Time To Move Along

We can all go about the business of counting the days until spring training. It appears that Miguel Tejada has mellowed out on his trade demand and he'll be staying put, for now. It could all be a smokescreen from the O's camp to get teams to pony up their offers, but this quote from Orioles GM Jim Duquette makes me think it's on the up and up.
"This is the first time we heard this directly from him. We're elated that he's chosen to stay. We're all committed to improving the team, and it's easier to do it with Miguel than without him."
Doesn't mean Miggy won't change his mind in the middle of the season when the O's are hovering near last place, but for now, I think he's staying put. Speaking of smokescreens to get teams to pony up their offers, it appears that the deal of Patterson to the O's isn't quite set in stone. According to Bruce Levine on ESPN Radio 1000(yeah, I know, but I'm desparate for Cubs news), the O's, Mariners, Rangers and Nationals are all interested in Corey Patterson. More bidders, means more competition and maybe we'll actually getting something useful in the deal. Considering that Patterson should be considered nothing more than a prospect at this point, in the sense that you're not really sure what you're going to get in him, that's what the Cubs should expect in return. But with more suitors, hopefully a better prospect will come in the deal. The best deal I think the Cubs could swing would be to give Todd Walker and Korey for Kevin Mench and a low-level prospect from the Rangers system. I'd prefer not to trade Walker, but since it appears the Cubs are determined to, Mench would be a fantastic addition to the bench. Can hit for some power, can fill in either corner OF position, probably not a threat to take playing time from Matt Murton, but in case of an injury to an OF, you wouldn't suffer too much plugging him into the starting lineup. And of course, if the Cubs were smart enough to platoon Jacque Jones, he can mash the lefties. With Miggy apparently out of the picture, I think Hendry will get going on the final tweaks to the roster in the next week or so. And hopefully us Cubs fan can go on with the rest of our lives.
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Comments

Seattle, hmmm? How about Patterson, Will Ohman and Todd Walker for Jeremy Reed and Gil Meche? Meche would make Rich Hill available to be combined with Reed in a deal for Barry Zito.

Put Rusch in the pen, taking Ohman's place. Rotation is Zambrano, Zito, Prior, Maddux and Meche, with Wood on ice, Rusch in the pen, and Guzman in Iowa. What's wrong with that?

The only problem I see with that scenerio is Meche in the rotation instead of Williams. Other than that, if Oakland will trade Zito for Hill and Reed...let's go.

I don't follow the Mariners much, but 3 of my best friends are die hard mariners fans, and they will be first ones to tell you this:
GILL MECHE SUCKS.

OK, if the Cubs get Zito for Reed and Hill after getting Reed and Meche for Walker, Patterson and Ohman, could they then get Soriano for prospects that do not include Guzman or Pie? Throw in Meche (who tends to pitch very well or very poorly but could do well in NL and in Washington ballpark). I know Soriano is likely mediocre OBP and fielding 2B, but has power and speed, worth (I think) the risk under the above-mentioned trade scenarios. I've been reading about possible Soriano for prospects stuff. I just really would like to see the Cubs hold on to Guzman, and Pie, for that matter, if possible. It also sure would be nice to add Zito to the rotation, still have Williams and Guzman, and add Soriano (if Walker has to go, which most keep saying is going to eventually happen).

The best that can be said about Meche is that his ERA hovers between 4.50 and 5.50 whether he's at home or on the road, before or after the All-Star break, indoors or outdoors, grass or artificial turf. Consistency is not always a good thing.

Adolpho,

'I know Soriano is likely mediocre OBP and fielding 2B'.

He is not mediocre in the field, he is the worst 2B in the majors. He gets to fewer balls, and amazingly, makes more errors than anyone else. A potent combo. It makes no sense to move a slightly below average fielder in Walker to replace him with this goof. The best thing for him would to be to stay on the Nationals and the bench until he realizes, like everyone else involved in MLB, that as a 2nd basemen he's a heck of a left-fielder.

In a differnt topic, one that I never saw broached on TCR.

When the Cubs signed Jones they said that they believed his numbers suffered because he put too much pressure on himself when Torii Hunter got hurt.

Torrii Hunter got hurt on July 28th,
Jones on the season:
.249 .319 .438
On July 28th
.271 .353 .450
For the Month of July
.295 .374 .579
For the Month of August
.175 .224 .363

He also missed some time in August, I assume with a minor injury.

So, statisticly, the notion that he tried to do too much and suffered when Hunter went down is pretty easy to show. Whether that's the truth or not, only time will tell, but the possiblity of him going .290 .360 .500 for the next three years surely exists. I don't think Burnitz would be able to put up those numbers next year, and certainly not the following two years. Nor do I believe Pie will be able to approximate that until 2008.

not much in the sunday papers about the CPat trade possibilities

the Balt Sun/Jeff Zrebiak had this:

After reports that the Orioles were close to landing Chicago Cubs outfielder Corey Patterson for a minor leaguer, several teams contacted the Cubs and got into the mix. The Orioles are no longer the favorites.

The Boston Herald has a story with Tejada confirming this himself. As a journalism student let me give a thumbs up to Gordon Edes to going to the actual source of the story.

http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2006/01...

Apparently the reason he did this was his 6 year old didnt like the negitive media he was getting and that she told him to wait for god to decide when you'll play for a winner. This whole thing just strikes me as baloney. Maybe we should have a contest to pick the date that he "unrecends" his trade demand my guess May 23. Of course I am sure we are going to hear Zito rumors from know till ST. On the CP rumors I think Levine's wrong about the Rangers. They have a glutney of Ofers and most likely could have had Patterson and Jwill for Mench at the winter meetings. I the 4th team in this is Boston cause Kap on friday said there intrested and I trust his sources 100x more than Levine's.

Psst, Jim, if you're trading Patterson can we get this guy?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/C/kory...

Real Neal,

Thanks for bringing up those stats about Jones, I hadn't seen then anywhere before.

Luis

I'm liking the role that Kevin Mench could play on this team...so if Texas is really one of the teams interested in CPat (in that park, with the hitters they have in front of him I could see him having a good season)

The Cubs certainly still need a righty bench guy (preferrably an OF) who has good splits against Lefty pitching (Mench, CWilson)

Mench 3yr vs LHP: .315 .383 .601 .984
CWilson 3yr vs LHP: .283 .449 .415 .864
MGrissom 3yr vs LHP: .322 .359 .567 .926

Mench is the better choice as CWilson is coming off a wrist problem that limited his 2005 year and Mench is 2 years younger. Grissom's splits don't mean much as his age makes him a different player after a hamstring injury plagued 2005 makes him more likely to be a shell of his old statistical self.

MGrissom 1yr vs LHP: .217 .245 .261 .506

Now if we can get Mench for some variation on CPat/Walker and they still owe us on the PTBNL for Leceister...he really fits a need on the club (and would make it tougher for the next Dusty lovechild (MGrissom) to get too much playing time.

I still don't understand why they don't want Walker's Lefty bat in the infield, even if they decide to platoon him...his stats say he hits leftys/rightys nearly equally well (a slight bias to be better against RHP as one would expect), so he's shown that he doesn't need a platoon hitting partner, it would be more for defense and hence he has value as a bat off the bench when he's not playing (although his 3yr PH numbers are not good):

TWalker 3yr vs LHP: 276 .339 .431 .770
TWalker 3yr vs RHP: .290 .346 .458 .804

TWalker 3yr as PH: .196 .269 .261 .530 (46 AB's)
-
and from the Toronto Star/Geoff Baker, the BJays have some interest in Craig Wilson:

While Ricciardi insists the lineup is more or less set, there are some names out there that still interest the Jays. One is outfielder-first baseman Craig Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had 29 homers, 35 doubles and 82 runs batted in two seasons ago before suffering through an injury-plagued 2005 campaign.
Wilson has a career on-base percentage of .363, including a .387 mark posted last season in only 59 games. Those numbers and his previous homer total are the sort of statistics that draw Toronto's interest and Ricciardi believes Wilson would represent an upgrade over what the club has in left field.
Pittsburgh signed outfielder Jeromy Burnitz last week and the previous acquisition of first baseman Sean Casey has left Wilson without a position. He could also be awarded more than $4 million from salary arbitration and the Pirates aren't sure they want to pay that to a part-timer.
"We've always liked him, but I don't know what his availability is," Ricciardi said.
The Pirates have said they're going to hold on to Wilson, but that sounds like posturing by the budget-conscious team. Ricciardi said he'd only do a "one-for-one" trade for Wilson, meaning a current major leaguer or a better minor-league prospect, but no more packages like he did in the Lyle Overbay trade with Milwaukee.
The Koskie deal has left the Jays with some extra cash to absorb Wilson into the fold. Ricciardi is also still looking at free-agent catcher Bengie Molina, but "only if the price is right."

Hendry & NY Times -

Rob, Cubster, et. al.:

Gang - check out the Hendry quotes in the Sunday NY Times baseball section today. Its pretty interesting reading in "Cubs Ready for Their Turn". He closes with (in reference to Pierre), "You don't get guys coming off great years."

Probably @ nytimes.com - but haven't checked the online version.

I don't want to re-address the Mench thing again (we did that already), but he'd be a perfect platooner w/ Jacque. He's 315/383/601 against LHP in the last 3 years... seems to be the definition of a lefty masher. That said, I might actually almost rather keep Todd Walker at 2B this year. Not sure anyone else around here feels that way, but I do.

nice find E-Man:

Cubs Ready for Their Turn

In an effort to follow the Soxes - Boston Red and Chicago White - as long-waiting World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs have added some players for next season's run, but will they be enough? Juan Pierre will be the leadoff batter and center fielder, Jacques Jones will join him in the outfield, John Mabry will be a supersub at the infield and outfield corner positions, and Bob Howry and Scott Eyre will fortify the relief corps.

"We're happy with that," General Manager Jim Hendry said of the acquisitions. "We still would like to do anything we can to make us better. Adding a pitcher would be better. We feel Woody will be healthy, but we're not going to put pressure on him to be ready opening day."

He was referring to Kerry Wood, who with Mark Prior forms as formidable a one-two pitching punch as baseball has when they are healthy. Good health, however, has been their problem.

Wood made only 10 starts and wound up in the bullpen last season because of a shoulder ailment, then had surgery to clean out his right shoulder. It's questionable whether he will be ready by opening day, and without him pitching full time, the Cubs could fall short of following the Soxes.

"It's time to win," Hendry said. "We think we're better than we were going into last year, but we're still open for business."

Hendry looks for Pierre to make a big difference in the Cubs' offense. "One of my weaknesses the last couple years was I haven't given Dusty a good leadoff man," Hendry said, referring to Manager Dusty Baker.

Hendry said he went after not only Pierre in a trade with the dismantling Florida Marlins but also shortstop Rafael Furcal as a free agent. Had he been able to get both leadoff men, he said, he would have taken both. But Furcal signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As for Pierre, who had a bad season last year, Hendry said, "You don't get guys coming off great years."

That said, I might actually almost rather keep Todd Walker at 2B this year. Not sure anyone else around here feels that way, but I do.
----
Weschc: I must not have said it very well but I agree with you on Walker. Every damn newspaper article though points to his being the odd man out. There has been alot of discussion here on him but we are missing something from behind the scenes if they don't want him now. His first year here, when he signed he knew he get limited time because of Grudzielanek so what's the problem now? I guess it's all perception but not much has changed and Walker's performance on the field the last 2 yrs as a Cub has not been the problem.

So my mentioning ("menchening") him in a trade to Texas is just based on the media or whoever is driving the media to push him off the roster.

As far as a bench with Walker, Mabry from the Left side and (Mench), Grissom, JHJ from the right side...that's significantly better than last year of Holly, Enrique Wilson, Macias, JHJ (or Dubois)

I did a bit of a history check around the time the Cubs signed Walker as a FA in Dec 03...here is ruz's take:

Cubs Sign Todd Walker
by ruz
So it looks like the Cubs wisely waited until the market shook itself down a little, and grabbed Todd Walker for $1.75M next year. Walker was discussed quite a bit here when we were talking about second base, but one thing I donít ever remember being brought up ws the possibility of signing both Grudzielanek and Walker, and platooning them:

Grudz vs. lefties, 2001-03: 302/361/453
Wallker vs. righties, 2001-03: 303/363/457

Nice signing. Walkerís no wizard with the glove, but he can hit, and he puts the bat on the ball. Plus, he actually gets on base! His .346 career OBP, is the fourth-highest on the current roster, behind only Alou, Lee and Sosa. Heís certainly a better guy to have on your roster than, oh, I donít know, Jose Macias. Plus, heís got a little bit of the red ass, and itís always good to have one of those guys around.

Posted on Dec 23, 2003 at 4:44 PM

That Mench trade will never happen. He's a starter - a damn good starter. In addition, getting Corey doesn't do much, they still have an OF logjam. Walker is only a temporary stopgap at second. If the Rangers do that (which they won't) they're colossal idiots.

As for Reed from Seattle - also forget it. The reason the Mariners are trying to get Patterson is to trade Reed to the Red Sox. During the winter meetings, the Mariners were set to trade Reed to the Red Sox and get Juan Pierre from the Marlins (according to Gammons) but the Red Sox focused on Damon - something that Theo probably would not have done because he was always quick to get to the "club number".

Now with the Mariners interested in Patterson, it would be to trade Reed to Boston (Rotoworld).

"Patterson, Will Ohman and Todd Walker for Jeremy Reed and Gil Meche? Meche would make Rich Hill available to be combined with Reed in a deal for Barry Zito."

Come on. Be realistic. No way the Mariners would EVER do that. And just Reed and Hill for Zito, with the A's not in an OF conundrum? Come on. Trades can't just suit the Cubs. They have to suit everyone.

I think we should keep Walker. He can hit in just about any spot in the lineup. Being lefthanded, he could platoon with Hairston at second-a much better offense than Neifi at 2nd. His value in July will be higher than now anyways. This is similar to Patterson in my opinion-The Cubs appear to be in a hurry to dump these guys. I say Haste makes Waste. Don't pull the trigger unless it absolutely helps your club. Jimbo needs to be patient.

We Should keep Todd Walker! Not just for his ability to hit, but also for his ability to keep Neifi out of the 2-hole. If Walker is gone I predict Dusty Will Field a Lineup something like this:

Pierre
Neifi
Lee
Ramirez
Jones
Barrett
Murton
Cedeno

I have been thinking that he might actually (if Walker is gone) hit Jones behind Pierre, but then who hits 5th? Barrett? Dusty might also like the Idea of putting Jones between the Righty bats of Lee and Ramirez. But hopefully, as our roster stands today, our Lineup will be as follows:

Pierre
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Jones(vs. RHP)/Grissom(vs. LHP)
Barrett
Murton
Cedeno

The one thing I'm afraid of if we keep Walker is that it'll be Neifi everyday at SS instead of Ronny (see 2004). I think Todd a throwback guy and a very fundamental hitter. His ability to turn the DP leaves a little to be desired, but he's up near the top in OBP by 2B. I think I like our lineup more with Walker in there, even if it means that Dusty makes Cedeno rot on the bench.

Pierre
Walker
Lee
Ramirez
Barrett (just hit him in the 5 hole Coach..please)
Jones/Grissom
Neifi
Murton

or some semblance of that. I'm OK with that lineup. I'm OK with our pitching staff as it is right now. (again..making some probable gross over-assumptions about health) I'm also OK with our bullpen.

I'm OK with going to opening day with this team. We'll see if they can win. If not, then we can still get better at the deadline. I love Barry Zito, but he'd sure be pitching in an awfully small ballpark for a flyball pitcher. It makes me nervous. Especially for what we'd have to give up for him.

Evan,

'That Mench trade will never happen. He's a starter - a damn good starter.'

Based on EQA Mench would have been the 22nd best offensive right fielder in the Majors in 2005. He's by no stretch of the imagination 'a damn good starter'. I agree that the Rangers overvalue him though. I am not sure what you mean by 'OF logjam' but I assume they want to get Wilkerson out of Center Field.

Defintion of EQA for you:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/in...

I keep forgetting to add. I don't think Grissom has the arm to play RF. He's played 6 games there in the last 15 years, while playing 63 in left over the same period. Putting him out there would be contradictory to Hendry's implied goal of improving the defense.

i'm becoming increasingly interested in the t.walker situation.

after the furcal signing fell through thanks to LA losing their damn minds (and wallets)...the walker talk died off for a while.

then some hairston starting talk started gaining speed again...and the neifi starting talk...and all of a sudden it seems walker is out there again being trade baited.

now...we as cubs fans pretty much mostly believe his D at 2nd is worth sacrificing with cedeno at SS and walker's bat. we also know he can play a decent 1st.

now...why isnt that attractive to clubs he's being shopped to. almost every trade package or talk concerning walker is turned down flatly if the newspapers can be believed (yeah, i know...heh).

some writer has actually gone as far to call t.walker 3rd on the cubs depth system. wanting to ship him out is one thing, but 3rd in depth?

i wonder exactly how walker's knee(s) are feeling.

Instead of Mench, what else would we have to include in a deal to get Wilkerson? Patterson, Walker, Williams, and 1 of (Wuertz, Novoa, Ohman)?

Mench has always sucked outside of Arlington. Check his road splits and his lefty/righty splits. He's overrated and the Rangers were asking a lot for him when he was supposedly "on the block."

btw...a lotta people seem to think j.jones is gonna take burnitz's role in the 4-5 slot in the lineup.

while he might do that vs. lefties (if we're lucky)...he's a prototypical dusty #2 hitter. he'd be the leadoff man on last year's club.

seriously, vs. righties...who he'll see 3/4 of his ab's against...he performs like a 8+m dollar man.

unfortunately he's so awful vs. lefties he basically becomes a gloveman with some speed *if* he gets on base.

If I could ask Jim Hendry just one question at the Cubs Convention--well, three really because I'd have to skewer him about the Neifi signing and delaying Wood's surgery last August--I'd ask him if he recognizes that Jacques Jones absolutely, positively must be platooned, the evidence is incontrovertible that he can't hit LHP. Mr. Hendry, do you recognize this, and is it your plan to platoon Jones?

How do you feel about playing the Panthers next sunday? Really the Giants were the only possible Divisional round match up that scared me because of their offensive weapons. Delahomme was downright scared aganist our D last time. I am sure Brown is licking his lips going up aganist that turnstyle of a LT again. That 1st game Orton and the O did not play all that great and can only play better with Grossman in there.

Final Score Bears 20 Panthers 10

the idea of jones platooning just isnt very realistic. if he was a DH that might be the case, but he's still a capable fielder and besides mabry he's the only realistic RF'r on the club.

i think the best we as fans can hope for is that jones is pushed back behind lee/aram somewhere vs. lefties. i wouldnt mind seeing murton/jones "platooning" the #2 spot in the lineup, but i wouldnt be suprised to see j.jones hit the #2 spot all year.

Hendry said, "You don't get guys coming off great years." He should of added "alteast not cheaply or with the Tribs budget restraints."

You can bet a box of golden toothpicks that if Walker is with this team in APril, Neifi will platoon with him and Cedeno, and Neifi will be the one to get the most play.

Jake the Man will be glad to know his peed soaked pants will keep him warm this Saturday.

Da Bears 200
Panthers Negative 2

"You can bet a box of golden toothpicks that if Walker is with this team in APril, Neifi will platoon with him and Cedeno, and Neifi will be the one to get the most play."

what makes you think its baker that hates him and wants to bury him? when walkers knees have been in 1 piece he's played.

hendry seems to be the one that wants him outta town. whether its cuz of his seemingly (to us) trade value that no other team wants a part of...or he's injured...or whatever...who knows?

seriously...we all know he should be garnering more interest if he is indeed a FA. he's a 2nd/1st who's got 30+ double 15+ HR power..he can take a walk...and he's due 2.75m.

either every GM out there is as dumb as we'd think hendry would be for trading todd away, or something's just up with him. its not a negative attitude or a poor work eithic...so *shrug*

"seriously...we all know he should be garnering more interest if he is indeed a FA."

FA should be "on the trade market" or whatever...my bad...etc etc blah blah blah

Re Jacque Jones.
I don't think we should hold our breath for Jacque to return to hitting 300.
I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I remember hearing two bits of info that would suggest that Jones was lucky to hit .300.

1) his rate of hits based on balls put in play was unusually high when he hit 300

2) he hits a huge percentage of ground balls, not line drives. he is becoming less and less of a ground ball pitcher. with the high grass at wrigley and his aging legs, this is not a good thing...
we'll see...

Any Cub fan should know that Jones will likely hit #2 on this team with our manager. If you got any ability to run Dusty is going to bat you #2, to hell with whether you can hit or get on base.

Pierre
Jones
Lee
Ramirez
Walker
Murton
Barrett
Cedeno

That is likely how the lineup will shake out. Provided Murton and Cedeno even make it out of spring training as the starters at those positions.

If Neifi ends up the starter then you can put him at the #2 spot and moving Jones to the #5 spot.

And seriously about Jones platooning. Give it up. The Cubs paid a hell of alot of money to him. They are not going to platoon him with anyone. He will be the Cubs starter in RF for 600 AB's. Just get used to that fact.

The idea we would trade for Mench to platoon with Jones is really an absurd idea. If the Cubs traded for Mench why in the hell did they even bother to sign Jones? Mench can easily match Jones production with the bat for a fraction of the cost.

Let's just look at road numbers for Mench compared to Jones....

Mench .254 BA, .317 OBP, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 25 BB, 30 SO

Jones .255 BA, .318 OBP, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 22 BB, 49 SO.

Wow, they are like twins. One is paid $5.3 million the other is paid $325,000.

By all accounts Mench should be the everyday starter over Jones not in a platoon with him if that was ever to be decided. He is also 2 years younger than Jones.

IF and that is a massive IF. IF the Cubs somehow trade for Mench he would likely be this teams LFer. You would have an OF of Mench, Pierre, Jones. Murton would either be included in the deal or sent to AAA. There is not a chance in hell either one of those players would be platooned with each other.

Texas knows they have an extremly cheap productive OFer in Mench. And they know the going rate for that type of OFer is $5 million after watching the Cubs sign Jones.

jones is considerbly faster than neifi...

jones also consistantly hits righties at a .340-.350ob% clip...not just 1 year in a row or 2 etc...he's pretty consistant on slapping around the righties. he should be a perfect #2 guy for a huge chunk of the season.

I don't think Jones would be perfect guy for the #2 spot. Todd Walker would be.

If Todd Walker is totally out of the picture then yeah he is the best we got outside of Murton and Cedeno.

But if Walker is on this team, come opening day, he is the perfect #2 hitter to give Pierre as many opportunities to steal as you can. Jones is not patient enough to help Pierre. In fact I think Jones will actually hurt Pierre's ability to steal in the #2 spot. But that is just my opinion.

what makes you think its baker that hates him and wants to bury him?

It's not that he hates Walker but he loves Neifi too much. If you don't believe that ask Cedeno who got splinters on his ass while the Cubs sank out of the race.

If Dusty can find a way to play Neifi every day he will.

Mike C,

'But if Walker is on this team, come opening day, he is the perfect #2 hitter to give Pierre as many opportunities to steal as you can. Jones is not patient enough to help Pierre. In fact I think Jones will actually hurt Pierre's ability to steal in the #2 spot. But that is just my opinion.'

Pitches per PA 2005
Walker 3.64
Jones 3.58
Cedeno 3.48
Murton 3.44

I agree, it's just your opinion. On the other hand, batting between Pierre and Lee may more greatly benefit the more K prone Jones than it would Walker. Then there's the issue of footspeed, in which Jones is probably 50% more likely to score if he's on base for one of Lee's or Ramirez's 80+ doubles

On the Groundball Flyball thing- it depends on what kind of groundballs you're hitting. Jones had a 2.53 Gb/Fb ratio last year when he hit .249. He had a 2.58 ratio in 2003 when he hit .304. I am not seeing any correlation with that and batting average for Jones or, for the couple of other Cubs I looked at.

Apparently the newest and hopefully last (at least until memorial day) Tejada rumor was HOU was real close to getting him for Bake, Everett, Lidge but the Burnitz deal to the O's fell through and the O's did not want to do the Tejada trade then cause they felt Burnitz would replace Tejada's RBI production. That just shows how much of dumbasses that FO in BAL is if they think Burnitz was going to replace Tejada's bat.

chifan3887 "Apparently the reason he did this was his 6 year old didnt like the negitive media he was getting and that she told him to wait for god to decide when you'll play for a winner."

If you really are a journalism student, I would hope that isn't what you took away from the article to which you linked.

My preference also is to keep Walker and hit him 2nd. My earlier post was just in reference to some earlier postings today re: trade possibilities. I do hope Hendry leaves Walker alone. I really believe he could thrive between Pierre and Lee. I'd also hold on to Patterson unless we get an offer too good to refuse.

Apparently the newest and hopefully last (at least until memorial day) Tejada rumor was HOU was real close to getting him for Bake, Everett, Lidge

I assume that's Backe. Well if the O's were at any point seriously considering that deal (or the WSox one involving Contreras), I can't imagine that anything was ever that close with Prior. Either that or the O's are just plain and simply stupid. Both are high possibiliites.

Let's talk football over at http://www.windycitygridiron.com/

I have to stop hijacking these threads.

If the prospect of Tejada or Zito are gone, Walker better be our starting 2nd baseman this year put him in the 2 hole and give DLee some peeps to knock in.

does it not bother anyone else that not only does the cubs GM seem to wanna get rid of him..but also it seems no one wants him?

they both seem weird to me...i wish hendry would come out and say something...anything...about the walker situation.

hopefully it'll come clear during the cubs convention.

And you were worried about Furcal...

Apperently Ryan Freel is a bit of drunken fool

http://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/spring/2...

Arrested for "disorderly intoxication", already arrested once before on a DUI charge. Who knew?

I agree, it's just your opinion. On the other hand, batting between Pierre and Lee may more greatly benefit the more K prone Jones than it would Walker. Then there's the issue of footspeed, in which Jones is probably 50% more likely to score if he's on base for one of Lee's or Ramirez's 80+ doubles

That is a common mistake to think taking a K prone or lousy hitter and moving him into the #2 slot will help him. A bad hitter, is a bad hitter, is a bad hitter. And it is a mistake our manager has made repeatedly over the years. Macias, Perez, Ordonez, A-gonz, Patterson, I am sure there is a few other names I forgot that Dusty put in the #2 slot that should not of been batting there.

Frankly I don't care about foot speed from the #2 hitter when you have HR hitters in your #3 and #4 spots. Besides Todd Walker will score just as much with a .350-.360 OBP as Jones will with a .320. So what is the difference? The difference is Lee and Ramirez will have more people on base when they do actually hit those HR's. More potential runners on base, less outs. I think that is a greater benefit than if Jones can run faster than Walker. Besides Walker is no slouch on the base paths he isn't like Mark Grace slow.

The most important ability for the #2 hitter is bat control. Can he work counts? Can he do hit and runs? Can he be patient and foul off pitchers so that your speedy lead off hitter can steal? Can Jaque Jones do any of that? Hell no. Jones is in the mold of most Cubs hitters, swing early, and swing often.

Besides Walker trumps Jones in one area. The ability to hit the double. With Juan Pierre on 1b the game is automatically 1-0 after the first 2 hitters in the game. Walker is a doubles hitter.

Walker - 25 doubles in 397 AB
Jones - 22 doubles in 523 AB.

The four times Walker got over 500 AB's he hit 41 , 37, 42, and 38 doubles. Jones career high is 37 but he averages around 25 or so.

Again Walker is the ideal #2 hitter for a guy like Pierre. He will make Pierre a hell of alot better than Jones ever will and he will give the hitters behind him more chances to hit with atleast 1 runner on base.

you may be right on this one, for one of the better hitting 2B out there, the market is remarkbly cold, same as last year's Aug trade deadline. I believe Walker cleared waivers (suprise #1), and then no one really offered much for him (surprise #2).

ronny cedeno is venezula winter ball's batting champion...

he's come a long way in the past year and 1/2+ with his bat. bravo kiddo.

a bad hitter is a bad hitter, but vs. righties jones is a .340-.350 ob% guy...very consistantly...not flukey.

hopefully he wont be in the #2 spot vs. lefties, but given the complete package he's a hell of a #2 guy vs. righties.

And I would like to mention one thing. I think someone mentioned this before but I can't really remember. Minnesota ripped up the old astroturf before the 2004 season and put in a more natural surface. Don't know how natural it is but it is fairly close to real grass.

Jones is an extreme groundball hitter. His hits don't go screaming through infields has fast as they used to with the old Twins astroturf. This is probably the single biggest reason why his average plummeted .50 points the last 2 years. And now Jones is heading to the high grass at Wrigley field. Not exactly a good sign.

This would be the only reason to use Jones as a #2 hitter because only Juan Pierre can prevent the inevitable massive amount of double plays Jones will hit into in his career with the Cubs. Jones hitting #5 with Ramirez on 1b? That is almost too scarey to think about.

Crunch,

Yeah Jones is no slouch against righties. Walker is just a little bit better. Still my first choice is Walker. His bat control trumps Jones.

i'd pick walker if it wasnt for his legs. he's easily a more ballanced hitter. i just dont trust him to go from 1st to 3rd or 2nd to home with ease.

as long as jones isnt the #2 hitter vs. lefties, i'll be happy, myself.

Why does Walker Walk (outta town)?

Rob & Fellow Cub Fans:

I know this probably has been discussed ad nauseum, but considering what the alternatives are for 2B, has ANYONE heard from their coveted "sources" why T-Walk has fallen out of favor? Anything?! Too long of a rehab? Age factor? Poor RISP production? Defensive woes? An affair w/management wives? It is just odd...If there was a bona fide solution other than Nefi or Hairston, I'd feel much better 'bout the whole thing.

ALSO - those of you lucky enough to ask a question to management, kindly post the Q&A. Thanks! Anyone see the Hendry interview in the NY Times today (Sunday)?

e-man...that's what i'm wondering, too.

early on it was understandable considering the hard chase for furcal and having cedeno around. he's cheap and should be quite a chip to dangle out there in the trade market.

now fucal's role was filled by pierre...cedeno gets to stay at SS...and after a brief period of safety walker is being shopped again.

to our logic...seeing what we as fans have seen out of him...and knowing his D isnt all that (but isnt soriano bad)...its just as mysterious he's not being snapped up by someone for his 1-year 2.75m commitment. 15+hr, 30+double .350-ish ob% 2nd baseman who can also play 1st AND hit LH/RH pitching...why isnt he gone yet if he is being shopped?

...and why isnt there 100 other newspapers covering 29 other teams talking about how they might be making a move on walker rather than the 100 other newspapers talking about deals they turned down for walker.

hopefully someone who gets up in front of a mic at the cubs convention with hendry there can drop that question cuz there is some reason no chicago reporter is asking (or telling, rather) "why?".

I'd also hold on to Patterson unless we get an offer too good to refuse.
----
Hendry wakes up with a horses head in his bed? Corey for Jimmy Hoffa? Ah, too many Mario Puzo novels.

----
Thanks! Anyone see the Hendry interview in the NY Times today (Sunday)?
E-Man: see posts (your #13) and then #15

Crunch - Excellent points. Indeed, the whole thing is quite a mystery. If he were batted 2nd, I'd be perfectly o.k. with this lineup until proven otherwise. But of course, there will be the lefty-righty think going on all year. In fact, I suppose I'm o.k. (just o.k.) with what we have so far if the pitching holds up. Again, as he did last year w/the relievers, Hendry is rolling the dice on a healthy pitching staff without a proven starter in a reserve role. And then, will a "youngster" step forth and get their shit together? IF the pitching holds up, we should at least be able to take the division...

MikeC has touched on the worst thing about losing Walker. He's the only guy suited to hit #2 that Baker will actually use there. With him gone it's Katy bar the door. At least Dusty's given us a lot of practice watching 120 K per year guys a batting first or second.

Cubster:

Thanks for finding and pasting the Times blurb -

I don't know if all of the print side makes it online...

E

MikeC-
I posted this on another thread, but either you ignored it or just didn't see it. What do you think?

MikeC:
"Prior is going to get a hell of alot more than $5 million. Bank on it."

I would be willing to bet on it...

Since you think he will make $11M and I think $5M, let's split it in half at $8M. I have under $8M and you have over $8M. $8M is a tie. This is base salary, no bonuses or incentives.

I know you don't "bet" (good thing because I would of easily taken you Gatti money), but let's do just a "friendly" wager.

Something with our handles we use. I will change my handle to "DUSTYBLOWS" if you win and you have to make yours "INDUSTYWETRUSTY" if I win. Let;s say for exactly 2 weeks after the day the signing is offical we have to change.

Do we have a friendly wager???

I say you guys settle it like they did in the Beat it music video. Remember that?

I ignored it Manny, like most of the things you write.

Just go back to accusing someone of personally attacking you and wishing TCR does something about it. That never gets old the one or two times a week you post it.

MIKEC:
"I ignored it Manny, like most of the things you write."

That is what I thought. I hope when Prior gets around $5MM for this year, you will admit you were wrong and I was right (big chance I know). As I will do so if he gets around $11MM.

"Just go back to accusing someone of personally attacking you and wishing TCR does something about it. That never gets old the one or two times a week you post it."

I am glad people are starting to agree with me [Dave, Dave (Big Low) and others]. And that Rob G. is taking action cleaning up some of the attacks around here.

Have a good day!!

When one person continualy comes up as the problem it isn't the other posters it is you Manny. The one constant is you.

Your the only one that cry's like a little girl everytime and demanding some action. What are you 2 years old? Can't handle some smack talk? When your friends tell you that is a stupid idea do you demand that they take it back and apologize? So why do you demand it here? Does it make you feel superior?

Just give it a rest dude and grow a spine or grow up. We are sick of your constant victim attitude. You are the problem, always have been and always will be. When TCR finally bans your ass this place will go back to normal until then these comments turn into shit everytime you post. Just like this thread has now become when we were calmly discussing Todd Walker. Now another thread has to evolve around your ego. I am sure TCR just loves each and every day it happens.

MIKEC-
Thanks for more classless comments.

Have a nice day!!!

prior most likely wont go to arb anyway.

if the past is any indication he'll get at worst a 1-year deal on the healthy end as a gesture to work on a multi-year deal later on.

there's a good chance, espeically after missing out on furcal, that prior could get a multi-year before the 1-year deal gets to that point.

crunch:
"prior most likely wont go to arb anyway."

I am not talking about if it goes to arbitration, just what his base salary will be next year no matter if it is through arbitration, a 1-year deal or a multi year deal.

And I think that because Zambrano was an almost xact match to Prior hitting arbitration this year. Prior had some better stats, thus he will get a little more that the $3MM Z made last year.

I don't trash you Manny. I'm one who belives that this site is far more interesting with opposing views. Keep it coming! You may end up being right. I applaud your confidence and bravery. It is far tougher to be the minority opinion holder. I respect you. Who knows? Maybe Hendry is the idiot and Baker is the genius. Maybe neither. All I know is that I don't know it all (in baseball or in life) and we all learn more when we listen than when we're talking.

Carmen-
Thanks man...

I don't think baker is a genius and hendry an idiot, but I do clearly think too much of the blame is put on Baker and not enough on Hendry.

But the more and more I think it is time for both of them to go. If the Cubs don't make the playoffs, it should be bye bye to both Hendry and Baker. I hope it doesn't come to that, I would be willing to get a new regime in here.

Calling Mr. Epstein...

the thing about a sabr approached ballclub is you need both the manager and GM to be on the same page. they both gotta know the roles a player is being signed for without being a GM who's telling a manager how to do his job. you cant have a sabr GM and a tools manager or vice/versa and have it go easy.

hendry's a tools guy. he sees potential and enjoys turning good gambles into cheap signings.

he's a guy who can appreciate a good glove.

he's a shrewd trader and a conservative on the FA market.

i'm a fan of the overall package. no mater what we think he's a guy who's rushed cedeno through the system and piqued everyone's interest in dempster the closer.

ive been a fan of how him and his crew draft and it should get more interesting this year with a few new guys coming in to scout.

Good point Crunch regarding mentioning the new guys coming in to scout... in terms of how a team deals with the draft comes from Hendry's basic philosophy/preferences but it's who he hires, the individuals that do the legwork and give the input. A new crew coming will be interesting to see if there is any difference in style. Phil has commented on this before but but it takes time to sort out what the changes mean. I enjoy learning about how the system goes about it's talent evaluation both before the kids are drafted and then once drafted how they are developed.

Our new scouting director, Tim Wilken seems to be an old school guy (27 yrs of scouting under his belt). We could stand to draft a Roy Halliday or Vernon Wells part deux (see below).

This is the BA writeup from 12-22 on him:

Cubs Hire Wilken As New Scouting Director
By John Manuel
December 22, 2005

The Cubs lost a scouting director when John Stockstill left the organization to join his brother with the Orioles. But they gained one quickly when Tim Wilken, a 27-year scouting veteran, left the Devil Rays to take over the Cubsí scouting department.

"We are thrilled to have Tim join the organization,î Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said in a statement. ìTo add him to our staff at this time of his year with his track record is a real plus. He is considered in our industry to be one of the finer amateur scouts, and his track record for the Blue Jays speaks for itself.

"We also want to express our deep appreciation to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization for letting us both speak to and hire Tim at a point in the year when most clubs are working towards next season."

Stockstill, whose brother Dave is the Oriolesí farm director, became the Oriolesí director of professional scouting. Wilken spent his first year with the Devil Rays, in 2003, and the last two of his 24 years with the Blue Jays organization doing professional coverage. But when the Rays had him do some amateur coverage in 2004, Wilken realized how much he missed that aspect of his job. He was in charge of the Raysí draft in 2005 and loved every minute of it.

ìIt felt like this job wasnít half as hard as it felt the last couple of years I did it in Toronto,î Wilken said. ìI realized in 2004 how much I had missed it, even when I kind of got burned out on it toward the end there with the Blue Jays.î

Wilkenís departure is the last major piece to leave the Raysí front office, though general manager Chuck LaMar and Cam Bonifay, his player development lieutenant, were fired after the season, while Wilken chose to leave. A replacement for Wilken had not been named. Wilken said he had to listen when the Cubs and Hendry, himself a former scouting director, beckoned.

ìI was geared into being with the Devil Rays through 2006, and I felt we had a really good staff in Tampa, and I felt good about the three-regional system (of crosscheckers) that we had set up,î said Wilken, who lives in Florida and will work from his home for the Cubs.

ìJim Hendry is a big-time factor, he knows what the grind is like having been a scouting director and has a real idea of what it entails. Heís given me the autonomy to get done what the Chicago Cubs feel needs to get done.î

Wilkenís track record of getting things done in Toronto was impressive. As a crosschecker (1989-94) and as scouting director (í95-2000), he played a vital role in the Jaysí streak of 12 straight first-round picks who reached the major leagues from 1988 (Ed Sprague) to 1999 (Alex Rios), with such impact players as Shannon Stewart, Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells in between.

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

Paul Sullivan claims:
Though no offer was put on the table and the two sides never were close to a deal, rumors of trading Prior refused to die.

Also from Hendry:
"There's been a lot of interest in Corey in the last week."

"Obviously if there are good people around and available, we'll look into it. But with the improvement of Cedeno and Murton, if the team we have today is the one we'll wind up with on Opening Day, we'll be fine."

Talks a lot about going after Soriano, but Bowden likes to be splashy and I don't see us giving him anything splashy to get Soriano.

Andy,

Every good journalist needs a good copy editor between the reason and the story about his daughter I meant to say his main reason seemed to be from my analysis that he just wants the trade rumors to stop and get on playing the game using that as an example. In the article he states alot of "if they decide to trade me" and such for a guy who is suppose to be intent on staying there.

I cant stand the trib Baseball writters because there hacks. It is clear Prior was atleast talked about with the O's but they freely pass along the company line that Prior was not involved. The only MSM people I trust reporting on this team are Kap and Miles cause they will voice displasure when need be for example Kap brigning on Marshall to critique Prior and Wood a few weeks ago. Though on the Soriano thing Bowden might not have a choice if Soriano is not willing change positions or not resign with them. His comments about wanting to go to the AL killed his trade value because the only AL team that might want him is the Angels to DH and that is somewhat unlikely cause Scoisia is a big believer in versitility out of that position. In the Nl the Astros, Cubs, Mets, would be suitors for his services. Hou could offer Backe and Burke the Mets could offer Helieman and Diaz or Nady the Cubs could trumpt that offer because Walker seems so expendible for them that he, and he gives Was 2b insurance in case Vidro cant go, could be added to that CP and Jwill package Sullivan talked about. If WAS adds a 20-25th caliber prospect that might not be be a bad trade for all involved.

It is clear Prior was atleast talked about with the O's but they freely pass along the company line that Prior was not involved.

I don't think Sullivan has been saying that at all. He's only been claiming (and the Sun-Times as well) that any deal was not nearly as close as had been reported in a few other places. You're going to believe whoever you want to believe, but Miles seems to be off on every single rumor he brings up this offseason. He's like the radio version of mlbtraderumors.com. Throw enough darts, one of them will stick. :)

I can't imagine the Angels wanting anything to do with Soriano, but I could be wrong. Actually I can't imagine any team wanting anything to do with Soriano and the $10 mil he's owed (I think that's right).

We may not ever know why Walker is on the outs with the Cubs.

I think he showed alot of guts last season. He probably wasn't 100% with that knee but still posted a .305 BA and .353 OBP in the second half.

His knee did give out on him towards the end of the season, around September 23. But he was just listed day to day after that. A good winter and he should be healed more.

The man played in pain, with a bum wheel, and still did the best job he could.

Huh...that's interesting. Ramirez had a bum wheel also and still hit but I consider him lazy. That might need a re-evaluation. I just wish Ramirez would actually run to 1st base with a sense of urgency once in awhile.

Maybe this is why...
http://www.deadspin.com/sports/baseball/on-th...

"This tall, dark, and handsome National Leaguer is very married... but that doesn't stop him from having his fun. He makes it no secret that he's taken (wife, 2.5 kids, dog, the works) and doesn't even bother to remove his wedding band when he's flirting it up. Maybe he's so used to the relaxed and loose atmosphere of strip clubs -- where he's a frequent visitor -- that he just forgets...
According to On The DL, our man is none other than Cubs second baseman Todd Walker. This explains why all the one-dollar bills are always falling out of his pocket when he slides.

http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/sportsstory...

Team officials are privately expressing confidence they can trade former starting center fielder Corey Patterson within the next 2-3 days.

Also, they love Cedeno at short and would like to rid themselves of Walker. ("no longer fits in the teams' plan"). Not much news on the Walker front, 2B will be between Jerry and Neifi. [as things stand]

Of course this is the Cubs brass's plan, not necessarily Baker's. Who knows what he'll come up with come spring training...

Regarding the lineup: what makes the most sense is to bat Jones #2 against RHP, and bat Murton #2 against LHP. Pierre, Lee and Ramirez are permalocks at 1, 2 and 4. Again with a RHP, Barrett is likely your 5 hitter, with Murton 6, Cedeno 7, and Neifi/Hairston 8. With a LHP, either Jones hits 6, or hopefully, a platoon partner like Grissom or Restovich will instead.

The more I look at that lineup, the more I'm warming to the idea of Soriano for 2B. He's got a bad attitude, he's expensive, his defense sucks and so does his plate discipline. But he's a helluva lot better option than Neifi/Hairston, and at least he has a good SLG and can steal some bases.

As for Walker, deal with it--the Cubs want him gone. The only question is why did Hendry pick up the option if he was going to be so damn hard to move? The answer is obvioiusly that Hendry misjudged the demand for old Disgusted Bat Flip. Best to take a prospect for him at this point and make sure that $2.75MM isn't on your 2006 payroll.

So it's OK to be completely Psycho(Milton Bradley), a Drunk(Furcal), or just plain negative in the clubhouse(Soriano), but God forbid if a married man flirts at strip clubs??????
Sorry, but I just don't get it. Maybe Walker slept with Mrs. Hendry besides that this is seriously some Twilight Zone shit.

Flirting? Me thinks things would have to go beyond flirting to toss a guy this good and cheap out on his ear. You kick all the guys in MLB who flirt at strip clubs off their teams and you won't be able to field fifteen teams. So many guys screw around on their wives that Walker would really have to be flaunting things and embarrassing the team in ways that "flirting" just doesn't quite explain.

I think we're over-analyzing this Walker thing. Hendry has stated that he has come to like "guys who catch the ball". Walker, while statistically not horrible, cannot claim to have good defense.

Hendry and Baker see that they have two 2B in Hairston and Neifi that can field and can hit a little, and they like that option better than Walker.

I, naturally, don't agree with this assessment, but I think it's clear Hendry is moving toward a more defensive team, and is clearing out the guys that don't fit that mold, like Walker.

Mike C,

I don't understand why you make stuff up, when you can just do a little research. But anyway,

'Jones is an extreme groundball hitter. His hits don't go screaming through infields as fast as they used to with the old Twins astroturf. This is probably the single biggest reason why his average plummeted .50 points the last 2 years. And now Jones is heading to the high grass at Wrigley field. Not exactly a good sign. '

In 2005 Jones hit .260 on grass and .240 on Turf. In 2004 he hit .262 on grass and .248 on turf. But in 2003 allegedly the last year with the twins old turf he hit .265 on grass and .333 on Turf! So obviously you're on to something.... except that in 2002 he hit .348 on Grass and .262 on turf. For the last 4 years which would come to 2 on the 'old' surface and two on the new: .285 Grass .270 on turf.

Andrew,

I would agree with your reasoning if it weren't for the fact that would given a deal he likes, Hendry would gladly put Soriano at second... a terrible fielder and by all accounts a worse hitter than Walker AND righthanded (Soriano had an OPS on the road last year that would make Neifi look like a superstar... (.639)).

There is absolutely no explanation that has made sense for me so far in terms of baseball evaluation. If there are some personal issues, that's another thing.

Luis

Real Neal,

Again, thanks for those intersting stats on Jones!

Luis

Since this is a CUBS blog and not a CHICAGO blog I feel at liberty to say
GO PANTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I agree with you if Hendry is going after Soriano. I'm not sure that he is though. I think he's just trying to improve the team's defense, and dumping Walker is a way to do that. I certainly hope we get someone decent in return.

I agree that discarding Walker to add Soriano makes no sense. I'd be much more interested in trading Walker + Patterson to the Nationals for Vidro.

"GO PANTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Here, here. Steve Smith is the man.

Soriano is a overrated, overpaid punk bitch.

I'd rather have Knifey.

Yeah. I said it.

Andrew,

If the Cubs were going after Vidro I am sure that most of us around here would be happy. But so far I have not even heard rumors in that direction, and maybe it's just my imagination but Soriano's name keeps on popping in relation to the Cubs... until last year I was an avid fan of Hendry (except for hiring Dusty) and so far I think that he has done a good job this winter (Furcal for 13M? thanks but no thanks), but lately I am really having a hard time supporting him with those proposed Tejada deals and with the situation at 2nd. There is absolutely no right reason for having Neifi or Hairston being the starting 2nd baseman in 2006. If the Cubs would get a guy like Vidro I would feel very good about this winter, if the put Neifi in there it just shows me that they haven't learn anything and think that both Hendry and Baker think OBP and OPS are useless stats.

We shall see...

Luis

Presuming the Nationals got Soriano from Texas with the idea that they could move him to CF, but then found out after they got him just how adamant he is about refusing to play any position other than 2B, I think it's entirely possible that the Nats will trade him to the Cubs (one of very few clubs who would have both the interest and available 2006 payroll needed to acquire him at this time) for Corey Patterson (who WILL play CF), Jerome Williams (who would be a rotation starter for Washington), and a third Major League-ready pitching prospect TBD (possibly a young middle reliever to be acquired via a separate deal involving Todd Walker or Jerry Hairston, Jr).

I see a LOT of red flags in acquiring Soriano (substandard defense at 2B, atrocious 2005 road numbers, likely $10m 2006 salary), but let's face it, Soriano IS Dusty Baker's kind of player (combination of power and speed, and damn the OBP) and he is also the kind of "athletic" player favored by Hendry, so this trade would make sense (to Hendry) in a perverse kind of way, especially if Hendry does not want to trade Patterson for simply a "mid-range" Orioles prospect (like Fiorentino or Majewski).

In other words, if Hendry thought signing Jacque Jones for three years was a good move, why wouldn't he also want to acquire Alfonso Soriano if he has the chance to do it?

Borowski4Life,

With the difference in money I would rather have Neifi in there too... and I HATE Neifi as a starter so that says a lot.

Luis

Arizona Phil,

If platooned, Jones signing is not very bad at all... just look at what the Cardinals had to give up for EncarnaciÛn. Soriano would be in an entirely different league than Jones (i.e. double the money, much worse defensively, and judging by Burnitz's road numbers in 2004 and his production 2005 it would be hard to even say that Soriano is better offensevely). They would have to pay me money to acquire Soriano, let alone send talent for him! Jerome Williams for Soriano? Are you kidding me!?

Luis

Luis-

Right with you. I've got no love for Knifey, but even if he a glorified utilityman, at least he comes and does what he's told for the money he's paid.

Luis,

I hear what you are saying. I think there are three reasons (each with a varying degree of justification) that Hendry may be trying to trade Walker:

1) He knows that if he doesn't, Neifi will get the majority of the starts at SS. Justifiable.

2) He is trying to improve the defensive capacity of this team, and Walker is a weak link, when Hairston and Neifi are options. Somewhat justifiable.

3) He is trying to acquire Soriano. Not justifiable.

Of course, if he is trying to take a flier on someone like Vidro, however, #3 immediately becomes more justifiable.

Others on this blog, including AZ Phil, seemingly know more about Hendry's coveted players and have listed Soriano among that list before. And yes, we've all heard the rumors of the Cubs being interested in Soriano, though those died off after he went to the Nats. Still, I find it hard to believe that Bowden would make a deal for Soriano and then be forced to trade him away again for spare parts when he clearly wanted to make him a part of the National lineup. I could be way off here, but I don't think Soriano is coming to the Cubs.

Okay, so clearly AZ Phil and I disagree in our assesments of the likelihood of a Soriano deal. I'll bow to his superior wisdom.

Let me say, however, that if Hendry includes Jerome Williams in any deal for Soriano, I'll be shoving Manny Trillo aside for the driver seat in the Fire Hendry Now bandwagon.

#93 of 93: By Luis (January 9, 2006 07:56 AM)
Arizona Phil,

If platooned, Jones signing is not very bad at all... just look at what the Cardinals had to give up for EncarnaciÛn. Soriano would be in an entirely different league than Jones (i.e. double the money, much worse defensively, and judging by Burnitz's road numbers in 2004 and his production 2005 it would be hard to even say that Soriano is better offensevely). They would have to pay me money to acquire Soriano, let alone send talent for him! Jerome Williams for Soriano? Are you kidding me!?

Luis

---

LUIS: I feel your pain, my brother.

But you really don't think Jim Hendry would jump at a chance to get Alfonso Soriano, even if it costs Jerome Williams?

And you really think Hendry signed Jacque Jones for $15m over three years so the Cubs could platoon him?

Jones WILL play 150+ games (presuming he stays healthy) and hit 5th. Jacque Jones is the ultimate Dusty Baker kind of player.

And if Soriano is available for C-Pat, Williams, and a third player, Hendry would jump on that deal, too. And Dusty will hit Soriano in the #2 slot. Watch. You'll see.

But please understand, I would not have signed Jacque Jones, and I do not want Soriano. I'm only posting what I believe HENDRY will do if given the opportunity.

WWJHD?

I'm definitely not against a Soriano trade.

I see this as a chance to address a cub need. We need a guy to hit in the 5 hole and put up numbers. Soriano is that guy. He puts up almost 40 hrs. and 100+ RBIs a year He steals 30+ bases a year too!! Yes his OBP sucks. Yes his defense sucks. But I see the 100 RBIs and smile. With the additions of Murton, Cedeno, and Pierre I think we have plenty of OBP guys in the lineup. The guy in the 5 hole needs to have RBI numbers. Remember when we improved A-Ram's defense through coaching....maybe that's a possibility.

Secondly, Vidro can't play an entire season, and I don't want to see Neifi on the field next year.

If we need to trade Williams to get him we can go sign Jeff Weaver. Done.

Ariz Phil -
"WWJHD?"

See if he can't squeeze Prior into the deal?

Oh, and the little punk has made it clear that he intends to return to the American league last year. So, on top of everything else, he would surely be a rent-a-player.

AZPhil: And Dusty will hit Soriano in the #2 slot. Watch. You'll see.

That would be dumb. Cedeno would fit better there. I don't put it past him though.

Pierre
Cedeno
D Lee
A-Ram
Soriano
J Jones
Murton
Barrett
pitcher

too many rightys.....and dependent on rookie production, but what else can we do to improve the offense. Vidro's not the answer, that's for sure.

Next year. He intends to return to the American League next year. Sorry. Monday morning.

101 of 102: By cubbiefan (January 9, 2006 08:12 AM)
AZPhil: And Dusty will hit Soriano in the #2 slot. Watch. You'll see.

That would be dumb. Cedeno would fit better there. I don't put it past him though.

----

CUBBIE FAN: Of course it would be dumb. So was hitting Patterson-Neifi 1-2 in the order in 2005. If Hendry gets Soriano, you don't think Baker would hit Soriano 2nd and Jones 5th? I do.

I'm not saying it makes sense. It has nothing to do with logic or common sense or anything like that.

So then why WOULD Dusty hit Soriano 2nd? Because he's fast, and you always hit your fastest players at the top of the order. Right?

AZPhil, Do you know where in the lineup Soriano has historically hit?

And you really think Hendry signed Jacque Jones for $15m over three years so the Cubs could platoon him?

I think Jim Hendry signed Jones to a 15/3 deal because he felt Jones was the best available OF option, and it took 15/3 to sign him - certainly the going rate when you compare him to similar players like Burnitz and Encarncion.

I don't think that means he's off limits to be platooned. Its not like we're talking about an all-star who signed a 10/year deal here.

However, considering that the Cubs tend to ignore severe left/right splits and platoon players who perform equally against left/right, I don't see Jones actually riding the pine against LHP where he belongs.

"I think Jim Hendry signed Jones to a 15/3 deal because he felt Jones was the best available OF option, and it took 15/3 to sign him - certainly the going rate when you compare him to similar players like Burnitz and Encarncion."

Except that Juan E and Burnitz signed AFTER Jones, effectively making Jones the going rate for the other two.

Mark it down.

Murton will play everday and hit second. Cedeno will play everyday at either second or short. The Cubs will definitely platoon with Jacques Jones. Patterson will be traded very soon. Walker soon thereafter.

BTW, I'm only dropping the Soriano Bomb here so those of you inclined toward self-destruction can prepare youself in case it happens. I am just trying to prepare everybody for the possibility (which is beginning to make way too much sense in a Hendry-Dusty kinda way for it NOT to happen).

Remember, if Hendry does acquire Soriano, don't do anything rash. Just take a deep breath, relax, and count to ten before you take any action. Think about your family. Think about how much they would miss you. Take a trip to Hawaii if you feel you need to do something. We at TCR are here to help you through this (if it happens).

Hey, it might not even happen! And if it doesn't and you already have accepted that it will, think how good you will feel. Like when Hendry didn't trade Prior for Tejada. Like that.

Except that Juan E and Burnitz signed AFTER Jones, effectively making Jones the going rate for the other two.

Both the Cubs and Cardinals were going after Jones, the Cubs got the guy they wanted and the Cardinals paid about the same amount of money for their second choice, Juan E.

Other teams were offering Jones similar amounts of money, so its a bit much to say the Cubs set the rate in this case.

They did help set the rate earlier in the offseason, however, when they signed Neifi to his rediculous contract. In that case, the Cubs were not bidding against anyone, and helped people like Grudz get significantly higher paychecks.

Bleeding Blue,

Agreed 100% with your post.

Luis

#107 of 108: By Barry Foote (January 9, 2006 08:26 AM)
Mark it down.

Murton will play everday and hit second. Cedeno will play everyday at either second or short. The Cubs will definitely platoon with Jacques Jones. Patterson will be traded very soon. Walker soon thereafter.

-

BARRY F: I would say it this way...

Murton SHOULD hit 2nd, but he won't. And if Murton doesn't hit 2nd, then Cedeno SHOULD be given a chance to hit #2, but that won't happen, either. And that's because Dusty likes to hit his best base-runners (preferrably base-stealers) at the top of the order UNLESS they are rookies or 2nd year players, in which case they hit 6-7-8. That leaves Pierre-Soriano or Pierre-Neifi (if the Cubs do not acquire Soriano) to hit 1-2.

If somehow, someway Todd Walker were to claim the everyday 2B job (but you KNOW that's not going to happen, don't you?), Walk would hit 5th and then (and ONLY then) Jacque Jones would hit #2. That's the only way Jones hits #2.

If the Cubs don't acquire Soriano but do trade Walker, then Neifi will play 2B or SS (because Cedeno might play 2B instead of SS) and hit 2nd.

I think The Cub Reporter Nation will be very suprised and delighted with the lineup construction this year. I think the organization is waking up to Baker's tendencies and realizing that some of them are to the team's detriment. I believe Hendry and Baker will be on the same page with the lineup. I think Hendry has finally gotten Baker to see that you need OBP at the top of the lineup. It could be wishful thinking. I guess we'll see.

I think the biggest disconnect between the two is the bullpen. This is why Hendry has spent so much money on relievers with clearly defined roles. He acknowledges that Dusty struggles when handling the pen.

Re ## 91, 93, 97 $ 108, chances of a Soriano deal.

I agree with AZ Phil, that Hendry would jump at the chance to acquire Soriano for C-Pat, Jerome Williams and a mid-level minor league reliever. And I think Bowden would make that deal as well, though I would still be surprised to see it happen now, while Jose Vidro's health is still in question.

Here is the National's pitching staff right now:

Rotation:

Livan Hernandez
John Patterson
Ramon Ortiz
Brian Lawrence
Tony Armas

Bullpen:

long-relief/spot starters: Jon Rauch and Ryan Drese
set-ups: Luis Ayala and Gary Majewski
LOOGYs: Mike Standon and Joey Eischen
closer: Chad Cordero

The weakness of that staff are the Nos. 3-5 starters. John Patterson and Livan Hernandez are solid, that their bullpen is actually pretty good. Brian Lawrence could do reasonably well at RFK. Ramon Ortiz is Ramon Ortiz, the only good thing about that signing is that it was for $2.5 million and fly balls are more apt to stay in RFK. I would take Cordero/Ayala/Majewski over many team's late-inning pens, including the Cubs.

Adding Jerome Williams certainly shores up the back half of that rotation. The team also has room to add another middle reliever (Drese is likely to be waived during ST).

Most importantly, a speedy, defensive CF is critical to playing in RFK. That was one under-reported problem with having Brad Wilkerson play CF -- not that he wasn't bad defensively, but a lot of balls rolled to the wall for triples. I think Bowden sees Corey and he is willing to overlook his offensive troubles in favor of seeing much improved defense in the OF, which Ryan Church certainly does not give them.

I think what happened with Corey last week is that teams saw the same report we all saw and thought, "What? The O's can get Patterson for Jeff Fiorentino? I can do better than that!"

Barry -

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Barry Foote said: "I believe Hendry and Baker will be on the same page with the lineup. I think Hendry has finally gotten Baker to see that you need OBP at the top of the lineup."
---

Yeah, and don't forget how much Hendry and Baker were on the same page last year, like when Hendry trades for the number 1 obp leadoff man at the time in the N.L. (Steroid Matty Lawton) and Baker's response was that he had to talk to his players to decide where Lawton would bat in the lineup.

For someone who played so long, and during a time when fundamentals were stressed much more than today, Baker is absolutely clueless.

The only good thing about the horrible offseason the Cubs have had is that it will lead to a 75 win season and Baker AND Hendry will both hopefully be fired.

Larry, your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

All you need to know about Dusty and playing the right people is with Neifi and Cedeno at the end of last year.

"How do you take the glove out of Neifi's hand?"

That should be on Dusty's grave stone.

I would really hate to have Soriano striking out in the 2-hole all year.

If it ONLY costs us Patterson and minor league players, then there's ONLY one bad side to this trade: It would immediately reduce Todd Walker's trade value to zero. We'll never get better than a minor league because we will have to trade him. I'm not going to count out Trader Jim yet but such a glut at 2B would be very bad news.

If we give up Jerome Williams, it's the stupidest thing I ever heard. This guy could be a cheap #2-3 starter as early as 2006. He's an MLB fifth starter at worst. He's the guy we got to end The Curse of LaTrouble.

#104 of 115: By cubbiefan (January 9, 2006 08:19 AM)
AZPhil, Do you know where in the lineup Soriano has historically hit?

---

2001 (NYY): #1
2002 (NYY): #1 (highest career OPS, best slugging and best SB total, 2nd best OBP)
2003 (NYY): #1 (2nd highest career OPS, 2nd highest slugging %, highest OBP and highest BB total)
2004 (TEX): #3 (lowest OPS last four seasons)
2005 (TEX): #5 (splits: GREAT OPS home/TERRIBLE OPS road)

Soriano usually has about a +.040 differential between his BA and OBP. So for him to have an OBP in the .330's, he has to hit in the .290's, which he has not done when hitting anywhere but lead-off.

He has done his best hitting (OPS, slugging, and BA, with an OBP in the .330's) when placed in the #1 slot. He also steals more bases (with more CS, too), walks more often, and Ks more often (and generally looks at more pitches) when hitting lead-off than when hitting 3rd or 5th (where he REALLY "hacks").

He struggled last year (TERRIBLE on the road) when hitting 5th, and road numbers are the ones that mean the most to me because the positive or negative effects of the "home" park aren't a factor.

I suspect what Jim Bowden's thinking was when he got Alfonso Soriano from Texas was that Soriano would play CF and hit lead-off for the Nationals in 2006, with Jose Vidro (when healthy) or Damian Jackson playing 2B and hitting 2nd, followed by Nick Johnson at 1B, Jose Guillen (if his shoulder surgery doesn't keep him from playing everyday) in LF, Ryan Church in RF, rookie Ryan Zimmerman at 3B, Brian Schneider catching and hitting 7th, and Cristian Guzman (or Damian Jackson) at SS.

What MIGHT happen if the Nationals were to trade Soriano to the Cubs, is that Corey Patterson would play CF and hit 7th, with Ryan Church moving to the #2 slot, and Vidro (when healthy) or Damian Jackson (if Vidro is unable to play) playing 2B and hitting lead-off. If necessary, Marlon Byrd could platoon with Patterson in CF if Corey doesn't improve his numbers versus LHP.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

We'll get some actual quotes this week from Hendry but here's what you can expect to hear this week:

Hendry explaining the Prior/Tejada rumors

How much Patteson sucks (I'm sure we'll hear that he doesn't "fit" into the teams plans anymore)

Cedeno rules

Cedeno at SS, Neifi at 2B , Todd Walker gone (I will now light myself on fire)

I know, nothing new. Claims Korey could be gone by today to the O's or a NL team. Says Seattle and Boston are likely out of it.
That's Kiley's take.

NL team is rumored, not surprisingly, to be the Nationals.

Furthermore, the Nationals deal is supposed to be Ryan Drese and OF Brandon Watson...gee, thanks guys...

Yeah, it's been circulating that the NL team is the Nationals, I also read that he won't trade him to an NL Central team, so there goes my Korey/something for C. Wilson idea.

Where did you get those names from, borowskie4life?

Does anyone else feel that Barrett and Blanco missing all but 1 week of spring training to play in the WBC is a bad, bad situation for the Cubs?

The starting and backup C's not working with the Cub pitchers during spring training can't possibly help the team, only hurt it. I wonder why Jim Hendry didn't forbid Barrett from playing in the WBC, ala Brian Cashman and Jorge Posada?

Internet grapevine...somebody posted on a forum...got it from here: http://www.mlbgminsider.blogspot.com/

I think that anyone playing in the WBC is a bad idea. In fact the whole thing is a bad idea.

who's this guy pulling out names that no one else can seem to get?

Interesting.

Claims the O's offer is INF Bryan Bass and P Chris Britton

It's all crap for crap.

I don't know...I've never been to this site before, so I don't know if he's reliable or just just farting rumors out like you know over at mlbtraderumors.

But you're right...all junk. Anybody in any organization that sees Drese as a servicable 4th or 5th starter shouldn't have a job in professional baseball.

The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Corey Patterson from the Chicago Cubs on Monday for shortstop Nate Spears and left-hander Carlos Perez.

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

For everybody that got into the Walker debate, this is the first quote of Hendry I have seen in a long time where he acknowledges Walker as part of the Cubs team... don't know if it means anything, but anyway:

"Right now, we have three second basemen [in Jerry Hairston, Neifi Perez and Todd Walker]. There will be some things to earn in front of Dusty [Baker] and have him and the staff make some decisions there. We think athletically and position-player-wise, we have enough to start with. We'll continue to look and try to get better."

Luis

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