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   1. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: February 23, 2009 at 07:11 PM (#3083901)
Jake Fox made himself completely useless when he abandoned catching. Though he was already pretty useless as a catcher, as 39 PBs in 266 games attest.

You're right that the cubs could use a 3B backup, but I doubt fox can hit or field well enough to fill that role. Zips projects him to hit .244/.294/.434 which i suppose could have its uses off the bench, especially if he can play 3B which he barely has done in the minors. But most of that projection comes from tearing up AA as a 25 year old last year, whereas he was a below average hitter in his 30 games in Iowa. Fox is 26 & has had only 216 career ABs at AAA where he struck out 25% of the time.

Even if Fox did hit that projection, miles is still probably a better option for a 3B backup. There's not a huge difference between an OBP heavy .675 OPS & a SLG heavy .730 OPS. And whatever advantage Fox has offensively would probably be made up for by Miles' assuredly superior 3B defense. Of course, the problem there is that if Aramis Ramirez tweaks something without going to the DL & Miles is the backup, Fontenot would have to make starts against LHP.

To me, the ideal solution is to go with an 11 man staff and have both a 5th OF and a backup 3B. After all, what's the point of all of those starters in the bullpen if you can't stretch them out a bit? Of course, the Cubs would never go for an 11 man pitching staff, since they're having a hard time stuffing their options into 12 slots.

In my perfect world, the Cubs would go with an 11 man staff, sign Nomar for a milion or so and would go after Jim Edmonds. Nomar would provide another potential platoon option at 2B with Fontenot as well as some measure of Ramirez insurance. Edmonds would provide good Bradley & Fookie insurance in RF & center. The problem with that (and actually a problem with the Cubs fairly rigid roster construction) is that the Cubs would have a lot of players prone to boo-boos and almost no one on the roster whom they could option (Hoffpauir & Samardzija?) for replacements.

As for the roatation, it would be interesting for the Cubs to rotate Marshall & one of the righties in the 5th starter based on matchups and platoon splits. The Cubs should turn their starting pitching depth into a tactical advantage, since their fifth starter will probably get more starts than most teams'.
   2. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 23, 2009 at 08:07 PM (#3083959)
Thanks for the follow-up info on Fox. There are definitely better options for that roster spot, but I'm ragging on Gathright in a new way. Had the Cubs not signed Gathright, I maybe could have lived with Edmonds in a backup role, though I doubt he'd accept that. Then again, he did accept the semi-platoon last year just fine. Then again again, I think the Cubs were lucky with his performance last year and are wise to try going back to a possibly empty well another time. We are talking about a perfect world here, but that would have included holding onto DeRosa and not signing Miles. Speaking of Miles, I don't think he can play a passable 3b, his arm is weak at SS.

I like the idea for the 5th spot, but I wonder in today's era of assigned roles how well that would go over with the players.

Here's a link I missed, from Saturday. Sounds like Z is in mid-season form.
   3. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: February 23, 2009 at 09:18 PM (#3084042)
I agree that the Cubs were lucky last season with Edmonds, but if he could give a 110 or so OPS+ in a couple hundred ABs as an OF backup, I'd be pretty happy. CHONE has him at .228/.324/.465 next season. Basically, I'd see it as a move to acquire upside cheaply. The more I look into the Cubs' roster composition, the more I hope that the Cubs jettison Gathright and get a 3B backup.

Rumor / speculation has it, the A's are looking to sign Nomar for less than $1,000,000. Gathright cost $800,000. I'm sure that Nomar would contribute more in 30 games to the Cubs than Gathright would all season.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: February 24, 2009 at 05:46 AM (#3084417)
I just don't like this roster. We're looking at a bench of Bako, Hoffpauir, Miles, Gathright and Johnson. There's no flexibility there whatsoever and we're easily looking at 450-500 PA for Miles and plenty of time when he and Fontenot will be in the lineup at the same time. And I still don't think they're going to go into the season with Miles as the only backup IF.

Gathright is clearly the one to go -- at this point obviously you keep him around for spring training in case Fuku/Johnson get hurt (or god forbid Bradley or Soriano), but the Cubs have to recognize that he doesn't fit and they have flushed $800 K down the drain. (They also lost Pie but he'd be in the same spot as Gathright except you'd probably keep Pie over Hoffpauir.)

Anyway, it's just a horrible, Dusty-esque bench with a starting lineup which, if anything, will probably need more time off than last year (given likely unrepeatable levels of health last year plus they're a year older).
   5. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 24, 2009 at 03:55 PM (#3084607)
That's all true, Walt, but they're still the heavy favorites to win the division. And unlike Dusty, I trust Lou to work out the bench issues during the season. When guys aren't working out, he stops using them and they get replaced. The Cubs do have some wiggle room under the Tribune imposed budget (and although there haven't been any more stories lately about that issue, I hope a new owner is in place and Hendry has the option to make a couple deals during the season which is really his biggest strength).

Like TRHN said, the Cubs don't have as many guys with options this year to shuttle guys back and forth between Iowa. But there aren't as many guys there this year that will be useful as in years past.
   6. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: February 24, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3084729)
The problem is that the platoons don't quite fit together right. If you're going to have a 2nd base platoon (I assume that's why they signed Miles), the short end should have the glove to play SS and 3B. You can have a defensively challenged CF vs. LHP, but it's not a good idea when you're converting your RF into a CF. (Angel Pagan, if he were ever healthy, would be a good fit.)

I actually like the bench well enough if they can find a decent infield backup in the place of Gathright. Hoffpauir's bat should make up for his defensive problems behind soriano and Bradley. Gabor and Johnson both have clearly defined roles and are what they are. Aaron Miles has hit LHP at a decent enough .284/.352/.352 clip for his career & was .315/.377/.378 last season.

Which isn't to say it's perfect. Except for Hoffpauir, whom I'll be excited to see take a couple hundred ABs, it seems as if the Cubs could have done better. Miles has his uses, but there were better 2B options for the money. Even if Orlandos Hudson and Cabrera wouldn't take a backup gig, Grudzielanek or Durham are probably better bats than Miles and comparable fielders. I guess the main difference being that Grudz and Durham can't be butchers at SS. And if Ivan Rodriguez would take a backup role, Gabor looks like an overpay.

Heck, in this market, non-tendering Reed Johnson and keeping Pie might have made sense, too. (What the hell, Fookie hit about the same against LHP last season anyway.) Even though there wasn't an obvious Johnson replacement & Fookie mightneed a platoonmate, ultimately, replacing Johnson with Gathright or Pie in the offseason with a $2.2-2.7 million savings would have given the Cubs more flexibility to take advantage of this season's Johnson or Edmonds falling into their laps. As it stands, they'll either have to option Hoffpauir or cut Gathright.

Long story short, cut Gathright and sign Tony Phillips' 2009 equivalent.
   7. Meatwad Posted: February 25, 2009 at 02:35 AM (#3085417)
at least mamrol isnt going to pitch in the WBC, however i wish he wouldnt have pitched in the winter league
   8. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: February 25, 2009 at 03:08 AM (#3085445)
Yeah, what this team really needs is Mark DeRosa... someone that can ably play 3B for a couple weeks, RF for a couple more, and take over 2B if Fontenot flops.

But alas, where does one find a player like that?
   9. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 25, 2009 at 04:07 AM (#3085501)
at least mamrol isnt going to pitch in the WBC, however i wish he wouldnt have pitched in the winter league

I think he only pitched 10 innings, just like the Cubs asked. He left before the season was over.

Cubs are lucky to have their guys missing the WBC, the pitchers specifically.
   10. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 25, 2009 at 04:08 AM (#3085503)
But alas, where does one find a player like that?

I'm sure the Cubs could scrounge together a couple of nothing A-level arms...
   11. T-Long or Jerome Walton Posted: February 26, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3086631)
The Miles, Gathright and Bako signings really bother me when I think about them too much. Cedeno could play SS or 3b, and Pie is just a much better and cheaper version of Gathright.
   12. ugen64 Posted: February 26, 2009 at 07:10 PM (#3087158)
"The Miles, Gathright and Bako signings really bother me when I think about them too much. Cedeno could play SS or 3b, and Pie is just a much better and cheaper version of Gathright."

Yeah, but the difference is - Lou Piniella witnessed Cedeno and Pie's suckitude himself. He hasn't personally seen that Miles and Gathright are just as bad.

Imagine a bench of, say... Zaun (or some comparable cheap backup), Derosa, Pie, Cedeno, Johnson. Presumably Derosa would get those 500 PA that are currently slated for Aaron Miles, with Fukudome and Fontenot spending time on the bench... now that's a good roster. And I doubt it's much more expensive than the bench they have right now.
   13. Meatwad Posted: February 26, 2009 at 09:49 PM (#3087332)
why zaun? and why not hoff? he is a good left handed bat to have on the bench
   14. rickey steals third person Posted: February 27, 2009 at 12:26 AM (#3087509)
probably because zaun is a catcher...i like the idea of garciaparra (but would he come back to chicago?) he can play 1st, 3rd,2nd, and maybe a somewhat passable ss. if he's healthy, of course. but then, maybe as part-timer he is?
   15. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: February 27, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3087533)
Bradley left today's game with a tight quad...

Gathright went 3 for 3 and stole a base...
   16. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 27, 2009 at 04:34 AM (#3087671)
The 2nd sentence scares me more than the first, zonk.
   17. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: February 27, 2009 at 04:36 AM (#3087673)
Yeah, but the difference is - Lou Piniella witnessed Cedeno and Pie's suckitude himself. He hasn't personally seen that Miles and Gathright are just as bad.

This is a good point. Neither Pie or Cedeno really did a lot of things well for the big league time during Lou's tenure. Perhaps he had too short of a leash with Pie, but he didn't like something from the start with him. I only with it wasn't costing the Cubs over $3mil for Lou to see Gathright and Miles's suckiness up close.
   18. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: February 27, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3088533)
Hoff for MVP!
   19. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: February 28, 2009 at 05:48 PM (#3088854)
The 2nd sentence scares me more than the first, zonk.


Me too.

The Cubs just signed Corey Koskie to a minor league deal. It's a longshot that he can make it back (what's it been, 3 years?) - but that would certainly solve the backup 3B problem if he could.

That said, it seems it would probably be Koskie or Hoffpauir for the final bench spot - but I don't see room for both, right?

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