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   1. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: August 02, 2006 at 02:21 PM (#2123112)
If the Cubs could land a run-producer for LF, a Jones/Murton platoon in RF makes all the sense in the world. Is there any reason to suspect that the Cubs would do this?

My take on the Izturis/Maddux deal is that it necessarily isn't a bad deal; if his glove is really all that, Izturis is probably a slight upgrade on Cedeno. (I know that he's also an expensive upgrade, but this is MLB where marginal wins don't matter.) And, I don't really have a problem with them carrying two good SSs on their roster. The problem is that they are planning on moving Cedeno to 2nd. This is a team that really, really needs to confront their problems on offense, and I see Izturis/Cedeno as being a big step backward from Cedeno/Walker.
   2. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 02:45 PM (#2123134)
And yet, in the spirit of launching some healthy debate during the dog days of a baseball season where our regular topic at hand is a dog of a team, I say I don’t think this is a bad trade. Have at me. Given that Maddux would have left at the end of the year, and given that the talk here suggested a bag of balls or an unexceptional lower minor league prospect or two would be the Cubs’ best return on Mad Dog, this trade was better than I expected.

I'd rather have the prospect. Sometimes you get really lucky (Liriano), sometimes it doesn't make a difference (too many to mention). If the Cubs didn't already have Neifi (remember, he's still going to be here next year) AND Cedeno; *BOTH* of whom appear to be pretty much the same exact player (actually, UZR might even say Izturis is the worst of the 3 defensively); and if Izturis didn't cost as much as Neifi AND Cedeno combined next season, then fine. Considering all those facts (plus the fact that we all KNOW he's the #2 hitter as long as Dusty's around), that makes this a bad trade.

(I know that he's also an expensive upgrade, but this is MLB where marginal wins don't matter.)

In an isolated instance, I'll buy that the slight overpayment doesn't matter. But this is the Cubs. Remember last offseason when they had $30mil to burn? What improvements did we get? Nothing. Now the Cubs have already spent half of the salary relief they would have gotten from Maddux's contract. Every little bit adds up, so each and every overpayment is less money to bid on an actual impact FA (which one still hasn't been signed under the McFail regime).

And, I don't really have a problem with them carrying two good SSs on their roster.

In theory, no. But ideally one is good with the stick and one with the leather. In the Cubs case, they have 3 of the same guys (good def SS) and they're now going to play 2 of them at 2nd.
   3. Meatwad Posted: August 02, 2006 at 02:48 PM (#2123138)
more importantly hill had a great outing last night, finally a glimpse of what he could be
   4. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2123139)
I don't see any way this team contends next year without a majorly active offseason. Your starting rotation is Zambrano, the oft-injured Prior (and relying on him is starting to feel like relying on Kerry Wood), Marshall and Marmol (each of whom have been spotty at best), and ? - an incentive-laden contract for Wood, Rich Hill, Angel Guzman, Ryu, one of the AA guys, Jerome Williams, Homerun Rusch? That's 4 question marks on the staff right there, pitching behind a league average offense at best (and that's with the addition of a good bat for LF) with a likely OBP problem at the top of the lineup.

But Hendry has shown a real reluctance in the past to make a big splash for free agents, and for offseason trades as well. He's already going to have his attention split this offseason with (probably) finding a new manager and coaching staff, as well as negotiating a contract extension for Zambrano. Maybe he'll realize after the 65-win debacle of this season that sweeping change is necessary - but even if he does, do the Cubs have the trading chits to pull it off? The shine is off a lot of these AAA guys who have been trumpeted as great prospects the last 3-5 years.
   5. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:03 PM (#2123154)
Before I get into a discussion of some of the points Mike raises, let me share a couple of choice quotes from yesterday --

"I don't think of numbers the same way you guys (media) think of numbers," [Dusty] Baker said. "We're looking for [Izturis] to just get better.

"This guy is young. On-base percentage is very, very important, but we want him to play ball — to be a ballplayer. We want him to get on, score, steal, advance runners — do what ballplayers do."


Which of these phrases is not like the others?

In discussing Cedeno, Dusty observed:

"It will probably take two or three or four or five days — whatever it takes for him to feel comfortable before we put him out there," Baker said. "It's not so much ground balls; it's turning double plays. It's a different look. You have your back to the runner. You can get seriously hurt if you don't know what you're doing at second base more than any other base. He doesn't have the right glove right now or the right footwork."

To repeat my rants from yesterday's Game Chatter, not having the "right glove" is up there with not having a LH batting practice pitcher. Actually, it's worse -- even if the gloves are different (which I don't believe is true), is Dusty really saying that Cedeno couldn't have borrowed one from Neifi?

As for footwork, yes the pivot is different at second. OTOH, this was the guy who was supposed to have spent much of the winter preparing to play second with the understanding that the Cubs would sign Furcal.

Furthermore, even if one can learn and master the pivot in 2-5 days, when will Cedeno be able to do this, seeing that the Cubs don't take infield because they use Wrigley to host fantasy camps?

Also, why didn't we hear any of this from Hendry, who went out of his way on Monday to say: "You’ve got a Gold Glover at short, and Ronny was fully prepared to play a lot of second base. Oneri [Fleita] spent a lot of time in the winter getting Ronny to play second. There was a lot of effort behind the scenes when we were chasing other shortstops in the winter. He was well-prepared to play second. It will sort itself out."
   6. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#2123177)
Geez, Murton can't even play LF and you're gonna put him in the toughest RF in the league? If that platoon happens, Pagan plays RF on those days with Murton in LF.

Has Hendry EVER picked up a player with a career OBP over .330? Derek Lee, that's it. (OK, Todd Walker, but the Cubs always seemed like they'd rather not have him.)
   7. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#2123183)
Now for Mike's essay. Moses hit upon some of the issues I have, which are:

1. Izturis is the same hacktastic, punchless hitter we are already getting from Neifi and, so far, from Cedeno. While he's only 26 and injured for a decent chunk of his career, he's already seen more than 2500 PAs in the majors. What we see is pretty close to what we're going to get.

2. Izturis is not the defensive wizard that the Cubs and the locals make him out to be. The Cubs brass are hyping him as the second coming of Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Luis Aparicio, and Mark Belanger, all rolled into one. While I concede that he's good, he's arguably not much better than Neifi, at least according to available metrics such as BPro's Rate stat. Indeed, Range Factors would say that Neifi is substantially better.

IOW, I don't presume that "his stellar defense is close to a certainty" or that "[t]his very well could be one of the better Cub defensive infields in many years." Instead, we're getting yet another OBP sinkhole who, despite his reputation and hype, is no guarantee to improve the Cubs defense over where it is already.

3. This is a dangerous sign -- as entrenched as Neifi has been the last few seasons, it's quite possible that the Izturis hype will entrench him as a fixture (and anchor) in the Cubs lineup for years to come.

4. I appreciate that the Cubs were able to get something for Maddux. I also appreciate that the Cubs were not able to get a top prospect (and may have tried to get one). Still, one has to ask if the Cubs would have been better served by seeking a lower level prospect at a different position -- a midlevel corner OF prospect would be much more valuable to the Cubs at this point than another punchless, OBP-averse middle infielder.
   8. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2123187)
djf,

I don't think Dusty meant "glove" as in the physical piece of equipment. I think he meant the fielding skills in general.

Which is just another excuse for Dusty to keep putting his best friend Neifi Perez in the lineup again. If Izturis and Cendeno start 30 games as the SS/2B combo the rest of the year I'll be shocked.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:34 PM (#2123193)
What's the problem with letting Cedeno learn on the job. If his new future with the club is at second base, it would be well worth the short term hit in team performance for this dismal season if he can get some improvement out of the time.

Putting aside Izturis's questionable defensive value, he is absolutlely redundant. Cloning Derrek Lee would help the Cubs. Cloning 26 year old Neifi Perez does not. Cedeno's youth makes him: a) the most valuable in trade and b) the least valuable to the short-term thinking Cubbies (there are jobs to be saved after all). I don't think Cedeno will be a Cub in 2007.
   10. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2123195)
absolutlely redundant

You know, like having three "l"s in absolutely

I was aiming for symbolism, I swear
   11. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:41 PM (#2123199)
I don't think Dusty meant "glove" as in the physical piece of equipment. I think he meant the fielding skills in general.

Maybe, but if that's the case, it's even more stupid. Since when is second base a more demanding position than shortstop?

In any event, somehow Dusty didn't get the memos from Jim Hendry and Oneri Fleita.
   12. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2123205)
Hey negative nancies - did you all watch Izturis last night? Or do you just like to ##### about him and give him the Jacque Jones treatment just because you are whinners? Izturis played a great game last night, offensively and defensively. You constantly ##### about Cedeno at SS and now we have a MAJOR upgrade in Izturis and we get to move Cedeno to second. This also means Neifi goes back to his utility role. Stop crying.
   13. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#2123206)
The problem I have with this trade, which, taken in a vacuum is a fine return for two months of Maddux, is that it really reduces the number of places left where Hendry could improve our offense. If the Cubs are serious about having a double-play combination of Izturis-Cedeno, then the only hole they've got going into next season is CF and the only real opportunity they have to improve significantly on offense is LF, which really limits their options - Soriano or Carlos Lee, and you know Hendry wants Soriano. And if he misses out on Soriano, then we've got the exact same lineup next year that we have this year - minus Todd Walker, of course, and, God forbid, possibly minus Aramis Ramirez if he decides to opt out of his contract.

As hard as it is to imagine, with as bad as the Cubs offense has been this year, I think there's a very real possibility that next year's offense won't be any better. Let's not kid ourselves - Michael Barrett isn't going to hit .330 next year and Derrek Lee probably isn't going to put up a .400/.600 next year.
   14. Neil M Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:49 PM (#2123209)
I don't think Dusty meant "glove" as in the physical piece of equipment.

Brenly and Kasper thought he did. Brenly went to some length to explain that a SS glove is a little deeper than that used at 2B and that Cedeno would need new equipment to enable him to transfer the ball to his throwing hand that bit quicker.

Incudentally, dJf - another Baker excuse. 48 hours before a starter is needed for tomorrow, Guzman is discounted because Iowa are in Las Vegas, which is 'too far away'.
   15. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:53 PM (#2123211)
Derrek Lee probably isn't going to put up a .400/.600 next year

Just to clarify what I mean here, I'm sure that the Cubs are assuming their offense will improve next year because Derrek Lee is going to be 100% healthy and reprise his 2005 season for them and I'm saying, I think we would be wise to expect Derrek Lee to reprise his 2004 season, which is fine for a first baseman, but isn't going to do more than offset the downgrade from Walker to Cedeno and likely regression from Michael Barrett.
   16. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2123213)
Hey negative nancies - did you all watch Izturis last night? Or do you just like to ##### about him and give him the Jacque Jones treatment just because you are whinners? Izturis played a great game last night, offensively and defensively.

Yeah, I remember that one time that Tom Goodwin got a hit.
   17. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:55 PM (#2123214)
Izturis played a great game last night

What about the previous 636?
   18. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2123220)
Gary Gaetti hit an amazing .320/.397/.594 for 128 ABs with the Cubbies in 1998.

I can't seem to recall how 1999 turned out...
   19. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 03:59 PM (#2123221)
Brenly and Kasper thought he did. Brenly went to some length to explain that a SS glove is a little deeper than that used at 2B and that Cedeno would need new equipment to enable him to transfer the ball to his throwing hand that bit quicker.

Was it that long ago that players would let their opponents use their gloves (by leaving them on the field between half-innings)?

I'm sorry, but the idea (if true) that Dusty was saying that Cedeno couldn't play 2B because he doesn't have the right mitt -- that's beyond "no LH batting practice pitcher" or "Las Vegas is too far" in the list of excuses. It takes the cake.

If Neifi isn't willing to let Cedeno use his mitt, you'd think that someone could make a trip to The Sports Authority -- it's just down Clark St., less than a mile from the park!
   20. The First Pitch Express Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:04 PM (#2123227)
I'd rather have the prospect. Sometimes you get really lucky (Liriano), sometimes it doesn't make a difference (too many to mention). If the Cubs didn't already have Neifi (remember, he's still going to be here next year) AND Cedeno; *BOTH* of whom appear to be pretty much the same exact player (actually, UZR might even say Izturis is the worst of the 3 defensively); and if Izturis didn't cost as much as Neifi AND Cedeno combined next season, then fine. Considering all those facts (plus the fact that we all KNOW he's the #2 hitter as long as Dusty's around), that makes this a bad trade.

Well said, Moses. Couldn't agree with you more.

Just wanted to raise two points to the few of you who might think this trade is even approaching okay:
- Defense has not been a problem for the Cubs this year. Baseball prospectus ranks them fifth in all of baseball in team defensive efficiency.
- I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone on this message board of this, but just because I'm raging about this stupid trade and need to blow off some steam, the Cubs have the worst offense in all of baseball by a considerable margin. They have scored 446 runs, 31 fewer than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who have the 29th ranked offense in baseball. The Cubs also rank 29th in OBP and 24th in Slugging. Is a full season of a healthy Derrek Lee going to help all of those numbers? Yes. But he can't do it alone, especially when Cesar Izturis will have effectively replaced Todd Walker in the lineup, something that will drag the Cubs back down in all of those categories.

If Izturis is emblematic of the direction Hendry is going to take with the team in 2007, we Cubs fans should be afraid. Very afraid.

Does anyone out there also think this deal was done because of Todd Walker's recent defensive gaffes?
   21. Neil M Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:06 PM (#2123229)
It takes the cake.

Couldn't agree more. I posted the Brenly thing because I believe that Baker was making a very feeble excuse rather than talking about Cedeno's fielding.
   22. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:07 PM (#2123230)
Has Hendry EVER picked up a player with a career OBP over .330? Derek Lee, that's it. (OK, Todd Walker, but the Cubs always seemed like they'd rather not have him.)

Nomar
Burnitz
Hairston
Lawton
Gerut
Grieve

And that's just from last year's roster.
   23. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:07 PM (#2123231)
Does anyone out there also think this deal was done because of Todd Walker's recent defensive gaffes?

I don't - the Cubs already had Neifi and Cedeno. I think this was done because Cedeno is on the way out.
   24. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2123234)
Also: if the Cubs made this trade because they wanted to improve on Todd Walker's defense for 2006 they are ####### hopeless.
   25. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2123236)
OK, but Lawton, Gerut, Grieve were all either recovering from injury or done as useful players by the time they got here. Burnitz was poised on the precipice of decline (and decline he did).

Hairston was like Walker, a guy Dusty never liked. That leaves Nomar, and it would be interesting to see where the Cubs would be now if he'd managed to stay healthy in 2004 and 2005.
   26. Mike Isaacs Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:12 PM (#2123238)
Just the well-argued points I expected...some of which I agree. Have at me and you did...:-)

To begin, I guess I had come around to believe (thanks in part to some here) that the Cubs were not going to land a prospect with any serious ceiling for Maddux. Given that, then the question isn't whether you'd prefer a decent prospect over Izturis for Maddux. it's whether you'd prefer Izturis over hanging on to Maddux for the rest of the year.

I like the idea of using two months to see him at short with Cedeno at 2nd. I still think this could develop into a very decent double play combination and more.

Then again, i was going to make comment on the same thing djf did. The Baker comments about Cedeno having to wait to play second are utterly nuts. I thought to myself yesterday that maybe I'll take a somewhat positive note on this trade for a change -- maybe I'll look on the bright side -- and then i hear Baker. He can always knock the optimism right out from under me.

The stats both defensively and offensively for Izturis right now are still in some question in my mind. Not in the mind of other posters, I guess. I still think his injuries as he reached his prime years makes some of what we have in Izturis a question mark -- even conceding to djf that he has more than a few at bats under his belt. But he also was hitting a bit better than in his earliest years when he became injured.


On defense, I think we all agree that Ramirez has improved significantly and that Lee is a tremendous 1Bman. Even if you don't take it as far as I do and agree that Izturis will be "stellar" in the field, can we all agree that he'll be pretty darn good? If that's the case, doesn't Cedeno becoming a consistent 2nd baseman -- if you buy that as a possibility-- make this a potentially pretty good defensive infield? I think it does.

I don't know if Izturis is over-hyped defensively or not, but I suspect no one will have problems with the leather he flashes on this team.

The offensive concerns are hard to refute. I raised many of them myself.

Too Much Coffee Man makes an excellent point: We lose Walker, whose asset as a hitter was even more valuable on the Cubs because he provided the team with what they so sorely lack: the ability to get on base. He's now been replaced with a lower OBP hitter likely to bat second most of next year.

And I can't argue that the trade raises a bit more concern because of Neifi being here next year. How many such guys do you need? It's not the way I would have proceeded with cleaning up this mess. I would have been in favor of trading away many more players and building around three or four on this team. Sacrificing next year to develop players and bring high ceiling prospects into the system would have been my approach.

But given that that was never going to happen, I don't think the Cubs are sooo far away from contending in this sorry league next year. Three solid free agents -- a left-fielder and a couple of pitchers -- and better durability, and it's a potentially .500ish team floating around all the other flawed .500ish teams in the National League.

I, too, have doubts whether Hendry will get the necessary free agents so I'm not in as much disagreement with Angel as it appears. He notes the questionable pitching staff for next year. Without adding to this starting staff with decent free agents, I'd agree that things will remain bleak.

OK...I've gone on long enough. To the original topic at hand: The next two months will show us a little bit more about whether we would have been better off keeping Maddux until the end of the year. I think there's potential with this double play combination, but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.
   27. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2123239)
They have scored 446 runs, 31 fewer than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who have the 29th ranked offense in baseball.

Sticking up for my Rays, I'll also observe that:

A. They've been hit with the injury bug just as much as the Cubs -- Julio Lugo, Jorge Cantu, and Aubrey Huff were each out about a month, Rocco Baldelli missed about two months, and Ty Wigginton quite possibly may miss the rest of the season.

B. With a current lineup of Crawford and Baldelli in the OF; Upton, Zobrist, Cantu, and Lee in the IF; Navarro at C; and Gomes at DH, they have a lot more upside than the Cubs (and that's not counting Delmon Young and others in the minors).
   28. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#2123248)
Incudentally, dJf - another Baker excuse. 48 hours before a starter is needed for tomorrow, Guzman is discounted because Iowa are in Las Vegas, which is 'too far away'.

He didn't really say that, did he? This guy is really unbefuckinlievable. I said back in ST that he has become a parody of himself, when he made some comment about how ST AB's don't mean much after some young players had been hitting the crap out of the ball. If the Vegas and no glove comments are accurate...jeeze!

I know he's old school, but even in his minor league days there was such a thing as transcontinental jet transport. It's not like Guzman has to ride the Silver Streak or anything.
   29. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#2123250)
bringbackthebrownieelf is fast becoming a huge troll in Cubs threads.
even if the gloves are different (which I don't believe is true)...
I do think at their level there are different gloves for short and second BUT the difference would be minimal to the point of using as an excuse is laughable.

I hate this trade, the only upside I can think of that this trade MIGHT bring is maybe, maybe, maybe this makes Neifi expendable. I will take a Izturis for Neifi trade. Not holding my breath but...
   30. Neil M Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2123254)
He didn't really say that, did he?

He did. He also discounted Williams because he's not pitching well (his last 3 starts have been his best since going down). OTOH, he did say he'd asked for Sean Gallaher but had been told that the kid wasn't ready for the majors yet. I draw a crunb of comfort from knowing that someone in the organisation is prepared to say 'no' to Dusty.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2123255)
I don’t think it’s good for baseball right now to see high impact players leaving the National League and heading to the American League. Regardless of what one thought of the Lee and Bobby Abreu trades for the individual teams involved, they were not good news overall for baseball. Am I the only one worried about a competitive crisis between the two leagues right now?

Hey, Mike, where were you from about 1950 to 1980, when the shoe was on the other foot? (OK, I can see that you went from -10 to 20, but the point remains.) Let the NL suffer for about 30 years and then start talking about it. In the meantime it can console itself by saying how pure its brand of baseball is.

But anyway, within a few years the pendulum will likely swing back, since it's not like it was when one league was integrated and the other basically wasn't. Just sell the money-saturated Cubs to someone who knows what he's doing and you might be amazed at the quick turnaround.
   32. Kirby Kyle Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2123261)
I do think at their level there are different gloves for short and second BUT the difference would be minimal to the point of using as an excuse is laughable.

Particularly since there's a much greater difference between a second baseman's glove and a first baseman's mitt, which didn't prevent Todd Walker from becoming the primary first baseman for over a month.
   33. Neil M Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:37 PM (#2123262)
From the Sun-Times:

The Cubs have ruled out recalling Angel Guzman or Jerome Williams, who are with Class AAA Iowa. ''Guzman is far away because they're playing in Las Vegas,'' Baker said of the Iowa Cubs. ''Jerome has been struggling.''

Team officials have ruled out recalling Class AA pitcher Sean Gallagher, who is 5-3 in nine starts.

''The people who have seen him decided he's not really ready,'' Baker said. ''We'd be rushing him too much. It's one day at a time on who's pitching. Everything's in limbo.''
   34. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2123264)
If Izturis can finish the season strong, he might be a somewhat valuable trading chit in the offseason. It's easy to imagine a scenario where a team gets shut out of the bidding on the prize FA SS and gives up a prospect for someone like Izturis who has a superficially good resume. To the extent that Izturis himself might be able to bring in something better than a live arm, I'm glad the Cubs made the deal. At worst, I think Izturis would be able to land the same live arm Maddux would. </ridiculous optimism>
   35. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#2123270)
To begin, I guess I had come around to believe (thanks in part to some here) that the Cubs were not going to land a prospect with any serious ceiling for Maddux.

I'm not sure we're on the same page, Mike. From what I understand, the Dodgers were rightfully not going to give a top prospect for Maddux, whether Hendry tried or not. I don't disagree with that.

The question is whether they could've gotten what I'll call a "mid-tier" prospect -- someone with either more risk, a lower ceiling, but not necessarily both. Joel Guzman may have been out of the question (although the Dodgers did give him up for a 2 month loaner of Julio Lugo), but could the Cubs have gotten, say, Sergio Pedroza -- who also went in the Lugo deal? What about Anthony Raglani? Cory Dunlap? Xavier Paul?

It's a fool's errand to guess about offers that weren't made, but it seems to me that the Cubs had choices beyond (a) keeping Maddux and (b) getting an MLB shortstop.


Even if you don't take it as far as I do and agree that Izturis will be "stellar" in the field, can we all agree that he'll be pretty darn good? If that's the case, doesn't Cedeno becoming a consistent 2nd baseman -- if you buy that as a possibility-- make this a potentially pretty good defensive infield? I think it does.

But if Izturis is no better with the glove than Neifi, than it's essentially a wash (and a redundancy). Also, as The First Pitch Express observes, it isn't as if the Cubs defense was hurting in the first place.


Three solid free agents -- a left-fielder and a couple of pitchers -- and better durability, and it's a potentially .500ish team floating around all the other flawed .500ish teams in the National League.

When's the last time the Cubs were able to draw three front-line free agents (i.e., not including bench guys or bullpen fodder)?
   36. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:46 PM (#2123273)
Thomas Richard Hamilton Nugent Posted: August 02, <u>2005</u> at 12:39 PM (#2123264)

If Izturis can finish the season strong, he might be a somewhat valuable trading chit in the offseason. It's easy to imagine a scenario where a team gets shut out of the bidding on the prize FA SS and gives up a <strike>prospect</strike> starting pitcher for someone like Izturis who has a superficially good resume. To the extent that Izturis himself might be able to bring in something better than a live arm, I'm <strike>glad</strike> sure the Cubs <strike>made the</strike> will make a deal.

Sorry, I just thought some editing would help.
   37. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2123275)
Three solid free agents -- a left-fielder and a couple of pitchers

LOL!!! Even the frickin' Yankees and Red Sox can't get 3 in one off-season.


For all that time Cedeno was playing 2B in the assumption that Furcal was going to be here, I guess he was leasing a second baseman's glove.


I had forgotten all about Nomar. That's a good list though. Kind of indicates the Cubs place value in having OBP on the bench and defense in the everyday lineup. Which, if you assume you have a healthy Zambrano, Prior, and Wood is kind of a waste seeing that their strikout rates are so high.
   38. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2123279)
It's easy to imagine a scenario where a team gets shut out of the bidding on the prize FA SS and gives up a prospect for someone like Izturis who has a superficially good resume.

Of course, that team would most likely be the Cubs. :-)
   39. Rally Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2123286)
1. Pierre (re-signed)
2. Izturis
3. Lee


I'll give everyone a sneak preview of my 2007 projections:

Derrek Lee: 35 HR 57 RBI
   40. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2123287)
The Cubs have ruled out recalling Angel Guzman or Jerome Williams, who are with Class AAA Iowa. ''Guzman is far away because they're playing in Las Vegas,'' Baker said of the Iowa Cubs. ''Jerome has been struggling.''

One other thing I found noteworthy about this was that neither the media nor Dusty thought of Jae Kuk Ryu. It is true that Ryu has been fairly lackluster in Iowa and did pitch last night, but he's been better than Williams.
   41. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:56 PM (#2123289)
When's the last time the Cubs were able to draw three front-line free agents (i.e., not including bench guys or bullpen fodder)?

That would probably be the 1990-91 offseason; George Bell, Danny Jackson, and Dave Smith. THAT worked out well (well, it did lead indirectly to Sosa).
   42. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2123292)
The Cubs have ruled out recalling Angel Guzman or Jerome Williams, who are with Class AAA Iowa. ''Guzman is far away because they're playing in Las Vegas,'' Baker said of the Iowa Cubs. ''Jerome has been struggling.''
Didn't Izturis fly in from LA which checks map to be sure is further than Las Vegas double checks map yeah it's further. I guess it's possible that the Dodgers were already in Cincinnati by time the trade happened.
   43. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#2123293)
Good catch, Misirlou!
   44. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#2123294)
Interesting - 1990-91 was right after a disappointing season following a trip to the playoffs.

Those Cub teams of the early 90s are about what I'd expect out of the next couple of seasons here - around 75-80 wins per year, not as laughably bad as they've been this year, but not good.
   45. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:02 PM (#2123303)
Three solid free agents -- a left-fielder and a couple of pitchers

LOL!!! Even the frickin' Yankees and Red Sox can't get 3 in one off-season.


The White Sox got their starting second baseman, catcher, right fielder, closer and fifth starter via free agency the offseason before last. It can be done.
   46. Kirby Kyle Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:03 PM (#2123307)
I don't think the Cubs are sooo far away from contending in this sorry league next year.

From the Cubs' perspective, this is the real problem with the imbalance between the leagues, as alluded to in the introduction. As things stand, almost no NL team is far away from contending, which is a fatal temptation to mediocre teams that see themselves as one or two veterans away from a playoff spot. Several sub-.500 NL teams were among the buyers or potential buyers at the trade deadline; LA, which picked up Maddux and Lugo, currently projects to win 78 games.
   47. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2123313)
Yeah, but that was done by a team that (a) had a smarter GM; (b) was aggressive enough to make several changes, rather than simply point to one problem; and (c) was flexible enough to both plan ahead and modify his plans if the first one didn't work out.
   48. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2123314)
That would probably be the 1990-91 offseason; George Bell, Danny Jackson, and Dave Smith. THAT worked out well (well, it did lead indirectly to Sosa).
Holy Crap! No way has it been that long. Looking back, unless I am forgetting someone I think Mike Morgan is the last FA that the Cubs signed who was considered one of the top FA in the market. WOW, good job guys!
   49. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2123320)
bringbackthebrownieelf is fast becoming a huge troll in Cubs threads.

even if the gloves are different (which I don't believe is true)...

I do think at their level there are different gloves for short and second BUT the difference would be minimal to the point of using as an excuse is laughable.

I hate this trade, the only upside I can think of that this trade MIGHT bring is maybe, maybe, maybe this makes Neifi expendable
I think it is hilarious that you call me a troll, yet at the same time completely agree with my point: this trade takes Neifi out of the lineup more - which we both can agree is a good thing. You may think I'm a troll - but you can eat my ass. I will root for Izturis. I like him, and I won't be so quick to give him the Jacque Jones treatment and cry about every move the Cubs make. I am a huge Cubs fan. Call me a troll if you will - but at least I'm optomistic and don't cry about everything.
   50. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#2123321)
Yeah, but that was done by a team that (a) had a smarter GM; (b) was aggressive enough to make several changes, rather than simply point to one problem; and (c) was flexible enough to both plan ahead and modify his plans if the first one didn't work out.

I'm just sayin'.
   51. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:13 PM (#2123324)
bringbackthebrownieelf is fast becoming a huge troll in Cubs threads.

even if the gloves are different (which I don't believe is true)...

I do think at their level there are different gloves for short and second BUT the difference would be minimal to the point of using as an excuse is laughable.

I hate this trade, the only upside I can think of that this trade MIGHT bring is maybe, maybe, maybe this makes Neifi expendable
I think it is hilarious that you call me a troll, yet at the same time completely agree with my point: this trade takes Neifi out of the lineup more - which we both can agree is a good thing. You may think I'm a troll - but you can eat my ass Biscuit_Pants. I will root for Izturis. I like him, and I won't be so quick to give him the Jacque Jones treatment and cry about every move the Cubs make. I am a huge Cubs fan. Call me a troll if you will - but at least I'm optomistic and don't cry about everything.
   52. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2123347)
You may think I'm a troll - but you can eat my ass Biscuit_Pants.
I do, and no thanks.

I called you a troll because you:
mention one game as a reason this is working.

you say that we kept complaining about Cedeno, we haven’t. Concerned maybe. In fact when the trade happened you are the one that said Cedeno sucked and then told us to quite ######## about how bad Cedeno was.

One of the reasons you give for liking this trade is that Izturis offensive numbers are skewed because he is going from a pitchers park to the ultimate hitting park.

Now if you are saying that you are a huge Cubs fan and like Izturis you might just be new to this site and not aware of what we have been talking about for most of the past two years. I will cut you some slack if that is the case. It just appeared that you were mocking the Cubs fans on the site.
   53. Smitty* Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2123368)
bringbackthebrownieelf is fast becoming a huge troll in Cubs threads.

You may think I'm a troll - but you can eat my ass Biscuit_Pants.


Looks like I've got some company on Biscuit Pants's enemy list......
   54. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2123370)
I think I'm agreeing with Pops, Cedeno is about to get squeezed out. Remember last offseason when he was untouchable? Yet another wonderful job by Hendry of getting the least value possible out of his assets.

---

Who really believes this trade is going to mean less Neifi? If you think that, you're a fool.
Who thinks there's any way Neifi won't be on the Cubs next season? If you think that, you're a bigger fool. Hendry can't trade with himself.
   55. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2123374)
You may think I'm a troll - but you can eat my ass Biscuit_Pants.

I do, and no thanks.
Don't feed em, BP.
   56. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2123376)
Hendry can't trade with himself.

Don't be so sure of that. Hendry has been ####ing himself for years.
   57. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 02, 2006 at 05:56 PM (#2123381)
Ph,

I stand corrected.

But as a Sox fan, I'd consider that volume of signings (and subsequent production) a matter of extreme luck. Dye got better offers, Iguchi thought the offer was too low (then changed his mind). I suppose one could hope for the Cubs to have similar luck, but that's not exactly a plan. At least the Sox moves - changing their LF, RF, C, 2B - indicates the management knew they needed a serious overhaul. The endless Cubs plan - "we're just one or two pieces away" - indicates the management (and some of the fans) refuses to see some of the problems.
   58. and Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:06 PM (#2123389)
It takes the cake.

Are you kidding? THe cake left the building at the end of last season. These last few excuses may have consumed some hardened icing on the edge of the pan.
   59. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:14 PM (#2123399)
this trade takes Neifi out of the lineup more

You read about the 2nd baseman's glove thing right?

Neifi career EQA: .219
Izturis career EQA: .226

If you want to bring up Izturis's age as a helpful factor then keep in mind that he hasn't posted an EQA over .222 since 2004.

IZZY IS NOT YOUR SAVIOR!!!!!!111111
   60. Mike Isaacs Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2123404)
A hodge-podge of responses:

LOL!!! Even the frickin' Yankees and Red Sox can't get 3 in one off-season.

The Cubs picked up three free agents last year, but I acknowledge they were not all what I would call solid.

But Eyre and Howry and Jones were all free agents that had some interest from other teams. In fact, wasn't Wade Miller also a FA pickup? The Cubs should have money to acquire real upgrades so I don't think that should be a LOL scenario. But with this team's history, I understand why it is.

To me, the real question is whether the Cubs will be willing to go after a top level free agent. And as many have mentioned here, how many times have we seen Hendry do that? A real point to be sure.

What I was trying to say was that it would not take unreasonable off-season work to make this team a contender in the National League next year. You land one very good free agent and a couple of decent ones and I don't think they're buried again as long as they stay healthy.

I hate being in the position to actually defend this team for I'm usually as scathing about them and the way the offense is assembled as all of you are. But it's not entirely fair in my eyes to cite the Cubs' offensive numbers over this year and make that a benchmark for how much they need to improve.

Lee is the big stick that was gone most of the year. That's a huge difference, of course. But it was more than just Lee that was missing this year. As much as I didn't like the Pierre trade, he was worthless for two months in a way that I did not expect. Ramirez is a better player with Lee in the lineup although I know he can be a cold starter. Pierre playing better at the start of the year and Ramirez not completely disappearing with a healthy Lee in the lineup means a better offense than what we saw this year.

With Walker gone, however, and Izturis as a replacement, I agree that the Cubs are in big need of a major upgrade in this lineup.

djf's point about a mid-level prospect for Maddux is well taken. As he says, it depends on the prospect, which is difficult to guess. If it was a prospect who had some chance at becoming an impact player down the road, I would have been in favor of that deal over the one made as well. If it was a marginal prospect, I would take my chances with Izturis.

And to respond to one more of djf's points: If Izturis turns out to be no better than Neifi with the bat, the deal will not help the Cubs. To summarize our positions the way I see it: You seem confident he won't develop into a better hitter than what we've seen and that his defense is good but over-rated. I think his defense is at least as good as Neifi's and could in the end be better. And I'm not yet convinced that we've seen all there is to see with his hitting. My mild support for this trade is based on the idea that A) It's worth the gamble to find out and B) I see no better option for the middle of the infield next year.

That leads to a final point: Given that the Cubs were not going to build with prospects and develop young players for 2007, it becomes a fair question to ask what Hendry's alternative should have been. Should they have kept Walker for another year? What strong OBP shortstops or 2nd basemen are available on the market next year? If I recall correctly, it was pretty slim pickings.

I certainly agree with some of the concerns raised here. But I don't think the trade was terrible given all factors. It was a gamble where not a lot was given up -- as painful as that is to say about Maddux. Izturis may be another Neifi in the end, but if he is, I just didn't see a big difference maker out there for the taking. To me, the big question now is whether Hendry provides this lineup with more punch and a different kind of hitter at another position or two.
   61. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:30 PM (#2123416)
In fact, wasn't Wade Miller also a FA pickup?

Holy ####, I'd completely forgotten about him. Haven't seen anything about him in months.

If Izturis turns out to be no better than Neifi with the bat, the deal will not help the Cubs. To summarize our positions the way I see it: You seem confident he won't develop into a better hitter than what we've seen and that his defense is good but over-rated. I think his defense is at least as good as Neifi's and could in the end be better. And I'm not yet convinced that we've seen all there is to see with his hitting. My mild support for this trade is based on the idea that A) It's worth the gamble to find out and B) I see no better option for the middle of the infield next year.

Sub Cedeno in for Izturis in that paragraph and absolutely nothing changes except for the $4mil Izturis is getting paid.

That leads to a final point: Given that the Cubs were not going to build with prospects and develop young players for 2007, it becomes a fair question to ask what Hendry's alternative should have been. Should they have kept Walker for another year? What strong OBP shortstops or 2nd basemen are available on the market next year? If I recall correctly, it was pretty slim pickings.

Sure, keeping Walker for another year would have been great. It's been pretty obvious since this past offseason that they didn't value Walker enough. But there's quite a few mid-tier 2b FAs out there now (someone listed them in one of the original trade threads, but it included guys like Loretta, Grudz, etc).

Basically, I see no reason why they should have given up on Cedeno at SS unless they were replacing him with something unquestionably better (i.e. Tejada).
   62. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2123424)
If it was a marginal prospect, I would take my chances with Izturis.

Quite frankly, I see Izturis as having negative value to the Cubs. Would he get 1yr/$4MM on the open market if he were a FA this offseason? Whatever your answer to that, keep in mind that the Cubs need him LESS than other teams (he's totally redundant) and receive the added bonus of screwing with one of their prospects to do it. Remember how well a certain young Met infielder did when he was tugged between SS and 2B? Then you can factor in whatever you believe the opportunity cost of passing on an unknown prospect is.

Maybe the Cubs did this with the full intention of burying Cedeno and no longer care about his development. The now very distinct possibility of an Izturis/Neifi middle infield should give you some concern. This would leave LF as the one spot in the lineup where improvement may take place.*

*Yes, I know Pierre's contract is up but this FA class doesn't allow for improvement in CF unless he re-signs and has a better 2007 than his 2006.

Frankly, I don't see a whole lot of reason to be optimistic with the offense going forward. Keep in mind that Chicago has the worst offense in baseball by 31 runs at about the 2/3 mark. If this trend continues (and remember they've swapped out Walker's bat for Izturis's) they're looking at being the worst offense in baseball by close to 50 runs.
   63. Rage against the big red machine Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:44 PM (#2123440)
The White Sox got their starting second baseman, catcher, right fielder, closer and fifth starter via free agency the offseason before last. It can be done.


And to think that performance wasn't enough to win Kenny Williams "Executive of year" from the Sporting News or Baseball America.
   64. Spahn Insane Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2123449)
I don't think Dusty meant "glove" as in the physical piece of equipment. I think he meant the fielding skills in general.

Nevertheless, that's a good one to add to the excuse bank. "Had wrong kind of glove"....*files away*

</Dusty>
   65. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2123453)
Now if you are saying that you are a huge Cubs fan and like Izturis you might just be new to this site and not aware of what we have been talking about for most of the past two years. I will cut you some slack if that is the case. It just appeared that you were mocking the Cubs fans on the site.
Please cut me some slack. I am new to this site. I've been on here less than a month - I'm not trying to make your sh*t list. Peace?
My whole point though is that this was a good trade. I love Maddux, but his value from this point forward in the season was purely sentimental. It's time to move on - I don't think the Cubs can count on Maddux, Prior, or Wood for the future.
   66. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2123461)
I'm not trying to make your sh*t list. Peace?
It takes a lot to get on my Sh*t list, don't worry. Smitty is a special case (check the WIKI if you do not believe me) he is certifiable :)
   67. Smitty* Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2123465)
Smitty is a special case

Why does everybody keep saying that?!

Oh, and don't you hate pants!
   68. Rage against the big red machine Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:02 PM (#2123466)
I don't think the Cubs are sooo far away from contending in this sorry league next year.


I'm not, ahem, a fan of the Cubs, but I would have to agree with this (or maybe not being a fan makes me more likely to). Right now the NL wild card leader is what, 4 games over .500? I'm sure that fluctuates a lot from year to year, but it's not like the Cubs have the Yankees and Red Sox staninding in the way of of their postseason in the NL Central.

Even neglecting the level of competition, the Cubs starting pitching could be formidible next year. There's a reasonable chance that Zambrano and Prior could form a Schilling/Johnson tandem. You may feel that's not likely, but not many teams have even the possibility of a top 2 like that. The bullpen seems passable. The lineup might be weak, but I imagine the Cubs will sign Carlos Lee (he wants to go there). If they retain Ramirez the middle of the order is very solid. Izturis is in his prime, it's possible he could have a middling OBP next year. Less talented teams than that have gotten to the post-season.

Anyway, if the Cubs go big and sign Lee, keep Ramirez, and bring in a big-time starter (Zito or Matsuzaka) I think they'd be a pretty imposing team next year. Even without the starter, they should have a shot at the post-season.
   69. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:03 PM (#2123471)
Marshall and Marmol (each of whom have been spotty at best),
I don't know if I am in a minority here but I have actually been pretty happy with Marmol to this point. He is walking people at a rate that scares me a little but the fact that he is pitching at this level after only having three years as a professional pitcher is encouraging to me.

Of course with him pitching tonight I am fully expecting to eat my words.
   70. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2123479)
The Cubs should have money to acquire real upgrades

Will they?

With the addition of Izturis, they've got >$7 million devoted to middle infielders, both corner infielders are making >$10 million next year, they've got, what, $15 million invested in the bullpen ($5 million each for Eyre, Howry, Dempster? plus $3 m for Rusch). Plus, they probably have to pay Pierre $8 million next year just to start at the status quo (I assume you're not counting him and Aramis in the 3 free agents they need to sign). And Big Z's probably due to hit the $10 million per year level next year or very soon therafter.

How much money does that really leave them to invest in corner outfielders and starting pitchers? And let's not forget that Esteban Loaiza got a 3 yr/$21 million deal last offeason. If it costs $7 - $8 million per year for average starting pitching (and that's probably being generous to Mr. Loaiza), do two league-average starters for $15 million really go far toward making this team a contender?

Izturis at $1 million a year with Neifi being DFA'd at the same time would have been a perfectly fine trade for Greg Maddux. Spending >$7 million for 3 slap-hitting middle infielders hurts this team's chances to become a real player in the free agent / trade market this offseason.
   71. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:28 PM (#2123495)
Cubs contracts.

Don't want to go through the whole thing, but FAs this year are Maddux ($9mil), Pierre($5.75), Wood($11mil-$3mil buyout), Nevin ($375K), Blanco ($1.5mil), Mabry ($1.075), Miller ($1mil). That's a total of $26.7mil coming off the books. Combined, Ramirez ($.5mil), Dempster ($1mil), Jones ($1mil), Barrett ($1mil), Izturis ($4.15mil), Howry ($1.5mil), Rusch ($.5mil), and Eyre ($.8mil) eat up $10.5mil in raises. Then you have to add in raises for Zambrano (probably about $4mil) and Prior (let's say $1mil), and the team has about $11.2mil left for upgrades to match this year's budget. I'm not sure how much the budget will go up, but let's be conservative and say $5mil.

So, that gives Hendry $16.2mil to find a LF, CF, and at least 1 SP. I'm not very optimistic.
   72. CFiJ Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:29 PM (#2123497)
The Cubs will not make a play for Matsuzaka, assuming he's posted. Which I think is unlikely...
   73. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:29 PM (#2123498)
Ha, I ended up "going through the whole thing" even though I said I wouldn't.
   74. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#2123500)
I don't know if I am in a minority here but I have actually been pretty happy with Marmol to this point. He is walking people at a rate that scares me a little but the fact that he is pitching at this level after only having three years as a professional pitcher is encouraging to me.

The walks scare the hell out of me. It's not just an elevated walk rate. 40 BB in 53.1 IP is simply not conducive to any kind of success at the big league level (and it's getting worse - he's at 29 walks in 25.1 IP since July 1), Last year in the minors he averaged about 4.5 BB/9, and he was at about 3.9 BB/9 before his callup this year.

Until I see him get it down under 4 BB/9 consistently, I wouldn't pencil him in for next year. Even with a good hit rate this year, he's still putting up a 1.55 WHIP. I think he's lucky his ERA is as low as it is.
   75. Spahn Insane Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:36 PM (#2123504)
Incudentally, dJf - another Baker excuse. 48 hours before a starter is needed for tomorrow, Guzman is discounted because Iowa are in Las Vegas, which is 'too far away'.

Does Vegas still have an airport? 'Cause I could swear I remember going to work in Chicago less than a day after leaving Vegas a couple years back.
   76. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2123506)
That's the problem when your mentor is Zambrano - you throw nasty heat - but walks are the problem. I too like Marmol. I think he could be better than Marshall next year.
   77. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2123510)
I wonder what the excuse not to use him would have been if the Cubs had been playing at Arizona this week? You could bike from Las Vegas to Arizona in 48 hours.
   78. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2123529)
I am new to this site. I've been on here less than a month
I have always felt there should be a welcome pack for joining this site. The Wiki is useful but there are still some unwritten things that need to be understood. Here is a quick list:

Harvey Wallbangers has seen more games than the rest of the site combined. He has seen 70 years worth of baseball and seems to remember every game with clarity.

Don’t be a dick while attacking someone unless you can do it with the elegance of a lawyer.

Don’t call anyone Nellie!

Most people on this site would rather have 2 prospects in the minors than a major league average person in the field.

Being a “fanboy” doesn’t work unless you are a Mets fan.

Barry Bonds – Pick a side!

John Brittain is funny.

Most if not all feel “Clutch” is a word you can only use while making fun of the mass media’s use of it.

Cubs specific ones:
No one likes Dusty, very few people like Hendry.

Many of the Cubs fans on the site picked an American league team to root for after the team tanked the 2003 season. (Example DJF is now a Tampa fan)

Most of the other stuff can be found in the WIKI.

Add other unwritten rules if I forgot any.
   79. Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:01 PM (#2123537)
Is the NL really going to remain the Consolation Bracket for the forseeable future? The Mets have a core of good young guys complimenting their vets, the Cardinals have a fat payroll and Albert Pujols, and a bunch of teams have some strong prospects that should be ready to contribute in 07/08: the Marlins (barring further purges), the Brewers, pretty much the entire NL West except the Giants...

I hope the Cubs aren't planning on the present team being contenders after one or two minor tweaks, but I suspect that's exactly what will happen.
   80. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2123538)
To summarize our positions the way I see it: You seem confident he won't develop into a better hitter than what we've seen and that his defense is good but over-rated. I think his defense is at least as good as Neifi's and could in the end be better. And I'm not yet convinced that we've seen all there is to see with his hitting.

That's a close summary, but let me add one more thing: At this point, you, me, BTF, the Chicago media, and nearly all of Cubs Nation realizes Neifi's shortcomings and that he's not the answer of any question worth asking.

I fear that the same is true of Izturis, but because he's 26, he'll slip under the radar. With the exception of Bruce Miles, the media is already buying into the hype. (Check Mike Downey's article for instance.) More importantly, the Cubs are buying the hype too. If we all fear that Neifi has a stranglehold on a roster spot through 2007, I fear that Izturis will hold one well beyond that.


Given that the Cubs were not going to build with prospects and develop young players for 2007, it becomes a fair question to ask what Hendry's alternative should have been. Should they have kept Walker for another year?

Why not? Yes, I'm serious. Walker is no long-term solution, but if we're only looking for someone to man the position until they can call up Eric Patterson or find a legit 2B, why not?

Instead, they've got three versions of basically the same guy -- Neifi Perez young, prime, and post-prime -- and all look like they'll be with the team through at least 2007, with Eric Patterson still developing in AA. Pass.
   81. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2123546)
*Yes, I know Pierre's contract is up but this FA class doesn't allow for improvement in CF unless he re-signs and has a better 2007 than his 2006.

This is going to sound wild, but who says Soriano can't play CF?
   82. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:06 PM (#2123550)
What is the Wiki?

For the record - I don't like Dusty, Hendry, or corporate ownership. My AL team is anyone but the Yankees. Carlos Zambrano is and has always been my favorite </strike><strike>cub</strike> player.
   83. CrazyAboutLou Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2123554)
Oh, and Bonds took steroids and thus I don't like him. I know that's a rush to judgment - with no direct evidence, but PLENTY of circumstantial evidence. Just look at the photos. It doesn't matter, he's a dick anyway.
   84. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2123555)
The walks scare the hell out of me. It's not just an elevated walk rate. 40 BB in 53.1 IP is simply not conducive to any kind of success at the big league level (and it's getting worse - he's at 29 walks in 25.1 IP since July 1), Last year in the minors he averaged about 4.5 BB/9, and he was at about 3.9 BB/9 before his callup this year.

Until I see him get it down under 4 BB/9 consistently, I wouldn't pencil him in for next year. Even with a good hit rate this year, he's still putting up a 1.55 WHIP. I think he's lucky his ERA is as low as it is.
They are definitely worrisome but his stuff is great and at this point I might be attributing too much of his control to the fact that he has been only pitching for three years. I don't see this guy as someone who you can project as easily using his minor league numbers. His stuff reminds me a lot of a young Guzman, not sure if that is good or bad at this point. At this point if I had to hang my hat on a Cubs pitcher developing (MLB ready guys only, or at least 1 year away) it would be on him.
   85. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2123559)
   86. Biscuit_pants Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#2123565)
Just look at the photos
I guess I should have added that one as one that wont work around here.
   87. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#2123569)
BTF Wiki

Don't sweat it, brownieelf. We may be a bunch of abrasive pessimists, but that's only because we've all been quite jaded over the years (the last 3 years in particular). The regulars here are all quite passionate Cubs fans, just like you, and we were in much better moods in 2003.

There is a pretty fair amount of groupthink here, in case you haven't picked up on it yet. You mentioned Jones earlier. I don't believe any of us dislikes him personally -- I, for one, know that he's giving a good effort for the most part. We just *really* thought it was a wrong decision to sign him, much less for 3 years and without the RH half of a platoon.

It's the same type of that Hendry has made a habit of over the past few years, and although we sometimes take our frustrations out on Jones, I think I can speak for most of us when I say that our real beef is with Dusty, Hendry, and MacPhail.

Anyway, welcome. Don't be too offended at the occasional jab and feel free to take a swipe at us or, better yet, challenge our thinking. The more voices we hear, the more we learn.
   88. Meatwad Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:42 PM (#2123603)
djf i refuse to learn....evidence of this, was washed away by the waves repeatedly saturday night
   89. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#2123607)
This is going to sound wild, but who says Soriano can't play CF?

I'm assuming most teams that are interested in him intend to put him at 2B.


Here's the useful free agents I see (I may be wrong on the eligibility): Lee, Soriano, Durham, Javy Lopez, Belliard, Radke, Zito, Hunter, Stewart, Mussina, Guardado, Dellucci, Catalanotto, Glavine, Mulder, Schmidt. I don't see the Cubs signing 3 out of that group. One probably, two possibly, three no way.
   90. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2123611)
Here's the useful free agents I see (I may be wrong on the eligibility): Lee, Soriano, Durham, Javy Lopez, Belliard, Radke, Zito, Hunter, Stewart, Mussina, Guardado, Dellucci, Catalanotto, Glavine, Mulder, Schmidt. I don't see the Cubs signing 3 out of that group. One probably, two possibly, three no way.

It will probably be Guardado.
   91. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 08:51 PM (#2123615)
I'm assuming most teams that are interested in him intend to put him at 2B.

I'm assuming just the opposite -- that Soriano has already proven himself unworthy of handling the position and that his future is in the OF. Washington didn't pick him up on a lark; they viewed him as an OF from the get-go, and I believe that most/all other clubs see him that way as well.

Oh, and I don't see Durham, Lopez, Belliard, Radke, or Stewart being all that useful to the Cubs, and while Schmidt is useful, he won't be useful at the price he'll be seeking.
   92. Steve G. Posted: August 02, 2006 at 09:45 PM (#2123685)
the Cardinals have a fat payroll


That's kind of an odd statement to make, when you consider that the Cardinals weren't even in the top third in the NL in payroll at the beginning of the year (according to Cot's Baseball Contracts):

Mets - $101 million
Dodgers - $98 million
Cubs - $94 million
Astros - $92 million
Giants - $90 million
Braves - $90 million
Cardinals - $88 million

At any rate, I think the Cubs will have more of a shot at competing in the Central than you may think, if for no other reason than the division may actually be weaker next year. The Brewers will probably be better and the Reds could make a push, but the Cardinals and Astros are poised to take a big hit in free agency, and the Pirates still seem to be headed nowhere. The Cubs bring back an MVP candidate in Lee, a Cy Young candidate in Zambrano, and a strong bullpen (compared to the rest of the division). The younger guys (Marshall, Hill, and maybe even Marmol) have shown the potential to approach league average production next year, which may help give them the flexibility to forego a starter in free agency next year (there's not a lot out there in terms of starters anyway).

They don't have to make a big splash in free agency to make improvements but, if they were to go after a big fish, they could pursue Torii Hunter to handle center field. In the bargain bin, they could target Luis Castillo to work opposite Izturis, provide some OBP to the top of the order, and let Cedeno provide some depth off of the bench. Frank Catalanotto and/or Jose Cruz Jr. could be picked up to be inexpensive platoon partners for either Murton or Jones, respectively. I realize that this is a "dream GM" scenario that's pure speculation, but it doesn't appear to be too unrealistic (even for Hendry, who would have to be drooling over somebody like Hunter in the first place).

They may not be a "pretty" contending team, but I'd still wager that they'd be in the thick of it come August of next year, which is certainly better than the current situation.
   93. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 02, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2123786)
BTW, Hendry had an interview with Mike Murphy on the Score, which is available on the web. I've downloaded it and here are the paraphrased highlights -- some of which are VERY rich.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present our General Manager, Jim Hendry:

* The 3 or 4 days are long days/nights because of the trading deadline. It actually started a couple of weeks ago.

* Regarding the complaint that the Cubs don't care as long as they draw fans: I respect the fans and applaud them for their loyalty. They deserve a better product and to win. I'm totally committed to making it better in the next year. I greatly appreciate the fans coming out and supporting the team and don't pay attention to those complaints.

It couldn't be farther from the truth with me or those above me. When we were in the race and had to add Nomar's salary or Ramirez's, we did.

"I refuse to have any excuses, whether it's day games, whether it's payroll, whether it's injuries, I refuse to put up with any excuses on why we haven't been successful."

"There's always things that go wrong when you're not successful. There's no use making excuses about it. In the end of the day, it's professional sports. We play 162 games. At the end of the day, the record's gonna be what it's gonna be.

Obviously, ours is not appropriate, it's not something to hang your hat on. It just has to be fixed. I choose not to look backwards, now, I choose to look forwards, and I feel that -- like we did the other day.

I love Greg Maddux, and as fine a human being and as fine a player as I've ever been around -- Izzituris [sic] will be the first move that will help us get better for next year."

* Regarding Izturis and Cedeno and who bats No. 2: Let's give Izturis the chance to play for a while. He's 26 and when he went down to TJ surgery, he was hitting .340 and Jim Tracy thought he was going to blossom. And to be honest, he's the best defender in the league. He won the Gold Glove and every manager will tell you -- you heard Tommy LaSorda say it -- if he can't hit in the 2 hole, that's ok too.

And we'd all be remiss to think that Ronny Cedeno at his age doesn't have a chance to be a lot better offensive player. I mean, we're gonna get caught up in 4-5 months of statistics. In the history of the game, a lot of people hit .250 their first year and by their third year they're hitting .300.

They're great young players defensively. Hopefully, they'll get better offensively.

"I know one thing: I like going into the next year having the best player in the world defensively at first base and one of the best players in the world defensively at shortstop. I like having that."

* In response to Murphy thinking Dusty has been great over the last few weeks because he's argued with umps, yanked Dempster, etc. -- so your evaluation was a coincidence?

"The 'evaluation' thing was a line that I had said when I was asked a question about the entire thing and all of a sudden it became a deadline."

* I think Dusty argues when he feels he's right, according to his own style.

* Is he coming back? My stance hasn't changed. Dusty's comfortable with what I told him. I'm gonna make the decision, looking to the future at the end of the year and what I think is best for the Cubs moving forward. I'm not putting a deadline on it.

* With the rough starts that Lee, Pierre, and Jones have had when they first came here, do you also have to look at how guys from small markets to see how long it takes for them to adapt? Lee just came here after winning the World Series. You can't pinpoint a case here and there.

Everything's different. Even Moises Alou started bad their first two months here. Sometimes it just takes a while for them to play -- Lee, etc. I think Pierre and Moises tried to do to much in the beginning.

* I'm all for Juan Pierre coming back next year. He's playing terrifically, like the guy we thought we had all along. It was never for lack of effort. It just didn't happen.

We have no excuses, but I think we all agree that it was strange and unfortunate that when Derrek went down, a lot of guys who play good baseball all of a sudden didn't hit collectively for a month -- 5 or 6 guys. Hard to explain.

* The fact that I only got Phil Nevin wasn't because of lack of effort. Brian Cashman lost guys and they weren't able to get anyone, but he wasn't able to get a bat for 6-8 weeks. Nobody until the deadline traded a big bat. Even Phil Nevin wasn't available in April. Whether it was the Craig Wilsons or whomever, we tried to get them but couldn't.

* On players arguing with the media: I don't hang around and listen to interviews. Iencourage players to be professional, and also hope for the media to be respectful as well. The media and magnitude wasn't as extensive as it is now, but now there is a lot of crossing the line on both sides (team and media). I don't condone a player lipping off to a writer who asks a solid question, but there are also cases of the media invading someone's privacy and badgering them. Unless someone really crosses the line, I would encourage my players to be respectful.

* I wasn't on the roadtrip regarding the bullpen coach snapping at the media recently.

* On-Base Percentage -- the most common question from the fans. The A's have a policy of not advancing kids unless they draw a walk every 10 ABs. Have the Cubs ever considered this?

"Of course our minor league system has solid philosophies under Oneri Fleita. We're looking for good hitter's counts, we're teaching guys to knock the runs in with a man on 3rd, even if it's a ground ball to the right side.

And in all fairness, you know I was hearing the other day at the trading deadline -- from John Kruk I think -- the Oakland A's presently in the big leagues, I think, are among the lowest offensive production teams of any team in the race, in either league. I don't exactly have their ranking, but I know John was addressing them as a team that should have done something at the break because their run production is among the lowest."

* The proof in the pudding is that the Cubs are always among the bottom and that our pitchers walk the most: "We would like to do a better job at that and presently we are, but when you have people like Pierre and Ramirez who are terrific players most of their career -- we had a couple of bad months and it didn't work out.

"We've also led the game in home runs a few times in the National League and still didn't get into the postseason. We've led baseball in strikeouts, from a pitching point of view, a few times and didn't get to the World Series.

"So you know statistics can be dissected and -- you know, nothing disparaging about any of the clubs, but you know the Oakland A's haven't been to the World Series or won it yet either in this ten year regime, and Billy Beane's a very good friend of mine.

"So, you know, the statistical analysis certainly have a large input, but when you get out there. We certainly had a great month of April, if you look up statistically. I think we were leading baseball the first 20 games in knocking men in with men in scoring position, which is a huge stat for me.

"That's what the game's all about for me offensively. When you get a chance to knock in those runs, they get in. It doesn't matter if
you're -- you can be 0-for-4 that day and come up for your 5th time and you can get that winning run in, that's a good day. If you can be 3-for-3 and you can't get that run in when it counts, that's not a good day offensively.

"So statistics can be misleading. After April, obviously we were probably the worst in baseball in May and June in those same situations when it counted. So those are the kind of statistics that, to me, are even more important than some of the things -- on-base percentage is one thing; you've got to knock in the runs and score those runs. Just getting guys on base, for us, didn't mean that we did the job of getting them in."

* On the Cubs goals -- Murphy claiming that he's never heard Hendry mention "World Series":

"Sure you have. You heard it all the time in '03 and '04."

The goal is totally to win the World Series. You heard me mention it a lot in '03 and '04 and at this point, I'm not going to say it's gonna happen this year, but that remains the goal and if it doesn't happen, I'll leave this job thinking I've failed.
   94. Andere Richtingen Posted: August 03, 2006 at 01:42 AM (#2124247)
And yet, in the spirit of launching some healthy debate during the dog days of a baseball season where our regular topic at hand is a dog of a team, I say I don’t think this is a bad trade. Have at me. Given that Maddux would have left at the end of the year, and given that the talk here suggested a bag of balls or an unexceptional lower minor league prospect or two would be the Cubs’ best return on Mad Dog, this trade was better than I expected.

It's a bad trade because Izturis is not a very good player, and the Cubs might do something like lock him up long-term if he hits .280. Sure, Maddux isn't worth that much, but I'm not too interested in seeing the Cubs pick up guys like Izturis, who is likely to be same-ol' same-ol'.
   95. Mike Isaacs Posted: August 03, 2006 at 04:40 AM (#2124620)
I'm not too interested in seeing the Cubs pick up guys like Izturis, who is likely to be same-ol' same-ol'.

This is the going thought in our group, obviously. If I was as certain as many here that Izturis is and will remain "the same-ol," I'd agree. To me, the difference between Izturis and Neifi Perez, for example, is simple: Perez is a closed book. We know what we have with him. There is no upside to Neifi Perez anymore...if there ever was.

And apparently, the great majority here feel the very same way about Izturis. But the small minority here -- OK, very small -- believes there still could be upside to Izturis thereby making the trade a low-risk and acceptable gamble.

At age 24-25, Izturis had a pretty decent year. As BP points out, he was an above-replacement level hitter in 2004 and had somewhat of a breakout year. He began 2005 in strong fashion as well. Through June, he was hitting .345 with a high OBP. He then suffered hamstring problems, back problems and a sore elbow that turned into Tommy John surgery.

So this is not the same to me as hiring another Neifi Perez. I see possible extenuating circumstances when we look at some of the less than awe-inspiring stats tied to Izturis' short career. If the majority posters are right and Izturis is the "same 'ol," the Cubs will have to adjust again. But it's not like this team was ready to fill that spot with someone much better. That's another reason why this pickup is an OK gamble to me.

To recap: What we know is that Izturis showed signs of promise and encouraging development as he approached his peak years. His dramatic decline coincided with a series of injuries. His overall numbers look pretty questionable, but those numbers, to some extent, are attributable to playing hurt with one ailment or another.

Izturis is said to be healthy now. He's still only 26, 27 when the 2007 season begins. Since this Cubs team was not a Mark Loretta or Todd Walker away from contending, I still don't see the wretchedness of this gamble. Throw in my belief that they still could contend if Izturis is only mediocre AND Hendry comes through in other areas and that reinforces my position.

Yes, Hendry over-hyped this player the way he does too often with many of his mediocre acquisitions. (He called him "great" and the best defensive SS in baseball.) Yes,the low OBP is a concern on a team filled with way too many impatient hitters. But the possibility of Izturis regaining some of the promise he showed before injury after injury plagued him makes this acquisition more than just the Cubs picking up more veteran dreck.

Perhaps some did not consider Izturis all that promising even before he was hurt. Fair enough. But for 1.5 years or so, he was an above replacement level middle infielder whose numbers were on the rise. Throw in his glove and he was someone at the very least to keep an eye on.


It's been a dandy discussion, and many good points have been made. But I'm still not too bothered about this trade for a Greg Maddux who had no future on the field here beyond October. I am intrigued to see what a healthy Izturis will offer in the next two months.
   96. Meatwad Posted: August 03, 2006 at 06:44 AM (#2124687)
there is a chance he could be gearing up to use him in a trade in the off season or a waiver deal. perhaps use him to get a pitcher or an outfielder.
   97. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: August 03, 2006 at 06:59 AM (#2124694)
At age 24-25, Izturis had a pretty decent year. . . . He began 2005 in strong fashion as well. Through June, he was hitting .345 with a high OBP. He then suffered hamstring problems, back problems and a sore elbow that turned into Tommy John surgery.

So this is not the same to me as hiring another Neifi Perez. . . . But it's not like this team was ready to fill that spot with someone much better. That's another reason why this pickup is an OK gamble to me.


Just three thoughts:

1. Not only do I question the legitimacy of the .345 in a partial season, but the fact that he's gone through injury problems makes it less likely to continue, IMO. I hope I'm wrong, but when you write of "the possibility of Izturis regaining some of the promise he showed," your betting on what he did over a 3 month stretch -- before he suffered a string of injuries -- and hope that defines the rest of his career. Similar logic brought us Todd Hollandworth as a starting LF in 2005.

Furthermore, even if you expand the window to consider 2004 performance, it was still pre-injury and my comments still stand. Why are pre-injury numbers he put up in 2004 more reliable than the .260/.308/.366 he's putting up this season -- particularly in light of the fact that they come far closer to resembling his career numbers?


2. When you say that "it's not like this team was ready to fill that spot with someone much better," you miss the point. They had the spot already filled with someone just as good. They didn't need another guy, much less one that is arguably no better than what they have. This is especially true insofar as they have gaping needs elsewhere for which that roster spot could be used.

3. When you observe the overwhelming hype that Hendry has given him (and which the media has lapped up like cats to a saucer of milk), this gives us the real danger -- the very real possibility that we might see an OBP of .300 over the next to seasons, with decent but wildly overrated defense, parlayed into a 4 yr/$25mm contract.
   98. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2006 at 08:13 AM (#2124706)
the media is already buying into the hype.

And I think that's it. This is yet another PR-conscious move by the Cubs. They couldn't possibly trade ICON Greg Maddux for someone the fans hadn't heard of and probably wasn't going to be very good. Plus that would "disrespect" Maddux. Much better to get some good PR out of the move.

And finally in #97, someone points out the Izturis's injury history is NOT a good thing. Yes, obviously Izturis has more upside than Neifi, there's always some chance. But there's really no reason to be optimistic.

And even if he blossoms, how much good will that really do? If we're lucky, we'll have a SS who hits as good as a 2B ... and a 2B who hits like a SS. Seems to me all along that we were _hoping_ that Cedeno would develop into an average or slightly better SS as a hitter and now he's our starting 2B. And it certainly seems the death knell for Theriot and Fontenot (not the worst thing in the world but still a waste).

In short, yet another move which, in isolation, would be perfectly OK but is just the latest in a continuing pattern of blah, redundant, un- or under-productive moves.
   99. Mike Isaacs Posted: August 03, 2006 at 12:57 PM (#2124770)
when you write of "the possibility of Izturis regaining some of the promise he showed," your betting on what he did over a 3 month stretch -- before he suffered a string of injuries -- and hope that defines the rest of his career. Similar logic brought us Todd Hollandworth as a starting LF in 2005.

As you answer yourself, the three-month stretch followed a decent year entering what many believe was his peak -- at least in terms of age. That makes the situation in my mind: a) considerably different from Hollandsworth and b) more than just three months of promising play. That he's been injured so often is absolutely worthy of some concern. His numbers this year are not terribly impressive. These are factors that make Izturis no sure bet. They are reasons that I didn't shout about this trade being a great one. It's a gamble -- but a low-risk one, and the payoff could make Izturis a valuable part of the future. Because of that possible payoff, I believe this deal is something better than Hendry getting another low-ceiling no-OBP veteran hack -- which is how I perceive the deal to be characterized by many.

They had the spot already filled with someone just as good.

But with someone older without any potential for being part of the Cubs' future if they ever do become a good baseball team in the next couple of years. (I admit I choked on these words as I typed them). I'm not convinced Izturis will return to his peak pre-injury level, but I think he's young enough that there's some chance for that to happen. This team is likely to be part of a healthy pack of .500ish teams next year only if Hendry lands a solid left fielder and a pitcher or two -- with or without Izturis. So without Eric Patterson or any other decent prospect ready to take over, and with the likes of only a few mid-level older veteran infielders available, it seems to me that this deal was reasonable.

this gives us the real danger -- the very real possibility that we might see an OBP of .300 over the next to seasons, with decent but wildly overrated defense, parlayed into a 4 yr/$25mm contract.

And that concerns me, too. Should that happen, I will be very critical of Hendry's decision. But then that's knocking this trade for two reasons -- one that hasn't happened yet. I don't think Hendry is a very good GM and I think there has been a lot of decisions he's made that are suspect. My support for this trade is only for the trade itself -- not for what Hendry might do should Izturis prove not to regain his best old form -- which I admit is a possibility.

At that point, I advocate either giving up on him or signing him to some short-term lower-salary deal as a backup or whatever the case may be. But evaluating only what we know Hendry has done -- and taking in all other factors regarding where the team stands currently -- I can say that this deal is OK by me. How Hendry reacts to it down the line could be less than OK by me -- but that remains to be seen.
   100. Moses Taylor loves a good maim Posted: August 03, 2006 at 01:05 PM (#2124776)
This is the going thought in our group, obviously. If I was as certain as many here that Izturis is and will remain "the same-ol," I'd agree. To me, the difference between Izturis and Neifi Perez, for example, is simple: Perez is a closed book. We know what we have with him. There is no upside to Neifi Perez anymore...if there ever was.

And apparently, the great majority here feel the very same way about Izturis. But the small minority here -- OK, very small -- believes there still could be upside to Izturis thereby making the trade a low-risk and acceptable gamble.


Again, replace Izturis with Cedeno.

But it's not like this team was ready to fill that spot with someone much better.

That spot wasn't open. They just bumped Cedeno with someone who isn't clearly better.

And that concerns me, too. Should that happen, I will be very critical of Hendry's decision.

What has Hendry done over the last 2 seasons that makes you feel like you should give him the benefit of the doubt?

But evaluating only what we know Hendry has done -- and taking in all other factors regarding where the team stands currently -- I can say that this deal is OK by me. How Hendry reacts to it down the line could be less than OK by me -- but that remains to be seen.

Come on now, we all know what Hendry is going to do. After Neifi's season last year, did he deserve the contract he got? Was anybody shocked that he got it?
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