Time for the readers opinions; into the gauntlet are Andrew, Mike C., The Real Neal, MannyTrillo, Chad, Shawndgoldman, Nickelnights and Crunch. Donít fear, weíll get some other faithful readers the next go-around. Stay tuned for a historical look of Opening Day Rosters later today and a preview of our first NL Central opponent, the Cincinnati Reds, tomorrow before the big game.
Rate the Cubs off-season acquisitions and maneuvers? Did Jim Hendry sufficiently address the teamís needs or was he left in the cold holding a bag of donuts?
[MannyTrillo] I would give him a C+. He finally went out and addressed two of the GLARING holes from last year after many of us fans were screaming for him to get a leadoff man and a better bullpen, but he has left us still with too many question marks in the starting rotation. He did not properly prepare for the very likely injuries to Wood and Prior.
[Chad] Huge improvements in the HORRIBLE bullpen from last year. I feel that we might win a game with a lead in the 7th if our starter has to come out.
Outfield is another story. While I really like Juan Pierre, I don't see any upside to Jacques Jones over Jeromy Burnitz.
[The Real Neal] I like the Pierre trade, even though I don't like Pierre - it was nice to see the Cubs trade two birds in the bush for a real ML player. Probably a bit of overkill with Howry and Eyre signings (even more-so with the way Ohman has pitched in the spring), and I like everyone else would have preferred a $12 Giles to a $5.5 Jones - but the outfield defense should be top-rate.
[Nickelnights] Overall, I'd give Hendry a C-. It was a baron offseason, and what was available came at an extremely steep price. He did do a good job of fixing the areas he targeted, particularly lead-off and bullpen, and those things will help the team this year.
However, I'm concerned that the signings could be costly 2 or 3 years down the road. We've seen what happens when you sign veteran relievers to long term contracts, and multi-year deals to the likes of Neifi Perez and Glendon Rusch are will pretty darn stupid.
[Mike C.] Offensively the Cubs fell short again for a third straight year. The organization is still hell bent on winning 2-1 games than 5-2 games. Pierre and Jones are not going to produce any more runs than the guys they replaced. The only upgrade is that hopefully Pierre gives Lee and Ramirez more RBI chances. In the bullpen Howry was an OK signing but Scott Eyre was just plain stupid. The man is situational pitcher who might appear in a lot of games but rarely ever pitches a whole inning. For the money he is making he will be expected to perform more than that which could lead to trouble.
[Crunch] Cubs took care of LAST season's issues. I'm not thrilled with 3 years of Dempster. RF came down to J.Jones vs. J.Encarnacion and I'm happy the Cubs chose Jones. Pierre and his cost was taken on at the expense of 2 pitchers, the highest of which was 4th-6th on the minor league depth chart depending on just how much you like Nolasco...I like the move. Eyre/Howry I am happy to have around in the pen for years. W.Miller was a hell of a signing and a stable gamble, imo.
[Andrew] Of course, it's a bit premature to judge any offseason until you see how the new team peforms that next year. But, alas, I guess Christian can't wait that long to post our analyses. So, what were our needs this offseason? Leadoff hitter, bullpen help, and a lefthanded slugger, and Hendry was up to the task. He acquired the leadoff man (although he gave up Ricky Nolasco to do it, which is a crying shame and might have been unnecessary). He shored up the bullpen (although he gave too many years to Dempster, Eyre, and Howry). He signed a left-handed outfielder with some pop (albeit one with poor OBP skills and who should be platooned). Did he accomplish the main goals (more or less), without blowing a ton of money or minor-league talent to do it? Yes, more or less. That in itself probably deserves a grade slightly above average. Still... *yawn*. Forgive me for being unimpressed. There seemed to be no urgency to Hendry's moves, no drive to think creatively and work to construct trades that could benefit multiple teams. Instead, we signed or traded for the obvious players, which, while not bad, isn't terribly exciting or encouraging. So, adding points for his commitment to Cedeno and Murton and for the Wade Miller signing, call it a B minus.
[Shawndgoldman] I don't think Hendry sufficiently addressed the team's needs, but i also don't blame him for not doing so. The biggest problems Hendry faced were the best potential acquisitions - B. Giles, Furcal, Tejada, Ryan, and Burnett - all turned out to be somewhere between undesirable and impossible. Giles gave San Diego a home town discount, the O's wanted too much for Tejada, and Furcal, Ryan and Burnett signed contracts I wouldn't want the Cubs to top.