Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

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

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

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

   1. talbright Posted: October 13, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2209810)
Wow, Astros and Rangers at 45 and 46 years. We need to get our act together in Texas.
   2. Azteca Posted: October 13, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2209814)
my goodness...it sounds like Hendry is going to drop a lot of money on some pretty mediocre 30 year olds. that franchise is a waste.
   3. CFiJ Posted: October 13, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2209862)
Not that I'm bullish on our chances either, but consider that this wasn't really a .407 team. Injuries, Dusty, and just a general funk and unluck made it as bad as it was.
   4. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2006 at 06:23 PM (#2209881)
Random info . . . .

Partially inspired by the White Sox (where the fifth starters combined for 3-4 wins all year long), I've long wondered - what exactly is normal production from a fifth starter. Or a fourth starter. Or a second or third starter. Or an ace.

A couple days ago I checked the retrosheet info on the 2005 AL and divided up all starts for every team into one of those five categories. If a pitcher is removed from the rotation or misses a few starters, include his replacements with him, and tally up their starters ERA. About a dozen starters had their starts cut up into multiple sections, but overall it wasn't too difficult.

At any rate, here's the results on the normal production a team can expect from each of its 5 rotation slots:

#1 slot - 118 ERA+
#2 slot - 104 ERA+
#3 slot - 97 ERA+
#4 slot - 90 ERA+
#5 slot - 78 ERA+

Getting to the point, last year, in the 129 games Carlos Zambrano didn't start for the Cubs, starting pitchers had an ERA+ of 80. So yeah, no surprise - they really were a team of Carlos Zambrano and a bunch of fifth starters.

I sure as hell don't expect them to win the pennant, but they're a good bet to bounce back. Bounce back to where? Too early to tell.
   5. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2209895)
Not that I'm bullish on our chances either, but consider that this wasn't really a .407 team. Injuries, Dusty, and just a general funk and unluck made it as bad as it was.

I'd be willing to bet that some of these other squads that fielded sub .407 seasons could say the same thing.

Except the Dusty part, of course.
   6. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: October 13, 2006 at 06:43 PM (#2209900)
I'd be willing to bet that some of these other squads that fielded sub .407 seasons could say the same thing.

I think it's pretty safe to say that most teams with 95+ losses in a season could say the same thing. There aren't many "true" 95+ loss teams, just as there aren't many "true" 95+ win teams.

I really don't know what to think when I look at this Cubs team for 2007. Depending on how the young pitching pans out, they could be a really good team, and they could be awful. If I had to bet, I'd split the difference and say 80 wins next year, and whoever manages them will win Manager of the Year.
   7. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2209921)
Getting to the point, last year, in the 129 games Carlos Zambrano didn't start for the Cubs, starting pitchers had an ERA+ of 80. So yeah, no surprise - they really were a team of Carlos Zambrano and a bunch of fifth starters.

Very interesting stuff. More specifically, one could also say that they had:

a #1 (Zambrano) for 33 starts;
a #2-3 (Maddux/Hill) for 38 starts; and
a #5 for 91 starts.
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2006 at 07:12 PM (#2209938)
If you really want to get technical, they had 46 starts from guys whose starters ERA was worse than 78 (Marmol, Rusch, Prior, Guzman, Williams, Walrond, Ryu), and another 34 from guys (Mateo, Marshall) whose starter ERA wee barely better than that.

If you're wondering, the Orioles were actually a little worse. Through out Erik Bedard's 33 starts and their starters had an ERA+ of 77.

Worst overall starting staff? The Nationals. In their 162 games their starting pitchers had an ERA+ of 82. Smoooooth.
   9. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2006 at 07:13 PM (#2209939)
Oh yeah - average starting pitcher ERA+s in both leagues was 96 last year. That was also the average SP ERA+ for the 2005 AL which I based this study on.
   10. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: October 13, 2006 at 07:28 PM (#2209951)
Very cool #4 post, DN. Very cool, indeed.
   11. philliephanatic Posted: October 13, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2210095)
My issue with this is that your method of calculating stretch for .407 season to World Series is not consistent. Take the Phillies, for example. You have them listed as 8 years, based on their last sub-.407 season in 1972.

However, for all the active streaks of teams who have never won a World Series you have calculated from the franchise's first year of existence. Giving totals such as Houston's 45 years, even though they were under .407 in 1991. If you used the same methodology as the one you used with the Phils, then their number for next year would be 16, not 45. Reversing the methods for the Phillies would have given them 77 years, based on the first WS in 1903.
   12. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: October 13, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2210108)
Dag Nabbit,
I'm assuming that you assigned rank to pitchers based on their performance. So, Dontrelle Willis is counted as Florida's #2 or #3 starter, even though he was clearly designated the ace at the beginning of the season.
Is that right?

It would be interesting to see how it works based on actual rotation slot. For example, Philadelphia started the season
1. Lieber
2. Myers
3. Lidle
4. Floyd
5. Madsen
and you would count their stats in these slots plus whoever replaces them after trade, demotion, injury. It doesn't answer the question of what the Cubs need to do to contend, but it might say something about the merits of going into a season either:
- going to get a bonafide #2 starter
- keeping 4 or 5 candidates on hand to get solid production at the end of the rotation, given the probable inability of most teams to predict who will do well in those slots.
   13. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#2210114)
I haven't read anything in this thread, but...

Not realistic. They won't make the playoffs, and .500 would be a major accomplishment.

And if they cling to the delusion that they'll contend next year, they'll only make moves that hurt the team in the long run.
   14. Biscuit_pants Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2210129)
Not realistic. They won't make the playoffs, and .500 would be a major accomplishment.

And if they cling to the delusion that they'll contend next year, they'll only make moves that hurt the team in the long run.
Page 1 of 1 pages
Ok, I am sure this might sound a bit fanboyish but I really do not think this team would be lucky to get to .500. I think just the injuries and Dusty not being here this year would have gotten this team to .500. I think that Prior still has a chance to come back and pitch decent and Hill could be at worse average. Those two changes plus Lee coming back and Dusty leaving I believe can make this a .500 ballclub. With a couple decent FA moves or another one of the rookies coming through big your looking a WC, and if the division remains as week as it was this year I don't think winning the division is out of the question.
   15. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2210203)
Since the original point was "Big turnarounds...happen more frequently today than they did in the era before free agency," wouldn't it be more instructive to look at how teams have performed since their most recent <.407 record in the free agent era, rather than looking at their fastest rebounds from .407 alltime?
   16. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2210222)
Okay, lets look at how the Cubs really look right now:
C: Barrett
1B: Lee
2B: Theriot or FA
SS: Cedeno or Izturis
3B: Aramis or FA
LF: Murton or Murton/Jones
CF: FA or Pie
RF: Jones or FA

SP: Zambrano
SP: Hill
SP: Prior or FA
SP: Filled from within (Marshall?)
SP: Filled from within (Guzman?)

RP: Howry
RP: Ohman
RP: Weurtz
RP: Eyre
RP: Novoa
RP: (no idea)
RP: (Dusty's last pitcher)

Bench: Pagan
Bench: Bynum
Bench: Restovich
Bench: Blanco
Bench: Cedeno or Izturis
Bench: Murton/Jones or other player

Looking at that, it's not hard to imagine the Cubs being good again. It's like the winter of 2002, where a couple rookies playing well, good pitcher health, and a couple good FA signings, and we're suddenly in the thick of it, especially with the division being weak. Lee's injury, the team giving up, and various Dustakes all push the team down from their true talent level. If we simply progress towards the mean, that's at least 5 wins.

I'm not saying we will be good, but it's not as if the playoffs are impossible from where we stand. It'll just take some luck to make it.
   17. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:57 PM (#2210252)
and you would count their stats in these slots plus whoever replaces them after trade, demotion, injury. It doesn't answer the question of what the Cubs need to do to contend, but it might say something about the merits of going into a season either:

It can be tricky. I did as best as I could. For example, I'll start with the easiest team I looked at - the 2005 ChiSox. Six pitchers, four guys in one slot each and McCarthy and El Duque splitting the last slot. It helped that I remember them playing and following them.

A little trickier: the '05 Indians. Also only six pitchers. Three men get their own slot - Westbrook, Lee, Elarton. However, in Davis's four starts, he had one game spotting for Sabathia, and 3 for Millwood. In his Sabathia fill-in he had four ER in six IP, so add that to Sabathia for the Indian production in that slot. He allowed 7 ER in 17.7 IP when filling in for Millwood, so there's that slot. #1 slot is best ERA (Millwood/Davis in this case, and the worst slot is the worst ERA (Elarton in this case).

In all, I only had 26 one-man slots.

I'll run through the official team of deJesus Freak, the D-Rays, to show how it normally worked. I started by taking the main pitchers - Kazmir (32 GS) & Hendrickson (31 GS) and assigning them a top place in two different slots. Then I looked at Fossum (25), and Nomo (19), and Waetcher (25). Nomo began the year in the starting rotation, but Hendrickson and Fossum didn't. I put Nomo on top another slot, and went hunting. Fossum regularly started once installed in the rotation, and checking the daily logs for others, it was obvious he replaced Brazelton (8 GS) in the rotation. Fossum and Brazelton thus combined for a slot. I check on Kazmir and Hendrickson to see if they ever missed a start, and sure enough both did. Corcoran took Kazmir's last game, so they combined for a slot. Webb spelled Hendrickson once, so they combine for a slot. Now that's 33 starts in the Kazmir/Cororan slot, 32 in the Hendrickson/Webb one, and 33 in the Fossum/Brazelton one. Now there's 34 starts left to account for.

First, figure out who the other initial starting pitcher was. It was Rob Bell - 3 starts, 13.3 IP, 16 ER. He was replaced by Waetcher (25 GS), but Waetcher only lasted 12 starts before being taken out of the rotation. He came back when Nomo got dumped. So Waetcher's cut in two. He's got 12 starts with 69.7 IP and 49 ER with the Bell spot, and 13 GS, 74.3 IP and 47 ER while filling in for Nomo. Well, turns out he and Nomo accounted for every start in that slot between them in that slot. McClung (17 GS) replaced Waetcher in Bell's old slot and kept it the rest of the year. Here's how the D-Rays slots stack up:

1) Kazmir/Corcoran, ERA 3.78
2) Fossum/Brazelton, ERA 5.38
3) Hendrickson/Webb, ERA 6.17
4) Bell/Watcher (12 GS)/McClung, ERA 6.32 ERA
5) Nomo/Waetcher (13 GS) 6.58 ERA

It's a little more confusing than normal because only the D-Rays, Texas, and the Yanks had multiple pitchers in every slot (Randy Johnson missed two starts). The Rangers and Yanks were hell to do. The Yanks had 3 slots collapse at the same time, with guys coming in and out lasting only a start or two, multiple days off making it impossible to tell who was replacing who, and Randy Johnson missing two starts in the middle of it. In that case I take my best guess, and try not to make it any more complicated than I need to.

Most stats in a slot? Yanks' #1 with 36 (34 Johnson, 1 Proctor, 1 of Henn's 3 starts). Least? 27 - a few - Yanks' 3rd slot (13 Brown, 12 Chacon, 2 Henn), and Kirk Saarloss. Dangest thing. Saarloss didn't miss a start all year. The A's more than any other team appeared to use a day off to move their aces up rather than give them an extra days off. The A's also had the best fifth starter.

As long as I'm hijacking this -- other random facts: The seven teams with the best 4th starters also had the 7 best 5th starters (not in the exact same order though). These were also the seven teams with winning records. There was a huge split between 7th and 8th best fifth slot. Twins wree seventh at an ERA+ of 87, and Seattle next at 75.

The Royals best slot was 84. Yes, that's right, their best slot was worse than half the fifth slots in the AL that year. The worst slot of them all? The Royals' 5th slot at an ERA+ of 62. Second worst slot fo them all, with an ERA+ of 63, was the Royals' 4th slot. Man, that's a bad pitching staff. You know what made that KC #5 slot? Jose Lima and, well, just Jose Lima. Only 26 of 70 slots were held by one pitcher, but the worst slot was one of them. Wow Lima sucked. KC's #1 slot had 3 guys (6 Anderson, 20 Carrasco, 7 Howell) if you're curious.

One last thing. In Toronto, at SABR-Con that summer, a bunch of us spoke about how the Jays were the hardest sort of team to improve - really solid all over with no holes. Wrongo!. Here's the ERA+s for the each of their five slots including their rank among the 14 AL teams:

1st slot: 149 (2nd) - man Halladay was good!
2nd slot: 120 (2nd)
3rd slot: 119 (2nd)
4th slot: 86 (9th)
5th slot: 73 (9th)

If they'd just had ordinary lousy 4th and 5th starters, they would've had a winning record.
   18. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 09:58 PM (#2210258)
My issue with this is that your method of calculating stretch for .407 season to World Series is not consistent. Take the Phillies, for example. You have them listed as 8 years, based on their last sub-.407 season in 1972.

That's not true. I had listed the '72-'80 stretch because that was the shortest length of time that they went from <.407 to World Series champ.

The fact that it was the last such streak is coincidental. The whole point was to figure that -- on a historic basis and even at the most optimistically -- the chance of the Cubs going from .407 to winning the World Series next season is remote . . . and is pretty unlikely to happen in the next 5 years as well.


However, for all the active streaks of teams who have never won a World Series you have calculated from the franchise's first year of existence. Giving totals such as Houston's 45 years, even though they were under .407 in 1991. If you used the same methodology as the one you used with the Phils, then their number for next year would be 16, not 45. Reversing the methods for the Phillies would have given them 77 years, based on the first WS in 1903.

That's a good point. I'll fix it and recalculate.
   19. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: October 13, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2210281)
I'm assuming that you assigned rank to pitchers based on their performance. So, Dontrelle Willis is counted as Florida's #2 or #3 starter, even though he was clearly designated the ace at the beginning of the season.
Is that right?


So, my assumption was wrong. In that case, your findings really, really surprise me. The Yankees are good example. If you put Wang in the top spot (retroactively), his ERA counts towards the 1 slot, and Johnson's counts (probably in the #3), so it's not surprising that (doing this for each team) that the #1 slot does better than the #3. But, that's not what you did. In the Yankees' case, Wang helps (presumably) the #4 slot, Johnson drags down the #1, and you STILL get big drop offs.

One thing this tells me is that teams generally do a good job of identifying their aces and that they struggle to fill the bottom end of the rotation. I guess that's not too surprising, but still interesting.

Your comment in 17 addresses the question I raised in 12 - for many teams it might be more productive to sign 5-6 guys for $500,000 to $1,000,000 to compete for the last 2 slots than it would be to spend $5 million on a #2 starter.
   20. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 13, 2006 at 10:22 PM (#2210327)
so it's not surprising that (doing this for each team) that the #1 slot does better than the #3

Based on how I order them, they have to be. Best ERA is the #1 slot, 2nd best the #2 slot, 3rd at #3, fourth = #4, and fifth in the #5 slot.

The monstrosity that was the Yanks' 2005 rotation, if you're curious:

#1 slot: 34 Randy Johnson, 1 Scott Proctor, 1 Henn - 3.98 ERA
#2 slot: 30 Mike Mussina, 4 Aaron Small -- total 4.40 ERA
#3 slot: 13 Kevin Brown, 12 Shawn Chacon, 2 Henn -- total 4.85 ERA
#4 slot: 17 Wang, 4 Jaret Wright, 10 Al Leiter -- total 4.94 ERA
#5 slot: 17 Carl Pavano, 9 Jaret Wright, 5 Aaron Small, 1 Tim Redding, 1 Tanyon Sturtze, and I Derrek May -- total 4.99 ERA.

One of the smallest differences from top-to-bottom out there. They had the 9th best #1 slot, but tied for the fourth best #5 slot with Boston and Cleveland.

Your comment in 17 addresses the question I raised in 12 - for many teams it might be more productive to sign 5-6 guys for $500,000 to $1,000,000 to compete for the last 2 slots than it would be to spend $5 million on a #2 starter.

I dunno. I think having stable roles on a team helps everyone on the staff. Certainly helps the bullpen (the #2 slot tossed 2813.3 IP, the #5 slot 2428.3 IP).

What I get out of it is that the fifth slot really is a revolving door for most teams, and often the fourth slot is as well.

One thing I looked up: what's the difference between a team with a normal rotation and one who replaces their #5 starter with a #3 starter. I reckon it saves 20 runs a year -- 13 from the starter, and 7 from the bullpen in their reduced IP.
   21. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2210410)
Since the original point was "Big turnarounds...happen more frequently today than they did in the era before free agency,"

That was Miles's point; it wasn't McDonough's nor mine. Still it's worth refiguring, but with one caveat -- if a streak started before free agency and continued into it (say, the Phillies '72-'80 stretch), I think it's more fair to count the full 8 years, rather than just the 4 years of free agency. Nonetheless, I'll list both.

Here are the teams that change --

<u>Team</u>               <u>Years to Playoffs</u>            <u>Years to Championship</u>
Athletics           2 years (1979-81)            10 years (1979-89)
Braves              1 year (1990-91)              5 years (1990-95)
Brewers/Pilots     11 years (1970-81)/5 post FA   5 years (2002-Present)*
Cardinals          N/A***                        N/A***
Cubs                3 years (2000-03)            31 years (1976-Present)
Dodgers             3 years (1992-95)            15 years (1992-Present)
Giants              2 years (1985-87)            22 years (1985-Present)
Indians             4 years (1991-95)             6 years (1991-Present)
Mets                4 years (1982-86)             4 years (1982-86)
Orioles/Browns      6 years (2001-Present)        6 years (2001-Present)
Phillies            5 years (1988-93)             8 years (1972-80)/4 post FA
Pirates             4 years (1986-90)             6 years (2001-Present)
Reds                6 years (2001-Present)        6 years (2001-Present)
Red Sox/Americans  N/A***                        N/A***
Royals              1 year (2006-Present)        15 years (1970-85)/9 post FA
Tigers              3 years (2003-06)             3 years (2003-Present)**
Yankees            N/A***                        N/A***

Average:          3.9 years                    10.6 years

***These teams have not had a sub-.407 in FA era, the jerks.
   22. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 11:06 PM (#2210426)
Looking at that, it's not hard to imagine the Cubs being good again. It's like the winter of 2002, where a couple rookies playing well, good pitcher health, and a couple good FA signings, and we're suddenly in the thick of it,

Not only do I think the odds of good FA signings and good pitcher performance are slim, but the odds of all these things being true are highly doubtful.
   23. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#2210440)
I'll run through the official team of deJesus Freak, the D-Rays, to show how it normally worked. I started by taking the main pitchers - Kazmir (32 GS) & Hendrickson (31 GS) and assigning them a top place in two different slots. Then I looked at Fossum (25), and Nomo (19), and Waetcher (25). Nomo began the year in the starting rotation, but Hendrickson and Fossum didn't. I put Nomo on top another slot, and went hunting.

You should clarify that you are referring to the '05 Devil Rays, not this year's team.
   24. dcsmyth1 Posted: October 13, 2006 at 11:26 PM (#2210454)
The title is "A World Series in 2007...realistic?"

My answer is no, not realistic. A .500 or maybe above record is realistic. Given the division, a new manager, and smart moves within their possible range, a reasonable chance at a wild card is realistic.

But McDonaugh (sp?) is being clearly unrealistic, to the point of being a shoveller of sh*t, when he hones in on the WS. Even if the Cubs make the postseason in 2007, it's not "reasonable" to project them as some juggernaut with a greater chance than the generic 1 of 8 possibility.

So, let's say a 1/3 chance of making the postseason (generous, no?), followed by a 1/8 chance of winning the WS. That comes to only a 4% chance of winning the big one. And that's being generous, IMO.
   25. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 13, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2210476)
I should be more fair to McDonough -- he didn't say the Cubs will win the World Series next year; he simply said it's the Cubs goal to win the World Series ASAP . . . which should be every team's goal.
   26. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 14, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2210660)
I like McDonough saying that the WS is a short-term plan. It puts the spotlight on Hendry. The Tribune Company provides the resources for a winner, and so do the fans, so there are no excuses. Any organization with the resources should be able to make major strides in a year or two. If Hendry doesn't make progress toward that this year, he should be fired. Actually winning a WS is a crapshoot, and hopefully McDonough understands that, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that if the Cubs make major strides he'll be satisfied.
   27. rr Posted: October 14, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2211271)
With what the Tigers have done, I think it is understandable that McDonough is thinking this way (although in all likelihood, he is more influenced by the Red Sox 2004 and White Sox 2005 ).

I learn stuff every baseball season and one of the lessons of 2006 is how fast things can chnge for a team. If they are smart and get some breaks, the Cubs sure as hell can be in post-season in 2007, and if they are there...
   28. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 14, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#2211283)
I like McDonough saying that the WS is a short-term plan. It puts the spotlight on Hendry. The Tribune Company provides the resources for a winner, and so do the fans, so there are no excuses. Any organization with the resources should be able to make major strides in a year or two. If Hendry doesn't make progress toward that this year, he should be fired. Actually winning a WS is a crapshoot, and hopefully McDonough understands that, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that if the Cubs make major strides he'll be satisfied.

I like it that McDonough is putting the main goal front and center, rather than saying something like "we want to be a perennial contender" or "we want to go back to the post-season" (both the type of things that MacPhail or Hendry would say).

I also like the fact that he's putting some pressure on himself and Hendry in the short term. Even though history says it may typically take 8 years or so (give or take) for a World Series, the Cubs are certainly unlike most teams and -- just as importantly -- this year's Tigers are certainly proving that 8 years isn't necessary for a rebuilding plan to work. While I think it's unrealistic to expect Cubs management to deliver a World Series quality team in 3 years (as the Tigers have), it is certainly not wrong to demand significant progress from McDonough during that time.

Put another way, I'm not going to hold it against McDonough when the Cubs don't win the World Series in 2007, but if we're still seeing a team floundering around sub-.500 seasons in 2009-10 (hopefully after a GM change), my patience of McDonough will have worn pretty thin.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: October 14, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2211293)
Hey, just saying they want to win is the easy part. And it's not even going out and doing it that is the really hard part.

I've been watching the Cubs for 50 years. The hard part will be actually "wanting" to win, as opposed to saying they want to win. If they get the want part right, then maybe the doing will follow. But I'll believe it when I see it.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: October 15, 2006 at 11:07 AM (#2212414)
Folks, we haven't won a WS since 1908 ... I think I can wait 8 more years. :-)

Look on the bright side -- the Cubs' first 407 or worse team after 1908 wasn't until 1951, so our current streak is only 55 years which is short by Cub standards.
   31. CFiJ Posted: October 15, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#2212494)
Not that I'm bullish on our chances either, but consider that this wasn't really a .407 team. Injuries, Dusty, and just a general funk and unluck made it as bad as it was.

I'd be willing to bet that some of these other squads that fielded sub .407 seasons could say the same thing.


So am I, and I'm willing to bet most of those were the teams back in the playoffs/WS in 2 or 3 years. Calculating the averages for this strikes me as very much having one foot in boiling water and one foot in ice. The Cubs are not a team fielding a bunch of scrubs and AAAers because they want to be cheap and they've sold off all their high priced talent. The team has a nucleus of real talent to build around, and with the right moves (of course, easier said than done) could be right in the thick of it.

That said, the pitching of 2003 is never coming back, so Hendry and McDonough have their work cut out for them...
   32. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 15, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2212732)
The Cubs are not a team fielding a bunch of scrubs and AAAers because they want to be cheap and they've sold off all their high priced talent. The team has a nucleus of real talent to build around, and with the right moves (of course, easier said than done) could be right in the thick of it.

On one level, I agree with you completely.

On another level, however, I'd guess that a good portion of the other 66-win teams went into their seasons thinking they'd win a lot more than 66 wins as well. In hindsight, we can now go back and say that many of these teams were scrubs and AAAAers, but that only raises the question: What will hindsight say about the 2006 Cubs?

Yes the Cubs had injuries to key players . . . but there are lots of teams that had injuries to key players and won more than 66 games. Dusty aside, it seems that many of us are having things in two ways -- blaming Hendry for putting together a lousy supporting group, yet believing that this team is clearly better than 66 wins.

At a certain point, 66 wins should speak for itself and should make us question just how good some of our players truly are. Most of us already discount Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones, and to a large extent, we are already reassessing the value of Ronny Cedeno; I believe we should question our valuations of guys like Matt Murton, Michael Barrett, Aramis Ramirez, and our young pitchers as well.
   33. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 16, 2006 at 12:29 AM (#2212866)
This team clearly had a good enough core to win more than 66 games in 2006. A group of players, including Ronny Cedeno, that played a combined 50-60 runs worse than replacement level went a long way towards turning a 76 win team (taking into account their 70 win Pythag.) into a 66 win team. We can blame Hendry for a lack of depth at 1B, 3B and C. We can also blame him for having all of the Cubs' offensive above-averageness in 3 positions. But it's undeniable that the Cubs cost themselves a lot of wins, even after the injuries, by sub-optimal lineup decisions and personnel decisions. To me, it's questionable the extent to which Hendry should bear sole responsibility for those things. I think the 73-83 win predictions before the season weren't as far off as the number 66 makes it seem.

I'm not sure how changing our valuations of Barrett, Jones, Murton and Ramirez is going to help anything. Murton is a slightly above average LF (above positional average Eqa and above average defense) making 337K a year. Jones is a slightly above average RF (taking into account defense) making $4M in 2007. Barrett is an above average catcher making $4M in 2007. They all provide very good value when you consider their salaries and their production. That may make them attractive in trade, but unless the Cubs are getting two players for every one they trade, it's tough to see them coming out particularly far ahead in any deals. Considering the Cubs need for at least one middle infielder, a CF, a SP and possibly a 3B, it makes more sense for them to pour their savings into those positions.

Of course, I wonder if the Cubs know they need an MI. They probably feel set with Cedeno, Theriot and Izturis. I don't know what to think of Theriot, but if he can give us a 280/350/350 performance with pretty good defense at 2B, I guess I'd be satisfied with him.
   34. Buddha Posted: October 16, 2006 at 12:50 AM (#2212930)
Is anyone actually excited about McDonough taking over? The guy is a marketing man whose main talent is kissing Tribune company exec butt. Anything he touches as far as baseball is concerned will turn out very badly.

I don't see this ending well for the Cubs. Hendry will get canned if they don't win in the next two years and then the guy choosing his successor will be McDonough...who knows nothing about baseball other than how to sell it.
   35. and Posted: October 16, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2213080)
My answer is no, not realistic. A .500 or maybe above record is realistic. Given the division, a new manager, and smart moves within their possible range, a reasonable chance at a wild card is realistic.


I think their chances are better at winning the Central than winning the wildcard. I think they have a decent chance at the Central. it won't be strong. If they can improve to a true talent .500 team and catch some breaks, the division could be theirs. I wouldn't put any money on it or anything, of course.h
   36. CFiJ Posted: October 16, 2006 at 02:06 AM (#2213225)
Is anyone actually excited about McDonough taking over? The guy is a marketing man whose main talent is kissing Tribune company exec butt. Anything he touches as far as baseball is concerned will turn out very badly.

I don't see this ending well for the Cubs. Hendry will get canned if they don't win in the next two years and then the guy choosing his successor will be McDonough...who knows nothing about baseball other than how to sell it.


I think most are reasonably excited just because it's new blood. We had a baseball guy, with impeccable credentials. It didn't work out. On the other hand, for CEO we don't really need a baseball guy, we need a systems guy. Someone who can put the system on track. Is McDonough that guy? Who knows? I think we're all in wait-and-see mode.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: October 16, 2006 at 05:26 AM (#2213574)
I think most are reasonably excited just because it's new blood. We had a baseball guy, with impeccable credentials. It didn't work out. On the other hand, for CEO we don't really need a baseball guy, we need a systems guy. Someone who can put the system on track. Is McDonough that guy? Who knows? I think we're all in wait-and-see mode.

Good point. What the Cubs need of course is a consistent, productive system up-and-down the whole organisation. I don't think you necessarily need a baseball guy at the top to get that done.

The Cubs are not a team fielding a bunch of scrubs and AAAers because they want to be cheap and they've sold off all their high priced talent. The team has a nucleus of real talent to build around, and with the right moves (of course, easier said than done) could be right in the thick of it.

I'm in the yes-and-no camp as well. They do have real talent. But they are also reminiscent of those overpriced, underperforming O's and Dodgers teams. And reminiscent of many overpriced, underperforming Cubs teams of the past. It's a team with potentially no major holes other than CF and possibly one MI ... which of course are very tough positions to fill with top players. Their starters could be good (healthy Prior, effective Hill), average, or lousy.

The Cubs have never landed a top FA. The Cubs have never (that I can think of) landed any majorly productive middle-range FA (think Jermaine Dye). The Cubs have rarely/never come up with the good creative solution. And I seem to recall that we went over the budget here about a month ago and the Cubs don't have a lot of flexibility so unless we're talking a $120 M payroll, I'm not sure how much the Cubs can buy and I'm not sure there's much worth buying out there this year.
   38. Meatwad Posted: October 16, 2006 at 05:54 AM (#2213577)
hey now if he is as good at being ceo as he is at marketing this crap team then we are in for an amazing few years. only he could turn this pile of #### into something golden.

oh and everytime i see the title to this i always ask myself if i can get whatever it is djf is smoking
   39. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 16, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#2213687)
This team clearly had a good enough core to win more than 66 games in 2006.

I agree with this. My point, though, is that you can probably make a similar case for many other teams when they happened to win 66 games . . . only to eventually realize that those teams were nowhere near as good as what people thought at the time.

It's entirely possible that the Cubs should have won 73 games this year. Who knows? It just seems to me that the people that are so willing to say the Cubs will be a playoff contender next year assume that this team was more like an 83-win team, that lost 17 extra games due to injuries, bad luck, and mismanagement. I'm skeptical about that.
   40. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 16, 2006 at 02:21 PM (#2213698)
I think most are reasonably excited just because it's new blood. We had a baseball guy, with impeccable credentials. It didn't work out. On the other hand, for CEO we don't really need a baseball guy, we need a systems guy. Someone who can put the system on track. Is McDonough that guy? Who knows? I think we're all in wait-and-see mode.

I very much agree with this. To a large extent, I don't care if McDonough's background is in marketing, manufacturing, law, real estate, engineering, or accounting; what matters much more to me is whether he has good leadership, management, and administrative skills -- whether he hires good people, retains them, and brings the most out of them. That's far more important to me than the fact that he doesn't have a baseball pedigree. Jim Hendry is supposed to be the baseball mind (scary as that is).

OTOH, I am concerned to this extent -- McDonough isn't just a random marketing guy; he was the Cubs/Tribune's marketing guy. This concerns me to the extent that those above him (Fitzsimons, Kenney, et al.) may consider packaging to be just as important as the product itself. IOW, even if his role isn't supposed to be as a marketer, his superiors may have promoted him with this in mind.

Much more significantly, however, is my fear that as someone entrenched in the organization for the past 22 years, he's developed longstanding loyalties -- to Hendry, to Girardi, to Stone, to former Cubs, managers, broadcasters, and middle managers -- that will cloud his judgment and prevent him from making the changes that truly need to be made.

We'll obviously know this by the end of 2008, but I expect we may learn this sooner as well.
   41. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 16, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2213725)
The Cubs have never landed a top FA. The Cubs have never (that I can think of) landed any majorly productive middle-range FA (think Jermaine Dye).

George Bell? The Cubs signed him after his age 30 season, and among his top 10 comps at that time was Carlos Lee 2006. (Another was Dave Winfield 1982.)

Andre Dawson? The Cubs signed him after his age 31 season -- which admittedly is pushing the end of his peak, but (a) there aren't a ton of top FAs that hit the market at an earlier stage and (b) even then, his top comps included Dave Winfield 1983, Billy Williams 1969, and Harold Baines 1990.

Not that these were the most elite FAs in history, but they certainly weren't washed up second-tier stiffs either. I'd say that in '86, the only FAs that could be considered better would be Jack Morris, Tim Raines, and Willie Randolph -- and of course collusion prevented any of them from moving. (Then again, Dawson only came to the Cubs because he forced Dallas Green's hand.)

Likewise, in '90, I'd say that Darryl Strawberry and Jack Morris (again) were probably better ranked FAs than George Bell, but that's about it and neither were significantly better.

Yes, it's sad that I'm bringing up guys that were signed 16 and 20 years ago.
   42. McCoy Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2213745)
I don't see this ending well for the Cubs. Hendry will get canned if they don't win in the next two years and then the guy choosing his successor will be McDonough...who knows nothing about baseball other than how to sell it.


Well Sandy Alderson was just some lawyer and he ended up picking Billy Beane to be the GM of the A's. Just because McD isn't a baseball does that mean he doesn't know how to identify good managers to run the ship.
   43. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:45 PM (#2213782)
he Cubs have never landed a top FA. The Cubs have never (that I can think of) landed any majorly productive middle-range FA (think Jermaine Dye).

Not as productive as Dye because of a considerably less important role, but a comparison can be made about: Todd Van Poppel is to middle relief free agents what Dye is to starting RF free agents. They got a really exceptional year from here at a very low cost.

Top FA aren't necessarily majorly productive ones.

Best players to sign with Cubs as a free agent (not including things like Sandberg in 1996/7 off-season where he was through as a player):

Dave Kingman was a FA signing. He had one monster year. And other seasons as well.

Randy Myers.

Mark Grace twice signed as a free agent with the Cubs.

Wasn't Dunston retained as a FA at least once?

Todd Walker.

Vance Law made an all-star team with them.

Moises Alou.

Henry Rodriquez.

Dennis Eckersley.

Jaime Navarro. Don't laugh -- he pitched good for them.

Kevin Tapani.

Rick Sutcliffe was a free agent immediately after winning the Cy Young Award.

Greg Maddux's return.

Mike Morgan.

Misused, but LaTroy Hawkins actually pitched pretty damn well for them.

Tom Gordon.

Mike Remlinger, I guess.

Les Lancaster was an amateur free agent.

Eyre & Howry were both pretty dang good.

Fergie Jenkins was pretty damn good in '82. Combine that with how bad the club was in '81 and the fan goodwill the club actually needed to build up pack then, it was a very nice signing.

Andre Dawson, though this perhaps shouldn't count due to the role collusion played on that signing.

Weird one: Michael Barrett was granted free agency six days after the Damian Miller trade, but signed with the Cubs that same day.

Some of these guys were retained as free agents, but so what. If they've been granted free agency the Cubs have to bid for their services just the same as everyone else.
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2213786)
Eckersley and Rodriguez were acquired in trade. (Was Eck a FA after '84? I don't remember. I know Sutcliffe was.)
   45. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 16, 2006 at 03:58 PM (#2213797)
Both were acquired in trade, played for a year, and then signed as FAs. Eck was staff ace in '85 before faltering in '86. Henry was good for a year & a half before getting traded.
   46. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 16, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2213799)
I don't think it takes a great deal of imagination to come up with a "perfect storm" scenario under which the Cubs are a team that wins 95 games without much help from the FA markey. Prior stays healthy, Aramis stays on the team, Pie earns a call-up in May and puts up a mid-700 OPS, Theriot and Patterson both hit capably, Gallagher is up from AAA in May and pitches like a #3 starter, Veal is up by June and pitches like a #3 starter. Each of these things is possible on their own, but I don't think it's very realistic to count on these things happening in 2007. But, to some extent, they are what the Cubs need to happen to be successful longterm.

The answers to the Cubs problems aren't going to come from the free agent market. The only real answer out there might be Julio Lugo, whom the Cubs might need since there aren't any internal options at SS and Ronny Cedeno / Cesar Izturis aren't good short term solutions. Other than that, the Cubs might be forced to sign a marquee free agent pitcher and hope to have a very good rotation supporting a mediocre offense.

I don't see the Cubs making themselves significantly better in trade. The only depth they have is in B/B- pitching prospects and those guys aren't all that likely to garner much in return. So if the Cubs have any valuable trading chits, they'll just be opening up a hole at one position to fill a hole elsewhere. I suppose the Cubs could deal someone like Murton or Jones for a player at a more premium position and try to replace 4/5s of their production with a retread.
   47. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 16, 2006 at 04:17 PM (#2213813)
Each of these things is possible on their own, but I don't think it's very realistic to count on these things happening in 2007. But, to some extent, they are what the Cubs need to happen to be successful longterm.

This is the danger of building the 2007 Cubs with the goal of competing for a World Series title in 2007. The best the Cubs can realistically hope for next year is maybe a 5% shot at the World Series, but in order to even do that they'd probably have to throw big money at one major free-agent outfielder and one or two free-agent starters, and while that might boost their chances a little bit next year, it won't make them any kind of favorites, even within the weak-ass NL Central. But it'll tie up budget and roster spots going forward in ways that will most likely HURT the Cubs chances to be real contenders in 2008, 2009, and beyond.

As Mr. Nugent says, the best chance for the Cubs to be contenders is to develop championship-caliber pieces from within - Pie, Patterson, Gallagher, Veal, as well as Hill, Murton and, if we're lucky, Prior (health) and Cedeno (performance). Signing big-buck free agents will result in blocking those guys from contributing and tying up resources that will prevent the Cubs from being able to fill in the pieces they're going to need in future years when they're more realistically one or two pieces away from contention.
   48. McCoy Posted: October 16, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2213827)
I think when most people say that the Cubs have never signed a big free agent they are not considering the Cubs own players who end up resigning with the team. So yes Mark Grace was a free agent and the Cubs resigned him but nobody was saying "Alright we landed Grace" since everybody pretty much viewed him as a Cub and not as an addition to the team.
   49. RollingWave Posted: October 24, 2006 at 10:04 AM (#2222911)
I think it's not out of the realm of possiblity for the Cubs to make a run at the playoffs next year, espically with the crapshoot of a division that is the NL central these days. the Astros are looking at rebuilding.. the Cardinals need 3 new SP and/or possibly a closer. the Reds practically traded away their future for a bunch of junky middle relievers while the Pirates are .. the Pirates. the only team with some seirous upsdies next year is the Brewers, but thats what we thought this year too, and it didn't work out. And in truth, if the Cardinals showed us anything this year it's that once your in, the weirdest things can happen.

So is it possible for the Cubs to win next year? sure, is it reasonable expectation? not by a mile.

They have a completely unproductive middle infield, a OF of guys that's either extremely average (Murton) or have serious holes in their games (Jones..) i don't think it's reasonable to ask Pie to step in CF to start next year and expect him to perform. and that's only the offense. while I agree without Dusty and a healthy season of Lee should at least propell the Cubs out of dead last in offense. Unless significant improvements from Murton/Cedeno and/or Jones not regressing ( high avg no OBP guy is a big candidate to have huge fluctuation years) they won't even be in the middle of the pack in scoring runs.

That is not even getting into the pitching, Zambrano is obviously great, Hill is good but still if ur counting on him to be more than a 3 right now it's very risky, Mark Prior may or may not be healhty, and the rest is even more questionable than Prior's health. with a closer that's not dependable either. it's hard to think this team can make it without a lot of things clicking their way.

if you want my take, i rather sign Ray Durham than Soriano, Durham will sign a shorter deal, plays 2B (and pray that Cedeno and Iztruis will at least improve a little) and sign Dave Roberts. the idea is you can make short term runs without locking too many things up so your still open to changes if things don't work out.

Of course, knowing that, they probably end up trading Zambrano/Prior/Hill/Soto for A-rod and have another joke of a season where they manage to score plenty of runs but gets blasted day after day.
   50. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 24, 2006 at 10:25 AM (#2222917)
The worst part is that the two-time champion Chicago Cubs have yet to win the World Series in their new stadium.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
1k5v3L
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.4437 seconds
53 querie(s) executed