Archive for November, 2007

Cubs Sign Fukudome

Monday, November 26th, 2007

I know that’s what everyone is itching to hear come over the wire. As you know, he’s a free agent with good power and tremendous plate discipline from the left side, which seems to fill the exact need the Cubs have in that spot. That being said, the Cubs aren’t the only team out there with interest in him. My question to you today, and I’d love to see a lot of feedback on this, is:

What will the Cubs do in RF if they DON’T get Fukudome this off-season?

My guess is that they’ll have a couple of options.

1) Move DeRosa to RF and either start Fontenot at 2B or step up the efforts to get Kaz Matsui if he’s still available.

2) Play Murton in RF and roll the dice

3) Seek outside help via trade or free agency. One name I could almost bet they would consider would be Geoff Jenkins, who would be akin to the Jeromy Burnitz experiment.

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Johan Santana to the Cubs?

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

All I’ve been seeing lately is how Johan Santana needs to come over to Chicago and team with Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly on a huge rotation that would bring the Cubs a World Series. While I love the idea of it, I’ve got some news for everyone. It’s not going to happen, and here’s why:

One major league star, multiple prospects and a seven-year, $140 million contract.

That’s what it will take according to Ken Rosenthal, who quotes the Twins rival executives who have interest in Santana this offseason. We don’t have that, case closed.

However, just to appease the natives, I’ll break it down for you. Let’s start with the “Major League star” part. We have that in Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, and Carlos Zambrano. Problem with those guys? They all make more money than the Twins want to spend on a player. The Twins have showed they don’t want to spend a great deal of money, as evidenced by letting Torii Hunter go via free agency, so to think they would then bring in Soriano at his price tag is absurd. Factor in that Lee doesn’t fit due to salary and a certain player named Justin Morneau and you’re down to Ramirez. While Ramirez does fit a hole in the Twins lineup, you can’t expect them to bring in a guy signed for four more years at $67 million. It just won’t happen.

Instead, the Twins appear to be most interested in dealing for younger, more inexpensive talent like Jose Reyes or Robinson Cano, who makes absolutely no money at all at $490K this past season. At just over two years on ML service time, Cano isn’t due for a raise for quite awhile due to the rules laid out in the CBA and that’s exactly what Minnesota wants. We’ve seen in the past that the Yankees are willing to trade a rising young second baseman for a proven star and this time appears to be no different. I would not be shocked one bit to see the Yankees put together a package that included Cano, Joba Chamberlain, etc to bring in Santana. They can afford to sign him to the extension, and you can bet that the pinstripes and the chance of winning every year would be enough to entice Santana to waive that no-trade clause of his.

While I’d love to have Santana as much as the next guy, it’s simply not going to happen. We don’t have the ML talent, or the money to sign him to the type of extension he commands. Let’s stop dreaming, OK?

You may have noticed the flash Harry Caray ad running in the sidebar. It’s a documentary about the life and career of Caray and I think it would definitely be worth checking out. I don’t usually promote the ads on the site, but this one peaked my interest. It might be a cool gift for a big fan this Christmas, especially considering it’s pretty cheap. Just so you know, if you click the ad, it takes you to the site, but you can also adjust the volume on the ad on this site as well. It’s defaulted to off for your benefit.

In the aftermath of Francisco Cordero signing with the Reds, Jesse Motiff is stiff upset, to which I say “Someone cal the whaaaaaaamulance” Boo Hoo for the Brewers fans.

So good luck to you Francisco Cordero. You are a liar and a hypocrite for what you said in the media at the end of the season. You are going to a team that was not competitive last year and still has major issues with both starting and relief pitching. You turned your career around in Milwaukee, but you still struggled away from Miller Park. You now have a full year of pitching away from there and you now face the challenge of pitching in hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. I just don’t see it ending well for you Coco. Good riddance.

Brewers Bar – 11/24/2007

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Coco Crisp to the Cubs? Brewers Lose Big

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

As I was sitting in bed yesterday, I had was mulling around something someone asked me about the other day. I thought I would share it with you. What are your thoughts on bringing in Coco Crisp via trade from the Red Sox to play centerfield? There is no doubting that Crisp can go out and get the ball in center. He came in ranked third in the Plus/Minus Leaders in CF courtesy of the 2008 Bill James Handbook, first in David Pinto’s Probabilistic Model of Range for centerfielders, first in Range Factor, and third in Zone Rating. He can also steal bases, averaging 25 over the past six seasons, which would add the speed that Lou Piniella is craving this offseason. At the same time, would Crisp really provide more in center with the bat than either Felix Pie or Sam Fuld can bring? Looking at the numbers, Crisp has a career batting average of .280, which is so so, and a career high OBP of just .345. That’s less than impressive, especially considering that was two years ago. Pie has struggled in the majors in his short career, but seems to have a higher ceiling than Crisp. Fuld, who came into the season last year a lot less talked about than either Pie or Crisp, has increased his stock dramatically with his performances last year and this offseason in the AFL. After winning the batting title in the fall league, I put him slightly ahead of Pie on the depth chart. That being said, would you rather see the Cubs make a run at a guy like Coco Crisp, or go into the year with Pie or Fuld in center full-time? If you know anything about me by now, you know where I stand. Let the kids from the system come through the system and play.

Word came in yesterday that Francisco Cordero, the second best bullpen arm on the open market this year is switching teams within the NL Central. Cordero, who spent last year with the Brewers has decided that the Reds are his best place of residence. It always amuses me when players go from a really good team, with a great amount of promise, to a team whose future isn’t quite as bright. The Brewers, in my mind, are the favorites coming into this season in the division. For Cordero, signing elsewhere tells me that winning isn’t as important to him as the money is. I’m all about making money and taking advantages of the opportunities that come your way, but it’s also quite fun to win, and even have a chance to make it to the World Series. For Cordero, that won’t be happening now any time soon.

I forgot to mention this one the other day, but the White Sox signed Scott Linebrink for four years and $19 million on Friday. For the White Sox, you had to figure on a move to improve the bullpen. They thought they did enough to address it last year with the additions of Andy Sisco and David Aardsma. While they both threw extremely hard, they had a tendency to close their eyes when they threw the ball and as a result, come nowhere near the plate. I kid, but both of these guys were terrible in their control last year and in blew up in Kenny Williams face all year. The Sox had the 28th ranked bullpen ERA in all of baseball last year at 5.47. It’s an area that they will probably continue to try to address, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a run at a guy like Octavio Dotel

This comes from Baseball America, which is one of my favorite sites. I only wish I could afford the subsription to go with it. It lists the updated draft order now that a few players have been signed via free agency.

First-Round Picks
1. Devil Rays
2. Pirates
3. Royals
4. Orioles
5. Giants
6. Marlins
7. Reds
8. White Sox
9. Nationals
10. Astros
11. Rangers
12. Athletics
13. Cardinals
14. Twins
15. Dodgers
16. Brewers
17. Blue Jays
18. Mets (Tom Glavine, A, to Atl)
19. Cubs
20. Mariners
21. Tigers
22. Mets
23. Padres
24. Phillies
25. Rockies
26. Diamondbacks
27. Twins (Torii Hunter, A, to LAA)
28. Yankees
29. Indians
30. Red Sox

Supplemental First-Round Picks
31. Twins (Hunter)
32. Brewers (Franciso Cordero, A, to Cin)
33. Mets (Glavine)
34. Brewers (Scott Linebrink, A, to CWS)
35. Cubs (Jason Kendall, B, to Mil)

Second-Round Changes
42. Brewers (Cordero to CIN)
43. Brewers (Linebrink to CWS)
69a. Braves (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Joshua Fields)
84a. Red Sox (for failure to sign 2007 second-rounder Hunter Morris)

Supplemental Third-Round Picks
98. Phillies (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Brandon Workman)
99. Astros (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Derek Dietrich)
100. Padres (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Tommy Toledo)
101. Angels (for failure to sign 2007 third-rounder Matt Harvey)

Remaining Possible Compensation Free Agents (must be offered arbitration)
Atl: OF Andruw Jones (B), LHP Ron Mahay (B).
Bos: RHP Eric Gagne (B), RHP Mike Timlin (B).
Cle: OF Kenny Lofton (B).
Col: RHP Jorge Julio (B), C Yorvit Torrealba (B).
Det: LHP Kenny Rogers (B).
Hou: INF Mark Loretta (B), RHP Trever Miller (B).
KC: RHP David Riske (B).
LAD: OF Luis Gonzalez (B).
Mil: RHP Francisco Cordero (A), 2B/3B Tony Graffanino (B).
NYM: OF Shawn Green (B), C Paul LoDuca (B).
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (A), 3B Alex Rodriguez (A), RHP Luis Vizcaino (B).
Oak: C Mike Piazza (B), OF Shannon Stewart (B).
Phi: RHP Freddy Garcia (B), 2B Tadahito Iguchi (A), OF Aaron Rowand (A).
StL: SS David Eckstein (B), RHP Troy Percival (B).
SD: C Michael Barrett (A), OF Milton Bradley (A), RHP Doug Brocail (B), OF Mike Cameron (B).
SF: OF Barry Bonds (A), 3B Pedro Feliz (B).
Sea: OF Jose Guillen (B).

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Torii Hunter, Hiroki Kuroda & Other Notes

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Torii Hunter reached an agreement with the Angels on a five-year, $90 million contract on Wednesday night, which means the second big name is off the board, A-Rod being the first. For the Angels, it’s the second big move this week, as they traded Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox earlier for Jon Garland to help out their rotation. It will be interesting to see what this does to the Angel outfield, as they now have Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Mathews Jr., and Garrett Anderson. One will have to shift to the DH role and I’m curious to see how that affects the ego of that person. Matthews appears to be the odd man out, from what I read, but I’d think that with the way Vlad runs, he should get the shift to the DH spot.

What this means for the Cubs – Not much, to be honest. The Cubs hadn’t been in the market this offseason for a centerfielder, as they seem content to go into the year with either Sam Fuld or Felix Pie manning that spot for them. It does mean that there is one less bat on the market, though, which makes Kosuke Fukudome a little more in demand for teams looking for outfield help.

If you think Japanese baseball, you have to think Seattle Mariners, and they made a pitch to Hiroki Kuroda, who many have rumored the Cubs to have been after over the past two offseason. Personally, I’m not all that excited about this kid. When you look at the influx of players from Asia, pitchers do not seem to have near as much success as the hitters. Look at some of the names that have come over. It’s hit or miss with the Asian pitchers.

  • Hideo Nomo
  • Shigetoshi Hasegawa
  • Chan Ho Park
  • Byung-Hyun Kim
  • Kazuhiro Sasaki
  • Chien-Ming Wang
  • Kasuhisa Ishii
  • Jae Seo
  • Hideki Irabu
  • Kei IgawaWhen you factor in the fact that Kuroda has seen his fastball go from topping out at 95 mph to the now 89-92 mph range, it doesn’t make a person all that excited about what he can do for us. I’d like to see the Cubs stay away from him and put some trust in what we have in house. We have more than enough arms for the rotation, and I will stick to my position that it’s time to trust them as they mature.

    Kaz Matsui remains on the Cubs radar, though I’ve seen a lot of talk lately that he’s close to a deal with the Houston Astros. Bruce Miles mentions that Hendry has Matsui on his radar to fill some of the need for left-handed hitting in the lineup. My guess is that if signed, Matsui would be the starting shortstop, with Ryan Theriot filling in as the middle infield utility role. The problem I have with signing Matsui is that he hasn’t done anything outside of Coors Field. When you look at his numbers with the Mets (.246 / .304 / .344) compared to his numbers at Coors (.348 / .403 / .486), it scares you. Even if you make the case that Matsui finally figured it out last year, and just happened to be playing for the Rockies, the numbers prove that to be incorrect. His home and away splits were as follows: (.330 / .381 / .482) at home versus (.249 / 304 / .333) away from Coors last year. I’d like to see the Cubs steer far away from Kaz Matsui and let Houston feel the pain of signing off of one year’s numbers.

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    Thanksgiving Morsels

    Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

    Since you should be spending time with family instead of looking at blogs, I’m just going to throw some brief morsels at you and then I’m off to enjoy the day. It’s the first day in about a week that I haven’t been on the DL with a stomach bug, so I’m thrilled. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Prospect Lists
    A couple of sites released top prospect lists for the Cubs, so I thought I would share them with you. I’ll be doing something a little different this spring, by listing the prospects I’m most interested in this season. They may not all be the top guys in the system, but they’re guys I’m following for various reasons. In the meantime, here are the lists I mentioned.

    Baseball America’s Top 10 List
    1. Josh Vitters, 3b
    2. Geovany Soto, c/1b
    3. Tyler Colvin, of
    4. Jose Ceda, RHP
    5. Sean Gallagher, RHP
    6. Donald Veal, LHP
    7. Josh Donaldson, C
    8. Jeff Samardzija, RHP
    9. Tony Thomas, 2b
    10. Kevin Hart, RHP

    Baseball America’s Best Tools
    Best Hitter for Average – Tony Thomas
    Best Power Hitter – Josh Vitters
    Best Strike-Zone Discipline – Sam Fuld
    Fastest Baserunner – Leon Johnson
    Best Athlete – Tyler Colvin
    Best Fastball – Jose Ceda
    Best Curveball – Casey Lambert
    Best Slider – Alessandro Maestri
    Best Changeup – James Russell
    Best Control – Mark Holliman
    Best Defensive Catcher – Welington Castillo
    Best Defensive Infielder – Josh Lansford
    Best Infield Arm – Josh Lansford
    Best Defensive Outfielder – Sam Fuld
    Best Outfield Arm – Kyler Burke

    John Sickels of Top 20
    1. Josh Vitters, 3B, Grade B+ (tough call, see commentary below)
    2. Geovany Soto, C, Grade B+ (tough call, see commentary below)
    3. Sean Gallagher, RHP, Grade B
    4. Eric Patterson, 2B-OF, Grade B (I dropped him from B+ due to defense)
    5. Tyler Colvin, OF, Grade B
    6. Josh Donaldson, C, Grade B
    7. Donald Veal, LHP, Grade B-
    8. Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Grade B-
    9. Jose Ceda, RHP, Grade B-
    10. Tony Thomas, 2B, Grade B-
    11. Billy Petrick, RHP, Grade C+
    12. Sam Fuld, OF, Grade C+
    13. Jake Fox, C-1B, Grade C+
    14. Allesandro Maestri, RHP, Grade C+
    15. Steve Clevenger, C, Grade C+
    16. Mitch Atkins, RHP, Grade C
    17. Mark Holliman, RHP, Grade C
    18. Matt Craig, 3B, Grade C
    19. Larry Suarez, RHP, Grade C
    20. Ryan Acosta, RHP, Grade C

    Sources: Baseball America / Minor League Ball

    Hot Stove Notes
    Kerry Wood may end up signing elsewhere. I’ve heard the Brewers and the Red Sox both mentioned of late, though I’m not sure either team would offer him a starting spot. If he’s going to stay in the pen, why not stay somewhere he has already said he loves, which is Chicago?

    Jason Kendall signed with the Brewers for one year with a vesting option for 2009. You can bet the Cubs will offer Kendall arbitration, considering he’ll have to decline. At that point, the Cubs will receive a “special pick” at the end of the 1st round of the draft, but before the 2nd round as compensation for Kendall being listed as a type B free agent.

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