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.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Quick Thoughts

To call this Cubs team streaky would be like calling Ron Artest is a little testy. Why couldn't we have this streak start like five games earlier. So right now the Cubs are playing great ball and we have to stop for the break, F*@K!
  • Welcome to the big leagues Adam Greenburg! Something makes me think that is not how he saw his MLB debut going. Damn.
  • WTF is wrong with Glendon Rush. Did moving him to the rotation and then back to the pen make him a worse reliver? Are more hits falling in agaist him or is it something actually wrong?
  • I know people complain about Hairston's defense in center but it would have to be a lot worse to make having him out of the linueup and leadoff a good thing.
  • I would guess that a Jerry Hairston for Jaque Jones deal is in the works. If it isn't it should be it just makes sense. Jerry covers 2nd for the Twins and Jones is moved to center for the Cubs.
  • Dusty said that Holly had to play today to avoid being rusty but he still refuses to start Cedeno. Hell Perez is much worse than Murton.
  • I will say it every day if it helps any but Mike Fontenot can help the Cubs. HE IS BETTER THAN MACIAS! I am not even sure why Greenburg was brought up instead of Mike.
  • What the hell is up with this new Home Run Derby format? No Pujols, Tejada, and Vlad. But Bay and Choi are participating. This is some of the great marketing ideas coming from MLB. This may not recieve as much pub but this is way worse than Spiderman on the bases.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Quandry of Managers.

Like many members of the CBA I am not a fan of Dusty Baker. I would love to be able to write a post about possible replacements but I have no good information. The best I could do is rehash old managers.
Old mangers have W-L records to work with but I wan't more than that, I want to know if they sac bunt a lot, if they like to play rookies, if they push starters to go long in games, if they know the importance of OBP and SLG, if they use the roster creatively. None of this is found in a record. Not to mention the hundreds of managers without useful records in the minors, college, bench coaches, pitching coaches ect. The people that tend to get lots of support on-line are guys like Steve Stone because we know a little bit about what he thinks. But Steve Stone as far as I know has never coached a game in his life, not exactly the type you want to hand the reigns of a team.
I think that this lack of information is what continues the merry-go-round of managers in pro sports. Fans and media can't second guess these moves very easily. Someone can say that the Yankees should have signed Vlad instead of Sheff because they have numbers, video, scout quotes. But to say that the Royals shouldn't have hired Buddy Bell is fruitless because there are no numbers besides W-L record and good managers can loose with bad teams. I would love for someone to gather better info on managers and if someone has it please tell me.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Why Stop Now?

If the Cubs are bringing up minor leageres to give a jumpstart to the club then I say go all out. There are a few more players in the minors who would be great improvments over people on our current roster.
  • Mike Fontenot: (288/394/464) Now thats some OBP! And he plays 2b and 3b just like Jose Macias. This sounds like a quick and massive upgrade. Mike is 25 and has nothing else to prove in the minor leagues.
  • Geovany Soto: (261/384/344) Soto is an OBP machine and plays great defense behind the plate. That is one more thing than Blanco can do. I hated that contract when it was signed and I hate it more now.
  • Rich Hill: Stikeout machine all year long. I have a feeling that he could be more usefull than Mitre or Novoa. Hill took some effort to find today because he will be starting in Peoria due to Hurracaes in Flordia. We could see some massive K totals today.
  • Brandon Sing: (289/400/570) Power, he has it in spades. Patience, he will wait all week for the right pitch. Defense, did I mention the power. For a team that put up with Dubois Sing couldn't do much worse. And if D-Lee goes on the DL than I don't think we have a better option in the system to replace him.

Several other options are VanBuren, Aardsma, and Pie. I don't see how these players could help the team but I think we might see them this year. I am also looking forward to the ripple effect in the minors leagues, I would like to see Scott Moore see some AA action.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Last Stand of The 2005 Cubs begins.

So it starts today, the last stand of the Cubs. Patterson and Dubois were sent down to AAA and Murton and Greenburg were brought up form AA. I applaud Hendry for actually doing something NOW as opposed to waiting for something on the trade market. But call me skeptical that these two guys can fix the Cubs. First Dusty has to actually play these guys on a regular basis, then these guys have to play at the top of thier ablility with no stumbling despite skipping a complete level. I don't understand why we push two guys with tons of ability onto the team when we have Grieve and Fontenot sitting in AAA.
I guess if anything this will provide some fun to watching the games. This past week I have had a hard time watching the Cubs due to the bad play but I always enjoy Ronny "Bones" Cedeno's AB's. I will have the same enjoyment watching Murton and Greenburg.
Here's hoping I am wrong about this move.

Now That I Think About It.

After writing yesterdays comment I realized that some of those moves could be helpful this year. So today in the midst of another loss to the Braves I will try to get into more detail on these trades.
  • I prospose trading Sergio Mitre and Todd Wellenmeyer to the Reds for Austen Kearns. Various other players could be included in this deal but I wouldn't go crazy.
  • Here is the big one, trade Kerry Wood and enough cash to cover the rest of his contract for the year to Arizona for Carlos Quenten. I don't know if this will happen due to Arizona's losing record and rebuilding mindset. But they don't have many good pitchers and their offseasn spending says that they want to win now so it isn't out of the realm of reality.
  • Jeromy Burnitz and Rickey Nolasco to Atlanta for Brian McCann. Atlanta is hard up in need of Corner OFs and always loves young pitchers. Any team still employing Brian Jordan might be willing to make this trade a reality.
  • Jason Dubois to Tampa for Danys Baez. I love the youngsters in the pen but I never really feel safe when starters come out of the game.

This would leave a lineup like this:

  1. Walker 2b
  2. Cedeno/Nomar SS
  3. Lee 1b
  4. Ramirez 3b
  5. Kearns RF
  6. Quenten LF
  7. Barrett C
  8. Patterson CF
  9. Pitcher

This lineup is good because it would help the Cubs in the future as long as in the present. The problem would remain on the bench. As currently constructed it would have Holly, Perez, Macias, Perez, McCann, and Hairston. This could be fixed by exchanging McCann for Grieve and Fontenot for Macias.

Oh well, all these ideas are nothing more than pipe dreams I guess. But I don't see how this would be any worse than the team as currently constructed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Now This is Just Depressing.

Now this is not to say that I am giving up on the Cubs because it is more than possible for the Cubs pitchers to real off a run of 2-3 good starts each helping the cubs to go something like 15-5. Nomar then comes off the DL, Lee gets fully healed, and Hendry makes a trade for Adam Dunn and Ryan Freel. This is a post born out of the depression of being a Cubs fan after last week. We can't buy a hit, Maddux is looking his age, and D-Lee coming out of the game last night scares the crap out of me. So if we do become sellers who do we sell? I don't think this team would go into full rebuild mode, just a wait 'till next year thing.
  • Todd Walker: There are numerous teams that would love to have Todd on thier team. The Twins, Yankees, Padres, and Mets all are looking for a 2nd baseman. Todd is one of the top offensive secondbasemen in the league, and a good prospects or two could be obtained for him.
  • Jerry Hairston: The same teams that want Todd would also want Jerry. Jerry's problem is that we are stockpiled with second base prospects in the minors including Mike Fontenot who should get the bulk of playing time if the Cubs start looking to next year.
  • Jeromy Burnitz: A good defender, league average corner outfielder, not signed long term. I love him as a player but guys like him are not hard to come by and he could get a good prospect in return. Teams that might want Jeromy include Atlanta, Washington, Flordia, and LAA.
  • Michael Barrett: A quality backstop. I would not be adverse to keeping him around but if the right offer came I don't think I would shed a tear. Teams that might want Michael are Texas, Arizona, and LA.
  • Todd Hoddandsworth: A quality bench player to any team that wants him. He has been on a tear lately and could help a contending team. Any team in contention could realisticly want Todd
  • Kerry Wood: Good arm in a market that dosn't have many of those. He could get far more than he is actually worth. Teams in need, NY, Baltimore, Boston, Texas, LAA, LA, Atlanta.
  • Glendon Rush: A good bullpen arm and he can start. Who dosn't need that? Boston, NY (both), Atlanta, et.
  • Ryan Dempster, Mike Remlinger, Roberto Novoa: Bullpen help, everyone needs bullpen help. Can anyone else see Boston picking up Remlinger, using him correctly and seeing great Atlanta-like results? Yeah, me too.

But who do we bring up? Who do we get in these deals? We plan on contending next year, right? Yes of course we do. So I recomend getting MLB ready players over higher ceiling prospects. Players in specific are:

  • Austen Kearns: If Burnitz and Holly are gone it would be worth the time to stick Kearns out in a corner for the rest of the year. Just in case you havn't noticed he is tearing it up in AAA since he was sent down.
  • Adam Dunn: Good now, will continue to be good for years to come. Love him.
  • Carlos Quentin/ Conor Jackson: Studs pain and simple. They would take a lot (especially Carlos) but they will hit in the majors, no question.
  • Yusmeiro Petit: Good Arm to add to the growing pile.
  • Ian Kinsler: Young stud SS from Texas, I love Cedeno as much as anyone but he could be a flash in the pan.
  • Brian McCann: The Cubs don't have much in terms of top flight catching prospects. This would solve that need.

And of course play the youngsters, I don't know if Dusty could do this but it has to be done. Cedeno, Dubois, and Fontenot need to play daily. Hill, and Williams, need to pitch regularly. I don't know if it matters that Dusty dosn't like youngsters because he would most likey get the boot if the Cubs fall out this early, so thats something at least. One last thing, notice that Corey is not in that list. If we are out of it we might as well let him try and figure things out the rest of the year. There is no point in trading him at his lowest value if we are not contending.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Thats about right.

So for the past two games the Cubs have had the ideal linup. Jerry leading off and getting on base, Walker hitting second, right in front of my personal baseball god. So what happens, Walker hits everything right at someone, and Lee for the first time all season goes cold. Thats perfect. Damn near every member of the CBA has been begging for this lineup and now that it happened Dusty is bound to take it apart due to a few bad days.
  • Jason Dubois has been one heck of a letdown up to this point in the season. I wonder if it is time to switch him out with a player from the minor leagues. Hell, how about Ben Grieve up for Dubois, and Fontenot up for Macias.
  • Speaking of Fontenot, don't look now but that Sosa trade that looked a lot like a dump when it happened, is turning out in favor of the Cubs. Jerry is an OBP machine, and Fontenot is more than holding his own in Iowa. Mike could see a call-up when Hendry realizes that Macias is not qualified to hold a major league roster spot.
  • I think I have said this every day this month but this trade market sucks. There are not any teams hard up to make trades. Most teams have gotten their books in order these past few years.
  • Not to celebrate an injury to a player but this JD Drew injury could really help the Cubs if Paul Depodesta decides to call it a year. They have more than one player that would look very good in blue pinstripes including Milton Bradley, Olmedo Saenz, and Giovanni Carrara.

So the Cubs are facing a flame throwing youngster today just the type of player that an aggresive team like the Cubs usually pound. Lets get back to .500.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Wierd Stuff in the All-Star City

This has to be the story that has blown my mind for the year and I don't seem to see a thing about it on TV or the large internet outlets. Justin Verlander is starting today for the Detroit Tigers. Justin Verlander has started just two games at AA ball. Last year he was drafted out of Old Dominion where he was good yet unspectacular. There are prospects that are rushed to the majors and then there is Justin Verlander who must have gotten his hands on some incriminating pictures of Dave Dombrowski . This must be the last stand of the '05 Detroit Tigers.
I would guess that in the next two weeks that they will make a white flag trade probably Polonco or White. They have very little the Cubs might want outside of Polonco. I expect to see more teams doing things of this sort in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday Quick Thoughts

Just so you know, if anyone asks you to be in thier wedding party RUN! I just got done with that "honor" yesterday. I had to do the rent a tux, do the toast, and make nice to a bunch of people I may never see again. All because this guy is my brother. On to the Cubs.
  • Sure enough Ronny Cendeno is riding pine in the big leagues. What is the point of all of this. If you bring up a top prospect he should play, because in all likelyhood they can. Damn Cubs
  • So MVLee went 3-4 yesterday and only got one RBI, that is the biggest reason why he will not win the tripple crown.
  • I truthfully think that Corey is trying to change, he is bunting more and taking more pitches, hell I even saw him watch strike three something I don't think he has ever done before. But can't he learn in the 8 spot.
  • This trade market this year sucks. No team is in desparate need to get rid of contracts, there are no great players about to hit the free-agent market on bad teams, and no teams looking to cut payroll. I believe Theo Epstein when he says that all big trades will happen at the deadline.
  • Am I wrong or did Jose Macias start a game last week that Jerry Hairston didn't. That should never happen.
  • What is the over/under on Rich Hill starting a game as a Cub. One month, one year, never?

Come on people we should not loose this many games to the damn Nats.