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   1. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:06 PM (#2070971)
Trading Jones would be terrific, depending on what we get in return. I would hope that Hendry would go after prospects and youth and not try to turn it into some last ditch attempt to win this year. But you never know.

Count me as puzzled about the reluctance to move Wood to the bullpen as well. It's not like there aren't pitchers out there who, for whatever reason, don't have the endurance to go as starters. Just because Wood once could throw 120 pitches without discomfort doesn't mean that's always what should be expected of him. Instead of trying to shoehorn him into the role the Cubs think he should be playing, why not give it a try?

(What? Cubs try to make someone into something they're not? Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah - Corey Patterson leading off, Neifi Perez everyday 2B (and #2 hitter), Todd Hollandsworth starting LF, Eric Karros everyday 1B, LaTroy Hawkins closer, Jacque Jones everyday RF...)
   2. Sean McNally Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:15 PM (#2070986)
Ca$hmoney won't allow this to happen.

Sorry Cubs fans.
   3. Luke Jasenosky Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2070991)
Speaking of Hollandsworth, these numbers are a little eerie:

Hollandsworth EQA: .209
Mabry EQA: .209

Wow, we replaced one left-handed bench guy who was terrible with his darker-haired doppleganger. Of course, Mabry is a little more versatile. Then again, he's three years older than Hollandsworth. Ack! How do I choose? I want both!
   4. DCA Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#2071003)
If Hendry can deal Jones and his .275 EQA, baserunning bungling, and ‘07 and ‘08 millions-in-waiting, especially from a point of strength, it is an unprecedented opportunity.

Isn't a .275 EQA better than average by a fair amount? And isn't Jones' defense quite good? And isn't his salary reasonable? If I'm a rich contending team missing both my starting corner OF, neither of whom are good at defense anyway, getting Jones for a B prospect would be a coup.
   5. Neil M Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:36 PM (#2071014)
And isn't Jones' defense quite good?

Last fall, Hemdry made a remark about wanting fielders who could catch the ball. Jaque does that pretty well, unless the sun is shining.

Unfortunately, Hendry forgot the bit about being able to throw the ball. Jaque does that atrociously, whatever the weather.
   6. Neil M Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:38 PM (#2071018)
.....and then there's base-running.

Getting a B prospect for Jones would be a real coup.
   7. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: June 21, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2071030)
Neil hits on Jones's throwing problems. About 70% of the time he'll throw the ball straight down into the ground, so that it 6 hops the cutoff man in short right. About 30% of the time, he'll throw it over everything - the cutoff man, the catcher, the backstop, the Sears Tower, the International Space Station. I think I could count on one hand the number of accurate throws he's made this year, and it's always a shock to me that teams don't run on him (and Pierre) more than they do.

He has 1 assist so far this year from RF, despite the many, many opportunities given him by the Cubs' lousy pitching. To put it another way (and highlight another problem), he personally has been doubled off of 2nd base more often this season than he has thrown guys out on the bases.

He is starting to hit, which makes him pretty much alone in the Cubs lineup in that regard. But his defense and baserunning really have hurt his value.
   8. Neil M Posted: June 21, 2006 at 09:22 PM (#2071072)
it's always a shock to me that teams don't run on him (and Pierre) more than they do.

Me too, for the most part. Ome or two teams (the Marlins?) have run on Pierre very freely, but teams, so far, have not capitalised on the Jones boy's arm.

To be fair to Juan Pierre, although he must be the weakest hitter/thrower I can recall, his throws at least have the merit of following a reasonably acceptable and predictable trajectory. Jaque just releases the ball at any moment and in any direction.

I think that Jones' mechanical problems , could be addressed by giving him some regular training sessions with a pitching coach - Rothschild, Pole, whoever. But, given that reports suggest that neither Corey Patterson nor Jerry Hairston Jr. recall much in the way of 'practice' when asked recently about their Cubs days, I don't see it happening.
   9. Luke Jasenosky Posted: June 21, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2071076)
DCA, a .275 EQA is slightly above average. The average for all RF so far this year is .271. According to Runs Above Position, Jones has been worth 1.1. Throw in the baserunning and he's no better than your average Joe.
   10. Neil M Posted: June 21, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2071080)
Suggesting a pitching coach is not about wanting Jones to throw laser strikes or anything. I do think, however, that if he even had some notion of a release point, Jones would be a much better fielder.
   11. Neil M Posted: June 21, 2006 at 09:48 PM (#2071106)
Outside the the BB numbers, which remain a little high

Yes, they are. OTOH, Zambrano has been using the unintentional intentional walk quite freely this season. Against Cincinatti recently, 4 of his 6 walks were of that sort (Dunn, Griffey). Yes, Carlos still loses the zone too often, but he also has the confidence to give a dangerous hitter a pass, secure in the belief that he can get the next guy.
   12. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 21, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2071162)
neither Corey Patterson nor Jerry Hairston Jr. recall much in the way of 'practice' when asked recently about their Cubs days

Where was this?
   13. Walt Davis Posted: June 22, 2006 at 07:36 AM (#2072056)
The main reason to swap Jacque is to get out from under the contract, especially for 2008. Of course this assumes the Cubs would try to replace him with a stud RF, not another average-ish kinda guy ... which is a hard assumption to make so in the long run it probably doesn't matter if the Cubs trade him or not. Most likely we'll hear that we can't possibly trade Jones until Lee is back by which time his SLG will probably be back around 450.

Trading Howry or Eyre or Dempster is tricky though. True, relievers are in demand at the trade deadline but not usually ones with 2 years left on their contract. Granted this is true of Jones too, which also makes him tougher to deal.

Anyway, trading any of those guys except Dempster would be trading at the height of their value which would be good....and quite un-Cublike.
   14. Neil M Posted: June 22, 2006 at 08:53 AM (#2072064)
Where was this?

Second-hand stuff I picked up on other blogs, probably TCR or bleed cubbie blue.

Patterson, seemingly, was interviewed in the Baltimore Press a couple of weeks ago and stated that no-one on the ball-club ever tried to teach him.

Hairston in an interview on ESPN radio was asked a compare/contrast question about the Rangers and the Cubs. He cited the biggest difference as being the fact that Texas practice every day - something the Cubs didn't do.
   15. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 22, 2006 at 12:28 PM (#2072097)
Wow. No wonder Dusty likes the veterans - he doesn't have to teach.
   16. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: June 22, 2006 at 01:00 PM (#2072113)
The main reason to swap Jacque is to get out from under the contract, especially for 2008.

Exactly - 4 mil a season isn't a crippler, but it's 4 mil better spent elsewhere (like maybe as part of locking Z up for his remaining arb years +1). With Jones 31/32 - this probably will be a bad contract before it's up.

Jones has hit pretty much as we should have expected - but especially when you consider the number of lefties in NL Central rotations (not sure if it's still true, but I think there was as many lefties in NL Central rotations at the start of the season as the rest of the NL combined), Jones doesn't make a lot of sense on this team... especially if they're not willing to accept his limitations and platoon him with Restovich.

I wouldn't want a PTBNL back either - Jones may not warrant a prime prospect, but I think he's certainly worth something to a team with the OF problems (and money to burn) like the Yankees.

Hell - for that matter, were I Hendry, this article would spur me to give Walt Jocketty a call. Walt's smart enough to know that John Rodriguez isn't the next Tris Speaker - and since the Cubs have already paid the signing bonus, this is a contract the Cards can certainly afford, too. The Cards were one of Jones' pursuers in the offseason, to boot.

The Cubs system is nowhere near what is was 2-3 years ago - and if we've got some relatively replaceable 30-somethings, why not bring in some young talent?
   17. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 22, 2006 at 01:21 PM (#2072128)
Exactly - 4 mil a season isn't a crippler, but it's 4 mil better spent elsewhere (like maybe as part of locking Z up for his remaining arb years +1).

More importantly, Jones occupies a starter's spot. The Cubs are going to need to make serious improvements at at least three positions in order to be any good, and the OF is the most glaring shortcoming. It would be good to open up RF.

At the same time, I don't see the Cubs moving Jones unless they get what they perceive as high short-term return. Hendry signed Jones because he likes him, and in his eyes, he's performed pretty well. I doubt that he sees any need at all to get out from under that contract. Hell, he probably thinks it's a bargain. The Cubs don't see themselves as having much to replace Jones with, and this is not an organization that is willing to gut its roster mid-season.

I predict that Jones will either play out the full three years of the contract, or he will perform badly enough to be driven out of town on a rail, forcing the Cubs to dump him for nothing and eat much of his contract.
   18. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: June 22, 2006 at 01:54 PM (#2072152)
Now, Wood threw some pretty effective innings in relief last year before he was shut down. I don’t know if the problems he is having now are qualitatively different from what he suffered last summer, but if they aren’t I find it strange that both Rothschild and Baker are so adamant about his bullpen unsuitability.

Last summer his problem was purely endurance -- he could only go about 50 pitches without feeling pain. He could could still pitch 2-3 days in a row and be ready to come into a game with 10-15 minutes notice.

Now, he still has the endurance problem, but also needs much more time to get loose and several days between appearances. To me, that means the problems he is having now *are* qualitatively different than he had last summer and mean that he's essentially useless as either a starter or a reliever.
   19. paytonrules Posted: June 22, 2006 at 03:18 PM (#2072203)
Not to mention Wood's velocity is wayyy down. He was better before surgery - and from what I've read about torn labrums will probably never throw as hard again. Which begs the question - why have the surgery in the first place?
   20. God can’t be all that impressed with Charles S. Posted: June 22, 2006 at 03:43 PM (#2072216)
This is terrible news. Tribune mouthpiece Paul Sullivan says the Cubs can never rebuild.

It was just a few short years ago that Detroit lost 119 games. It was just a few short years ago that the White Sox were a so-so team. If these guys can rebuild in a short time, why can't the Cubs?

Chet Dombrowski, Texas

The Cubs aren't allowed to rebuild like the Tigers and Sox because Wrigley Field is almost always sold out and they'd be accused of pocketing the money with a low-payroll team full of kids.


From today's Trib

I think that's a crock. The fact that the park is always sold out should give them the freedom to do the right thing. They need to stop underestimating the fans.
   21. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 22, 2006 at 04:03 PM (#2072229)
not sure if it's still true, but I think there was as many lefties in NL Central rotations at the start of the season as the rest of the NL combined

Cubs - Sean Marshall
Reds - Eric Milton
Astros - Andy Pettitte, Wandy Rodriguez
Brewers - Doug Davis, Chris Capuano, Zach Jackson
Pirates - Oliver Perez, Zach Duke, Paul Maholm
Cardinals - Mark Mulder
-------------------------------------------------------------
Braves - Horacio Ramirez
Rockies - Jeff Francis
Marlins - Dontrelle Willis, Scott Olsen
Mets - Tom Glavine
Phillies - Cole Hamels
Giants - Noah Lowry
Nationals - Mike O'Connor

Second-hand stuff I picked up on other blogs, probably TCR or bleed cubbie blue.

I always misread "Bleed Cubbie Blue" as "Bleed Cubbie Bleed" and smile.
   22. VG Posted: June 22, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2072244)
I think that's a crock.

I agree with your post and also note that the Sox haven't been in full rebuilding mode since 1999. In 2001 and 2002, they were willing to sell some players at the trade deadline (mostly free-agents-to-be, the best of which was Ray Durham in 2002), but even then, they didn't trade any cornerstone types.
   23. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: June 22, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2072389)
Ditto on the crock...

How maddening. How ridiculous. The Trib has no problem spending the money - because it's nothing more than a matter of keeping ad revenue up. They know they can't go "cheap" because Trixie Cub fan nation needs to have its 'recognizeable players'.

How assisine... So - for the eternity of Trib Cubs ownership - we're stuck with some sort of cosmic Rubiks Cube, where we the team simply twists and turns moderately expensive veterans hoping to come up with the magic combination, rather than doing it right.
   24. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: June 22, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#2072422)
I think this will really be put to the test at the end of this season -- for nearly a decade, the Cubs main cornerstone has been Kerry Wood, and if you would ask Jim Hendry (and Cubs nation) what they would do with Wood at the end of the year, the answer would certainly have been that they would have resigned him on a cheaper deal.

Is this still the case? Will the Cubs let Wood go . . . or will they try to keep him on some sort of incentive-laden deal without a clear direction on his future role with the team?

My guess is the latter, but I've been skeptical about the motivation behind the Tribune's motives for a while now.
   25. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 22, 2006 at 06:22 PM (#2072457)
FWIW, Fangraphs has Jones as far and away the most important offensive contributor on the team in terms of Win Probability Added.
   26. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 22, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2072459)
How assisine... So - for the eternity of Trib Cubs ownership - we're stuck with some sort of cosmic Rubiks Cube, where we the team simply twists and turns moderately expensive veterans hoping to come up with the magic combination, rather than doing it right.

Does a team have to tank to reinvent itself? The Red Sox didn't. The Cardinals didn't. I don't see why the Marlin Method is required or desirable.
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 22, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#2072474)
FWIW, Fangraphs has Jones as far and away the most important offensive contributor on the team in terms of Win Probability Added.

That's hilarious. Derrek Lee is third. Kerry Wood is fourth.
   28. God can’t be all that impressed with Charles S. Posted: June 22, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#2072491)
Does a team have to tank to reinvent itself? The Red Sox didn't. The Cardinals didn't. I don't see why the Marlin Method is required or desirable.

The Cardinals and Red Sox didn't have to re-invent themselves. They were already good teams that needed a little push to become champs. The Cubs are bad and grasping at Phil Nevin and Tony Womack during the season after signing Jacques Jones and trading for Juan Pierre in the off-season is not getting it done. The Marlin Method may not be required, but why in the world should the Cubs write off any methods at this point?
   29. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: June 22, 2006 at 07:05 PM (#2072515)
I don't want to say that one method should be taken over another, but let's look at it this way: Who *should* be the Cubs cornerstones for the next 3-5 years (not who will be)?

As I see it, they can count on Zambrano and Lee. Beyond that, virtually no one else in the organization is a lock.

In particular, Ramirez has been a real disappointment this season, so while he may fit into this group, he may also be a guy that could garner a lot in a trade if needed (especially if they have a 3B emerge in the minors).

Beyond that, Barrett is a steady performer and Cedeno may emerge to be, but while they may have value, I certainly don't see either of them as being cornerstones.

No other hitter in the organization comes close, including Pie, who has disappointed a bit this season and may very well disappoint in the majors.

As for the pitchers, I don't think you can count on Prior or Wood anymore. Not that they can't produce, but the last few years have taught us that to build around them is folly. Anything either of them gives the team should be gravy. Beyond that, you've got a lot of kids (Marshall, Marmol, Hill, Williams, Guzman, Ryu, etc.) -- some have looked better than others this season, but I don't think any of them look to be cornerstones for the next few years, even if they pan out.

The bullpen is much the same -- either aging vets or kids who may contribute, but aren't lynchpins.

This is an organization that needs a lot of help and can go in several directions -- either pooling resources for OF help, hoping that the youngsters on the pitching staff can pull through, or trying to bring in a few top-flight pitchers and hope to deal the youngsters to fill in holes in the lineup.

The team can do anything, but it needs to do *something*. My fear is that 2007 (and 2008) will be more of the same, bringing Prior back, resigning Wood on the cheap, hoping that they both return to form, using one of the kids to try to fill Maddux's role, and going out to rent-a-vet that would displace Murton in LF.

That's the recipe for another few seasons of 70-75 wins and this organization has given me little reason not to think it will happen.
   30. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 22, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2072605)
The Cardinals and Red Sox didn't have to re-invent themselves. They were already good teams that needed a little push to become champs.

They weren't that good. From 1997-1999 the Cardinals won 73, 83 and 79 games. In 2001, the Red Sox won 82 games.

The Marlin Method may not be required, but why in the world should the Cubs write off any methods at this point?

I just think that in general folks on BTF tend to overestimate the effectiveness of building on youth alone. The ideal of trading all one's veterans for rookies and then hoping enough pan out trumps reality. I have no problems with playing young players, but the Cubs have a ton of cash and cachet. There's no reason that they should have to wait 4-5 years to become competitive. That's setting our sights too low.
   31. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: June 22, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2072652)
They weren't that good. From 1997-1999 the Cardinals won 73, 83 and 79 games. In 2001, the Red Sox won 82 games.

I think the Cardinals are a better example than the Red Sox. The Red Sox had a down year in 2001, but other than that year, they've been a consistent contender since '98. Before that, they were a 4th place team in '97, but the only major change they made was the Pedro Martinez deal (they also signed Bret Saberhagen as a FA and moved Tom Gordon to the closer role, but those were the only major changes).

The Cardinals, OTOH, went through a drastic change after '99 --

C: They signed Matt Matheny as a FA to replace Eli Marrero.

2B: They traded Juan Acevedo (a spot starter having a lousy year) and a PTBNL to acquire Fernando Vina.

CF/RF: They traded #1 starter Kent Bottenfield and minor leaguer Adam Kennedy to acquire Jim Edmonds, moving J.D. Drew to RF to replace Eric Davis.

#1 SP/Closer: They traded #3 starter Jose Jimenez and a group of bit players (Manny Aybar, Brent Butler, and Rich Croushore) for Darryl Kile and Dave Veres. At the time, Kile was a risk, having failed miserably at Colorado.

#2 SP: They traded Alberto Castillo (backup C), Lance Painter, and Matt DeWitt for Pat Hentgen.

#3 SP: They gave it to Rick Ankiel, just called up the previous September.

#4 SP: They signed Andy Benes as a FA.

Now *that's* a roster overhaul. Frankly, as much as I believe that the Cubs could use a similar transformation, I also believe that (a) Hendry would never take such an undergoing and (b) even here, the Cardinals got incredibly lucky -- seeing Kile, Hentgen, Ankiel, and Benes all pan out, while getting a tremendous performer in Edmonds and steady performances from Vina and Matheny.
   32. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: June 23, 2006 at 12:55 PM (#2073140)

Does a team have to tank to reinvent itself? The Red Sox didn't. The Cardinals didn't. I don't see why the Marlin Method is required or desirable.


I'm not saying the Cubs need a fire sale - as mentioned upthread, there are some legitimate pieces that can be part of a good team. I'd add Barrett as more of a "solid" building block to Lee and Zambrano. Wood's obviously done - but I'm still holding out hope that Prior can get healthy and stay relatively healthy. I still believe A-Ram, despite some struggles, is a piece worth keeping. The problem is with the easily replaceable parts.

The Cubs don't need a platoon player like Jones - they really need a stud like an Abreu (who, BTW, recently said he'd waive his NTC) or Dunn. Sure - I know those players don't grow on trees - but somehow, the Cardinals seem to find a way to acquire them (Edmonds, Rolen, McGwire years back).

I will say, though - that if the Cubs tank again next year... doesn't 3 straight years under .500 mean you ought to be thinking "fire sale" and "rebuild"? 'Course - it never did while the Cubs were compiling 2 over .500 seasons in 2 generations, so why would it now....
   33. Andere Richtingen Posted: June 23, 2006 at 01:20 PM (#2073157)
I will say, though - that if the Cubs tank again next year... doesn't 3 straight years under .500 mean you ought to be thinking "fire sale" and "rebuild"?

As you yourself pointed out, a fire sale is not necessary for a rebuild. However, you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs; you have to do some disassembly of what's there in order to rebuild. A Padres/Marlins style fire sale involves selling off every commodity of value and tearing things down to the bare foundation. A team like the Cubs can hold onto the core elements of value (say, Zambrano, Lee, one of Ramirez or Barrett) and build around that.

The problem, of course, is that the Cubs are incapable of engaging in that kind of decision-making. Most years, the team is in the position where they need to be thinking along those lines, and they never do it. Whether it's due to the perception that they would be pocketing their sales revenues or whether they don't know how -- and I would favor the latter explanation -- it doesn't matter. It's not going to happen.

The Cubs have the resources, both in terms of cash and personnel, for a quick turnaround based on a mixture of trades, free agent signings and player development. Not that the Cubs are capable of developing a position player, but they have some position talent in the organization that has promise, and would likely contribute in a fantasy world where the Cubs knew what to do with hitting talent.

The first question the Cubs should ask is who the players are that could be contributors to a really good team in the next 2+ years. Everyone else should be considered expendable. Personally, I'd consider Zambrano the only reasonably untouchable commodity, but would definitely entertain offers for anyone else. Obviously the Cubs have made serious commitments to Lee and Ramirez and they aren't going anywhere. Barrett is valuable and reasonably priced. Any interest in trading Dempster would be tempered by the cost of a certified closer to replace him, so that isn't happening either. So what does that leave? In particular, it would be nice to get out from under the multiyear commitments made this off-season to Jones and Pierre, to clear the OF up for an impact acquisition or two. Either player could net good return. Eyre and/or Howry should be traded. Glendon Rusch has to go, as the Cubs are going to need to develop some starting pitchers and he is in the way of that.

Of course, it isn't just trading players away, it's getting the right ones in return, and getting the most out of them once they arrive. The Cubs tend to do okay in getting good talent in trades, but their dysfunctionality as an organization seems to keep them from coming together like players seem to when they join the Cardinals.

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