Archive for December, 2005
It’s been a while since the Cubs and Sox hooked up on a deal. I’d like to see the Cubs send Corey Patterson, Bobby Brownlie or Todd Wellemeyer and Geovany Soto to the Chisox for Joe Borchard and Casey Rogowski or Jerry Owens.
From what I can see the Chisox could use a little depth at catcher and another arm wouldn’t hurt. In the event that Podsednik went on the DL again they would need a speed option and Owens gets thrown out too much.
The Cubs need a righthanded bat that can come in and spell for Jacque Jones when lefties are on the hill, and Borchard would do nicely. I like Rogowski as a backup 1B – who knows what’s going to happen to D Lee and Rogowski ain’t gonna beat out Thome or Konerko at first base.
Oh, and I forgot. If there’s one manager in baseball that can turn Corey Patterson around it’s Ozzie.
Well, maybe it was just a case of misplaced faith on the part of Cubs fans. You see, our favorite GM Jim Hendry was supposed to have a big offseason this year. His team needed an overhaul, and he had the cash and pitching prospects to make it happen. Hendry’s task was pretty straight forward, he needed to obtain a leadoff man, sort out his middle infield situation, bolster the bullpen, and fill two outfield spots. It sounded like a daunting task, but Hendry also seemed to have a plan. First, he whet our appetites by signing(and overpaying for) Scott Eyre and Bobby Howry. Nice additions to the bullpen, but face it, these aren’t the sexy moves that would fix the offense. And besides, after the LaTroy Hawkins Experience, Cubs fans know not to get too excited about free agent relief pitchers. Obviously, this was Jim Hendry just clearing the simple jobs off his desk before he went for his big score: Rafael Furcal.
Oops. We all know what happened there. The Dodgers swooped in to sign Furcal. This left the Cubs up a creek without a paddle. Hendry bounced back by making a trade for Juan Pierre, but he was forced to overpay in prospects (consider that the Cubs traded 3 minor leaguers for Pierre, while the Red Sox traded 3 minor leaguers for Beckett, Lowell and Mota). Now there was a problem. Jim had planned on signing Furcal and then trading Todd Walker to fill the void in right field. But trading Walker would mean that the Cubs would have a starting middle infield consisting of light hitting rookie Ronny Cedeno and light hitting veteran Neifi Perez. There was still talk among the faithful that Hendry could pull off a deal for a right fielder, but now it would be tougher. With Walker off the table, and two of his better pitching prospects off to Florida, Hendry had considerably less clout in the trading market than he had expected. And with the outfield still unsettled, the Cubs felt they had to hang onto Corey Patterson.
I’m sure that Jim Hendry was working hard behind the scenes to aquire a right fielder. I’ll say that I was a little disappointed when Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge were traded to Texas. Rumors abounded that the Cubs had an interest in Jacque Jones, but this was written off as a ploy by the Cubs GM to get some leverage in the trade market. After all, trading is what Jim Hendry does best. Well, maybe not. You see, Manny Ramirez is still in Boston. Bobby Abreu remains in Philadelphia. Wilkerson and Kevin Mench are still in Texas. And Jacque Jones has signed a 3 year, $16 million deal to play right field for the Cubs. But hey, at least the Cubs savvy front office didn’t overpay.
You see, ever since Furcal signed with the Dodgers, Jim Hendry has been on the run. He hasn’t been proactive, he’s been reactive. And every move made has cost us a little more than it should have. Instead of being willing to pay the lump sum up front to make the team better, the Cubs are financing it right back into 4th place. Sure there’s still a chance that Hendry could pull off a deal for Miguel Tejada, but does anybody think that Hendry can do it, since he won’t be trading from a position of strength?
So in 2006, when you’re watching Jacque Jones strike out for the 120th time, think about how we’ve only got 2 more years of that. And when you see Neifi Perez batting 2nd and playing shortstop, well, we’ll only have to put up with that through 2007. Oh, and then look at the bench, and see that the Cubs are paying Corey Patterson $3 million or so to be pinch runner. Take it all in. And then just thank your lucky stars we didn’t overpay for Rafael Furcal.
Well boys and girls, Hendry the Clown means what he says! Today all of the non-tendered Cubs were offered contracts, which means that arbitration-eligible players such as Jerry Hairston, Jr., Juan Pierre, Will Ohman, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior will be eligible for arbitration. It also means that the Cubs are on the hook for $2.2-4.0 million for the services of Corey Patterson.
It’s going to be next to impossible to unload Patterson because no GM in their right mind would pay that kind of money for a guy that hits .215 and ignores his management. Anticipate the following scenario, because it’s going to happen: “It’s the bottom of the ninth, Cubs are down by a run. Men on first and third, two outs, the other team goes to the pen for a righthanded reliever. Now Dusty Baker is calling back the righthanded batter and going to Corey Patterson for a lefthanded bat!”
George Goebels must have been thinking about Cubs fans when he said: “Did you ever get the feeling that the whole world is a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes?”
Things were looking pretty good, the Bears D was playing smash-nose defense, it was 9 degrees in Soldier Field – it was so cold it would freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And the Bears were ahead! Then all of a sudden Bears head coach Lovie Smith did the unthinkable – he signalled to Rex Grossman and told him to get ready for the second half. It was almost like Wilford Brimley in ‘The Natural’ telling Robert Redford to “suit up.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Smith was quoted as saying: “I just felt we needed a spark…the defense was playing well. Rex was ready to go. He had that look about him. It was a gut feeling, and we went with it.”
Well Lovie I hope you have a few more gut instincts; any way you could talk to that fella over on the North Side that manages the Cubs?
Now we all know that Hendry has said that he would offer !@#$ING PATTERSON arbitration instead of non-tendering him. But is it bluff, bravado or stupidity? Or will he swing a trade with a club that has a similar non-tender player? According to mlb.com here are the people likely to be non-tendered: MIL: (RP Danny Kolb, 3B Russell Branyon,) SEA: (RP Gil Meche, RP Ryan Franklin, IF Willie Bloomquist,) LAD: (C Jason Phillips, 1B Hee-seop Choi,) ATL: RP Jim Brower, BAL: C Geronimo Gil, CHW: IF Willie Harris, WAS: (IF Junior Spivey, IF Henry Mateo,) CIN: SP Ramon Ortiz and MIN: SP Kyle Lohse. I’m sure there will be many others.
So now that Hendry has played his card, why doesn’t he trade Patterson to Cincy for Ortiz or trade him to the Twins for Lohse? Perhaps he can bluff his way into unloading Corey’s contract on one of these teams and pick up another pitcher. Will either of these guys compete for a starting job? Probably not, but I’d much rather see their names on the 40 man than Corey’s.
There are days when I get frustrated with the Cubs organization. I get tired of them not making moves when they need to make a move. I get tired of them making a move that didn’t need to be made. Then, I am reminded of the other teams that are in our division and realize that maybe it isn’t so bad after all. Let me give you just one quick example from some of the teams we are competing with.
1. Pittsburgh – Not only do they not have any money to spend, they do not see to know where to spend the little money they have. They haven’t been in serious contention since Sid Bream hobbled around 3rd and slid under the tag to send Atlanta to the World Series back in the early 90’s. There is no reason we can’t pummel them each and every year. So that leaves four teams for us to worry about, right? WRONG!!!!
2. Cincy – This team has had four above average outfielders for two years now and has just NOW figured that maybe they should either make room for them all or move one. Unfortunately they chose to move their most popular player, Sean Casey, to do it. Why not move Kearns or Willy Mo? Or even Griffey who is coming off a resurgence? The world may never know, but what I know is that we do not need to worry about the Reds.
3. Houston – Smart move guys. Let’s let the best pitcher on our team walk away after he posts an ERA in the 1’s. Houston has taken a major step down and they will not be back again this year. Then that brings us to the biggest bunch of fools.
4. Milwaukee – These guys make the redneck in the picture look like he’s intelligent, despite spelling Reckon wrong. Milwaukee traded their closer, Danny Kolb to Atlanta last offseason. Atlanta was looking to non tender him this year, but Milwaukee decides that maybe they made a mistake and trade back for him. Now, what are they going to do?
The Brewers aren’t close to working out a contract with Danny Kolb, who will be non-tendered on Tuesday.
He was set to be non-tendered from the moment he was acquired 10 days ago, but the Brewers hoped to have an agreement in place, allowing them to re-sign him the next day. Instead, it looks like Kolb will go out on the open market. Dec. 18 – 3:18 am et
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Some may say that Kolb will be resigned at a lower price and that this was a smooth move by the Brewers. However, do you think Scott Boras was born yesterday? He knows what Milwaukee is trying to do. I bet any money he shops this guy around and Milwaukee gets burned.
So in all, we only have one team we really need to worry about? That’s the way I see it.
Today’s Daily Herald featured an article by Barry Rozner entitled “Cubsí big calls may be a year away.” Rozner points out that contract extensions for Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker aren’t sure bets as they once appeared to be; he also opines that Andy MacPhail has a cautious streak and generally doesn’t make a decision until he has to.
Y’all know where I stand. So my question to the VFB readership is this: If you were Andy MacPhail would you offer extensions to Hendry and Baker before, during, or after the season? Or not at all?
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From the Chicago Tribune: “After Pierre’s introductory news conference Wednesday at Wrigley Field, general manager Jim Hendry disclosed he would offer Patterson arbitration next week and might give him the right-field job in 2006.”
Mastrick’s take: Hold the presses, Jim Hendry is a complete and total idiot and a buffoon! If this happens Hendry’s contract status should be tied directly to Patterson’s performance – if Patterson belly-flops again I hope to see this sorry excuse for a GM out of Chicago before he sets us back another hundred years.