TCR's Free Agent Frenzy Contest 2008

Time for another shot at wonderful prizes with the TCR Free Agent Frenzy Contest. actually runs it and we just piggyback off of them, but it's been great fun. The prize this year for first place is a brand new copy of Cait Murphy's Crazy '08, which I know Dr. Hecht strongly endorses.

Wednesday Cubs Hot Stove Round-Up

All quiet on the Western front...

- The Braves have contacted Ryan Dempster's agent. Dave O'Brien guesses that Dempster will still sign with the Cubs and says the Cubs have offered a three year/$36 million deal which Dempster wants to make sure isn't too much of a hometown discount.

One Time Only Offer - Election Open Forum

We tend to suppress the political talk around here because we like to treat sports as an escape from the realities of the world. Also because people tend to go off the deep end whenever the topic comes up.  This being election night though and there being nothing baseball-related worth discussing - go at it.

TCR Best of: Arizona Phil Votes Early and Often

Here on election day, I'm voting for none other than Arizona Phil. Anyone armed with so much information can't lead our country wrong. I can't wait for Chris Berman to get his post-election interview with Phil.

Strong commentary by Az Phil from the "Cubs make the First Trade of the Offseason" post. 

On newly acquired Ryan Buchter:

Ryan Buchter was drafted by the Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, but he didn't sign, and instead went to a JC in New Jersey.

The Nats signed Buchter as a "Draft & Follow" in May 2006 (prior to the new CBA, clubs retained rights to their Rule 4 Draft picks until one week before the next year's draft), an indication that his draft stock had gone up after his year playing JC ball.

What probably happened is, the Cubs area scout in New Jersey "turned in" Buchter off his performance in JC in '06 ("turned in" being the term used by scouts when they recommend a player), but the Cubs never got a chance to draft him in 2006 because the Nats had already signed him as a DNF in May, although the Cubs probably kept his name on file for future reference should a trade be made with the Nationals at some future date.

Tuesday Cubs Hot Stove Round-Up

UPDATE: Looks like Kevin Towers jumped the gun on saying Peavy is willing to go to the Angels or Yankees, as Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod denies the report. Axelrod said Peavy may consider either team but it would require a healthy dose of extra compensation.

CBS's Scott Miller talks about the golf game between Hendry and Towers and throws Rich Hill's name into the mix.

Cubs Make First Trade of Off-Season

Trader Jim put a buzz through the GM meetings by pulling off the first trade of the week....RHP minor league pitcher Matt Avery has been sent to the Washington Nationals for LHP minor leauge pitcher Ryan Buchter. Avery was drafted in the 9th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Virginia and played three years with their 3rd basemen, Ryan Zimmerman. Avery started off well in the organization with solid partial seasons in the Rookie League, Peoria and Daytona but has flatlined in AA in both 2007 and 2008 with ERA's above 4 and peripheral numbers that suggest he won't ever amount to a major leaguer.

Buchter was drafted in the 33rd round out of high school in 2005 by the Nationals and is just 21 years old. He's only pitched 70 innings of pro ball since then and the ERA isn't much, but he has maintained a K/9 rate above 9 which is always a good sign. The wonderful wide world of the web hasn't turned up a scouting report for me though.

Cubs Hot Stove Round-Up

Baseball's fourth season is about to warm up and I'll try and summarize all the gossip every couple of days.

- Ken Rosenthal says that Ryan Dempster won't sign with the Cubs before the Cubs exclusive negotiating window closes on November 13th. A rather wise move by him and his agent. There's no reason not to test the waters and see what is actually available for him as rival teams cannot discuss money over the next two weeks. He still may very well sign with the Cubs on a hometown discount, but that discount will be based on what the prevailing market is offering. Rosenthal speculates a four year deal for Dempster with the Cubs interested in three years. Rosenthal also speculates that if the Cubs cannot resign Dempster, they'll up their efforts on Jake Peavy, which sounds like a grand plan to me.

TCR Digs Up The Best Of: This Week in Cub Baseball, AZ Phil Style

Here at TCR we're always trying to add value to our readers. One of the ideas discussed recently was that many fantastic posts in the comment section get overlooked when time is limited. Also some of our readers get their dose of TCR via RSS feeds and never see the comments section. In an attempt to feature "the best of TCR",  I'll dig up some of the comments that aren't to be missed and make this a semi-regular feature. It will be a regular feature once Rob G. hires us a full time executive secretary (so everyone please click on all those advertisement links).

The maiden voyage of this feature starts with the spotlight on the amazing Arizona Phil. We all know him as the guru of all things Cubs, including roster machinations, their farm system, mlb/milb rules and regs and of course Cubs history A to Z, George Altman to Carlos Zambrano... or is it H to H, John Holland to Jim Hendry?

(Also this demonstrates how well I can cut and paste, just like being in the operating room ala Dr. Nick!)


Post #31: Cubs Decline Blanco's Option, TCR 10/31/08.

Submitted by Charlie on Sat, 11/01/2008 - 10:55am.

"The Cubs lucked-out with Type 'B' FA Juan Pierre that way a couple of years ago" Happened with Kendall last year, too, no?
I don't see any time signing Howry until after the Arb. deadline, given that they could lose a first round draft pick. But those top 15 draft picks are protected, right? So if a team in that first 15 were to sign him they wouldn't actually lose any draft picks, the Cubs would just gain a 1st round pick and a sandwich pick?


CHARLIE: Yes, Jason Kendall also signed with a new club before 12/1, so the Cubs got a supplemental (sandwich) 1st round pick (who turned out to be Ryan Flaherty, one of the Cubs Top 10 prospects IMO) without having to offer arbitration to Kendall. A club is more likely to sign a Type "B" FA than a Type "A" FA prior to 12/1, though,because while the player's former club does get a compensation draft pick for losing a Type "B," it's just one draft pick, and it's a supplemental pick between the 1st and 2nd round and doesn't cost the player's new club a draft pick. Signing a Type "A" FA prior to 12/1 would cost the new club one of it'own draft picks (either 1st or 2nd round). Of course, that didn't stop the Cubs from signing free-agents like Alfonso Soriano, Jacque Jones, Scott Eyre, and Bob Howry (and losing draft picks as a result) prior to 12/1! 

Elias Rankings for Cubs Free Agents

The official Elias Rankings are out and does their usual job of half-assery by not giving out the full list, but at least we know Joe Mauer is the top AL catcher. Gee thanks!

The ESPN free agent tracker gives the listings for those that have filed so far and it looks like has finally come through with the full list of potential free agents. For those unaware of the system or need a refresher, Elias has come up with some rather archaic ranking system that takes the last two years worth of stats and ranks every player in baseball...mostly relying on counting stats (decent explanation of the point system can be found near the end of this article or read through this Tigers fans blog who is trying to reverse engineer their rankings). The importance of it is that MLB uses it to figure out free agent compensation. A type "A" player that is offered arbitration by his former team and is signed by a new team will net his old club a first round draft pick and a supplemental draft pick between the first and second round. A type "B" free agent nets his old team just a supplemental pick. Also, the first 15 picks in the draft are protected, so a team drafting in one of those slots that signs a type "A" free agent would give up their second round pick and so on.


Recent comments

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.

    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.