Crystal Ballin'

I would expect the following to happen over the next few weeks:


1. FIRST 15 DAYS AFTER CONCLUSION OF WORLD SERIES: Window during which MLB Article XX free-agents can file for free-agency.

Cubs free-agents , , , , and will file for free-agency, bringing the Cubs Reserve List (40-man roster) down to 33 players.


2. 4TH BUSINESS DAY FOLLOWING CONCLUSION OF WORLD SERIES: Deadline for clubs to add their own Rule 55 minor league free-agents (so-called "Six-Year Minor League Free-Agents") to the 40-man roster by selection. (Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights with their own Rule 55 minor league free-agents through the end of the MLB Free Agency Filing Period).

Probably the only Cubs post-2009 Rule 55 minor league FA who is a candidate for selection to the 40-man roster prior to the deadline is RF , who could be another or (an apparent "4-A guy" who gets written off but is in reality just a "late bloomer"). The Cubs claimed Snyder off waivers from Cleveland in September 2008 (he was the Indians #1 draft pick out of Ball State in 2003, and was rated a perennial Cleveland Indians "Top Ten Prospect" by Baseball America 2004-07), and he remained on the Cubs 40-man roster until he was outrighted to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training. Along with and , Snyder has one of the top three OF arms in the Cubs organization, has plus-power (he was on a pace to hit 50 HR for Iowa before he broke his wrist in May), runs well for a big guy (he looks like he could play TE in the NFL), and is a decent defender who can play all three OF positions (although RF is best position). His only negative (and it's a big one) is an inability to make consistent contact.

The 27-year old Snyder is presently playing for Mexicali in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), where he is 11th in the league in SLG and 4th in walks (and tied for 10th in strikeouts). He is out of minor league options, so adding him to the 40 would mean he would be exposed to waivers again at the end of Spring Training if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. If the Cubs don't add him to the 40, they could try and re-sign him to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, but if given the chance to be a free-agent, I would think he would probably take the opportunity to sign with another organization where he would get a better chance to play in the big leagues next year. My guess is the Cubs let Snyder walk.


3. NOVEMBER 20TH: Deadline for adding minor league players who are eligible for selection in next month's Rule 5 Draft to the MLB 40-man roster.

I believe the Cubs will add C , LHP , and RHP to the 40-man roster, and they will also outright RHP to the minors (presuming he isn't claimed off waivers). This will bring the Cubs 40-man roster up to 35 players.

It's possible that the Cubs will also add 21-year old RHP and/or 25-year old "supersub" IF-OF to the 40-man roster on 11/20, too, because if they don't, Dolis and Camp are good candidates to get selected in the Rule 5 Draft. (Dolis showed a lot improvement at Instructs, and Camp is presently playing for Mexicali in the LMP where he leads the league in stolen bases, is 6th in the league in hitting, and is tied for 6th in doubles). Adding Dolis and Camp to the MLB Reserve List would bring the Cubs 40-man roster up to 37.


4. DECEMBER 1ST: Deadline for offering salary arbitration to MLB Article XX free-agents.

I believe the Cubs will offer salary arbitration to Type "A" FA John Grabow, but not to any of the other four. Because Grabow is a Type "A" FA, the Cubs would get a 1st or 2nd round draft pick plus a "sandwich" pick between the 1st and 2nd round if Grabow signs with another club, which would mean most clubs wouldn't be interested in signing him because signing him isn't worth losing a 1st or 2nd round pick. That should drop Grabow's value down and the Cubs should be able to sign him for below market-value. (I say the Cubs should be able to sign him for below market-value, not that they will). But one way or another, I believe Grabow will re-sign with the Cubs. This will bring the Cubs roster up to 38 players.

Reed Johnson might get re-signed eventually, too, but I doubt that he will be offered salary arbitration on 12/1. Before they re-sign Johnson (or offer him arbitration), the Cubs need to know whether they will be exchanging for a CF or another RF (presuming Bradley even gets traded during the off-season). Because if the Cubs trade Bradley for a CF (like , for instance), I doubt that the Cubs would re-sign Reed Johnson to platoon with in RF. In fact even if Fukudome plays CF again in 2010, the Cubs might opt to try and make a trade for a cheaper RH hitting OF like (A's), who is eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two," but still won't be getting "Reed Johnson money" ($3M per year). I suspect the A's would take back for Davis.


5. DECEMBER 7TH-10TH: MLB Winter Meetings in Indianapolis.

The Rule 5 Draft will be held Thursday morning 12/10, and is the last order of business at the meetings, While the Cubs have not selected any players in the Major League Phase of the draft for themselves in recent years (the Cubs selected OF from Tampa Bay in 2006, but then traded him to Cincinnati for cash), they have had other clubs select players by proxy in each of the last two years, and then acquired the players via trade after selection. In 2007, RHP  was selected by Tampa Bay from Minnesota and then was traded to the Cubs for cash, and last year RHP was selected by Cincinnati from Colorado, and then was traded to the Cubs for cash. Lahey did not make the Cubs 2008 25-man Opening Day roster and was claimed off waivers by the Phillies (and then was subsequently re-claimed by the Twins later in the season), but Patton remained on the Cubs 25-man roster (or 15-day DL) for the entire 2009 season, and so he is no longer a Rule 5 player, and can be optioned to the minors in 2010 (and he will have three minor league options)     

While the Cubs have dabbled in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft the last couple of years, Cubs minor leaguers have been selected in each of the past seven drafts (ten players total). OF was selected in 2002 by Toronto, but was re-claimed by the Cubs when Dubois did not make the Jays Opening Day roster in 2003. LHP was selected by Kansas City and LHP was selected by Baltimore and then traded to Florida in December 2003, and while Sisco had an outstanding rookie season working out of the Royals bullpen (he was a contender for A. L. Rookie of the Year) and remained with the Royals for the entire 2004 season, Hagerty (who was still not 100% recovered from 2002 TJS) was re-claimed by the Cubs during Spring Training 2004. RHP was selected by Kansas City and then was traded to San Diego in December 2004, and Szuminski did make the Padres 2005 Opening Day 25-man roster, before being re-claimed by the Cubs midway through April when the Padres tried to send him to AAA. RHP was drafted by St. Louis in 2005, but was re-claimed by the Cubs during Spring Training 2006. In December 2006, INF (who had been signed by the Cubs as a minor league FA just a month prior to the Rule 5 Draft) was selected by Toronto, RHP (acquired earlier that year from Florida in the Todd Wellemeyer deal) was selected by Houston, and LHP was selected by Milwaukee and then traded to Detroit. Holdzkom was re-claimed by the Cubs during Spring Training (but then was released prior to Opening Day 2007), but Smith remained in the big leagues throughout the 2007 season (he was claimed off waivers by Arizona in May, and then was claimed off waivers again by Kansas City in July), and Campusano had a very good Spring Training with Detroit and reportedly had made the Tigers 2007 25-man Opening Day roster, before going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John Surgery. Campusano spent the entire 2007 season on the Tigers 60-day DL, and then was re-claimed by the Cubs when the Tigers tried to outright him to the minors after the season. RHP was selected by Toronto in December 2007, and he made the Blue Jays 2008 25-man Opening Day roster, before being re-claimed by the Cubs when the Jays tried to outright him to the minors in April. And LHP was drafted by Pittsburgh last year and spent the entire 2009 season on the Pirates 25-man roster (or 15-day DL) and so he is no longer a Rule 5 player. (Veal is presently one of the top 5 starting pitchers in the AFL).

So if history is any predictor of the future, expect one or more Cubs minor leaguers to get selected in the Major League Phase of the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, with about a 70% chance that any Cubs player who is drafted will return to the Cubs. The top ten Cubs minor leaguers most-likely to get selected in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft this year would probably be (in this order): C Welington Castillo, LHP John Gaub, RHP Blake Parker, RHP Rafael Dolis, IF-OF Matt Camp, C-1B, C , LHP , OF , and RHP , although W. Castillo, Gaub, and Parker are virtual locks to get added to the Cubs 40-man roster by 11/20, while Dolis and Camp are both probably 50/50 at this point (with the final decision on Camp dependent to some extent by how he performs over the next couple of weeks in the Mexican Pacific League)


6. DECEMBER 12TH: Deadline for clubs to tender 2010 Major League contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man roster (auto-renewal guys and arbitration-eligibles).

I believe the Cubs will probably non-tender only one player, and that is LHP (who is at Fitch Park rehabbing from July 2009 TJS). They then will try and re-sign him to a 2010 minor league contract with an MLB split ($150K while he rehabs, then a prorated $900K if and when he is ready to pitch in the big leagues in 2010 and gets added to the 40-man roster). And I believe Cotts would probably take such a deal, too, partly because he isn't likely to get a better offer elsewhere, and partly because I doubt that he would want to uproot his family and change trainers and facilities in the middle of his off-season rehab.

Non-tendering Cotts on 12/12 would bring the 40-man roster down to 37, and would clear a roster-slot that could be made available for any FA the Cubs might sign (or re-sign) after 12/12.

It's possible that the Cubs will also non-tender on 12/12, but only if they know for sure in advance that they can sign him to a 2010 minor league contract. To do this, the Cubs would probably have to offer Blanco at least $250K plus an NRI to ST. That way, if he makes the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster, he can be added back to the 40 at the end of Spring Training. And if he doesn't, he can be sent to Iowa (and be available to get called up if needed later in the season) without having to clear waivers at the end of Spring Training (Blanco is out of minor league options).



While I think Neal Cotts will be the only Cubs player eligible for arbitration to get non-tendered, I would not be surprised if gets traded before Spring Training (as happened with last off-season). Heilman was reportedly claimed by the Giants off Trade Assignment Waivers at the end of August (and then was pulled back by the Cubs), so trading Heilman to San Francisco (possibly as part of a Bradley for Rowand swap?) might be a possibility.

I also expect to get traded sometime prior to Opening Day, since he is out of minor league options and does not appear (at this point) to have a spot on the Cubs projected 2010 Opening Day 25-man roster. Any American League club looking for a RH platoon DH would be foolish not to have an interest in acquiring Fox.  

As for , because he is guaranteed $2.7M in 2010 and coming off a horrendous 2009 season (185/224/242 in 74 games with the Cubs), he is virtually untradeable, and so I believe he will still be on the Cubs roster come Spring Training. I expect him to be given every opportunity during Spring Training to show he is back to 2008 form (317/368/409 in 134 games with STL), and he will compete with , , and Andres Blanco for a middle-infielder job. But if he continues to suck, Miles will almost certainly get released at the end of Spring Training and the Cubs will just "eat" his contract. So unless the Cubs desperately need his roster slot during the off-season (and that's not very likely), don't expect anything to happen with Aaron Miles until the end of Spring Training.


I undrstand that Fox is not a defensive wizard out there, but the Cubs had sure better decide on a better backup to A-Ram, D-Lee, andSoriano than Aaron Miles and Bobby Scales. Fox at least can hit, and he make most of the plays. Yes, of course long-term he'd get exposed, for a few games here and there...filling in he'd be a valuable player.

You know, that phrase would be one of those things that I wish they had gone over in "the book". "long-term he'll get exposed". I don't understand it. Possibly it could mean that they would find out a guy can't do something - like field bunts or catch throws from the catcher (if we're talking specifically about 3rd), but I don't think Fox is all that bad at either of those things. But in general - a guy is likely to get 1 out of 12 (or whatever) balls hit at him playing third base over the course of one game, or over the course of a season. Is there any real logic that supports that it's OK to play a guy in a position for a day or two, but to do it for two weeks or two months it will make your team more likely to lose?

I asked Mikey Fontenot, and he said the point was that Fox's bat might get exposed long term, not his glove. His glove is exposed before he gets off the bench, but personally I don't care. Having said that, I'm betting Billy Beane loves him some Jake Fox.

I think Fox looked more than acceptable at 3b. He's not a gold glover, but he had barely played the position before last year. And for the people complaining about his defense in LF, he's better than Soriano. Even if Fox played everyday, I don't expect him to be a superstar, outrageous AAA numbers aside. But he can be a valuable and inexpensive piece of the puzzle, especially in the NL where he can spot start at multiple positions. I just think that trading him is a mistake unless you get a more productive player back.

Agreed, I have serious problems with trading Jake Fox to make room for Aaron Miles or similar "proven vet" garbage. Lefthanded or not

Submitted by Dusty Baylor on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 1:09pm.
I undrstand that Fox is not a defensive wizard out there, but the Cubs had sure better decide on a better backup to A-Ram, D-Lee, andSoriano than Aaron Miles and Bobby Scales. Fox at least can hit, and he make most of the plays. Yes, of course long-term he'd get exposed, for a few games here and there...filling in he'd be a valuable player.


DUSTY B: I don't think Lou Piniella values Jake Fox very much, and so I suspect he will get traded to an A. L. team where he can be a platoon DH.

Lou seems an awful lot like Larry Brown (NBA Coach) in terms of how he views his players. He always seems to have someone in the dog house. Always seems to want to ship somebody out at all times. You can have a guy like this managing a team. It would just be more effective if they have a strong GM who tells them "No" every once in awhile.

If the manager doesn't want to play someone, and the GM wants to keep him, he usually ends being a wasted spot on the roster. Do you expect the GM to go the matt on which bench player to use on a given day?

Jack Jones really helped in the 2nd half of 2007. Scott Eyre has been light out in Philly. Lou is a proven manager. Not so much a proven talent scout.

It's a shame, because the Cubs don't have much power in the pipeline to replace him. We can sure load up on light hitting middle infielders though!

In the AFL Rising Stars game, Cubs beat Sox 4-1.

I will still be pissed if Hendry doesn't at least offer arbitration to Harden. There is about a 5% chance he would take it, especially with him projecting as a Type B FA.

Hendry doesn't really understand how to balance arbitration offers against what's available in the FA market.

I would agree with that, and throw it to Az Phil: why again aren't the cubs going to offer Harden arb? No one's talking about it. I understand we have a tentative starting 5 without him, but how big a paycheck are we talking? There's a team somewhere who'll pay him $10 mil per, maybe guaranteed and maybe for 2 years. And if we did offer, how long til we could trade him? Are arb players stuck til May/June?

My understanding is that you can trade them at any point. Since it is a re-signing as opposed to a new signing. Also, if it goes to arbitration (Harden will decline surely) they Cubs can cut him 15 days before opening day and only have to pay 1/6th of his salary. So there really isnt a downside to offering Harden arbitration. Basically we are just giving away the comp picks. Why develop guys when you can overpay for Free Agents?

Pretty much. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Jason Kendall the only guy we have gotten a compensation pick for during Hendry's tenure? That turned out great. We selected Ryan Flaherty, who looks to be the left-handed version of Mark DeRosa. I am just sick and tired of Hendry being allergic to compensation picks. Does he even truly know how the process works? I don't think he does.

I count 3...

Kendall - turned into Flaherty

Pierre - turned into Donaldson which turned into Harden/Gaudin

Clement - turned into Mike Billek

However Alou and Garciaparra turned into zilch

As did Kerry Wood

I completely forgot about Pierre. Man, do I wish we still had Nolasco. That was a horrible, horrible deal. Hendry is about 50/50 when dealing with the Marlins. D-Lee and Clement deals were decent, but the Pierre and Gregg deals sucked. Obviously, the Clement deal looks good now that the D-Train has been derailed.

Pierre did his job for us when he came here. I don't know what people were expecting but i was perfectly happy with his 200 hits, 32 doubles, 13 triples, and 58 SB's. The man was constantly in scoring position, what more do you want from a lead off hitter? 50% of the time he got a hit he was in scoring position. The only thing i didn't like from Pierre was that his OF arm was pathetic, I would take him back right now to play CF for us. But he is a tad more expensive now.

50% of the time he got a hit he was in scoring position.

what was the math that got you there?

a hit can be a single, double, triple, or home run out of those four, 2 of them result in you being in scoring position 2/4 = .5 = 50% come on, rob

What more do I want from a leadoff hitter? How about an OBP that isn't .330, with .292 of it coming from batting average? Essentially, he was putting up Soriano-type OBP with about 200 less points of SLG%. How about a slugging percentage that is higher than .388? He OPSed .718 for us. Why should we be giving the most AB's to a player that is below average at the plate? How about a better caught stealing rate? Yes, he swiped 58 bags, which looks nice, but he was also caught 20 freaking times. That rate is just under 75%, which means he about breaks even on the basepaths. Yes, he had 204 hits, but he had 699 at-bats that year, only 6 off of the then-record of 705. He broke the record for most outs recorded that season, and as you already mentioned, had an absolute pop-gun arm in the field. All things considered, Pierre was not good at all for us, and dealing Nolasco+ for him was stupid.

Pierre did as well for us as he did for the Marlins, he didn't crater off into oblivion. We got exactly what we thought we would get from him. He isn't a power hitter or an OBP guy, his game is all about speed. And i don't care how many AB's you get in a season getting one 200 hit season is hard enough much less 4 of them. No one can say Juan Pierre can't hit a baseball. But most importantly he was healthy enough to get those AB's as compared to Bradley who sports a wondeful OBP but slugged .397. Its just that he isn't a big old power hitter hitting lead off is what the problem is with him. Hence why the Cubs signed Alfonso Soriano, but he hits for toooooo much power so he can't be a lead off hitter anymore. We went from two opposite ends of the spectrum and people are still not satisfied. The only player in baseball that fits the bill that would maybe make everyone happy is Grady Sizemore. But the funny thing is baseball isn't littered with 30 Grady Sizemore's that can hit lead off for you in MLB. You have to go with imperfect options in MLB. And Juan Pierre did his job for us, and I believe he did a good job. He wasn't brought in to be the middle of the order threat and be a power hitter like Bradley was. (Rob G. - yeah i probably flubbed that comment up, i was trying to say out of his 200 hits he was in scoring position with his doubles, triples and SB's around 50% of the time, and i know about his walks and his caught stealing, but i was lazy and didn't feel like typing out a whole explanation like now. Its fuzzy math at best. Pierre did manage to get in scoring position a whole lot, and that shouldn't be forgotten was the main point)

Where did I say that he tanked it for us? He simply sucked, plain and simple. I don't care if he similarly sucked for the Marlins, the point is that we gave up 3 really good looking prospects for one crappy year of Juan Pierre and the rights to select Josh Donaldson. My original point was that the trade was terrible at the time, and nothing has changed since then to alter that. Yes, his game is all about speed, which is the problem. If you can't get on base, which is Pierre's problem, you have to at least hit for some power to counter it. Pierre has never done that. Why the hell should we put a guy who never gets on base and has no power in the leadoff spot, just on the off chance that he actually gets on base and represents a threat to steal a base? It is moronic, and Hendry should have known it from the get-go. As for the 200 hits debate, I will give you the point about Pierre being healthy. However, what does it matter if he gave us 162 games of crap? He only hit .292 to go along with the horrendous OBP and SLG. Any of our better hitters could get 200 hits if they were the leadoff batter and received 690+ ABs. Where did the Pierre/Soriano talk come from? Both are miserable leadoff men. They can't get on base. I don't care about slugging percentage out of the leadoff man if he can do his job and get on safely at a good clip, around .370 or more. The #1 goal for the leadoff man is to get on base for the big bats to knock him in. Any other thinking is straight from the Dusty Baker handbook of "base-clogging". Pierre is a #8 hitter and Soriano is a #5 hitter. To think otherwise of these two is foolishness.

And I will pile on with the words of the esteemed CRUNCH, "Pierre is one leg injury away from being useless..."

And yet he only averages 80 Runs Scored per 607 PA's over his ten year career, in part because he never drives himself in, and in part because he's on base so little.

Pierre has played seven full seasons, between 2001 and 2007. He has averaged 96.7 runs, not 80. That's (108+90+100+100+96+87+96)/7 = 96.7. The 87 runs were in 2006 with the Cubs. That was the year that Derrek Lee got hurt. Who was hitting behind Pierre? Rollins seldom gets caught stealing, but Reyes gets caught at a similar rate to Pierre. The difference between Reyes' 110-120 runs and Pierre's 100 is home runs and triples. Pierre does hit triples--he had 13 twice--but Reyes usually leads the league. The problem with Pierre is that he doesn't play middle infield like Rollins and Reyes. A CF is supposed to have speed and power.

Pierre's arm was awful but I'd still take his offense over most of the other choices being thrown around. And as for him being a crappy leadoff man, the Marlins won the World Series with him and his career obp is .348, 22 points better than Soriano. Pierre has actually averaged 97 runs scored per year when he's been a full time starter, not the 70-80 someone else said. The only problem about bringing him back, besides the contract, is that as others have pointed out, Pierre isn't that selective at the plate and doesn't take many walks. His only real plus tool is speed, and he's 32 now and that speed should start dropping off at some point. And if he has a leg injury like Soriano did that robs him of his speed, well, I'd hate to have his contract on the books when he no longer can steal many bases, because then he's just a $10 million singles hitter. Then again, so are Bradley and Fukudome.

But his OBP hasn't been above .331 as a full-time starter since 2004, when his BA was .326. The Marlins might have won with him as their leadoff man, and that was likely because he had a pretty decent year for them. He had a line of .305/.361/.373. He got on base at a respectable rate that year, but let's not forget the rest of their offense before you give a bunch of credit to Pierre. They had a better leadoff man batting 2nd that year in Luis Castillo (line of .314/.381/.397, which gave them a lot of lee-way when Pierre didn't get on base. Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell, Derrek Lee, etc, were all behind them knocking in a good amount of runs. Then on top of that they had a very good pitching staff and good defense. But like I said before, Pierre was decent that season for Florida. If he would have had that good of a year for us, I wouldn't be so hard on him.

Bruce Levine does his Arizona Phil imitation and offers an update on Vitters and Castro on his blog:

Though mathematically I encourage it, baseball lingo-wise I just have to think 'Huh?' when I read this: Baseball scouts rate tools of players 1-7, with 7 being the best grade for any particular tool.

did the 20-80 scale disappear?

I don't know - it makes as much sense as a 1-7 scale, but I sure as hell haven't heard of the 1-7 scale before. Maybe AZ Phil and crunch have heard something? Maybe it's like when ESPN tried to get everyone to say 80 RBI instead of RBI's. (You're pluralizing the abbreviation, in case anyone is confused as to why RBI's is correct).

The "one that got away"?

if it costs a jesse chavez to get him, they can have him, imo.

Submitted by Seamhead on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 3:33pm.
Bruce Levine does his Arizona Phil imitation and offers an update on Vitters and Castro on his blog


SEAMHEAD: Media-types like Levine, Muskat, Sullivan et al need to leave the blogging to us perfeshionals. First of all, they already have access to the mass-media and so they don't need to blog, and secondly, none of them fully understand the concept of Irresponsible Provocative Speculation (IPS) like we do (well, I guess Phil Rogers does, but I don't think he has a blog). And where is the profanity? When was the last time Carrie Muskat dropped an F-bomb on her blog? Not ever, I think.

Don't be modest, AZ Phil. You have more original and interesting content in one sentence than most beat writers produce in an entire season.

Now he's got me waiting for his F-bombs, though!

I think we need a new TCR glossary term: Phillacio. For any overt heaping of praise on Arizona Phil (even if the praise is deserved! ;-)

That's hysterical, Phillacio it should be!

Thanks AZ Phil

From the Cubs standpoint a Bradley for Rowand deal makes a lot of sense. The Giants would probably be alright with trading that contract and adding the offense of Bradley. The main sticking point is that the Giants would then be in need of a center fielder, wouldn't they?

Fred Lewis could probably handle it. If not they can resign Randy Winn fairly cheaply. Or we can send them Fukudome along with Bradley. Maybe Dempster as well if they send back Matt Cain?

Throw in Neal Cotts and Chad Fox. I can't imagine the Giants passing on all that talent. It's not like the just need to give away pitching.

As much as I am a fan of shipping Bradley out of town, I am not really exactly willing to do it at all costs. I understand that this organization is handcuffed financially, but I am not sure if I would be willing to take on a 32 year old Aaron Rowand and an additional $15 million. Then again, I am not sure what the options are. I do know that I would rather keep Bradley then take Pat Burrell. That would lead to an outfield accounting for 2/3 of the team's total strikeouts in 2010. On another note, I do not believe that Soriano is going to bounce back from an aweful 2009. In the end, this is a contract that will have to be stored away under the "depreciation" ledger. Marc Silverman should attempt another return before the season starts.

There's not really a big difference between Bradley's and Burrell's K rates. Rowand can still hit a bit, and plays average center field defense. As to Soriano... the Cubs in 2010 are probably not going to be too good without a decent Soriano. He had a couple of hot streaks this year, so hopefully that shows he, when healthy, can still get it done. Matt Murton can be had on the cheap if you're ready to cut and run on the remaining $82 million, or whatever we owe Soriano.

Say what you will about Matt Murton. None the less he would/is probably the 4th or 5th best offensive guy the Cubs would have rostered last year, if he was still in the organization. Shame that some guys never really get a real shot. He was never "toolsy" enough for Hendry or "Lefthanded" enough for Lou. Now he is a failed prospect 4A guy wherever he goes because teams are promoting their own prospects. If he was Japaneese Hendry would give him 5/65 NTC, one way player option, and a private jet. Tough break for him.

I was half serious about Murton, but if he could play a passable center field like Fukudome he'd have a lot less trouble staying in the bigs.

If Fukudome was as good of a hitter as Murton then he wouldn't be such a flop. If Bradley hit as well as Murton did in 2005-2007 then he would be more justified in being such a C^%KS$2CKER.

i've got wOBA of .345 for Bradley in 2009, and .381, .353, .349 for Murton in 2005-2007.with a .342 BABIP in 2005 to account for that one really good year. He also hit a HR on 24.5% of his flyballs, most guys are around 10-11% which is exactly what he regressed to the following years.

Fuku had a .328 last year, .345 this year...

the matt murton who couldn't even get a job playing bench in COL in 09 even though he was healthy? oh yeah, that's way better than fuku. fuku only hit 38 doubles and 11 homers on a .375 ob% clip. what a f'n bum. overpaid isn't the same as sucks...except that it sucks he's overpaid.

That would be a real sight: Matt Murton as a CF Bwahahahaha! What a classic outfield with effectively one of three starting OF that could ACTUALLY play their position. Blech.

another "good luck trading Bradley" article

ya know...for all the bitching about bradley... even if the cubs had to take a bath on him and "give" him away... let's say they gotta pay 1/2 and get crap in return. so that's a 6m hit on a 140+million club and it ends up freeing up 6m for a shot at some replacement that's off the payroll... OMFG WOE IS US. anyway, back to the offseason.

Even though the President is a White Sox fan, maybe there is some stimulus money for pot hole fixin' for the next two years to help this Hendry headache? Call it reverse spread the wealth. Burris might be able to slip it in on the pretext to avoid MB becoming homeless. There's got to be a Goldman Sachs corner office that can take care of the paperwork. OR...make MB a rehab project. Assign Brenley to him 24/7, do a "Bradley Minute" daily Comcast report, then as soon as the game is over the two B's (Brenley and Bradley) are joined to Rudy at the hip for hitting tips and PR work. After a full season of "wax on, wax off," we should know if the third year is doable.

If the Cubs cant find a new home for Bradley you do with him what you do with any child. You make him earn his way back into the lineup by being on the bench. For Bradley he should like that, he still gets his money by doing the least amount of work as possible. Plus he will spend a little less time on the field since he is so frightened to play more than 9 innings in Chicago. Besides he is only good for 120 games max a year anyways and roughly 50 RBI, its not like he is Cal Ripken JR. who plays full seasons or Manny Ramirez who puts up numbers year in and year out. You are not benching a future hall of famer or even a guy who puts up any serious kind of stats. Its fucking Milton Bradley who at age 31 hasn't even cracked the 80 RBI barrier, and has one 70 RBI season to his credit. He is a joke impersonating a middle of the order threat.

" do with him what you do with any child. You make him earn his way back into the lineup by being on the bench." Yup, that's what I do with my daughter. "You're only 2, but you better learn!"

The Cubs Convention sold out in 17 minutes!

GM meetings are next week near O'Hare. Bradley trade rumors will be going for volume discounts. Which TCR poobah will be stalking the hallways? and summary cliff notes... Lee and Lilly extensions definitely a possibility plenty of minor league talk Reed's degenerative back condition Ankiel has been discussed... Burrell/Bradley talk Figgins, Orland Cabrera and Hudson talk...

Thanks ROB G.

With Soriano's contract being virtually untradeable and if he continues to decline in the field, isn't it possible that the Cubs may have no choice but to move him to 1B after Lee's contract expires?

Moises Alou played LF until he was 40, Soriano's brainfarts are going to just be a bigger problem at 1b...

rather move Aramis to 1b anyway...

Lee and Lilly extensions? Huh?

huh? as in those are dumb ideas or huh? as in where did I get it from?

first I can't answer, second just came from this...obviously nothing definitive...just a possibility

Phil (Chicago )

Do you feel the Cubs will offer extensions to Lee and/or Lilly this off-season?

Bruce Levine
  (1:18 PM)

Very good question. Very intuitive of you. I believe Lee will be the first one they approach. He has one year left on his deal at $13 million. Look for the Cubs to make some type of offer to him before the 2010 season. Lilly has been the most effective pitcher for the Cubs, he'll be playing at age 35 in 2011. The Cubs will have plenty of time toward late in the season to broach a contract for him.


Huh? as in dumb ideas. In particular Lee. Why is it that he only wants to give Lee extensions when he's coming off a good year? How much would 2011 have cost us last off-season with the market tanking and Lee coming off his .733 OPS second half? Even that bit of stupidity aside, can the plan really be to have Ramirez and Soriano play 3rd and left for four more years?

I think I put it in another thread, but if you go by Fangraphs value and dollars tools (hardly perfection I know), but Lee has been worth or exceeded his contract value even in his down years...

I'm more worried about the where to play Ramirez or Soriano and Lee staying on the field than a drop in production so significant that he wouldn't be worth it. (of course it would all depend on the money and years) 

I'm concerned with both. I'm not sure if that's how I would look at the value and dollars in that way (coming into this year he had underperformed since his extension) - because you should already build some performance/pay risk into what you offer him. So if he's healthy you would expect even a guy who's hit free agency to over perform his salary, particularly a hitter. The hitters have to cover the busts you get due to your pitcher volatility.

Why should we have any urgency to extend DLee? Who would be bidding against us next offseason? All the big market teams have legitimate first sackers already. Most of the small market teams will be not looking to spend on a 35 year old. Let him play out, coax the contract year from him. Then go year to year.

Lee and the Giants are a very good fit. They need a 1B and he lives down the road in Sacramento.

Plus he's old.

Derrek Lee for J. Sanchez and Bumgarner?

Bumgarner's probably a reach, but maybe another top 10 prospect closish to the majors...

I hope Ricketts has the guts to tell Hendry to sell at the deadline, if 2009 repeats itself. Lee Aramis Ted Lilly All looking at Free Agency, should bring back value.

Submitted by Tony S. on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 8:26am.

why again aren't the cubs going to offer Harden arb? No one's talking about it. I understand we have a tentative starting 5 without him, but how big a paycheck are we talking? There's a team somewhere who'll pay him $10 mil per, maybe guaranteed and maybe for 2 years. And if we did offer, how long til we could trade him? Are arb players stuck til May/June?


TONY S & AARON B: If an Article XX MLB FA signs a Major League contract after the conclusion of the Free-Agency Filing Period (and this includes any player who re-signs with his previous club), the player has an automatic "no trade" trough June 15th. The player can waive this right, but if he does, the player can be traded only for cash and/or player contracts with a maximum aggregate value of $50,000.

I just don't think Hendry would take a chance that Harden would accept the arbitration offer, because I doubt that the Cubs 2010 payroll budget (probably $143M max) would support adding an additional $10M+ contract (even if it's Rich Harden, and even if it's only for one year).

greg maddux in ATL ruined it for everyone. heh...

what a shame the Cubs couldn't pawn Harden off in August...

oh that's right...

If he accepts arbitration we could still trade him, correct? That is what I was alluding to.

no, he gets no-trade rights as soon as he hits free agency even if he resigns with his previous team, whether through arbitration or a normal deal. If the Cubs resign him in that 15-day exclusive period, they could trade him I believe...

Thank you as always, Sir.

Submitted by Seamhead on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 1:51pm.
With Soriano's contract being virtually untradeable and if he continues to decline in the field, isn't it possible that the Cubs may have no choice but to move him to 1B after Lee's contract expires?


SEAMHEAD: I believe defense at 1B is underrated, because a good defensive first-baseman (like D-Lee) can prevent errors by giving the 2B, SS, and 3B a big target and by picking bad throws out of the dirt. I doubt that Alfonso Soriano as a first-baseman would save many errors by the 2B, SS, and 3B.

The best thing for the Cubs would be if the National League adopted the DH, because DH is definitely Soriano's best defensive position. Otherwise, it's LF, as long as there is a player on the 25-man roster (like Sam Fuld) capable of being a late-inning defensive replacement in LF when the Cubs are protecting a lead.

The Cubs biggest problem right now is their ever aging run producers. D. Lee, Aramis and Soriano are much closer to the back end of their careers then the front end. With any aging athlete injuries become a problem....sound familiar. If Geo can play next year like he did his rookie year and Jake Fox gets more time maybe the Cubs won't seem so old next year. But I'm afraid in the next year or two we won't have any young bats to replace the ones we have now that will be well past their prime. Man I wish we had gone after Texeira last year. And he's a switch hitter too we could have avoided the Milton Bradley fiasco.

Where would Texeira have played? And where would the Cubs have come up with that kind of money?

I would glady have taken Texiera and traded D. Lee. I love Derek but he's getting older and Texeira has more years left. As far as money with the ownership situation at the time I know it wasn't possible but if the Cubs want to break this little 101 year streak of no title then they are going to have to become the Yankees of the NL as far as spending is concerned. Lets be honest if the Cubs really opened the pocket books like they can no team in the NL could compete monetarily.

Lets be honest if the Cubs really opened the pocket books like they can no team in the NL could compete monetarily.

like they can is intriguing....

they were 5th in revenue, but 2nd in payroll last year

the Yanks show making over $130M more than the Cubs, but the payroll disparity was just $65M, exactly how much more are they suppose to open it up? 

I don't know, maybe...ALL THE WAY. 101 Years!!! Say it out loud. When its been 101 years you open it up all the way. Whatever it takes, no matter how much.

clearly you're a reasonable fan that is in tune with the real world of baseball economics...

When you say "you"'re referring to someone else, right? What exactly is "all the way" anyway? Is it possible to spend infinity dollars?

Submitted by Paul Noce on Wed, 11/04/2009 - 2:43pm.

I think Fox looked more than acceptable at 3b. He's not a gold glover, but he had barely played the position before last year. And for the people complaining about his defense in LF, he's better than Soriano. Even if Fox played everyday, I don't expect him to be a superstar, outrageous AAA numbers aside. But he can be a valuable and inexpensive piece of the puzzle, especially in the NL where he can spot start at multiple positions. I just think that trading him is a mistake unless you get a more productive player back.


PAUL NOCE: I believe Jake Fox is likely to get traded prior to Opening Day mainly because he is out of minor league options, which becomes an issue because he probably does not have a slot on the Cubs 2010 projected 25-man Opening Day roster. (Same thing happened with Felix Pie and Ronny Cedeno last off-season). Of course that could still change, depending on what moves the Cubs might make during the off-season and Spring Training

I REALIZE THAT SEVERAL AFL MVP'S HAVE FIZZLED, BUT . . . it looks like Michael Brenly homered in his second at bat this afternoon. (How do you like my new boilerplate disclaimer?)

(How do you like my new boilerplate disclaimer?)

like a bitter Internet poster that can't handle debate.... Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly underwent a left shoulder arthroscopy and debridement on Tuesday by noted orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. During the surgery, Yocum found no major damage to Lilly's shoulder and the procedure consisted of a washout and clean up of the shoulder. The procedure took approximately one hour to complete.

So - are Dwight Yocum and Dr. Lewis Yocum related?

Bobby Scales was getting playing time ahead of Fox down the stretch, that's all we need to know about his future as a Cub.