The Only Benefit of the Doubt I’m Willing to Give

I am, as many others are, upset about the Neifi Perez signing. My feelings about Neifi are well-documented here, so there's no need to re-hash them, and Rob pretty much covered the potential problems, which we all assume will become reality, in giving Perez a two-year deal. Searching for any sort of silver lining, I grab onto the fact that Neifi and Rafael Furcal are buddies, and Neifi has already made a recruiting call to Furcal, trying to get him to come to Chicago. Furcal has had some well-documented troubles with the law, including two DUIs, the second of which led to actual jail time. In a discussion about this signing, a friend mentioned the possibility that Neifi had been retained to sort of keep Furcal on the straight and narrow. It's highly speculative, of course, but isn't that what the off-season is about? So here's where my thinking is right now: Maybe re-signing Perez helps the Cubs sign Furcal. And maybe having Perez around makes it easier for Furcal to stay off the sauce and concentrate on playing shortstop and hitting leadoff, two things he does well. If so, then I'm willing to write off the $6M that Neifi got. I'll even mentally add it to whatever contract Furcal signs -- if it's a five-year deal as rumored, then that's only just over a million more per year. That's walking-around money to a major league franchise. If Furcal comes to Chicago and as a result Derrek Lee sees more than the anemic 379 runners on base he saw last year, I'll consider it money well-spent. Lee came to the plate with 379 runners on base, and drove in 61 of them. That's 0.161 RBI per runner. Not a great rate, but a decent one. By comparison, Alex Rodriguez had a worse rate than Lee's (0.159) but ended up driving in 82 runners because he had 516 opportunities. Think about that for a second: A-Rod had 137 more RBI opportunities than Lee last year. That's almost one additional runner on base per game. Giving Lee (and A-Ram behind him) one more runner a game to try to drive in is worth six million dollars, I think. This doesn't address the issue of playing time, of course. Perez has been given "no guarantees that he'll be a starter," which brings the number of players on the Cubs roster signed to multi-year contracts without any guarantees of starting to two, and I'd say I believe it in approximately zero cases. Anyone who thinks that Dusty can be handed a loaded Neifi without expecting him to point it at the lineup hasn't been paying attention the last few years. I haven't figured out a way to justify the playing time, but there are still almost five months until Opening Day -- give me time.
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Comments

Fucal plays SS, Nefi plays 2B and Cedeno backs up both...

I also think this signing is Walker's ticket out of town.

Unlike most here I agree wth the signing of Nefi as a BACKUP but once again Dusty will see his as a "proven vet." Proven ? Yes he hit that HR in Colorado vs the Giants to help the Cubs get into the [playoff's in 98 which makes me wonder why DUsty is so enamared with him.

a 1 year 1.5-2M deal would ahve been acceptiable or even a 2 year 3-3.5M but 2 years 6M?? That's insane! We could have gotten a decient releaver, Lofton or added it to the Furcal fund.

Just beause we have $30M to spend doesn't meen we need to throw it around like Bruster. (In Brusters millions)

A "loaded Nieif"--classic.

How hard could Neifi be wooing Furcal, given that his arrival would cut down on his playing time. Perhaps he's saying something like, "You should sign. We'd make a great platoon."

Perhaps Dusty's affection for Neifi was bolstered by how many All-Star votes Perez receieved. The TCR strikes again!

At least Cedeno's confidence is being boosted by the Perez signing and the attempt to land Furcal. Oh, wait...

"Unlike most here I agree wth the signing of Nefi as a BACKUP"

I don't think that's true - I think most people would approve of signing Neifi as a backup. He has a great glove, and would be very useful in that role.

He's not going to be a backup, of course, and that's the problem.

Here's the thing about using Neifi to get Furcal.

If Furcal is signed to be the leadoff man, isn't much of the benefit of getting him to be our leadoff hitter going to be cancelled out with Neifi batting 2nd?

Without crunching the numbers, won't Furcal/Neifi basically result in the same number of baserunners for Lee as say Hairston/Walker?

Obviously, this would be avoided if Neifi batted 8th and either Murton or Barrett batted second, but I think we all know that's an unreasonable expectation with Dusty making out the lineup card.

Guys:

What about me? I said several months ago that if I were going to be traded, I would prefer not to have my option picked up, so that I could make a deal on my own.

I know life is unfair, but I've played my very best for this team and think I should at least have been given a better chance than this.

for what it's worth, Neifi on Cedeno:

"He's good and he's going to get better," Perez said. "I don't know what they're going to do, but he impressed me. He can play in the big leagues. I don't think he needs more time.

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

This scares the hell out of me: Neifi was given ìno guarantees that heíll be a starter.î

In other words, he may or may not be a starter.

In other words, the Cubs are acknowledging that HE MAY BE A STARTER.

This is a potential disaster. My guess is that Furcal will sign somewhere else, since some team always ends up throwing irrational dollars at the big name free agent of the day. And we will be stuck with Neifi, maybe as our starting shortstop, maybe for two years. Christ, Hendry has implicitly given Dusty his blessing to start him, through his comments.

While I understand the signing and its reasoning, I, for the life of me, cannot fathom why they paid this guy that much money. Will Neifi really be that influential in acquiring Furcal?

Here I was looking forward to seeing Ronny Cedeno get an everyday 2B job. But who the hell am I kidding

My immediate reaction is that I'll have to do something else during baseball season next year. I'll be sick watching Neifi trotted out there every day.

Sorry Todd,
I've been your biggest supporter. I hope they keep you. If they trade you, I hop eyou get more respect where you're going.

I know I'm in the minority, but i like watching Neifi play. He's a terrible top of the order hitter, and he's probably more deserving of one-year deal for $1.5 with incentives than $5M over 2 years. But assuming we land Furcal, would it really be that bad to have Neifi as our everyday 2b, hitting in th 7th or 8th spot?

I can't help but kind of root for Neifi. Maybe it's because he's been reviled as some sort of antichrist on this board, but he's always having a good time, joking around in the dugout, and everyone seems to like him. He proved this year that he was at least more valuable than Macias, who hopefully will never set foot in Wrigley again.

But assuming we land Furcal, would it really be that bad to have Neifi as our everyday 2b, hitting in th 7th or 8th spot?

And what makes you think he'd be hitting in the 7th or 8th spot?

Weeks, I guess it is wishful thinking on my part to hope that Dusty doesn't play Neifi in the #2 spot.

Anyone know where in the lineup Neifi usually hit when he was with Colorado, KC, and SF?

I'm okay w/ the Neifi signing if it means no more Macias. He's got a good glove, is a leader on the field, calms down pitchers when appropriate.

In Dusty We Trusty we Musty...let's just hope he's figured out that Neifi at the 2 spot ain't gonna help create any runs.

Yes from experience, Dusty seems a reasonable sort with vision and thinking out side of the box mentality ready to accept responsibilty for his decisions.

He would have a been great Soviet leader.

Anyone know where in the lineup Neifi usually hit when he was with Colorado, KC, and SF?

Go here and then click on "Splits" for each year.

His usage in '99 was even more disgusting than his usage in '05.

I guess it is wishful thinking on my part to hope that Dusty doesn't play Neifi in the #2 spot.

Last year, Neifi batted either 1st or 2nd in 382 of his 570 ABs.

Remember, when Neifi wasn't batting 1st or 2nd, it was because Todd Walker was hitting there.

Obviously, if the Cubs sign Furcal, Neifi's ABs will come at the expense of Todd Walker.

So, while we can hope that Neifi won't be batting 1st or 2nd, all the evidence suggests that our hope will be a pipedream.

off-subject, does anyone have any contacts within the Chicago Cubs organization? I'm looking for a job in something relevant to me and I'd love to work for the Cubs. Ultimately, I'd love to get into player development and scouting but that would be down the road in terms of being eligible. gotta get away from this banking hassle lol. thanks ahead of time

Is there anyone here that wouldn't "love to work for the Cubs."...(The Neifi, Hendry, Baker debacles aside)

If you have a problem with the Neifi signing, read this and the come back to me.

I guess you missed what Neifi said after he signed his contract...

"I think I showed them that if they put me in, I can play every day," Perez said.

Any one think he showed he can play everyday? Ok fine for the Neifi lovers he showed he can play everyday in the literal sense. In the baseball sense if you show you can "play everyday" that means your a productive part of the team that isn't hurting your squad. Neifi is either dumb as a brick or just as retarded as our manager.

Remember in Dusty's world you say one thing and do another. I don't trust any of his minions.

Hendry, from Cubs.com:

"We may not be finished in player acquisitions in the infield, or we may be," Hendry said. "It depends on how things shake out over the next couple months."

Ruz, I loved your stat about Derek Lee average times he drove in a runner. To me that has 'clutch stat' written all over it. Can you tell me where you found such a wonderful statistic of runners on base when at bat? Thanks.

Also Vorare, do you expect him to actually tell us everything he's planning?

badguy, just tryin to be ambitious lol

Actually Mike, Will posted that over at BCB in response to my posting of that Neifi quote. So I guess he didn't miss it?

If Neifi is being used as a carrot to get Furcal, which I personally doubt, Hendry should have just written it into Perez's contract: $4 million over two years, Neifi, if you do not get us Furcal; $5 million over two years if you get us Furcal.

Breaking News: Dusty Baker did NOT win NL Manager of the year.

I know, we're all shocked...

According to that Cox News Service story, Neifi is trying to help the Cubs land some other player named FU-cal.

Cubs player courts Fucal
By DAVID O'BRIEN
Cox News Service
Wednesday, November 09, 2005

YES! left-handed catcher Aloysuis Fucal would be a great backup to Henry Blanco. let's give him $10M over 3 years.

If Neifi was wanting to leave and try to grab 2yr/5M from somewhere else, is it not possible that Jim Hendry knew this? If so, Jim, thinking about landing Furcal, possibly decides to match Neifi's other offer, just to land Furcal. I say it is worth it. It isn't even 3% of our overall payroll. If Neifi is our super sub and dislikes being a sub player, 1 year, 2.5M for a starting shortstop is hardly an albatross contract, anyways.

Neifi would be my fourth choice to start at 2nd. Behind Walker, Hairston, and Cedeno. And I'd start Cedeno over Neifi at short if it came to that. This deal makes no sense so I hope Hendry has something up his sleeve for later. Not only does it look like Walker is trade bait, but Hairston also. I'd rather have either one of them than Neifi in the line-up.

hi yall

i think dusty has shown MORE than a few times that he don't wanna play rookies. so unless hendry do NOT re-sign walker or macias or any other vet who can play second, you gonna see neifi as the starting ss...

which is fine with this astros fan...

lisa

This deal with Neifi isn't that much different from the two year contract he got with the Giants. That was $4.25 mil with incentives that brought it to ~$5 mil.

hi yall

i think dusty has shown MORE than a few times that he don't wanna play rookies. so unless hendry do NOT re-sign walker or macias or any other vet who can play second, you gonna see neifi as the starting ss...

which is fine with this astros fan...

lisa

Note that Neifi's contract, unlike his previous contract, had no incentives for plate appearances. I would like to see a correlation between "veterans Dusty plays with disturbing frequency" and "veterans with appearance-based incentives in their contracts" (which are the only allowable incentives in MLB player contracts under collective bargaining).

So you guys think that Dusty Baker plays veterans with incentives in order for them to achieve their bonuses all the while jeopardizing the team's success? That has got to be the DUMBEST thing I have ever heard. Now, if you want to say that Dusty plays aging vets cause he thinks they'll do better, but in the end doing worse, fine. Dusty is still going to put out on the field the team that he thinks is the best. Whether he's right or not is another case.

Chicago Cubs Updated:11/09/2005
The Cubs are planning to make a four-year, $36-million deal to Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal and to use rookie Ronny Cedeno at second base with Neifi Perez as backup for both, says the Arlington Daily Herald.

http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/story/MLB_SC-RUMOR

"We may not be finished in player acquisitions in the infield, or we may be," Hendry said. "It depends on how things shake out over the next couple months."

The fact that it depends is an indictment about how uncommitted they are to a plan. With a 100mm payroll, you should be able to come up with a plan, and implement it. You shouldn't depend on others to dictate your strategy when you have a top tier payroll like we do.

Top payroll teams should set the market, not be subject to it.

So if Baldelli and Crawford are locked up, Delmon Young on the near horizon...Can't we get JGomes?

Baldelli locked up for 6 yrs. Deal (6yr@$33M) similar to Crawfords ($32M. thru 2010)

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rocco Baldelli has agreed to a six-year contract with the Devil Rays worth a possible $33 million that could keep him with the team through the 2011 season.
Baldelli, 24, was the Rays' starting center fielder until the 2005 season, which he missed due to knee and elbow surgeries.

According to reports in the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times, the only thing the deal lacks is Baldelli's signature.

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.js...

cubster, i think its more likely they'd keep gomez and shop the fading huff.

Walker is going to get dealt for a 4th outfield or a $2 million RH "setup man." Perez is going to play instead of Cedeno and/or Hairston because Hendry wants a glove and Dusty wants a vet. If we don't land Furcal (option 1) or get an incentive-laden deal to Nomar (option 2), the middle infield will be a disaster again ... deja deja vu.

[pokerface]At least Kerry Wood is going to be healthy.[/pokerface]

Have you have ever wondered why Baker is considered a players manager but never really attracts the big time free agents? For a guy making 1 million a year it means a lot if they get that extra 500k in their contract. For a guy with a 100 million dollar contract it really isn't that much of a concern.

This is a reason lousy players love to play for Baker. 1) They will see more playing time than with any other manager 2) They will most likely recieve their incentives if they have them in the contract.

Now if you sucked at your job but you knew a boss would keep you around and even try and help you earn more money, wouldn't YOU want to work for him as well? It is no different in baseball.

Where are all the big time free agents that Baker was supposed to attract? Hawkins, Burnitz, Rusch an over the hill Maddux, and Todd Walker were the best we could get?

How about the best of the rest?

2003-
Shawn Estes
Mike Remlinger
Lenny Harris
Troy O'Leary
Tom Goodwin
Paul Bako
Ramon Martinez
Mark Guthrie
Dave Veres

2004-
Jose Macias
Rey Ordonez
Ben Grieve
Damian Jackson
Todd Hollandsworth
Neifi Perez
Kent Mercker
Jimmy Anderson

2005-
Henry Blanco
Enrique Wilson
Chad Fox
(Management really didn't do anything constructive for the 2005 off-season/season)

It is just one big running theme of suck. Like Crunch used to say in the chat, "PLEASE TURN DOWN THE SUCK!"

"I know that's a lot of money in the real world," Worrell said. "But I don't live in the real world. I live in this crazy, stupid world of baseball..."

tim worrell on his 1m offer when he made 3m last season. seriously, i respect that. that's just straight talk and its the truth.

btw...howry is looking a 3yr deal between 10-12m...

I'm pretty surprised by that offer to Baldelli. There was a ton of talk last season about Baldelli being the odd man out in that outfield when Gomes burst on the scene. I didn't read the details to see if there was a no trade, but it probably wouldn't mean that they couldn't still deal him. They have 3 CFs on their roster with Baldelli, Crawford and Gathright. I don't think Gathright will hit enough to be a full time CFer, and even if they don't trade Huff or Baldelli, they can still keep all of them with Gomes in RF then DHing when D.Young arrives, Huff at 1B(even though he will be gone) but they don't have a 1B right now with T.Lee a FA...and Crawford in LF, Baldelli in CF.

Reports today have the Mets GM O.Minaya talking to Tampa Bay about a trade involving D.Baez and A.Huff.

Hendry was on ESPN Radio 1000 this morning but really gave no insight into anything. He shrugged off the Nomar talk..simply stating that he and Nomar's agent Arn Tellem are on good terms... and just stated that Furcal is someone we are currently looking at. Gave no insight into the RF situation and reinstated that he's looking at the starting pitching depth with concerns to Wood...said he expects Prior to be 100% by spring training...blah blah blah. Also shrugged off questions about his and Baker's possible contract extentions.

more rumor mill

Kevin Mench: Blue Jays Make Trade Offer
RotoWire.com Staff
Wednesday, 11/9/05

Toronto has reportedly offered Miguel Batista and either Alex Rios and Brandon League in an exchange for Mench, the Toronto Sun reports.

back to my Baldelli post...I find Tampa's situation fascinating. Someone of the group of Baldelli, Gomes, Crawford and DYoung will have to either be DH or get traded. Joey Gathright is a nice 4th outfielder but doesn't fit stand up to the above foursome. Huff is tradable unless he starts at 1B/3B or DH. My interest in him is much less these days since I think his defense in the OF is not a plus.

more MENCH: How ironic for the Cubs that Kansas City (who has been after Kevin Mench to fill right field ever since they dealt Carlos Beltran) now feels they can afford to trade the Rangers a pitcher (Affeldt) in large part because Andy Sisco did so well for them last season.

(according to the Dallas Morning News)

But if the Rangers are looking for a left handed starting pitcher who gets hitters to ground the ball most of the time (and supposedly they are), maybe we're offering them Glendon Rusch.

We could live with that trade.

If you mean you could live with the trade because it is of equal or better value for the Cubs I agree. However, I could not live with the trade if it meant Mench is our new right fielder. I do not consider that very much of an upgrade over Burnitz and maybe it isn't even an upgrade at all if you consider defense and base running, both of which Burnitz is better than Mench. In our world of fantasy acquisitions for the Cubs, we should be shooting higher.

Tom-
You are a dying breed, hold the Cubs to a higher standard. Wow, how novel.
I'm glad someonelse thinks that the Cubs play in Chicago and not Kansas City.

I like to keep my fantasy acquistions at championship caliber. It is the reality of the actual acquistions where depression sets in.

that baldelli contract is a joke

how do you give out that much $$$ for a guy who just missed the whole season cause of knee injuries and a good part of his game is predicated on speed? Makes no sense

The fact that it depends is an indictment about how uncommitted they are to a plan

They have a plan....PACK WRIGLEY FIELD on every possible occasion, get top advertising dollars for televised games, reach top dollar profit margin on hotdogs, beer and pretzels....

And whatever else happens after that is acceptable....

That is their plan.

Nowhere in their plan does the operation of the actual team on the field ever get mentioned. They have no plan because they need no plan on the field. They get what they want with their plan.

However, I do hear the team is on the market as the Tribune Company is trying to unload their non-media subsidiaries and the Cubs could well be one of them if the price is right.

Cubfan, go back to 1987 when that was actually true. This team has been given the money to win. You may not like what Hendry and Baker have done, fine. But to say that any team that spends 100,000,000 on a pay roll that is just trying to increase the profit margin is INSANE!

Well hopefully with this signing more and more people on here will see what I have seen the past 2 years with Hendry. Hendry is off to another horrioble start so far this offseason. Rusch and Neifi...HA HA

FIRE HENDRY!!!

Not that two wrongs make a right, but Furcal should really only have one DUI. The first DUI he got was because of the zero tolerance rule and he ws listed as under 21. However, as he actually was over 21 at the time of the infraction he would have not received a DUI (was not above the .08). Not saying that lying about his age was right, but just giving the facts of the situation.

X, don't be ridiculous about "Hendry not having a plan." This is a business. Hendry's not going to go on the air or in print and say exactly what he is going to do and lose all leverage with any deals he may or may not be making. And he doesn't know who's offering what and who's going to sign where.

Trust me, Jim has a plan. You may not like it, but it's there, he's just not going to broadcast it. He's doing exactly what a GM should.

I'll agree that Neifi is probably making a bit too much money, now. I will bet my life that Jim and Dusty are going to have a long talk, or have already, on how they see certain players filling certain roles. It will be made clear to Dusty that Neifi is meant to be a super-sub. I think Dusty respects the club enough to know this and use him properly.

However, he did baffle me with some of his lineups last year, so maybe not.

"X, don't be ridiculous about "Hendry not having a plan." "

Rishi, when you put something in quotes, you should be quoting me, not MISquoting me. What I said was that it is, "an indictment about how uncommitted they are to a plan."

They have had, and expressed, many plans. But they don't have an organizational plan that they run with. They go with whatever happens. Strong franchises, with 100m payrolls, can map their team out three years ahead. They have a board 3 deep that talks about who can play a position. When was the last time we had a SS who was part of a "plan"? The answer is Dunston. We lucked into Nomar. Really, had Boston not wanted to get rid of him, we'd have never seen him here. What's our OF plan looked like? Patterson, and? We never had a backp to Sosa, or a LF plan. Alou came of of a major injury to us. And the other guys we have produced - were fairly bad looking prospects in the minors when looked at objectively with the exception of CP who has been a bust. Honestly - Dubois couldn't make contact - and nobody should have believed he was the answer. Holly? Roosavelt Brown? Sarge Jr? O'Henry? Glenallen? Come on... Don't tell me Derek Lee was a plan. We didn't know FLA would be unloading him, then signing Delgado shortly after. What's our plan been in the bullpen? It was Beltran, but we traded him without any idea. Then we tried putting a guy who we signed as a middle reliever knowing he couldn't close, into that spot.

Hendry is a good talent evaluator - one of the best. But he doesn't have a plan that he has followed through with. Put it this way - if we somehow miss out on Furcal, someone tell me who our SS will be for the next few years? The answer is either Neifi (bad idea) or Cedeno. If the answer is Cedeno, why are we even pursuing Furcal?

It's not about making plans - everyone can do that on the fly. It is about having a long term vision, a strategic plan, and being able to drive to that plan. Same as in the business world - know your route that you plan to take to the end.

Don't get me wrong - as I said I think Hendry is a great scout, a tremendous talent evaluator, and a decent GM. I just don't think he has an organizational plan that he is able to follow.

Some will say you have to be flexible - I'd agree to a point. But he has let some of the best SS in the game pass him by the past 3 years without ever being a legitimate bidder. He has NEVER had a guy who even smelled like a leadoff hitter. Come on...

Okay, I have an idea that could fix both our Right Fielder and Leadoff issues: Frank Thomas.
Sign him to a cheap one year deal; he's got on base skills, has only been CS twice in the last 5 year and has a .500 OBP in the postseason.

Well then what is the Jim Hendry plan?

I think everyone in baseball knows the Oakland plan, the Yankees plan, the Brewers plan, the Cardinals plan. Hell everyone laughed at Kenny Williams when he said his plan was to go to a faster team with less power.

The point is those organizations have plans and they follow them. Each trying to do the best with the resources they have at hand.

So what is the Cubs plan? For a brief few months in 2002 we probably saw for the first time since about 1989 a youth movement. Some organizations when they rebuild usually spend more than 2-3 months going young. Anyways, the day Baker was hired the youth movement ended and we started getting older and older teams. In fact we went back to the old Cub tradition of patch-working. 1-2 year free agents that might of been good 5 or so years ago, mixed in with players that were never good at any time of their career.

So did the Cubs want to build from the farm? Or did they want to build from free agency? To me it looks like a hybrid of both by a confused GM. First it was we need to build a great pitching staff, ignore the offense. Then it was, well ok the pitching staff is pretty good lets concentrate on a awesome bullpen, ignore the offense again. Then we moved on to we have to purge the team of bad attitudes that is what we need to win, ignore the offense. Well that didn't work, ohhh we need people who can play defense now.

I see Hendry as a horse with blinders on. He gets so caught up on one aspect of the team and just forgets that you need an entire team. You need a good rotation, a good offense and a good bullpen. But he seems incapable of addressing them all at the same time.

One thing has never changed on Hendry's watch. The offense stinks. In fact each year it gets worse and worse since he became GM of this team. I guess he thinks we don't need to score any runs to win.

MIKEC:
"One thing has never changed on Hendry's watch. The offense stinks. In fact each year it gets worse and worse since he became GM of this team. I guess he thinks we don't need to score any runs to win."

Well, this overall doesn't bother me. The White Sox scored 741 runs last year (only 5 scored less in the AL), the Cubs scored 703. They won by pitching and defense. I am glad Hendry has focused more on pitching, but he hasn't been successful getting those pitchers healthy. Also, his bench, defense and fundmanetally sound players has been seriously lacking. So has the bullpen, too. Overall besides catching lightening in a bottle with Lofton in 2003, Hendry has had a inferior team considering the payroll. Maybe injuries are a major reason, but at some point, the excuses have to stop.

As I have been saying hopefully McPhail DOES NOT give Hendry and then in turn Baker an extension and instead make them earn it this year with at least a playoff berth or they both should be gone.

Overall besides catching lightening in a bottle with Lofton in 2003, Hendry has had a inferior team considering the payroll.

You mean except in 2004 when Hendry assembled the best team of talent in the NL and Dusty ran it into the ground?

But I agree, after moves like these, no championship in 2006 means Dusty, Hendry, and McFail should all be shown the door.

Braves: According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Neifi Perez called Rafael Furcal shortly after signing his new contract with the Cubs. Even though it would prevent Perez from being the starting shortstop, he told his good friend that he wanted him to also be a Cub next year.

"I told him I would be happy if he comes to the Cubs, because I know what he can do to help the team win," Perez said in a conference call Tuesday after signing a two-year, $5 million extension with Chicago.

Furcal and Kyle Farnsworth are Atlanta's top two free agents. There is a lot of doubt about whether either will be a Brave in 2006.

The New York Times, citing an unidentified Major League executive, reports the Mets are in the initial stages of pursuing a trade for second baseman Alfonso Soriano.

Rangers, Royals: According to the Dallas Morning News and Kansas City Star, the Royals and Rangers are rekindling discussions about a Kevin Mench/Jeremy Affeldt deal. But the Rangers have also spoken to at least three other teams -- the Blue Jays, Cubs and Pirates -- about Mench as they attempt to upgrade their starting pitching.

it appears the Mets are indeed the new Yankees because apparently they're in "discussions" with every free agent and every star on the trading block. Omar, if you're reading this, please do everything in your power to acquire ManRam. Since I'm already depressed about the 2006 Cubs OF situation my baseball watching schedule will be devoted to watching Mets games intently waiting for that magical moment where ManRam caves in Beltran's face in a left/center field collision a la the one Cameron & Beltran had last season. I want to see that $37 mil on the DL for half the season...or at the very least ManRam cutting off a Beltran relay in short left-center. I hope the reports are true and the Royals land Mench. For some reason a starting OF of Murton-C.Patt/Pierre-Mench just doesn't do it for me. The troubling part of this rumor is that all the players involved in this deal are all guys that Hendry tried to trade for at the deadline last year...Mench, Affeldt and Royals closer Mike MacDougal. There may be some unfortunate 3 way deal in the works whereby the Cubs and Royals can just bypass KC taking half the Cubs unprotected Rule 5 draft picks directly. Surely Hendry/Baker will protect Macias, JHJ and Neifi over also rans like Pie, R.Hill, Dopirak, Nolasco, Pawelek, R.Harvey.

"I am glad Hendry has focused more on pitching, but he hasn't been successful getting those pitchers healthy."

Yea, he really needs to work on his mystical healing skills. He's lacking in that department.

It's amazing at how many comments about the Neifi signing are actually digs on Dusty.

If Hendry fired Dusty, I would go for an all Macias-line up. Hell, we'd probably win.

Bleeding Blue:
"You mean except in 2004 when Hendry assembled the best team of talent in the NL and Dusty ran it into the ground?"

He did assemble a very good team in 2004, but there were too many injuries and injury prone players on that team. he did not learn his lesson in 2005 and so far going for teh 2006 team, it is looking much like last year's team (which I have stated would happen many times).

Oh yeah. you mentioned earlier about Dusty not winning the NL Manager of the Year, but I must of missed Hendry getting the MLB Executive of the Year.

Big John Stud:
"Yea, he really needs to work on his mystical healing skills. He's lacking in that department."

No, just lacking in signing pitchers and players who aren't very injury prone.

SM:
"It's amazing at how many comments about the Neifi signing are actually digs on Dusty."

It shows the pure hatird by many on TCR of Baker and the blindness about Hendry (until now hopefully). Hendry is the one who signed him last year and for a 2 year deal this year and Macias the last couple years. He is also the one who hired Baker.

Hopefully fans start putting the pressure on Hendry and finally realize Baker was not the reason this team has not made the playoffs the last two years, it is the lack of healthy talent or talent in general.

Hopefully fans start putting the pressure on Hendry

When the fans booed LaTroy Hawkins and Corey Patterson who do you think they were pressuring?

The fans have been laying it on Hendry for quite some time now.

Hopefully fans start putting the pressure on Hendry and finally realize Baker was not the reason this team has not made the playoffs the last two years, it is the lack of healthy talent or talent in general.

Baker was the biggest reason that the Cubs didn't make the playoffs in 2004: he had the talent, and a team that was mostly healthy at the peak of their collapse. While some were repeating "in dusty we trust" at nauseum, the rest of us were being called "negative" for pointing out the mistake after mistake that eventually kept the Cubs out of the playoffs in 2004.

And many of those same people were also warning in 2003 about the abuse of the pitching staff, that eventually broke down in 2004 and 2005. So you can go ahead blame Hendry for not magically knowing what players would be healthy, while ignoring the fact that many feared that the team would break down because of Dusty's usage patterns.

Last years team also had holes, but it certainly had more talent than the Brewers, yet failed to do as well.

Yes, Hendry has made mistakes and he's pretty much warn out his welcome in my book, but stop acting like the Dusty you trust so much is an innocent victim here.

I mean, the Neifi signing is horrible because no utility infielder is worth 2.5 million a year, but other than the expense, he's a perfectly good backup.
However, with Dusty at the helm, we all know that Neifi will almost certainly be starting, or at the very least he'll be platooning with the far more talented Todd Walker, batting 2nd with his

CWTP:
"When the fans booed LaTroy Hawkins and Corey Patterson who do you think they were pressuring?"

I think they were expressing their feelings toward the players and then on the internet people were blaming Baker. He is the easy scapegoat, as he is the manager, but Hendry needs to start getting his share of the blame, which in my opinion he has gotten very little. But i think that will all change very soon.

Bleeding Blue:
"Yes, Hendry has made mistakes and he's pretty much warn out his welcome in my book,"

Good to hear you have finnaly come aboard....

It shows the pure hatird by many on TCR of Baker and the blindness about Hendry (until now hopefully).

Youíre a character Manny. Do you not see that youíre guilty of the exact same thing that youíre accusing others of. Only your blindness is of Baker and your hatred is towards Hendry. For exampleÖ

I am glad Hendry has focused more on pitching, but he hasn't been successful getting those pitchers healthy.

No, just lacking in signing pitchers and players who aren't very injury prone.

Care to give us a theory on how the GM is responsible for ìgetting pitchers healthyî? Heck, I wouldn't even put much blame on Dusty and he's at least in charge of their usage patterns. Is Hendry supposed to be forcing pitchers to take DNA tests, to check for a predisposition to injuries? Care to list these injury prone pitchers thatís heís signed? Hereís a starting point for you.

Chad Fox ñ Signed to a MINOR league deal (Not guaranteed a roster spot), Dusty and the coaching staff chose to put him on the roster. Certainly the best example of an injury prone pitcher that Hendry signed though. Also an insignificant cog in the grand scheme of things, since he wasnít even guaranteed a roster spot when he was signed.

Scott Williamson ñ If/when he goes down with an injury as a Cub, youíll have one in your corner.

Ryan Dempster ñ Ditto, of course you praised his extension

Mike Remlinger ñ No history of arm injuries I know of before signing but he was quite old when signed, certainly a predisposition to injuries. And there werenít too many folks thrilled with this signing anyway.

Latroy Hawkins ñ Is there an injury history Iím missing?

Joe Borowski ñ Ditto

Greg Maddux ñ Poster-child of health

Kerry Wood ñ Been in the organization since 1996. Iím guessing you werenít against his extension when he signed it.

Mark Prior ñ Should Hendry have ordered them to draft someone else with the #2 pick? Is there a test or stat for the ability to avoid line drives or crash into second basemen? I suppose your advocating that Hendry should of known all of this and shipped him off after his spectacular 2003 season.

Troy Percival/Armando Benitez ñ Oh wait, those were guys you wanted Hendry to sign, but thankfully Hendry didnít heed your advice as both missed a hunk of the 2005 season.

So as far as I can tell, Damn you Jim Hendry for signing Chad Fox to a minor league deal!!!!

Maybe injuries are a major reason, but at some point, the excuses have to stop.

Great point, but just point me to the article(s) where Hendry makes excuses for the last 2 years? Cause I recall a fair amount of him taking blame for the season. But if your looking for someone making excuses, I present Dusty ìItís not my departmentî Baker.

Overall besides catching lightening in a bottle with Lofton in 2003, Hendry has had a inferior team considering the payroll.
So Lofton is the only good move heís made, huh? And apparently it was pure luck on his part. Derrek Lee, Michael Barrett, Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, Matt Murton (among others) may have a bone to pick with you.

He did assemble a very good team in 2004, but there were too many injuries and injury prone players on that team. he did not learn his lesson in 2005 and so far going for teh 2006 team
Are Neifi and Glendon injury prone? I missed the memo. Iíll give you Dempster, but you didnít seem too upset by that signing.

Your lack of objectivity is as bad ,if not worse, than the posters you call out for their unprovoked attacks of Dusty.

Rob G.:
"Do you not see that youíre guilty of the exact same thing that youíre accusing others of. Only your blindness is of Baker and your hatred is towards Hendry. For exampleÖ"

I have said Baker is partly responsible for the Cubs not making the playoffs the past two years, as he is the manager. He needs to be held partly liable and should not be given a contract extenstion and should be fired along with Hendry if the Cubs do not make the playoffs in 2006.

"Care to give us a theory on how the GM is responsible for ìgetting pitchers healthyî?"

For one thing actually hire good doctors, training staff and pitching coach. But maybe it was bad wording on my part. I should of said sign pitchers/players who can stay healthy and are not injury prone.

"Great point, but just point me to the article(s) where Hendry makes excuses for the last 2 years?"

I was talking about Hednry supporters who think he is a great GM.

Hope that explains some of your picking apart my post.

Did anyone see that report in the Boston Globe that the Red Sox might want to interview Hendry for their GM post? Do we let him go and if we do who do we bring in besides Theo or Stoney who would for sure be the top two canidates? My no.3 for the job would be Don Evans. Chicago guy knows the city and is responible for that stacked Dodgers farm system that Hart, Hershier, or Ng is get credit for. Also, who would we ask the Red Sox for in return? I would want it to be PTNBL and once June comes around that PTNBL to be Jacob Ellisbury to give us stacked OF prospects with Murton in LF and Pie in RF at Wrigley for a decade starting in 07.

Hendry's pretty tight with McPhail and there's a lot less scrutiny in Chicago than Boston. Unless there are some ties to the New England area or the franchise that I'm unaware of, I don't see how that's a better deal for him, other than the expected payraise. You never know though.

Bring in Theo!! Just kidding, well sort of. How about THeo and Depo as his assistant. Kidding again, sort of. McPhail is pretty old school, I'd expect an old school GM. Dan Evans could be a possibly, but as I said, don't see why Hendry would leave.

Yeah, I'm sure McPhail would bring Stoney in to be GM. I would expect he'd take over the job himself once again.

Here is a link to that story:

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/...

Apparently he might be a canidate because Lucchino likes Talent evaluators and Hendry is viewed highly in that regard. Rob I think the reason he would leave is because of $$$ and job security. I think the new guy will get as much as Theo was offered 3/4.5 to prove that it was not a cost issue. My thought on the the whole Red Sox GM is that Theo will be their next GM. I think he had burn-out but guys who work that hard need to work and being the GM of the Nats will not cut it. Whatever differnces they were between him and Lucchino will be taken care of.

"Don Evans"

Typo - I assume. Dan Evans would be a great GM. I'd love to see that.

If memory serves, didn't Stone get passed over for the GM position before MacPhail became GM? Maybe even before MacPhail came aboard...I think it was before MacPhail but I can't pull the prior GM's name...was that the Larry Himes era? I thought at that point Stone would be a good hire...as assistant to GM...though I would've hated to lose him as analyst. He then was part of the group that tried to buy the A's but lost out. Even with all his contacts and knowledge of the game, I don't think you can just throw the position at Stone, he'd have to be an assistant for at least a year...which is perfect...bring Stoney in now and when Dusty is ran out of town next season he can take over for the outgoing Hendry. I personally think he'd be great because I think he'd be partially a saber type GM but not a hardline saber GM like DePodesta who wasn't knowledgable about the game enough to realize that character/chemistry/injuries/defense are also part of the game...more of a T.Epstein type. How great would it be to see Stone up in the suites peering down on Baker with head in hands watching Dusty make that slow walk after finally pulling Prior out of the game in the 8th inning after throwing 135 pitches.

"He needs to be held partly liable and should not be given a contract extenstion and should be fired along with Hendry if the Cubs do not make the playoffs in 2006."

It's almost impossible to take you serious when you say this stuff.
Things aren't only black and white.
If the Cubs don't make the playoffs, you don't automatically fire everyone. You look at who's responsible and act accordingly.
Say Hendry gives Dusty a quality roster and he grossly mis-uses it as much as he has in the past... sure, may as well fire Hendry for Dusty's incompetence. That makes sense.

X

Yes that was a typo.

Bogey,

He would not have to be an AGM for a year. He has more expirence in the game than those 20 somethings in TB or TEX. He was evaluting talent before those guys were even zygoates.

Big John Stud:
"It's almost impossible to take you serious when you say this stuff."

I can care less if YOU take me seriously. I am giving my opinion of what the Cubs should do if they don't make the playoffs this upcoming year. If you don't agree with it, that is cool.

Hendry has had 3+ seasons as GM and now working on his 4th. The holes on the team last year were very obvious and he was not able to fill them. The holes are very clear this year too. So far he has signed two backup guys that might very well be starting. Not a good start. He does need to be given the entire offseason to judge him, but since 2003, things have gone the wrong way. You can blame only baker, that is fine, but he is only part of the problem so far.

20 somethings in TB? I thought Gerry Hunsicker was in his 50's. I think it's a mute point because I doubt that the Cubs would let Hendry get away until after this season...and I don't think MacPhail or the higher-ups would even consider having Stone as GM when Baker is still manager...it would be a PR nightmare because everyone would know that Baker would definately be a lame duck manager. I don't know what his relationship is with MacPhail these days. I haven't heard of anything negative like Stone's with Baker, or Mark Grace's hatred of MacPhail. This will be a more valid discussion next off-season.

hunsicker was hired as the #2 man behind 28 year old Andrew Friedman.

sorry I was being sarcastic because by all accounts Hunsicker is the guy who put together the Baldelli contract and since he has all the established connections he's pretty much handling the FA/trade scenarios as well. I don't know why they didn't just bring in Hunsicker to be the GM for a year and then let Friedman take over after he gets established. Then Hunsicker can take over president of baseball operations and become the Andy MacPhail of the D-Rays.

2 quotes from Manny:

Baker was not the reason this team has not made the playoffs the last two years

I have said Baker is partly responsible for the Cubs not making the playoffs the past two years, as he is the manager.

So, Baker's partly responsible for the Cubs not making the playoffs, but its not his fault?

Good to hear you have finnaly come aboard....

I've been openly critical of Hendry in the past, this is nothing new. My biggest problem is that he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes, and doesn't make change when change is needed. (and resigning Neifi when you've already got OBP issues and Cedeno at 1/10th the price is the perfect example of that)

But he's also done a pretty darn good job in signing and trading for talent. He put together a very good team in 2003, and added to it to make the most talented team in recent Cub history in 2004. Yes, things took a step backwards in 2005, but I both expected that, and predicted it in the summer of 2004. I also think some of the common complaints of last year, like him being obsessed with trading Sosa and not fixing the bullpen have been overblown because the team he did put together severely underperformed for the 2nd straight year.

But Ultimatly, its Hendry who needs to make the changes so that underperformance stops. So far he isn't showing any signs that he's willing to do that, and if he isn't, then the Cubs need to bring in a new executive team that wants to win, and do everything it takes to bring a world championship to Wrigley.

Can I break out down into the most basic terms?

Since Baker was hired the Cubs have sported a pretty large payroll and the most they have to show for it was a blind luck season in 2003.

I don't know the exact amount of money but I think the Cubs should be showing more from 250+ million dollars spent over the last 3 years. That is a hell of alot of money spent to get us to a below .500 team in 3 years. Granted we started out below .500 and now we have come full circle with nothing accomplished.

"20 somethings in TB?"

If that franchise wasn't already terrible, they'd become worse fast. Given the talent they have in the farm system, I can't wait to watch these two kids destroy this franchise. My guess, by 2010 the Rays will be out of Tampa. When I look at their hires recently, all I can think of is Rachel Phelps.

FROM THE MIAMI PAPER:

"In addition, two reports put the Marlins in the middle of preliminary discussions on a multiteam trade that is said to involve the Chicago Cubs' Corey Patterson and Florida's Juan Pierre."

from Rotoworld.com

According to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees could pursue Rafael Furcal as a center fielder.

That'd hardly fit in with the club's plan to reduce payroll, although it'd be interesting to see the Yankees leave Derek Jeter at shortstop with one more superior defender on the roster. While this is an extreme longshot, you can be sure Furcal's agent would love to see the Yankees involved until the end. Nov. 10 - 4:43 am et
--
Somehow you knew someone would come up with a story that involved the Yanks getting involved.

I think Jimbo's big plan is to sign Neifi, so that he will have an "in" with Furcal. Think about it this way, if you had the option to work in several different places, for close to even money, but in one job you could work with a close friend, what would you choose?

The problem with the plan is Dusty Baker. Like always, you can't trust Dusty to make the best line-up. Even if he does start Cedeno at 2nd at the beginning of the season, I'm sure he'll have a short hook.

Until Dusty is gone, the club will continue to have the same old problems.

Kevin Millwood wants a FIVE year deal. The Indians are thinking maybe three.

Can we scratch him off our list now?

Scott Boras is his agent. Obviously.

Sources close to me report that Fox Sports Net's source for that Furcal to Yanks story is Furcal's agent. Gee we've never heard that one before...and it's not like every single FA is rumored to go to the Yanks, Red Sox or Mets these days for the simple fact that agents try to get the actual interested teams (ie Braves and Cubs) to try and bid against themselves. Wasn't this tired formula exposed after the Boras/A-Fraud/Rangers debacle? I guess that would leave the Yanks' payroll at apprx $53 mil committed to shortstops for the 2006 season.

Tomorrow's headline: Yanks explore trade with Orioles SS Miguel Tejada with plans to move him to 2B. Also Yanks will bring in Nomar to play LF if discussions with H.Matsui fall through.

This article seems to support the rumor that the Phillies are dangling Abreu. I'd love to see Hendry make a run for him; he's a solid bet each year to give a team 150+ games, a .400+ OBP, and 100+ RBI.

He's owed $13mm in 06 and $15mm in 07, with a $16mm option / $2mm buyout in '08. Certainly within the Cubs budget, and short enough to keep Hendry comfortable.

I keep hearing the same rumors about Abreu. The question I always ask is why? He is the teams best player, he is probably the best all-around player in MLB. The only thing I can think of is that sure they are willing to trade him if they can get Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, or Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano.

Consider for a moment that Abreu's WORST OBP season was .393. I don't think Philly is that dumb to trade him.

new old school GM, not as interested in OBP is one, two they like Ryan Howard and Abreu is much easier to trade than Burrell or Thome if they're trying to open up a spot for Howard and would get the most in return.

George Offman on the score said that the Marlins want Pie in a deal for Pierre. Pierre is only 28 and has a career batting average of .305.

What does moving Burrell or Abreu have to do with Howard? Howard can't play the OF. In fact the Phillies tried to see if he could handle the OF down in the minors and it was a spectacular failure.

The only way Howard plays is if Thome is gone. Trading Abreu doesn't solve that problem.

I'd rather have Abreu over any RF name I've heard so far. No.2 on that list is Giles. He's a Cub killer almost every year and would be a great #3 presence in the lineup if DLee reverts to norms (and #4 if DL shows that last yr was not a career year).

Given that Tribune can handle his salary structure, what is the market price for such talent?

Phillies offense: SS(Rollins), 2B(Utley), 3B(Bell...upgradable), 1B (Howard in, Thome out); C(Lieberthal...upgradable); OF (Burrell)

Why in the world would they move Abreu? Without him their outfield is thinner than the Cubs. Which is like saying Ron Santo needs a comb.

Honestly, I don't know what Phillie OF prospects are ready, because if they have a prospect that fills RF for them it could work. Otherwise, I don't see how the Cubs match up here. Other than upgrades at catcher and 3B, it seems that the Phils need a centerfielder and Pitching. So CPat and a ton of pitching prospects is all I can see the Cubs offering (you can take two or three...JWilliams, Guzman, Hill, Mitre, Nolasco, Ryu, Pinto, Aardsma , but I doubt the Phils would make that kind of deal.

Re: Andrew

If the Cubs are serious about getting Pierre and the Marlins are serious about getting Pie then the Cubs have to sign Furcal so that Florida has less bargaining power.

Without Furcal the Marlins can play hard ball with the Cubs because they know we have no lead-off hitter, no one with speed (Ok Patterson, but he can't get on base to save his life), and our current CF sucks. They are playing the game of, if you want help now you need to give up a little more. Signing Furcal will most likely drop Pie from the Marlins wish list because Pierre becomes less valuable to us.

If Hendry can pull off Pierre and Furcal. I will give him props for that.

Another right fielder just became available. The Cards bought out Larry Walker's contract.

I hope that was a joke, CWTP. Larry can barely turn his head...he is not a good option at all. He is probably going to retire.

Larry "Needza" Walker was worth every buck of that million dollar buyout.

I hear you, MikeC. It's not likely, but what about this?

Regarding that 3 team trade, and regarding the dangling of Abreu, surely there's a way to make this work:

-Corey Patterson to the Marlins (+ pitching prospects and cash)

-Juan Pierre + cash to the Phillies (who will need a leadoff hitter)

-Abreu to the Cubs

Okay, so I don't have the kinks worked out. But it sure seems like that's a possibility. With the Phillies wanting to slash payroll and the Cubs looking for a solid outfielder that won't necessarily need to be a leadoff man depending on Furcal, I think this is somehow do-able.

hey, moving howard to the of aren't my words, that's just a plan the phillies are exploring that I've seen in more than one place and confirmed by the powers that be as an "option". They'd love to just trade Thome, but albatross contract is going to make that very difficult.

November 15th right? The first day anything can really happen?

There's no perfect solution to the Phillies problem. Thome will be nearly impossible to trade; they can't bench the ROY; neither Abreu nor Burrell is suited to CF; and Howard shouldn't be in the OF at all.

Furcal's agent is really working overtime. Telling the Yanks he'll play CF, telling the Mets he'll play 2B. What this means is that Furcal will be holding out for the last penny of the highest offer he can find. So he probably won't be signing real soon, which puts a crimp in the Cubs off-season schedule.

Carpenter won the Cy Young

Hendry gives a Cy of relief, at least he's famous for trading away rookies of the year, not Cy Youngsters.

Just shows that you can have a crappy September and it doesn't matter to the sportswriters. I think D-Train was robbed.

Something tells me that unless its a TON more money, Furcal will only sign with team that wants him to play short stop.

"With the Phillies wanting to slash payroll"

And don't forget the Marlins decided they also HAVE TO slash payroll because their new stadium deal fell through.

juan pierre? for pie? You've got to be kidding me. I'd rather have lofton, and that's not saying much at all. pierre would be worth trading patterson for, but that's about it.

thank god hendry is in charge, and not the TCR posters!

Also, what is going on with the bleacher renovations? What are the odds that the Cubs open the 06 season with the bleachers closed?

Chad,

FA can sign with other teams tomrrow and on the bleacher stuff Al has been doing updates every other day or so on BCB.

On the Furcal to Yanks rumor. I think I was the source along with Paul Kinzer. I posted the possibilty in like August.

Rosenthal has this today on Fox regarding Furcal.

http://msn.foxsports.com/story/5070298

If Furcal is willing to play centerfield, why not for the cubs with Nomar at short?

it seems furcal is willing to play pretty much everywhere but pitcher/catcher to whoever pays him the most money.

hell, his agent will tell you he can walk on water for an extra 1/4 million a year.

As for Cy, I thinks it's Clemens who got robbed.

I don't envision any scenario where the Phillies trade Abreu. Howard/Thome still would be terrible OFs, if they'd even play it at all. And Pierre is a good CF, but he's not close to the calibre of player that Abreu is.

They will move either Thome and eat a lot of his contract, or Howard for a top tier package.

I don't envision any scenario where the Phillies trade Abreu. Howard/Thome still would be terrible OFs, if they'd even play it at all. And Pierre is a good CF, but he's not close to the calibre of player that Abreu is.

They will move either Thome and eat a lot of his contract, or Howard for a top tier package.

"If Furcal is willing to play centerfield, why not for the cubs with Nomar at short?"

If the Cubs can sign him, why not play him at SS, and get a real CF to play CF, and let Nomar get injured elsewhere?

If he plays CF for the Yanks (which I doubt) it would be because of the opportunity to get paid Yankee-Money. We don't pay Yankee-Money. And it would be for the opportunity to be a perenial World Series frontrunner. We aren't that either.

Wanna bet we don't outbid the Yanks for him?

Rob G.

The plan for moving Howard to the OF was started last Feb and officially ended in March. About a week later Howard formally requested a trade.

He has been a 1st baseman his entire career. The experiment showed he has no chance in hell of ever being an OFer in the major leagues. Just imagine Frank Thomas, Jason Giambi or David Ortiz playing the OF. This is the conclusion from the Philly organization themselves. I don't know what your source is, but it is pretty common knowledge that Howard will never play the OF.

The previous GM said this after the failed OF experiment and the new Phillies GM has expressed the same thing...

Nov 05, 2005 - 10:32 am
New Phillies GM Pat Gillick said he sees Ryan Howard as a first baseman, not an outfielder.

re: #110 Chris Posted

"juan pierre? for pie? You've got to be kidding me. I'd rather have lofton, and that's not saying much at all. pierre would be worth trading patterson for, but that's about it.thank god hendry is in charge, and not the TCR posters!"

Once again Chris your infantile generalized criticism of TCR is misguided. As far as I can tell nobody on TCR suggested Pie for Pierre was a good trade. It was reported elsewhere that Florida wants Pie (post #95 quoting a reporter on THE SCORE) . . . and Mike C posted a possible scenario to NOT trade Pie (#98). You are a pitiful troll.

Who said there aren't a lot of impressive right fielders available.... This just in off the wires:

Outfielder Sammy Sosa, another player in need of a revival, is attracting zero interest as a free agent. Sosa, 37, likely will need to sign a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training if he wishes to remain in the majors. He is 12 homers short of 600.

Sammy would look good in an Iowa Cubs uniform.

mannytrillo:
"Baker was not the reason this team has not made the playoffs the last two years."

"I have said Baker is partly responsible for the Cubs not making the playoffs the past two years, as he is the manager."

Bleeding Blue:
"So, Baker's partly responsible for the Cubs not making the playoffs, but its not his fault?"

I don't think this is too hard to understand, but I will try and explain again. Baker is NOT THE (one and only) reason the Cubs didn't make the playoffs, he is one of the reasons, thus that is why he is PARTLY responsible. Understand?? Hope so...

I think you'd see Thome move back to 3B before you'll see Howard in the OF. That guy is David Ortiz lite...but just a little lighter. I don't think it would be all that hard to move Thome's contract if the Phills eat about $3 mil a year from it. He's owed $12.5 in '06, $14 in '07 & '08, and has a $3 mil buyout on his '09 contract. If his back is healthy he's worth a $10-11 mil a year contract and I could see a team like the White Sox being interested if Konerko leaves for Boston or Anaheim. He's from Joliet IL so it could work. Possibly even SF to add protection for Balco Bonds, SD, Tigers, Blue Jays all need a power bat and are all currently lacking at 1B.

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