March 2006

Pre-Season Roundtable 2006, Part I

The rites of spring are upon us once again, marked by the blossoming of flowers, warmer temperatures, April showers and of course, the TCR roundtable preview. The powers that be here have gathered around one very round and large table extending from the West Coast of the Great States of America to the land of kings, queens and something known as ìspotted dickî; all in an effort to bring you into the new season. Our pal Transmission has gotten himself wrapped up in a defense of his disseration so unfortunately he will not be able to play along. We wish him luck as we do the 2006 Cubbies. --------------------- 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? MmmmmÖdonuts!!! [John Hill] When Americans talk about donuts, or doughnuts as itís correctly spelt, are we talking ones with jam in the middle, or ones with holes in the middle? I mean theyíre both good, but I think weíre all better off if our favourite things come without a big bit missing. Take the Cubs, for instance. Just how much better off they would be without about half a lineup missing? Letís just say, with a little more strawberry jam, they might not be in the position theyíre in now where, if theyíre to have any real playoff aspirations at all, theyíre once again entirely dependent upon the ridiculously high upside pitching getting healthy and staying healthy. And once again the news on that front has not been good. Iíd love to act all surprised on that one, but Iíve won the grand total of zero Academy Awards in my lifetime. The bottom line is, when you consider just what can be done with a hundred million dollar payroll and the lure of the big city, Hendryís off-season for the second year running has to go down as a big disappointment. Again, some backwards and a lack of foresight and creativity have been the main culprits. [Ruz] He addressed their needs, I just don't think he did a very good job. I'm probably in the minority in liking the Jones signing more than the Pierre trade -- the Cubs gave up an awful lot to get a guy who does one thing well. Jones, meanwhile, will be an albatross by 2008, but this year I expect him to contribute. The bullpen additions certainly will improve the staff, but the cost of the Howry and Eyre deals is just ridiculous. [Rob G.] He certainly addressed what he felt the teamís needs were, Iím just not sure he addressed them properly nor sufficiently. Juan Pierre was absolutely an essential pickup after missing out on Rafael Furcal, but it was a steep price to pay. Heís certainly going to perform better then Corey Patterson did, but will he perform up to his 2003 and 2004 levels? I have serious doubts. He signed some decent relievers but itís a dangerous strategy signing middle relievers to big contracts, one that Hendry has already been burned on a few times. Hendry claimed to have an eye for defense this off-season, but once again Iím not sure if he did much to improve upon that aspect of our game. And he did nothing to improve on one of our biggest problem's; woeful team OBP. Heíll have to hope that Hairston/Walker, Murton, Pierre and Jones play at the apex of their potential while Lee and Ramirez continue to play at theirs. To give it a grade, C-. [AZ Phil] BULLPEN: Signing Dempster, Eyre, and Howry for three years is one year too long for each, but I will worry about that in 2008. I guess giving each of them three years is what Hendry felt he had to do to get then to sign (or re-sign) with the Cubs. Kerry Wood is the Cubs bullpen ace-in-the-hole, though. I would have no problem with Woody moving into the closer role mid-season if Dempster struggles. With a healthy(?) Kerry Wood as the closer, the Cubs bullpen would be the best in baseball, and it's already very good. BENCH: I like bench guys who are good pinch-hitters, so I would have preferred the Cubs sign Mark Sweeney, Wes Helms, and/or Robert Fick over John Mabry. RIGHT-FIELD: I am not a Jacque Jones fan. I would have preferred the Cubs go hard after Brian Giles instead. There weren't a lot of options here. LEAD-OFF HITTER: Rafael Furcal would have been one-stop shopping (SS and lead-off hitter in one player). I guess Pierre is an OK fall-back lead-off hitter, and I like Ronny Cedeno as a SS, but I would have MUCH prefered Furcal.

Another Roster Move

- Roberto Novoa was optioned to AAA Iowa. The roster is down to 27, one of which is Wade Miller, so it's really 26. It appears the final spot on the team is down to John Koronka versus Michael Wuertz, with Wuertz most likely flying east with the team. Ryan Theriot will likely make the team as well unless the team picks up a late spring training casualty. Dusty's thoughts on the makeup of a 25-man roster:

Cub Roster Update

The Cubs optioned RHP Roberto Novoa to AAA Iowa today, cutting their Spring Training roster to 27 (26 if you don't include non-roster invitee Wade Miller, who must be added to the 40-man roster by Opening Day, although he will then immediately be placed on the DL while he continues rehabbing from last season's shoulder surgery).

Not Liking the Marshall Plan

Well Cubs camp stands at 29 right now with the demotion of Mike Restovich and then we get the surprise of camp that Sean Marshall may possibly overtake Jerome Williams for the fourth spot in the rotation, while Williams slides into the long relief role out of the bullpen and POSSIBLY get the 5th starter spot for that April 15th game. A bit of a shocker I'd say.

Cubs Roster now at 28

The Cubs were busy Tuesday, as they traded RHP Todd Wellemeyer to Florida for two minor leaguers, placed RHPs Mark Prior and Kerry Wood on the 15-day DL retroactive to March 27th, optioned RHPs David Aardsma, Angel Guzman, and Jae-Kuk Ryu to AAA Iowa, and returned C Casey Kopitzke to the minor league camp at Fitch Park. Also, veteran OF Marquis Grissom retired. So the Cubs roster currently stands at 30, but it really is more like 29, because once RHP Wade Miller is added to the 40-man roster (and he must be added to the 40-man roster sometime before Opening Day), he will certainly be placed on the 15-day DL. Miller will no doubt take the 40-man roster slot formerly occupied by the departed Todd Wellemeyer. The Cubs will need to make five more cuts before Opening Day (four cuts if you don't include Wade Miller, since he will certainly be placed on the DL). If non-roster OF Michael Restovich is added to the 25-man Opening Day roster, another player will need to be dropped from the 40-man roster, either by moving Wood, Prior, or Miller to the 60-day DL, or by outrighting, releasing, or trading a player. UPDATE #1 3/29 AM: ATTENTION! ... ATTENTION, PLEASE!... The Cubs sent OF Michael Restovich to their minor league camp at Fitch Park Wednesday morning, so the Cubs Spring Training roster now stands at 29 (includes one non-roster player--Wade Miller--who will be added to the 40-man roster prior to Opening Day and then will be immediately placed on the DL). UPDATE #2: 3/29 PM : OK. Here's another one. The Cubs optioned LHP Rich Hill to Iowa today, so their Spring Training roster now stands at 28 (including Wade Miller). Besides adding Wade Miller to the 40-man roster sometime prior to Opening Day and then immediately placing him on the DL, the Cubs will need to cut just two more players, and at least one (possibly both) will be a pitcher.

Some Other Things…

Please feel free to digest the Todd Wellemeyer trade and Marquis Grissom retirement in the post below, but I had to mention that... - Roberto Novoa has recovered from his bout with "valley fever" and will likely see Cactus League action before the team breaks camp on Thursday. - Dusty Baker has decided on who will get the bulk of the playing time at 2b, but he's not telling. Nana, nana, boo-boo

Recent comments

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  • The advantage we have is Ross is a bit susceptible to the walk and this Cubs team, you know, walks a lot.

  • http://i.imgur.com/eeRC3g0.jpg

    get a room, you two. actually, bring it in for a group hug! yeah!

    The Crunch Reporter thanks you for your input. my feelies...however...weep for the future of this country.

  • @The E-man ♥ (for that post)

  • It is a "thing" with you. That's just it. The more here that point it out, the less you see it. WISCGRAD only one example. ROB G today....

    That's ok - addicts are the last to find out they have a "thing".

  • once again, ONCE AGAIN...this isn't even a "thing" i started...i just commented on someone else "starting it." it's a message board. even if i did "start it" people shouldn't give a shit unless they have something to bring to the table...even if it's just a joke.

    yes, i see a silver lining...i also see problems. i commented on both.

    how about more posts complaining about things i say. TCR could use more of that.

  • Phil, any update on Oscar de la Cruz? Is he actively rehabbing?

  • CRUNCH: It is obvious that you never see the silver lining, are uninterested in the huge preponderence of positives that typically outweigh your nitpick of the post by like a 10:1 margin. You cared not about Lester's 10 K's the last start compared to your contrarian view of his mortal mistake (which didn't matter) of not getting the ball out of his glove. Today you go on about his glove out (which he did last year) and same results. And, you never seem to mention first that he pitched really well - shutout a team with nearly every player batting over .300.

  • i like turtles.

  • "I had a pretty good career before he (Ross) came along..."

    it's like arguing with a moran...

  • *facepalm*

    nevermind. i've seen this film before, it sucked.

  • not sure it could be any better, but he gives up a lot on defense...so who knows? Soler's peripherals and inevitable warm weather makes me think he'll get it going soon. Sadly, the D will still suck.

    Baez at 3B with Bryant in OF is looking more and more like the lineup we'll see in Sept/Oct, but again, who knows? I'm not too overwhelmed by Baez's AB's, still looks to be swinging out his ass, but he seems to be making more contact. But a .385 BABIP will not hold...although he should be launching a few more...but damn that D.

  • Yes! Why clog 'em up?!

    Hopefully Hendricks will hit all his spots tomorrow.

    Or, Joe Ross has a really off night.

  • OMG, he had a tough inning of his own doing!!! If only he walked all those hitters on base instead, we could be spared your delusions of 250 IP and consecutive CY Young awards.

    There's a little going on here, that is being made into a lot by you.

    Didn't WISCGRAD already debunk all this last year, certainly ignored by you, but I believe he went through every instance a runner was on base against Lester and how little it ended up mattering. And unlike you, I do not care to repeat myself ad nauseum.

  • ...yet...it's a thing that would happen if there were less 4-5 out innings...like a certain 30-pitch inning he had a couple starts ago. let's not let "good enough" be a stopping point when it could be better. it's a negative aspect of his game no matter how much melt-in-your-mouth-not-your-hand sugar coating one can pour over it.

    this is a game of maximizing advantages and striving to prevent bad situations...no matter how much you come out on the other side smelling like roses.

  • he's 8th in innings pitched in baseball this year and has thrown over 200 innings in 7 of the last 8 seasons. He finished 21st in MLB in IP, 9th in the NL . Plus, going to your bullpen has a much different meaning in baseball the last few years anyway...

    You're looking for a one percentage increase in performance from a guy already outperforming the league by 25-30%. Might as well ask be asking Anthony Rizzo to steal more bases.