The Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano Cubs

Reader dcf (he of the from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years

The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.

On November 23, 2003, the Cubs acquired Lee from the Florida Marlins, that year’s World Series champion, for Mike Nannini and Hee-Seop Choi. Earlier that year, on July 23, 2003, the Cubs had acquired Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton and cash from the Pirates for Matt Bruback, Jose Hernandez and a player to be named later (who turned out to be Bobby Hill). These were sound trades. At the time, Lee was 28 years old and Ramirez was 25. They joined a team which included a then-22-year-old Carlos Zambrano, who had been promoted from the Cubs’ farm system.

At the beginning of the 2006 season, the Cubs signed Lee, then 30 years old and coming off a monster year in 2005 (with a batting title and 99 extra-base hits), to a five year, $65 million contract; that contract replaced a three year $22.5 million contract signed in January, 2004. After the 2006 season, the Cubs signed Ramirez, then 28 years old, to a five year, $75 million contract (which includes a club option for a sixth year); that contract replaced a four year $42 million contract signed at the beginning of the 2005 season. After the 2007 season, the Cubs signed Zambrano, then 26 years old, to a five year, $91.5M contract (which includes a 2013 player vesting option).

The Cubs’ opening day payroll for the current year was $144.359 million. That amount represented the third highest team payroll in the majors, exceeded only by those of the Yankees and Red Sox, and the highest in the National League. The Cubs were committed to pay almost 54% of that amount ($77.625 million) to five players: Lee ($13 million), Ramirez ($15.75 million), Zambrano ($17.875 million), in addition to Alfonso Soriano ($18 million), signed after the 2006 season, and Kosuke Fukodome ($13 million), signed after the 2007 season, each of whom was added arguably to augment the existing Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano core. To put this figure in context, the amount the Cubs were committed to pay those five players was greater than the total opening day team payrolls of 12 major league clubs, including those of the Reds, Padres and Marlins. Approximately a third of their total 2010 opening day salary was committed to Lee, Ramirez and Zambrano.

So how well did this work? Over the last five years, when the decisions were made to extend long term contracts to these players, the results were mixed at best. On the one hand, the Cubs won back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008. On the other hand, the Cubs did not win a playoff game in either year, 2006 was a disaster, 2009 a disappointment, and 2010 a catastrophe. On the whole, however, I am of the view that the strategy was a decent one that, for various reasons, just did not work out, rather than being a poor strategy from its inception.

Some general observations:

1) Injuries have made a big difference. Lee and Ramirez have battled injuries this year which, despite Lee’s attempts not to use them as an excuse, seem to have negatively affected their performance. Lee’s severe wrist injury in 2006 cost him a lot of time that season and may have contributed to his relatively poor years in 2007 and 2008. Ramirez has not been a terribly durable player for the Cubs: he has missed extensive time this year, lost half the season in 2009 to a dislocated shoulder, and only played in 123 games in 2005 and 132 games in 2007. In fact, Ramirez has played in 150 games or more just three times since 2001 and just once with the Cubs. Zambranohas not had any one significant injury, but in 2008 and 2009 had his lowest number of games started, and lowest numbers of innings pitched, since his rookie year. He had rotator cuff tendinitis in 2008, and a pulled hamstring and lower back pain (and an epidural) at separate times in 2009. His disciplinary (and anger management) issues this year do not fall within the category of “injury” but have caused significant time off.

2) The Level of Performance has fallen short of expectations. I would argue that none of these players has consistently performed at a level that the Cubs would have expected given the amount of their salaries, even if you discount the poor years that all of them are having in 2010. None of them has been among the best players in the league or in baseball at his position since signing their large contracts. Lee was an MVP candidate in 2005. He has not been one since. Even in 2009, which was his best year since 2006, he ranked behind Pujols, Gonzalez and Fielder in WAR and behind Pujols, Fielder and Votto in OPS. In 2007, he was behind Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Dunn, Helton and Howard in OPS. In 2008, he was 10th among NL first basemen in OPS.

During the five years prior to his big contract following the 2007 season, Zambrano went 77-45 with an ERA of 3.30 and an ERA+ of 136. Over that period, he threw 1077 innings, averaged 33 starts a year and had a WAR of 22.2. Since his 2007 contract, he’s gone 27-19 with a 4.08 ERA and an ERA+ of 111. He started 30 games in 2008, 28 in 2009 and only has 13 starts this year. His aggregate WAR over that period is 5.9.

In the four years prior to Ramirez’s 2006 deal, he had an aggregate WAR of 11.8. Since then, his aggregate WAR is 9. Ramirez had good years in both 2007 and 2008, but David Wright and Chipper Jones were both better at the plate in each of those years.

So what did the Cubs expect? Well, Zambrano is the fourth highest paid starting pitcher in baseball by average annual value, behind only Sabathia, Santana and Halladay. Ramirez is the second highest paid third baseman in baseball by average annual value, behind only A-Rod. Lee is the eighth highest paid first baseman. (For all salary rankings, see ; I disregarded Cabrera’s ranking as third baseman and listed him at first). In all of these instances, there are players at the same position well below these three in terms of salary that have out-performed them. Ramirez has been a good player, and a relatively consistent performer when he has been in the line-up, but has not been consistently one of the best at his position, which is what the Cubs are paying him to be. Lee and Zambrano have done worse than Ramirez has against their position peers.

3) Was the Strategy Sound? Hindsight is 20-20, but I believe that the strategy of building a team around Lee, Ramirez and Zambranowas a decent decision that has gone horribly awry due to circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable. If you had the chance to build your team around two power-hitting corner infielders and a number one starter, would you do it? The Cubs went for it.

At the time these contracts were signed, all were under 30 years of age. While injury is to some extent an occupational hazard of all athletes, Lee’s severe injury in 2006 was simply unlucky. Zambrano was a horse with perhaps high mileage on him, but was a true number one starter that had consistently taken the ball and won. It is true that Ramirez had a somewhat checkered injury history at the time he signed his last contract, but he had been a consistent power hitter.

I would argue that it was not reasonably foreseeable that all three players would have simultaneously played as badly as they have in 2010.

4) The Downside. To some extent, the performance of Lee, Ramirez and Zambrano illustrate a risk inherent in a strategy like the Cubs’. When you commit guaranteed high-dollar contracts to people that don’t perform, particularly a number of people that don’t perform, you have severely limited options. Lee, Ramirez and Zambrano have been essentially replacement level (or slightly above) all year long and the Cubs have not been able to replace the lost production. As noted above, over half of the Cubs’ payroll was allocated to these three players plus Fukudome and Soriano, who also have not set the world ablaze this year.

5) What to do next? A lot may depend on whether Ramirez and Zambrano can rebound and have decent years. That’s a lot to hope for. Their contracts are such that it may be difficult to move them without the Cubs agreeing to defray salary.

The other thing that the Cubs could do is look to add players through free agency using the salary flexibility that they have obtained by moving the Lee and Lilly contracts off their books. The committed dollars for 2011 look like this: Soriano $19 million; Zambrano $18.875 million; Ramirez, $14.6 million; Fukudome $14.5 million; Dempster $14.5 million; Silva $12.75 million (with Seattle paying $5.5 million); Byrd $5.5 million; Samardzija $3.5 million; and Grabow $4.8 million. That’s $102.525 million. Of the remaining players, the contracts of the following arbitration-eligible players are up: Marmol (currently at $2.125 million), Marshall ($950G), Soto ($575G), Baker ($975G), Gorzelanny($800G), Guzman ($825G) and Hill ($700). Colvin ($401G), Wells ($427G) and DeWitt $410G) have contracts expiring but are not arbitration-eligible. It depends on what the Cubs’ appetite is, but they could add players. Whether they can add the right ones remains to be seen.


Depending on Lee to repeat all star performances year after year... yes, that's how the Cubs operate. In 'lol' news, Michael Eisner might be taking over Tribune Co.

You just HAD to pull the Michael Eisner card out, didn't you! lol!

Doing the Lee-Ramirez-Z non-triumphant triumvirate multi-year signing seemed fairly reasonable to me at the time. The real gamble was the Soriano contract. I don't think anyone thought such a long, extended contract was a very good idea, but the gamble, which was lost, was that he would get us to the World Series in the first year or two of his contract. This would have resulted in sustained Alf-love throughout the rest of his contract, pretty much no matter how badly he deteriorated. The Blackhawks rolled the dice last year on their salary cap stuff and won. The Cubs rolled the dice on Soriano and got their asses kicked.

Not only did it seem reasonable to me at the time but it was refreshing to see the Cubs re-sign their stars and wade seriously into the free agent market. For years it seemed the Cubs only went after older-mid-market guys (Jeff Blauser, anyone?) and would let their rising stars go into free agency without a serious attempt at signing them (Greg Maddox being the worst case of that).

Greg Maddux tried to accept the Cubs offer - so the offer was fine. It was just that they had "spent" all their money on other players at that point. They re-upped with Sandberg (at one point making him the highest paid player in the game), Dawson, Sosa and for the most part Grace, and Kerry Wood all prior to these three contracts.

There needs to be a happy medium going forward. When you have a huge hole in the roster (Like First Base). And no blue chippers to plug in. Then go and get an appropriate tier Free Agent. When you have a logical replacement. (Brett Jackson when Fukudome leaves next offseason). Then you use the system to fill that void.

I agree that the Cubs should sign high priced free agents to plug holes, but only when doing so either nets you a young player or an older player that you believe is THE missing piece to the puzzle.

To me, signing Dunn, and that's what we're really talking about here smacks of desperation. It's the same type of thing that the Astros have been doing for the last three years say "if everything breaks right, with these addtions we can turn it around". Everything never breaks right, especially if you're a Cub fan. Trade Vitters, Marhsall and J Jackson for Fielder - but getting tied into 4 years of Dunn's decline phase will just perpetuate the issue we've had the last two off-seasons.

I don't think Fielder is much of an upgrade over Dunn. I think Dunn is a much better (Wrigley) hitting park is a good bet to average 35/100 over a 4 year deal. Dude is 30, has had no significant injuries ever. And has been remarkably consistent year in, year out his whole career. To me he is the safest signing you can make. Brett Jackson is a logical replacement for Fukudome. Cashner/Wells/Jackson/McNutt/Archer are logical replacement for the pitching staff. Who can logically replace DLee and his usual production at First?

I'm fine with Dunn as long as you don't do something dumb like 5 years at 25 mil per and backload it.

The point is that Fielder doesn't come on a four year deal that's going to be an albtatross in two years. If you sign him to a four year extension, like we did with Aram and Lee, then you get him for his 27 to 31 years. Not that I am stuck on Fielder, but I prefer that a little to signing some guy for his 31 to 34 years - we did that with Soriano - how's it going?

Fielder is a free agent post 2011. He is going to want twice the money Dunn is going to get. I don't understand how you can just assume Dunn will be an albatross in 2 years? A career +900 OPS guy is just magically going to fall off a cliff at 32? Sure its possible, but the chances are much slim.

Dunn is 30 right now. So signing him to 4 year deal covers his 31,32,33 and age 34 season. Those are the same seasons we bought with the last DLee Contract. Here is a direct table of the First base options Career Statistics Player Name Stat Type Bavg Obp Slg OPS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HR 2B R RBI SB Adam Dunn MLB .249 .383 .520 903 1290 4417 780 1101 230 8 316 777 59 20 913 1433 0.24 0.18 0.60 0.60 0.05 Derrek Lee MLB .284 .369 .504 873 1681 5980 946 1701 380 28 293 939 101 44 768 1378 0.17 0.23 0.56 0.56 0.06 Adam Dunn Minor .304 .425 .525 950 343 1208 263 367 70 4 63 220 60 21 230 270 0.18 0.20 0.77 0.64 0.17 Derrek Lee Minor .291 .363 .483 846 640 2393 416 697 138 11 100 406 69 36 262 630 0.16 0.22 0.65 0.63 0.11 Tyler Colvin Minor .277 .320 .465 785 442 1716 259 476 92 31 56 274 44 16 105 341 0.13 0.21 0.59 0.62 0.10 Tyler Colvin College .317 .371 .510 881 185 663 136 210 54 7 20 142 39 8 53 89 0.11 0.29 0.74 0.77 0.21

3 years, his age 33 and 34 seasons, right? Here's a couple of articles about it. Dunn also has what they call "old man skills" (drawing a lot of your value from walks) which typically don't age well I can't find a good explanation on it, but those players, from what I understand don't tend to age well. I know when Fielder is a FA. If he doesn't do well, then trade him and get the prospects back. If he does do well, and you like what you see from a teammate and diet sign him to a relatively team friendly extension shorter extension.

Dunn is 30 now. So 4 years would be age 31,32,33,34 DLee is playing his age 34 season right now. And he has had a much longer history of injury problems. Dunn has played 158 games or more in every single season he's been in MLB. I can't think of ANYONE on any Cubs team that has had that kind of clean health history?

When did Lee's long history of injury problems start again?

Fair point. Even though that original wrist injury that started it was the result of a collision on the field. That could have happened to anyone. Still he did play 150,141,155 games over the last 3 years. So even if Dunn sunk to DLee health levels. He would still be really useful. Plus we have McCovey Covin as an insurance policy.

Lee didn't seem very useful this year. He only had one good year in the last four. Not that I think you can project what players as a whole tend to do onto one particular guy - and definitely not say that Dunn will get hurt because Lee did. If you're going to dip into the free agent market on big aquisitions - I prefer to go for the young superstars over the older veterans. Think Maddux, Ramirez and Bonds versus Dunn, Blauser and Bradley.

I just don't think you can make a hard and fast rule either way. To me Dunn is a borderline superstar. Certainly much better than Blauser or Bradley every were. I also think that enough GM's undervalue him. So you can get him on a reasonable deal (Fukudome money). I just don't understand why so many people are against getting a 900+ career OPS left-handed bat? In his prime no less. Guess he isn't toolsy enough?

"I just don't understand why so many people are against getting a 900+ career OPS left-handed bat?" because most of us don't think we're going to see it happen unless fuku or sori goes away...and most of us believe the cubs don't have a 150m payroll...and some of us believe we don't need to pay 15m a year to a guy who's play at 1st would make him a great DH. it's nice you think we should improve the pen from within, but that's what we got now and it's given us 25 losses with a 5.27era and a 1.57 whip. a lot of people just don't see the cubs going out and throwing 30m around to "fix" a SP slot + pen issues + 1st baseman. of course, it could work out they sign dunn and trade colvin for a SP/RP who's cheap or blah blah blah etc, but i can't imagine dunn even being an option with fuku/sori still around.

We've only got 115 committed to next years payroll. Adding Dunn at 9 Million in year one is totally possible if we wanted to do it.

From Neyers column regarding the Sox getting Manny, but the idea still applies. "well, there's not a player on the planet who would turn the [Cubs] into favorites [next season]. And if you're not going to be the favorite, maybe you're better off keeping your powder dry."

I just don't see any way that Ricketts tells this fanbase "Hey, we are going to be terrible next year. Prepare to lose 100 games." Followed by "Tickets go on sale Monday!" I just don't see that as a realistic possibility.

Isn't that what they did this season?

They raised payroll by 10 Million this season. So no, they started this year with the intention of competing.

Most of those costs were fixed, and they went to arbitration (which they never did before) with a fan favorite to keep those costs down. The only significant addition was Byrd who is inexpensive, a pitching coach, and Silva for Bradley which was more or less cost neutral. Finally, when they needed shore up the bullpen due to injury they were out bid by the Nationals.

i still don't get why nady isn't playing somewhere else yet.

Submitted by crunch on Thu, 08/26/2010 - 1:26pm. i still don't get why nady isn't playing somewhere else yet. =============================================== CRUNCH: Xavier Nady is the type of player contending clubs acquire on August 31st, when clubs are looking to solidify their post-season rosters. So I think Nady will get traded by midnight EDT next Tuesday, but the Cubs might not get anything more in return than the $20,000 waiver price and a month's-worth of payroll relief ($550K in the case of Nady). Koyie Hill and Jeff Baker (both eligible for salary arbitration post-2010 and likely 12/12 non-tenders) might get traded on 8/31, too.

Byrd-3 Nady-3.3 Grabow-2.8 Thats over 7 million on Free agents right there. If they were punting, we wouldn't have signed any of the 3.

If we can sign Dunn for Nady's contract I am all for it. If he want lots of money and years no way.

What if we could get him for Fukudome money? 4/48ish?

Nope. It is more the years than the money. By the time I think the Cubs will be competitive Dunn will on the down slide (if he isn't already) and who knows we might not even need a first baseman then due to a trade, player developement or whatever.

if he gets anything less than 15m a year a lot of people would be surprised. people are still getting over the shock of the pay+length of the matt holliday contract.

I think he will ultimately get 4/48-4/52 He was looking for 15 Per year 2 offseasons ago and got 2/20.

Lee didn't seem very useful this year. He only had one good year in the last four. How is 2007 not a good year?

The year when he had 22 HR's and 82 RBI's while batting 3rd? Jacque Jones was a better RBI man than that. If we set the bar at 35 HR's and 100 RBI's - Lee's done that twice since joining us. He's a worse RBI man than Dunn, who you were bemoaning for not being a big RBI man.

DLee's career OPS in Chicago is almost exactly what Adam Dunn's is over his career. So Dunn can reasonably be expected to maintain what Lee did during his prime.

by RBI man, I meant driving in other runners, cause you can hit your solo shots anywhere in the lineup. 16.1% OBI% in 2007 for Lee, he just hit less HR's, 3rd on the team with reasonable number of at-bats behind Ramirez's magnificent 19% and JJ at 17.1% 16.1% is what I consider good actually... Dunn vs. Lee in their career Dunn 2002 - 10.6 2003 - 10.4 2004 - 12.2 2005 - 13.1 2006 - 12.7 2007 - 15.5 2008 - 15.6 with Reds/13 with DBacks 2009 - 14.2 2010 - 13.5 Lee 2000 - 12.7 2001 - 14 2002 - 13.3 2003 - 14.7 2004 - 15.6 2005 - 16.1 2006 - 15.2 2007 - 16.6 2008 - 15.5 2009 - 17.8 2010 - 14.2 of course, Dunn is a slightly better overall hitter imo, drives himself in more, gets on-base more to score runs although he was giving it all back and then some on his defense. It's not as much of a problem at 1b so far with his glove. But if I had them both on my team at the same time and roughly same ages, I would undoubtedly put Lee in the better RBI spot over Dunn. and yeah Lee had a damn fine 2007, don't know why 35/100 is the arbitrary bar.

God forbid we have all those pesky solo homers

once again, you've summed up my case perfectly.

That we should shun a 40 Homer hitter because you hate solo homers? They still count as runs Rob. In a better overall lineup than Cincy or Washington's he'd probably be a 40/120 guy.

That we should shun a 40 Homer hitter because you hate solo homers? exactly what I said again. now on the other hand YOU did say that Dunn would be the ideal fit for a #3 hitter for the Cubs despite a career of what I consider poor numbers driving in runners on base for a power hitter. They still count as runs Rob. yup, if you want to compare it to Lee's 25 HR seasons. That's 15 extra runs there, a win and a half at best, some of it given back on defense and some given back by stranding more runners, a little gained by getting on-base better. Net result: 0-1 wins for Dunn In a better overall lineup than Cincy or Washington's he'd probably be a 40/120 guy. you don't have to guess, take the runners on base for your favorite #3 hitter of your favorite lineup and take Dunn's OBI%. Let me know which teams you use and what numbers you get. Not an exact science, but you'll get a better idea. (Spoiler: Unless it's the Phils or Yanks of recent years or some other offensive juggernaut, probably not 120).

I said a 4th place hitter. Between Aramis (if healthy) and Soriano/Byrd. Figure Dunn this year with Castro leading off and Fukudome hitting 2nd.

Dunn's a #2 or #6 or #7 hitter imo, maybe #5 in a good year. Of course, with the Cubs, the only other real good RBI guy is Ramirez, so don't matter much. Just give Dunn more at-bats cause he usually gets on-base. I'd actually think the Cubs would be better served with Lee on a 1-yr deal if they thought his neck/back issues got better over the off-season, but it's a chronic thing now. Ultimately I don't think Dunn gets the Cubs more than 2 wins and that's not worth 4/52. Now another 2/20 deal, awesome. If the Cubs still suck, I'm sure you can trade him.

Lee will be 35. He is in no way a long term solution. If we had a Justin Smoak in the organization it would be one thing. We've got Brad Snyder and Micah Hoffpauir.

He is in no way a long term solution. neither is Adam Dunn

we got tyler colvin at 1/30th the cost.

Lee will be 35. He is in no way a long term solution. Who said anything about Lee being a long-term solution?

35/100 is what Aaron threw out there. 82 RBI's for your #3 hitter just isn't getting it done. Hell, he could do that this year.

Huh? Derrek Lee, last four years: 2010: .251/.335/.416 OPS: .751 2009: .306/.393/.579 OPS: .972 2008: .291/.361/.462 OPS: .823 2007: .317/.400/.513 OPS: .913 2010 was awful. 2009 and 2007 were very good. 2008 was ok.

Turns out there's more to baseball than OPS - who'da thunk it?

Yea... and it isn't just home runs and RBI. who'da thunk it?

So, you think 82 RBI's is "very good" for a #3 hitter? It was 2007, not 1907.

2007: DLee RISP:.364/.450/.545 Yep...those numbers just suck.

I think 82 RBI's is good considering the number of runners on base in front of him. And that the sum total of his other contributions made for a "very good" season.

I think RBI is a stupid stat to look at when evaluating an individual player.

Let's take Dunn, just for the sake of comarison. Had Dunn batted in the same situation as Lee - taking out baserunning abilities, he would have had 97 RBI's (15 more than Lee). Had Lee batted in the same situation as Dunn he would have had 91 RBI's (16 less than Dunn). Sorry, that's just not getting the job Dunn. You need to knock in more than 5% of the guys on first base if you're a #3 or #4 hitter, as well as knock in yourself more than 22 times. Unless your contention is that he was the 2002 Barry Bonds and was just denied the opportunity?

Had Dunn batted in the same situation as Lee - taking out baserunning abilities, he would have had 97 RBI's (15 more than Lee). Had Lee batted in the same situation as Dunn he would have had 91 RBI's (16 less than Dunn). Based on what? Again... RBI is silly stat. As Rob already pointed out, Lee was pretty dominating with RISP in 2007: .364/.450/.545. You can't ask for much better than that.

Based on the number of runners they had on base and the rate at which they drove them in... it's freely available information at baseballprospectus, maybe you should check it out instead of repeating "RBI's don't count" all the time. RBI's do count, and you want your best RBI guys to come up to base with the most runners on. This is some pretty basic stuff you don't know.

Based on the number of runners they had on base and the rate at which they drove them in... Ah yes... comparing situations that may or may not be similar, and pretending that they are they exact same, is helpful. and you want your best RBI guys to come up to base with the most runners on. I want my best hitters to come up with the the most runners on. And in turn, my best hitters will be my best RBI guys. This is some pretty basic stuff you don't know. Ha... that's amusing.

Lee knocked in 5.5% of the runners from first base in 2007. My contention is Derrek Lee doesn't write the batting order or fill out the other 8 starting spots on the roster and still had a very good season overall.

My contention is that the #3 hitter should drive in more than 82 runs to claim a "very good season". Dunn knocked in 10% of the guys on first base in front of him. You can do that when you hit more than 22 HR's.

I agree Fielder, at his current age, is probably a safer investment on a 4 year deal than Dunn, but Boras has been talking about how Fielder is a better player than Ryan Howard and deserves a larger, longer contract than Howard. And this was after Howard got the $25 million per year extension from Philly. I don't know who would give Fielder a deal like that. Not knocking Fielder, I just think with the exception of the Yankees, all the other teams are being more responsible with their finances lately. There are some analysts on MLB Network, forget who, but they had a discussion about Fielder's future right after Howard got his deal and they said some teams have similar concerns about Fielder's long term ability to play 1b. I don't think Fielder is in a Jim Thome situation when the Phillies signed him to play 1b only to find out pretty quickly he was a DH at that stage of his career.

What possessed Philly to give Ryan Howard that kind of money anyway?

I have no clue, I was shocked at that deal. Here are the numbers on the deal from Cots Contracts: 12:$20M, 13:$20M, 14:$25M, 15:$25M, 16:$25M, 17:$23M club option ($10M buyout)

I had actually expected them not to offer him arbitration the year after he got his first giant arb awarded salary. The Phillies are convinced that he's going to age well and that he's going to (and he has) become a better first basemen. He's not a $20 million ballplayer, regardless.

Howard is also a late-bloomer, just sayin.

We're not going to win next year with Fielder, and giving up Marshall destroys the bullpen. Fielder is a free agent in a year and wants stupid money.

Submitted by The Real Neal on Thu, 08/26/2010 - 10:17am. To me, signing Dunn, and that's what we're really talking about here smacks of desperation. It's the same type of thing that the Astros have been doing for the last three years say "if everything breaks right, with these addtions we can turn it around". Everything never breaks right, especially if you're a Cub fan. Trade Vitters, Marhsall and J Jackson ========================================= REAL NEAL: I think the Cubs trading for a rent-a-player (pending FA) like Prince Fielder to fill a hole is a more-likely scenario than signing Adam Dunn to a multi-year mega-deal, although I don't know if the Brewers would trade Fielder within the division. In other words, the type of deal the Mariners made when they acquired pending FA Cliff Lee from the Phillies last off-season, where they can flip him at the trading deadline for prospects if the team falls short of contention, or offer arbitration and get draft picks if the club does succeed and it's obvious that the FA player wants and will get more than a one-year deal on the open market. The Cubs will continue to have money to spend every year, but Ricketts apparently is averse to long-term FA contracts unless they follow the Marlon Byrd template (reasonable price, not too long). I don't think that necessarily means that the Cubs payroll will go below $120M, though.

speaking of how badly we need adam dunn... bullpen... 374.1ip - 5.27era - 1.57whip - 11/25 w/l adam dunn should be priority #1.

You don't want to commit big money to middle relief. Those spots need to be filled internally or on the cheap (except for maybe the closer).

at least getting Dunn would keep the EARNED runs down a bit.

Not really, since he would give up, presumably more singles and doubles as well as preventing fewer errors.

Made me laugh in the library.

HAHA! Nicely done O & B. I may suggest for 2011 you move to "Older and Bluer".

the problem was not lee, aram, and z. the problem was not having enough home grown talent to put around them and spending $$ on sori,fuku and others. haven't we learn that future dh's (dunn, fielder) donot work forthis club?(sori)

jacos--bravo. Dunn was a great idea (mine, might I say again) 2-3 years ago. Not now, and not for what it'd cost.

Yup... you were the only one saying that the Cubs should get Adam Dunn.

;-) Didn't mean to imply that, but I know I was screaming for it... *edit And that was far less an indictment of people here as it was Hendry's decision that MB was the answer for left-handed thump with Dunn, Abreu and Ibanez on the market.

abreu vs. mb would be more apt since they were looking a RF/CF type. ibanez and dunn would commit errors at DH if it was possible. the word on abreu was his declining D and arm, but his price vs. production and extra attention to his D made him a hell of a pickup for ANA.

Might wanna take a look at the defensive numbers and watch Fielder play the position. If Lee was super awesome on defense, Prince Fielder was right there with him. Fielder would be insanely expensive but he is one of the top 5 offensive bats in all of baseball and is young, very young for the offensive resume he has racked up to date. Ohhh but he is fat, that means he isn't as good as the skinny players.

I think the problem with his weight is that he will be prone to have health problems, lose his mobility more quickly, grind his knee joints into gravel (ala William "Refrigerator" Perry), etc. Add to that the fact that most fat players get even fatter as they age. Compare possibly to Boog Powell, a "fat" 1st baseman of the 60's & early 70's. Booger was listed as 6'4", 230lbs., while Prince is listed at 5'11", 270 lbs. Powell had some excellent offensive years up through age 28, then pretty much fell off sharply after that (except for a "last hurrah" year at age 33 in 1975 -- .297/27/86 with OBP of .377 & SLG of .524). Anyone signing him to a contract after his age 28 season would be thinking "he's just entering his prime."

Jim Hendry spotted holding hands with Eric Wedge.

Ft. Wayne Indiana's own Eric Wedge.

The search for Lou Piniella's replacement has begun. Cubs GM Jim Hendry confirmed he had dinner with former Indians manager Eric Wedge last night --- Hendry and Wedge quoted after dinner meeting... "We knew we had to make the right choice. We knew we had to get the right guy. Not only did I come away [from the dinner] thinking tremendous things about him, but I also felt really good about him because as we left the restaurant and stood on the curb waiting for the driver, Eric said, 'I know it's going to take some time, but I want to tell you I want to be the Chicago Cubs manager if you want me.' " Deja vu (all over again)

And to add to the Fielder conversation, his numbers this year aren't as gaudy as they were the last couple, I'm afraid he may already be heading towards "damaged goods"

Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn? Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. ADAM DUNN! Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn ADAM DUNN? Adam Dunn, Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn Adam Dunn... Adam Dunn.

Well, I've been to one World's Fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that's the stupidest thing I've heard come over a set of earphones.

Were there any celebs on Top Chef last night? Really? There were? Who?

Adam Dunn got a double tonight. How's that for those who have called him one dimensional! Nnud Mada

The ghost of Harry Carey appears!

I posted this on FB earlier. Great Uecker and Harry anecdotes.

Is there something I am missing with Eric Wedge? His teams finished 1st once in the Division, and 2nd, once. I don't truly remember, cause I looked about a week ago, but doesn't he have a career losing record? Why is he "coveted"?

he's someone hendry knows from his college coaching days.

from a Bruce Levine is the Wedge-Hendry connection:
The former major league catcher, originally from Ft. Wayne, Ind., was an All-American at Wichita State and was on the 1989 Shockers team that won the College World Series.
At that time, Hendry was the head coach of league rival Creighton University. That's when Wedge first caught Hendry's attention.

more on Wedge... Mark Shapiro comments (upon Wedge's firing):
"I hired him as a Minor League manager and got a chance to see what he was all about and how special he is," Shapiro said. "He won me over in that role during the interviews, and he was everything I would have expected him to be [as a manager]. ... We live in a game and a business where seven years is a long time. I was hopeful we could avoid [this move], but we've arrived there."
on Wedge's longevity as a manager...
In seven seasons, Wedge has compiled a record of 560-568, with one division title and playoff appearance in 2007, when the Indians finished one win shy of the World Series. Among the 39 full-time managers in Tribe history, Wedge ranks fifth in wins, third in losses and fourth in games managed.
By lasting seven years with the Tribe, Wedge had been the fifth-longest tenured current manager of a club. Only the Braves' Bobby Cox (hired in 1990), the Cardinals' Tony La Russa (1996), the Angels' Mike Scioscia (2000) and the Twins' Ron Gardenhire (2002) have been with their respective clubs longer.
Wedge's strengths (according to Shapiro):
"Eric has been the epitome of a team player," Shapiro said. "He's demonstrated consistency, strength, a tireless work ethic and, in my mind, is an exemplary leader.

this article is more critical of GM Shapiro but thought this was interesting regarding Tribe fans take on Wedge and his coaches particularly about developing young talent:
Shapiro can also be held accountable for maintaining an underachieving coaching staff for too long. The recently fired Eric Wedge and his staff proved time and again both that they could not win when it counted (see the team’s collapse at the end of the 2005 season or its inability to beat Boston one more time in the 2007 ALCS) and that they were incapable of effectively utilizing and further developing young talent (players such as Fausto Carmona, Josh Barfield, and Andy Marte come to mind here). Yet Shapiro stayed committed to this staff year after year.

Thanks CUBSTER. "...they could not win when it counted..." Well, perhaps he is a perfect fit for Hendry.

I-Cubs won again vs Omaha Royals Shark (11-2) gave up one run thru 5 IP then gave up 3 in the 6th before getting taken out. Iowa HR's from Marquis Smith (#14) and a grand slam from Jason DuBois.

Random thought: Clemens is being indicted for lying to Congress, but Raffy gets a pass?

Can't prove he took PEDs before his testimony.

Look at the Clemens thread.... your thought isn't that random, as in many people had it. There's a huge discussion on it there, I know I aired my thoughts, and I think some others did too. Point being, I totally agree.

"Rookie right-hander Stephen Strasburg has a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament that probably will require reconstructive Tommy John elbow surgery, the Washington Nationals announced Friday."

Welcome to Cubdumb, Nationals fans.

Okay, that's just some cockamamie surgeon's opinion. What does Dibble have to say?


pujlos and larussa to be at glen beck rally in dc on saturday

What scumbags. And Larussa says he told the Beck people he wouldn't go if it were political. What a jackass. It's Glen Beck, what the hell does Larussa think it's going to be?

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides full scholarship grants and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of special operations personnel who die in operational or training missions and immediate financial assistance to severely wounded special operations personnel and their families. Yeah, real scumbags.

Scholarships for children of special ops people who died in two illegal wars created by Republicans, the same jackasses who are applauding the Republicans running this event. An event that 'has no correlation to MLK's speech' yet is being staged on the same day, on the same location, with twisted rhetoric. The problem with Republicans is that realistically only 1% of the country has any business being a Republican. That's because that 1%, the richest people in the country, are the only people the Republican Party represents. If someone is a Republican and isn't filthy rich, they're idiots. They're being lied to constantly about every single issue. Not that the Democrats are much better, they've become spineless weasels in the last decade, but the Republicans are criminals. Another surprise for Republicans is that less than 30% of the country identifies themselves as Republicans. Without all the constant fear mongering the Republican Party would never be able to get anyone elected. Glen Beck is a lying asshole manipulating people's feelings. He's an actor with an agenda who claims God is telling him what to do. The saddest part is that idiots gobble that shit up.

Normally I hate it when people go on political rants on sports blogs, but damn if ripping on Glenn and his wacko contingent isn't just too much fun.

Oh, Paul Noce, I've been waiting for this. I am in special operations (aircrew, so no, I'm not a door kicker, but I take them to work and support them). SOWF leadership was actually at my base not long ago. It's president, John Carney, Col (ret), USAF, was the man who surveyed the LZ at Desert One before anyone else got there (not familiar? Look it up. It's also under Operation Eagle Claw). That foundation, and what it does for innocent children of people who have been killed (also in training accidents, btw) is beyond reproach, and actually has one of the lowest overheads of any charitable organization in this country, ie more dollars go to the actual charity (again, look it up). "Scholarships for children of special ops people who died in two illegal wars created by Republicans, the same jackasses who are applauding the Republicans running this event." No, this isn't the place for political bickering, and yes, fuck the talking heads on both sides, but when you're talking about my family, watch your tone. Have a little respect for the family members of the people that make it possible for you to be an emotional bonehead. If you'd like to discuss any of this further, I can be reached at [email protected]. Rob, feel free to edit, but I think this is fucking stupid and I couldn't NOT respond.

TRN--I also have a personal anecdote to relate about the SOWF. I was fortunate enough to spend time with retired Col John Carney (the president) and retired Gen Holland (on the board of directors, and former Commander USSOCOM) recently. John Carney has a Yankees world series ring. When I specifically asked him about the ring, turns out he lives near, and has befriended, Hal Steinbrenner. He said the old man contributed regularly to the foundation, and that Hal is a big supporter of the military. They gave him the ring for his 70th birthday. It was kinda neat to see my two worlds, baseball and the military, come together in that way.

palin and bachmann are going tobe speakers. should be non-partial.

I'm going to have to assume this is a joke until I see a link.

larussa is an outspoken "Tea Party" supporter and vocally supported the constitution-nose-thumbing ARZ immigration law. i wonder if he supports stronger drunk driving laws... well, officially he's a "man without a party" but that's like glen beck claiming he's the same thing...just a "conservative"

This may surprise you handwringers but most men are Republicans. As for major league baseball, Do the math.

Really? Republicans Face Steep Uphill Climb Among Women, Men increasingly identifying as independents, drifting away from GOP by Jeffrey M. Jones PRINCETON, NJ -- Among women, Democrats maintain a solid double-digit advantage in party identification over Republicans, 41% to 27%. In contrast, men are equally divided in their party loyalty between Republicans (28%) and Democrats (30%), and are currently most likely to say they are politically independent (40%). These results are based on aggregated data from Gallup Polls conducted in the first quarter of 2009.

this may surprise you, but...well, i have 10,000 things to say. nevermind.

Every single gun law in American is constitutional-nose-thumbing, but how come liberals never complain about them? Oh, that's right, beceause they only whine about the Constitution when they can use the whining to push forward their own agenda, in this case a poorly diguised effort to fill the country with more Democratic voters.

Not sure if you are an attorney (which I am) or familiar with historical interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, but the 2nd Amendment was not considered by most at the time of the adoption (and the cause was rarely taken up by most but the more radical until the mid-20th century) as unfettered right to have any weapon you wanted. On the other hand, the Arizona immigration law, which allows police certain rights against a person merely because they suspect them (without any evidence needed other than their looks, under some interpretations) of being an illegal immigrant...this would never have passed constitutional muster. Your knowledge of the Cubs is quite broad, but your analysis of the legal aspects is quite flawed and demonstrates a more limited understanding than in your baseball analysis. Comparing a right to government harrassment due to your looks to the laws preventing someone from owning an automatic weapon or from carrying guns into a school is, at best, tenuous and, at worst, a strawman to try and somehow show that GOP supports limited government while walking all over people's rights.

That's nice, and that is your opinion, just like I and everyone else has one. That's great that you are an attorney and practice law. So you must understand better than others that the field of law is based on opinions and interpretations, can change with the wind and has throughout history. The legal justice system is intrinsically tied to politics and thus there will be legal opinions on all sides of every issue.

That first paragraph about the 2nd Amendment being completely taken out of context over the last 75 years or so is not his opinion, it's historically accurate. Anyway, we probably shouldn't turn a few guys in powdered wigs into the next infallible demigods. Gun control may not have been a big issue back when it took about a minute to load a musket ball.

The enforcers of the AZ law have been specifically trained to treat all people the same regardless of their appearance of national origin. Talk about glass houses.... "The peoples right to bare arms shall not be infringed", was put into the Constitution to keep the government from seizing weapons from the citizens, like the British did leading up to and during the Revolution. Any interpretation that doesn't even illustrate what 6th graders learned in history class... it's naive, ignorant or biased - based on your fantastic expectation of the enforcement of the AZ law, and this comment, I'd say you may have all three there.

the law cost ARZ a lot of people and money in a time of economic downturn. they drove 100,000ish tax payers out of the state. great idea...use your government to waste money in order to get elected. the AZ law has cost them so much money in a time when the state (which can't even keep parks and highway rest areas open) actually need money. oh well, TX and NM will take that tax problem.

The enforcers of the AZ law have been specifically trained to treat all people the same regardless of their appearance of national origin. LOL. All cops are trained to do this. And they often don't actually do this.

After yesterday's spelling and grammar dustup, the lack of comment ('til now) on "The peoples right to bare arms shall not be infringed" strikes me as a little ironical. Not sure if it's an actual irony, or just an Alanis Morisette irony.

This discussion is just begging for a Family Guy reference about a citizen's rights to bear arms...

Larry the Cable Guy has a comedy act called "The right to bare arms" I'll let that speak for itself

You are absolutely positively historically wrong. Perhaps your history education ended in 6th grade, but your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is historically inaccurate. Of course, the ACLU does agree with you as do many people, liberals and conservatives. As for my "fantastic" interpretation of the Arizona law, fortunately my post 6th grade education has allowed me the ability to read other people's opinions rather than just make assumptions and than mock others when they disagree. Here, for example, is the head of the Pima Arizona police stating that he would not enforce the law. Here is a quote: "Dupnik [the police chief] had harsh words for anyone who thinks SB 1070 will not lead to racial profiling. "If I tell my people to go out and look for A, B, and C, they're going to do it. They'll find some flimsy excuse like a tail light that's not working as a basis for a stop, which is a bunch of baloney."" So my interpretation of how the Arizona law, and that of a police chief in Arizona, is wrong of course and your interpretation is, I am sure, correct. There is a world of reality outside your bubble where you are not always right. Come join it someday.

Also, if you support small government in keeping people away from your guns, why would you not also support small government in limiting search and seizure, stopping unwarranted searches, etc. Always amazes me when teabaggers go on about small government while cheering a government that abuses civil rights and libertarian freedoms -- don't take my guns but freely torture anyone!

it's a myth conservatives love that liberals don't want them to have guns. talk radio loves to push this point. more conservatives love their guns more than liberals, but for the most part liberals support the right for people to own their guns. and this has nothing to do with the point brought up besides being one of the many conservative talk radio fear talking points.

They hate us for our freedom'd

Wedge issues. Atwater's legacy lives on.

Aha! THAT'S why Hendry is interviewing Wedge!

Very, very nice.

Actually I'm one of those newly Independent males that Tito refers to. I've always been liberal on some issues like gay marriage and immigration and consevative on others like abortion and gun control. It's my belief the 2nd amendment doesn't leave much to the imagination. You might not like it, but it's the law that we can own guns. The gun lobby, on the other hand, is very shady and I don't much like the NRA.

Oh and these days I mostly vote Democrat. They seem far less slimy of the two slimeball parties.

I agree with Rob as to Lee's 2007 season. I overstated the case by saying it was "relatively poor." Despite the 22 homers and 82 rbi, it was a decent year. His slugging percentage was the third highest of his career. His OPS+ was the fifth highest, and was pretty similar to his last two years with the Marlins. He was seventh among NL first basemen in OPS+ that year. His 2005 and 2009 seasons were his best in terms of OPS+ and 2009 seems that it was unfortunately only an outlier.

palin and bachmann are going tobe speakers. --- Are they hunting Moose or Bear?

they're hunting book sales

Fortunately for them most of their targets are rather clumsy, plodding creatures who are easily identified by their slack jaw. /This is what happens when the Cubs are 20 games under .500

/this is ABSOLUTELY what happens when the Cubs are 20 games under. Well said.

"Are they hunting Moose or Bear?" They are hunting Moose and Squirrel.