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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Furcal close to signing?

Here is where I’d normally make a sarcastic comment about the reliability of my local newspaper, but I’ve been pretty absent myself lately so I’m going to let it pass.  Rumor has it our offer is the best one on the table, with the Braves unwilling to match and the Dodgers considering a counter.

Scott Lange Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:14 AM | 179 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. jolietconvict Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:52 AM (#1752484)
WGN is reporting that the Cubs are working on Walker for Milton Bradley.
   2. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:58 AM (#1752489)
Would the Dodgers move Walker to first or the outfield, or look to deal him to another team?

BTW, Hendry's an even bigger idiot than I thought if he gives up Walker for Bradley.
   3. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:07 AM (#1752496)
He is? Bradley is something the Cubs need far worse than they need Walker. If they sign Furcal, don't Cub fans want Cedeno at 2b?
   4. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:18 AM (#1752504)
He is? Bradley is something the Cubs need far worse than they need Walker. If they sign Furcal, don't Cub fans want Cedeno at 2b?

What Cub fans want is irrelevant. If the Cubs sign Furcal, Neifi Perez will get 90% of the 2B starts and Cedeno will sit on the bench. If they don't, then Neifi will play SS and Cedeno and Hairston will split time at 2B. We all know better than to believe that Cedeno is going to get significant playing time. I still don't think Murton will see even 80 starts in the OF this year. Dusty just isn't going to let it happen, and as he's made abundantly clear, no one tells him what to do (and that includes his increasingly clueless-appearing GM).

Yeah, the Cubs need an OF and have a glut of infielders. Of course, that wouldn't happen if they didn't insist on giving millions to crap players and then trading away the good players.
   5. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:20 AM (#1752506)
But at least you're not bitter.
   6. Dusty's Least Favorite Base-Clogger (Roy Hobbs) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:44 AM (#1752521)
UCCF may sound bitter, but Cub fans have seen too many totally irrational moves the last few years. Hendry didn't give Neifi $6 million to sit on the bench and Dusty can't bear to start two rookies--Murton and Cedeno--on the same day (week?).
Patterson for Bradley makes sense, though. Too CF's in the doghouse who make similiar money. Bradley's better, but the Dodgers can't keep him after last year.
   7. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:50 AM (#1752523)
Bradley is likely to be non-tendered so giving up someone who can actually play for him is pretty idiotic. Still, with Furcal and Neifi, the Cubs would probably have to trade Walker to a team that would start him. Not sure the Dodgers would be that team, though.

Despite everything else the Cubs have done this offseason, it would be tough not to like these two moves. Bradley's a solid player who's preferable to Pierre. Furcal's a very good player.
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:55 AM (#1752528)
He is? Bradley is something the Cubs need far worse than they need Walker. If they sign Furcal, don't Cub fans want Cedeno at 2b?

As TRHN said, BRadley will likely be nontendered in less than a month. You don't trade a quality player for someone whom you can pickup at no-cost to your team.
   9. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:12 AM (#1752540)
Bradley is likely to be non-tendered so giving up someone who can actually play for him is pretty idiotic.

########. He'll only be tendered if no one trades for him. Someone is going to trade for him, even if it ain't the Cubs. When's the last time someone that good actually got non-tendered?


Despite everything else the Cubs have done this offseason, it would be tough not to like these two moves. Bradley's a solid player who's preferable to Pierre. Furcal's a very good player.


That, I completely agree with. Dusty is supposed to be this great people person and a players' manager. If he really is (and every single Cubs fans doubts that after the last 2 seasons), than he should be able to kinda work with Bradley. Walker is the last of the contenious guys on the team, so I'm not sure who'd be the Kent to Bradley here. I hope it works.

So that still means Patterson is available to someone. ANd the Cubs still need a RF. I don't see any trade matches off-hand. But I still think the Cubs have to trade Mitre and are likely to trade Hill.

For the Dodgers, can't Kent move to 1b?
   10. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:14 AM (#1752542)
One reason to trade Walker for Bradley now is to obtain his arbitration rights and preempt any possible free agent involvement from the big money East Coast teams in need of CFs. Besides, in terms of talent for talent, Walker for Bradley is a fair deal for both sides. And, if the Cubs must make good on a promise to trade Walker if he's not the starter, this deal makes sense. I'd rather the Cubs get Bradley without giving up Todd Walker, but if this were to happen, I wouldn't complain.
   11. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:49 AM (#1752558)
Who said I'm not bitter? I'm very bitter.

Doesn't mean I'm not right.
   12. Sweet Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:12 AM (#1752589)
Bradley is likely to be non-tendered
As TRHN said, BRadley will likely be nontendered in less than a month.

This seems to be the received wisdom in various Cubs chat rooms, but I have yet to see any authoritative support for it. I find it *highly* unlikely that Bradley would be non-tendered.

I like Walker a lot, but I'd do this trade in a minute. When he's healthy and behaving (two big "whens"), Bradley is an elite center fielder. I hope Hendry wouldn't stick him in right, but even there he'd be an asset.
   13. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:28 AM (#1752593)
When's the last time someone that good actually got non-tendered?

AJ Pierzynski last year--another head case (according to the team who let him go, the Giants). Sabean couldn't get anything for him because everyone knew that he wouldn't be back.


One reason to trade Walker for Bradley now is to obtain his arbitration rights and preempt any possible free agent involvement from the big money East Coast teams in need of CFs.

Say you are a young African-American player who has felt marginalized and disrespected by his previous white manager. You want to play for a guy who you respect, understands what you're going through with dealing with a racially insensitive world, and whom you feel will stand up for your right to be you beyond all rational reason. Is there a manager who is a better fit than Dusty Baker?

2006 is going to Bradley's "rehab" year. No team is going to give him a multiyear contract until he demonstrates that he can be a good teammate. His best bet at getting one is to put together a strong season, and the Cubs probably offer him the best environment to do so (mostly because of Baker).
   14. Arch Stanton Posted: November 30, 2005 at 01:17 PM (#1752661)
I agree. This is literally the first time in two years I've considered Dusty Baker to have a positive virtue.

That is, if the Cubs trade for Bradley. Otherwise, never mind.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 02:16 PM (#1752671)
Count me as surprised if Hendry is considering this. This team has had a major problem with peripheral issues getting in the way of baseball, and Bradley would come with the mother-of-all-reputations in that department. One can argue that if Baker is good for something, it would be making someone like Bradley comfortable and focused on baseball. Of course, we've seen little evidence of that the last few years, but that's his rep, and who knows, perhaps in this case it will happen.

But what Baker can't do is protect Bradley from media criticism, or fans booing him when he goes into a slump, and Baker can't throw himself in front of the microphone when Bradley is going to put his foot in his mouth. Hell, Baker is too busy putting his own foot in his mouth. He can publicly defend him, and that's about it, and it really isn't enough.

I'd have to look, but my guess is that Walker and Bradley are of similar value in the short-term, if you correct for playing time, but the Cubs need an OF who can play CF a lot more than they need a 2B, and Bradley is a player capable of a major breakout. In terms of talent this would be a very good trade for the Cubs, and I would be pleased to see Hendry letting what happens on the field motivate his decisions.
   16. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 02:25 PM (#1752679)
AJ Pierzynski last year--another head case (according to the team who let him go, the Giants). Sabean couldn't get anything for him because everyone knew that he wouldn't be back.

Even if Bradley were non-tendered, that doesn't mean the Cubs would get him, assuming the Cubs want him. And if they want him, they should do what they have to do to get him. You can argue that the Cubs undervalue Walker, but as of right now every team knows the Cubs plan not to use him in 2006, so if Bradley's value is diminished, so is Walker's. Plus, we have no idea what other teams are interested in trading for Bradley right now, and really have no choice but to give Hendry the benefit of the doubt on that issue. Certainly, the FA market is such that it's easy to imagine there are suitors for Bradley.
   17. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 03:36 PM (#1752734)
Bradley's a solid player who's preferable to Pierre.

Why do you folks all feel that Bradley would play CF instead of Pierre? If anything, I'd bet that the Cubs will try to acquire both Bradley *and* Pierre -- with Bradley playing RF.

As for Bradley playing under Baker, I can see both the positives (the relationship won't have the race dynamic that appears to be part of Bradley's issues) and the negatives (Baker's a "players manager" primarily because he defends his players while letting them do as they please).

I do agree with Moses that even if Bradley might get non-tendered, it still makes sense for the Cubs to beat other teams to the punch (that is, if they are interested in Bradley in the first place).

For the record, a Mabry/Murton, Pierre, and Bradley OF, and a Ramirez, Furcal, Perez/Cedeno, and Lee IF won't do much to retain my interest in the team.
   18. Honkie Kong Posted: November 30, 2005 at 03:48 PM (#1752743)
a Mabry/Murton, Pierre, and Bradley OF, and a Ramirez, Furcal, Perez/Cedeno, and Lee IF won't do much to retain my interest in the team.

wow..I assume you are being sarcastic.
   19. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 03:57 PM (#1752747)
Sheesh, djf, you do have pretty high standards there. That field, with the rotation (and overpriced, but good) bullpen will definitely be in contention.

What is it you don't like? You assume Mabry will start FT (or more than 40%)? You assume Neifi will start 100%? You completely dislike Pierre?
   20. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 03:58 PM (#1752749)
I'm not. The team will probably be a bit better, but I made my vow that if Neifi and Dusty return to this team, it's going to take quite a bit for me to remain interested. Furcal is a good start, but Mabry, Pierre, and Bradley don't do anything to change my view.
   21. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:03 PM (#1752752)
For the record, a Mabry/Murton, Pierre, and Bradley OF, and a Ramirez, Furcal, Perez/Cedeno, and Lee IF won't do much to retain my interest in the team.


What could the Cubs do to retain your interest? If the Cubs acquire Furcal and Bradley, all they have left to do is find a RF/CF. As much as one might not like a Pierre deal, the lineup you just described is a very good one. After Neifi, the worst hitter is Pierre, who last year put up a 257 Eqa in an off-season for him. The team would be exciting on the bases with Pierre who stole 81 bases at 74% success and Furcal who stole 60 at 80% success. With 4 players who are left handed batters or switch hitters, the line up will be balanced enough that Dusty might not feel the need to start Mabry over Murton. Jus because an offense might be aesthetically displeasing, doesn't mean it wouldn't be good.
   22. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:05 PM (#1752755)
What is it you don't like?

I think UCCF is pretty accurate -- both Neifi and Mabry will get at least 75% of the starts at 2B and LF, respectively. That alone means a heck of a lot to me.

Pierre is an improvement over Patterson, but (a) that's not saying much and (b) when you are getting heavy doses of Neifi and Mabry, the idea of adding a speedy guy whose OBP is heavily dependent on BA isn't all that appealing to me.

As for Bradley, I might reserve judgment until the Great Blowup of 2006.

BTW, can someone tell me why Toronto can offer mega-millions to Brian Giles while the Cubs can't?
   23. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:05 PM (#1752757)
You assume Mabry will start FT (or more than 40%)? You assume Neifi will start 100%?

I would assume both of these things. Murton is the LHP half of the platoon, so he'd get the Dubois treatment. And the only thing keeping Neifi Perez from starting 150 games next year would be an injury. Now he's got both his status as the team MVP and a big contract to justify playing him.

I can't believe the team would be stupid enough to platoon Murton with a washout like Mabry, but I won't be surprised.
   24. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:06 PM (#1752758)
Sorry, didn't mean to sound like I'm piling on. It just takes me a long time to reply.

I look forward to wondering if the runner on first for the Cubs is going to steal. I think the SB is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. Pierre and Furcal are good enough at it that it could be a benefit to the team.
   25. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1752778)
There's no way Mabry gets 75% of the starts in LF. He'll be busy starting at 3B when Aramis Ramirez gets injured. He'll also probably DH in interleague play. I think Mabry's around to be a corner OF/IF supersub in the mold of Jose Macias. Even if he's not, the Cubs actually did sour on Holandsworth's crappiness last year. If Mabry does poorly, Murton will get a chance to step in. If he does well, then the Cubs are getting good offense from LF.

The Cubs team OPS+ was 102 last year despite Neifi, Macias, Patterson, Uncle Joey, Jason Dubois, Lawton, Gerut, Enrique Wilson (remember that?) and Burnitz. Even if the only upgrades are from Patterson to Pierre and Burnitz to Bradley the Cubs will have a very good offense.
   26. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:20 PM (#1752780)
Pierre
Furcal
Lee
Ramirez
Bradley
Mabry
Barrett
Perez

Picture this lineup without Lee putting up a 1.100 OPS (which, as much as I'd like to think 2005 signaled some new baseline of HOF production, is unlikely). Ramirez is very streaky and prone to nagging injuries, Bradley is a question mark, Pierre is a question mark, Mabry and Perez are disasters. Furcal's only had one season with an OPS over 100, so it's not like we're bringing in 1999 Garciaparra here.

The team would steal bases at the top of the order, so that's something. But the bottom of the order has the potential to be a real mess (Barrett was the best offensive catcher in the NL last year, and he's had two straight solid years of .825 OPS production, so I'm less worried about him repeating his performance than I otherwise might be - but Perez and Mabry?).

I'm not convinced this is better than a .500 lineup. Yeah, if Wood comes back and he, Zambrano, and Prior can combine to make 80+ starts and put up a collective ERA around 3.00 anything's possible - but we've been saying that since 2004, and it's yet to happen. A lot also depends on how all these new bullpen vets are going to work together, how willing Dusty will be to stay with Dempster as closer if he struggles at all (he wasn't going to switch him out when all he had were kids last year, but with the full cadre of vets at his disposal, the leash could be pretty short), how they're going to build the bench (which was absolutely atrocious last year), who they slot in as the 5th starter, etc.

It's still a team full of question marks, and that's after assuming they sign Furcal, trade for Pierre and Bradley, and find a taker for Corey Patterson (none of which are sure things).
   27. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1752781)
I would assume both of these things. Murton is the LHP half of the platoon, so he'd get the Dubois treatment.

I know right now that I'm going to get burned on this one, but here I go. I expect Dusty to give Murton at least 75% of the PT next season. Why? Well, he's already pointed out he's better defensively than DuBois (which is incredibly obvoious), he's pointed out he's a better runner than Dubois (also obvious) and he's already had success. Call me crazy, but I can spin Dusty's "meaningless in September" quote to make it mean that Dusty was trying to lessen the expectations on Murton. As much as we might say it, Dusty's not a complete imbicile, and he knows Murton is good. So Murton 2006 is WAY ahead of Dubois 2005. In addition, Mabry 2006 is not coming off a UJ 2004 season.

For once, I'm going to give Dusty the benefit of the doubt. He can (and might and some would say he's going to) let me down.

As for Neifi and 2b, I'll assume the worst. But I don't think Neifi will be FT. He'll get the majority of the time, but I think we'll see enough of Cedeno.

I've looked for any hints of Bradley to the Cubs on the web and haven't found anything. I am really hoping for that trade, but I do wonder what it means for Corey (since he's not rumored to be going in either the Pierre or Bradley deals).
   28. Kyle S Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:29 PM (#1752796)
I think Bradley will be a bit harder to acquire than you guys seem to think. He's performed pretty well since the Dodgers gave up Franklin Gutierrez (who was very highly regarded at the time) and Andy Brown for him. There is certain to be interest from several other teams in him, as well.
   29. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1752805)
There's no way Mabry gets 75% of the starts in LF. He'll be busy starting at 3B when Aramis Ramirez gets injured. He'll also probably DH in interleague play. I think Mabry's around to be a corner OF/IF supersub in the mold of Jose Macias. Even if he's not, the Cubs actually did sour on Holandsworth's crappiness last year.

I agree that if/when Aramis gets hurt (yet another reason to be excited about this team?), Mabry will be the replacement. You might be right that he will be the DH for the 6 games they will need one.

But I see little reason to think that he'll be in the Jose Macias role and that Murton will get the job outright. As you pointed out, the Cubs did sour on Hollandsworth last year . . . but then replaced him with Gerut, and then with Lawton, and then with Hairston. If Dusty wouldn't give Murton a FT shot last September -- even after they went through Hollandsworth, Gerut, and Lawton, what makes you think he'll get the FT shot out of spring training? (I'm directing this to Moses too -- all the observations he made were equally true in September as well.)

Someone will fill the LH half of that platoon. It may not be Mabry -- either because the Cubs acquire another OF or because Mabry flames out. It will be someone, though, and I see nothing to indicate that it will be someone better than Mabry or the stiffs they used last year, let alone Murton himself.
   30. DTS Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:37 PM (#1752811)
team would be exciting on the bases with Pierre who stole 81 bases at 74% success and Furcal who stole 60 at 80% success.

Over what period of time did they do this?
   31. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:44 PM (#1752828)
Whoa, sorry about that. I was looking at BPro's translated stats. My mistake. 57SB-17CS for Pierre, 46SB-10CS for Furcal. Point still stands, although they're a bit less exciting than I thought.
   32. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:45 PM (#1752831)
If Dusty wouldn't give Murton a FT shot last September -- even after they went through Hollandsworth, Gerut, and Lawton, what makes you think he'll get the FT shot out of spring training? (I'm directing this to Moses too -- all the observations he made were equally true in September as well.)

Maybe you forget, because you stopped watching, but it sure looks like it was Murton's job from 8/30 until the end of the year. Yes, it should have come sooner, but that still doesn't change my point.

Yes, there are some parallels between this coming year and last year. But I think the differences between Murton/Dubois and Mabry/Holly are significant. I'm just choosing to give Dusty the benefit of the doubt this one time.
   33. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:46 PM (#1752835)
BTW, can someone tell me why Toronto can offer mega-millions to Brian Giles while the Cubs can't?

Canadian doller is worth more?

The Cubs team OPS+ was 102 last year despite Neifi, Macias, Patterson, Uncle Joey, Jason Dubois, Lawton, Gerut, Enrique Wilson (remember that?) and Burnitz.

That's because they also had Lee and Aramis in that lineup.
   34. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:46 PM (#1752837)
Maybe you forget, because you stopped watching, but it sure looks like it was Murton's job from 8/30 until the end of the year.

And before we get into a techicality discussion, I realize he wasn't playing 100% of the time. And I'm also not saying that Mabry won't spot start.
   35. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1752838)
I also didn't think my comment would be all that controversial.

In the IF, the Cubs would essentially be trading Walker for Furcal, a nice improvement, but not as huge as the they could have had by going with Walker *and* Furcal, and dumping Neifi.

In the OF, the Cubs would be swapping Bradley for Burnitz -- another improvement, albeit not dramatic -- and would be swapping Patterson for Pierre. Pierre will be better for the Cubs in 2006 than Patterson, but I submit that the CF swap is one that the Cubs were certain to make anyway. By that standard, is Pierre really that much better than the other guys the Cubs could get?

I'm not saying these moves (and those in the bullpen) won't help the team -- they will. But I spent most of last year hopelessly frustrated with this organization from Hendry down, and I know I wasn't alone in that sentiment. Andere wanted/wants a dramatic overhaul from the upper echelons of the organization and I think virtually everyone in this forum outside of SdeB wants Dusty gone. None of this is happening; indeed, we still have no reason not to think he and Hendry won't be extended 2-3 more years.

Above all, though, what caused me the most angst last year wasn't the losing record -- it was the cluelessness and the conscious decisions to stifle guys like Cedeno and Murton behind veteran retreads like Neifi, Holly, et al. The Cubs will be better next year, but I see nothing to indicate that the cluelessness and the insincerity won't continue or even that the Cubs realize this is a problem.
   36. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 04:56 PM (#1752862)
Maybe you forget, because you stopped watching, but it sure looks like it was Murton's job from <strike>8/30</strike> 9/10 until the end of the year.

This is a true statement, as corrected. From 8/30-9/10, Murton wasn't the FT starter -- he was still being platooned, but with Hairston.

It is true, though, that Murton got something of a FT shot during the last 3 weeks, though, and that I did forget about this.

Does this make me think that Murton will get 120+ starts in LF next year? Not really.
   37. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:00 PM (#1752878)
I agree about the cluelessness and insincerity. The Cubs as an organization are oblivious when they're not being disingenuous. Still, when they do things to make the team better I'm happy. Furcal is a huge investment (probably a bigger one than we imagine) and I applaud the Cubs for making it. I'd rather the Cubs keep Walker as a starter, sign Reggie Sanders or Preston Wilson or whomever and trade someone else for Milton Bradley. But if we're going to dream, may as well wish for Giles at 5/$60M. I'm happy that the Cubs, despite their cluelessness, are making the team better.

Also, fast guys score a higher percentage of the time they get on base, so it's likely that the Cubs won't underperform their component stats as greatly as they did last year. They underperformed their EQR by 41 last year. The Cubs were an 86 win team last year according to BPro's adjusted standings. With the improvements they've made, they should project higher next year. Even considering the likely drop off that Lee will suffer.
   38. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1752895)
Is it really smart to play Bradley anywhere but center? He's a pretty run of the mill corner OF, but he's a great CF (when together).
   39. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:10 PM (#1752910)
I'm not. The team will probably be a bit better, but I made my vow that if Neifi and Dusty return to this team, it's going to take quite a bit for me to remain interested. Furcal is a good start, but Mabry, Pierre, and Bradley don't do anything to change my view.

An OF of Mabry/Murton, Pierre and Bradley is not very good at all, and may in fact be terrible.

Ramirez is very streaky and prone to nagging injuries

The streakiness is way down -- Ramirez has been playing at a consistent level now for two years. I think the high BA's are sustainable given that he has mastered making consistent contact.

For once, I'm going to give Dusty the benefit of the doubt. He can (and might and some would say he's going to) let me down.

If he continues to hit .320, I can see him sticking as a full-timer, but it's awfully hard to maintain that early in a season. A one week slump in April or May could trash his season stats and send him down the slippery slope of DAD.

I'm sticking with my contention that this team is incapable of developing a position prospect until they prove otherwise.
   40. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:18 PM (#1752935)
Obviously, Bradley's not being used to his full potential at a corner spot. But the Cubs have a hole in RF and might acquire Pierre. Bradley has more upside than any non-Giles OF the Cubs could acquire via freee agency, so he's a good option at a corner, even if his own value isn't maximized. Bradley's supposedly a very good defensive CF. His Eqas the last 3 years have been 328, 274, 291. At worst he's an average corner bat combined with superb defense. That would be fairly valuable. At best he's an All-Star calibre bat with superb defense.
   41. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:28 PM (#1752957)
An OF of Mabry/Murton, Pierre and Bradley is not very good at all, and may in fact be terrible.


Why? Is it worse than UJ/Dubois/Lawton/Gerut/Murton, Patterson/Hairston and Burnitz? Mabry's three year splits vs. RHP are 255/324/443. Not great, but serviceable. Using three year weighted averages, Pierre projects to a .265 Eqa in Cf. Bradley would project to a .292 Eqa in RF. That would be an above average offensive Of.
   42. Spahn Insane Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:37 PM (#1752995)
For the Dodgers, can't Kent move to 1b?

Whither Choi? Well, there's talk that Choi needs a platoon partner, but Kent wouldn't agree to that (nor should he, since it'd be a waste of his talents).
   43. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:38 PM (#1752997)
Why? Is it worse than UJ/Dubois/Lawton/Gerut/Murton, Patterson/Hairston and Burnitz?

No, but that's faint praise!

Mabry's three year splits vs. RHP are 255/324/443. Not great, but serviceable.

Career OPS of .751 against RHP. I'll give you serviceable, but it's generous for a corner OF.

If Murton turns out well, then this could be a good OF, and sure, it may well project to slightly above average. But that is hardly what I would call "very good", and I see a significant chance for "terrible."
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:45 PM (#1753009)
Sheesh, djf, you do have pretty high standards there. That field, with the rotation (and overpriced, but good) bullpen will definitely be in contention.

Yep. The Bradley trade and Furcal signings would probably be enough to retain my interest (and my season ticket dollars) for the coming year. A Murton/Pierre/Bradley outfield isn't exactly a juggernaut, but it should at least be adequate, which is a damn sight better than what we got last year, and even the uncertainty (or looking at it pessimistically, the certainty) of who plays second base doesn't make this infield, with Ramirez, Lee and Furcal at the other 3 spots, anything other than pretty damned good.
   45. Spahn Insane Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1753014)
I think UCCF is pretty accurate -- both Neifi and Mabry will get at least 75% of the starts at 2B and LF, respectively. That alone means a heck of a lot to me.

Perhaps I'm overly optimistic this morning, but I see almost no chance of Mabry getting that many starts.
   46. Spahn Insane Posted: November 30, 2005 at 05:51 PM (#1753023)
BTW, can someone tell me why Toronto can offer mega-millions to Brian Giles while the Cubs can't?

But maybe they shouldn't, given what the market's doing. The Jays aren't just offering megamillions to Giles--they're offering megamillions for five years. (Now, one could say that Giles is more worthy of a long commitment than the Howrys and Eyres of the world, and I'd agree, but 2 prior unwise commitments doesn't make a third one wise.)
   47. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:06 PM (#1753069)
Combine an above average OF with the Cubs infield, though.

Three year weighted Eqas:

PEqa Player
.265 Pierre
.274 Furcal
.319 Lee
.292 Bradley
.297 Ramirez
.250 Mabry (3 year wighted average of Eqa with a steep ad hoc age adjustment)
.266 Barrett
.229 Perez

~.274 for the team minus some for pitchers batting. Except for Mabry and Perez, I didn't do age adjustments, since they're all players in their prime. For comparison's sake, the Red Sox had a .276 Eqa in 2005. The 2005 Cardinals a .265 Eqa.
   48. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1753087)
I'm not saying these moves (and those in the bullpen) won't help the team -- they will. But I spent most of last year hopelessly frustrated with this organization from Hendry down, and I know I wasn't alone in that sentiment. Andere wanted/wants a dramatic overhaul from the upper echelons of the organization and I think virtually everyone in this forum outside of SdeB wants Dusty gone. None of this is happening; indeed, we still have no reason not to think he and Hendry won't be extended 2-3 more years.

Above all, though, what caused me the most angst last year wasn't the losing record -- it was the cluelessness and the conscious decisions to stifle guys like Cedeno and Murton behind veteran retreads like Neifi, Holly, et al. The Cubs will be better next year, but I see nothing to indicate that the cluelessness and the insincerity won't continue or even that the Cubs realize this is a problem.


That's all fine and good, and I do agree. But there's no way anything could have happenned this offseason to satisfy you. There's no way McPhail, Hendry, and Baker were getting canned. Until that happens, what we want is a pipe dream.

I want the team to be good. I can say I'll jump ship, but I know I never will. You may feel the same way. I think they can still do enough to win next year. You get in the playoffs with a healthy rotation, anything can happen.

I guess it's Bears/Bulls optimism rubbing off on me.
   49. Andere Richtingen Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:17 PM (#1753112)
~.274 for the team minus some for pitchers batting.

Oh, I'm not complaining about it overall, I just don't think that projects to be a particularly good OF, and again, there's a significant chance of it being outright bad.
   50. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:26 PM (#1753148)
He's a pretty run of the mill corner OF

For the Cubs, that's a big improvement. Especially when names like Preston Wilson are being tossed around. If the Cubs were to add Pierre, Bradley and Furcal they would become a legitimate contender in the NL Central.

They would have one of the best defensive teams in baseball.

I'm crossing my fingers for a Bradley trade to come through. He would represent a much better solution in RF I have been expecting.

Re Jeff Kent's position:
IIRC, there was talk of him signing as a 3rd baseman last offseason. I also wouldn't be surprised if LA moved Choi as his biggest supporter is no longer in the front office.
   51. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1753205)
Oh, I'm not complaining about it overall, I just don't think that projects to be a particularly good OF, and again, there's a significant chance of it being outright bad.


You're right that there's some downside there. If everyone tanks and Dusty stays stupid, we could have Mabry @ .240 in Lf, Pierre @ .250 in CF and Bradley @ .275 in RF. On the bright side, if Mabry tanks that badly, Murton would get a shot in LF. Also, I tend to agree with Moses that Murton won't get screwed like Doobie did. Thing is, the worst performances of that OF would be pretty dreadful, but amazingly, still better than last year.

We already know this, but it's fun to remember how one of the worst OFs of all time cost the Cubs a shot at the postseason:

Lawton .211.
Dubois .251.
Murton .303.
Holly .236.
Patterson .211.
Hairston .245.
Burnitz .258.
   52. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:52 PM (#1753231)
But there's no way anything could have happenned this offseason to satisfy you. There's no way McPhail, Hendry, and Baker were getting canned. Until that happens, what we want is a pipe dream.

I can deal with the Cubs losing -- I have been doing that all my life. What frustrates me to no end, though, is that they are quite capable of being really good (at the level of the Cardinals and Braves), but are actively striving to move in a different direction through insincerity and (to adopt retro's phrase) dunderheadedness.

I don't believe that I was alone in this -- retro, Andere, Jack V, UCCF, and even you shared this view on several occasions. It was also what caused me to court other potential teams, and I believe that was what caused retro, Andere, and Jack V to do so as well. (I'm glad you also support the D-Rays, but don't know if you were/are doing this because you are disdainful of the Cubs or are just interested in following a second team.)

As for the Cubs, what I was looking for this offseason wasn't necessarily improvement -- I figured that was a given. I was/am looking for them to avoid being dunderheaded. Firing Baker would be the best sign of this, but more realistically, I was looking for them to at least dump Neifi. That alone would probably keep me. Not only did they not do that, though, but they signed him for *multiple* seasons.

At this point, it's going to take an awful lot for them to convince me that they are sincere and have a dedicated idea and commitment to making this team what it could be. Signing Furcal is nice, but getting guys like Pierre and Bradley don't do much for me. Pierre is another Eic Young (though more reliant on singles and with less power). Bradley is another Matt Lawton. Big friggin wow.

For them to overcome the Neifi stigma at this point and demonstrate in my mind that they are serious, they need to do more than make themselves an 84-86 win team. They need to make themselves a 90+ win team. Give Giles a 3 yr/$45mm offer. Trade Aramis and one of their live arms for Manny Ramirez and resign Nomar at 3B.

Yes, it will cost them millions, but does anyone really think they can't do this -- especially with Sosa, Alou, Hawkins, et al off the books? Of course it won't happen at this point. You're correct that what I'm looking for at this point is a pipe dream. That's not my fault, though -- the Cubs put me in this position when they gave Neifi a 2 year deal, and will make my position even more resolute when they give Dusty and Hendry similar extensions in the spring.
   53. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 06:55 PM (#1753243)
I want the team to be good. I can say I'll jump ship, but I know I never will.

Yeah, that's the rub. When I say I'm "jumping ship," I'm not giving up completely. I know I can't. (After all, why am I still posting here?) I'll follow them online and will still root for them, but I'm going to at least start watching the Devil Rays games rather than Cubs games -- that is a good first step and maybe it might lead somewhere.
   54. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:05 PM (#1753275)
Bradley is another Matt Lawton.

Anticipating resistance to this, let me point out that my first draft said "another Moises, albeit younger and less reliable." Looking at bb-ref, though, convinced me otherwise.

Lawton was Bradley's #2 most similar hitter at age 27 and was his #6 most similar hitter at age 26. Lawton is 6 years older, though, so I should clarify my comment by saying "Bradley is another Matt Lawton, circa 1999."

Lawton had a very good 2000 and has been pretty decent ever since (until he left Pittsburgh and has since been busted for PED use), but adding a guy like the 2000 version of Lawton isn't going to make the Cubs more than a 84-86 win team.
   55. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:14 PM (#1753302)
Pierre and Bradley don't do much for me. Pierre is another Eic Young (though more reliant on singles and with less power). Bradley is another Matt Lawton. Big friggin wow.


Eric Young was good. He put up OPSes in the mid-700s for the Cubs while playing a solid second base. Unlike Pierre, Young was 33 when the Cubs acquired him. Matt Lawton was an fine player before he became a Cub. I'd love to get a season like Lawton's age 28 season from Bradley next year.

The Cubs will have All-star calibre players at 1B, SS, 3B and C next year. Assuming Bradley and Pierre, they'll have above average players in RF and CF. They'll have below average players at 2B and LF.

On the starting staff, they'll have All-Star calibre players in Prior and Zambrano. Maddux and Wiliams should be average. Rusch should pitch like a #5 starter.

In the bullpen, who knows? Van Buren and Dempster could be good. Novoa, Williamson, Howry, Wuertz and Eyre should be decent as a group. It's likely that in the pen one or two guys will do really well and one or two guys will just tank. If the Cubs were flexible, they could make a good bullpen in 2006. If not, it should still be decent.
   56. Cabbage Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1753328)
For them to overcome the Neifi stigma at this point and demonstrate in my mind that they are serious, they need to do more than make themselves an 84-86 win team. They need to make themselves a 90+ win team. Give Giles a 3 yr/$45mm offer. Trade Aramis and one of their live arms for Manny Ramirez and resign Nomar at 3B.

Perhaps, but for them to overcome the Neifi stigmata, they need to get their hands on a whole lot of towels and a couple bottles of peroxide.

Lawton was Bradley's #2 most similar hitter at age 27 and was his #6 most similar hitter at age 26. Lawton is 6 years older, though, so I should clarify my comment by saying "Bradley is another Matt Lawton, circa 1999."

Offensivly only. Bradley plays fine CF, while Lawton was a lousy RF. Defense always helps.

On the starting staff, they'll have All-Star calibre players in Prior and Zambrano. Maddux and Wiliams should be average. Rusch should pitch like a #5 starter.

For all we know, Wood might even make a contribution. There are also potential half/three-quarters seasons from the AA/AAA crowd (Aardsma, Hill, etc.)

Basically, I have no idea what to expect from this team.
   57. SouthSideRyan Posted: November 30, 2005 at 07:29 PM (#1753331)
I keep saying it, but I can't see Murton getting screwed like Dubois did. It's been gone over already in this thread, but Murton can play defense and can run the bases, the excuses Dusty busted out on Dubois last year. In addition to that Murton has actual MLB success to go off of compared to Dubois last year who had ~40 PAs of poor #s in the majors for Dusty to base his thoughts on.
   58. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:05 PM (#1753420)
Eric Young was good.

I'm not saying he isn't, nor am I saying that a Matt Lawton circa 2000 won't be good. I'm saying that they aren't enough -- <u>in my mind</u> -- to keep my interest when you factor in the Neifi/Dusty issue.


The Cubs will have All-star calibre players at 1B, SS, 3B and C next year. Assuming Bradley and Pierre, they'll have above average players in RF and CF. They'll have below average players at 2B and LF.

Agreed regarding 1B/SS/3B/C, but not necessarily with regard to Pierre and Bradley.

Still, let's look at it this way: The Cardinals will be trotting out a lineup that has Pujols/Edmonds/Rolen and in the past had Sanders/Walker -- though one or both of those guys might be gone, the Cardinals are in the running for Giles. Who are the Cubs counterparts? Let's be very generous to the Cubs and figure that:

Lee can duplicate last year and be the equal to Pujols
Ramirez can be Rolen
Bradley (if they get him) can be Sanders (if they keep him)
The gains of Barrett and Furcal over their Cardinal counterparts make up for the difference between Murton and Giles (if the Cards get him)

As for the pitching staff, I'll agree that Zambrano and Carpenter match up well for 2006. I'll give Prior the edge over Woody Williams, but keep in mind Prior's penchant for injuries. The back of the rotations are a push, though if Wood starts that should tip the balance to the Cubs. The bullpens are largely a push. Overall, the Cubs staff is better, but the injury factor makes the edge a lot slighter than many of us suspect.

Keeping in mind that I'm being extremely generous to the Cubs, all that aside, who is the Cubs Jim Edmonds?
   59. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: November 30, 2005 at 08:29 PM (#1753490)
the Cardinals are in the running for Giles.

The Cards aren't after Giles anymore. They gave up a couple weeks ago, reportedly, and definitely can't afford what the Jays are offering.

I'll give Prior the edge over Woody Williams, but keep in mind Prior's penchant for injuries.

Woody Williams? He sucked last year. On the Padres.
   60. Giantandre Posted: November 30, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1753610)
If Dusty is still in the dugout don't we have to try and take a flyer on Milton Bradley... Dusty's skill set (don't laugh) is supposed to get the most out of players it's all he's got... It's a low (almost no) risk - hi reward situation...Ive wanted to try and trade for him the entire off season ... If all it takes is Todd Walker (a player I really like) it's worth it....Brett Boone can be had for nothing to play 2nd if it comes to that...

Also, anyone else seen that "Nomar siging with the yanks" stuff ...What are they trying to do put together the 1998 all star team ... Maybe the Giants will unload Omar V. and they can have all the aged shortstops
   61. Neil M Posted: November 30, 2005 at 09:51 PM (#1753644)
Maybe the Giants will unload Omar V. and they can have all the aged shortstops

...except for the Mostest Valuablest Player in the Entire History of the Universe. He's a Cubbie for the next two seasons.
   62. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 10:22 PM (#1753727)
Woody Williams? He sucked last year. On the Padres.

Duh. Substitute Mulder instead and my analysis isn't that far off the mark.

This proposed lineup, even under the most generous analysis, isn't a threat to catch the Cardinals. Under a more reasoned analysis, I don't see the team being any more viable threats than the Astros, Mets, Phillies, and Braves either.
   63. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: November 30, 2005 at 10:26 PM (#1753738)
The Cards aren't after Giles anymore. They gave up a couple weeks ago, reportedly, and definitely can't afford what the Jays are offering.

BTW, I know this too. Evidently, St. Louis is shocked that there is someone on the planet who isn't so taken aback at the idea of wearing a Cardinal uniform that he is eager to jump at a discount.

We'll see what happens with Giles, of course. I have a feeling that the Toronto rumors are just rumors, but who knows.
   64. Giantandre Posted: December 01, 2005 at 04:30 AM (#1754381)
Giles agreed to stay with San Diego according to ESPN.com 3 for 30 mil ...reportedly turning down 5 and 55 from Toronto (I'm still trying to figured if Richardi is giving Canadian Dollars LOL)
   65. Giantandre Posted: December 01, 2005 at 04:42 AM (#1754396)
The AP reported yesterday in a story about the quest for Furcal that the Cubs we're interested in a starting pitcher......Jarrod Washburn is out there ...He hasn't had a great season since 2002...Do you think he could be had on the cheap??? or is Wash going to be made a rich man by a GM who can't help himself.....
   66. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 01, 2005 at 03:49 PM (#1754804)
Why are we going after Washburn? We have too many starting pitchers as it is!
   67. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: December 01, 2005 at 05:15 PM (#1754946)
I don't think the Cubs are going after Washburn, and after Loazia's deal, he's not going to be cheap. The Cubs already have a version of him in Rusch.
   68. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:16 PM (#1755113)
From the Denver Post:

As the Rockies prepare trade winter-meeting trade proposals for Cubs reliever Todd Wellemeyer and Phillies outfielder Jason Michaels, among others,

I don't know what the Rox have to offer but, as he's out of options, any return for Wellemeyer would be welcome.
   69. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1755168)
Mike North interview with Dusty on the Score this morning is available as a downloadable mp.3.
   70. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:17 PM (#1755258)
Just listened to the Baker interview. He managed to talk around just about every topic, although he did feel that criticism in Chicago was much greater than he'd experienced elsewhere.

Did say that if Mabry was an opening day outfielder then the Cubs would have failed to meet their off-season goals. A crumb of comfort, I suppose.

While Neifi would play, he'd be a back-up if it were Furcal and Walker - which tells us nothing. And Dusty still sounds too taken with Corey's speed for my comfort level.
   71. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:18 PM (#1755262)
North: If you don't get Furcal, would you lead off with Corey Patterson again?

Dusty: That depends how he looks. He has the ability and skill, but not the knowledge. You have to lead off with the best guy you have. How much speed do we have? How many guys can steal a base? Sometimes it's a matter of supply and demand with who you have.

North: Do you think he gives all his effort?

Dusty: I think so. I've talked to his parents about it and they say he keeps all his pressure internally, so it looks externally that he's not making an effort.

North: I saw him drop an easy fly ball -- is he getting gun shy?

Dusty: Yeah, somewhat. Gene Clines, myself, and Gary Matthews have spent a number of hours trying to figure how to get the most out of him, but sometimes you're stuck with who you have. He is the fastest on the team -- Derrek Lee thinks he's the fastest in the league.

North: Should the Cubs quit touting their prospects to lower the expectations?

Dusty: It's hard not to. You didn't hear much about Murton because he came over from the Red Sox. Regarding touting, it's not only the Cubs -- all teams do it. It's hard not to do with BA and other publications out there.

North: Will you play the young players?

Dusty: I think that's an unfair rap because I haven't had any young players to play. When I was with the Giants, I only had 2 or 3 the whole time. One was Calvin Murray, who I played but he had a hard time hitting. Another was Pedro Feliz, who I was ready to play, but then we got David Bell. Another was Rich Aurelia, who I was ready to play but then we went out and got Shawon Dunston, Rey Sanchez, and Jose Vizcaino before he could get an opportunity.

North: Well, last year you marched Hollandsworth out there over Murton.

Dusty: Hollandsworth had a track record. We knew what we thought he could do based on the half a season he had the year before. We're not here for a tryout camp -- we're here to win ball games. We didn't know what Murton could do. I had only seen Murton a game or two in training camp.

As far as Cedeno, this guy was a guy I touted and liked the whole time, but what are you gonna do -- just bench Neifi Perez, who's doing an outstanding job? You got to have players who are ready to play at the MLB level, especially with the pressure there is to win.

In Spring Training, I play every guy there is coming over there, because I remember what it was like when I was coming up and only getting maybe 1 at bats behind Hank Aaron and Rico Carty and I went in for defense. I was in the big leagues at 19 and it would be hypocritical not to like young players.

North: As it stands now, would you be prepared to play Murton in LF, Patterson in CF, and Mabry in RF --with the hope of other names?

Dusty: That's not my every day lineup. We're working on some things, especially in the outfield, which was one of the lowest producing outfields in baseball. I can't mention names because that would be tampering.

North: You need to improve your fundamentals. Even guys like Konerko and Thome can bunt, but not Aramis.

Dusty: I try to stress fundamentals every year, but some guys come over from other teams who don't. A lot of these things should be known even before you get to MLB, but it's something that's going around. My teams in the past, especially before I got to Chicago, we're very strong and we didn't beat ourselves.

North: I've said that Dusty needs to show that he can win without a big time slugger. Unfair rap?

Dusty: Where would the White Sox be without Konerko's 40 HRs? People focus on things I can't do. Where would Phil Jackson be without Shaq and Kobe? I can only manage to the guys I have.
   72. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:25 PM (#1755281)
From Chicagosports.com:

The Cubs today traded right-handed minor league pitcher Jermaine Van Buren to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for a player to be named later.

Van Buren, 25, saw major league action for the first time in 2005, going 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in six games.
   73. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:27 PM (#1755289)
North: What about Kerry Wood? You can't depend on him. You don't have that luxury, like Ozzie Guillen does.

Dusty: Sometimes it's just luck with injuries. Ozzie only had that luxury last year, with Buehrle and Garland. At times, he had to worry about Contreras, he had to worry about El Duque.

I like to think I can depend on Kerry Wood. He's working his butt off so we can depend on him. The whole thing depends on health -- for everyone.
   74. AROM Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1755302)
Strange but true fact:

When he's been healthy enough to play the last 3 years, Milton Bradley has been the equal of Carlos Beltran.

Durability and not being an a-hole makes a 100 million dollar difference.
   75. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:33 PM (#1755303)
Dusty: I think that's an unfair rap because I haven't had any young players to play.

/spit take

Does he mean this? When I think of the parade of young players bouncing up and down from Iowa over the past couple of seasons...
   76. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:35 PM (#1755308)
North: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Dusty: I don't know -- I can't do that.

North: You've been accused of not handling a pitching staff.

Dusty: We've had to piecemeal what we've had the last 2 years. If Wood, Prior, and Remlinger had been healthy, if Borowski had been healthy, if Hawk had been better -- you handle things the way you handle it. I never heard these accusations until I got to Chicago.

North: You were never criticized when you were in San Francisco?

Dusty: Not to this extent. People are going to criticize you no matter what -- that's something you can't control.

North: You got to like your chances if Wood and Prior start 30 games.

Dusty: Yeah, and I like our chances more with Eyre and Howry.

North: How big a year is this for you with the last year of your deal?

Dusty: It's a huge year for me, for the Cubs, for Hendry, for the coaching staff, for everyone. In the past, the bigger the year, the better my teams do. This is why I wanted a 4th year -- I knew it could take 3-4 years.

Our guys will be hungry, in shape, and know what they have to do.
   77. 1k5v3L Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:36 PM (#1755314)
Is that interview for real? Man, Dusty would make a great lawyer.

The Cubbies lost Van Buren too? What a waste of a cheap young arm.
   78. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:36 PM (#1755318)
Does he mean this?

I choked on my coffee at that one.
   79. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:38 PM (#1755320)
North: As it stands now, would you be prepared to play Murton in LF, Patterson in CF, and Mabry in RF --with the hope of other names?

Dusty: That's not my every day lineup. We're working on some things, especially in the outfield, which was one of the lowest producing outfields in baseball. I can't mention names because that would be tampering.


Hm. This is interesting.

North: You were never criticized when you were in San Francisco?

Dusty: Not to this extent. People are going to criticize you no matter what -- that's something you can't control.


This is true. Giants fans (and the SF Media) liked Dusty quite a bit.
   80. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1755333)
I knew better than to start reading the transcript of this interview. Now I want to go out and find some children to punch just to make myself feel better. Nothing like listening to him play the "I don't understand why everyone doesn't just shut up and love me for my greatness" routine. He's in midseason form with some of this crap.

And I hate that they just gave up on Van Buren. He looked pretty good last year and had a nice season at Iowa, enough to merit inclusion in this year's bullpen. Of course, I guess when you're spending $15M+ to bring in a bunch of veterans the cost is that the young live arms you spend years nurturing in your system get squeezed out.
   81. Sweet Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1755335)
I'm suprised to hear that Van Buren's gone -- I think Hendry was justifiably proud of finding him, and I expect him to be better than Novoa this year and down the road. Well, let's hope that they get something of value in return for him. I suspect they will -- he's been lights out for two seasons now, culminating in his receipt of the MILB.com Minor League Reliever of the Year. Yeah, yeah, I know what that's worth, but still. I really hope he gets a shot in Boston and outperforms the Cubs' pricey bullpen recruits.

More generally -- and I said this after the Leicester trade too -- I think you're generally better served by using marginal players as sweeteners in larger deals than by trading them away piecemeal for "equal value."
   82. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:44 PM (#1755337)
The Cubbies lost Van Buren too?

Ueah. That one mystifies me. I wonder if it's a small first step toward a more substantial trade?
   83. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:47 PM (#1755342)
North: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Dusty: I don't know -- I can't do that.


And this in particular really bothers me. Either he feels he shouldn't have to answer this question, or he really has no idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are.

I think it's probably about 50/50. After more than a decade of managing, you'd think that he might have figured out that there are some things he does well and some things he does poorly - anyone watching the team for half a season could see that. But he strikes me as the kind of person who thinks that what others would call "weaknesses" are just strengths that he chooses not to use (or that he doesn't get the opportunity to use, like his strong preference for playing the young players that just happen never to be around). Someone should dig up that really long list of young Giants/Cubs that was posted last year in a Game Chatter. There were, IIRC, about 50-60 names of guys who came up under his watch. Nice that he can only remember 3 of them.
   84. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1755347)
More generally -- and I said this after the Leicester trade too -- I think you're generally better served by using marginal players as sweeteners in larger deals than by trading them away piecemeal for "equal value."

This is absolutely right. If the Cubs are serious about trading Todd Walker, then they should be using the Van Burens and Rich Hills of the world to entice a team into giving them a better player in return than they could have gotten by giving up just Walker. Flipping a young relief prospect for a PTBNL (who could well be just a different young relief prospect) is pointless unless you think you've really identified a diamond in the rough in another system. (And if that were true, would you trade for a PTBNL, or would you just trade for the guy that you want?)

This offseason has been one giant disappointment after another. It can only end with a Baker extension.
   85. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1755350)
I wonder if it's a small first step toward a more substantial trade?

The Cubs did need to clear a roster spot - they were at 41 this morning by my count.
   86. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:50 PM (#1755351)
I can't be bothered to listen to the interview again so soon, but there's also a quote to the effect that Dusty know's he'll win because he has 'faith'. I guess all the other managers are just a bunch of heathens, then.
   87. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:53 PM (#1755356)
North: Neifi wouldn't be a starter for most teams.

Dusty: He did a great job for us.

North: He did, but if you get Furcal, you have Walker -- would Neifi go between shortstop and second?

Dusty: Probably so.

North: What about Patterson, will you have a shorter leash on him retarding leading off, etc.?

Dusty: You can't hide a guy -- you can only put him in a situation where their game plan might fit that situation. The hardest guy to find in baseball is a leadoff man. You can find a slugger easier than a leadoff man.

North: You're accused of being overly protective -- even to the point of caring about your players more than winning.

Dusty: Nwa, come on now.

North: Have you been miserable this off-season?

Dusty: No, heck no. I wasn't happy in the beginning, but this is the off-season.

North: What about August and September?

Dusty: I was quite miserable. I hate losing. What's important is getting the maximum out of your players and that you win. People ask me about my contract, but my theory is that if you win, everything else will follow from that. Last year was the first losing season I've had since 1996, I think. I'm used to winning and I enjoy it.

North: Derrek Lee -- can he match last year?

Dusty: I don't know if he can match it, but once you find the formula for success, you usually don't lose it. I don't believe in career years. I think he'll have another monster year and a lot of years in succession.

North: Sorry to lose Burnitz?

Dusty: He was a good teammate and played an exceptional RF, as good as anybody I've seen, especially in one of the hardest parks.

North: Want him back?

Dusty: Depends if we can better ourselves. the door isn't closed.

North: Is he better than Mabry?

Dusty: Yes, but we didn't get Mabry for that. Mabry is not an everyday player. He's a spot player -- he's gonna play, but he hasn't played everyday in a long time.

North: If he's playing every day, is it fair to day you aren't getting what you want?

Dusty: Yes.

North: Lot of red tape at Wrigley?

Dusty: Things are about the same. I'd say less, but you're at the mercy of the market.

North: If Patterson played like Rowand, you'd be happy. I don't think there are any more .320, 5-tool player crap -- if Patterson hit .280, 13 HRs, caught everything, and drove in all the runs Rowand did -- would you be happy?

Dusty: Yeah.
   88. Sweet Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1755364)
Wonder if this is in anticipation of the fleetingly rumored Murton-and-stuff-for-Manny deal, with the Van Buren trade made now to get the 40-man down to 40. If the bigger deal doesn't work out, the Cubs get something in return. If it does, Van Buren is folded into it.
   89. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:57 PM (#1755367)
Catching up --

North: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Dusty: I don't know -- I can't do that.

--And this in particular really bothers me. Either he feels he shouldn't have to answer this question, or he really has no idea of what his strengths and weaknesses are.


This wasn't a George W. moment, when he thought he had no weaknesses. North just caught Dusty totally off-guard and asked him to talk about areas in which he needed to improve (his words -- "weaknesses" was my paraphrasing) and Dusty essentially cut him off and didn't want to get into a therapy session.
   90. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:59 PM (#1755372)
North: If Patterson played like Rowand, you'd be happy. I don't think there are any more .320, 5-tool player crap -- if Patterson hit .280, 13 HRs, caught everything, and drove in all the runs Rowand did -- would you be happy?

Dusty: Yeah.


Rowand didn't bat leadoff, either.

I think Patterson would be fine if they batted him in the lower part of the order. I think they were expecting a young Ken Griffey or something out of Patterson, and that's just not going to happen. If they lower their expectations on him, everyone will be a lot happier.
   91. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: December 01, 2005 at 07:59 PM (#1755375)
The interview sounds promising. He knows that Mabry is terrible, he knows that Neifi is not to be permanently fixed at SS. It's not wonderful, but certainly better than a lot of folks are making it sound "Mabry will get 5000 ABs in CF!!!!"
   92. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:01 PM (#1755378)
there's also a quote to the effect that Dusty know's he'll win because he has 'faith'.

I don't remember that, but it probably came when he was talking about how next season will be big for everyone -- players, coaches, management, fans alike, and that whenever he has a big year coming, his teams rise to the challenge.

I wonder what years Dusty didn't consider "big years." Could he let us know in advance?
   93. Sweet Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:03 PM (#1755383)
Call me crazy, but I actually was mildly heartened by the interview. Of course he's going to say the same old stuff about playing young players, etc. -- even if he said something different, I wouldn't believe his attitudes have changed. But I'm encouraged by his acknowledgement -- for now, at least -- that Mabry isn't an everyday player and that Neifi doesn't project as a starter. Let's bookmark this interview for April . . . .
   94. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:08 PM (#1755392)
I wonder what years Dusty didn't consider "big years."

I don't even know what he means by "big years." Can anyone elucidate?
   95. Neil M Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:11 PM (#1755397)
Let's bookmark this interview for April . . . .

I have filed the mp.3 for that purpose already.
And yes, it was mildly positive. One caveat, though - the answers about Neifi were based on Furcal arriving and Walker still being around. If a Walker trade does come off, I think Neifi starts at 2B. If Furcal doesn't sign....?
   96. Fred Garvin is dead and Joe Biden is alive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:13 PM (#1755400)
I knew I would get in trouble for trying to paraphrase. Dusty might have used the phrase "big year," but I don't recall for sure. The general tenor of the discussion was North commenting that there is more pressure on the Cubs after the White Sox won.
   97. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:13 PM (#1755401)
I'm encouraged by his acknowledgement -- for now, at least -- that Mabry isn't an everyday player and that Neifi doesn't project as a starter.

Dusty never said that Neifi wouldn't start. He just agreed that if the Cubs get Furcal and keep Walker, he would bounce between second and short. It could be that Neifi will get 500 PAs, just taking 250 from Furcal and 250 from Walker.

Either way, it doesn't look like Cedeno is going to get much playing time.
   98. Weeks T. Olive Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:14 PM (#1755404)
North: What about Patterson, will you have a shorter leash on him retarding leading off, etc.?

Yeah, that's one way of putting what Corey did to the leadoff spot last season.
   99. Sweet Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:20 PM (#1755414)
For what it's worth, ZIPS on RH relievers:

<FONT SIZE=2>-----------------------------------------------
 W   L   G  GS   IP    H   ER  HR  BB  SO   ERA
-----------------------------------------------
Howry:
 7   3  67   0   65   55   24   6  17  53  3.32
Williamson:
 2   2  42   0   42   32   18   4  23  50  3.86
Novoa:
 6   6  63   0   83   84   42  10  32  70  4.55
Van Buren:
 3   3  57   0   54   41   24   6  30  69  4.00
</FONT>
   100. Fear is Moses Taylor's Bacon Bits Posted: December 01, 2005 at 08:22 PM (#1755417)
The interview sounds promising. He knows that Mabry is terrible, he knows that Neifi is not to be permanently fixed at SS. It's not wonderful, but certainly better than a lot of folks are making it sound "Mabry will get 5000 ABs in CF!!!!"

That's what I've been saying this week in a couple of different places. I completely agree.

Call me crazy, but I actually was mildly heartened by the interview. Of course he's going to say the same old stuff about playing young players, etc. -- even if he said something different, I wouldn't believe his attitudes have changed. But I'm encouraged by his acknowledgement -- for now, at least -- that Mabry isn't an everyday player and that Neifi doesn't project as a starter.

You may be crazy, but I completely agree.
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