What the Future Holds

You'll be seeing a few guest pieces over the next week or so as most of the TCR staff is cruising around the world from all the money we make from Paypal donations and you guys clicking on the ads. You guys do click on the ads, right? Hope you enjoy and we'll be back at full strength in a few weeks to bring you up to date coverage of everyone of Neifi's at-bats in September. Many of you may know me already, but the guys here at The Cub Reporter have asked me to write something. If you don't know me, then let me introduce my self. I am Chris Yarbrough formally from the state of Alabama. I now reside in "The Natural State," which is Arkansas for you guys who are keeping score. I am a sports writer in El Dorado, Ark., which is right above the Louisiana border. I mainly cover high school sports, but I do get to cover the occasional Louisiana Tech football game. This was supposed to run on Monday, but a short staff and a hurricane caused me to forget as I got out of work around 1 a.m. Also you can check out my site, The Yarbage Cub Review. We try to keep things going over there. Now onto our show: What a difference a week can make. It has been known for sometime that the Chicago Cubs were heading downhill with no brakes. Just when you thought the Cubs were about to crash there was a big winning streak to keep some of the Cub faithful thinking about 2005. Well, take it from me that hope is gone. I just got my HD Tivo installed on Thursday and what do you know, but the first Cubs game I get in HD is the Dodger game. With 2005 firmly out of reach it is time to turn our focus on the Cubs of 2006. Is it just me or is 2008 looming way too close? I always have thought we needed to win the before the 100 year anniversary. I was talking to Scott Lange of the Northside Lounge and we agreed that the Cubs are on a very dangerous footing of rebuild mode. There are some Grand Canyon type holes to fill before next season before we can even think about competing for anything. I will take a look at the Cubs by position just to see who will be or could be coming to Wrigley next season. This is part wishful thinking and part logic, but I have a feeling the Cubs will retool for one more run at the playoffs. The Cubs will have some money after clearing Sammy Sosa, Mike Remlinger and LaTroy Hawkins this past year. With any team it always starts at with the starting rotation. If there is one thing that will not change much it should be the starting rotation. 1. Mark Prior ñ Prior is third on the team in starts with 21. He did have trouble the first of the year, but since coming back after being hit in the elbow he has been just fine. He is 9-5 with a 3.68 ERA. He has 147 K's in 132 innings of work. All we can hope is he is healthy for a full year in 2006. That will be a major factor in competing. 2. Carlos Zambrano ñ The media loved to talk after 2003 that Kerry Wood and Prior were 1A and 1B. Well, screw the media and I am member of it. Big Z. is our ace plain and simple. He pitches more innings that the other two and has a lower ERA. This season he is 11-5 with 3.04 ERA. He is going to cost the Cubs some big bucks and like I said dangerous ground. If the Cubs choose to rebuild there will be teams lined up around the league to take him. 3. Greg Maddux ñ No Maddux is not the pitcher he was even two years ago, but performances like last Saturday make you believe he has one more year left in the tank. He gives up too many home runs now, but unlike the rest of our starters, he makes his starts. With a 10-11 record and 4.43 ERA it is hard to imagine that he will not pick up his player option. 4. Kerry Wood ñ Time is closing in on Wood as he goes into another season with doubts. He will have the shoulder worked on soon and then we can see if he can live up to all the hype. I really think Wood has more value as a starter and the Cubs will at least give him one more shot. With Prior, Zambrano and Wood healthy the Cubs always have a shot at contending. The problem is Wood and Prior can't stay off the DL. 5. Jerome Williams ñ Williams has shown a little promise and then he goes and dogs it up like last night. I think the Cubs will focus on other areas and allow Williams to earn the job. Other SP chances ñ If one or more fail the Cubs will probably look within the organization again. Rich Hill, Sergio Mitre and a host of others could all find their way into the rotation. The Cubs could always bring Glendon Rusch back also. If there is one situation that the Cubs must fix it is the bullpen. There are questions and youth everywhere. First lets look at who is coming back in order of good to bad: 1. Michael Wuertz (RHP) ñ In 2004 I was lucky enough to be at spring training as I was covering the Alabama Crimson Tide in the NCAA tournament. I remember seeing Wuertz pitch and thinking he was not half bad after his two innings of work. He was been nothing more of up and down since. This year right-handers are batting .221, but lefthanders are hitting a robust .310. To be a quality middle reliever he has to start getting LHB out. Still I think he will be back in 2006. 2. Roberto Novoa (RHP) ñ Novoa has been pretty solid this year. He has shown some wildness in him, but his nasty stuff and a 3.38 ERA have me at least optimistic on him for next year. 3. Will Ohman (LHP) ñ There is no way Ohman will not be back next season, baring injury. Since the All-Star break he is holding batters to a .149 BAA. On the year he has a 2.41 ERA and more importantly he gets left handers out. After those three it is up in the air for the Cubs. So let's look at a couple of options: 1. Ryan Dempster ñ Dempster has been solid since moving into the closer's role. He was been wild and he can give a man a new hair color, but overall he has done the job. He has 19 saves and a 3.82 ERA. 2. Scott Williamson ñ Williamson has not been good since coming back, but he is only 10 months off his last surgery. My guess the Cubs pick up the option and if he does not perform then a DFA. 3. Somebody from AAA. This could be a Todd Wellemeyer, Jermaine Van Buren, Cliff Bartosh or somebody else. There are many questions marks out there. But adding a proven closer like Billy Wagner would allow Dempster to move to a set up role and make the pen stronger. Again Glendon Rusch could be an option. Next we move to the wonderful world of the infield. There are a few openings and a few places that the team is just fine in. 1. Derrek Lee (1B) ñ Not much to say here. Lee is a monster and if we had anybody that could get on base he would have led us to the playoffs. He will probably slip a little bit, but .300 and 40 HR is just fine with me. 2. Aramis Ramirez (3B) ñ Take two of these and we will see you in 2006. Ramirez is having another great year for the Cubs. His legs have bothered him this year and it may hurt us down the line, but for now he is a beast in the lineup. The steal of the decade on that trade. 3. Michael Barrett (C) ñ Barrett is hitting .285 and he has a .349 OBP. I will take that from the catcher any day. He could work with Henry Blanco a little, but overall he is a quality in a thin market. After those three players the problems start to arise. So let's break it down base-by-base: 1. 2B ñ I am in favor of bringing Todd Walker back. He has hit .301, but he could draw a few more walks in the two-hole. His defense is not great, but I like what he brings to the plate. If the Cubs trade Walker by Thursday it will interesting to see whom the Cubs bring up. The Cubs could go with Mike Fontenot. I only hope to god the Cubs don't think to resign Neifi Perez to play 2B fulltime if they bring in another shortstop. My guess is that Jerry Hairston will be given the full time role and the Cubs let Walker walk out the door. 2. SS ñ Of all of the spots in the infield it will be the shortstop talk that will dominate. I have two prayers. Please don't bring back Nomar Garciaparra. He is done being a full time player. His body is betraying him and that is sad. Also don't bring back Perez to start. There will be talk about Furcal, but I think that might be too much for the Cubs. My hope is Ronny Cedeno gets the nod. That brings us to the outfield and the biggest mess of all. I know earlier I said it was the bullpen, but then I started looking at the OF. Todd Hollandsworth is gone, so Dusty Baker can't play him. We traded Matt Lawton, Jody Gerut and Jason Dubois this year. Jeromy Burnitz is having an average year and he will be a year older. Please don't get me started on how bad Corey Patterson is. That leaves the Cubs with three holes to fill. Matt Murton will probably be the starter in left field the rest of the way, unless Dusty keeps playing Jerry Hairston. That still does not help next year. This next month will prove if Murton can continue to hit at the big league level. If he does then we have a left fielder. That still leaves two more spots open. If I had to venture a guess Corey Patterson will get one more shot unless somebody crazy offers too much for him in the off season. The Cubs need a lead-off hitter worse than anything and Johnny Damon would fill that role, but I think he might end up back in Boston. They need a power bat in the outfield. They could acquire one through trading or sign somebody. It will be interesting either way. I really can't guess, but if you are holding a gun to my head, there is one bat I would love to see in Wrigley: my dream Opening Day OF looks like Murton, Patterson and Brian Giles. With so many options in the field still open it is too early to think about the bench. That being said, Blanco will back. God help us, but so will Jose Macias. Other than that it is wide open. There are so many questions and so few answers when it comes to the Cubs. All we can hope for is Jim Hendry puts only good players in Baker's hands.
Return to Homepage

Comments

So you think we need a power-hitting corner outfielder, huh? I wonder where we could find one....
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=insided...

Sure he is a "below" average outfielder(by below average, I mean below average for a third grader). And yes 57M bucks is a lot for three years....but three years of 30-40HR, 120 RBI's isn't a bad three years at all. I know he acts up, but I think I would do it. (easy for me to say, no one will be screaming "fire jonatwork" if it doesn't work out) M.Ramirez in left, Damon in Center, Burny in left. ARam, Neifi(low cost)/Furcal(little more pricey), Walker, DLee in the infield. Pickup Burnett if you can, if not, Wood will be back. I know everyone wants Murton to get his chance, but if Manny is available, I say go for it. Then shore up the bullpen/bench and we could be able to make a run. I know, easier said than done. Go Cubs!

oops...should read "Burny in right" my bad

I'm thinking the lineup next year will be:

1. Furcal
2. Hairston
3. Lee
4. Ramirez
5. Burnitz
6. Barrett
7. Patterson
8. Murton

With Patterson and Burnitz moving up occasionally against right handers.

Rotation of:
Zambrano
Prior
Maddux
Wood/Rush
Williams

Relief:
Wagner
Dempster
Williamson
Rusch
Ohman
Wuertz
Novoa

Bench:
Macias
Perez
Cedeno
Greenberg
Blanco

Certainly not going to win 100 games,but again a possibility for a low 90's win total.

I wouldn't mind seeing Damon or Giles in left, but Damon isn't going to happen and now clue on Giles.

As quoted in the Trib:
"Murton will rejoin the club from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, but Baker would not say how much playing time he'd get in left field.

"Depends on how [much time] I can get Corey [Patterson] and [Jerry] Hairstonóhe's playing pretty good," Baker said. "You've still got to win games too.

"If you haven't noticed, I play everybody on my team. I always have. So it's not going to be any different. They're going to get at-bats big-time. You guys ask me the same questions every day."

Baker said Monday that Hendry "doesn't tell me who to play." On Saturday, Hendry told reporters that "if Cedeno and Murton are playing, that's a positive, and I think our fan base would appreciate that."

Baker sparred with the media before Monday's game and clearly is tired of discussing the issue of whether to evaluate young talent in September."

We seem to go through this a lot. Murton is there. Play him. What more can Hendry do besides trade Hairston?

My thought is if Dusty refuses to play him and if he is NOT in the plans for next year why not trade him at the height of his value? He just hit .350+ in MLB over a month or so. Trade him and get value.

Please don't take this as me wanting to trade him, my belief is quite the opposite. I love that the Cubs can produce from their minor league system (even though Murton is a product of Boston's). But, I'm sick of losing our "top" prospects as 6 year free-agents (Kelton, Kieschnick). If they're not good enough to play MLB, trade them while others think they may.

My thoughts on Corey:
Keep in mind that I have always loved Corey Patterson and thought he had the potential to be a stud. But, Jim & Dusty need to sit down with him TODAY and send him home. Tell him to not think about or watch any baseball until November 1st. Then, he needs to get in a cage and LOOK at pitches (don't swing) for 1 month straight until he can identify a ball vs. a strike. Use those numbered balls that Robin Ventura used to use.

Next, from Dec 1st until spring training he needs to play somewhere against lower level competition where he can dominate a game to gain confidence. Be it Mexico, Japan, Australia, Italy wherever; Corey needs to gain some confidence back.

Then, give him one more chance.

I think Murton will get lots of playing time...fyi...

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

{...Hendry and manager Dusty Baker said Murton, who hit .339 in 25 games in an earlier stint with the Cubs, likely will get substantial playing time as the team looks ahead to 2006.

"Murton's a guy we want to look at,'' Hendry said. "He did a commendable job when he was here.''...}

Chris, as a fellow Arkansan (Little Rock), I think the humidity down here is starting to get to your brain. Let me see if I can understand your lineup, as you believe it could happen:

2B Hairston
RF Giles
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
C Barrett
LF Murton
SS Cedeno
CF Patterson

Rotation: Prior, Wood, Maddux, Z, Williams

Bullpen: Wuertz, Novoa, Ohman, Demp, Wagner

How exactly is that improvement? In my estimation, we lost an above-average/good second baseman in Walker, a starting right fielder who has been productive most of the year in Burnitz, and any chance at a breakout SS by using Cedeno.

First off, I say you keep Walker and Hairston, and make Walker the starter. Jerry has shown great versatility and would be an excellent spot-start, bench guy. Or a backup starter when the inevitable injuries hit. I suppose I'm okay with letting Cedeno start at SS and Murton start in LF, but we need to understand two things: 1) Cedeno and Murton are both going to be little-power-opposite-field type guys which is fine but 2) with them starting, we ain't going to the playoffs in '06 and probably '07 either.

The Cubs have 5 areas to concentrate come '06, in order of need:

1) CF -- Patterson has to go. I've no doubt he could still be a great player but it isn't going to be in a Cubs uniform. Chalk it up as an organizational failure, don't make the same frickin' mistake again (a la Pie), and see what you can get for him. And make a serious push for Damon -- I don't agree that it's a done deal that he's going back to Boston.

2) LF/RF -- I look at this as a combination deal. If you put Murton in LF, you go get Giles or somebody similar in RF. If you bring back Burny, you get an above-average guy like Kearns (cough, cough, or Dunn) in LF.

3) Rotation -- To me, this an area that needs help more than people think. Z is a stud, and I think Prior will return to being flat-out dominant again, but I just don't see Woody as reliable next year just because he's having surgery. Sure, give him another chance at the rotation -- but you have to be thinking there's a possibility he'll be on the DL or in the pen by the AS break. I would go after Burnett or Millwood or another quality starting pitcher, and move Williams to the pen for now. Maddux will only be around another year, and after that Williams perhaps can move back to the rotation, or when Woody gets injured.

5) SS -- This is a tough one for me. Part of me says to let Nomar go as he is just too injury-prone to retain. However, there is a sneaking suspicion in my brain that says Nomar has had a couple of bad years luck-wise and that he is going to be just fine next year. With better conditioning and strength training, who knows how he might come back. We've seen that, when halfway healthy, his bat produces. Re-sign Neifi as a backup, and keep Cedeno close in case he too is needed, but make Nomar the starter one more time with an incentive-laden deal. Furcal is just going to be too expensive, and I would rather instead have a Damon, or a Giles, or a Burnett, or a Kearns/Dunn for his money anyway.

5) Bullpen -- yes, yes I know. Bullpen is #1 priority. But as I've said here before, how exactly are you going to fix it? Bring in quality veteran relievers that have a proven ability to shut down other teams? A la Hawkins, a la Remlinger, a la Borowski? To me, your bullpen improves as your starting rotation improves, and as the bullpen guys are able to settle into defined roles. If you give them a spot to pitch, and let them grow into it, instead of constantly switching them between major league pens and minor league rotations, I think many of these troublesome pitchers (e.g. Welly, even Mitre) will be fine. Add Van Buren, and maybe 1 lefty somewhere (Wagner?, if he's reasonable), and remember Williams is moving to the pen, and I think (and hope and pray) the bullpen will be much better.

I doubt all these things will happen because 1) I'm sure Hendry and Dusty don't think the same way I do and 2) the Cubs just probably aren't that lucky. But our boys in blue are going to have a lot of cash to throw around this offseason, and to me, if you have any hopes/chances of making the '06 playoffs, you use that in better ways than acquiring only Giles and Wagner, and ncessearily settling for Murton, Cedeno, and Patterson.

"There will be talk about Furcal, but I think that might be too much for the Cubs."

Too much what? Money? With the amount of payroll coming off of the books at the end of this year, there's no way Furcal is too much money. I'm noticing that a leadoff hitter is missing from your article, and that's the one thing that nearly all of us can agree on that we desprately need. I'd love for us to go after Furcal, then have he and Murton hit 1-2 in front of D-Lee and A-Ram. I like Ronny, but I think the Cubs would be better served by picking up a bonafide leadoff man and trading Ronny away, he has potential, but I'd rather see someone who can play now at this point in time.

I honestly wouldn't have a problem at all with bringing Hairston back next year to play 2B if we trade or elect not to re-sign Walker, but its much more likely that we'd see Neifi there unfortunately.

Here's what I'd like to see the Cubs focus on this offseason

1. Find a leadoff man, be it Furcal or Damon, we need one, and no price is too high at this point to be able to get players on base in front of D-Lee and A-Ram.

2. Fix the bullpen, go out an get whatever help is needed, bring Van Buren up (I think that should be done now), decide on a closer sooner rather than later, be it sticking with Dempster, going with Wood, or aquiring Wagner...but whatever it is, make the decision and stick with it.

3. Get a leadoff hitter! ;-P

4. Get rid of Neifi and Macias...please Hendry, we're begging you.

5. Get rid of Dusty, or send him to managerial school...so he can at least learn how the double switch is supposed to work, and understand the importance of OBP at the top of the order.

I would love to see this lineup next year:

1. Furcal
2. Damon
3. DLEE
4. M. Ramirez
5. A. Ramirez
6. J. Burnitz
7. Walker
8. Barrett
9. Pitcher

"I would love to see this lineup next year:

1. Furcal
2. Damon
3. DLEE
4. M. Ramirez
5. A. Ramirez
6. J. Burnitz
7. Walker
8. Barrett
9. Pitcher

Who in their right mind wouldn't want to see that...lol.

Retrofade...Let me rephrase...I would love to see it and I think it is possible. The Furcal money would come from dumping Nomar's contract. The Ramirez contract would be like subbing for Sosa's old contract(pretty pricey, I know), so this brings us to Damon. I don't think Remmy's, LaTroy's and Hollandsworth's contracts will quite cover the 12M a year Damon is speculated to recieve, so it might call for a raise in payroll, which, I am not convinced will happen. If it won't happen, I say get Ramirez and Damon, and replace Nomar with a low cost guy...i.e. Neifi. The order would then be:

Damon
Walker
DLEE
M. Ramirez
A. Ramirez
Burnitz
Walker
Neifi
Pitcher

Not as good as the other lineup I posted, but I wouldn't mind seeing this as plan "b"

The Cubs have a lot of money to spend next year, but are rapidly approaching the point where they'll have to consider future years' payrolls due to the impending free agency of Lee, Prior, and Zambrano. Under those considerations, I don't think it's wise to commit big money to anyone who's going to be far on the wrong side of 30 for much of the deal. No one wants to see Zambrano or Prior play elsewhere in 2008 becuase the Cubs committed a huge chunk of money to 36-year-old Billy Wagner and 34-year-old Johnny Damon.

The Cubs should front-load any contracts they give out this year in order to maintain payroll flexibility for future years with better markets. I'm rooting for Furcal at something like 14/8/8/8, as this locks up a position where the Cubs don't have any reasonably comparable options. I doubt this'll happen on a number of fronts. If they can get Giles without a long deal, that's fine too--the key is to maintain the ability to spend and not blow it all in one year.

Under no circumstances do I want to see Burnitz's option exercised. His hitting this year was nothing special for an RF and doesn't even come close to being worth the extra $6.5mm. If they bring him back, it had best be for a pittance.

"Cedeno and Murton are both going to be little-power-opposite-field type guys"

Actually they both spray the ball to all fields.

My hopes for the offseason:

- Sign Furcal. If the 4 years x 8M figure that's been bandied about gets the job done, that's great. It's certainly better than any of the SS deals that got handed out last winter.

- Trade for Dunn. I wouldn't move him if I were Cincinnati, but apparently the guy wants out and many think he'll be dealt this offseason. If so, the Cubs should get him. Package starts with Hill, Cedeno, and Wellemeyer. I'd throw in Dopirak and a lesser minor league arm if that would get the deal done. If you can get Dunn, you lock him up with a four-year deal escalating from around 8M to 13M

-Sign Burnett. It's time to realize that starting pitchers should be handled like quarterbacks--you need good backups and more of them than you think. I haven't seen anyone talking about the market for Burnett yet, but I'll imagine that something like Pedro's 4 years/53M deal from last year would have to get the job done. That's 13M per year as a (hopefully) pessimistic estimate.

Getting Burnett sets the team up with Prior / Zambrano / Burnett at the top of the rotation. Maddux will probably hold down the fifth slot. If Wood comes back strong as a starter, that's great. If not, you've got Williams, Nolasco, and hopefully Guzman later in the year.

- Sign BJ Ryan. 4 years, average of 6M per year. Most sensible closer candidate on the market, by far.

Lineup:
SS Furcal
2B Walker
1B Lee
RF Dunn
3B Ramirez
C Barrett
LF Murton
CF Patterson / Hairston

Rotation:
Prior
Zambrano
Burnett
Wood
Maddux

Bullpen:
Ryan
Dempster
Novoa
Ohman
Williamson
Wuertz

if the cubs don't get one of the elite OFers, next year is useless.

that list includes:

damon
giles
dunn
ManRam

one of those guys, and a top SS (furcal or trade)

the offense just sucks at scoring runs. period. they need those guys, some high OBP which the cubs do not have this year

walker needs to come back. he's had a really good year interrupted by injuries. one of the better 2Bs that will be available. love him in the 2 spot. if he's behind a real leadoff hitter (furcal or damon) in front of lee and ramirez, watch out for major improvement.

as far as pitching, i'm very glad to see that wood is having the surgery tomorrow. gives him a good chance to come back fully ready for spring training. he has not pitched many innings this year, and his arm should be ready to go in march.

assuming maddux comes back, the 5th spot goes to williams or mitre or hill. keep in mind that mitre is out of options next year, so if the cubs are going to keep him next year, he's got to be in the majors. this is why i think he gets traded this offseason (hopefully in a package for dunn). if he's gone, it's jerome or hill. if hill develops a third pitch (his only real goal this offseason), there's no reason it shouldn't be him

if maddux doesn't come back, well then we have 10 extra mill lying around. obviously we need to go get a 3rd starter with that money, but that should cover a 4th starter even with the crazy pitchers market from last offseason. so there is some money left over to give to an elite OFer mentioned above (including an extension to dunn if it's him), and maybe a decent setup man.

that's where i stand. one of furcal and damon have to be here, to set up a top of the order like this:

damon/furcal
walker
lee
ramirez

the rest of the lineup depends on which one they get. if it's dunn, i would bat him 2nd bc of his ridiculous OBP and HRs, but of course dusty could never do that. he'd bat 4 between lee and ramirez, which is ok.

PLAY MURTON PLEASE from now on, so we know if that's a position where we could get by with decent production and an OBP of 350 or so for REALLY cheap. that would be sweet. if he looks not so good against righties down the stretch (he hasn't faced major league righties much yet, but batted the exact same amount against paws of either variety in AA this year), then murton gets a bench spot for next year, and we know that we have another OF position to fill.

if you're still reading, you get a cookie. wow.

Why would Cubs want Manny?
He cannot play the field and plays in the smallest left field in the majors(maybe Houston).And then pay him $ 18 million for next three years to watch him make a bigger ass of himself?This guy has DH all written over him. I would rather have Giles if his knee is fine.

The Cubs could want Manny not because of his defensive skills, but for his offensive skills. DuBois was given a shot at the starting job this year not because of his defensive skills, but his offensive potential. Sure, having Manny out there will cost us a few runs over the season because of his D, but we will be getting 120 because of his bat. Distractions and all, I say go for it. He can pee in the Ivy for all I care

Please don't bring back Nomar Garciaparra.

I will argue forever that Nomar is worth the risk, as long as Neifi is not our option is he gets hurt. If Cedeno is our option, Nomar is well worth it.

Has anyone noticed how well he has hit the ball since coming back?

He is 22 for 62, which translates to these numbers:.355/.403/.565. You really don't like those numbers? Sure...you have a huge injury risk...but many people have already said that they would be willing to go with Cedeno at SS. If you can sign Nomar to a fair deal, sign him immediately. Because if he is healthy, he will immediately be the best hitting SS in the NL.

Why would Cubs want Manny?

Are you serious? Manny is one of the top 5 hitters in the game right now - up there with Pujols, Ortiz, A-Rod, and Sheffield. I would jump at the opportunity to have Manny in our outfield. Imagine a middle of the lineup with Lee, Manny, and A-Ram!

1) Cedeno and Murton are both going to be little-power-opposite-field type guys which is fine but ...

But...that is exactly what the Cubs need. The Cubs don't need power. The Cubs are second in the NL in homeruns. Power is not the issue. The Cubs need playes who can get on base, move runner, etc. Cedeno and Murton are both beginning to show that they can do this. I wouldn't mind seeing a lineup like this:

Hairston - CF
Walker - 2b
Lee - 1b
Ramirez - 3b
Giles - RF
Barrett - C
Murton - LF
Cedeno - SS
Pitcher

But I would prefer this:
Hairston - CF
Nomar - SS
Lee - 1b
Ramirez - 3b
Giles - RF
Walker - 2b
Barrett - C
Murton - LF
Pitcher

Of course...I would really prefer to trade for Manny Ramirez. I would gladly part with Murton for some bull-pen help, or even a starting pitcher, if we could have Manny in LF!

What is Brian Giles lifetime and this year obp? Can we find out his average pitches seen per AB? Lets get the above stats for all these free agent possibilities. He is a nice fit as he's good defensively. He did play CF with the Pirates but he's getting older (around 34-5 I think)

We don't need more big K hitters.

...after leaving the Sosa, Patterson, Alex Gonzalez, Burnitz era behind. I'll take someone with walks and working the pitch count whether they are a slugger or not.

The Wade Boggs era was the prototype of a non power hitter that was a hitting machine and an example of how well it can work. Murton has that kind of potential but that would be the very best case scenerio (tough comp vs a Hall of Famer).

Burnitz seems to have toned down his K's but that was a concern when he was signed. Still he's not my ideal starter, but he was about as good as Hendry could do considering the timing of the Sosa debacle.

ARam and DLee are ideal sluggers who know how to work fairly deep into the count. I'm sure that sluggers that do this are relatively rare but Pujols and David Ortiz come to mind.

Trades for the future

The Cubs wait until next year

But don't hold your breath

To #5,

You should take a good look at Dusty's recent comments before assuming that Murton will get lots of PT.

http://tinyurl.com/9mz72

Money Quote:

Baker and the kids

Hendry and Baker may be on the same page, but they appear to be using different scripts when it comes to rookies Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton.

Cedeno sat again as Perez started, and his only start during the Dodgers series will be Tuesday against right-hander Brad Penny. Cedeno is hitting .324 against right-handers and .214 against left-handers.

"I just can't take the ball and glove out of Neifi's hands," Baker argued.
"It's not fair to just sit him down for what he's done for us. So I've got to find a way, at least for a while, for both of them to play."

Murton will rejoin the club from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, but Baker would not say how much playing time he'd get in left field.

"Depends on how [much time] I can get Corey [Patterson] and [Jerry] Hairston-he's playing pretty good," Baker said. "You've still got to win games too.

"If you haven't noticed, I play everybody on my team. I always have. So it's not going to be any different. They're going to get at-bats big-time. You guys ask me the same questions every day."

Baker said Monday that Hendry "doesn't tell me who to play." On Saturday, Hendry told reporters that "if Cedeno and Murton are playing, that's a positive, and I think our fan base would appreciate that."

Baker sparred with the media before Monday's game and clearly is tired of discussing the issue of whether to evaluate young talent in September.

Hendry said Monday he doesn't anticipate bringing up more than four or five players after rosters expand Thursday, and Baker might not play them much anyway.

"If there is any game to play, I try to win," Baker said. "Whether it's against you, my mom, my father, my son, I don't care. I'm gonna beat you."

Dusty makes out the lineup cards, unfortunately. So, it doesn't look right now like he's planning on any changes to his ways. And, he specifically says that Hendry doesn't tell him who to play. This is not good, when the GM and manager are so diametrically opposed.

Did you see Lawton double his walk total with the Cubs in his first couple of games with Yanks?

Manny is hitting .289 this year, will be 34 years old next and to put it lightly he is a head case. Now why would the Red Sox be interested in trading one of the top five hitters that you mentioned? While the other three(shef is nuts too) would not be shopped by their teams.
The Cubs seem to bring out the worst out of the normal players, let alone players that are already pain in the asses. Let alone pain in the asses who make $ 18 million a year and can not field his position and make Aram look like Carl Crawford on the base paths.
Get some high OPB guys, who can field, run and not act like a retard.
Is anyone else tired of the circus of meaningless homeruns, bone head playing and bad attitudes that has been taking place at Clark and Addison?

"I just can't take the ball and glove out of Neifi's hands," Baker argued.

He's a professional Dusty, he will understand. His ego can not be that big to pout about being bench when he played the majority of the season and they are 7 games under .500!!
It's Neifi F'n Perez not Cal Ripken.
Christ Sakes.

Jacos-
I cannot debate the fact that Manny is a headache in Boston, and in Chicago, with Dusty(not an attack, but Dusty does tend to kind of let the players do as they please) it could be worse, but Manny's OBP this year is .388! This is not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Manny has 115 RBI's. I understand this would go down a little bit with the switch over to the NL, but it still isn't shabby. And yes he strikes out about 120 times a year, but with 40 and 120, I can live with it.
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=insided...

Here is the article that talks about the BoSox being interested in trading. I know he has problems, but a lot of guys do, and I don't mind taking a 57 million three year chance on a guy who could help put us over the top. Just my opinion, though.

Saying that Furcal is too expensive is a joke. The Cubs have one of the largest markets, pack Wrigley full nearly every game, and have one of the largest and most wide-spread fan bases in baseball! I'm not advocating spending with total abandon, ala NYM, but if Furcal can provide us with 1) A true leadoff hitter, 2) an above-average defensive shortstop, and 3) someone who has not had a history of serious injury, then how can we say he's "too expensive"?

I say we:
-Sign Furcal for 4 years.
-Sign Giles for 2.
-Give the Reds whatever it takes for Dunn... some combination (not all) of Hill, Nolasco, Mitre, Williams, Murton, Sing, a horse head in the bed... doesn't matter.
-Sign Millwood or Washburn to a 2 year deal.
-Resign Dempster to close

---My preferred roster for next year---
Lineup:
SS Furcal
2B Walker
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
LF Dunn
RF Giles
C Barret
CF Hairston

Rotation:
Zambrano
Prior
Wood
Millwood / Washburn
Maddux

Bullpen:
Closer - Dempster
Setup - Van Buren
Etc. - Novoa, Ohman, Wuertz, Williamson, ? (someone from AAA)

Bench:
Blanco, etc. - don't really care.

This gives us speed, loads of OBP, serious power & protection at the center of the lineup, and a good starting rotation (if Wood gets injured again, send him to the pen and promote Guzman or someone we didn't end up trading for Dunn).

Ron Galt:
"I don't think it's wise to commit big money to anyone who's going to be far on the wrong side of 30 for much of the deal. No one wants to see Zambrano or Prior play elsewhere in 2008 becuase the Cubs committed a huge chunk of money to 36-year-old Billy Wagner and 34-year-old Johnny Damon."

This is the part that is highly debated amongst Cubs fans I talk to. Some say, I don't care about 3-4 years from now if we can win a title now with going out and getting the top FA's. Others say not to go crazy with paying big money and slowly build up a championship team.

Some point to Thome as a guy we should of got that might of put us over the edge, but would they like his contract now? If it won us a WS, maybe we could live with it, but there was no guarentee.

Anyways, I agree with you about being careful signing older FA's for big money and would much rather build a winning team instead of buying it like FL did with their 1st title.

I would love to get Manram, but that is going to cost us at least one Aram, Lee, or Pie if not Pie and one of those guys. I know he got alot of flack for it at the time, including me, but maybe Stoney was on to something when he suggested trading Rams. Both are horrible D players, but 3b is more imporant on D then LF. aRam is 5 years younger than Manram, but if you take into fact that aram's history of groin, hammy, and quad pulls and Manram's good record of health there bodies probably have the same amount of wear and tear. Aram could leave for FA after next year if we made this trade atleast we know we would have an impact bat for years to come. I would suggest this trade if you really want manram

Cubs
Manram
Papelbon

Rsox
Aram
Cpat
Hill

Jon-
I would like him on paper but the real thing would not be worth it.
The Cubs need more Ichiro like players, before they need any Manny like players.

Unless Papi is coming with Manny, I wouldn't recommend going after him. The guy is truly a nutcase from all I've heard and I think the only thing that keeps it manageable in Boston is a) winning and b) David Ortiz.

It would get ugly, quick here and I think Hendry is really trying to go to the "Patriots" model of a good team atmosphere.

"[Atlanta general manager] John Schuerholz and [manager] Bobby Cox both felt that as well as they're doing, they could use a veteran who could pinch-hit off the bench, which obviously Holly has done over the past few years."

You mean Holly isn't going to be a starter..? What about all those rookies?

Please es'plain. Dusty is confused.

You guys are COMPLETELY mistaking Walker for more than he is. He is an average hitter, slightly above average for a 2nd baseman, a below average fielder, but most importantly, he is a PUSSY.

That's right, Todd Walker is exactly what we don't need, another veteran who doesn't think they need to go all out, push themselves.

I'm so tired of seeing Cubs players being lazy, and Walker is exactly that. Have you ever watched David Eckstein or Ryan Freel play? Those guys bust their ass all game long, the exact opposite of what virtually all of the Cubs do.

What is Brian Giles lifetime and this year obp? Can we find out his average pitches seen per AB?

Look the stats up. Don't rely on everyone else around here to find the stats for you. Go to espn, or yahoo sports, baseball musings, or any of the baseball sites that list stats.

Manny is hitting .289 this year, will be 34 years old next and to put it lightly he is a head case. ... Get some high OPB guys, who can field, run and not act like a retard.

Um...Manny is a high OBP guy. This year it is at .388. How many guys in the Cubs lineup have that? I can deal with Manny's feilding and attitude with his numbers.

And one more thing...Damon is not worth the money that he will demand this offseason. He is getting old, and will not be worth the 12+ million a year (for 4 or 5 years) that he will get from either Boston or the Yankees. Hendry has never been willing to sign those kinds of deals, and I am pretty convinced that he will not be signgin Damon if the cost is more than something like 3/36.

I think you have to make a strong push for Furcal, being the only leadoff type in free agency.

Maybe you give Nomar another chance, but at 2nd. That should improve his defense as long throws are what give him them most trouble. Dont offer more than 1yr/$5M.

You have to excercise Walker's option. Even if he's only the first guy off the bench, $2.5M is worth it. Maybe we could package him in a trade. The Reds are dying for middle infielders. Maybe Jerome Williams, Ronny Cedeno, and Todd Walker for Adam Dunn? Or Kearns? Other possibilities might be Glendon Rusch of Jerry Hairston.

Or What about Korey straight up for Juan Pierre? Rumor has it that FLA is losing patience with him, plus hw'll be a free agent after next year looking for $7-8M/yr.

I thik Giles is too old for a long term contract, but at the same time I don't want to see the Cardinals get him.

Finally, sign either BJ Ryan or Billy Wagner. If there's Money left over, go for JC Romero. Anybody with initials as a first name.

You guys are COMPLETELY mistaking Walker for more than he is. He is an average hitter, slightly above average for a 2nd baseman, a below average fielder, but most importantly, he is a PUSSY.

Anything to support your interesting assertions? Why is he so "average"? And why exactly is walker a "pussy"? Because you perceive him to not try very hard? Interesting...

Maybe you give Nomar another chance, but at 2nd. That should improve his defense as long throws are what give him them most trouble.

Not so sure...Nomar's footwork and arm angles are what gives him trouble. I am not convinced that he would be better at second or third.

I really don't want to bring Manny here either.
Also, call me a sucker but if Nomar is willing to do a 6-8M deal heavy on incentives I say we take it. If he goes down again, move Cedeneo over. I'm not a big believer that Furcal is the answer at SS. If we manage to pull in Giles and/or Damon and Wagner, I think that solidifies things rather well.

READER BEWARE!

The following is what I think is the MOST LIKELY scenario of what will happen this off season. It is NOT what I think SHOULD happen! It's what I think WILL possibly might happen. Maybe.

See, at heart, Jim Hendry is still a college baseball coach. He believes in things like incentives and bonuses, and does not want to commit a Cubs scholarship (contract) to anybody for more than four years. Hendry also believes in using the farm system as a way to develop pitchers (and occasionally position players), with the idea that any of them can be traded at any time.

Other than "stretch-drive" deals to fill a temporary need or hole (for instance acquiring Kenny Lofton in 2003, Nomar Garciaparra in 2004, or Matt Lawton this year), when Jim Hendry makes a trade, he usually prefers to make a deal for a talented "young veteran" who has yet to reach his prime (examples would be Matt Clement, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, and Michael Barrett). And in either case (stretch drive deal or a trade for a "young veteran"), it's OK to move older players (Sammy Sosa, Damian Miller, LaTroy Hawkins, Jose Hernandez, et al) and/or unproven prospects (Bobby Hill, Hee Seop Choi, Brendan Harris, Francis Beltran, Dontelle Willis, et al) to get 'em.

With the exception of the Greg Maddux signing,
Hendry generally likes to keep the "big bucks" and multi-year deals reserved for the "young veterans" the Cubs have developed themselves (like Wood, Prior, and Zambrano) and the "young veterans" they have acquired in trades (like Ramirez, D-Lee, and Barrett), but ONLY after they have proven themselves. Hendry is not averse to playing "chicken" with potential Cubs free-agents, although he will usually negotiate a contract extention when he feels it's warranted (like with Aramis Ramirez last Spring Training, and probably as he will with Derrek Lee this coming off season).

When signing free-agents, Hendry likes to sign players to relatively short contracts with incentive clauses, bonuses, and buy-outs. This has precluded him from signing the Carlos Beltrans and J. D. Drews, younger players who demand four or five years at $10-15 mil per year. Instead, he ends up with older players for one or two years (like Mike Remlinger, Jeromy Burnitz and Todd Walker), or players coming back from major injuries (like Ryan Dempster and Scott Williamson), plus an occasional LaTroy Hawkins, Glendon Rusch, or Henry Blanco. But I believe this coming off season, Hendry will make an exception and sign Jacques Jones (an Andy MacPhail guy from Andy's days in Minnesota) for something like $24 mil for three years ($8 mil per year). I also believe Hendry will re-sign Ryan Dempster at about $10 mil for two years.

If the Cubs payroll budget is around $100 mil, Hendry should have about $25 mil in payroll available for 2006 after the free-agents leave and Burnitz gets bought-out. Although I believe Jacques Jones will be the next Cubs RF, and even though Hendry should have around $25 mil in 2006 payroll to spend (around $12 mil after signing Jones and re-signing Dempster), I would not not expect Hendry to spend the remaining $$$ on FAs like Rafael Furcal, Johnny Damon, A. J. Burnett, Billy Wagner, or B. J. Ryan, even though they all could help make the Cubs an instant pennant contender.

Instead of signing four or five free-agents, I believe Hendry will try to make deals for "young veterans" who are working on multi-year contracts or who are eligible for arbitration and/or or who will be free-agents in a year or two, especially if they have already "done it" (had at least one solid year in big leagues) but have not reached their potential, in the process sacrificing most any prospect (with maybe one or two exceptions) to make the deal(s).

Specifically, I could see Hendry trading Corey Patterson, Ronny Cedeno, and Rich Hill (or perhaps Sergio Mitre) to Pittsburgh for Jack Wilson, Rob Mackowiak, and Oliver Perez (or perhaps Kip Wells, if the Cub pitcher is Mitre instead of Hill).

Amd then I believe Hendry will trade Todd Wellemeyer and a second near-ready pitching prospect to Colorado for Jason Jennings. (The Rockies apparently covet Wellemeyer... Why? I don't know...).

And then I believe once he gets O. Perez (or Wells) and Jennings, Hendry will deal Jerome Williams (or Jason Jennings), plus Angel Guzman, plus either Todd Walker (if he's still around) or Jerry Hairston, Jr, and either Brian Dorpirak or Ryan Harvey, to Texas for Alfonso Soriano.

Why these deals?

1. PIRATES - The Pirates are building their team around defense and pitching, and acquiring Patterson to play CF would fit with that. But even if he doesn't get traded to Pittsburgh, I believe Corey Patterson is gone. I would be EXTREMELY surprised if C-Pat is still with the Cubs come next Spring Training. I believe Patterson's only hope is to go to a small market organization with minimal fan interest and an indifferent media, where his new club tells him: "Forget everything the Cubs told you... stop thinking, and just do what comes natural." And Pittsburgh is the perfect place for Corey to do that. I'm not saying he would necessarily turn his career around there, just that IF he does, it'll be somewhere like Pittsburgh, not in Chicago.

Patterson is making $2.8 mil this year, will (once again) be eligible for arbitration after this season, and even with the bad year he's had, will probably end up getting somewhere around $3.5 mil for 2006. He will be a free-agent after the 2007 season.

Jack Wilson is making $4.6 mil next year in the last year of a two-year contract, will be eligible for arbitration after 2006, and will be a free-agent after 2007. Like Corey Patterson, Jack Wilson has had a disappointing 2005 season, but he had a very good year in 2004, so he has "done it," and that's what Hendry is looking for.

In acquiring Jack Wilson, the Cubs would have to send a "replacement" SS back to the Pirates, and that would be Ronny Cedeno, who would be a much cheaper alternative for the Pirates than Jack Wilson. Cedeno also has a lot of upside, and quite likely could end up being a better all-around major league shortstop than Jack Wilson is now or ever will be, but maybe not until 2007 or 2008.

By including both Patterson AND Cedeno, the Cubs would have to get a second player back, and Rob Mackowiak would be a good fit for the Cubs. Like Patterson and Wilson, Mackowiak will be a free-agent after the 2007 season, and like C-Pat, he will be eligible for arbitration after this season. The Pirates have used him as an everyday player at various positions, and Mackowiak would play a lot (but like with the Pirates, at various positions) with the Cubs, too, in addition to replacing Hollandsworth as the #1 lefty pinch-hitter.

As for the pitching component in the deal, Oliver Perez has been one big headache for the Pirates this year. He came to Spring Training, fat, dumb, and out of shape, then later broke his toe kicking a laundry basket, after running up an ERA of 6+. And Perez will be eligible for arbitration after this season. With Zach Duke emerging as the Pirates new young stud ace, exchanging "bad boy" Oliver Perez for Rich Hill would be an exchange of lefty starters, one who is eligible for arbbitration in exchange for one who won't be eligible for arbitration until after the 2008 season. If the deal were to include Sergio Mitre instead of Rich Hill, the Cubs would get Kip Wells (who will be a free-agent after next season) instead of Oliver Perez.

2. ROCKIES - Next, Hendry will trade Todd Wellemeyer to the Rockies for Jason Jennings. Jennings is eligible for arbitration, Wellemeyer is not, and Wellemeyer is apparently coveted by the Rockies. Get Jennings out of Colordo, and he could be another Shawn Chacon. Or maybe not. But it would be worth a shot, especially since Wellemeyer will be out of minor league options next Spring Training.

3. RANGERS - Once O. Perez (or Wells) and Jennings are added to the Cubs starting rotation, and Jacques Jones is signed as a free-agent to play RF, I predict Hendry will then trade Jerome Williams, plus either Angel Guzman or Rich Hill (if Hill isn't traded to Pittsburgh), plus Todd Walker (if he's still around) or Jerry Hairston, Jr (if Walker is already gone), plus either Brian Dopirak or Ryan Harvey, to Texas for Alfonso Soriano.

The Rangers need starting pitching, and would have plenty of offense left even without Soriano. Personally, I don't like Soriano. Of the three deals, it's the one I would never make. But I think Hendry would.

So with Oliver Perez (or Kip Wells) and Jason Jennings added to the starting staff, Kerry Wood (like it or not) would be moved permanently to the bullpen (well, at least through next season, because the Cubs will almost certainly buy him out for $3 mil rather than pay him $13 mil in 2007). Wood (if healthy) would be the Cubs closer in 2007, with Ryan Dempster as the set-up man and back-up closer, taking over as closer when Wood leaves after 2006. Or if Wood isn't 100%, Dempster would be the closer next season. I just can't see Hendry signing any free-agent relievers (other than re-signing Ryan Dempster), preferring to build the bullpen "in-house" with the likes of Roberto Novoa, Will Ohman, Michael Wuertz, Jermaine Van Buren, and Scott Williamson behind Woody & Dempster. I don't think Hendry wants to get burned again, like he did with Hawkins.

I don't believe the Cubs will acquire a centerfielder. Not with Felix Pie on the horizon. Instead, either the Cubs will play Hairston full-time in CF until Pie is deemed ready, or if Hairston is traded to Texas (or somewhere else), Rob Mackowiak could play CF until Pie is ready.

So I expect the Cubs to look like this come Opening Day 2006:

Hairston, CF (unless he gets traded)
Murton, LF
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Jones, RF
Soriano, 2B
Barrett, C
J. Wilson, SS

BENCH:
Blanco, C
Grieve, OF (will come to Spring Training as a non-roster player)
Macias, IF-OF (will be non-tendered, then he'll be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training)
Mackowiak, IF-OF (or could start in CF til Pie ready if Hairston is traded)
N. Perez, INF (IF he doesn't get a starting gig somewhere else)

STARTING PITCHERS:
Zambrano
Prior
Maddux
O. Perez (or K. Wells)
Jennings

BULLP{EN:
Wood
Dempster
Novoa
Ohman
Williamson
Wuertz
2nd LOOGY (TBD), or Leicester (out of options), Brownlie, Van Buren, or ?

But it WILL be a 12-man pitching staff.

Again, I am not advocating these moves (although Corey Patterson MUST go, somewhere). But it seems to fit with how Hendry operates. If any free-agents are signed, I would say the most likely to be added is Jacques Jones (to play RF), or Hendry might not sign any free-agents and make a deal for Austin Kearns instead. Hendry might also sign a free-agent utility player or two. Or he might go in-house with Mike Fontenot and Adam Greenberg. David Kelton might even reappear as a "4th outfielder."

Here's my lineup

CF Hairston
LF Matt Murton
1B Derrek Lee
RF Brian Giles
3B Aramis Ramirez
2B Nomar Garciaparra
SS Ronny Cedeno
C Barrett

SPEND A TON OF MONEY ON PITCHING DAMNIT!!


The Reds are dying for middle infielders.

Who the hell are Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez?

Big Lowitzki,

Walker is exactly what we don't need. He doesn't move a runner over. He doesn't hustle. He has no speed. He isn't a smart baserunner. He's not agressive.

I get sick every time I see Albert Pujols hit a can of corn pop fly to the right fielder, and he's still busting his ass down to first base, have I ever seen a Cubs player do that? Not any of the veterans.

Man, I would kill to have Felipe Lopez and Ryan Freel be our starting SS and 2B next year. Those guys are true ballplayers.

Here are in the key moves we need to make for next year:

1) Brian Giles to play LF - He may be getting up there in age but he is an on-base machine with a 0.421 OBP this year and is leading the NL in walks. He can still hit for power and be a run producer, but would be a great fit in the No. 2 spot in the batting order in front of D. Lee. Won't necessarily break the bank either at approximately 7-8 mil a year for 3 years. A much cheaper and more effective choice to Johnny Damon (OBP = 0.373)

2) Adam Dunn to play RF - Huge power and great OBP (0.390 this year) and would serve as great No. 4 or No. 5 hitter (either as protection for A Ram or as righty-lefty-righty to upset relievers). While the strikeouts are a problem, he is only 25, and clearly entering the prime of his career where he could shine in Wrigley for years to come. He is worth the second-tier prospects we would have to give up and be a huge upgrade as true power corner outfielder.

3) Sign BJ Ryan as our closer - He has been consistent for the Orioles and takes Dempster out the role that he been somewhat lucky with. Sharper stuff and shouldn't be too expensive. Probably in the range of 5-6 million.

4) Resign Nomar to play SS - This is exactly the time we can buy low on Nomar and hope that he delivers the way we know he can. The fact that he is building a house in Wilmette is a clear indication he wants to be here and might be willing to give us the home-town discount. Again 5-6 million base salary, with incentives built in could be well worth it if he performs like he was primed to this spring training, or as he has the past month.

5) Give Corey one more shot at CF - No real alternatives exists on the FA market other than Damon who is too expensive, and his real value would be a defensive one in an outfield with Dunn and Giles. At 7th or 8th in the batting order will hopefully eliminate some of pressure and he can continue working on improving his batting. If he doesn't cut it, we could trade and bring up someone else from the minors or look elsewhere, but not ready to give up on him quite yet.

6) Go after one other FA starter - It could be Burnett or Millwood, but they could be overpriced. My real hope is that Angel Guzman shows up in camp and blows away the other No. 5s and finally realizes his Prior-like potential. He be a great cheap and effective solution.

With these moves this is the 2006 Opening Day roster:

Hairston 2B (2 mil)
Giles LF (8 mil)
Lee 1B (8 mil)
A Ram 3B (8.25 mil)
Dunn RF (9 mil)
Nomar SS (5 mil)
Barrett C (3.5 mil)
Patterson CF (3 mil)
-
Total: 46.25 mil

Rotation:

1) Prior (4 mil)
2) Z (4 mil)
3) Wood (12 mil)
4) Maddux (9 mil)
5) Guzman/Williams (0.5 mil)

Total: 29.3 mil

Bullpen

Left-handers: Hill (0.4), Ohman (0.4)
Right-handers: Wuertz (0.4), Williamson (2), Novoa (0.4)
8th: Dempster (2 mil)
9th: BJ Ryan (6 mil)

Total: 11.6 mil

Bench:
Blanco (1.5 mil)
Cedeno (0.3 mil)
Murton (0.3 mil)
2 more bench player for 2 mil max
-
Total: 4.1 mil

Total Cost: 91.25 mil

If the $100 million dollar payroll is a reality, then we can still spend 8-9 million for another starter, more bullpen help, a further upgrade. This is a team than can contend in 2006.

Go CUBS!!!

Who the hell are Ryan Freel and Felipe Lopez?

Players whose 2005 EQAs would rank fifth and fourth, respectively, on the Cubs.

Wow. Bad year.

I would spend alot of money on pitching also. Is everyone that secure with Dempster as closer? I see him more as a stop gap until we get a real closer-Wagner or Ryan.

Big Lowitzki,

Yeah, I video tape every Cubs game, and I'm going to go home and spend hours pooring through those tapes, making a compilation of all of the times that it is obvious Walker isn't a hard-nosed ballplayer.

If you watch the games, it is easy to see what I mean. Compare him to David Eckstein or Ryan Freel, it's obvious that he doesn't play the game hard. He thinks he's to good for that.

Nothing moves runners over like hitting well. Among 2Bs (200 PA), Walker ranks 7th in average and 6th in slugging. I really don't see how his offense is a drawback.

Rob G.

Freel is the Reds 5th outfielder whom they play in the middle infield because they don't have anybody else. Hopefully he can move up to 4th outfielder after we relieve the Reds of Dunn and/or Kearns and send back some middle infielders so he doesn't have to play out of position.

Who the hell are you?

Drew,

Your out of line calling Walker a pussy. I would rather have Grudz or Hairston for other reasons you mentioned, but Walker is one of the few guys on the team who shows heart.

Cubby UK,

You might want to flip-flop Giles and Dunn. If Cedeno and Murton are not starting they will be at AAA. To fill out your bench I would go with Greive (500k), Branyan and Neifi (1 Mil each), Cruz Jr. (750k), Fontenot (400k).

Ron Galt said it well...

I think the only complaint is that Walkers D is a little below average. But I can live with it, because it offense is better than most.

Walker is tied for 4th in GPA (OBP*1.8+SLG/4) among NL second baseman with reasonable ab's. (GPA also takes into account park effects)

1. Kent .311
2. Utley .301
3. Giles .285
4. Luis Castillo .280
4. Walker .280
5. Freel .274
6. Durham .272

Btw, Alfonso Soriano is at .255

If you have issues with Walker it can't be with his offense and we certainly can do a lot worse for him and pay a lot more for it. The "hustle" factor is too vague of a concept for me to address, I mean he's just got no speed, but I never got a sense that he was dogging it at anytime. Busting his ass on a popup means nothing to me as long as he's busting his ass on plays that matter. It's not like he sits and watches his homers (I'm looking at you Aramis) His glove is a bit sub-par, but his offense makes up for it quite nicely in my opinion.

I really doubt we could do better at second and if Soriano is so coveted by Hendry as has been reported (and I have serious doubts about that as Soriano doesn't resemble anything like the players Hendry has acquired in his tenure as GM), we'll do a lot worse and pay a lot more.

ChiFan, don't you think Neifi will cost a little more than 1M after this year?

About Walker - You guys didn't read my post very well, I said "He is an average hitter, slightly above average for a 2nd baseman" which is exactly what your numbers show.

Alright, look at the Cardinals. Why are they winning right now? They have Pujols right now, and then junk other than that. You know why? They have GREAT starting pitching, and they hustle all over the place. Watch Albert Pujols play, he isn't fast, but he busts his A to first base no matter what, and sometimes it pays off. Same with Eckstein. That filters through the weaker guys, like Nunez and Taguchi and Mabry.

That's why I said, spend a ton of money on pitching, and get a couple of hard nosed ballplayers, and let the young kids play, because if they don't hustle, they're gone. Have you seen what the Braves do every year? They spend money on pitching (Hampton, Smoltz, Thomson, Hudson, in the past they paid Maddux, Glavine, etc..) and then they let their young position players play ball.

That's what we need to do.

Sorry, AZ Phil, but I don't see anyway the Cubs sign JJones. First of all, The Twins drafted him (1996) after McFail left Minnesota (1994), so there's no connection there. Second, there's no way Jones gets 8 mil for 3 years. He's a 30 year old RF who hits .260 with 20 HRs a year and needs to be in a platoon because he can't hit leftys. Then again, it would be a really dumb move, so I guess I could see the Cubs doing it.

Jontawork,

No. He was paid 1 million this year and put up his career averagres pretty much. If he wants more than that then if you want to follow Cubby uk's plan then go and sign Pokey Reese.

"Yeah, I video tape every Cubs game, and I'm going to go home and spend hours pooring through those tapes, making a compilation of all of the times that it is obvious Walker isn't a hard-nosed ballplayer."

Sarcasm = unnecessary. Thanks for being a jackass and avoiding Lowitzki's valid point.

"If you watch the games, it is easy to see what I mean. Compare him to David Eckstein or Ryan Freel, it's obvious that he doesn't play the game hard. He thinks he's to good for that."

Yeah, Drew, see I DO watch the games and I couldn't disagree more. You know why David Eckstein and Ryan Freel always look like they're "busting their ass"? It's because, talent-wise, they suck, and in order to stay in a MLB lineup, they have to bust it.

Never, and I mean not once, during this entire year have I heard anything or seen anything from Todd Walker that suggests he thinks he is too good for this team. If anything, he is one of the few leaders the Cubs have! He says the right things, subtly questioning Dusty at times, and seems to stay motivated even as he knows the Cubs are out of it. Walker isn't the flashiest player, and he's had some troubles with DPs this year, but that's about it. Your assessment of his hustle, or lack thereof, is as arbitrary as my statement that I think he hustles extremely well. His defense, in my opinion, is still underrated and every rate stat you look at shows that Walker is a better all-around 2B man than Grudz, etc. I agree with Lowitzki -- your arguments are mostly baseless.

Andrew:

"You know why David Eckstein and Ryan Freel always look like they're "busting their ass"? It's because, talent-wise, they suck, and in order to stay in a MLB lineup, they have to bust it."

That is completely wrong. Granted, they have less talent than Walker, but why does that give Walker the right to not play as hard as those guys? It doesn't. I will go back to the Pujols example, he has move talent than anyone in the game right now, and he expands his game because he hustles just like Eckstein and Freel, he plays just as hard as he can, all the time, regardless of the mass amount of talent that he has. There are few players like that in baseball... It's to bad we don't have any of them.

Maybe it doesn't matter because the season is essentially over, but Walker moved over a runner on Sunday. Seen him do it a number of times. I don't want him traded, mostly because if he does get dealt, who plays 2B? Hairston? Or some unforseen guy in another deal? If it's Hairston or Walker, please give me more Walker.

"You guys didn't read my post very well, I said "He is an average hitter, slightly above average for a 2nd baseman" which is exactly what your numbers show."

Read it very well, thanks, but I still disagree. 4th in EQA among NL 2nd baseman is not "average". It's well above average, as the numbers show.

"Alright, look at the Cardinals. Why are they winning right now? They have Pujols right now, and then junk other than that. You know why? They have GREAT starting pitching, and they hustle all over the place. Watch Albert Pujols play, he isn't fast, but he busts his A to first base no matter what, and sometimes it pays off. Same with Eckstein. That filters through the weaker guys, like Nunez and Taguchi and Mabry."

Exactly right. The Cardinals play 110% all the time and that's why they're surviving injuries. That and their great starters. But you're blaming Walker for the no-hustle on the Cubs team?!? Walker? I just don't see where you're getting this. In my mind, there are MANY players that show less hustle than Walker -- Korey, ARam, Burnitz (stop getting picked off), even (yes, I'll say it) DLee every once in a blue moon. But not Walker. Just b/c he has no speed and can't steal a base or can't beat out a DP, doesn't mean he doesn't hustle. He's made some excellent defensive plays this year, and has shown a consistent bat (even when hopelessly losing) with plenty of walks. I just don't see your criticism of Walker.

Playing the game hard shows a leadership quality that most ballplayers don't have.

I thought of a few more names who show the same type of hardnosed ball I'm talking about:

Grady Sizemore
Scott Rolen
Craig Biggio
Mark Loretta
Pudge Rodiriguez
Torii Hunter

Drew:

"That is completely wrong. Granted, they have less talent than Walker, but why does that give Walker the right to not play as hard as those guys? It doesn't."

You're right, it doesn't. But my point is Walker IS playing just as hard as those guys. He doesn't have their speed, but he hustles in his own way. You've yet to provide ONE concrete example of Walker not hustling.

"I will go back to the Pujols example, he has move talent than anyone in the game right now, and he expands his game because he hustles just like Eckstein and Freel, he plays just as hard as he can, all the time, regardless of the mass amount of talent that he has. There are few players like that in baseball... It's to bad we don't have any of them."

Okay, fine. Pujols hustles more than Walker. I'll give you that, whatever. But does that mean Walker doesn't hustle? Does it mean guys like Ray Durham or whoever else you obviously crave by this ad hominem attack on Walker will hustle more than he? No, it doesn't. Non sequitur.

Drew:

"I thought of a few more names who show the same type of hardnosed ball I'm talking about"

I agree, those players all give 110%. But that has nothing to do with Walker's hustle. I didn't ask for a list of players you like; I asked for an example of Walker's non-hustle.

Andrew,
"Exactly right. The Cardinals play 110% all the time and that's why they're surviving injuries. That and their great starters. But you're blaming Walker for the no-hustle on the Cubs team?!? Walker? I just don't see where you're getting this. In my mind, there are MANY players that show less hustle than Walker -- Korey, ARam, Burnitz (stop getting picked off), even (yes, I'll say it) DLee"

Now I feel like you know what I'm talking about. And believe me, I wouldn't stop at Walker. I would agree with you that Korey, Aram, Burnitz, Lee, etc all fall into the same category. I We'll have to live with D Lee and Ramirez though because they're going to put up 40 and 110 for the next few years. Walker's 10, 33 and 43 Runs we don't have to live with, someone else can put up those numbers, and play the game hard while doing it.

Also, a small point, but you still, even though you used my qoute, took my point out of context about Walker's hitting. I said he is an overall average hitter, but I said he is slightly above average among 2B's. You ignored the fact that when I said he was average, I am comparing him against all MLB hitters. When you compare him against MLB 2nd Baseman, I will give him slightly above average.

How am I supposed to remember the exact play when Walker wasn't hustling? I can't pinpoint a time in the past, it happens often. How about this, I'll try to watch as much of the games as possible over the next week, and I'll give you exact occurances.

Everyone's numbering their posts, so I want to do the same.

1) I like how DREW calls Walker a "PUSSY", yet he wants NO-PLAY Garciaparra to come back and miss 90 games next year. The only reason I can see for not bringing Walker back is if Hendry wants to go with a defense-oriented middle infield. In that case, Nomar is a much weaker defensive player than Walker and has no business being re-signed. If offense is more valued at 2B, Walker is the best option the Cubs will find and at a damn good price. Furthermore, anyone who wants to see Nomar's piss-poor defense back again next year (and almost guaranteed DL-trip) needs caned with a wet bamboo stick like they do to delinquents in Singapore.

2) I can't friggin' believe all the kool-aid dreams that include people even thinking for one second that Hendry will sign/trade for outrageous combinations of:
Damon, Giles, Furcal
Manny, Dunn, Burnett
Giles, Damon, Wagner
Furcal, Dunn, Giles, Wagner

crazy, man, crazy... if you think anything like that's gonna happen, you're in for a disappointment. The Cubs won't be "buying" a team.
Damon, Manny, Dunn, Burnett & Wagner will not be Cubs. Furcal maybe, Giles maybe but unlikely.

Go ahead and tell me I'm an idiot now if you want and I'll say I told you so in April 2006

3) Wood will be starting the season in the rotation.
Sure, he was great in the pen and if he has more 4-5 inning outings next year, he'll probably end up in the pen, but HE WILL start the season in the rotation. There's absolutely no question that a healthy Kerry Wood is more valuable as a starter than a reliever. Will he be healthy? Who knows... but the Cubs will find out before just sticking him and his $12mil. salary in the pen.

4) Phil, what makes you think Wood will be thrown into the bullpen from the outset?
Also, how in the world did you come up with all of those scenarios?
Trade for Jason Jennings & Oliver Perez?
Why do that when Hill, Guzman or Pinto could be ready next year? Hendry loves his prospects and I can't imagine that after holding onto Guzman for this long that Hendry would trade him unless he got an offer he couldn't refuse.

"Walker's 10, 33 and 43 Runs we don't have to live with, someone else can put up those numbers, and play the game hard while doing it."

Ah, so now we come to it. You're not really bashing Walker per say, you're just bashing the kind of year he's had. And I agree, it's not been great. But let's look at what has happened this year:

1) Walker gets injured for a month+ by a borderline dirty play by El Caballo.

2) Walker has struggled a bit with his timing and thus has hit into some DP's. A trend that, looked at over his career, shouldn't continue next year. From his recent play, it won't continue this year.

3) Walker has been all over this lineup. From 6th and 7th, to 2nd, I can imagine it's been somewhat difficult adjusting. Especially when you're hitting behind under-performing leadoff men like Lawton and Patterson. 33 RBI's -- tell me how that is Walker's fault.

4) Walker has, time and again, not started so that Neifi gets a start. If there is a consolation that Walker doesn't come back to the Cubs, it'll be that at least he's going somewhere else where the Manager and GM appreciate his starting talent and keep him as the starter EVERY DAY.

"You ignored the fact that when I said he was average, I am comparing him against all MLB hitters. When you compare him against MLB 2nd Baseman, I will give him slightly above average."

I guess that is my fault. I didn't realize you wanted to start a non-2nd baseman as the Cubs 2nd-baseman in 2006. What above-average hitter (thus making Walker an average hitter) do you want to play at 2B? Nomar? Maybe, but if so, you shouldn't be complaining about potential lack of production and lack of hustle. Or maybe it's Ryan Freel or Felipe Lopez you want? Come down out of the clouds, my man. Lopez isn't going anywhere for a long, long time, and I'll take Walker's "non-hustling" numbers over Freel's "hustling" numbers any day.

Big John Stud,
I agree, Nomar really shouldn't be in our plans for next year. I just feel like Hendry's gonna give him a shot. About 90% of the time, I don't want Nomar back, but the other 10%, I think he could really rebound. Unfortunately, there really aren't that great of 2B options on the market. I'd rather have Hairston play there than Walker. That would be a defensive upgrade at least.

Drew:

"How am I supposed to remember the exact play when Walker wasn't hustling?"

Because you're making a rational argument on a baseball blog -- you should be able to present reasoned argument and analysis with concrete examples. You clearly haven't been at this very long.

"I can't pinpoint a time in the past, it happens often."

Quite a paradoxical statement. If it's so often, why can't you remember ONE, just one time?

"How about this, I'll try to watch as much of the games as possible over the next week, and I'll give you exact occurances."

Sounds like a good idea to me. But hey, I thought you videotaped all the games? Your TIVO should be able to give you those exact occurences.

Where are the stats that say Hairston is a better 2B than Walker?

Or at least "a defensive upgrade"

Andrew,
I'm not bashing the kind of year he's had. I'm just saying that, for a guy who doesn't offer you speed, great defense, or 110% all of the time, he better put up numbers. That's why we will live with Aramis at 3rd, and D Lee at 1st (although he has the glove, and more hustle and speed than the other two), but why would we want Walker, when his only real asset his is offense, and that's been poor this year. Don't give me the "ahh, poor baby Todd, you've had to move around the lineup, I feel so bad for you. You missed some time and haven't gotten your timing back over the last 3 months? oh, come cry on my shoulder Todd" excuse. A veteran like Walker has to be able to suck it up and hit, since again, that is what we are paying him for, it's certainly not the "intangibles".

For those suggesting we give Korey one more chance (something I'd be open to ONLY if we have two of three of Dunn, Damon, Giles and ONLY if Walker is back at 2B and Hairston can back Korey up at CF), this is a quote from Korey from BCB:

"I just pretty much grounded out. You usually go back to the at-bat before, almost the same pitch, and I lined it to third base. That's just how it goes, and so be it. It's just a game, you know? -- Corey Patterson"

The prosecution rests, your Honor.

Jose Macias hustles.

"that is what we are paying him for,"
Umm yeah and a lot lot less than what we would pay someone to meet your criteria.

Wow, after many posts of bantering back and forth, I refresh my screen to see "Jose Macias hustles." That's classic, I laughed out loud for about 30 seconds. I pictured the little Gremlin running, it was great.

Drew,

That is pretty weak to call out Walker and then cannot give an example. I'll give you an example of being a hard player and that was making the throw on the play Clee tore up his knee on. Most MI's probably would have pocketed the ball instead of taking the colission.

Big stud john,

Hendry will I think have like 32-40 mil to spend depending on what happens with maddux. Of that I think he will spend 25 or 34 of that. I think he will sign Furcal to a 4/32 or something like that. He will spend 10 mil on trading for Dunn or Soriano. Then 7 mil on pen and Bench guys. If Maddux were to retire he would after Burnett.

I can't believe you guys are getting all bent out of shape because I don't have exact video footage of the times I am talking about Walker's lack of hustle.

How about this:
1. Every time he hits a ground ball.
2. Every time he hits a fly ball.
3. When he's on first base, the man behind him singles, and he trots in to 2nd base instead of busting it to 3rd.
4. When he hits a single that's toward the gaps to the outfield, instead of busting it to 1st and making a big turn, and possibly stretching it into a double, he's already taking off his elbow guard talking to Sarge.
5. I don't recall ever seeing Walker slide hard into 2nd to break up a double play but that's probably just because he doesn't have the speed to get near 2nd when the infielder is turning it.

Drew,

"A veteran like Walker has to be able to suck it up and hit, since again, that is what we are paying him for, it's certainly not the "intangibles"."

So now, after admitting Walker is an above average 2B man, you've moved away from the non-hustling argument to say that he isn't a good hitter? Huh?

I don't cut Walker slack for not having the greatest year, yet I tried to list some reasons off WHY it's not been the best. He's been off the DL and in the #2 spot long enough that he should be producing, and he is. Again, if you watched the games, you'd notice that he's been doing just that lately.

I don't think I can convince you of this, not that I'm necessarily trying to. Maybe you're a Grudzophile who has a predetermined bias against Walker. I don't know. But the guy who turned down a starting job at other teams for originally a back up job at the Cubs deserves some defenders.

The reasons why you're arguments are invalid, and we should keep Walker:

1) First and foremost, Walker is just too cheap for the production he puts out, EVEN if that production is down. He's set for $2.5 m next year. No one else of comparable quality will be that cheap.

2) You've yet to give a concrete example of Walker not hustling so I'm calling your bluff. He's an above-average to good hitter who has an average (at worst) glove. He has little speed but he has a good eye, and can move between 1B and 2B to make plays when he has to. He can execute fundamentals, like bunting and hit-and-run time and again. He's solid skill-wise. And he has, from his quotes in the papers, one of the sharpest baseball minds in the Cubs organization. He was calling for himself and Hairston to move to the top of the order long before it happened and about the time that we all called for it. He's shown the brains to potentially be managing some day.

3) There's nobody else out there. The only thing that would perhaps validate Walker not returning is if Hairston got the starting job; and that shouldn't happen unless Korey is no longer in CF. Meaning Damon or someone else comes in. So if we get Damon, and Korey is gone, and Hairston is moved to 2B, then okay, Walker becomes much less useful. But until then, Hairston has to be considered a platoon centerfielder, where I think he's done fairly well.

I still don't get your complaints about Walker not being hard-nosed. Walker isn't anything if it not rough-around-the-edges, hard-nosed ballplayer. He's not a delicate ballerina type 2B man like Grudz (cheap shot, sorry), but he plays hard every day on every play in my opinion. Bring him back.

Ok, but he won't be aquiring Dunn or Soriano. Furcal maybe... and someone will probably overpay for Burnett but that person won't be Jim Hendry.

Drew has no clue what he is talking about. Walker always busts his ass. He may not be able to try much harder because he did suffer a pretty serious knee injury earlier in the season. You might of missed it, if you don't watch Cubs games Drew. Which is pretty clear at this point.

A full season of Walker projects out to about 95 Runs, 20 HR, 60-70 RBI. Mostly from the #2 spot.

And for a team who can't seem to get runners in with RISP or RISP with 2 outs Walker has been doing very well in that area. .292 BA and .323 BA in those areas. More importantly he has only struck out 5 times in 65 AB's with RISP.

Walker is not part of the problem, he is part of the solution. And if you dont get that, I dont know what to tell you.

cubs gonna trade walker for dunn, clone dunn, create 3 more dunns, trade 1 dunn for griff jr. and sell the other dunn to japan for 20 million...with the new money they'll sign furcal and then merge his DNA with the 3rd cloned dunn and create Duncal.

06 lineup

Duncal
dunn
griff jr.
lee
aram
barrett
murton
cedeno

dusty will also be replaced by a magical unicorn who shoots wins out its ass.

Drew,

I get bent out of shape exactly because you can't provide an example. Your arguments, without examples, are pure opinion, and WRONG opinions at that.

"How about this:
1. Every time he hits a ground ball."

No idea what that means. That he doesn't run well? We've established that. Just b/c he can't run well and can't run fast DOES NOT MEAN that he's not hustling. Completely illogical. Look at Korey Patterson or Carlos Beltran -- they run extremely well and hardly ever show it on the base paths. Using all your effort and speed to make the most of every play = hustle. Walker does that.

"2. Every time he hits a fly ball."

See above.

"3. When he's on first base, the man behind him singles, and he trots in to 2nd base instead of busting it to 3rd."

Usually, when you're a guy that's not real fast, that's about all you can do, going from 1st to 2nd. So he can't bust it to 3rd -- what if he tried and was thrown out by ten feet? You can't be just all-hustle and no-brains. Walker is a smart player, and that is more important than speed usually.

"4. When he hits a single that's toward the gaps to the outfield, instead of busting it to 1st and making a big turn, and possibly stretching it into a double, he's already taking off his elbow guard talking to Sarge."

See above.

"5. I don't recall ever seeing Walker slide hard into 2nd to break up a double play but that's probably just because he doesn't have the speed to get near 2nd when the infielder is turning it."

I completely disagree here. After watching a lot of Cubs games this year, Walker is one of the hardest sliders on the team. You've got your facts wrong here, man.

Walker's hitting .301 with a .353 OBP.
How in the hell are those numbers down?
They're better than his 2004 numbers.
Walker is a selfless player who does move guys over regularly, hits sac flies when he has to and works hard on his D even if it's not that good. He never dogs it. Just because he's not fast doesn't mean he's not hustling.
To add to the fact that he's a hell of a steal for his salary, he loves the Cubs and never puts himself before his team.

Thanks, Chifan and MikeC. I'm glad I'm not the only one that values Walker. I'm getting a bit exasperated from beating my head against this wall.

Dusty shoves wins up his ass to never be seen again...
give me the unicorn

Crunch, where did you hear about this magical unicorn and why haven't we gotten it yet!!!!!!

"Dusty shoves wins up his ass to never be seen again...give me the unicorn"

Drew, you want to talk about lack of hustle, let's shift your gaze to another culprit ... one that has more widespread influence.

The Corey quote was a misquote. he actually said "the" game per the tape. Big diference as it changes the meaning from "I don't care - its just a game" to "sometimes the ball bounces the other way." This doesn't mean he doesn't suck - just that he was misquoted. Corey has enough problems without that.

#64 of 75: By big john stud (August 30, 2005 12:22 PM)

Phil, what makes you think Wood will be thrown into the bullpen from the outset?
Also, how in the world did you come up with all of those scenarios?
Trade for Jason Jennings & Oliver Perez?
Why do that when Hill, Guzman or Pinto could be ready next year? Hendry loves his prospects and I can't imagine that after holding onto Guzman for this long that Hendry would trade him unless he got an offer he couldn't refuse.

--

Big John: How did I come up with all those scenarios? It's called peyote.

But as for Kerry Wood, I just don't think his mechanics will ever improve enough to allow him to "shoulder" the work-load required of a rotation starter.

I think his future is as a closer, and I believe he will discover that for himself next season. Of course, Woody's gonna have to be a REALLY great closer for the Cubs to pick up his $13 mil option for 2007, but depending on how good he is and how much Hendry is spending (or not spending) in other areas, they might. Maybe.

I believe I had Todd Wellemeyer and POSSIBLY a second pitching prospect (I was thinking maybe somebody like Jae-kuk Ryu) going to Colorado for Jason Jennings, and I think that would be an OK deal (I believe) for the Cubs because Wellemeyer is out of options next Sopring Training, and Jennings MIGHT do a Shawn Chacon if he can get out of Colorado. Maybe. My only question about the Rockies deal (Wellemeyer and ??? for Jennings is whether the Rickies would do it, not if it would be good for the Cubs, because it believe it would be. (Maybe.).

The O. Perez (Pirates) thing has to do with trying to find a balance in any deal with Pittsburgh involving Corey Patterson and Jack Wilson, and then Ronny Cedeno and Rob Mackowiak. That actually could stand alone as the deal... Patterson & Cedeno for Wilson & Mackowiak. I could see that happening.

What precipitated the other part of the deal was a conversation I had out here in Phoenix with somebody about Shawn Chacon, and how he has done since going to the Yankees. The question we were throwing around was how many other pitchers are there pitching for losing teams who might turn it around in a different environment? Two of the pitchers I came up with were (yes, you guessed it...) Kip Wells and Jason Jaennings. We called it the "Shawn Chacon Factor." Pretty catchy, huh?

As for Angel Guzman, I think it would take either Guzman or Rich Hill (plus others) to pry Alfonso Soriano loose from Texas, and if Hendry wants Soriano bad enough (and I think he does), he will include Guzman or Hill in that trade.

Interesting, Milky. So where exactly was that "the" supposed to go?

"I just pretty much grounded out. You usually go back to the at-bat before, almost the same pitch, and I lined it to third base. That's just how it goes, and so be it. It's just a game, you know? -- Corey Patterson"

"I just pretty much grounded out. You usually go back to the at-bat before, almost the same pitch, and I lined it to third base. That's just how it goes, and so be it. It's just a game, you know? -- Corey Patterson"

The prosecution rests, your Honor.

According to Bruce Miles at the Daily Herald, Corey was misquoted and actually said "It's just the game," which completely changes the meaning of the sentence.

Ah, I see now. Yes, that does change the possible inferences one can draw from his statement. All apologies to the Patterson family.

Phil, someone pointed this out the other day, but here it goes again:

Jack Wilson

2001 - .223, .255
2002 - .252, .306
2003 - .256, .303
2004 - .308, .335
2005 - .237, .281

What's the point with Wilson? Neifi can do this.

I also think Wood will end up as a closer at some point, but unless he has some serious arm episodes in spring training, it won't be at the outset of the 2006 season.

#52 of 88: By Bleeding Blue (August 30, 2005 11:52 AM)
Sorry, AZ Phil, but I don't see anyway the Cubs sign JJones. First of all, The Twins drafted him (1996) after McFail left Minnesota (1994), so there's no connection there. Second, there's no way Jones gets 8 mil for 3 years. He's a 30 year old RF who hits .260 with 20 HRs a year and needs to be in a platoon because he can't hit leftys. Then again, it would be a really dumb move, so I guess I could see the Cubs doing it.

-

B BLue: You are correct. My bad on that one. MacPhail was indeed gone when the Twins drafted Jones out of USC.

Jacques Jones is making just under $6 mil this season, and I figure in the free-agent market-place, with him being only 30 years old next season, he would get either $28 mil for four years or $24 mil for three. I'm fairly confident of that, But I could be wrong. We'll have to wait to and see what he gets.

BTW, I'm not a big Jacques Jones fan (even though he's five years older and has bad knees, I still like Brian Giles better). I would say it's almost a certainty that Jacques Jones will be a free-agent, and that the Twins won't even try to re-sign him. So if Hendry wants him (and the Cubs were mentioned in connection with Jones last winter before the Twins settled with him on a one-year deal taking him to free-agency), Hendry can probably get him.

Or (like I said in the earlier post), Hendry might trade for Austin Kearns instead. I just think Hendry prefers a left-handed hitting RF who can hit in the middle-of-the-order, what with D-Lee and Ramirez in the middle of the order, and especially if Hendry were to acquire Soriano from Texas.

All I can say is that from my point of view (as well as my brother, who has season tickets) Walker looks like he'd be a hard-nosed ballplayer, but he plays like a pansy, and isn't a leader by example.

I'll take note the next week of moments that show what I'm talking about, and point them out here on TCR.

Cheers,
Drew

Drew,

Why don't you like Walker? I would rather have Hair or Grudz at 2b next year, but he is a solid player who plays hard. I can't wait for your list. How many items will be on it? My guess is it will never appear here.

Our line up would look very respectable if we can pick Carl Crawford, Rafael Furcal. A nice to have would be Vernon Wells. Pulling Crawford away from Tampa Bay is hard but I think hendry can do it.

Rafael Furcal
Carl Crawford
Derek Lee
Aramis Ramirez
Jeromy Burnitz/Vernon Wells
Walker
Barrett
Pie/Murton

#92 of 93: By big john stud (August 30, 2005 01:19 PM)
Phil, someone pointed this out the other day, but here it goes again:

Jack Wilson

2001 - .223, .255
2002 - .252, .306
2003 - .256, .303
2004 - .308, .335
2005 - .237, .281

What's the point with Wilson? Neifi can do this.

I also think Wood will end up as a closer at some point, but unless he has some serious arm episodes in spring training, it won't be at the outset of the 2006 season.

-

I just think somebody like Jack Wilson is the best the Cubs are going to get for Corey Patterson, and I believe Corey WILL be traded sometime during the off season. I don't know if they have a line on that in Vegas, but if they do, book it. That is, the Cubs trading Corey Patterson. Not necessarily the Cubs acquiring Jack Wilson.

As most everyone here knows, I am a BIG Ronny Cedeno fan, but I think he will be traded. I also like Rob Mackowiak, by the way, as a super-sub 3B-2B-1B-LF-CF-RF-PH. Dusty Baker REALLY likes "vetrsatility" on his bench (because he insists on having a 12-man pitching staff), so the ability of each of the the "extra men" (which is what they call the bench guys) to play a number of different positions is real important on a Dusty Baker team.

I got a ?, how come nobody is talking about the possibility of Eric Patterson at 2B next year?

same reason no one should be talking about Pie in CF.

too little, too soon.

That, and let's deal with one Patterson at a time, BadGuy.

cubs got dibs on walker/hairston...they should be okay for 2nd...and given the lack of even mediocre 2nd base depth this offseason and the fact walker's pretty cheap, his value right now should hold well into the offseason up into spring if they wanna shift him.

Bad Guy,

Because he has played all of 3 games above low A ball.

AZ Phil,

Why not C-pat for Mackowiak?

Guienessman,

You want to give up Pie for Crawford? because that's the only way were getting him.

I don't agree with the Walker doesn't hustle theory, but the half second pose and bat flip after each popout (and some groundouts) indicates he is more interested in looking cool than playing hard. That and his 36 interviews per day.

You can have Dunn and Soriano and their 3million K's. Coupled with the amazing stat that Dunn has one sac fly in almost two years, no thanks.
Somebody tell me why the Bosox want to dump Manny and his amazing offensive numbers, and I'll tell you why I don't want him.

"That and his 36 interviews per day."

hahah

E-pat at AA

7 PA, 0 hits, 3 walks, .375 OBP

Dunn's lowest OBP in a season minus Soriano's highest OBP in a season = 16 points.

Not that grouping them together like that is a bogus association, or anything.

I do wonder who's going to end up with him, it's not going to be us, and the Reds have to be ready to move him now.

reds trading their preimeire slugger within their own division to a team capable of signing him to a longterm deal to play vs. them 16+ times a year.

yeah, count on that.

Do we really have to deal with hypothetical line-ups for the next 6 months?

Ugh.

I don't understand the infatuation with Reds outfielders. Dunn is Burnitz with 10 more homers and some more walks. He is king of the one run homer and the Cubs don't need more chokers with RISP. Kearns had one good September and has either sucked or been hurt the rest of the time.
Can we still sign Kevin Maas?

As far as shortstop goes, Nomar is too risky and hasn't lived up to his hype when he is healthy. He might be the "carrier of the curse" as well. Let him go, like the Red Sox did, and see what happens. Furcal is too streaky and also seems to be injured at least once a year. A trade is a possibility here ... maybe Hendry could package Juan Cruz, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jason Dubois ... I mean Andy Pratt, Roberto Novoa, and Justin Berg. Nice moves. To sweeten the deal, he could throw in the Cubs reliever who has a 2.40 ERA and 66 Ks in 63 innings ... you know, Andy Sisco. Too bad he's on the Royals and we got nothing for him.

Dusty's taking a lot of heat, and deservedly so, but let's focus on the man who has kept him here and who has failed to get the players the Cubs need. Hendry's the problem here. One Aramis Ramirez acquisition does not a general manager make.

"You want to give up Pie for Crawford? because that's the only way were getting him. "

Uh yeah! Unproven talent with mysterious ankle injury for proven talent, I would do that in a heart beat.
But I guess the GM in TB is a little hard to deal with he would probably want Prior and Z also.

Crawford isn't very good.

Dunn: .390/.565
Burshitz: .330/.463

That's not really close.

uhh...Drew is a parody poster, right?

right?

nomar is not a cub next year.

At least to me the writing is on the wall. He's playing third base to setup for free agency. He was always an average SS defensively. (some say below avg) But with his injury to his leg this year, he just can't risk the rest of his career on a position that requires lots of movement. His arm is pretty good and would make a fine 3B somewhere. Obviously not here though.

Josh

How about swapping Ramirez, Aramis for Ramirez, Manny and moving Nomar to third? Just a thought...I know Aramis is loved, and Nomar has spent a lot of time on the DL, but Aramis' legs have done nothing but give him a reason to jog for the last two years.

Dunn's OBP is all about walks that he won't receive in the middle of the Cubs lineup. He's a big lumbering rube in the field and on the bases.
How much all or nothing baseball can you stand?
You can beat the Yanks to Bellhorn if you hurry. Kearns is a better fit and won't cost you the players Dunn will.

You talk like the Cubs would let Zambrano go if they decided to "start over." They'd let a lot of players ago, but the core of the team, Prior and Zambrano, are not guys that the Cubs will let get away.

What are they gonna do? Toss it right over the plate? I'd like that.

Bellhorn would likely make a nice bench guy. He wouldn't be bad at 2B if we got rid of Walker (which would be a mistake).

Dunn's OBP is all about walks that he won't receive in the middle of the Cubs lineup.

First of all...if he didn't walk, that would just mean that he would get more pitches to hit, with means 50+ homeruns.

Second of all...you think the Cubs lineup is better than the Reds? What makes you think that Dunn receives walks in the reds lineup that he wouldn't receive in the Cubs lineup?

Jonatwork,

I wrote about a ram trade in post 27. I will have to see how Nomar does at 3b before I would endorse it. Though if BOS included Papelbon I like I mention for a possible trade in my post I would do it.

Jacos,

The great Carl Crawford has a carrer 284/315/413 mark as a hitter. Not somebody you trade your top prosecpt for.

Fresno Jesse,

Cruz and Farnsy sucked while they were here. Dubois I think is allergic to leather. Sisco was a huge fat ass (300+) who it took getting cut from having big macs all day.

You want to give up Pie for Crawford? because that's the only way were getting him.

I would trade Pie straight up for Crawford in a second! Pie is potential that may never pan out. And at this point he looks quite a lot like another center fielder that we don't like too much. Crawford is better now than Pie, and there is a very good chance that Crawford is better than Pie will ever be at the major league level.

Or 50 more K's. Lee Dunn Ramirez. yeah I'd pitch around Dunn.

I like this one by Fresno Jesse

Hendry's the problem here. One Aramis Ramirez acquisition does not a general manager make."

Your one example does not a convincing post make.

Hendry has done a hell of a lot more for this team than stubborn jackass Dusty has, and Hendry's man enough to admit that he didn't fill a couple of holes properly for this year.
You'll NEVER hear Dusty admit wrong... instead he'll point fingers, make excuses and lay blame anywhere else he can while repeatedly making the same horrible decisions and copping an attitude when taken to task for his actions.
Dusty Baker is an overrated fraud and HE is Hendry's biggest mistake. The "player's manager" who last year couldn't control the most talented Cubs team that any of us have ever seen.

One Aramis Ramirez acquisition does not a general manager make.

Nope, one move doesn't make a manager.

But then you're also forgetting that he's also picked up DLee, Nomar, Maddux, Barrett, Walker, turned 2005 Sammy Sosa into Hairston and Burnitz (which sadly for the former Cub is a big improvement), and got ANYTHING for LaChoke Hawkins.

Sorry Hendry Couldn't turn Cruz, Farns, and Dubois into Billy Wagner, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez. Seriously, what do you think he could have gotten for those 3?

Yeah, what big john said...

One Aramis Ramirez acquisition does not a general manager make.

Of course it doesn't. But when you add that to Lofton, Simon, Maddux, Lee, Barrett, Nomar, etc it does make a general manager.

Yes...he didn't fill holes well this year. I also believe that he was kind of stuck in a corner with the need to trade Sosa. He had to wait to clear cap room to get other players, and he was not able to get great value in return for a guy that everyone in the world knew that the Cubs wanted to trade.

Oops...looks like we are all saying the same thing.

And oh yea...I forgot Jerome Williams! What a steal for Hawkins.

Dunn has a higher OPS than Aramis.

Gammons says that Walker trade isn't going to happen because Walker is not better than Broussard. Had to LMAO when I heard that:

Walker 301/353/473 10 hr 33 rbi

Broussard 258/312/447 14 hr 49 rbi

Drew is a moron. this isn't even an argument.

Dunn is Burnitz with 10 more HRs?

today was apparently a "who's the bigger moron" conversation.

and people think that putting dunn in the cubs lineup takes away all those walks? um no. he's amazingly patient, and more pitches to hit = more homers. lots. with lee on in front of him.

Hairston is hitting the ball well. It really makes me think if he just needs consistent at bats (like everyone).

I would have no problem with Hairston being our starting center fielder next year, with Walker at 2b.

Rate

A way to look at the fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc.

Walker 2004 Rate= 94
Walker 2004 Rate= 97
Walker Career Rate = 94

Hairston 2004 Rate= 109
Hairston 2005 Rate= 97
Hairston Career Rate= 100

So Walker's likely to cost about 6 runs a season at 2nd more than Hairston.

Double plays Walker has hit into about 1.54 less than expected. Hairston has hit into .7 less than expected.

Walker's VORP = 24
Hairston's VORP = 7 all the caught stealings aren't helping.

All that's from BP.

From my interpretation. I think that good defensive teams have a synergistic benefit with pitchers. The pitchers aren't afraid to have the ball get hit, so they throw fewer walks and become better pitchers. Don't know of any way to prove this, but the Cards surely are anedoctal evidence.

Before you start coming up with exact trade scenarios you have to have a game plan for your team. The Cubs have plenty of money to get the missing pieces to make another championship run. They want to infuse some young talent as well. The trade market sucked this summer but it won't this winter. I expect the Cubs to make several deals this winter. I think they'll make a run at Damon but won't get him. They'll make a run at Wagner and MIGHT get him. If they get Wagner, Dempster will be re-signed and will give them a "backup" starting pitcher and/or quality set up man.

I still think Walker will be traded. This makes Jerry Hairston very important. Hairston allows them to infuse a young player or even sign Nomar. If they sign Nomar, they'll still keep Cedeno, with the option of moving Nomar or Cedeno to 2b. Essentially they would have Fontenot, Cedeno, Hairston, Nomar to compete for two spots. Hairston's ability to play Of makes him the guy to keep. With Hairston as an Of option, the Cubs can let Murton and Pie compete for one Of spot. They can get the other two spots through trade or free agency.

I fully expect the Cubs to deal some coveted prospects along with Cpat, Jerome Williams, Mitre, Wellemyer and Rich Hill. I think Hendry will take risks because he has to. Basically they'll be worried about 06 and not much beyond it.

In retrospect, not signing Alou and Clement became the biggest failures of the club. Not being able to make many deals at the trading deadline really hamstrung us as well.

If they can get a couple more prospects for Burntiz, Walker and Rusch, they have to do it. They'll want more "chips" to trade this winter.

As for Nomar, his willingness to change positions and accept another one year deal will be attractive to the Cubs. The Cubs are committed to creating a deeper, more versatile team. When Walker came here, we had Grudz and the grand plan was Walk would play Of, 3b, whatever. The Cubs found out he's not versatile enough defensively and thats why I think they'll trade him now.
I like Walker, I like his stick and I like his contract but I think he's expendable. He's not versatile, he doesn't possess much speed and not enough power.

When its all said and done they'll either sign Wagner or trade for a #3 starter. They'll spend the money or trade for an outfielder.

If being a moron were a requirement for not posting, this board would be pretty empty.

furcal too much money?
the last time the cubs had a bunch of money come off the books (after the dusty/bartman/gonzalez disaster) they lected to spread the money around instead of going after big tickets. they added depth but failed to address the real weak spots.
they thought borowski was the answer so didn;t go after a closer (keith foulke?)
they traded for barrett and didn't sign I-Rod or javy lopez.
and, worst of all, stuck themselves with alex gonzalez and didn't go after miguel tejada.
i don't think they need a whole of FA signings other than furcal, maybe jacque jones and ramon hernandez or ben molina (the last three guys also bringing big-game, post-season experience) and a couple crafty trades.
novoa and ohman for affeldt, maybe, but there's a risk.
forget wagner, though he's great. how about rich hill and novoa for brian fuentes.
fuentes and dempster would be strong.
centrefield, top of the order?
forget damon.
juan pierre, maybe. or even corey sullivan form colorado or joey gathright from tampa. all three could be moved to left if and when felix pie arrives.

You can also take a look at some helpful info dedicated to diet pill containing ephedra diet pill containing ephedra http://www.budgethawaii.net/diet-pill.html http://www.budgethawaii.net/diet-pill.html .

X
  • Sign in with Twitter