View From The Bleachers

May 24, 2012

Northside Archives: Ex-Cubs Around The League

Filed under: Featured,General — Jedi Johnson @ 4:00 pm

I need a break from the negativity. I’m burned out on the bevy of complaints about a team that we knew would suck. Samardzija has been pretty good, LaHair has probably been too good. Other than that, this team is who we thought they were. So let’s take a look around the league and examine what some former Cubs are doing for their current team; trust me, this will be uplifting. There is some real garbage out there marauding as MLB talent – not all of them current Cubs, quite a few actually are ex-Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles
The former landing spot for washed up Cubs has now only one remaining player who previously made his home on the North Side. Kevin Gregg has had a decent season after a very shaky first week. He is NOT Baltimore’s closer, and that’s probably helped keep them in first place through the first 8 weeks.

Boston Red Sox
Marlon Byrd was traded to Boston earlier this season. He’s playing everyday in CF, but still not having any success at the plate.

Tampa Bay Rays
They’ve penciled Carlos Pena in as their leadoff ‘hitter’ mainly because he’s still doing a lot of walking. (I think we’ve all heard the pro-Pena/anti-Pena argument plenty; the current Cubs 1B and current Cubs leadoff hitter are both performing better than Pena). You know who is NOT on this team? Sam Fuld and Robinson Chirinos. Brandon Guyer was on the roster for a minute. Chris Archer and Hak-Ju Lee have yet to debut. Yay, Cubs!

Chicago White Sox
After a few months in Cleveland, Kosuke Fukudome came home. He’s basically a defensive replacement/pinch-hitter. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him waived at some point during the year. Will Ohman should be thanking whoever is responsible for his left-hand dominance – it’s the only thing keeping him employed.

Los Angeles Angels
Scott Downs (yes, he was a Cub) has actually been reliable! So was LaTroy Hawkins, before he broke his pinky finger. Fun fact: Hawkins has made nearly $39 million dollars during his 18-year career.

Miami Marlins
As many predicted, Carlos Zambrano has been stellar. So far. Chad Gaudin has made a handful of appearances for the club too. If you want to count Ricky Nolasco, he’s been average/mediocre. Omar Infante was barely a Cub, but he’s discovered a power stroke in the Marlins’ new pitchers’ park.

New York Mets
Ronny Cedeno is filling in at SS due to the baserunning of Ruben Tejeda. Tejeda’s faceplant makes me laugh; I’m a terrible person.

Philadelphia Phillies
For the last week or so, Mike Fontenot has been a Phillie. It probably won’t last long. Meanwhile, Juan Pierre is playing virtually everyday in Philadelphia – now no one will wonder why they are underachieving.

Washington Nationals
Tom Gorzelanny has been turned into a reliever for the Nationals, and he’s still not very good. Xavier Nady is worse; the words ‘forced retirement’ come to mind. He’s about to be out of baseball. But Mark DeRosa might be him to it!

Cincinnati Reds
Thrust into the closer’s role, Sean Marshall has performed admirably. He has only 1 blown save, his numbers aren’t stellar but that’s largely attributed to 2 games (one of which the Reds won anyway).

Milwaukee Brewers
To the delight of many Cub fans, Aramis Ramirez has looked terrible. Not even slugging .400, Brewers fans need to settle in for two more years of this and then a $4 million buyout to be free of him in 2015. The Brewers also have Cesar Izturis. The ‘salad-dressing dude’ barely has value as a defensive replacement anymore.

Pittsburgh Pirates
As bad as Aramis has been, amazingly he’s an upgrade for the Brewers over current Pirate (and ex-Cub) Casey McGehee. Question: Would you trade Matt Garza, Brett Jackson, and Brian LaHair for Andrew McCutchen?

Arizona Diamondbacks
I would never have imagined that Henry Blanco would outlast Kerry Wood. Ok, so Hank White is probably more of a player-coach, even if that’s not his title – he barely plays once a week – but he is still in the league.

Colorado Rockies
Tyler Colvin has been trying to supplant Dexter Fowler in CF. So far he’s still the 4th OF on most days, but he’s definitely not a roster liability for the Rockies.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Jerry Hairston Jr. is still hanging onto a utility role in LA. Ted ‘Theodore’ Lilly is one of the best pitchers in the league at the moment. A lot of that can be attributed to how well he has pitched at home (where he has made 5 of his 7 starts this season).

San Diego Padres
Fully healed, but still relieving, Andrew Cashner has been decent for his new club.

San Francisco Giants
Angel Pagan is playing everyday by the Bay, and playing well. The same cannot be said for Ryan Theriot. I soured pretty fast when the Cajun heartthrob had some choice words for the Cubs upon signing in St. Louis. Yes, he won a ring; but he career is quickly coming to an end – I see a lot of noodling in his very near future.

That felt good…the misfortune of so many teams, investing in former Cubs. Next time you look down at our bench, just remember that it doesn’t include Cesar Izturis, Xavier Nady, or the host of other former Cubs who are stealing money from another franchise stupid enough to take on a player even the Cubs didn’t want!

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  • Noah_I

    I would trade Garza, Jackson and LaHair for Andrew McCutchen, and it would be a very easy decision.  McCutchen is signed long term to a very team friendly deal, is only 25 years old, and is arguably the best center fielder in baseball not named Matt Kemp.  I know a lot of people have high hopes for Brett Jackson, but McCutchen has a good shot to win a couples MVPs in his career.  Jackson will never do that.  Garza is either a second division one or a solid two, but he’s not a “difference maker” in the same way McCutchen is, and is about to become very expensive.  LaHair is a good player, but not as good as his season numbers to this point and, with Rizzo waiting in the wings, I’d be willing to part with him for someone like McCutchen.  Considering LaHair is already 29, I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the type of guy with a short peak.

  • jswanson

    No way.  Ask Rangers fans how fun it was to watch A-Rod do his thing amid a bunch of AA caliber rubes.  Same for Ichi in Seattle, Sori for the Nats, or even McCutchen currently.  Stability first, stars later.  

  • Katie

    I still love Ryan Theriot. He holds a special place in my heart. Also, I would not trade those guys for McCutchen. He’d be a stellar player on a team of underachievers. Not a good mix.


    A lot of these players have no use on the Cubs. I would not trade for McCutchen either.

  • Norm Bothwell

    I can’t see how anyone would NOT want to trade for one of the best players in baseball who is only 25 years old.
    You guys do realize that McCutchen is currently a better player than Starlin Castro, right? That would give the Cubs two studs to build around (three if you want to include Rizzo) at the cost 1.5 years of Garza, a 23 year old hitting 230 in AAA, and a 29 year old 1B that can’t hit lefties??!?
    That baffles me.

  • Jedi

    I was curious about responses – I totally agree with Noah and Norm on this. (I’ll wait for everyone to pick their jaw up off the floor).  LaHair is at his zenith of value right now.  Brett Jackson is still a prospect.  Matt Garza is a pitcher – pitching is fickle, what looks great today might be crap in three years.  McCutchen is a serious star.  I have the same thought as Norm; if we could add another star like McCutchen, and if Rizzo pans out in the middle of the order, add in Castro – that’s your 2,3,4 in the order for a LONG time.  Yes, we’re more than one piece away; but it takes exceptional talent to win consistently…we need stars, that’s starS multiple.  Right now we have one, another might be on the way in a year, if we could trade for a third that’d be an enormous boost.

    I’m not sure the Pirates would do that deal, though.


    They gave us Ramirez in 2003. Along with Lofton and Simon (although that was probably a good move, he isn’t capable of hitting anything except Italian Sausage)

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I would do the deal, but I think the Pirates might want more than we could give them.  Maybe we bring in a third hypothetical team that needs Garza and could pay to keep him–a team who could afford to drop a prospect for help now.  Quick, somebody get the Red Sox on the phone.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    On second thought, with their desperate needs in the OF, there’s no way the Red Sox wouldd help someone else get McCutchen.

    Still, another team might make the deal more feasible.

  • Tommy

    I wish we had never gotten rid of Pierre . He’s had a pretty solid career overall. Good to see Pagan doing well, too.

  • Dusty Baylor

     Also, I just figured out a way to get Griffey and Bonds!!!
    Why would the Pirates trade McCutchen?

  • Dusty Baylor

    Pierre’s OPS+ since leaving Chicago:

  • Dusty Baylor

     I woul Love to get Andrew McCutchen.  I just don’t think the Pirates are stupid enough to make this move.

  • Norm Bothwell

    The Pirates would most definitely NOT do that deal, but that wasn’t the question…
    Another hypothetical, pretend for a minute Starlin Castro was on the Pirates, would the people who would not make that McCutchen deal, do so if it was Garza/LaHair/Jackson for Starlin Castro?

  • Doc Raker

    Pierre, the king of the 3 hopper to second base, I can’t believe he is still in the league.

  • Doc Raker

    I am rooting for Tyler Colvin, I tune into Rockies games to see him play. Aram was a great Cub but he has been stealing money for the past few years, I am glad he is no longer a Cub.
    * No on the McCutchen deal, we would be giving up to much. I am still hopeful LaHAir and Rizzo can both be in the line up and if they can’t I don’t automatically buy into Rizzo’s automatic success. LaHair has been successful in the bigs so far, Rizzo is tearing it up in AAA but yet to hit in the bigs. Rizzo has obviously earned a shot in the bigs but to assume he is going to slug with LaHair’s numbers is still an assumption. History is strewn with underachieving prospects, one slugger in the bigs is worth 5 in the bush leagues.

  • RichBeckman

    I would do the deal.  I think LaHair’s value will never be higher, and there are hints that his high average is an aberration and will end the season mediocre.  The Cubs would have McCutchen for five years after this one (through 2017) at an average of 10 mil a year  and an option of 2018 for the prime of his career.

  • Jedi

    Maybe they aren’t.  But their club president drives drunk – so making a horrible decision isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

    Besides for nearly 20 years they’ve eventually traded every single player of worth.  And don’t underestimate Garza’s trade value – his value at this year’s deadline should be enormous if he has even a decent June.  The Pirates could easily flip him for prospects or as Jeremiah said it could rope a third team into the deal – a team who can send extra prospects to Pittsburgh.

    I would also hazard a guess that one year ago a Cashner for Rizzo trade would’ve been considered preposterous.  As Jim Hendry taught us, you can’t trade anyone unless you’re willing to listen to and propose offers.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Eventually they’ll have to–his price will rise above what they can afford, and they’ll need to get what they can before he walks as a free agent.  Right now they have him locked up at a huge discount, but it won’t last forever.  An overwhelming offer now might bring more back to Pittsburgh than the deal they get when everyone knows he has to be moved.

  • Jedi

    Cute – but you’re comparing a guy with 58 HRs at age 25 to Griffey and Bonds. (Griffey had already hit 40 in a season twice at that age, Bonds won an MVP at 25)

    Why?  Money.  His deal is very palatable right now, and they were probably wise to buy out his arbitration years.  But they currently have a payroll of $51mil.  That’s their highest annual team payroll since 2003.  If that holds, next year his salary alone will be 10% of their payroll.  In 2014 it’ll be 15% and by 2015 it’ll be 20%.  Every year after that he’d, potentially, account for more than 25% of their payroll.

    And before you say the Pirates total payroll will definitely increase, just know that it hasn’t for the last 10 years, they won’t be building a new stadium, they won’t be contending, so I’m not sure where that extra money is coming from.  The remaining option is for them to be sold to a Steinbrenner/Cuban-type owner.

    It’s very possible that the Pirates didn’t so much buyout his arbitration as they guaranteed his trade value until he turns 30.  I do not anticipate he’ll serve out his current contract in Pittsburgh.  Perhaps we’re still a couple of years away from the Pirates shopping him, but remember also this is a franchise that traded Jason Bay for a LaRoche and some prospect garbage.  The whole point of locking up McCutchen (as it seems to me anyway) is to guarantee that when, not if, but when he’s traded they get more than a handful of prospects and one major leaguer that can easily be had in free agency.

  • Norm Bothwell

    No one should ever be untouchable, but Pitt has him until he’s 31 years old.
    Just like the Cubs won’t trade Castro unless they’re blown away, same deal with Pitt.

  • Jedi

    Generally agree – though I would add that just because he’s locked up until he’s 31 doesn’t necessarily mean the Pirates can afford him until he’s 31.  That is a heavily backloaded deal.  When his salary crests $10mil annually, I’m not sure they can afford.  The Cubs won’t/don’t have that problem with Castro.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I haven’t watched any Rockies games this season, but I’m also pulling for Colvin to stick in Colorado.  I don’t necessarily want him to become the one that got away, but I hope he can live up to some of his first-round potential.

  • Norm Bothwell

     I don’t think that just because their history has them at $50M or so that’ll remain in the future.

    They also never spent on the draft before, but the last couple years
    they’ve spent more than most teams, and topped ALL teams in 2011. History doesn’t dictate the future.

    If he’s traded, I think it will be because they don’t see themselves being
    competitive as he nears the end of the deal; because their big dollar
    draft picks perform more like Pedro Alvarez than they do like McCutchen.

  • Dusty Baylor

     Actually, I was quoting Seinfeld.
    I like to be optimistic.  I don’t think speculating how to trade for a another team’s best young talent…who has already had success for 3 seasons, who is locked up long term, and  who is the new face of the franchise- is being optimistic.  Just dreaming.  I will not speculate as to the success of the Pirates in 2015. Right now they’re better than the Cubs…so maybe they’re speculating on how they can get Castro?

  • Jedi

    Matthew Lesko is the face of the Pirates franchise.

  • Tommy

    Why in bloody hell is it every time I like a player someone feels it’s their God-given duty to shoot him down?

  • Tommy

    But when I have a critical post I get accused of being a crappy Cubs fan? I don’t get it.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Pierre, Neifi, the Riot… your track record of favorite Cubs is pretty questionable.

    As is your timing.  Shredding Kerry Wood within hours of his final, storybook strikeout and exit was surprisingly tone-deaf, even for you.

  • Tommy

    OK then, I finally get it. Would somebody then e-mail me the list of Cubs I am allowed to like and the list of Cubs I am supposed to hate?

  • Jedi

    Perhaps you should assume against your normal proclivities.

  • Joe Aiello

    Those are pretty crappy.

  • Eddie Von White

    Tommy – Go with your gut. You don’t need anyone’s approval on here except maybe Lizzie.

  • Tommy

    Thank you Eddie. But methinks I lost her before the season even began.

  • Tommy

    Katie, good for you! You must carry a lot of street cred around here because in the day whenever I had positive things to say about Theriot, I’d get skewered.

  • Dusty Baylor

    That was funny.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Point taken.  Mea Culpa

  • Lizzie

    You did indeed, but not for the reasons you think. The whole “woe is Tommy” shtick is exhausting. “oh woe is me, no one agrees with me,” “oh woe is me, I’m so misunderstood,” “oh woe is me, I never get any Lizzies, guess I’ll stop posting, see you next season”. Yawn. Put on your big boy pants and man up. As Eddie said, you don’t need anyone’s approval. And methinks the more you beg for it the less you’ll get. 


    I got the Seinfeld reference, that was a good one.


    All the female Cubs fans love him bc of his looks. They all love him and DeRosa.

  • Doc Raker

    Why do you listen to other people? Like who you like, do it with conviction, who cares if others don’t agree? That is my impression of Juan Pierre, three hopper Juan, plus he wears those funny MC Hammer pants. You dig Juan and the MC Hammer pants be proud of it, shout it out loud!

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