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- The Cubs purchased the contract of catcher Shawn McGill from the Lincoln Saltdogs of the (cutting and pasting) American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. McGill will be at spring training as one of the extra catchers around to help with all the extra pitchers around.

- Cubs.com with an article on some of the Korean players the Cubs have signed.

- Individual game tickets for 2009 games at Wrigley Field go on sale on February 20th. Our readers say skip the virtual waiting room and just call.

- Cubs special assistant Gary Hughes inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.

- Matt Murton traded to the Colorado Rockies for minor league infielder Corey Wimberly. Good luck to Orange Guy.

- New York trades Wright to the Brewers...give it a sec....then give reader John Beasley credit for that one.

- Don't mess with Edinson Volquez.

-  Ken Rosenthal doesn't believe the new owner in San Diego will change the Jake Peavy situation too much.

- Aramis Ramirez is going to sit out of the WBC because he doesn't want to back-up A-Fraud.

-  An interview with Cubs radio play-by-play man Pat Hughes at Chicago Cubs Online.

-  A little site news, at the bottom of each story below the comment box you'll see the RSS icon , you can now subscribe to comments to an individual post. You can also add this link to your favorite RSS reader for site-wide comments. They only show up in flat view, so no threaded comments and it doesn't seem to update too frequently in my Google Reader so far, but it's available.

Also, we have a Twitter page too thanks to Cubnut (there's a widget on the sidebar as well) and we've had a Facebook page apparently since last year thanks to Ruz. Anyone know of a Twitter widget that will display all the feeds of the people you're following?

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Comments

See, the reason John Beasley's joke was funny was because he just said New York.

The reason why your joke isn't funny is because it was the Yankees, not the Mets.

I give you a "Fail."

crap....

Rob G Youngman? Henny's mashugana brother. Never could deliver a punch line.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Ani1haeK38R_...

Witch-hunt!!

By the time investigator Jeff Novitzky drove Barry Bonds to the federal building to testify before a grand jury in December 2003, agents from the U.S. Treasury Department had begun a probe into Novitzky and three other IRS agents over missing evidence and questionable conduct in the BALCO case.

I'm embarrassed to say this, but as a 22 year old, I have no clue what twitter is...

I'm 30. I signed up for Twitter, had no idea what the point was. I just don't get it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.

Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, SMS, RSS, or through applications such as TwitterMobile, Tweetie, Twinkle, Twitterrific, Feedalizr, Facebook, and Twidget, a widget application. Four gateway numbers are currently available for SMS: short codes for the United States, Canada, and India, and a United Kingdom-based number for international use. Several third parties offer posting and receiving updates via email. By September 2008, Twitter had 'well over 5 million visitors.'

it's all the rage, but I think it's particularly useful for cellphone users.

Kinda like having a blog, just way more succinct. So you have a Twitter account, and people can follow you, and you post updates like a line or two long (known as Tweeting), and they know what your doing.

A lot of people Tweet from their phones. Kind of a big story when that plane ran off the runway in Denver a month or so back. The news kinda broke on the internet because some guy tweeted about it as soon as it happened.

It's kind of like your facebook status, I guess.

EDIT: Or what Rob said..

Consider me even more confused. Do I have to have a internet-enabled phone? I assume so. I'll mess around with it when I get out of school and the webblocker isn't yelling at me. I can always use more TCR in my life

don't think it has to be web-enabled, just be able to receive text messages. You might need Internet access to follow the links I post, but I always do a very brief summary of the article.

So when I sign up eventualy I'll get a text from Rob G's twitter telling me the Cubs just acquired Peavy for a PTBNL? I can live with that.

pretty much, if I remember to do the twitter update for that post....

and it'll be the TCR Twitter feed, I don't have my own...

http://drupal.org/project/twitter

That should update twitter every time you write a post.

thanks.

installed and working wonderfully...thanks again.

It should now automatically update with the title of the post and URL if anyone is following us.

as I mentioned, you can see what it looks like on the widget in the bottom right, although it seems to be screwing up the links.

I am a computer guy - lived in SF during the .com boom and I see no point in twitter - why do I care if you are eating breakfast right now? I just don't get it. They tell me email is for grandparents, so I guess I am officially out of the loop.

I think myspace, facebook, personal blogs, etc. have helped people to elevate their own sense of self-importance. People actually think that others care about their mundate lives and 'philosophical' musings. Suddenly, everyone thinks that Bartletts is scouting them for new material.

Or maybe everyone else just has more interest in other people than I do. I do use facebook and Hi5 to keep in touch with people in other states and countries, though, so to each his own.

kinds of like the a*holes that drone on and on about their fantasy teams....

wait, why is everyone looking at me?

Kinds of like that, yes...except fantasy baseball is important.

Because kids today are taught that they are the most important thing. They have all this esteem blown up their asses and are taught that the world is a big mean place. Pretty much why I hate most people under the age of 30.

Yeah, Carlos, i said it!

I hate everyone I know named Chad.

I even hate the country, just because it shares a name with him.

Well Chad Lowe and I will remember that.

Personally, I believe the children are the future...

I'm 29, by the by.

...unless we stop them now!

Children are great!

Some thyme, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper. Mmmmm.....that's a good boy!

Bummer.

I noticed that two of the Koreans have TJs that they are recovering from so I don't think we'll really see what these guys are like until 2010. Perhaps the infielder will show us something before then...

Hopefully Matt Murton will get a chance to play a few games in Colorado, he behaved well in Chicago despite the fact that he really wasn't in the Cubs' plans. I wish him the best except when he plays the North Siders.

If Murton finds the power stroke many here thought he was capable of, everyone will just write it off as an effect of being in Coors Field. I think Murton's a good example of someone with a lot of talent, but doesn't have anything break his way. Then again, he might just not be very good.
I wish him luck, though. I always thought he got shafted while he was with the Cubs

"I always thought he got shafted while he was with the Cubs"

I did too. Nice opposite field hitter with decent power just never seem to have a spot (being behind Soriano or Jock Jones).

Hope he does well, just not against the Cubs.

Has anyone ever read a scouting report where the prospect reminded the scout of some player who tanked?

I have.

I forget where I read it (my memory says "Moneyball" but that doesn't seem right) but the writer was quoting a particular scout's entry to reveal how these reports actually read.

After a long (slightly sensual) description of the player's trunk and torso and rear and flanks, the scout compared the player in question to Brad Rigby.

Does anyone else remember this?

lots.

unfortunately too many of the summaries get loaded with bad humor by the time they filter to the media/blog/etc. level. it softens the impact a bit i guess.

Noticed the Cubs article on foreign players failed to mention Aussie outfielder Sean Williams. Anyone know if he's still with the organization?

http://mystateline.com/content/fulltext/?cid=46841

Chicago Cubs fans and admirers of the city of Chicago from around the world are being offered an opportunity to include their name or the name of a loved one in the closing credits of the theatrical release or the DVD of the upcoming documentary “We Believe – Chicago and its Cubs” to be released in the spring of 2009.

replica brick!

Some pretty damning stuff.

Anderson: “No, what happens is, they put too much in one area, and what it does, it ‘ill, it ‘ill actually ball up and puddle. And what happens is, it actually will eat away and make an indentationi. And it’s a cyst. It makes a big (expletive) cyst. And you have to drain it. Oh yeah, it’s gnarly … Hi Benito … oh it’s gnarly.”

Hoskins: “He said his (expletive) went … that’s why he has to, he had to switch off of one cheeek to the other. Is that why Barry’s didn’t do it in one spot, and you didn’t just let him do it one time?”

Bonds’ lawyers also want to prevent the jury from hearing evidence of at least four positive steroid tests they argue can’t be conclusively linked to Bonds because of how they were processed.

According to records prosecutors took from BALCO, Bonds tested positive on three separate occasions in 2000 and 2001 for the steroid methenelone in urine samples; he also tested positive two of those three times for the steroid nandrolone. Prosecutors want to use those test results to show Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in December 2003 that he never knowingly used steroids.

In addition, a government-retained scientist, Dr. Don Catlin, said he found evidence that Bonds used the designer steroid THG upon retesting a urine sample Bonds supplied as part of baseball’s anonymous survey drug testing in 2003, when the designer drug was non yet detectable. Federal investigators seized them in 2004 from the private laboratory used by Major League Baseball before they could be destroyed, which the players were promised.

There is even more instances of positive drug tests coming up with Bonds, including Blood sample reports that show steroid use.

The government has done its home work on Bonds and obtained tons of evidence.

Bonds and the Player's association are going to have one helluva lawsuit against MLB and that lab.

The Greg Anderson transcript seems most damning. I guess that's the Patriot act at work for the people?

I still don't see how retesting old samples that previously tested negative proves that Bonds knew anything?

They couldn't test for THG at the time. Now they have a test for it and are re-testing the sample. Thus they could show that Bonds took THG before he made his statements.

I got the blues.

Kerry Wood, Hank White and Mark DeRosa are gone.

Kevin Gregg, Paul Bako and Aaron Miles are here.

Doesn't feel right. Not at all. On a lot of levels -- talent being one.

I got them "what the hell is Hendry doing?" blues.

Don't forget Joey Gathright!

Be patient. That was just the first verse.

Umm... why do people do this?

Why would you talk about losing good players, but not talk about adding good players (i.e. Bradley)?

The team is downgraded from last year. Simple as that.

Perhaps... I am not sure that I really agree with that, but even still, it is more than just a little ingenious to talk about the best players that left, but not the best players that have joined the team.

It makes you all look like whiny Hendry haters when you are unwilling to deal with all the facts.

Deceiving, because you make it look like Gregg replaces Wood, when in fact Marmol does; and like Miles replaces DeRosa, when his real replacements are Fontenot and Bradley. (DeRosa started over fifty games in the outfield.)

The Cubs shed these guys who didn't contribute much: Marquis, Wuertz, Hill, Cedeno, Pie, Blanco, Howry, Ward. I would argue that Edmonds wasn't good, although there are about thirty guys here who would argue with me. He did hit a weekly shot to left that was often caught by a guy extending his beer mug out over the basket. I thought Edmonds was good when they got him--it must be the Cardinal mystique--but I gradually changed my mind.

Bako is meaningless, because a) he's not on the team yet, and b) he won't get 100 at bats anyway. The Dodgers had three catchers besides Martin last year. They got 75 at bats. The reserve catcher doesn't even get to pinch-hit, because he has to be held in reserve.

Gathright has a role. If you like stolen bases, it's a not insignificant role.

I actually like everything Hendry has done this winter and a few things he hasn't done.

If you don't understand why putting up a line of .256/.369/.568 is good, I am not sure what to tell you.

I am also baffled about how Marquis didn't contribute much.

The rest I agree with you - easily replaceable.

BR says Edmonds hit .241 in the second half, though he kept his slugging numbers up by cranking those balls to left. BR has a strange concept of "second half," I'll admit. It seems to be after the all-star game, which doesn't necessarily split the season into halves. But Edmonds did most of his hitting in the first month with the Cubs.

It's largely an aesthetic thing: he had the ugliest swing I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few opposite-field-hitting lefty swingers with the Cubs.

He started to look old. Well, he is old. He made an awkward and potentially injurious half-dive for a ball in the playoffs, and I thought I was seeing Joe Hardy after the devil turned him back into a geezer.

Are people really going to miss this guy? Talk about rooting for laundry.

Marquis pitched better than the year before, but he was still only worth about half what he was getting paid. He did contribute something, more than the other players I mentioned, but what he contributed is easily replaceable.

Almost everyone refers to the games after the all-star break as "the second half".

From what you can see at BR, Edmonds didn't hit any more HR's to LF and LF-CF than he historically has. He's always been a guy who had trouble getting around on good fastballs.

You have yet to back up your crazy remark that Marquis didn't contribute anything.

Last year he gave us 5 innings or more in every start but one and 6 or more innings in 16 starts. He's an inning eater near the bottom of the rotation (and I think the Cubs were 16-12 when he started). Nothing takes a load off the bullpen like a guy like him. I don't see Harden matching his 28 starts from the #4 slot, nor Marshall or Heilman being as reliable.

I knew I would get dinged when I wrote that, but, you know, so much to say, so little time.

He contributed something. I didn't like him, nor did his manager, nor did most Cub fans. You probably didn't like him either.

Sean Marshall had much better numbers than Marquis. Of course he didn't get as many innings: you usually give the innings to the guy who makes the bucks. Then you trade him at the earliest opportunity. As I've said, I don't think they really traded for Vizcaino, they simply agreed to let the Rockies unload Vizcaino. The Rockies got Marquis for 4-1/2 million, which he might be worth (but not to me).

Marquis has a career ERA of 4.55 and a career WHIP of 1.42.
Marshall has a career ERA of 4.62 and a career WHIP of 1.41

Marquis had a shoulder injury in 2002...Marshall has had a finger, shoulder and rib injury since 2004. I thought he had some back issues as well, but I may be misremembering.

Didn't he have oblique problems?

maybe that was the rib injury that came up when I did a search or maybe something else as well...

Marquis performance was worth about $8.2M last year from his performance, he was paid $6.375M

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=105&position=P

Facts - they just get in the way.

He was a #5 starter. I would be surprised if there were many #5 starters making eight million, so I'm not sure what that stat means. It's just a number on a page. I see silly stats all the time.

A fifth starter in a healthy organization would be a young guy making less than a million--like Marshall or Hill or Gallagher or Guzman or Samadzija.

that last line literally makes no sense....

the Cubs paid Marquis for his durability after the Wood, Prior, etc fiascos. For the time he was here, they earned back their investment. Yes, guys like Marshall, Hill, etc have more upside, they also have more risk.

and don't act like your the first person to think the Cubs had to take on Vizcaino, of course they did, the Rockies weren't willing to pay more than $5M of Marquis contract so the Cubs had to take something on. They chose to take a player they probably didn't completely hate.

He's got decent stuff, just very wild.

 

"[Last year Marquis] was paid $6.375M"

There's a difference between what Marquis was paid and what the Cubs ended up paying, considering that they just paid the Rockies another million and they are overpaying Vizcaino another 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 million just to be rid of Marquis.

Marquis' real cost to the Cubs was $15-16 million for two seasons.

But for LAST SEASON, which is what you commented on, he cost $6.375 million.
No one held a gun to Hendry's head to backload the deal, or to trade him for flotsam such as Vizcaino. We got a reliable 5th starter for 2 pretty cheap seasons, then had to pay up this year if he'd been with the Cubs.

Marquis was not bad, he was middling mediocre, but he should be evaluated per his cost to the team for two seasons' work, not per his paycheck.

There was also the opportunity cost of lost starts to other, younger pitchers.

A healthy organization would have a stable of dirt-cheap young starters yearning for a shot at that fifth rotation spot, and not be tempted to throw money at a guy like Marquis.

I think Hendry is learning when to spend money and when not to. He's a slow learner sometimes, but he gets it eventually, although in this case, the bad economy might have helped.

I am a Sean Marshall supporter. I think he'll be a fine 5th starter.

Who were the Cubs supposed to plug in to that spot? In 2007, Marshall and Marquis were in the rotation. In 2008, he was Harden's back-up pitcher.
Why is he getting evaluated to 2 seasons of pay? I'm not sure why that would be
correct.
Marquis was not a bad signing, just a little pricier this season. Many teams would gladly take 23-18 over 2 seasons from their fifth starter, with a 4.55 ERA and about 180 innings each season on average. Ask the Phillies how Adam Eaton worked out.

Although I agree in theory with your concept of 'opportunity cost' in practice I am going to have to go ahead and call bullshit.

Two reasons.

The first is Pinhead, who doesn't understand that players, no matter how talented, have to learn at the majors.

The second is. which 'healthy orginazation' are you talking about? The Yankees (Hughes 6.62 and Kennedy 8.17 ERA) the Red Sox (Clay Bucholz 6.75 ERA) the Twins (Bosner 5.93 ERA) the Rays (Edwin Jackson 183.1 innings 31 GS 4.42 ERA). Who's your La La Land healthy organization?

Marquis cost the Cubs $11.125 M the past 2 years...

his performance was worth about $15.1 M the last 2 years...

the Cubs are paying $875K for 2009, we don't know what they'll get out of Vizcaino yet...although chances are much less than the $3.5M he's set to make...

even if Vizcaino is pretty much a $0 value bust, it'll end up breaking even...

There has been no guarantee the Marmol will replace Wood...didn't LouPA come out in favor of a competition since Gregg has done it before? Marquis' 11 wins were a nice contribution from the 5th starter, and who would you rather see over an extended period if Soto gets hurt, Bako or Blanco?

Edmonds only hit .256, but his OPS+ of 136 was pretty good, especially for what they paid for him. Although I applaud the Cubs avoiding re-signing him, unlike what they did with Gary Gaetti back in 1998.

Over an extended period they call up a catcher, Welington Castillo for example, who will take starts away from Bako/Hill, just like Soto took starts away from Kendall, during a pennant race, after his September callup in '07.

I'm pretty sure Marmol will close. What Piniella said was boilerplate. Even Rothschild has endorsed Marmol for closer.

Really? Welington Castillo in the pennant race....I am put at ease now. He looks talented, but subbing a 22 year old with 200 AA at bats in a pennant race doesn't compare to subbing Geo Soto, who was 24, and had put up a monster season in his 3rd year at AAA Iowa.

I don't agree that DeRosa is being replaced by Bradley. Cedeno is being replaced by Miles, which many people would say is an upgrade. Bradley is replacing either Fukudome or Edmonds, depending on how you look at it, and that's hopefully an upgrade. Gregg, hopefully, will be the closer, so he is Wood's replacement. The outfield guy who is going to get the PA's if Soriano and/or Bradley gets hurt is going to be Fukudome, Johnson or Gathright.

DeRosa isn't being replaced by any one player, but technically, his versatile roster spot has yet to be filled, unless it's Hoffpauir.

If a guy plays two positions, you don't have to replace him with someone else who plays two positions. You just have to fill the positions.

Soriano plays left, that's a different story. If he goes down, I think they would use Hoffpauir in left. He'll catch balls hit right to him, which could be an improvement.

Miles played three infield and three outfield positions last year, by the way.

He'll catch balls hit right to him, which could be an improvement.

Umm... did you really say that Hoffpauir would be an improvement over Soriano defensively?

In one respect, catching balls hit directly at him.

Here's a thought experiment. Since I'm always daydreaming about life after Derrek Lee, I've tried to imagine Soriano taking over at first. It doesn't work though, because he'd miss throws that were easily catchable.

Hoffpauir doesn't do that.

Just sayin' I will miss rooting for those guys, and I feel they were replaced by inferior players.

Wood is no longer in the bullpen, Gregg is -- the roster math is pretty simple. Ditto for the others. To say Marmol 2009 in different than Marmol 2008 is ...ah...interesting. Same guy.

Bradley essentially replaces Edmonds (and his 19HR and good defense), since Fukky and Reed are still around.

So, in simple roster terms:

- Gregg replaces Wood
- Viz replaces Wuertz/Howry
- Heilman replaces Marquis
- Bradley replaces Edmonds
- Bako (or the epic Koye Hill) replaces Blanco
- Miles replaces Derosa
- Gathrait replaces Ward

On balance, I think the team has been downgraded. Potential upsides are healthy years from Sori, Rammy and Harden -- not sure I would bet on any of those - and addition by subtraction for HR Howry.

So you don't think Heilman or the 5th starter winner can out-perform Marquis? You don't think Gathright can out-perform Ward? You don't think that Bradley can out-perform Edmonds? You don't think Fukudome can out-perform himself? Even Gregg can be as effective as Wood was last year. Zambrano, if healthy can do better as well.

You've got to keep in mind, that had we brought the same roster back next year, they were not likely to win as many games. Wherever Edmonds and DeRosa play in 2009, the chances of them replicating 2008 are pretty slim.

Marquis had a 4.43 ERA las year as a starter, and pitched 167 innings.

So -- no, I don't think this year's 5th starter will beat that.

But....my original comment was more a lament about seemngly good guys (with talent) who were gone. My affections can be easily bought by a winning team.

Hey, they picked up Paul Bako, AND Luis Vizcaino!!!!

Excited yet?? I thought so...

I doubt very much that Shawn McGill will get an NRI to big league camp. He spent his first two seasons with the Phillies on short-season teams, and then got released. He then had a nice 2008 season in Indy ball (which is about equivalent to Peoria), and so he will almost certainly report to minor league camp at the end of the month and get assigned to either the Daytona or Peoria group, where he will compete with Luis Flores, Carlos Perez, Mario Mercedes, Michael Brenly, Matt Cerda, Alvaro Sosa, Pat Mahoney, and Jose Guevara for jobs at Daytona and Peoria, with the losers left behind at Extended Spring Training.

If the Cubs believe an additional catcher is needed at big league camp when Geovany Soto leaves for the WBC, I would think Tony Richie, Robinson Chirinos, or Mark Reed will get the call, not McGill. (AA Tennessee catcher Chris Robinson will also be playing in the WBC, with Team Canada).  

BTW, the Cubs are not hesitant about taking flyers on players from Independent minor leagues to provide minor league depth (roster filler). Over the past couple or three seasons, the Cubs have acquired pitchers Ryan Bicondoa, Isaac Pavlik, Dumas Garcia, and Tanner Watson, 1B Jesse Hoorelbeke, and infielders Albenis Machado and Jake Whitesides, and more recently fpormer Toronto Blue Jays Top 10 prospect RHP Vince Perkins (signed to minor league contract for 2009), and now Shawn McGill, from independent leagues. All of these guys played in the minors with other MLB organizations before going the indy route, so it's not like they are unknown to MLB clubs. It's just that some clubs send scouts to look at indy leagues, and some don't, and the ones that do (like the Cubs) have a better idea about who's hot and who's not in those leagues.

It's become fairly common for minor leaguers who get released to play in independent leagues. LHRPs George Sherrill (BAL) and Joe Thatcher (SD) got back to the minor leagues (and eventually got to the big leagues) after pitching in independent professional leagues. 

Here are the ex-Cubs who played in independent leagues last season:

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION:
Albenis Machado, SS (El Paso)
Derek Schermerhorn, 1B (Wichita)
Brandon Sing, 1B (Pensacola)
John Webb, RHP (Pensacola) 

ATLANTIC LEAGUE:
Gary Cates, SS (Camden)
Nic Jackson, OF (Camden)
Richard Lewis, 2B (Camden)
Mike Nannini, RHP (Lancaster, PA)
John Nelson, INF (Lancaster, PA)
Chris Walker, OF (Camden) .  
 
CAN-AM LEAGUE:
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (New Jersey)

FRONTIER LEAGUE:
Corey Bachman, RHP (Washington, PA)
Matt Hudgins, C-1B (Kalamazoo)
Brian Leclerc, OF (Rockford)
Andrew McCormick, RHP (Chilicothe, OH)
Matt Maradeo, RHP (Washington, PA)
Billy Mottram, 3B (Florence, KY)

GOLDEN LEAGUE:
Michael Bartek, RHP (Orange County)
Peter Farina, C (Yuma)

NORTHERN LEAGUE
Patrick Brooks, 2B (Gary)
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Schaumburg)
Scott Koerber, LHP (Fargo)
Ryan O'Malley, LHP (Schaumburg) 
Robert Ransom, RHP (Winnipeg)
Alan Rick, C (Fargo)

Former Cubs minor league RHP Jon Hunton (2004 11th round pick out of Lamar) was recently acquired by the Oakland A's from the Ft. Worth Cats of the American Association,  Hunton was released by the Cubs in 2007, and became the top closer in indy ball with FTW in 2008, and he could be the type of guy who could eventually get a shot in the big leagues as a middle-reliever.

If you're wondering what kind of salary players in independant leagues normally get, it's typically around $3,000 (and that's for the whole season). So you really gotta love the game (or have a rich wife or girlfriend) if you want to play in an independent league. It can be a rather expensive hobby.  

probably my bad, the wording made it sound like an NRI, guess it's just minor league camp....

You mentioned somebody from the saltdogs or whatever signed to catch ST. What about the Brenley kid? Is he coming?

We could have the scenario that Bob pushes his kid hard and Hendry to add him to the 25 man roster, then if they don't, BB gets really huffy from the booth, then some players call the booth to tell BB to back off, then BB gets really mad and writes a book, joins the Pale Hose broadcasting team and is Cubs critical from the south side....

No, that sounds just too crazy to be Professional Baseball. It'll never happen.

Cliff Floyd signs a worthless contract with the Padres, well...it's worth less the $1M

For a reserve player, who put up decent #'s in that role for TB last season, why is his contract worthless?

2008: .268/.349/.455, 11 HR, 39 RBI in 246 at-bats.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda...

In my opinion, the Cubs should have done the following differently from what they actually did::

1. Re-signed Kerry Wood (he got $10M in 2009, $10.5M in 2010, and $11M vesting option in 2011 from CLE)
2. Kept Mark DeRosa ($5.5M 2009 salary)
3. Declined 2009 club option on Rich Harden (saving $7M in 2009 payroll)
4. Not traded Jose Ceda for Kevin Gregg (saving $4.2M in 2009 payroll while retaining Ceda)
5. Non-tendered Chad Gaudin (saving $2M in 2009 payroll)
6. Not signed Aaron Miles (saving $2.4M in 2009 and $2.9M in 2010).

And then do everything else the same. 

Not a Gaudin fan, Phil?

Most of the rest I agree with. Except I would have also argued that the Cubs should have left Gathright out and used his roster spot to retain one of the players out of options, preferably Pie. But I guess that would've meant no Heilman (although I think the Cubs could've offered up a minor league pitcher or two to the A's that would've equaled Olson's value).

I think the Kerry Wood and Jose Ceda decisions were the most baffling, though.

I've read (here) and heard (from Hendry on Sports Central) that the Cubs felt that Esmailin Caridad and Marcus Mateo had moved ahead of Ceda in development and promise. Come August, no matter where these two are, they could very well rue shipping Ceda out.

of course that would have been essentially giving Donaldson, Gallagher, Epat and Murton away for free, no way the Cubs would have done that.

Harden's tradeable anyway, even with a bum arm.

I would think Harden could have been traded for prospects or low cost reserves given his relatively low cost salary even with the arm issues. You could have also let Dempster walk and kept Harden, but I totally concur with all of what you posted.

2.0:

1. Offered Kerry Wood arbitration and attempted to get him on a 1 year deal
2. Kept DeRosa, or signed Orlando Hudson if Lou absolutely had to have LH 2b
3. Traded Marquis as they did
4. Not traded for Gregg
5. Waited for the market to settle and Sign Abreu for 2 years instead of Bradley
6. Make the same 4 year contract offer to Dempster,Lowe,Burnett,Oliver Perez. First one that takes it is my new #3 starter.
7. Kept Cedeno and Pie over Gathright and Miles
8. Let Rich Hill compete for job
9. Not bothered with Paul Bako

Make the same 4 year contract offer to Dempster,Lowe,Burnett,Oliver Perez

Huh? You would give Oliver Perez the same contract as Dempster, Lowe, and Burnett? Might as well just keep Marquis.

Glad that you are not the Cubs GM...

BTW... Marquis had an ERA+ of 99 last year. Perez had a an ERA+ of 100.

Over the last five years, Marquis has averaged an ERA+ of 100.2. Perez has averaged 100.8.

But you would want to pay Perez $15M/year, for four years, and trade away Marquis at $9.9M for one year?

Sorry, I should have been more clear.

I would have offered a standard 4/44 - 4/48 contract to each guy. The first one to bite would get the contract.

The order of preference would have been

Lowe
Burnett
Dempster
Perez

Last season's out of nowhere season aside. Perez is 4 1/2 years younger. Never had an injury issue. And has better K/9 and H/9 ratios than Dempster.

Truth be told, Perez is a better than 50% shot to outperform Dempster over the next 4 years.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/p/perezol01.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/d/dempsry01.shtml

Truth be told, Perez is a better than 50% shot to outperform Dempster over the next 4 years.

Where did you pull that number from? FWIW, the predictors (CHONE, Bill James, Marcel) predict that Perez will have an ERA between 4.22 and 4.72. The same predictions have Dempster between 3.67 and 4.08.

And again... I am still baffled at how and why you want to sign Perez for at least 4/44, but want to trade away Marquis who is just as good, but cheaper.

Further, Lowe signed a 4/$60M deal (15/year). Burnett signed a 5/$82.5M deal (16.5/year). Dempster signed a 4/$52M (13/year) deal. Perez signed a 3/$36M deal (12/year).

The only guy who would have come close to signing the 4/44-4/48 contract would have been Perez, who I would argue is clearly an inferior pitcher. That you think that Lowe/Burnett, or even Dempster would have even thought of a 4/44-4/48 deal is absurd.

CHONE,Bill James,Marcel are projections. They have jack to do with what happens on the field. They all predicted great things for Felix Pie and Corey Patterson in the past as well.

Ryan Dempster had a career year FAR and away better than anything close to what his past numbers would indicate. Mike Morgan and Mike Bielecki had similar career years in 1992 and 1989 themselves. How did it work expecting them to repeat those seasons in 93 and 90?

I think Oliver Perez and Dempster are close to equal bets going forward. Career wise the numbers at the MLB level are
H/9 BB/9 K/9 WHIP

Perez - 8.1 - 4.8 - 9.2 - 1.42

Dempster - 8.9 - 4.5 - 7.5 - 1.49

They look fairly similar to me. Except that Perez is 4 1/2 years younger and doesn't have a TJS in his past.

I am more than fine with Ryan Dempster as a cub. I just don't think Oliver Perez would have signified any sort of significant dropoff.

Well I think that you are wrong on the Perez vs. Dempster thing. But oh well.

But I would still like to know how you think there would have been ANY change of Lowe, Burnett, or even Dempster signing a deal that somewhere between 4/44 and 4/48. And I still want to know how you think that Perez at 4/44-4/48 would be a good signing, and a decent #3, but you want to trade away a player (Marquis) that is cheaper, and has been just as good (or bad) in recent years.

I had no problems with Marquis for the most part.

But if we have to make payroll room for Abreu and #3 starter. Then we needed the 5 million that trading Marquis saved us.

Ugh.

Jason Marquis and Oliver Perez are not very different from each other. Both are league average pitchers.

You want to trade the cheaper one so that you can sign the more expensive one for more years.

Get it?

So is Ryan Dempster a league average pitcher?

Career Stats

Marquis 79-70 4.55 era 1.42 whip

Dempster 76-81 4.55 era 1.49 whip

Perez 55-60 4.39 era 1.42 whip

All look fairly similar over their careers. Perez has the biggest upside since he is by far the youngest. Throws the hardest, and is left-handed

First, I see you finally agree that Perez and Marquis are essentially at the same level. That is a good first step.

Second, I don't care much about a starter being left-handed, as it brings littler if any value when they are mostly facing RH hitters.

Ryan Dempster is a strange case, because of his move back and forth from being a starter to a closer and back to a starter. He also had a significant injury in the middle of that career, which impacts the analysis. So that is a big flaw in just comparing career numbers.

It is also quite clear that Dempster was a different pitcher this last year than he has been in the past. I personally think that Dempster will probably end up pitching somewhere between where he was last year and his career numbers, but I would guess that it would be closer to last year than his career.

But I still want to go back to this Perez vs. Marquis thing. You think that the Cubs should have traded Marquis, a league average pitcher scheduled to make 9+ million next year, so that they Cubs could sign a "#3" who is ALSO league average, and would cost significantly more money.

I would bet money that Dempster will out perform Perez next year.

That still makes no sense, even if that new "#3" is younger.

You had me until the

"It is also quite clear that Dempster was a different pitcher this last year than he has been in the past. I personally think that Dempster will probably end up pitching somewhere between where he was last year and his career numbers, but I would guess that it would be closer to last year than his career. "

So not only has Dempster been a significant injury risk for much of his career. But for the 2nd time in his Cubs tenure he puts up a career season during a "contract year" Everything about 2008 screams fluke with Dempster. So the rules don't apply to him? So career numbers arent valid for a 32 year old pitcher getting a 52 Million dollar contract?

One could argue that Perez's 2004 AND 2007 season's were as good as Dempster's 2008 season.

So in essence with Perez, you have 2 High end outlier years and he is only going to be 27 this year.

Dempster has had 1 season Far Outlier from anything else he has done. And he is going to be 32 this season.

As a Cubs fan I hope that Dempster has finally "Gotten it" at 31 and will continue to pitch like 1992 Mike Morgan from here on out. But to assume that we should pencil in 17-7 3.00 200 IPs from Dempster for the next 4 years seems really Hopeful.

Moreso I just wish the cubs would get into more of a habit of getting ahead of the curve. More Ted Lilly "finding guys before they break out" type of signings.

there wasn't anything flukey about Dempster's peripherals last year, strong suggestion he's a better pitcher than his career numbers.

Probably not a low 3 ERA guy, but mid 3's is my expectation

Better than Oliver Perez or Jason Marquis?

the Marquis thing is a joke, right?

Dempster's a groundball specialist with a K/9 over 8 for the better part of the last 4 seasons... 

Marquis is a groundball specialist that doesn't strike out anyone

groundball specialist with high K rate = very hard to find

now he walks way too many which will keep him out of the Brandon Webb, Halladay class, but he's good

Oliver Perez does have good K rates, but also walks a lot of batters and IS NOT a groundball pitcher...

He does have age and a friendly ballpark though on his side (not sure about the new Citi field though). 

I thought the 4th year was a bit rich for Dempster, but I definitely think he's a safer bet going forward.

 

Perez led the league in BBs with 105 and I believe he led the league in HRs allowed/9. So he walks a ton of guys and gives up a ton of HRs. Not a good fit in Wrigley.

Yes.

So the rules don't apply to him?

I didn't say that... but I did say that he was a different case. Last year was his first year as a starter after coming back from a major injury. He also changed his pitching motion, which many people think had a significant impact. I think that career numbers are very valid, but you also need to address when players make adjustments, such as what DeRosa did in Texas and Dempster did last year.

But to assume that we should pencil in 17-7 3.00 200 IPs from Dempster for the next 4 years seems really Hopeful.

Huh? Where the hell did I say I expected that?

And oh yea... still waiting for the justification on why Perez is worth at least 4/44 but Marquis wasn't worth 1/9.

I didn't say that Marquis WASN't worth 1/9. The short term of the deal makes him worth that deal for the most part. I wouldn't have given Marquis 4/44 because he is a back of the rotation pitcher. His stuff is marginal. He will probably revert to St. Louis form in Colorado this year.

Perez is a 26 year old Power lefty who has put up 3 very strong MLB season's.

Not the same pitcher in my opinion.

But ultimately this is all opinions. Please do not think that I am trying to discount your opinions Dave. Cause I know that you are knowledgeable about this stuff.

I just like to argue.

Perez is a 26 year old Power lefty who has put up 3 very strong MLB season's.

First, he is 27, not 26. And second, he has had 3 very strong MLB season's? He only has three full seasons with an ERA+ of 100 or better. One of those was very strong - a 145. One was decent - 120. One was exactly league average - 100.

Jason Marquis has had four seasons at 100 or better, and one more at 99. He has had a 128, 115, 101, and 99.

Perez has had three REALLY bad seasons - 73, 72, 67.
Marquis has had three really bad seasons - 74, 77, 82.

So not only has Dempster been a significant injury risk for much of his career.

He has been? He had Tommy John surgery, which has been his only real injury issue. I think it is quite clear by now that pitchers can clearly recover from Tommy John surgery and pitch well, AND not be a major risk for another injury.

if you don't know how to use historical data on a human being who has human element variables in play you probably shouldn't use it.

that goes for perez and dumpster.

NOTHING about those figures are in play because these pitchers in particular haven't had a static career, static stuff, or static development.

"I would have offered a standard 4/44 - 4/48 contract to each guy. The first one to bite would get the contract."

You guys should have just ended the debate here.

There are three pitchers on that list who did not and would not have accepted that contract and there is one pitcher who isn't going to make that much.

Lowe - Turn down
Burnett - Turn down
Dempster - Turn down
Perez - Accept, nice raise

So Aaron B's genius concept is to offer, by his own admission, the worst pitcher of the four more money than he signed for.

Welcome to GMhood, Ed Wade Jr. You're fired.

Who's to say Dempster doesn't sign that deal? You have absolutely no way of knowing how anything would have shaken out. Hendry throwing full retail at Dempster the first week of Free Agency set the market for the other guys.

Although I do always love your shmarmy comments. Please never stop with those.

Submitted by Charlie on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:32am.

Not a Gaudin fan, Phil?

Most of the rest I agree with. Except I would have also argued that the Cubs should have left Gathright out and used his roster spot to retain one of the players out of options, preferably Pie. But I guess that would've meant no Heilman (although I think the Cubs could've offered up a minor league pitcher or two to the A's that would've equaled Olson's value).

I think the Kerry Wood and Jose Ceda decisions were the most baffling, though.

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

CHARLIE: It's not that I am not a fan of Chad Gaudin, it's just that I think trading DeRosa and Ceda and not re-signing Wood were the three big mistakes of the off-season, and if it was a matter of finding $15.5M in payroll to retain Wood & DeRosa, then I would reluctantly drop Harden, Gaudin, Gregg, and Miles to do it.

Also, I would NOT have traded Rich Hill. I would have brought him to Spring Training, given him six weeks to try and figure it out, and if he can't, I'd put him on Outright Waivers. If he gets claimed, the Cubs collect $20,000 they can spend on a waiver claim of their own, and if he doesn't get claimed, he spends 2009 at Iowa, and then maybe he can turn it around there. (R. Hill can't decline an outright assignment because he has accrued less than three years of MLB service time and hasn't been outrighted previously in his career).

And if the reason behind trading Michael Wuertz wasn't to save another $1.1M in payroll, I would have kept him, too.

And if the Cubs are holding payroll to sign a back-up infielder, I would have tried to sign Juan Uribe, probably by offering another $500K beyond what the Giants gave him (so it would cost $1.5M in 2009 payroll), and making it a guaranteed major league contract plus a slot on the 40-man roster instead of a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training (which is apparently what the Giants gave him). .  

Why would the Cubs need a back-up IF? We have Weapon X Aaron Miles...He's not fast, but he's small...he doesn't hit homers...but he doesn't get on base much either...

Three "facts" that have been prominent on TCR:

1) Gregg replaced Wood
2) Miles replaced DeRosa
3) Aurilia or somebody else--not Hoffpauir--should replace Ward

I don't agree with any of these, but there's an interesting pattern here. In each case, the Cubs wanted to promote somebody from within: Marmol to closer, Fontenot to second base, Hoffpauir to backup to Derrek Lee.

I hope you guys get good performance reviews and get promotions or at least pay raises in your jobs. You sure don't want it to happen for anybody on the Cubs.

Lol....I think we are most concerned with the Cubs being a better team, not whether anyone gets a promotion or not.

Good stuff Az Phil...

I don't know if that's a joke or not, but I just wanted to make sure you know that the author of the post you replied to is Virginia Phil, not Sir Dr. Arizona Phil.

Desire for Aurilia over Hoffpower has been prominent? Not sure about that.

Gregg did replace Wood. We had two relievers for 8-9 last year, Marmol and Wood. Now we have Marmol and Gregg. Which inning they pitch in isn't that relevant for the 'replacement' argument, in my opinion.

It's not really about promotion, it's about putting out the best possible player. If Marmol is that guy, fine, but he's not replacing Wood, because he was already there. Maybe it's just semantics, but in this case we subtracted one guy and added one guy.

I don't think so, Joe. If a guy had a secondary role, and you make him a starter, then you have to talk about that when you compare this year with last. You can't just say, well, he was here already. He was here, but he wasn't doing much. (I'm not talking specifically about Marmol or anyone here.)

Technically, it's a little complicated but I think it goes like this: let's say the Cubs traded DeRosa and let Wood go, thinking that Fontenot and Marmol would step up.

In that case, Fontenot replaced DeRosa as starting second baseman. Miles replaced Fontenot as backup second baseman, Cedeno as backup shortstop and DeRosa as backup third baseman. The Cubs actually have one fewer infielder and one additional outfielder now, partly explained by the fact that DeRosa did a lot of both.

Marmol replaced Wood, Gregg replaced Marmol. Maybe Gregg isn't as good as Wood or Marmol, and Miles isn't as good as DeRosa or Fontenot, but is that the right emphasis? Look at the closer job and look at second base. Maybe you think DeRosa was better than Fontenot, but at least make sure you compare those two, and not DeRosa and Miles.

Remember, what started this whole conversation was billybucks saying Wood gone, Gregg here; DeRosa gone, Miles here.

I agree with the Miles-DeRosa discussion. Fontenot is getting (hopefully) an increased role with Miles taking over Fontenot's old position...again, hopefully.

Marmol, though, I don't think is getting an increased role. He's merely shifting to another inning. Maybe this is just because I think the closer role is overrated.

I don't feel like doing a whole breakdown of Pinhead's closer usage throughout the years, but if he uses his closer (and that's Marmol) like most ML managers use their closers, then Marmol's roll will actually decrease, being that he pitched about 20 innings more than your typical closer.

you're not very good at reading or comprehending...

yes, Gregg essentially replaced Wood or he may replace Marmol depening on who gets the closer job.

but I'm pretty sure there's no majority here that believes Miles replaced DeRosa or that someone like Aurilia should replace Hoffpauir. Muskat and a few beat writers think Miles is replacing DeRosa and the Cubs are the ones pursuing Aurilia or someone like him. Of course it makes some sense with Hoffpauir still having options and never going to see any playing time.

Speaking of Around the Web - Bruce Miles' blog has some interesting perspectives on the recent goings-on from one of the better print beat reporters. Check it out:

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1350

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090205&c...

Why is the National League's All-Star Game starting pitcher still looking for a job?
The answer is that free agent right-hander Ben Sheets may need surgery to repair the torn flexor tendon in his elbow, and his former employers may be asked to pick up the tab.

Ash said... "Major League Baseball has regulations related to workers comp and there are procedures and protocols that have to be respected.
---------------------------------------------------------
Apparently Texas was going to sign Sheets until this torn elbow flexor origin thingy cropped up again.

The flexor origin anatomically is very close to the Ulnar Collateral ligament (Tommy John reconstruction) and the Cubital Tunnel (Ulnar nerve which often gets transposed/moved). So it he does get surgery, look for discussion regarding any or all of the three related problem areas.

can the Cubs offer a contract for league minimum with $12M in incentives?

Yes! Maybe put his shoulder with Harden's elbow and you have a Cy Young caliber pitcher.

According to MLB TV Sheets to have the surgery, "hopes" to be back by second half.

Good luck with that.

"Still looking for a job: Ben Sheets, Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreau, Adam Dunn, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Daryle Ward, Rich Aurelia, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar Garciaparra, Joe Crede, Orlando Hudson, Joe Crede, Juan Cruz, Braden Looper, Randy Wolf, Pedro Martinez"

ROB G: How about a pool on the above?

CUBSTER: Did you see my text?

Submitted by big_lowitzki on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:11am.
Perhaps... I am not sure that I really agree with that, but even still, it is more than just a little ingenious to talk about the best players that left, but not the best players that have joined the team.

It makes you all look like whiny Hendry haters when you are unwilling to deal with all the facts.

I'm not a Hendry hater... honestly, I think his hands are pretty well tied with the team sale in limbo. And I agree, if you are going to assess the off-season moves, you can't talk about losing DeRosa without talking about gaining Bradley, for example.

Personally, I had very little expectations for DeRosa when the Cubs picked him up and he ended up being a key and steady piece of the team... hopefully Bradley will repeat that trend, b/c I think he's over-rated and I have very little expectations for him.

I guess my bigger problem is why get rid of a key and steady piece of the team?

I liked DeRosa, but there's a few reasons.

-He was right-handed, and if you're going to try to more left-handed, he's the most tradeable guy.
-He was unlikely to repeat 2008's production.
-He was salary that could be cleared.
-He was only signed for one more year.

Like 'em or not, that's the logic.

Of course "handedness" is such a bullshit reason. If you can hit, you can hit.

DeRosa against RHP:.275/.367/.475
DeRosa against LHP:.310/.398/.497

"...honestly, I think his hands are pretty well tied with the team sale in limbo."

Agreed 100%. The financial uncertainties of the Tribune's bankruptcy, timing of the sale and approval of the team, and payroll concerns with the U.S. in a Depression, HAVE to affect what Hendry could do on the free agent market.

I mean - I am really raising my eyebrows with some of these trades (particularly Wuertz for middling minor leaguers). But I comprehend it, and I will hold judgment on Bradley and DeRosa until later in the season. As far as Woody is concerned, I'd bet $100 that he will miss at least a total of 30 days or more due to injury within the next two years. HEndry just did not want to take that kind of risk again, particularly with the circumstances I mention above.

Dusty at it again: minor league deals for Ward and Jacques Jones can Neifi be far behind?

Dusty is obviously trying to keep step with the Cubs and get more left-handed because it worked so well for us in 2006.

Insead of either of those guys, why not take a shot on Jim Edmonds?

i think walt jocketty might take offense at you misspelling his name.

Sheets now hopes to have the surgery next week, sources say.

...However, while Sheets' departure saved the Brewers some money, news of his likely impending surgery before he signed a free agent contract will cost Milwaukee draft picks. The Brewers were to receive two compensatory picks from the team signing Sheets.

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/6270335/1...
--------------
so Sheets and CC (and LaPorta) have netted the Brewers a 2nd round draft pick.

giving some perspective about our whining over Wood/Marmol/Ceda being replaced by Marmol/Gregg/$Cash

Yeah, but I give the Brewers credit -- small market team took their shot with CC and made the playoffs. They knew they would lose Sheets and wouldn't re-sign CC -- take your shot when you have the horses. Well done.

As I think I started the whine-fest (today's version, anyway) -- I understand the Wood decision, given his injury history, and agree it seems unlikely DeRo will duplicate 2008, and agree that back-up catcher is only important if your main guy goes down -- but, still.....I will miss rooting for those 3 guys.

Marquis has a career ERA of 4.55 and a career WHIP of 1.42.
---
doubt Marquis could match Marshall's numbers throwing lefty though.

Daryle Ward never played for Dusty.

Jocketty told Dusty they were offering a deal to Todd Hollandsworth (who was wearing a Wardosaurus costume).

http://deadspin.com/5147454/now-youll-have-to-pay-...

Buck, who did play-by-play for the St. Louis Cardinals, is entering his 16th year with Fox. Next week, he'll talk with HBO executives about the format of the new show. "It's a show that may surprise some people," Buck said. "It gives me a free form to give a little more opinion."

Dying to hear that...

Really don't like baseball
My Dad was a saint
Moss is not classy

It will be funny to see Buck fail to follow Costas a second time. Remind me not to watch the 2032 Olympics.

That HBO show has always been a pile of shit. How can a network that made the Sopranos and Curb Your Ethusiasm not realize that this is a bad show, and adding someone with the peronsality of wallpaper to it, isn't going to make it any better?

Attempting to fill the Hobbit-sized void created when Costas left for the MLB Network, HBO has snapped up Buck, who will be the host of a new HBO program starting in May ("Buck Now"?).

Hopefully, it will be called:

"Buck U"

Let's get Buck
What the Buck?
Donald Buck

They should have a contest to name the show.

There was a Bears game a few seasons ago where Buck was on the pre-game inane show ("Team XXX must run the football.."), then did play-by-play for the game, then was on the post game for the Terry Bradshaw Village Idiot Hour.

I thought there was something wrong with my TV.

One thing these morons have figured out, in general, over the last 15 years is to quit saying "the team that successfully runs the ball will win. In 8 of the last 9 meetings the team with the most rushing yards (carries) has won the game.' I don't know if that was moneyball or the networks just hired someone with a clue, but that shit used to really piss me off.

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