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   1. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2273104)
Whatever happened with Cliff Floyd? That whole thing kind of died out about a week before Christmas.

Not that I'm complaining. I will go to my grave arguing that Murton should get 150 starts this year.
   2. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: January 03, 2007 at 06:11 PM (#2273121)
Looking back at 2006 --

I don't particularly like ANY of the deals Hendry handed out. Soriano is marginally defensible if only because he was the best available bat on the market - but I still would not have paid that price... I would have much preferred Huff at a fraction of the price, defense be damned.

The worst, though -- I think was DeRosa. Hendry paid 4/17 -- when apparently, the market for 2B was a buyers market.

I realize Marcus Giles had his heart set on playing with Brian -- and also that he wasn't freely available until recently.... but are you telling me that the Cubs couldn't have gotten Giles from the Braves on the cheap? Or -- that Giles would've forgone SD for a 4/17 contract?

Mark Loretta still remains on the market -- and I'd much prefer him to DeRosa... and it sounds like he'll come markedly cheaper.

With Dusty gone -- perhaps the Cubs no longer have that blindspot for worthless utility IFs (DeRosa, I think is better than worthless)... now we just need to cure Hendry's blindspot for worthless SPs.
   3. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2273183)
Instead of seeing DeRosa as an overpaid 2B/UT, I like to view him as a SS bargain. Izturis should get pretty injured some time before the end of the first month of the season. So unless the Cubs decide to go with Cedeno again, I suspect DeRosa will just slide over with Theriot/Patterson taking the 2B job. Even if that doesn't happen, Loretta's old and he projects worse than DeRosa, whose utility-ness means he probably won't block Eric Patterson in contract years 2-4.
   4. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: January 03, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2273188)
I will go to my grave arguing that Murton should get 150 starts this year.

I'll agree with you, so long as he's not traded and they don't get anyone *clearly* superior -- basically, a star or a significantly better prospect. If they get Floyd, that shouldn't displace Murton.

Not that I think Murton is a star by any means; I just feel that the jury is still out on how productive he'll be and that he deserves a chance to show us.


The worst, though -- I think was DeRosa. Hendry paid 4/17 -- when apparently, the market for 2B was a buyers market.

I believe you're forgetting Marquis, who seems perfectly designed for a 1yr, incentive-laden deal.

As for the others, I'm not comfortable with the length of the Soriano deal; a year less or two would've been much better. In retrospect, though, it's not brutal when considering the other deals this offseason.
   5. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2273232)
Not that I think Murton is a star by any means; I just feel that the jury is still out on how productive he'll be and that he deserves a chance to show us.

He's not now, but I think he could be. I won't be surprised if he reaches his late 20s and puts up some seasons in the .300/.390/.500 range, with around 20 HRs/yr. He hit 9 HRs in 200 PAs at the end of last year, so the 20+ HR potential is definitely there. It's not a lock by any means, but I think if the Cubs just give him a chance to play every day and develop his swing vs RHP, he's going to be a top 10 left fielder (or right fielder, or wherever he ends up).

As for deals, I think there were plenty of bad ones to choose from. Marquis was terrible. I didn't like the Derosa signing - too many years, and they paid retail for a guy who hadn't gotten 500 PAs in a season until age 31. I thought they overpaid for Henry Blanco as well. He's getting $2.5M/yr to back up Barrett, which is either too much to pay a guy who sits 85% of the time or a sign that they're planning on giving Blanco more starts (which would deal a significant blow to the lineup).
   6. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: January 03, 2007 at 08:11 PM (#2273263)
The worst, though -- I think was DeRosa. Hendry paid 4/17 -- when apparently, the market for 2B was a buyers market.

First, it was 3yrs/$13mil. Secondly, like djf said, the Marquis contract was substantially worse. Thirdly, even though the market was saturated, I'm not crazy about any of the options. Loretta looks damn near done. Giles looks, what's the word, deflated. In retrospect, it's one of the better deals, IMO. I'm not crazy about it, but for once, the slight overpayment on a smaller contract didn't stop the Cubs from landing the bigger (albiet, also overpaid) fish.

He's not now, but I think he could be. I won't be surprised if he reaches his late 20s and puts up some seasons in the .300/.390/.500 range, with around 20 HRs/yr.

Which, while good, is not a "star."
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: January 03, 2007 at 08:27 PM (#2273284)
What are the Cubs planning on doing with center field? Soriano, Jones, Pie, somebody else?

As far as the Cubs' offseason in general, I'm somewhat ambivalent. They've made the team better - Soriano > Pierre (or Jones, if that's where he ends up), DeRosa > Neifi (whose role is what he should be playing), Lilly > Mateo/Marshall/Marmol (although I'd probably prefer Maddux).

My big problem is that I think the Cubs should have been building this team with the intention of trying to maximize their chances of winning the World Series in 2009, because, short of an 83-win Cardinals-style fluke, this team still has virtually no chance of winning the World Series in 2007.

So, I would have gone into 2007 intending to make some final decisions on some kids. I agree wholeheartedly with UCCF - Murton deserves 150+ starts in the outfield. I'd have been tempted to open with a middle infield of Theriot and Cedeno, with Fontenot as the main backup, with Patterson ready to come up mid-season if appropriate.

I'd have also been inclined to leave one or two starting pitcher slots available for some of their kids, to see if any of them can take the next step - Guzman, Ryu, Mateo, or somebody a level below that (Veal, Gallagher?).

Soriano's a decent acquisition - this sets up a 2008-09 outfield of Murton/Pie/Soriano, which could be very good if Pie's as good as the Cubs think he is (I doubt he is, but we'll see). DeRosa's not a bad veteran utility infielder to have around to mentor the kids, assuming he's any good at that sort of thing, but you don't sign utility infielders to 4-year/$17 million contracts.

The other thing that I would have liked to see them do was try to use what little trade chits they had - basically Jacque Jones and one of Eyre/Howry/Dempster. I thought the Aardsma/Cotts trade was stupid - not a big deal, but stupid nevertheless. Lilly was an okay signing; Marquis, of course, was terrible; Miller struck me as a stupid deal that the Cubs made because they don't understand 'sunk costs'.

Basically, this offseason has reinforced two ideas for me: (1) the Cubs can easily afford to put together a consistent winner, and (2) Jim Hendry's not the guy to do it. Unfortunately, most of the pecadillos that we (well, I) were generously trying to blame on Dusty turn out to be true of Hendry as well - he's unduly infatuated with middle infielders who can't hit, proven veterans, and 'toolsy' guys, and under-impressed with on-base percentage and pitcher health.

So, while the 2007 Cubs should win 10-20 games more than the 2006 version, I have to give this offseason a long-run thumbs down.
   8. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2273348)
Which, while good, is not a "star."

Vernon Wells just got $100M+ for putting up his .900 OPS seasons around age 27.

(Yes, I'm being somewhat facetious - his value as a CF is higher than Murton's at a corner. But if you took a Murton in his late 20s with .300/.400/.500 seasons out on the free agency market, he'd easily get $10M/yr. Hell, he'd be more valuable than Alfonso Soriano, who the Cubs just broke the bank to bring to down.)
   9. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 03, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2273361)
At least the past three World Series have been won by real teams, after the 2001-03 debacle.
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 03, 2007 at 10:13 PM (#2273416)
At least the past three World Series have been won by real teams, after the 2001-03 debacle.
   11. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 10:24 PM (#2273427)
You waited 46 minutes to say that again? I didn't understand it the first time.
   12. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 03, 2007 at 10:34 PM (#2273436)
At least the past three World Series have been won by real teams, after the 2001-03 debacle.
   13. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 03, 2007 at 10:50 PM (#2273453)
I wish I'd said that. Seems like everyone's saying it.
   14. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: January 03, 2007 at 11:04 PM (#2273469)
I don't know what's with the double posts today. Benji Gil Gamesh posted the same thing 6 times over 2 hours in a McGuire thread.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: January 04, 2007 at 06:12 AM (#2273681)
At least the past three World Series have been won by real teams, after the 2001-03 debacle.

I'm guessing this is a reference to three straight expasion teams winning the WS.
   16. Cabbage Posted: January 04, 2007 at 06:41 AM (#2273690)
I think a much more important question is, "How will Ron Santo handle Enormous Payroll + A few more wins, but not enough to win the division?"

Will he be encouraged by the improvements over last year, or continue to bemoan their inevitable shortcomings?
   17. Astro-Bonilla Posted: January 04, 2007 at 11:32 AM (#2273726)
Floyd is a clear upgrade against right handers over Murton (take a look at their ZIPS projections, and remember that it includes PAs for Floyd vs. lefties and Murton vs. righties, and has Floyd playing at Shea).

Also, Floyd is better defensively when healthy, and having him on the team drastically improves the bench.

I'd really like to see them sign Floyd.
   18. Astro-Bonilla Posted: January 04, 2007 at 11:34 AM (#2273727)
I posted this in the forums, but only because this thread did not exist yet:

When the Cubs initially inked Soriano to an 8 year, 136 million dollar deal, I thought it was a mistake of unusual size. However, the events that have occured over the rest of the offseason have lead me to change my view.

First, Carlos Lee signed a 6 year, 100 million dollar deal. Not only is Soriano a much better player right now (20 run differential just on defense), he is a much better player going forward. Lee hits for power, and that is about it; no speed, no defense, and a weak average on balls put into play (Abs-strikeouts-homers). He is also huge. Players who have this skill set and buffet attendance frequency tend to lose value quite a bit more quickly as they age then most players. Soriano, on the other hand, has the classic skill set and and size of a player who ages gracefully. He is very thin for a modern slugger, and has very good speed, babip, and solid outfield defense. (cf. the article “Why was Kevin Maas a Bust” in “Baseball Between the Numbers” for more on how different player types age differently).

Add in the fact that Soriano moved from a more demanding to a less demanding defensive position last season, which generally leads to improvements in offensive stats, and it is probable that his performance over the next three-four years will be closer to his performance in his 06 than his 04-05.

Later on, a player who has added less value to his teams during his career than Soriano has in his best two seasons (or 2nd and 3rd best seasons), namely Gil Meche, signed a 5 year, 55 million dollar deal. Barry Zito, who is not only not as valuable as Soriano but a far worse bet going forward because of warning signs (pitcher abuse points and declining peripherals), got a 7 year deal at a higher annual cost then the Soriano deal with a vesting option. Mediocre players such as Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews got huge deals.

The end of the deal will probably not be very be pretty, but that is true of most long term deals to 30 year olds. Furthermore, with increased fitness, health and medical technology, this aging factor will become less and less important.

I hope that it is clear to all that the Cubs also made the best long term deal this offseason: Aramis Ramirez’s deal is only 3 million a year away from the one Meche signed.

Cliffs: Amazingly, the Soriano deal is perhaps the 2nd best long term deals a team made this offseason. More amazingly, the best long term deal was also made by the Cubs: 5 years, 70 million dollars to Aramis Ramirez.
   19. Astro-Bonilla Posted: January 04, 2007 at 11:43 AM (#2273728)
Another post from another thread-why I think the Cubs are the best of several weak bets in the NL Central:


...A full year of lee is worth (conservatively) about half a dozen wins over the injured Lee/sub replacement level fodder that played first for the Cubs last year...

Soriano is worth a few wins over Pierre.

Wood/Prior/Miller were worth LESS than replacement level last year collectively. It's obviously a mystery where they will end up this year, but the three together have to be more likely to put up 5 wins above replacement level last year than zero or less again. Dempster was worth close to nothing last year as well.

Lilly is replacing a replacement level player(s) and should add about 5 wins above that.

Full year of Hill> what Maddux+Hill pulled off last year.

Floyd/Murton/Jones for two spots is quite a bit better than Jones/Murton/Bynum/Pagan/Berryhill/Hundley/Vance Law mess for two spots last year.

Cedeno was considerably below replacement level last year at SS; a healthy Izturis and/or a rehabillitated Cedeno could be worth another few wins at that position.

According to the Zips projection even Marquis will add something next year (not costing them over what they used last year with the arm and giving them a win or so with the bat).

I should add the following, from the Hardball times: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-good-is-your-4-starter/

Cubs 1 to 5 starters ERA last season CHN 3.33 4.25 5.02 5.78 7.40

Hill (2) is projected at about 3.80 by ZIPS; Lilly at 4.25 for the 3-hole. Marquis, contrary to my earlier claim, is a huge upgrade on what the Cubs got out of the five spot last year (projected at just about 5 by ZIPS, although I'll take the under). Hopefully Prior + Miller + a prospect stepping up can beat the the 5.78 posted by Cubs four starters next year.

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