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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Friday, April 02, 2004

Chicago Cubs

Signed IF Damian Jackson and P Glendon Rusch to minor-league contracts.

Jackson will be hard-pressed to make the roster.  They just have better infield options.

I’m about the last fan of Rusch left, but I do feel the Cubs might be better off sticking Mitre in the 5th spot temporarily than Rusch.

Both Jackson and Rusch should be in the minors in this organization.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 02, 2004 at 03:28 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Voros McCracken Posted: July 07, 2001 at 02:24 AM (#551513)
I'm afraid DeShields might wind up being White's replacement in Leftfield.

Now granted that Roosevelt Brown is making another strong charge for the Ken Phelps all-star team and this would appear to be a good way to get him some at bats, that simply isn't going to happen.
   2. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 11, 2001 at 11:18 PM (#551529)
For many weeks now, Giants' fans have been hoping that Brian Sabean could trade for a bat. But, alas, unlike the Cubs, the Giants really have very little minor league talent, so making a trade for McGriff was perhaps not possible.

As far as the Braves go, I don't think that their cupboard is as bare as San Francisco's is. However, Atlanta in 2001 is not a talent-rich organization like it was just a few years ago. Looking at the Braves' AA and AAA teams, they have nothing that Tampa Bay could have wanted for Fred McGriff.

And hence, the Chicago Cubs' very deep minor league talent pool paid off in making this trade. It's the kind of deal the Yankees could have made a year or two ago, back when they had some talent in their system.
   3. Darren Posted: July 23, 2001 at 03:21 PM (#551548)
These Reds moves mean Adam Dunn will be getting some major league at bats. Do you have MLEs for him?

How do you calculate them? Is there an easily available formula somewhere?
   4. Ron Johnson Posted: July 24, 2001 at 04:58 PM (#551550)
Bill James' initial MLE formula is in the public domain, but
   5. jwb Posted: July 29, 2001 at 02:33 AM (#551595)
In Chicago, it was reported that the player to be named later is SS Jason Smith, .233/.270/.425 at AAA Iowa, turned 24 on 7/24. Strikes out in 1/3 of his ABs. OBA is a little off, I don't have Sac or HBP data, but you get the point: Bad. He was DLed after the trade was initially announced. He's the guy if he gets activated any time soon.

And he fans like a Deer and hits like a Mendoza with a little more pop. Must be a heckuva glove man. Appears to have some speed with 6 3B and 8 2B. The D-Rays may be out of business before he's ready to help them, if he's ever ready. . .

   6. Jay Jaffe Posted: July 30, 2001 at 05:12 AM (#551599)
Regarding Smith's prowess with the glove: the 2001 Baseball Prospectus rates his fielding at -18 runs. That's right, negative. And it's a trend--he's been in double digit negatives each of the last three years. I don't pretend to understand all the nuances of the Prospectus' analysis, but that rating puts him in the Derek Jeter territory of Fielding Suckitude.

I'll bet Chuck LaMar thought he looked great on the highlight reels.
   7. Greg Franklin Posted: July 30, 2001 at 06:19 AM (#551600)
- Not only can't Chuck Lamar evaluate talent, he can't organize a garage sale correctly. At a real garage sale, I have to pay $2 for a used volleyball or $5 for a card table. At Lamar's garage sale, I'd walk up the driveway, load everything into my truck, and drive away without paying.

- Kudos to Andy MacPhail for sticking with his plan. Coomer is now moved off 1B, Stairs can go to filling in at 1B/OF. Now, will Fred outperform Big Mac over the final 2 months? (currently it's McGriff's 287/381/513 vs. McGwire's 198/324/503)
   8. Geoff Young Posted: September 06, 2001 at 06:38 PM (#551741)
Meyers is an interesting spare part and exactly the kind of bit player the A's seem to know how to use. As for Curtis, I don't know about his minor-league history, but in the bigs he played only three games at 2B, all in 1993.
   9. Buddha Posted: January 15, 2002 at 09:56 PM (#552670)
One more reason for Baylor not to play Patterson. Lewis can probably bunt well so Baylor can bat him second. Nothing like a hitter who can give up an out.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2002 at 04:22 PM (#552673)
Lewis in the limited role of defensive replacement, pinch-runner for really slow guys, occasional start against tough leftie is fine. The problem is that if Patterson isn't ready (and I see no reason to think he is), the Cubs have no option. Ideally I'd have liked to see them sign a guy who could smack lefties pretty well to platoon with Patterson, and who wouldn't be a waste of a lineup spot if forced into full time duty when Patterson goes back to AAA. Yeah, I know, there aren't dozens of those guys out there.

I think most of the problems mentioned earlier (Buford et al) are Baylor/Lynch mistakes more than McPhail mistakes. And a lot of the problem there was over-usage. For 98-00, Buford posted an 867 OPS vs. lefties. The problem was starting him against righties (650 OPS).

And while I'm not doing cartwheels, I've got no problem with DeShields as the 2B until Hill is ready. And if used properly, Stynes is a very useful player. He hits lefties pretty well (OPS around 840 over the last 4 years, though that's only 300 AB) so makes a nice platoon mate for either DeShields at 2B or Mueller at 3B, though neither of those guys has an extreme platoon split. Also, if Alou gets hurt, a platoon of Stynes & Rosie Brown would make a decent replacement.

And if it turns out that Hill and Patterson are ready, then the Cubs have a pretty good bench (DeShields, Brown, Styne, Bellhorn, Lewis).
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2002 at 06:13 PM (#552675)
Joel I agree that Baylor will probably overuse a lot of these guys. And I also agree that using DeShields in left last year was stupid -- I'd really like to know if it was MacPhail or Baylor who refused to play Brown. I wish they'd dump Baylor.

I'm certainly not wowed by MacPhail and so far he seems to be continuing the Cubs tradition of signing mediocre veterans in order to appear to be a contending club. But they also seem pretty well set up to let the kids start taking over next year and they keep saying the right things like "Bobby Hill is our 2B of the future" (even Baylor said it). Hopefully in 2003 we'll be looking at Hill, Patterson, Choi, and maybe one of the ss/3b prospects won't be more than a year away. And, knock on kerry wood, some healthy young arms. And hopefully poor Rosie Brown will finally get a chance with another team.

I've been following the Cubs for 30 years, and I don't think there's ever been a time when they had this kind of talent on the way.
   12. Mike Emeigh Posted: January 17, 2002 at 02:04 AM (#552677)
Dan Contilli:

The Cubs will get cash back for Zuleta if he goes to Japan; there are no trades between US and JL teams.

Walt Davis:

Bobby Hill was the second-best player I saw last year, behind Adam Dunn (I was out of town when Birmingham passed through here, so I missed Borchard). Hill covers the field very well - I think he'll be an outstanding defender - shows good strike zone judgment, almost never takes a bad swing, and I think he'll develop some pop, although he hasn't done it yet. I think you'll see him in Wrigley before the end of 2002.

-- MWE
   13. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 17, 2002 at 04:12 PM (#552816)
Poor Alan Benes. He works so hard to come back, and then signs onto the organization that has tried hard to systematically destroy Kerry Wood's arm and career through overwork.
   14. Big Ed Posted: January 18, 2002 at 06:51 PM (#552818)
How exactly did T-Bone ruin Ankiel's psyche?
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 18, 2002 at 08:43 PM (#552819)
I can't personally attach much blame to LaRussa (if any) to Ankiel's problems. Unlike Morris and Benes, I don't think LaRussa could have handled Ankiel any better, both watching the pitch counts (LaRussa didn't have to listen to Boras) and keeping Ankiel in when he was cruising.
   16. J. Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: January 31, 2002 at 03:35 PM (#553661)
Exactly. If I were a GM, I probably would sign every old player who can still walk to a minor-league invite...
   17. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2002 at 04:49 PM (#553663)
oh please, they didn't trade van Poppel for Mahomes. They didn't feel like Van Poppel was worth 3 years $7.5 million, and they're probably right. Bye-bye TvP, and good luck. Mahomes isn't even on the 40-man roster, it's a standard-issue minor-league invite, has nothing to do with replacing van Poppel.
   18. Stevens Posted: January 31, 2002 at 04:56 PM (#553664)
Ah, the Cubs bullpen. Here's who I'd like to see:

   19. Mike Posted: February 06, 2002 at 12:03 AM (#554104)
Dan -- Any truth to the rumor that they are looking to pick up Jose Lima for the same inside information on the Stros? :-)
   20. VegasRobb Posted: February 06, 2002 at 02:18 PM (#554111)
Wasn't Baylor the person given credit for helping Andres Galarraga straighten out his swing? I seem to remember Baylor as hitting coach for the Cardinals when Galarraga played there. Then Baylor got the Colorado job and brough Galarraga along with him. Galarraga blew up and gave Baylor credit for helping and having faith in him.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2002 at 07:00 PM (#554115)
Dan, what's this thing you've got for van Poppel? He had a real nice season which happens pretty often for middle relievers. Do you really think the Cubs should have gone for 3 years, $7.5 million for a 30-year old reliever? When you've already got Tavares and Duncan around, plus Chiasson in the wings? I'd rather have TvP for next year than any of those guys except maybe Chiasson, but it's not a big difference.

Amusingly, TvP's top 2 sim scores through age 29....David Weathers and Pat Mahomes. :-) At #1 on the overall sim scores, the execrable Brian Williams. Other similars are guys like Frank Rodriguez, Jason Grimsley, Scott Sanders, LaTroy Hawkins, John Wasdin, Jim Bullinger. Where's George Frazier?

Chances are the Cubs are missing out on very little by letting him go. He gave us a good year and a decent year, now somebody else is picking up the bill for that. With the Cubs, it's usually the other way around.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2002 at 10:59 PM (#554117)
nit: Farnsworth led Cub relievers in IP (82), TvP was #2 (75). And Farnsworth had the better season overall (higher K rate, lower BB, HR, and hit rates). Not that I think anyone was claiming otherwise, just making sure we all know TvP wasn't the best reliever on the Cubs last year (although BP basically rates them as equal).
   23. Stevens Posted: February 06, 2002 at 11:23 PM (#554119)
I've heard lots of Cub fan speculation about losing TvP, Wood and other pitchers to the Rangers because of Acost. And to be honest, I think it's a little silly. Nix. I think it's a lot silly.

What major league pitcher would tie their career to a pitching coach? What pitching coach has had a long, significant tenure in the position outside Ol' Rockin' Chair in Atlanta? What agent would allow it?

VanPoppel signed for 7+ MM over 3 years. Not for Acosta. If they Cubs treat Kerry right, he'll sign in Chicago for the long haul.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2002 at 11:51 PM (#554121)
The Cubs have lots of folks to replace TvP -- Tavares, Duncan, Chiasson, their minor league arms, their minor-league contract gambles plus whatever else washes up on the shores of the waiver wire. Granted, they're unlikely to post 2.52 ERA's, but so is TvP. Losing the #4 guy in the bullpen is just not worth worrying about, especially at that price.

I'm not sure TvP was miscast. He's always had trouble with lefties (over 850 OPS for the last 4 years). And hardly dominant against righties until last year. Of course, we could say the same thing about Farnsworth, but at least he's only 26. And we could say the same thing about almost any reliever it seems.

I'm not sure why you have faith in TvP's continued good performance -- middle relievers having one or two good seasons then going back to average or worse is a very common phenomenon. Just look at that list of sim scores for TvP -- Brian Williams posted an ERA+ of 146 at 28, average at 30, then done the next year; LaTroy Hawkins was 155 at 27, then 76 last year; Weathers & Grimsley appear to be the only ones to post above average seasons after 30 and Weathers the only one to consistently pitch average or better. Not that sim scores are destiny or ERA+ is the perfect measure of pitching, but one real good and one better than average year out of a reliever is nothing to get worked up about.

It's possible that TvP will be a long-term success, but I see no reason to gamble $7 million on it.

Now I am worried about the Cubs losing Acosta -- not cuz I expect him to steal our pitchers but because he seemed to be a good pitching coach. I don't know what it was, but he seemed to increase the K rate of every pitcher on the staff. Kevin Tapani was a 37 year old pitcher with a career K rate of 5.7 per 9, and last year he K'd 8 per 9 -- that's gotta be some kinda record. Fassero's rate had been declining for 4 years (to the 6's) then he K'd 79 in 73 IP. He also seemed to keep Baylor's penchant for pitcher abuse under control. Texas can have TvP, but I'd like Acosta back.

Fire Baylor now, before it's too late.
   25. Stevens Posted: February 07, 2002 at 12:06 AM (#554122)

I really don't fear players leaving to join Acosta. What could turn the Cubs players against the team, I think, is Mr. Baylor. I can think of Dan Miceli off hand as a player who crossed swords with a manager to dire consequences for both.

There I could see the Jackson corollary, only in reverse: "I will play for anyone else but Don Baylor."

I join Walt's cry to get rid of the man and hire someone else. Maybe Showalter? Maybe Rothschild? Hell...maybe Acosta.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: February 07, 2002 at 12:09 AM (#554123)
by the way, playing around a bit with DIPS and the Cubs, there may be trouble ahead (if my math is right). The team $H was 287, but Lieber, Bere, and Wood were all down around 265. I sense tougher times ahead for Cubs starters. Meanwhile, Tapani looked headed for a good rebound, with a $H of 312 ... though expecting 38 year old pitchers to rebound is quite silly. Tavares was a bit over as well at 297. I know DIPS may not be as accurate for relievers, but TvP was spot on at 287, which maybe is encouraging for his continued success since his ERA wasn't "luck". Farnsworth was a bit over, and Duncan was way over (320 or thereabouts). If Duncan can lower his atrocious walk rate, he'll be a decent to good reliever (his K rate and HR rate were a smidgen better than TvP's).
   27. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 05, 2002 at 11:05 PM (#555784)
I was assuming that in Alou's abscent Roosevelt Brown would play everyday unil Alou was again healthy enough to get hurt again. Strangely, Darren Lewis is starting today. Free Rosie Brown!

   28. Voros McCracken Posted: April 06, 2002 at 12:27 AM (#555785)

Baylor is playing righty/lefty with the two, and on just trying to win games it's a defensiblce choice with Lewis' glove making up for any hitting advantage Brown might still have despite the platoon situation.

But I agree it's a bad move from an all around baseball standpoint in that I think even if I wasn't interested in keeping him, I'd want to get Brown as many ABs as humanly possible while Alou is out, that way if I want to move him his trade value is probably up a notch. Especially considering that even if Lewis is a better LF option than Brown against a lefty, it still won't be by much.
   29. Voros McCracken Posted: April 06, 2002 at 06:23 PM (#555788)

Brown coming into the season was hitting .286/.323/.487 in 238 At Bats in the majors.

Is that what we're now reduced to in explaining away AAAA players. If they hit in the minors it's "they can't hit major league pitching" and if they hit in the minors and majors (like Brown and Lyle Mouton and D.T. Cromer) it's that "sure, they hit okay but they looked bad doing it."

It's ridiculous. Brown isn't about his M***** F******* "Stathead Reputation." He hits the M***** F****** baseball wherever the hell he goes, and the statheads are the only ones who appear to want to give him credit for it. Jesus christ people, when people clamor for a guy whose destroyed minor league pitching and hit major league pitching well when given his small opportunity, does it really have to be that they are nothing but misguided statheads? C'mon!

The next poster that rails against stathead bias while simultaneously showing enormous bias himself...
   30. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: April 06, 2002 at 07:17 PM (#555789)
No, Dan, don't you see, Brown may have slugged .476 in the majors and .602 at AAA but he doesn't have a good "idea" yet. In the end, we all know that being a successful major leaguer is all about the ideology.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: April 07, 2002 at 09:30 PM (#555792)
And you think Mario Encarnacion can hit better than 323/487? Would it be his 341/473 career AAA #'s that make you think that? Or his 3/1 K/BB ratio?

That is an 810 OPS by the way. ESPN's sortable stats are down at the moment, but I'd guess that would have ranked in the top half of LF's last year. Nobody's suggesting Brown will be a star (unless he learns plate discipline) but he's shown himself more than ready for the majors and in need of playing time.

And just what Rosie needs, more competition. He should have replaced White last year, instead the Cubs brough in DeShields, Tucker et al. He was told he was competing for the CF job, then after he'd done enough to win it, they decided to go with Patterson (not necessarily a bad decision, but no need to jerk Rosie around). Now Alou goes down and he's the obvious quality replacment, but instead it's just another chance to give Rosie some competition.
   32. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 08, 2002 at 04:58 PM (#555794)

I really believe that given a chance Rosie will bash major league pitching. I understand the desire to platoon Lewis, but Brown has hit lefties in the minors.

When Alou returns, Encarnacion could fit into a very nice bench. If he is out of options (as I think he is) this could create problems when Alou/Mueller make it back. Given that the Cubs are carrying three catchers, I would hope that Machado gets the heave-ho. But Don loves lots of catchers (even with Mitch Melusky's impressive spring, and options).

   33. Walt Davis Posted: April 08, 2002 at 07:16 PM (#555795)
I think you mean Adam Melhuse (sp?) though I'd love the Cubs to pick up Meluskey.
   34. Bunny Vincennes Posted: April 08, 2002 at 07:44 PM (#555796)

Yes, you are correct. I shouldn't be typing while eating hot dogs, replying on BaseballPrimer and looking over my fantasy roster.

   35. Justin Binek Posted: April 15, 2002 at 01:43 PM (#555890)
Billy Ashley story -

For my best friend's bachelor party, I took him to Minneapolis for a few days where we caught some Twins games and talked baseball incessantly. On the way back to central North Dakota, we stopped in Fargo to catch a Northern League game featuring the Fargo-Morehead RedHawks. The date was June 13, 2000. The day had already begun marvelously due to our realization that Ron Kittle was the manager of the visiting Schaumburg Flyers and that Greg Hibbard was their pitching coach. Earlier in the day, we had been discussing random favorite ballplayers from the past (both Kittle and Hibbard came up in the discussion) and Billy Ashley had been a subject of conversation. I then saw the press release info that was inserted into the program and said "Joel, you'l never believe who the RedHawks signed this week." His response: "What, someone like Billy Ashley?"

'Twas true. Not only did we get to see Billy Ashley's Northern League debut, we saw him hit a walkoff home run. It was a monumentous occasion for both of us, and until today, it was the last time I saw mention of Billy Ashley anywhere. Roy, thanks for bringing up his name into the discussion.

P.S.: Anyone have any other Ashley memories to share (or Greg Hibbard and Ron Kittle, for that matter)?
   36. Shredder Posted: April 16, 2002 at 03:10 PM (#555897)
What the heck is up with the Joliet Jacks? They should have called that team the Joliet Jailbirds. It would have been a perfect fit. They could have called the new stadium The Yard. Some people just have no civic pride.
   37. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: April 18, 2002 at 02:38 PM (#555905)
Hey Nokes, you should have hired Rick Wilkins to catch for you while you were still playing for the Tigers.

All Billy Ashley humor aside, the guy was actually a really good pinch hitter for the Dodgers for one year, 1996 it must have been.
   38. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 09, 2002 at 07:11 PM (#556456)
Give the man some credit; Osborne didn't hurt himself even once in 2000 or 2001.

What's that you say? Retired?
   39. . . . . . . Posted: May 09, 2002 at 10:37 PM (#556458)
Give Donovan Osborne some credit; the man clearly loves to play the game. Most players never develop his kind of injury history because they retire. Only a man who loves playing whould go through his ordeal...I'll bet there's nothing he'd want more than to have an injury free year.
   40. . . . . . . Posted: May 09, 2002 at 10:37 PM (#556459)
Give Donovan Osborne some credit; the man clearly loves to play the game. Most players never develop his kind of injury history because they retire. Only a man who loves playing whould go through his ordeal...I'll bet there's nothing he'd want more than to have an injury free year.
   41. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 10, 2002 at 12:27 PM (#556463)
Anybody remember Don Robinson? He has to be the all-time surgery champ.
   42. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 10, 2002 at 05:44 PM (#556464)
"Ron Mahay is a more effective lefty at this stage."

Well, that's obvious now. Mahay looked awful in Spring Training, and last year's 2.61 ERA came with 15 BBs in 20+ IP. The Cubs didn't have much to work with lefty-wise, and Osbourne was not a bad risk to take. Despite Mahay having looked pretty good so far, I think the Cubs will continue to have lefty problems, unless Fassero refries the magic beans he had last year.
   43. Lujack Posted: June 05, 2002 at 05:34 PM (#556956)
Anybody know the cause of Farnsworth's injury? I've heard rumors of him field goal kicking baseballs prior to a game and fracturing his foot. (Seriously)
   44. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2002 at 07:55 PM (#556958)
Well, I watched that game. And he was warming up and looked OK. Then the camera happened to be on him when he came down kinda funny, like something popped in his foot. So that's the way it happened. Whether it happened because of damage suffered earlier is unknown.

Courtney Duncan should have been on the opening day roster and probably should be on the current roster but whether he's up or down doesn't really matter.
   45. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 11, 2002 at 12:13 AM (#557038)
As a Cub fan, the biggest part of the deal to me is that the Cubs finally got rid of their 3rd catcher. Not that Machado was *that* bad, but it's been painful listening to the team/media justify keeping 3 catchers because of the fear of losing Machado to waivers, while guys like Ramon Castro and Bobby Estallela skate through.

I don't know if Melian will ever realize a fraction of his "potential," but even if he doesn't, I'm happy the Cubs finally broke their logjam. Also, Milwaukee needs more ex-Cubs. :-)
   46. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2002 at 03:39 AM (#557040)
What specifically do you want to know about Melian? Physically, Melian's about as 5-tool as you can get and the Yankees gave him something in the neighborhood of a million and a half when he was 16 years old. He's fine defensively in centerfield and is supposedly difficult to coach. Melian swings at everything and when he tries showing plate. I think of him as a poor man's Ruben Rivera.
   47. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 11, 2002 at 02:16 PM (#557042)
I've heard some good things about his defense and some not-so-good things. The problem is supposedly his work ethic out there and if he's really the uncoachable slacker he's supposed to be, it's not surpising if he slothing it around out there in the spring.
   48. Stevens Posted: June 11, 2002 at 05:19 PM (#557044)
Rumors have it he's emotionally down from a death in the family. But you know how those rumors go.
   49. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 11, 2002 at 05:57 PM (#557045)
Rumors have it he's emotionally down from a death in the family. But you know how those rumors go.

His parents were killed in a car accident two years ago, after watching him play in South Carolina.

Ruben Rivera might not be a bad comparison. The thing is, Rivera was not a bad prospect. Over-rated, absolutely, but not bad. Melian will need to match the batting eye he's shown this year with the power he showed last season to be very useful. He's a longshot prospect, but not a bad gamble at all for a catcher who appears to do only one thing well: throwing out runners.
   50. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2002 at 03:40 AM (#557049)
Strange, I remember him starting out as a shortstop briefly. Looks like I've got some memories crossed. I'm sure about the rest, though!
   51. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2002 at 02:24 PM (#557053)
I don't think it's that Hundley's so great but that Joe Girardi has been the recipient of an unbelievable reputation almost solely by virtue of being a bad-hitting catcher that played for some excellent Yankee teams.
   52. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 12, 2002 at 03:49 PM (#557055)
My guess is it's the culture. Baseball players are with their teammates for a large percentage of their lives, so the Lake Wobegon mindset takes over. Even when a player plays poorly, it seems that executives that played in the majors are eager to manufacture a personality reason rather than a player just stinking.
   53. Lujack Posted: June 13, 2002 at 02:35 PM (#557101)
I think 84 wins for this year is optimistic. I'd be happy with 82, just so I could quit hearing about the Cubs not having back to back winning seasons since god knows when.
   54. Aaron Gleeman Posted: June 13, 2002 at 02:45 PM (#557102)
Of course you would be happy with 82 wins. They are 26-38!!!!!
   55. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 13, 2002 at 02:45 PM (#557056)
Isn't it kinda missing the bigger picture though to say that Machado only does one thing well? He does A LOT of things well when you compare him to Girardi, or Hundley over the past two years.

The chances of Machado out-hitting Hundley in the long-term are pretty slim, I think, despite Hundley's unbelievable tanking. Anyway, all of my comments are footnoted with the fact that the Cubs have completely ignored the real problem here: Joe Girardi. Girardi was the one to cut. He was the one to cut last year. And the year before that. I knew the second he was signed that this was a big mistake that would be a millstone around the team's neck for the entire length of his contract. I was right. The thing is, we all know that the Cubs are under his Svengali spell and will never get rid of him. I am horrified at the thought of what offers have come for Girardi that were turned down. Anyway, this all does without saying, and we have to discuss the merits of trading Machado in that context and just pretend that Girardi is Mike Piazza or something.

I'm not really concerned that the Cubs let Machado go, but I am concerned that they seem to feel that the catcher problem is somehow fixed.

Well, by some trick of luck, it helps. Somehow the Cubs have figured that letting Machado go means that they should use Hundley four games out of five and use Girardi more or less only with Prior. I have no idea what the logic is behind this thinking, but if it means more Hundley and less Girardi, it works for me.
   56. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 13, 2002 at 03:03 PM (#557104)
There could be a legitimate instructional issue going on where Hill could benefit from the send-down, which I don't expect to last long at all. I expect Hill to get 350 PAs with the major league club this year. This part doesn't actually bother me so much.

In the meanwhile, DeShields was supposedly hurt and is now supposedly better. Maybe he will start hitting. The thing is, the Cubs have Bellhorn AND Stynes AND DeShields on the major league roster. I'm far more interested in seeing what Bellhorn can do than to see DeShields, if we're really lucky, hit at his ceiling level of .280/.380/.400.

DeShields simply needs to go away. It would be nice if he were to get hot and become tradeable - and hopefully that is what will happen. However, he isn't going to be of much trade value even if he turns it up to his ceiling level, and that will take weeks. It simply isn't worth that time investment, so the smart thing to do is cut him and bring up one of the OF/1B/C types in AAA who are hitting. But MacPhail expose a player to waivers? Not on your life.
   57. jwb Posted: June 13, 2002 at 03:08 PM (#557105)
Unspecified arm troubles or not, Juan Cruz tossed this pitching line yesterday afternoon:
   58. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 13, 2002 at 03:24 PM (#557106)
<i> Unspecified arm troubles or not, Juan Cruz tossed this pitching line yesterday afternoon:
   59. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 13, 2002 at 04:10 PM (#557108)
Baylor pretty much had Cruz pegged for the bullpen all along -- at least the talk in the media for weeks before the Prior call-up was whether it was fair to relegate Cruz instead of Bere. When push came to shove, though, Baylor moved Cruz and justified it by saying "oh, and his arm is kinda sore anyway." A few days later, Baylor clarified that it was just "minor stiffness," Cruz was OK, that he expected Cruz to reemerge in the rotation at some point, and that Bere may only get one start.

Of course, Bere pitched well in that first start on May 26. When he left the game with a 5-0 lead, it seemed the perfect spot for Cruz. Instead, Baylor brought in Borowski/Fassero/Mahomes and watched the lead blow up. This, of course, led to two developments -- (1) Bere got a second start (and has stayed in the rotation ever since), and (2) when asked why he didn't bring Cruz in, Baylor said something like he didn't want to throw Cruz into a pressure-packed game because he didn't know if Cruz could handle it . . . only to bring him into the 7th inning of a 0-1 game at Pittsburgh the next night. Classic.

As for DeShields, he had languished on the bench for weeks and they had already given the job to Hill, so when they activated Hundley, the speculation was whether they would cut bait on DeShields, Stynes, or Bellhorn (Ojeda was already sent down). Magically, they suddenly noticed that DeShields had a hip problem, which allowed them to park him on the DL instead of dropping him. Now he's back. Ick.

Of course, you also have the whole Mack Newton saga now too, which is another kettle of fish . . .
   60. Walt Davis Posted: June 13, 2002 at 04:44 PM (#557110)
And Baylor has left Prior out there for 124 and 118 pitches in his last two starts. When young players struggle, the Cubs show no faith; when young players, especially pitchers, succeed, the Cubs overuse them. At least Kerry Wood's elbow was sacrificed in a wild-card run.

And David, I'd guess you're either not a Cub fan or haven't been one for long. :-) Instructional value? The Cubs haven't been able to turn a quality minor league position player into a quality major league position player since, what, Mark Grace? This is just more of the same -- give the kid a shot, if he doesn't succeed right away, send him down till September, then sign a mediocre player over the winter. The Cubs can talk until they're blue about how they're gonna play the kids, but moves like this make it clear it's all still talk. If we had Adam Dunn, he'd probably still be in AA.

But I agree that we should find out what Bellhorn can do -- at shortstop or possibly 3B. Egads how I wish we had Hinske back. Think of it -- we could have an OF of Brown, Patterson, and Sosa and an IF of Hinske, Bellhorn, Hill and McGriff (if we have to) and we certainly wouldn't suck more, we'd put a lot more runs on the board, we'd kill righties, and the left side of our infield would be pretty scary. We'd also save $9 M from Alou and $5 M from Gonzalez which might allow us to fix problems at C, the rotation, CF, 1B, etc. That's not a championship caliber team either, but it's a lot closer than what we've got now.

The Oracle has it pegged exactly -- the Cubs goal is relevance which leads to teams which are mediocre at best. The bright sides to this season are (1) Matt Clement; (2) Prior (if his arm doesn't fall off); (3) that Wood's arm is still attached though I was really hoping for an improvement in control; (4) as always Sammy. And Borowski's been a nice surprise.

Fire Baylor now ... and not much point holding onto McPhail either.
   61. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 13, 2002 at 09:29 PM (#557117)
I ranted at length above, so I'll try not to repeat myself, but . . .

Regarding Hill -- While I agree with the general point that this team isn't going to be a contender and should look to develop the players that will contribute down the road (namely Hill), I also agree with Andy Nall's point that perhaps AAA isn't the worst thing for Hill. Putting aside his year in the Atlantic League, he's really only had a few hundred ABs in the minors before getting rushed up. Even when he was brought up, it was due to DeShields's ineffectiveness and 50 or so Spring Training ABs, not because he had nothing left to learn/prove in the minors. I agree with Andy -- send him down, play him everyday, let him rip up AAA pitching, and (a) don't bring him back until he does and (b) when he does come up, keep him up even if he struggles for the first 100 ABs. Anything to avoid the "up again/down again" jerking around that they did with Corey Patterson last year. (Which reminds me, will Patterson ever take another walk?)

Regarding DeShields -- I also remember the reports that DeShields took a stint on the IR in lieu of getting released. I guess the fact he's back means that either (a) the reports weren't true or (b) the Cubs waffled (surprise!). Now that Hill's gone, though, I'd personally like to see Bellhorn get a real shot at 2B, with Stynes on the bench for him or Mueller, and DeShields on the next train to Palookaville.

Regarding Prior -- The truly sad thing is that in taking Prior out after the 6th inning (and 118 pitches), Baylor actually thought he was being cautious: "I was going to try to milk seven innings out of him, but his pitch count was too high," Baylor said.

Regarding Cruz -- I don't think yesterday's outing will lead to a demotion, but as long as Bere continues to have credible outings, I don't think he's going to see any starts in the near future either.

Finally, regarding Baylor -- The one trait McPhail has demonstrated over the years is a real hesitance to cut bait on employees (managers, GMs, key players), which is why I highly doubt he'll fire Baylor during the season. OTOH, what does it say about the guy when he has to turn to outside people like Mack Newton to motivate his players? Even the local papers are wondering the same thing. It hurts to be a fan, because I almost root for them to lose just to add to the chance that Baylor will be gone at the end of the year (which I'm guessing he will).
   62. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: June 13, 2002 at 09:33 PM (#557060)
Tom N: I believe the man's proper name is Darren F***'n Lewis. Other than that, I echo your comments.
   63. Walt Davis Posted: June 13, 2002 at 10:56 PM (#557119)
Oddly enough, I don't have a problem with Cruz going to the bullpen. He wasn't pitching well, Bere is a league-averageish starter, and alas after aging two years this offseason Cruz is not the prospect he appeared to be. He should still be a good pitcher, but a stint in the bullpen throwing 2-3 innings until he gets command is a good thing. Sending him down likely wouldn't be, but that'll depend on who else is healthy at the time. And now maybe we can trade Bere for something.

If the Cubs had a track record of successfully developing young players like Hill that involved things like sending them down after short unsuccessful trials, I'd have less problem with their move. Instead, the Cubs have a track record of unsuccessfully developing young players in part by doing things like sending them down after short unsuccessful trials. Perhaps the biggest key to developing young players once they get to the major leagues is FAITH. The Cubs have never had it and by all appearances they still don't.

And it's not just faith in the player, it's faith in your own organization. McPhail and his manager have to trust that Hendry's people have done their job. That should be a requirement for a manager to keep his job. Who's running this club, McPhail or Baylor? Besides, if Hendry's people haven't done their job, the Cubs are sunk anyway, so you really have no viable option but to have faith in them.

And as far as "rushing" him, this is his age 23 season.

Don't get me wrong, I would have been perfectly fine if they'd never brought Hill up in the first place. They had DeShields, Bellhorn, and Stynes as placeholders. Since he didn't make the team after a great spring, obviously the organization felt he needed time at AAA, and I was fine with that decision. But then instead of sticking with that plan and putting Bellhorn (or a Bellhorn/Stynes platoon) at 2B when DeShields stank, they panicked and brought up Hill. That was fine too if they'd stuck with it. Now they panic and send him down. Next, if he has a couple bad weeks at AAA, they'll panic and start giving him lots of special coaching. Or they'll start carping on his defense.

Just think about the last 4 months and Bobby Hill:

March: he needs a great spring to make the club
   64. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 14, 2002 at 03:44 PM (#557125)
Regarding Walt's comments on the Cubs' poor track record developing young position players

True enough, but I don't think it's relevant. Yes, the Cubs haven't developed a star position player since Mark Grace, but they hadn't really had any position players with star potential come up above A ball since Mark Grace, until the current crew. It's a different group of people running the show now and a different level of talent. Whether these guys will pan out remains to be seen, but I'm not letting the fact that the Cubs failed to develop Brooks Kieschnick and Ozzie Timmons color my impressions.

Let's look at what's going on here:

Cruz: Brought up last year straight from AA, and did great. Was awarded the third starter spot, and pretty much stunk it up, managing to have only two starts out of nine that one might consider good. I think anyone who saw him pitch in those games would have to come to the conclusion that he was completely lacking in confidence and really had no business being thrown out there every five days. The bullpen or Iowa was the right place for him to go to - he was having problems with his delivery and needed to build up his confidence. He's being given a chance.

Patterson: Was jerked around last year. This year the Cubs traded his CF rival and have played him in CF almost every game. I don't like the way that Baylor has "protected" him from LHP lately, but the Cubs have handed him pretty much a full-time OF job when the only recent indication he showed that he could handle it was his last few weeks of Spring Training. Overall, this guy is getting his chances.

Prior: If anything, the Cubs are way too accepting of Prior's place on the major league club. Apparently they think he's Curt Schilling at age 21, letting him go 124 and 119 pitches in back to back games.

Hill: Was given the starting 2B job and the second spot in the batting order after only about 100 AAA ABs. He played a full month hitting under .200 before being sent down. He has real, specific batting issues that need to be dealt with, and I don't think any of us know enough regarding whether that should be done in Chicago or Iowa. I expect him to be back up this year and probably get 350 PAs. I don't really think he's being jerked around right now, and whether or not it will serve him well in the long run, I think most organizations would have sent him down. I don't have any major complaints here, for now.

The Cubs certainly were pro-active getting Wood up and on the major league club. They worked with Farnsworth. They are working with Zambrano. I think they were stupid handling Rosie Brown, but he is definitely not prime prospect material. Zuleta got a reasonable shot. Heredia was not handled well, but hey, Don Baylor wouldn't know what to do with a raw left-handed reliever if he came with instructions.

This is not the picture of a club that doesn't give its young players chances to succeed. If anything, they are too free and easy doing so. I certainly have my quibbles with some of the details about decisions they've made, but I'm not seeing an organization that is failing to give chances to its young players. For the last few years, the Cubs haven't been signing old veterans to long-term contracts in positions where they have a promising youngster in line. At those positions - CF, 2B, 1B, they had short-term solutions in line, and they dumped the guy in CF and probably will end up dumping the guy at 2B.
   65. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 14, 2002 at 08:20 PM (#557128)
They show half-hearted commitments to playing potentially useful players such as Kieshnick, Orie, Zuleta, Brown, etc.

Good point that the Cubs fail to find roles for the useful non-stars, but there is not a whole lot to work with on that list.

I think you're being a little harsh on Cruz. He had nine starts this year, of which I would call three "good" by most measures (4/11, 4/28, and 5/21) -- in those starts, he went 1-2, with an ERA of 2.41 and a RA of 3.37.

Two good starts, three good this worth arguing? If you want to call his 4/28 start "good", where he gave up 6 hits and 4 walks in 6 innings for 2 runs, then go ahead. I'd call it a quality start, but not a good one.

In the games where gave up the unearned runs he was pretty bad. Yes, I blame him for most of it. On 4/16 he gave up 5 hits (2B, HR) and 3 walks in 3.2 IP for those five unearned runs. On 4/21 he walked five for those two unearned runs. Looking at the peripheral numbers for his first couple of starts, his R numbers seem to match better than his ER numbers.

As for objectivity, it is possible to make objective observations about somebody's confidence, you know. I don't know what you're talking about with regard to walk rates but I didn't bring that up. I'm pretty comfortable with my assessment.

Bad luck and bad defense HAVE affected Cruz. As someone else pointed out to me, he looks more like a 3-6 pitcher than a 1-8 pitcher. He needs to work on his control. He needs to work on his pitch selection, and he needs to learn not to tip off his pitches. He is a very raw talent.

With regard to Patterson, Baylor has apparently decided that he can't handle lefties and is using Darren Lewis against them. First of all, Patterson doesn't seem to have anything resembling a confidence problem, and it makes sense to me that he is in a position to learn from experience. Second, the margin of improvement by replacing Patterson with Darren Lewis is probably zero. I don't know, maybe Patterson does need to be protected, but if he has a bad day against a lefty, chances are he has an opportunity to feel better the next day against a right-hander. As a starter Cruz doesn't get that opportunity.
   66. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 15, 2002 at 12:59 PM (#557131)
What we're left with is the unearned runs, and your (and to be fair, others') attempt to delve into Cruz's head to justify them through a perceived lack of confidence.

I'm not using a lack of confidence specifically to explain Cruz's high number of unearned runs. I'm using it, partially, to explain his crappy pitching. As a starter, Cruz threw 45.2 IP, gave up 44 H, 31 BB and 31 K's. That stinks. All the unearned runs stat tells us is that he's been unlucky in the sense that his defense has been poor behind him, and lucky in the sense that his ERA doesn't reflect how poorly he's pitched. The lack of confidence was apparent in a lot of things, and the people who work with Cruz have also commented on it. I don't remember the last time I saw a major league player on the mound and wondered if he was going to cry, but I thought that more than once watching Cruz.

Once he gets his command going, the confidence will come back. He had it last year. The point is that carting a young pitcher out to start when he's 0-8 and pitching poorly was not a good way for him to regain his command.
   67. jwb Posted: June 28, 2002 at 12:41 AM (#557326)
That was pretty scary. Wilbur Wood and Dizzy Dean had their careers effectively ended on similar plays. They both pitched for a few years after, but they weren't the same. Fortunately for Bere, his kneecap didn't break.
   68. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 28, 2002 at 01:08 AM (#557327)
It made an almighty smack when it hit him, too; it sounded just like the ball hitting the bat. I'm glad he didn't break anything.
   69. Mike Posted: July 01, 2002 at 05:33 PM (#557386)
The list fluctuates at least weekly and almost daily, but here are some candidates, IMO and in no particular order: (1) Rosie Brown (gave no ABs last year and saw a 2 week window of opportunity close early this year); (2) Todd Hundley (various problems, plus love for Girardi); (3) Mark Bellhorn (too many Ks, regardless of his high OPS); (4) Corey Patterson (refuses to play him against lefties); (5) Juan Cruz (wildness and lack of confidence); (6) Carlos Zambrano (wildness); (7) Courtney Duncan; (8) Julio Zuleta.

I'm sure others can help add to or clarify this list.
   70. Mike Posted: July 01, 2002 at 09:28 PM (#557388)
Ohman definitely gets added to the list.

Baylor absolutely rides his trick ponies into the ground, but IMO, both Bellhorn and Zambrano are candidates for his doghouse. In Bellhorn's case, he has had good games in the past, including multiple hit games or games with key HRs, only to find that Baylor will leave him on the bench behind Mueller and/or DeShields. I think the fact that he's not a current starter despite these games -- plus frequent complaints about his high strikeouts -- is testiment to Baylor's low regard. (I don't think that Baylor *dislikes* Bellhorn; I just think that Baylor doesn't value him highly.)

As for Zambrano, I think Baylor is only starting him tonight because he has to -- Baylor isn't ready to give Beltran a start and has totally lost faith in Cruz. Baylor has come out and said that he's only asking for a few non-disastrous innings out of Zambrano tonight, so I wouldn't view this as a glowing endorsement.
   71. Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2002 at 11:19 PM (#557391)
I will give Baylor some credit for playing Bellhorn much more than I expected him to, and even giving him a couple starts at short. Not as much as Bellhorn should be playing, but I can't complain too much.

Sending Hill down didn't make any sense, but at least they could use it as an opportunity to start Bellhorn near full-time there to find out whether he's a viable full-timer or not. Or better yet 3B, where the Cubs have no particularly good options in the minors (esp. since they seem to have problems with Kelton's defensive problems).

Speaking of Fred the DH, is it just me or is he the worst fielder of pop-ups in ML history?
   72. Walt Davis Posted: July 02, 2002 at 03:10 PM (#557394)
the weird thing about Bellhorn's season is that Diamond Mind (which takes these things seriously) gives him a pretty substantial platoon split the other way. He's the Rob Deer of the infield.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't recommend overplaying Bellhorn either. But given where the Cubs are and given that Mueller's contract is up (and it's not like he's irreplaceable) they might as well put Bellhorn in the lineup everyday to see if he can be the full-time or part-time solution at 3B next year. I suspect they'll find out he's not a full-time solution, but there's no harm in finding out and they don't really have any other attractive options for next year. Better than giving those AB's to DeShields, Mueller, and Stynes.
   73. Andere Richtingen Posted: July 03, 2002 at 03:18 PM (#557492)
Dan, who did the Cubs clear to make room for Gordon?

Francis Beltran was assigned to West Tenn yesterday.
   74. Big Ed Posted: July 03, 2002 at 03:27 PM (#557493)
Actually, a lot of the media are coming around to that. Mariotti has, in some of his more lucid moments.

I was listening to sports radio today, and Terry Boers said of Andy McPhail, "Let's remember he's a member of the Lucky Sperm Club. His family's been part of running baseball forever. But if he's representative of the owners running the game, then I am very afraid for the game. This guy is a bonehead."
   75. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 03, 2002 at 04:39 PM (#557496)
To hijack the thread even further on the Cubs rant, allow me to make the following observation regarding Corey Patterson --

Walks in April: 10 in 90 ABs
   76. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 03, 2002 at 07:10 PM (#557500)
As a lifelong Cub fan, I can only see the silver lining of firing Baylor with the dark cloud that if he is fired, the team will most likely hire Larry Rothschild, Felipe Alou, Phil Garner, Davey Lopes, or (god forbid) Tony Muser to replace him.

Assuming Baylor gets fired in the mid-season (a big assumption), whomever the new manager is will get the team to go 20-10 in September, then get a 3 year contract.
   77. Klobedanz Posted: July 03, 2002 at 07:50 PM (#557502)
The Cubs need to hire Buck Showalter. At least he can get them into the playoffs, get fired and then have someone else come in and pick up the cheap World Series title.
   78. Klobedanz Posted: July 03, 2002 at 08:27 PM (#557505)
Don't forget, that great ex-Cub and .OBP master Shawon Dunston is looking to get into the managerial ranks. That would be perfect, he could resurrect the player-coach!!!
   79. Walt Davis Posted: July 03, 2002 at 08:42 PM (#557506)
On the topic of playing it safe, don't forget sending Hinske and Chiasson (even though they eventually got him back) to the A's because they couldn't be bothered to find one of the dozens of utility guys available for free and only saw Miguel Cairo.

The Cubs didn't really send Chiasson to the A's did they? The way I remember it was that the Cubs took Chiasson on a Rule 5 from the A's. But the Cubs didn't want to put him on the ML roster so they either had to give him back or make a trade to keep him. The trade they made was Hinske for Chiasson and Cairo. Still dumb, but I was never under the impression that the deal was to get Cairo, the deal was to keep Chiasson without having to put him on the roster. Yet another lesson about the prospects of minor-league relievers.

Boy Hinske would look good in Wrigley, popping homers and pegging drunken corporate types sitting in the first few rows behind first.
   80. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 03, 2002 at 08:55 PM (#557508)
Brian --

I think we basically agree about the quality (or lack thereof) of the aforementioned "candidates." I guess my thinking is clouded by my impression of MacPhail -- he seems the type that drags his heels to the point of not making a move unless he is forced to. Whether this is due to loyalty (e.g., his commitment to Tom Kelly), money (i.e., not wanting to eat a contract), lack of preparation (e.g., his month-long dance with the Yankees about a Sosa trade in '00), or because he's being pulled in different directions (MLB labor negotiations, gladhanding to the Tribune higher-ups, dealing with stadium issues, etc.), I have a real question about if, much less when, he fires Baylor. (Of course, if Baylor continues to act as dumb as he did last night, all bets are off.)

Still, assuming that he pulls the trigger in the midseason (and Baylor is giving him every reason to do so), I'm sure MacPhail will either (a) go to Rothschild, first as an "interim," then full time, or (b) bring in someone who is free now (i.e., Alou, Garner, et al.) For some reason, I don't see him going after Charlie Manuel or Tom Kelly -- even though both may be younger than Alou.

Of course, what I'd really like to see is someone like Davey Johnson, Showalter, Dierker, or better yet, Ken Macha, but I'm not holding my breath.
   81. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 03, 2002 at 09:27 PM (#557511)
Once you put aside the guys who have experience and talent (and I would only put Johnson, Showalter, and maybe Dierker in this group)**, I'd rather take my chance that some of Billy Beane or, more likely, Art Howe has worn off on Macha than take a known mediocrities like Garner, Lopes, Fregosi, et al.

** I only question Dierker because the loss of Vern Ruhle really affected his pitching staff last year.
   82. Stevens Posted: July 03, 2002 at 11:10 PM (#557514)
Not to reignite the anti-McPhail rant, but I have to second the notion of the guy's success coming from much luck.

Remember that in 2001, he was going nuts trying to sign Mike Hampton. Only failing that did he get Tavarez and Bere who were serviceable last year. Further, the winning team last year was a patchwork, put together from scraps designed only to hold place until the kids grew up. He lucked into a winning season and then didn't have the wherewithal to take advantage of it. And of course, he hired Baylor.

I will give him credit for the Sosa non-trade. Recall that Andy had just "hired" himself when he asked the world from NY for Sosa, which he certainly should. When the world didn't come back, Andy didn't trade the star. I'm perfectly fine with that.

But Weathers for Quevedo...signing oft-injured players in their mid-to-late 30s to 3-year deals...and the interminable waiting now for the Cubs to do something like fire Baylor or trade some vets...this is starting to side me negative on ol' Andy.
   83. Mike Posted: July 05, 2002 at 07:04 PM (#557525)
   84. Benji Posted: July 06, 2002 at 01:45 PM (#557539)
When does Bowa get fired?
   85. Sharkbyte Posted: July 19, 2002 at 02:33 PM (#557778)
Memo to Kevin Towers:

Pick up Melhuse.

   86. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: July 19, 2002 at 04:51 PM (#557780)
Brian --

You're being sarcastic, right? If so, it's difficult to translate sarcasm over the Internet. (The only reason I even suspect sarcasm is your reference to Hundley's contract as "quite a bargain given his high level of performance and durability.")

If not, where is the Cubs "organizational depth" at catcher? Todd Hundley, and Joe Girardi on the major league level, Mike Mahoney in AAA, Mike Amrhein (now in AAA) and Casey Kopitzke in AA, Yoon-Min Kweon, Chris Curry, and Jeff Goldbach in A+, Warren Hanna and Lukas McKnight in A, C.J. Medlin in Boise, and Jose Reyes in Mesa -- these are "suspects" not "prospects."

Frankly, and I'm speaking as a Cub fan who is generally optimistic about the farm system, if there are glaring weaknesses, they are: (1) Catcher; (2) Third Base; and (3) Outfield.
   87. Stevens Posted: July 19, 2002 at 05:56 PM (#557781)
Brian wasn't being sarcastic. Pat Cline will be up with the big club any day now.
   88. Voros McCracken Posted: July 21, 2002 at 02:24 AM (#557785)
"it's a rarity when Girardi shows up west of "better than" in a sentence."


Wonderful wordsmithing there, Dan.
   89. Bob T Posted: August 12, 2002 at 05:46 PM (#558397)
Poor Delino,
   90. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: August 12, 2002 at 06:19 PM (#558399)
Not that this would happen, but I'd like to see the Cubs put Bellhorn at 3B next year and have Hill at 2B -- it would save them money that they can use elsewhere. Instead, of course, the Cubs will probably either resign Mueller or spend $2-3MM on another proven mediocrity, while making Bellhorn fight Hill for a job. Sheesh.
   91. Buddha Posted: August 12, 2002 at 08:10 PM (#558404)
PTBNL: Hee Seop Choi? Seems like the logical answer, which, of course, means that they will pick up McGriff's option. Even better for all you Cubbie stat heads, I believe Randall Simon is a free agent next year...
   92. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: August 12, 2002 at 10:38 PM (#558408)
Actually, IMO, most of the Chicago media has pretty well assumed that Hee Seop Choi will be starting at 1B next year and Hill will be starting at 2B -- I think the real dilemma will occur if either (or both) of them have a bad April.

If Corey Patterson hit .333/.400/.489 in July (instead of April) and .200/.232/.300 in April (instead of July) . . . well, it wouldn't have happened because the Cubs would have sent him down by then.

Patterson (April) 10 BBs / 90 ABs -- OBP .400
   93. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2002 at 09:47 PM (#558421)
So far this year AGon's defense is about a notch above Rickey's from last year and that isn't really giving the man praise. His offense has never been great and I would lump him into the Doug Glanville group of players. The ones that have one good year at the plate and have a reputation for good defense.

Bellhorn is a bit of an enigma. I think part of his problem is that he doesn't look good on defense. His actions don't look fluid or natural. He hasn't been very good at third this year and has made several critical errors at second. SS he has shown the best stats but once again he doesn't look good doing it. Plus he doesn't have a lot of time there so could just be a matter of sample size over there.
   94. McCoy Posted: August 14, 2002 at 11:22 PM (#558423)
I can see Hendry wasting money on the bullpen too, a la Ed Wade. Oddly enough he could very well pick up the cast offs of the Phillies bullpen next year!
   95. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 26, 2002 at 03:57 PM (#558550)
According to ESPN, Fassero was traded for 2 minor league PTBNL.

And, the Cubs are covering the majority of what's left on Fassero's contract.

It's still a good deal for the Cubs to get anything at all for these guys.
   96. Walt Davis Posted: August 26, 2002 at 08:46 PM (#558554)
true, the Cards are not the team to be hitting up for PTBNL's. Then again, hard to get much for relievers with ERA's over 6.

Those on the 40-man roster are in the Union (unless they were replacement players in 95) and will go on strike (unless they're dumb) if the Union does. So Smyth, Hill, et al won't be playing any more games either ... not that they have many left to play.
   97. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: August 26, 2002 at 10:34 PM (#558555)
Joel --
   98. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 27, 2002 at 12:08 PM (#558556)
You'd be better off hoping someone's stupid enough to sign him as a FA and getting another draft pick.

That only works if you are willing to offer him arbitration, and I doubt that that would be in the Cubs' best interests.
   99. Walt Davis Posted: August 28, 2002 at 03:36 PM (#558557)
A little late with this clarification, but True Blue is right and I'm wrong. Or at least I'll probably be wrong. 40-man rosters are Union members, but in all previous work stoppages, the Union has allowed minor-leaguers on the 40-man to continue playing, and presumably they'll do so this time.

Of course, with an Aug 30 strike date, there's not much of a minor-league season left.
   100. Anthony Giacalone Posted: September 04, 2002 at 05:49 AM (#558649)
Sure it's just a hammy, Dan, but Prior is probably done for the season. The Cubs have talking about shelving Prior for weeks and it seems like this would be the perfect opportunity to limit his innings.
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Don Malcolm
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