December 2006

2007 Year in Review

This is about the time of year everyone starts putting up their looks back at the year that was 2006. But hey, what's the fun in rehashing the misery that was last year when we can take a peek into next year? So here are tomorrow's headlines today: January 3rd: Cubs sign Cliff Floyd....and every other remaining free agent. Rival GM's complain that "Spendry" hasn't left anyone for them. Hendry responds with "when you haven't won a World Series in 98 years, you have to do things a little different". Also petitions MLB to expand to a 60-man roster. 9th: Mark Prior begins throwing program, Cub layout relevant dates for public. He'll play long toss for a week, then pitch off flat ground for another week and then slowly increase his pitch count off a mound. By February he'll be complaining of arm soreness, in March he'll come down with a "mysterious illness" that takes him out for a few weeks, April he'll start his rehab program from scratch, May will consist of minor league starts, June he'll make a few starts in the majors, get shelled and go back on the disabled list. 20th: At the Cubs convention when asked by a fan that despite all the money spent, the team did nothing to address its problems with walks on the hitting or pitching side Hendry responds with, "Obviously we have no idea how to build a winning team, but we're obviously confident that even the most ill-conceived teams get lucky once in awhile. Obviously I'm also confident that with the hiring of another big name manager, that all the criticism will be deflected away from me." February 15th: Pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Zambrano comes into camp with twenty new bats and new gloves for first base and the outfield, says he's ready to play everyday and help the team anyway possible. When asked about cutting down his walks while pitching, he takes one of his twenty new bats and bludgeons writer to death who asked the question. Writers all agree to say nothing since it was Phil Rogers who asked. 16th: Mark Prior complains about arm soreness. 20th: The rest of the team reports, Piniella encourages Ramirez to hustle around the bases by releasing a bobcat whenever he puts a ball in play. 21st: New hitting coach Gerald Perry begins working with hitters and explaining the concepts of patience and waiting for your pitch. Team looks on with bewilderment. Perry scratches head and proclaims, "Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue." 23rd: Piniella and coaches show up to morning practice and field is empty, ballplayers nowhere to be found. Finally tracking some down on the golf course, Kerry Wood explains that under the old regime they'd play catch for a few days and then could do whatever they want as long as they showed up for the Cactus League games.

Holiday Hangover Thread

Looks like it's been awhile since we had a new thread. What do you hope the different members of the Cubs got for Christmas? Jim Hendry: A treadmill, another executive assistant, and a Sam's card for discounts on off-the-shelf utility infielders Lou Piniella: An industrial-sized bottle of antacid and brochures for retirement condo. complexes in south Florida Matt Murton: A neon sign reading "Play Me" to hang by his locker

Free Agent Frenzy Update

Right before the free agency period began, I let you guys chime in on your free agent picks. Unfortunately I can't link up to it at the moment as they haven't imported all of our archives quite yet, so you're going to have to trust me on this for now. Each free agent has signed that was on the list sans Zito, so I added up the totals so far and here are the current results: Chifan3887 64 Junior 59 WPZ 59 Jackie T 58 Z 56 TWCoffee 56 Carmenfanzone 54 Sweet Lou 54 Vorare 54 Jessica 54 IM Slacker 53 Green Lantern 52

Cubs Close to Signing Cliff Floyd

Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune is reporting the Cubs are close to signing 1B-OF Cliff Floyd to an incentive-laden deal. Sully speculates that Floyd will be used in a "platoon" in LF with Matt Murton, which considering the number of RHP vs LHP starters in the N. L., would mean Floyd would start about 2/3 of the time.

How about we talk some baseball?

Unfortunately there's not that much to talk about as the deals are drying up. At some point Barry Zito and the rest of the free agent pitchers will sign and the Pirates will scrape off a player or two that's left since they're required to actually field a team, but the Cubs look pretty much done for the offseason. The only real Cubs news is that Jason Marquis is taking his physical today and the deal is about to be finalized for the 3/21 that was talked about.

Were You Expecting A Warning?

As you can see, we've got a whole new design to the website and we're adding a writer from "Behind the Ivy", Graham Funk. There are obviously some kinks to still work out and I imagine the redesign will go through a few more versions before we settle on anything. And no, I had nothing to do with any of this. So be patient, we'll hopefully get this all fixed up in no time. And yeah, I want the comments in their own pop-up box too.


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Have Your Pencils, and Scorecards Ready…

Contracts have been tendered and salary abritration has been offered, so pending further trades, FA signings, and minor league acquisitions, here is the projected Cubs organizational position depth chart, including the Cubs and their four full-season farm clubs (Iowa, Tennessee, Daytona, and Peoria). There are quite obviously too many position-players and pitchers listed on the various minor league teams, so not all of the candidates will survive Minor League Camp (Spring Training). Some will get released, while others will get moved in a "courtesy trade" to allow them to go to an organization where they aren't blocked.

Cubs Non-Tender Two

The Cubs made some room on the 40-man roster by non-tendering P Adam Harben and C Jose "I never should have been on the 40-man in the first place" Reyes. They're both likely to be resigned on minor league deals. Here's a list of some the notable non-tendered casualties: Marcus Giles (whomever suggested the Astros in the comments is a sick bastard) Jayson Werth Toby Hall

Glove Me Tender

Today is the deadline for MLB clubs to tender 2007 contracts or offer salary arbitration (where applicable) to players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are not already signed for 2007. (The old deadline for tendering contracts or offering salary arbitration was December 20th).

Not So Fast

It looks like they might have jumped the gun a little bit on the Marquis signing as it's being reported that nothing has been agreed upon quite yet and the years and dollar amounts are still up in the air. He still looks to be coming to the Northside, but the contract details still need to be hammered out. The same article says Daryle Ward's deal is for one year and one million with a second year club option. And that talks with Ryan Church have cooled off at this moment. (Welcome Kenny Lofton!).

Winter Meetings ‘06: Day Four Rumor Roundup

The updates will be scarce today as most the GM"s have left Florida and our own GM is recovering from getting fifty years of donuts and trans fats blown out of his arteries. 2:03 PM Another Score update from George Offman and he cites "one report" that the Cubs are talking to Jeff Suppan and mentions that Rocco Baldelli is on the Cubs wish list along with the White Sox. Both sounded like much ado about nothing at this point, so don't go nuts over it. 1:36 PM I'm listening to the Score at the moment and they did mention the Cubs are talking to Jeff Suppan, but no real details. 1:33 PM - Word is that Levine on ESPN 1000 is reporting the Cubs are "close" to signing Jason Marquis, take it for what it's worth.

2006 Rule 5 Draft

The 2006 Rule 5 Draft meeting was held this morning at the MLB Winter Meetings at Lake Buena Vista, FL, near Disney World. The Cubs lost three players in the Major League Phase of the Draft--LHP Edward Campusano to MIL (the Brewers then sold Campusano's draft rights to DET), RHP Lincoln Holdzkom to HOU, and INF Jason Smith to TOR, and two players in the AAA phase--2B Richard Lewis to KC and RHP Andy Shipman to OAK. The Cubs also selected one player in the Major League Phase (OF Josh Hamilton from TB) and one player in the AAA phase (RHP Jim Henderson from WAS), but Hamilton was subsequently sent to the Cincinnati Reds in a cash deal. After the conclusion of the Rule 5 Draft, the Cubs acquired RHP Kevin Hart from BAL as the PTBNL in yesterday's deal where Freddie Bynum was sent to the Orioles. Hart was selected by the O's in the 11th round of the 2004 Rule 4 Draft (June Draft) out of the University of Maryland, and was a rotation starter at Hi-A Frederick last season. Hart will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time after next season, so the Cubs have a year to decide whether to place him on their 40-man roster.

Bye-Bye Bynum

Word from WGN radio is that Freddie Bynum has been dumped on the Orioles for some jerseys, a hat and a day with Cal Ripken Jr. (in actuality it's the elusive PTBNL). I assume it was to make room for the signing of Theodore Roosevelt Lilly (awfully patriotic parents he had). The deal is for 4/40. Cubs are still waiting on Gil Meche to decide between them and the Blue Jays.

Winter Meetings ‘06: Day Three Rumor Roundup

I can't imagine that I'll keep up the pace from yesterday, but I'll do what I can. 7:05 PM Rosenthal says that Lilly has agreed on a 4/40 deal with the Cubs. Welcome to the Northside! 7:00 PM Some of our readers that have been listening to local ESPN radio 1000 and Bruce Levine are saying that Jim Hendry has been admitted to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. Bummer. 6:43 PM - Maybe the Cubs are hedging their bets here, but that same St. Louis Dispatch writer, Bernie Miklasz is saying things don't look good for the Cardinals on the Jeff Suppan front and that the Cubs and Astros have made 3/30 offers for him. Cards are only offering 3/20 at the moment for Suppan. If true, Astros have a distinct advantage as Texas has no state income tax making it a better overall deal for Suppan. It also seems the only thing holding up the Dodger deal with Schmidt is the physical (various sources). 6:33 PM - Newsday is saying the Cubs have upped their offer to 4/44 on Lilly and Cashman is deciding if he'll offer the 4/40 that Lilly said he'd be willing to take to pitch for the Yankees. 6:21 PM My apologies to reader "Andrew", for he did post new info in the comments on a link I had previously posted. It seems 30 minutes after thinking they were out of the Meche running, the Blue Jays now believe he may take their 4/40 offer. 5:13 PM - Is Gil Meche a Cub? A Blue Jays official has told a Seattle paper that it's his understanding that Meche will sign with the Cubs. I'm not a fan...... 4:56 PM - Rotoworld and Will Carroll have both picked up on the Schmidt deal not being done quite yet and Schmidt has apparently stopped talking about it. - is reporting that Lilly has told the Yankees that he'll sign with them if they offer 4/40. - ESPN is saying that Andy Petitte has decided to pitch next year and if my update at 4:05 pm from Stark is true about the Yanks waiting for Petitte, they'd back out on the Lilly sweepstakes. 4:47 PM - Here's a twist for you, although it looks like a message board, the post is from one of the writers from the St. Louis Dispatch and he says the Schmidt deal isn't done yet and they want to still talk to the Cardinals. Ned Colletti may very well take out all the agents in a mass murder-Godfather style hit if Schmidt backs out. In a later post, (around page 5), Bernie (the writer) says he still believes Schmidt is going to the Dodgers and doesn't trust what his agents are telling the Cardinals. 4:05 PM - Another ESPN update from Stark tells us that the Yanks aren't even sure they'll make an offer on Ted Lilly, preferring Andy Petitte. Unfortunately for them, Petitte probably won't be making any final decisons for a couple of weeks. - He also puts the Blue Jays as the front-runners for Gil Meche.

Winter Meetings ‘06: Day Two Rumor Roundup

I was going to start this yesterday but the servers decided to spontaneously combust. I figure besides the July tradeline, the Winter Meetings are the best time for unfounded rumor mongering and I'm more than happy to help. So I've got ESPN News on, about 25 tabs open in my browser, the Score streaming and an IV drip of coffee. I'll see if I can keep it up. I'm going to try and keep it mostly Cub related, even if it's players that have been connected with the Cubs talking to another team. New posts will go above the old posts. 5:25 PM - Bruce Miles gives us a quick update and has a Cubs source saying that Jacque Jones did not "formally" ask for a trade. Also some whispers of a Kevn Mench for Jon Lieber swap. 4:28 PM - Steve Phillips wasted ten minutes of my time just now on ESPN News. - Lilly's agent Larry O'Brien says the Blue Jays will need to get creative to land Lilly and that the Cubs have stepped up their offer on Lilly and are willing to pay him what he wants. Piniella called Lilly to entice him to the Northside as well. - Maddux deal seems to be done. 4:15 PM Probably the last update for a bit, but Rosenthal puts the Mariners in the Zito sweepstakes, and gives the Dodgers the lead for Schmidt citing his ties to Colletti and trainer Stan Conte (recently hired by the Dodgers). 3:39 PM - Ryan Church is on the block and the Cubs may be interested. Nats are probably looking for young pitching and Church isn't going to get a blue-chipper in return. I say cough up Carlos Marmol or someone similar and see if they bite. At worst, Church is a good 4th OF with good plate discpline and decent power from the left side. 2:56 PM - Rosenthal is back on the Maddux to Padres rumors stating that they're at the "dotting-the-i's-and-crossing-the-t's stage" on a one year deal with a 2nd year option. 2:44 PM - Jacque Jones just did an interview on ESPN News and did a fantastic job of dodging questions. Asked directly if he asked for a trade, he said "I don't know about that, you know what I mean?" accompanied with a sly smile that indicated he didn't want to dig too deep a hole. He did say he had a rough go in Chicago last year with the fans, that some folks even got a hold of his phone number, received some hate mail, etc. As far as he's concerned he signed for three years as a Cub, but you got a sense he'd be thrilled to get out of here. He also said he hasn't spoken to Lou yet this offseason. 2:27 PM - The Mariners met with Lilly's agent on Tuesday, no word on an offer but Lilly does have motivation to go to the West Coast as I believe his wife is going to veterinarian school in California.

A Starting Point

Every year going into the off-season, I usually informally rate the MLB starting pitchers, as either a #1, #2, #3, #4, #5-A, #5-B, or "emerging prospect" starter. Naturally, the list changes from year-to-year. Since there are 30 MLB clubs, I list 30 #1 starters, 30 #2 starters, 30 #3 starters, etc. Some clubs have more than one "ace #1 starter," while others don't have any. It's just my subjective opinion--and I'm sure you have your's, and normally I just keep the list in my head, using it as a reference when posting something here about pitchers the Cubs might be pursuing as free-agents or in a trade. But with the Winter Meetings set to commence at Lake Buena Vista, FL (near Disney World) on Monday, with MLB GMs likely to begin congregating at the hotel bar Sunday evening, and with Jim Hendry hoping to acquire two (or possibly three) starting pitchers while he's there, I thought I would post my list, just to provide a starting point for discussions about pitchers Hendry might be considering.

Recent comments

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  • From Keith Law:

  • This from a Kiley McDaniel chat a couple weeks ago...

    "Comment From Wrenzie
    Who has more ceiling between Yusniel Diaz or Eddy Julio Martinez?

    Kiley McDaniel: Martinez. I have Eddy (20 years old) as a 65 runner with a 55 arm and 50 raw power that profiles as an everyday CF that could be above average depending on if the bat is a 45 or a 55. I have Yusniel (19) as a 60 runner with a 55 arm and 40 raw power that can be an everyday guy if he hits enough (50 or 55)."

  • "Per Jesse Sanchez at, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
    Arizona Phil 7 hours 23 min ago"

  • 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.