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   1. faketeams Posted: December 19, 2006 at 12:53 PM (#2264869)
Agree. I do not understand the Cubs blindspot on Murton. If Soriano was signed to play a corner, then the Cubs had better make a trade. I'm sure Billy Beane would rid the Cubs of a .360 OBP Matt Murton - not that the Cubs need players with good OBPs.

Fake Teams
   2. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 19, 2006 at 01:18 PM (#2264882)
Well, Pagan isn't an everyday player, and none of Soriano, Jones and Murton are likely what you want in an everyday CFer defensively, so I think he sort of has a point. Well, he barely has a point. Fact is, the Cubs would probably be doing themselves a lot of harm by putting an all-glove/no-hit CFer in every day, which would likely be the only option. I'm becoming more convinced that Jones might be a decent option, although with the arm he showed last year he be very ugly anywhere but LF.

I like Murton, but at this point I am far from convinced that he is a genuinely good option in LF. His defense was much better than expected, but ZiPS projects .300/.350/.480, which seems about right to me. It's definitely worth seeing if he can blow that out of the water, and he might. I have advocated a Murton/Jones platoon in the past, but with the acquisition of Daryle Ward, I am now very nervous. Less nervous than I was when Baker was managing, but nervous nonetheless. Ward is a good guy to have as a fifth OF/pinch-hitter, but I definitely don't want him working his way into the lineup. I also see the Cubs once again settling into a roster with very little right-handed power off the bench. Plenty of options for PHing for Murton, very little for Jones. Sounds like a setup for Baker's Ratchet.
   3. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: December 19, 2006 at 01:46 PM (#2264900)
I'm becoming more convinced that Jones might be a decent option, although with the arm he showed last year he be very ugly anywhere but LF.

I don't know... we made it through 2 seasons of 1Dog and his alleged arm in CF.

I'm hearing a lot more that it's Jones that wants out. I don't have strong feelings either way on the Cubs dealing him, but I definitely don't think Jones should be just given away. With the market how it is -- and the fact that Jones does hit righthanders well -- I don't see any need to ship him outta town just for the sake of shipping him outta town.
   4. Spahn Insane Posted: December 19, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2265004)
Sounds like a setup for Baker's Ratchet.

Umm...
   5. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: December 19, 2006 at 04:26 PM (#2265009)
like how to do appropriate penance for the Cotts-Aardsma deal.

Is this considered to be a clear Kenny win? I see it as fairly even. Both pitchers are projects that could be excellent but could also be terrible.
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: December 19, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2265017)
I'd give the Sox a very small edge in the trade, but it's hardly anything that requires "penance" from Hendry. Like, say, signing Jason Marquis for 3 years.
   7. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 19, 2006 at 04:38 PM (#2265026)
I think Jones would be a perfectly capable option in center. Wrigley is not a spacious ballpark, with shorter alleys than most and a total lack of foul territory that enables the corner guys to play away from the lines. Plus, Soriano and Murton, neither of whom qualifies anywhere near statue status, would be playing around him. His weak arm is a better fit for center than right anyway. Unless he is unwilling to shift to CF, I don't see a problem here. Is there any way the Cubs could get a better CF option by trading him or signing a currently available FA? Right now I doubt it.
   8. Luke Jasenosky Posted: December 19, 2006 at 05:19 PM (#2265088)
I'd give the Sox a very small edge in the trade, but it's hardly anything that requires "penance" from Hendry. Like, say, signing Jason Marquis for 3 years.

I admit my bias is in evidence. I'm not a fan of Cotts, who I think gives up too many long balls and walks. In addition, with Ohman and Eyre already in the picture, and guys like Pignatiello, Rapada, and Campusano all feasible options, I just don't see the need to bring another lefty bullpen arm on board. Finally, I think Aardsma really started to put things together in the second half, and I was looking forward to a strong right-side of the bullpen with Wuertz, Aardsma and Howry.

As for Marquis, I think Hendry should get that new translation of Dante in order to prepare for what's in order.
   9. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: December 19, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#2265100)
From another thread-
...Marcus Giles will get a base salary around $3.25 million this season with incentives that could take his contract to $4.25 million. The club option for 2008 is at $4 million.

Explain to me again why Mark DeRosa got a 4/17 mil contract?

I know Giles wasn't very good last year - but he would have been far and away the best MI on the Cubs, even if he just replicated his 2006 (to say nothing of the 140, 112, 110 OPS+ he put up the previous 3 seasons).

I also know it's not really fair to put them on the same scale, since Giles was only technically available recently... but it was obvious the Braves were looking to move Giles - did Hendry even inquire?
   10. KB JBAR (trhn) Posted: December 19, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2265105)
Cotts for Aardsma is random bullpen lefty for random bullpen righty. Even though Aardsma had a better 2006 season, I think Cotts still offers the promise of good performance for the Cubs. The homer-proneness may have been a function of pitching in the Cell. Cotts only gave up 2 HRs in 26 IP on the road in 2006 and 10 in 28 IP at home. His road ERA was 2.77. As for the walks, Cotts' walk rate was better than Aardsma's last season. Once you account for service time, I'd probably rather have Aardsma, but I think Cotts shows some promise.
   11. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 19, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2265118)
I admit my bias is in evidence. I'm not a fan of Cotts, who I think gives up too many long balls and walks. In addition, with Ohman and Eyre already in the picture, and guys like Pignatiello, Rapada, and Campusano all feasible options, I just don't see the need to bring another lefty bullpen arm on board. Finally, I think Aardsma really started to put things together in the second half, and I was looking forward to a strong right-side of the bullpen with Wuertz, Aardsma and Howry.

I agree with Luke here. It's a relatively minor trade, but (a) the Cubs didn't really need another lefty, (b) Aardsma looks to be better than Cotts right now (not by a lot, and certainly their ranges of expected performance overlap considerably, but if I had to choose one, I'd pick Aardsma, and (c) Aardsma has less service time and is, hence, probably a little cheaper. They're all minor points, but there really aren't any good arguments in favor of Cotts there.
   12. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2265137)
Sounds like a setup for Baker's Ratchet.

Umm...


While I associate his name with the phenomenon, I'm not convinced the phenomenon is leaving with him.
   13. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: December 19, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2265247)
I think they're serious about Pie in center sometime this year. They would probably groom him alongside Jones, and stick Soriano in a corner. We may have been seeing Soriano in center, but not for plans of Pie as CF of the future. I'm just praying Jones doesn't win a full-time job anywhere in the outfield by opening day, he looks brutal at times both with the bat and glove.
   14. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 19, 2006 at 09:32 PM (#2265262)
Hey, Luke, good to see you (sort of)!

I haven't written a whole lot on the team today for a few reasons. First, Andere does an excellent job of putting up the latest news, and often I don't have much to add to it other than what I can say in those threads. Second, I find the historical looks back fun and interesting -- it's a project I'd like to continue, if I can gain access to ProQuest through the Chicago Public Library (I heard that I can).

The third reason, though, is that I think pretty much the entire team is fluid at this point and subject to further deals and Spring Training results. Specifically --

Rotation: We know that Zambrano will be the ace and we have a good suspicion that Hill and Lilly will be in the rotation as well. After that, we've got a lot of question marks -- it could be Marshall, Mateo, Guzman, Prior, Marquis, or even Cotts, depending on what further deals are made, who's healthy, and who looks good in Mesa.

Bullpen: Dempster is currently the closer, but if he keeps struggling, it might be Howry . . . or Wood. We know Eyre will be in the pen, and so will Cotts if he doesn't make the rotation. Wuertz and Ohman also slot in somewhere, but is Ohman above Cotts? Will he be dealt? If Marshall, Mateo, or Guzman misses the rotation, will they move to the bullpen or to the minors?

Infield: We know the catching situation, we know that Lee will be at 1st, and that Ramirez will be a 3rd. After that, we strongly suspect that Izturis will be at SS, but 2nd is still open at this point -- it could be DeRosa, Cedeno, Theriot, or possibly someone else for all we know. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a deal gets made.

Outfield: We know that Soriano will play somewhere. That's it. Everything else is up in the air. We may deal Jones. We may deal Murton. We may put Jones in CF. We may (but probably won't) put Soriano in CF. We may bring Pie up. Hendry is looking for another LH bat, and it'll most likely be an OFer.

We may have some idea who we want at certain positions, but I think it's sort of a fool's errand at this point to make any definitive judgments or guesses as to what the team will look like. I sure don't know and I'm guessing that neither Hendry nor Piniella know yet either.
   15. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: December 19, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#2265268)
I should add another category --

Bench: We know that Blanco will be on the bench, along with Ward. We can presume that Cedeno and/or Theriot will be on the bench, but we don't know which one. We don't know if Pagan will make the team, but if he does, he'll be on the bench. Beyond that, who knows -- it's quite possibly that Hendry may make a Spring Training move or a waiver pick-up to round out the team.
   16. aberg Posted: December 19, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2265295)
My general takeaway from reading this thread is that Hendry wants a decent LH-hitting OFer who can immitate CF glovework well enough to buy time for Felix Pie, all without going to too many years or too much money that he could become a boondoggle once Pie is entrenched. Reasonable enough. At the same time, Hendry's top name on the to-be-jettisoned list seems to be Jones, a player who meets every qualification listed above to a T. If the franchise is adventurous enough to consider Soriano a CF after a one year experiment in LF, then it should not be so hard to imagine Jones playing a passable CF until July, since he has done it before and really only moved off of the position to facilitate Torii Hunter. I mean, he's not going to be Andruw Jones, but he's not going to be Starr Jones, either.

It is another move (and not only the Cubs are guilty of this faux pas) of making moves that are individually defensible, but make far less sense in context of the team. They signed Mark DeRosa to play 2B and provide some OF depth in a pinch. But now there are questions about who will play second, and the OF is crowded with players the team doesn't want on the field for one reason or another. It is possible that Derosa could live up to his end of the bargain with the stick, approximate his offensive value of 2006- a longshot, but vaguely plausible- and still end up hurting the team by contraining the payroll and/or blocking another alternative.

I guess my real question is why this team, of all teams, would want a LH-hitting OFer who can play a little CF when they have a fairly reasonably priced one sitting 75 feet to the right.
   17. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: December 20, 2006 at 02:05 AM (#2265442)
Heck, I'm going to just rank them as I see it ...

Outfield:
Soriano
Murton
Derosa
Jones
Ward
Pie
Pagan
Womack

Middle Infield:
Derosa
Theriot
Fontenot
Izturis
Soriano
Patterson
Cedeno
Womack

...and I don't think spring training will be enough time to sort them all out.
   18. Spahn Insane Posted: December 20, 2006 at 09:18 PM (#2265954)
Hendry is looking for another LH bat, and it'll most likely be an OFer.

Per the Trib, they're close to signing Floyd. Of course, that's to platoon with Murton (grrr), not to play CF.
   19. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 20, 2006 at 09:30 PM (#2265962)
They are just bound and determined to do this, aren't they? Logic be damned, once Hendry decides he wants something, he's going to go out and do it.

If I'm Murton, I pray I get traded this offseason. The Cubs are going to create for him the reputation that he has to be platooned, and that's the sort of thing that can haunt a player for his entire career whether or not it's true.

And do we really think Floyd is coming for just one year? Murton's looking at limited playing time for the next 2-3 years in all likelihood.
   20. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 20, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2265970)
You know what it is? It's the Juan Pierre fiasco all over again.

2006 offseason, Hendry gets convinced that (a) the Cubs need a leadoff hitter, and (b) Pierre is the guy. Never mind that he's in the last year of a contract and showing a steady decline. Never mind that Pie is the organization's crown jewel and a center fielder, making it about 95% certain that this will be a one-year rental. Off go 3 pitching prospects for... one mediocre year of Pierre, who leaves the Cubs with nothing after one season.

2007 offseason, Hendry gets the big checkbook and decides we need another outfielder. Never mind that in all likelihood Matt Murton would outperform Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones this year, and do it for a fraction of the cost. We need that big veteran bat in the lineup, gotta have it. Floyd's the guy, Floyd's the guy, gotta have Floyd. Never mind that the team's biggest glaring hole is in center field, which Floyd can do nothing to fix. He's the guy.

What more does a young player have to do to get a chance with this team? Is Hendry in the mindset that playing Cedeno and Murton last year was the reason the team lost 97 games and finished in last place, so he's not going to make the mistake of trusting playing time to youngsters again? All this lip service paid to Murton's "development" - does Hendry honestly think that Murton will develop better sitting on the bench most of the time?

I really hoped this kind of ######## would end when Baker left, but apparently the problem went higher than that.
   21. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: December 20, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2266028)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5zEHF_ajIw&eurl;=
   22. Luke Jasenosky Posted: December 20, 2006 at 10:52 PM (#2266035)
Very well said UCCF. Obviously Floyd, when healthy, is a quality left-handed bat. If he is signed, I have to think Hendry will attempt to deal Jones. If he does, I imagine a Floyd, Soriano, Murton outfield is a possibility, and that would probably be solid offensively. However, the Sullivan article I linked to in the OP seems to indicate that Hendry is not comfortable putting Soriano in CF. If that is the case, then any move involving Floyd would obviously be to Murton's detriment. As dJf says, it is too early to get worked up about the team's structure, but it's hard not to get a little frustrated when the writing seems to be on the wall.

By the way, it looks like Joe Sheehan hasn't checked Gonfalon Cubs over the past couple of days (I'm sure he's a regular). Today he wrote: "One thing I haven't seen discussed is the idea of moving Jacque Jones to center; Jones has been an above-average corner outfielder for some time, and he doesn’t have a right fielder's arm."
   23. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 20, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2266039)
OK, that video's hilarious.

Angry German Cubs Fan would fit right in around here.
   24. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 21, 2006 at 03:17 AM (#2266155)
By the way, it looks like Joe Sheehan hasn't checked Gonfalon Cubs over the past couple of days (I'm sure he's a regular).

Past couple of days? It's been brought up here a number of times over the last couple of months!

I could easily be wrong about this, but I'm guessing that if the Cubs sign Floyd it will be for one year, and cheaply. If the rumor from the Winter Meetings that the Cubs would sign him by the end of the month is true, it would seem that they are the only real suitors. The Tribune describes the pending deal as "incentive-laden".

It's also hard for me to imagine the Cubs going into the season with Jones, Ward and Floyd all on the roster. I think one of those three has to go. I really doubt that Hendry sees Floyd or Ward as sure-thing candidates for starting, perhaps not even for platooning. Once again, he seems to be backing himself into a corner roster-wise, and leaving major gaps unfilled.

Of all the OF options we've had to consider, a Murton/Floyd in LF, Jones in CF and Soriano in RF scenario would seem like a pretty decent solution to me. I don't like Murton getting the short end of a platoon, but in 2007 I think there's a good chance that Murton/Floyd is better than Murton every day. It still requires the acquisition of a strong right-handed hitting fourth OF that Hendry won't bother signing, but it could be pretty good, definitely a hell of a lot better than what was fielded in 2006. But I don't see it going that way. I see Jones being shown the door as more likely, and Hendry picking up a banjo with legs to play CF. That, my friends, is a formula for suckitude.

At least we don't have Baker to deal with anymore. Unlike Baker, Piniella is not guaranteed to take the poorly conceived roster Hendry hands him and use it in the least optimal way.
   25. Sweet Posted: December 21, 2006 at 05:24 AM (#2266215)
Nate Silver posted a little blurb on Pie on BP Unfiltered. Basically said that Pie has gone from overrated to underrated, that PECOTA sees him turning into Vernon Wells in a few years, and that the Cubs would be stupid to do anything that blocks his path. I like the idea of moving Jones to CF this year and the bench next year.
   26. Jerry Mumphrey Posted: December 22, 2006 at 04:21 PM (#2267180)
This glut of middle infielders is what bothers me. I feel like the team would be better if Hendry were forced to develop these positions from within. Not only would it be cheaper, but also much easier for Lou to see what he's got in spring training so he can assign roles by opening day. If they would just put it in the hands of Theriot/Fontenot (or Soriano at 2b if Pie has a good spring; or maybe Patterson at 2b if he lights it up in AZ), with Cedeno/Womack as backups, I'd have to think that produces more runs than Derosa/Izturis, and an army of AAA middle infield callups rotting on the bench. But you have to play who you pay, I suppose.
   27. Spahn Insane Posted: December 22, 2006 at 05:06 PM (#2267220)
It's also hard for me to imagine the Cubs going into the season with Jones, Ward and Floyd all on the roster. I think one of those three has to go.

Which means a Jones trade, since they can't sign Ward and Floyd to free agent contracts and trade them before the season starts (right)?

FWIW, I'm not so sure they won't try Jones in center, and go with Ward on the bench and Floyd in a platoon in left. It's not exactly ideal allocation of roster spots, but what can you do.
   28. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: December 22, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2267224)
Also FWIW, Hendry came out and said that rumors of Floyd being close to a contract aren't true.

SI.com's rumor page says it's down to Chicago and Baltimore for Floyd, who prefers Chicago. But the Cubs are apparently balking unless they've got a deal to move one of the other OFs.
   29. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 22, 2006 at 05:21 PM (#2267244)
Which means a Jones trade, since they can't sign Ward and Floyd to free agent contracts and trade them before the season starts (right)?

FWIW, I'm not so sure they won't try Jones in center, and go with Ward on the bench and Floyd in a platoon in left. It's not exactly ideal allocation of roster spots, but what can you do.


I'm assuming that Jones would be traded, but yeah, they might try him in CF. Either that, or what UCCF said: Floyd is far from a sure-thing.
   30. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 22, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2267325)
Has anyone heard what the Cubs would be looking to acquire in a Jacque Jones trade? It always sounds like the team is determined to bring in some generic true CF, but there don't appear to be any guesses with regard to who this might mean or whether this player would come from a trade or free agency. The rest of the lineup is fairly well set, for better or worse, minus the possibility of the Cliff Floyd signing and Piniella's picks for MI. The Cubs don't really need any extra bullpen arms, and I can't see them adding to the rotation.

Would the Cubs trade Jones for prospects considering that the new stopgap in CF would likely do a worse job than he would have done and with the team clearly in win-now mode? Is management deliberately trying to clear the path for Pie to become the starter this year?
   31. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 22, 2006 at 06:56 PM (#2267346)
Would the Cubs trade Jones for prospects considering that the new stopgap in CF would likely do a worse job than he would have done and with the team clearly in win-now mode?

The Cubs? Trade for prospects? That's a funny thought.

Seriously, I have no idea what they would try to get in return for Jones, but would predict "generic true CF" if it came to them trying to trade him. You never know though. Hendry seems to have lost his touch, but he has done very well in these sorts of trades.
   32. And You Thought Zonk Was Terminated? Posted: December 22, 2006 at 07:15 PM (#2267363)
Never mind that in all likelihood Matt Murton would outperform Cliff Floyd and Jacque Jones this year

I don't know if I'd necessary buy that (at least -- Murton v. Jones). They were pretty close last year - Murton having a better OBP, Jones SLG. In Jones defense -- and I certainly wouldn't be sad to see him go -- his overall rate stats were just killed by the fact that the Cubs stubbornly refuse to accept that Jones is a picture perfect platoon candidate.

Against RHP - Jones hit .303/.358/.528... which is pretty damn good, maybe not Vlad good, but nothing to sneeze at.

Against LHP, he was an atrocious .234/.261/.416.

I'm sure this shocked only Dusty and Jimmy, but what did they expect?
Career, Jones is .295/.343/.493 against RHP
and .228/.275/.350 against LHP

Given that he's had close to 1000 career PAs against lefties, one would think anyone drawing a paycheck in Major League front office would know that Jacque should never face LHP.

Like I said -- I have no special attachment to Jones, but that line against RHP is quite good, not superstar -- but that's a plus bat against RHP.

However, since the Cubs are too braindead to recognize a platoon split if it spit in their faces, Jones probably should be moved if only to get rid of the 1-150 wasted at-bats.

Murton still has a noticeable split - but not nearly so severe... Career,
vs. RHP .289/.351/.436 (433 PAs)
vs. LHP .329/.404/.512 (235 PAs)

You can live with Murton's line against RHP (especially since, at age 24, I think it's fair to say it should it improve) -- but not Jones line against LHP (which certainly will NEVER improve).

If the Cubs are truly going to gamble on buying a title this year, then a Murton/Jones platoon is a solid lineup slot.
   33. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: December 23, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#2267583)
Seriously, I have no idea what they would try to get in return for Jones, but would predict "generic true CF" if it came to them trying to trade him. You never know though. Hendry seems to have lost his touch, but he has done very well in these sorts of trades.

Well, the criteria seem to be
a) established track record in CF
b) short-term commitment
c) similar trade value to J Jones
d) expendable to current organization

The only guys I can think of that meet all of the criteria are Brady Clark, Ryan Freel and Aaron Rowand. I don't expect that the Brewers or Reds would be looking to add a player like Jones, though another team could be involved to provide something they'd prefer. For example, the Pirates could send Mike Gonzalez and McLouth/Duffy to either of those teams in exchange for Jones and Turnbow or Majewski, while the Cubs would get a year of Clark or Freel.

I would probably still prefer trying Jones in center. Does anyone think Theriot would be capable of platooning with him? I noticed he played in 17 games as an outfielder in Iowa last year, and he hit extremely well against LHP at both levels. If given the opportunity, could Theriot play a decent CF? I think he'd be a more valuable hitter than Pagan.

If the Cubs are truly going to gamble on buying a title this year, then a Murton/Jones platoon is a solid lineup slot.

I agree, but who plays CF? Does Pie start the year in the majors?

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