Archive for December, 2005

Boy did we luck out

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Compared to last year’s losses (Andrew Sisco in particular,) the Cubs fared pretty well in this year’s Rule 5 draft. Players that are chosen in Rule 5 must stay on the rosters of their new team at their assigned level or they must be offered back to their original team. Here’s the run down on what we lost, what we got and what we could have lost:

What we lost
The Cubs biggest loss was pitcher Juan Mateo, who was selected by St. Louis in the AA portion of the draft. Mateo went 10-5 for high A Daytona and compiled a very respectable 3.21 ERA in 16 starts. Yorkin Ferreras was claimed in the first round of the minor league level by Tampa Bay. This lefthander had a 3-5 record for Daytona and an ERA of 5.21. Next the Cubs lost Victor Ramos to Boston; Ramos had an ERA of 3.24 in 25 innings pitched for West Tenn. Victor also spent time with low A Peoria and short season A level Boise.

Next San Diego plucked Boise pitcher Andy Santana, a reliever who earned a 4-1 record with a 2.47 ERA in 47 2/3 innings. Finally West Tenn third baseman Aaron Sisk was claimed by the Giants. Sisk had a good start at A Peoria but struggled a bit for the Diamond Jaxx.

download all out of love andru donalds
What we got
The first player the Cubs drafted was Carlos Jan from Baltimore. Cubs minor league director Oneri Fleita described Jan as a “left-handed pitcher with arm strength.” His 2005 results were somewhat mediocre although he did have more strikeouts than innings pitched. Next the Cubs took Geivy Garcia from the Padres. Geivy had an ERA slightly above 5 – Fleita commented on him as being “another right-hander who has arm strength.”

For their last pick the Cubs took middle infielder Aaron Rifkin from Seattle, who was promptly shipped off to Colorado for a player to be named later. Apparently the Rockies really wanted this kid and were willing to give up a player for a conditional pick.

What we could have lost
As I said earlier, we got real lucky because teams passed on some guys I was sure we were gonna lose. For some inexplicable reason nobody took 1B Brandon Sing. Brandon has some issues with defense but it seems clear that the guy is gonna hit. Bobby Brownlie, a former Cubs first round draft pick out of Rutgers was not claimed either. Bobby rebounded successfully from shoulder trouble but his results at Iowa were so-so. Reports are that he’s lost some velocity; only time will tell.

Also unclaimed was Chadd Blasko, a real promising reliever who also had season-ending arm trouble this year. Chad throws in the mid 90s and projects as a power reliever. Russ Rohlichek was left unprotected mainly because he walked a ton of guys at Iowa; Russ is a big lefthander who was obtained by the Cubs from Houston. Finally Baseball America’s Cubs top ten prospect Billy Petrick took a pass due to season-ending shoulder surgery. This sinker-slider pitcher was viewed as one of the Cubs best prospects until he ran into arm trouble in Daytona.

The net-net
The net-net is we didn’t get much but we didn’t give up much either. And it sure could have been worse!

Don’t forget to check out the great sports betting online!!!!

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ATTENTION JIM HENDRY!

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

I don’t know what it will take to make this happen. I don’t know if it’s even feasible. But at least make the phone call. I beg you.

Miguel Tejeda requests to be traded

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Major Announcement from the Flordia Marlins…

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

We now take you live to Dallas, where Florida Marlins GM Larry Beinfest is about to announce a major change for their franchise…

“Good evening. As you all know the past few weeks have seen some major changes for the Florida Marlins. Since the conclusion of the World Series, we have traded from our team the following players: Paul LoDuca, Juan Pierre, Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo and Carlos Delgado, receiving no players with major league service time in return. In addition, we won’t be signing any free agents, in fact we’re thinking of simply fielding a team of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera next year and hoping for the best.”

“There is however, one longtime fan favorite whom the Marlins do still employ. No, it’s not Jeff Conine, he’ll be gone tomorrow, I am speaking of course, about Billy the Marlin. Most of you know what Billy currently looks like:”

“Yes, Billy is a happy little fellow, but his costume no longer fits with the direction our organization is going in. So, I am pleased to announce that we have finished a complete redesign of Billy. Ladies and gentlemen, the new look Billy the Marlin:”

“Good night everyone, and thanks for coming.”

“Uh, could somebody loan me bus fare?”

We interrupt this fake news with some real news:
ESPN News is reporting that the Washington Nationals have traded Brad Wilkerson and Termel Sledge to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Alfonso Soriano.

Also, the Houston Astros have declined to offer Roger Clemens arbitration. This means that he cannot sign with the team until May 1st.

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The new Cubs CF

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

The Cubs have reportedly traded Sergio Mitre, Reynel Pinto and Ricky Nolasco to the Marlins for Juan Pierre. I hate to see Nolasco go but it had to be done; Mitre didn’t pan out and Pinto has been getting rocked recently in winter ball. BTW this move opens up two spots on the 40 man – I wonder if the Cubs can protect Brandon Sing now?

Jim Hendry was dismissive of rumors that a Mark Prior for Bobby Abreu trade was being discussed: “Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior are not going to be traded by the Chicago Cubs,” Hendry said.

Which is good, but if Hendry were able to pull off a trade involving prospects for Abreu, who knows?

Some interesting stats about our new centerfielder: During the past three years he has averaged 52 stolen bases per year – that easily beats Furcal’s production in that respect. He has a career OBP of .355 and during the last three years has struck out in 7% of his at bats (compared with 25% for Corey Patterson.)

Corey is either headed for parts unknown or is our fifth outfielder. Shoulda played winter ball suckah!

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Shrinking Options

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

Today’s Chicago Tribune featured a column that focused on Jim Hendry’s wish list of players he would like to trade for. Well, it looks like we can cross Austin Kearns off that list. Cincinnati has traded Sean Casey to Pittsburgh for left hander Dave Williams. This will probably result in Adam Dunn taking over for Casey at first base, allowing the Reds to play Kearns, Griffey and Wily Mo Pena at the same time. While I wasn’t necessarily high on Kearns, Jim Hendry’s outfield options are shrinking. And rest assured that every time the talent pool shrinks, the prices of the remaining players go a little bit higher.

NEW POLL!!!!!
Also, here is your chance to step out and make a decision. Are you Pro Jim Hendry or Anti Jim Hendry. You can’t be on the fence on this one.

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Why Furcal ISN’T Worth It

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

In response to Chris and his well argued point for why Furcal was worth the money LA paid him, I present you with one counter argument. Don’t get me wrong, I am bummed about not being able to see Furcal tear up the base paths for the Cubs in 2006, but I am also one that firmly believes that Hendry can get it done for us. I’d like to present two sets of stats for you from last year. Both are possible solutions for the Cubs leadoff problem. Both play SS. One is available, one is not. 13 mil per year, when we really don’t need to? I think not!!!

  AVG OBP SLG Hits Runs 2b 3b HR RBI SB BB RC/27
Player 1 .295 .362 .403 182 89 36 6 6 56 39 61 5.26
Player 2 .284 .348 .429 165 100 31 11 12 58 46 62 5.26

Is losing Furcal the end of the world? No, but only if we get the leadoff hitter we need. My hope is that come opening day, our starting SS in player # 1.

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Do not pass Go, do not collect $200

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Chicago Tribune reports that Dusty Baker has made a trip to SoCal to visit with enigmatic Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley. According to Baker:

“It was a very good meeting…it’s the first time I’ve ever said more than two words to him, other than hello, goodbye. I told [Cubs general manager Jim Hendry] I think I needed to talk to him in person to see some things, and feel and look in a person’s eyes and hear their voice. It was a very good meeting.”

Baker went on to mention that there were risks involved as well as returns – as well he should!

As Mike Kiley of the competing Chicago Sun-Times points out, Bradley’s recent past is frought with controversies:

June 3, 2004: After being ejected from a game for arguing with the plate umpire, Bradley left his batting glove and helmet in the batter’s box, went to the dugout and tossed about six dozen balls on the field, then picked up one of the balls and threw it down the left-field line.

Sept. 28, 2004: One play after Bradley dropped a bases-loaded line drive to allow two runs to score, a fan at Dodger Stadium threw a plastic bottle on the field toward Bradley. Bradley picked up the bottle and angrily approached the stands, then slammed the bottle into the stands. After arguing with an umpire and being ejected, Bradley ripped off his jersey and hat, then gestured with palms up as the fans booed him. He was suspended for the final five games of the regular season and later ordered to undergo anger-management sessions.

Oct. 6, 2004: Bradley was involved in a confrontation with an African-American Los Angeles Times reporter — calling him an “Uncle Tom” and saying he “sold out” — when the reporter asked Bradley about his treatment from Cardinals fans during Game 1 of the National League Division Series in St. Louis, Bradley’s first game since the bottle incident.

Dec. 15, 2004: Bradley began serving a three-day jail sentence for driving away while being issued a speeding ticket more than a year earlier while a member of the Cleveland Indians.

Aug. 23, 2005: During a 15-minute session with reporters before a game, Bradley accused Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent of a lack of leadership and an inability to deal with black players.

August 2005: L.A.-area newspapers report that police responded to Bradley’s Redondo Beach home three times during the summer on domestic- violence calls, including one instance in which he allegedly choked his pregnant wife, bloodied her lip and hurled a cell phone into a wall.

Mastrick says: Let’s take a pass on this move – the risks far exceed the returns!

Speaking of malcontents, here are a couple of noteworthy quotations from Dusty Baker’s 12/06 press conference:

When asked if he was not happy in Chicago: “I’ve been perceived in more false ways since I’ve been in Chicago than I have in my whole career…”

When asked about the possiblity of starting both Ronny Cedeno and Matt Murton: “If I don’t [play them], I’ll be accused of not liking young players…”

And the Tribune is considering re-signing this guy?

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The fur is flying in Dallas!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

Here’s some of the wheeling and dealing that’s going on at the winter meetings in Dallas (compliments again from Rotonews:)

+ Grady Little has been picked over Jim Fregosi to manage the Dodgers, FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

+ The Pirates are close to acquiring first baseman Sean Casey from the Reds for left-hander Dave Williams, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports.

+ Blue Jays signed RHP A.J. Burnett, who had been with the Marlins, to a five-year, $55 million contract.

+ LaTroy Hawkins has been traded from the Giants to the Orioles for Steve Kline, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and the Baltimore Sun reports.

+ Carl Everett is likely to sign with the Mariners, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

+ The Nationals and Padres are considering exchanging outfielder Terrmel Sledge and Dave Roberts.

+ Sean Burroughs could be traded to the Devil Rays for Dewon Brazelton, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

+ The Dodgers are making a run at Alfonso Soriano, according to ESPN’s Peter Gammons.

+ ESPN’s Peter Gammons thinks the A’s are in the lead for David Wells, with Justin Duchscherer possibly going back to the Red Sox.

+ The Red Sox are reportedly talking to the Pirates about a trade involving Trot Nixon for either Kip Wells or Mark Redman.

+ The Pirates have made an offer to free agent J.T. Snow, according to the Beaver County Times.

+ The Rangers’ talks with the Marlins about Juan Pierre could be expanded to include Ron Villone. Texas might be prepared to give up Laynce Nix.

Meanwhile, the staff at viewfromthebleachers.com has managed to locate Jim Hendry’s secret winter meetings command center:

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More Cubs stuff from Rotoworld

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005


Rotoworld: Brandon Sing will probably go in the Rule 5 Draft.

My take: Why didn’t we protect this guy? I don’t understand why Sing is free to go but we had room for two minor league catchers…

Unless Dee Lee is a firm lock-in at first for the next few years letting Sing go unprotected was not a smart move – Brian Dopirak had a poor year at High A Daytona. Although Dopirak did have the advantage of attending the same high school as Jim Hendry…

Rotoworld: The Philadelphia Daily News says the Phillies asked for Mark Prior when discussing Bobby Abreu with the Cubs yesterday and weren’t dismissed outright.

They probably will be. Abreu is great, but the Cubs won’t be dealing Prior, and even if they were open to the possibility, they wouldn’t do it for an outfielder making more than $15 million per year. Maybe the Cubs will be interested in a lesser price. The Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays and Astros are also looking at Abreu, but the Orioles won’t part with Erik Bedard and the Jays may have to lose interest if they get A.J. Burnett. There’s been speculation that the Astros could offer Brandon Backe and Chad Qualls, but that’d be a huge salary for them to take on when they still don’t know about Roger Clemens and Jeff Bagwell. Dec. 6 – 3:57 am et
Source: Philadelphia Daily News

My take: Philly’s GM has got to be on crack. Abreu for Prior straight up? I like Bobby Abreu but not that much!

Rotoworld: After receiving permission from the Dodgers, Cubs manager Dusty Baker had lunch with Milton Bradley at the outfielder’s home last month.

“We had a great conversation,” Baker said. “I wanted to get a good reading on him, and we covered every issue.” There haven’t been any substantial reports of the trade to the A’s being done, so it appears as though the Cubs and Pirates may still have a chance at getting Bradley. There was speculation last month that Bradley could be traded to the Cubs for Todd Walker. That seems highly unlikely now that Rafael Furcal has been signed, but it’s possible something else could be worked out. Dec. 6 – 12:22 pm et
Source: Chicago Sun-Times

My take: Gawd, not more Milton Bradley talk…if Jimmy Winn was the Toy Cannon then Bradley should be called the Loose Cannon.

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