Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Looking forward to the 2006 season I thought that I would put out my own take on a possible (but in truth not all too likely) 25 man roster. I will try and comment on the players that would be new to the team or controversial.

Starting lineup
C) Micheal Barrett (.276/345/479): Some want to trade him due to some bad defense. To that I say "LOOK AT THAT BATTING LINE! LOOK AT THE BRAND NEW SILVER SLUGGER! THE MAN CAN FLAT OUT RAKE!"
1b) Derrek Lee (.335/.418/.662): Nothing wrong there.
2b) Todd Walker (.305/.355/474): The arguments for/against him are basically the same as Michael Barrett.
3b) Aramis Ramirez (.302/.358/.568): Top 5 thirdbasemen in baseball.
SS) Ronny Cedeno (.300/.356/.375): He could tank and be a flaming pile but he has earned the chance to become that flaming pile.
LF) Matt Murton (.321/.381/.521): Is he going to put up those numbers over the corse of an entire year? Doubtfull. But I think a .290/350/450 line is well withing reach.
RF) Pat Burrell (.281/.389/.504): Alright his is where the team starts to stay from last year. The Cubs desperatly need to get some more offense out of the corner outfield and I don't want to put too much on the shoulders of Murton. I think that a trade of Kerry Wood plus Rich Hill should do the trick. The money even comes close to evening out.
CF) J.D. Drew (.286/.412/.520): I think this is possible. The Dodgers are going to try and trade away most of Depodesta's "Moneyball" moves. I hope the Cubs can capitalize on that and pry away a great player. Drew rates as a very good defensive centerfielder by BP's metrics and Wrigley has a small centerfield. I am not sure what the Dodgers would want for Drew. This may have to be a large minor league player say Pie or Harvey and several pitchers.
The Bench
C) Henry Blanco (.242/.287/.391)
IF) Mike Fontenot (.272/.377/.430) AAA Iowa: I think he is ready for the majors. Cheap backup for A-Ram and Walker.
Calos Pena (.235/.325/.477): This is the pop off the bench that the Cubs have been missing the last few years. He is also a lefty so thats good. I may try and have him try a corner outfield spot just in case of emergency.
Kazuo Matsui (.255/.300/.352): This move is one big if. If the Mets try and get Furcal (it is in the papers today so thats all I need) then they will want to get rid of Matui. So If they Mets agree on picking up most of his contract I think he would be a great pinch runner/defensive replacement. I also have a suspition that his numbers will go back to 2004 levels.
OF) Jason Michaels (.304/.397/.415): I LOVE Jason Michaels. He is a very strong defender and would be more then capable if Drew goes down for a few months. I wouldn't even mind giving Michaels the starting job if Drew or Bradley don't work out.
Brandon Sing (.276/.404/.538) AA West Tenn.: Just one more good bench hitter that the Cubs have been lacking. Is Sing ready for the Majors? I think so, but I could be wrong. That is a risk I am willing to take with the last man on the bench.
The Rotation
Carlos Zambrano (223 IP, 3.26 ERA)
Mark Prior (166 IP, 3.67 ERA)
Greg Maddux (225 IP, 4.24 ERA)
Jerome Williams (106 IP, 3.91 ERA)
Glendon Rush (145 IP 4.52 ERA): We gave him three mill per, that is too much not to be in the rotation.
The Pen
Ryan Dempster (92 IP 3.13 ERA) Throws (R): God I hope that arm holds up.
B.J. Ryan (70 IP 2.43 ERA) Throws (L): Relief studd. He would end up being a lot better than our closer.
Will Ohman (43 IP 2.91 ERA) Throws (L): Solid all around LOOGY maybe better.
Michael Wuertz (75.7 IP 3.81 ERA) Throws (R): He was one of the few highlights of last years pen.
Jermaine VanBuren (54.7 IP 1.98 ERA) AAA Iowa Throws (R): Give the guy a shot already.
Novoa/Willliamson/Wellenmeyer: End of the pen guys. Williamson could easily become the best of the lot but I am not holding my breath. I could also have thrown Guzman, Koronka, Mitre, Nolasoco, ect. into the mix. The Cubs have these types of arms in droves lets hope a few work out.

Pros: This linuep can flat out mash. The first eight guys in the starting linupe had OPS' over .800 last year. Runs would be scored. The bench provides lots of versatility and is no longer the black hole it has been. The rotation is solid. The pen could be very scary for opponents.

Cons: Not much speed. In fact our first basemen might be the best basestealer in the starting lineup. Not one soul in the lineup is a "bona-fide leadoff hitter" and the cubs could end up with Todd Walker hitting leadoff all year. (I don't care about this last complaint but some do) There is not much in the way of left handed hitting. There is not much help if a member of the rotation gets hurt. Our top two prospects (Pie and Hill) would be gone. This is not to mention that three of my trades (Drew, Burrell, Matsui) have big ifs attach. The pen could be very scary for Cub fans.

Conclution: I obviouly like this roster but of course I do I made it. Is it a bunch of wishcasting? Yes. I traffic in fun speculation.
I haven't mentioned what happened to some players on the Cubs last year Hairston, Patterson, ect. and I would guess that they would just be included in some of the trades. Specifics can be a bitch. I welcome any comments.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I haven't posted in over two weeks and in that time the Cubs have traded for Matt Lawton in a trade deadline blockbuster, got Williamson Wood and Nomar back, then proceded tank the rest of the season. The Cubs are so far back that for the first time all season don't see them making the playoffs. The problem with this team is that it is not one thing in specific that needs to be changed. The pen is bad but not horrable, the bench is bad but it is just the bench, and all the starters are at least solid (except maybe centerfield). The good thing is that now I can start looking to next year, something that Cubs fans do best.
What do the Cubs need to look for next year? In my belief they need three things 1) Outfield help 2) Shortstop 3) bench help. Some may argue that the Cubs need pen help, which is true, but I don't see the pen now as bad just young and mismanaged. Anyway the best way to throw away money is to invest in bullpen arms. So how do I fix these problems here is my take.
  1. Buy Brian Giles I think that he could be a great number 2 hitter. OBP over 400 and an OPS over 900 all while playing in pitcher friendly Petco park. Try and trade for Adam Dunn. I know people have said this all year but I think that we could do it. It is my belief that prospects have become overvalued in this market and if the Reds want Rich Hill then give them Rich Hill. I believe the only prospect that the Cubs shouldn't trade at any cost is Matt Murton. Matt Murton gets the other outfield spot. I don't care if Giles or Murton playes centerfield but that is better than allowing a not ready yet player like Pie or a blackhole player like Patterson to man the spot.
  2. I don't know about this one. I woun't mind a third go with Nomar as long as Neifi is not the backup. I think all you have to realize with Nomar is that he is only going to play about 2/3 of the season so you need a good hitting backup. Also Nomar could be had for cheap once again and cheap is good. Looking at who else is out there is bleak Lugo, Furcal, and NEIFI! part duex.
  3. The bech is an often overlooked problem for the team. Look at how much this team plays its researves. Neifi played most of the season, Hairston played about half, and Holly is still starting games on occation. I would configure the bench thusly. Lugo, Craig, Fontenot, Blanco, and Sing.

With those moves I think the only real expense would be Giles, with everyone elso being washes. Then all the extra money could be spent on back of the rotation starters, installing an Oakland like pre-hab program and paying Dusty not to coach our team.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

God I love this time of year.

The Weather is hot, the Cubs are hot, and my mind is going crazy with dreams of Vlad for Macias trades. Lets get right to the trade talk.
  • For all of the talk about trades the Cubs may be better without ever making a trade. Nomar is playing for Peoria today, Williamson is thumping AAA hitters, Woody looks to try his hand at the pen, and Rich Hill held his own as a starter yesterday. In a trade season that has teams considering Sidney Ponson, Jose Lima, Jeremy Affeldt, and Brett Boone as options this guys are great upgrades.
  • I swear to god I will wait outside of of Wrigley Field with a nine iron and a bottle of wiskey looking for Hendry's head if Adam Dunn goes to the Dodgers for Antionio Perez and Edwin Jackson. If the Reds are willing to trade him the Cubs could and should better that offer with say Mike Fontenot , Rickey Nolasco, and Jon Leicester.
  • I hear a lot of complaining about the bullpen but I don't think it is that bad. Admittidly it is not a shutdown pen but it is by no means terrable. I don't see anyone on the trade market that could massively improve the pen. (No Billy Wagner is not on the market.)
  • Speaking of the pen I suggest that the Cubs trade Ryan Dempster at the end of the year. I love the work he has done in the closer role but he will be overvalued in the offseason. With all of the young arms coming up Ryan Dempster could bring in a good prospect or two. Ryan has been good in the pen this year but he hasn't been great like Gagne, Lidge, Rivera, or Wagner.
  • Don't look now but Luis Montanez may not turn out to be a bust after all. He was recently promoted to AA West Tenn and is hitting .303/.361/.576 in 33ABs. Luis may not ever be more than a bench player for the Cubs but after last year did anyone think he would ever see the majors?
  • The Cubs could have a very young team next year. Cedeno, Murton, Pie, Hill, and Fontenot in addition to the sub-27 gang of Big Z, Prior, A-Ram, Mitre, and Williams.

There is a lefty on the mound for the Giants today so we will probably see Murton and maybe even Cedeno in the starting linup. I love the youngsters. (How do I call guys almost exactly my age youngsters?)

Friday, July 22, 2005

If you can't beat him...

Austin Kearns is rumored to want to play for the Chicago Cubs. In today's Chicago Sun-Times a reported deal would be Todd Wellenmeyer and Sergio Mitre for Austin Kearns. I do not see any problem with this deal. Sure Dunn would be better but that seems unlikely. Are the Cubs going to use Todd or Sergio in any important role this year? The answer is no. How about next year? Again, I doubt it. With the large pool of good arms in the Cubs system Sergio and Todd are extremely expendable. Austin Kearns would go a long way to suring up the left field spot that seems to have a revolveing door attached. Kearns has always had two things, a good eye and power, and I am willing to invest in any player that has both of those skills. His poor play can be attributed to a lack of playing time and injuries not a bad understanding of hitting as was the case with Corey Patterson. This seems like a great move one Grade A talent for two grade C talents. Additonally the Cubs would be able to send Murton back down to AAA for the rest of the season in order to get the PAs that he needs, Holly would be able to stay on the bech as a pinch hitter his intended position.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Look West Mr. Hendry, Look West

It is time to call it. The LA Dodgers have been dead on the table for a few days now and it is time to remove any usable parts that the Cubs can put into use. Paul DePodesta made a good effort and his moves were all solid but injuries have done them in but they have players that could be of use.
  • Milton Bradley (.298/.345/.511): I love this guy. I don't care about his bad temper, I don't care that he makes Gary Sheffield look sweeter than a Girl Scout holding a kitten. The man can play ball and that is all that matters. He is a very good defensive centerfielder, he runs the bases very well, he is willing to take a walk, and he kills the ball when he makes contact. Bradley would give us a bona-fide leadoff hitter, a vocal guy for the clubhouse, and as a side benefit Zambrano and Bradley would piss off Cardnal fans with their bad boy images. The Dodgers probably value him more than the Cubs do but I would be willing to give up Rich Hill and a second B level prospect.
  • Oscar Robles/Antiono Perez/Mike Edwards: How is it that the Dodgers can have these guys everywhere in their system but the Cubs continue to employ Jose Macias. Any one of these guys would be better than Macias. Hell the Cubs have guys in AA and AAA that would be better than Macias. My hope is that Fontenot gets called up in September and pushes Macias off the roster.

I don't think I would mind throwing Bradley out in center and then just trying to find a hot bat between Hairston, Murton, Holly, and Gerut for left field.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Trade season kicks off

So Jim Hendry's finally put the pieces together on a trade. It probably helps that it is after the All-Star break and the other team was not really using the player we aquired but it is still a trade and I like it. The very simple bones of this deal go like this: the Cubs aquire Jody Gerut (275/357/377) and send Jason Dubois (239/289/472) to Cleveland. I think this deal helps the Cubs for several reasons:

  1. The Cubs get much improved versatility. Jody has played all outfield positions and would allow Dusty the ability to mix and match linups. A-Ram needs a day off, play Hairston at 3rd and Gerut in Center. D-Lee needs to rest the soulder against a righty, Holly can play first with Gerut in right. A platoon can be made for centerfield. I don't know how Dusty will handle the increased choices but it at least has the possabilty of being good.
  2. It allows the Cubs to get rid of Jose Macias. This one is a pipe dream because I am fairly sure that Greenburg or Grieve are going to be sent down but I like to dream. Jose would now become the 3rd option at both third base and second behind Hairston.
  3. The Cubs gain a usefull player without compromising thier major league club. Hendry loves to do this. He sends a player that is in the minors and not a top prospect anymore and sends them off for good players.

Lets hope this works out and that the right choices are made. God I love trade season!

Monday, July 18, 2005

I am back after one week off planning my move into the heart of darkness. I don't know how I will cope with the strange conditions, up is down, black is white. I hear they kill puppies while shrieking with glee. I am moving to St. Louis. I will try to cover as many topics as I can remember from the past eight days.
  • Rumors have sprouted up that the Cubs are thinking about trading for Juan Pierre (272/319/360). While I am not totally against this move I belive that people are putting far too much stock in it as a possible season saving trade. Most years Pierre is a very good player, the prototypical leadoff hitter. But this year his numbers have been only a slight bit better than Corey Patterson's were. Moreover I think that Jerry Hairston
    (264/348/392) is doing a more than capable job in center. If we are going to give up the farm for a player I sure hope we could net someone much better like Adam Dunn.
  • What the hell is the point of having Ronny Cedeno up in the big leagues if he isn't ever going to play. He isn't getting regular at-bats, something not good for a player so dependent on BA, and is playing not much better than Wison did.
  • God damn! Did anyone else gag when they read the headline from Phil Rogers article at ESPN "Patterson Gives Pie Time to Bake". Wow that is some genious title. I mean Felix Pie's last name is spelled like the pastry. This guy gets to vote for HOF, MVP, CY and all sorts of other awards?

I have to go pack some more and the game is on. I hope we can sweep the Reds going into the St. Louis series.