Friday Notes Edition

Hope everyone is enjoying the playoffs, so far. Sure it's tough not seeing the Cubs in there and even tougher to see the White Sox and Cards playing, but if you're a fan of just the game of baseball, you generally get to see some well-played games. - The Cubs were suppose to announce any coaching changes by yesterday, but I haven't come across anything yet. I'm assuming the hold-up is being caused by Larry Rothschild. Hendry gave Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski permission to interview Rothschild, who worked with new Tigers manager Jim Leyland back in 1997 when the Marlins won the World Series. Indications are that Rothschild was offered a new contract by the Cubs for one year and it'll just depend if Rothschild is more interested in coaching with an old friend in Leyland or trying to stick around and finish what he's started in Chicago. - There's a ton of free agent talk about the Cubs going after Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal. And with only a small group of teams really needing a shortstop, it looked like the Cubs were the front-runners. But give Furcal and his agent some credit, when it appeared there wasn't going to be a lot of competition for his services, they went out and created some. Rumor has it that he made it known that he would be willing to play second base for the Mets, who in turn would buyout the disappointing Kaz Matsui's contract (owed $8 million) and have a speedy middle infield of Furcal and Jose Reyes. Now it's hard to tell if A) it's true and B) if the Mets are the only team he's willing to play second base for. Cause if he's really willing to move to second base, I couldn't think of anything tastier than signing him and then Nomar to play shorstop. Problems this would solve: - Bench depth at SS; When Nomar goes down next year, his backup is Furcal and then you either plug-in Hairston, Cedeno or possibly even Walker if they still kept him around. (More on that in a second). All of that sounds better than Neifi or Macias, doesn't it? - Lineup construction; Furcal has a career .348 OBP which won't remind you of Rickey Henderson, but couple that with his speed and there's no doubt he bats leadoff every day with Dusty at the helm. Considering the middle of the order is pretty set, that's one less thing Dusty can meddle with. Infield defense; The glove is leaky for Furcal but there's no doubting his range and gun for an arm. Most of the advanced defensive metrics out there rate him as one of the best defensive shortstops in the NL and a move to second shouldn't be much of a problem. Win, win I say!!! - As for Todd Walker, doesn't seem like Baker is much of a fan.
''To me the infield is probably more important than the outfield, because you get more balls in the infield,'' Baker said. ''You got to be strong defensively up the middle. But Nomar got hurt, and Walk was always more an offensive player.''
Of course the fact that he thinks Walker is more of an offensive player and the only shortcoming of Nomar was that he got hurt, just tells you how much our manager is paying attention. Anyway I highly doubt Walker is back next year. The human thing would be to not pick up his option and let him go find his own deal. The smart thing would be to pick up his option, see what happens in the off-season and if we fill second base with a better player, then look to trade him. If we don't find a better second baseman, then Option B is Todd Walker and that's one helluva of an Option B. And even if we do find a second baseman, keeping Todd Walker on the bench isn't such a bad idea. He might not be thrilled about it, but I'm sure he'd adjust quickly. He doesn't seem like the guy who'd cause a huge ruckus once the season began. And we'd at least have a legit bat coming off the bench and there's no reason that Walker couldn't fill in at third, first or left field in a pinch. - Other than the coaching staff, the only other news to come next week (by Wednesday) will most likely be some 40 man roster additions and subtractions. Thanks to AZ Phil for this list of minor leaguers who are eligible to be six-year minor league free agents, if they're not added to the 40 man roster. Cliff Bartosh Enrique Cruz Nate Frese Talley Haines Mark Johnson David Kelton Casey Kopitzke Kevin McGlinchy Calvin Murray Phil Norton Cody Ransom Brandon Sing Aron Weston There's only one player that needs to be added and that's Brandon Sing, who's now been raking the ball for 2+ years in the minors and has the peripherals to suggest that he won't be the next Jason Dubois. Problem is that his main position is first base and well that's spoken for. He has dabbled in the outfield the last 2 years and it's reported he has a cannon for an arm, but he's a bit lost chasing flyballs. Undoubtedly he'll start the season in AAA next year, but he'd make a great injury replacement for Lee next year if that unfortunate occurence would befall us and given some time, who knows if his outfield defense could improve. The only other players on that list that may get added are Cliff Bartosh and Talley Haines, I would think.
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Comments

At this point I'd be pretty happy to see Rothschild go. I don't have any hard and fast metrics, but other than Zambrano (which, admittedly, is a pretty big "other than"), I don't really feel like anybody's made serious progress in his tenure, and I can point to numerous examples of those who could have/should have/have elsewhere done better. .. Wood, Prior, Mitre, Farnsie....

Dempster as closer might go down as a second exception. Anyway, see ya. Don't let it hit ya where it split ya.

Why? Why? Why? would the Cubs offer him even a one year contract? What has he done for us lately??? THe Cubs need a fresh start from a managerial perspective.

he's the perfect scapegoat for the fans that demand someone go. he's public and people know his name.

pitching seems to be the last of the team's problems, honestly. the fact no one even cares about gene clines is kinda odd. the bullpen was pure crap, but given there was actually improvement from 1st 1/2 to 2nd 1/2 and most everyone that left didnt improve...roths seems kinda minor. especially given most of the 2nd 1/2 improvements were kids.

before anyone celebrates, i'd wait to find out the replacement. roths isnt a bad coach at all. he's got a decent history and pitchers seem to like him.

well the rumored replacement is AAA pitching coach Rick Kranitz, I can't imagine why that would be any better.

Haven't been much of a fan of Rothschild, particularly this year, but we definitely could do worse. And promoting from within an organization that doesn't have the faintest clue on how to keep young pitchers healthy (and I'm not talking pitch counts or any of that wackiness), seems like that is doing worse. I have no clue on how Kranitz has been around, maybe he knows Wood, Prior, Z and most likely the crop of young bullpen arms, so I guess he has that going for him.

And here's another guess, Baker won't like him and when/if things go wrong next year with pitchers, guess where Mr. Blamshifter is going to put it.

Here's Kranitz's bio (and remeber it's all rumor now):

http://www.iowacubs.com/aspx/roster.aspx?pid=252

Been in the Cubs organization since '84 as pitching coach or assistant pitching coach through most levels of the minors. 2nd year as pitching coach of Iowa.

He would certainly be familiar with any Cubs pitcher that came up through the system. 'm not sure if that's good or bad....

if roth does go..especially with all the in-house tallent the cubs have..it would probally be nice to transition with an in-house guy.

ohman, hill, mitre, wellemeyer, van burren, wuertz, koronka and even a touch of williams amongst others.

safe start if nothing else.

If the Cubs had Furcal and Nomar both under contract, why would Nomar be the SS? It would be just as easy, and probably smarter, to put Nomar at 2b and leave Furcal at SS. And that might make Furcal more comfortable coming to Chicago.

why do people think side-arm-throwing nomar would be a good 2nd baseman anyway?

2nd base is more dangerous for a guy with a groin problem than SS. you got to deal with runners stealing and you deal with the double play a lot more. guys with groin problems should avoid all that excess motion/contact as much as possible.

sure, you cover somewhat more ground at SS, but at 2nd you have constant motion changes, breaks, and more people trying to run you down.

todd walker may not mr. gold glove, but he at least knows the motions and can make an overhand throw insted of a sidearm one that ends up out in LF after missing the 1st baseman by 10ft.

LF/RF...whatever =p

in theory sure, haven't heard anything though about nomar willing to shift to second base yet and he was very unwilling apparently last year to do it for the Dodgers who offered him a 3 yr deal to do it. Things may have changed.

Nomar's wind-up, wacky side-arm throwing motion could be problematic for turning the DP from second I would think. It's all just heresay at the moment. Get Nomar/Furcal in camp, figure it out then I say!!!

I believe if Larry Rothschild leaves (and as I posted in the Roudtable last week, I believe he will), Dick Pole is far more likely to be Dusty's new pitching coach than Rick Kranitz.

Pole was Dusty's pitching coach in San Francisco, and the ONLY reason Pole is "bench coach" and Sonny Jackson the behind-the-scenes "assistant manager" is because Rothschoild was already under contract when Dusty became the Cubs manager.

Pole will be the new pitching coach, and Sonny Jackson will be the new bench coach for the reasons I listed in the Roundtable.

Somebody would have to go, or go to the OF. And with the year Furcal is having, assuming we bring him in, he can play anywhere he damn well wants imo. just think all those SBs ahead of Lee and Ramirez. I'm for giving Nomar a shot at 2B if he's willing, but as previously mentioned, 2B would be a much more difficult position than SS pertaining to Nomars groin. But in a perfect world, Nomar would move to the OF. However, I wouldn't be surprised one bit to see Nomar go elsewhere with the pop in his bat after the injury. His bat was quite impressive, but if we get Furcal, Nomar will be of no use to us unless he's willing to play OF.

The one thing I can say about Kranitz is that some of the guys who went through the Iowa to Chicago carousel all year seemed to do better when they first came back and then would suck the longer they were here.

"Nomar will be of no use to us unless he's willing to play OF"

I can't wait to see his sidearm throws to the cutoff man.

lol, I'm sure they'd get that ironed out in the unlkely event that Nomar does play OF

that's certainly a possibility about Pole and I'm only regurgitating what the papers said about Kranitz. Reading up on Pole's bio though, he left San Fran after '97 though and was the pitching (or bullpen coach) for Red Sox in '98, Anaheim in '99, Cleveland in 2000-2001 and Montreal in 2002; before coming to the Cubs in 2003 to be their bench coach. Doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling when you go through so many teams in so many years, that anyone really cares for his talents.

And why did he leave the Giants in '97 if he was so chummy with Baker and go take a crummy job as bullpen coach for the Red Sox? Maybe he had his reasons (family, etc), but as I said, wouldn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling for him to be take over the job.

If I was a betting man, I would bet that Furcal & Cedeno will be the starting SS-2B combo for the Cubs next year and hit 1-2 in the batting order. Even though I believe Matt Murton would be an ideal #2 hitter and that Cedeno should hit 8th, I can't see Baker hitting Murton 2nd. If they are both in the starting lineup, Cedeno will hit 2nd and Murton will hit 6th.

Also, I believe even if the Cubs sign Furcal, Hendry will exercise the club option and retain Todd Walker for 2006, partly as insurance in case Ronny Cedeno struggles in his move to 2B, and partly as a trading chip if Walk is not needed. Sort of like what happened with Bill Buckner in 1984. And even though Hendry could trade Walker anywhere without Walker's OK, I believe Hendry will give Walk a right of refusal in any trade if it comes to that.

And as I posted on another thread earlier today, I expect Neifi Perez will get a two-year deal to be a starting shortstop elsewhere (I am betting it will be the Washington Nationals, the team that claimed Neifi when he was placed on waivers in August, and where Cristian Guzman has been a total bust), and that Nomar will end up either in L. A. with the Dodgers, or go back to the A. L. (White Sox, Red Sox, or Seattle) where he would be a full-time player splitting time betwen DH and the infield (with the Red Sox, it would be 2B). In any case, I will be surprised if either Nomar or Neifi return to the Cubs in 2006.

whenever that crazy notion of him moving to the OF was mentioned, Dusty said he'd have to change his throwing style. There's enough teams looking for a 3b, that Nomar moving to the OF makes no sense. And as I mentioned in the roundtable, his bat isn't all that special for a corner outfielder to offset what would most likely be some disastrous outfield defense.

maybe Nomar will agree to play 16" short centerfield...

if he really wants to stay in chicago that is

nomar playing anywhere but SS/3rd would probally cost a club a lotta money for years.

he's just not gonna go to LF for a year to be an average LF'r insted of an above average IF'r.

plus, its a stretch to think of murton as a RF'r.

given how timid the club has been on the SS issue and how hands-off theyve been on almost anything nomar-related, it seems they might actually have furcal in mind. time will tell.

don't know if all the blame should be directed at rothschild or dusty burning arms or hendry for sticking with barrett or what
but no team in baseball does less with more pitching than the cubs

Hey more rumors. While players might be thin, coaches and GM's sure look to be moving around alot. Now it might be Theo Epstein!

http://msn.foxsports.com/name/FS/rumors

If the Tribune company feels upper management isn't getting the job done with a 100 million dollar payroll they could easily replace the whole lot of them and bring in a breath of fresh air.

Wait let me go to my fantasy place for a second.....

Baker moves on to LA and Epstein as our GM. Wow a GM who can recognize his teams problems and creative enough to think "outside" the box. God, living in fantasy land is cool place. I know what the Dusty supports feel like now.

theo's hype.

just look at his track record and where he's thrown money. his only saving grace is 130 million = playoffs.

guy is pure math. he cant be too far off from his scouts just walking out on him in order to go to teams that actually need someone who doesnt rank players with a calculator.

Picking up Remlinger was certainly outside the box.

Come to think of it, signing a .720 OPS shortstop to a long term $10mm a year contract is pretty far outside the box, too.

IF the Cubs want stability then they need to bring back Larry Rothchild as their pitching coach. Rothchind has developed Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, and Ryan Dempster. This is a crtical time as Wood reaches his prime following shoulder surgery.
Dusty Baker responsibity is to teach the players how to play fundamentally sound baseball and play the game the right way. Coaches Garry Cline and Garry Mathews are responsibie for viewing the flim of the bad baserunning, lack of safricing and poor defense.
I see Oakland has an magerial position open. I would not be shock if Athletics general mangaer Billy Beane asks Cubs general manager Jim Hendry permission to interview Baker. My guess is if Hendry does give Beane permission to interview Baker, he'll likey take the A's job. If Dusty Baker does take the A's job, Hendry's serach will include Grady Little, and Joe Giradi. Baker is one of the top five managers in the game, he squezes out the maxium effort out of his players. Next year is crtical as Baker reach the final year of his contract. They must return to the playoffs if Baker wants to continue as the Cubs skippper.
They had a lot of injuries, no leadoff hitter, no left fielder, who knows if Wood had pitched the whole season, of Nomar Garricaparia has played the whole season, if Armmais Ramriez playe dteh entrie season, if Mark Prior pitched the whole season, or if Dempster started the season as the closer? They may have either N.L Central or the wild card.

jason "10m a year for 4 years" varitek anyone?

hell, he makes m.barrett look great behind the plate.

20 or so more walks an 5-8 homers is worth twice the salary of barrett f'sure.

how about mark "my calculator says i'm good" bellhorn...he looks good on paper, he must be good in real life. oops, slow guys who can walk dont mean they can field. damn ob% flaw...

"Baker is one of the top five managers in the game, he squezes out the maxium effort out of his players"

Was this statement written in sarcasm? Seriously not trying to be an ass.

Anyone else having troubles listening to MLB audio today?

Nevermind...I got it to work.

Why isn't Atlanta going to re-sign Furcal?

Kranitz didn't appear to help Pinto advance his game. And the Iowa staff didn't outperform its low talent level this year. How does he merit consideration?

Why isn't Atlanta going to re-sign Furcal?

$

Why in the world would Beane be intersted in Baker? Beane has to win with rookies.

"Rothchind has developed Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, and Ryan Dempster."

That's silly. Prior didn't get developed by Rothschild. He was a "Cant Miss" when he was drafted. Dempster wasn't developed by Rothschild - he is a 27 year old off of arm surgery who rehabbed and failed as a starter, so he was thrown to the pen. He just happened to succeed. That doesn't mean Larry Rothschild "developed" him. Z - ok - you can have that one. But the thought of giving Rothschild credit for our pitchers development is assinine. He has been the pitching coach for the LACK OF DEVELOPMENT of this staff. A staff with this much potential has underachieved under his tenure.

"Billy Beane asks Cubs general manager Jim Hendry permission to interview Baker."

Oakland is going to spend 4mm+ on a manager who believes that "walks clog the basepaths". He isn't going to pay for a media hungry, powergrabber like Baker. He wants an inxperienced guy he can push around. Dusty is nearly the antithesis of a Beane GM.

"Baker is one of the top five managers in the game"

Only if measured by toothpicks consumed.

"he squezes out the maxium effort out of his players."

Um - no

Baker and Beane together in Oakland, if there ever was a reality show for baseball, we have it there.

Yeah, you guys are right, Theo's a numbskull with a huge payroll.

-Signed Bill Mueller on the cheap (won a batting title in 2003)
-Signed David Ortiz when no one wanted him (Potential MVP this year)
- Kevin Millar, Bronson Arroyo signings (key components to last years WS team)
- Traded Bellhorn to be a backup/occassional platoon partner to Pokey Reese at 2nd and only started when Nomar went down and Pokey moved to SS . It helped that he had a hot bat and that despite the image of a poor defender, most all Boston-ites (coaches included) say he made a pretty decent 2b with a strong arm who turned the DP with the best of him.
-Got Curt Schilling for a bag of balls and some pine tar
- The Nomar trade which was made for chemistry/defensive reasons
- Signed a closer who has no problems going 2 innings at a time
- Helped build a team that won a championship for a city that's been suffering for what? 80+ years.

His FA signing this year didn't work out so well it seems, but when you got some cash to throw around, why not get the best players? So your stuck with the best players for a few years longer than you like and then have to absorb a cruddy contract at the end. If you can afford it, why not do it?

They are in the playoffs you know and tied the Yanks who's payroll is close to double the BoSox. The team has led the league in runs scored each of the last 2 years as well.

That Epstein kid, what a dumbass, yup!! :)

The Cubs mlb website is reporting Matt Murton will play in the Arizona League. I haven't seen anyone mention this on the TCR boards to date. Is this confirmable?

http://cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.j...

Murton, who finished his rookie season with the Cubs batting .321 in 51 games, was expected to join the Solar Sox by Friday.

CUBSTER: Because he was active in the big leagues and playing for the Cubs as recently as last Sunday, Murton was given a few days to get out to Arizona. He is supposed to report to the Mesa Solar Sox sometime this weekend, so he could be in the starting lineup tonight.

You haven't????

http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

But yes he's playing, took a few days off after the season before joining the team.

Dam. wsux won, at least my prediction was correct. Score one for my useless playoff predictor.

Do you think if the White Sox make it to the World Series that Fitzsimmons and the rest of the Trib beancounters will give Hendry some more money to spend? Also Eddy Curry passed his Pysical w/ NYK today making that trade offical for those who are interested.

Thanks Phil and Rob. You're the Greatest (I love this place).

Miss a little, miss alot.

I did previously read those links Rob, my eyes must have missed Murton though. I figured since Murton has played too many games in the majors to qualify for a rookie, he wouldn't qualify for the AFL.

I'm sure Dusty was pushing for his favorite prospect (Macias) to play in the AFL too.

:-P

Well Sweetney is just as good as Curry, and certainly a more well-rounded player and helluva lot cheaper. Plus the Bulls get draft picks and a serviceble Tim Thomas. Brilliant trade by Paxson, although calling Paxson brilliant for fooling Isiah Thomas isn't really saying much.

Any one see Gagne's remarks about McCourt being cheap? Maybe we should do a Gagne for Wood trade. You know my stud w/ a whole lot of arm problems for your stud w/ a whole lot of arm problems.

Rob G, where those Theo Epstein Comments a joke?

'- Signed a closer who has no problems going 2 innings at a time' 2 innings of what, MLB 2006 on Playstation?

- 'Helped build a team that won a championship for a city that's been suffering for what? 80+ years. Then got run from the playoffs by a small ball team, the next year'

How about 'Had a payroll 3 times that off the Indians and won... 1 more game (playoffs included)'?

The real neal
- 'Helped build a team that won a championship for a city that's been suffering for what? 80+ years. Then got run from the playoffs by a small ball team, the next year'

Who really cares the the Redsox didn't win this year? I would glady take 10 years of the Cubs losing just to win that 1 world series. Wait, we will probably have 10 years of the cubs losing anyway.....

well JUST in the 2004 playoffs, Foulke got more than 3 outs, 7 times.

In the 2nd half of 2004, he did it 8 times.

for some reason, espn's game log doesn't do the first half.
that's enough evidence for that anyway. Now if you're telling me that you knew he'd hurt his knee and whatever other ailments he suffered this year, could you please share next week's lottery #'s.

And if you're still under the delusion that payroll=winning, let's look at some other teams:

That's just 2005
Mets - $101 million (3rd)
Phils - $95 mil (5th)
Giants - $90 mil (7th)
Mariners - $87 mil (8th)
Cubs - $87 mil (9th) not including Sosa
Dodgers - $83 mil (11th)

That they lost in this year's playoffs are unfortunate but doesn't reflect on Epstein(at least not completely). And let's face it, the Red Sox PLAYERS were on a honeymoon this season, I really didn't get much of a sense that any of them cared all that much this year. I'm not saying he's perfect, but Dan Duquette had some lofty payrolls when he was GM of the Red Sox and they weren't making the playoffs every year.

Will TCR become a Jim Jones recruiting station if the WSox and Cards meet in the World Series?

Wow, bagging on Epstein. "Ohhh he has a 130 million dollar payroll and the Indians won just as many games with half the money, thus meaning Epstein = a joke! AHAHAHAHAHAH" Ok, seriously that is some dumb thinking.

Ohh how little people remember of the past. I shouldn't be surprised Cubs fans tend to forget quickly. But the center piece of the Redsox pitched with a bloody torn up ankle in some of greatest post season pitching performances we will probably see in our lifetime. He left everything on the mound for that city to get a championship. Sadly he was just never fully the same Curt Schilling the next year. Yet the Redsox still won 95 games.

They won 95 games without a 21-6 Curt Schilling and a 32 save 2.17 ERA Foulke. 3 Less than the World Championship team. Injuries, non-performance from key players, yet they still won games. By all regards the 2006 team Theo Epstein put together is /was better than the 2005 team. You have Curt Schilling being his usual dominate self and Foulke not being a mess and this team runs away with the division.

But shit happens and instead of imploding and giving up like the Cubs, they keep playing and keep winning despite the injuries. That Redsox team has some sack. They play hard for their manager, for their GM and their fans. I guess having two guys who knock in about 300 runs will help make up for that lost pitching.

Ok let's try some facts:

2005 $/Win
Cubs = 1.10
Red Sox = 1.30
2004 $/Win
Cubs = 1.02
Red Sox = 1.28
2003 $/Win
Cubs = .98
Red Sox = 1.10

You don't seem to understand how much $23 million is, let me put it in context for you. Imagine the 2005 Cubs with Ramirez in Left Field all year. If they had that, they still would be spending less than the Red Sox did this year. (I know he couldn't play for both teams at once)

It astounds me how people seem to think when the Red Sox won a world series - Epstein is a genius. Where are the Benifest and Bavasi are geniuses posts? If you don't think Shuerholz whould have won 5 world series over the last 14 had he been running the Red Sox, you're dillusional. Why doesn't Cashman get to be a Genius? He's won a lot more than Epstein.

Oh and the bloody sock. Have you ever put blood on white clothes for 4 hours? After about an hour it turns brown. I'm not sure what Shilling had on his sox, but it wasn't blood.

On Foulke, BP, which Epstien professes to read everyday did a study on 31 year old closers, and concluded that signing them to 4 year contracts was foolish.

The guy who actually stood up to the Yankees in the '04 playoffs was Lowe. Where did that get him? He let most of his ALCS and NLCS wins go in Free Agency and 'replaced' them with Clement and Wells- yet he's the 2nd coming.

You guys boggle the mind.

as the Larry Rothschild discussions may drag on in Detroit, do the Tigers have doubts about him after their interview?

When they say they have other candidates, it implies they are pressuring him for a decision and they or he is not decided out of the box. I guess they didn't take him to the same restaurant that Troy Percival went to :D

Who is the highest paid pitching coach in the majors?

If LR goes to Motown, they will have 3 former ML managers under Leland (Lemont, McClendon and LR), any 2005 staff's have 3 or more?

from the Detroit Free Press

Tigers, Rothschild talk: Friday was the second full day since the Tigers received permission to talk to Larry Rothschild about leaving his secure job as Cubs' pitching coach to become the Tigers' pitching coach. "We really have no answers on how it will turn out," Leyland said. "We probably will not pick a pitching coach for a while yet. We have some other names on the list."

Leyland reiterated that he will take as much time as necessary to find the right pitching coach. Rothschild was Leyland's pitching coach on the 1997 world-champion Marlins.

Barring the unforeseen, the remainder of the six-man coaching staff is set. Van Slyke will be joined on the staff by Gene Lamont (bench coach and third-base coach), Lloyd McClendon (bullpen coach), Rafael Belliard (infield coach) and Don Slaught (hitting coach).

AFL schedule this weekend

link to the whole schedule, season goes thru 11-12:

http://phoenix.about.com/cs/sportsteams/a/fal...

Friday, 7

Desert Dogs @ Scorpions 1:05 p.m.

Javelinas @ Saguaros 1:05 p.m.

Rafters @ Solar Sox 7:05 p.m.

Saturday, 8

Desert Dogs @ Rafters 1:05 p.m.

Scorpions @ Javelinas 1:05 p.m.

Saguaros @ Solar Sox 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, 9

Off Day

My thoughts:

1. I've always been concerned about the chemistry between Baker and Roth. Given the situation, Roth would be fool not to get out while he can.

2. Theo brought the Red Sox a championship. Nuff said. He inherited the albatross Ramirez contract (20M)and this year they lost their two best pitchers (schilling/foulke) and still made the playoffs. The computer geek that has no clue: that would be Paul DePodesta.

3. There is no way Baker goes to Oakland. They don't spend $4M on a player, let alone a manager. Think no name, low dollar-Ron Washington?

4. I'm most excited about the change in Tampa Bay. Maybe now we can get them to deal with us...

Here is the updated ex-cub factor the the playoffs: ie. Hollandsworth is not on the Braves roster.

The Redsox losing in round one goes toward the theory that the team's most likely to lose will have the most ex-cubs. Yankees are next to drop out based on this stoopid playoff predictor and the winner of the Braves-Astros should beat the Cardinals.

Red Sox: (3) Clement, Jeremi Gonzalez and Bill Mueller
Yankees: (4) Tom Gordon, Tanyon Sturtze, Tony Womak, Matt Lawton
Angels: (1) Josh Paul
White Sox: (1) Jon Garland

Padres: (2) Damian Jackson, Eric Young
Braves: (1) Kyle Farnsworth
Cardinals (3): Ray King, Julian Tavares, Mark Grudzielanek
Astros: (1) Jose Vizcaino

I don't think you include minor leagures, and Royko used to include coaches. People who are in uniform and played for the Chicago Cubs. That's the way I always did it.

CUBSTER: Don't forget Jose Molina (Angels). He is an ex-Cub.

Also, Brendan Donnelly (Angels) spent some time at AAA Iowa about five years ago, although it may not have been long enough for him to get tainted.

guess the White Sox don't need a rabbit's foot as Phil just tanked the Angels chances.

Anyone see Phil Rogers column apperantly Burnett wants a 5/65 deal. Appartently he has been partying W/ Boy George the last couple of days.

Cubster,

Lawton is not on NYY PO roster.

There seems to be this thing where people believe the dollars to payroll ratio would hold up if certain GMs moved. Yes, what Beane does in Oakland is amazing. But give him Epstein's payroll and he isn't going to do much better than Epstein. Why? Because you CAN'T do much better than Epstein. It's not like Beane team with a 130 million payroll would win 115 games ever year. People forget that there are limits to how good the best teams will be. Once in a while a team will go nuts, but it's the nature of baseball that nobody, regardless of roster, is going to go out and win 135 games one year.

Beane could help the BoSox win for less money. But why do we care what they spend?

ChiFan: according to Ruz from Oct 4th (aka, the transaction guy), this is the Yankees playoff roster of 25:

http://www.all-baseball.com/transactionguy/

New York Yankees

SP: Shawn Chacon, Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang
RP: Tom Gordon, Al Leiter, Mariano Rivera, Felix Rodriguez, Aaron Small, Tanyon Sturtze, Jaret Wright
C: John Flaherty, Jorge Posada
IF: Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Tony Womack
OF: Buba Crosby, Matt Lawton, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield, Bernie Williams
DH: Jason Giambi, Ruben Sierra

3 or 4 ex-Cubs won't matter as it will keep those teams from the World Series in the AL. My nightmare is inevitable...Whitesox will represent the AL.

Resistance is futile.

and one more bad dream: 9th inning game 7...Farnsworth on the mound.

CUBSTER: Your list was pretty close. If you had replaced Wright, Rodriguez, and Lawton with Embree, Proctor, and Bellhorn, you woulda had it!

Here is the Yankees ALDS roster (it can be changed for the ALCS if the Yanks advance):

PITCHERS (12):
Shawn Chacon
Alan Embree
Tom Gordon
Randy Johnson
Al Leiter
Mike Mussina
Scott Proctor
Mariano Rivera
Aaron Small
Tanyon Sturtze
Chien-Ming Wang

CATCHERS (2):
John Flaherty
Jorge Posada

INFIELDERS (6):
Mark Bellhorn
Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi
Derek Jeter
Tino Martinez
Alex Rodriguez
Tony Womack

OUTFIELDERS (5):
Bubba Crosby
Hideki Matsui
Gary Sheffield
Ruben Sierra
Bernie Williams

I can't count.

Make that ELEVEN pitchers and SEVEN infielders on the Yankees ALDS roster.

Like this:

PITCHERS (11):
Shawn Chacon
Alan Embree
Tom Gordon
Randy Johnson
Al Leiter
Mike Mussina
Scott Proctor
Mariano Rivera
Aaron Small
Tanyon Sturtze
Chien-Ming Wang

CATCHERS (2):
John Flaherty
Jorge Posada

INFIELDERS (7):
Mark Bellhorn
Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi
Derek Jeter
Tino Martinez
Alex Rodriguez
Tony Womack

OUTFIELDERS (5):
Bubba Crosby
Hideki Matsui
Gary Sheffield
Ruben Sierra
Bernie Williams

Hawk: I wouldn't be surprised if Hendry signs Kenny Lofton to a one-year deal (maybe $3 mil?) to play CF for the Cubs in 2006. I can't think of a better mentor for Felix Pie, either. Dusty seems to likes Lofton a lot, and It would seem to be a good fit for both Lofton and the Cubs. It certainly makes a lot more sense than any talk about signing Johnny Damon!

I don't think you'll read or hear much about the Cubs having interest in Kenny Lofton in the media, though, at least until after the Cubs trade Corey Patterson, which will probably happen during the Winter Meetings in December. Then Lofton will probably start getting some mention here and elsewhere.

As I've posted before. I believe Hendry will exercise the club option to retain Todd Walker. Even if the Cubs end up signing Rafael Furcal and decide to move Ronny Cedeno to 2B, Walker would be a nice insurance policy in case Cedeno stumbles, and would (at the very least) give the Cubs a top-notch lefty bat off the bench or a premier trading chip if Furcal-Cedeno (presuming it goes that way) work out well at SS-2B.

And if the Cubs do not sign Furcal, then I would expect Cedeno-Walker to open the season at SS-2B. As I've posted on other threads recently, I do not see Nomar or Neifi coming back to the Cubs next season.

If the Cubs DO NOT sign Furcal but DO sign Lofton, here is what Dusty would probably use as his 2006 Opening Day lineup (I figure Dusty would hit Cedeno 2nd and Walker 6th-7th, although I personally would prefer Walk in the #2 hole and Cedeno 8th)... I am listing Burnitz as a place-holder in RF, although I doubt he will be back in 2006...

Lofton, CF
Cedeno, SS
Lee, 1B
Ramirez/Burnitz (vs LHP/vs RHP)
Burnitz/Ramirez (vs RHP/vs LHP)
Murton/Walker (vs LHP/vs RHP)
Walker/Murton (vs RHP/vs LHP)
Barrett or Blanco, C

If the Cubs DO sign Furcal AND Lofton, then the lineup would probably look like this...

Lofton or Furcal (?)
Furcal or Lofton (?)
Lee, 1B
Ramirez/Burnitz
Burnitz/Ramirez
Murton, LF
Barrett or Blanco, C
Cedeno, 2B (see NOTE)
NOTE: If Walker plays 2B instead of Cedeno, then Baker would probably hit Walk & Murton 6th-7th, and Barrett/Blanco 8th.

Lets not forget that Burnitz hit .237 the second half of the season. Part of that could have been the fact that he played about every minute of every game-never rested.

Hairston's numbers were just as bad. Seemed like the more played, the less he deserved to play.

Same with Novoa. The more he pitched, the more his stats declined.

As for Todd Walker, I agree he gets no respect. He played at or above the expectations were for him when signed. On the same note, Aramis' defense was worse than Walker's. Aramis was flat out sloppy.

I vote we re-sign Todd Walker. If Cedeno beats him out than we trade him, otherwise, he's a poor man's Marcus Giles.

I commented on Tampa Bay earlier. Let me just say that I don't want Aubrey Huff. I have no proof but he's on my personal "steroid suspect" list. I say we get one of their fast guys.

AZ Phil,

Do you really think Lofton would be a great mentor for Pie? All I heard about when he was on the Sox was how much of a clubhouse cancer he was, and from what I had read in the NY papers he was one with the yanks too. If what Hendry wants in the 06 CF is a guy who can mentor Pie why not go after Bernie Williams. If we got a stud RF who could hit 5th we could hit Barrett 6th and put Bernie in the 7 hole. Yes his # and range are down, but take his # and compare to the 7th hitters for the NL playoff teams and I am sure it would be favorable. Wrigley has a small CF anyways and he could handle it on D. This team does not have guys on it who have won anything except for Dlee and Maddux. Plaers who know how to win provide leadership that stops 7 and 8 game losing streaks before they get that far. I am all for adding all the ex Braves, Twins, and Yankees as long as they can do the job that there brought here for.

The problem with signing Bernie to be a mentor to Pie, is that you don't know if they're even going to play on the same team. The Odds of Dusty giving 40% of the AB's to Pie with a proven veteran like Williams (or lofton or anyone) around is somewhere between 1:200 and Nil. The problem with signing Lofton to be a mentor for Pie, is that Pie will be throwing over the cut-off man and bitching about playing time his whole career.

I think the Lofton connection with the Cubs and Dusty Baker from '03 would trump the non-connection with Bernie Williams. Dusty seems to really like Lofton, and was genuinely surprised after the 2003 season when Hendry did not re-sign Lofton for 2004.

When I said Lofton could be a mentor for Pie, I wasn't implying that Lofton would sit around and let Pie take his job or that he would teach Pie how to be a jag-off. The idea would be for Lofton to mentor Pie in Spring Training a little bit, mostly by example, maybe showing Pie a little bit about base-stealing technique, but also as far as how to go about becoming a successful major league centerfielder and a winner on the field (if not in the clubhouse), which is what Lofton is, in my opinion.

If things go south for the Cubs next year, or it becomes obvious that Lofton is washed-up and/or if Pie is playing well enough in AA or AAA that he merits a call-up in mid-season, then Hendry can trade or release Lofton so he won't block Pie or tempt Dusty to play him ahead of Pie.

The main idea would be to employ Lofton as a one-year (max) stop-gap in CF, until Pie is ready. Bernie Williams could serve the same function, but I just think Lofton has a younger body than Bernie does, even though they may be about the same age.

The whole thing is moot, however, until Corey Patterson is traded. I figure Lofton would only consider signing with the Cubs if he knew he was going to be the starting CF in 2006, and that could only be guaranteed after Patterson gets traded, and that probably won't happen til the Winter Meetings in December (at the earliest).

.

Figuring that Jim Hendry wants a left-handed hitting RF to hit somewhere in the middle of the order between the right-handed bats, and if he doesn't sign Jacques Jones or Brian Giles or make a trade for Aubrey Huff, another candidate might be Jay Gibbons (Orioles). Gibbons is eligible for salary arbitration again, and will be a free-agent after next season. He hits right-handed pitching very well and hits left-handers OK, too, plays a decent outfield, and he will only be 29 on Opening Day next season.

The O's mainly need pitching and the Cubs have Jerome Williams and a plethora of young arms they could put into a package. The Orioles may even want to take a shot at salvaging Corey Patterson.
Whether the Orioles would be interested in such a deal is the big question, but if they don't sign Gibbons to a multi-year deal pretty soon, he be gone after next season anyway.

It astounds me how people seem to think when the Red Sox won a world series - Epstein is a genius. Where are the Benifest and Bavasi are geniuses posts?

What did Bill Bavasi win? Your not giving him credit for the Angels championship, are you? Because the Mariners didn't look all too good last year.

Hardly think that Epstein is a genius but I certainly don't think he's an idiot, which is what others seemed to believe. That's all I was pointing out. And for the record, Beinfest is a pretty good GM.

with all those talk of "mentoring", can anyone give me a concrete example of a team signing a guy so he could "mentor" a first or second year player and there were positive results?

It just sounds absurd. Loften teach Pie base stealing techniques in spring training? That is why there is a coaching staff.

Sign players to play and coaches to coach.

personally, i feel the OF needs to be fixed. Any team that goes into the season with jeromy burnitz as their best OF is not going to make the playoffs.

Watching Cubs Spring Training workouts at Fitch Park in Arizona for 30-some years, every year I see rookies talking to veterans about all aspects of baseball. I see rookie infielders talking to veteran infielders when taking ground balls, I hear rookie hitters asking questions of veteran hitters around the batting cages, I've sat in the first row behind the bullpen and heard rookie relievers ask questions of veteran relievers.

Spring Training is a place where rookies learn as much or more from veteran players as they do from the so-called "coaches." Absurd? If anything, the coaches and the "Spring Training Instructors" are like supervisors at any other job. Those who can, do, and those who can't, suprervise. They are the REAL joke. Some of them don't do shit, and I've seen players (vets and rookies) snickering behind the backs of the ones who do try to "teach."

Professional players learn from respected peers (other players), not from coches. It ain't high school.

AZ Phil,

Everything I have seen suggests Hendry is eager to give Cedeno a starting job but hestaint to give one to Murton. Do you have an anwser to this? I just find it odd because bewteen the two Murton is the better hitter and there are not alot of better options to fill OF spots either internatly or externtially while in the MI you could do fine with a Nomar/Walker, Furcal/Walker, Furcal/Nomar combos.

If Hendry does a Marcus Giles trade like was disscussed here a few weeks ago he should see what it takes to get that Mccann kid. He is going to be a good player.

It's ridiculous to suggest the Cubs keep Walker as a potential back up or replacement for Cedeno.
In that scenario Cedeno doesn't sniff the field after his first 3 game hitless streak.
Most if not all of us know little or nothing about Rothschild's ability as a pitching coach. We are not happy with the results over the past season and a half, but he was stuck with head- cases and dogs in the bullpen and an injury prone starting staff.
Is Mazzone a bad pitching coach because he had 3 or 4 starters out with injuries and Kolb can't get anyone out?
Everyone's favorite baseball savant Steve Stone, says Rothschild is on of the top 2 or 3 pitching coaches in the game. He gets another contract in my book. Baker No!

"Oh and the bloody sock. Have you ever put blood on white clothes for 4 hours? After about an hour it turns brown. I'm not sure what Shilling had on his sox, but it wasn't blood."

Well, maybe in perfect conditions where it was completely dry, but given the obvious perspiration and any humidity at all, it would take several hours for blood to turn brown. And how would you know? Do you cut yourself/others and put it on white clothing to see how long it takes to turn brown, you sick freak?

Schilling has more sack in his thumb than you do in your entire body.

Real Neal, buy a freaking clue.

Your seriously going to question Schillings bloody ankle? Do you also believe Bush personally planned 9/11? Because that is some serious left wing conspiracy theory, wacko thinking.

But hey lets go down that rabbit hole. That wasn't a baseball that hit Mark Prior in the elbow, it must of been a whiffle ball! I mean come on, i am not sure what Prior got hit with, but it sure wasn't a major league baseball. His elbow would be in 50 pieces on the ground if it was a real baseball. Mark Prior just faked that whole thing.

That is the level of thinking your at right now Real Neal.

I'd love to see Austin Kearns as our upgrade in RF

http://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/content...

Hal McCoy, Baseball Bigfoot for the Cincy Reds discusses their offseason issues:

Something has to give in right field. Neither Wily Mo Pena nor Austin Kearns were happy with the share program. Both said they and the team might be better off with a trade.
Trade one? No, trade both. The Chicago Cubs love Kearns and the way he tears down the Wrigley Field bricks with line drives. And trade Pena to Washington before that team is sold and GM Jim Bowden is replaced. Bowden brought Pena to Cincinnati and adores him.
Pitching is what this team needs and it might be able to pry a couple of good pitchers away from the Cubs and Nationals.

Saturday's AFL game saw Matt Murton batting cleanup for the Mesa team. 2 hits (one double) in 4 AB's...and one walk. 2 runs scored.

Final 12-2 over the Peo Saguaros

and Koronka pitched a scoreless inning; one hit, one walk and 2K's
( a few more scoreless innings and we can add him in the package in Cincy)

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/milb/s...

and E-Pat went 0-4 with a walk and an RBI (and a K) while leading off.

while willie mo's practically a given to be traded...i wouldnt count on kearns...cheap/effective and a short-list of available RF candidates for a cost-concerned team like CIN to fill out the roster with.

#74 of 82: By chifan3887 (October 8, 2005 05:51 PM)
AZ Phil,

Everything I have seen suggests Hendry is eager to give Cedeno a starting job but hestaint to give one to Murton. Do you have an anwser to this? I just find it odd because bewteen the two Murton is the better hitter and there are not alot of better options to fill OF spots either internatly or externtially while in the MI you could do fine with a Nomar/Walker, Furcal/Walker, Furcal/Nomar combos.

-

CHIFAN3887: As you probably know from many previous posts I've made over the past few months here at TCR, I believe both Matt Murton and Ronny Cedeno are the "real deal." That is, they will be quality everyday major league players, and neither has anything more to prove at AAA. They are ready right now.

Both are "blue-collar" kids who arrive early and stay late, working hard to improve themselves in areas where they may have deficiencies (in basketball you would call this type of kid a "gym rat," but I guess in baseball they would be called a "diamond rat"???). They live and breathe baseball and are never satisfied. We are not talking Corey Patterson here.

So I don't think Jim Hendry would be unhappy to see Cedeno OR Murton win a starting job in 2006 (and Felix Pie in 2007), but I don't think he wants to totally eliminate competition, either. So you bring in a couple of AAA outfielders and infielders (not Hollandsworth and Neifi, but probably more like Peter Bergeron and Cody Ransom) to "battle" (push) Murton and Cedeno in Spring Training, but it's understood that either would have to sustain a major injury or undergo a significant personality change to not win a starting job.

Hendry has a fixed budget (probabbly somewhere around $100 mil), and he knows that if two positions (LF and either SS or 2B) can be filled by auto-renewal players (Murton and Cedeno) three years away from aribitration and six years away from free-agency, that means mo' money for a free-agent like Rafael Furcal or a FA starting pitcher, a D-Lee contract extension, and likely aribitraion-based salary spikes for Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior.

So I believe Jim Hendry would like nothing better than for Dusty Baker to give full-blown opportunities to Murton in LF and Cedeno at either SS or 2B (the latter's position dependent upon whether Hendry is successful in his pursuit of Furcal). And if Dusty understands that if he plays Murton and Cedeno everyday he gets another starting pitcher and Rafael Furcal to hit lead-off and play SS, I think you will see Dusty pencil Murton's and Cedeno's names into the starting lineup next year. Dusty seems to be becoming increasingly comfortable with both Murton and Cedeno (especially Murton) in ways that he was never comfortable with Hee Seop Choi, Bobby Hill, or Jason Dubois (for instance).

A Farns article...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/08/sports/base...

Jones said he remembered facing Farnsworth when he had nothing but the searing fastball.

"I hit two home runs off him," Jones said. "He was a thrower, not a pitcher. He had command of that 100-miles-an-hour pitch 75 percent of the time. Then he got the slider. It will make your knees buckle."

Farns did have a slider for the Cubs but he could never use it effectively. Like a poster said over at Desipio, Mazzone has gotten into Farnsworth's skull and taken some off his pitches in exchange for some control.

I am starting to think Larry Rothschild really is a fraud. He couldn't even recognize what needs to be fixed on a pitcher to help him.

(It should also be noted that the Detroit pitching coach was probably teaching the same thing to Farns)

It is just interesting to see an entire team like the Braves supremely confident in Farnsworth and when he was with the Cubs we couldn't trust him one bit. What a difference a "real" coaching staff makes. A coaching staff that can teach, what an interesting concept. I wish we had one of those.

"I am starting to think Larry Rothschild really is a fraud. He couldn't even recognize what needs to be fixed on a pitcher to help him."

Great points in your comments. Where were you when I was making the same ones about Farnsworth this summer?!!

@!

HOT STOVE IS COOKIN'!

Jim Hendry probably sees Jerome Williams, Jerry Hairston, Jr, Corey Patterson, and a plethora of serviceable major-league ready auto-renewal pitchers as his main trading chips this off-season.

Here are some possible trade scenarios to chew on (and you can either swallow it, or spit it out!):

SCENARIO 1: Trade Jerome Williams for an everyday RF, then sign a FA starting pitcher to replace Williams in rotation instead of signing a FA RF.

TRADE 1a: Jerome Williams and Sergio Mitre or Rich Hill (Reds choice) to Cincinnati for RF Austin Kearns (eligible for arbitration for first time this year).

or

TRADE 1b: Jerome Williams and Sergio Mitre to Baltimore for RF Jay Gibbons (eligible for arbitration now, then FA after 2006). NOTE: Cubs would need to sign Gibbons to three-year deal for about $15-18 mil or he will walk after 2006.

or

TRADE 1c: Jerome Williams, Corey Patterson, and Sergio Mitre (Brewers choice) to Milwaukee for RF Geoff Jenkins (signed through 2007 at about $7.5 mil per year with club option for $9 mil in 2008).

--

SCENARIO 2: Trade C-Pat plus a "CARE package" of major-league ready auto-renewal pitchers to Rockies for top-notch lefty reliever and super-sub utility guy.

THE TRADE: Corey Patterson, Rich Hill, Sergio Mitre, and Todd Wellemeyer to Colorado for lefty reliever Brian Fuentes (eligible for arbitration now, then FA after 2007) and IF-OF (super-sub) Luis A. Gonzalez. Hendry would then need to sign a veteran FA (preferably Kenny Lofton) to play CF til Pie is ready and a veteran RHP reliever (preferably Jay Witasick) to offset loss of Novoa or Wuertz from bullpen. This deal would not necessarily preclude also trading Jerome Williams to Orioles for Gibbons and signing a FA starting pitcher.

--

SCENARIO 3: Pirates need relief pitchers, not starters, and would probably be one of the clubs willing to take a shot at salvaging Corey Patterson. Bucs would exchange a top-drawer lefty reliever for C-Pat and two relievers (Wuertz or Novoa plus R. Hill), a starting pitcher who will be a free-agent after 2006 for two pitching prospects (both relief pitchers), and one IF-OF utility player for another.

THE TRADE: Cubs would trade either Roberto Novoa or Michael Wuertz (Pirates choice), Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston, Jr, Rich Hill, Todd Wellemeyer and David Aardsma to Pittsburgh for lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez, starter Kip Wells (FA after 2006), and OF-IF Rob Mackowiak (FA after 2007), then move Jerome Williams and Sergio Mitre to Baltimore for Jay Gibbons, with K. Wells replacing J. Williams in Cubs starting rotation. Hendry would need to sign a FA RHP reliever (preferably Jay Witasick) to offset loss of Wuertz or Novoa from bullpen, and a veteran FA CF (preferably Kenny Lofton) to play CF til Pie is ready.

Speaking of the Farns: The ex-cub just gave up a grand slam to Berkman.

Just goes to show that even a great pitching coach can keep some people from choking under pressure.

ah, Mr. Tightpants wearing must have put his pants on around his neck today.

not to mention it costing him big$$ in the free agent market

so much for my nightmare...

Farnsworth in the 9th. Even without facing Bagwell he pooped in his tightpants.

Good point BBlue, although Leo Mazzone is a great teacher, I don't think even he was able to perform a heart transplant.

Bleacher Construction

a bunch of photos covering the Wrigley Bleachers makeover can be seen on the Bleed Cubbie Blue website (use related link on TCR). They we not kidding that they would move fast once the home season ended.

the added revenues had better add up to an upgraded team

http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/

Farnsworth has caused pain in Chicago (8th inning vs Marlins) and now in Atlanta. Given the Astros winning in 18...his welcome in Atlanta is probably worn out (and it wore out very quickly).

The Angels better win tonight. I do not want want there to be a game 5 because the winner of that game will in 48 hours have to fly coast to coast, play a game, fly back to Chicago to play anther game. My god Selig should just have the winner of that series just have to forfeit Game 1 to his buddy Jerry's team. If Nyy wins tonight MLB should flip-flop the LCS skeds so the LAAA/NYY series winner does not have to contend with Jetlag. Go ANGELS and anybody that plays the Sox in the future in the playoffs.

What a dumb move by Torre he just gave up his DH so he could put Bernie in CF. Yes Bernie is a fav player of mine, but the differnce bewteen him and Womack or Matsui in CF is not worth losing a DH for.

"If Nyy wins tonight MLB should flip-flop the LCS skeds so the LAAA/NYY series winner does not have to contend with Jetlag. "

Um - so he should screw the Astros just because you don't like the White Sox? I don't think so. This is baseball. Sometimes weather makes it hard.

I still don't get why some Cubs fans care so much about the Sox either way. But that's a story for another day. Me personally, I'm a Chicagoan. They aren't my favorite team, but the fact that we could bring another Championship to Chicago makes me smile a bit. USCF is a great park, and a great place to go see a game. I'm glad Sox fans are experiencing right now what we experienced up until the Bartman ball, and I hope they go even deeper. I'd love to see a party in Grant Park.

smitty said:

' Do you cut yourself/others and put it on white clothing to see how long it takes to turn brown, you sick freak?'

No smitty, I do this crazy thing called...brace yourself for it... play sports.

You should try it some time, it helps relieve tension. Maybe that will help keep you from calling people malicios names on the internet.

Here's some websites you main find usefull:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/

http://www.angeronline.com/

http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/

' Do you cut yourself/others and put it on white clothing to see how long it takes to turn brown, you sick freak?'

No smitty, I do this crazy thing called...brace yourself for it... play sports.

You should try it some time, it helps relieve tension. Maybe that will help keep you from calling people malicios names on the internet.

Here's some websites you main find usefull:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/

http://www.angeronline.com/

http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/

' Do you cut yourself/others and put it on white clothing to see how long it takes to turn brown, you sick freak?'

No smitty, I do this crazy thing called...brace yourself for it... play sports.

You should try it some time, it helps relieve tension. Maybe that will help keep you from calling people malicios names on the internet.

Here's some websites you main find usefull:

http://www.mentalhealth.com/

http://www.angeronline.com/

http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/

The worse decision was when he pulled Chicon for Leiter. It turned out well, but he would get burned more often than not.

Rivera should be the MVP of the AL

"the added revenues had better add up to an upgraded team"

If by "upgraded team" you mean more profit to the Tribune Corp, then YES. If by upgraded team you mean building a team around solid fundamental baseball building blocks rather than fan favorites for the beerswillers or the WGN viewers, then no.

The Tribune and the Cubs do a great job marketing to their audience. The Bleachers are now considered the best seats in the park. 20 years ago they were the worst seats. The Yuppies in Wrigleyville and the busloads of Iowans pack the place on a regular basis to see their guys. Management is not encouraged to build a team around winning fundamentals, rather to build a team that will continue to draw both in the park, on on TV/Radio. Remember, just 25 years ago we couldn't get people into that park. We were amomgst the bottom few teams in the league in attendance. Nobody cared. The Cubs weren't "Lovable Losers" - they were LOSERS. That didn't mean some of us weren't fans - there was just a very small crowd of us.

Now we put 3mm people in the park. We put billions of eyeballs on the TV/Radio. But we still don't have the core building blocks that a team needs to win.

A) a Leadoff hitter

B) Defensive strength up the middle (SS, 2B, CF)

C) Guys who put the bat on the ball

D) A bullpen

E) A bench with players who can contribute positively

I'm not even going to get started on Dusty as I think that's been rehashed over and over.

Hendry has a lot of money available this offseason, but he has a lot of work to do.

"THE TRADE: Cubs would trade either Roberto Novoa or Michael Wuertz (Pirates choice), Corey Patterson, Jerry Hairston, Jr, Rich Hill, Todd Wellemeyer and David Aardsma to Pittsburgh for lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez, starter Kip Wells (FA after 2006), and OF-IF Rob Mackowiak (FA after 2007), "

I'd do this one in a heartbeat. Pittsburgh wouldn't. Gonzalez is probably their closer this year and Mackowiak has a lot of value to them. I don't see them giving both of them up for that kind of stuff

" If what Hendry wants in the 06 CF is a guy who can mentor Pie why not go after Bernie Williams. "

Because defense matters...a lot. Torre, who knows him better than anyone, decided Womack, Matsui and Crosby might be better options in CF than Bernie this year. We can't afford to have a guy in CF who plays the position as poorly as Bernie does at this point. 100mm+ payroll - we shouldn't be signing Bernie Williams as a FA. The Yanks were stuck with him on the back end of a long term deal - you don't hear about them talking of resigning him for a reason.

I want a real CF in CF. I want a real SS at SS. I want a real LF in LF. Why are we always trying to play people where they don't have the skills?

how is a 90-100million team in the top 5 spending in baseball not trying?

honestly, i would be sickened to see the trib spend yankee-style in order to buy a possition in the postseason.

no one can buy a world series. the short series is too unpredictable, but watching a competitive team win a competitive game is a whole lot more important to me as a fan than watching some 150-220m team roll over 40-70m teams cuz they choose to spend to buy their wins.

some people here hate the cubs so much they point to the management, but to me...if the "management" decided to field a huge$$ team that strangles competition, that'd be a no-brainer for me to go looking for another team to root for.

when i watch 162 games...i want it to be a game, not david vs. goliath. maybe some suits at ESPN think its cute, but i find it kind of sick to even consider what the yanks do team play.

yeah, some of these 40-50m teams could spend more, but we're talking 50-70m payrolls, not 150-200m. there's only about 8-ish teams that could afford to continously field 100m payrolls at this point without going broke as it is.

i, for one, am glad the cubs are spending more without going into that disgusting yanks-style spending habit.

Real Neal says he plays sports but yet he questions Schillings ankle. Ohhhhhhh k.

There is a point where you just have to admit Real Neal you are lieing your ass off. I think that time is now.

some people here hate the cubs so much they point to the management, but to me...if the "management" decided to field a huge$$ team that strangles competition, that'd be a no-brainer for me to go looking for another team to root for.

As opposed to the current system you love of losing for 97 years which keeps you a fan.

Geez you would think after nearly 100 years of losing we could have a little streak where we strangle the competition for a few years and win a couple world series. But no, not in crunch's world. He would just give up being a Cubs fan.

I knew some Cubs fans loved losing, but you take it to new levels crunch. No wait, i get it. You want to win, but you want it to be fair to the rest of the league. Guess what? Life isn't fair and neither is baseball. You either grab it by the balls and take it, or you never win a damn thing. The Cubs are pretty good at not winning, they got that down pat. But i guess that is right where you want this franchise crunch.

This is all that matters in baseball - winning, playoffs, World Series. Not achieving those 3 goals during the season means your season was a failure

I do not understand what the problem is with what the Yankees are doing in terms of spending. It seems a lot of people are bitter about the way they go about things. George is not cheating. He is playing by the rules and doing everything he can to win. Why does he end up with some of the most premier Free Agents/Trades? Because he is willing to put money out there. He is doing all he can to win. I think it is admirable. The way I see it, the other clubs have two possibilities to make it "more fair." Option #1 Spend Yankee-esque money. Not gonna happen in Tampa Bay, Miami, Kansas City, Detroit, and lots of other clubs. Option #2 Salary Cap. Probably won't happen for quite a while if at all. People say that money can't buy playoffs...its done a pretty good job in New York. I know the Cubs spend money, and it is nice to see that they are making an effort, so this post isn't so much a complaint on the cubs efforts as much as it is a cry for clarification of what George has done so sickeningly wrong. I just don't get it.

If the Cubs want to spend a 300 million, 400 million, a billion for a year or two to assure a spot in the Series I'm all for it. I'd love to see the Cubs strangle the competition.

And the most interesting thing about the bloody sock debate is MikeC's take on it. He says the idea Schilling might have faked theblood is - "...some serious left wing conspiracy theory, wacko thinking."
Now while I agree it didn't happen, how do we know it's not serious RIGHT wing conpiracy theory, wacko thinking? You know, the Vince Foster was murdered Saddam's got WMD, Powell at the UN with his vile of fake anthrax school of thought.

X: You certainly may be right about Mike Gonzalez being off-limits. But I hope Hendry at least ASKS about him!

I take it as a given that Corey Patterson will be traded sometime during this off-season, and I expect either Pittsburgh or Colorado to be C-Pat's most-likely destination. I am guessing either the Pirates or the Rockies because (in the case of the Pirates) Patterson would give the Pirates a legitimate CF (allowing them to move Jason Bay to a corner spot) on a team being built around young pitching & defense, and (in the case of the Rockies) there is a lot of ground to cover at Coors Field and C-Pat can do that, not to mention the confidence-building 81 home games at Coors that should make Corey into a solid "30/30 man" in 2006 and 2007 (albeit with 200+ Ks, a .240 BA, and probably the worst home-road splits in major league history!).

In a "straight" one-for-one deal involving Corey Patterson, I could see the Cubs getting either Rob Mackowiak or Kip Wells (Pirates) or Jason Jennings (Rockies) back in return. All four (Patterson, Mackowiak, K. Wells, and Jennings) are making about the same salary ($3 mil range), and all three will either be free-agents after next season (Wells) or after the 2007 season (Patterson, Mackowiak, and Jemnings). Patterson, Mackowiak, and K. Wells will be arbitration-eligible this off-season, and Jennings is signed (at $4.4 mil) through 2006.

If the Cubs want to also acquire "super-sub" IF-OF Luis A. Gonzalez as part of a Patterson-for Jennings deal with the Rockies, then including Todd Wellemeyer (one of the guys Dan O'Dowd reportedly wanted when there was talk about the Cubs possibly acquiring Preston Wilson last July) could get that done. Larry Bigbie (a left-handed hitting "4th outfielder" who can play LF-CF-RF) would be another player the Cubs could probably get back in a Patterson + Wellemeyer deal with the Rockies.

Hendry is on record as wanting another starting pitcher, and if free-agent starters A. J. Burnett, Jeff Weaver, and Kevin Millwood are beyond reach in terms of money or years, then either Kip Wells or Jason Jennings would be a cheaper short-term alternative, so a starting pitcher may be what the Cubs will get back in a deal involving Corey Patterson.

If the Cubs want to acquire both Rob Mackowiak AND Kip Wells from the Pirates in a deal involving C-Pat, then Rich Hill and Todd Wellemeyer (plus maybe a third pitcher like David Aardsma or Jermaine Van Buren) would likely need to be included to make it happen. The Pirates have plenty of starting pitching prospects, but could use some more quality (and cheap!) arms for the bullpen.

A) I wouldn't care what they spend - as long as they win it all.

B) It isn't how much you spend - it is how you spend it. Spending it on the types of guys we historically do is not it.

Phil, Patterson is going to get paid next year also. If a team goes to arbitration with him, I believe the most he can take is a 20% pay cut.

Frankly, I am not sure any team is going to want to acquire him given his recent performances - certainly not in exchange for a piece with value. I may be wrong on this - but I see don't see Patterson having much value at this point.

"I knew some Cubs fans loved losing, but you take it to new levels crunch."

WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE

excuse me for having an opinion...if you want a team that spends to win at the expense of competition and wanna watch 162 games of it go be a yanks fan.

you hate the cubs enough as it is, you might as well.

this is a 90-100m team here...a team that's raised its payroll 1/3rd over the past 4-5 years. the no-spend excuse is dead..theyre a top spending team.

did it ever occur that some fans would be disgusted to see a team do what the yanks do? cuz some of us exist and are glad the cubs are spending more without being a token money team.

it makes winning more valid if/when/etc. it happens.

" the no-spend excuse is dead..theyre a top spending team. "

They are a dumb-spending team.

Not trying to argue with you Crunch, but I think I would rather win every game 10-2, 7-0, Etc., than have a season like the one we had. I realize it is just a difference of opinion, but the "W" is the thing that means the most to me, and I understand that "Winnning without loss of competition" is what matters most to you. I do not wish to root for the Yankees, because I would love to see the Cubs win, regardless of "how"(as long as it is not cheating, unfair, etc.). Besides, buying all new sweatshirts, T-shirts, blankets, etc with "Yankees" on it would prove to be pretty expensive. :)

X: I suspect there are several teams around MLB who believe that all Corey Patterson needs is to get away from the Cubs organization and get a "fresh start" elsewhere, where the expectations are low, the fans don't care much, and the media doesn't pay close attention. (That would eliminate the Yankees and the Red Sox, for instance).

I am not saying that other GMs believe Corey Patterson will become an instant All-Star if he goes someplace else. Rather, I would think those teams who believe Patterson would benefit from a change of scenery would be more than satisfied to just get the Corey Patterson of 2004. The Rockies would likely benefit the most, because I really do believe Patterson would excel playing 81 games at Coors Field. He would still be the same old Corey Patterson we all know (200+ Ks and a minimum one brain fart per week) but he should be able to hit a lot of home runs (30+) and steal a lot bases (also 30+) if the Rockies just leave him alone and let him be himself and don't expect any more than that.

There are always GMs around baseball (and the Pirates Dave Littlefield and the Rockies Dan O'Dowd are among them) looking to get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle, and all it takes is two of them competing against each other to drive the price up. So I am very interested to see what Jim Hendry will get back for Corey Patterson. I believe it will be somebody like Rob Mackowiak, Kip Wells, or Jason Jennings, although (as I posted earlier) any deal could be expanded to include additional players (especially if the Cubs are willing to take on salary), but I could be all wrong in my forecast.

And if there is any way to acquire Mike Gonzalez as part of an expanded deal if Patterson is traded to Pittsburgh, or Brian Fuentes as part of an expanded deal if C-Pat goes to Rockies, then I would certainly pursue that if I am Jim Hendry. If it doesn't work out to acquire Gonzalez or Fuentes, then so be it.

yeah, it is a difference of opinion.

i didnt say it was gospel, and i didnt feel the need to act like a immature piece of human garbage like mikec who's called me all kinds of crap in the past over useless stuff like dubois. the pure venom from the dubois incidents and the fact you cant accept the things i was saying was opposite of yours was on par with some stupid political discussion.

mike, you talk about crap you know nothing about and you cant even let someone have an opinion without acting like a damn child.

if you hate the cubs so much and theyre gonna be nothing but losers for you forevermore...i don't understand why you even care.

all that aside mike, leave me outta your stupid rants. yeah, stupid...they have no substance and they serve no purpose but for you to talk smack about absolutely nothing that was being talked about.

im kinda sick of you responding to things i say with just crap-laden assumptions and flinging of insults. now that i'm communicating on a level you might understand, you might "get it."

in other non-retarded non-drama baseball-related news...mccarthy left off the wsox roster again.

zing.

Hey AZPhil-

I think it was around trade deadline time that I read something(possibly just posted here) about an Aramis for Manny and Bill Mueller trade. Did this have any truth to it, or was it just a suggestion from a casual fan? If it was an actual kicked around idea, any thoughts on if it is still possible? What would it take to get Manny from the Red Sox?

Crunch every damn thing you say you act like its the gospel. Do we even have to get into your week after week after week repeating the same thing over and over and over on rookies? You don't have opinions crunch, it is either your way or everyone else is wrong. And you made no mistake that anytime anyone else ever said anything that disagreed with your point of view, you told them they were WRONG! Go look in the archives Crunch. I am sick of your holier than though attitude. You don't know any more than the rest of us.

I just argued your point of view. And pointed out you are much happier being a mediocre team who just barely scrapes by with what they have than putting the entire organizations resources into winning. You even said if the Cubs spent money and became a dominate team or whatever you would stop being a fan. All I have to say about that is, some fan you are. You enjoy losing, you enjoy having the Cubs be the same old lovable loser's who half ass their way through every year. You can deny it all you want and say otherwise but your post that started this proved that for everyone on this site. Your can't be a Cubs fans if we don't suck.

Guess what? I can be a Cubs fan if we spend 200 million a year and start hoisting up World Series championship year after year. I wont find another team, because I have gone through years of being the basement dweller. It should be the Cubs time. Atleast sometime. And I really don't give a crap how they accomplish it. Neither do 90% of Cubs fans on this planet care. You try and act like your point of view is the majority crunch but it isn't. And you know it.

As a Cub fan we deserve a team that can dominate and destroy other teams and not even make a race of the division and make the playoffs look like a cake walk. I think as Cubs fans we all have paid our dues watching crap team after crap team. Is it really to much to ask Crunch that after 97 years we can put together a really kick ass team and atleast try and win a World Series? Even teams like the Pirates and Kansas City had some kick ass teams once in their existence.

But I know, we get it, better to suck and not try than to be the best and win. Afterall, we might lose you as a Cub fan Crunch. I am sure you wont be missed if we run off a couple World Series in a row. That might be too much winning for you. I see Tampa Bay has plenty of open seats and needs fans. You should try being a fan of them. They won't win anything for awhile, and with the league low payroll if they just finish .500 it is just like winning the World Series anyway. And gosh their wins will be so much sweeter and you will feel more validated as a fan. That is your thinking Crunch, not the Cubs fans. Get it straight before you bitch to me again.

Phil - You may be right. I don't usually buy that "fresh start" thing. His fundamentals are so poor that what he needs is a retooled plate approach, not a different hitting background/team/manager. Ya never know - guys have left somewhere - and gone on to stardom. As far as going to Colorado, lots of guys put up huge numbers there. I don't think they'd have to pay a guy 2mm like CP should get next year to play. In fact, it would not at all surprise me to see the Dominican Egomaniac end up spending some time there.

I do agree with you - I'd give up a LOT to get get Gonzalez. In fact, there isn't much in our farm system I would not give up. Pie... and... well... That's about it. Now I wouldn't give up ALL the rest, or even some package of 5 of them. But you can have Hill. You can have Pinto. You can have Guzman. Sing, Dopriak, etc... Gonzalez is so hard to hit. He walks a few hitters too many for my liking, but not nearly on the level of some of the guys we have had. He gets outs. And he doesn't allow runs. I wouldn't bring him in with men on base - but to pitch the 9th, with nobody on, I'd love to see him here.

mike...whatever.

and if you dont wanna be bitched at dont act like a child. ive held my composure around you while you blow up about stupid crap long enough. i'm not gonna let you talk to me like a child anymore because you wanna act like one.

because you cant tell the difference between what is fact i am passing along and what is opinion that im giving doesnt mean everyone is as ignorant to the situation as you.

Jon

"What would it take to get Manny from the Red Sox?"

I think a better question is if we want him at a price tag of $20mm per year. I imagine we could have him from Boston for very little. The question I have is would we want a terrible defensive LF to eat up 20% of our payroll for the next three years. My guess is the answer is no. That would really limit our ability to retain some of our guys who will be FAs in the next two years.

"mccarthy left off the wsox roster again."

If you assume they had to keep two lefties in the pen, it came down to having McCarthy or Vizcaino. Since they already have Duque, I guess Ozzie decided he didn't want two guys who are starters in the pen. Those guys usually take longer to warm up and get loose cuz they are not conditioned to just get up and going. It's unfortunate for McCarthy since he pitched so well in September, but he will have his chance next year. He will definitely be in their rotation next season.

I just offered a different view. If I knew you would start crying like a little baby that no one can offer counter views I would of moved to China or North Korea.

We got the facts Crunch.

some people here hate the cubs so much they point to the management, but to me...if the "management" decided to field a huge$$ team that strangles competition, that'd be a no-brainer for me to go looking for another team to root for.

If the Cubs spent some more money and actually became a damn good team, you would find another team. I hope we become a dominate team next year and add Manny Ramirez and get Furcal and Giles. I hope to never see you again on this site. I want to win, I want to win a World Series. I will never find another team. Ever. Unlike you.

Oh and if you don't want anyone replying or argueing about your opinions then don't put them on this site Crunch. This is what this site is for. People put stuff out and they say whether that opinion is dumb or not dumb. Arguements erupt. Discussions happen. People defend their points, etc.

I and every other poster on this site has the right to talk about your opinions crunch. And if you don't like our opinions. Tough cookies. Some of us don't like your opinions. And some people don't like my opinions and I don't like other peoples opinions. That is just the way it is, and it will never change, no matter how many times you fall down on the floor Crunch and scream like a little baby to get your way.

Remarkable though it may seem, it is possible to discuss other people's opinions without being an asshole.

X-
I understand that resources are very finite once a certain level is reached(ie $100M). I also understand that Lee, Ramirez, Prior, Z will be up for extensions soon and that will get costly. Is Manny worth $200M? Hmmm...It is hard to argue BA .292, OBP of .388, OPS of .982...It probably is not worth $20M, especially when the defense is factored in. Would I do it? I absolutely would. Does Hendry ask my opinion? He does not, and history shows he is smart because of that. It seems if there was a time to win, it would be now, with Prior, Zambrano, and (cross your fingers) Wood as a starter. If we had Manny, we could use Murton in RF, Cedeno at short and Walker at 2nd. This would save some major cash...Centerfielder could be JHJ...I know it isn't the best defensive outfield(ok, possibly the worst), but as far as offense goes, oh boy. But if we could do one of the options AZPhil proposed to get a centerfielder elsewhere. Imagine this lineup

JHJ
Murton
Lee
M.Ramirez
A.Ramirez
Barrett
Walker
Cedeno

That is a lineup I would pay an extra $20M a year for. Especially since we would "save" about 8M by taking Cedeno at short. I would love to see Manny roving Wrigley next year, terrible defense and all..

Oh...and don't forget the 45 HR's and the RBI's...144, I think in the AL, but that would be closer to 110, I would think, but not too shabby still...

mike...whatever.

just keep bitching and keep thinking you're the mouthpiece of reason protecting the rest of the board from me. go you.

yes, everything i type is all about you and every opinion i have i think of as a fact. thank god you're here to point out to everyone else what i really mean and what i'm really saying because without you people might have a thought for themselves.

someone kiss this guy's ring for christ's sake.

and mike...its not your opinions i have a problem with...its you playing God and telling everyone what i'm really saying and what i'm thinking as if you have a clue.

its also telling people my opinons are facts.

you do this with lots of people who differ from your opinions. you take things as personal attacks on your character cuz you share a differing opinion.

im not bitching about you having an opinion, im bitching about you unleashing venom on people, namely myself in this instance, because you cant communicate sometimes without being a total jerk.

responding in kind seems to just provoke more, but i've sat around too long listening to this crap.

Jon - that would be the worst defensive OF in the history of the NL. Murton doesn't have a RFs arm. Hairston is a bad CF. And Manny is the worst LF in the game. I'd rather spend 4-5mm and get Burnitz back, put Murton in LF where he belongs, and use the extra money to get Furcal to lead off and play SS. In CF, I'd rather have a light hitting speed guy who can play strong CF, bat in the bottom of the order, and do some of the little things.

The problem with Manny would be that he would eat up so much payroll that we'd not have enough left to augment the bullpen, to get a veteran 5th starter, to deal with Prior and Zs pending arbitration, to extend Lee, etc.

Rather than get Manny, I'd like to keep the core of this team and to fix the problem areas. Slugging and the 3/4 spots are not this team's trouble spots.

I'd attack problems in the following order:

Leadoff
Bullpen
D up the middle
5th Starter

For $20mm, I'd rather have Furcal, BJ Ryan, Burnitz than Manny and two scrubs.

Any guess on what Trevor Hoffman might cost? Right handed hitters can't touch him with a 10 ft pole. He had a great second half this year and is a FA. I would be thrilled to see Hoffman closing with Dempster as the primary RH setup (and backup closer) - but that probably won't happen.

X-
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your lineup would then be:

Furcal
Murton?
Lee
Ramirez
Burnitz
Barrett
Walker
WeakhittingCF

I understand your point of spreading the money to fill the holes, but it just seems that that team isn't a ton better than the one we just saw. It seems Burny is declining, and yes we get Furcal and a full season of Murton, but DLee will regress at least a little bit, so I guess if we are better defensively and through the pen, you would add runs by decreasing the opponents, as opposed to outscoring them with weak defense(The Pro-Manny argument). I suppose your thinking is more logical and sound, whereas, I am blinded by the Lee, Ramirez, Ramirez, smashers lineup.

even with Manny as a single addition there are alot of holes to fill...and it wastes Murton since his only position is LF. It just doesn't work irrespective of the $20M issue.

Upgrade the offense with more people on base. DLee and ARam will both have 120+ RBI seasons, if they have the 1-2 hitters on base. We suffered with C-Pat, Neifi, Macias in the 1-2 spots we were made numb to the terrible waste it made of the good offense from DLee/ARam. I'll take some defense such as Brian Giles, leading the league in walks in RF. He would be on the list right after Furcal, if you're just talking free agents. Since next year will suck of they don't have a leadoff hitter.

Now talking trade opens up new issues but I'll take Carl Crawford at the top. How do we make that trade?

" but it just seems that that team isn't a ton better than the one we just saw. "

I think it would be MUCH better.

We'd play much better defense. We'd get more men on base up front for Lee/Aramis/Burnitz. We'd run the bases better. We'd have more strength in the bullpen.

If we just add Manny, we may score more runs, but we will give up even more runs to bad D and the same crappy bullpen.

I'd like to see a team built around strong D up the middle, and a deep pitching staff that can go the distance. Right now we are built around HRs and the prayer that our starters can last 7+ innings.

I'm tired of the sluggers in the middle of the order hitting solo HRs. I am tired of trying to guess if the wind is blowing in or out to determine if we will score runs or not. I really want a team that can play fundamentally sound baseball. Lead off with a hit, steal a base, move him over, then have a few shots to make a bigger inning out of it. With Hairston, Murton, Lee, Manny, Aramis, Barrett, Walker, Cedeno, we'd be that same sort of club. I really want to see a team focused around defense, smarter offense, and deep pitching. That's just my personal take on how the game should be played. This HR Derby thing is history.

"I'll take Carl Crawford at the top. How do we make that trade?"

Me too...and I'd pay dearly to get him. There is not much on our farm that I wouldn't trade in a deal to get him. The problem is that Hendry always looks for who he can get cheap, not who is the best player out there.

Rich Hill, CP and Sing or Dopriak? I don't know...

But I'd love to have Crawford at the top of the order.

I understand that Crawford steals a lot of bases, but a .330 OBP being his highest OBP in three years, being that valuable given his stolen bases? Is there other value (defense, arm, x-ray vision) that I am not picking up in the stats? WHy give so much for him?

Crawford hit .300. Walks are nice - but hits are even better. You can hit off of a great pitcher - you can not walk very much off of one. Take a look at the leadoff hitters in the post season teams. For the most part those aren't great walkers but good hitters. He still gets on base at a decent clip. He turns singles into doubles/triples with his SBs. He does all the things a good leadoff hitter does on the bases around disrupting a pitcher. He has moderate power. He plays serviceable defense in LF. He hasn't had any injuries yet. He is just entering the peak of his career at 24/25 years old. And his trends are OUTSTANDING. (AVG.281-.296-.301 and SLG .362/.450/.469) There is no reason to believe that Crawford won't continue to be an effective player for a long time to come.

Why do I want a leadoff hitter so badly? Simply put...

Damon - Podsednik - Jeter - Figgins - Eckstein -Furcal - Biggio - Roberts

Jason Kendall...not in the playoffs
Jason Werth...not in the playoffs
Matt Stairs...not in the playoffs
Russ Adams...not in the playoffs

It's not enough as a leadoff hitter to just get on base. You have to be able to hit the ball. You have to be able to run.

Is Crawford the perfect leadoff guy? Nope - if he could hit like Damon (.316/.366) that would be MUCH better. But what's the difference between Damon's .366 and Crawford's .301? Out of every 100 ABs, that's 6 walks? Total of 30 walks on the year? What's that good for? 10 runs over the season? Maybe 2 wins? Now factor in that Crawford is 24 and Damon is 32. Damon is at his peak years now - and over the course of his 4 year deal will likely decline. Now factor in cost - Damons as a FA is gonna get 10mm and Crawford is entering his second year of arbitration so he is still fairly reasonably priced.

All in all - I see no reason not to like Crawford unless you are so totally hung up on OBP and disregard what the difference between a .330 and a .360 obp is over the course of a 500 AB season.

my two cents...

I didn't spit any Venom at you Crunch. In fact the worst thing I said to you before you went off like a crazy person was ....

I knew some Cubs fans loved losing, but you take it to new levels Crunch.

Your openly argueing that you would not be a fan if the payroll went up and we became a dominate team like the Yankees. Like it is somehow bad if we spent money and won. Your the one saying you would stop being a fan, not me.

I argued it doesn't really matter what the payroll is, along as we win, and win a World Series. Spend a dollar, spend a billion dollars, just win. Thats it.

Then we get the WHIIIIIIIIIIIINNE post from you, and some crap about me attacking you with insults and whatever stupid crap from your mouth.

If think those are insults you really have some thin skin or your ego is writing checks your ass can't cash. Get over yourself dude.

I argued a different point of view and you went ballistic and called me names, some pretty terrible names. And yet you are trying to play the victim? You can screw yourself Crunch.

Start at post #102 and watch how you went off like complete fool. You can't erase what you wrote Crunch or how you acted. Little punk ass cry baby.

yeah, this is a totally new thing outta nowhere. i'm starting your victim's fund.

By the way, Carl Crawford does have X-Ray vision.

AFL update--Murton BA at .571 (2 games); Sing at .500

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/index....

Peoria Javelinas 5
Mesa Solarsox 3

Murton 2 for 3, 2 runs scored, 1 walk, 2 doubles, No K's, 1 Giddyup...LF batting 5th

Sing, 2 for 3, 1 walk, 1K, 1 caught stealing...DH batting 6th

Aardsma 1-1/3 innings, no hits, no runs, 1 walk, 2K's, 1 inherited runner did not score.

Koronka 2-IP, 1 hit, no runs, 3K's

murton, sing, koronka, hill, guzman, cedeno...future's looking nice...hopefully some can stick around through this offseason's possible trade frenzy.

I am gone for 5 days and i see MikeC is making friends again...

Glad to see people finally seeing what I have been pointing out for over a year now....

Vorare:
"Remarkable though it may seem, it is possible to discuss other people's opinions without being an asshole."

MIKEC does not seem to understand that. Thanks for being ANOTHER poster to mention that to him. Maybe finally it will sink in.

He keeps playing the victim's role, when it is clear to everyone on here he is the one that constantly starts all the crap. It's a shame, but it appears it will NEVER change on TCR.

regarding rothschild:
besides the minor things in his favor (carlos continues to improve, priors freak combacker and 1st inning woes aren't his fault, j williams would have had 2 more wins with better run support and bullpen having his back, hawkins sucked regardless of coaching, etc) the major reason im glad he stays is because:

ryan dempster is going to be our closer next year. ryan dempster bloomed as a closer under rothschild. do you want a new guy to come in after weve committed to dempster and start telling him different shit, not to mention a new guy for carlos and co. to deal with?

no.

on another topic, just something i thought of after reading this quote from peter gammons:

There are going to be millions of dollars in bad contracts thrown around this winter.
As has been well-documented, the free-agent talent is sparse (thanks to teams like the Brewers using their revenue-sharing dollars to lock up the Ben Sheets of the world), and with revenue-sharing, TV, XM Radio and Internet deals, there is a lot of cash waiting to be spent. The Blue Jays have $30M, the Royals $18M-$19M, the Tigers who knows what, and that's before the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and other big markets weigh in.

now then, what i think this means for the cubs:

ultimately when everybody has money including the fucking royals and bluejays to toss off with, i think (and to be truthful, i HOPE) that it will be the environment of wrigley field, the massive scale and passion for the team of the cubs fans, and the chance to experience what nobody has experienced in a cubs uniform for almost a century, will bring talent to the club, or rather, make talent want to play here.

of course, im just waxing sentimental and am most likely full of shit as usual, but i cant help thinking that by coming to win in chicago for the cubbies, the average player must know what a fucking rock-star they would be in the city of big shoulders. i mean dammit, if i were joe blow up for free agency, and i had my choice of going and playing in canada or kansas city missourri, or wrigley field? shit id tell my agent to shutup and call hendry for some figures.

but, i also think johnny damon should play center field for us, so what do i know.

my 2 cents on this whole MIKEC vs CRUNCH battle:

1) its kind of funny. but i think a bit played-out. let me play neutral arbiter here and settle this.

on behalf of MIKEC, CRUNCH, go to hell.

on behalf of CRUNCH, MIKEC, go to hell.

ahahaha. there, can we talk about baseball now?

2) regarding the CRUNCH comments:
as much as this teams fans (CRUNCH included) have taken it in the ass over the years, saying something like finding another team if they paid $$$ to win is like, close to blasphemy. the average cubs fan hates a band-wagoning fair-weather booster more than anyone else, and this comment smacks of it, but in the reverse sense, which is mind boggling. i totally understand the contempt over the i guess 'feeling' that youve 'bought' the W by buying up super-vets like the yanks (although (a) smalls came from their farm, and (b) they fucking LOST, hahaha). i agree that i would prefer not being the top spending club and still winning the shit out of a world series. HOWEVER, in all honesty if i had mega-billions and the oppurtunity to buy the club from the tribune, guess what kids, im writing checks like a mother fucker for the best parking lot attendants, security guards and janitors, much less the best coaches and players that money can buy, so that my fellow cubs fans throughout the universe can rejoice everyday as they look at another dominating box-score and watch the pennants pile up. bet yer sweet ass i would!

3) MIKEC: i know CRUNCHs comments set you off, i didnt love them myself, but jeez, take it easy there buckaroo! perhaps a simple "if you like winning without $$$ then the braves are a great organization" would have been just as biting as simply calling him a jackass or whatever. a little tact man, for gods sake!

my 2 cents on this whole MIKEC vs CRUNCH battle:

1) its kind of funny. but i think a bit played-out. let me play neutral arbiter here and settle this.

on behalf of MIKEC, CRUNCH, go to hell.

on behalf of CRUNCH, MIKEC, go to hell.

ahahaha. there, can we talk about baseball now?

2) regarding the CRUNCH comments:
as much as this teams fans (CRUNCH included) have taken it in the ass over the years, saying something like finding another team if they paid $$$ to win is like, close to blasphemy. the average cubs fan hates a band-wagoning fair-weather booster more than anyone else, and this comment smacks of it, but in the reverse sense, which is mind boggling. i totally understand the contempt over the i guess 'feeling' that youve 'bought' the W by buying up super-vets like the yanks (although (a) smalls came from their farm, and (b) they fucking LOST, hahaha). i agree that i would prefer not being the top spending club and still winning the shit out of a world series. HOWEVER, in all honesty if i had mega-billions and the oppurtunity to buy the club from the tribune, guess what kids, im writing checks like a mother fucker for the best parking lot attendants, security guards and janitors, much less the best coaches and players that money can buy, so that my fellow cubs fans throughout the universe can rejoice everyday as they look at another dominating box-score and watch the pennants pile up. bet yer sweet ass i would!

3) MIKEC: i know CRUNCHs comments set you off, i didnt love them myself, but jeez, take it easy there buckaroo! perhaps a simple "if you like winning without $$$ then the braves are a great organization" would have been just as biting as simply calling him a jackass or whatever. a little tact man, for gods sake!

MikeC,

I get a lot of emails for low cost pharmaceuticals. Perhaps now would be a good time to look into buying a CH1LL P1LL.

"murton, sing, koronka, hill, guzman, cedeno...future's looking nice..."

Raise your hand if you have heard this tune before...

I see no reason to believe Guzman will be an MLB starter. I think Hill is a long way away based on his stuff. Koronka...blah Sing needs to fix some fundamental flaws that a good AFL doesn't hide from a veteran baseball fan.

I'm just not getting excited about the next group of prospects until I see solid fundamentals.

Guzman - Needs to show me he can pitch 200 innings

Hill needs to show me he is more than a 2 pitch pitcher - one of which is virtuaolly a gimmick pitch.

Cedeno needs to show fundamentals at the plate.

Sing needs to not strike out over 25% of his ABs.

etc. etc. etc.

AFL stats are a freaking joke. I refuse to get excited about them. It's your choice - but I'd suggest you temper your optimism if AFL numbers are you

...are your reason for hope.

Frankly, AFL numbers are so worthless... Offensive numbers are so nutty in the AFL that the good ones should be discounted. I don't worry about Aardsma's 11.5 ERA or Guzman's 4.50 ERA. With nobody having more than 15 ABs - none of those numbers are even remotely statistically significant. Eric Patterson is hitting .111. I wouldn't get worried about that any more than I'd get excited about Sing hitting .500.

Rich Hill's curveball is virtually a gimmick pitch?

"Rich Hill's curveball is virtually a gimmick pitch?"

Yes - when he has nothing but a 10/6 curveball and a mediocre fastball, the curve becomes a gimmick pitch. He doesn't have a normal curve. He doesn't have a riding fastball. His fastball, in fact, hardly moves. He throws the nasty curveball, but it isn't something you can throw every pitch, or even really every AB.

Did you see how ineffective he was in his 10 outings this year? He is a 2 pitch pitcher, and one of them is that curveball that he can't throw too often.

Hill is a classic case of how to dominate in the minors and struggle in the majors. Without 4 pitches, it is very hard to be an effective MLB starter.

Tell me you think that Zito would be effective if all he had was his curve and a mediocre fastball? Come on...

9.13 ERA in 24 innings. 25H, 17BB and 21Ks. His WHIP is 1.77. Gimmick is exactly how I define his curve until he learns to throw it in more ways than just the big lollipop variety.

i think rich hill's problem is more his control than anything else. the guy gave up walks as if they were a contract incentive for petes sake!

as far as his fastball not moving, whats wrong with that? everybody should have a hard straight one that they can hit all 4 zones with. that fat-ass david wells, why do people keep paying him? starting him? cuz hes always healthy for one thing, but the other thing is he relies on spotting that fastball. damn i cant stress how underrated a hard 4-seamer is these days.

if he could spot the 4 seam, and take a bit off with a 2 seamer with some dip to it, then that would add dimension to that nasty, nasty 10-4 yakker hes got.

so in that regard i guess i agree with you. a hard 4 seam, a slider, and that yakker would make this guy formidable.

...but its all for shit without control!

how about the Cubs trade A-ram and K-Pat to the Skankees for A-rod? Then dump Dumbass Baker for Joe Girardi? Wow What an upgrade:
1st D.lee
2nd R.cedeno/T.Walker(platoon)
SS A-Rod
3rd Nomar
Of: Murton;Pie and Giles
C Barrett
P Prior
P Zambrano
P Millwood
P Guzman
P Maddux

We might need Lofton to platoon with Pie to begwin with but it has to improve our bench. And A-rod is being thrown underneath the bus in NY
9maybe they eat salary) and we have Sing and E-Pat coming on after this year.

JMHO scooterÆ

"so in that regard i guess i agree with you. a hard 4 seam, a slider, and that yakker would make this guy formidable.

...but its all for shit without control!"

EXACTLY!

But a mediocre fastball that is neither hard (95+) nor controlled (Maddux/Wells) with a funky, yet recognizable (as a hitter) curve isn't effective for 6+ innings.

"how about the Cubs trade A-ram and K-Pat to the Skankees for A-rod?"

One of the cool thing about trades is that both sides have to agree on them. I'd be willing to bet that the Yankees would not even consider this deal. Despite the noise A-Rod is hearing about his ALDS performance, he is still an MVP candidate and their best player overall. I doubt they'd trade him for Aramis and Patterson. (or anything else we'd offer them for that matter)

I'm sure nothing would be better for Corey Patterson than the media center of New York, where they would boo their own mother if they struck out 3 times in a close game with a division rival.

"where they would boo their own mother if they struck out 3 times in a close game with a division rival."

A) I would too. I consider that not excepting mediocrity or worse. I am glad Cubs fans are finally starting to do that. For too long we as fans have tolerated unacceptable performance from our players.

B) My mother isn't that dumb. She's a contact hitter.

How about K-Pat, A-Ram, B. Brownlee and Kerry Wood for Bubba Crosby and A-Rod?? What you think? Then they sign Brian Giles and Millwood.

We got:
Murton LF
Walker/Cedeno 2nd
D.Lee 1st
A-Rod SS
Nomah 3rd
B. Giles RF
Crosby CF
Barret C

rotation:
Zambrano
Prior
Millwood
Rusch/Guzman
Maddux

Not bad. Any suggestions?

scooter

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