Archive for November, 2005

Rule 5 day and my prediction for the 2006 Cubs Opening Day lineup

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Just a reminder, December 8th is when the Rule 5 draft occurs. Some of the Cubs that will be exposed to Rule 5 include Richard Lewis, Mike Fontenot, Russ Rohlichek and Brandon Sing. Don’t be surprised to see Fontenot or Sing going somewhere in a trade because they will likely be claimed in Rule 5.

That having been said, here’s my prediction of who Dusty will start on Opening Day: Furcal SS, Perez 2B, Lee 1B, Ramirez 3B, Mench RF, Murton LF, Patterson CF and Barrett C. Starting pitchers will be Prior, Zambrano, Maddux, Byrd and Rusch. Kerry Wood will be on the DL for the first week or two getting his arm strength up. Walker will go to Texas in a trade for Mench.

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The latest on Furcal

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

This one just came in fresh off the wire from

Rafael Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, met with both the Braves on Tuesday and a associate met with the Dodgers. Kinzer said Furcal would likely decide between those two teams and the Cubs by Monday.

Kinzer’s meeting with Atlanta didn’t seem to go very well. He said the Braves have bettered their original offer, now offering at least a guaranteed fourth year. Still, it’s unlikely they’ve come all that close to the offers from the Cubs and Dodgers. Fortunately for Atlanta, Furcal still may choose comfort. “It has never been about the money,” Kinzer said. “If it had been, the Braves and Cubs would have been [out of the running] already. There were at least three teams from major markets that would have gone higher than the Braves and Cubs.” For what it’s worth, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution believes he’s leaning toward joining the Cubs. Nov. 30 – 1:01 am et

So I guess I’d better get used to the idea of Furcal at short and Neifi at second…

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Hendry visits Furcal (not vice versa)

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Hat in hand, Jim Hendry went to Georgia today to speak with Rafael Furcal and his agent. This from the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan:

The Cubs made one last push for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal over the weekend and expect a final decision before the end of next week’s winter meetings in Dallas.

General manager Jim Hendry met with Furcal at his Georgia home on Sunday, hoping to convince him Chicago would be a perfect destination.

Both Hendry and Furcal’s agent, Paul Kinzer, declined to comment on the meeting. The Cubs and Atlanta are considered the two main suitors for Furcal…Since the final offers may be similar in valueóaround $10 million per season for four or five yearsóFurcal’s future may ultimately come down to where he feels most comfortable playing.

Furcal’s affinity for Braves manager Bobby Cox could be a deciding factor, though he’s also close friends with Cubs shortstop Neifi Perez and third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who have been lobbying on the Cubs’ behalf for the last month.

So I guess it comes down to whether or not Furcal wants to take yet another run at a championship with a manager he likes and a teamful of burgeoning prospects or take a chance at a team with a $100 million payroll and a feel-good clubhouse atmosphere and management that doesn’t “push too hard.” What makes you feel better, Raffy?

Sullivan also insinuated that the Cubs are close to signing utilityman (corner outfield, third and first) John Mabry to a Cub contract. Sullivan envisions Mabry as playing a role similar to Todd Hollandsworth in 2004 – I envision Mabry as being Jose Macias’ replacement. Let’s hope my vision is more accurate than Sullivan’s!

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Belated Welcome

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Back in the saddle after a harrowing week at my brotherís hospital bedside. He suffered a massive heart attack last week but is doing better now. Details can be found on Blessings & Other Stuff.

Thatís why it has taken me so long to welcome our newest VFTB colleague, Mark (aka ìMastrickî). No longer am I the newbie of the group and gone is the status of being the elder statesman of the brotherhood.

For some reason, I thought you were European, Mark. Have you ever used the word ìarse?î

Now, regarding the Cubs.


I think Hendry is doing a good job so far. Both Eyre and Howry will solidify a bullpen that needed some work. We now have a bridge between starter and closer that should hold the weight of a major league season.

As for Chrisí comments on Corey and our outfield. I have come around to the consensus that Patterson is a lost cause. But two things bother me a bit. Chris, you said Corey was ìThe worst overall outfielder on a team that played the likes of Jeromy Burnitz and Todd Hollandsworth in 2005.î I think you could have made your point without trashing Jeromy and Todd. And although Hollyís production was not to his standards, Jeromy did fine. Why trash these guys?

My other thought while reading the Corey pieces from all you guys is that while Patterson is justifiably berated for not listening to his coaches and an unwillingness to adjust his approach to hitting, I rarely find any mention of the same as it relates to Kerry Wood and his unwillingness to adjust his mechanics. He seems to get a pass whereas Corey does not.

What say you?

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Brian Giles

Monday, November 28th, 2005


The Blue Jays made what were described as “significant inroads” over the weekend in their pursuit of Brian Giles, a person familiar with negotiations told The Globe and Mail.
The Jays will announce the signing of B.J. Ryan today and they still hope to add either A.J. Burnett or Giles. “We’ve had a number of conversations with the Blue Jays and all of them have been positive,” agent Joe Bick said. “But the truth is we just found out last Wednesday that there was no chance of getting anything done with the San Diego Padres and now we’re moving forward and looking at our other options. Toronto’s one of them.” Nov. 28 – 3:50 am et
Source: Toronto Globe and Mail

Why aren’t the Cubs interested in this guy? He’s available for the same money Furcal is and he has a propensity to crush balls in Wrigley. Last year his OPS was over .900 and it’s rumored that he just wants a three year contract. Furcal on the other hand is a shortstop (we don’t really need one) and it will be harder to find a bopper like Giles than a leadoff hitter. I don’t know what Hendry’s smokin’ but I want some.

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