should realize that we can plug Darwin Barney in, today, or any fucking scrub, and they'd be just as effective.

Cedeno for Heilman makes me very happy.

Cedeno and Olson for Heilman makes me sad.

Very happy to sad, for Garrett Olson? He's not worth that much emotional angst.

He wasn't going to be worth that much to the Cubs unless his ultimate destination was San Diego. Heilman's a better pitcher than Olson for now and for a while. Including Olson might have been a bit much, but it doesn't make it a bad deal. The disappointing part is if this indicates a Peavy deal is dead.

Perhaps a bit of hyperbole. I don't care about Cedeno so anyone for him is good and I like Heilman's potential. I like Olson's potential even more, though. And...I'm upset that Pie turned into a HALF of Heilman.

Apart from being dumb, Cedeno is just not a good shortstop. He has 17 errors in about 70 games in Venezuela this winter. In 2006, when Dusty put him in a lot games, Cedeno's FP at short was .956. He's fluid in the field but that's deceptive because he's still not rangy and he throws the ball away.

If the Cubs like Heilman better than Olson, then fine. Cedeno is not really an issue. Anything to get him off the roster and stop sending him checks. much you think Uribe will cost?

2007: .234/.284/.394
2008: .247/.296/.386

He made $4.5 million last season. He's got some pop, but isn't exactly known for being in shape, taking a pitch, or hitting for any kind of decent average.

He doesn't have any pop, look at his home/road splits. He's just benefited from having all his home games at Coors and Cellular fields.

That's not a guess anyone can make. If you figure Dunn, Abreu, Cruz and a couple other potentially valuable cogs are still free agents and will likely have to settle for a single season, cheaper deal than what they expected, Uribe might get half of what he got last season.

His splits over the last 3 seasons aren't way off. But that doesn't say they're good. He's hit 33 homers at the Cell compared to 15 on the road, and .252/.282 at home and .224/.260 away.

So, Pie and Cedeno for Heilman, who had a 5 ERA last year.

Way to sell as low as freaking possible Hendry.

Does anyone still think he's a good GM?

How many lousy contracts, no trade clauses, non-prospects do we need before the press starts criticizing him?

Hiya Manny!

Does anyone still think he's a good GM?

Yup. Last I heard, he had his team in the playoffs in 3 of the last 6 seasons, including the last two.

I want wins, and playoffs appearances, from a GM, and not much else.

And you would be hard pressed to find many GMs who have had the kind of success that Hendry has had in the last 6 years.

Hey dude look up Pie and Cedeno's stats in the majors to date, then look at the roster.

They both can't hit, and they both got no where to play.

If we held onto them we lose them for nothing. Lets try growing a brain guys. These players had multiple chances and failed. Though Pie should have never been brought up in the first place, he still failed to even show a glimmer of promise at the major league level.

We turned 2 shit players with no future in our franchise this year or ever, into a very nice pitcher. And people are throwing a hissy fit. I guess it would have been better for them to walk away and get nothing in return. Nope, we would still hear bitching about how Hendry let them walk away without getting anything.

Thanks for expressing your anger at our disappointment. Now I am no longer disappointed because of your call for me to grow a brain. My brain has now grown and thus I concur with your assessment.

We turned 1 shit player into a promising pitcher. We then sent the other shit player and that promising pitcher for another promising pitcher.

No one is crying that those two shits are not on the roster.

And no one was crying that Hendry didn't get anything. But why not keep Olson - either for a Peavy trade or to keep in AAA - and trade Cedeno for something else.

What the Hell do we do with Rich Hill? We should have traded Hill instead of Olson, just so we had a AAA backup plan.

Now it appears the AAA backup plan for the inevitable Harden injury is ...... Mitch Adkins?

Way to think that through Jimbo

If Heilman is in the rotation, MikeC, there will be a problem.
If he pitches like he did from 2005-2007 in relief, this will be a good trade.

Please excuse me for not sharing your enthusiasm. We'll see how this shakes out, and who else the Cubs will sign to be a reserve player this season.

hopefully Adam Dunn

Well if they were 2 shit players, why was Cedeno the everyday SS in 2006 and why was CF kept warm for Pie.

Maybe cause the GM, who evaluates talent cannot.

If he could, Pie would have been dealt when his value was higher. I dont think Cedeno had much value, so i wont second guess.

And Zero wins in the post season has some reflection on the GM, he put it together. Hendry has done good things, like Lilly, Derosa signings, Trades for ARAM, DLEE and their extensions were good moves too.

But come on!! Soriano, who is a great fantasy player, for 8 years at age 31? Really?

Marquis for 3 years? Jacque Jones, Cesar Izturis, Jason Kendall, Rob Bowen?

So far Hendry has done a good job of spending a lot of money and doing the smartest thing by getting Lou in here to manage. Lets remember that the 2007 team Hendry constructed fell flat on its face, and Lou turned it around, by getting Pie, Izturis and Barret outta here.

Lets not back at look at his #1 Draft Picks from 2000-2005, OH MY GOD, what a travesty!!

Luis Montanez, Mark Prior (not his fault), Brownlie/Blasko, Ryan Harvey, Mark Pawalek...

Crap, Crap and More Crap.

Hendry is okay, but given his resources, he should be way better.

Lou turned things around by getting rid of Pie, Izturis and Barrett? Interesting.

The rest, well...

Some of that blame has to go to the pre-Wilken scouting staff. But the Cubs' minor league development philosophy is flawed and has been for a long time. Cedeno, Pie, the broken pitchers mentioned, as well as Patterson, Choi, Pat Cline, etc. all had outstanding raw tools and never learned to play the game or correct their flaws.

I think I posted this once before: I have a friend who grew up with a guy who is now a well-respected MLB exec. He and his dad were long time outstanding scouts. We ran into the dad at a Kane County/Lansing game a few years back, when Patterson and Choi were there, and we asked him what he thought about them. He told us that the Cubs had sent word down to their minor league staff that they were to leave the two of them alone, that they had the ability to hit big league pitching and instruction would only "ruin" them. They played the same game with Kerry Wood and Cline. Well, the end result was they got to a level where they were overmatched, they didn't work on their swing or mechanics or plate discipline and ultimately lost out on all their promise. This scout said the Cubs loved kids who had natural tools but then they wasted them.

I wonder if the same attitude is what has affected the lack of game in guys like Cedeno and Pie.

interesting, since there's been plenty of stories of the Cubs messing too much with their players and screwing up their development as well (Soto, Theriot, R. Hill, Hoffpauir, Pawelek)...

Despite consistently having players that other teams want, and lately, having players they could use on their own roster, the Cubs minor league system is always a disaster no matter what they do....

This seems like a well-worn debate. Hendry relies on his scouts to head the draft. To blame every bad draft pick on him is dumb. He wasn't even GM in 2000-2001 so your critique of 2000-2005 is off. To evaluate talent you have to play players. Cedeno and Pie tore up the minors, so you evaluate their major league abilities by playing them in the big leagues. 2006 was the perfect year to start Cedeno since the team was shit. Once they played and both struggled badly, he traded them. The more that you trade players before they are given a chance, the greater the opportunity for you to completely screw up and they turn out great, but the more you wait it out and trade them after trying them out, the less you get back for them. This isn't rocket science.

We are dealing with humans. No matter how smart you are, some free agent signings and trades will work out better than expected, and some worse. On the balance, Hendry has done a good job in his tenure.

Well put.

If anything, Hendry's problems with prospects hasn't been bad talent evaluation but mismanagement. Too often, a player is rushed or pushed to the next level until failure. He has a bad habit of bringing up young players from AAA, watching them fail for a few weeks, shipping them back down, and then shipping them out.

Recent Cub managerial hires have not been rookie-friendly either.

I think that failure of so many highly touted prospects is a team effort. The players themselves don't seem particularly baseball bright, they've not been taught properly at the minor league level, and the major league staff has shown little patience with them. Some orgs like Atlanta develop good talent consistenly, some like the Cubs do not.

Fortunately for us, rookies like Soto come along that defy the system. From what I've read and heard, whatever he's accomplished to improve himself as a player has been mostly self-motivated.

When was Pie given a chance?

late to the party...

new post up on the trade...

I'm not thrilled with this deal. I could care less about losing Cedeno, he had his chances (and threw them into the seats every time) but just wasn't a good ballplayer.

What I don't understand is giving up Olsen for him. I like Olsen's potential a lot more than Heilman's track record, but more importantly, Olsen had options on a roster that is remarkably inflexable.

Its not a deal that should have a huge impact in 2009 regardless, but its just another little piece that's turning into a very odd offseason puzzle.

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