Rusch Re-Signed

The Transaction Guy hasn't returned from his post-season sabbatical (that he didn't tell anyone about), but I'm here to talk about the fact that the Cubs re-signed Glendon Rusch to a two-year deal. Contract specifics: 2006: $2.75M 2007: $3.25M There is up to $500K in incentives (based on games started) in each season. I don't have a problem with the cost of the contract, but I question the need for a two-year deal. This is a situation where Rusch is being rewarded for not going on the free agent market, which is nice. My concern is whether the Cubs are going to give him the benefit of the doubt over Jerome Williams for the #5 spot in the rotation because of a sense of duty.
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I heard from a friend with insider(read please verify if you ARE an insider) that Gammons is reporting both Giles and Furcal will land with Chicago, with nomar going to LA Dodgers

well that sucks cause now there's a 98% possibility that we won't land either. damn you peter gammons!!! :)

I always thought Nomar to LA, made the most sense, they wanted him last year to play second, they need a one year stop gap and when Izturis comes back, he can play 3b. Of course with no GM, how does anyone know who they're targeting?

espn.com now has epstein stepping down as GM of the Red Sox, interestng

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/2010AP...

Wow. I'd love to have him, but I am contempt with Hendry

BYE BYE Hendry...HELLO EPSTEIN!!!

AS for Rusch, I am not a fan of the signing. I don't think too much of him, even as a 5 starter, partly becuase we already have a #5 starter for $9 million (Maddux).

But Hendry said on the radio that Rusch will be given every oppurtunity to make teh starting rotation. So the #5 spot is his to lose.

i would of rather kept Williams for cheaper, but maybe Hendry is planning on using him for trade bait to pick up a big time player. If so, then signing Rusch make more sense.

And like I said the other day, what a bad week for SABR GM's. Two big SABR GM's without a job.

Rusch gets the 5 spot but you do NOT trade Williams
Jeez what are the odds you don't need AT LEAST
6 starters for the Cubs? Hill, Mitre etc are not reliable
enough for me but Williams is and you KNOW someone
is going to go down.

I REALLY like Rusch and though I am not a huge
numbers cruncher like the rest of you I would like
re-interate interesting stats from last year when he
was in an out of the BP like a yo-yo. In his first
STARTING stint he had 10 starts and an e.r.a of
roughly 3.3. In his last five starts he had an e.r.a
of roughly 3.3 in his middle four starts when the dragged him out of the BP for the 2nd time he sucked
with an e.r.a of about 10 which drove his starting numbers WAY up. You might think letting him start
at beginning of the season would be a nice novelty
for the Cubs. The five spot should be his to LOSE and
Williams can just wait for Kerry's arm to fall off. Prior's
heel to act up, Z to get suspended for a month or
Maddux to get run over by a truck for his chance.
Sadly I doubt it will be a long wait.

Jessica

I have espn insider and I didn't find anything about furcal/giles from Gammons. The most recent gammons column is about the Dodgers GM situation. McCourt is a boob.

Gammons was on Dan Patrick today. He did talk about those 3-giving his feelings on where they are headed. I do not believe there was any solid basis for that other than Gammons sayting what he thought.

the #5 starting slot just got a lot more interesting and it looks like j.williams could become the tradebait that'll hand the team the RF they're looking.

of course it could be jim hendry getting tired of losing 1-2 starters a year at ANY given time for months+

either way mitre/hill's situation (especially mitre) seems a bit up in the air and possibly in the same boat as j.williams.

hard to not like a guy getting a reasonable contract...and rusch is still kinda young...but wow, 2 years...at least its not a lot of money and could be a good gamble while still remaining tradable.

If the commitment is to Rusch at 5, is everyone comfortable with Jerome at 4 should Maddux not return? Seems we're certain Kerry can come back and assume the number three starter, Zambrano at 1 and Prior 2.

Are we sure about Kerry and Maddux's return? And even if we're sure about Maddux, can he still put it together for one more year?

I didn't check the Free Agent lists, but is there any available help there? OR are we in the position to trade for a number 4.

Makes it pretty clear how lucky the Sox were with the emergence of Contreras and Garland.

put this is the last post accidently...there's a minor change anyway so whatever...

murton 0-4
sing 1-4 (single, SB(1), 2k)
koronka 3ip 2h 1bb 1k (win in relief)

If the commitment is to Rusch at 5, is everyone comfortable with Jerome at 4 should Maddux not return?

Under the "nothing good ever happens to this franchise" clause, Greg Maddux is guaranteed to return for the bargain-basement price of $9 million or whatever it is.

Last two years combined records of the Cubs six SP's.

Zambrano 30-14 +16
Prior 17-11 +6
Rusch 15-10 +5
Maddux 29-26 +3
Williams 16-17 -1
Wood 11-13 -2

Rusch doesn't look half-bad when you look at the staff this way.

its very doubtful maddux wouldnt return to collect 9m...its his right and its the contract given to him, though im not looking forward to it.

personally i'd like to see williams over rusch, but this signing seems to signal either some strong want to be protected for injury or williams being some strong trade bait for a strong OF'r trade.

its entirely possible that williams will stick around and rusch will be an overpaid emergency starter and long-relief, but i kinda doubt that's the case with him coming back relatively cheap for 2 years. honestly, any healthy/young-ish pitcher who can go 200 innings can easily pull 3m a year...espeically the lefties.

guess we'll find out what'll come of it in the months to come.

Yikes, Rusch hasn't thrown for 200+ innings since he went 1-12 for the Brew Crew in 02.

HE went 145 last year, I guess he would hit 200 as the number 5?

Guess this means we're putting our trade hats on as I still have that all too familiar, queasy, "this is not nearly enough" feeling in the pit of my stomach...

Yeah P.Gammons was on Dan Patrick's radio show and Dan just asked a rapid fire group of free agents and asked Gammons where he thought they'd end up. Furcal and Giles were the two that he thought the Cubs would land. There wasn't any "insider" info included in his responses...just what Gammons opinion would be. Of course Gammons also wrapped up that interview by saying that he thought the Epstein deal would get done by the end of today and when I got home from work Gammons was on ESPN News reporting that Epstein had just rejected the Red Sox's 3 year offer.

Here's what Gammons claimed

Furcal - Cubs
B.Giles - Cubs
T.Hoffman - SD
Bj Ryan - Mets (because he'd have the opportunity to close) but he also said the Yanks and Tigers would probably offer $7-8 mil a year)
Damon - Red Sox
Wagner - Philly
Konerko - Angels
Nomar - Dodgers (possibly as an OF)
Sosa - (Gammons said he didn't have a clue)
Bernie - Texas (as DH, and because of Showalter)

Patrick didn't ask him about Aj Burnett or Millwood or any starters at all.

Giles is from SD so they're going to have first shot..but if they don't bring him back, I can't see the Cards having an inside track on him. I can't think of any former Padres/Pirates there that would influence Giles into coming there. It's not like his buddy Jason Kendall or his bro Marcus are there trying to lure him in. The agent is just playing the Cubs and Cards to get a better deal with the Padres.

This is really a great signing...I don't see how one could categorize it as anything different. $3 million per year is a slight bargain for any healthy major league lefty whoís capable (and reliable) of putting up league average numbers as a starter. His VORP was 11.1 last year (95th overall in MLB, > 100 IP) and it was 27.8 in 2004 (53rd overall). Iíd posture that Rusch would have performed even better had Dustiny not misplaced him in the bullpen and left him alone in the rotation from the get-go. For fun, letís look at some of the pitchers behind Rusch last year and note what they got paid:

Mark Redman: 11.1 VORP, $4.25M
Corey Lidle: 10 VORP, $3M
Woody Williams: 7.4 VORP, $3M
Orlando Hernandez: 6.1 VORP, $3.5M
Joel Pineiro: 4.4 VORP, $4.2M
Kip Wells: -2.4 VORP, $3.2M

I think you get the pictureÖand none of these guys had a manager that didnít understand the role they were best suited for and left them alone in their respective rotations when healthy. A full year of Rusch in the rotation would probably place his value somewhere between what it was in 2004 and 2005 and leave us with a serviceable starter at a bargain. At age 31, Rusch is right in the prime of his career as a pitcher so regression is not likely. Other positives:

1. Virtually no MLB team goes through a whole season with their starting 5 intact, so having an extra quality starter on the cheap really helps.

2. Jerome Williams will only be 24 in December, so if Rusch is taking his place in the rotation itís not like weíre blocking his prime years. Williams will also likely be rostered near the minimum again next year, so weíre not losing money there. Methinks Williams could also use additional seasoning at AAA should we have options left on him, and I believe we do.

3. Should a better starting option come along for Hendry to sign in the offseason/inseason, this contract is not hard to trade by any stretch. In fact, it might be very attractive to any team in need of pitching because itís affordable.

4. Itís likely Hendry has no further decisions to make on the rotation and can now focus on upgrading the offense. Getting this signing out of the way early also leaves a great deal of money to sign pieces needed for the offense.

Of course the downside of this signing would be if Rusch doesnít live up to recently established performance levels. However unlikely that may be, swallowing $2.75M next year to find out is a pittance. His peripheral numbers suggest heís an above average starter with better than a 2 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. He also doesnít give up an unreasonable amount of Home Runs, even with Wrigley as his home park. Think about what weíve paid some of the Remlingers of the world recently and this contract pales in comparison for the amount of quality innings weíd receive.

For some reason there seems to be a fair amount of opposition to this signing amongst the ranks here at TCR and Iíd love to hear some reasoning as to why. Any by reasoning, I donít mean another post by ìThe Rockî who seems to lack a grasp on how realistic rosters are built and maintained.

I'm not as concerned about Rusch at 5 as I am about Williams at 4. I still feel like we have holes there unless Williams breaks out.

I'm not as concerned about Rusch at 5 as I am about Williams at 4. I still feel like we have holes there unless Williams breaks out.

I'd be a lot more concerned with Maddux regressing even further next year. $9M is a lot to pay for a guy who will likely pitch like a #4 or 5.

I am really unconcerned about the Rusch deal IF it doesn't prohobit the following:

1. Signing a leadoff hitter (Furcal)
2. Signing or getting a #2 or #3 starter
3. Getting 2 outfielders that can hit

As long as we are still on track with the above i AM ok. I am also OK with the walker signing IF we get furcal and we do NOT resign neifi. (Let cedeno back up SS and 2b and start 2b against lefties.) I would LOVE to trade ARAM for someone with more speed and a better glove.

I like this signing. It's not a ton of money. Rusch isn't effective enough vs. lefties to be of much use in late inning relief, but he's a nice insurance policy to have as a starter, and a very capable long reliever. I hope Rich Hill or Jerome Williams beats him out in spring training (assuming we don't deal one of them), but I'm betting he'll prove useful at some point. If it spares me from seeing any Koronka or Leicster starts it's money well spent.

re: #21: if signing rusch for 3 million a year prevents us from getting an outfield bat or leadoff hitter we weren't getting a very good outfield bat or leadoff hitter anyway. but a 2 or 3 starter? we need that? we've got prior, wood, z, maddux, rusch and williams, all capable major league starters. i would be surprised if one of the hill, mitre, guzman, nolasco etc... group didn't step up in spring. we've got a ton of starters.

nice post Jody.

I'm all for the Glendon Rusch signing. I like having a lefty in the rotation especially against certain lineups that have better lefty hitting. The Cubs have really not had many lefty starters in the last 40+ years. Dick Ellsworth, Ken Holtzman, Steve Trout, Jamie Moyer, Steve Wilson and Greg Hibbard is a pretty short list.

So the next Cub news that's expected is Maddux picking up his option at $9M. How soon is that news coming?

This week is the organizational meetings for the Cubs what news should be coming from those meetings?

from mlb.com...

Hendry was set to leave Tuesday morning for organizational meetings in Arizona. He said Cubs priorities include pitching and defense, and he also left the door open on a possible contract extension for All-Star first baseman and National League MVP candidate Derrek Lee.

Gammons is and IDIOT. He has not inside info or insight to anything. He was sure Nomar would never be a Cub. You can count on neither Furcal or Giles being a Cub...ever.

Cubster-
The Maddux option has already been picked up. It was vested this year when he pitched 400 IP over the pasy 2 seasons. There is no need for him or his agent to do anything. He is making $9 million next year and that is one of my problems with the Rusch signing. He will be the 5th starter for $3 million, but we already have a 5th starter and he is making $9 million. So we are paying our 4th and 5th starters $12 million and we are hoping for .500 records out of each. Actually we should be pleased with that.

So the next Cub news that's expected is Maddux picking up his option at $9M. How soon is that news coming?

Cubster, his option was automatically picked up because it was based on the number of inning he pitched in 04 and 05. Technically it wasn't an option, but more a clause where the Cubs could have voided the 06 contract if he didn't pitch enough 400 innnings over the last two seasons.

You know who is AN idiot? ME. If you are going to flame someone, you should at least get your grammar right. But I still think that old coot is AN idiot.

Question:
When is the earliest Mark Prior can become a free agent? He has 3.131 service time thru 2005. So after he makes his $2.5 million next year is he arb eligible for 2007 and 2008?

Thanks!!

post #14 was well said.

im glad they picked up rusch for most of the same reasons. makes good sense. can still possibly trade him, though i hope they dont.

i do disagree with starting him. i still think williams should get the start ahead of him and let rusch go long relief and spot matchups.

just to be different, here is my OPTIMISTIC picture of our rotation:

-carlos is the ace once again
-mark figures out the 1st inning and is awesome
-maddux will avenge his sub-par season and make it a point to not give up the long ball
-they will shove wood down our throats again, and...thats all i can bring myself to say.
-williams wins a shitload of games when getting the run-support he lacked in 05.

and rusch helps anchor the pen if we dont sell him off!

Gammons isn't an idiot, I think he's a Duke grad so he can't be too dim. I actually like listening to his opinions because he's a true fan of the game...but the problem with him is that he actually has too many sources...including GMs that use him as a filter to get leaked info into the press..playing FAs and agents against other clubs etc. I can't think of anyone other than Gammons who have direct lines of communication into virtually every GM, it's just that those like Billy Beane have taken advantage of his position.

Did anyone notice that the tentaitive 2006 schedule was released? Wow, that's pretty early.

I think last year most other teams had theirs before ours was out...think someone in the front office wants the fans to start thinking about next year sooner than later.

- Open the season on 4/3 in Cincy, home opener on 4/7 versus the Cardinals

- Yet again, after a hiatus from stupidty this year, we will not play the Astros or Cardinals after August.

- We play the Astros 12 times between June 5th and July 20th.

- Play the Cardinals 19 times, 9 in Stl, 10 in Chicago

- Visit the White Sox on May 19th-21st, they visit us 6/30-7/2

- Host the Tigers, At Cleveland and Minn for interleague (yawn)

- 18 of final 29 games at home (which is not necessarily a good thing)

- Final 9 games against Reds, Brewers, Rockies

- From July 18th through August 16th Cubs play 29 games in 30 days

- From July 10th to July 17th, Cubs play 3 games in 8 days (including all star break)

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/chc/sc...

Adam-
According to Al over at BCB, 28 or so teams had already released their schedules weeks ago. A few weeks ago he had the tentative schedule of the Cubs based on the other teams schedlues.

funny Manny...Guess I'm slow on the take. I did that last year, but I thought it was late November by the time I got close to figuring out the whole Cubs schedule.

d'oh. It was released on October 26th last year..well after most other teams released theres...guess there is no difference this year, and I'm just a fool...nothing new

"VORP"

WORTHLESS

No.

a friend of mine who read the business section of i think the LA times said and there was spectulation that the tribune may put the cubs up for sale due to their stocks being in dire straits.

anybody else hear of this?

This week is the organizational meetings for the Cubs what news should be coming from those meetings?
----
Based on the newspapers today it looks like the list is:

Furcal (probably they will try hard to sign him, if the Braves don't sign him first...there is an article today that his agent has told the Mets Furcal would agree to playing 2B if Reyes is at SS)

Patterson (writers are speculating a trade is probable)

Giles (writers say he wants to go the the Cardinals, if no Padre deal...I want Giles here, if just to keep him from StL)

Pierre (a trade, but their 2nd choice for a leadoff hitter)

I wonder if there is any Cub interest in Caveman (Damon)? Must be the 3rd choice for leadoff hitter.

also some discussion on Burnett/Millwood interest

excerpt from Sully/today's Tribune:

At the Cubs' organizational meetings next week, the biggest topics will be whether to go hard after Atlanta free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal and what to do about center fielder Corey Patterson. Atlanta has discussed the possibility of re-signing Furcal, whom many in the Cubs organization covet for his defense and leadoff experience.

Patterson worked for two weeks recently in Mesa, Ariz., with minor-league instructor Von Joshua, who tutored Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton. Early indications are Patterson may be packaged in a trade, though nothing has been decided.

With free-agent right fielder Brian Giles appeared headed for St. Louis, the Cubs are likely to sign or trade for one or possibly two outfielders, depending on the Patterson decision. Florida center fielder Juan Pierre reportedly is on the market, and despite a down year with a .276 average and .326 on-base percentage, his 57 steals and experience as a leadoff man would aid the Cubs.

Murton and Cedeno have earned starting jobs, though their positions will be determined by Hendry's winter moves.

"No one is assured of anything," he said.

Hendry promptly paused and corrected himself.

"[Derrek] Lee will be at first," he said.

Rusch is not a 5. He's a 6. He's a 2.7 Million dollar insurance policy. If you end up not needing him, it won't be hard to move that contract. Good move by Jim.

"the tribune may put the cubs up for sale"

The article that talked about this was pure speculation. The writer was simply looking at Tribune Co. and speculating about what pieces would fetch a good price. There has been no actual discussion of this reported anywhere.

I just received my latest issue of ESPN the magazine. I ranks Furcal as the best defensive shortstop in baseball-predicting he'll get even better. Lets see 1)leadoff man 2)50 steals 3) excellent defense 4)28 yrs old. He fills several needs of this club. We have the money to spend, I can't see why he wouldn't be at the top of the list.

Re ##38 and 41 -- the Trib is in a world of hurt financially do to some poor legal and accounting advice related to the Times Mirror acquisition a few years back. Having lost in US Tax court, they do have a lump-sum of a few hundred million dollars -- well above their reserve -- that they owe to (most of) us, the U.S. taxpayers.

Personally, I would be willing to forfeit my portion of that tax liability if it were invested in Furcal. But if they intend to spend it on, say, Preston Wilson, I would rather the money go to FEMA, where it will be better spent.

"Personally, I would be willing to forfeit my portion of that tax liability if it were invested in Furcal. But if they intend to spend it on, say, Preston Wilson, I would rather the money go to FEMA, where it will be better spent."

LMFAO! Imagine if this was actually how all of the nation's economic decisions were made? Well, I'll pay my taxes this year, unless the Cubs go and get me a left handed OF with power - in which case I'll divert my tax money to the Tribune Corp - a much better use of funds.

The Trib will sell some pieces - or will refinance debt. But they will not divest the Cubs unless they are able to find some sucker willing to not only buy the team, but give a sweetheart deal to WGN for TV/Radio until the end of time. It would take an idiot with loads of money and absolutely no desire to be fiscally prudent (almost no such thing exists) in order to make this happen. On a scale of 1-10, I'd rank the likelihood of this a 1. With peace in the Middle East and a Jewish Pope ranking a 2.

Rusch is a servicable lefty. He has been healthy, has decent enough stuff, and isnt ridiculously expensive. In the event of a big trade in order to get Sosa back, I think that someone would take on Rusch in a deal. Maybe even straight up for Sosa.

Id take that trade.

Well, maybe not.

Regarding post #31, Gammons is a North Carolina grad. Confusing Duke with Carolina is akin with confusing the Sox with our Cubbies. . . though maybe it would be nice to be thought of as World Series champs. Come to think of it, if I say it enough maybe it will come true. . . . .

What the HELL is wrong with the world where Ron Santo can't get in the Hall as a 3B but gets nominated for the Frick award every year? I feel like the rest of the world is watching and listening to a different game.

Does anyone have a breakdown of Rusch's stats as a starter and as a reliever? Seemed like he was more effective as a starter, but I don't have numbers to base that on.

I think you need J. WIlliams and Rusch, these days you need 6 solid starters, because you never know.

Does anyone have a breakdown of Rusch's stats as a starter and as a reliever?

From ESPN.com:

In his two seasons as a Cub, Rusch is 11-9 with a 3.94 ERA in 35 starts, and 4-1 with two saves and a 4.30 in 43 relief appearances.

You can also see his split stats for 2005 here.

So clearly worth a lot more as a a starter, due to better numbers, more innings and starters' relative price to non-closer relievers.

The rotation picture really has me scratching my head now. It would be a lot more simple if we could trade either Wood or Maddux - Steve Finley anyone?

Why the heck would we want Steve Finly?

Have you seen his numbers from this past year?

I would rather have Preston Wilson!!

regarding the starting rotation:

Recently Jim Hendry said that he doesn't really trust the medical reports he's been getting on his players (all of which say that everyone is 100%).
And the person he is most dubious about, deservedly so, is Kerry Wood. He intimated that if he has five starters ready after spring training he may put off adding Wood to the rotation so that he can get his arm in shape.

I infer from that that he may decide to use Wood as a setup man from time to time early in the season. I also infer that from Hendry's remarks that Dusty HAS TO start being concerned about getting off to a good start in April and May.

If you have Wood setting up Dempster next Spring, even if it's irregularly, you are going to see more Cub wins.

Saving Wood for the end of the year by using him to set up the closer at the beginning of the year, sure looks like a real possiblity.

Wood in the bullpen is a reasonable theory, but now who's the number 3 starter? Maddux, if he comes back, but if not--JWilliams is our number 3? Yikes.

This sounds like we need to sign a number 3 or make a deal, assuming Wood can't go to start the season. In addition to being the set-up man, Woody's a lot better long relief guy than Wellemeyer. Still need some veteran help in that bullpen.

i can't think of anyone i'd want less on the cubs than steve finley, except for maybe eric milton.

oh come on nate, there's plenty more

Christian Guzman
Latroy Hawkins
Jeromy Burnitz
Sammy Sosa
Neifi Perez (crud)
Jose Macias (crap)
Dusty Baker (fiddlesticks)

:)

neifi and macias were too easy... and i'd still rather take burny back than finley. the rest of the list, you're right about

LOL Rob

(sorry for the LOL everybody. I won't do it again.)

We need a #2 starter. We would have z as a #1. A FA #2 Prior #2 at #3 Maddux then Rusch/Williams. Set up wood and If all goes well have him replace rusch/williams. Imagine a 7th 8th 9th inning with Williamson, Wood, and Dempster. Prior could go 6 on 125 pitches then. Greatly shortens the game. Also how many more wins would Maddux have had if he could have left after 6?

Your openning day Rfer-Carl Everett!
AHHH!!

"If you have Wood setting up Dempster next Spring, even if it's irregularly, you are going to see more Cub wins"
Devils advocate-What from a small sample shows that? First of all you need to have the lead to get to him, (# 3Starters-Rusch, Williams, Maddux) I don't think so. Second he has to be healthy. Third he has to have a mentality that says I will not walk the 8th hitter on 4 pitches!!
You are already talking about him not being ready for the start of the season. C'mon lets put the horeshoe down and get real. The Cubs need 2-3 good, not quality, starters to have a chance next year.

Your openning day Rfer-Carl Everett!
AHHH!!

"If you have Wood setting up Dempster next Spring, even if it's irregularly, you are going to see more Cub wins"
Devils advocate-What from a small sample shows that? First of all you need to have the lead to get to him, (# 3Starters-Rusch, Williams, Maddux) I don't think so. Second he has to be healthy. Third he has to have a mentality that says I will not walk the 8th hitter on 4 pitches!!
You are already talking about him not being ready for the start of the season. C'mon lets put the horeshoe down and get real. The Cubs need 2-3 good, not quality, starters to have a chance next year.

Z
Prior

Maddux

Williams

Rusch

...er, what the hell are we gonna do....

On second thought, now's the time to assimilate a Rich Hill into the rotation. He's not getting any younger. I'm still confused what role Rusch is going to play.

On second thought, now's the time to assimilate a Rich Hill into the rotation. He's not getting any younger. I'm still confused what role Rusch is going to play.

Jacos, Hendry said he does not want to put Wood iinto the rotation early in the year unless he's absolutely convinced that he's 110% ready to pitch quality starts (that's six innings or more).

But due to the nature of his injury and surgery he still can pitch. So using him in relief should result in more wins than simply having him pitch side sessions.

I'm not advocating this, but I suspect that's what Hendry has in mind.

No telling what Dusty will do though.

Ok, I can see that point, the lesser of two evils.But it is a drop off from Z,Prior to the next three, that not even the Yankees could over come.

i'm not convinced that maddux will be any worse than he was this year, which was somewhere between a 3rd and 4th starter. i wouldn't be surprised if he gets a handle on giving up the long ball and is more effective in '06 than '05

even if wood has to pitch for a month or so outta the pen its highly doubtful the cubs will search another starter...

z/prior/maddux...rusch/j.williams...mitre/hill...

guzman is close enough...

that's 7-8 guys not even counting wood who will most likely (practically 100%) rejoin the rotation when he's able. they definately got enough top-order guys. hell, a lot of clubs would be thrilled to have Z/Prior...much less have the others to kick around in the 3-5 slots.

to go out and try to spend 6-8-10+ million on another starter would be quite confusing.

"On second thought, now's the time to assimilate a Rich Hill into the rotation. He's not getting any younger. "

Until he develops another pitch, there is no time to put him into a major league rotation. Sorry - but right now he has a mediocre fastball and a yakker that he can't consistently locate. That's why he got pounded last year in Aug, Sept. Oct. After there was some footage of him from June and july, it was plainly clear that you could wait on him, take lots of walks, and pound his fastball if he threw it.

You're right. Hill just so happened to be the first of our young pitchers to come to mind--Mitre would be a better idea.

Finley. 'Roid casualty.

Along with Byrnes, Aurilia, and Bret Boone.

"Mitre would be a better idea."

Not until he fixes his facial hair - that's hideous.

Seriously - he was terrible in his 7 starts also this year. If we plan on being competitive, we can't count on Mitre either. If this is a rebuilding year, then he's a fine 6th starter.

The plan Hendry has professed for a while now is to be built around pitching. Given all the problems we have with Wood and Prior's health and Maddux's declining performance, I'm not sure if that holds true anymore. The problem is that we have between 25 and 30 mm spent on our rotation, and we can't guarantee any sort of consistent performance from anyone except Zambrano at this point. I'm afraid about next year. It has the potential to go gravely wrong early.

yeah, mitre was real terrible against Florida in June:

9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 18 gb-6 fb

Oh, so you want to isolate out one or two starts? I can play that game too. How about games vs the Sox, Yanks, Padres and Rockies?

How about looking at the body of work?

I was referring to his performance of the course of his 7 starts. 5.20 ERA, 2-3, his 1.4+ WHIP, and being beaten like a drum in most of his outings. Nate, are you actually trying to make an arguement that based on what you saw of Sergio Mitre last year that you feel he is ready to be in the rotation next year? I can't imagine that. Let me know Nate...Do you think Sergio Mitre is a good major league pitcher who should be starting on a 100mm+ team with post season aspirations?

I agree, you can't isolate one of Mitre's starts. On the other hand, you can't continue to hold him back, or any of our other young pitchers for that matter. It's not as if Mitre was horrible. We can't continue to depend on Wood and Prior and Z to carry us. It's time to move on from that illusion.

z/prior/maddux...rusch/j.williams...mitre/hill...

Put the champagne on ice for next October, whoopee.

Wouldn't the rotation look better-
Z-Prior-Milwood- Burnett-Maddux/Williams ?

I have my reservations about Burnett--the risk/reward factor regarding injury. Milwood wouldn't be a bad addition for the right price (4-5M tops imo) but I think he'll be asking for quite a bit more than he's worth--and will probably get it.

err..maybe I'd give 6M tops to Milwood

"18 gb-6 fb"

Fantastic stat... wholly irrelevant, but fantastic. If he keeps getting hit, and gives up over 5 runs per game, why is a 3:1 G/F rate at all important?

If you are going to tell me he just has really bad luck on where the balls go, I'm gonna laugh.

Sergio Mitre is not a major league ready pitcher. If he was, he'd have been pitching in the major leagues last year when we were desperately seeking anyone who could effectively get outs.

"It's not as if Mitre was horrible."

He had a 5.37 ERA. That's horrible. List off any starters with an ERA of 5.40 or more that you want starting for us... short list...

"you can't continue to hold him back, or any of our other young pitchers for that matter."

Until they have major league stuff, they shouldn't be on the major league roster. This is not a training ground. And our coaching staff is particularly poor at teaching while guys are here.

"Milwood- Burnett"

got 4 years, 80mm will get you the two of them... I don't think that's in the cards unless we plan on going Cedeno, Murton, Pie, Greenberg as the starters at SS and OF next year.

"(4-5M tops imo) but I think he'll be asking for quite a bit more than he's worth--and will probably get it."

He will get what the market says he is worth...and that will be much more than 4-5mm, probably closer to 10 than to 5.

geez, x... first, relax.

2nd, gb/fb ratio isn't irrelevant, groundball pitchers obviously as a whole give up a lot less home runs than flyball pitchers, though the defense of the infield makes them more susceptable to errors.

3rd, I'm not arguing that Mitre deserves a spot in the rotation, but I do think he's got some good qualities and deserves a spot in spring training.

all i was trying to do in my post was respond to this: "he was terrible in his 7 starts also this year"

i remember being really impressed in his shutout, so i thought i'd remind you about it.

need to cut down on the caffeine, perhaps?

that should read "deserves a chance to earn a spot in spring training"...

Seven starts is a pretty small sample size for a starter. Look at the individual starts:

5/24 7.0IP, 2ER, 1BB, 5K
5/29 5.1IP, 6ER, 1BB, 1K
6/03 4.2IP, 5ER, 3BB, 0K
6/08 7.0IP, 0ER, 1BB, 6K
6/14 9.0IP, 0ER, 0BB, 3K
6/19 5.2IP, 5ER, 4BB, 2K
6/24 4.2IP, 7ER, 4BB, 2K

That's two excellent starts, one very good start, and four bad starts. I'd wager you can find a similar seven-game stretch in many MLB pitcher's game logs.

To prove the point, here's A.J. Burnett's last seven starts:

8/24 6.0IP, 2ER, 1BB, 6K
8/29 5.0IP, 5ER, 6BB, 5K
9/04 5.0IP, 5ER, 1BB, 9K
9/09 2.1IP, 5ER, 3BB, 3K
9/14 6.0IP, 3ER, 5BB, 5K
9/20 8.0IP, 1ER, 1BB, 9K
9/25 6.0IP, 4ER, 4BB, 8K

A 5.87 ERA over seven starts? Send him back to AAA!

On the Burnett/ Millwood debate even though I love Burnett's stuff I would feel more secure giving Millwood a Pavano deal with both of them and maybe even Jeff Weaver will get. Millwood is just more of a sure thing he more often than not gives you a quality start. The only bad years he has had was with PHI and that more likely than not had to do with CBP than anything else. Why in the hell did Jeter win a gold glove? Tejada is better with the glove and he had better hitting numbers. Uribe has a better glove too. Iguchi should have had one today too he is better than Hudson or Roberts with the glove and the stick. As much as I hate the Sox they got screwed with the Gold Glove voting. Rowand is better than Wells. Chavez should not have been in consideration due to his injury. Arod, Blalock,Crede all were more deserving. FWIW here will be the NL Gold Glove winners:

C: Aumas
1b: Dlee
2b: Grudz
ss: Furcal
3b: Ensberg
of: A. Jones
of: Edmounds
of: Abreu
p: Pettitte

Furcal report, agent is leaking teams, this rarely makes the teams happy:

http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/brav...
--
To sum up Mets and Cubs both called (confirmed by agent).

Rollins's contract is the barometer (avg salary 8.75 mil for 4 years w/ 5th year option)

All things being equal (in other words $$$), Braves are his top choice.

Of course in the article it has this line:

"Also in Furcal's favor: The free-agent crop is thin among position players ó Furcal, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Boston center fielder Matt Damon top the list."

So whoever wrote it has one helluva a sense of humor or is just clueless.

Something to ponder if DLee wins the Gold Glove tomorrow.

Has anyone ever one both the Silver Slugger, and a Gold Glove, and then see someone else who plays the same position win the MVP?

Just seems funny to think that DLee could be the best offensive and defensive 1st baseman in the NL, but fellow 1st baseman Pujols will likely be the Most Valuable Player in the NL.

Interesting point Blue. If DLee wins both and Pujols wins MVP that's an open admission of the value of playing for a winner to the MVP race.

i also remember that mitre game. i followed every pitch on that mlb.com gameday thingy. i can remember saying we needed to bring him up again and give him a shot cuz hes ready. not cuz i studied the damn minor league stats or yadda yadda, i just had a feeling on him.

so they brought him up. and i said YES! here we go. i was even thinking up nicknames for him. but he definitely doesnt wow anybody in his first 3 outings, and im thinking, "oh shit." but then on june 8th we win 2-0 on 7 innings of 2-hit ball, and then on the 14th he throws the shutout, and im fucking pumped. "i knew it! i told you!" i said to my buddies who doubted and believed more in koronka.

...and then it all went to shit. and he gave up so much ass they banished him to the bullpen where half his appearances he gave up more ass and i only seemed to be catching games where he looked terrible.

so now i dont trust the guy anymore and as usual i have no point, other than that i at one point was pumped on him, but that mojo seemed to go somewhere after that shutout.

C'mon guys, you seem to be forgetting that Pujols was just ranked the best player in baseball according to MLBs Elias system.

2nd, gb/fb ratio isn't irrelevant, groundball pitchers obviously as a whole give up a lot less home runs than flyball pitchers, though the defense of the infield makes them more susceptable to errors.

That is all fine and dandy but is completly meaningless when applied to Mitre.

He may be a ground ball pitcher but he also gives up the HR ball alot. There is a reason his nickname is the "Meat Tray." He can serve up a HR ball just as well as everyone's favorite pitcher to hit a HR off of Eric Milton.

11 HR's in 60 IP is about 38 HR's in 210 IP. Factor in his poor K/BB rate and your looking at a recipe for disaster.

Grounball pitchers "should" be able to keep it in the park because that is entirely what their pitching success is based on. A guy gets a single, the next hitter hits into a double play. But when the ball is hit for a HR it doesn't matter how awesome your defense is.

Not saying Mitre can't be good down the line, but he hasn't shown any ability to stop giving up the big hits. He can cruise with the best of them for 3-4 innings and then like clock work he just falls to pieces on the mound. Whether this is hitters adjusting to him during a game because he keeps throwing the same stuff in the same spots or just simply falls apart mentally, can't really be explained.

Mitre had most of his success early in the season. After that not so good. That tells me the league figured him out and Mitre failed to adjust. He is a possible starter if 2-3 guys go down before him. He doesn't deserve a shot over Williams or Rusch. I like to get the rookies some time but Rusch and Williams will probably do a better job.

Arg better catch those times you mis-speak or people will jump down your throat with, "Mitre wasn't a rookie, thus your entire point is invalid! Hahaha"

Anyways, rookie should be replaced with younger players. I was thinking of Murton, Cedeno, and Dubois while speaking of Mitre.

The list of AL Gold Glovers (in parenthesis is their DEFENSIVE win shares and rank, and who finished 1st)

AL Gold Glovers
----
C Jason Varitek (WS 4.9 10th - Joe Mauer 9.2)
1B Mark Teixeira (WS 3.3 1st)
2b Orlando Hudson (WS 7.9 1st)
SS Derek Jeter (WS 6.0 6th - Juan Uribe 9.3)
3B Eric Chavez (WS 5.2 2nd - Chone Figgins 5.5)
OF Vernon Wells (WS 6.7 2nd), Ichiro Suzuki (4.3 9th), Torii Hunter(WS 3.8 16th) - (Aaron Rowand 7.6, Wells, Grady Sizemore 6.4)

P Kenny Rogers (no calculation for pitcher defensive win shares)
--

Still think they should give a GG to each OF position...

Rob...do you if figgin's winshares are solely at third base? If so, that is even more impressive.

I thought so at first, but apparently not. He's not listed at second or outfield, so that must be his cumulative. Hardball Times needs to fix that....

His breakdown
2b - 42 G
3b - 56 G
SS - 4 G
LF - 15 G
CF - 50 G
RF - 8 G

So they must just list a guy at whatever position he played most at. So Chavez did deserve it by WS standards, Crede was 2nd

figgins isn't a very good defensive 3b anyway, great range but he short arms his throws too much. His best position is center in my opinion, followed by 2nd.

"To prove the point, here's A.J. Burnett's last seven starts:"

So you can select AJ's bad block, and compare it to Mitre's entire season? Nice job! Selective use of statistics is pretty nifty.

Mitre was not prepared to be a starter in the majors last year. That's why he was demoted after 7 starts, and when he was brought back he didn't get a chance to start over Hill, Williams, Rusch, etc.

So you can select AJ's bad block, and compare it to Mitre's entire season? Nice job! Selective use of statistics is pretty nifty.

I think that was his point, using 7 games as the barometer is pretty silly.

Mitre has the stuff to be a pretty good #3 or 4 pitcher in the bigs, someone just needs to give him the chance. The Cubs probably aren't that team. Put him on a team with a good defense and he could very well be the next Jon Garland. He relies A LOT on his defense, but he generally keeps the ball in the park. (well, until last year in the bigs)

His HR/9 rates:
2002: 0.37 (Lansing)
2003: 0.37 (AA)
2003: 1.04 (Cubs)
2004: 0.79 (AAA)
2004: 1.05 (Cubs)
2005: 0.64 (AAA)
2005: 1.64 (Cubs)

Before you jump on the, "this is the bigs" argument, he pitched nearly the same amount of major league innings in 2004 and kept a rather nice HR/9 rate.

Although the ERA's were simialr last year as a starter or a reliever, his Home run totals were way off:

4 HR/43.1 IP as a starter (.84 HR/9)
7 HR/17.0 IP as a reliever (3.7 HR/9)

Many sinkerballers, which is what Mitre is, claim their sinker is better, the more tired they are and the longer they go in a game. Maybe this is where his problem lied, that he was too fresh coming in as a reliever and his out pitch wasn't as effective.

He showed an ability, albeit brief, to dominate major league hitters. I think he's young enough, and has enough of a minor league track record to be given an opportunity somewhere. Most likely not the Cubs, but I'm guessing Hendry is finely willing to deal him this season and he'll probably get his chance.

Rob nailed it. You can't whine about selective use of statistics, and then turn around and blast Mitre based only on his ERA during a seven game stretch.

"I think that was his point, using 7 games as the barometer is pretty silly."

Selecting 7 out of Burnett's 32 is silly. Using 7 out of 7 for Mitre is, in fact, not. Selecting 7 bad starts from a guy with a 3.40/1.27/.237 is silly. Taking 7 starts (all of the starts he made) that are exactly on par with Mitre's season numbers (5.37/1.41/.261) is not. Selecting one year for AJ from a career that has spanned 7 years, and selecting 7 unrepresentative starts from 131 total starts is silly. Using the 7 starts of Mitre this year that are, in fact, significantly better than his career average (6.12/1.62/.300)is not.

I can't believe this is even a discussion. 7 pretty good starts from Mitre's so far ineffective career vs the 7 worst consecutive starts of AJ Burnett's career? That's ricockulous.

"Rob nailed it. You can't whine about selective use of statistics, and then turn around and blast Mitre based only on his ERA during a seven game stretch."

Want to discuss the entirety of his major league career? We can do that. I was giving Moustache-Boy the benefit of the doubt by only discussing his 7 starts last year. Want to talk about his 9 starts in 2004? They were MUCH worse than his 7 starts in 2005. I'll take a pass on his 2 starts in 2003, although they were even worse.

Mitre is not ready to pitch every 5th day on a playoff contending team. If we intend on competing, there is no room for him.

I don't have a problem with Mitre - unless the Cubs intend on competing next year.

Garland, if you exclude his first season in the bigs, never had a year with an ERA over 4.89. He had 3.69, 4.58, 4.51, 4.89 up until last year. If Mitre could do that, he'd be fine - but nothing we have seen of him over any stretch that he was here, 2005 or 2004 indicates that.

Look at Mitre's MLB body of work... Really guys...

"You can't whine "

Oh, and by the way, nobody is "whining".

what's the link on those gold gloves? Or is it just speculation???

From what I've seen of Mitre I do not want him in the rotation next year unless the plan is to throw away 2006 and get experience for these guys to see what value they have.

The Cubs have to be competitive now.

This Mitre discussion is a waste of time.

I would say that Mitre does have a chance of being a solid major league starter in the future, probably nothing better than a back of the rotation guy though.

With that being said, I don't think a team with aspirations of contending for a championship can afford to give a guy like Mitre a shot based on potential, not recent performance.

Just like I would be a bit skeptical of handing Rich Hill a spot in the rotation, I also wouldn't feel too good about giving Mitre a shot of landing in the rotation.

Contending teams don't just hand over rotation spots... you have to earn them, something Mitre has not done. Starting him in the minors until he can show some consistency or using him as trade bait makes sense.

Advocating him for a spot in the 2006 Cubs rotation doesn't.

"From what I've seen of Mitre I do not want him in the rotation next year unless the plan is to throw away 2006 and get experience for these guys to see what value they have."

and

"Contending teams don't just hand over rotation spots... you have to earn them, something Mitre has not done. "

I agree 100% with Jacos and The Dude. Unless the plan is to toss 2006, there is no way we can go into the season having a serious discussion about Sergio Mitre in the rotation. (unless that is the barbershop chair rotation - shave this dude's stache - it is sick.)

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...

AL GG winners

NL winners should be announced today and I hear Barrett and Ramirez have a good shot. I mean if Jason Varitek is going to win one for his bat, those 2 might as well be in contention.

My NL GG picks:

C - Barrett
1B - Derek Lee
2b - Todd Walker
SS - Nomar
3b - A-Ram
OF - Dubois
OF - Dunn
OF - Murton

Okay...Derek Lee just got it for his bat...

Dang our defense was bad...

Using 7 out of 7 for Mitre is, in fact, not.

Really, that's a fact, huh? Seems more like an opinion to me. An opinion that his minor league #'s and scouting reports mean jack s****, and that all we should do is look at how he's done in the majors so far and particularly last year.. An opinion which I do not agree with it (nor others). A fact is irrefutable, everything else on here is opinion.

I can't believe this is even a discussion. 7 pretty good starts from Mitre's so far ineffective career vs the 7 worst consecutive starts of AJ Burnett's career?

Once again, no one is really comparing Burnett to Mitre, once again, just pointing out the fallacy of basing anything off of 7 major league starts. Hey, Juan Cruz was pretty damn awesome in his first 7 starts!!!

Garland, if you exclude his first season in the bigs...
Garland's 2000 season he made 13 starts, so can we exclude Mitre's first 13 starts as well? this is fun.... What else can we start excluding to make our points?

In the end, I don't disagree at all with your conclusion about MItre, just your method of getting there.

I might up-chuck my cheerio's if Barrett wins a gold glove.

Worst defensive catcher in the NL wins a GG? Might as well just stop giving out the award.

that was a joke about barrett, hope you realize that. He's not winning any gold gloves.

This should stir some debate:
Defensive Win Shares for NL Catchers:

1. Matheny (11.1)
2. Ausmus (10.4)
3. Y. Molina (7.6)
4. B. Schneider (7.4)
5. J. Estrada (5.7)
6. M. Barrett (5.5)
7. D. Miller (5.4)
8. C. Snyder (5.1)
9. J. LaRue (4.4)
10. M. Lieberthal (4.0)
11. P. LoDuca (3.8)
12. H. Blanco (3.6)
13. G. Bennett (3.4)
14. M. Piazza (3.3)
....
24. R. Hernandez (1.8)

http://www.baseballgraphs.com/details.html#sh...
(explanation of win shares)

Speaking of Barrett, I didn't see the failed rundown vs. Philly in cubs.com's Play of the Year. What play in this bunch could possibly be called a play of the year?

THE CANDIDATES
Patterson's catch - 4/19 at CIN
Patterson's walk-off homer - 4/27 vs. CIN
Perez's running catch - 5/31 at LAD
Hollandsworth's grab - 6/25 at CWS
Perez's grand slam - 7/24 at STL
Maddux's 3,000th strikeout - 7/26 vs. SF
Maddux's defense - 9/22 at MIL

from rotoworld.com
---
Sources have told Deadspin.com that Matt Lawton has tested positive for steroids.

So, this is the notable AL outfielder who has tested positive? According to the report, Lawton is currently appealing the suspension, which is why there has been no announcement from MLB.
----

Well at least we got something for him....

X,

I don't think Mitre should be starting '06 in the Cubs rotation either. I was simply responding to the fact that you blasted Mitre based on a single seven-game stretch of starts (of which, only four can be considered "bad").

ESPN off season power rankings have the Cubs at #22. 22?

ESPN knows there's more than 3 teams playing baseball? nyy/nym/bos...

wow...go ESPN.

"In the end, I don't disagree at all with your conclusion about MItre, just your method of getting there."

My method of getting there is twofold. One, the results of his performance - which can be assesed only as bad. The second is from my observation of him pitching. And my observation is that he is very hittable.

FACT - He's not Burnett. FACT - He's not Garland. FACT - He's not good. OPINION - He needs to be somewhere other than our starting rotation next year.

i wouldnt worry about mitre being in the rotation anyway...

z/prior/wood/maddux...
rusch/j.williams...mitre/r.hill...

if mitre is there someone's injured. unless some trades go down he fits in somewhere around 7th in the "depth" of starters...

assuming wood *might* miss a month or so out of the rotation and j.williams (or other) is traded (or sucks hard in spring)...that's about the only way he's got a legit shot to start it seems.

let me just fix a couple of things and I think we'll be okay here..
---
"In the end, I don't disagree at all with your conclusion about MItre, just your method of getting there."

My method of getting there is twofold. One, the results of his [major league] performance - which can be assesed only as bad. The second is from my observation of him pitching. And my observation is that he is very hittable.

FACT - He's not Burnett. FACT - He's not Garland. OPINION - He's not good. OPINION - He needs to be somewhere other than our starting rotation next year.
---

Pardon my snarkiness, but one of my pet peeves around here is folks trying to pass off their opinions as if they're the lone voice of reason and truth. Ultimately, it's where a lot of the bad vibes come around here and I think it's completely avoidable. Most of what we say around here is opinion, just our point of view, and the heavy-handed way in which folks go about trying to pass off those opinions tends to get under people's skins. Saying so-and-so sucks or is the worst defender or the best hitter or whatever is just an opinion, someone else will almost always have another take on it and sure, it may be an educated opinion but there's very little around here that is written that can be considered irrefutable. Put 10 Cubs fans in a room, you'll get 10 different opinions on how to run the team. Yours may or may not be the best way.

My weekly/monthly rant on how to make the comments more enjoyable.

If we don't plan on scrapping 06 and letting the youth play WE NEED ANOTHER DAMN STARTER! HOw could everyone not realize that? If we want to go to the playoffs we need an innings eater that can have quality starts. This hoping Hill, mItre, Williams will all be great starters is nonsense. I have a novel idea. Let's spend some damn money on starting pitching and then trade some of these "Prospects" that only the die hard cub fans think are any good anyway.

"If we don't plan on scrapping 06 and letting the youth play WE NEED ANOTHER DAMN STARTER! HOw could everyone not realize that?"

1-zambrano
2-prior
3-maddux

the amount of clubs who even have a 1-3 like that are very few.

4-wood
5-rusch/j.williams

wow...

even if its just rusch/j.williams working the 4/5 for some reason...hey, that's not a bad way to close it out. assuming wood is coming back to start, though...wow.

that leaves mitre/hill as guys who can also start that the club controls and guzman nipping at their heels.

that's 9 starters already. i agree that some of this young pitching needs to be traded, but im looking at wellemeyer/leicester/koronka before im thinking about any of the other 9.

honestly, though...j.williams seems like just the prime trade bait to get the team a RF'r or other high-end need. that's pure speculation, but with rusch sticking around 2 years now it seems like one of the big guys is on his way out.

Rob, using your logic, just so I understand,

Opinion - John Wayne Gacy = SCUMBAG

Sorry - that's a fact.

One of the definitions of the word FACT, (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=fact) is "Something believed to be true or real"

One of the greatest tragedy of the new revolution in baseball is the feeling that if you can not quantify something, then you can not say it is true and be sure to be correct. I can tell you, with no doubt in my mind, that it is a fact that Sergio Mitre should not be a MLB Contending Team's starter. Is it possible I am wrong? SURE - but that doesn't make it any less a fact, per the legitimate dictionary definition of the word FACT.

The morons who have delivered the Sabermetric revolution to us have bullied people into believing that if you don't have numbers to support it, it is not a fact. They have fooled many into believing that your eyes deceive you, that old school scouts don't understand, and that the only true mesure/indicator is a statistic. That is not true.

"Saying so-and-so sucks or is the worst defender or the best hitter or whatever is just an opinion"

I'll agree that saying that someone is the worst or the best is more opinion than anything. But saying that Manny Ramirez sucks in the OF - that's a stone cold statement of fact. Same with Mitre not being an MLB calibre starter. Don't believe the morons at BP. Their bombastic pontificating about numbers lacks a true understanding of statistics and how to use them.

"1-zambrano
2-prior
3-maddux
4-wood
5-rusch/j.williams"

Is that 900 innings? History tells me no. Teams that make the playoffs usually get 900-1000 innings for their starting 5. Sure - the Yanks are an exception. But if you have 35mm tied into 5 starters, and can't get close to 1000 innings from them, your are in trouble. Teams drool at the thought of Mitre, Hill, Guzman, Rusch and Williams.

Now if suddenly Prior and Wood could both get healthy, that would change the dynamic completely. But I see no evidence that they will suddenly get a case of health.

when you bring serial killers into the argument, it becomes fact that you should chill out and have a beer.

Rob, excellent post.

"VORP"

WORTHLESS

Mr. X, please share with the class your research that has finally debunked the myth of VORP. While youíre at it, please let us all know what statistics are ok with you for analysis so we can talk apples to apples. Is it simply the statistics you can understand/digest or is your mind open enough to consider there might be people out there that have done years of research to validate their work and might be on to something? Is any new statistic science uncovers WORTHLESS because it might make an older one look inadequate? Is the world still flat?

One of the greatest tragedy of the new revolution in baseball is the feeling that if you can not quantify something, then you can not say it is true and be sure to be correct.

Mr. X, if youíre still referring to this silly argument about Mitre making the Cubís rotation next year, then no, nobody on this planet can say with certainty that Mitre will never be good enough to make a major league rotation for a contending team. Not you, not me. Not statheads, not scouts. Not Hendy, not Baker. Using statistics to back up your argument (no matter which side youíre on) only makes your argument more sound. For instance, if you told us Burnitz was a better home run hitter last year than Lee just because you think so, and someone challenged you with a stat (total home runs for 2005 in this case) proving Lee was a better home run hitter, would you still think you were right just because it was your opinion? What stats donít do is prove anything about the future being certain, and nor does your opinion.

I can tell you, with no doubt in my mind, that it is a fact that Sergio Mitre should not be a MLB Contending Team's starter. Is it possible I am wrong? SURE - but that doesn't make it any less a fact

So while weíre on the topic of your opinion Mr. X, maybe you could share with us your qualifications as a talent evaluator of professional baseball players. Are you a scout? Did you play professional baseball? Perhaps youíve got access to the MLB scouting bureau reports that the rest of us canít seem to get our hands on. From your posts it seems clear you believe ìold school scoutsî donít like Mitre as a starter. How do you know that? I wonder why Mitre has been a trade target of other teams for several years now when they come calling on Hendry? Probably nothing to do with his mid-nineties sinking fastballÖor his excellent curveball. Donít believe me? Iíll back it up with one of those pesky facts you seem to disdain. This quote is from Baseball America. If you donít know them, theyíre considered the top scouting publication in the US. Hereís their quote: ìBecause of that overabundance of pitchers, Mitre is likely headed to Triple-A Iowa to start the season. Last year, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder went 7-9, 3.34 for Double-A West Tenn. The California native struck out 128 batters and walked 41 in 146 inningsÖHis fastball ranges from 86-94 mph, and he sets it up with a solid curve and changeup.î Last I checked, 23 year old pitchers that have a 3:1 K/BB ratio in AA and can throw mid-nineties heat donít grow on trees. If Mitre could harness his control at the major league level thereís still plenty of time for him to be a quality starter. Heíll only be 25 in February so donít count him out just yet.

The morons who have delivered the Sabermetric revolution to us have bullied people into believing that if you don't have numbers to support it, it is not a fact. They have fooled many into believing that your eyes deceive you, that old school scouts don't understand, and that the only true mesure/indicator is a statistic. That is not trueÖDon't believe the morons at BP. Their bombastic pontificating about numbers lacks a true understanding of statistics and how to use them.

Wow, that sounds a lot like fear Mr. X. Are you afraid you might be wrong? There must be some reason you feel you need to lash out at anyone who tries to take a more scientific approach to evaluating baseball. Have you been bullied by those hooded nasties from Baseball Prospectus?  If you spent a little time reading BP and some of the work from other fantastic organizations doing groundbreaking research on baseball, you might realize they respect ìold school scoutsî very much. Hell, you might even like reading their work when you realize theyíre just as passionate about the game as you are. After all, only a quality scout can watch a 17 year old play baseball and identify the characteristics about that boy that might make him a major leaguer. His stats from high school arenít going to significantly tell us much about his odds of becoming successful. There is room for both disciplines here Mr. X, one is not better than the other. They both make hits and misses on players, but the wisest front office personal in the game with listen to both sides before rendering a decision.

Look, everyone that comes to TCR has a valued opinion and yours might be right about Mitre. But donít ignorantly slam people who disagree with you because you think youíre more of an authority than quality research you havenít taken the time to read or opened your mind to.

Is that 900 innings? History tells me no. Teams that make the playoffs usually get 900-1000 innings for their starting 5. Sure - the Yanks are an exception.

Now this is just wrong to post without thinking. We can look just as recently as the 2005 season and see that only 3 of the 8 teams that made the playoffs had their starting five throw 900 innings in total. The better question is, how does the number of innings pitched by the top 5 starters a team goes into a season with have any correlation to their odds of making the playoffs?

Now if suddenly Prior and Wood could both get healthy, that would change the dynamic completely. But I see no evidence that they will suddenly get a case of health.

Really Mr. X? Perhaps you could share your qualifications with the group as an evaluator of an athleteís health. I assume youíve poured over Wood and Priorís MRIîs and meticulously evaluated their extensive medical records then? Do you have evidence they will not be healthy next year or is that another opinion youíve construed to be fact?

For all of your ranting about how the Cubís pitching is in such bad shape, Iíve yet to see a reasoned post that outlines your plan for dramatically improving this situation. What free agent pitchers should be brought into Chicago? Why are their odds better than many of the pitchers already under contract? Who will you let go to make room for these new pitchers? How will you afford to pay these pitchers? If you have a realistic solution weíd all love to hear it.

I knew the text definition was on it's way....

""Something believed to be true or real"

So let me get this straight, one person believes that something is true and it becomes fact for everyone else. Eww, I want to play, watch this.

It's a fact that Dusty Baker is the wrong manager for the Chicago Cubs.

Now that I've claimed it to be fact, I have the right to be apalled whenever someone disagrees with me. It's a fact dude, live with it.

The morons who have delivered the Sabermetric revolution to us have bullied people into believing that if you don't have numbers to support it, it is not a fact.

I find that statement either highly amusing or ridiculously contradicting considering at least half of your argument about Sergio Mitre is based on 7 major league starts.

I grow tired of dissecting the word fact, as Crunch eluded too, Mitre is 7th, maybe 8th(Hill) or 9th(Guzman) on the starting pitcher depth chart at this point with the Cubs. Once a team gives him 33 starts for a year, I'd be pretty shocked if he didn't put up at least league average #'s, skewed one way or the other dependant on the quality of defense behind him.

Peace :)

I grow tired of dissecting the word.

Rob, I think what you meant to say is:

Your dissecting has grown tiresome. Would you like to touch my monkey? Touch him! Love him! Liebe meine abschmenkee!

Just in case X didn't understand.

Now let us do the trout dance.

I had Furcal pegged as a future Cub back in Jan when the Braves pissed him off by extneding Huddy's contract before Furcal's. Now the media is into it, and I'm worried they'll jinx it. Great range, great arm, leads off, speed. He's what the Cubs need. I'd go up to 4yrs/$35M.

Then think about picking up Dunn, Jearns, Juan Pierre or Tori Hunter via trade ( their teams are all looking to shed payroll). Then look for a defensive second baseman. Orlando Hudson or Castillo come to mind. If not, keep Nomar around and slide him over to second, or left.

Jim Hendry has $30M to play with. He'll Git R Dun.

"I grow tired of dissecting the word fact, as Crunch eluded too, Mitre is 7th, maybe 8th(Hill) or 9th(Guzman) on the starting pitcher depth chart at this point with the Cubs."

Either way - 7, 8 or 9 are not ready to play for a contender. It all depends on what we want to be in 2006.

Here is how I think the Cubs starting pitching rotation looks going into the off-season cum Spring Training 2006:

1. Carlos Zambrano
COMMENT: Stud. On the vege of winning a Cy Young Award. Nuff said.

2. Mark Prior
COMMENT: Needs to come to camp in better shape, so he is 100% at the start of the season. If he does that, he is a second #1 stud starter.

3. Greg Maddux
COMMENT: In the twilight of his career, he has not had the positive affect on the young Cubs starters as I had hoped he would (not his fault, though). But at least he makes all of his starts, and once he gets going, he pitches well enough to hold a spot in the rotation, although he is NOT worth $9 mil.

4. Kerry Wood
COMMENT: If he can come back somewhere near to where he was in 2003, that would be fine. He is too much "Kerry Wood" to ever be anything else, so it's best to just accept him the way he is and figure that the Cubs will buy him out after the 2006 season for $3 mil and we will watch him reach his potential later this decade with the Rangers, D'backs, Yankees, or Red Sox.

5. Glendon Rusch
COMMENT: He gives up too many hits and allows too many baserunners to be an effective and reliable relief pitcher, but he isn't any worse than any of the other free-agent lefty starters, so if Hendry and Dusty want a lefty starter mixed into the rotation, then Rusch is OK until someone better comes along.

6. Jerome Williams
COMMENT: Likely to be used as a trading chip to help bring a right-fielder to the Cubs this off-season. Although I still think Hendry will pursue FA Jacque Jones, Hendry would save more payroll for other needs by trading J. Williams and one or two other pitching prospects (TBD) for somebody like Austin Kearns or Jay Gibbons. Also, J. Williams has one minor league option left, so he could be sent to Iowa to start the 2006 season, or he could be used out of the bullpen as a middle reliever if he is not traded and if he is not needed as a starter.

7. Angel Guzman
COMMENT: From what I have seen of Guzman in the AFL, he is healthy, he is throwing a 95-97 MPH 4-seamer, a 92-93 MPH two-seamer, a knee-bending curve, ans an effective straight-change, and (with the exception of one outing) he is throwing strikes. I would have no problem starting him out at Iowa, but if he stays healthy and if he throws in the PCL like he is throwing in the AFL right now, then I can't see how the Cubs can keep him in the minors for very long. With four pitches he can throw for strikes, he is a strong candidate to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, but he could be used out of the bullpen for a while.

8. Sergio Mitre
COMMENT: Could be a #5 starter with a half-dozen major league teams right now. Because he is out of minor league options, he either has to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster coming out of Spring Training or else the Cubs will need to trade him. He certainly won't clear waivers. Since he doesn't have the type of stuff that lends itself to success pitching out of the bullpen (like Rusch, he gives up too many hits and allows too many baserunners to be an effective reliever, plus he needs to start because that's how he gets the fatigue he needs to make his sinker work, and also he doesn't have a "strikeout pitch"), so either he stsrts in Chicago or someplace else. I figure Williams + Mitre would be a possible combo-package used to acquire Kearns or Gibbons.

9. John Koronka
COMMENT: Poor man's Jamie Moyer/Glendon Rusch, he is throwing great out here in the AFL as a CLOSER (for cribes sake!). I can see him possibly being LOOGY 2 on Cubs '06, but if anything happens to Rusch and Dusty HAS TO HAVE a lefty to replace him in the rotation, I believe Koronka would get the call over Rich Hill.

10. Rich Hill
COMMENT: I guess Hill could be a LOOGY for the Cubs, but he probably has mote value right now as a trading chip because there still is some belief that he could be an effective Barry Zito-type lefty starter in the big leagues. Could be part of a deal (with J. Williams and/or Mitre) to acquire a CF (bridge to Pie), RF, or proven major league set-up type reliever.

11. Todd Wellemeyer
COMMENT: Out of minor league options and with pitching mechanics that make Karry Wood look like Greg Maddux, I believe Wellemeyer is the 2nd-most likely Cub to get traded this off-season (Corey Patterson is #1). The Colorado Rockies supposedly wanted Wellemeyer and Ronny Cedeno for Preston Wilson last season, so maybe Wellemeyer will get traded to Colorado. for somebody like super-sub utility guy Luis A. Gonzalez. I would be VERY surprised if Todd Wellemeyer turns up in Spring Training with the Cubs in 2006.

12. Jon Leicester
COMMENT: Of the three Cubs pitchers out of minor league options (Mitre and Wellemeyer are the other two), I believe Leicester has the best chance to make the Cubs Opening Day roster. But as a reliever, not a a starter. He had a half-year of success in the major leagues in 2004, so he has proved that he can pitch at the highest level, and would be a better fit than either Mitre or Wellemeyer in the Cubs bullpen in 2006, although he still would have to win a job in Spring Trsining

13. Bobby Brownlie
COMMENT: Pitched very well when he was moved to the bullpen at Iowa in mid-season 2005, so I believe that's where his future lies. I see him as a major league middle-reliever. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing wrong with that, though.

14. Ricky Nolasco
COMMENT: Needs to start 2006 at Iowa and get a solid year of AAA success under his belt. If he can throw at Iowa in 2006 like he did at West Tenn in 2007, he could be a starting pitcher candidate in 2007.

15. Renyel Pinto
COMMENT> Same thing as with Nolasco, but Pinto will be out of options after next season, so he is under more pressure than Nolasco to prove himself in AAA in 2006. He needs to improve his command, trust his stuff, and THROW STRIKES.

16. Jae-kuk Ryu
COMMENT: Needs another year free of injuries or assaults on game & fish.

17. Sean Marshall
COMMENT: Needs to stay healthy for one full season so we can see just how good he really is.

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION AT IOWA 2006 (AS THINGS STAND NOW):
1. Guzman
2. Hill
3. Nolasco
4. Pinto
5. Ryu

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION AT WEST TENN 2006 (AS THINGS STAND NOW):
1. Marshall
2. Marmol
3. Mateo
4. Wells
5. Mathes

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION AT DAYTONA 2006 (AS THINGS STAND NOW):
1. Gallagher
2. Johnson
3. Billek
4. Petrick
5. Shaver

LIKELY STARTING ROTATION AT PEORIA 2006 (AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW):
1. Pawelek
2. Veal
3. Yepez
4. Downs
5. Estrada

And after my morning hit of peyote, I'm going to go WAY out on a limb and try to see past the near-future and project the Cubs 2007 starting rotation:

1. Zambrano
2. Prior
3. Wood or FREE-AGENT (TBD)
4. Guzman
5. Rusch

OTHERS IN MIX:
6. Nolasco
7. Pinto (out of options in 2007)
8. Ryu
9. Marshall
10. Marmol

I can't be more sprecific right now, but that's the way it's headed.

"16. Jae-kuk Ryu
COMMENT: Needs another year free of injuries or assaults on game & fish."

Hee hee

Excellent summary Arizona Phil, thanks! Man that's a hell of a rotation at AAA. Those boys could rack up some strikeouts.

Curiously missing is Chadd Blasko. Anybody now how he's coming along after tearing the labrum? He didn't pitch at all last year.

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