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   1. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2194753)
So Jones's throwing arm doesn't work. Who knew?
   2. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: October 02, 2006 at 07:57 PM (#2194757)
If the Cubs training staff plays its cards right, they could have another Henry Rowengartner on their hands.
   3. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2194764)
Jones is still complaining about his treatment. Well, then don't show up with your big new contract and suck in every facet of the game for the first month you're here.

I wish he'd just had the surgery this year if there were problems. He didn't do anyone any good by continuing to play. It's not like the Cubs were in the running for anything.
   4. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2194787)
Well, one thing's for sure: he doesn't belong in RF. Jones and Murton would actually make a nice platoon in LF. Murton may emerge as something more than a platoon player, but I think it would be a good option for 2007.
   5. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2194804)
I really hope they don't platoon Murton. If the concern is he's not hitting RHP well enough, the wrong thing to do is put him in a situation where he never faces them.

I think Murton's ceiling is solid - .850 OPS, 50-60 XBH, .370+ OBP, 18-20 HRs. There's no reason to give up on that so early in his career. I'd release Jones and eat his contract before I platooned Murton.
   6. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:33 PM (#2194817)
I think Murton's ceiling is solid - .850 OPS, 50-60 XBH, .370+ OBP, 18-20 HRs.

That's still nothing special. Murton is a reasonable option in LF, but I see someone who probably belongs in the AL and is probably best-suited to platooning in LF.

As for the concern that he doesn't hit RHP well enough, it's not the concern. He had a .870/.782 split, which isn't extreme. He's young, and he may well be good enough to play every day in LF some day. A year of platooning won't hurt him, I don't think. Sure, I'd rather see the Cubs get someone better than both of those guys, but Jones is almost certainly staying and there's one position that he can play.
   7. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:35 PM (#2194822)
Since the ASB, vs. RHP:

Murton .338/.398/.530.

Jones .263/..343/.468

Murton does not need to be platooned.
   8. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:39 PM (#2194832)
A year of platooning won't hurt him, I don't think.

But it's not going to help him, either.

He put up a .900+ OPS in the second half of the season, and .900+ OPS at Wrigley Field this year. And I think even at .850 with a high OPS and 18-20 HRs, that's good enough. That's basically Mark Grace. He's a cheap solution for the next five years, which is something that every team needs.

I wouldn't rather see the Cubs get someone better than Murton. I'd rather see them take that money and use it to upgrade at 2B or SS or CF or anywhere on the pitching staff. They'd get a lot more marginal value for their money putting it into another position than they would going from $500K for Murton's .850 OPS to $10M+ for someone else's .925 OPS.
   9. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2194834)
Since the ASB, vs. RHP:

Murton .338/.398/.530.


That's what, 200 PAs?
   10. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#2194838)
That's what, 200 PAs?

Isn't it promising that the numbers got better instead of worse? Murton was able to hit RHP in the minor leagues - is it possible that he's now adjusted to major league pitching and can continue this? It's not like he started well and kept looking more and more overmatched - he started poorly, and he got better. Someone on the Cubs may have actually *learned* something, in spite of our terrible coaching staff, for the first time in recent memory.

Why look at that and just give up on him by sticking him in the short half of a platoon?
   11. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2194842)
I think Murton's ceiling is solid - .850 OPS, 50-60 XBH, .370+ OBP, 18-20 HRs.

I think that sells Murton short. In his major-league career, he's got 668 PA, which is reasonably close to a full season's worth, with an .832 OPS, 42 XBH, .370 OBP, and 17 HRs. Basically, if he doesn't improve another lick, he's doing what UCCF's quoting here.

His CEILING, on the other hand, is well north of that - I'd say he's got a ceiling of .400/.500 w/ 30 HRs. Now, is he likely to do that next year? No, but neither are the Cubs likely to contend for a World Championship next year whether they platoon Murton/Jones or not.

Certainly, Jones should have a platoon partner (or be traded), and, sure, ideally you'd like his platoon partner to be a young, cheap guy with some upside who can slide into the position full-time as Jones ages. Those guys are tough to come by, no doubt, but I think the Cubs would be better-served spending their money up the middle of the diamond than paying retail prices at the corner outfield slots.
   12. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2194849)
That's what, 200 PAs?

Roughly. But not significantly greater than the number of PAs he had against RHP before then, when he was being fairly strictly platooned. Yet those initial PAs seem to have been enough to persuade some folks that Murton couldn't hit RHP.

I think it also worth noting that Murton was, allegedly, making swing adjustments under the tutelage of Gene Clines during the first half of this year when he struggled mightily. What is unarguable is that since late June Murton has been handling just about anything thrown his way.

Furthermore, his fielding has taken big steps forward. He plays the vines and the well much better nowadays and is much more adept at getting back and into position for deep flies than he was earlier in the year. He hits the cut-off man with regularity and, last-game fumble apart, has shown sure hands.

Murton posted decent sophomore year numbers and has been on an upward curve for the latter half of the season. Barring a truly big bopper arriving, he should be the every day LF next year.
   13. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:55 PM (#2194852)
Seeing that this year Murton hit .297/.365/.444, the real ceiling you see is primarily in SLG -- can he add 40-50 pts?

I should also observe that among 2006 OFs, here are the ones closest to .370/.480 (850 OPS):

Adam Dunn .234/.365/.490
Nick Swisher .254/.372/.493
Gary Matthews, Jr. .313/.371/.495

I certainly don't believe Murton is an Adam Dunn (though it should be mentioned that this is an off year for Dunn). I also believe that Murton is no Gary Matthews, Jr., who I believe had an unusual peak year.

That leaves Swisher. The comp actually seems fair to me, though this has been Swisher's best season and, at age 25, is likely to improve beyond this. Also, Swisher's 61 XBHs included 35 HRs.

As for a Jones/Murton platoon, I'd be in favor of it on a temporary basis under one condition -- the team goes out and acquires a major bat to play RF. If they go with this platoon just so they can get Angel Pagan into the lineup or even another FA like Jones, the move is asinine.

If they do acquire such a player, though, I would support a platoon, the idea being that it would be for a maximum of 2 seasons (the end of Jones's contract).
   14. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 08:58 PM (#2194856)
But it's not going to help him, either.

I didn't bring up the impact on his development, you did.

He put up a .900+ OPS in the second half of the season, and .900+ OPS at Wrigley Field this year. And I think even at .850 with a high OPS and 18-20 HRs, that's good enough. That's basically Mark Grace

Well, he hasn't done that yet, and guys who hit consistently like Mark Grace don't come around too often.

Look, I'm not suggesting discarding Murton like a used condom, I'm suggesting platooning him at age 24. I don't believe Murton is the hitter he was after the ASB any more than I believe he was the hitter before it. I'm taking the total evidence at hand into consideration, which shows that he is overall an average hitter for the position.

The Cubs have two guys under contract in 2007, both limited to playing LF. Both project to be averagish hitters at that position, and they have complementing strengths. People might not like to see playing time given to the overpriced veteran and see a limited role for the young guy, but sometimes that's what's best. Sure, the Cubs should trade Jones, but if he's on the roster I say utilize him to maximum effect. A Murton/Jones platoon could be very strong, and I think the situation begs for it.
   15. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2194860)
As for a Jones/Murton platoon, I'd be in favor of it on a temporary basis under one condition -- the team goes out and acquires a major bat to play RF

Well, they're going to have to find someone to play RF, because they sure as hell aren't going to be able to cart Jones out there again.

Yet those initial PAs seem to have been enough to persuade some folks that Murton couldn't hit RHP.

Well, I never said he couldn't hit RHP, beyond recognizing that he is an average hitter for the position, whereby a typical platoon split makes him an obvious candidate for a platoon partner. And the Cubs just happen to have someone on the roster who fits a similar description. If Murton indeed can outhit Jones against RHP, then by all means don't platoon them. At this point, I don't believe Murton will hit RHP better than Jonesin 2007, with the assumption that Jones' injuries will not affect his hitting in 2007.
   16. Rally Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#2194863)
I wouldn't platoon Murton.

He's younger. Jones is gone after 2007. Murton's a better player right now. Easy choice to me.

If Jones can play RF, fine. If he can't, then he's a highly paid backup, but a sunk cost.
   17. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#2194866)
You know what's difficult about words like 'platoon', 'young', and 'veteran'? I, at least, am projecting Dustythink onto these otherwise innocent terms.

That aside, I concur with dJf's take on the situation. Sign a quality RF and Murton/Jones in LF makes some sense. Otherwise, no.
   18. Rally Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:13 PM (#2194877)
Maybe Murton's not a better player - just checked the numbers and Jones had a better year than I thought. I'm 90% certain that Murton is better going forward.
   19. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2194881)
This might be a really stupid idea, but what about sticking Jones in CF (again, ideally with a platoon partner)? He's actually played there some as recently as 2005 and his lollipop arm can't possibly be worse than Pierre's, can it?

Ideally, the Cubs have two serviceable outfielders under contract for next season - one of whom probably needs a platoon partner. Putting Murton/Jones in one position leaves two holes to fill, which becomes a problem when you consider that the Cubs probably only really have 2 sure things in their starting rotation right now (and that assumes that Rich Hill is a sure thing) and the worst-hitting middle infield in the majors. Not to mention there's a chance they're going to need to be in the market for a third baseman (or, more likely, they're going to have to blow a huge chunk of their budget to retain Aramis).

The Cubs have more holes to fill than they have the resources to fill them. Creating a Jones/Murton platoon just adds one more hole to fill (while admittedly filling the need to find a platoon partner for Jones).
   20. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#2194889)
All due respect, Andere, but I think you're beating Matt Murton with your Rich Hill Flogging Stick here.
   21. Spahn Insane Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#2194893)
BTW, Jones is under contract through '08.

I think Murton's going to be a less brittle version of Rusty Greer. That's not Manny Ramirez, but it's not something you place a priority on replacing or marginalizing, especially on a team with as many holes as the Cubs have.
   22. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2194894)
Well, I never said he couldn't hit RHP,

No. And I never said that you did, Andere. Neither did I intend to imply it. I was suggesting that the questionable sample size had been considered good enough earlier for a lot of people to form an opinion.

Murton's supposed inability to hit RHP was a fairly commonplace belief around Cubs blogs last post-season and it was certainly the view taken by Baker and compny both when he was returned to Iowa last August and again this year when he shared time with Pagan, Bynum and Nevin.
   23. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2194898)
The Cubs have more holes to fill than they have the resources to fill them. Creating a Jones/Murton platoon just adds one more hole to fill (while admittedly filling the need to find a platoon partner for Jones).

That's my biggest problem with all of this (beyond the idea that Murton doesn't need to be platooned, and platooning him just stunts his development). The Cubs are in terrible shape and should prioritize half a dozen things (at least) well ahead of pursuing a corner OF bat.

The Jones to CF idea is intriguing. He becomes the short-term CF placeholder while Pie develops (hopefully), and after 2007 when there's just one year left on that contract it might not be that hard to move it if they need to.

That's probably the best solution I've heard, assuming he can handle the position defensively.
   24. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#2194900)
All due respect, Andere, but I think you're beating Matt Murton with your Rich Hill Flogging Stick here.

Hey, I wouldn't be so quick to pencil Rich Hill in as a sure thing for 2007 either.

In any case, I think we have a much better idea of what sort of player Murton is going to be in 2007 than we had about Rich Hill in July when I was voicing my lack of confidence in him.
   25. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:31 PM (#2194904)
IIRC, Jones came up as a CF and only wound up as a RF because of Torii Hunter's presence.
   26. Neil M Posted: October 02, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2194912)
It seems to me that we're rehearsing the pros and cons of the Dubois/Hollandsworth situation here (at least up until we knew that Dooby was a statue in LF and couldn't hit a curve if it surrendered over the plate).

It's difficult, to me, to justify platooning a RHB when he has spent most of his minor-league years facing RHP. To have reached the majors he has to have shown enough ability in those situations or he wouldn't have been promoted in the first place. It becomes tougher when it almost certainly means that he's on the short end of the platoon and thus spends a lot of time riding the bench.

It does make some sense to platoon a young lefty when he first comes up.
   27. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2194933)
The Cubs penciled Murton into the LF spot and got above average production from LF. In fact, they improved their OF as a whole, going from the worst group of starters in baseball in 2005 to an above average group in '06. If solid minor league numbers and a season and 1/3 of above average production isn't enough to convince you about Matt Murton, then there's not much that will. Considering his defense, which I think is excellent, Murton could actually take a step back offensively and still be an above average LF.

And the Rich Hill doubts don't make any sense to me. The Cubs have a guy who had one of the best breaking pitches in the minors, an above average fastball (for a lefty) and a developing change. So what if he's old? All that means is that the Cubs probably shouldn't buy out any free agency years when the time comes. It's not as if his final career win total is going to matter to the Cubs after he exhausts his arb eligibility (assuming he stays healthy). Scouts like Hill a lot and he has a great performance record; considering he's done it against AAA and major league competition, I don't see any more reason to doubt his effectiveness than I would a similarly situated top prospect. He might not be a #2 starter, but he's a decent bet to be at least average if not better next year. Sure he's not a sure thing, but if you take your doubts that far, then no one is a sure thing.
   28. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 02, 2006 at 10:27 PM (#2194941)
The Cubs have two guys under contract in 2007, both limited to playing LF. Both project to be averagish hitters at that position, and they have complementing strengths. People might not like to see playing time given to the overpriced veteran and see a limited role for the young guy, but sometimes that's what's best. Sure, the Cubs should trade Jones, but if he's on the roster I say utilize him to maximum effect. A Murton/Jones platoon could be very strong, and I think the situation begs for it.

That's close to how I feel. If the Cubs create a Joneston platoon, I don't think it's a statement about Murton as much as doing something out of necessity -- I don't believe they will be able to get rid of Jones and I believe the jury is still out on Murton, to some extent, so I could support a make-do arrangement if need be.
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2006 at 10:40 PM (#2194952)
The Cubs have two guys under contract in 2007, both limited to playing LF.

Why is Murton limited to LF?
   30. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 02, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#2194966)
How are the Cubs going to improve substantially over two players with good defense and Eqas in the upper 270s without giving long term, expensive contracts to at least one player over 30? Who would that player be? Frank Catalanatto? Moises Alou? Torii Hunter? Carlos Lee? Trot Nixon? Sheffield? Soriano? Matthews, Jr? Cliff Floyd?

Some of those might be fun, but it's not like there are a whole bunch of clear upgrades. Nixon is injury prone. Sheffield is best left at DH. Lee and Floyd would probably both be limited to LF. If the rumors are true, Soriano would play CF if the Cubs signed him. No one seems like a particularly good fit, except for maybe Bonds (which would be pretty sweet, imagine Murton starting in place of Jones against LHP and resting Bonds against RHP). The Cubs' best course of action would be to suck it up and stick Murton in RF in the hopes that his range would make up for his below average arm. (Which it almost assuredly will; OF arm is overrated and worth far less than fielding).
   31. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: October 02, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2194969)
Hey, I wouldn't be so quick to pencil Rich Hill in as a sure thing for 2007 either.

What, you think they can find three starters on the market better than him? Four if Prior isn't healthy?

I know Jones's arm has looked awful in right but if his arm isn't costing the Cubs more than ten runs next season they should really focus their efforts elsewhere on the roster. Perhaps they can implement Andere's 'Marginalize Rich Hill... Again!!!' plan into action :)

[please note smiley]

Why is Murton limited to LF?

He has a pretty weak arm but I'd like to see the SLWTS spread to see how much those weak arms really cost a team. Again, if his arm isn't costing the team more than ten runs or so I think Chicago should start both of their corner OFs again in 2007.

And the Rich Hill doubts don't make any sense to me... So what if he's old?

IIRC, the development curve for pitchers isn't nearly as neat as it is for hitters. Does anyone have any data on this?
   32. John DiFool2 Posted: October 03, 2006 at 12:17 AM (#2195003)
It was 4 posts in before some clued me in that it wasn't Chipper or Andruw.
   33. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 03, 2006 at 12:22 AM (#2195011)
Tangotiger did an aging study on pitchers that came to pretty weird conclusions:

"Hit batters and walks remain with a peak of age 39. K rates peak at age 25 (and that's as high as I can get it). HR rates peak at age 21, but are fairly static between age 23 and 35. Hits allowed on balls in park are essentially completely flat (i.e., pitcher's ability does not change)."

In other words, you're best off not coming to any firm conclusions about a pitcher based on career arcs.
   34. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: October 03, 2006 at 01:20 AM (#2195047)

IIRC, the development curve for pitchers isn't nearly as neat as it is for hitters. Does anyone have any data on this?

Sheesh... Can't we use the ol' CW for anything anymore (...never give up on a lefty before age...).

As far as Jones - I think the problem is that -- even with MacPhail and Baker gone, I still don't think anyone in this organization sees him as the platoon player he richly deserves to be. There are likely to be a couple fairly cheap options on the market - but they're exactly the same player as Jacque Jones (I'm thinking Klesko and Jenkins).

I'm all for calling Jones sunk costs - he did post pretty good counting stats, so I don't think he's unmoveable.... especially if the Cubs will eat some of the contract.

Platooning Murton, I think, is pointless. Even assuming a Jones platoon with Murton would mean 3-5 more wins (and I think that's probably stretching it), I'm not seeing much difference between 75 and 80 wins.

I'm a Hill believer -- that shutout of Cincy was probably the best Cubs pitching performance I saw all year --- and that includes Zambrano (to be honest, I did miss a couple good Z starts). He was far and away the best Cubs hurler in September -- and you just can't ignore those 650 minor league Ks. If Prior can put together some semblance of a healthy season, if Zambrano continues to defy the injury odds -- I can live with a 1-2-3 core of Zambrano, Prior, and Hill. I think it's a mess after that -- maybe Girardi can bring some of thoese former Cub hurlers back into town with him.

I think the big question is going to be what A-Ram does... If Rameriz leaves - and I'm betting he does - then I really wonder if you don't rip the whole thing up.

Keep the guys who'll be cheap for a couple more years -- Murton, Hill -- maybe give Zambrano a big deal (though... if Rameriz leaves, I'm listening to offers on Zambrano because I think we're in for one "those" 3-5 year periods).

I don't see this team coming close to contending any time soon - at least, not without one of those '89 type all breaks go our way type of years. I just don't see where the fundamental problem with the Cubs offense -- consistently horrid OBP -- has any quick fixes. Hell, even Lee's walk rate has been dropping even since he donned the blue pinstripes.

Maybe the most refreshing thing I heard to day was Jim Memelo, of WGN, no less harping on precisely this point... that the Cubs simply don't appreciate walks and it's been proven time and time again that the good teams do.
   35. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: October 03, 2006 at 01:27 AM (#2195050)
BTW...

I know no one cares -- but in a 12 team NL only roto league, I came back from a 30 pt deficit in July to overtake the near wire-to-wire league leader and win by a single point on the final 2 days of the season...and Ryan Theriot replacing an injured Ryan Freel probably won it for me.
   36. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 03, 2006 at 01:41 AM (#2195057)
It's difficult, to me, to justify platooning a RHB when he has spent most of his minor-league years facing RHP. To have reached the majors he has to have shown enough ability in those situations or he wouldn't have been promoted in the first place

You seem to be characterizing platooning as punishment for being bad at hitting RH or LHP. Again, I don't think Murton has any particular problem with RHP. The problem is how I see Murton projecting as a hitter in the short-term: average for a LF. Murton put up a .782 OPS against RHP, which isn't all that bad. .800 against RHP next year is perhaps a realistic projection. However, if you have a guy who projects to put up an .840 OPS against RHP, and no place else but LF to play either guy, I think you go with the platoon.

Ideally, the Cubs would trade Jones and if they did, it would probably be best to use Murton as an everyday player.

What, you think they can find three starters on the market better than him?

No, and I fully expect and support Hill getting a spot in next year's rotation. My point is that I won't be at all surprised if the pre-August Hill shows up.

He has a pretty weak arm but I'd like to see the SLWTS spread to see how much those weak arms really cost a team. Again, if his arm isn't costing the team more than ten runs or so I think Chicago should start both of their corner OFs again in 2007.

Maybe, but that's not a very good scenario, is it? If the Cubs enter 2007 without a new quality bat in one of the corner OF positions, chances are they are going to be in bad shape.

That's close to how I feel. If the Cubs create a Joneston platoon, I don't think it's a statement about Murton as much as doing something out of necessity -- I don't believe they will be able to get rid of Jones and I believe the jury is still out on Murton, to some extent, so I could support a make-do arrangement if need be.

Thank God someone understands my point. I'd also consider trading Murton, but I don't think the return would be good enough to justify it.
   37. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: October 03, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2195093)
I don't see the point at all. You assume that Jacque Jones and Matt Murton aren't "quality bats" even though they were both above average for their positions. Carlos Lee has a lower career Eqa than Murton and is going into his age 31 season. Alfonso Soriano, approaching his age 31 season too, has a career Eqa only one point higher than Murton's. If the Cubs do something ballsy like grabbing ManRam, then a platoon might make sense, but even then I'd imagine Jones in CF with Murton as the everyday RF. Still, the biggest obstacle to platooning Murton/Jones would be that it would give the Cubs two OF holes to fill on the FA market instead of just one. Why would the Cubs want to put themselves in a position to pay retail for 2 players instead of just one?

The Cubs could get far many more wins cheaply by addressing their bench. Based on VORP, the bench cost the Cubs about 3 wins against replacement last year. A replacement level SS would give the Cubs another 1.7 wins. Based on Cots' list of the FAs to be, I don't see any other obvious way for the Cubs to get better this offseason. Probably the best the Cubs could do is resign Aram, grab Soriano or Torii Hunter for CF and Julio Lugo for SS. Other options would be to trade for Crisp, Baldelli, Manny Ramirez, Elijah Dukes or any of the other rumored to be traded OFs out there.
   38. Dash Carlyle Posted: October 03, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#2195096)
A Murton/Jones platoon probably isn't worth worrying about, since a) it will never happen (because that would be tantamount to Hendry admitting it was a mistake to sign him to such a long, expensive contract in the first place, which he would never do), and b) they have much bigger problems than Murton and Jones, such as who plays 3B, SS, 2B, and CF. Also, will Girardi be a good fit for the team, and will he/can he be given a contract that extends beyond Hendry's?
   39. Walt Davis Posted: October 03, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2195279)
Tangotiger did an aging study on pitchers that came to pretty weird conclusions:

I believe MGL has stated that there are no aging patterns for pitchers, it's "experience" patterns ... basically at whatever age they hit the majors, it takes them a few years to figure it out, then they're "fine" until they get hurt or get old. Of course the ones that never take steps towards figuring it out don't stick around long.
   40. Neil M Posted: October 03, 2006 at 07:10 AM (#2195282)
You seem to be characterizing platooning as punishment for being bad at hitting RH or LHP.

I think you're probably right in this case, but I guess my position is rooted in a higher opinion of Murton's upside than you have. I really feel that in his case platooning would be harmful to his continuing development.
   41. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: October 03, 2006 at 09:08 AM (#2195303)
A Murton/Jones platoon probably isn't worth worrying about, since a) it will never happen (because that would be tantamount to Hendry admitting it was a mistake to sign him to such a long, expensive contract in the first place, which he would never do), and b) they have much bigger problems than Murton and Jones, such as who plays 3B, SS, 2B, and CF. Also, will Girardi be a good fit for the team, and will he/can he be given a contract that extends beyond Hendry's?

I agree with this post greatly.


Maybe, but that's not a very good scenario, is it? If the Cubs enter 2007 without a new quality bat in one of the corner OF positions, chances are they are going to be in bad shape.

Looking at what money the Cubs have to spend, they're going to be in pretty bad shape almost no matter what. They can't (won't, whatever) afford to replace 4 positions and 2 or 3 slots in the rotation this offseason.
   42. Andere Richtingen Posted: October 03, 2006 at 02:21 PM (#2195441)
A Murton/Jones platoon probably isn't worth worrying about, since a) it will never happen (because that would be tantamount to Hendry admitting it was a mistake to sign him to such a long, expensive contract in the first place, which he would never do)

He could blame the labrum injury.

and b) they have much bigger problems than Murton and Jones, such as who plays 3B, SS, 2B, and CF.

This is very true, although I would now add RF to the mix. I mean, maybe Jones' shoulder will heal enough this off-season that he isn't going to look like my 11 month old throwing the ball from RF, but everyone noticed it this season and Hendry can't cart him out there again.

Also, will Girardi be a good fit for the team, and will he/can he be given a contract that extends beyond Hendry's?

I think the answer to this question has to be yes, and furthermore I think Hendry is on the bubble in 2007 regardless of his contract status so I'm not sure it matters. Girardi signed a three year contract with Florida, so it's hard for me to believe he'll go less than that, particularly to sign with the Cubs. It could be that the circumstances behind his dismissal in Florida are such that the market for him is exaggerated, but I think he'll get a three-year deal.

I really feel that in his case platooning would be harmful to his continuing development.

I would imagine that even if Murton were platooned all year, he'd get 350 PAs, more than half of them against RHP. I just don't see it being that big a deal.
   43. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:07 PM (#2195703)
This was in a story in the Sun-Times today:

Then there are rumblings that right fielder Jacque Jones might want out. Jones and disappointing reliever LaTroy Hawkins were the only major free agents attracted by Baker. Without Baker, Jones might want to play closer to his San Diego home.

Who wants to come with me and volunteer to help him pack and move? Let's make it as easy as possible for him to demand a trade.
   44. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2195768)
I believe MGL has stated that there are no aging patterns for pitchers, it's "experience" patterns ... basically at whatever age they hit the majors, it takes them a few years to figure it out, then they're "fine" until they get hurt or get old. Of course the ones that never take steps towards figuring it out don't stick around long.

I get the same results - there's no real aging "curve" with pitchers until the strikeout rates start eroding too quickly or the pitcher gets injured. But this happens at young ages, too - pitchers in the late 20s with scary drops in K rate age just as poorly as those in the late 30s with similar drops in K rate.

Pitcher aging is kinda like log rolling - as long as you're stable, you're OK, but once you start slipping, you're probably going to fall off.
   45. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#2195804)
I'm all for calling Jones sunk costs - he did post pretty good counting stats, so I don't think he's unmoveable.... especially if the Cubs will eat some of the contract.

Jones posted an OPS of 833 with power and a decent average. The league had an OPS of 761 by my reckonin'. He's going to be paid what? - $11 million over the next two years. I don't know the exact going rate, but that's likely cheap for a starting corner outfielder. He's got speed in the field though no arm. I imagine the Cubs should be able to unload him this offseason if they wanted to and get a good return without having to pick up the cost. Ain't this supposed to be a light-ish off-season for starting OFrs on the free agent market?

For this year at least, Jones was actually a pretty good value for the Cubs.

FWIW, my take on pitcher aging patterns]. With regard to Rich Hill, if you scroll way down there's a chart divvying up pitchers based on the age they first got 3 win shares in a season. Hill would fall into the age 26 category obviously, and they're already in their prime. He might be a bit better next year. There's a selection bias there, though, as I only looked at guys with 100 career GS. If you don't think Hill's got that in him, all the more reason to ignore it.
   46. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#2195805)
I don't see the point at all. You assume that Jacque Jones and Matt Murton aren't "quality bats" even though they were both above average for their positions.

I wouldn't say they are above average. Using BPro stats, in terms of VORP rate, Murton was the 14th best LFer with more than 500 PAs (21 qualifiers), while Jones was the 8th best RFer (15 qualifiers). Similar results, albeit slightly higher if you look at MLV rate. IMO, both are about average, not much better but not much worse.


If the Cubs do something ballsy like grabbing ManRam, then a platoon might make sense, but even then I'd imagine Jones in CF with Murton as the everyday RF. Still, the biggest obstacle to platooning Murton/Jones would be that it would give the Cubs two OF holes to fill on the FA market instead of just one. Why would the Cubs want to put themselves in a position to pay retail for 2 players instead of just one?

I agree -- it was kind of my point. If the Cubs get a major bat to play the OF (Bay, Ramirez, Vlad, etc.), I think a Joneston platoon makes sense, at least while Jones is still with the team. It doesn't make sense if the extra position is filled by someone average or worse.

It might make sense to find a RH platoon partner for Jones, but it shouldn't be Murton unless necessity requires it. Ideally, I'd like to see them get a good hitting RH 3b/of, using him to platoon with Jones and otherwise be a key PH.
   47. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: October 03, 2006 at 06:22 PM (#2195910)
Putting Jones in LF isn't going to change his insistence on not hitting the cutoff man, it might even make it worse.
   48. zfan Posted: October 05, 2006 at 12:24 AM (#2198483)
Well, I don't see San Diego being interested, or any of the California teams. Maybe Texas. I don't see a match with someone the Cubs would want in trade, that the Rangers would part with.

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