Monday, January 30, 2006

Prior Planning

Mark Prior signed a 3.65 million dollar 1 year extension with the Cubs on Friday. Is this a smart move for the Cubs, Prior, or both? It seems like both parties think they made the smartest move, but things could backfire for either side.

For the Cubs

Smart Thinking - The Cubs feel that prior needs a solid injury free season to prove he is worthy of a long term contract. That makes sense. If they were to offer him a long term contract now and he gets injured and cannot live up to his potential, the Cubs would get burned.

Backfire - If Prior does have a Cy Young caliber year, the long term contract will be much more expensive next season while the number of other teams ready to offer high multi-year deals for him will increase exponetially. He will definately be harder to keep and the Cubs could loose him.

My Opinion - Cubs made the right choice. While I think Prior is worth a long term high dollar contract, it is nice that he has to work for it. We all know what it is like to pay a premium salary for a player that thinks he just deserves it and does not perform (rhymes with SO SO). Worst case, we get a Cy Young performance out of him this year and loose him. At least we got a Cy Young pitcher for one year.

For Mark Prior

Smart Thinking - Prior knows what he can do and knows he fell on bad luck last season. If he accepted a long term contract now, he could end up out performing the $10 million plus pitchers while earning less than half of their salaries. Then you become unhappy and it would effect your performance. With a good year, Prior can name his price, and he would deserve it.

Backfire - God forbid, Prior could have another injury filled season and I hate to say it, be another Kerry Wood. I love Wood, but to have so much potential and have your team trying to figure out where to use you and who can replace you when you go down is dissapointing. If Prior cannot prove his worth, he would be looking at another one year deal with the Cubs or even another team for less money.

My Opinion - Prior made the right choice. Mark is an old school work horse. He is not wanting anything handed to him. He knows he will have a good year as long as he has no freak injuries. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and he just has to let everyone else see that. I predict a Cy Young season out of him, and I hope the Cubs will reward him properly with a LONG term, HIGH dollar contract. He is the Cubs future.

Wouldn't it be nice if all players in baseball had to work for their salaries?

Big news coming...........

No, this is not a post about Barry Zito being traded for this week, but some news I hope to share with some of you.

As it is now there are two things going on and they could lead to something big. I hope to know sometime this week about it, so stay tuned.

Friday, January 20, 2006

No baseball, but Jack's Back

Not much on the Cub front the last couple of days. My good buddy Mike Eady is still rejoicing over the Corey Patterson deal. With little news it is time to mention a couple of things in the entertainment world.
I am a TV junkie. Now I hate reality TV, but give me a good comedy or Drama and I am feeling pretty good.
This past week "24" has hit the air again. They started season five with a bang and I for one can't wait to see how this season will pan out.
Also back from a few months lay off is the great "Scrubs." It still puzzles me how people stay away from smart TV and go for the mindless stuff. Scrubs is the perfect mix of comedy and drama.
Now my major gripe with networks has to be FOX. Arrested Development is the funniest thing on TV. I guess people don't get how funny it really is.
On the movie front I just saw Glory Road. Nothing special, but I was entertained. It will not crack my Top 10 sports movies.
Which brings me to my next question. What are your favorite shows and sports movies? I mean we should all like Bull Durham or Field of Dreams, but how about lesser known movies.
Leave a list in the comments sections if you like.
Until spring training keep the faith that the Cubs might play over their heads in 2006.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Just when we thought it could not get worse.....

Again sorry about the lack of posts, but bad news just gets me down. We sign a guy who can't hit lefties. We trade away a guy that used to be the answer to who was the best player in the system. Then we are going to trade our best left-handed bat or not use him. What makes things worse is another guy that should not have been brought back is going to platoon at second base.
And we wonder how we have not won a World Series since 1908. I am always positive when the season starts and I suppose that if our pitching holds up things will be better, but really can we except that?
Now there is talk of signing our GM that continues to put pieces in the hand of manager that is reading "Manager for Dummies." If he gets his extension, then I am sure our worst nightmare since Don Baylor will get another extension. Why couldn't the Dodgers brought him home?
Not to mention that our GM is reading baseball cards to sign players. Maybe we can put good players in his hand. You think that might work? He is only buying decks with sub par players. That has to be it.
I may sound a little down, but overall life is going well. Job is good, I won a World Championship in my simulation league and life is pretty good. It is just these stingy Chicago Cubs and their moves that keep me up at night.
Ok, sports fans that is it for now, but hopefully better days are ahead of us.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year, Same Old Story

Sorry I have been away, but I was on vacation back to Alabama over the Holidays. Then, Christmas basketball tournaments started. I hope to have some time to post over the next few weeks and I am working on the next part of the Wrigley Tales series. Hopefully, I am not putting too much of a negative spin on things.
It is just the signings of Jacque Jones and the handful of relievers do not stir my emotions in a good way. There is also the problem that Jones can't hit left handed pitching. Also, Corey Patterson is a still a Cub. I am not totally against this, but my buddy is up in arms that he is still in the club house. We have three 2B on the roster. There are still concerns with the health of our pitching.
I remember after the NLCS loss in 03 that things were set up to dominate. What a pipe dream that was. Be ready folks, our time is slipping and it scares me. I really thought rebuilding was a thing of the past, but things could crumble at any moment.
Lets look at some of what we may suspect in 2006.
SP - Maddux, Wood, Prior, Zambrano, Rusch-Williams
If Wood and Prior make 30 starts then it is an improvement. If not, we could be in serious trouble. Maddux will probably turn in a worse season. Zambrano's arm might fall off. We might deal Prior and who knows about Rusch and Williams.
Prediction - Starters improve
RP - Dempster, Howery, Eyre, Ohman, Novao, Wurtz, ?????
On paper the pen looks better, but on paper we looked better in 2004 when we signed LaTroy Hawkins. We spent quite a bit on money on the pen. Dempster is another year removed from surgery, so he might be better. Howery and Eyre are coming off big contract years.
Prediction - Pen improves slightly
1B - Lee
Monster 2005, no way he puts up those great numbers.
Prediction - decrease
2B - Walker, Hairston, Perez
Walker is the best with the bat. Perez is better with the glove and Hairston is happy medium. My guy says Walker is dealt before the Cubs break camp and then Hairston becomes the starter at 2B.
Prediction - About the same
SS - Cedeno, Perez
It looks like Dusty will have to play Cedeno for at least a month. My nightmare is that he gets hurt and Neifi is our starting SS for the year. I really want to see how Cedeno does in a full season.
Prediction - With all the injuries a year ago, Cedeno actually produces more
3B - Ramirez
If he is healthy, he is on the better 3B in the game. If the leg problems continue, it is a good chance that John Mabry or Neifi gets more playing time
Prediction - Ramirez puts up slightly better numbers.
LF - Murton
The Cubs rushed Murton along and he has yet to show much power. If he only hits 10 HR and walks a ton, then I am happy. I am glad to see a guy in Cub uniform that actually takes a walk. A line of .295/.360 would be real nice. Add a little slugging and we have a great find. Lets just hope Hairston or Mabry do not make it into Dusty's good graces.
Prediction - Better production
CF - Pierre
Here is one place that there is improvement that can be seen. Pierre fills the leadoff hole the Cubs have had for years. As long as he plays a decent CF and gets on base it is an improvement.
Perdiction - Better production
RF - Jones
Before the O's signed Burnitz this was the worst deal of the off season. Jones had two good seasons in Minnesota and if by some miracle returns to that form, then the Cubs have made a steal. Too bad this is not going to happen. He probably will produce about the same as Burnitz (man what were the O's thinking). Still this was a bad deal, three years and he can't hit left handed pitching.
Prediction - same, maybe worse, praying for better.

There is a quick breakdown, but it looks like no joy in Mudville this season and the 100 year mark draws even closer. Happy New Year and at least we are tied for first right now.