Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Gonfalon Cubs > Discussion
Gonfalon Cubs
— Cubs Baseball for Thinking Fans

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 22, 2005 at 07:21 PM (#1698014)
As an aside, none of this is to suggest that the White Sox have been a model of how baseball teams should be built. The team’s offense has been continually over-rated this year. The Sox are also a prime example of how the sacrifice bunt, if not the opium of the masses, has become the opium of most managers.

It will certainly be interesting to see where the White Sox go from here. Very rarely does one see a successful team have less of a clue as to how they became successful than the White sox of this season. They hit 200 home runs, have a below-average offense and think they're a successful offense that scraps out runs. The top 3 offensive teams barely stole more bases combined than the White Sox yet all got more out of their stolen bases since they got caught so much less.

Williams did a wonderful job assembling a team without any grotesque weakness but it's hard to improve a team consisting of a whole lot of decent players, as Elias found in one of the Analysts (I think the green one, but I could be wrong).

The Cubs have much money to spend for 2006 and they will need it. Not a single outfield position is set. Who plays SS and 2B are up in the air. How the relief pitching staff improves and what the rotation will be next year are not known. I look forward to discussing and assessing all of this with fans who take their Cubs baseball as seriously as I do.

They simply have to give a job to Cedeno next year. There's simply nothing else he can accomplish or do. If Cedeno (and Murton) can't get starting jobs next year, Cub fans shouldn't even bother going to the games. If the team doesn't want to even pretend to car, why should the fans?

I'm not a Cubs fan, though, but even as an outside observer, what's happened to the Cubs is very disappointing to me. The Cubs' future looked so promising just a few years ago and now the only thing people have to look forward is to getting the correct date in the pool for when young players that they watched their entire professional careers get dumped to some other team that values them more.

Felix Pie? Juan Encarnacion might need a job! Angel Guzman? No can do, Jim Bullinger needs money or the phone company's cutting him off? Renyel Pinto? No thanks, Dusty Baker suspects Warren Brusstar's still alive somewhere.
   2. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: October 22, 2005 at 07:45 PM (#1698023)
If Cedeno (and Murton) can't get starting jobs next year, Cub fans shouldn't even bother going to the games.

I agree. If Cedeno and Murton aren't handed the jobs in the spring as theirs to lose, I will be extremely disappointed in Hendry. Baker will do what Baker will do, but if he won't play a young player who tore up the league and plays a position which the team has no other options, then I will be convinced that there is some sort of tri-lateral comission for the purpose of messing with Cubs fan's minds.
   3. CFiJ Posted: October 22, 2005 at 08:03 PM (#1698034)
Dan speaks much wisdom, and strikes at the heart of how I feel. In 2001, I had real hope that the Cubs were just around the corner. In 2003, I thought we were on our way to steady contention. And now, I have no optimism at all for next year, let alone beyond that. The young position players keep being traded away, the pitching is in shambles, and the holes we have now are ridiculous. The whole outfield, AND the middle infield??? WTF?

The 2003-2005 Cubs have had prodigious power. The pitching staff set an MLB record for strike outs and then beat its own record. Why haven't we won 90 freakin' games! (Don't answer. I know why. All too damn well.)

I was willing to be patient. Hell, even after the Division title in 2003 I was willing to settle for just a winning season in 2004, on the idea that the team was still developing. But it went into the crapper real quick.

I wouldn't blame Hendry for believing he was on the right track after 2003 and 2004. But I'm appalled that no changes have been considered at all after this disasterous season. It's not just Dusty's idiotic proactivity that has turned me from a Dusty-defender into a Dusty-despiser, it's the soul crushing passivity with which the organization as a whole has approached the issue. Things never should have gotten this bad. Hendry has squandered the abundant stores of credibility he had built up with me.
   4. Neil M Posted: October 22, 2005 at 09:07 PM (#1698078)
Hendry has squandered the abundant stores of credibility he had built up with me.

Not me.

Oddly, although I've liked him, I also believe that he got unwarranted credit for his past trades. Ramirez came with Kenny Lofton, at the end of a game when Tom F. Goodwin hamstrung himself in the 1st inning at a time when Corey was already done for the year. I thimk that, at the time - and bearing in mind the Cubs need for a 3B - Aramis's contract was the price for Lofton.

Regarding Lee for Choi, while it has turned out so well, I keep thinking of Hendry's comments, both to the print media and on TV and radio that he would have happily gone with Choi and Randall Simon in 2004 if the trade hadn't happened.

Despite my reservations, I let him have a mulligan for this year. The Sosa situation - a bad one made worse by Baker's inability to keep his trap shut, particularly at the winter meetings - severely limited his options.

This fall is the acid test. For all the holes in the line-up there are some very good guaranteed starters. Hendry has a bucketful of cash and an excess of young pitching - not great, but some are out of options and all have value.

This winter is Hendry's big one. Trade wisely, and he's given a pass-mark. Screw this one up and I'll be the one to pass him the revolver.
   5. Mike Isaacs Posted: October 22, 2005 at 09:42 PM (#1698103)
I, too, believe Dan makes many wise points. I would like to see Murton and Cedeno be given jobs to lose, but the skeptic in me says that may not be the case. At least, I've never seen a Dusty Baker team that relies on two young high-ceiling talents in such crucial roles in the everyday lineup. If Hendry believes that this is the way to go, why so early give support for Baker keeping his job when this contradicts the kind of manager he is? (There may be a $4 million answer to that question).
But it's true (and rather astonishing) to consider that the Cubs have at least five starting lineup decisions to make next year, and there's no way this franchise will acquire free agents for all of those spots. That bodes well for Cedeno and Murton getting the chance they deserve. It's just hard for me to imagine the manager so in love with Neifi Perez and Jose Macias (to name but two over-played mediocre veterans) coming into April counting on Murton and Cedeno as key pieces of the starting eight.
I also agree that Hendry was justified in believing he was on his way to building something special after 2003. But now the concern and frustration isn't simply that the Cubs had a bad 2005; it's that the last two months of 2004 seemed to scream loud and clear of the need to fill holes that Hendry ingnored last off-season. And comments regarding the 2006 season are troubling to me as well. There seems to be -- at least over the last couple of years -- an inflexibility in abandoning thinking that is not working or seeing the team's weaknesses in a more clear-headed way.
That was my point of comparison about the White Sox. That team is where they are because of a change in emphasis toward pitching and defense. (With a few pleasant surprises such as Garland's strong start to the year). The offense is another story. It's been over-valued by some (including me earlier in the year). I suspect the Sox will continue to build around strong pitching and defense, which should make them a contender in the AL Central. The interesting question though is whether they recognize shortcomings in their offense and that the small ball so championed by so many has not been terribly successful in generating runs. Their small ball offense filled with stolen base attempts, sac bunts and HRs is not why they're one of two final teams playing tonight.
   6. Old Matt Posted: October 22, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1698157)
You know that the Cubs are going to shell out for Furcal. After that...it is anyone's guess.
   7. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 22, 2005 at 10:44 PM (#1698167)


<U>Neifi Perez</U> Posted: October 22, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1698157)
Hey guys! I look forward to a year of playing the baseball in the city of breezes!
   8. Artie Ziff Posted: October 22, 2005 at 11:08 PM (#1698190)
All Cubs fans I know are rooting for Chicago to win. It is pride for the city, not a petty battle between fans. Furcal looks like he wants to stay a Brave. We will see.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 22, 2005 at 11:39 PM (#1698244)
Furcal looks like he wants to stay a Brave. We will see.

He did announce a willingness to play 2B. That sounds like a willingness to look for work outside of Atlanta.

Is anyone familiar with the Braves' financial situation this year?
   10. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 22, 2005 at 11:57 PM (#1698279)
I think all of the talk about remaking the Sox was smoke-blowing, and that it is essentially good luck that the "plan" worked. The Sox had no way of knowing that Garland would improve, that Garcia would be at the top of his range, that Buerhle would improve, that Contreras would improve, etc. If all of their players had performed as projected at the start of the season, the Sox would likely have not made the postseason.

There is no magic "style" of team which is better. You can win by mashing the ball, or with dominant pitching, or with an above-avg balance in all phases. The only real exception to this is that it is likely better to have the dominant pitching because it seems to hold greater sway in the postseason. But there is a price to pay for building your team that way--increased chance of derailment due to injuries along the way. The Sox were lucky that their core pitchers stayed healthy all season.

So the Cubs don't really need any "philosophy". Having a better team OBA is not a philosophy--it's a natural result of finding better players. Of course, Hendry has to be able to realize that a guy who hits 30 HR is not a star if he also has a mediocre OBA.

So, what about T Walker? A good stick at 2nd with a mediocre glove, and a guy who is usually healthy. What about signing Nomar to an incentive-laden contract and putting him in a corner OF position to help keep him healthy? He would still likely be a plus hitter there, and maybe even a plus fielder. I too would "pencil in" Murton and Cedeno at LF and SS, pending a look at their projections. CF is a black hole. I guess they should probably assume that Patterson will get back on track, and be at least an avg regular in 2006. I would not throw megabucks and 5 seasons at an over 30 player like Damon at a young man's position. Pie does not seem like the answer, at least in the near future. And with the money they don't spend by using Murton, Cedeno, and Patterson, I would think they should sign the best FA starting pitcher available, to go with Prior, Zambrano, Wood, and Maddux. I think they can do better than J Williams or G Rusch. Who is available?
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:21 AM (#1698505)
Who is available?

Notables:

Scott Elarton
Matt Morris
AJ Burnett
Kevin Millwood
Kenny Rogers
   12. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:33 AM (#1698552)
Add Jeff Weaver to that list.
   13. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: October 23, 2005 at 04:51 AM (#1698913)
Jerome Williams will be just fine if someone leaves him alone for more than 10 starts and lets him pitch. Glendon Rusch is also a quality 5th starter. The last place I'd put money is into the starting pitching. Besides, as you note, having a top tier 1-3 in the rotation is what really matters for the playoffs. From the 4/5 spots all you need is average production to help get you to the post-season, and Williams/Maddux/Rusch can contribute that.

They've got plenty of cash. Sign Giles and Furcal, bring back Walker to go with Cedeno as MI depth, give LF to Murton, pray The Hotline rebounds in CF, and add a quality set-up guy.
   14. Mike Isaacs Posted: October 23, 2005 at 04:54 AM (#1698919)
I think all of the talk about remaking the Sox was smoke-blowing, and that it is essentially good luck that the "plan" worked...


Good discussion...We obviously have some disagreement here, although I think your point about White Sox pitchers and other players exceeding expectations is valid. To add further support your way, one could add examples of bullpen pitchers such as Politte and Cotts who exceeded expectations this year.

I'm mostly in agreement with your point about Garland. There was no indication that he would break though as he did. Other starting pitchers also performed beyond what one would expect as you say, but there still was real potential upside for pitchers such as Garcia, Contreras and certainly Buehrle. That some of these pitchers reached that upside during a year when the defense was greatly fine-tuned is no coincidence, IMHO.

Luck, career years (at least so far) and pitchers staying healthy certainly played a part in the Sox winning nearly 100 games and having the best record in baseball for much of the year. So I agree with several of the points you make.

I don't know of anyone who expected the Sox to be playing baseball right now. Many didn't even believe they would win their division. But I don't share the opinion that the strategy to "remake" the Sox was "smoke-blowing" or a mirage.

That Lee and Valentin and Ordonez (with injury) are not members of this 2005 team is, at least in part, the result of a definitive plan to upgrade the defense even at the cost of some pop. There was agreement by Guillen and Williams that if the Sox pitching was to reach a higher level, the defense had to be much more solid. The Sox gave up a significant amount of "power" in restructuring the team over the last couple of years: Valentin hit 58 home runs over the last two years as a Sox; Ordonez hit well over 60 hrs his last two injury-free years; and Lee was coming off a 31-HR season when he was traded for better defense and a leadoff man. The Sox certainly got some power back, but not of the likes of what they gave away.

As for the Cubs, when you've seen acquisitions from Alex Gonzalez to Todd Hundley to Jeromy Burnitz, placing a much higher priority on OBP would constitute some evidence of a shift in baseball philosophy to me. How a team prioritizes the strengths of the players it seeks speaks very much to the team's overall baseball strategy, IMHO.

I agree that there is more way than one for a team to win. But I think the Sox were praiseworthy for recognizing the need for better defense -- especially with the kind of team they were trying to build.

The Sox may have been lucky health-wise, but good defense also helps pitchers stay healthy. Better range and fewer errors allow pitchers to throw fewer pitches..keeping them sharper and lessening the chances for DL time. It also allows managers a better chance to avoid over-extending the bullpen and to keep relievers in given roles.

To translate this to a Cubs example: Any talk about signing Nomar Garciaparra should take into account the defensive infield this would create. I'm not keen on the idea of going into another year depending on Zambrano, Prior and Wood backed up on the left side of the diamond by Ramirez and Garciaparra.

I would hope the Cubs would better understand the added burden this could place on a pitching staff that needs to stay much healhtier than in years past. Can we at least agree that not signing Nomar -- at least not for SS -- is a good first step toward a change in thinking?
   15. CFiJ Posted: October 23, 2005 at 05:57 AM (#1698968)
Is Wood even a factor? Is he going to start? If he starts is he going to be effective?
   16. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 11:07 AM (#1699065)
---"I agree that there is more way than one for a team to win. But I think the Sox were praiseworthy for recognizing the need for better defense -- especially with the kind of team they were trying to build."

There is a bit of truth to that, but only a bit. The synergy between pitching and fielding comes into play not for good vs bad pitching, but for power vs finesse pitching. It is on the frequency of balls-in-play that pitching and fielding interact. So, if the Sox realized that some of their core pitchers (Buerhle, Garland) were strong finesse pitchers and that therefore a stronger defense would help, more power to them. But I don't think they are that sophisticated. There "philosophy" came out of stupidity ("We havent won by hitting homers, so homers aren't important") and adherence to convention ("Pitching, speed, and defense are 90% of baseball")
   17. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: October 23, 2005 at 12:21 PM (#1699074)
"It will certainly be interesting to see where the White Sox go from here."

Whatever happens, you'll undoubtedly be ready for it. If the White Sox continue to succeed, I'm sure you'll have some sort of spin ready to explain why they really aren't that good. If the White Sox struggle, then you can resume talking about how stupid they are.

"Very rarely does one see a successful team have less of a clue as to how they became successful than the White sox of this season."

That's the spirit! OK, so the White Sox did significantly better than you thought they would. When a monkey could have made better predictions than you did (check out HubrisFest 2005 here), you have a few choices:

1. Admit that you screwed up, and try to figure out how it happened.

2. Pretend the success didn't happen, or chalk it up to luck. (Feel free to ignore the fact that, if a team can be that lucky over the course of an entire season, the whole purpose of your "analysis" disappears.)

3. Insult the team; after all, they made you look stupid! Are you really going to let them do that to you?

For the love of G-d, DON'T do #1 -- nobody wants to see a apologetic, thoughtful pundit. Stick with #'s 2 and 3. Make sure you provide a "take" that's devoid of context or balance. For instance, if the pitchers exceed expectations while the hitters do worse than you expected/predicted, don't mention the hitters -- just talk about how the pitchers were lucky. It's also important to ignore the fact that (surprise surprise) all successful teams get unexpectedly good performances from one or more players.

Finally, you could take some pointers from Duffy Duff -- it's imperative to pretend you have a clue about the team's front office dynamic (and, of course, have found it lacking).
   18. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 23, 2005 at 12:47 PM (#1699078)
What about signing Nomar to an incentive-laden contract and putting him in a corner OF position to help keep him healthy? He would still likely be a plus hitter there, and maybe even a plus fielder.

Ok, this is my calling this offseason-I need to pound it into people's head why this would be an incredibly STUPID idea. Why do all these Cubs fans have a sick fascination with Nomar? Yes, he *was* good. But not with the Cubs. He's going to get injured, we just don't know how or for how long yet. There's absolutely no reason to settle-yes, settle-on him as an OF solution. I don't think he'll be an above average bat for LF, and he surely isn't going to be average defensively (same goes for RF, and the only way Murton is starting is if he plays LF; Dusty's publicly questioned his arm strength multiple times so he'll never sniff RF).

There definitely needs to be improvement on the defense. That-and his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth-it why Walker needs to go. If he'd accept a backup role (1b, 2b, OF), maybe. But he can definitely be flipped to someone for a decent bench bat/rp/prospect with his cheap contract.

I really want the Cubs to sign Furcal, more so than any other player out there. I think Cedeno would be a great 2b, and it's a shame he got hurt and didn't get to play there any down the stretch. Not sure what I'd do about the OF, but I could be convinced to keep Corey if they significantly upgrade in RF (Giles, Dunn, who knows?).
   19. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:04 PM (#1699080)
But as I watch a Chicago team play in a World Series tonight, I must admit I will have feelings beyond jealously. Perhaps the more accurate feeling is regret – regret that the management on the other side of town is not willing to honestly and seriously evaluate why they’re not the Chicago team playing baseball deep into October.

I feel the same way, but the White Sox have very little to do with it. It's the other team in the WS whose presence gets my goat.

I don't know how Hendry and MacPhail can show their faces at the Winter Meetings.

In the 11 seasons since 1995, the Cubs have fielded a winning team 5 times, not once managing 90 wins in a 162 game season over that period. They have a .481 win percentage.

Since 1995, the Astros have fielded a winning team 10 out of 11 times, and have won 90 or more games four times, finishing worse than second place only once. They have a .549 win percentage over that period.

In 1995, the Cubs had a team payroll of $29.5 million, compared to the Astros' $34.2. In every year since, the Cubs have had a higher payroll, and over the entire period, the Cubs payrolls have averaged 13.2% higher.

This is a Goofus and Gallant situation. Only a deeply dysfunctional institution would look at this situation and think that the leadership is doing a good job, and that no changes need to be made. I am coming to the conclusion that this team is so fundamentally screwed up that it would take an incredible stroke of luck for there to be any real success.
   20. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:10 PM (#1699081)
Ok, this is my calling this offseason-I need to pound it into people's head why this would be an incredibly STUPID idea.

I'll cheer you on from the sidelines.

Why do all these Cubs fans have a sick fascination with Nomar? Yes, he *was* good. But not with the Cubs. He's going to get injured, we just don't know how or for how long yet. There's absolutely no reason to settle-yes, settle-on him as an OF solution.

I am open to the concept of bringing Nomar back, but only as a middle IF. Nomar as a corner OF is ridiculous.
   21. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:17 PM (#1699084)
I am open to the concept of bringing Nomar back, but only as a middle IF. Nomar as a corner OF is ridiculous.

Well, since defense should be a priority, I hope that doesn't happen either.

I like Nomar. I just don't think he can be a starter on this Cubs team if they're going to win (having below offense on defense at 3b makes him too risky to carry also).
   22. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:32 PM (#1699088)
---"There definitely needs to be improvement on the defense. That-and his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth-it why Walker needs to go."

And as I keep saying, there doesn't need to be an "improvement on defense", there just needs to be improvement. If they can find a 2Bman whose combo of bat and glove is better than Walker's, then go for it. But it is wrong to just look at defense without considering offense.

And why is Nomar in the OF so silly? I think Nomar in the IF is silly at this point. I mean, if Nomar is healthy he's a good player. At least, he is a good hitter with some defensive value. So where can he play that would help him stay healthy and avoid his fielding shortcomings at SS? I don't know whether Nomar could quickly adapt to RF, but I certainly wouldn't close my mind to it. Especially since Nomar has said that he is open to the idea. After he came back from his torn groin and got a few ABs to tune up, he was hitting the ball well for the last part of the season. Sometimes you have to think creatively about how to best utilize a player's skills at a certain point in his career.
   23. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:36 PM (#1699089)
If Cedeno and Murton aren't handed the jobs in the spring as theirs to lose, I will be extremely disappointed in Hendry.

At least for now, I'd like to see more time going to Cedeno and Murton as well -- certainly, if they are sitting behind the likes of Neifi Perez, Todd Hollandsworth, Matt Lawton, Jody Gerut, or Jerry Hairston next year, I'm likely to lose hope early. (Who am I kidding -- if Neifi is even on the team next year, I may be gone.)

Still, I can envision a scenario in which neither Cedeno nor Murton are given jobs next year and I'm still happy. Let's be honest here: While both players have promise, certainly more than the stiffs who blocked them this year, they are both players who are relatively untested and there is a real chance both can hit some speedbumps in 2006.

I'm not saying they should be chained to the bench, but suppose the Cubs:

(a) resigned Walker;
(b) signed Furcal;
(c) signed Giles; and
(d) traded for Manny Ramirez (hypothetically, dealing Aramis and resigning Nomar at 3B)

If they did this -- which is, of course, most unlikely -- I would have no problem with both Cedeno and Murton being reserves going into next season.
   24. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 23, 2005 at 01:44 PM (#1699093)
And as I keep saying, there doesn't need to be an "improvement on defense", there just needs to be improvement. If they can find a 2Bman whose combo of bat and glove is better than Walker's, then go for it. But it is wrong to just look at defense without considering offense.


Well sure, but if you're going to improve, at some point you're gonna have to pick certain things that you want to improve. It's not as simple as "go get a better player." The Cubs have 2 areas they specifically have to improve 1. OBP 2. Defense. Obviously, the best thing to do would be to simply get better players at all those positions, but there's going to be trade-offs.

And why is Nomar in the OF so silly? I think Nomar in the IF is silly at this point. I mean, if Nomar is healthy he's a good player.

Well, that's why I flat out don't want him on the team. Why in the world should a team with this much money to spend (and the highest payroll in the league potentially) have to settle for moving an over the hill, injury guaranteed, MI to a traditional offense-heavy position? If they miss on every single option, then fine. He's better than Holly or Macias or anyone of that ilk. But he really should be way way way down on the list of options.
   25. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:10 PM (#1699102)
Well, if you set out to improve OBA as your main goal, you're likely going to wind up sacrificing SLG to get it, and thus you may be just spinning your wheels. But if you set out to get the best players you can, it's much more difficult to mess up. So I continue to promote evaluating your *players*, in terms of their overall value, rather than trying to work on game phases.

---"But he (Nomar) really should be way way way down on the list of options."

Well, it largely depends on contracts. I'd rather have B Giles in RF for a year or two, but if I have to sign him to a 4 yr deal at 12 mil per, I might just as soon explore the Nomar option with a 1 yr incentive-laden deal.
   26. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:20 PM (#1699110)
If they did this -- which is, of course, most unlikely

Since the payroll would jump $20 million from 2005?

With the thin market, there's just no way the Cubs could afford Giles and Furcal. The Cubs will be fortunate to get one of those two players. The problem is, whichever position they fill will have a huge impact on the roster design. The Cubs need to know rather quickly.

And why is Nomar in the OF so silly?

I, for one, think his price tag padded by his stardom at SS would be far too hefty for a guy who might be an average corner OF. If it's the end of the year and the Cubs have the money to spend then it's not such a bad idea.
   27. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:36 PM (#1699121)
And why is Nomar in the OF so silly? I think Nomar in the IF is silly at this point.

How about the fact that his range was questionable before he had a major groin tear? If Nomar has a future at this point, it's probably at 3B or DH, unless a team like the Cubs wants to chance him at SS (and I don't think they should).
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:47 PM (#1699130)
And why is Nomar in the OF so silly?

For the last five years, Nomar has been roughly a .280 EqA hitter, ranging between .262 and .290. That's really good for a SS, where the ML average EqA was .254 last year. But the corner OF positions average in the low .270s, so Nomar would be only slightly above average in LF or RF.

If you can get Nomar cheap I suppose that might not be a bad thing. A .280 EqA hitter in LF may be worth 2 or 3 wins above replacement. The additional problem with Nomar is that he's brittle, and the cost there is quite significant. Perhaps the advantage that he can play IF positions in a pinch makes up for that somewhat, but I think his tendency to get hurt is a huge factor. Nomar probably has enough of an arm to play RF, whereas Murton doesn't, so the two might not get in each other's way so much.

I guess if we're resigned to the idea that the Cubs aren't going to be very good next year, re-signing Nomar and putting him in the OF is no worse than a lot of other options. But thinking of things in these terms -- and it seems that the Cubs are always thinking of things in these terms -- is hardly the mark of a team poised for greatness.

With the thin market, there's just no way the Cubs could afford Giles and Furcal.

While the Cubs could definitely use Giles, and if they plan on competing next year they probably need someone like him, I'm less than enthusiastic about the idea of signing him long-term starting at age 35. I'm not at all thrilled with the current prospects for the Cubs' 2006 OF, but Giles makes me nervous long-term.

Furcal is a different story. It's good to sign a guy at his age, and he has been a consistently good player. He brings things to the table that management values, although if his walk rate drops a lot as seems to be the current trend under Baker, he will be walking a tightrope.
   29. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:52 PM (#1699135)
How about the fact that his range was questionable before he had a major groin tear?

That's a pretty subjective evaluation, and an opinion that is not universally held.
   30. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 02:58 PM (#1699143)
How about the fact that his range was questionable before he had a major groin tear?

That's a pretty subjective evaluation, and an opinion that is not universally held.


I should clarify that: Yes, in 2004 it appeared that Garciaparra was terrible at SS. But in 2004 he was battling the achilles tendon, and also perhaps the nascent groin injury. I thought that more often than not, he looked pretty good after returning this year.

That said, I think one has to be concerned that Garciaparra at SS is an injury waiting to happen. I think that's a decent reason to consider moving him to another position, 3B being the best option.
   31. Mike Isaacs Posted: October 23, 2005 at 03:29 PM (#1699163)
There "philosophy" came out of stupidity ("We havent won by hitting homers, so homers aren't important") and adherence to convention ("Pitching, speed, and defense are 90% of baseball")

I guess I do give the Sox more credit than you. I do not believe the Sox simply took the position that HRs are not important and that since they have not won with them, let's try something else. Where that argument breaks down for me is that this is a team that hit a couple hundred dingers this year -- fourth in their league.

My scenario has the Sox saying that a continuation of home runs at the expense of poor defense with little range has hurt too much. The Sox, despite all the talk about their small ball, did not give up on the long ball. They scaled back that priority to add more weight to other areas. There was simply a realization that power and power alone is not the way for this team to win when it comes at the expense of other neglected and "less sexy" assets to a team's offense. The Podsednik acquisition was, in fact, the only significant offensive deal the Sox made where power wasn't an important ingredient in the player that was returned to them.

To return this to the Cubs for a second, I join in the belief that the Cubs should place a significantly higher priority on defense for next year. Your point about finesse pitchers versus power pitchers is well taken. But there's no doubt that pitchers such as Zambrano and Maddux to name two obvious examples would not benefit in any way from a left side of the diamond occupied by Ramirez and Garciaparra all year -- not just in terms of errors but in terms of range as well. Even if Garciaparra is realtively healthy, I'm not a big fan of re-signing him to the 6 defensive position. It's true that a player who has enough offenisive impact can certainly be a worthwhile acquisition even if his defense is lacking. But in terms of what we see on this current team and how the Cubs are likely to spend their money, labeling defense as a needed upgrade seems quite sensible to me. Identifying what areas are most important for improvement is a key job of a good general manager and what I would call the beginning of some kind of plan for next year.
   32. CFiJ Posted: October 23, 2005 at 03:54 PM (#1699178)
Groin injuries are insidious. They never properly heel: look at Aramis Ramirez. Anyone remember Rondell White? It made me sad, but when I heard that Nomar'd torn his groin muscle, and the extent of the injury, I gave up all hope of him being an impact player for the Cubs.
   33. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 04:11 PM (#1699191)
I guess I'm starting to be convinced by you guys that Nomar should not be resigned.
________________________________________
---There was simply a realization that power and power alone is not the way for this team to win when it comes at the expense of other neglected and "less sexy" assets to a team's offense."

And I maintain that this "realization" was wrong and simply worked out due to luck.
   34. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 23, 2005 at 07:06 PM (#1699575)
How about the fact that his range was questionable before he had a major groin tear?

--That's a pretty subjective evaluation, and an opinion that is not universally held.

I should clarify that: Yes, in 2004 it appeared that Garciaparra was terrible at SS. But in 2004 he was battling the achilles tendon, and also perhaps the nascent groin injury. I thought that more often than not, he looked pretty good after returning this year.


Maybe we agree, but let me spell things out more precisely: We know that Nomar has a groin issue now, and we know that he's had a history of an achilles problem and was never known for his tremendous range in the first place. What makes folks think that it's a wonderful idea to have him spend his days running after shots to the OF?

I'm not saying they should resign Nomar, but if they do, he stands a lot better chance remaining healthy at 3B than he does in LF or SS, let alone being a positive with the glove.

On another note:

With the thin market, there's just no way the Cubs could afford Giles and Furcal.

Probably right. Heck, even if they could sign both, I'm not convinced that either are necessarily great choices (see BPro's recent discussion of Furcal's H/R splits, for instance).

My point was that I suppose there could be a scenario in which I wouldn't object if Cedeno and Murton weren't immediately bestowed starting jobs next spring.
   35. Bunny Vincennes Posted: October 23, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1699783)
You know, its very depressing for me as a Cub fan right now. The guys across town are playing in the World Series. The Cubs who seemed so close to long term contention recently seem poised to suck for the second consecutive season, and I get the impression that no one in Cubs management understands this. Completely disheartening.
   36. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 23, 2005 at 09:40 PM (#1699845)
You know, its very depressing for me as a Cub fan right now. The guys across town are playing in the World Series. The Cubs who seemed so close to long term contention recently seem poised to suck for the second consecutive season, and I get the impression that no one in Cubs management understands this. Completely disheartening.

Ditto. There's always the chance that the team will surprise me this offseason and sign Furcal and/or Giles, cut Macias, refuse to resign Neifi and exercise Burnitz's option, not extend Dusty, make a firm commitment to Cedeno and Murton as 2006 starters, move 3-4 good prospects for an impact OF bat in trade, etc. But I'm not holding my breath.

I fully expect the 2006 Cubs to be almost a carbon copy of the 2005 team, except without the superhuman season from Derrek Lee dragging them to relative respectability.
   37. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 23, 2005 at 09:46 PM (#1699855)
And with Maddux's continued decline rendering the rotation even less stable. That having been said, different luck could have seen them take the wild-card; they were close to .500 with a much better pythagorean record. They will acquire a big bat, because they think their pitching was good and they lost because they didn't score enough runs. Maybe Wood will be healthy. Maybe Lee won't regress a lot, and Dempster won't blow up, whatever. The fact is, the Cubs have enough talent around to wind up as next year's White Sox.
   38. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 23, 2005 at 09:57 PM (#1699869)
You know, its very depressing for me as a Cub fan right now. The guys across town are playing in the World Series. The Cubs who seemed so close to long term contention recently seem poised to suck for the second consecutive season, and I get the impression that no one in Cubs management understands this. Completely disheartening.

Again, I don't care about the White Sox. I'm going to keep harping on the Astros, and will do so until all of you are absolutely sick of it (those who aren't already).

Who are the best position players that have come up from the Cubs' minor league system in the 11 year period I talked about in #19?

Well, there's Corey Patterson, whose career is currently on the bubble, and the dismissed Hee Seop Choi, who has hardly taken the world by storm since being traded. And that's it.

Who are the best position players that have come up from the Astros' minor league system?

A number of guys ranging from solid major leaguers (Richard Hidalgo, Julio Lugo) to consistent stars like Lance Berkman to guys like Morgan Ensberg and Daryle Ward.

In terms of pitching, the Astros have held their own as well.

This is beyond shameful. What the hell is wrong with the Cubs organization that they can not only maintain a long record of mediocrity with no excuses regarding resources, but they fail even to perceive that there's a problem?
   39. Bunny Vincennes Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:04 PM (#1699884)
This is beyond shameful. What the hell is wrong with the Cubs organization that they can not only maintain a long record of mediocrity with no excuses regarding resources, but they fail even to perceive that there's a problem?

I'm right there with you Andere. I mean in eleven years you'd assume that they'd develop somebody with a bat just on blind luck. Ugh.
   40. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1699903)
I'm right there with you Andere. I mean in eleven years you'd assume that they'd develop somebody with a bat just on blind luck. Ugh.

Absolutely. The last real position player to come out of the Cubs system is probably Mark Grace in 1988, and that takes us back almost 20 years (Palmeiro was, IIRC, the year before that). The list includes guys like Dwight Smith, Jerome Walton, Gary Scott, Kevin Orie, Rosie Brown, Julio Zuleta, Choi, Patterson, Bobby Hill, etc. etc. etc.

Either they can't scout position players, can't develop them in the minors, or can't get them to the majors and turn them from AAA players into major leaguers. And these 18 years span a whole lot of different regimes in the dugout and in the front office. It's a matter of institutional memory at this point, and it really is something that needs to be dealt with. You'd be hard pressed to go around the majors and find a single team that couldn't come up with at least one solid regular who emerged from their system between 1989 and 2005.
   41. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:30 PM (#1699908)
This is beyond shameful. What the hell is wrong with the Cubs organization that they can not only maintain a long record of mediocrity with no excuses regarding resources, but they fail even to perceive that there's a problem?

I don't think Andy MacPhail is going to come out and say he's been doing it wrong all these years. I doubt the Cubs would be vocal about changes in philosophy even in they occur.

I have no delusions on this front. Dusty's return is a strong signal of status quo reigning on.

The last real position player to come out of the Cubs system is probably Mark Grace in 1988, and that takes us back almost 20 years


I agree on the shamefulness but I would like to point to Murton and Cedeno as positive signs. Sure, Murton was a Boston product but Hendry gets credit for identifying him in the Nomar deal.
   42. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:33 PM (#1699912)
I agree on the shamefulness but I would like to point to Murton and Cedeno as positive signs. Sure, Murton was a Boston product but Hendry gets credit for identifying him in the Nomar deal.

Hopefully so. It's up to the Cubs to take the next step, though -- put them in the lineup every day and let them sink or swim. If Cedeno backs up Neifi Perez or Rafael Furcal for the next 3 years, then he hasn't come to anything useful.

And I'm not sure that's going to happen, not with Dusty at the helm and Hendry apparently reluctant to hand down a "play them or else" edict w/r/t Murton and Cedeno.
   43. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:37 PM (#1699916)
As has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread and the article, I think it's foolish to write-off the Sox's success to luck and go down the merry road of bizarre misguided envy.

The Sox built the second-best defense behind a non-strikeout but effective staff. They looked for the best money values to improve at every position that they needed to.

They continued to show a consistent ability to claim star-level talent from throwaway trades and the discount free-agent bin.

They have a manager who, in his second major league season, has already shown that he is top in the league at managing a pitching staff/bullpen and is pretty good at writing lineups.

They show the ability to say whatever the media wants so that they are behind the team regardless whether it is accurate or not. Their manager has energized the fan base in a major fan community that they don't have to compete with the other major team in the met area for.

At the middle of 2004, it was very clear which side of town had the better team and franchise. Since that time, one team whether it via luck or strategic expertise, has made every right move, while the other has floundered--spending much of their resources to toss away their one of their top producers (who has since independently fallen off a cliff) and fumbled much of the available young talent they have.

With their starting pitching talent and Lee and Ramirez, the Cubs still have a great core. I hope that someone in the organization can figure out how to build a bullpen and upgrade their gaping holes in the next offseason.

The city, and my neighborhood in particular is a lot more fun when the Cubs are winning. I hope to see a 1906 repeat in 2006, but both teams have some work to do in the meantime and I only have confidence in one team's management to do so at this time.
   44. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1699918)
Oops, I cut and forgot to repaste my weaknesses paragraph--

The Sox still bunt and steal at inopportune times too much and have not shown an ability to add star level offensive talent. They will need to add some offense for next year unless they get very fortunate with Thomas making a rebound. I'm also still a little scared that Williams will trade the starting staff for some magic beans. But he hasn't made a bad move in a couple of years now.
   45. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1699919)
At this point, looking at this thread, what I might do is:

1) sign Nomar for 1 yr incentive at SS
2) sign Walker for 1 (or maybe 2) yrs at 2nd
3) sign the best SP available who will keep the contract length minimal--hopefully Millwood or Burnett
4) sign Giles for RF for 2 yrs
5) keep Cedeno as backup/occassional starter for SS/2B and ready to step in if there is an injury
6) pencil in Murton in LF
7) pencil in Patterson in CF
8) keep Hairston as a backup 2B and OF
9) release Perez and Macias
10) look for some bullpen help
   46. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:46 PM (#1699928)
As has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread and the article, I think it's foolish to write-off the Sox's success to luck and go down the merry road of bizarre misguided envy.


I'm a Sox supporter so don't chalk this up to misguided envy but...

They outscored their opponents by about 100 runs this season. That's a healthy and respectable number but it doesn't make them the elite of baseball. I'm skeptical about Ozzie-ball's ability to consistently outperform the Pythag in generating wins but only time will tell.
   47. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:48 PM (#1699932)
4) sign Giles for RF for 2 yrs

Given the interest he'll get this winter as the best available bat, there's no possible way he's signing for 2 years unless the per annum salary is just obscene.

My best guess is something in the 4/$44M range.
   48. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 23, 2005 at 10:49 PM (#1699936)
2) sign Walker for 1 (or maybe 2) yrs at 2nd


The team has a 2.5 million option they can exercise on Todd.
   49. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 23, 2005 at 11:01 PM (#1699955)
---"My best guess is something in the 4/$44M range."

Well, then, I pass on Giles. He is what, 35 yrs old and declining in his stats? The technical name for that is "albatross". That is why I said 2 yrs. The problem is that there are very few in-prime stars who become available. If you sign these older performers, you might catch lightening in a bottle, but more likely you will be desperate to trade these overpaid players. Players want to demand as much money as they can. That is why they still claim to be as good as ever at age 35, because they have learned the finer points, but nonetheless their OBA and SLG are going down.

Anyway, the only free agents that interest me for the Cubs are pitchers, because pitchers are what they are, pretty much regardless of age.
   50. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: October 23, 2005 at 11:01 PM (#1699956)
I'm a Sox supporter so don't chalk this up to misguided envy but...

They outscored their opponents by about 100 runs this season. That's a healthy and respectable number but it doesn't make them the elite of baseball. I'm skeptical about Ozzie-ball's ability to consistently outperform the Pythag in generating wins but only time will tell.


I totally agree with this. But if the Sox outscore their opponents by 100 runs a season, they'll be perennial playoff contenders. As you said, it's not elite, but being elite and buying tickets gets you into a second round playoff game if you things don't go your way (or first-round if you are the Indians :()

This year, the AL looked like this:
1. +148
2. +115
3. +109
4. +97
5. +96
5. +96
7. +65

Anyway, this is why, like I said, I would like to see the Sox improve the team a bit.

I forgot to add that Williams has not been good about finding above replacement level players to fill the last slots on the bench offensively and that's an area he needs to improve.

But something that I've noticed that people have ignored in predicting this postseason is that if the Sox's run differential was hurt so badly by T.I.M.O., Ozuna, Takatsu, Walker, etc., those players were unlikely to see time this postseason.
   51. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: October 23, 2005 at 11:03 PM (#1699958)
I like Giles. He's likely to decline, but his core skill of plate discipline should endure, and he should see a minor power increase just due to switching ballparks.

He would be a good fit on the North Side, and if he has to be overpaid for his last two years on the contract, maybe it's worth it to have him around that year that the Cubs finally have healthy pitchers.
   52. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 23, 2005 at 11:27 PM (#1699999)
I like Giles. He's likely to decline, but his core skill of plate discipline should endure, and he should see a minor power increase just due to switching ballparks.

He would be a good fit on the North Side, and if he has to be overpaid for his last two years on the contract, maybe it's worth it to have him around that year that the Cubs finally have healthy pitchers.


I agree with this 100%. He doesn't have "old player" skills that I'd expect to decline quickly. Must of his value is built from OBP and walks, and that generally doesn't decline as fast as something like power would. He'll never drop off a Sosa cliff. It's also important to remember that he was a latecomer to the majors, so it's not like he's already got 14 seasons of wear and tear under his belt. For his age, he's still a relative newcomer.

I'd prefer fewer than 4 years too, and maybe something like 3/$36 could get it done. But I think he'd be a great fit for Wrigley and a godsend batting 2nd behind a guy like Walker (who doesn't have the speed Dusty wants, but the two of them should each put up .360+ OBPs at the top of the lineup ahead of Lee, Ramirez, Barrett, and Murton). Or Furcal leading off, if the Cubs sign him (he doesn't have the OBP of a guy like Walker, but he's fast and it'll be something Dusty can get his mind around without being tempted to stick Neifi Perez out there 4 days a week).
   53. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 24, 2005 at 12:53 AM (#1700226)
I thimk that, at the time - and bearing in mind the Cubs need for a 3B - Aramis's contract was the price for Lofton.

From what I know about the deal from the Pittsburgh side, this is backward. The trade was always Ramirez for Bobby Hill, and Lofton was thrown in after the injuries.

-- MWE
   54. Russ Posted: October 24, 2005 at 01:00 AM (#1700263)
Don't forget Jose Hernandez and Poland... I mean Matt Bruback!
   55. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 24, 2005 at 02:43 AM (#1700563)
I agree on the shamefulness but I would like to point to Murton and Cedeno as positive signs. Sure, Murton was a Boston product but Hendry gets credit for identifying him in the Nomar deal.

I'd give Hendry credit if they came through, but considering the amazingly bad track record I don't believe these guys are going to make it. It doesn't help that neither is an A-grade prospect to begin with.
   56. Neil M Posted: October 24, 2005 at 07:28 AM (#1701068)
From what I know about the deal from the Pittsburgh side, this is backward. The trade was always Ramirez for Bobby Hill, and Lofton was thrown in after the injuries.

Whatever proposals were on the table, I'd still argue that Goodwin's injury was the trigger for the deal to go down. I think it very significsnt that Hendry made a point of getting the news to the media announcers in the 9th inning of that game.
   57. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 24, 2005 at 07:54 AM (#1701073)
1) sign Nomar for 1 yr incentive at SS

JUST SAY NO TO NOMAR!

If Nomar were a free agent from another team right now, would *anybody* be pushing for the Cubs to sign him?

I think the real decision with Nomar will be whether Hendry will offer him arbitration or not.
   58. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 24, 2005 at 01:23 PM (#1701143)
----"JUST SAY NO TO NOMAR!"

But why?

Normally, a guy like Nomar would be demanding a 4 yr big buck contract. He has said that he wants to return to the Cubs, and apparently would be willing to sign a 1 yr incentive-laden contract. So the Cubs would be protected financially. If healthy, and even considering his mediocre fielding, Nomar is perhaps the best SS in the NL, and they get him cheap and short-term. If he gets injured, they have Cedeno, who you guys want to start anyway. And if A Ramirez gets injured, as he frequently does, they have a reasonable solution of moving Nomat to 3rd and putting Cedeno at short.

I don't see why Cedeno should be given the starting nod for 2006, just because he's young. He has not been touted as a hot prospect, and does not seem to me to have star potential. His reasonably successful 2005 was in a pretty limited number of at-bats. If Nomar makes it thru 2006 OK, he will probably want a 3 yr guaranteed deal. If Cedeno has played well as a part-timer at ss and 2b in 2006, then we will have a much better sample size of playing time to instill confidence that he can be a solid starting SS, and I would have no problem saying adios to Nomah at that point.
   59. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 24, 2005 at 05:44 PM (#1701566)
Normally, a guy like Nomar would be demanding a 4 yr big buck contract. He has said that he wants to return to the Cubs, and apparently would be willing to sign a 1 yr incentive-laden contract. So the Cubs would be protected financially. If healthy, and even considering his mediocre fielding, Nomar is perhaps the best SS in the NL, and they get him cheap and short-term. If he gets injured, they have Cedeno, who you guys want to start anyway.

But that's not the way it works. If Nomar gets injured, we get Neifi, or someone like him. Until proven otherwise, as a rule of thumb, I think we can write off all position prospects in the Cubs organization as making a contribution.
   60. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 24, 2005 at 06:29 PM (#1701674)
Who are the best position players that have come up from the Astros' minor league system?

A number of guys ranging from solid major leaguers (Richard Hidalgo, Julio Lugo) to consistent stars like Lance Berkman to guys like Morgan Ensberg and Daryle Ward.


You forgot Bobby Abreu.


[Giles] doesn't have "old player" skills that I'd expect to decline quickly.

Here's a silly question that I've often wondered about: Why do they refer to skills that decline quickly as "old player" skills? Wouldn't they be the skills that exist primarily in young players?
   61. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 24, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1701706)
This has nothing to do wiht the topic, but I don't know where else to put random Cubs info.

In this THT aricle rating the best & worst gloves with one of their fielding metrics, Jeremy Burnitz of all people wins their gold glove for RF. The author (David Gassko) admits its a shock and has no idea how to account for it. Neifi Perez gets an honorable mention at SS, with the 3rd best number for any SS in MLB. No Cubs listed among the worst.
   62. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 24, 2005 at 08:35 PM (#1701917)
You forgot Bobby Abreu.

Well, this would be an example of one of the bad decisions Houston has made, since they let him walk away in the Expansion Draft, of all things, which was followed by Arizona flipping him to Philly for Kevin Stocker of all people.
   63. Halofan Posted: October 24, 2005 at 09:22 PM (#1701993)
The Cubs MUST go after KONERKO.
   64. Urban Faber Posted: October 24, 2005 at 09:27 PM (#1702002)
Well, this would be an example of one of the bad decisions Houston has made

Johan Santana too.
   65. Urban Faber Posted: October 24, 2005 at 09:30 PM (#1702008)
The Cubs MUST go after KONERKO.

Derrek Lee is still there.
   66. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 24, 2005 at 10:45 PM (#1702110)
-----"But that's not the way it works. If Nomar gets injured, we get Neifi, or someone like him."

Point taken, but I was talking about what they *should* do, given reasonable intelligence. :)

I don't know if Neifi will be back. He has, responding to Dusty's praise of him in in 2005 as a godsend, sent out signals that he wants to be a regular again. If some team offers him that, he's gone. And I have no problem with Neifi. He is a qualified ML player, and is a quite reasonable backup at ss or 2b. It's not his fault that the Dustys of the world focus only on his good points, and think he is a solid regular....
   67. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 24, 2005 at 10:51 PM (#1702118)
----"The Cubs MUST go after KONERKO."

This is the silliest comment I have seen in a while, assuming it was serious and not sarcastic.

D Lee, by many accounts the best player in the NL in 2005, is still under contract. With all of the genuine holes on the team, why should the Cubs worry about 1B?

That being said, Konerko appears to be in the middle of his peak. The Sox should seriously consider signing him to a 3 yr contract at the market price. If he insists at a 4 or 5 yr deal to break the bank, I say Sayonnara, Paulie....
   68. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 24, 2005 at 10:53 PM (#1702125)
Point taken, but I was talking about what they *should* do, given reasonable intelligence.

Reasonable intelligence doesn't apply here. This is a team that simply does not develop young position players, and one reason is that they will always choose to go with a veteran, even a lousy one, over a young position player.
   69. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 24, 2005 at 10:59 PM (#1702133)
This is a team that simply does not develop young position players, and one reason is that they will always choose to go with a veteran, even a lousy one, over a young position player.

You're missing an important step in the process: Before choosing to go with the lousy veteran, they will occasionally rush whatever phenom du jour they can tout, only to exile him to the bench or the minors when that player struggles for 4 days.
   70. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 25, 2005 at 12:00 PM (#1702755)
You're missing an important step in the process: Before choosing to go with the lousy veteran, they will occasionally rush whatever phenom du jour they can tout, only to exile him to the bench or the minors when that player struggles for 4 days.

This is true.

Of course, I'm convinced that the most important problem is what happens before the players are ever called up. When was the last time we saw a Cubs position prospect perform well in the minors at any level, and then maintain it through every promotion and then successfully make the transition to the majors? The last guy I can think of debuted in the Reagan Administration.

A few years ago there was reasonable hope that one or more of Patterson, Choi or Hill would break this trend. No dice. This is not a coincidence, it's a symptom of a disease.
   71. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 25, 2005 at 06:23 PM (#1703357)
Well, I certainly agree that a major problem is the lack of real position prospects in the first place.

To my understanding, over the past 20 years (i.e., since Shawon Dunston), here is a fairly complete list of young talent the Cubs have "developed" to the point of them being thought of as conceivable starters or solid contributors on the Cubs MLB roster (loosely defined by my recollection of what the Cubs brass was saying at the time). To gain credit, the player must have spent at least parts of 2 seasons in the Cubs farm system before getting called up to the majors with the Cubs:

Matt Murton
Adam Greenberg
Ronny Cedeno
Jason Dubois
Corey Patterson
Hee Seop Choi
Bobby Hill
David Kelton
Brendan Harris
Joe Girardi
Roosevelt Brown
Kevin Orie
Julio Zuleta
Chad Meyers
Mark Grace
Dave Martinez
Brant Brown
Doug Glanville
Brooks Kieschnick
Robin Jennings
Ozzie Timmons
Rick Wilkins
Kevin Roberson
Derrick May
Dwight Smith
Matt Walbeck
Doug Dascenzo
Hector Villanueva
Gary Scott
Jerome Walton
Damon Berryhill
Gary Varsho
Rick Wrona
Darrin Jackson
Rafael Palmeiro

There are a decent number of names here, but it's not huge by any means.

What strikes me more, though, is that although there are some flameouts (i.e., guys who were expected to be above average performers who have not panned out), much of this list is filled out with "never-weres" -- guys who were never really looked at as being above-average starters in the first place. (Also, my list above excludes a few guys who only were not even expected to see more than the cup of coffee they got, i.e., Ryan Theriot, et al.)

Flameouts: J. Walton, G. Scott, D. Smith, R. Wilkins, D. May, B. Kieschnick (as a hitter), K. Orie

Never-Weres: D. Jackson, R. Wrona, G. Varsho, H. Villanueva, D. Dascenzo, M. Walbeck, K. Roberson, D. Berryhill, O. Timmons, R. Jennings, D. Martinez, C. Meyers, J. Zuleta, R. Brown

Legitimates (i.e., at least average for position): R. Palmeiro, M. Grace, J. Girardi, D. Glanville

TBD: C. Patterson, H.S. Choi, J. Dubois, B. Harris, B. Hill, D. Kelton, A. Greenberg, R. Cedeno, M. Murton
   72. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 25, 2005 at 09:59 PM (#1703826)
Legitimates (i.e., at least average for position): R. Palmeiro, M. Grace, J. Girardi, D. Glanville

I'd say it's a liberal use of the word "average" to put Girardi and Glanville in that category. Glanville had three seasons where he posted an OPS above .700 (one of them at .701), and had one good year in his career. Beyond longevity there isn't much to recommend Girardi. I think Dave Martinez had a better career than either of these guys, and he's one of the "Reagan Administration" gang.

Anyway, I think it says a lot that the best position player to come out of the Cubs organization in the 1990s was Doug Glanville, and that so far they aren't doing any better in the 2000s.
   73. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 25, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1703855)
____"This is not a coincidence, it's a symptom of a disease."

How do you know? Has anyone applied statistical significance testing to the Cubs player drafting and development? By what precise mechanism can we account for the Cubs poor results? Outside of a handful of people such as M Prior, the draft seems to be pretty much a crapshoot. Of a group of draftees which seem to have around the same potential and similar draft positions, some will keep developing and some won't. I'm not sure why the Cubs would systematically do worse than anyone else in this dept.

The next level would be poor development of talented prospects. Do the Cubs have inferior minor lg instructors, etc.? I kind of doubt this. And also, how much of the responsibility for the development of *professional* ballplayers should be attributed to the organization, and how much to the player himself. IOW, S Dunston seemed to have enough raw talent to become a possible HOF SS. Was it the Cubs fault that he didn't become that, or was it his own fault?

The other explanation for the lack of position player success of the Cubs is simply bad luck--that their draft analysis and minor lg development is as good as most other teams, but they simply happened to draft more than their share of good-looking prospects who didn't pan out, over the last 15 yrs.

I have no real idea which theory is correct. I would tend to lean towards the bad luck explanation until I see some real evidence.

Does anybody have some?
   74. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 25, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1703856)
Anyway, I think it says a lot that the best position player to come out of the Cubs organization in the 1990s was Doug Glanville, and that so far they aren't doing any better in the 2000s.

Scary, isn't it? 15 years of minor league production has yielded the guy probably best known as a good quote for ESPN columnists.
   75. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 25, 2005 at 11:25 PM (#1703913)
I have no real idea which theory is correct. I would tend to lean towards the bad luck explanation until I see some real evidence.

I'm all for thinking critically about assertions, even those that people claim to be obvious, so knock yourself out. But I think this one is obvious.

I'd be interested in seeing what team has a worse track record of bringing up positions prospects than the Cubs, since 1989. Some organizations have been fairly crappy (Giants, Orioles, Tigers) but I can't think of a team with a worse track record than the Cubs.
   76. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 25, 2005 at 11:28 PM (#1703919)
I'd say it's a liberal use of the word "average" to put Girardi and Glanville in that category. Glanville had three seasons where he posted an OPS above .700 (one of them at .701), and had one good year in his career. Beyond longevity there isn't much to recommend Girardi. I think Dave Martinez had a better career than either of these guys, and he's one of the "Reagan Administration" gang.

I knew my WAG would be quibbled with. I was being very liberal -- usually to the point of favoring the Cub organization. My point WRT Girardi and Glanville was simply that they *did* contribute and were neither busts nor bit players. I suppose Dave Martinez could fit in there as well, though he played less.

Still, my greater point was that we aren't looking so much at an organization with a lot of busts as much as we're looking at an organization without a lot of legit farm talent in the first place. Tribune hype aside, IMO at least as much of the problem is in poor drafting and minor league coaching than problems with the guys who have sat in the Wrigley dugout.
   77. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 26, 2005 at 12:32 PM (#1705558)
Still, my greater point was that we aren't looking so much at an organization with a lot of busts as much as we're looking at an organization without a lot of legit farm talent in the first place.

That I don't know. I think it's been a combination of poor drafting and poor player development. Before Hendry the Cubs did just horribly in the drafts, and not just for position players. And players who did manage to put something good together in the Cubs system at some point would hit a not-quite-major-league ceiling. The Cubs would pick up toolsy guys like Roberson, Glanville and Kieschnick, and they'd remain a disorganized bag of tools.

Tribune hype aside, IMO at least as much of the problem is in poor drafting and minor league coaching than problems with the guys who have sat in the Wrigley dugout.

My thinking is that the Cubs have solved the draft issues, and in fact that under Hendry the Cubs have done a wonderful job of drafting talent. I think the problems in player development remain, and that part of the problem is the major league club, particularly the manager.

Again, I have hand-waved Duffy Duff's idea that it's just bad luck, and admit that the onus is on me to prove otherwise. But I'm lazy and I'm not going to do it, and I think it's obvious that the pattern is one of incompetence. I mean, we're talking about 17 years here.
   78. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 26, 2005 at 12:43 PM (#1705564)
Again, I have hand-waved Duffy Duff's idea that it's just bad luck, and admit that the onus is on me to prove otherwise. But I'm lazy and I'm not going to do it, and I think it's obvious that the pattern is one of incompetence. I mean, we're talking about 17 years here.

Sure, but what does he want you to prove? That every other team developed at least 1 regular position player at some point during the last 17 years? I know the Devil Rays have, and they've been pretty much the worst team around. What level of proof do you want Duffy?

You're really painting in broad strokes in this thread. First it was the "get a better player" discussion. Then, you're trying to evaluate Nomar from a completely hypothetical situation. Now, it's this farm system discussion. I know us Cubs fans tend to be quite reactionary (Dusty must go!, etc), and we definitely need to do a better job of have rational reasons for our arguments.

If I had more time, I'd go through each team and find the players each team's developed. And I'd give you a detailed analysis of Nomar's career decline path and his value/$. (Yes, I know that's a copout)
   79. CFiJ Posted: October 26, 2005 at 12:59 PM (#1705571)
Never-Weres: J. Zuleta, R. Brown

I know for sure that these two were screwed. They actually came up and contributed, but because the Cubs had two highly touted prospects in the minors already (Patterson and Choi), they were never given a chance. At the very least you'd think they could have used the guys as placeholders until the touted guys were ready, and then flipped them for some talent at another position. Instead they were labeled as bad defenders, jerked around between MLB and AAA, and then let go.
   80. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 26, 2005 at 01:29 PM (#1705598)
Sure, but what does he want you to prove?

Well, concentrating on this issue alone, he wants some proof that the Cubs' bad showing is something other than just random chance. That's reasonable, and while I'm not exactly cooperating with his request for evidence it would be pretty hypocritical of me to squelch it.

I think the best we can do would be to identify a number of teams with a worse track record over that same time period, which I would like to see someone come up with. I mean, the Giants have at least come up with Rich Aurilia and Bill Mueller, the Orioles with David Sequi, Jerry Hairston and Brian Roberts, and the Tigers with Tony Clark and Bobby Higginson. The Cubs? We have Doug Glanville, Joe Girardi, Corey Patterson and Hee-Seop Choi.
   81. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 26, 2005 at 01:39 PM (#1705611)
Well, concentrating on this issue alone, he wants some proof that the Cubs' bad showing is something other than just random chance.

Ok, just for the sake of argument, let's say it is. Would a reasonable response to that be that the Cubs should just keep on doing exactly what they're doing and eventually the luck will turning out badly?
   82. Moses Taylor World Re-Tour 2.0: Warszawa Posted: October 26, 2005 at 01:40 PM (#1705612)
Sorry, that's not clear. Let's say the Cubs' bad showing is random chance ,and the Cubs aren't doing anything "wrong."
   83. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 26, 2005 at 01:59 PM (#1705633)
----"Well, concentrating on this issue alone, he wants some proof that the Cubs' bad showing is something other than just random chance."

Actually, I don't expect anyone to do this work just because I'd like to see it. What I really would like is exactly what I was asking, which is what is likely the *mechanism* by which the Cubs have done so poorly. If you can convince me by using logic, I'll accept it. But it just doesn't seems very likely to me, considering all of the luck involved in selecting draftees according to raw talent and tools, plus the poorly predictable pattern of these players developing or not developing, that you can really say with any confidence that the Cubs are especially stupid draft talent evaluaters, plus especially poor *developers* of legitimately talented players. It simply *looks* like (mostly) bad luck to me.
   84. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:29 PM (#1705778)
Actually, I don't expect anyone to do this work just because I'd like to see it. What I really would like is exactly what I was asking, which is what is likely the *mechanism* by which the Cubs have done so poorly.

We have no way of knowing that. What happens with minor leaguers occurs too far away from our eyes. We can only judge by the results. I completely agree that it would be good to know what the Cubs are doing different that makes them so terrible at developing hitters. Clearly there is a rather strong distaste for anything resembling a sabermetric approach in the organization (i.e., stressing walks, OBA) but it has to be more than that.

But it just doesn't seems very likely to me, considering all of the luck involved in selecting draftees according to raw talent and tools, plus the poorly predictable pattern of these players developing or not developing, that you can really say with any confidence that the Cubs are especially stupid draft talent evaluaters, plus especially poor *developers* of legitimately talented players. It simply *looks* like (mostly) bad luck to me.

Well, there's nothing I can do to change your impression, which is pretty much the opposite of mine. You seem to be arguing that the process of player drafting and development is mostly luck, and I can only say that while I'm sure luck has a huge role, my impression of that is quite different, and that that goes against what is considered common wisdom.

This isn't something I noted just yesterday. Back before there was Baseball Prospectus, Clay Davenport used to release the "Davenport Translations" (i.e., EqA) on Usenet, and I made the Cubs player comments a couple of times. When Ozzie Timmons was promoted to AAA, I commented something along the lines that I imagine there's some guy in Des Moines who tells every Cubs prospect that if he wants to make it to the show in this organization, he'd better start swinging at everything. That was 12 years ago, and nothing has happened since to change that impression.

I'm willing to accept the possibility that it's random chance that the Cubs haven't lucked into developing a single star-quality position player in nearly two decades. But I'm not willing to accept that they are anything but among the worst organizations in terms of developing hitters, and in fact think their record is THE worst. People in baseball management and coaching get fired all the time, and the fact that these people have managed to maintain this with apparently little scrutiny is an additional sign that the Cubs organization is deeply dysfunctional, at every level from MacPhail on down.
   85. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:33 PM (#1705785)
Check out the 1994 BA Minor League Organizations article posted in the Newsblog section. Someone went back and looked at the cumulative WARP going forward of players from each system that year.

The Cubs come in last. We certainly called that one.
   86. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:40 PM (#1705795)
Still, my greater point was that we aren't looking so much at an organization with a lot of busts as much as we're looking at an organization without a lot of legit farm talent in the first place.

--That I don't know. I think it's been a combination of poor drafting and poor player development. Before Hendry the Cubs did just horribly in the drafts, and not just for position players.


I agree that it's not exactly fair to conflate the Hendry regime problems with those of his predecessor. Specifically, Hendry appears to be a skilled drafter, but his players don't pan out for various reasons (poor minor league instruction, players getting rushed or jerked around, and/or lack of focus or commitment at the MLB level). His predecessors may have had similar problems, but they pale in comparison to their problems in drafting good talent in the first place.

I guess one way to look at it is to first look at the quality of the drafts -- you can look at scouting reports at the time, or perhaps look at BA ratings of the various Cub drafts. By and large, I think the Cubs have done ok in recent years, though I'm not as optimistic as Andere. The Lynch years were worse, though, and the Himes and Frey years were particularly brutal.

After that, I suppose you have to look at (a) overall farm system talent and (b) how well such talent has found its way into MLB (with the Cubs or another team). Other than the last few years, I'm not convinced that the Cubs have really had a decent system, and it might be an issue of instruction as much as lack of talent.

As for the latter issue, I think you have to look at the hype of prospects such as Patterson, Choi, et al (at least in recent years) and ask if the Cubs success rate of "near-finished" players are greater or worse than that of other teams. It may be that the Cubs success rate is comparable to, say, the Yankees or Dodgers, which would cause me to think that much of the issue is simply excess hype.
   87. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:45 PM (#1705804)
I am coming to the conclusion that this team is so fundamentally screwed up that it would take an incredible stroke of luck for there to be any real success.

Welcome to the Cubs, 1946-present.
   88. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:45 PM (#1705806)
Never-Weres: J. Zuleta, R. Brown

--I know for sure that these two were screwed.


I'm not saying these players weren't screwed. What I am saying is that although they contributed and might have been expected to do so in the future, I don't think that the Cubs or MLB in general ever looked at either of these guys as legitimate, on-going above-average contributors, and in the end, neither turned out to have that kind of success -- for the Cubs or for their succeeding teams.

I guess I'm trying to separate "consensus prospects" like Patterson, Choi, et al., who either flameout or move on to greater success with another team, from guys like Brown and Zuleta who were never thought to have loads of more upside than what we saw in all-too-brief looks.
   89. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 26, 2005 at 03:59 PM (#1705826)
I'm willing to accept the possibility that it's random chance that the Cubs haven't lucked into developing a single star-quality position player in nearly two decades. But I'm not willing to accept that they are anything but among the worst organizations in terms of developing hitters, and in fact think their record is THE worst.

Though I don't want to go on the limb and say that the Cubs are "THE worst" (UCCF's point aside), I certainly agree with the general sentiment that they have sucked hard.

My greater point, though, is that beyond the lack of "a single star-quality position player," the Cubs have been near the bottom in developing average-quality position players as well.

They drafted Grace and Palmeiro in '85. Since then, they drafted Girardi in '86, Glanville in '91, and I'll even give them credit for Eric Hinske (drafted in '98) -- that's it, depending if/how the recent kids (Patterson included) pan out.
   90. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 26, 2005 at 04:01 PM (#1705832)
I guess one way to look at it is to first look at the quality of the drafts -- you can look at scouting reports at the time, or perhaps look at BA ratings of the various Cub drafts. By and large, I think the Cubs have done ok in recent years, though I'm not as optimistic as Andere. The Lynch years were worse, though, and the Himes and Frey years were particularly brutal.

I'm judging Hendry's record drafting players based on what others (like BA, Sickels) have said, plus the fact that a number of players do well in the minors, at least for awhile. Ten years ago you could go through every Cubs minor league roster and not find a single player who looked promising. That's not true now -- instead, we see a number of promising players who seem fated to hit a ceiling.

But overall you may be right, that the Cubs' record in terms of drafting position prospects has remained subpar. For the last few years it's been clear that the Cubs need to bring position prospects into their system, perhaps by trading pitching prospects, and Hendry has seemed reluctant to do that to the point where he has let good prospects go in the Rule 5 draft. It's not surprising that one of the two current on-the-cusp position prospects is an import, the other a Venezuelan non-drafted FA.
   91. Spahn Insane Posted: October 26, 2005 at 04:43 PM (#1705905)
A number of guys ranging from solid major leaguers (Richard Hidalgo, Julio Lugo) to consistent stars like Lance Berkman to guys like Morgan Ensberg and Daryle Ward.

And, if no one's mentioned him, Abreu, who's better than any of those guys.
   92. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 26, 2005 at 05:08 PM (#1705946)
I think it should also be noted that Hendry has only had 3 drafts as the GM (though he also had a substantial role in drafting under when MacPhail was GM of course).

My impression has also been that the Cubs have tended to focus on drafting pitching over hitting as well, but let's see if this is true:

<u>Drafts under Hendry as GM (through Round 5)</u>
2005: 5 pitchers, 1 hitter (highest hitting level reached: AZL)
2004: 2 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: A)
2003: 1 pitcher, 3 hitters (highest hitting level reached: A)

<u>Drafts under MacPhail as GM (through Round 5)</u>
2002: 7 pitchers, 4 hitters (highest hitting level reached: AA)
2001: 3 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- R. Theriot, B. Harris)

<u>Drafts under Lynch as GM (through Round 5)</u>
2000: 2 pitchers, 4 hitters (highest hitting level reached: AAA)
1999: 3 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: AA)
1998: 2 pitchers, 4 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- C. Patterson, D. Kelton)
1997: 3 pitchers, 1 hitter (highest hitting level reached: AA)
1996: 3 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- C. Meyers)
1995: 4 pitchers, 1 hitter (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- A. Everett, who didn't sign with the Cubs)

<u>Drafts under Himes as GM (through Round 5)</u>
1994: 5 pitchers, 0 hitters (highest hitting level reached: N/A)
1993: 2 pitchers, 4 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- B. Kieschnick, K. Orie)
1992: 1 pitcher, 3 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- B. Brown)

<u>Drafts under Frey as GM (through Round 5)</u>
1991: 2 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- D. Glanville, O. Timmons)
1990: 6 pitchers, 0 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- N/A)
1989: 0 pitchers, 5 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- G. Scott)
1988: 2 pitchers, 2 hitters (highest hitting level reached: None)

Total: 53 pitchers, 42 hitters
12 hitters saw MLB
   93. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 26, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1705971)
Correction:

2000: 2 pitchers, 4 hitters (highest hitting level reached: MLB -- B. Hill)

Now, let me also look at players who reached at least AA:

2002 draft: AA -- M. Craig
2000 draft: AAA -- N. Jackson, AA -- L. Montanez
1999 draft: AA -- M. Mallory
1997 draft: AA -- J. Randolph

Unless I'm missing something (my source is The Baseball Cube), that's it.
   94. H. Vaughn Posted: October 26, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1706145)
Something else to consider, that doesn't at all obviate the lousy job the Cubs have done in developing positional talent. They have also failed to simply hang onto and play guys they developed:

Palmeiro
Carter
Billy Hatcher
Rey Sanchez
Scott Fletcher (Don't know where they would have played him, though)

All of these players had flaws, but they could have supplied a workable home-grown core to supplement Sandberg/Grace/Maddux in the late '80s - early '90s. Some were expended for the '84 and '89 teams, which is fine, but those short-term moves had some costs longer-term. Each of the holes created by the player's absence had to be filled, which took resources away from solving other problems.
   95. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 26, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1706254)
Palmeiro over Grace turned out to be the wrong choice (though really it's hard to argue that the Cubs ended up badly, what with Grace having a pretty stellar career for them), but Joe Carter went in the Rick Sutcliffe trade. It's hard to begrudge a team looking at the playoffs for the first time in 39 years the chance to make a move at the cost of the future.

Carter certainly turned out well, but I don't think anyone with the Cubs regrets making the deal given how Sutcliffe pitched after he came over. It's just one of those now-for-later swaps, like John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander or Randy Johnson to the Astros. It did create a hole, but given the team's history making a run for the postseason is certainly understandable (and if it weren't for a certain Nazi Child-Molesting Axe Murderer, they might have even made the World Series).
   96. H. Vaughn Posted: October 27, 2005 at 12:57 AM (#1706603)
I agree that they couldn't have kept Grace and Palmeiro and that those 16 Sutcliffe wins were well worth '84. I wonder what they can learn about the future, though, from looking at players like D. Martinez, Hatcher, Sanchez or even Alex Arias, who could have filled positions (even if only UT) for them for several years, freeing them to solve other problems. To me, this is an argument in favor of guys like Bobby Hill or Choi or Murton. Every normal team has at least one or two of these guys who aren't stars, but adequately fill a hole and may develop into something greater given some patience.
   97. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 27, 2005 at 01:42 AM (#1706667)
To me, this is an argument in favor of guys like Bobby Hill or Choi or Murton. Every normal team has at least one or two of these guys who aren't stars, but adequately fill a hole and may develop into something greater given some patience.

I agree 100%. What's served by going out and adding someone like Jose Macias as a free agent? The Cubs have Fontenot at AAA and he did a decent job, and Cedeno (if they're not going to let him start and go with something like Cedeno/Walker instead). Two utility infielders, plus Hairston, is plenty for this team. There's no need to spend millions bringing in some guy(s) with the same skill set just because he's been doing it for years.

And you never know what you'll get. With the veteran, you know - his upside has been pretty well determined by his career path so far. But you might catch lightning in a bottle with one of the kids, so why not give it a try?
   98. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 27, 2005 at 06:13 AM (#1707334)
Back before there was Baseball Prospectus, Clay Davenport used to release the "Davenport Translations" (i.e., EqA) on Usenet, and I made the Cubs player comments a couple of times.


How much do I owe you for reading your posts?
   99. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2005 at 12:15 PM (#1707589)
To me, this is an argument in favor of guys like Bobby Hill or Choi or Murton. Every normal team has at least one or two of these guys who aren't stars, but adequately fill a hole and may develop into something greater given some patience.

The problem is that none of these guys offer much in terms of defensive flexibility. Bobby Hill might actually be a league-average 2B if given a chance, and of course he has a better upside than that, but 2B is all he can really play (he's played more 3B in Pittsburgh and he's looked bad). I wondered if Choi could make the transition to LF, back when he had a good reputation as a defensive 1B, but that isn't going to happen. And Murton lacks the arm to play anything but 1B. You can only carry so many of these one-trick ponies on your bench. I'm not saying it's any better to go to the opposite extreme and sign someone like Jose Macias who can play multiple positions and not hit, but flexibility is an issue.
   100. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 27, 2005 at 12:15 PM (#1707590)
And Murton lacks the arm to play anything but 1B.

Er, you know what I mean.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Darren
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

First Half Summary and Trade Rumor Thread
(309 - 4:18pm, Sep 06)
Last: McCoy

Month 1 in Review
(207 - 3:01pm, Jun 25)
Last: Spahn Insane

Season Preview 2012
(160 - 2:15pm, Apr 30)
Last: SouthSideRyan

I Am Fine with This
(56 - 12:36pm, Jan 22)
Last: McCoy

GM Candidates
(84 - 4:15pm, Oct 24)
Last: SouthSideRyan

Fearless Predictions for the 2011 Cubs Season
(31 - 7:19pm, Aug 25)
Last: McCoy

Predicting the Opening Day 25 Man Roster
(17 - 12:03am, Feb 28)
Last: The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow)

Some Offseason Cubs Linkage...
(21 - 10:32pm, Feb 14)
Last: SouthSideRyan

Premature Postmortem
(18 - 2:48pm, Sep 27)
Last: Cabbage

Ugh, July
(26 - 4:29pm, Sep 04)
Last: McCoy

Lou to retire at the end of the year
(41 - 8:09pm, Jul 22)
Last: Brian C

June, the month of doom
(55 - 11:27pm, Jul 10)
Last: McCoy

25 Fearless Predictions for the 2010 Cubs Season
(52 - 11:59pm, Jul 03)
Last: RollingWave

Should I Stay or Should I Go?
(29 - 8:50pm, Jun 29)
Last: The Original SJ

The Silva Situation
(24 - 4:40pm, Jun 13)
Last: McCoy

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.8734 seconds
61 querie(s) executed