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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cubs - Signed Bradley, Miles, Traded DeRosa, Marquis

Chicago Cubs - Signed OF Milton Bradley and 2B Aaron Miles, traded 2B Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians for P Jeff Stevens, P Chris Archer, and P John Gaub; traded P Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for P Luis Vizcaino.

I actually had most of this transaction already written up, but it took forever for any kind of dollar figures and contract length for Bradley to leak through.  This was apparently agreed to a few weeks ago, but I guess the contract needed to be signed in Nephilim blood or Bradley demanded a mighty galleon low in the water laden with silks and spices from the Orient as a signing bonus.  The moves do have to go together, because given the Cubs outlook, this is essentially a single, complicated, transaction.

Looks like it’s a 3-year contract worth $30 million for Bradley.  A little pricey given what we know about the market for non-elite hitters without a lot of defensive value this offseason (Bradley’s more athletic than the others, but he’s also shown to get injured quickly when displaying athleticism!), but it’s still a fair contract.  Injured or not, the chance to sign a player coming off a season of MVP-caliber play for $10 million per doesn’t come up all that often.  He won’t have a 163 OPS+ again, but he’ll hit well if he’s healthy and the Cubs will soldier through when he’s not.

The Cubs are around what they would like to invest in the 2009 team, no doubt looking at the rest of the division and seeing that any additional investment would probably have marginal returns, so might as well not risk it in a poor economic year.  So signing Bradley necessitated trading DeRosa and Marquis, the most expendable assets.  DeRosa’s still a good player and will prove a decent stopgap for the Indians (this move will cause the Carthaginian and the Poor Speller to remain at second and short respectively) but one of the benefits of having eleventy-jillion second basemen on the roster is that you can actually trade some.  It’s too bad that the Cubs can’t simply surreptitiously acquire Jarrett Hoffpauir and play some funny business with Micah at the plate and Jarrett playing second base, as Micah is a lot bigger than Jarrett and I don’t think technology has advanced far enough that Voltronization of Hoffpauirs is a possible solution.  So the Cubs will have Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles split the job most likely, with Fontenot being good and Miles having a good-enough empty batting average not to be completely awful.

Marquis isn’t as bad as some statheads think, being a useful 4th starter with a decent health record, but not as good as some casual Cubs fans think, Marquis not being all that good, so while he has some use, with Sean Marshall not traded for Jake Peavy and Chad Gaudin hanging around, the team has rotation replacements.  With Luis Vizcaino coming in, I suspect Mike Wuertz will be in a different uniform this season.  The Rockies now look to have a Francis-Cook-Jimenez-Marquis-Smith rotation, which will be bland and mediocre as the team heads to another season of being a middle-of-the-pack team in a bad division.

Jeff Stevens is the most polished player picked up in the DeRosa trade.  He’s got a good fastball, middling command, and probably could contribute to the Cubs in the next few years if the bullpen had real open spots.  Gaub has an excellent fastball and is a player to watch, but he’s yet to pitch above the Sally League and was quite old for his competition and the Cubs will need to promote him aggressively to really gauge where he’s at.  Chris Archer’s more of a project given some pretty lackluster control.

ZiPS Projection - Milton Bradley (RF)
—————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA OBP SLG OPS+
—————————————————————————————————————
2009       354 61 103 22   1 18   58 58 84   5 .291 .396 .511 132
—————————————————————————————————————
Top Offensive Comps:  Roy Cullenbine, Tim Salmon, Reggie Smith, Bobby Bonilla

ODDIBE

Offense %
STAR   75
AVG   88
REP LV 98

OPS+  %    OBP   %    3B     %    Hits   %
>160   6     >.400   48     >10   0     >200   0
>140   35     >.375   75     >5     0     >150   0
>130   54     >.350   91
>120   71     >.325   98     2B     %
>110   84     >.300   100   >45   0
>100   92               >30   6
>90   97
>80   99
>60   100

BA     %    SLG   %    HR     %    SB     %
>.350   2     >.550   24     >50   0     >70   0
>.325   13     >.500   56     >40   0     >50   0
>.300   37     >.450   81     >30   2     >30   0
>.275   68     >.400   94     >20   30     >10   6
>.250   89     >.350   99     >10   88

(Based on Projected PA)

 

2009 ZiPS Projections
————————————————————————————————-
Player     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA ERA+
————————————————————————————————-
Marquis   8 12 28 28 161 179   90 20 68 83 5.03   94
Stevens   4   6 44   0   67   62   37 12 31 68 4.97   97
Vizcano   3   3 58   0   58   53   28   9 27 62 4.34 105
————————————————————————————————-

 

2009 ZiPS Projections
——————————————————————————————————————
Player     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG OPS+
——————————————————————————————————————
DeRosa     466 85 132 27 3 12 73 52 99   3 .283 .362 .431 106  
Miles     354 42 100 15 1   2 33 23 36   2 .282 .326 .347   74
——————————————————————————————————————

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 06, 2009 at 06:42 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. 3744nsheffield Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:32 PM (#3044595)
350 at bats is worth $10 million a year for 3 years?
   2. tyler Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:39 PM (#3044604)
Not to threadjack a pretty impressive post by Dan, but was there a Randy Johnson TO and I just missed it?
   3. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:40 PM (#3044605)
I don't think technology has advanced far enough that Voltronization of Hoffpauirs is a possible solution.

I have been saying this for years now, but few people have listened to me.

The Cubs are around what they would like to invest in the 2009 team, no doubt looking at the rest of the division and seeing that any additional investment would probably have marginal returns, so might as well not risk it in a poor economic year.

This is true, but it still disappoints me. I don't think the 2009 (potential) playoff team is any better than what we threw out there in 2008. Actually, with regressions and aging it's more than likely worse. Being the naturally optimistic sort, perhaps the Cubs can get their ownership situation in line before the trading deadline and the new owner could approve more $$$ for a midseason pickup. Speaking of which, who are the potential FAs that may be available during the season (Brian Roberts is one that I know of)?
   4. The Good Face Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:42 PM (#3044607)
What's the over/under for PAs during Bradley's contract? 1200? 1000?
   5. RJ in TO Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:43 PM (#3044611)
Speaking of which, who are the potential FAs that may be available during the season (Brian Roberts is one that I know of)?


Delgado, if the Mets implode. Holliday, if Oakland implodes. Not too much else - next year's free agent crop is shaping up to be really weak, from what I remember.
   6. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:44 PM (#3044612)
Dumping Marquis ($9.875M) for a useful middle reliever is fine, although they really only saved around $6M.

But trading DeRosa ($5.5M) and then signing Miles to a 2 year deal ($2.2M, $2.7M) doesn't seem like a positive step--its a downgrade of ~1.5 win for a savings of just $2.3M (plus they're committed to Miles for 2010). None of the pitchers they got back are all that interesting, so I see the trade as a pure salary dump.

The Bradley contract has some risk, but also a lot of upside. The Bobby Bonilla comp strikes me as right-on.
   7. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:45 PM (#3044613)
Unless Lee gets hurt, Delgado likely isn't an option for the Cubs. Holliday could be. Any starting pitchers? Or SS?
   8. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3044615)
But trading DeRosa ($5.5M) and then signing Miles to a 2 year deal ($2.2M, $2.7M) doesn't seem like a positive step--its a downgrade of ~1.5 win for a savings of just $2.3M (plus they're committed to Miles for 2010). None of the pitchers they got back are all that interesting, so I see the trade as a pure salary dump.

Agreed, it just feels like the first step to another deal. If that simply was the Bradley signing, then it was a salary dump and a bad deal, IMO. I think the Dempster signing was a mistake to begin with, but it looks even worse now. I wonder if the 2009 budget has been cut since the beginning of the offseason.
   9. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3044616)
This is true, but it still disappoints me. I don't think the 2009 (potential) playoff team is any better than what we threw out there in 2008. Actually, with regressions and aging it's more than likely worse. Being the naturally optimistic sort, perhaps the Cubs can get their ownership situation in line before the trading deadline and the new owner could approve more $$$ for a midseason pickup. Speaking of which, who are the potential FAs that may be available during the season (Brian Roberts is one that I know of)?


How is the team being only as good as last year's an issue? I know that people have said there's a couple issues that made them more vulnerable in the postseason, though I don't remember them off the top of my head, but the overall team quality wasn't an issue and even if you adjust for weaknesses they still shouldn't have lost in the LDS. They just need to play better in the playoffs and I don't think making a two or three win upgrade over last year's squad would have any real impact on that.
   10. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3044617)
I don't think the 2009 (potential) playoff team is any better than what we threw out there in 2008.


Given the Cubs had the best team in the NL last year, that doesn't worry me particularly.
   11. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3044619)
But trading DeRosa ($5.5M) and then signing Miles to a 2 year deal ($2.2M, $2.7M) doesn't seem like a positive step--its a downgrade of ~1.5 win for a savings of just $2.3M (plus they're committed to Miles for 2010)

This is somewhat tempered by the fact that Fontenot will be the bigger half of that platoon and Miles is a better defender.

I don't disagree with the sentiment.
   12. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:48 PM (#3044620)
I suspect Mike Wuertz will be in a different uniform this season.

He does have value, even if Lou doesn't like him. Hopefully they can get something for him (I assume he's out of options now, he's got to be).
   13. flournoy Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:50 PM (#3044624)
Speaking of which, who are the potential FAs that may be available during the season (Brian Roberts is one that I know of)?


It would kill me and I hope it doesn't become an issue, but Chipper Jones is in the final year of his contract.
   14. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:53 PM (#3044626)
None of the pitchers they got back are all that interesting, so I see the trade as a pure salary dump.

Jeff Stevens has a chance to be pretty darn good relatively quickly, but I think the other two are more likely than not to be inconsequential. And I think there's a long line of minor league relief pitchers in their mid 20s (like Stevens) who have a chance to be good...these guys are not tough to find.

So, yeah, that's a roundabout way of agreeing and saying that I don't really understand what Hendry was thinking if this wasn't a salary dump. Because Aaron Miles...blech.
   15. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:55 PM (#3044627)
This is somewhat tempered by the fact that Fontenot will be the bigger half of that platoon and Miles is a better defender.

I guess. Plus Miles provides depth at SS and 3B, whereas DeRosa provides depth at LF/RF and 3B. If they had just signed Miles to $2.2M for 1 year, then it would strike me as somewhat acceptable. But $2.7M for 2010 is more money than I would want to guarantee a mediocrity who will be 34 by then.
   16. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 07:58 PM (#3044632)
How is the team being only as good as last year's an issue? I know that people have said there's a couple issues that made them more vulnerable in the postseason, though I don't remember them off the top of my head, but the overall team quality wasn't an issue and even if you adjust for weaknesses they still shouldn't have lost in the LDS. They just need to play better in the playoffs and I don't think making a two or three win upgrade over last year's squad would have any real impact on that.

There isn't a whole lot of talent difference between the 2007 and the 2008 team (Soto, Edmonds' hot streak, Harden; Dempster starting instead of relieving, Wood closing) and in neither year would I say the team shouldn't have lost. Maybe looking at it before the series started, but they were thoroughly outplayed both years and the main players are the same. I don't know how to properly adjust for regular season performance vs. postseason (and if it even matters, on some level I think it does but there's also a sample size issue).

But what can they do to play better beyond the obvious? Hopefully that's what Jim Hendry has been trying to address this offseason. I think their problem, for lack of a better word, is too many good players and no great players. How do you "fix" that? They've downgraded from Wood to Gregg (although if Marmol is the closer, that might wash out), downgraded from De Rosa to Miles/Fontenot, and gone from Edmonds to Bradley (unknown if that's a downgrade or upgrade, not to mention the PT issues with Bradley). Add that to possible age declines from every other position outside of C (and we likely will see a decline there as well). The Cubs had a lot of good (above career average) years to get to those 97 wins. So what's the projection for wins this season, probably somewhere in the 89-93 win range. Is that a team that should win a playoff series? Maybe, maybe not, but then consider how poorly they've played in the playoffs, as a team, the last 2 years. Is that suppose to reassure me going into this season? It doesn't.
   17. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:05 PM (#3044635)
Jeff Stevens has a chance to be pretty darn good relatively quickly

I'm unconvinced. I'd rather have him in my organization than not, but the chances that he develops into a useful middle reliever are pretty slim. If he were a lefty, then maybe I'd be more optimistic. But odds are he's nothing more than AAAA organizational filler for the next few seasons.
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:06 PM (#3044637)
and gone from Edmonds to Bradley (unknown if that's a downgrade or upgrade, not to mention the PT issues with Bradley

Are you saying you're unsure if this is an upgrade to the outfield even if Bradley is healthy? Edmonds was dreadful defensively by UZR (-17.6/150) and Fukudome was a +10 in right field. If Fukudome takes those innings and Bradley is merely average in right field then Chicago is going to improve on defense overall. Bradley is likely to (at least) equal Edmonds' 2008 OPS+ of 136 and won't have to be platooned.
   19. Cris E Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3044649)
Marquis isn't as bad as some statheads think, being a useful 4th starter with a decent health record, but not as good as some casual Cubs fans think, Marquis not being all that good, so while he has some use, with Sean Marshall not traded for Jake Peavy and Chad Gaudin hanging around, the team has rotation replacements.

This is quite a sentence Dan, and I agree that healthy guys, the nearly-average healthy ones, are more valuable as a group than statheads usually admit, probably because it's the sort of player they think they can identify and improve upon when in fact getting near league average and staying healthy are both pretty hard to do.
   20. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:11 PM (#3044651)
Bradley is likely to (at least) equal Edmonds' 2008 OPS+ of 136 and won't have to be platooned.

ZIPS puts Bradley at 132 and only 354ABs. So I disagree that either of those can be said with any certainty. Thus, my unknown upgrade/downgrade. Either is very possible.
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:16 PM (#3044656)
But he's not just replacing Edmonds against right handed pitching, he's also replacing ABs DeRosa took in right field.
   22. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:18 PM (#3044657)
The Cubs so far have taken a step back and right now it looks like everything hinges health. Sure normally everything hinges on health but this is a team that has quite a few players with health issues. Right now I couldn't even do an accurate win projection since I think the win range would be 70-100. If I had to narrow it I would say 85 wins +/- 5 wins.
   23. The Good Face Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:19 PM (#3044659)
What's the over/under for PAs during Bradley's contract? 1200? 1000?

ZiPS says 1122.


Not a bad deal if ZiPS is right. I'm inclined to take the under though. This is a guy who couldn't stay healthy DHing in 2008...
   24. BDC Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:20 PM (#3044662)
Bradley, lest we forget, played all of 165 innings in the field last year – the equivalent of 18 games. I had assumed he would be a DH from here on in.

The impact of this on the Texas Rangers is what's getting me down. They are mediocre to begin with and have just lost their best hitter. Perhaps Bradley isn't worth what they could pay him, or wouldn't play for them again on a bet, or whatever, but still ...
   25. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:23 PM (#3044664)
If the strategy is to improve the front line at the cost of depth then it's not such a bad idea. The rest of the division appears to have regressed or stood pat so it's as good a time as any to get talented but fragile players and cross your fingers that your team will get the playoffs with a full complement of contributors.

That said, the DeRosa trade still annoys me. It's likely that Aramis or an outfielder will miss some significant time and there is no reasonable plan B for those things. The Cubs could have accomplished the same payroll improvement by not trading Ceda for Kevin Gregg. A right handed reliever is not filling a need.
   26. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:28 PM (#3044674)
I'm not sure that the difference in CF defense between Edmonds and Fukodome/Johnson is all that great.

If Fukodome can sustain the offensive levels that he posted in the first half of 2008 (.279/.383/.408) for all of 2009 than the Cubs' outfield has a chance to improve.
   27. zonk Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:43 PM (#3044696)
I don't know... DeRosa + Marquis + ~5-6 million in salary space for Miles + Bradley + a few young arms? I suppose that's a pretty good deal.

I think I'd have pulled the trigger on any of the various Peavy scenarios that were swirling around, though.

The Cubs are gonna miss DeRosa - especially if Bradley can't log 400 ABs.

Vizcaino seems like an older Wuertz, so maybe Lou'll have enough confidence in him (wrongly or rightly) not to run Marmol and Gregg into the ground like he did with Marmol last summer.
   28. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:45 PM (#3044698)
Didn't Bradley blow out his knee at the end of 2007 (the blowup on the field with the ump)? That would partially explain why he mostly DH'ed last year (of course, that doesn't change the questions about him getting hurt in the OF going forward).

But he's not just replacing Edmonds against right handed pitching, he's also replacing ABs DeRosa took in right field.

Right, but he's not going to have as many ABs as RF DeRosa + Edmonds. And he's not "likely" to exceed that production. Possible, but not likely.
   29. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:51 PM (#3044706)
Didn't Bradley blow out his knee at the end of 2007 (the blowup on the field with the ump)? That would partially explain why he mostly DH'ed last year

I think he tore his ACL, and that is the main explanation for him mostly DH'ing.

Whither Felix Pie? Are the Cubs going to deal him, or is he the Bradley insuance policy? It seems that they've committed to Soriano-Fukudome-Bradley outfield through 2011.
   30. zonk Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:52 PM (#3044707)
If Fukodome can sustain the offensive levels that he posted in the first half of 2008 (.279/.383/.408) for all of 2009 than the Cubs' outfield has a chance to improve.


Not seeing it... even those lukewarm first half totals are heavily weighted towards a strong first 2 months (hell, first 6 weeks). Fukudome hit for absolutely zero power after the middle of May. I am really, really concerned that we're looking at 3/30 remaining for what amounts to a moderately faster So Taguchi.

The league had him seriously figured out by June. Other than that big homer in St Lous in (July?), I'm not certain I can remeber Fukudome getting a single ball out of the IF in the second half. That wasn't random variance, that was a matter of the league figuring out how to pitch him. I guess we'll see if he can adjust to the adjustment.
   31. zonk Posted: January 06, 2009 at 08:58 PM (#3044714)

Whither Felix Pie? Are the Cubs going to deal him, or is he the Bradley insuance policy? It seems that they've committed to Soriano-Fukudome-Bradley outfield through 2011.


Assuming Gathright makes the team (and his deal is a guaranteed major league deal), there's not even room for Pie on the 25 man. Figure Soriano + Fukudome + Bradley -- and that leaves Gathright and Reed Johnson as the 2 spare OFers. Figure Miles on the bench when he's not starting... man... they certainly need to find space for Hoffpauir or that's a pretty awesomely punchless bench.

Who knows... maybe the Peavy deal still isn't dead.... or maybe they'll make another run at Roberts, since the Orioles and MacPhail appear to be the only ones still lusting after Pie.
   32. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:01 PM (#3044715)
Pie is definitely gone. And out of options. Thus, the Cubs will deal him at the lowest possible value. Give Hendry another gold star on that one!

The Hoff should replace Ward (I'm fairly positive he hasn't resigned yet). No backup C yet, unless they're going with Hill. As of now, Cedeno is the other backup IF. That's definitely a weak bench.
   33. RJ in TO Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:02 PM (#3044720)
I think he tore his ACL, and that is the main explanation for him mostly DH'ing.


That's apparently the reason why he spent the first half DHing, as almost all estimates called for him to be healthy enough to field by the middle of the season. At that point, I'm guessing the Rangers decided that they were happier with him getting his AB and then sitting very still for a couple of innings, rather than risking another of the injuries which seem to haunt him.

Personally, given his injury history, I'll take the under on ZIPS PA estimates (both single year and contract).
   34. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:06 PM (#3044723)
that's a pretty awesomely punchless bench.

Not to mention a pretty big dropoff when Bradley goes on the DL. I know that Reed Johnson has a cult following in Chicago, but he's really not too good, and Gathright...
   35. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:13 PM (#3044733)
That's apparently the reason why he spent the first half DHing, as almost all estimates called for him to be healthy enough to field by the middle of the season.

Most torn ACL injuries take almost a year to come back from fully. So I think it was smart of the Rangers to DH him most of the year. But it was impressive that was healthy enough to even hit as early as he did. Still doesn't discount the chances of future injuries with the Cubs, of course.
   36. zonk Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:15 PM (#3044735)
Pie is definitely gone. And out of options. Thus, the Cubs will deal him at the lowest possible value. Give Hendry another gold star on that one!


Right, yup... I had forgot Pie had to stick this year, too... which makes the Gathright signing even stupider. It's not that I mind a speedy Cotto-type 5th OFer, but he's redundant with Pie.

Hendry better have something up his sleeve for Pie - especially considering that (if memory serves) the Cubs weren't willing to part for him last winter for Roberts.
   37. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:15 PM (#3044736)
I know that Reed Johnson has a cult following in Chicago, but he's really not too good, and Gathright...

Ugh. The Cubs don't have any young outfielders in the system either. I hope Hoffpauir can learn the outfield and fast.
   38. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:19 PM (#3044744)
Since they got Miles to cover SS, there's really no reason to keep Cedeno on the active roster. Honestly, that's the only consequence of the DeRosa to Miles downgrade that I like.


The league had him seriously figured out by June. Other than that big homer in St Lous in (July?), I'm not certain I can remeber Fukudome getting a single ball out of the IF in the second half. That wasn't random variance, that was a matter of the league figuring out how to pitch him. I guess we'll see if he can adjust to the adjustment.

The same sort of talk was being said five years ago about Hideki Matsui. In 2003 Matsui had an awesome June, but was pretty weak on either side of it. The thinking was that as soon as he figured out the league, the pitchers figured him out. There were all sorts of hand-wringing during the 2003/04 offseason about what a waste of money Matsui had been. Then he recovered in 2004.

Obviously Fukodome and Matsui are similar only in that they play OF and hail from the same country. But I wouldn't totally discount the possibility that Fukodome can improve. Its highly unlikely that he'll ever be worth his contract, but he can be a useful Stan Javier/Randy Winn-type fourth outfielder, overextended as an everyday player (not enough glove for CF, not enough bat for RF).
   39. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:22 PM (#3044748)
Ugh. The Cubs don't have any young outfielders in the system either.

Not in the Tyler Colvin fan club, I take it.
   40. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3044755)
Not in the Tyler Colvin fan club, I take it.

Never have been. Emeigh and I have had several disagreements. He will need an awful lot of batting average if he's ever going to be a successful hitter at the pro level and he's not producing it in the minors yet.

On a somewhat related note, Rosenthal says the Yankees are shopping Swisher and Nady. On the off chance that new Cub ownership expands the payroll limits and Hendry wants to do it, what would it take in addition to Pie to land Swisher?
   41. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:30 PM (#3044760)
what would it take in addition to Pie to land Swisher?

If you ask Ken Williams, probably an A-ball reliever.
   42. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:31 PM (#3044761)
On a somewhat related note, Rosenthal says the Yankees are shopping Swisher and Nady. On the off chance that new Cub ownership expands the payroll limits and Hendry wants to do it, what would it take in addition to Pie to land Swisher?

Where would the Cubs play Swisher? He's really not a serviceable CF and I don't think they want to move Bradley to CF. And I don't think that a new ownership group wants to convert Fukodome into a $12M/yr fourth outfielder (even though they probably do need to accept that he's a sunk cost).

Or is your thinking that between Lee, Soriano, and Bradley, there will be enough AB's available to Swisher and in the meantime they'll have a potent bat off the bench?
   43. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:33 PM (#3044767)
Or is your thinking that between Lee, Soriano, and Bradley, there will be enough AB's available to Swisher and in the meantime they'll have a potent bat off the bench?

If Pinella has shown one strong managerial ability it's that he can juggle pieces very well. I'm assuming that nobody really wants to give Swisher a starting spot right now.

Mostly I'm being fanciful. I doubt the Yankees would covet Pie when they already have Cabrera and I doubt Chicago would have any interest in adding Swisher.
   44. NTNgod Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:34 PM (#3044769)
On the off chance that new Cub ownership expands the payroll limits and Hendry wants to do it, what would it take in addition to Pie to land Swisher?

If the Yankees are interested in trading Swisher because they have too many outfielders, why would they trade him for another outfielder (with no options)?
   45. RJ in TO Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:36 PM (#3044773)
If the Yankees are interested in trading Swisher because they have too many outfielders, why would they trade him for another outfielder (with no options)?


I think it's obvious. Sabathia likes Pie.
   46. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3044775)
NTN, the Cubs don't have room for Pie because they have too many outfielders - so it's even.
   47. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:47 PM (#3044787)
NTN, the Cubs don't have room for Pie because they have too many outfielders

That's only if you stretch the definition to include Joey Gathright.

The Gathright signing seemed pretty harmless at the time, but the more you look at it, the more puzzling it seems.
   48. HMS Moses Taylor Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:50 PM (#3044797)
If you ask Ken Williams, probably an A-ball reliever.

Cubs got a few of those in the De Rosa deal.
   49. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: January 06, 2009 at 09:54 PM (#3044806)
Cubs got a few of those in the De Rosa deal.

Either the value of "C-" prospects has jumped sharply over the past few months, or the value of middling post-arb position players has precipitously dropped.
   50. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: January 06, 2009 at 10:01 PM (#3044817)
I doubt the Yankees would covet Pie when they already have Cabrera

Didn't they trade Cabrera to Milwaukee?
   51. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 06, 2009 at 10:04 PM (#3044820)
No, that deal was held up. Supposedly by the Yankees.
   52. RJ in TO Posted: January 06, 2009 at 10:04 PM (#3044821)
Didn't they trade Cabrera to Milwaukee?


The Cameron trade never went through, did it?
   53. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: January 06, 2009 at 10:20 PM (#3044837)
Ah, guess you're right. I can't keep track of what actually goes through and what doesn't anymore. So how'd Roberts do for the Cubs last year, anyway?
   54. Walt Davis Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:25 AM (#3044964)
The Cubs so far have taken a step back and right now it looks like everything hinges health.

The Cubs were quite lucky on the health front last year. There were 73 NLers who had 502 or more PA in 2008 and the Cubs had 7 of them (yes, Soriano barely made it in his 109 games).* The only position where they didn't get a "full" season out of one player was CF where they planned to platoon all along. On the pitching side, they got 125 starts out of Lilly, Z, Dempster and Maruis, plus 12 out of Harden and 5 out of Hill, leaving only 20 to be filled in by pitchers outside the intended rotation. In the pen, Wood, Marmol and Howry (who was supposed to be a top 3 reliever) were all healthy. We shouldn't expect that to happen again.

On the bench, seems they're already locked into Hill, Johnson, Gathright and a backup C. I don't think the Cubs will risk going without Cedeno (or someone similar) -- Hill might be able to play SS but they won't risk platooning him at 2B without an additional backup for SS and 3B. Hill's ability to play SS does mean that we could switch from Cedeno to more of a bat as long as that bat can play 3B but don't know if there are any of those lying around (a left-handed Ty Wigginton would be handy though). But I don't see room here for Hoffpauir or Pie. Don't be surprised if we see some Miles in RF action!

* In case you didn't notice, that's just 4.5 players per team. With the DH, the AL averages a little over 5. If you shift the minimum cut-off to 600 PA, you get 91 such players in MLB. Benches are important.
   55. Walt Davis Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:26 AM (#3044967)
Did we lose a draft pick by signing Bradley? We didn't offer Wood arb did we?
   56. NTNgod Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:28 AM (#3044968)
No on both counts.

Bradley's a Type B, so the Rangers get a pick, but not at the Cubs' expense.
   57. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:29 AM (#3044969)
they got 125 starts out of Lilly, Z, Dempster and Maruis, plus 12 out of Harden and 5 out of Hill, leaving only 20 to be filled in by pitchers outside the intended rotation.

Rich Hill should count as a lost season. Whether it was health or something else. That's a pretty significant loss even if they patched it up with Harden.
   58. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:42 AM (#3044971)
So what's the projection for wins this season, probably somewhere in the 89-93 win range.


Teams rarely project better than that. 97-win seasons are usually outliers in some respects. What do the Red Sox project? 95?
   59. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:49 AM (#3044976)
After the Teixeira signing, SG worked up W/L records using CHONE. I think it was NYY 96, BOS 94, TBR 90.
   60. greenback calls it soccer Posted: January 07, 2009 at 01:54 AM (#3044977)
Since they got Miles to cover SS

To repeat what I've said elsewhere, Miles's agent should give his commission to Tone La Russa. Miles is like Jeter with less athleticism and less arm.
   61. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 07, 2009 at 02:18 AM (#3044992)
The Rockies now look to have a Francis-Cook-Jimenez-Marquis-Smith rotation, which will be bland and mediocre as the team heads to another season of being a middle-of-the-pack team in a bad division.

One thing the Rockies never are is middle of the pack; they haven't landed between 76 and 90 wins since 2000.

But that rotation has the potential to be better than mediocre. Cook and Jimenez were both very good last year. Francis was hurt in 2008, but if he can get back to his 2007 form and the other two hold steady from 2008, that's over 600 innings worth of about 117 ERA+ out of your front three, which isn't too bad.

I don't know what to expect out of Marquis and Smith, but they do still have Franklin Morales, Jason Hirsh, Jorge de la Rosa and Greg Reynolds flailing around out there at various levels of the organization. There's no shortage of candidates for the rotation.
   62. Cabbage Posted: January 10, 2009 at 05:20 AM (#3048194)
Moises Alou.
   63. jingoist Posted: January 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM (#3048253)
If "Moises Alou" is the answer, what was the question?
Perhaps it was, "what current MLB player most resembles Dan Symborski's portrayal of two years ago of one Mr. R. Alomar"?
   64. EnderCN Posted: January 10, 2009 at 06:51 PM (#3048361)
"I know that people have said there's a couple issues that made them more vulnerable in the postseason"

These were pretty much excuses for the team playing poorly in the postseason. On the season the Cubs were almost even in OPS between RH and LH pitchers, they didn't lose because of an 'unbalanced lineup'.

I agree with others that the team's playoff chances went down with these moves. There is a very good chance that Bradley isn't healty come playoff time, Harden most likely wont be, Zambranos arm is starting to be an issue and it won't surprise me if he goes down this year. This is a team that will likely win the division but I don't see them going far in the playoffs without a lot of luck on the health front.

They have tread water in the offseason from a talent standpoint and they took on more risk while doing it.
   65. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2009 at 07:00 PM (#3048368)
The issues had mostly to do with injuries and a weak bench.
   66. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2009 at 07:23 PM (#3048383)
Cameron was not traded to the Yankees as NY not only wanted Cameron but for Milwaukee to pick up part of Mike's salary in 2009.

Fukudome crushed Milwaukee last season. If you take out his numbers against JUST the Brewers his season looks far worse.

The Cubs are the best team in the division. If I ranked them right now it would be Chicago, St. Louis/Milwaukee (pick'em), Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh. And frankly, I see the Astros completely hitting bottom in 2009. Houston is old, the few young players they have are flawed and ownership doesn't seem to have a plan. The Astros got 1001 breaks last season and did jackf*cking squat with that good fortune. Ty Wigginton? Kaz? Wandy?

Those guys were the backbone to the 86 wins which also happened with the team being outscored.

Houston has all the signs of a 69 win team...............
   67. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2009 at 07:32 PM (#3048388)
I think on paper the Cubs are probably the best but I think the Cubs question marks are bigger then the Brewers question marks.

I think most Cubs fans are going to be nervous about Zambrano's health. Harden will be a worry all season long. Fukudome looks to be a zero, Pie is a flop, Fontenot/Miles I don't think will inspire confidence in anybody. Bradley's health will be a worry all season long. Whether or not Soriano can stay healthy will be an issue. Which Dempster will show up, who is Derrek Lee.

It's kind of scary when your so called non-question marks are a second year catcher, a SS with one decent year, and Aramis Ramirez. None of them are certain of playing or playing well.

Cubs team can get ugly and they can get ugly fast.
   68. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 10, 2009 at 07:47 PM (#3048398)
McCoy:

Well, I understand your point and agree to some extent on Lee and Soriano. On Soriano I think the guy's body is beginning to break down. He's wound "tight" and between age and his playing style I think it's less and less likely he lasts for 500 odd plate appearances.

But I still like Felix. I think the kid just needs a chance. I am always an Aramis fan.
   69. McCoy Posted: January 10, 2009 at 08:04 PM (#3048422)
I'm an Aramis fan too but he does have a history of niggling injuries. He can hit and I expect him to play but it is not the most confident thing in the world when your surest bet to play guy has a history of niggling injuries.

Pie might turn into something but he probably isn't turning into something next year nor is he probably going to get the chance to do that in a Cubs uniform.

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