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   1. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: May 19, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#2027753)
We've already made our big moves - Womack yesterday, and today we claimed outfielder Miguel Negron off waivers from the Blue Jays. I think Hendry thinks he can play second base as well, or this claim makes absolutely no sense. Once we hoard every second baseman, think of the trade leverage we will have!

I have never been as digusted with the Cubs as I am right now, and I have been a fan since 1963...
   2. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2027776)
Murton in LF, Jason Michaels in CF, and Austin Kearns or Nelson Cruz in RF

That seems a bit optimistic. I think both the Reds and Phils were looking for major-league talent -- not much in the case of the Phils, probably a good bit in the case of the Reds. But this offseason the Cubs didn't have much attractive major-league talent, couldn't afford to lose what little they had and the one "moveable" piece was Todd Walker and I remain mystified as to why other teams don't seem interested in him (or how the Cubs keep getting him so cheap). Patterson simply wasn't going to bring much of anything in return and the Cubs pen was so lousy that we didn't even have an Arthur Rhodes type to trade for Michaels (heck, we had to sign one).

(I have no idea what the Brewers would want for Cruz)

Now, I'll admit it's possible the Reds would have swapped Kearns for a package similar, but probably better, than what brought in Pierre. Also a 3-way deal with the Cubs sending some prospects somewhere who would send a reliever to Philly probably could have been worked out. But it would have required substantially above-average GM'ing to pull off both those moves. Not that we don't deserve a substantially above-average GM but I'm pretty sure I haven't seen one of those in my 35 years of Cubs fandom (not that I'm giving up hope!). (I think I'd prefer Crisp to Michaels and probably Cruz anyway)

At this point, we probably need something far more dramatic than a Cruz. We need either to trade a real star (Ramirez would be my pick, but Wood or Prior are possibilities) for some top-flight talent ... or the Trib needs to really expand the payroll and start signing some genuinely good FA (not that there are many on the market this offseason ... so maybe trading for someone's big contract, though there are a lot fewer of those around too).

Of course, typical Cubs luck, Ramirez is struggling right now and everyone knows Wood & Prior are, shall we say, a bit short of reliable. Hopefully those guys will be on track by season's end and the Cubs will have some options next offseason.
   3. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:15 AM (#2027816)
That seems a bit optimistic. I think both the Reds and Phils were looking for major-league talent

I agree with this. However, IN NO WAY DOES THIS LET HENDRY OFF THE HOOK. The circumstances leading up to the point where he was unequipped to solve this problem lie entirely on his shoulders.
   4. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:26 AM (#2027868)
The good news is that KC dfa's Kerry Robinson today - this could be yet another piece in the Cub's puzzle! Will they wait until he is released to sign him, or aggressively push for a deal tonight?
   5. Luke Jasenosky Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#2027904)
<i>That seems a bit optimistic. I think both the Reds and Phils were looking for major-league talent<i>

Fair point. However, with Rhodes being hit or miss, as well as 36 years old, I think the Phillies might have considered an Ohman/Mitre combo or some such. Ohman put up a nice ERA last season and showed he was healthy, but his WHIP was high, so I think his surface value might have been worth more than his true value.

As for Kearns, his star had fallen pretty low in Cinci in the middle of last season, and the Reds obviously needed pitching in a big way. A gutsy move by Hendry which included Hill/Nolasco/Mitre might have done the job.

Even if the cost in players exceeded what was given up for Pierre/Jones, the money saved would be significant. Michaels/Kearns are making 3.35 million total this season - Pierre/Jones are making over 11 million combined, plus the commitment to Jones. And who would argue with Kearns's potential to be a long-term solution in RF?
   6. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:42 AM (#2027937)
I agree with this. However, IN NO WAY DOES THIS LET HENDRY OFF THE HOOK. The circumstances leading up to the point where he was unequipped to solve this problem lie entirely on his shoulders.

Agreed.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#2027997)
Oops, I take that back. :-) I'm not sure it lies ENTIRELY on his shoulders.

I still think it's an open question as to whether Hendry or Baker has (had) more clout within the organization. I also think that Hendry is one of those GMs who works with his manager and finds the sort of players the manager wants. And Hendry has cheap-skate Trib owners to deal with too.

The personnel moves could all be Hendry's fault but I suspect they're a mix of Hendry mistakes, Baker-inspired Hendry mistakes, Hendry-Baker disagreements (which Baker wins ... latest example probably Theriot), and Trib-mandated Hendry non-moves. And of course Hendry has a share of good moves to his credit.

That still doesn't reflect well on Hendry and he's, at best, not willing to stand up for himself and force the Cubs to choose between him and Baker. More likely, he generally agrees with Baker. And they're both pretty desparate right now. Still, add it all up, and I think Hendry's an average-ish GM ... who since 2003 has mistaken this as a team that's just 1-2 players from the top.

Kinda reminds me of the 2003-2004 DBacks (god willing this season doesn't go as bad as 2004 DBacks). In 2001 the DBacks won it all; in 2002 they won 98 and the division. In 2003, they dropped to 84 wins but could blame that on Johnson's injury. Thinking they were still right there, they swapped a boatload of players for the missing piece (Sexson -- who got hurt a la Lee). And of course they had the genius Bob Brenly as manager those 4 seasons.

I think (I said think) that Hendry's better than Garagiola ... and I think even these hapless Cubs are probably better than the 2004 DBacks ... but there are definite parallels.
   8. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: May 20, 2006 at 01:05 AM (#2028030)
The biggest mistake made this past offseason was wasting all that time with Furcal and ignoring every other need they had. Trying to get a dusty type lead off man ended up costing the three pitchers that could have been used for better parts. Nolasco may end up ok (3rd starterish?), but Mitre and Pinto will just be AAAA pitchers. Making Hill an untouchable was also a big mistake, as his value will probably never be higher than it was then.

I hate this team, and can't wait for the Dusty regime to end. Just where did he get the reputaion of having his players play over their heads for him? No fundamentals, one stupid mental mistake after another, and nothing but praise from the man for the "heads up" play. Sickening, just sickening.
   9. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: May 20, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2028072)
Making Hill an untouchable was also a big mistake, as his value will probably never be higher than it was then.

I agree with this 100%. You don't run across a lot of 25-year-olds still being labelled as prospects, and that number is even smaller for 26-year-olds.

If you're going to call Hill untouchable (or all but untouchable) at his age, then you had better have a clear plan to use him in the immediate future. Instead, they broke camp without him despite several injuries in the starting rotation that necessitated the use of 1 rookie, 1 guy they consider unproven (Williams), and a journeyman at best (Rusch). If Hill can't break into that group, then we sorely miscalculated his value.

Now that he's come up and struggled again, for the second year in a row, and will probably be the first guy shipped out once the rotation gets in order, his trading value is basically that of a 26-year-old lefty reliever with minimal major league experience. Is it possible he'll become a useful bullpen part? Absolutely. But how many relief prospects truly deserve the tag untouchable, let alone guys who are already in their mid-20s?
   10. H. Vaughn Posted: May 20, 2006 at 01:27 AM (#2028132)
We need either to trade a real star (Ramirez would be my pick, but Wood or Prior are possibilities) for some top-flight talent ... or the Trib needs to really expand the payroll and start signing some genuinely good FA (not that there are many on the market this offseason ... so maybe trading for someone's big contract, though there are a lot fewer of those around too).


I think the answer is trading some middle relief. Certainly if one of the Unbreakables lights it up in the second half (ie loses a lot of 2-0 games), they should flip one for some young position talent. The Cubs are probably hoping its Miller because he was basically free. Come mid-season, if Howry and Eyre have ERAs under four, the Cubs should look to turn one into several position players under 24 in AA or above who have some hint of plate discipline. They need to blow this up Marlins-style, though unfortunately they aren't dismantling a World Series contender.
   11. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: May 20, 2006 at 03:44 AM (#2028444)
today we claimed outfielder Miguel Negron off waivers from the Blue Jays

I hadn't heard this yet; when I did I burst out laughing. Negron is an ideal future Cub, as he's a very good athlete in search of some basic baseball skills. When he grows up, he hopes to be Endy Chavez.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2006 at 04:11 AM (#2028469)
Come mid-season, if Howry and Eyre have ERAs under four, the Cubs should look to turn one into several position players under 24 in AA or above who have some hint of plate discipline.

Two problems with this. First, they're both under expensive multi-year contracts. Contending teams do like picking up midseason relief help, but usually guys who are about to be FA, not guys who are going to cost them another 2 years and $6-8 M. For other teams to pick up that payroll, the Cubs are unlikely to be able to demand much in return.

The second problem is that it's rare if not unheard of to get "several", or even 2, position players for a reliever.

But I agree with the principle of trading the spare parts for possible future parts. But they're unlikely to get anyone who will really impact the franchise in exchange for Eyre, Howry, etc.
   13. Andere Richtingen Posted: May 20, 2006 at 12:19 PM (#2028613)
Oops, I take that back. :-) I'm not sure it lies ENTIRELY on his shoulders.

Well, nor am I, I suppose. I've been harping about Hendry and Baker being secondary problems for some time now. I actually think Hendry isn't that bad overall, and that in the right organization, one where he isn't relied upon to be the braintrust, he'd be quite good.
   14. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: May 20, 2006 at 01:29 PM (#2028632)
However, I think Melvin would be wary at trading Cruz for anything less than a small fortune, considering Carlos Lee is a free agent after this season.

Corey Hart is that guy. I would imagine Nelson Cruz could be had for the right price right now.
   15. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: May 20, 2006 at 01:51 PM (#2028642)
This team is completely over-matched by a good opponent.

I feel compelled to point out that even Dusty recognized this in his post-game comments yesterday. See Mike Kiley's column:
The Cubs proved again Friday why the club really isn't for sale. It isn't worth a plugged nickel. After another embarrassing performance in a 6-1 loss to the White Sox, manager Dusty Baker acknowledged that his team is overmatched by the defending champions.

If that's true, it raises some questions. What hope is there for the last two games of the series? Why really play the rest of the season, for that matter? After all, there are a few other good teams like the Sox out there eagerly awaiting the Cubs.

Baker didn't even finesse his answer when asked if he was overmatched by the powerhouse Sox.

"Yeah, right now," Baker said. "They put together a pretty good team. They're clicking as a team, especially when you see the batting average and run production."


Furthermore, even Todd Walker is disclaiming his optimism. From Bruce Miles's column:
The Cubs keep peddling a company line about turning things around, but Walker agreed that it’s getting late already.

“You’ve got to understand when I say that, I’m not saying that it’s going to turn around and we’re going to win the division,” he said, painting a realistic picture. “But it’s not going to turn around, meaning that we’re not going to be in last place in hitting and we’re going to get shut out every day.

“That’s what I’m saying. I’m not saying we’re going to all of a sudden turn it around and it’s going to be this unbelievable thing, although it can happen."

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