Eye on the Enemy

This is about the time where everyone and anyone's name will fly around in a trade rumor. Last year I heard something about Eric Gagne for Kerry Wood, I mean seriously. Here's some fun gossip from benmaller.com (notorious rumor monger) and a few other newspapers joining in the fun: Cards: "The Cardinals are among those teams interested in the availability of Los Angeles Angels outfielders Steve Finley and Darin Erstad in addition to the Cincinnati Reds' Austin Kearns and Adam Dunn. Accompanied at the meetings by assistant GM John Mozeliak and vice president for player personnel Jerry Walker, Jocketty also confirmed the club's interest in free agents Brian Giles and Jacque Jones." "Likely landing spots Brian Giles: 1. Cardinals (three years, $27 million overcomes the West Coast disadvantage for Larry Walker's replacement). 2. Dodgers. 3. Cubs (but if his heart is into returning to his original organization, the Indians would love to do a two-year deal)." Astros: "Kevin Millar, who attended both World Series games in Houston two weeks ago, is expected to have to take a pay cut from his 2005 salary of $3.5 million. Several teams, including the Astros, Orioles, Twins, Dodgers and Angels, are said to have interest." "Out of Arlington, some have speculated that veteran lefthander Kenny Rogers will bring his assault to Houston." "If Clemens, 43, decides to retire, the Astros might be in the market for another starter." "A realistic goal for the Astros would be somebody like Florida Marlins outfielder Juan Encarnacion or San Diego Padres catcher Ramon Hernandez [if Brad Ausmus leaves via free agency]." Cubs: "Likely landing spots for Nomar Garciaparra: 1. Dodgers (a return to his native SoCal where he could be valuable at third, short - while Cesar Izturis recovers from Tommy John surgery - or left). 2. Cubs (to play left field). 3. Mariners (to play left)." "I know that the Cubs have picked up the $2.5 million option on Todd Walker for 2006, but I hear that the Indians still like him and might try to work a deal for him. Walker batted .305 with 12 homers and 40 RBI. They see him as able to play first, second and third bases. The idea is to get a good, veteran hitter in reserve, especially if one of the starting infielders is injured. The Indians have tried to trade for him in the past." "Likely landing spots for Rafael Furcal: 1. Cubs (four years, $36 million). 2. Braves. 3. Mets (but the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros might jump in, as well)." "Likely landing spots for Johnny Damon: 1. Red Sox (his heart wins, four years, $42.5 million). 2. Cubs (if they don't get Rafael Furcal to lead off). 3. Dodgers (certain people are born for Hollywood)." "Florida might turn to a cheap stopgap shortstop for 2006 (a free agent such as Royce Clayton or Neifi Perez) if they're not comfortable assuming Robert Andino will win the job. Andino, who could use a year at Triple A, was hitting .241 in the Arizona Fall League, where the Marlins' best position player has been highly-skilled Double A OF Reggie Abercrombie (.310). Free agent SS Nomar Garciaparra would be another one-year option. FYI: Three-time Gold Glove SS and Miami Springs resident Rey Ordonez, 34, out of baseball more than a year, wants to make a comeback and would love a chance to win a backup job with the Marlins." "[Jon]Daniels may be the youngest GM in the game and one of the least connected, but as he tackles a slew of Rangers issues ranging from potential trades (Kevin Mench's name is very popular) to free agency to filling out his front office staff, Daniels said he won't make inroads by slapping backs and telling stories. A number of teams, including Kansas City, the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh, have all inquired about Mench, who recently switched agents. He is now represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council, which also represents Michael Young, Rod Barajas and Gary Matthews. "He's one of a number of our players who are attractive to other teams," Daniels said. "We are by no means looking to trade Kevin or any of our players." "LHP B.J. Ryan: Rare left-handed closer. Cubs interested. Yankees want him to set up Rivera." Reds: "The Reds are almost certain to move an outfielder among Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena (Kearns is most likely to go). Brewers: Can't find much other than they re-upped GM Doug Melvin for a few years and LHP Jarrod Washburn (Wisconsin native) would probably like to pitch there. Lyle Overbay has to be available and indications are it would only be for a starting pitcher. Pirates: Deciding which over-the-hill and retread players they can target come February once everyone else has signed. I did find this little tidbit: "He [GM Dave Littlefield] would like to add power bats at two of three positions - first base, third base and right field - while also taking steps to shore up the right-handed relief pitching, including possibly finding someone who can close. Among the possibilities are Cincinnati outfielder Wily Mo Pena, Milwaukee first baseman Lyle Overbay, Tampa Bay first baseman/third baseman/outfielder Aubrey Huff and third baseman Hank Blalock and outfielder Kevin Mench of Texas." Nothing but off-the-wall rumors, but they're fun to discuss, enjoy!!!!
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Comments

I'd be shocked if Furcal got 4 yrs $36M.

as in shocked that he'd ONLY get 4/36 or shocked that he would get that much?

Rollins got 5/40 and it's expected he'd get less for signing an extension rather than going on the free market. Consider a bidding war of some kind, I'd expect Furcal to get at least that, with a possible 5th year option. Renteria got 4/40 last year (which was absurd), but Furcal, in this thin market, should get something in between those 2.

No, I'd be shocked if we got him for that low.

a cheap stopgap shortstop

What a perfect description of Neifi Perez.
I sure hope Dusty Baker read that.

He did - unfortunately he thought "We can get an all-star caliber SS like Neifi cheap! Get him now!"

I dunno what it is, but I'm really kind of indifferent towards Furcal. Maybe b/c it would definitley mean no more T.Walker. I dunno, I would rather spend our money in the outfield.

GM's and agents posturing...the calm before the trade.

Texas GM Jon Daniels indicated the team isn't looking to trade Mench, despite expected strong interest from a number of clubs according to the Dallas Morning News. "He's one of a number of our players who are attractive to other teams," Daniels said of Mench. "We are by no means looking to trade Kevin or any of our players." Mench is eligible for arbitration, and figures to get a significant boost from his $376,000 salary.

If I were Mench I'd start packin'.

ESPN's Rumor Central is reporting the Cards are most likely to land Brian Giles. The Cubs are not listed as ones in the hunt...He turned down 3 yrs at 21 Mil. I'd say he'll get 3 at 27M...

since we're tossing grist for the rumor mill...Win one for the Kipper?

RotoWire.com Staff - RotoWire.com

The Pirates are believed to be shopping Kip Wells and reliever John Grabow in a deal for a power hitter, the Beaver County Times reports. Wily Mo Pena, Lyle Overbay, Aubrey Huff, Hank Blalock and Kevin Mench have all been mentioned as possibilities. Acquiring Blalock would fill the team's greatest need -- a lefthanded power-hitting third baseman, but it would be surprising to see the Rangers make the deal for just Wells and Grabow.

I'm predicting 4/40 for Furcal. That is solid as a rock. I say offer it early, if he doesn't take it, move on to plan b.

Mench for Jerome? I wonder if they'd take Rich Hill and Dave Aardsma? I haven't read his scouting report-can he play rightfield? I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs re-acquired Baby Sarge. He's the one yr stop gap they're looking for in center and probably wouldn't mind hanging out with his pops. He'd be a great 4th outfielder if Felix tears it up next yr in the minors...

From rotoworld.com
----

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is interested in buying his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, but ownership told him the team isn't for sale.

Even if the Pirates were up for sale, it's hard to imagine MLB welcoming Cuban with open arms. It's a shame, because he'd likely be very good for the Pirates and the game as a whole.
--

From the previous thread, AZ Phil posted this:
----

This is a summary of what Baseball America had to say about Kevin Mench in March 2002 when he was the Rangers' #9 prospect:
1. COMPARED TO PETE INCAVIGLIA WITH BETTER OUTFIELD SKILLS.

2. DEAD-PULL HITTER WITH EXCEPTIONAL POWER.

3. SLIGHTLY ABOVE-AVERAGE SPEED BUT BODY-BUILDING IN 2001 MAY HAVE CAUSED HIS HAMSTRING PROBLEMS AND PUT HIM IN DANGER OF BECOMING TOO STIFF ACROSS THE SHOULDERS.

4. HIS ARM LIMITS HIM TO PLAYING LEFT-FIELD.

5. HIS FUTURE IN TEXAS IS PROBABLY AS A DH
---
This was my reply[slightyl edited]:

So where's the power? Cause other than 2004, it's been seriously lacking in his game in an extremely friendly hitters park. And doesn't sound like he's much of a defender.

Other than SOME power, the only other redeemable part of his game that I could tell from his #'s is that he takes a lot of pitches and works the count. It doesn't seem to translate into a whole lot of walks, but I'm guessing if he ever realizes his power (and at age 27 I doubt it's coming) I assume pitchers would work around him more delicately.

And when the Pirates and Royals are the 2 other teams that have been calling about him (according to the Dallas newspaper article), shouldn't that be a sign that we should be running far away from Mench. I know both team have such an excellent track record at judging talent and all... :)

He's just another guy to plug in the lineup with an OBP below .350 AND he couldn't even get his OPS over 800 last year despite playing in Texas. We should be falling over ourselves for him. :) At least he doesn't strike out a lot which is par for course when it comes to most Hendry acquisitions. Other than the cost, I dont' see how he's any different than Burnitz.

Sounds like a hell of a bench guy, but just a mediocre starter. No more mediocrity!!! (Your new Cubs 2006 slogan)
---

The regular season for the AFL ends Thursday, but there will be a round of playoffs.

Mesa Solarsox 17 Phoenix Desert Dogs 1
(17 runs on 28 hits)

MMurton 4-4, 3R, 2RBI, all singles (2 infield singles), .341
EPat 4-6, 3R, 1 RBI, 1SB; .312
BSing 2-6, 1R, 12B; .274

I'd say Murton's ready for spring training.

David Aardsma gave up the one Phoenix run, but it scored on a double play.

"Even if the Pirates were up for sale, it's hard to imagine MLB welcoming Cuban with open arms."

This... THIS is why we have Fidel Castro today.

When will we learn?

This week they are BLOWING UP the OLD BUSCH STADIUM...Hooray!

some more hot stove stuff:

Bernie Miklasz of the StL Post-Dispatch comments on how much payroll the Redbirds have to spend this off season. This has been discussed on previous TCR threads. Also note that he says the Cards had the highest payroll in the NL Central. I guess he added the Cub numbers without counting what they were paying to Sosa, Cub payroll in 2005 was $87M excluding Sosa payout.

So if the Cards do land Brian Giles(to replace Larry Walker), I'm not sure what else Jocketty will do for Replacing Reggie Sanders, Grudz and adding a #3 starter...and what if they don't land Giles, what is plan B? They did use John Rodriguez but is he their answer for LF?
--
from Bernie Miklasz of the StL Post-Dispatch...
Moving to the new Busch and into a new radio deal will only increase the revenue and the profits. The Cardinals had a payroll of about $90 million in 2005, the sixth-highest in the majors and tops in the NL Central. DeWitt is in position to grow the payroll and spend more, but that isn't his plan.

In a recent interview, DeWitt told me the payroll will remain at 2005 levels for 2006. This is disappointing. The owners don't have to be insane in handing out irresponsible contracts, but they certainly have the resources to give general manager Walt Jocketty some extra financial freedom this offseason.

The Cardinals already have committed about $65 million in salaries to eight players for next season: Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Jason Isringhausen, Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein. If the team keeps reliever Ray King instead of trading him, the figure increases to nearly $68 million.

The combined salaries of outfielder So Taguchi, catcher Yadier Molina and several other young backups and pitchers add up to approximately $4 million more, bringing the preliminary payroll total to about $72 million. That doesn't include starting pitcher Jason Marquis, who would make around $5 million if offered salary arbitration.

If Jocketty has only $18 million available to him, how can he possibly find true impact players to fill second base and both corner outfield spots, and rebuild the bullpen? La Russa would also like another top-three starter for the rotation.

The creative Jocketty could do wonders with an extra $5 million to $10 million in payroll space for 2006. But if DeWitt holds the line, it's hard to envision the Cardinals adding the pieces they need to finally win the World Series.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

Headline: Cubs pick up options on Walker, Williamson
The Associated Press

November 7, 2005, 5:17 PM CST

Didn't this happen like two weeks ago?

Tomorrow's Cub Headline at Chicagosports.com-

Garciaparra Tears Groin, May be Out for Season

Why is everyone so negative these days??

Here's the "Down on the Farm" report about Kevin Mench after his first three years in the minor leagues. Stickels, the author, correctly predicted that Mench would be starting in the Rangers outfield.

The only problem with Mench that I've read about is his questionable durability....which makes him a REAL POSSIBILITY for the Cubs. Hendry just can't stop himself from picking up brittle ball players.
_________________________________________________
2001
....
Mench has completely dominated pro pitching. He has terrific bat speed, excellent strike zone judgment, shows power to all fields, and demonstrates no weaknesses at the plate. He hits everything hard. You might get him out on a pitch, but don't throw it again the next at-bat. He adjusts to pitch sequences very quickly and thinks along with pitchers. The combination of natural strength and an intelligent hitting approach has served him well.

Look at his numbers in the Florida State League. There are no holes ... indeed, he actually improved his strike zone judgment compared to his initial rookie ball experience. That's the mark of an outstanding hitter. Mench hit the tar out of the ball in the Arizona Fall League (more on that later in the week), and I have no doubts that he will hit at higher levels.

What about the other aspects of his game? Although Mench isn't especially quick, he is a good athlete, and is adept at reading pitchers and stealing bases. He could probably swipe 10-15 a year at the major-league level once he settles in. He is underrated as a defensive player. He led the Florida State League in fielding percentage, has a decent arm and adequate range. He'll be just fine in left field.

great he dominated Hi-A pitching 3 years ago, good for him. He's stolen 6 bases in 3+ seasons and been caught 5 times.

His career line in 1486 major league at-bats is
.272/.328/.469

all while playing half of his games in the friendliest hitters park not named Coors Field

But as it says, tough to strike out. If the plan is to plant him on the bench or be our new 4th OF, fantastic. If this is the solution for a starting left or right fieldert, I'm not a fan.

4+ years ago, I can do math. Sorry

You can certainly do worse than Mench. Mench is one of those complimentary players. Much like a David Eckstein. He will give you great value for what his salary is and he wont embarrass your franchise for having to trot out the Perez's and Hollandsworth's to get the job done.

Say we can't get Giles, say Damon to expensive, Furcal seeks more money. Maybe a deal could be swung to make Mench our new RF. We could do that or sign the more expensive Jaque Jones, or bring back the more expensive Burnitz.

This team needs to add players with good batting eyes. I wouldn't mind Murton and Mench together in the OF. It is not earth shattering compared to getting Giles but this team needs to find solid players for this lineup from top to bottom. Since 1998 atleast, this team has had 1-2 damn good hitters surround by some of the worst baseball players in MLB. Last season was no exception.

Build a fricking lineup that is tough from #1 hitter to the #8 hitter. Doesn't have to be all MVP/All-star players.

I'd rather have Kearns than Mench even though they are probably considered similar players right now. I just feel Kearns has a higher ceiling. He can also play 3B the next time Aramis tweaks his back and misses another 6 weeks. He injured his shoulder 2 years ago so I don't know if he still has the arm strength he used to but 2 years ago baseball "experts" were predicting that Kearns would contend for a batting title within a year or two and hit 35 HRs a year. That's why the Reds have been slow to deal him even though he's put up the worst numbers of their 4 OFs...well that and the fact that Jr Griffey tears his hamstring every other day. Kearns, like Corey Patterson is one of those guys who was rushed to the majors too soon and like Corey he would benefit from a new organization. I know the Reds would prefer to move Griffey and reportedly their new ownership should be going through over the next 2 weeks so maybe they'll finally address their OF situation but I'm with you Rob G, Ballpark in Arlington now has a higher HR rate than Coors so Mench's numbers are definately inflated and his OB% is very Burnitz esque. If we can't get Giles or even Kearns, I'd rather have Jacque Jones in RF than Mench...I know he'd cost more but he's also more proven...and at least we'd get a much needed lefty bat and some gold glove calibur defense.

If Hendry does trade for Mench it better not take Corey Patterson, Mitre and Novoa(as one poster is suggesting) to get it done. Corey and Mitre tops...Mench isn't worth 3 major leaguers.

A quick "guess the line":

Entity X: 273/352/462
Entity Y: 274/338/450
Entity Z: 276/339/496

X is the NL average for RFs from 2003-2005. Y and Z are the same figures for the AL and Kevin Mench respectively. As others have mentioned, the AL and NL don't get to play half their games at Coors Light.

I don't really see what makes Mench attractive relative to the money and players he'll cost. While it's good to fill out a lineup with competent players, competency is the extent of his upside. While I wouldn't mind signing him to a small-money one-year contract, that isn't an option: money *and* a useful trading chip is way too much to pay for a player of his caliber.

I don't have any better ideas; thankfully (in this case), it isn't my job to come with them. This is going to be a hard problem to solve, and it'll be a test for Hendry's creativity.

Rob, check your numbers. I think you mixed in last year's OBP and Slugging with his career BA.

Correct me if I'm wrong but...

Kevin Mench career is .272 .334 .484 (.818 OPS)

"I'd rather have Jacque Jones in RF than Mench."

.279/.327/.455- the career numbers for the soon to be 31-year old Jones.

.272/.334/ .484 for the soon to be 28 year old Mench.

Given the fact that Mench is younger and will at the very at least produce the same if not improve and being cheaper by a good margin Mench would be a better pick. Here is my RF prefernces based on avalibile options:

1. Matsui
2. Soriano
3. Kearns
4. Sanders
5. Mench
6. Monroe
7. Encarnion
8. Jones
9. Burny
10. Jenkins

Given the fact that Mench is younger and will at the very at least produce the same if not improve and being cheaper by a good margin Mench would be a better pick. Here is my RF prefernces based on avalibile options ...

What's amusing about this is that you immediately proceed to rank Soriano three places above Mench, despite the fact that they're the same hitter--if I added Soriano to the list above, he'd be 280/326/508. An 85% steal rate is nice, but $8 million is a lot to pay for Kevin Mench, even if it is the Limited Edition Racing Model.

Kevin Mench career is .272 .334 .484 (.818 OPS)

Your right, my bad, I misread between the two lines(2005 stats and career stats). Not much of a difference though really.

"Neifi is back... enough said"

Remeber he is good friends with Furcal so having him as a back-up is not bad if it helps get Furcal. Also Hendry seems adament about Cedeno playing alot this year and Baker has even said Cedeno deserves a shot at starting. Neifi will be the utilty guy where he is one of the best.

Neifi will be the utilty guy where he is one of the best.

The above could be true, BUT...
Dustbuster is going to give Neifi too many AB's, hit him 2nd too much and double switch with him way too many times.

Nuf said.

Actually I'm surprised the Neifi will be back. I think most of us were hoping he'd be gone and Ronnie Cedeno would be given the backup role Perez played last year. I'm not too happy about this as it gives Dusty a tool that he misuses/abuses to the detriment of the team. It's not Neifi's fault, (as mentioned above) he could be valuable is not overused/misused.

from the Venezuelan Winter league...

CHC R.Cedeno SS 4 1 2 0 0 0 .286 - 2B, CS

My concern with the Neifi signing is that if Hendry's fantasy of Furcal playing SS does not come true, which the Cubs track record with highly pursued FA's says will happen, is Neifi now our starting SS?

He apparently has made it clear to Nomar's agent that he does not want him back to play SS, so if we don't get Furcal that leaves Neifi and Cedeno at short.

Now given those two, there is not much doubt that Dusty will make damn sure that Neifi gets more than his fair share of at-bats.

I just hope this signing was done with the agreement that Neifi starts the season as a utilty guy, nothing more. You certainly have to be skeptical though...

'Cubs, Perez agree on 2-year contract'

What is the differene between Burntiz and Neifi? We might as well trade for Clement and sign Farnsworth- I swear Hendry is really gormless. I'm officially no longer a Hendry supporter- what the hell is wrong with him? Why would you sign Neifi when you have Cedeno? Dusty proved to Hendry again and again and again that he'll play a crappy veteran over a kid with potential. I wonder if Hendry has some sort of learning disability...

So with Walker, Perez, Cedeno, ARam...if they do sign Furcal, they might as well sign Nomar. All infielders, all the time. Kind of like a radio station that only plays Led Zeppelin. Maybe they can use one of em to play SHORT CF. Oops, wrong Chicago sport.

The all infielders team is built to be great for the double switch. So we got that going for us.

I can't believe they resigned Neifi to two years. One I can partially understand, but what would make you think you HAD to lock this guy up for two years with Cedeno in the system.

Tomorrow's headline:
Cubs lock up Macias for three years.

ADROSEN:

You're right. And the next day's headline will be that the Cubs have reacquired Lenny F. Harris and Antonio Alfonseca in a trade for Carlos Zambrano, Mark Prior and Derrick Lee.

Cub's skipper, Dusty Baker, when asked about the trade, was thrilled: "I've got all my warriors around me now. I got all the guys I need to play line-up roulette. Plus, Alfonseca has been working on a new pitch, and we can use him in a variety of situations."

Additional headline to accompany the trade:

TCR posters Chad and MannyTrillo are ecstatic.

"Whatever Dusty says and wants is OK with us. Lenny got some big hits for us before. And Alfonseca gives Dusty a lot of flexibility. We're really looking forward to seeing him in a Cub uniform again."

Jim Hendry:

'I've decided I like defense.'

Well Jim, everyone else in baseball has decided they like players who don't make outs 74% of the time.

Player Name Post..... BA....OBP..SlG.VORP
Carlos Zambrano p 84 .300 .286 .463 14.2
Neifi Perez ss 609 .274 .292 .383 12.9

How is OBP lower than BA?

I've heard talk that the Neifi signing might be an indication of trade talks between the Cubs and the Marlins, who have expressed interest in Perez. Kinda like picking up the Walker option. Is Juan Pierre coming to town?

Plus, we can't piss off Furcal's (and Neifi's) agent. That would be dumb.

Signing Neifi to a 2 year deal is, IMHO, the absolute worst move Hendry has yet made. There is no reason to commit two years to him.

As far as Hendry deciding he likes people who catch the ball, that's great - but not as great as guys who catch the ball AND hit it.

Depending on the money, I like the signing.

The problem is not Neifi; it's how Dusty uses him.

Fuck this team.

How is OBP lower than BA?

Sacrifices.

any guesses on how much? 3M, 4M? (total, not per year)

Check the records - I called this one before the season ended.

Watch - he'll be the starting SS too.

Bruce Levine on ESPN radio said the Neifi Perez deal is $5 million for 2 yrs... Ouchie.

We can only hope he's trade bait, and also hope doing this gives Furcal's agent the goodwill to bring another client to Chicago. But I doubt either is true.

Methinks this offseason is off to an ugly start.

The Cubs are an incredibly stupid organization, and I was a fool to ever think they might be otherwise. Go Tribe.

So. Who wants to buy my partial season ticket package? Nights, weekends and holidays, 2 seats in 528. I'm dead serious. You want 'em, they're yours.

what is the cost?

I won't know the exact price for a couple months yet. Depends on how many games are in the package, and how much they raise prices this year. Last year, it was around $1750 for the 2 seats, I think.

Its good to see that the Cubs organization continues to think square pegs are the perfect answer to round holes.

I wonder in Neifi's deal also assures him that he will at least platoon at 2nd base, keeping Todd Walker out of the lineup half the time? Not that a written deal is needed as long as Dusty is around.

Christ, how much money are the Cubs going to spend on back-ups this year? The occational 2 or 3 million dollar deal doesn't break the bank, but you've now got 2 backups (rusch and Neifi) taking up about 5 million dollars of your payroll. 5 Million dollars can go a long way towards sweetening deals for top tier free agents, particularly when you could get the same production from guys making the league minimum who are already in your system.

This pretty much clinches it: the Cubs need to totally clean house. Obviously McFail, Hendry, and Dusty don't care about winning, so what will it take to get a leadership team that actually has a goal of winning a world series?

Oh jesus Cubster if the Cubs signed Neifi Perez to a $5 million dollar deal then Hendry needs his ass fired right away.

It looks like the Cubs are bringing back most of the roster that played in 2005 and expecting different results. That is a recipe for success.

And here comes the worst case scenerio. If the Cubs don't get Furcal, Neifi Perez becomes our starting SS for the next 2 years. Excuse me while I puke. Not to mention Perez will bat as our teams #2 or #1 hitter where he is just a complete train wreck at.

Better pray for Furcal now guys or it is going to be a long season watching Perez sport a sub .300 OBP from the top of the order. Did this organization learn nothing from 2005?

On August 1, 2004, Jim Hendry was kidnapped and replaced with Bizzaro Hendry. There's no other explanation.

Every move prior to that date was brilliant, or at least defensible. Every move since that date has been utterly incomprehensible, if not directly counterproductive.

His handling of the Sosa situation was miserable. His handling of the Stone/Caray situation was worse. He gave away Farnsworth and Sisco for nothing, and held onto Jose Macias and Neifi Perez like they were made of solid gold.

He has adamantly refused to sign difference makers, preferring instead to spend over $20 million on middling talents like Glendon Rusch, Ryan Dempster and Neifi F***ing Perez.

Neifi Perez is turning 33. He's coming off a horrendous season with a sub-300 OBP. He gets a raise from $1M to $2.5M... and a 2-year extension? What kind of logic leads to this result?! It's insanity. I think that I'm going to vomit.

In one year, Hendry has gone from a very good GM, to, quite frankly, the worst GM in MLB. It defies explanation. Even Dale Murphy didn't fall apart this fast.

I'm going with the kidnapping/replacement theory.

And in all honesty, Hendry has the rest of this offseason to win me back, or I will never attend or watch another Cubs game until the end of the Dusty/Hendry reign of incompetence.

How can people who are so aggressively stupid rise to such positions of power and influence?

why not sign Grudz and Nomar, keep Ryan Theriot on the roster too!

I tell ya, a roster of all infielders will let Dusty double switch starting in the 2nd inning.

and while were at it, change the friggin team name to the:

Chicago Maci-ASSES

if the cubs payroll doesn't increase enough to offset this signing, then you have to figure that the cubs brass is testing the elasticity of their customer base.
i hope they're severely disappointed.

Oh god the famous Dusty double switches. Even if everything goes perfectly in free agent signings Perez will be double switched into games at the most inappropriate times.

Also if Walker is trade bait and their is a position battle between Perez and Cedeno for 2nd base who do you all think will win? Do I really need to ask this question? Dusty will invoke the, "How can I just throw away Perez after what he did for us last season? I "OWE" it to him to play him."

Just so many nasty scenerio's that Dusty will try and probably win, in getting Perez to play and get more than 300+ ab's in a season. If Dusty can squeeze out 200 AB's a year for the worthless Macias I am damn sure he can find 300-400 for Perez.

This is turning into one bad off-season.

If the cubs sign Furcal and Neifi play 2B with Cedeno, its not the end of the world. Cause our D up the middle is pretty solid then. Walker is trade bait with Hill, Jerome Williams. Mench is available and they need pitching and like Walker. We need a Left Handed stick in the OF. Huff? Floyd?

Did this organization learn nothing from 2005?

Odds on this being the 2006 opening day lineup:

Furcal ss
Neifi 2b
Lee 1b
J.Jones rf
ARam 3b
CPat cf
Murton lf
Barrett c

I have an idea! Let's wait until the season starts before we start evaluating Hendry's moves. If we can get Furcal at shortstop, and trade todd walker, then we have two guys(Neifi and Cedeno) one of which will play second and the other be the substitute. I do not understand why all the rage, "cubs are stupid" talk all of the sudden. Neifi is a great backup for Cedeno. I think saying this is a stupid move is sort of like criticizing someones first or second move in a chess game. The first moves are sometimes just done to set something else up. Besides, if Furcal sees Neifi as a mentor, why wouldn't we do it? 5M for a decent backup to possibly secure a leadoff hitter? Great job. I have no problem with this move yet.

In case you guys don't look at this site, this is a good article... A solid list of all the FA's this year, those with options, and 2006 FA's..

It also has predictions for who will sign where...

The two main signings that he has for our Cubs is FURCAL (five years, $47.5 million) and ENCARNACION (Cubs - three years, $16 million)

http://www.rotoworld.com/content/story.asp?sp...

If we can get Furcal at shortstop, and trade todd walker, then we have two guys(Neifi and Cedeno) one of which will play second and the other be the substitute. I do not understand why all the rage, "cubs are stupid" talk all of the sudden.

The idea of preferring Neifi to either Walker (who's a far better player and makes the same salary with only a year's commitment) or Cedeno (who's at least as good a player now, has a much higher upside, and makes the league minimum) is stupid to begin with, and that's still probably a best-case scenario. If you think the "Cubs are stupid" talk is "all of a sudden," you're new here.

Neifi is a great backup for Cedeno.

On what planet will Dusty allow Neifi to backup Ronny Cedeno?

The Cubs are now paying Todd Walker and Neifi Perez the same salary - and we're talking about Todd Walker being the one we need to trade!

That's what's wrong with this move.

Juan Encarnacion? Well, then. I take back everything bad I ever said about the Cubs.

The Cubs' payroll is not infinite.

Neifi signed with us for $1M last season, and played some terrible baseball. Plus, he's turning 33. No team in baseball would have given Neifi $2.5 million... and no team would *ever* have given him 2 years.

To recap, we more than doubled Neifi's salary, and guaranteed an extra year. His offensive *and* defensive statistics regressed across the board last season, and there is every reason to assume that trend will continue.

Neifi will be our starting 2B next season, he'll bat second, and he'll put up an OBP of around .290, or worse. Moreover, this signing gives us 5 infielders under contract, with no starting SS (6), and no backup 3B (7). As such, Cedeno's career with the Cubs is more or less over.

This isn't just a bad move... it is the worst move of Hendry's tenure and one of the worst free agent signings in the history of MLB. That isn't hyperbole - it's an objective truth.

To continue the thought--I'd have no problem with Perez as a backup, but (1) on a Dusty Baker-managed team where the alternative's a kid, you know damn well he's going to be a lot more than a backup, and (2) there's no earthly reason to commit $5M and 2 years to even a good backup infielder.

The signing is confirmed, per cubs.com.

Optimistic prediction: Neifi's salary will be more like $1-1.5mm per year, but he'll have the chance to raise it up to $2.5mm if he becomes the regular starter.

So...now that we aren't going to have Nomar play shortstop for us, we need to get a good SS. Neifi Perez is very good friends with a very good SS and leadoff hitter that the cubs would like to sign. Signing Perez means a substantially larger chance of signing said SS. Perez is a good backup, it isn't as though they are signing Jason DuBois to be the backup SS/2B/3B. This means that Neifi will possibly be the backup, and that Cedeno or Walker will start, with the other probably being traded(just my speculation, not a fact). A middle infield of Furcal and Cedeno or Walker with Neifi at backup isn't that bad. I understand you are saying Furcal and Walker with Cedeno at backup is better, but if this gives us a better shot at Furcal, I think it is a great move.

i've never wanted to see furcal in a cubs uniform more than today...

"I have an idea! Let's wait until the season starts before we start evaluating Hendry's moves."

If we want to evaluate moves, why should we not do that? If you don't want to evaluate the moves until the offseason is over, that's cool.

But here's the progression that I expect from some people

Nov. - Let's wait until the Spring Training starts to make evaluations.

February - Let's see what happens when they break camp.

April - Let's see how the team plays

May - Wait til the all-star break

July - We are only X games out - Look how many Houston closed in the second half in 2004!

August - We are X games out, we can still catch up.

September - It's still possible.

October - Wait til next year.

This has happened nearly every year of my life. I see no reason to believe it won't continue.

You can wait until whenever you want to analyze this team's moves. But to me, each move is very critical and I will choose to evaluate them when they are discussed, and moreso when they are actually made.

Committing to Neifi, only one year removed from the waiver wire for 2 years and X$ is a bad idea. I can't imagine we could not get the same production for much less and for a 1 year committment.

This means that Neifi will possibly be the backup, and that Cedeno or Walker will start, with the other probably being traded(just my speculation, not a fact).

What in the world makes you think that Neifi would be a backup to Cedeno?

Walker, possibly (although I see Baker putting Walker and Neifi in almost a strict platoon at 2B if Walker is not traded). Cedeno, definitely not.

cubs get one of the best SS/2nd bench gloves in the game for 2 years for the cost of 1 year of christian guzman (with loot to spare) and all of a sudden the world has ended?

its barely november. chill out. =p

this isnt the death of furcal, the death of cedeno, the mark of t.walker being traded, or the signal of garciappara going to LF.

when neifi was signed last year he wasnt expected to play for all the cubs wonderful starters who couldnt stay healthy.

neifi wanted 2m a year, the cubs got a utility glove/contact hitter. my hope is this signals the death of macias in chicago, honestly.

i've got to agree with billy here... i have no problem with this signing under two conditions:
1) Neifi does not start
2) It helps woo Furcal

believe me, i'm as stat-minded as the next guy, and Neifi's OBP is in the cellar, but sometimes you have to look beyond the stats. If Furcal is as good friends with Neifi as the stories would have you believe, then it's worth having him around as a backup and on the bench for $2.5M if it means we can sign Furcal.

And I know Dusty probably will start him more often than we'd all prefer, but in the instances where he comes into a game in the 8th inning as a defensive backup, he's the perfect person to use.

Not to mention having Walker on the trading block can only help us land a better OF or SP in a trade.

Also, there are two things I want to see on the 2006 Cubs: better defense up the middle, and fewer strikeouts. Neifi actually helps accomplish both these goals.

"if Furcal sees Neifi as a mentor" that's like saying Charles Manson is your mentor. If thats true I don't want Furcal.

If Dusty had A-rod and Neifi who would start?

So you're happy with the team's on-base average, huh?

I've got to agree with Billy on this one. I've got no problem with the Neifi signing as long as he doesn't start, at least not regularly. He's perfect as a late innings defensive backup, and more importantly, he'll help us land Furcal since the word on the street is that they're tight.

The opens the trade market for Todd Walker, who's a better bet to help us land a decent OF or SP. And Neifi, horrible OBP aside, doesn't strike out as much and that's one thing I really want to see change about the 2006 Cubs. The other thing I want to see is better defense up the middle, and Neifi's good for that as well.

And honestly, he seems like a very positive presence in the clubhouse. His attitude is always positive, he's always joking around with teammates and giving pitchers support during mound conferences. I'm as stat-minded as anyone else on this board, but sometimes you have to look beyond OBP.

sorry for the double post, i didn't think the first one went through, oops.

Also, there are two things I want to see on the 2006 Cubs: better defense up the middle, and fewer strikeouts. Neifi actually helps accomplish both these goals.

You do realize Perez was a full-time player last year. As such, how the hell is Perez being on the '06 team going to result in "fewer strikeouts"? Not that strikeouts mean jack in any case, since Perez doesn't get on base regularly, but moving right along....

retro: i'm just pointing out that Neifi strikes out very rarely, I know in the big picture it's not that relevant.

Just for kicks, here's the "strikeout average" of some of the 2005 Cubs (K/AB):

Neifi: 0.082
Todd Walker: 0.101
Aramis: 0.130
Burnitz: 0.180
Lee: 0.184
Patterson: 0.262

why are people assuming neifi is gonna start besides a need to see the negative in this signing?

do some of you really believe that's it and neifi is the man?

that as of nov. 8th the cubs have finished their SS search in neifi?

neifi wanted 2m a year to play...he got it (or close to it) along with some job security.

he's not a clubhouse cancer...he's a field leader. he's a future manager in the making. he's probally one of the smartest baseball men around and is capable of understanding his role in his signing.

yeah, if everything screws up and no furcal and no garciappara happens the big question will be "is it cedeno or neifi?", but we're not even that area of thought yet. its early and there's no indication neifi is anything but a bench backup at this point.

Neifi is crack to Dusty.

The two must be seperated. There will be no good to come to the Cubs in 2006 with Neifi on the team.

cubs get one of the best SS/2nd bench gloves in the game for 2 years for the cost of 1 year of christian guzman (with loot to spare) and all of a sudden the world has ended?

The Neifi signing is being compared to the signing of Christian Guzman. Talk about a telling sign of how bad this deal is.

The signing of Glendon Rusch is also a brilliant move when Eric Milton's contract is your benchmark.

he's not a clubhouse cancer...he's a field leader. he's a future manager in the making. he's probally one of the smartest baseball men around and is capable of understanding his role in his signing.

Since you have no evidence of this (other than perhaps Dusty's public fellating of Neifi), I'll assume you pulled it straight from your ass. If he's so damned smart, why doesn't he learn to take enough pitches to get on base more than 30 percent of the time?

And of course, even if it's true, it doesn't justify commiting $3M a year for 2 years.

retro: i'm just pointing out that Neifi strikes out very rarely, I know in the big picture it's not that relevant.

And my point, is (irrelevance of strikeouts aside) that since Neifi played every day last year, how is his playing every day THIS year going to reduce the team's strikeout totals?

I don't know what to say. I'm devastated.

why are people assuming neifi is gonna start besides a need to see the negative in this signing?

Because Dusty's the manager and he has made it very clear that he thinks that Neifi is second only to DLee as the most valuable player on his roster.

Its nice to say that Neifi only played because of injuries, but that's simply not true. Once Nomar came back, Neifi was getting more playing time than Todd Walker. Remember, Neifi and Walker were in a platoon for most of August, and when Neifi wasn't playing 2b, he was at SS giving either Nomar or Cedeno a day off. Why on earth would anyone think that Dusty would do something differently next year?

"Because Dusty's the manager and he has made it very clear that he thinks that Neifi is second only to DLee as the most valuable player on his roster."

huh?

"Because Dusty's the manager and he has made it very clear that he thinks that Neifi is second only to DLee as the most valuable player on his roster."

huh?

Um, yeah--exactly. You missed Baker's public statements that Perez was the "team MVP" during the first half?

"Since you have no evidence of this (other than perhaps Dusty's public fellating of Neifi), I'll assume you pulled it straight from your ass"

you ever see neifi set up on D?

you ever see neifi counsel the pitcher and IF on the mound?

you ever see neifi join the coaches on the mound?

you ever HEAR neifi talk baseball?

ive seen all 4 and way more than just a few times...and if you've watched the games you've seen at least 3 of 4 of those way more than just a few times, too.

neifi is well known for his baseball mind...yeah, its defense heavy, but that's where his natural tallent is.

Neifi doesn't strike out much but he sure loves hitting into double plays. 22 of them last year. I think that is towards the top in the league.

Why have 1 out when you can have 2! Neifi's only redeeming quality is he has a decent glove. And you don't pay 1.5-2.5 million for just a glove. Cedeno accomplishes that for 300k.

retro-shiite, if you really believe a press conference or a blurb is 100% gold...you should really read daily what managers think of their players.

context rules.

there's only 1 thing clear from this signing...

either t.walker/r.cedeno (1 of them) are likely to be traded or macias is gone.

until furcal/garciappara have left the FA market the very idea of neifi-the-starter is as weird of a mindset as it would have been last season.

Yet with all the intagibles Neifi brought to the team Crunch the pitching was worse, the defense was clueless, and our hitting was laughable.

Yeah Neifi Perez really helps us to be a better team. That is why we finished under .500.

Wake up, Perez blows chunks and every Cubs fan knows it. He brings nothing to the team that helps us win but playing defense. And if that is all you can do you are not very valuable to a team. In fact you start hurting the team if your trotted out for more than 100 AB's in a season. 500 AB's?? You get 2005.

I don't have the magazine anymore to pull the exact quote, but in Vine Line this summer (probably the July or August issue) Dusty said the Derrick Lee was having a great season, but the team wouldn't be anywhere if it wasn't for Neifi Perez.

until furcal/garciappara have left the FA market the very idea of neifi-the-starter is as weird of a mindset as it would have been last season.

Crunch, I think you're off assuming the rest of us think that Neifi will be the starting SS. I still think the Cubs will go and sign furcal.

What I do see happening is Neifi starting at 2b.

In fact, right now, the best case I can see happening is a platoon of Neifi and Walker, with Neifi padding his 300 ABs at 2nd with plenty of games to let ARam rest his groin and Furcal rest his liver.

its just fact that neifi is viewed as a leader...and that fact has come forth based upon how he handles himself as both a teacher and a leader on the field. none of us internet baseball pundits can take that away from him.

the furor over the issue distracts from the real issue that its nov.8th...and this signing endangers the longterm stability of cedeno/t.walker/macias as cubs. as of right now there's no reason to think of neifi as a starter.

i'd be more worried for you cedeno-supporters that he's not gonna be trade bait at this point.

its very likely cedeno or walker could be a casualty from this signing.

its very unlikely that neifi is our new starting SS/2nd just cuz its some people's worst fear or they think baker has a hardon for him.

if garciappara/walker could keep their bodies below their groins healthy the 05 cubs would have barely seen 250-300ab's of neifi most likely.

OK, I'm done here. Go Indians. I'll enjoy rooting for a team that doesn't have its head up its ass.

damn you walker for getting leg-whipped. You brought this on us.

well, to disect that comment in vineline...

without neifi the team would have had enrique wilson or cody ransom until ronny cedeno finally flashed his skills in late summer.

with injuries to 2nd/SS you got neifi...or you got e.wilson/c.ransom/j.macias.

ow.

that one comment by dusty doesnt cement his role on the team. its just reporter stuff and its pretty evident that dusty takes a press conference or interview as seriously as doing his taxes (har).

its very unlikely that neifi is our new starting SS/2nd just cuz its some people's worst fear or they think baker has a hardon for him.

Ok, in what sinerio do you see that Neifi WOULDN'T be a starter in 2006?

Do you really think Dusty will let Cedeno start over him?

Do you really think Dusty would STOP platooning Neifi with Todd Walker?

Ok, in what sinerio do you see that Neifi WOULDN'T be a starter in 2006?

- if t.walker is still around and a SS is signed.

Do you really think Dusty will let Cedeno start over him?

- yeah, occasionally. you should realize im not a cedeno fan, also. i see nothing in his swing that says anything to me but "contact hitter with little plate judgement". i don't see cedeno-the-fulltime-starter like some do...and i dont think dusty does either no matter what hendry says.

Do you really think Dusty would STOP platooning Neifi with Todd Walker?

- if todd walker can stay healthy and his knees hold up...maybe. when a guy comes back from missing a month and gets platooned for occasionally or taken out of the #2 spot its not that alarming or uncommon.

--

yeah, neifi may end starting, but it most likely has a lot more to do with what happens to t.walker and how the SS FA market sorts itself out at this point.

my whole point is its a bit too early to freak out just cuz he's on board.

it does open up some odd POSSIBLE situations, though...ones where t.walker or r.cedeno may not remain cubs at the expense of picking up another player.

most of you don't want Neifi Neftali Perez on the 2006 Cubs, but I would hazard a guess that most of the players are glad to keep him on the team, and that has to count for something.

a platoon of Neifi and Walker wouldn't be bad if it was dependant on the type of pitcher the Cubs were throwing that day. Groundball pitcher (Z, Maddux, Williams) and Neifi starting is a decent strategy, flyball pitcher(Wood, Prior, Rusch) and you start Walker. Last year though it appeared Neifi started vs. lefties, Walker vs. righties. And although Neifi has a lot more power from the right side versus the left, Walker still trumped him against the southpaws.

when a guy comes back from missing a month and gets platooned for occasionally or taken out of the #2 spot its not that alarming or uncommon.

Except that's not what happened.

Walker and Neifi were put into a platoon in August, after Nomar returned. Walker had been back from his injury and was playing everyday for weeks when Neifi played SS.

Todd Walker was placed on the DL on April 11th and activated on May 25th after a rehab assignment.

Nomar was activated on August 5th.

The argument here seems to have gotten a bit disingenious - people are arguing over what Dusty/Hendry are thinking. Let's argue what we do know.

1) We know Neifi is better than most with the glove.
2) We know he was a free agent.
3) We know he's a bad bad hitter.

So is a good defensive shortstop with no hitting skills that is 33 years old worth 5 million over 2 years. To my mind heck no. You overpaid for him plain and simple. If he's used correctly on the roster he may not hurt the team - except he costs too much.

I don't buy the "friends with Furcal" argument. I think we could just give Furcal the 5 million rather than paying Perez to be his caddy.

At the end of the day I think most free agent signings can be simplified into performance-per-dollar. Could we have gotten a Neifi-like player cheaper? I think so - who were we bidding against exactly? I think a LOT cheaper. Crunch may argue I'm wrong and that's his perogative, because after all I can't prove it can I? Seems a better place to debate this rather than on a OH NOOH NOW WALKER IS GONNA BE TRADED platform.

"...its very unlikely that neifi is our new starting SS/2nd just cuz its some people's worst fear or they think baker has a hardon for him."

I don't automatically assume that Neifi's the 2B or SS for 2006, but make no mistake... Baker certainly has a hard-on for Neifi and will play him at every opportunity.

How many of ye posters out there are women? B/c there a lot of fuckin whining going on. There is no way to tell if this is a good signing or not until the $ amount is made public. 2Y/$3M is good, 2Y/$5M is bad...I do have to admit that at the same salary of $2.5M I'd rather have Walker...If anyone has been checking out other teams sites, you'll see that teams like KC and Toronto have money to burn this year. Player salaries will go up. In Jan this signing, Rusch, and Demp will all probably look pretty good. It's better to get a deal done fast in this climate.

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