Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings?

Sorry that It has been so long since I have contributed, but it has been a while since I have had anything worthy of a post. Wait a minute, have the Cubs done anything this offseason worthy of writing about? Well maybe... Juan Pierre is a good addition, as long as we can get rid of Corey Patterson. Pierre will take over center field and I think Murton should be given every oppertunity to play left field every day. So that means that with Cedeno playing short, the Cubs will have two rookies in the line up, OH NO! So what! Hopefully they will have two good rookies in the lineup. Better than no rookies and a bunch of old has beens that give good "Clubhouse presence." While that is a good thing, I think their on field performance is a lot more important.

The additions of Howry and Eyre serve to make the bullpen better, but nowhere near exceptional. Can Dempster repeat last year's somewhat solid performance now that the pressure is on? Good question. I believe the performance of the starters and the rest of the team will shape the bullpen. If they never get the ball with the lead, they will grow discouraged and it will show. If you give them a chance to play in a win every day, they should rise to the occasion.

The addition of John Maybry, well, ho hum. Another utility bench player to replace Macias. I think the swap out will be of little or no impact. Sorry John, need to show us more before we think we snagged a steal.

So where do we stand for 2006? Still got some work to do at the meetings.

We definately need to find ourselves a right fielder. Without giving up the farm, litterally. We have had some strong talent in the minors for the past couple of years. I beleive all of the talent has not come out partially due to poor coaching and managing, but we won't go there. Anyway, a big stick like Abreu or Aubry Huff might help our support Lee and Ramierez, but we would have to pay for players like that.

Cedeno may be the future at shortstop, but if we cannot land a big stick from the right field position, we might need to sit Cedeno for a while and grab up an unhappy Tejada from the Orioles or something like that.

I still think there is a lot of play in Todd Walker. He is a solid fielder and has had flashes of power. I think he could be our everyday guy at second if he knows he has the chance to earn it. But if the Cubs keep dangling him out there as trade bait, someone will definately bite. And I am certain that we will all be dissapointed at what we get in return. My guess is the front office will give up too many prospects and "throw in" Todd Walker to get some over 30 starter who is recovering from sholder surgery and had a medicocre 8 - 11 season last year.

So, do we need another starter? Well we gave away Mitre who had the potential to be our 5th. So we are in a bind cause Borowski is no longer with us to eat innings. So we can pray that we have Zambrano and Maddux to eat innings and hold the team together, a full season from Prior (who could prove to be Cy Young material when it clicks) and a flashback season from Kerry Wood. Then I think Jerome Williams can easily fill the #5 spot. If the cubs could land a better #5 guy without giving up anything more than a second rate prospect and Corey Patterson, then by all means DO IT!

My last note.....

If no one picks up Nomar and the Cubs have another shot, I think if he will accept less money, he is still a darn good player and should be given a shot to be a Cub super star. He can still do it folks. He can still pick it at short and is not a bad 3rd base fill in either. If we have the chance, it might not be a bad idea. Nothing could be worse than to have him go elsewhere, have an MVP year and come back and beat us. Think about it... If it does not work out, Cedeno is ready to pounce on the job. If it does work, we could have another 30+ HR bat in the lineup.

OK, so lets see how the rest of the off season plays out. My guess is that no Cubs fan will actually be excited about our lineup going into Spring Training. DEJA VU?

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You are about to enter a land that is unknown. This land has been off limits to us for almost 100 years, but due to some technology it is now possible to show the public.
It is chance to explore a world of darkness and shadows and maybe in time we can light to this situation.
The names have not been changed to protect the innocent. All must be held accountable for the dark times. There have been few moments along the way, but for there is no end in sight of this dark plague that bears down upon us.
This my friends are the “Wrigley Tales.”
In all seriousness now, I have decided to write small scenes about the inner-workings of the Chicago Cubs. They will be similar to this post: Larry's K Machines
I will start a scene a week and I hope you enjoy the humor in our desperation as Cub fans.
Without further interruption, I bring you the “Wrigley Tales.”
In addition to our familiar cast of characters there will be some fictional ones to help bring light of the situation.

Wrigley Tales – Part 1- “The Perez Situation”

Scene 1 starts in a living room as the 2005 World Series is going on.

The final out is recorded and the man in shadow gets up to shut off the TV.
Man: Well, that is just great. First the Red Sox and now of all the teams the White Sox go and win.

The light switches on and it is revealed the man in darkness is none other than Jim Hendry. Hendry is the GM of the Cubs.

Still talking to himself
Jim: I thought our fans were bad last year. Now the Southside has a title and I still have no offense, no bench and questionably no coach. Man, I missed the boat on Dusty. I guess the Giants new what they were doing letting him go. Now, my job stands with a man that could not coach our company softball team.

Hendry walks down a hall and thinks a new season starts tomorrow.

Jim: There is much work to do in the next few weeks.

Scene 2 takes place in an office with Dusty Baker, Hendry, Andy McPhail and Hendry’s assistant Addison Clark. The four are discussing things that must go on for the Cubs to have a chance to win in 2006.

Jim: Ok, guys this meeting will lay the groundwork for our next couple weeks and months. First lets list the things that went right and things we can improve on.

Dusty: D-Lee was absolute machine. I credit the work I made with him in the start of Spring Training. Also we were in the race until September.

Clark: Give me a break Dusty. Yes, Lee had a monster year that was wasted on this team. Your other suggestion that we were in the race was only because the teams were so mediocre.

Andy: Now, Clark just calm down a little. We had a very successful year.

Clark: Yeah, extorting the pockets of the fans for every dime you can. Now there are new bleachers going up and that will give the team even greater resources to turn a profit.

Jim: Guys! Guys! Let us stay on point.

Clark: I will show you on point. First off we need to improve our pitchers health. Without Prior and Wood making more than 15 starts the Cubs have no chance. Next a leadoff hitter that is not named Patterson or Perez would be great. At least we don’t have to see Neifi anymore. There are so many useful guys out on the market that could help the team.

Jim: That is not entirely true.

Clark: What, there aren’t more useful guys out there? We already have Ronnie Cendeno, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Todd Walker since you picked up his option today.

Jim: No. Perez is coming back.

Clark: Oh good lord, what are you smoking Jim. Sure, he had to play last year, but we had a chance to let him leave. Now we have to deal with him getting 90 starts from Dusty.

Dusty[very offended]: He was very solid for us.

Clark[sarcastic]: Sorry I offended you, but Jim there is no need for another infielder for one year.

Jim: That is not entirely true either.

Clark: You didn’t? Not a two-year deal, oh please say I am on Candid Camera or Ashton Kutcher is right through that wall and I am being Punked. What did he sign a 2-year 2 million dollar deal?

Andy: I get the reference to Candid Camera, but what is punked? Is it somebody that goes around hurting people.

Clark: Oh please, it is a show that plays practical jokes....oh why do I bother. Now, Jim what is it 2.5, 3 or 3.5 million?

Jim: He wanted a little more, so I gave him a 2-year 5 million dollar contract.

Andy: We are very loyal to our players here in Chicago.

Clark: We are still the same organization that ran off the top pitcher in the 90’s.

Dusty: We brought him back.

Clark: Oh forgive me; we wasted Cy Young’s so we could bring back a guy that gives up home runs every other at bat. Granted, I like Greg as much as everybody else, but don’t give me that song and dance.

Jim: We felt that Neifi gives us much needed flexibility.

Clark: Flexibility! Flexibility! (With a little more anger) Do you guys not know we are need of a major offensive overhaul? Don’t answer that Dusty! I meant it as a rhetorical question. Wait, did you say five million?

Jim: Yes.

Clark: Five million dollars. You guys know that Cardinals are only spending like 300,000 on their second baseman? We have major holes at SS, relief pitching, starting pitching and an entire outfield to sign and you spent 5 million on our utility man.

Andy: We are not the Cardinals.

Clark: Of course not. We have not been to a World Series and a NLCS in back-to-back years.

Andy: We once won back-to-back World Series.

Clark: I give up. [Throwing his notebook off the table]

Jim: I think this was a very productive day. Tomorrow our new season starts.

Join us next time for Part 2 of Wrigley Tales – “In Need of Relief”

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Jose it was fun; Well, maybe not fun.......

Rotoworld had this to say:

Cubs designated infielder-outfielder Jose Macias for assignment.
Definitely one of the game's most overdue transactions. Macias, 34, is a career .256/.298/.371 hitter. He hit .254/.274/.316 in 177 AB for the Cubs last season. Dec. 8 - 1:52 am et

With John Mabry signing yesterday it only made sense for Macias to be cut. Finally a move this off season that I have no problem with or any other Cub fan.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Leading off.........

It looks like Jim Hendry has made the first move to fix the offense. I have looked around at a bunch of different sites and the reviews are mixed. I tend to agree three arms are a lot to give up for a one year rental possibly. Anyone else notice that Hendry deals with like only four teams. Dodgers, Pirates, Marlins and Red Sox are on his speed dial. There are still some conflicting info about if there are two or three pitchers. I am sure that will be finalized today.

The Marlins have tentatively agreed on a deal to send Juan Pierre to the Cubs for pitchers Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Renyel Pinto, according to's Jayson Stark.
Not a bad deal for the Cubs. Mitre wasn't in the team's plans for 2006, and Pinto's stock has fallen quite a bit. Nolasco is the pitcher here they're most likely to regret parting with, though he's probably not ready yet. Mitre should move right into Florida's rotation. Pierre will likely start in center field and bat leadoff for the Cubs. The team still could go after Milton Bradley to play right field

One thing is Pierre gives the Cubs one guy they can slot No. 1 in the lineup. This will limit Dusty Baker using Niefi Perez or Corey Patterson at that spot.

Pierre is still young, 28, and still has decent speed. The only problem is the drop in production from 2003-2004 to his 2005 numbers. His batting average dropped 50 points in one year and thus all of his other numbers suffered.

The opening day lineup looks like this right now.

1. Pierre CF
2. Walker 2B
3. Lee 1B
4. Ramirez 3B
5. Barrett C
6. Murton LF
7. Cedeno SS
8. Patterson RF

I can't see the Cubs going into the season with an OF of Pierre, Murton and Patterson. Just not a fearful lineup. If the reports are right, then the head gamer Milton Bradley might be headed to the Cubs.
I know he is not known for his team play, but this is the thing Dusty is supposed to be good at. Getting the most of players like Bradley. If the Cubs get Bradley he would slide in at probably No. 5 in the lineup. That would slide everybody down. While, not a great lineup an addition of Bradley would be better than last season. Bradley is a quality defender and would help protect Ramirez in the lineup.

I would not be surprised if Bradley is a Cub by Wednesday night. Of course, there are many other things that could happen, but with the market like it is Bradley is probably cheaper than going after somebody else.