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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MLBTradeRumors: Cubs sign Scott Baker

The Cubs have agreed to terms with Scott Baker on a one-year contract, the team announced. The deal includes a $5.5MM base salary with $1.5MM in incentives, reports Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune and MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith (Twitter links). The right-hander is represented by Octagon, as our Agency Database shows.

Baker, 31, did not pitch at all in 2012 due to Tommy John surgery, prompting the Twins to decline his $9.25MM option after the season. The two sides had been discussing a new contract before the right-hander hooked on with the Cubbies. Chicago is reportedly looking to add pitching on short-term deals this winter, and this contract accomplishes that.

Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM | 84 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, free agency, theo epstein

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   1. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4301443)
The Cubs are on their way. . . .to 100 losses.
   2. DL from MN Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4301462)
I am glad the Twins weren't interested with a $5.5M base, especially on a 1 year deal. With that kind of guarantee they should get an option.
   3. Hack Wilson Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4301467)
Well Scott knows that if he pitches decently he will be traded to a contender at the trade deadline-good incentive for him.
   4. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4301478)
I forgot Scott Baker existed and so my mind immediately defaulted to Jeff Baker when I read the headline.
   5. WillYoung Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4301482)
I'll miss Light Rail Baker even if he was despised by most Twins fans (whose opinions are formed by Bert Blyleven). Wish they could have kept him, but that base is way too high.
   6. Brian C Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4301488)
So here's a serious question - does 1 year/$5.5 million seem "way too high" for anyone but Twins fans?
   7. DL from MN Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4301490)
He's coming off surgery, will be limited to 150 innings or less and is unlikely to be effective until June at the earliest. What would you pay for that?
   8. Brian C Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4301507)
He's coming off surgery, will be limited to 150 innings or less and is unlikely to be effective until June at the earliest. What would you pay for that?

It's hard to say (and are your speculations even true here?), but in this day and age it hardly seems unduly profligate to me. Even if he pitches 150 average innings I think $5.5 million sounds reasonable on the FA market ... I think the days of getting starting pitchers with a track record for much less than that are over.
   9. SteveM. Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4301508)
Two more starters to go. With no MLB ready pitching in Iowa, the Cubs needed to sign at least one more starter, a couple of NRI's, and some for the AAA rotation. Unless they plan to give the fans the Casey Coleman experience again.
   10. RJ in TO Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4301516)
Scott Baker is about the flyballiest pitcher in the majors. I'm not sure if Wrigley is a great fit for him.
   11. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4301570)
   12. DL from MN Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4301571)
Tommy John surgery isn't speculative. It happened last April. There's a 12 month recovery so he is unlikely to pitch much in spring training.
   13. Topher Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4301578)
$5.5M base salary seems high to me for just one season. I would have expected the contract to be much higher on incentives than base.

Understanding that a healthy Scott Baker doesn't sign a one year contract, but in a hypothetical does he get more than $12M if he was healthy? For a pitcher that is quite possibly damaged goods in terms of quality and/or innings, getting that much guaranteed seems like his agent did a nice job for him.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM (#4301589)
So here's a serious question - does 1 year/$5.5 million seem "way too high" for anyone but Twins fans?


Honestly, it seems like a huge bargain to me. $5.5M is practically Kevin Correia money.
   15. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4301599)
At first glance, it sounds good - but I'm not sure how well I (we?) can assess contracts to guys coming off injury. Seems like the $ offered conveys some info about how well rehab is coming along - info I need to evaluate the $ offered.
   16. DL from MN Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4301616)
It is entirely possible that Baker isn't really ready for prime time until after the July trade deadline. He's not a good pitcher to buy if you're looking to flip. As was mentioned in 10 he's also homer-prone when he's off.
   17. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4301618)
in a hypothetical does he get more than $12M if he was healthy?


I was thinking $12m is around the going rate for average free-agent starting pitching. A healthy Scott Baker historically is at least that, maybe a bit better (based entirely on his ERA+ numbers on BB-Ref). If you can expect 150 IP, that's maybe 3/4 of what you'd like to see in a healthy guy and I suppose you'd want to knock off a couple of million more for downside risk on quality. But even with all of that, I'm closer to Vlad - $5.5m for 1 year of a surgically-repaired average starting pitcher seems like a good deal to me.
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4301620)
It is entirely possible that Baker isn't really ready for prime time until after the July trade deadline. He's not a good pitcher to buy if you're looking to flip.

On the other hand, if the Cubs are still committed to losing lots of games for rebuilding purposes, he's a guy they could flip after he makes only two or three starts, instead of them being burdened with four whole months of a pitcher helping them win games they would rather be losing.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4301624)
Baker's K and K/BB are a lot better than I realized. (HR/9 not so much) You can find plenty of worse contracts but given the injury and given he wasn't exactly super-durable before that, this doesn't look like a bargain to me. Last year the Cubs got the equally good and totally health Maholm for 1/$5 with a $6 option. B-R lists Harang as his top comp and, healthy, he got 2/$12 last offseason. But then Bronson Arroyo got 2/$23.

I'm fine with it, he's this year's Maholm signing (the first of them at least) and will get flipped at the deadline if he's having a decent season.
   20. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4301641)
I'm closer to Vlad - $5.5m for 1 year of a surgically-repaired average starting pitcher seems like a good deal to me.

For a team that is going to lose between 90 to 110 games in the lone season they'll have him?
   21. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4301644)
I'm fine with it, he's this year's Maholm signing (the first of them at least) and will get flipped at the deadline if he's having a decent season.

For what? Even if somehow he is having a decent season what team is going to pay retail for a pitcher that isn't going to pitch much during the back half of the season? Any team that trades for him will be getting around 30 or so innings out of him.
   22. Greg K Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4301736)
I'll miss Light Rail Baker even if he was despised by most Twins fans (whose opinions are formed by Bert Blyleven). Wish they could have kept him, but that base is way too high.

Do Twin fans really not like him? I haven't followed closely, but I've always thought of him as the most reliable of the parade of generic white dudes they seem to pump out in that rotation.
   23. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4301762)
For a team that is going to lose between 90 to 110 games in the lone season they'll have him?


Well what's the alternative use of that $5.5m? The Cubs are obligated to show up and play 162 games and they're required to have somebody pitch those games. I'd rather see Baker start 15-20 games than Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman. I'm not aware of any worthwhile minor leaguers that he'll be blocking. And I don't know Tom Ricketts personally, so I really don't care if he has $5.5 million less to buy a vacation home or whatever he'd be inclined to do with it. What free agent is now suddenly out of the Cubs' reach because of the extra $5.5m hit to their 2013 budget?
   24. Kiko Sakata Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4301767)
Even if somehow he is having a decent season what team is going to pay retail for a pitcher that isn't going to pitch much during the back half of the season? Any team that trades for him will be getting around 30 or so innings out of him.


I was under the impression that his lack of innings will come at the front end of the season, because he's still rehabbing, rather than at the back end because of a Strasburg-style shutdown. I thought that the trade concern from the Cubs' perspective is that he won't be fully healthy early enough to build up significant trade value by the end of July.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM (#4301768)
For a team that is going to lose between 90 to 110 games in the lone season they'll have him?


Yea, the 2013 Cubs could be as bad as the 2012 Athletics or Orioles.
   26. DL from MN Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4301770)
I really like Scott Baker but I don't think the Twins are going anywhere with just him next year. They need to find 3 full-time starters and he only counts as 1/2. For this reason I'm not sure why the Cubs were this interested.
   27. zonk Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM (#4301776)
No price is too high for the sheer ecstasy of seeing someone besides Casey Coleman throw a pitch...

It's amazing how quickly and thoroughly Coleman worked his way onto my most hated Cubs team -- he might even be co-captain with Neifi...
   28. Tricky Dick Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4301796)
I like the idea of signing Scott Baker. He is a pretty good pitcher--when healthy (which is the problem). But this strikes me as a little high for a guy coming back from tendon repair and TJ surgery. Like someone else said, it would be better if the Cubs had gotten a team option for 2014; otherwise it's a fairly high base salary for maybe one half season of effective pitching (assuming it takes that long for him to get into something close to his normal form). The Cubs, like the Astros and other teams with poor chances of winning next year, will have to pay a premium to outbid other teams for free agents.
   29. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:11 PM (#4301798)

Well what's the alternative use of that $5.5m? The Cubs are obligated to show up and play 162 games and they're required to have somebody pitch those games. I'd rather see Baker start 15-20 games than Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman. I'm not aware of any worthwhile minor leaguers that he'll be blocking. And I don't know Tom Ricketts personally, so I really don't care if he has $5.5 million less to buy a vacation home or whatever he'd be inclined to do with it. What free agent is now suddenly out of the Cubs' reach because of the extra $5.5m hit to their 2013 budget?


Casey is under team control for 2014 as well whereas Baker is not. Baker does well he is gone or will have to be signed as a FA after the season.

I was under the impression that his lack of innings will come at the front end of the season, because he's still rehabbing, rather than at the back end because of a Strasburg-style shutdown. I thought that the trade concern from the Cubs' perspective is that he won't be fully healthy early enough to build up significant trade value by the end of July.


It'll be a bit of both. But even if he comes back and could pitch 50 or 60 or 70 innings for another team after getting traded what is that going to amount too? The Cubs will get back a warm body.

This is what it is. Roster filler with the only difference being that instead of signing 5 scrap heap guys Theo signed one injured pitcher for 5.5 million.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4301856)
Last year the Cubs got the equally good and totally health Maholm for 1/$5 with a $6 option. B-R lists Harang as his top comp and, healthy, he got 2/$12 last offseason.


Maholm was an enormous bargain (as I said at the time), and Harang (who grew up in SD and played college ball at SD State) reportedly gave the Padres a hometown discount.
   31. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4301857)
But even if he comes back and could pitch 50 or 60 or 70 innings for another team after getting traded what is that going to amount too? The Cubs will get back a warm body.


You could have said the same thing about Maholm last year. Actually, as I recall, you DID say pretty much the same thing about Maholm last year, and that turned out great for the Cubs.

Even if they don't end up trading him, there's something to be said for putting an entertaining and at least marginally competitive product on the field. Watching a team with 100+ loss talent all season can be a real ####### ordeal - take it from me, I know that of which I speak.
   32. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:05 PM (#4301947)
It seemed crazy high to me, but then I realized I thought he had retired. And then I realized I thought he was Brad Radke.
   33. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4301970)
You could have said the same thing about Maholm last year. Actually, as I recall, you DID say pretty much the same thing about Maholm last year, and that turned out great for the Cubs.

It did?

Even if they don't end up trading him, there's something to be said for putting an entertaining and at least marginally competitive product on the field. Watching a team with 100+ loss talent all season can be a real ####### ordeal - take it from me, I know that of which I speak.

The Cubs did the exact same thing last year and loss a ton of games. There was very little to be entertained about.
   34. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4301974)
So Paul Maholm, the great bargain, signed a 1 year plus option contract for just under 5 million dollars and he puts up a 105 ERA+ in 120 innings. That netted the Cubs a minor league reliever and a injured pitcher who hasn't pitched since 2011. If that is the baseline then what can the Cubs possibly hope to get by trading Baker in July? A retired reliever and a one armed pitcher?
   35. VoodooR Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:35 AM (#4302128)
So Paul Maholm, the great bargain, signed a 1 year plus option contract for just under 5 million dollars and he puts up a 105 ERA+ in 120 innings. That netted the Cubs a minor league reliever and a injured pitcher who hasn't pitched since 2011


Good lord, this is obtuse. No one is suggesting that Arodys Vizcaino is a sure thing; he's coming off Tommy John surgery and will have to reestablish his previous abilities following recovery and then continue to progress before you can pencil him in as a 4th starter type. But as far as lottery tickets go, he's a pretty promising one, worth every penny the team paid Malhom this year. Now the Malholm signing worked out very well for the Cubs (because he pitched so well for them in 2/3 of a season) and there is no guarantee that Baker will do the same, but it seems like the worst you can say about this deal is that the Cubs paid a million or two too much (I'm not saying that, but it sounds like others are). And quibbling over a million or two in the Cubs payroll is just picking nits.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:10 AM (#4302174)
For what? Even if somehow he is having a decent season what team is going to pay retail for a pitcher that isn't going to pitch much during the back half of the season? Any team that trades for him will be getting around 30 or so innings out of him.

Not very much but they've got nothing else to do with this $5.5 M and a little more minor league depth ain't gonna hurt anybody. I'd rather they had signed a real pitcher to a longer-term deal (Sanchez or at least Jackson) which of course they still might.

As they currently stand, the 2013 Cubs are substantially less talented than the 2012 Cubs which is scary. The primary reason for that is they had a pretty good rotation and traded half of it away while Garza got hurt. They need to rebuild a solid rotation just to get back to a 95-100 loss team.

C'mon McCoy, you led the Volstad-burning brigade ... and we don't even have him anymore do we? Scott Baker is an upgrade to the 2013 Cubs rotation, that's not really something you can argue against. Nothing more needs be said to justify a move for this little money.

It's amazing how quickly and thoroughly Coleman worked his way onto my most hated Cubs team -- he might even be co-captain with Neifi...

Really? Volstad's way ahead of Coleman in my regard. I don't hate Coleman, it's not his fault he's not a ML-quality pitcher and even the Cubs didn't think he was. Hating Casey Coleman is like hating the Libertarian presidential candidate -- a perfectly reasonable thing to do in the abstract but a real waste of time.

   37. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4302262)
So Paul Maholm, the great bargain, signed a 1 year plus option contract for just under 5 million dollars and he puts up a 105 ERA+ in 120 innings. That netted the Cubs a minor league reliever and a injured pitcher who hasn't pitched since 2011. If that is the baseline then what can the Cubs possibly hope to get by trading Baker in July? A retired reliever and a one armed pitcher?


That undersells Arodys Vizcaino by quite a bit... he was a legit top 50 prospect before TJ. Even if he hadn't gotten hurt and scuffled instead this year, I don't think you get Arodys Vizcaino for anything approaching Paul Maholm.... Sure, there's obviously a tremendous amount of risk in getting a pitcher that missed a whole season, even without resorting to TINSTAAPP - but it might well end up being a steal.

Going into 2011, Vizcaino was at least moderately in the same league as Julio Teheran so far as young RHPs go... Teheran had a better 2011 and put some distance between them, and then Vizcaino got hurt...

But - prior to the injury, I think Sickels had Arodys as a top 30/top 40 prospect and without checking, I'm fairly certain both BPro and BA had him top 50.

EDIT: Just to add... even coming off injury, is there any question that Arodys Vizcaino is the top pitching prospect in the Cubs system at this time? Concepcion struggled, so did McNutt... I can't think of anyone else even in hailing distance.
   38. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4302265)
It's amazing how quickly and thoroughly Coleman worked his way onto my most hated Cubs team -- he might even be co-captain with Neifi...

Really? Volstad's way ahead of Coleman in my regard. I don't hate Coleman, it's not his fault he's not a ML-quality pitcher and even the Cubs didn't think he was. Hating Casey Coleman is like hating the Libertarian presidential candidate -- a perfectly reasonable thing to do in the abstract but a real waste of time.


A big part of it is that I've had the extreme poor luck and displeasure of seeing Coleman pitch in person an inordinate number of times, but yes - Casey Coleman just might be the ace of my most hated Cubs team. Chris Volstad worked his way into content for the rotation by season's end, but I just can't shake the similarity I see between Volstad and Rick Reuschel (whom I like a lot)... they're both tall, pudgy, and have similar repertoires (though, of course, Volstad's is a shittier version of the heavy - but not lively or particularly fast - fastball).

   39. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4302286)
Just for fun...

My most hated Cubs of all-time...

C Michael Barrett
1B Erik Karros
2B Neifi Perez
SS Jeff Blauser
3B Todd Zeile
LF Jacque Jones
CF Juan Pierre
RF Milton Bradley

OF Todd Hollandsworth
OF Luis Gonzalez
C Todd Hundley
IF Chris Stynes
IF Lenny Harris
UT Tony Womack

SP Casey Coleman
SP Julian Tavarez
SP Ismael Valdez
SP Danny Jackson
SP Jose Guzman

SP/RP Ed Lynch
RP Felix Heredia
RP Kyle Farnsworth
RP LaTroy Hawkins
RP Rick Aguilera
CL Goose Gossage


Dusty, of course, can manage the thing... I suppose I need another lefty in the pen - but the bullpen is especially hard to put together... so many deserving names I had to leave out.
   40. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4302289)
That undersells Arodys Vizcaino by quite a bit... he was a legit top 50 prospect before TJ.


And the recovery rate from TJ these days is what? 95%?

But hey - better that the Cubs had sat on their hands and kept the money for Maholm's salary in their pockets.
   41. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4302292)
prior to the injury, I think Sickels had Arodys as a top 30/top 40 prospect


Sickels had him at #32.

I'm fairly certain both BPro and BA had him top 50.


He was BA's #40 heading into 2012. Not sure about BPro.
   42. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4302299)
BPro has Vizcaino as the Cubs' #4 prospect right now, as is.

In fact, 6 of the top 10 were acquired after Epstein took over. That seems like a really high number for a regime that's only been on the job one year and who have supposedly been spinning their wheels this whole time.
   43. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4302307)
My most hated Cubs of all-time...

I hardly hate any of those guys. Leaving Ryan Theriot off the list seems like a major upset to me.
   44. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4302313)
C'mon McCoy, you led the Volstad-burning brigade ... and we don't even have him anymore do we? Scott Baker is an upgrade to the 2013 Cubs rotation, that's not really something you can argue against. Nothing more needs be said to justify a move for this little money.

I'm not against the trade. I think it is a meaningless trade. I'm against the notion that this is somehow a good deal for the Cubs. As I said they are going to be terrible this year and Baker isn't going to change that nor is he going to provide the Cubs with anything for the future as well. This is deck chair shuffling.
   45. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4302319)
In fact, 6 of the top 10 were acquired after Epstein took over. That seems like a really high number for a regime that's only been on the job one year and who have supposedly been spinning their wheels this whole time.

Who is accusing the Cubs of spinning their wheels?
   46. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 14, 2012 at 11:58 AM (#4302321)
You're continually accusing the Cubs of wasting time and money signing free agents when they could be doing something else -- presumably that means you think they are unacceptably inactive in the field of team rebuilding and so forth.
   47. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4302344)
You're continually accusing the Cubs of wasting time and money signing free agents when they could be doing something else -- presumably that means you think they are unacceptably inactive in the field of team rebuilding and so forth.

I have yet to say that the Cubs wasted their time by signing Soler. I have yet to say the Cubs have wasted their time by trading for Rizzo. What I have said is that this whole notion of signing mediocre major league FA in the belief that they can be traded for value is largely overrated. I've also said this whole notion of getting "bargain" FA is stupid and silly. Who cares if Maholm is a deal at 5 million or Baker at 5.5? The Cubs are a large market team and they happen to suck as well. Signing some league average starter to a year or two year deal at a "bargain" is meaningless for the Cubs at this point.


I didn't think that the Cubs needed to go this route to rebuild so yes I was against the Cubs rebuilding in this manner. Unfortunately that ship has sailed.
   48. Spahn Insane Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4302347)
45. Who is accusing the Cubs of spinning their wheels?

You, way back in post 44, unless I'm misreading something.
   49. Nasty Nate Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4302353)

I hardly hate any of those guys. Leaving Ryan Theriot off the list seems like a major upset to me.


That's two-time world series champion Ryan Theriot to you, good sir.
   50. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4302401)
I hardly hate any of those guys. Leaving Ryan Theriot off the list seems like a major upset to me.



That's two-time world series champion Ryan Theriot to you, good sir.


I struggled with including The Riot... but I have to admit, despite his offensive over-ratedness and cluelessness on the basepaths, I liked him... I had no desire to keep him once he hit arbitration, but I liked him.

I suppose - beyond F Troop - an awful lot of that hatred is being unfairly heaped on guys who just imploded once they became Cubs... Blauser was a Cubs killer who was exposed as only being able to hit Cubs pitching once he no longer got to face Cub pitching. Jose Guzman gets grief for not being Greg Maddux... Todd Zeile was just awful... Jacque Jones, I just hated the signing... Karros, I still blame for ruining Hee Sop Choi (yeah, yeah...)... Barrett, Tavarez, and Bradley were just ##########...
   51. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4302402)
No jose macias? You have to have him otherwise you only have half of the piss poor combo from 2005
   52. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4302404)
No jose macias? You have to have him otherwise you only have half of the piss poor combo from 2005


THAT is definitely an oversight... I suppose I'd bump Luis Gonzalez for him (I include Luis because he was such a piss poor LF bat... until he left the Cubs, chemically enhanced, and became LUIS GONZALEZ! in Arizona).
   53. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4302411)
You know who's a dark horse for me? Joe Girardi. Few things bug me more than crappy players who are lauded for their indispensable clubhouse qualities while playing for crappy teams. I didn't hate him so much during his first tour with the Cubs, but I wasn't sad to see him go, either. Then they brought him back and I could hardly stand him.
   54. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4302428)
Just realized I also forgot Aaron Miles...
   55. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4302430)
You have to draw the line somewhere, though, or you'll be here all day listing crappy infielders.
   56. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4302444)
You have to draw the line somewhere, though, or you'll be here all day listing crappy infielders.


As much as I disliked Stynes, I think I'd bump him for Miles.
   57. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4302446)
Karros, I still blame for ruining Hee Sop Choi (yeah, yeah...)

Oh, *that's* why he's on there. I was wondering.
You have to draw the line somewhere, though, or you'll be here all day listing crappy infielders.

Having a most-hated Cubs team comprised entirely of crappy infielders and imploded relievers would be pretty appropriate, though, I think.

I'm not even going to touch this McCoy stuff, because, frankly, having this same argument over and over again in every Cubs thread ruined my commenting seriously in them for a while over the past season and I don't really want to go back there. Don't mind the signing, his K/9 and BB/9 numbers over the last couple of years were much better than I thought, and hopefully we can get something out of it. Liked Maholm last year, glad it came to something, hope this becomes something similar.
   58. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4302451)
The absence of Paul Noce from the discussion is disappointing.
   59. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4302484)
I think I noted a few times this last season that Coleman had reached the top of my Most Hated Cub list. I was genuinely surprised when someone listed the handful of quality starts he'd had as a starter because I legitimately felt like I'd never seen the guy last more than five innings without either giving up an assload of runs or racking up six walks.

Anyway, my most hated Cubs:

- Casey Coleman
- Jose Macias
- Neifi Perez (I blame Baker for this; I think Perez was a fine utility guy, but not a starter)
- Antonio Alfonseca (So shitty that Steve Stone had to joke that the fans had taken to calling him "Mooooose")
- Kevin Gregg ("Here, hit this slow straightball that's over the heart of the plate")
- Kyle Farnsworth
- Steve Trachsel ("Throw the god damn ball already!")
- Jose Hernandez
- Chad Fox
- Roberto Novoa (I'll never forget him balking in the go-ahead run late in a Cubs-Reds game I attended)
- Cesar Izturis ("Izturis" must have been Spanish for "ground-out")
   60. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4302491)
The absence of Paul Noce from the discussion is disappointing.

I think I disliked Mike Brumley more.

And now that you've got me started on the mid/late 80s, I think we have to find a place for Calvin Schiraldi.
   61. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4302494)
The absence of Paul Noce from the discussion is disappointing.


I liked Noce - but that's another little personal niche for me... way back when, my brother and I used to play 100 game seasons of the old C64 'Microleague baseball', Tigers minor league all-stars vs. Cubs minor league all-stars... Paul Noce had a fine 1986 (as a 26 yo at AA Pittsfield) and somehow became something of 'clutch god' for my Cubs minor league all-stars... hence - he gets a pass... So do Rolando Roomes, Wade Rowden, and a few other forgotten org filler from years gone by.
   62. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4302499)
And now that you've got me started on the mid/late 80s, I think we have to find a place for Calvin Schiraldi.


I considered Schiraldi... but I guess I always felt more sorry for him than hated him. Goose Gossage was my most hated late 80s Cub reliever... former Yankee and White Sox, was on the damned '84 Padres... then comes to the Cubs to promptly suck worse than any suck I've seen to end his career. I still get angry just thinking about him.
   63. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4302519)
You, way back in post 44, unless I'm misreading something.

So declaring one signing as meaningless means I'm saying the entire organization is doing absolutely nothing and is simply spinning their wheels? Gotcha.
   64. Brian C Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4302520)
I considered Schiraldi... but I guess I always felt more sorry for him than hated him.

I always felt the same way, strangely enough, about Milton Bradley. Was Bradley blameless in the fiasco that was his time with the Cubs? No, of course not. But still, he was given a three-year deal by a guy who clearly wanted no part in actually having Milton Bradley on the team. It was as if Hendry expected all of Bradley's baggage to disappear overnight, and then when it didn't, Hendry just threw his hands up in the air.

Milton was just being Milton, bottom line. That he would implode was on a short list of most predictable things to ever happen in the whole history of the universe, and if the Cubs didn't want to deal with that, they shouldn't have offered him a three-year deal in the first place.
   65. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4302523)
Speaking of Schiraldi/Goose --

It's weird how odd games stick with you... but this game was my Schiraldi/Gossage dichotomy... It was June and already looking like the Mets were going to run away with the division, but the Cubs were hanging around near .500.

Schiraldi throws an absolute gem - 9 innings of shutout ball. Berryhill homers in the top of the 10th to put them up 1-0, Gossage comes in to 'close the door' - promptly gives up a single, an SB, another single to tie it, and only escapes because Mazzili gets thrown out trying to steal.

I didn't see the end (HoJo won in 13 on an HR) because I went wild with rage, used an awful lot of language my parents weren't used to hearing from me regarding the sexual proclivities of the @!#@!#!@@$ Goose, and was told that would be enough baseball for me for the night.

Two days later, he blew another save against the hated Mets.

#### him and his stupid mustache.
   66. spycake Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4302539)
Goose Gossage was my most hated late 80s Cub reliever... former Yankee and White Sox, was on the damned '84 Padres... then comes to the Cubs to promptly suck worse than any suck I've seen to end his career.

End his career? Gossage pitched five more seasons after that.
   67. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4302542)
Goose Gossage was my most hated late 80s Cub reliever... former Yankee and White Sox, was on the damned '84 Padres... then comes to the Cubs to promptly suck worse than any suck I've seen to end his career.


End his career? Gossage pitched five more seasons after that.


He was dead to me, so those don't count.
   68. Sweet Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4302593)
Dusty, of course, can manage the thing... I suppose I need another lefty in the pen - but the bullpen is especially hard to put together... so many deserving names I had to leave out.

Shawn Estes says hello, although maybe this game disqualifies him.
   69. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4302628)
As I said they are going to be terrible this year and Baker isn't going to change that...


He's not going to be the difference between the team being terrible or not-terrible, but he's probably going to bring a couple extra wins with him compared to whoever would be pitching in his absence, and if you happen to have tickets to any of those games, that's not a trivial consideration.

What I have said is that this whole notion of signing mediocre major league FA in the belief that they can be traded for value is largely overrated.


That would be a much better argument if the Cubs had not just traded a pitcher comparable to Baker for significant value at the deadline last year. That really can't be stated often enough.

I've also said this whole notion of getting "bargain" FA is stupid and silly. Who cares if Maholm is a deal at 5 million or Baker at 5.5?


The better a deal the Cubs get on free agents, the more money they have left to spend in filling other holes. Money can be exchanged for goods and services. Therefore, it's in the team's best interest to get a good deal on signings, whenever possible.
   70. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4302715)
Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

This still cracks me up whenever I read it. What's the origin of using this as a patronizing statement?
   71. zonk Posted: November 14, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4302763)

This still cracks me up whenever I read it. What's the origin of using this as a patronizing statement?


Simpsons, what else?

Homer: Twenty dollars? I wanted a peanut!

Homer’s brain : Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!

Homer : Explain how.

Homer’s brain : Money can be exchanged for goods and services.

Homer: Woohoo!

   72. McCoy Posted: November 14, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4302965)
That would be a much better argument if the Cubs had not just traded a pitcher comparable to Baker for significant value at the deadline last year. That really can't be stated often enough.

Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

The better a deal the Cubs get on free agents, the more money they have left to spend in filling other holes. Money can be exchanged for goods and services. Therefore, it's in the team's best interest to get a good deal on signings, whenever possible.

No, not whenever possible. Signing Baker to a good deal today doesn't mean they can sign a FA next year. The deal can only help the Cubs this year and since they aren't going to buy any real FA of value it is meaningless that they got a "deal" on Baker. Secondly they didn't get a "deal" on Baker. Baker came cheap because he is a significant risk to fail. If this team was on the cusp of competing Baker's signing would either be a luxury, insurance, or require the Cubs to commit further resources to protect against the risk that Baker fails.
   73. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4303255)
The deal can only help the Cubs this year and since they aren't going to buy any real FA of value it is meaningless that they got a "deal" on Baker.


Ignoring for a moment the fact that Baker himself is a "FA of value", how do you know that they aren't going to do this? There's a lot of offseason left.

Secondly they didn't get a "deal" on Baker. Baker came cheap because he is a significant risk to fail.


Both are true. He came cheap because he's a significant risk to fail, but even after you consider that fact, they still got an excellent deal.
   74. zonk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4303330)
I'm increasingly warming to Walt's interest in Anibal Sanchez... even if it takes more years and more than I'd like at this point.

Just gaming out rotation possibilities for the next few years, there just isn't much there and not much on the way. I'm a much bigger fan of taking the 'best available player' in the draft, but I just don't see how the Cubs can't spend most of next year's draft on pitching.

Even with Jackson's frightening K numbers - I still think he's got a future (posting a .303 OBP and .342 SLG -- even though you hit .175 and strike out 59 times in 120 ABs has to mean something). Castro did regress a bit - but he's still a plus. Rizzo had a fine season.

In short, I feel decently OK about the future of the lineup. Not done, not set for the foreseeable future, but there are some good young pieces, two of which are already major-league-level pluses, with a chance to be better (don't forget - both Rizzo and Castro are just 22... and Jackson is 23).

However, the rotation and the future of the rotation is just a wasteland... the Cubs are going to have to simply patch the staff until they can build a critical farm mass of arms.

I'm not sure the Cubs have ever been as bereft of farm pitching as they are now... even during some of the previous dark periods in my memory, the system was still pumping out the occasional live relief arm. Beyond Vizcaino and McNutt -- is there anything we'll ever see of value? Jeff Belliveau?
   75. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: November 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4303348)
The cheers for Theo around here sound like the screams for Cheap Trick on Live at Budokan.
   76. zonk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4303360)
The cheers for Theo around here sound like the screams for Cheap Trick on Live at Budokan.


I object to this comparison as an implied bad thing, on multiple fronts...

1) Cheap Trick rules, and Budokan is one of the top 10 live albums ever made

2) The Cubs were a creaky, aging team coming off of consecutive sub .500/5th place in a 6 team division when Theo came in -- with an aging core, it's a perfectly reasonable expectation that the bottom had not yet been reached

3) Far from irrational cheering, I'm simply happy that the Cubs are doing something that I've never really seen them do in my lifetime -- undertake an honest, true, and thorough rebuilding, rather than half measures or abandoned rebuilding plans... Yes, the Cubs have had multiple instances where various GMs, Scouting Directors, and VP of bb ops have succeeded in building successful pipelines -- but when those instances have happened, they've been far, far too quick to think "Problem solved! We've arrived -- now, let's trade off the pipeline for more pieces".
   77. Brian C Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4303465)
Beyond Vizcaino and McNutt -- is there anything we'll ever see of value?

Is McNutt "of value"? How many years will he get in Tennessee to figure things out?
   78. zonk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4303478)
Is McNutt "of value"? How many years will he get in Tennessee to figure things out?


I don't disagree... I was trying to be charitable... I suppose I could have used Concepcion as a Vizcaino pairing, but he was just so gawdawful that McNutt seemed like a better option... sad as that is.
   79. Brian C Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4303504)
I think you'd be better off using Hendricks or even Struck than McNutt or the pitiful Concepcion.
   80. zonk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4303584)

I think you'd be better off using Hendricks or even Struck than McNutt or the pitiful Concepcion.


I forgot about Struck - yeah, I think he's a darkhorse, but I like him a fair bit to surprise... Kyle Hendricks, I like fairly well, too -- but he's a 22 yo in A ball, so as nice as his numbers are (and I liked him as a part of the trade, but I like Villanueva a lot more), I want to see him in AA this year before I get too excited.

But I'd agree - Nick Struck is probably the best guy to name as an "Arodys and..." all-we-really-have list...
   81. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM (#4303603)
MDRSportsManagement ?@MDRSportsMgmt
We are pleased to announce today that Dioner Navarro is the newest member of the Chicago Cubs! Congratulations! @Cubs
   82. zonk Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4303661)
I have a weakness for switch-hitting catchers - even Koyie Hill couldn't break me of that affinity - but I have a hard time seeing how Navarro is anything other than organizational depth....

Seems to me, with Castillo the RHB and Clevenger as the LHB, the Cubs catching corp is pretty much set for next season, even if it's not a straight-up platoon... I see Wellington -- can nickname him Duke? Is that a thing yet? Can it be? -- as the better prospect to be a long-term answer, but catcher isn't a position that concerns me.

I suppose this may be a good thing for Iowa's PCL title hopes...
   83. McCoy Posted: November 15, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4303819)
Ignoring for a moment the fact that Baker himself is a "FA of value", how do you know that they aren't going to do this? There's a lot of offseason left.

Well, Baker is not a free agent of value and Theo has already stated that they aren't going to go out and do much in the FA market. Basically they are going to be doing stuff like signing Baker to a one year contract.

Both are true. He came cheap because he's a significant risk to fail, but even after you consider that fact, they still got an excellent deal.


If his arm falls off tomorrow is it still a good deal? They signed a pitcher for X amount of dollars, what that pitcher can be reasonably expected to do is largely unknown at this point. We can't say whether they got a deal or not because we don't know what kind of shape he is in nor do we know what the FA market is going to look like yet. Hendry was famous for rushing in and signing his players to contracts and that having the FA market go much further south than where he was at. Finally, even if it is a deal it is still a meaningless deal. Saving 4 million dollars by signing Baker to get you 20 odd starts in 2013 doesn't do anything.
   84. McCoy Posted: November 15, 2012 at 08:51 PM (#4303822)
Seems to me, with Castillo the RHB and Clevenger as the LHB, the Cubs catching corp is pretty much set for next season, even if it's not a straight-up platoon... I see Wellington -- can nickname him Duke? Is that a thing yet? Can it be?

Go with Beef, it fits better.

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