Well, It Could Have Been Wuertz

Time to retire the "worst-Wuertz" puns as Jim Hendry moves another player without any options for 2009. As we heard yesterday, the Cubs do end up dealing Michael Wuertz to the Athletics for outfielder Richie Robnett and infielder Justin Sellers. Scouting reports and pertinent info on the newbies after the jump...

Richie Robnett was the Athletics first round draft pick in 2004 out of Fresno State University (26th pick overall). The 25-year old lefty stands at just 5-10", but his Stockton coach said he had the "body of a Greek God". He's one of those players that scouts expect to grow into his power, showing flashes with 20 HR's in Hi-A Stockton in 2005 and another 18 between Double A and Triple A in 2007. He hasn't shown much in the way of plate discipline to this point, not a lot of walks and too many strikeouts which contributes to his .257 career minor league batting average.

His 2008 season began with surgery in April for a benign tumor in his stomach. It seemed to be a longer road to recovery than planned as he was originally only expected to miss a couple of weeks, but that turned into a few months before finally joining the A's Triple A affliliate in Sacarmento at the end of May. He started off well enough with an .817 OPS but things quickly turned sour for him for the rest of the season (.658 OPS) and he was demoted to Double A Midland. He improved slightly in Double A (750 OPS), but a disappointing 2008 nonetheless.

Defensively, he's moved between center and right, but it looks like he doesn't quite have the range to handle center. The arm is considered to be a plus arm and he should be anywhere between an average to above average corner outfielder with the glove. He was #24 on scout.com's Top 50 A's prospects entering 2008 and and #7 on Baseball America's Top 10 in 2005. Considered to be an elite athlete, the Cubs will hope it translates into an elite baseball player. He was on the A's 40-man roster and the Cubs will have to put them on theirs as well. If he can show some progress this season, he could be in line for a promotion to the majors this year if injury or ineffictiveness hits Bradley or Fukudome.

Justin Sellers was the A's sixth round pick in 2005 out of high school in Huntington Beach, CA and was ranked #9 in their organziation by Baseball America in 2007. The 23-year old infielder has a career 695 OPS in the minors, so I'm assuming the Cubs aren't expecting a power hitter out of him. He's considered to have above average range and arm with soft hands at both second base and shortstop. The A's aren't much of a base stealing organization so you can't read much into his minor league stolen base numbers, but the scouting reports consider him to have above average speed. Chances are that he'll be nothing more than a utility player in the majors if he ever gets there.

Scout.com had him ranked #29 after the 2007 season#40 before 2008 and #47 after the season in their top 50 Athletics prospects. He's considered to be baseball smart and his Dad is former major leaguer pitcher, Jeff Sellers.He sounds a lot like Ryan Theriot, the A's even considering having him attempt switch-hitting at one point, although that appears to have been abandoned.

As for moving Wuertz, I have to admit a curious move. Here's a pitcher that has put up ERA's in the 3's his entire Cubs career with a K rate to indicate that it isn't a fluke. I know there's this rumor out there that he only pitches well when the game is out of reach, but that doesn't make sense when he was one of the best in the league in 2007 at stranding runners. I understand the move. The Cubs don't want to end up without a chair for some of these players without options when the music stops at the end of March, so they're trying to give themselves some flexibility. But I would think Wuertz would be the safest bet to be a postiive contributor in the pen over Cotts, Guzman or Gaudin. Of course, I guess that's what would make him the most attractive for a team in a trade as well. Utility infielders are a dime a dozen, so I don't expect much from Sellers, but Robnett has some serious power potential and that's pretty tough to find in the minors and pretty tough to get a team to give up in a trade.

Overall, I'm a bit disappointed in the trade, but it's understandable when looking at the bullpen roster crunch and high turnover rate that the Cubs have had at that position the last few years. It's not like any team ever ends up with the 6-7 guys they start off with in April out of there bullpen, so that flexibility will probably prove valuable down the road.


Any time you can pick up 2 minor league prospects with career batting averages in the .250's you've absolutely gotta make that trade!

Oh here let me try!

You aren't a sarcastic asshole.

Did it make me seem smarter?

WTF is that about?

Unless your one of the prospects we just traded for, then calm the fuck down.

kmokeefe must have taken the steelers and is pissed because they didn't cover...

yeah, that was kind of random...

Shut your pie hole you overgrown hamster!

speaking of drama...i see you still got your butthurt sig.

dear lord, are you all on your periods?

i wish.

Too lazy to change it.

lol... after a lot of thought, I'll have to go with kmokeefe on this one, you're kind of a douche.

Called a douche by a guy with a Tina Fey signature?
Sounds like a pot/kettle type situation to me.

I'm comfortable with my douchiness.

Being called a douche by an obvious douche. What has blogdome become?

that was kind of pointless and unnecessary...

You must be new here.

I kid!

Angel Guzman, your car is waiting...

If we trade Guzman, I will be pissed.

Realistically, how can Guzman not be moved before Opening Day?

He's out of options, isn't a ligitmate 5th starter candidate, and won't make the staff as a reliever unless the Cubs suddenly reverse their stance on wanting "more experienced arms" in the bullpen.

Since he was reportedly throwing 94-95 mph this winter, you would think that there would be a market for this guy.

Maybe San Diego...

I disagree about the bullpen. He was in there after September and did reasonably well. He's got a ton of talent and has only been held back cuz of injuries not poor performance. I think the Cubs will give him a legit shot.

I agree. Lou hates walks but he loves his power pitchers. If Guzman truly was bringing it 95 this winter, he will get a shot.

Checking now, it looks Guzman wasn't that good '08, but he did have a decent '07. I still think he's got enough upside to at least try out in spring training.

Really? 'Cause it seems like he has even less hope of becoming a valuable major league player than Hill does. Hill's issue is control. Guzman's issue is a long history of injury problems, plus he's never done very much in his (very minimal) time in the majors.

No, Hill's issue isn't control it's that he's a headcase. Always has been, by AZ Phil's reports, he just lucked out in having one great year.

It's not like Guzman's still injured. He's fine now and throwing well. He doesn't have a lot of MLB experience but his 2007 stats (131 ERA+, 30.3 IP, K/BB 26/9, 1.352 WHIP) suggest he can be a quality reliever.

Um, so if he didn't have control issues, but was still a headcase, you wouldn't want him? For example, who really cares if Milton Bradley is a head case while he's leading the league in OPS? It's only the scapegoat when he sucks.

No one care's what's going on in an athlete's head if he's getting results. From a fan perspective, I guess I don't really care what you call it--I'm going to call it control problems.

I personally think Hill's psychological issues go back to his focus on psychology. Ignore the psychology, focus on the game--preparation, strategy, mechanics, execution. The "Power of Positive Thinking" should have no place on an active athlete's bookshelf. Making sure your head moves in a straight line (just one of many physical factors to control) toward the plate on your delivery is a lot more effective.

The point is he's not having control problems because he's got a glitch in his mechanics or because he's having trouble balancing velocity with location. He's having control problems because he's having problems upstairs. The control problems are an effect of his true problems. Thus, you won't be able to fix his control problems until you fix his mental problems, which aren't readily fixable, as far as anyone can tell. Thus, he's a long-term project. Clear enough?

Except, he doesn't have to fix the problem upstairs. He has to ignore upstairs and focus on the things that are actually directly related to pitching. The problems upstairs don't matter without the physical manifestation. His control is off because his execution is off. Fix the execution.

Yes, much easier said than done. And, of course, this is something Rich Hill has to do, not something his coaches can really make him do.

I'm not sure that designating his problems as psychological necessarily makes him a long-term project--he's shown that he can slip in and out of levels of effectiveness pretty quickly.

I'm not sure that sports psychology issues are any more difficult to recover from than shoulder surgery, though, bringing this all back to the question of why you would miss Guzman more than Hill--not that I'm asking you to answer again. Just humbly disagreeing, rather than arguing, I guess.

Of course, I love upside; if there were a way to keep Pie, Cedeno, Hill, Guzman, and others, and remain competitive, I'd be all for it. I may disagree with Miles over Cedeno and Gathright over Pie, but I understand why they were done.

On a completely different note, I wonder whether the tendency of myself and others to gripe over these trades might be more disappointment with how things are turning out for the Cubs careers of once-promising prospects than actually thinking we should get more in return. I'm gonna say that in my case it probably is.

And in mine too. It's frustrating to see Hendry continually sell former top prospects, including "untouchable" ones, for 50 cents on the dollar. But that's the price of having a large market, high payroll team, I suppose. You don't have time to wait for them to come around if they falter.

What's more frustrating and what can be helped is the continual mismanagement of prospects. Getting jerked around from AA to AAA to AA to the bigs, getting shuffled from reliever to starter to AAA closer back to MLB reliever, getting moved from outfield spot to outfield spot to infield corner. We all know that, at least in the past, the Cubs had some bad prospect evaluation measurements, but the same broken player development measures are still being employed. I hope Jeff Samardzija isn't the next victim.

Just to be a complete hypocrite: I think Jeff Samardzija is mentally tough enough to handle all the moving around, provided he still gets to pitch enough to keep his arm in shape and to work on his secondary stuff.

There's been a lot of griping today, but I don't really get this deal. I suppose we clear a little salary, but Wuertz was a serviceable 6th or 7th inning guy, with a killer slider when working. He could have competed for a bullpen spot.

Doesn't look like either Robnett or Sellers are world-beaters.

"When working" is the key phrase. Guess Lou just got sick of watching him miss the zone. Another inmate of Lou's doghouse gone.
Don't know the scouting reports well, but Robnett could be a world-eater: 5'10", 200 lb? Decent power numbers in the minors.

Another example of penny-pinching Ricketts running this team into the ground!!!!!!!12

Now Lou's doghouse is empty except for Fukudome, who will be almost impossible to get rid of. At least Marquis was worth half what he was getting paid.

Well, I would've liked to get more than this back. This seems like more of a Kevin Hart or Angel Guzman return. Wuertz has had MLB success.

I don't remember ever having so many optionless players to give away. Maybe this is the first time I'm paying attention this way.

Sellers is somewhat of a prospect--willing to take a walk but underwhelming with the batting average and power--but he only weighs 155 lbs and is 5'10", so maybe he matures a bit and develops a little bit more power. In googling him, I found varying reports on his defense. At least he's a SS.

That outfielder, though. Wow. Where does the baseball cube get their scouting reports? They have his power listed at 92, but I don't see much reason to see that based on his minor league numbers.

Looking at the 40-man roster:

With these deals (Hill/Wuertz) the Cub roster is at 38. I looked and RHill isn't listed on the website but Wuertz is still on the roster and there are 39 with him.

Does this clear space for Aurelia? Will they probably add a prospect or two to the 40 man roster (is there any value to doing this?)

What are the plans for Brad Snyder? Mostly injury insurance for the OF (ie. Bradley)?

Sounds like questions for Super-AZ-Phil...

Oliver Perez again a Met, 3/36

Kinda sorry to see them both go, but probably for the best.

I've always thought that Rich's problems with strictly mental, and he's done absolutely nothing to remedy those. Maybe whatshisface pitching coach can get him back. I don't think Larry or anybody else knows what the heck is wrong with him.

I always kinda liked Wuertz, but there again, he walks too many guys. He was lights-out nasty in '06, but his WHIP has gone dramastically (yes, dramatically and drastically put together) since, including 20 walks with only 30 K's in 44 innings last year. Ick.

updated the post with scouting reports on the 2 newbies..

Robnett will be added to the 40-man roster

Thanks for the update Rob. Robnett could be an exciting pickup.

It had to happen, but I have always been a big fan of Rich Hill, and hope that he starts pitching well again. His season in 2007 was incredibly underrated, and was just as good as Z or Lilly that year.

Wuertz has long been hated by many Cubs fans, but was better than people realized. But he won't be missed, especially at a cost of over a million dollars.

"Wuertz has long been hated by many Cubs fans, but was better than people realized. But he won't be missed, especially at a cost of over a million dollars."

I knew somebody would knockwuertz.

just thinking out loud...

starting 8: Soriano, Theriot, DLee, Bradley, ARam, Soto, Fontenot, Fukudome
starting 5: Z, Dempster, Harden, Lilly, (Marshall)
bullpen-7: Marmol, Gregg, (Heilman), Gaudin, Vizcaino, Cotts, last spot from below (Guzman?)
bench-5: Bako, (Hoffpauir), Miles, Gathright, RJohnson, (Aurelia)

Hoffpauir vs ? Aurelia, lefty vs righty off the bench vs the value of a true 3B to backup ARam.

5th starter battle Marshall vs Heilman, need for more than one lefty out of the pen might give Heilman an edge, with Shark possibly pushing himself onto the roster (but not looking like there is room in April)

not much room unless they beat someone above (or another trade) out for a job:

AGuzman, DPatton, Koyie Hill, KHart, JStevens

The bullpen would look a lot better with Shark in there.

I vote for H-Power off the bench -- otherwise, no LH pop at all. He may not hit, but, like DWard, he might get walked a bit.

bah...wuertz for nothing.

Now this has me as well scratching my head. A proven MLB pitcher for middling prospects.

That's all Hendry could get?

a defensive specialist IF'r and a cody ross clone.


Wuertz for the most part was one of the better relievers in baseball in stranding runners on base. You had a guy in scoring postion, you bring Wuertz and he got the job done better than most.

Sidekick to Josie Wales (Lou P.):
"I noticed people you DON'T like don't tend to stick around very long, either."

Lou snarled at Wuertz a few times when he went to take him out

Wuertz IRS% by year:

2004: 76.4%
2005: 78%
2006: 69.8%
2007: 88.3%
2008: 76.9%

League average is something like high 60's to low 70's I believe...He had one great year, otherwise just a bit above average. The leaders are usually in the upper 80's, low 90 percentile.

I certainly don't feel that Hendry got clipped, which is usually what happens when he deals with Billy Beane.

Wuertz spent most of July and all of August in Iowa. He was healthy in every respect except his morale and his career. He was the reason we saw so much of Howry. Rob gave us good Wuertz numbers, Wes gave us bad numbers. Take your pick. Lou didn't like him and he had to go.

I keep reading that the Cubs were better last year. Last year they had Eyre, Wuertz and Howry.

In return we get an outfielder--and not a left fielder--the A's seem to have liked, not too long ago. It happens we need a center fielder, or, if Bradley moves to center, a right fielder, someone who bats lefty with a little pop. Someone besides Fukudome. Maybe he'll blossom, maybe not, but it's a shot. It's partly Wilken's judgement, too, I would think.

As for the shortstop, when I read about someone with "better than average range and arm" and soft hands, I don't think of Theriot.

not the arm so much, but theriot was considered a plus defender coming up the system and when he was drafted. He's been around average in the majors so far....

We also save a million bucks for what that's worth...which is a million bucks. Alot of moves this year have been about shedding payroll, DeRosa and Marquis being the best examples.

EDIT: I suppose slightly less than that as one of these guys is on the 40-man. But still a savings.


an NL advanced scout's take on Wuertz, nothing any decent Cub fan wouldn't know...

the article does say the A's have been interested in Wuertz for awhile...

im getting a little weary of how true this whole "lou's doghouse" crap seems to be...

i remember watching a healthy scott eyre warm up for 2 weeks while lou marched out guys who had worked 2-3 days in a row, long relievers, and everyone else under the sun but the guy who was later shifted off to philly after non-use.

we saw wuertz get sent down for reasons still to be explained fully after he fumbled a bit in a few appearances (after dominating early in the month). he got lit up in april and was worked hard the whole time...may/early june he was cruising...then doghouse.

what the hell is it? coincidence? i dunno... i thought it was just a bit of hype, but i dunno what to make of it or what causes it.

I read somewhere that Lou hates pitchers (was that linked on this blog?). I think it might be true. In a way.

Thanks Rob. Posted all of two days ago, no wonder I forgot where I saw it.

This is the quote I was thinking of:

''He just doesn't have patience,'' Nelson says. ''He doesn't understand pitchers. He tells you, 'Throw the ball over the plate.' You feel like saying: 'Is that what I'm supposed to do? I didn't know that. I thought I was supposed to come out here and walk everyone.' '

It makes Lou's doghouse seem even more ridiculous. And why doesn't he send the pitching coach to the mound more often if that's all he has to contribute? I've never understood the occasional cursing out that Lou likes to give pitchers on national television.

not counting the hank white non-use (especially when hot), at least it's mostly a minor-role pitching thing.

it's hard to look back on how he handed his team in TB (to me) because there was so much youth to handicap vs. his moves. i've forgotten more about his SEA teams than i remember and his CIN days was a world away, anyway.

and Eyre was excellent as soon as he hit Philly
2 Wins, 1.88 ERA, .76 WHIP, 18Ks/14IP.

This comment from an A's fan in your sfgate article reminded me of a few reactions to Pie for Heilman.

"I think we need a story analyzing the A's drafting since Billy Beane became GM. I'm not that impressed. Here's another example: Trading an 04 #1 draft pick for a 30 yr old who is projected to pitch the 6th inning..."

I can't wait till the season starts and things quiet down.

every teams' fan bitch about their GM and manager, no matter what...

the crap Theo Epstein took after 2004 and 2005 was pretty legendary for losing Pedro and Damon.

any time you're dealing with people who post on newspaper story threads you're generally dealing with...um...interesting people.

in all seriousness, some of the most brain dead and explosively reactionary people i've ever run across are the people posting on news stories of the various papers i read online.

it makes people who post on specialty sites like mlb.com and etc. look pretty brilliant.

/end over-generalization


added Perez signing with the Mets, 4 more to go

on tip from Cubster yesterday...Caribbean WS on MLB Network.

top 2nd right now...VEN-1 DOM-0

because MLB.com's design crew and webmasters are total retards who care more about how slick their graphics are rather than how easy it is to find info you're looking for...





I ♣ YOUR DOG !!!!

You club somebody's dog?

It's better than spading a cat I suppose.

was wondering when someone would see that...or if anyone cared.

i didn't notice til it was up almost an hour. heh.

nice. you win a...umm...

well, you most likely noticed it 59 minutes before i did. hehe

Wow... 3/36 for Perez?

And people are complaining about Dempster's contract?

Probably could have had Lowe for not a whole lot more than that.

There were conflicting reports that the Mets offered Lowe that exact deal. Why not go 2 or 3 million per year more and just get Lowe? Shoulda never let him get away to Atlanta.

Submitted by Cubster on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 1:36pm.

Looking at the 40-man roster:

With these deals (Hill/Wuertz) the Cub roster is at 38. I looked and RHill isn't listed on the website but Wuertz is still on the roster and there are 39 with him.

Does this clear space for Aurelia?

Will they probably add a prospect or two to the 40 man roster (is there any value to doing this?)

What are the plans for Brad Snyder? Mostly injury insurance for the OF (ie. Bradley)?

Sounds like questions for Super-AZ-Phil...


CUBSTER: Subtracting R. Hill and Wuertz and adding Robnett, the Cubs roster is now at 39.

Richie Robnett has two minor league options left, and he should be the starting RF and #5 hitter at Iowa in 2009. I saw Robnett play in the AFL a couple of years ago, and he is really cut. He looks like he should be a running back or a free safety. He has plus-power and a plus-arm (arm is right up there with Felix Pie and Sam Fuld, and just behind Ryan Harvey, Kyler Burke, and Nelson Perez). As a hitter, Robnett reminds me a LOT of Jacque Jones, in that he is a first-ball fastball hitter with lots of swings & misses. He is sort of a "hacker," but he does have HR power. He could develop into an MLB 4th OF or even a platoon OF at any of the three OF positions, but I doubt that he'll ever be anything more than that. Or he could just be a 4-A guy. Mainly he needs to stay healthy.

As for Brad Snyder, I think the Cubs probably clamed him off waivers because they got good reports on him back when he was at Ball State with Luke Hagerty and they want to see if a change in scenery will do him any good. (Like Robnett, Snyder was a #1 draft pick). The Cubs also got a good look at Snyder when he played in the AFL with the Mesa Solar Sox (Cubs are the host team) a couple of years ago.

The Cubs should have outrighted Snyder right after they claimed him though, because if he has a good Spring Training, the Cubs will lose him off waivers (Snyder is out of options). Back when the Cubs claimed him (end of September), all the other MLB clubs (except the Angels) had a worse record than the Cubs and yet the Cubs won the claim. Therefore everybody passed on him. So then the Cubs should have immediately placed him back on Outright Waivers again and outrighted him to the minors when they had the chance (he isn't eligible to be a Rule 55 minor league FA until after the 2009 season, and he wasn't going to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft for $50,000 if no other club was interested enough to claim him off waivers for $20,000). If the Cubs had done that (outrighted him right after they claimed him), they could have brought him to Spring Training as an NRI without having to risk losing him in case he has a really good ST. They could have kept him at Iowa in 2009 to see if he could get it together. Now the only way that happens is if Snyder has a bad ST.

Although they don't look alike, Richie Robnett and Brad Snyder basically are comparable players.

robnett im actually a little familiar with, too.

he's pretty much the closest thing physically and play-wise i've seen to cody ross.

If the guys turns into Cody Ross, that's a nice trade for us.

yeah, im just talking build/size/athleticism/swing and OF range/arm...

unfortunately robnett dont have ross's batting eye/pitch selection.

basically, i see them both as efficient OF fielding beefcubes with deceptive power vs. their size.

AZ Phil,

Is Angel Guzman out of options this Spring training? I thought he had a 4th option year due to his injuries and could be optioned out this ST?

I'm sure you'll get a more detailed AZ Phil answer soon enough, but I believe Guzman was given a 4th option year last year and was used up.

He is currently out of options.


Thanks,Rob......my bad, I should have looked in the Junk Drawer.

What annoys me about Hendry is that he is an AWFUL GM when it comes to getting talent for players you no longer need/want, but have value. The only thing Hendry seems good at is attracting free agents and selling them on the Cubs, which admittedly he has done very well (I think Furcal is about his only turndown).

But explain to me how the Royals can turn a Wuertz-quality reliever in Ramirez into Coco Crisp, but the Cubs can only get two nothing "prospects" for Mike Wuertz? Huh? Wuertz has better numbers than Ramirez.

So let's get this straight. This offseason, Jim Hendry has turned Jose Ceda, Mike Wuertz, Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Rich Hill, Kerry Wood, Jason Marquis and Mark DeRosa into Aaron Heilman, Kevin Gregg, a total stiff in Vizcaino, and several nobody minor leaguers that will never sniff the big leagues.

Explain to me again how Jim Hendry keeps his job, I missed that meme.

504-467 record since 2003 and 3 playoff appearances in 5 seasons, best record in the NL in 2008, should have been the best team in 2004.

Lucky for you, he has a 4 yr extension that was likely approved by all the potential owners.

im not all that thrilled with this year's return on investment shifting parts, but k.wood shouldn't be in that list, imo.

you gotta balance it all with people saying the same thing about ceda when the t.walker trade went down...there's no A-grade prospect in the bunch, but there's a good chunk we'll probably have a better feel for in a few months to a year.

btw, i'm a heilman fan so i'm not upset there at all. ceda for gregg leaves me going "meh" but i like gregg...just not at that price. glad to have him, though.

if you're subtracting Kerry Wood, you need to add Milton Bradley...

if you're just talking trades:

Cubs get: Luis Vizcaino, Aaron Heilman, Kevin Gregg, Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer, John Gaub, Richie Robnett, Justin Sellers, Hank Williamson and a PTBNL

Cubs lost:  Mark DeRosa, Jason Marquis, Jose Ceda, Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Rich Hill, Michael Wuertz

that's 7 for 10, Phil Rogers approves :)

Yeah Hendry really stunk up the joint with that Aramis Ramirez trade. Ditto that Derek Lee fiasco.

Ceda turned out like crap, so did Kevin Hart, Harden was a total bust besides that whole sub 2.00 ERA...

But explain to me how the Royals can turn a Wuertz-quality reliever in Ramirez into Coco Crisp

probably cause the Royals were willing to take Crisp's $6.25M he's owed  (could be more if his option is picked up).... money he's mostly not lived up to recently


"What annoys me about Hendry is that he is an AWFUL GM when it comes to getting talent for players you no longer need/want, but have value."

He turned washed up Sammy Sosa into Mike Fontenot.
He turned Freedy Bynum into Kevin Hart.
He turned Todd Hundley into Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielaniek.

Barrett for Burke and Jones and Ohman for Ascanio were also pretty good value in terms of trading no value MLB players into decent prospects. Lets not forget Hendry is one only 2 GM's (the other is Jocketty) to GM 3 teams to the playoffs without the benefit of a limitless payroll.

andy freaking pratt

Andy Pratt was one of the Braves better prospects at the time of the deal. No GM is perfect and yes Jimbo has made errors but come on already, the man is the most sucessful GM this team has had during the drought.

That trade was not that simple.

In 2003 Pratt had a 3.40 ERA and 161 Ks in 156 IP in a full season in AAA for the Braves. He looked like a Neal Cotts-like lefty reliever. The Cubs also got Richard Lewis, a former 1st round pick by the Braves, who promptly won league MVP honors for the Cubs AA team in 2004 after the trade. For West Tenn he hit .329/.391/.532 with 10 homers, 10 triples, and 7 SB. He also led the league in FP at 2B at .995. He injured his leg late in the season though and has never regained his form. I believe he was out of baseball last year after struggling in the minors from 2005-07.

The Cubs got rid of Steve Smyth, who never made it back to the majors, and Juan Cruz. Cruz at the time was coming off a 2-7 season in which he had a 6.05 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 61 IP. He did put up a solid 2004 season in the Braves pen, but then followed that up with an ERA over 7.00 for the A's in 2005 and over 4.00 in his first year with the D-backs. He has put together two good season out of the pen the last two years, but the Cubs didn't really have the time or roster space to wait for this to all work out.

The Cubs also turned Pratt into Ben Grieve who put up a .879 OPS off the bench in September 2004 for the Cubs.

I'm not disappointed with this trade; Wuertz' numbers were acceptable but we need more than acceptable.

I'm surprised Selig is paid anything at all.


heard on the radio this morning that Goodell makes about $11M, Stern $10M.

I think Bettman pays the owners to let him stay.

Maybe the Goodell should take a pay cut so the league can hire better refs or train the dumb ones they have. This year was the worst year for NFL officating. The last 35 seconds of the game were a good example, missing an obvious penality (excessive celebration on Holmes, you can not use the ball as a prop) and not reviewing the fumble/incomplete pass from Warner that ended the game. Also on that called back Rothesilberger TD the refs missed the obvious illegal assitence he got from his center, though to their defense Michaels and Madden missed it to.

more money cleared up...roster spot gone...what's next?

me guesses Kevin Millar or Rich Aurilia

Blue Jays have supposedly offered Millar a minor league deal.

im still surprised we have gaithright rather than jay payton...payton was supposedly a 4th OF hendry favorite for quite a while.

we can offer him a major league deal and Yellon will jump for joy...

What does Millar do for us that Hoffpauir doesn't?


I don't fucking know, it's not my idea. Nomar was supposedly on the radar too, but my guess is they go with Aurilia.

add proven vet grit and probably 1 million in payroll.


dude ran into Steve Stone and Dusty bashing commences....

"First and foremost the very first thing out of his mouth is "what side of town do you root for" to which I replied "I'm a die hard Cubs fan since I was a very little boy" and he said "Oh, the Cubs who haven't done anything for you in 101 years..that team?'"

stay classy, steve. take it personally, steve. it's all about you, steve. you vs. the cubs, steve. never forget. geez...

cool story/post, btw.


"Dusty had 0 control over the team. Moises Alou basically ran the team and was/is one of the biggest cry babies in all of baseball. I could see a lot of emotion on Mr. Stone's face about this topic so I didn't press it."

that is fucking retarded. haha.

Steve was/is high on Donnie Veal also.

Don't trust his assements on young players too much especially when he's high on an overweight Cuban teen ager.

I would have asked him how it's going to be with Hawk making Harry sound like Vin Scully.

i quit taking stone seriously long ago.

he should try taking himself a little less seriously, imo.

Former Cub prospect Ryan Jorgenson, most famous for being part of the Willis-Clement-Alfonseca trade, announced his retirement today.

I'll read a Stone article any chance. Thanks for the share.

Beefcubes: metric system?

only for olympic weightlifters

Does anybody here like Vizcaino? I seem to remember him as being an effective holds guy in a 6x6 roto league that counts that.

remember that feeling you got every time kyle farnsworth took the mound?

...get used to the feeling again!

Another random cubs blog out there is talking about the possibility of Nomar instead of Aurillia or others.


I'll take Nomar if he comes at the same price as Aurilia. I guess. Doesn't really have to stay healthy for 300 AB's or more. Probably give you more power than Aurilia.

I like Nomar, but odds of him being ready when Ramirez's leg or back problems flair up are probably only 50%.

This blog mentioned it half an hour before your post.

My two cents:

I think the Cubs will shut Harden down to start the season (just a hunch) so he's fresh for the stretch drive. This will allow them to give Heilman, Shark and Marshall a chance to compete for two starting spots. Depending on how they do, they'll have "developed" another starter, giving them trade options and/or insurance.

I see the staff out of camp looking like this:

1. Z
2. Dempster
3. Lilly
4. Shark
5. Heilman

1. Marmol
2. Gregg
3. Marshall
4. Gaudin
5. Guzman
6. Cotts
7. Hart or Vizcaino

Whither Sean Marshall? Heilman has been a solid reliever, showing flashes of dominance. He got lit up as a starter his first couple of seasons. The knock on him has been that he doesn't have that 3rd pitch to use the secons/third time through the order. Why mess up a good thing?

Hendry told WGN Radio yesterday that they "have to have Marshall in the mix, whether in relief or a 5th (starter)." I believe he is one of Lou's faves too, so he'll be in that competition.

Bruce Miles blog reads as a Q & A...Nine questions answered.

Q: I'm trying to recall the Rich Hill trade rumor(s) from a few seasons ago at the Winter Meetings. The rumors were so persistent, I believe you got Hendry to say that Hill was "untouchable."
A: There were rumors of the Cubs turning down an offer of Adam Dunn for Hill. Not true. It was all a hypothetical situation.


Ha, I forgot all about that, when Rich Hill was "untouchable"... haha... good times.

I have this fear that he'll return to being awesome this year now that he's been traded.

ESPN's Jayson Stark says the Dodgers 1/25 offer to ManRam/Boras has a 48 hour deadline to accept.


Ya know, Hendry could salvage this offseason by signing Orlando Hudson. Forget Peavy. Forget Roberts, too. Hudson is almost as good a hitter as Roberts, doesn't steal bases like him, but his glove his top-notch and his OBP is fine. All it will cost Hendry is a draft pick (which the Cubs will screw up anyway) and less money for less years than Roberts will command. And, Hendry gets to keep the remaining prospects he has that are worth something (I'm looking at you, Josh Vitters).

Hudson, Bradley and 1/2 of Fukudome is an improvement on DeRosa, Fukudome and 1/2 of Jim Edmonds. Heilman > Marquis, so even though Hendry has muffed it this year with role players, Hudson would bring things back around to even keel or perhaps a slight improvement on the 2008 bunch.

O-dog time, I'm beating that drum, yes.

Jim Hendry can't hear you through the pillow Mike Fontenot is holding over your face.

Sign Hudson and the bench would be much improved, too. I like Fonty a lot more on the bench than as a starter. Fontenot + Miles is an improvement over Fontenot + Cedeno.

Hudson, do it.

Forget Peavy. Forget Roberts, too. Hudson is almost as good a hitter as
Roberts, doesn't steal bases like him, but his glove his top-notch and
his OBP is fine.

let's not be spreading any crazy rumors around here... WARP1 scores...

Year Roberts  Hudson
2005 9.8 5.7
2006 4.9 6.9
2007 7.8 6.9
2008 8.3 5.9


Both players are 31...Hudson takes quite a hit defensively if you look at UZR instead of BP's FRAA...

Either Hudson is asking for a multiyear deal that no one wants to give or no one wants to give up their #1 pick for him....or both.

Nonetheless, if the Cubs had $5M or more to spend on a 2bmen, they would have kept DeRosa.


Roberts pulled a D-Lee, he had one monster year. Beyond that he's been good, not great. Hudson has been above average, not especially good. In fact, at the plate, Hudson is DeRosa before DeRosa figured out how to hit like a stud.

I wouldn't put it past the Cubs though to value his defense and "left-handedness" via switch-hitting, over DeRosa's skill set. So maybe to them, he's worth more than DeRo's $5MM.


Robnett seems like Patterson or Pie minus the hype or minor league production. At least he looks good in a uniform and when he's running out to his position!

Maybe Sellers can end up being a Scrappy McGritterson who contributes relatively little to the team but is beloved by announcers, or something.

"Maybe Sellers can end up being a Scrappy McGritterson who contributes relatively little to the team but is beloved by announcers, or something."

Have someone in mind you're comparing him to...

Robnett is like Patterson or Pie without the minor league production.

Wow....so just how crappy is Robnett? He's like Barry Bonds without the power or eye at the plate...he's like Rod Carew except he can't hit for a high average...he's like Lou Brock minus the stolen bases....

He sounds like Jason Marquis at the plate.

Only without the mediocre pitching to back it up.

Richie Robnett played for City College here a few years back where he starred so it was natural for my Foresters to pick him up. Richie was a hitting machine. I think he batted .337 for the summer in 2003. The nickname of the Foresters by the way is "the Cubs."

Here's a video interview with Richie that the Sacramento Bee did. I think you'll like him. Spoiler: Robnett's first organized team was also named "the Cubs" (T-Ball).



btw, if the Chicago Cubs are looking for a kid who can rake from the left side, we had one here with the Foresters last summer, CHAD MOZINGO. On the season he put up an unreal .426 .500 .554 with a 1.000 FP on 41 chances in the outfield. He was 19, now 20 and attending Rice University. Showed up as a freshman and played his way onto the Varsity starting lineup. Not big but very athletic.


call chad and tell him how much you love him...heh.


didn't show much power as a freshman, but he's still a growing kid with time.

Maybe Sellers can end up being a Scrappy McGritterson
Sellers took a night school class at LSU?

Wiggington signs 2yrs with Orioles per Rosenthal


looks like he's a righty platoon at 1B-DH (leftys: Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff) and backup to Mora at 3B.

Aurelia off the board next?

Wiggington is a good player.

He can play a servicable 3rd,2nd,and 1st.

If Melvin Mora can still play a decent SS then maybe they can move Izturis where he belongs?

Where is that....AAA? Working at a McDonald's with Enrique Wilson, Jose Macias, Freddie Bynum, and Neifi Perez?

I was thinking the Bench.

But without Andy McFail he is probably working with the above guys.

Lol...yeah...I agree Dr.....Izturis...ugh

Manny rejected the Dodgers' 1/25 offer.

Manny rejected the Dodgers' 1/25 offer.
Ned Coletti takes 1/25 to the hoop with a strong move. REJECTED by Manram.

Wow what a block.

Where else will manny go?

I cannot imagine another team giving Manny 25 Million for any season.

He also turned down 2/45 earlier this offseason.

He might be playing OF with Sosa/Bonds this season?

Boras so far schooled twice this offseason...


Recent comments

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  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 34 min 56 sec ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 57 min 24 sec ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 58 min 18 sec ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 3 hours 7 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 3 hours 50 min ago view
  • crunch 5 hours 32 min ago view
  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 9 hours 25 min ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs


    Arizona Phil 21 hours 39 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • And...now that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 1 day 3 hours ago view