TCR Friday Notes

Well, it's nice to see you guys get in the spirit and put us ton top of the voting going on at Red Reporter for best baseball blog of 2005. We appreciate the support and it's as much a vote for you guys as it is for us writers. Voting goes through the end of the year I believe. - So we've heard some inklings of the Cubs pursuing Preston Wilson and/or Marquis Grissom. I suppose this is Hendry's plan to fill that righty bat on the bench or potential platoon-mate for Jones. I'd prefer a good player like Craig Wilson, but there is another FA out there who could fill the bill for both Dusty and Hendry. He's a vet (37 next season), can mash lefties, 3 year splits versus lefties: .293/.403/.497 2005 versus lefties: .288/.370/.471 and he's very familiar with Wrigley Field and day games. And I'm actually half-serious. But only half. That's all I got for today, enjoy the weekend and have a Happy New Year. See you in 2006!!!
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Comments

Sammee? You have got to be kidding! My guess is that there is a better chance that Kerry Wood of going a season without being on the DL (which would be close to impossible) than ever seeing Sammee in the same dugout with Dusty Baker.

The Sammy idea has cross my mind too. While I don't see it happening because of last year's incident, I wouldn't mind seeing Sammy come back as a backup/Jones Platoon mate, and let him hit his 600th HR in a Cub uniform.

He's not going to be great in the post-roid era, but I think he still could be the piece of RH power off the bench that we don't have right now.

I hope Sammy likes sushi.

No, it's not happening, but in a fantasty world, he's a better option then Marquis Grissom or Preston Wilson. And a part of me would like him to finish his career with the Cubs.

And the sideshow circus would be entertaining since the on-field product next year most likely won't be. :)

I won't prophesize about when Kerry will make his first start next year, but I highly doubt he'll spend anytime on the DL once he does. That surgery should get him through the year.

Yeah Sosa except a bench role...HA HA HA

That egomaniac would be such a gem in the clubhouse. I think the players and fans and management have said their piece about Sosa. They will NEVER take him back.

What is most interesting to me is how long will it take till they retire his jersey? It has to be retired, but there is NO WAY it will happen with any of the current management in place (McPhail, Hendry and Baker).

Not that any of those guys really deserve to be here longer than this year anyways.

My guess is it will happen around 2013:
- Retire after 2006
- Wait 5 years to be on HOF ballot
- Get inducted 2012
- Jersey retired the next year

Yeah Sosa except a bench role...HA HA HA
That egomaniac would be such a gem in the clubhouse.

Interestingly, it will be Sammy's ego that will force him to take a bench role. No one will sign him to be a starter anymore, and he's not going to retire until he hits HR number 600.

Once he does hit the magic number, he'll retire faster than a fictional player in a bad bernie mac movie.

Tell me I am not the only one who is not likeing this Wilson/Grissom talk. With a competent manager it would probably be OK to bring wilson in to platoon with Jack Jones. But with the mangler filling out the lineup card and apparently having a firm grip on Hendry's junk. It seems more likely that murton is either

1. benched
2. hitting 340. in Iowa
3. traded for a 1 year rental like Zito

You have to love a franchise braintrust in the final year of their contracts. Screw the future, lets see if we can scrape together 85 wins.

I am surprised Sammy is getting absolutely no attention in the FA market. Not even from the Rangers, who I think would have pursued him as a part-time DH.. I kinda think he ends up in DC after the team is sold and Bowden's (or his successor) has a higher budget. As a Nat, he would also be conveniently close to Capitol Hill and therefore be better able to respond to subpoenas.

Bleeding Blue:
"he's not going to retire until he hits HR number 600."

Sosa has 588 HR's. He had 14 HR's in 380 AB's last year.

He has gotten worse every year for the past 5 years. Even if he stays the same as last year, he will need to get 300 AB's to get to 600.

What team would give him 300 AB's?????

AaronB:
"Tell me I am not the only one who is not likeing this Wilson/Grissom talk."

I have a problem with it, but these are the types of players that traditionally have been signed by Hendry regime in his term here. It shouldn't suprise you.

At the very worse, Sosa gets an invite to spring training from some team, but I still gotta think that some AL team could use him/try him as a DH. If his ego ever did let him realize it, he could do quite well being a platoon-mate. He can't hit a slider away to save his life anymore, but lefties don't have that advantage against him.

12 Hr's in the short side of a platoon is certainly possible and even with 'roid allegations, it would be hard to keep him out of the Hall with 600.

I really would like to know what Hendry is thinking. Other than Sticking with Dusty he has been the most astute GM the cubs have had in my lifetime. But his moves have seemed to be really shortsighted the last 2 years. such as

1.not signing tejada because of Gonzo
2.not offering arbitration to any of his outgoing free agents and getting no draft pick compensation.
3.allowing his manager to bully him into overpaying to keep immenently replaceable mediocre vets
4. signing Jack F'N Jones WTF

What team would give him 300 AB's?????

I don't know, but if Neifi Perez can find a team that will give him 500 ABs, anything's possible.

Sammy will play somewhere this year, and he'll get a handful of HRs. If he doesn't hit 12 this year, he'll be back again in 2007.

Hendry offered arbitration to Clement last year, FYI

and mcfail needs to be jack slapped for letting a GM control your franchise when he has a one year contract. Who best interest does he have in mind. His own/saving his job with 85 wins. Or the Franchise's and farm system. I have been a big hendry supporter up until now. We need Theo

Hendry offered arbitration to Clement last year, FYI

no, boston signed him before the deadline. It made it a no brainer choice. like howry and eyre this year

Clement signed on Dec 22nd of 2004, the deadline is Dec. 7th.

my fault, It still doesnt excuse not getting picks for Grudz,alou,mercker,burny,and nomar

"What team would give him 300 AB's?????"

The Giants?

the bonds,alou,sosa

what a fun clubhouse to be around. lol

as I assume you know, offering arbitration is more complicated then just getting draft picks. You risk the chance the player will accept arbitration and thus possibly make more $$$ (see Greg Maddux 2003 with the Braves) then you really wanted to pay.

Other then Nomar, none of those guys you probably wanted around for what they were going to cost.

AaronB:
"allowing his manager to bully him into overpaying to keep immenently replaceable mediocre vets"

What makes you think dusty is pushing him to sign these guys? Any quotes from Hendry, or just pure unproven biased specualtion? Maybe as the GM and Baker's boss, he is making these decsions. I know Baker is TCR's favorite scapegoat, but at some point the finger is going to have to be pointed at Hendry.

Rob G.:
"Other then Nomar, none of those guys you probably wanted around for what they were going to cost."

I would of taken Grudz and Alou...

Just to spite Dusty Baker, I had been hoping for the all-headcase outfield of Manny Ramirez, Milton Bradley, and Sammy Sosa. That would have been fun. Besides, who wouldn't love a team with $30 million worth of Ramirez that loafs on every grounder / popup?

any of those above mentioned guys would have been upgrades over what we replaced them with.

whatever manny, do I need to point out all the posts of you going after Hendry for signing injury-riddled players? But we should of kept Grudz and Alou, 2 guys who know the training room better then they know the dugout.

manny, I am saying that I have turned on Hendry. However I turned on baker in 03 with his god awful managerial style. is it that hard to hire a competent major league manager?

is it like a QB or punter in the NFL?

AaronB:
"is it that hard to hire a competent major league manager?"

It might be when you have an incompetent GM...

where would we have been worse off with

alou
mercker
grudz
burny
nomar

as opposed to

holly
eyre
neifi
jack jones
neifi/cedeno

any of those above mentioned guys would have been upgrades over what we replaced them with.

Alou, yeah, all 123 games the Giants got out of him, but it would of been better then Holly/Dubois/Lawton/Hairston

Grudz over Walker? Till last year, Walker was the healthy one and considerably younger. Damn Carlos Lee!!!

Mercker over ????; I don't know who's considered his replacement

Burny over Jones; Your kidding right?

Nomar over Cedeno/Neifi: Totally agree that Hendry dropped the ball on offering arbitration on this one.

Hendry/Mcfail seemed competent back in 01. signed low risk vets and contended before anyone thought we should. then offered arb. and got 4 first rounders. this year we seem to be taking the Brian Sabean approach to ballclub construction

Rob G.: You "highly doubt" that Wood will spend any time on the DL this year once his season begins and that the surgery should get him through the year???? Well, I am not saying he will have another surgery this coming year but, based on Kerry's declining health, there is no reason to have any optimism at all that Kerry can make it through a season. Sure, he had the surgery but he is still the same ol' Kerry with the same throwing motion etc. My guess is that Kerry will be back on the DL by June at the latest.

Rob G.:
"But we should of kept Grudz and Alou, 2 guys who know the training room better then they know the dugout."

How many games did Alou miss during the 3 years he played for the Cubs? He also put up GREAT numbers.
Alou got better every year in Chicago and played in 132, 151 and 155 games respectively. Grudz played more games than Walker last year.

and for all the mismanagement that went on in the cubs dugout. this team would have won 85-90 games with grudz and Alou

My guess is that Kerry will be back on the DL by June at the latest.

I guess we'll find out in June. Surgeries are amazing things though and this is Kerry's walk year essentially. For a comparision go see Matt Morris. Equally troubling histories with arm problems, Morris had the same surgery last off-season and made it throughout the year w/o a glitch. Wood should make it through the season in my opinion. And I said once they let Kerry back in the rotation, I don't know if that will coincide with the beginning of the season.

okay manny, way to try and selectively skew that towards your viewpoint. You use the point that Alou didn't miss that many games with the Cubs and that Grudz did stay healthy in 2005 as reasonings the Cubs should of kept them. But you ignore the fact that with the same 2 players, Alou DID NOT stay healthy in 2005 and Grudz was injured the whole time he was with the Cubs. Nice try...

all i know is with those 2 the # 2 and # 5 spots in the batting order would have looked alot better from my view.

hey, you want to argue that they should of kept Grudz around for the defense, go for it. But how the hell does he make the #2 spot in the order look any better over Walker?

Walker is/was a better #2 hitter than Grudz.

Rob G.:
"okay manny, way to try and selectively skew that towards your viewpoint."

That is why stats are fun to play with because many stats can be used to work your own ideas, while people on the other side of the fence can use different stats to support their ideas. Gotta love stats....

You can say nice try, but I wanted to keep Alou and Grudz and said it way before Hendry made his decision to not keep them nor offer them arbitration. But instead Hendry wanted to go into 2005 with Holly/Dubois platoon, which was a disaster and Walker at 2B who is a very solid hitter but poor defensively.

He is the GM and needs to live with his decisions. And last year his decisions led to a sub .500 season.

Ive been thinking of Sammy too. Nobody seems to want to offer anything to him, so, if he could show some humility and accept say $1m/1yr contract, i would take him back. But I dont think he would do that. Someting in a recent quote about, 'Everyone realizes what I've done for the game.' It's like he doesnt realize hes not good anymore, and hasn't been since the instant the photo above was taken.
Not to mention Hendry would never bring him back. But I would love to see him hit his 600th in Wrigley, or at least as a Cub.

He is the GM and needs to live with his decisions. And last year his decisions led to a sub .500 season.

The Milwaukee Brewers finished with a .500 record.

The Cubs roster put together by Jim Hendry had far more talent than the Brewers.

Big John Stud:
"Walker is/was a better #2 hitter than Grudz."

Over the past 3 years:
Walker: .287/.345/.452/.797 2 SB
Grudz: .304/.349/.415/.764 15 SB

Who is the better #2 hitter? This does not even count the huge difference in defense.

ill admit that walker and Grudz is a wash. but the smart thing would have been to offer arb. to both of them and keep whichever one accepted. Then we would have had at least a first rounder if one of them decided to leave. and If both of them would have came back, we would have been better for it.

That is why stats are fun to play with because many stats can be used to work your own ideas, while people on the other side of the fence can use different stats to support their ideas. Gotta love stats....

Yeah, that games played stat can really be twisted and turned anyway you want.

but I wanted to keep Alou and Grudz and said it way before Hendry made his decision to not keep them nor offer them arbitration.

Yeah and you've also bashed Hendry for acquiring players with injury histories. So which is it? Or could you just have some ulterior motive to bash Hendry whenever something doesn't seem to work out? It's nice to have your cake and eat it too. And I suppose no one will really know, but I'm guessing the reason Alou was let go was more a financial reason then really wanting to go into the season with Holly/Dubois.

"He is the GM and needs to live with his decisions. And last year his decisions led to a sub .500 season."
---

Yea, Hendry shouldn't have batted Neifi & Corey at the top of the order for the bulk of the season and wasted Lee's MVP year.

Bleeding Blue:
"The Cubs roster put together by Jim Hendry had far more talent than the Brewers."

Maybe "on paper" before the season started. But baseball isn't played on paper, or the NYY would win the WS every year.

I think there is some confusion here on arbitration
and not excersising team options. In the case
of Burnitz it was definately not exercising the option
I don't know the rules on this but I doubt you can
refuse an option and offer arbitration in its place
(though I am pretty sure you can reneogotiate the
contract). Does anyone really wished we had kept
him for 7 million ?

Rob G:
"Yeah and you've also bashed Hendry for acquiring players with injury histories."

Yes I have and so have MANY others on here and in Cubdom. But to sign the occasional injured guy isn't a problem with me (taking chances on Williamson dempster), but when your season is constantly relied aupon a majority of your players being injury prone (Nomar, Prior, Wood, ARAM) then you have to question some of the signings.

But Alou did not miss many games at all in his 3 year tenure, so i wouldn't of counted that as a major injury risk. He actually played more games every year and got better every year offensively.

Grudz though is declining offensively, Walker is not. Till last year, Walker was a fair bet to stay healthy over Grudz as well. Plus if you care to believe it, Walker was supposedly kept around to help sign Nomar.

Grudz OPS
2003: .782
2004: .779
2005: .741

Walker OPS
2003: .761
2004: .820
2005: .829

Who's the better #2 hitter?
Here are stats while hitting in the 2-hole last year.
Guess who's who...

Player A: .299 AVG .351 OBP .492 SLG .844 OPS
Player X: .200 AVG .289 OBP .268 SLG .557 OPS

Tell me who's the better #2 hitter?

I think there is some confusion here on arbitration
and not excersising team options. In the case
of Burnitz it was definately not exercising the option
I don't know the rules on this but I doubt you can
refuse an option and offer arbitration in its place
(though I am pretty sure you can reneogotiate the
contract). Does anyone really wished we had kept
him for 7 million ?

they are 2 seperate things. This might come up with woody next year and could have played into glendon rusch this year. A team can decline an option, and still offer a player arbitration. In the burny case the cubs rightfully declined his 7 mil option, then declined arb. on dec 7th. He then proceded to sign with baltimore for 6 mil per season. If we had offered him arbitration. we would have gotten a 1st rounder in the "sandwich" phase and baltimore's 3rd round pick.

Maybe "on paper" before the season started.

A General Manager is responsible for creating the best possible team, on paper.

The Manager is responsible for making that team perform up the best of its ability.

The Brewers had the inferior team, but performed better. So we should blame the General Manager?

Big John Stud:
"Here are stats while hitting in the 2-hole last year."

Rob G., take a look at Big John Stud's post and see how stats can be manipulated to fit your argument...;)

no we should rightly blame the mangler. but we should blame the GM for keeping that fucking idiot employed

But Alou did not miss many games at all in his 3 year tenure, so i wouldn't of counted that as a major injury risk

Well, I'm guessing the rest of the baseball world would consider a 38 year old OF who's career is riddled with trips to the DL a major injury risk.

Do you mean like the guys who bash Baker??

as long as your consistent in your arguments, no problems from me. But I call out the Baker crap where I see fit as well. Hell, I've been on Hendry's case all off-season myself, but at least I'm consistent and don't rewrite history.

take a look at Big John Stud's post and see how stats can be manipulated to fit your argument.

as I said, games played, lot of leeway in that one.

Not manipulating anything. The argument is who is a better #2 hitter. Statistically, Walker is a better #2 hitter, plain and simple.
Go ahead and grasp for a straw.

aaron's right about still be able to offer arb, even if you decline an option. But if they offered burny arbitration, he would NOT have signed with the O's, he would have accepted our offer for arbitration and we would have to pay him even more then the $7 mil that his player option would of asked for.

how many at bats in that sample John? Put up 03 and 04 stats and make a fair compairason

still burny for 1 year even at 7 mil is better than jack jones for 3 years at 5.33. now we are stuck with a bad corner OFer for 3 years. And management has clearly shown that they will not upgrade a position if they have a contract filling it already.

1) anyone who thinks grudz and walker are a wash from here on out or were at any point in the last 2 years (aka since walker was with the cubs) can just leave the board....thanks.

Grudz OPS
2003: .782
2004: .779
2005: .741

Walker OPS
2003: .761
2004: .820
2005: .829

2) aaronbleepingB, you're right, hendry's main faults have been a) not spending money on tejada when he was an FA b) keeping dusty around.

what exactly has dusty done to help the cubs the last three years manny?....what has he done to hurt....

then consider that he's being paid 4 mill a year.

still burny for 1 year even at 7 mil is better than jack jones for 3 years at 5.33

Well to each their own I guess. I don't like the Jones signing either, but he's an upgrade over burny in terms of offense and age, defense is probably a wash. $5 mil+ a year seems likes it's a contract you can move easily if you care to. But I see your point.

Bleeding Blue:
"A General Manager is responsible for creating the best possible team, on paper."

Not entirely correct. He should have some foresight that some of the players on his team might look good on paper, but due to being injury prone (Nomar, Wood, etc.), aging (Maddux) or other factors (manager, team chemistry) that might not make that "on paper" team as good as they appear to be.

"So we should blame the General Manager?"

When he hires and supports a manager which you and others feel has failed miserably, then yes you need to blame the GM for keeping him the manager.

I can't understand how you don't understand this (or maybe just don't want to understand it).

Here is a good example. Should you be pissed personally at Neifi Perez for playing SS and leading off. No, becuase Dusty put him there. So you should be pised at Dusty. Well, it is also the exact same thing with Dusty. You should be IRATE with Hendry, the GM and the Mangers boss, for sticking and supporting a manager you think is HORRIBLE.

Just my opinion for those who don't like Baker.

The fact that the Holly/Dubois platoon did not produce is not a reason to have kept Alou. He got terrible jumps on fly balls and kept getting thrown out on the bases while asleep. He appeared to be deteriorating before our eyes. Hendry's problem there was in not getting a good LF; it was NOT that he didn't keep Alou.

Over the past 2 years:
Walker: .290/.352/.470/.822 Grudz: .298/.333/.415/.748

More fun with stats! :-)

I agree with your optinion manny and lantern

AaronB:
"no we should rightly blame the mangler. but we should blame the GM for keeping that fucking idiot employed"

Yes, you should at least equally blame the GM.. Thanks!!

I dont see why you guys dont like my moves. I consistantly sign corner outfielders who rank in the top 20 in slugging% with over 120K's. I also do my best to give my manager player who dont "clog the bases." And this year we will find guys who will "catch the ball" Even if they hit worse than Carlos Zambrano

Big John Stud:
"Not manipulating anything. The argument is who is a better #2 hitter. Statistically, Walker is a better #2 hitter, plain and simple."

Of course as AaronB points out what are the AB's invloved? but my stats show that overall the past 3 years Grudz was a better hitter, with Wlaker having more pop (which is better used down the lineup). But then teh defense clearly seperated them.

dude, what's all the commotion going on here dude. We got neifi dude, we are gonna be alright. All we have to do now is go get Grissom. And maybe a vet like Kirk Gibson. yeah Gibby would be good in the clubhouse

Do you mean like the guys who bash Baker??

Lets end this Baker-Hating myth once and for all.

Bakers critics see a team that has severely underperfomed for several years now, and want him held responsible for it. They saw how the team was mismanaged in 2004, pointed out repeatedly how the talent was being wasted, and said what should have been done differently.

Meanwhile, they were calle Negative Dusty Haters by the "In Dusty We Trusty" crowd who refused to accept that everything they were saying eventually came true, and then repeated itself in 2005.

There was no hate there, there was seeing serious, and obvious mistakes and pointing out both the problems, and the solutions to those problems.

Now lets look at what Manny has done this offseason. He's decided that underperformance of the past 2 years was Jim Hendry's fault because those teams that he said would make the playoffs and/or win 90+ games really weren't that good, so he should be fired if the Cubs don't make the playoffs in 2006 - which is particurly interesting considering that this is one of the weakest offseasons in years.

Jim Hendry has made a number of moves so far this offseason, and Manny has found a problem with every one of them.

Hendry went out and signed the best 2 available middle relievers. Manny complains about the signings, despite
repeatedly complained about the bullpen, and used that as an excuse for Dusty's failings last season. Manny says Hendry spent too much money on them.

The, when the Cubs go get a lead off man in Pierre, Manny again says that Hendry gave up too much.

Meanwhile, When a very good but not superstar Furcal signs for $13 million dollars, Manny complains that Hendry didn't spend enough money.

Then Hendry signs Jones. Manny complains about him spending too much money again, saying he outbid himself - ignoring offers by both KC and St. Louis and that a very similar player in Burnitz just signed for even more money than Jones. Manny also refuses to say who Hendry should have tryed to get for right field considering the weak FA market, saying he isn't privy to that kind of information.

Then, Bruce Levine reports that Hendry has made a formal offer of Prior for Tejado, and Manny says the O's have to save us from Jim Hendry. But today, Manny uses the phrase "as reliable as Bruce Levine," so Manny apparently used a report from a knowingly unreliable source to try and further condemn Jim Hendry.

Today, Manny complains that Hendry didn't keep Alou and Grudz last year, two injury prone players, despite his repeated complaints that Hendry keeps signing injury prone players.

Manny made it pretty clear, there is nothing that Jim Hendry can do to make him happy. Dusty's "haters" make it very clear why they don't think he's doing a good job and say what he should do differently.

Its a big difference, and its pretty clear there's only one person here showing any true "Hate"

#69

Mr. Hendry knows that if I'm relieved of my duties or if my name gets flamed around as being responsible for the Cubs demise that I will use a certain colorful card to fall back on.

You Cub fans don't think we can win with Neifi Perez and Ronnie Cedeno (which I plan on using seldom--that is If I even call him up from Iowa) in the middle infield?

Dudes--I am Dusty Baker. When have I ever failed you? You don't think we can win with Jones and Murton (the latter of which I plan on getting rid of when the time is right--that fair skin red hair complexion makes em wilt in the summer sun)?

You don't think we can win with Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Matt Clement and Z? What about Grudz? He's pretty damn good. And Alou and Sosa may be old but I have faith they will carry us this season. You all talk crap about Gonzo but he's the man in the 9th inning-walkoff homers and all.

You all don't have a clue.

Jim Hendry & Dusty Baker-
Good posts guys...:)

But have fun finding a job next year...

In #50 Manny says:

"but when your season is constantly relied aupon a majority of your players being injury prone (Nomar, Prior, Wood, ARAM) then you have to question some of the signings."

So here Hendry is bad for signing Prior, but Manny doesn't want to trade Prior for Tejada. You have Hendry boxed in pretty good here Manny!

Should you be pissed personally at Neifi Perez for playing SS and leading off. No, becuase Dusty put him there. So you should be pised at Dusty. Well, it is also the exact same thing with Dusty. You should be IRATE with Hendry, the GM and the Mangers boss, for sticking and supporting a manager you think is HORRIBLE.

Nice try, but its only a good comparison if the person in charge has other options.

Being pissed at Dusty for playing Neifi is only justified if there is another option - like Ronny Cedeno at ss (and Todd Walker at 2b against Left Handed Pitching).

If Dusty has no other options, or his only other option is E.Wilson, then Dusty shouldn't be blamed for playing Neifi.

Meanwhile, if Hendry is standing by Dusty because he truely supports him. Then yes he should be criticised - and if you haven't noticed (and apparently you haven't) he is criticised frequently on this board for doing just that.

But if Hendry has no other options, because McFail won't let him or because the trib won't eat Dusty's contract, then no Hendry should not be blamed for keeping Dusty around.

Ranch:
"So here Hendry is bad for signing Prior, but Manny doesn't want to trade Prior for Tejada. You have Hendry boxed in pretty good here Manny!"

Come on man, you are better than Bleeding Blue, don't fall into that crap he spews. You know what I mean. In the past few years the Cubs have been really hurt by injuries and Prior was one of them, but that doesn't mean a guy should never sign a guy who was injured. And Prior's injuries are mostly freak injuries.

I DO NOT blame hendry for keeping Prior, too bad he is willing to giv him up.

Come on man, you are better than Bleeding Blue, don't fall into that crap he spews.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Bleeding Blue:
"and if you haven't noticed (and apparently you haven't) he is criticised frequently on this board for doing just that."

Mostly, only when I bring it up is he critisized just as a "yeah we blame hendry, BUT F**K Dusty". But this board should be in a uproar at Hendry for as much as many of you HATE Dusty.

"But if Hendry has no other options, because McFail won't let him or because the trib won't eat Dusty's contract, then no Hendry should not be blamed for keeping Dusty around."

That is a BIG if and an assumption that shouldn't be made unless you are looking for a reason to defend Hendry. IF you have any proof that McPhail has stopped hendry from firing Dusty, please let us know. I have seen the Trib give Hendry the OK to cut a few players last year with money owed.

Manny I'm not better than anyone, and I clearly don't know what you mean because you have contradicted yourself.

MannyTrillo ( I have his baseball card by the way) seems like one of those guys who, in an argument, keeps saying, "but you don't understand!" if somebody disagrees with them. No, Manny, we all understand with your logic...Baker sucks, Hendry is his boss, so really all of Baker's mistakes are Hendry's mistakes for not firing him.

Let's extend that....McPhail is Hendry's boss, so really Baker's foul-ups are McPhail's problems. But wait, there's more. I'm sure McPhail has his boss at the Tower. So really, it's their fault. Hmm, I kind of like this so far. Well, who are their bosses?? The stockholders and the fans of the team! My God....Baker's pitcher abuse, incessant double-switches, man-love for Jose Macias, and Neifi batting number two in the order are MY FAULT!! I must quickly go and correct this situation....

Thanks for correcting the error of my ways, Manny

Hey listen guys,
I don't want this entire next year being the Dusty Haters attacking me because I don't have a problem with Dusty managing the Cubs. I like this site as it has many people posting and to converse with, so I will tone it down over every needless Dusty bash posted by others.

I have no problem if Dusty gets fired as long as Hendry does too. I think they both have had chances to prove their worth and if they fail this year again, they both should be let go.

Again, it is fun arguing with you all about Dusty/Henmdry, but I am sure many on here don't really want to read it. Let's just try and make an agreement that we keep it to a minimum.

I understand you guys don't like Dusty, that is fine, I don't have a big problem with him and i see it more of a team issue.

Consider this a peace offering. And let's try and not have this conversation over and over. If you guys bash Dusty, i will try and not comment on it unless it is something that is clearly wrong. And I hope you guys can all just reply to my comments on their individual merits instead of implying/guessing/presuming the agenda behind it.

But for the New Year I am going to try and stop getting in these repetitive and endless and non-resulting converasstions about Dusty/Hendry. I just want them both gone if they lose this year.

Thanks guys....

Question: Does anyone think we have improved our team from last year? Hendry has sured up the 'pen, got the leadoff guy, removed Patterson from the lineup, and it appears he wants Murton & Cedeno in the lineup, which is what we all wanted.

Perhaps Hendry has not done enough is some fans' eyes, but I think he has address some major issues on this team. (2004: No lefties, rely too much on the HR--2005: No leadoff, poor bench, no replacement for players lost such as Alou). However, we can't always go out and get the best players all the time. Some of may not like it, but that is how it is.

There is no doubt we have had some shortcomings here and there from a talent perspective. The fact is that Dusty was outmanaged time and again last year--and I'm personally okay with that. Why? Because I knew what type of manager he was coming in. The thing that has disappointed me is that the "players' manager" label has not been fulfilled. He has not been able to draw those big named players who would supposedly love to play for him.

There is plenty of blame to go around considering this team, just 5 outs from the W.S. 2+ years ago, fallen flat on their face since. Can't you see that you are both RIGHT? Neither of you are as right as you think you are though.

Please, don't get teary-eyed, but I like both of you; but sometimes you can drive other people here nuts. Calm down and remember we are all on the same team.

Mostly, only when I bring it up is he critisized just as a "yeah we blame hendry, BUT F**K Dusty".

That's simply not true.

IF you have any proof that McPhail has stopped hendry from firing Dusty, please let us know.

McPhail has talked about giving Dusty an extension, so I'd say that's some solid evidence that Hendry's bosses still want Dusty around.

LMAO Twincitycubman. That was an awesome post.

That is the Manny arguement in a nutshell, just keep passin the buck around.

I want to know when Yosh Kiwano is going to get some of this blame.

Twincitycubman-
Manny's card is worth like $.02, so hope you aren't saving it as an investment.

But many people do blame the fans for the continued mediocricy of the Cubs. They fill the stadium every year to see a loser. MAybe if they sent a message that they won't put up with that crap anymore, teh Trib would open their eyes and demand from the Cubs employees a winner or MAJOR changes.

I don't know if I 100% agree with that, but there are many who think that way and I can understand that.

Manny I for one will accept your peace offering. I'm just a bit worried, dude; how are you going to react when Baker gets fired and Hendry doesn't? Because right or wrong, that's what is going to happen.

Just consider, how many GM's get fired after their first and only Manager hire is let go? Most GM's get a second chance. Now I know that Manny thinks this case should be an exception, but that's not how it's going to play out.

Vegasd Brian:
"Please, don't get teary-eyed, but I like both of you; but sometimes you can drive other people here nuts. Calm down and remember we are all on the same team."

Definately noted, and you very well may be right.

Read my post #82...Neither of us are going to change each others mind, so it is a waste of time.

Bleeding Blue:
"McPhail has talked about giving Dusty an extension"

Doesn't the GM usually give the manager the extension?? And if not in this case, why would Hendry want to be a GM of a team that doesn't even let him make that decision.

MIKEC:
"That is the Manny arguement in a nutshell, just keep passin the buck around."

Obviously there is something worng with this entire organization as we haven't won in 98 years, right? I don't think it always has been the managers fault ONLY, right?

There are some serious flaws in this organization from top to bottom.

Manny,

Consider this a peace offering

If you agree to stop trying to rewrite history to ignore the severe underperformance of the teams Dusty Baker has managed, agree to stop contradicting yourself and blaming Hendry for on field issues to advance your obvious agenda, agree to stop using the Its not Dusty's fault because Hendry hasn't fired Dusty excuse, and agree to at least once and a while offer an alternative to what Hendry should do differently when you are complaining about him, then I will agree to stop pointing out when you are inaccurate, contradictory, or creating no-win situations.

deal?

Doesn't the GM usually give the manager the extension?? And if not in this case, why would Hendry want to be a GM of a team that doesn't even let him make that decision.

That's not the point.

The point is that McFail has indicated that he and upper managment still have support for Dusty, making it less likely that Hendry would be allowed to fire him if he wanted to.

I, personally, think the Cubs have improved from last season. Even if they don't make one more move before April.
LF: Muront> Murton ((2005 version), Holly, Lawton, Dubois
RF: Jones > Burnitz
SS: Cedenon> Neifi
Bullpen 06 > Bullpen 05
CF: Pierre >>>>>>>>KKKKorey

They are, however, IMO, one impact guy away from being an elite club and I think that is what is frustrating to many fans. I would've liked Hendry to 1)keep Nomar for 6 million 2) gotten Byrnes to platoon with Jones in RF, 3) been much more aggressive in trading for Barry Zito from Oakland, 4) Lock up Prior, Z, Lee.

This wouldn't have been a bad line up:
1. Pierre, CF
2. Murton, LF
3. Lee, 1B
4. Ramirez, 3B
5. Garciaparra, SS
6. Jones/Byrnes, RF
7. Walker, 2B
8. Barrett, C

Rotation: Zito, Zambrano, Prior, Maddux, (Wood, Williams, Rusch)

Bullpen: Dempster, Williamson, Eyre, Howry, Ohman, (Williams/Rusch), JVB (kept him)

Bench: Neifi, Blanco, Mabry, Jones/Byrnes, Player acquired in trade from Oakland

I don't think that NOT losing JVB, trading for Zito, and giving Nomar 6 mil, getting Howry, Eyre and Pierre makes for a too busy winter but a good upgrade

Ranch:
"I'm just a bit worried, dude; how are you going to react when Baker gets fired and Hendry doesn't? Because right or wrong, that's what is going to happen."

Many a person on here thought Dusty would be fired last year after their losing streaks got so long, and many people thought Dusty would definately be fired after the year when they finished under .500, but he is still here. Who knows what will happen. McPhail seemed to think he would like Baker back, but it should be the GM's decision to hire the manager.

But yes if they fire Dusty and keep Hendry, i will be very upset as it would be just another example of why this team has not won in 98 years. BAD ORGANIZATION from top to bottom.

The only good thing is it would put ALL the pressure on Hendry to go out and win ASAp with no excuses of Dusty from the fans. Becuase if hendry couldn't win the 2-3 years after Dusty, then what would be the reason why.

Dave Kaplan of WGN Radio Chicago has reported that the Cubs are in discussions for Barry Zito. Wouldn't be bad to see a durable pitcher on the North Side of Chicago to complement Zambrano.

This is from MLBTraderumors.com

Does anyone know anything about this?

Bleeding Blue:
"deal?"

If you agree to stop doing the exact same thing against Dusty and for Hendry, then YES, deal. ;)

For all our hemming and hawing, Hendry and Baker are going to look like geniuses next year for stressing D and speed, if Z, Prior and Wood all make 30+ starts next year.

Considering I've never once blamed Dusty for anything that he wasn't responsible for, and can always tell you what Dusty should do differently when I'm complaining about him, that will be easy on my part.

Aw, Rob, the voice of reason. You are dead on. If those pitchers, throw like they are supposed to throw then the Cubs will be very tough to beat (see the 2005 As)

Rob G,:
"For all our hemming and hawing, Hendry and Baker are going to look like geniuses next year for stressing D and speed, if Z, Prior and Wood all make 30+ starts next year."

HA HA

Yeah and then they will both be resigned to 3 year deals and we will had this discussion all over again. FUN FUN!!

By the way, Manny, I keep all the cards of the Cubs players. Just a personal thing.

It seems Kaplan said that on air, lots of things are said on-air. Considering the sudden buzz about Wilson/Grissom signing, wouldn't surprise me if Murton is suddenly up for grabs in a Zito deal. Don't expect it to happen, but curious what the plans for the rotation are if they did get Zito. Or maybe they're closer to a Prior/Tejada deal that doesn't include Bedard and now they're looking to get Zito foll the spot. Who knows really.

To more important matters, should the Bears play Grossman this weekend? And should the starters even step on the field?

Absolutely Grossman should play. He needs more reps with the first team since he was injured most of they year. I would rest most of teh defense the whole game, but keep teh offense out there the 1st half.

Grossman should play for about a quarter. I still would like to see him and Muhammad gel a bit more. It appears Grossman and Berian have better rhythm at this point.

Starters play for a quarter-that's it.

Hell yeah Grossman should start, My vikings need a better draft pick - and watching Grossman go down again on the metrodome turf would be a guilty pleasure

seems like grossman and mushin are gelling just fine, certainly looks his way more then Orton. Of course Mushin has David Terrell syndrome. Is it possible to drop anymore passes? I hate that turf and with Kreutz unlikely to play, I don't want any starters out there for more then a quarter.

Any preferences on a 1st round opponent? I think we could actually make Eli Manning cry. The Bucs wouldn't stand much chance in the cold and with Chris Simms on the road. I know we already beat Carolina, but I still think they're a scary team and the Redskins worry me a bit if Brunell's the QB. If it's Ramsey, we'll smoke'em.

Carmen,

I was listening when Kap said that and he and Waddle were interviewing Paul Sullivan.(like 90 min. into the 2 hour show) He really threw it out there in a non-chalant manner he said something like "You know who I am hearing the cubs are intrested in and then he said zito. Sullivan said he heard the same thing from his sources too.

As for DA Bears I dont think Rex needs to play. That first drive of his in that ATL game proves that rust for him is not a factor. If anything Orton needs most of the reps to get some confidence. From reading the paper and radio here is how I think PT will go.

OUT- definatly
Grossman
Kreutz
M. Brown
Scott
Hillenmeyer

OUT- Maybe
Olgunleye
Urlacher
Benson

Limited time

Jones- Until he gets 27 yds to be 2nd bear to get 1300 in a season.

C. Harris- Coming off that knee injury I cant see him playing more than a couple of series.

Everyone else should go for a half who is a starter. This is not offical its just an estimated guess from media accounts of who has and hasnt practiced.

Benson shouldn't play, no way you risk his knee on that turf. Rest up kid, let Peterson get the carries. I can't believe Neal Anderson or Gale Sayers never got 1300 in a season although Sayers of course played less games.

So has anyone thought that maybe Murton will be a 3,4, or 5 hitter? I personally think he will fit nicely in the 3/4 hole in the future. He has the build for power not obp. I believe that on this blog we need to learn how to differentiate between our power and obp guys. There seems to be alot of talk about either not enough power or not enough obp. You need a good mix, the best of both worlds to be good. or else you're going to have a bunch of juan pierres and furcals on a team that cant give you the boost of a dinger.

Rob,

While I am very confident we will beat any team in the 2nd round the team I could see beating us is the Redskins because of Portis and I dont think it will matter who their QB is because their gameplan will be give Portis the ball 45 times (combo of rush att. and screens). The funny thing is about these WC teams is that if everything holds up the way it is now people will be more afraid of the 6 teams in both conferances than they will be of the 5.

and with all the talk about football. GO BRONCOS!!! "No Mistake" Jake lives.

i'm not privy to all the tie-breakers and such, but I actually don't think it's possible for the Bears to play the #6 team in the 2nd round (Bears first game). If whoever is the #6 team beats the #3 team, they'd go and play Seattle, no matter what happens in the #4/#5 game. I think...

Question: Does anyone think we have improved our team from last year?

No, although I don't think its changed much either way.

Pierre in CF, Murton in LF will be upgrades from what we got last year, The bullpen should be somewhat improved, both from the new additions and having our closer closing all year.

But Cedeno/Neifi is a big downgrade at ss from Nomar, Lee and Maddux will probably perform worse than in 2005.

Right now, I still say the team looks very similar to the 2003 Cubs team and still has enough talent to make the playoffs.

Z and Prior are still one of the best 1-2 punches in baseball, and Lee/Ramirez are a great 3-4 combo. Wood and everything else is gravy.

chifan3887,

"As for DA Bears I dont think Rex needs to play. That first drive of his in that ATL game proves that rust for him is not a factor"

You mean the drive where he forced the pass at the goal line that was intercepted then fumbled? Didn't realize that was in the playbook.

Well the Denver Post says "Marquis Grissom - whose agent said he will sign with the Chicago Cubs," which sounds (sort of) like a done deal.

http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_3355344

Whatever.

Bring back Sammy please. Go Sammy.

Rob G.: I would like to have Zito, but not at the expense of Murton if our other alternative for left is Grissom. That could, quite possibly, give the Cubs a worse outfield than last year. Grissom, IMO, is only a "not bad" signing if the Cubs platoon him with Jones, or make him a contingency plan should someone go down with an injury. Throw in occasional PH duties, as well...

5: Murton isn't a prototypical power hitter. His build--6'1" and 215 lbs--while bigger than the average person, is not big when compared to other professional baseball players. While he does have some pop in his bat (I think when all is said and done he'll probably be averaging around 20-25 round-trippers per season), he prefers to hit the ball where it is pitched, and uses all fields (the smartest approach to hitting, IMO). He is a high-average, high-OBP type of hitter who will probably walk about as often as he strikes out. He's very adept at putting the ball in play, and has a nice, level swing. Because of all these factors, I think he's best-suited to be a #2 hitter, but as many other posters have said, he's not Dusty's type of #2 hitter. While Murton takes pitches (which would give Pierre a chance to steal a bag or 70), hits the other way (good for a hit-and-run), and will post a high OBP (which should be expected from a #2 hitter), Dusty likes guys who are more "aggressive" and look to hit a pitch--pretty much any pitch--hard. If Murton does stay on the club (God, I hope so), look for him to be hitting 7th, with Cedeno probably hitting 8th (even though he wouldn't be bad hitting 2nd or 7th).

As for who *will* bat second, if we keep Walker, I do think Dusty will have him hit in the 2-hole (he's a very good #2 hitter, so I wouldn't complain if this is how it pans out). I am afraid, however, of the possibility of Jacques Jones batting 2nd...oy...

Bleeding Blue: On paper, Cedeno/Neifi is a downgrade from Nomar. However, on paper, Cedeno is an upgrade from Neifi, which is what we actually had at shortstop last year. While I love the idea of starting Cedeno, and while I disagree with the gloom-and-doom writers at 1060 West in regards to Cedeno's abilities (I think he'll hit for a pretty darn good average), he lacks power--even when compared to Neifi.

The Joe: There is a plus to that article; if it's true, at least we aren't signing Preston Wilson:)

I wasn't saying that Grissom would ever be an everyday starter. At least I hope not. The guy shouldn't be anything more then a platoon-mate, bench guy. Actually he should be an NRI at spring training, but whatever. If they were to trade Murton, I'm guessing the subsequent moves would be to sign Wilson AND Grissom.

Never got the fuss about Zito anyway and don't see why we need him. Take away that 23-5 year and that he pitched the majority of his games in the AL West and he's pretty mediocre beyond the innings eating that he does. Plus Beane won't agree to any deal that will allow a team to negotiate an extension and your risking a one year rental. Bleh!!! Although a move to the NL would probably be beneficial at this point in his career since most hitters haven't seen his curve over here.

Walker probably won't bat second only cause Dusty loves to alternate lefty/righty throughout the order. I'd expect Cedeno, Murton or Neifi (switch-hitter serves the same purpose)at this point.

Exactly. Cedeno is a BIG downgrade from Nomar but who the hell had Nomar at SS last year??!!?? Nobody. We had Neifi (who by the way, ruined my Chicago trip last year by GIDP with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with Lee on deck. Good thing Lee went yard in the bottom of the tenth.)

Grissom would be a cheap platoon partner for Double J (keep your fingers crossed that he's not replacing Murton). Also, that should free some cash up for deals within the season which, by the number of 06-07 FAs there are, should prove to be very interesting.

Rob G: Wasn't implying that you thought he would start everyday. But it looks like you and me are in agreeance in regards to Grissom. Hopefully, somebody (Cardinals? Astros?) will swoop in and steal Preston Wilson before we have the chance to.

As for who bats second, you're right about how Dusty likes to flip-flop, and that's something I didn't even think about. But, given the fact that Dusty likes to bat young guys (Cedeno and Murton, who would both be good #2 hitters) down in the order to take the pressure off of them, I figure Walker still should bat second (he did when they were trying the whole "Patterson/lead-off experiment"). Hopefully, Hendry will give Baker explicit order that Neifi is a reserve player...you'd think the manager would figure out by now that, when he plays Neifi once in a while and uses him to pinch-hit, he does great, but when he has Neifi play everyday, his offensive output is streaky at best...oy

TwinCityCubMan: Agreed. But unless Hendry tells Baker to play Murton and Cedeno every day, I'm afraid that Dusty will come up with some excuse to play Grissom over Murton. Then again, Murton has the ability to come out of the gates hitting .330, so who knows

On paper, Cedeno/Neifi is a downgrade from Nomar. However, on paper, Cedeno is an upgrade from Neifi, which is what we actually had at shortstop last year.

That's a fair statement, but you're assuming that Cedeno will actually play more than Neifi.

Mark my words, Neifi will get at least 300-400 ABs this season. (saying that makes me cringe, because I predicted the exact same thing last offseason)

I wouldn't be surprised to see Jones bat 2nd, it would give Dusty both the speed and the lefty bat he wants in that spot - OBP be damned.

Walker and Neifi would be other likely candidates.

Cedeno's speed could put him there, if he's in the lineup, but Dusty certainly bat either Walker or Jones 4th in that situation.\

Murton will never bat 2nd, cause, well that's just too damn obvious.

I have a Question for all of you out there in Blog land. Would you offer Z-man, Hill and Patterson, for Tejada and that Pitcher Prospect they (O's) covet so Highly, Then send Walker to the Rangers and the player we already sent to Texas for Hench,(I don't know how to spell his name, Sorry), then Trade Middle relief(such as Ohman) and some ok minor leaugers to the O's for Zito. Then Hope we can patch together a deal to get Flloyd? Or throw in Williams and Zambrano and a Coulpe of Double A ball players, (keeping Hill) to The O's to Get Tajada and there Prospect Pitcher. Then Trade Patterson And Hill to the White sox(Who are looking for a center fielder) for one of there Starting Pitchers and a prospect, or not (Prospect)? Please give me your thoughts, Sure we loose 2 starters and 4-5 Minor Leaugers,a Outfielder and a second baseman, but we would gain 2 proven Starting pitchers, two Outfielders and 2-3 Minor leaugers and 2 Out fielders and one (Rangers, Hench)Who can play both corners and 1st and 3rd also.

Plus Beane won't agree to any deal that will allow a team to negotiate an extension and your risking a one year rental
please forgive my ignorance- how is it possible for beane to have any control over a team/player/contract once the player has left oakland? thank you

Bleeding Blue:
"Mark my words, Neifi will get at least 300-400 ABs this season."

If a major injury happens to ARAM, Walker or Cedeno, he will most likely get that many AB's. Just like last year Nomar, Walker and ARAm were all hurt, thus he got the AB's. He wouldn't of if not for the injuries.

It's a shame that "on paper" Hendry put together such a good IF lasy year, but yet other things (injuries) made it out to be not so good.

when teams agree to a trade, the GM can allow the other team to negotiate a contract extension with the player being traded. But Beane has to give permission otherwise it's tampering if Hendry calls Zito's agent (Arm Tellem I believe) and tries to hammer out a deal. They could still do the trade and the Cubs can negotiate an extension once the trade was made, but they could make the trade and find out that Zito is determined to test FA waters. (When Zito was rumored to be going to the O's, word was that he was unwillingly to sign an extension with the O's) Now, I'm sure through enough backdoors the Cubs could find out if Zito was open to signing an extension, but they definitely couldn't discuss specific numbers. The Cubs would make the trade without any assurances that Zito would stay past this year.

Dusty Baker Cost the Cubs a chance to make it back to the play off's, And given the chance, he will do it again. He can not handle Pitchers, and the way it looked last year, is they never practiced funtamental of baseball to his players. Hurry get into the Batting Cage and lets see who can hit the hardest. As long as Dusty is the Manager, I would not bring up another Prospect Pitcher, because in a year he will be having Tommy John Surgey.

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

FLA has had a couple of good signings in the last couple of days.

Two questions:

1) Since I am not a Cubs fan but simply a "follower" of the team of late, can someone explain that crazy photograph of Sammy's helmet getting shattered?

2) Some folks in this threat have suggested that Cedeno could be a productive major league starter. Could they provide evidence that Cedeno is likely to play better than Neifi Perez or even at replacement-level next year?

Thanks!

If a major injury happens to ARAM, Walker or Cedeno, he will most likely get that many AB's. Just like last year Nomar, Walker and ARAm were all hurt, thus he got the AB's. He wouldn't of if not for the injuries.

Dusty had both Neifi and Cedeno on the roster for quite a bit of time last year, and Neifi got far more playing time, and the playing time Cedeno got mostly came at the expense of Todd Walker.

Maybe that will change this year, and Dusty has seemingly given a lot more opportunites to Cedeno than any other youngster he's had with the Cubs, including Murton, so it's not out of the question. But with Dusty's overall track record with Rookies, I'm standing by my prediction.

Rob G.,

Just like you're half serious, i'd be half for this move... My head says YES! and my heart says NO!

I still think the best thing to do would be to use our expendable trade bait - Patterson, Wellemeyer, and Walker if we obtain another middle IF - to get us a righty OF bat. I've been a big Criag Wilson fan for a long time for this purpose, as he can spell D.Lee as well, thus making the $3 million more palatable.

Rob G.,

Just like you're half serious, i'd be half for this move... My head says YES! and my heart says NO!

I still think the best thing to do would be to use our expendable trade bait - Patterson, Wellemeyer, and Walker if we obtain another middle IF - to get us a righty OF bat. I've been a big Criag Wilson fan for a long time for this purpose, as he can spell D.Lee as well, thus making the $3 million more palatable.

Sorry for the 2x post... i got an error when i tried to post - something about malicious posts forcing text to be sent somewhere for approval. Of course, this is the first time i've used IE on this site instead of Firefox (that's what i get for visiting family), so it might just be IE...

Bleeding Blue: Take it back! Take it back! J/K Dusty has made a few statements that would lead me to believe he'll at least give Cedeno a shot at being the everyday starter. I agree with mannytrillo on this one; Neifi will get the AB's if someone gets injured. Most likely suspect==Aramis, unfortunately. But you definitely have a valid point; Neifi's gonna get some starts and some ABs...

Alex Carnevale:

1)The photo is from 2003, when Sammy took a fastball to the head from Pirates reliever Salomon Torres.

2)Ronny Cedeno has always been considered a slick fielder with a rifle for an arm, but his batting average and ability at the plate used to be room for some doubt. Before 2004, his batting average was perennially in the low .200's. However, over the past couple of seasons, he's been doing much better. In 2004 for Double-A West Tennessee, Cedeno batted .279 with an OBP of .328. In 2005 at Triple-A Iowa, Cedeno batted .355 with a .403 OBP (he did split time between Iowa and the Cubs, though). Not only did he bat .300 with a .356 OBP in limited at-bats last season with the major league club, but he also tore up winter ball. At my last check, he was hitting .362.

It appears as though he has changed some component of his approach at the plate, and it has definitely been paying off. While some people doubt his ability, only time will tell how good he'll be at the major league level.

Murton will never bat 2nd, cause, well that's just too damn obvious.

This notion of Murton NOT batting 2nd makes me angry.

I don't mind Cedeno batting 2nd and at least he actually did on occaision. I had to look this up a bit though. Dust-buster actually had a choice of playing Murton-Walker-Macias-Hairston-Perez in the 2nd slot and when he played the kids, he put Cedeno 2, Murton 7-8. Obviously it's being a veteran that won out, then foot speed over OBP (again in Dusty's view that's an unagressive hitter, harrumph).

As I recall there were about 12 days where Murton and Cedeno were back on the roster together and actually played together at the same time for exactly 4 games (see below). This was the confluence of Lawton getting traded, ARam going on the DL and Murton being recalled from Iowa...until Cedeno went on the DL for the broken hand in the 9-10 game.

In those 4 games Cedeno bat 2nd and Murton 7-8th.

To paraphrase one of my favorite TCR quotes, "looking at these 12 games, the ones that Murton-Cedeno didn't play in made me throw up in my mouth"

8-30-05 vs LA; Cubs 6 LA 3 W-Prior (10-5)
Cedeno Batting 2nd: 2 for 3; (1R)
Murton Batting 7th: 1 for 3; (1R)

8-31-05 vs LA; LA 7 Cubs 0; L-Rusch (5-8)
Perez (SS); JHJ (LF); Cedeno 0-0; Murton 0-1 (ph)

9-2-05 @ Pitt; Cubs 7 Pirates 3; W-Maddux (11-11)
Perez(SS); JHJ (LF); Cedeno-dnp; Murton 0-1 (ph)

9-3-05 @ Pitt; Cubs 9 Pirates 5; W- Zambrano (12-5)
Cedeno Batting 2nd: 2 for 4 (1R, 1RBI)
Murton Batting 7th: 2 for 5 (1R, 1RBI)

9-4-05 @ Pitt; Cubs 2 Pirates 0; W-JWilliams (5-7)
Perez(SS), JHJ (LF); Murton and Cedeno dnp

9-5-05 @ StL; Cards 6 Cubs 4 L- Novoa (3-5)
Cedeno Batting 2nd: 0 for 2 (1R, 1BB)
JHJ (LF); Murton dnp

9-6-05 @ StL; Cubs 5 Cards 2; W-Rusch (6-8)
JHJ (LF), Perez (SS); Cedeno, Murton dnp

9-7-05 @ StL; Cubs 2 Cards 1; W-Maddux (12-11)
Cedeno Batting 2nd: 0 for 4
Murton Batting 8th: 1 for 3 (1RBI)

9-8-05 @ SF; Cubs 5 Giants 3; W-Zambrano (13-5)
Cedeno Batting 2nd; 3 for 5 (1R)
Murton Batting 8th; 1 for 2 (2BB)

9-9-05 @ SF; Giants 2 Cubs 1; L-JWilliams (5-8) (2 hitter by M Cain)
JHJ (LF); Perez (SS); Murton, Cedeno dnp

9-10-05 @ SF; Cubs 5 Giants 2; W-Prior (11-6)
JHJ (LF); Perez (SS); Cedeno 0-0 (HBP), Murton dnp

----
Sept 12, 2005-- Chicago Cubs rookie shortstop Ronny Cedeno will miss the rest of the season with a broken bone in his left hand after being hit with a pitch Saturday by San Francisco's Brad Hennessey.

Although Cedeno was not placed on the disabled list, the Cubs purchased the contract of infielder Ryan Theriot from Double-A West Tenn. To make room on the roster, Chicago transferred right-hander Kerry Wood from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Wood's season is over following arthroscopic shoulder surgery. He went on the DL on Aug. 30.

Cubs August 31: Recalled pitcher Jermaine Van Buren and outfielder Matt Murton from Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA).

Yankees August 28: Acquired outfielder Matt Lawton from the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Justin Berg.

Cubs August 27: Placed third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained left quadriceps; recalled shortstop Ronny Cedeno from Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA)

Cubs August 20: Activated outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. from the 15-day disabled list; optioned outfielder Matt Murton to Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA).

Bleeding Blue:
"But with Dusty's overall track record with Rookies"

Should be track record of not very good rookies. None of the rookies that Dusty "should of played" have ever turned into anything.

by the way, in that 12 day stretch, the cubs were 4-0 in the games Cedeno-Murton played in when starting.

(so we got that streak going for us)

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

Byrnes is gone. Goddamnit Hendry!

Most likely suspect==Aramis, unfortunately
--
Supposedly Mabry is the first backup at 3B, but I'd guess Neifi will come in if they need late inning defense.

I too thought that Wes Helms would have been a nice bench player as a ph and backup 3B but I guess Hendry considered it too much duplication with Mabry even though JM is a lefty bat and Helms is a righty. Helms did play a small amount of LF/RF for the Braves in 2002, but I doubt he'd have been a competent platoon with JJones in RF so his only hope was a righty bat off the bench with the Mabry signing. Another year of a weak bench it seems. Neifi being a swith hitter hurts us in this way too (Macias was the identical issue but at least he couldn't claim to be a useful defensive player). Switch hitters are only useful if they can actually HIT. If we are worried about Neifi getting too many starts, then we should also be worried that Neifi will get too many pinch hit appearances.

Still Helms 3 yr splits vs Lefty pitching was strong:
.307 .400 .515 .915 (241 AB's)
and as a pinch hitter also strong:
.322 .406 .508 .914 (59 AB's)

Da Krone: the Byrnes signing was announced yesterday... so I've been unhappy about that as well.

Reading that they are promising him the starting CF job with the Snakes, I doubt he would have agreed to being a platoon in RF or 4h OF with the Cubs. So I doubt he would have come our way based on a better situation for him in AZ.

About the Sosa beaning, Alex Carnevale.

I think in 2003 Sosa had decided to go for Bond's walk record/ OBP title. He was walking a ton (he had realized that the umpires had elevated him to 'It's not a strike unless Mr. Sosa Swings' Status like they have Bonds). He has never been the same hitter since the beaning, though. He stands 12 to 18 inches farther off the plate now than he did that fateful day. I've got the before/after beaning stats at work, but I think he had a .512 OBP at the time.

Manny,

You're wrong about OBP being more valuable in the #2 hole than slugging- one of the Baseball Prospectus guys did a study on it, and he concluded that only in the #1 spot is it good to have high OBP and low slugging as compared to high slugging low OBP.

Lqqk1,

'Would you offer Z-man, Hill and Patterson, for Tejada and that Pitcher Prospect they (O's) covet so Highly'

Only if they throw in a bag of whatever you're on. Zambrano and Hill for Tejada and Bedard would be about right.

Then send Walker to the Rangers and the player we already sent to Texas for Mench

What do we want Mench for?

then Trade Middle relief(such as Ohman) and some ok minor leaugers to the O's for Zito.

Zito would cost Cedeno or Murton + Weurtz and a couple of SABR friendly minor leaguers.

Then Hope we can patch together a deal to get Flloyd?

Well assuming Murton is gone for Zito, you could base a deal for Floyd on Cedeno and Harvey. Then the Mets could flip Cedeno and some package (Lastings?) for Manny.

Your Lineup

Pierre
Tejada
Lee
Floyd
Ramirez
Jones/Mench
Barrett
Neifi/Hairston

Rotation
Prior
Zito
Maddux
Wood/Rusch
Williams

Your bullpen- slightly weakened.

Your minor leagues- a wasteland.

that also gives you FA's for 2006 offseason at
3b
1b
LF
CF
2nd starter
3rd Starter
4th Starter

That would pretty much ruin the Cubs for 5 years.

I am amazed at the talent being churned/or soon to come out of the D'backs farm system. This is an organization that spent the better part of it's first 6 years drafting near the bottom because they were playing winning baseball.

Carlos Quentin
Connor Jackson
Chris Young
Stephen Drew
Justin Upton
Jose Valverde
Brandon Webb
Lyle Overbay
Chad Tracy

Quentin, Jackson, Drew, Upton, and Young are all solid exciting prospects.

It seems the Cubs can't get prospects from their minors to the majors unless they draft them at the top like Wood and Prior. Though the Cubs have had some success with getting some good latin players, Felix Pie and Zambrano.

Real Neal:
"You're wrong about OBP being more valuable in the #2 hole than slugging- one of the Baseball Prospectus guys did a study on it"

Fair enough, but what does one study prove, right? At least that is what I was told last year about some studies about lineup construction.

But anyways, it doesn't matter the position in the batting order. Over the past 3 years Grudz has been a better overall player than Walker.

"That would pretty much ruin the Cubs for 5 years."

Thaey have been in ruins for the past 98 years, what's another 5....:)

Rob,

We cant play the 6th seed but the Redskins can get the 5th seed with a win and a Car loss or the 3rd seed with a win and NYG loss. They wont be a 4 seed because they win tie breakers with whoever the south champ is.

DA Krone and Cubster,

Why would you want Byrnes? He is a 5th OF yeah he is hustler but that all he brings to the table. I dont know why they dont give Quentin or Young a shot at that CF job. He also has a high empty BA vs. LHP but there is no SLG or SB's to go with it.

Tbone,

I was refering to the other passes in that series. That pick was just Rex being aggrassive which he always has been. He will make dumb passes from time to time and rust was not a factor in that. Anyways the advantage we have on offense is that there a game and a half worth of film with Rex as our QB in the Turner offense. Plus like I said before I think Orton needs the reps more to try to get some confidence back.

Thanks to those who answered my questions, good stuff.

Lineup construction isn't really that important outside of making your lead-off hitter get on base. If you simply put your hitters in the order of how good they were your lineup would likely score as many runs as if you forced yourself to adhere to a set of ideas instead of simply thinking in terms of "getting on-base." The extra 20 at-bats for your best hitter would likely be more a benefit than anything you could do toying with the lineup.

Sullivan's trib piece for the morning:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball...

Highlights of it:

* Cubs are behind BOS on Tejada because they wont give up Z. (Though it does give the impression that they would be willing to do a Prior for Tejada straight up. As he says the O's want Z in a multi-player deal.)

* Cubs and A's have not had disscussions since early DEC. (I think this is a smoke screen cause the way Kap and Sullivan himself were talikng about it on the radio it seemed as if there talking more recently about it. Maybe Sul redid his HW on it and it is true, but I think Hendry wants it done on the down low knowing how much the O's like Zito because the NYM or BOS could jump in on it for some kind of Manny-Miggy deal.)

* Cubs will annouce some minor-league deals in the next week and one will be Grissom.

Alex:
"If you simply put your hitters in the order of how good they were your lineup would likely score as many runs as if you forced yourself to adhere to a set of ideas instead of simply thinking in terms of 'getting on-base.'"

Be careful...some people on TCR don't like that kind of lineup construction speak.

cubster

the signing was 'imminent' yesterday, but this was official, check the timestamp on that article, 11pm on the 30th. Not to quibble.

Chifan, I want him because look who else theyre thinking of signing, Grissom and P Wilson. What would wilson get if Jones got 3/16? Byrnes price tag was reasonable ($2.2M) because of the deficiencies you mentioned, but I think he would have been very good against lefties ina platoon situation, also lending some speed to the bench.

Sammy should take the same Human Growth Hormones that Jason Giambi is on. That is bad moral advice but it has been over 97 years.

I would probably kill nuns and kittens to get Sammy back in our dugout. I don't think it will happen, but I would weep with happiness.

Should be track record of not very good rookies. None of the rookies that Dusty "should of played" have ever turned into anything.

Are you including Matt Murton?

Dusty has made a few statements that would lead me to believe he'll at least give Cedeno a shot at being the everyday starter.

What has he said? I haven't heard him say anything either way on the issue.

More importantly, Neifi has become Dusty's guy and Dusty's going to find a way to get him in the lineup. (Afterall, he did so much for the Cubs in 2005.) At the very least, Neifi's going to spend much of the year in a platoon situation with Cedeno and/or Walker, which will get him his 300 ABs. He'll get more if Cedeno struggles or ARam or Walker gets hurt (even though Mabry and Hairston would be better choices at 3b/2b), but 200 ABs is the minimum I see, with 300-400 being most likely.

I think Hairston is one of the worst players in baseball and I'd rather have JOSE MACIAS over that POS. For real. I wish he would go far away.

Chad-

Yeah, but you also want Sammy back.
So why should you be taken seriously?

Chad: Admittedly, Hairston looked lost early on last season; but when he got regular playing time, he came around and showed that he's a pretty good ballplayer. He gets on base, can hit the other way, is a pretty good defender (not early last season, but he did come around, like I said), can swipe a bag (he was awful at this last year, but in his career he has put up pretty nice numbers), and he CAN TURN A DOUBLE-PLAY...He'd actually make a good #2 hitter at second base (which would allow us to keep Neifi on the bench most games), which would allow us to move Walker.

Bleeding Blue: I don't have any links (sorry, but just woke up and don't feel like surfing for exact quotes), but I remember him being quoted in the Tribune as saying that he likes Cedeno and thinks he's a good young player. What I'm really alluding to is an interview I heard on WSCR (We Sell Classless Radio) where he was asked about Murton and Cedeno, and while he gave a PC answer, he talked about how well Cedeno had played. Usually, Dusty just gives a PC answer and avoids "boasting" about the young guys. So either he's trying to shed the image of not playing rookies (best way to do that would be to, y'know, actually let the rookies play), or he intends on giving Cedeno every opportunity to start next year (the organization seems to want that, as well, as he's listed first at the depth chart at short).

The risk vs. reward on the Tejada deal is too high. The competition is fierce and thus, the Cubs will be left out. My opinion.

Grossman has to start. He needs the snaps. Benson needs to play too. My dad once told me that Elijah Pitts played in the NFL Championship game (pre-Superbowl) with a broken tibia. Lombardi told him it wasn't a weight bearing bone! Benson needs to get his butt on the field.

Grissom would be an excellent signing. He'd make a terrific mentor to the young guys, he'd be great as a 4th outfielder and he'll come dirt cheap. Its a no brainer.

If the Cubs get 200 innings from Prior, Zambrano and Wood, we're strongly in the race, regardless of the offense. If not, I'd say major overhaul.

We've made slight improvements in the pen and with the offense but the entire season rests on the big 3 and their health. Will trading one of them help? No, we're awesome if they're awesome.

My wife bought me tickets to the convention for xmas. I'm taking my 8 yr old son. I'm hoping Prior is there to sign our balls. Baseballs that is.

Why does anyone even remotely think that Murton or Cedeno will get a full season of playing time under Dusty? Perhaps they might be penciled in as the seasons starts. However, once they hit their first slump of the season, either two will be simply relegated to ride the pine or be on the bus to Iowa.

Given his inability to fill out a proper lineup card on a daily basis, ( ala Lenny Harris/Jose Macias/ Todd Hollandsworth/ Neifi Perez/ Corey Patterson) , I have absolutely no faith in Dusty's ability to make out a well balanced roster or the most efficient lineup card. Let's also remember that Dusty also feels the need to carry 12 pitchers, more than most every Major League team.

Personally, I think the odds of him starting Perez over Cedeno and Grissom over Murton is better than 50/50. He simply cannot help himself, they're experienced and seasoned veterans. Furthermore, if Wilson does get signed, Murton will never see the light of day in a Cub's uniform this season. Neither will Wilson or Jones would probably be platooned. Don't forget to throw in the temptation of using Mabry over Murton as well.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind the signing of Perez and Grissom, IF they are used properly. However, therin lies the snaffu. Grissom as a backup center fielder, a late inning defensive replacement or even in a platoon with Jones is ok.

Perez as a backup infielder or defensive replacement is all well and fine also. However, Dusty will get both far too many at bats this season. In addition, Baker will see no problem in once again putting Perez in the top two slots of the order.

In the long run, I suppose it may not matter much anyways. Unless we get another huge offensive upgrade, we won't be as competitive as we all hope for. We'd need healthy and almost flawless starting pitching. We've all seen how THAT'S worked out for us the last two seasons.

Best regards, Cle

any hear that new Manny-Miggy rumor from the NY daily News:

BAL gets:
Benson
Clement
Lugo

Bos gets:
Tejada
Gathright

NYM gets:
Manny
Baez

TB gets:
Marte
Helieman
Matsui
Seo

Let's look at this deal in terms of what who is giving up to get what.

BOS gets Tejada and Gathright for Clement, Manram, and Marte.

If I am BOS I want another SP and/or OF to balance it out. But if they are desperate to get rid of man ram it probably is the most value you can get.

BAL gets: Benson, Clement, Lugo for Tejada

If I am BAL I want ALOT more like one of Milledge, Lester, or Upton and two of Bannister, Pedrioa, Niemann.

NYM gets Manram, Baez for Benson, Helemen, Seo, Matsui.

an OK deal for them as they want to win now, for their sakes they need to cause this will just add to to their team of walking skeltons in the next couple of years.

TB gets Marte, Helemen, Seo, Matsui for Baez and Gathright.

Slam dunk for them!

So I cant see BAL taking this deal. They are going to have to decide which bullet to bite:

1. Keeping Tejada
2. Taking on extra $$$ for Manram and Clement and dealing with Tejada coming to BAL for 8-10 games a year for the next 4 years in a BOS uni.
3. Giving up Bedard or Cabera to us.

If I were them I would go with Option 1 until July when your out of it and you can convince your fanbase that what is best for the team is to trade for 3-5 prospects who can help in the future.

I am still not sure that BAL will trade Tejada to a team in the same division, and this rumored deal does not give them the "star power" Angelos is demanding. Angelos is a Toy Collector type owner -- he needs a shiny toy in return for Tejada, not a Brillo pad beard.

Back to Sosa for a second -- Interesting that the photo in the article (the Torres beaning) captured the very moment Sosa's career nosedived. It wasn't the 'roids, the sneeze...it was the six inches further off the plate that Sammy now takes his stance...all courtesy of Salomon Torres.

I honestly believe Cedeno is going to have to have a strong Spring Training. If not, Dusty will be able to reason that he is not ready and will put Perez in.

As for Murton, I think the job it for his to lose. His numbers verus righties (.261/.329/.478) need to improve a bit in order for him to get full playing time though.

As for Sosa, which I haven't commented one because I wanted to digest the idea: I'd take a pass on him. You know how you have a bad break up with a girl, then you begin to date others. Those others haven't worked out, and you begin to think about the good times with your ex. So you call, begin to date again--everything is great. Then one day, things begin to fall apart, and you remember why you broke up in the first place. I'm afraid that is Sammy Sosa for the Cubs. We need to let it go.

Sosa's strikes out way too much to come off the bench. Really, could you see putting him in in the 8th or 9th when we need a hit to tie a game? I think Eli Marrero is a free agent. I'd rather look at him being only 32. He's had some injuries--so health may be an issue. He also had a weak year last season, but he is still good versus lefties (3 yr - .326/.376/.597) and can play more positions. He also does not strike out much.

Da Krone,

I have two platoon options in RF better than Byrnes. Greenberg and Restovich.

DC Tom,

What is the public opinion out there on the Manny and Clement for Miggy deal. Are they estatic about, hate it, or that they feel if they have to trade him its the best they can do.

Chad,

Way off base about Hairston he is as good as Walker if you look at the other faucets of the game. Look at his 2004 season to see what he could do with the bat given the opprunity to play everyday. With Walker gone and Neifi at the WBC unless there is a trade he will have opprunity to win that job during ST so i'll guess we'll see who is right on that one.

"You know how you have a bad break up with a girl, then you begin to date others. Those others haven't worked out, and you begin to think about the good times with your ex..."

Yeah, very dangerous. Especially when (as in Sammy's case) all the good times are a direct result of your ex using drugs.

I agree with CHIFAN (or does CHIFAN agree with me, in that I posted on Restovich earlier). He (or Greenburg) are cheap, easy fill in guys who will get the job done. I think the Cubs need to hang back for a while in the season to see how Cedeno and Murton pan out.

This gives more flexibility for in season moves. Once again, IF Dusty uses his players the right way...this isn't a bad club.

On that note, who's all the all-time Dusty's guys list:
1. Tom Goodwin, CF
2. Neifi Perez, SS
3. Barry Bonds, LF
4. Derrek Lee, 1B
5. Todd Hollandsworth, RF
6. Lenny Harris, 3B
7. Ramon Martinez, 2B
8. Henry Blanco, C

Dusty, honest to God, would think that this is a great line up!!

The PTBNL in the Van Buren deal has been has been named. Its Matt Ciaramella, an OF that crushed the ball at Utah and has struggled in the minors, partially do to injuries that slowed his development down.

That's all i have, paging Dr. Phil...

A few more notes on Ciaramella
1. I found this our from a poster (Aramisfan) over at northsidebaseball.com;
2. JVB is now ranked the 18th best Red Sox prospect according to www.soxprospects.com;
3. Ciaramella still has a page there:
http://www.soxprospects.com/players/ciaramell...

Hi Wouter, you don't know me. You don't my history here. I am the resident Sammy Sosa fan. Of course ANYONE would want his hero back on his team. That's why I want him back.

Chifan, I am not way off base. You can't point to 2004 he only played in 86 games. Look at what happens when he starts.

Todd Walkers number crush his. Hairston is in a pool of 1,000,000 players. Easily replaceable and worth very little. I would rather start Neifi at second. Neifi is a BETTER player.

Chad: No offense intended, but it's somewhat absurd to only look at Hairston's numbers from limited at-bats during his first year in a different league, and subsequently disregard his body of work. While Walker is a better hitter, that's about it. Walker can take a base-on-balls, but Hairston definitely can, also. Hairston is a better defender, has the ability to play any spot in the outfield, and is a much better and faster baserunner. He started off slowly, but he really got rolling once Dusty let him lead-off and start on a daily basis. He's definitely not the second coming of Ryno, but he's a better alternative this year, given Walker's poor defense. The other reason I'd rather start him is that a lot of teams want Walker. He's not a bad ball player, but he's better-suited for AL-style ball, and while I'm not going to complain if he is our starting second baseman next year, if we can move him for some other useful player(s), I would, since I believe that Hairston can do a fine job batting second and playing second base.

Chad: You can't blame me for not taking seriously someone who wants Sammy (Sammy?, yeah SAMMY, the cancer of the clubhouse for years) back, and also thinks Neifi is a better ballplayer than JHJ. Some things are just too weird.

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