Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cubs should look for third basemen.

Replace Aramis, of course not, but I may be on to something here so stick with me. I say this as I look over available players and compare them to what the Cubs need. What the Cubs need are players to man center and left hopefully hitting leadoff but if you look out at the market there are very few decent players at those positions to be had this year. So what I suggest is taking players from third base and sticking them in both spots.

The two players I am targeting in this idea are Brandon Inge (299/384/464) and Morgan Ensberg (276/375/559). Brandon Inge has played 20 games in center and done a half decent job out there, additonally he is a leadoff hitter with a stunning OBP. I would love to put Todd Walker up in the top spot but the chance of that happening with Dusty on the bench are slim, Brandon solves that problem. Morgan is simply a player that would be a large upgrade in LF, although I don't think he has ever played out there it is not as if we are replacing Mike Cameron. If these trades did go through the Cubs lineup would look like this:

Inge CF (299/384/464) Right
Walker 2b (319/370/491) Left
Lee 1b (385/461/717) Right
Burnitz RF (276/332/483) Left
Ramirez 3b (296/357/555) Right
Ensberg LF (276/375/559) Right
Barrett C (265/302/455) Right
Perez SS (275/300/394) Switch
Pitcher

Now that is what I call a lineup. This would push Holly, Dubois, C-Patt to the bench (if they are not traded). Look at those OBPs at the top of the linup, and the SLG behind it. Perez may or may not be replaced with Nomar, or Cedeno but in the 8 hole he won't kill us as badly. These deals may not work out because neither has a huge salary that needs to be traded so both are going to take some real prospects in order to pull off and I think both teams still have delutions of contention so they may not be willing to deal until the deadline. But damn! look at that linup.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Suspect Prospects.

Recently I was at the library and ran across a copy of the 2001 Baseball Prospectus. The most interesting section I found was the Top 40 prospect list. The list started with Ryan Anderson and included such luminaries as Jose Ortiz, Antonio Perez, and Luis Rivas. Left off the list were Josh Beckett, Milton Bradley, and Aubrey Huff. Albert Pujols holds the lofty and prestigous 23rd spot on the list.
Reading this made me realize that while I often feel all warm and fuzzy while looking at the West Tenn stats page, most of those guys will be no more than replacement players. In fact predicting which players will have solid careers is at best little more than an educated guess. I write and read posts every day that suggest trading various players in the Cubs system and I worry about giving up too much "God No! Not Cedeno and Nolasco for Austen Kearns." Yet I think five years ago that I might have said "God No! Not Ruben Quevedo and Bobby Hill for Ryan Klesko."

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rangers may be stupid, Cubs may be lucky

A rumor on FOXSports.com today states that Mark Teixeira may not be in the Rangers long term plans. To this I say "What the F*#@!" Mark Teixeira, this Mark Teixeira, the Mark Teixeira that should be starting the All-Star game for the American League at the age of 25. Is there a way for the Cubs to get this guy? I would give up a ton for him, say Pie/Hill/Mitre. If the Rangers are serious about this year maybe Wood/Mitre. I don't know if Teixeira can play the outfield, but to get his bat in the lineup I would put up with some fairly heinous defense. I may even like Mark Teixeira more than Adam Dunn.

Need Pitching? Call Cubs. Ask for Jim.

With the return of Prior yesterday and Wood starting on Wednesday the Cubs now have seven pitchers that are at least semi-capable starters. This is a great thing to have at this point in the season. A quick run down of teams in need of pitching Texas, Baltimore, Atlanta, LA Angels, and Detroit (Do they still think they are in a race). There have to be hundreds of possible trades that could be done. Williams to Texas for Dellucci, Rush to Baltimore for Gomez and Newhan, Mitre and Wellemeyer to Atlanta for Furcal, Williams to LAA for Figgins. This is a great problem to have and the possible trades increase if the Cubs choose to put Wood on the market. When Colorado is being looked to for pitching help, a guy like Kerry could really get some good players in return. I somtimes blame Hendry for not having good bench players and bad bullpens but he deserves some praise for having this kind of depth for the rotation.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday Quick Thoughts

Still no action on the trade front but at least things are looking up. I love this time of year with all of the trade rumors.
  • I love the work that Jerome Williams, Sergio Mitre, and Glendon Rush have done but thank god Prior and Wood are coming back this week. Mitre, Rush, Williams are all back of the rotation filler not anything more, this year at least.
  • Please no on the Ronny Cedeno for Preston Wilson trade.
  • I just don't see a trade for Adam Dunn happening. Damn!
  • I saw Corey Patterson walk on four pitches today. I damn near fainted.
  • Neifi Perez is killing the Cubs. Not only does he not get on base but he hits into far to many double plays (11). Corey at least has only hit into 2.
  • Why won't Oakland just die! They are now only 7 games out of the wild card and gaining fast. If they keep winning then Mark Kotsay will not be traded.

Here's to hoping that a big trade comes this week that will turn the Cubs into a juggernaut. If not than maybe we can just have a winning week.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Trade Todd Walker?

Throughout my blogging I normally speculate on trades that involve players I don't think the Cubs need, or want. Sergio Mitre is a solid young player but lets face it, no team is giving up a great player for him. Today I say we might benifit from trading a player we DO use and one that isn't bad. I think it might be a good idea to trade a good player, today I say that we trade away Todd Walker.

There are several teams in need of a good second baseman specifically the Yankees and Twins. In return for Todd we could get a solid player in return a Jacque Jones, Shannon Stewart, Lew Ford, or Gary Sheffield (other players would be needed). I think that Walker is replacable for a couple of reasons first is Jerry Hairston who is just rotting on the bench right now. Second is Mike Fontenot who is putting up some great numbers at AAA Iowa (296/409/489). Mike is patient, has some pop, and is cheap.

The Cubs are beginning to have a logjam of second base prospects with Richard Lewis, Eric Patterson, Ryan Theriot, and Buck Coats. With this kind of depth the Cubs better start to figure out if any of them can play at the major league level and Mike is first in line.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Blockbuster Deal: Can it happen?

The Cubs have some very idetifible problems. CF, LF, SS, Bench, long relief. I am going to attempt to solve as many of these problems as possible with one huge ass trade, here we go.

This would involve a three team deal involving the Cubs, Reds, and Twins.

Cubs
Recieve: Adam Dunn
Ryan Freel
Nick Punto
Matt Belisle

Give: Jerry Hairston
Sergio Mitre
Ricky Nolasco
Mike Fontenot
Brandon Sing
Reds
Recieve: Sergio Mitre
Mike Fontenot
Ricky Nolasco
Matt Guerrier
Brandon Sing
Jesse Crain

Give: Adam Dunn
Ryan Freel
Joe Randa
Kent Mercker
Matt Belisle
Twins
Recieve: Jerry Hairston
Joe Randa
Kent Mercker

Give: Nick Punto
Matt Guerrier
Jesse Crain
I think I have everybody accounted for their. It looks like the Reds make out like bandits in this idea. The Cubs give up the most but get the most back in return. I admit to not knowing much about the Reds and Twins minor league systems so prospects of thier parts are limited. What do you think? How could this idea be improved? How is this idea flawed?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ryan Freel: The Perfect Fit.

An idea popped into my head while vacuming this morning. It is not a new idea, as it has been floating around the internet for a while, but it just makes so much sense for everyone involved. It goes like this. When Prior and Wood get back in the rotation we give Sergio Mitre to the Reds for Ryan Freel. Thats it, done, no money, no 2nd prospects. The Reds get a young cheap pitcher that won't give up homers at Great American Ballpark. The Cubs get a high OBP Centerfielder/leadoff man. I like to come up with some fun but out there trade ideas, but this is not one of them. Everyone wins.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Picking at the Carcass: Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay, oh god what a hole of a team! An owner that won't spend money, a General Manager that still has a job after ten years of losing, and a manager that doesn't want to be in Tampa anymore. Yes sir this team is a mess with no real chance of getting better. Maybe the Rays should take a lesson from the Cubs and build a park that people love and will come to no matter how bad the team is.

Outfield

  • Aubrey Huff (260/329/370) Huff is better than those numbers show. Slow, power guys don't tend to age well and this may be the start of his downtrend. He would be worth taking a chance on but is not worth a top prospect.
  • Carl Crawford (273/304/424) Carl will be a good player but not this year and that makes him a poor pickup for the Cubs. This guy is Corey Patterson redux.
  • Jonny Gomes (325/426/650) This guy is great and would be a good addtion to any team. I only think that we can get him because Chuck Lamar dosn't seem to like him. Look at those numbers and ask why has this guy been in the minors most of the year.
  • Damon Hollins (317/362/525) Damon is not as good as those numbers show. But if you are in the camp that is deparate to rid the Cubs of Corey Patterson than Hollins could help. Just don't act surprised when he regresses badly.

Infield

  • Julio Lugo (286/331/366) Not a bad option now that Neifi v2003 has returned. He runs well (16/3 SB/CS) and might not make a horrable leadoff hitter. When Hendry realizes that the Cubs need a better SS, He might look down to Tampa.
  • Nick Green (268/364/376) Nick gets on base and plays for near league min. How is it that Tampa finds a good cheap option at the backup 2b,3b position and the Cubs get Macias? Not a bad bench guy.
  • Alex S. Gonzalez (246/309/373) Been there, done that. No thanks.

Pitching

  • Lance Carter (3.78 ERA 14K 9BB 6HR in 33.1 innings) Good ERA, Bad everything else. With a K/9 rate of 3.78 Lance won't keep his good ERA long. He is a risky pickup.
  • Danys Baez (3.34ERA 22K 17BB 2HR in29.2 innings) Not a bad pitcher, but don't get fooled into thinking Baez is a shut down closer because of his saves. He would be a solid arm in the pen but do not pay Chuck Lamar's kings ransom for him.
  • Casey Fossum (4.35ERA 53K 22BB 5HR in 51.2 innings) Casey is a good back of the rotation pitcher. The problem is that the Cubs have these guys in droves Rush, Mitre, Williams, Dempster, Hill ect.

The problem with dealing with Tampa, as I noted in the Baez comment, is that Chuck Lamar asking price is always too high. There is not a single player on this roster that is worth a Pie, Murton, or Cedeno.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sunday Quick Thoughts

The Cubs seem to be showing thier trouble spots now. Time for Jim Hendry to get to work.
  • At what point do we show Neifi Perez the bench? I say when his OPS dips below .700 we should take a look at Ronny Cedeno: AAA Stud. Neifi had one big April and has been going down hill ever since. Neifi's OPS by month April .962, May .654, June .635, those are not the kind of numbers that I like to see out of my starting SS and leadoff hitter. I blame Jim Hendry for not going out and finding a good backup for him while he was going good.
  • Why is Rich Hill throwing relief? I don't know, but this guy was a stud starting prospect in the minors and is still working on his control. Being the second or third lefty in the pen is not going to help his development.
  • Joe Borowski is done. I love the man and wish him the best but he can't get anyone out. I bet I was not the only fan that knew Jeter was going to do some damage when JoBo came into the game. We have too many good minor leagers to keep him on the roster much longer.
  • I think it is time for both Matt Murton and Scott Moore to be promoted. Both are pounding thier respective leagues and need a bigger challenge.

I feel the division slipping away and moves need to be made in order to keep the Cubs in the running. The Cubs have some very easy to see needs and I fear that if Hendry waits until the deadline the Cubs may not make to postseason.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ronny Cedeno: AAA Stud

Ronny Cedeno is quickly becoming the best prospect in the Cubs system. At AAA this year he has hit 353/407/520 in 150 ABs. Those are some good numbers but it gets better, while he is by no means the most patient hitter he takes his walks (15) and he rarely strikes out (22), he runs well (8/1 SB/CS), and plays good defense at a premium defensive position. On top of all of this he is the youngest player on the AAA team.
At first this production seemed like a fluke to me. I mean this is a guy who never posted a BA higher than .279 in his professional career. But not anymore. I now take it for actual improvement. Ronny went from .211/257/295 at age 20, to .279/328/404 at age 21, to his line of 353/407/520 at age 22 each year at a harder level. Add on to this the spike in plate disapline and in isolated power and I am willing to say that Ronny is for real.
The best part of all of this is that noone is blocking Ronny at the major league level. If he is able to keep this up for the rest of the year, then SS on the Cubs could be his to loose next year. Hell, he could potentially help the Cubs now, if Neifi goes down to injury or Nomar takes back his hitting skills Ronny could lessen the blow.

P.S. Just a crazy idea, someone should check to see if he can play a little bit of centerfield.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Picking at the Carcass: Colorado

There are few teams in baseball that have a future as bleak as the Colorado Rockies. But thats not saying they don't have anything to offer.
Infield

  • Todd Helton (256/385/393): I am for this trade on many levels. I don't think the drop in production this year is going to be a year-long slump. I also think that he could do a solid job at manning a corner outfield position, or could we try to Move Derrek Lee? This trade depends entirely on the amount of Heltons contract that Colorado will pick up. I think that the Cubs shouldn't have to pay more than 12 mil per year.
  • Desi Relaford (290/356/405): I think that Desi could make a solid backup for Neifi! His road splits have been good this year but the sample size is still relativly small. Any way you put it he is a much better option than Enrique Wilson.

Outfield

  • Preston Wilson (274/335/516): I said it before and I will say it again, Preston Wilson is only slightly better than Corey Patterson while costing over 10 million more. Mediocre defense and baserunning are not worth any possible offensive upgrade.

Pitching

  • Shawn Chacon (3.83ERA 27K 28BB 5HR): I don't know how to look at pitching stats for Rockies pitchers so I take those numbers witha grain of salt. Currently Shawn is on the DL with a hamstring problem. I do think that he could make a good long reliver which is the soft underbelly of the Cubs pitching staff.
  • Jay Witasick (2.52ERA 29K 8BB 2HR): Those are some great numbers for a Rockies pitcher. I suggest that the Cubs save Jay before he gets screwed by that Coors field monster. A team can never have too many pitchers.
  • Jason Jennings (5.48ERA 46K 47BB 8HR): I have always liked Jennings and still do. Jennings I belive can still be a good pitcher if he is given a chance outide of Colorado. It wouldn't take a lot to get him. Then we can place him at the back end of the pen while reworking his mechanics then hopefully in a year we have ourselves one darn good pitcher. If nothing else he can be a better pinch hitter than Macias.

Because of the numbers get so messed up it is hard ot tell what pitchers could have success outside of Colorado but many are worth the effort. Mike Hampton has managed to put together some success after some horrable years in the thin air.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

High Quality Trade Bait.

While surfing around the Cub blog comment threads after the game last night I saw many people that seemed reluctant to trade Sergio Mitre for fear that he might become a great pitcher. In fact many of these people seem to be afaid of trading ANY real prospect. This is just a losing line of thought. Trading away prospects is just a part of playing on a winning team. Sometimes that AA pitcher with good stuff and bad control will turn into Dontrelle Willis, some times he turns into nothing at all. That is the risk that making trades involves. Here is the list of my top 5 pieces of trade bait:
  • Sergio Mitre: After games like last night it is easy to dream that Sergio Mitre is turning into Gregg Maddux and is about to start a Hall worthy career. But he is not. Sergio is 24 years old, by that age Gregg Maddux had already pitched in the majors for over 3 full years putting up a record of 18-8 at age 23. What Sergio is turning into is amazing trade bait. At the beginning of this year the idea that the Cubs could get a good trade deadline slugger for C-Patt and Sergio would have been a pipe dream. Now there are rumors floating around that Sergio could be a major cog in just such a trade.
  • Jerome Williams: Since the Cubs are calling up Rich Hill to start instead of Koronka, and Wood and Prior on their way back, it appears that the Cubs have no immediate use for Williams. Also he seems to have his stuff back together and showed that nothing serious is wrong with him. With all of the West Tenn pitchers pushing up behind him Jerome's time in the Cubs system may be limited.
  • Jason Dubois: 26 years old and struggling a little in his debut in the majors. With good Corner OFs relatively easy to find Jason might just have to put it all together in a differant organization.
  • Mike Fontenot: Mike is more than holding his own in Iowa but is blocked in the majors by Todd Walker, Hairston, and Ramirez. With the Cubs having several 2b,3b prospects in the system Mike looks to be the odd man out. Tampa might like a good 3b prospect in a package for Baez and Huff.
  • Brandon Sing: He hits for power, draws walks, and has a good average. The only problem is that the Cubs have Derrek Lee at 1b and Sing is not young for AA. The problem with moving him is that firstbasemen are even easier to find than corner outfielders.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

White Flag PR department

The Cubs seem to have a very good system this year and because of this I feel that some good players are being overlooked. I will start at the top and work my way down.
  • Geovany Soto (280/401/371 in 132 ABs in Iowa) A good defensive catcher that can take a walk and he is only 22 years old. All he needs to do to be a top catching prospect is to gain a little power and players tend to do that as they age. He is starting to make the signing of Blanco for 2 years look even worse.
  • Jermaine Van Buren (1.69 ERA 35K 12BB 3HR in 26.2) This is a tragic case of 40 man roster politics. Just yesterday Goat Riders started a Free Jermaine movement and I am in full agreement. Strikes guys out at over one per inning with acceptable walk and HR rates.
  • Buck Coats (326/398/442 in 181 AB at West Tenn) I don't know about his defence but those numbers are nothing to scoff at. I just don't know if he is going to get a chance to move up this year with Cedeno killing the PCL. But at 23 he is not young for the Southern league.
  • Carmen Pignatiello (2.69 ERA 70K 25BB 2HR in 73.2 innings at West Tenn) Meet the man that inspired this post. Judging by the amount of press he gets you wouldn't know he was even on the staff. The West Tenn rotation may be better than our Iowa rotation (especially before Jerome Williams and Rich Hill).
  • Scott Moore (313/389/603 in 224 ABs at Daytona) Ok, so he has actully gotten some press but not enough in my view. He looks like he is more than ready to move up to AA but is blocked by a plethora of hitters on that club. I know Farnsworth is doing well but I think we got the better end of this deal.

There are more of these guys in the system but I guess I have to stop somewhere. Hell, I could just copy the BA stat page for West Tenn! The roster looks good for the future.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Crazy Trade Ideas

I feel that many of my recent posts have been of the boring variety. Not enough crazy ideas. So I have decided to come up with a few ideas that have no shot of working but are fun none the less.
  • Frank Thomas: This one is in the same territory as the Todd Helton trade. It would require moving Lee to the outfield. But it is hard to argue that Thomas is not a stud hitter. He is a free agent at the end of the year so there is no pesky contract to kill any spending cash the Cubs have for next year.
  • Alfonso Soriano: He would have to play in the OF so his value would be hurt a bit and he costs too much money but I bet that he wouldn't cost much in terms of prospects due to Texas wanting to get Kisler in the linup.
  • Roger Clemens: I know all the arguments against him being a Cub but I like to dream. This could also push a solid starter (Rusch, Wood) out of the rotation.
  • Rush a couple of AA player to the bigs. I suggest Murton and Sing (does he play OF I think I saw him out there a couple of times last year). Promote them both to AAA for a couple of weeks then try them in the outfield. Hope one of them comes on like Miguel Cabrera.
  • Brooks Kieschnick Hits well, pitches mopup if we insist on carrying a 12 man pitching staff at least use one of those on a creativly used pinch hitter.

Corey Patterson. Is he regressing?

Corey Patterson has been getting a lot of flack for his poor play as of late and is even getting bad PR from the Tribune Co. I am wondering is he really doing that poorly. Lets check some stats. (I fully admit to not being an anaylist so there will be no hard core number crunching just rough impressions)

2000 11G 42AB 2HR 3BB 14K 167AVG 239OBP 333SLG
Just a cup of coffee, but it didn't go so well he obviously needed more time in the minors

2001 59G 131AB 4HR 6BB 33K 221AVG 266OBP 336SLG
He got called up for good here and was again not ready for the big leagues. There was improvement but not much to talk about. He didn't even get regular at bats as shown by only 131 ABs in 59 games. A beatifully stupid move by management.

2002 153G 592AB 14HR 19BB 142K 253AVG 284OBP 392SLG
I sound like a parrott but Corey should still have been in Iowa. But he did show some improvment in AVG OBP and promisingly a significant jump in power a good sign for a young kid.

2003 83G 329AB 13HR 15BB 77K 298AVG 329OBP 511SLG
NOW he was ready for the major league club and boy did he show it with a jump in stats across the board improvement. He still wasn't walking much but his power went out the roof helped by hitting 7 triples in 83G. These numbers would have come down if he hadn't gotten injured but this was one hell of a good sign for a 23 year old.

2004 157G 631AB 24HR 45BB 168K 266AVG 320OBP 452SLG
Playing regularly as the starting centerfielder Corey showed some improved plate disapline. His avg dropped along with his power down to where I would guess they would have in 03 if he hadnt gotten injured. Good strides for a 24 year old.

2005 60G 231AB 10HR 11BB 54K 264AVG 298OBP 429SLG
This for the first year since he got into the league is an across the board regression. His plate disapline has slipped back to 2003 levels but his AVG didn't rise to match.

So as I look at it Corey looks to have improved in some way or another in every season he has been in the big leagues up until this year. I do find it amazing how similar this year is to his breakout year of 2003 minus a few hits falling in. That said I don't think that this will convince anyone that Corey is or isn't useful because that seems to depend on if you believe him to be coachable or not. His value depends on if you think he is going to improve or if you think he will remain aroung these levels for the rest of his career. That is the last I will say in regards to Corey Patterson, I for one am getting tired of the discussion.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Austin Kearns

Austin Kearns was sent down to AAA today signaling to the rest of the world that he is going to be the odd man out of the Reds outfield. I for one hope that Jim Hendry has already called about him. 25 year old players with his potential are hard to find. The Cubs even have what the Reds want young starting pitching. I bet that he could be had for Bobbie Brownlie, Jae-kuk Ryu and Luke Hagerty. The Cubs then reduce the pitching staff down to 11 members and keep Kearns on the bench playing against lefties for Burnitz and as a good right handed pinch hitter. Pick up Scutaro from Oak for Adam Greenberg to back up Neifi and we have a rebuilt bench. Hollandsworth (L, RF, LF, 1b), Kearns(R, RF, LF), Hairston(R, CF, 3b, 2b), Scutaro(SS, 2b), Blanco(R, C) maybe a little righty heavy but not bad at all.

Sunday Quick Thoughts

A good week of play by the Cubs. Lets hope it continues with a sweep of the BoSox. A few quick thoughts.
  • Todd Hollandsworth is heating up which is a good thing. I just hope this dosn't bansish Dubois to the bench for the rest of the season. I hate to see our talented rookies lanquishing on the bench.
  • Last week I said Cliff Bartosh might be better than Mike Remlinger. My bad. I just wish that Dusty would realize that Mike is better agaist righties than lefties.
  • Jerome Williams has been very good since he came over to the Cubs. He has lowered his ERA in AAA by three runs a game. I think he might be ready to take over the spot starting duties from John Koronka.
  • The AA Diamond Jaxx are still tearing it up. But Felix Pie is in a bit of a slump and proving that he might not be ready for a callup to Iowa. Brandon Sing on the other hand...
  • Geovany Soto is turning into a Mark Johnson clone.
  • Has anyone noticed that the Cubs resurgance has coincided with Michael Barrett starting to hit again. Someone should check what Mark Prior was doing to that man.
  • Does anyone else think that Sergio Mitre would be a nice addition to the pen when Prior and Wood get back?

Good minor leagues, Good major leagues, somtimes I think I like the Cubs.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Trade Kerry Wood.

Looking at the Cubs and what trading chips they have it seems to come down to starting pitching and the easy target to trade is Kerry Wood. Texas, New York (NL and AL), Philly and Baltimore all seem like good targets for a possible trade partners. I think that a rotation of Zambrano, Prior, Maddux, Rusch, and Mitre/Williams/Koronka/Valdez would make a fine rotation. Here are my suggestions for who to pick up from those teams
  • Texas: I think that Wood and Remlinger could net us Dellucci and Hidalgo.
  • Yankees: No wonder they stink they have no player that I want unless a combination of Kerry, Corey, and prospect could net us A-Rod.
  • Mets: This is very simple Kerry Wood and cash for Mike Camron or Cliff Floyd
  • Philly: As outlined earlier this week I belive that a deal involving Kerry Wood for Pat Burrell could be swung.
  • Baltimore: They have very little that I want but we could just take all of thier useful players such as Gibbons, Matos, and Jorge Julio. Or we could attempt to get Mora in order to move him to LF.

Just some quick ideas. These would be helped if Kerry could come back and remind people of the immense amount of talent he has before the trading deadline.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Griffey to the Cubs?

I heard a rumor started over at Bleed Cubbie Blue that the Cubs could go get Ken Griffey Jr. from the Reds in order to replace C-Pat in Center. Certainly Junior is having a better year 272/339/474 this deal would be a horrable move on the part of the Cubs. Corey Patterson plays better defense at this point than Griffey. Griffey is the definition of a brittle, injury-prone player. One good meeting with that brick in center and we would be without any decent center. Add in the fact that Griffey makes a ton more money than Patterson (and the Reds would want the Cubs to take on a significant portion of his remaining contract) and the deal looks like a very bad one indeed.
Also I want to say this. I am a card carrying member of the Corey Patterson is a vaulable player club. While he is having a bad year so far, he has been far from horrable. He showed some advancement in patience last year and I believe that he is trying to be a better player even if the results aren't showing yet. Also people tend to forget how young Patterson still is. He is the same age as David Dejesus, Nick Swisher, and Chris Burke while playing just as well as any of them. So if the the Cubs do trade him I sure hope that they recieve some real value in return and not some other teams castoff or large contract like Griffey or Preston Wilson. If we don't I am certain that we will regret it in the Lou Brock or Jamie Moyer sense in a couple years.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Carlos Lee

So after almost 60 games we have a fairly good idea of what we have on our team. And of the players in the starting linup I think the place where we can easily upgrade is in the outfield. Mostly at the corner outfield spots. So today I will offer two possiblites one very possible and one very out there. You can figure out which is which.
  • Trade for Carlos Lee (291/351/564) of the Brewers. A power hitting, relatively patient corner outfielder. I think that Melvin realizes that next year is the year that the Brew Crew are going to contend. But what do the Brewers need? Well, without Lee the Brewers need a corner outfielder probably one that is young and cheap due to the lack of good outfield prospects in the system. Also young pitching is always a need for any team. Well with those qualifications this is an easy fit. Jason Dubois and Sergio Mitre or Jerome Williams for Carlos Lee. Sounds fair to me.
  • Trade for Pat Burrell (314/410/513) Very good player having a great year. Pat plays above average left field and would go a long way to improving the Cubs team OBP. The problem with Pat obviously is that the Phillies are in contention and would need players in return that will help them immediatly. So I am going to make this one massive deal. Cubs send them the CF player with speed they want (I mean they traded FOR Endy Chavez) in Corey Patterson with the Phillies sending back Jason Michaels to cover center for the Cubs. They also need starting pitching so I suggest sending Kerry Wood and Jerome Williams over to sure up thier rotation. In this trade the Phillies would be taking on a few million in salary so I think the Cubs will have to cover the differance for the rest of the year. So in the end the trade looks like this Burrell and Michael for Patterson, Wood, and Williams. This would leave Dubois to platoon with Burnitz in right field.

So their are two choices for imporving the outfield. Both would represent a significant improvement over the current options. I will try to explore more options later because there are many more players out there.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Picking at the Carcass: Kansas City

Today I will start a series of blogs exploring what usefull players are on the rosters of teams that are out of contention. I will start today with the team that has the worst record in the majors Kansas City (18-39). I do not feel that it is necessary to talk about every single player on the roster. Nobody really cares how Alberto Castillo is doing.
Infield
  • Mike Sweeny (298/336/505) The leading candidate to get traded on the Royals. Due to his large contract and some actual hitting ablility. While I did suggest picking up Todd Helton I do not want to pick up Sweeny. M.V.Lee is doing just fine at first base.
  • Ken Harvey (222/271/356) Those numbes should come up. He would be better than most of our bench but that dosn't say much. He is not a very patient hitter and can not play any position execept fist base. For a Cubs team that seems determined to carry a twelve man pitching staff bench players need more versitility than Harvey has.
  • Calvin Pickering (157/293/301 at AAA Omaha) He is a better hitter than those numbers show. An object of much man-love from the writers of BP, Pickering has many of the same problems as Harvey despite being a better hitter. Poor defense at first and an inability to play anywhere else. Once again anyone on the bench needs more versitility than Pickering has.
  • Tony Graffanino (287/356/369) This is the definition of a usefull player. He plays solid defense at second and third while not being an automatic out with bat. In combination Graffanino and Hairston could provide a very good set of utility players off the bench. Top it off that he dosn't cost much and you have yourself a great potential pickup.

Outfield

  • Emil Brown (264/339/465) He is having a solid start to the year, but call me skeptical that it will continue. Anyone who is 30, didn't play in the majors last year, and has a .651 career OPS is a risky pickup. If only he could play center I might consider him worth the risk. But the real reason not to pickup Brown is this man...
  • Matt Stairs (272/409/520) Absolutely tearing it up in Kansas City. While he is not a great defender he won't kill you out there. He would instantly become the second best OBP hitter on the Cubs roster. He might make Hollandsworth expendable but that is not a problem in my book. This is the type of bench player championship teams carry.

Pitchers

  • Andrew Sisco (2.43 ERA 10.53 K/9) Yeah, well, uhh...god damn Cubs. Next pitcher
  • So there don't look to be another pitcher worth mentioning. I guess that is how you lose 30+ games.

So despite having a bad record Kansas City seems to have a couple of good options for the bench or even a platoon role. Next we examine the Colorado Rockies.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Gagne to Cubs?

Here is an idea that I touched on earlier in the week and I have been thinking about since then. What would it take to pry Eric Gagne away from the LA Dodgers. I truthfully feel that Paul Depodesta would be willing to trade him. Additionally I feel that the Cubs have what the Dodgers are looking for, third basemen and rotation help. No I am not suggesting that the Cubs trade Aramis Ramirez but third base prospect Mike Fontenot (282/385/504 in Iowa). The pitchers I am suggesting trading are either Kerry Wood or Glendon Rush. My guess is that the Dodgers would go for Rush due to the lack of recent injurys and lack of salary, although they could think that Kerry offers the best upside and that they can keep him on the bump. So Fontenot and Wood/Rush are not enough for the much loved Cy Young winner so extra prospects will need to be included. I suggest Brandon Sing (305/433/621 at West Tenn). He has all the attributes that Deposdesta likes power, patience, and is cheap but for the Cubs is blocked in the majors by Derrek Lee. If the pen falls completely apart and we are desparate we could throw in uberprospect Matt Murton but then I wouldn't include Fontenot or Sing.
This deal would net the Cubs one "Closer God" at the expence of a member of the rotation and minor leagers. The Dodgers would shave almost 6.5 million off thier major league payroll and still have a very good closer in Yhency Brazoban. Sound like a monyball move to me, trading precived value for real value. Discuss amoungst yourselves.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Stupidity Alert!

I just read a rumor that scares the living daylights out of me. The Tribune reports that the Cubs are considering bringing up Felix Pie to play center and to try and scare Corey into chaning his hacktastic ways. I don't really care about trying to scare Corey but there is no need to screw up a good prospect like Pie in order to do it. Wasn't calling up Corey Patterson too early part of the reason he didn't learn some plate disapline? With that said lets explore some other options that could do the same task without messing with Pie.
On the Cubs roster is a player that could do the task without screwing with Pie. Jerry Hairston is hitting acceptably and won't make a complete fool of himself in center. Hell, he could even bat leadoff.
AAA Iowa is rather baren when it comes to centerfield prospects. The only one that comes close is Trinidad Hubbard (294/382/413) but he is not a prospect. After that there is only Calvin Murry but he is hitting worse than Hubbard and is not much younger.
So the answer could be on the trade market. Lets see who is out there.
  • Mark Kotsay 290/349/392 Mark is a great option. He has great plate disapline and play gold glove caliber center field. He is a free agent at the end of the year so Oakland is likely to try and move him. I would love for him to be a Cub tomorrow.
  • Craig Monroe 268/338/453 So this is what an average center fielder looks like. I discussed him while talking about bench players. He would be a drop in production from Corey. I don't like him as an everyday player.
  • Matt Lawton 267/361/432 Lawton is a good player. He does all the things you want out of a center fielder except play center. He will get on base, steal a base, and has some pop in his bat. I just don't know if he can handle center. I thought he played center but I think I am wrong. He might be worth taking a chance on. If nothing else he is a good bench player
  • Mike Cameron 340/438/631 Mike is absoulutly killing the ball in NY. There have been rumors that the Mets want to trade him now that they have Beltran in center and Vitor Diaz doing almost as well at a fraction of the cost. His contract would give Pie just enough time to develop before starting his service clock.
  • Coco Crisp 286/351/476 Solid player. He is subpar in center and has bad instincts on the basepaths. But if you are desparate to replace Corey I guess he works.
  • Preston Wilson 269/328/513 Note to Jim Hendry: Do not trade for Preston Wilson! Look at that line and then consider that he plays half his games at Coors Field. No good can come of aquiring him.

Looking at this quick list I can come to the conclution that the only real choices are Mike Cameron, or Mark Kotsay everyone else would be used to platoon Burnitz or Dubois or as bench help. All other good options are on contending teams(Milton Bradley, Kenny Lofton). Just don't screw up Pie by rushing him the way Patterson was rushed.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sunday Quick Thoughts

Here are just a few quick thoughts before I have to go to work.
  • All-Star ballots results came out and Neifi is nowhere to be found in the top 5. THANK GOD! Why you ask? I fear that if Neifi gets onto the All-Star team then Jim Hendry will be tricked or pressured into bringing Mr Perez back next year. Color me skeptical that Neifi can keep this up. I sure hope a solid backup can be found before the trading deadline in order to step up when the Neifi's deal with the devil runs out.
  • I am starting to lose faith in Jason Dubois. Good power but he has been dangerously close to a sub-300 OBP for too long now. For a 26 year old player that is not a good sign of things to come. At some point he stops being a struggling rookie and starts being a struggling player. I say trade him now. We have many players in the minors (Murton, Pie) that can come up next year.
  • So at this point there are 9 dead teams. Tampa Bay, Detriot, Cleveland, Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Houston, and Colorado with both Milwaukee and San Francisco about to sign their membership cards. Time to start sizing up thier rosters for usuable players.
  • Remlinger should be activated today. Yikes, he has been in a downward spiral since he left the soft love of Leo Mazzone. We already have two lefties that are just as good in Will Ohman, and Cliff Bartosh. Also Dusty Baker dosn't realize that Remlinger has a reverse split and is better against right handed batters. I am for shiping him off for bench help. I bet Texas would like him.

Lets hope the winning continues today. We miss Jake Peavey so the luck continues.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Pen

The bullpen finally seems to be pulling it together. Dusty has figured out who is getting it done, the kids are stepping up, and Dempster is nailing it down. It is great to see. But color me skeptical if I don't quite trust it.

Joe Borowski looks like he may never be the same pitcher he was in 2002-2003. His fastball is less than fast, his slider barely slides, and hitters are making very good contact off of him. Ryan Dempster pitched well so far, but 10 innings is not enough to convince me that he went all Eric Gagne in the closer role. Then there is the last man in the pen John Leicester, Roberot Novoa, or god forbid Mike Remlinger none have done much good this year. So how do we fix these problems? Lets explore.
First check out the minors. There are a few options here to consider
  • Raul Valdez 3.41 ERA in 29 innings pitched. Good numbers but he seems to be doing it with unspectacular periferal stats. 26 K's 13BB 1 hr. Two strikeouts per walk is good but I would like to see it higher but at least he dosn't give up a lot of longballs. Good option but nothing to write home about
  • Russ Rohlicek 3.58 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. As a pitcher he is a worse option than Raul Valdez in almost every way. Worse strike out rates, fewer innings pitched, and as a minor league reliever it is hard to see him having much success in the bigs.
  • Rich Hill 5.40 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched. Now this is what I call an option. Don' let that ERA fool you he pitched very vell in his first start in Iowa 14 Ks to only 2 BBs. What can I say the man looks like a stud. But he has only pitched one game so far and I am sure that Jim Hendry dosn't want to bring a prospect of this caliber up to the majors only to pitch mop-up duties.

So the minors look to bear little fruit for bullpen picking. What could be on the trade market?

  • Eddie Guardado 1.71 ERA in 21 innings pitched. Very good option that I hadn't even thought of before skimming over closers on loosing teams. Eddie has been successfull for a long time at the job. He dosn't strike out a lot of people but he dosn't let them get on either. I think Eddie would look great in blue pinstripes.
  • Ugueth Urbina 2.73 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched. To me he looks like a better option from far away than he does close up. He walks way to many people for a closer and has battled bouts of inconsistency in the past. He scares me. I would rather stick with Dempster.
  • Danyz Baez 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched. In the same vein as Urbina he walks to many people. He seems to have gotten the job of closing by being the best reliever on a team without many good relivers. Scares me but he could do a good job as a setup guy.
  • Billy Wagner 2.55 ERA in 24.2 innings pitched. Great all around reliver. Only one problem is his team is still winning and dosn't want to give him up. But if the Philies fall out of contention in the East this is one of the many thigs that I would want the Cubs to pillage from their roster.
  • Eric Gagne 4.32 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched. I would not put his name up here if he pitched for almost any other team. But if the Cubs are trying to get a shutdown reliever this guy is it. I can see Paul Depodesta trading away a very high priced closer in favor of using Yhency Brazoban. It would take giving away a lot in terms of cash and prospects but there are few better closers in the game.

So what I suggest doing is sending Roberto Novoa down in favor of Raul Valdez, letting Borowski try to fix what ailes him but not giving him a big role. When Mitre is displaced in the rotation let Sergio take Joe's spot in the pen. Wait for teams to separate themselves from the pack and when the time comes try and pick up a proven closer without selling the future. I would love to see Dempster setting up Eddie Guardado or Billy Wagner. Then at the end of the year give Rich hill a callup and hope he goes all K-Rod on the league.

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Bench.

Lost in all the hoopla about injuries, Latroy Hawkins inablity to close, and Dusty Baker's poor tactics, is the fact the the Cubs might just have the WORST bench in all of baseball. When Kansas City has better people off the bench than you maybe something needs to be fixed. Lets check the stats:
T. Hollandsworth 215/294/308
H. Blanco 130/167/283
J. Macias 267/292/311
E. Wilson 111/200/100
J. Hairston 261/364/359

Damn! That is one sorry bunch. The only member that is hitting like a major league player is Hairston. I bet Dusty Baker wakes up in cold sweats thinking about who to pinch hit in the late innings. The group needs some reinforcements. The good part of this is that bench help is cheap and found everywhere. While looking at several possible options I will assume two things. One is that the Cubs are not trading Hairston for anybody and second is that Blanco is a required evil known as a backup catcher. Also I am hopeful for Todd Holladsworth to pick up those numbers. That leaves the Cubs needing two bats in order to replace Macias and Wilson.
  • Suggestion #1) Matt Stairs and Tony Graffanino from KC. Stairs is killing the ball to the tune of 264/390/496 and would be a great choice to platoon Dubois against tought righties. Graffanino is basically a Hairston clone at 292/360/354 but those numbers beat the crap out of Wilson and Macias.
  • Suggestion #2) Bobby Kielty and Marco Scurtro from Oakland. Kielty is hitting 294/404/420 while Scurtro is hitting 237/320/359 while being a heady baserunner and SS. This trade is very similar to the Kansas City trade but with a differant team. But here the Cubs and Oakland could pull off a massive trade and add in Zito, and Kotsay while getting a kings ransom from the Cubs.
  • Suggestion #3) Michael Restovich from Colorado and Craig Monroe from Detroit. Restovich is hitting 290/353/452 and Monroe is hitting 271/345/453. These trades might leave the infield a little bit short handed with only Hairston as a backup SS,2b,3b and might require moving Hollandsworth in the deal in order to bring up Fontenot or Cedeno.
  • Suggestion #4) This is my equivalent to hitting the jackpot. Jason Michaels and Placido Polonco from Philidelphia. Michaels is 291/400/398 and Polonco is 295/356/363. This is the dream suggestion because Micheals is such a versitile outfielder being able to cover all three positions without giving much away. Polonco could then spell the constantly dinged up Ramirez in addition to being able to cover if old Neifi ever returns. For this suggestion to come to fruition the Phillies need to start looing in order to be willing to give up these two pieces but in the stacked NL east this is definately a possiblity.

These are just a few suggestions that I came up with while brousing through the ESPN stat page. There are sure to be many more great suggestions. I didn't put in who the Cubs would give up for these players but in most cases it would be a couple of second tier prostpects and cash no biggie. If the Cubs are serious about winning this year then Hendry needs to get on the phone for not only Zito, Huff, or Dunn but also for the players shown above or similar ones.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Move Derrek Lee?

I was trying to come up with top flight players that the Cubs could pick up near the trading deadline and most seemed like good yet unspectacular players such as Abury Huff, Austin Kearns, or Cliff Floyd. The only real superstar that could possibably be traded for this year is Adam Dunn. The problem is that the Reds are going to ask for a haul of minor leagers that I don't really want to lose i.e. Murton, Pie, Patterson,Galleger, Nolasco, Hill, or Aardsma. Even then I don't see them trading Dunn within the division.

The solution I came up with is not to trade for an OF or SS (yes Neifi! is hitting over 300 but keeping him scares the crap out of me) but to trade for a first baseman. The solution is Todd Helton. A gold glover that won't give away anything with the leather and adds a very patient hitter to the lineup. Where do I put Derrek the Destroyer you ask. I give him Dubois' left field position. Lee is very athletic and seems more than capable of manning a coner outfield spot. Even if he stinks it is not like he is replacing Andruw Jones out there. Additionally the Rockies are looking to get rid of Helton's contract and are always looking for young arms which the Cubs have in droves. Hell they may even pay some of Todds salary. Sure it would take a good player such as Hill, Nolasco or someone of the like but not near what it would take to pry Dunn free. Dubois could then be used in order to sure up the bench or as a platoon player with Burnitz.

Derrek Lee, however, is on a tear the likes of which the Cubs havn't seen since Sosa hit 20 hr in a month. I don't know if it is a good idea to move him. Moving him seems a lot like talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter. You just don't want to screw things up. But I have to say Helton's near .400 OBP would look very good in the middle of that lineup hitting third helping Derrek to pump up that RBI total.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Middle Infield of '06

Sitting currently 50 games into the season I will already start to ask the questions about the Cubs '06 roster construction. This in no way implies that I am giving up on the current season! The Cubs rarely have good teams and I for one will not give up hope untill at least late June.
I write this after checking the Iowa Cubs stats page over at Baseball America. As it turns out they stink. However, there are a few positives in the middle of the diamond. Namely Ronny Cedeno and Mike Fontenot. Cedeno is currently hitting a blistering .380/.431/.587 in 97 ab's. Fontenot is hitting .291/.403/.527 in 110 ab's. While these could most definatly may be sample size mirages (especially Cedeno) they could also be a prelude to a cheap and effective middle infield for years to come. If Neifi! and Walker continue to hit remotely near thier current levels they could well price themselves out of Jim Hendry's rational consideration. I submit that barring a trade for Carlos Guillen, A-Rod, or Tejada that a 23 year old Ronny Cedeno could make a lot more sense than over spending on a second-tier free agent SS. As opposed to Cendeno, Fontenot has been producing for several years now at a high level. Along with Jerry Hairston he could provide one hell of a second base platoon.
So why not a middle infield strait out of Iowa. $600,000 for a pair of league average ROY candiates sounds like a good idea to me. This would allow for the Cubs to go after a high priced free agent while not blowing the budget. I can only hope that Ronny and Micheal's next 400-500 at bats in Iowa keep this idea intact.

Hello Bloggsphere

I guess this is my new blog. Wow. With all the people out there publishing I will strive to find new topics to look at and too discuss. I am a graduate of Purdue University and try to attend as many Cubs games as I can but that usually boils down to little more than 2-3 per year. In this blog I will try to focus on as MUCH speculation as possible. I love a good trade rumor and I am constantly thinking of new ways that I would change the Cubs. If anyone actually reads this and would like to post their own ideas I am more than willing to react to thier ideas. On to the world of Blogging.